DrumBeat: June 12, 2008

The Peak Oil Crisis: The Summer Ahead

Growth in worldwide oil supply is not doing well. Non-OPEC production is sagging and is expected to increase by only 310,000 b/d this year and OPEC currently is close to producing flat-out out with new projects slipping. OPEC’s production is now expected to grow by only 500,000 b/d during 2008, half of the amount anticipated earlier this year. The bottom line is that supply is not keeping up with demand.

The most troublesome aspect of the IEA report is that OECD crude stocks fell by 8.1 million barrels in April – a time of the year when they typically increase by 30 million barrels. Preliminary numbers suggest that the drop is continuing in May and June. The world is living off its stockpiles, a situation that will not long endure. If it turns out that supply only grows by about 500,000 b/d while demand increases by 800,000 b/d, it should be obvious that prices are going up until the demand falls.

Oil Rebounds After Nigeria Announces Ogoni Operation Takeover

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil rebounded after Nigeria's president said the country's state-owned oil company will take over operations in the Ogoni district of southern Nigeria from a Royal Dutch Shell Plc joint venture.

India: Growing number of cars to have cascading effect on economy

NEW DELHI: With the growing number of vehicles in India and China set to heighten oil consumption in the region, the eventual fuel shortage would cause a cascading effect on the economy of the two countries, noted environmentalist Lester R Brown claimed here on Thursday.

"Oil production is declining and snowballing the rise in prices worldwide. At this juncture, if people here keep on turning to more cars and vehicles, it will cast a cascading effect on their economies," Brown said.

West Australia gas crisis poses threat to economy

WESTERN Australia is facing a crippling gas supply crisis that could deny the nation significant export revenue from the China-led mining boom at a critical phase in the economic cycle.

Premier Alan Carpenter warned yesterday he might eventually need to invoke emergency powers to seize control over all gas and electricity supplies after an explosion at akey mining site last week cutoff one third of the state's gas supply.

TNK-BP's Fridman says BP chmn insults Russia govt

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman, one of BP's partners in Russian oil venture TNK-BP, said the British oil major's chairman had insulted the Russian leadership on Thursday.

"We find Mr (Peter) Sutherland's comment unhelpful and frankly, insulting to the Russian leadership," Fridman said in a statement emailed to reporters, adding he should not lecture the Russian government.

Engineers search for fuel-saving big rigs

MARIETTA, Ga. - Tractor trailers lose valuable miles per gallon to the drag that air exerts, but air may also help tame the fuel guzzling forces.

Scientists at Georgia Tech's Research Institute are creating a "circulation control system" that blows a steady current of air around the back of the truck to help boost fuel efficiency.

$4 Gasbags

Amid $135 oil, it ought to be an easy, bipartisan victory to lift the political restrictions on energy exploration and production. Record-high fuel costs are hitting consumers and business like a huge tax increase. Yet the U.S. remains one of the only countries in the world that chooses as a matter of policy to lock up its natural resources. The Chinese think we're insane and self-destructive, while the Saudis laugh all the way to the bank.

U.S., UK agencies seek oil trading limits

WASHINGTON — U.S. oil futures regulators are working on a deal with their British counterparts to impose first-ever position limits on West Texas Intermediate contracts on the ICE Futures Europe exchange, a U.S. congressional source told Reuters Thursday.

U.S. regulators are feeling heat from U.S. lawmakers to rein in what they see as excessive speculation in oil markets. Prices have soared 40 per cent since January to record highs near $140 (U.S.) a barrel.

The deal between the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and UK Financial Services Authority would impose limits on positions that trading parties can take in front-month WTI contracts on ICE Futures Europe, the source said on condition of anonymity.

Plenty in the tank - The problem seems to be getting to enough of the oil that is known to exist

At first glance, BP’s own data seem to support the gloomier case. The firm reckons that global output fell by 130,000-odd b/d last year. Worse, proven reserves also fell, by about 1.6 billion barrels. This suggests that the world is consuming oil faster than it can be found—a worrying thought, even if reserves are large.

But Christof Rühl, one of the report’s authors, points out that data on reserves are slow to appear. For several countries, BP had to make do with last year’s numbers. When the updated figures are in, he expects they will actually add up to an increase. Global reserves have risen by 36% since 1987.

As for output, Mr Rühl breaks last year’s decline into involuntary and deliberate portions. There are countries, such as Mexico and Norway, whose output is in inevitable decline. Others, such as Nigeria, saw declines brought on by political unrest. But by far the most precipitous drop last year took place in Saudi Arabia. Some argue that it too is testing the limits of geology’s bounty. But ostensibly, at any rate, the production cuts were intentional.

Have we underestimated total oil reserves?

Black gold might not be as scarce as we thought. This week oil prices escalated to a record $139 per barrel, but that may partly be because the amount of available oil in known reserves has been significantly underestimated.

So says Richard Pike, a former oil-industry adviser and chief executive of the UK Royal Society of Chemistry, who blames flawed statistical calculations.

John Michael Greer: Saving science

From today’s perspective, mind you, it may seem silly to suggest that science may need saving at all. Not only does scientific research play a huge economic role in modern society, science has become an ideology that fills most of the roles occupied by religion in older civilizations than ours. Scientific institutions have profited accordingly, expanding into an immense network of universities, research institutes, foundations, and publishers, subsidized by many billions a year in government largesse.

Yet the same thing could have been said about the priesthoods of Jupiter Optimus Maximus and his fellow gods in the glory days of the Roman Empire, or the aristocratic priest-scribes of the Lowland Maya city-states in the days before Tikal and Copán were swallowed by the jungle. Civilizations direct huge resources to their intellectual elites, because they can, and because the payoff in terms of each civilization’s values are well worth the expenditure. The downside is that the intellectual heritage of each civilization becomes dependent both on the subsidies that support them and on the ideological consensus that makes those subsidies make sense.

Gazprom's bravado about $250 a barrel oil conceals output jitters

LONDON -- It wasn't the number that shocked, or even that it was a very big number. Analysts have been issuing scary oil price predictions for some months now and Goldman Sachs recently plumped for $200 (U.S.) per barrel. What was unnerving about this week's frightening number was that it was Gazprom, the world's biggest utility, that was touting the notion that the oil price would reach $250 per barrel, probably next year.

Russia pips Saudi Arabia as top oil producer

PARIS/SINGAPORE: Russia was the biggest crude oil producer in the world in the first quarter of 2008, extracting 9.5 million barrels per day (mbpd), ahead of Saudi Arabia at 9.2mbpd, the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday.

The IEA ranks the US as the third-biggest producer with 5.1mbpd, followed by Iran, pumping 4mbpd. China is in fifth place with output of 3.8mbpd.

Jet fuel prices in April rose 54% even as demand drops: ATA

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Jet fuel prices in April, on average, were up more than 54% from a year ago despite a small decline in consumption, the Air Transport Association said Wednesday. For April, the average price for jet fuel was $3.02 a gallon, a 4.1% increase from its March price, according to the ATA data. Consumption in April declined 4.2% since March to 1.58 billion gallons, but the industry's fuel bill remained flat at $4.78 billion, the ATA said.

Petrobras' Tupi field to produce 500,000 bpd by '20

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazil's state-run oil company Petrobras (PETR4.SA: Quote, Profile, Research) plans to have its giant Tupi oil field fully operational by 2015, with output of at least 500,000 barrels per day by 2020, a top company official said.

Gas Giants Get Rapped. Again.

LONDON - The European Competition Commission revealed just how seriously it takes breaches of its anti-trust rules on Wednesday after announcing it had charged two of Europe's biggest gas suppliers, E.ON and Gaz De France, over an alleged agreement to keep out of each other's home markets. If found guilty, the two companies would have to fork up as much as 10.0% of their annual turnover.

Iraqi PM, Jordan king discuss improved ties, security, cheaper oil

AMMAN, Jordan: Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki discussed in Jordan Thursday an increase in cheaper oil supplies to his cash-strapped neighbor and ways to prevent Islamic militants from joining the bloody anti-American insurgency in Iraq.

Mexican Ruling Party in Senate Shake-Up to Push Pemex Reform

Mexico's ruling National Action Party, or PAN, has replaced its Senate leader in a bid to drum up support for a controversial energy reform bill before Congress.

U.S. evaluating Saudi oil meeting: White House

ROME (Reuters) - The United States is evaluating what will be accomplished at a summit Saudi Arabia has called to address soaring global oil prices before a decision will be made on who will attend, a White House official said on Thursday.

Nigeria: Ogoja, Okuku Residents Protest Power Outage

Ogoja and Okuku residents in Cross River State have staged peaceful demonstration, apparently reacting to prolonged periods of living without electricity supply from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). The residents of the these areas while walking round some major streets vowed that they would not pay electricity bills any longer.

French port workers to strike 48 hours next week

Workers at France's largest oil port of Fos-Lavera in the southern port of Marseille started stepping up pressure last week by prolonging their weekly strike.

"We have received confirmation that the Marseille port will be blocked today (Thursday) and Friday," a spokeswoman for the port said, adding that port workers will gather in a general meeting at 1345 (1145 GMT).

India: Choked fertilizer supply could add to govt's woes

Tuesday's violent turn of events in Karnataka, with farmers taking to the streets, and the police firing in which one person was killed, could be an early warning signal for Centre that at a time when global fertilizer prices have risen sharply and feed-stock prices have shot through the roof, a delay in distribution of even the existing stock could lead to trouble in states like Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan — two states bound for polls by the end-year.

UK: Drivers Face £8m Petrol Bill Hike as Oil Prices Surge

Hard-up motorists in North Staffordshire and South Cheshire are spending about £8.2 million a month more on fuel than this time last year.

Families, businesses and emergency services are feeling the pinch as prices at the region's pumps have risen by 27 per cent in a year.

Energy costs forcing US families to make dangerous cutbacks

Low income families have been forced to cut back on basic purchases like food and medicine and keep their homes dangerously cold or hot as a result of surging energy prices in the United States, according to a national survey released Wednesday.

But the high cost of petrol, heating and air conditioning is also spurring efficiency across the country as even wealthier consumers said they were driving less, buying smaller cars, using public transport and installing more efficient appliances in their homes.

S.Africa gives nuclear a nod to help power crisis

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South Africa's cabinet has approved the country's nuclear policy, enabling the controversial technology to play a greater role in alleviating a critical power shortage, a senior government spokesman said on Thursday.

Utility Eskom has rationed power to the key mining sector since a near total collapse of the electricity grid in January. The power shortage has spooked investors and is seen contributing to slower growth this year.

Japan to Raise Meat Prices as Corn Boosts Feed Costs

The government has subsidized part of the increase in feed costs to support farmers. Still, costs to farmers rose 17 percent from a year earlier to 52,300 yen per ton on average in the quarter, according to the ministry.

``An increasing number of livestock farmers are abandoning their business because feed and other costs have exceeded their incomes,'' said Masataka Ishiguro, vice secretary general at National Confederation of Farmers Movements, representing over 40,000 farmers in Japan.

Smelting joint venture caught in Apache blast

Alcoa of Australia, of which 60 per cent is owned by the US-based Alcoa and 40 per cent by Alumina, said in New York that it was declaring force majeure on its supply contracts for alumina, the raw material it uses in its smelters to produce aluminum, because of the disruptions.

Oklahoma's painful car culture

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- For many people in Oklahoma, life is built around the car.

With several refineries in the region, years of cheap fuel have made it possible for many people to live far from their jobs.

Now the situation is unraveling.

6 Cars Built for $4 Gas

It's been a bad year to be a car salesman. Four-dollar gas and a lousy economy have driven sales down 8 percent so far this year, with SUVs and pickup sales off far more. Overall, 2008 could end up being the worst year in the car biz in more than a decade. But a few models are thriving, mainly because they offer the higher gas mileage that buyers crave, with a bit of pizazz in the bargain. Some of the winners that are defying a down market...

Planning on buying a hybrid? Get in line

"Surveys have shown $4 to be the tipping point in consumer purchase behaviour and we are seeing that ring true in shopping patterns on Cars.com," the website's editor-in-chief, Patrick Olsen, said in a statement.

Six of the top 10 most-searched vehicles were hybrids, compacts or subcompacts.

High oil costs, stimulus checks spark interest in pellet stoves

LUDLOW - George E. Dupuis has people coming into his Turnpike Acres Pellet Stove Shop with their government stimulus check in one hand and their most recent fuel oil bill in the other.

Peak Moment: Learning from the Collapse of Earlier Societies

According to Professor Guy Prouty, every civilization rises, evolves, and then collapses to a simpler structure -- and this will include our own. Comparing America with the Western Roman Empire, Prouty notes the over-reach of our military, the unsustainability of capitalism, peak oil, and climate change. And, this time, we may see a global collapse. Transitioning to a simpler society will require us to change behavior and consciousness: decrease energy, get out of debt, decentralize, de-consume, grow our own food, build community, see ourselves as connected to the planet. Collapse is not the end, he says. It's part of a natural cycle.

U.S. can become world's energy giant

As a young man, John F. Kennedy wrote "Why England Slept," a book about Great Britain's failure to confront the rise of fascism until it was almost too late. Perhaps a sequel might someday be "Why America Slept," about how a great nation ignored the growing danger of energy dependence and failed to act.

There's reason for hope, however. We can look back on our history and see many stretches where the United States slumbered while a problem festered. When the nation finally woke up, it tackled problems with a vigor no other country can match. If America has truly awakened to the urgency of the energy crisis, fasten your seat belt.

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison: How America can achieve true energy independence

President Reagan said, "There are no easy answers, but there are simple ones." This principle applies to America's energy woes. Since January 2007, the price of a gallon of gasoline has soared from $2.33 to a record $4.04. Over the next two decades, global demand for oil is expected to rise by 50 percent. Further price escalation is inevitable.

When confronted by these facts, the energy solution is simple. We need more energy! We should be increasing our production of oil, natural gas, clean coal and nuclear power — and those resources should come from America, instead of foreign dictatorships.

The Cure for Shortages is Growth

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, addressing the High-Level Conference on World Food Security held in Rome on June 3rd, set a target for increasing world food production 50% by 2030. This is the proper response when faced with a shortage. People need more food, so they should have it. If someone were to tell those facing starvation or malnutrition that they should just tighten their belts and do without, maybe rest more to reduce their need for calories, they would be laughed at as fools, if not denounced as heartless monsters.

Price increases mean that supply has not kept up with demand. Yet, when we are confronted with a shortage of oil or other forms of energy, we are often told to do without rather than increase supplies. But the higher demand for food and energy has the same roots, the desire of people the world over to improve their standards of living. Unfortunately, in certain Left-wing intellectual and policy circles, there are those who do not feel the average person deserves to be better off.

India: Nooyi slams US inaction on oil prices

NEW YORK: PepsiCo chief Indra Nooyi has criticised Washington for not doing enough to control energy prices, which could hurt companies by cutting into consumers' discretionary spending.

What is particularly worrisome, Nooyi said here on Wednesday at a conference hosted by The Wall Street Journal, "I don't see anybody in Washington or anywhere saying, 'Look, this energy crisis is the biggest one we've had, let's really put the best people to work on figuring out how to reduce the country's dependence on oil.'"

She said lawmakers need to "figure out what they're going to do about it" before Americans begin to rein in their spending. Consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of the US economy.

Energy concerns echo oil crisis of Nixon days, Kissinger says

What is interesting to me is when we went through the crisis, we thought US$30 oil was unbearable. Ironically, the steps that we proposed at the time, which were more or less accepted but never implemented, are still the steps people are talking about and are not yet implemented. We established the International Energy Agency [IEA] to create emergency stockpiles, consumer co-operation in crisis, and possible joint action on prices as an opposite number to OPEC. We had recommended a floor price for oil so that alternative sources could not be bankrupted by piratical pricing or by political pricing. And then alternative sources of energy. All of this was sort of accepted as principles but never implemented. Now we face exactly the same problem, but now we have seen what happens when you don't act in a crisis. At what point do transfers of wealth [to oil producing countries] become unacceptable? That will have to be decided by the consumers together.

South Korea: Global Struggle Emerges for Oil Reserves

In an industry where the size of the corporation determines whether it can put in a bid for oil projects, Korea faces a harsh reality. The Korea National Oil Corp. does not even rank in the top 100 in size, making it hard for it to bid for oil fields against larger corporations around the world.

Brown Will Seek Lower Oil Prices at Meeting in Saudi Arabia

(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he will press oil producing countries to increase supply at a meeting this month in Saudi Arabia as he seeks to protect British consumers from rising energy prices and food costs.

``Every single government is now under pressure because of energy and food prices,'' Brown said today at a press conference in London. ``People's standard of living has been affected by this. That's why the dialogue with oil producers is essential.''

UK's Brown sees no short-term oil boost in Jeddah

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he expected no short-term output rise from an oil summit in Saudi Arabia later this month, but urged the world to work on a long-term, coordinated energy strategy.

Confirming that he would attend the summit, to be held in Jeddah on June 22, Brown said the meeting was unlikely to result in any production increase, but that did not diminish the need for consumers and producers to tackle the energy crisis.

Whatever, Dog

With an array of mind-numbing charts and graphs, Hirsch showed how we are fast approaching the maximum oil production capacity worldwide — known as peak oil — and how after that, it’s all downhill. The good news, he said, was that by the year 2050 we’d probably be okay. By that, he meant that the industrial nations of the world would have transitioned into substitute energy sources. But as we sat there with the air conditioner set to replicate the Arctic tundra, Hirsch told us how between the year 2015 and 2050, the world would be one continuous explosion of economic violence, disruption, and trauma. This would be caused by the growing chasm between actual oil available and the amount needed to keep the industrialized economies humming at anything approximating their current capacities.

Making Sense of Collapse: Funeral Procession or Party Time?

