Drumbeat: May 9, 2009

US-Canadian shale could neutralize Russian energy threat to Europeans

Rising shale gas production in the United States and Canada as well as potential natural gas supplies from Iraq could be pivotal in curbing Russia’s ability to organize an “energy weapon” against European consumers, according to a new study released today by Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

The study, “Russia and the Caspian States and the Global Energy Balance,” examines Russia’s evolving energy relations with its Caspian neighbors, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and the West and considers potential scenarios for Russian and Caspian oil and natural gas strategies.

“Maintaining favorable tax conditions to support investment in onshore shale gas resources in the United States can play an important role of containing Russia’s leverage over an increasingly global natural gas market,” said Kenneth Medlock, a Baker Institute researcher and lead author of the study. “In addition to North American resources, our scenario analysis shows that there are several supply sources that can serve as viable alternatives to heavy future global reliance on Russian natural gas.”

Oil industry eager to take case to public

Facing unwelcome changes to U.S. energy policy, some oil and gas industry leaders are calling for stepped-up efforts to defend the business publicly and dispel what they view as myths about the potential of renewables to meet the nation’s energy needs.

“In my 30 years in the industry, I don’t think there has been a greater call for engagement,” said Gary Luquette, president of Chevron Corp.’s North American exploration and production business. At last week’s Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, he stressed the need for greater communication on energy issues with the American public and even with industry critics.

“There’s no reason for us to be fighting off our back foot,” he said.

Chavez’s Oil Seizures May Cause ‘Substantial’ Output Decline

(Bloomberg) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s seizure of assets at 60 oilfield service companies threatens to reduce the OPEC-member country’s output.

“Petroleos de Venezuela doesn’t have the management and strategic capacity to operate these companies properly,” said Jorge Pinon, a fellow at the Center for Hemispheric Policy at the University of Miami, referring to the state-owned oil company. “You’ll see a substantial drop in oil production.”

Venezuela oil takeovers may leave 22,000 jobless: unions

CARACAS (AFP) - Venezuelan unions estimated Saturday that nearly 22,000 oil contractors stand to lose their jobs after President Hugo Chavez's government seized the assets of 60 local and foreign-owned oil firms.

Oil rally may draw rush of consumer hedging

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A nearly 70 percent run up in oil prices since February may trigger a round of hedging by big energy consumer industries, like airlines, seeking to protect themselves from a further hike in costs.

Already experts say there have been signs more companies are wading into the market to take out protective positions against increased costs -- a trend that could accelerate oil's rally if it gains momentum.

Iranian Official Expects OPEC to Hold or Cut Output

TEHRAN -- Iran's OPEC governor said the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will either cut production at its May 28 meeting to reduce record-high crude-oil stock levels, or decide to maintain current output on expectations of an improved economic situation and a rise in demand.

"There are two options. If OPEC decides to bring the stock levels back to the five-year average, then production has to be decreased. Another option is to maintain the current [production] level…and see how economic improvement will influence demand," Mohammad Ali Khatibi told Dow Jones Newswires by phone Friday.

Saudi on target to meet 12mbpd output expansion

Saudi Arabia is pushing ahead with a major oil capacity expansion programme despite slackening global demand and its target of 12 million barrels per day will be achieved within weeks, according to the Gulf country's oil operator.

The state-owned Saudi Aramco, the world's largest oil exporter, said that production level would be reached once the world's largest single upstream development project at Khurais oilfield is completed.

Saudi Aramco plans gas plant at Moneefa oilfield

State hydrocarbon giant Saudi Aramco will build a gas plant at its Moneefa oilfield to process 1 billion cubic feet per day (cfd) of gas, an Aramco executive said on Saturday.

The plant will process gas from Aramco's newly discovered offshore gas fields Arabiyah and Hasbah, the executive said adding that it is a "sizeable reserve discovery."

Exxon begins drilling at Point Thomson

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Exxon Mobil says it has begun drilling at Alaska's Point Thomson oil and gas field.

Patrick McGinn, a company spokesman, says drilling operations were launched Friday.

In February, Exxon returned eight of its Point Thomson leases that were part of 13 added to the field in 2002. Exxon had promised to drill wells and begin producing oil within four years, but no drilling occurred.

The state has been fighting with the Irving, Texas-based oil giant and other lease holders over the lack of progress there.

Kenya: Tight purse strings choke small oil firms

Small oil marketing companies are unable to import crude and refined oil products into the local market because of limited financial facilities.

According to Petroleum Development Consultants (PDC), many firms don’t have the capacity to participate in the open tender system (OTS) as banks have set stringent lending terms after the collapse of Triton Petroleum.

Report examines limits of national power grid simulations

ARGONNE, Ill. (May 4, 2009) — America's power grid today resembles the country's canal system of the 19th Century. A marvel of engineering for its time, the canal system eventually could not keep pace with the growing demands of transcontinental transportation.

More than 150 years later, America's infrastructure is again changing in ways that its designers never anticipated. Distributed and intermittent electricity generation, such as wind power, is rapidly expanding, new smart meters are giving consumers more control over their energy usage, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles may someday radically increase the overall demand for electricity. The evolution of America's energy needs has forced scientists and engineers to re-examine the operations, efficiency and security of the national power grid. The creation of a more secure and efficient national power grid requires significant innovations in the way we transmit electricity and monitor its use.

UK "green" job market swelling amid recession

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's "green" job market is thriving despite tough economic times and mounting redundancies in other sectors, environmental recruiters said on Friday.

Chevron: Athabasca Oil Sands Expansion to Start Up in 2011

A 100,000-barrel-a-day expansion at Royal Dutch Shell PLC's (RDSA) Athabasca Oil Sands Project is expected to be completed and start up in 2011, slightly behind schedule, a top executive of partner Chevron Corp. (CVX) said Thursday.

"It's going to start more likely next year, which is little behind the original schedule," Gary Luquette, Chevron's president North America Exploration and Production, told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview.

Gasoline prices jump past $2

The average price of gasoline in the U.S. jumped 2.8 cents overnight to $2.169 for regular Friday, an enormous leap by recent standards.

Analyst Says Oil Outlook Cloudy

The economy is probably rebounding better than most realize, says Houston energy analyst Dan Pickering, but if oil demand continues to drop, the damage to the energy business will be significant.

"We could be at $70 oil much faster than we predict," Pickering told a crowd Thursday on the final day of the 2009 Offshore Technology Conference at Reliant Park. "But I think we'll be at $30 if demand is down again in 2010."

Saudi SABIC, Sipchem tap synergies during crisis

RIYADH (Reuters) - Two of Saudi Arabia's biggest petrochemical firms said on Saturday they have agreed to cooperate on the execution of projects to create synergies after the global economic slowdown hit their profitability.

Under a memorandum of understanding, Saudi Basic Industries Corp 2010.SE (SABIC) will crack ethane feedstock to provide Saudi International Petrochemical Co 2310.SE (Sipchem) with ethylene olefin and in exchange Sipchem will provide SABIC with carbon monoxide, the two firms said in a statement.

