DrumBeat: February 5, 2009

Leanan is on vacation for a week. Some of the rest of us will try to fill in. Be sure to post articles you find of interest also.

Man, 93, Who Froze In Home Left $600,000

BAY CITY, Mich. -- A 93-year-old man who froze to death while owing about $1,000 to the utility that restricted his electricity usage left an estimated $600,000 to a Bay City hospital.

Marvin Schur's attorney, Cathy Reder, tells the Detroit Free Press the World War II veteran bequeathed his entire fortune to Bay Medical Center.

Schur's frozen body was found Jan. 17, four days after Bay City Electric Light & Power installed a device on his electric meter that cuts power after a predetermined level is reached.

Platt's Special Report Oil: Diesel Dominance and Demand Destruction

But what made diesel surge in the first place? A series of trends, some of them years in the making, seemed to impact the market all at once. Europe’s tax policies have long favored the purchase of diesel cars, increasing its consumption relative to gasoline. The continuing evolution of tighter sulfur rules in Europe and the US had the effect of marginally tightening refinery output. Nigerian crude output was increasingly limited by rebel activity in the Niger Delta, and its crude is particularly diesel-rich. (That’s not geopolitics; that’s supply and demand.)

But then why did it relax? The supply side got considerably better. In the US, where refining data is considered the most transparent, gasoline as a percentage of total output plunged from 47% in January to 41.9% by end-June; total distillate yield rose from 26.5% to 28.1%. Changing output slates at refineries is not like changing a menu; it’s far more complex. But refining engineers and managers can react to the signals sent by the market, and certainly, these figures support that.

Is America on the Brink of a Food Crisis?

Jackson doesn't minimize the threat of the current financial problems but argues that the new administration should consider a "50-year farm bill," which he and the writer/farmer Wendell Berry proposed in a New York Times op-ed earlier this month.

Central to such a bill would be soil. A plan for sustainable agriculture capable of producing healthful food has to come to solve the twin problems of soil erosion and contamination, said Jackson, who co-founded the research center in 1976 after leaving his job as a environmental studies professor at California State University, Sacramento.

Jackson believes that a key part of the solution is in approaches to growing food that mimic nature instead of trying to subdue it.

Energy and Economic Impacts of a Proposed Windfall Profits Tax on Producers of Oil and Refined Products in the United States

Specific impacts of the legislation on domestic energy markets include the following:

• A windfall profits tax on the oil and natural gas industry could result in an estimated average decline in domestic crude oil production of approximately 21-26% from baseline levels or between 1.5 to 1.9 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (MMBOE/day)1 over the 2010–2030 period. The loss in domestic crude oil production would result in imports of crude oil increasing by 13-18% over baseline levels or approximately by 1.2 to 1.5 MMBOE/day.

• Because many domestic crude oil producers also produce natural gas, a windfall profits tax could also result in a decline in domestic natural gas production of between 1.6-2.4 Tcf (9-13% from baseline levels) by the period 2020-2030. This loss in domestic production would in part be offset by greater reliance on foreign imports with imports increasing between 0.5-1.2 Tcf (14-55% over baseline levels) during the period 2020-2030.

• A windfall profits tax could reduce investment in domestic refineries and is estimated to result in a reduction in production of petroleum products of 410-660 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day (MBOE/day), or 2-4% below baseline levels, during the 2010-2030 period. The loss in domestic refinery production could in part be offset by increasing foreign imports of petroleum products by 230-430 MBOE/day (15-21% over baseline levels) during the 2010-2030 period.

Central Asian Gas Not a Panacea for Europe

Sourcing more natural gas from the 'Stans' looks like a way for Europe to lessen its reliance on Russia, but there are plenty of roadblocks

For several reasons, not the least of which is strident competition from Russia, a meaningful EU-Central Asia energy partnership is unlikely.

Today, nearly all the gas that leaves the Stans goes through Russia. The EU's best near-term hope for securing direct Central Asian imports in the coming decades is the Nabucco pipeline. Unfortunately, though, it looks more like a pipe dream than a reality. . .

There's concern that "there's not enough gas available in Central Asia to support Nabucco," the EU official said. "Central Asian countries have already sold much of their gas to Gazprom, so it's unclear how much they could contribute."

Azerbaijan could supply only one-third of Nabucco's planned 31 billion-cubic-meter annual capacity. Gas giant Iran and even Russia have been mentioned as alternative suppliers, but these are politically unpalatable and ironic choices, respectively.

China declares an emergency amid worst drought in 50 years

The worst drought in half a century has parched fields across eight provinces in northern China and left nearly four million people without proper drinking water.

Not a drop of rain has fallen on Beijing for more than 100 days, the longest dry spell for 38 years in a city known for its arid climate. The Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters described the drought as a phenomenon “rarely seen in history” as the Government declared a state of emergency.

President Hu Jintao said that all efforts must be made to save the summer grain harvest.

The drought could hardly have come at a worse time for the leadership, which is already gearing for possible social instability with some 20 million rural migrants now out of work after losing their jobs in coastal factories and in cities. Many have returned to work their farms while they wait for the economic climate to improve but may now find they are unable to grow a harvest with no water for irrigation.

Oil Stored at Sea Washes Out Rallies

NEW YORK -- Every time the oil market attempts to ignite a rally, an upsurge from the sea of crude stored on waterborne tankers snuffs it out.

The accumulation of oil held in "floating storage" gained speed in December, as available space in traditional onshore storage hubs dwindled due to excess supplies. This floating storage is now among the biggest impediments to oil prices recovering any of the ground lost over the past six months. Companies are quick to sell cargoes at the hint of a turnaround, unleashing a flood of oil onto the market.

Why Shovel-Ready Infrastructure is Wrong (Right Now)

There are no specific parameters or requirements that define shovel readiness. But according to civil engineers, the idea behind this new buzzword could help scuttle the stimulus bill’s highly publicized, though secondary, goal of infrastructure reform. At issue is that 90-day restriction stipulated by Congress, an even narrower window than the bill’s original 180-day limit. “They’re well intentioned, and they know their infrastructure sucks, so they’re trying to do immediate reactive management to what is a very deep, endemic problem,” says Robert Bea, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. “If you want to patch some potholes in the road, this is a good program. But if you’re hoping for anything long-term with this approach, throw away all hope. It can’t happen.”

The programs that would meet the bill’s 90-day restriction are, for the most part, an unappealing mix of projects that were either shelved after being fully designed and engineered, and have since become outmoded or irrelevant, or projects with limited scope and ambition. No one’s building a smart electric grid or revamping a water system on 90 days notice. The best example of a shovel-ready project, and what engineers believe could become the biggest recipient of the transportation-related portion of the bill’s funding, is road resurfacing—important maintenance work, but not a meaningful way to rein in a national infrastructure crisis.

Sweden Wants to Lift Reactor Ban

BRUSSELS — The Swedish government on Thursday proposed refreshing its nuclear power industry, joining a growing list of European nations to consider putting the technology in the forefront of future energy plans.

Swedes voted nearly three decades ago to phase out nuclear power by 2010. But 10 of the country’s 12 reactors still are operating, and public opinion has become more favorable toward the technology.

Obama wants appliances to use less energy: official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will sign a memorandum on Thursday asking the Department of Energy to set new energy efficiency standards for a broad range of appliances, from dishwashers to air conditioners, a White House official said.

The Peak Oil Crisis: Leadership (Tom Whipple)

In the past year there have been great strides in the public's understanding of global warming and the need to take action even it if proves to so expensive that it hurts economic growth. The collapse of last summer's gasoline spike, while widely believed to be the work of speculators provided the first hint of what unaffordable energy prices will be like some day.

Somewhere in all this, there is a place for true political leadership. Politicians do not need to expound gloom and doom, but rather the urgent need to respond to rapidly changing times. Talk of return to rapid economic growth is no longer appropriate - as it is unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future. Neither is talk of reviving the American dream of material riches, SUV's and suburbia.

For the immediate future, energy conservation and energy efficiency should be watch words of sensible policy. The Obama administration's proposals are on the right track, but they do not go nearly far enough to prepare for an energy short-future. Every structure in the country that currently consumes energy of any kind needs to be rebuilt to consume much less. Every means of transport of people and goods has got to be replaced or rebuilt to consume much less energy.

Govt moves to avert fuel shortage

In a bid to avert a biting fuel shortage across the country, the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) Wednesday night pumped 1,956,000 litres of super petrol and 3,223,000 litres of diesel to depots of seven major oil marketing companies in Nairobi.

Fuel shortage has hit the country yet again with the ministry of energy this time attributing the shortage to machine failure at the Kenya Petroleum Refineries Limited.

Kazakhs may be top uranium producer in 2009

ALMATY, Kazakhstan - Kazakhstan's state-owned nuclear energy company could become the world's largest uranium producer by this year, the company said in a statement Wednesday.

Kazatomprom Chairman Mukhtar Dzhakishev announced that the country's uranium output is expected to reach 11,935 tons in 2009, a more than 40 percent increase over the 8,521 tons produced last year, the statement said.

BG Delays LNG Terminal Project in Italy to at Least 2010

BG Group Plc, the U.K.’s third- largest gas producer, expects to delay construction of its 500 million-euro ($641 million) liquefied natural gas receiving terminal in Italy to at least the end of 2010. . .

BG plans to start operations at Dragon LNG, a U.K. liquefied natural gas import terminal, in the second quarter. The plant was delayed from the first quarter on “technical” issues, Chapman said.

Natural gas industry sees strategy for better days

Natural gas prices are in peril of dropping further, and companies will have to combine the best technology with the best acreage to fare well going forward. So says Michael Bahorich, executive vice president of exploration and production for Apache Corp.

Bahorich was among a handful of industry executives who discussed ways to secure future energy supplies Wednesday at the NAPE International Forum.

Bahorich estimates there are 31 million acres of natural gas shale prospects leased in the U.S. today, but 90 percent will languish over the next decade because demand will not justify drilling.

NYMEX-Crude dips with Wall St on bleak jobless data

NEW YORK, Feb 5 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil futures declined early Thursday after government data showed first-time claims for jobless benefits rose last week.

Analysts said traders where weighing the potential impact of the latest numbers on oil demand, even as they further considered weekly industry and government data showing a huge increase in crude oil inventories last

"The number of jobless people keeps mounting and this will weigh again on the energy complex," said Phil Flynn, analyst at Alaron Trading.

"The market is torn between the weak economy and efforts by OPEC to cut production and defend prices at $40 a barrel. If the jobless ranks continue to rise, it will be difficult for OPEC to do much to keep oil prices from further falling," he added.

Renewable Energy and Climate Change Front and Center in D.C.

Renewable Portfolio Standard Bill on the Table

First, a 25-percent-by-2025 renewable electricity standard bill was introduced this week by Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Todd Platts (R-PA). The bill would boost renewable energy generation 135 percent above and beyond current policies between now and 2025, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists' preliminary analysis of the legislation.

"This electrifying standard would provide a smart, proven, cost-effective strategy to ramp up our clean energy use, create tens of thousands of jobs, and lower consumer utility bills," said Alan Nogee, UCS Clean Energy Program director. "The clean energy tax incentives that Congress is finalizing will get us moving in the right direction in the near term, and the renewable energy standard makes sure we stay on that path for the foreseeable future."