In his most recent post, Richard Heinberg asks "How Do You Like Collapse So Far?" and also asks why we should think or talk about collapse if there's nothing we can do about it? He suggests that in the face of the gargantuan unraveling over which we have very little power, keeping in mind what it is about our species that is worth saving is a salutary emotional and spiritual practice. In fact he says, "...there may in fact be only one occupation worthy of our attention: that of identifying the qualities that make our species worth saving, and then celebrating and exemplifying those qualities. If we concentrate on doing that, perhaps we win no matter what. Outwardly, it will probably look a lot like what many of us are already doing: working to save a species, an ecosystem, a human community; to make a village sustainable, or to halt a new coal power plant."

UK: Communities being 'offered bribes' to host dumping sites for nuclear waste

Communities around the UK will be invited today to consider volunteering to host a burial site for nuclear waste in deep geological disposal facilities.

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn will set out in a White Paper the procedures for choosing the sites where radioactive material from the nation's existing nuclear power stations will be disposed of permanently.

Factories close, supermarkets empty and jets run out of fuel as truckers' strike bites

Strike action by thousands of Spanish and Portuguese truckers produced ominous knock-on effects on food supplies, aviation and industry yesterday, as Lisbon airport ran out of fuel, car factories shut down and petrol stations and supermarkets reported shortages.

In a worrying sign for other European countries that face rising discontent at the spiralling cost of diesel, a third day of strikes generated widespread mayhem and the mood turned ugly after the first casualties of the standoff: two strikers died in clashes on picket lines.

OPEC President Rules Out Oil Output Increase at Saudi Summit

(Bloomberg) -- OPEC President Chakib Khelil said the oil-producer group won't raise output at a summit with consuming nations in Saudi Arabia later this month.

``Supply is more than enough, there won't be a change,'' Khelil said in an interview today in Algiers. OPEC won't consider any change to its output target before its next scheduled meeting in September, he said.

Libya says oil supply problem lies ahead

LONDON (Reuters) - World oil supply is enough at present but future supply is more of a concern as output nears a peak from which it will decline, the top official for OPEC member Libya said on Thursday.

After the oil crunch?

There are two competing explanations for today's high oil prices. One sees the price rise as the result of a temporary imbalance between supply and demand, exacerbated by a weak dollar and a bubble of speculative commodities trading. Fix these problems, adherents suggest, and the price can return to previous low levels, allowing business to continue as usual. The other sees the current price spike as symptomatic of a much deeper crisis, one that could end life as we know it in the rich, consuming west as global supplies of cheap oil begin to run short, not temporarily, but for ever. As Chris Skrebowski, editor of the UK Petroleum Review, puts it: "This is what I would describe as the foothills of peak oil." An imminent oil peak is no longer just a fringe theory: increasing numbers of experts view the topping out point as very close, if not actually upon us. "Easy, cheap oil is over, peak oil is looming," warns Shokri Ghanem, head of Libya's National Oil Corporation. If they are right, we are about to move into a very different world.

Crude Report Stumps Analysts

U.S. oil refineries are still sluggishly producing fuels, at least by industry analysts' expectations. In fact, refining activity seems to have actually slowed over the past two weeks. Yesterday's Energy Department oil inventories report indicated domestic refiners utilized only 88.6% of their productive capacity last week. Insiders had expected refining capacity to top 90%, a 0.3% increase over the previous week's rate.

Fuel blockade: Talks resume in bid to head off tanker drivers strike

Talks aimed at averting a strike by hundreds of fuel-tanker drivers will resume today.

Yesterday, leaders of the Unite union met for more than 10 hours with managers from two companies which deliver fuel to Shell garages across the UK in a bid to resolve a row over pay.

BP chief’s bleak view on oil crisis as production gap keeps widening

Global oil production fell last year for the first time in six years while consumption continued to grow, according to BP.

...However, Tony Hayward, the chief executive of BP, dismissed claims that the notion of “peak oil” was responsible for soaring prices. BP said that there were 1.24 trillion barrels of oil left globally, or 41 years of production at present rates.

Fuel shortage affects urban transport in Buenos Aires

The shortage of fuel forced several bus lines in Buenos Aires to suspend or reduce their service on Wednesday, while the lack of diesel hampered industrial and agricultural activity elsewhere in Argentina.

Hundreds of buses were affected by the move, and there was chaos at bus-stops, as commuters tried to squeeze into full vehicles.

Daniel Millaci, president of the bus transport organization CEAP, said bus lines were affected by supply problems from Shell, 'which started to deliver 50 per cent less fuel until they receive a diesel lot from abroad, which could happen next week.'

Oil executives: "What do they know?"

The spectacle of an industry lobbyist decrying the prospects of increased regulation is very much dog-bites-man, as far as news value goes. But there's something especially annoying about the comments made by John Damgard, the president of the Futures Industry Association, in a five-minute video snippet produced by the Financial Times.

Whither the factory worker?

The despair on the faces of muscled, redundant GM workers last week as their truck plant prepared to close was a glimpse of a future without oil. It was a reminder, too, echoing Dorothea Lange's classic 1936 Migrant Mother portrait.

House approves Amtrak funding

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A nearly $15 billion Amtrak bill passed the House on Wednesday as lawmakers rallied around an alternative for travelers saddled with soaring gas prices.

Our focus is on oil, but Old King Coal is very much alive and kicking

We tend to forget this. All our focus is on oil, for the obvious reason that it is the fuel that we see the price of in large figures on every filling station in the land. Most of us have to stump up every week or fortnight to fill the car. But gas and coal are coming to matter more and more, with coal growing fastest. The principal reason for that is that coal is the principal fuel for China and to a lesser extent India. There are obvious implications for air pollution and more generally for carbon emissions. Europe is doing pretty well at cutting energy use; Asia is different.

Turning Off the Taps

You don’t have to have an awful lot of gray hair to remember the excitement around England’s massive North Sea oil fields. While discovered in 1969, it wasn’t until well into the 1980s, on the back of surging oil prices, that the fields came into full production. Turning up the taps, the United Kingdom (as well as Norway and Germany, who also have North Sea production) became a significant exporter of oil.

But then, in 1999, something happened: the UK’s North Sea production hit peak… that tipping point after which reservoirs go into decline, setting in motion both reduced production and progressively higher costs related to extracting the remaining oil.

Exxon offers Gazprom LNG terminal deal - Itar-Tass

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) offered Russia's Gazprom a role in a liquefied natural gas regasification terminal on the U.S. East Coast, Itar-Tass quoted Gazprom Deputy Chief Executive Alexander Medvedev as saying on Wednesday.

Medvedev said Gazprom could have a role in the terminal's facilities or become an investor, according to Russian news agency Itar-Tass.

Saudi Aramco delivers first consignment of Arabian crude to Qingdao refinery

Saudi Aramco has announced that the first delivery of Arabian heavy and medium crude has arrived at Sinopec's new Qingdao refinery in China, onboard the Xin An Yang tanker from Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia.

Mexico minister tight-lipped on Saudi oil talks

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico is aware of the pressure high oil prices are putting on producer nations, Energy Minister Georgina Kessel said on Wednesday, but gave no indication whether she would attend a Saudi Arabia meeting on supply.

Saudi Aramco to Supply Full Crude Volumes to Refiners in July

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Aramco, the world's largest state oil company, will supply customers in Asia, Europe and the U.S. with full volumes of crude oil they had requested under their monthly loading programs for July, refinery officials said today.

BP says its Russian partners are raiders

STOCKHOLM — BP Plc accused its oligarch partners in its multi-billion dollar Russian joint venture TNK-BP of being corporate raiders and said the Kremlin was doing nothing to stop them trying to wrestle control of the venture.

TNK-BP: oligarchs seek stronger hand before forced sale

TNK-BP was initially a success that benefited from political approval. But the climate has changed and the Kremlin has made clear that it wants Russian control of all oil and gas assets. Gazprom has made equally clear that it wants TNK-BP and it is widely assumed that the end-game is a buyout of the oligarchs and the issuance of a single controlling share to the gas giant. The tycoons fear a stitch-up and a bad deal, so push for advantage, seeking control to boost their negotiating position. They want to be key players in a settlement and see a window of opportunity in the confusion over who controls Russia. Is it Prime Minister Putin, the nationalist autocrat, or is it President Medvedev, the former lawyer?

Norway says oil price helps renewables push

OSLO (Reuters) - High oil prices make life difficult in poorer countries but at the same time also help fuel development of renewable energy sources, Norway's Energy and Petroleum Minister Aaslaug Haga told Reuters on Thursday.

Severn barrage cost 'cannot be justified'

The huge cost of building a controversial barrage across the Severn Estuary to produce electricity cannot be justified, a new economic study concludes.

It would be wrong to use £15bn of taxpayers' money to build the barrier when as much power could be produced more cheaply from other renewable sources.

Global Warming Could Release Trillions Of Pounds Of Carbon Annually From East Siberia's Vast Frozen Soils

East Siberia's permafrost contains about 500 Gigatons (1100 trillion pounds) of frozen carbon deposits that are highly susceptible to disturbances as the climate warms.

Climate chaos is inevitable. We can only avert oblivion

Sometimes we need to think the unthinkable, particularly when dealing with a problem as dangerous as climate change - there is no room for dogma when considering the future habitability of our planet. It was in this spirit that I and a panel of other specialists in climate, economics and policy-making met under the aegis of the Stockholm Network thinktank to map out future scenarios for how international policy might evolve - and what the eventual impact might be on the earth's climate. We came up with three alternative visions of the future, and asked experts at the Met Office Hadley Centre to run them through its climate models to give each a projected temperature rise. The results were both surprising, and profoundly disturbing.

For yucks go here http://www.eng-tips.com/ and enter peak oil in the search box. 2004, 2006 and 2007 are the 3 dates that come up in the 1st page. (Hint: De Nile is a river that runs through it)

(Sounds like management methods now in use)


If that doesn't work or is "politically impossible" it's time to prepare the 82nd Airborne for jungle warfare in the Orinoco Basin.

And via http://cryptogon.com/ fav. topics here in drumbeats - population, food, money,

Like Betsy Hartman’s pioneering critique Reproductive Rights and Wrongs: The Global Politics of Population Control, Connelly’s principal narrative is the tension between those who focused on women’s empowerment through birth control and those who wanted to control the fertility of populations with financial incentives and coercion.

Oil, Dollar Form Record Negative Correlation
China’s Quake Aftershock: 5 Million Homeless


“According to the May 1, 2008 CCC inventory report there are o­nly 24.1 million bushels of wheat in inventory, so after this sale there will be o­nly 2.7 million bushels of wheat left the entire CCC inventory,”

Spanish drivers and shoppers stockpiled fuel and food

So - Got your food stock lined up yet?

Spanish drivers and shoppers stockpiled fuel and food

Historically, Speculators are the first scape goats, then Farmers.

Rural soldiers/miners are brought into cities to eliminate protesters,
labeled rioters/miscreants.

Here in North Iowa my farm has had 11 inches of rain in the last two weeks. About 10-15 acres of corn is under water. The corn not in the lakes looks pretty good though.

It is all ethanol's fault. (sarcasm)


What's the absolute, positively, latest, drop-dead date that a not-completely-insane farmer can re-plant up there? (At $7.00 Corn?) And, then, how much later would you attempt it? :)

What's the REAL attitude of the farmers?

In AR, everyday past the 15th of June you lose a bu per acre.

That's beans.

I know that you never plant cotton in June.

Corn is in there somewhere.
Corn Planting Guide
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IN THE PAST, CORN PLANTING WAS DELAYED. until late May or early June for several ... hybrids should be used; after June 10. to 15, corn planting is risky ...
www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/PM1885.pdf - Similar pages - Note this

Planting corn after June 20 nets 50% yield loss, specialist says
A costly deadline looms for many growers in the Midwest, as every day of waiting for the weather to cooperate to plant corn and soybeans reduces potential ...
www.agriculture.com/ag/story.jhtml?storyid=/templatedata/ag/story/data/1... - 13k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

Wisconsin Crop Manager newsletter - Planting Corn For Silage ...
Corn forage yield decreases with later planting date (Figure 1). Forage yield of corn planted on June 1 is lower than earlier planting dates in May and ...

What's the REAL attitude of the farmers? LOL

Hope I can pay off the bank this year. ;}

Hope I can pay off the bank this year. ;}

Yeah, pretty much every year, ever.

Mac, the reason I asked that question is the seed companies are developing new seeds so quickly that you almost have to be "on the ground" to know the real scoop. Publications, sometimes, have a hard time "keeping up."

I've got a Strong hunch that a lot of Iowa farmers will REALLY be pushing the envelope, this year, at $7.00 Corn. I was just wondering what X is hearing in the coffee shops. That's where the REAL "analysts" hang out. :)

X hangs out in coffee shops? He must be an elitist, I figured. So Kdolliso, why would we try to tie what little transportation fuels we can get from corn to something so variable like a harvest. You have to assume you won't have any droughts, infestations, fungal outbreaks or floods to have a steady supply. Since you can't agree with this, because you are probably paid not to, I wonder what you'll say.

As they say here in the south, "Don't count your eggs before they hatch."

When I was a Much younger man I owned a small restaurant in Missouri. I would open at 5:30. The pick-ups would have the place circled when I got there to open up (fair food - Good-looking, fast waitress.)

You could learn more about seeds, and chemicals in one hour a day in one week sitting next to the "main" table than you could learn in a year at Dupont/Monsanto Tech.

Take everything you see on tv with a grain of salt. It's ungodly wet up there, I'm sure. Some crops will be lost, and, some damaged. But, sometimes a year will start like this and you'll end up with a "bumper" crop. It all depends on the weather from here on out. You can plant pretty late if you catch a break with the weather. I think $7.00 Corn may lead several to chance it.

Anyway, we went into the year with 1.3 Billion Bushels in the bins, and Argentina has their whole crop, basically, in storage on the farms (big fight with the government over export tariffs.)

That said, we will probaby be tight this year. I guess we won't feed quite as many Vietnamese pigs as last year, and the price of a hamburger will go up a penny. I imagine a few of the less efficient ethanol plants will have some issues. All, in all, just another day at the ranch. :)

Haha, yeah I was just kidding about the whole coffee shop thing. I'm just saying putting an optimistic spin on everything won't make the world a better place. I just keep getting sick of our politicians and their complete incompetence on everything energy, republican and democrat alike. They make it sound like drilling ANWR will make us not have to worry about anything for the next 100 years, when in fact it would take 10 years to get running and lead to a few dollars less that oil prices will rise.

They don't have a clue what's going on Sword. Their job is to get elected; and, they leave that "energy" stuff to the oil company lobbyist on their campaign staff (unless, they're from the corn belt, then they consult the NCGA guy.)

They DO remember the "false alarms," though, and are NOT disposed to throwing the "out of oil" flag, Yet.

Anyways, that's all above my pay grade. I'm just a lowly ethanol lobbyist, you know.

Keep in mind, X said he had 14, or 15 acres under water; and, the Rest looked "pretty good." Either he's Iowa's smallest farmer, or he's in damned fine shape.

BTW, that Iowa dirt will hold moisture all summer. If he jumps in and plants that little patch one evening he'll make something out of it (and, with this price it's hard to believe that that he won't get Something in the ground.

Hello Kdolliso,

I am not a farmer, but I would guess the heavy rains and/or flood runoff would also push the NPK & trace Elements further down into the subsoil and/or remove the nutrients. Thus, not only replanting, but also needing fertilizer re-application. Let's hope not too many farmers miss the optimal seasonal time-slot and can afford the extra NPK.

Recall my numerous postings on the mitigative need for postPeak biosolar mission-critical investors and Federal Reserve Banks of I-NPK. Otherwise, we will see the gold bullion stacked outside Ft. Knox in machine gun bunker formation to protect the seeds and I-NPK hoarded inside.

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

but I would guess the heavy rains and/or flood runoff would also push the NPK & trace Elements further down into the subsoil and/or remove the nutrients.

The soil can move from areobic to anerorbic + can suffer compaction.

lol, what false alarms are you speaking of, I am probably too young to remember them?

Iowa ranks #3 in the value of crops produced in the United States behind California and Texas.

Rule of thumb:

Floods don't kill you. Droughts do.

We are growing zero corn this year.

Delta Farm Press is really good.

The inputs are rising rapidly.

Pushing the envelope is the definition of a farmer. ;}

I wonder if the planting guides are updated to account for extended growing seasons.

Anecdotally at least the summers in NY seem to last thru September and into October now. In fact I think we've had our growing zone modified one level in the last couple years as an acknowledgment that climate change is indeed occurring.

Of course that may not be what limits the ability to plant corn and other crops later - maybe it's also due to decrease in the amount of daylight or other factors.

(Unfortunately I'm not a farmer - yet)

Pressure to rapidly expand corn ethanol production may drive the United States to use 40% of its corn for ethanol. Already 25% of the nation's corn is scheduled to be refined to ethanol this year. Biofuels efforts across the world are consuming large quantities of grain, sugar, vegetable oil, and other food crops. The situation is as threatening as numerous countries have banned the exportation of food for fear of famine.

Mandated conversion of food to biofuels is use of excessive force to start an industry that may not be able to function in a high food price environment.

Could a "stressed" corn harvest result in relaxing/eliminating the corn to ethanol "mandate" and instead clear the way for eliminating the tariffs on Brasil's sugar-based ethanol?


The United States is required by the 2005 EPACT law to produce: "6.1 billion gallons by 2009 and 7.5 billion gallons by 2012." The ethanol law was made more strict in as much as 36 billion gallons of annual production is required by 2022. The cap on grain/food ethanol was to be put at 15 billion gallons.

In 2007 the Dept. of Energy estimated that efforts to comply with the law might cause the United States to use 31% of its corn harvest by 2014.

There was an estimate that 25% of the corn harvest might be used this year to produce ethanol.
Another cited a study that 20% of the U.S. soybean harvest was being made into biodiesel.

Since the United States takes a dollar off the price of a gallon of biodiesel, the stuff was shipped to Europe were they have mandatory requirements to use biofuels. There have been allegations that the United States was dumping biodiesel in Europe below the price that it costs to make it. Taxpayers money is being used to give Europeans cheaper biofuel.


