DrumBeat: September 16, 2008

Oil at 7-month low on Wall Street woes

Crude futures fall more than $4 a barrel as economic concerns fuel market fears that demand for energy will not recover any time soon.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Oil prices settled at a seven-month low Tuesday as the meltdown on Wall Street pulled the oil market's focus to the economic slowdown that has already been cutting away at demand for energy.

Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy Monday, Merrill Lynch agreed to be purchased by Bank of America over the weekend, and American International Group continued to be hit by downgrades even as it struggles to come up with capital.

Oil closed $4.56 lower to $91.15 a barrel, after reaching as low as $90.51. Tuesday's settle was the lowest since Feb. 7, when oil closed at $88.11 a barrel.

On Monday, oil traded down $5.47, bringing the 2-day loss to $10.03.

"The sheer rise of oil as a financial instrument through July of this year is what pushed it higher, and it's now showing the other side of the same sword, with prices pushing lower," said Peter Beutel of energy risk management firm Cameron Hanover.

Saudi Arabia Will Probably Cut Oil Supply, Riyadh Banker Says

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest crude oil exporter, will probably reduce supplies before the next OPEC meeting in December after the group pledged to respect output quotas, a Riyadh-based banker said.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries told its members on Sept. 10 to ``strictly'' comply with production quotas after oil prices fell 30 percent from a record. Prices have since slid another $10 to $92 a barrel in New York. OPEC next meets in Oran, Algeria, on Dec. 17.

``They will continue to reduce production until the December meeting,'' John Sfakianakis, chief economist at Saudi British Bank, said in an interview in London today. The kingdom will likely pump about 9.2 million barrels a day by the next gathering, he said, compared with 9.5 million last month.

Device exploded at Shell's Dublin office

The 'bomb' was described as a "simple, improvised explosive device" and its remains are now being investigated.

Shell Ireland has reportedly described the incident as a "sinister development".

Opposition challenges Russia-Serbia energy deal

A pro-Western opposition party says it is challenging a key gas and oil deal with Russia at Serbia's Constitutional Court.

The Liberal Democratic Party says in a statement that the deal was unconstitutional because it includes the sale of Serbia's state oil monopoly without a public bidding and gives away strategic resources to another country.

Venezuela says oil to settle at $90-$100 per barrel

CARACAS (Reuters) - Volatile oil prices will settle from $90 to $100 per barrel, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez said on Tuesday.

CenterPoint crews find ruined power system in Galveston

Ike snapped power poles in half or washed them away. Downed power lines now dangle from splintered poles or crisscross streets littered with tree limbs, broken glass and other debris.

What appear to be high-tension lines and poles along FM 3005 on the city's hard-hit West End lay toppled and broken for miles.

Water and electricity have been restored in some spots, but officials said it could take weeks for power to return to the entire island.

Arctic sea ice melt comes close, but misses record

WASHINGTON - Crucial Arctic sea ice this summer shrank to its second lowest level on record, continuing an alarming trend, scientists said Tuesday.

Expert: Rebalancing global economy means more energy to developing economies

LONDON (Xinhua) -- A profound rebalancing of the global economy requires increasing levels of energy and amounts of raw materials for developing countries, Pierre Gadnonneix, head of World Energy Council said here on Tuesday.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the two-day FT-WEC Energy Leaders Summit, the WEC chairman said: "The IMF estimates that by 2012, developing countries will be producing more than 50 percent of global growth, which requires increasing levels of energy and amounts of raw materials for developing countries to support their growth."

This shift is so rapid that it has created lasting tensions on energy prices because capacity has not kept up with demand, the WEC chief said.

Each day there are 200,000 more people on the earth, and these people want to live a better life than their parents, which helps make energy demands to increase by up to 50 percent between now and 2030, Gadnonneix said.

Peak Oil, or Just Peak Oil Prices?

This summer, as oil prices set record after record, many in the “peak oil” camp were thumping their chests. The massive price spikes in the space of a few months underscored their warnings that global oil supplies weren’t keeping up with global oil demand, and that things could only get worse.

Plenty of analysts figured $200 oil was inevitable; at the very least, $100 would be the “new norm.” The era of permanently high and rising oil prices were going to spark an energy revolution in the U.S. and the rest of the industrialized world. Oil prices rose so much so fast, Congress all but started replaying tapes of Jimmy Carter’s cardigan speech to get in the “energy independence” mood again. SUVs became instant highway pariahs. Tire pressure came to dominate part of the presidential debate nationwide. Californians decided offshore oil drilling wasn’t so bad, after all.

So what happened? Since hitting its peak in July, crude has fallen 38%. This month alone, two hurricanes have hammered the Gulf Coast’s oil and refining infrastructure—driving oil down another 20%.

Damage for drillers 10-20 pct of Katrina-Tidewater

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The damage wrought by the latest two hurricanes on Gulf of Mexico energy operations is no more than a fifth of what they suffered after Hurricane Katrina, according to the chief financial officer of Tidewater Inc.

"What I'm hearing is that the damage from Gustav and Ike is nothing near the catastrophic situation we had after Katrina three year ago," CFO Keith Lousteau told investors at a Bank of America conference in San Francisco on Monday.

Petrobras goes for Argentine goal

Brazilian giant Petrobras has given the green light to a $90 million development on the company's first ever discovery in the Argentine province of Santa Cruz, with a production target of 6000 barrels per day.

Depression economics

Among worthy spending projects, I'd put a decent national rail system on the top of the list, combined with major buildout of rail systems in major cities. Whether for "peak oil" reasons, general environmental reasons, or just general urban pleasantness reasons, trains are by far the superior solution. We should have a train system at least as good as that of France, and why not a few steps better while we're at it.

Ice Core Studies Confirm Accuracy Of Climate Models

An analysis has been completed of the global carbon cycle and climate for a 70,000 year period in the most recent Ice Age, showing a remarkable correlation between carbon dioxide levels and surprisingly abrupt changes in climate.

The findings, just published in the online edition of the journal Science, shed further light on the fluctuations in greenhouse gases and climate in Earth's past, and appear to confirm the validity of the types of computer models that are used to project a warmer climate in the future, researchers said.

Study: Health care begins to feel economic impact

Rising oil prices affect the cost of goods made from petroleum-based materials such as plastics, says the report called Navigating the Perfect Storm: Understanding the Steep Rise in Supply Chain Commodity Costs.

That cost also impacts the price of natural latex rubber, which is affected by the demand for man-made rubber. Also, the production price for steel — used to make surgical instruments, needles and other items — jumped 26.5 percent since May 2005. The price for bulk paper and pulp — used for patient and surgical gowns and masks — also has increased.

Australia: Bus system heading for a crash

BUSES have quietly plied their way around the leafy northern suburbs of Sydney without too much trouble for the past two decades. But that is set to change drastically if petrol prices continue to rise, according to an alarming new report by the University of Sydney.

In a worst-case scenario, where the price of petrol soars by $1 per litre each year to 2017, the number of people trying to climb aboard a Forest Coach Lines bus between St Ives and the city would climb 1600 per cent.

Instead of carrying about 1500 commuters in the morning peak each day, the buses would have to transport more than 24,000 - an almost impossible task. While Forest currently has 70 buses in service, it would need 480 vehicles for this route alone.

Valero: most of Texas City refinery has power

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Valero Energy Corp said on Tuesday that power has been restored to most production units at its 245,000-barrel-per-day Texas City, Texas, oil refinery in the wake of Hurricane Ike.

Company spokesman Bill Day said in an email the company is working to restore power at its 295,000-bpd Port Arthur, Texas, refinery. Power has been restored to most production units at the 130,000-bpd Houston, Texas, refinery.

"All three refineries remain shut down," Day said.

Chevron says some platforms toppled by Hurricane Ike

"Reconnaissance flights indicate that some platforms have been affected, with several reported as toppled in the eastern and western shelf areas," the company said in a press release.

North Carolina: Fuel shortage could hurt school bus service

RALEIGH -- North Carolina school districts are being warned that there's a shortage of fuel available that could potentially force cuts in school bus service.

The vendors who provide the diesel to operate the state's public school buses say they're not getting fuel due to Hurricane Ike, according to Derek Graham, section chief for transportation services for the state Department of Public Instruction. Some school districts have not received their loads of diesel fuel as a result.

Noble GOM Fleet - 3 Semisubs with Mooring Damage

Noble Corporation reports that in the wake of Hurricane Ike the Company has concluded an aerial survey and preliminary on board evaluations of most of its active U.S. Gulf of Mexico units. The Noble Paul Romano and Noble Amos Runner experienced mooring failures and drifted from their original respective locations, but have been boarded and power has been restored. In addition, the Noble Lorris Bouzigard has experienced damage to its mooring system but has remained in the area of its primary location.

Tennessee: EMS Services, Police Take Steps To Save Gas

GALLATIN, Tenn. - Some Middle Tennessee stations are still out of gas.

Fortunately the shortage has not shut down emergency crews.

But some agencies are considering back up plans just in case.

Why Is Gas So Expensive At Some Stations, But Not Others?

You see gas for $5.35 at one station, yet it's $3.69 a gallon just down the road. What's the deal?

Analyst: Gas prices should settle close to $4

Motorists will continue to pay more at the gas pump through September but could see some significant relief in coming months, an oil industry analyst said Monday.

Gas prices, which surged during the weekend as refineries in the Gulf of Mexico shut down for Hurricane Ike, should settle to about $4 per gallon of regular, said Tom Kloza, publisher and chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service in Wall, N.J.

"You can expect to see some of the highest prices, around $5 per gallon, to drift lower. You can expect to see the lower prices to drift up," Kloza said.

Gas stations' owner denies price gouging

"I didn't price gouge anybody and I've got the invoice to prove it," said Joe McCaskill, owner of Mac's Gas, a local chain of gas stations that attracted attention last week for charging $5.17 per gallon for fuel.

As proof, McCaskill's offered a receipt from Denver-based fuel distributor TransMontaigne showing a purchase Friday of 8,000 gallons of fuel at cost of $4.77 per gallon. With tax and freight costs added, McCaskill said he was selling his gas at cost.

McCaskill said Mac's prices across the region were higher than normal because the corporate gas stations like Shell, Exxon, BP and others received better deals from their distributors. With reports percolating last week that oil production would be stalled for up to 12 days, McCaskill bit the bullet and paid TransMontaigne $39,000 for his fuel allotment.

"It was a really bad decision," he said. On Monday, McCaskill dropped his price to $3.67, a loss of more than $1 per gallon on the shipment.

Georgia: School week may get shorter

The high price at the gas pump has the Muscogee County School District preparing for the possibility of a shorter school week.

During a board meeting Monday night, interim Superintendent John Phillips said school districts and city governments across the state are dealing with the rising cost of diesel fuel in the wake of Hurricane Ike.

Phillips said he wouldn't be surprised if Gov. Sonny Perdue cut a few school days to save fuel, saying it's happened before in times of emergency.

South Carolina: Fuel shortage leads to state restrictions

Gov. Mark Sanford and the state Budget and Control Board asked state agencies Monday to restrict nonessential travel for the week because of fuel shortages caused by Hurricane Ike.

The board also curbed deliveries between government offices statewide and pickup of surplus government items.

Fuel prices put brakes on driver profits

On any given Monday you can find a parking lot full of taxi drivers willing to talk about what a pain fuel prices are. But this week, its full of cabbies who now remember $3 a gallon gas as the good ole' days.

Gas prices, gouging and crude regulation

In fact, although it’s unlikely to deter Messieurs Harper, Layton, Dion and their colleagues from wringing their hands and musing darkly of the evil oil companies can do, industry experts say the recent rise in gas rates is no more inexplicable than the coming – and likely equally substantive – drop in pump prices will be.

No conspiracy behind gas prices

Federal party leaders who muse about how oil companies might be gouging consumers -- which comes as gasoline prices rose despite the per-barrel price of oil dropping -- should remember Ockham's principle. They should also reacquaint themselves with the basic facts of economic life, such as the effect of shortages on price.

ADB warns against another food shortage in Asia

Even if governments begin to invest in the agricultural sector, it will still take several years of good harvests to rebuild dwindling global grain stocks, said the Manila-based development bank.

"To do this, the prices that farmers receive for their produce must stay high, particularly since input costs have risen with oil prices. Fertilizer prices, for example, have soared and transport and other fuel-related costs for farm machinery are also up," said the economist.

Nigerian militants sabotage oil facilities

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria (Reuters) - Nigerian militants attacked two oil installations in the heaviest fighting in the Niger Delta in two years, security sources said on Tuesday.

OPEC Emergency Meeting Would Be Premature, Iran Says

(Bloomberg) -- OPEC needs to study the effects of its production cuts before considering an emergency meeting, Iran's OPEC governor said as prices fell to a seven-month low.

``Ministers need at least September and October data to see the impact of OPEC's decision on the market,'' Mohammad Ali Khatibi told Bloomberg in a phone interview from Tehran today. ``We cannot be in a hurry -- an emergency meeting would be a judgment in a rush.''

Venezuela eyeing China as oil buyer

BEIJING: China is set to expand its influence right into the heart of the American continent with the help of the Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, who recently expelled the United States envoy from his country.

Chavez is going to visit Beijing in search of buyers for Venezuelan oil, which he has stopped selling to the United States.

Pakistan: GIs on cross-border raids will be shot

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Pakistan's military has ordered its forces to open fire if U.S. troops launch another air or ground raid across the Afghan border, an army spokesman said Tuesday.

The orders, which come in response to a highly unusual Sept. 3 ground attack by U.S. commandos, are certain to heighten tension between Washington and a key ally against terrorism.

