Drumbeat: April 25, 2009

Richard Heinberg: A beguiling veneer of normalcy

Are we at the beginning of an epic Depression, or at the bottom of a nasty recession with brighter days only months away? It would seem to be a matter of perspective. Recent bank earnings reports and stock market activity have led many analysts to claim that the economy has indeed reached the bottom of the trough, and that while the recession is not over the worst has passed.

...The indicators to which I pay attention lead me to a different conclusion. We are indeed seeing a let-up in the frighteningly rapid financial collapse that began to unfold late last summer. That’s to be expected: all the trillions that are being spent on bailouts and stimulus packages must have some effect—though ultimately it will only be to provide a brief interlude before the storm returns in far greater force.

Will recession spark global food crisis?

Like millions of farmers around the world, David Start is slashing the amount of potash he uses on his Ontario farm and the impact is rattling the agricultural industry.

Mr. Start has cut his potash use by 75 per cent because the price of the fertilizer is just too high. He hopes that by using a limited amount of potash he'll still produce the same amount of corn, beans and wheat.

"If you can't afford the input, then you have to start to strategize," he said from his farm near Woodstock.

Farmers across Canada, the United States and elsewhere are making similar decisions and holding off on fertilizer purchases in the hope prices will fall. Their collective action has sent fertilizer sales into an unprecedented nosedive and pummelled the bottom lines of agriculture giants like Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., Viterra Inc., Bunge Ltd. and Terra Industries Inc.

Cantarell field in Mexico falling fast as gas cap expands down structure

Cantarell, discovered in 1979, by 1981 was flowing 1.156 million bbl/day from 40 wells. An average well in 1981 would produce 29,000 bbl/day. Development continued with production coming from many of the fields including Ixtoc, but as flow rates fell, gas lift equipment was installed. By 1995, the average well would produce 7,000 bbl/day. The gas lift program was expanded and by 1999, total production from the complex was 1.4 million bbl/day. But reservoir pressure continued to decline. Had there been no pressure maintenance installation, by 2004, production per well would have been about 3,200 bbl/day. Under that regime, production would continue for many years at ever declining rates.

U.S. ‘Soft Power’, Dollar Standard and the Banks

There is every reason to believe the US presence in the Middle East has far more to do with preserving a strangle-hold over the world’s largest remaining reserves of cheap energy than any compelling need of the US economy. The new Great Game being played with Russia over control of pipelines from the oil-rich provinces of the FSU to Europe reinforces the likelihood the focus of US diplomatic strategy has been and continues to be hegemonic control over the world’s energy supplies. Is this an insurance policy to guarantee the world will continue accepting US dollars? Is this rather than the naked power of US oil companies, the reason President Reagan promptly removed the solar panels from the White House when he assumed office – a wink and a nod to Saudi allies, the military-industrial complex, Wall Street and the banks and a stern reminder to our ‘allies’?

B.C. projected to rival Alberta for gas production

EnCana Canadian Foothills division president Mike Graham said improved technology is setting off a "renaissance" of natural gas production in North America, and B.C. is poised to benefit from it.

The province has large-scale reserves that are only now beginning to be developed as a result of sophisticated new extraction methods. And they are coming into production at a time when natural gas is gaining favour as an alternative to heavier fossil fuels, Graham said.

Oil should rise to $70-80/bbl in 2010: Russian minister

SOFIA (Reuters) - Oil prices of around $50 a barrel are not high enough to ensure exploration and production but crude prices should rise to $70-80 within 12-18 months, Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said on Saturday.

"We are interested in a fair price ... The current oil prices does not ensure sufficient funds for continuous oil production, extraction or the implementation of new technologies," he said, when asked by Reuters what price the world's second largest oil producer needed to get for its crude.

OPEC, Asian Ministers May Call for Curbs on Speculation in Oil

(Bloomberg) -- OPEC and 13 Asian countries may call for measures to curb speculation in crude oil to prevent a surge in prices once the global economy recovers from the worst recession since World War II.

Ministers participating in an energy roundtable in Tokyo may seek increased oversight of over-the-counter trades in oil and its derivatives, according to a draft of a statement to be released by the chairmen after today’s meeting, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News. The document, which may change, calls for limits on speculative positions in oil futures.

Saudi Arabia, Japan agree to promote energy cooperation

TOKYO (KUNA) -- Japan and Saudi Arabia have agreed to promote bilateral cooperation in renewable energy and conservation of power, as well as support for bilateral small businesses, Japanese officials said Saturday According to the officials, and during talks with Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshihiro Nikai here, visiting Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi underscored cooperation the two countries conducted, particularly in the energy field and increased investments by Japanese companies in the kingdom.

We’ll ensure gas supplies: Emir

DOHA/Sofia: Qatar yesterday assured the world of consistent gas supply and reiterated that its plans to produce 77 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in two years were on track.

“The stability and security of energy supplies globally are our prime concern and that’s one of the reasons why we are focusing on further developing our vibrant natural gas industry,” The Emir HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani told a key Energy Summit in Bulgaria yesterday.

Venezuela is the only one in the hemisphere suffering a recessive adjustment

In the face of a global crisis that has cut the demand of exported goods; turned the financing tap off in the international market and evaporated foreign investment, the governments that command the main Latin American economies, except for the Venezuelan government, have embarked upon a number of policies to circumvent recession and mitigate its impact on people.

Militant camps destroyed in Niger Delta

LAGOS (AFP) – The Nigerian military on Saturday said it had raided and destroyed two militant camps in the volatile Niger Delta as part of efforts to end violence in the oil-rich region.

Govt Order Averts Oil Strike in Argentina

The federation of Argentine oil workers' unions called off a strike planned for Thursday, heeding a 15-day "mandatory conciliation" order issued by the Labor Ministry.

As part of the government intervention, a meeting was to be held Thursday between the unions and the companies to resolve the labor dispute, Argentine media outlets reported.

Schlumberger CFO: Another Headcount Reduction Likely

Schlumberger's Chief Financial Officer, Simon Avat, said Friday the oilfield services major will likely reduce its employment levels in the coming months, Dow Jones reports.

The world's largest oilfield services company, Schlumberger cut some 5,000, or 6%, of its 84,000 global employees in the first round of layoffs announced in January amid a worldwide downturn in oil and gas activity and weakened crude prices.

Alberta wary of California low-carbon fuel rule

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Canada's biggest energy-producing province, Alberta, is wary of the new California low-carbon fuel rule and its potential effects on exports of oil sands production, the province's energy minister said on Friday.

Mel Knight, Alberta minister of energy, said the new rule -- and rules being considered by other states -- are a potential threat to exports of upgraded oil from Canada's oil sands, but Alberta will continue to try to participate in discussions to help shape such rules.

H2O Smart

Dawn Heffernan faces a big challenge. Her southern Alberta town will max out its water supply this year. Since there is no prospect of getting more, there is only one solution: conservation.

On your trike!

The main innovation with the modern trike is that the two wheels are at the front rather than the back, on either side of a box containing a seat (and a seatbelt) for children. The particular model I am training on comes with seven gears, a hydraulic handbrake at the front and an old fashioned coaster brake at the rear. There is also a continental style-frame lock that immobilises the back wheel.

Ocean power surges forward

Wave power and tidal power are still experimental, but may be little more than five years away from commercial development.

Al-Naimi Says Saudi Oil Output Below Target; Stockpiles to Fall

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest oil exporter, is producing less crude than its target and global stockpiles are likely to decline, according to Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi.

The country is producing less than 8 million barrels of crude a day, al-Naimi told reporters today in Tokyo, where he is attending a meeting of Asian energy ministers. Stockpiles “will come down eventually,” he said.

IMF: Mideast under strain despite oil wealth

CAIRO (AP) — The world's worst economic recession in about six decades is hammering the nations of the Middle East, with falling commodity prices severely straining economies and wealthy oil producers digging deep into savings to sustain spending.

Kuwait Min Says Worried Budget Gap If Oil $30-$40/Bbl

TOKYO (Zawya Dow Jones)--Kuwaiti Oil Minister Sheikh Ahmad Abdullah Al Sabah said Friday the government is worried it will incur a budget deficit if the oil price falls to an average of $30-$40 a barrel this year.