The mandates for increased ethanol production may be enforceable if voluntary compliance is not found. One group was trying to set up an ethanol trading board to trade ethanol credits similar to the way other parts of the world traded carbon credits. If one was selling fuel and did not have enough ethanol, one would have to buy credits from someone producing ethanol according to attempts to define the law in this manner. Some states already require 10 percent ethanol blending regardless of the price of ethanol; a more clearly defined mandate. If corn were to go up ten times the way oil has and ethanol becomes several times more expensive than gasoline, there is no free market safety valve to prevent an implosion in food stocks. If ethanol were yet allowed, but not mandated or subsidized, the ethanol could only be sold if consumers wanted it. If the Federal requirements are interpreted as guidelines, but not enforced, then the ethanol industry might go belly up if people will not want to pay their expenses.

Since biofuels production increases have coincided with food price spikes since 2005, there is evidence that current food inventroy shortages might be directly related to large scale conversions of grain, sugar, and vegetable oil to biofuels.

Don't forget the "splash and dash" or "U boat" trade, where the US pays a full subsidy to a foreign made fuel.



I was surprised to see a minimum temperature forecast of 2°c for Saturday (here in France). A bit too close to 0°c for comfort.

Somebody break the climate or what?

There's been some interesting snow storms in the U.S. Rockies the past few days. Idaho and western Montana most recently.

I think that it could be that the THC has weakened considerably this past winter, judging by one indicator I watch. The climate people call that a "tipping point", but they don't officially expect it to occur until late in the century, if then. They also claim that by then, the rest of the climate will have warmed enough to counter any cooling effect of a THC shutdown. Let us know if you get frost...

E. Swanson

Here in North Iowa my farm has had 11 inches of rain in the last two weeks.

That water must be down here in Cedar Rapids now. Yesterday they were forecasting a crest for the Cedar river in town at 24.5 feet in Friday morning 4 feet over the record.

So what happens today? Another three inches of rain in the area, flash foods running down the streets toward the areas that weren't yet flooded because the storm sewers are full. My sister was at her place near the edge of the expected flood area retrieving some stuff when the rain started and had to split before the rain running down the streets drowned her car.

The cold front that was supposed to push the rain out of the area this morning must have gotten stuck because it raining again this evening. The river is now estimated at 29 feet (the river gage washed away so now they only have estimates) and is now forecast to crest at 32 feet.

And if things weren't bad enough I hear the head of FEMA is coming to town. We're f***ing doomed.

My condolences !

BTW, regarding FEMA, did you vote R or D in the last election ? It makes a difference to FEMA :-(


Food for 2 weeks in my fridge as usual :-)

If really necessary, there are farms where I can go by train+my favourite brompton folding bicycle to find butter, eggs, potatoes, duck and the like.

But I sincerely hope that we won't go to that extremity and that optimisation of long range transport (train, boat)+transport price increase+use of hybrid/electric (in a few years period of course) vehicles for local transportation will avoid long shortages. And why not the truck on the train, I did in vacation to spain like that in the late seventies during the second oil shock (I was a child at the time). I am sure that this system will come back :-)

The big change will be going from a just in time/long distances system to another one where stocks exists and shorter distances are used.

PS: I live in Belgium, no problem at all here up to now. No idea how long it will last as our diesel stocks are very low since last summer (one third of what it used to be) and a part of our food come from from the regions which are on strike now.

Your Quote: "So - Got your food stock lined up yet?"

Recall my posting of two postPeak guys looking to trade with a farmer for food: one with a wheelbarrow full of 'topsoil-fuel NPK', the other a 'Yerginite-fool' lugging a big screen tv.

Have you hugged your bag of NPK today? There is NO SUBSTITUTE!

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

"Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?"

I hug mine every day - she's a great big Percheron mare, and very huggable. She puts out a lot of O-NPK. Her, ummm, "output" supports several gardens around here, not least my own!

Nothing like horse manure in the garden...

Nothing like horse manure in the garden...

I'll claim vermipost is better.

Lucky you - Percherons are fine animals.

I've been buying 5 gallon food quality plastic containers for $1 each from a local business and have been stockpiling wheat. I'm now also accumulating rice as it has become available in bulk at reasonable prices. The storage process is simple: load a container up and put it in the freezer. After a couple days, get a new container ready with a block of dry ice in the bottom. Pour the contents of the frozen container into the container with the dry ice, and seal. In theory you could just pour fresh grain over the dry ice and seal, but freezing first makes sure to kill any latent bugs.


Lehman is dying and the market is up.

Total disconnect.

It is days like this that really make it difficult to believe there is not huge market intervention going on by someone.

From the ministry of truth (CNN division), we learn that

Wall Street bounces thanks to stronger retail sales and lower oil prices

From the Bloomberg department, we get Retail Sales Increase Twice as Much as Forecast

Reading, we learn that retail sales are up 1%, but that this includes gasoline (up > 10% for the month), and of course lots of imports (up >2% for the month).

Yet, "investors welcomed falling oil prices and higher-than-expected retail sales".

These "investors" always seem to be on top of things at 3 am in the morning when the markets start turning from the previous day's massacre, yet they are not smart enough to figure that a mere 1% rise in retail sales is actually bad news when retail prices rose a lot more than 1% to begin with.

Of course we have intervention. It is what you would expect this late in the empire's game. We just need to take it into account.

Not only are investors up at 3am, but it amazes me how fast the market analysts can figure as to why things happened.

How DO they do it?


Ready script for every event.

Mac...Check out the list of 'most actives' yesterday, posted in my newspaper this am. Wamu, Leh, Citi, Wachovia, were the top 4. BoA #6. JPMChase, MerrLynch, WellsFargo #s8,9,10. All most active on the downside. Lehman Bros was the only one to make the 'biggest losers' list. No banking stocks in the 'biggest gainers' list.

LehBros committed the sin of using Fed money to do a stock buy back...an act that Bernanke specifically prohibited when he opened the alphabet soup credit windows. Did this tick Ben off? Would it tick you off? Shorts on Leh have been piling in...Here is what Leh had to say on June 9th via WSJ Market Call:

'June 9, 2008, 10:05 am
Live-Blogging the Lehman Brothers Call
Posted by David Gaffen
Seeking to regain the confidence of shareholders worried about the firm’s balance sheet and growth outlook, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. said it will be raising $6 billion in capital. They’re also going to lose $2.8 billion in the first quarter.

The firm is discussing this on a 10 a.m. conference call, which MarketBeat is live-blogging. Headed into the call, the shares were down nearly 11%. In sum, the firm has marked down and sold off various debt positions dramatically, but with regard to what it has left, it expects some kind of turnaround in market value.'...snip...


LehBros committed the sin of using Fed money to do a stock buy back...an act that Bernanke specifically prohibited when he opened the alphabet soup credit windows."

Like a spec doing anything to meet margin, instead of liquidating the position.

LEH's part of the Fed, I understand. A primary, with lots of SIV's.

Big jump in retail sales. People spending their tax rebates.

The government borrows money from China (paying interest on it to China) gives it to the taxpayers and they buy goods from china, he real economic stimulus will be for China.

Rather than promoting xenophobia, try looking at the bigger picture. We don't live in national economies any longer. Most of the world is part of a single global economy with multiple currencies. The dollar remains the most important, the most widely used and is the largest of the currencies making up the global money supply. The financial system is headquartered in the U.S., but it is a global interest. The people running that system seek to keep the whole thing together by promoting consumption in the single largest market. It matters not to them if the goods are produced elsewhere, they are not trying to rebuild a single nation.

So what beyond aircraft, weapons, and fiat currency is it that the United States of America produces and exports that China would buy? Sure, they take plenty of dollars that we produce, and possibly some aircraft as well, but I can't think of very many things that China consumes that the US produces. (And as result, would boost the US economy by having the China economy boosted.)


This is a bit dated, but see: http://www.bloggernews.net/13353 or http://www.phdeb.org.pk/topstoriesEvents/events_detail.php?id=2127. I haven't located a link for the original report yet.

Corn and soybeans for sure. Back in 2005 I saw an article about a Minnesota iron mine being reopened to ship ore to China.

But high oil prices could be putting a crimp in globalization.

China needs to import iron ore and coking coal, but the cost of shipping a tonne of ore from Brazil to China now exceeds $100, a cost that is equal to the value of the mineral itself.

You're not getting it. In order to think like the people who run the show, you have simply got to stop thinking in terms of nation-states or countries. State institutions are used to forward the interests of those calling the shots, but those are just one of the tools in the tool box. They care not what the flow of products or money is across borders, they care about the flow of money into their accounts.

Right, US is the consumer of last resort to keep the whole system going.


First of all I was not promoting Xenophobia, take your accusations elsewhere. I.E. where the sun does not shine. I was just making the point that for all of the promise of the so called economic stimulus US economic activity has become nothing much more than a middle man for goods from overseas, this is a fact, the largest producer of overseas goods is China and one of the largest holders of US debt is China, it is what it is.

Regardless of what TPTB wish and want the current economic model of JIT shipping cheap manufactured goods from vast distances is unsustainable in an era of P.O. and expensive shipping.

The economic system, where the cheap supply of industrial goods from thousands of miles away was allowed because of cheap energy, is ending, now because of the lack of indigenous economic activity North America will end up paying much more for overseas products than locally produced goods.

There was an article in yesterdays Times posted here that high oil prices are putting the break on globalisation. With high volume low value added items the oil used to transport them will cost more than their value.
There has been a revival of the US steel industry because transporting steel across the Pacific is getting too expensive. The West won't be using from China as it's workshop much longer.

Hmmmm - How do you explain the growing trade imbalance for April?


More expensive oil imports. Non-petroleum trade deficit has plumeted for the last year or two.

take your accusations elsewhere. I.E. where the sun does not shine.

Just a wee bit touchy, don't you think?

As for xenophobia, if the shoe fits.... Clearly your original post was exposing a but of frustration about some perceived advantage the Chinese had. Now you want to back off that. Fine.

The economic system, where the cheap supply of industrial goods from thousands of miles away was allowed because of cheap energy, is ending,...

Yup, and that would explain why WalMart continues to see growing sales? And why all those containers are stacked up the coasts and the container ships sit idle? You may be right that such a model will not last. But to claim that it is ending now is simply seeing what you expect and not the evidence.

Hey Carnac, instead of focusing your highly suspect Psychic powers on what I did or did not intend perhaps you should study history and economics. What has been is not always what will be.

As for Walmart as John Mugarian wrote in Consumers Hunkering Down- Shopping at WalMart

Let's be clear about something. If sales at stores like WalMart (WMT) are up, then the economy is clearly in bad shape

That's kind of strange because I remember hearing several discussions on CNBC and also seeing a couple different polls as to what people were going to do with those rebate checks and I thought the general conclusion was that people were going to be paying down debt, saving or at the very least buying necessities.

I suppose buying necessities would be included in the retail sales numbers - but I automatically equate "retail sales" with big screen TVs and Ipods.

Is gasoline counted in the retail sales ?

I think the sales report is a blip; wait until next quarter (or when the "revised sales figures" are released)

...I thought the general conclusion was that people were going to be paying down debt, saving or at the very least buying necessities.

What people say they're going to do isn't necessarily what they actually do. We saw that with the last tax rebate. People said they were going to pay down debt or save it, but when the time came, it was off to Best Buy.

GOP claim about Chinese oil drilling off Cuba is untrue

The China-Cuba connection is "akin to urban legend," said Sen. Mel Martinez, a Republican from Florida who opposes drilling off the coast of his state but who backs exploration in ANWR.

"China is not drilling in Cuba's Gulf of Mexico waters, period," said Jorge Pinon, an energy fellow with the Center for Hemispheric Policy at the University of Miami and an expert in oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. Martinez cited Pinon's research when he took to the Senate floor Wednesday to set the record straight.

Even so, the Chinese-drilling-in-Cuba legend has gained momentum and has been swept up in Republican arguments to open up more U.S. territory to domestic production. Vice President Dick Cheney, in a speech Wednesday to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, picked up the refrain.

See the disinformation machine in action.

Sorry for my repost below. I guess Laurence Aurbach and I were writing at the same time.

Odd since GWB was the one that banned drilling off Florida and even refunded $243 million in oil drilling leases sold under prior Presidents.

Since GWB did it, why does Cheney think that it is a problem ?


GWB did it as a favor to his brother, Jeb, who is no longer in office.

My guess on Cheney is that he's just playing to his paranoid, xenophobic base.

Cheney's base? would that be the 723 neo-con 'think tanks' plus AIPAC? Or, the undisclosed location where he uses lawyers for target practice?

Or, the undisclosed location where he uses lawyers for target practice ?

Ah, even the worst of us have their saving grace :-)


Well he is the VICE President, and as vices go, that's not a bad one.....

For those who haven't had a good look at him recently, or those who have forgotten what is dear to his heart. You have to sit through a 15 sec. ad ("message") before you can see it. Image quality is good if you enlarge the picture. Don't say I didn't warn you.

The vice president of oil:


It would definitely be interesting to see how they drill in the Florida Straits with a three knot current in 3,000 ft. of water.

You know that story we keep hearing that the Chinese are drilling or about to drill in Cuban waters just 50 miles from the Florida coast? Turns out those rumors aren’t true, though they are repeated a lot ...

Vice President Dick Cheney, in a speech Wednesday to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, picked up the refrain. Cheney quoted a column by George Will, who wrote last week that "drilling is under way 60 miles off Florida. The drilling is being done by China, in cooperation with Cuba, which is drilling closer to South Florida than U.S. companies are."

Are you shocked – shocked! – to find out that both Dick Cheney and George Will are bending the truth? From the McClatchy Washington Bureau

"China is not drilling in Cuba's Gulf of Mexico waters, period," said Jorge Pinon, an energy fellow with the Center for Hemispheric Policy at the University of Miami and an expert in oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. Martinez cited Pinon's research when he took to the Senate floor Wednesday to set the record straight.


No one can prove that the Chinese are drilling anywhere off Cuba's shoreline. The China-Cuba connection is "akin to urban legend," said Sen. Mel Martinez, a Republican from Florida who opposes drilling off the coast of his state but who backs exploration in ANWR.

SF Passes Largest City Solar Program in U.S. (Finally)

After six months of hard-fought politicking, the San Francisco board of supervisors has finally approved the Solar Energy Incentive Program, the country’s largest municipal solar program. The program has been greenlighted for 10 years and has an annual budget of $3 million dollars. The money will be doled out as rebates in the form of tax incentives for private solar installations.


Reversing Winds: America's Rediscovery of Manufacturing

Over the past three years, the U.S. wind industry has enjoyed a relatively stable policy environment. The federal production tax credit (PTC), the primary economic driver for wind, has been in place without interruption since August 2005 -- after being extended for two years in the energy policy act of 2005, and extended for one additional year (through 2008) at the end of 2006. In addition, more than 10 additional state renewable energy standard (RES) programs have been put into place, bringing the total number of states with an RES to 26 plusthe District of Columbia. During that time, total wind capacity grew by 150% and the annual market size more than doubled.


Nuclear plans could mean miles of giant pylons

Hundreds of miles of giant pylons could be built across swathes of the English countryside as part of Gordon Brown's plan for a new wave of nuclear power stations.


Iberdrola pulls out of British Energy auction

Iberdrola, the Spanish energy company, has pulled out of the running for British Energy, dealing another blow to the Government's plan to sell the nuclear generator.


New York Marriott now generating its own super-efficient power with microturbines

The New York Marriot Downtown in Manhattan just started generating most of its own electrical power, offsetting 5800 megawatt hours per year. That’s enough to power 700 homes. It’s not using some inefficient diesel generator to do that that, either. Last week, the hotel flipped on a sophisticated system of 11 microturbines that crank out huge amounts of wattage at a rate that’s three times more efficient than a conventional power plant.


The Frisian Solar Challenge for boats

Human beings respond well when challenged and the bolder the challenge, the greater the result. The Frisian Solar Challenge for boats is already proof of this and its second running later this month portends a new age – one of silent, non-intrusive and respectful water-based leisure and a plethora of distributed power generation solutions.


Panasonic Ecological Factory

Panasonic announced its ecological plans that want to achieve, starting with the transformation of production factory Kisatsu in a ecological factory. The factory will be a subject at test for three concepts of cross fields of production company, products and community.


Ocean seeding fails the acid test

IT ALL seemed too easy by half: to beat global warming just sprinkle some iron in the ocean, then watch as algae bloom en masse, sucking up carbon dioxide by the tonne. Now the idea is looking increasingly unlikely to go ahead in a big way. In the wake of a UN moratorium on the practice, the latest research suggests that seeding will trigger the build-up of an acid that can be lethal to marine organisms and humans.


Busy beavers build first English dam for 800 years

The first beaver dam to be built in England for 800 years has been erected on the River Tale in Devon by a pair of the rodents that were brought from Bavaria last year.

I was asked how they were getting on!

Good stuff Dave. I thought this article was a great review of a plug in hybrid. This guy spent 6 days using it, and had quite a positive experience:

$3.83 to power hybrid plug-in for 6 days

Last week, I had the opportunity of test driving a vehicle that, in a variety of driving scenarios, uses considerably less gasoline than conventional cars. When booting around the city, it almost uses no gas at all. Instead, it relies mostly on electricity from the grid. Just plug into a wall socket overnight and you're ready to go in the morning.
Interested? You should be – it could be the kind of car sitting in your driveway 10 years, even five years, from now.

This was also a nice piece:

Plucky to plug in to electric cars

The electric plug-in vehicle is a move in the right direction. Measured against other types of automotive technology, the plug-in vehicle compares very favorably. It reduces carbon dioxide and other tailpipe emissions. It provides utilities with a new market for off-peak electricity. And it offers consumers a clean, low-cost fuel option for transportation. Further, it has the potential to significantly reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Right now, at least 36 states offer some kind of rebate, incentive or benefit to encourage businesses and consumers to go hybrid.

