DrumBeat: August 23, 2008

Peak Oil And Future History

The transition to global collapse should not been seen in terms of middle-class Country Elegance. There are no "transition towns" that acquire food, clothing, or shelter without large quantities of fossil fuels somewhere in the background.

Although we should all be preparing for the worst, it seems that some of us are heading into Eco-Silliness. For the most part, "transition towns" (a.k.a. "eco-villages" etc.) are just make-believe. Without fossil fuels, any country can support only about 4 people per hectare of arable land, as David Pimentel has explained in great detail. That puts many countries at well beyond the maximum sustainable size. What is going to happen to the excess population between now and the year 2030 (when oil production will be down to half of its present level)? Answer: either emigration or starvation.

The post-oil world will be much grimmer than these people imagine, and that is partly because they are not looking at the big picture. Hydrocarbons are the entire substructure of modern society. Electricity comes largely from coal or natural gas. The energy for mining comes mainly from diesel fuel, or it is transmitted through electricity. So without fossil fuels there will be no electricity, and without those same fossil fuels there will be no metals. We’re looking at something less than the above-mentioned Country Elegance.

The Veep’s Pipeline Push

A two-year-old letter by Vice President Dick Cheney that push-ed a controversial Alaska natural-gas pipeline bill is getting renewed scrutiny because of recently disclosed evidence in the Justice Department's corruption case against Sen. Ted Stevens. In a conversation secretly tape-recorded by the FBI on June 25, 2006, Stevens discussed ways to get a pipeline bill through the Alaska Legislature with Bill Allen, an oil-services executive accused of providing the senator with about $250,000 in undisclosed financial benefits. According to a Justice motion, Stevens told Allen, "I'm gonna try to see if I can get some bigwigs from back here and say, 'Look … you gotta get this done'." Two days later, Cheney wrote a letter to the Alaska Legislature urging members to "promptly enact" a bill to build the pipeline. The letter was considered unusual because the White House rarely contacts state lawmakers about pending legislative matters. It also angered state Democrats, who accused Cheney of pushing oil company interests. The executive director of Cheney's energy task force later worked as a lobbyist for British Petroleum, one of three firms slated to build the pipeline.

As Canada exploits Alberta's oil sands, critics fear energy boom means an environmental bust

FORT MCMURRAY, Alberta (AP) _ The largest dump truck in the world is parked under a massive mechanical shovel waiting to transport 400 tons of oily sand at an open pit mine in the northern reaches of Alberta.

Each Caterpillar 797B heavy hauler — three-stories high, with tires twice as tall as the average man — carries the equivalent of 200 barrels of heavy oil worth $23,000 per haul at today's prices.

New peak oil film on CBCNewsworld

Shot in 13 countries over a four-year period, Oil Apocalypse Now? reveals the myths and conspiracy theories surrounding the future of our world's oil supplies. It includes interviews with over 30 of the most influential people on both sides of the argument to examine if the oil age is coming to an end.

Is there a conspiracy of silence to keep the truth from us? In the last four years world oil prices have tripled. Why? One school of thought blames the weak U.S. dollar. Others say commodity speculators are behind the rocketing oil prices. There is a third voice growing in strength that points to another reason - supply and demand are driving prices up. As supplies diminish and production becomes more expensive, the world faces even higher prices and perhaps the collapse of global production. Then there's talk of missing OPEC barrels. Oil Apocalypse Now? tries to separate the facts from fiction.

Everyone agrees that if oil production is going to increase it will have to come from the group of 13 oil producing countries known as OPEC. But can OPEC really do it? We meet the men in power and find out that all may not be as it seems. Travelling to Kuwait the documentary team uncovers exclusive evidence that world oil reserves may be exaggerated by up to 50%.

But fears about our oil supplies aren't limited to missing OPEC barrels. Travelling to the U.S. Oil Apocalypse Now? examines arguments from The Association for the Study of Peak Oil, a group of industry insiders who've been warning of a coming Oil apocalypse for over 30 years.

Backstory: From gas-powered to electric auto in 36 hours flat

We ride along as entrepreneur Greg Abbott turns a 1978 Triumph Spitfire into a completely clean, zero-emissions electric vehicle.

Will the fall in oil prices last?

Countries have to start replenishing inventories soon, supply remains tight, and the fall in demand isn’t large enough — all of which suggests higher prices.

New Zealand: Residents May Be Hoarding Petrol

MILFORD SOUND residents could be hoarding petrol as the shortage in the remote community bites.

Allied Petroleum ceased selling petrol from its self-service pumps at Milford on August 1 after its eftpos card readers were superseded by a new, more expensive unit. The company said the outlet's low sales did not justify the upgrade.

Diesel Smuggling Network Alleged

In a series of articles this month, Ciudad Juarez’s Norte daily contended a large-scale, diesel smuggling network was thriving in the border region.

According to reporter Antonio Rebolledo, at least five Mexican and three US companies are involved in the lucrative enterprise. Driving the business is global energy economics: diesel fuel costs about half the price in Mexico than in the US and could be sold for a respectable profit on this side of the border.

Food costs warning as soggy August takes toll

HARD-PRESSED consumers face further food price rises as one of the wettest Augusts on record threatens to destroy Britain's 2008 harvest.

...The problem is intensified by the effects of rising fuel prices. Ordinarily in the event of a wet August, farmers would harvest the moist wheat and dry it indoors.

Spiralling fuel bills, however, mean that drying is no longer cost effective.

India: Jain admits shortage of coal for power generation in AP

VIJAYAWADA: Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation Limited (APGENCO) Managing Director, Mr Ajay Jain has admitted to serious shortage of coal for power generation in the state.

He said coal stocks were running perilously low and there was a need to build up stocks of the fuel.

Loadshedding: no let-up in Ramazan

ISLAMABAD: The unprecedented power loadshedding in the country is primarily because of financial crisis and fuel shortage, and not because of capacity constraints as being stated by the government.

India: Diesel usage up by 35%

CHENNAI: The repeated scarcity of diesel in the city and suburban areas is now becoming a cause of concern for all. With the shortage being felt in many of the 330 fuel outlets in the Chennai Metropolitan Area, fuel dealers are now blaming the oil companies for reduction in the supply.

Oil companies counter their charges, saying the scarcity was due to power shortage in the state and the steep increase in the number of industries and IT companies, particularly in the neighbouring Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts.

Russian steelmaker Severstal buys American coal miner for $1.3 billion

Severstal is expanding in the US to take advantage of a weaker dollar, which has made the nation's steel exports more competitive. Company owner Alexei Mordashov said in June he's seeking iron-ore and coal assets in the US to protect the company from surging prices for its main raw materials. Metallurgical coal is used as both a fuel and reducing agent in steelmaking.

Oil Will Not Disappear

The notion that alternative energy sources will make oil an obsolete energy source ignores economic reality. Even if T. Boone Pickens succeeds in his move to make a major component of our fuel source consist of natural gas, what do you think will be the response by oil suppliers? First of all if they see a major change coming they will lower prices. This is already evident with the recognition that high prices have lowered demand.

Their Solution: A 4 Day Work Week

As if Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team didn't get enough time off with their August recess, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) is advocating a four-day work week to help federal employees who are struggling with high gasoline costs.

Forecasting oil price has little investment value

I too have had an eerie sense of deja vu when reading recent dissertations on the oil price, and how it in future will change our mode of behaviour. For instance, due to the high price of gasoline, the concept of suburban living is so yesterday. And of course, long distance travel by car or plane is a thing of the past.

My sense of having seen this movie before emanates from the feeling that today's forecasts of the future effects of record oil prices might easily have been reprints of articles written in 1973 during the so-called "energy crisis."

The age of the train returns to French provinces

All over France authorities are showing signs of waking up to the needs of the provinces after years in which high-speed, inter-city links have been the unquestioned priority.

From Provence to the outskirts of Paris, disused lines are being reactivated, small town stations reopened and new networks built.

At the same time, in a summer of soaring petrol prices and plummeting spending power, many French people are starting to make changes to the way they move around. Fuel consumption is down. For the first time in 30 years, car use is down as well.

Where are the multifuel cars?

Where are these multifuel, or flex-fuel cars? Guizzo speculates that Detroit thinks of these as being too "niche" and that Americans won't go for them. I say screw that. Why is Brazil and/or Fiat just selling them directly? Toyota has shown pretty well that Americans with the buying power will respond to hybrid cars like the Prius in order to lower the amount they throw down on gas.

Escape from suburbia

Citizen columnist Randall Denley has invoked the apt metaphor of a horror film -- it could be called Escape From Bridlewood -- to describe life in this neighbourhood. Like other subdivisions, the only way to and from Bridlewood is by car, but due to the particular layout of Bridlewood, residents can be stuck in traffic for 45 minutes during rush hour and still be barely out of their driveways.

And why are Bridlewood residents hostage to their cars? One reason is that there is no place that they can walk or cycle to, or that they'd want to walk or cycle to. As Mr. Denley points out, the community is the size of a small city -- 20,000 people -- but there's no library, hockey arena, swimming pool or even a high school. There are few businesses.

An Environmental Brief About Vice-President Joe Biden

“If I could wave a wand, and the Lord said I could solve one problem, I would solve the energy crisis. That’s the single most consequential problem we can solve. It’s what you have to do to get greenhouse gases under control.”

McCain’s Drill Appeal

Mr. Obama, I’m stunned.

You’ve allowed John McCain to use the energy issue to steal your momentum and erase your lead in the polls. McCain told America that we needed to explore all our options to solve the energy crisis, including drilling offshore. He said that you disagreed. He summed up his argument in a powerful little phrase: “Drill here and drill now.” Brilliant!

WWRPD - What Would Ron Paul Do?

Our fiscal crisis is complex, multi-faceted and dangerous to our long-term future. The major issues that we need to confront include the current fiscal situation, the colossal amount of unfunded liabilities that our politicians have obligated us to pay, our dependence on foreign oil, our education system, and a dearth of leadership and political courage. These issues are intertwined and cannot be addressed individually. To successfully solve these issues we need to ignore political affiliations and choose the best solutions. It seems strange to me that the best ideas for dealing with our crisis come mostly from billionaires. The people that we should believe in my opinion are: David Walker, Pete Peterson, Warren Buffett, Ross Perot, T. Boone Pickens, Matt Simmons, Bill Gates, and Ron Paul.

Mark Udall Runs Another Ad Saying He Supports "Responsible Drilling"

Denver, CO (AHN) - Despite criticisms that he had made a "u-turn" on his stance on expanding coastal oil exploration, Rep. Mark Udall (D-CO) launched another TV ad on Thursday saying all of the nation's resources, including offshore oil, should be used to solve the energy crisis.

Energy crisis: Pakistan to reverse clocks by an hour

The government had earlier decided to move the clocks forward by an hour to conserve electricity, but did not achieve the objective.

Liquefied-coal industry gains energy

WASHINGTON — High oil prices are energizing a nascent liquefied-coal industry that hopes to power trains, planes and automobiles from the nation's coal reserves, using modern-day offshoots of technology that powered Adolf Hitler's war machine.

Unexpected natural gas boom may ease U.S. energy crunch

HOUSTON: American natural gas production is rising at a clip not seen in half a century, pushing down prices of the fuel and reversing conventional wisdom that U.S. gas fields were in irreversible decline.

The new drilling boom uses advanced technology to release gas trapped in huge shale beds found throughout North America - gas believed just a decade ago to be out of reach.

Shale gas could ultimately be important beyond North America. The rest of the world has shale formations on an immense scale. Many of them, including beds in Europe, Russia and China, are known to contain gas, but exploration and assessment of those fields with the new production techniques is just beginning.

Oil: Biggest drop in 17 years

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Oil prices plummeted Friday, erasing the previous session's spike, as the dollar strengthened and investors worried that a decline in demand will spread outside the United States.

U.S. crude for October delivery dropped $6.59 to settle at $114.59 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The drop in oil was the largest single-day slide in dollar terms since Jan. 17, 1991, when oil fell by $10.56. On that day, President George H.W. Bush withdrew oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve ahead of the first Gulf War.

But in 1991, oil was trading at just $32 a barrel, so the more than $10 slide in dollar terms represented a record 33% drop. Oil fell 5.4% Tuesday, which does not even crack the top 50 price declines in percentage terms.

Russia shuts out West's supermajors

In the 1970s, the supermajors based in the West controlled more than half of the world's production. Today that number has dwindled to about 13 per cent.

The reason is largely due to geopolitics and, to a lesser degree, technological limitations. It's certainly not because the world is running out of oil. A more accurate way of defining the current situation is that the world is dealing with geopolitical peak oil, not absolute peak oil.

An interview with energy expert Chris Nelder on peak oil and cleantech opportunities

Your focus is peak oil production. Is that an issue that people are becoming aware of?

I think traders have started to come around and pay attention, but not the public. Frankly, Wall Street should have been on top of this years ago. The data was out there, plenty of people were talking about it. To this day, I don’t think hardly anyone in the public understands what peak oil is about. If they understood, then there wouldn’t be this chorus of monkeys out there saying we should open up Alaska.

The politicians don’t want to hear it, don’t want it to be on their watch, they want to ignore it until they get out of office. Then it’s someone else’s problem. Their current raft of terrible ideas [ed: Nelder is referring here to proposals to drill in ANWAR, lift the gas tax, and drain the strategic reserve] is proof.

UK: Mystery surrounds leading Lib Dem's 'resignation' letter

The St Austell Guardian this morning (Friday) received a letter which claimed to come from Bob Egerton, treasurer of Cornwall Liberal Democrats and of Truro and St Austell MP Matthew Taylor's constituency party.

The letter said that Mr Egerton had resigned because of major clashes over the future of Newquay Airport. In particular the forger said that claims about its economic benefits "are a total fantasy" and conflict with national concerns about climate change and peak oil.

Pemex annual oil output slides 10%; Cantarell 36%

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 23 -- Production from Mexico's Cantarell oil field fell 36% over the past year, reducing the country's overall oil production and creating a sharp decline in its exports.

"New fields aren't coming on line fast enough to replace Cantarell," said Jesus Reyes Heroles, general director of Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex).

Reyes' remarks coincided with an announcement by Pemex that in the first 7 months of 2008 the state firm produced an average of 2.84 million b/d of oil, down 10% from the same period in 2007.

Pemex confirmed that the decline in production is due mainly to the fall-off in production from Cantarell. It said the giant field produced 1.12 million b/d, a figure 472,000 b/d less than during the same period a year before.