However, he added that it would be comfortable if the oil price averages $50-$60 a barrel in 2009 and $70/barrel or more over the next three years.

"I'm not worried till I see oil hitting $30-$40 because that would mean a deficit in the Kuwaiti budget. Oil is a depletable commodity and we can't afford to sell it at this price but have to conserve it. Nobody likes to see deficit in his budget," Sheikh Sabah told Zawya Dow Jones in an exclusive interview.

Natural Gas Is Going to 1997 Levels and is Going to Stay There for A While

In the middle of this decade, E&P companies were spurred on by rising commodity prices and easy credit to find and develop new sources of domestic natural gas–most notably shale gas. The forces that enabled this phenomenal growth in domestic gas production–the great asset and credit bubble–have vanished into air, into thin air. Now, Shale-gas companies may have been impaled on their own bayonets. Yet some would have us believe that natural gas prices are poised for a great comeback–that all the fret and worry is for nothing because prices are going to come right back up and justify the development of all the shale in the country, and then some. They are wrong: demand will continue to be weak and supply will not be nearly as sparse as the some of the gas-bulls would have us believe. Instead, the story of 2009, 2010, and beyond will be not only how much farther natural gas prices will fall, but also how long prices will stay in the basement, and who will be counted among the casualties.

Policymakers and the Depression

Well, it means that in a hyperinflationary period, you could have plummeting stock and bond prices (in real terms) AND rising food, energy, and other prices (in real terms). So don’t go buy that house just because you think inflation is going to boost house prices. In real terms, a hyperinflation destroys value. It doesn’t add it.

Here’s the thing to remember: all the physical capital stock that gets built in an inflationary boom doesn’t go away. The factories are still there. The houses are still there. The capital goods are still there. And the cars are still there. But the value of that capital stock has to fall once the inflationary boom goes bust.

Dutch Firms to Build Network of Charging Stations for Electric Cars

Dutch electricity grid companies have agreed to build a national network of charging stations for electric cars to encourage the purchase of this type of clean vehicles, Dutch media reported on Friday.

Kazakhstan Bank Stops Repaying Foreign Debt

MOSCOW — The largest bank in the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan, whose economy soared when oil prices were high, announced on Friday that it could no longer repay $11 billion in foreign debt.

The bank, BTA, said it would pay only interest to foreign creditors, who lavished the country with loans during the commodity boom. The move underscored the growing financial instability in countries all across the former Soviet Union.

Cost of oil bucks conventional wisdom, rises

NEW YORK - Oil prices appeared again to buck traditional market fundamentals, rising for the third straight day Friday despite a huge surplus and weak global demand.

Concerns that the U.S. bank bailout will spark a wave of inflation sent money flowing into hard assets like oil.

California's low-carbon fuel standard has oil companies anxious

In car-crazy California, a new fuel standard ordered by state officials to curb greenhouse gases could dramatically change how vehicles run.

It also could have a huge effect on cost.

The petroleum industry and some economists say the new standard adopted by the state Air Resources Board on Thursday will cost motorists billions, because blending gasoline will become considerably more complicated.

But state officials and environmentalists say the "low-carbon fuel standard" will actually save Californians money by reducing oil consumption and ushering in a competitive new era of biofuels and electric vehicles.

New California fuel rule may violate NAFTA: lawyer

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) – California's new low-carbon fuel rules may be a violation of NAFTA and World Trade Organization provisions because they would unfairly limit exports of crude from Canada's oil sands to the state, a prominent Canadian trade lawyer said on Friday.

Alaska's drilling debate moves offshore

The coast around Prudhoe Bay is already dotted with drilling operations such as British Petroleum's Liberty project, which, when completed, will have the world's longest diagonal wells -- reaching eight miles out from facilities near shore. In contrast, the proposed Chukchi Sea leases would start 25 miles offshore and reach 200 miles out.

Obama administration officials have said they will weigh the nation's energy needs against the desire to protect crucial resources. But with active North Slope fields reaching the end of their production life, the allure of an estimated 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas off Alaska's shores is strong.

Gov. Sarah Palin has warned that without new drilling, the 800-mile-long trans-Alaska oil pipeline could be forced to shut down in as little as 10 years -- crippling America's hopes for energy independence, not to mention her state.

Venezuela Oil Company Cuts Costs As Prices Fall

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela announced plans Friday to slash salaries and spending at its state oil company in a bid to save cash for refinery upgrades and other projects as oil income falls.

OPEC chief plays down possible output cut

VIENNA - OPEC chief Abdalla Salem El-Badri does not expect the oil cartel to cut production at a key meeting next month, Dow Jones Newswires reported Friday.

Despite signs of even weaker crude demand and swelling oil inventory in big energy consuming nations, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries first needed to fully implement an agreement announced in December to remove 4.2 million barrels a day from world markets, El-Badri said in an interview.

CNPC tightens its belt

China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) said it will lower oil and gas operational costs by 5% this year and project investment costs by 10% as part of a package of measures designed to help the company cope with the spreading global financial crisis.

In a statement published on its website, CNPC said it could potentially lower costs related to its normal purchases of about 200 billion yuan ($29.30 billion) for materials and equipment each year.

Saudi giant oilfield to start in June

State oil giant Saudi Aramco will launch in June the largest new field in its plan to raise crude capacity to 12.5 million barrels per day (bpd) by the end of this year, Al-Hayat newspaper reported on Saturday.

"The Khurais oil project will open as scheduled in June," Al-Hayat newspaper quoted an unidentified source as saying.

Kuwait committed to joint venture with Japan in Vietnam''s refenery

Kuwait Petroleum International (KPI), an international unit of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), established the joint venture in April last year with Japanese major refiner Idemitsu Kosan Co. and Mitsui Chemicals Inc., as well as state-owned PetroVietnam.

"The project will utilize Kuwait's stable crude oil supply and Japanese firms' oil refining and petrochemical business experiences in Vietnam, where demand for oil products is rapidly increasing," said Shiekh Ahmad.

Iran says no gas to UAE until price 'corrected'

Iran will not start delivering natural gas to the United Arab Emirates until the price has been 'corrected' in a contract with Crescent Petroleum, Oil minister Gholamhossein Nozari said on Saturday.

Profits of China's major oil companies rise as demand recovers

BEIJING (Xinhua) -- China's top five oil companies saw profits up 13.2 percent in March from the same period a year ago, as stimulus package pushed up energy demand, according to a report released by the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Association.

Three Reasons to Be More Bullish on Natural Gas than on Oil

1. Chesapeake Energy Corp. announced plans to cut natural gas production further while also resuming some oil production. When producing natural gas becomes uneconomical and enough production is cut, prices will eventually have to rise. If production of oil is resumed after being previously cut, then it likely means that the production of oil is becoming economical again.

Report: Iran discovers new oil, gas resources

TEHRAN (Xinhua) -- Iran discovered a new oil layer and a gas field in the southwest and central parts of the country, Iran's Press TV reported Saturday.

A Natural Gas Centric Strategic Long-Term Comprehensive Energy Policy

One of America’s biggest competitive strengths is its 2.3 million mile natural gas pipeline grid. This grid supplies natural gas to every major metropolitan area in the US. The grid connects 63,000,000 US homes where 130,000,000 cars and trucks could be refueled every night in the garage while their drivers sleep. America’s natural gas reserves combined with her natural gas pipeline grid is the best weapon the US has in the war on foreign oil addiction. Natural gas is the only US domestic fuel that can be scaled up over the next decade to meaningfully reduce foreign oil imports. The US simply needs to make the decision to do so and get it done.

How the Media Misleads Us on "Energy Independence"

When journalists cover the news they tell more stories than they know. What they leave out conveys as much what they put in. In an interdependent world, the shorthand simplifications no longer approximate reality. One case in point: "energy independence." The phrase is quite literally nonsensical.

Fuel-cell cars have a long way to go

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, such as General Motors Corp.'s retooled Equinox — displayed at the St. Louis Science Center last weekend — rely on a reaction between oxygen and stored hydrogen to create electricity.

