DrumBeat: January 7, 2009

Shell seeks Colo. water for oil shale production

Shell Oil has filed for the first major water right on the Yampa River in northwest Colorado for its oil shale development plans.

Shell applied Dec. 30 in state Water Court to use about 8 percent of the Yampa's peak spring flow.

Shell spokesman Tracy Boyd says the water would be shipped to a reservoir for later use in oil shale production.

Critics say extracting oil from shale will use too much of the West's scarce water. Some estimates say it could take up to three barrels of water to produce a single barrel of oil.

Oil tumbles more than $4

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Oil shed more than $4 a barrel Wednesday after a government report showed much larger than expected increases in crude and gasoline stockpiles, a sign that demand has fallen significantly.

Crude for February delivery fell $4.72 to $43.86 a barrel in electronic trading.

The government said crude stockpiles rose by 6.7 million barrels for the week ended Jan. 2.

Experts had expected a rise of 1.5 million barrels, according to according to a poll by research firm Platts.

Mexico to Freeze Gasoline Prices, Boost Jobs Spending

(Bloomberg) -- Mexico will freeze the price of gasoline for the rest of 2009, cut electricity rates for some industries and expand unemployment benefits as part of a financial stimulus to help the nation weather an economic slump.

The government and industries will increase spending on infrastructure such as roads, airports and sea ports to 570 billion pesos ($42.4 billion) this year, President Felipe Calderon said today in Mexico City. The price of heating gas will be cut by 10 percent and frozen for the rest of the year.

Petrobras Cuts Bolivia Gas Imports as Rains Fill Dams

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, cut its purchases of Bolivian natural gas after Brazil’s power-grid operator banned thermal- power generation in the southeast of the country.

Petrobras, as the company is known, is maintaining imports at levels that allow it to avoid paying for more gas than it needs under its contract with Bolivia, the Rio de Janeiro-based company’s press office said today in an e-mailed response to questions.

Russia learns lessons in PR war over gas supplies

KIEV (Reuters) - Russia has shown in its gas price row with Ukraine that it has learnt some lessons in how to handle the media since being widely portrayed as the aggressor during a similar dispute in 2006.

Energy regulator resigns

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Joseph Kelliher, the Republican chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, announced Wednesday that he will resign his position effective Jan. 20, coinciding with the end of the Bush administration.

Kelliher's departure had been expected as President-elect Barack Obama is all but certain to select a Democrat to head the agency that oversees power grid reliability and wholesale natural gas markets.

Aptera pushes back retail deliveries to October 2009, looks for cash

As expectant Aptera buyers are obviously aware, the company failed to meet its self-imposed end of 2008 deadline to start delivering vehicles. In fact it wasn't even close. The company does expect to have a "production-intent" vehicle completed by the end of next week but that one isn't leaving the company. In a letter sent to customers this week, management acknowledged that they waited until far too late in the program to actually give consideration to many of the things paying customers might want in a vehicle; the ability to grab some food from a drive-through window, for example.

Who needs a hybrid?

Green is for sale. But who’s buying? Seriously, who needs a hybrid? Without question, fuel-saving technology is essential both for automakers who hope to compete in the next decade and for a nation stricken by energy problems. But if you dig through the sales numbers over the past few months, it’s easy to see that more consumers are asking whether the extra cost of a hybrid-electric car is really worth it.

Analysts expect Opec not to abandon expansion

Driven by a long-term strategy, Opec members will not abandon their expansion plans for the year and 2010 despite the prevailing low oil prices and a production cut, energy economists say.

As of now, work has commenced on about 100 capacity expansion projects in Opec countries with an estimated cost of $120 billion (Dh440bn).

These upstream projects are in addition to all energy infrastructure projects and downstream expansions.

OPEC Cuts Biting Into Oil Cos' Output Growth Areas

Oil majors that derive a large part of their income from production in member states of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries are finding the cartel's production cuts are hampering growth prospects in some of their most promising geographical areas.

As a result, both short- and long-term profit prospects will be hit, which could, in turn, hurt share prices.

So far, large oil companies have felt little pain from the global recession. But this may be about to change.

Bulgaria's capital city on energy saving scheme

Following the halted supplies of Russian natural gas to Bulgaria on January 5 2009, Sofia mayor Boiko Borissov introduced a plan that aims to reduce energy consumption troughout the city.

The first to go were the lighting of public buildings, Borissov told reporters on January 5 2009. Some of the street lights and the lights of the city's Christmas decoration were also turned off, as well as the heating in the city's public transport.

Don't act surprised

The West has sleep-walked once again into a Russia-Ukraine gas crisis, with another cutoff of natural gas supply in the middle of winter.

Europeans and Americans alike called the gas war of January 2006 a wake-up call, a needed warning to increase the security of gas supply on the Continent. But three years later, the causes of the chronic gas war remain firmly in place - an utter lack of coherent energy policy in Ukraine, malicious decision-making in Russia, and passive acquiescence by Western countries.

Central Asia's Era Of Cheap Gas Comes To A Close

Starting on January 1, Uzbekistan increased the gas price it charges neighboring Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan for natural gas to $240 per 1,000 cubic meters, saying last year's price of $145 was far below real market prices.

The two impoverished Central Asian countries protested that the increase was excessive and unaffordable for their domestic customers. Sulosyn Toktosunova, a Bishkek-based expert, tells RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service that many Kyrgyz households will no longer be able to afford their gas bills.

"The new gas price will have a very bad impact on people's living standards," Toktosunova said. "Possibly, we are going to have a serious crisis in this regard in 2009. Last year, many people were not able to pay their gas bills even with earlier, cheaper prices. They were in debt. How will they cope with new tariffs?"

Production at StatoilHydro's Yttergryta Gets Head Start

The Yttergryta subsea field has started gas production for the Asgard field in the Norwegian Sea, only eight months after the plan for development and operation (PDO) was approved.

The field has been developed from find to production in around 18 months and the first part of the subsea production facility was already in place before exploration drilling was started.

Oil prices: Wild 2008 ends with mild contango

Spot prices finish the end very low, but what about the long end of the curve, where market practitioners reflect their medium term expectation of the oil buy / sell balance?

Some would say the curve is in deep contango (i.e. future prices are higher than the spot), reflecting a strong expectation that prices will resume their upward movement as soon as the crisis is less severe.

But a close look at the forward curve suggests the contango is not that steep, and the implicit inflation calculated from the curve is much lower than what could be expected in a peak oil scenario.

Chesapeake Energy Defies Skeptics

Chesapeake spent much of the past five months doing deals that few thought possible. Some highlights: two deals with BP PLC (BP) for a combined $3.6 billion; a new $460 million bank line announced during the worst of the credit crunch; and a $3.4 billion asset sale to Norwegian oil giant StatoilHydro (STO). Total value of deals this year: roughly $12 billion.

"There are still skeptics out there, and we keep proving them wrong," Chesapeake spokesman Jeff Mobley said Monday.

Mexico: Fishing industry is sputtering

More than 95 percent of Mexico’s fishing fleet has been idled this week because the high cost of diesel to run the boats is eroding profits, an industry group said.

The nation’s fishing industry eventually will come to a complete halt as boat owners pressure the government to increase the subsidy for diesel, said Rafael Ruiz Moreno, president of the National Fishing Chamber of Commerce.

Smart Money Moves Back into Energy, But Carefully

A pair of deals by Oklahoma billionaire George B. Kaiser, widely considered one of the country's savviest energy investors, could be an early sign that after a massive selloff, the smart money is getting back into the oil industry.

But the cautious nature of the investments suggests that while a bottom may be near, the recovery won't be quick.

T. Boone Pickens likes odds for his energy plan

Every president since Richard Nixon has pledged to move the country toward energy independence, and they’ve all failed, oilman and investor T. Boone Pickens told a crowd at Rice University on Tuesday.

“But we have a better chance now with President-elect Obama than we would have with McCain,” the longtime Republican fundraiser said, because it appears Obama is serious about understanding the issues and is developing specific plans.

Why Obama's green jobs plan might work

Some states -- including Michigan -- already see renewable energy as their future: It's the only sector that appears to be making room for more employees despite the recession.

Saving a squirrel by eating one

Though squirrel has appeared occasionally in British cookery, history doesn't deem it a dining favorite. Even during World War II and the period of austerity that followed, the Ministry of Food valiantly promoted the joys of squirrel soup and pie. British carnivores replied, "No, thank you."

These days, however, in farmers' markets, butcher shops, village pubs and elegant restaurants, squirrel is selling as fast as gamekeepers and hunters can bring it in.

The beauty of the backyard turbine

Looking for a way to help the environment, PEI potato farmer Randy Visser hit upon an idea. His farming operation uses large amounts of electricity to cool, wash and sort potatoes, so he decided one way to help the planet would be to generate some of his own power.

