DrumBeat: July 8, 2008

Oil: The New Reality

Rising oil prices are pinching the wallets of consumers worldwide. And although oil may be in for some short-term drops, most experts agree that the days of cheap gasoline are gone and prices will continue to climb steeply over the long term. Can oil production keep up with rising demand, particularly from India and China? And will alternatives be available before it's too late? With so many questions, and so few answers, the only thing there's no shortage of is uncertainty.

Oil approached a record $145 barrel in early July. Although many observers believe the price is higher than supply and demand justify, it continues to rise. Moreover, the normal symptoms of too-high commodity prices -- building inventories and significantly declining usage -- have not appeared.

Standard & Poor's (MHP) continues to believe prices will come down in the short run but that they are cycling around a rising trend. Demand continues to mount because of economic growth in Asia. Oil output is increasing only slowly, in part because so much of the world's supplies are now in the hands of national oil companies, which have less incentive to raise production. The amount of oil still in the ground, though unknown, is clearly finite.

U.S. gasoline prices won't peak until November: Energy agency

WASHINGTON — U.S. drivers can expect to shell out more than $4 (U.S.) a gallon, on average, for gasoline for the rest of 2008 and prices will keep rising until November, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Tuesday.

Russian tax inspectors said to make new demands on TNK-BP

MOSCOW: Russian tax inspectors have presented TNK-BP, BP's troubled Russian oil joint venture, with a new demand only hours after Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain had raised the issue of official harassment of the company with the Russian president, Dmitri Medvedev.

A person with direct knowledge of the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Tuesday that the new demand requested unprecedented levels of information on a group of foreigners on temporary assignment to TNK-BP, including time sheets, certification of business trips and passport copies showing foreign travel.

Shell may process oil sands crude at U.S. refineries

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell Plc may process tar-like crude from its Canadian oil sands holdings at some of its U.S. refineries, rather than at a proposed C$27-billion ($26-billion) plant in Alberta, the head of the oil major's Canadian unit said on Tuesday.

Boeing, SkyHook team up to launch heavy-lift blimp

TORONTO (Reuters) - After years of hovering high above sports stadiums to provide aerial shots to TV audiences, blimps may soon take on a new role in carrying heavy cargo to remote regions like northern Canada's oil sands.

Arctic ice may yield low-emission fossil fuel

A form of gas-rich ice trapped beneath the Arctic permafrost and underlying Canada's coasts could become a major source of low-emission fossil fuel over the next two decades, experts say, but only if Ottawa makes a long-term commitment to its development.

Called gas or methane hydrates, the volume of natural gas that can be produced from it may exceed all conventional sources of fossil fuels combined.

Russia hydro, rail shortage to cut coal exports

LONDON/MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's hydro power levels have fallen to the lowest for 16 years and coal-fired plants are struggling to take up the slack because a rail wagon shortage is making it hard supply enough fuel, Russian coal exporters said on Monday.

For years there have not been enough rail wagons available to move all the commodities competing for space, but the shortage of hydro power would make the situation worse this year, they said.

Announcing A Peak Oil Media Guide

As those who understand peak oil are no doubt aware, coverage of the issue in the media has been extremely uneven. Some observers cite the best available data and production models, which indicate that there are perhaps 1.2 trillion barrels of economically recoverable conventional oil yet to produce. But a few seem intent on promoting an optimistic industry view (despite historical evidence to the contrary) that one day, the world can recover most of the estimated 12 trillion barrels of original oil in place — a factor of 10 variance in estimates!

Such a wide range of expert opinion has only served to confuse the public at a time when it is critically important that they get up to speed on the simple facts of oil production and understand what they might realistically expect in the future. In an effort to close this enormous gap, I have collaborated with Steve Andrews, a co-founder of ASPO-USA, on a new “Peak Oil Media Guide,” to address the important questions that regularly come up about peak oil. We encourage those who engage with the media to distribute the guide. It is my hope that the guide will become a “living document” which can be updated and enhanced as time goes on by knowledgeable experts. We welcome their input. For now, please send comments to Chris Nelder at This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it and include “PO Media Guide” in the subject line. You can find the full document here (pdf).

Cheney wanted cuts in climate testimony

WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney's office pushed for major deletions in congressional testimony on the public health consequences of climate change, fearing the presentation by a leading health official might make it harder to avoid regulating greenhouse gases, a former EPA officials maintains.

Heinberg: Want Cheap Oil? Reduce Demand!

So here’s the solution: We could reduce the price of oil just by reducing demand. If the world could be satisfied with the amount of oil that can still be produced cheaply ($30 is an arbitrary figure—by now $130 oil sounds cheap), then the price would fall to that level. We’d have to keep reducing demand to maintain that price since the cheaper oil continues to deplete.

But there’s a problem to that solution: the most likely way that global demand will be reined in is by economic contraction brought on by high prices. That’s a nice way of saying bankruptcy, unemployment, and industrial collapse. It sounds bad, but that’s not the problem; the problem is this: once the price falls by any significant amount, demand will just pick back up again and we’ll be right back where we are now—with prices aiming for Alpha Centauri.

Canada, US Break Ice to Map Arctic

The United States and Canada, which have been known to disagree on certain Arctic sovereignty claims, will collaborate for the first time on a United Nations scientific mapping project aimed at extending their sovereignty in the Arctic, reported CBC News.

Gas hits cabbies: More hours, less pay

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Mikhail Glikberg remembers when he made a decent living as a taxi driver in Boston. He could work a 12-hour shift and take home up to $80 a day after expenses.

That was a few years ago. Now, with gas above $4 a gallon, he pays up to $60 a day at the pump instead of $15. He's lucky if he clears $20.

Malaysia: Scores Of Fishing Boats Grounded Due To Diesel Shortage

KUALA PERLIS (Bernama) -- Scores of fishing boats here have been grounded since three days ago due to a diesel shortage.

The boat operators and crew were seen hanging around at the fishing base while waiting for the subsidised diesel to arrive.

Perlis Fishermens' Association (PELARIS) acting chairman Ismail Yatim said over 40 boats were grounded since Friday and that the number would increase if the situation worsens.

He said the shortage started recently when the diesel quota for Perlis fishermen was reduced from 4.7 million litres monthly to 3.9 million litres.

Monbiot: Trawlermen cling on as oceans empty of fish - and the ecosystem is gasping

The latest people to join these surreal protests are the world's fishermen. They are on strike in Italy, Spain, Portugal, France and Japan, and demonstrating in scores of maritime countries. Last month in Brussels they threw rocks and flares at the police, who have been conspiring with the world's sedimentary basins to keep the price of oil high. The fishermen warn that if something isn't done to help them, thousands could be forced to scrap their boats and hang up their nets. It's an appalling prospect, which we should greet with heartfelt indifference.

Environmentalists dismiss G-8 emissions target

TOYAKO, Japan (CNN) -- A call from the world's most powerful nations to establish the goal of halving greenhouse gas emissions worldwide by 2050, was criticized by environmentalists Tuesday.

Mexico quickens pace of gasoline price rises

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico is quickening the pace of gasoline price increases, fanning worries about inflation, as the rising cost of subsidizing imported fuel weighs on the government's finances.

The price of Mexico's standard grade gasoline, known as Magna, jumped 6 centavos on July 1 to 7.23 pesos a liter, a spokeswoman for state-run oil monopoly Pemex said on Monday.

It was the sharpest increase in at least 2-½ years by the government, which sets fuel prices.

Shell, Valero Unfazed So Far By Mexico Oil Export Slump

MEXICO CITY -(Dow Jones)- Two oil refiners in the U.S. that traditionally buy crude oil from Mexico have said they can get crude from other sources, as Mexican exports have slumped this year.

Mexico's average crude exports plummeted 17.3% to 1.46 million barrels a day during the first five months of the year compared to the year-ago period, contributing to record oil prices.

Mexico begins rationing gasoline to station owners

TIJUANA – Mexico's national oil monopoly began to ration the supply of gasoline in the Baja California region yesterday, much as it has limited diesel deliveries for several weeks.

Joaquín Aviña, president of the Association of Gas Station Owners of Tijuana, which represents 157 stations, said Pemex told the stations it would supply them according to their sales from January to March, without taking into account current demand.

Coal's perfect storm morphs into robust price trend

Citigroup has raised its coal price forecasts across the board, citing the perfect storm of four months ago, along with persisting global supply deficits of coking, met and thermal coal.

Pakistan on the brink of oil crisis, stocks to last 16 days only

The skyrocketing oil prices in the international market have curtailed the capacity of the developing countries like Pakistan to maintain high stocks of crude oil as well as POL products.

Verve Power Plant Restart Eases Australia Shortage

(Bloomberg) -- Verve Energy, a power producer owned by the Western Australian state government, restarted generation at a unit at the Kwinana plant after maintenance, helping to ease an energy shortage created by a gas pipeline blast.

Budget tight now? Wait until winter

Rising oil prices are already affecting commuting and travel. Soon they will have an impact on how we stay warm, or in some cases, if we stay warm.

The energy crisis deepens

There are parts of Maine that could “become uninhabitable” this winter.

The words were those of U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe and they came last week at a meeting of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee. Snowe is the ranking Republican member of the panel.

It wasn't rhetoric. It was a realistic evaluation of what some parts of northern New England may be facing in the winter of 2008-2009.

Streets across Arizona crumbling as shortage of funds stalls repairs

PHOENIX — From Wickenburg to Eagar, streets in cities and towns across Arizona are falling into disrepair because there's not enough money to keep them in shape.

Some cities are barely able to pay for routine maintenance, let alone build new roads to keep up with growth. Others, such as Eager, can't even afford to fill the cracks in streets.

Inflation crisis could spark political unrest: Malaysia PM

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) — The soaring price of food and fuel could spark widespread political unrest, Malaysia's Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Tuesday at a summit of developing nations.

..."The price of oil has skyrocketed to levels never anticipated ... the price of food has increased beyond the normal abilities to pay by the poor, which form the majority of the world's people," he said in an opening speech.

Horse sales slow to a trot

Mounting fuel, feed and hay prices are driving up the costs of horse ownership and making it harder to sell colts, yearlings, wild stallions and other horses.

Call for ban on 'eco-town' second homes

Second-home investors should be stopped from buying properties in so-called "eco-towns", it has been claimed.

Peter Bolton King, chief executive of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), said planning conditions could be needed to ensure local buyers were not priced out of the market.

Are big bets by speculators driving up oil?

Speculation about whether speculators are to blame for the superspike in oil prices is in overdrive.

Now that it costs $100 to fill up big SUVs, an Agatha Christie-esque whodunnit featuring finger-pointing lawmakers and suspected speculators is gripping this oil-obsessed nation in search of someone to blame.

In energy, there are no easy answers

To get a sense of Americans' frustration with soaring gas prices, all you have to do is read the writing on the wall, and occasionally, on a portable potty.

There it was, a hand-scrawled paper sign taped to a brown, rented toilet just off the Fourth of July parade route in my hometown of Seguin: "Drill here. Drill now. Pay less."

How simple, I thought. Wouldn't it be nice if the answer were as easy as that? Forget trading the Hummers for hybrids, the conservation efforts, the alternative fuel research. Let's just drill our way out of this mess.

Wish Upon A Pump

Reagan, who succeeded Carter in the White House, wore only a smile. For him, there was no energy crisis. Whereas Carter had insisted that only the government could manage the energy crisis, Reagan, in his first inaugural, demanded that government get out of the way. Speaking of general economic conditions at the time, he said, "Government is not the solution to our problem." He went on to call for America to return to greatness, to "reawaken this industrial giant," and all sorts of swell things would happen. It was wonderful stuff.

To contrast the two speeches is like comparing the screeching of a cat to the miracles of Mozart. Yet today, Carter's speech reads as prescient. Most of his dire predictions -- "It is a problem we will not solve in the next few years, and it is likely to get progressively worse through the rest of this century" -- have generally come true, although not quite as soon or as calamitously as he had warned. The pity of it all is that in American politics, being right is beside the point.

Study: Chile Dam Project Will Scare Away Tourists

The controversial HidroAysen dam project could prove extremely costly for Chilean Patagonia’s budding tourism industry, a recent study conducted by the Universidad de Chile’s Social Sciences Dept concluded.

According to the researchers, the US$3 billion project could result in annual losses of more than US$22 million. During its construction phase, which is expected to last between five and 10 years, lost tourism revenue could be higher still: approaching US$40 million per year.

The Philippines: Class suit on energy has children as petitioners

BACOLOD CITY: A group of environmentalists and their sympathizers have signed in their children as petitioners in filing for a temporary restraining order (TRO) as their last recourse to stop the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) from pursuing their geothermal development exploration at the Mount Kanlaon Natural Park.

Europe faces fresh New Year Russian gas crisis

HONG KONG (Reuters) - A fresh New Year energy crisis is brewing in Europe as Russia prepares to foist an indigestible price rise onto Ukraine, putting European supplies at risk, a leading expert on the sector warned on Tuesday.

Jonathan Stern, director of gas research at the Oxford Insitute of Energy Studies, said Russia's pledge to pay Central Asian gas suppliers "international prices" for gas from Jan.1 meant a huge increase in the price Russia demands from Ukraine.

"Essentially they're going to try to impose a price on Ukraine that Ukraine can't pay. And I can see that we're sleepwalking towards the end of the year and that price has got to be agreed, and I think we could see a replay of 2006," Stern said. "We could have a major blow-up in January again."

Are We in the Peak of an Oil Bubble?

Since 2003, worldwide oil prices have quadrupled. According to a new study, the price of oil is rising at a faster-than-exponential rate, and cannot be sustained. In other words, we’re in the midst of an oil bubble, say researchers Didier Sornette and Ryan Woodard of ETH Zurich in Switzerland and Wei-Xing Zhou of the East China University of Science and Technology in Shanghai, China.

By analyzing oil prices over the past four years, the researchers have demonstrated more support for the hypothesis that the recent oil price run-up has less to do with supply-demand interplay and more to do with speculation.

Peak Flows - Part 2

Peak oil should be renamed to peak flows. Peak oil is seen by the majority of the public, at least those who have at least become conscious of the term, is the date when we run out of oil. Since oil is "everywhere" with new discoveries being announced every week they ridicule the preachers of peak oil as being out of touch or on the lunatic fringe. "Why everybody knows we have enough oil to last the rest of the century." Nobody, and I repeat nobody expects oil to disappear in this century. They will still be exploring and producing 100 years from now. The problem is peak flows.