Pemex marks three discoveries this year

Mexican state-owned Pemex E&P subsidiary PEP recorded three discovery wells during the first quarter of the year, all of which are producing super light crude.

Pemex drilled the Bricol-1 and Cupache-1 wells at its Cinco Presidentes project in the southern marine basin, according to Pemex's quarterly investors report.

Mexico sees oil bidding in December

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Work on new contracts that let private oil companies explore for oil in Mexico is on schedule and bids for the first deals should be received by December, a senior executive of state oil company Pemex said on Friday.

Mexican law bans private participation in the oil industry but Pemex is keen to bring in international oil companies to help boost falling oil production, which has dipped to its lowest level since 1995.

49 people hurt in Boston when trolleys collide

BOSTON (AP) — A trolley rear-ended another trolley that was stopped between two underground stations in downtown Boston on Friday night, injuring about 50 people, and one of the conductors told police he was texting at the time of the crash, officials said.

...The 24-year-old operator of the moving trolley, who was the most seriously injured, admitted to police that he was sending text messages from his cellphone when the accident occurred, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority general manager Dan Grabauskas said.

Saudi slashes spending on five year energy plan

Saudi Arabia’s five year energy plan has been revised and spending cuts introduced as a result of a fall in oil prices, it emerged on Saturday.

According to Middle East Economic Survey (MEES) the kingdom has put several of its energy projects on hold, including the offshore Hasbah natural-gas field and a gas-to- liquids facility at Shaybah.

The report failed to say where it had gained the information on the delays but added that state-run Saudi Aramco was planning to also slash spending on the so-called Maintain Potential programme.

Major find in age of shrinking resources

Oil firm's 'transformational' discovery in northern Iraq a shot of hope to those who gamble on volatile region

CALGARY — The discovery of a major new oil resource in Kurdistan is lifting the prospects for a cluster of small energy explorers who have looked to the northern Iraqi region as the last great bastion of easy oil.

Lower production setback for European oil firms

Spanish oil company Repsol, Austrian rival OMV and Romania's Petrom reported big drops in profit yesterday due to lower oil prices and falling production but refining margins rose.

Kuwait resumes oil exports after day of bad weather

Kuwait said on Friday it had resumed all oil exports after they were halted on Thursday due to high wind and bad weather conditions, a spokesman for state refiner Kuwait National Petroleum Co (KNPC) said.

Iraq Oil Ministry denies deal to export Kurd oil

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The Iraqi Oil Ministry has not granted permission for oil to be exported from fields in the largely autonomous Kurdish region, a ministry official said on Friday, contradicting statements from Kurdish officials.

Pdvsa insolvency affects cash flow of mixed companies

The current insolvent status of state-run oil holding Petróleos de Venezuela (Pdvsa) due to falling oil prices and declining income has prevented it from paying its debts to contractors and providers. Payment in arrears also reaches mixed companies –former operators- as they have not been paid for oil sales.

Chávez Seizes Assets of Oil Contractors

The move by Mr. Chávez on Friday also raises concern about Venezuela’s ability to increase its declining oil production at a time of low oil prices. The national oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, hired the contractors to help it produce oil by operating drilling rigs, using technology to extract oil from aging wells or moving personnel or equipment on boats.

Venezuela, which relies on oil for about 93 percent of its export earnings, has not paid some of the oil contactors since late last year, according to filings by companies like Williams Companies, based in Tulsa, Okla., which said last month that it did not expect to receive $241 million it was owed here. Petróleos de Venezuela had been seeking a reduction of about 40 percent in its overall debt to the companies, which is estimated by industry analysts to be about $10 billion.

Pdvsa debt increases by 146 percent in 2008

The revenues of the state-run oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (Pdvsa) increased by 39 percent in 2008. However, despite increased funds, the conglomerate's debt rose dramatically and Pdvsa allocated less money to social plans.

2050: An energy odyssey

Ottawa’s low-carbon energy projections leave Canada producing more energy from coal, oil sands, nuclear and forests. This is green?

Canada's reckless carbon habit (review of Carbon Shift)

Here's the situation, and it's a dangerous one. In the past 150 years, the human tribe willingly became eager slaves to oil and got teenage-drunk on the fumes. But carbon is now the insidious master of our house and garden. Man-made volcanoes of CO{-2} have wrecked the climate thermostat, dried up water supplies, killed forests, shrunk glaciers and made farmers as insecure as artists. And that's just the beginning of the oil hangover. Can Canada remain strong and free without ice, journalist Ed Struzik asks in his mind-boggling exposé (The Big Thaw) of the Arctic meltdown.

The wheels on the bus go round and round..in Sauk County

"I think the perception has been that Sauk County is just too rural for this," said Ashley Nedeau-Owen, Sauk County's mobility manager.

But he has high hopes for The Bus, which will run five days a week with two county-owned buses that have maximum capacities of 10 and 14 passengers. The plan is to expand the program into one that will hit more areas of Sauk County with more buses.

...Buses will pull over and pickup anyone that flags them down along a route, as long as it's an appropriate place to stop. And those who live within one mile of a stop can call ahead of time — preferably at least a day in advance — to request that a driver pick them up.

Chevron bids to make college solar

JOSHUA TREE — The Chevron corporation is proposing to install solar panels, a wind turbine and other alternative-energy equipment at Copper Mountain College, promising to save the Joshua Tree campus more than 950,000 kilowatts and $450,000 every year.

College trustees will hold a public hearing and are expected to vote on the proposal Thursday.

Besides saving money, college officials hope the installations will lead to a new degree program in energy management.

Do 'fatties' cause global warming?

I'm 5 feet 9 and 160 pounds. So I'm not fat. But I eat a lot: My metabolism would require me to make food intake a full-time job if I aimed to gain weight.

I'm not unique that way. And like almost anyone else, the more active I am the more I consume. By massaging the appropriate numbers I could produce an equally eye-catching, and worthless, argument that skinniness and/or fitness cause climate change.

"Fatties" aren't the only ones who live in oversized homes or indulge in excessive consumption of all kinds of products. They're not to blame for car-dependent suburbs, energy-wasting building standards, lax emission regulations for cars and industries, or the many other reasons we burn too much coal, oil and gas.

They didn't create the global food production system based on insecticides, pesticides and machinery – all consuming huge amounts of fossil fuels.

NEPAL: Experts call for climate change adaptation plans

KATHMANDU (IRIN) - Nepal is one of a number of South Asian countries directly affected by global warming, especially in mountainous regions which have seen rapid glacier melt: Local experts warn that climate change adaptation plans urgently need to be put in place.

