Drumbeat: March 19, 2009

The peak oil crisis: government in the transition (Tom Whipple)

From a peak oil perspective, the notion of returning to days of vibrant economic growth is simply not in the cards. Economic growth takes oil; world production has already started to drop; and there will be much competition for that which is left. While gasoline is currently cheap, three to five years from now it won't be, as a combination of slowly increasing rates of oil depletion and lack of investment in new production will lead to shortages and growth-stifling prices.

At some point, the federal government which, through inertia and good lobbying, tends to fund all sorts of relics from bygone eras - space travel, submarine fleets, jet fighters, and a world-wide military presence -- will have to rethink what it is doing. There clearly are vast amounts of "government" expenditures which can be cut before we get to elementary teachers, sanitation departments, and public health.

If the past year is any example, the next few decades will be ones of extreme hardship. Governmental priorities are already [moving] from nice-to-do to can't-survive-without. The relationship among and services provided by the various levels of government will change - perhaps radically. For the coming fiscal year we seem to have a new paradigm under which the federal government borrows and sends enough money to lower levels of government to keep them functioning. If the borrow-without-much-taxing model is to continue to work, then some flavor of continuing federal support for local services will have to continue.

Steven Chu’s Energy Miscalculations (Dave Cohen)

Chu’s optimistic calculations also explain his curious lack of knowledge and concern about the oil (and natural gas) markets. As the nation’s chief energy scientist, he looks only at the very long term. He does not concern himself with what may happen 5, 10 or even 15 years from now. Chu wants to sponsor nifty, cutting-edge science. He does not want to engage in the thankless, difficult work of finding practical ways to reduce America’s oil consumption.
Recently Chu hired Matt Rodgers of McKinsey & Company to expedite distribution of DOE funding of R&D and renewable energy projects (Wall Street Journal, March 9, 2009). McKinsey & Company is perhaps the most important consulting firm you never heard of. Rodgers gave his take on peak oil in Will Oil Demand Peak Before Supply Does? His disjointed analysis contains gems like this one:

oil will remain the world’s primary transportation fuel for some time. Clearly, we aren’t moving to a hydrogen economy quickly, and renewables are not on a path to replace oil in the next 50 years.

Nonetheless, underlying trends suggest that we could hit peak demand for oil well before we hit peak supply. Going forward, there are significant opportunities to generate positive economic returns from improved energy efficiency—higher fuel economy can have a greater impact on global demand than any other single factor. Oil substitutes are being adopted as blending components much more rapidly than as replacement fuels. The use of e10 (gasoline with 10 percent ethanol) across the system has had far more impact than the limited use of e85 (gasoline with 85 percent ethanol). [emphasis added]

Genji and the printing press (John Michael Greer)

All this bears directly on the predicament of industrial society. Our age will certainly leave its share of legacies to the far future, but most of those are the opposite of helpful. (I am thinking especially of the nuclear waste we are heaping up in “temporary” storage facilities, which will likely be lethally radioactive dead zones surrounded by cow skulls on sticks 25,000 years from now.) Of our positive achievements, on the other hand, the ones most likely to reach our descendants 5000 years from now are the ones written in books.

Thus I’d like to suggest that books, and the technologies that produce and preserve them, might well deserve a place well up on the list of useful things that need to be preserved through the long decline ahead of us. I wish it made sense to count on public libraries, but those venerable institutions have gotten the short end of the stick now for decades, and the dire fiscal straits faced by most state and local governments in the US now do not bode well for their survival. (The county next to the one where I live, for example, has already shuttered its entire library system, and handwaving has replaced any meaningful plan to reopen it.) Like so many other things of value, book technology may have to be saved by individuals and local voluntary groups, using their own time and limited resources.

It might come down to copying books with pen and ink onto handmade paper, but there may well be another viable option. Letterpress technology is simple enough to make and maintain – the presses that sparked a communications revolution in Europe in the fourteenth century were built entirely with hand tools – and brings with it the power to produce a thousand copies of a book in the time a good scribe would need to produce one. With printing presses, something like the book culture of colonial America – with local bookstores, libraries open to anyone willing to pay a modest subscription, and private book collections – comes within reach, at least in regions that maintain some level of stability and public order. This may not seem like much in an age of internet downloads, but it beats the stuffing out of Dark Age Europe, when most people could count on living out their lives without turning the pages of a book.

RELOCALIZING VERMONT: Cooking with the Sun

I got a new toy yesterday--the beginnings of a parabolic cooker. I've been looking for a satellite dish on Washington County Freecycle, an email listing of things people want to give away or acquire for free, and one finally appeared. The former Wild Blue dish is about 1/3 m2 in area (average 27" in diameter), and it can really concentrate the sun. A couple friends showed up yesterday afternoon, just as I was about to cover the surface with self-adhesive aluminized mylar I'd bought at the ReStore. Six hands made the job of applying it (rather) evenly much easier!

This baby can cook! Even at 5:45 pm, a sheet of newspaper held in the focal point ignites within about five seconds (photos below the fold).

Oil, Water Are Volatile Mix in West

Energy Firms Buying River Rights Add to Competition for Scarce Resource

Industry representatives said they have substantial holdings of water rights for future use in producing oil from shale, though they could not confirm the precise numbers in the report.

Before any move into full-scale oil shale production, the energy industry plans a close study of water issues, including the impact its operations would have on ranchers, farmers and communities that all rely on the same limited sources of water, said Richard Ranger, a senior policy adviser for the American Petroleum Institute. "It's among the most important questions to be examined," he said.

Bitter fights over water are a recurring feature of life in the arid West, from Colorado to California, and energy companies are just the latest in a long list of users vying for the resource.

Lighting: A brilliant new approach

“INCANDESCENT” might well describe the rage of those who prefer traditional light bulbs to their low-energy alternatives. This week, the European Commission formally adopted new regulations that will phase such bulbs out in Europe by 2012. America will do so by 2014. Some countries, such as Australia, Brazil and Switzerland, have got rid of them already. When a voluntary agreement came into force in Britain, at the start of the year, people rushed out to buy the last 100-watt light bulbs. Next to go are lower-wattage bulbs.

. . .LED costs will need to come down.

Manufacturing efficiencies, as always, will help. But the biggest cost reduction will come from breakthroughs like that recently made by the Centre for Gallium Nitride at Cambridge University, England. Gallium nitride is a semiconductor used to create bright-blue LEDs. These can be made to emit white light by coating the device with a phosphor compound that absorbs part of the blue light and re-emits it as yellow. When combined with the rest of the blue this forms a cool, white light. Most of the white LEDs now on the market are based on gallium nitride.

At present these LEDs are made in machines similar to those used to make silicon chips, by depositing layers of gallium nitride on sapphire-based wafers. Sapphire is robust enough to withstand a process that first heats it to 1,000°C and then cools it to room temperature without causing cracks and other defects. It is, however, quite expensive. What Colin Humphreys and his colleagues at Cambridge have come up with is a reliable way to deposit gallium nitride on much cheaper silicon wafers, which they estimate could cut production costs to a tenth of what they are at the moment.

Nuclear Power: The critical issue of safety

Yet public fears about the safety of nuclear power could still derail its revival, at least in richer, democratic nations. In many countries, majorities oppose building new reactors. People fear nuclear accidents, terrorist attacks, the long-term risks of storing radioactive waste and of nuclear fuel being diverted to build weapons (see article). So far, no country has succeeded in building a permanent geological repository for high-level nuclear waste, and only Finland has secured public acceptance for a site.

Concern about climate change has softened opposition a little. According to a poll by the European Commission last year, 44% of people in the European Union now broadly support nuclear energy, up from 37% in 2005; and 45% oppose it, down from 55%. However, in 2007, when the pollsters posed a more detailed question that explained the environmental benefits and safety risks of nuclear power, 61% said its share of the energy market should be cut. In America, too, says Eugene Rosa of Washington State University, everything depends on the question. About 80% of Americans say they think nuclear power will be “an important future source of energy”. But when a Gallup survey in 2007 asked whether people were in favour of expanding the use of nuclear energy, 50% were in favour and 46% were still against.

Oil still king, but players think green

Even the environmentalists who addressed the final day of an Opec seminar acknowledged oil was a fuel for the future, with oil, gas and coal expected to account for around 80% of the world's energy until 2030.

"Fighting climate change cannot realistically mean fighting oil. Fighting climate change means fighting emissions," Yvo de Boer, head of the United Nations climate change secretariat, told the conference.

A $100 barrel price drop from a record hit last year has hurt oil producers, but is a bigger threat to those generating environmentally-friendly fuels, which are considered commercially viable as alternatives to expensive oil.

"Low oil prices are the enemies to research into alternative sources," Reuters quoted Eni chief executive Paolo Scaroni telling the conference.

'Miracle' saved Balkans from blackout during gas crisis

Against all odds, South Eastern Europe's electricity grid was able to withstand soaring consumption during the January gas crisis between Russia and Ukraine. Collapse in any of the countries would have triggered a long-lasting regional blackout, experts told EurActiv. . .

"The difficult situation with the grids at that moment in fact benefited from the economic slowdown, due to the global crisis. Consumption was therefore not so high as to threaten the stability of the interconnected systems in Europe. Moreover, the gas crisis took place during a period of winter holidays, with less activity in the economy and production," Cretu explained.

Angolan oil production capacity reaches 2.1M bpd

Angola's oil production capacity has topped 2 million barrels per day, according to the country's top oil official, though the country is respecting OPEC-mandated reduction quotas set earlier this year.

Oil Minister Jose Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos said earlier this week at a meeting in Vienna of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries that Angola is capable of producing 2.1 million bpd, the highest rate ever for the country's fledgling oil industry.

However, output was intentionally scaled back to 1.656 million bpd to meet the OPEC reduction requirements aimed at raising flagging oil prices worldwide, said Vasconcelos, who is also the acting OPEC president.

Madagascar Oil Continues Strong in Aftermath of Coup

While the company head declined to comment on the political environment in the country, Madagascar oil is proceeding as planned with its onshore heavy oil projects.

'Industry needs $60 oil'

Oil prices should not drop under $60 a barrel if investment is to be maintained, Eni boss Paolo Scaroni said today.

Similarly prices should not be above $75 if economic growth is to be sustained, he told an Opec energy conference.

"In my view calculating a reasonable number is a balancing act," Reuters quoted him as saying.

"Go too low and you get declining investment .... plus a lot of waste," he added. "Go too high and what you get is a declining economy."

World faces 'perfect storm' of problems by 2030

Food, water and energy shortages will unleash public unrest and international conflict, Professor John Beddington will tell a conference tomorrow.

A "perfect storm" of food shortages, scarce water and insufficient energy resources threaten to unleash public unrest, cross-border conflicts and mass migration as people flee from the worst-affected regions, the UK government's chief scientist will warn tomorrow. In a major speech to environmental groups and politicians, Professor John Beddington, who took up the position of chief scientific adviser last year, will say that the world is heading for major upheavals which are due to come to a head in 2030. He will tell the government's Sustainable Development UK conference in Westminster that the growing population and success in alleviating poverty in developing countries will trigger a surge in demand for food, water and energy over the next two decades, at a time when governments must also make major progress in combating climate change.

"We head into a perfect storm in 2030, because all of these things are operating on the same time frame," Beddington told the Guardian."If we don't address this, we can expect major destabilisation, an increase in rioting and potentially significant problems with international migration, as people move out to avoid food and water shortages," he added. Food prices for major crops such as wheat and maize have recently settled after a sharp rise last year when production failed to keep up with demand. But according to Beddington, global food reserves are so low – at 14% of annual consumption – a major drought or flood could see prices rapidly escalate again. The majority of the food reserve is grain that is in transit between shipping ports, he said.