That's why he's installing a wind turbine, with a top capacity of 50 kilowatts, or enough to meet the needs of about 16 homes when it's running full-tilt. It will allow him to cut his electricity purchases by a third to a half, depending on the strength of the gusts, using a non-polluting power source.

Oil prices to top $100 barrel by end of 2010: Pickens

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens said on Tuesday that oil prices will rise above $100 a barrel by the end of 2010 as the global economy recovers.

Oil prices in the $40 a barrel range are "not going to be around much longer," Pickens told a gathering at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston.

...While the cost to transform the nation's transportation and electric infrastructure is enormous, Pickens said reducing the annual tab for imported oil "can pay for anything you are doing."

Government leadership is imperative, Pickens said. "Waiting for the free market can be disastrous," Pickens told reporters.

Lack of financing has slowed Pickens' ambitious plan to build the world's largest wind farm of 4,000 megawatts in the Texas Panhandle.

Russia orders Gazprom to stop Ukraine gas flow

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered gas export monopoly Gazprom to halt gas supplies via Ukraine on Wednesday, Russian news agencies reported.

In a meeting with Putin, Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller proposed halting deliveries of gas to the Russian-Ukraine border because Kiev was siphoning off the fuel, Interfax news agency reported.

Russia stops all gas supply to Europe via Ukraine

KIEV, Ukraine – Russia shut off all gas supplies to Europe through Ukraine on Wednesday — leaving tens of thousands of people in more than a dozen countries without heat during a winter cold snap. The EU accused both nations of holding consumers hostage in their contract dispute.

The effects of the gas cutoff reverberated across the continent, where some countries have substantial reserves and others do not.

Ukraine has stolen 86 mln cu m of gas in 2009 - Gazprom

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine has stolen more than 86 million cubic meters of gas from Gazprom since the start of the year, the Russian energy giant said on Wednesday, adding that it had not shut off supplies to Europe via Ukraine.

"In the last 24 hours, Ukraine has illegally taken another 21 million cubic meters of Russian gas intended for delivery to Europe. As a result, since the beginning of year, just from Gazprom Ukraine has stolen more than 86 million cubic meters of gas," the company said in a statement.

What is Russia's end-game in gas row?

What was Putin seeking to achieve by reacting in this way? There is so far no consensus among diplomats and analysts about what Russia's end-game is. The following are the main theories:

Oil traders seek tankers to keep crude stored

Oil traders are seeking as many as 10 supertankers to store crude, potentially taking the amount hoarded at sea to almost five days of European Union demand, according to Frontline Ltd., the largest owner of the vessels.

About 25 of the carriers, each able to hold about 2 million barrels of crude, were already hired for storage. There are enquiries for 5 to 10 more, Jens Martin Jensen, Singapore-based interim chief executive officer of the company’s management unit, said by phone today. Traders are storing crude to take advantage of higher prices for supply in the future.

Don't get used to cheap oil, analysts say

HOUSTON – All that money you're saving these days at the gas pump? You might want to put it in the bank.

The same cheap oil that's providing relief to drivers and businesses in an awful economy is setting the stage for another price spike, perhaps as soon as next year, that will bring back painful memories of last summer's $4-a-gallon gas.

The oil industry is scaling back on exploration and production because some projects don't make economic sense when energy prices are low. And crude is already harder to find because more nations that own oil companies are blocking outside access to their oil fields.

Energy forward curves are tricky for Bloomberg

Forward curves in energy often lead to confusion. It’s very tempting to see them as a forecast of price, however, as FT Alphaville and Reuters columnist John Kemp (former Sempra analyst) have argued frequently — it’s not as easy as that.

OPEC makes virtually all of pledged supply cut: survey

LONDON (Reuters) - OPEC oil supply fell in December for a fourth consecutive month as members implemented a deal to cut output and prop up oil prices, a Reuters survey showed on Tuesday.

Abu Dhabi Releases Prices of Crude Oil for Loading in December

(Bloomberg) -- Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. released official selling prices for crude oil loaded in December, the state-owned company said in a statement faxed to buyers.

The table below gives the official selling prices, together with the change in dollars a barrel, free-on-board at the loading port. Free on board means the buyer will pay for any shipping costs to the destination, and there is no charge to the buyer for delivery to the vessel at the loading port.

Iran Cuts February Oil Supplies to Two Asian Refiners

(Bloomberg) -- Iran, OPEC’s second-largest producer, will reduce shipments of crude oil for February to two refiners in Asia as part its commitment to the group’s output cuts, said officials from the companies.

National Iranian Oil Co., the country’s state-owned producer, will lower supplies sold under long-term contracts by 14 percent, said the two officials at refineries in Taiwan and Singapore, who asked not to be identified because of company policies.

Strike hits some Indian refineries, natgas supply

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Officials at India's state-run oil firms began an indefinite strike on Wednesday, demanding higher wages, hitting operations at four refineries and cutting natural gas supply, company and union officials said.

Gunmen raid ExxonMobil oil platform off Nigeria

CALABAR, Nigeria (Reuters) - Armed men attacked an oil platform belonging to U.S. energy giant ExxonMobil (XOM.N) off Nigeria early on Wednesday, the latest sign that criminal gangs are extending their reach in Africa's top oil industry.

Gunmen in a flat-bottomed vessel raided the facility, which lies some two hours by boat off the coast of the southern Nigerian state of Akwa Ibom, shortly after midnight. They also attacked a nearby barge and an oil services vessel.

"They shot into the air and water and ordered everyone on the platform into one room and threatened to kill us," a witness told Reuters, adding the raid had lasted two hours.

Saudi's crown jewel has more oil

Nearly 57 years after it was brought on stream, the field is still pumping more than half of Saudi Arabia's total crude output and believing that it has an even bigger potential, authorities are planning to embark on a new development scheme that could offset produced oil and maximise its reserves.

Rebuffing persistent claims by experts in the West and other countries, Saudi Aramco says the field is not ageing and its reserves could be even larger.

"Since its discovery, the enormous Ghawar has kept oil experts on their toes. In mid-2007, the Ghawar Integrated Assessment and New Technology (Giant) team, an interdepartmental group working on a long-term visionary endeavour to better understand and characterise the oilfield, came across an interesting finding while looking at ways to maximise the reservoir's oil recovery percentage," Saudi Aramco said in its quarterly bulletin, Dimensions.

Kuwait's secretive companies add to crisis woes

KUWAIT (Reuters) - Kuwait's weak financial regulation is compounding the effects of the global credit crisis, unsettling investors there and threatening the government's attempts to diversify its oil-driven economy.

A series of bombshell announcements from companies including Kuwait's biggest investment bank, Global Investment House, that they are struggling to cope with the financial storm have highlighted the Gulf state's lax rules on company disclosure.

Apache seeks to revive Australian natural gas project

Apache Corp. and Santos Ltd. are seeking to revive a $651 million natural gas project in Australia after signing an accord to sell the fuel to an iron ore venture proposed by Citic Pacific Ltd.

The restart of work to develop the Reindeer project depends on signing construction contracts by mid-March, Houston-based Apache said in a statement. Contracts with Clough Ltd., an engineering company, were scrapped last month after the project was halted because of a failure to complete the agreement with Citic Pacific.

Energy growth is a dead end

The utopian worldview that says the planet can sustain indefinite growth in energy production is grossly out of touch with the physical realities of the planet. There are very real limits to the supply of non-renewable fuels - fossil-based or uranium. At some point, perhaps not too distant, affordable supplies of non-renewable fuels will be gone. The concept of 'peak oil' has been common parlance in energy circles for years.

Obama's Oil Reality Check

For Barack Obama, sensibly and scientifically curing the nation’s energy crisis at breakneck speed will be better than a bucket of bailouts and several military invasions combined.

The new president could fight Iran and terrorism by reducing the estimated $1 trillion the U.S. economy spends each year on foreign oil from OPEC regimes. Jobs upon jobs would be created if his administration creates a new fuel infrastructure, alternative propulsion supply line, and upgraded public transit. What’s more, by subtracting America’s dependence on Mideast oil, Obama can influence whole spheres of foreign policy. Imagine a Middle East devoid of the petropolitical pressure point.

Anglesey "nuclear nightmare" warning

An announcement that energy giant RWE npower has secured grid connection and land for a new nuclear power station at Wylfa, Anglesey, has been greeted as a nuclear nightmare and a target for terrorists.

Capacity of China's small rural hydropower plants exceeds 50 mln kw

China said Wednesday that small hydropower stations, defined as those with an installed capacity of less than 50,000 kilowatts, numbered nearly 50,000 at the end of 2008.