There was some discussion yesterday of Toyota's plans, which include not only a plug-in lithium-ion car being released in 2010, but research into solid-state lithium and metal-air batteries, to be followed later by a mysterious 'Sakichi' battery named after their founder:
Toyota Motor to launch research on metal air batteries in June

Takimoto presentation - check down the list for the right one - pg 29 for battery plans.

Has anyone any more information on these technologies?
I did not find much on solid-state lithium, but have got this on zinc-air:

Are there other alternatives to zinc?

What may they be looking at to produce the performance they suggest for the Sakichi battery?

Too bad Ford's hasn't been in a position to do anything about plug-in hybrids.


You mean, like this?

Ford delivers Flexfuel PHEV to DOE.

88 mpg in city, btw


Huh, speaking of which; Ask, and ye shall receive. DOE kicks in $30 Million to partner with Ford, GM, and GE on PHEV Research. Not a whole heckuva lot, but, I guess it's the thought that counts.


For sure, they'll all jump on the bandwagon now (unless oil prices drop a lot). One of the reasons Detroit gets their clocks cleaned by the Japanese, is that the Japanese look years into future. Their vision isn't perfect, but they at least have some.

Too bad no one will be left alive to film the Frisan Solar Boaters when they meet the 'Smokers' from the film 'Water World'.

It should be a scene similar to the first Viking raid on the coast of England...curiosity by the villagers, followed by disbelief, followed by sheer terror, followed by the Vikings having fun at what they did so well.

I hear a lot of recommendations for careers to college bound teens. Ex bankers and brokers who are already familiar with larceny might also be looking for a different field of endeavor. I believe that a life of adventure on the high seas might be a good career move for those with the right skill sets. A study of seamanship, navigation, practice in close combat with sabers, a taste for grog and red headed winches, and a famaliarity with naval tactics would help.

a taste for grog and red headed winches

It would take me a LOT of grog before I found a red-headed winch attractive - the chance for injury is just too high. A wench, now you might be talking.

congratulations! You have enough imagination to realize what I intended to say.

I used to go 4-wheeling - I took a girl with me in case I needed a wench to pull me out if I got stuck.

The NY Marriot article was an example of how poor the reporting on energy is. It mentions the system as being "off grid" and says "offsetting 5800mwh" - but fails to mention what the energy source for this system is! I am assuming that the NY Marriot does not have it's own on-site natural gas well that powers these microturbines. Is natural gas somehow not part of the grid?

In general the efficient nature of these microturbines and the use of the heat for various needs is great - but to completely ignore the actual power source is either grossly stupid or deliberately obfuscating. This is the sort of article that makes people not believe that there are real problems we are facing - "SEE! If we would just put in these microturbines we could all get off the grid and everything will continue as usual!"

Or are these microturbines running on some sort of cold-fusion reactor and I missed the Anti-doomer's triumphant post on this?

"Nuclear plans could mean miles of giant pylons"

I think Brits absolutely deserve to freeze in the dark at least for a decade or two, so some people could get their heads out of their three letters. Additional power lines will be needed regardless whatever new power plants are built - wind, nuclear, solar, coal or burning cow dung. In fact reneawbles would require multiple times the power lines nukes would.

So what are we talking about here? Brits apparently want nothing to be built anywhere on that island, maybe with the exception of their overpriced homes. With such an attitude I admit I can't wait to see UK turning into a giant discotheque (2 hours off and 2 on - if they are lucky), or to see them humiliated by the French saving them with their nukes. Sorry for the ranting but it is pathetic to watch the same thinking that got us here going on even as the ship is about to sink...

some people could get their heads out of their three letters.

Being Brits, that would be four letters.

yeah, I forgot...

I would setup a national register of people who object unreasonably to nuclear power. And they can be the first cut off.
Just like the one for people who object to GM and animal testing. Like Linda McCartney who spent her whole life harassing reasearch institutions with Carla Bloody Lane - then hialriously pumped herself full of every animal-tested drug going when she was in terminal stages of her cancer.
Hypocrisy - what would be left of this world if we took that way ?!

I would setup a national register of people who object unreasonably to nuclear power.

Oh good. Can there be other registers?

Ones who support fission power?
Ones who support GMOed critters?
Ones who ....

Can the people on the support list not only be stripped of existance, can their childern and others who benefited also suffer the same punishment once the outcome of the bad decision is shown?

As long as 'we' are making lists and making up punishments, I'm more than happy to outdo the likes of you.

And lets start this off with the leadership of union carbide from Bhopol eh?

Strike action by thousands of Spanish and Portuguese truckers produced ominous knock-on effects on food supplies, aviation and industry yesterday, as Lisbon airport ran out of fuel, car factories shut down and petrol stations and supermarkets reported shortages.

These events will be good examples of how we can expect things to happen in other areas when the disruption is not the result of a strike.

When gas stations run out of gas, and grocery stores run out of food, people will certainly notice, and they won't be happy. Watch carefully, and we can our future being played out in other countries today.

~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com)

The comments below, made by common people (the second one of them by a psychology professor) are taken from a piece published in one portuguese newspaper about the consequences of the strike action in Portugal:

The fear of scarcity...

There is a deaf sense of revolt in many people, you know, but'll distracting us with football and the television’s soap operas - most are dormant, but [the truckers] are revolting up and they do well.
There is a general climate of dissatisfaction, unwell feeling, and more than the truckers, people are concerned about there life
The solution is to distribute survival manuals to the people, because we can stand no more bad news.
In a world dependent on oil, suddenly this civilization, our way off life is being challenged

Portugal is not aware (yet) of Peak Oil. But people start to feel the dimension of what can (will) happend.

Oil prices won't go down for sure. How will 10 million portuguese deal with this? If this is a sample, than the word collapse will follow the word peakoil. The worst? They even would get to now the word peakoil.


This article is a few days old, but check out the photos:

Gridlocked cities, empty shelves and bloodshed as fury at soaring costs spreads around the world

Worldwide protests over the rising price of fuel escalated today, with the Philippines presidential palace besieged by lorries, fishermen burning their boats in Thailand, and Spanish petrol stations running dry as hauliers blockade major roads.

thx for this, it strikes me that the idea of being the president is "no more fun anymore" - to heck with the benefits and glamour :-) , forget about the statue.
anyways ... this ramble will go on and on and on , untill people are educated on the principles and not least the ramifications of Peak oil-slash-energy. The ramifications btw they (we) are getting a small grip on these days, just as we breathe.

again Leanan, thanks for maintaining "the Beats"

Oil is too important to leave to market forces

As the banking crisis has eased, however, a far greater danger has emerged to global prosperity: the price of oil. It looks increasingly as if this is another challenge that cannot simply be left to market forces. So is it time for a government-led plan B to curb the price of oil? I believe it is - and there are growing indications that world political leaders are starting to think along these lines.The present oil boom looks reminiscent of the housing bubble, the dot-com bubble, the Japanese share bubble and all the financial bubbles before that. It started with a genuine and important structural shift in the world economy - the growth of China and the decline in non-Opec oil production - but financial markets have magnified this beyond all reasonable bounds.


Manchester's £250m incentive for congestion charge

Manchester is to receive £250 million more than it asked for as an incentive to introduce a congestion charge of up to £5 a day for car commuters.
The city had bid for £1.2 billion of taxpayers’ money for public transport investment but yesterday Ruth Kelly, the Transport Secretary, granted it £1.45 billion.


British Airways abandons long-haul flights from Manchester

British Airways has dropped its last long-haul flight from a regional airport as it concentrates its international efforts on the South East of England.
The cancellation of the service between Manchester and New York has angered businessmen and politicians, with one dismissing the carrier as “London Airways, not British Airways”.


Curb cars and sprawl under next US leader, experts urge

The next US president must improve America's car-dominated cities by levying London-style congestion charges and cracking down on sprawl, British researchers said yesterday.


UK: Banking crisis enters grimmer phase as HBOS rights issue heads for underwriters

The banking crisis seems to be entering a second, even grimmer, phase with the more conventional bad-debt experience associated with a banking downturn taking over from where the original credit crunch left off.


UK banking shares have sunk so low that they now seem fully to discount not just a downturn or even a mild recession, but one of the really serious, all-embracing, economic contractions involving high levels of bankruptcy and unemployment.


Bush forced to rethink plan to keep Iraq bases

Faced with Iraqi anger over a US plan to enable Washington to keep military forces in the country indefinitely, George Bush is offering concessions to the government of Nouri al-Maliki in an effort to salvage an agreement, it emerged yesterday.


US negotiatiors are also determined to maintain policies that allow them to arrest Iraqis without the approval of Iraqi courts, maintaining immunity for US troops and contractors from Iraqi prosecution and carrying out military operations without the Iraqi government's knowledge or approval.
Washington also wants to retain control over Iraqi airspace and the right to refuel planes in the air, which has raised concerns that President Bush wants to have the option of using Iraq as a base to attack Iran.


The strange legacy of President Bush

Not a tear was shed, nor a cheer raised. Not even the protesters have bothered to turn out as President Bush has wound his way around Europe on the final visit of his two-term occupancy of the White House. Instead, he has come almost like an anonymous diplomat to hold talks in private, say a few words to the cameras and –unless the UK has something very unexpected up its sleeve this weekend – to depart almost unrecognised, and certainly unacclaimed.


Don't let the door hit you as you're leaving, George.

Don't let the door hit you as you're leaving, George.


Thanks for providing these "drumbeats within the Drumbeat".

Actually, I kind of wish he'd break them up more. Makes the threads messy to have so many subjects in one post. Er, messier. I know it's pretty chaotic already. Maybe group them in related topics, and post throughout the day rather than all first thing in the morning?

No problem. I didn't want to take up too much of the posting space here, but now we are not limited to 300posts on the firs tpage it is not so critical.
As for the timing, I usually just check some of the science sites and the UK news in the morning, then delete whatever you have already covered in Drumbeat.

What about forwarding to Lady L, herself? Would that be more or less trouble for you, Lady L?


It's fine to post news stories in the comments. (And I do not post every story submitted to me, so if it's really important to you, better do it yourself.)

Just be considerate, and share the bandwidth. It's great that going over 300 no longer "breaks" the thread (thanks, SuperG), but still...think twice about posting huge dissertations, or hogging the conversation by posting 50 messages every day. If you have that much to say, you should get your own blog.

Your phrasing is as polite as usual.
I will leave you to your power trip and sense of ownership- doubtless in your usual manner you will delete any criticism.
Eventually it will be noticed that things run more smoothly in your absence.

I wasn't talking about you in particular. Sheesh.

In that case, humble apologies! :-)
Since the discussion concerned my posts I read it so.
Look, I got into the habit of trawling the news whilst you were away, and thought it might be helpful to post some of them here, and as I explained put them in one post so as not to take up too much room.
In particular, since you can't be everywhere, some of the coverage of the UK escapes the net, and I am also interested in the science issues do always have a look at sites like 'physicsorg.'
However, if it is not helpful I have no problem in not putting in the work to share them with other people.
So problem solved

I for one like your links and posts "as is", all together. They do provide a wider scope of coverage and I often click on one or two links of particular interest.

Best Hopes for Information Overload :-)


Thanks for your kind words. I had hoped that since these posts were simply additional information largely without commentary and certainly without pre-selection by myself for conformity with my own views that they would be accepted as they were intended, particularly since I immediately offered to alter the format if that was better.
I had thought that the function of this site was to provide a clearing-house of information and a one stop shop to check what is going on in the energy world, and provided that they were in conformity with that could not see a problem, and that preference would be given to providing as much information as possible on energy issues to increase the utility of the site.
It appears though that I was widely mistaken and that 'going through the right channels' and conforming to a format takes precedence.
Information on this part of the site seems therefore destined to be largely filtered by one person, and whether this is the most dynamic and appropriate way to do things I leave others to judge.
I am finished with the issue.

It appears though that I was widely mistaken and that 'going through the right channels' and conforming to a format takes precedence.

I don't think that's it. It has nothing to do with with going through channels or an anal-retentive obsession with format. It's more about some people getting annoyed if one person posts a lot, especially first thing in the morning. Whether it's one big post or lots of shorter ones, well, people tend to see it as hogging the conversation.

I think you would find a better response to your news posts if you took my suggestion, and made them shorter and more focused, and posted them over the whole day rather than all shortly after the DrumBeat goes up.

And sorry if it seems like I'm picking on you. Just seemed like a convenient opportunity to explain my thinking on this issue.

Oh, I guess you now know why I usually delete personal attacks. It has nothing to do with my ability accept criticism, and everything to do with how such posts tend to derail the thread into soap opera-type drama.

Thanks for the clarification.
I understand your point about threads being derailed but just watching any critical reply being deleted without explanation was the reason I got a bit irked.
As I said, I thought it was a useful contribution whilst you were away to post factual news items which was when the habit formed, particularly since I usually post them without personal commentary, but the issue is not one of any importance to me.

Critical comments generally won't be deleted if they are expressed civilly. You know, in a way that won't fan the flames.

And there's really no way I can explain, without derailing the thread further. If I delete a post because it's off-topic, explaining why I deleted it will take up more bandwidth than the original post did. And it confuses people who didn't see the post before it was deleted.

However, nine times out of ten, you can probably figure out why I delete things if you ask yourself two questions: 1) How is this post likely to affect the whole thread? and 2) What if everyone posted things like that? Sometimes, there are things going on that you don't know about. Comments or e-mails you didn't see, the history of the poster in question, things going on with the site. But usually, you can figure it out, if you think about it.

I don't usually have any problem figuring it out.
The issue is rather different when it is expressly critical of administration, although in the thread in question I believe both myself and Alan were civil.
Anyway, no point flogging a dead horse.

Yeah, well, as you've discovered, when the issue is "the administration," people are more likely to jump in than if the issue is an individual poster. Plus, we've gone over it so many times before. You may not have been here for it, but when it comes to site policy/troll control/moderation, etc., - it's not just a dead horse. There's nothing left at this point except faint traces of equine DNA.

'However, if it is not helpful I have no problem in not putting in the work to share them with other people.'

Is this a promise?

Of course since you must be the center of the universe you did not consider that your incessant posting might drive some to distraction. We have had this discussion before and you did not benefit from it so I know rehashing it will do no good...but, just for the record your endless blathering posts are not helpful...Most people just skip over them. Posts are more valuable, like oil, if they are scarce.

BTW, how did you come to the conclusion that 'things ran smoother on TOD in Leanan's absence'? It was during Leanan's absence that you began posting everything but the London Underground schedule. Feel free to attempt to 'break the habit' anytime.

Such intemperate bile cannot be said to be caused by whatever you are angry about at the time.
You are an angry and bitter man, it appears.
Deal with it

'Interperate bile'? 'Angry about'? 'Bitter man'? 'Deal with it'?

I stand by my post. You failed to respond to anything that I said and instead launched a personal attack on me. That is sign certain that you cannot deal with reality. Reality is that your incessant posts are an irritant to some.

You have attempted to make yourself into an alternative to Leanan. That is a bit over the top. It is fine for all of us to happen upon a story of interest and post it...It is not fine for one person to post everything from A to Z in an attempt to hog bandwidth and drown out any communication between posters that have conversations in progress or might wish to post a story of interest.

TOD was functioning fine prior to your arrival or my arrival. TOD will continue to function fine if we both leave or if most anyone else decides to leave. I suggest that accept Leanan's suggestion that you cool your heels a bit. You will never be a replacement for Leanan...she was better at her job on her worst day than you will ever be. She understands the value of listening, you do not. In a social setting people that hog conversations are usually shunned after a time. 'Know it alls' that know nothing but how to talk constantly. They are bores so people, in time, avoid them. Can you not be a part of a group and listen, occasionally ask a question that you do not know the answer to, add something to the conversation occasionally when you feel that you know more about the subject than others? Try it, you might find it pleasant.

And, enough with the personal attacks. That makes you sound even more like a petulant child than usual.


You get a bit thin-skinned and overreact. Take a deep breath before posting, eh? I get overly excited about inane climate postings, and have had go rounds with you on topics in the past, so do understand. But...

Just friendly advice.


Yup, the minute i see one of these types of messages, i just scroll.

I was speaking of that one large set of posts, not everything Dave, or anyone else, posts. It seemed a reasonable compromise. Then, as he has already stated, any that were left out he could post later in the day.

And I'm quite aware you don't post everything sent to you.



DaveM: your response below was just a tad overmuch... LOL... No nap today?


I understand your point. For me though, I read through all the articles I am interested in first thing, then read threads related to those article as the day proceeds. That said, you are the Goddess of the Drumbeat and your word is law - deep genuflect - seriously. Thanks for all your excellent work, your efforts make the Drumbeat a "must read" for me everyday.

As far as I am concerned, Leanan deserves at least five genuflects a day. Kind of like Mecca.

I'll mention here my gratitude for Leanan's extensive work collecting daily stories. (I didn't know the local bingo-hall was worthy of abasing myself in front of though :-) )

I'll also voice my appreciation for the work of Leanan on the drumbeat, and the entire TOD staff. This web-site is a great resource, keep it up!

If this were Mecca, she wouldnt be allowed to post.

But we don't know where she lives. How do we know which direction to face?

I concur with Leanan... in fact, it was of my opinion last year that the Drumbeats were getting too long so you can imagine how I feel about these new Matryoshka Drumbeats.

Don't get me wrong DaveMart, you make some excellent finds indeed. However, the block posting of 10 items at a time -IMHO- tends to mess with the continuity of Leanan's work.

Is there any way you could submit your items to Leanan directly before hand?

Perhaps you could try reading my reply to Leanan?
I usually just skip posts I don't find relevant to my needs, personally.

Just pick up a handy dandy, battery operated fingernail buffer, turn it on and touch it to the scroller wheel on your mouse and you can really move through the fluff posts fast.

Tek-nall-O-gee WILL save us

Ah yes, that great sense of community that will see us through peak oil.