Bursting Bubbles Mean Inflation to Give Way to Deflation

Widespread is the notion that inflation is back for good. Many assume that the relative price stability of the past two decades has been irrevocably shattered by "peak oil" and the surging demand by developing economies. Improvement of living standards in those developing countries has caused, and will continue to cause, increasing demand for calories, and final demand for food will outstrip supply. Additionally, the cost of basic materials is lifting production costs, and the cycle of higher food and fuel costs means that the prices of all imported goods to the United States will continue to rise. The fixed income investment conclusion is that inflation is endemic, and since the market does not currently reflect such dire inflation prospects, long dated Treasury securities should be sold. We would be among the first to move to the short dated part of the curve if the economic statistics supported the above view. Our conclusion is that deflation, not inflation, is, and will continue to be, the essential problem for the U.S. economy and that the optimum fixed income portfolio should consist of treasuries with the longest possible maturities.

Russia power firms turn away from coal as cost surges

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian power producers expect coal prices to follow the cost of gas sharply upward in the coming years, and are switching away from coal as much as possible, said the head of one of Russia's largest power firms.

Vladimir Khlebnikov, the head of OGK-1 (OGK1.MM: Quote, Profile, Research), the country's second-largest fossil fuel-run generator, said on Monday the problem had forced his firm to revamp its development plans, converting some coal-run turbines to gas-fired ones.

China's move signals oil and gas ambition

Oil rigs are scarce commodities these days; so scarce that it can be easier to buy a company that owns them than to buy the rigs themselves. That is one of the main motives behind China Offshore Services' $2.5bn acquisition of Awilco Offshore.

There has been a high level of sensitivity over Chinese companies' acquisitions of natural resources, most notoriously in the attempt by China National Offshore Oil Company, COSL's parent, to buy Unocal of the US in 2005.

The takeover of Awilco, while likely to be far less politically sensitive, is a sign that oil rigs are themselves valuable resources.

Commuting has high costs beyond gas

When the Suncoast Parkway opened in 2001, it seemed hard to imagine commuters would ever have to worry about congestion. And the lower cost of houses in Hernando more than made up for the extra expense of buying gas, which dipped to as low as $1.08 in early 2002. Coincidentally or not, that was just about the start of the real estate boom in Hernando.

Now, obviously, the boom is over.

The unanswered question is whether rising gas prices will ever again allow Hernando — or any community on the outer fringe of a metropolitan area — to attract large numbers of commuters.

Taking Us Back To Mud Huts And Loincloths

A prominent journalist doesn't just want our air conditioners turned down. He wants them off. This is the sort of nonsense we're getting from the anti-energy, global-warming-is-making-us-sick left.

Nuclear Recycling Fails the Test

Advocates, such the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank, argue that used fuel at U.S. power plants contain enough energy “to power every U.S. household for 12 years.” Heritage points out that nuclear recycling “can be affordable and is technologically feasible. The French are proving that on a daily basis. The question is: Why can't oui?”

The key to recycling is being able to reuse materials while reducing pollution, saving money and making the earth a safer place. On all accounts, nuclear recycling fails the test.

Lester Brown: Time for Plan B: Cutting Carbon Emissions 80 Percent by 2020

When political leaders look at the need to cut carbon dioxide emissions to curb global warming, they ask the question: How much of a cut is politically feasible? At the Earth Policy Institute we ask a different question: How much of a cut is necessary to avoid the most dangerous effects of climate change?

By burning fossil fuels and destroying forests, we are releasing greenhouse gases, importantly carbon dioxide (CO2), into the atmosphere. These heat-trapping gases are warming the planet, setting in motion changes that are taking us outside the climate bounds within which civilization developed.

Greenland meltwater will take slow wave around globe

Pacific nations threatened with disappearing beneath the waves as sea levels rise have been given a partial reprieve – for a few decades at least. But Europe and North America could be at much greater risk of floods than previously appreciated. So claims the first systematic analysis of what will happen to the water from melting Greenland ice.

Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens wants to supplant oil with wind

SWEETWATER, Texas — Get ready, America, T. Boone Pickens is coming to your living room.

The legendary Texas oilman, corporate raider, shareholder-rights crusader, philanthropist and deep-pocketed moneyman for conservative politicians and causes, wants to drive the USA's political and economic agenda.

"We're paying $700 billion a year for foreign oil. It's breaking us as a nation, and I want to elevate that question to the presidential debate, to make it the No. 1 issue of the campaign this year," Pickens says.

Today, Pickens will take the wraps off what he's calling the Pickens Plan for cutting the USA's demand for foreign oil by more than a third in less than a decade. To promote it, he is bankrolling what his aides say will be the biggest public policy ad campaign ever. The website, www.pickensplan.com, goes live today.

NYMEX To Change Margins For Crude Oil And Petroleum Swap Futures Contracts On NYMEX ClearPort

The New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. today announced margin changes for some of its crude oil and petroleum product swap futures contracts on NYMEX ClearPort, beginning at the close of business tomorrow.

The margins for the first month of the Northwest Europe gasoline swap (Argus) futures contract will increase to $100,000 from $65,000 for clearing members, to $110,000 from $71,500 for members, and to $135,000 from $87,750 for customers. Margins for all other months will remain unchanged.

China Shuts More Coal Power Plants; Warns on Shortage

(Bloomberg) -- China, the world's second-biggest energy consumer, shut 2.5 percent of its coal-fired power plants, prompting local governments to limit electricity consumption and issue warnings on possible blackouts.

Insufficient coal supplies forced the closure of 58 power- generating units in central and northern China as of July 6, or 14,020 megawatts of capacity, data from the State Grid Corp. of China showed yesterday. The nation's total coal-fired capacity stood at 554,420 megawatts last year, according to the State Electricity Regulatory Commission.

China power woes may worsen before Olympics

BEIJING (Reuters) - China may suffer a power shortage this summer as crippling as four years ago, threatening to cut deeper into industrial operations and stoke another surge in oil imports in order to keep the lights on through the Olympics.

Although Beijing has forecast a modest national deficit of 10 gigawatts (GW) when demand peaks in summer -- just 1.4 percent of its installed capacity -- at least four provinces between them are forecasting more than twice that amount as the risks mount.

Gazprom sends Ukraine new warning over gas price

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom said on Tuesday its gas import bill for gas purchases from Central Asia may more than double next year, sending yet another price warning to Ukraine.

Gazprom, the world's largest gas producer, imports gas from ex-Soviet republics of Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to meet growing demand at home and abroad. Ukraine heavily relies on purchases of Central Asian gas from Gazprom.

Agency calls on Congress to end drilling ban

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Lifting the congressional ban on offshore drilling would likely increase U.S. oil and natural gas production above the government's current estimates, the U.S. Interior Department said on Monday.

Based on data more than 25 years old, the Interior Department estimates that drilling on federal lands off the U.S. coasts could produce 18 billion barrels of oil and 76 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Don’t blame the speculators

Politicians who try to make oil cheaper by restraining speculation will just make things worse.

London oil summit to be in December: UK's Brown

TOYAKO - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Tuesday that a second summit of oil producers and consumers would be held in December in London.

Brown said the London meeting was part of a process following on from a similar meeting in Jeddah and taking forward recommendations on energy security and climate change made at the Group of Eight rich nations summit in Japan.

Iraq Closeup: Following the Oil Money

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s government is likely to earn about $70 billion in oil revenue this year, but it could earn a lot more if its existing fields operated at maximum capacity. It took a step toward realizing that production increase, with a series of reported deals with Western oil companies. But the proposed contracts only raised suspicions across the Arab world that the real purpose of the war was to give America access to the site of the world’s third largest oil reserves.

All the oil news that's fit to print

On June 19, the New York Times broke the story in an article under the headlines "Deals with Iraq Are Set to Bring Oil Giants Back: Rare No-Bid Contracts, A Foothold for Western Companies Seeking Future Rewards". Finally, after a long five years-plus, there was proof that the occupation of Iraq really did have something or other to do with oil. Quoting unnamed Iraqi Oil Ministry bureaucrats, oil company officials and an anonymous American diplomat, Andrew Kramer of the Times wrote: "Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP ... along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq's Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq's largest fields."

Nigeria seeks to end 'blood oil'

An international cartel of oil smugglers steals billions of dollars in "blood oil" from Nigeria, trading it for guns, the president has said.

Speaking at the G8 summit in Japan, President Umaru Yar'Adua drew comparisons between oil "bunkering" and the trade in "blood diamonds".

He said an international effort must be made to stop the trade, which fuelled unrest in the Niger Delta.

Iran to "hit Tel Aviv, U.S. ships" if attacked

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran will hit Tel Aviv, U.S. shipping in the Gulf and American interests around the world if it is attacked over its disputed nuclear activities, an aide to Iran's Supreme Leader was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

"The first bullet fired by America at Iran will be followed by Iran burning down its vital interests around the globe," the students news agency ISNA quoted Ali Shirazi as saying in a speech to Revolutionary Guards.

G8 frets over oil prices, to study averting spikes

TOYAKO, Japan (Reuters) - The Group of Eight industrialised nations said on Tuesday they were very worried about soaring oil prices and pledged to create a forum that will discuss ways of avoiding future spikes.

The G8 said the high costs of both oil and food threatened a global economy already facing uncertainty amid continuing economic strain.

Gas stations offer discounts for cash instead of credit cards

This year, as gas prices surged, Richard Bell mounted a sign in the station he owns: "Attention gas cash customers: FREE 16 oz. fountain drink or 12 oz. coffee with purchase of 10 gallons of gas or more."

The goal, says Bell, owner of the Market at Jodeco, in Stockbridge, Ga., was to encourage customers to pay with cash rather than a credit card. But so far, he notes ruefully, it's been a struggle. As gas prices climb ever higher, more — not fewer — consumers are using credit cards, because they don't have enough cash on hand.

As food costs soar, it's back to basics for meal planners

Rebecca Woods and her family in Lathrop, Mo., have turned to the land, planting hundreds of vegetables and relying on their own chickens for eggs.

Retirees Sally and Robert Jones of Alpine, Texas, have reverted back to some of the menus that got them through graduate school many years ago, living on beans, stews and soups.

Dave Snyder of Mobile, Ala., goes to four grocery stores in search of bargains. Nancy Sierra of Fort Myers, Fla., now eats peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. And Tiffany Nicosia of Charlotte says that, more and more, she whips up new recipes with whatever is left in her refrigerator.

They are just a few examples of how Americans are changing their meal planning as food prices continue to climb.

Public transport needs urgent attention

Australian urban railways are running at capacity and the federal government needs to pour at least $10 billion into meeting public transport demand, an expert panel warns.

We have to stop wasting precious oil on frivolities

It made strategic sense for the Royal Navy to adopt oil-powered warships which had extended range, power and speed. It doesn't make a heck of a lot of sense to hop into the Hummer to find a pack of cigarettes or to drive unfit and overweight kids three blocks to school in an SUV more suitable to a Yukon mining camp.

Russia faces disease, drought from global warming: WWF

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia faces an increase in disease, drought and damage to infrastructure because of climate change, the environmental group WWF said on Tuesday, urging the authorities to "take a lead" on the issue.

"We're very worried.... We have to act in time. Some regions of Russia need urgent attention," Alexei Kokorin, a WWF researcher and one of the authors of the report, said at a press conference in Moscow presenting a new study.

G-8 Approves Plan to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Deal Is the Farthest Bush Has Gone in Committing U.S. to Targets on Global Warming

RUSUTSU, Japan July 8--The United States joined its allies in committing for the first time to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050, as the Group of Eight nations approved a plan aimed at spurring a new worldwide treaty to limit global warming.

Anyone know how the common man (or woman) goes about investing in long term oil futures?

With prices currently being pushed down by speculators, but with the fundamentals the same, it would seem a good time to investigate.

Buy a gas station for the tanks.

Fill 'em up out of a tanker farm.

You can't buy futures cheaper than actuals now.

$140 out a 2013 seems like a steal, and no mucking about with the real world black stuff.

Mind you, buying a defunct station also sounds like an interest proposition, although I'll guess the tanks only have a finite life? A petrol station, a forest, some farmland - I wonder if there is anywhere where these are all close together?

The trouble with buying futures is the counterparty risk. If things are as bad as I think they might be by 2013, I'm not sure who'll be around to honour such a contract.

See my longer post below. If you are long and the price rises you can withdraw your profits. The market works this way precisely to reduce counter party risk. I agree that a contract requiring delivery of $140 oil in 2015 might not be honored if it is $500 then but if you are attentive you should have withdrawn most of the gain before the expiration date.

Thank you for your reply.

In today’s uncertain financial environment, it is essential to avoid counterparty risk wherever possible.

As opposed to performance risk-"mucking about with the real world black stuff."

A petrol station, a forest, some farmland - I wonder if there is anywhere where these are all close together?

Yes, there is. But I'm there already. 8D

BTW your statement reminds me of a Yazoo City, MS-Capital of Kudzu- joke.

Considering old gas stations on US HWY 49, the best way to mulch kudzu is with used oil and cinder blocks. 8D

You are taking the same counterparty risk buying the real stuff and storing it until 2013. People will take your money now, and sell you oil, but will the guy who comes to get the oil in 2013 bring you any money?

The risk may be higher or lower with actuals vs. futures, I don't know, but it's the same type of risk, and shouldn't be written off.

No. Because you've got the actuals in hand.

It's now "performance" risk. And who's talking about a guy coming in 2013?

And while you're waiting, you use it yourself( more on request).

The only way you get hurt is you can't afford to store it.

And if you can't afford to store it, you shouldn't be in the market anyway.

8D "mulch kudzu is with used oil "

lots better uses: some mixed w/ diesel, siphyon thru a fiber rope to clean & reuse,... then again can't eat those things; course u can mulch kud w/ lots of things.


Coming to a "Filling Station" near you, soon:



The First Fuel Bank in Minnesota, founded in 1982, lets their 8,000+ members lock in to fuel at present-day prices. I wonder what portion of their account holders are peak-oil aware?

mcgowanmc -

If you buy an old gas station for the tanks, just be careful: you could also be buying yourself a very expensive chunk of environmental liability if the tanks at some time in the station's history leaked and contaminated the surrounding soil and/or ground water. If I recall correctly, as of circa 1990, on average something like 50% of all underground storage tanks 20 years and older have had some sort of leakage problem.