The deepening auto recession

For the past several months, industry executives had expected to see an improvement in their business prospects in 2010, when new models arrive, the economy brightened and a lower-wage union contract kicked in. But doubts are creeping into the forecast that could push recovery further into the future.

For instance, Ford's highly touted new small cars from Europe, the Fiesta and the Focus, may encounter resistance from consumers who are not used to paying premium prices for subcompact and compact cars.

Environmentalists target oil sands investors

CALGARY — Environmental group Greenpeace Tuesday launched a new attack on Alberta's oil sands, claiming that energy companies BP PLC and Royal Dutch Shell have underestimated the potential risks to investors of oil sands development.

Renewables push

MEPs confirmed the 20% EU-wide target for renewables and made no changes to those for individual countries, which range from 10-42%, reflecting each one’s starting point and the effort it has already made. These mandatory targets would be buttressed by indicative interim objectives for 2015, and would be enforced by the threat of financial penalties of up to €110 per megawatt for laggards and incentives of €30-40 per mw for those that surpass them (an idea that raises some hackles in the Council of Ministers).

Aussie Web site urges moms to swap, not shop

SYDNEY - Why shop when you can swap? An Australian bartering Web site is targeting moms keen to live the good life despite the economic slowdown, and their children.

Brazil turns down OPEC invitation

SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) -- Top Brazilian energy officials say they have declined an invite from Saudi Arabia to join OPEC, explaining that Brazil plans to refine, not export, crude oil from recently discovered deep water reserves.

Brazilian state news agency Agencia Brasil on Monday cited Mines and Energy Minister Edison Lobao, who said the invitation was extended recently.

Paulo Roberto Costa, a high-ranking executive with the state-run Petroleo Brasileiro SA oil company, confirmed that Brazil had turned the offer down because it plans to refine crude at home in order to export costlier petroleum products.

EPA Approves Third Hurricane-Related Fuel Waiver For Texas

Washington, D.C. (AHN) - With fuel supplies disrupted by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, the EPA has approved a waiver of certain Clean Air Act requirements on selling low emission diesel fuel in Texas to ensure there is enough fuel there.

This is the third in a series of fuel quality waivers to make sure that there is flexibility for the fuel distribution systems in affected areas and, the EPA said in a statement emailed late Monday night.

Sheetz Says Fuel Shortages in MD, NC Won't Hit PA Pumps

Fuel shortages caused by Hurricane Ike are hitting Sheetz gas stations in Maryland, Virginia and parts of North Carolina.

The Altoona-based company says some of its convenience stores began running out of gas over the weekend due to the shutdown Thursday of a major southeastern distribution artery run by the Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline Company. Sheetz spokeswoman Monica Jones says she doesn't know when they will be resupplied. But Jones says the gasoline supply in Pennsylvania should be unaffected.

Cincinnati: Stores, Gas Stations Running out of Supplies

The big blackout is causing problems for the gas stations that have power. Several local stations are beginning to run out.

The BP at the intersection of Beechmont and Five Mile Road in Anderson Township is completely out. Signs warn customers about the shortage. The station has been out of gas since at least 10 o'clock last night.

(Though Ike was "only" a tropical storm when it passed over Ohio, the winds still did a lot of damage. The fuel shortages are partly due to widespread power outages that mean fuel can't be pumped from storage tanks.)

In Praise of Economic Pain

No one likes a recession. The truth is, though, that most of us need to be jolted out of a fossil-fueled consumerist binge that’s gobbling up the planet. While the latest downturn hurts, America has much to gain from it, not the least of which is sanity—a break from the soul-numbing, environmentally devastating addiction to ever more stuff.

Saudi Talk and Production Bring Down Oil Price

What seems clear, however, is that whatever the reason, the King of Saudi Arabia has wanted oil prices to go back down for a number of months, so much so that he called an unprecedented global meeting of oil ministers to foster lower oil prices. Until the Khursaniyah field came on stream recently, the King had limited ammunition to get prices down. It seems like his decision to reduce production in 2007 to about 7.5 mb/d, down from the prior 8.4 mb/d may have been designed to reflate the pressure of certain fields so that he could later increase output from those fields when the new Khursaniyah capacity came on stream during the summer/fall of 2008 in order to assure low oil prices prior to the U.S. election. Now that the Saudi’s are pumping out 9.5 mb/d, lower prices are the result.

Nigeria oil output dips around 100,000 bpd

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria, the world's eighth largest oil exporter, is pumping around 2.1 million barrels per day, down from last week after a fresh wave of militant attacks, a senior oil official said on Tuesday. "Production had been at around 2.2 million barrels per day. We are now at 2.1 (million)," a senior official with the state-oil firm NNPC told Reuters.

Sinopec rebate cut as refining nears break-even

HONG KONG (Reuters) - China will cut a key tax rebate for oil firm Sinopec this quarter, just as the tumbling oil price begins to return its refining operations to profit, a company source said on Tuesday.

"Based on discussions with the government, the tax rebate rate on crude imports will be cut to 40 percent in the third quarter from 75 percent in the second quarter, meaning the government rebate will be roughly halved," the company source said.

Florida increasingly takes to McCain's view on offshore drilling

At a Hess gas station on the mainland near Caladesi, Gerald Walker said he used to be against extracting oil off the Florida coast, until gasoline prices soared. "Drilling? At $3.64 a gallon, I'm all for it," said Walker, a 60-year-old accountant.

"Drill, baby, drill!" is now the rallying cry of the Republican Party, and the party's presidential candidate, Senator John McCain of Arizona, is gaining support with that cry, even in this coastal swing state.

Pakistan: People furious over loadshedding; set seven vehicles alight

KARACHI - Angry citizens on Monday set as many as seven trawlers on fire here on Sharah-e-Pakistan in protest over prolonged and unscheduled power outages in District Central, Federal B Area, Liaquatabad, Jamsahaid Road and other parts of the metropolis.

Enraged protesters came on to the roads after prolong loadshedding gripped various areas of the city and pelted stones on the passing vehicles and also burnt seven trawlers carrying goods.

Venezuela's Chavez to visit China later this month

BEIJING (AP) — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will hold talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao when the leader of the oil-rich Latin American nation visits China later this month, the government said Tuesday.

Lower oil production is the real story

While Exxon Mobil boosted production from fields in West Africa and the North Sea, the gains weren't enough to offset declines from aging oil fields, the company said.

The company blamed the decline in part on its contracts with oil-producing countries, which allow those countries to claim a larger share of oil volumes as prices rise. In other words, the higher prices go, the less oil Exxon Mobil gets.

As those countries benefit from higher prices, living standards rise and, as I mentioned last week, their own demand for oil increases. That, in turn, means less oil for companies such as Exxon Mobil over the long term.

The problem isn't unique to Exxon Mobil.

Other major oil companies also offered a stark production picture. BP's was unchanged from a year earlier. Shell reported a gain only because it boosted natural gas production, which offset lower oil output. ConocoPhillips reported an increase but attributed it to its 20 percent stake in Russia's Lukoil.

With national oil companies now holding most of the world's reserves, companies like Exxon Mobil are left with few places to look for new production.

Oil prices sink briefly under $90

LONDON (AFP) - World oil prices dipped briefly beneath 90 dollars a barrel Tuesday on growing economic gloom that was likely to further dampen demand for energy in the months ahead, traders said.

OPEC on Tuesday cut its world oil demand growth forecast for 2008 to 1.02 percent from 1.17 percent previously, in the face of falling demand already occurring in the United States, the world's biggest consumer of energy.

The price of crude oil has now plunged by almost 40 percent since striking record highs above 147 dollars per barrel in July.

OPEC cuts 2008 oil demand growth

OPEC on Tuesday cut its forecast for global growth in oil demand in 2008 for the sixth time this year, the latest sign that slowing economies are eroding fuel consumption.

The exporter group also said oil output in line with its decision last week to trim supply to agreed levels will be more than enough to meet demand ahead of winter and contribute to an above-average rise in inventories.

Weak oil and debt markets may bedevil oil sands plans

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - A double whammy of tumbling crude prices and shaky credit markets could force some companies to delay multibillion-dollar Canadian oil sands projects, cutting the country's overall output forecast.

Most at risk are developments that are in the design phase but have yet to start construction. Some have already been delayed due to surging costs, a tight labor market and stricter regulatory scrutiny.

"It's starting to weigh on people's minds as to what is the break point," FirstEnergy Capital Corp analyst William Lacey said.

Credit crisis hurting clean energy sector: bankers

LONDON (Reuters) - The renewable energy sector will see a 21 billion euro ($29.43 billion) shortfall in debt finance by 2020, following the credit crisis and a brake on lending, a senior banker said on Monday.

Investors at a renewable energy finance conference in London tried to digest the implications of a banking hiatus following Lehman Brothers' filing for bankruptcy and Bank of America's acquisition of Merrill Lynch.

See You Later, Speculator

It was said to be the year of speculators gone wild. Seemingly everyone in Washington, including Barack Obama and John McCain, decided that oil prices were soaring because profiteers and middlemen were manipulating the futures markets. "Speculators" were spotted everywhere this side of the grassy knoll.

The only problem is that there's no evidence to support the conspiracy theories -- and sure enough, federal regulators dismantled this Beltway consensus late last week. In one of the broadest and most authoritative studies to date, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has offered hard statistical data that financial trading hasn't been driving price moves. The CFTC conducted an unprecedented Wall Street data sweep and scrutinized millions of transactions worth billions of dollars between January and June of this year.

Save the Environment: Drill, Baby, Drill

THE audience’s mantra at the Republican National Convention — “drill, baby, drill” — reflected deep frustration with Washington’s decision to lock down tens of billions of barrels of oil under American territory in an era of $4-a-gallon gasoline. Whatever the merits of his argument, Barack Obama’s response that “drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution” won’t make the sting go away as long as it costs $100 to fill the tank of a pickup truck.

Iran's Elite Military Unit To Patrol Gulf

(AP) Iran announced Tuesday that it has put the elite Revolutionary Guards in charge of defending the country's territorial Persian Gulf waters in what appeared to be a hardening of its stance in the vital oil route.

Experts: 'Irrational' behavior drives gas prices more than Ike

(CNN) -- Gas prices across the Southeast and Midwest soared over the weekend, and while many would blame Hurricane Ike, human nature may be a more likely scapegoat.

Experts say that when a perception exists that gas is limited -- warranted or not -- consumers flock to the pumps even if officials implore them to stay calm.

It's a combination of fear, desire, distrust and protectionism, experts say.

Angola Crude Exports Will Fall 10% in November to 9-Month Low

(Bloomberg) -- Angola, which overtook Nigeria as Africa's oil biggest producer this year, will cut daily crude exports in November by 10 percent to the lowest in at least nine months.

Nigerian militants say Shell pipeline destroyed

LAGOS (AFP) - A Nigerian rebel group said Tuesday it had blown up and destroyed a Royal Dutch Shell pipeline in the latest attack in its "oil war" on western firms.

BP says Mad Dog derrick toppled by Hurricane Ike

NEW YORK (Reuters) - BP said the drilling derrick on its Mad Dog oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico was toppled and resting on the sea floor after Hurricane Ike.

Conoco says to get 1 mln bbl SPR oil for Ill. plant

NEW YORK (Reuters) - ConocoPhillips said the U.S. Department of Energy approved its request for 1 million barrels of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for its refinery in Wood River, Illinois.

Why the U.S. wants wind power

One of the attractions of pairing wind energy and plug-in hybrid cars is that it would not require new infrastructure. Indeed, a study by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory points out that the existing grid, using its off-peak capacity to recharge cars, could provide electricity for more than 70 percent of the U.S. fleet if all cars were plug-in hybrids.

With peak oil on our doorstep, the prices of oil and gasoline are projected to continue rising. While gasoline prices are probably headed to $5 to $10 a gallon, the wind-generated-electricity equivalent of a gallon of gasoline costs less than $1.

We are now in a position to launch a crash program to convert to plug-in hybrids on a massive scale and at wartime speed.

All-electric vehicles no magic bullet: scientist

ARGONNE, Illinois (Reuters) - A future of all-electric cars coasting along streets and highways may be illusory, given that their range may be cut in half by aggressive drivers speeding along with the air conditioning blasting, U.S. scientists said on Monday.

That may not be a bad thing, as it will persuade consumers to choose the best blend of electric- and gas-powered hybrid vehicle to suit the type of driving they do.

Lithium battery for many vehicles seen a ways off

ARGONNE NATIONAL LABORATORY, Illinois (Reuters) - Vast improvements are needed to extend the life and lower the cost of lithium batteries before they can efficiently power vehicles, a U.S. government official who tracks high-power battery development said on Monday.

As Oil and Gas Prices Rise, Wood Stoves Gain Converts

JEFFERSON VALLEY, N.Y. — Fire Glow Distributors Inc., a store in this hamlet in the Westchester County suburb of Yorktown Heights, has pellet stoves on back order. Tree trimmers for the utility company in Orange and Rockland Counties, used to scavengers in pickup trucks, have spotted Mercedes-Benzes trailing their crews to load logs into their (carefully lined) trunks.

And in Spring Valley, a village in Rockland County, landscapers like John Wickes are being pestered for the scrap branches they had to pay to dump just a few months ago.

“There are wood wars,” said Mr. Wickes, a third-generation co-owner of Ira Wickes, a family arborist business founded in 1929. “People are desperate to look for ways to heat their homes cheaply.”

A disruptive time of profound change

At the small town of Schwarze Pumpe in eastern Germany, the Swedish energy group Vattenfall has built a power plant that would have bemused an earlier generation of electrical engineers.