Perhaps we could have UK drumbeat with the links specific to the UK up there. (I would appreciate it as I do all the links that readers find) But may I say with a problem this big if we can't get on in cyberspace what hope is there in the real world?

What impact will the flooding in the midwest have on the movement of coal to the coal powered power generating plants?

I'd like to thank the person who pointed us to this presentation by Dr. Albert A. Bartlett of the university of Colorado, Boulder;

Arithmetic, Population and Energy (The Forgotten Fundamentals of the Energy Crisis)

This makes nonsense of the BP cheifs assertion that ther's 41 years of oil left at current production rates. Not that the statement's not true, but the rate of production is not going to stay flat.

Following Dr. Bartlett's logic, if current growth rates were to continue there would probably only be about ten years worth of oil left. Seeing as how the most likely scenario is that we are perilously close to, if not already at, Peak Oil, we will be seeing the steady irreversible decline that Colin Campbell et al so often refer to. In that event we will be pumping oil for longer than 41 years but in ever diminishing quantities. I wish this could be illustrated to Tony Hayward's audiences whenever he makes these misleading statements.

islandboy - I saw Dr. Bartlett a while back and his presentation on population and exponential growth makes the concept of perpetual economic growth preposterous.

Thanks for bringing attention to it.

"The most powerful force in the universe is compound interest." Albert Einstein

The BP statement was nonsense in yet another way: "peak now" and "we still have 40 years' worth at current rate" are completely NOT contradictory statements! Peak is expected somewhere near the halfway point, i.e., there's still as much "there" as we've used thus far. An oil company should know that better than anybody, but I don't expect they'd admit it.

I am getting a bit agitated over the stalemate betweeen the Dems and Republican debate over what to do about the oil crises. It is like a broken record. Dems, lets use our technology to get us out of it, Republicans, let's drill our way out of it.

The Republicans are quoting off incredible oil reserves that are currently restricted from drilling. I have heard this repeatedly but I wrote these numbers down from yesterdays hearing on oil prices from a Repbulican rep:

10 billion Pacific offshore
27 billion Alaska offshore
4 billion Atlantic offshor
45 Biillion Gulf offshore
20 billion lower 48 inaccessible
1.2 trillion shale oil

I forget what he quoted in ANWR.

I have been discussing peak oil and such with my work colleagues and they are chiming in with these same kinds of #'s. One of the witnesses yesterday said just the act of opening up these restricted areas to drilling would lower the price of oil.

I don't really care to focus on the price of oil...but what else besides the time it would take to realize this oil, and the ecological issues, are at issue...I wonder what the real EROEI what be if the US went all out on drilling whatever reserves we had left in our restricted areas. How much of these quoted numbers of reserves, and they are quoted almost everyday, are really recoverable.

Check out Roger Blanchard's article, The Illusion of Vast Undeveloped U.S. Oil Resources.

There has been a relentless stream of discussion on talk radio and articles in the mainstream media that claim that if only all of the U.S. were opened for oil development, we would have plenty of U.S. oil. No amount of evidence would convince those promoting this idea that it is not correct, but there is ample evidence that the U.S. is in terminal decline and opening all remaining lands and waters to oil development would at best only slow the inevitable decline.

Thanks. Excellent Article. I like this from the article:

As Americans become more desperate for oil, I expect that ANWR and offshore areas will be opened for oil development. It will be like burning the furniture to keep the house warm in mid-January. It will be a desperate move that won’t result in much.

And then this from a poster on TOD Australia

as Thomas Edison put it in 1910,

When we learn how to store electricity, we will cease being apes ourselves; until then we are tailless orangutans. You see, we should utilize natural forces and thus get all of our power. Sunshine is a form of energy, and the winds and the tides are manifestations of energy. Do we use them? Oh, no! We burn up wood and coal, as renters burn up the front fence for fuel. We live like squatters, not as if we owned the property."

And then there's this point, which seems to be getting overlooked in the current rush to drill everything everywhere allthetime:

Contrary to what one hears or reads from the media, a lot of federal lands and water have been opened for oil exploration and development in recent years.

There were some articles awhile back, arguing that Big Oil really wasn't that interested in ANWR. They're not even sure anything's there, and even if there is, it'll be a pain to extract. But they see ANWR as a step toward opening up easier pickings, like offshore of Florida. The camel nose in the tent.

Sometimes I think we should just call their bluff, and let 'em drill. On the White House lawn, if they want. It's probably going to happen anyway.

Sometimes I think we should just...let 'em drill.

Oh, absolutely, we should. We should just get all of this off the table. The sooner the better.

I have always opposed what I consider to be a lousy exchange -- a couple of years of oil with the likelihood that serious environmental damage will occur in ANWR (and offshore areas)-- but I think it's time that conservationists reconsider.

Let them have at it. When it's done, it's done. The next time big oil goes before Congress, they shouldn't be able to hide behind 70 year old ladies armed with Zeiss optics and butterfly nets.

I'm not sure I understand the logic here. And I'm not trying to be funny or snarky. I see this argument frequently, here, but I just don't get it.
Would someone care to explain this. What do we gain by letting the ravaging hoards soil the nest? There will be little to no impact on when we peak (assuming that it will be five years or more before any of this oil would be available). What am I missing?

What do we gain?
Precious little, but the main thing we gain is reality.

As long as the oil companies can say "We aren't being Allowed to meet demand by the Evil Environmentalists!" they don't have to admit that they cannot meet demand even with those resources.

My preference would be to open up leases to all publicly held oil deposits with a tithe to go into the NPR as it is pumped. No cash payments allowed to override this, the feds get the oil directly.

Pass this into law and watch the oil companies squirm as they realise that they can't hide their impotence behind baby seals anymore. That, and we'll probably need to oil in the reserves that they would supply to fight the next war.

I feel the same way on nuclear- I am nervous about all of the known issues, but also terribly skeptical that the funding, components, and construction can actually be arranged in any meaningful timeframe, so again, in the interest of reality, I am willing to stand down.

The potential horse trading of ANWR drilling makes me think of a different trade I've been advocating.

My trade would be: we'll let you break ground on new nuclear plants in the U.S. in return for a meaningful carbon tax. In this case, meaningful is loosely defined as one that has enough teeth in it to honestly internalize the external costs of carbon. Oh, and the new nuke plants cannot be subsidized by taxpayer $$ - nuke developers will need to privately finance construction, et al.


I have always been a strong proponent of carbon tax vs emission trading schemes. All types of ETSs are overcomplicated and create numerous loopholes used by individual countries to abuse the system, like it already happened once in the EU ETS. They also lack the element of certainty needed for long-term planning - in the absence of fixed price of carbon, market players will not be certain whether to invest in emission reduction unless the prices is high, and stays high for many years. A simple plain carbon tax on everything - from gasoline to coal power plants will do miracles. I suggest $20/ton of carbon, gradually rising to $100/ton in 20 years, all numbers indexed with inflation. 20 years is a comfortable long-term planning horizon for everyone. The money will be rebated to citizens on a per capita basis.

BTW your condition for privately financing nukes is already established. Nowhere nukes are financed with public money in the West today. Some countries give loan guarantees but they are doing that to most projects of national importance, renewable projects included. Also a carbon tax will reduce/eliminate the need to loan guarantees as nuclear will become much more competitive than coal and its fixed value will eliminate the price volatility risk for the long term future.

We could do what the opposition group in the Kuwaiti Parliament tried to do; mandate that only a fixed % of the country's remaining oil reserves could be removed each year. Then we set the % low enough to slow down the physical damage to the region. If nothing else it means we know how many years we have left.

When Cortez reached the new world he burned his ships. Why? it removes all options but the one remaining important one

A grand deal to open up ANWR - with very strong environmental regs - in exchange for a windfall profits tax earmarked to fund urban and intercity electrified passenger rail would, IMHO, be a fair deal.

Hoo boy, wait until you see whats coming your way. I proposed the same thing on a different blog. Soon they were commenting about selling my body parts. Attack sacred cows at your peril.

When people get hungry enough, they'll be tearing into the raw flesh of sacred cows with their own bare hands.

Opening ANWR would lower oil prices

Per EIA report (2006 $) 2030 oil prices would be

No ANWR - $70.45
Average Oil found in ANWR - $69.78
Minimum Oil found in ANWR - $69.95
Maximum Oil found in ANWR - $69.08

So ANWR would lower prices by 50 cents/barrel to $1.37/barrel depending upon how much oil is found there. Or 3/4 of 1% to 2%, depending on how much oil is found.

Of course, the "No ANWR" case price will be ??? in 2030.


In round numbers, the claimed total of additional conventional reserves is about 100 Gb. Even if true, let's put this in perspective. Hubbert found, in 1956, that a one-third increase in estimated Lower 48 URR, from 150 Gb to 200 Gb, or 50 Gb, delayed the projected peak by all of five years. In addition, the industry is pretty fully deployed right now (especially with the demand for rigs for unconventional natural gas drilling), and the number of experienced oil & gas professionals is probably declining on a daily basis, because of demographics (we are getting old).

Regarding the Colorado oil shales, this is a kerogen deposit, a precursor to oil, that has to mined and cooked, or cooked in-situ, in order to produce a product that can be refined. Shell has an interesting pilot project, but IMO there are serious questions about the net energy output, and who knows when it might reach the commercial stage.

In any case, oil & gas companies can and will make money finding smaller oil & gas fields and developing unconventional resource plays, but there is a big difference between oil & gas companies making money and making a material difference in total energy supplies. Net energy consumers who confuse the two do so at their peril.

OK say that today Oil extraction was allowed in ANWAR and given the current availability of equipment and personnel and taking into consideration any extra pipeline that has to be built and any updating needed for the current pipeline, what is the earliest possible date that the oil would end up being available for use in the lower 48?

And taking that earliest possible date, and factoring in demand growth, depletion and Export Land the day that oil is available, even with the ANWAR supply, what will be the shortfall of supply in the US?

My best estimate is that a full blown conventional drilling effort in the US, with unlimited access, will just serve to give us flat domestic oil production, or slow the rate of decline. A reminder--we had a maximum drilling effort in Texas, in the Seventies, which caused oil production to go from 3.5 mbpd to 2.5 mbpd, from 1972 to 1982.

Regarding unconventional (especially the Colorado oil shales), there are too many variables, but my sense is that it will be a very slowly increasing source of oil, if the process produces net energy.

Regarding exported oil, my guess is that total world net oil exports in 2031 will be down by between 75% and 90% from the 2005 peak, and lot of the oil trade at that point would probably be in exchange for food supplies.


Perhaps some of the current operators on the North slope could offer some guesses. The NS is not my area of expertise but I can offer a qualitative sense of timing.

The biggest unknown is the current exploration data base in ANWR. The key technology is seismic data. I'm not aware if operators have been allowed to acquire such info to date. Let's assume they have not. Seismic acquisition is time consuming and costly. All the more so in the northern climates. If a mad rush to do such acquisition began tomorrow it would take at least 2 to 4 years. There could be some drilling efforts during the same time based upon older interpretations if they do exist.

How long before someone could take this new data and find a significant discover? I wouldn't offer a guess. Most here know what a wonderful boom there was in the North Sea back in the day. What almost none knows is that it was the 93rd well drilled that discovered the first big field after years of effort.

And once a discovery is made additional wells will be needed to delineate the size of the reservoir. The huge capital expense to develop reserves on the North Slope require accurate numbers. Besides drilling addtional wells a period (6 monts to a year) of actual production tests could be required before commitment to full development.

At the point where some of these answers are gained the logistics of transporting the production off the NS would be considered. I have no idea about the scope of this effort other than it is generally acknowledged that BP has failed to provide good maintenance on the Alaskan Pipeline. Over time, oil flowing through it erodes and thins the metal. This was the cause of a leak they had last year. Just my guess but I think they were slacking on the maintenance side because they projected a declining usde for the line.

Again, no hard numbers to offer but you get the idea: probably 5 to 8 years at a bare minimum to see a significant delivery from ANWR. But don't take that as a reason to not develop. It won't significantly change the shape of the PO curve in the next 10 years. But, then again, nothing (IMHO) can do that....alternative fuels, solar, nuclear plants, improved auto milage, coal to liquids, etc. Nothing is going to change the supply/demand picture significantly over the next 10 years with the exception of a worldwide depression. This is what happened during the 1980's. And that probably only delayed PO 10 years or so.

Every component of the solutions is important. But specifly regarding the potential of production from federal lands, including ANWR and the 85% of the offshore areas that have been off limits, consider this fact that few are aware of: the largest seller of crude oil in the US in 2007 was the federal gov't. This is the royalty oil they collect from the operators on federal leases. The US gov't sold 780 million BO. The second largest seller was BP Petroleum at 560 million BO. The next 5 largest sellers (including ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron and others) sold a COMBINED volume of 280 million BO.

One congressman is currently saying the off limits areas are not needed because there are 67 million acres of federal leases that have not been put out of bounds. Well, "DUH". Where does he think the billions of BO that have been produced (and continue to be produced) have came from.

IMHO, if we imploy every aspect available to lessen the impact of PO, we'll still likely have significant negative events. Which is exactly why we need to go after every potential angle because there is no one or two approaches that can change the future QUICKLY. No one component can change the reprocusions of PO. If one accepts that logic then you're left with no choice but do nothing.

Gail posted that Arctic resources may be a now or never play as the pipelines needed to bring it South will deteriorate and it would probably not be worth rebuilding from scratch.
What's your take on this?

Probably something to that. But we have to drive a hard bargain with the oilcos, not just hand it to them on a silver platter.

IIRC, I read somewhere that some proponents of drilling in ANWR want to do it sooner rather than later, while there is still enough output from the North Slope to make combined shipping of North Slope and ANWR oil through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline economical. If declining North Slope output falls too far, ANWR output alone will no longer make shipping through the pipeline economical (EROEI rears its head again...)

I'm thinking human beings just might exist on this planet for quite a while, if we don't burn up all the fossil fuels in short order, then ourselves via Climate Change. Let's assume we last as long as we've already existed (PEAK PEOPLE!). Let's acknowledge that black goo is some pretty flexible and useful stuff. Let's agree it's mighty hard to replace. Let's assume for a minute they just might need some for the future...

Might we not want to follow the lead of the House of Saud and leave some in the ground?

7 Generations.


EDIT: I have GOT to practice my keyboard skills.

The pipeline is a major concern if it has been degraded beyond what has been expected then a total rebuild might be in order, that would delay the project and add to the time and cost, however on the other hand what about the Mackenzie delta resources, I was under the impression that the Alaska pipeline would also be used to deliver those resources. That would mean a sharing of costs in running and maintaining the pipeline.

It appears that production from ANWAR or new offshore fields would only come online after the rollover has occurred this may mean a less dramatic drop off but a drop off still.

Regarding the Colorado oil shales, this is a kerogen deposit, a precursor to oil, that has to mined and cooked, or cooked in-situ, in order to produce a product that can be refined. Shell has an interesting pilot project, but IMO there are serious questions about the net energy output, and who knows when it might reach the commercial stage.

In the question-and-answer following a presentation at Colorado School of Mines, Shell engineers made a couple of interesting statements. Their material in italics, my comments following:

  • The megawatt-hours required for a million barrel per day oil shale operation for a year is quite close to the total currently generated in Colorado annually. Given where the oil shale is located, new generating capacity would probably be coal-fired. Cooling water would be a problem, although the papers have reported that Shell is buying up lots of junior water rights in that corner of the state. Given the time it would take to ramp up to a million barrels per day, I have to think that PHEVs and a much smaller investment in generating capacity could achieve a million barrel per day reduction in oil use for less money.
  • If you put the same amount of energy into their current in-situ oil shale technique, and into coal-to-liquids, they expect that you would get somewhat greater liquid fuel outputs from the CTL. Speaking personally, Illinois has lots of coal and water and is a lot closer to large numbers of consumers; why don't we see what a million barrel per day CTL industry does to southern Illinois' environment before we take a chance on screwing up the relatively more fragile environment in NW Colorado?

Using those optimistic numbers, and some VERY basic modeling, I show us getting close to 6 mbpd of addl production in 2020, meaning we would get close to our 1970 peak again around 2020 when combined with our current declining sources (but then back to our current levels and declining again by 2027). This would leave us with domestic production of about 5 mbpd when ELM middle case of 2030 hits.

This seems to be a super-optimistic case. Anybody have better numbers on what our max flow rates could be and when they could occur if we completely opened up everything to drilling?

For the last three weeks,I have been unable to download the pdf of the Weekly Petroleum Status Report from the EIA web site. It downloads extremely slow, and finally gives up after reaching 90% or so, an hour or two later. At first, I thought maybe it was a problem with my employer blocking, or slowing large downloads, but I have the exact same problem at home. Anyone else having these problems? Is there an alternate source for these full reports?

More from Paul Kedrosky today, "Visualizing Oil Production: 1965 - 2007." (Set size to "barrels" and press play--I would also suggest logging the growth rate on this one (do this by clicking the numbers on the axes themselves)...shows the depletion portion of things a bit better re: KSA and the setup for Russia.)
Here is the flip side of my earlier chart on oil consumption trends from 1965-2007. This one is a dynamic look at oil production during the period. Don't forget to set the bubble size to "barrels", and you can hover over the key to see which color corresponds to which bubble. Lots of interesting stuff pops out, including the backslide in U.S. production, the Saudi flatlining, the emergence and decline of Russia, etc.

Also, yesterday's piece: "Visualizing Global Oil Markets: 1965-2007"

This google thing could really take off--to learn more about the tool, click the bottom right hand corner of the chart.

China's crude oil imports leapt by 25 percent in May to their second-highest ever, reversing a rare fall the month before as refiners restocked supplies.


Combined with the run up in prices, I would say that sounds like bidding for scarce exports.

