DrumBeat: May 12, 2009

Oil Prices: Norwegian Supply Falls; Is $100 Oil Far Away?

Norway, the world’s fourth biggest crude exporter, said Monday that its oil production fell a sizeable 7% in April to 1.99 million barrels a day last month from 2.15 million barrels a day in March.

Though preliminary, the data highlight one of the big underlying supply problems in non-OPEC states that many oil analysts believe is likely to send crude prices back over the $100 a barrel mark in coming years.

...The Norwegian situation is being replicated in other non-OPEC oil producers, such as Mexico and the U.K. These regions are mature and giving up less oil, meaning that keeping production flat is getting harder and harder.

Report: Tidewater boats seized by Venezuela

Venezuela's state oil company has seized an undisclosed number of boats belonging to Tidewater Inc., which provides water transportation for the petroleum industry, according to a published report.

World 2009 oil demand seen lowest since 2004 - EIA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Despite rising optimism about the economy, the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Tuesday again slashed its forecast for 2009 world oil demand, lowering its estimate by 420,000 barrels per day to 83.67 million bpd, which would be the lowest level in five years.

The EIA said it expects world oil demand to fall by 1.8 million bpd this year from 2008's levels as consumption remains weak because of the global economic downturn.

Its projection would place global oil consumption at the lowest level since demand was 82.41 million bpd in 2004.

With crude oil prices up to around $60 a barrel due to some positive economic indicators, many energy analysts and traders were anticipating that the EIA would not make another major cut in its oil demand forecast.

Three cheers for higher oil prices!

Kind of. Oil at $60 is good news if the rise is fueled by stronger demand, not a weak dollar and speculation. But at some point oil prices may become too high.

Egypt's oil minister warns of oil price spike

Egypt's oil minister is warning that delaying investments in the energy sector because of the global financial crisis could drive oil prices to over $200 per barrel in the next few years.

GE Will Build an Advanced-Battery Plant

General Electric (GE) said on May 12 that it would invest $100 million in a battery manufacturing plant in upstate New York, which will produce sodium-based batteries for hybrid trains and other vehicles. The venture, a new business for the company's GE Transportation unit, should bring in $500 million by 2015 and $1 billion a few years later, says Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt.

Turning off wind turbines saves bats

Turning off wind turbines during low-wind periods reduces the rate of bat deaths at wind farms by 70 percent, according to a study conducted by Portland-based wind energy developer Iberdrola Renewables.

Edison’s 230-Mile ‘Extension Cord’ Fuels U.S. Fight

(Bloomberg) -- Arizona regulators didn’t embrace Edison International’s proposed power line to transport solar electricity across their state to Palm Springs, California, as a triumph for renewable energy.

They called it California’s “230-mile extension cord” and tried to pull the plug. The unresolved dispute over the $774 million project has helped fuel a fight in Washington over whether the federal government should seize more authority from states over the approval of high-voltage power lines.

Fortifying the 211,000 miles of cables that form the core of the U.S. electrical grid raises issues as public as national energy policy and as private as a backyard view. The political fight for control may help determine whether the U.S. fulfills President Barack Obama’s goal of doubling renewable energy use in three years.

Olade Head Says Oil to Average $60-$65 a Barrel Until Year-End

(Bloomberg) -- Oil will average $60 to $65 a barrel for the rest of 2009, said Carlos Florez, executive secretary of the Latin America Energy Association.

Current prices are “not low” and demand for oil will rebound “soon,” Florez said today in an interview in La Jolla, California. His group, known as Olade for its Spanish initials, counts 26 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean as members.

Assets grab: Venezuela's government takes over more of the oil and gas industry

In the latest episode in its drive to increase its control over Venezuela’s oil and gas industry, the government of President Hugo Chávez has announced its intention to seize the assets of 60 local and foreign oil-services companies. Ultimately, the move could prove self-defeating if it exacerbates the downturn in oil production and export income, and dissuades other private investors and contractors from entering the country.

Sheikh Who Backed Barclays Gets Another Shot With Qatar’s Money

(Bloomberg) -- On a March morning in Qatar’s Ras Laffan Industrial City on the Persian Gulf, a red flame shrouded in black smoke shoots into the haze from a 650-foot stack. The burst of fire is burning off excess fuel as workers rush to finish equipment that will help the nation, already the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, more than double output in the next two years.

An hour away in Doha, amid the glass and steel skyscrapers turning this desert capital into a modern metropolis, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani will invest as much as $20 billion a year from the gas bonanza.

Greece, Russia to sign gas pipeline deal

Greece said Tuesday it will expand an agreement with Russia to join the Kremlin-supported South Stream project that will pipe Russian gas to Europe.

Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis said the deal, which will increase EU dependence on Russian gas, would be signed later this week.

Polish gas monopoly PGNiG reaches deal on gas deliveries with Gazprom

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland's gas monopoly PGNiG said Tuesday it had reached a deal with Gazprom to receive 1.024 billion cubic meters (1.34 billion cubic yards) of natural gas from the Russian company through the end of September.

PGNiG, or Polskie Gornictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo, estimated the value of the agreement at around $300 million, but said the final value would depend on the world market price of crude oil products.

Unique solar power factory dedicated in N.M.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Schott Solar has formally dedicated its flagship U.S. manufacturing plant — the first in the world capable of producing both photovoltaic panels for homes and businesses and thermal receivers for large-scale solar power plants.

The latter are for a growing industry segment: solar thermal farms that use huge parabolic mirrors to harness the sun. The receivers sit at the focal point of the mirrors. Fluid inside the receivers is heated and then flows to a heat exchanger, which creates steam. The steam spins a turbine, creating energy with no carbon emissions.

Cost of solar energy will match fossil fuels by 2013, claims Solarcentury

Solar energy will fall in price to match the cost of conventional fossil fuel electricity far sooner than previously expected, the UK's largest solar company has claimed in a new report. Solarcentury said British homeowners will see solar achieve "grid parity" – the point where solar electricity rivals or becomes cheaper than conventional nonrenewable electricity – by 2013. Most predictions suggest that technological innovation will not bring the price down far enough until 2020 or later.

The company suggested falling production costs for solar panels and increasing conventional electricity costs have brought parity closer. Prices for solar and grid electricity in residential homes are expected to crossover at around 17p to 18p per unit of electricity (kWh) in 2013, followed by parity for commercial solar electricity in 2018.

Buy oil. They've stopped making it

Given the world’s economy is so dependent on oil, one would expect the oil price to have fallen much further during this economic collapse than it has. The fact that oil is currently range-trading around $50 per barrel could, at first glance, seem rather unusual.

Is this the natural course of supply and demand? In our view yes, the latest figures from the EIA (Energy Information Administration) suggest demand from China and other emerging markets continues to rise whilst being offset by a fall in demand from developed markets.

In our view, even a marginal return of global growth is likely to send oil prices higher. Hence, we hold a long-term (12 month) positive view on oil.

From a supply perspective, discoveries of oil reserves have steadily been declining since reserves peaked in 1980. That said, we are far from running out of oil in the near term. Nevertheless, the question is how much more marginal supply there is. In our view, we are getting ever closer to “peak oil” – the point when global productivity of oil reaches its maximum rate.

In German Suburb, Life Goes On Without Cars

VAUBAN, Germany — Residents of this upscale community are suburban pioneers, going where few soccer moms or commuting executives have ever gone before: they have given up their cars.

Street parking, driveways and home garages are generally forbidden in this experimental new district on the outskirts of Freiburg, near the French and Swiss borders. Vauban’s streets are completely “car-free” — except the main thoroughfare, where the tram to downtown Freiburg runs, and a few streets on one edge of the community. Car ownership is allowed, but there are only two places to park — large garages at the edge of the development, where a car-owner buys a space, for $40,000, along with a home.

Early road aid leaves out neediest, study finds

NEW YORK - Counties suffering the most from job losses stand to receive the least help from President Barack Obama’s plan to spend billions of stimulus dollars on roads and bridges, an Associated Press analysis has found.

Although the intent of the money is to put people back to work, AP’s review of more than 5,500 planned transportation projects nationwide reveals that states are planning to spend the stimulus in communities where jobless rates are already lower.

Japan joins Russian push for Pacific gas projects

TOKYO (Reuters) - Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom signed a memorandum of understanding with Japan on Tuesday to explore gas projects in eastern Russia, the company's chief executive said.