They are the future, automakers say. But when that future will arrive depends on whom you ask.

Bulgaria Signs Deal To Import Natural Gas From Egypt

SOFIA (AFP)--Bulgaria signed a deal Saturday to import liquefied and compressed natural gas from Egypt in an attempt to wean itself off Russian deliveries, on which it is almost entirely dependent.

Japan honours 'Limits to Growth' science author

TOKYO (AFP) — Japan on Thursday awarded its top science prize to a US researcher who decades ago predicted that rapid economic and population growth on a finite planet would lead to the collapse of civilisation.

Professor Dennis Meadows led a research team that in the 1972 study "The Limits to Growth," using a computer model called World3, forecast that on current trends humanity was headed for doom by 2100.

The Land of the "Meadow": A Look at the Predicament of Suburban Ancaster

Of course, one of the main issues with suburbanization is the idea of the commuter culture. Automobile use is practically a must in communities such as Meadowlands due to the vast, low-density housing and the inefficient use of the land.

Being situated at the cusp of what many would term the "climax of peak oil", it is difficult to justify wasting natural resources in such a self-centred manner. Perspective seems to have been largely skewed somewhere along the line; image has overtaken ethical considerations for living.

Europe & America: Enviromental Fallout

The United States is certainly one of the cleanest, more environmentally responsible nations in the world. Virtually no European country can boast cleaner waters, more pristine rural landscapes or air quality. Even Los Angeles, the butt of all environmental jokes in the United States, is cleaner than 95 percent of all major cities in the world. But the environment has been used as a means to politicize economic progress. Environmentalist organizations, many of them the offshoot of anti-establishment, radical movements of the 1960's, have grown to wear a suit and tie but still show a stark aversion to any development. There is no energy project, no highway, no power plant, no harbor and no airport of which Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth or the Worldwide Wildlife Fund would approve.

Hungry Girl Recipes Bring Lisa Lillien To National Spotlight

Here's a taste of Lisa Lillien's unfathomable food wisdom, from the Washington Post article: "Lillien knows she has critics out there. "People are hypocrites," she says. "They say 'shop the perimeter of the store, never eat anything that's not organic,' but it's B.S., because people can't live like that forever."

What have we come to? Just four generations ago, 75% of Americans lived on farms. By default, all food was local and organic and seasonal. 80 years ago, only the elite could eat out-of-season food from far away- it was prohibitively expensive for ordinary folks to eat, say, oranges in August. That out-of-season orange was the ultimate display of food elitism. Now, food elitism is eating organic, in-season food, and cooking it yourself. It's come to this: eating real food is elitist.

What shade of green is your building?

From this architect’s point of view it seems more and more fashionable, marketable, and finally cost effective in terms of building life cycle to build green. I joined the United States Green Building Council (USGBC)a few years back and quit after I found out that they had recently approved some products made of plastic. Somehow that didn’t quite fit into my definition of green. Maybe I was wrong in thinking that we should be more concerned with our carbon footprint. Maybe my studies in homestead sustainability from 35 years ago got in the way. Maybe I was just wrong and uninformed. Anyway, my middle ground was joining the Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC). It was more local, I like that about an organization in which I am a member.

Gore’s, Gingrich’s views clash on greenhouse gases

WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Al Gore, the leading American voice on climate change, urged lawmakers Friday to overcome partisan differences and take action to reduce greenhouse gases. But Democrats and Republicans sparred even more vigorously over the cost of dealing with global warming.

Saving the planet by numbers

Maybe if we all do a little, we'll achieve only a little. Newspapers and television programmes are full of suggestions on how we can be more green. But how can we tell what works?

U.S. seeks reins in new set of climate talks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States hopes to take the reins of international efforts to battle global warming next week with a meeting of major economies aimed at facilitating a U.N. pact to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

'Future Earth: Journey to the End of the World'

The world is always coming to an end on cable news, where panic is the fallback position. And so it does, hypothetically, in the first of four MSNBC specials on our tottering globe, “Future Earth: Journey to the End of the World.” Partly a report on an expedition to study the changing Arctic environment and in (small, but endlessly teased) part a CGI disaster mini movie, it is not quite the adventure the material promises. But it works well enough as a primer on the effects of global warming on Arctic ice and why you will miss it when it's gone (not least because it is beautiful to behold).

The first stages of going from the the Big Three to Two...

U.S. Said to Seek a Chrysler Plan for Bankruptcy

The Treasury Department is directing Chrysler to prepare a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing as soon as next week, people with direct knowledge of the talks said Thursday.

The company faces a deadline of April 30 to come up with a viable business plan supported by its creditors, the United Automobile Workers union, and Fiat, the Italian car company that wants to acquire a stake in Chrysler.

The Obama administration has told Chrysler it will provide up to $6 billion in new financing, on top of the $4 billion in loans it has already given the company, if Chrysler can complete a deal by next Thursday with a cost structure that gives it a chance of survival. The creditors have so far balked at the terms suggested by the Treasury.

"In the end, all business operations can be reduced to three words: people, product, and profits." -
Lee Iacocca

We should have let them die in 1979, like American Motors not too long before. We would have been spared the ginormous Doge Ram pickemups shuttling little Johny and Janie to soccer and hockey, and mom to the mall to shop for perfumed bath beads. We could have done without the Viper too. Oh my, what Would Car and Driver have done without those two marvels of automotive engineering to froth over?

I guess this was a condition for Chrysler to get it's initial loan last year.

Considering the BoA CEO, Fed Res and Treasury fraud case pending in NY, I find Treasury telling any private company that they have to do this or that as suspect.

I wonder if there is a law that says Congress People and Treasury must act for the benefit of the electorate?

Could it be that bank failures took the week off?

Not to worry, we have a Credit Union - a relatively big one - to fill the void.

State takes over Eastern Financial, the largest credit union in South Florida

Florida banking officials on Friday took control of Eastern Financial Florida Credit Union in Miramar, South Florida's largest credit union.

Eastern Financial, started in 1937 by 10 employees of the former Eastern Airlines, remains open for business as usual, said Linda Charity, a spokeswoman for the state Office of Financial Regulation.

The National Credit Union Administration has appointed Space Coast Credit Union, of Melbourne, to temporarily manage Eastern Financial's day-to-day operations.

The article goes on to say that "Eastern Financial ranks among the top 35 credit unions in the nation" so it's not all that small as CUs go.

Are CUs not under Federal regulation?


Could it be that bank failures took the week off?


4 more banks fail; total surpasses last year

Four regional banks fail Friday, setting the FDIC back nearly $700 million and bringing the annual total up to 29.

Most credit unions are either federally or state regulated.

This is the first CU I have heard of going bankrupt.


Yeah its pretty sad right now.

Personally at the moment I'm having to stick with the beast BofA well under FDIC limits and wait till we find out which local CU drank to much of the RE/CRE kool aid. Once all the dead bodies fall out over the next 1-2 years I'll pull my money out and put it into some local CU that survives.

I have having to support a beast in the interm but not much I can do that seems prudent.

"Are CUs not under Federal regulation?"

The deposits are also insured, by way of fees paid into an insurance fund, but the federal government would be the insurer of last resort, just as with banks.

Credit Unions run on a different business model however, and do not have outside investors on their backs, as the depositors are the investors.

I consider myself to be pretty much the last believer in post 9th century economics that still comes to TOD, but I will admit this: If the Credit Unions begin to fail in any serious way, then I will be MUCH more concerned about the American economic structure than I have been to date (which is virtually non-concerned at all, really). I am very interested to study more about this failure, if there were excesses on the part of the Board of Directers or executives, or funny business. The Credit Union model works very well IF there is no funny business. So if there is a string of sizable Credit Union failures and no funny business is indicated in them, this would be a serious canary in the mine for even the optimists like me, and I would have to do something that is normally painful for us humans: change my mind.


I hate to say this, but here it goes:

Environmentalists, Democrats, whomever: Give full backing to drilling anywhere and everywhere in Alaska, subject to appropriate environmental restrictions. If that is what the folks up there want (including their Governor), then give it to them. It is inevitable, so why resist?