"Our food reserves are at a 50-year low, but by 2030 we need to be producing 50% more food. At the same time, we will need 50% more energy, and 30% more fresh water."There are dramatic problems out there, particularly with water and food, but energy also, and they are all intimately connected," Beddington said. "You can't think about dealing with one without considering the others. We must deal with all of these together."

UPDATE 1-UK's South Hook LNG needs several startup cargoes

Several cargoes of liquefied natural gas are needed to prepare Britain's South Hook LNG terminal for commercial use, with the first due to arrive on Friday, a spokeswoman for the facility said.

'Several LNG cargoes will be required during the final commissioning process and once cool-down begins South Hook will require a continuous supply of LNG,' the spokeswoman said.

'Once the cool down process of commissioning begins, natural gas will begin to flow into the national transmission system within a matter of weeks.'

She declined to say how many commissioning cargoes of the super-cooled gas had been booked, or how long it would take, but South Hook in south Wales should enter commercial operations shortly after completing commissioning.

Electric car closer to market (video)

Aptera is promising its first electric vehicle sale in California by the end of 2009.

Oil above $50

Crude prices rocket higher on government program to buy up its own debt. Oil touches $50 for first time since January.

"It's a combination of a drop in the U.S. dollar and the Fed's move that has pushed up oil prices," said David Moore, a commodity strategist at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

"But I suspect more of it is probably on hopes that U.S. policy stimulus would help turn the economy around, or at least stabilize it.

'Spend now - or face catastrophe'

Action is needed now to prevent a possible "catastrophic" energy supply crunch , Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali Naimi warned today.

"In years to come, if traditional energy supplies should prove inadequate because capital expenditure was curtailed due to unsustainable prices, unreliable indication of future demand or hopes for a substitute that oil cannot deliver, such a supply crunch would be catastrophic," Reuters quoted Naimi as saying.

"The painful result would be felt sooner rather than later. It would effectively take the wheels off an already derailed economy."

The world risked disaster by placing too much hope on untested alternative energy sources, Naimi told an Opec conference of energy leaders.

"We frankly court disaster if these supplemental resources on which such high hopes for energy security and sustainability are pinned do not fulfil their high expectations," he said.

Lawmakers question economics of Alaska's proposed natural gas pipeline to the Midwest

And before a shovel has even been put into the ground for the pipeline, some lawmakers are having second thoughts about giving Calgary-based TransCanada Corp. up to a half billion dollars to get the estimated $30 billion project moving.

With the global recession and Alaska's state coffers dwindling with the low price of oil, state Rep. Jay Ramras, R-Fairbanks, has co-sponsored a resolution asking the Palin administration to revisit the generous financial terms for what some call an uncertain project at best.

The Canadian company won an exclusive state license to build the pipeline under the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act, and with it up to $500 million in state incentives. Another company, formed by ConocoPhillips and BP PLC, is proposing its own pipeline without the incentives.

In addition, Palin has called for an in-state small diameter line to deliver North Slope natural gas to urban Alaska markets.

Iran diverting funds into oil production

Iran's oil minister said Wednesday his country is diverting funds from other sectors of its national budget to support its oil industry — its main revenue source — suggesting that at present prices the Islamic Republic was losing money on its crude.

Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari's comments revealed an extra burden on the country ahead of key elections in which popular dissatisfaction with falling living standards is expected to play a large role.

"We have to bring money from other sectors to the oil sector," Nozari told the Fourth OPEC International Seminar.

He gave no figures but later told The Associated Press that while some fields were still profitable at that prices production at others had to be subsidized to maintain output at over 4 million barrels a day. Shutting down production could mean high restart costs if prices rise.

Iraq Considers Giving Foreign Oil Investors Better Terms

BAGHDAD — To attract badly needed investments to increase its oil production, the Iraqi government is considering new incentives for foreign companies, including plans to offer majority stakes in joint ventures to develop the country’s huge oil and gas fields, senior Iraqi officials said Wednesday.

Foreign companies could own as much as 75 percent of the new ventures, the officials said. In its negotiations with dozens of international companies, including Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell, Iraq had until now offered stakes of no more than 49 percent in new joint ventures to develop existing and new oil fields.

Under a formal process created last year, companies have been asked to bid openly for the right to take part in expanding Iraq’s oil production. But many companies have been skeptical of the country’s terms, saying they lacked enough incentives. At the same time, Iraq’s improved security has meant that foreign companies are eager to invest in the country after decades of wars and sanctions kept them out.

Sempra Pipelines & Storage Announces Open Season for Firm, Natural Gas Storage Capacity Available April 1 at Bay Gas Storage

SAN DIEGO, CA - Sempra Pipelines & Storage, a unit of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), today launched a non-binding open season to solicit market interest in up to 1 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of firm, natural gas capacity at its Bay Gas Storage project near McIntosh, Ala.

The pipeline receipt-and-delivery points for the storage service includes those owned and operated by Florida Gas Transmission (FGT), Transcontinental Gas Pipeline (Transco) and Gulf South.

The high deliverability storage services offered in this solicitation of interest would provide customers with a unique capability to respond to market peaking events. These services allow customers to inject natural gas into storage when prices are low due to domestic supply and LNG imports and withdraw the gas when prices escalate.

10th Circuit dismisses oilman's sweeping natural gas fraud claims

A Denver-area oilman says he will continue his claims that energy and natural gas pipeline companies are cheating the federal government out of billions in royalties.

A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver on Tuesday upheld a Wyoming federal judge's decision that threw out 73 lawsuits filed by Jack Grynberg, who runs a petroleum company in Greenwood Village, Colo.

The appellate court cited a law that aims to provide incentives to whistle-blowers while discouraging "opportunistic plaintiffs" who have no original information to add. The False Claims Act allows whistle-blowers to collect a bounty so long as their claims are not filed based on publicly disclosed information.

Grynberg's lawsuits allege the companies use several techniques to knowingly underreport the heating content and volume of natural gas extracted from federal and American Indian lands, which results in the underpayment of royalties.

Here's this week's European Union Gas Storage figures worded in the form used by the EIA

Working gas in storage was 487 Bcf as of Monday, March 16, 2009, according to estimates. This represents a net decline of 47 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 300 Bcf lower than last year at this time.

Switching back to metric. Stocks are now approximately 8.5 bcm below last year (last week
was 8 bcm lower than the same week last year - get the picture here...). Average European
storage is now down to under 28% as compared to about 44% this time last year. Storage
continues to decline at an average rate of around 100 mcm/day faster than last year and has done so
ever since the Russian production collapse.

French and Italian storage now down to 17%

The official story is that European gas companies are playing a game of chicken with Gazprom. I don't find that reassuring...

The unofficial story (Matt Simmons claim) is that Russian gas production is post-peak and is now in steep decline.

'Miracle' saved Balkans from blackout during gas crisis

Against all odds, South Eastern Europe's electricity grid was able to withstand soaring consumption during the January gas crisis between Russia and Ukraine. Collapse in any of the countries would have triggered a long-lasting regional blackout, experts told EurActiv.

A blackout of a much larger magnitude than the November 2006 power failure in Germany, which plunged millions of people into darkness in several European countries, was narrowly avoided in January 2009 in South Eastern Europe, various experts told EurActiv.

A big White Swan flew over SE Europe in the winter of 08/09.

US weekly Nat Gas numbers

Bloomberg survey of analyst’s expectations for EIA gas storage number:
Withdrawals of 22 to 26 Bcf for the week, or 3.1 to 3.7 Bcf/d.

EIA Historical:

2008: Withdrawals of 85 Bcf for the week, or 12.1 Bcf/d.

5 yr. avg.: Withdrawals of 61 Bcf for the week, or 8.7 Bcf/d.

ACTUAL: The EIA reported withdrawals of 30 Bcf for the week or 4.3 Bcf/d, lowering gas in storage to 1,651 Bcf.

Below analysis by Kenneth Carrol at Johnson Rice:

Based primarily on the warmer normal temperatures, increasing LNG imports, growing US production and the lingering impact of hurricanes Ike and Gustav on supply, we would expect the EIA to report withdrawals for last week of around 15-20 Bcf for the week, or 2.1 to 2.9 Bcf/d. This compares to a 85 Bcf (12.1 bcf/d) withdrawal for the same week in 2008.

Temperatures last week were warmer than normal for this time of year as measured by Heating Degree Days (HDDs), with the NOAA reporting 135 HDDs (Thursday-to-Thursday). This compares to a normal 160 HDDs. For this same week last year the NOAA reported 182 HDDs, with the EIA reporting a withdrawal of 85 Bcf.

Based on the 135 HDDs reported for last week, our HDD model would suggest withdrawals of 35-40 Bcf for the week.

Since withdrawals began back in November, the actual withdrawal reported by the EIA has come in well below expectations, with the past 15 weeks averaging 4.0 Bcf/d less than our model predicted. Given the impacts on industrial demand from the difficult macro economic situation and the lack of primary demand, we would expect a similar variance in the week’s gas storage report.

The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) has released its weekly electric output figures for last week, reporting output of 70,591 Gwh, a decrease of 3,774 Gwh from the prior week’s 74,365 Gwh. For the week ended March 13th, estimated nuclear plant availability was down slightly (an avg. of 87,991 Mw available vs. 89,283 Mw the prior week), showing a decrease of 217 Gwh of electricity output.

In the spring and summer of 2007, low gas prices overseas, particularly in the U.K., had driven LNG imports of more than 3 Bcf/d as the relatively strong North American prices attracted spot cargos. Winter weather in the UK (see chart on page 5) had kept gas prices well above U.S. prices, reducing LNG cargos coming to the U.S. Reports had LNG send out volumes up slightly with send-out averaging 1.4 Bcf/d last week compared to 1.1 Bcf/d the prior week. This is also above LNG imports of 0.7 Bcf/d this time last year.

While still relatively low, we will closely monitor LNG imports as gas prices in Europe, and particularly the UK, have fallen dramatically in the past several weeks. Back in late January, UK gas was trading at roughly $9.50/mmbtu versus $4.40/mmbtu in the U.S. That $5/mmbtu spread has now narrowed to around $0.40/mmbtu as winter weather in Europe eases. Not surprisingly, with the narrowing differential, we have seen LNG imports to the U.S. increase for the third week in a row.

Global crisis 'to strike by 2030'

Growing world population will cause a "perfect storm" of food, energy and water shortages by 2030, the UK government chief scientist has warned.

By 2030 the demand for resources will create a crisis with dire consequences, Prof John Beddington said.

Demand for food and energy will jump 50% by 2030 and for fresh water by 30%, as the population tops 8.3 billion, he told a conference in London.

Climate change will exacerbate matters in unpredictable ways, he added.


"It's a perfect storm," Prof Beddington told the Sustainable Development UK 09 conference.

IMHO thats twenty year too late


I've used this joke before but maybe by 2030 he means 8:30pm tonight ;-)

And I note the wording "by 2030" - no earliest date given at least in the BBC report of what was said.

We will probably fell effects of it long before the 2030 date.

Sadly, he thinks the UK is well placed for food and energy ... we already import ~40% of our food and ~70% of our coal and North Sea gas and oil can be expected to be close to zero by 2030 if we are to believe the official reserves statistics!

Do you think he understands ELM, and the fact that it applies to any import not just oil?

It also begs the question of payment -- what can be exported to pay for the imports? If the answer is "bonds", then eventually the deal will sour (as with the US and China), the currency will drop, and nothing will be affordable to import.

What does the UK export in large volume?

If the answer is "bonds", then eventually the deal will sour

Denninger is on a real rant today. His tone is unlike anything I've heard before, sounding more like Matt Savinar.