Wanted: A New Home for My Country

One recent evening at the presidential palace in Malé, the capital of the Maldives, around 100 people showed up to watch a movie. Rows of overstuffed chairs in a gaudy combination of stripes and paisleys faced a projection screen hanging on the front wall of what seemed like a grand ballroom. At the back of the hall, journalists erected camera and microphone rigs: Mohamed Nasheed, the Maldives’ 41-year-old president, was expected to make a major announcement after the film. And ever since Nasheed declared on the eve of his inauguration last November that, because of global warming, he would try to find a new homeland for Maldivians somewhere else in the world, on higher ground, local reporters didn’t miss the chance to see their unpredictable (“erratic” and “crazy” were other adjectives I heard used) president.

No credit where it's due

Three smart, combative books on climate change are already slightly out of date.

I think the recent decline in the US Dollar Index is part of the reason for the recent increases in the price of oil. There doesn't seem to be any real supply or demand change over the past few months to explain the oil price rise. This leads me to believe it's more a function of the currency markets placing a lower future value on the US Dollar. ie, the slipping US Dollar Index and lower cross currency exchange rates
I am curious as to what others think .

Best Regards,

I think the increasing crude oil price is a combination of a weakening dollar, speculation, world supply actualy tightening more than the EIA says (often these figures are later quietly revised!), and rapid changes in demand for the mix of products obtained from a barrel of crude caused by the recession.

If we assume that the US is a good proxy for the rest of the world then although total crude usage is down ~8% yoy, because gasoline is only down ~1% other substances such as distillate, chemicals and aviation fuel are down much more than 8% - the figures say that the excess distillate etc isn't actually being consumed, it is being stored - ie: not all of the barrels of crude allegedly being consumed actually are, the refiners are having to buy more crude than they normally would to provide enough non-discretionary gasoline!

Howdy Gunga,

I hadn't considered the dollar factor. It's been fairly strong, and, as TAE points out, currency is all relative. In tough times the dollar is still a haven, but maybe the rest of the world is starting lose that faith (they probably ought to...).

I've been wondering a lot why oil has been so strong in light of weak demand and lots of 'floating oil'. My thought is that it's all speculative. There are pools of money waiting on the sideline for the next big thing. Oil's recent history makes it a strong contender.

A question I'd like some views on is this: Oil and gold would seem to be opposite indicators - economy growing then oil up and gold steady. Economy going to heck - oil drops and gold goes up. This didn't really hold true though last Fall - didn't everything plunge? I've been unclear what's the best place for my meager savings: Gold or Oil. Obviously lately it's been Oil. Certain shares are going crazy - up 50% in a couple weeks (I missed it...).

A safe strategy would be 1/2 oil and 1/2 gold but I want to make a little money in this sucker's rally. And a sucker's rally I really believe it is. How on earth can we recover? There's no engine of growth and the numbers on the ground are bad, as opposed to the gov's make believe numbers.

Energy is an area of growth but what we're gonna get is expensive energy - not quite what folks expect!

Hi G2S,
My personal opinion is that it is smart to diversify out of the US Dollar. I do not think the global economy will strengthen in the near or mid term future which may lessen the rise in price oil would otherwise see as people reduce their exposure to weakening currencies.
However, decreasing oil demand could be more than offset by the decreasing reliability of supply.
Some things that I am aware of that have protected people from a declining currency in the past are:
-gold bullion
-silver bullion
-investment grade diamonds
-quality farmland
-commodites such as oil
I think it is wise to diversify as much as possible in an environment as uncertain as the one we currently find ourselves in.



I figure NON-U.S. oil stocks and something in the GOLD world.

Oil now, then sell it all if the Hamageddon (you know, the Aporkalypse) occurs.

Buy gold with 1/2 and keep 1/2 in cash for use or reinvestment...

I'm considering figuring out how to short a few things...

"I've been unclear what's the best place for my meager savings: Gold or Oil. Obviously lately it's been Oil."

Until a few weeks ago I had never owned physical gold in my life. I have most of my investments in Canadian bonds, mineral rights, and private-equity conventional oil junior petes, but have had trouble finding more of the same that are good quality earners. So what I started doing was to cash my royalty cheques, buy 1-oz gold Maple Leaf coins, and put them in my safe-deposit box for my old age. Gold will always be worth something 20 years from now no matter what the economy is like. Remember that 20 years ago General Motors was a blue-chip stock for widows and orphans.

There has been a huge drop in the amount of debt available. For example, see this exhibit from this report.

When businesses cannot obtain debt, they do not build new factories. People do not buy new cars without loans for them. Builders do not build new homes (not to mention that current overbuilt situation otherwise!) The lack of debt is tied in with the lack of consumption. This is why the US government is trying to pump up lending.

This is another exhibit (in Euros) showing the drop in the amount of debt for specific types of securities. It is from this report.


for years many with a more pessimistic outlook have been saying the huge runup in debt would end in tears -now it appears that the issuance of debt is reducing- surely this should be seen as a good thing from the eyes of the aforementioned? What is your stance on the debt issue?

We can't cut it both ways can we?


I think this is the "tears" they were talking about.

It's necessary, but it's going to be painful.

This guy calls it the "Worst Case Scenario" for Geithner. He points out that we're already at the worst case scenario in the "stress test" assumptions, and things are still getting worse.

As usual, the Onion website has a solution to the Bankster's problems:

Treasury Department issues Emergency Recall of all US Dollars

Hmmm, let's see if we can get the images up ...




These are from a report by the European Securitization Forum

This is from the 4th quarter of 2008 which is a bit out of date as Trillions of liquidity and recapitalizations have switched on the lending machine again.

Today, myriad forms of government risk intermediation and market intervention are spurring system Credit creation and reliquefication. I have labeled the most recent phase of risk intermediation distortions and Credit excess the “Government Finance Bubble.” One will miss important dynamics by focusing on bank Credit.

It is worth noting first quarter bond issuance data from the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA). Total Bond issuance (muni, Treasury, mortgage-related, corporate, agency, and ABS) jumped to $1.420 TN during the period. This was a notable 71% increase from a dismal 4th quarter to the strongest issuance since Q2 2008 ($1.598TN). If the first quarter’s pace is maintained, total 2009 issuance of $5.680 TN would trail only 2003 and 2007.

First quarter bond sales were actually up 3.2% from Q1 2008, led by a 60% y-o-y increase in Treasury issuance ($326.8bn). On a quarter-over-quarter basis, Agency issuance was up 332% to $413.7bn; Mortgage-Related issuance increased 69% to $364.8bn; and Corporate issuance surged 188% to $215.1bn. Exemplifying the scope of the unfolding Government Finance Bubble, Treasury and Agency debt issuance combined for an incredible $740.5bn during the first quarter, up 59% y-o-y to a record annual pace of $2.962 TN.


What does it all mean?

First of all, it is impossible for anyone with any sense to come to the conclusion that the economy is 'back to normal' and that everything is now okay. The biggest problem, starting in 1982, has been the steady pauperization of American werking persons by inflation, by unrestrained immigration and job outsourcing. In place of earnings and savings there was an explosion of debt, so much debt that people got the idea that as long as they could obtain replacement credit for old loans, earning a relatively shrinking paycheck didn't matter.