Beginning in 2012, the legislation would require large electric utilities to gradually increase their reliance on renewable energy sources for the following 13 years until they amounted to 25 percent. UCS found that the 25-percent-by-2025 standard would add 135 percent more clean, renewable power in the United States above and beyond current state and federal policies. Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia currently have state standards. UCS calculates that the federal standard would create enough clean electricity to power roughly 150 million typical homes by 2025.

UPDATE 1-EOG sees lower U.S. natural gas output in 2009

NEW YORK, Feb 5 (Reuters) - EOG Resources Inc (EOG.N) Chief Executive Mark Papa said he expects U.S. natural gas production will begin to drop by mid-2009 and will end the year down 2.5 billion cubic feet per day, or about 4.3 percent, from 2008.

Weak demand from industrial users will more than offset the supply decline, he told an investor conference call on Thursday, but prices will eventually rebound. . .

Papa said EOG would use, on average, about 45 rigs to drill for new supplies this year, down from 73 in 2008.

DOE says natural gas supplies fell last week

Natural gas storage levels in the U.S. dropped last week, but remain just above the year-ago average, a government report said Thursday.

The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas inventories held in underground storage in the lower 48 states fell by 195 billion cubic feet to about 2.18 trillion cubic feet for the week ended Jan. 30.

Analysts had expected a drop of between 193 billion and 198 billion cubic feet, according to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Two Senators Seek to Strip $200 Billion From Stimulus

WASHINGTON — Anxious over the ballooning size of the proposed economic stimulus package, now at more than $900 billion, lawmakers in both parties are working on a last-minute plan to strip $200 billion from the bill.

Among the initiatives that could be cut are $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts, $14 million for cyber security research by the Homeland Security Department, $1 billion for the National Science Foundation, $400 million for research and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, $850 million for Amtrak and $400 million for climate change research. But so far, none of the suggestions come close to being enough to shrink the package on the scale proposed.

The final Senate vote on the stimulus package, expected late on Thursday, looms as a major test of President Obama’s ability to build bipartisan consensus, especially given his extraordinary personal lobbying effort.

alarming situation: Country to confront 0.507bcfd gas shortfall in 2010

ISLAMABAD: The energy experts forecast that gas shortfall would increase to 0.507 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) in 2010 from the current year shortage of 0.192 bcfd with the shortfall further aggravating with the passage of time. . .

Sources further said that keeping in view gas shortage, finalisation of Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline is of crucial importance. The IPI pipeline might be optimally used for power generation as it can produce 15 percent cheaper power than power generation through furnace oil. The use of IPI gas for domestic use would be costly, the sources added.

Brazil's energy giant to boost exploration, production with huge investment

RIO DE JANEIRO, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- Brazil's state-owned oil and gas giant Petrobras plans to invest 92 billion U.S. dollars in the domestic market from 2009 to 2013, according to the company's newly-released business plan.

With the investment, which represents a 41-percent increase from that in the five-year plan commencing 2008, Petrobras expects to boost domestic oil production to 2.68 million oil barrels per day by 2013.

Devon Energy Swings to Loss

Devon Energy Corp., one of the largest independent U.S. oil companies, reported a fourth-quarter loss of $6.8 billion as tumbling energy prices drove down revenue and eroded the value of the company's oil reserves.

The massive loss, the largest in the Oklahoma City company's 38-year history, reflected a $7.1 billion non-cash charge due to accounting rules that force companies to value their future production of oil and gas based on year-end prices. Oil ended 2008 at under $45 a barrel, less than half its price a year earlier. . .

Despite its reduced drilling, Devon expects to outspend its cash flow by $1 billion in 2009. Mr. Nichols said it makes sense to continue its long-range projects so that Devon can be well-positioned when prices rebound.

UPDATE 1-Russia Surgut sees '09 oil production edging down

MOSCOW, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Russia's fourth largest oil firm Surgut (SNGS.MM) expects its oil production to fall slightly to 61 million tonnes (1.2 million barrels per day) this year from 61.7 million tonnes in 2008, the firm said on Thursday.

"We're not really viewing this as a fall, however, this is not negative news for the company at all," Anatoly Nuryayev, Surgut's first deputy general director, told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Moscow. . .

East Siberia, largely considered Russia's last great frontier for greenfield oil and gas projects, will come into focus this year as maturing fields in western Siberia dry out.

The government predicts Russian oil production in 2009 will keep declining. Last year's fall was the first in a decade, making East Siberia a major priority for Russian energy firms.

Petrobras to Begin First Phase of Tupi

Petrobras is executing two phases of development for Tupi. Expected to be launched in March 2009, the first phase of development will conduct long-duration tests of the area. The Cidade de Sao Vicente FPSO, contracted from BW Offshore, will collect information about the field to be used in creating long-term production solutions for Tupi and other Pre-Salt developments.

The second phase of development calls for a pilot FPSO to produce from the field. Petrobras contracted MODEC to convert the oil tanker M/V Sunrise IV into the FPSO Cidade de Angra dos Reis for operation on the field by December 2010.

Because field development is still in its infancy, Tupi’s peak production is still a question. Some reports predict that the field will reach peak production of 200,000 boepd in 10 to 15 years. Other reports anticipate the field reaching peak within seven years, while others expect a peak by 2022.

Anadarko Scores Again in Deepwater GOM with Shenandoah

Anadarko Petroleum Corporation announced its second deepwater Gulf of Mexico discovery this week. The Shenandoah discovery well, located in Walker Ridge Block 52, encountered net oil pay approaching 300 feet in the Wilcox formation.

Shenandoah is located in approximately 5,750 feet of water and was drilled by the Noble Paul Romano semisub to a total depth of about 30,000 feet. Anadarko and the co-owners of the discovery are evaluating the well results and the next steps toward future appraisal activity. Anadarko operates Shenandoah with a 30% working interest. Co-owners of the discovery include ConocoPhillips (40%), Cobalt International Energy L.P. (20%) and Marathon (10%).

China to Construct 8 Strategic Oil Reserve Bases

China plans to start constructing 8 more strategic oil reserve bases this year, after the first batch of four have gone into operation in 2008, authoritative sources disclosed.

China started to construct its first batch of strategic oil reserve bases from 2003, altogether four in Zhenhai, Zhoushan, Huangdao and Dalian, respectively. Zhenhai and Zhoushan two strategic oil reserve bases have been in operation for nearly two years; while Huangdao and Dalian bases have gone into operation at the end of 2008.

Opportunity knocks when it comes to a local food economy

Community-based agriculture has the potential for creating jobs, developing small business entrepreneurship and keeping precious dollars in the community.

“As manufacturing jobs decrease, food jobs are increasing,” said Dr. Kami Pothukuchi, associate professor of urban planning at Wayne State University in Detroit.

This is especially good news for a state like Michigan whose economic engine has been dependent on the declining automobile industry.

More families move in together during housing crisis

The housing market is drawing some families together, but challenges include lifestyle differences, generational differences, depression, money squabbles and other issues when relatives huddle together for economic relief, says Nicholas Aretakis, a career coach and author of No More Ramen: The 20-Something's Real World Survival Guide.

Moving in with relatives can be "demoralizing, humbling, dehumanizing — but a lot of people don't have a lot of choice," Aretakis says.

A deindustrial reading list by John Michael Greer

Over the last few months a number of people have asked me what books I think they ought to read to help them prepare for the slow unraveling of industrial civilization now getting started around us. This is frankly the kind of question I try my best to dodge. Premature consensus is arguably one of the most severe risks we face just now, and any image of the future – very much including the one I've sketched out here – is at best a scattershot sampling of the divergent possibilities facing us as the industrial age comes to its end.

Fuel emergency part 2: IEA plan

The IEA response to a supply emergency consists of four strategies: production surges and stockdraw from industry and public reserves to increase supply, as well as fuel switching and demand restraint to reduce demand. The IEA itself indicates that two of its four cornerstone measures are unlikely to be very effective since “decreasing capacity to switch fuels in power generation or transportation and limited surge production capability now make these response measures less viable” (IEA Response, p. 6). That effectively leaves only two responses, stockdraw and demand restraint.

Energy sparks government reshuffle

Energy-rich Turkmenistan‘s president Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has fired almost one-third of his Cabinet and the head of the state oil company in a large-scale reshuffle reminiscent of his eccentric predecessor Sap ar murat Niyazov’s frequent purges, Turkmeni stan.ru reported. In a highly charged government meeting televised two weeks back, Berdymukhamedov charged officials with committing “unforgivable mistakes and miscalculations.” The most prominent casualties included several key figures in the oil and gas sector including Minister for Energy and Industry Gurbannur Annaveliev, Gary­agdy Tashliev, the head of state oil company Turkmenneft, and Sapargeldy Jumaev, chairman of the state exploration company Turkmengeology which explores the country’s vast hydrocarbon resources.

Salazar orders BLM to reject bids on 77 Utah leases

WASHINGTON, DC, Feb. 5 -- US Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar directed the Bureau of Land Management on Feb. 4 not to accept $6 million in successful bids on 77 tracts offered in BLM's Dec. 18 oil and gas lease sale in Utah.

"The 77 parcels that the Bush administration offered on the doorsteps of some of our national icons raised several troubling questions. I have directed the BLM not to accept the bids. We will take time to review the processes behind their inclusion in the lease sale," he told reporters in a teleconference.

Salazar indicated that he does not expect his decision to be legally challenged. "The government contract is not formally completed until the BLM accepts the bids, which has not happened in this case," he said. Payments for the winning bids on the 77 parcels will be returned and leasing will proceed on the 39 remaining tracts from the sale, he added.

Huge profits at BP – but a crisis is on the way

The future is delayed, not cancelled, said BP this week. "Nice line", said the Guardian's Nils Pratley, but the key question is how long will it be before an oil barrel costs $50-$60? That's where it needs to be if BP is to keep up its pace of capital expenditure and dividend payouts. The oil giant unveiled another set of record profits – up 39% to $25.6bn in 2008, with sterling dividends increased by 40% – but the sting was in the fourth quarter, which saw a 24% profit decline. Throw in a $700bn tax charge at TNK, BP's troubled Russian unit, and the result was the first quarterly loss in more than seven years.

This "has compounded a mounting sense of crisis in the oil industry", said The Times' Robin Pagnamenta. In response to plunging oil prices it has scrapped projects and shed thousands of employees. Historically, such action has "improved returns on invested capital", said the FT's Lex, "but has stored up problems; if you don't spend the money, about six years later you start to see the consequences".

Official: Gunmen kill oil boat captain off Nigeria

LAGOS, Nigeria: A private security official says unidentified gunmen have attacked an oil-industry vessel off the coast of Nigeria and killed its captain.

The official said the captain of the security boat died of gunshot wounds sustained in the attack early Thursday in Nigeria's deepwater offshore oil fields.

British refinery workers end foreign labour strike

IMMINGHAM, England (AFP) - Workers at an oil refinery in recession-hit Britain voted Thursday to end their walkout over foreign labour, a dispute which sparked wildcat strikes across the country.