Shell confirms find at Saudi Empty Quarter

Ceri Powell, vice-president of strategy at Shell International, said South Rub al-Khali Co (Srak) had made a hydrocarbon discovery, but declined to give details, the London-based magazine, published on Friday, reported.

...The magazine said there had been rumours that Srak discovered commercial quantities of gas as part of drilling at its fourth exploratory well, named Kidan 6, in contract area 1 near the remote Shaybah oil field.

Smoke over Libya

Black smoke billowed over the Libyan landscape on August 20, 2008, likely caused by a fire at an oil refinery.

Saudi Arabia shares rally as foreigners gain access

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian blue chips rallied on Saturday as the world's top oil exporter began allowing foreigners to buy shares listed on its stock market through licensed intermediaries.

Green Tech Grows Up

If peak-oil theorists are right, the decades ahead will see steadily rising crude oil prices and a mad rush toward alternative sources of energy. And if they're wrong, the decades ahead will probably still see a mad rush toward alternative energy. Call it clean tech, green tech or alt energy; by any name, it's likely to be a fast-maturing investment sector in the years to come.

Energy Independence Within Reach

Energy independence is within our grasp, according to Edward Mazria, founder and executive director of Architecture 2030. Speaking at the first annual National Clean Energy Summit hosted by U.S. Senator Harry Reid, the Center for American Progress Action Fund, and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Mazria explained that buildings are the key to phasing out conventional coal and reducing oil imports by 86% by the year 2030.

Experts warn of local climate change effects

NARRAGANSETT - U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and a panel of top scientists warned today that climate change will have a dramatic impact on Rhode Island's ecosystem over the next few decades, with far-reaching implications for the state’s habitat and economy.

West Africa's coastline redrawn by climate change: experts

ACCRA (AFP) - Rising sea levels caused by climate change will brutally redraw a 4,000-kilometre (2500-mile) stretch of west African coastline from Senegal to Cameroon by century's end, experts were told AFP Friday.

"The cost of Guinea will cease to exist by the end of this century," said Stefan Cramer, a marine geologist and head of German green group Heinrich Boll Stiftung's operations in Nigeria.

Re: Unexpected Natural Gas Boom

This is a rare bit of good news, but there are several caveats. We have to continue to offset the declines from conventional production, and given the declines curves from shale gas wells, we need to show a constant increase in the number of producing wells. For example, last year, Texas natural gas production increased to two-thirds of our 1972 peak rate, but it took about four times as many wells as we had in 1972. Also, as the article noted,

Some industry experts warn that shortages of engineers and rigs, the scarcity of pipelines near some shale fields, and fights over land and water use could slow development.

The immediate limiting factors are personnel, rigs and infrastructure. Another key point that I constantly hammer is that there is a huge difference between the fact that the oil & gas industry can and will make money finding smaller conventional fields and developing resource plays versus making a material difference in total energy supplies. Having said all of that, I think that the future of the domestic natural gas industry is brighter than most of us thought just a couple of years ago.


One question which I have is about so-called natural gas liquids. It seems to me that the unconventional gas sources, such as coal bed or shale gas, would not include the heavier hydrocarbons, such as propane and butane, which might be included with gas taken from the caps on oil fields or separated from oil itself. As the U.S. produces more of the unconventional gas to offset the declining conventional sources, wouldn't that imply less production of these components? Aren't we then facing a shortage of propane, which is widely used for heat, especially in agricultural drying operations and rural home heating?

E. Swanson

I think that Khebab noted that NGL's have been showing a declining BTU value for a while, which is probably a reflection of the declining contribution from associated gas from oil fields.

That is a very valid point. What does that mean for plastics like polypropylene? I do know that cracking heavy crude gives you a big mess of undersaturated shorter chain hydrocarbons.

Costs are escalating. I'm adding here a recent post from DownSouth:

Yes, and this gets reflected in the financials of those operators that are heavily committed to the exploitation of these shale plays.
Take Chesapeake Energy, for instance. 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

In the last five years, production costs per MCF have increased by 208% while the amount of investment required to produce an equivalent amount of gas is up even more, by 242%. Gas prices, however, have increased only 142%, from $5.64 in Q2-2003 to the current $8.11.
If some pretty hefty increases in the price of natural gas are not in the offing, I would question the continued economic viability of these resource plays.

Also, there is the net energy aspect. It takes a lot more energy to put swarms of smaller wells on line to offset a smaller number of high volume wells.

BTW, if we use a six to one conversion factor for gas to oil, to get barrels of oil equivalent (BOE), which is accurate for BTU content but not price, some historical perspective for Texas oil & gas production, in terms of BOE (RRC data, assuming the annual data are reasonably accurate):

1972: 7.83 mbpd

2006: 3.69
2007: 3.86

This illustrates my point about the difference between making money and making a material long term difference in total energy supplies, especially on a net energy basis.

Q2-2003 $2.27 $58.86
Q2-2008 4.73 142.71

In the last five years, production costs per MCF have increased by 208%

Just to help keep the discussion clear: going from $2.27 to $4.73 means costs have increased by 108% or to 208%. Compare to "increased by 10%".

I stand corrected.

Thanks, Pitt the Elder.

No worries - it's an easy enough mixup to make. I just wanted to clarify. :)

New all time production high in 2007 and we could set another record in 2008. But the problem with Haynesville (and other shale plays) is a high producing horizontal well depletes 65% in first year.

So this 'good news' may actually be bad news in the sense that we ignore the forest through the trees and once conventional and Barnett accelerate decline and then Haynesville joins in decline, that decline will be steep - and the move to diversify away from nat gas (e.g. wind) won't have happened.

Haynesville is not good news for scaling of domestic wind...

You voiced my fear.

We need Khebab and WebHubble's help here, but it is my understanding that the peak hight and width are controlled by how fast you can drain the reservoirs. If you can drain them very fast, you get a tall narrow peak. And if you are restricted to draining them slowly you get a low wide peak. (basically what we saw with Prudhoe bay where the oil pipeline kept the flow rates low, vs Cantarell where nitrogen injection kept flow rates high). A popping balloon curve shape would be lethal.

I just hope costs creep slowly upwards. Slow enough they don't destroy the economy. Fast enough that people can be convinced to take some action.

The other issue that worries me is that the nat gas sector is consuming ever larger quantities of steel. And that is going to compete directly with building wind turbines.

But on a whole, if any fossil fuel is going to be found in greater abundance, I would much rather it be natural gas than oil or coal. Natural gas has the lowest carbon footprint, and it does not discourage peak oil preparation. Keep up the good work Texans!

To repeat what I stated in a previous post with my very limited understanding of natural gas production:

The production rate of a conventional gas well is like emptying an air mattress. The flow rate is high at the beginning but a good flow rate can be maintained by a few manipulations.

An unconventional natural gas well is like a fart.

HTH ;-)

[...]and the move to diversify away from nat gas (e.g. wind) won't have happened.

Wind power is currently built under the assumption of natural gas providing most of the power and the wind turbines providing a bit of power when they can. Wind power in its current form should be seen as a slightly more efficient way to burn natural gas, not as a way to reduce gas dependency.

If you actually want to divest from natural gas build grid energy storage and wring out a little extra hydropower from less than ideal locations.

and given the declines curves from shale gas wells

I heard quite a bit about shale gas lately. It seems to me that there is great concern about the decline curves. That's why I added a little more emphasis to your caveat. :p

Decline rate for the average shale gas play is about 95% within 4 years.
From Barron's Inverview with Eric Sprott: "Fracturing techniques and horizontal drilling have caused things to pick up. But with these new discoveries, the first year's production is quite flash, but then there is a very sharp decline. IN THE FOURTH YEAR OUT PRODUCTION IS PROBABLY 5% OF THE FIRST YEAR'S OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT.


As Memmel has said recently:

Given the decline of the Barrnet Shale and the fact that the more of this we bring online the more we have to drill it will be impossible to keep up and the tighter the rig market gets the higher the cost of drilling.
In short these guys are looking at a exponential increase in cost going forward to even keep production levels the same. Throw in a dash of EROI and ...
Next of course we will continue to have production declines in traditional plays.
My opinion is that in time the shale plays will behave pretty much like the tar sands they will be a produced at a fraction of the overall reserve levels. We can and will continue to produce them for value add production like Ammonia synthesis for a long time.

I find the two oposing viewpoints by two different industry spokerspersons interesting:

"It's almost divine intervention," said Aubrey McClendon, chairman and chief executive of Chesapeake Energy, a major natural gas producer in the United States. "Right at the time oil prices are skyrocketing, we're struggling with the economy, we're concerned about global warming, and national security threats remain intense. We wake up and we've got this abundance of natural gas around us."


"Its hard for me to believe we will have more domestic gas production in six years than we have now," said Chip Johnson, president and chief executive of Carrizo Oil and Gas, a Houston company involved in several of the shale fields.

Aubrey is talking his position - if he actually gets approval for LNG export facilities, our gas futures strip will bump up 20%+ to a new higher price deck.

Nate, LNG export from America? Do I understand this correctly?


Syria to start importing oil next year

Syria which exported 171k bpd in 2007 is transitioning from being an oil exporter this year to an oil importer next year as the country experience sharp production declines:



Just a note Syria was one of my warning countries. And they have not had near the technical development of other regions.

If they are in decline now then expect a raft of declines from a number of regions where smaller fields have be exploited esp if they where exploited using technical enhancements.

In the mega projects post we can see that adding in the swarm of small fields can make a dent in overall production.

I suspect that if these fields declines at say 10% or more they can make a pretty big dent in the other direction.
Syria's decline is reported in the article at 7.9% and as I noted they have not been the biggest users of the latest technologies.

The Russians have large undeveloped conventional natural gas resources on the Yamal peninsula and Eastern Siberia:



They may have greater hydrocarbon reserves than any other nation on earth. Europe depends on Russia for their natural gas. Russia is the second largest oil exporter in the world. It is the world's largest exporter of natural gas. Russia is the fifth largest coal producer.

Russia citizens were not involved in participating in the 9/11 attacks, but Russian military aided NATO in its attempts to put down the Al Qaeda resistance in Afghanistan after 9/11

Oil dropped because Fay is no longer considered a threat.

CNN: The name Fay will be retired.

Fay has been misunderestimated from Day 1.

I'll post what I just put down in FLhurricane:


FRe: Fay's New Love Affair - New Orleans? [Re: Storm Hunter]
Sat Aug 23 2008 09:36 AM

Good Morning!

Every hour is critical now for Fay.

Fay needs to stay at 30 degrees passing South of Pensacola in order to
get into Lake Pontchartrain.

I think Fay will be stronger than expected going underneath Pascagula.

And if FAY stalls and drops 25 inches on Lake P, levees will give way.

And of course New Orleans is not ready.

um, with exception of maybe last saturday, when markets were closed, Fay was never considered a threat to oil and gas infrastructure.

" Fay was never considered a threat to oil and gas infrastructure."


IndustryWeek : Shell Evacuates Staff as Tropical Storm Approaches
Aug 18, 2008 ... Home : Economics & Public Policy : Shell Evacuates Staff as Tropical Storm ... Tropical Storm Fay pummeled western Cuba early Aug. ...
www.industryweek.com/ReadArticle. aspx?ArticleID=17095&SectionID=3 - 49k - Cached - Similar pages

101.1 WNOE
Shell Oil Watches Fay, Evacuates Workers ... Shell Oil has evacuated 360 personnel from its operations in the eastern Gulf of Mexico as it continues to ...
www.wnoe.com/cc-common/mainheadlines3. html?feed=135361&article=4109227 - 53k - Cached - Similar pages

RealClearMarkets - Reuters - Markets - Aug 16, 2008 - SHELL SAYS ...
www.realclearmarkets.com/.../2008/Aug/16/ shell_says_evacuates_200_workers_from_e__gulf_of_mexico_due_.html - 10k - Cached - Similar pages

Oil rises on concerns that storm will disrupt supply - Aug. 18, 2008
Aug 18, 2008 ... Oil rises as storm may disrupt supply. Shell evacuates 360 staff from Gulf of Mexico as Tropical Storm Fay approaches Florida. ...
money.cnn.com/2008/08/18/markets/oil.ap/index.htm - 60k - Cached - Similar pages


From NOLA this AM:

But Fay should reach the western edge of that ridge at about the same time it reaches the Louisiana border early Sunday.

That's when forecasters say the ridge will weaken as a trough of low pressure moves through the northern United States. A second ridge of high pressure will be developing over or near the Florida peninsula at the same time, which should again nudge Fay west and then finally push it northeast.

That complicated scenario means Fay has an uncertain future as it passes through the New Orleans area. Indeed, one computer model forecasts Fay to loop over southeastern Louisiana very slowly.

Because some of Fay's circulation will remain over water throughout most of this motion, forecasters keep its intensity at tropical storm strength and warn it could actually strengthen if pushed too far south into the Gulf. "

If Fay stalls ove Lake Pontchartrain, levees will break.

Good luck.

Are you Reggie Middleton?

Bay St Louis?

And if FAY stalls and drops 25 inches on Lake P, levees will give way

Absolute BS !!!

I have been in the heaviest rain of my life, 7.25" in 45 minutes (heavy enough to break good quality umbrellas from the weight of the rain, think unscrew shower head and turn hot & cold on full) and over 20" for the day.

Result: Street flooding, many cars but only a half dozen homes flooded in Orleans Parish.

The levees are completely unaffected by rainwater. We just have to pump it out and the Sewage and Water Board announced that they were at 98% of capacity.

Best Hopes for Pumps not breaking down,


Just wondering: those pumps must consume a massive amount of electricity when they're running full blast, and electricity tends to go out during bad storms. Are there backup generators, or how do they handle the issue?

The pumps are highly efficient and the lift distance is short (a couple of meters). In the summer, rain reduces a/c demand more than the pumps take.

The oldest pumps use 25 Hz power and have their own generators.

Some on-site generators, others use dual feeds from the grid. Soem with back-up, some without.

The main grid (as opposed to residential distribution) is pretty robust I was told that it stayed up as Katrina passed and only when the Corps of Engineers levees failed did power fail at the pumping stations (I have not confirmed this but it seems reasonable) and the pump operators had to swim out. Today they have power boats.

Best Hopes,


Here in Central Texas you can unscrew the shower head and it's still just a dribble of dilute calcium carbonate. But, yeah, I can imagine; I've been on the Maid of the Mist ...