Events have disproven this idea and the income problem has net been addressed, mudh less rectified. In fact, the wage-earning sector has been eviscerated by massive unemployment, with much more to come. In the past year there has been a loss of trillions of 'wealth' in businesses and in peoples' homes. This has taken away much consumer spending, which has impacted the retail sector which has added its millions to the unemployment roles. The cycle is vicious and feeds on itself; wages and hours have been slashed. Frighteningly, most unemployed will never get their old jobs back, leaving a skilled cadre with no effective outlet for those skills .. at great harm to both them and the rest of us. It is by this method that the means to produce modern goods and services are forgotten over time.

While unemployment isn't in freefall, there is no real bottom in sight for unemployment. I personally think 25% unemployment is not out of the question. There is little money outside of finance to support business and employment.

Add to this the oil price 'tax' that is adding more and more instability to an already uncertain financial dynamic. Leaving aside the all- important 'pump price' there is the effects of price in agriculture as well as manufacturing, shipping, materials processiing. As the higher prices trickle up the supply chain the consequences are hard to predict but are not likely to be pleasant. Unlike last year, there is no means to compenste for this disruption. The financialization of petroleum is finished. Neither business nor customers can borrow to finance fuel cosnumption; this is now an allocation (and prioritization) regime. People can choose between fuel ... and other goods and services ... what?

An interesting question ...

Despite the trillions thrown at them, tanks still have massive toxic exposure both and and off their books or have concealed them by accounting trickery. The IMF, Nouriel Roubini and others calculate the amount of bad debt to be chargeable to the banks is greater than their capital ... regardless of the myth of the 'Stess Tests'. With the surge in government guaranteed mortgage refinancing homeowners are NOT taking wealth our their homes to spend, they are instead strangling the banks of income down the road.

What will happen with credit in the post- carbon future is an ongoing exploration. I personally don't think the banking- securitized finance model will ever work again. People will never trust it ... and what is happening with the surge in borrowing is a refection of low credit opportunity costs; the chance esists to refinance a home or roll over maturing business debt. It may not be possible six months or a year from now. It is hard to consider opportunistic use of a massively subsidized lending regime to be a vote of confidence in it.

At the same time, the need for longer termed lending is never going to go away. The impersonal-industrial approach to lending-to-scale is demonstrated to be fatally flowed. the mortgage originatores never knew or cared that their customres had no money! It's going to be back to the future with old- fashioned relationship lending. There won't be ths same level or quantity of borrowing, but the quality of borrowing and borrowers will improve ...

Excellent write up, Steve. I've think you've penned everything accurately IMO. My view of the economy, from inside corporate America, corroborates well with your words. We are losing jobs in this economy like a sieve.

I spoke with a man yesterday that was a senior architect at a major company who was let go from his company after 25 years of dedication to said company. He has looked around for a comparable job in frustration. I've been in this situation before where I was "over-qualified" for lesser jobs due to degrees/experience. Those types of jobs that get vacated will not be back-filled for either a long time or ever. They are just "lost".

What is interesting in the last week or so is that we have returned to a pattern that was present almost a year ago and stopped after the run up in crude prices last summer. That pattern is the US dollar showing weakness, crude prices showing strength and the DOW moving up simultaneously. That pattern broke down once the financial fiasco hit the fan in last Fall, yet it has reimerged. Why is it reoccuring and why now? What, in the global economic game, has changed in the last several weeks?

Oil supply has been dropping fast, at least per Oil Movements:

"OPEC has axed output by about 3.4-3.5 million barrels a day since September relative to the 4.2 million barrels a day the group has pledged to cut."


Otherwise, it is not the fall in the dollar per se but QE (quantitative easing) that is devaluing the dollar and leading to worldwide inflation.

The Federal Reserve has created about $1 trillion in new fiat dollars over the last year (although some of those dollars are not going back into the financial system).

Deflation in these circumstances is virtually impossible. It's quite possible to see a $100 price for oil by year end even if supply/demand fundementals do not change - based upon the effects of QE.

The thing is...I can't see how prices can go up when consumers' purchasing power is going down. People are losing their jobs, wages are dropping, and they're losing access to credit (credit cards and HELOCs). How can they pay higher prices for anything?

The source of money? THe US government.

US income tax collections are down 24% and government spending is up 14%, as the US budget deficit heads for $2 trillion this year:


Granted without government intervention there could have been deflation, but this is not the case and also was not the case in the great depression of the 1930s - with 25% unemployment - after Roosevelt came in and greatly devalued the dollar.

Hello Leanan,

Thxs for the DB toplinks on Nepal and the Maldives: IMO, it only makes sense that we will see early cascading blowbacks on sea-level islands and high altitude 'sky islands'. The pressure on these habitats will be tremendous as the narrowly adapted species will have nowhere to go in response to climate change, and the humans, due to the Laws of Physics and logistic hurdles, will most likely further decimate their chances as imported resources become Unobtainium.

The Thermo/Gene Collision may become quite obvious in these areas, and over much time we might expect small humans or hobbits:

Ancient "hobbit" feet contain clues that the diminutive fossil creatures, found on the Indonesian island of Flores, had a very different style of walking than that of modern humans, according to a new analysis.

..That interpretation has been hotly debated. Several scientists believe the bones are those of dwarf modern humans, perhaps afflicted with a genetic disease.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

A NY Times letter to the editor:

Shared Delusions

When I was a young boy in France, I remember reading old books from my father talking about the mission civilisatrice or the civilizing mission of France, namely in Africa and Southeast Asia. In my view these delusions were the same as your delusion about American exceptionalism. They were basically a fig leaf to feel good about grabbing rubber and base materials in these countries, as much as yours are a fig leaf to grab land from Native Americans and Palestinians, or petrol in Iraq.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but I find my mind is still boggled at the way so many Americans don't see the connection between "exceptionalism" and resources. Okay, maybe the US should be a beacon of freedom to the world. But without our resource-supported economic, military, and political power, it would be like Bhutan - a nice idea, but not really enough to keep us from being just one among many nations.

IMHO there has never been any real understanding or acceptance among the USA public about what a fantastic piece of real estate the founders seized. That is where a lot of the wealth has always rested. Had that land been controlled by Canada, Australia, Sweden, Germany, etc. economic results would have been as good or better IMO. Japan would have been an incredible giant with such an advantage.

The French gave away Canada-just acres of snow, to the British,
to keep the Caribbean.

Time's change.

In terms of real estate, the USA is on a whole different level than Canada-stick 350 million people in Canada and see what the quality of life looks like. Absolutely no comparison.

350 million would be cramped, especially because everyone would hug the U.S. border, just like now.
However, with less people Canada is a very good country, in my opinion. It was generally built well and has retained more of a sense of community than many places in the U.S. It too was well endowed with natural resources.

