DrumBeat: October 6, 2008

Pakistan facing bankruptcy: Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves are so low that the country can only afford one month of imports and faces possible bankruptcy.

Officially, the central bank holds $8.14 billion (£4.65 billion) of foreign currency, but if forward liabilities are included, the real reserves may be only $3 billion - enough to buy about 30 days of imports like oil and food.

Nine months ago, Pakistan had $16 bn in the coffers.

The government is engulfed by crises left behind by Pervez Musharraf, the military ruler who resigned the presidency in August. High oil prices have combined with endemic corruption and mismanagement to inflict huge damage on the economy.

...The Pakistan rupee has lost more than 21 per cent of its value so far this year and inflation now runs at 25 per cent. The rise in world prices has driven up Pakistan's food and oil bill by a third since 2007.

Efforts to defer payment for 100,000 barrels of oil supplied every day by Saudi Arabia have not yet yielded results, while the government has also failed to raise loans on favourable terms from "friendly countries".

Mr Zardari told the Wall Street Journal that Pakistan needed a bail out worth $100 billion from the international community.

Russia feeling the pinch

MOSCOW - NO LONGER quite so flush from vast oil and gas wealth, Russia's economy is feeling the pinch from the global crisis and problems at home, putting investors and small businesspeople on edge.

While economic growth has surged upwards at rates of over seven percent in recent months, plunging stockmarkets and massive central bank intervention have told a different story, denting a feeling of immunity from wider trends.

Russian shares dive on lower oil, global woes; fears for oil-based growth

MOSCOW (AP) - With the price of crude sliding, oil-rich Russia on Monday saw its stock markets take their most brutal one-day beating ever.

The benchmark RTS index plunged by 19.1 percent to 866.4 points, while the MICEX — where the bulk of trading takes place — fell by 18.7 percent to 752 points, the largest single loss ever for both. In a desperate bid to stop the bleeding, trading was suspended three times on MICEX and twice on the RTS — to little apparent effect.

Correa threatens to expel oil companies

QUITO • Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa has threatened to expel foreign oil companies if they fail to lift dwindling output in the OPEC nation.

Correa, a leftist former economy minister, issued the warning in a speech over the weekend, only days after he won a referendum to increase his sway in the country’s oil and mining sectors.

Mexico's Coast Under Watch From Tropical Storm Marco

(Bloomberg) -- Parts of Mexico's Gulf Coast may get as much as 6 inches (15 centimeters) of rain from Tropical Storm Marco, which formed today in the Bay of Campeche, home of the nation's largest oil field, U.S. hurricane forecasters said.

Refinery expansion shelved

The high price of heavy oil and scarce financing means capacity at Montana Refining Co. will not be expanded.

Calgary-based Connacher Oil and Gas, which bought the refinery in 2006, says it’s shelving plans to bring the facility from a 9,500 barrels of oil a day operation to 35,000 barrels a day.

Everybody Into the Ocean : The race is on to turn waves, tides and currents into electrical energy

Surfers aren't the only ones itching to jump in the water and catch some big waves.

Dozens of companies, from oil giant Chevron Corp. to smaller firms like Ocean Power Technologies Inc., have invested in or are evaluating the potential of technology designed to harness electrical energy from waves, tides and currents.

Oil tumbles to 10-month low below $88

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Oil prices tumbled below $88 a barrel Monday, nearly a 10-month low, as banking turmoil in Europe exacerbated fears that a global economic slowdown will crimp demand for oil and gas.

Crude prices were also pushed lower by a stronger U.S. dollar and weakness in world stock markets.

Light, sweet crude for November delivery fell $6.07 to settle at $87.81 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The price of crude has not been this low since Dec. 10, 2007 when the front-month contract settled at $87.86 a barrel.

Oil has fallen 40% since the July contract peaked at $147.27 a barrel on July 11.

La. officials fault Entergy for outages

NEW ORLEANS (UPI via COMTEX) -- Officials in Louisiana say so many people there were left without electricity when Hurricane Gustav hit because of a weak power grid.

Public officials say it was the poor condition of Entergy Corp.'s grid that kept power off for so many following the Category 2 hurricane, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported Sunday.

Ford gets $10M federal grant for plug-in hybrids

Ford Motor Co. is receiving a $10 million grant from the U.S. Energy Department to develop plug-in hybrid vehicles.

The funding being announced Tuesday will help the automaker continue to develop its demonstration fleet of 20 plug-in hybrid vehicles. The project costs $20 million, so the government is funding half of the program.

An eco-friendly way to cool big trucks

Webasto hired a trucker named Buck Threehouse to take a BlueCool-equipped truck on a summer publicity tour of truck stops across the country. The tour coincided with spiking fuel prices and appears to have succeeded -- Webasto sold 500 BlueCool units in July, its best month ever.

Threehouse said truckers have showed a lot of interest.

"What really sells the item -- they come and the truck's not idling. And all the trucks around me are idling," he said. Sometimes, he said, "they wake me up at 3:00 in the morning and ask me for brochures. They can't [wait until daylight], they have to deliver a load. And then they keep apologizing to me for waking me up."

Ecuador says OPEC to analyze global crisis impact

QUITO, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Ecuadorean Oil Minister Galo Chiriboga said on Monday that OPEC will analyze the impact of the global financial crisis on oil demand and set production levels in accordance.

The Philippines: Govt to renew talks with Russia on oil supply

The government plans to revive talks with petroleum-rich Russia in a bid to diversify the country’s sources of oil, which mainly comes from the Middle East.

OPEC members worried by oil price fall-Iraq

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - OPEC members are worried by the drop in the price of oil to around $90 a barrel, Iraq's oil minister told Reuters in an interview on Monday.

Hussain al-Shahristani said that the drop in oil prices to an eight-month low was due to the global economic crisis and not a change in supply. Iraq believes the fair price of oil is about $100, he added.

"Definitely there is worry. When the prices are so volatile, like rising to $140 and then dropping to below $90, it worries everybody," he said.

BP Falls Most in Six Years, Shell Declines, as Crude Oil Futures Tumble

(Bloomberg) -- BP Plc, Europe's second-largest oil company, slumped the most in almost six years in London trading as crude prices extended their decline. Royal Dutch Shell Plc, the continent's biggest, fell the most since combining its Dutch and U.K. parent companies in 2005.

Crisis aside, many face other economic woes

Mark Wolfe, executive director of the National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association, said he has been heartened by the combination of lower fuel prices and more federal assistance for struggling families who need help with their heating bills. Still, he said, for most Americans salaries have not kept up with heating costs.

Up until a few years ago, Wolfe said, "Energy was just really cheap, and it was wonderful for ordinary people. And, in a relatively short period of time, energy has gone from really cheap to not so cheap to kind of expensive. And that’s creating a lot of turmoil.”

Energy's Future in Latin America: New Study by Bracewell & Giuliani and Business News Americas Forecasts Region's Prospects and Challenges

WASHINGTON (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Peak oil in Latin America is less than 10 years away; energy integration, nuclear power plants, and large-scale renewable power generation are necessities to ensure sufficient energy supplies in the future; the region's governments should play a stronger role in their respective energy sectors; and Latin America and the Caribbean are ripe for business. These are the significant findings of Bracewell & Giuliani and Business News Americas' Energy Outlook 2008, which surveyed energy company executives from various countries throughout Latin America.

Half of mammals are in decline, study finds

BARCELONA, Spain - One in two mammal species on Earth are in decline and at least one in four are at risk of disappearing forever, according to a scientific survey released Monday and whose sponsors described the trend as an "extinction crisis" in the making.

"Mammals are declining faster than we thought," said Jan Schipper, lead author of a companion study being published this week in the journal Science.

Commodities R.I.P. as Leverage Vanishes, Growth Slows

(Bloomberg) -- Commodities markets are heading for the biggest annual decline since 2001 as investors exit leveraged bets and slowing economic growth erodes demand for raw materials.

The value of the 19 commodities in the Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index fell $280.6 billion, or 43 percent, from its July 3 peak, a loss larger than their total worth two years ago, data compiled by Bloomberg show. UBS AG, the Zurich-based bank that bought Enron Corp.'s energy unit in 2002, plans to exit most commodity trading. About 15 percent of investors in Boone Pickens's BP Capital LLC hedge fund may want their money back.

The same credit-market seizure that led to last month's bankruptcy of New York-based Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and the forced sale of Merrill Lynch & Co. is squeezing speculators who drove commodities to record highs. Slower expansion in the U.S., China and India is also undermining prices of crude oil, which fell 39 percent, and corn, down 46 percent.

OPEC President Predicts Crude Will Fall Further Next Year

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil prices will continue to fall next year, OPEC President Chakib Khelil said today.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will ``take the appropriate measures at the next meeting to preserve stability in the international market,'' Khelil, who is also Algeria's energy minister, told reporters today in Algiers.

Reliant to Review Options After Losing Half Its Value

(Bloomberg) -- Reliant Energy Inc., the owner of power plants in nine U.S. states, said it will explore strategic alternatives after losing more than half of its market value last week.

Morgan Stanley and Goldman, Sachs & Co. will serve as financial advisers for the review, which will look at all options for enhancing stockholder value, Houston-based Reliant said today in a statement. The company's shares plunged 54 percent last week after Reliant cuts its profit projections and arranged $1 billion in new financing.

Devon Gulf output returning, cuts output target

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Devon Energy Corp has restored 60 percent of the offshore oil and gas production it had shut down because of hurricanes Gustav and Ike, the independent energy producer said on Monday.

Production shutdowns from the hurricanes, as well as typhoons in the South China Sea and a shutdown at its Azeri field would cut Devon's third-quarter production to about 59 million barrels of oil equivalent, slightly below its previous forecast of 61 million boe.

It also cut its fourth-quarter production estimate to between 61 million to 62 million boe from 64 million boe because of the hurricane damage and shutdown of the Azeri ACG field.

Shortage leads to impurity in gas

FLETCHER – During the recent gas shortage, with his wife’s car sitting near empty in their driveway, Jose Ortiz fetched five gallons from a local convenience store.

Unfortunately, that had to be followed by a tow to the repair shop to fix damage caused by contaminated fuel.

A sample of the gas Ortiz poured into the Honda was collected by a state regulatory agency. “The gas that was inside my vehicle looked like root beer in color,” he said.

While such contamination doesn’t appear to be widespread, AAA Carolinas says it’s more likely when fuel tanks run low.

Perdue Gas Debacle of 2008

Now that the crisis is easing, who is to blame for the great gasoline shortage of 2008? Well, let’s think about that from the economic perspective of basic supply and demand.

Gov. Sonny Perdue signed an executive order on Sept. 12 enacting Georgia’s gas-gouging statute. The executive order meant that gasoline stations could only raise their price per gallon to reflect an increase in their costs per gallon; they could not increase their price to make bigger profits. Moreover, the Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs recently subpoenaed sales records from 130 gas stations to determine if they illegally raised prices after Hurricane Ike. What would you have done if you were in the gasoline business? You would not raise your sales price.

Kenyan orders cuts in electricity tariffs

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki on Monday ordered the energy and finance ministries to lower electricity tariffs in response to high costs that have been passed on to consumers.

Uganda: Ban on heavy trucks reduces fuel supply

THE flow of fuel into the country has been interrupted since the Kenyan authorities impounded all four-axle trucks destined for Uganda.

Hundreds of impounded trucks have been parked on the highway between Mariakani, Malaba and Busia border posts following a ban on heavy trucks effective from October 1.

Both Kenya and Uganda decided to slap a ban on four-axle (eight wheels) trucks after engineers argued that they damage the roads and make the governments incur high costs to repair them.

American Airlines plans à la carte pricing

FORT WORTH, Texas - The idea of paying a single, simple fare to fly on an airliner is becoming as quaint as stewardesses in short skirts.

American Airlines is about to accelerate the trend of breaking the cost of a trip into an airfare plus many smaller fees.

Starting next year, American, which led a stampede by U.S. carriers to charge customers for checking even a single suitcase, plans to imitate the a la carte pricing structure pioneered by Air Canada, airline officials say. There are likely to be a few basic fare plans, and travelers can pick additional services — for a fee.

Depression may form in Mexico's Bay of Campeche - NHC

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A low pressure system in the oil-rich Bay of Campeche in the southwest Gulf of Mexico has a 20 percent to 50 percent chance of developing over the next 48 hours, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in a report Monday.

Mexico's biggest oil field, the Cantarell Field, is located in the Bay of Campeche.

The NHC said the low would likely move west during the next 12 to 24 hours and some development was possible before it moved inland over mainland Mexico Monday night or Tuesday.

Saudi refinery repairs to take 2-3 months - trade

DUBAI (Reuters) - Damage from a fire in late August at a secondary unit at Saudi Arabia's largest oil refinery has cut output of gasoline and distillates and could take two to three more months to repair, industry sources said on Monday.

The sources said they had only recently learned of the fire and it was unclear which unit at the 550,000 barrels per day Ras Tanura plant had been affected.

A gasoline-producing reforming unit at the plant has been shut down, two sources said.

Africa: Journalists Reflect On Coverage of Food And Fuel Crisis

Journalists covering the Commonwealth Finance Ministers Meeting in Castries, St Lucia reflected on the way the story of the rising food and fuel crises has been covered in their respective countries and newsrooms and resolved to be more comprehensive and complete in future coverage of the story.

Farmers struggle as costs rise and economy slumps

Farmers say they aren't sure yet how the recent credit crisis will affect them, but they dow know the prices of things like fertilizer and fuel have been continuous strains on their budgets. "I didn't fertilize this year, but you can only do that one time," says Baxter. And Harry says, "My input is so much higher than it was, due to fuel and the economy."

They say at this rate, they aren't making much of a profit, and some farmers are getting out while they're still ahead. Dealers we spoke to at the Farmfest, told us business seemed pretty good, so perhaps farmers aren't backing away from spending money. But a common theme we heard is how little farmers are profiting, with such high input costs- due to the energy crisis.

Four Crises of the Contemporary World Capitalist System

The final and perhaps greatest crisis is that of the availability and distribution of such critical resources as oil, food, and water. The sustainability of human life is simply not consistent with inherently wasteful capitalist growth.

The International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook tells us that 50 percent more energy will be needed in 2030 than in 2005 (after adjusting for efficiency improvements) and that almost three-fourths of this increased demand will come from developing countries, with China and India alone responsible for 45 percent of the increase in demand. After 2015, China is expected to be the planet’s biggest carbon dioxide emitter, ahead of the United States, followed by India as the third largest emitter. (Other studies show China is already the biggest contributor of greenhouse gases.)

McCain’s Balancing Act on Energy

Many of Sen. John McCain’s answers to the country’s energy crisis, however, clash with the views of the GOP’s conservative GOP base. But some of the positions that his party stalwarts strongly oppose — including introducing climate legislation and keeping the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge off-limits to drilling — appeal to the independent and moderate Democratic voters whom McCain needs to win in November. Can the Republican nominee continue to run to the left of the GOP base and still hold on to its support?