More options Apr 27 2006, 12:25 am
From: Gibbons Burke
Date: Wed, 26 Apr 2006 23:25:53 -0500
Local: Thurs, Apr 27 2006 12:25 am
Subject: NOLA.com: 1.2-inch rain burns out three drainage pumps
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1.2-inch rain burns out three drainage pumps

By Bruce Nolanand Michelle Krupa
Staff writers

An unremarkable 1.2-inch rainfall burned up three
massive Sewerage & Water Board pumps Wednesday,
officials said, underscoring the needs of a vast
municipal drainage system that still requires
almost $40 million in post-Katrina work and has
received little public attention, even as
much-publicized levee repairs have been racing
forward for months.

Flooding based observations:

+3 ft:


And they point
out that the Corps of Engineers is preparing a $40
million bundle of contracts to rewind every pump
motor that sat in saltwater, among other repairs.

Executive Director Marcia St. Martin compared the
rewinding to planned maintenance on an old
automobile, rather than a matter of urgent repair.

“Taking it out of service and repairing will
insure its reliability. But that doesn’t not
equate it to being unreliable today,” she said

Sullivan said the New Orleans drainage system
today can handle a continuous rain of half-an-inch
per hour, compared with sixth-tenths of an inch
per hour before the Katrina. The difference
derives the loss of several pumps to the storm,
notwithstanding the failure of the three pumps
Wednesday, he said.


To save new Orleans from flood is always easy.

Just blow the South levee. ;}

One bit of truth. We have been lobbying for almost 3 years to rewind all the pumps that were immersed in salt water, instead of waiting for them to "blow" one by one.

Every decent rain has at least one pump burn up, but we have a large # (about 70 pumps in all from memory).

The half inch/hour understates the volume. We "pre-pump" before a known event and as water backs up, the distance that water has to be lifted decreases and the volume increases slightly.

The only reference I can think of to "blowing the south levee" is in references to the Mississippi River flooding of 1927. ZERO to do with rainwater flooding.

Quite frankly, you do not know what you are talking about.


Quite frankly, you do not know what you are talking about.


I know (as far as one can know these things) that Arkansas farmers blew the MS Levee in 1927.

you won't believe that. I don't care. I'm caring about less and less these days.

If you think NO can be saved with what Katrina just showed you, you're the crazy one, not me.

What does it look like in NO today?

See a line of clouds to your West?

Bet it feels like a wet sponge today.

BTW-You'll never find anything related to blowing a levee.

Jesus Phuckin Christ, who would put such a thing up.

But it should be up because that's exactly what I posted
the Day after Katrina hit. Plaquemines begged the Corp to do it.

St Bernard is still beggin for the Corps to close the MRGO.

But the Corps knows that once that South levee goes the River
stays in that new course forever.

I lived in New Orleans. I know it and I know the MS River all
the way up to Memphis.

The River is overdue to fall into the Barataria Terrebonne Estuary.

But NO dies when the River moves. What NO doesn't understand is that it
now dies if the River stays.

Keep Comin' Alan. I love this. ;}

You have no understanding of the physical reality.

Not worth my time trying to point out facts to someone whose mind is made up.

BTW: Nice day all in all. Wind 10 mph (local weatherbug had maz gust of 33 mph) on and off showers. And, as EXPECTED, the rain came from the North.


You have no understanding of the physical reality.


Riddle me this then.

How come NO is the gateway to 35% of US oil/gas
but it has not one Fortune 500 (Entergy left after Katrina)

Note that you have not a word to say about the Barataria Terrebonne Estuary
or the Old River Control Project or chemical Alley.

Stay really close to the MS River levee.

Because that's all that's gonna be saved of NO in the next
20 years.

See ESL/LSU flood elevation +3 ft for details.


According to the NHC Gustav will be Cat 3
at roughly:

22N 85W by Sunday AM.

And crude has dropped to $113.

New Orleans will never be ready.

What's the energy cost of all that pumping?

Minimal, <0.1% of all electricity used in New Orleans (compared to a quarter of the electricity in Phoenix). The key is occasional use and low head to pump up. A couple of meters.

Total horsepower is "more than 100,000 hp". Or more than 75 MW. But a low duty cycle minimizes the power required.


Russia's oil boom may be running on empty

from the article:

"Most of the oil produced after the country's 1998 financial collapse has come from drilling and re-drilling old Soviet oil fields with more advanced equipment — squeezing more black gold out of the same ground — and efforts to develop new fields have been slow or non-existent.

That strategy is potentially disastrous, said Valery Kryukov, who researches oil companies in western Siberia for a government-funded think tank.

"If the situation which exists now stays the same, oil production will start to decline seriously in two years," Kryukov said in a phone interview from his offices in the city of Novosibirsk."



"Most of the oil produced after the country's 1998 financial collapse has come from drilling and re-drilling old Soviet oil fields with more advanced equipment — squeezing more black gold out of the same ground — and efforts to develop new fields have been slow or non-existent.

The Saudi's had no financial collapse but the rest of the statement could be applied to them just as well as Russia. With only a couple of small exceptions, Saudi has kept up production by drilling and re-drilling old fields. And all their new mega-projects are scheduled to come from reworking very old fields that had previously been mothballed because of low production or very heavy contaminated oil. But in the meantime they are using super-straws to suck much harder on old already depleted fields.

Ron Patterson

The EIA has done us a favor:

They have recently made available dozens of graphs of US petroleum data that are constantly updated monthly/annually with the availability of new data. These graphs all present several decades or more of data.

They can be accessed through the EIA's Petroleum Navigator.

Here are some important ones:

Crude oil production (monthly)....
(That's a narrow definition of 'oil')

Consumption of all liquid hydrocarbons (monthly)....

Net imports (monthly).....

Very nice graphs. You can see the recessions clearly in all of them and the US is currently experiencing one even if there is still denial in the media.

The really interesting thing is generally declining oil production in the Seventies, especially for the Lower 48, versus rising oil prices for the decade. So what happens when the world is at the same stage of depletion as the Lower 48?

As the supply of net oil exports contracts, and I believe that it will show a long term accelerating decline rate, overall demand has to fall. The pattern that we are seeing, and that we will continue to see IMO, is a smaller number of consumers paying a higher unit price for a smaller volume of exported oil. Forced energy conservation is just moving up the food chain.

The EIA has also provided the new charts for ethanol and NG.

Some examples:

Ethanol production....

Dry Natural Gas Reserves.....

A link to their Natural Gas Navigator.

This one is odd:

Is the inventory size itself shrinking?

I think the drop is caused by a change in the way gasoline is made. When it was made with MTBE, it could be blended in the refinery, and stored that way. When gasoline has neither MTBE or ethanol in it, it can also be stored that way.

If gasoline is made from RBOB + ethanol, these two are transported and stored separately. They are probably considered "blending components". The big shift toward ethanol has been in the last few years. Because of this, the stock of blending components is rising, while the stock of finished gasoline is falling. This is the graph of blending components.

Thanks to totoneila for continuing to bang the drum for soil conservation. I was trained in agronomy and soil science and worked for a number of years as a field soil scientist -- working primarily at mapping soils and collecting ecological data. The primary problem that you deal with as a soil scientist is indifference. To most people -- even to some that ought to know better -- soil is just "dirt."

For some years I worked mapping soils -- first for government and later for private interests (mostly paper companies in the Southeastern US). When people would ask me what I was doing, I would try to explain to them. Most would respond with MEGO ("My Eyes Glaze Over"). Some -- justifiably concerned about what the government was doing with their earnings -- would even react with hostility. A very few would actually respond with enthusiasm and ask about the process itself (which is pretty arcane and involves a solid background in geology and geomorphology as well as plant biology, forestry, building site development, etc.).

During my years in the field, I had the opportunity to learn a great deal about soils and soil conservation and was always heartened to work with farmers that understood that the soil was their most important resource. Other times, I was greatly discouraged. I recall standing in a recently harvested pine plantation in the Southeast and noting that post-harvest, all of the slash -- along with what little topsoil existed -- had been pushed into piles with a bulldozer. The red clay soil subsoil had been exposed to the elements and in places, gullies large enough to lose a 4 x 4 in, had been cut into the hillside. It made me sick and it caused me to wonder what we hoped to leave for our children and grand-children.

Thanks, too, to toto and to Oscillator for pointing out the Charles Mann/Jim Richardson article "Where Food Begins" in the September 2008 National Geo. I read it with great interest. The photography of the soil profiles was excellent and I have to assume that they were taken by the Jim Richardson that I know -- an enthusisatic soil scientist and great all-around guy, who used to teach at North Dakota State University.

I do different work now and I am sad for that. It pays the bills but doesn't stir my imagination the way that soil science did. Good to see that folks like Mann and Richardson are trying to focus people's attention on this vital resource.

The soil and plant people that I used to work with used to kid one another; the soil scientists would say that "without soils, plants wouldn't exist"; the plant scientist would retort that "without plants, the soil wouldn't exist." Both are true and the National Geo article does a fine job of making these points.

Thanks for the interesting comment. Speaking of soil erosion, I suppose you are familiar with that great landmark in Georgia now called Providence Canyon State Park. I've seen other reports of soil erosion, such as pictures from the Northern Plains where fields are many feet below fixed areas, such as church graveyards, but this one about takes the cake, even when compared with the Dust Bowl period. Check out these photographs of the results of King Cotton's production in the 1800's.

E. Swanson

Black_Dog, I never made it to "The Little Grand Canyon" as Providence Canyon is known, but I know of it. I always meant to get over to see it when I was mapping in S. Alabama, but never did. Yes, cotton and tobacco farming did a number on Southeastern soils.

Geographer and soil scientist Stan Trimble published a classic study some years back looking at farming practices and erosion patterns on the Southern Piedmont (U.S). IIRC, he estimated that the most intensive soil loss in this region occurred during the period of 1865 to 1920.

Through the efforts of the USDA Soil Conservation Service, Civilian Conservation Corps, and others, better management practices were gradually adopted and the rate of erosion on these soil landscapes greatly reduced. But the scars remain to this day in even-aged pine stands and kudzu patches all over the South. For this reason, most Southern hill-country soils are considered "marginal" for agricultural purposes.

Thanks for your commments and your interesting links.


Nice comment and I would like to add to it some of what I have experienced in that area.

Others who are oh so quick to run and do a Google and tell me I am full of it are to be disregarded as this is just a country boys experiences.

First I have done soil sampling. Some were in conjunction with a university and sharing data with them. Most I did with my handy PDA with a GPS card in slot and based on a 2.5 acre grid. Five sample per grid. All 5 mixed and pulled with the usual soil sampling tool.

I then applied the data returned from the Univ to a farming program that utilized GeoPhysical data coordinates and full color mapping and overlaid with the sample nutrient values onto the maps having differnt color intensities for the values.

When I showed them to the farmer/operator he did a lot of head scratching and eventually , mostly due to not understanding the technology, decided to just forget about all of it.

However the samples were correct and the data was correct. Its just that most farmers simply do not have a 'Clue'!!! And furthermore do not apply inputs correctly.

All this being said IMO the reason farmers go to these great lengths is for one simple reason. To make the ground produce far more than it needs to or is desirable. IMO we should grow enough for out own nations needs and forget about the global marketplace.

Also the land CAN produce in a more normal healthy manner without all the massive inputs. Nitrogen is plentiful and replenishes itself but does to sink slowly thru the soil to disappear. Yet using well known farming methods our grandfathers used we could easily feed the population of this country if it was managed right. AND if most went back to raising garden and animal stock.

Imagine a yuppie soccer mom snapping green beans? No way!

Stock devour forage. They leave nutrients in their manure. Photosynthesis supply the energy. We let animals harvest it and enrich the soil. If you do NOT remove permamently the hay and other crops from the land then you have need of very little inputs(N,P,K).

You must let some land lie fallow as we most certainly did back in my youth. You must rotate and cultivate wisely. You must use animal and human power to do this. Each is a link the the energy and food cycle. Each does its part.

As I have stated before. 14 children on 100 acres is what my grandparents did and me and my brother were included. They did NOT own the farm but sharecropped it. We ate extremely well and very healthy food. Its possible. It was done in the past. It can and will be done again.

No one needs to feed other nations. Its their obligation to feed themselves. No farmer really needs to be a millionaire by confinement feeding 50,000 hogs and employing one Mexican laborer. Everyone used to raise their own hogs and sell some as need be. No farmer needs to grow 5,000 acres of grain and find he can only raise ONE child and support the wife also. It can be done far cheaper. Of course the teenager might not drive the fastest and hottest pickup in town. He might not wear Reekboks all the time and spend hundreds of dollars getting metal implanted in his facial area.

The soccocer moms need to shut down the nonsense and go back to snapping green beans. As well as preparing healthy food for their families. The men need to quit buying the vegetables at Wal-Mart.

Everyone had better start thinking about the damage we are doing to our soils. It will soon be all we will have.


Hi Airdale,

It sounds like you were doing some "precision farming." I have to confess that twenty years ago, I never thought any of this would fly. Too complicated and too expensive. But I am aware that on larger farms, it is being widely adopted and used successfully. Some would argue that this is a mis-application of technology, but if it allows farmers to more efficiently use the agri-chemicals that they apply, then that is a good thing (I don't wish to get into an argument over conventional vs. organic. I garden organically but I also know how most of the nation's food is currently raised).

As for soccor moms and snap beans, I can tell you that in my part of the country, vegetable gardening is booming. I was told by several growers this summer that they sold every bedding plant that they had and I heard that the regional seed companies did a booming business this spring. So, maybe we're introducing the joys of growing food to a new generation. Warning: once you've eaten fresh produce from your own garden, it's hard to go back to eating big-box food.


IN the last couple days I have picked and stored away many many quarts of green beans. Last nite I gathered up about 5 gallon buckets. Now to snap and can or freeze.

Yes lots of folks are suddenly turning back to gardens around here.
This was the best year I ever had for tomatoes. Unbelievable quantity and quality.

I am sitting real good for this winter and a few years to come.


Hello Airdale. I'm in the middle of an experiment. Fertilizers have been expensive for a couple of years now. Diesel is very expensive for the tractor. Growing Alfalfa for hay is a pain because, around here, every three or four years, you have to plow the field, and replant with a cover crop. So, I've let my Alfalfa field go to grass and rather than the usual three cuttings per summer, I'm cutting just once, and that'll be during the middle of September. The grass in my field is now nearly knee high and I expect I'll get about 1/2 as much grass hay as I used to get in Alfalfa bales with three cuttings. But, I've saved a bunch of money and I'll still have adequate hay for my animals over the wintertime. After the hay is cut I'll use the field for pasture through the wintertime and so there will be plenty of manure to get things going again next spring. I think that after I figure the money I've saved by not buying fertilizers and insect sprays, and the diesel fuel I didn't use, I'll be about the same place. But, the big difference is what I'm now doing is sustainable.

