DrumBeat: August 20, 2008

Petrobras Will `Need a Miracle' to Hit Output Target, Itau Says

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil's state-controlled oil company, will ``need a miracle'' to meet its forecast for production this year, Itau Corretora said, citing July results that ``continue to disappoint.''

Petrobras, as the Rio de Janeiro-based company is known, produced 1.87 million barrels of crude oil and natural-gas liquids per day in Brazil in July, almost unchanged from June, according to data posted on the company's Web site yesterday.

Energy Secretary Bodman hospitalized

WASHINGTON — Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman checked himself into Massachusetts General Hospital on Tuesday after experiencing an elevated heart rate, the Energy Department said today.

Bodman's heart rate has since stabilized, and he was resting comfortably, a spokeswoman said.

Dingmann Says Oil May Fall Below $100 Before Rebounding: Video

(Bloomberg) -- Neal Dingmann, director of equity research at Dahlman Rose & Co., talks with Bloomberg's Rhonda Schaffler in New York about the U.S. Energy Department's report on oil and gasoline supplies and its market implications, the outlook for oil and natural gas prices, and his recommendations of Mariner Energy Inc. and W&T Offshore Inc. Crude supplies increased 9.39 million barrels to 305.9 million last week, the largest gain since March 2001 and more than the 1 million-barrel gain analysts expected.

Gulf lease sale attracts high-dollar attention

Norway's Statoil bet $61 million that significant oil and gas deposits lie beneath the Gulf of Mexico seafloor more than 160 miles south of Galveston, according to lease sale results released by the federal government today.

The company submitted the highest of 423 bids for leases on 90-square-mile blocks in the western part of the Gulf for the Interior Department's latest lease sale this week.

UN to offer proposals to defuse tensions in Iraqi north

BAGHDAD: The United Nations will offer proposals to solve disputes over the oil city of Kirkuk and other troublesome regions in northern Iraq, UN officials said Wednesday.

Brazilian Oil May Be Shipped Through New Texas Offshore Port

(Bloomberg) -- Brazil, home to the Western Hemisphere's biggest oil discovery in three decades, may ship crude to U.S. refiners through a $1.8 billion offshore Texas port scheduled to open in 2010.

Official: Accident causes Libyan oil facility fire

TRIPOLI, Libya: Libya's top oil official said Wednesday a fire that broke out in an eastern oil facility was caused by an industrial accident.

Shokri Ghanem, the chairman of Libya's National Oil Corp., said the fire continued to rage for a second day but has been contained to one tank in the Ras Lanuf oil complex. Ghanem called the fire "an industrial accident."

OPEC, peak oil and the end of cheap gas

Yet amid all the discussion about peak oil, one voice has been conspicuously absent, that of the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). OPEC's position on the petroleum-resource question should be the decisive factor in this ongoing and seemingly inconclusive debate. The organization now supplies about 42 percent of the world's petroleum and, unlike all other producers, OPEC members have quotas that are adjusted to insure that supply and demand are in equilibrium: If non-OPEC production were to either reach a plateau or begin to decline, OPEC producers would need to increase production substantially to meet ever-increasing world demand.

Oddly then, OPEC has been virtually silent on this issue. Their quiet refusal to comment cannot be due to lack of interest or expertise: OPEC now has its own research group that produces an annual World Oil Outlook and a Monthly Market Report that rival the work of any other energy forecasting group. Similarly, OPEC is certainly aware of the U.S. Geological Survey's World Petroleum Assessment Project, which for the first time brought industry and government experts together to evaluate world oil and gas resources. And OPEC is surely cognizant of ExxonMobil's projection of a non-OPEC production peak by 2010 and the extensive discussion of petroleum resources in trade journals and the popular press.

Thus, OPEC's reasons for not publicly engaging in the peak oil debate must reside outside the rational business of drilling wells, building pipelines and refineries, and making market forecasts. Dissimulation or silence on the part of OPEC on these issues is a matter of prudence and subtle calculation.

Fear of new Mid East 'Cold War' as Syria strengthens military alliance with Russia

Syria sought to revive its security alliance with Russia today, when President Bashar al-Assad arrived in Moscow to clinch a series of military agreements, raising fears that the new Cold War that has erupted in the Caucasus will spill over into the Middle East.

Iraq invites Russian oil major back

MOSCOW - An Iraqi Cabinet minister invited Russia's Lukoil on Wednesday to renew its bid on the lucrative West Qurna-2 oil field and urged Russian companies to seek roles rebuilding dilapidated power plants as Iraq searches for foreign investment to revive its oil industry and infrastructure.

Iraq condemns oil majors' "humanitarian" failure

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A top Iraqi official on Wednesday attacked oil majors for trying to overcharge the war-torn nation and ignoring their "humanitarian" duty to help develop Iraq's battered oil industry.

"Foreign companies, including Russian companies, have not taken up the call to develop these projects. As a result of them not wanting to work in these conditions, the Iraqi people have suffered greatly," Karim Waheed, Iraq's electricity minister, said at a news conference in Moscow.

Lula undecided on new Brazil state oil company

SAO GANCALO DO AMARANTE, Brazil, Aug 20 (Reuters) - President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Wednesday he had not decided whether to create a new state-run oil company to manage oil production from Brazil's new subsalt reserves.

"No new state company exists. I am not against or in favor. I'm only going to receive proposals (from the commission) on Sept. 19. When I see it, we will make a decision that will be made known to the Brazilian public," Lula told journalists in northeastern Brazil.

Storm fears left local gas stations high and dry

As Tropical Storm Fay approached Southwest Florida on Monday evening, Manatee motorists made a run on gasoline, draining a handful of stations around town of their supply.

Petro-Canada gas supply still coming up short

Alberta and British Columbia are hardest hit by the break down.

As many as 90 stations have seen their shipments stop completely and have closed their pumps.

Some independent retailers also rely on Petro-Canada fuel are also feeling the shortage.

South Africa Plans LNG Plant to Ease Power Shortage, Poten Says

(Bloomberg) -- South Africa plans to build a liquefied natural gas import terminal and hire two tankers which can process the gas onboard to meet demand for the fuel from power plants and prevent power cuts, a consultant said.

China says gas output may more than triple by 2030

BEIJING (Bloomberg) -- China said annual natural gas output may more than triple to 250 billion cubic meters by 2030 as the world’s second-biggest energy consumer intensifies petroleum exploration to meet its fuel needs.

Oil production may remain at 200 million metric tons a year by 2030, the Ministry of Land and Resources said in a statement on its Web site. China has recoverable oil reserves of 21.2 billion tons and gas deposits of 22 trillion cubic meters, the ministry said.

India: Curb on bulk purchase of diesel by non-transport sector urged

CHENNAI: Oil marketing companies such as Indian Oil Corporation plan to approach the State government to assist them curb bulk purchase of diesel in barrels by customers, particularly by companies for power generator sets.

This comes in the wake of the soaring demand for the subsidised fuel from the non-transport sector, which the oil firms cite as one of main reasons for the product running frequently out of stock at retail outlets in the recent weeks.

Oil exploration — a lot of looking, not much finding

I discussed the short-term weakness in oil prices. Let’s discuss the long term. Oil is headed back up, for all the familiar reasons.

Really, it’s not like anyone is finding new large oil deposits out in exploration land. Indeed, a whole lot of looking is leading to not very much finding in the exploration patch.

The big Oil companies are taking oil out of the ground. But generally, they are not replacing their reserves through reserve growth or resource expansion. To the extent that the oil companies are expanding reserves in the short term, it’s by searching further out in the ocean or further north in the ANWR And that raises the cost structure for production.

It’s a rare oil company that replaces its annual output with new reserves.

Wastelands to Bio-Diesel Farms: An Indian State’s Answer to Diesel Fuel Shortage

Worried and uncertain about meeting its energy requirements in the near future, the Indian agricultural state of Uttar Pradesh is now taking to bio-fueling itself! The state government has just released a plan to turn wastelands throughout the state into bio-diesel farms by cultivating Jatropha on over 40 per cent of the total wasteland. Also, and contrary to the state policies so far, the wasteland will not be taken over by the government and instead farmers will be allotted land and will be provided with necessary technical assistance to facilitate a good crop.

House of Lords suggests lifting VAT from cost of repairing electrical goods

VAT should be lifted from the cost of repairing televisions, vacuum cleaners and fridges to discourage people from throwing them away as soon as they stop working, the Government will be told today.

Petrol pump pilgrims keep faith

A prayer group in Washington DC is claiming the credit for the recent sharp drop in the US price of petrol.

Rocky Twyman, 59, a veteran community campaigner, started Pray At The Pump meetings at petrol stations in April.

Since then, the average price of what the US calls gasoline has fallen from more than $4 a gallon to $3.80.

China may further raise tariffs to tackle power crunch

BEIJING (Reuters) - After two tariff increases in as many months totalling 10 percent, China may have set itself on a fast track to reform the world's second-largest electricity market and end the worst supply crunch in four years. Within this year and maybe within weeks, the government may announce another hike either on wholesale or retail prices, or both, to lift its generators into the black and curb consumption by power-hungry sectors, analysts said.

Having exhausted almost all its policy tools to ease coal shortage -- the main culprit for this summer's power crisis which has forced rationing in nearly half the country -- tariff hikes were left as the last effective solutions.

Quinnipiac poll shows that economy is still No. 1 issue among voters

While the economy is still the number one concern among Americans likely to vote in this election season, the rising cost of fuel and the current energy crisis is an issue that's climbing into the forefront, the latest Quinnipiac University Poll shows.

Goodbye Future, Give Us Right Now

If we have entered an era in which oil, a finite resource, is in shorter supply, and thus more expensive, we need to stop holding onto the past with a death grip - and think about the future.

Heating fears are rising

York oil dealer Mike Estes of Estes Oil said the problem is not just that there's an energy crisis, "there's also a credit crisis. Oil dealers won't be able to carry the load in winter any more and allow people to pay in the summer."

The Big Chill: As the heating season nears, Vermonters' worries grow

Like many Vermonters, Randy Babcock is very worried about how he will pay for heating fuel this winter.

But Babcock, a former truck driver who now is on disability, and his wife have another worry to deal with first: How to pay for the propane they used to heat their home last winter.

A disaster in the making

When we think about natural disasters in the United States, we usually think about hurricanes in the Southern states, wildfires out West, or tornados and flooding in the Midwest. But a winter in the Northeast? Unfortunately, with the energy crisis looming, most of us in Maine and the Northeast are rightly concerned about making it through this upcoming winter season.

Rising energy costs challenge remote Monhegan, Matinicus

Of all the residential power users in the state of Maine, the ones that pay the highest rates may be the ones that live farthest from land.

Monhegan and Matinicus are two of Maine’s seven offshore island communities that have their own electric cooperatives, which charge higher rates than private retail power companies that serve the rest of the state. Because the island co-ops own and maintain their own distribution systems and have relatively few users to help cover the infrastructure costs, their members typically pay $150 for their monthly electric bills, approximately twice what residential users on the mainland pay, according to island officials.

Oil bounty a chance to share the wealth

Louisiana should use a small fraction of its new gas riches to provide more energy assistance to those most needy. To do so would put it in the company of most states, instead of in the small minority it finds itself today.

UK: Bosses find new ways to beat energy crisis

BOSSES under the kosh from soaring utility bills are thinking outside of the box in a bid to beat the energy crisis.

With less price competition between rival suppliers many believe they can cut costs in more unorthodox ways.

Nigeria: Blackout worsens - Manufacturers, others lament - Ibadan in darkness for 2 weeks

AS the power situation in the country continues to worsen on a daily basis, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has cried out, lamenting the damage the incessant power outage had caused industries in recent times.

As of today, the power generation in the country, according to investigation, is less than 3,000 megawatts, a situation which has put both residents and investors in darkness and out of production.

Safety in the pipeline

The safety of the thousands of kilometres of undersea pipes that crisscross the ocean floor off WA became a political hot potato in recent months after an explosion put Apache Energy’s main gas pipeline out of action and plunged the state into an energy crisis.

However, it’s heat of a different sort that has researchers at the University of Western Australia examining the pipelines that carry oil and gas across our ocean floors in terms of possible climate change issues.

A New Fuel Saving Device Can Change the Way We Use Fuel Driving Our Car

"It may take ten years for car manufacturers to create and redesign higher fuel efficient cars, fifteen years to find and exploit fuel fossil reserves in the US and maybe twenty more years to develop safe nuclear energy providing 50% of our electricity," said the inventor, Tom Delor.

It takes only a few seconds to stick Moment-O-Meter to your windshield and plug it in your cigarette lighter to upgrade your car to a fuel efficient car.

Inorganic arsenic in water may be linked with diabetes risk

Exposure to low levels of inorganic arsenic — an industrial pollutant that also is found naturally in rocks and soil — in drinking water may increase a person's risk of type 2 diabetes, researchers report in today's Journal of the American Medical Association.

...The study suggests factors other than body weight and inactivity may be at play in the development of type 2 diabetes, says David Marrero, professor of medicine in endocrinology and metabolism at Indiana University School of Medicine.

OPEC Oil Production Cut `Is an Option,' Libya's Ghanem Says

(Bloomberg) -- OPEC, the supplier of more than 40 percent of the world's oil, may decide to cut production at a meeting on Sept. 9 because the market is oversupplied, Libya's top oil official said.

``We will study Venezuela's call for lower production, and the logic behind it,'' Shokri Ghanem, the chairman of Libya's National Oil Corp. said in a telephone interview from Tripoli today. ``The market is now oversupplied. If a cut helps bring it to balance, then why not? It's an option.''

A revolution in the transport economy

If you ask most Australians today what worries them most, chances are they will respond that the ever-spiralling cost-of-living is of prime concern. The rising cost of petrol, in particular, is one factor which flows on through the transport sector to impact upon the broader economy.

This tendency - felt worldwide - is worsened by tension in the Persian Gulf, and looming confrontation with Iran. In addition, there is the impact of rapidly developing economies like China and their insatiable thirst for oil.

Many commentators believe if we have not already reached “Peak Oil” we will do so soon. And as demand increasingly outstrips supply the crisis is set to worsen.

Are Oily Characters Behind Crude's Price Move?

One reader was incensed that I claimed oil rose sharply in the first half of the year while demand was actually falling. Not possible, he huffed, and took my editors to task for letting such an outlandish statement get by them.

But maybe my editors weren't asleep in the wine cellar (this time). The Energy Information Agency announced on Tuesday, the day after we published the column, that "U.S. oil demand during the first half of 2008 fell an average of 800,0000 barrels per day compared with the same period a year ago, the biggest drop in 26 years."

Hostage Europe blind to Iran energy

Europe has become alarmingly dependent on Russia for its energy needs, dependent on Russian gas and oil and on gas and oil from the Caspian region that flow through pipelines under Russian control and influence.

Oil Storage Tank Fire Reduces Libya's Production

(Bloomberg) -- A fire at a crude storage tank in Ras Lanuf, the site of Libya's largest oil refinery and a petroleum port, may force the North African nation to reduce output by as much as 100,000 barrels a day.

Chinese Oil Firms Combine To Conquer

China is attempting more joint takeovers to prevent its state-owned companies from vying for the same assets and bidding up prices. The teamwork also allows them to combine resources at a time when Chinese refiners are being squeezed by high crude oil prices and artificially-low retail gasoline prices due to Beijing strict price controls.

Kazakhstan sets new Kashagan deadline at Oct. 25

ALMATY (Reuters) - Talks between Kazakhstan and a group of global oil majors developing the giant Kashagan oilfield must be over by Oct. 25, the government said on Wednesday.