The heat source is conventional: lignite, brown coal. What is new is that the coal is burned in pure oxygen, and the carbon dioxide that is the principal exhaust gas is captured, compressed and liquefied, and pumped into tankers. The trucks then drive the liquid CO2 to an exhausted gas field, also in Germany to be pumped 3.5km below the surface.

Carbon regulation could hit 1 million U.S. firms: study

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The prospect of U.S. regulation of climate-warming carbon dioxide has sparked a pre-emptive outcry from the Chamber of Commerce, which warned of bureaucratic gridlock if proposed limits are put in place.

In a report to be released on Tuesday, the pro-business organization projected such regulation would affect more than 1 million U.S. businesses and create such a regulatory backlog that it could stall economic development.

Air NZ to fit winglets to cut fuel and emissions

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - National carrier Air New Zealand Ltd is to fit winglets to its Boeing 767-300ER planes to cut fuel consumption and reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the airline said on Tuesday.

The airline said it expected the modifications would save more than NZ$7.5 million ($4.9 million) in fuel costs and cut CO2 emissions by around 16,000 tonnes a year.

Shell confirmed one of its Bonny Light pipelines in Nigeria has been damaged:


From the "Lower Oil Production" story linked uptop:

While Exxon Mobil boosted production from fields in West Africa and the North Sea, the gains weren't enough to offset declines from aging oil fields, the company said.

Also, an interesting story about oil exports from Angola, one of the very few oil exporters showing a long term multiyear increase in oil exports. Since 2005, nine of the top 10 net oil exporters in 2005 have shown one or more annual net export declines, or they are currently declining. For example, Saudi Arabia was down for two years, but up in 2008, while Russia was up for two years, but is currently down in 2008.

The EIA shows worldwide annual total net export declines of -1.1%/year and -2.2%/year for 2006 and 2007 respectively, so by definition the demand for exported oil has fallen for two straight years as the low bidders had to reduce their consumption.

We will have to see what the 2008 annual data look like, but price, IMO, is primarily a horserace between declining demand and declining net oil exports. It's entirely possible that in the short term declining demand can outpace the long term decline in net oil exports--especially if we have a short term pause in the net export decline.

However, I think that the long term net export outlook is essentially a one way trend--downward, with a long term accelerating decline rate.

Reading the Angola story, it wasn't clear why the production / export is declining. Presumably it is voluntary ? I thought Angolan production was due to continue increasing slightly for a few years ?

The story was pretty cryptic, but it was interesting, It's possible that they are hitting a production/export plateau. The EIA shows their crude oil production rate, through June, to be basically flat at about 2 mbpd since December, 2007.

BTW, it's a pretty good bet that the three year decline in Mexcio's net oil exports (through 2008) will completely, or almost completely, offset the three year increase in net oil exports from Angola.

There is a huge discrepancy between what the EIA says Angola is producing and what the OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report says Angola is producing. Of course this is the case with all other OPEC producers as well. The following is what each report for Angola, in thousands of barrels per day.

Jan	1,992	1,857
Feb	1,997	1,881
Mar	2,003	1,869
Apr	2,009	1,882
May	2,015	1,905
Jun	2,013	1,901
Jul		1,903
Aug		1,892

But no matter which one you use, Angola is clearly on a plateau and appears to be going nowhere fast.

Ron Patterson

It's important to look at trends longer than just a few months. The monthly data is often significantly revised and saying that

Angola is clearly on a plateau and appears to be going nowhere fast.

is only true on the micro scale.

Westexas assessment is a more accurate description of the recent history of Angolan production:

Angola, one of the very few oil exporters showing a long term multiyear increase in oil exports.

Angola has had temporary plateaus multiple times in the past, each of which was followed by increased production. To claim that Angola is on the kind of plateau that would be followed by production declines you would have to provide much more information about recent discoveries, # of rigs, etc.

I don't have that information available and cannot make an assessment of future Angolan production. But guessing where they are on their production curve based on 7 months of data doesn't seem like kind of approach we should be fostering here at TOD. We really need to encourage folks to take a closer look at longer term trends and try to understand where we are in the overall production curve for each nation and the world as a whole.

And I'll join in and sound Westexas' alarm that, for importing nations, it is global export numbers that are much more important than global production.

From the Energy Export Databrowser:

Happy Exploring,

-- Jon

Hi Ron,

Those OPEC numbers are crude oil only. Your EIA numbers are crude oil and lease condensate.

The EIA crude only numbers are at this link and are about the same as OPEC's numbers:

May 1,925
Jun 1,923

Nonetheless, my guess for Angola crude/condensate production is that it will stay on a 2 mbd plateau until 2011, then decrease. In March 2008, Abilio of Sonangol stated that a 2 mbd plateau would last until 2014.

Colin Campbell also assumes URR of 20 Gb and discusses Angola in his Dec 2003 newsletter.

Campbell's peak production was forecast to be 1.8 mbd in 2019 but instead Angola ramped up deep water production faster than Campbell originally assumed in his deep water Profile "B".

WT - what do you make of this story, also linked above? Saudi Talk and Production Bring Down Oil Price

What seems clear, however, is that whatever the reason, the King of Saudi Arabia has wanted oil prices to go back down for a number of months, so much so that he called an unprecedented global meeting of oil ministers to foster lower oil prices. Until the Khursaniyah field came on stream recently, the King had limited ammunition to get prices down. It seems like his decision to reduce production in 2007 to about 7.5 mb/d, down from the prior 8.4 mb/d may have been designed to reflate the pressure of certain fields so that he could later increase output from those fields when the new Khursaniyah capacity came on stream during the summer/fall of 2008 in order to assure low oil prices prior to the U.S. election. Now that the Saudi’s are pumping out 9.5 mb/d, lower prices are the result.

So after all this, the Saudis still have the power to control the whole oil system?

See my comment down the thread. In addition to the political angle, one could argue that there is an economic incentive to increase price uncertainties.

While I'm quite scared about the net export situation (and the production situation in general), I do believe it's possible that Iraqi production and Brazilian production may be able to fill the gap in the 2012-2020 timeframe so we could make an orderly (well, relatively orderly) transition into a post-peak world. Even with that, we need to get our shit together to get through all this, and all the positive progress we seem to make is paralleled by horrible disappointment.

As of 2007, Brazil was still--although just barely--a net oil importer. At their current rate of increase in consumption, they will be consuming another one mbpd by 2020. Also, they have to offset the declines from their existing production. Brazil's consumption:


Regarding Iraq, your guess is as good as mine.

From the Energy Export Databrowser

  1. Brazil's production and consumption
  2. the Outreach 5 nations

If Brazil could pro-actively destroy their economy perhaps their exports would increase but I don't think that's going to happen. Brazil's economy is widely considered least likely to be affected by the current global financial turmoil.

Well considering that Brazil's economy is highly exposed to commodity prices, and the fact that commodity prices have fallen pretty dramatically over the past few months (and will continue to fall if the world economy heads in the direction it looks like it's going in), Brazil might not be spared from the global slowdown.

From ThinkProgress:

Media restricted from covering Hurricane Ike’s devastation.

Yesterday in a local report on KTRK-TV in Houston, TX, reporter Wayne Dolcefino revealed that media have been blocked from covering Hurricane Ike’s devastation. In a press conference, Dolcefino pressed Gov. Rick Perry on why media aren’t even allowed to fly over parts of Galveston Island, noting that media access was far better in Mississippi and Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. Perry tried to brush off Dolcefino’s concerns, but eventually passed blame to federal officials:

DOLCEFINO: That is unprecedented and quite honestly not appropriate because it’s our job to inform people. Why can’t we go to Bolivar and West End?

PERRY: I think when the local officials decide it was appropriate, whether it’s the media or first responders or what have you. The fact of the matter, that is actually a local decision, Wayne, that is made by the local county judge and by the mayor of those —

DOLCEFINO: They don’t control that area.

PERRY: Last time, the state of Texas doesn’t even.

DOLCEFINO: So it’s the federal government?

PERRY: I don’t know.


And this would be the largest/longest major MSA power outage.

Good luck.

It seems to me that the powers that be are making an effort to suppress bad news about Ike. I think the government was really stung by the bad press after Katrina and they really don't want that to happen again, especially right before an election.

Rescuers who finally made it on Monday to the peninsula, home to nearly 5,000 residents and a seasonal playground for thousands more college students and beach revelers, found row after row of concrete slabs where houses used to be. They said they made contact with at least 100 residents living there, but found no bodies. They expressed fears, though, that some of those who tried to ride out the storm may have been washed out to sea.

On Peninsula in the Storm - No Way Out

Where is Indymedia Galveston when we need them? Can't trust Main Stream Controlled Media -- that has long been obvious.

I saw that too. I wondered if it is related to this question from the LA Times.

Galveston officials have estimated that 20,000 stubborn residents of the barrier island stayed behind as Hurricane Ike pounded homes and businesses Saturday.

The U.S. Coast Guard crews sent to rescue them are now wondering where they all went.

This AP article increases the suspicion.

Gov. Rick Perry's office said 940 people had been saved by nightfall Saturday, but that thousands had made distress calls the night before.

But on the other hands the media unanimously says there are few casualties. For example for AP here.

The Bolivar Peninsula and the west end of Galveston Island saw some of the heaviest damage from the storm and took the longest to reach as flooded roads, high winds and washed-out bridges blocked search-and-rescue teams. But when help finally arrived to the last unexplored, Ike-ravaged area, there were few people around; they had either gotten out ahead of the storm or escaped afterward.

I can't find an explanation that matches all the facts. Assuming the 20,000 person estimate is wrong, how do you explained the distressed calls governor Perry alludes to? Were these people in relatively safe areas? I find that hard to believe. The other explanations are the bodies are either at the bottom of the bay or under collapsed houses. But even then the rescuers should still be finding some larger body count. The only thing I know is there are reports of totally destroyed houses. For example the last AP article includes this.

Rescuers who did make it to the peninsula town of Gilchrist visited the few houses left standing to check for survivors and came back describing a scene of total destruction.

'Few houses left standing' implies a large number of houses that were not standing.

The LA times article quoted above is even more explicit.

Flying for 14 hours over two days, Russell said, his crew rescued at least 20 people, many of them from the hard-hit Bolivar Peninsula northeast of Galveston.

Russell and other crew members described the devastation on Bolivar as even worse than what they witnessed on Galveston Island.

"A lot of houses that were there aren't there now," the Coast Guard's Carty said.

Most of the houses on Bolivar are built on stilts, rescue swimmer Shane Moore said, "but all you see now are the stilts. The houses are just gone."

I don't have an explanation. I just submit my interrogations as I see them.

They discovered the dead body of a horse floating out at sea.
One imagines that there were less horses than people in the area, and if thousands had died many bodies would have been found, just as in Indonesia after the tidal wave.
Many deaths therefore seem unlikely.

I have no experience with drowned horses

Human bodies will typically require several days of decomposition before they come to the surface.

The immediate absence of evidence is inconclusive.

Much of this comes from confusing/conflating Bolivar Peninsula with Galveston (both your post and in the media). Bolivar is a real disaster, and the houses that were smashed are now "debris fields" on the west end of the land or floating in the Galveston Bay. It will be a while before those debris fields are properly inspected for potential casualties.

The sad part of all this is that these people had time to leave. The governor should have said that "we won't have rescue" instead of "you will die". It seems at the last minute, everyone thought they would be rescued even though it was pretty risky for the rescuers. Risking your own life is a right, but asking someone to risk theirs because of your bad decision is just plain wrong.

Bad decision guys, RIP.

My wife, a Texas native, thinks that if they warned folks that they might go a week or more without air conditioning they probably would have had a better evacuation rate. God's Will is one thing but life on the Gulf Coast w/o air conditioning is quite another.

What are the chances that these areas that have been wiped out will be allowed to be rebuilt?
With rising sea levels thay are going to become uninhabitable anyway regardless of storms.
This is a problem in many parts of the world yet there seems to be little discussion or planning for it.

There has been discussion and planning here. But after a disaster, everyone feels so bad for the victims that they're allowed to rebuild. With federal money.

If I had my way, I'd give them money to rebuild...but not in harm's way. Not going to happen, though. Not until the government's so broke that the people are left with no help at all after a storm. Then they'll wish they relocated, but it will be too late by then.

What if they don't even have a lot left?

I've wondered about that.

I have a bad feeling the answer would involves landfill, levees, seawalls, and the like.

This is a common problem with beachfront property. Once the land has been eroded and the ocean covers the physical location it is then considered to be seabottom and therefore owned by the federal government. You cannot fill it in and reclaim it.

Do you think that would hold, if, say, a Cat. 5 hurricane hit New Orleans and turned it into seabottom?

I think they'd rebuild. Until we reach the point where we no longer can afford it.

They weren't supposed to rebuild on the Outer Banks after Fran, but they did.

They can't rebuild if the shoreline is past their property line. I have seen in the past pilings of destroyed beachfront homes in Louisiana hundreds of yards out in the ocean. This didn't stop the next batch of optimists from rebuilding along the new shoreline though. Would be an interesting question about New Orleans.That would be something for the lawyers to work out.

Beachfront homes in Louisiana ?

The ONLY beachfront homes I know of are on Grand Isle, the only inhabited barrier island (another one was, but no more). A bedroom community (2.5 miles away ?) for Port Fourchon, as well as weekend camps, a few retirees, etc.

I am not aware of any major retreat of the beach there, taking out homes. Absent the value to Port Fourchon, I question the value of Grand Isle.

Just where did you see this ?


Holly Beach, Cameron Parish.