That number represented one third of the country's installed hydropower capacity, according to Tian Zhongxing, head of the rural hydropower development department under the Ministry of Water Resources. Tian made the comment during the national water resources work conference held here in the capital of southern China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

EU biofuels growth seen slowed by financial crisis

OXFORD, England (Reuters) - The sharp drop in crude oil prices and the global financial crisis is set to disrupt the development of biofuels in the European Union, a top European Commission official said on Tuesday.

"The path will be a bit chaotic. I don't see a taking off in biofuels in 2009, 2010 but probably later because we know that oil prices will (eventually) increase again," Jean Luc Demarty, the European Commission's Director-General, Agricultural and Rural Development Department, told reporters.

California's snowpack levels breed new water worries

LOS ANGELES — Skiers are enjoying the early winter snows on California's mountains, but down closer to sea level are big worries that the snowfall and its spring runoff won't be enough to relieve two years of drought.

Unless the next few months prove to be wet ones, tougher conservation steps and even water rationing from cities to farms could be ahead for the nation's most populous state.

The impact could be felt across the country in higher food prices, officials warn, if water shortages reduce production in the 400-mile-long Central Valley where much of the nation's fruit is grown in irrigated fields.

NY adopts clean air rules, stricter than EPA's

ALBANY, N.Y. – New York environmental regulators adopted stricter air pollution rules on Tuesday to prevent power plants and factories from belching out more smog and soot.

Under rules adopted by the New York State Environmental Board, new industrial plants — as well as existing ones that modify operations in ways that increase emissions — will have to install state-of-the-art pollution controls. The rules take effect in March.

Japan to monitor greenhouse gases from space

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's space agency will launch a satellite later this month to monitor greenhouse gases around the world, officials said Wednesday, hoping the data it collects helps global efforts to combat climate change.

The Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite (GOSAT), to be launched on January 21, will enable scientists to calculate the density of carbon dioxide and methane from 56,000 locations on the Earth's surface, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said.

Alan Drake in Washington DC in January

January 12 Present Paper at Transportation Research Board (a division of the National Academy of Engineering).


January 15 Feature article in Washington Monthly will quote TRB paper and other of my ideas.

The editor just asked me to lift the embargo on this paper so that they can put the article on the web this week.

January 20 Stand in snow and driving wind and watch the cap of the person in front of me.

January 26 A presentation at a private home to 20 to 30 invited guests. A diverse group interested in energy policy.

January 30 (or close) Speech at Transportation Seminar for New America Foundation. Likely to be attended by at least one senior elected official and a good chance of being on C-Span.

Date is variable to accommodate said senior elected official.

Best Hopes for Impact on Public Policy,


Google co-author Hans Herren and be as shocked as I was after working with him for several days. Moral: Google before arrival, not after several days of work.

Jan 20. Maybe we could stand next to each other and talk about transportation.

Good luck to you and your colleagues!

I have a ticket on the MARC train that leaves Baltimore at 7:45 AM. I am willing to meet up with TODers :-)

I am staying at the "Father of Baltimore's Light Rail" home in Baltimore and commuting by MARC. $X thousand cheaper :-)

Best Hopes for Good Weather on 1-20-09


I would be tempted, but when they talk about 2M people showing up for the inauguration, I am temped to just stay home and watch on TV instead. We might play it by ear - if the weather is decent and the estimated crowd sizes come down, then we might be tempted to give it a shot.

Best of luck with all of your presentations and meetings.

I am with you on that. I really want to go down to the mall, but I do have parameters. I require no precipitation and temps above 30F, otherwise I'll watch it on the hdtv at home.

Quite an accomplishment, saving 20 million lives. + a lot.

I'm wondering how one does **not** get the Nobel Peace Prize for that... I mean, that's got to be some kind of record, doesn't it?


Congratulations Alan.
Best wishes for success and in the New Year.Your hard work appears to be paying off. I thank you for your desire and intentions.


"These two investments create a 11% larger GDP, only 4% increase in Greenhouse Gas Emissions..."

Adding renewable energy improved the results to GDP +13%, GHG -38% and oil consumption -22%

Best Hopes for Non-Oil Transportation *AND* Renewable Energy,


Great work, Alan. Thanks for letting us know what you're doing.

These two investments create a 11% larger GDP, only 4% increase in Greenhouse Gas Emissions and a 26% reduction in oil consumption already in 2030 versus a strictly market based reaction. Adding renewable energy improved the results to GDP +13%, GHG -38% and oil consumption -22%


Sounds like the basis for a potential TOD article...

I just got a preview of the Washington Monthly cover, the story quoting me got the cover.

Obama in hard hat with flexible electrical conduit over his shoulder.

Barack the Builder

The Right - And Wrong - Way to Spend $1 trillion

More Highways ? Lunacy.
More Freight Rail ? Brilliant !
by Phillip Longman

Best Hopes :-)


This IS a positive, Hope that you are able to report some further interest from those designing that trillion $ plan. Been pulling for you at the change.gov, Hey Biden rode the train everyday,, you never know. Anyway great to hear this & we follow with interest.

Congrats, AFBE. I really hope someone is listening.

Further to Leanan's links above - 70% of Russian Gas now shutoff to Western Europe.

GDF Suez reports 70% drop in Russian natural gas deliveries

Jan 07, 2009 - French energy major GDF Suez has reported a 70% drop in Russian natural gas deliveries, due to the ongoing pricing conflict between Gazprom and Ukraine.

GDF Suez has said that it has taken all the necessary measures to guarantee the continuity of natural gas supplies for all its customers in France and in Europe with the help of group's sourcing portfolio as well as its access to short-term markets and storage facilities.

The UK/Belgium pipeline, I notice, is currently exporting gas (although at relatively low volume) from the UK to Europe.

And now Italy reports virtually complete cessation of Russian gas supply

Italy Sees ‘Substantial’ Interruption of Russian Gas

Jan. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Italian gas deliveries from Russia slumped as the world’s biggest gas producer stopped shipments through pipelines via Ukraine to western Europe, Eni SpA said.

“We recorded a substantial interruption over the TAG pipeline beginning at 1.a.m.,” Italy’s biggest energy company said today in an e-mail. The TAG pipeline runs through Slovakia and Austria.

Russian gas-export monopoly OAO Gazprom stopped shipments through Ukraine to Europe for the first time in three years, threatening to create shortages as freezing weather spurred demand for power.

“There is almost no gas” arriving from Russia, an official from the Italian Industry Ministry said by telephone today. Ministry officials will meet tomorrow morning with representatives from the Italian energy industry.

Italy is drawing on reserves and will increase gas imports from other countries to make up for the loss of the Russian fuel, Italian news agency Ansa reported today, without saying where it got the information.

And as totoneila would ask - have you hugged your bag of NPK today?

European Industry Prepares for Stifled Russian Gas

Jan. 7 (Bloomberg) -- European manufacturers from chemical company BASF SE to brickmaker Wienerberger AG are preparing for lower gas supplies after a pricing dispute halted Russian exports through Ukraine and threatened to starve factories of fuel.

Deliveries to Vienna-based Wienerberger will likely be reduced and seasonal plant shutdowns may be extended if the situation doesn’t improve, spokeswoman Karin Hofmann said today. Polish fertilizer maker Zaklady Azotowe Pulawy SA will cut its gas use by 13 percent and lower production by 12 percent, spokesman Grzegorz Kulik said by telephone.

Fortunately in normal times the UK only imports ~2% of it's gas from Russia.

Gas was extracted from UK long term storage at more than the published max rate again today.

Around 40 per cent of the gas used in the UK will be imported this year, up from 27 per cent in 2007. That proportion is expected to rise to ~75 per cent by 2015 ... I wonder who will be able to supply it, even if we can afford it?

ELM applies to anything traded internationally ... or maybe even between states ... I bet Texas will keep enough oil for it's own needs before shipping excess to other 'importing' states when Texas' production falls far enough.

Texas is an oil importer, they do not produce enough oil to keep traffic flowing in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, El Paso, Ft. Worth, Austin, Lubbock, Amarillo, Beaumont, Wichita Falls, Waco, etc. plus other oil uses.


Alan, you miss my point.

Texas is an oil producer/importer that ships oil to other US states ... just like Ukraine produces/imports gas and exports to other EU states.

ELM says that oil imports to the USA via Texas will eventually stop, then Texas (and the rest of the USA) will only have it's own production ... Texas will be just like the Ukraine today as Russia turns off the taps ... and the Ukraine has opted not to share its domestically produced gas with the other states ... IMO watch and learn for future reference.