During the later 1980s and early 1990s there was a major effort to remove old underground storage tanks, replace them with better protected tanks, and to remediate any site contamination. So, many stations could be in better shape than most used to be. It's been a while since I was in the environmental consulting business, but I think that in all or most states at this point in time periodic testing of underground gasoline tanks are required. Such records should be available for a reputably run station, as should records of any contamination studies and clean-up efforts.

Just be sure to know what you're really buying.

Most brokers can put investments into the commodity futures market. Here is a link to an online commodities specialist.

http://www.ibdirect.com/ (there are many companies of this type)

They provide a piece of software that allows you to order your own trades whenever you want. To enter the oil futures market you need to establish an account and deposit sufficient cash to meet the margin requirements. At the moment a contract for 1000 barrels of oil for future delivery requires an initial margin of $12,488. Further if the market moves against you then you will have to deposit more money so that you are always a minimum of $9,250 above what would be required to cash out of the contract. If the market moves against you and you fall below this cushion the broker will sell your contract to cover themselves.

On the other hand if the market moves in your favor you can take out part of your profit before the expiration of the contract. As an example. In jan the contract for delivery of 1000B of oil in dec 2015 was about $100/B if you had bought the contract then (i.e. you were long or a buyer) you would have had to put down about $10,000 (the margin requirement was lower then). Right now that contract sells for about $140 so you would have made $40,000. If you were confident that the contract would not go down again you could take out your profit (actually just about $38000) since the margin requirement has increased since then.

All this being said IMO short term (day to day or hour to hour) trading in commodities is a game for pros. They have much more and more current knowledge than you have and you will be unlikely to beat them at that.

On the other hand the price for the dec 2015 is currently $140 which says to me that the pros have not bought into peak oil, they are pricing the far future contract off the current price. If you believe oil will go up this seems a good investment IMO.

This is called speculating but I see it as the same thing Southwest Airlines is doing. I will need oil based products in 2015 and fear they will be much more expensive. By buying a contract for delivery at essentially today's price I am assured that if there is a major runup in price my profit will cover the added cost of those products.


Is a Brent oil derivative. Listed on LSE. Any stock broker can buy this for you. Can also be traded electronically on the likes of Yahoo.

This is always based on the front month contract and at contract expiry it rolls into the next month.

The oil apparently does exist and is "husbanded" by Shell - theoretically. There is also an oilw contract based on westexas.

DBO is an excellent product for long-term investing in oil futures. They own actual oil futures, but instead of rolling over the front month contract every month (and getting murdered by traders on the specified roll-over day), they have a formula for deciding the most advantageous month's contract to buy when they must roll over a contract. I believe they will buy any contract up to a year out.

When the market is in contango, as it is right now, you don't want to be rolling over contracts every single month, as you would do with USO.

USL is from the people behind USO, and is set up to do the same kind of thing as DBO.

These are also good for people who want to invest in oil, but are worried about things like windfall-profits taxes. It's a pure bet on the price of oil

We're currently in a wonderful dip for buying.

Disclosure: I own these for my own accounts and for the accounts of family members and friends.

$135 at the moment - its really been hit by the speculators today.

I'd need something in the UK, and something with a little intelligence behind it. Simply rolling over contracts doesn't sound smart, particularly since I'll guess they will load fees in there somehow.

Actually, you also earn interest on your money (the part that doesn't go into margin requirements goes into t-bills), and that has covered fees in the past.

If you want active trading of futures, why not do it yourself? Start with a book by Curtis Faith titled Way of the Turtle.

Why are the 1 year returns for USO significantly higher than for DBO?

Investing in oil futures?
Doesn't that exacerbate the problem for everyone else price wise - including the poorer nations?
I mean, investors are the one's who got us in this economic farrago in the first place.
God forbid someone might have to actually work for a living.

RE: Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens wants to supplant oil with ind

Note Pickens comment:

"Nixon said in 1970 that we were importing 20% of our oil and that by 1980 it would be 0%. That didn't happen," Pickens says. "It went to 42% in 1991 with the Gulf War. It's just under 70% now. Where do you think we're going to be in 10 years when our economy is busted and we're importing 80% of our oil?"

As I recall, there's a clause in U.S. law that requires serious changes in energy policy when imports exceed 2/3. My memory isn't great on this one, does anyone else know about this?

E. Swanson

As I recall, there's a clause in U.S. law that requires serious changes in energy policy when imports exceed 2/3. My memory isn't great on this one, does anyone else know about this?

I never heard of any such law and I would be truly shocked if one existed. What serious changes could they possibly be talking about? In other words, how could they pass a law that demanded "serious changes" and not specify what those changes would be. No, no such law exists. We are already past two thirds imports and there has been no mention of any law by anyone.

Ron Patterson

Wondered if this might be buried in the Carter Doctrine, and was surprised to only find one link with quotable text; the Wiki page links to a scan of the typewritten original.

Economist's View: The Lex Gabinia

III. Economic Issues

The Department of Treasury, State, and Energy will share responsibility in this area. Economic subcomponents are:

A. Oil Policy, to ensure availability of oil at reasonable prices and to reduce Western dependence on Gulf oil.

Boone Pickens has been on CNBC all morning. He said he was a member of Bob Dole's 1996 campaign for president. He said he told Dole he wanted to talk about energy. Dole told him that energy was a sleeping dog and sleeping dogs should left alone. He said that if Clinton did not bring the subject up, then neither would he. Anyway here is one 8 minute video segment of his talk this morning:

Picken's Energy Plan

Unveiling a plan to cut down energy consumption in the U.S, with Boone Pickens, BP Capital CEO

Ron Patterson

From the Pickin' Plan:

Studies from around the world show that the Great Plains states are home to the greatest wind energy potential in the world — by far.

Global wind map identifies wind power potential

In North America, the most consistent winds were found in the Great Lakes region and from ocean breezes along the eastern, western and southern coasts.

At 4,000 megawatts — the equivalent combined output of four large coal-fire plants — the production of the completed Pampa facility will double the wind energy output of the United States.

Whoever heard of a 400MW coal plant being described as "large"? He's Cherry Pickening his data big time here, not that the effort isn't laudable.

The quote Dude, is 4,000 megawatts. You changed that to 400 megawatts. You changed it by a factor of 10.

It was a dig at his not making a distinction regarding nameplate capacity vs intermittency.

That is no excuse for you fudging the numbers. Who loses credibility here, you or Pickens? There are lots of 1,000 megawatt coal fired plants around. Methinks you just wanted to discredit Pickens and fudged the numbers in an attempt to do so.

There are a lot of things I don't like about Pickens. He is a Republican and I am a Democrat, he supported the Swift Boaters, I thought they were a bunch of liars, but I would never misquote him in an attempt to make him look bad.

I worked, for two years, at the first Gazlan Power Plant in Saudi Arabia. It produced, when running at full capacity, 1,600 megawatts. That was considered VERY large at the time, 1980. The plant had four 400 megawatt generators. The new Gazlan, Gazlan II, has four 600 megawatt generators. One boiler powers two turbines thus two generators. So both plants have two boilers. An average one boiler plant, in the US, up to that day, would have had two 400 megawatt generators or 800 megawatts. Of course some may have had 500 megawatt generators thus producing 1,000 megawatts.

Ron Patterson

And Dude, if you want to account for the intermittency, dividing the nameplate capacity by 3 is closer to the generation than by 10. So, a 4 GW wind farm (the largest in the world) would generate equivalent to ~1.5 GW coal or nuclear plant. It's a huge plant any way you look at it. Good luck to Pickens and others helping wind supply new electricity needs.

Dennis of SET http://www.setenergy.org

I was surprised to see that recent Texas wind farms were reporting 38% capacity factors. Saw link months ago through TOD but did not bookmark.


The highest capacity factors in the world are achieved in Orkney, Scotland. It's around 60%. All you need is a good wind resource.

Pickens was on NPR this morning too, and when asked how many houses the 4MW wind farm would supply, he said 1.3 million. Since in the USA "one household" is considered to need 1 KW of power, he's apparently assuming a capacity factor of about 1/3.

BTW, when asked how it would help with gasoline prices, he also mentioned plug-in hybrids. I.e., his plan involves more than just moving NG from electricity to ICEs. Nevertheless I don't think it'll work, as we're facing a NG crisis in North America as it is.

Looking at the long range NG forecast, we will be needing all that wind power to stay warm.


Nice graph. I was just talking with a friend of mine who manages state owned lands in Alabama (including oil, gas, and coal leases) and he stated that we have more natural gas than we know what to do with, particularly offshore and OCS in the gulf and atlantic coast. Is there a web link to Laherrere's presentation?

ASPO France is a great site. Here is the documents page (lots of great articles here, some in French but still understandable).


I would be interested to know the analytical backing behind your friends comments. There are differences of opinion over how much gas remains. However, we are already strongly dependent on non-conventional gas and production in North America has peaked, so I would not say we have "more natural gas than we know what to do with". It is also true that Nat Gas prices are hitting record highs for this time of year. So what remains is already 300-600% more expensive that 10 years ago. That is not a good sign.

I suspect there wasn't any analytical backing, more just the view that as long as he has been selling leases (not that long really) there has been plenty and why would we ever expect that to change. In my opinion it much like oil, the move to non-conventional is as telling as anything. Thank you for the link.

The "Nameplate Capacity" argument to downplay wind is annoying me- can anyone come up with an "adjusted for intermittency" rating for ALL electricity plants? Our nearby coal plant was struck by lighting and out-of-service for 6 months- shouldn't we downgrade its nameplate? Nuclear plants in GA may be dialed-down because of lack of water for cooling- again, how do we adjust? Today's Drumbeat: Coal plants in China shut in for lack of coal.

If intermittency is an argument for downplaying wind, let's be consistent and apply it across the board.

Availability for nuclear in the US runs at round 90%, for Britain it is a lot lower as a lot of old Magnox plants need nursing along.
For France nuclear availability is around 75% - they switch off their plants a fair amount as the power is not always needed, as such a high proportion of electricity is generated by this means.
Availability in Japan has been heavily hit in Japan by the earthquake.

It is not really meaningful to talk about availability for natural gas plants as they are deliberately switch off a lot of the time as they are the peak load suppliers.

I do not have figures for coal.

Coal power plants in the U.S. typically have an availability of over 90%

Here in the Southern Appalachians we have the best wind potential in the entire SE US. Unfortunately, most people feel that putting WTs on the ridgetops would spoil the view. We've already got the precedent of mountains being despoiled by coal mining, with very little if any benefit and a lot of long-term costs going to the local inhabitants, and with most of the benefit and little of the long-term costs going to people that don't live here. Much as I favor the development of renewable energy, I'm not sure I favor putting WTs on our mountaintops unless it is done by and for the benefit of the people that live amongst the mountains.

I think putting a wind turbine on top of a mountain hurts the view a lot less than removing the mountaintop. Not to mention the fact that you can still drink the water afterwords.

I'm sure it's more expensive, but that's what pricing externalities would fix. If the coal company had to restore the mountaintops, and pay for the special education for every kid that got sick drinking the heavy metal laden water, windmills would start to look cheap.

If intermittency is an argument for downplaying wind, let's be consistent and apply it across the board.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for that, and expansion of wind. Just wanted to bring up the topic for the edification of any CNBC viewers who stop by.

I'd put a windmill in my backyard, if it was allowed, and I could afford it, and the neighbors wouldn't scream!

Seeing windmill farms in the distance is most impressive, and out in the barrens they liven any view. For a real treat, if you live in the Seattle, Yakima, Ellensburg area of Washington state, go out and see the 100 or so wind units just east of Ellensburg. You can drive up to the base of some of the units, and visit the tourist info center.

Standing under those windmills and hearing those giant blades swing by gave me some hope for our energy future. Also, it was amazing that the windmills could work in the light breeze. The only complaint I heard from the Kittatis county folk was that the energy was going elsewhere.

If you wait long enough, you won't have to worry about wind turbines on the tops of mountains because all of the tops will have been cut off and pushed down into the the valleys and streams. We've had this discussion many times before. My land is surrounded on three sides by ridgelines and mountain tops here in Colorado. I would not object to the placement of some wind turbines on same. Is this the best of all possible worlds? No. But it sure beats cutting the tops off of mountains like they do in West Virginia.

Anyway, even with carbon sequestration, coal is a disaster, and a moratorium on new plants need to implemented immediately. Put the wind turbines in West Virginia and everywhere else with a decent amount of wind including off Cape Cod. Otherwise, how about installing some coal fired plants right near Kennedy's property.

Windmills on mountaintops are very common in Spain and people have gotten used to it.

Coal can be shipped long distances, but wind power is much more likely to be used within a short distance of where it is produced. Also, wind turbines require ongoing maintenance indefinitely. Likely impact will be that your local economy gets a boost.

My bet is that, in time, people will come to see windmills on the mountaintops as a beautiful thing.

If you've ever seen the wind farms at Altamont Pass, CA, it's awe ispiring. An engineering marvel that goes on for miles and miles. If you are still discussing aesthetics, you haven't a clue about what this country is about to face. You guarantee my electricity, you can have my entire backyard.

Inspiring except that most of the times I have gone by there, very few of them are spinning. That area needs a bit of inspiration. Not like the truly scenic areas with the million dollar + homes where people are very protective of their views.

Plus except for the few recent ones, the area is kinda like a museum for decrepit falling down first generation turbines. The only thing that impresses me is the morning shadows, which have no trouble overtaking my car at highway speeds. The hillsides are pretty much worthless seasonal grassland, which in these parts is only green for three or four months per year. the older turbines are quite noisy. I haven't been up close with the newer ones, hopefully they are quieter (at least per MW). Between the windmills, and the ranchers protecting their precious cows there is no public access beyond the few paved roads.

Gray Davis cut off all payments to the wind turbine operators, assuming that they would have to produce regardless. Most wind turbines were at the end of life and the operators just zeroed out maintenance. This of course reduced total electrical generation in California when they needed it most.

Enron is just part of the story.

The early designs (70 kW was a common size in the Great California Wind Rush, today 1 MW is "small") were still in the prototype stage and design defects surfaced before the 20 year design life was reached. They are now well past that design life (except some repowered wind farms).