Energy Minister Sauat Mynbayev had earlier said the sides planned to finalise amendments to the Kashagan Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) by Oct. 15.

Brazil Pre-Salt Company May Sell Oil-Backed Bonds, Estado Says

(Bloomberg) -- The state-owned company Brazil is considering creating to control the country's pre-salt oil fields may sell oil-backed bonds to finance its investments, O Estado de S. Paulo reported.

A government panel set up to study options for the pre-salt fields is studying that possibility, the newspaper said, without saying where it obtained the information.

India Reliance delays gasoline export on FCCU outage

SINGAPORE/NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's Reliance Industries will delay shipping out at least one gasoline parcel by about seven days due to a glitch at its fluidised catalytic cracking unit (FCCU), traders said on Wednesday.

The 220,000-240,000 barrels per day (bdp) FCCU is one of the biggest in the world. Reliance's Jamnagar refining complex has a total capacity of 660,000 bpd.

"There is definitely some problems with the FCCU. They have sold some vacuum gas oil (VGO) in the last few days," said one of the sources.

PetroChina undersea pipeline serving Nanpu field starts operations

BEIJING (XFN-ASIA) - A undersea pipeline serving PetroChina's Nanpu field in Bohai Bay has entered operations, parent China National Petroleum Corp said.

The 3.65-kilometer pipeline has annual capacity of one mln tons of crude, delivering product from a shallow-water field to a processing plant, the parent company said.

Mexico calls for talks on Cemex seizure

CARACAS, VENEZUELA — Mexico urged Venezuela to negotiate with its cement producer Cemex on Tuesday after the Venezuelan government seized control of its cement plants, saying no deal could be reached on the terms of a nationalization ordered by President Hugo Chavez.

Mexico's Foreign Ministry said its ambassador to Caracas delivered the message to Chavez's government after Venezuelan officials backed by National Guard troops took control of Cemex plants across the country late Monday.

There was no immediate reaction from Venezuela. Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said hours earlier to cheering workers at one Cemex plant: "We're taking over operations."

Saudi's economic cities under pressure to deliver

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - An hour's drive north of Jeddah on the Red Sea coast, 8,000 workers toil under the relentless summer sun building what Saudi Arabia hopes will be the key to its social and economic future.

If all goes to plan, the King Abdullah Economic City and three sister developments in Hail, Jizan and Medina will by at least 2020 be vibrant communities in a country with high unemployment and an over-reliance on oil.

A Wiki for the Planet: Clay Shirky on Open Source Environmentalism

Through illuminating examples like his calculation that Wikipedia was created in about the same amount of time that Americans spend watching commercials each weekend, Shirky argues that humans in the post-industrial age are just coming to terms with how to spend their "cognitive surplus."

We talked with him about how that surplus might be directed at tackling global environmental degradation. Shirky focused on the need for new legal and social structures -- working through online media -- to enable collective action.

Driven: Shai Agassi's Audacious Plan to Put Electric Cars on the Road

At 38, Agassi is the youngest invitee. Just after the dotcom boom, SAP, the world's largest maker of enterprise software, paid $400 million for a small-business software company he started with his father; now he's SAP's head of products and widely presumed to be the next CEO. But he's not here this morning to talk about business software. Instead, his topic will be the world's addiction to fossil fuels. It's a recent passion and the organizers invited him to counterbalance the man speaking now, Daniel Yergin, the famed energy consultant and oil industry analyst. Yergin gives them his latest thinking: Energy independence is unattainable. Oil consumption will continue to rise. Iran will get richer. It's not exactly what this audience wants to hear.

Now it's Agassi's turn. He starts off uncharacteristically nervous, stammering a bit. He's got something different, he says. A new approach. He believes it just might be possible to get the entire world off oil. For good. Point by point, gaining speed as he goes, he shares for the first time in public the ideas that will change his future—and possibly the world's.

Peak oil bigger problem than climate change

Peak oil is a much more immediate problem than climate change, delegates at a Finsia seminar heard yesterday.

But the potential ramifications of climate change just make the problem worse, said Ian Dunlop, a former petroleum engineer who is now the deputy convenor for the Australian Association for the Study of Peak Oil.

This makes the combination of peak oil and climate change "the biggest issue the world has ever confronted, not just in a warm, fuzzy context but in what it means in a hard-edged business sense," he said.

The End of Oil? Not Yet!

There are some things most people today know about oil.

      ● Global oil output is going to plummet

      ● Prices are going to rise forever

      ● The transition to alternative energy will be long and painful

      ● There will be more `oil wars' and industrial civilization may collapse

      ● Oil and gas will cause catastrophic climate change

The problem is that these ideas are wrong.

BP says testing begins on BTC pipeline

LONDON - British oil company BP PLC said that testing will begin Wednesday on the closed Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, which runs through conflict-stricken Georgia, ahead of a move to restart full operations as early as next week.

BP spokeswoman Sheila Williams said that the "dynamic integrity testing" would involve "limited and intermediate flow" of oil through the BTC line, which usually provides some 1 million barrels per day of Caspian Sea crude to international markets.

Pirates seize Malaysian tanker off Somalia's coast

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Armed pirates seized a Malaysian palm oil tanker with 39 crew off the coast of Somalia — the fourth hijacking in a month, a global maritime watchdog said Wednesday.

To drill or not to drill?

Jerry Taylor says the federal government needs to remove restrictions on offshore drilling. V. John White says the focus ought to be on renewable energy, not oil.

Plenty of Pipeline Options. All Bad

Commentators have been quick to point out that Russia's defeat of Georgia has pretty much killed the chances that new oil and gas pipelines will be built to increase the security of supplies to Europe. It's clear that there is little to stop Russia from rolling its forces up to the existing pipeline or knocking it out of commission if it wanted to. The Washington Post's Steve Pearlstein even suggested that demonstrating the pipeline's vulnerability may have been one of the underlying motives for the Russian incursion.

The United States has been promoting the idea of pipeline routes skirting Russia as a way to promote European energy security, but the chances of making that work have always been slim. The reason: The United States has been simultaneously trying to keep Iran, the world's other major holder of natural gas reserves, out of world markets and out of alternate pipeline networks. Without the Iran card, it's very difficult to win a pipeline game against Russia.

Court says EPA air pollution rule is illegal

WASHINGTON - A Bush administration rule barring states and local governments from requiring more air pollution monitoring is illegal, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit threw out a two-year-old rule that may have allowed some refineries, power plants and factories to exceed pollution limits because the Environmental Protection Agency "failed to fix inadequate monitoring requirements ... and prohibited states and local authorities from doing so."

Japan to Trial Frozen Gas Output in Pacific in 2012

(Bloomberg) -- Japan plans to start trial drilling in 2012 to extract frozen natural gas buried under the seabed and test if the methane hydrate is a viable next-generation fuel.

Can Biofuels Be Sustainable?

With oil prices skyrocketing, the search is on for efficient and sustainable biofuels. Research published this month in Agronomy Journal examines one biofuel crop contender: corn stover.

NYC mayor calls for wind turbines atop skyscrapers

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wind turbines would top New York City skyscrapers and bridges and dot the city's shorelines, while the mighty tides that drive the Hudson and East Rivers would also generate power under a new plan Mayor Michael Bloomberg presented on Tuesday.

"I think it would be a thing of beauty if, when Lady Liberty looks out on the horizon, she not only welcomes new immigrants, but lights their way with a torch powered by an ocean windfarm," Bloomberg said in a copy of a speech he will give in Las Vegas at the 2008 National Clean Energy Summit.

Australian "hot rocks" offer 26,000 yrs of power

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia scientists estimate that only one percent of the nation's untapped geothermal energy could produce 26,000 years worth of clean electricity.

The Australian government announced on Wednesday a A$50 million (US$43 million) project to help develop technology to convert geothermal energy into baseload electricity.

Business leaders: Make renewable energy cheaper

Representatives from Google Inc. and General Electric Co. said Tuesday that widespread use of renewable energy in United States would be possible — if it were cheaper.

Renewable energy options will remain "boutique" industries unless their costs are cut to make them competitive with coal and other widely used power sources, said Dan Reicher, director for climate change and energy initiatives at Google.org, the company's philanthropic arm.

David Suzuki: new science looks at big picture for global future

If we want to protect an endangered animal such as the woodland caribou, we have to do more than just study the animal in isolation. We must understand how it interacts with its total environment, including its habitat and other animals, as well as humans. We must then try to determine the best possible conditions for it to live in healthy numbers and study the threats that could undermine its persistence.

It’s no different with humans, except that the problems we have created for ourselves––on a global scale––are even more complex.

Birds can't keep up with climate change: study

PARIS (AFP) - The habitats of wild bird species are shifting in response to global warming, but not fast enough to keep pace with rising temperatures, according to a study released Wednesday.

Researchers in France also found that the delicate balance of wildlife in different ecosystems is changing up to eight times more quickly than previously suspected, with potentially severe consequences for some species.

New US president will help climate change fight: Australian PM

WELLINGTON (AFP) - The next US president will provide fresh impetus to the fight against global warming, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Tuesday.

Both candidates for the November US election, Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, had advised him that they would take action on climate change, Rudd told a conference in Auckland.

Warming climate threatens Alaska's vast forests

Records indicate that Alaska has already experienced the largest regional warming of any U.S. state -- an average 5 degrees Fahrenheit (3 degrees Celsius) since the 1960s and about 8 degrees Fahrenheit (4.5 degrees Celsius) in the interior of the state during winter months.

"We've got mounds of evidence that an extremely powerful and unprecedented climate-driven change is underway," said Glenn Juday, a forest ecologist at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks.

Some thoughts on Saudi Arabia & China

Based on EIA data, Saudi consumption increased from 2.0 mbpd in 2005 to 2.3 mbpd in 2007. China's net oil imports increased from 2.9 mbpd in 2005 to 3.7 mbpd in 2007. If we sum Saudi consumption and China's net oil imports, they went from 4.9 mbpd in 2005 to 6.0 mbpd in 2007. This is about a 10%/year rate of increase. It remains to be seen what higher prices will do to Chinese imports, but their production just barely increased in 2007, and they probably are going to be showing a production decline.

In any case, at their current rate the sum of what China would import and what Saudi Arabia consumes would go from 6 mbpd in 2007 to 12 mbpd in 2014.

A couple of days ago, DownSouth brought up the question of a discrepancy between EIA natural gas data for Texas and the corresponding data from the Texas Railroad Commission.

I contacted both the EIA and The Texas Railroad Commission. I also looked at the data myself. My conclusion is that the EIA data is right. The Texas Railroad Commission data, according to both the EIA and RCC, is at this point substantially delayed in processing. The part that is especially missing is production on the last six months for Barnett Shale. There can be production missing for a year or more, however.

According to the e-mail I got from EIA,

Katie [from the Texas Railroad Commission] is correct about Texas Natural Gas production. Texas RRC has had many internal problems collecting their production data in a timely manor in recent years. They have lost staff to higher paying jobs in the oil and gas industry and, as stated below, so many new wells have been drilled in the Barnett Shale that collecting and processing that data in a timely manor has been difficult.

In the past, Texas production was the gold standard. Within 3 to 6 month you had 97-100% of the data. Their first estimate would be within 4-5% of total production. Now, the first monthly estimate may be missing as much as 20% of the production and it takes almost 12 months to reach 99% of the production total.

While the increase in Texas production for the past year seems unlikely, it is indeed happening. The production data we have collected from the operators on the EIA-914 Natural Gas Report backs our estimates. With time, as Texas gets the data processed and people realize the increases from shale are correct, they will know that EIA has made very reliable estimates.

When I graph the monthly Texas Railroad Commission data as currently reported, this is what I get:

Texas natural gas production apart from Barnett Shale has been flat for years. If one only looks at the Barnett Shale data as reported, you get the impression that the Barnett Shale production peaked and has started to decline. The fact of the matter is that there is a serious processing problem at the Texas Railroad Commission with the Barnett Shale data, because of all of the new wells. The paperwork needs to be processed before this production can be entered into the system. There is at this time a huge paperwork backlog.

Once the new Barnett Shale well data is processed, it is likely that the growth pattern in Texas will be more like that shown in the EIA data (with a 15% or 16% year on year growth) than in the Texas RRC data. Nearly all the growth is likely to be from Barnett Shale.

It was good DownSouth brought up the question. Thanks DownSouth! It got us to look into the question, and better understand what the real situation is.

I certainly believe the part about a backlog at the RRC. We are facing incredible delays in getting new drilling permits.

In any case, I assume that the bottom line is that the EIA is just estimating the increase in shale gas production, while the RRC is trying to count the actual production, but as noted, the RRC is behind in the process. However, I would assume that the annual RRC data, which did show an increase in 2007, are fairly accurate. What the annual RRC data show is that we are producing at about two-thirds of our 1972 peak rate, but that it took four times as many wells to bring production up to two-thirds of our peak rate.

However, the shale plays are probably the best thing going for the US Oil & Gas industry, but as we have discussed, we have the "Red Queen" problem. We are replacing a smaller number of higher volume conventional wells with a much larger volume of generally lower production rate and faster declining unconventional wells. The limiting factors become equipment, personnel and infrastructure.

I think the EIA is probably doing a reasonable job of estimating the increase in production. The companies probably would not be reporting the higher production on the EIA-914 reports unless it was really there. When a person backs into what the Texas Railroad Commission thinks the ultimate production will really be, it comes out pretty much in line with what the EIA is now estimating. I expect that most of the increase will be in Barnett Shale. There is also a little "other shale gas" (Bossier shale and shale gas from the Toyah, NW field).

This is a link to the previous discussion.

When I started in the industry in 2002, my first job as a Production Accountant involved sending in the state production reports. It was a mess back then and from what I hear, it has gotten much worse. At that time, reports were printed, then mailed (hundreds of pages per month), then keyed in manually by the state. Then we usually got questions, which had to be resolved. A reallocation of production from comingled fields could cause many revisions several months later.(although gross would remain the same) After I moved to another position, the state came up with a plan to bring the system out of the stone age and accept electronic submissions. From what I hear, it was poorly executed. All in all, the data is probably pretty good quality after six months or so. I would not be surprised to see long delays in the reporting for new leases, but new wells drilled in unitized fields should see no delay. I'm not familiar with Barnett at all, but it seems likely that new wells are on new RRC leases. Reporting for unitized fields is much simpler....
Although it probably doesn't affect the data quality as much as it does on the RRC side, the turnover in most company production accounting departments is pretty high. Good employees move on to bigger and better things, leaving new hires and whoever is left to ensure data quality.

Hi Gail the Actuary,

Thanks for contacting the EIA and the Texas Railroad Commission. Your due dilligence is exemplary, and the response of these two agencies was desperately needed. However, I'm still not convinced.

I think we left it off on Monday's drumbeat with your comment:

I talked to a woman at the Texas Railroad Commission this morning. Their statistics for recent months are understated by some unknown amount because production has been growing so rapidly on Barnett Shale that they have not been able to keep up with processing of various paperwork. Until the paperwork gets into the system, the natural gas production cannot get into the system either.

Because of this, it looks to me as though at least part of the problem is with the Texas Railroad Commission data. I have sent e-mails to both the Texas RRC and EIA. I'll see how much more I can figure out.

I would like to use this comment, plus your follow-up today, as a hook on which to hang a couple more observations.

My comment the other day dealt with mass balance, how things aren't adding up between production, consumption and storage.

Today I'd like to talk about rig count vs. production, production cost vs. production, and natural gas price vs. production.

Facts: Texas rig count and production...