It should hold, but some people always get special treatment.

They move.

They shouldn't be given anything other then insurance payments they may have coming. They own what's left of the land, so it's their decision to rebuild or not based on the new availability or cost of insurance, and the funds they may or not have.

eastender, you promised us a month ago that you were going to post your price forecast. Is it ready yet?

Are you still forecasting an average price of $120/barrel in 2008 and an average price of $180/barrel in 2009?

The price of oil is crashing inspite of all the bullish news (trouble in Nigeria, Georgia, etc.). What has changed in the last 2 months?

What has changed in the last 2 months?

suyog, may I add respectfully a mantra once heard in American politics:
It's the economy, stupid.

In all fairness to eastender, the bearish and sobering effect on oil /commodity prices by the liquidation of America has blindsided practically everyone.

PO is still relevant to pricing structures. It is how it is playing out that has taken unexpected turns.

$120/barrel in 2008 as an average and $180/barrel in 2009 remain in the realm of the possible. It is the probabilities that have changed in the past two months.

Brother can you spare a dime?


In all fairness to eastender, the bearish and sobering effect on oil /commodity prices by the liquidation of America has blindsided practically everyone.

I wouldn't say that's necessarily true (though the impact to the wall st firms has certainly been greater than I expected)...

... this isn't much unlike the last time OPEC drove prices up so substantially. Other sources of oil/energy became more attractive at the same time as the high oil prices sparked recessions around the world. Demand declined at the same time as supplies rose and oil prices plummeted.

Taking wall street's fluctuations AND real estate out of the mix, it's still entirely reasonable that $150/bbl oil prices would cause a recession and the price-push "inflation" would make it hard for the fed to cut rates to spark growth.

To make a long story short: yes, i still stand by my predictions. USD 120 for this year and a log higher next year.

As for the exact predictions, I had very little time to work on them because I had plenty of other things to do.

So I'll get back to you guys as soon as I can.

Thanks for responding. Ofcourse, we understand that you must be busy. Did your model predict the collapse in price to $90? Where do you think the bottom is?

It has changed because the party is over for the hedge funds, Wall Street investment houses, and the day traders. No matter how much the peak oilers want to believe it, the fundamentals of the market were never a factor in the oil run up, it was all speculation and profit making to help the big banks try to save their butts after the mortgage meltdown started. They all made profits by driving the price up and bailing at the top ($147) and they continue to sell off (burning the furniture) to keep the house warm enough to avoid ratings downgrades and certain failure (Lehman Bros). It was all a big scheme to hide the massive losses and keep the party train going, but now the emporer has no clothes. I am loving the spectacle as the banks now have to swim or drown based on the merits of their business practices, and not off the backs of the common man. Good riddance Lehman, Merrill, AIG, and the rest of those sorry sons of beaches.

I am loving the spectacle as the banks now have to swim or drown based on the merits of their business practices, and not off the backs of the common man.

!! AFAIK they are swimming or drowning according to how much they can scam out of the taxpayer, and the latest wheeze courtesy of New York, the deposits in banks and insurance companies which they are now able to offer as security, ie swap for dodgy mortgages.

Currently $200bn and counting on Frannie, $85bn on AIG, and forgetting about the small change, how is that the banks sinking or swimming on their own?
The reason it is Government money not private finance is because no-one in their right mind would 'invest' in this toxic waste.
What is being spent is the credit ratings of just about every Government in the world, and of every private citizen too.

The big boys have already scarpered with their $100 million plus bonuses, for creating this ruin, and their lap-dogs like Bernanke are now ensuring that the burden falls to the taxpayer.


NEW Real-time: 1.87 Down 2.89 (60.71%) 9:42am ET

I guess gasoline could be $1 a gallon and if you don't have a job it would still be too expensive.

AIG was hit with Gustav and Ike losses. AIG has suffered losses to its securities portfolio value. That is the policy holder's money they invested in securities. Most of the large cap P&C insurance sector is affected.

Talk about a double shot, is this the one that puts them under? So if you are insured with AIG, and they go belly up, there is no back up insurance, is there? I don't know enough about the insurance end of this.

I don't think that's it. At least, Gail says there are strict rules about what insurance companies can invest in. (And I expect she would know, since that's her business.) AIG's insurance units are doing fine, and will be bought by other companies if necessary.

It's the rest of the company that's causing the trouble.

Scared me there for a second, I thought I was going to have to find out what MY insurance company was investing in.

Some companies used reinsurance policies with other companies. Some of the reinsurance companies operated out of the Bahamas for tax purposes. Hurricanes usaully took earnings down as happened across the boards with Katrina. The poorer insurance and reinsurance companies went under.

The likes of Berkshire Hathaway, AIG, and Allstate survived Katrina. Berkshire Hathaway took losses that year, a rare event for Buffet's company. Some insurance/reinsurance companies may have invested in mortgage backed securities. Am not sure of all the details.

AIG has billions of dollars of red ink from investments in mortgage backed securities:


They were popular with the insurance industry as they paid a higher rate of interest than T-bills and were backed by hard collateral.

rainsong, don't you mean 'hard to find' collateral?

What was thought to be solid performing notes turned out to be rotten to the core. I found some news that AIG had some credit derivatives insuring subprime mortgages against default. If their insurance of nonperforming subprime loans is going to default, banks will not be less likely to recover enough money from subprime losses. It is a potential round of inflation in a federal government capitalizing investment bankers and insurance magnates who are not a part of the FDIC. Would be nice if the government sent me a check to help the economy ... bail outs are limited to the rich and infamous financiers who gambled and lost. One cannot find a two percent loan at the retail level.

No end in sight. Fannie and Freddie might need 200 billion, AIG 85 billion, and Bear Stearns was about 39 billion. Before that the FED was doing other massive credit infusions. This five percent inflation is not outrageous given all massive deficit policies of the Reagan and Bush administrations. It is like we may not want the costs associated with four more years of unnecessary war to prop up a Shiite dominated government that tolerated the genocide of Christians in Iraq. If as many Muslims were lost in Kosovo there would have been international outrage.

Add in the hurricane damage to the insurance industry in addition to any exposure to nonperforming prime and subprime loans and an educated person might guess the insurance companies will be selling assets to try to stay afloat.

Borrowing trillions was easy; paying back debt was too hard. Needs stricter lending requirements and more collateral for debt.

The new OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report is out this morning. Production numbers are on page 36 of this 64 page PDF report.

OPEC overall production was down 21 kb/d in August but that was after the July numbers were revised downward by 126 kb/d and the June numbers were revised down by 72 kb/d. Total OPEC production, including Iraq, was 32,496 kb/d.

     Alger  Angola  Ecu  Indo Iran  Iraq  Kuw   Libya Niger Qatar Arabia UAE   Ven   OPEC 13
Jun  1,406  1,901  499  851   3,898 2,377 2,590 1,729 1,878 861   9,365  2,613 2,368 32,330
Jul  1,404  1,903  504  852   3,917 2,396 2,607 1,686 1,907 863   9,522  2,612 2,343 32,517
Aug  1,405  1,892  502  852   3,956 2,378 2,595 1,686 1,937 864   9,486  2,610 2,334 32,496

Ron Patterson

Clearly, in August Iran was the US' best friend.

We may have to pay more, but
if we only buy what we need, there will be enough gasoline for everyone

The word from Houston MSM



I'm sure many readers would be interested in your comments
on light rail as discussed for Kansas City.


Pretty distressing energy and cost figures if accurate.

I am busy ATM, but I clicked the link and found all I need to know. Written by Randall O'Toole, the Daniel Yergin of Light rail, a paid hack of the road lobby and a consistent liar and mis-representation of the facts.

Perhaps this evening I will dissect his lies if I have time.

France thinks it can build 1,500 km of trams (Light Rail) for 22 billion euros (purchasing power parity was 1 euro = $1.125 last time I looked), and to a high aesthetic standard.


Its 1.4? now, was 1.5?-1.6? in July

Purchasing power parity generally differs from the raw currency exchange rate a bit.


As a silly example, tea is primarily psychologically considered a "luxury" item which reflects in a slightly higher price in the US whilst in Britain it's considered a staple item which tends to reduce the price shops feel they can get away with charging for it. So the cost of a packet of tea in the US in dollars doesn't correspond closely to the cost of a packet of tea in the UK in pounds using the currency exchange rate. Of course there's a limit to the price differential as otherwise you could make money, but for large projects the exchange rate isn't the thing to use in detailed comparisons.

Thanks for the quick take. He seemed fishy.

I read the article and I'll give you my opinion:

*** start of unbiased opinion ***

Whoever wrote this is a total idiot.

For less than they paid for this guy's useless report, city council members could have visited several cities with light rail to see for themselves.

Considering that most of Missouri’s electricity comes from fossil fuels, a Kansas City light rail, like the ones in Dallas, Denver and Cleveland, is also likely to produce more greenhouse gases per passenger mile than an SUV.

Again, the guy is a total moron.

Here is how Calgary's "CTrain" system gets its power:

Ride the Wind

There are 12 windmills located in Southern Alberta that generate the wind-power. The equivalent amount of power used by the CTrain is sent to the main power grid.
Using wind-generated power currently reduces CO2 emissions by 26,000 tonnes annually.
It is expected that the "Ride the Wind" program will increase power costs by less than one-half of one cent per passenger.

Sorry, I forgot that there isn't any wind in Kansas or Missouri :)

Kansas City should sue this guy for incompetetance and get their money back. And while there at it, they should add an extra charge for wasting everyone's time with his stupid nonsense.

*** end of unbiased opinion ***

Jan van Ryan of API sent me an e-mail this morning with a podcast that API put together called "Hurricane Ike: Picking Up the Pieces".

One of the issues they are concerned with is the damage to the Houston ship canal. If I understood correctly, 80 buoys were lost. They are now trying to find replacements, get them to the Houston area, and get them in place. The Army Corp of engineers is working on trying to get the depth of the channel restored. The first goal toward partial reopening is to allow boats with drafts of 30 feet or less. It is not clear how soon this will happen.

The podcast says the Houston ship canal is used for shipments of crude oil. Any idea how much per day is supposed to pass through this channel? Are there any other options nearby?

Mississippi River and barge via Intercoastal Canal to Houston.

Possibly Lake Charles (would be closer) and barge from there.

SPR releases (most likely). I think Bryan Mound is closest.


No marine navigator places much faith in buoys. Yachtsmen like them but professionals know their marks. Of greater concern is ensuring the navigable channel is not obstructed by debris.

Probly outdated, but vesseltrax says 400,000 bpd arrives at Texas City (as of fall, 2007). They say the numbers are from EIA but I don't have time to look and see right now.

Daily Imported Barrels of Crude Oil Port of Texas City
October 2007 EIA Data
Venezuela 0.118 mmbpd

Persian Gulf 0.113 mmbpd

Mexico 0.069 mmbpd

Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador 0.063 mmbpd

Westexas: what is the average production cost of the US stripper wells in dollar per barrel? How many Kb/d do they produce?

More general for discussion: have we reached the point where the 1st phase of peak oil (bumpy plateau) has weakened the financial system to such an extent that supply of cash is more limiting than the physical supply of oil? At least for a period until we hit steeper oil decline rates?

I don't have any numbers handy, but I think that there is a US Stripper Well Association that has some numbers.

If we want to put our tinfoil hats on, one could argue that the long term interests of the oil exporters are best served by short term uncertainty in prices, since it would tend to discourage long term planning for unconventional oil projects and for alternative energy and conservation efforts. I continue to find it odd that there were multiple reports of diesel shortages in Saudi Arabia this summer, which could be evidence that they have been curtailing their domestic refinery runs, in order to boost reported crude exports.

If you have 500,000 wells in the United States producing a few barrels a day, then it adds up.

On 9/15 the MMS (DOI) stated 99.9% of GOM oil production was shut in.


If you go over the Rigzone web site you might find the Mad Dog drilling rig lost its drilling derrick. The equipment is at the bottom of the sea. There is other damage that might be added to the lesser damage of Gustav.

the long term interests of the oil exporters are best served by short term uncertainty in prices, since it would tend to discourage long term planning for unconventional oil projects and for alternative energy and conservation efforts.

This is precisely the strategy followed by KSA in the early 1980's. Faced with increased investment in substitutes (increased insulation in a home with oil heat will result in a significant reduction in aggregate demand if enough people make this investment; in some nations such improvements were subsidized by the state) and the investment in production outside of OPEC (North Sea, West Africa), KSA resorted to opening the manifolds.

The price collapsed, the industry withered away, those who remained under invested (see Matt Simmons comments on rusting infrastructure), and became extremely wary of high hurdle rates.

If you do not know your history you are condemned to repeat it.

Not sure I agree that the high oil prices are the primary cause of this round of financial turmoil. The basic problem originated from non-existent lending requirements,(historical norms say you shouldn't lend over 2.5 times income on a home because people can't afford that!), Prices in a lot of markets esp. CA. got to 5-6 times this level. The other dagger the overleveraging of their assets at the brokers because of cheap money.
The bumpy plateau surely hasn't mitigated the situation but IMO the shat would have hit the fan anyway due to the greedy, sloppy, management and very cheap money.

Peak Oil will be the denier of a return to BAU and then some.

IMO $20 oil would have allowed even crazier suburban development, far more extreme leverage and fraud without the house of cards collapsing so soon but collapse it would ultimately anyway like all Ponzi schemes.

In order to keep the Ponzi apparatus functioning, the price of oil would have had to be declining instead of rising. The connection is inescapable.