It does have areas that aren't doing as well, and people who are as ignorant as any around. And of course it is locked into the growth paradigm just like everyone else.

(full disclosure: the above was written by a Canadian)

I'm in Toronto myself-with 32 million Canada is far more urbanized than the USA. The thing is, fantastic Canadian weather is lousy American weather. Here in Toronto, you get a 60F day (or warmer) with sunshine and everyone is celebrating.

Though had it been controlled by Spain you would have been Argentina on a bigger scale.

Interesting comment, in that the USA is definitely becoming more Spanish and Argentina-like by the day.

I can't comment about Argentina, but the standard of living in Spain is much higher than that in the USA, which means that what you probably had in mind to say is that the USA is becoming less and less like Spain.

the standard of living in Spain is much higher than that in the USA,

Well hell, I was in Spain a few years ago and I got a totally different idea. I saw a lot more poverty in Spain than I ever witnessed in the USA. But that is only anecdotal evidence so I checked the per capita income on the web. In 2006 it was:

USA ..$44,970
Spain $27,580
Quite a difference. I suppose a buck goes a lot further in Spain. But no, that argument will not work because the article clearly states.

Because exchange rates do not always reflect international differences in relative prices, The comparison of GNI per capita estimates into international dollars using purchasing power parity (PPP) rates, can be viewed here.

So we are comparing the purchasing power of the average per capita income. That is, we are comparing apples to apples. Bottom line, you are simply wrong.

Ron P.

You need to consider the income distribution in addition to the average income.
In the USA you have a significant number making 10 or 100 times the average and perhaps 30% of the population making less than half the average. My bet is that Spain still has a middle class with a large cluster earning the average income.

Spanish taxes do not support fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Spanish people do not support a global chain of military outposts, and do not spend vast amounts in warfare technologies. They likely spend more tax dollars on public health care, transportation infrastructure and education.

Bottom line, you are simply wrong.

Spanish taxes do not support fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Spanish people do not support a global chain of military outposts, and do not spend vast amounts in warfare technologies. They likely spend more tax dollars on public health care, transportation infrastructure and education.

Purchasing power is, by definition, purchasing power after taxes!

(USA) Median household income, 2007 $50,740

USA Quick Facts
That is, half the population of the USA had an income of above $50,740. Are you saying that Spain had a higher median income when their average income was only $27,580?

But I gave a URL for my claims, you gave nothing. If you think think you are correct then please post your evidence, your URL, else you are just blowing smoke.

Bottom line, you are simply wrong.

Ron P.

The GINI coefficient calculated by the UN Human Development report for 2007/2008
Spain 34.7 United States 40.8
Source: 2007/2008 Human Development Report

The GINI coefficient calculated by the CIA World Factbook 2007
Spain 32 (2005)
Source: http://www.umsl.edu/services/govdocs/wofact2008/geos/sp.html
United States 45 (2007)
Source: http://www.umsl.edu/services/govdocs/wofact2008/geos/us.html
On the GINI coeficient 0 represents absolute equality, and a value of 100 represents absolute inequality.

Both the UN HDI and the CIA report greater income equality in Spain than in the USA. Average income may be higher in the US but this figure is a statistical artifact and will be skewed by the US 10% extremely high earners and the US 30% at or below the poverty line.

The current financial crisis is likely to result in an increase in US income inequality. A U6 of 8 to 10% will exacerbate income inequality as will the government acting to subsidize banker bonus payments in excess of $100,000.

Bottom line, you are simply wrong.

Ron P.

A lot of the problems in the US stem from the fact that the average US citizen is incapable of accurately determining what is taking place in his/her own country.

Bop, the GINI coefficient is a measure of equal distribution of income, of more accurately how unequal the distribution of income really is. So the US is slightly more unequal than Spain. However that does not change the fact that both the average income as well as the median income in the US is greater. And the median income is the important one because that the dividing half and half point. Half the population is above the median point and half the population is below the median point. What that is saying that a much lower income in Spain is divided more equally while in the US a much higher income is slightly more unequal.

That does not change the very obvious fact that the average standard of living in the US is much higher than that of Spain. And if you remember correctly, that was the point of contention.

I was in Spain for several days a few years ago. I witnessed far more abject poverty than I had ever witnessed in the US. I fully realize that there is a lot of poverty in the US. However there is even more poverty in Spain as the income statistics clearly indicate.

What the outcome of the current financial crisis will be is another matter. I have no idea which nation is in the better condition to have the greater percentage of survival of its populace. However I would guess that the US is in a far favorable position. Spain has virtually no natural resources.

In 2006, the last year I have statistics for, Spain produced 3,000 barrels of oil per day while the US, in 2006, produced 5,102,000 bp/d.

Spain Crude Oil Production by Year

Spain does have a small amount of coal but the US has enough coal to last for several decades, at least. Bottom line, as far as natural resources go it is no contest. That means the US is in a far better position, economically, today as well as tomorrow.

Got any more stats you would like to present? ;-)

Ron P

I am a Spaniard and Darwinian is absolutely right, and then some. Not only we are much poorer than the Americans, -too painfuly obvious- in the matter of fossil fuels there's only some coal (in difficult situations, hard to dig out), just a little bit of oil, no gas. Campsa and Repsol do exploit oil and gas fields in Algeria and in South America, but it is not the same as having them in Spain, obviously. They are private companies (sigh!) now. They were State companies in the time of Franco -that well known Socialist ... but now that we have Democracy, Freedom and Globalization they are private. It is for our good! /Sarcanol off, as you often say/

As to you going the way of Spain or Argentina don't kid yourselves. You'll have to drop a lot to get here! Just as a rough, non-technical and non-statistical aproximation, the standard of living in Spain is "10 times higher" that in Argentina: over there things cost 3 times more, salaries are 3 times less, and 3 x 3 ~ 10, that is, millions of Argentinians come here to find work.
With 17,5% official unemployment (Holland, 5,7%) in Spain, or almost 5 million in reality, things look bad and they are going to get worse.

My only complain, not with Darwinian, is people saying you are turning Spanish. You are not turning Spanish, at all. I know what you mean, but please, say you are turning Latinoamerican or whatever. They have been independent for two centuries now, their defects are their own, their virtues when they exist also their own.
Spain is very, very different from Mexico, Guatemala, Cuba, etc.

USA) Median household income, 2007 $50,740

Household income is not the income of a single wage earner; it is the income of all the wage earners in that household. In most households there will be two wage earners.

Divide $5,740 by 2 and you obtain $25,370. It is noted that this figure is $2,210 less than the figure provided for Spanish median income. The figures provided by Ron undermine his own argument.

It is noted that the comparisons are being made between varying measures: average income, median income, and household income are independent measures.

To state a prior poster is wrong, and to buttress that assertion with a salad of inconsistent and inaccurate factoids is not "simply wrong." It is impolite.

you need to go back and do your math again;

Divide $5,740 by 2 and you obtain $25,370. It is noted that this figure is $2,210 less than the figure provided for Spanish median income. The figures provided by Ron undermine his own argument.