Alexei Miller told reporters the memorandum would explore ways to process gas near the Pacific city of Vladivostok for supply to consumers in Russia and the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan. The Agency of Natural Resources and Energy, part of the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, as well as Itochu Corp (8001.T) and Japan Petroleum Exploration Co signed up to the memorandum.

Belarus urges Iran to move ahead with joint oil field project

MINSK (RIA Novosti) - Belarus hopes that a joint Belarusian-Iranian project to develop an oil field in southern Iran will begin work in the near future, Belarusian First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko said on Tuesday

Oil theft barge sunk in Nigeria

A barge laden with thousands of tonnes of stolen oil has sunk off the coast of Nigeria, a military spokesman has said.

The barge was scuttled by its crew who fled before they could be arrested, Lt Col Rabe Abubakar told the BBC.

Crude oil theft, known as "bunkering", costs Nigeria billion of dollars in lost revenue every year.

Car designer sees China's wheels electric-powered

The UK's top car designer, Peter Stevens, sees China's future on the wheels powered by electricity.

VC spending for alternative energy tumbles 63 pct

NEW YORK – Venture capitalists reined in spending on renewable energy to begin the year, with funding for research and startup projects falling 63 percent through March, according to an industry report released Monday.

It is the latest indicator of just how badly the global economic downturn has dampened the rush toward alternatives to fossil fuels. Oil and gas companies have also been hurt as overall demand for energy has fallen in the recession.

Piebalgs warns of looming energy crisis

BRUSSELS (UPI) -- Energy-sector market fundamentals are unchanged despite low prices, setting the stage for an energy crisis once the economy rebounds, European officials said.

Oil tops $60 a barrel as China imports rise, dollar weakens

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Crude-oil futures rose more than 2% Tuesday to the highest level in six months, briefly topping $60 a barrel as data showed China's crude imports for April jumped nearly 14% from a year ago.

Oil also got a boost from higher U.S. stock futures and a weaker dollar, which tends to push up dollar-denominated commodities prices such as gold and crude. The rally in oil came even after analysts expected another buildup in U.S. inventories.

Gas prices surge 10%

Prices at the pump are up 20 cents over the last 14 days but analysts say $4 a gallon is not in the cards.

Chrysler's sorry state revealed

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- Among the thousands of pages of documents filed in connection with Chrysler's Chapter 11 bankruptcy are affidavits from Chrysler executives that open up a window on the auto business previously closed to outsiders in this intensely competitive business.

They reveal an almost unimaginable complexity in the design, manufacturing, and distribution of new cars.

But what's more revealing is that the affidavits expose Chrysler's inability to successfully compete and the dangers facing the company in a prolonged bankruptcy.

Little hope of North Korea improving food production

When the Soviet Union collapsed North Korea lost its major ally .. the ally that provided oil and technology and all kinds of things including cheap access to certain kinds of food but more particularly to access a cheap level a whole range of industrial products and those industrial products had ramifications for the agricultural sector. For example, fertiliser much of which is a by-product of petroleum is no longer available in North Korea. There is no fuel oil to drive the tractors and other kinds of machinery and that has had a major impact on North Korean productivity.

U.S. public health community begins discussing peak oil

On Thursday, March 12, the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore hosted the world’s first gathering devoted to Peak Oil and Health, with support from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. These are two of the nation’s most prestigious institutions in the fields of public health and health education, and about a hundred people attended in person, with a larger number tuning in to the simultaneous web-cast. The audience was offered a wealth of information about the many ways in which today’s health care services rely on infrastructure and practices that depend upon petroleum. The most likely impacts of peak oil on public health were discussed, along with opportunities for public health professionals to prepare for the roles they will play in a post-peak oil world.

RAND says cost of oil supply disruption worst threat

HOUSTON (Reuters) - The greatest threat to the United States from crude oil imports is a long-term disruption of world supply and the higher costs associated with that loss of imports, according to a RAND Corp study issued Monday.

"The fact that the United States imports nearly three-fifths of its oil does not pose a national security threat," said Keith Crane, the study's lead author and senior economist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization.

"There is an integrated world oil market, and embargoes do not work. But a large, extended drop in the global supply of oil would trigger a sharp rise in oil prices and significantly affect the United States, no matter how much or how little oil the United States imports," Crane said in a statement.

The study, commissioned by the U.S. Institute for 21st Century Energy, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, recommended steps be taken to reduce the vulnerability of the U.S. economy to sudden drops in world oil supplies.

IEA unlikely to trim demand forecast

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is unlikely to reduce its oil demand forecast in its next report, the agency's executive director. Nobuo Tanaka, said today.

Oil production will fall this year, Tanaka also told reporters in Warsaw.

"According to our forecasts non-Opec supply will be reduced by half a million barrels per day in 2009 and on the whole production will be down 1.7 million barrels per day," Reuters quoted him as saying.

Why oil supplies could go from peak condition to terminal decline

Peak Oil used to be the Doomsday prospect. It means the point at which we cannot develop new oilfields as fast as the old ones tail off.

With demand rising unstoppably, as the poor attempt to follow the rich up the ladder, Peak Oil looked like being the call for Last Orders in the Last Chance Saloon, when it came.

Well, according to some, it has already come – about a year ago.

Shippers hedging on crude rise, airlines still wary

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Shippers have hastened their fuel hedging since early April as oil's recent rally worried end users that the price of already tightening marine fuel supply will move further against them.

Airlines have so far resisted the move, after many were burned last year from hedging activities at a time crude was sliding from records, along with fears of lower travel demand due to the recession and from the H1N1 flu virus, traders in Asia said.

Utilities, the third sector that leans heavily on managing fuel costs, have seen relatively steady hedging activity.

Oil Companies May Wait for Hedges to End to Go Bargain Shopping

(Bloomberg) -- Quantum Energy Partners, the Houston private-equity firm that put together a $3.5 billion bankroll to go bargain-hunting for acquisitions after oil and natural-gas prices plunged, is waiting for a better time to pounce.

Buyers will accelerate acquisitions late this year and in early 2010 as the hedging contracts that shielded potential takeover targets from tumbling prices expire, said Wil VanLoh, Quantum’s chief executive officer.

Iraqi deal opens way for Kurdish oil to go on sale

Oil from the Kurdish region of Iraq will begin to flow into world markets within a matter of weeks after a landmark agreement between Baghdad and the regional government.

Iraq still doesn't recognize Kurds' oil deals

BAGHDAD - Iraq's oil minister says the Kurds' controversial oil deals with Western companies are still considered "illegal and illegitimate."

But Hussain al-Shahristani told state TV on Tuesday that oil extracted by these companies will be collected and marketed by his ministry and all revenues will be sent into the federal accounts.

Nigerian Unions' Oil Sector Protests To Go Ahead

IBADAN, Nigeria -(Dow Jones)- The Nigerian umbrella labor organization will go ahead with its nationwide mass protests against the deregulation of the downstream sector of the country's oil industry despite a government appeal to abandon them, union officials said Tuesday.

A Nigeria Labor Congress official said the first phase of the protest will begin in Lagos, Wednesday, followed by rallies in the southern town of Asaba Friday and the northern cities of Kano and Maiduguri Tuesday and Thursday next week.

Russia to raise oil export duty to $149-152 per ton from June 1

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) - Russia's oil export duty will rise from the current $137.7 to $149-152 per metric ton from June 1, following trends on the global oil markets, a Finance Ministry official said on Tuesday.

Petrobras’s Barbassa Says Cost ‘Overhang’ Hurt Quarterly Profit

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA Chief Financial Officer Almir Barbassa said the cost ‘overhang’ for oilfield equipment contracted when crude was higher, rising debt payments and falling oil prices led quarterly profit to slump.

Exxon Won’t Confirm or Deny Australian Filling Stations Sale

(Bloomberg) -- Exxon Mobil Corp., the world’s biggest publicly traded oil company, declined to confirm or deny a report it may sell its 800 Australian fuel outlets for A$500 million ($379 million).

INTERVIEW-China's thirst for LNG unquenched -Qatar

MILFORD HAVEN, Wales (Reuters) - China's and India's thirst for liquefied natural gas (LNG) is compensating for lower demand elsewhere during the economic crisis and China is the new centre of the global market, Qatari Energy Minister Abdullah al-Attiyah said on Tuesday.