But, we would demand, and exact, quid pro quos aplenty. 50 MPG CAFE by 2020. Mandatory 20% electricity contributions from solar (concentrating thermal and PV) and from wind. Susidize commercial, industrial, and residential rooftop PV big-time. Increase nuclear-derived electricity from 20% to 40% by building third and four generation reactors...do this by 2030. Mandate per-capita electricity demand reductions of 10% by 2020 through strictly enforced efficiency standards on electronics, refrigerators, air conditioners, home insulation and high-e glazing, government rebates for insulates skylights and light pipes, etc. Mandatory upgrades to scrubbers/more efficient turbines for coal-fired plants. 'Smart Grids'. Who 'loses'...King Coal, too bad.

For all this, I would allow drill, baby, drill, not only in AK, but most anywhere. Politics, and life, is the art of the possible...give the Neanderthals what they want, in return for what we Need.

For all this, I would allow drill, baby, drill, not only in AK, but most anywhere.

Yikes! What an ugly scenario. Sounds like you haven't heard of Jevon's Paradox. What you propose would not only further devastate many important biomes, but at the same time allow further growth of the Death Machine.

The only thing that will convince humanity to alter its growth madness is a serious shock now. More "drilling" and increasing effeciency, etc. will only postpone and magnify the inevitable crash.


I'm there. No Faustian bargains! We can increase efficiency, why not, but no more destruction of the environment.

Here are some actions I would consider trading off my tax dollars for:
- Bail out the builders and retrain construction workers to insulate houses. We ain't building no more new houses.
- Make it massively beneficial for farmers to go organic (cheaper loans?) and tax larger operations to subsidize farmers' markets
- Tax processed food containing too much sodium, trans fat, palm oil, high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and flavors - There. Now we have free health care for all.
- Change GM so it stands for "Grow More" and manufactures garden tools and wheelbarrows (no trade-off here; they already have my money)
- Large mortgage credits to homeowners who turn their lawn into a food garden. I'm sure someone from the new construction permit department can go around checking on gardens to determine compliance.

I think the discussion should be about the minimum way to live, not do-able steps towards virtue. Off with the cars, already. See how fast we'll all adapt (granted, many Alaskans may have to move south).

I guess I'm with Airdale and Greyzone. Sick of the talk. Time to act boldly.

The only thing less drilling and failing to pursue energy efficiencies will accomplish is to hasten the crash and make it inevitable. A crash won't cure 'growth madness.' It will merely reset the starting point through die-off. An ugly vision to embrace.

For all this, I would allow drill, baby, drill, not only in AK, but most anywhere. Politics, and life, is the art of the possible...give the Neanderthals what they want, in return for what we Need.

I have been proposing a similar (although milder) compromise for years. I can confirm your suspicions, that such a position will win you few friends, and many enemies. IMHO the only way to end the delusions about drilling our way out, is to allow more drilling, then when the analysts start telling the truth -it will only have a minor effect, conservation can start to be seen as the only effective response.

And now for the real reason I want us to open up a lot of new drilling areas. Fear, pure primal fear! Once a nascent economic recovery collides with depleting oil supply, oil will spike to perhaps $200. Then all of the unbelievers in limits, will blame environmentalists, and their fellow travelers the liberals for the mess. I don't have confidence that the people of this country are smart enough not to buy into the message of hate. We could preclude this possibility by removing most of the restrictions. Then it will be more credible to say -see it really is peak oil -not politics that is the issue.


You make my point: If they do find more oil and natural gas, then we have more time to Power Down and transition to alternative energy sources with a lower EROEI. All the rest of yuse guys and gals, remember that the Faustian bargain comes with hard quid pro quos...recall the negawatts, alternative energy standards, CAFEs, etc. The laws are written that if those targets are not me, then the drilling leases expire.

Guess what, the way things are going, they are already ruining the environment...at least under this scheme, we can trade away more coal development for more oil and gas development, along with the conservation, solar, wind, nuclear (sorry anti-nuke folks, it is a heck of a lot better than coal).

If they don't find much oil and NG, or if it is too expensive to get at, then they can sit back and Shut Up.

We have to enact such aplan to defuse the Glen Becks, Bill O'Reilly's, Rush Limbaughs, Michelle Bachmans, Bobby Jindals, John Boners(mis-sp intentional), Sara Palins, and on and on, or they will slow roll us to death...death by a thousand sound bites and asinine tea parties and whatnot. It is called cutting a deal and controlling the situation, rather than letting the situation control you. Pro-act rather than re-act all the time. I'm sick of us being caught on our back foot all the time...

If they don't find much oil and NG, or if it is too expensive to get at, then they can sit back and Shut Up.

We have to enact such aplan to defuse the Glen Becks, Bill O'Reilly's, Rush Limbaughs, Michelle Bachmans, Bobby Jindals, John Boners(mis-sp intentional), Sara Palins, and on and on, or they will slow roll us to death...death by a thousand sound bites and asinine tea parties and whatnot. It is called cutting a deal and controlling the situation, rather than letting the situation control you. Pro-act rather than re-act all the time. I'm sick of us being caught on our back foot all the time...

Moon: We are completely on the same page here. I don't think the liberal side of the argument thinks they need make any compromises. I hope that they are right. But, I would feel that we were on more solid ground if we would seriously consider your plan. I doubt we would get enough new oil/gas to make any sort of a dent in the shortfall, but until we get the diehards to capitualte wrt. the belief in BAU forever, we risk working at cross purposes.

For all this, I would allow drill, baby, drill, not only in AK

Ask yourself why it is that is the politicians who are proposing increased drilling as a means of salvation and not the oil companies? Exxon and others spent hundreds of millions sponsoring chump science in an attempt to confuse the public over AGW. If the same companies believed there was black gold sitting under the Lincoln Memorial do you not think they would have spent equivalent amounts to change public opinion and permit them to drill on the Mall?

The reason they didn't launch such a campaign is because the oil companies have access to the seismic and are reasonably confident there are no viable prospects of a size worth troubling themselves over. Politicians are delusional folks who have convinced themselves that once elected they can repeal the laws of physics and geology and write new and much more appealing ones.

Exxon and others spent hundreds of millions sponsoring chump science in an attempt to confuse the public over AGW. If the same companies believed there was black gold sitting under the Lincoln Memorial do you not think they would have spent equivalent amounts to change public opinion and permit them to drill on the Mall?


"Contrary to the theory, oil production shows no signs of a peak... Oil is a finite resource, but because it is so incredibly large, a peak will not occur this year, next year, or for decades to come"

ExxonMobil Advertisement in New York Times, June 2, 2006

The oil industry routinely blames a good deal of the decline in US production on a lack of access, to which I reply, "What about Texas & the North Sea?" (Developed by private companies, using best available technology, with virtually no restrictions on drilling)

I suspect that a significant percentage of the US population--perhaps a majority--believe that the US would not need oil imports if we could implement Drill Baby Drill.

More ExxonMobil stuff, an essay by Byron King, from two years ago:

Exxon Mobil Says Peak Oil Unlikely in the Next 25 Years
By Byron King • May 3rd, 2007

One of the greatest constraints on future oil production, according to Exxon Mobil, is the political fact that much of the world is essentially "off-limits" to exploration and production. These limitations vary from region to region and from country to country, but cumulatively, have a potentially large negative effect on future oil output.

In the U.S., large areas onshore, and essentially all of the offshore areas outside of the western Gulf of Mexico and parts of Alaska, are off-limits to new drilling.

WT - My understanding is that the US companies are unhappy with their level of access to foreign oil prospects. I have not heard much of their desire to increase access to US prospects.

My thought is that your business model basically reflects this fact. The big integrateds are looking elsewhere and leaving the smaller domestic prospects to firms such as yours.

With regards to AK, I know that Dome Pete and HBOG had NG shows on the Canadian side of the line but nothing that would justify the cost of the infrastructure to get it to market. I have never heard anything in regard to viable oil prospects in the Beaufort / Mackenzie area.