Dutch city kept warm by hot-water mines

In an age of rapidly rising fuel bills the discovery of vast supplies of free hot water sounds too good to be true. But that is exactly what one Dutch city has found to run the radiators of hundreds of homes, shops and offices.

Heerlen, in the southern province of Limburg, has created the first geothermal power station in the world using water heated naturally in the deep shafts of old coalmines — which once provided the southern Netherlands with thousands of jobs but have been dormant since the 1970s.

Oil falls below $90 as financial turmoil spreads

Oil prices fell to an eight-month low below $90 a barrel Monday on speculation that the spreading financial crisis will exacerbate a global economic slowdown and cut demand for crude oil.

Significant gains by the U.S. dollar against the euro also contributed to slumping oil prices.

By midday in Europe, light, sweet crude for November delivery was down $4.03 to $89.85 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Earlier in the session, the price fell as low as $89.07 a barrel before recovering slightly.

On Friday, the November contract lost 9 cents to close at $93.88 a barrel.

In London, November Brent crude fell $3.64 to $86.61 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

Oil prices have tumbled nearly 40 percent since peaking in July. The Nymex front-month contract last traded this low in early February.

Russia's warships head for exercise with Venezuelan navy

Russia displayed its military strength in the Mediterranean yesterday after warships heading to Venezuela passed through the Strait of Gibraltar in the second deployment of Russian naval vessels in the waterway since the Cold War.

The nuclear-powered missile cruiser Peter the Great, accompanied by the Admiral Chabanenko, an anti-submarine destroyer, as well as a reconnaissance vessel and a support ship, are destined for a maritime exercise with the Venezuelan navy.

En route, however, the aim appears to be to demonstrate to the West and Nato that Russia is once again back in business as a blue-water power.

UK electricity price four times more than France

British companies are being forced to pay over four times more for their electricity this winter than competitors in France and in excess of 70 per cent more than in Germany.

The discrepancy will increase concerns that Britain's crumbling power infrastructure is a growing threat to the country's competitiveness and comes as Ofgem today announces its report into competition in the energy market.

UK: Ofgem probe finds some customers are "missing out" but no evidence of cartel

After a seven-month investigation into price rises in the industry, the watchdog set out a number of proposals, including measures to ban price differences between payment methods, in order to help customers who are being failed by the sector.

The proposals will particularly help more than four million customers without gas who currently have no access to the most competitive offers, the watchdog said.

Russia's oil wealth no vaccine against global crisis

MOSCOW: No longer quite so flush from vast oil and gas wealth, Russia's economy is feeling the pinch from the global crisis and problems at home, putting investors and small businesspeople on edge. While economic growth has surged upwards at rates of over seven percent in recent months, plunging stockmarkets and massive central bank intervention have told a different story, denting a feeling of immunity from wider trends.

...The downbeat mood was expressed last week by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who said Russia had picked up an "infection" from the United States. Global financial turbulence has been accompanied by falling world oil prices, a factor particularly likely to concentrate minds in Russia given its position as a top world energy producer.

BP chief says Russian unit conflict getting resolved

BP Plc Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward said he expects to complete the legal documents governing Russian venture TNK-BP by Dec. 1, putting a formal end to a shareholder conflict that threatened to paralyze Russia's third- largest oil producer.

The Russian government "indirectly" helped resolve the dispute by bringing the two sides to the negotiating table, Hayward said in an interview with the Kommersant newspaper published today. BP spokesman Vladimir Buyanov confirmed the authenticity of Hayward's comments.

Russia asks Britain to extradite ex-head of Russneft oil company

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) - Russia has sent Britain a request for the extradition of Mikhail Gutseriyev, the former head of the oil company RussNeft, wanted in Russia on charges of tax evasion, investigators said Monday.

"He is in England, and a request for his extradition has been forwarded," Igor Tsokolov, department head at the Russian Interior Ministry Investigation Committee, said.

Charities put ministers in the dock over energy poverty

Help the Aged and Friends of the Earth will launch a high court judicial review today to force the government to stand by promises made in 2000 to eradicate fuel poverty and help millions of households facing a winter of burgeoning gas and electricity bills.

The charities said the government was legally bound by promises it made in legislation passed in 2000, in which it undertook to abolish fuel poverty by 2016 and to eliminate it among the most vulnerable households by 2010. The hearing is scheduled to last two days, with a judgment expected within six weeks.

Households in fuel poverty are defined as those in which more than 10% of income is spent on energy. But far from the numbers falling, the past year has seen a steep increase as gas and electricity bills have rocketed.

Congress' boost to Amtrak fueled by high gas prices, too much traffic

Highway congestion, high fuel prices, dependence on foreign oil, pollution and global warming are creating perfect conditions for reforming stagnant transportation policies.

Is it any wonder that Americans are cutting back on driving and turning to trains in record numbers?

Congress got the message last week that the status quo, including an overreliance on the airline industry, is no longer acceptable for moving people around the state or across the country.

Canada: How do the Liberals rate on energy policy?

Canadians seem to want leadership to reduce global warming and to adjust to higher energy prices as peak oil arrives. But is reality different from the perception? The Liberal plan is actually quite modest in comparison to the size of the economy or the government's operating budget. Are Canadians ready to accept real change, however gentle it may be?

Bartlett has no plans to slow down as a politician

Bartlett speaks often about "peak oil" - a theory that the country's production peaked in 1970 and is declining - and urges the pursuit of alternative forms of energy.

His other main issues include ethical embryonic stem-cell research and preparing the country for an electromagnetic pulse attack.

He describes himself at his Web site as "a conservative who wants to help restore the limited federal government envisioned and established in the Constitution by our nation's founders."

Casino economy can't be sustained

Reich is correct, of course. But even his recommendations, as sound as they are, don't go nearly far enough. In effect, they recommend that the monitors watching each gambling table from ceiling booths wake up and start doing their jobs.

He overlooks the fact that the globalized economy based on competition and risk-taking is a relic of the past and fundamentally unsustainable. Peak oil and global warming are seeing to that. Goodbye corporate globalization.

America's century: is the sun setting on an epoch?

In the same week that the US Treasury Secretary sank to one knee to implore a congressional leader to vote for the $US700 billion ($890 billion) package to save the American economy, Colonel Zhai Zhigang became the first Chinese astronaut to walk in space. It was a striking juxtaposition of American vulnerability with Chinese success, of US crisis with Middle Kingdom might. It was heavy with the symbolism of an empire in decline in contrast with one on the rise.

Chavez will swap gas-guzzlers for clean cars

CARACAS, Venezuela — Give up your gas-guzzler and get a free car. That's President Hugo Chavez's offer to Venezuelans.

Chavez says he plans to start a program next year that will give away cars running on less-polluting natural gas to people who turn in old cars that consume "too much gasoline."

Unilever comes out against worldwide rush to biofuels

Unilever, the food and consumer goods group, has thrown its weight behind moves to scrap mandatory biofuel targets and subsidies. It is backing recommendations being made today to Commonwealth finance ministers at their annual meeting in St Lucia to improve food security and prevent famine.

Unilever is concerned that subsidies for biofuels are driving up food prices and the cost of its products.

Another inconvenient truth

At last, many of the world's political leaders have begun to realize that diverting land and food crops to produce biofuels leads to higher food prices. But an equally important consequence of this policy folly is being largely ignored in the public and political debate: Producing biofuels will further deplete the world's already overtaxed water supply.

This is emblematic of a larger and increasingly dangerous disregard for the world's most valuable, irreplaceable and finite natural resource: fresh water.

Bill McKibben - Meltdown: A global warming travelogue

For a long time -- the first 15 years that we knew about global warming and did nothing -- there were no pictures. That was one of the reasons for inaction.

Climate change was still "theoretical," the word that people in power use to dismiss anything for which pictures do not exist. It is the reason we don't see shots of coffins coming back from Iraq; it's the reason the only prison abuse we really know about was at Abu Ghraib. Without pictures, no uproar; not in a visual age.

But now the pictures have started to come, and they will not cease.

Shanghai highrises could worsen threat of rising seas

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Shanghai, China's most populous city and an aspiring global financial center, is also among the world's most vulnerable urban areas to a rise in sea levels as global warming melts polar ice.

Its location on a low-lying alluvial plain near the mouth of Asia's longest river, the Yangtze, had already left it prone, but researchers warn that forests of skyscrapers sprouting across the ambitious metropolis could compound the threat by causing its marshy ground to sink.

Look out, Oregon, for a global warming land rush

The prediction caused a collective grimace among the mayors, city councilors, engineers and planners in the audience. By 2060, a Metro economist said, the seven-county Portland area could grow to 3.85 million people -- nearly double the number here now.

Then Lorna Stickel, a planner with the Portland Water Bureau, stood to ask a question. Does the population projection, she asked, account for the possibility of climate change refugees?

Brains have been spinning ever since. Because what if?

What if the American Southwest dries up, browns out, and those people now misting their patios in Arizona head to the still-green Pacific Northwest? What if Californians hit the road north in numbers far surpassing the 20,000 who now move to Oregon each year? What if the polar ice melts, oceans rise and millions living along coastal areas -- or ravaged by Katrina-like storms -- have to move?

What happens, Stickel later asks, "as we become more attractive and other places become less attractive?"

Oil prices falling. Corn prices falling. Natural gas approching unprofitable numbers.

Unlike the first Depression, want in a time of plenty, this one will entail extreme shortages.

Lord have mercy.

A lot of people thought the spread was too broad on the last oil price poll. (Low of $85.) Doesn't seem so silly now, does it?

I scoffed at my brother's prediction of $80 oil. Now I'm wondering if the number is low enough.

Unlike me, he's an industry professional.

I suspect the $80 is a number he thought they could live with.

When it falls below that, (if it falls below that), I can almost guarantee you'll see drilling prospects scuttled or put on hold.

Kind of like watching a snake eat its own tail.

Iran wants more that $100


An oil price of less than $100 is unsuitable for anyone, either for producers or for consumers," Nozari told reporters

Iran has been talking about peak oil and pushing for higher prices for years. But it's all talk. They need the money from oil production.

But I think if oil starts showing anymore downwarn momentum the other gulf states really will jump on the bandwagon. Especially in light of things like that new giant 1km high tower in Dubai I posted about on the economic thread. How the heck they are going to fund that if oil drops any more?


How the heck they are going to fund that if oil drops any more?

By pumping more oil?

Pump more oil?!? Like that Abiotic stuff they've got growing in their back gardens:-)
I guess they will just have to start getting those casinos, strip bars and drinking establishments ready for the tourists.

On a more serious note: is OPEC suddenly innefectual?


On a more serious note: is OPEC suddenly innefectual?

Well, before America peaked we had a little thing called the Texas Railroad Comission that had controled the oil price by controlling supply. Once Amrica peaked, they really didn't have a way to control supply anymore and became ineffectual with respect to that.

Once global supplies peak, OPEC is probably in the same boat.


do you have some links of Iran talking about peak oil? I'd like to learn a bit on this.

Don't have any links on hand. They were talking about peak oil back in 2003 and earlier, so many of the news links would be dead by now. They were often dismissed as "just trying to talk up the price of oil."

However, Samsam Bakhtiari was a National Iranian Oil Company official.

May he rest in peace (though I'm afraid he will turn around in his grave)

Peak oil and Bakhtiari's 4 phases of transition


Thanks PaulusP and Leanan.

As he appeared in The End of Suburbia

Well Undertow, I've just finished a day and night with electrical engineers in Vancouver about innovative energy and the majority at the table were displaced Iranians.

Now I know why Dr. Bakhtiari settled in Vancouver after leaving Iran. Here he had the support of an academic and professional system of ex-pats.

Iran's loss, our gain - phfff!

When it falls below that, (if it falls below that), I can almost guarantee you'll see drilling prospects scuttled or put on hold.

I'm wondering if NYMEX oil price will be the criteria used to decide whether to lay the rigs down or not.

If money is limited, and one can either acquire reserves through buying them or drilling for them, and it becomes cheaper to buy reserves through mergers and acquisitions than to drill for them, perhaps the companies with money to spend might opt for buying reserves instead of drilling for them.

This would mean that the rigs will be layed over, even though the current oil price would justify the drilling projects.

Actually DS, production acquisition (of both individual fields and corporations) has been THE game in the domestic oil patch for over 15 years. We recognized the general inability for most corporations to grow substantially by the drill bit long ago but have referred to it as the "reserve replacement issue" and not PO. It doesn't garner the headlines as big oil strikes off Brazil etc. (about 6 weeks ago XTO bought Hunt OIL for $4.2 billion and no one even noticed). For the last couple of years most of the major oils have been unable to prevent y-o-y reserve base declines. But buying reserves has been far from cheap even before the run up in prices. Typically selling for 4 to 5 years pay back. These days even more. The acquisition is usually made with a combo of stock and borrowed money. You see the large independents making big acquisitions because of their inability, in general, to increase asset base volumes through the drill bit. Even if an acquisition isn't especially profitable it does grow the asset base. And this growth is the primary tool Wall Street uses to value these companies. Given credit availability issues and declining economic value of drilling, we may begin seeing major devaluation of many oil companies. This would likely cause a slump in drilling which would probably go a long way towards letting out the potential NG bubble that has been developing.

This cycling is nothing new. It has been running since the beginning of the oil patch. The only noticeable difference seems to be the shortening of the cycle periods. If this does turn into a significant slow down I suspect it will last only a couple of years or so. This would be especially true for NG. All those unconventional NG wells that have given rise to production rates are declining rapidly.

Given credit availability issues and declining economic value of drilling, we may begin seeing major devaluation of many oil companies.

Does this mean I should look at reinvesting my Exxon-Mobil (XOM) stocks elsewhere, before the company gets "nationalized?"

All those new supplies of unconventional oil, oil sands, oil shale, deep sea, ung, will be adversely affected and new drilling will be cut back to make the business models work better. Some assets will be sold to pare down debt and highly leveraged companies may be toast in a lower oil market that is still 300% higher than 4 years ago. The cost of new oil supplies have gone through the roof in the past 3 or 4 years all around the world. If oil and ng prices are not high enough to cover costs, who would want to increase supplies if they think prices may not recover quickly?

The cost of new projects is high mostly because of steel and labour being expensive.

They should both become much cheaper in a major Depression.

They will become cheaper but not necessarily more afordable.

You could be right.

During the last Depression, some major projects like the Hoover Dam were started. We'll have to wait and see what this Depression produces (wind farms maybe?).

see what this Depression produces

More demogaugery.

see what this Depression produces

More demogaugery.


So how can we tell the difference between a recession and a depression? A good rule of thumb for determining the difference between a recession and a depression is to look at the changes in GNP. A depression is any economic downturn where real GDP declines by more than 10 percent. A recession is an economic downturn that is less severe.

I've also seen it defined as four consecutive quarters of economic contraction.