But even as staff at the Lindsey plant in eastern England agreed unanimously to return to work, unions warned of more disputes to come over foreign contract workers, at a time of rising unemployment amid the global slowdown.

Small Firms Resort to Freebies and Special Deals

Over the past few months, the pace of calls from potential customers slowed at Vaillant Solar Systems Inc., a San Diego-based provider of solar hot-water heating systems for area residences. "People don't want to spend thousands on something they don't really need right now," says Burkhard von Spreckelsen, the firm's chief executive officer.

Vaillant executives thought about reducing prices but didn't want to set a precedent or cheapen the company's image. So the company, a subsidiary of German solar-energy provider Vaillant Group, launched a program where it installs the system, which can cost as much as $7,000, for no upfront cost.

Russia Shifts Bailout From Industry to Banks

Plunging Cash Reserves and New Credit Downgrade Push Kremlin to Acknowledge 'Very Difficult' Circumstances

Citing the rapid loss of reserves and surging capital outflows, Fitch Ratings on Wednesday cut Russia's credit rating by one notch to BBB -- two rankings above junk. In December, Standard & Poor's cut its rating, the first such reduction for Russia in a decade. . .

"Our business is not prepared to get involved in bankruptcies and working out companies but this is the path we will have to go down," he said. "Some of the measures announced by the authorities...gave rise to expectations that we intended to save all companies. We aren't going to save everyone."

The Kremlin's priorities for aid, he said, would be the military industry, energy giants like OAO Gazprom, and railroad, electricity and other infrastructure companies.

BG boosted by weak sterling and high gas prices

BG Group, the UK oil and gas company, exceeded analysts’ consensus forecast with a 72 per cent rise in underlying profits, excluding one-off items, to £3.07bn ($4.4bn) for 2008, helped by high gas prices and the fall in the pound against the US dollar.

It also set out plans for a strong increase in capital spending this year, as it develops its huge oil discoveries in Brazil and its new gas business in Australia.

Unlike most other large oil companies, which suffered a fall in fourth quarter profits as the price of crude plunged, BG reported a 25 per cent increase in net profit, excluding non-operating items, to £695m. This was due to another strong performance from its operations transporting and selling liquefied natural gas.

Sudan Oil production to peak by next year

According to Business Monitor International forecast, Sudan oil production is to peak at 700k bpd by 2010, meanwhile Sudan domestic consumption is set to increase by 71% by 2018:




According to the story about oil production in Sudan:

Oil and gas liquids production will increase by one third (30.3 percent), with volumes peaking at 700,000b/d in 2010, according to a Business Monitor International forecast.

But the oil and gas volumes will then steadily fall to 596,000b/d by the end of the 2018, according to Business Monitor. And growth is forecast to fall from 12.7 percent in 2008 to 7.9 percent this year.

Threadbot? Leanan ok?

I'm fine. I'll be traveling the next week or so, and therefore not able to put up the DrumBeat. But I'll be around from time to time.

Last time, some people were concerned because I was still posting news stories at PeakOil.com. I will be doing that this time, too. It doesn't mean I love them more. I'm one of several news editors at PeakOil.com, and have a lot less responsibility. Basically, it's do what you can, when you can over there. Here, I'm the only news editor, and the DrumBeat has to go up at a specific time. That won't fit into my schedule this week, so it will be Gail and the Threadbot for a few days. Help 'em out by posting any relevant news stories that you find.

I am trying to post some articles today. It will take me a bit, though.

I, for one, have been amazed at your 7-days per week, month after month consistency. I hope you're taking a vacation, and if I were you I'd just ignore both sites!

If you're traveling on business, then I'd still suggest you ignore the site and spend some spare time enjoying the trip.

Seriously. I don't know how the hell she does it. I suspect on occasion that she's a Google server farm that's gained sentience. She doesn't even get paid for it! (except in gallons of Kudos) The condensed information she puts in the drumbeats is what keeps me coming back (to haunt you all! ha ha!).

Was this posted before?


Lovelock: "It has happened before: between the ice ages there were bottlenecks when there were only 2000 people left. It's happening again."

Interesting Article!

"If you were younger, would you be fearful?

No, I have been through this kind of emotional thing before. It reminds me of when I was 19 and the second world war broke out. We were very frightened but almost everyone was so much happier. We're much better equipped to deal with that kind of thing than long periods of peace. It's not all bad when things get rough. I'll be 90 in July, I'm a lot closer to death than you, but I'm not worried. I'm looking forward to being 100.

Are you looking forward to your trip into space this year?

Very much. I've got my camera ready!

Interesting Times. I have to go get the fan unit installed in my solar heater!

I think it's wrong to assume we'll survive 2 °C of warming: there are already too many people on Earth. At 4 °C we could not survive with even one-tenth of our current population. The reason is we would not find enough food... Because of this, the cull during this century is going to be huge...

Cheer up jokuhl, remember?

Predictions are tough, as they say.. at least the ones about the future.

So you'll agree with him when he says this, so what about his advocacy for Nuclear Power?

Interesting that he thinks biochar could be helpful. Hope he's right. He's clearly a brilliant guy, but that doesn't mean we take his ideas uncritically. We've yet to see if the temps go 2c or 4c or whatever, but in the meantime, I'll be working hard to use less fuel, advocate and lobby for the same, try to figure out ways to keep some healthy soil, a water supply, and ways to grow food in harsh and varying climates.

It might or might not remain possible to do these things, but I'm not giving up.. which means that the alternate is to work and keep hope.


I discussed Lovelock's advocacy for nukes in a post below.

As for so-called "biochar," there's no doubt that charcoal is refractile & persists a long time in the soil. But burying it in sufficient quantities to put a significant dent in atmospheric accumulations of CO2 is ridiculous. It's that "scaling up" problem again. When I first heard of the reputed fertility of "tierra prieta" soils in Amazonia I was skeptical. I amend my soils with wood ashes, even tho my soil pH is already high (8.2), but I screen charcoal out first & return it to the fire. I feel that this is the best use for it. I'm an ichthyologist & aquarist so I know the value of activated charcoal filtration. It's reasonable that finely ground charcoal in the soil could become colonized by nitrogen cycling & other beneficial bacteria, but healthy soil contains an abundance of these microorganisms in the first place. I remained agnostic but skeptical of claims about charcoal amended soil until recently. Not long ago I read that tierra prieta contained an abundance of ceramic pot shards, along with charcoal. These broken pots originally were burial urns. The purported fertility of these soils can be explained, according to what I read, by fertilization by generations of the buried dead. This explanation makes more sense to me than does appeal to some mysterious inexplicable properties of charcoal. That's my take on biochar, at least until I become better informed to the contrary.

Unemployment Claims Highest Since 1982

Look at the graphs - they all spiked, and quickly went back down (probably because the price of fuel went back down and stabilized. It's too bad they don't have stats showing what it looked like in the early 30's. Because I'm guessing it'll look the same - big spike, and then a gradual taporing off (and then when depletion hits hard - a gradual increase).

Unless the US Govt. floods the country with money (re: quantitive easy), I don't see how we get inflation. And that things are probably deflating. If there is no lending, there is no inflation. Period. And with a decrease in debt, especially long-term debt (which many here say will happen) where does inflation come from? The sky? I don't see why I don't hold onto my cash and wait for major selloffs.

I looked at the graphs. Not pretty. But what does it have to do with runnaway climate change?

It doesn't. I posted it in the wrong place.

Although, maybe Antarctica won't thaw so quickly :).

Check out the "Video of the Day" at the above link. It is just to the lower right of the charts. However Palus is correct, your link should have been opeaned as a new window, not as a reply to the Lovelock article.


Isn't James Lovelock the guy that realclimate.org is always debunking? I guess he's off the fence or whatever.

Re: posting in the wrong place - yeah, yeah - unfortunately I can't move it up the comment tree.

Isn't James Lovelock the guy that realclimate.org is always debunking?

You are probably confusing him with Lomberg. The former is very climate doomsterish, the later is pretty much "no problems here, full speed ahead". Both should be refuted, as both views are unrealistic, but in opposite directions.

Lovelock was a popularizer who had a quite conventional understanding of biogeochemical cycling theory and portrayed that understanding in poetic terms in order to make it more palatable to the general reading public. There was nothing original about his work other than the idea of referring to the biosphere by the name of a Greek goddess. It wasn't Lovelock's fault that new-ager types superstitiously attributed sentience & teleology to his depiction. In fact, he was explicit in his objection to such hokey supernaturalism.

In recent years the old coot has gone off the deep end with his advocacy of nukes & the patently silly idea that burying charcoal can ameliorate the consequences of AGW. I guess we can allow the elderly their senile indulgences, tho...

Gets more depressing each day.
US and world unemployment headlines.


I see one of the long of layoffs listed is FACTBOX-Banks, funds, insurers cut 312,500 jobs in crisis

And I am sure there are more coming.

"..may be that there wasn’t any danger of a meltdown in the first place. So say three senior economists working at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, who in October examined the Fed’s own data, and concluded in an article titled Facts and Myths About the Financial Crisis of 2008 that the claims that interbank lending and commercial lending had seized up were simply not true. “Bank lending to consumers and to non-financial companies had not ceased, and banks were lending to each other at record levels,” says V.V. Charri, an economist at the Minneapolis Fed. “Maybe Bernanke and Paulson had information that they were not making public, but the available data simply did not support what they were saying."


The real financial meltdown is for private citizens - their stocks down, retirement accounts down, paychecks gone, etc. The banks and executives kept their cash hidden away, or received it back in the bailout. Now they have to live on a measly $500K per year salary????? My personal 401K and IRA may never recover from this debacle. My four houses are sinking like rocks - cannot sell them, and they are worth less every day.

Now the new $900 billion stimulus is coming! I will only get $500 from that package. Not even enough to make one months house payment!

The point of the article is that the bail out has been presented as a measure to restore (interbank) lending while it didn't froze like "they" want us to believe.

I understand your sentiment, but who needs 4 houses anyway? You're long enough a member of TOD to have anticipated the housing bubble.

Understand, that it is a hoax to protect the rich.
My 4 houses are rental properties and provide income, but one renter is now unemployed.

After reading thru parts of HR 1, I think you might be able to qualify for some energy retrofit money for your rental houses. This would be true if your houses are HUD certified and have people living in them who receive HUD rent subsidies. Lets hope that the Repugs don't kill that part of the bill by representing it as a "giveaway"...

E. Swanson

I hope they'll help cover high-eff heat pumps for my rentals!

High Five slap!

Have you checked whether rebates/incentives are available through your local utility provider? In Canada, the federal government offers a $400.00 Eco Efficiency rebate for any Energy Star certified model.



Is that rebate just for heat pumps or does it apply to high eff. furnaces as well?


Rebates for high efficiency oil and gas systems range from $300.00 to $600.00 and are available through the EnergyGuide for Houses programme (see page 3 of the EnerGuide Rebate Guide PDF at http://www.conservens.ca/energuide).

You might also want to check out the following as well:



Thanks for that Paul.

Hope your storms have cleared up.