Oil sands threshold costs require oil at $70 a bbl and companies had plans to invest billions. Yet there were no rumours of any attempt to spud a well in the arctic. Given the economics I would have expected firms to abandon the tar muck and wildcat the north if they suspected the existence of a viable prospect. Since they didn't I don't believe a viable has yet been identified.

Exxon Mobil executives tout offshore drilling, mull costs
July 31, 2008

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Exxon Mobil executives Ken Cohen and Henry Hubble hammered out their support for off-shore drilling in the U.S. in a media conference call on Thursday. The oil giant said it's investing at record levels in capital projects, and added it "would like to do more" by tapping into promising areas that are currently off limits under a federal ban on offshore drilling.

What about Texas & the North Sea?" (Developed by private companies, using best available technology, with virtually no restrictions on drilling)

Westexas, you should know better than this - there is a restriction on drilling - it is the absolute need to make a profit!

More infill wells could have been drilled so the flow rate and depletion rate could have been faster, but it wouldn't have been profitable!

It's the profits that matter to the producers! Profits take priority over ever increasing flow rates.


All I can say is that you haven't been paying attention to the big oil and big Republican idiot sound machines.

Exxon AGW explained from a artistic perspective:

Interesting cartoon, I am a skeptic, I neither deny nor accept AGW. The same "artistic" argument could easily be applied to the hockey stick, and virtually any of the ecopocalyptic extrapolations of extrapolated climatic data about the past. Look at the science there are many holes and rooms for argument. Mr. Hanson and Al Gore et al. are great artists too...

Bull. Stop pretending science isn't science.I'm tired of these blatant falsehoods. Did you not read in the NYT that, in their own words, the denialist crap is all based on lies?

Enough of this.

If you really believe that oil companies don't want to drill Alaska, then you should be in favor of removing drilling restrictions. If oil companies won't drill Alaska, then the current restrictions are unnecessary, lead to costly court battles, and provide an arrow to the oil-centric conservatives who want to undermine Democratic leadership.


Surely you saw through my subterfuge: Call their darn bluff, go 'All in' and make them look like the lying blowhards they are. And if they find some more oil and NG and can ship it to market, we get a little more time and political cover through our 'reasonableness' to pursue our transformative agenda.

The world isn't run by rational, logical scientists and engineers...you all have to learn to play the political game, or be marginalized. Do you want to succeed with 80% virtue, or fail miserably with 100% virtue? Which outcome do you think is in the long-term interest of our planet and our species?

The problem with "playing the game" is that it involves compromise. One side wants to do something, the other side doesn't and the two sides settle somewhere in between. OK, so the agreement involves some project which will destroy some local land area to produce something called a "development". Instead of 2x acres being bulldozed, burned, crushed and paved, only 1x is "developed". The trouble with that is that some years later, another proposed development is presented for the remaining 1x acres. Again there's compromise and 1/2x is developed, the other half left in it's natural state. This process has been going on for centuries and there's darned little of the natural world left out there. Eventually, it's all "developed".

My point is that playing the game just delays the ultimate destruction. The fact is that we've seen this sort of process for long enough to know what the results will be and to realize that playing the game actually means losing the battle. You may think that your "80% virtue" is a measure of success, but when compounded for decades, all is lost...

E. Swanson


Seismic studies are extremely expensive exploration method especially 3D methods. More importantly the accuracy of any seismic study largely depends on accurate velocity models. Accurate velocity models are difficult to extrapolate/obtain without some wildcatting in the area a good suite of petro-physical logs can go a long way towards an accurate velocity model. Velocity models are important as the data recorded in seismic is in 2t time. (Down and back of the transient) The velocity model relates to the acoustic properties of the rocks themselves, density, mineralogy, porosity, and more importantly in terms of oil and gas, what the makeup of the fluids within the interstitial spaces within the pores themselves is, all these affect the time required for the transient to arrive at the geophone.

After correction for normal move out and elevation (normal move out: a correction made to raw data to correct for the length of the geophone string so that the data represents a reflection in the vertical, not in the vertical and horizontal) The data’s accuracy is still subject to the velocity model. A poor velocity model will either express the relative thickness of density defined stratigraphy either as being too thin or too thick. This expresses structural features as having too steep or too low of dips, and may represent potential structural closure inaccurately. The issue of the velocity model compounds itself when you consider 3D seismic.

I am reminded of the story of a well drilled in Wyoming in an over-thrust gas play that was told to me in college. An inaccurate velocity model lead to an underestimate of the dip of a thrust fault. This in turn lead to drilling of 3000’ of granite at a cost of 3mil in drilling alone to ultimately P&A in granite, this was back when 3mil was still a lot of money in oil and gas. The logging from that well redefined the velocity model for the region and subsequent similar holes did not occur.

The jist of this is this. Personally I doubt that extensive exploration efforts have been undertaken in areas that have been off limits to drilling for decades as that the cost of looking for oil/gas in an area where you cannot drill is cost prohibitive. If any exploration seismically has been done, any data interpretation from seismic studies without accurate velocity models created from petro-physical logging of exploration wells is likely to remain tight lipped as it may or may not be accurate without an accurate velocity model to provide for an accurate interpretation of the geology from the siesmic.

did the doomers oversleep ?

"Fear, anger and fatalism over swine flu in Mexico"


BBC NEWS | Americas | Mexico flu 'a potential pandemic'

The WHO's new emergency committee is now meeting - though health officials say it may be premature to advise against travel to Mexico.

The committee will be discussing whether to declare a public health emergency, and whether to raise the global pandemic alert level.

The WHO says it does not know the full risk yet.

It is advising all member states to be vigilant for seasonally unusual flu or pneumonia-like symptoms among their populations - particularly among young healthy adults, who seem to be the most affected in Mexico.

It's H1N1. The type of virus that gave rise to the Spanish flu.

I guess it's a good idea to stockpile food, even if you don't believe peak oil means the end of the 1,500 mile salad...

Why food stockpiles? Are you dependent on Mexican products?

Probably, but that's not what I meant.

Our government recommends storing enough food to last two weeks. In case there's a quarantine confining us to our homes, or that prevents delivery of food. They also warn water and electricity might go out.

Australia recommends a 10 week stockpile.

This is right. Our local sheriff was invited to a meeting we had on food security and he researched it ahead of time to consider his role in the matter.

The topic of food security in a law enforcement context is typically related to quarantine due to bioterrorism or pandemic.

It is interesting to look how the term food security is used by different professions: USDA = people with not enough money to buy food. Peak Oiler = fragile just in time delivery system. Environmentalist = lower yields due to resource and pollution limits...etc.

Unless done properly, such stockpiles will invite a flood of rats, mice, and cockroaches...like the people in England are experiencing due to the switch to bi-weekly trash pickup and the increase in vacant properties.

With the whole flu thing, it is sooo hard to tell if something will turn out to be 'the big one' until it is too late for a lot of people. Recall the swine Flu scare back in the Jimmy Carter days...

I mean, really, every time someone catches a new flu strain somewhere are we going to pull all of our kids out of school, shut down Universities, boycott going to work?\\Not...gonna...happen

I mean, really, every time someone catches a new flu strain somewhere are we going to pull all of our kids out of school, shut down Universities, boycott going to work?\\Not...gonna...happen

Perhaps some good could come of it:

"Soon after Newton had obtained his degree in August of 1665, the University closed down as a precaution against the Great Plague. Although he had been undistinguished as a Cambridge student,[10] Newton's private studies at his home in Woolsthorpe over the subsequent two years saw the development of his theories on calculus, optics and the law of gravitation."

Taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Newton

Unless done properly, such stockpiles will invite a flood of rats, mice, and cockroaches.

I doubt it. They foods they are recommending are convenience foods that can be eaten without being cooked. Tuna, peanut butter, Spam, etc. As long as the packages aren't opened, they won't attract any more vermin than the normal contents of people's kitchens.

I mean, really, every time someone catches a new flu strain somewhere are we going to pull all of our kids out of school, shut down Universities, boycott going to work?\\Not...gonna...happen

Did anyone suggest doing that?