The energy minister of the world's largest LNG producer said rising demand from China in particular was making up for lower consumption from established big LNG consumers Japan and Korea.

Obama Keeps Options Over Offshore Drilling

He isn't chanting "drill, baby, drill," but President Obama is quietly keeping his options open on offshore oil projects.

He told Democratic lawmakers last week that his administration may consider more drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf.

Mexico Slides Toward Downgrade After ‘Very Complacent’ Decade

(Bloomberg) -- Mexico’s credit rating may be cut as soon as the third quarter as the global recession exposes the government’s failure to raise taxes and ease its dependence on oil income, according to Credit Suisse Group AG and UBS AG.

“Mexico was very complacent over the past decade,” Alonso Cervera, a Latin America economist at Credit Suisse, said in an interview from New York. The country “didn’t really move in a meaningful way to accomplish the reforms that it needed,” he said.

Q&A: How the 'cash-for-clunker' plan would work

House Democrats and the Obama administration have agreed on a compromise for a so-called cash-for-clunkers bill.

Similar to European programs, the legislation — also called "fleet modernization" or "scrappage" — would provide federal vouchers of up to $4,500 for people to trade in their vehicles for new ones that get better mileage.

Bigger penalties key to tackling 'dirty oil': study

Governments will have to dramatically increase the penalties for emitting greenhouse gases before Canada's oil sands producers have a financial incentive to invest in carbon capture and storage, says a new study by the Canadian Energy Research Institute.

In a report released yesterday, the Calgary-based institute's research director David McColl offered "plausible" scenarios under which projects now known for producing "dirty oil" would yield "green bitumen," with less greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil production.

"Going green is a challenge that can be met," Mr. McColl said, citing both carbon capture and nuclear power as alternative technologies.

Japan nuke plant restarts two years after quake

TOKYO (AFP) – The world's largest nuclear power plant resumed part of its operations on Saturday, two years after it was shut down following a strong earthquake off the Japanese coast, the operator said.

One of seven reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, located 300 kilometres (185 miles) northwest of Tokyo, started test operations, said operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO).

Russia to sign nuclear pact with Japan: reports

TOKYO (AFP) – Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has told Japanese media his country expects to sign a nuclear power pact with Japan during his visit here this week, reports said Sunday.

In an interview with Japanese media in Moscow, Putin said he would also present a list of economic cooperation projects during his three-day visit beginning on Monday.

Centrica, EDF to sign deal on nuclear power

PARIS (AFP) – France's state-owned EDF and Britain's Centrica announced on Monday a long-awaited joint venture aimed at relaunching nuclear energy in Britain.

EDF, the world's biggest nuclear energy producer, also said it would buy 51 percent of the Belgian electricity company SPE from Centrica for 1.3 billion euros (1.8 billion dollars), the companies said in a joint statement.

Activists: Palm oil co's grabbing land in Asia

Scores of communities in Malaysia and Indonesia are being uprooted by rapidly expanding palm oil plantations as companies try to meet the expected demand for biofuels, environmentalists alleged Tuesday.

Speaking at a two-day seminar on palm oil, the Borneo Resources Institute of Malaysia and the World Wildlife Fund in Indonesia said land disputes were emerging as one of the biggest problems associated with palm oil.

EPA to oversee cleanup of TVA coal ash spill

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will oversee the cleanup of a massive coal ash spill in Tennessee that brought national attention to the environmental risks of storing the power plant byproduct.

New EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said Monday the federal agency is taking charge and "bringing to bear its resources and expertise" under the federal Superfund law.

Climate change sparks electricity change

Australia is to change the way it makes electricity, with huge new solar power plants and cleaner coal facilities to be built.

The federal government will spend billions "greening up" electricity and says it wants to lead the world in the field.

Waxman to huddle with House Dems today in preparation for climate bill markup

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) is expected to outline details of a major global warming and energy bill later today during a closed-door meeting with his fellow Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Canada can influence U.S. climate change legislation

CALGARY -- Canada has a lot at stake in the proposed climate change legislation being debated in Washington, but is also in a unique position to influence the outcome, the former U.S. Ambassador to Canada said yesterday.

As the largest supplier of energy to the United States and the largest trading partner, Canada is "getting front and centre and more limelight, and you are getting discussed more than usual," David Wilkins said in an interview in Calgary, where he was meeting with energy sector representatives.

Cleaner air from reduced emissions could save millions of lives, says report

Tackling climate change by cutting greenhouse gas emissions could save millions of lives because of the cleaner air that would result, according to a recent study.

Researchers predict that, by 2050, about 100 million premature deaths caused by respiratory health problems linked to air pollution could be avoided through measures such as low emission cars . The economic benefits of saving those lives in developing countries such as China and India could also strengthen the negotiating hand of the UK and Europe at a crucial UN climate summit in Copenhagen this December.

Changes In The Sun Are Not Causing Global Warming, New Study Shows

ScienceDaily (May 12, 2009) — With the U.S. Congress beginning to consider regulations on greenhouse gases, a troubling hypothesis about how the sun may impact global warming is finally laid to rest.

Carnegie Mellon University's Peter Adams along with Jeff Pierce from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, have developed a model to test a controversial hypothesis that says changes in the sun are causing global warming.

CME ready for green derivatives push

CHICAGO (Reuters) - CME Group, the world's largest derivatives exchange, is gearing up for a U.S. cap-and-trade carbon policy that could mean a boom in "green" futures and options trade, a top CME official said on Monday.

"We're positioned to take advantage of that should the energy policy and energy legislation go in the way of a tradable emissions and credit market," CME Chief Executive Craig Donohue told the Reuters Exchanges and Trading Summit in New York in a telephone interview.

THE INFLUENCE GAME: Firms exact climate price

WASHINGTON – Utilities, steelmakers and oil industry lobbyists have tried to ease the pain of President Barack Obama's push to curb global warming, and they've gotten an early return on the millions of dollars they've spent influencing Congress.

Lawmakers determined to get a deal on climate change are going along with valuable concessions to polluters. It's part of the political trading necessary when powerful industries are involved.

Floods in Brazil point to climate change: Lula

BRASILIA (AFP) – Flooding that has left 44 dead in northern Brazil and the worst drought in eight decades in the south of the country are signs of climate change, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Monday.

"Brazil is feeling climate changes that are happening in the world, when there is a deep drought in a place where there's never been one, when it rains in places where it never rains," he said in his weekly radio program.

Disaster looms with rising sea levels: islands

MANADO, Indonesia (AFP) – Rising sea levels that could wipe whole nations off the map and displace scores of millions of people are being overlooked in global climate change talks, island countries said Tuesday.

Major emitters are pushing for greenhouse gas emissions cuts that are too low to prevent devastating sea rises, representatives said at the World Ocean Conference in Indonesia's Manado city.

"Dealing with environmental refugees will have a much more serious impact on the global economy and global security in fact than what wars have ever done to this planet," said Rolph Payet, a presidential adviser from the African island nation of the Seychelles.

The EIA’s International Petroleum Monthly came out late yesterday. This has the February production data for the world.

There is something very shocking in this report. The EIA shows OPEC production increasing 6,000 barrels per day January to February. OPEC’s own data, Monthly Oil Market Report shows OPEC production dropping by 641,000 barrels per day January to February. (According to OPEC’s “Secondary Sources”).

Why would OPEC say they had a huge drop in February’s production while the EIA says they had a slight gain? A discrepancy this large is very strange. There has always been a huge difference between what the EIA says OPEC has produces and what OPEC’s own Monthly Oil Market Report states. In February the EIA has the OPEC 12 producing 30,031 kb/d while OPEC’s “secondary sources” say they produced 28,049 kb/d. That is a difference of almost two million barrels per day. In January the difference was only 1.34 mb/d. So whatever the problem is, it is getting worse.

Otherwise there were no big surprises. Azerbaijan production was up 145 kb/d. That was the only huge gainer among the non-OPEC nations. Non-OPEC production was up 300,000 kb/d. That with the small OPEC gain meant World production was up 306 kb/d in February over January.

I once had a lot of Faith in the accuracy of the EIA’s production numbers. That faith has begun to wane and that's putting it mildly.