Your argument is just laughable. Do you think every US household has two wage earners while Spain has only one? No, the percentage of two household wage earners is likely no higher in the US as in Spain. However:

Which country has the highest average or median annual salary?

US has the highest average salary; however, Great Brittain and Japan have the highest per capita salary with the US 3rd.

Well hell, I think that pretty well settles the argument, don't you?

And as far as being impolite, you are very wrong. When someone makes a statement that is obviously wrong it behooves anyone who knows better to correct that wrong. It is obvious that the US citizen has a far higher standard of living than the average citizen of Spain. Anyone who has ever spent any time in both countries clearly realizes that fact.

It is not that I am saying that this is a good thing or a bad thing, it is just a fact, that is all.

Ron P.

Purchasing power is, by definition, purchasing power after taxes!

PPP does not take taxes into account.

I checked the per capita income

A dubious measure of quality of life.

half the population of the USA had an income of above $50,740

That is household income. Did you not even read your own link?

If you think think you are correct then please post your evidence

He's quite right about the greater inequality in the US; the Gini Index there is 45 vs. 32 in Spain.

Pitt, household income is household income. As I explained to Bop, the average household with two incomes in the US is likely no greater than that of Spain. The point is moot!

Okay, so PPP includes taxes. That puts the Spanish wage earner in an even bigger hole because the personal tax rate in Spain is higher than that of the US. This chart clearly shows the US personal tax rate to be about 29 percent while the personal tax rate in Spain is about 38 percent.
File:Income Taxes By Country.svg

So the Spanish wage earner not only earns an average of 40% less than the average US wage earner but he pays an average of 9% more in taxes. No wonder the standard of living in Spain is much lower. Again, this is simply very unfortunate but a fact nevertheless.

Ron P.

Note that I said that the quality of life is better in Spain, not the income. These are completely unrelated concepts.I agree that income is higher in the USA.

No, you said Standard_of_living ... but the idea of a 'standard' may be contrasted with the quality of life .... so .. it is a tricky one.

Sorry, I meant "quality of life". I didn't realize this was different from "standard of living". Incomes in Western Europe are generally lower than in the USA, but having lived in both the USA and a couple countries in Europe for many years, including Spain, I believe that, clearly, "money isn't everything."

"...pays an average of 9% more in taxes."

But, for a fair comparison, in the US you have to add health "insurance," unemployment insurance, education costs, random state and county payroll taxes, co-housing security costs, etc. Apples to apples, remember.

Disposable income is perhaps a better measure than PPP gross. But neither proxy for "quality of life" very well.

having lived in Spain for 4+ years now myself, I have to agree that while we can all accept that household income in the US is significantly higher than Spain, to me the feeling 'on the street' is that the typical Spaniard has more disposable income. They pay somewhat more in base taxes but those taxes include: universal health care, generous pension/unemployment/family leave, public transport from virtually any point A to any point B, much lower cost of living in household expenses like food/car insurance/child care, the list goes on. When I go back to the US now, I realize that while some things in the US remain very cheap, we are really nickel'd-and-dime'd to death in every facet of our daily lives. And don't get me started on the huge, unseen layer of cost built into nearly every facet of US life that is brought about by the need for liability insurance and our generally very litigious society. That is also largely non-existent in Spain as well.

I'm puzzled by some of the comments of people having traveled in Spain for a week or so and having witnessed 'abject poverty'. I'm sorry, I've been living here and traveling around for 4+ years and I haven't seen it. To me, the phrase abject poverty describes a place with no water service or modern sewage systems, no organized food distribution. If you saw any of that in Spain, I would really like to know where it was. Certainly the incidence of homelessness for example is less in Spain's cities by a factor of 10 at least. From a newly-arrived American's point of view, I will admit that some of the residential construction in certain neighborhoods and villages looks like 3rd world, but what most people don't see is that inside those homes, they are actually very nice inside. In Spain as opposed to the US, the inside is what matters, people generally care much less what the outside of their home or apartment building looks like. I have entered many a building here that looks ramshackle and unkempt on the outside but then inside it is all marble floors, Italian kitchens, porcelain bathrooms, etc. It is just a different mindset, Americans really care about the image their home presents to the outside world, in Spain they don't care what you think until you come in the door.

I have to agree completely. I spent two months in Sevilla a few years back. I don't recall seeing any clear signs of deep poverty, let alone "abject."

Your points on taxes are dead on. Americans truly do pay just as much in taxes (some variance by state) and get far less for it. For example: How much out-of-pocket expense is there for a simple doctor visit? A well-insured American will pay for the visit and the prescription because of the deductibles. I have not had a single year of employment in the US in which ANY of my medical care was paid for despite being employed and insured.

Hell, even without that, you'd be surprised, as an American, at some differences in prices created by our high overhead and "pay top dollar" syndrome. I have a permanent physical condition that affects nothing in my life, but which, for proper maintenance (which I don't actually need) would cost me probably 5k - and insurance wouldn't cover it. Here in Korea I got the same thing done for 1k, with follow-ups free so far.

I'd also like to know how people figure "household income" when there are so many people living as roomies and sharing expenses? Not paying for a car like most Americans must? Want to know why so many Americans come to Korea to work? Because they earn a salary that is piss-poor ($1,800+ housing, but it's often a 12x15 room. Still, let's call it $2200 a month), and can still save $1k a month because they don't have a car and health insurance is $45/mo.

Most Americans just don't get it. It really helps to live outside the US to really "see" the US.

Spain's quality of life? Tapas and beer? Flamenco dance and guitar? My favorite place to have lived so far.


household income is household income.

Which is why it was nonsensical of you to compare it to per capita income. That you're defending your bogus comparison instead of simply saying "oops" doesn't speak well for the quality of your argument.

the personal tax rate in Spain is higher than that of the US

As are the level of government services, such as healthcare.

So the Spanish wage earner not only earns an average of 40% less than the average US wage earner

You're still making the same error multiple people have pointed out, which is that the large difference in inequality between Spain and the US makes average income and median income not comparable.

You need to take a step back and re-think your argument, as currently you're doing nothing but comparing apples and oranges.

oops, seized ? I thought it was all legal :)

Seniors with jobs, and their parents, tiptoe around the many without

"People are using way better tact and taste right now because so many great kids through no fault of their own can't come up with anything," said Iannotti, who lives in Acton. "No one is puffing out their chest and saying, 'Look at us.' "

Her daughter's graduation, she says, will be bittersweet. "I am prepared to be sitting there feeling so terrible for all those kids out there in caps and gowns. There's such a mass of kids who have no place to go."

Four years ago, the son of some friends of ours graduated from high school. I gave him my Peak Oil spiel. He asked what he should major in. I suggested that he should focus on something on the non-discretionary side of the economy, perhaps something related to agriculture. He looked at me like I had grown two heads.