I've been busy canning and drying apples. The garden is just about ready to harvest and I'm going to have a ton of tomatoes, onions, and peppers. It'll all make great bottled salsa and tomato sauce for the wintertime. I've got a bunch of potatoes and winter squash as well. There is a freshly slaughtered pig in the freezer and I bought a 4H lamb for slaughter this next week. I'll top the freezer off with some venison or Elk meat and I'm set for the wintertime.

Today, I made a two pound round of goats cheese and some Ricotta from the left over Whey. The Ricotta will go swell on tonight's baked potato with lamb chops from last years lamb. The vegetables will be fresh Zucchini with corn, both from the garden. Yes, I'm living large. Oh, almost forgot, friends from town brought me a fresh loaf of homemade bread and a berry pie, in exchange for fresh eggs from my chickens. Best from the Fremont.

Hello Fremont-

It is way late for this thread so I don't expect much but do you think this might be a generalization that can be applied to Ag in general?

Cut harvest in half to be sustainable?



When you pasture stock on a field be absolutely sure to use a chain harrow to spread the manure piles. This allow the sun rays to destroy the worm eggs and places it more evenly over all the field.

A chain harrow is a very old device. I picked mine up for almost nothing at a auction. It requires very little energy to pull behind almost anything with enough power(jeep,small tractor,etc) and does a really good jog of grasslands management for a very low cost.

A spike harrow might work ok but I use the spike for renovating pastures.

Its also simple to do. In the fall cast grass seed on the ground. The stock will trample it into the soil for you(if not too much growth). If need be clip the forage low as possible or do a fall cutting of hay.

Another method is to throw out square bales where the seed heads are viable,as from a late cutting. The seeds are also trampled into the ground.

Now using big round bales will defeat this. Also big round bales tend to have a very large moldy layer. Bad for horses. Ok for cattle but they tend to create mudholes and bogs around the feeder rings.

Good luck


PS. I loved Orchard Grass and a Keenland Clover mixture. The clover meant that no nitrogen was required and not recommended. Need to use innoculated seed though or gather your own seed but again a mature cut and square baled will mean plenty of seeds to hit the ground.

Myself I rarely used NPK inputs. The reason was that the hay never left my farm. If I wanted to sell some them I used the profits to buy the NPK to restore my fields.

In a classic sustaining environment NOTHING ever leaves your farm. All detrius goes back to the ground. Corn stalks contain a lot of NPK.

I myself a small scale farmer. Out of three primary nutrients (N,P,K) in soil, nitrogen is the most volatile. It comes quick and go quick. Anyways, I have an advice for you, nothing too hi fi. You can get nitrogen just by letting the land rest for one year. Nitrogen naturally comes from rain and snow, on average 4 kg/acre/year. To get phosphorus try applying animals' urine to soil. Wherever you are keeping your animals make a drainage path for urine to go in soil and let it there for about 3 months, after that you can apply that to your soil. In start try to apply little amount of phosphorus with large amount of soil. If any of your animals have a disease keep them separate and not use their urine on soil. Never use human, cats, dogs etc excretions on soil because they take diseases from these to plants to back to these.

Also the land CAN produce in a more normal healthy manner without all the massive inputs. Nitrogen is plentiful and replenishes itself but does to sink slowly thru the soil to disappear. Yet using well known farming methods our grandfathers used we could easily feed the population of this country if it was managed right. AND if most went back to raising garden and animal stock.

I have to agree. Nothing I have found in my research, and limited experience, says we can't feed ourselves. Of course we can, but not staying with the BAU way of doing things. There are both old and new ways of doing things that produce as well, or better, than BAU with massive inputs.

Just composting your own farm "wastes," not tilling and using cover crops will build your soil quickly enough to beat the Peak, I'd wager. If you've got land to build.


An interesting tidbit in the news this morning is that Joe Biden commutes from Wilmington to Washington on Amtrak every day, and his son is vice-chairman of the board of Amtrak.

Here is an interesting first-hand conversation with him that took place in 2002:

An Acela Ride with Sen. Biden.

I continued: "I can see you are busy, and I am not a Delaware Voter, and I know most people think of you as a foriegn policy guy, but I think of you as "One of the Senators who allows me to live without buying a car."

We chatted about train trips. I told Sen. Biden about a couple of my adventures in public transit. My list of best Transit Systems in the US partly surprised him. NY, DC, Chicago, Cleveland, San Francisco, LA and San Diego. I told him that although it is hard to figure out, LAs Public Transit System is usable to get anywhere, especially if augmented with a bike. I also listed cities that are "useless holes of car dependence" Phoenix, All of Florida, Texas, and Seattle.

We debated the how policy can change this. I told him to not bother wasting political energy on this until gas prices triple. I remember him asking why that dynamic is different in the NorthEast. I told him "Parking." In the NorthEast you have to pay for parking, and that serves the same purpose as higher gas costs to makes private automobiles more price realistic.

his son is vice-chairman of the board of Amtrak

300 million people in this country. It's good to see that the country-club set is finding good jobs for their kids. Sen Biden should be very reassuring to the business as usual interests. And I have to ask, to what degree has son Biden been instrumental in the destruction of Amtrak as a piece of the commonwealth? Otherwise it seems unlikely he'd be in the position he is.

Tell me I'm too cynical. While the FCC was blessed with son Powell to facilitate the stripping of that asset, it does still have Commissioner Copps. But the structure was such that Copps was entirely ineffective. That leaves us with a fig leaf of democratic process over a hereditary feudal aristocracy.

cfm in Gray, ME

Sociobiology at work. Get your genes passed on through those gene bundles of the future (Children).
Credit Card Joe as VP. I bet bankruptcy laws will be high on the list for reform.
But taking the train must be commended, even if it has nepotism involved.

Yeah, that is the way the game is played. The reason the tuition for the "top" schools cost a fortune is so that the retarded sons and daughters of the aristocracy will not have to compete with the general public for the best employment positions. IMO the reason why oil depletion will not be addressed in the USA is that the ruling elite (overall) do not perceive a threat to their well being. Matt Simmons is the exception-guys like Buffett and Gates only see opportunity. Rising energy prices do not lop a certain % off the overall economy at all levels-they cannibalize from the bottom up like rising food prices.

Bush could of possibly been a good insurance salesman (if he was able to keep sober), or maybe a aerobics instructor (had cheerleading experience), but that would of been the high points of his possibilities without privilege.

I think he'd have ended up in jail.

There's a fascinating book called The Pecking Order, about the factors that determine success in American society.

Curiously, wealth matters...but not in the way most people think. The family's wealth is a poor predictor of where any individual will end up. Families like Bill Clinton's, where one son is President of the US while another is a convicted drug dealer, are actually pretty common.

Where money does make a difference is among very wealthy families with a screwup kid. Poor and middle class families are basically forced to ration their resources. If one kid screws up or just doesn't fit in, the family will tend to focus their efforts on a less difficult sibling. But if a family is very wealthy, they can bail out even the bad apples. Send the kid to boarding school, say. Or buy him a baseball team to keep him off the streets. IOW, a rich kid who screws up gets a lot more second chances.

We have a economic system that rewards sociopath and psychopathic behavior (I'm sure you are aware of the sociopath nature of the corporate model).
I will have to agree George may have landed up in jail, but with the right feedback loops, he just as well might of been a CEO or religious leader.

I don't think either of those match his talents. Being a psychopath alone is not enough.

After all, he did try being a CEO...and failed miserably.

Most fail at the CEO as a gig. It really is a matter of luck, as the Black Swan points out with bias toward viewing only the winners.
As far as being a religious leader, I think his role as our current leader stands alone for those qualifications, although a few more incidents with male prostitutes would up his credentials.

Back in 2000, my saying was "If his dad wasn't the president, he'd be a night manager at Hooters."

Hell, he would never cut the mustard as a restaurant manager, let alone Hooters. He probably would be really good as a USDA slaughterhouse monitor, since he enjoys death so much. He has the opposite of the "Midas effect"--everything he touches becomes leaden and fails. I'll bet the only reason Laura atayed married to him is because of Bush Sr.

Perfect time to use my "Dining Car Class" analogy for the reason why the wealthy few have no motive to change.

If they country could be thought of as a passenger train heading towards a catastrophic event (take your pick: cliff, brick wall, bridge out), the wealthy are sitting in the Dining car. They are comfortable and well fed and being served coffee and cigars. The odd passenger in second or third class might be warning of the danger ahead, but the Dining car class doesn't care because they have their seat and position. So long as the train keeps rolling along with them in the Dining car, they could care less.

I've seen this happening within my everyday business transactions. It seems the higher the executive level, the more they are certain of BAU and think these cautions of a depleting future does not apply to them. Its like I'm asking them to go from a 5,000 SF home to a paltry 2,100 SF home, and to have two cars instead of three or four.

Therefore, I've come to the point where I don't even bother to include the Dining car class in my discussions or plans. Its wasted breath.

Do you even know Biden's son's name? Do you know anything about him? Perhaps you should check out his credentials before casting aspersions.

He's got a bit more going on upstairs compared to the present occupant of the White House:


...Joe Biden commutes from Wilmington to Washington on Amtrak every day, and his son is vice-chairman of the board of Amtrak

That is a huge change in mindset from the current administration.

The Acela design has evolved over a period of four decades.

First came the Turbo Train which was built by United Aircraft. It had an articulated design (like the TGV) and the cars tilted during cornering. When I rode on one during the early 1970's, it felt a bit like being in an aircraft.

Then came the LRC Train which was built by a locomotive manufacturer. It much more resembled a standard train design and tilting was accomplished by active hydraulics in the undercarriage rather than passively by centrifugal force as in the Turbo Train. An interesting innovation was the use of a constant-speed diesel running (IIRC) an alternator. I have taken this train a few times - not too bad for short trips.

The Acela Express is derived largely from the LRC design but is powered electrically from overhead wires (the article notes that in some areas of its route, the overhead catenary support system was constructed during the Great Depression).

And the newest variant is the JetTrain which is basically a self-powered Acela.

One common factor in all these designs is Bombardier Corporation

  • Bombardier buys most of its aircraft engines from the UAC plant that produced the first Turbo Train
  • they own the Montreal Locomotive Works plant that built the LRC train
  • they own Adtranz in Europe who manufacture both the Turbostar and Electrostar trains

I have always liked trains and I hope that they play a much bigger role in the future.

If you read the account that I linked above, they also discussed human population.

But I told him I didn't see any alternative than for humanity to get it's population down to a sustainable level. I said there are several nations overseas that have no hope of escaping endemic poverty until they face this, and the entire world will never get get to environmental sustainability until we deal with our population.

Sen. Biden staired at me. Shook his head. Then he nodded and I remember him saying: "No one can win an election running on that, but your point is well taken." I remember he asked something along the lines of how we can we engage that conversation in a way that isn't political suicide.

I told him I didn't thnk it was not possible. I told him I trusted the three horsemen would take care of it eventually, and at this point, at least in my opinion, humanity had crossed the tipping point for social collapse. I then reflected on my experience in NYC on 9/11 for a minute. He was very respectful. He shared some of his thoughts....

Alberta natural gas is a different story, and although there was a recent minor spike in production, the long-term trend is stagnation despite steady drilling. The following data are from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers Website at:

Year 2000 2007

Production (billion ft3/dy) 13.8 14.2

Exports (billion ft3/dy) 8.5 8.6

Another one bites the dust...

US regulators shut Kansas bank

WASHINGTON (AP) -- -- Federal regulators on Friday shut down Kansas bank Columbian Bank and Trust Company, which was struggling with losses on soured real estate loans.

...The FDIC did not give a reason for the closure, but Columbian reported $92 million in delinquent loans in the second quarter, citing a "volatile real estate market."

Once again, note the pattern. They wait until after COB Friday.

I can't quote a source, but I seem to remember that "after COB on Friday" has been SOP in these cases for quite some time...maybe I saw it in the FDIC website somewhere. I don't think it's specific to the current banking crisis.

You're right, and I was not implying otherwise.

It's just something many people don't know, but probably should.

If you need cash for a big weekend, you might not want to wait until Friday after work to go to the ATM. Especially if you think your bank might be in trouble.

The idea is to get everything up and running by Monday morning...but if you need access to your accounts between Friday COB and Monday morning, you're probably screwed.

Yes, SOP. The FDIC auditors will have marched in at 5:00 Friday, and will be there continuously over the weekend, and will have things in sufficient order that the bank can open its doors at 8:00 Monday under either FDIC operation, or under new ownership, or some combination (as apparently in this case, with insured accounts transferred and uninsured accounts being handled directly by the FDIC.

There have been recent reports from usually reliable sources that the FDIC is both hiring new people and enticing some of their recent retirees to come back to work for a while. Given that they are privy to inside information on their member banks, not a comforting thing to have happening.

Due to a gold rush, the US Mint had to suspend sales of American Eagle gold coins.

They have now resumed limited distribution.

NG Exports Data from EIA Washington.

We don't often consider the US as an exporter of NG. Let's do that now.

While the US is still a net importer of NG from Canada, exports from the US to Canada have been rising notably over the past few years. One reason, imo, is that the marginal cost of MCF in Canada is also rising quite strongly. Exports to Mexico have also risen quite strongly. And exports of LNG through the only LNG export facility in the the US, Alaska (MRO and COP), are also rising strongly. (We have been exporting LNG from Alaska for over 25 years)

Let's take a look therefore at Total US NG exports data:

I thought that data was rather eye-opening, to put it mildly.

Let's now turn to US export capacity. Remember, the lower 48 has no ability to export LNG at this time. These latest news items about Freeport LNG intending to export LNG is actually re-export of LNG that they took into storage. So this is a storage story, not a new export story. That said, pipeline capacity to/from both Canada and Mexico has risen strongly this decade.

Let's take a look at the expansion of US Export Pipeline capacity, according to EIA:

Between 1990 and 2007, import pipeline capacity from Canada increased by 169 percent (to 17.3 Bcf per day) and from Mexico by 147 percent (to 0.9 Bcf per day). During the same period, export capacity to Canada more than tripled (to 4.3 Bcf per day) while export capacity to Mexico quadrupled (to 3.6 Bcf per day).


That's an impressive build in NG export capacity.

Now let's consider arbitrage.