Ron P.


Any idea if the EIA is including the correct countries in OPEC? For example are Ecuador or Indonesia included?

Yes, the EIA has the correct 12 countries for OPEC. They include Ecuador but not Indonesia. Here is a copy and paste from the link above.

2 OPEC: Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries: Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.

Ron P

I just opened the OPEC spreadsheet and the EIA has OPEC at 28,618 mbd for February.

Right. That page does not include condensate while the OPEC production data on spreadsheet 1.1d does include condensate. (C+C) That is the source of the historical error I spoke of. See my post below. I should have caught that fact earlier.

Ron P.

I have found part of the error. The OPEC data on spreadsheet 1.1d includes condensate. OPEC's "external sources" do not include condensate. The EIA data on spreadsheet 1.2 does not include condensate and is a lot closer to what OPEC says they produce....except for February.

That would explain the historical difference between the two sets of data but not the huge discrepency for February. OPEC says their production fell by 641 kb/d in February while the EIA data on sheet 1.2 says their production dropped 56 kb/d.

Ron P.

I have been looking at the numbers a little.

When I compare the full year 2008 to January 2009, the production cuts are similar in EIA data and in OPEC data. The total drop in OPEC production between 2008 and January is 2,370,000 BPD according to OPEC and 2,442,000 according to EIA.

When I compare February to the full year 2008, I find that almost everywhere, OPEC shows bigger drops in production than EIA data. In total, the drop in OPEC production between 2008 and February 2009 is 3,012,000 bpd according to OPEC data, and 2,437,000 bpd according to EIA data.

My guess is that EIA is closer to correct. OPEC may be embarrassed that the drop in production according to the planned cuts is not working out, and may be covering it up in its numbers (or the members are reporting lower production to OPEC than is actually the case). The differences are in almost every country, and are smallish numbers. This is the approach one would use, if one wanted not to highlight the difference.

Alternatively, there could be some estimation in the EIA numbers. For Libya and Kuwait, the February numbers are exactly the same as the January numbers, and are quite round numbers (2,350 for Kuait and 1,600 for Libya). If (when) these numbers are revised, it could bring the numbers closer together. So the truth may come out somewhere in between, but still not with as good cuts as OPEC would like.

Well, the OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report comes out tomorrow. Perhaps they will have revised numbers for February. The EIA's Short Term Energy Outlook comes out today and also and the IEA's Oil Market Report comes out Thursday. Perhaps we will have a clearer picture then.

Platts says OPEC production increased 110,000 bp/d in April to 28.09 mb/d. This means Platts says OPEC produced 27,980 bp/d in March. That is 76 kb/d more than OPEC says they produced which was 27,904 kb/d.

Platts Survey: April OPEC Oil Output Rose to 28.09 Mil. Barrels Per Day

Ron P.


Could the difference be explained by the fact that OPEC members cheat and produce more but report what they were “supposed” to produce-- as opposed to what they really produced? It wouldn’t be the first time…

With tanker rates so low I doubt its opec who are cheating on there numbers..

Science Teacher who I went to High School with linked this to me this morning. Didn't notice if Leanan already covered this, but I hold little illusion that I'd be first to the punch.

A Cautionary Video About America’s ‘Stuff’

The video is a cheerful but brutal assessment of how much Americans waste, and it has its detractors. But it has been embraced by teachers eager to supplement textbooks that lag behind scientific findings on climate change and pollution.

Link to video.. http://www.storyofstuff.com/

Mark Zuber, a parent of a child at Big Sky High School in Missoula, had a stronger reaction when a teacher showed the video to his daughter last year. “There was not one positive thing about capitalism in the whole thing,” Mr. Zuber said.

So Unfair!

Mr. Zuber argued before the Missoula County School Board that the way in which “The Story of Stuff” was presented, without an alternative point of view, violated its standards on bias, and the board agreed in a 4-to-3 vote.


Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free,

This is how Idiot America engages itself. It decides, en masse, with a million keystrokes and clicks of the remote control, that because there are two sides to every question, they both must be right, or at least not wrong.

Charles Pierce

Fairness has nothing to do with it!

Did you hear about Joe the Plumber leaving the Republican Party?

Easy Come, Easy Go..

Bob, The Fairest of them all!

Doesn't this pretty much encapsulate the way in which "America" is dealing with all of these converging issues? It's a choice between a "sustainable" future or capitalism.

Beware the cultural power of the capitalism. If ever there was a system that was "totalizing" it is capitalism. Everything is measured by it's value set. Should you question those values be prepared to be ridiculed and marginalized.

Ridicule this!


Though it may be hard to separate the concept of capitalism from US consumerism they aren't necessarily one and the same. I'll lay my cards on the table face up, we should seriously curtail both.

I'll have to watch that at home, our web nannies aren't letting it through here at work.

And while you are correct to look for a difference between capitalism and consumerism, I think you will find that the latter has its roots in the former.

Thanks for that link.

You've seen my posts. I thought it was pretty clear that I'm not doing too much to avoid ridicule and marginalizing.

Still, the challenges to Kapital-uber-alles are getting louder and more blatant. That vid is getting a lot of school press, a few huffy libertarians notwithstanding..

Yes, I made my comment knowing that you are a fellow traveler and would "get it."

One of the best examples of the problem came with the huge Seattle demonstrations during the WTO meeting (was that really almost ten years ago?). The mainstream media loved the visuals (tear gas and violence sells advert spots), but couldn't figure out what the protests were about. I can remember one "analyst" saying something along the lines of "they seem to be a collection of groups with many different causes that have come together at this meeting." "Liberal" media that they are, they just couldn't wrap their minds around the idea that people would be oppossed to capital globalization.

Shaman (ridiculed and marginalized for 30 years)

Yes and as the safety nets start to fray and more people start needing them I strongly believe that the challenges will get louder and more blatant yet.

It will become more and more obvious to the majority that they are deriving very little benefit from the system. As soon as Joe six pack's fridge no longer cools his beer and he can't watch his NASCAR or NFL games because there are brownouts he will start complaining loudly. No job, no health care, no food and no shopping spree, the shit may start to hit the fan at that point.

What I am wondering is what happens between now and the time that Joe S. notices. There are groups along that continuum that will be looking at the sitch with new eyes, too.. such as the two or three british pieces we've seen lately, plus the WSJ, that have pointed right at 'our' elephant. Who else will start to see this as a worthy target for their brains, now that some of the 'regular programming' has begun to get interrupted? Educators, Scientists, Mayors, Small-business owners, Writers, Unemployed Professionals?

It feels to me like there are some considerable breaches in the armour now, reflecting some folks who 'can' make changes without grabbing for pitchforks and burning tar..

As always.. I guess we'll see.

Someone here just posted this link and I was taking a look, sounds like an example of the kind of eyeopening that is needed by all of us.


jokuhl, see my response to shaman

I don't think this is only about the US or about capitalism.....

There's a great cartoon in recent New Yorker: workmen replacing a sign on top of a building---they take away "MORE" and leave a new sign "LESS".

That's what this is about. When there was a huge surplus of energy available (starting from about the time the world started accessing oil reserves) there was a terrific need to compete for things that are markers for this energy: consumer items, jobs with complexity (education), status. If you didn't compete for this you were a "loser" by definition, no matter how happy or intelligent you might be. You would compete to PREVENT someone else from getting it and making you suffer (building an interstate exit next to your garden, taking away your access to healthcare for those in US, etc.)

The complexity that arose was just the result of all this competition. People were desperate to not be left out.

Consumerism is just one of the ways we competed and this was all over the world, but most highly developed in the US I suppose.

But as soon as energy availability peaked the game was over and things returned to normal for our species. Meaning we have no energy surplus anymore and the way to win is NOT to compete all out for markers of FF energy......Actually how should one "win" now--it's an interesting question! Controlling the access to solar energy (like land with crops is you know the traditional thing people talk about but...maybe in the future what you're really good at will be important, whatever that is. Farming isn't for everyone by any means.)

Instead, I think the thing to do now is conserve. Suddenly people who don't buy something can win. People who don't have a car can have an advantage. It is really a new world suddenly. I've noticed it in my own life. Vegetables are going up in price at the supermarket but the ones I grow are still free for me to grow and I use free rabbit manure from my own rabbits to fertilize them. So my economic advantage just builds the longer I do this. Until it gets noticed by others and they start taking the grass from the same vacant fields I use for THEIR rabbits. Then we're competing for solar energy, NOT FF energy anymore, you'll notice.