I don' theng tha' (demagoguery) mens wha you theng it mens... (especially since you can't spell it, either...)

Demagogue 1: a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power

One, is the poster a leader here? Two, what power is to be gained? And, three, how is predicting a depression demagoguery? I'd be surprised if we didn't hit both definitions.


last great depression also produced the holocaust and nuclear bombs going off.

there is a loong way until shortages. with the exception of gasoline in hurricane struck states, i don't see a shortage anywhere.

it's still cheap to haul stuff across the globe, not to mention a continent, but who will buy it, and with what?

Could it just be the markets are painting by numbers here?. Recession = oil surplus = falling prices. The supply fundamentals haven't changed and reality will bite when the oil surplus fails to materialise. The question is when. Guess that and you can make a lot of money.

Corn down 26 cents, beans down .57....its starting to look bad.

I would say harvest is about half completed. Late beans to go yet. Most corn done.

Farmers might be hurt....bad....

No rain in sight. Dry dusty dirt everywhere. Burn bans now in effect.
River dropping. If they plant wheat may not be enough moisture to germinate. Its a gamble as always but now no help for failure perhaps.

If our farming goes......if farmers take a bloodbath?
If contracts can't or wont' be honored? I wonder just how this financial aspect can play out?

All around here farmers are trying to not even think about it.Much else talk about it. Bankruptcy has always been waiting in the wings and has happened more often than not in the past.


I live in that red heart shaped spot of Texas.

And I can attest that we are way dry.

D3 extreme drought the legend says.

Didn't you just have a massive hurricane come through? What was it's name ... Mike or something?

Most of Ike's rain passed to the east of this area.

Yes, we saw rain for a day. Not enough to offset months (years?) of too little rain. Darn it.

When oil was at it's high I was saying it will definitely fall to below $80. My friends who had not quite grasped my earlier predictions of a soaring oil price were once again incredulous that I was predicting the exact opposite.

Oil could easily drop to below $50. Inevitably though, oil will rise in price, though not necessarily relative to the US$. The US$ may decouple from the world financial system, leaving it a worthless piece of paper.

Regardless of this, peak oil has already had it's impact, as soaring energy costs were the final straw. We are living in a post peak oil world.

I now doubt that oil will ever rise above $120US in today's value, as the economy will crumble further.

Predictions of $300US are just laughable, where is the money going to come from for oil to reach such highs?

Anyway, off to work now; I've got a vege garden to put in. So glad I threw in my career in tourism for something a little bit more certain. As long as the sun comes up I will have work.

The titanic has hit an iceberg, we are all on it. I stitched together a life raft and jumped years ago, however, I may just be standing on the iceberg that it hit, not the terra firma I assume.

As WC once said. "The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time"

hmmmmm, RickJames your claim ::

"Oil could easily drop to below $50"

and then we have Saudi needs oil above $49 to avoid deficit

Posted on 21 Sep 2008 ,
Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, will need crude prices to remain above $49 a barrel to avoid a fiscal deficit, a senior International Monetary Fund official has said.
“If it goes below that level we would start seeing a fiscal account deficit,” Mohsin Khan, director of Middle East and central Asia at the IMF, told Dow Jones Newswires.

I'm not sure, but from that above I see "little or NO oil" coming out of SA at 50 dollars a barrel.

Predictions of $300US are just laughable

Why so? In the case of widespread disruptions to the global oil supply network, something that could be caused by, say.... a military strike on Iran, $300 might be a cheap price -- in the short run, anyway.

Bring war into the equation, at strategic locations and involving the major powers, and sky-high oil prices are certainly not out of the realm of possibility.

Inevitably though, oil will rise in price, though not necessarily relative to the US$. The US$ may decouple from the world financial system, leaving it a worthless piece of paper.

Maybe I am misunderstanding something about the way these things work, but if the US$ becomes relatively "worthless", then a US$ will buy much less of another currency, correct? Which, in turn, means that you need to charge a lot more US$ to get the same value for a barrel of oil, expressed in that other currency. i.e. all else being equal, the price of oil, expressed in US$, goes way up. Right?

What exactly do you mean by the US$ decoupling from the world financial system? How is that possible? There will always be a way to exchange US$ for other currencies or for gold or whatever, if not through an official exchange then through the black market.

Am I missing something here?

OPEC is worried about world oil prices:


If the bottom drops out of the market they might consider an emergency meeting like they did in 2006. For now they watch and wait for a chance in December.

A global financial crisis is not likely to increase the demand for oil. People were looking for ways to reduce expenses and increase income, In a reversal, the dollar is strenghthening and low interest CD's and treasuries seem safer than stocks. Some oil stocks are so low in price people do not want to sell them as OPEC looms large in the world oil supply chain and might yet be capable of stabilizing prices. On the other hand high prices have brought more projects potentially delaying peak oil.

The European Union is struggling to deliver on its promises to cut carbon emissions


Have the recent global events killed the green movement? I personally think so, but under the worst case scenario we will be burning less fossil fuel anyway through demand destruction. [probably not enough destruction though to reduce to long term C02 levels reccomended by the IPCC]

KISS! :-)


It's easy to spend money being green when you have plenty of money. It's more difficult to be green when things get tight. It's necessary to be green when you cannot afford the fuel any more, and you grow hungry or cold. The time to buy renewable energy equipment was back when oil was cheap. By the time people get serious about things, we'll be too poor and hungry to do anything about it. That's why I've been buying my solar panels now while I can still afford them. Sure, 395 watts of solar power (that I have so far) isn't much, but it's enough to run lights and a water pump! (Which is more than what others will have when the grid fails.)

Actually, the main "green" activity is to spend less, use less, re-use rather than throw things "away".

Clearly, that is what is in store for us as the economy collapses. I don't suppose that any except the Ned Ludd Society had that in mind. However, "green technology" is a sort of oxymoron, I believe.

On behalf of myself and the rest of the oil patch I would like to express my relief over the recent drop in oil prices. Hopefully now all this chatter about renewable resources and alternative energy sources will quiet down. When oil hit $147 we really began to sweat. Sure, the bump in cash flow was nice but oil is still more than 10% above prices 12 months ago. And no one producing wells drilled in the last few years had ever expected prices to hit $80 a year ago so we're still way above economic expectations.

With a little luck drilling activity will slow up some to a manageable rate. (these 12 hour days were starting to wear me down). Hopefully this will also reduce those horrible inflationary drilling costs that started to seriously impact the bottom line. We're also confident (based upon much historical precedence) that the Federal and state govt's will encourage the populace to utilize the reduced energy costs to jump start the economy with renewed consumption across the board. Personally, with only 10 years to retirement, I was hoping the boom would last till then. Given the acceleration towards PO that this price decrease will generate I'm now feeling more confident then ever in my financial future.

I think Tom Whipple is right. We are past peak oil. Between lowered demand and scarce capital for new projects, we won't be increasing oil production.

Agreed... and as a consequence, we'll - for better of worse - probably never see this level of economic activity again.

I'm just speculating wildly here, but what about the idea that a lot of the ultra rapid increase in oil prices we saw at the beginning of the year was the part of the big flight to commodities when the housing market first began to melt own. Now, if the liquidity problem on wall street is manifesting itself by large investment/banking companies selling massive amounts of stocks at any price just to raise short term cash, this would drive the stock market down. Would it follow then that they would do the same with commodity futures contracts? If that's true, it comes back to that question of just how much of the price of oil is controlled by "the speculators". Is there an end to it, where the rest of the price drop reflects demand going down?

After much thought I have finally realised that the futures market does indeed affect the price paid for crude.

In order for the futures market to affect the price you would have to take physical delivery and either store ever more month after month (which doesn't seem to be happening) or take physical delivery and consume it (which does happen.)

As well as the massive speculation, the consumption of commodities priced on some futures market is indeed what happens by people like airlines and any business wanting to reduce risk and ensure making a profit by knowing all the costs and prices before starting work - to hedge, they buy inputs on the futures market not the spot, then consume the product bought at the possibly speculatively high price to make and finally sell a different product previously sold on a different futures market guaranteeing a profit.

So, if the gamblers on the futures market force up the price then that is the price that many of the actual consumers, like refineries, pay for at least part of their crude - but the buyers of actual product rather than pieces of paper are not interested in the price of crude, they are interested in PROFIT from crude - not the same thing at all.

The crude market and the refined products markets are two different markets, it's just that crude is just one of the inputs required to make refined products.

As long as the price of the refined products gives a good crack spread everything is ok - it doesn't matter about refinery utilisation rates as long as a profit is made.

It looks as if Nouriel Roubini was prescient again.

Overnight the situation in Europe and Asia deteriorated significantly, and this from Bloomberg:

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke may find the next fronts of the financial crisis to be just as chilling as last month's downfall of Wall Street titans: its spread to corporate America and state and local governments.

Companies from Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and Duke Energy Corp. to Gannett Co. and Caterpillar Inc. are being forced to tap emergency credit lines or pay more to borrow as investors flee even firms with few links to the subprime-mortgage debacle. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says his and other states may need emergency federal loans as funding dries up.

A cash crunch on Main Street would endanger companies' basic functions -- paying suppliers, making payrolls and rolling over debt. The widening of the crisis suggests that Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson may have further fires to put out even as the Treasury sets up the $700 billion financial- industry rescue plan approved last week.

``The rest of the economy is clearly being affected right now by the tightness of credit,'' said Kurt Karl, chief U.S. economist at Swiss Reinsurance Co. in New York. ``It's just gathering momentum in the wrong direction.''...

State and local government funding ``has to be a concern for Bernanke and Paulson,'' said Adam Posen, deputy director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. ``There are two issues now: stop the immediate panic and restructure the financial system.''


Massachusetts is the latest state to hold out the tin cup:

State Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill this week approached the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston about lending Massachusetts money under the same extraordinary terms the government is giving banks and Wall Street firms during this financial crisis.

The request was prompted by the state's inability to borrow from the short-term debt markets because the financial turmoil has essentially caused credit markets to stop lending or charge prohibitive rates. Earlier this week, Cahill's office shelved a $750 million debt offering because there were no buyers for state or municipal debt, he said. He did say how much the state might want to borrow from the Fed.

Why, let's just borrow money and pretend that the economy will continue to grow and produce additional revenue in the future instead of cutting spending! The states need to make the hard decisions in regards to cutting programs, and what programs should be cut. Sadly, state budgets do more productive work than the federal budgets do.

They're all assuming BAU. Some states are thinking about borrowing against future revenue...which might make sense if you think next year will be better, but is disastrous if next year is actually worse.

They're kind of in a tight spot, though. With the economy bad, need for government services in increasing, not decreasing. People are pulling their kids out of private school and sending them to public school. More people need unemployment insurance, heating assistance, and other benefits. There's also pressure for them to spend more money, since that is the traditional way states deal with recession. "Prime the pump" with a few big highway projects to generate jobs, etc.

It's "cute" how "priming the pump" usually involves an activity that will increase the present And future consumption of resources...like a highway, that leads to more driving (more fuel used, vehicle miles travelled).

Yep, they're all assuming BAU (including Warren Buffet) ... but there are at least two possibilities :

1. crash of unsustainable finance system & economic downturn -> oil consumption downturn
2. oil production peak & downturn -> crash of unsustainable finance system & economic downturn

The cause, and hence the cure, is very different depending on which possibility it is.

Everybody assuming scenario 1 and trying to fix it, when the evidence actually indicates scenario 2 likely makes everything much worse for the OECD countries at least.

At the elected level, the "Tight Spot" is how to cover one's posterior from previous poor decisions.

Imagine how constricted credit will become once oil production starts declining. If under current conditions even Massachusetts has trouble raising money then when things get really bad I'm more inclined to your view that the financial system won't provide enough financing for capital to create new sources of energy.

U.S. bank failures almost certain to increase in next year

SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- Here's a safe bet for uncertain times: A lot of banks won't survive the next year of upheaval despite the U.S. government's $700 billion rescue plan to restore order to the financial industry.

The biggest questions are how many will perish and how they will be put out of their misery, whether it's outright closures by regulators scrambling to preserve the dwindling deposit insurance fund or in fire sales made under government pressure.

I don't have this problem, and don't expect to...but what do people do who have millions of dollars? Matt Simmons? Derek Jeter? It would be near impossible to spread their wealth out enough to have less than the FDIC limit. Heck, their checking accounts probably have more than that. And now that real estate, foreign banks, the stock market, commodities, etc., are all looking iffy...where do they put it?

And now that real estate, foreign banks, the stock market, commodities, etc., are all looking iffy...where do they put it?

Buy gold. Lots of it. And put it somewhere safe.

I know this sounds simplistic, but I'm serious. They need to have physical assets... And not real estate either... But real, physical, dividable assets. Maybe it's silver, platinum, oil, gold. But, if the world is crashing around you this might be the safest investment to make.

Or it might not. Commodities aren't doing so well. Even oil, which is a "useful" commodity.

Central Fund of Canada today is up a tad from its low last week. A "non-useful" commodity.

Gold is not really a commodity.

Gail kind of hit the nail on the head when she said that if businesses don't have a place to put their money, then there are real problems.

However, there were also real problems, creating then-unseen black swans, when businesses did have places to put their money. They resulted in commoditization of the worker and then wage slavery, pollution and then climate change, increased resource utilization and then depletion of various critical resources such as arable topsoil and fresh water on top of overpopulation.

So are we damned if we do and damned if we don't? Or is the issue how we are addressing the problem?

What if the corporate structure, its working environment, and its pursuit of centralized profit, distributed costs, growth, and limited liability are unsuitable guides and environments for the human condition?

In an environment where the systemic dependence of petroleum decline leads to net energy declines for other components of the system, business, commercial, political, and economic, maybe the best places for personal investment are those places where the abstraction of money was going to end up anyway:
* access to water
* food
* land
* community infrastructure
* supplies
* tools and skills training
* something for barter (cigarettes, entheogens, alcohol, precious metals)
* something to enjoy

Treasuries. You get almost no interest (negative if you factor in inflation), but you at least get your principal back. It won't be worth as much as you put in, but it is not taking a 30% loss off the top like stocks have done in the last year. But the bottom line is that the fed will have to print to pay you back just as it will have to print to cover the FDIC guarantees.

I think Oprah put everything in t-bills. Whatever Suze told her to do, she did it a day or so later.

Maybe Suze is telling people in private something different than she's telling the public, but in her interviews on CNN, etc., Suze is totally drinking the Kool-Aid. Don't pull out of the stock market now, you'll be locking in your losses. Things will turn around soon, you have to think long term. Etc.

Suze has nice hair.

Maybe Suze is telling people in private something different than she's telling the public, but in her interviews on CNN, etc., Suze is totally drinking the Kool-Aid.

I don't think she's drinking the Kool Aid, but she has two faces.

One is the face that she shows to the world, that everything is OK, invest in the stock market, it'll recover, blah blah blah beause that sells books, and that's what gets her on TV and radio, and on web sites.