Actually, I think the limit would be based on the monthly payment. As I recall, the banks used to limit the payment to 40% of one's monthly income. As an example, if one is paid $50,000 a year, that's $4,167 a month. Limiting the payment to 40% would mean a monthly mortgage payment of no more than $1,667. If one assumes a 30 year mortgage at 6.5% interest, the amount of the loan would initially be $263,579, which is much more than the 2.5 times $50,000 or $125,000 which you suggest.

E. Swanson

I think you are confusing take home with gross. No banker in his right mind would lend someone making $50,000, $263,000 to buy a home. That's the kind of math that created the mess we are in. Now someone making $75,000 with a take home of around $50,000 could borrow around $187,000 (2.5 times their salary) That's how I should have made the point.

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - A double whammy of tumbling crude prices and shaky credit markets could force some companies to delay multibillion-dollar Canadian oil sands projects, cutting the country's overall output forecast.

Weak oil and debt markets may bedevil oil sands plans, Reuters, September 15, 2008.

CBC radio programme, The Current, featured a half hour segment on the Wall Street mess this morning. (Still being aired in some parts of the country so can't post a direct link yet).

Heard the theme: privatize profits, socialize losses is not helpful. Also, stressed the point that the bloodbath is the result of unchecked greed and reluctance of government to regulate. Nothing new for TOD folks.

Impact on the Canadian election campaign could be quite telling: Harper called the election early to avoid being caught in a diving economy. Surprise, surprise, he figured out what was coming.

Now he's hoping that Wall Street stabilizes quickly so as to not to dim the Conservatives' message that they can be trusted as prudent economic managers.

Meanwhile, as the price of oil tumbles in tandem, rumblings of a downswing in the Alberta boom isn't good news for the governing Conservatives either.

Some of my own thoughts as I read TOD/ listened to the news this morning.

Tar Sands projects put on hold will diminish energy supplies. Energy supplies tank as demand tanks. Demand tanks as credit evaporates. Credit evaporates as the Suburban dream tanks. Suburban dream tanks as energy supplies plateaued and forced reality on an unsustainable way of life.

A downward spiral can be far more perilous than a rising one.

Surprisingly, the opposition Liberal "green shift" may just come to pass. Take the Tar Sands development off the table and Canada very well might reach its Kyoto targets. And depending on the severity of the slump, even on time for 2011!

Who would have thunk it! All great fodder for the gristmill.

The longer I live the stranger life becomes. Never a dull moment, even when it is depressing by times.

If one takes a look at Suncor Energy's Q1 2008 financial statement, they give some figures on projected costs to bring on 550,000 BOPD of new oil sands capacity planned for 2012. Using those capital costs along with current(Q1 2008) operating costs, it looks to me like an oil price of about $105/barrel would be necessary to justify the project (which the board approved in the first quarter).

With oil at $90/barrel, and all the uncertainly in regards to future oil prices, I would suspect the board will now postpone or cancel that project.

And I agree with westexas. It behooves the interests of Saudia Arabia to interject as much uncertainty into the oil markets as they can.

Getting it started again once it has been shut down/abandoned seems a remote possibility

Unless the government were to provide some form of subsidy which would likely take the form of a reduction in royalties or taxes.

In the late 1980's the Hibernia project on Canada's East Coast was stalled until the government agreed to protect the consortium against oil prices dropping below $15. Prices went to $10 but the project went ahead.

Harper currently has a minority government and would be unable to offer such help to his constituency without angering the rest of Canada. He would also need the freedom of action afforded him by a majority government.

...it looks to me like an oil price of about $105/barrel would be necessary to justify the project...

Probably true based on current price projections.

I listened to a round table of economists last night (Diane Swonk, Prof Rogoff, Noriel Roubini) and the *optimistic* forecast was a major recession lasting two years - Roubini seemed to be leaning towards a major depression.

Oilsands price forecasts assume coninuing high-priced steel and labour. Both of these are likely to be suddenly very cheap if we enter a major depression.

The capital purchase budgets for oilsands projects get spent all over North America - mostly for heavy equipment manufactured in the Great Lakes region. Companies like Bucyrus and Caterpillar sell a lot of equipment in Alberta - along with steel companies selling pipe, spceialized pump manufacturers, and so on. A downturn in oilsands projects will have a major impact on manufacturers in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Ohio - not just Alberta.

The strategic reason for developing the oilsands is pretty simple - the US needs about 10 mbpd of crude imports to keep the economy running. And, the reliablity of those imports is increasingly questionable.

Even during a depression, the US will need to import a lot of oil just to keep the transporation and farming sectors running.

Don't write the oilsands off just yet.

Surprise, surprise, he figured out what was coming.

Much of Alberta's recent economic growth was predicated on a high and rising price for oil. As projects are canceled, or delayed, we will see a reduction in demand for labour (fast food workers were being paid $17 an hour in an effort to retain them) which will flow through to a reduced demand for housing. I suspect that Alberta's economy will implode.

Alberta is Harper's core constituency and I agree that he predicted the collapse and decided to "roll the dice" before events reduced his freedom of action.

UK Government Response to Peak Oil Petition

I signed up to an on-line petition to the UK Government drawing attention to concerns on peak oil
A response came to my in box this morning:

The Government's assessment is that the world's oil resources are
sufficient to prevent global total oil production peaking in the
foreseeable future. This is consistent with the assessment made by
the International Energy Agency (IEA) in its recent 2007 World Energy
Outlook (WEO), which concludes that proven reserves are already larger
than the cumulative production needed to meet rising demand until at
least 2030.

That's all right then!
Can't think what we were worrying about!

I've also just received their response.

Hard to believe - but then what was I expecting ?!.

It seems they can likely stretch, if not the time of peak oil arrival, at least the time of peak oil awareness out to 2020 or so - first we have a depression, so that prices are sub $100/barrel, then any shortage is blamed on low investment in the past, which together with a few over-estimates of unconventional resources flow potential, should nicely take us to around the time west texas predicts that exports will almost cease.

Is this the same gov that said the UK would have economic growth in 2008, that the financial meltdown would be contained, that ~30,000 EU immigrants would come here when the door was opened - etc..??

Sadly, the UK Government doesn't understand that peak oil isn't about reserves, it's about affordability for consumers and profits for producers.

There is plenty of oil in the North Sea but production has definitely peaked - why can't they see this applies to the whole world as well?

Answer: If they admit to imminent peak oil the game of exponential growth is over.

>>Answer: If they admit to imminent peak oil the game of exponential growth is over.<<

ding! ding!

We have a winner.

And 60 million losers.

you didnt really believe all that guff about equality and opportunity did you?

Suggest you send your response to the chair of the Parliamentary committee on Peak Oil

Just note it: 'Comments Please...''

The Volt seems to have arrived - http://money.cnn.com/2008/09/11/autos/volt_official_reveal/index.htm?cnn...

Assuming this is new information, I can't believe just how perfectly GM looking the Volt is - too big, aerodynamics which certainly don't impress me.

But then, in the article, comes this - '...many people posting comments on car blogs have expressed disappointment that the production car does not look as angular and aggressive as the original concept vehicle.'

This is a joke, right? Aggressive? Is the measure of American automobile building now the ability to be 'aggressive?' And 'angular?' Aerodynamics and angular aren't exactly antonyms, but still.

Seriously, I have my doubts that the current crop of Americans can actually change their view of the world enough to actually allow them to survive in it.

"Red white and bold" is the name of Ford's American auto design strategy. That should tell you something. :)

In this case though I think it was a marketing snafu, the original concept car looked like a sportscar:

whereas the actual model looks more like a typical sedan:

I guess the people who were waiting for it were wanting to buy a sportscar and were not the intended market for the final production car. Admittedly though, the concept car looks about as aerodynamic as a brick. :)

I've read that the shift in look was due to the terrible aerodynamics of the concept car. The production model reminds me of a Prius, actually.

Reminds me of some sort of mid-90s Cadillac, more or less.

In the end, it doesn't matter what it looks like. The Prius doesn't sell due to it's looks.

Actually, it does.

The Prius isn't the only hybrid. Why did it sell so well, while the hybrid Civic struggled?

Because of its looks. The Prius was instantly recognizable as a hybrid, while the Civic looked just like the non-hybrid Civic. People who drive hybrids want everyone to know it.

We bought a Prius back in 2006. The decisive reason for buying it was gas mileage vs. room. The only thing that had better mileage was the Insight (56-60 vs. 50-56), and it was just too small for us (2 adults + 2 large dogs). Nothing else really could touch the Prius in EPA-rated gas mileage.

I actually went into the purchase mildly biased against the Prius (just because it was so trendy). But when push came to shove, it was a no-brainer to buy the Prius. Looks played almost no part in the decision.

Yeah, but you're a peak oiler. You're weird!

The Australian ABC has just started showing a series Two in the Top End in which climate campaigner Tim Flannery and his colleague drive a Prius across dirt roads in the outback. Good thing that electric motor is inboard when they get to deep puddles.

Along the way they discuss whether Australia's southern coastal population should relocate to the sub tropics. However if you combine last night's TV footage with the announcement that traction batteries will disappoint it's not going to be easy.

I've heard that claim repeated in the press, but I've never heard of any customer surveys or real research to back it up. I suspect the reason the Prius sells so well is that it was designed as a hybrid from the ground up. Rather than adapt hybrid technology into an existing car like Honda did, Toyota went to great lengths to design a car that gets the most out of the technology, maximizing fuel economy and minimizing pollution. Most people don't know that the Prius actually has a different kind of engine (Atkinson Cycle), or that it stores hot coolant in a Dewar flask on shutdown in order to keep it warm so as to help warm the engine up faster on the next startup, or that the Prius pioneered electric-powered A/C compressors in cars. The Honda Civic hybrid costs more as of 2008 ($23,550 MSRP Civic Hybrid versus $22,000 MSRP Prius), can't fold down the back seat (unlike the std. Civic or the Prius), I believe has less interior room, and gets worse fuel mileage than the Prius. That's why the Prius sells more, IMHO - it's a better car by virtue of being designed as a hybrid from the ground up.

I thought Honda's Insight was designed ground up as hybrid? And a second generation model has been announced for 2009.

I bought a Prius without really knowing what it looked like. There were none on the roads - only pictures online. Didn't even know if my 6' 1" self would fit.

I would have bought it no matter what it looked like. Bought it for environmental reasons. Glad to have it for P.O. reasons.

None of the Prius owners I know bought them for the "smug" factor. They bought them in the beginning for environmental or "techie" reasons and later for gas savings while not sacrificing roominess or comfort. The Prius beats all other hybrids on the road on all three counts.

The Volt is vaporware rolled out to snag subsidies and bailouts. Pure pork.

If they want solutions they should give the money to Toyota or Honda, but they don't need it.

At least they didn't make it an SUV! Of course, if they did they would probably sell more.

Speaking of pretty hybrids, have you seen the Escalade?

It gets estimated 20 mpg city, 21 highway. Which is so much better than the non-hybrid 12 mpg city, 20 highway.

But it looks good, and that's what counts.

The AFS technologies SUV looks good, for a SUV:
YouTube - XH-150 Extreme Hybrid - Track Tests & Interviews

AFS Trinity Power – A revolution in Fast Energy Storage™ featuring the Extreme Hybrid™.

The idea of lead acid with ultracapacitors seems good for hybrids, unfortunately all the car manufacturers seem to find the lithium battery sexier at the moment.

Hell, someone should try to make the hummer a hybrid... Oh, wait, someone did...


Favorite quote: "it'll get 60 miles to the gallon. With 2,000 foot-pounds of torque. You'll be able to smoke the tires. And it's going to be superefficient. ... Think about it: a 5,000-pound vehicle that gets 60 miles to the gallon and does zero to 60 in five seconds!"

Seriously, I have my doubts that the current crop of Americans can actually change their view of the world enough to actually allow them to survive in it.

You say that like it's a bad thing. :-)

The population, I believe, is what must change downward in order for a new order to emerge. Until such time, the roller coaster ride will continue. And just like a roller coaster there will be ups, downs, jolt- sharp turn -jolt, smooth stretches (which will lull the dullest) and even slow downs that might feel like things have stopped.

And then there's the upside down experience... that's when you lose all your money and you feel light-headed, then sick.

Yes, under these circumstances I can hardly believe what they write in that article, that is to say the car would "use less electricity annually than a refrigerator".

Actually, though I doubt that refrigerator statement myself, American refrigerators are about as compact, well designed, and energy efficient as an American GM car.

Another example of that fat cutting which Americans should be indulging in any day now.

Though don't hold your breath, as the expression goes - what are they going to pay with to actually buy modern European or Japanese style appliances?

I'm not very well up on the power usage of an American refrigerator, but might be able to throw some light on the EV car part of the equation!
An EV uses around 250-300watt/hours mile.
The average mileage travelled in an American car is around 18,000 miles/annum.
If you assume that around 10,000 of those miles are electric, then you use around 1000kwh/year.

So you would have roughly 100watts/hour to run your fridge, which sounds in the right ball-park.

The thing which really blew me away though was that apparently an EV would draw 4 times less power than a plasma screen!

Maybe this demonstrates more clearly that you should not buy a plasma TV than buy an EV, but EV's are remarkably economical - it is petrol cars which throw away the power.

That article about plasma TV's has to be wrong, assuming that it takes 8hrs to re-charge a Chevy Volt ( net 8kWh 35-80% capacity), that's drawing 1kW. I just purchased a 50inch plasma TV and it is slightly warm at back when on. If it draws 1kW it would be melting or smoking!
I calculate that the Chevy Volt will use 200watthrs/mile in city driving(where you are likely to be in battery only mode).
If GM can actually deliver this by 2010-2011, and build at a good rate, rather than come out with an extended range EV SUV using x5 the power, then we will have a real disruptive technology for transport and a way to survive post Peak Oil declines.
Judging from today's GM press release, the Media department still needs to undergo a culture change, no mention of electricity or gasoline fuel economy, but does mention the electric engine delivers 150bhp!