I think the present law, as passed last Fall (Public Law No: 110-343), allows a tax credit for ground source heat pumps (i.e., "geothermal"). The Stimulus Package allows that tax credit to be turned into a grant, which can be claimed within 60 days of filing. That way, one would not need to wait until filing income taxes the year after spending the money.

I have to admit that I am still a bit confused by all the details, so my comments may be incorrect. Also, the package is still under revision in the Senate, so expect changes.

E. Swanson

Here's a list of current energy related tax incentives for the U.S. after the renewable credits were extended last year.


E. Swanson

If you own 4 houses, rental properties or not, you are the rich.

He is likely part of the rapidly vanishing middle class.


The north american middle class is the rich.

If you own 4 houses, rental properties or not, you are the rich.

If you own four houses that are all underwater in their mortgages, you are part of the "thought I was gonna get rich via realestate" crowd. I think this covers a substantial (and relatively unproductive) class of people.

That seems somewhat unfair. I invoke the "too broad a brush" rule. Someone who does all management and maintenance on four rentals is making a valuable contribution. And chances are even then there must be some additional income. Certainly not people i'd put into the classificaton "rich". Perhaps just "salt of earth". After all, someone has to own the rental units all you smart guys who exited real estate early are living in.

Certainly not people i'd put into the classificaton "rich".

I left out the part where the landowner has lost significant money on his attempted investment. He had hoped realestate could propel himself out of the middle class. Now it has come true, only rather than joining the upper class, he has joined the lower class. All because he believed that real estate cannot go down in value.

if you own the rentals outright, it doesnt really matter if the "value" goes up or down. when the "value" goes down, taxes also go down and your ror goes up.

i have pointed out to the assessor that the market value is not relavent to my rentals because they are "for rent", not "for sale".

Never thought I'd get rich. Figured they might pay some bucks for the kid's college. Might still. Might end up living in one myself instead, who knows?

If you own 4 rentals (outright) in say, Downtown Manhattan you just might be the rich. If you own 4 homes in Detroit in the '$1 a home' area - prob. not.

The Rich have millions. 4 homes is only a mil or 1.5 mil. But most rentals are not owned. A bank holds an interest in 'em.

Too funny! A million or so isn't rich?! I guess it just shows it all has to do with perspective.

Or maybe all you folks need to revisit globalrichlist.com (granted its only based on income and not assets).

Whether income or assets, a dollar figure taken out of context is rather meaningless. For starters, the cost of various goods and services varies wildly by location - starting with housing, of course, but also food etc. On top of that, one's needs also vary by location. There is just climate & how much fuel one needs to stay warm etc. There are plenty of places where one really can't live without a car.

It's nice to think that anybody can move anywhere, but really most of us are quite rooted, tied down to some narrow range of locations by family responsibilities, friendships, language & culture, etc. And to participate in the culture of a place, one really needs to keep up with the Jones's at some basic level. The law will force a certain level of keeping up, and also whatever lease or covenant is involved with one's place of residence.

I expect that there are plenty of places in the world where $10K per year would make a person the richest in the village & one could live a very pleasant life. There are many places in the USA where living on $10K per year would be seriously difficult.

The general rule for $1M assets would be to spend about $40K per year, but with the general outlook going forward, maybe $30K per year would be smarter. That is about 70% of the median income in the USA. It doesn't sound so very rich to me!

are you kidding me? Being able to live at 70% of median household income by relying on returns on assets only doesn't sound rich to you? I don't know what world you live in, but most people on this planet do not have the assets to even imagine that. Most households must have one or more people actually working for their income or they would starve.

One question is about the sort of lifestyle that we would like to describe as "rich", and the other is about how much assets are needed to achieve that lifestyle.

Without analyzing very closely though, here is a suggestion that $5M is more like what "rich" requires. I have seen that number in multiple places.


Of course it is almost useless to fix any sort of standard to "rich". Mostly it just means richer than most other folks in your community!

Wealthy means able to live off assets in my book.

Rich means being able to live like you would if you were living on credit, only on assets instead.

At least that's my definition. Now that I live on cash my kids say I'm a lot poorer than when I lived on credit. :)

While it may not have been technically "frozen", the spreads between 30 day LIBOR and AA rated commercial paper reached nearly 5% back in October compared to their historical spreads of around 0%. Today the spreads are less than 1% and dropping about 5 bps's per week which indicates a slowly improving credit market.

Could it also mean the "good" side of the spread is worsening to match? How does LIBOR get affected by weaker gov't securities and weaker currencies?

I believe short term rates dropped as a result of the deflationary economy that hit last September. It actually began before that but became really serious then. First, the risk premium on commercial paper based borrowings increased sharply. Then, 30 day LIBOR (which is a very deeply traded credit instrument) dropped with AA rated commercial paper(smaller market) rates slowly following suit as government support was rolled out to the banks. This very much helped to stabilize the short term credit markets. During the interim, corporate borrowers were paying huge premiums on their commercial paper backed financing, that is, if they could even get the financing (aka "credit freeze") In some cases it was difficult to even find a buyer for these bonds which are remarketed weekly. That is why GE was very glad to pay Berkshire Hathaway 10% for new capital because they were financing their company with huge short term commercial paper borrowings and they were at risk of not being able to roll over their financing every week as needed.

It has taken the market months to recover to where we are now but it is a huge improvement over the Sept/Oct situation and it seems to be getting a little better every week. I track this closely because our company utilizes this type of financing.

The answer to your second question is complicated and I don't know how all of those things might impact LIBOR.

Well, the junk bond market certainly froze up (20% rates is pretty much a freeze). People always use hyperbole when things change direction.

Nonetheless, they are using strawmen for bad Bush policy.

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/09/20/doubts-about-the-rescue/ - the last paragraph says it all, the original bailout plan was a scaled up version of Krugman's slap-in-the-face theory of monetary policy - just inject some money to show confidence and the markets will correct themselves.

That is essentially what the bailout did (although the later version did do some of the nationalization). Nonetheless, this appears (like so many political policies) to have simply delayed the problem.

But then again - most people here think that's all that our government policy does - delay the inevitable.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/02/03/eveningnews/main4773752.shtml - at least Obama is attempting to push through _something_ of usefulness. As we've seen from the recent energy cost post - 48% of energy use goes to buildings. How is "$6.2 billion for home weatherization, $100 million for children to learn green construction..." a bad thing? Especially considering what we spent our money on so far.

If (big if) you believe Representative Paul Kanjorski, the Capital Markets Subcommitee Chair, then we were literally hours away from a mad max scenario.
This was not something that might have happened. This WAS happening.

This would explain all the "riot control" legislation that was rammed through about that time.

Slow collapse indeed...

C-SPAN: Congressman says world was hours away from societal meltdown

Here's the facts. And we don't even talk about these things. On Thursday, at about 11:00 in the morning, the Federal Reserve noticed a tremendous drawdown of money market accounts in the United States to the tune of 550 Billion dollars was being drawn out in an hour or two. The treasury opened up its window to help. They pumped 105 billion dollars into the system and quickly realized that they could not stem the tide. We were having an electronic run on the banks. They decided to close down the money market accounts and announce a guarantee of $250,000 per account so there wouldn't be further panic.

If they had not done that, their estimation was that by 2:00 that afternoon, 5.5 Trillion dollars would have been drawn out of the money market system of the United States, would have collapsed the entire economy of the United States, and within 24 hours, the world economy would have collapsed. We talked at that time about what would have happened had that happened. It would have been the end of our economic system and our political system as we know it.

Terrific Video link--thxs for posting! So where did this money go? Has any of it been re-deposited to help grease the wheels of the global economy? Or do a few topdogs now have some incredibly big, wildly overstuffed mattresses somewhere?

ditto -- thnx 4 the link

The line that got to me also was: "You know, we're not experts in Economics, we [Congress persons] are just the People's representatives ... and right now we're treading water in the middle of the ocean, trying to figure out which way to swim, in hopes of finding land."

Rome 2009

The Recession Comes Home...

Last week my wife (a retail manager at Macy's) went in early for a staff meeting and they had people from corporate personnel there. During the meeting they coached employees on updating their resumes which will be submitted to personnel as part of their official records.

Googled Macy's, ran across this article:


7,000 positions gone is only 4% of their workforce but the feeling is that future cuts may be much deeper. The discounts at Macy's are now so deep they're practically paying the customers to buy (the margins are razor thin)so it would be foolish to speculate that this will somehow turn around and everyone will go back to the malls.


One way of interpreting this is that Personnel is being unusually nice and giving the people at that store a covert "heads up" notice before the next round of layoffs hit. Most likely, they are planning on just closing that particular store. Doesn't happen that way very often, this is about as nice as they ever get. Be grateful they are being that nice if that is what is in the works - and I'd suggest creating an alternate version of that resume that is more generic and non-retail specific, and start getting it out there ASAP.

Personnel is being unusually nice

I suspect your right.

I lost my job at a magazine manufacturing plant under the corporates five year plan.

The details of that plan weren't made public until after employees were notified under pertinent regulations - 60 days prior to closing the doors.

The highest money making machine, which was also the biggest and the newest was pulled out a year before our notification date - at a cost of 10's of millions. That started the rumor mill.

We were told not to worry.

Then the law requiring employee notification rolled around and that was all she wrote.

The Bank of England has reduced interest rates to a record low of 1% from 1.5% in an attempt to boost the shrinking economy.

This marks the fifth interest rate cut since October, as the Bank seeks to encourage more lending.

However, there are concerns that savers will be hurt by lower interest rates.

And business groups argue that this rate cut will not be enough to ease the economic crisis, and will not encourage banks to lend.

The decision comes after official data showed the UK had entered a recession in December, after two successive quarters of economic contraction.

The Bank Rate has now been reduced from 5% in October last year.


From Denninger today - criminal behavior of the Fed and Treasury?

So Now We Learn....

"Messrs. Paulson and Bernanke forcefully urged Mr. Lewis not to walk away, praising the bank's earlier cooperation -- but warning that abandoning the deal would be a death sentence for Merrill. They said the move also could undercut confidence in Bank of America, both in the markets and among government officials. Despite the blunt talk, Bank of America executives interpreted the comments as a signal that the government was willing to work out a compromise.

Two days later, in a follow-up conference call, federal officials struck a harder tone. Mr. Bernanke said Bank of America had no justification for ditching Merrill, according to people who heard the remarks. A Federal Reserve official warned that if Mr. Lewis did so and needed more government money down the road, Bank of America could expect regulators to think hard about their confidence in management. Mr. Lewis was told that the government would consider ousting executives and directors, people close to the bank say.

Nor does it end there:

"A month later, Mr. Lewis was at the Treasury Department along with eight other chief executives of large U.S. financial institutions, summoned there by Mr. Paulson. The Treasury secretary wanted the executives to accept a round of government capital totaling $125 billion as a way of shoring up confidence in the banking system.

Mr. Paulson explained that saying no wasn't an option, according to a person who attended the meeting."

So even if these firms didn't want the TARP money, they had no choice? They couldn't turn it down?

The other side of the same coin:

Goldman, JPMorgan Won’t Feel Effects of Executive-Salary Caps

The rules, created in response to growing public anger about the record bonuses the financial industry doled out last year, will apply only to top executives at companies that need “exceptional” assistance in the future. The limits aren’t retroactive, meaning firms that have already taken government money won’t be subject to the restrictions unless they have to come back for more.