But more telling is her investment strategy:

"In an April 2008 online interview with the The Young Turks, Orman stated that her net worth is more than $10 million. In an interview discussing her own investment portfolio, Orman shared the details of her personal strategy. It is highly conservative compared with traditional investment theory, which emphasizes asset diversification and a significant allocation to equities for long-term growth. Orman stated: "I have a million dollars in the stock market because if I lose a million dollars, I don't personally care. I buy zero-coupon municipal bonds, and all the bonds I buy are triple-A rated and insured so even if the city goes under, I get my money. I take a little lower interest rate to make sure my bonds are 100 percent safe and sound."

A bit opposite of the advice she gives out, hey? This sounds like she almost expects the brown stuff to hit the rotating blades pretty quickly, but she can't say that in public because the powers that be would not appreciate her saying that... and my guess is she would lose her job.

My comment came from an Oprah appearance (Suze is a frequent guest). Not very private.

From a synopsis of that show:

An audience member asked
were they should be keeping their cash?

Orman said that cash should be in an FDIC insured bank account, treasury bill or bonds, or in a treasury money market accounts. These are the three places only. She said not to put your cash in a money market account that is not insured by FDIC. If you do have a money market account that isn’t insured, she warned those people need to get their money out and into a FDIC account right away.

But she's clearly talking about cash. Not investments. People like Oprah don't have all their assets in cash.

In your link, Suze says it will take three years for the market to turn around, so she's still (publically) recommending stocks for investments.

I'm sorry that I misunderstood the question :)

I don't have this problem, and don't expect to...but what do people do who have millions of dollars? Matt Simmons? Derek Jeter? It would be near impossible to spread their wealth out enough to have less than the FDIC limit.

I'll go have some coffee and try again later ;)

Suze's advice was for ordinary people. She said to make sure you have your cash in an FDIC insured bank. That's great, if you have less than $100,000 ($250,000 temporarily). But people like Derek Jeter (and Oprah) probably spend that much every month from their checking accounts. They'd have a hard time staying under the limit.

And ditto small businesses, as Gail pointed out. They'd be over the limit just with ordinary cash flow - payroll, retirement payments, etc.

Leana, my understanding is that the FDIC insures only consumer Savings accounts, not chequing accounts, nor any savings type accounts used by business.

No, they cover business accounts. And checking accounts. (I have personal experience in the latter.)

It was mostly small business owners who lost money when IndyMac went under, because of their large cash flows.

You gotta wonder how they feel now, with the new higher limit. I don't think they made it retroactive.

Though the loss is tax-deductible. :-P

I think an even more important question is, "What do businesses do with their wealth?" An account with $100,000 or even $250,000 limits is not going to be enough to be of much benefit.

Businesses need their wealth for a variety of purposes--to pay next weeks payroll; to build a refinery that is needed a few years from now; to purchase food for your local grocery store; to buy coal to fuel a local utility. If the businesses cannot find a safe place to put their money, we have a major problem.

I think "London Banker" is correct. The government wants to pick the winners. So the obvious answer is to bank with one of the chosen few. Bank of America and Citi appear to be among the annointed.

I don't have this problem, and don't expect to...but what do people do who have millions of dollars? Matt Simmons? Derek Jeter? It would be near impossible to spread their wealth out enough to have less than the FDIC limit.

Lots of banks/financial institutions have aggregating services where you deposit to an account and they spread $95k to a bunch of other institutions in order to retain FDIC insurance. These arrangements have daily liquidity. It doesn't solve problems for the superbig but it is a great way to have really liquid safe money.

Benn a few years since I was in financial services but a few years ago you get FDIC insurance on $4 million with my old employer via one account.

Thanks, this is interesting. I bet there's a lot more interest in this kind of service all of a sudden...

"...where do they put it?"

I think this is a great question.

Where do the non-insiders-- like Jeter -- go to preserve their wealth? Do they just watch it disappear?Do they put it into a declining stock market? Declining real estate? Zero interest Treasuries? OR Do they just hope they're one of Hank's Chosen?

Buffett will undoubtedly be okay, but will Jeter wind up with a net worth of only a few times $ 250,000?

They can put their money in other countries where the banks have no limit on deposit insurance.

They can put their money in assets that will become worth more. Own a large number of wind turbines. Own an oil field and leave the oil in the ground.

I feel the financial crisis is yet again artificially depressing NYMEX oil contract prices, and we may have a situation where the November contract will have a similar spike to the October contract once its expires in few weeks.

Certainly there has been demand destruction, but we had some serious supply contraction as well in the GOM, Azeri crude still mostly down, Nigeria issues, Iraq issues..etc, inventories are low and we are heading into winter with part of Europe already covered with snow…


I feel the great 700 billion handout was too little too late. Currently US banks are borrowing in excess of 350 billion a day from the government, up from around 137 billion only week ago!

This shows something of scale of the problems the financial sector faces. It's a planet-swallowing, black hole, that risks sucking everything into its spinning maw.

In the UK the government is providing 100 billion dollars a week to the banks as credit and cash dries up. Now the banks are effectively 'broke' and the 'oil' that keeps the engine/system running smoothly is vanishing, how long will it be before the state runs out of money too? How long can the US keep borrowing such huge sums?

This financial crisis is only a symptom of far deep and more profound crisis of capitalism, and soon we'll see the results before our eyes in the 'real' economy.

I don't take pleasure from this at all, as I live incredibly well from the globalized captialist system, I'd hoped it would survive a few decades more, now I'm not so sure.

I think we may be on the very edge of the abyss and ready to slide into a long and deep recession which could prove worse than the Great Depression. I really, really, hope I'm wrong.

I've got friends in the financial sector, who looked after my investments, I sold virtually everything a year ago against their advice, and bought a big tract of land instead. My friends are really scared and shell-shocked at what they are seeing, the inexorable slide into the black hole. Great financial institutions and whole countries are heading that way and nobody in the ruling circles has any idea how to stop it happening.

Climbing out of the depression is going to require new people in charge across the board, and that itself, cutting away the dead wood is going to be a monumental challenge in itself.

That crisis of capital is the sound of wall street begging to be spared from what they have advocated for the little guy.....the discipline of the market...forced liquidation...thrown out on their ass w/o any thought of decorum[or retirement]....only having a few million instead of billions to play with.

I hope they learn about just how hard of life they have made for joe average.And what a terror being broke in this society is.

There is a lot of "dead wood" in wall street.like 99%


Where oh where are the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation and other advocates of the "Personal Responsibility Crusade" now, who only a few short years ago were admonishing U.S. workers:

What moral hazard means is that, if you cushion the consequences of bad behavior, then you encourage that bad behavior.

--James K. Glassman, American Enterprise Institute

quote taken from Jacob S. Hacker, The Great Risk Shift

You had to ask! This on the left sidebar of their homepage right now..


..The American financial system, if it remains true to its history, will adapt and innovate its way back to profitability and high stock prices sooner than is suggested by the dire predictions that fill today's newspapers."

--Charles W. Calomiris
AEI paper

and just WHAT makes that little old ant, think he'll climb that rubbertree plant?

I need to say it: Those free-market ideologues are colossal hypocrites.

They are worse than that... they are cons and crooks using specious arguments under the umbrella of a dishonest ideology in order to sell policies that enrich the weathiest at the expense of everyone else:

- Cut taxes in order to increase government revenue!
- Eliminate regulations and reduce oversight on Big Finance as they can monitor themselves much more efficiently than government!
- Help the poor by sending money to the rich via "trickle down" theory

Its all part of a big con in service of Greed, on behalf of the richest in society.

The principle of the unfettered free market as the ultimate good, as an agent of Freedom and Democracy, is evil propaganda. The reality is that such "Free Market Fundamentalism" is all about eliminating accountability, transparency and oversight by the We the People so those with the most $$$ can take control of the game, buy the referees and change the rules so they make money in a rigged casino and everyone else gets screwed. Genuinely free markets need transparent oversight and regulation with strict enforcement to ensure the game remains fair. You need good government for capitalism to work! Free market fundamentalism is a lot closer to feudalism than it is to democracy.

As I write this the Dow Jones Averages are down over 200 points and is now teetering just above 10,000. All 30 Dow stocks are trading lower this morning. Looks like the economy is headed down the toilet. Well, at least that is what a lot of traders seem to think.

Just curious but what happened to that fabled "Plunge Protection Team"? If that team was ever needed it is needed right now. And where are all those PPT pundits on this list? What happened to your team guys? Did they all retire or did Bush fire them?

I am just kidding of course. I heard the other day that 700 Dow points represents about 1 Trillion dollars in equity value. That means that the market has lost over two trillion dollars in value in the last few weeks. And when the market decides it's time to drop two trillion dollars, no one, no team of investors or fabled market manipulators, has enough clout it propped up.

To quote James Carville; "It's the economy stupid!" The economy is beginning to tank and the causes are??? Well, the energy situation is no small factor but the economy has been mismanaged since Nixon and now the chickens are coming are coming home to roost.

Just my two cents worth....Ron Patterson

The PPT is on the case. However, we're now being told it might take weeks before it kicks in.

Well the DOW was down over 550 points a half hour ago and now is down a mere -400. Some kind of PPT at work to prevent an all out freefall.

Just curious but what happened to that fabled "Plunge Protection Team"? If that team was ever needed it is needed right now. And where are all those PPT pundits on this list? What happened to your team guys? Did they all retire or did Bush fire them?

From what I understand (not much) their job is supposed to be to prevent a plunge of Black Monday or worse proportions. The Dow dropped 23% in one day in 1987. We haven't seen anything like that - well yet anyway (but today could be interesting at this rate) - it's been spread out. Maybe that's their current task. Or maybe they just don't exist as you say.

Edit: Dow just dropped below 10,000. It would need to drop to below 8,000 to beat Black Monday

Thanks Undertow, that is the very first time I have heard that one. But since there is no "official" PPT, one can just make up anything and say "this is what they are supposed to do". I am not saying that this is what you are doing, but only "what you understand" is not what most others understand.

There are many rules in place on the New York Stock Exchange designed to prevent "Black Mondays" that were not in place in October of 29. At any rate, a slow decline, over several weeks, is just as bad as one big decline in one day. Remember, the decline in 29 did not hit bottom until 1932! The decline on Black Monday was only a precursor of things to come. The real decline came over the next three years.

However there are similarities to today: Then and Now

Not unlike today, the crash of 1929 was preceded by a decade of deregulation, cheap credit, housing bubbles, rising inflation, rampant stock market speculation, faltering employment, stagnant wages and a growing gap between the wealth of executives on Wall Street and the cash-strapped consumers on Main Street.

The Dow was at 380.33 before the 29 crash. In 32 it hit a low of 42.84. That is a decline of 88.7 percent. Dow Jones Industrial Average (1900 - Present Monthly)

Ron Patterson

Don't know if you've seen this but this was one of the first references in the MSM to the PPT

Plunge Protection Team

By Brett D. Fromson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 23, 1997; Page H01
The Washington Post

It is 2 o'clock on a hypothetical Monday afternoon, and the Dow Jones industrial average has plummeted 664 points, on top of a 847-point slide the previous week.

The chairman of the New York Stock Exchange has called the White House chief of staff and asked permission to close the world's most important stock market. By law, only the president can authorize a shutdown of U.S. financial markets.

In the Oval Office, the president confers with the members of his Working Group on Financial Markets -- the secretary of the treasury and the chairmen of the Federal Reserve Board, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The officials conclude that a presidential order to close the NYSE would only add to the market's panic, so they decide to ride out the storm. The Working Group struggles to keep financial markets open so that trading can continue. By the closing bell, a modest rally is underway.

And from Wikipedia
Working Group on Financial Markets

The Working Group on Financial Markets (also, President's Working Group on Financial Markets, the Working Group, and colloquially the Plunge Protection Team) was created by Executive Order 12631,[1] signed on March 18, 1988 by United States President Ronald Reagan.

The Group was established explicitly in response to events in the financial markets surrounding October 19, 1987 ("Black Monday") to give recommendations for legislative and private sector solutions for "enhancing the integrity, efficiency, orderliness, and competitiveness of [United States] financial markets and maintaining investor confidence".[1]

As established by Executive Order 12631, the Working Group consists of:

* The Secretary of the Treasury, or his designee (as Chairman of the Working Group);
* The Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, or his designee;
* The Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, or his designee; and
* The Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, or her designee.

"Plunge Protection Team" was originally the headline for an article in The Washington Post on February 23, 1997,[2] and has since become a colloquial term used by some mainstream publications to refer to the Working Group.

There's also a good article from a couple of weeks ago in The Boston Globe trying to answer the question as to whether it exists or not.

The Operators
Behind a seductive Wall Street conspiracy theory

For Representative Paul, what's most galling is that he can't find out more about the organization, and that the public seems almost utterly ignorant of it - he pressed John McCain on the topic during a Republican candidates debate last winter. (It was unclear whether McCain knew what Paul was talking about.)

"I think we should be very worried about it," Paul says. "I've tried to get information all the time on exactly what they do." Because the Working Group doesn't keep written minutes, however, he says it's impossible to know what is discussed in meetings.

Paul's great fear, he says, is that organizations like the PPT are hiding the extent of our nationwide economic dysfunction from us. Without the intervention of the PPT, Paul says, "I think it's a great possibility that markets would be much, much lower."

...The dizzying array of complicated financial instruments created in recent years, the way so many of them have gone so badly wrong, and the sense that even formerly safe investments have become vulnerable - taken together they contribute to a pervading sense of uncertainty and rudderlessness. A story in which a hidden group is at the controls, even if they're engaged in a sort of stock market black ops, may seem reassuring when the alternative is that we are all at the whim of an economic storm that is impersonal, voracious, and yet caused, in some sense, by all of us.

Addendum: Executive Order 12631--Working Group on Financial Markets

Don't think it matters Undertow, whatever they are doing, it ain't working! I guess the whole damn PPT should be fired for incompetence. ;-)

Like the rest of the government.

You don't have a clue what these guys are up to or what their intentions are so quit pretending that you do.

I've wondered if maybe PPT actually stands for "Power Point Team" because it all looks fine on slides :-)

Wonder if the markets will fall further or stage a mini recovery in the last couple of hours?

It is 2 o'clock on a hypothetical Monday afternoon, and the Dow Jones industrial average has plummeted 664 points, on top of a 847-point slide the previous week.

Just for laughs here's the last hour of the Dow on this non hypothetical Monday at 2pm EDT. Currently down about 600 points.

Denninger is not happy.

DOWn 800 points now.

Edit: And has now bounced up 200 points (only down 600 on the day so far) in the last half hour. 45 minutes to go.

The Working Group struggles to keep financial markets open so that trading can continue. By the closing bell, a modest rally is underway.

Bottomed out at almost exactly 800 down with 75 minutes of trading to go. Closed down only about 300 points. A 500 point rally in 75 minutes.