Bernanke Inserts Gun In Mouth

Yes, we're talking chickens, goats, enough arable land to grow what you need to survive (bartering for what you don't have with what you do) and the means to defend it.

According to Denninger, Undertow's 2030 quip is closer to the truth than I would like.

Maybe Leanan isn't on vacation. Maybe she 'bugged out'...

I have been singing this song - raise cash now - for quite some time. Let me be succinct - it has been my considered belief that you need enough in liquid cash - not credit access in the form of credit card available balances or anything similar - for at least six to twelve months. I'm upping that here and now to twelve to twenty-four months - that's right - one to two full years of "minimum necessary to make it" expenses. Figure out right here and now what your minimum "monthly nut" is, and raise 12-24 months of that much in safe, liquid funds.

That's a minimum; if you can in fact have enough available to be able to execute a "bug out" plan where you are able to become effectively self-sufficient on short notice (a couple of months maximum) if necessary, that's even better. Yes, we're talking chickens, goats, enough arable land to grow what you need to survive (bartering for what you don't have with what you do) and the means to defend it. If you live in a big city consider carefully what you intend to do if unemployment goes north of 20% and the city effectively goes feral - if you're interested in "how bad can it get" go drive through major parts of Detroit - bring an armored vehicle for your tour and/or at least semi-automatic weapons.

Or maybe not. I saw this there and wondered WTF it was about...

FED: Collateral for TALF Expanded
* DIRTNEWS: The Fed announced today that TALF collateral has been expanded to include bags of dog squeeze, used condoms and plasma.

** ADDENDUM: Fed considering accepting barf from pubs; determining the viability of collection devices in bar restrooms.

Maybe he's hungover from St. Patty's day. Did someone spike his drink?

I wondered about that too. At first I thought it was a ref to an Onion-like site but Google came up with zip.

Maybe he's gone off his meds. :-)

After reading the following article, he makes sense...

Fed statement on wider TALF collateral for April

The Federal Reserve Board on Thursday announced that the set of eligible collateral for loans extended by the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) is being expanded to include four additional categories of asset-backed securities (ABS):

* ABS backed by mortgage servicing advances
* ABS backed by loans or leases relating to business equipment
* ABS backed by leases of vehicle fleets
* ABS backed by floorplan loans

Yeah, it does appear that the government is starting to pull random things out of the air...

Thanks Gecko,

I agree, that's probably what he was referring to.

I knew what he was getting at, but like you said, it was an odd post.

US births break record; 40 pct. are out-of-wedlock

We are going to accelerate into the concrete wall with full force.

And people wonder why I never had kids.

You should see the look in their eyes. I wish I could tell what they are thinking. On the other hand, maybe ignorance is bliss.

You should see the look in their eyes.

...those black, soulless eyes...

Where's the link for this one? I would like to read this.

U.N. panel says world should ditch dollar

So, whither interest rates a year from now? In the short term, some people are talking about 4% range 30 year mortgage rates.

This latest attempt by the FedRes lasts weeks.

China and Russia according to Setser are buying only short term

"All told, China continued to buy US Treasury debt; it is "the only option" for China, Russia and everyone else at this stage of the game, as Luo Ping wailed to the FT last month. But of the $12.2 billion China purchased in January, fully 95% were short-term bills. "Russia also, interestingly, added to its holdings of short-term Treasury bills," Setser says.

And then, with the latest Treasury fund-flow data revealed...BOOM! The Federal Reserve prints $300bn to buy 30-year US debt, plus another $750bn to buy mortgage-agency bonds."


"My interpretation of what is happening, is that the government sees massive redemptions of long term Treasury’s by failed financial institutions and needs to do some damage control. They will try to keep these Treasury’s from hitting the market and prevent interest rates from rising higher. This means they have to buy them all!"


KD 's saying the same thing.

Hello WT,

Thxs for the link. IMO, govts will collapse and take on new forms and new maps frequently postPeak. If ever a universal currency is developed: again IMO, it should be based on real assets that create future real wealth that everyone can readily understand.

Recall that the first banks stored grains and no interest was charged, just a small fee to the banker to store and protect this vital stash. Recall my prior posts outlining the advantages of I-NPK over grain: rodents and bugs are not a problem, longer shelf-life of I-NPK vs grain, more energy dense than grain due to Agro-ERoEI of Liebscher's Optima of 20:1, hard to counterfeit and steal, issued currency serial# can match the serial# on I-NPK bag or jug, etc.

If a person doesn't want to use this I-NPK and/or related currency because they can then be taxed: no problem--> go to making and composting your own O-NPK, as much as possible to reduce your tax-burden, or totally to be tax-free. Since I-NPK will eventually deplete anyway, the more that people decide to use O-NPK, the better it is overall for the ecosystem.

All animals have evolved and therefore rely upon the O-NPK Circle of Life and they don't pay taxes. Their innate territoriality works to optimize this system. Recall my prior posts on this topic: an animal defecating and urinating as it makes its somatic-bounded territorial rounds is, in effect, banking the O-NPK for future wealth and use.

Humans, due to exosomatic tool leveraging [bicycles,wheelbarrows,SpiderWebRiding], can have larger and more efficient territoriality if knowledge is wisely applied, but it needs to be optimally constrained to somatic endurance, just as it is for other animals. In short, I believe an assertion towards Optimal Overshoot Decline can have benefical effects vs waiting for Nature to bat last.

My prior posts on Foundation, initialization and enlargement of biosolar habitats, Earthmarines, watershed boundaries, Federal Reserve Banks of I-NPK, and numerous other topics all tie into this theme or meme that I have been gradually working on. My feeble two cents.

Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?

O-NPK as money.

Somehow, it just makes sense.

Just like FF is the stored ability to do work (through combustion) O-NPK is the stored ability to grow food.

Toto, if you have never seen Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, go see it. I mentioned it before... There's a major plot point around the use of O-NPK in a FF depleted future...

Aunty Entity (Tina Turner): We call it Underworld. That's where Bartertown gets its energy.
Max (Mel Gibson): What, oil? Natural gas?
Aunty Entity: Pigs.
Max: You mean pigs like those?
Aunty Entity: That's right.
Max: Bullshit!
Aunty Entity: No. Pig shit.
Max: What?
The Collector (Frank Thring): Pig shit. The lights, the motors, the vehicles, all run by a high-powered gas called methane. And methane cometh from pig shit.

Its been a while since I watched this one. But I never understood how those Pigs got fed. (forget about the humans in the 'colony'). It appeared that they were in the middle of a desert(-like region), water was precious.

Unless, they feeding them the output from the 'thunderdome'...

As long as we're asking questions about Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, can anyone explain why those kids decided to move from their nice desert oasis to a radioactive urban ruin? I loved the scenes of those children, that's the best representation of extreme Post-Peak/Olduvai Gorge life I've seen in fiction. Most likely that is where the entire planet is headed in the not too distant future. Looks quite OK from where I'm sitting.

"Time counts and keeps countin', and we knows now finding the trick of what's been and lost ain't no easy ride. But that's our trek, we gotta' travel it. And there ain't nobody knows where it's gonna' lead. Still in all, every night we does the tell, so that we 'member who we was and where we came from... but most of all we 'members the man that finded us, him that came the salvage. And we lights the city, not just for him, but for all of them that are still out there. 'Cause we knows there come a night, when they sees the distant light, and they'll be comin' home." --Savannah Nix

can anyone explain why those kids decided to move from their nice desert oasis to a radioactive urban ruin?

The kids thought that Mad Max was Captain Walker, and was going to take them 'home' to civilization.

I did find their flavor of justice interesting... Thunderdome. Have a dispute? Fight to the death... Makes me wonder what law and punishment will look like post PO...

Dr. Dealgood (Edwin Hodgeman): Listen all! This is the truth of it. Fighting leads to killing, and killing gets to warring. And that was damn near the death of us all. Look at us now! Busted up, and everyone talking about hard rain! But we've learned, by the dust of them all... Bartertown learned. Now, when men get to fighting, it happens here! And it finishes here! Two men enter; one man leaves.

Have a dispute? Fight to the death...

That's what the Chisi Dine'e' or Chiricahua Apaches did back in the day. Only honorable way for two men to settle a dispute was a knife fight. The way "los goddammies" (whites) fought with their fists was considered wimpish.

When Mangus Coloradas brought his third wife, a Mexican girl, home, his two Apache wives thot they'd make her do all the work. When Mangus said that the work would be split evenly between the three of them, his Apache wives complained to their brothers about this. So the brother of his first wife challenged Mangus to a knife fight. Mangus prevailed & killed the dude but in the process was cut badly & lost a lot of blood. So on the very next day when his second wife's brother challenged him, Mangus knew that he'd better think fast. What he did was enter the fight holding his knife the way one would hold it to castrate a colt, not the way one would hold it fighting a man. This was considered such a grave insult that his brother-in-law flew into a blind rage and attacked. Mangus side-stepped the thrust and stabbed him to death. After killing both his brothers-in-law in two days, his wives decided that sharing the work with the new girl wasn't so onerous, after all.

The make-up sex must have been awesome.

Typical male....sex and violence.

Typical women. Not willing to work. ;)

Hello Gecko,

Yep, I probably need to view the movie again sometime.

As discussed before: What's interesting is if the dollar is losing value plus FFs are headed upward in price-->this tends to make I-NPK imports to the USA more expensive because I-NPK is nothing more than 'transformed FFs'. Recall USGS Nitrogen statistic: we are 48% import reliant for ammonia & urea [carbamide].

From memory: Morocco mines and beneficiates six or seven tons of overburden + raw ore to eventually end up with one ton of DAP or other equivalent finished, high phosphate product. Obviously, much more energy is then required to move it across the pond, up the rivers, then train and/or truck to be finally dispersed on a high altitude golf course in the Rockies.

Thus, the general stock market may go down, but fert-companies shares may do quite well or at least stay neutral. Unless economic conditions deteriorate so badly that even farmers can't afford I-NPK [my Ft. Knox scenario]. Then everyone will be scrambling to get O-NPK wherever they can find it and then compost it.

Have you hugged your butt today? [just love that quote--full credit to the TODer author--sorry I forgot who it was]

Yeah, too bad we can't harvest NPK from the ocean, especially around the 'dead zones'...

Ocean "Dead Zones" Spreading Rapidly as Humans Pollute the Planet

The number of "dead zones" in coastal regions around the world continues to rapidly increase, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and the University of Gothenberg, and published in the journal Science...

Dead zones are areas where oxygen has become so depleted that little or no marine life is able to survive. They form when excessive plant nutrients, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus, run off from the coast and lead to an explosion of algae blooms. When this vastly increased biomass dies and sinks to the bottom, its decomposition leads to the proliferation of oxygen-consuming bacteria...

In the current study, researchers found that the number of dead zones has steadily increased from 39 at the end of the 1960s through 63 at the end of the 1970s, 132 at the end of the 1980s and 301 at the end of the 1990s to the current number of 405. The total area consumed by dead zones now measures no less than 95,000 square miles.

The major sources of the pollutants that produce dead zones are fertilizer runoff from industrial agriculture and nitrogen-based byproducts of fossil fuel use.

It reminds me of the concept of Negawatts and energy conservation... If we can keep NPK on the fields and not running off into the rivers and oceans, it would go a long way to conserving it...

In Soylent Green, it was an oceangraphic study by the Soylent Corporation that indicated that the oceans were dying, and thus led them to introduce the "New Soylent Green". Of course, at the end of the film, we find out that "Soylent Green is people!"

The "miracle food" of high energy plankton, gathered from the oceans of the world. Due to its enormous popularity, Soylent Green is in short supply, so remember—Tuesday is Soylent Green day.