The ELM theory has definite potential to apply within the United States. There is no way that Alaska for example, will continue to send oil supplies to the lower 48 when their own citizens sit in the cold with no gas in the car. This has the potential for a lot of political instability in the United States possibly leading to open conflict or even civil war. I would venture to say that the ELM model could also extend to other resources such as water and food. If as a country we fail to get our act together in the next couple of years I suspect that we will go the way of the old soviet union with five or six confederations of states based on common social, economic, and political interests.

If things get really bad, this could definitely happen. Joel Garreau wrote a book back in 1981 about the regional fracture points.
Nine Nations of North America

Survival may be a matter of "location, location, location"...

I don't think Alaska has any refineries. Keeping a bunch of crude oil at home wouldn't do them much good.

alaska has 6 refineries:


not that big.

As North Slope production keeps slipping, they may refine and use most/all of their oil production though.


It may only be 2% from Russia but there are going to be a lot of European countries looking to increase the amount of gas they get from Norway & LNG, we are going to be in direct competition with them. Don't tell that Daily Mail!

The military is PO aware, as well as aware of other negative trends:


Para 4.1 trough 4.6 is especially interesting, starting with the PO date prediction in para 4.1

"If your only tool is a hammer, then all the World's problems look like nails."

Thank You Moonwatcher,
Please pay careful attention to the US Flag presented on the cover. In fact attention must be paid to all the flags represented in the "Coalition".
Just remember, no pushing or shoving, there is plenty of room in the cattle car.

I apologize to any one I offended with my sarcasm. These are the most serious times that We the People have ever faced and I am a little freaked out by it. I tend to resort to "gallows" humor and sarcasm. I believe most of us are here to become better informed not offended.

OK, I'll bite. 50 stars, 13 stripes. UK, Canada, Australia, Italy, France, Germany, the usual suspects. I left my tinfoil hat home this week, so please clue me in.

I zoomed in on the content, particularly the admission/prediction of the likely time frame of PO, and then the other geo-political pitfalls such as pollution, limited water, climate change, and so forth. I will need to go back and scrutinize the front cover to attempt to divine any hidden meanings. I don't expect to spend more than a few minutes on that, as my job and home life call!

Again, I perceived the main points of interest as being that the nations depicted and their military leadership are aware of the Limits-To-Growth/Overshoot crises facing us and are preparing to continue to deal with these problems with various levels of military force application. Just what we don't need to address these problems. Last man/biggest dog standing instead of addressing the root causes.

The other high irony is that the US military is one of the single biggest consumers of oil (references abound, I read several the other day, let your fingers do the walking and Google them yourself if you are so inclined). We burn ever-increasing prodigious amounts of oil in the name of securing access to ever decreasing supplies of oil. What is the EROEI of a fleet of Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, B-2 bombers, and the rest?

An example of what we called a 'self-licking ice cream cone.'

Make War...No More.

Beat our swords and war machines into wind turbines, solar cells, and trains.

You know, that cover was probably just thrown together by some PFC working out of a cubicle in the the Pentagon. Google for jpegs of flags, download and paste, then on to the next job.

Not everything is a big dark conspiracy.

BREAKING NEWS (CNN.com) - U.S. budget deficit in 2009 will rise to record $1.2 trillion, or 8.3% of GDP, not counting any Obama stimulus, government estimates.

Coupled with:

Obama: $1 trillion deficits 'for years'

President-elect Barack Obama is inheriting the worst economy in decades and says he'll need to "invest an extraordinary amount of money" to get it back on track.

Indeed, Obama's first act in office will be to push through what is expected to be an $800 billion economic recovery plan.

The stimulus package, combined with the $7.2 trillion the government has invested or loaned in the past year to combat the financial crisis, will add greatly to the federal budget deficit.

"At the current course and speed, a trillion-dollar deficit will be here before we even start the next budget," Obama said Tuesday. "And potentially we've got trillion-dollar deficits for years to come, even with the economic recovery that we are working on at this point."

$1.2T + $800B = $2T in deficit in ONE YEAR.

Does anyone else see the storm on the horizon?

Job reports came in worse than expected:

"This is a weak number, weaker than expected," said ADP spokesman Joel Prakken in a conference call with reporters.

"This is shockingly awful," said Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, in a research note to clients.

And even the Fed is pretty pessimistic...

Fed predicts economy will get worse
In the minutes from its last meeting, the central bank said it expects GDP to decline in 2009 and unemployment to rise into 2010.

The U.S. economy is likely to deteriorate further this year and unemployment will rise into 2010, according to the latest forecasts from the staff of the Federal Reserve.

This bleak forecast was presented to Fed policymakers when they met last month and lowered interest rates to near zero. Low interest rates are one key tool the central bank uses to try to spur economic activity.

The Fed indicated that most members at its meeting expected a slow recovery to begin in the second half of the year, but that unemployment would still rise "significantly" into 2010.

"Weaker than expected", from the perspective of those people who expected things to miraculously get better?

Awful, yes. Shocking, no.

I have the same response, Paleo: Weaker than WHO expected?


Leanan, hold on. Catabolic collapse looks less and less likely every day.


Wow, an amazing 693000 jobs shed. Even worse then Nov. If this continues at the same pace the US will aquire 3rd world status before the decade is over.

Our modeling shows BAU leads the USA to 3rd World status. Just when we will cross the line depends on where one draws the line and events. But the BAU trend is clear.



I am afraid that this line will be drawn by China and Japan very soon. Denninger thinks captain O is firing up the last remaining boilers to increase speed before USS TITANIC hits the wall. Not even mathematics but just common sense tells me that this debt cannot be paid back. Where is common sense in our government??

I had a feeling Denninger wouldn't be too happy about Obama's economic plan.

As Gail said, I don't think this is going to end well.

But I do think it could go on for longer than many expect, including Denninger. The current global financial crisis has put paid to the idea that the US can collapse while the rest of the world goes its merry way. I used to think that was a possibility, but it's clear now that it's not. China and Japan do understand the math, but they're tethered to the Titanic, and they fear they'll go down if we do. Ditto OPEC. They are now dependent on imports to feed their people. A global economic collapse is not in their interest.

In addition, I still think the U.S. has the capacity to strong-arm at least certain nations into using their trade surpluses in order to buy up treasury bonds essentially at gunpoint, so as to give Obama the room to "kick the can" along a bit more with these trillion-plus annual deficits. This strong-arming will delay the onset of hyperinflation here in the US by making the economies of said nations assume the increasing burden of unrepayable US debt, rather than the U.S. taxpayer.

Maybe the US can't engage in such strong-arming with China because of the latter's very limited nuclear deterrent, but I do think they can do it with Japan, Germany, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, some of the southeast Asian "tigers," and other trade-surplus nations who are dependent upon U.S. military might either to secure energy supplies or to remain in power as governments. The current Gazprom situation is, once again, exposing the fundamental European helplessness when it comes to energy, with the implication that the US will be able to call a lot of economic shots of the sort I have in mind going forward.

Once again, background reading for my speculations in this regard are the writings of economist Michael Hudson, especially his book "Superimperialism." Bottom line is that the US will be able to employ its military might to artificially prop up the value of the dollar for longer than many people think; after all, the US has been playing this very game successfully now for decades.

"In addition, I still think the U.S. has the capacity to strong-arm at least certain nations into using their trade surpluses in order to buy up treasury bonds essentially at gunpoint, so as to give Obama the room to "kick the can" along a bit more with these trillion-plus annual deficits"

I read www.energybulletin.net (can't find link now) that several Mid East oil producers were approached by the Treasury to buy $300 billion short term notes. Report said officials in Kuwait and KSA denied being pressured to buy the notes, but questioned why they should be asked invest more in a currency that will weaken further.

Here it is in second article: www.energybulletin.net/node/47643


"Superimperialism." Bottom line is that the US will be able to employ its military might to artificially prop up the value of the dollar for longer than many people think

Humpfff …

In regards to “military might” – are you referring to imminent Iraq-like misadventures? Or do you see big O borrowing Paulson’s “bazooka” and pointing it towards Japan, China, Germany or KSA? Style of “If ya don’t buy O-bonds I’ll nuke the hell out of you!” The bazooka trick has failed already once so far, hasn’t it? There is one good rule out there that says never pull your gun unless you are willing to fire it. Your idea really scares me.


I still think the U.S. has the capacity to strong-arm at least certain nations into using their trade surpluses in order to buy up treasury bonds essentially at gunpoint

Possibly true, but only by abuse of the people. How far can they push?

They're calling up 50 year-old, retired guys as we speak.



It could go on longer than many expect. It could also abruptly fail without any more significant notice.

Most likely is that we will continue to get notice, of which we will largely ignore the seriousness and significance, and then it will abruptly fail, very similarly to biological death.