I have seen large (meter plus size) plasma screens at a consumer electronics store with a rated power consumption of 1.3 kilowatts - which shocked me, to be honest.

US refrigerators have shown massive increases in efficiency. 2,000 kWh/year was not unusual a decade ago. My Kenmore (from memory) uses 413 kWh/year.


...I can hardly believe what they write in that article, that is to say the car would "use less electricity annually than a refrigerator".

You must have read the abbreviated version of the press release. Here is the full statement:

(The Volt) uses less electricity annually than a refrigerator if you park it in the kitchen and leave it turned off.

Of course, if you actually drive it, it's going to use a whole lot more... :)

Of course I park my refrigerator in the kitchen, however, I do not turn it off!
It's a lousy drive anyway.

Why not just get something you can park in the kitchen and fuel from the fridge...

GM has been building cars with poor aerodynamics for decades. The latest SUV's, such as the Cadillac Escalade is just such a vehicle. The trouble is, aerodymanics means that all cars would tend to look the same. The "econo-boxes" of the 1990's are hard to differentiate and the people that see style as more important than function tended to avoid the basic "bar of soap on a roller skate" image.

I have come to think of GM's products as "square cars for square people", but I know a bit about aerodynamics. I remember the original Ford Taurus that was designed using a wind tunnel at the local Lockheed plant in Atlanta.

E. Swanson

GM cars and trucks do quite well on gas. For the worst, try a Ford.

GM also owns Opel, they specialize in econo boxes on the Euro side of the Atlantic. All they need to do is pull up the drawings. See my comment below on the Astra.

Americans can barely afford the roof over their heads. They will not be buying $40,000 cars -- electric or otherwise.

But what if they offer "Employee Pricing?"

That might help, Ben, but it's my understanding that the whole Light Truck/SUV phenomenon was driven by the need for Detroit to cover its enormous legacy costs. This is why they fought building smaller, more fuel-efficient cars. They simply couldn't make the requisite profit margin selling econoboxes.

Salary-wise, I guess I'm about a "typical American" and I have only once spent $20,000 for an automobile. And that was in better economic times. Right now, I'm no mood to buy anything.

Hard to do if you don't have employees.

Looks about like the Opel Astra I'm driving this month. 1.4liter diesel, goes about 800km on 40liters at 140km/hr+. Good little car.

Much better than a hybrid. GM should get credit for getting rid of the complicated powertrain on the Prius and using just the electric motor, less weight provides more room for error. So, is the small gas motor from Briggs and Stratton? 150hp in an electric motor will beat a 69 Camaro in a hole shot and give you a serious neck ache. I've seen all electric hunting vehicles along the same lines, they are only about 7k and are really 4x4 golf carts.

Right spiffy car. Maybe the wife will want one.

After inflation, $40k in 2010 might be what your Waffle House tab. Peanuts. Get yours before the Amero comes online and you might only pay 1oz of gold for it!

Doesn't resemble any Opel Astra I've seen in Germany, to be honest.

New body style, or the old one? Don't confuse it with the Corsa, the Astra is between the Vectra (high end) and the Corsa (very low end go cart). Back end looks different since the Astra looks like a station wagon with the back chopped, but the front is surprisingly close.

I live in Germany, and the picture in the article does not remind of an Astra of any variety. This is just an opinion, based on one picture.

General Rickshaws?

That's their finances - only there are no wheels.

Technical Analysis (TA) – Fifth Post

Yet another oil takedown! My guess is that this low in price will last for at least a couple of days as the last of the weak longs are eaten up by the Smart Money (SM). Maybe the commodities markets will be kept down until after the options expiration on the 19th. Also, this is a good time for the SM to start cashing in their shorts. Not only Leahman's longs but their shorts might be sold into the market...

So, where is the absolute bottom for oil? I am calling it at $70. Why? Because this is where I recall that SW Airlines had their hedges. As we get closer to this price, the trigger fingers of the transportation company risk and trading offices might get mighty itchy. So itchy that I'm calling $80 as a more realistic bottom. It sure looks like the $90 level is about ready to get blown away.

Normally, the SM loves to effect a trading range after a price decline. This has been called “wearing them out.” It looks like gold and silver might be in the beginnings of such a thing. However, because of oil's extreme usage, I'm guessing that this will be very difficult.

Also, this seems like a perfect time for the SM to buy physical oil. The price is low. And, I'm guessing that after the LOOP's tank farms are filled the SPR might take anything left over. They could just go to Congress and say, “We didn't “buy” this oil, we only helped out the industry by storing it during a hard time. Here, we'll “give” it back.” One of the supports for the Iran war theorists is a full SPR.

So, what does TA say about all of this? Once again, I am getting a strong short signal on all of my strategies except for the “Reversal” strategy. I don't think that anyone needs a fancy program to figure out that things don't look too good for the price of oil.

So, I'm still keeping my USO puts for now. My TA is telling me to cash out now (profit goal has been met), so I may do that today. However, my TA is also telling me to add to my short position (all indicators are for more downward movement). I guess I'll just watch the market today and play it by ear.

For my TA, I am using OmniTrader (20-day backtested) with the pattern recognition module (short, med, and long), and I trade USO as a proxy for oil. I am using the standard strategies for breakout, trending, and reversal (all filtered and non-optimized), one that I created with all 75 systems, and another one I created with only the volume systems (both optimized and minimally filtered). Once again I have put myself out as a fortune teller – a sure way to end up looking like a fool. I am not an expert at TA, I am a beginner. Please add to this analysis, and don't feel shy about flaming me if I said something dumb. I definitely want to stay out of the group of the “stupid people losing money.”


Generaly, you are definitely not a fool. When do you think we will see $140/barrel oil again?

I can't think of a way to figure out when the price of oil will get to $140 again. There is a good chance that the SM knows exactly when that will occur. But my guess is that it will be kept secret with ½ of the clues being false. There have been times in the past when the SM have taken months before allowing the price to go back up. I'm guessing that we will have more of a V bottom. In TA, there is a saying that “the charts don't lie.” Or, that all will be reflected within the movement of price and volume. I think that it is possible to trick people using TA, but it is a great deal harder than the other methods.

Since the high was $147, TA tells us that we could expect that the price will bounce off of the bottom of that area at least once.

Queue theory says that when the demand exceeds the supply, that the output volatility increases. So, it is possible that in a couple of years we will have $300 and $100 oil in the same year.

"Since the high was $147, TA tells us that we could expect that the price will bounce off of the bottom of that area at least once."

So what you are saying is that $147 will now act as a resistance, at least for a short time. Am I correct?

Correct, and it is a "buy" signal when the price goes above the resistance.

What is happening this week is a combination of factors. First is the annual price cycle with dropping prices in the fall which then go back up in late winter and spring. On top of this is the dumping of oil futures by hedge funds and institutional investors. Finally is the off-line refineries in Texas and Louisiana. Drop in demand for crude by refiners and the drop in products has driven up the price of gasoline at the same time crude is falling. The dumping of futures contracts will end soon and the refineries will come back on line in a few weeks. What might not change soon is the rise in unemployment which has been cutting demand for gasoline. Those at the top of the economic pyramid have been chipping away at the bottom and middle for decades due to the regressive economic policies of the GOP. It was only a matter of time before the upper parts start sliding down. A good predictor of future oil prices may be what sectors of the labor market have rising unemployment. If it is more from the financial sector's white collar employees prices will stay in the $90 to $110 range. If it is mostly blue and pink collar workers then prices will rise to the $130s.

Hello TODers,

Kohler, Briggs & Stratton, Generac sending portable devices to Gulf Coast after hurricanes

Three Wisconsin companies are getting a windfall of business as they send tens of thousands of portable generators to Texas, Louisiana and other states that have lost electricity after Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.
Does anyone know if this is mostly new sales to homeowners who never had a genset before, or mostly replacement sales for gensets that got wrecked by the flooding?

In my mind, I had pictured most homeowners in these states would have had gensets for some years preceding Ike & Gustave. Most are small and easy to store in a garage or storage shed until needed.

Catching the newstreams out of Houston (http://www.maroonspoon.com/wx/ike.html)

The aid agencies have "PODS" (Points of Distribution) for people to pick up water, MREs, and ice. The PODS appear to be most efficient when pedestrians are excluded, so at many of them you need to have a car or truck to get your aid. Meanwhile, there are mile-long lines at gas stations that lack gas, as people sit in their car waiting for the next transport truck to bring fuel. Does anything about this ring as unsustainable?

Some PODS today are not receiving shipments as expected- volunteers are on hand, recipients lined up, but no MREs, water, or ice. Hope people can keep their patience.

No ice!

How will they keep their beer cold?

I grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas and no one I knew had a genset.


We present observations of SCP 06F6, an unusual optical transient discovered during the Hubble
Space Telescope Cluster Supernova Survey. The transient brightened over a period of 100 days,
reached a peak magnitude of 21.0 in both i775 and z850, and then declined over a similar timescale.

Check out the light curve on page 2, it looks like a Hubbert curve.



You may be on to something with this science stuff.

Is it mere coincidence that markets are in meltdowns since the European CERN turned on its Hadron collider on September 10th?

Zap, there went Lehman Brothers. Looks like Hadron has its sites on AIG, too. Good thing Merrill Lynch went behind a Bank of America force field.

Deployment of US defense shields has had only a slight effect on disappearing FED rates. Now if only the Europeans would turn their nefarious Hadron beast on their own ECB and get those electronic interest rates disappearing into an exotic man-made black hole.

It's all the Europeans fault. Can't trust nobody with a funny accent, you know.

A corporate accountant once asked me (very seriously) if the reason that he couldn't balance the year-end closing was because of "cosmic rays changing something in the computer's memory".

I told him that it was *highly unlikely*. (Much more likely that he was totally incompetant)

You're no fun. Should have said the black hole flux may disrupt your computer's memory and then watch him try to explain it in a meeting....:-)

I was once asked by an admin type (interrogated) as to why my mobile phone did not work when I was in France.

I told her that since electricity in France is generated by nuclear power, the electrons are 10% larger than British Electrons and that on some phone types, they get stuck in the silicon chips, so my phone did not receive while in France.

Size matters...

Like Texans?

No. Texans can trust people with a funny accent. Like GW Bush. It's everybody else who can't / shouldn't trust him.

The fabled planet X making an appearance?

Hello TODers,

Potash inventories controlled by North America crop-nutrient producers fell 21 percent in August to their lowest in at least 19 years, as a strike at three Canadian mines reduced output, an industry group said.
The Bad: until the strike is resolved, this can only force raw potash rock and I-NPK prices to spike up in the interim, then production flowrates can ramp again. Not good news if you are already a subsistence farmer in Africa, Asia, etc, and are priced out of the market during this strike period. The crops cannot wait...and too many people already are hungry.

The Good: hopefully it is making farmers and govt. policy-makers everywhere take a good hard look at ramping O-NPK recycling so mined potash inventories won't gyrate so much in the future.

From the India Times article in today's Drum Beat:

Chavez is going to visit Beijing in search of buyers for Venezuelan oil, which he has stopped selling to the United States.

Excuse me? I can see where he might have a motive, but I don't see it happening...yet.

Any truth to this?? If so, it should be front page news, even given all the other turmoil.

Chavez has threatened to stop selling the US oil so many times people just kind of ignore it.

I'm sure he'd like to sell it to China instead, but there are infrastructure issues. Oil is not really perfectly fungible.

Venezuela, based on EIA data, has shown a 10 year decline in net oil exports of about 100,000 bpd per year. Extrapolated out, they would approach zero net oil exports in about 20 years:

The decline in oil shipments to the US has been pretty much following the overall net export decline, until recently. Based on the first six months of 2008, they are shipping an average of less than 1.2 mbpd to the US, versus 1.8 mbpd in 1997. I suspect that they may be diverting all the crude that China can presently handle to China. Here are the annual shipments from Venezuela to the US, through 2007:


Thanks. I understand Chavez's history of threats and also the decline in exports. There's also the fact that few refineries have the capacity to refine Venezuela's heavy crude.

I was just taken aback by the use of the past tense "has stopped selling to the United States" in the India Times article. Apparently the writer meant to simply say that less is being sold.

Glad for America that it's just a badly worded article, at least for now.

This would be a bad week for Chavez to turn off the spigot.

Actually, if we extrapolate out the recent trends for Venezuela, especially their huge increase in consumption--about +10%/year--they would be approaching zero net oil exports as soon as 2020.

if we extrapolate out the recent trends

Isn't that where the whole DOW 36,000 idea got started?

And isn't that what M. King Hubbert argued against his whole career?

-- Jon

Well, Indonesia is probably a pretty good model for Venezuela (subsidized energy costs in both cases), and Indonesia's consumption didn't show, since 1980, a material two year decline until after they slipped into net importer status in 2004. Indonesia's consumption:


Yes, you can pick individual countries where trends held in place for 20 years. And I can pick examples where they didn't. What I'm arguing against is the general approach of extrapolating trends to predict the future.

If you make a scientific hypothesis you only need one counter example to prove it wrong.

I'm arguing that the following hypothesis:

You can take existing trends and extrapolate into the future to predict production/consumption/whatever.

is invalidated many times over by a review of the historical data.