Its good to see the 'neckerchief' will still be in fashion 13 years from now...

Yeah, too bad we can't harvest NPK from the ocean, especially around the 'dead zones'...

But you can! All you have to do is build a few large turbines (windmills) and connect them to air compressors. Pipe the compressed air to the bottom of the ocean near the outlet of the rivers feeding the area with the "dead Zone". The increase in oxygen in the water will allow a boom in the fish, etc... The fish will consume the smaller things which will be picking up the NPK in the ocean water. Harvest the fish and you will be harvesting the NPK also. Biological harvesting of the NPK?
The ocean is just a giant kids fish tank. Turn off the air pump and the fish all die. Run the air pump and the fish thrive.
A cheap test could be done inexpensively by putting 3 or 4 large diesel air compressors on a barge(s) and station them in the outflow of the Mississippi River. Run the compressed air to the bottom and bubble it through fish tank type air stones (these are available sized for aerating lakes here in MN now). Run the compressor 24/7 for a month or two and track the flow of the oxygenated water to see how far it goes and you could calculate how many wind driven air pumps might be needed to eliminate the "Dead Zone". Only cost maybe tens of thousands of dollars to run the test. But, maybe the Government can't fund anything less than Billions today?

It reminds me of the concept of Negawatts and energy conservation... If we can keep NPK on the fields and not running off into the rivers and oceans, it would go a long way to conserving it...

Here is a product that will keep NPK in the fields and plants


All animals have evolved and therefore rely upon the O-NPK Circle of Life and they don't pay taxes.

And yet, on this very board, you have people pimp'n that Genetic Engineering and the patenting of DNA is a good idea.

I have yet to see anybody but you, in this post, suggest that patenting DNA is a good idea.

Hmm, maybe I could patent a business method for drawing responses to posts of dubious merit by making nonsensical arguments unrelated to anything anybody said.

I could call it topical rearrangement over longitudinal logistics!

I have yet to see anybody but you, in this post, suggest that patenting DNA is a good idea.

Hence my comment 'on this very board'. Not 'in this post' or 'in this thread'.

Hmm, maybe I could patent a business method for drawing responses to posts of dubious merit by making nonsensical arguments unrelated to anything anybody said.
I could call it topical rearrangement over longitudinal logistics!

Go right ahead. Be sure to reference
As your example of how you have created the art.

Hi Gang!

Last night Gail came and gave a speech to the Electric Vehicle Club here in Atlanta. And, it was a great one! I have never seen our group of gear-nerds so energized and depressed...

To those who haven't met her, this is my quick description of her: She is a white, “retirement aged” married gal with sons that help her with her computer. Short blond hair, and wearing a pair of very stylish glasses. Smart and classy appearance. Forceful when she needed to be, but otherwise kind of low-key.

She came and gave a simple A leads to B leads to C presentation of peak oil and the financial situation. By the time she was finished, 1/3 of the group looked like they wanted to drink the Kool-Aid with the methamphetamine in it, 1/3 looked like they wanted to drink the Kool-Aid with the LSD in it, and the other 1/3 looked like they wanted to drink the Kool-Aid with the cyanide in it. (I have been a “Gloomer” for many years so I just try to keep to my limit of 12 shots of tequila per day.)

Anyway, our club prides itself on its mental toughness, I dare-say that you could put lighted cigarettes to our arms for hours and only get chuckles in return (water-boarding, however, will get you instant false confessions to anything you want. I, for example, am willing to pre-confess to killing Abraham Lincoln). So, at the end of her presentation she got a hearty round of applause, and some came up and pounded her on the back.

As George Ure at www.urbansurvival.com always says, “If you keep telling people the truth, and discussing reality and the future, soon people will start to avoid you. Being right doesn't help.” (Something like that)

Anyway, I would like to give Gail some more props. Did you know that she is a volunteer? If you ask me, she is putting in more than a full-time job, more like 2 or 3! I'm not sure that you could pay someone to work as hard as she is working, only deep internal motivation can provide such an output. So, lets hear it for her hard work and for her deep caring for the state of the world around her!!!

Heck while I'm at it, lets hear it for all of the other contributors, including all of the posters!!!



I Second the motion. Yep, Gail & the TOD Staff kick ass!

"so energized and depressed..."

That one got a good laugh.

I'm jealous, wish I could have seen it.. for that matter, I wish I had an EV as well.. but I'm working on my E-Velo-trike design with a shell built like a skinned-wood Kayak.


"Always tell the truth. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest." Mark Twain

I uploaded a copy of my presentation Where We Are Headed. People will see a lot of familiar looking graphs. I hope to write up a similar post soon.

Regarding the retirement age issue, in actuarial consulting, retirement at a pretty early age has been typical. At one point, my company had a 60 and out rule. That was eventually softened, but people were still encouraged to retire in their mid to late 50s.

If you look at the various peak oil organizations, you will discover that the majority of the people working close to full time are folks who were somehow able to "retire" from a previous job. For example, Bart Anderson from Energy Bulletin, and Steve Andrews, Tom Whipple, Rick Block, and quite a few of the other ASPO USA folks are "retired".

In a lot of organizations, I would be too young to retire. I saw peak oil as an important topic, and chose to take retirement when I did, so that I could work on it more. My husband is still teaching full time at a university near here, and has no particular plans to retire soon.

Is this argument valid?

How Peak Is our Oil

I am a well-site geologist and work on horizontal drilling projects in NM and Colorado.
If you look at the rotary rig count – rigs around the world actively drilling for oil and gas, there are about 1100 rigs drilling in North America (US and Canada) and another 1000 rigs drilling in the rest of the world. Doesn’t this seem surprising? That over half the rigs actively drilling wells are in the US and Canada and there are so few, relatively, drilling every were else. The reason is, I suspect, that drilling technology has advanced so far that it is cost effective to drill in aging and unconventional fields in North America, where in the rest of the world there still drilling the “easy to get” oil and gas. Eventually, the advanced technology learned here will be applied internationally to further extract massive amounts of oil and gas from all the fields around the world. We might be at or near peak oil, but I think the curve will remain a plateau before it plummets.

I checked out the rig count. The writer did not separate rigs drilling for gas verses oil. Found the oil-gas split for international rigs at the Baker Hughes but could not locate the US oil-gas split. Found that at this CNN Money site. The US rig count is the latest weekly data while the international data is the latest monthly, February, data.

Oil 228 – Gas 884

Oil 792 – Gas 204

So the above argument is invalid because the poster assumed all the rigs were for oil. The US has such a high percentage of gas rigs because we are drilling for smaller and smaller pockets of gas, I suppose.

Excel page for Baker Hughes International Rig Count.

Ron P

The writer's point of view is what I have labeled as the "Magic Pixie Dust" effect. I addressed this topic in a response to Euan, in the 2008 Peak thread:

Re: "An extended bumpy plateau"

I first debated this topic (in a Q&A) with Scott Tinker, the Texas State Geologist, who gave a presentation in Dallas in 2005. He basically presented the CERA "Plateau" model. In the Q&A, I pointed out that we had seen sharp peaks in Texas and overall Lower 48 production, so why shouldn't we see the same with world production?

He said that Hubbert type mathematical modeling works well with geographically limited discrete regions, but not with the world (I didn't get a chance to ask a followup question as to why he considered the world not to be "geographically limited"). He also went on to add that while "We may not be able to match the Texas peak production rate, we can significantly increase production, with the use of improved technology." (So, we sprinkle magic Pixie Dust, and a miracle occurs?). The problem I have with this argument is that we haven't seen any sign of the Pixie Dust working in areas like Texas and the North Sea--two areas developed by private companies, using the best available technology, with virtually no restrictions on drilling. Of course, we don't stop finding new oil fields, but we can't--so far--offset the declines from the older, larger fields. This is the same problem I have with CERA's model.

I realize that you are talking about something different from CERA's hallucinations, but the problem that I have with projecting an extended bumpy plateau is that it is the sum of producing regions that generally look like Texas and the North Sea.

Magic pixie dust could be right around the corner...

I used to be pretty pessimistic, but now becoming more optimistic in several areas, not least PO.

THe related thread on THAI indicates that a resource base of 1.7T b can be obtained at a cost under 50/b... and this canadian resource is duplicated in Venezuela, and no doubt there is more elsewhere. Further, the thread suggests that over 2/3 is recoverable, say 1.2Tb in each of the two countries. 2.4Tb at 10Mb/d (SA level) = 800 years. IMO this is exactly the thing SA and OPEC have been dreading.

150M indicated cost for 10k/d production indicates capital cost payback in 10 months at $50/b. This is far less than former oil sands capacity, estimated around 100k/b/d... $150B is sufficient for a 10Mb/d flow rate... Petrobras was thinking of much higher investment for sub-salt, maybe this will get put off.

And pixie dust in NG, too. Shale gas was too successful, caused a price crash. IMO it will settle around 6/mcf, plenty profitable, affordable, and sufficient for electrical power plus some cars, too. LNG need not apply.

I've been investing in ARD/GPOR, recent gains in the former have nearly compensated for losses in the latter. Just bought my first bit of PBEGF

what seems too good to be true often is.

Big difference between unconventional natural gas versus unconventional oil, and the question remains as to whether the industry can achieve the drilling and completion rate necessary to maintain a stable to growing natural gas production rate from gas shales. But I agree that this has of course been a positive factor regarding supplies.

Regarding oil, lots of things are possible, but back in the here and now, the one year estimated decline in net oil exports from Venezuela and Mexico was about 650,000 bpd, which is close to two-thirds of total net oil exports from Canada.

So the above argument is invalid because the poster assumed all the rigs were for oil. The US has such a high percentage of gas rigs because we are drilling for smaller and smaller pockets of gas, I suppose.

Good observations. At the very least, the title ought to be 'How Peak is Our Natural Gas'? If you choose to be optimistic on nat gas, you could advance an argument that large volumes of tougher gas must be available in Russia. I'm not an expert but my understanding is that the geological evidence is pretty good. But all we can infer coming out of Russia these days tells us almost the opposite. What's behind the curtain? Geologic factors we don't know about? Ever-present 'above ground' factors?

To your main point, the easy conflation of oil vs. nat gas drilling muddies the waters.

Changing the subject, Al Naimi tells us:

"We frankly court disaster if these supplemental resources on which such high hopes for energy security and sustainability are pinned do not fulfil their high expectations," he said.

It is too bad he doesn't yet realize/acknowledge that one of those 'supplemental resources' is the oil remaining in the ground.

"The reason is, I suspect, that drilling technology has advanced so far that it is cost effective to drill in aging and unconventional fields in North America, where in the rest of the world there still drilling the “easy to get” oil and gas."

So Brazil's Tupi field which is in a couple thousand feet of water and under 8000 to 10000 feet of salt and rock layers is conventional? Saudi Arabia and most other mid east producers have been using directional driling for how many decades? Iran's using steam injection to get more oil out is a conventional oil extraction method?

I don't think this guy knows what he is talking about.
Darwinian is correct in that the gas/oil split really matters. If the guy made the same statement about gas drilling it might have some validity.

Article quote: "...where in the rest of the world their still drilling the “easy to get” oil and gas."

The author forgets [or is not aware of], that many of the most advanced EOR techniques such as MRC horizontals, have been used in the MidEast and global offshore for a long time to extract the 'hard to get' bypassed pockets of oil and gas.


As you know, I’m also a well site geologist and thus assume my credentials are as meaningful (or not) as my brother in the Rockies. You caught an excellent point with the difference in NG drilling ops and oil plays. There’s another factor that plays into the differential: the majority of wells drilled in the US are by independent operators. And for every big one like Chesapeake and Devon, there are hundreds of small companies. Overseas is dominated by the NOC’s and majors who do tend to drill fewer holes on bigger prospects. They can not function effectively drilling small prospects. Thus even with the same technology and higher prices there isn’t the potential for many of the smaller foreign fields to be developed IMHO.