So if you're not the windshield, you're the bug. Sure helps to have friends/cronies in the money-printing business.

So even if these firms didn't want the TARP money, they had no choice? They couldn't turn it down?

I don't think they could turn it down. If bank A gets bailed out, but not bank B - which bank am I going to have more confidence in?

Not that it matters. Freddie and Fannie which did much more normal loans (more prime, less subprime) had the problem as well. And all the major banks were in deeper than Fannie and Freddie. We're all Suprime now! (so the saying goes).

June 22, 2005: Fannie Mae Decides *Not* to Compete with the Private Sector in Making Stupid Housing Loans - and they're still in the tank. Because everyone is. The case shiller index is down 20% on average (that kills even the down payment on 20% down homes).

The Biweekly Recap, established in 1997, is published by DataWright Corporation in Fort Worth, Texas. It was developed to provide benchmark data tracking for U.S. land drillers for the financial community and tracks rig usage and utilization by contractor, region, and by most active E&P companies. The rig count identifies activity at significantly higher levels than normally found in the non-proprietary rig counts such as the Baker Hughes survey. It presents a truer portrait of drilling volume in the U.S. market.

The following are the highlights for the week of: January 30, 2009

Indications are that the 'bad news is getting better' based on the slowing rate of declines in the rig count.

Decline over the last two weeks was only 95 rigs compared to 148 the first half of January and 201 in the last two weeks of Dec '08.
The industry was shedding 14 rigs/day at year end. By mid Jan, it dropped to 10 rigs/day and down to 7 rigs/day by end of January.
Steep decline rates are bad, but decelerating decline rates are bad news getting better.
Rig activity is showing trends who's dynamics indicate a bottom may be near. May take another 60 to 90 days.
The number of operators drilling wells leaving the market in December (employing one or more land rigs) was 118 and 67 in January. Total operators number about 365, setting a new low.
Similarity, the rate at which Mid-cap independents are shedding rigs fell from 66 units in December to 36 in January and may be near bottom of rig releases.
Privately held companies accounting for largest rig release shed 192 units in December, but just 118 in January.
Operator employing 3 rigs or fewer, the mom and pop operators, dropped 147 rigs in December and 36 in January.
With the exception of the Mid-cap independents, the decelerating portion of the rig count decline pertains to smaller operators, shallower wells, conventional drilling, and oil-directed targets
The industry may finally be laying down the right rigs, those highly productive rigs in the shale areas. It's a bad thing when rigs go down, but in an oversupplied gas market, it helps if the right rigs are laid down.
Big guys may be bottoming out.
Nabors lost just 3 rigs this past two weeks, down 16 for month and 68 from peak of 253 in October.
Helmerich & Payne saw 6 rigs lay down over the same period, 11 in January and 27 from high of 171 in October.
Patterson-UIT saw 12 rigs lay down over the last 2 weeks and is down 43 for January and 138 from high of 246 in October.
When measured against peak employment
Permian Basin is down 190 rigs (55%)
Midcontinent down 179 rigs (45%)
Rockies down 141 rigs (36%)
ArkLaTex is off 117 rigs (25%)

Im not sure I share their optimism about the way the rig count is bottoming out.

A "slowing rate of decline" - take enough derivatives and anything can be made to look better.

It has to bottom out - like the doc says, "all bleeding stops eventually."


Good idea to not be too optimistic. We're one of the big players in the unconventional shale gas plays. Between 1 February and 31 March we are dropping 15 of the 18 rigs we had drilling in the trend (your report's date was 30 January). It takes time to change schedules and negotiate rig release penalties. I don't have any idea about the release schedule of the other big players but if they are tracking similar to us then we should expect a big dip post 1Q 2009 IMO.

mark papa is cognizant of the economics of ung drilling while the company formerly known as enron continue to blow off more than 10 mmcf/d of high btu gas from their bakken wells in nd.

that is not a very well run company, imo, for that reason alone. the glut of oil from mountrail county has caused a >$16 spread against wti for the entire williston basin. and the ndic rolls over and concludes that they are preventing waste by allowing gas to be flared.

The stimulus package right now only covers plug-in and 4 wheel EV's that nobody will be able to afford. Detroit is trying to keep it that way.

Electric motorcycles and scooters are a far cheaper, far less energy intensive product. Please, PLEASE let your voice be heard that you support a 10% tax credit for 2 & 3 wheel EV's.

Click on this link and spread the word if you have the time.

have they developed an economical long lived battery ? the last time i looked at this, battery replacement amounted to about $ 0.10/mile for my expected usage. at $2/gallon gas, a 20 mpg vehicle will cost $ 0.10/ mile for gas, same as battery replacement on your fair weather scooter.


I'd like to see someone buy and try one of these chargers. (Aangel, you do car conversions, right?) Bedini was doing high-efficiency magnet motors years ago. I remember a girl won her Science Fair using one of his magnet motor designs after the thing ran for a day or something, constantly, on a single battery. It was still running when they shut it down. Has something to do with the circuit charging the battery as it uses it, so you get very high efficiency.

And before someone starts yelling that Bedini is just some nut, he's apparently been known in the audio world for quite some time. (I did not know that.)


Anyway, the point is, if his battery chargers do what he says they do, you've got your long-life battery. How does that change the economics?


the cost/mile was for battery replacement alone, aside from the cost of electricity for charging.

Which is why I said, "if his battery chargers do what he says they do, you've got your long-life battery." So, if battery life is extended by 50%, 100%, 200%... what does that do to your economics? If they last twice as long, your cost per mile is then .05, no?


"Has something to do with the circuit charging the battery as it uses it, so you get very high efficiency."

This has got to be of the older perpetual motion machine gambits in the book.


First, argumentation by assertion is not very useful. See: Anti-ACC arguments.

Second, perpetual motion machines and their ilk are based on a claim of getting more energy out than is put in. Those claims are not made for these products, which makes your comments worse than argumentation by assertion, it makes them silly and pointless. You didn't read the website.

In fact, if you had read the info on the site, you would have noted they admit that in terms of use of electricity some products make credible claims of higher efficiency. The claim is increased efficiency largely by reconditioning the batteries so they hold a greater charge (recharge less often) and keep the batteries in great condition so you don't have to buy more.

Third, the products are there for the buying and the testing. An honest person would do that first (as well as reading the info provided).

Or, do you not understand free energy research? If you think being able to charge batteries better is a claim of over-unity, you don't understand what free energy is supposed to be.

Fourth, I see no point in denigrating people developing new products, regardless of the type. What does it hurt you if people want to spend their time tinkering in their garages?

I did not, and am not, advocate Bedini's bettery chargers since I have not bought and tested them myself. I do know he's done successful work with other technologies, so he's not your typical tinkerer. He actually has produced useful products before.

You usually don't make such useless posts. Best hopes for returning to form.

My question still stands: if you extend the life of the batteries to several times their current lifetimes, what does that do to the economics of electric cars with currently available batteries?


So Congress wants 200 Billion for the bailout?
Find the 2 trillion missing from the Pentagon announced on 9/10/2001. How about taking it from the banksters who caused the need for the bailout? A nice liquidation sale might make a dent. How about the Ron Paul idea - pull the military outta various nations - that should have a return larger than the collection of coins in the sofa. Plenty of good plans.

Or how about the 'you have no bailout' and just prep the 900 bil for some form of safety net so not as many ppl starve.

Kabuki Theater bay-bee.

I noticed that when they started thinking about trimming that Mother-of-all-potlatches, the very first thing that came to mind was to cut out that $850M to Amtrak. Of course, we can't be doing ANYTHING at all that might actually be useful in moving the US forward to a more sustainable and survivable economy.

How would one even go about writing up an indictment against these criminals? The thing would be so massive it would take more than a lifetime just to read it out aloud in court.

What's the old saw about teaching an old dog new tricks? 36 of the Senate Repubs voted for a stimulus bill consisting of nothing but tax cuts. And a lot of the Dems seem to secretly agree with them.

Given that we're ready to borrow more than the entire personal income tax base (about $1T in 2006) in the first half of this year, why not just eliminate taxes instead?

If you wanted to be populist, you could keep the taxes on the top 10% and save half the dough.

What could possibly help more than to let actual taxpayers keep their money? Let the gov't live entirely on credit -- that's pretty much what they're doing already. Having taxes just perpetuates the sham.

You can't do that because it provides benefits to the entire economy-the benefits must be narrowly targeted to the chosen. They take the same approach with the "banking system" bailouts-a small minority gets favored at the expense of the majority.

What could possibly help more than to let actual taxpayers keep their money? Let the gov't live entirely on credit -- that's pretty much what they're doing already. Having taxes just perpetuates the sham.

When I heard that the total money for all the bailouts, TARPS, and guarantees had reached over $8 Trillion, I remember thinking that this was approximately 3/4 or 75% of the reported $12 trillion of outstanding mortgages in the USA. I thought that instead of doling out all the money to the banks, that they should just use the fund to reduce every mortgage holder's outstanding balance by 75%. Talk about the economic stimulus that would have. It could be an even higher percentage if you only allowed one mortgage per mortgage holder to be reduced. Those with multiple mortgages for "investment" properties shouldn't get all of them reduced.

My biggest fear right now, being a pensioner, is that the crisis will wipe out my pension fund. My pension comes from one of the larger pensions in the US and there are plenty of articles about those large funds taking huge losses and being in danger of bankruptcy.

What's a person to do when they've made modest and prudent decisions, live within their means (I have no debt except for the mortgage) and the system is collapsing around them. If I lose my pension, I lose the ability to service the mortgage.....And then the BANK that was instrumental in creating this mess to begin with gets to foreclose on me and take the house from me because of the mess they created! Aye!

At some point the government will either have to freeze all foreclosure actions, and let people shelter in place, or they'll have to become more oppressive.


At some point the government will either have to freeze all foreclosure actions, and let people shelter in place, or they'll have to become more oppressive.

You may very well be correct - and don't count on the gov't telling the banks to stop trying to make money.

IMO if more people understood how huge an amount 8 Trillion actually is, they would understand that this is not about righting the USA economy, any more than invading Iraq was about bringing freedom and happiness to the heathens.

Chris Martenson devotes an entire chapter of his "Crash Course" to describe just how large $1 Trillion really is.


I thought that instead of doling out all the money to the banks, that they should just use the fund to reduce every mortgage holder's outstanding balance by 75%.

Sure, as long as us homeowners with no mortgages get an equal share at the trough.

Sure, as long as us homeowners with no mortgages get an equal share at the trough.

I have no mortgage as banks hate lending to the self employed. It was far simpler just to save enough to pay cash.

So - where the hell is *MY* bailout?

I rent, because I thought that it was unreasonable to buy a shack that cost 10X my salary.

If they bailout the underwater mortgage holders, I think they should pay my rent for the next 30 years.

I remember thinking that this was approximately 3/4 or 75% of the reported $12 trillion of outstanding mortgages in the USA. I thought that instead of doling out all the money to the banks, that they should just use the fund to reduce every mortgage holder's outstanding balance by 75%.

