DrumBeat: July 2, 2008

Petrobras Finds Signs of Large Oil Deposits Near Tupi

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA has found signs of large oil deposits near its Tupi field, the largest Western Hemisphere oil discovery since 1976, the state- controlled company's chief executive officer said.

``Today we have information about the areas and the indication of the existence of hydrocarbons,'' Jose Sergio Gabrielli, Rio de Janeiro-based Petrobras' chief said in a Bloomberg TV interview at the World Petroleum Congress in Madrid. ``We're certain of a huge increase in reserves.''

Iran hints at oil production boost

MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- Iran Wednesday hinted at a possible increase in its production of crude oil to stabilize prices as they hovered above $140 a barrel.

Speaking as he prepared to deliver a briefing on his country's oil industry at the World Petroleum Congress in Madrid, Gholam Hossein Nozari dismissed the possibility of prices moving to $170 or even $200 a barrel. "We can control," he told CNN.

Asked what Iran would do to control prices, he replied "By the supply, the market."

'Gas OPEC' loses steam

MADRID (AFP) - The proposal for a "gas OPEC" that would group the world's biggest gas exporters as a cartel took several knocks this week at a leading energy conference as key producers backed away from the idea.

"To begin with, I think putting the word 'gas OPEC' was a mistake," Iranian Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari told delegates at the World Petroleum Congress on Wednesday.

"It was not supposed to be any organisation of that sort. It was supposed to be a forum for different exporting countries to cooperate."

The end of cheap oil will affect virtually everything

Most people don’t realize it yet, but the end of the era of cheap oil will impact virtually every aspect of life in this country, and reshape the way we travel, where we choose to live and do business, and even what foods we eat.

Obsessive fuel savers can get impressive results — but at a cost in safety

It’s a good idea, of course, to try to save on fuel. The problem comes when people who don’t know what they’re doing seize on what they think are the principles of hypermiling, leading them to adopt dangerous tactics, such as driving too slowly in traffic, tailgating larger vehicles or “drafting” (driving in another vehicle’s slipstream to reduce wind resistance) too closely, rolling through stop signs or making turns without using the brakes.

No Gloating for Big Oil

In a week when oil prices shot to $143 a barrel, the mood at the World Petroleum Congress in Madrid is surprisingly somber. Perhaps the oil company CEOs and OPEC ministers, gathered for the biggest conference in the industry's calendar, are feeling besieged by the relentless drumbeat of public outrage. Perhaps they have been worn down by their ongoing efforts to blame each other for spiraling prices. Or maybe they just think it in poor taste to gloat about their record profits. But even Monday's news that Iraq would open six of its oil fields to international contracts — news that came just hours after Royal Dutch Shell president Jeroen van der Veer announced to the congress that such a deal was "weeks, not months" away — failed to lighten the mood.

The economics of running on empty

Prosperity returned, as it always does. If it didn't, you would have a permanent recession. The notion is so absurd that no economist in their right mind would even consider it. So I will.

In a worse-case scenario, permanent recession hits and each generation becomes poorer than the last. Gross domestic product (GDP) declines continuously. It eventually hits zero and we return to subsistence living, like our cavemen ancestors.

We may be seeing the beginning of that now.

Output still far from peak levels, say CEOs

MADRID, Spain - Canada's oilsands are still years away from making a meaningful impact on global oil supplies, the heads of two of the world's largest oil companies -- Exxon and Total SA -- said at the World Petroleum Congress in Spain yesterday.

But they also said despite economic and environmental challenges, unconventional oil from Canada will eventually play a crucial role in meeting the world's oil needs.

"Resources in Athabasca (Alta.) are huge, probably much bigger than expected," Total CEO Christophe de Margerie told a news conference.

"The problem is that the time to take resources into production will be longer than expected."

"The oilsands in Canada is an important resource for future supply," added Exxon boss Rex Tillerson.

Cuba to Sign Exploration Deal with Brazil's Petrobras

The Cuban government expects to sign an oil exploration deal with Brazilian state-run energy giant Petroleo Brasileiro (PBR), or Petrobras, later this year, the president of Cuba's state-owned oil company told the Estado news agency Tuesday.

Nigerian oil output to reach 2.2 mbpd soon: oil minister

MADRID (Reuters) - Nigeria expects its oil output to rise to 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd) very shortly from around 1.9 million now and to hit at least 2.5 million bpd by mid-2009, Oil Minister Odein Ajumogobia said on Wednesday.

National Oil Firms Well Placed to Take on Majors

State-owned national energy firms of producer nations such as Algeria's Sonatrach are now well equipped to compete with multinational giants in foreign markets, Algeria's energy minister said on Tuesday.

"There is no reason why Sonatrach should not explore in other countries. Sonatrach has a lot of money," he said at the World Petroleum Congress, a major industry gathering, in Madrid.

Russia: Fuel Prices Cause Fear of Flying

Plane fares have been rising since the beginning of summer due to a continuing crisis on the aviation fuel market. Rising fuel prices have threatened airlines’ survival and they are looking for every possible way to pass the increased cost onto passengers. However, it looks as though the carriers will not void losses completely, which may result in the bankruptcy of some of them.

China railways raise freight rates to offset domestic oil price rise

BEIJING, July 2 (Xinhua) -- China's rail carriers have raised freight transport fares to cover extra costs brought about by oil price hikes, the country's top economic planning agency said on Wednesday.

Each wagon of freight will be charged from 5.7 yuan (80 U.S. cents) to 14.8 yuan per tonne plus extra charges ranging from 0.03 yuan to more than 0.07 yuan per tonne-km, according to a statement published by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

Thailand: Energy minister warns against using cooking gas in vehicles

BANGKOK (TNA) – Energy Minister Poonpirom Liptapanlop on Wednesday warned motorists not to attempt to use cooking gas instead of LPG for vehicles, saying it could endanger their lives.

She conceded that consumers in many areas are using the substitution because it helps reduce their costs.

However, such an approach is very dangerous and could cause substantial damage to lives and property, she said.

High tech to low, world's green methods are many

From the simplest methods to the most technologically advanced, the strategies employed around the world to be more environmentally friendly and reduce reliance on fossil fuels are as varied as the people that inhabit the planet.

BlackLight's physics-defying promise: Cheap power from water

An entrepreneur with $60 million in venture funding says he's found an endless source of cheap energy. Trouble is, it violates the laws of quantum physics.

Gas guzzlers and 'ghostburbs'

SUV factories closing, bicycle sales and train use rocketing, commuter belts becoming "ghostburbs" as residents flock to the inner cities . . . welcome to 2008 America, where soaring oil and petrol prices have triggered a sudden revolution in travel behaviour and a seismic upheaval in the automobile industry.

Four dollars (£2) for a gallon of petrol may seem like peanuts on this side of the pond, but in the shellshocked US, where pump prices have doubled since 2004, it is proving to be the breaking point for millions of recession-hit households. In March 2008, according to the US department of transportation, Americans drove 11bn fewer miles than in March 2007 - a 4.3% drop, and the first downward trend in 30 years.

Yergin Says Record Oil Prices Call for Multifaceted Response

(Bloomberg) -- There's no single solution to high oil prices, and lawmakers need to take an ``ecumenical'' approach to drafting legislation and policy, according to Daniel Yergin, chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates.

``We ought to really get beyond `either-or' and the notion that there's only one thing to do,'' said Yergin, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of ``The Prize,'' a history of the oil industry. ``It doesn't work that way in a $14 trillion economy.''

Changes to oil policy, renewable fuels, alternative energy sources and improving fuel efficiencies can all be part of a solution, Yergin said in an interview with Bloomberg Radio.

Oil reform won't reverse Pemex woes

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican Finance Minister Agustin Carstens said on Tuesday a proposed reform to overhaul the country's oil sector would not be enough to reverse the woes of national oil monopoly Pemex.

Summer report will address winter heating needs

AUGUSTA: Mainers will have a better idea by mid-July what the government thinks it can do about rising fuel costs, and the first priority will be to help the state’s poor get through this winter.

Learn to live with higher fuel prices

Seattle and King County should follow Portland's example. That city established a Peak Oil Task Force in 2006, and had a report from that group last March that evaluated the city's preparedness for high-priced oil and goals for reducing fossil fuel use. If we don't do this planning now, this region will just move from one shock-driven tipping point to another.

Russia's Oil Output Falls in June, Extending Decline

(Bloomberg) -- Russian oil production declined in June, bringing the world's second-largest crude exporter closer to its first annual drop since 1998.

Production fell to 9.77 million barrels a day (40 million metric tons a month), 1 percent less than in June last year, according to data released by CDU TEK, the dispatch center for the Energy Ministry. Output rose 0.2 percent compared with May.

Russia's production may have peaked as producers struggle with aging fields, rising costs and increasingly remote new deposits, senior executives at Moscow-based OAO Lukoil and TNK-BP, the country's two-biggest independent oil companies, have said. The finance and energy ministries are developing tax-cut proposals in a bid to revive growth.

Gas prices post 3rd straight record

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Retail gas prices have risen to an all-time high for the third straight day, according to a survey from motorist group AAA.

The national average price for a gallon of regular gas rose five-tenths of a cent overnight to $4.092, the daily survey showed Wednesday. That tops the previous day's record of $4.087 a gallon.

Gas prices are now about 3% higher than last month and 38.5% higher than year-ago levels.

Soaring prices push economies to tipping point: IMF

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Surging food and fuel prices have pushed some countries to a "tipping point," the head of the International Monetary Fund warned on Tuesday, threatening hard-won efforts in many African countries to stabilize their economies.

"If food prices rise further and oil prices just stay the same, then some governments will be unable to feed people and at the same time maintain stability in their economy," said Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the IMF.

High gas prices threaten to shut down rural towns

FORKS OF SALMON, Calif. — The price of gas isn't an annoyance here. It's a calamity.

Peggy Hanley uses a generator that burns a gallon of diesel fuel every hour —at about $5 a gallon— to power Forks General Store, the only place to buy groceries for miles around. There's no electric service, so Hanley, the owner, uses the generator to run eight refrigerators, nine freezers, lights and two ice machines for the store, which has been in a trailer since a fire destroyed the original building in 1994.

There are no utilities and no public transportation in this unincorporated town of a couple hundred people along a narrow road that winds through the mountains 314 miles north of Sacramento. Many people here buy gas for their vehicles and gas or diesel for generators that power their homes.

Rising prices hammer seniors on fixed incomes

Long before workers at the San Diego Food Bank began distributing cardboard food cartons from the back of a truck on a recent day, elderly men and women, many needing walkers and metal canes, formed a line in a church parking lot.

The free food amounts to a lifeline for these seniors, who have seen inflation wring much of the value out of their fixed incomes. For these retirees, the prices of essentials — notably, gas and food — have galloped beyond reach. Perhaps most of all, they're straining under the weight of crushing medical costs.

For many, golden years mean less travel, more work

When Lynda and Don Perdew retired, they sold their home in Southern California and used the money to buy a 37-foot recreational vehicle. Then they set out to see the country.

That was 10 years ago, and the Perdews are still on the road. But now they're taking shorter trips and staying longer in each place. Now parked at a campground near Mount Rushmore, they'd like to visit Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah this summer. But with gas prices topping $4 a gallon, they aren't sure it's affordable anymore.

Some Americans will drive trucks, no matter cost

LAWRENCEBURG, Indiana (Reuters) - Seven women pile out of a massive white Chevrolet Suburban and unload the vacuums, mops and buckets of their trade. Gasoline may cost $4 a gallon, but the Chevy's driver and business owner Leesa Baldwin has no intention of downsizing to a smaller vehicle.

"I love my Suburban. I don't like paying for the gas, but it simplifies my life," said Baldwin, who bought the used 7,000-pound SUV two years ago for her cleaning business and hasn't looked back.

As many Americans abandon SUVs and light trucks for more fuel-efficient vehicles, analysts and automakers alike are scrambling to gauge how low ownership will go -- and just who will remain die-hard drivers of SUVs, pickups and minivans.

Gas prices change views on energy

WASHINGTON - High gasoline prices have dramatically changed Americans' views on energy and the environment with more people now viewing oil drilling and new power plants as a greater priority than energy conservation than they did five months ago, according to a new survey.

The poll released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center shows nearly half of those surveyed — or 47 percent — now rate energy exploration, drilling and building new power plants as the top priority, compared with 35 percent who believed that five months ago.

Appetite for Arctic oil rises in line with crude prices

MADRID (AFP) - The appetite for Arctic oil has surged in line with rocketing crude prices but environmental concerns and a diplomatic stalemate stand in the way of exploration, experts say.

At a time when supplies are struggling to keep pace with surging demand from developing countries, the industry is increasingly looking to new frontiers in its search for new reserves, with the Arctic clearly in the sights.

Saudi Arabia says no oil production boost

In an interview with CNN, Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said he was troubled by the current high levels of petroleum prices, but added, "We have nothing to do with prices where they are today."

He denied the problem is one of immediate oil supply.

Asked whether Saudi Arabia, OPEC's leading producer, would open its taps to its reported maximum capacity of 11 million barrels a day, al-Naimi did not dispute the figure but asked rhetorically, "Where is the buyer?"

Exxon Mobil Japan group refinery shut after fire

TOKYO (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Japan group oil refiner TonenGeneral Sekiyu's 156,000 barrels per day Sakai refinery in western Japan has been ordered shut since Tuesday evening after a fire, the local fire department said on Wednesday.

Natural Gas to Converge With Oil Price, Exporters Say

(Bloomberg) -- Natural gas, trading at a 40 percent discount to crude, may rise to reach the record price of oil as demand for cleaner-burning fuels increases, according to energy ministers from Qatar, Algeria and Iran.

Iran says any attack would provoke fierce reaction

MADRID, Spain - An attack on Iran would provoke a fierce response, the country's oil minister warned Wednesday at the World Petroleum Congress in Madrid.

Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari, however, said Tehran would not cut oil deliveries and would continue supplying the market even if struck by Israel or the United States.

Tehran "is not going to be quiet," if attacked, Nozari told reporters. It's "going to react fiercely, and nobody can imagine what would be the reaction of Iran," he added.

BP execs get work permits to stay in Russia

MOSCOW — Russia's migration service said on Wednesday it had approved working permits for key managers of BP's Russian oil venture TNK-BP, easing fears of a temporary exodus of foreign staff amid a corporate conflict.

Controversy over visas and work permits for international staff is the latest issue to impact TNK-BP, which is the focus of a bitter dispute over strategy and management tactics between the British oil major and its partners, four Russian or Russian-born billionaires.

Shell Says World Needs More Gas Supply Capacity

(Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc, the biggest non-government producer of liquefied natural gas, called for an increase in gas production capacity to meet worldwide demand.

``Clearly, global demand for natural gas is racing ahead,'' Linda Cook, executive director of gas and power at Shell, said at the World Petroleum Congress today in Madrid. ``The question is whether supply can keep pace,'' she added. Costs that have ``skyrocketed'' and a lack of access because of local government rules are keeping productivity down, she added.

Hunting for oil villains

The story of the Hunt brothers, who cornered the market on silver in the 1970s, shows why speculators aren't driving up oil prices.

The End Of Civilization

The one thing that has enabled the human population to grow to the immense dimensions we see today is oil, the resource facing the greatest challenge from depletion. As the oil supply diminishes, in the absence of herculean efforts to use oil more efficiently and fairly, large numbers of human beings will die off. Before then, soaring prices for oil will probably destroy the economies of the countries most dependent on the stuff, if not the entire intricately linked world economy. This is what I mean by the end of civilization. Of course life will go on. But it won’t be anything like what we’ve been accustomed to. Life will be more like that of the Middle Ages, in which a few wealthy lords controlled all the resources and possessed all the power, and the rest of the people – the lucky ones, anyway – were veritable slaves under these lords. In many ways that state of affairs exists today, but it’s unseen by all but the most observant individuals. The future I’m talking about, though, is considerably more spartan than what the worker bees enjoy today.

Oil dreams

A greater degree of smart socialization will be required. Regardless what the ultimate fate of the oil-automobile-infrastructure may be, the rising costs of fossil-fuel-based energy will require big public investments in mass transit and light rail soon, long before any emerging technology can be significantly deployed. Nearly as big investments will be needed to support the much denser housing solutions that will be required. But in addition, preservation and enhancement of quality of life depends on investments in shared services and green space, strong and smart public zoning and development commissions. Education, health care and retirement services will all be powerfully affected.

Even with our best efforts, we may still fall prey to the potential volatility of the oil crisis. Now that energy is also linked to rising food prices, other profound external shocks from world instability and security nightmares are not unlikely.

Energy crisis: Turning-point of humanity

After more than 150 years of increasing availability of energy and explosive growth of the world population, we are now entering an era of ever decreasing energy availability. The world population will shrink. For this new era, novel economic principles are needed to maintain prosperity. Part of this is a bank-reform that members of Parliament can adopt if they want to.

Poor countries should set climate targets: Brazil leader

TOKYO (AFP) - Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has urged developing countries, including his own, to join rich nations in setting targets to reduce emissions blamed for global warming.

Eco-tourism: Carbon 'offsets', a good idea that's not working

PARIS (AFP) - Top airlines and tour operators keen to shore up their green credentials nowadays offer customers carbon "offsets" to compensate holiday pollution.

The problem is that few tourists seem eager to write off their green guilt.

Norwegians fume as new 'climate tax' on fuel takes effect

OSLO (AFP) - Norway, which already has some of the highest fuel prices in the world, on Tuesday introduced a new tax on petrol and diesel aimed at curbing climate change.

Although the new charge was no more than 0.05 kroner (0.6 euro cents, 1.0 dollar cent) per litre of petrol and 0.10 kroner per litre of diesel, it outraged many Norwegians, who are already concerned about runaway prices at the pump.

IEA to push G8 leaders to commit to energy efficiency: director

MADRID (AFP) - The head of the International Energy Agency said Tuesday he would press G8 leaders at a summit next week to adopt commitments to energy efficiency measures as part of the fight against climate change.

"We are recommending that energy efficiency is one of most cost-effective ways for consumer countries," IEA executive director Nobuo Tanaka told AFP on Tuesday on the sidelines of the World Petroleum Congress in Madrid.

Carbon capture: pipe dream or climate change weapon?

MADRID (AFP) - Carbon capture and storage (CSS) is fast becoming the oil industry's favourite solution to the climate crisis but the seductive simplicity of the idea masks a series of doubts about its viability.

Saudi Arabia can’t find customers!

From the New York Times: Saudi Oil Project Brings Skepticism to the Surface

This is an article about Khurais and how many doubt that it will be able to produce as much oil as the Saudis claim. As many of you know, I have expressed such doubts, on this list, many times before. But would the Saudi’s lie? Well I found this statement very astounding:

The company expects to increase the amount of oil it can recover from its fields to 70 percent from 50 percent over the next 20 years, Mr. Saggaf said, adding another 80 billion barrels to reserves.

I was not aware that Saudi was getting a 50 percent recovery rate. The number thrown around most is 30 to 35 percent for all the fields in the world, slightly higher for sandstone reservoirs than carbonate reservoirs. I have heard that C02 injection could improve on this rate but so far no one is doing it on any grand scale.

Now we hear that Saudi Arabia is able to recover 50 percent of all the oil under Saudi soil. And that is not the only good news, they will soon be able to recover 70 percent of OOIP. However all that is unnecessary right now because they cannot find customers for the oil they are currently producing. The article ends with this statement:

“We’ve asked all the international oil companies that buy from us if they want more oil,” Mr. Nasser said. “But we can’t find customers.”

Now I have absolutely no doubt that Khurais could produce 1.2 million barrels of oil per day. It is just that I doubt that it ever will produce that much oil due to the fact that Saudi will not be able to find customers for all that oil. ;-)

One more point: For those interested in Saudi’s history of propaganda may want to review this Oil Drum thread: Saudi Arabia’s Crude Oil Reserves Propaganda

Schlumberger discusses recovery factors in their brochure called Carbonate Reservoirs – Meeting unique challenges to maximize recovery. This brochure states that “the average recovery factor – the ratio of recoverable oil to the volume of oil originally in place – is about 35%. However, it is recognized that recovery factors are higher for sandstone reservoirs that for carbonates”. Given that the majority of Saudi Arabia’s key reservoirs are carbonate, it would seem appropriate that 35% is assumed as a reasonable upper limit for the average recovery factor of all fields, based on Schlumberger’s statements and on the 2004 ASPO presentation.

Ron Patterson

I believe that they had similar complaints in early 2006. Despite diligent efforts, they were unable to find buyers for all of their oil, even their "light/sweet oil."