As you point out, the unconventional NG plays were dominant in the jump in drilling activity in the last few years. True: the UNG rig count has benefited greatly from tech improvements. But the same service companies developing these new applications readily market them throughout the world. Two years ago I used the same advanced horizontal drilling technology in a little crap hole in Africa as I use today in the GOM. In fact, I used a new very advanced log-while-drilling tool there which had yet to be deployed in the US at the time. During my career I’ve seen more technology advance in the foreign markets then in the US. Such advances are expensive and require high cost operations to be effectively used. At tends to happen over seas. Even much of the Deep Water technology deployed in the GOM today was perfected in foreign drilling efforts. US service companies are the driving forces in technology advances today…not the majors as it was 40 years ago. And many of these companies are slowly (and relatively quietly) slipping out of the US for more tax friendly countries. There is a small Swiss canton that is becoming one of the prime incorporation venues for many of these companies. Folks can enjoy hearing about such companies being tagged with higher US corporate tax rates but the loss of revenue and local jobs from such companies isn’t too funny IMO.

I concentrate far more on buying non-US energy company stocks due to what I see as the coming unpredictable operating and tax environment in the US.
It is sad the jobs we are losing and will lose in the future.

One of the reasons I question KSA's claims. All evidence points to them using the latest and greatest technology to maintain production rates. With the exception of production in the Soviet Union and to some extent China one can assume if the super straw effect is real its global.

Now whats interesting with the Soviet Union is they replaced technical advances to some extent with a pure brute force approach.
Poke enough holes and the oil will flow.

Also I was wondering if you would be willing to comment on this.


The thesis is that in many parts of the world that the official production number where probably systematically low.

A good question memmel: how honest are the production numbers? And almost impossible to answer with any degree of confidence IMO. I'm not very familiar with foreign practices but I've seen a lot of fudging domestically. But only on forecasts. Very difficult to fudge on actual production numbers here... too many eyes. As far as company "projections" of future production they have always been universally too high.

But I suspect you're right about under reporting by foreign NOC's, operators, etc. Lots of reasons to lie but it all goes back to "follow the money". In the oil patch we call it "hot oil sales". Unofficial (read: stolen) production sold at a discount (25 years ago in S TX hot oil sold for about half the posted price). The magnitude would certainly vary greatly by location. It’s difficult to believe that the scale hasn’t been (and still may be) huge in Russia. Mexico...maybe. The Persian Gulf....probably. But cumulatively, it's difficult to say whether the numbers add up enough to throw the big picture off too much. But that's just my WAG.

Well it adds up over 70 yrs :)

For Texas its sufficient to explain the instability of HL for the region.
Thats how I figured it out. Thanks to Roberts in my opinion incorrect analysis.
Without Robert Rapiers work I'd not have looked into this.

But generally regardless of the absolute amount of oil thats been underreported
the most important point is that the ability to fudge the numbers probably exists
in many parts of the world as a side effect of diversion of money from oil sales.

The double set of books is in place and has been for some time.

This means you probably can't realistically discount my more extreme views on our situation.
Not that I can prove I'm right just yet but the noise level in the numbers is historically high and I've suggested repeatedly that it will probably grow as we pass peak.

The problem of course is at the first sign that the oil markets are strained I suspect we will see some seriously volatile price movement if I'm right about the market doing some sudden discovery. I don't think it will become peak oil aware just yet but I think it will slowly grok that the oil supply has problems and not obviously this time because of rapid growth.

"We might be at or near peak oil, but I think the curve will remain a plateau before it plummets. "

No sh*t! What a bright light this guy.

Even if this guy is otherwise right, he ignores the question: where will the money come from to finance all of this drilling? The short answer is that the money isn't going to be there - not enough of it, anyway.

Money is becoming our ultimate Liebig's Limit.

".... there are about 1100 rigs drilling in North America (US and Canada) and another 1000 rigs drilling in the rest of the world."

where o' where are the excessive onerous impediments to "drill baby drill " ?

So by this scale (rig count) a deep-water rig for oil, a horizontal drill for shale gas, and an old conventional machine drilling an in-fill well would all weigh identically?

Within a locale I can see that rig-count could be meaningful, but numbers like these have very little meaning and perhaps negative value.

Good observation Paleo. Especially when you focus on THE most significant change in one part of the count IMO: the unconventional NG rigs being shut down. I can only offer a rough guess but a disproportionate large share of the rigs being idled are in this play. When you consider that the record high NG production rates during 2008 where from these plays it offers a clear insight to how those numbers will tumble in the future. From a scant bit a data it looks like the Haynesville Shale play is one of the few (perhaps only one) that can still be chased to any significant degree under current pricing conditions.

There are numbers of rigs by state as well. The last time I looked Louisiana, with primarily conventional NG production, was down less than most. This agrees with your theory that unconventional is disproportionately affected.

One could get also use state data to get an idea regarding impacts in other areas.

Excellent, Darwinian. I love it when someone besides me can see that things that are different can not be added. Logic matters.

Arguments can be mathematically true and logically false (invalid).

Oh darn it!
So that means I can't add Geothermal and a small fireplace to my Solar heating and get more heat in the house?

.. and I thought I had it figured out!

ALL SORTS of different things can be added. It is vital to know what the differences are, but that they are 'different' is not what makes the logic flawed. The logic is only invalidated if there aren't useful similarities.

I've got to say, the suspense of figuring out what your argument really is drives me nuts! I hope you find the words to clarify it sometime.

2 apples + 3 oranges = 5 fruit. Where's the illogic?

Here it is: cars, cats, plate glass windows, etc., kill birds, so it's okay for wind turbines to kill them too. This is the mindless rationalization proffered every time the fact that wind turbines are a source of avian & chiropteran mortality is mentioned. As if multiple wrongs justify an additional wrong. This particular cognitive pathology seems to be TOD group-think modality, at least for many. Why can't people just be honest and admit that they care more about powering their electric toothbrushes & can openers than they do about birds? It must be a conspiracy!

Here it is: cars, cats, plate glass windows, etc., kill birds, so it's okay for wind turbines to kill them too. This is the mindless rationalization proffered every time the fact that wind turbines are a source of avian & chiropteran mortality is mentioned.

I'll spell it out so you might have a chance to understand.

Until you oppose the other LARGER sources of mortality of birds/bats - you lack *ANY* moral authority to claim that Wind Machines should be opposed with all due force.

Not to mention the lack of standing due to your inability to cite studies.

Thus far you are nothing more than a toothless whiner when it comes to bird/bat deaths due to wind machines.

Why can't people just be honest and admit that they care more about powering their electric toothbrushes & can openers than they do about birds?

I note how you, yet again, do not address the larger killers that man can opt to control. What about the insecticide sprayed on the bird food? What about the laser zapping mosquito killer - how will hummingbirds eat? What about ..... I also note how you seem to care more about posting messages about how people do not care about birds VS conserving birds and bats by not logging into TOD.

(Oh and I care about refrigeration of food, energy for food processing, powering my computers and networking gear. and lighting. )

Ok, take a screeching, hard right segue onto DD's pet topic, and try to reapply the comparison to that.

Your use of the internet is complicit in birdkills just as much as any wind-turbine, DD. Telephone Wires, Trucks, Powerstations, Plastics and Electronics manufacturing, businesses in highrises that buy and sell communications deals, server companies..

You make these flamboyant and self-righteous appeals to the preservation of our wildnerness with this one, overplayed pet-peeve issue compared to the toxification of the watersheds and other known detriments to birds,bats and all manner of wildlife.

You're not on any high ground here. Wind power is an Improvement over any fuel-burning electricity source. I highly suspect it's a subtraction of birdkill, not an addition.

Swing your bat at some of the big problems, for pity's sake!

This isn't my "pet topic." I bring it up rather often because the vehemence of objection it typically invokes strikes me as symptomatic of an uncritical group-think mentality among ideologically bonded regulars on TOD. Of course there are currently many much more significant sources of avian & chiropteran mortality than wind turbines. There are about 16K commercial wind turbines operating in the US today, and estimates of bird mortality per turbine per year range from about one to over eight. Of course these estimates understate the real number of birds killed because of bias towards under-reporting by proponents of wind energy, missed birds flung or shredded by the blades, scavenging of carcasses by carnivores, and wounded birds that fly off to die later. But using a median figure of four bird deaths per turbine per year gives a conservative estimate of 64,000 dead birds per year. This figure is low relative to the millions of birds killed annually by cars or cats. No one disputes this. But advocates of wind energy are calling for the construction of many more new wind turbines. If these are built bird mortality will increase. And individuals of at least 21 species on the U.S. FWS list of Birds of Conservation Concern are known to have been killed by wind turbines. These already stressed populations simply don't need this new and growing source of additional mortality. My point is that the hypocritical "greenies" who object so obstreperously to the mere mention of these facts only display their technocopian bias towards what they consider to be a "greener" version of BAU. What we need is energy conservation, not more windmills.

We need conservation AND more windmills.

It would be productive and is customary to link to some current work on this, instead of your personal averaging, and your accusations of biased undercounting.

Show the sources, please, as you have been asked repeatedly.

"...it strikes me as symptomatic of an uncritical group-think mentality... ""

You spout an unsupported opinion shared by millions of uninformed people... and you denigrate the research. That fits nicely the definition of "uncritical group-think mentality." Maybe you could qualify as the poster child?

The REAL reason you bring it up is for TROLLING:

"I bring it up rather often because the vehemence of objection it typically invokes"

You need attention and know this Bait will get it for you.

.. which is what makes it a 'pet topic', as well.

I have concern for the implementation of new wind at industrial scales that it learn from past mistakes. But as I have said, their visibility makes it an easier technology to keep in check, next to the anonymous clouds of crud that are salting the world from various burnt sources.

You should know that the Audubon Society - who should know a thing or two about birds - has studied the issue in depth, and has concluded that they will support wind energy. The accumulating damage on many fronts from coal-based electrical power, including acid rain, was found to be more harmful overall than the small numbers of birds killed by turbines. Note also that larger turbines seem to have proportionately fewer bird victims, possibly because the rotational rate is slower.

And if you're advocating "no coal AND no wind turbines", get real. You will get no support for that.

Dick Lawrence

I don't know if this is relevant but I work for a electric utility and have spent a significant amount of time in power substations. The amount of bird kills is astonishing. That is just in the stations, on feeders and transformers, everything from sparrows to geese cause trips and outages, also squirrels.

One morning, about this time last year I found an goose underneath a 12kv line and 3 other geese were standing watch nearby. Family I guess.

I wonder if they accounted for substations ?


Death by…:

Utility transmission and distribution lines, the backbone of our electrical power system, are responsible for 130 to 174 million bird deaths a year in the U.S. 1 ... One report states that: "for some types of birds, power line collisions appear to be a significant source of mortality."2


And speaking of "astonishing" kills (from the same link):

One television transmitter tower in Eau Claire, WI, was responsible for the deaths of over 1,000 birds on each of 24 consecutive nights. A "record 30,000 birds were estimated killed on one night" at this same tower.7

In Kansas, 10,000 birds were killed in one night by a telecommunications tower.8...

While this may seem so off topic, you have hit something I watch time and again. Charts and graphs are kewl, and I am glad TOD lets me touch real life sometimes.

I had one of the kittens die yesterday, they are kittens to me always, but some have gotten on in age. Nothing to show, some discomfort the day before, got a few howls from nowhere. But she sat with me and purred as usual.