For the love of Science, how is Growth going to cure shortages?
The shortages of required inputs will simply grow faster than our capacity to "outgrow" growth of population / food scarcity

Ban Ki Moon wants the world to produce 50% more food by 2030,
even though he must be aware that liquid fuels, arable land, available water and fertilizers are only going to decrease.

And then what? would more food make all the starving people disappear?
even if the global population growth would reverse by 2030, there is distribution of inputs and outputs to consider
(free market slavery)

Edwards Law states:

"you cannot solve a sociological problem
with a technological solution"

is this statement true? if so, is the reverse also true?

"you cannot solve a technological problem
with a sociological solution"

how then, would we classify the following problems

Biospheric Disruption/ Climate Change
Food Crises
Energy Crises
Resource Crises
Wealth/Power Inequality

Are all of these sociological problems, or technological?

Human Population pressures cause sociological problems,
so there may be no available techno-fix solutions
that fundamentally alter or "solve" the problem of food

We could possibly genetically modify all humans
to be photosynthetic, with green skin,
and able to digest cellulose directly.

It may be viable to make the Human Nervous system produce an additional electric current, and then we simply replace your anus with an electrical inlet, for plug-in purposes.

That should solve most of our problems concerning food and energy,
but it would however change the definition of the human race.

The population is declining in almost all developed countries with the exception of America.
If we could get the standard of living in the rest of the world up to a reasonably high standard it seems likely that they would do likewise, thus over time reducing strain.
The problem is getting past present bottlenecks.

I may be incorrect, but I've read that the source of population growth in the United States is via immigration.

Live births per woman in the US is pretty well spot on replacement rate - higher than virtually anywhere else in the developed world.
There is some lag inbuilt in the system, as past population increases work their way up the age chain resulting in an increase in total population, but substantially increase happens in two ways form immigrants, the actual immigrants themselves and their differentially higher birth rates - off the top of my head WASPS have a birth rate of something like 1.85 vs around 2.1 for replacement.
For more information see here:
Population Reference Bureau (PRB)

When the likely coming depression hits expect birth rates to plummet, anyhow, as they almost always do in advanced economies in those circumstances, and as they did in the 30's.

It would seem that the economic position of the female population
is the primary cause of the demographic transition in most countries,
and this is most likely an effect of free energy/higher education.

For every three years of higher education, an average female produces one less child, so say UN statistics.

Therefore, all women in all countries should recieve an additional twelve years of education,
reducing the average fertility rate from >6 to <2

The overal availabilty of education for those women
of the less-developed countries is influenced heavily by free energy, mechanization of agriculture, and the traditional/cultural work-load of women.

It does not now seem likely that the demographic transition will
proceed at all in the most under-industrialised nations.

Primarily because of growing resource constraints that are already present, and the added pressures of the dominant economic powers that syphon off most of the accumulated wealth of the poorer nations.

This exploitation factor may also increase due to energy descent,
and actively used to PREVENT higher education for the poor, to assure the West of (uneducated) cheap labor for our personal benefit.

As the real "sustainable" economic progress of half the world is being actively disrupted by the oligarchical collectivism that now dominates the planet, I fear that population growth in the poorer nations will only be halted by a pattern of war, famine and disease.

The bottlenecks may reach out over centuries,
especially the climate factors, from this perspective
it may not be possible to reduce
the fertilty rate of breeder nations to replacement levels
through economic/educational expansion,
because there may be no such development in this age of scarcity.

I do hope Im wrong, but it would seem that education of the poor is the one thing that the global elite sees as undesirable/dangerous to western hegemony.

There is a grand system of power and control on this planet,
a Supra-National Intellectual Elite,
in Orwellian terms also known as the Oligarchical Collective.

These people would much prefer that 90% of the global poor
stay illiterate and servile, and they have effective
viral memeplexes working for them to produce this outcome,
like the religious and cultural suppression of womens rights
in Saudi-Arabia, which results in these women still having six kids
even after higher education.

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Thanks for hanging out, and thanks for making this all worth doing. I learn something here every day--and I apologize for these incessant reminders of things.

I was reading an editorial in my local paper, It's Time to Drill , spouting off the same BAU BS I've been hearing more and more of every day. The writer wants to become "self sufficient" by drilling our "copious resources" which have been limited because we "chose not to extract them".

I'm at work and have to run to a meeting. But could any of you with more time please add your thoughts with info on ANWR and Bakken and the such so I can chime in on tomorrow's paper?

Point out that the previous generation used up a lot of the
"abundant" resources. We're now down to the leftovers.

He uses the word "abundant". Ask him to prove that it is.

Asia Times Online has published a piece by Dilip Hiro, author of Blood of the Earth: The Battle for the World's Vanishing Oil Resources :

Emulate Japan to cope with oil shocks

Along with an excellent summary of the current world petroleum crisis including some eye-opening statistics I hadn't seen before, the author argues the point that Japan is much better positioned to weather the coming storm than is the USA. This despite the fact that Japan imports 100% of it's petroleum products. Why? In one word: efficiency.

"The long race goes not to the swiftest, but to the most efficient." --anon

And God knows the Japanese are efficient...

I agree with you Panama. I can't imagine any society being more efficient then the Japanese. And the fact that the enire country is only the size of Montana they are limited in how far they can drive before hitting the beach. But that obviously can get you so far. They are still a very big user of hydrocarbons. Earlier this week a Japanese company commited $20 billion to building an LNG plant over an offshore field in Indonisia. Estimated recoverable reserves are 14 trillion cubic feet of NG (about $150 billion given current prices.

I'm not too familier with the details of energy consumption in Japan but they may well present the best case scenario PO effects in the US. A good reason to keep a close eye on them.

Look at Japan's food system

Look at Japan's food system weep

Am I missing something here? Hard to say, that was rather terse.

I certainly wasn't aware Japan had a problem with mass starvation, or even malnutrition.

In the long run, workers planting rice by hand on terraced hillsides will turn out to be more energy efficient and sustainable than ADM, to say nothing of ecologically sound.

What was your point?

But their domestic production costs are high and they obviously can't produce more. They still have to import on top of that, and that leaves them vulnerable to a crisis in Asia or a China vs US war. And no one wants to be a farmer anymore, and young Japanese are so alienated from physical reality that they seem completely unconcerned about oil and food issues.

My son-in-law lives in Tokyo and he is amazed at how hard the people work in Japan.

IMO the strength of Japanese society is their sense of family. The extended family is a huge resource. Japan also is not challenged with huge ethnic divisions, overall it's pretty homogeneous.

In america the nuclear family is the basic unit and with the rise in divorce rates since the 60's our basic family unit more often than not is a single mother.

Japan also stopped harvesting their forests years ago while the U.S. can't seem to cut them down fast enough.

The reason that the Japanese are not challenged by ethnic divisions is that they have strict controls on immigration. If they are not cutting down their trees - where do they get their wood. Maybe, from other people's forests.
PS - I recently read in a national Geographic that we, in the US, have more trees now than when the Pilgrams landed.

I don't know about when the Pilgrims landed, but by the late 1800's we had chopped down pretty much every tree in the US. We have let a lot of it grow back since switching to coal and oil. The question is whether all those trees will start to look tempting again when we run low on oil.

I don't have links at the moment but I did a little checking some time back and the average New England Colonial American household burned between 15 and 60 cords of wood per year. Now, I don't know how those figures were arrived at (admittedly a wide range) and this may include wood for charcoal, smelting operations, etc.

Cooking (and related processing, sausage, soap, etc.) took quite a bit of wood year round. Open fire cooking is very inefficient. They did not have microwaves (MUCH more energy efficient cooking :-)


First US Patent:


Before mining, Pot ash came from burning trees. Recall my posting series on Potash hitting $14,500/ton in 1914.

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

Today an outdoor boiler will cost between $10k and $15k, consuming four to six cord of wood per year. If you get a gasifier it must be split and seasoned, while plain ol' boilers will suck up anything you can fit through the door. A system of this size will heat a modern ranch house.

I'm working for a company that does such things and last year, which was truly awful, it took eight cord of wood to heat a 220 year old farm house with no insulation, a modern modular 20'x50', and a dairy/creamery.

The farm sits on 120 acres and an acre in New England will produce roughly a tenth of a cord per year. The whole hilltown region of western Massachusetts has the ability to generate 170mw of renewable electricity and enough wood pellets to heat most of the region without strip mining the forests.

The best thing about outdoor wood furnaces is that it offers an alternative to those rural people with respiratory ailments.

I used to heat to heat with wood long ago, now I can't enter a home with even the best pellet stove.

The worst part is the price tag, esp the increase in the last couple years. Course a roll a barb wire I pd $47 just in early May is now $64 at the same store. That and the proximity to the house the furnace must be located.

Yes, all those throw away hashi come from tropical forests, especially in SE Asia.

But it also isn't true that the Japanese have stopped cutting down their forests. The continue to harvest and replant and a more or less sustainable level within country. But much of the country is "reforested" - I frequently hiked out into the mountains passing through miles and miles of trees planted in neat rows. Reforested, yes, but certainly no return to wilderness.

And if you want a real lesson on Japanese mismanagement of the environment, check out what they've done to their rivers.

Interesting observation on your son's part. I lived their during the 80's (when people ate gold leaf sushi) and then again in the mid 90's (in the midst of deflation) and had quite a contrary experience. While "at work" for long hours, the actual pace of work was pretty anemic. Of course, I was not in any of the big international companies, but was involved with numerous smaller outfits.

Yes. Part of the reason was, at least in Korea, the lifetime employment. It used to be quite expected to start and end your career with the same company, not unlike the US of a goodly number of decades ago. In slow times, the payroll used to be higher than needed.


My son-in-law lives in Tokyo and he is amazed at how hard the people work in Japan.

I'd like to see figures on this. Korean and Japanese societies share a lot of characteristics, not the least because of the Japanese occupation, so I wonder if they are really so efficient at the individual level. Koreans work long more than they work hard. There is a great deal of inefficiency. Hurry up and wait is a good description.

Productivity is not exactly efficiency, I suppose, but...


IMO the strength of Japanese society is their sense of family. The extended family is a huge resource.

Everything I know of Japanese culture - and it comes from personal contact as well as reading - says the Japanese are very isolated even within their families.


why do I have to work hard and be productive again? isn't that what got us into this mess in the first place?

I don't recall saying one has to.


My oldest son is leaving next week to work in Japan for several months. I will be interested to see what his impressions are.

Don't confuse population density with generic efficiency. Because of high population density transportation is provided in significant share by efficient electric trains. Also, the average Japanese household lives in much smaller space than American households. However, in other aspects of life the Japanese can be just as wasteful as Americans (e.g., throwing away food.)

the author argues the point that Japan is much better positioned to weather the coming storm than is the USA. This despite the fact that Japan imports 100% of it's petroleum products. Why? In one word: efficiency.

Efficiency makes Japan more sensitive to energy shortages, not less. The more efficient Japan becomes the more they accomplish per unit energy. But then you restrict that energy and they are suddenly penalized more per unit energy than a less efficient economy.

(Note the reason for this is because Japan import nearly 100% of its energy. Efficiency is useful for a nation like the US which produces a lot of energy domestically. So it makes the nation less reliant on energy exporting nations and more resilient to external supply shortages.)

Japan is in a horrible energy position. They produce a most of their electricity from oil, coal and gas none of which they have any domestic sources of.

Their nuclear program is in shambles with a horrible safety record and a continuous string of scandals. Presently several reactors, including the world's largest are off line due to safety problems.

They generate almost no electricity from solar or wind. And because they lack a national grid they can't handle the interdependencies associated with these renewable sources.

Japan has no contingencies for after 2010 when Indonesia (their number one supplier) stops exporting gas to them.

Despite the fabled efficiencies of Japan, they are the world's third largest oil consumer and have one of the highest per capita uses of energy in the industrialized world (well above Europe's average).

Their economy is highly dependent on exporting consumer goods. I have no idea what they are going to do when Americans/Europeans stop buying HD tvs and digital cameras.

They are only 40% self sufficient with food. And aside from rice(which they are self sufficient in) import most of their calories.

I currently live and work in Japan. I relocated long before I was PO aware. I am currently in the process of relocating myself and my family to a safer location. While I think Japan and its economy will fare better than most importers for the short term. In the long term this is a dangerously overpopulated unsustainable island country.

And that article is stupid. Japan's oil usage didn't drop 15% because of hydrogen fuel cells and solar panels. Japan's oil usage dropped because the author is comparing the height of Japan's economic Bubble with the lows of its decade long depression. Add to this the massive outsourcing of manufacturing to China.

They are only 40% self sufficient with food.

Where does one find out food self sufficiency data for various countries. Of most interest to me is US vs. France. Also, for the US is it broken down by state or region?

There is no one source that I'm aware of.

Google is always a good place to start. It helps to be more specific about your search terms.

I also live and work in Japan, though I've lived here for 12 years, not my whole life.

First, I think people should not just choose a country to flee to for peak oil reasons. That seems like marrying for money---at first you might feel rich but after a while a feeling of being trapped might be the outcome.

You have to choose a place (not just a country, a region, a location) where you feel happy and like the culture and the people and the language. Then I think you are much more likely to survive peak oil problems, based on the friendships you've made and the connections you have. If you like and feel like you understand the place then you can get jobs, fit in, give and receive help and negotiate and explain your ideas.

Family relationships are also a primary concern---families can be a huge help in pinched times. Or sometimes they can be the reverse I suppose! :)

I totally agree that on paper the situation doesn't seem so good here, with all the importing going on, massive debts accruing, nuclear accidents and such. But until Meiji---actually until after WW2--the Japanese lived incredibly frugally---and this frugality seems so creative and sometimes so elegant---weaving new slippers out of old rags, not using water to wash a wooden food bowl but just wiping it with a tiny cloth, the use of the same room for multiple purposes. I think there can be a return to frugality on a massive scale here because there is a great store of knowledge about how to do that. People don't WANT to do that of course----they will hate it. But they will remember how and it will be interesting to be a part of it. That's one reason why I am not leaving. But there are others. I have a life here! I'm not bored! There is always more to learn. And I can't leave the mountains even though I moved quite far away from them 6 years ago! (It was only after moving here to the flat Kanto plain that I came to understand Heidi, who by the way, is very popular here.)

There are things worse that dying from peak oil-induced deprivation. For me, leaving Japan would be on that list!

There is a very interesting book called "Getting Out; Your Guide to Leaving America" by Mark Ehrmann (2006)---but it could be your guide to leaving anywhere (or more like, going anywhere). It has interesting profiles about "The top 50 Expat Meccas" and information about citizenship, visas, working, insurance, basic economics like cost of living, in these 50 countries. Also it has lots of interesting legal and tax info. and web resources.

Of course, for emergencies it helps to have citizenships in a few countries, relatives all over the place, etc. And keep connections with them.

But good luck. I know someone at work who has bought a little place in New Zealand and is planning to emigrate to there within the next few years. He also thinks things will be too tough here.

My personal situation is a bit more complicated than I eluded to in the post.

Let me just say I disagree. Choosing a place to live with PO in mind is very important. (Not that the other reasons you listed are unimportant.) And citizenship or connections in another country is a far cry from a sustainable post peak lifestyle which takes years of preparation.

I get the sense you are defending your choices (living in Japan etc) and not objectively addressing my situation. But it sounds like your position in Japan is very different from mine. I considered getting a place in rural Japan similar to what you seem to have.

I don't want to leave my life here. I just feel my life in Japan is unsustainable. And I have much better/sustainable options waiting for me in the States.

Like I said, Japan should be very well off for the short term. Good luck to you and your family.

Hi Rethin and others here in Japan.

I'm sorry that this reply is so late in the day. I've been doing some writing on the current and likely effects of peak oil in Japan, especially with regards to food security. I'd really welcome any comments from TOD members.

These 2 posts in particular might be helpful for those looking for more information regarding how things stand here:

Peak Food and Japan Part 3 - Japan’s Current Situation

Peak Food and Japan Part 5 - Consequences for Japan


I took a quick scan. They seem very well researched and well written.

One thing jumped out at me. The butter shortage. My understanding is that this is not a reflection of PO, but just a cyclical market. The Hokkaido dairy industry just misjudged the market the past couple of years and flooded the market with milk that it couldn't sell. You might be familiar with Hokkaido milk beer? This was just a lame attempt at the dairy industry trying to create new markets for its milk.

Anyway, a bunch of farms went out of business at the same time the market rebounded and there is a milk shortage this year. I'm not sure how much of a shortage it is because for as many articles I've read about it in the wester press I've yet to see it in the supermarkets around where I live.

I'll take a longer and closer look at your articles tomorrow. I've already bookmarked them and added them to this weekend's reading list.


Thanks Rethin.

This article from May seems to suggest that Japan was somewhat influenced by the world market in milk products, "Japan govt says may need emergency butter imports", but I agree that the situation was probably a lot to do with mismanagement.

In my area (Shinjuku-ku) it was only the 'real' butter that I saw any shortages of, not the spreadable type that is most common in supermarkets. I guess that the biggest users of proper butter might be the industrial bakeries who use it for cakes and biscuits etc.

Did you see the article in the above Drumbeat, "Japan to Raise Meat Prices as Corn Boosts Feed Costs"? This seems a bit more worrying, as it refers directly to the cost of imported feed, something which is likely to only go up:

"Without additional support from the government, supply of domestically produced milk and other livestock products will eventually become unavailable to consumers," Nobuhiro Suzuki, the chairman of the ministry's livestock panel, told reporters today...


GDP deflator for Q1 was 2.6%...believe that??...not bloody likely!!

o.k. so i'm buying some T posts for fencing and sprinklers..exciting!.. my wife picks up the metal posts, only gets the wrong type. she buys them for $3.99 and i return them a week later..$6.49!..the controllable impact sprinklers were $25 last year...this year $45! ..why?..the owner says transportation costs...those 18 wheelers..dinosaurs!

I've noticed a big gap opening up in price between orange juice and frozen concentrate. Could it be due to the cost of hauling the heavier non-concentrate to the stores?