In round numbers, their cumulative inability to find buyers for all of their oil, through March, 2008, was over 600 mb--the difference between what they would have produced at their 2005 rate and what they actually produced (EIA, C+C).

Also Mexico seems to be having awful problems selling its oil.
It seem this year there was a huge drop in sales from Mexico.
It must be hard for the oil exporters these days. Still, at least they can get a good price for what they do sell.

I've previously discussed the Texas Railroad Commission's efforts to voluntarily restrict production for 36 years, because of our inability to find buyers for all of our oil, "Even our light/sweet oil." Oddly enough, based on the HL models, Saudi Arabia started having marketing problems at about the same stage of depletion at which buyers vanished for light/sweet Texas oil production. Go figure.

Seems to me they need to invest "heavily" in their marketing department or they are going to become unprofitable.

Perhaps they need to change their "branding" tactics. Let's see...how about hiring Oily Cassandra and KrisCan to do some ads for OPEC??

"Nothing comes between me and my heavy [heavy breath and pause]....sour [another deep, sexy breath]...crude!! I gotta have it...how about you?"

How about, "Real men talk crude"?

Nice...short...to the point. Nice sound bite.

Any other advice we can send to our friends in OPEC. I think also, OPEC needs to do a BP thing...you know "Beyond Petroleum" instead of British Petroleum (wow...flash...was BP way ahead of their time when they changed that?).

OPEC...new definition for acronym?

Oil Producers Eat Cake.

Oil Producers' Exhausted Capacity

Old Producers Extinction Council

Oh Please Enforce Conservation

Oil's Perilous Export Collapse

OPEC... new definitions? Try these suggestions:

optimists & pessimists evermore collide

over pampered elite conspiracy

oligarchical profiteers encouragement club

overseas puppets energy collaborators

overt procrastinators eagerly caterwaul

omnivorous predators erstwhile carnivores

If I may be so bold to add one more:

over producing ever contracting

Ha...all lovely entries. Thanks for playing. Shall we vote on a winner?

Overpopulation Problem Equals Contraction (Malthus was right.)
Only People Eat Carbon (Indirectly true...)
Oil? Petroleum? Energy? Coal! (Gonna switch someday...)
Oil Producing and Ever Consuming (ELM)
Oil Peaked, Everyone Concerned (MSM)
Oh Please, Everyone's Crazy (What the Saudi's are saying)
Over People's Exploding Corpses (What we went to Iraq for)
Outta Petrol, Experiencing Convusions (Our Economy)
Overly Pessimistic, Extremely Concerned (Kunstler)


Only Pennies Every Cup (Matt Simmons)

Alright...the ratings have decided. Geckolizard gets to choose one of his above as the winner. I will select...umm...heck I like them all....well done!!

oil sales seem to be declining in all the major fields.

Saudi Arabia says no oil production boost

Pressed on the issue of market perceptions that foresee future crude supply falling behind the expected growth in global demand, the minister said such perceptions were "wishful thinking."

The term they use for this is Psycological Projection.

In psychology, psychological projection (or projection bias) is a defense mechanism in which one attributes one’s own unacceptable or unwanted thoughts or/and emotions to others. Projection reduces anxiety by allowing the expression of the unwanted subconscious impulses/desires without letting the conscious mind recognize them.

Now we hear that Saudi Arabia is able to recover 50 percent of all the oil under Saudi soil. And that is not the only good news, they will soon be able to recover 70 percent of OOIP.

And next we'll hear that the Saudis really do know how to get the caramel inside a Caramilk bar. And like the old Cadbury commercial suggests, featuring the devil himself, such knowledge comes courtesy of a Faustinian bargain.

Zadok, I am not sure that 50% is good news, if the Saudi's have peaked or plateaued. The call from Simmons is becoming ever more prescient. If we accept that they are able to get 50% and Ghawar is requiring what I will call extreme measures to mitigate the decline, 70% will not help as much as some might think. All of this rhetoric contrasts sharply with appearances, and we may soon learn the truth, which most here seem to accept - we are in for restricted supplies and increased costs. Those impacts will be even worse if in fact the true recovery factor is presently 50% of OOIP, and specifically if they have accomplished this level of recovery.

Frequently people reveal the truth despite their best efforts to do otherwise.

Woodychuck, I think you've identified one of many aspects of the Saudi Faustian bargain: sell everything to satisfy a temporary and temporal want/need.

They might be able to do that. Of course, it also might require them to run wells with 80%-90% water cut for a couple of centuries to do it.

50 to 70 % recovery....it all depends what they are saying their starting point is. Since that is up for debate, so is the 50-70% recovery of OOIP.

The company expects to increase the amount of oil it can recover from its fields to 70 percent from 50 percent over the next 20 years, Mr. Saggaf said, adding another 80 billion barrels to reserves.

80 billion over 20 years is 4 billion a year, which nicely balances their production rate, so this could be considered an easy way to be able to claim that reserves will continue to remain constant without them actually having to find any more of the stuff.

Do we have analysis of any field to show the total amount they produced in their lifetime VS the amounts of oil they were originally (or subsequently estimated) to contain, both for OOIP and URR? (On a fiel by field basis, not by country)

just in case my question is poorly worded here is a crude example:

field ZARGON (fictional name) end of life produced total 10BBl;
descovery estimate 1970 was 12BBL URR
1975 revised to 15BBL URR
1980 revised to 14BBL URR

I guess am am asking what oil did it produce compared to what oil it was thought could be produced.


Technically, I guess they are not lying. They cannot find buyers of additional oil at current prices. Makes perfect sense. But we should quit caring and move on and face the future, where there will not be sufficient oil for our happy motoring lifestyle.

Well, technically it's true by definition, no? Once equilibrium is reached at a particular price, it will be impossible find additional buyers (or sellers) at that price.

So it would seem that this statement is meaningless nonsense...

It is definitely meaningless noise and he probably knows it. Opening the taps would mean increasing supply which would decrease price which would be followed by whomever else buying at that lower price.

What he is really asking is "Where are the buyers at this price?" and of course, as you note, there are no more at this price.

KSA wants to have their cake and eat it too. Unfortunately, the results of this behavior may not ultimately be what they expect.


I wouldn't completely discount the KSA claims but it's fair to always be suspicious of their claims. Difficult to use "average recovery" numbers when talking about a particular field. Even in the KSA carbonate fields a 50% RF is possible. There were reports that a big ($10 billion) horizontal drilling effort in Gahwar Fld in the late 90's that stablized decline (for a while) and cut water production. But it has also been reported that excessive production rates have dramaticly cut the ult recover from the field.

As far as Khurais Fld goes I'm not to familiar but a couple of important facts. The main field area will produce Arabian light crude and not the heavy stuff that's becoming more difficult to market. They are also installing a pipeline to deliver 2 million bbl of salt water per day for injection to help maintain reservoir pressure as production proceeds. This should help ult recovery greatly. I also don't think most of the existing wells are horizontal but that could be altered down the road as the water level rises.

But a key element of ult recovery is often missing...the time element. I've been studying a field in Texas that has produced over 300 million bls of oil over the last 60 years (about 50 - 55% recovery. It's still doing several hundred bopd. And it will keep producing even at the current 99% water cut. Come back in 30 or 40 years and ult rec may be 70%. Or maybe I'll get in there and drill some horizontal holes and speed that time frame up.

So when anyone throws out an ult rec number they should show the anticipated decline rate. Which brings us back to the key element of PO: it's not the amount of reserves in the ground but the maximum daily production rate of those reserves at any given point in the field's life.

ROCKMAN...thanks for keeping our eyes on the ball. It is the "rate of production" that never gets discussed in great detail when "officials" discuss supply and demand balances, but it is key to everything.

In Khurais, all of the new producers and injectors are horizontal wells. See Khurais Me A River

In Ghawar, horizontal wells were not widely used until the Haradh II project in the early part of this decade. Haradh I in the mid 90s was all vertical, but some wells in Abqaiq about the same time were horizontal. Shaybah was horizontal and later MRC wells, Qatif (comp. 2004) horizontal, Haradh III and Khursaniyah both MRC, Nuayyim (who cares?), and Khurais back to horizontal.

"...often missing...the time element."

my many posts on the subject of gravity drainage have generally fallen on deaf ears.

every reservoir has a rate of production that can be supported by gravity segregation. some more (a steeply dipping reservoir with a high permeability and low viscosity crude, a field like... oh.... lessee.............say, ghawar) for example, and some less (a thin flat reservoir with heavy crude) for example.

if you hang around long enough, a large percent(50%, 65% or 70%, take your pick) will be recovered. and despite the best laid plans of mice and men (depletion,waterflood,eor), the oil comes out anyhow, but on its own time.

The East Texas oil field still produces 1 million barrels/day. Unfortunately, it is 99% water.

I understand that Abqaiq in Saudi Arabia is "resting" allowing pressure to build and oil to separate. Rest 4 years, produce 1, repeat.

Some VERY long tails out there.


Unfortunately, while the fields are "resting", the world of consumption is not.

The main field area will produce Arabian light crude and not the heavy stuff that's becoming more difficult to market.

Rockman, do you know the sulphur content at Khurais? There was a story a week or two ago about Saudi Arabia being unable to sell light, sour oil at the price they were asking (about a $3/bbl premium over what people were willing to pay). I'm not sure it is just heavy oil that is hard to sell at premium prices.

I was not aware that Saudi was getting a 50 percent recovery rate. The number thrown around most is 30 to 35 percent for all the fields in the world, slightly higher for sandstone reservoirs than carbonate reservoirs.

The 50% figure comes from Abqaiq, where that claim has some validity.

I discussed this a bit in:

Abqaiq and Eat It Too

Carbonates are extremely variable, so one cannot say that Ghawar should only yield 35%. However, Ghawar isn't Abqaiq either, and most indications are that the the residual oil saturation (the amount left after the waterflood) will be higher across Ghawar than in Abqaiq. See also:


As far as getting to 70%, they are just extrapolating what they expect to get from Abqaiq. Sort of an extrapolation of an extrapolation. Judge accordingly.

Joules, thanks for the input. Let's think about this for a moment. How do we know what the recovery rate really is. There is really no way of knowing! We can never know exactly how much oil is left in the ground, soaked into the reservoir capillaries, never to come out. Yet this is one figure we must know if we are to calculate the percentage of oil recovered.

Of course we can know what percentage of the original estimated OOIP was recovered. But OOIP is always just an estimate. And the recovery rate can be easily manipulated by simply re-estimating the OOIP.

Ron Patterson

One can look at how much oil is left in a core sample retrieved from a watered out area (such as near to a water injector). This can be used with an OOIP estimate to come up with a best case scenario. But of course: all numbers are wrong -- some are just wronger than others.

"....an extrapolation of an extrapolation. Judge accordingly."

well, so is the 35% recovery an extrapolation. to be quite honest, i think simmons has his head up his a$$ on that one.

So then its the over abundance of supply thats driving up the price.

Sort of makes sense along with the rest of the financial news as of late.


Isn’t there a basic math problem here.

If the 50% and 70% relate to the total amount of oil that can be extracted from what was there in the first place.

And if the delta between 50% and 70% is 80 Billion barrels.

Then this would indicate there was only 400 billion barrels there in the first place.

If this is correct then it is possible to extrapolate several possible scenarios one of which is that the person making the statement is really bad at math.

"If the 50% and 70% relate to the total amount of oil that can be extracted from what was there in the first place."

recovery factor is always based on ooip (original oil in place). the best ESTIMATE of ooip for ghawar, determined by aramco before the exiling of the 7 sisters, and confirmed by others, notably euan means, stuart, ace, etal is about 170 Gb. recovery estimates vary all over the map.

I was at a lunch reception at the Offshore Technology COnvention in Houston in May. I happened to be standing next to some Schlumberger reps and Saudi Aramco engineers.

We started discussing recovery rates. The Saudi rep said that the current recovery rate is 35%, but there is technology in the pipeline to move the recovery rate up to 50%. And eventually, the Saudis expect to see 70%.

The Schlumberger reps were nodding in agreement. Then one of the Schlumberger guys said "We love working with the Saudis because they have the resources and desire to do it all right."

It was a very upbeat assessment for the Saudi fields and oil-future.

Thxs for the info: did they mention the future flowrates [which are key!]?

300,000 bobbing horsehead pumps at 99% water won't make for much of a resulting crude flowrate compared to a fresh, naturally pressurized oil basin daily free-flowing millions of barrels of 99% crude from freshly drilled superstraws.

"We love working with the Saudis because they have the resources and desire to do it all right."

does "do it all right" include buying lots of expensive services from schlumberger ?

Oil field services are a major export. Something we can trade for crude. Don't knock it !


or in the case of howco in iraq, we can export "services" and import debt piled on more debt.

UK hauliers protest again over fuel prices

Mike Wright, 61, from the Heathrow-based Roy Bowles company, said "wildcat protests" could be the next step all across the country.

Calibration for public reaction to fuel price rises. What happens when the rises continue?

I find it a little strange about these trucker's strikes, it seems sort of like the there isn't really a lot that the government could do (or at least, should do). In the Spanish ones, the truckers were asking for a minimum price on transport contracts that scaled with fuel price, I'm not sure if they ever got it. I don't think so.

In the U.K., it seems these strikers are asking for 25p rebate on fuel because they can't compete with the continental carriers. Why would they need to compete? Last I checked, Britain was an island, I wouldn't think there would be a lot of continental carriers competing in Britain. Can someone from Britain tell me, are there really a lot of continental carriers working in Britain?

Also, why would the truckers think that a subsidy is their right from the government? I know in the U.S. there's huge subsidies to agribusiness and some other sorts of businesses, but these are at least nominally in place to help congress shape the type of society we live in. I.e., corn subsidies to preserve farming in the U.S. or subsidies to promote alternative energy. Obviously the truckers think they need saving, but why would the rest of society want to save them? (Unless there's no other choice for transportation of goods.)

What subsidy? They are asking not to be hammered so heavily in tax.
In the UK we have a little old thing called the Channel Tunnel, which compromises the island status.
Trucks can fill up on the Continent, deliver a load to the UK, then pick up up to 3 more loads ( I believe it is 3) for delivery within the UK, under the EU regulations for free trade.
Since the diesel is cheaper there is no way the UK firms can compete.
The insane UK government in its porcine greed and stupidity is differentially driving its tax base to bankruptcy.

Well, okay, it's not a subsidy but at least in the U.S. those fuel taxes go into a highway trust fund to pay for road repair. If it's the same in the U.K., truckers wouldn't be paying taxes to support the infrastructure their business is benefiting from.

Thanks, I didn't realize there really are that many trucks coming through the Channel Tunnel.

There is no road fund in the UK, fuel duty is part of general taxation. UK truckers have complained for ages about the high duty on diesel cf that in continental Europe, and they do have a point. If the EU is meant to be a single market then duty on diesel, their main operating cost, should correspond more closely to allow better competition.

But does the cheaper continental diesel really last long enough so that continentals can outcompete local truckers for local business when in the UK? And I presume UK truckers could also go through the chunnel to fill up on cheap French fuel. Once you pay haulage costs from France, are those with access to cheaper French fuel still at an advantage? Perception that someone else has an unfair advantage on you powerfully motivates anger. But is the perception honest.

Now if some truckers are forced to honer old prices, which assumed much cheaper diesel they do have a legitimate problem. But it is a problem between the truckers and their customers.

Do a little research on the US gas tax and the Federal Highway Trust Fund. You'll be glad you don't have one in your country. It will be running deficits starting next year and our highways are already falling apart with years of "surpluses". The Congress has figured out how to extract many IOUs from the fund that have never been paid back. It is a crime.

There are lots of European trucks on the UK roads (at a complete guess 20% of big trucks). I suppose they deliver between UK and mainland Europe (and fill up with diesel on the mainland).

The truckers are asking for a rebate on fuel tax (currently about half the cost at the pump). Bus services already get this rebate and truckers feel they are equally essential (for food-sure, plastic junk-not so much).

A couple of years ago there was a lot of publicity about food miles and how we should be reducing them. No-one mentioned that that would put truckers out of business.

A couple of years ago there was a lot of publicity about food miles and how we should be reducing them. No-one mentioned that that would put truckers out of business.

Yeah, that's it exactly. If just fuel prices were the problem and not a difference in tax rates between U.K. and continental Europe, I would think that it would be better to work on finding new jobs for the truckers than for the rest of society to continue to support their chosen occupation. When the forests in northwest U.S. were closed to logging because of an endangered species, there were government funded programs to train loggers to enable them to find new jobs. If we really are at peak oil, we might need some of those programs for truckers before long because large-scale trucking will become an anachronism of the extinct cheap oil economy.

well, as the saying goes, "you can lead a trucker to the office, but you can't make take a bath." Or something like that.

I'm puzzled. Why can't they just pass on their added cost to their customers ? Who else is supposed to pick up that cost?
In one country all hauliers are confronted with the same prices.

Case closed.

See the part about truckers filling up on the continent and then making multiple deliveries in the UK. But what I don't see is why the govt doesn't just add a duty for any fuel in tank crossing the border to create a level playing field for all truckers?

IIRC the big logistics outfits can dictate market-priced contracts to their customers, and pass the costs on. It's the small independent hauliers who compete on short-term and job-by-job basis that are bleeding out. The big guys are sitting back and waiting to take the contracts, which is why no pressure on the govt is coming from major retailers or mfrs.

Info from BBC report a fortnight or so, no detailed reference.

I'm puzzled. Why can't they just pass on their added cost to their customers ? Who else is supposed to pick up that cost?

too many truckers.

There have been a couple of comments in the recent days about Megaprojects. By talking to the other contributors, I think I have figured out what is going on.

Ace discovered that quite a few of the projects in the list were multiple-year projects that were being front-ended in the announcements by companies. He has been working on breaking those projects into one year increments, where he can find the information to do so.

Khebab does the "recalculation" of the front sheet. He just did that a couple of days ago, after Ace finished the update. Ace keeps his own summary sheet on his computer for use in his analyses. This has been up to date all along.

These are the differences that "The Dude" calculated a couple of days ago. You can see how breaking the projects into one year increments moves start dates later. The top one in each group is the "before recalculation" number.

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
6912 6146 3770 4563 5111
5559 4636 5330 3500 3476

2013 2014 2015 2016
1237 0680 0672 0030
1365 1080 0807 0895

2017 2018 2019 2020
0162 0130 0050
0162 0180 0050

I've put together a short post on TOD:Canada showing the evolution:


Khebab...I wonder if anyone like Matt Simmons, Boone Pickens, etc. have looked at your data and what their thoughts might be? Do you ever get an email or note from them?

There have also been a number of announcements of postponements of projects, and the database never got updated for this info. I posted at least one of these announcements here, and asked someone to update the Wiki page, because I don't know how to do it, but it was never done. Then I began compiling a list of postponements, but now I don't have it at hand.

That Wiki page has many many problems.

Of course this database has problems but you can contribute directly, here are some tips on how to modify the pages:


You can also send your modifications to me (Khebab [at] theoildrum [dot] com) or Ace (tonyeriksen [at] hotmail [dot] com).

Thank you for this information. I will. I'll try to find my notes, and if I can't, I'll send future notes.

Fuel Crisis in Chennai, Bangalore, India Truckers Strike..

Truckers Strike

Bangalore -

No Fuel - Out of Diesel Petrol- hoarding, adulteration, queues

Brown Bear requested that this be posted on the July 2 Drumbeat
I am sending this from Chennai, a large city in Southern India. There have been widespread fuel shortages all over Southern India. Traffic was snarled all over the city as panicky motorists tried to look for fuel.


What has happened is that fuel demand has grown so rapidly in recent years that there is very little left as an emergency buffer. In this case, the shortage was caused by the late arrival of a coastal oil tanker from the west coast. It turns out that most of the big oil refineries in India are located on the west coast. Refined products are distributed by coastal tankers. Peak oil is now the number one topic of discussion here in the city.

The effects of the shortage have been swift. Food prices have risen swiftly and many school were forced to shut down since they had no diesel for their buses. Many IT outsourcing firms were affected too since they have large bus fleets to pick up and drop off their workers.

Since I will not have access to computer later today, I'd like to request that someone post this to the July 2 drumbeat.

Well Spotted.


Looks like Brown Bear is living it already.

Dave Erquat says it all in "The End of Civilization":

In preparing for the future demise of civilization you would also seek to increase the government’s power as much and as rapidly as possible. Why? To maintain control over those increasingly precious resources, and equally important, to control people – especially your own people – by force, if necessary. Viewed in this light, the government’s aggressive pursuit of power during the last five years makes perfect sense. Ironically, President Bush got it right when he reportedly referred to the now totally eviscerated United States Constitution as a “god damned piece of paper.” That’s really all it is anymore.