Year      Avg. Rig Count     Gas Prod     Gas Prod
            during Jan.         EIA       Texas RRC
                              (BCFPD)      (BCFPD)

2000            285              na         15.78
2001            429              na         15.99
2002            372              na         15.71
2003            370              na         15.95
2004            459              na         16.56
2005            548             16.26       16.58
2006            664             17.21       17.41
2007            790             18.86       18.58
2008(1st 6 mo)  858             21.01       18.16 


Rig count

EIA Production

Texas Railroad Commission Production

Observations: The EIA figures are asking us to believe that drilling has suddenly become much more efficient, that is that a slight uptick in rig activity is yielding huge increases in new gas production.

Also, if we take a look at this map of the distribution of rig activity across Texas...


we see only a handful of rigs running in the Bend Arch-Fort Worth Basin (Barnett Shale). Most Texas rigs are running in the Permian Basin, the Gulf Coast region, East Texas and South Texas. (You can drill down on the Baker Huges web site to get a closer view.) By looking at the map, maybe 10% of Texas rigs are currently drilling Barnett Shale, and certainly not more than 20%. This does not support what the lady at the Texas Railroad Commission said about "production has been growing so rapidly on Barnett Shale" being the cause of their work overload.

Facts: Production cost vs. production...

Using Chesapeake Energy as an example, direct from its own financial statements, look what is happening to costs:

                                          Investment in
Quarter          Oper. Costs           Property & Equipment
                 (per MCF)         (per MCF produced during qtr)
Q2-2003            $2.27                     $58.86
Q2-2004             2.60                      63.54
Q2-2005             3.11                     120.80 
Q2-2006             3.90                     116.52
Q2-2007             4.50                     154.00
Q2-2008             4.73                     142.71

Observatons: If indeed drilling for natural gas was becoming more efficient, that is if more gas were being produced for each foot drilled, then one would expect the production costs to be dropping. So far they are not. (By the way I am just using Chesapeake as an example, but I just as easily could have used Devon or any other major natural gas producer. Their costs are all similar.)

Facts: Natural gas prices vs. production:

                Production        Avg. Monthly
Month          EIA Bulletin        Gas Price           
                (Lower 48)        (Henry Hub) 
Jan 07            55.66              $6.55           
Feb 07            55.45               7.98              
Mar 07            56.70               7.10            
Apr 07            56.82               7.59  
May 07            57.06               7.63  
Jun 07            57.68               7.36
Jul 07            57.48               6.21      
Aug 07            57.91               6.23
Sep 07            58.17               6.08 
Oct 07            58.32               6.80  
Nov 07            59.69               7.14      
Dec 07            60.38               7.14
Jan 08            60.31               7.98          
Feb 08            61.25               8.55
Mar 08            61.91               9.44
Apr 08            61.62              10.13
May 08            61.82              11.21
Jun 08                               12.69
Jul 08                               11.06

Observations: I don't have a clue what determines natural gas prices, whether it is perception (hype and manipulation) or fundamentals (supply and demand). But if it is the latter, then the huge run up in prices in the first half of this year doesn’t seem to be consistent with a simultaneous balooning in supplies.

Time will certainly tell. But in the meantime all the conflicting information certainly makes for a mental and intellectual challenge and, on my part at least, for a lot of fun.

Observations: The EIA figures are asking us to believe that drilling has suddenly become much more efficient, that is that a slight uptick in rig activity is yielding huge increases in new gas production.

I'm guessing that the numbers from 2007 (2007 790 18.86 18.58) were too high given the market conditions at that time. In other words, there were too many rigs in 2007, 790 when there probably should have been only 740. If you plug 740 in there in place of the 790, it makes a bit more sense.

Observatons: If indeed drilling for natural gas was becoming more efficient, that is if more gas were being produced for each foot drilled, then one would expect the production costs to be dropping. So far they are not.

Q2-2006 3.90
Q2-2007 4.50
Q2-2008 4.73

Technically, going from 4.50 to 4.73 is not a drop, but wouldn't you expect a number far greater than 4.73? It's only 5% higher at a time when costs all across the board were rising at rates much higher than that.

Yes, Iconoclast421, I agree, and I don't see a single one of the four observations I made that is ironclad, that couldn't be explained in a differnt way.

The increase in $/MCF could indeed be due more to an increase in $/foot-drilled than a drop in MCF/foot-drilled.

Likewise, one could argue the March to July run-up in gas prices had nothing to do with supply and demand, but instead was a bubble caused soley by speculation and manipulation. Many in fact do make this argument.

And if we take a look at rig activity, one could surmise that 400 rigs are needed just to maintain production flat. Anything over 400 rigs adds new production. So an increase from 500 rigs to 600 rigs doubles the number drilling for new production (600-400)/(500-400)=2 whereas in absolute numbers it is only a 20% increase. An increase from 500 to 800 quadruples the number drilling for new production: (800-400)/(500-400)=4, whereas in absolute numbers it is only a 60% increase. So a relatively small percentage uptick in overall rig activity could indeed represent a much larger percentage uptick in the number of rigs toiling at increasing gas production.

And I suppose natural gas demand really could have increased by 11% over the last 16 months. If the production figures are correct, that would have to be true, because as memmel pointed out, it hasn't gone into storage.

It's just that when one looks at the whole picture, it seems to me that the Texas Railroad Commission production figures do a lot better job of explaining all the interrelated and interdependendent phenomena than the EIA figures do.

Like I said, time will tell. But for me, the jury's still out.

It was the small rig increase versus the huge production increase that made me wonder about shut in gas. We will see the truth as the year plays out.

We do know that the number of MCF produced per foot drilled is falling from EIA data. But it is not real time data.


Canadian production is down. US increases might be being used to replace falling Canadian gas. Just brainstorming....

You make some good points. I don't think the situation is as problematic as you suggest, though.

I notice from Baker Hughes data (which you also quote), there was an increase of 195 in US drilling rigs in the last year. Of this, Texas received 94, or 48% of the additional rigs. There was also a big shift into horizontal drilling rigs, and I would bet that the shift occurred in Texas as well. Most of the drilling rigs are for gas, so it doesn't seem like we should be too surprised if there was a fairly big increase in gas production in Texas. Clearly someone is interested in drilling in Texas, whether or not it is in the Barnett Shale area.

Regarding the higher price of natural gas in early 2008, at least part of this was related to the higher price of oil.

I agree that costs per MCF are going up. The business is fairly oil intensive, and oil costs have been going up. Long term one would expect the price of natural gas to continue to increase, to keep parity with the price of oil (and perhaps increase even more, since the current price is low relative to oil on a BTU basis). I would imagine this is why companies keep drilling, even with the higher costs. Once the profitability is no longer there, or they cannot get a needed input, like drilling pipes, the increase will stop.

I don't think the supply - use is as out of balance as you indicate. US net imports are way down, so that total natural gas available was up only 4.7% comparing the first five months of 2008 with the first five months of 2007. Consumption increased a little less than that--4.0%. There is some seasonality and storage plays a role, so one wouldn't expect amounts to match up completely.

If someone is looking at supply going forward, they are likely to look at the recent 8.8% increase in US dry gas production. If this percentage increase continues going forward, we are likely to be somewhat oversupplied for our current uses. This assumes that we won't have another decrease in net imports in the future. This reasoning may be part of what is keeping natural gas prices lower now.

Gail the Acturary,

I don't know what the source for the data was for your table entitled "Comparison of Changes in Supply and Use of US Natural Gas".

However, it states that US Dry Gas Production for the first 5 months of 2008 is 8,496,022 (MMCF?). If you divide that by the 152 days in the first five months of 2008, you get an average daily production rate of 55.9 BCFPD (55,900 MMCFPD).

The EIA figures, however, peg average daily production for the Lower 48 for the first five months of 2008 at 61.4 BCFPD.

So here's yet another source that is in disagreement with the EIA figures, and in the same direction as the Texas Railroad Commission figures, to the tune of 5.5 BCFPD. That's not an insignificant difference.

My background is in science and engineering, so all these mushy and inconsistent figures just drive me crazy. As Jacques Barzun wrote in From Dawn to Decadence:

The road to the present was hard and long because the old systems were good. They had consistency and completeness; only at a few points did contrary facts or gaps in explanation threaten their validity. One such fact was the odd behavior of the planets, especially Mars, which at times went backward instead of forward...

The larger picture was this: in the heavens, with Earth at the center, were several huge spheres, one within the next, each made of finer and finer stuff, and all revolving and emitting the "music of the spheres..." Sphere and circle, the two perfect figures, were essential to this perfect movement; it was unconscionable on the part of Mars that it should retrogress. Other irregularities were taken care of by old Ptolemy's epicycles, circular paths around the point where the errant body should be.

It made a very complex structure, and at last the mind rebelled at more and more contortions.

If you look at the EIA data, you will discover that there are several different versions of natural gas production, because natural gas tends to be used/lost as it goes through the system:

-Gross Withdrawals
-Marketed Production
-Dry Production

I notice you are quoting data relating to the 48 state total. This adds another variation, since most EIA data tables are for the US in total. An EIA exhibit that gives most of these is here.

Regarding consumption, there is

-Total Consumption
-Natural Gas Delivered to Consumers

If you are using two different data sources (such as EIA and RRC), and are trying to match actual production amounts, you need to be very careful to match like with like. Otherwise, you are likely to come to erroneous conclusions.

In my exhibit, I was only trying to show year to year percentage changes, so matching was not an issue. What I showed was dry production from here, which is a lower amount. When I originally put the exhibit together, I had an additional line for marketed production. The percentage change in that was 8.8%, which is the same as the percentage change in dry gas production, so I took the line off the exhibit.

I think you are fighting an uphill battle trying to match natural gas numbers between sources, without doing a lot of background work to make certain that the numbers you are using are comparable. It is very easy to make a mistake. At a minimum, you want to go back to the EIA tables and start working from them. Then you at least know what number you are actually working with.


I’ll throw in a couple of points to highlight some additional difficulties trying to reach your worthy goals. First, the TRRC is always behind a good bit in reporting every aspect of Tx production. No one’s fault…they don’t really have as many folks working there as you might guess. But, more importantly, trying to characterize the current state of shale gas development in Tx, as well as anywhere else, is a very moving target. On the question of efficiency: there has been, and continues, a very steep learning curve in completion technology. Production profiles and recovery estimates from wells drilled just 3 or 4 years would look very different than if they were done today. Back then a well might have 2 or 3 fracs pumped into it. Now 12 fracs per well is not uncommon. Not surprisingly, new frac protocols might deliver 5 times the initial rate. Also, as Gail mentioned, the shift to horizontal drilling will make for even greater changes. Just yesterday we were given the go ahead to ramp up our shale gas drilling rig count to 14 for 2009….about a 50% increase over original plans. On the other side of the ledger, these “efficiency” improvements have come with a much higher price tag. Actually diesel prices increase haven't been the big problem. It’s been steel. On 1 Jan we made a projection on casing cost increase by year end. We hit that number 2 months ago. I myself don’t see much of the internal economic data but it’s easy to guess that it’s very fluid. And fracs are essentially priced by the pounds of sand pumped down the hole. A lot more sand in 12 fracs then 3 fracs.

There is a cost/efficiency number out there for wells drilled to day which is quit a bit different than one drilled 3 or 4 years ago. And a well drilled 3 or 4 years from today will probably look a lot different than one drilled today. I wish you the best of luck in figuring out this elusive target.

Thanks! Your comment is very helpful.

I think we often forget about improvements in technology as a driver of production increases. When I visited BP's tight gas facility in Wamsutter, one thing I commented on was how much technology had changed in recent years. It would not be surprising if similar changes are taking place on Barnett Shale as well.

Regarding the higher price of steel, I expect there is at least a little tie back to the higher price of oil. When the price of oil rose, so did the price of coal. One of the big costs of coal is transporting it. Another is mining it. Both of these are quite oil-dependent. There was also a shortage of coal. If other fossil fuels had been available in greater quantity at lower price, this might not have been such an issue.


Certainly energy cost are a factor in the steel price run up but I can't really tell to what extent. But from the position the steel makers have taken it strikes me that competition among buyers is the dominant driving force of the inflation. For quit a while now the steel makers won't even quote a price: if you order 400,000' of a particular casing size they tell you the run will be out in, let's say, 4 months. They won't give you a price for the order. They tell you the cost when the pipe is ready to ship. You can accept that price or pass. It doesn't matter to the mill...they have several buyers right behind waiting to pay the price. Over the last few months I've heard that much of the competition has come from overseas buyers willing to meet the local price plus the additional shipping cost. We're probable in the top 5 casing buyers in the US and are on a strict monthly casing allowance. I can't fault those companies for maximizing their profit. We do the same. But it does add to that complexity of determining the real economic value of a drilling program with the parameters changing so quickly combined with predicting the unpredictable (like NG prices in 2011). As I’ve mentioned before, it’s the rapid pay out of these resource plays which is driving activity. Even if the total recovery were twice the average, if payout took 3 or 4 years you wouldn’t see the drilling levels we have today. Net present value is THE controlling factor. It's the only way to mitigate rising cost and the future pricing risk factor.

I still haven’t been able to devote enough time to the resource play decline model but will keep pushing. Something DS said reminded me of an old analogy for such plays: it’s like seeing you gas gauge running low so you speed up so you can reach your destination before running out of gas. Foolish logic for sure. But imagine a different reaction: you stop on the shoulder of the road, with the engine running, so you can make your remaining fuel last longer. Your engines runs much longer but you make no progress. This silly example is exactly where I see the resource playing public companies are today. The more wells they drill to replace their rapid declining reserve base the more rapidly declining reserves they add to their portfolio. And thus they need to drill even more wells. There will come a point for every public company when they won’t be able to stick with this plan. Could be any one of several reasons: play runs out, NG too low for new drilling, too much competition from other companies splitting the pie, etc. I’m guessing this is one reason we’re seeing companies paying top dollar to tie up as much acreage as possible. Even if all the other factors support the expansion, only he with the gold (acreage) rules.

You can accept that price or pass. It doesn't matter to the mill...they have several buyers right behind waiting to pay the price

We are see some of the same things in the hard rock mining business, and it is not restricted to supplies like steel and tires, but services as well; drillers, rigs, lowboy transports etc.

Great work Gail! Thanks for this. An example of what we should do in a face of a data discrepancy like this.

Hi Gail,

I am late to the party, but thank you for calling and getting the official story. I think we should keep a close track on how the two databases match in the future.

I find it a bit disturbing that the EIA is claiming this 15% increase when no one actually knows how much gas has been produced. The EIA is working with surveys and models. If the RRC does not know the true production, then no one does. I need to read the EIA press release again, but it did not sound like they were claiming a "forecasted increase of 15%".

The Iranian Alternative to Georgia

From an energy security POV. the purported bumper sticker "Happiness is Multiple Pipelines" is a truism.

Look at map. What are the non-Russian alternatives to Georgia for the Central Asian oil exporters ?

Azerbaijan-Armenia-Turkey is one, but Armenia is solidly pro-Russian and Kurds blew up the pipeline in Turkey on August 6 (an often overlooked fact).

Trans-Caspian pipelines are possible, but expensive.

Kazakhstan is building an oil pipeline to China and talking about a gas pipeline. Good for both of them !

And then there is the unthinkable, Iran ! Borders Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan with existing rail connections to Uzbekstan & Kazakhstan.

And railroads can serve as higher cost, but more flexible pipelines (Russian exports to China are by rail, despite the change in gauge, broad in Russia, standard in China, that require a physical move of the wheels on the axles).

Iranian pipelines or rail can either transit Central Asian oil to the Persian Gulf or the Mediterranean via either Turkey or Iraq-Syria.

Unthinkable, of course.