Over 10,000 at 4pm closing time.

PPT or Invisible Hand?

Edit: Seems to be one of these big changes days as it settles out again. 9955 as of 10 mins after the close.

Sometimes if someone is painting a stock, you see them placing strategic buys and sells when volume is light so the price goes up or down substantially. I suppose the Fed. accomplishes something similar by injecting liquidity into the market. Today though after an initially big sell-off we saw volume continually increase in the afternoon. So it looks like people (institutions) were probably bottom-feeding this afternoon which drove it up again, but that's just a guess. But the morning was all sell-offs, just a guess but I'd say it's all the big institutions that are creating the big fluctuations, the rest of us are either small fish or have our money tied up in 401ks that are mutual funds that we don't control.

Dow Loses Just 370 After Wild Ride

No, everything is good, it went back up, we just lost 370 points, pfew!

That was a scary ride. I have to admit, I hit the SELL button today.

Throwing money at this problem seems to have about the same effect as shooting Superman with a revolver. That $700B just bounced right off.

"Dow plunged 800 points before bungee jumping back up to only 370 points down - on a very worn bit of elastic some might say."
- BBC World News America

Glad someone at the BBC still has a sense of humour :-)

Breaking News banner at MSNBC:

Dow Jones industrials fall below 10,000 for the first time since Oct. 29, 2004

Jim Cramer: Bail out, bail out, bail out

In what Curry called a “dramatic statement,” Cramer emphatically urged any investor who has money they may need in the next five years tied to stocks to pull their dough out.

“I thought about this all weekend,” Cramer told Curry. “I do not want to say these things on TV.

NOW he tells us!

"Buy high, sell low" - yep, that sure sounds like a winning plan.

It's an improvement over the dot-com bust.

The only time they said "sell" was after the companies had gone bankrupt.

Brazil's Bovespa Plunges 10 Percent, Trading Halted

(Bloomberg) -- Brazil's Bovespa Index plunged 10 percent to the lowest in almost two years on concern the global economic slowdown and credit crisis will reduce earnings at the country's biggest commodity producers.

...Trading was halted 20 minutes after the open as the Bovespa tumbled 4,491.84 points to 40,025.48, the lowest since November 2006. Trading will resume at 9:49 a.m. New York time.

Toronto stock index tumbles 7.4 pct on oil's slide

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index tumbled 800 points on Monday morning, led by a drop in energy stocks as crude oil prices slid, and hurt by a Bank of Nova Scotia forecast of a recession in Canada.

Emerging Market Stocks Head for Worst Drop in Two Decades

(Bloomberg) -- Emerging market stocks headed for the biggest drop in at least two decades and exchanges in Russia and Brazil were forced to halt trading as the global banking crisis escalated in Europe and oil fell below $90 a barrel.

Brazil's Bovespa index tumbled 10 percent, while Russia's Micex Index plunged 18 percent before trading was halted for a second time today. Indonesia and Saudi Arabia lost the most in at least six years. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index slumped 8.2 percent, leaving it poised for the biggest slide ever.

Well, well. We have an official statement from the PPT today.

Timing is everything I suppose!

While it's welcome to see the Oregonian finally talk about the advancing hordes coming north, and that some planning is happening at the Portland and state level, like the initial thoughts about Global Warmings impacts and their speed, I think the projections of immigration far too low for the time span contemplated. The item also ignores Vancouver, Portland's sister city on the other side of the Columbia, and mentions nothing about the absolute necessity of overall metro and shared state planning. Most glaring was the omission of jobs--just what are all these new residents going to do once they arrive? And many will not arrive in the Portland area; they will stop in Springfield, Medford, Roseburg, go east to Bend, or onto the coast to the mushrooming retirement meccas of Bandon and Florence; and there are lots of cities I omitted. Note in infrasturucture needs sidebar's missive about transportation. The most important observation is at the article's end: "Plainly, money is short." Which leads to the question: How will Oregon's current residents, the great majority already very tight moneywise, find it possible to prepare for an influx of newcomers more than twice their present numbers in under a decade?

Short answer, they won't.

The model would be Lagos, or Bombay. Except colder and wetter.

I guess it's time to enact my plan for a guard tower at Siskiyou Pass. I'll man the guns Mon/Weds/Fri, other time slots are still available.

In truth, by the time the masses are migrating there will be no jobs for the current Oregonians that are here already. Perhaps the dying farm towns in the plains will pitch themselves with offers of a house and land.

I've been thinking about this in relation to Australia. The part I live in has just had 100 straight rainy days but people won't move here. There's even a weekly TV show where pundits discuss a possible exodus from the cities to the tropics. Couch potatoes watch the show then think about getting a better job in the service industries or a bigger SUV to take their kids to soccer instead of re-locating. The cities are like the Titanic and will take their loyal passengers down with them. Once upon a time a bailout was something you did when the ship was sinking; today is no different.

A bit of perspective on the price of oil

Despite recent severe drop, the 2008 price of NYMEX crude has to date averaged $113.16. That is 57% higher that the average 2007 price of $72.41.

57% YOY - I would call that a fair increase. Despite recent opinions to the effect that it is not been oil price that has caused the recent financial holocaust, I would beg to differ: energy belies all we do and a 57%YOY increase is utterly crippling in my view.


I've made that point repeatedly Marco but Wall Street doesn't seem to care. The oil stocks are taking a bath just like the other companies. It's even harder to explain the drop of NG heavy companies given the GOM shutins you mentioned (and the lack of NG going into storage) and the heating season approaching. And if the credit crunch hinders the drilling of the unconventional NG plays you'l see NG rates drop off a cliff in no time.

MY favorite NG stock just dropped to $75....almost $50 off its yearly high. I wish I had more $'s undedicated to buy more but I stick to my rules.

Look at the bright side. Oil Patch Guys have been supplanted as Public Enemy #1 by the financial types--see the grilling that the CEO of Lehmann got today. I'm not sure that it is going to be safe for an admitted mortgage brokerr or investment banker to appear in public without police protection.

Plus, there is still enough crude remaining so that they can all be tarred and feathered properly :)

In yesterday's Drumbeat, someone posted this FDIC link that allows you to check on the financial health of your bank. I found it a very good tool, and it confirmed that my bank is in much better shape than most, which is quite welcome. I repost the link for others who haven't taken the time to look into the condition of your bank (like me until this morning), which is a quick and easy task. Thanks to the one posting it first!

Well, I think it's time for me to learn a skill that was useful back in the days when fossil fuels were rarely used - and then forgotten in the age of cheap fuel - so as to be able to provide myself with a livelyhood in a post PO age.

I'm (re)learning the skills that it takes to be the village idiot.


For that village in Texas that is missing its idiot? ;-)

No fear Leanan...we have more than our fair share. I confirm it every Saturday night when I'm out driving around closing time.

Hi Rockman,

I thought you recommended Texas as a good location (or, re-location) destination for WTSHTF near term.
(Question mark?).

I'm curious about what you see as the advantages there, and what part of the State you like. (or would recommend.)

Hi Aniya,

I believe that I can make a pretty good case that Texas is one of the worst places in the country to relocate to. We have the most polluted air in the nation,the cancer rates along the Gulf Coast are something special, our social services are just about last among the states (thank goodness for Mississippi!), tax policy is extremely regressive and our state government is almost completely captured by special interests. The heat and humidity requires massive amounts of air conditioning in the summer, and of course we are periodically subject to hurricanes, floods and tornadoes. One bright spot is wind power, and of course we still produce some oil, but the cultural counterbalance to that is a state identity based on exploiting resources for private gain, and a peculiar "exceptionalism" that has no current basis in fact. There's a lot of space in the western half of the state, but its pretty much uninhabitable. If you're looking for awareness of Peak Oil, GW, or any issue involving limits to growth among the populace, forget it. Outside of Austin and a few spots in the larger cities, it's one of the "reddest" states anywhere. Hope this perspective helps you.

The way I heard it, the citizens of Crawford haven't exactly been mooning and pining for him.

As 99% of people qualify for village idiot you may have some fierce competition. I suggest you try to convince them of PO, just to make sure.

I'm practicing for Town Drunk.

The missing Texas village idiot doubles as the town drunk and word is he will be returning in a few months.

Here's an idiocy introductory video to assist in your education:


Fed Boosts Cash Auctions to $900 Billion, May Do More

(Bloomberg) -- The Federal Reserve will double its auctions of cash to banks to as much as $900 billion and is considering further steps to unfreeze short-term lending markets as the credit crunch deepens.

``The Federal Reserve stands ready to take additional measures as necessary to foster liquid money-market conditions,'' the central bank said in a statement released in Washington today. Fed and Treasury officials are ``consulting with market participants on ways to provide additional support for term unsecured funding markets,'' the statement said.

Naomi Wolf has a very very sobering perspective this morning on all this


Why can't you understand that same-sex marriage is the biggest threat to our country? Stop trying to cloud the important issues.

I listned to the Sherman clip, and can't really decide what to make of it.

I listned to the Sherman clip, and can't really decide what to make of it.

a few members were even told that there would be Martial Law in America if we voted no.

I can.

Round III

This is what is driving the debate, the vote: Fear. It is what we have seen for the last 7+ years. Are you not tired of the lies?

"I'm wondering if NYMEX oil price will be the criteria used to decide whether to lay the rigs down or not."

Here in Alberta, the start-up junior pete I'm invested in has the problem that rigs are still too expensive for natural gas, and marginal for oil. We do infill drilling on freehold land only so there are no dry holes, but earlier this year the only way we could get a rig was to cut the driller in for a piece of the royalties.

In other words, it's not the oil price, it's the rig cost. The situation is as many Peak Oilers have predicted, where there will be a lot of small pools of oil or gas that become stranded because drilling costs more than the liquids recovered.

Russian stocks plunge by nearly 20 percent

MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia's leading stock markets suffered their biggest-ever one-day losses as shares went into free fall on the back of falling oil prices and deepening fears about the global economy despite the passage of a $700 billion U.S. bank bailout.

Oil prices, the backbone of Russia's economy, have been sharply down in recent days -- dropping to under $90 a barrel -- and investors have also been spooked by August's five-day war between Russia and Georgia. The RTS is now down by 64 percent from its May peak.

Coupled with links in today's Drumbeat, this is the reason why I've never accepted WT's export land model as it's commonly stated. The exporters are very connected to the rest of the world and their catbird seat isn't as enviable as often thought.

I do believe,however, that net exports will tend to shrink faster than total world production. But there are large forces at work that aren't accounted for by the ELM.


(a) A receding global economy will result in oil left in the ground for extraction at a later date as new projects are delayed or canceled and as exporters attempt to prop up prices by cutting back production in the face of falling demand. (Some EIA "high price case" projections actually show this) There will not be a constant decline rate.

(b) If the global economy shrinks, exporters will suffer too, perhaps badly as they aren't diversified. Their domestic consumption will tend to flatten, perhaps even fall.

Unlike the case for the west, Russia's stock exchange is a Mickey Mouse operation. Domestic demand for oil will not evapourate even if it goes to zero. Current investor hysterics over the perception of falling oil demand are a wonder to behold. Are they really expecting to see 50% declines in world oil consumption in the near future? Are they also expecting the prices to stay down from now on?

Can someone please post the heating oil forecast for the northeast this winter? The official heating oil season seams to start on the 8th.

I know everybody is in line at the bank, trying to cash out, but the weather channel is saying Massachusetts will be in the thirties tonight.

And why would you believe any such forecast?

Currently in Vermont heating fuels are significantly more expensive than last winter. The prices did not fall recently anywhere near as much as crude (and, to a lesser extent, gasoline) prices did. Heating oil is above $4 a gallon and propane is about $3. The variation between dealers is considerable. I am worried that, given that "pre-buy" programs were downscaled a lot this year, and given the credit troubles, the retailers may have trouble raising the cash for the wholesale deliveries. A much bigger worry is that strapped citizens will switch to electric heat (cheaper per BTU than oil and propane at the moment), bringing down the grid in midwinter.

Zimbabwean Banks Run Out of Cash as Withdrawal Limits Increased

(Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwean banks have run out of cash after the central bank raised withdrawal limits last week, sparking a rush by thousands of people to pull out funds.

``Parts of the city center were impassable today because thousands of men and women were thronging streets outside banks trying to access their cash,'' said John Mapingure, a taxi driver in Harare. ``People are clamoring for their money. No one has cash, leaving people completely desperate.''

Coming soon to a bank near you? John

I’m wondering if anyone who is familiar with the coal industry might be able to point me in the direction of how to find out what types of coal were used during various time periods in the northeastern US in coal fired power plants – i.e. is there any record of the type of coal used in various locations (cities, states, regions - whatever might be available) during a specific timespan or decade etc.

Thanks in advance for any info you might be able to provide.

- Catskill

Perhaps those who have been against nuclear power expansion would like to explain how we are supposed to have any industry in Britain when our companies have to pay four times more for electricity than those stupid Frenchmen, who were daft enough to invest in nuclear power, as per the headline in Drumbeat?

It is perfectly clear that the prospectus about replacing power needs with renewables is also entirely unrealistic, as present British costs are far lower than the subsidised costs of the cheapest renewables, since these rates include a premium paid on top of that for even the most economic of those resources.

Oh, just wait for one of the reactors to have a meltdown or such, then the businesses can leave France and go to the UK. Or maybe, France could include the cost of the reactors in the electricity price, instead of having the price of the reactors subsidized by the government... (So the obvious solution is having the prices subsidized in the UK.) Lastly, are the power rates for industry the same as residential in the UK? (In the US, prices vary depending on whether you are commercial, industrial, residential, etc.)

All French reactors have containment vessels around them, so attempts to equate them to Chernobyl are ludicrous.
If France is spending vast sums subsidising their reactors, how come they are doing relatively well financially?
Aside from the fact that they have security of supply.
Residential rates in the UK are not the same as industrial, but they are rapidly rising, whilst France has some of the lowest rates in Europe - not as low as the American coal industry, where mountains are topped in West Virginia and the pollutants including uranium are just distributed over the landscape, but low.

It's about time people looked at the realities of energy production. Using fairy dust would be wonderful, but back in the real world opposition to nuclear energy has crucified the British nuclear industry and means that we have now no alternative but to buy it from the French.

All the opposition has achieved is to cause enormous quantities of coal to be burnt, with consequent CO2 emissions, and destroy the British nuclear industry, and it now bids fair to wipe out much of the rest of industry, whilst killing thousands with cold and hypothermia, aside from those who have already died from pollution from coal.

As for doing it all with renewables in the UK, the proposal is not even numerate, aside from the fact that the technology is not mature:

I'm sorry if this is a little impatient, but we are now well past the stage where a bunch of theorising and critiques based on someone's fancies are in any way worthy of consideration.

France has a working energy system - the UK doesn't, and is about to get crucified because of this.

To repeat, industry is likely to have to pay four times as much for electricity as in France, which will wipe much of it out.
That is a hard fact, and no, it is not because the French Government is absorbing vast unseen costs.