F that. That would be final proof that America's new motto is: "Steal from the prudent to bailout the sheep."

I stayed out of the housing bubble simply because it was so freakin' obviously a bubble. Now you want to basically increase my taxes to cover the people who couldn't figure out that 50% yearly growth was unsustainable?!!

I would personally take up a pitchfork, and more appropriately, a TORCH, and burn down as much of that bubble as I could if such a law was enacted. That's not hyperbole. I'm serious. If you're gonna rob me, do it fairly at gun point. The bailout is bad enough, but a proposal like this is just violence against prudent people, and we'd be within our rights (though they would not be recognized of course, and we'd all end up in jail) to strike back. Of course, it is becoming increasingly obvious that financially prudent people are not welcome in America.

Dear anagama:

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+ 1,000,000,000

pragma - not only was that extremely funny, it also was right to the point.

Job well done!

My biggest fear right now, being a pensioner, is that the crisis will wipe out my pension fund. My pension comes from one of the larger pensions in the US and there are plenty of articles about those large funds taking huge losses and being in danger of bankruptcy.

The current rules mean that if your pension has been paying for at least five years when it officially goes under, that your benefits can't be reduced. Of course if you got 4years and 364 days you are SOL, and will face the full extent of the pension benefit guarantee corp reductions. In my case, I am expecting only about 25% of my "promised" benefit!

WNC you just don't seem to understand. ;-)

You see, we must do SOMETHING. And we must do it NOW. Don't stop to think about whether or not what your doing is "right" or appropriate. Thinking about it is going to slow down the whole process. So just do it, and do it now.

Sarcanol off

You see, we must do SOMETHING. And we must do it NOW.

If you read Krugman, he believes we are at the cusp of a deflationary spiral. These are supposed to be nasty, and very hard to break out of. So indeed, we gotta spend a bunch of stimulus really fast, targetting towards worthy projects be damned. This reminds me of the recommended practice for divorce " rent a room in a high priced hotel. Then you and your spouse open the window and start shoveling packets of $50 bills out the window".

Interesting facts from this week's oil and gas inventory report:

Gasoline demand up for first time, US crude oil production up for 1st time in '09, etc.

Details available at:


Note the like to the Popular Mechanics article I posted above. They are not at all enamored by "shovel ready" projects.

The programs that would meet the bill’s 90-day restriction are, for the most part, an unappealing mix of projects that were either shelved after being fully designed and engineered, and have since become outmoded or irrelevant, or projects with limited scope and ambition.

I put in a response to the article suggesting a large-scale Housing Insulation program 'might' be one that could ramp up quickly, and provide material sales, jobs (which should be quick to train for the many underemployed construction pros out there) and immediate and lasting energy savings for homeowners.


Hello Gail,

IMO, if the drought continues as forecast, Cali may be quickly forced to be 'shovel-ready' for Humanure recycling in order to conserve water:

California faces 'grimmest water situation ever'
Drought causes the state's agriculture industry to disappear while residents continue to consume water at high levels

.."Angelenos committed communal suicide by watering lawns as usual. The taps remained open, trickling away the life blood of the desert paradise."

The Bolinas Public Utility District board has limited residents and businesses to 150 gallons of water per service connection per day in response to what officials call an "extremely serious" drought.
I bet most Cali residents still let the tapwater run the entire time while brushing their teeth vs just using a single glass of water. I have posted much before on minimal water usage strategies. Even a simple camping toilet can save much water compared to the porcelain throne:


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

Hi Bob. I was trying to describe your spiderweb hauling contraption to a coworker yesterday, and I don't think I did a very good job of conveying the idea of it to him. Do you have a link to a foto or drawing of it? Thanks.

As for that porta potti, a 5 gal. PE bucket w/ a toilet seat over it works just as well, & no doubt costs much less. Human excreta is too valuable as a compostable raw source of O-NPK to waste, regardless of water saving considerations.

Speaking of port-o-potties and compost - I've been looking into a composting toilet, but don't have any real basis on which to make valuations of the many different one's available. Any one have any experience with them?

The Clivus Multrum was the brand used by an Org that I respect in Maine, some years ago.



These were fine, as far as I could tell. They need to be installed properly, with moisture and ventilation managed, but it would be the case with any Toilet system, right?

I think it would be as valuable to look up some other humanure designs and see if you could build one yourself. From the Value-added Bucket to a Fancy Throne, the actual needs aren't that hard to meet, and even to make Attractive and Pleasant to use.

Here's a good starting place..

I use a Sun-Mar NE in my house. Used so far for about ten years. Works well, has a small fan which circulates air through the compost. Add a cup or so of peat moss per crap. It also eats tp, plant trimmings and falling out hair. The result in the tray beneath has negligible odour and goes on my flower beds and trees. Empty once every three weeks or so for two people. One side effect is that you get used to having a crap with no smell and no splash. Then you try a regular one in a restaurant and my goodness!

My previous experience with the Clivus Multrum was not good.


Hello Darwinsdog,

Thxs for responding. Yep, a bucket, then recycling is cheaper than a potta-potti, but I bet it is a lot easier to get the squeamish to give up the throne by migrating them halfway first with a porta-potti. These are easy to dump into the sewer cleanout opening outside every house.

On the SpiderWebRiding topic: I am not an engineer or human biometric expert--I keep hoping TOD experts will advance this idea further. Basically, it is light, cheap [but sturdy], quick to install, narrow gauge track to be a supportive ribcage to the spine & limbs of Alan Drake's standard gauge RR & TOD buildout.

Initially, it could use mini-locos & railcars like these:


The guts of a Prius adapted to a mini-loco might pull 100, 200 passengers, or a bunch of mini-container freightcars? I have no idea, but hopefully experts are considering what is possible.

Then when FFs become too valuable to just burn anymore-->pedal power of long-lasting steel wheels on smooth rails will beat hands down short-lived rubber tires going thru mud, snow, ice, thorns, broken glass, overflowing sewage, jagged asphalt, and giant potholes. Consider my earlier posting of getting fresh eggs to market: a smooth & safe rail-ride vs a wasted omelet of broken eggs from a slip in a sewage puddle.

Lots more photos on the web of various railbikes, but here is one recreational example on abandoned standard gauge rail:


Use your imagination to mentally design optimal cargo-carrying pedal bikes: recumbent, aerodynamic, lightweight, multiple gearsets [user selected]. Maybe attachable batt-powered kickers for steep upgrades?

True SpiderWebRiding, at least as how I visualize it, is when we don't have the postPeak time, energy, or resources to bury pipes underground anymore. We then ride/pedal on top of the pipes themselves with maybe replaceable rail strapped on top.

Compare to now: pipes far underground plus an extensive asphalt network right above to help maintain it. This won't be maintainable once we get very far postPeak.

I have also posted much in the TOD archives on railbikes to pull barges/canoes along canals or rivers, especially if we have eaten nearly all our draft animals. Using our legs with pedals/gearing sure beats this painful photo:


I hope this helps you further explain the concept to your friend.

Thanks Bob. I guess I was envisioning more of a pedal-powered wheelbarrow-like device that ran on a monorail. Not sure where I got that idea; I thot it was from you but maybe not. You're right about the liabilities of pneumatic tires. I got so sick of having wheelbarrow, hand truck, etc., tires punctured by goatheads (Tribulus) that I've been buying solid rubber replacement tires for them lately. They don't have quite the same mushy feel to them but they never go flat.

Bob, have you seen this?

Human powered monrail, might be easier to install the track on supports rather than on the ground. It would also allow you to go in a straight line.

Hello OMGlikeWTF,

Yep, seen it before, looks like great fun, but sure looks like it uses a lot of steel per installed foot compared to track on ground. Might be good for strictly urban passenger-only movement, but this shweeb system doesn't seem materially better when you are trying to move cargo too many miles bi-directionally from the rural hinterlands. Sorry, just my gut-feeling. Maybe an engineer could explain the cost/benefit analysis details of why the Shweeb maybe a better choice. I remain permeable to new evidence & new ideas.

If there is a possibility of floods, sewage spill and other unpleasent things on the ground level, I thought it would make more sense to elevate the track above these potential problems. If the overhead system can make use of a single rail instead of two on the ground, the saved steel from the second rail could be used to build the supports, it would also be handy for running communication lines.

Also check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_sewer could be the formings of a waterless sewage system feeding into biogas digesters as a step to making O-NPK

It sure would help if the Govt. or some rich folks put up a large X-Prize so that a lot of bright engineers & biometric experts would willingly figure out what is the best postPeak design for moving people and cargo to/from the standard gauge RR & TOD depots.

The vacuum sewage system is pretty clever, but it currently seems like we won't have the time, money, and resources to build this out much on a nationwide scale, but I could be wrong. My feeling is that we won't even be able to safely maintain our current water & sewage networks.

Hey there, just had the pleasure of being in NZ and riding the Shweeb. Its quite an amazing ride. The inventor was there and explained the transportation concept as this velodrome thing is just a prototype for that (albeit its clearly a business in its own right). It feels almost frictionless and would only need a very slow turn on the pedals to move at a pretty reasonable clip. Sure you give it death on the track when racing but it look me a full 2 laps (400 yards) to slow down to stopping speed - thats when i realised just how efficient this is. Apparently an 85 year old granny has done this. Offline stations mean everyone heads straight for their destination with no delays. Kinda interesting concept i think. Inventor said they are in talks around the world re franchisng and getting transportation underway. I guess watch this space!

Between its financial problems and the drought, California is in terrible shape. Here is an article that mentions both:

So many urgent projects await a budget solution

The Legislature, for years, has procrastinated pathetically on water.

Nature seems to be producing the third straight year of drought. The Sierra snowpack is only 61% of normal. And the Legislature hasn't prepared us for it.

"It's shaping up to be one of the worst droughts ever," says Lester Snow, director of the state Department of Water Resources. "We won't be able to tell until we get to the end of March. That's when there's no hope of a big storm coming in and saving us."

Rationing would be a certainty. So would increased water marketing -- one entity selling its water to another. Snow says the administration may ask for emergency legislation to "restructure" water rights and alter pricing to discourage consumption.

"The reason the drought impact would be so severe is we keep putting off these investments in our water system," Snow says. "Our demand keeps getting greater and environmental restrictions have increased. That means very dire economic consequences."

Schwarzenegger for two years has been trying to create a $10-billion water bond proposal. It could include money for storage -- underground and in reservoirs -- wastewater recycling, desalination, conservation and new plumbing for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. But Democrats and environmentalists have balked at new dams, and Republicans and farmers have blocked anything that doesn't include a reservoir or two. And there's still no consensus on a delta fix.

Meanwhile, the administration wants the Legislature to pass a bill requiring a 20% cut in urban water use by 2020.

There's no such thing as "drought." A certain amount of precip falls over any given time period, this amount is highly variable, and the mean is meaningless. Plants shift their ranges in accommodation to their physiological requirements, or they go extinct. Growing plants, by means of irrigation or without, outside their natural ranges, is an artifact of human stupidity & hubris. Live within the carrying capacity of the region or prepare for collapse. It's as simple as that.