Venezuela may indeed cease exporting oil in 10 years (or 5 or 2). But extrapolating current trends is not the way to prove it to folks with a science background. Nor does the general approach have any track record of accuracy when applied to various nations over various time periods.

I just think we need to bring more information to bear before making predictions of this nature. I expect you may have more in-depth knowledge that is not expressed in this thread that goes into your assessment of Venezuela's export capabilities. If so, please state it. My concern is that by arguing the case for extrapolating recent trends you inadvertently give credence to all kinds of boosters of various sorts who argue with recent trends and trot out individual examples that bolster their case.

That's just not how science is done. (Or at least not how it should be done.)


-- Jon

Of course, when we (Khebab's hard work) modeled the top five net oil exporters, we used the logistic method to predict future production and a Monte Carlo analysis to model future consumption. In both cases, we basically used low, middle and high case scenarios, which resulted in a middle case for the top five net oil exporters collectively approaching zero net oil exports around 2031.

An unconventional producer like Venezuela is much more difficult to model. So, I think that a plausible way to model future net exports is by looking at recent and current data.

Case #1: They have shown a 10 year net export decline, at about 100,000 bpd per year, which would bring them to about zero net oil exports around 2027.

Case #2: Extrapolate recent (three year) production decline rates and consumption increases, which would bring them to about zero net oil exports around 2020.

So, one could argue that they would approach zero net oil exports in the 2020 to 2027 time frame, depending on data that one uses to extrapolate. And by the way, the simple ELM suggests that the initial decline is a pretty good predictor of the remaining years of net exports. The initial two year decline averaged 120,000 bpd, from 1.0 mbpd, which suggested 8.3 years of net oil exports, and Export Land hit zero in nine years.

If we use the average 2006 and 2007 EIA data for the top five decline (an average decline of 850,000 bpd, from a 2005 rate of 23.8 mbpd) it gives them 28 years of net exports, which suggests that they would collectively approach zero in the 2033 time frame, which is also about what our middle case shows using much more complex methods--which of course would argue for the 2027 estimate for Venezuela.

Having said all of that, Venezuela's rate of bitumen production is a wild card, but the 10 year trend, and recent events, don't offer much encouragement.

If memory serves, Venezuela is pricing gasoline at about 12¢ per gallon, which has had the predictable effect on consumption. So, why should we expect the consumption graph for Venezuela to materially change when many other (subsidizing) exporters like Indonesia, the UAE and Saudi Arabia showed the same pattern?

Venezuela's consumption:

If I might interject: I think that good examples of ELM are places like Indonesia and the North Sea... ELM fits that data very well...

I took some time to edit the Wikipedia page on the Export Land Model. I hope I have done it justice and anyone is, of course, empowered to refine what is stated there.

On that page I use both Great Britain and Norway as examples that do not fit the Export Land Model. One of the basic elements of the ELM is that domestic consumption increases and this is simply not the case for either Great Britain or Norway.

The simplicity and explanatory power of the ELM when applied to nations like Indonesia, Egypt, Malaysia, Mexico, etc. will only be diminished if we start applying it improperly. The examples of Great Britain and Norway, like those of the US and Romania are adequately explained by an even simpler model: they are on the back half of the production curve.

-- Jon

The crux of the export model is that once production starts declining, domestic consumption is satisfied, before oil is exported. The initial stated conditions for Export Land are production of two mbpd, consumption of one mbpd and a production decline rate of -5%/year and a consumption rate of increase of +2.5%/year, which results in net oil exports going to zero in 9 years.

If, as I have pointed out several times, Export Land shows no increase in consumption, it would go to zero in 14 years (Rule of 72, production drops by half in 14 years, so consumption = production in 14 years)--not exactly a big difference.

In fact, in our article on the top five, we explicitly compared the ELM, to the UK and to Indonesia--which all were consuming about half of production at final peak. Can you pick the accelerating decline rate curve on the following graph that had virtually no increase in consumption?


The UK had almost no increase in consumption, the ELM +2.5%/year, and Indonesia +4.1%/year. The Uk had a high production decline rate, -7.8%/year, the ELM -5%/year, Indonesia, -3.9%/year.

The UK went to zero in 7 years, Indonesia in 8 years, the ELM in 9 years. Our point was that virtually all exporters would fall between the UK and Indonesia in terms of per capita income, energy taxes/subsidies and production decline rate.

Once production starts declining, the three primary factors which control the net export decline rate are: (1) Consumption as a percentage of production at final peak; (2) The rate of change in production; (3) The rate of change in consumption, with #1 being the biggest factor.

For example, let's assume production of 2 mbpd at final peak and -5%/year production decline rate, with no increase in consumption:

With consumption = 50% of production at final peak, net exports go to zero in 14 years.

With consumption = 10% of production at final peak, net exports go to zero in about 45 years.

BTW, with consumption equal to about half of production at peak in 2004, Mexico is following the "script," just like the ELM, UK, and Indonesia. They will probably approach zero net oil exports in the 2010 to 2012 time frame.

Thanks for the extended review. I see that I've interpreted ELM differently than you had originally intended. I'll back down on my previous statement and let you define it your way with Indonesia and the UK as examples that fit the model.

UK demand stayed largely flat.

But UK production fell from 1999.

That doesnt stop the ELM from working. A fall in production can act as an equivalent brake on Exports of surplus as an increase in domestic consumption.

Hello TODers,

Gee, I thought we are supposed to be showered with flowers in every country we attack. /snark

On the eve of a meeting with the top U.S. military commander, Pakistan upped the ante in its standoff over U.S. troop incursions, saying its soldiers had orders to open fire on American troops if they crossed from Afghanistan on raids.

Does anyone know if the recent spate of bad weather in the Midwest will affect corn or bean prices this Fall (storm damage/higher prices)?


I am guessing that a normal corn harvest would be in by now, but I have heard that the corn is maturing more slowly this year, at least in some areas like Minnesota.

Corn and soybeans were replanted late after the spring flooding. Widespread catastrophe has occurred with the 2008 harvests after Ike.


Ethanol and biodiesel companies may face hard times, perhaps worse than those of energy companies.

Thanks for the link! About time to go long on corn?

Amid widening financial chaos, Fed holds rates

WASHINGTON - The Federal Reserve kept a key interest rate unchanged Tuesday, saying that strains in financial markets have “increased significantly” but the inflation outlook remains uncertain.

The Fed’s action was a disappointment to investors who were hoping that severe stress in financial markets that surfaced in recent days would prompt the central bank to resume cutting interest rates.

The insane thing is that the rate is 2.00%-it can't go past 0% in any event. If the plane is not going to hit the pavement, taxpayer money will have to be spent far more effectively than it has been to date, which is handing it over to thieves in big piles. The staggering uselessness of GWB as a "leader" has seldom been as clear as during this whole crisis period. The USA economy is going to need massive spending on energy and infrastructure in any event, now or 5 or 10 years from now-if there ever was a time to do it this is definitely the time, and there would be positive multiplier effects for the overall economy. Simply throwing good money after bad, which is all they have done is pathetic IMO.

Scott Adams has funded a survey of economists as to who they thought had the best policies for the US.



In the depths of the data its interesting to realise that even amongst economists energy only ranks as the forth most important policy area, and that republicans consider it WAY down the list relative to democrats.

So from a peak oil perspective, its outreach to republicans that's needed.

Now that's an interesting way to use one's wealth.

I'm not sure economists have any more of a clue than anyone else, though. The world has changed. The economics of scarcity, rather than being irrational, might in fact be perfectly rational.

You might not expect them to understand the full shape of the problem and magnitude of the changes that result - but you would expect them to see something coming over the horizon.

It seems rather that they're blinkered - which says something to their education.

The republican<>energy disconnect was particularly striking though (its in the PPT). Something key is happening there.

If The Oil Drum is outreach, we're doomed. While the featured posters tend to stay out of politics and religion, the daily commentary doesn't exactly say "welcome" to anybody who isn't already a true-believer.

I do not see TOD as "outreach". We are tech central for the Peak Oil Movement, with more than a few would be policy wonks.

Think "Foreign Affairs" bi-weekly magazine.

Limited readership, fairly deep & in depth articles, not for the "common man", but influential. That is, IMHO, the role that TOD should aspire to.

In addition, we have a meat grinder for analysis, real time peer review from an incredibly broad set of experts in a bizarrely wide variety of areas. Quite seriously, I think the TOD peer review is not equaled ANYWHERE, in any publication.

Pablum, we are *NOT* ! And the masses all too often want pablum.


"real time peer review from an incredibly broad set of experts in a bizarrely wide variety of areas"

Hey, I like this. Maybe it should go uptop somewhere, as a subtitle.

It's a key thing that makes this site so addictive.

Re: the virtual money

The only possible outcome left in its wake will be individual and societal debt burdens so high that the Great Depression and the wars it engendered will seem and feel like a sun-drenched dreamy all-the-icecream-you-can-eat kindergarten birthday bash in Disneyland.

The Automatic Earth

Assuming that the current global oil production "plateau" roughly marks the arrival of world peak oil, how will oil price respond in the new era of increasing oil scarcity?

A big question.

On TOD, I have seen commentary that supports a number of different hypothetical scenarios for price. Indeed, there's likely one or more scenarios for each TODizen. However, opinions seem to cluster around a number of possibilities. I've roughly diagramed a few. I'm presenting these with a question to all the oil production and price forecasters out there:

If the production profile in the charts is assumed to model what actually happens out to 2015 (admittedly smoothed), then what is the most realistic price response, especially in terms of volatility, of the four scenarios?

It is understood that:

Price <--> Production

In other words, prices will likely effect production rates, and production rates will likely effect prices. There's a complex relationship between the two. So I'm "fixing" the production profile. Say this is what production looked like "historically" out to 2015. How would prices have to look for that production profile to be reality?

I decided not to add a demand curve to these diagrams in order to focus more basically on how people are thinking about price and volatility. Especially volatility. Increasing volatility is a nearly universal expectation in a post-peak world among TODers. But how volatile? Based on the price curves I've seen for whale oil and caviar, it seems to me that prices could fall very low at short intervals. Maybe oil will again see a brief return to a $20-30 trading range before climbing to a new all-time high (I note that some people have presented some compelling economic reasons for a price floor around $70-80).

Scenarios 3 and 4 are presented as a means of presenting some possibilities that involve significant demand destruction responses to price spikes.

Another way to think about these diagrams: What is the possibility that the price escalation to ~$133/bbl (monthly average) was actually the long-feared "super-spike" (or very close to it), one that has had a major impact on the global economy, and may have serious long-term implications on oil production due to significant demand destruction?

Only a few possible scenarios have been outlined in the diagrams. Peak oil is assumed to be around 2008. And the time-scale, 2004-2015 is limiting. Likely reality will look a bit different, and some concepts may require several decades of time-space to depict clearly. Maybe some TODers think that the seven years post-peak (regardless of what year it actually has happened/happens) will look considerably different than anything portrayed here. Okay, this is likely a big can of worms.

Scenario 1:

Scenario 2:

Scenario 3:

Scenario 4:

Your thoughts?



Right now the TV film "Ein böses Erwachen - der Ölcrash" (A rude awakening - the oil crash) is running on "Arte" (A french/german TV station). The film (Switzerland, 2006) will be broadcasted again on sep 18, 9:55 on Arte i.e. next thursday.

There is lot of talk from Matt Simmons, Colin Campbell, M. Savinar and many oil professionals from arab countries, OPEC and so on. And there are many snippets from older US TV material about the history of oil exploration and production. Ethanol, hydrogen and others are also covered.

The film is in German, but many parts are originally English with subtitles. So it might be worth a look even for those who don't understand German.

That sounds like this movie. It was reviewed here.

Did they leave Matt Savinar with his survival supplies in it, or did they cut that part out as "too American"?

Yes, it is "a crude awakening". I didn't watch the film from the start, so I can't tell about any of Savinars constributions having been omitted.
But I've seen Hubbert himself speaking about possible after-oil ramifications, as early as some time in the Sixties. I found his statements really prudent, and the film as a whole is worth watching.

It's the End of the World As We Know It

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stocks rallied in the final hour of trading to close higher Tuesday, reversing some of the Monday's stinging losses on expectations the government might step in to rescue embattled insurer American International Group Inc.

"It now appears as though the Federal Reserve will exercise its responsibility as the lender of last resort in a crisis and help AIG," said Hugh Johnson, chairman of Johnson Illington Advisors.

..."It's the end of the world as we know it. We're now dealing with a problem that is probably much larger than we think. There is $1 trillion of assets in AIG. It's much bigger and much more profound than a broker dealer in New York. It will affect Main Street as well," said Marin, formerly a banker at Lehman Brothers.

Mish covers this-it looks like the lawmakers are going to let AIG do some unlawful things (like accessing funds held in trust)


Wonderful. If I understand it correctly...if AIG goes belly-up, the taxpayers of the good state of NY will be on the line for the loans Paterson is allowing them to make to themselves.

Latest : Fed Readies A.I.G. Loan of $85 Billion for an 80% Stake

In an extraordinary turn, the Federal Reserve was close to a deal Tuesday night to take a nearly 80 percent stake in the troubled giant insurance company, the American International Group, in exchange for an $85 billion loan, according to people briefed on the negotiations.

All of A.I.G.’s assets would be pledged to secure the loan, these people said, and in return, the Fed would receive warrants that could be exchanged for an ownership stake. Stock of existing shareholders would be diluted, but not wiped out.

*** Without the help, A.I.G. was expected to be forced to file for bankruptcy protection.


Maybe that's why Dubya ditched his own press conference.