It's pretty simple really, and yet more quibbles and evasions can't disguise the consequences of anti-nuclear superstition.

Well said.

Unfortunately Dave, we are out of time and it would appear that we are also out of money.

The eco-mentalist cabal will have a lot of explaining to do the the next few winters.

I've been drawing cash from the bank and buying bottles of gas.
Wednesday I am going to a camping shop to get a camping stove top to use with the 13 kg bottles so at least I can have a cup of tea.
I also bought some wind-up torches and greenhouse bubble plastic to seal over the windows.
Tinned food and packs of rice and pasta are next.
A couple of batteries also might help, although I am vague about how to wire them up.

Whatever may be the survivalist options in the States, for almost all of us in the UK it ain't gonna happen.
I live in a flat - top story, but if anyone imagines that you can generate any worthwhile power in Bristol by sticking some sort of windmill on the roof or solar cells, they are shot away.
Of course, most just arse around with some trinkets, whilst being totally grid dependent in reality.

I don't think I will freeze or get hungry for a couple of years, but longer term the prognosis is not good.
I am duly grateful to those who have hindered me having light and heat by their steadfast refusal to face reality about power generation.

Very rudely, I did not get around to replying to Sterling who was looking for help in writing up the case for nuclear.
Actually, I really don't care any more about Greenpeace's fantasies - they have done as much damage as they possibly can, and now we will all have to suffer the consequences.
If they are stupid enough not to realise what it means when the lights go out in the UK, but remain on in neighbouring France, then they are beyond all reach of reason.

To repeat for any Greenpeace advocate's who still do not understand, commercial electricity this winter is likely to cost 4 times more in the UK than France, which means there will not be much industry to finance renewables or anything else.


I too am stocking up on bottled gas.

You probably know this already but

Going Nuclear
A Green Makes the Case

By Patrick Moore

In the early 1970s when I helped found Greenpeace, I believed that nuclear energy was synonymous with nuclear holocaust, as did most of my compatriots. That's the conviction that inspired Greenpeace's first voyage up the spectacular rocky northwest coast to protest the testing of U.S. hydrogen bombs in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. Thirty years on, my views have changed, and the rest of the environmental movement needs to update its views, too, because nuclear energy may just be the energy source that can save our planet from another possible disaster: catastrophic climate change.

Look at it this way: More than 600 coal-fired electric plants in the United States produce 36 percent of U.S. emissions -- or nearly 10 percent of global emissions -- of CO2, the primary greenhouse gas responsible for climate change. Nuclear energy is the only large-scale, cost-effective energy source that can reduce these emissions while continuing to satisfy a growing demand for power. And these days it can do so safely.

Btw, I've also got enough Calor (bottled) gas, canned food, solar/wind up chargers and battery powered invertor and lights to last during any short outages for a week or two this winter. I think it's most likely I want have to use them but uncomfortably possible I will. If a crisis occurs where I need more than a week or so of supplies then "We're all doomed, Captain Mainwaring."

Bernard Ingham said on Newsnight a few months ago: "The reason we didn't build new nuclear power stations was because we were swimming in North Sea oil and gas. It was coming out of our ears."

He does worry that they could be blocked in future but thinks the threat of "the lights go out" will trump everything. He made clear the reason Britain didn't follow France down the nuclear route was a (perceived) economic one and had nothing to do with the environment.

I consider myself an "environmentalist" and am very much in favour of nuclear power for the UK as an emergency stop-gap at the very least, and for however long it takes to reach a fully renewable energy system, which should be the ultimate goal.

That's true and just.
The environmentalists did not stop nuclear power on their own - both economics and the fossil fuel industries were more influential.

However, the Labour Party's review in 2003 basically succumbed to fairy dust renewable fantasies, and this retreat to dreamland has hindered realistic adaption to our actual situation, just as surely as Cornucopian fantasies where demand for oil and gas would magically call forth supply have hindered real adaption.

There may be a case for building a Severn barrage and so on, but in the UK renewables can only be supplementary and are incapable of answering out full needs.

Unless enough die, of course.
It seems we are likely to explore that alternative in more depth for the old and poor shortly.

The old and poor in the UK will start suffering this winter.

But they never figured for much in the eyes of the rich kids who decided to 'save the planet' anyway.

to fairy dust renewable fantasies

Strikes me that the alternative of sand that is now toxic due to the business of making radioactive energy is toxic fariy dust made troublingly real.

The eco-mentalist cabal will have a lot of explaining to do

Right. Because Hyman Rickover never warned your sorry arse. Jimmy Carter never warned your sorry arse. M. King Hubbert never warned your sorry arse. I'm sick and tired of the propaganda and BS. If you can't discuss this stuff without lying, shut the hell up. Trying to paint the energy crunch as nothing more than people opposing nuclear power is just pur3e,unadulterated bull. And, no, there's no way nor reason to pretend otherwise.

Some of you wouldn't last a day here were I an admin. Opinions are great. Facts are better. Lies and propaganda are intolerable and should not be put up with when times are so dire.

Leave the past - the true past - where it is and get on to solutions. If you've got the fortitude.

If France is spending vast sums subsidising their reactors, how come they are doing relatively well financially?...

That is a hard fact, and no, it is not because the French Government is absorbing vast unseen costs.

I don't recall where I heard it, I know we have discussed it before, but your claims above are bull pucky. Here's the money paraphrase: Not ONE nuclear power station in the world has been built with private money. If that statement is true, then the French stations are, in fact, subsidized.

Very convenient to pretend that isn't included in costs. Or tearing down... or long term costs of storage...

Quit BSing. It is NOT going to help... nor will mewling over spilt milk.

Does it freaking matter where we have been at this point?



Oil settles down $6.07 at $87.81 a barrel, as markets reel from global credit crisis. Dow loss reaches 800 points. Details soon.

Hey, that's old news. Oil's back up over $89 and the Dow is only down 460 points!

A lot can happen in half an hour today.

Look for extreme volatility in everything. Traders are bouncing around like a pack of crazy monkeys on Red Bull. De-leveraging is a bitch.

At this point, I don't see how hedge funds or over-leveraged banks (and quasi-banks) survive, especially if they're trying to work the Yen carry trade by borrowing from the Bank of Japan. The Yen is up about 4% against the Dollar today. Ouch! That's gotta hurt.

The DOW was only down 3.49% but the typical Oil/Gas trust as down 10-15%!, e.g. SBR, PWE, ERF. If I had any cash I'd be sorely tempted to back up the truck on these as some are down 50%in the past couple of months. But this kind of decline is truly scary and one wonders quite why people are selling things with real assets that will be needed if any recovery is to happen (and are still paying great dividends). Anyone have any insight as to why the big sell-off?

Full of Doubts, U.S. Shoppers Cut Spending

Taking a break outside an Office Depot store in suburban Chicago, Dave Cargerman, a 25-year-old sales clerk, said his hours had been cut back. “We got killed during the back-to-school sales,” Mr. Cargerman said. “And that time of year is usually our bread and butter.”

Nearby, employees at Lattof Chevrolet were preparing to close the doors this month on a business that opened in 1936. It may not be the last dealership to go: the percentage of people saying they expect to buy a car in the next six months, on a three-month moving average, has fallen to 5 percent, the lowest figure since the Conference Board started asking about such plans in its consumer confidence survey, in 1967.

One of the talking heads on CNBC said that the best description for retail sales was not that they had slowed, it was more accurate to say that they had virtually stopped.

My wife and I are not in trouble (not yet anyway). We have zero debt, and both our jobs are pretty secure for probably 6-12 months. However, we don't have as much cash socked away as we would like.

So we sat down the other day and had a family financial meeting. We decided to turn off the spigot. We each get a small allowance, but otherwise discretionary spending goes to zero. We've stopped using the dryer and unplugged a lot of "instant on" devices to save electricity. We don't get in the car unless we have a good reason. These are serious times that call for serious measures.

I suspect we are not the only people doing that. I suspect lots of people are doing it, some because they have no choice, some (like us) because we're worried. The economy is going to get crushed, and the crushing has barely started.

I starkly oppose the following approach:

"WASHINGTON (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Peak oil in Latin America is less than 10 years away; energy integration, nuclear power plants, and large-scale renewable power generation are necessities to ensure sufficient energy supplies in the future"

Linked above. That's the lungs of the earth being abused for short term revenue.

Immediate prove thereof is the next article, about mammal extinction.

No matter what, human beings depend on the state of the earth for their survival.

Looks like tomorrow (or later this week) we will be needing a new oil price poll. Less than $2 from getting into the $85 price area.


Instead of $85 to 160
Next time maybe $40 to 200 and we will make it to the 60 day time limit without hitting either end of the range. although it could be more fair to go $42.50 to $170. Either halving or doubling from the midpoint.

Not sure what to do about the poll. Seems like events have overtaken the current format. I thought setting such a wide range would mean the poll lasted awhile, but it was only two weeks, and here we are again...

Stating the price of oil in gold might be fractionally more stable.
We are currently in a chaotic system, for currencies, stocks, commodities and everything else.
It's kind of cute really, the underlying assumption is that the dollar is in some sense a stable source of value.
I doubt that guessing the dollar price of a barrel will be much more predictable than guessing it in the price of the Icelandic currency - everyone would realise that that was impossible.

The nearest I could estimate it is that the price of oil will be cheap until financial recovery - ie.,back in the old days prior to the summer of '08 less in purchasing power than $100/barrel, and if and when recovery takes place will rapidly climb to perhaps $250 in goods equivalent.

Love the poll. It's great for a measure of sentiment and comparative guesswork. We could start guessing on the speed of change, like how many weeks to given mark, since down seems to be a given (outside of any iranian craziness on the part of us or israel).

How about replacing the popularity up/down counts with poll results?
When you vote in a poll and eventually win or lose, you move +1 or -1.

Question for the group, I have had fidelity FSENX (select energy fund) for a few years now in my 403b, should I hang on to it or cut my losses and trade it for something else?(I have no idea what that might be right now).

What could you possibly own that would be better? Gold maybe, but unless we are enterering the fast crash phase, energy is more valuable than gold in any approximation to current society. The Fed is going to inflate and that money will have to go somewhere and it's more likely to be energy than financials.

IMO it is always a mistake to "hang on" when you are unsure-remind yourself that you can easily buy anything you sell whenever you want to (even the same day or the next). More big money is lost hanging on than any other way. Get out, regroup and decide when to get back in.

homebrew: As you are well aware, Fidelity FSENX is a conventional mutual fund. As such, if you sell, you get the days close. Unlike a Diamond or Spider or Web,
Exchange traded fund (ETF) Which trades by the second.
This allows the ability to sell, discern a mistake, buy back, repeat until broke. Where as a conventional fund like you have, limits you to the same behavior, only once per trading day. That being said and you being told....XLE would be one (ETF SPDR) I described above.

Lack of information such as but not limited to Age and personal financial circumstances make advising you impossible for anyone anywhere at anytime. Anyone offering such advice would be little better then you casting bones in the dirt and interpreting they way they land.

Answer this question: do you think the current downturn in energy will continue for the medium and longterm or do you think it's being pulled down along with everything else? (the phrasing of the question is not intended to suggest the answer)

As others said, if you sell it, where will the money go, and do you think that's a better place than where you have it now?

"do you think the current downturn in energy will continue for the medium and longterm or do you think it's being pulled down along with everything else?"

"You talkin to me?..you talkin to me???"

Just kidding, bad impression huh.

I think the price of...say crude...will go up and down between a range of $2/$4 a day...$6/$10 a week
$12/$20 a month...$25/$75 a year...all on a ever increasing upward trend....please be sure to save this post and correct me if I am mistaken, or forget it and never mention it if Iam correct. Thank you.

You will come to see I am correct in about a year, then ask me all manner of questions and find I wont have an answer to any of them.

No, I wasn't (talking to you) but I do agree with everything you said. You really can't tell if buying/selling something is a good idea unless you know someone's complete picture...

Donald Trump on CNN, saying that oil prices are still too high, and are being held "artificially high" by OPEC.

He's also gloating about selling some expensive real estate to a Russian buyer two weeks ago.

Thinks Dubai will do just fine. And is going to vote for McCain, because "He's nothing like Bush."

so falling demand, global economy slow down, are reasons for the oil price drop? Is there hard data to support this...I know US demand fell quite a bit...but has it in the last several months? Is there any global data to support this too (in China, India?). What about falling exports of oil? Down?

"Donald Trump on CNN, saying that oil prices are still too high, and are being held "artificially high" by OPEC."

Since America occupies IRAQ and controls the oil...isnt America a member of OPEC by default?

I asked this facetiously and don't expect a response.
I already know the answer is YES.

I guess that's why Trump hates Bush!

The Donald thinks oil's "real" price is $20.

Leanan predicted this:

In bad economy, power cutoffs soar

The number of Americans whose electricity or gas has been shut off for nonpayment of their bills is up sharply in many parts of the country as people struggle to cope with higher prices and a shaky economy.

Despite stepped-up efforts by state and federal governments, utilities and private groups to help people avoid shut-offs this winter, some worry the problem will only get worse in the coming months, particularly with the downturn on Wall Street.

In rare cases, shut-offs can lead to tragedy. In Toledo, Ohio, last November, three children and their mother died in a fire started by a candle after their power was turned off. In New York last summer, a Long Island teenager was killed and members of his family were sickened by carbon monoxide from a gasoline-powered generator fired up after a shut-off. And in Michigan last December, a social worker found a 90-year-old woman and her 63-year-old daughter wrapped in coats and blankets on the floor of their Kalamazoo-area home four days after their electricity was shut off. The older woman later died after suffering what a relative called exposure, frostbite and pneumonia.

And one more tragedy may hit us here in the NE this winter: rolling blackout due to too many people switching to electric heat. (E.g. if their gas was cut off.) The vast majority of houses would have no heating at all while the electrical power it out.

CNN Breaking News banner:

Mexican government issues a hurricane watch as Tropical Storm Marco forms in the Gulf of Mexico.

On a wild day, let's not ignore a little story from overseas: Saudi Arabia has taken matters into its own hands and sponsored peace talks between the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan.

This is about much the same stuff that led Saudi Arabia to (I suspect) arrange for non-Al Qaeda Sunni resistance fighters to switch sides in Iraq after Bush rebuffed the Sauds' efforts via the Baker Commission to put a stop to the madness. The Sauds realize that Al Qaeda wins credibility whenever it can enrage the US into violence in a Moslem land Where does Al Qaeda get its cash? How many aristocratic families in SA secretly desire to claim the throne for themselves? How much money is it worth to them, to finance the thrifty Al Qaeda?