Fast forward four years. He has graduated with a degree in ethnic studies, probably planning to go to law school.

I was looking for graduation cards yesterday. What is the protocol for situations like this? Should I tell him that he has probably wasted four years of his life, and that he is, in all likelihood, about to waste another three years of his life and a lot of money?

I guess if nothing else this might be a new market segment to exploit. A new line of greeting cards--based on expectations for a severely energy constrained future.

Anecdotes like this really make me more thankful that I chose to attend my state's flagship university and that my parents and I were able to pay-as-we-went for an excellent education.

I think you are correct that there is not much point in taking non-practical degrees at boutique private schools with exorbitant tuition rates in our newly energy constrained society.

Going forward I would advise people on budgets to get education that will help keep food on the table and a roof over their head. If they have time and some money left over there are plenty of unconventional, low-cost means of pursuing more fanciful thoughts and ideas.

I'd say time to leave the crystal ball home and have a bite of humble pie. A lot of people don't end up doing what their undergrad degree alluded to.. I tend to believe that you get your education to learn how to learn, to see a little more of who you are.. and that the Major is little better than a serving suggestion.

Wish him good luck, and see if there isn't a conversation that comes up where you can bend it towards 'current events' that he would do well to have in mind. I like the idea that if you come up with the right nagging question (but not delivered in a nagging tone of voice), it might stick there and demand the attention of his inner Sherlock every now and then.


The law school option does not require much crystal ball gazing. Even now, probably more than half of recent law school graduates didn't really benefit from three years of law school--plus the lost income and huge costs. And lawyers are being laid off left and right, while I suspect that law school admissions are at or near record levels.

What we need are young people with real skills in things like agriculture, repair & maintenance, etc. Instead, we are graduating wave upon wave of college graduates who are very poorly equipped for an economy that is rapidly transitioning from one focused on "wants" to one focused on needs.

you get your education to learn how to learn

But how do you learn what *not* to learn?

... Technology will save us.
... The market will save us.
... An expensive college education will save us.

... Pressing SAVE under the TOD Preview Comment box will save us ;-)

/sarc on

Yes, by all means we have almost assuredly also turned the corner on bank closures. Was it four two week's ago, two last week, and this week only one!?

/sarc off

Westsound Bank, Bremerton, WA

This is probably a bad sign. Headline in the Dallas Morning News this morning:

The worst may be over

I think it was John Kenneth Galbraith who characterized the Great Depression as "The worst continued to get worse."

Yea, it's almost like watching a character in a play/show/game/movie tempting fate. You know it's going to get worse but they 'just' had to say that didn't they?

I'm picturing the scene at the end of "Dirty Mary Crazy Larry" where one of them says, "Nothing can stop us now!" right before they get hit by a freight train.

Do I need a ***SPOILER ALERT*** on a 35 year old movie?

CNQ calls for cost co-ordination in oil patch

CALGARY — After watching an explosion in costs raise the price of its Horizon oil sands mine by nearly $3-billion, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. [CNQ-T] is calling on the oil patch to rethink the way it builds during the next boom.

. . .

The problem is how to keep those gains from being illusory. Many companies now believe they can profitably build their projects with oil at $60 (U.S.) to $70. Once that threshold is reached, the worry is they will all race back into the fray.


CNQ thinks it sees a decline in prices that permits it to go ahead. Gary Luquette, Chevron's president North America Exploration and Production, sees it differently:

Luquette said there isn't yet a specific timeline for the second-phase expansion of the project, which Shell delayed last October on rising costs. Luquette also said that most of the costs associated with the phase-one expansion, which climbed to $13.7 billion, are fixed and that the company is seeing very little cost reductions.

(This is from Leanan's link upthread)

Three thoughts:
First, an interesting contrast in views between CNQ and CVX: one sees price flexibility and the other does not. The CNQ proposal for joint action is a non-starter. It would constitute restraint of trade for the oil companies to form a "combination" and seek to extract lower prices from all of their suppliers. The public already believes the oil industry operates as a cartel; this would turn that belief into actuality.

Second is the tar sands quoted threshold price of $60 to $70. OPEC has to be aware of this and has an incentive to maintain a price below this threshold. If the price continues to run up I think OPEC has the spare capacity to drive it down again and has a significant interest in doing so.

Third, is that we appear to be in a time when none of our "systems," particularly market systems, appear to be functioning. Oil inventory builds and the price rises? Folks who are marginal credit risks get loans to buy mansions? Millionaire bankers and their stock and bondholders get state support while Joe Mainstreet is tossed from his job and his home?

"Third, is that we appear to be in a time when none of our "systems," particularly market systems, appear to be functioning."

To which add that the American dollar isn't worth the electrons it is made of on the computer screen, yet mass-media analysts still babble about the "flight to quality".

The Chinese and other dollar holders are trying to tiptoe towards the exit by buying gold and commodities.

The Chinese and other dollar holders are trying to tiptoe towards the exit by buying gold and commodities.

Yep, although I wonder when the tiptoeing will turn into a sprint. China can try for a graceful exit out of USD, but only as long as others still support it. Last Thursday, T-Bills weren't exactly a hot seller, despite the Fed picking up a lot of it. The ten year rate (TNX) has been climbing steadily since the end of March.

This is starting to look like a game of "hot potato", like the CDOs and MBSs from liars loans that were dumped onto the market before the (virtual) ink was dry. Pity the poor commodities seller that hangs on to any US backed payment for too long.

Sign of the times: China is now Brazil's #1 customer (replacing the USA)-trade between the two countries up 12X since 2001 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/5296515/China-overtakes-the...

A toplink entitled: Saudi SABIC, Sipchem tap synergies during crisis

'Sip Chemicals' is truly an honest company name; I've got to give them credit for that word combo. My guess is that they don't have a strong public relations & brand marketing dept.

We will see other corps [corpses?] move to logically renaming their orgs?

Lethal Exhaust Motors [let your chrome penis truly choke your neighbors]

Receding Horizons Travel Agency [The more you vacation now, the more exclusive it becomes postPeak]

Climate Change Island Resorts [Bring your swim fins and life preserver as you WILL be treading water]

Toxic Soup & Sandwich Chain [Eat at a huge discount now, you can thank us for the disease and birth mutations later]

/sarcasm off

Hello TODers,

It appears these golf course investors/homeowners are mostly going to lose their shirts. If the proposed buyer is still a Yerginite-->he might lose his postPeak shirt & shorts, too:

Shareholders to consider sale of golf club

Shareholders of the River Trace Golf Course will consider an offer to sell the course to a unnamed developer at a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

..The property first was going to be sold to Retail Developers of Alabama, then to Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, which owns the Gadsden Mall, but those offers fell through.

The latest offer from Home Depot working with the Shopping Center Group of Birmingham was to buy the front 17 acres for $3.4 million and Wolford Development of Chattanooga was to buy the adjoining 40 acres for $5 million.