This winter, we already know that global LNG volumes will be going for at least 20.00USD/MMbtu. We know this because the UK strip is already above that level, we know this because Winter LNG volumes are already going into contract, and we know that UK NG supply just took another hit, with pipeline problems in Nordic/North Sea areas.

We also know that, while both Canada and Mexico do indeed have LNG import capacity, neither of them, like the lower 48, have any liquefaction capacity. (not yet at least).

Question, what are the chances that the US, Mexico, or Canada will take any LNG this Winter (outside of legacy contracts) when LNG is above 20.00USD/MMbtu, and "The US NG glut (TM)" will be pumping out NG at 9.00-10.00?


My answer: Pipeline export capacity to Canada and Mexico is tracking around half capacity. As you can see from the export data, NG exports by these pipelines rise significantly in Winter. Even if we assume flat Heating Oil prices from here to May, and we assume a normal Winter, then we are still looking at 1. HO prices way above last year's prices. 2. UK/European LNG and NG prices way above last year's prices. 3. Coal prices way above last year's prices.

Prediction: By February, people will say the following: "Huh, this is so ironic. All that "extra" NG production that gave rise to a fear of a glut was actually needed."

I tend to agree. True irony would be if Canada ended up importing US NG for tar sands...;-)

What is the timeline on that 90%+ international price arbitrage going away? I think if we do follow the advice of Mclendon and build LNG plants for export that will mark the forever bottom in NG prices for US. I really hope politicians don't go for it, -it would be nice to keep a resource in the ground for a change rather than sell it and burn it as fast as possible.

p.s. Gregor Im sure you noted yesterdays CFTC numbers - Noncommercial or speculative investment funds on the New York Mercantile Exchange increased their net short natural gas futures exposure to a record high for a fourth straight week~: record high 147,136 contracts and eclipsing the
previous high of 129,229 contracts set the prior week

It's amazing how markets will find a way to arbitrage spreads away. Even though US NG is indeed trapped by geography, the global market for BTU's will find a way. Though it won't be easy, given the structural trap that US NG is currently in. That said, there is yet another lever by which the gross discount can be arbitraged away: coal. I'm forecasting that eastern, Appalachian coal will be exported in increasing volumes to Europe. Already, there is analysis showing that when CAPP coal is around this 120.00 level, that break-evens between NG and coal for Power Generation are roughly in the 8.50/MMbtu area. Again, nothing easy or smooth here that will see NA NG's low price arbed away quickly. But, markets abhor a vacuum.

When the Rothschild's used special messengers, and carrier pidgeons, to arbigtrage away mis-pricings on myriad European sovereign bonds (trading in London, Paris, Frankfurt) back in the day before wired communications, no one thought that was possible either. Of course, there is no comparison between NG and paper. That said, the market will find a way.

And yes, I did see for a third week in a row, that the large specs have gone Mad Max short in NG. As we roll into expiration of the SEP NG contract this coming Wednesday, I expect a new direction. I would also add that Friday's action dropped SEP NG below spot as far as I can tell.

Software North has done nice visualizations of the COT reports for years:


Thanks Gregor
A big wild card is how the credit crisis will eventually impact energy. Haynesville gas can be produced for $1-2 mcf but requires huge upfront costs - how many companies can scale up production infrastructure out of internal cash flow and how many need financing? How many southeast banks will go under once real estate values catch up (err..down) to where the models are predicting. If CHK and XTO can only get financing NOW on hedged production, hows it gonna be if banks are failing? I suppose energy will be the #1 priority and a safer investment than anything else, but still, the easy credit environment that allowed non-organic growth of many of these E&P companies is gone. I don't think the wall st energy analysts are considering this angle in their future forecasts - its as if real estate, banking and the economy will all go south but energy industry will remain unaffected. I think not.

If credit crisis does get dramatically worse, I would think the low net energy contributions to the total will go away - because they won't be profitable enough to get financing - this will include many renewables. Problem is lots of US projects might fall into that category. Interesting that this will hurt 'long duration' energy assets which is exactly what we need in the upcoming environment. Once wind is built the costs are fixed - one has bought a certain MW flow for decades - not the same for ethanol or a tight gas formation. Quite an interesting mess. (So relates my carrier pigeon this am.)

Agreed, although I'm not sure it will happen by February.

Some changes comparatively low North American natural gas prices might precipitate:

1) Cause people to change home furnaces from heating oil to natural gas

2) Make U.S. domestic refiners more competitive--refining heavy sour crudes is energy intensive

3) Make ethanol production more competitive

4) Make myriad other domestic energy-intensive manufacturing industries (steel, glass, cement) more competitive.

Barge-mounted LNG liquefaction plants

If the price differential persists, this is something that we might see more of in the US.

Greenland Glacier Has Huge Crack

(WASHINGTON) — In northern Greenland, a part of the Arctic that had seemed immune from global warming, new satellite images show a growing giant crack and an 11-square-mile chunk of ice hemorrhaging off a major glacier, scientists said Thursday.

Check out the souped up landrover shown in the photo gallery! Some pretty scary surface melting on the glaciers.

Looks like we might still make the record this year. About four weeks of melting left before winter:

Arctic Sea Ice Extent.

You can follow the melting live here.

A 29 sq. km. (11 sq. mi.) area of the Petermann Glacier in northern Greenland (80˚N, 60˚W) broke away between July 10th and by July 24th. Petermann has a floating section 16 km (10 mi) wide and 80 km (50 mi) long, that is, 1295 sq. km (500 sq mi); the longest floating glacier in the Northern Hemisphere. Photo courtesy Byrd Polar Research Center, Ohio State University.

If the Petermann glacier breaks up back to the upstream rift, the loss would be as much as and additional 160 sq. km (60 sq. mi); a loss of one third of the massive Petermann ice tongue. The Petermann glacier thins from 600 m thickness at the grounding line to 70 m at the terminus. The crack is advancing to a point where a massive breakup seems imminent, in which case, the area of break-up would be 56-60 sq. miles (147-160 sq. km). Photo courtesy Byrd Polar Research Center, Ohio State University.


Hansen after Iowa coal case hearing: “....but it does require that we have a moratorium on any new coal fired power plants. And over the next 25-30 years we are going to have to phase out those that exist. And this is going to become very clear within the next several years. So it is just plain silly to build a new one now because you are not going to be able to grandfather these in and say: oh we have got it so we can keep it. It's not going to work that way. Once the government really understands how serious the problem is these plants are going to have to go. So it just makes no sense to make another one now."


I'm concerned about what's happening on the East coast of Greenland. The upper reaches typically remain icebound (even in 2005), but not this year. See other links this sub-thread.

Those that think climate change is an issue for their kids or grandkids to deal with are more and more looking like Arctic ostriches. There is a reason I call my blog "A Perfect Storm Cometh" and not "Peak Oil Cometh."

I had a disagreement with Gail and Bob recently because they believe technological civilization on par with what we have today will never happen again after the oil age has passed. I disagree if you take AGW out of the picture. I find it absurd to assume that it is impossible for new ways to harness and use energy will not be found. Of course, part of my view comes from believing that living very closely to nature is a desirable outcome and that living in renewable houses is, in fact, a step forward in intelligent design. Thus, if we can control population (huge if) and live a very low carbon life, then we can husband resources intelligently and continue to have increasing technology.

The caveat is climate. Peak Oil will not end mankind nor prevent future civilizations from rising, imho, but AGW may well kill us dead. In the short term, it isn't either/or that is going to lead to collapse, catabolic or otherwise, but the confluence of those two, and other, trends all at the same time. But the only one that can and will end us, is AGW. A 6 degree warmer world is a world that dies, at least with regard to human habitation. In such scenario one would have to hope that the polar regions might still support human ativity... or that we could learn to live under ground... or in the oceans (I'm told this latter is definitely not a go)...


When you mention that there was ice along the coast of Eastern Greenland last year, you may be missing the fact that that sea-ice was moving at the time. The flow of sea-ice out the Fram Strait from the Arctic Ocean into the Greenland Sea is not apparent when one views the daily still images. The fact that last year's sea-ice coverage over the Arctic was very low was in part due to the wind patterns which pushed much of the sea-ice in one direction toward the Fram Strait. This summer, the wind patterns have not been the same, as I understand it. There is still flow out the Fram Strait (notice the tapered "tongue" in the middle of the Fram Strait), but less so, thus there is less sea-ice seen flowing with the East Greenland Current in this year's pictures. That said, the melt this summer is still quite impressive and we may again see a very low extent by the time the melting season is over.

E. Swanson

I actually said, "The upper reaches typically remain icebound (even in 2005), but not this year." I have looked at the archived photos for last year and the year before and note that the ice at the coast appears to remain intact. The shape, form and extent (100%)do not change like the ice flowing through the Fram Straight; There is a disconnect between the coastal ice and the ice further out, with it appearing to merge and split over time.

I feel fairly confident in stating the close to shore ice was relatively thick, multi-year ice till this year. It's hard to stay at 100% concentration with the ice melting, no?

Go look at the series from Sept. last year if you've got doubts.



You can follow the melting live here.

I prefer this view from the same site. It's one day delayed from your linked pic. Don't know why.

Note the dinosaur track pattern of the more densely packed ice (whitest areas)? I've been telling my wife since the beginning of August we're going to end up with a giant T-rex track at the top of the world.


BP tests BTC line; oil flow to resume 'next week'

BP PLC, operator of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline, said shipments of Azeri crude would resume next week—nearly 3 weeks since the line's closure due to an explosion and fire

Resumption of flows through the 1-million b/d capacity line will be widely welcomed. Due to the disruption of the BTC line—as well as the shutdown of other export routes through Georgia—the BP-led Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli oilfields had reduced output to about 250,000 b/d from about 850,000 b/d.

Two other routes for the export of Azeri oil through Georgia remain shut due to continued uncertainty. BP last week closed the 150,000 b/d Western Route Export Pipeline (WREP) for security reasons, and has given no indication of when the line may be reopened.
BP also had to cease shipments of some 50,000-70,000-b/d by rail across Georgia after a key railway bridge was blown up. The explosion, which effectively cut the railway line between Azerbaijan and Georgia, has had an adverse effect on shipping through Georgia's Black Sea ports


Reconstruction of the railway bridge in Georgia to finish by September 20

Z.Zakaradze also said that there are 2 versions related with the blast of the bridge in Marneuli: either the mine missed the target due to poor quality or it was wrong laid. He underlined many of the trains standing in Poti are to head to Azerbaijan and Armenia. The trains hold cargo. And trains going to Armenia are full of grain.

The railway bridge with strategical significance close to Casp region, Georgia was blown up on August 16. Transportation of oil from central to the west of Georgia, as well as from Azerbaijan and Armenia to Black Sea ports of the neighbor country was suspended due to the blast in the bridge. And Russia-Georgia war also affected on the reconstruction of Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway.


I see that Community Solutions is now advertising their conference in Rochester Michigan on October 31-November 2. The cost seems to be $175 for the whole thing, reduced rates for attendance at part of the conference. The major speakers are Dmitry Orlov, John Michael Greer, and Richard Heinberg.

Dmitry Orlov is a great speaker. Even better in person in his posts.

Horizontal drilling is like the US ‘ME’ generation. Direct message to their offspring, “Screw em. Let them find their own natural gas/oil/NPK/good soil/water/etc.”.

Not unlike the old Arab. My father rode a camel. I drive a car. My son flies an airplane. My grandson will ride a camel.

Like this old American: My father drove a team. I drive an Isuzu. My daughter drives an Expedition. My grandson will drive a team.

BTW: Propane pre-buy in Reno is $3.08. What a bargain!

Thats what it all gets down to doesn't it?
Ethanol is the answer!
Bail out Bear Stearns immediately or dominos will fall!
Scale up energy even if it has environmental costs cuz we need it.
Drink coffee in am i'll take a nap in the afternoon.
Spend that $600 government tax refund in the same month that you get it!

Its not so much a 'me' culture as much as we are designed to react to the problem in front of us - the ancillary problems created by the knee-jerk 'solution' seem far away and irrelevant at the moment. But after years of such 'putting out fires', we have amassed quite a nightmare of future liabilities...

Our brains are domain specific, not domain general -we weren't designed to solve the current problems we are facing. First step is to acknowledge this and understand it, then incorporate this into our institutional plans

I'm sorry to say this but IMHO, long before we mature to the 'Domain General' step, we will need to be back to our survival ability to spot movement with our peripheral vision and fight or flee.

I'm a very old doomer and I have seen nothing to alter my view. I build furniture. Though it is not easy, I am teaching my grandson how to work wood with hand tools. He wants to use the power saws but he will have a couple good saws, chisels, mallet, etc (a full hand tool box), a lot of wood and the ability to use them. With luck that will get him through the next several years without replacements when all the slaves have left. I think that is about the best I can do.

Vaya Con Dios Nate et al


Dang, thats making me regret my decision to not pre-buy on 7/28 at a cost of $2.24 here in eastern Kansas.

Hello TOD, my first post, but I've been lurking longer than my account age. This has been an excellent source of information over the past year. My thanks to all that participate.

As a rural user of propane I confess to ignorance on its precise origin. A question brought to mind by an earlier post is this: what is the relationship of propane production to that of other oil products. I mean is propane a byproduct of oil refining or is it a specific end result?

Propane is a natural gas liquid from conventional or offshore natural gas. You don't tend to get it from coal bed methane. Propylene can come from cracking crude or heavy oil. It's missing some hydrogen compared to propane.

As an old Albertan gasbagger, and a failed organic chemist, I'm pleased to try to answer your question as to the origins of propane. Its known as "rich gas" not because it makes you rich, but because it contains three carbon atoms (as opposed to one in methane) and can remain in liquid phase under relatively low pressure and high - ambient - temperature.

The hydrocarbon chemical sequence is hydrogen (zero carbon) methane (one CO), ethane (two CO), propane (C3H8), butane (four CO)... right up to naptha and - the newest friend of the heavy lifters in the oilpatch - dilbit or bitumen diluent, which allows heavy crude to be transported like normal crudes. In a sense, propane is the middle child of a very useful chemical family.

In general, BTU output increases somewhat in proportion to burnable carbon content. The combustion process releases heat as chemical bonds are broken. Free CO then combines with oxygen (O2) in the atmosphere. Its conversion into CO2 adds about 3.7 (40/12 is the common multiplier) times the weight of the pure carbon into the atmosphere.

Propane and the other rich gases are called "Natural Gas Liquids" or NGL. This is not to be confused with LNG, which is theoretically dry gas cooled to very low cryogenic temperatures so it can be concentrated under very high pressure for transport. I think LNG can contain some NGL.