There would be a trade-off of having to keep it frozen (at the factory and on the truck). But maybe that's an electric bill vs. a fuel bill thing.

If they had a bad harvest, there would be a push to pull frozen concentrate out of storage to keep selling product.

(disclaimer: I'm not in the orange juice industry, but I like their commercials, especially the one where they stick the straw in the orange. too cute.)

Houston Area Talk Radio KTRH 740 AM had a brief news story this morning about "running out of Oil", and that was their question of the day. Their Website includes a poll and a "Talk Back" section to leave comments. Good Grief! There is no shortage of ignorance and denial? Most people absolutely don't get it. How could we possibly believe that an Apollo type program could every be achieved when so many folks have such tremendous lack of understanding of the issues and challenges?

Also, the other day I received an E-letter from Whiskey and Gunpowder. It had an article about Exports and was eerily similar to Westexas and Khebab's ELM. The article is found here For what it is worth, I emailed the editor about the lack of acknowledgement to Westexas and Khebab for the work they have done.

Best hopes for some hope,


Hi ej,

Thank you.

"Best hopes for some hope,"

Nice to end the day with a smile.

BBC just reporting that talks with Shell tanker drivers have broken down and the strike will go ahead tomorrow.

Tanker driver strike to go ahead

Last-ditch talks aimed at averting a strike by hundreds of fuel tanker drivers have broken down, the Unite union has said.

The strike over pay will start at 0600 BST on Friday and continue until 0600 the following Tuesday.

The industrial action involves drivers working for two companies with contracts to deliver fuel to Shell's 1000 UK forecourts.

There are fears some petrol stations will run out fuel.

This is something I've definitely noticed:

Shoppers beware: Products shrink but prices stay the same

"Downsizing is nothing but a sneaky price increase," says Edgar Dworsky, former Massachusetts assistant attorney general in the Consumer Protection Division, now editor of Mouseprint.org, a consumer website. "I'm waiting to open a carton of eggs and see only 11."

It's not that bad, yet. But as packaged goods makers' costs rise, they eventually have just two choices: raise prices or put less stuff in the package. While most are trying a price boost first, a growing number are shrinking the contents of their packages — from Frito Lay's chips to Dial soap to Dreyer's ice cream.

IME...people are really starting to notice price increases, even those who are fairly well-off. A friend of mine who has smoked for years (and denied that it was bad for her health, despite doctors' warnings and increasing evidence of COPD) has quit smoking. Not for health reasons (she's still in denial there), but because of the expense.

I quit over 20 years ago, with expense being at the top of my list of reasons. And back then a $10 carton was considered expensive!

Man, do I feel cheap now.

I quit Starbucks for the same reason.

Just back from the grocery store (well, superstore with all kinds of plastic crap, pharmacy etc). Home delivery up from $7 to $8. Still a deal for the car(e)free. Almost everything up in price from last trip two weeks ago by 5-15%.

Any advice on cooking beans in solar cooker?

"Any advice on cooking beans in solar cooker?"

Have a look at this vid.


I am cooking some today....
Soak over night .... if you have lots of sun, put them in early ... if not bring to a boil and shut off fuel ... sit for 20 min then put in solar cooker .. point south .. pre warm solar cooker if possible

Lentils cook quicker ... I like my pinto beans

I do pinto beans in my "Sport" solar oven frequently. I don't pre-soak or boil, but get them on early and leave them all day. I'm in NW Texas, so have lots of sun. I usually open once about halfway through and stir and add water.

Are you talking 'shellies' or dried pintos?
Just did my first solar cooking with apples.

Yeah, the Incredible Shrinking $1.49 Bag of Lays Potato chips!

They've started selling soda in plastic bottles shaped exactly like the 20 oz. bottles but that have just been downsized something like 10 - 15%. The new ones hold only about 16 or 18 oz. but they're priced the same as the old 20 oz.

I grabbed one out of a cooler a couple weeks ago and it just had a funky feel to it - I could tell something was different before realizing the volume indicated on the label.

I definitely took that as a sign of the times...

My local favorite burrito stand has been serving smaller portions lately. I was a little taken-aback, but it's good for my waistline.

Inadvertenly we are addressing obesity in the US (not calling you out ;-) ) with the high price of food. Of course, not so funny in developing nations.

Actually, we're probably going to increase obesity. The poor have always been more obese than the wealthy. The poor eat a poorer diet, high in cheap refined carbohydrates and low in protein.

Not true before the fossil fuel age. Check out paintings of what was considered beautiful and desirable in the XVI-XVIII centuries.

Regarding top link: U.S., UK agencies seek oil trading limits

U.S. oil futures regulators are working on a deal with their British counterparts to impose first-ever position limits on West Texas Intermediate contracts on the ICE Futures Europe exchange, a U.S. congressional source told Reuters Thursday.

First ever? What happened to the Free Market? The Invisible Hand? Let's call this The Invisible Scapegoat. How frightened must they be?


In yesterdays oil price hearings by the House, they were referring to this as the "dark markets". One witness suggested, and made sense to me, that before doing anything...let's shine a light on these so called dark markets and see what we see. He predicted we would not see any monsters.

What sickens me is that BuCheney knows all about Peak Oil and lets this crap go on. They are apparently desperate to avoid the general public getting a good look at the mangy cat in that worm-eaten bag prior to BuCheney leaving office...

Where is the Peak Oil Caucus in all this?


He ccpo

re: "Where is the Peak Oil Caucus in all this?"

Waiting to hear from their constituents.

As are all the other Congresspersons.

Would this force "speculators" to use overseas markets instead? And if so what would it accomplish?

Exactly. Traders would stop trading WTI and start trading in Dubai. And WTI would go up anyway, because oil is a worldwide market. And if no futures markets existed, speculators would buy actual supply.

It would push trading to options. You can perform essentially the same hedging and risk managing operations with options as you can with futures (plus more). Based on the current draft of the bill, options are not addressed. There will be a preference by US traders/producers/hedgers/etc. to keep jurisdiction in US courts for settlement of disputes.

Same thing is true of some of the alternate proposals that are being floated, such as increasing margin requirement to 50% or even 100% of contract value--it will just push volume to options.

Same thing is true of some of the alternate proposals that are being floated, such as increasing margin requirement to 50% or even 100% of contract value--it will just push volume to options.

Won't it also push bit-players like you or me out of the market, but leave it completely accessable for the evil hedge funds and the like?

Sounds like a typical knee-jerk, make-work, do-something reaction from TPTB.

In the UK the Financial Services Authority is bringing in measures to control short sellers too - here is what the Times said about it:

Shares at the very nadir of the bear raid on HBOS in March fell only to 398p. They are now trading much lower since the bank revealed it needed a £4 billion equity top-up. Who was guilty of market manipulation back then — the supposed shadowy gang of Singaporean short-sellers, or the Bank of England, which rushed to tell journalists that HBOS was not in any kind of difficulty?
Conspiracy theorists believe some banks have no choice but to dribble out the bad news slowly because in truth they are bust. By holding back the whole picture they can sucker investors into throwing good money after bad. This round of rights issues, they argue, will be followed by another in six or 12 months.


Talk of short sellers, like that of speculators, is being used as a cover for the people who are really manipulating the market - the authorities and the major banks, with normal folks capital being diluted on false prospectuses.

TPTB would really have a fit if ordinary investors started buying physical oil supply, instead of just derivative instruments (futures). They should give it a rest.

'What happened to the free market?'

Fannie Mae and the FHA are now backing 90% of all new mortgage loans in America. Does that sound like a free market? If the Fed had done it's job and stopped the rediculous no money down, 125% of home value loans and actually verified the income of prospective home buyers we would still see home origination loans by local banking institutions. Instead we are watching a train wreck in slow motion.

'Thursday, June 12, 2008
Refineries Paying Record Premiums for Top Grade Crude

Maybe the 'boogeyman' that is driving oil prices up are the rifiners?

'The Financial Times reports today that refiners are paying prices higher than those indicated by the futures market for the lightest, meaning best, grades of crude oil. This points to an issue raised in an earlier post, namely, that to the extent oil supplies are tight, it's due to demand for sweet crude, which has become more sought-after due to tightening environmental standards. Another factor mentioned by the Financial Times is insufficient refinery capacity to refine heavier grade "sour" crude into diesel.'...snip...


The so-called "free market" has been compromised by large institutional investors and investment banks which are using back door (unregulated) channels to hide their transactions and bid up the price of oil to gain back some of their losses on SIV's and sub-prime loan failures. If the U.S. and UK governments can close some of the loopholes that allow these channels to artificially inflate the value of oil, then the price of oil will drop to meet the actual supply/demand curve.

This forum obviously slants toward the theory of peak oil, and I'm sure there are forum members who stand to profit from keeping oil prices high, whether through financial instruments, or ancilliary means such as selling alternative energy products and ideas. As such, it doesn't surprise me that these particular forum members don't want to push the idea that the oil markets are being manipulated for financial gain.

All I can say is, watch and learn. When the U.S. and UK governments (the invisible hand(s)) determine that there is a great deal of manipulation going on in the oil markets, they will put meaningful measures in place to burst the bubble and bring the market back in line with the actual fundamentals.

The fate of the entire world economy rests on reigning in the speculators. If I held long-term futures contracts or market derivatives, now would be a good time to sell.

Your name says it all, really. :)

I just started playing with the new BP spreadsheet today. There are some pretty incredible things on it.

1. Mexico is scary. Production down 5.5%, consumption up 2.8%, exports down 15%.

2. KSA doesn't make me warm and fuzzy either. Production down 4.1%, consumption up 7.2%, exports down 7%.

3. Iran pretty much unchanged.

4. UAE exports down: production down 2.3%, consumption up 7.7%, exports down 3.5%.

5. Qatar exports up despite 22% increase in consumption.

6. Chinese imports up 7% despite production increase.

7. Russian exports UP!!!

8. Norway a sad case. Production down 7.7%, consumption up 1.2%, exports down 9%.

Not to mention Venezuela: Production down 7.2%, consumption up 1.9%, exports down 10%.

Overall, VenMex Prod down 6.2%, cons up 2.7%, exports down 12%

Saudi Arabia are building a new city with a planned population of 2m. Lots of increased consumption to come no doubt.

Inside the desert city (video report)

What is the reason OIL is back up?

Rocket into Israel?


From the hope springs eternal dept.

Algae farm in Mexico to produce ethanol in '09

But seriously, in all my thinking about the looming energy/climate crisis, I've formed the opinion that if there is a silver bullet, algae cultivation is it. It solves a number of problems;

1)Potential to produce more energy per acre than any other form of agriculture.
2)Potential to sequester huge amounts of CO2 and create a carbon neutral energy cycle.
3)Potential to remove organic nutrients from water allowing the water to be recycled in the case of sewerage.
4)Potential to provide animal feed, fertilizer, combustible biomass.

It also avoids a couple of problems;

1)Does not compete for fresh potable water, can even use sea water.
2)Should be possible on the scale required to make a serious dent in FF consumption.

I've been thinking about planting Jatropha (inedible oilseed) on some family land that is not suitable for cash crops but, if algal fuel ever gains any traction, nothing can compete.

Am I missing something? (apart from the time it will take for these experiments to be commercialized)

Edit: More hope springs eternal.

SwiftFuel Alternative To Alternative Fuels

Alan from the Islands.

I am not too excited about algae.

It will have all the usual problems of a monoculture. These tend to be invisible until you are actually growing it in monoculture.

They've been working on this since the '70s oil crisis, without much success. One problem is weeds. That is, the species of algae that produces good biodiesel grows well in the lab, but in the field, tends to be out-competed by less desirable types of algae. Some plans call for growing the algae in plastic tubes (called "bioreactors," 'cause it sounds cool) to try to avoid that. But that adds so much to the expense that scaling up will be a serious and probably insurmountable problem. If you decide to use just any old algae, you're back with the cellulosic problem: low EROEI, made worse by the fact that you have to dry the algae somehow.

If you do decide to go this route, be careful...the EROI is a lot better on scamming people than it is on algae.

It would seem to me that it would take at least as much algae in a farming operation to make a gallon of biodiesel as it would to make a gallon of oil in the earth. I think this is a bust.

While i'm not saying 'weeds' are not a issue, they are hardly a unsolvable issue. Under your line of thinking how do we grow anything? Wheat, Corn, Veggies, etc, We have engineered ways to makes this crops grow with little weed infestation, no reason we can't engineer the same with algea. As for the folks growing the algea in tubes hurtin EROEI, its not if the tubes are disposed of after each batch of algea, those tubes are most likely used tens of thousands of cycles.

Look at the differences between culture. A stationary crop in a sanitized seedbed vs a monoculture in a dynamic medium that constantly changes both horizontal position and vertical elevation for the alga. Where contaminants (weeds) enter incessantly from the atmosphere into one of the ripest mediums for growth.

And then we hit harvesting/separation issues.

Which is why these ideas work great in the sterile conditions of the lab, and fall apart outside attempting to scale production.

With other production, one doesn't have to look at EROI, simple costs negate any value of the harvest as fuel. Even if decreased light transmission in extended trials weren't an issue.

While i'm not saying 'weeds' are not a issue,

Really? Based on what actual data?

they are hardly a unsolvable issue. Under your line of thinking how do we grow anything?

Quite a reach here. Trying to take life cycles of weeks/seasons and comparing that to hours for algae.

Wheat, Corn, Veggies, etc, We have engineered ways to makes this crops grow with little weed infestation, no reason we can't engineer the same with algea.

Really? Last I checked, weed removal is still able to be done via hand pulling. Mulching - my what is the algae growing equal as you are trying to make 'em equal?

Islandboy -

There are several thing that one must be aware of in considering the relative merits of fuel from algae. In no particular order of importance, I will summarize these below:

- There is a hugh difference between growing naturally occuring strains of algae in an open pond and growing specially developed strains of algae under the carefully controlled conditions of a bioreactor. Most of these claims of super high rates of algae oil production are associated with the latter.

- In comparing algae with land-based biofuels the amount of algae fuel produced per acre is an extremely misleading basis of comparison. While it may be true that the rate of algae fuel production per acre is much larger than for conventional biofuel crops, it is also true that an acre of lined open pond is many times more expensive than plain 'ol land and that an acre of bioreactor is at least another order of magnitude more expense than an open pond. Thus, a more meaningful basis of comparision would be fuel production capacity per unit amount of capital investment, e.g., lbs of fuel per day per $1,000 of investment.

- Closed transparent bioreactors do not scale up very well. A large-scale algae production facility based on the closed bioreactor would require hundreds of acres of clear plastic sheeting to provide the cover. Do you have any idea of how expensive even a single acre of UV-resistant clear plastic sheet is? Then we have to consider structural supports for such sheeting.

- Large-scale algae harvesting will necessarily require large and expensive liquid-solid separation equipment. Ditto for the process of extracting the lipid content of the algae. Then there is the question of the dispostion of the dead algae biomass from which the lipids have been extracted.

- Using CO2 from a power plant would require that the algae farm be located relatively close to such a plant and even that would require extensive piping and gas handling facilities.

- Using sewage treatment plant effluent to provide the nutrients for the algae is problematic in that in addition to supplying nitrogen and phosphorus for the algae the sewage effluent will also provide a considerable amount of biodegradable carbon compounds. These make an excellent food source for all sorts of unwanted natural microorganisms which would compete with the algae and also inpose an oxygen demand on the system.

For these reasons (and others), I cannot get very bullish on the prospects of large scale fuel from algae schemes. Until someone can demonstrate that they can grow specialized high-lipid algae in open ponds at a high rate and in a stable manner, and that then can harvest and process huge amounts of algae in a cost-effective manner, I will remain skeptical about algae. Having said that, I will hasten to add that neither am I a fan of ethanol from corn or most other 'wet' biomass to fuel schemes.

Hate to be a party-pooper, but that's the way things appear to me.

What if you just want low grade biomass? I would think you might be able to skim of floating weeds, dry them in the sun. Heat them to drive off any methane & burn the rest. Trying to get a specific product like oil or ethanol, means you gotta try to control the culture.


plant the Jatrophe. Diesel's selling for $5.00 plus, with a bullet. Contact your local school district, municipality, etc. You'll likely find someone who wants to save a buck, and get some good publicity from "going green."

Buy a used diesel vehicle, and start out making biodiesel for your own use. You can practice with fryer grease from a couple of local restaurants. Good Luck.

I've been looking at buying a small folding solar panel for camping and outdoor use. I had pretty much decided on buying the Brunton Solaris CIGS thin film 26 watt. Between yesterday and today the price jumped from $287 to $396 on Amazon. The 52 watt went from $699 to $799 overnight too. I noticed several other price jumps (but not quite as much) in similar folding panels. Scrambled this am and managed to find and buy one online at $300, but every other retailer followed with the price rises.

Does anyone know if this is just a one-off increase, or is there vastly higher demand now for these sort of items? I know increased energy costs in the production factor in, but not THAT much. Shortages of Indium and/or Galium perhaps?

'Inflation can be pursued only so long as the public still does not believe it will continue. Once the people generally realize that the inflation will be continued on and on and that the value of the monetary unit will decline more and more, then the fate of the money is sealed. Only the belief, that the inflation will come to a stop, maintains the value of the notes.'

Ludwig Von Mises

Great quote.

The fate of my stimulus check "dollars" was "sealed" when I converted 50% to solar energy production and the balance to junk silver. Good riddance paper, hello hard assets.

Thanks ianSF. Have you wondered why Fed Head Bernanke always uses the term 'inflation expectations' instead of simply saying 'inflation'? It is because Ben has the certain knowledge that once the public believes that inflation is going to continue that the game is over. Bernanke is not afraid of a little inflation but he is very afraid of continuing inflation expectations among Americans.

There will come a time when Bernanke will be faced with a stark choice of watching the dollar literally become worthless or raise interest rates to strenghten the dollar.

My stimulus check...more 10 oz silver bars. I don't want any more of dollars than necessary to pay short term expenses like utilities, taxes, groceries, etc.