She found a big patch of morning sun and just rolled over in the sun and died. Cats do find the sun, and by the time I realized something was wrong she was pretty much gone, not sure if she knew I was holding her or not. But sunning herself was a really good choice of a way to go.

She was disadvantged, think a Down's cat, had difficulty keeping herself clean but she was agile beyond belief. Her affection was always to bite. Every other cat cut her some slack. Something we could all learn.

But when she died, the dog got very upset, they were friends. The other cats hid. 2 days on now and the cats are still on edge, dog is not so bright and is back to normal. He went out and sat under a tree and would not come in, the day it happened.

But my point and sorry if I went on and on, the geese knew, that something of their kind was passing,and passing is something to be respectful about. Nate needs to think about that.

The very last frantic breath, the panting transcends species, I watched my cat do it just as I watched my mother do it.I've been there way to often, for the very last breath, I can't count how many creatures and people, I've been with when they died. Must be geezer stuff. It was very much the same and I held them both. I expect I'll do it myself.

Life knows and understands life, cross species, and we have spent many years moving away from that.

Don in Maine

Yes, we have observed similar in the passing of several cats over the years and a beloved German Shepherd dog a couple of years ago - the cats were "aware". Most notable was the obvious grieving of a male cockatiel when his non mating female comapanion passed.

We now have two non mating shepherds and if they are apart for any length of time there is obvious concern and search for the other.

Thansk for the post.


This isn't my "pet topic."

Yes, yes it is. So what do you feed your pet peeve to keep its coat so shiny?

I bring it up rather often because the vehemence of objection it typically invokes strikes me as symptomatic of an uncritical group-think mentality among ideologically bonded regulars on TOD.

Word salad? Is that what makes the coat grow so thick?

(others have tried to point out that, in the grand scheme of bird deaths windmills are not a big concern. You admit this is correct, but keep posting how wind machines should be stopped. Other than providing strokes for your pet peeve, what are you hoping to accomplish? Hate e-mail from the admins to tell you to STFU? You've admitted others are right, so why are you still posting on bird deaths every day?)

My point is that the hypocritical "greenies" who object so obstreperously to the mere mention of these facts only display their technocopian bias towards what they consider to be a "greener" version of BAU.

Others have made the point that buildings kill birds. What's next? Your links to building trade sites where you post about the evils of constructed dwellings?

Cropland and their effects on birds:

Trash and birds

What we need is energy conservation, not more windmills.

*poof* all windmills go away. Now, exactly where are the kWh's gonna come from? Coal? PV? Sticks you'll rub together?

So let's see. FedEx starts the week at 38, rises to
43 yesterday.

This AM it misses every metric by a mile.

Stock opens up to 46. Even as oil climbs over $50.
You betcha.


Well, don't tell them about this:

Oil: Low prices are behind us

Crude closed at $33.87 a barrel earlier this winter, and that's likely the lowest we'll see for some time.

While demand remains abysmal, production cuts from OPEC and scaled-back investments from oil companies are beginning to curtail supplies.

That, say analysts, means crude prices won't likely trade below the $40 range they've been locked in for the last three weeks.

"OPEC cuts are taking hold," Adam Sieminski, chief energy economist at Deutsche Bank, wrote in a recent research note. "Looking into the second quarter we believe oil prices are starting to find a floor."

OPEC has been ratcheting back production since late last year. While the cartel often has trouble making some cash-strapped members actually comply with the production cuts, this time around nearly everyone is on board.

OPEC has announced production cuts totaling 4.2 million barrels a day, and is thought to have achieved at least 80% of that so far, according to the research firm Platts.

Production in non-OPEC countries has also tightened, as deteriorating economic conditions force companies to cut back their exploration and production efforts.

So for you finance gurus out there: If I had fortuitously filled a VLCC at the $33.87 bottom back then, then sold it a $52 today-->How much profit would we be looking at? 52-33.87 = 18.13 X 2 million barrels, or

$36.26 million for kicking back on the VLCC's deck and drinking martinis, while it is anchored in the Caribbean?

Having a VLCC waiting in the Carib for a few months is quite an expensive enterprise. It wouldn't normally operate and you would need to have a full crew on board.

Hello Paulus,

Your right--I forgot the cost of the ship and crew-- so I would clear just a measly $30 million. This anchored VLCC scheme reminds me of my earlier Hells Angels' gas-station idea, but done on a huge scale!

toto -- I actually saw a fairly credible post a while back which showed the cost of storing oil in a VLCC ran aroung $.50-$1.00/bbl/month. So using $1 -$2 million per month should still leave a nice profit.

But that's how it should work: take your risk and benefit from the reward. Lots of folks lost big on the same play during 4Q 2008.

I heard on NPR recently that the cost of renting a tanker to store oil was about $75K per day. If that figure is correct that's about $2.25 million per month.

about $1/ barrel/month

Okay, thanks. Exxon Valdez held about 1.5 mb & I see that newer TI class supertankers are twice that size. So.. same ballpark.

The government is onto this scheme themselves... Ever hear of the SPR?

If oil prices spike, they will make money from it big time. They are sitting on 700 million barrels... If prices go to $200/barrel, we're looking at ~$150 Billion.

Food for thought.

What could the Government do with only $150 Billion? I doubt they could even bailout McDonalds with that paltry an amount.
Make it $150 Trillion and it might be of some use?

You might want to consider getting the Hell's Angels involved in this scheme as well...ya wouldn't want any pirates getting a hold of your booty.

From experience what more than likely happened:

You filled your VLCC at $36.81 with a protective stop at


That would be a painful punch to the wallet. LOL!

EDIT: but the FEDRES has probably already bailed this hedge fund out.

Looks like oil prices have to be b/w a rock and a hard place:

Oil must not be under $60 for investment-ENI

Oil prices should not drop under $60 a barrel if investment is to be maintained, said ENI (ENI.MI) Chief Executive Officer Paolo Scaroni on Thursday.

Similarly prices should not be above $75 if economic growth is to be sustained, he told an OPEC energy conference.

As long as they aren't between Iraq and a hard place...

Foreign companies would get majority stake in Iraq oil and gas projects

Iraq's new government for the first time is proposing to give foreign oil companies a majority stake in projects to develop oil and gas fields in an effort to greatly expand production at a time of falling oil prices.

A top adviser to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki on Wednesday confirmed statements made by the Iraqi oil minister, Hussain al-Shahristani, in Vienna earlier in the day that foreign companies could bid for as much as 75 percent of the profit from new oil and natural gas development projects. The adviser also confirmed that Iraq might offer new and existing fields for development by foreign oil companies, outside of formal bidding rounds for new fields, which had previously been open to only a small number of major oil companies.

Previously, Iraq had offered foreign companies no more than 49 percent stakes in new oil development projects. Shahristani told Bloomberg News in Vienna, where he was at an OPEC industry seminar, that Iraq would be open to bids from such companies as Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell for 75 percent stakes in new development projects.

Ahhh, yes, let the final frontier open up... Just like Oklahoma...

A time honored tradition lizard. Oil drops and the horse trading rules change. But the gov't eventually gets even: prices rise and the gov't will nationalize (re: Venazuela) many of those reserves.

So, what would add insult to injury to our current economic climate? Let's see, we have high unemployment moving more so in the near future, low corporate capital investments, residential/commercial real estate on the rocks, state funds looking shaky...how about oil going north of $60 with gas rising along with it.

I have many friends and some family that are now unemployed. If gas starts going back up, they are in a world of hurt.

Government buys its own debt and stock markets rally. Just wait until Bloomberg runs the headline "Dog Eats Own Vomit". That should spin off one humdinger of a rally!


Laugh of the day, by far!

TOD: please flag that story when it comes across....

Just wait until Bloomberg runs the headline "Dog Eats Own Vomit".

Wait a sec... Let's set the wayback machine about 3 months back on Bloomberg.com...

Treasury Should Consider 100-Year Debt, BlackRock’s Fisher Says
(Dec. 2, 2008)

BlackRock Inc.’s Peter Fisher said the U.S. Treasury should consider selling 100-year bonds to ease the federal government’s borrowing costs as it faces a budget deficit expected to top $1 trillion.

“If you issued a 100-year bond and had principal and interest pay down smoothly over the last 50 years, you create a great borrowing device for the Treasury that would let us move this hump of borrowing over the generational retirement that’s coming up,” Fisher, managing director and co-head of fixed income at BlackRock in New York, said in a Bloomberg Radio interview...

In 1993, Walt Disney Co. became the first company since at least 1954 to issue 100-year bonds. In 1997, Ford Motor Co. sold $500 million of 100-year bonds, exploiting a decline in Treasury yields. Demand for the Ford bonds, priced to yield 7.81 percent, was so high that it sold out within 25 minutes of the start of the sale.

“There are a lot of investors, pension funds, endowments, who would love to get a long-term annuity like that,” Fisher said. “They love to get an interest-only stripped off the 30- year, and they’d love to get something even longer. I think there would be a lot of demand from investors for that.”

Anyone here wanna buy a 100 year bond? Anyone?

I recall that in Japan during the boom years before their real estate bubble burst, house prices climbed so high that the only way to pay for a house was to take out a 100 year mortgage.

"We're turning Japanese, I really think so..."

E. Swanson

Anyone here wanna buy a 100 year bond? Anyone?

The only 100 year bond I would like would be a good adhesive that would have a 100 year bond.
Sorry, the play on words was just too good to pass up.

Yep. It looks like foreigner's apetite for U.S. treasuries is drying up:


If Americans don't save enough to take up the slack, that leaves the Fed, with newly minted dollar bills, as the buyer of last resort.

And of course the "slack" is growing daily due to increased government spending to pay for the bank bailouts and the stimulus package.

But the TPTB don't want Americans to save. So if they get their way, it looks like that printing press might get a pretty good workout.

13 firms receiving federal bailout owe back taxes

.."This is shameful. It is a disgrace," said Lewis, D-Ga. "We are going to get to the bottom of what is going on here."

..Banks and other firms receiving federal money were required to sign contracts stating they had no unpaid taxes, Lewis said. But he said the Treasury Department did not ask them to turn over their tax records.
Again, the real news tops The Onion.

"At least 13 firms receiving billions of dollars in bailout money owe a total of more than $220 million in unpaid federal taxes..." ( http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jqr4UotRftClHlFwgJmVYn... )

They're trying, Bob. They're trying, but it's hard work.

"Experts agree Giant Razor-clawed Bioengineered Crabs pose no threat"

.."This is shameful. It is a disgrace," said Lewis, D-Ga. "We are going to get to the bottom of what is going on here."

You and your CONgressional ilk ARE the bottom of what is going on here. Oh heck - and Administrative ilk too.


What's 'going on here' is that these people clearly have no idea about what they're doing, and are just 'doing something' to try to fool people.

"You can fool some of the people..."

Has anybody seen this? What a bunch of crap!....

Lose your property for growing food?
Big Brother legislation could mean prosecution, fines up to $1 million

Posted: March 16, 2009
8:56 pm Eastern

By Chelsea Schilling
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

Some small farms and organic food growers could be placed under direct supervision of the federal government under new legislation making its way through Congress.

Food Safety Modernization Act

House Resolution 875, or the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, was introduced by Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., in February. DeLauro's husband, Stanley Greenburg, works for Monsanto – the world's leading producer of herbicides and genetically engineered seed.

DeLauro's act has 39 co-sponsors and was referred to the House Agriculture Committee on Feb. 4. It calls for the creation of a Food Safety Administration to allow the government to regulate food production at all levels – and even mandates property seizure, fines of up to $1 million per offense and criminal prosecution for producers, manufacturers and distributors who fail to comply with regulations.

Another one for the good of the people....