Propane and its siblings including lean (or dry) methane and hydrogen - pure "natural gas" - contain far fewer other pollutants than oil. A much less complex native feedstock is cleaned to "pipeline grade" in processes that allow valuable chemical components like sulpur and hydrogen, even CO2 itself, to be segregated and sold or compounded into more complex products like etylene and ammonia. This drives much of our petrochemical, plastics and fertilizer industry. Fair to say, all these businesses depend on gas.

Apart from handy twenty pounders from Hank's tank farm, you'll find rich gas in three places:

1. Wet gas and/or condensate is produced in assocaition with dry gas and stripped off the gas stream in straddle or stripper plants along with other chemicals and elements. Propane is purified, scented and stored in pressurized tanks and generally transported by rail. It is versatile and can be used as a concentrate or re-gasified (combined with air). The latter is often used to drive electrical standby turbines.

2. Associated gas and NGL is always produced with crude oil, sometimes even refining - especially high-end refinery processes. Naptha, for example, is a key blending component used to convert heavier crude "fractions" to gasoline and distillates (diesel and jet fuel). Naptha remains just under its evaporation (bubble) point at atmospheric pressure and temperature.

As oil bubbles up from deep in the earth, its temperature/pressure drops. Lighter fractions, like propane, turn to gas. At the wellhead, this gas can't be handled as a liquid without potentially explosive results. This accounts for the flares from producing wells, even the tired old rockers that used to dot the wheatfields around my hometown.

Associated gas streams are occasionally captured for sale as bulk condensate, or even used for power (especially in offshore rigs) but are much more often reinjected back into the producing formation to maintain the original pressure that drives crude to the wellhead.

Primary oil production is exactly the same mechanism as in pop bottles. Water-driven oil production is called secondary production. It produces associated gas, too along with water. Gas reinjection has been the norm for large oil fields for years, all the way through the secondary phase.

3. Therefore, the last great source of propane and other wet gas (NGL) streams is the mixed bag of formation gas that is repressurized and reinjected back into its parent oilfield, or in untapped formation oil. Not much of that left...

Late in the life of an oilfield, gas injection can include other gases such as CO2 and nitrogen. Pemex's massive field overhaul of the supergiant Cantarell Field installed nitrogen oil-recovery equipment. CO2 can also enhance flow rates and possibly ultimate recovery of OIP while "sequestering" the GHG. All these processes routinely use gas reinjection.

It's a little counter-intuitive. This last point is the reason you hear so much about gas-caps in TOD, even in very old fields. You'd think they'd have been blown off long ago. In the early days, some of course were blown-off, with incalculable consequences to ultimate recovery and even flow rates. No matter how you cut it, there's a whole lot of "round-trip" gas in solution underground. A significant percentage of this is in the form of NGL's.

Producing more oil than can be handled by available gas handling equipment was once the norm. It is now seen as a highly inefficient way to increase flow rates. The subtle interplay of gas reinjection, water injection and reinjection fancy "tertiary" enhanced recovery lifting techniques; from gas to detergent to biofilms to microbes; keep all of us a little uncertain as to ultimate recovery of OIP.

When it comes to flow rates, one thing is certain: If an operator allows more potentially reinjectable hydrocarbon fractions to flow out of the hydro-geological system, flow rates will increase in the short term and drop more steeply over time. Dry gas does not have this quality. Dry gas tends to drop off much more abruptly - and permanently.

You can find more information by checking the Propane Council website, as well as commercial distributors such as Superior here in Canada. I hope this helps answer your question correctly, though as I mentioned, I am no organic chemist.
I wish you well in Kansas (or wherever you are) Dorothy and that goes for your little dog, too.

Rural French Rail Service (linked in header)

Some observations.

In the photograph in the article, I noted that the train was electrified. Part of the national program to electrify 100% of French railways.

A village of 2,000 gets 11 trains/day (just one stop of many on the "milk run" trains). A smaller village of 548 souls (Chatelet-sur-Retourneis) is lobbying for a stop as well. Nearby farmers surely increase the population base, but still a high % of travel needs to be by train to justify these stops, even if they are flag stops (stop only if someone is waiting or someone aboard the train calls for a stop).

Electrification allows for faster stops and starts, so less delay with each stop (electrification reduces run times by @ 15% for commuter trains).

This line sounds ideal for EMUs (self propelled passenger rail cars that can operate alone or in trains of 2 to 8 cars).

This is *NOT* high status service, but real world, small town service. 11 trains/day is pretty good for small town service :-)

The next step, post-Peak Oil, is pick up milk, eggs, fruit & veggies and other perishable agricultural produce (snails ?) as well as passengers on the first train in the morning (or last at night with a refrigerated car). This is where the term "milk trains" came from.

Best Hopes for "Back to the Future" (with electrification),


Rural & local rail link in USA will begin with rehab of dormant branclines.

The book, "ELECTRIC WATER" by Christopher C. Swan is a helpful reference, inclusive or the renewable links possible in localization of the rail connector.

National Guard Departments in the 50 States can re-commission the Railroad Operating & Maintenance Batallions, and be human resource feedstock for the rail network expansion needed to pass thru the Oil Interregnum. HQ adjutants with initiative can obtain "RAIL TRANSPORT and THE WINNING OF WARS, by James A Van Fleet, obtainable from the Association Of American Railroads (202-639-2100), and download GCOR from the web.

General information for political staff and individuals wishing to become rail savvy includes also (peakoil.net) articles 374 & 1037) and the USA Rail Atlas Maps from (spv.co.uk). Alan's French example is an insight into the US transport model circa 1900-1960, a time when USA standard of living was second to none, and America was an ENERGY INDEPENDENT, lending not a borrowing nation.

(peakoil.net) articles 374 & 1037)

I went there and could not find any articles indexed by #.

A direct link ?



Alan wrote "11 trains/day is pretty good for small town service :-)"
??? just pretty good? I would call that extraordinary! Do you know how many trains per day Albany gets, the capital of New York? Population 94,172? It's 10 trains each direction per weekday to/from New York City!

You gotta get some OUTRAGE going or nothing will ever change...

With all due respect, I have to ask if there aren't other emotions and reasoning we can use to incite change? I love a good scream like the next guy, but sometimes, to toss in a counterpoint.. 'If you want to get someone's attention, Whisper.'

Here's to a big Communications Toolbox, and remembering to keep all of the tools sharp.


My continued thanks for your advocacy in this issue. I've linked the Guardian article and these comments to the state and city Reps who I want to keep involved with on this, while I don't know if that's a useful place to put my attentions.. To what little degree I can, I keep ringing the bell, while thinking about other noises to try and people to roust.

Bob Fiske

Thanks ! :-)

Best Hopes for "many hands",


I've been exercising the slaves the last few days...

Well, actually I'm back to cutting firewood - I'm finally getting to a tree I dropped a few months ago. FWIW, it's about 3' at the butt and about 75' long. I'm glad I can still get gas for the chainsaws but that's not the reason for this post.

As I was cutting, I thought about all the energy that went into making the saws and my tools. The saws have aluminum, steel, copper, plastic, some synthetic rubber and, obviously, some trace metals for the steel. My work boots have steel toes. My ax is obviously steel. And, then there's the energy that went into my old 1 ton 4x4 truck. Last but not least, there is the 2 cycle and bar oil plus the plastic fuel containers (my 32" saw is 50:1 while my 16" saw is 40:1)

It's amazing how many slaves I hadn't thought about.


Todd - I think about that all the time, which is why I fear a Tragedy of the Energy (Investing) Commons. Soon even the average Joe will know we have an energy problem. To 'create' energy gain via efficiency or energy production technology will be the new dotcom craze - anything with mildly positive NARROW BOUNDARY energy gain will get funding, media, marketing etc. whereas a WIDE BOUNDARY analysis would suggest such technology will be 'netting to society' much less than our current system relies on. The boot-strap problem once all those things you mentioned need replacing and delivering around the world will require a certain minimum energy gain. But scaling low gain technologies just accelerates usage of the good stuff = burning candle at both ends.

At least you are ahead of the curve, both in thinking and in doing.


Along your line of thought: I think one of the problems that is not discussed even among doomers is the idea that fall-back positions will be necessary. For the moment, let me stick to wood cutting.

In my case, I also have a 24" and another 16" gas saw as back-ups plus 2-16" and 1-6" electric chainsaws I can run on my PV system or the generator. But the chains will eventually wear out and it will be time to go the manual saws. Besides a couple of bow saws, I also have a couple of 36" timber framing saws (one rip and one crosscut) that could be used and a couple of two-man misery whips.

Now, given the fact that everyone is pushing for BAU Lite/Green, I do believe it will become a snake oil bonanza which will waste precious time and resources. On top of that there will have been no psychological adaptation. I do believe psychological adaptation will play a key role in how the future plays out. I see nothing positive here.

Well, back to the slaves.


PS The August 18th issue of Chemical and Engineering News (published by the American Chemical Society - I'm a member) has a series of articles on "sustainability." I haven't finished them yet but I can see we are in for a world of hurt based upon what they believe is sustainable. I get the print edition but it should be available on line. Try http://www.CEN-ONLINE.org ou might have to be a member to view it.

I like the term 'misery whip'...I think it could apply to a lot of things I observe in my neck of the woods.

This reminds me of how I ended my article called The Path from Petroleum Shortages to Electricity Shortages.

We need to be looking closely at what is really feasible, and aiming for that level.

With the limited amount of electricity available from local production, our ability to manufacture things will be much reduced. We will need to prioritize what we do manufacture carefully, so as to have the basics covered--food, clothing, heating, and basic transportation. I doubt we will be able to count on imports for very much of our basic needs.

It seems to me that we should be analyzing the situation closely, and developing plans that will work, based on what has worked in the past. We should be thinking about raising more draft animals and building small windmills to pump water. We should be thinking about building bicycles, if we can get all of the necessary components locally sourced. We should be thinking about what infrastructure is really essential (fresh water, hydroelectric dams, geothermal electricity, basic roads), and taking steps to maintain it.

I think the danger is aiming too high, and ending up with virtually nothing that works.

As far as the US electricity supply grid is concerned there are three important points;(1)the retail cost of the 11,000kWh per capita consumed is only $1,000 -2,000 per year and many advanced economies get by with much less than this (2)Grid electricity is worth much much more than 10-20cents/kWh charged especially the first 1000 kWh/year used for refrigerators, lights, TV computers. If the grid needs more resources to be maintained people will put a higher priority on this than recreation driving , buying a new TV, flying, buying a new car.(3)manufacturing doesn't use a very high proportion of electricity, with the exception of producing new aluminium. In the future if transportation replaces FF with electricity, and NG use is replaced by electricity generated from nuclear, wind or solar then a greater capacity would be needed but for other reasons this will take time and allow these non FF sources to be expanded.
Considering transportation only, if the 250 million motor vehicles were to be 100%EV, would only use an extra 2500 kWh per person, the extra capacity of wind generated electricity that would be added over 25 years at todays capacity building.
In your article "the path from petroleum shortages to electricity shortages" you are assuming that people value electricity at the price they are paying today. When oil and NG availability dramatically declines, maintaining the electricity grid will be one of the highest priorities, even if this means much less NG will be used for actually generating power, it will be used for peak-backup, transport etc. Just converting NG used for heating to electric heat pumps will save a lot of NG even assuming 20% of electricity production is still from NG.
As you are aware wind power has a very high energy return on energy investment used for construction, and not very much oil or NG used (mainly steel and concrete), so the economy should be able add much more than 8GW wind capacity per year as NG becomes more expensive.

I am surprised that you included roads but not railroads. "Paths" with railroads is a better allocation of resources today. Dirt roads with railroads is almost all that we had in 1910, even within cities.

The mountain passes and tunnels cut by Chinese laborers in the 1870s for the first Trans-continental railroad are still in service. I took an 1897 subway every day to ASPO-Boston.

The longer lived the infrastructure, and the fewer resources required, the more sustainable it is. Railroads have roads beat. No salt required in the winter to keep them open (12 month service is better than being shut down repeatedly in the winter).

Only a very low level of technology is required to keep electric railroads operating. 1910 for electrified RRs, 1850 if not electrified.

If you are making priorities, forget roads and preserve, and even enlarge, railroads.

Best Hopes for Railroads, not roads,


Gail, I have a basic disagreement with your argument: Where you see outages and shortages I instead see much higher prices. The stuff continues to flow at lower levels at the prices that the market can bear. I do not see why we can't keep nukes, railroads, coal mines, wind turbines, and similar key pieces working.

If projections of the economic disruption that is likely to occur are halfway right, then energy use will take a hell of a hit anyway, so the idea that the grid would not be able to cope becomes less likely.
In addition, power cuts basically happen where the power is underpriced.
With the rapid rise in prices this is very likely to happen in Europe, as it would be politically impossible to raise them enough to compensate.
In the US, natural gas is in greater supply and if push comes to shove then more coal will be burnt, and hang GW.

You need to start collecting two man crosscut saws.

I have three of them picked up for about $10 each at an auction.

I have plenty of axes.

This is the way we used to do it back in Ye Oldense Dayse of my farm youth.

We would cut down and haul out , using mule power, several large logs. Spent the fall sawing blocks and splitting. My uncles would end up with easily 10 full cords. I can still see in my minds eye all those stacked up cords right next to the smoke house.

Yes it was hard work. What else should idle offspring be doing? Funny but it never struck me as 'work'. It was just living. My brother and I had to hand carry by the armloads all the cooking and hearing wood into the kitchen wood box as well as the one on the porch for the round belly heating stove.

Airdale-got two really huge blown down Red Oaks to cut , load and haul to my backyard for this winters heating and cooking.Free at that too.