So what fantasy world are Bush’s critics living in? The fantasy world in which civilization can continue as it has in the past. That we can continue to improve the standard of living of everyone in the world if we just return to a more sharing and egalitarian way of life, like that which we enjoyed between World War II and the mid 1970s. This is a fantasy. The Earth has finite limits. We are finally starting to grasp that fact with respect to oil. But oil depletion is merely the first in a series of coming crises ensuing from the finite confines of our planet. The fundamental problem – and I’m not a Malthusian – is that there are simply too many people for the Earth to sustain. This is why fish are disappearing from the oceans, why the supply of oil is unable to keep up with demand, why the globe is being deforested, why animal and plant species are going extinct, why water wars are in the offing. Perhaps if people were wiser and more willing to share, and implicitly, less greedy, we could sustain the more than six billion people on Earth, but, alas, such idealism does not describe human beings.

Summarizes many of the recent discussions on TOD.

The only point that I would quibble with Erquat is on his later assessment that the collapse of civilization will send us back to the lifestyle of the Middle Ages. The Middle Ages, based on feudalism, was a marked improvement over the Dark Ages; a period when war, famine, anarchy and disorder characterized much of Western Europe in the wake of Roman demise. People forget that the even the rudamentary paradigm of the Middle Ages took generations and centuries to develop.

"To maintain control over those increasingly precious resources, and equally important, to control people – especially your own people – by force, if necessary. "

Personally I would just prefer that they not answer the phones.

"The Middle Ages, based on feudalism, was a marked improvement over the Dark Ages;"

If you were a slave/serf, I doubt the middle ages was much of an improvement. Atleast in the dark ages your efforts were for your own or tribes well being. IMHO, anarchy and tribal warfare are preferable to slavery. Atleast in the former, you had a fighting chance.

"Gore Vidal: Well it's because we no longer have a country. We don't have a republic any more. During the last 7 or 8 years of the Bush regime, they've got rid of the Bill of Rights, they've got rid of habeas corpus. They have got rid of one of the nicest gifts that England ever left us when they went away and we ceased to be colonies - the Magna Carta - from the 12th century. All of our law and due process of law is based on that. And the Bush people got rid of it. The president and little Mr. Gonzales who for a few minutes was his Attorney General. They managed to get rid of all of the constitutional links that made us literally a republic."


On June 18, 1946, the Secretary of the Interior established the National Petroleum Council as the peacetime successor to the Petroleum Industry War Council. ...


"Nine days after announcing the Truman Doctrine, the president issued an executive order mandating loyalty oaths and security checks for federal employees, the start of the domestic red scare. The "paranoid style" of American life, in Richard Hofstadter's phrase, was set."

During the months that the United States was moving into the Middle East via Greece and Turkey, an interdepartmental committee from the State, Interior, Commerce, Army, and Navy departments hammered out a confidential recommendation which reached advanced form by November 1947 and was effectively to guide "United States Petroleum Policy" globally. In essence it updated and expanded the ambitious oil policy that had been formulated at the end of 1944."


That both Domestic and Foreign Actions happened at the same time was no accident.

I've said all along that creation of the Federal Reserve and Income Tax
was to make WWI possible.

WWI being the first fight over oil.

The fight over oil, and who won, can be marked thru out
the Age of Oil.

Right up to 121200, 911, the War of Terror, and the never ending fight for Iran's oil.

The difference between 1930 and 1886 is electricity.

And it's no accident that this is the second time in as many weeks that
a bush announcement is stepping on the Inventory release.

The Middle Ages, based on feudalism, was a marked improvement over the Dark Ages; a period when war, famine, anarchy and disorder characterized much of Western Europe in the wake of Roman demise. People forget that the even the rudamentary paradigm of the Middle Ages took generations and centuries to develop.

The so-called Dark Ages were not nearly so dark and bleak as you make them out. Feudalism rose alongside Christianity, and much of the bad press for the dark ages (including the name itself) was anti-pagan propaganda. In any case, the Middle Ages was certainly not short of war, famine, anarchy, and disorder.

There is a modern translation of a journey to the court of Atilla written by two Englishmen kicking around out there. It is really enlightening. The world of Northern Europe at that time was nothing like the popular conceptions, nor was the court of Atilla.

The Dark Ages saw a decrease in centralization of nearly everything, including authority. The advocates of centralized power would have you believe that is necessarily a bad thing.

Attila's heyday was around 450 AD, which was while the English were still in Germany, except for an advance party in Kent bargaining for its place with the British king Vortigern.

So this journey is a tad anachronistic.

And the archaelogical record is decidedly not flattering in regards to the Dark Ages.

Atilla is early in the Dark Ages. However the area under Atilla's control was never under Roman control, so it is hard to make the case that the collapse of the Roman west had any impact on that area at all. I used it as an example to demonstrate that commerce, art, and civilization existed outside the Roman sphere, and it continued to exist even after (and as) the Roman sphere shrank.

In any case, modern historians don't even use the term "Dark Ages" any more, because it's perjorative connotations are unwarranted. The Wikipedia article is an easily-linked summary of why the name is unwarranted. However, I base most of my observations on independent reading and conversations with my daughter, who is a dissertation candidate in Medieval history (who nearly took my head off one day when I used the term "Dark Ages").

Commerce, art and civilization continued to exist but in savagely diminished degree, as shown by digs from that era.

The Hunnic takeover along the Roman frontier was devastating to the Gepids and other people in the region who had previously been under Roman influence. That is why so many fled into the Roman Empire. One does not need jeremiads from Roman Christian friars to know the Dark Ages were dark.

The Hunnic heartland in Europe was based around the 'capital' of Szeged between 435-451. There were forays into the Baltic - 435 -438, Moesia 441 and Pannonia and through Thrace to Constantinople in 447

Attila's envoys entered the court of Theodosius II in 449.

One of whom is actually a Roman called Orestes. The leader of the embassy was Edika (a Skirian)

Priscus - a Civil Servant and Scholar travelled to Attilas court

He was probably one of the few (perhaps the only) Roman to have actually met Attila.

What is really known about Attila probably wouldnt stretch to one side of A4 paper.

What is actually known of the Huns from recorded history might make about a chapter.

What is known is that Huns terrified the Martial Goths enough to cross the Danube into the Empire to seek sanctuary. The Romans treated the Goths like dogs and they revolted.

Whoever visited the court of Attila were not AEngelsc: The Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Friese were still in lands between the Elbe and the Weser at this time. Hengist and Horsa went to Britain at the behest of Vortigern to help him sort out other Brits , but they liked it and stayed. DNA studies are beggining to show that it doesnt look good for male-line Romano-British DNA south of the Humber and East of Wales and Cornwall. In fact, its beggining to look like a war of extermination.

Footnote: The Volsungsaga mentions Attila as Atli - King of the Huns.
Gudrun - A Volsung, married Atli and slayed him on their marriage bed in revenge for the cruel deaths of her brothers Hogni and Gunnar.(heart cut out while alive, pit of snakes for the other). Other versions suggest she was a Roman Princess / Just another Germanic Princess who just happened to be in his bed on the night he got seriously blootered and died of a heamorrhage / choked on his own vomit.

This kind of places the Volsungs in a historical context as Germanic Royalty on the Danube - probably Goth or Gepid in the years up to Attila's death in 454. Also, some sources suggest that Brunhilde was actually a Hun Princess.

The best version of course is Bugs Bunny:

'Kill the Wabbit' to the tune ride of the Valkure :-)

Yup - I really agree that we should empower the government to manage the collapse. I mean, they've done such a bang up wonderful job of managing the pre-collapse era, why shouldn't we ask them to continue?

This way of thinking is truly dangerous. Unless, of course, you like living in a completely mandated polity.

"This way of thinking is truly dangerous."


This why any climate change "policy" scares me more than climate change itself. Sounds much better to just let it happen and deal with it. All powerfule governments that manage everything down to the last carbon atom aren't really something I would like to have to live under.

Zodak -

This is why fish are disappearing from the oceans, why the supply of oil is unable to keep up with demand, why the globe is being deforested, why animal and plant species are going extinct, why water wars are in the offing.

It's really difficult to predict where Climate Change and Peak Oil will take humanity as this thing plays out. IMO I don't see society being equipped to deal with the triple threat of Climate Change, Peak Oil and Population overshoot in any substantive way.

Yesterday there was an article posted on TOD talking about post-apocololyptic fiction, comparing Kunstler's "World Made By Hand" to Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer Prize winning "The Road". I had already read "World Made by Hand" which to a large degree was a fictional extension of Kunstlers' book "The Long Emergency", but I hadn't yet read "The Road".

This promted me to take a trip to the local library to check out "The Road" yesterday. I finished it this morning about 3 a.m. and it is a one incredible read. I couldn't put it down.

Cormac McCarthy has a much darker vision for a post-apocolyptic world where Peak Oil and climate change have turned the world of humans with productive farms, vibrant cities and abundant livestock to a world where even the cattle are extinct, the farms no longer grow food, the water is poisoned, there is no power, gas is scarce and the air is not fit to breathe. To make matters worse the survivors that are doing well are harvesting each other - that's right cannibalism.

This sounds like a depressive experience but the scope and epic beauty of McCarthy's novel make reading it a moving experience and in a class way above Kunstler and this is no slam against JHK it's just the book is that good. The story deals with the trip of a father and son trying to survive on "The Road" starving and threatened by other humans. The key to the story is the father-son relationship.

Currently they are in post production on the movie "The Road" starring Viggio Mortensen, Charlize Theron and Robert Duvall directed by John Hillcoat (The Proposition). Hillcoat resents comparisons to the earlier Mad Max and Night Of The Living Dead/Zombie films.

"'The Road' is a film that will terrify people because it is plausible."John Hillcoat


Perhaps this film will succeed in waking up the general population to how dangerous Peak Oil and Climate Change is to a degree that "An Inconvenient Truth" or "The 11th hour" never did.

Cormac McCarthy has a much darker vision for a post-apocolyptic world where Peak Oil and climate change have turned the world of humans with productive farms, vibrant cities and abundant livestock to a world where even the cattle are extinct, the farms no longer grow food, the water is poisoned, there is no power, gas is scarce and the air is not fit to breathe.

McCarthy never states the cause of the disaster that changes the planet so completely. From the article you linked to:

Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “The Road,” takes place in a world that, because of some unexplained catastrophe, has just about ended. The sky is gray, the rivers are black, and color is just a memory. The landscape is covered in ash, with soot falling perpetually from the air. The cities are blasted and abandoned. The roads are littered with corpses either charred or melted, their dreams, Mr. McCarthy writes, “ensepulchred within their crozzled hearts.”

Have you read Cormac McCarthy's "No Country for Old Men" which is a clear eyed look at the Mexican drug running culture?The film is good too and keeps largely to the plot of the book.

"The Road" sounds like a worthwhile film to see. Before today, I wasn't aware of any Cormac McCarthy's works. More resources to add to our reading lists. Cheers!

Just an academic question that I'd like to get feedback on. Petroleum recovery has to deal with many factors (i.e., reservoir sizes, number of fields of various sizes, viscosity, etc.). For Petroleum, the HL method works fine.

However, I'm starting to think (based on my own models) that it may not be the best method for other things (i.e, Peak Coal). Yes, I've seen the curve for anthracite production, but anthracite was a case of demand destruction; there's still plenty of anthracite in PA.

I'm wondering if the Peak Coal predictions should be taken with a few more extra grains of salt? I'm not doubting that it'll happen... it may just be more different... coal doesn't flow like oil... it's more dependant on the (more variable) pulling effort of miners more than (the steady) flushing action of fluids.

Nate has said he has an article in the works on the Maximum Power Principal and the shape of Hubbert's curve. The main idea is that energy producers are trying to maximize the total energy they get paid while managing declining reserve quality. The shape that does that best is Hubbert's curve. They go after the largest cheapest, highest profit resources first, and then go after the expensive (smaller) resources second which cannot overcome the declines in the largest.

I think that is why it should work just as well for coal. Coal is going to have the same basic producing cost issues as oil. Setting up the main mining facility will be expensive. Running smaller operations off that main facility will be less expensive. (already have labor, equipment vendors, transportation, etc). So you get the same large resources are developed first, which cannot be replaced by smaller and smaller resources effect that will lead to a Hubbert curve.

I don't think it has much to do with fluid flow and everything to do with extraction volume and mine life (measured in decades).

What makes you say there is plenty of anthracite in PA? Why would any company be purchasing low quality coal from Wyoming and shipping it all the way to the east coast if there was high energy density coal available locally? I would be inclined to agree with your statement about Illinois high sulfur coal because of regulation.

Energy producers are trying to maximize the total energy they get paid while managing declining reserve quality. The shape that does that best is Hubbert's curve.

Excellent post. Exactly right.

1) I'm interested to see Nate's article. With oil you get a continous decline in oil and a complimentary (quantity-wise) increase in water as you recover. On the other hand, a vein of coal continues as 100% coal until you physically run of it. Instead of a logistics curve I would expect to see a sudden cliff (or series of cliffs superimposed on each other). Plus as you dig for the deeper veins the mine output becomes more dependant on supporting infrastructure, while oil wells don't. On paper it seems that the limiting factors in mines is in how you plan out the physical access to the coal veins. But I'll wait for the article.

I could be wrong, but I think Hubbert wrote his whole paper around the physical characteristics and issues specific to petroleum extraction. When he later talked about coal reserves it seems to me that he approached the topic in a totally different approach... but maybe I'm not seeing something. Even Deffeyes - towards the end in one of his books - says that he wouldn't attempt to use the HL method on natural gas because of differences between petroleum & natural gas extraction processes... I could have mis-read the passage.

2) I can't swear to it, but after listening to locals in NE PA it seems that a few powerplants in PA do have long term contractual access to anthracite coal. Of course, I could have heard a lot of bull. But anyway, I don't remember ever hearing of physical anthracite shortages in the news over the last 40 years.

I am looking forward to his paper also! Lol.

Your right about natural gas. We are seeing a different curve shape. I think that is happening because of associated gas being controlled by oil production and the very short life of non-conventional non-associated gas wells.

I would not expect you to hear of coal shortages, any more than the US had a shortage of oil after peak. Instead, oil was imported. And so with coal. The decline in production of PA anthracite was substituted with coal from further west.

If you check out the north sea field data, the individual fields do not have a logistic. Yet the whole region has that shape (setting aside the double hump because of an interruption in adding new fields).

I am guessing that you already saw David Rutledge's piece on coal production and HL posted here at TOD? He did get some impressive fits in many locations.

IIRC, sulfur regulations at power plants were part of the reason for the shift from anthracite out East to bitumen from the West. The bitumen from Wyoming was low sulfur as well as being lower energy. At one time, it was cheaper to bring the bitumen from Wyoming than install scrubbers and continue to use anthracite from the East.

I would need to look this back up to remember the details.

I'd take any discussion of "peak coal" with several grains of salt. There are huge resources of coal underlying much of western Canada. On maps, it's visible on the scale of areas the size of western US states (several). To recently, most of it was never counted in anyones totals of reserves, because it was too deep to economically extract with surface mining and not concentrated or of high enough quality to consider underground mining.

The recent development and proof of technical feasability of in-ground gassification to recover coal in that state has, however, completely changed that. Essentially, they drill two rows of wells into the coal seam, pressure fracture between the rows, then light a fire in one set of wells and pump oxygen and, if necessary, steam, into them. By restricting the available oxygen, the flame underground never burns all the fuel, instead converting most of it to CO and, with water-shift reaction, H2, which migrates to the other set of wells and becomes recoverable at surface as high-quality producer gas.


There have been at least one prototype proof of principle operation conducted in Australia, apparently quite successful economically.From what I've seen it is necessary to carefully manage underground pressures so that water always migrates into the flame front and being converted to H2 and C0 rather than getting contaminated and moving away to contaminate groundwater.

I personally think this is a terrible idea from the POV of GHG levels in earth atmosphere, but am sure that my opinions will carry no weight when energy goes short. Using this sort of technique you can anticipate that currently stated "300 yrs reserves" for coal in N America can easily extend out to thousand(?s?) years.


Here's a map of the points in Alberta which have been tested for underground coal (I've seen other maps where the coalbeds extend much further.) On this map, you're looking at an area of perhaps 100,000 sq km of coalbeds. The scale is incredible, but still the only coal "reserves" Alberta credits are a few mines in the western mountains, of no comparable significance.

Two different methods of UCG have now evolved, both are commercially available.

Thanks for the links. The above quote is from the first of your two links. I have read about research on burning underground coal for power before, but this is the first time I have seen any references to it being commercially available. I understand that China has been looking into this, with its large use of coal.

I would be interested in learning more about this, if you have additional links or contacts. I can be reached at GailTverberg at comcast dot net.

Having once worked on putting out a coal seam fire, and looking at the experiences in PA where coal fires were not controlled, I am not that complacent about the ability to control the flame front over the long term. Thus I would withhold judgement for a year or two on the ultimate success of these projects, until that control has been demonstrated.

"Commercially available"

I don't think those words mean what they think they mean. "tested" <> "commercially available".

If you haven't already, you might want to explore & critique the Energy Watch Group's report on coal from last year. It shows a production bell curve for global coal production through 2100 on p. 7.

There is considerable debate on the validity of the Peak Coal predictions, since there is a considerable volume of coal underground that is not currently considered a reserve, since it is too expensive, relative to other fuels, to extract. As oil and natural gas supplies decrease, and energy costs increase some of this resource will again become a reserve. The debate is about how much.

HO: I was hoping you would reply above re: the coal seam fire.

Can you give some parameters for the unrecognized reserves you're talking about, and/or take issue with the EWG report?

It has to be said that the news flow is particularly bad at the moment. It seems like the path towards fuel and food shortages, financial collapse, war with Iran and the like is accelerating.

It's difficult not to be gloomy at the moment - here in the UK anyway.

The positive side of this is that at least it makes it easier to talk to (normal people) about the issues we're facing, and some are even starting to believe me.

Thanks to the oildrum and a few other good sites, I at least feel slightly better psychologically prepared for what the future might hold than I was a few years ago.

Some people have suggested zinc-air batteries as a techno-fix to the peak oil problem.

I don't like the use of the word 'extinct' WRT metal...


The element gallium is in very short supply and the world may well run out of it in just a few years. Indium is threatened too, says Armin Reller, a materials chemist at Germany’s University of Augsburg. He estimates that our planet’s stock of indium will last no more than another decade. All the hafnium will be gone by 2017 also, and another twenty years will see the extinction of zinc. Even copper is an endangered item, since worldwide demand for it is likely to exceed available supplies by the end of the present century.

Perhaps the 'carrying capacity' of Earth for humans is what we can grow/burn in steam engines?

Well that limits it to 10^17 watts that we can generate from thermal solar (using steel/aluminium infrastructure) or nuclear.

Not a real short term concern.

Oil consumption data for April (final) was released a couple of days back.

A thing to remember re monthly consumption numbers..... they are not estimates like the weekly numbers. Instead they are the EIA's stab at summing the nation's actual consumption.

Recently the monthly numbers have show consumption falling at a considerably faster rate (4.3% year to date) than the weekly estimates would suggest (2.7%). Similarly the early monthly estimates have been considerably higher than the final figure.


The last time there were 3 months in sequence under 20 million barrels per day was 2003.

Is there a breakdown by sector? I wonder how much of this reduction is from the airline industry.

Here are the numbers for jet fuel:


And for all the various oil products:


I don't think consumption by industry is released monthly.

Note (sometimes people get hung up on this): "Product Supplied" in EIA parlance means "consumption", not production. (oil products that go into storage are not counted as product supplied) You can see their definition here:


Thanks! Not as much taken out of jet fuel as I imagined..but some. I'll need awhile of course to digest the "Product supplied" definitions!

This is a graph of US oil consumption from a post I did a few months ago. It shows annual data, plus a fitted exponential trend line to 1991 to 2004 data. Consumption was dropping relative to what we would have expected, in 2006 and 2007. The recent data shows the first four months of 2008 are a bit below 20. If this were plotted, it would be quite a drop. It seems to me that imports are dropping (we are being outbid on them), and this is the reason for the drop.

wondering why the data presented is an average for the 1st 4 months of the year ?

Probably three types of demand destruction: (1) Less consumption due to high prices, but no reduction in income; (2) Less consumption due to economic contraction, e.g., job loss; (3) Less consumption due to voluntary reductions. (An economist would suggest a fourth item: substitution, e.g., electric vehicles, but I don't think that will be material for quite some time, and in most cases, the EV's would be powered by fossil fueled power plants).

Offsetting this, a lot of people around the world want some version of the American lifestyle.