The situation reminds me of Mercutio. He was the guy in "Romeo and Juliet" who was stabbed by Tybalt but died some time later. It was a small wound, yet he knew right away that it was lethal.

Mer.: I am hurt. A plaguea both houses! I am sped, is he gone and hurt nothing?

Ben.: What, art thou hurt?

Mer.: Ay, ay a scratch, a scratch, marry, 'tis enough.
Where is my page? Go villain, fetch a surgeon.

Romeo: Courage man, the hurt cannot be much.

Mercutio: No, 'tis not so deep as awell, nor so wide as a church door, but 'tis enough, 'twill serve. Ask for me tomorrow and you shall find me a grave man. I am pepper'd, I warrant, for this world. A plague a' both your houses! 'Zounds, a dog, a rat, a mouse, cat, to scratch a man to death! a braggart, a rogue, a villain that fights by the book of arithmetic! Why the devil came you between us? I was hurt under your arm!

Rom.: I thought all for the best.

US Dollar, or any fiat currency= Mercutio
peak oil= Tybalt

Shakespeare would probably have recognized the severity of the situation the world is facing, although he died before fossil fuels started to be consumed.

Ilargi's take

The name is Bonds. Obama Bonds.

Obama warns of a $1 trillion US deficit this year. It’s obvious the deficit will be nearer $2 trillion, but you have to feed it to them bite-size. It'll easily be more than ten times the 2007 deficit of $162 billion, in an economy with a rapidly shrinking GDP. Obama expects the deficit to remain over $1 trillion (read: way over) for many years to come. But in a stark warning to Obama and the US, the Financial Times reports that the first German (10-year) bond issue of the year failed. Yes that's the country with the far more favorable job numbers. There are far less questions about German solvency than there are about the US, and you can bet that Washington pays attention to news like that.

...Therefore, as economies worldwide plunge, the bond markets will provide hard and bleak proof that they do not constitute a bottomless well. The UK is about to be the next one to find that out. The US will soon follow.

...So who's going to finance Obama’s stimulus package? The only party left is you, but you already much poorer than you realize. Maybe if they don't tell you that, you’ll play their game a bit longer.

And here's an article on the bond auction failure referred to

Investors shun German bond auction

Investors shunned one of the most liquid and safest assets in the world on Wednesday as a German bond auction failed in a warning for governments seeking to raise record amounts of debt to stimulate their slowing economies. It is the first eurozone bond auction of the year and an ominous sign of potential trouble ahead for governments around the world, with an estimated $3,000bn expected to be issued in sovereign debt this year – three times more than in 2008. The auction of 10-year bonds failed to attract enough bids to reach the €6bn the government wanted to raise. Although a number of German bond auctions failed last year, it was almost unheard of before the credit crisis.

My 2¢ worth has been that a long term and generally accelerating decline in net oil exports has acted as the trigger for, and as an accelerant to, the credit meltdown (the debt buildup was a like a dry forest full of dead underbrush--it's a fire just waiting for the trigger). It's as if instead of an aerial tanker dropping fire retardant on a raging forest fire, they are dropping napalm.

Aren't we headed at warp speed toward the point at which the Feds (Federal Reserve + Federal Government) have to either monetize US debt at a breathtaking rate, or massively cut government spending?

Somebody might have to do something sooner or later, but at this point in time it seems as if nobody knows what ought to be done.

With the amount of debt the USA carries both publicly and privately there has to come a point where some form of monetization will actually be the best bet we have.

We are past the point at which the collective (government, corporate, private) debt can be serviced. So it won't be. At least, not in dollars with anything like their current value. There are exactly two ways out of hopeless debt - default/bankruptcy and currency devaluation (only available, obviously, to the federal government).

If the federal government defaults on its debt, the dollar becomes worthless.

So we have two available paths, both leading to destruction of the value of the dollar. So I fearlessly predict: the destruction of the value of the dollar.

Cut government spending? Sure, let's start with an 85% cut in the "Defense" budget. Get out of the empire business (which has pretty much failed at this point). Get rid of the Navy. Cut the 761 overseas military bases to zero.

The borrower of last resort - the US Treasury - sells $100 trillion worth of 100 year bonds at 0.25% to the lender of last resort - the Federal Reserve, who conjures it out of thin air - and retires all the outstanding debt. It can do a bond exchange with the part of the debt held by the Social Security "Trust (Me) Fund".

**poof** goes the dollar.

Use the money in various direct payment schemes to pay all state, corporate, and personal debt, which are payable in dollars.

Usher in the Amero, with a fixed exchange rate of one Amero to 1,000,000 dollars.

Lenders are wiped out, but that was true as soon as we noted that the collective debt can't be serviced. The real economy would still remain. Necessary lending would be done by the government (as the private banking sector would be a smoking hole in the ground).

Neither a borrower nor a lender be!

Sure, let's start with an 85% cut in the "Defense" budget. Get out of the empire business (which has pretty much failed at this point). Get rid of the Navy. Cut the 761 overseas military bases to zero.

Partially agree, but I would go with a maritime perimeter defence strategy. Cut the Navy by 1/3, keep one or two carrier groups out to sea in the N Atlantic, another couple in the N Pacific, and a similar number in port on rotation. Cut the USAF by 1/2, focused on deterrent force plus continental air defence. Cut the Army by 2/3, cut down mostly to National Guard units plus just a few highly mobile regular army divisions based around the country as a strategic reserve. Overall DOD budget cut: 50%. Pull out entirely from the Indian Ocean and the Eurasian land mass. Maybe continue treaties with Canada; with Japan and ANZ in the Pacific; and in the Atlantic the only countries we really need to have any continuing treaty relationships with are the UK, Iceland, Denmark (Greenland), and Portugal (Azores). We can maintain a maritime defence perimeter without these if we have to, but the task is easier if we have some basing rights with these.

This is the first round, and will take several years to fully implement and for the dust to settle. By then, we might need to look at a second round of cuts. By that time, there might not be any countries left that can afford to mount much of credible threat.

It'll probably be forced anyway due to "economic" circumstances........unless in the meantime they are conveniently reduced by unnatural attrition.

As I have been saying on other threads, the long term fate for the US and most of its citizens is poverty. Not necessarilly grinding, Darfur-style poverty; it might still be possible to live a happy life, if one can content oneself with a very simple and austere existence. Lassiez les bon temps rouller! it definitely won't be, though.

If this continues at the same pace the US will aquire 3rd world status before the decade is over.

I think we've already achieved it...

Porn industry seeks federal bailout

Larry Flynt is asking for a bailout

Another major American industry is asking for assistance as the global financial crisis continues: Hustler publisher Larry Flynt and Girls Gone Wild CEO Joe Francis said Wednesday they will request that Congress allocate $5 billion for a bailout of the adult entertainment industry.

“The take here is that everyone and their mother want to be bailed out from the banks to the big three,” said Owen Moogan, spokesman for Larry Flynt. “The porn industry has been hurt by the downturn like everyone else and they are going to ask for the $5 billion."

Your tax dollars hard at wor... Aw, nevermind.

Give porn the bailout, they are at least a bit more respectable than banks at this point.

It seems to me that rather than being a serious request, this is likely to be a comment on the moral hazards of the bailout.

I'm delighted by the idea that the Captains of Porn are taking a moral stand. Shades of Vanity Fair!

So Larry Flynt is more moral than, let's say, Bush, Bernanke or Paulson? (I lean neither way on this one, but...)

So Larry Flynt is more moral than, let's say, Bush, Bernanke or Paulson?

Who stood up for free speech and who ordered the unprovoked invasion of a soverign nation, condoned torture, weakened environmental safeguards and refused to sign the Kyoto treaty? This should be a no-brainer, Gecko.

Maybe not more moral, but at least you know where you stand when you deal with people like Flynt, as far as the others.......

Happy New Year. Do we see a pattern?

NY's unemployment hotline crashes

The state Department of Labor, which oversees unemployment insurance claims, received more than 10,000 phone calls an hour on a toll-free hotline Tuesday, leading to the crash. The department's online claim filing system also shut down under the volume of traffic it received.



Ohio unemployment hotline crashes

The unemployment claims systems in Ohio and other states buckled this week under an onslaught of telephone calls and Web site hits, officials said Tuesday.

The telephone hot line generally receives about 7,500 calls a day, but has been getting about 80,000 each of the past two days.

Unemployment claims systems in New York and North Carolina were experiencing similar problems due to a surge in callers.



Michigan unemployment hotline crashes

Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency. The phone lines are clogged and some say the internet isn't much help either.

At the Michigan Works office in Muskegon Heights, workers have been told the wait can take hours or even days to register for benefits.

The biggest complaint seems to be the toll-free number that people have to call to register. The number is constantly busy.