Reservoirs waste water via evaporation from increased surface area & infiltration. They also constitute a significant source of CH4 via anaerobic decomposition in sediments. They interfere with fish spawning migrations and they kill the hell out of lotic ecosystems. Live with the amount of water that falls from the sky. Don't mine water or seek to hoard it in reservoirs. Don't mine carbon either. Maintain your population with the annual productivity of your local plant community. If you don't, you have a day of reckoning coming, and you or your children won't like it. It's as simple as that.

Western writer Elmer Kelton (a good book: "The time it never rained") puts it this way: "West Texas is in a state of permanent drought, broken occasionally by rain." One could extend this description to the entire Southwest.

Thanks westexas. Another classic is "Sky Determines" by Ross Calvin. It pertains more to NM than to west Texas but then, if I was in charge of things, I'd trade everything east of the Pecos for everything west of it - except for El Paso, that is, which I'd give to Chihuahua since it's just a suburb of Ciudad Juarez, anyway.. ;-)

The Anastazi lived in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico until there was a 55 year period of drought that began in 1125 A.D. The entire tribe had to pick up their baggage and move elsewhere or stay and perish.

The collapse of Chaco Canyon

You know what really happened to the so-called "Anasazi" (derived from the Dine' or Navajo term anaa'i' sani = "ancient enemies") don't you? They fled to defensible mesas & fertile bottomlands along the Rio Grande in response to aggression by Na-Dene speakers migrating down from the north. Environmental factors had little to do with it, but are commonly invoked for the sake of political correctness.


Query: Where is the element of political correctness when you have two aboroginal groups in competition?

Color me confused, but curious.


When I was a kid (1930s) our geography books had a big yellow area covering several Western states and labeled "Great American Desert." Seems to have disappeared from more recent editions.

Hello Gail,

If I was head of FEMA: I would be hiring the Cali-unemployed to go house-to-house removing the thrones, then plugging the pipe underneath with concrete. This would force the people to use a porta-potti or Humanure recycle. I would setup in every neighborhood: free community bathing facilities powered by solar water heaters with a 5 gallon limit to make people get acclimated to a Navy shower [get wet, turn water off, soap up, then turn water back on to rinse off].

Stupid things like golf courses, decorative fountains, lawns, backyard swimming pools would be torn out. Your vehicle can only be washed if it is truly muddy and/or filthy--not the weekly or even bi-weekly polishing I see so often here in Phx. The Governor just has to tell the people to adapt, or just get the hell out.

KMO interviews Homer-Dixon on c-realm podcast. Topic is "The Growth Imperative".

It's Survival of the Weak and Scrawny

Elk still range across parts of North America, but every hunting season brings a greater challenge to find the sought-after bull with a towering spread of antlers. Africa and Asia still have elephants, but Roosevelt would have regarded most of them as freaks, because they don't have tusks. Researchers describe what's happening as none other than the selection process that Darwin made famous: the fittest of a species survive to reproduce and pass along their traits to succeeding generations, while the traits of the unfit gradually disappear. Selective hunting—picking out individuals with the best horns or antlers, or the largest piece of hide—works in reverse: the evolutionary loser is not the small and defenseless, but the biggest and best-equipped to win mates or fend off attackers.

When hunting is severe enough to outstrip other threats to survival, the unsought, middling individuals make out better than the alpha animals, and the species changes. "Survival of the fittest" is still the rule, but the "fit" begin to look unlike what you might expect. And looks aren't the only things changing: behavior adapts too, from how hunted animals act to how they reproduce. There's nothing wrong with a species getting molded over time by new kinds of risk. But some experts believe problems arise when these changes make no evolutionary sense.

The law of unintended consequences strikes again. It turns out that it would have been a lot better to just have open season on any specimen of a game species, rather than limiting it just to the trophy males.

It is becoming more and more obvious that homo sapiens isn't very sapiens at all. The opposite of Midas, everything we touch turns to crap.

Note that the same selection process is active in humans as well. All too many starlings and cuckoos out there, with the most fit working to raise them all.

In a lion pride the new alpha male kills of the offspring from the previous male. In our society we call them "step kids". I consider it a social honor to raise adopted kids, but from a genetic perspective it's a non-starter.

Cuckoos? As far as I'm aware, both the black-billed & yellow-billed cuckoo is in decline. Perhaps you're thinking of nest parasites - of which cuckoos but not starlings are examples - in general. If so, it's cowbird not cuckoo populations that are expanding at the expense of many host species, due to overgrazing favoring them.

As for step kids, read "Homocide" by Wilson & Daly. I bet you'll be amazed by how much more likely an adopted kid is to be murdered, injured or molested by a step parent, relative to a biological parent. Lions & macaques aren't the only species that practice infanticide. In fact, it's thot that the menstrual cycle evolved from the estrus cycle in order to cloak ovulation & circumvent infanticide. A male is less apt to kill an infant if he isn't sure of its paternity.

It depends on who the host species are.
In south-east Asia, Asian Koels lay their eggs in the nest of house crows. Crows are very adaptable and are one of the rare species (with rats, pigeons, swallows...) to benefit from human presence. As humans get more and more populous, the crows get more and more numerous, and so do the Asian Koels.

It always make me feel a bit sad to think that 100 years (or more) ago, forests all around the world used to be full of giant trees, really long snakes, colourful birds,... They were all killed to make boats or hunting trophies.

For example, the tallest living eucalyptus today is under 100m, and very few are over 90m high, while when Europeans first came to Australia and Tasmania, there were quite a few trees above 110m.

I’ve been concerned about this aspect of modern forestry for a while. If they don’t do a full-on clearcut, the “seed trees” they leave behind are the scrawny, sickly, unmerchantible ones. You would think the long term outcome of this strategy would be obvious to any forester. Apparently not.

I’ve also heard that rattlesnakes are losing (or not using) their rattles because if a human finds a rattlesnake, the human shoots it. This worries me because I sometimes see “buzz worms” in the woods and I always thought they were extremely polite to let me know they were there so we could avoid confrontation.

"You would think the long term outcome of this strategy would be obvious to any forester."

Very obvious. But the timber industry has very little to do with forestry in any scientific sense.

But just like hunting the alpha trophy bucks removes the best genes from the deer herd, highgrading the forest is disgenic.


I'm not sure how (or if) they manage the elk herds out west. But the management of white tail deer in S TX has probably generated more world class racks and stud bucks then existed in North America during recorder history. But when they can get $25,000+ for a B&C trophy the financial incentive to improve the species is certainly there. Not my style or budget for that matter...strictly a meat hunter.

I believe the same thing could be said for migratory water fowl.In fact, a few years ago I remember Canada complaining about goose over population thanks to management efforts in the southern states.

So turns out the old guy didn't freeze cause he was broke, he froze cause he was cheap.

I don't think this conclusion is yet supported. The article does not say just what his "assets" were. How liquid were they? How much was tied up in his house that he might not have had the ability to access because of the housing market slump?

How much tied up other markets that have been hit? While you may be correct, there's just not enough information to make such a judgment yet.


If you have been around elderly folks very much, I think you would have a different interpretation. This fellow had "mild dimentia". Figuring how to write a check was no doubt a major problem. Physically taking cash to the place where payment needed to be paid was no doubt beyond his capabilities.

There are occasional people in their 90s who can fully take care of themselves, but my experience is that they are not in the majority. Most of them seem to need help with basic skills most of us take for granted. My mother is 87, and my sister writes my mother's checks for her. My father in law is 90, and I write his checks for him.

he froze [to death] cause he was cheap

That's right. Always blame the victim. Especially if he's dead and can't talk back.

(Left click on first image to the right to read article on fault attribution)

Picture a drunk driver standing over his victim and saying, "He should'a seen me coming and gotten out of the way".

As for the old man who froze to death:

(1) Where in the equation are the people who shut off his power?
(2) Where in the equation are the teachers (economics teachers) who taught the heartless shutoff people how to be heartless and put profits first?
(3) Where in the equation are the authors of the economics books?
(4) Where in the equation are all the other players?

Ah, yes, they all magically disappeared because we focused our attention on the "cheap" old guy.

Yes, we are indeed the most rationalizing critters on this planet and need to constantly congratulate ourselves about our cleverness.

1) doing their jobs, and trying to make a profit?
2) have you ever had deadbeat renters, or customers? This is business.
3) Still promoting our debt economy?
4) Where is his family?

An electric company is not a social services division. The man's family is most responsible for him, and the local community next. Ideally the electric company would cutoff system would be interlinked with a social services visit, but obviously it isn't. I'd say, more than anything else, this is a function of our decaying social fabric where old people do not live with or close to their descendants, and neighbors aren't neighborly.

You are incorrect. The contract is between the man and the electric company. Assuming there is family nearby to do anything about it is negligent as very, very many people don't live near family... nor friends.

If you are going to cut off or limit the power in a season where doing so is possibly lethal, one has a responsibility to make sure doing so won't kill someone. The company could have

1. asked him if he had funds/make arrangements
2. talked to neighbors since they knew they were limiting his ability to keep warm

Your response is a perfect example of why the libertarian frame of mind is no better than the capitalist: both ignore the well-being of portions of society.

Now, it absolutely can be argued that reverting to a pure survival of the fittest mode is legitimate, but it is not an acceptable answer at a time when we live in some bizarre hybrid where goods and services are the result of a mish-mash of ideologies.


Chevron found another oil field. Their Jack find is estimated as 500 million barrels of oil in a Lower Tertiary trend that is expected to hold 15 billion barrels of oil. The story is at the Bloomberg Energy web page.

Chevron Reports New Discovery Similar to Jack Field (Update3)

Feb. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Chevron Corp., the second-biggest U.S. oil company, made an oil discovery in the Gulf of Mexico that may rival the 500 million-barrel Jack prospect found in 2004.

The Buckskin find is 190 miles (306 kilometers) southeast of Houston in waters 6,920 feet deep, the San Ramon, California- based company said today in a statement. Chevron and its partners discovered a 300-foot column of oil-soaked rocks in a 24 million- to 65 million-year-old formation known as the lower Tertiary.

The find appears to be similar to the Jack discovery, which is 44 miles to the east and part of the same geological trend, Chevron said. Jack, which Chevron expects to cost at least $3 billion to develop, was the first indication that engineers and geologists had figured out how to tap a previously unreachable formation that may hold as much as 15 billion barrels of crude.


Excellent! Those two fields together make 52 days of oil for the US or 13 for the world, all to be dribbled out over 10 - 25 years!

We're SAVED!




It would seem to me that Chevron, et al, must have figured out a way to overcome the metallurgical problems which have apparently pushed the production start date of Jack # 2 out to 2012 or beyond. Otherwise, why would anyone continue to "drill, baby, drill" ??? But if they have it solved, why aren't they producing it ??? Maybe theey will just use plastic seabed fittings instead. ;)

I make it out at 2 yrs of US demand, but amen to the larger point.

Steve 'gonna drag race my SUV' Piper

I was basing the calculation on the 500 million barrels of oil for each field and that those are recoverable barrels. I don't know if that's the case, but it wasn't worth going through the archives for a /sarc post!