I think that we have a horse race between declining net oil exports and the aggregate decline in demand in importing countries. From May, 2007 to May, 2008, oil prices rose at about 6% per month. It looks like the June average price was at least 7% higher than May. For a number of reasons, I think that in the short to medium term we are going to continue to see increasing oil prices that are best expressed as a geometric progression: $50, $100, $200, $400, etc. The question is the time period between the doublings.

I think Yergin is getting worried we are gonna celebrate Quad Yergin Day before the second anniverary of the first one...

And since oil prices are now trading at close to $76 per barrel--twice Mr. Yergin's prediction--I hereby designate July 13, 2006 as "Daniel Yergin Day,"

Is it fair to say that Yergin, EIA and IEA are all responsible for the dangers of the US car industry to go "belly up" ?

I mean, they have all prognosticated some 120/130 mbd in the holy years of 2020/2030 .

I'd reckon the board in GM plan accordingly ....

Yes, in my opinion they are responsible.

They ought to be ashamed of themselves for their incompetence and the damage it has done.

It would be nice if they had a Japenese attitude to the concept of shame.

I have a Katana I could lend them!

American and Japanese culture are so very different...I think we, proactive Americans, should practice ritual homicide instead of ritual suicide. A guillotine with the stars and strips as bunting would look so cheery and patriotic. Compost the rich! ;-)>

Katana: Too long.

Wakizashi at best, or that little paper knife they also carry.

Off course the Second at the event may choose to use the Katana to make it quick - if present.

Still...it would stop them from lying if this was a possible outcome.

Our version seems to be retirement on a fat pension.

There is the modern Japanese example of the PM who took responsibility for the 1990's economy by giving his money away and taking a job as a dishwasher.

Quite the contrast to Tony Blair and W.

Are you sure about this?

Sounds like an urban rumor to me.

Do you have a source?

I always thought the proper technique was to wrap the sword in fabric as described in the book Shogun. Also good leverage for proper disemboweling.

Nah, method of choice now a days is the commuter train. As in stand in front of it when its not stopped.

I'm not kidding.

Are you sure about this?

Sounds like an urban rumor to me.

Do you have a source?

Many wear orange hats so no one will endanger themselves trying to save them and the engineer will not see their faces.


I think the people who presented them as experts share some of the blame as well. Without a stage, they'd be so obscure as to have no relevance. I also blame the people who kept listening to them, even after they have been proven disastrously wrong. There's a lot of blame to go around. But, yes, it would be nice if Yergin (et. al.) had a sense of shame.

I think that Yergin and Michael Lynch sleep very well at night. They have fulfilled their role and did what they were supposed to do.

There is no shame anymore.
We are attacked on 9/11 and the commander at NORAD is promoted.
We were promised flowers in Iraq and the columnists who made those predictions are still writing in the NYT.
The entire media promotes the invasion of Iraq and then attacks Michael Moore for exposing them.
The same Congress that signed off on the Iraq War voted for Kyl/Lieberman and will soon vote for HR 362 and SR 580.
These people know exactly what they are doing.

When will we ever learn? Most "experts" are no better at predictions than a random toss of the dice, throw of a dart, or toss of a coin. See what Taleb had to say about them in The Black Swan.

Actually, Yergin is worse than random chance. Every time in the last 5 years Yergin and/or CERA predictions have been wrong about the oil price, except once. If you picked randomly if price would go up or down, you'd be around 50% right. Yergin and CERA have only been right once out of seven predictions, 14% accuracy. (source.)

I think the people who did not question the "experts" deserve some of the blame as well. Think, Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

I said in a post the other day that the US auto industry should be ashamed of themselves for having the worst average fuel economy among first world nations, about half that of the EU and Japan. Didn't anybody in Detroit think there was something wrong with this happy go guzzling picture? Sure there are gas guzzlers in the EU but you won't find them in the hands of Joe Sixpack. Most cars in Europe that, have fuel economy figures even close to the average SUV, cost a small fortune. There's a message in there somewhere.

Alan from the islands

I think the rich CEO class in the US had absorbed rightwing and/or libertarian views to such an extent, that it was impossible for them to see any evidence of PO. I bet they will stay in denial, as what remains of their companies are auctioned off to foreign bidders.

No, all they could see were trend lines for SUV sales and profits extrapolated into the future. That is what their boards wanted to see, and that is what their corporate planning departments were paid to provide.

I thought it was amusing that in the interview linked to a Drumbeat item above ("Saudi Arabia says no oil production boost"), al Naimi pointed to "everybody"'s predictions that KSA would supply 11-12 mbpd in the coming years as justification for not increasing their output...when IEA et al. base their projections on what KSA says it plans to produce.

Looks to me like the finger-pointing here goes in a circle.

And then we have the allegation that the administration quashed the IEA revision. Given that IEA and EIA serve at the pleasure of their masters, and that CERA and the like serve at the pleasure of their investors, I don't think we can blame this one on incompetence.

"I'd reckon the board in GM plan accordingly ...."

the housing bubble is hurting more than high oil prices. GM's problem is they made a Faustian bargain on cars that made them the most money per vehicle.

I suspect most of it is at this state demand response, i.e. temporal adjustment to reflect the high price.

Demand destruction, in economic parlance, is the kind of demand that is 'forever' removed from the market due to structural changes (i.e. switching to alternatives, etc.). Of course 'forever' is not forever, except in economic theories ...

Copy of a portion of my post over on Jerome's article:

. . . . at 6% per month (from May, 2008), the average price for July would be $141, and on the second of July we are at about $142.

I think that we have a toxic (for energy consumers) combination of an accelerating net export decline rate, and a requirement for an accelerating rate of increase in oil prices, in order to balance supply against demand, as forced energy conservation moves up the food chain.

Make that $143. Went up sharply at the close.

$143.87 just after close. Curious.

Question on NYMEX - does it actually close in the sense that regular stock markets close? It seems to be trading almost all the time. It has an updated close price now, but it looks like it is already trading again. Just curious.

It does. Trading moves to the ICE.

The trading floor closes at 2:30pm, and it moves to CME GLOBEX, not ICE. I almost always have streaming quotes going (http://nymexdatardc.cme.com/).

A 6% per month increase is incredible. With oil over $144 in after hours trading, I don't know what to call an almost $20 increase over the average price of $125 in May.

Yeah, it's pretty frightening to see, isn't it? Even though we knew this was coming. Still, there's a certain schadenfreude, no?

I think back to 2002-2003 when I gave up trying to convince skeptics that peak oil was a danger that should be thought about because most of our transportation infrastructure depends on oil. People gave me a hard time and must have thought I was nuts. If things continue like this, some of the more dire predictions people have made won't look so dire any more.

*edit* I'm not sure schadenfreude is quite the word I was looking for, more like mixed horror and fascination.

Nice memory, here's the quote:

''If bin Laden takes over and becomes king of Saudi Arabia, he'd turn off the tap,''...''He said at one point that he wants oil to be $144 a barrel'' -- about six times what it sells for now.

Published October, 2001. Some guy who lives in a cave and gets other people to crash airplanes into buildings for a living is better at forecasting oil prices than our so-called experts. Of course, he didn't put a date on that and he was right for the wrong reasons, but it's still depressing.

Many DBs ago there was thread on new units of measure. We have the Yergin at $38.00. There was talk of a Pickens as I recall - others too.

Perhaps $144/barrel equals one bin Laden?!


Oil and the "Third World War"
Donna AB U-Nasr, Associated Press Writer (September 28, 2001)

In 1998 bin Laden gave an interview when he said that the United States had carried out the "biggest theft in history" by buying oil from Persian Gulf countries at low prices. According to bin Laden, a barrel of oil today should cost $144. Based on that calculation, he said, the Americans have stolen $36 trillion from Muslims and they owe each member of the faith $30,000. "Do you want (Muslims) to remain silent in the face of such a huge theft?" Bin Laden said.


the quote was taken from the book
Bin Laden, Al-Jazeera - And I, by Jamal Abdul Latif Ismail
which includes a 54-page transcript of the complete 1998 interview that was broadcast in abbreviated form on Al-Jazeera

Call it 15% shorter trips ....

You've commented on this price trend enough that I strongly suspect you are not missing the implications of this continuing for any length of time.

First a little tale on the power of compounding increases - Don't know where I heard it and I may perhaps be changing it a bit, in any event. A king challenged a peasant to a game of chess. When the peasant won, the king said what will you ask of me for beating me at chess. The peasant said, "Not much my lord, only a a grain of wheat today and twice as much tomorrow and twice as much again each day for the next year". Well the king, thought to himself, "this peasant may be good at chess but he is not very bright after all". "I accept" said the King. And well before the year came to a close the peasant owned all the wheat in the kingdom.

So as you say there is 6% monthly increase which works out to just about a doubling in price every year. This trend has gone on for the past year. If, such a trend continues unabated what would we expect in the very near future.

1 year from now, July 2009: Oil $280/Barrel, Gas 8.20/gallon
2 years from now, July 2010: Oil $560/Barrel, Gas 16.40/gallon
3 years from now, July 2011: Oil $1,120/Barrel, Gas 32.80/gallon
4 years ... etc

So this trend has to end relatively quickly simply because there won't be any money left. What is astonishing about the current rate of increase is that if countervailing forces (demand destruction, alternatives, etc) don't make themselves felt extremely quickly ... Personally, I would question whether the price elasticity of oil is constant or whether it is a function of the absolute price of oil. In other words, I suspect the demand destruction that would occur in going from 150-170/barrel to be an order (or orders) of magnitude greater than that seen in going from 50-70/barrel. In any event, something has to give and soon or there's a world of hurt within three years.

or there's a world of hurt within three years.

That's my prediction.

As the late Herbert Stein was fond of saying, if something can't go on forever, then it won't. Obviously the world can't afford infinitely priced oil, or anything much beyond a few doublings of price. Eventually, serious (and painful) demand destruction will kick in in earnest, enough so to level off that exponential trend.

Realistic story about a couple moving to the family farm, and giving up a combined 200K salary:


If you're old enough, westexas, no doubt you've seen this story line before. Enjoy a walk down memory lane:

One of my favorite shows.

My friends in Chicago nicknamed my place “green acres”. Similar to Oliver in that I’m trained as an attorney. Now I have to find an Eastern European women. Interestingly, none of these friends want to come down to help clear some brush. Glad I never gave them my address.

Hey Bruce,

Would you consider doing a post sometime on the setup you've got there, and how you got started, etc.? Also the economics of it?

I for one would be pretty interested in your story. If it's already been posted here or elsewhere on the web, could you direct me to it?


I purchased my small property, ten acres (if you flatten it out it’s a lot bigger) two years ago after cashing out on top of the housing bubble by selling my three flat in Chicago. It took six months of searching to find the perfect property, on rolling hills, surrounded by forest, good price, and very good drainage in South Central Illinois. It came with an eight year old double-wide modular, a thirty five x sixty foot steel pole barn, two wells, and county water. (expensive1). The soil is average fertility, not like the rich loam in Central and Northern Illinois, but I prefer it because it is better for growing grapes and fruit trees. Grapes should suffer! There are multiple orchards and vineyards in the area. I have planted a vineyard of sixty vines mostly of the latest varieties Marquette, Noirette, and Cordot Noir. The timing could not be better to capitalize on these recently released wine grapes from Cornell and University of Minnesota. A second vineyard of thirty plants from cuttings will go in next year. I’ve also planted a small orchard of about forty fruit trees - apples, peaches, plums, nectarines, pears, persimmons, and paw paws. More to come. Nut trees were planted consisting of hazelnuts, hickories and pecans. The property has about three acres of heavily wooded area adjacent to some of the oldest and best woods in the state that the owner (a retire professor) put in trust to the University of Illinois as a preserve. My woods contain hickories, black walnuts, and a variety of oaks, sugar maples, black cherry, ash, sassafras, and osage orange. I get too many black walnuts to possibly use. I have also planted two long rows of blackberries and raspberries (which also grow wild along the forest) which are starting to produce very well. Other fruit bushes consist of seaberries, honeyberries, blueberries, currants, gooseberries, elderberries (which also grow wild in the ditches along my northern border), and goji berries. As to vegetables I have three rows of asparagus 100 plants of Jersey Giant, and 75 plants of purple passion. I love garlic so I have over fifteen varieties (1000 bulbs?) that I am testing to see what likes my soil. Transylvanian and Kettle River Giant appear to grow best in my soil. I’ve been so busy cutting down saplings, repairing fence killing poison ivy, restoring pasture, and planting permanent crops that I have not started to grow annual crops like beans, tomatoes, etc. in earnest. I have cut rows for future crops separated by white Dutch clover strips do conserve moisture and enhance fertility. The rows are presently being solarized with clear plastic to kill the seed bank that has accumulated over the years. My property has been cow pasture for the last fifty years. I have also mowed by hand using a brush cutter multiple stacks of hay to be used as compost later. I am building a large concrete block and wood compost bin for this purpose. Next year I start getting serious with the veggies using seeds I’ve accumulated over the years.

OK. I’ve been as serious gardener for the forty plus years and I must say the learning curve is steep. This is no to be attempted by anyone who is not totally committed to the project, loves what she is doing and the challenge of doing it, and a little nuts. But doing this has made my life more stress free than it has in years, and I always dreamed of doing something like this even before discovering peak oil. Peak oil only got my ass in gear.

Whew,! Got to go, my cat Hubbert sounds like he is getting into a fight with the neighbor’s cat. No fight really, he always wins.

You know what else would be really cool? If you put some pictures up on Google Earth, so we could see the place. Thanks!

That sounds great Bruce, I'm jealous.

My best wishes to you, bruce, on your "green acres" venture.

Doesn't surprise me that your friends are reluctant to help clear brush. You can always have fun telling them the story of the Little Red Hen. And stick to the original version: where laziness is rewarded by doing without.

My full hearted agreement with Consumer. There would be many people on this site, myself included, who would be very interested in hearing your story.

We'll leave it to your discretion whether to fill us in on the details about your search for a good "eastern European" woman. Who knows, there may be one who regularly reads blogs like these. This may be your lucky night.


This may be your lucky night.

I couldn't score in a whorehouse with a fist full of fifties or on a blind date with Heidi Fleiss. Something about my personality just turns women off. People who don’t know me very well ask if I’m gay or something - then they see me in action and they understand. I’d have to find a women that is nuts the same way.

Listen, Bruce, when it comes to the dance of the mating ritual, we're all as strange as three-dollar bills. And believe me, the mysterious interplay between man and woman continues well into the married years.

Put aside your fist full of fifties. Take courage, my friend, no matter how nuts you are you can count on someone even nuttier out there waiting for you.

I don't know whether to pity your solitary state or congratulate you on the sanity of singleness.

This is not a cynic speaking. Very few of us men would ever be married if our wives really knew what we were like beforehand. The same holds true in reverse. That's what makes dating and marriage such a daily surprise package.

Thanks Bruce, you just made me laugh out loud. Sigh... I'll go now upstairs to see what little surprise awaits me. I think I'd rather be where you are and watch your cat Hubbert fight.

Thanks for the helpful post. Would you say that your adventure is big cash negative, small cash negative, small cash positive or big cash positive? Do you make enough to buy what you need to get the next season going?

As to your personal life, I suggest using the following verbatim on match.com:

"I couldn't score in a whorehouse with a fist full of fifties or on a blind date with Heidi Fleiss. Something about my personality just turns women off. People who don’t know me very well ask if I’m gay or something - then they see me in action and they understand. I’d have to find a women that is nuts the same way."

.Right now it is a cash negative. It would be more if I was not so handy in everything from electrical, plumbing, woodworking, mechanics, metalworking, and have an ability to learn just about anything. Fortunately I own the place outright - no mortgage. Besides nursery stock and farm equipment (I wish I knew two years ago what I know now about farm equipment) my only bills are taxes and utilities. Not being a good saver locking up my money in land is good strategy. Long term it should be a decent investment. Similar properties such as mine in my area hold their value quite well. I have a full pension, if it is still there, from the Carpenters Union in a couple of years. Unfortunately, my job is one of the first affected by recessions, always has been. I stay employed in this field because it allows much free time to work on my place. I’ll probably never make much money on the place but that was understood in the beginning. But you never know, my future line of wines - Lifeboat Springs - might be a surprise! I’m very much a perfectionist and I should have a superior product. I plan on welding a rebar sculpture of a lifeboat on the corner of my property.

Sounds like you have a well thought-out plan in hand. Good Luck and Godspeed! And thanks for telling us about this.

Enjoyed your post very much.

Yeah, but you know the quote about the best laid plans of mice and men...

That's an excellent story !

It has many, many elements that
have been discussed here at TOD.

Unfortunately, it's not realistic in terms of presenting a response to PO and AGW. It's just an example of going back to the country. A sustainable farm/homestead would look very, very different. Links have been posted on these forums to the sort of thing that might actually help people survive.

Bullock Brothers. Google. (Sorry, don't have time to search for the links now... You can search my recent posts, if any are of a mind...)


"Realistic story about a couple moving to the family farm, and giving up a combined 200K salary"

what a bunch of idiots. they should have kept their jobs.

Money isn't everything.

You are an idiot.

Were you born this way, or did you have to work at it?

Money isn't everything.

You are an idiot.

Were you born this way, or did you have to work at it?

1. yeah money isn't everything. however when you're just scrapping buy $200,000 looks like a lot.

2. not the first time I've been called that.

3. it comes pretty naturally.

think of this from a sustainable/peak oil perspective. what if they spent $25,000 a year on peak oil preparations after getting out of debt. you can can get a solar panel system for $15,000. solar hot water for around $5,000. a scooter is maybe $5000. do you see where I'm going with this? they could spend that EACH YEAR. how many years worth of MREs could you buy with $25,000? how quickly could they have gotten out of debt? instead they went "back to the land" and probably overpaid for a place they might not know how to run and don't have the capital! good luck with the gourmet side business. good luck with not saving for retirement...

Did you read the story? This farm has been in the family for generations, the guy grew up there and returned to help out his parents & grandparents. Some people (not you, apparently) do care about family more than money.

Besides, the day could come when $200K won't buy you a cup of coffee, or those hot shot jobs just might not exist anymore. I suspect there will still be farms. If not, then there won't be very much of anything, including people still alive.

Did you read the story? This farm has been in the family for generations, the guy grew up there and returned to help out his parents & grandparents. Some people (not you, apparently) do care about family more than money.

Besides, the day could come when $200K won't buy you a cup of coffee, or those hot shot jobs just might not exist anymore. I suspect there will still be farms. If not, then there won't be very much of anything, including people still alive.

1. I didn't read the story just the comment.

2. yes there could be a day when $200,000 is nothing but between now and then you can protect yourself against that. buy some gold. no debt would be good. having some power and MREs might help. $200,000 would buy a boatload of gold and silver and in the meantime you can always have your eye on purchasing a farm at anytime. if you were out of debt do you realize how much money $200,000 is to put breathing room between you and peak oil? you could easily buy a tesla that is charged by your solar panels and you could say Peak What?

For those who think that speculators are responsible for the recent run-up in oil price: File this under "Speculators my a$$"...

Hunting for oil villains: The story of the Hunt brothers, who cornered the market on silver in the 1970s, shows why speculators aren't driving up oil prices.

Nelson Bunker Hunt and William Herbert Hunt were famous for cornering the silver market in the 1970s, eventually driving silver prices from $2 to $50 an ounce....Well, it turns out that the Hunt brothers did take delivery of silver - a massive amount in fact. In 1973 and 1974, the Hunts inventoried 55 million ounces of silver - about 10% of global supply...

Severin Borenstein, a Berkeley economist and the director of the University of California Energy Institute, contends that in order to push oil prices 30% above fair market value, speculators would have to hoard the equivalent of 2.5 million barrels a day.

"At that rate," Borenstein writes in a new paper, "in less than a year this secret market manipulator would have built an inventory larger than the entire U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve." ... "That much oil," Borenstein concludes, "would be very difficult to hide."

... The question I now have for him - or for anyone else who believes speculators are responsible for $140 oil - is simple:

Where are the Hunt brothers of today stashing all their oil?

Edit: I saw this is a repost from the top after I initially posted- apologies- but this is a much more verbose version...


Odd that you should mention the Hunt family and oil reserves. Just last week the last of the Hunts in the oil patch were bought by XTO, the largest oil company in the world that almost no one has ever heard of. ETO's E&P budget next year will approach that of ExxonMobil.

As far as hording goes, the US is the only organization capable of pulling 2.5 million bopd off the market and "hiding" it. Just stick it down the Stratigic Petroleum Reserve. Logisticly easier said then done though. And we already have about 10 months X 2.5 million bopd horded there already (about 750 million bo)

As far as hording goes, the US is the only organization capable of pulling 2.5 million bopd off the market and "hiding" it.