Basically junk that has not been scrapped yet in Altamont Pass. Repowering could dramatically increase production and I am surprised that has not yet happened "en masse".

Best Hopes for Modern Wind Turbines,


Alan, an article in the 'Times' today:
High-speed trains seize short-haul market as fuel cost cripples the airlines

Traffic growth on Eurostar is accelerating like an Alstom locomotive, increasing by 21 per cent in the first quarter, compared with the same period in 2007, and revenues are up by a quarter. Those figures were no flash in the pan, a boost from all the hooplah at last year's opening of St Pancras. Traffic in the second quarter has grown at similar rates, insiders say.


At the moment a 100 megawatt (supposedly, but FPL is very secretive and the number of turbines seems to get larger as time goes by) is being constructed around our farm. The economic input is diffinitely positive as Pickens points out, but I wonder if it can last after the construction phase is past.

FPL has spent millions in acquiring right of way and such which flows into the local economy. Clearly money is being poured into the local economy for drivers and diesel. I see some trucks hauling gravel that are not local. The truck traffic is unbelievable for a normally peaceful rural setting. One would never guess that diesel is nearly $5/gal..

The construction company is Blatner from Minnesota I believe. They graveled over about 40 acres of a dairy farm for the home base to store equipment, cable and such. The surprising thing to me was the scale of it all. The turbines stretch for over 10 miles north-south and over 5 miles east-west.

If Pickens is to build a wind farm 40 times larger, the mind boggles.
Even now local gravel roads are desintigrating and a full time maintainer is used along with a packer and water truck to keep them open and usable.

The reason for all the gravel is that this is prime black dirt farm land that can not handle the heavy cranes used to hoist the turbines and blades. Farm land is being paved over with private access roads to the wind turbines. Some of them cut across country for 2 or three miles are a time. They cut the farms into pieces with a separate road system apart from the local county roads.

Once the turbines are up (about half are up now), the whole feeling of isolation is gone. It is as though giant one legged, 3 winged insects that eat wind and poop electricity have invaded from another planet. I don't know if I can ever get use to them, let alone think of them as beautiful except in some esoteric way in that the energy produced is clean and renewable.

Go to this link and click your state. You will get a list of completed and under construction projects in your state.

Some sates have separate tables for "Existing" and "Under Construction" and you have to toggle between them near the top. See what has been publicly announced. Several states have multiple pages of projects and there are downloadable spreadsheets.


Best Hopes for Wind Power,


In Iowa, for example, FPL has 75 MW under construction in Osceola and Dickenson Counties (don't know if that is you). 30 2.5 MW Clipper WTs.

The turbines look pretty nice in our state (OK) too. Breaks up the monotony in West OK and helps keep you from falling asleep at the wheel from boredom.

The irony of FPL - yes Florida Power and Light - being involved in so many wind power projects that are - uhh - NOT IN FLORIDA boggles my mind.

Mind you - several have been proposed but the NIMBYs seem to be in control.

Best wishes for FPL wind power in states even if not in Florida,


Actually, it makes perfect sense. FPL gets to state they have nn% renewable energy portfolio without having to get Florida resident's permission to put up towers on Daytona Beach.

When they are on a mountaintop (especially a high mountain), you can admire them from a distance.

Ground level is a different story :(

When I was a kid they installed some pilot project turbines high up in the Columbia River Gorge on the Washington side, which really fascinated me when we'd drive down to Portland. I'll vouch for their breaking up the monotony too, you can only mull over layers of basalt for so long.

My dry land wheat farming cousins on the Oregon side are about the only locals raising concerns about the wind farm they're gearing up to install, too. They say there won't be much in the way of job opportunities during the construction phase, albeit there'll be an uptick in local grocery shopping etc.

Hi TODers!

Just posted:
Post Peak Oil Survival with Andre



Wow, I hadn't realized how much I move my hands when I talk. It looks like I'm kneading dough in the air. Thanks for the fun interview, Kris.

Hey you got the interview with JHK! Just you, Jim, and 10,000 mosquitoes, woohoo!

Keep it up Kris.

Dunno if this was picked up here: OPEC oil exports at new peak for this year: Analyst

Seaborne crude exports from 11 members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, including Iraq, will rise to 24.89 million bpd from 24.74 million bpd in the 4 weeks to June 21, British consultancy Oil Movements said in its latest estimate.

The increase takes exports to their highest this year, surpassing the previous peak which was 24.85 million bpd in the four weeks to June 28.

"There was a distinct tailing off in late June and early July," Roy Mason of Oil Movements said, referring to the two previous Oil Movements reports which showed a fall in exports. He said the recovery in sailings was almost entirely due to sailings from the Middle East to Asia, while sailings to the West had gone up only slightly. "The test is next month which is normally a seasonal low," Mason said.

Thus $138.63?

4P's: Problems with Proximal Petroleum Producers

I think that a primary factor in the oil markets is Europe and the US struggling to offset the declines from proximal producers--Russia & Norway and Venezuela & Mexico respectively--with increased oil imports from Africa and the Persian Gulf, while Asia is seeking to increase oil imports to meet higher demand.

These four proximal producers accounted for about 30% of total world net oil exports in 2005 (about 13.6 mbpd out of 46.3 mbpd).

Mexico could hit zero net oil exports as soon as late 2010.

Our middle case has Russia and Norway both approaching zero net oil exports in the 2025 time frame.

We haven't tried to model Venezuela, but if we extrapolate out the 10 year decline in net oil exports, they would approach zero around 2027.

Mexico is what alarms me more than anything. Tax breaks to encourage exploration aren't amounting to much, which isn't surprising given what a messed up company their NOC is. Found a great article today: MEXICO : Pemex Oozes Corruption

MEXICO CITY, May 7 (IPS) - Funds belonging to the Mexican state oil monopoly, Pemex, have paid in recent years for liposuction treatment for the wife of the company’s chief executive, a presidential candidate’s campaign, contracts with firms facing legal action, and the whims of trade union leaders who are not required to account for their expenses.

"Pemex is a can of worms. If you do something right, they come after you; if you shut up about some irregularity, they reward you; and if you take part in the corruption, you profit," a Pemex worker told IPS.

"I’m not saying everything is like that -- there are also honest people," added the worker, whose name is withheld for his safety.

The employee said that after he replaced several worn-out parts of a gas valve, a group of internal auditors criticised his work, saying they had found "too many foreign parts," and ordered him to put the originals back in place.

He said that when his boss protested, he was accused of a bias in favour of a private supplier and an investigation against him was launched.

We can muddle along for now I think, but as an American 2010 is what really looks like a tipping point to me.

In regard to prior field discoveries and the current decline, Pemex is a factor, but IMO depletion is the primary factor. Now, going forward their lack of capital and expertise to tackle very deep water projects is a very big problem.

In any case, as I have outlined several times, peaks happen--even in the best of circumstances, e.g. Texas & the North Sea.

Mexico could hit zero net oil exports as soon as late 2010.

Seeing as how Pemex itself has announced that they only have proved reserves for a bit less than 9 years at last year's rate of consumption, if they had any sense, they'd suspend all exports effective yesterday. But of course they don't have any sense...

The dip is probably due to some amount of inventory build, plus chart people hitting a key number, plus traders starting to roll over contracts.

The extra 150,000 barrels per day shipped is actually probably less than most traders expected. In any case, 150,000 barrels per day is worth something like $3.50-$4 of the current price.

True but notice how it follows two months of declining exports.

I've noticed this pattern of a drop off in exports followed by a brief surge that does not last.

I've been saying for a while that whats happening is some countries are producing flat out but slowing
exports allowing local inventory to build and importing inventory falls then "surging" by draining inventory
over 30-60 days.

I assure you they will report flat production at a high rate but they are really double counting oil in the producing month and in the shipping month as inventory. This eventually shows as a persistent inventory draw down worldwide.

I call the procedure pump store and dump.

Its a shell game.

U.S. gasoline, distillate, and jet fuel inventories have been rising. The United States is only about 25% of the world oil consumption total.

Six months of U.S. job losses may mean fewer people are driving to work.

.197% of the oil supply = 3% of the price?


Hi, everyone.

I just installed Berserk's script to show the URL beside the titles of each Drumbeat, like this:

Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens wants to supplant oil with wind [ usatoday.com ]

It works really well on Firefox. I tested it on Firefox 3.x, the latest version.

To implement it, get Firefox, then install Greasemonkey, then install the script.

I tried the script in Safari using GreaseKit but the combination doesn't appear to work.

I'm sure there is a way to get the script to work in IE but I don't use that browser so someone else will have to jump in.


Worked like a charm. Thanks!


Now if we can only get todban updated, I'd be grateful.

Worked great!
I wonder why Safari won't work?

André - that's really boss! Gotta find a way to port that to other forums.

Thanks, Dude. But please send kudos to Berserk, who made the script. I just reposted his instructions from a few days ago. :-)

Here is a greasemonkey script to get rid of annoying people:

// Author : Matt Baker
// Kohesion Software
// email : mbaker at kohesion daught net
// For : theoildrum.com
// Purpose : Block annoying users

// ==UserScript==
// @name Block Users
// @namespace http://www.theoildrum.com/
// @description removes annoying users and subthreads
// @include http://www.theoildrum.com/*
// ==/UserScript==

var blockedUsers = new Array();

blockedUsers.push('Annoying person here');
blockedUsers.push('Another annoying person here');

// Add jQuery code From: http://www.joanpiedra.com/jquery/greasemonkey/
// Add jQuery

var GM_JQ = document.createElement('script');
GM_JQ.src = 'http://jquery.com/src/jquery-latest.js';
GM_JQ.type = 'text/javascript';

function GM_wait() {
if(typeof unsafeWindow.jQuery == 'undefined') { window.setTimeout(GM_wait,100); }
else { $ = unsafeWindow.jQuery; letsJQuery(); }

function letsJQuery() {

// code for theoildrum.com
if (self.location == top.location)

$('span.username').each (function(i)
for(i=0; i!=blockedUsers.length; i++)
var userName = this.childNodes[0].innerHTML;

if((userName.toLowerCase()) == (blockedUsers[i].toLowerCase()))


A sign of maturity is that you will tolerate the presence of another person even if you hate his guts because of his opinion. This script is not that.

I installed it and it works on the headlines but not within the comments. Is that expected behavior? Thanks BTW

Yes, the script is checking only for the headline.

$('div.node a').each(function(i){

Pickens Sticks with $150 Oil; Could Fall to $100

Legendary oil investor Boone Pickens stood by his forecast that oil prices will hover around $150 a barrel now and told CNBC that they may fall to about $100 in two years.

"I'll stick with $150 (per barrel)," Pickens, who is also CEO of BP Capital, told "Squawk Box". "Demand going down, that's what will bring this thing in better balance".

Demand in the OECD countries is already going down, for sure. The question is: will the increasing demand from developing countries meet or exceed that drop?

There's also the increasing decline rate.

World population growth rate estimates per year:

This will be the baseline for demand growth I guess. Some fraction of the total population (integral over all the past growth rates of people still alive) will be able to afford oil at a certain price, but demand ought to rise with growth rate, shouldn't it? That is, if growth rate of the population rises 1%, the amount of people able to afford oil at a given price should rise 1% as well. Rising incomes will increase the fraction, increasing oil price will decrease it.

Future population estimates are toast.
They were based on living standards rising in the developing world, and increased female education, better access to health care etc.
None of those assumptions are going to hold good.
In tough times the raw birth rate in the developing world is likely to increase in the poorest countries, although perhaps not in relatively developed regions like the Mahgreb.
The death rate is also likely to go up substantially, so what the outcome will be is anyone's guess, as no trends are possible to project as yet.
This will be a major discontinuity and the outcome is not predictable from extrapolating the past, which is what all the major forecasts try to do.

Well yeah, the trend they show here doesn't pick up on any of the blips. But until we start seeing massive starvation, wars, disease, etc., I'd say it's relatively safe to say that the growth rate will continue to be somewhere in the 0.5-2% range. Also, don't forget that the only event that actually decreased the world population was the waves of bubonic plague in Europe. That's at least the only event we have data for, I suspect when small pox was introduced to the Americas it was pretty massive too.

Populations often increase in wars - the Vietnam war is one example, so I can't see how it is relatively safe to assume any range.
The reason why events in the past did not decrease world population is that different conditions in different regions meant that the curve was smoothed out.
This contrasts with the present situation in that the world is much more linked together, and the increase in energy prices and likely near collapse of the world economy will hit everyone.
The position could vary a lot from region to region, but it is a question of degree, not difference in kind.
From a smooth curve we are likely to go to a much more serrated effect, common in peaking animal populations.

Yeah but we still have different conditions, some countries have more oil than others. Granted, the ones with the oil might not be able to hang on to it, but someone could benefit.

What you say could happen if there was something nasty that happened to the availability of petroleum-based fertilizer and pesticides that are supporting our food production, maybe with some environmental conditions thrown in such as climate change making some crop lands unavailable. With peak oil, that would probably happen in the long term, but I guess we'll all stop driving any kinds of vehicle at all before we have to give up the pesticides and fertilizers.

In areas like the US and Europe, then fertiliser use and supply won't stop.
In other areas like Bangladesh, how are they going to pay for it?
The disaster will happen to the poor of the world, with everything form fertiliser to means to transport the food to market and store it collapsing.

The question of what will happen to world population is an interesting one in the light of peak oil.
To have a very rough bash at it, perhaps the following regions might be considered:
The developed world, including North America, Western Europe, Japan and Australia/NZ
Russia and Eastern Europe
South-East Asia
South and Central America, relatively developed
South and Central America, very poor
Africa south of the Sahara.
The Mahgreb.
Middle eastern oil exporting countries

The assumptions I am going to make to draw one possible future would be for oil and gas to increase in price and decrease in availability, for this to effectively break the world economy by 2012, and for regionalisation and mercantilist arrangements to take over. Coal prices would increase fairly much in parallel
The economy I am going to assume in the West is going to recover to some extent, with solar getting very cheap compared to current prices and other renewables and a nuclear build gradually kicking in, so we might be looking at a standard of living at perhaps 25% of current levels.
Poor countries will have to cope by themselves, and IMO no further development is to be expected.

Under those circumstances the West would likely have a large decrease in live births, with the US and Oceania dropping to similar levels to Italy - this is typically what happens in depressions in richer countries.
The great unknown here, and one which could send populations up, is immigration.
My central expectation would be that it would be severely curtailed as hard times hit.
So in the period up to, perhaps 2030 my guess for the region would be continued heavy falls in population.