Food Safety and Tracking Improvement Act

Another "food safety" bill that has organic and small farmers worried is Senate Bill 425, or the Food Safety and Tracking Improvement Act, sponsored by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

Brown's bill is backed by lobbyists for Monsanto, Archer Daniels Midland and Tyson. It was introduced in September and has been referred to the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. Some say the legislation could also put small farmers out of business.

I think this has been posted here before.

Rail car loadings are down by nearly 65,000 this week compared to a year ago. How long is the life of a train? If the average is 3.5 days with 3 engines that shuts down nearly 1,000 engines for 100 car traines.


The total amount by which railroad freight is down is just amazing! For the year, the total is down by 16%, but some categories are down much less (particularly coal, down 3%). If one subtracts coal from the total, everything else seems to be down about 24% over the last year. This has to mean a huge drop in industrial production.

Cars and building materials probably make up the bulk with I'd suspect lower coal usage making up a bit more as industrial production declines. Nate posted some info about NG so we can assume coal has backed off a bit.

Smoot-Hawley, here we come:

Mexico levies higher tariffs on U.S. imports
Mexico on Wednesday announced higher tariffs on $2.4 billion worth of imports from the United States in retaliation for the U.S. government's decision to end a program allowing some Mexican trucks on America's highways.

This tariff is a huge deal here in Oregon, where everything from potatoes to Christmas trees are impacted.

And on a related note:

Chinese-made drywall ruining homes, owners say
Officials are looking into claims that Chinese-made drywall installed in some Florida homes is emitting smelly, corrosive gases and ruining household systems such as air conditioners, the Consumer Product Safety Commission says.

The drywall is alleged to have high levels of sulfur and, according to homeowners' complaints, the sulfur-based gases smell of rotten eggs and corrode piping and wiring, causing electronics and appliances to fail.

One of the Chinese manufacturers named in the suit, Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin (KPT), said in a statement released through U.S. representatives that tests by an expert toxicologist it retained found "no associated health risks with the KPT product." KPT is still investigating whether its product has caused any corrosion, spokeswoman Yeleny Suarez said.

At least two other class-action lawsuits -- one in Florida, the other in Louisiana -- name as defendants Knauf Gips, KPT and a Chinese drywall manufacturer not connected to Knauf, Taishan Gypsum Co. In a telephone interview with CNN, a Taishan Gypsum representative said "it's impossible that our products are found to emit poisonous gas in America," adding that the company didn't export to the United States.

So the US accuses China of shoddy workmanship, China circles the wagons, and lawsuits ensue. All very predictable.

IMO the Mexican trucks and the Chinese drywall are mere excuses, triggers if you like, for kneejerk reactions by pandering politicians who are bowing to protectionist sentiment. The results are predictable, seemingly unavoidable and economically catastrophic.

IOW, the slo-mo global economic train wreck continues - no leaders are strong enough to resist the quick-fix mentality, no matter the consequences.

Then you get this from the enlightened members of US citizenry:

A B.C. sales representative who markets equestrian products in Canada was barred from crossing the U.S. border to attend a trade show last month by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer who accused him of trying to steal American jobs.

"He looked at me, and in a yelling voice he said, 'You're friggin' stealing jobs away from American citizens,' and I tried telling him that I wasn't," Joel Borsteinas told CBC News.


When renewing my TN visa (1-year temporary under NAFTA) at the Toronto airport in 2000 with all the paperwork professionally prepared by our company's legal counsel, the US Immigration dude kept on stating "So you are working as a network analyst?" No, I'm a network engineer. See, I checked the allowable professions under NAFTA and engineer-yes, analyst-no. After six times of the official trying to trip me up with "analyst", I said, "Maybe I haven't been clear, I... am... an... engineer... See, ring." At which point he went into his supervisor's office with the paperwork. To the credit of the more sane majority, I think the supervisor tore him a new one. The official abashedly returned and promptly stamped the TN visa and I was on my way.

This happens all too often at the US/Canada border where you get someone with way too much power, too little brain power fed by the endless stream of propaganda, thinking they are going to defend the country.

Maybe they should append the departments name to Customs and Border Protection-X (CBP-X) for Xenophobia. I've been back and forth over the border all my life like going down the street to buy milk. Things are different now, and not in a good way.

Welcome to the USA. Don't take it personally or think that your experience is just limited to people coming into the country. Just about all of us here have had some type of run in at some time or another with someone with a uniform, a badge, a gun, a big ego, and a small brain.

My spouse originally came to the USA on a TN visa and had a similar argument (engineer vs. analyst). Save some headaches and get your visa stamped in Portal, ND. Avoid the large border crossings.

That said, I've experienced something very similar while crossing into Canada, being called into the back room and getting grilled about "stealing Canadian jobs." It goes both ways.

The drywall is alleged to have high levels of sulfur

Considering it is Calcium Sulfate, I would hope so.

Never let the facts get in the way of a good argument:-) Obviously most people (including me) would not know this and just think poor Chinese quality...

Once it goes black, it'll never go back...

This is a picture of the damage that folks are seeing with this drywall. That 'black' wire is supposed to be shiny like a penny... This is the electrical system of the house.

Now, imagine this kind of corrosion with your heater/air conditioner, electronics, electrical system, appliances, piping... Not to mention Sulfur is a nasty element to breathe.

Again gypsum is Calcium and Sulfur. (with some Hydrogen and Oxygen tossed in)

To have loose Sulfur - you'd have to add energy to get the Sulfur airborne - now it MIGHT be that the Gypsum had loose Sulfur - but that should have made it yellow and noticeable when worked on by the home builder.

I've read a few of the Google News stories and so far no mention of diagnostic equipment being used to determine a specific cause.

I don't know what would be used, but I do know that there are CO detectors that are widely used in the HVAC field.

So is there a detector out there for this ?

The sulpher compounds are probably outgassing as hydrogen sulphide (H2S) or as sulphur dioxide (SO2) and yes there are handhelds that can be used to test for presence as well as stationary units in process control.

They are often used in gas processing plants and wellsite areas, as well as safety testing for closed vessel entry.

H2S is definitely the nastier of the two as it is highly poisonous in larger concentrations. The problem is, as concentration goes up, it knocks out your sense of smell. So, if you can't smell it anymore, either it's gone away or you will soon be dead.

In practice, SO2 is perhaps even more dangerous, for one simple reason: it reacts readily with water to form sulfuric acid.

On a personal level, it is unlikely because of the low resultant concentrations, but on a global level, perhaps. Sulphuric acid is the major component of acid rain. Remember when that was the worst we could worry about? Relatively recent sulphur abatement programs have reduced this threat fairly well.

Draeger tubes. One shot per tube, but they are cheap. As I recall, tubes are available for just about any gas you want to detect.

That is definitely H2S. I've seen it plenty in refineries on copper and silvered contacts.

You are obviously someone acquainted with sour gas/oil production.

I tend to agree but I have also seen similar and much worse corrosion and oxidation due to SO2 alone. Not just blackening but silver-black whiskers bristling from wires and contacts well downstream from the refinery/wellsite.

It depends on concentrations and humidity.

FDIC Chief: Uncle Sam Needs New Bailout Model

The head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. says the government's strategy in the financial crisis of bailing out huge institutions deemed "too big to fail" must be replaced by a new model.

In testimony prepared for a Senate hearing, FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair says a new system of supervision that prevents institutions from taking on excessive risk and becoming so large their failure would threaten the financial system is needed. She says a mechanism is needed to resolve troubled financial institutions similar to what the FDIC does with federally insured banks and thrifts.

What is the "need" for a bank to grow too-big-to-fail? If we simply keep them small, they could still experience a common-mode threat and fail en-masse, but at least there would be the notion that you start with the worst and chew through them all in good time, rather than choking on one like Citibank that cannot be swallowed.

Wouldn't a simple modification to anti-trust (or anti-racketeering, in many cases) be sufficient to chop them up and keep them that way?

If they are "too big to fail" then they are too big for our own good. If they can't stand on their own two feet then they need to be broken up into smaller pieces.

There could be no better investment in America than to invest in America becoming energy independent! We need to utilize everything in out power to reduce our dependence on foreign oil including using our own natural resources. Create cheap clean energy, new badly needed green jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.The high cost of fuel this past year seriously damaged our economy and society. The cost of fuel effects every facet of consumer goods from production to shipping costs. It costs the equivalent of 60 cents per gallon to charge and drive an electric car. If all gasoline cars, trucks, and SUV's instead had plug-in electric drive trains the amount of electricity needed to replace gasoline is about equal to the estimated wind energy potential of the state of North Dakota.We have so much available to us such as wind and solar. Let's spend some of those bail out billions and get busy harnessing this energy. Create cheap clean energy, badly needed new jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. What a win-win situation that would be for our nation at large! There is a really good new book out by Jeff Wilson called The Manhattan Project of 2009 Energy Independence Now. http://www.themanhattanprojectof2009.com

We need to utilize everything in out power to reduce our dependence on foreign oil including using our own natural resources.

Why? What difference does it make where the oil comes from? The oxidized byproduct goes into a common atmosphere. CO2 respects no national borders. It could be argued that it's better to use up foreign oil now, while saving some domestic production capacity for the future.

So, take the candy from other's jars before your own so you have some left at the end of the day for yourself.

Sweet logic, DD.

I said "It could be argued.." I'm not making that argument. Folks everywhere need jobs & income. All I'm doing is mocking the nationalism of the original post. I say get the oil from whomever can supply it the cheapest or better yet, leave it in the ground.

It might be a better investment to explain to people that the promise of cheap, clean energy doesn't mean that it's actually possible to replace our current fossil fuel consumption with renewable energy sources AND continue the perpetual growth required by the fundamentals of our political-economic model. Wait... we're not going to succeed in doing that because people don't want to hear it, so that wouldn't be a very good investment.

Maybe, while we're selling the dream of continuing on our present course but shifting to cheap, clean energy, we can at least build in a civilizationa-golden-parachute by insisting that this cheap, clean energy be of the decentralized, vernacular-technology type (e.g. thermal mass in homes and passive solar design rather than PV panels that power continuous A/C or heating, decentralization of food production rather than wind-powered vertical farms, etc.). That way when we wake up from the dream of an infinitely growting supply of cheap, clean energy, we'll at least have some useful stuff lying around...

..decentralized, vernacular-technology..

You mean you don't support a centralized bureaucracy regulating new thorium fission powerplants, the conversion of North Dakota into a giant windfarm, Arizona into a solar thermal furnace? Where's your technocopian zeal? How are we gonna run all our electric trains? Yes we can! remember?

Sorry, I'm getting off message again. Fortunately, my dissent doesn't seem to be getting in the way of the message... It's one of the clearer cases of Chomsky's notion of "structural vetting" these days.

Jeff, I totally agree with all you said. The whole MSM, and all the government spokes people keep talking about getting back on the economic growth curve. I want to scream back at the NPR broadcast " growth is a dead-end model, let's discuss no-growth sustainability instead." But of course, the whole US budget is based upon growth returning. The bank rescue, servicing the national debt, all of it implodes when a constant economic plateau or decline is used for budget and forecast. Without models that acknowledge reality or the possibility of no more growth, a soft landing will be much harder.

Lastly, I love your approach of investing in decentralized power production. That is a real source of hope that I would put my time and energy into implementing.

I share your pessimism about getting the government to make this choice. Hopefully the government at least won't get in the way of people taking their own action. I'm unsure whether to be optimistic or pessimistic on that front. I don't see the government intentionally facilitating individual action, but my optimism stems from my belief that govt's ability to enforce laws already on the books will decline. New regulation like this organic/local farming regulation that has been discussed here recently worries me, though. I need to research that more before taking a position.