Once my neighbors and I become hungry enough so that we're all competing for the use of this green land which is pretty scarce in the Tokyo area by the way, then other skills will start to be useful I guess. There will be people starting to exercise local control and them alliances and specialization, bargaining, bartering, making things.

Competing for markers of solar energy is different from competing for markers of FF energy. It has to do with available complexity being lower perhaps. Because the energy is so much less dense.

I am very sure that although I am one of the first in my area to spot the economic potential to be had in picking free grass from vacant lots and the roadside and feeding it to rabbits I will not be the LAST!!

You see, small bags of grass (sold as rabbit food) cost $8 here in the grocery store. Fertilizer is also costly. Someone else besides me is going to notice that much grass is free in vacant lots and roadsides and exploit it and this could happen as soon as next year, depending on what happens.

As I said once people start competing for access to solar energy than we're back to our familiar territory for our species. We will kind of enjoy that. It involves trading things we need rather than piling up things we don't.

Competing for access to solar energy is so totally different from competing for access to FF energy markers. That is why consumerism is over and it wasn't really our fault either---we're born to compete so don't beat yourself up over it!

It's a time of transition now. It's actually very interesting to watch.

I have to mention a stupid slogan for myself.. that I like nonetheless.

'A well-rounded square.. that must be why I like Pi!

(Working on a Rabbit Food tool.. a retired set of electric hedge-trimmers will be mounted on a short pole to make it easy to hold them at ground level while walking, and a handle or wheel will move the blades. Ok, I've got no rabbit.. for me it's just a lawn edge-trimmer.)

A lawn, now there's a luxury.

I suppose..
It's 9' feet wide, some 30' long, alongside the house, about the only grass on this 'intown' street, so I get a lot of dogpoop.. but it is nice and green! Everyone else around here paved theirs over, or built on top of them. This is the wet NorthEast, so we don't water it, and we're not in a 'Lawn-Ego' culture in this neighborhood.. but neighbors do say it's refreshing to see a patch of green. Considering that we seem to be Plains/BushVeldt people, it's not surprising that we do.

Pi, I too was buying bags of dried grass/hay at our weekend market [usd$1.25 per bag], but I now get free grass clippings delivered to my door by our community security guys since they planted grass at the entrance to the community. I get tons of free bunny pellets, which I liberally spread on my plants, but still throw most of it away. I've thought of drying it and perhaps crushing it to store in bags for future use. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Btw, I have 2 does, one 3 kg, the other 2 kg.

Very good points, pi, sounds like you are well ahead of the curve ;-)

Should of shown 'human footprint'

So oil is almost back up to $60.
Is this all about the little US Dollar dip? or is something afoot?
I keep hearing that the glut is still out there.

Is $70 still the green light for "Drill-Baby-Drill"?

The layoffs have started here at NOV and I can hear the clock ticking.

What is the US Dollar doing? I understand that the Chinese have really decreased the amount of Treasury Bills that they were buying... but I also heard that some oil exporting country (didn't get all the info) suddenly increased their number of purchases.

Anyone keeping track of the whole story?

The layoffs have started here at NOV and I can hear the clock ticking.

I worked for one of your competitors and I got laid off in early March. The orders just dried up starting last October.

For those who have bought the Harbor-Freight Solar Panel Package ($250 for 45 watts and some hdw http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=90599 ), you might be interested in my modified setup that started charging last night.

I rewired the 3- 12v panels in series last night so I can charge a 36 volt SLA battery for my developing E-trike, which is using the motor, battery and electronics from a 400 watt Razor Scooter found on sidewalk bulk-garbage day a couple years back.

The trike is intended to use Pedals, HANDLES and the Electric Motor all contributing to propulsion (steering yet to be resolved), with a rib and fabric Wind/Rain Fairing built in the manner of an Aleutian Kayak (IE, Simple, Taut and Very Light) It'll be single-seat, but with an added trailer that also has pedals/(handle's?)/(Batt&Motor) for when another person or extra carrying is expected.

For today, the charge-controller is a 50 volt diode.. but I'm looking for a circuit design to build a nice PWM pulse-charger to help recondition and maintain the batteries. (I'll get LiPO4s or equiv if I get the chance, IE a nice birthday check)

I mention this simply to show another example of how much quick variety of usage is available with these panels. I'll wire a special switch together so these panels can re-route immediately from the 12volt mode, sent to that controller and battery, to 36volts, which leads down to the basement and that battery-setup.


I presume that your scooter uses lead acid batteries. You should be very careful when you charge then, as overcharging them can lead to thermal runaway, so I'm told. I've blown up several motorcycle batteries that way using a manual charger. Some slow overcharging can bring weak cells up to full charge, with the other cells losing water thru electrolysis, but higher currents can destroy the batteries. Some of the newer batter chargers have circuits which de-sulfate the batteries as they are on trickle charge...

E. Swanson

Thanks, BD
With these panels, I'm only tossing a third of an amp peak (or about C/.027)* at them, but you're right, and I regularly check them for heating, particularly with a passive charge like this.


*if I've got my math right.. 12ah batts would be charging at C/1 with a 12amp charger)

Yes, your math is correct. If the 400 watt batteries are Gell or Lead Acid will make a bit of a difference in the amount of peak voltage you should apply to them. For my golf cart I limit the voltage from the solar array to 42 volts for the 36 v batteries changing, i.e. about 7 volts/battery for six batteries. Also this is only ~300 watts charging a 7000 watt (36 V X 220 A)system. Even if you are only putting a small amperage (C/small watts) to the battery, the fact that it is 50volts for a 35V battery may damage the battery. YMMV depending on the type of battery. Also with exoctic batteries like LiIon and others the cutoff voltage must be closely controlled as they reach full charge or they will overheat and catch fire.

Also with exoctic batteries like LiIon and others the cutoff voltage must be closely controlled as they reach full charge or they will overheat and catch fire.

Older style LiIon chemestries (notably Lithium Ion Cobalt) exhibit this problem, but some other chemestries (like Lithium Iron - not a typo - Phosphate (LiFePo4)) do not. The trade-off is a slightly lower energy density.

Unitrode was doing some nice chips for lead-acid battery charging, back about the time T.I. swallowed them up. Start with their app note U-155 for the basics and U-104, U-131, and U-155 for circuitry.

Here is the link to U-131:


I have a electric bike also with 2.5 years use. The panels puzzle me. The kit seems to provide almost a square meter of panels. On a square meter, insolation 800 Watts, efficiency 0.15 ==> 120 watts. Yet the kit produces only 45 watts. What am I missing?

Roy in Santa Clara

You're not missing a thing. The panels are thin-film, cheap per unit area, but cheap thin film is woefully inefficient, making them huge for the wattage. A crystalline panel would have cost about the same and been far smaller and easier to mount, and would have incurred far less wind load. IOW it's bog-standard Harbor Freight. What more do you want?

"A crystalline panel would have cost about the same and been far smaller and easier to mount, and would have incurred far less wind load."

That's a bit overstated. The prices for smaller wattages like these start rising faster for the Crystal panels.. the cheapest 50watt I saw at Alt Energy Store was $303 ( $6/watt ), and is about 10" narrower than mine.. no real difference in mounting or windloading.. while most in the same power range are a lot more expensive, while the (admittedly cheapo) Harbor Freight setup has two 5w 12v cfl lights, a mounting rack and a charge controller with lower voltage outputs, voltmeter, etc.. I'm hoping the pv material turns out to be durable, which is really all I bought it for, but it really is quite a decent little package for folks who don't have much money. The watts coming out are as real as the ones lighting the Empire State Building.


Ok. Thin film. I would wonder about longevity but not worry about bumps and bends I suppose. 200+ Watts is what would interest me. My bike is a tandem so it has extra room behind and could also trailer. Really interesting, I wonder if one could put on a couple of 100 watt + panels and work out a way to reflect more light from a mirror(s). Wildly impractical I suppose, yet the concept of a continuous or near continuous solar powered vehicle is pretty cool. Instead of a 25 mile range, how about 100 miles? Go touring!

I think the roof of a trailer would be sensible for that.