Even with high oil prices Russia has a very low birth rate, and this does not seem likely to change, so both it and Eastern Europe may have continued large declines in population.

China is relatively developed, and hard times will likely have a similar effect, with the present decline continuing.
South-East Asia may follow a similar pattern, but perhaps with some areas like the Philippines and Indonesia going into an Argentina like situation, with a birth rate hovering above replacement. The Mahgreb is also on the cusp between those states that respond by the birth rate falling sharply, and those with rather above replacement rate figures for many years.

We are now coming to the really severely hit regions.
Sub-saharan Africa seems unlikely to do other than to become a war-zone with depleting resources.
Under those conditions the rate of population increase might actually go up, as it often does in wars.
It would seem unlikely that this could be sustained for long though, and it seems likely that very large falls in population would follow, perhaps in the 2015-20 time frame.
Angola and Nigeria might hang on for a few years, kept afloat by oil.
Egypt, Bangladesh and Pakistan seem likely to be in the same boat as most of Africa.

India is the hardest to work out, as it has the potential to go in most directions, either to an African-style collapse or to a relatively affluent solar-powered future.
My bet would be on a muddling along scenario, with population rising at close to the present projected rates by the UN out to 2030.

The oil producers of the middle east seem likely perhaps to continue to rapidly increase until the oil runs out, then to suffer a very severe collapse.

Overall then barring a major war this scenario might give a 2030 population of around the same as today rather than the 8.5billion or so assumed in median projections from BAU, with fairly large increases in India and South East Asia partly making up for relatively modest falls in the developed world and China and large falls in the poorest countries.

The levels of confidence in those figures is not high though, as a poor outcome in India and parts of #South America could knock 1-2 billion from that figure, whilst the collapse of development and the ability of people to somehow scrape through might lead to a much greater figure, although I would be surprised if it were higher than the 8.5 billion given in non-peak aware forecasts.

Anyway, just a few initial thoughts on a very complex subject - I hope it stimulates debate, at least.

Great analysis! I agree with you that what you're saying is plausible but I'm always a bit wary of predicting drastic things because of what happened during the last oil shock and the population time bomb fiasco. One could argue that one might do more damage to peak oil awareness by crying wolf here again if this indeed is just a temporary shock and that in the 2010s people will look back on the "great oil scare" made by "the speculators" in the 2000s.

That said, here's a couple of points: On immigration, I would think that hungry people would be very willing to emigrate, so much so it might be hard to stop them. I'm thinking of things like the spread of the Norse peoples during about 800-1000. I would guess that the Norse at least weren't necessarily starving or poor to begin with (I'm sure outfitting those longships required some working infrastructure and income), but they were probably overpopulated. The Irish however were certainly not doing as well as they could have been when they started emigrating to the U.S. The immediate cause might have been the potato famine, but for a long time they were becoming increasingly overpopulated. The land was getting divided into smaller and smaller plots with each generation and after awhile it could barely support a family.

Also, regarding the sub-saharan africa, I think the population could indeed go down. During the thirty years war the population of the holy roman empire decreased by about a third in some estimates. This was due to not just due directly to the war itself, but the plague and other diseases and crop failures, etc. I'd almost say that conditions are nearly at a similar point there already. Look at Darfur, at least part of that is motivated by a lack of water in the northern part of the country. Also you've got some religious conflict and AIDS -- anyway it's not completely unlike what happened during the thirty years war.

I'm one of the people who rejected both the population time bomb thesis and Limits to Growth ideas, which attempted to quantify resources.
However, it is now clear that in the special case of fossil fuels and certain other rare materials such as helium then resources are indeed limited.
It is also clear that the lack of energy makes shortages in a lot of other areas possible - for instance with abundant cheap energy then nitrogen is easily fixed for fertiliser.
It is also perhaps worth mentioning that the reason I found Limits to growth ideas implausible was that I did not think people would be daft enough not to develop nuclear power, and thought that the world in general would be in a similar position to France at the moment, with electricity largely supplied by nuclear means and a relatively small expansion of it all that would be needed to power society.

Your point about migration is indeed completely accurate. However times are likely to be hard enough that IMO immigration simply will not be accepted, and they will be executed, with the situation at the borders of North Africa and along the Mexican border approaching warfare.

Civil war with the muslim part of the population in France seems the largest cause of apprehension in its otherwise comparatively favourable outlook.

How accurate the projection I have made here ar3e remains to be seen, but the projection of organisations like the UN made without taking account of Peak Oil are surely inaccurate, with pressures both on the death rate and a reduced ability to decrease the birth rate in poorer countries.
On balance it seems to me that a lower central estimate is the right call under these circumstances.

Yes I agree that there could be armed conflict on the U.S./Mexican border since central america doesn't grow enough food to feed itself right now so no telling what might happen as things worsen. I 'm not so sure the U.S. could keep people out though even if it tried. You could build another great wall, but as the governor of Arizona said, "You show me a 50 foot wall, I'll show you a 51-foot ladder." You could station a large portion of the army at the border, but right now the army is in Iraq (and will be for the foreseeable future if McCain gets his way). Also, right now the army seems to be highly dependent on cheap oil and steady supply lines, who knows if the bureaucracy of the army with its addiction to high price and high maintenance equipment will be able to adapt to a changing world.

Regarding your larger points, I guess what it comes down to though, is how dependent is food growth and distribution on oil price really? I don't suppose we'll know until after it's too late and there are shortages, or not.

"You could get it back down to about 100."
Can anyone here imagine a world where this would happen? Can't force myself to do it.

Seems we are still riding the
trend lines

Showing the image you refer to below...

Located at http://www.theoildrum.com/uploads/28/Trend.png.

Hey... this only goes through mid-2006, but the trendline clearly is accurate for what has been observed for the last 2 years. Does anyone remember who posted this, and can it be updated, as well as extrapolated until 2012?

This is an AWESOME chart...


Khebab did the chart, and he did an updated version not too long ago--and I agree, it is very interesting how prices have followed the trend.

If someone can find it, please repost it..

Meanwhile, I found something pretty close... (For the stats folks- gotta love that R-Squared value)

Just did the average WTI spot price for June ($133.50). At about 7% over the average May price ($125), It was up only slightly over the 5/07 to 5/08 rate of increase of 6% per month.

This is really an amazing rate of increase--a one percent increase about every five days, for the past 13 months.

If oil prices stay "on trend" (relative to May), they would average about $140 in July.

A direct cause and effect. Mish notes that 20% (3,200) of all martial arts studios in the US went out of business in May alone, as Americans are increasing forced to curtail discretionary spending in order to pay rising food & energy prices:


We are eating this stuff up. Many thanks to both you and Khebab. The fact that it is a slightly ever increasing rate sure seems to correspond to the chart uncannily.

T Boone is making the point about the $700 billion (US) yearly transferr of wealth to the producers. And how the percent is increasing. This runs smack into ELM of course. This leaves a lot less for martial arts studios as you point out. Everything on earth it seems is now in the process of being revalued in relationship to it's energy fitness and necessity.

Someone was making a comparison between the amount of above ground wealth vs. the amount of below ground wealth still to be extracted. I guess if we need it bad enough a good percent of the entire amount is eventually transferred.

The IRS short form. Enter the value of your assets on line one. Now send that amount.

I agree with Pickens that the WTI oil price will hover around $150, as demand destruction continues to occur. However, the chart below forecasts oil prices to resume the upward trend in late 2009, rather than falling to $100.

If there are any significant unexpected supply shortages during the next year, prices could move upward quickly. There is also a high risk of prices moving much higher in 4Q2008 as there is a forecast demand supply gap of 1.6 mbd, shown in the chart.

Total Liquids Supply, Demand & Price to December 2012 - click to enlarge

Updated for:

June 27, 2008 “All Countries Spot Price FOB Weighted by Estimated Export Volume (Dollars per Barrel)” of $131.41.
For comparison, on the same date, WTI was about $140.

EIA STEO July 8, 2008

Apr 2008 US ethanol production

Ace, this is in no way supposed to be a criticism ... never a good way to start.

Over the period that you have producing these charts the 'forecast ' line must have moved forward a good 12 to 18 months. Have you been tracking the accuracy of your forecasts? And, do you have any way to present that data, or include it in the future forecasts as error bars?

For comparison, here is a forecast from 14 months ago, in May 2007.

Dec 2012 forecast demand has fallen from 96 mbd (May 2007 forecast) down to recent forecast of 93 mbd. This is reasonable as high prices have caused demand destruction.

Dec 2012 forecast supply has increased from 78 mbd (May 2007 forecast) up to recent forecast of 79 mbd. This small difference is due mainly to an increase in the Dec 2012 forecast of about 1 mbd for Saudi Arabia since the May 2007 forecast. The total liquids production plateau is forecast to end by late 2009 for both the May 2007 and the current forecasts.

Dec 2012 forecast price has increased from $170 (May 2007 forecast) up to recent forecast of $255. This is an unexpected big difference! One possible reason for part of this difference is that the forecast oil price is calculated from total liquids demand and supply. The crude oil price should probably be calculated from total crude oil demand and supply. Forecasting price is much harder than forecasting supply or demand.

Total Liquids Supply, Demand & Price to December 2012 (May 2007 Forecast) - click to enlarge

Thanks! Really interesting.

The staircase in the demand curve obviously presents a new challenge every Sept / Oct. In the May '07 forecast it appears that the expectation was that supply would not rise to the challenge, but in reality it very nearly did, and even overshot the expected demand towards the end of the step up. Much closer than i was expecting.

Obviously the big question for this Sept / Oct is, will the demand curve fall to meet the supply, or the supply once more stage a miracle comeback?

Have you been able to link the difference between the May '07 forecast and reality with any specific events? It would be useful to know if they were cyclical events or one time, dumb luck / rabbit out of a hat sorts of things.

This years showdown with the demand curve is only a few months away!

The G8 said the high costs of both oil and food threatened a global economy already facing uncertainty amid continuing economic strain.


The price of staple foods may be soaring, but thankfully caviar and sea urchin are within the purchasing power of leaders and their taxpayers - the amuse-bouche featured corn stuffed with caviar, smoked salmon and sea urchin, hot onion tart and winter lily bulb.

Horrors. They conceivably might have to go to domestic caviar.


If sea urchins become too scarce, I'm sure there will be plenty of street urchins available for consumption. Just a modest proposal, after all.

Once again I find myself cracking up at work while browsing TOD.

Absolutely hilarious WNC.


I first met Boone on a basketball court in 1945. Have seen him on occasion over the years. In 1985 he spoke at Cal Tech. At that time he was obsessed with shareholder value (and making money). I asked him if he knew Hubbert. My impression was that he was either unaware of or had forgotten about the Hubbert Curve. Perhaps just uninterested. He did express a memory of once being on a panel with King Hubbert. I had the late Buz Ivanhoe put him on the mailing list for the Hubbert center Newsletter around 1996. This morning I joined the pickens plan.
Will windmills continue to be subsidized? Will that affect the EROI?

I watched Boone's video just now, interested in what someone who's been very prominently speaking about Peak Oil would say. So what has he got?

"Hey...let's use natural gas as a transportation fuel! And take 22% of our electricity grid and generate wind!"


It's shocking to me that someone who's made billions on oil seems to not understand a) Natural gas has peaked in North America, and b) The wind don't always blow - any large grid system using a substantial portion of wind must have conventional backup power (gas, coal) to supplant it.

And of course he doesn't once mention addressing the DEMAND side of the equation.

If this is the best he can come up with...ugh...this is not a good start to my day...

What got me is that he did not know what retrofitting a car to nat gas
would cost.

He deferred to Wien, a stock analyst for the answer!

Fuggy* I do not disagree with you. As I posted at Yuku downstream ventures, i doubt that windmills will prevent the ultimate Malthusian dieoff

Moreover, the generating plants needed for filling in when the wind is down pretty much HAVE to be nat-gas powered. They use coal and nuclear for baseload, and NG for peaking loads since those plants can be started up very quickly. Thus, adding wind power will not release much NG for transportation.

It will only free up NG to the extent that it will smooth out the electricity supply-demand fluctuations. That would only happen if the wind tends to be high exactly when demand is high. But summer afternoons in the SE US (max air conditioning demand) are AFAIK typically low on wind speeds.

I believe that Texas (ERCOT) still uses natural gas for base load. Certainly for "shoulder load".


If this is the best he can come up with...ugh...this is not a good start to my day...

I'd take intermittent wind power over gas/oil any day of the week. I think he's doing the right thing... other options for reducing FF consumption are nukes (Politically Risky), Hydro (Most good sites taken), Solar (expensive, and like wind also intermittent... Doesn't work too well at night...) or other futuristic/unproven technology.

He's trying to make as big of an impact NOW that he can with PROVEN tech.

Mr. Wilson,

I believe that we meet at ASPO-Houston. I am now editing an important article (on TOD in a week ?) that I would like Boone Pickens to see. The article was prompted by a request from an elected official in DC.

Please send me an eMail (link at my name).

Best Hopes,

Alan Drake

Alan we may well have met in Houston. I must have met 100+ guys and a few ladies. I do not have a current contact for Boone. For a quick and easy shot I suggest that you join http://www.pickensplan.com and put your material in your profile. Someone might see it.

When Boone was 16.

And here you are on TOD.


I was 14 and in middle high when we met. Boone was a high school junior. He stayed over at Amarillo High an extra year to play guard with hall of famer Jewell McDowell. In the last seconds of the semi final game he lost the ball (and the game) to Kyle Rote. Life has its ups and downs. We beat Greenville in a bizarre consolation game which was played mostly to establish a Texas high point record for Marcus Freiberger. Boone was flashy and had a penchant for behind the back passes.

The 1947 All State Tournament Team included Jose Palafox of El Paso; Kyle Rote and Ben White of SA Jefferson; Marcus Freiberger of Greenville; and Jewell McDowell of Amarillo. Greenville’s 6’10” center Marcus Freiberger set a 2-A (later 4-A) record for the most points (86) in a 3 game series. Freiberger was the “the tallest boy ever seen in a state tournament” and later played at Oklahoma; for the 1952 U.S. Olympic team; and for the 1952 Peoria Caterpillars, the national AAU champions.

Impressive. I don't remember last week very well.