The original recommendations came during a bird flu outbreak. And this current outbreak of swine flu is worrying the experts. The World Health Organization calls it a “public health emergency of international concern.”

In Mexico, they declared a national emergency, giving Calderon the power to order quarantines and ban public gatherings. They have closed down schools and universities...and even banned fans from soccer games. (Now that's serious!)

"...and even banned fans from soccer games..."

Fat lot of good that's going to do in a crammed city where they're still riding their jampacked metro every day. It's probably nothing but a politician's do something feel-good measure, along the lines of the pretentious calls for ineffectual "sacrifice" following 9/11.

GWB wanted us all to go shopping after 9/11. No sacrifice.

BTW, the GOP financed two wars with tax cuts. I laugh every time they mention "fiscal restraint".


I half expect some degree of breakout in-around Miami. My son runs a car service company that does transport execs to-from MIA that do travel to Mexico City so it could get closer than I'd prefer.

American Airlines and the major Mexican airlines are at MIA.

I'd expect similar out of Dallas - DFW - too.


did the doomers oversleep ?

"It was the sudden silence of the doomers that was my first warning..."

Matt Savinar's LATOC forum has been all over this flu-topic for some time [Big Hat-tip to Roccman and other LATOCers]-->the Doomers are definitely not asleep!


The LATOC forum has a huge discussion thread [500+ comments], plus even a bioweapon release conspiracy thread for those so inclined.

The key decisions from the CDC & WHO need to be made very soon if this is indeed a respiratory H2H outbreak. IF, IF they have a vaccine: standard encirclement technique [Recall smallpox control] needs to begin very shortly to keep this from going exponential globally.

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

From Drudge, Mexico City is canceling public events:


Mexico has shut schools, cinemas and museums and canceled public events in its sprawling, overcrowded capital of 20 million people to try to prevent further infections. Weekend soccer matches were played in empty stadiums and people on the street wore face masks.

The strain of flu has spread fast between people and infected some individuals who had no contact with one another.

Audio-link to latest Dr. Margaret Chan [WHO] press release on outbreak [basically they cancelled all pre-scheduled activities to go to full-tilt epidemiology]:


The latest from the NYTimes:

Fighting Deadly Flu, Mexico Cancels More Events

..Most of Mexico’s dead were young, healthy adults, and none were over 60 or under 3 years old, the World Health Organization said. That alarms health officials because seasonal flus cause most of their deaths among infants and bedridden elderly people, but pandemic flus — like the 1918 Spanish flu, and the 1957 and 1968 pandemics — often strike young, healthy people the hardest.

..The leading theory on why so many young, healthy people die in pandemics is the “cytokine storm,” in which vigorous immune systems pour out antibodies to attack the new virus. That can inflame lung cells until they leak fluid, which can overwhelm the lungs, Dr. Moscona said.

..Because of the situation, the World Health Organization planned to consider raising the world pandemic flu alert to 4 from 3. Such a high level of alert — meaning that sustained human-to-human transmission of a new virus has been detected — has not been reached in recent years, even with the H5N1 avian flu circulating in Asia and Egypt, and would “really raise the hackles of everyone around the world,” said Dr. Robert G. Webster, a flu virus expert at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.
Please read the full link, not just my teaser segments.

Readers in Mexico have been emailing the BBC describing the sense of fear gripping the country as a result of a flu virus outbreak, which has so far claimed up to 60 lives.

..I work as a resident doctor in one of the biggest hospitals in Mexico City and sadly, the situation is far from "under control". As a doctor, I realise that the media does not report the truth. Authorities distributed vaccines among all the medical personnel with no results, because two of my partners who worked in this hospital (interns) were killed by this new virus in less than six days even though they were vaccinated as all of us were. The official number of deaths is 20, nevertheless, the true number of victims are more than 200. I understand that we must avoid to panic, but telling the truth it might be better now to prevent and avoid more deaths..
Please read the full link.

April 25, 2009 1:00 p.m. ET

Human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection have been identified in the U.S. in San Diego County and Imperial County, California as well as in San Antonio, Texas. Internationally, human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection have been identified in Mexico.

2 swine flus in Kan., US total 11; 8 likely in NY

By VERENA DOBNIK – 15 minutes ago

A Drudge Report headline says that a man that greeted Obama in Mexico died days later from flu symptoms:


local tv news reports state that a couple have been found with the flu in Wichita ks.

Pretty interesting - to me anyway - two part segment from last night's Bill Moyers on the Pecora hearings then (circa 1930s) and today's situation.


Like thunderheads roiling on the horizon, the clamor has been building as more and more Americans want to know exactly what, and who, brought on the worst economic crisis since the great depression. What happened and how do we keep it from happening again?

Congress has finally acknowledged the outcry and is supporting some 21st century version of the "Pecora hearings."

"Pecora hearings?" That's right, as in Ferdinand Pecora, the savvy immigrant from Sicily who became a Manhattan prosecutor with a memory for facts and figures that proved the undoing of a Wall Street banking world gone berserk with greed and fraud.

Cuomo as Pecora even though the investigating office is different.


A good description of the cause is found in one of Leanan's links upthread:

The use of debt as a tool for exploiting foreign and domestic populations is a more generic form of the finance capitalism that wreaked such havoc on the world in the 20th century and is already far along in destroying the foundations of US prosperity. My definition of financial capitalism is: the use of money to create profits instead of the industrial, agricultural and social infrastructure upon which those profits and the wealth and welfare of a nation ultimately depends.

Gov. Sarah Palin has warned that without new drilling, the 800-mile-long trans-Alaska oil pipeline could be forced to shut down in as little as 10 years -- crippling America's hopes for energy independence, not to mention her state.

Either build a smaller diameter (and better insulated) pipeline from Prudhoe Bay to Fairbanks, and transfer to rail there or extend the Alaskan Railroad north (ARR says "simple" (no bridges, single track etc.) new construction is $8 million/mile) or a combination of both.


All oil exports from Russia and Kazakhstan to China are by rail. Many other examples as well.


Can science save the oil sands?
Falling oil prices and bad PR have hammered the oil sands. Out of all that bad news may rise a new era in innovation

FORT McMURRAY, ALTA. — If Selma Guigard is right, an elusive key to reducing the oil sands' emissions could lie in the science of the super-critical molecule.

When they are subjected to a certain high temperature and pressure, substances like carbon dioxide enter a state where they are neither liquid nor gas — the super-critical state. When mixed with several other compounds, super-critical carbon dioxide is able to extract hydrocarbons from almost anything, in a process somewhat like the way some dry cleaners work.

Dr. Guigard, an associate professor of environmental engineering at the University of Alberta, is trying to prove it can do the same for the Athabasca oil sands. This is not a mere science experiment: Lab modelling has shown that her process uses virtually no water, and less than a third of the energy spent today on bitumen extraction.


Also interesting is the story on Canadian legal objections to Californian legislation on "dirty" FF.

Alberta was a key supporter of NAFTA. A prior government had imposed a National Energy Plan on Canada and this plan forced Albertan producers to supply product domestically at less than world market prices.

NAFTA offered a means to escape any form of domestic policy constraints by making it extremely difficult for any future Canadian government to undertake similar policy initiatives. Now NAFTA is being used to attempt to deny California the right to self determination.

Hopefully Americans will react forcefully to this challenge to their constitutional right to self determination and bring about the terminatation of NAFTA.

Edited first for a spelling error and then went hog wild after too much coffee.

Meanwhile, Dow is suing local governments in Canada for their pesticide bans.

And I am willing to bet a $1 that some Saudi organization decides to fund Dr. Guigard's research.

If I understand her work she has identified a possible means for EOR in existing reservoirs. Even in a highly permeable reservoir like Ghawar you end up leaving 25 - 40% of the oil behind. Flush the formation with super critical CO2 and you may get both enhanced recovery and a measure of sequestration.

In fact were I a KSA sheik I would be all over this research and seeking carbon offsets and credits from the OECD nations to help fund further research and development.


Supercritical solvent extraction has been around for quite a while and has been used in a number of industrial applications, such as is in decaffeinating coffee and in extracting various oils from vegetable matter. Carbon dioxide is the most commonly used fluid for supercritical solvent extraction.