Turkmenistan-Iran is a busy rail line today and Iran-Turkey is a lower volume rail line (Turkey is planning land bypass for a rail ferry). Plans for Iran-Iraq-Syria.

Work has started on a Azerbaijan-Iran rail link bypassing Armenia and a standard gauge rail line from China to Kazakhstan, with future extensions to Turkmenistan and Iran.

"Work has started on a Azerbaijan-Iran rail link bypassing Armenia..."

And Armenia has never been happy about this.

Armenia is getting a second gas line from Iran.

Armenia and Batumi, Adjari are the keys.

And Russia controls both.

The festering sore of Nagorno-Karabakh is a huge problem for Armenian-Azerbaijani relations.

IFAIC, US policy toward Iran and Russia has effectively destroyed any influence the US might have had in the whole pipeline process. The most commonsense/economical Caspian to global markets route has always been through Iran to the Gulf.

Alan,I assume you are being ironic when you dismiss the Iranian solution.

It is a pity that the USA(possibly backed,albeit reluctantly,by the EU)has taken such an inflexible and punishing approach for so many years to Iran.This has been very dangerous and unproductive in so many ways,apart from gas and oil.

Here's hoping for a more sensible attitude come November and no insane Neo Con adventures in the mean time.

A pipeline via Iran may not be a solution for the USA. But China may see advantages in creating a "partnership" with Iran.

This is partly why I expect Chinese demand will continue to grow even when prices are high enough to create demand destruction in the USA. China will be more "flexible" in obtain supplies from various oil exporters using special relationships (which may involve Chinese diplomatic and economic support, investment in local infrastructure etc).

China is helping Iran expand their subway system. NOT the only example.

Sanctions ? None that apply to China (they respect only UN sanctions).


TS Faye is projected to make a turn back toward the west and go back over Florida or Georgia. The longer it takes for the U-turn to happen, the more time is available for Faye to gather strength from the warm waters of the Florida Current/Gulf Stream.

Model predictions may be found here. Note that some of these model runs were made yesterday.

E. Swanson

How good is Big Oil's weather forecasting?

When NYMEX went up $2 plus dollars yesterday,
I'm betting it was because of Fay's chances of getting into the GOM increased at Shell/Chevron's weather center.

Surface waters on both sides of FL appear warm enough to support storm development:

Amazing to see an eye develop strong as Fay
went up the West side of Okeechobee.

The theory was that Okeechobee was too small
shallow to impart strength.


I've been following this closely since it was a Tropical Wave out in the Atlantic. NOAA's forecast kept changing. A few days ago they had Fay head straight North. Now the forecast is WNW on land but close to the GOM. If Fay follows a slightly more southern track it will be in the GOM headed right towards New Orleans.

RE: Warming climate threatens Alaska's vast forests

From the article:

...on the scenic Kenai Peninsula south of Anchorage, rising temperatures are partly to blame for an outbreak of bark-infesting beetles, which thrive in warmer climates.

Altogether more than 3 million acres (1.21 million hectares) of spruce have been killed in south-central Alaska since 1992, the biggest recorded outbreak in North American history.

"Beetles take no prisoners," Berg told reporters during a tour of the refuge. "It's a Mafia-style execution."

Those dead trees could burn rather rapidly, once they die uut. The result would be big doses of CO2 added on top of that which people are already producing. Or, the trees will eventually die and fall to rot away, which could produce methane as well as CO2. Either scenario could make the Global Warming problem even worse.

E. Swanson

That's part of the positive feedback loops often discussed. More warming makes more CO2 and methane production possible even from natural sources, which in turn produces more warming...

But never fear! Some Mexican scientist now says that the world is about the enter a little ice age of 60-80 years.

Here's an article about net imports/exports. It's not about oil, rather imports of 'virtual water' into the UK.

Revealed: the massive scale of UK's water consumption

The scale of British water consumption and its impact around the world is revealed in a new report today, which warns of the hidden levels needed to produce food and clothing.

The UK has become the sixth largest net importer of water in the world, the environment group WWF will tell a meeting of international experts in Stockholm, with every consumer indirectly responsible for the use of thousands of litres a day. Only 38% of the UK's total water use comes from its own resources; the rest depends on the water systems of other countries, some of which are already facing serious shortages.

The study makes the first attempt to measure the UK's total "water footprint" and highlights the extent to which our imports come from countries which are running out of fresh water. It calculates that:

· Average household water use for washing and drinking in the UK is about 150 litres a person daily, but we consume about 30 times as much in "virtual water", used in the production of imported food and textiles;

· Taking virtual water into account, each of us [in the UK] soaks up 4,645 litres a day.

I suppose this is one of the ways in which globalisation obscures the true scale of resources needed to sustain a 'developed' lifestyle. As these resources are consumed abroad they're left off the balance sheet. It's the same with energy use and pollution emissions. 'Developed' nations can claim that their economies are less dependent on physical resources and are less polluting, as resources are consumed and pollution is created outside their borders.

It looks like we are in ANOTHER silver shortage. I can't buy bullion grade silver anywhere. This while the price has crashed roughly 30%.

The market must be extremely broken for this to happen. One of the benefits of a free market economy is that theoretically you never run out of items as they are rationed by price as the supply wanes.

Does anyone else find this extremely frustrating? Any ideas as to what is causing this?

"Does anyone else find this extremely frustrating? Any ideas as to what is causing this?"

With every shortage there is a black market.

A black market is simply the said commodity trading at
the world price.

At the world price you get all you want.

you can start one here AAMOF.

Or on any buy/sell site.

Put out an offer of $25 per oz. See what happens. ;}

One of the benefits of a free market economy is that theoretically you never run out of items

One of the other benifits is that the more expensive oil gets, the more there will be of it. Hooray. Lets drink to expensive oil and the free market economy!

Sarcanol off/

The free market only works when you live on an infinite sized planet with infinite quantites of everything. Am I frustrated about this? No, as on an infinitely sized planet I would be rather heavy and big!! :-)

Yes, I think I know what is causing this. It is that fact that thing are (shock horror) finite!


I've been following this and am absolutely stunned by the sudden opening up of the differential between silver and gold - now around 60 when the recent (last 30 years) average is around 50.

I see it as a buy opportunity. I haven't bought any new this week, but did add some last week.

When you say "bullion grade" are you talking ASEs? I've been adding mostly "junk" coins. The ASEs have been in short supply for awhile, and apparently the mint is not getting the silver needed to produce more. I haven't seen any shortage of privately minted bars and rounds, but I don't follow that as closely.

Check out this article from a couple days ago -

I am talking about business strike, non-collector treasury coins, bars, rounds, junk silver for immediate delivery...

I found silver available for sale on ebay but it is marked up to the point that the spot price seems irrelevant.

So my frustration is that the spot price does not reflect reality which to me suggests manipulation of some sort.

"I found silver available for sale on ebay but it is marked up to the point that the spot price seems irrelevant."


when the price reflects reality a black market is impossible.

The silver market appears to be one of the most manipulated markets by the shorts as 7 commercial traders hold over 60% of the short positions. I tried to buy silver all week thru a company I have done business with over the last 4 years. They did not return phone calls, emails and I was put on hold several times for over 20 minutes and then timed out. Finally got an order in late on Friday after they raised their offer price by over $250 on a $500 face bag of silver (relative to their buy price, spread had been $500, as of today its over $920). Broker indicated they had been crazy crazy working 2-3 hours late every evening trying to catch up with the order demand. Ted Butler has a very good column he thinks the cost of production is above the current price, and the shorts are manipulating the market down because its the only way they will survive. That and people all over the world are buying it like crazy due to the debasement of the currencies and they recognize that this asset is underpriced.

Ted's column


Except for John Nadler of Kitco, most serious bullion investors would agree that the central banks intervene in the precious metals markets just as they do in the currency and equity markets (e.g. daily REPOs).

Websites such as www.gata.org and www.financialsense.com has numerous articles detailing the scope and intent of these interventions.

When any commodity is held at artificially low prices, through price control / intervention / whatever, it tends to become scarce, since owners withhold it from the market.

In the case of silver, which is traded in 1000oz bars on the Comex, Kitco claims that there is overwhelming demand for smaller denomination bars (100 oz, coins, etc) that need to be manufactured out of the 1000oz bars, and that all we actually have is a backlog of manufacturing.

I dont find that credible. What we should see in that case is a higher premium for smaller bars, not a lower price and no availability.

The US Mint has yet to make a public statement on why they have suspended gold and silver eagle production. (They communicated this privately to their primary dealers).


That eBay premium has been true of the ASEs (I, too, do not chase the collector stuff) for several months, now. When I've bought ASEs it's been through a coin shop where the premium is set at spot +$3 and has been that way for years - but mostly they are selling single coins, getting rolls is next to impossible.

I haven't had the same sort of issues with junk halves (my most owned coins).

But check out the seeking alpha article I linked. While I don't find it completely convincing, I think it is clear that there is some manipulation of the market going on. Central banks appear to be trying to kill the commodity bull in order to jump start the global economy.

What you are seeing is the gap between physical supply and derivatives.

A lot of the market "silver" is in the form of ETFs and other forms of silver derivatives. These derivatives are rarely explicitly backed by physical metal. In fact the total notional on silver paper is many times the available physical supply. Yet the paper derivative prices are typically used interchangably with the physical market price.

Paper contract prices can deviate wildly from the transaction price on the physical asset. So you want to buy cheap silver paper and convert it into valuable silver metal? Good luck.

Re paper deviation, exactly how often has the spot price for silver been higher than the transaction price on the physical asset, and by how much? The current situation is definitely not commonplace.

It has been like this for a long long time (i.e. that the paper market dwarfs the physical market).

In the 80's, the Hunts brothers bought paper contracts, and then instead of settling in cash, asked for the actual silver to be delivered, (that they legitimately bought). Chaos ensued, since that much silver was just not available. The price spiked to $50.00 an ounce before order was restored.

It was claimed they "tried to corner the market" but that is not true - they just wanted delivery on the silver they had bought forward.


Are you sure that there are more shares than physical silver? I thought the silver stores backing the ETF were audited on a regular basis. Is there some way to cheat the audit?

There are hundreds of times more paper shares of futures traded than physical metal. The ETFs on the other hand supposedly are audited and hold close to 100% physical metal. In any volatile market you are going to get bigger spreads when buying metals. Silver bought from a local dealer always had a horrible spread anyway. If you can afford it, the best option is probably taking delivery of a mini-silver futures contract. Another option is the Perth Mint. As for market manipulation, sure it always occurs especially when the central banks prop up their paper currencies with sales of gold they confiscated from the citizenry. Still, you can only manipulate to a certain degree - no use complaining about it, just take advantage of the opportunity if you truly think someone is artificially lowering the price of something.

Here is an interesting article about the subject, and it´s worth to read the comments section also:


For those who would like to see all of us defenseless in the coming storm. Its only going to get worse from here so get your permits before the rush.


It was not my intent that evening to test the Second Amendment or kill somebody, but events unfolded to make it necessary for me to draw my weapon to defend myself and others.

The America we live in today is not the same country my father and mother experienced. Dad was a World War II veteran and recipient of two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts, and Mom was a "Rosie the Riveter" who built ships in Long Beach, Calif., during the war. They were a generation that helped each other. They were neighbors who watched out for the interests of their neighbors. A large part of the population was involved in WWII, and they had to depend upon each other for their very survival. Sometimes the only thing these military men and women had in common was the fact that they were Americans. Yet they cared for each other.

We live in a dangerous society where the criminal element seems to have no regard for human life, let alone the ability to leave people alone. We need to take a more courageous attitude toward the safety and welfare of our fellow law-abiding citizens and teach our children to have the same values. And if it is deemed that carrying a firearm is necessary to protect ourselves and others - then so be it.

America's greatness won't fall because we fight enemies who commit atrocities. Our greatness will end if we tolerate the atrocities of our own against ourselves. Decay starts from within - and so does the cure.

I wonder if we are actually going to see less and less tolerance for crime, as times get tougher. The recent shooting (or more accurately, execution) of two burglars in Houston has been widely publicized. I have previously described an interview with an African American gentleman who shot and killed an intruder trying to break into his house. When asked what he thought that the outlook was for burglars in Texas, he replied with one word, "Death."

My wife watches alot of the Spanish news from Central and South America. When a group of "normal" people catches a crook, its pretty brutal. It would be much better to get arrested since the only weapons are usually machetes....you can imagine.

I'm not looking forward to a "Living in Argentina" world, but it looks like where we are headed. Its nice to be able to walk the dog at 9pm without worries........going to miss that. Too bad...

I guess the intolerance will keep the repeat offender list down.......eventually. Population control right?

Something like that happened recently in a poor area of South Dallas. An attempted rapist was literally rescued by police, as an outraged crowd pursued him.

Drunk driver went down the street near Detroit and hit numerous parked cars before crashing into a garage of someone's house. The parked cars were owned by people who were at a party across the street from my coworker's house. The drunk driver had the crap beaten out of him by the party-goers, who then left... Any sympathy for the drunk driver? No.. The irony is that everybody who left probably was drunk too!

Funny you mention that:

A store clerk in Jackson, MS recently shot someone stealing a case of beer...ran outside and shot into his car as he was running away, indirectly (I think the crash did it) killing him.

He's trying to claim self defense but the local yahoos aren't buying that. At least, not yet. They may have a tough time getting a jury that would convict him.

I find the implied calculation that a handgun = protection to be somewhat suspect.

I read it that legislated denial of arms to the law-abiding = enforced helplessness.

Why is honesty always in such short supply?

Reality: For a conscientious and very careful gun owner, gun control MAY = enforced helplessness in some cases.

Reality: For some conscientious and very careful gun owners, gun ownership = being killed with their own gun by the people they are trying to protect themselves from.

Reality: For some gun owners owning a gun = accidental death of themselves or their loved ones.

Reality: For some gun owners (un)justifiable homicide becomes reality.

Reality: Some gun owners stop or prevent crimes.


This foolishness of either or is... foolishness. Make an honest risk assessment and go from there.


Excuse me but WTF are you talking about? Those of you who would like to see us all defenseless? Is there anyone here saying they want that? From what I remember many have advocated gun ownership here (actually I've seen a few on Daily Kos because of all the RWNJs (right wing nut jobs)acting like little brown shirts and blowing away people who have left leaning ideologies (of course they get all of that rage from mendacious prick right wing morons on the radio and tv who will shout at the top of their lungs how the liberals were the ones who did this to them and how they deserve to be punished and are SHOCKED by the fact that these poor saps go out and do it). Also all I have seen as far gun control from the democrats is longer waits on getting guns, making sure they stay out of the hands of criminals and mentally handicapped (the killer at Virginia Tech got his guns legally even though he had a history of mental problems), and are against people carrying guns in public. If as you state that we HAVE to have guns in public its already too late, we've lost whatever thin veneer of civilization we try to put on to the rest of the world.

Oscillator, I agree with you completely. I am what you would normally refer to as a "bleeding heart liberal". And I have always said that, in preparation for the crash, we should arm ourselves to the teeth. I believe those who say we will not need to protect ourselves are truly fools. These poor folks will realize their error but probably far too late.

I don't think anyone should be defenseless but one cannot force a person to prepare for the worst. I suspect those who raid your garden or your goat or chicken pen will be armed, at least here in the U.S. where guns are everywhere.

Ron Patterson

It's interesting comparing the country to the city. I always keep a rifle (usually a 30-30 and loaded) in my truck. I don't even think about it. This is going to sound strange but you never know when you might need a gun. I do take it out if I take the truck to town (seldom) because you practically now have to chain it in place or get busted in CA.