I was wondering how close you or Boone came to my Father in Law.

He was playing for the Phillips 66ers in 52.

My wife was born in Bartlesville.

He's focused on making money for himself and his investors. That's how all these guys are.

This may have been on the DB yesterday, if so I missed it. Ilargi at The Automatic Earth went on a rant that makes some of JHK's diatribes look mild by comparison. For starters:

Economists are monkeys with an abacus. Reporters are apes with a typewriter. G8 leaders are dung beetles with their fingers on the trigger. So what’s new? The level of incompetence amongst experts, analysts and politicians is rivaled only by the lack of intelligence, compassion and self-knowledge prevalent in the general public. If you ask me, that’s a pretty perfect fit. You get what you deserve.

And it gets better (or worse, depending on your perspective...)

IndyMac has laid off 1/2 work force and stopped originating loans.

Bloomberg's Lady this AM:

IndyMac did this because "they are not well capitalized."

Ilargi, JHK, Dr Housing Bubble, Elaine Supkis, Dmitry Orlov have been
documenting these liars for the past year.

an example:

On June 26, the question was asked repeatedly why oil was up over $5.

the answers courtesy FT:

"The lower dollar had ramifications for commodities, sending gold to a one-month high. Oil closed up $5.09 at $139.64 a barrel as Libya threatened to cut output and Opec’s president said crude could hit $170 a barrel this summer."

Not one mention of the Pemex Release that day showing Cantarell plummeting.

Not. One. Mention.

Mac, Mish has some interesting and entertaining posts today, rare form...

'California Proposal To Rename Sewage Plant After Bush

One never knows what to expect from California. In a fitting sign of the times, a California group proposes George W. Bush Sewage Plant.

A California group submitted a proposal Monday to rename a sewage treatment plant after President Bush, calling the initiative a fitting tribute to the outgoing chief executive and the "mess" he'll leave behind.'...snip...

and about Indymac...

Statement by Indymac 'Without an external capital raise, the traditional way to improve safety and soundness is to sell assets and shrink the balance sheet, which in normal times generally has the effect of improving capital ratios and bolstering liquidity. Yet in this environment, where either there are no bids for most of IMB’s mortgage loans and securities or the bid/ask spreads are abnormally wide, “fire-selling” assets would actually deplete capital further.'

'My Comment (Mish): Indymac needs to consider the strong possibility that its loan portfolio is of negative value and that they would have to pay someone to take it.'


Trading for Indymac on NYSE halted this morning with share price at 40 cents...

bosuncookie...Did you see the Jamie Diamon (sp?) address to the FDIC today. It was on MSNBC and Bloomberg tv. I seldom listen to anything on those channels but his talk was impressive...imo.

Yesterday Ben B spoke, this morning the head of the SEC spoke...A sea change is about to begin. Interesting times indeed. FDIC is sharpening up the axes.

Didn't see it yet. Is it online?

Rising Fuel Prices Hit Transit Riders

As more Americans ditch their cars in favor of mass transit, many find they're still affected by the pump, because the transit systems carrying them are feeling the pain of rising fuel costs.
People who thought they could avoid the gas squeeze now face fare hikes. Transit agencies face budget deficits and the choice of cutting service or increasing fares to balance their finances.

In New Orleans, 40% of the riders are now on streetcars, which is buffering the fuel cost effects.


When I lived in Boston, there were still some electric buses in Harvard Sq. They sort of looked like ordinary buses (ran on streets and used rubber tires, etc), but AFAIK they had no diesel engine. Instead each had two trolley poles to get the power from overhead wires.

I can't help but wonder if we are going to see more of these things around the world - esp in places where the ridership is low enough that light rail isn't justified. I haven't seen a lot of discussion in this direction though.

San Francisco has had an extensive electric trolleybus system for many years; I rode them all the time when I lived there. The only occasional drawback is the antenna jumping the wires when going through a junction, and the bus comes to a stop; the driver then has to get out and remount the antenna. Acceleration is more abrupt with electric trolleybuses than with diesel buses.

The newe trolley buses generally "track" better, they automatically rewire themselves, and they have enough battery power to make it several blocks when necessary, often useful if they are doing maintenance work on the overhead wires.

The acceleration (jump start) and fast deceleration is still the same.

Hello TODers,

Buy Now, Gas Up Later

A new website, MyGallons.com, allows customers to purchase gas at today's prices online, then use a pre-paid MyGallons card at the pump. If prices have gone up since you bought the gas online, you will save money. The card has no expiration date.

Claudette Carveth, a spokesman for Connecticut's Department of Consumer Protection, warns consumers always to be wary of giving money to fledgling online companies. Carveth said Connecticut has had a checkered history with companies that allow customers to pre-purchase fuel. There now are laws governing the practice involving heating oil and propane, she said, but not gasoline.

Verona said his company protects itself against skyrocketing gas prices with a complicated hedging system -- effectively betting about 20 percent of the company's money against rising prices, so that the company breaks even no matter what the price of fuel. That means the business doesn't make money other than from fees -- $29.95 to $39.95 for a year's membership, plus $1.95 per pre-purchase transaction.
My guess is this businessman has good intentions, but it will turn into a criminal Ponzi scheme when the hedging breaks down. I prefer my earlier speculative Hells Angels gas-station idea for personal storage and arbitrage.

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

I prefer my earlier speculative Hells Angels gas-station idea for personal storage and arbitrage.

Details, please! "Will that be pool cue or tire iron?"

RE:Nigeria seeks to end 'blood oil'

What on earth is going on in Nigeria?

President trying to get international forces to help him clamp down those pesky activists?

MEND trying to denigrate the government?

Both are accusing each other of the same thing.

Then it surely must be happening.

The only question is: which companies are in collusion in this and how big volumes are we talking?

Anyone know when the last boat from China will come with cheap shirts and shoes?
What percentage of a $6 shirt, at Walmart, is raw material/slave labor/TRANSPORT?

My wife is from eastern Europe, so as I schooled her on Peak Oil, her life experience came into play. She bought our two children cloths and shoes for every age. Right now they are still dirt cheap (as I see it).

The last boat... Great question.

Last night I picked up 150 sq ft of slate tiles for a future kitchen remodeling project I'm going to do. The tiles clearly state on the box that they are a product of India. They are beautiful - with lots of red and yellow coloring to go along with the gray. My price? $1.30/sq ft. How the hell did anyone make any money on that? Between the cost of cutting the stone, packaging it up (5 tiles per box), and then shipping it halfway around the world... (boats, trucks...) It's crazy!

I'd tell you I expect it to end shortly, but I don't see how they can do it profitably now, so what the hell do I know...


Some of these operations are almost completely automated, and from the time that the main block enters the shed to be split and then sawn to shape the amount of labor used can be quite small. Whether that holds true in India or not, however, I don't know, since my knowledge comes from Sardinian granite quarries.

...my knowledge comes from Sardinian granite quarries.

LOL. That's somethin' you don't hear every day.

My wife is from eastern Europe, so as I schooled her on Peak Oil, her life experience came into play. "

Wow, are you fortunate to have a spouse with such experience. Virtually everyone I know has a typical brain-dead, blow-up doll spouse (male or female) thwarting their efforts at preparation.

"She bought our two children cloths and shoes for every age"

That is GREAT!. Clothing is one of the items I think most of us are forgetting to store in our extended pantries. My brother-in-law has started buying jeans etc one size smaller than his current size in anticipation of dropping pounds in the years ahead in due to real manual labor and dietary restrictions he sees in his future.

LOL Imagine if you had done that after Jimmy's speech - it's 1990 and everyone is housing it whilst you go to your high school prom dressed as John Travolta.

Humor is a good way to go down. Do you remember those guys playing live music on the deck of the Titanic?

If it were a standard retailer, they'd be paying $3 wholesale on a $6 retail shirt, delivered to the store. Walmart's probably putting a bit less markup on it, and may also be buying at point-of-manufacture, handling their own shipping.

The thing about ocean freight is, pound-for-pound it's cheap. It's cheaper to send a shirt by ship from China to LA than it would be to send it by truck from, say, North Carolina. It's probably cheaper to send it from China to Boston than from NC to Boston, for that matter, unless in NC you put it on a ship. If manufacturing moves back to the States, it could be a boom time for coastal merchant shipping, maybe. But as long as the primary domestic transport is truck and rail, shipping can beat that for our coastal populations, even from China.

So, you don't see much chance that NC will be the new China? :)

I guess, even after the oil doubles again, there will be somewhere in the world where manufacturing is a better option than here.

I would think that internal energy costs for the manufacturing country would play a role at some point.

Leaping into Light Rail: Cities in the South and West are writing a new chapter in the history of transit
Governing, July 2008

The current spate of light-rail openings represents the culmination of a decade of both new and recycled ideas about urban planning, transportation choices and how to finance big infrastructure projects. Light rail is enjoying something of a national moment, akin to the subway boomlet 40 years ago that brought MARTA to Atlanta, BART to the Bay Area and Metro to Washington, D.C., and its suburbs. There are some key differences between that era and this one, though. For one thing, the light-rail systems being built today are expressly intended to catalyze transit-oriented development in ways that the last generation of rail investment hadn't envisioned. Plus, Americans seem more ready to ride the rails now than they were in the 1960s and '70s, when their love affair with driving and suburban-style living was still fresh.

As for the Pickens Plan:

Moving natural gas from infrastructure to vehicle use isn't perfect, but it's better than any suggestion from Washington so far.

Wind that blows some of the time and sun that shines some of the time beats oil that no longer exists any of the time.

I see no reason NOT to push hard into wind, as it is the closest parity-cost alternative source today. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that vehicles move toward natural gas hybrids now, and then on to bio-fuel hybrids later. With enough wind, PV solar, and nuke energy a good plug-in hybrid would go a long way toward an all-electric transition.

A current Prius gets about 45mpg. With a lithium-ion plug-in upgrade the electric-assisted mileage will go up to 70 or 100mpg, but just for the first 40-60 miles, but really that's enough for most of us doing daily commutes.

The CNG Honda Civic gets about 30-35mpg, with a range of 200 miles. Again that's plenty for most in-town driving, but people are scared about running "out of gas" with no CNG pumps around, and long trips are impossible.

Let's consider an alternative: a plug-in hybrid that has a flex-fuel engine for natural gas and gas. When commuting in-town, the primary power is electricity (charged at home with solar, wind, or whatever drives the grid) plus either CNG, gas, E85, butanol, or whatever is cheapest. When on long trips, it's just a hybrid on the highway, using primarily the liquid fuels.

The problem today is that the Honda GX aren't multi-fuel, as you only get tax rebates for dedicated CNG, so you can't roam far from a CNG pump. A small regulatory shift would enable at least a small gas tank option to eliminate this "perception risk".

Hybrids today aren't plug-in yet, but there are aftermarket options available now and factory plug-ins are coming. The problem is that they don't use E85 or CNG, but that's not a technological problem. A multi-fuel plug-in hybrid is just an engineering exercise, not a technology/research issue.

You could worry that a car with CNG tanks, a big battery, and reasonable gas tanks to meet every need is too big and heavy, but then all you need is a modular solution -- if you're going on a long highway trip trade the big battery for a big gas tank, and if you're just puttering around town go for a battery/CNG mix, or if you have a mid-range day trip go for mostly CNG. Again, modularity is just an engineering task, not a technology issue. It wouldn't have to much harder than changing grill tanks or bottles on a welder -- maybe easier even. For most of us we wouldn't change the configuration more than once in a blue moon anyway, and your "highway tank" could sit in the garage next to the car-top carrier for the Thanksgiving trip to Grandma's.

The problem with wind and solar is storage. If you have cyclical generation, you need bulk storage. A bunch of plug-in cars (hybrid or EV) with big batteries would provide such storage. If the wind stops blowing for a while, it's no big deal -- anytime the supply/demand of electricity shifts to high-cost, your car can burn some liquid fuel (CNG or gasoline or whatever) and power your house and feed the grid. If during the afternoon peak power is short, you could plug in at work and provide some power too (buy low at night, sell high in the afternoon).

It's going to cost some money, but most of could pay $20K to keep the wheels from falling off our lifestyle wagon. A hybrid adds just a few $, say $4K. CNG is just a few too, say $5K. Plug-in hybrid adds $10K. For $20K you could have a car that could do use almost any fuel - electric, CNG, E85, gasoline, butanol, or whatever. To do it efficiently would take a clutch-driven supercharger or variable-wastegate supercharger, but those exist too, and cost just another $1K or so.

From my perspective the above is just one part of the solution (step 2), with conservation as step 1 and mass transit and mass shipping as step 3. But it's one that each of could make on our own if there were such a vehicle to buy today.

Never going to happen:

  • all three domestic car manufacturers are now on CreditWatch by Standard and Poor's; without a bailout they are likely dead within 12 months
  • even solvent, well-run car companies won't be much further behind; they need a reasonably healthy economy that can buy their product
  • banks are beginning to fail; the FDIC has just instructed IndyMac not to accept new deposits or issue new loans. Who mentioned the abbreviation CTD in an earlier post? ('circling the drain,' i.e. no hope for this bank)

I think it would be wise for you to consider the state of the economy as you consider these new technologies.


Unless GM can really come through with its Volt commitment, I would say having all 3 American car companies go broke would be the best way to get energy consumption down in a hurry. That is, if no one takes over authorized maintenance. Can you imagine what a nightmare it will be getting SUVs repaired once there are no dealers? That will guarantee they get parked except for special occasions. Much of the business sector gets screwed without their trucks. Car rentals becomes iffy without fleet support. Most of all, for the first time in a century, we won't be bombarded with constant brainwashing in the media about what kind of cars we should desire - big and American.

Of course the resulting Depression will be extremely painful.

The best approach for those who can't get rid of their SUV's might be to buy a second one for spares.
I doubt that the big three will be allowed to disappear, just like the banks and the airlines they will be effectively nationalised.

The automobile companies don't make cars, they assemble them. The car parts companies like Delta and Magna will continue to produce spare parts for American made cars.

"Crude" on the History Channel

Hubbert, Deffeyes, Cambell, you name them, all discussed in the open on cable TV -unfortunately not exactly during prime time

It was aired during prime time during its (US) debut several months ago.

It was originally an Australian documentary, and can be watched online here:


hmmm... i read this at 3:57 and it ends at 4 :(

I saw the following article in yesterday's FT - it does not seem to have made it to this site yet.