Alabama hotline redirects to California

There used to be a time when people who called Linda Jahraus' home in Laguna Beach, Ca., were actually wanting to speak to her or her husband.

But for the past several months, the majority of callers have been trying to reach an Alabama unemployment hot line. The call confusion has added to the frustrations of the state's unemployed and has left at least two California households hoping for a little less ringing in the new year.

"We almost didn't pick up the phone," Jahraus said Friday after spotting an incoming Alabama number from The Associated Press on her caller-ID. "It's a pain in the neck, quite frankly. The day after Christmas we had 50 or more phone calls and they started at 5 a.m."

Industrial Relations Director Tom Surtees said state officials are working hard to resolve the problem.

"I can't explain somebody sitting in north Alabama making a call and it ending up in somebody's private residence in California," he said.

A spokeswoman for AT&T Alabama, which has the department's account, called the problem unusual. Spokeswoman Sue Sperry said the company would be working through the weekend to trace the problem. She said it could involve a number of factors, from the long-distance network to a glitch in the switching center.



Missouri Limits Jobless Benefits Hotline

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missourians seeking to extend jobless benefits will have to start doing that on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

An unemployment benefits hot line run by the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations will no longer be available on Tuesday and Thursday except for first-time applicants.

Department spokeswoman Wanda Seeney said the shutdown will allow staff to process the increasing number of unemployment claims. Through November 2008, more than 65,000 Missourians were receiving jobless benefits.


Don't call us... We'll call you.

To put that 8.3% of GDP budget deficit in a little perspective, countries in the Eurozone are not supposed to run deficits greater than 3% of GDP.

We are getting into pretty dangerous territory.

Eurozone countries arn't supposed to run those defecits but some do. They also employ all kinds of creative accounting techniques to keep their defecits within the limits.

We are getting into pretty dangerous territory.

Aw, ya ain't seen nothin' yet!

Same job, less pay

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- An annual 3% raise used to be considered stingy. Now, some employees will be happy if their salary doesn't go down in the coming year.

It's not just Citigroup executives that are seeing their compensation cut. More companies are considering salary reductions as a way of cutting costs amid an ongoing recession.

This is the kind of thing that makes me think we aren't going to have to worry about inflation for quite awhile.

citizen_anarchist, could you drop me a note at aangel (at) mac (dot) com? You don't list an email in your personal profile.

BTW, Leanan, what do you think of installing the Private Message module so we can communicate with each other?


I second the motion. Personal website links would be good also.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending January 2, 2009

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 14.5 million barrels per day during the week ending January 2, up 332 thousand barrels per day from the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 84.6 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production rose last week, averaging 9.1 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging nearly 4.6 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged about 10.5 million barrels per day last week, up 1.2 million barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 9.6 million barrels per day, 210 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components)last week averaged 852 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 307 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased 6.7 million barrels from the previous week. At 325.4 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 3.3 million barrels last week, and are in the middle of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and gasoline blending components inventories increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 1.8 million barrels, and are in the upper half of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased last week by 0.5 million barrels and are in the upper half of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 7.7 million barrels last week and are in the upper half of average range for this time of year.

And here's what was expected:

U.S. crude oil stockpiles probably increased 900,000 barrels in the week ended Jan. 2, from 318.7 million the week before, according to the median forecast of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.

...Supplies of distillate fuel, a category that includes heating oil and diesel, probably increased 1.1 million barrels from 136 million barrels. Refineries probably operated at 82.5 percent of capacity, unchanged from the week before, when they ran at the lowest since the period ended Oct. 10 because of damage caused by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

Gasoline inventories rose 1 million barrels from 208.1 million, according to the survey. It would be the fifth consecutive weekly gain. Gasoline supplies have risen in 12 out of the past 14 weeks.

Cushing at 32.2,all-time high.Blame imports from Canada.

According to this report US oil production drops even further. It has fallen below 5 million barrels per day for four weeks in a row. For the week ending January 2nd, US production fell to 4,935,000 barrels per day, the lowest of those four weeks. This is strange. Thunder Horse and Atlantis are both fully on line yet production is falling.

The EIA's Short Term Energy Outlook is predicting a banner year for US oil production, even higher than 2007. Unless production turns around soon that is unlikely to happen.

Ron Patterson

Stripper wells are being shut in.85% of US wells are strippers,18% of prod.Alaska pipeline also reduced throughput.


Some of this could be a fall in Alaskan production. Alaska surged to a 1 year high in November after maintenance. The IEA project a big fall from that unsustainable surge in December and January in their latest monthly report.

I posted a graph from the IEA report in last Thursday's drumbeat. Btw, about 200K/day of US GOM production is still offline as of today after Ike (according to IEA). This was partially masked in November by the Alaskan surge.

Here's the IEA graph again

According to this report US oil production drops even further. It has fallen below 5 million barrels per day for four weeks in a row

Ron, under an economic depression scenario, where global trade still functions (albeit slower), it would be logical that US production would fall faster than world production, as the costs are higher here - better to import $40 oil than pump it out at $65 (at the margin)

In analyzing crude oil inventories it is important to note that companies build inventories when prices are low and draw down when prices are high. Buy low, sell high!

It was amazing to see oil prices jump when low inventories were reported during the spike earlier this year. Companies were acting prudently by not getting stuck with high inventories at high prices. The opposite thing happened during the late 1990's price collapse. There was a shortage of storage capacity as everyone wanted to hold cheap oil.

No matter how one feels about PO, this seems like a good time to be filling the SPR. China is doing it.

I've just notice an odd local (Houston) change in gasoline prices: they've jumped 17% in the last two weeks. Perhaps those who follow inventory levels can offer an explanation. We do tend to have the lowest prices in my neighborhood (a couple of miles from the largest US refinery): $1.35 two weeks ago and $1.59 yesterday. Maybe it's just a local phenominon reflecting a temporary decline in inventory. Given the neglible transportation costs we should be on the low end of the scale. Has anyone else seen this sort of increase?

Dunno about that exact amount, but gas prices have been rising lately.

As Prices Rise, Some See $2 Gas

HOUSTON — The five-month slide in gasoline prices has come to an abrupt halt, with gasoline rising by several cents in recent days amid indicators that the national average could jump to $2 a gallon or higher this spring.


Many here watch the numbers much closer then I do but it seems too early for any OPEC cuts (if they have actually occured to any great degree) to be showing up at the local retail level. Same for the war premium. Just a WAG but I would bet more towards a resurgence in usage. The retailers have their fingers on that pulse and can modify quickly if they see an opportunity IMO.

A little anecdotal evidence just in Leanan. My sweetie just told me that passing the Lyondale refinery this morning she saw one of the biggest burn offs ever. She mentioned it at work and was informed by a co-worker that Lyondale had just filed bankruptcy. Her mother worked there and was told that if she wanted to keep her $125k/yr job she should expect a pay cut to $50k. Supposedly a similar offer was made to all the other employees they desired to keep. I don't track individual refiners so I don't know what led Lyondale to their current mess.

And to think: the energy industry is one the bright spots in our economy.

Lyondell Chemical Cites Falling Demand for Bankruptcy

(Bloomberg) -- Lyondell Chemical filed for bankruptcy protection citing waning demand for its products and asked for court approval of an $8 billion loan to help fund operations while it reorganizes.

The Chapter 11 filing yesterday was precipitated by a “dramatic softening in demand” as well as “unprecedented volatility in raw materials costs,” parent LyondellBasell Industries AF said in a statement. Chemical makers including DuPont Co. and Dow Chemical Co. have been closing plants and cutting jobs as the global financial crisis curbs demand.

Energy may not be a bright spot for long. It's so closely entwined with the economy.

Good link Leanan...couldn't find it. I guess the only good news is that they didn't go to the gov't for the $8 billion.

Inventories building ahead of OPEC cuts. OPEC has vowed more cuts if these to not work. Connacher a bitumen in-situ steamer claimed operating costs of about $60. a barrel, but it seemed they did not calculate interest payments on debt and other fixed costs that are required to extract a barrel of bitumen. The companies keep trying to push more volume to lower fixed overhead costs until the cyclical bust and then they shut down operations but the fixed costs continue to burn cash. Pyramiding debt will cause numerous bankruptcies before we hit bottom.

How long ago was it that we heard cries that the industry should be building new refineries? Maybe they knew something, after all...

In NC, we are seeing the same thing. The week of Christmas (12/27) gas prices were 1.54-1.59 locally. Now 1.69 to 1.74 (jumped 4 cents from yesterday). The prices at the pump have been lagging the wholesale price by a bit.

The big unexpected item in the weekly report was crude imports of 10.5 million barrels, the highest imports in over 6 months. The last two weeks had imports of 9.1 and 9.2 mb/d. This level of imports supports the analysts who say OPEC can't control themselves. With OPEC having cut twice how could imports be at such high levels without cheating?