WASHINGTON - With little explanation, President Bush on Tuesday scrapped a statement he planned to give on the tumultuous financial markets, abandoning any press coverage of his meeting with key economic advisers as more developments roiled Wall Street.

he he yes you are presumably right on that one. GWB was told to go mute, so that the "know-how-to-doers" could go and work more relaxedly..

Frankly speaking , the job the FED is doing "in a hurry" is quite impressive (at lest to me, that is ...)

No doubt Dubya is not the kind of fella who would cut and run.
He is a faith-based righteous man who never f****d anything up in his life.
Surely he was planning to educafy the American public as to the following deep dive appreciationings about "the economy":

1. The American economy is a "robust", "resilient" and rebounding.
2. The "fundamentals" (or was it religious fundamentalists?) are "strong".
3. Mission accomplished.
4. Jobs are steady and strong
5. Housing is only slightly "unsettling".
6. Taking money out of hand of investors would "weaken" the economy
7. I got a "B" in that there Econ 101 (but don't worry)
8. This is merely an "adjustment", we can handle it

No IF, they are de facto BK and the equity holders are mostly wiped out.

The government loan is guaranteed by senior warrants. It is just a mechanism that buys them a couple or three weeks.

Look at it as a time release BK.

Ya, well...people will forget about it in a week or so...we have SUCH short attention spans and all...at least that is what BushCo hopes...

Federal takeover of AIG planned: Federal officials reportedly may take 80% stake in the nation's largest insurer in an $85 billion rescue plan to prevent financial chaos worldwide.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The federal government is reportedly on the verge of taking over crumbling insurer American International Group in an $85 billion deal that could leave the company in the Federal Reserve's hands.

According to published reports late Tuesday, officials decided they must act lest the nation's largest insurer file bankruptcy. Such a move would roil world markets since AIG (AIG, Fortune 500) has $1.1 trillion in assets and 74 million clients in 130 countries.

The plan calls for the Federal Reserve to take an 80% stake in AIG. The insurer's assets would be used to secure the loan, the New York Times reported.

That's a really swell deal for us taxpayers--$85 billion for 80% of a company whose market cap today was only $10 billion.

This quick succession of bailouts has to go down as the greatest looting of public funds in the history of the world.

And it's all being done by fiat.

What's the problem DS ? You just add these new and fresh $85 billion on top of this number ....

(joke aside, they just try to save capitalism ....... or someting there about)

What, exactly, do they mean when they say letting it fail would cause "worldwide chaos"? Massive bank failures, so we all get up tomorrow and find we have no money? Stock markets drop 90% in one day? What?

yes IMO, if AIG had failed for real (no saving efforts) the Stock Exchanges Worldwide would have been in for a real spanking tomorrow.
The big Q is : for how long will this "saving" last ? Everyone understand there is no really smart thougths on how to procede "after this" rescue-stunt ..

Tuesday/today.. the Norwegian main index was down almost 10 % at it's worst, and the Russian main index was shut-down before closing time, bleeding 17% ..........

Quite a while ago (at least a few months) Jim Willie had a whole list of entities that the taxpayer would end up fully or partially funding, and it was a very long and, at the time, a surprising list-things are breaking out along his lines in this regard so far. The taxpayer hasn't purchased the auto or airline sectors yet, among others.

Me thinks that auto's and airline's will die without any FED or gvt interruptions at all . Cars can be made small and fuel-ignorant and airplanes can be switched for telecommuting / railway / internet.

Alitalia's (airline) troubles are not part of my claim here, we are still in the transition window ... give TOD's working frame another few years ......... and things will be much clearer to all of us ( that includes the broader public Joe)

Denninger thinks the markets will spike tomorrow. He also thinks the Fed has a painted a big target on every financial firm in the US.

Agreed , tomorrow it will spike ..... just like every time the FED is rescuing some stranded CEO's / money machines to big to fail.

The thing is that : the people playing on the exchange are "regular folks" sniffing todays popular smell (shorters) - and they will play tomorrow - and loose the next day (!)

I'd say tomorrow up, the day after it'll be down again. Anyways the long trend is DOWN.
This is a system failure , most TOD'ers see that.

The screams of "Commie" would be deafening from the MSM if this was happening under an Obama Presidency.

Since poor and working class aren't benefiting, maybe not.

And now we find out that the taxpayers may have bailed out Lehman afterall:


Of course nobody knows what any of this means, because there is absolutely no transparency. Our federal government has become the blackest of black boxes.

It's about as anti-democratic as you can get.

Somewhat reminiscent of the dealings during the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union, dealings which led to great fortunes gleaned from the power and connections of the state.

Hate to be doomish, but IMHO the likelihood of the grifters controlling the USA allowing any sort of oil depletion mitigation is slim and none.

well, in the long-long aspect of things there is commie or anarchy. Or maybe there will be a good mix, socalled commarchy :-)

Well, they're reporting that so far the markets are "mixed."

The "bailout" is a short-term loan (24 months) with an 11% interest rate. Which is considered a "loan shark" rate.

This is supposedly to make a fed bailout extremely unappealing to other companies.

Supposedly they have written massive credit default swaps (unregulated insurance) -all the other grifter companies that have bought this garbage are claiming that because they are "insured" by AIG it doesn't matter that the garbage they wasted the shareholders' capital on is useless-the crap is totally "hedged". With AIG crashing, these positions are no longer even theoretically "hedged" and a lot of the theoretical "assets" carried on these other comnpanies' books need to be written off-basically it starts a chain of dominoes. Very few of these financial firms are actually being run like businesses-all these scams proliferate and they are all entirely about overstating current earnings at the expense of future earnings, hiding or undervaluing liabilities and overvaluing assets. In an earlier era, these activities would be termed fraud-now it is "Financial Engineering".

In the case of CDS "trigger event" like BK it's a instant "mark to market" of all assets. Obviously including level 3.

It doesn't matter, the gig is up, look at LIBOR. A few more weeks.

Anyone that has any brains and owns any equity in financials would sell everything first thing tomorrow morning as they are worth virtually zero, in view of what is now obviously Treasury and Fed policy.

No, they have 1T in assets and the warrants go to the top of the line in a liquidation. In order for there to be a loss the assets would have to bo worth less then 10 cents on the dollar. All assets, not just the junk.

Regarding the Science Daily report posted above:

>>Carbon dioxide tends to rise when climate warms, and the higher levels of carbon dioxide magnify the warming, Brook said. These natural cycles provide a "fingerprint" of how the carbon cycle responds to climate change.<<

So, Carbon dioxide increases with warming : I agree – Turn off your fridge, the lettuce warms up, it decays faster, CO2 is generated.

>>In contrast to the relatively low levels of carbon dioxide in the Ice Age,<<

Again, I agree. Turn on your fridge , ramp down the thermostat, the lettuce cools down and less CO2 Is generated.

>> the burning of fossil fuels since the Industrial Revolution has led to levels of greenhouse gases that by comparison are off the charts.<<

Compared with what?

The Carboniferous? -Its not called that for no reason . Think about the massive traps of Fossil Carbon Preserved as Coal. – must have been a shed load of Atmospheric Carbon available then.

Think of the Jurassic: All those algal blooms trapped in sediments to form Oil , Gas and Condensates.

Think about the Cretaceous : All those Carbonate deposits. Massive amounts of Carbon were removed from the biosphere. Must have been a shed load of Carbon removed from the Atmosphere then.

>>The level of atmospheric carbon dioxide today is about 385 parts per million, or more than double that of some of the lower levels during the Ice Age. <<

Again, I agree, When the earth was a fridge, less CO2 was generated. What could be simpler?

What were the CO2 levels during the Carboniferous, the Jurassic and the Cretaceous?

Were they more than today ? or Less than today?

Try taking an educated guess - Lots of Coal, lots of Oil , lots of Chalk and Limestone, Mega fauna . The amount of available Carbon as CO2 must have been outstanding.

>>The question everyone wants to know is what all this will mean in terms of future climate change.<< - Answer – Not a lot: not nearly enough to double the warming. To date.

>>"Before humans were affecting the Earth,(Oh yes?) what we are finding is regular warm and cold cycles, which both began and ended fairly abruptly, (Try solar cyles)" See the Vostok Ice core data . See the Eemian and Holocene.

>>Brook said. "This study supports the theory that a key driver in all this is ocean currents and circulation patterns, which create different patterns of warm and cold climates depending on the strength of various parts of the global ocean circulation system."<<

Oh of course. Circulation is important – it is how energy is transferred. No argument there.

>>"In every historic sequence we observed, the abrupt warming of Greenland occurred about when carbon dioxide was at maximum levels," Brook said. "And that was during an Ice Age, and at levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide that are far lower than those we have today."<<

Maybe you are reading the Carbon pulse from the prior warming period? But surely that disagrees with this same line from the paper? :

>>In contrast to the relatively low levels of carbon dioxide in the Ice Age,<<

Ooops , they left out the Sun again: That’s the big yellow ball in the sky. You know, the one with the variations in output. That creates zany little things like the Holocene Optimum, The Roman Warming, the Dark age Minima, the MWP, the LIA. The 1970’s scare and the 1980’s warming.

The more I read about ‘Warming’ the more cynical I become. It just does not add up. To discount the power of the Sun in favour of about 5 miles of Atmosphere with a smidgin of CO2 Makes no sense to me at all.

Am I missing something here? Was life impossible at ranges of 1000 - 4000 ppm CO2? Didn’t the Dinosaurs get the memo?:-)


>>>In very general terms, long-term reconstructions of atmospheric CO2 levels going back in time show that 500 million years ago atmospheric CO2 was some 20 times higher than present values. It dropped, then rose again some 200 million years ago to 4-5 times present levels--a period that saw the rise of giant fern forests<<<


>>>Earth's climate and atmosphere have varied greatly over geologic time. Our planet has mostly been much hotter and more humid than we know it to be today, and with far more carbon dioxide (the greenhouse gas) in the atmosphere than exists today. The notable exception is 300,000,000 years ago during the late Carboniferous Period, which resembles our own climate and atmosphere like no other.
With this in mind the road to understanding global warming and our present climate begins with an historical journey through a chapter in Earth's history, some 30 million years before dinosaurs appeared, known as the Carboniferous Period-- a time when terrestrial Earth was ruled by giant plants and insects, and glaciers waxed and waned over a huge southern continent.<<<

Personally , I am waiting for the next name – change.

It has gone from ‘’Global Warming’’ to ‘’Climate Change’’. I reckon the next name change will be to ‘’Climate Chaos

They didn't have 6.7 billion hominids in the Carboniferous, each needing home delivered energy. The weather definitely is weird. Down Under had a record warm autumn and a cold winter. Perhaps queuing theory can explain it.

Can someone explain


why does Obama need a teleprompter at campaign rallies.

Harvard University on Scholarship & Loans (as per Obama; different stories from the right wing).
Editor of the Harvard Law Review (Why was he made editor - he has no scholarly publications to his credit??)
-- but with the above items, the man is Brilliant. Also delivers his speeches well. Has been a US Senator, and must have a lot of experience interacting with people as a community organizer. So why the teleprompter????

The brightest/most promising student is given editorship of the Law Review. A signal honor (worth more than low six figures upon graduation, unless the former editor choses a low wage job).

And EVERYONE speaks from notes !! DUH !!!

Hi tech version is teleprompter.

Obama, if elected, will be one of the brightest presidents in US history, a welcome relief from GWB. Unfortunately, McCain's IQ is clearly dropping with age (confuses Shia & Sunni, cannot use internet, picks Palin for Vice-Flake).


Alan, Obama WILL be the next President of the US of A , he is called in for a purpose , no?

BTW who is that other Alzheimer-prone bloke?

I'm sorry for that rant, but I mean it . THE MAN IS Seventy f****ing 2 years old ....... then what is half or so ,of the US population, actually thinking about when planning to vote for that Old Bloke ??? McCain is rivaling old dictators of Africa age wise , for God's sake.... nowhere in the civilized world (western democracy that is) we get old folks like McCain into position...... What happened? What went wrong in the USA on this?

OLD peoples are stuffed with old ideas ........ He indicates that every time he opens his mouth !!!!!!!!!!! He and his she mate are a bad team for yeah - 2 cents only

(hmf I know this may provocate some, but the heck I can take it, hmf I mean all that)

Ya, but if you factor in Palin's age and take the average you are looking at, what, 31 or so? /sarconal

It is true that McCain seems too old to be effective. Yet Palin seems to have energized the Republicans a lot. Maybe people think that if he dies while in office they'll have Palin in there instead--and "what's wrong with that???". She seems very popular, very "everywoman".

Isn't she, if you think about it, really the Post Peak choice? She favors home schooling (what USA will need when the buses aren't running). She likes hunting (what US will need when the grocery stores go the way of Lehman Bros.). She favors lots of kids (traditional big famiies, lots of hands to do the many chores incurred by lack of electricity and oil). She reflects that old fashioned Christian right-wing religious outlook (OK it's one of the reasons I'll never move back to the USA but that's just me) that helps people with little education get through a tough day, like when people had to rely on rubbing the feet of statues to pray for recovery from illness (so appropriate post peak when healthcare is unaffordable and/or inaccessible). Is it just me who has placed her in this framework????

I hope Obama wins, of course, he's obviously bright and a nice person, but one of my relatives in the USA scorns him for being "professorial". I like "professorial". But many Americans are utterly turned off by that and they may have a majority (let's hope not, dread the thought!). They are charmed by Sarah Palin. She is certainly not "professorial"!

IMO this guy's eloquent essay summarizes why the USA will struggle post peak oil http://www.oftwominds.com/blogsept08/liarnation9-08.html

Yup, these days one is lucky to have a few dozen people one can trust.