Its use has generally been confined to relatively small to moderate size operations. The reason is that it requires operating pressures in the range of 1,000 to 2,000 psi. Large pressure vessels capable of operating at 2,000 psi can get very expensive, as do the required pumping systems.

As applied to oil shale, I find it hard to envision how supercritical fluids could be used in-situ, as I think it would be rather difficult maintaining pressures of up to 2,000 psi in a relatively shallow and porous oil shale deposit. Perhaps it's already been shown to be feasible, but I not really sure I see how this would work in-situ.

On the other hand, if this process requires that the oil shale be mined and then placed into large pressure vessels in which the supercritical extraction would take place, then that would pose some obvious problems with regard to scaling such a system up a size capable of producing large amounts of oil. I have no doubts that the process works, but I question whether it would be suitable for really large-scale operations.

Material handling constraints have been and will continue to be the major stumbling block for oil shale.

Hi Joule

I wasn't thinking of the shales as much as I was Ghawar. My thought was that the porosity of the KSA formations might lend themselves to supercritical solvent extraction. I have seen formation pressures of near the required figure. But I have no hands on with Saudi formations.

Ron, I think, has first hand experience with KSA geology and may be able to offer an opinion.

The energy required to capture, extract and inject the CO2 would be significant but if this coupled long term sequestration with EOR it just might be economically viable.

As someone who believes that laughter is, indeed, the best medicine, one of the highlights of my Saturday morning is listening to Stuart McLean's Vinyl Cafe (http://www.cbc.ca/vinylcafe/home.php). This week's episode was recorded in Halifax and I had the great pleasure to be among of the audience.

You can listen to this performance online at: http://podcast.cbc.ca/mp3/vinylcafe_20090425_13588.mp3 (additional podcasts can be found at: http://www.cbc.ca/podcasting//pastpodcasts.html?44#ref44). If you're not familiar with Stuart McLean, be prepared for a real treat.

For those who may be curious, Big Narrows is a fictional community set in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, no doubt named after Little Narrows which does exist (I spent my summers as a kid in St. Ann's, which is just up the road).


Paul - Funny you should mention that....I am from Jersey Cove on St. Ann's bay!

Hi Jim,

That's pretty amazing! Our family property is in North Gut, St. Ann's, about a km or so past the Gaelic College (there's a good chance we may be related).


Yes, that is a beautiful area near where Reverend Norman McCloud lived before he took his boatload of followers to New Zealand in the 1850's. The last time I was in the area I visited the cemetery there. Have also been at the Gaelic College many times.

The MacInnes family still has a farm about a mile or so north of the Englishtown ferry landing on the left side of the road. Some of my other cousin's, Lloyd and Merrill MacInnes, live on the North Shore and operate lobster and tuna fishing boats out of the wharf there.

Both of my parents are buried in the MacDonald cemetery in Indian brook. I have other cousins who live in Breton Cove. Love Halifax too and my other cousin, Chris MacInnes, graduated in Law from Dalhousie University. It is a great area and in fact we are planning a trip to Cape Breton this fall.

Hi Jim,

There's a pretty good chance I would have met at least some members of your family. I don't know if this will ring any bells, but my mom owned and operated a restaurant in St. Ann's called the Tartan Village back in the '60s and '70s.


Re: From above, How the medial misleads us on "Energy Independence".

The author is a professor of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University. He has a PhD in Political Science having attended the Bush's alma mater Yale and that source of all wisdom, the University of California at Berkeley.

He argues that there is no such thing as Energy Independence in our globalized world. I beg to differ.

Clearly this may be true for some, but not true for all. To say that there is no such thing as Energy Independence is preposterous on its face. Does he believe that Saudi Arabia is not energy independent? Does he not believe that oil exporters are not energy independent? His view is global-think gone nuts.

Clearly there are varying degrees of energy independence ranging from complete to none at all. To say that we are all dependant on each other for energy is false. How could that be? Energy except that which arrives from the sun daily is a zero sum game. Those who depend on others for energy could not unless others had a surplus to sell and by implication are energy independent.

I believe that those who produce a form of energy, whether it be oil or corn and have enough to sell to others, are de facto energy independent. If our area produces more in ethanol than we buy in gasoline we are energy independent. If we have a enough wind farms such that the sale of their production exceeds the purchases of fossil fuel electricity we are energy independent in that area also.

True the whole country would have a hard time to get to the same situation, but that does not mean we should not try. To have energy dependence as a policy goal is nonsense, not energy independence. It is a policy for the status quo and more of the same. The author should stick to his area of expertise, Political Science, since he clearly knows very little about energy. His argument that energy independence is nonsense is without merit.

While the mass media are not perfect, they are more aware than Mr. Entman about what's happening.

Do Sauidi Arabia not have to import Petrol/Gasoline and Natural Gas occasionally?


Surely they have to import various refined forms of energy, or products amounting to much the same thing.. I think X's point is that they have an energy surplus overall. That said, Saudi might be excessively dependent on imported MFR goods, food, other materials. Their vulnerability is a bit different from mine up here in Maine.

I agree with his (X's) point that the author took pains to avoid looking at our energy 'OverDependence', which is what the goal of Energy Independence is aimed at. It doesn't (IMO) have to be an absolute value, where "You must produce every watt and calorie you consume".. but a matter of..

'For the most part, you can get by fine without having to live on an umbilical of imported energies.'


The author argues that because so much energy generation relies on fossil fuels, which causes climate change, which affects all countries whether they use FF or sell FF or whatever - therefore no one in the world is energy independent. He just re-defines "energy independence".

True, though, that even if we had unlimited flow of oil, say, it might still be a problem if countries destroyed by climate change decided to take us to task for that. In that sense, our decisions on how to use energy cannot occur exclusively nationally. It's a moral argument, not an oil extraction argument, and a practical argument to the extent that we might be impacted by rising sea level refugees, or drought refugees from another region of the world.

If our area produces more in ethanol than we buy in gasoline we are energy independent.

BS !!

First it is 160% ethanol to "imported" gasoline. About 200% (2 gallons of ethanol) for each gallon of diesel.

And then natural gas imported (directly and as fertilizer), millions of barrels of ethanol equivalent.

Wind is electricity, but it cannot be scheduled. so FF must be burned or hydro.

Iowa is NOWHERE near energy independence. In North America, the three with arguable "energy independence" are Alaska, Louisiana and Quebec with Alberta, Olkahoma & Manitoba as an outside possibilities.


I ask, what is the difference between these alleged criminals and those currently in power?

Italy's Mafia thrives in global financial meltdown

NAPLES, Italy – While businesses around the world are hunkering down for survival, the Italian mob is living a golden moment.

Italy's various organized crime syndicates — often lumped together colloquially as Mafia Inc. — are gobbling up gas stations, muscling in on supermarket franchises, making loans to cash-starved businesses, taking over trattorias and acquiring buildings in swank neighborhoods in Rome and Milan, investigators say.

what is the difference between these alleged criminals and those currently in power?

Those currently in power are generally lacking in Italian language skills.

The ethanol lobby is pushing to increase the upper limit on ethanol in gasoline to 15%, but there is increasing concern about anomalously high ethanol concentrations damaging engines. Ed Wallace is working on an article on the topic. He is hearing more and more stories about car owners who bring their cars in for work, and the repair shops are finding 15% plus ethanol percentages in the gas tank. When they find high ethanol levels, auto dealers are denying warranty claims for engine damage, asserting that the damage was due to contaminated fuel.

Apparently, the problem is that some gas stations are boosting the ethanol concentration to levels above the maximum limit, in order to increase their profits. I don't know if it makes a difference (Robert might have some input on the topic), but I would be inclined to stay with major oil company affiliated gas stations.

Meanwhile, the ethanol guys are under fire from the environmental side:

California Fuel Move Angers Ethanol Makers

“The drive to force the market toward greater use of alternative fuels will be a boon to the state’s economy and public health — it reduces air pollution, creates new jobs and continues California’s leadership in the fight against global warming,” said the California board’s chairwoman, Mary D. Nichols, in a statement.