The report predated the official date of the last OPEC cut, and, you have to take into account the transit time as well. Expect the drop to be in week after next reports. Plus, I think there is some mis-reporting from time to time. The principal owners of the inventories are the big refiners, who seem to be getting the price of RBOB back up, so they want to get the price of crude down, or that is what I would think if I was a conspiricy theorist. During the runup in the summer, look at the same thing - over one week, under the next. Kind of like Florida in 2000, the estimate is probably right and the count is probably wrong.

These days... squirrel is selling as fast as gamekeepers and hunters can bring it in.

Like everywhere else around here, my property is infested with rock squirrels (Spermophilus varigatus). These squirrels weaken irrigation ditch berms by burrowing into them, and I have had young fruit trees stripped of bark in winter by them. They are also moderate garden pests. Rock squirrels are as fully arboreal as tree squirrels (Sciurus spp.) except that they nest in the ground rather than in trees.

Awhile back, I asked my son to start shooting rock squirrels with his pellet gun, as they are smart and difficult to trap. He shot a few and altho they tended to be infested with parasites, we resolved to eat them. I had routinely eaten tree squirrels growing up in the Midwest. Rock squirrel meat turned out to be extremely tough and chewy, altho not particularly unsavory if cooked in a tasty sauce. Like eating a piece of flavorful jerky.

My point is that local wild game can provide protein in time of need. We also have eaten a few wild mountain rabbits recently. They are more tender than rock squirrels. We also have many Gambels quail on the property but I want to keep their population up in case of hard(er) times to come, and so haven't (yet) been eating them.

A follow up on your culinary thread dog. BTW...tree squirrel is one of my all time favorites. When times were lean we could always get jackrabbits in south TX. Big (2 to 3 times a cotton tail)and tasty but as tough as old leather. But a good pressure cooker and patience solved that problem.

Thanks for replying, Rockman.

Yes, I remember tree squirrel (red & grey) being less tough than these rock squirrels. There are jack rabbits around here, altho they're not as common as Silvilagus spp. rabbits (the mountain and desert rabbit species are very similar and while I think these are the mountain rabbit, I'm not 100% certain), and I've never eaten jack 'rabbit' (actually a hare). Pressure cooking tough wild game is a good idea. I use the pressure cooker quite a bit but haven't yet tried cooking squirrel in it. Thanks for the suggestion.

Getting the skin off those suckers is the really tough part not at all like rabbits!

So how long before roadkill is harvested for food? There must be at least one possum or raccoon dead on the road every other day by my place. Pre-tenderized!

Which brings to the classic Road Kill Cafe Menu

Slab of Lab, anyone?

I have plenty of red squirrels in my back yard...not sure how they would taste...I used to hunt the grey squirrels in North Carolina...I remember not liking the taste.

I have been thinking about stocking a years supply of food for my family. I found this site offering a 1 year supply of food for 4 people.


(You eat for only $20.98 per person per week!) This package is designed for 4 people for one year. It can also be used by 8 people for 6 months, by 1 person for 4 years, or in other combinations, depending on your needs and budget. These dehydrated foods have a 7 to 15 year, or longer, shelf life. Shipping time is 1-2 weeks from cannery's receipt of your order.

Hi Peak. I think that stockpiling food is a very good idea but I'm not sure that it's necessary to fork over $4K for a year's supply of food for four people. Freeze dried food is very handy if you're going to be carrying it on your back and for this purpose a person would do well to have some. But a whole year's worth isn't very practical, IMO. If you plan on living where you're at for the next year, I'd go with grains & legumes bought in bulk and stored in CO2 charged 5 gal. plastic buckets, along with canned goods. A good quality water filter, like a Katadyne or similar brand, is also a good investment. And keep in mind that stored food may not be of much use unless it's defensible &/or well hidden.

Good points and thanks for the advice.

Where can I find CO2 charged plastic buckets?

Where can I find CO2 charged plastic buckets?

Fill the bucket with grain, put a chunk of dry ice in it, put the lid on but don't seal it tight. When it no longer feels cold, seal the lid.

Many thanks, Darwinsdog.

Clearly you are a pro!


Our own jewish farmer, Sharon Astyk is doing a series of food storage posts on her blog. Good stuff!!


Don in Maine

From the second Drumbeat story:

Green is for sale. But who’s buying?

In seven words, that tightly sums up whats ahead..

Hopefully Obama is buying green. Not Prii, but other stuff.

I expect the Yaris ($13K, 29/36 MPG) will do better than the Prius ($22K, 48/45).

My (stick shift) Yaris sedan gets 42 MPG around town. But I only use the brakes when I get where I am going. ;=)

I consistently get 40+ on the highway in my Yaris.

re: the Aptera

The all new all lithium Reva may be what is coming


In a letter sent to customers this week, management acknowledged that they waited until far too late in the program to actually give consideration to many of the things paying customers might want in a vehicle

Translation: It's a fantasy, it's not a car, and one look at it shows the multitude things the designers never gave any consideration to.

It's just like all of the EV toys that people are pinning the dreams of the future car culture on - they only work when all the design decisions are biased toward something that is very expensive, super light weight, has no passenger or cargo room. Once you start to make something practical out of it it all goes to hell. More reasonably priced materials (too heavy), some cargo space (batteries & weight), etc. And in the Aptera's case how about a suspension that won't be ripped off at the first pothole (oh, I forgot that we'll be repaving all the roads once Obama gets in).

For a $10K upgrade you can have a plug-in Prius which to me is more practical than any of the all EVs marketed but not sold. Really the biggest downside of the plug-in conversion is the limitation of the Prius to 35mph on all-electric. Still, for local drives a 35-mph car would serve many need compared to a parked 30-mpg gasoline car.

I've heard all the arguments about hybrids being a niche, a worst-of-both-world combination, etc., but in so many of these arguments the "perfect" is a deadly poison to the "good". Same goes for PV, wind, flow battery storage, and LED lighting. Sure it's all expensive and not quite adequate now, but much of it is really close to being broadly viable and any stepping-stones we can use to get there should indeed be used.

For every conucopian there seems to be an anti-conucopian (maybe some bizarre quantum theory in hiding?), yet each of the derided technologies keeps quietly improving though largely neglected.

Let's see how many silver BBs we can build, and then intelligently assess them all and rebalance resources as warranted.

the biggest downside of the plug-in conversion is the limitation of the Prius to 35mph on all-electric.

If most streets have a speed limit of 25 mph and divided streets with neutral grounds (medians to y'all) have a speed limit of 35 mph, this is not much of a limitation. Burn gas to get on the elevated interstates, but otherwise, 35 mph is just fine.

Best Hopes for lower speed limits,


What you may be calling "anti-conucopian" (sic) may just be realism. A population as grossly in excess of the carrying capacity as the human population is, is simply unsustainable regardless of all the "silver BBs" technocopian dreamers can concoct. The bottom line is that even some technological fix, or combination of fixes, to our energy woes, wouldn't get us out of our overpopulation induced environmental crisis. In fact, it would only exacerbate said crisis by allowing the ecocidal ape to inflate its population even more, depriving ecosystems of even more of global primary productivity than the ape already appropriates (~40%). All of you who would like to engineer our way out of impending population collapse are going to be disappointed. Sorry. That's just the way nature is.

Alan is just a "GREEN".

It is not worth to discuss with them. They are green, that's all.

Alan is just a "GREEN".

It is not worth to discuss with them. They are green, that's all.

I dunno. The idea of maintaining some semblance of BAU by replacing cars & trucks with electric trains powered by fission generated current doesn't much fit my definition of "green." Or was it millions of bird killing windmills? I forget..

Agree - population associated environmental degradation is the mastodon in the room


but much of it is really close to being broadly viable and any stepping-stones we can use to get there should indeed be used

Can you define "there"? Where is it that you think we are going?

Just picture me as Eddie Murphy's donkey in the scene from "Shreck", riding in the back of the coach saying "Are we there yet"? Come to think of it, "Far Far Away" is about where we're heading.

In this case, I think 'There' is simply Tomorrow. It doesn't have to be 'as Usual', but people will try to keep their families and their lives 'In business' as opposed to not.

They will try all kinds of things to get through this. Some things might help. Some tools will turn out to be simply invaluable, and others a total waste of time.

I just ordered a little battery powered Sewing Machine from American Science.. on the chance that it'll be a usable backup. Machine-Sewn Fabric, while pretty High Tech is something I'll be happy to have on my side. (I have a full-size machine already, too, but portability has it's own charms..)

See you there,

A better option is to find a treadle powered sewing machine, it needs nothing other than human input.