Now there's an interesting theory... What if the government has been hording it to manipulate prices? Buy low, sell high, pay off debt... Wow. I can just see the conspiracists grabbing a hold of that one... No, I can't think of government either being that smart or that stupid.

What if the government has been hording it to manipulate prices?

'the government' has so many other ways to retire debt.

Inflation of the money supply. Taxes. Repeudation/Bankruptcy. Pay us $X or we'll send in our army - why play in "the market" where the game is already, in part, fixed by you, 'the government'?

It would seem that the only kind of organization that could engage in hoarding at a meaningful scale would be those currently pumping oil out of the ground, who could "hoard" by pumping less. Saudi Arabia, for example. If they see Peak Oil on the horizon, this would probably be a smart move on their part, if they can modulate things so that the Neocons don't decide to liberate their oil...

They have in effect already admitted to doing so. I don't have a link, but a Saudi oil minister said about a month ago(to paraphrase): "Why should we be in a hurry to sell our precious resources when it will be worth more tomorrow?"

The question remains as to whether this is merely an obfuscation of their inability to produce more oil.

A good debunking of the oil price driven up by speculators who roll forward their positions is on the youtube (from MSNBC).

Rick Santanelli explains on MSNBC why oil speculators can NOT magically drive up the the spot price.

It's good to see some accurate information on this subject finally hitting the media. The IEA took a surprisingly strong stand on the topic as well.

Correction, that was Rick Santelli, on CNBC, May 27. An instant classic in my book! Lots of choice quotes in there...and hilarious to watch the other pundits try to get their heads around what he's saying. I referenced it (and the jeffvail thread on TOD) in an article back then: It Takes Two to Contango

Original CNBC video here

This item really caught my attention this morning (on foxbusiness.com no less!):

Part Three: The Oil Speculator Witch Hunt

"You’ll hear too from the oil speculator witch hunt crowd that there is no supply problem because average gasoline reserves on hand have risen since this past October, and the US oil stockpiles in this country have gone up nearly every week this year.

To wit, the argument is that because there’s more stockpiling going on, there’s no shortage of gasoline or oil in the U.S. today, because we have near-record reserves on hand.

You have just witnessed an advanced case of severe rectal cranial inversion.

What’s missing in this argument? The reason why countries stockpile and set up reserves to begin with: BECAUSE COUNTRIES ARE PROTECTING THEIR OIL RESERVES IN THE FACE OF RISING DEMAND."

"You’ll also see the argument from the witch hunters that all is well, that the U.S. daily buffer for oil production against demand, which was a paltry 1.5 million barrels as recently as 2005, is now up to 3 mn barrels in excess capacity today.

What’s missing here? A worldwide outlook-enough with the US-centric focus here. You need to compare the worldwide spare cushion to overall daily demand, and that comparison is terrifying.

The world’s spare capacity, the oil cushion as it were, has dwindled to just over 2 mn barrels per day with global demand at 86 mn barrels a day. That’s way down, by more than half, from 5 mn nine years ago vs 76 mn barrels consumed daily, says the U.S. Energy Information Administration. And again much of today’s surplus is sour crude, high in sulphur, which refiners loathe."

I guess the MSM is waking up...

It's a nice try, but they're still missing the diesel story.

"WASHINGTON - High gasoline prices have dramatically changed Americans' views on energy and the environment with more people now viewing oil drilling and new power plants as a greater priority than energy conservation than they did five months ago, according to a new survey. "

Only in America would high energy prices make people turn against energy conservation.

Perhaps they think they can plug in their Suburbans into all those new power plants. Good luck with that oil drilling thing; that should do wonders (not) in about ten years. In the mean time, those of who live in the real world will do everything we can to conserve. Others will just choose to piss away what little money they have left waiting for that magic increase in oil supply.

Who is to blame for our collective ignorance?

lol--Yes! I thought the same thing.

Regarding Gas Guzzlers article, £2 per gallon ! dream on.

Petrol is 120.9 uk pence per litre, 549.6 pence per uk gallon.

There are 4.546 litres per uk gallon and 3.785 litres per US gallon and GBP = USD 1.97

1 UK gallon of petrol in US Dollars exchanged is 10.83.

1 US gallon of gasoline would be USD 9.02.

9 bucks a gallon, mind you 6 bucks of that is tax.


I do envy the gasoline prices in the UK from one perspective. Should the higher oil prices begin to knock down you economy to a severe level your gov't could reduce the tax burden. Granted that wouldn't be a long term solution as well as also decreasing gov't income needed to support your social programs. But if it could hold back massive unemployment and a real depression it could be an option.

The only comparable buffer we may have on this side of the pond is our big disposable incomes. We can cut back on nonessentials to ease the shock. Still painful for some: 12,000 Starbuck Coffee employees were fired this morning. But we do have some fat to live off of while we try (hopefully) to adjust to the post PO world.

There is talk of using a supression of fuel duty or a reduction of fuel duty as a meanse of cushioning the consumer already. (but NOT from Her Maj's Gopvernment...)

Small problem:

Blair and Gordy p*ssed all our hard earned loot away in the good years.

He needs all the tax loot he can get for current expenditure.

I think the Greek for between a rock and a hard place is between the Scylla and Charybdis...

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending June 27, 2008

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.4 million barrels per day during the week ending June 27, up 155 thousand barrels per day from the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 89.2 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production fell last week, averaging 9.0 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging about 4.6 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged about 10.2 million barrels per day last week, down 83 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged nearly 10.1 million barrels per day, 87 thousand barrels per day above the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged nearly 1.4 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 149 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 2.0 million barrels from the previous week. At 299.8 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are near the lower boundary of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 2.1 million barrels last week, and are in the lower half of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and gasoline blending components inventories increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 1.3 million barrels, and are in the middle of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.7 million barrels last week but remain below the lower limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 2.3 million barrels last week, and are near the bottom of the average range for this time of year.

And here's what they were expecting:

Analysts surveyed by energy research firm Platts forecast that the weekly U.S. inventory report would show crude oil stocks fell 1.2 million barrels last week and gasoline stocks fell 500,000 barrels. Distillate stocks, which include diesel fuel and heating oil, were forecast to have gained 2.4 million in the week ended June 27.

The Gulf Coast crude oil inventory decline resumed, despite a lower refinery utilization rate. Interesting point. The Gulf Coast is the only PADD region to show a declining utilization rate over the past four weeks. I think that the Gulf Coast PADD, and especially the import dependent refineries on the coast (the Gulf Coast PADD covers a big area), are bouncing along at their summertime MOL.

Rinse & repeat: An accelerating net export decline from four key proximal producers, Venezuela & Mexico and Russia & Norway, causes a bidding war to break out for oil cargoes from the Persian Gulf and Africa. And then we shall see what happens to Saudi net oil exports in the second half of 2008 and in 2009.

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

Finished Motor Gasoline. . 9,338 . 9,504. -1.7% -1.1%
Kerosene-Type Jet Fuel. . . 1,598. . 1,656. -3.5%. . -3.5%
Distillate Fuel Oil. . . . . . . . 4,106. . 4,125 . -0.5% . -2.1%
Residual Fuel Oil . . . . . . . . . 587 . . . 734. -20.0% -16.6%
Propane/Propylene . . . . . . 1,039. . . 960 . +8.2% . -4.5%
Other Oils . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,675. . 3,751. . -2.0% . -3.1%

Total Products Supplied. 20,342. 20,730 . -1.9% -2.6%

YTD includes revised data for Jan-April and preliminary data May>


Any speculation as to why propane is continuing to be the outlier?

Just a thought, but might it be a substitute for residual fuel oil ?

Too expensive as a replacement for NG in any market where one can get NG AFAIK.

Puzzled too,

Oh well, the market will provide this winter,


YTD includes revised data for Jan-April and preliminary data May

Technical point....

For their calculations they are actually not yet using the final figure for April total products supplied but are instead still using an old estimate.

The year-to-date products supplied is given as: 20,163


I can derive it as follows (or come pretty close):

(for the June daily consumption estimate I used the latest 4-week moving average)

Month Num. Days Per Day Month Total
January 31 20,114 623,534
February 29 19,782 573,678
March 31 19,732 611,692
April 30 20,631 618,930
May 31 20,389 632,059
June 30 20,342 610,260
YTD 182 20,166 3,670,153

BUT the April number is in fact old (and way too high).

This old estimate for April and May come from the Monthly Energy Review released June 25:


The final April number was released on June 26 and is: 19,768


With April updated, total product supplied year to date falls to around 20,023.

Of course, if the May and June estimates follow the pattern so far this year, they are way too high also.

The upshot is that consumption has fallen further than -2.6% year to date.

[a technical point that actually makes a difference]

Thanks for politely correcting my error !

I do find it amazing that they do not use revised data that was released several days before, but still use old (and materially wrong) estimated data.

Will next week use the revised April data ?

Best Hopes for Good Data (and gentle unicorns),


If they are still using that old April estimate next week, I confess I might start to believe it's deliberate!

Just a note: This week, exactly one year ago, US Crude Oil inventory stood at 354 million barrels, the highest in many years. (In April of 1983 inventory levels reached 364.9 million barrels.) Anyway today the inventory level is 54.2 million barrels below the level of the same week last year.

Ron Patterson

Got myself a new ride last nite from Dunhams Sports. 2008 iZip 500w Electric Scooter! I made it to work in 20 minutes this morning (5 miles). Takes me about 35 minutes on my bicycle. Quite possibly the best investment I've ever made! =D

Testing out the new ride!

My girlfriend giving it a whirl!

Congrats Spud.

I wish I could ride a scooter but here in Texas there are just too many hunting clubs that specificly target you guys.

Can I make a suggestion? MOVE!!!

So far it's been good. Lots of people asking about the range and top speed and weight capacity. Kinda hard to give someone crap when it looks like they have a solution to $4 gas!

Actually, the last hunting show I went to had electric vehicles. The one I saw had alot of advantages over the standard 4-wheeler and was roughly the same cost, about 5k. No noise or smell to spook the critters plus a fair amount of storage capacity, it was really nice. Upkeep would be a breeze compared to an ATV ie no carbs to keep clean.

You might have guys equipping these with bigger batteries, off road tires, rifle racks and trailer but I doubt you would have any problems other than a few questions, even in Texas. Needs more range though. I'm seeing alot more scooters in Oklahoma, so I think they are gaining more acceptance every day.

I wish I could ride a scooter but here in Texas there are just too many hunting clubs that specificly target you guys.

Yeah, their trucks are pretty accurate...

Looks like a soccer mom had a bad hair day.


Common sense: look both ways and dont ride in the street. Dont make yourself a target.

People on bicycles commonly ride in the streets however. The catch is that a bicycle rider must obey the traffic laws (stop signs, red lights, etc), but in many cases there aren't any practical alternatives to riding in the street.

Riding a bicycle on the sidewalk, or on a sidewalk that's speciously labeled a "bike path", is well known to be many times more dangerous than riding on the street, in nearly all circumstances. The only serious dispute is about where, between 2 and 20, the factor lies. Mainly that's because of problems at intersections - see #4, #6, #9.

Of course, motorists don't like being occasionally and temporarily slowed down, but that's not fatal. See #8. Something like 98% of the serious accidents occur at intersections, and that's what must be heeded.

In states where motorists still have license to kill bicyclists with impunity, and perhaps Texas is one (I don't know, haven't been there for years), it may be better not to ride at all than to attempt the ultimately impossible task of sneaking by invisibly on sidewalks, unless the level of traffic is extremely low. And usually, if the traffic is that low, then (1) the area is probably too sparsely populated to have sidewalks anyhow, and (2) it's probably too sparsely populated to have anything useful within reasonable everyday cycling distance anyhow.

Those studies cite overall accident rates, but they do not appear to break out the fatality rates for accidents involving cyclists on the sidewalk versus accidents involving cyclists on the streets.

He's right (and didn't deserve downrating). It is more dangerous to ride on the sidewalks. Even taking rider experience into account. We thrashed this out at length in a previous DrumBeat.

Oddly, studies have also shown that it's more dangerous to ride on separate bike paths. Perhaps because riders tend to let down their guards.

I would speculate that part of the issue is that unless traffic is exceedingly light, and sometimes even then, driving/riding/walking is a co-operative venture - like it or not, and there's an American meme that won't like it one bit. But it may help explain why radically removing traffic signs and fixtures sometimes works well on streets in Europe, by eliminating a false sense of security.

What I mean is that for example, if you're driving a car down a highway and somebody comes zooming out of a blind driveway at the last second, you're going to get nailed regardless of how much you think you're in control. Likewise if a drunken pedestrian wanders in front of you at the last moment, you may be unable to avoid nailing him. Avoiding disaster sometimes requires the co-operation of the other party - like it or not. (Since deer apparently can't co-operate, they are crashes waiting to happen.)

Sidewalk riders will frequently be entering intersections from unexpected angles at unexpected times. This invisibility shuts down the co-operation. Here in Madison, WI, with lots of bikes, this causes a fatality now and then, usually one of the 'hooks' in my link. Of course, in theory, everyone could wait at every corner for all traffic to 'clear', but at many places in a city it never does. Or we could install four-way stops at every corner and perhaps at every driveway, but it would induce complete paralysis that no one apparently thinks worthwhile. (Life is not a zero-risk proposition, like it or not.)

Maybe the path thing is not as odd as it seems. Except for paths far out in sparsely populated rural areas, and we have a couple of those, the 'separation' is often an illusion only. Usually there are abundant driveway and road crossings, and due to terrain and occasionally the conceits of 'landscape architects', visibility is not always the best. And some of the folks who need to co-operate, both car drivers and the cyclists, are lulled by the supposedly 'safe' architecture, as also occurred on those European streets before the markings and fixtures were removed.

Note: the implied notion of quasi-forced co-operation might have broader implications in handling oil issues, but that's for another time :)

Perhaps I missed it, but the article doesn't explain how they controlled for the 'density' of cars to have accidents with. In other words, there are sidewalks and bike paths where there are people to use them. Streets also often go thru nearly car-free (rural)areas where there are no sidewalks. A third possible problem is that sidewalks are often bumpy with litter that is blown off the street by cars. Riding in the street is much smoother.

Honestly, I don't know about the 'density' question. The finding has been around so long - a colleague introduced me to it via a book, years ago when he saw that I was riding to work and using sidewalks more than was wise - that I wasn't really out to research it comprehensively.

I was mainly just out to point out, as are the articles, that the great preponderance of the evidence seems to be that riding on the sidewalk is nearly always considerably more dangerous than on the street. This matters because oil prices and guilt over AGW are both pushing more people to ride, while intuition, even the strongest intuition, about outlying safety events can sometimes be lamentably and even horribly wrong. Normally, a still-living person's set of truly serious near misses will simply be too small to educate the intuition adequately, making it necessary also to look at statistics and at least take them seriously even if one does have minor nitpicks.

Note that this is probably also why speed limits are so comprehensively posted. Everyday intuition simply can no longer meet today's ever more harshly stringent - even sanctimonious and hysterical - standard of socially-acceptable risk. For example, in their heyday, my grandparents would never have had any way even to notice, much less get up in arms about, a 1:500,000 chance, over a period of many months, of merely getting a bad tummyache and diarrhea - not even being maimed or dying - from fresh tomatoes. As the fictional Hercule Poirot once said, if he had died instead of eating the tinned fish, that should be such a surprise?

Still, to some extent, the aggregate data is in a perverse sense "controlled" for the density of cars. Most of the serious accidents happen with cars and where those cars are densest; areas with few cars will contribute little to the statistics. And while I know of one person locally who had a very bad accident with a concealed turkey buzzard that rose out of roadside brush, and while it can be nasty to taco a wheel on a pothole or brick noticed too late, things like that are rare, are not normally fatal, and they can happen every bit as well on a path as on the street. (In fact, due to visibility issues caused by the conceits of 'landscape architects', they might even be more likely on some paths.) The truly serious accidents, and the fatalities, normally involve cars.

A few modest suggestions:

1. Yes, I know that theoretically a riding stance that has you down flat across downturned handlebars is more "efficient". That's great when you are riding in a velodrome. When it comes to survival in traffic, though, riding a cruiser bike upright makes one a lot more visibile. For accident avoidance, visibility is crucially important. Anyone brave enough to venture out on a bike into street traffic should be doing everything they can to make themselves more visible to traffic. This is why those recumbant bikes are also a bad idea. Again, they look great in theory, but you are just down too low and sacrifice too much visibility. Just getting there is more important than getting there fast.

Similarly, bicyclists should wear something to enhance their visibility - an orange vest or something. I'd also suggest mounting one of those big orange slow moving vehicle triangles on the rear of the bike. Yes, it may look bad, and yes, it may slow you down. Again, just getting there is more important than getting there fast.

2. Bike at night and you really take your life in your hands. Yes, I know all about reflectors and reflective clothing and LED lights, etc. Sorry, but it is just too risky. Stick to the daytime if at all possible.

3. I know it is a pain to have to come to a complete stop at intersections and start up again, but you are an utter fool to try to just shoot on through. Pedestrians (those that manage to avoid being hit, anyway) know that they had better stop, look and listen before crossing a street. Bicyclists are just pedestrians on wheels when it comes to cross traffic. Again, just getting there is more important than getting there fast.

4. Finally, there are probably times when it might just be wiser to pull over to the side and stop, or even just walk your bike on the sidewalk (which should be perfectly OK and safe, btw). Some bicyclists seem to have a chip on their shoulder and want to assert their equal rights to be on the road, no matter what. Well, no matter what might very well include injury or death. IMHO, that isn't worth it. Again, just getting there is more important than getting there fast.

I know there will be a few bicyclists that blow their top when they see these suggestions. Do as you please. Those of you that actually do value your lives, though, might want to give serious thought to implementing these suggestions.

Maybe I'm just a hypercynic, but this looks like a staged photo to me.

Those hunting club members will be riding scooters themselves soon enough. Either that or taking the bus.

Yeah, too scary here, too.

I've considered flipping idea on its head. Since I don't drive that much (4000mi per year), maybe I should buy one of these monster SUVs from their current distressed owners, if I can get it at an appropriate price. Then I'd have an increase in relative safety over my current small car (Corolla).

I have kind of thought that this would happen. As the boomers retire, they will be driving less, and may move into large SUVs (the modern version of the giant Cadillac my grandfather drove) while commuters who put on 12k miles per year will buy up the small cars. I see this as a positive development, and leading to (a litte) painless demand destruction.

Despite their reputation, older SUVs are terrible for safety. Newer ones have more car-like handling and stability control that greatly reduces the chance of a rollover. Older cars and trucks perform terribly in front offset crash tests. It was really in just the early 2000's that car makers started reinforcing structures for crash test.

The F-150 was redesigned for 2003. Here are the offset crash tests before and after:

Good observation.
I drove a 10 cyl Dodge Ram PU at the test track the year they were introduced and received the shock of my life, no rack and pinion steering!
All that weight and power with perhaps a 1/2 second delay in steering response.
The photo above seems all too believable to me.

Must proofread.

It was really in just the early 2000's that car makers started reinforcing structures for this crash test.

Saw a fellow at an auto supply store riding a 50cc cycle they sell.
Since he was pretty big, 250lbs or so, I asked him how it rode for him.
He said that while the bike was his sons, he drove it often and could do 45mph.
He didn't know what the mileage was but the 1-2 gallon tank didn't need to be filled every week.

Road projects get red light due to budget

Ten road improvement projects are being put on hold in Raleigh due to budget constraints.


"Given the gas prices and the lesser amount of driving [ED:emphasis added], it doesn't seem to be a necessity right now. So that has been postponed,” Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said.

Just over $4 a barrel and we're already seeing, at least locally, the downward pressure being exerted on the old "Build! Build! Build" approach to roads.

...commuter belts becoming "ghostburbs" as residents flock to the inner cities...

Statements like this are not only untrue, they are unrealistic and impossible! If even 1% of suburb-dwellers tried to "flock to the inner cities" they would have to stack the dwellers like cordwood.

There is no room in U.S. towns or cities for huge influxes of people. Where exactly are these people supposed to be finding apartments (or possibly camping spots under overpasses) to live? The idea that there will be a mass exodus from the 'burbs into the cities is ridiculous. With prohibitively expensive gasoline (which is not here yet), we will have to find new ways of getting from homes in the outlying areas, find new places in the outlying areas to work, and find new locations for offices and places to buy and trade. Living in the giant central cities is going to be left to the rich. Small towns and medium sized cities will have to make a resurgence. (Maybe Wal-Mart can start a new brand-name for stores in the small cities. Would "Wal-Mart Mom-and-Pop work?)

camping spots under overpasses

We have a couple of thousand underneath I-10 in New Orleans, many of them with jobs. Those with jobs pay a few $ to others to "watch their stuff" when they are working.