From the Sacramento Bee
Revolt brews in counties

Counties in California say they've had enough – and they aren't going to take it anymore.

In what amounts to a Boston Tea Party-style revolt against the state Capitol, they're threatening to withhold money.

Los Angeles is considering such an option. And Colusa County supervisors said they authorized payment delays for February...

...Los Angeles County started the movement Tuesday when its Board of Supervisors considered holding back money from the state in a move that screamed: Give us our money or you won't get yours.

"The deal is the county has got bills to pay," said Gerry Hertzberg, policy director for Supervisor Gloria Molina. "If the state doesn't act, how do you plan how to budget?"

Los Angeles County is expecting to miss out on as much as $105 million a month as a result of the deferred state payments.

Other counties are in similar positions, so it came as no surprise to Hertzberg that others might join the revolution...


Edit: This looks like a more complete article from the San Jose Mercury News.

Hello ToucanSanctuary,

Thxs for this info--Cali is headed directly for 'interesting times'.

I just hope the refugees head mostly north and/or northeast, because if even a small percentage head to AZ-->it will collapse my Asphaltistan even faster as our budget is almost as bad a Cali; from memory of another TODer's DB posting yesterday: Cali = 36%, AZ = 34%. I swear that the plentiful Southwestern sunshine bakes our leadership into Cornucopian-idiots [the additional time they spend in A/C tanning salons only makes it worse]. :(

Pertaining to Gail's DB toplink, "China declares an emergency amid worst drought in 50 years": Some years ago I posted that China would get so desperate for water that they would be forced to mine their Himalayan glaciers. Picture planes dropping bombs and/or artillery and other explosives blowing up the glaciers in a desperate gambit to get the ice moving faster & melting downstream. Yikes!

As I have said before: We certainly have screwed ourselves, over the past 200 years, by not making Malthus our Global Bible.


If all the cold weather in the Midwest & NE US, Canada and England is due to Global Warming, is the drought in China due to Global Cooling?

Relax guys, it's a joke.

Just talkin' about the Whether.. (or not)

Regarding the glaciers:

Maybe a post-peak use of unneeded oil tankers could be to mine the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, and deliver the fresh water to those in need. If ice is going into the sea anyways, why not have it made into rice in a Chinese farm first?

Too bizarre,
I just read a story to my girl tonight about how Maine sailing ships once took Kennebec river ice down to the tropics in trade for Cocoa and Coffee. ("Chocolate Ice")

The patterns are just wild sometimes.

Arizona's budget may be nearly as far in the red ink as California's, but our new governor, Jan Brewer, is not as dense as Gov. Schwarzenegger. She is preparing to reduce the size of Arizona government by laying off and furloughing workers.

It is hard to see a good end to the situation in California.

I suppose the US government can print some more money, and give it to California. The next step is to do the same thing for the other states needing help, plus the cities and counties needing help. it is hard to see it end well, though.

The Governator should prioritize who gets paid to help keep some of the Cali-system running. For example: make sure the firemen and police get paychecks that won't bounce when they take them to the bank, same for their tax refunds. As long as these people are willing to work it can help stabilize/minimize what is sure to come from the other collapsing segments of Cali-society. Top administrators/legislators don't get paid until they balance the state budget, and a priority rainbow pay-spectrum for everybody in between.

Recall that the Zim Militia/Police just took what they wanted when their paychecks were worthless; they just filled their vehicles while brandishing weapons, robbed/beat the currency traders, extortion for protection schemes, store looting, etc. Nothing worse than a group of cops or military turned into thugs...

Tonight's The Nature of Things, entitled Living City: A Critical Guide, explores the "sustainability, viability and liveability" of Canada's urban environments.

For more information, see: http://www.cbc.ca/documentaries/natureofthings/

Canadians (or those who can pass themselves off as such through various internet tricks) can also view last week's episode Supercar: Building the Car of the Future online.


More articles related to the nuclear build and some promising technology.


China is poised to up its nuclear energy capacity targets to 70 GWe by 2020, according to reports in Chinese state media. The revision is awaiting approval by the State Council.

The reports also say that NEA officials have recommended that the current nuclear construction program should be speeded up, with work to start on 16 units totalling over 10 GWe over the next three years. China is currently building some ten reactors - work started on six units in 2008 alone - with many more about to start construction, and it seems likely that the 16 units mentioned in latest reports are included in the construction starts that are already planned. According to 21st Century Business Herald, in addition to the construction starts that are already expected this year, approval has been given for preliminary work on three new inland nuclear power plants at Hunan, Hubei and Jiangxi.

Cyclone engine burns any fuel and even raw biomass

Waterproof sand could green the deserts. Already being field tested.

India has a deal for two to six Areva EPR (1.6 GWe) reactors. US regulators have received the first part of an application to build a laser-based uranium enrichment plant in North Carolina.

Abu Dhabi making a 100,000 person city that will have trackless robotic pods for transportation. Plus 500-1000 robots in large warehouses for the Gap, Zappos and Staples.

Wind and nuclear compared. Nuclear still generates ten times more power than wind.
Global wind energy capacity grew by 28.8% last year, even higher than the average over the past decade, to reach total global installations of more than 120.8 GW [260 TWh/year] at the end of 2008, according to the Global Wind Energy Council.$46.8 billion was spent on wind turbines in 2008, which does not include the costs for site work and grid upgrades to install the wind power. $46.8 billion to get 58 TWh/year of more power, which does not include the non-turbine costs. A ballpark estimate is to double the cost of the turbines to get to the full installed cost. World nuclear power generation is about 2600 TWh/year from 372 GWe Another 43 reactors that would generate 38 GW is under construction now. The reactors under construction would add about 260-310 TWh/year in power as they are completed over the next 1-6 years. 7-8 GW of nuclear power would equal the 27 GW of wind.

A technology longshot:

I'm surprised Areva sold 6 EPRs to India given the bad publicity over the Finland installation. Even one of the French plants (facing its UK customers across the Channel) is over budget I believe.

I wonder how long Kazakhstan can produce 12,000 tonnes a year of U308.

The Cyclone Waste Heat engine looks like a basic Rankine engine with a radial expander. Note that the efficiency is given as 12% with steam supplied at 600 F, with a pressure of 300 psi (max). Not much to crow about there. Run it at a lower temperature and the efficiency drops fast.

E. Swanson

From the Zero Point energy:

This then requires nature to resupply the hydrogen atoms to monatomic energy levels.

And there is the cold I've been looking for WRT the 'hydrino'. Lets see if the testing includes calometric info on the outflowing gas. (Would make quite the refigeration unit eh?)

Here's an update of USA Gulf of Mexico (GoM) oil production using the most recent EIA data. GoM production peaked in June 2002 at 1.73 mbd and is forecast to continue declining.

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For comparison this 2007 forecast from the US Dept of the Interior, Minerals Management Service, showed GoM oil production increasing from 2006. Unfortunately, the opposite has occurred.

click to enlarge

Although the USA GoM is only producing about 1.3 mbd, it remains the region of the biggest future project capacity additions for the entire USA. The 250 kbd Thunder Horse project started oil production in mid 2008 but has not stopped the overall declining trend in GoM production. Blind Faith and Neptune also started in 2008, adding almost 100 kbd capacity, but they have not helped either.

2009 GoM projects include Shenzi, 85 kbd; Tahiti, 125 kbd; and Thunder Hawk, 60 kbd. Will these projects combined with the 2008 projects reverse the declining GoM production trend? There's a possibility however Thunder Horse is believed to be only producing 100 kbd.

Deepwater GoM projects face numerous production constraints. These include hurricanes, planned and unplanned maintenance, and production ramp up delays due to engineering challenges. Decline rates for mature GoM fields are about 20% pa according to the IEA.

If it's assumed that a 20% decline rate is applied to 1 mbd of GoM production then additional production additions of 200 kbd are required every year just to keep GoM production constant. 2008 total GoM capacity additions might be as high as 360 kbd including Ursa Princess expansion. However, production additions are probably closer to 200 kbd. Similarly, 2009 GoM capacity additions might be 300 kbd of which about 200 kbd will probably be production additions.

It is possible that USA GoM production will stay constant or experience a small decline from 2008 to 2010. If the USA GoM production continues to decline slowly, then it appears likely that USA crude and condensate (C&C) production will also continue declining. Total USA C&C production in 2004 was 5.42 mbd; 2005, 5.18 mbd; 2006, 5.10 mbd; 2007, 5.06 mbd; and 2008 YTD Oct, 4.94 mbd.

Nice update, thanks!


Not directly PO related, but folks here may have input:

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

In the wake of the global financial and economic crisis, the President of the UN General Assembly, Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, set up a commission of experts chaired by Nobel Prize Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, whose mandate includes putting forward "credible and feasible proposals for reforming the international monetary and financial system in the best interest of the international community". The Commission of Experts of the President of the UN General Assembly on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System will present its final report in early April 2009.

The Office of the President of the General Assembly has asked NGLS to consult with civil society groups across the globe and to compile their views into a single report that will be presented to the Commission as an official input to their deliberations. NGLS has set up an on-line consultation open to all civil society organizations to support this effort. Due to the short time frame of the Commission's work, a round of consultations is running from 26 January to 13 February 2009 intended to contribute to preparations of next meeting of the Commission in March.

If you wish to submit your proposals and ideas, please go to the online consultation page at:


On this website you will also find additional information, guidelines and the methodology of this process.

Kind regards,


Is this the beginning of a new Bretton Woods?

This is a damn shame:

Shocking new figures show the number of soldiers who committed suicide in January could top the number of soldiers killed in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan last month.
The parents and other family members will sorely miss their lost potential for postPeak change efforts as these youngsters disappear from the future.

Canadian Woman, 60, gives birth to twins



People, what am I missing?

You're not missing anything, Pragma. I'll tell whose gonna be missing something, though....two future kids who lose their mother early in life because their mother was so old when she had them.


I still can't work out if the UK's BG Group is getting into new gas developments to sell it locally or ship it back to Old Blighty as a countermeasure to pipeline imports. They are building LNG import terminals in the UK and at the same time developing resources like Queensland coal seam methane.

They're keeping their cards close to their chest. No need because the Australian government has not one whit of any concept of strategic gas reserves or depletion protocols.

China to close 32GW coal plants

Before you get hopeful, it's really a wash. They are closing the most inefficient plants, but plan new bigger but more efficient ones. More power from roughly the same amount of coal.

More extreme weather for arctic regions
More open water means stronger storms.

The smaller plants are more polluting. So the shift to bigger and newer plants will improve air quality.

Perhaps advan. But the last I read (about a year ago) China was firing up one new coal plant every two weeks. Doesn't sound like they'll see a net decrease in pollution at that rate. But then I'm not sure if the economic slow down has changed that situation.

As advancednano says, the only way to get more power from the same amount of coal is to turn less of it into pollution. Silver bb dude.

"Obama wants appliances to use less energy"

Sure seems like someone in the White House is reading our Open Letters...

  • Accelerate appliance energy efficiency improvements, including a near term 'smart' appliance and thermostat standard

Tell Obama to give us a call when he starts calling for less appliances. That is, when he's ready to tell everyone to hold on to their appliances as long as possible to reduce resource use.