They're also built like tanks. Much sturdier than modern sewing machines.

Unfortunately, they are trendy antiques now, often bought as home decorations by people who have no clue how to use a sewing machine, and so more expensive than they used to be. But prices will likely drop, as the market for trendy home decorations falls off.

A more likely scenario is that when motor fuels become expensive, a great many old compact and sub-compact cars are going to be converted to EVs. People will scrounge up as many lead acid batteries as they can to power the things. Yes, they will only be good for a trip to the grocery store and back at 15 mph - but they will be good for at least that. You will be surprised what people will do to maintain some form of motorized transport, however minimal.

Why not bicycle ? With a new eBike or eTrike perhaps ? (Cheaper than a conversion, even a cheap one).


There will be plenty of bikes too. But there will still be lots of EV conversions done, nevertheless. Lots of people will try really hard to hold on to some form of automotive transport for as long as possible, even if it is pretty pitiful looking. This is as much a psychological thing as it is anything practical.

Yes The Sun EZ trike are simple to convert to electric/hpv ,for instance, if one does not want to start from scratch. A strurdy 2wheel ebike is a cinch to build too. Also most people would be surprized at how far they could comfortably go on a decent city or road bike with a little practice.

Inevitably these discussions come around to winter travel. We were in Portland Or for their big snowfall two weeks ago. Although we saw some bikes out along with shopping carts and people just plain walking down the middle of the street, the most sucessful tactic seemed to be to slap on the cross country skis. Oh and the MAX kept going while road based services ground to a halt.

As we become poorer with less access to transport fuel folks begin to adapt, or not. One message I get here at TOD has been that to be a survivor in this new world nature tells us to adapt to a conservation lifestyle. The animal who can function in the least complicated and minimal energy intensive way 'wins'. For travel maybe bikes, trains, skis, broadband, the message is whatever works.

What is true for individuals holds for societies as well. Alan, you and others have been trying to get this message across by touting the relative fitness of rail vs. further investments in the un-fit car culture. It is becoming painfully evident that we here in the US are quickly running through our adaptive 'storehouse' of options for survival.

I keep thinking of the dinosaurs and those insignificant little rodents burrowing under foot.

REVA is also introducing a fast charge station capable of charging the REVA L-ion to 90% in one hour.


Monsanto 1Q Profit Doubles, Outlook Strong

Monsanto reported strong demand for its weed killers in Brazil, helping drive total herbicide sales up 35 percent to $1.36 billion. Revenue from the company's agricultural productivity unit, which includes lawn-and-garden herbicides, increased 28 percent to $1.55 billion.

The company also made gains in sales of genetically modified seeds. Monsanto said total seeds and genomics sales rose 31 percent to $1.1 billion, including a 34 percent surge in corn seed and trait sales to $628 million spurred by growing demand from Brazil and the U.S.

Monsanto is betting its future growth on selling engineered seeds to farmers pressured to grow ever higher amounts of grain to feed world demand for food and biofuels.

While it's nice to find some respite in the plaguing financial news, I can't say that Monsanto getting stronger is a "good" thing.


Why are Propane stocks up?
Midwest and east coast stocks are down, all the increase is in the gulf coast.
How much is used for refining and chemical production? This could be a large part of the build.

May be I'm wrong but some of it may be due to a lot of rural folks in the coastal states use propane for heat and they are switching to wood.

More ethanol problems.


propane: $2.68 per 92000 BTU gallon 35,000 BTU/$
wood (medium quality) : $200 per 20,000,000 BTU cord 200,000 BTU/$

The price is sticky at $200 per cord because that's the price that lets a swamp yankee make a living in the woods instead of a town job. We still have lots of folks that don't want town jobs.

Solar prices fall to record low in Europe and begin to fall globally. See details at:

If you find the SET daily blog on major energy and climate developments useful, please consider adding it to your blogroll.

Onwards to sustainability,


the article you linked states:

This month, solar prices are finally beginning to slide toward competitiveness as the wild energy ride of late continues into 2009.

A possible explanation is that the fall in prices may be due to 'demand destruction' in the field of solar energy rather than anything else. So the 'slide toward competitiveness' may be nothing other than a deflationary phenomenon, and not the result of enhanced productivity.

I just came across this article on Bloomberg

Cantarell’s output fell 33 percent, more than twice as fast as government estimates, to 862,060 barrels a day from a year earlier.

I thought Cantarell was down 17.5% YoY - Did I miss something? Can someone confirm 33% ?


33% is right, according to articles I've been reading.

Mexico production is down ~9% for all of '08, but Cantarell ~33%. Hopefully for Mexico's revenue, the rate of decline slows a bit in '09 and '10...

I blog on PeMex output most months at: www.setenergy.org

I have seen similar numbers. Simmons has stated that Cantarell is falling at 2.5%/mo.

Shocking really, the implications are that Mexico could no longer be an oil exporter as early as the end of 2009, unless significant investments are made. Low oil prices/credit woes makes this seem unlikely.

Theres on old Simmonds paper on supergiant fields here http://www.simmonsco-intl.com/files/giantoilfields.pdf well worth a look.

The Oil Shock model also predicts this decline, published in early 2006


It was 1.3 million barrels a day in November 2007. Here's the article:

We've been hit by series of nasty winter storms that have repeatedly plunged many of us into darkness and now the entire province is under a freezing rain warning. That has been falling steadily over the past couple hours and we're told we could get as much as 8 cm of the stuff. Needless to say, our battered distribution system is being put to the test again and some 700 customers in the Lunenburg area are currently without power. That number is likely to head much higher as strong southwest winds move through later tonight.


Thanks for the links, OMG. Good to have another option in the bag of tricks.

Quick Update: As of 23h00 AST, the freezing rain has moved largely east of us, but another large band of precipitation is heading up the coast (see: http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/data/satellite/goes_ecan_1070_100.jpg). In addition to the extended freezing rain warning, there's also a second warning of "potentially damaging winds" and storm surge. The good news is that the lights are holding steady, at least for now.


Wishing you good luck Paul, the storm whimped out here, at least so far. Fine with me, don't mind getting a pass on at least one of them. Roads are some slick but we got less snow and ice than predicted. Lights haven't even flickered.

Don in Maine

Paul I sympathize with your situation, out here in "Sunny Alberta" it is more of the same cold. My frozen septic field is a bit of a problem. But then there is always the old standby the proverbial outhouse.

Thanks, Don and Mike and good luck, Mike, with your septic system. The freezing rain has stopped, temperatures are slowly on the rise (we're currently holding at 0C) and the winds are remarkably calm. Our lights did flicker a couple of times, but a blue jay hopping on the line two counties over is enough to do that. I'm thinking we might have dodged the bullet on this one as well.

Update: One should never tempt karma. We continually lost power throughout the night as the auto recloser would re-energizing the line, only to have it go out again a few minutes later. Then it went down for the count and stayed off until about 13h00 AST. I spent all morning chipping an inch of ice from my driveway, which has a nice little slope towards the roadway.... wheeeeeeee!


The next Madoff?

Satyam Scandal Shocks IT Sector
B. Ramalinga Raju, founder and chairman of one of India's largest IT companies, resigned Wednesday after admitting to falsifying company accounts and inflating revenue and profit figures over several years....
Satyam shares were halted in U.S. trading at $9.35 Wednesday after tumbling as much as 90% in the U.S. before the market opened.


"It's only when the tide goes out that you learn who has been swimming naked," - Warren Buffett

8% of the springtime flow of the Yampa is huge. I have to believe there will be a lot of opposition to this from Las Vegas, Phoenix and Southern California, not to mention the recreation and ag interests in Colorado. It all depends on the Colorado Water Court deciding whether oil production is a 'beneficial use'. The water lawyers are licking their lips.

There is a little more information in a few other articles floating around the web. They actually want to pump water uphill into the reservoir, the river is not going to feed it directly. Then it has to be piped to the various extraction and refining sites.

Whiskey is for drinkin', and water is for fightin' over.

China Losing Taste for Debt From the U.S.

HONG KONG — China has bought more than $1 trillion of American debt, but as the global downturn has intensified, Beijing is starting to keep more of its money at home, a move that could have painful effects for American borrowers.

The declining Chinese appetite for United States debt, apparent in a series of hints from Chinese policy makers over the last two weeks, with official statistics due for release in the next few days, comes at an inconvenient time.


If this one isn't in the quote database it should be:

“The law of unintended consequences is what happens when a simple system tries to regulate a complex system. The political system is simple. It operates with limited information (rational ignorance), short time horizons, low feedback, and poor and misaligned incentives. Society in contrast is a complex, evolving, high-feedback, incentive-driven system. When a simple system tries to regulate a complex system you often get unintended consequences.” Andrew Gelman