But the ethanol industry is concerned that the regulations give a poor emissions score to their corn-based product, in some cases ranking it as a bigger emitter than petroleum.

I suppose one partial solution would be to mandate more ethanol from sugarcane and to eliminate the tariff on imported ethanol, especially from sugarcane sources, but this doesn't address the engine damage problem.

Westexas, "Anecdotal" stories aside, No One has ever done an actual "Scientific" test in which engines were harmed by levels of ethanol over 10%.

Of 28 engines tested by the Department of Energy using 15% ethanol, all had significant problems, he said.


IMO the burden of proof rests with the ethanol industry to show that 15% ethanol doesn't cause damage.

EDIT: second hit in google search with "ethanol 15% engine"

No, DOE didn't say that. This guy:

said Kris Kiser, executive director of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, which represents Wisconsin engine manufacturers Briggs & Stratton Co. and Kohler Co.

said That.

It was a test of "small engines" chain saws, weed eaters, lawn mowers, etc.

I remember that test. The DOE said that All of the Engines Had Problems, Those running on Ethanol Blends And, Those Running on Gasoline.

Gasoline watered down with ethanol dissolves gum deposits that pure gasoline will not. This clogs fuel filters, which can cause damage, and if they get past the fuel filters, the clumps of gum can damage the injection system.


Here, let me fix that for you.

Gasoline will leave gum deposits in your gas tank. If a clean, high performance fuel, containing ethanol, is introduced into your fuel system the gunk left behind by gasoline can break loose and clog your fuel filter. However, it's not a problem in American cars that have been running for awhile on clean, high-octane ethanol E10 blends, since they have already cleaned up the grime.

If you do rescue an old jalopy out of the junk yard, and bring it back to life you might have to change the fuel filter (a very inexpensive part) after a few hundred miles.

The Good news is that if you have a newer car the ethanol will keep the injectors, and cylinders nice and clean, and they'll last longer.

There, All Better, Now.

Fortunately, I only burn diesel in my car. In a pinch, used motor oil, used ATF fluid, and any edible oil (although I cringe at the concept of burning food just to drive around) will work (with varying exhaust plumes).


We should have engines specially designed to run on ethanol. The higher compression ratio would be more efficient. Hard to start though.

I see in the article about Kazakhstan not being able to repay foreign debt, that they are still getting a loan from China in return for oil. This seems to be the new model.

This week, Kazakhstan’s national oil company agreed to form a joint venture with a subsidiary of the China National Petroleum Corporation to develop petroleum licenses in Kazakhstan. The country holds about 3 percent of the world’s oil reserves. In the deal, China agreed to provide Kazakhstan with $10 billion in loans.

Hello TODers,

It is still too early to tell what will ultimately happen to the Pakistani nukes as the radical Islamists continue their push. But here is something to read, then consider in the meantime, as these men below were nuked not once, but TWICE:

..Tsutomu Yamaguchi, Akira Iwanaga and Kuniyoshi Sato are either the luckiest or the unluckiest men alive, and after three days in their company and long hours of conversation, I still had no idea which. It is sixty years since their monstrous ordeal and all three are well into their ninth decade..

very moving article.


The U.S. (CIA, DoD, and basically, everybody who read the newspapers and magazines) knew as early as 1979 about the Pakistani nuke program. I still have a copy of an old NEXT magazine article with an article on nuclear proliferation in which a Delphi poll revealed that the odds-on favorite, by far, for the next use of nuclear weapons would be between Pak and India. A distant second was Israel-Pak/Pak-Israel. and the classic U.S.-U.S.S.R. exchange was rated as very very unlikely...and this was going the Cold War!

In classic bone-headed U.S. policy, we favored Pak over India because we interpreted India as in the USSR's camp when India was clearly the leader of the non-aligned nations and was playing all sides for attention and prestige. I still have to suffer fools today in the military who prattle on about the 'real' threat for us to be guarding against is India. These people are Morons to the nth degree...they fear countries with lots of people of color who are joining the modern world...I try to explain that India is, and has been for awhile, the World's largest Democracy, but they don't get it.

And now we have to live with the Pak problem we helped mid-wife...kind of like we had to live with the Iraq problem we helped mid-wife, and kind of like we had to live with the Iran problem we helped mid-wife...don't make me find links to pics of U.S. officials sucking up to the Shah and to Saddam. Oh, I forgot about the problem of the Afghan problem we helped mid-wife (funding and arming the Taliban against the Ruskies, anyone?)

Thermal system at 2010 Olympic Village will recover heat from spent sewage

Vancouver’s 2010 Olympic Village will feature a unique heat recovery system from spent sewage through the use of a neighborhood energy utility (NEU), built under the south end of the Cambie Street bridge.


The sewage recovery system has the ability to generate about 2.7 megawatts of energy... [and] ...supply 70 per cent of the energy needs for the False Creek project.

See: http://www.journalofcommerce.com/article/id33548

Let's hope for more projects along these lines.


...though ultimately it will only be to provide a brief interlude before the storm returns in far greater force.

Obama did what had to be done: he brought a moment of stability to the system. Had the economy gone into a rapid and catastrophic decline, as it well might have done, nothing could have been done except watch the chaos and try to organize some rescues.

With the current stability, which may last only few weeks or months, plans can be formulated and implemented, to bring some order out of chaos. That, again, is what has been done.

Since the collapse of the US would have meant a world collapse and all its attendant dangers, social stability at any cost was of paramount importance. With that task accomplished, plans have been designed and implementations begun with the aim to returning the country--and the world--to a business as usual status. This, again, was necessary as too great a discontinuity between the "present" and the "future" would have been too great for the people to bear.

However, Obama is certainly aware that BAU is not coming back, and that the worst is yet to come, but the people will be better prepared for the next shocks than they were for the first.

So, yes, Leanan is correct: we are in an interlude before TSHTF with perhaps even greater force. Only when it is apparent that BAU cannot be revived can the country then consider--or be forced to adopt--alternative plans and perspectives. The end result, excepting some "Pearl Harbor" event, will be a much lower standard of living and a long period, a decade or two, of building a sustainable way of life.

If some catastrophic natural or human-caused event occurs, however, we may face conditions that the doomers foretell. But these things we cannot design or plan for.

Written by Richard Heinberg in A Beguiling Veneer of Normalcy, April 23, 2009:
Recent bank earnings reports and stock market activity have led many analysts to claim that the economy has indeed reached the bottom of the trough, and that while the recession is not over the worst has passed.

Those earnings reports have been artificially inflated by the elimination of the mark-to-market rule allowing banks to declare their toxic assets to be worth whatever they can conjure. The first quarter earnings reports are meaningless helping to inflate another sucker's rally in the stock market which may be popped by the release of the results of the bank stress tests. Perpetuating an economy with financial fraud does not create a foundation upon which future prosperity can be built.

Written by Dayahka:
Obama is certainly aware that BAU is not coming back, and that the worst is yet to come, but the people will be better prepared for the next shocks than they were for the first.

Pleading with Americans to go out and spend, continuing the deregulation of the financial industry, saving executives whose incompetence created the financial crisis and the Fed buying treasuries do not make people better prepared for additional shocks. It papers over the rot which will quickly eat through the cover. Obama's policies clearly show he intends and is willing to do anything to make BAU continue

I'd just note that, though I'm as mad as anyone else over the stupid perps of the sub-prime mess, it does no good to demand instantaneous "mark-to-market" on bonds / papers which have no immediate market but which very likely have significant value. That's just harming your economy for the fun of it.

from the story about natural gas prices:

"If we assume the lower horizontal well cost of ~$3.8mm with a 3 Bcfe EUR on 40-acre spacing"

wondering how they plan to drill a mile long lateral on 40 acre spacing ? i suppose they could line up 16 wells on one side and drill across the section. the distance between laterals would be 330'. if they plan to drill on 40 ac. i don't see any need to drill hz.
and the average well is going to recover 3bcf ?, dream on. this guy has been guzzling the noofizx kool-aid. noof and newt, are they cousins ?