I've got a pair of Kyocera 130's as well, which are about 2' x 5'
( http://store.altestore.com/Solar-Panels/100-to-149-Watts-Solar-Panels/Ky... )

So for a touring rig, it could work.(massy, though) Probably make sense to go with the really light and high-efficiency panels. $$!

I think with the right combo, a bit of PV would be best seen as a 'recharge while parked' setup, and offer a minor bit of assistance while rolling. Of course, a Faired Bike requires less work, and so the elect assist could be a better portion of the whole.


Hard to say.. these panels (as with everything from Harbor Freight, I believe) are from a Chinese MFR.. the collector efficiency varies from one kind/chemistry/brand/layout of panel to another, and will also be affected by this being three smaller panels, so there's room lost for frames, edges, etc.

The space factor isn't really the limit though, is it? Well, it could be if you want to mount them on the bike.. I got these on sale for $199.99, which amounts to $4.44 per watt, which is a very good price for PV (no doubt subsidized by the unfortunate criminal factory waste protocols in Chinese PV Mfg, I since discovered)


My set was $220 out the door, and am very pleased with them.
So pleased that I bought a second set, since I did have a bit of extra bread.
One set will almost run my motorhome swamp cooler direct, tho' have since put a battery inline.
One panel of the 3-pack will run the solar grain grinder, but with two in series at 24v it really scoots along quite nicely.
Want to put in the second set soon, as a friend bought me a nice lead acid battery for my birthday (turning 60 tomorrow), and that will help take away some worry about overcharging my existing single battery.
Going to be using some of that free energy to finish the solar hot water system on the motorhome, and hope to figure out how to pulse the water pump every few minutes for hot water gathering.
Also, it's nice to have those lower voltages to use, 5V, 3V, 6V, 9V and 12V plugs for appliances.
Also the fluorescent fixtures work fine, so I'm pretty near now to being off-grid with the motorhome.
I like em.

200 watt array charging my 48 volt car and bike ...


Nice bike.
That's a very sweet setup.

Happy Birthday!

Hey, very nice jmygann. I like your panel mount. @200 watts how long does it take to charge the car or bike batteries?

I have the 3 panels mounted on an 'A' frame on a small Harbor Frieght trailer. I can adjust the 'A' angle for season and move the trailer to point at the sun if I need a max 350 watt charge.

How do you like the 'bent? (Recumbent Bike) Yours doesn't seem as low-slung as others I've watched. Appears to be a less Sunken height to ride at.. that's about the goal for my trike.

But how's visibility.. both of the rider and the traffic around you? I should probably just try a few of them.. (apologies if I've already asked you these q's another time)


My wife just showed me a 60 watt panel w/inverter for $289 at Costco of all places.
I'd sure like to know if anyone has figured how to run a 220v submersible pump, pressure tank and a 110v chlorinating pump with PV.

Spaceman, $5/watt is not that bad.

On my golf cart I have a 36VDC -> 3000 watt 110vac inverter with two plugs which I use for most tools but I bought a Simran Ar-3000 Watt Voltage Regulator Converter Transformer 110/220v Step up and Down from Amazon. The regulator part of the Ar-3000 is very good and gives regulated voltage 110 and 220 from ~80 to ~140 volts input for only a couple percent effeciency cut. This provides the 220vac for my 220 tools and well pump. My well pump runs intermittingly (about 40 gallons at a time into a compressed air holding tank) but it is 1/2hp or about 400 watts. Of course your milage will vary because of the 60 watt input.

All up this "free" golf cart my neighbor gave me has about $4000 invested (mostly for the 3-130watt solar panels and charge controller) but when the grid goes down it will be priceless. I can do my woodworking with hand tools like my grandfather did but I am not near as efficient as he was so a table saw and a planer once in a while will be very usefull.

Thanks for the reply, Lynford.
This is very valuable to a PV novice such as myself.

Sorry, if this is just MSM rehashing

MAY 12, 2009, 7:40 A.M. ET
Venezuela Seizes Oil Services Firms, Raises Risk To Output


Many Thanks to all of you for your help in shaping my future. Special thanks to WT for his ELP.

Yacht Meander is sailing to the Indian Ocean via the South Pacific. I'll send area assessments as I pass thru the islands .

Bless you all, may your futures be rewarding and " May the laughs always be on your side " Soren Kierkegaard ' Diapsalmata'

Dave on Yacht Meander

WaveRider -

You lucky dog!

Hope the crew of your good ship is armed with cutlasses to repel pirates. Or better yet, a few 24-pounders loaded with grapeshot.


This is fantastic work;

"Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take It Back "
by Douglas Rushkoff

with trailer of the movie;


From the video:

Disconnected from the value we create

Disconnected from our own sense of self worth

No way to prosper in today's world without selling out

Maybe there is an equation in there somewhere that correlates the % of people employed by corporations with the % of people on anti-depressants? Although I wouldn't limit that to corporate jobs, but rather meaningless jobs in general - what is offered to people after outsourcing and fossil fuel energies have run their course.

I would like to believe most(?) people ask themselves these questions everyday, but even if this were the case, walking away from that guaranteed paycheck and into the abyss of a more self-reliant living is a scary prospect. I am still trying to figure out my escape.

They Had It Made

In the late 1930s, a group of 268 promising young men, including John F. Kennedy and Ben Bradlee, entered Harvard College. By any normal measure, they had it made. They tended to be bright, polished, affluent and ambitious. They had the benefit of the world’s most prestigious university. They had been selected even from among Harvard students as the most well adjusted.

And yet the categories of journalism and the stereotypes of normal conversation are paltry when it comes to predicting a life course. Their lives played out in ways that would defy any imagination save Dostoyevsky’s. A third of the men would suffer at least one bout of mental illness. Alcoholism would be a running plague. The most mundane personalities often produced the most solid success. One man couldn’t admit to himself that he was gay until he was in his late 70s.

Interesting longitudinal study about what makes people happy and successful.

The Yorkshire Post article on PO gives some of the last words to the challengers.. I wondered if anyone could comment on this statement. I hadn't heard the Acid Rain claim before, while Ms.Boehmer-Christiansen seems to hold a few views that would imply she's clinging to the 'dream-gold' desperately, as Mother Nature tries to wake her from her consumptive slumber.

Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen of Hull University, editor of an energy and environment discussion journal, thinks our reluctance to burn coal is ridiculous. She has previously pointed out that "acid rain" from coal-burning was a myth..


Huh, a dash of Nuclear Wonderdrug and then this as the final word..

But Caroline Boin commented: "You get the impression that if there was a way of cutting CO2 but keeping our lifestyles, a lot of people would still not be happy. It's not the CO2 they don't like, it's the modern world."

It makes me wonder, did Slaveholding societies also refer to their comfortable but ever-tenuous situation as a Lifestyle? 'Don't you take my slaves from me! You people just wouldn't be happy with ANY kind of slave, would you? You won't be happy until you have to do an honest day's work again, will you?!'

(Maybe I can send her a nice collection of our Freshwater 'Quicksilver' Fish from Maine!)

Her journal is a rubber stamp for denialist fare. Some of the pseudo-climate science stuff that you see posted here comes from her vaunted, unbiased journal. We've discussed her before.


Thanks. Figured as much.

Do you know about the Acid Rain bit?


Well, according to the current WIKI entry, coal is still considered a contributor..

"Human activity
The coal-fired Gavin Power Plant in Cheshire, Ohio (Caption to a Picture)

The principal cause of acid rain is sulfur and nitrogen compounds from human sources, such as electricity generation, factories, and motor vehicles. Coal power plants are one of the most polluting. The gases can be carried hundreds of kilometres in the atmosphere before they are converted to acids and deposited." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acid_rain

Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen ... She is sceptical [sic] about Peak Oil. Nobody knows what resources are in the Earth, she says. We only know what we have found with existing technology. But it will cost more and more to get buried carbon, so there is no need for emissions policies.

Oh dang. She knows the secret about the creamy nougat center.

And to think that our start up company, Nougat Insider Technologies (Wholly Integrated, Top Secret) is still in stealth mode. How did she find out about N.I.T. (WITS)? How?

Lost Vegas

In 2006, Las Vegas was one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Today, that booming metropolis is crumbling and can't maintain its infrastructure. A new documentary from Current.tv takes a look at Sin City today.