Hi Nate and Todd,
You boys seem to be getting a little carried away with the "doomer" mentality. For example lets examine the cutting wood example in a little more detail. Todd seems to think that trees are re-growing as fast as he can use the wood but is concerned that his electric and gasoline powered chain saws will not be replaced because the world will run out of FF, infrastructure to manufacture and transport steel, plastics, replacement chains lubricating oil etc. Apart from the obvious solution to your problem by stock-pilling 100 years worth of replacement chains, lets look at a more typical person who hasn't planned ahead and relies on the electricity grid, a wants to buy a few dozen Kg of metal tools each year.
If most of the oil, coal and NG is used up in 20 years, the US would still have 2,200 Kwh per person/year from nuclear, and if wind energy capacity continues to be added at the 2008 rate of 8GW/year would have 2,000 Kwh per person/year from wind. These two sources are only 38% of the present electricity consumption but still a lot of non-FF electric power capacity, capable of supporting re-melting of 250 million cars for steel and re-cycling most metals, keeping the lights and computers running. Wind and nuclear facilities will have to be replaced but much of the steel is re-usable( except perhaps the reactor cores). Cement may be one of the expensive materials to replace once all the coal is used.
This would require a lower standard of living but still way above the living standard that most countries have now. Its very unlikely that wind and other renewable energy sources will not be built at a faster rate than at present as they only use a very small fraction of present resources.
Electricity may be more expensive, may go off-line 1-2 hours per day, but this isnt the end of the world, this is what happens now for billions of the worlds poorer people, 300Million people in US can still have a pretty good high tech life-style with 4200 Kwh of electricity per capita.
I am not sure though that there would be enough trees or that they will re-grow fast enough for 300 Million people to use them for heating. Most may have to rely on better insulation and electric heat pumps. When we run out of old SUV engine blocks for steel, could start on old office buildings, road bridges, steam rollers etc, after all many people think we wont need those things in 50 or 100 years time.

As an engineer, I agree with most of what you wrote. Thus, I'm rather surprised that this post has received several negative comments so far. I think it's rather obvious that recycling can provide useful quantities of metals long after the oil production has peaked. Are we so one sided in our doomer world view that we ignore the obvious opportunities to become vastly more efficient in the use of energy? I recall once hearing that most of the world's copper in use is actually the result of recycling of copper previously produced and used for other purposes. Aluminum is easily recycled using much less energy than that required for production from virgin ore. A slow wind down in our industrial economy could happen, although I think that the mental transition required for such won't happen fast enough, so the more likely future will be the Mad Max one...

E. Swanson

I think it's rather obvious that recycling can provide useful quantities of metals long after the oil production has peaked.

Or now. Many a home could have wind power within weeks, months or a couple of years just by raiding junkyards.

Ah, but no, we must spend billions, trillions on The Grid.


I was driving down 101 from camping up at Albee Creek, and as I was approaching Laytonville, I thought Todd is around here somewhere.
You do have many slaves!

Hey Buddy,

Why didn't you email me because I'm always glad to have visitors and I'm not too far off the highway? Maybe next time?


Will do-
I'm frequently in Mendo

Hey, I've been a member for three years and a day today! Thanks to Leanan and all the other contributers (and many of the commenters) at The Oil Drum for thoughtful analysis of a large and complex problem.

Well the odds are that you won't win, but if you do become President please don't be afraid to make significant and initially unpopular changes. Good luck.

And you're welcome.

Do you really think the odds are against McCain?

I think it's a tossup.

The Biden pick was a sign of nervousness. Not panic, as a Hillary pick would have been, and not confidence, as a Kaine pick would have been, but nervousness. Mr. Change chose Mr. Beltway.

I think it's become clear that the trouble Obama had vanquishing Hillary was at least as much about his weakness as her strength. His strength was the Iraq war, and that has faded for several reasons. The "surge" was seemingly a success, Bush and Condi are talking about a date for withdrawal, the war is just not as big an issue in the general as it was for Democrats, and the economy has become a much bigger worry.

What I cannot understand is how the economy being a worry helps McCain when his policies are just Bush's warmed-over, except that McCain is proposing even larger tax breaks for the top 0.1% ???
I guess it's just,
"“You Will Never Go Broke Underestimating the Intelligence of the American Public” – PT Barnum Or (HL Mencken)"

You would think Obama could kick McCain's butt on the economy.

But so far, he's not. The economy was Hillary's issue.

I think part of it is that Obama comes across as an elite academic/egghead type. "Not one of us." (What the truth is doesn't matter. Middle America sees Dubya as "one of us," even though he went to prep school, Yale, etc.)

Race and gender are certainly issues, but class is probably bigger than either. This is the same thing that has sunk Democrats time and again over the past few decades. They keep chosing intellectuals, but the voters want "someone they can have a beer with."

P.S. I think the reason McCain is doing so well on the economy is his "drill, drill, drill" mantra. Peak oil is playing a part in this election, though not explicitly.

P.S. I think the reason McCain is doing so well on the economy is his "drill, drill, drill" mantra. Peak oil is playing a part in this election, though not explicitly.

The way I see it, is McCain managed to change the economy frame, to its all about energy. Here drill, drill, drill, sounds like a serious solution to the average Joe. And the Republicans have invested decades implanting the "democrats tax and spend" meme into all of our brains. So emotionally, anytime a voter sees a D on a ballot, his gut thinks of unpleasant tax bills.

They keep chosing intellectuals, but the voters want "someone they can have a beer with."

Whether or not the voters really want a beer buddy, the Republicans know elections are won/lost based upon the subconscious emotion based thinking of the average Joe. The Democrats, think that the enlightenment conception of thinking, as a rational assessment of reality, then a selection based upon our desires, is widespread. The reality, is even experts only think this way with constant disclipline. So the Democrats keep trying to show they have the best realitybased plan, while the Repubs pound away on the subconscious emotional stuff. So if you go onto a college campus, or to a rare ethnic group, American Jews who pride themselves on intellect, you find the Democrats are overwhelming favored. But for the average Joe, he is somewhat more likely to favor Democratic policies, but he just doesn't like their candidates. The later feeling is decisive more often then not.

The Democrats, think that the enlightenment conception of thinking, as a rational assessment of reality, then a selection based upon our desires, is widespread.

I'm not so sure about this. The left worldview rests on a dangerous fantasy that resources are plentiful enough to redistribute fairly. This is unreal and irrational.

The right has a similar fantasy of growth as a tide that lifts all boats. That is to say, disparity of wealth is OK with them because everyone is better off today than the past, which means that future poor will be wealthier than today's rich.

Both are wrong. Median wealth was probably highest before agriculture, and lowest today. Most people are worse off than in the past, and will be even more badly off in the future.

I'm not so sure about this. The left worldview rests on a dangerous fantasy that resources are plentiful enough to redistribute fairly. This is unreal and irrational.

So are the social welfare states of Europe "unreal and irrational"? And are their longer life expectancies, better health metrics,longer vacations, lower murder/incarceration rates, and more equal wealth distributions "unreal" too?
And is cutting US taxes for the wealthiest 0.1% to lower rates than the working class pays "real and rational"?

Humans have chosen different degrees of social inequality at all different wealth levels. Kalahari bushmen can fit all their possesions in a sack and yet they share among tribal members. But somehow, the modern US does not have resources that are "plentiful enough to redistribute fairly"?

Clearly no society is purely egalitarian and efforts to move towards better distribution at some extreme will create diminishing returns and become dysfunctional. But on the continuum of income inequality (Gini coefficient,etc.) societies with more equitable wealth distribution are more peaceful, more productive, and just plain better places to live (Ask the wealthy in Mexico, hiding behind armed guards in walled estates and implanting satellite-tracking chips to thwart kidnappers, if their quality of life is really better than a middle-class Scandinavian relaxing in his island cottage on his 8 week summer vacation)

So are the social welfare states of Europe "unreal and irrational"? And are their longer life expectancies, better health metrics,longer vacations, lower murder/incarceration rates, and more equal wealth distributions "unreal" too?
And is cutting US taxes for the wealthiest 0.1% to lower rates than the working class pays "real and rational"?

No, you are right about all of these things, if our discussion is limited to the welfare of pale-skinned people.

If our discussion includes the darker-skinned people of the world, the European system is unfair because it is impossible for everyone to enjoy. There simply aren't enough resources to go around. There is no way to allocate Earth's resources such that average Africans can expect to jet somewhere yearly for a one month vacation during which they sleep in hotels and eat in restaurants.

Incidentally, I watched a show on MTV2 today called "I'm dead broke" which followed the stories of a few broke young Americans. Some of the details were simply astounding.

1. a young man on parole has no car, and must travel 18 miles for a parole meeting. he has two days. rather than walk 9 miles a day (that's three hours of walking a day) he just kept on moaning about wanting a ride, how he needs a ride, oh woe is him. he did finally finagle a ride, and if he hadn't at that moment he would have broken his parole. think i saw some children's bicycles in his house.

2. a young woman is saving up for a car. at some point she had $400 and put it in her room. one day, it was gone. later, she had $200 more and put it in her room. one day, it was gone too. it's hard to believe that $600 is that hard to hide. a few minutes creative thinking would have produced a good hiding spot? it's possible to buy a "visa gift card" for cash and register it so that nobody can use it but you. and also, banks.

3. the young man on parole again. his family was being evicted for failing to pay $3000 back rent. they had only a few hundred dollars, total. they got a new place, finally with running water. cut to a shot of the family cooking plenty of meat on a barbecue for themselves. meat is expensive. that kind of meat might cost a hundred dollars or so. i wonder why they couldn't pay the rent in the first place?

rather than walk 9 miles a day ...

1. Through what kind of neighborhoods?
2. And sleep where at the end of day one?
3. And eat what over the course of his 2 day trek?
4. And get home how (repeat 1-3) after his parole meeting?

I thought you said he was dead broke.
It's all too easy to tell "other" people what to do when you don't walk in their shoes.
(By the way, did he have good shoes?)

1. countryside, looked like.
2. dunno, looked like there was some forest to sleep in. would take some ingenuity to wash up in the morning. could do it in a public bathroom, like in a library or a gas station. some people do that every day.
3. nutritious compact dry food that keeps you alive is cheaper than breaking parole. bread is a start.
4. 3,2,1. I'm not saying this would be fun. But it's a lot nicer than what anyone had 100 years ago.

we haven't mentioned that since an 18 mile walk is six hours, he could have woken up six hours before his parole hearing and walked there on that day. once the hearing is over, it's a six hour walk home. maybe he'd get home by 8pm or 10pm. doesn't sound all that punishing to me. i'd do that if i had to.

and then there are the children's bicycles, but oh whatever.

Good walking shoes are essential ! An overlooked need for cobblers post-Peak Oil.

I may spend half as much on shoe repairs this year as I do diesel.

And a bicycle, going slowly with stop signs/lights etc. can do 9 miles in an hour or so.

Best Hopes,


Yesterday to earn some cash I walked 15 miles in heavy steel caps, dug dirt and moved a couple of ton of rocks and pavers and then went home. 12 hour day for under 4 hours work for $70. If another casual job like that came up tomorrow I'd take it ( cash helps to build up SHTF preperation savings and I don't need a gym membership).

You, sir, are 10x as manly as those who rated me down for suggesting that a man could walk 18 miles to his parole hearing. Or ride a bicycle.

Lets see, I biked 34.5 miles today in 2 hours and 17 minutes in 90°F weather.

My wife and I regularly take a leisurely 7 mile round trip walk to Wal-Mart and local eateries from our house in about 2 hours.

I do not see what is so impossible about a 9 mile each way walk/ride if one's freedom is at risk...

"I do not see what is so impossible about ..."

I don't either. But I learned long ago not to judge my fellow human being until I've stood in his or her shoes.

Most people do not get up in the morning and say to themselves, Today I'm going to be the worst human being I possibly can be. There can be all sorts of things going on: physical illness, mental illness, a history of an abusive childhood, etc. I don't know. Obviously this individual has been on the wrong track for a while given that he was in prison. Maybe he is simply lazy, spoiled, and highly manipulative. Maybe not. I just don't know & am not ready to jump to conclusions based on very limited information. TV documentaries tend to have an agenda and to tilt the funnel vision picture they portray towards that agenda.

if you go onto ... a rare ethnic group, American Jews who pride themselves on intellect

Hate to say this about my own people, but a lot of them are emotionally convinced that Obama is a Manchurian Muslim and that he will be very "bad for Israel". On the other hand, McCain will be the white-haired Crusader Rabbit who will preserve the status quo.

Actually, there is nothing too special about "Jews" despite what anyone on either side of the final solution debate would like to believe. We are very human. When you prick us, we bleed. When you brain wash us, we follow like zombies. All humans are pretty much the same around the world, easily manipulated by think tank technologies.

BTW, It's pretty amazing that we in "democratic" America (small D) celebrate the Olympics. Basically, it is all about proving national "superiority". If you are from nation ____X (which by the way, happens to be the "greatest" nation on Earth), then you are superior over the others because "your" athletes won a gold metal. Hitler had pretty much the same notion except that his appeal was based on racial superiority rather than "nationalistic" superiority. It is this feeling of nationalistic superiority that fools so many an average Joe. Run out of gas? Not here! This is America. We have American ingenuity. We have the "yes we can" mentality. We can do anything if only we put our nationally superior minds to it (and our powerful wishing wands as well). After all, it is "we" who went to the Moon first. (My apologies to non-USA TODders. You have to be American to understand this emotionally charged mindset.)

Americans are not unique. The French have their own version, but they are doing something to actually prepare.

Best Hopes for Realism,


Yes I agree with you in general! I grew up in the USA and lived there until I was 30 but then moved to Asia and have lived here 13 years. Growing up in the US I was always amazed when politicians would assert that the US was "the greatest country in the HISTORY of the WORLD". I mean, how would anyone be able to prove that exactly? As a child, I spent lots of time visiting relatives in Europe and thought the two countries there I stayed in were pretty great, if not even better than the US....better food and lots of cute little stone churches at least.... Now I'm enjoying here (Japan) too.

After I became peak oil aware, I decided that perhaps politicians in the US were conflating high energy use with "greatness". And then when I researched the Maximum Power Principle, and realized that "political power" and "energy/rate power" were using the same word "power" I thought that maybe the USA's political and global and economic power was somewhat based on its ability to harvest the energy of FF very very very fast, come what may.

It is true that the US uses and has used the most energy at the highest rate of any country in the history of the world.(I'm supposing this is true) By that standard, maybe it deserves to be known as distinctive.

I don't see picking Biden as a sign of nervousness. I think he is a great choice for VP. It reminds me of Kennedy/Johnson. Johnson new the ins and outs of Congress so he could help the president get his agenda passed. Different personalities, similar situation.

I don't see picking Biden as a sign of nervousness.

I do. Obama ran on "change"...then picked a guy who's been in Congress 35 years.

Biden was the guy the Democratic muckamucks wanted him to pick. I think if Obama had a wider lead, he'd have picked someone like Kaine instead.

Not that the VP candidate really makes a difference...

I think if Obama had a wider lead, he'd have picked someone like Kaine instead.

There has been talk of Biden as Obama's VP since even before he dropped out way back when.