A lot has been said recently about "a lack of investment" being part of the cause of inadequate oil supply. This charge is usually made by Western MSM outlets or by the big international oil companies, who try to portray the national oil companies, especially in nonwhite nations, as a bunch of inefficient incompetents. But I remember hearing a podcast early this year in which Matt Simmons debunked such statements, saying that many NOC's had equipment and expertise that is every bit as good as the IOC's. He also said that in cases where nationals needed additional technical help, they relied on third-party oil service companies like Schlumberger, because these companies were happy to accept money as payment for service and were not trying to obtain ownership of any country's oil reserves. Is there any way to verify this statement, perhaps with figures of money spent by the NOC's on production investment, as well as figures for revenues of the third-party service companies? I would do it myself, but I'm not nearly as well-connected as some of you.

SCADA security bug exposes world's critical infrastructure

Gasoline refineries, manufacturing plants and other industrial facilities that rely on computerized control systems could be vulnerable to a security flaw in a popular piece of software that in some cases allows attackers to remotely take control of critical operations and equipment.


Hmm, if an aggrieved country were to want to carry out a threat to cripple oil production, taking control of a SCADA system gives the potential to kill production for a long time. You could literally blow the entire system, AND kill a reservoir production capacity.

I'm pretty downcast about today's DB, the news seems like it's getting worse, as in TS is indeed starting to HTF, and the list of "solutions" that are being offered are more of the same erroneous nonsense about drilling in ANWR or how we just have to wait for the oil bubble to collapse. I saw the Amtrak bill as a bright-spot, at least until I read this:

Unlike the Senate version, the House bill includes a requirement for the Department of Transportation to seek proposals from private companies to create a high-speed service that would take travelers from Washington to New York in two hours or less.

Critics say the proposal would undermine Amtrak by peeling off its most valuable asset: the Northeast Corridor.

A dedicated high-speed line is exactly what's needed here. However, if they want to have it stay in a private firms hands once built, I disagree.

They are currently privatizing the rail system in Germany. You know what? The trains no longer run on-time there. Now I know that in the U.K. the government-run rail system didn't do so well, but my perception is that Amtrak's biggest problem is under-funding and a lack of dedicated passenger rail tracks. I say that because when I used to live in California I would right the Amtrak down to the SF area and the trains were clean, reasonably priced, and on time if it was the short run from Sacramento, late if it was the long run from Reno. I also very much enjoyed being able to get up and get a beer in the beveridge car, or just hang out there for the whole trip and not have to stay crammed into a seat next to two other people like in an airplane. Are we going to have the race to the bottom for rail too with privatization?

Well, I suppose that any funding for mass transit would be a benefit.

Amtrak has been at death's door for a while, so the increased ridership here in '08 and news like this from Congress strike me as "a good start."

Years and years ago, Amtrak stopped serving my town, maybe twenty years from now they'll come back? We still have plenty of rail traffic, just not passenger service.

(as a side note, they've been gone so long I can't spell their name anymore)

We're moving into a world where passenger rail will be competitive with air travel, with buses and definitely with private car travel, regardless of whether it's privately or government operated. And it may not need any subsidy (Amtrak without subsidies would become just another company).

So there is lots of room for private financing to move in for everyone's benefit, whether it's just ordinary bond financing, financing in the model of the original Turn-Pikes, or private industry starting up passenger rail lines. It need not be run by Amtrak. For my own region, New England, I'm advocating expanding the MBTA commuter rail service all the way to New York, Albany, Maine and Vermont.

Privatising the railways sounds like a bad idea. I'm not aware of a single success story that has come from privatising govt-owned railways. Locally, New Zealand tried it, and has now bought it back. Tasmania bought its fixed assets back from Asciano (Pacific National) for $1. NSW and Victoria are in a similar boat. Queensland retained complete Public Ownership, but has begun allowing third-party access to the track (Pacific National again), and Queensland Rail is now one of the Big Two in transport in Australia, running trains from Cairns in the north, clear throught to Perth in the West (with a break-of-gauge along the way). Despite being govt-owned, QR National is completely self-funding (the CityTrain service still gets extra funding though).

Japan is one of the few exceptions.

Hello TODers,

Recall my earlier postings on Morocco. Don't you think it is interesting that China is keeping a closer eye on Tan-Tan than our MSM?

RABAT, June 11 (Xinhua) -- The United States and Morocco vowed here Wednesday to maintain their "very positive" ties of cooperation in various fields, especially in security and military fields.

...The north African kingdom is a staunch military ally of the U.S. and the two countries are organizing joint military exercises and humanitarian actions in the Atlantic city of Agadir and the southern region of Cap Draa near the city of Tan Tan till June 30.

The operation, dubbed "African Lion 08", involves exercises on commandment leadership, peacekeeping operations, in-flight refuelling and training on low flying.

Last week, Morocco also approved a deal to buy 24 F-16 fighter jets from the U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin, which can be equipped to carry rapid-fire cannons, air-to-air missiles and laser and satellite-guided weapons.

If you check a map: Tan-Tan is positioned quite nicely between the phosphate and other mining deposits, is also a seaport [think naval sealane control], and Morocco is ideal for supporting oceanic military overflights. My latest feeble two cents on the 'strategery' of Asimov's 'Life's Phosphate Bottleneck'.

Don't forget Bou Craa with the world's longest conveyor belt, the 'Berm', and unbelievable quantities of land mines.

Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?

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

Don't forget Bou Craa with the world's longest conveyor belt, the 'Berm', and unbelievable quantities of land mines.

Just searched for it on google maps. It's an amazing sight. I assume the different colour to the south of the conveyor is material that has been blown off the belt by prevailing winds:


If you zoom in of the mine end you can see the trucks loading it up. The export end is unfortunately still mostly lowres:

Hello MartinW,

Thxs for responding. Perhaps, when there is insufficient postPeak energy to move these tons to the sea for loading on Clipperships: maybe we might see tens of thousands of enslaved pedaling SpiderWebRiders moving the Mo-Rock-o phosphate under the harsh control of the Barbary P-irates. That may still be a better life than surface pedaling Potash thru a brutal Canadian deep-freeze from Saskatchewan to Vancouver. Time will tell.

"Make us your slaves, just feed us!"

Never forget Tadeusz Borowski, #119198:

Sadly, he would have no problem slashing genitals in Morocco [See yesterday's DB]. :(

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

Wasn't that the country that offered trained monkey's to our 'colotion of the willing' before attacking iraq?

From CNN.
Mayors ask Congress to help fix U.S. infrastructure

I wonder how this infrastructure is going to be fixed without cheap and
abundant energy supplies. I must say I also wonder about the long term viability of major metro areas.

From Greer (link on top):

Imagine, for example, a world forty years from now in which rates of annual production of oil, coal, and natural gas have dropped so low that only countries that produce them can afford to use them at all, and then only to meet critical needs. Half the surviving population in the nations with remaining fossil fuels, and 90% in the others, labors at subsistence agriculture, and most of the remainder work in factories converting salvaged materials into needed goods with hand tools. Worldwide, dozens of nations have collapsed into violent anarchy, and whole populations are on the move as sea level rises and rain belts shift. In America, the old canal network is being reopened by men with shovels, as fuel shortages hit a rail network that never recovered from its 20th-century dilapidation. Meanwhile army units face guerrilla forces in the mountain West, while refugees from starving Japan, packed into the hulks of abandoned container ships, ride the currents en masse toward the west coast.

- and he supposedly does not expect a "fast crash", only a slow "catabolic collapse"? I guess it's only a matter of definition of terms...

Hello Vtpeaknik,

ArchDruid quote: "Meanwhile army units face guerrilla forces in the mountain West..."

Recall my posting series on Earthmarines vs Mercs--still too early to tell who will be protecting the tall trees and other species, at all costs, so we can later build the Clipperships to move NPK. Is Cascadia getting ready?

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

I enjoy reading him as well, but his column a few weeks ago talking about 100 million people dropping every few years was pretty depressing.

I always thought that a slow decline would be preferable to sudden collapse since we could make adjustments as we go along but Greer's columns make you wonder if a fast crash might be the lesser of two evils ie "Just get it over with".

Of course, since noone is sure exactly what's going to happen, let's take it slowly and buy used math and science books as we go along.

The states may disolve into "violent anarchy" but thats not going to last forever and we have one advantage over most other countries in the world, we can still feed ourselves.

Hello JRC9596,

Your Quote: "...we can still feed ourselves."

For how long?

May I suggest you read a lot more on sulfur and NPK, and our postPeak prospects? I haven't yet noticed Alaskan Kingcrabs & Maine Lobsters, migrating across the Mojave and Sonorran deserts in countless numbers, holding bananas aloft in their claws.

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

Can you provide links? It seems to me that if we stopped making corn ethanol and feeding cows, we would have enough food to go around, but I don't know the extent of the fertilizer issue.

Hello Consumer,

Thxs for responding--are you sure you want to know the true extent of the fertilizer issue? Even I haven't found the end yet. :)

I posted some starter links below, but I mostly just furiously google-news & google-web for the latest info, then go from there with a postPeak mindset for further extrapolation. Very time-consuming, and I still have a lot to learn. As always: WIKIPEDIA is a good jumpoff point.

I recommend the USGS commodity links, mostly PDFs:


Read about sulfur, potash, phosphates. Explosives was an interesting topic too [many fertilizer compounds go boom!], but they now appear to decline further updating.


..has very informative tutorials & forecasts. Of course, it takes BigBuck$$ to receive the latest, detailed market analyzes and projections [I certainly can't afford them].

I also google numerous countries, as required, to see their latest NPK and sulphur news. Sometimes it is a real-pain-in-the-ass because of multiple spellings: fertilizer-fertiliser, sulfur-sulphur, etc.

Also, lots of different NPK definitions & types:

O-NPK --> guanos, manures, organics, composts, etc... brimstone, vitriol are old definitions for natural occurring sulphur but still used for more confusion.

I-NPK--> inorganics, synthetics....sulfates, nitrates, phosphates, phosphorics, potassium, potash, urea, ammonia, MAP, DAP, SuperPhosphate,.....the list goes on... sylvinites, apatites, pyrites, evaporites, brines.... hydrodesulfurization of sourgas sulfur & sour crude sulfur, ....Haber-Bosch, Frasch, Claus processes..I think you get the picture now why I usually use 'I-NPK' in my postings.

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

Once you get the NPK basics memorized, then you can move on to prills, solids, liquids, pellet forms, gases, nitrogen fixation, soil microorganisms, bio-uptake rates, mulches, soil chemistry & compositions, leach rates, chem-activated or raw forms, time-released polymer coatings, bacterial sulphurization, NPK balance for bio-optimization, relative merits, bulk differentials, and pricing disparities between I-NPK & O-NPK, fertilizer security & law, optimal fertilizing timing, soil-testing, crop rotation, topsoil degradation and/or rejuvenation, weed & insect control, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides [natural & synthetic], ore concentration & processing & beneficiation, HazMat procedures for sulfuric, phosphoric, hydrofloric acids, MSDS safety sheets, soil PH & salinity, EPA regulations, acid rain, sulfur scrubbers, sulfuric acid injection for EOR, sulfur and rubber vulcanization, water purity and sulfur and chlorine pricing, transport logistics over land, sea, and rail.... and I consider myself an NPK-NEWBIE. :)

Mr Shaw,

You misunderstand the point, we can feed ourselves even in the surburbs. Want to see someplace unsustainable? Take look at Hong Kong, Singapore,Tokyo or New York City, way too many people and these "mega cities" will be hell on earth when/if the lights go out if they aren't downsized by economics first.

No, people in Arizona aren't going to be eating King Crabs or Lobsters. I don't know much about Arizona, but from what I hear about Phoenix and its rainfall I wouldn't want to be anywhere near there in a few years. Don't have a clue what ya'll will eat.

Feeding ourselves might involve everyone having their own kitchen garden much like Russia and Cuba, but we'll be much better off than China, India or Africa. Cuba didn't give up when Russia collapsed and I doubt we will either. Some Russians starved, some Americans will too. Wouldn't be the first time so plant that garden now.

Just look at the amount of farmland in the states and realize what will happen if there isn't any diesel, which will be a long time for farmers if any sense of order prevails. You may take a job as a sharecropper or something similar and eventually the midwest will be "recolonized" since that is where the jobs will be, a house included or you might have to build your own. For fertilizer, eventually you may be placing the chicken coop where your garden will be the next year. Our ancestors lived just like this and in some cases lived lives that were richer and more satisfying than ours.

Yes, there is alot more of us than before but are you just going to sit in your house and say, "there is no NPK, grocery store is empty so I'm just going to sit here and die"? I don't think so. If you start looting or rioting, well you'll get shot, I think you can just about count on a 25%-50% population reduction in that way once any kind of serious shortages develop.

Assuming you make it to Post Peak, you're not going to be any more likely to starve than anyone else throughout history. Of course, you'll probably have to butcher your own livestock and go hunting too. Some people on this board would rather die, so they'll get the chance to make that choice. Some won't take it. Citizenship and hospitality will eventually mean what they once did: serving in the local posse or militia since there won't be the resources for a standing police force, helping your neighbors build their houses, building your own house, doing manual labor (OH NO!) and actually raising your own kids instead of putting them on Ritalin (What?). Life is tough, deal with it.

The trick is to get past the rough times and there are some major issues facing the states, balkanization being the biggest one IMHO. However, I don't see starvation as a major problem in the LONG term. Yes, NPK is a problem for industrial agriculture but ask yourself where would you rather be? Where there is 100,000 people in the same boat or 1 billion? There are alot of places in the midwest with only 100,000 people.

Eventually things will sort themselves out and people will start working together again, the states may wind up as 10 different countries since the rest of the world is going that way, who knows? The end of Rome didn't mean the end of all the Romans, I'm sure quite a few of them lived to a ripe old age but they sure didn't hang around shouting "we're doomed".

All that being said, if you live just on Lobster and King Crab, you are doomed unless you live in either Maine or Alaska and can get it fresh.

"we have one advantage over most other countries in the world, we can still feed ourselves"

Every country can feed its self ... just not in the numbers that currently exist

What do you plan to grow ?

Hello Jrc9596,

Thxs for responding with good points--I have basically echoed many of your thoughts in earlier postings.

My crabs w/bananas was sarconal. But it works amazingly well in switching on the brain 'lightbulb'
when I am trying to clue in Phoenix Peak-newbies to not take our food supply for granted.

JHK, Jay Hanson, and others [besides me] have posted much before about the PostPeak SouthWest and Overshoot. Thxs again for your thoughtful text.

The flooding in Cedar Rapids Iowa is now 10 feet above the record crest of 1929 and also 1993. It is expected to crest 12 feet above the previous record crest at 7 am tomorrow.


The Iowa floods are approaching the calamity of N.O. in destruction, however due to the slow rise folks are able to evacuate. The disaster is just now beginning.


Exxon to exit U.S. retail gas business

I saw the more trees than before the white man arrived in action in the Wisconsin woods. Where there used to be 20foot diameter white pines, we now have a thicket of 1 inch diameter trees six inches apart. So yes you can have a hundred tiny thicket trees, in the footprint of one old giant of the forest. A far more honest metric might be tons of standing biomass per acre, eh. But, that wouldn't allow for lying with statistics.

"A far more honest metric might be tons of standing biomass per acre, eh"---
The most biomass per acre is the old growth redwood rain forest of the North Coast of California--
More than the Amazon or the Congo basins.
We have about 4% of our original redwoods left.
As Ronald Reagan so aptly put it:
"You seen one redwood, you've seen them all"

Whence China and India?

At present we see demand destruction in Europe and the US. Both China and India subsidize gas purchases, in China we have seen increased consumption in the present environment. However both China and India are dependent on imported oil to a similar extent as the US.

The cost of 135/barrel oil for importing nations has to be borne somewhere if not at the end consumer. The governments of India and China are attempting to stomach this cost themselves. Caring and noble as it might be, this is not a stable situation, especially as their actions lead to further increases in consumption and hence further cost to their governments.

In this instance the free market pass through of costs is healthy in the US to begin making a transition to a less fossil fuel opulent existence and ideally will spur alternative options.

I saw with some dismay the images of an upstream post on riots and protests in Asia and Europe over fuel costs. In Thailand, if I am not mistaken, there were large protests over a 12% increase in fuel costs. Considering the bleed through effects of oil prices -perhaps along with numerous other factors- into costs of food and other items one can perhaps imagine how a fuel price hike would cause so much distress. It was also upsetting to learn that portions of fishing fleets are grounded by cost, thus positively feeding back into the cost of food. However, to pass on the increases in oil prices there would need to be 50 or 100% increase in the cost of gas.

I mention India and China in that they are oil import dependent nations that together comprise about a third of the world population. So what happens to India and China?? They can't subsidize things forever. One could expect their currency to devalue in the face of increasing oil costs as is happening to the dollar (not vice-versa as is so often reported - at least to my thinking). International finance is such a shell game who knows, but my understanding is China holds lots of dollars, if these are used for oil purchases this would further weaken the dollar. I think it looks like a gathering financial storm for these two great nations, but then again, I've only just considered all this, could defraying the costs of gasoline purchase by national governments even be a viable strategy for dealing with Peak Oil?

Hello TODers,

Now, a fertilizer crisis in Maharashtra

Angry farmers in Vidarbha's Amravati district are agitating as the shortage hits just as sowing season begins. By the government's own admission, the state has a 60 per cent shortage in fertilizer supplies.
Wow! That is a stunning shortfall.

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

Bob, could you point me to a primer on fertiliser issues?
Perhaps one on your posts which lays out the basics?
With thanks.

I would find that helpful too...

Hello Davemart & Damfino,

See my answer to TODer Consumer upthread. Potash of Saskatchewan corporate website has a good primer.

I think the next big connection will be that between miles driven and retail sales. If people quit driving so much they will be spending less in our consumer driven economy. Just another piece of the self reinforcing downward spiral.