Maybe even funnier (?) was a few years ago when I was having trouble with wild pigs. I kept a rifle with me every time I went outside. However, I have to say it got old picking it up every time I opened the door.


PS In a fire fight a side arm is to allow you time to get back to your main battle rifle.

those who brag about their 'firearms' here or elsewhere will still have them removed anyway. Only a fool would think they can protect themselves from government forces with their civilian weapons. Or to think that one is 'safe' if you have one. The best defense in such a situation that this thread discusses is /not/ to bunker down thinking you can be better armed then they are. it is to be on the move, don't sleep in the same place every night with miles in between them.

So your vision is a nation of drifting & scavenging outlaws? If the starving hordes (or greedy armed mob/govt) drive you off your life raft, the solution is to become yet another starving horde member?

And your post does not rant, is not full of rage, is not being a prick... Sorry, but you lose.

If you are unfamiliar with the historic position of the Democrats on gun control, I recommend you do research. Outright bans, confiscation, etc., have all been suggested and supported by Democrats through the years. Only in the last few years have Democrats begun to step back from that abyss, at the urging of Dean and others who note that there are too many gun owners in the US and being anti-gun was costing Democrats votes from their longtime core constituencies (blue collar workers).

I am heartened by the change in position by the Democrats. But until I see how they actually behave with this new position, I am not going to automatically trust them on the gun issue. (As a point of note, I disagree with both major parties on most global issues, and find little agreement with them except on other issues such as this occasionally.)

And if you think civilization means no weapons, then I strongly suggest you study a few other civilizations than our current one. Firearms were common and almost considered a "must wear" item for gentlemen in 19th century England, for instance. And despite the legends about Dodge City, statistics show that the murder rate in Dodge City during the "wild west" era was actually below that of the 20 largest cities in the US today.

Finally, I find this quote preposterous:

If as you state that we HAVE to have guns in public its already too late, we've lost whatever thin veneer of civilization we try to put on to the rest of the world.

Historically, an armed society was a polite society. I suppose that explains the rudeness and crudeness of this current civilization though, eh?

Historically, an armed society was a polite society

I frequently read the above canard, which a moment of reflection would disprove.
The recent history of Africa is that the proliferation of small arms has made it as much an "armed society" as any in history.
Arguing that Somalia, Sudan, Congo and so many other "armed societies" are "polite societies" is laughable.
Not that I expect evidence to impact the myth, but trying anyway...

Hey, you guys are all missing the point! Guns today in Somalia or guns today in Harlem is not the point. The point is what will it be like in your neck of the woods 25 years from now if 90 percent of the people are desperately hungry? Will you need protection or will there be plenty of law enforcement officers around to protect you?

Different times and different places require different rules under different circumstances.

Ron Patterson

Again with the assumption that a gun = protection.

I do not object to gun ownership. And there are many valuable uses for a gun that I think justify gun ownership. I just don't buy that protection against "bad people" is one of them. There is always someone with a bigger gun, and you can always be outnumbered and outmaneuvered, gun or not.

I'm certain you are correct that things will change in the future, but right now the protection argument doesn't meet the statistical challenge either. According to the CDC - "In the U.S. for 2001, there were 29,573 deaths from firearms, distributed as follows by mode of death: Suicide 16,869; Homicide 11,348; Accident 802; Legal Intervention 323; Undetermined 231.(CDC, 2004)"

That's right more than twice as many accidents as "legal interventions."

Exactly. If you further broke down the "legal interventions" I wouldn't be surprised if a large % of these shooters had prior experience with killing/shooting humans, either military or criminal endeavors. IMO a lot of people like guns,so rather than say this, the justification for ownership is defense. You can kill with a butcher knife or a baseball bat-you don't need a gun. If you aren't comfortable killing humans with a butcher knife or a baseball bat, IMO you are not going to be able to reliably kill in a gunfight against armed intruders, so moving to a safer neighbourhood or town might make more sense IMO.

As should be obvious from my above post, I live in the boondocks. My guess is that 95+% of the people here have firearms. The locals aren't blasting each other even when they hate one another.

Most of the hand gun stuff around here comes from city people trying to steal someone's dope. And, given that dope growing is a major industry in my county, even these murders are minor in number.

But, some people do stupid things. Some years ago a well known local figure was told a group of people were "going to get him." Rather than contacting the sheriff, he came to a public gathering packing a .38. To me, this is brain dead.


If you aren't comfortable killing humans with a butcher knife or a baseball bat, IMO you are not going to be able to reliably kill in a gunfight against armed intruders

You may be right about that, but...Failure to plan is planning to fail

If you seriously think you may need a gun for defensive purposes, you should get professional training.

I've used handguns, shotguns and rifles all my life, but three days and two-thousand rds. of Defensive Handgun training blew me away! (seeks absolution for pun) I learned so much more than I expected!

I can recommend Oregon Firearms Academy without reservation.

shaman, maybe you should look beyond that shallow stat.
The justifiable-homicide number that you quote which is so widely circulated by the Brady Bunch is based on a methodology that deliberately ignores confrontations in which no shots are fired. Gary Kleck has shown repeatedly and convincingly that between one and two million crimes are deterred per year in the US because the would-be victim is armed. No one gets shot because the armed party isn't the criminal.


And no, of course a firearm does not "equal" protection. But being unarmed in the face of an armed criminal does equal defenselessness.


that "shallow" stat is the only real one I see here. You may be convinced by Kleck, but there is simply no reason to trust an estimate that is +- 100%. And yet, if we are to accept your concern, would we not also have to start including those cases where someone gets shot because the "victim" is armed and such would not have been the case otherwise? How do you measure for needless escalation of violence?

And that notion that "being unarmed in the face of an armed criminal does equal defenselessness" shows only a lack of imagination. I've been in that situation and it simply isn't true. You aren't defenseless as long as you have your brain and your mouth.

As I said before - there are many good reasons for owning a gun - I just don't buy that "protection" is one of them.

Desperately hungry people are unlikely to be able to use weapons to steal your food. How many of the starving multitudes in various African countries are roaming the countryside stealing food from those who managed to keep a stash? The ones committing atrocities (warlords' gangs) are pretty well fed. There's no way to know how modern Americans will behave under conditions of scarcity, but I don't think the majority of people during the Great Depression turned to crime to get food. Hungry people usually try begging first--if that doesn't work they usually just die. Of course there will be individuals who steal or kill for food, but I think we'll have to sink pretty far before that becomes the norm. The culture of fear our media has promoted makes us think that every stranger is a threat, every "other" is a predator, the only safety is in "preemptive strikes". Self-fulfilling prophecies....

It is the irregular armed forces that have small arms in Africa not the civilians, but if you want to go unarmed in a post peak world in any country I wonder how long you will keep hold of your off grid house & small holding?

I don't care how many guns you have, if there is a large enough group that decides to take your "off grid house & small holding," their going to get it.

Even just one.

Here's the rub: "He" already knows he wants your stuff and is already plotting plans to take you by surprise.

"You" may not be aware of his intentions, and even if you ARE aware, he is protected by law against you taking action against him UNTIL he acts. He will act in a time unknown to you.

It's a nasty condundrum.

Ultimately, If it gets this bad, then the best hope is small town , local militia.

- All know each other.
- Many are related by blood or marriage.
- All have a common purpose.

Pretty much like small walled cities with an agricultural hinterland.

Petty brigands would pose no real problem, Only Mercenaries, or what is left of a standing army or government in a civil war would stand a chance of toppling such a structure.

Although from the UK and thereby stripped of the right to bear arms, I would strongly recommend you keep your right to bear arms.

Historically, in societies where the rate at which married women work outside the home goes up, the divorce rate goes up.

Historically, when ice cream consumption rates go up, drownings go up.

Data verifying the above correlations can readily be found, and I am sure data can be found that shows that at times in history there have been heavily armed societies that have been polite.

The trouble comes in linking correlation to causation. Does having married women work cause divorce? No research proves it. Does eating ice cream cause drownings? Again, no proof to be found. Do arms cause politeness? No proof of that, unless one equates cautious behavior, if caused by arms, to politeness.

As a stats professor friend drills into stats students: correlation does not equal causation.

Keeping and bearing arms can be justified in many ways. But I never claim that my weapons make those around me more polite.

As a far left liberal I believe no one should have a concealed weapon but folks should be allowed to carry an exposed gun if they so choose. Just look at how rare it is for an uniformed police officer to be mugged. If potential offenders see you are armed there is a greater chance they will leave you and those near you alone than if you have a concealed gun. OTOH having a gun hasn't prevented police officers from being shot and killed.

This is the historical perspective, only criminals need to keep their weapons concealed. I have no problem with it since it makes holster selection much easier and more comfortable.

BTW, don't think for a second that any laws will keep weapons from being concealed. They call them criminals for a reason.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending August 15, 2008

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 14.8 million barrels per day during the week ending August 15, relatively unchanged from the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 85.7 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production rose last week, averaging about 9.1 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging 4.4 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged nearly 11.0 million barrels per day last week, up 1.3 million barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged over 10.2 million barrels per day, 93 thousand barrels per day above the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 794 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 73 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 9.4 million barrels from the previous week. At 305.9 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are in the middle of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 6.2 million barrels last week, and are below the lower boundary of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and gasoline blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 0.5 million barrels, and are in the upper half of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.6 million barrels last week but remain below the lower limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 8.2 million barrels last week, and are in the lower half of the average range for this time of year.

And here is what they were expecting:

The petroleum supply report was expected to show that gasoline inventories fell by 3 million barrels, according to the average of analysts’ estimates in a survey by energy information provider Platts.

“People are going to be looking at the gas numbers,” said Jonathan Kornafel, Asia director for brokerage Hudson Capital Energy in Singapore.

The Platts survey also showed that analysts projected oil stocks rose 1.7 million barrels and distillates went up 1.2 million barrels during last week.

It looks like the big crude inventory build was on the Gulf Coast, where their inventories have been bouncing along seasonal lows and where they had some weather related delays in prior data.

In any case, with the low refinery utilization rate it would certainly appear that the refiners have been on a buyers strike regarding crude oil. What's interesting is that oil prices are currently less than $20 below their average monthly peak of $134 in June. So, what happens as the refiners have to start buying more crude?

The report looks kind of wacky to me. Huge build in oil (lots of imports, perhaps product that couldn't be unloaded the previous week?), huge drop in gasoline.

There are some interesting nuggets here. Almost all of the recent decline in refinery inputs since the week ending 7/25 was on the Gulf Coast. My theory is that a contributing factor is that the Gulf Coast refineries have been bouncing along their seasonal MOL. And remember that specific refineries need crude within a limited range of heavy/light and sour/sweet characteristics. Note that the brief closure of the Houston Ship Channel forced some refineries to curtail their refinery runs.

Refineries can't let their inventories drop below minimum levels, so if they can't--and/or won't--buy higher priced crude, they will curtail refinery runs. In any event, we end up back at the same point. Given apparent product demand, the refiners are going to be forced to start buying more crude, because they are going to soon be flirting with product MOL's. It's basically a continuation of the same pattern: fewer consumers paying a higher unit price for less volume.

Unplugging the Mississippi River as aftereffects of the barge spill a mile from me wind down.


The drop in gasoline is a bit less than the increase in crude on the Gulf Coast, the difference being about 3.2 mbbls. The gasoline decline is spread over most of the U.S. Is it time for the seasonal change to winter gasoline to begin, or is that process rather seamless? The comments about the disruptions due to transport problems would seem to apply to the Gulf Coast, while seasonal factors would favor the decline in gasoline, with increases in distillate stocks in the Eastern Regions.

E. Swanson

An 11 million barrel increase in Gulf Coast stocks in a week and declines or holding even everywhere else? That's over 1.5 million barrels per day increase in Gulf Coast stock. Seems a bit strange.

Somebody's buying crude. That was a huge jump in imports.

I think it was Edouard.

Apparently, the "experts" polled by Reuters, Platts, etc., do not take weather into account. Their predictions are based purely on what happened in previous years at this time. So if there's some disruption - fog in the Houston Ship Channel, a pipeline break, a hurricane - the predictions will be way off.

In this case, they apparently weren't taking into account the backlog caused by Edouard.

Pup55 at PO.com notes that unleaded imports are down, and we imported almost no distillates, which is "really unusual."



An analyst on Bloomberg said there was a big delivery of Saudi oil to the Gulf Coast last week but that it was likely a one-off. Can anyone confirm or deny this? Interestingly he said this *before* the inventory report came out.

The Saudis are exporting more crude, while there are continuing reports of refined product shortages in Saudi Arabia. And we have reports of less product being imported in to the US. Kind of makes one think that the Saudis might be curtailing their domestic refinery runs, in order to boost reported crude exports, while trying (perhaps with less than complete success) to increase their product imports to offset the decline in refinery output.

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

Products Supplied
Finished Motor Gasoline             9,455     9,607    -1.6%    -1.6%
Kerosene-Type Jet Fuel              1,580     1,685    -6.2%  -4.0%
Distillate Fuel Oil                 4,211     4,077    +3.3%  -1.9%
Residual Fuel Oil                     631       712   -11.4% -16.8%
Propane/Propylene                     969       994    -2.5%  -4.7%
Other Oils                          3,378     3,787   -10.8%  -7.5%

Total Products Supplied            20,224    20,860    -3.0%    -3.6%


Khurais (and Manifa?) ahead of schedule?

Halliburton confident oil's slide will not reduce orders

Halliburton, which opened an office in Dubai last year in a bid to win more international business, confirmed in April that it had won a large three-year contract in Saudi Aramco's offshore Manifa field, which has a production target of 900,000 barrels of oil per day.

"We're just in the ramp-up phase and are waiting for some of the drilling rigs to become available, so that project is more ahead of us at this point in time," Lesar told the agency.

"We'll probably get started at the latter part of this year, but certainly as we get into early next year," he said.

Halliburton confident oil's slide will not reduce orders

Khurais project

Khurais will produce 1.2 million barrels a day once completed and is state-run Saudi Aramco's biggest project to boost capacity 11 per cent to 12.5 million barrels a day in 2009.

"Khurais is going very well and is coming to an end," said Lesar. "It is on track and on time."

The Khurais field will operate by June 2009, and Manifa will add heavy crude from onshore and offshore fields from mid-2011, according to Aramco.

Came across these researching my peakoil.com thread Khursaniyah delayed?, for which Dante included some interesting info from O&G Journal and Oil Daily.

OPEC was reported to have 1.5 million barrels per day spare capacity idled (IEA).

The United States is producing more oil this year than last, reversing a long term trend.

The United States is consuming less oil this year than last, something that was not true between 2005-2007.

Total oil + products (including the SPR) are about 1.6% less than this time last year.

At this rate of decline it would take more than 50 years to reduce inventories to nothing.

A seven year high inventory build during the peak of driving season. The fact of the matter is the world might not spend as freely if the price of oil will double in a year. Such growth is simply not sustainable.

Dangerously in Debt?

If ''An Inconvenient Truth'' sounded the alarm on global warming, ''I.O.U.S.A.,'' a new documentary opening in theaters Friday, hopes to do the same for the rising federal deficit.

Backed by Blackstone Group Chairman Peter Peterson, ''I.O.U.S.A.'' follows former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker and the Concord Coalition's Robert Bixby on a ''fiscal wake-up tour'' across America. In the movie, which is co-written by ''Empire of Debt'' co-author Addison Wiggin and directed by ''Wordplay'' filmmaker Patrick Creadon, Messrs. Walker and Bixby argue that unless the government alters its policies and spending habits, the U.S. will be in for a serious financial meltdown.

This documentary is getting a lot of attention from both liberals and conservatives.

It's scheduled to be shown at the Democratic convention.