They claim this is a "disruptive technology" that costs around $21/barrel in the USA. I would love some comments from those more knowledgeable than myself.

Rock Well to float in London

Rock Well’s technique is to drill tunnels beneath reservoirs where the pressure is too low for conventional pumping from the surface to access more than small volumes. By drilling upwards into the reservoir, Rock Well uses gravity to gather the oil from many locations, taking it to the surface with a single pump.

A report from independent reservoir engineers DeGolyer and MacNaughton estimates proven and probable reserves on Rock Well’s US onshore acreage at just 2m barrels using conventional recovery but 323m using the mining method. That yields a net asset value of $3.7bn for the eight fields where Rock Well’s stake cost $54m to acquire.

Bryce Tingle, finance director, said that the company could break even with oil at $21 a barrel.
The company has identified 250 oil fields in the US where it believes that its methodology could be applied. Eleven of these are on its acquisition wish list.

Mr Tingle described the tunnelling method as “a disruptive technology for an oil and gas industry built around producing oil from the surface”.

I would be very interested in seeing exactly what the DeGolyer and MacNaughton report says.

In any case, I assume that they are basically drilling horizontal wells along the base of producing formations, probably in gas solution drive or gas cap expansion drive reservoirs, probably without a water leg.

My first impression is that this sounds like an effort to pump the stock price up for the IPO.

WT...I searched their web site and they really are mining the oil out. Here's a bit:

The Rock Well Technique utilises well-established mining and drilling practices to tunnel beneath mature, depressurised, shallow oil reservoirs and drill a high number of closely-spaced up-ward sloping horizontal wells into the oil-bearing zone from a sequence of underground chambers (drill stations). The oil is extracted through gravity drainage, collected in underground facilities and pumped to the surface.

Might make some money but I'd love to see how they build these underground "drill stations". Their field areas are scattered all across the country. As far as the D&M report goes I wouldn't use it to wipe my butt. I haven't seen the report but I've audited other work they've done and they have a low credibility factor with me. Maybe since the Enron blowup they've changed their ways but they'll have to prove it to me first.

Yeah, I wondered after I posted the note if they were literally talking about tunnels. How would you like to be manning that "drill station," unless they are talking about something that is 100% automated, and the costs would be astronomical.

BTW, anyone heard anything about the THAI process lately, up in Canada? I talked to a Canadian guy a few weeks ago who thought that the company publicizing the THAI process was basically using their high stock price to buy producing conventional reserves.

petrobank, pbegf, is down to about $45, from $ 60,six weeks ago. petrobank is active in the bakken north of the border.
fortunately, imo, for their shareholders, the heavy oil division is a small part of their business. they have done really well in south america.

Back to basic 101

from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crude_oil#Crude_oil_reservoirs

Three conditions must be present for oil reservoirs to form: a source rock rich in hydrocarbon material buried deep enough for subterranean heat to cook it into oil; a porous and permeable reservoir rock for it to accumulate in; and a cap rock (seal) or other mechanism that prevents it from escaping to the surface. Within these reservoirs, fluids will typically organize themselves like a three-layer cake with a layer of water below the oil layer and a layer of gas above it, although the different layers vary in size between reservoirs.

Because most hydrocarbons are lighter than rock or water, they often migrate upward through adjacent rock layers until either reaching the surface or becoming trapped within porous rocks (known as reservoirs) by impermeable rocks above. However, the process is influenced by underground water flows, causing oil to migrate hundreds of kilometres horizontally or even short distances downward before becoming trapped in a reservoir. When hydrocarbons are concentrated in a trap, an oil field forms, from which the liquid can be extracted by drilling and pumping.

So I don't see how this works at getting oil out of the ground, but it may be good for getting money out of investors.


you have described how oil accumulates.

there are reservoirs, typically shallow and for whatever reason pressure isolated from any aquifer, possibly with very little gas in solution. essentially dead oil. recovery by pressure depletion consists of limited fluid expansion and pore volume compression.

recovery by depletion might be in the range of 10%. gravitational drainage occurs, but unless the reservoir is thick, this happens at such a low rate that the field may become uneconomical at say 10% recovery of ooip.

some of these reservoirs have been succesfully waterflooded with recoveries in the 30 - 40% range. gravitational drainage could possibly result in recovery in the 65% range.

the real question is, how thick does the reservoir need be for this process(incline shaft drilling) to work, economically. a thin reservoir wouldn't offer much potential and a thick reservoir may already have recovered most of the oil by gravitational drainage.

reality revised by Ed, move on .....

the concept seems valid enough, but their numbers just don't add up.

if their depletion type reservoirs have recovered 2 million barrels, this probably represents at least 10 -15% of ooip by pressure depletion. the ooip would be 13 to 20 mmbo. how they going to recover 323 mmbo from 20 mmbo ? abiotic oil, i suppose.

At the end of the article we have:

The non-executive directors of the company include Tim Eggar, a former UK energy minister, Joseph Schuchert, former chief executive of US private equity firm Kelso, and Michel Pietrini, a geologist by background who became executive president of Chanel and then Lanvin, part of L’Oréal.

I must say that moving from being a geologist to L'Oreal and then back to geology must be quite exciting.

For those who don't know it, L'Oreal is the biggest private company in France - the biggest beauty and cosmetics company in the world.

Rock Well is a scam.

Don't buy into it.

I have good news for everyone on this site. I use to find West Texas's Export Land Model to be frightening. I thought that this nation would soon suffer from significant economic hardship. Now after watching Bill O'Reilly, I have seen the light.


Just thought we could use some comic relief.

Some context for the video. Sorry should have posted it earlier.

This video is the Conservative spin on Peak Oil.

Murdoch and friends know that we are heading for a crippling recession/depression due to a scarcity of oil. BUT the conservatives are going to scramble to stay in power. So they sent out Bill O’ Goebbels to soften up the idiot masses for the coming economic collapse.

For Mr. Shaw...

It pays to go in a public toilet

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - It pays to use a toilet in southern India, as residents are earning close to a dollar a month by using public urinals, a scheme launched by authorities to promote hygiene and research in rural areas.

Dozens of people are queuing up to use toilets in Musiri, a remote town in Tamil Nadu state, where authorities have succeeded in keeping street corners clean with the new scheme, The Times of India newspaper said on Sunday.


The urine was also being collected and tested for its efficacy as a crop fertilizer, an official of the state's agricultural university added.

This puts new meaning into hugging your bag of N Pee K!

LOL! Where I lived before had a high brick wall enclosing the backyard--it almost became second nature for me to automatically 'whiz & waggle' it about. Very, very convenient: no toilet seat to lift, no careful aiming required. Sure miss that freedom now.

Thxs! It will be real interesting to see how far and how fast this spreads as I-NPK prices rise.

We have already mostly depleted the low-hanging fruit of guano stockpiles, and depleting FFs will make the global movement of depleting I-NPK increasingly difficult and expensive, along with water & sewage treatment costs going skyhigh. Let's hope Murkans are ready to non-violently, therefore mentally-easily give up their flushing thrones for humanure recycling, composting, and victory gardens.

Bank losses from credit crisis may run to $1,600bn, warns Bridgewater

Bridgewater Associates has issued an apocalyptic warning to clients that bank losses from the worldwide credit crisis may reach $1,600bn (£800bn), four times official estimates and enough to pose a grave risk to the financial system.

The giant US hedge fund said that it doubted whether lenders would be able to shoulder the full losses, disguised until now by "mark-to-model" methods of valuing structured credit.

"We are facing an avalanche of bad assets. We have big doubts as to whether financial institutions will be able to obtain enough new capital to cover their losses. The credit crisis is going to get worse," said the group in a confidential report, leaked to the Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung.

It would be easier for us Yanks if those folks would adopt the 'trillion' and stop saying $1,600 billion. $1.6 trillion is much easier to read quickly instead of stopping momentarily to do mental conversion. Minor complaint...correction...minor whine.

I stopped today to watch a Jamie Diamon (sp?) address to the FDIC. He gave an unscripted presentation with few notes and took all questions from his audience. Quite a performance. Why isn't this guy head of the Fed? Or running for President? He has enough personality, wit, and smarts for a gross of normal economists. Very vibrant speaker and one senses his leadership ability. Of course he is another pig man but he is extremely good at it. I can hear him saying 'All we need fear is fear itself'...and people would believe him...some people.

We do use the US trillion (there are plenty of examples even in the Telegraph's pages), but I don't know why the author of that piece didn't. After the first 9 zeros, my brain goes numb anyway.

$ 1,600 billion sounds so much smaller than $1.6 trillion or $1.6 x 10^12 or $1,600,000,000,000 or one trillion, six hundred billion dollars.


Check them , is it clearer now ? :-) Houston, there is a problem ...

.... and just to add to the confusion http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_of_large_numbers

That's even worse than what hedge fund manager John Paulson said a few weeks ago, that we’re only about $360 billion of the way through a $1.3 trillion global writedown from the credit crisis.

Two megawatts of batteries on the power grid

Altairnano on Tuesday said that Indianapolis Power & Light, a division of utility AES, completed tests for using two megawatts worth of its batteries to maintain grid frequency.

The two one-megawatt units--each housed in a semi-trailer--can store up to 15 minutes worth of electricity, or 250 kilowatt-hours each. (The average U.S. home consumes 920 kilowatt-hours per month.)

The tests are important because they demonstrated that lithium-ion batteries can be used for utility-grade energy storage. Right now, most short-term energy storage is done by lead acid batteries.

No mention of how much these beasts cost.

Alan from the islands

In the 'comments' section of the link you gave a target price of $300-500 was mentioned.

Here is an article on storage options for renewables:

"The two one-megawatt units--each housed in a semi-trailer..."

So I just pull my EV up alongside one of these beasts on the freeway and get a charge on the fly extending my range for long trips.

Hey, this cornacopian crap is really easy. lol

RE: Bursting Bubbles Mean Inflation To Give Way To Deflation...Leanan's link up top and below...Thank you Leanan! This is econ 101 with aggregate supply and aggregate demand charts and the whole nine yards that many of us slept through back when...

I had an interesting exchange of posts yesterday with BrianT and Down South about this subject and related topics. Enjoyable conversations. I do have two additional questions for those that believe that the Fed/Treasury will allow hyperinflation of the dollar: 1) If the US allows hyperinflation to totally debase the dollar, to a point where foreign governments no longer accept it, do you believe that the dollar will retain it's status as the world reserve currency? 2) Since the world reserve currency status is the equivalent of the 'cat bird seat' and is certainly very advantageous, why would the US relenquish it?

...snip...'In the second quarter, current dollar gross domestic product totaled an estimated $14.3 trillion, about $572 billion greater than a year ago. Of this gain, $359 billion can be attributed to price increases and $213 to higher real output. There are times, however, when GDP is not the final arbiter of the economy's performance, and this is one. The seemingly large gain in GDP pales in comparison to the loss in wealth, which GDP does not capture. Over the past fiscal year, holdings in the stock market, as measured by the Wilshire 5000 Stock Index, lost more than $2.1 trillion. Simultaneously, the 15.3% contraction in the Case Shiller Home Price Index suggests the wealth loss in value of household residences was a staggering $3.1 trillion. Without including the negative wealth impact for declining prices of automobiles and other durables the total wealth loss was approximately $5.2 trillion. Obviously, the sum of dollars being erased from our economic system has overwhelmed the amount of dollars being increased by inflation by a factor of more than 14 to one.'...snip...

That is 14 to 1 and the 14 will rise to some higer number...yet to be determined.


I do have two additional questions for those that believe that the Fed/Treasury will allow hyperinflation of the dollar: 1) If the US allows hyperinflation to totally debase the dollar, to a point where foreign governments no longer accept it, do you believe that the dollar will retain it's status as the world reserve currency? 2) Since the world reserve currency status is the equivalent of the 'cat bird seat' and is certainly very advantageous, why would the US relenquish it?

1: No. Maybe the euro would replace it, although there really doesn't need to be just one "reserve currency" - governments and central banks could go to a mix of currencies if they had to. There is nothing that says that oil has to be traded in just one currency either - it has just been convenient to do so up to now.

2: Only because the alternative -- a totally devastated US economy -- would be so much worse.

How long can the Saudi's maintain a US dollar peg?

Amid oil boom, inflation makes Saudis feel poorer


I know this is a silly question, but:

When my mortgage company goes broke, who gets my house?

Do I need to pay it off in the next 24 months, or spend the money on other essentials, like tools.

Never mind. Found the answer on the first Google try. I am just getting used to asking you guys. :)


Your house belongs to whoever is on the title. If you mort. comp. goes belly up they still own it. If they do get in such bad shape they can always sell it to another mort comp. Happens all the time even with healthy companies.

But they can only sell your loan to another company. Your loan (contract) stays in effect regardless as long as you don't violate the terms.

A better idea might be to sell the house for whatever you can get and rent. Ponder the impact on property values as the following trend gains momentum:


Here is what I think is going on...

I think millions of mortgage holders have figured out in the past couple of months that:

1  They can't sell their home.
2  They have negative equity.
3  They are not going to have any equity for years and years and years.
4  And all they have to do to get a year or 2 (or even 3) of FREE rent is:  

They know that the mortgage holders are in no position to take physical possession of the property, and that they could not maintain these homes if they did.   The number of borrowers taking this position is overwhelming the system, and I think this is what you are seeing in the stock price of the financial companies in the market place.

As energy and food prices continue their spiral, these homes will by necessity be abandoned. . . .

WT...I believe that I can boil down your decription of 'what is going on' into a sentence:

For once the average Joe/Mary have a free shot at the pig men and they are taking advantage of it.

Because of this free shot a sea change will take place in the home mortgage biz... No More Non-Recourse Loans On Home Mortgages... and that will simply be a starting point as the tide receeds.

...some questions if people can help - i'd really appreciate it

First, I am getting Yergin thrown back at me in discussions of Peak Oil... apart from the obvious and saying he's wrong on oil price trends, why is Yergin not a good authority to quote in Peak Oil discussions?

The person arguing is someone i really could do with getting realistic about Peak Oil...

Second, I have been watching Black Gold on TV and I understand people on here work those Texas oil fields - they keep putting it as a race between crews - is this actually a race (as in artificial reality TV race), or is it that these teams just compete against each other in normal circumstances?

Third, I see back and forth on here about Nuclear... does anyone have an opinion to share on the nuclear power option for peak oil mitigation?