Perhaps a "coming attractions" video for boom-towns nationwide, this 25 minute report goes through the evictions, job loss, and social sector strains now permeating Sin City. The no-notice eviction of renters whose landlord was foreclosed on is pretty tough to watch; no doubt there is more of that to come. This may be a good time to get in the window replacement business in Clark County.

An April report indicated commercial real estate in Vegas is running 25% underwater, and a long list of uncompleted projects dot the landscape. At least in the desert, they will be well preserved.

wisco -

I can easily picture the same thing happening to Dubai some day.

"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Nothing beside remains, Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,

The lone and level sands stretch far away."

The History Channel is running a series call "Life After People" Tuesdays at 10 pm eastern. It will probably only take 100 years or so for Las Vegas to revert back to desert after we are gone.

That reminds me...Alan Weisman, author of World Without Us, will be one of the keynote speakers at the 2009 Renewable Energy Fair in little 'ol Custer, Wisconsin this June (19-21). This is the 20th anniversary of one of the largest (if not the largest) grassroots renewable energy education events. If you are in the midwest, plan a visit!


The no-notice evictions were really hard. For the life of me, I don't know why it is that they can't give these people some notice of some sort or another.

No kidding. The sherif says he has other evictions he has to do and can't stick around for the tenants to move their stuff to the curb.

Why can't he just leave and come back in a couple of hours?

That segment really bothered me. Especially the bit with the single mom and her kids.


I - I - I - I shot the sheriff.
Lord, I didnt shot the deputy. yeah!
I - I (shot the sheriff) -
But I didnt shoot no deputy, yeah! no, yeah!

Bob Marley

Roubini: Stress tests too weak (Video warning)

Economist Nouriel Roubini explains that the government stress tests were 'not stressful enough.'

Yeah, Denninger said the same thing a few days ago... I have no doubt that the stress test was really a feelgood move for the government to show that they are doing *something* and that it's OK for everyone to come back into the water after the subprime fiasco scared them off...

SNL had a good Geithner parody, mentioned this AM on NPR, discussing how the Stress Tests went from "Pass-Fail" to "Pass-Pass"

It seems like everyone's bailing out from GM, including their execs...

GM shares fall to 76-yr low after execs dump stock

Shares of General Motors Corp plunged nearly 20 percent to a 76-year low Tuesday, a day after a group of GM executives disclosed they had sold shares in the struggling automaker.

Six GM executives, led by former GM Vice Chairman and product chief Bob Lutz, disclosed Monday they sold almost $315,000 in stock and liquidated their remaining direct holdings in the automaker...

The automaker's stock could be worthless in a bankruptcy or worth less than 2 cents per share if it proceeds with its plans to issue shares to creditors led by the U.S. Treasury, the company has said.

Shares of the automaker were down 21 percent, or 30 cents, to $1.14 on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock had fallen to as low as $1.09, the lowest since 1933.

Now, that's a pretty revealing thing when top management dumps shares of a company who employs them...

GeckoLizard -

It is revealing indeed!

What comes to mind is a cartoon of many years ago by I think either Gahan Wilson or Gary Larson, which shows a view inside of a jumbo jet, looking forward down the aisles. Nonchalantly walking toward the rear of the plane while whistling and looking up at the ceiling are the pilot, copilot, and a stewardess. I didn't immediately get it, until I noticed that they were all wearing parachutes.

Same thing.

all wearing parachutes

Gives "bailout" a whole new meaning.

This is actually a great opportunity. You could buy 51% interest in GM and take it over with less than $350 million.

And they want their bond holders to trade their $27 billion in bonds for 10% of the company. Hmmm, let me see, $27 billion or $65 million? It's no wonder the bond holders are holding out for bankruptcy, they'll get a better deal.

It might be closer to $65 million or $0 with the way the 'Gubbermint' is handling things lately. Denninger

While I'm no fan of government, you might be letting your dogma get in the way here.

While it is true that the gov't may force GM into bankruptcy, it wasn't exactly like GM was in great shape before the gov't stepped in. Indeed, wasn't it GM that cam to the gov't with it's hand out?

I think its important to recognize that our corporations are as much to blame for this mess as our governments are.

our corporations are as much to blame for this mess as our governments are
Actually, the people, many sociopaths, are interchangeable between the two, often moving seamlessly.
Government is there to protect the interests of the ruling elite, and is a stepping stone for minor players to move into ruling positions.

The EIA Short Term Energy Outlook just came out and it predicts even faster declines for US carbon emissions, due to lower oil demand and considerable substitution from coal to natural gas. See details in my daily post today.

Also, if you would like to debate when solar grid parity will occur across much of the US, I posted an argument for 2012 yesterday.

Onwards to sustainability,


Leanan? Westex?

Read the article on the Japanese nuclear plant coming back online. Anybody know what impact that'll have on the LNG markets? I remember when the plant shut down that was the catalyst for LNG topping $20/Mbtu, so I would imagine this could have a relatively large impact on Japanese imports.

Also, anybody have any information on gas shale outside of the US? I've read that exploration is being done in Europe, but haven't heard much about it recently. I struggle to believe the US is the only place in the world with gas shale.

ClubOrlov has a story about China freeing the yuan to compete with the dollar. It's backed up by Bloomberg:


Has the Drum Beat had this? Any implications?

I saw the Club Orlov article, but I didn't see the Bloomberg article. The latter says:

ICBC’s Wong also said the program will start slowly. He estimates the pilot companies handle less than 25 percent of the trade and less than 50 percent of that will initially be conducted in yuan. He also said that China will only move gradually toward making the yuan fully convertible for investment, perhaps by 2020.

“China wants the yuan to gradually become freely convertible and play a more important role in worldwide trade and perhaps in worldwide financial markets,” Wong said. “But definitely convertibility is going to be at China’s own pace.”

Perhaps the slow phase-in will keep the change from being too disruptive.

China is not buying much of our bonds now, I understand. That may be more disruptive, if we are planning on selling a huge amount.

None of this looks good for the US place in the world financial order.

Hello TODers,

Social Security and Medicare finances worsen

By MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger, Ap Economics Writer – 14 mins ago

WASHINGTON – The financial health of Social Security and Medicare, the government's two biggest benefit programs, have worsened because of the severe recession, and Medicare is now paying out more than it receives.

Trustees of the programs said Tuesday that Social Security will start paying out more in benefits than it collects in taxes in 2016, one year sooner than projected last year, and the giant trust fund will be depleted by 2037, four years sooner.

Medicare is in even worse shape. The trustees said the program for hospital expenses will pay out more in benefits than it collects this year and will be insolvent by 2017, two years earlier than the date projected in last year's report.
My guess is that continuing cascading blowbacks will move these dates up much earlier. I fully expect surprised 'Murkans to be wheelbarrowing dying family members past golf courses to non-functioning hospitals. See Zimbabwe for photos of such occurrences.

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

Hello TODers,

With banks imploding, isn't this golf tournament shutting down logical too?

..The U.S. Bank Championship is closing in on oblivion.

..It’s a tough pill to swallow when you’re a family looking for new forms of income while millions are being pumped into a golf course.
Recall my earlier posting whereby Tiger transitions his golf course design business into a business aimed at converting golf courses into veggie plots or back to a natural state. IMO, this would be the best way to keep his employees busy postpeak vs just laying them off.

The "Age" article by Cathy Alexander about a change in the way Australia fuels it's electricity generation is extremely misleading.So much so I believe it is nothing more than a government press release.

A quick skim of the budget reports this morning revealed very little had changed in the government's direction.Lots of money for roads,some for urban rail,a continuation of support for that oxymoron,Clean Coal and a token effort on solar.More watering down of the carbon trading 3 card trick,this time to exclude motor fuel till 2013,if my memory serves me.

Business as usual down under until business falls flat on it's face.The level of compacency in Australia is astounding.

Business as usual down under until business falls flat on it's face.The level of compacency in Australia is astounding.

Slight correction: the level of complacency from TPTB in Australia is astounding. While I generally have a low opinion of my fellow Australians (we seem more interesting in the Matthew Johns sex scandal than actual important things, I continue to be pleasantly surprised by the attitudes towards the environment, transport, and general sustainability, despite the almost apoplectic ranting of the business lobby groups.