What Catherine Austin Fitts has to say about IOUSA;

"Catherine and News & Commentary,August 11, 2008 at 11:08 am
In the Destruction of the Old, Let There Be the Creation of the New"


"One of the beauties of the I.O.U.S.A is all the luminaries interviewed as experts on this “debt problem” were in a position to stop or warn us that the $10 trillion dollars was leaving. They did not."

Pretty well everything Fitts is saying is self evident but no one is listening. McCain is up 5 points today (the sheeple give him high marks for economic insight). Any effective solutions to oil depletion will come at the individual, micro level in the USA- the federal government will be a hindrance in the process, not a help.

"It's scheduled to be shown at the Democratic convention."

i hope they put a good democrat spin on it, else some may notice that the democrats are too blame as well.

the debt increased by $21 billion in clinton's last full year, the same amount as one day with the gop in control of the white house, congress and the supreme court (november 23,2004).

Catchy title, like a certain Austin rock band's "U.S.S.A. ," which I notice also stands for perfectly innocent things like United States Students Association...

This weeks Crude imports were up by 1.33 MM brls per day and up 9.3 MM brls for the week compared to last week.

I suspect refineries are taking advantage of the current low prices. However if you do an 8 week running Avg, Imports are only up by 93M brls per day compared to last week.

Compared to last year at this time the 8 week avg imports of crude are still down by 155 M brls per day and stocks are down 25 MM brls compared to this time last year.

To me the 9 MM brls crude stock increase means some one else in the world is short 9 MM Brls.

Pad 1, Pad 2, and Cushing stocks are all down. Pad 3 is up nearly 11 MM brls.

This from my analyst friend at Johnson Rice:

Despite the significant swings in reported crude and mogas stocks, we think this week’s DOE report is basically neutral. We aren’t rattled by the crude stockbuild – the 9 million barrel build results from reported all-time record crude imports into PADD III Gulf Coast (lingering tropical storm impacts perhaps?), a rate we don’t think is sustainable. Total reported crude imports were 10.99 million barrels; PADD III imports were 7.2 mmbpd (vs a YTD PADD III import average of 5.9 mmbpd). We think both crude oil and gasoline stats are noisy; we think the distillate stats are actually moderately supportive.

Refining utilization dropped again, by 20 basis points, to 85.7%.

Gasoline stocks continued their precipitous decline. Stocks have fallen by 20 million barrels in 4 weeks and are now below the 5-yr average level. Stocks total 197 million barrels, flat vs. yearago levels. Refiners have to date not increased throughputs, nor have gasoline imports rebounded, despite improvement in the gasoline crack – last week the Gulf Coast gas crack averaged ~$10/barrel, up from breakeven levels a month ago. We think improved gasoline margins, better arb economics, and the looming end to the driving season suggest gasoline supply should show improvement over the next few weeks.

We think distillate remains the most important key to the complex; while distillate cracks have recently been in decline, this week’s figures look supportive. Distillate stocks built slightly less than expected, and distillate imports dropped to an anemic 73,000 bpd, a new 5-yr low and a signal in our view that global distillate demand remains healthy. Distillate stocks total 132 million barrels, 3 million barrels above both last year and the 5-yr average level.

Implied demand trends: 4 wk trailing average implied gasoline demand down a reported 1.6% y-y; distillate demand up a reported 3.3% y-y.

Wonder how much of the recent drop in miles driven reflects cutbacks in vacation, pleasure and recreational activity driving? If cuts are largely from those areas then the "looming end to the driving season" may not bring the drop in demand for gasoline some analysts seem to be expecting.

People I know have cut self-described "non-essential" and vacation driving. Parents taking kids to summer activities are ride-sharing or even canceling the activities altogether. Vacation trips have been cut back or canceled. Teen drivers are getting less free rein to use cars to hang out and shop. While some have also begun to use public transit or carpooling to get to/from work, they seem to be far-outweighed by those making the other cuts.

My commute to/from work always gets easier in the summer due to drop in the number of people driving to school and work, but traffic during the day between 9 AM and 4 PM always got somewhat busier. This summer, the daytime traffic definitely seems lighter than usual, but the commute-time traffic is at best only slightly less than in previous years.

This leads me to suspect that around here some or most of the cuts in miles driven may not carry over past the summer driving season. That could lead to further drops in gasoline inventories, at least for the first few weeks of the post-summer period, until refiners boost their output.

Wind turbines would top New York City skyscrapers and bridges

*sigh* Adding those very dynamic forces (vibration!) to said structures will introduce structural failure.

Stick to modems Bloomberg. Or, have trust in the numbers and have some building engineers explain it to ya.

dot the city's shorelines

On the shoreline more people would be subject to the interaction of gravity and parts of a wind turbine.

Here is an off-shore design that avoids having to sink a tower mount.
http://www.speakerfactory.net/wind.htm Doug Selsam's design idea

Agreed Eric that putting traditional Windmills on the roof's of skyscrapers is not a good idea. However are you familiar with horizontal wind turbine technology? these are low profile and as far as I know don't have the vibration issue. If every skycraper in new york had a few of these on them, that would be a decent amount of power production. Pretty good overview in this article:


Those Aerotecure roof mounted horizontal axis machines are basically Savonius Rotor designs. The typical Savonius Rotor likely has a maximum "coefficient of performance" around 15% and these can't track the wind, being mounted with a fixed orientation, which is probably not a good idea. Notice that the 2 versions they sell are rated at 1.0 and 1.8 kw (at a rated speed of 32 mph!), which isn't going to make a dent in overall electricity demand, although they might help out the folks in the apartment building where they are shown to be installed.

Go back to sleep, antidoomer! Your latest fire dill disinformation blast has been put out.

E. Swanson

Yeah, they are only a silver BB. I guess the question is: how many BBs can we really afford to pass up because they are only BBs?

how many BBs can we really afford to pass up because they are only BBs?

Depends on the 'cost' of the BBs. A whole lotta money for a whole lack of output AND can damage the building.....bad plan.

(Oh and the Aerotecture dude was asked by me personally, face to face back in the 20th century about vibration. He's never responded. So I'm guessing the answer is not a positive one.)

Your response is nonsense. Micro energy is a great way to attack this problem. There are a lot (relatively) of people DIYing such things. That, I think, is even better than buying from others as the ROI is much faster. I can build a 1 kw turbine for $1,000 or less. How is that not a good thing? A million or ten million or a hundred million BBs should not be discounted. And, it could be done faster and cheaper than wind farms, etc. Yes, better designs are needed.

However, the real key is reducing usage so the BBs fit the target instead of building a big gun to hit a bigger target. That is, insulate, remodel, build green, build renewable. People keep figuring based on how much energy people use now. It is entirely possible to live very close to how people do for a small fraction of the total energy. The BBS then apply, and in spades.

A strawbale home, e.g., properly constructed and oriented, is going to need precious little heating and cooling. Add in 12 v. DC for lighting, and you've saved more. Add a biodigester for cooking and fertilizer...

Micro ain't nothing, eh? This idea that only large utilities can provide power is rubbish.

Best Hopes for Broader Minds and Wider Choices,


Here's another example. By sheer happenstance, the plan, by Hugh Piggot, they use is the same as the group I watched build a windmill a few weeks back.



My response is that of an engineer, one who has studied wind energy systems extensively. I am all in favor of micro generation, just not the home brew variety. I have nothing against the do-it-yourself folks that want to dabble with making their own electricity, but there are numerous reasons they fail.

Your follow on comment is a perfect example. These simple windmills are toys. Look at the blades and take note that there is no twist in the blades. That's very poor design and the result is much less energy out, i.e., each lower efficiency. Also, note that there's no way this device could last 40 years as would be expected from a large utility power plant. The long life of the utility plants is one reason electricity remains so inexpensive compared with alternatives.

Does efficiency really matter? Well, an efficient design can produce more energy for the amount of money spent, thus the cost per kWH is going to be less. Ultimately, in our world driven by economics, the cost per kWH is the important metric as far as most people are concerned. For the few who can put up with constant breakdowns, repeated maintenance and short system lives, sure, go ahead, play in your garage. I've done that myself and am doing so now, playing with a bunch of large 300 amp hour batteries I scrounged from the local metals recycler. Too bad they won't work in deep cycle mode so I can't use them for solar PV or wind and have already been in use for 10 years. Having them "in hand" ( each has 2x2v cells and weigh 100 pounds) has jump started my learning about battery technology, which was worth the cost in itself...

As for straw bales, I thought of building my house with them when I started out 10 years ago. The trouble is, they are difficult to keep dry in my climate and thus they wouldn't last long. I went for more conventional design with dimensional lumber totaling 12 inch thickness. In a dryer climate, straw bales could be quite good, if you don't mind the little bugs that tend to arrive along with the straw. As for a 12 volt electric system, the big problem there is storage, since putting together enough 2 volt cells to store a decent amount of kWH means lots of cells in parallel, which makes even charging difficult to achieve...

E. Swanson

this device could last 40 years as would be expected from a large utility power plant

I thought that utility on-shore wind turbines had an economic life of 20 years (depreciation) and an expected life of 25 to 30 years (depending on turbulence, etc.). Towers and electrical infrastructure twice that.

Is my information dated ?



I think people need to think differently. As has been noted here by some of our luminaries, efficiency is not always the ideal. A robust, distributed solution may be better suited to survival in tough times. So it is with localized solutions. Efficiency is most important with new systems being built into complex systems that already exist. It is not nearly so important for a DIYer who is using pre-used materials, i.e. recycling. Are there not gains in efficiency simply via the act of recycling? Is not that items providing greater efficiency via its re-use? Are you calculating these things?

How much does a windmill cost? $5,000? 10k? 20k? If I can make one for $200 - $1000, who cares if I have to do it again in five or ten years? I can also make money doing it for others, teaching others, etc.

The trouble is, they are difficult to keep dry in my climate and thus they wouldn't last long. I went for more conventional design with dimensional lumber totaling 12 inch thickness.

I'll take your word for the climate issue, but my research says there's really no climate strawbale shouldn't work in but those it just isn't needed in. Note that this is just research so far, but I live in a four season climate - five if you include monsoon season, plus typhoons. There are stawbale homes here, and more being built all the time. The water and bugs are not an issue if done properly. I've found nothing indicating otherwise. Quality control *is* important.

That said, I'm all for adapting to your local climate. I'm glad you have a solution that works for you. I would likely go with a massively built wooden home employing an envelope had I the cash to make it a reality. That is a design that definitely saves no money at the construction stage.

When I speak of solutions, I tend to disregard those that are not repeatable at all levels of society. Massive wood homes are not that in most cases, whereas anyone can build a sod/straw, etc. home, really. That said, i do hope those with money will also go green. My concern is that we trade one BAU for another in the sense of the poor being priced out of the materials to build themselves renewable homes. That is, I really hope those with money will still choose to downsize for the sake of the rest of us.

BTW, is the 12 inches not costing you time with a lag in the heating and cooling cycle? Seems a little overdone. I'd be interested in the design you went with.


ccpo wrote:

How much does a windmill cost? $5,000? 10k? 20k? If I can make one for $200 - $1000, who cares if I have to do it again in five or ten years? I can also make money doing it for others, teaching others, etc.

The cost of the windmill alone is not much. There are several varieties available on eBay and elsewhere. The cost of the tower and the control mechanism adds more dollars and one can't expect to produce much without them. To follow the wind, a horizontal axis machine as described requires another set of bearings so the turbine can rotate about the vertical. That setup also requires some mechanism such as slip rings to transfer the electricity from the generator to the tower. I think a 40 foot tower is about the minimum one would use and this raises the problem of maintenance, which must be done by climbing the tower or by using a crane of some sort. The least expensive towers are single pipes held in place with guy wires, which then can't be climbed. The control issue can be critical, as the rate of rotation can reach destructive levels if the generator load is lost for some reason. The system we were trying to sell back in 1973 had automatic pitch control which kept the RPM's in a safe range without the generator absorbing power. It's not as easy as it seems at first glance and "re-inventing the wheel" wastes lots of effort that could be put into earning money to pay for a well designed system...

BTW, is the 12 inches not costing you time with a lag in the heating and cooling cycle? Seems a little overdone. I'd be interested in the design you went with.

No, the temperature inside the structure tends to stay relatively constant. Running backup heating keeps the temperature from falling below the comfort level, then the thermal mass keeps the solar heating from pushing the temperature too high. Ultimately, an extra mass of water stored in an insulated tank will be used to further moderate the temperature swings and reduce the need for backup. The design I chose was not the best, as my intent was to test a solar collector idea and I needed a structure to do that. I started with a steel frame system normally used for an industrial building, which allowed 2x6 framing, but I then had to work around steel columns and two 42 ft wide 20 ft high steel trusses. The roof deck went on before I had finished framing the windows in the outer walls. I then built more 2x6 walls inside, with upstairs floor and ceiling too. It turned out to be slower than I had anticipated, especially as I found few helpers. I'm still working on it almost 2 years after I moved in. That said, I just had the propane tanks filled and my use since last October came to about 158 gallons, which includes running the kitchen stove. After the next set of additions, I expect to do even better this winter...

E. Swanson

Interesting. I'm assuming the steel framing is costing you in energy efficiency, losing heat there. Perhaps you used some insulation? If the back-up heating is renewable and there's no opportunity cost, no worries, I suppose.

I wonder if you could add a passive solar front on like many of the passive designs use. The Earthships site has some good pics and plans.


The steel framing is within the 6 inch outer walls. The house was built to test a solar collector design, in fact, the house is the solar collector. I did install larger windows on the south side, in addition to the actual collectors. Almost the entire south wall is used for collection...

E. Swanson

The Veepstakes...

Biden is the name most mentioned for Obama. That is probably a smart choice. Biden was a big-time Hillary supporter, so getting him on board could mollify the Hillary wing without the drawbacks of actually making Hillary the VP candidate. His long experience is reassuring, too.

McCain...one of the CNN talking heads suggested maverick McCain might do something crazy, like pick T. Boone Pickens as his VP. But the smart money is on Mitt Romney. Which could be interesting, since Mitt is a friend of Matt Simmons', and Simmons was part of his presidential campaign. Presumably Mitt is at least somewhat peak oil aware.

I'm surprised that Sam Nunn is not (apparently) on the final list for the Dems.

There are two females on McCain's short list. If he should select either one of them and Obama picks a male, it's all over. The Clinton supporters would abandon him in droves and vote for McCain.

But the next president is probably going to determine the fate of Roe V. Wade, since one would think that there are going to be some Supreme Court vacancies in the next four years. If I were Obama, I would lean toward either Sam Nunn or Bill Richardson.

One of the talking heads on MSNBC last night said, in effect, that if it weren't for Bill Clinton, Hillary would probably be the VP choice. Of course, if it weren't for Bill Clinton, Hillary probably would have been the nominee. I think that they should have sequestered Bill in a Paris brothel for the duration of the primary season.

I don't think it's that important for Obama. Pro-choice voters trust him on the issue, and nothing he does will change how conservative Christians view him.

I think it's McCain who has to be careful to select someone who has pro-life bona fides. He's on thin ice with Christian conservatives, but he can still win them over, and needs to try.

I agree with Leanan that the VP selection for McCain is probably more important than for Obama. Obama needs to make a safe and reassuring choice, and that should be easy to do (though I suppose he could always blow it).

McCain has to pick someone exciting to shake things up a little, without at the same time riling the Christian conservatives, with whom he is on thin ice. Someone like Alaska governor Sarah Palin would be a good choice (noting Darwinian's observations that this could also help with the female vote), but I don't think he will go that way.