That had been announced in November 2007, but in March 2008, Home Depot pulled out. Wolford later decided not to proceed.
Tucker said the course is able to have "normal operations," but said a loan of more than $2 million when the course was purchased and money for improvement is due.

"We would probably not be able to satisfy that when it is due," Tucker said.
He said membership is able to support the club except for the debt.
Previously Tucker had said the club had trouble attracting members because the course's future was uncertain.
My guess is that it would be pretty difficult to find new, long-term golf course financing for new greens in Nepal, Zimbabwe, and low-lying islands like the Maldives [ferocious seawater hazards].

The USA has 16,000 golf courses: if just 1% close this year = 160 potential postings for TOD-->I strongly doubt if I can keep this up. There is Absolutely No Way I could track a 5%-10% closing rate of 800 to 1,600 courses being closed/year.

Some more thoughts: Recall that, in earlier postings, I offered to be Tiger Woods postPeak financial advisor.

Tiger has a golf course design and development company that is probably going broke. IMO, it would be a shame if he has to layoff his EPA experts: biologists, hydrologists, horticulturists, soil experts, etc, and other land-use experts.

IMO, it would be better if Tiger did a 180-turn: bring in JHKunstler, Jason Bradford, and other eco-urbanists and permaculturists to train Tiger's employees in the best-in-class methods to turn golf courses into veggie plots or back into wildlfe preserves.

These retrained employees could then offer conversion consulting services to local Country Clubs and municipalities going broke with defunct golf courses. A win-win for all concerned.

Recall that this is in keeping with my much earlier posting series on the initialization and the gradual enlargement of eco-habitats. Tiger's transformed company could then become the global leader in urban & suburban change. Let's hope this happens soon plus O-NPK recycling and SpiderWebRiding being widely applied by these experts. Additional revenue could also accrue from the huge postPeak sales of 'Tiger Tools' such as his exclusive Signature Brand of titanium and carbon-fiber wheelbarrows and railbikes.


I love your golf course info! Please keep it coming as long as you can.

Perhaps we can sprout an offshoot on TOD: "The Oil Drum -- incorporating Slicing Into the Rough." ;-)

Seriously, a simple weekly count will be OK. No need for the nitty gritty on every course. Thanks!

Hello TODers,

Recall from an earlier weblink that Pakistan had desired to build strategic reserves of urea or carbamide, a type of I-NPK, to enhance their national food security in the postPeak era. Unfortunately, the burgeoning humanitarian crisis from the internal war will probably preclude this from happening. A million refugees, with probably many as small farmers/gardeners now displaced from their land, will now set off a series of cascading blowbacks [Porridge Principle of Metered Decline] to accelerate their Thermo/Gene decline rate; a non-optimal Overshoot Decline, IMO. Furthermore, I believe it will be very difficult for them to ramp sound O-NPK recycling practices; I would expect outbreaks of cholera, typhoid, etc to also come to the fore as conditions change for the worse.

..On the plains to the south of the valley, in Mardan and Swabi districts, a humanitarian nightmare is brewing. More than 200,000 people have fled, another 300,000 are on the move or about to leave, according to the UN, adding to another 550,000 people displaced by earlier fighting in the tribal belt and North West Frontier province.

As aid workers rush to erect camps, supplies are limited and tempers quickly fray. Yesterday afternoon a riot briefly erupted in Sheikh Shahzad camp, near Mardan, as angry villagers looted UN supplies. Gilani has appealed for international help with the ballooning humanitarian crisis that affects up to one million people, according to the UN. He promised the army would strive to end the crisis quickly – an outcome that appeared highly unlikely.
The mothers cry as their babies die.... Quite the Mother's Day Weekend, huh?

Are most 'Murkans following these events, then extrapolating to a postPeak North America? Doubtful, they are much more absorbed by American Idol, sports, and celebrity entertainment.

they probably won't wake up to this until US troops are finally called in to 'save' Pakistan. What is the betting line on a US war front raging from Iraq through Iran and Afghanistan to Pakistan in the next say 2 years? I mean really, it is the only sure-fire way the neo-liberals and neo-cons will envision to get us 'out' of the economic mess we're in. Seems to me the MSM is gearing us up for the Pakistan portion already, and we're already killing civilians there every few weeks 'by mistake'.

Sulfuric acid may trade close to zero
Compare to my much earlier USGS links whereby they stated a seventeen-fold price increase in less than a year, and some [S]ulfur tons traded for $900/ton in New Zealand [from memory]. S and sulphuric acid are key economic indicators,IMO. I bet the oil and natgas companies lament the loss of the extra income they formally derived from the sales of their recovered sulfur when demand was sky-high. Now they probably have to use existing and precious cash-flow to continue to stockpile huge melt-blocks:

FROM THE WINDOW of a crew plane, the mountainous, bright-yellow structure can be seen from miles away. Closing in on Apache’s Zama field in northwestern Alberta, Canada, the golden stockpile comes into focus.

The immense mound, a byproduct of years of oil and gas production, is made up of elemental sulfur derived from the hydrogen sulfide (H2S) stripped from the field’s sour hydrocarbons (to sweeten it) and then formed into layers of blocks at the Zama Production Office and Gas Processing Facility.

More evidence of RAPID DECLINE:

(The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System) was not designed to transport oil volumes lower than 500,000 barrels per day. To do so would require significant resources to find alternatives such as heating the oil, using additives, or potentially “batching” to continue operating the pipeline.

(www.alaskajournal.com)(Article was in print version)

Flow of 500K/day expected in 2015. Present flow is 740K/day. Peak flow was in 1988 at 2.1M/day, significantly constrained by pipeline capacity.

There is ZERO discussion of alternatives to extend oil flow in Alaska, ZERO. That’s an optimistic white lie to keep people from panicking. The discussion in Alaska entirely revolves around the two competing natural gas pipeline proposals, each of which will flow about 1M BOE/day. Exxon is drilling a pure gas play for condensates, reinjecting the gas, which shows you what they are thinking.

For those who model future U.S. oil production, make sure you include a 500K overnight drop in the 2015-17 timeframe. For those who believe stripper wells will continue to produce from fields developed in the last 30 years, study Jay Field in Florida to understand the future. While Prudhoe Bay is an extreme example of a curtailed tail, many other giant fields will follow a similar decline pattern. Cantarell was not an outlier.
Cold Camel

"There is ZERO discussion of alternatives to extend oil flow in Alaska, ZERO."

from your block quote:

"or potentially “batching” to continue operating the pipeline."

why wouldn't batching extend oil flow ?


" For those who believe stripper wells will continue to produce from fields developed in the last 30 years, study Jay Field in Florida to understand the future."

what happened in jay field in florida ?

While I am not in the energy industry, it is my understanding that a limited amount of oil can stored at the North Slope for 'batching' until there are sufficient quantities to achieve the 500,000 bpd. That would appear to greatly limit the output there unless an effort is made to build some new storage facilities.