We elected Rudd at least partly because he said Labour would "take the hard decisions" on things like the Environment (and in no small part because the Coalition had spent the better part of a decade covering its ears and saying "It's not hapenning! It's not hapenning! Lalalalalalalala!", even though Peter Costello allegedly tried to implement Carbon Trading as early as the mid 90's). Given Labors total capitulation to Big Carbon wrt the ETS/CPRS, it seems that the more things change....

Hello TODers,

Golf courses hit a rough patch

Around the nation, courses are struggling and say they're in need of aid too. One parks official touts golf's benefit as a stress-reliever, but a critic says the game is not an essential function.

..Singerling and others will be in Washington on Wednesday to make sure Congress does not do to the golf industry in the future what it has done in previous disaster aid situations -- lump them in with massage parlors, suntan facilities and liquor stores as businesses undeserving of federal help.

"We're in an unprecedented era of government involvement in business, so we have to be in D.C. to be able to make sure that people, when they're writing law or making comments about our industry, realize all of the positive impact that golf has," said Joe Steranka, chief executive of the PGA of America.

Federal aid to golf has been a touchy subject since the 1990s, when the Federal Emergency Management Agency came under scrutiny for spending that included $872,000 to repair an Indian Wells, Calif., course damaged in 1993 flooding...
I'm afraid the Banksters have the political clout to force many taxpayer bailouts of their cherished golf courses vs converting them.

On the brighter side of O-NPK recycling with wheelbarrows:

What's Growing On... at the Community Farm

..I spent Tuesday morning with Sullivan and Nate House '12, shoveling manure into wheelbarrows and spreading it throughout the three fourths acre farm behind the Wolcott Co-Op.

..To convince students to help out, House and Sullivan thought they might replace the Class and Charter Day slip and slide with "shovel sh** and spread."

"It'd be a drinking game: you get one Utica Club for every wheelbarrow of manure you fill and spread. Everyone should stop by," Sullivan encouraged.
IMO, this is a great idea because of the very high ag-ERoEI: A single wheelbarrow load might grow a ton of edibles
///a glass or pitcher of beer.

I sure hope they do the half-glass Peakoil Shoutout with their yeasty beverages!

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

Great idea, except I often spread 8-10 wheelbarrows at a time (I have an extensive collection of WB's thanks to you) so
the result would be 8-10 Utica Clubs! This is clearly using a resource as though there were no tomorrow, and I must say that the only thing I fear more than Peak Oil is Peak Leinenkugels!

the result would be 8-10 Utica Clubs!

Sounds like you could be a significant source of liquid fertilizer ;-)

I have a question about greenhouse gas emissions.

Can anyone tell me what the following chart represents in terms of reductions of greenhouse gases?

About the Chart:

Each blue line is a month. The percent change started to decline in June 2008 then it started to go negative in Oct 2008. The uptick was Feb 2009 and negative again in March 2009.


GHG emissions have gone down a bit in China as power consumption fell. Here is a piece I wrote in December about falling emissions in China.

I'll try to do an updated one soon - March data showed a further ~3% reduction in electricity production.

Onwards to sustainability,


Thanks Dennis!

Worries growing about commercial real estate

Delinquency rates and defaults on office and retail buildings and hotels have more than doubled in just six months. For apartments and industrial buildings, the rates have increased more than 80 percent, according to Reis Inc.

The risk to the economy is unknown, but likely underestimated in the government's stress test of 19 major banks. The results released last week projected that should the recession worsen, the losses from commercial real estate loans could hit $53 billion, or 8.5 percent of their overall loan losses over the next two years.

The exercise notably left out the majority of the regional and local lenders, which hold a big chunk of the nation's $3.5 trillion commercial property loans on their books and remain vulnerable.

and to further extend the foreclosure news:

May 13 (Bloomberg) -- Foreclosure filings in the U.S. rose to a record for the second consecutive month in April as banks increased efforts to seize homes from delinquent borrowers.

..“What you’re seeing is the inevitable result of severe job losses,” Nicolas Retsinas, director of housing studies at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said in an interview. “Until we stem the job losses, we can expect to see continuing foreclosures.”
IMO, just mutually reinforcing cascading blowbacks as we go postPeak.

"Up until now we haven't realized how quickly this system is changing," says Professtor Hoegh-Guldberg.
"In the last 40 years in the Coral Triangle, we've lost 40% of coral reefs and mangroves - and that's probably an underestimate. We've fundamentally changed the way the planet works in terms of currents and this is only with a 0.7 degree change in terms of temperature.
"What's going to happen when we exceed two or four or six?"

Key coral reefs 'could disappear'

IMO, this is a great read:

Working hard to live simply

..Leigh said he sees an important educative role for himself and others with similar experiences teaching people about growing food and community models in the future.

“Peak oil is probably happening about now. Peak phosphate is probably going to happen in about 20 years time. Conceivably you can replace oil with other things, but you can’t replace phosphate and the world’s agriculture runs on phosphorus fertiliser… The price of food is going up and will continue to go up...
Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?

Hello TODers,

Zimbabwe takes another step towards Olduvai?

Published: May 12, 2009

Harare (ZimEye) - The state-run Grain Marketing Board has failed to pay farmers who delivered their produce last season.

The GMB deputy general manager for marketing Zvidzai Makwenda admitted that the parastatal was broke and could not pay farmers.

He said the GMB was forced to borrow from the market although no loan has been secured.

The cash-strapped GMB has also failed to pay workers their April salaries.

..The government also owes farmers millions of United States dollars.
Please reread that first sentence again: "failed to pay farmers who delivered their produce last season."

I can't imagine a ZIM farmer delivering precious food unless he got some real asset in return: fuel, tools, seeds & I-NPK, clothing, toilet paper, medicine, precious metals, etc. Did they really accept just a paper IOU? Yikes!

Hello TODers,

Saudi Arabia will not start costly drilling operations to extract gas from more challenging locations for now despite rising demand in the kingdom, an executive from state oil giant Saudi Aramco said.

"We've found a huge amount of gas but it's so tight and the current technology does not enable us to produce it ... we're leaving it for the future," Abdulla al-Naim, vice president of exploration said on Tuesday.

..Aramco has been working on tight gas exploration for the past 20 years, Naim said, but does not yet have the technology that makes its extraction cost effective.

..Gas from the Qusaiba formation is estimated at 2,000 to 11,000 trillion cubic feet (tcf), Naim told an industry conference on Sunday, adding studies had shown the presence of other source rocks in the kingdom.

Tight gas had also been discovered in the south west of Ghawar, the world's largest oilfield, he said.

A related USGS PDF [with graphics]:

Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources of Lower Silurian Qusaiba-Paleozoic Total Petroleum Systems, Arabian Peninsula

Summary: Organic-rich mudstones of the Lower Silurian Qusaiba Member of the Qalibah Formation and equivalent rocks in the Arabian Peninsula are the source of oil and gas for one of the most prolific petroleum-generating systems in the Middle East region. The USGS estimates a mean of 37 billion barrels of oil and 808 trillion cubic feet of gas of undiscovered conventional resource in six Assessment Units of four Lower Silurian Qusaiba-Paleozoic Total Petroleum Systems across the Arabian Peninsula.

EDIT: http://www.spe.org/elibrary/servlet/spepreview?id=SPE-118904-MS&speCommo...
First Application of High Density Fracturing Fluid to Stimulate a High Pressure & High Temperature Tight Gas producer Sandstone Formation of Saudi Arabia

Authors K. Bartko, C. Arocha, and T.S. Mukherjee, Saudi Aramco, and L. Sierra, J. Terracina, and P. Lord, Halliburton

Source SPE Hydraulic Fracturing Technology Conference, 19-21 January 2009, The Woodlands, Texas

Copyright 2009. Society of Petroleum Engineers

As Saudi Arabia increases their demand for natural gas inside the Kingdom, ongoing reservoir targets are moving increasingly to more challenging reservoirs which exhibit low permeability of <0.01 md. Reservoir pressure ranges from low or can be extremely high (11-13,000 psi) and the high temperature makes obtaining reservoir data increasingly difficult due to tool limitations. Two particular formations which have recently received attention is the Sarah and Mid Qusaiba formation. These two reservoirs have been penetrated over 25 times in Ghawar and western Rub' Al Khali areas by Saudi Aramco and the International Oil Companies.