I expect Obama will eventually win (I'll vote for McCain). As things stand now, I can't think of a single state that voted for Kerry that McCain can win, and that leaves Obama needing only to pick up one or two swing states to win the election.

As things stand now, I can't think of a single state that voted for Kerry that McCain can win

I can. Pennsylvania. And it won't be irate Hillary voters that are the problem there, if Obama loses PA.

Maybe Michigan and Minnesota, too.

Maybe. We'll see. Here is a good link showing electoral college vote projections based on the latest polls:

It has Obama up 5 in Pennsylvania, 7 in Michigan and 3 in Minnesota.

It's early. The polls have been pretty fluid in the swing states. I also think the "Bradley Effect" was evident in the Democratic primary, and will be stronger in the general.

Besides...political polls are full of it. They're terrible, but we cling to them because there's nothing else. Kinda like the EIA numbers...

This one has McCain ahead in the electoral college.
Note, if Nevada is switched its would be tied at 269.

If it weren't for Bill Clinton, Hillary would be a reasonably well-paid lawyer / lobbyist in DC / NY / Boston. The US is becoming a Philippine-style aristocracy-oligarchy.

Sorry, but I think that's just silly. Clinton supporters aren't just supporting her because she's a woman. And they aren't going to vote for a candidate who doesn't share their views on the issues just because she shares their gender.

Leanan, you are forgetting that Clinton supporters supported her for many different reasons. Many DID support her because she was a woman. Many of them said they have already said they would support McCain. There have been reports on TV that as many as 20% of Hillary supporters would switch to McCain. Others said they thought these people would come around and support Obama.

However if McCain names a female VP and Obama does not, then not only will this 20% stay with McCain but perhaps another 10% or more will go to McCain.

If all Hillary supporters were logical, and all supported her for the issues, health care, supreme court and so on, then you would be absolutely correct. But surely you know that this is not the case. Hillary supporters are already angry, very angry. And many of them are just looking for an excuse to vote against the person who defeated her. My wife is one of them, sad to say.

But I wish, I truly wish you are correct that my scenario is silly. I am an Obama supporter regardless. And I fear that in a very tight race, like it is, a female on the McCain ticket with none on the Obama ticket, will tip the balance.

Hey, if there had been no butterfly ballot in Palm Beach County then Al Gore would have been elected president in 2000. And if you think that a female on the republican ticket with none on the democratic ticket will have less effect that the butterfly ballot in one lone Florida county, in a very close election, then you are sadly mistaken.

Ron Patterson

I don't buy it. In recent history, the VP candidate hasn't made a difference, and I don't see how this election will be any different.

Gender was an issue in the Democratic primary, but it wasn't nearly as simple as you think. The problem was that some felt a more-qualified woman was passed over for a less-qualified man - something many women have seen far too often (especially older women). Hence the anger.

But the key is "more-qualified." They aren't going to vote for just any woman.

If Hillary supporters defect to McCain, it won't be because of his running mate.

And I think you are simply in denial. You are assuming that all Hillary supporters are of like mind. They are as many different reasons for supporting any particular candidate as there are people.

But the key is "more-qualified." They aren't going to vote for just any woman.

Emphasis on they added for obvious reasons. They are not all of like mind! Some will vote for just any woman. Others will rationalize that the woman will add a great deal to the ticket. Others will reason: "McCain is quit old and if he dies in office then we will have our first woman president." And they will also rationalize that; "this woman is very qualified", whether she is or not.

Just saw on CNN that Obama's lead has dwindled to one percent. That tiny lead could easily be erased by just a few women who switched to McCain because he has a woman on the ticket.

You are assuming that all Hillary supporters are of like mind.

No, I'm not. But relatively few are considering actually voting for McCain, and I suspect there's not as much diversity among them as you think. Wanting a woman to be president, sure...but being so angry about it you'll cross party lines?

Some will vote for just any woman.

I doubt it. I'm not expecting President Paris Hilton any time soon - even if she were old enough.

Just saw on CNN that Obama's lead has dwindled to one percent.

Reuters/Zogby says McCain has a 5% lead.

That tiny lead could easily be erased by just a few women who switched to McCain because he has a woman on the ticket.

Said tiny lead could also be easily by erased voters who see it as pandering, or affirmative action "special privileges."

Okay, this is my last post on this thread. I will just say to Leanan that a woman on the McCain ticket with none on the Obama ticket would obviously make a difference to many thousands of women and even a few men. And it would almost definitely be enough to swing the election if it were only half as close as the last two elections.

What you are doing Leanan is called rationalizing. I am reminded of a quote I highlighted in a book I read recently.

We like to continue to believe what we have been accustomed to accept as true, and the resentment aroused when doubt is cast upon any of our assumptions leads us to seek every manner of excuse for clinging to them. The result is that most of our so-called reasoning consists in finding arguments for going on believing what we already do. And now the astonishing and perturbing suspicion emerges that perhaps almost all that has passed for social science, political economy, politics, and ethics in the past may be brushed aside by future generations as mainly rationalizing.
- James Harvey Robinson, The Mind in the Making

Ron Patterson

The result is that most of our so-called reasoning consists in finding arguments for going on believing what we already do.

OTOH...may you're the one who is rationalizing?

Frankly, I don't care who wins the election at this point.

I'm an independent, and have been all my life. And I don't think either candidate can make a difference in what we're going to be facing.

OTOH...may you're the one who is rationalizing?

Okay, so I lied but I cannot let this pass because apparently you do not understand the meaning of rationalizing. Rationalizing is finding reasons to believe what you already desire to believe. I deeply desire that Obama will beat the crap out of McCain. If i were rationalizing I would agree with you.

Of course you say you don't care who wins. Perhaps not but you obviously desire to believe that people are rational, that they vote because of issues and not just because of gender. Well, sorry but you are mistaken. Few people are rational and many vote because of very trivial issues like gender.

Now dammit that WAS my last post on this thread.

Ron Patterson

I too have become an Independent, after working on 4 Presidential campaigns and a couple of Senate and House races. I gave up back in 1992 after Clinton was nominated. I really didn't like the way the Democrats went after the Southern rural vote with the Democratic Leadership Council game. Sure enough, 2 years later, Gingrich and his Contract with America bull managed to convince the average Southern Yellow Dog Democrat that they were really Republicans, except for the name. So we got 12 more years of Republican corporatism as a continuation of the Reagan "Revolution".

The mess we are in is in large part the result of this. While I have given up on the parties (including the Green Party), I will likely pull the lever for the Democratic ticket, as the alternative seems so much worse. Sad to say, I agree with Dick Gregory, who used to say "If you vote for the lesser of two evils, sooner or later you are voting for the evil of the evils" (or something like that).

I think there is still a difference, however slight. At least, Obama is talking the talk on energy these days.

Obama used the Raleigh town hall to highlight his economic policies, arguing that ending the Iraq war could help provide billions for investment in the United States. And he said the nation can't drill its way out of its oil problem and instead needs to invest in alternative sources, such as solar and wind power and electric cars...

E. Swanson

Meanwhile, "none of the above" just keeps looking better and better

"The Clinton supporters would abandon him in droves and vote for McCain."

the ball buster clinton supporters for sure.

Pickens was asked (on Bloomberg) yesterday if he would take a position if offered by either candidate. He pointed out that he's 80 years old (which he said ruled him out), is too busy anyway and was intending to stay detached from any particular party campaign. He wasn't specifically asked about the VP post.

Also on Bloomberg recently I heard someone suggest that Michael Bloomberg himself might be McCain's surprise choice. Everyone laughed.

The list of possibilities, meanwhile, is believed to be down to Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh and Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, who planned to campaign in his home state Thursday with Obama.


I'm thinking Bayh

Or it could be that these have been leaked to the press to keep them off the trail of the real surprise.

Caroline Kennedy headed up Obama's VP selection team. Wouldn't it be a hoot if she pulled a Cheney and recommended herself?

Caroline Kennedy? Sure, why not? She could correctly state that she was gaining experience in politics and international affairs when John McCain was still busying himself with chasing women and crashing airplanes.

...and she's a hell of a lot better looking than he is.

McCain and Pickens - now there is a geriatric ticket to get all the old people votes!

Be very interested to see McCain + Ron Paul V Obama + Gore

Only if the VPs get to debate more than the leads on the ticket.

Something that Leanan has talked about before, people moving in together to cut housing costs--yet another reason for falling housing prices. We have way, way too much housing space, with a lot of it in the wrong places. An item linked from Calculated Risk:


In these tough economic times, some metro Atlantans are bunking with family and friends, doubling up in rental apartments, homes or condos.

Meanwhile, speculators are buying properties with the expectation that the real estate market will shortly turn around... or so I hear.

More throwing of good money after bad, me thinks.

More throwing of good money after bad, me thinks.

I suspect for the investors it's throwing good credit after bad. For the banks, and any taxpayer bailouts, it's closer to being actual money.

"We will not go quietly into the night without a fight"

My new motto (borrowed loosely from "Independence Day") for Alan Drake's Electrification Of Transportation (EOT) plans.

Our plans for a EOT summit in Dallas appear to be firming. It's interesting how things have changed in a couple of years (and after $4 gasoline). It now appears that people are begging for rail transportation.

It's kind of funny, but I seem to be criticized for two things: (1) I am too pessimistic; (2) I am too optimistic. In any case, at least Alan has a credible plan, based on long proven technology, for making things not as bad as they would otherwise have been. Who among us can say the same? Do we just lay down and die, or do we fight?


Two developments today.

I proposed, to great interest, a lagniappe half day Saturday session "round table" for discussion. Shirt sleeves, not suits, "less impressive" room, give and take. The dynamics and rules will vary with the # of attendees. Just a follow-up to the Friday session.

And I requested an "engineer's tour" of DART construction as part of the compensation for the trip. Talk to project managers, foremen, etc. and get my shoes dirty. Likely on Thursday (come along if you like Jeffrey).

Best Hopes for Dallas,


Go, go, go, Alan! IMO, you are a national treasure.

Thanks !

You are making a significant positive contribution as well :-)

Best Hopes for Trying,


Who says "we lay down and die"?
So what if the Kalahari Bushmen have decided to build a railway from Timbuktu to Table Mountain or Zimbabwe is building urban rail and getting trams.
I can say lets expend our battleships in one last effort to win the war, if we lose that's ok, we went down fighting.
My point is we have reached an engineering peak, it's engineering which has taken us to the precipice and now expecting more engineering and expenditure to prolong Bau, to save our individual asses is psychopathic.

The hard option is acceptance and to power down, we don't need to feverishly expend everything and choke the bottleneck so that nobody gets through.
I want to have hope too but I know the more we try to save now it will ultimately mean less will eventually survive to function humanely in new world, simply because we used everything to try and save ourselves.
I understand that proposals for more electric transport especially rail is not an overly large task and on paper is achievable in a world of BAU. The benefits I see are minimal and helpful only in the short term. It will simply divert attention from the fact that we should be conserving not expending.

I also understand though, that vast majority do not accept there will be drastic reduction in world population. They don't accept that there is an inevitability about our situation, that we can't fight and maybe win. They don't think they are in denial but their written evidence shows otherwise.

If there is a thread on EROEI there will be a post for more railways.
If there is a thread on financial collapse there will be a post for more urban rail.
If there is a thread on peak anything there will be a post calling for more rail.
It seems every drumbeat has posts on electrifying and extending the rail network or describing how this county or that state or country is building more rail, as if it's a panacea or something to emulate.

Anyway best hopes for more urban rail,
Best hopes for extending the rail network from Seattle to the Channel Tunnel
Best hopes for linking every minor and major city by rail.
Best hopes for lots more Best Hopes.

It will simply divert attention from the fact that we should be conserving not expending

Switzerland moves 2/3rds of their ton-miles and 1/3rd of their pax-miles with 3% of the transportation energy on electrified rail. How is that not conserving ? (BTW, do a little algebra with those ratios).

Perhaps it does not accelerate the die-off, but no silver BB can be all things to all people.

It will, however, slow down Global Warming, leaving more surface above sea level.

Best Hopes,


"Perhaps it does not accelerate the die-off, but no silver BB can be all things to all people."

LOL, with beer coming out my nose. Alan, you say the darndest things! This one I nominate for quote-of-the-week.

Do you really think that because oil is not expended on transport in one locality in one state or country that is won't be used elsewhere?
Do you honestly believe that constructing railways is in fact conservation or will even lead to conservation?
Do you think that all new power generation will be supplied with fuel other than derived from FF's?
Is your Swiss example the blueprint for what we have to do or is just a goal?
Like I have always said, it is best to dig another well before you are thirsty.
The world has a dry mouth in my opinion, attempting to dig another well now simply expends that which we have and denies future generations.

We have to accept that we can do with less, much less of almost everything.
We are in a lifeboat and maybe if we all go on rations we can arrive safely, probably a whole lot leaner and we will probably lose a few occupants. It can only work if we all stick to the plan.

That is a genuine best hope. Ridiculously simplistic and IMO unachievable but that's a better way to go down fighting.
Going down fighting does not always mean we have to engineer and build to achieve our goal.

I really do not know what policy you are advocating.


Some oil depletion news (if it wasn't already posted) http://biz.yahoo.com/rb/080820/energy_oilsands.html?.v=2

A prayer group in Washington DC is claiming the credit for the recent sharp drop in the US price of petrol.
Rocky Twyman, 59, a veteran community campaigner, started Pray At The Pump meetings at petrol stations in April.

Since then, the average price of what the US calls gasoline has fallen from more than $4 a gallon to $3.80.

I am taking a wild guess (influenced by knowing our demographics) that Rocky doesn't read theoildrum...

There you go: Proof that God really is compassionate and that he favors Americans.

Not all Christians believe that God will give America a free pass from living responsibly in the world. And not all Christians are idiotic enough to get caught up in "Pray at the Pump" vigils.

On another note, I agree with Darwinian that a lot of Hillary supporters do not think rationally. I also think that not a lot of McCain supporters think rationally. And in a conversation I had with a co-worker a while back about all of the candidates, I bemoaned the fact that none of them is willing to tell us the terrible truth about what's about to happen to this country - to which my co-worker replied with starry-eyed raptures regarding how Obama speaks. The entire 2008 campaign is being run on image and symbology. There is no intelligent discussion of how to deal with the coming times. It's enough to make a rational person need a whole bottle of Advil...

The entire 2008 campaign is being run on image and symbology.

Frankly, it has been this way for a while and the principle cause, in my opinion, is TV. Blame it on Ike. Blame it on Jack.

There is no substantive difference between the "starry-eyed raptures regarding" Obama, and the "he's a regular guy like us" drivel about Bush. TV political ads are all about "emotional" responses. Analysis, if it happens at all, is usually conscripted to serve the underlying emotional belief.

Moment-O-Meter? You have GOT to be kidding. A car's momentum is forward. There is no way any meter that plugs into your cigarette lighter can produce significantly better mileage. Not unless you are a really horrible driver who lead-foots it towards every red light. AND this device somehow helps prevent you from doing stuff like that.

At any rate I dont see how the Moment-O-Meter could be smart enough to tell you that the light up ahead is red, or will be red by the time you get to it.

This has to be a scam.

It is likely just a simple accelerometer. Way back in the 60s I had a neighbor who tried to sell the same thing as a way to control the brakes lights when down shifting to save brake wear. I think he had been rear ended a few times.

I think a lot of people have no idea how much fuel they are wasting by jack rabbit starts, heavy braking at the last possible moment, and not using cruise control to maintain a consistent speed. The DOE estimates that changing these driving habits a driver can improve fuel economy from 5-33%. Judging by the number of people who are willing to brave long lines at Costco, pay cash, or drive across town to save a dime per gallon, many might be convinced to change their driving habits if they understood that they could save from $.20 to $1.32 per gallon (@ $4/gallon).