I think yet again you are being too negative on Obama. Hillary lost, get over it.

And I think you are out of touch with America.

The various talking heads are all wondering why Obama's lead is shrinking (and has even disappeared in some polls). I think CNN's Jeffrey Toobin has it right. The main problem is that "it's hard for Democrats to win elections."

This has nothing to do with Hillary. (I'm sure she'd be having similar problems if she were the nominee, albeit with different groups of voters.) Obama's problem with some Hillary supporters is because he's not an appealing candidate to them, not because they loved her so much.

America is out of touch with reality. That the sneak attack on South Ossetian civilians by a US stooge is enough to derail Obama and the Democrats speaks volumes as the the level of freedom in the US. The US media is controlled by the neocons. The lying by CNN, Fox and other TV news is simply obscene. Too bad the US public is still for the most part gullible enough to trust this misinformation.

Biden's hardly a typical Washington insider. He commutes by train (!) from Delaware every day to D.C. Something every serious reader of "The Oil Drum" should appreciate.

Actually, I think the real reason they picked Biden is that he can be a good attack dog. That was the biggest criticism of John Edwards. They didn't expect him to deliver the south or anything. But they did expect him to attack the opposition in a way Kerry could not. (That was perhaps unreasonable. As some pointed out, Edwards comes across as more puppy than a bulldog.)

Biden is the anti-Edwards. His job is to attack McCain, while Obama stays positive and uplifting.

If they had a big lead, they might have tried to stay positive all the way, but I think it's clear that's not going to work.

Actually, I think the real reason they picked Biden is that he can be a good attack dog.

Don't know if it's the *real* reason, but it's the best one. Set that dog loose. Start with comparing Obama's and McCain's tax plans on their own wealth and income as suggested at Talking Points Memo.


Lenan glad I was wrong about Hillary.

Burned my fingers first time I got involved in something I know nothing about.

I still am very concerned about Iran however.

Are you going to reveal your source? You said you would. :-)

Do you really think the odds are against McCain?

I have no opinion and don't follow it closely but there are active 'betting markets' that are quite deep that have had Obama favored for a very long time - currently he is 62-38 favorite which is almost 2:1 (You buy an 'obama' contract at 62 and if he wins its worth 100. you can also 'short' obama at 62 and if he loses it will be worth zero. http://www.intrade.com/

(Note that just below the presidential wagers the 'us or israel bombing of iran by year end 2008' is valued at 18.8 or just under 1 chance in 5....thats pretty high odds.

I'm not sure I buy the "wisdom of crowds." Especially when said crowds are limited to those with the wealth, leisure, and education required to participate in these sites...

But FWIW...yesterday's map shows that for the first time, Obama fell below the number of electoral votes to win. He still has more than McCain does, but the trend is not going his way.

This is interesting, because last time, In-Trade correctly predicted that Kerry would get no bounce from the convention, when he lost ground in In-Trade betting just before the convention.

I am pretty sure I have seen the San Francisco Peak Oil Task Force discussed here on DB before (http://www.sfenvironment.org/our_policies/overview.html?ssi=20).

However, on there is a link to a pretty cool poster. Not sure if they get the info from the wiki oil megaproject or what...but nice, have a look:


That poster has been around for years. You can see the data ends in 2005. So it probably doesn't include Wiki stuff. It was printed long before the Megaproject wiki was even a gleam in anyone's eye.

Did DRUMBEAT miss this one?

Are Oil Prices Rigged?

We've all read that speculators are driving oil prices artificially high — a claim that gets more interesting in light of oil's recent fall below $115. But maybe we're looking at it from the wrong perspective. Suppose that major suppliers in the oil industry are these manipulative speculators.


It is in every oil supplier's best interest for prices to go up. Oil is a finite commodity. The world will eventually become more efficient and develop alternative energy sources. In the meantime, suppliers want to squeeze out as much profit as possible from their limited resources. Even if they know that the price of oil is too high (to the point of reducing demand) it is not in their interest to correct it. By setting prices in the smaller but more "trusted" futures market, oil producers realize multiplied gains on their physical oil sales.

Ari J. Officer studies financial mathematics at Stanford University. Garrett J. Hayes studies materials science and engineering at Stanford University

The entire article doesn't even mention supply constraints, falling exports, or any real world issues of actually bringing the product to market in the first place.

They must think it comes to the futures market from Wal-Mart on a semi!

Did DRUMBEAT miss this one?

No. :-)

Phew - hard to get one past OilDrum!

I'll blame the time zone, and the sheer quantity of material to keep up with. ;-)

The story about fuel hoarding in NZ - the place mentioned is so remote and small - that it is no surprise that people there fill up when they head into town.

It's a tourist service village for Milford Sound. Hardly a normal situation.

Not really a case of hoarding - but one of being practical, and saving a few dollars as well.

Legal limit is no more than 50 litres in containers on a property - before you need a 'dangerous goods licence' - although I know that this is never enforced to any great extent.

Most farms would have a 500 litre tank of petrol and/or diesel at least. They would have this licenced - AND well locked up!!

Say what you may about Obama et al but this is timely


Hillary people are cheering!

The guy is a nut case who often files frivolous lawsuits.

This issue has been put to rest.

Besides, it seems to me that the vast majority of those originally for Hillary are coming around to support Obama.

"Stelmach recently met with Wilkins in an effort to convince more U.S politicians of the importance of Alberta's energy supply. Oil from the sands goes only to the U.S. and Canada now. The sands provide 46 percent of Canada's oil production and that's expected to be 80 percent by 2020. Mayor Melissa Blake of the Wood Buffalo municipal district, which includes Fort McMurray, also noted Alberta could sell its oil elsewhere if it does not flow south of the border. "We're still going to have a market somewhere," Blake said."

The American mayors who denounce dirty oil are secure in the knowledge that it is just rhetoric. But everytime they do that, another pipeline is planned going west, not south, from the oilsands, to the Pacific coast. China doesn't fuss about where it gets it oil.

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach is a low-key farm boy, but he can be tough when he wants to be. In the recent provincial election, the Tories increased their majority despite a campaign against them by the petroleum companies upset at his proposal to raise royalty rates on Crown land (which is basically most of the oilsands).

Re: Peak Oil And Future History

Maybe this is just a personal idiosyncrasy, but I find it MUCH easier to genuinely grasp the time frame and inevitability of Peak Oil when it is posed in terms of 'net exporters' becoming 'net importers' soon after their own oil fields go into decline. Using that frame of reference also seems to enhance my effectiveness in communicating the Peak Oil concept to others.

If this has also been your experience then I encourage others to discus precisely why it might be so and how the technique might be further refined, so as to increase our effectiveness in disseminating the PO message to a broader audience.

For example; one reason I believe that approach is easier to comprehend is that it enables the listener to quickly condense vast amounts of data into just two mental categories which involve the personal welfare of the listener (i.e. "I can/cannot buy fuel from that source any longer.)

Does anyone know the impact of these recent acid treatments of water injector wells in Ghawar on oil production rates? No rigs are required for these treatments.

Aramco says it will enhance oil recovery. Perhaps the recovery factor doesn't change and instead the oil is just extracted faster, prior to a steeper production decline rate.

Aramco Journal of Technology Winter 2007

Case History: Application of Coiled Tubing Tractor to Acid Stimulate Open Hole Extended Reach Power Water Injector Well

and Welltec Case Study on same water injector well

A coiled tubing (CT) well tractor was used for the first time in Ghawar to acid stimulate an extended horizontal power water injector of total depth of 17,716 ft. After the acid treatment the injection rate was enhanced from 13,000 barrels water/day (BWPD) to 28,000 BWPD. This increase in the injection rate helped to sustain the reservoir pressure in the area while increasing the oil production target.

Aramco Journal of Technology Summer 2008

The Largest Acid Stimulation in a Dual Lateral Power Water Injector in Saudi Aramco


Post acid injector rates increased from 15,000 BWPD to 80,000 BWPD, using CT with a multilateral tool. Each lateral water injector was over 13,000 ft. The continuous success will help to improve the water injection system in the Ghawar field and will enhance oil recovery. As a result of this successful treatment, Aramco avoided drilling two horizontal wells in this area.

Hello Ace,

Your Questions:
"Does anyone know the impact of these recent acid treatments of water injector wells in Ghawar on oil production rates? No rigs are required for these treatments.

Aramco says it will enhance oil recovery. Perhaps the recovery factor doesn't change and instead the oil is just extracted faster, prior to a steeper production decline rate.

Your last link talks about injecting hydrochloric acid into the Ghawar water injectors.

[scroll down about 2/3rds of page]

Other applications:

...In addition, a way of stimulating oil production is by injecting hydrochloric acid into the rock formation of an oil well, dissolving a portion of the rock, and creating a large-pore structure. Oil-well acidizing is a common process in the North Sea oil production industry.
We need Rockman, Euan, F_F, Elwoodelmore, or other TODers to weigh in on how acidizing in the N Sea relates to your Questions Above. I have no idea. :(

IF Aramco and other crude producers are going to start doing this acidizing process bigtime: expect them to hoard the sulfur they extract from sour crude & natgas even more, as sulfur is used to make many other acids. IF huge amounts of sulfur is required to make hydrochloric acid, then that might help explain why sulfur prices have jumped fourteenfold in such a short time.
FROM THE WINDOW of a crew plane, the mountainous, bright-yellow structure can be seen from miles away. Closing in on Apache’s Zama field in northwestern Alberta, Canada, the golden stockpile comes into focus.

The immense mound, a byproduct of years of oil and gas production, is made up of elemental sulfur derived from the hydrogen sulfide (H2S) stripped from the field’s sour hydrocarbons (to sweeten it) and then formed into layers of blocks at the Zama Production Office and Gas Processing Facility.

Thanks to Apache’s Zama Acid Gas Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) Project, the growth of that sulfur mound – as well as air emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2, a greenhouse gas) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) from flaring (a contributor to acid rain) released during the sweetening process – soon will come to a halt. By late September, Zama’s sulfur plant will be shut down.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?


All I can do is make a wild guess re: the KSA acid jobs. Usually you acidize for one of two reasons. Initially, before a well begins production, it allows better flow paths from the reservoir to the well bore. Doing it for that reason late in the life of a well probably won't add a great deal of production. The second reason is to clear out accumulated carbonate material in the well bore. Some reservoirs, as they are produced, will deposit carbonate minerals near the well bore and in the production tubing itself. It essentially plugs up the plumbing. Not knowing what their specific goal was it’s hard to speculate on the potential up tick. But, in general, though these efforts can make economic sense because they are relatively cheap, it’s not going to add a great deal to the production stream of older wells. But, like I said earlier, without details it’s just a guess.

Regarding ..Peak Oil And Future History

Perhaps this new book ... The Long Descent" by John Michael Greer


A different view than Kunsler

A US warship has arrived in the Georgian port of Batumi carrying the first delivery of aid supplies by sea.

Meanwhile, a train carrying fuel has exploded after hitting a mine near Gori, Georgia's interior ministry said.

A huge plume of black smoke could be seen across the area and witnesses said the force of the blast had forced some of the train's wagons off the tracks.

So they are burning crude just for the hell of it, but Nepal is running on empty:

In fuel-starved Nepal, filling tank is a full day's job

KATHMANDU (AFP) — How to get hold of petrol is one of the hottest topics in Nepal ever since its sole supplier, India, began refusing to sell fuel on credit a year ago to Nepal's state-run fuel monopoly, which owes it millions of dollars.

The ensuing shortage has led to rationing and pump queues of several kilometres.

Is FF-delusion rampant due to Nepalese high altitude oxygen deprivation? You would think a little Peak Outreach would have sunk into their brains by now:

Golfers threaten Nepal peace

Nepalese authorities want to open up the Annapurna region to activities such as heli-skiing, whitewater rafting, spa relaxation and golf...
I guess that even if I can convince Tiger Woods to start plowing golf courses into veggie plots: others will build more. :(

Also further down in the same link:
A huge statue of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius has been uncovered by a team of archeologists working at Sagalassos, in Turkey. The 17ft-high marble statue dates back to AD165 and is reported to be “in superb condition”. Professor Marc Waelkens, leader of the Belgian team that found the statue, is delighted. “To give you an idea of the size: when I am standing in front of the legs, my head is not even reaching the knees,” he said. “I really can't describe how beautiful this is. It’s unbelievable.”
I suggest they post a copy of Shelley's "Ozymandius" nearby to give it a historical context.

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

Are we restarting O-NPK immigration* or was 'long pig' on the menu?

It was a grisly find as two bags full of human skulls and bones were seized from a roadside eatery at Panitanki on the Indo-Nepal border.
Recall earlier links on no food, no fuel, no I-NPK, and no money for many Nepalese.

*Ships dead-heading to the British Isles immigrated 3.5 million/year.

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

Without fossil fuels, any country can support only about 4 people per hectare of arable land, as David Pimentel has explained in great detail. That puts many countries at well beyond the maximum sustainable size. What is going to happen to the excess population between now and the year 2030 (when oil production will be down to half of its present level)? Answer: either emigration or starvation.

This can't be true. America has the largest amount of Peak Oil pundits and gurus, and only two - Tad Patzek and Albert Bartlett have called for an end to American population growth (implicitly). Surely the others can't be too afraid to voice that opinion - they must all believe that less oil in the future can still support more people. Surely these powerful thinkers can't all be lacking cajones.

You're being facetious, right?

More than 50,000 people are now reported to have fled their homes after a dam collapsed in south-eastern Nepal, officials say.
I guess no potable water can now be another addition to Nepal's Peak Everything [and they want golf courses?].

Heck, just go to the 'Dubai Desert' for snow-skiing, golfing, spas, swimming, etc. Given the delusional way my Asphalt Wonderland of Phx is going-->I bet some real estate developer wants to very cheaply buy, then bulldoze some foreclosed McMansions, then build an indoor ski-run on the land.

Then when things get real bad: it can then be used as the world's largest freezer for storing long pig. :(

Anyone remember the spurious OPEC reserves?


Check the UAE 1980 reserves. Something like 28 billion barrels. Then twenty years ago out of the blue they almost tripled their published reserves. The place had already been explored end to end. It is not as big as Siberia or the Tarim Basin, nor as deep as the Mississipi Canyon.

They have been been producing over a billion barrels a year now. A search of their expansion programs showed planned reworking of existing fields and some new field additions. The fact that they need to bring Huwailai, a 30,000 barrel a day field, into production may be worrisome. Usually the largest and best fields were tapped in advance of the smaller and more technically difficult fields.