Just like Iraq, Pakistan/Afghanistan has a bidding war going on for the loyalty of hard-line mujaheddin. The Sauds and the Pakistani Army created the Taliban, but it appears that its various groups and associated warlords tilt back and forth between Islamabad and Al Qaeda's phantom empire. When Mr. Ten Percent inevitably fails in Pakistan, the Sauds' pet Pakistani Nawaz Sharif will get his turn. With both Afghan and Pakistani governments reorganized as Saudi clients, there might be a hope to stop the rampaging USA before its holy war becomes a complete disaster.

As distasteful as we might find this, the Sauds' Turki al-Faisal knows that wilderness better than any of our leaders and doubtless has been busy making the case for rapproachment via his personal connections to all sides. May peace be upon them.

Next, let's hope the US does not again block discussions between the Sauds and Iran on a regional de-escalation involving Lebanon, Syria, Hamas, and oil routes.

Hooray for multipolarity.

Bank of America profits plunge 68%

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Bank of America reported a steep decline in earnings Monday that fell far short of analysts expectations. The banking giant also slashed its dividend in half and revealed plans to raise $10 billion through a stock sale.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank said its third-quarter net income fell to $1.18 billion, or 15 cents a share, down 68% from $3.7 billion, or 82 cents a share, a year ago.

That was far worse than what Wall Street's consensus forecasts of a net profit of $3.22 billion, or 62 cents a share.

It will be interesting to see if this the banking norm, or if BoA is above or below average. One would hope the chosen few are the best, but these days that's a pretty big hope. Really the $10B share sale says more than the earnings decline about their liquidity position.

I assume we'll see layoff notices too, as companies strive to mix "good" bottom line changes in with "bad" top-line numbers. That was certainly the norm for the telecom crash at least.

Q4 will be critical for retail companies. The bailout won't help them much and the gov't incentive checks are already spent, so I anticipate the result will be quite poor.

How many legs does this economic stool have left to kick out, before it totters and falls?

But they are still profitable, so there is NO "run on the bank", right?

Obama widens lead in polls.

A new national poll suggests Barack Obama is widening his lead over John McCain in the race for the White House.
Fifty-three percent of likely voters questioned in the poll say they are backing Obama for president, with 45 percent supporting McCain.

"The Economist" magazine has been running a Global Electoral College.

Obama 8,455 votes
McCain 16 votes

McCain is leading in:

  • Andorra
  • Georgia (the country)
  • Macedonia

The rest of the world favours Obama.

Afganistan   83%
China   81%
Germany   86%
Israel   72%
Mexico   83%
Moroco   94%
Nigeria   94%
Pakistan   77%
Saudi Arabia   100%
Sweden   87%
Switzerland   89%
Uganda   100%

Americans seem to have forgotten about the kind of "soft power" that JFK could project. If Obama takes the White House, you may be very pleasantly surprised by how much easier it suddenly becomes to deal with much of the world - especially Africa and the ME.

Americans seem to have forgotten about the kind of "soft power" that JFK could project. If Obama takes the White House, you may be very pleasantly surprised by how much easier it suddenly becomes to deal with much of the world - especially Africa and the ME.

I don't think so. JFK was from a different era. (And JFK's handling of foreign affairs was not that great, IMO.)

I think the economic crisis is going to make it much harder to deal with the rest of the world. No matter who wins.

JFK was from my era and he was enormously popular.

Some African folks that I know have an 11 year old son who keeps a picture of Obama on his wall - I haven't seen that kind of hero worship for a politician since JFK.

The population in many parts of the world (especially Moslem areas) is very young. And a lot of the youth (eg in Iran) despise their own leadership and are hungry for inspiration.

For better or for worse, image counts and GWB has really trashed the American image abroad.

Sure, dealing with the rest of the world is going to be hard. But it would certainly help to have someone who can at least present his ideas in complete and comprehensible English sentences.

Well, JFK was from my dad's era, and my dad thought he was an idiot. He thinks JFK is way overrated, and if he had not died tragically in office, he would not have been remembered so fondly.

When JFK was shot I was working for an aerospace company. When the announcement was made, a retired navy admiral working in the next cubicle said, "Good, they got than S.O.B!" and he didn't use the acronym. This seemed to be the Navy attitude in general.

JFK didnt die. He was assassinated. He was and is loved more than any president in hisory of America. His devotees are largely from the salt of the earth types, those without media empires and bully pulpits.
He was an inspiration not only to Americans...but the entire world. His name is never spoken by those who wield power today, not even in hushed or somber tones.
To mention JFK is to remind Americans how far from grace they have fallen. Revisionist historians treat JFK like Stalin treated his political outcasts...they airbrush him from existance.

He was and is loved more than any president in hisory of America.

I seriously doubt that.

His devotees are largely from the salt of the earth types, those without media empires and bully pulpits.

That's ironic, because to me, it seems his appeal was largely because of those media empires. His appeal was largely that he looked good on TV. That, and he died before his screwups could come back to bite him.

He was and is loved more than any president in hisory of America

First in War, First in Peace and First in the hearts of his countrymen

A Congressional resolution adopted immediately after the death of George Washington, written by Harry Lee

Yeah, he's probably right up there with FDR and Lincoln and Clinton, and all the other "best" presidents.

It is imprudent to deify rulers, whether living or dead.

In the specific case of George Washington, I would disagree. A worthy model.


George and some of the other founding fathers were rare creatures, educated in history, with a solid understanding of human nature, and personal self-control and self-motivation as well. I have to believe such people live today as well, but I don't think they're senior statesmen.


No matter who wins

agreed, as long as Obama wins. That "The Economist" poll is quite telling, to put it mildly.

This world is better off without the old man McCain who "every once a while retire himself", as he himself states it (!) Imagine if WW3 starts when he is out in the flowerfield, having a retieree-excursion ?!? with the other old folks .... man, what then

I think you're setting Obama up for certain failure. No human being can do what people are expecting of him.

He's failed to "manage expectations" all along, and it's going to come back to bite him. (If he wins.)

Somehow you are reading to much into my two lines here. I am not expecting anything in particular from Obama. I know there are 2 candidates left to choose from, and I like Obama over McCain for "50" different (but not yet disclosed) reasons...

The short reason is : a) I trust this guy more ! b) I feel (being a foreigner to the US) Obama will make wiser decisions on behalf of this world.

I think anyone expecting Obama and McCain to be much different from each other is deluding themselves.

I don't trust either of them as far as I can throw them.

No, neither do I but if I had a vote I would still go with Obama. Even if it's only to be more disappointed later!

There is still at least some real difference between the two but that's just IMHO

I have a vote, but it doesn't count.

So I'm free to vote "None of the above," and I will.

Just you wait until Palin is president. I'll link back to this thread!!!*

*If I have time.

:-) Hopefully...

Seriously though, I guess you mean you're in a state where the outcome is predetermined and so your vote can't influence the outcome?

Wait until Obama is president. I'll link back to this thread!*

*Assuming the Internet is still up, TOD is still around, and you and I still have the wealth and leisure to post on the Internets.

Seriously though, I guess you mean you're in a state where the outcome is predetermined and so your vote can't influence the outcome?

Anything's possible...but if my state is in play, then it's a landslide, so yeah, my vote won't matter.

*Assuming the Internet is still up, TOD is still around, and you and I still have the wealth and leisure to post on the Internets.

Hey I've been posting on "the Internets" since it was the Arpanet - even wrote software once. trust me, I'll find a way :-)

Where you spend your dollars DO count.

I think anyone expecting Obama and McCain to be much different from each other is deluding themselves.

Yeah right! I heard the same crap about Bush and Gore in 2000. Now tell me that we would be bogged down in Iraq with the huge mess the economy is in if Gore had been elected. We went from a budget surplus under Clinton to the greatest budget deficit in history under Bush.

No, no one can get us out of this damn mess we are in, but the difference between Obama and McCain is so glaring it would knock you over.

I think this is all sour grapes Leanan. You are just so pissed because McCain and that airhead are headed for defeat that you say there is no difference between them.

I admire your judgment in so many other things but in this one you are just dead wrong.

Ron Patterson

Now tell me that we would be bogged down in Iraq with the huge mess the economy is in if Gore had been elected.

Ok. America would still be bogged down in Iraq if Gore was large and in charge.

(There. Someone has done what you asked.)

you say there is no difference between them.

Both are Senators. Both voted for the bailout. Both are part of the system that if you ARE different you won't get in or stay in if you attempt to effect change.

you are just dead wrong.

And you've claimed there are no conspiracies, yet you've been shown to be wrong in those matters.

But hey, lets see of the O man tosses out all the people who've been in the machinery of government who've filtered the reports and whispered into leadership's ears advice that got us to this point. LEts see if the O man stops the habit of executive orders. Lets see if the cabinet posts shrink.

I'm guessing 'change' is just a marketing buzzword - but hey - perhaps I can stop being cynical.

My one hope for McCain is that he or Sarah will appoint strict constitutionalist judges to the Supreme Court. Somebody needs to reign in this game of Calvin-ball. Apologies to those who don't get the Calvin and Hobbes reference.

McCain will be slightly more likely to push for transparency, and Obama for renewables.

I think, tho, the macro events will be the same regardless of who wins, One man won't reverse a depression or create energy cornucopia.

Hi Paleo,

re: "he or Sarah will appoint strict constitutionalist judges to the Supreme Court."

Do you think either one or both are capable of ascertaining who might fit into this category?

I am sure that Obama is capable of ascertaining one who won't, so by converse logic I have to hope.

Sarah will appoint strict constitutionalist judges to the Supreme Court.

Yeh, maybe she'll disappoint GWB to that there judicial high and holy ground so that once he is garbed in a black robe and raised up on a platform, he can speechify even more new phrases like your "strict constitutionalist" phrase. (WTF does that phrase mean?) Frankly, I'm not surprised at the ability of my fellow species mates to make up meaningless noises and to consider themselves full of "sound" logic. Evolution works in strange and mysterious ways.

That is a fear, not a hope. Those strict constitutionalist judges to the Supreme Court will be OK with Spanish Inquisition invented tortures because they are not "Cruel and Unusual punishment".

Cruel and unusual, yes, but they are not punishment; they are designed to extract information, not to punish, so they are OK with it. That every last one of the founders who ratified the Constitution & Bill of Rights would have been shocked and appalled at this interpretation bothers them not at all. "Founder's intent" is whatever GWB wants.

And those same founders did not know what they were doing when they wrote "a well regulated militia" (and neither did two centuries of judges before them), so these "strict constitutionalist" judges took some white-out to the Bill of Rights.


I admire your judgment in so many other things but in this one you are just dead wrong.

Thx (and echo) Mr Patterson for finding them suitable words !

btw Mrs Palin "as is", is a fullworthy and separate reason for not going for McCain altogether, imo


Now tell me that we would be bogged down in Iraq with the huge mess the economy is in if Gore had been elected.

I think we would be. These things tend to be "in the air," and happen regardless of personalities. Many people voted for Bush because they felt he was less likely to get us into a war than Gore. Surprise, surprise.

The financial crisis has certainly been building ever since the dot-com boom, and perhaps longer. It was both Democrats and Republicans who made this mess. In any case, as peak oilers, we knew it was coming. The only question was when.

Iraq...maybe the war wouldn't have happened under a President Gore. But if it didn't, it would still be "on the table." The neocons would still be around, and still be pushing for it...and probably, would be on the fast track to the White House now, if they didn't win in 2004. There are some ideas that can only be disproven by trying them, and this was one of them.

In short...I think we had to have a neocon presidency eventually, and sooner was probably better than later.

I think this is all sour grapes Leanan. You are just so pissed because McCain and that airhead are headed for defeat that you say there is no difference between them.

You gotta be kidding. You may not have noticed, but McCain voted for the bailout for billionaires, too. He's no better than Obama.

But I don't think it would be any worse if he were president. I think "Only Nixon could go to China" applies. McCain has defense bona fides so he perhaps won't need as big a stick as a Democrat would.

I just don't see this as ending well, no matter who gets elected. I think events will be so overwhelming that it won't matter who is in the Oval Office. The economic crisis and the bailout has tied the hands of our new president, whoever he is. He won't be able to start many wars...but he won't be able to build many wind farms or nuclear power plants, either.

I am honestly astonished that you or any other peak oiler can get so worked up over this election. To me, it is like arguing about whether red or blue deck chairs are better, when we've already hit the iceberg.

I am honestly astonished that you or any other peak oiler can get so worked up over this election. To me, it is like arguing about whether red or blue deck chairs are better, when we've already hit the iceberg.

And it's one of the very few issues where I think you've got a blindspot. Nuclear war is what, I fear, is at stake. Best non-MAD probabilities are still with Obama - there are many who would like you to think otherwise. Sorry to be blunt but that's how I see it right now.

Nuclear war is what, I fear, is at stake.

I agree.

Best non-MAD probabilities are still with Obama

I disagree.

Wow you got a plus 1 within seconds of posting for that comment!

I'd be interested in your reasons on why nuclear war is more likely with Obama. The rest of the world thinks otherwise judging by the polls. If we're genuinely missing something, I think we need to know if our lives depend upon it.

I don't think it's necessarily more likely. I think there's no difference.

The last and only nuclear war was by order of a Democrat (Hiroshima and Nagasaki). The closest we came to nuclear war since then was under a Democrat (Cuban missile crisis). The hawkish Nixon ended the Vietnam war and opened relations with communist China.

Events are bigger than people.

"Drill Baby Drill, Drill Baby Drill"
"We Love Sarah, We Love Sarah"

They chanted at Sarah's speech last night. All I ask is remember that if people ask how it happened...

Anyway. Too much Blue Nun as we say in the UK.

Nitey, night.

"Eight is enough" is better?

Emotional decisions and stubborn anger are greater risks than cool rational decision making.


I don't think any of the candidates are prone to emotional decisions and stubborn anger. It's all an act.

I don't know if any are prone to rational decisions either. Maybe singing to the score is more like it.

A majority of the US Senate would disagree. A couple of decades of working experience.


I don't think that's true. Even Democrats have said they have no qualms about McCain's temperament. His policies, yes, his temperament, no.

Supposedly, almost every Senator past their first term has a "John McCain" story of him blowing up with a temper tantrum and/or holding grudges to an extreme. From a staffer for Sen. Landrieu (and confirmed by a lobbyist for Northrup Grumman).

The Senate is still a bit of a club and at least a quarter of them want to be President. And Obama wanted a clean campaign.


Rumors. From a Democratic staffer, no less.

I rank this up there with "Obama is secretly a Muslim."

You said "even Democrats".

Two minutes of Google and



"I decided I didn't want this guy anywhere near a trigger," Sen. Domenici told Newsweek in 2000.


*MANY* more stories with a few more Google minutes.

I thought it was a given that John McCain had "anger management issues". Less well known (but known) are his long standing and extreme grudge holding.


"Even Democrats" is not the same as "all Democrats."

Come on, Alan. If someone was posting this about your candidate, you'd be the first to call shenanigans.

CNBC reported that Obama got angry and was screaming at people during that closed-door meeting on the bailout. Does that make him unfit to be president?