I'm not saying that this particular device is good or bad, but anything that can provide drivers with feedback to improve their habits is IMO a positive thing.

Couple of things happening simultaneously on the US/Russian/Georgian front:

Norway: Russia to freeze NATO military ties - NATO had suspended formal contacts with Russia Tuesday

Russia has informed Norway that it plans to cut all military ties with NATO, Norway's Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.

U.S. Navy ships loaded with aid for Georgia, waiting for call to deliver

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The first U.S. military ship carrying humanitarian aid for Georgia is headed to the Black Sea after loading the supplies from a port in Crete on Wednesday, according to U.S. Navy officials.

The destroyer USS McFaul is one of two ships the Navy will use to transport the aid because the two had prior permission to transit into the Black Sea before the conflict between Georgia and Russia began, according to U.S. Navy officials.

The McFaul and the Coast Guard Cutter Dallas were given permission to enter the Black Sea, a requirement for non-Black Sea nation war ships, for a previously scheduled series of engagements with various regional navies, U.S. Navy officials said.

Hello Dragonfly41,

Thxs for the info, but I don't understand why they need an heavily armed ship to deliver aid--seems unnecessarily provocative IMO. If the Georgian dock cranes are kaput, does a US destroyer have on-board cranes that can quickly offload the cargo? Also, a battlewagon generally doesn't have much cargo capacity compared to a similar footage cargo ship [which probably has on-board cranes too].

Russia would look damn stupid in the world's eyes if they sunk or confiscated a regular cargo ship carrying aid. Will Russia ask to board and inspect this US naval weapon before allowing it to dock in Georgia? Will the US Navy allow this inspection, or are they just going to sail on thru a Russian naval blockade unhindered? IMO, lots of bad potentialities for things to go wrong very quickly.

Toto, I was just listening to some bull-frog from the American Enterprise Institute on the McNeil-Lehrer News Hour, fulminating on the need to teach the Russians a lesson. The guy -- I wish I could remember his name -- was practically spitting into the camera he was so worked up. The Neo-cons are spoiling for a war with Russia. I wish them luck.

If you didn't see it, make sure to read Gorbachev's Op-Ed in today's NYT.

In recent days, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and President Bush have been promising to isolate Russia. Some American politicians have threatened to expel it from the Group of 8 industrialized nations, to abolish the NATO-Russia Council and to keep Russia out of the World Trade Organization.

These are empty threats. For some time now, Russians have been wondering: If our opinion counts for nothing in those institutions, do we really need them? Just to sit at the nicely set dinner table and listen to lectures?

Indeed, Russia has long been told to simply accept the facts. Here’s the independence of Kosovo for you. Here’s the abrogation of the Antiballistic Missile Treaty, and the American decision to place missile defenses in neighboring countries. Here’s the unending expansion of NATO. All of these moves have been set against the backdrop of sweet talk about partnership. Why would anyone put up with such a charade?

Perhaps Euan can comment on this one?

North Sea pipeline leak lifts gas price as fears rise over supplies

Wholesale gas prices in Britain jumped by nearly 15 per cent yesterday after a leak from a North Sea pipeline triggered concerns about possible supply problems this winter.

StatoilHydro, the Norwegian oil group, said that it had discovered the leak from a gas pipeline linking its Kvitebjoern field in the North Sea to the Kollsnes onshore processing plant.

The state-controlled company said that the pipeline, which pumps an estimated 5 per cent of Norway's total gas output, was likely to be out of action until next spring.

“It will be shut down until we get it repaired and that is currently set for spring 2009, unless we manage to push this forward,” a spokeswoman said.

Statoil was forced to close the Kvitebjoern field, a move that reduced gas supplies to the UK from Norway via the Langeled pipeline by 18 per cent to 40 million cubic metres a day.

The news sent the forward price of gas for delivery to Britain this winter 14.6 per cent higher to 104p per therm from 90p as traders fretted about the increased threat of supply problems. Prices for immediate delivery also rose from 55p to 58p per therm.

Hello Undertow,

Thxs for the info. As Matt Simmons stated earlier: "It's just a thin coat of paint that keeps all the rust from falling apart."

Bob - the ironic thing is the Kvitibjorn is a fairly new field. The pipeline got damaged earlier this year by a dragging anchor. The problem we have living on this knife edge is that we are just one accident or terror attack away from energy melt down.

Euan, thxs for the specifics on what went down, that's too bad. As you already well know, but as a public service announcement for any TOD newbies: Simmons' phrase refers to the global infrastructure; just as depletion started with the first barrel ever extracted, corrosion & rust started with the first pipelines and other equipment. Receding horizons everywhere...

Kvitebjoern has a maximum sustainable productive capacity of approximately 18 Mcm/d, and approximately 5 Mcm/d of nat gas from the Visund field feeds into the line between Kvitebjoern and the receiving facilities at Kollsnes, where also nat gas from the large Troll field is landed.

Kvitebjoern and Visund has presently a total sustainable productive capacity of 24 - 25 Mcm/d which presently represents 6 - 7 % of maximum total Norwegian nat gas productive capacity.
I suspect European nat gas supplies to be tightening (also due to declines in UK nat gas production), and this will certainly not help.

Norwegian nat gas sales are presently company based, that is each owner in the field(s) is free to sell their nat gas to the buyers of their preference, which usually is the highest bidder.

Without knowing who the buyers of the nat gas from Kvitebjoern and Visund are, it will just become pure guesswork (by me) to say anything about the extent this affects UK buyers (and consumers).

Undertow - I think Rune has covered the main points. I think this is very, very serious indeed for UK gas supplies and price this winter.

Let's recall that gas demand is highly seasonal and the big challenge is to meet peak demand Dec-Feb:

Norway is the most important supplier of gas to Northern Europe. So reduced supplies from Norway will stress the whole of the European market - though those countries with supply contracts will fair better than the UK.

A lot will depend upon the weather. Last winter E Asia (Japan, Korea and China) had anomalous cold weather. And N America was cold too - pushing up demand and prices for LNG. The S hemisphere has also been cold this winter - I gather the skiing in Australia has been rather good. A cold winter in Europe and Russia this year and I'd bet we see industrial consumers of gas on interruptible tariffs having their supplies cut.

I have been saying for some time that inflation way higher than the official rate in the UK (likely higher than 10%) will be found out when low paid pubic sector workers discover they cannot pay their bills and that they will strike. Well in Scotland at least this is starting. My younger boy was back to school on Tuesday and off yesterday as service staff were on strike.

The government and BOE seems to expect inflation to fall next year and view this years rises in energy and food as a one off step change that will fall out of the inflation equation rolling forward. This is what happens when you get tied up in a bundle of lies because energy prices have been rising for 8 years now - somehow kept out of the inflation statistics by falling prices of ipods, flat screens and socks.

Evidently Goldman Sachs reiterated their estimation that CL will be $149/b by end of year.


According to tomorrow's WaPo pg 1 investigative report on the handful of investment firms controlling upwards of 80% of the Nymex crude market: '[Goldman's] commodity trades helped keep Goldman Sachs profitable during the credit crisis'.

Perhaps Goldman's projection on year-end oil price is not self-serving, but then being a bit suspicious wouldn't be unreasonable.

Tommorrow's Drumbeat comments on this WaPo article should be entertaining if not informative.

Another benchmark: the rice bowl economy that is totally dependent on the USA becomes Japan's #1 customer, surpassing the USA http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=adhWOXFvrGs0&refer=home

ELP hits the main stream

5 ways a big paycheck can backfire

Amanda* was unhappy with the amount of money she was making at her job, so she went after a position with a competitor and negotiated a higher salary.
When she told her current employer about the higher salary offer, it countered with a considerable increase in her current salary to keep her on board.

Hoping this is what would happen all along, Amanda accepted the new salary and stayed with her employer.

One year later, the company made a round of layoffs because of changing market conditions and Amanda was one of the first to go. Not because she was a bad employee -- because she was overpaid compared to her contributions.

And even better are some reactions on a popular forum called Fark.com

Some rich guy wrote this, trying to convince poor people that "it's good to be poor! Really! I'm the one who needs tax breaks and government handouts! Seriously!"

Would that I could slap the author via standard TCP/IP.
what a stupid article. seems to ignore finance 101: money now is better than money later.
What a steaming load of crap...

"Oh no, more money? I'll have to pay more taxes!!"

What idiot came up with this idiocy?
What a steaming pile of 100% horseshiat.

I wonder if CNN/Time-Warner passed this drivel around to its employees, too, in order to try to convince their employees that Time-Warner was doing them a favor by paying them shiat wages. I've worked at places that would certainly try to pass off bullshiat like that and expect their employees to believe it.
What the fark is this shiat?!

I have previously described how I demanded a 50% pay cut in 1990, in exchange for an equity interest in deals that I sold. I anticipated that layoffs were coming, and I wanted to make myself less of a target (I was right about the layoffs).

I anticipated that layoffs were coming, and I wanted to make myself less of a target (I was right about the layoffs).

Were you also right about not being a target?

Leanan's first article on Brazil needing a miracle to reach 2008 output targets demonstrates the difficulties in increasing production from offshore fields.

In the last half of 2007, five offshore Brazil projects started, with total capacity additions of 0.54 mbd.

Average May 2007 YTD crude/condensate production was 1.75mbd and May 2008 YTD was 1.78 mbd, an increase of only 0.03 mbd.

Average July 2007 YTD crude/condensate/NGL production was 1.80mbd and July 2008 YTD was 1.84 mbd, an increase of only 0.04 mbd.

Capacity additions of 0.54 mbd have, so far, increased YTD average crude/condensate/NGL production by only 0.04 mbd. That's not much! Some of Brazil's offshore field production decline rates must be high and FPSO production rates are probably much less than FPSO capacities.

Another possible reason for Brazil increasing production slowly is that much of Brazil's oil production is heavy. Petrobras refineries can't process some of these heavier grades of oil. Consequently, Petrobras exports the heavier cheaper oil and uses the proceeds to import higher priced light crude. Petrobras's light-oil imports increased 6.9 percent to an average of 608,000 barrels a day in the quarter from a year earlier while exports rose 13 percent to 670,000 barrels a day.

Brazil's difficulties in increasing oil production increases the likelihood that the 74 mbd world crude/condensate production plateau will end in 2008. The chart below has been updated for Petrobras' July 2008 production figures.

The long term forecast: 2008 forecast crude/condensate production is 74.1 mbd; 2009 is 72.9 mbd.

Hello Ace,

Thxs for this info on these new Brazil offshore projects. Such a low percentage increase almost makes me think these platforms are experiencing a very low ERoEI & ERoI due to the geological difficulty plus getting the labor & equipment in a timely manner. The financial heat to get this output ramped up quicker must be tremendous--> I sure hope they don't stupidly rush around plus skimp on safety. They certainly don't need a Brazilian version of the Piper Alpha tragedy....

They've already had the Roncador accident in 2001, where a rig caught fire and listed over, with 9 casualties: Sunken oil rig spilling oil. Sounds like Brazil has a lively labor union scene, too.

I suspect that a fair number of casual observers probably think that Brazil is a major oil exporter. Of course, as of 2007 they were still a net oil importer, although just barely. In any case, they are a long, long way from major net oil exporter status (one mbpd or more).

Backing up that thought WT, Bz also agrees with you. Last month the Bz gov't signed deals for the construction of two large LNG terminals. Not for export but for IMPORT. That has to say something about their long outlook for at least part of their energy consumption.

thanx for the work ace,i was doing similar research and made comments monday on their slow ramp up of production.i think by the time pre salt(tupi.etc.etc.)production ramps up it may just offset campos basin declines.brazil and angola may not be the savior some are hoping for.

Re: Driven: Shai Agassi's Audacious Plan to Put Electric Cars on the Road (http://www.wired.com/cars/futuretransport/magazine/16-09/ff_agassi)

I haven’t seen any comments on the article about Shai Agassi's dream for a large scale shift to electric cars.

A very thought provoking idea. This concept would help overcome one of the main problems with wind and solar electricity - how to store the energy for when the wind does not blow or the sun does not shine.

Although there has been much talk about electric cars - the ability to have the consumer store electricity hasn't been emphasized in any of the articles I have been reading.

I would appreciate comments from TODers on this.

Intelligent charging systems can indeed affect the time customers choose to re-charge their cars:

In the US at least it will also be possible to expand the use of EV's and PHEV's for the foreseeable future without substantially increasing power generating capacities - at the moment in the US generating capacity is around 1,000GW, whereas average use is only about 460GW or so, so as long as the recharging is not done at peak then there is a lot of leeway, especially overnight:

To some extent the use of EV's with suitable control systems will help in providing storage for the grid, but this is mainly in a short-term stabilising function:

This is especially useful for wind and solar, which can have high variance over a period of seconds and minutes, due to passing clouds and wind gusts, so you can save a lot of the expensive back-up needed in an essentially 'free' way - it is already paid for.

The use of EV storage will not help longer term variance, summer to winter solar incidence varies enormously even in latitudes such as the Mohave, peak use in Texas coincides with low wind, unfortunately.

The bottom line is that EV's will help but not solve storage issues.

On a more general point, perhaps the biggest difficulty with EV's and PHEV's is that it is difficult and expensive to provide all the functionality of ICE vehicles.
However, to those of us who think that we are in severe trouble due to peak oil, it is apparent that our perceptions of what is acceptable is likely to alter significantly as expensive oil bites, and by compromising the performance costs reduce significantly.
So, for instance, if you use a lightweight EV car for the run to work and the shops you need a lot less batteries than if you go for long mileage and avoid the expense and complexity of hybrid cars.
For long distance you simply hire an ICE as needed, and suck up the once a year petrol bills for holidays.
The model for Agassi's financing gives drivers a lower overall cost than current cars, is you assume petrol at $4/gallon, as the batteries are amortised over their lifetime and so offset against petrol costs.
Rapidly increasing petrol costs should increase this differential, and also if you go for a pure EV instead of a hybrid the vehicle is substantially less complex and needs far less maintenance than an ICE.

So technically we should end up with EV transport which is rather less flexible but substantially cheaper than ICE vehicles, whilst hybrids would not be so simple but in a world of expensive petrol would still be cheaper than ICE in regular short commutes.

What the overall economic situation is at the time is a different question, and so how many will actually end up being used is also open to doubt.

The most amazing aspect about Agassi's plan is the size of it. It's BIG. He got the government of Israel on board. He got Nissan on board. He got Denmark on board. He has an owner of an oil refinery put up $130 million. The article was heavily slanted to the positive side, so I'm trying to contain my enthusiasm, but it really sounds like good stuff.

I, too, was surprised not to see any comments on this article. And before I forget, how about that 78% tax on cars in Israel?!

Thanks for the comments on Agassi's plan. The lack of enthusiastic response, over all, suggest people view his plan as just one more of many which are unlikely to go to fruition. I do feel that any way that makes possible the storage of electricity from renewable resources during peak production hours is worth attention.

I notice people here sometimes post some very good graphs with nice graphics. What is the preffered graphing program for windows xp?

I find excel clumsy and unintuitive for doing graphs and wondered if there was something someone could recommend?


Marco - I use OpenOffice.org to make graphs from spreadsheets. It's a free substitute for Microsoft Office. I can only use it in a rudimentary fashion, charting a single variable over time, the real analysts will hopefully chime in with more.

Marco, a spreadsheet program is adequate for simple chart types -- bar, pie, line, line + symbol -- but if you want non-standard chart types or require highly customized charts, check out either Origin or SigmaPlot.