The Baptist Mission opened up a second shelter, 101 beds, where people can stay up to a year. Different rules, no cursing or fighting, minimum personal hygiene, and must have a 40 hour/week job.

Post-Katrina, 20% of the surviving housing stock housed 50% of the population. MDs sleeping on air mattresses in hallways, judges in storerooms to my personal knowledge, etc. We bought a majority of the nations futons in those months.

Best Hopes,


I was in New Orleans a couple of months ago for an ACS conference -- it surprised me how many abandoned homes there were still in the northern and eastern parts of the city. Your comment about people living under the highway made me think, why don't they just go squat in an abandoned house?

Most live in tents, which can be more comfortable. And quite possibly safer as well.

I have talked with a number of people that have lived inside a tent in their own gutted homes for up to a year, with the only utilities being water and sewage. Tough ! But if the house has not been gutted, or without water, it is not livable. Mold everywhere, etc.

Under the I-10/Claiborne elevated, they are a mile walk from many jobs. Unless they have a bicycle, transportation from a squat 3 or 4 miles out is a problem.

In the first year post-K, squatting was pretty well tolerated (they would pick gutted homes and turn the water on themselves), much less so today.

Best Hopes,


With the weather down here, I would warn very very strongly against moving into a house that might be saturated with mold. Of course, here in Texas if you squat in an empty house, the landlord might show up and shoot you.

The grand jury came back with their decision regarding the homeowner who shot (or more accurately--executed) two guys who had broken into his neighbor's house and were in the process of hauling the goods away. There is a tape recording of the guy talking to the 911 operator about his plan to shoot the guys, and you can hear the pump action on his shotgun. As I expected, the grand jury no-billed him. No charges will be filed.

This was a white homeowner, and I think the deceased burglars were black. However, Nightline had a story about another homeowner, who happened to be black, who had shot and killed a guy breaking into his house. His memorable quote for the outlook for burglars in Texas: "Death."

I think the deceased burglars were black.

No, they were Latinos, Columbian illegal immigrants.

Man who killed two burglars escapes prosecution

His claim that he shot the men, both Columbian illegal immigrants, because he feared for his life appeared to be at odds with a 911 call he made just before he opened fire in which he appeared determined to confront them.

As I said, the more accurate term for what he did was "executed them," but I thought that there was very little chance that a Texas grand jury would charge him.

BTW, the writer in that article misspelled Colombian.

Peak oil looks like a boon for small towns that have been abandoned. Where would be a better place to settle, in the mega city slums or on a small acreage in the Midwest. Hopefully, we'll see a resurgence of family farms and not serfs. Here in OKC the outlying towns were settled with the idea of being one days travel by horse, with farms in betweeen. Until the Dust Bowl and exodus, the arrangment worked pretty well.

Most likely in cities with Non-Oil Transportation and good rail/water connections.

Settle in Dust Bowl, OK (remember climate change, despite the best efforts of your senator), 26 miles from the nearest WalMart, no factory or jobs (except local gov't & healthcare), crops that fail every few years due to drought, at the end of the supply chain, zero repairs to infrastructure, minimal social infrastructure (you are a newbie and people need to drive to church, so fewer do) or a city that can "get by" (barely) with Non-Oil transportation (Urban Rail + bicycles + walking), has jobs and factories and shipping and has good connections with the rest of the world ?

My goal this year is to use less than 60 gallons of diesel (almost never take the bus, just the streetcar). Quite possible where I live. How about ANY place in Oklahoma ?


The agricultural history of Oklahoma before the Dust Bowl collapse was awfully short, wasn't it? Since then they've had conservation programs and fertilizer and now mutant seeds. See how it goes without those.


You've obviously never been here. We are one of the few western states that hasn't sold all their water to Cali or Las Vegas. Now it we can just keep DFW from taking it.

West of I35, Lawton to Amarillo especially, is definitly a wasteland, but its a nice buffer zone from the states/cities where this and water shortages will hit quite hard, ie So Cal, and AZ. East of I35 is very similar to Arkansas and agriculture of all types/sizes thrives. The droughts are just about always west of I35 atleast in the 10years I've been here.

Social infrastucture, as I said, you've obviously never been here. Quite of few of your natives who came here after Katrina have stayed due to the same small town atmosphere that NO had. Of course, we don't have near the crime rate. Buglars here have the same life expectancy that they do in Texas.

For industries, we have a thriving medical, defense (only AWACS base in Conus) and of course, Oil and NG. We have several refineries as well. Hardly the end of the supply chain, ever hear of Cushing?

We're also one of the few western states that doesn't suffer from overpopulation. Yes, our roads suck due to East-West trucking traffic, but high diesel prices are taking care of that problem. Public transportation is a problem and it is being addressed, unfortunately too slowly IMHO but we are still have an oil state mentality sometimes.

Noone knows what the results with climate change will be, but I wouldn't want to be living on the coast, way too unpredictable for my taste. Tornados are alot less damaging than Hurricanes.

Unless the USG gives up the ghost in hurry, we'll be well situated for some time now. If that happens, all of us will have bigger things to worry about in the short term than global oil supplies.


Hi Super, The western part of OK can be extremely dry, but the northeastern part is known as green country, and in general does get plenty of rainfall. The last two years, like Iowa, we have gotten way too much. We have a considerable number of successful dryland farmers, lots of good lakes for water and some reliable rivers to supply many of them. The conservation programs were successful, and resulted in what are now beautiful wind breaks which run for miles. The agricultural history of OK before the dust bowl was punctuated by farmers coming in and trying to clear all of the land they could and use methods which worked other places. The dust bowl was partly climate and partly poor practices. The poor practices have been mostly corrected.

Alan, it is not possible at present to do that in OK. We are trying to work on it, however. There is a big push to TRY to save Union Station, a move on to reconnect OKC to major lines in Kansas, and discussion in the works to tie Broken Arrow, a major Tulsa suburb, to downtown with rail. We have to live with what we have. It seems odd to me that someone in New Orleans would criticize OK for livability. Now Jim Inhofe, that is criticism I can understand. His general election opponent will most likely be Andrew Rice, very much on the side of sustainability efforts here in OK. Just because we live here, we are not all stereotypical Okies.

Myself, I live virtually in the woods, with a minimum carbon footprint, ramping up for solar, drive a CNG vehicle, and am working toward getting a home filling station of the most popular brand. The gas I hope to use would otherwise be waste gas from a lease which has only a small amount of oil production and that stranded gas, and it is not enough to warrant any kind of gathering system. My job may not be sustainable either - I am a small oil and gas producer.

I would love to invite you to the 8TH Annual Conference of the Oklahoma Sustainability Network which willmost likely be held in Edmond, OK, just north of OKC, in early 2009 but the date has not yet been announced. In addition to our Annual Conference, we are working on Demand Side Management regulations before the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, have several groups affiliated with the Buy Fresh, Buy Local campaign (a National effort managed in Oklahoma by the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture), nine local Chapters ranging from huge (Tulsa and OKC) to very small (Bartlesville), and a continuing effort to reduce mercury emissions from coal fired electric plants. We are about encouraging businesses to be mindful of the environment, working to get the environmental groups to collaborate, and have contributed the leadership to several organizations who are working on issues involving social equity, suuch as the Oklahoma Food Coop. We have an active statewide Board of Directors, and are in fact working to make Oklahoma a better place to live and work. Please drop the stereotype and check us out. Maybe by the time of the Conference you can get here by rail.


I wish our website was more up to date, but we are an all volunteer organization. We cannot campaign for or against any candidate for public office, so I have no further comments on the candidates for the US Senate.

Sorry about the hit.

Jim Inhofe is my #1 hope to not be re-elected this year. And graduating from the University of Texas did not help much either.

I have driven through Oklahoma several times, I interviewed and got a job offer from Halliburton in Duncan, Oklahoma decades ago (I turned it down because it was in Duncan), and a very close gay friend's partner is from Tulsa. They visit family there periodically and after EVERY visit I get an "off the record" (so as to not upset partner) venting about Tulsa. A bit of hyperbole in the venting no doubt. The only good thing I think he ever said about Tulsa was that the security lines at the airport to get out are quick (he does like the family).

So my prejudices are not aligned to see Oklahoma as a desirable place to live. And, as with all prejudices, not entirely true I am sure.

Objectively, OKC seems to be over 90% low density sprawl from my drive-thrus. A hard place to start. From what little I saw of the smaller towns and rural communities, driving long distances is a normal part of life.

I did see Wichita Falls (yes in Texas, but across the Red River) after the 1970s tornado, and I am not sure about that destruction comparison. At least we get 40 hours warning...

I would be interested in speaking when things come together better.

Best hopes for Oklahoma :-)



Tulsa is fraught with prejudice - a big source of the horrible laws on illegal immigrants (in OKC, those laws are barely enforced). We are hoping for more commuter rail, with many corridors available, but they may get sucked up for freight only. With the rules for several hours IIRC between rail and passenger traffic, any commuter use would hamper both.

As to OKC, I have been told by a political candidate that OKC is the worst example of sprawl in the nation. The OSN folks down there are working on a Plan B, for adapting to restricted energy, and very recently set a date for a Plan C, like sometime in September. The Plan C effort is how we could get goods, services and people around in the event of a cataclysmic shutdown of energy resources. The date for that is on the OSN listserv, which you can reach from the OSN website link I put upthread.

I guess my optimism comes from two things. First, we have a lot of good folks involved in each of the Chapters, and a sound development plan to go with them. Second, I graduated from the University of Texas as well. When I could get out of the DFW Messtroplex, and still make a living, I jumped at it. Of course, then came the $8 beans to which I often refer. As a further note, the worst toronado I ever saw was in Dallas as a kid, in 1957. I actually watched it from about two blocks away, but it tore though Dallas like an urban renewal project, literally. The west half of what is now Love Field was destroyed by that twister. I have never seen one here in the Osage Hills.

With the rules for several hours IIRC between rail and passenger traffic, any commuter use would hamper both

Only if you use non-FRA equipment (Light Rail, subways, EU standard) is temporal separation required. FRA & non-FRA rolling stock can never be on the same tracks at the same time.

Use Amtrak type coaches (as most commuter rail operations do) and they only need the minimum safety distance (which depends upon the type of signaling more than anything else) between them and freight trains.

AFAIK, a passenger and a freight train can operate as closely as two freight trains (I do know that passenger trains can operate 10 mph faster than freight trains on the same tracks, this may have some small effect on separation, not really sure).

Best Hopes for Commuter Rail,


Chicago commuter rail (Metra) uses FRA compliant bi-level coaches that make the system very efficient. A single F-40ph locomotive or MP36 can pull a consist of up to 9 of these coaches (11 if double-headed), which means a seating capacity of up to 1350 passengers (150 per railcar). BTW, these can run sometimes on 5 minute headways during rush hour or within a minute or two of a freight train, which some of the routes share. Chicago, by the way, is a freight hub and these commuter trains often share some of the heaviest freight routes, including a Union Pacific route that often runs a train every 2 to 3 minutes.

And, the Metra trains can run up to 90 mph if the tracks and signaling allow.

There is no room in U.S. towns or cities for huge influxes of people.

Disagree. In many old cities and towns there is still lots of empty space - the remains of the flight to the 'burbs of decades past.

Also, we can and will lower our expectations. We will crowd more people into each unit. I expect it will happen quite naturally, as the economy worsens. Your brother loses his job, so you let him and his family live with you...even if it means they sleep on the floor of the living room.

Or people who are having trouble making ends meet will what they used to do in the past: take in boarders. That's become a joke in modern-day America, but we can go back to it, without building a lot of expensive new infrastructure.

Don't know if you got this one already, but here's some Suburban dismantling for you..


In Mesa, Ariz., officials are trying to decide what to do about boarded-up McMansions that become party pads, trashed in raucous "raves" where invitations come by text message.

In Atlanta, thieving from abandoned properties is so bad that police caught one man building a new house entirely of pilfered materials from empty homes.

Catabolic, Cataclysmic, Catapulting Collapse.. One Cheap-a$$ HomeDepot Mantlepiece at a time!

Yes. The Guardian may be exaggerating a bit, but there are "Ghostburbs" now. Where did those people go?

This article has some stats:

According to the study, which let respondents offer multiple replies when asked where they're headed once their property is foreclosed on, 76% of displaced homeowners and renters are moving in with relatives and friends. About 54% are moving to emergency shelters. About 40% are already on the streets.

I think more people will be moving in with friends and relatives as the economy worsens. The government and charities will have less money to spend on shelters, and the stigma of asking your family for help will fade. Nowadays, there's a belief that if you can't make it on your own - if you're an adult still living with your parents, or if your adult child is still living at home - there's something wrong with you. As times get tougher, that will change.

"police caught one man building a new house entirely of pilfered materials from empty homes"

I would not call this man a thief. I would call this man resourceful. He will survive well post Peak.

How about 'MMM' - or McMansion Mining

Catabolic, Cataclysmic, Catapulting Collapse.. One Cheap-a$$ HomeDepot Mantlepiece at a time!

I love it! Good one, jokuhl!

Catabolic, Cataclysmic, Catapulting Collapse.. One Cheap-a$$ HomeDepot Mantlepiece at a time!

or a collapsing housing bubble...but whatever floats your doomer boat. it's not like we've never been through this before.

What's the lowest-energy way to build an arcology?

Hmm. Below ground?

cf. Christian settlements in Turkey, Ethiopian Churches, N. Korean complexes, some urban complexes in Toronto, Paris, etc. that may qualify when the supply of cheap clothes and plastic goods dries up.

When my grandfather was drafted for WWII his family moved in with his sister's family. It was the only way to make ends meet on a soldiers pay.

I have encouraged all of my extended family and friends to do an ELM calculation (cut salary in half, double fuel prices) and then see if they can still keep their home. If not, then sell now and use the equity to split a house. It is much easier to put two families into one house if there are two bathrooms and two kitchens. Far more enjoyable that losing all equity to foreclosure and being forced to live together without any improvements.

During college I lived in the home of a widow who had split out two studio apartments, each with a bathroom and kitchen. Doing that had allowed her to keep her home.

There is no room in U.S. towns or cities for huge influxes of people.

As the discretionary side of the economy dies, there will be an enormous of unused office and warehouse space in the cities. I expect much of it will eventually be transformed into dwellings. No doubt, the most walkable cities with the best access to rail and waterborne transport will become a good deal denser than they are now, even as others flee to the country to attempt a self-sustaining way of life.

Wal-Mart is opening test stores in Arizonia to compete with the Tescoro (sp)Fresh and Easy stores. These are much like the old Mon and Pop corner grocery stores.

There is no room in U.S. towns or cities for huge influxes of people.

No, there is no 'room' at the prices and space one might be able to obtain outside the city.

Besides - what makes you think that 'we' (the planet) are not due for a major population correction?

If you are talking about replicating low-density single family housing in urban centers, of course you are right, and it simply isn't going to happen. Urban housing is going to be like urban housing anywhere - dense, with low s.f./person. Some new multifamily housing will undoubtedly be built, but a lot of it will be retrofits of existing buildings. The US has grossly overbuilt its retail space, a lot of those empty urban commercial buildings will have to be retrofitted into multifamily residential, especially on the upper floors.

Meanwhile, a lot of urban single family houses will have to be remodeled into duplexes, or accessory apartments put in to the basement or attic or added on. More accessory apartments can go above, or in, the garages.

Inflexible zoning laws are going to have to change to allow all of this. Those municipalities that are flexible will survive, those that are not maybe won't.

New Orleans, both pre & post-Katrina would be a good example.

I live in an 1890s house that has been cut up into 5 one bedroom apartments, pre-K (they tried to add a 6th post-K, poorly done, now empty).

Next door was 4 two bedroom apartments (perhaps original floor plan ?), same era or earlier, they are now rebuilding the attic for a 5th apartment (soon to be condos). Unusual ceiling heights :-) but dormer windows.

Downtown, several mid-rise office buildings have been converted into condos, and plans are under-way for two high rise (20 to 30 stories) condo conversions.

Half of a parking lot next to my corner grocery was converted into a two story duplex condo (each about 900 sq ft.) Less space for cars, more for people :-)

And this is in a very well "built out" city !

Best Hopes for Increased Urban density,


I see similar sorts of things in the older neighborhoods where I live in Atlanta. My building is one of the few dedicated apartment buildings, but most of the large ante bellum kind of houses at some point have gotten cut up into apartments or condos. What's weird is that a lot of the smaller 1930s and 1940s houses are getting torn down and replaced with McMansions. One across the street from me sold for $400k, torn down and $1.2 million is being asked for the now completed McMansion. (That's being asked, but it's been on the market for at least two years, no takers so far, but a few other McMansions have been sold.) Are we going to see McMansions being cup up into apartments and boarding houses? Probably.

Incidentally, regarding increased urban density: from where I'm sitting I can see high-rises sprouting like weeds in Atlanta. Housing crisis? What housing crisis? The building hasn't slowed down yet here, I guess there's a lag time for the big projects. The high-rises may not be filling as fast as they used to though.

And of course, urban gentrification is continuing. Where the industrial sites were, you get planned communities, e.g. Atlantic Station was a brown-fields site. Now it has a shopping mall, an Ikea and a Target with high-rises. mid-rises and town-homes interspersed. Older residential neighborhoods are being renovated -- lower income neighborhoods are out in the burbs east, west and south (north is the upper-income suburbs).

You have no idea. That was a Guardian article, and the Guardian is based in England, part of the European Union, which is a different world.

In that part of the world, they do indeed "stack the dwellers like cordwood", figuratively at least. For example, the population density of Paris is about 65,000 to the square mile. By comparison, the density of New York City, which is far and away the densest major area in the USA, is only a mere 27,000. (And if I correctly recall an old L'Histoire article that's not at hand at the moment, nearly one-fourth of the entire population of France lives in multistory apartment buildings.)

However, there is a (possibly ironic) measure of truth in your point about only the rich living at those densities. Plain ordinary working folks in Paris tend to get shunted off into the peripheral areas, the cités (or banlieues), French words nowadays connoting the very unpleasant high-crime areas, such as those subject to riots not so long ago.

So it's hard to say what will happen. In the USA, the cities are usually the crime hells - the oft-mentioned (around here) New Orleans being among the worst - so hardly anybody's going to be wanting to move there voluntarily. Instead, they may make considerable and surprising efforts to stay where they are rather than move and risk getting killed in the maelstrom. Time will tell.

Honolulu (Easter Island) is the safest USA city by a large margin, and very compact and walkable.

Says who?

15 murders with almost a million population is ahrd to beat in the USA http://www.cityrating.com/citycrime.asp?city=Honolulu&state=HI

Honolulu is not the safest city, and certainly not "by a large margin."

Everybody has an opinion. Murder rates have the highest % reported of any violent offense in the USA, so they are considered to be one of the most reliable stats. Virginia Beach, with half the population, reported 24 murders, while San Jose registered 29 with a similar population (according to the site I linked).

Even if you count only murders...there are cities with a similar or lower rate than Honolulu. It is simply not accurate to claim it's the safest city "by a large margin."

And I see no reason to count only murders. You end up with the small sample size problem that way, and sometimes, the difference between murder and assault or attempted murder is a matter of luck.

Also, Honolulu is not particularly densely populated. About the same as Albany, NY, or Ann Arbor, MI - not exactly packed in like sardines.

OK-how about-The Easter Island city that is in danger of being overrun by Night of The Living Dead cannibals is actually the safest USA city of its size or larger.

Again...it depends on how you define "safest." There are larger cities with lower violent crime rates, which is what most people are concerned about.

In fact, the correlation between population density and murder rate is kinda nebulous. DC has a lower population density than Boston, but a much higher murder rate.

Perhaps most interesting is that your chances of dying by gun violence is the same in the big city or in rural areas. The difference is in the city it's more likely to be homicide, in rural areas, it's more likely to be suicide.

"Perhaps most interesting is that your chances of dying by gun violence is the same in the big city or in rural areas. The difference is in the city it's more likely to be homicide, in rural areas, it's more likely to be suicide."

This statistic has always facinated me. While I am one who believes gun control is hitting your target, it makes me wonder about cause/effect since most there are far more guns in a rural setting than an urban one. I'm guessing of course since I've never seen this broken down this way. Are the suicides preventable or would a rope/cliff/car&tree be used instead of a gun if they weren't available? Or would the additional suffering/planning be more of a deterent to individuals who are considering this.

Hawaii clocks in at 7th best state overall (lowest suicide rate)http://www.suicidology.org/associations/1045/files/2005datapgs.pdf

To be honest, it sounds like you're encouraging everyone to come there. Beware of what you wish for, the law of unintended consequences is always lurking in the background.

You ever been to albany though? look at the crime rate versus honolulu.


Well, perhaps, but just so that our overseas readers are not deceived into thinking that Honolulu is representative, on the whole, the densely populated areas with multistory apartments and the like tend to be relatively quite unsafe.

I can invision both boarding houses returning and small towns reviving.

My kids live in Ellensburg, Washington, a small town in the middle of the state. It was founded long before automobiles, yet was tied firmly to the rest of the state. I have a map printed in 1906 that shows roads connecting the entire state, from one corner to the next -- RAILroads. No highways are on the map, because there were few autos. The farmers around Ellensburg subsisted without gas- or diesel-powered vehicles. They got water from wells and the Yakima river. They grew crops and raised cattle, and didn't live in poverty. However, they worked hard, and as a result their downtown was lined with banks and shops.

IMHO, we can and will eventually become like those people. However, the PROCESS is going to be bloody and dirty and leave only those who can grow and adapt. And from what I've observed, that will be a lot more people than some expect. People are highly adaptive, and when push comes to shove, most people learn to shove back.

There's room in Detroit (of course, who wants it--no offense to Detroiters). Big chunks of the city are gone back to pasture.

Robert Bryce talks about his book Gusher of lies.

Passionate guy, bad humorist.

"Robert Bryce on The Delusion of Energy Independence"


"In 1974, Richard Nixon promoted the possibility of U.S. energy independence in six years. In 1975, Gerald Ford promised it in ten. And in 2007, Barack Obama, Rudy Giuliani, Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, John Edwards and John McCain all trumpeted energy independence as an essential priority for the next president.

In 2007, six books were published hailing energy independence as the answer to everything from global warming to terrorism. But what is energy independence? Is it possible?

In Gusher of Lies (2008) Robert Bryce breaks down and debunks the myth of energy independence."

Bryce just sent me the following link to his latest:


Just when you think the Democrats can’t get any dumber when it comes to energy policy, they surprise you.

The latest development is their refusal to allow offshore drilling in the U.S. Their reasons for continuing the ban on offshore exploration are familiar: there’s not much oil to be found; drilling now won’t do any good in the near term; and finally, we’re “addicted” to oil.

The answers to those points are, respectively: wrong, wrong, and yeah, so what?

Before discussing offshore drilling, it should be noted that the Democrats’ refusal to allow more exploration comes just a few weeks after the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved (324 to 84) a bill that could allow the U.S. to sue OPEC for not producing enough oil.

And FYI, he may not sound like it, but Bryce's politics are to the left.

My thoughts about offshore drilling near Florida and who wins that state in November will be tied to wether or not it gets hit by a bad hurricane this season. If it gets a bad hit, the people will turn away from offshore and vote Obama. If it escapes a bad hit, they will favor offshore and McCain takes the state.

I read Bryce's book and he makes excellent arguments against "energy independence" and does a good job of debunking the effectiveness of alternatives. Where his book fell flat for me was in his luke warm treatment of PO. He seems dismissive about it being a problem. The other area I found lacking in his book were his solutions. They boiled down to: stop paying for the war in Iraq and pay off the national debt. His suggestions strike me as business as usual with less debt. While I whole-heartedly agree that ending the war and paying down the national debt are positive steps, they don't really seem to address the crux of the issue. I really felt sort of cheated when I read the conclusion as so much of the rest of the book is so convincingly laid out.

I read Bryce's book and he makes excellent arguments against "energy independence" and does a good job of debunking the effectiveness of alternatives. Where his book fell flat for me was in his luke warm treatment of PO. He seems dismissive about it being a problem.

EDIT: I think my previous point was a little lacking in logic. He can make comments about what what might not work, however, if he is not PO aware, then his entire sense of things is off. He's likely taking a BAU stance: alternatives can't give us what we have now. I would agre with that. But what we have is not desirable. I believe micro alternatives can help a huge proportion of teh population maintain a relatively comfortable living standard, particularly if communities will band together to do their own buildouts.

I'm sure this is a scenario he does not consider given the vast majority here on TOD don't really give it much thought.


He is definitely PO aware. There is a chapter in the book on it. One of the "authorities" on PO he cites is Kunstler, which struck me as a way of not taking the issue seriously. I interpreted his take as, "Well some crazy people out there believe that civilization will end...".

As I stated above, my bigger complaint was his lack of solutions. Ending the war and paying off the deficit is a solution that my 11-year nephew old could come up with. It sounds great, but A) is it not politically viable and B) it doesn't address the larger issues of overshoot/sustainability that we're bumping up against.

I'm sure this is a scenario he does not consider given the vast majority here on TOD don't really give it much thought.

I watched a chunk of the video link posted. He understands the limitations of alternatives pretty well, but he doesn't question BAU, nor certainly did the audience. I thought some of his attempted jokes were a bit funnier than they did, though.

'....stop paying for the war in Iraq and pay off the national debt. His suggestions strike me as business as usual with less debt.'

i havent read bryce's book. paying off the national debt, or more specifically living within one's means, is an entirely appropriate response to po.......that would mean living within one's means resource wise , imo.

He says that it's wrong to think that there's not much oil to be found offshore from the U.S. but, on the other hand, is there any good evidence that there really is all that much oil - or is he just saying that these areas should really be open for exploration to determine how much may be available.

Are there really promising areas off-shore and would these areas be considered "deep water" ?

I'm just curious as to why it appears he's adamant about how wrongheaded it is for the Democrats to think there's no offshore oil to be found.

Not trying to be confrontational here - I was under the impression that, in the grand scheme of things, anything more that we may discover domestically would have little impact on our overall supplies.

"...we’re “addicted” to oil."

that is not really a democrat boner, that is one of the more intelligent things the boner in chief has said, imo.

Caught this bit from another blog:

Future - Very f*cking expensive (Youtube video)

Anothing piece showing that maybe the idea of a Rimini protocol (aka Oil depletion protocol) wasn't so far fetched:

Indonesian president pleads for end to oil price blame game

"They need to make calculations about to what extent they can step up their production. If it's not possible they have to have commit to reduce oil consumption."

Of course, very unlikely to happen, but interesting nevertheless.

I've seen a lot of absurd Bloomberg headlines this one takes the cake.

Picture 1(2)

I don't see any problem with that. It's just the law of Supply and Dementia.


Thanks for the lead: "Gusher of Lies" sounds like a must-read.

Also, as far as the political faces offering solutions I'm told that Glen Beck has a short video on his web site going back over 30 years of many political players postering on the energy issue. I was told it's very funny and infuriating at the same time.

They're all good, but I like the one on "Natural Natural Gas".

"Organic" Natural Gas, perhaps? As opposed to that nasty, high C13 stuff formed on Titan?

Anyway, there is always a token reason for a price change that is thrown in. I think someone should start a trend and just say:

Prices/Sales/Employment went ______.
I don't know why.

They've changed it to "unexpected decrease" now.

I expected that.

Chesapeake Energy says Haynesville Shale in NW La, E. Texas is fourth largest gas field in world. Gas flows of 5 to 15 million cubic feet of gas per day with choked flow. This should ease the price of natural gas down from the present $13 per thousand cubic feet as these new wells are conected to distribution system.

Granholm said lower speed limits are “not a proposal,” but should be considered in light of the significant reduction in fuel consumption that results from reducing speed, and as one of many steps that could be taken to decrease demand for energy resources as the state and nation move toward alternatives to oil and gas.

Gov. Jenny Granholm showing some leadership in suggesting highway
speed reduction.

Of course the comment section illustrates the ignorance of most Michiganders.

One thing I might ask our esteemed Guv, "Exactly alternatives are we moving to? Horse and buggy"?

Yesterday I posted about an article in the Guardain about the problem of tackling economy vs tackling global warming (and also that the article specifically mention peak oil.)

As it happens, on the front page of the guradian today they did a follow up public poll on whether people were more concerned with the environment or economy:


Again it is a good read. However in my opinion it also highlight the dangers one occurs when interpreting data. The article concludes that people are slighly more concerened about the environment than the economy, and that the green movement has NOT been overshadowed by the current economic problems.

Here is my major concern: Will people still be worrying about the environment when they are struggling to feed their family due to economic/energy woes?

For that matter, is polling the [very affluent] population of the UK where survival is fairly low down in our priorities a good reflection on the GLOBAL concern for the environment? I'll bet the same poll in industrailising/developing countries would be significantly different if it meant them sacrificing some of their growth towards a better standard of living!

I realise a lot of people here believe that Global Warming has the potential to be a greater problem than Peak oil, but I can't help thinking that peak oil is bearing down on us WAY too fast in this 'race'.


I don't think Peak Oil would necessarily trump Global Warming in all circumstances. Perhaps yes in places like China and India who are looking to join the big industrial party. However take, say, Bangladesh or sub-Saharan Africa - climate change longer term is going to be a much bigger concern any way you slice it. If they never had that taste of high density energy use to start with, but instead are seeing crops wither or the land literally disappear under the waves, it makes more sense to worry about that.

Pretty terrible lesser of two evils discussion though!

"I can't help thinking that peak oil is bearing down on us WAY too fast in this 'race'."

If we had to pay daily for consequences of GW like we do for PO supply shortfalls, it'd be a different story. The other half of the "race" is as fast, look north, but not obvious on the roadside signs, marquees, and billboards.

If the environmentalists would just 'copp on' to how the peak oil issue could help make environmentalists out of everyone, they'd be much more successful.

From D. Eriqat, The end of civilization.

As the oil supply diminishes, in the absence of herculean efforts to use oil more efficiently and fairly, large numbers of human beings will die off. link

This has already long been the case. E.g. the Congo, where between 4-6 million ppl have died since the late 90s. One link, west official, as an ex: link

In the west, a vague meme says that the primitive Congolese are tribal warriors who enjoy chopping off the heads of their countrymen in crazed local wars. Few look at the resources of the Congo and its history and who exactly is active there and what they do. The Congolese use no oil - they are at the very bottom list of per capita oil use, basically zero... They have no transport, no clinics, no infrastructure for electricity, irrigation (according to the CIA factbook it has 110 sq. km. of irrigated land, 2.86 % of arable land!), and so on. Get nothing from their resources. So they fight, either the oppressors or amongst themselves, and they die...

Iraq might be another case in point. (The previous arrangement having been deliberately destroyed.)

Ppl in the west seem think they could never be affected in the same way. Life without oil is for ... others.


Doomerish today.

Niozette: Re Doom, I am surprised that the apparent decline in global life expectancy is not getting any attention. It appears that it rose steadily (1980-61 yrs, 1998-67 yrs) and now is at 66 yrs. Ten years ago projections were for it to be materially higher at this point. IMO the actual drop in global population is a long way off, but the declining life expectancy is going to pick up pace from this point.

A work colleague whom I discuss PO with, a staunch republican, sent me this link (I told you so) on shale oil :


I have read about the various estimates on the URR for shale...and I am getting confused about what is actually there and what kind of flow rates can be had from shale oil. I am getting a little miffed about this "we have more reserves than Saudi Arabia" from the Drill Drill Drill crowd.

Are they right about the shale oil play? Do we have that much reserves and it can be had if we say damn the environment? Does anyone have a good rebuttal to the shale oil enthusiasts. I am sure I have read something here on TOD about the counter arugment.

The USA has zero reserves of oil shale at today's prices (AFAIK).

Low EROEI and the long delay make them uneconomic (it may be close).

Reserves are what can be produced AT AN ECONOMIC PROFIT.

The ONLY technique out there (Shell) is electrically heating the center (and freeze the edges) for 4 years, and turn kerogen into oil.

Ten years till decent production levels *IF* someone makes the commitment. Shell is "thinking it over".

EVERYONE else has given up on oil shale.


The USA has zero reserves of oil shale at today's prices (AFAIK).

Low EROEI and the long delay make them uneconomic (it may be close).

Reserves are what can be produced AT AN ECONOMIC PROFIT.

The ONLY technique out there (Shell) is electrically heating the center (and freeze the edges) for 4 years, and turn kerogen into oil.

Shell believes they can profit at a price floor of $80/bbl, so they could be classified as reserves if Shell is correct.

It doesn't mean that we'll ever tap the oil shale though, because its far cheaper to liquefy coal. Maybe if coal prices go up a whole lot.

There is also a lot of confusion about the difference between the light oil in the fractured Bakken Shale Play, which will easily move to the wellbore, and the solid kerogen deposits in the Green River Formation in Colorado, which have to be strip mined and "cooked" or "cooked" in situ, in order to produce something that can be refined. And then, as Alan noted, there is the question of the capital and energy inputs, versus the output.

I discuss PO with a staunch republican

Fear not, the republican position is upheld by sound physics:

You Tube of McCain demonstrating the principles of physics (and monkey economics)

Sorry, meant to post this here instead.


Roger Ebert reviews movie, Kit: An American Girl. Debuts in theatres today.

We could use a hint...

Kit is the American Girl doll from the depression era. According to the review the movie is about the adjustment's Kit's family has to make as a result of the dislocation of the depression.

The hint is within the movie:

It sneaks in some 'hard times' lessons in advance of our looming Second Great Depression....especially for kids whose parents still have no clue.

The Bank of Korea reportedly sold a bunch of dollars to strengthen the won to deal with inflation (possibly oil price inflation): http://macro-man.blogspot.com/2008/07/defending-maginot-line.html

At the current rate of dollar devaluation, the Yuan (currently at 6.858) will be worth more than the US dollar by 2027.

100 Percent Cash

"Harrison believes we are heading for a "prolonged period of socioeconomic malaise," and investors need to shift their focusing from "chasing performance" to capital preservation.


Yep...the game has switched from "growth" to "survival". Those that recognized this last Fall are better for it now, financially.

Funny day on the market today. Commodities are up sharply, but companies like POT, APA, & SLB are way down. The broader markets are dropping fast in late trading. I wonder if we're seeing some kind of an unwind happening. Of course, I just dumped most of my shorts yesterday, because it looked to me like the market was going to do a dead-cat bounce recovery. If so, that was one of the shortest on record.

My two cents.

Commodities are up, commodity mining companies down. Classical intervention pattern, with the mining companies being shorted in anticipation of a major takedown of commodities tomorrow.

Look at gold - up $5. GOld Corp down 6%. What gives?

Tommorow we will have gold down $45.00 (5%).

Time will tell.

Edit: Tomorrow the ECB makes an interest rate announcement. If they raise rates, citing rising inflation, gold and hard assets should rise. But it probably wont given the shorting that went on today in the commodity shares.


My take was that the broader economic picture is so bad, and losses so great in most sectors, that traders had to sell their gains (almost entirely in commodity and energy plays)...which is also typical heading into a vacation weekend. I say it was simple profit-taking. Next week, or the week after, I expect they'll resume their long term upward trends.

Could be that the market is signaling that hard assets are worth something and paper assets like stocks are not so much? Brazen idea but these are crazy times. Who knows?

Remember that the last twenty years or so stocks have traded at very high multiples of earnings compared to historical averages. Even oil and other commodity stocks would go down.

The price of oil could go up and even oil stocks could go down if COP trading at 12 times earnings starts trading at 6 times earnings.

More on recent market new over at FinancialSense...

USDollar on Edge, Gold on Verge

Now the Intl Monetary Fund has decided to conduct an investigation into the financial management of the US banking system! This is totally unprecedented. The German journal Der Spiegel wrote that the IMF had informed US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke of its plans for a general examination of the US financial system. The IMF board of directors has ruled that a so-called Financial Sector Assessment Program is to be carried out in the United States. This, according to the German journal, “is nothing less than an X-ray of the entire US financial system… No Fed chief in US history has been forced to submit to the kind of humiliation that Ben Bernanke is facing.” For some reason, the entire story escaped the intrepid lapdog US press network system. We would live in a different world if all financial network news was from public funded commentators. My view is that some sort of powerful steps are being taken to perhaps wrest control of the US banks away from Americans, after declaring them to be a high risk to the global financial system. In 2001, reports came out that the Bank For Intl Settlements in Basel Switzerland had declared the Soviet Union a geopolitical security risk. After large loans were called for repayment, the Soviet Union collapsed. Back then, the BIS also announced that the US banking system represented a similar financial risk to the global economy. One must wonder if some profound changes are soon to come.

Saw this over at urban survival. Pretty scary stuff, but sooner or later the rest of the world will want something for their goods besides paper.

hi this is john from http://www.globalsolarcenter.com

For every new oil field found, we are digging our own graves deeper and deeper. Better alternatives are out there...

Hello TODers,

Two more indicators of building my speculative 'Federal Reserve Banks of I-NPK'?

This morning the ribbon was cut at Horizon Resources new mega plant in Williston...This new mega plant can hold 16,000 tons of dry fertilizer, a far cry from the mere 2,000 tons held by it`s predecessor.

...The fertilizer plant, once it’s finished next spring, will have the capacity to receive 100 car trains of fertilizer, unload 10,000 tons of fertilizer within 15 hours, load out 700 tons per hour and store up to 45,000 tons on site....“It’s going to be a real big building,” said New Vision’s General Manager Frank McDowell.
Recall that there are 3 gallons of gasoline equivalent embedded in a forty pound bag of I-NPK [see earlier weblink in archives]. Now do the math for the facilities above. Can you think of a better way to postPeak hoard FFs?

I would imagine that working at a fertilizer warehouse could be one of the most secure postPeak careers. When precision snipers are positioned on the rooftops to protect the facility--the employees will then fully realize how there are No Substitutes to NPK.

Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?

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

"When precision snipers are positioned on the rooftops to protect the facility"

I think my post peak gunsmith career will be in pretty good shape too. Unfortunately.....

Hello Jrc9596,

Thxs for responding--good choice! I was thinking Alan Drake, or anybody else that owns a diesel vehicle, should think about investing in the Liposuction business [see Leanan's toplink in yesterday's DB]--this could provide a very steady supply of biodiesel for these investors until everyone slims down from food shortages.

Imagine postPeak rich people paying the poor for liposuction, or paying the Mafia to kidnap obese adults and kids for forced liposuction.

I think many of these newly-slimmed down people would be highly pleased with their new svelte figures when released--you couldn't get them to press charges, much less expect them to testify against their kidnappers. They would be too busy showcasing themselves to their friends, families, and potential dates.

They would be too busy showcasing themselves to their friends, families, and potential dates.

Ughh!! Images of a 350lb. body suddenly reduced to less than 200 come to mind. Now if the liposuction included tightening up all that loose skin... maybe.

Alan from the islands

Hello TODers,

Please consider the following if you are an elected official at the State or National level [We know you and/or your staff members monitor TOD on a regular basis].

As a future defensive measure to help protect yourself and your families in the coming postPeak S**tstorm:

1. Use your Franking Priveleges to be Totally Frank!

Please have your envelope-stuffers enclose a few veggie seeds in each letter that you mail out to your district's citizens. You can counterbalance all the usual BAU political wordcrap by having the last sentence encouraging the citizen to plant the enclosed seeds in their backyard. Please use biodegradeable paper so that the citizen can safely shred, then compost your spending of their tax-money.

2. Please use every inside media opportunity to display a few, small bags of clearly-labeled fertilizer and veggie plants.

Consider clearing out the bookcase behind your desk, then displaying on the shelves some visually eyecatching tomato plants, interspersed with clear bags full of dark and rich compost. These should readily be seen on-camera to encourage your citizens to start composting and gardening.

3. Use every outside media opportunity to display a wheelbarrow and/or bicycle.

While being interviewed, have staff members move piles of paper, heaped into wheelbarrows in the camera background. Wearing a bicycle helmet, while on-camera, will preclude the MSM visually editing out the message of the bicycle between your legs by a tight zoom. Mention strategic reserves of wheelbarrows and bicycles at every media opportunity.

4. To help promote the ideas of Alan Drake's RR & TOD:

Interview as much as possible, or be photographed, by a train or subway car. Mention the need for strategic reserves of railcars, plus huge expansions of railtrack as much as possible.

5. Propose Legislative Bills to accomplish these above postPeak ends even if they will never get out of Committee, or reach a vote on the House or Senate Floor. This way you can show you at least tried to create the Paradigm Shift.

I suspect the elected officials that do not try to do any of the minimal efforts listed above will not be happy when the consequences of their lack of inaction roll around.

As long time readers of my postings already know: I am certainly not advocating for machete' moshpits [just the opposite!], but I fully believe elected officials should be doing their very best to preclude our genetic default tendency towards this very sad effect.

I am trying to look out for everyone's best interests, even our elected officials.