Quick link on scale-free energy policy HERE.

Hi Jeff and also to Dick,

I notice Jeff says:

“It might be a better investment to explain to people that the promise of cheap, clean energy doesn't mean that it's actually possible to replace our current fossil fuel consumption with renewable energy sources AND continue the perpetual growth required by the fundamentals of our political-economic model. Wait... we're not going to succeed in doing that because people don't want to hear it, so that wouldn't be a very good investment.”

And, upthread, Dick Lawrence says:

“And if you're advocating "no coal AND no wind turbines", get real. You will get no support for that.” (http://www.theoildrum.com/node/5213#comment-484531)

I have many questions here.

I wonder if Dick is speaking ironically, or if he supports coal, wind or some combination.

I wonder if Jeff and Dick share a view of a "problem" with what Jeff calls "perpetual grown required by...our...model."

Both speak about people (in general?) not hearing or not supporting...something.

I guess my question is:

If people were able to hear, what is it you'd like them to hear?

Don't worry, when the value of the US dollar plunges to near zero, we'll become "energy independent" REAL QUICK! You'll be amazed at how fast we stop importing that foreign oil.

Iran's oil minister said Wednesday his country is diverting funds from other sectors of its national budget to support its oil industry — its main revenue source — suggesting that at present prices the Islamic Republic was losing money on its crude.

So Iran is diverting money into something that is loosing them money? That sounds like a solid investment!

A couple of questions:

I've read a couple of things about hybrid coal/nat gas and solar thermal plants. Basically they're replacing the thermal energy of the coal/nat gas with solar thermal. Does anybody have any info on the cost comparison for the thermal energy of solar thermal and that of coal/nat gas. I would imagine it would be pretty competitive (possibly even without carbon pricing). Anybody got any info on that? I would imagine much of the price of solar thermal plants is that the steam turbines and electricity distribution only runs at ~1/5 of capacity. With these plants, you could still operate at very high capacity levels.

On a similar note, there was a pamphlet in this month's national geographic showing off FritoLay's green efforts, and they showed off their sun chips' plant's solar thermal system to provide steam for producing steam. Anybody have any info on the competitiveness of that? Any info on growth in that sector?

I've read a couple of things about hybrid coal/nat gas and solar thermal plants.

I think they are just greenwashing. Lets build a coal or NG fueled thermal power plant. And when the sun is shining, we can use some of that to slightly reduce fuel consumption. By calling it green, we can avoid all sorts of bad PR. In an engineering sense, the temperature/pressure from the fossil fueled plant, versus from the solar thermal might be mismatched, and that could seriously compromise plant thermodynamic efficiency. Instead with a solar thermal plant with thermal storage, fairly high capacity factors (for the turbine) can be had. You simply size the solar thermal collectors a lot bigger than the turbine component, and shunt all excess heat into thermal storage -for use at night.

For the most part it certainly greenwashing, but it seems it could make sense for a lot of existing plants. Considering we already use fossil fuels, it would seem a better bet to use those fossil fuels as "energy storage". Idle steam turbines and power lines can get expensive. Better yet, it could be added to existing plants. While certainly not a complete solution, it does sound to me like an attractive way to leverage existing infrastructure.


Which reminds me of my all time favourite page from a DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) manual (I forget which) from the 80s. The only thing written on the page was


The MIL-Specs that I used to have to read to do my Digital Mapping, Had pages that said.... THIS PAGE IS BLANK......in bold letters in the middle of the page. But because the books were written on both sides, you usually got this only when you reached the end of a section or chapter.

It is rather funny to see in Government Documents, almost as if we would not get this because we know what normal books are like. But the reason is, that any blank page has to be noted that way so that additional information which is not part of the original is not added after the publication.

Call it a Safety device.

Crunching 2 or 3 Tera-bytes of data everyday was fun work back then.


"Every farmer in China wants a new vehicle, all 800 million of them":


And the Chinese government is going to help farmers get one with subsidies that are benefiting GM.

X, you forgot the picture in the article...

Better than rickshaws

global food reserves are so low – at 14% of annual consumption

This is insane. Big volcanoes blow periodically creating years that have names as well as numbers: "The year without a summer", "Seventeen hundred and froze to death".

And isn't that just like the financial crisis. Everyone assuming that problems (food production problems, debt defaults) are statistically independent and won't happen everywhere at once.

Solve the housing crisis by having immigrants buy houses ?????


I understand most of the foreclosed homes were sold to recent immigrants. Some did not even speak English.

Maybe better to stop immigration until all the houses are used up ?

Why go to the immigrants? Just sell them to the working lower class...

Hey, lady, your $800,000 house is NOT my problem

...a bus driver named Minta Garcia who is demanding that President Obama halt all foreclosures. She’s underwater on an $800,000 home.

ACOSTA: Like countless other Americans, Garcia admits she and her husband bought more house than they could afford, but she says the lender made the purchase all too easy. Now her mortgage is worth more than her house.

(on camera): How much was the house when you bought it?

GARCIA: Eight hundred.

ACOSTA: Eight hundred thousand dollars?. And how much is the house worth?

GARCIA: Right now, it’s like $675,000 on the market.

Bail her out, Obama. Actually, get a campaign donation from her first...

I understand most of the foreclosed homes were sold to recent immigrants.

You got a link on that claim ??

The link in your post sure doesn't address that.

I don't completely blame the immigrants. I blame mostly the bankers(Bank of America) , mortgage brokers ,real estate agents etc.

but for those who lied on their app. ??

"Unfamiliar with the U.S. mortgage market, unable to speak or read English well and vulnerable to the blandishments of real estate professionals who told them property values always rise, many immigrants are struggling to deal with high mortgage payments as their homes sag in value, making it harder to escape the loans by selling."




Michelle Obama To Plant Vegetable Garden at White House
Yes this is for real; maybe Barack really read the now-famous message from Michael Pollan posted to the NY Times and other forums on the state of the U.S. agricultural system. No it's not quite Tiger Woods plowing up Augusta and selling carbon-fiber wheelbarrows but it's a start.

Dick Lawrence

On Friday, Michelle Obama will begin digging up a patch of White House lawn to plant a vegetable garden, the first since Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory garden in World War II. There will be no beets (the president doesn’t like them) but arugula will make the cut.
Whether there would be a White House garden has been more than a matter of landscaping. It’s taken on political and environmental symbolism as the Obamas have been lobbied for months by advocates who believe that growing more food locally could lead to healthier eating and lessen reliance on huge industrial farms that use more oil for transportation and chemicals for fertilizer.

In the meantime, promoting healthful eating has become an important part of Mrs. Obama’s agenda.

“The power of Michelle Obama and the garden can create a very powerful message about eating healthy and more delicious food,” said Dan Barber, an owner of Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, N.Y., an organic restaurant that grows many of its own ingredients. “I don’t think it’s a stretch to say it could translate into real change.”

The Clintons grew some vegetables in pots on the roof of the White House. But the Obamas’ garden will have 55 varieties of vegetables — from a wish list of the kitchen staff — grown from organic seedlings started at the executive mansion’s greenhouses.

The Obamas will feed their love of Mexican food with cilantro, tomatilloes and hot peppers. Lettuces will include red romaine, green oak leaf, butterhead, red leaf and galactic. There will be spinach, chard, collards and black kale. For desserts, there will be a patch of berries. And herbs will include some more unusual varieties, like anise hyssop and Thai basil. A White House carpenter who is a beekeeper will tend two hives for honey.

Love it.

Hello DickLawrence,

Too Cool! Huge Kudos to the First Lady!

Now we need a paparazzi photo of Yergin loading into his SUV or pickup truck: his new wheelbarrow, tomato seedlings, bags of peat moss & manure, shovel & hoe, etc. This could help steamroll more people into relocalized permaculture and Kunstlerization before our JIT food reserves get too low.

These LED lights are going to put a real dint in energy demand once they roll 'em out...

I've been looking into 'em: try Google "Grow LED".


It sounded to me like they were made with gallium nitride. Is there enough Gallium to make very many of them?

Gallium is a byproduct of winning aluminum from ore. I believe there is a lot of gallium simply by virtue of the volume of aluminum processed.

For a one-watt LED you need a thin film of GaN or AlGaAn deposited on a substrate maybe 700 microns (0.7 mm) square. (They may have used bulk material in some early small LEDs of this type but I doubt anybody's using it in power LEDs or could even afford to.) There's very, very little material per watt. OTOH, if you're building CIGS-film solar cells, you're going to need a square about 17cm on a side, give or take some, to generate a watt (averaged over day, night, and clouds.) That's on the order of 50,000 times as much area. To put it another way, the gallium in 1km2 of CIGS panels - capable of providing an almost inconceivably trivial contribution to world energy supplies - might make on the order of a trillion 1-watt LEDs or a hundred billion 10-watt LED lamps. (At 120lm/watt, high quality 10-watt LED lamps will be roughly like 60-watt incandescents. The lamps you can actually buy may use cheaper LEDs that only do half as well.)

There may be another fudge factor for film thickness, but still, thin-film LEDs will take many orders of magnitude less gallium than CIGS panels. So while I do think we're going to have big problems producing CIGS panels in quantities sufficient to matter, thin-film LEDs seem unlikely to pose a problem in any time frame that needs to concern us...

My brother has several in his house and one of hte things that all of us Engineer types noticed is that they are not Omni-directional. you have light going only in one direction and you get dark areas.

The 20 LED's all point up to the end of the bulb. They should have a ring of them pointing down or out to the sides. It is like seeing a bunch if towers with the light going skyward, and the streets below are dark. Adding 12 LEDs that curve downward does not seem to be much of an engineering task load. And the wattage which is 1.5 Watts of energy usage for 20 LEDs would not be gained to much by adding a row of maybe 12 pointed downward/sideward and you would get more light around the bulb, like in the other bulbs sold that are higher wattage.

All in all, 1.5 to 2 Watts per bulb does cut your wattage by up to 1/26 th of the 40 watt bulbs they replace. 0.040 kWh for one bulb run 24 hours.

Hopes for so better designs so they all like the bulbs people now use and more of them on the market.



Your link says nothing of the sort! I suspect you may have misspelled the last syllable of your handle.

Regardless, your credibility has, well, shall I say, reached an inflection point?

"Your link says nothing of the sort!"

Exactly what I was pointing to, to dispell some earlier alarming reports. The head line was changed from US agencies to no damage.

Reducing drag to improve gas mileage

Ramesh K. Agarwal, the William Palm Professor of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, has successfully demonstrated that the drag of airplane wings and cars/trucks can be reduced by employing the active flow control (AFC) technology.

The idea behind the AFC is to deploy actuators on the surface of these vehicles to modify the flow in a way that the overall resistance is reduced.

Using computational fluid dynamics software, Agarwal has found that the actuators modify the flow, which results in drag reduction, which in turn reduces the fuel amount needed.

“The most promising actuators are the so called synthetic jet or oscillatory jet actuators which are embedded in the surface of the body (an airplane wing for example), and essentially perform injection and suction of the fluid from the surface in a periodic manner,” said Agarwal.

He has demonstrated that the transonic drag of an airplane wing can be reduced by 12 to 15 percent with the incorporation of three-ounce actuators, about 20 to 30 spaced optimally on the surface of the wing.

Odds Of Tipping: Better Than Even Chance Of Major Changes In Global Climate System, Experts Predict

A total of 43 experts estimated upper and lower bounds for the probability of those elements undergoing dramatic changes, given three different global warming scenarios: a warming by less than 2°C, by 2 – 4°C, or by an extreme of 4 – 8°C until 2200. “Strong global warming of more than 4°C by the year 2200 so far does appear to be a clear possibility,” Kriegler says.