Finally, what about this current refrain doing the rounds: "we just have to build more refineries"? I said there isn't going to be the supply to them needed to make them viable, yet that then begs the question why any are being built... so what's the refineries story ?

I am just asking for comment if you have a minute or two to spare...

According to a Dept. of Energy study, the USA only has the skilled labor force and industrial capacity to build eight new nukes in a decade. Labor is the limiting factor although some industrial sectors are tight too.

I read the study and agree (I might have put a fudge factor in and said 6 or 7). After we build these, then a fast ramp-up is possible.


Regarding Yergin, peaks happen, even in the best of circumstances. The Texas/North Sea case histories, developed by private companies, best available technology, with virtually no restrictions on drilling:


I haven't watched Black Gold, but drilling contractors drilling on a footage contract are primarily concerned about the total footage drilled in the previous 24 hours.

why is Yergin not a good authority to quote in Peak Oil discussions?

You have to ask yourself what makes a credible authority. Is the Cattlemen's Association a credible authority on the risk of heart disease from eating beef? They would like you to think so. But you might prefer the American Medical Association. How about a car salesman? Unbiased? Will he have your best interest at heart?

I think once you look at it from this perspective, it gets pretty easy.

Yergin works for CERA and is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who does media relations. His customers are oil companies. None of his forecasts are done using public data that can be independently verified. Is he a good source?

I prefer ASPO as they are almost all University based or retired from the oil industry. I like how HL has been reduplicated my many others in the public sphere and the advantages/disadvantages of the technique explored. This duplication of experimental results is fundamental to science getting to the truth. (and it has been used in other areas such as independent accounting firms, etc).

Another approach is to argue that people arguing oil depletion are at least as credentialed and have as much of a claim to having been accurate in the past, so if you've got plausible claims on both "oil supply and prices will be back to business as usual levels in the near future" (Yergin) and "oil supply and prices will cause a big shock to business as usual in the near future" (ASPO), what does it make sense to plan for? If you economise and prepare for low availability and Yergin's right, then all you/the country/etc have lost is a mild "opportunity cost" in consumer lifestyle. If you don't do anything and Yergin's wrong, then you/the country/etc are experiencing severe hardship.

First, I am getting Yergin thrown back at me in discussions of Peak Oil... apart from the obvious and saying he's wrong on oil price trends,

Is this like smelling dog fecal material and saying 'apart from the crap on my shoe, why do I keep smelling dog poo?'

Yergan is a fine historian. But Yergan has had years of guessing what the future was to be. And he's missed.

If a track record of failure is not good enough to call into question yergan's claims for the future, perhaps you should move onto people in the reality based community.

Has the following made it into a previous Drumbeat?

Debunking the 'curse of oil'

A paper co-written by an Indiana University economics professor takes issue with the widespread idea that there is a "natural resource curse" that puts countries with oil or mineral wealth at a disadvantage when it comes to economic growth.

The paper also shows that a common explanation for the curse -- that an abundance of oil or other point-source resources causes countries to have lower-quality civic institutions -- isn't true.

Having such resource wealth "may not improve institutions, but it doesn't make them worse. It doesn't affect them one way or another," said Michael Alexeev, professor of economics at IU Bloomington and co-author of the paper with Duke University economist Robert Conrad.

The paper, titled "The Elusive Curse of Oil," has been accepted for publication in the Review of Economics and Statistics. It has not yet been published.

The "oil curse" has become accepted orthodoxy among many who discuss oil, has it not? It will be interesting to see how the above paper is received.

They've either created a straw man or are correcting post hoc ergo propter hoc analysis by their peers.

from the interview ...

"In essence," Alexeev said, "the logic of the earlier work was as follows: Most countries with high GDP have good institutions. Natural resource-rich countries, however, have high GDP but poor institutions. Therefore, natural resources must lead to poor institutions."

... From the conclusion in the draft

The fact that growth based on oil wealth does not improve institutions may and probably should be viewed as a drawback of resource-based growth. In this sense one may perhaps speak of the curse of natural resources. In an indirect way, however, this
result supports the view that the main causality goes from institutions to growth rather than the other way around (see Acemoglu et al., 2001, and Rodrik et al., 2004).

(emphasis mine)

There you go then.

Well, I haven't seen the study but I'd have to worry about the positive examples that buoyed this guy's concusions. The USA, UK and Norway were rich before they found a lot of oil. Personally I suspect oil allowed a lot of bad practices to take root in Britain, from Thatcher to Blair to what looks like a disastrous Brown cabinet. I don't think it did wonders for the efficiency of Texas' institutions either.

'In the choice between changing ones mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.'
John Kenneth Galbraith

Just wanted to reiterate that I welcome any input from TOD'ers on the new Peak Oil Media Guide as mentioned in the "Announcing A Peak Oil Media Guide" DB item above. I'd like it to be ours, not mine, so it can serve the needs of peakers everywhere. I also want it to be as bulletproof and as short as possible, so the more input, the better. Eventually, it will be handed off to someone else for maintenance but for now you can send comments to me. I'll try to rev it every week or so to start with. Thanks!

I think that the basic request that media have is for a very simple projection of what future oil production will look like, along with the year by year values for plotting them in a graph. They may also need a pointer to where to get up-to-date EIA data to go along with the future projections.

I have taken the ASPO newsletter forecast for that purpose, and created a year by year forecast. If ASPO USA wants to sponsor a forecast, that would work too. The graph from the ASPO newsletter is way too complicated for the purpose and doesn't have the necessary year-by-year data to plot the graph.

If you think about it, any writer doing a newspaper article will want to include a graph illustrating the situation. Their big need is data to put the graph together.

Gail, if you'd like to point me to your simplified graph/table, I could substitute it for the one now in the

For the record, I'll only say I told you so when oil gets below $115.

Here's a link for tomorrows Drumbeat.


Pelosi wants Bush to release oil from strategic reserve
By Mike Soraghan
Posted: 07/08/08 06:12 PM [ET]
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling on President Bush to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to bring down prices.
Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced to Democratic leaders Tuesday night that she has written a letter to President Bush, urging him to release a “small” amount of oil from the government stockpile to increase supply and decrease prices, a leadership aide said.

In the letter, Pelosi said the price of a barrel of oil has risen nearly five-fold during Bush’s tenure and called the effects "devastating."
"These are the kind of circumstances, in addition to national security, in which utilization of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is more than justified," Pelosi wrote in the letter, dated Tuesday.

If I thought for a millisecond that draining the damned spr would prevent a preemptive attack on Iran, I would say drain it to the last drop.

It would. That's gotta be why they are filling it.

Why are oil prices so high?

In the spring of 1971, the Texas Railroad Commission announced, for the first time, that it would allow 100% production. In other words, producers in Texas were free to produce at capacity. On that date, the marginal price of crude oil was no longer set in Texas. In mid 2004, OPEC announced, for the first time, that it would allow 100% production. The OPEC quota still stood but the valves were open. On that date, the marginal price of oil was no longer set by OPEC.

....West Texas Intermediate (WTI), is very light and very sweet. This makes it ideal for producing products like low-sulfur gasoline and low-sulfur diesel. Brent is not as light or as sweet as WTI but it is still a high-grade crude. The OPEC basket is slightly heavier and sourer than Brent. As a result of these gravity and sulfur differences, WTI typically trades at a dollar or two premium to Brent and another dollar or two premium to the OPEC basket.....

....while WTI, Brent, and the OPEC basket are benchmark grades and important contributors to world supply, none comes close to representing the marginal barrel any longer. Barring a worldwide recession and a collapse in demand, the marginal barrel will now forever be heavier and sourer than these grades. Wishful thinkers hoping that Saudi Arabia can open its valves a little further will be disappointed to know that the incremental production offered by the Saudis is heavy, sour.....

Third, the marginal refining capacity in the world cannot process heavy, sour crudes at all, let alone process these crudes into light, sweet products. Converting existing refining capacity to process heavy, sour crudes to produce light, sweet products is expensive and time-consuming. In the U.S., the conversion (for the refiners who are converting) is a multi-year, multi-billion-dollar project. Some refiners have elected to produce light, sweet products only from light, sweet crudes. Others have elected to shut-down refining capacity......

....Whether OPEC literally produces the marginal barrel of oil is not the relevant question any longer. The question is whether the marginal barrel can be refined by the marginal worldwide refining capacity into the marginal products at the benchmark marginal prices. .....

.....In short, the problem isn’t that the price of oil is “too high.” The problem is that for several reasons the benchmarks used to determine “too high” are no longer appropriate.....

from http://www.pathfindercap.com/oilprice.htm
Harry Chernoff
October 2004

You may also want to read "The Peak of Light Sweet Crude?" from way back in 2005 at

(can you remember having a total of 18 comments to a lead story? I've been reading this site a long time)

Hindsight is always easier.


Bahamas Ed...Thank you very much. I have been saying that part of the run up in spot prices is due to refinery constraints...No one, but No one, wanted to hear it. Why is this concept so difficult for people to grasp or accept?

I understand that some are 'cheerleaders for PO', but there is a point where cheerleading at the expense of factual and calm observation is dangerous to all. I mean dangerous as in possibly causing wars, economic disruption, unnecessary human suffering, etc. There is absolutely no doubt that PO is a fact, but predicting when PO will arrive, aside from being an interesting abstraction, can be very dangerous to humanity. Anyone that goes out on that limb should be aware that there words might cause serious unintended consequences, aside from 'talking their book'.

I believe that all that can be safely said at this time is that we have had an economic disruption caused by idiotic lending practices that were allowed, and encouraged, by the US Fed. After the mortgage crisis began the Fed started pumping liquidity into commercial/investment banking hoping that the liquidity would cushion the fall of the mortgage industry and prevent the credit crisis from bleeding into other sectors of the economy. The Feds actions have had unintended consequences. Some of the liquidity that they provided sought higher roi in commodities. Other 'funds' from hedge funds, retirement funds, etc, flooded into commodities as well since the Fed funds rate was held too low for too long. The huge transfer of money into the commodities mkts caused some price rises in all commodities. Since much US crude is imported, lots of dollars that the Fed provided found it's way into the coffers of the sovereign wealth funds of OPEC countries WHILE the price of oil was being driven to historic levels.

So, the Fed saw at least two unintended consequences take place due to their opening of the abc credit windows. 1) Instead of all the liquidity they provided flowing into regional and local banks to help out a strapped main st, some of the liquidity found it's way to the commodities mkts where Wall St banks were trying to improve their own capital positions (they aint called pig men for nothin'). 2) The flow of funds into the commodities mkts helped drive up the prices of all commodities, including oil, which had a very negative effect on all economies around the world...even those of the oil producers.

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it is probably a duck. The same is true of bubbles.

This is not the end of the story, just the beginning.

So, if there is oil not coming into the system in the US due to a refinery bottleneck, then that oil is poured into the sea and forgotten? No, I believe that oil that is not refined here would become available for the world market. That should drive the price of crude down, should it not? This is a world market, right?

Gasoline prices may be a different matter.

Your reasoning skills are clearly affected by some outside chemical influence.

Personal insults do not a logical argument make. I had a higher opinion of your opinions prior to your above post, cherenkov.

Question: On what basis do you believe 'world markets' have a higher refining capacity for heavy crude oil than the US does?

When OPEC said 'the world is well supplied with crude' why do you doubt them? There is a lot of oil floating around in tankers in the Persian Gulf and in onshore storage tanks, not all Iranian, that is begging for buyers.

What OPEC should have said is 'the world is well supplied with the heavy/sour crude that we have available for sale.'

'Gasoline prices may be a different matter'...Damn right they are...You afraid to go there?

'Chemical influence'...What do you have in mind?

Hello TODers,

You would think that Mugabe and his thugs would take a break from torturing and killing the men, then gang-raping the women, to at least attempt to fix their water infrastructure. Even the worst tyrant must realize that even he can die of thirst:

Zimbabwe: Water Situation 'Critical'

...Leakages and pipe bursts account for up to 48 percent loss of the water produced and experts yesterday said the authority should declare leakages their biggest enemy by tackling effectively the challenges pertaining to infrastructure.

Burst pipes have become a common sight in Harare with the bursts in some instances going unattended for weeks.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

ASPO-USA Conference in Sacramento

Agenda Spotlight: Sunday afternoon, Sept. 21
On Sunday you will be able to choose from the following concurrent sessions:

- Reporting the Peak Oil Story
National journalists Neil King (Wall Street Journal) and Bart Anderson (Energy Bulletin), Rob Collier, Stuart Leavenworth, Lisa Margonelli, and Tom Whipple

- Investing in the new Energy Economy
Investment specialists Rick Schechter, Jim Puplava, Jim Hansen and Atticus Lowe

- Tracking the Public Data and the Latest Developments
Nate Hagens, Kyle Saunders, Jeff Vail, Euan Mearns, Robert Rapier, and Gail Tverberg of The Oil Drum

- Scenarios Planning for State and Local Government
Connecticut State Representative Terry Backer, Bryn Davidson, Dan Bednarz, John Kaufmann, and Dick Lawrence

Does anyone know if you can sign up for two of the four like last year or only one of the four?

Thanks in advance,

This link gives the schedule that I have seen. They may have switched from three concurrent sessions to four. There is one session from 1:30 to 3:00 pm and a second one from 3:30 to 5:00, so you can see two sessions. The Oil Drum people are divided between the 1:30 and 3:00 session. Euan, Robert, and I are in the 1:30 session. Nate, Kyle, and Jeff are in the 3:00 group.

Thanks Gail,

I looked on the ASPO site, but apparently I didn't look very hard.

Hello TODers,

USGS sulfur report for March [released in June] is out:

...Prices continued to increase through March as supplies
remained tight globally. The average customs value of elemental
sulfur imported into the United States in March 2008 was $221
per ton, 15 times what it was 1 year earlier. The March 2008
average customs value was about 80% higher than it was in
I sure wished I had a mega-stockpile of sulfur: How many investments do you own that went up 80% last month and Fifteenfold in the past Year?

Also this new release from POT:

PotashCorp Domestic Price Increase

PotashCorp issued a new domestic potash price list July 8, 2008. Prices for all potash products and grades shipped into the US market are increased by $250 per short ton of product, effective September 1 through November 30, 2008.

Source: Fertecon, British Sulphur, FMB
Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?

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

A (theoretical) discourse on resources