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

BlackLight's physics-defying promise: Cheap power from water

An entrepreneur with $60 million in venture funding says he's found an endless source of cheap energy. Trouble is, it violates the laws of quantum physics.

Track record - they claimed they would have a battery shipping in 2007 back in 2000/1999.

Thus far - nothing.

But ya gotta love the secret-catalyst angle. Somebody must have a secret catalyst that turns sand to oil, too, no ... ? I knew westexas had been hiding something, just couldn't figure what ...

I think this could be important:

via X-ray Emission Spectroscopy and X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy;

More Evidence for a Revolutionary Theory of Water

But, I'm not holding my breath ;)

RM: Then I developed about, oh, I don't know, 18 months ago, I worked out all the theory for this new gas phase cell and then Bill was working on testing it and it works! And now we have people, you know, fighting to get in. And I mean I get unsolicited calls from utilities, you know, I've got people coming who are CEO's and COO's and Chairmen of utilities flying up in their Lears and coming here and wanting to license it. Now, like I said, we got two term sheets already from two different big power generators, and we've got, just last week, I have three more utilities called me. I'm on the road constantly. I mean, the entire next week I'm going to be on the road every single day going to different meetings. So, you know, the whole tenor has changed because now we have a commercially competitive process and I have people from Stone (?) & Webster, Flor (?) Daniel, Westinghouse and, you know, a lot of big power companies have said, "If you can get this new vapor phase cell independently validated," they said "we feel that this will be the dominant source of power for essentially all power applications."

This was how he was talking when interviewed.

In 1998! They were just months away from a breakthrough. Right.

I'd love to believe the jabber but any guy who writes a 2000 page opus on classical quantum mechanics has obviously got the gift of gab.

No matter how much I'd like to believe what he's saying, I think it's probably gibberish. Ten years is plenty long enough for independent verification of a process that is supposedly yielding enough energy that a 20 gallon tank of water can provide enough energy to carry a 200 horsepower car down the road for 100,000 miles.

He sure sounds like a snake oil salesman in the interview with, you guessed it, the Aquarian Research Institute. Holy mackerel, Amos.

Check it out if you've some time to waste.


Don't get me wrong on this - he's a bright guy and if his guess that the electron in a single hydrogen atom can exist at a lower than ground state energy level he will have revolutionized the field of physics. I'm too stupid to understand the math but the general idea is that the electron can be induced to drop to a lower energy state by bringing it close to a resonant trap that sort of kicks it down the ladder by sucking off just enough energy to get it started. When it falls it releases some kind of xray energy that doesn't involve a photon - don't ask me what that means. He says it releases 1000 times more energy as heat than it takes to make the hydrogen using hydrolysis.

The good things coming from this (according to him) are like a green liberal's wish list. The hydrinos that result from the reaction are so small and light they percolate through the chamber walls and head off for Pluto. The oxygen released by the electrolysis is good. The reaction is easily controlled and is easily extinguished. No radioactivity. And on and on.

If the interview were 2008 instead of 1998 I'd be a lot more enthused. As it is I suspect he's a crackpot. But here's hoping. Something to track.

Don't get me wrong on this - he's a bright guy and if his guess that the electron in a single hydrogen atom can exist at a lower than ground state energy level he will have revolutionized the field of physics....But here's hoping. Something to track.

And any time there has been a discussion about the Hydrino I ask - show me the calormetics. Show me the temp data of the Hydrogen returning to its natural state.

He may be a 'bright' man, but that doesn't make this idea work.

He's good alright. A real slick snakeoil salesman. He shoulda got a job writing lines for SciFi, woulda been legal (and appreciated). Once his marks figure out they've been had, I don't think they will like hime very much.

Incidentally X-rays (like anything in the electromagnetic spectrum are photons). Now there were a lower energy state for the electron to discover -it would happen spontaneously, and would give off a high energy X-ray photon. But the ground state already has quantum number zero. Quantum number minus one, is just the same as number 1 (possibly with some sign changes in the wave function -or something like that [hey its been over 30 years]).

In any case, there are certainly a lot of investment scan artists out there. Some guys like this might even be wacko enough to believe their own theories (which are rarely anything more than gibberish). This sort can make a pretty convincing salesmen -guy seems really intelligent, stuff he talks about is incomprehensible, guy seems to really believe his stuff (cause maybe he does).

Ya'll are missing the obvious. He is having to spend too much time with all those power companies on the road. Then, when he gets back, they are forcing him to talk about taking their money. He'll get into production, as soon as he gets through with the important stuff. Just a matter of time.

Duplicate post

Duplicate post

Well, somebody apparently beat Mills to the patent office with
something similar to the hydrino concept:


As a commenter points out the patent office requires a working model.

Check out the other comments.

More oil bubble talk.


Oil has become a psychological commodity, not just a physical commodity, notes Wilbur Ross Jr., chairman & CEO of WL Ross & Company. He explains why the run-up in oil prices is a bubble

This maroon says it is a bubble, two minutes later he says the price should be $100, which was a record price not that long ago.

Hello TODers,

Price resistance is not an issue as nitrogen fertiliser sales move on apace [Wednesday 2 July, 2008]

...After Christmas, who knows? Manufacturers are worried about widely publicised winter gas costs, but concede that we must be near to the top of the price cycle curve now.

Potassium costs escalate

There is no such confidence when it comes to potassium...Bigger users of Potash, for example, India, are showing no price resistance...so shortages and high prices are forecast for at least the medium term.

Potash supplies finely balanced

With an estimated 51mt of production in 2006 against sales of 50.7mt worldwide, potash supplies are finely balanced....And with no global stocks to hand, the future for potash pricing looks grim for the consumer...

Phosphate reserves compromised

No such assurance is available for the phosphate industry whose reserves are severely compromised. Politicians with any interest in safeguarding food supplies for future generations should divorce themselves from mere five year planning and seriously look ahead.
No mention of Peak Everything problems for the UK in this link. Makes one wonder how much worse this article would be if that topic were included in their analysis.

WTSHTF: will the UK choose natgas for heat & cooking, or will they prefer it go to Haber-Bosch N? I would suggest they stockpile I-NPK while they can. My feeble two cents.

Bob Shaw in Phoenix,AZ Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

NSDIC today published the monthly Arctic Sea Ice Analysis:

The most notable entry this time is the notice of the earlier melt of ice all across the arctic sea. Note especially their figure 4.

Satellite data shows us that surface melt began earlier than usual over most of the Arctic Ocean (see Figure 4). Last year was fairly typical except for significantly early melt in the Laptev and Barents seas. This year, most of the Arctic sea ice has already begun to melt at the surface, including some areas that did not melt until mid-July last year. Surface melt in the Chukchi and East Siberian seas began an average of 17 days earlier than normal and 24 days earlier than last year. In the Beaufort Sea, melt began 20 days earlier than last year (2007 was close to the average for 1979 to 2000). Areas where melt occurred later, compared to last year, are confined to the margins of the ice cover.

Lets suppose for a second that instead of a gallon
of oil we used a loaf of bread to represent the
gallon of oil.

A women walks into the baker and asks...."How much
for a loaf of bread ?" and the baker says...."$144.00"
The women protests and says..."But the other baker was
selling it for $30.00"
And the baker says...."So why dont you purchase your
bread there?"
The women replies..."Because they sold out and closed"
And the baker responds "Yeah...$30.00 is my price
when Iam sold out too"
Peak Oil is like any commodity.
Eating your bread with the sweat of your brow is going
to get a lot harder.....unless you dont sweat as easy as I do.

So tomorrow...my family is going on a trip to Los Angeles for a week to visit more family. We bought our tickets in February before many things started to fall apart. It is amazing now to think of the changes. We lucked out on the price of the tickets. We can check 2 bags per person if tickets purchased before May 08 which we did. Those purchasing tickets after that get only 1 bag free.

It is going to be a strange trip because I feel it will be the last time I take my family on a long plane ride for awhile, all the fires in California (LA air is affected though no local fires), LA is the epitome of wasteful gasoline consumption, gas prices may hit $5.00 while we are there.

The world is changing fast. I'll report (Kunstler-style) on conditions when I return.

The world is changing fast. I'll report (Kunstler-style) on conditions when I return.

I'll report for you. kunstler said LA would never abandon their cars. he was wrong. there are less vehicles on the road and people are taking the bus and train more. yet again he was wrong.

kunstler said LA would never abandon their cars.


I recall Jim standing up at the last ASPO-USA conference, following a discussion of plug-in hybrids, and objecting to the whole discussion, asserting that it was a fantasy that we could maintain anything remotely similar to our current auto centric lifestyle.

It would appear that to the extent that Jim was wrong about the implosion of our auto centric suburban way of life it was that he may have been too optimistic.

EOS Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHr8OzaloLM

life here is all about cars and it will never not be about cars -- until the reality of our oil predicament falls on the hapless public like a hammer of God and the people of California die for their fucking cars in their fucking cars and over their fucking cars.


If you read further he rips google. yet google has added plug-in hybrids, a solar grove and has one of the largest commercial solar panel installations in the US. I guess technology isn't energy, huh? here are some of the google projects.





. . . until the reality of our oil predicament falls on the hapless public like a hammer of God . . .

I suspect that is why some people are being forced to abandon their cars and take mass transit.

"I suspect that is why some people are being forced to abandon their cars and take mass transit."

and the rest of the sentence?

I think your'e confusing rhetorical flourish with data driven analytical statements. People like JHK because of his graphic style. That said, people do die in and for their cars every day and I think his imagery is clear enough.

The latest numbers have LA foreclosures at an incredible 15X those of NYC.

"The latest numbers have LA foreclosures at an incredible 15X those of NYC."

just wait until wall street lays off even more people and foreigners figure out that NYC real estate isn't as great as they thought and the foreclosure situations will be the same.

Jeez man-I read you to get the positive vibes-what the f--k is up?

Well, let's look at the whole quote in context. I suspect that Jim's point is that mass transit not an option for most people in LA, or in many of the other areas he mentioned.

. . . what you see in California is a society with a tragic destiny. I was all over the Bay Area earlier in the week, from San Francisco to Silicon Valley to Berkeley and even down to Santa Cruz, and that was bad enough, But then I got down to Los Angeles on Friday and have been in a state of pathological reflex nausea ever since. Despite their lame attempts to rebuild a few pieces of the 2000-mile-long streetcar system that they gleefully destroyed in the 1950s, life here is all about cars and it will never not be about cars -- until the reality of our oil predicament falls on the hapless public like a hammer of God and the people of California die for their fucking cars in their fucking cars and over their fucking cars. I understand that the scene here is not qualitatively different from Dallas, Orlando, Atlanta, Northern Virginia, Miami, New Jersey and other cloacal hot-spots of the world's highest standard of living.

And as the New York Times concluded back in 2006, most Americans curtailed their driving only when they were literally unable to buy the same quantity of gasoline that they used to buy. I suspect that is why some Californians have curtailed their driving.

Well, let's look at the whole quote in context. I suspect that Jim's point is that mass transit not an option for most people in LA, or in many of the other areas he mentioned.

stop defending him. he was wrong. more people are taking the bus and the train. people are driving their cars less.

life here is all about cars and it will never not be about cars -- until the reality of our oil predicament falls on the hapless public like a hammer of God and the people of California die for their fucking cars in their fucking cars and over their fucking cars.

it is what it is. just admit he was wrong.j

John (JD, no doubt?), you really are just an argumentative ass most of the time. If you'd just post your cornucopian perspective, no problem. But you are constantly poking at every other poster like a child poking at a dog in a cage with a stick.

Get this: we are not done yet. We are just getting started. Given that, how can you claim Kunstler was wrong? His timing was off? Big freaking deal. This sort of gotchaism fed by ego, ignorance and ideology is part of what will LEAD to failure and collapse.

Shut the hell up, eh?

PS, have ever BEEN to So Cal? You sure as hell haven't lived there. And if you have, then your comments are utterly inexplicable.

But then, what's new about that?

Put away your stick and speak like an adult.


John (JD, no doubt?)

no, JD posts here occasionally under the name JD.

Given that, how can you claim Kunstler was wrong?

because kunstler just doesn't understand all the adjustments that can be made. he just figures we use a lot of oil and there will be less oil so we're screwed. that's just not the case.

you are constantly poking at every other poster like a child poking at a dog in a cage with a stick.

I only poke at people who make ridiculous statements about die off or how we can't somehow manufacture electric cars. everyone should be arguing with extreme doomers because they just turn people off of making peak oil preparations.

PS, have ever BEEN to So Cal? You sure as hell haven't lived there. And if you have, then your comments are utterly inexplicable.

yes I have been san diego and the thing is people, no matter where they are, can take a bus, walk, ride a scooter, ride a bike, car pool or get a higher MPG car.

Oh ya...I forgot about the turbo-level foreclosure rate in LA. Another thing to look forward to. My relatives live in Pacific Palisades (he's in the TV industry - sitcoms) so he has money to blow this year. We'll see about next. May be the last hurray for awhile. May be the last time I see LA in its present form. I feel next year will change it entirely.

I suspect Kunstler was speaking in the common form, which most people do when referring to LA, but not living there. "LA" to most = Southern California, or some subivision thereof. Even being a Southern Californian I tend to think of LA as the metropolitan area. I only exclude the rest because I know the area well, have lived in multiple areas of SC, so they are delineated in my mind. LA itself is actually quite smallish. One might make do there with the current public transport... witha good bit of walking/biking tossed into the mix. If you live AND work there.

Most of SC will not long be making those 1.5 to 2 hour commutes one way. And there is precious little public transport to move them with, particularly, as an example, for those living in the Inland Empire (Riverside/San Bernardino Metro Area).


You're right about LA. When referring to LA, one is really talking about 10 surrounding towns. LA proper is just a pretty small downtown. Besides that, it is just highways and sprawl stretching out to the beaches and mountains and then out to Long Beach. And the highways are huge 6-8 lanes wide. There is mass transit in the core, but in the outer sprawl, just buses. If you are "anybody" in LA, you have leased a car. And not just any car. It needs to be a BMW or Lexus SUV or equivalent. So, curious if that has changed at all. My rich relatives bought a Prius and hybrid Highlander. That's been there contribution to conservation...which in the grand scheme of things....doesn't really help that much.

Tapis is just a few cents shy of Four Yergins ($152).

Great...and I will flying on the day all the airlines decide shut down due to "incremental" costs...come on world...keep it together just one more week so I can have my last real vacation!!

I'm still on my last vacation and it's approaching 6 years now. But I do often wonder if I'll be able to afford to get home.

Ha...well we could all be on the permanent Holiday pretty soon. Green Day's got a pretty good song called "Holiday" on the American Idiot CD. Pays tribute to Arnold Schwarzenager (sp?).

. . . and Minas is over Four Yergins.

WT what do you prefer, Tapis on the Rocks or a Bloody Minas ? If you could choose. And what would you recommend for Mr. Yergin ?

It seems "they" got it right : 150 dollars before July 4th.

As Ayn Rand said, one can evade reality, but one cannot evade the consequences of evading reality. Reality is knocking on doors all over the country.

Tapis Crude is trading at $151.78 lunchtime Thursday Australian time.

This is really wild. One would think that at some point we would see a pullback and some consolidation. From an average price of $125 in May, WTI is up almost $20 in 32 days.

Tapis now $152.13...

"Minas Over Four Yergins"...sounds like a good name for a musical.

Lights up: A moonlit stage, Dan Yergin out for a midnight walk, gazing sadly at the sky, tears rolling down his cheeks. His dreams of forever cheap oil are ruined, his credibility in tatters. In a plaintive voice, he sings...

...The wells are all dry
and I feel so foooolish,
I thought we'd be good
for a thousand yeeeears...

Literally laughing to the point of tears...

To the melody from "Music of the Night" from "Phantom of the Opera"

. . . It's over now the lifestyle we once knew. . .

Yes! Exactly! LOL...

Ronery.. I'm so Ronery.. (Team America)

BC_EE and others, including myself, have been wondering if those who heat with oil are starting to regard electric heat as a more economical alternative (the prospect of a $1,200.00 fill-up can wreck havoc on the mind). Perhaps my imagination is getting the better of me, but I'm getting the sense electrical utilities in the New England area are becoming a tad unnerved by this.

See: http://www.timesargus.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080626/NEWS01/806...

It may not be so much the stresses this will put on the system that worries them as it is the prospect of homeowners racking up enormous power bills they cannot afford to pay (an already serious problem as it is).


The logical thing is to a number of families to move into one housing unit, and winterize their own house, drain the pipes, etc.

Hi WT,

It could come down to this. Who knows? But I suspect conditions would have to deteriorate rather significantly before most of us would be willing to abandon our homes, even temporarily. To gain some insight into how people may respond to this type of crisis, it would be helpful to look back at "The Great Ice Storm of '98"; the segment entitled "The Resisters", in particular.

See: http://archives.cbc.ca/environment/extreme_weather/topics/258/

I credit this experience as the primary reason why I've gone to such extremes to reduce my home's energy requirements and for securing multiple (and independently operated) fuel sources. I never want to find myself in this type of predicament ever again.

BTW, I should have made clear in my previous post that a more economical alternative (i.e., electric heat) is not necessarily a more affordable option.


We're on #2 Oil. Used around 1100/1200 gallons last year (3-unit building, so 2/3 is 'business expense', at least) I'm building Solar Hot Air Panels for the roof, and we've applied for the Maine rebates to install Solar Hot Water. Insulation and Leak filling are proceeding as well.

Even tho' our AC is .16 or so per KWH, you're probably right that it will beat Oil. I just saw some electric baseboard heaters being given away. Have to see if they're still available.. while I'd generally look at Grid Power as more of a backup source than the main one. I don't want to become too dependent on Northeast Grid Power for raw essentials. We had a close call in early December, an 'Energy Watch', when a NG supply was running thin or late for one of the generation plants..

Was it here on the drumbeat? I just saw that Maine Utils are putting some big $$ towards reinforcing our grid yesterday.. yeah, here..

Maine Public Service and Central Maine Power to Invest up to $500 Million in Northern Maine

Maine power companies to build power line for wind farms

Knock wood for some windy wintahs!


Hi Bob,

Congratulations on your efforts to enhance your home's energy efficiency and for installation of a solar DHW system -- I hope you'll share your experiences with the group and post some pictures.

As you may know, there is now a second 345-kV tie between Bangor Hydro (a wholly owned subsidiary of Nova Scotia Power) and N.B. Power, with a transfer capability of 300 MW State side and 400 MW to Canada. This will help enhance system reliability on both sides of the border and further facilitate the economic exchange of energy.

I'm taking the reverse approach -- electricity for everyday use and fuel oil and propane for emergency backup only. Of course, electricity rates here in Nova Scotia are one-third lower than your own and the heat provided by my heat pump is one-quarter the cost of oil, so the economics are pretty compelling.

The following table is intended to help folks calculate the potential savings of electric resistance heat versus oil. The left column is the operating efficiency of the oil-fired boiler (AFUE rating) and the second column is the number of kWh of heat obtained from each gallon based on this rating (net). The columns to the right are the breakeven points based on the cost of a gallon of fuel oil.

For example, if a homeowner has a new high-efficiency boiler (85% AFUE) and pays $4.50 a gallon, electric heat is more economical when electricity rates are 13 cents per kWh or less. In the case of an older, less efficient boiler (65% AFUE), at $4.75 per gallon, electricity is a less costly option at up to 17.9 cents per kWh.


Additional savings by way of zone or spot heating would further enhance electricity's competitiveness vis-á-vis oil.


Thanks, Paul. Very informative, I'll chew on it.

There is some talk of heavy weather making it into GOM


U.S. lifts block on solar applications for public land

The federal Bureau of Land Management reversed an earlier decision to turn away new applications for solar energy projects on public lands until May 2010.

Bob (jokuhl) made a call on this in a post in the July 1 drumbeat. ( http://www.theoildrum.com/node/4237#comment-371968 ) I doubt he really thought it would have been reversed this quickly!

Alan from the islands

In this video, the truck is America.


Brings back fond memories. Once had a vehicle like that. Except it wasn't a truck. It was a car (a firefly to be exact!). Near the end of its days, it use to backfire regularly. Looked just the start up sequence.

Didn't realize people would pay money to watch something like this. Man o' man, am I in the wrong business!!

In this video, the truck is America.

My car didn't crash. It ran until the pistons blew through the engine. I had just finished filling up the gasoline tank.

Yep, America take heed. The pistons will fly but the Strategic Petroleum Reserve will be topped up.

Oil passes, settles above $145 for first time

Thursday's surge in oil was propelled by a report of lower crude stockpiles in the United States, lingering concerns about conflict with Iran and comments by Saudi Arabia's oil minister suggesting his country would not boost production.


Maybe SA won't be increasing the flow