I have known since the 1990's (when I was a staunch Republican) that John McCain had an uncontrollable temper and held grudges. He was noteworthy among all 100 senators for these traits.

I am surprised that you question these long standing character traits. I thought that they were a given for any close observer of Washington.

This is NOT an isolated observation or related to this election; many reputable sources mention this over two decades. See the quote of Senator Domenici in 2000 in Newsweek,


Getting angry and yelling is a perfectly reasonable reaction to this $700 billion bailout.


Exactly. Getting angry doesn't make you unfit. There's a lot of good reasons to get angry these days, especially in politics.

The question is if he's out of control...and I would say the answer is clearly no, for both men.

Bush is known to have a mean temper. But that's not the reason he's a bad president. He didn't make any important decisions in anger, or launch a nuclear attack in a fit of rage.

The problem is the decisions he made coolly and rationally, not his temper.

GWB has trouble making speeches and pronouncing words properly.

John McCain has the worst temper of all 100 senators (and is among the leaders in grudges).

These are uncontroversial, well known, accepted facts.

I (and others) "knew" this years ago. It is simply not controversial. Obama has been noted for his cool temperament most of the time, the bailout being an exception (justified IMO).

It is an open, and unresolved question, if McCain's temper makes him unfit to be President (Sen. Domenici gave his judgment in 2000), but there is no question that he has an extreme and noteworthy temper.


John McCain has the worst temper of all 100 senators (and is among the leaders in grudges).

These are uncontroversial, well known, accepted facts.

Eh. I think that's just silly. How can you even measure something like that?

Did you not watch the video by his fellow POWs? It was posted here. The stories of his temper and lack of control go all the way back to the Naval Academy.

As for whether it affects his decisions, did you not pay attention to the whole Georgia affair and his dumb-ass reaction to that?

McCain = statesmen : pigs = can fly


He didn't make any important decisions in anger

You have no way of knowing that (unless one assumes, as I do, that he never actually made any).

Wow... I would never have taken you for a KoolAid drinker!



Nuclear war is what, I fear, is at stake.

I agree.

Best non-MAD probabilities are still with Obama

I disagree.

Wow... I didn't realize you were Republican/Republican-leaning, but to say this you must be. I assumed before you meant the situation and backroom nature of politics meant it didn't make a huge difference. I didn't realize you actually think the men are the same. This is beyond strange. You're taking this whole, "They're virtually the same" thing too far.

They are not the same on health care, for example. And. most importantly, they are not the same in character or self-control. Look at how the McCain campaign is being run. It's filth. He and Palin have been caught in so many lies they should both be in jail.

Yup... you're right-leaning,no?


I don't think the men are the same. I think there's so little difference between them that it doesn't matter, given the inertia of government and the force of the events we are likely to face in the next four years. I really do think this is like arguing about whether red or blue deck chairs look better, when we've already hit the iceburg.

Honestly, does health care even matter? The president can't enact it on his own. And we aren't going to be able to afford it anyway.

Yup... you're right-leaning,no?

I don't think right and left even apply any more. I supported Kerry last time, and was pretty plecked off when he lost. But I've lost interest in politics since then. No, that's not quite accurate. I'm interested, but I'm no longer invested. Long before the primaries started, I came to the conclusion that presidential politics wasn't going to matter in the face of peak oil. The color of the deck chairs doesn't matter any more.

Today, I feel about politics kind of like I feel about the baseball playoffs. My team is out, and has been for awhile. So I honestly don't care who wins. But I'm still interested in the game. Just not invested in the outcome.

It's kind of depressing that even here at TOD, where we value objectivity, we can't discuss politics without extreme partisanship. A lot of people have been complaining about it, and have even asked that discussion of politics and religion be banned, as is common on many other sites. I don't think that makes sense; politics is very much a part of peak oil. But I sure wish we could elevate the discussion a little. PG is a political scientist, and used to write interesting articles about politics, but has given up, because political discussion just isn't productive.

I feel kind of the same. Like a sabermatrician who wants to discuss Derek Jeter's poor defensive stats, only to have rabid groupies jump all over me and accuse me of hating Jeter and secretly being a Red Sox fan.

A right fair response. I will say you are a greater cynic than myself. I am no fan of Obama, but a McCain presidency is a virtual guarantee of an/some/many unnecessary crisis/-es.


One observation I have made is that most seem to perceive information according to existing bias, with very little objectivity. It does not bode well for dealing with massive societal stressors.

I am honestly astonished that you or any other peak oiler can get so worked up over this election. To me, it is like arguing about whether red or blue deck chairs are better, when we've already hit the iceberg.

Life goes on.....untill it doesn't. I must live my life as if there were a tomorrow.

the difference between Obama and McCain is so glaring it would knock you over.

I only hear the two practically mouthing their respective party lines...it's still the same old crap from these two...I am with Leanan...but I'll be casting my protest vote to Barr or Nader or ...shoot...Pat Paulson died...anyway...someone else

Nader spoke at my church tonight. As usual, I found I never had to cringe at anything he said, or had to suppress this gag reflex that has been my constant companion with all other campaign gobbledygook.

He said that some student gave him a ticket to one of the '04 Prez debates that he was not included in, and security was given copies of his picture to keep him out OF THE AUDIENCE! When he persisted, they called the police and threatened to arrest him.

You Betcha! Wink, Wink! Let the game show continue!

I just learned, by the way, that the term 'Gobbledygook' was apparently coined by Texas Politician 'Maverick' - referring to congressional new-speak, and that he was the son of the original Maverick, (Samuel Augustus).. and both Democrats.


“I’m just enraged that McCain calls himself a maverick,” said Terrellita Maverick, 82, a San Antonio native who proudly carries the name of a family that has been known for its progressive politics since the 1600s, when an early ancestor in Boston got into trouble with the law over his agitation for the rights of indentured servants.

In the 1800s, Samuel Augustus Maverick went to Texas and became known for not branding his cattle. He was more interested in keeping track of the land he owned than the livestock on it, Ms. Maverick said; unbranded cattle, then, were called “Maverick’s.” The name came to mean anyone who didn’t bear another’s brand. ..

, alas!

JFK reached into a coat pocket that he hadn’t worn in a while and there was a note: "Need Air Support for Bay of Pigs Invasion." He left the troops he encouraged on the beach. True, it was a rag tag bunch but he deserted them. Many of us in the military thought he was a bastard.

I did like his choice of women though. Much higher class than Monika's ex boyfriend.

I really hope Obama wins the election and really brings the troops home from Belgium (NATO), Germany, Japan, South Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, and a hundred other places we have no need.

I hope Obama puts the national currency on a material basis (gold, silver, whatever).

I hope Obama does away with the Fed and lobbyist and all the badness in Washington.

I hope Obama spends all the money saved above on rebuilding a robust green infrastructure, like electric trains, cars, windmills, critical bridges and solar generating plants.

Since Ron Paul is too old, I hope a younger Obama will carry on with many of these ideas.

I doubt it but I can hope.

BTW: My wife had a 401K and a few months back we pulled it all out (and paid the taxes on it) except for a trival amount so she and her employer could match funds. Thank you oil drummers for the multiple clues.

I like Obama, but hoping for actual necessary change with this guy is grasping at straws IMO. Robert Rubin is pulling his strings http://www.financialsense.com/Market/wrapup.htm

Your list makes it sound like you hope Obama becomes Ron Paul.

Everyone stop with the "Its hopeless nonsense" For cryin out loud, sometimes I wish you kids had never been born, fight like cats and dogs, someday you kids will grow up and have kids just like yourselves...that'll be justice for you....(Sound like anyones mother?) Well, you guys sound like her kids!

One freakin market collapse and you guys start at it like a bunch of cats in a sack. Now go outside and play nice...or so help me...I will beat you...don't make me do it!

Hey, you started it!

One freakin market collapse and you guys start at it like a bunch of cats in a sack.

You mean like the Monbiot quote in the upper right corner?

Yes, a lot of us are upset. It's the death of a dream.

No, not the dream of financial security or a comfortable retirement. I'm talking about the dream that someday everyone would admit we peak oilers were right.

Instead, we're getting the "Grand Depression" scenario. We're probably past peak oil, but no one will notice. And they'll still think we peak oilers are nuts.

Instead, we're getting the "Grand Depression" scenario. We're probably past peak oil, but no one will notice. And they'll still think we peak oilers are nuts.

O.k., so they think we're nuts. Perhaps they are right. Then again even people who are nuts can be right sometimes.

History doesn't move in a straight line and certainly doesn't follow a script.

We can, however, keep on pressing home the point not to waste away a vital resource that is has a finite supply. Heaven knows, history and humanity may catch on at some point and vindicate our insights.

It's not easy being a voice crying out in the wilderness. But sometimes, as John the Baptist found out, it is the best place to say what needs to be said and may in fact, ultimately, be the most effective place be heard.


this game is far from over. True, it's a big job to have people hear the peak oil message with the economy in collapse, but a strange turn of events could bring oil back to the foreground.

I say we keep playing the game we're playing.

Most people are in deep denial about many things---not just peak oil, but also climate change, pollution, etc.

It's too much to bear I think.

I teach college kids. Many of them say that there is no such thing as climate change. They have no interest in peak oil (I've used Kunstler's and other peak oil texts to teach English). It's in one ear, out...

Many neighbors and friends have no interest in the topic of peak oil either. Zero.

They don't think I'm nuts---it's more like it's just not interesting to them.

But my sister in the US used to be the same way and then the financial crisis hit there and suddenly it was---no longer denial, but a kind of mental depression. "I don't want to think about it", said on the verge of tears, then she voiced worries about her job and her husband's.

I think that when the financial crisis reaches these shores (and it will, soon), it will be the same. Mental breakdown, sadness, depressed feelings, passivity, shock and inaction.

It is hard for people who don't mind facing reality to interact with those who prefer to live in their fantasy worlds. But it is nothing new. I think if you look at history there are many other examples, so don't feel bad!

I am not finding people any more receptive. Even the ones in significant economic pain. I know people who have good jobs - engineers, lawyers - who are looking for second jobs at Wal-Mart or McDonald's for the first time in their long careers. And can't find them.

But they are not open to the idea that this is not a normal recession. The Republicans blame high taxes and too much regulation (yes, even now, they want less regulation). The Democrats blame big business.

They think if only the right people get elected, we can build a bigger stone head, and all will be well.

We're probably past peak oil, but no one will notice. And they'll still think we peak oilers are nuts.

To be fair to the sheeple, one can be nuts AND be right. They're not mutually exclusive.



The meltdown continues in Asia.


CBC news was reporting as of 6 PM this evening "the possibility of recession lasting a year" and the hope that the "bail-out" package would provide a correction to the markets. There's a surreal quality to the reporting -- almost like, this can't be true, so it isn't.

What has surprised me is the number of friends and relatives who are now asking & emailing me for my opinion on what I expect to happen next. And this stems from my few conversations where I've mentioned an insight or two from TOD or Automatic Earth and so on in the past while. I've become a default economic expert in large part b/c no one else seems to be giving them a reasonable explanation as to why things are unfolding as they are.

Doomers are more credible these days than cornucopians. And I'm not by nature a pessimist. So when I tell people, look, this is far from over, expect developments to be erratic, unpredictable, and dire, and that people actually had the foresight to see turbulence ahead for a while, and things have to play out, they say wow, why isn't anyone in public saying these things.

I had one friend ask me on a scale of 1 to 10, how close are we to repeating the events of the Great Depression. At first I was reluctant to give a number. Who gave me a crystal ball? Then it dawned on me. People are really scared and hearing from those in authority -- "now now, everything is going to be just fine" -- is wearing thin and is highly patronizing. So out I came with it: you have every right to be scared $hitless, b/c this will effect your credit, your job, your pension, your mortgage, and your way of life. On a scale of 1 to 10, we're at unlucky number 13.

We are watching carnage of historic proportions taking place and listening to pundits describing it as 'a mere flesh wound.' It is like viewing a Monty Python skit.

I find people cope much better if you tell them the bad news up front.

My advice to others on this site. You are probably the best source of information for those around you these days. Be upfront with people you know - friends and family. You may be doing them a real big favour.


OTOH one must remember Taleb’s advice against forecasting or prophesizing because neither you nor I know when we will get hit with a Black Swan. It will be unexpected and may be good or bad. Though when I look around for little black cygnets, I see plenty. Climate change, Methane release, Resource War, etc. I haven’t seen nor expecting any nice cygnets so I am a doomer.

I tell all my friends to buy a lot of food and cycle it. If something really bad happens, at least you can eat for a while while things sort themselves out. Be sure to include a lot of chocolate because you will need the “Happy Dorphins” (grandson’s pronunciation). Also Jack Daniels does not have to be refrigerated. Buttered popcorn can be popped in a solar furnace. If you can eat for quite a while, kick back and watch what happens and stay alert.

There are lots of books on this subject.

I concur.

When I talk to people I'm committed that they get the full story the first time and from me because I know I will steer them into action after painting the full picture.

Normally this means that 1/3 of the audience goes catatonic, another third asks questions earnestly and the last third becomes really quiet.

That ratio comes from me trying to pierce the bubble that most people have protecting them from hearing ideas too far outside of their worldview.

I'm finding I have less work to do in the past few weeks piercing the bubble. People are more ready to move to the solutions conversation.

This is a fun discussion. Much more reality and expression of emotion/humanness - based on a very significant real set of events occurring. The foxhole philosophic mutterings hold a lot of truth. Emblematic of a moment when something big is ongoing/occurring but no one knows what or how much. Brings back memories of sitting in a trench listening to the mortars & rockets coming in during the tet offensive. There is a lot of difference from anticipating a crisis, and experiencing it. Perhaps -once this all sorts out- the experience can be examined to learn how to respond to a future set of "stressors".

Engineers On The Precipice.

I'm at the Canadian IEEE (International Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Power and Energy Conference in Vancouver today. The topic is Energy Innovation. And, the TOD has been suggested to quite a few colleagues.

So here we sit discussing present and future energy systems (electrical of course). I am astounded by the dearth of knowledge abo-o-o-uut the wider energy picture. Fellow TODer's, you can't let me down, you're on the spot for the sanguine and intelligent postings you are noted for. We contemplate "The Grid", and obscure technical papers, but at the end of the day the issues of interest are the same we discuss here every day.

The primary concern is not technical, but habitual and political. Plain and simple as it may appear, the interactions of a varied international group reveals the same result. You see, most of the participants and Middle Eastern, Chinese, South Asian, Indian, and everything else in between. This problem is not our own, as you know, it is entirely global.

So here we sit sipping wine with Persians, Russians, Indians and Americans (oh, and the odd Canuck) discussing the engineering challenges and solutions ahead. If only the UN were this simple. When it comes down to a few immutable laws, the rest gets easy (theoretically).

To my geological and petrochemical compatriots I say we are equally aware and endeavor.

BC_EE, aka Scott in Vancouver

I've got my very own tropical storm!!!!: