DrumBeat: May 22, 2009

US natural gas rig count down to near 6-1/2 yr low

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The number of rigs drilling for natural gas in the United States fell by 17 to 711 this week, the lowest level in nearly 6-1/2 years, according to a report issued Friday by oil services firm Baker Hughes in Houston.

U.S. natural gas drilling rigs have been in a steady decline since peaking above 1,600 in September, and now stand at about 782 below the same week last year, the lowest level since Jan. 3, 2003, when there were 706 gas rigs operating.

Number of active oil rigs falls by 18

HOUSTON (AP) -- The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the United States fell by 18 this week to 900, down more than half from a year ago.

Ukraine Is Europe's Problem, Too

Russia wants Brussels to pay up and accept the consequences of having an unstable transit route for its gas.

Calculating the benefits of a green recovery

Can there be a green recovery? Consider that so much of the economy is dependent on fossil fuels. Sprawl has left many Americans without even the option to take transit -- and sprawl housing is a major industry desperately trying to revive.

With oil prices lower -- for now -- the incentives for alt-fuels are disappearing. Much of the Obama stimulus is going to build highways for a 1965 transportation system, as if peak oil and global warming don't matter. Critics of change say even the modest fuel-econ standards of the Obama administration will "wreck the economy."

But that's not the end of the story.

Experts urge US policymakers to address long-term challenges

WASHINGTON, DC -- Energy policymakers should not waste the opportunity that lower oil prices provide to address US supply concerns, two experts told the congressional Joint Economic Committee on May 20.

"The recent rise in oil prices again underscores the present reality of long-term challenges. Even if we see significant short-term gains in global oil production capabilities, if demand from China and elsewhere returns to its previous rate of growth, it will not be too long before the same calculus that produced the oil price spike of 2007-08 will be back to haunt us again," warned James D. Hamilton, an economics professor at the University of California at San Diego.

"Once global economic growth resumes, so will growth in oil demand. That will once again put energy security, and the relation of energy to economic well-being, back at the top of the agenda. Given the lead times to develop new supplies, policy decisions made today should take into account the likelihood of future cycles, and what they mean to the American economy and to American consumers," added Daniel Yergin, chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates.

$60 - oil's sweet spot

There's been talk that these rising oil and gas prices may derail any budding economic recovery, as consumers put more money in their tank and less into their local economy.

But most experts say $60 oil isn't too much of a burden, and this mid-range price could ultimately prevent future spikes.

"This is a price level the U.S. economy can shoulder," said John Lonski, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. "It will not figure into the timing of the recovery."

Canadian oil industry costs seen tumbling in '09

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - The costs of exploring for, developing and acquiring oil and gas reserves in Canada could drop by as much as 35 percent this year with drilling activity dwindling as companies cut spending, brokerage FirstEnergy Capital Corp predicted on Friday.

The drop in costs comes just as oil prices are recovering and financial markets are thawing, pointing to a possible increase in merger and acquisition activity, FirstEnergy analyst Darren Engels said.

Saudis to kick start Khurais field

Saudi Arabia will start production at its 1.2 million barrels per day Khurais oilfield in a few weeks, state oil firm Saudi Aramco said today.

Khurais is the largest of three oilfield projects that would take Saudi total production capacity to 12.5 million bpd by the end of June.

Although it will not immediately add to the sum of Saudi output it is the biggest ever single increment to global production, according to a Reuters report.

Venezuela's Chavez seeks $4.3 bln From Brazil-rpt

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, whose government is facing cash shortages as oil revenues plunge, is negotiating loans from Brazil's state development bank to fund projects, a Brazilian newspaper reported on Friday.

Chavez Takes Over Venezuelan Iron, Steel Producers

Bloomberg) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced the government will take over the hot-briquetted iron industry and other metal companies, increasing its control over the nation’s mineral-wealth industries.

Mexico Consumer Prices Fell 0.34% in May’s First Half

(Bloomberg) -- Mexico’s consumer prices fell in the first half of May, in line with economists’ forecasts, as costs declined for electricity, telephone service and air transport.

Consumer prices decreased 0.34 percent in the first two weeks of the month, the central bank said today. Economists expected prices to fall 0.33 percent, according to the median estimate of 18 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

IEA: investment cut could mean higher oil

Oil prices may return to "significantly higher" levels because companies have cut investment in the new production needed to match demand from fast-growing China and India, the International Energy Agency's chief economist said Friday.

IEA chief economist Fatih Birol told The Associated Press that oil companies have canceled at least $170 billion of planned investments -- including $100 billion this year -- as they seek to save money amid the financial and economic crisis.

FACTBOX - Global oil, gas projects delayed in 2009

Following is a list of oil and gas projects and oil refinery expansion plans that have been delayed or cancelled so far in 2009.

The global financial crisis, falling oil demand, a slide in prices and poor general market conditions have prompted many in the industry to scale back spending and delay projects.

Humanity at a crossroads

The evidence is gaining increasing clarity: We've reached a crossroads unlike any other in human history. One path leads to despair for Homo industrialis. The other leads to extinction, for Homo sapiens and the millions of species we are taking with us into the abyss. I'll take door number one.

David Attenborough: Our planet is overcrowded

The latest venture for this veteran of wildlife documentaries is as controversial as anything he has done in his long career. He has become a patron of the Optimum Population Trust, a think tank on population growth and environment with a scary website showing the global population as it grows. "For the past 20 years I've never had any doubt that the source of the Earth's ills is overpopulation. I can't go on saying this sort of thing and then fail to put my head above the parapet."

There are nearly three times as many people on the planet as when Attenborough started making television programmes in the 1950s - a fact that has convinced him that if we don't find a solution to our population problems, nature will. "Other horrible factors will come along and fix it, like mass starvation."

Looking at ‘spoiled’ Americans through an energy lens

In 1968, the United States was exporting oil. A decade later, given massive increases in domestic demand, it was importing half of this coveted fuel.

By June 1979 this dramatic change — from supplier to buyer — created an oil shock that rolled across the nation.

By the Fourth of July, high prices and low supplies had spawned a national disaster. Members of Congress, facing long gas lines and short tempers, were afraid to go home.

Historian Meg Jacobs, a Radcliffe Fellow this year, is using the lens of this energy crisis to examine governance in a conservative era. In particular, she is looking at how leaders from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush have reconciled their anti-government ideologies with the demands of actually governing.

Tanzania: Imperial Projects And the Food Crisis in the Periphery

Last year the world's attention was focused on food and fuel, the prices of which were both soaring with no sign of any reprieve. Fuel prices have gone down since, coinciding with the global financial meltdown, but food prices have not. It was these prices together with food shortages in some countries around the world which received critical attention. There the people were hit hard. They could not take it anymore and took to the streets. Food-triggered demonstrations and riots occurred in countries such as Mexico, Indonesia, Yemen, the Philippines, Cambodia, Morocco, Senegal, Uzbekistan, Guinea, Mauritania, Egypt, Cameroon, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Peru, Bolivia and Haiti. In Haiti demonstrators carried empty plates to demonstrate the depth of their plight. Governments around the world responded to the crisis in different ways. In Haiti the prime minister resigned due to popular pressure. In Egypt the government resorted to subsidising food prices. This was an attempt to avert the violence and crime associated with food shortages. Countries such as Indonesia imposed a general ban on food exports, a solution which was seen as compounding global food problems.

Vietnam: Economy puts aviation in a spin

A series of solutions have been drawn up to help the aviation industry offset losses incurred as a result of the economic crisis. At a seminar in Ha Noi on Wednesday, Dang Ngoc Minh, vice head of the Tax Policy Department at the Finance Ministry, said airlines would receive income tax reductions, which could be deferred for a period of time, and preferential tax levels on imports of equipment and new technologies.

The import taxes levied on fuels were reduced several times earlier this year from 40 per cent to 20 per cent to follow the fluctuations in the global price of aviation fuel.

China plastic bag ban 'has saved 1.6m tonnes of oil'

Banning flimsy plastic bags has been dismissed as a drop in the ocean when it comes to dealing with the world's environment problems, but multiplied on a China scale, it appears to have made a big difference.

A new report suggests restrictions on bag usage in the world's most populous nation have saved the equivalent of 1.6 million tonnes of oil, in the year since it was introduced.

Mexico oil exports plummet

Mexican oil exports plunged 18.2% in April to levels unseen since 1990 outside hurricane seasons, in more grim news for a key economic motor relied on for a major chunk of government revenues.

Crude export volumes tumbled to 1.177 million barrels per day as yields at Mexico's aging Cantarell field continued to plummet, state oil monopoly Pemex said today.

Oil production declined 4.2% year-on-year to 2.642 million bpd in April, the fourth month in a row that it has been below a targeted level of 2.7 million bpd, according to a Reuters report.

Pemex Is ‘Too Optimistic’ About Chicontepec, Board Member Says

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleos Mexicanos, the state- owned oil company, should reevaluate its investment plan for the onshore Chicontepec project after oil prices plunged from last year’s record, said newly appointed board member Fluvio Ruiz.

“I believe Pemex is being too optimistic about Chicontepec,” Ruiz said in an interview yesterday in Mexico City. “The current price conditions may be a bit too onerous.”

Giants go shale shopping worldwide

Norwegian state-run StatoilHydro and US gas giant Chesapeake Energy are looking at more than a dozen shale formations in Europe and Asia to find where they should invest together in unconventional natural-gas projects.

The plan is to decide by the middle of next year on where the companies can team up, a StatoilHydro official said.

“At this point in time, we are looking at 14 different plays all over the world together with them to try to narrow it down,” Oivind Reinertsen, president of StatoilHydro’s US and Mexico operations, said told Bloomberg today.

Statoil Sees Oil Near $50 in Second Half, No OPEC Cut

(Bloomberg) -- StatoilHydro ASA, the world’s largest offshore oil and gas operator, expects the price of oil to be “around” $50 a barrel in the second half, with further OPEC supply cuts unlikely as the economic crisis continues.

“We think it’s premature to declare the global economy healthy again,” Sandrine Toerstad, head of market analysis at the Norwegian company, said today at a briefing in Oslo. “What has driven the oil market up lately is the financial market. The possibility for a downward correction is there.”

OPEC to Maintain Oil Output After Price Recovery, Survey Shows

(Bloomberg) -- The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is likely to keep output quotas unchanged for a second time this year as recovering oil prices forestall the need for new supply cuts, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Oil has climbed 86 percent from a four-year low at the end of last year, after OPEC announced record supply reductions to adjust to lower demand and rising stockpiles. The group will maintain a production target of 24.845 million barrels a day when it meets May 28, according to 25 of 27 analysts surveyed.

Petrobras could get more funding from China - CEO

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The China Development Bank may offer more financing to Petrobras SA, adding to the $10 billion, 10-year loan it gave the Brazilian state-run oil company this week, Petrobras Chief Executive Jose Sergio Gabrielli said on Thursday.

"We have discussed with the bank the possibility of another loan, which could be large, denominated in (renminbi)," Gabrielli told a press conference.

Chavez formalizes seizure of Williams Cos.' assets

President Hugo Chavez has formalized the takeover of two gas compression facilities belonging to Williams Companies Inc.

Chavez said Thursday that the seizure of the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based company's assets is expected to save Venezuela $564 million in the coming decade.

Venezuela Oil Keeps Luring Bidders in Bets Chavez Isn’t Forever

(Bloomberg) -- Chevron Corp. and Total SA are pursuing new Venezuelan oil projects after President Hugo Chavez tore up past agreements, seized assets of contractors and expelled producers that wouldn’t accept new terms.

The strategy, producers and analysts say, is to tap crude reserves that Chavez touts as the world’s largest. Decisions to push ahead under a regime whose leader vows to “bury capitalism” are bets that the companies can buy enough time to outlast Chavez, said Peter Zeihan, a vice president at Stratfor, a geopolitical consulting firm in Austin, Texas.

Nigeria Escalates Fight With Rebels

LAGOS, Nigeria -- A week-long offensive by the Nigerian army to destroy militant camps in the oil-rich Niger Delta continued Wednesday, a day after Italian oil major Eni SpA declared force majeure on 52,000 barrels per day of crude production from the country.

Russia Gazprom output may fall 18 pct in 2009-report

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Gazprom faces a drop in natural gas output of up to 18 percent this year, or 450 billion cubic metres, the deputy head of the gas export monopoly, Alexander Ananenkov, said on Friday, Interfax reported.

Persistent tension over energy at Russia-EU summit

Russia and the European Union failed to agree Friday on measures to prevent another cutoff of gas supplies to Europe.

EU leaders said their summit with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev improved a relationship severely strained by Russia's war with Georgia last summer and a winter gas cutoff of Russian supplies via Ukraine -- but there were no major breakthroughs.

Russian protesters storm meeting

Protesters in Russia's Pikalyova angry about living without gas burst into a meeting at the mayor's office.

Slouching towards balkanization

Happy Days are here again. It's as if the George W Bush years in Afghanistan had never left, with Washington still wallowing in an intelligence-free environment. A surge is coming to town - just like the one General David Petraeus engineered in Iraq. A Bush proconsul (Zalmay Khalilzad) wants to run the show - again. A hardliner (General Stanley McChrystal) is getting ready to terrorize any Pashtun in sight. A new mega-base is sprouting in the "desert of death" in the southern Afghan province of Helmand. And as in Bush time, no one's talking pipeline, or the (invisible) greatest regional prize: Pakistani Balochistan.

Bush's "global war on terror" (GWOT) may have been rebranded, under new management, "overseas contingency operation" (OCO). But history in Afghanistan continues to repeat itself as farce - or as an opium bad trip.

Of energy security and conducive environment

(MENAFN - Arab News) The issue of energy security and energy independence is creeping up now for serious debate. Major stakeholders are looking it at minutely for it has wider ramifications and long-term implications. What the world was striving for - energy security or energy independence - needs to be sorted out. It cannot be kept lingering any further without serious consequences.

What U.S. Needs Is Long-Term Comprehensive Energy Policy

Higher fuel-efficiency standards are obviously way overdue considering the economic, environmental, and national security issues facing the US as a result of its 65% dependence on foreign oil in an era of peak oil. However, the majority of these cars and trucks will still be running on gasoline derived from foreign oil. Although Obama believes US consumers will pay less for fuel as a result of these changes, he apparently assumes the price of oil (gasoline) won't increase more than enough to wipe out the efficiency gains. By 2016, many oil patch experts are again predicting very tight oil supplies due to the reduction in oil exploration and production budgets as a result of recent economic turmoil (in part brought about by the extremely high oil prices of 2007-2008). If oil prices merely double to $120/barrel by 2016, consumers will be paying just as much to fill up a 35.5 mpg vehicle as they are now spending to fill up a 24 mpg vehicle today. If the price of oil were to zoom to $200/barrel, well, church is out regardless. The point is, oil money will continue to poor out of the US at an ever increasing and alarming rate.

Airlines say they can't afford another huge oil price jump

The 25% run-up in oil prices over the past month that has motorists again scrutinizing gas station price signs heading into the Memorial Day weekend also has U.S. airline managers beginning to worry about another big cost jump on top of double-digit drops in demand and revenue.

The CEOs of both AMR, parent of American Airlines, (AMR) and rival Southwest Airlines(LUV) said Wednesday that market fundamentals — including a glut of crude oil on the world market — don't support prices as high as $62 a barrel, a six-month high. But both American's Gerard Arpey and Southwest's Gary Kelly conceded that energy prices right now aren't being driven by market fundamentals.

Social Science Moves from Academia to the Corporation

I hold the current structure of government and corporations in equal regard in terms of how well they adhere to Google’s maxim, “Don’t be Evil.” So in some regard, I shouldn’t really be troubled that social science has moved from academia (which has often been a handmaiden of government) to the corporation (which really just wants to understand what moves you to click that “buy” button, or bump up your average order size by $10, etc.). Except…

Except if you believe that consumer culture is wreaking havoc upon the systems that support life and that the application of social science on behalf of the corporation is intended to simply turbo charge the status quo...

Green gadget promises savings for the power hungry

The gadget, called 100%Off, measures the current being used by an appliance during normal operations and during standby, and cuts the power supply to those detected to be in standby mode. Users reactivate the appliance by pressing a green button. The device could cut 10 per cent from electricity bills and 1 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions, based on the International Energy Agency's figures on standby power use.

Will the Nuclear Power "Renaissance" Ever Reach Critical Mass?

Despite an abundance of plans and applications, new nuclear reactors outside of Asia are few and far between, which puts nuclear's contribution to fighting greenhouse gas emissions at risk.

Did Malaysia cancel plans for palm oil development in the Amazon?

The Malaysian government's federal land agency (FELDA) is now denying its well-documented plan to develop oil palm plantations in the Amazon rainforest, reports Ecological Internet, a forest advocacy group that carried out a campaign against the project.

The (not so sweet) smell of success: Turning human waste into fertilizer

But does it smell?

By now, Phillip Abrary is resigned to that nose-wrinkling question when people first find out what his company does, namely turn the liquid goo from sewage treatment plants into a valuable - and soon to be scarce - phosphorous fertilizer. The first, and understandable, reaction is that the product made by Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc. must carry some sort of lingering stink. "You tell people, this came from poop, there's always a natural inclination to think so," he says.

Tread Heavily: China's Tire Demand Rolls over Southeast Asian Forests

Geographer Jefferson Fox thought he was on to something big when the Chinese military stripped his team's weather monitoring equipment from a montane rubber plantation in the run-up to last year's Olympics. How big? In the past 20 years, more than 1.2 million acres (485,000 hectares) of evergreen broadleaf and secondary forests have been cleared throughout Southeast Asia to make way for rubber plantations to fuel China's growing appetite for automobile tires.

Fox — who is based at the East West Center in Honolulu — warns in Science this week that the environmental consequences of these massive land use changes, particularly on water resources, could be devastating.

Global warming's impacts on state forests: Burn baby burn!

State Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark looks out at Washington's unhealthy forests from a pilot's seat, flying his plane from Olympia to his family's ranch in the remote reaches of Okanogan County.

"It is just mind-numbing the damage you see on west facing and south facing slopes . . . an overburden of dead and dying trees," Goldmark said yesterday, referring mainly to predation by pine bark beetles.

Goldmark had just shared his up-close perspective on global warming, and its consequences for trees in the Evergreen State, at a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hearing here.

The likely future for our forests through the 21st Century: Burn Baby Burn.

Consumer habits must adapt to cut oil industry carbon

Consumer behaviour must change if British refineries are to meet the national targets of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.

This was the conclusion of IChemE researcher Dr Philip Holmes who spent two decades working for oil giant ExxonMobil when he spoke at Sustainabilitylive! on Thursday.

Dr Holmes said that the major refineries could probably reduce their emissions by 60% while remaining commercially viable, but further cuts would only be made if demand dropped.

'Why don't we stop hurting the planet?'

Telling our children about climate change could leave them angry, worried or even traumatised. So when and how should we do it?

Global Warming Bill With Cap-and-Trade Plan Gains Committee Nod

(Bloomberg) -- A House committee passed a climate- change measure that would create a cap-and-trade system to control greenhouse-gas emissions, the most comprehensive effort yet by the U.S. to tackle global warming.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee yesterday approved the bill 33-25, with one Republican joining all but four Democrats in support. It now faces review in as many as eight House committees.

U.S. Climate Plan Threatens EU Goal for Global Accord

(Bloomberg) -- The European Union may have to scale back its goals to reduce global-warming emissions after a less- ambitious plan won initial approval in U.S. Congress.

The (not so sweet) smell of success article:

Those granules are then mixed with other chemicals, and the result is a slow-release fertilizer, ideal for use in greenhouses, strawberry fields and any other kind of agriculture that needs to minimize the amount of runoff.

The company had the good luck to secure $10.5-million (U.S.) in venture financing just before capital and debt markets snapped shut last fall.

The caution may be justified, but Mr. Abrary may want to think about accelerating his plans - already, Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism is looking at handing out subsidies to spur development of similar technology in that country.

Chemical inputs? Why and what are they? I would like to know more about the types of chemicals required in this process. What happens when Japan and ultimately all nations ramp up production of Phosphate using human wastes? Smells like limits will be in order. What is the supply of said chemical looking like when 6.7 billion people are interested in getting a hold of it?

No chemical needed if you do it yourself (I have not, anybody?). Somewhere I read that the average person will output around 90 pounds of compost a year. It only makes sense to use our waste instead of sending into our drinking water.

Humanure Handbook

Thanks for the response. Yes. I don't think I did an adequate job of getting my point across, but I agree that chemical inputs are not the way to sustainability - especially when our wastes can be turned into valuable organic fertilizer without them. IMO, a system that uses chemicals is dependent on inputs and therefore unsustainable in a post-peak world.

I also did some research (Crystal Green). Totoneilla will be happy to see the golf ball presented nicely on the home page. I saw references to uses on golf courses also. So maybe they don't intend to have this stuff feed the masses.

There was some toxicological info on the site:

Skin Contact: May cause skin irritation.
Skin Absorption: May be harmful if absorbed through the skin.
Eye Contact: May cause eye irritation.
Inhalation: Material may be irritating to mucous membranes and upper respiratory tract. May be harmful if
Ingestion: May be harmful if swallowed.
To the best of our knowledge, the chemical, physical, and toxicological properties have not been thoroughly investigated.

I guess everything is toxic in excess. But I will stick with my organic sources for now thanks. :)

Actually, awareness of potential struvite recovery has been known for a very long time, but it is only now becoming economic to recover it:

Struvite was first described from medieval sewer systems in Hamburg Germany in 1845 and named for geographer and geologist Heinrich Christian Gottfried von Struve (1772-1851).[2]

..Struvite is occasionally found in canned seafood, where its appearance is that of small glass slivers..
No, Charlie the Tuna didn't crap in the can.

Right, but I get the impression from the article that the Struvite is the tiny granule to which "other chemicals" are applied. It was the "other chemicals" that was my concern. It appears that the product is >97% struvite and <1% "other compounds".

totoneila -

It just so happens that about 10 years ago I was involved in looking at alternatives for treating piggery waste for a person who had some business interests in Ireland. One of the things we briefly looked at was the possibility of removing ammonia (actually ammonium ions) and phosphate in the form of struvite. A cursory literature search revealed some so-so results by a number of investigators over the years.

If I recall correctly, one adds magnesium hydroxide to the wastewater and then tries to remove the struvite precipitates in a clarifer and/or dewatering filter. Thus, there IS a chemical input to this process: magnesium hydroxide. Other chemicals may also be needed for coagulation and pH adjustment.

I don't have the files in front of me, but I do believe that one of the problems encountered by people trying this is the difficulty in getting the struvite precipitates to grow to a sufficient size whereby they can be readily separated from the liquid phase. It really didn't look too promising, and piggery waste is considerably more concentrated in ammonia and phosphorus than domestic sewage.

Also keep in mind that not all the nitrogen content of sewage is in the form of ammonia. That fraction which is in the form of proteins and amines will not be subject to removal as struvite. Plus not all the phosphorus is in the soluble phosphate form either. And a fraction of both of these nutrients winds bound up in the sewage sludge emanating from the treatment plant.

The concentrations of ammonia and phosphorus in raw domestic sewage are both in the parts per million range and thus one is faced with handling a huge amount of liquid to recover a relatively small amount of material. Technically, it can be done, but I think you will find that the economics are atrocious.

Of course, if things get bad enough, it may HAVE to be done, but right now I wouldn't be bullish on any struvite process.

This is not toxicological information, this is a lawyer's disclaimer that is often used by chemical companies. Try NaCl (cooking salt) and you may find pretty much the same information. Sounds like it is completely harmless - even the concentrated stuff causes only some irritation. Well, today's MSDS are usually completely devoid of real information. They always claim "has not been thoroughly investigated" so that they cannot be nailed on anything.

Somewhere I read that the average person will output around 90 pounds of compost a year.

That is less than a quarter pound per day. That sounds a little light. I would guess about twice that amount for a full grown adult.

I did a little checking and found that figure way off.

Determination of the Mean Daily Stool Weight

The results of this study do not necessarily extend to the whole Iranian population but when compared to studies conducted in the West, results differ considerably. The mean daily stool weight of the subjects in this study was 349 g, with an average of 432 g and 311 g in men and women respectively. This is almost twice the average value calculated in western societies.

So if you are an Iranian male you poop almost one pound per day but for a western male it is only half a pound. Does that make sense? (There are 453.6 grams per pound.)

Ron P.


Darwinian -

The answer is probably fiber. Western diets (particularly those of Americans) are notoriously deficient in fiber. A vegetarian will have to eat a greater mass of food to get the same caloric content as a meat-eater. More in = more out.

I didn't read the article, but perhaps the quarter pound per day is on a dry weight basis, and if so, the weight of feces 'as delivered' would be more like one pound per day, based on a typical 25% solids concentration. In which case one would generate about a half pint of feces per day, which would be more like it.

Ah, science!

the weight of feces 'as delivered' would be more like one pound per day,

This is the kind of weighty shit that keeps one coming back to TOD. Nowhere else on the web will you find this attention to detail. I'm only surprised we don't have a graph of bowel movements on a national basis pre and post PO.


I'm absolutely certain that if you look hard enough, someone somewhere has generated information like that. It even wouldn't surprise me if there was an obscure journal devoted to that general subject. Perhaps something like "Annual Proceedings of the East Bulgarian Society of Scatological Research'.

You name it .... somebody has studied it.

May I make an observation based on personal experience?

When one shifts from a typical American diet to one with more vegetables and whole wheat grains, one's ... uh ... output changes dramatically. We have to use the plunger regularly since toilet drains aren't made with fiber-eating residents in mind.

Energy Bulletin

The figure I gave was for compost. I would think the weight loss during the process would be mostly due to water evaporation.

Gee, thanks for that information, Bart!

I guess I'll just have to make plans to install some new plumbing as I transition to a more fiber rich diet in the post peak world. Hey, maybe I can get into the booming new business of selling wide diameter bathroom plumbing and toilet upgrade kits to the high fiber eating residents.

Don't bet on a lot of business for toilet mods for high fiber diets.

The "Thunder Mug" will be in general use for high fiber poo when hand pumped water is the norm. You can make the ceramics and I will make the chairs.

Remember them well
carry careful when near full
ohwee what a smell

Bad haiku ... sorry.

actually it's low-ku

.... even sorrier!

Or not-ku?

long-held memories
soft stepping sounds a full cup
Ah! brown roasted beans

Cheers <--- party crasher

Hello Singlecarrier,

You can learn much more about Peak Phosphorus by googling it as the body of research is growing fast, IMO. Here is a good slideshow introduction by Dana Cordell:


From Bart & EB:

Peak phosphorus by Patrick Déry and Bart Anderson

Please see updated editorial footnotes,too for links to TOD & TODer WHT

Dana Cordell 20 minute audio
From memory: I believe she said that we can recover 3 millions tons a year if we get busy recycling our pee & poo.

EDIT: CEEP (Centre Européen d’Etudes sur les Polyphosphates)


Hello TODers,

I merely wish to refer you to Rembrandt's keypost for any TODers interested in reading the latest update to Dr. Duncan's Olduvai Theory.

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

If you look at the Mexico article, they are importing something like 300,000 bpd of gasoline; so Net exports are circa 850,000 barrels per day. And KMZ is now on plateau.

That article covers all the bases of a serious situation in Mexico - falls in production, steeper falls in net exports, drop in tourism due to H1N1, and no plan to wean government from oil revenue.

Not mentioned is the sharp drop in labor demand for Mexicans in the U.S. with associated reductions in money sent back to Mexico, decreasing number of Mexican migrants leaving the country, and increasing numbers of Mexicans coming back from the U.S. and other nations. I know that there are some TOD regulars living in Mexico- what's happening "on the street"???

Mexico is toast, and will soon return to the standard of pre-oil days. Economic concerns, lack of jobs, oil running out, drug cartels, health crisis, etc. all add up to a major impact which will likely result in civil unrest.

"civil unrest" is very mildly put Nowhere. The cartels are already literally at war.

Fighting over exported american toot-n-hoot money. Any sign of peak dope?

Dopes are a renewable resource, found in abundance in most regions, but the highest concentrations can be found in Washington DC.

Re: Airlines say they can't afford another huge oil price jump
(posted uptop)

Airlines this side of the Atlantic are also suffering. British Airways has just posted its biggest ever loss. They're caught in a tightening vice with higher oil costs on one side and faltering demand on the other. Lower oil prices (at least compared to last year's peak) aren't much help when your customers are cutting back.

BA makes record loss of £401m in 'toughest-ever year'

British Airways (BA) today reported a record loss of £401 million as high oil prices and falling passenger numbers took their toll on the flag carrier. The dramatic pre-tax loss for the year to March 31 follows a record £922 million profit last year.

Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA, said: “The prolonged nature of the global downturn makes this the harshest trading environment we have ever faced.” He warned that there was no prospect of an immediate improvement.

GPS system 'close to breakdown'

It has become one of the staples of modern, hi-tech life: using satellite navigation tools built into your car or mobile phone to find your way from A to B. But experts have warned that the system may be close to breakdown.

US government officials are concerned that the quality of the Global Positioning System (GPS) could begin to deteriorate as early as next year, resulting in regular blackouts and failures – or even dishing out inaccurate directions to millions of people worldwide.

Mag-Compasses for land, Sextants for sailors, Starmaps for night navigation, roadmaps for motorists. How about if you can't quickly and accurately refold the old-style roadmaps--No Driving License for you. That should take about half the people off the roads right now. :)

How many kids and adults can find the Big Dipper to locate the North Star? For that matter, can most people even figure out East-West-North-South by the Sun's daily sky traverse?

I bought this compass some time ago at a flea market. It has a manufacturer's stamp 03 09 so I guess it was one hundred years old this past March. Works fine I'm happy to say. Needs a bit of a cleaning you can see the green oxidation.

100 year old compass

Though my brother and I wanted to purchase a sextant at our local West Marine store a while back and had to special order it because they didn't have one in the store.

How about if you can't quickly and accurately refold the old-style roadmaps--No Driving License for you

Hey I never could do that!

Amazing - this is a military system, and we spend more on that than the rest of the world combined. I wonder if it's real or some kind of spin to get more funding or some such.

Obama is cutting out the LORAN-C program, a long-range radio navigation system that the government says is obsolete because of global positioning satellites, all to save $142 million.

I used to use Loran C to get the fishing boat ashore . That is sad news

Wow, $142 million. That'll put a heckuva dent in the $12.8 trillion he's handing out to the banksters.

Let's see... ... ... it will pay for 0.001109375 percent of the bailout.

Prophetic & poetic

"...astronomical amounts of liquidity injected in one year into the global financial system, particularly in the U.S. financial system, led all financial and political players to a total loss of touch with reality. Indeed, at this stage, they all seem to suffer from a syndrome of diver’s nitrogen narcosis – impairing those affected and leading them to dive deeper instead of surfacing. Financial nitrogen narcosis has the same effects than its aquatic counterpart."


An apt analogy indeed. Then when they come up too fast the bursting bubbles give them the bends.

Bernstein and Co. report using Google Earth to find that the Chinese are putting more oil into storage:


Bernstein estimates that the amount of crude entering the SPR ports in China—the world’s second biggest oil consumer after the U.S.–has increased by around 400,000 barrels a day since November, based on its assessment using the satellite imaging services of Google, the search engine company.

The Bernstein report isn't public, but the WSJ blog gracefully links to my blog.

China announced that they were doing it.

It's unclear how much oil China has stocked in its existing bases. But since the country is just in the first steps of building reserves, China will likely need to buy 100 million barrels in two years to reach the 120 million barrels level in 2010, Williams said. That's about 140,000 barrels a day, or 2% of China's current consumption. The percentage isn't small compared to some estimates that put China's growth in total oil demand at around 6%.

Although I'm not one to express my faith in the Bernstein analysis, 400,000 barrels/day above whatever it was in Nov. would represent an accelerated pace. Maybe they think the price will go up, so they want to get it while the economies are down.

They're also building stocks of refined products. Though I'm not sure if they're importing them or refining them domestically.

"Although I'm not one to express my faith in the Bernstein analysis,"

amen to that. aren't bernstein the ones who claimed that ghawar wasn't being depleted because they weren't able to detect subsidence in the desert ?

Oil stays above $61 amid weakening U.S. dollar

Oil (OILC-I61.00-0.05-0.08%) prices held above $61 (U.S.) a barrel Friday, helped by a weakening U.S. dollar, which typically has an inverse relationship with crude markets. Investors often buy commodities such as oil as a protection against the inflation that can result from a weaker U.S. dollar.


It is worth noting that at the time of oil at $147 a bbl the USD dollar was at parity with the CAD dollar, i.e. the value of the US $ was depreciating against other currencies. This is further evidence that the high oil price was consequent on the financial crisis and was not a cause of that crisis.

This also appears to explain the current high prices given a down turn in demand such that airlines are caught between high fuel prices plus reduced demand for their services - the price of fuel is responding to something other than end user demand.

If Foreign Central Banks are selling into Ben's bid then the game is literally weeks or even days away from being over.

I have written for over a year about the potential for a bond-market implosion and subsequent economic collapse.


Denninger's thesis is a market rout due to bond market collapse. If you were GS and wished to protect yourself against that outcome it would make sense to go long FF. If a large number of market players sought the same hedge it would drive up market prices despite a concurrent collapse in demand due to the recession. This is another item of evidence which supports FF speculation as the immediate primary cause of high FF prices.

Increase the margin requirement on hedge fund speculation and my hunch is that FF would drop and begin to reflect a true supply/demand relationship.

Europe and Russia Fail to Agree on Gas Deal

“The Russian Federation has not given and will not give any such assurances,” Mr. Medvedev said at a news conference. “What on earth for? From our side, there are no problems, everything is in order with gas and with fulfilling our obligations. Let those who are required to pay for the gas give the assurances.”

Shop elsewhere.

GM = Government Motors?

GMAC got another 5 billion to cover the losses from car loans going bad. Now they can make more car loans that will go bad?

And the list of companies and industries that get BAILOUT money just keeps growing.

Rumor has it that California will be the next new turf for Federal acquisition. Maybe the Federal Government will use their unlimited funds to buy Mexico next? And maybe Cuba? England is going broke, so maybe the Feds can buy them too?
"The World is Not Enough!"

In the news...

Maine task force to identify offshore wind energy sites

PORTLAND, MAINE: International energy companies are looking at Maine to test new designs for massive wind turbines and support structures that would float in deep water, out of sight of the coast and in line with the strongest breezes.

See: http://www.energycurrent.com/?id=3&storyid=18144

Completing Maine's Energy Independence Strategic Vision with Fuel from Its Forests

We have recently seen a significant increase in interest from business, state government and the public in helping Maine become energy independent. These discussions often center around weatherization, wind, solar, and tidal power which are all important parts of a strategy aimed at curtailing Maine's oil addiction. I am still amazed however that home and small business heating is not as well addressed in the policy discussions.

See: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2009/05/made-in-mai...

New Hampshire's Energy Future
May 18 - 22 on NHPR

The debate about the pros, cons and impact of renewable and sustainable energy in New Hampshire continues, especially as we approach meaningful federal investment opportunities through a stimulus bill. Join us for “New Hampshire’s Energy Future”, a weeklong series devoted to alternative, renewable and sustainable energy. We’ll present significant coverage to this topic as a way to draw attention to its importance and create dialogue throughout the state about energy.

See: http://www.nhpr.org/special/energyfuture

(Be sure to check out the their side bar: Power Hungry: Reinventing the U.S. Electric Grid)


That sidebar is a great source of info. I didn't realize there were so many solid biomass power plants in operation in the US.

CEO of American Airlines (Gerard Arpey):

"I don't understand why oil went to $150 a barrel last year," Arpey said at a news conference following AMR's annual shareholders meeting in Fort Worth. "And I can't imagine in a global recession the circumstances that would drive oil back to those levels again."source

This is why American Airlines is in trouble. How can the head of a company which spends almost half their revenue on oil say this? He obviously only sees the demand side of the oil equation and has no idea about supply.

It should be noted that the state of the economy has historically had a greater effect on the price of oil than the supply. Here is the perfect example. Prices are in 2008 inflation adjusted dollars.

Year  Crude Prod. Price
1978 	60,158   $48.71
1979 	62,674   $72.44
1980 	59,558   $97.47
1981 	56,050   $83.54
1982 	53,454   $70.07
1983 	53,257   $62.02
1984 	54,499   $58.78
1985 	53,966   $53.15

Prices peaked in 1980 yet production did not bottom out until 1983. Production continued to drop while prices also continued to drop. The reason was that the recession continued to kill demand. So all you guys who think that prices can continue to rise during a recession simply because the supply drops are clearly mistaken. That is as kindly as I can put it.

The supply of oil fell 15% from 79 to 83 yet the price of oil continued to fall even as production was hitting new lows in 81, 82 and 83. So now it has happened twice, in the early 80s and now. That is the recession has had a devastating effect on demand. And this in turn has caused prices to crash. However world oil supply has fallen about only 3 percent since peaking last year. In the 80s the drop was five times this amount. And for most of this drastic drop, after first reaching new highs, causing the recession, prices continued to fall.

And make no mistake, the recession that began around 1980 was clearly caused by very high oil prices. No economist of note disputes that fact today.

No, it is not going to happen! That is prices are not going through the roof as many predict. High oil prices have knocked the economy down twice. It is simply foolish to think that oil prices can go through the roof in the teeth of a deep recession. It cannot happen, it will not happen. History has proven me correct...twice!

The production data is C+C from the EIA's International Petroleum Monthly. The prices are from:
Historical Crude Oil Prices

Ron P.

Perhaps the world has changed since the 1980s and the two periods are not comparable.

We now have new major players in the oil market. They are of course China and India. Cars still sell well in China. China has huge dollar reserves to bid for oil. They would like a SPR just in case and they have the money to buy it.

India just re-elected it's reformist government which has pulled off economic growth after years of stagnation. Droves of people have signed up on the waiting list for the new Tata Nano and aspirations in general are high.

Perhaps Americans are not the center of the oil market as much as in the 1980s. It may be the case that other countries will pick up where American demand dropped off during deep recession. The situations in 1980s and now may not be comparable. It could be a Black Swan event.

Of course the world has changed since the 1980s but not in that respect. That is, when people have no job they cannot buy anything and it does not matter if it is 1930,1980 or 2010. Right now unemployment is approaching 9 percent. Underemployment is much higher. Money has dried up. A recession is a recession no matter what the time period. The two periods are very comparable in that respect.

But if you have an argument that would see oil prices rise in the teeth of a deep recession please present it. A 15 percent drop in the oil supply could not cause prices to rise once the recession took hold.

Before the current recession took hold people were talking about $500 oil. But the recession knocked the price down to less than $50. Now the recession is getting deeper and some people are still talking $500 oil, as if the recession has had, and will have, absolutely no effect on the price of oil.

Bam, bam, bam! That is the sound of me banging my head into the wall.

Ron P.

Ron, you do have a point, but there are a few ways we can see $500 oil. Hyperinflation is a possibility. Another is catastrophic shortfall in oil production due to war, social unrest, climate chaos, financial collapse, or disease.

There is also the possibility of these events chaining, such as the sudden collapse of Mexico's government takes 90% of their oil out of production, leading to a spike in the price of oil and spot shortages, leading to difficulty to procuring oil for military operations, leading to failed operations and increased chaos in the ME, leading to more oil out of production.

While we were in a recession before, and in a depression now, oil is still a necessity. In the depression we have pared away the luxuries, and people will pay through the nose for what's left, if that's their only option for food.

Then again, making predictions about the future tends to make one look like a fool. The trick is looking like a fool in the right places. Whether these events being likely or unlikely will transform into certainty or ridiculousness will only be apparent in hindsight.

By the way, those brain cells you killed while banging your head against the wall? Not a renewable resource. Your maximum brain capacity is needed, so please don't do that.

Ron, you do have a point, but there are a few ways we can see $500 oil. Hyperinflation is a possibility.

That goes without saying. It is always assumed, or should be assumed, that we are talking in constant dollars. Hyperinflation could cause a beer to go to $10,000 a bottle.

Another is catastrophic shortfall in oil production due to war, social unrest, climate chaos, financial collapse, or disease.

Well then you are talking about a total collapse of the economy. In that event all bets are off. A gallon of gasoline could go for $500 a gallon in one county and for 25 cents in another county, sold by some starving farmer who drained it out of his tractor. If the economy collapses there would be no national price of oil, there would be only chaos.

I am simply assuming that we are talking about the economy staying intact. Then it is virtually impossible for oil to go to $500 a barrel because a deep recession, nay, a depression, would drive the price of all commodities into the ground. In the Great Depression there was a 25 percent deflation (average) of all prices. The next point below another great depression is, in my opinion, total collapse of the economy. In that event....who knows. At any rate we will not be arguing about it on the internet because there will be no internet.

We will never see $500 oil and still be able to talk about it on the net. There is no scenario that makes that a possibility. (Again, and quite obviously, I am talking about inflation adjusted dollars.) That is about as clear as I can put it.

Ron P.

You might be right, but what you are also implying is that forecasts of future oil production are wildly optimistic, because without a $500 sale price (in today's dollars) a lot of this oil will not be economical to produce. Who would have predicted years ago that a 2009 price of $61 would be considered dirt cheap by suppliers and barely beyond the break even point for some, like tar sands.

Hey, $61 is cheaper than it was from 79 thru 83. And no one in their right mind considers that dirt cheap. Most people consider that a fair price for oil, or actually a little high.

Ron P.

Ron, I'm on your side. Assuming your view, how does it play?

You should join my perspective and insert POVERTY into your posts. That's what we face. Consumers can't afford the price Producers must have to continue operations. Development should basically stop, so production will fall.

Imagine an island where one family grows all the food. They sell more and more food as the population increases. Then production falls. The islanders bid for the reduced production until some consumers drop out. As islanders die, islanders become poorer as the economy shrinks. As the economy shrinks, there is less to buy. The family can buy less and less as production drops.

Imagine a second island where everything is the same, but the family that controls the food earns more and more money. What are they going to buy?

Commodity inflation is a given. So is debt deflation. Eventually producers of all commodities will refuse to work for government sponsored fiat currency. We're not that far away because world governments are such a large part of the economy. This is why the EU faces significant risk of dropping out first. Meanwhile, the US economy uses the most energy, so we have the farthest to fall, and we all no that falls from a height can be fatal. Asia, of course, is most dependent upon trade, which exposes them to great risk. I think we are all tied together, all nations, all business sectors. We're all in the same boat.

Except we are not all going down together, it's just that it is impossible to predict which sector/nation will decline first. As now, with the decline of last year, U.S. manufacturing is going poof while Alaska tourism is holding up. Who would have thunk that? Not me. The point is, nobody can predict where the shoe will fall next. It's musical chairs on a global scale.

Except, EXCEPT, this dire view means that if you are able to withdraw and protect ANYTHING, then you'll be better off than the Jones. Somebody, somewhere will be two sticks ahead, and you just might end up in a sector/region that doesn't decline as fast, it's called luck. With such a low standard of success, mitigation efforts are a no-brainer.

Prepare to withdraw and drop out from the world economy. Look at Argentina, Zimbabwe, Croatia, Cuba, 1980's Russia, and depressions everywhere from the past for your examples. I am.

Cold Camel

Cold Camel, I discussed this very point Thursday with Memmel. Yes, there will always be some people who can afford to pay, and would pay if necessary, $500 a barrel. Memmel was arguing what might happen to certain individuals and I said that was a moot point. We are talking about the entire economy.

Yes, if we suffer a complete meltdown of the economy, some nations will be a lot worse off than others. And as I told Memmel, if the economy collapses completely then all bets are off. Oil could go to $1000 a barrel in one part of the country, or in one nation, and be $1.00 a barrel in another. What I told Memmel, and I will repeat it here, we are assuming the world economy stays intact. Very sick perhaps but still intact. Then the economy will dictate the price of oil and that price will not go above the point it reached last year. Unless of course, the economy gets very, very healthy. Then it might reach those heights again. But that is very unlikely to happen.

Ron P.

Ron, I can imagine some scenarios in which supply falls faster than demand and the price zooms up.

It is always assumed, or should be assumed, that we are talking in constant dollars.

There have not been any 'constant dollars' for some time.

Even the wording on the money has changed:

"This note is legal tender at its face value for all debts public and private except duties on imports and interest on the public debt."

"This note is legal tender at its face value for all debts public and private"

"This note is legal tender at its face value for all debts public and private and is redeemable in lawful money at the united states treasury, or at any federal reserve bank."

"This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private"

So to assume 'constant money' is a poor one.

Okay Eric you are nit picking and you know it. Dollars adjusted for inflation, is that good enough? At any rate you and everyone else knew what I meant. And it is not a poor argument. We must compare buying power against buying power. It is not a perfect measure but some measure must be used. It is used every day by everyone who compares the cost of living of different periods.

Again, that is a very nit picking argument.

Ron Patterson

1980 59,558 $97.47
1981 56,050 $83.54
1982 53,454 $70.07
1983 53,257 $62.02
1984 54,499 $58.78
1985 53,966 $53.15

Ron, this (and the other 2 time-periods)says quite convincing that in the future oilprices don't have to go through the roof. As these oilprices are an average/year, short price-spikes are invisible (but problably didn't happen). The world changed a lot since then, with many industrialising countries having more people buying their first car and other things, but I agree that those countries will also suffer if the U.S., Europe and Japan don't recover from the crisis.

"Another is catastrophic shortfall in oil production due to war, social unrest, climate chaos, financial collapse, or disease."

Well then you are talking about a total collapse of the economy. In that event all bets are off. If the economy collapses there would be no national price of oil, there would be only chaos.

This collapse you have predicted for 2018.

Stop it, Ron. You make perfect sense to me. Logical inconsistency is obvious and does not merit inter-cranial damage. You can't win since you are violating the sanctity of their religion. Stick to constructive posts, because some of us really appreciate your perspective. The osmosis effect only works if you keep posting.

Cold Camel

ok, so we have been in a recession. price bottomed at, what, $37? It is now at $61 and the trend lately has been up, up, up. This is 100% the opposite of what you say should happen during a recession. So at what point do you admit you are wrong? $100? $200? never?

I am not taking sides in this debate, but merely offering a link to expand the discussion. Dave Cohen usually has a very perceptive analysis:

Mr. Market gets it wrong again

..in effect, retail investors and pension funds are paying the bills for the record quantity of crude oil being stored in tank farms around the world and in vessels offshore, via the losses they make when they roll their positions forward every month...
From a broader perspective: you might argue that their actions are quite effective is sucking more money from the pockets of energy consumers too.

Sldulin, let us not be absurd! Do you even remember the argument? Apparently not or you would not have posed such a silly argument. I said oil would not go to $500. OPEC has cut over 3 million bp/d from supply and oil has risen less then 15 bucks.

I suppose oil could go to $100 but that depends on the depths of the recession. If we recover to the point where we were last year then it could go to $150 but I seriously doubt that.

Again, it depends on the economy. If we stay in a deep recession then oil prices will not recover to the point where they were last year. That Sldulin, is my argument. As the Clinton campaign slogan stated in 1992, "It's the economy stupid!"

Ron P.

But then again, peak oil has never happened before.

Does anyone know what the hurricane situation was in the early 1980s? I was too busy playing Atari to pay attention to those things at the time...it also seems like Alaska came on the scene in a big way in that time period. Are there similar American oil surges in the waiting?

There were no large non-OPEC disruptions during this time. From 1978 thru 1985 non-OPEC oil production increased by just over one million barrels per day per year, every year. When OPEC finally started ramping up again in 1986 the result was a huge glut. But the glut was the result of demand destruction. It was 1996 before the world produced more oil than it did in 1979. And it was 2004 before OPEC produced more oil than it did in 1979.

Again, the price of oil does not exist in isolation of the general economy. The two are tied together to an extent not even imagined by most people. And a lot of those people post occasionally on The Oil Drum.

Ron P.

We think of demand acting like a spring - high prices squish it down, and low prices let it pop back up. But the reality is it behaves more like an empty soda can. High prices crush it, and it stays crushed. Perhaps a flat tire is a better analogy. At any rate, it takes quite a bit of time to recover. And sometimes does not ever recover. Look at this following graph at industrial utilization. It falls fast and recovers slowly. Most often, not back to where it was.

Figure 10: History of Industrial Capacity Utilization

Source: Johnson & Rice Co
-Click to Enlarge

I think your picture is largely of production moving offshore, or perhaps to less energy-intensive ways.

If the ability to borrow is cut back, that will hold back demand for a long time, since both those financing new plants and those buying new end products usually use credit.

I wrote:

From 1978 thru 1985 non-OPEC oil production increased by just over one million barrels per day per year, every year.

Actually what I meant to say was that non-OPEC production increased by an average of just over on million barrels per day during this period. The greatest increase was in 1978 of 1,978,000 bp/d and the smallest was 595,000 bp/d in 1985. That was the heyday of non-OPEC production increases.

Ron P.

There was one Huge disruption in Demand. We quit burning oil for Electric Generation. IIRC, that was a loss in demand of 6, or 7 million bpd.

And it was 2004 before OPEC produced more oil than it did in 1979.

This constrained production could shift OPEC being able to produce on plateau a considerable time. Because of conservative development of new fields OPEC can stay on plateau the next decade IMO, at least in theory (when the economy has some recovery and OPEC willing to invest huge amounts of money in infrastructure a.o.).

According to CNBC major European nations have more external national debt per capita than the United States. This might affect the value of the dollar compared to the euro and oil pricing logic:


The US is catching up quickly. And overall debt level (companies + public) is much higher in the US.

From the NY Times of all places - The Case for Working With Your Hands

... A gifted young person who chooses to become a mechanic rather than to accumulate academic credentials is viewed as eccentric, if not self-destructive... I taught briefly in a public high school and would have loved to have set up a Ritalin fogger in my classroom. It is a rare person, male or female, who is naturally inclined to sit still for 17 years in school, and then indefinitely at work...

More craziness from the anti ethanol jihad hideout in California:


This time posted in the Voice of American news no less. The article says burning biomass to produce electricity to power vehicles is more efficient than making ethanol. How the Californians arrived at that conclusion is left up to the reader to figure out. The thesis itself is nonsense since vehicles of differing design, cost and obviously performance are being compared.

There are no electric vehicles that compare with liquid fuel (ethanol) vehicles in use performance wise. Electric vehicles are generally lighter, have less load capacity, and less range than liquid fueled vehicles. The lighter weight makes drivers more vulnerable to injury in crashes. The only one available now is the $100,000 Tesla Roadster and only a few have been produced.

They whole "study" is nothing but back of the envelope conjecture with no real world data since the electric cars of comparable performance to ethanol powered vehicles do not exist. Vehicles comparable to the Tesla Roadster such as the Mazda Miata, the Saturn Sky and the Pontiac Solstice are not flex fuel and can not be run on E85. They would have a longer range in any case if they did.

Not only that, there are no plants producing electricity from biomass. It was once tried in southern Iowa, but in that trial biomass was added to a coal fired plant. If I recall, the trial was stopped because of the transportation, gathering and adaption costs.

So here we have a "study" with no real world data from actual biomass electric plants and no actual real world electric vehicles. Electric apples are being compared to ethanol oranges which is bad enough. But when the electric apples are imaginary and run on imaginary electricy the study has no credibility at all. Nonetheless it is published and treated with the respect. Things are truly crazy in the failed state of California. California is intellectually as well as financially bankrupt.

Your ability outdo yourself is astonishing.

There are all sorts of electric vehicles out there, Beggar drives one, there's also the Rav4-EV, which while discontinued carries the Apples of a number of satisfied and devoted owners, there are the working vehicles, like the loading trucks and forklifts that we've been using for decades.

The study, of course, is simply comparing the use of biomass turned into electricity by burning it, compared to the processing required to make ethanol, and then the potential miles derived from each.. but the vehicles surely do exist, and the differences do not negate the comparison of these two ways of deriving energy to push them around.

PS, Electric Vehicles can have simply tremendous pulling power.. ahh, but I'm going to take my Apples upstairs and start dinner. If you want to know, you can look it up and you'll find it.

Orange ya glad I didn't bring up EROEI?


Actually, there are a lot of plants producing electricity from bio-mass and have been for a long time. Every hear of wood chips? Plenty of expansion potential remains.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The number of rigs drilling for natural gas in the United States fell by 17 to 711 this week, the lowest level in nearly 6-1/2 years, according to a report issued Friday by oil services firm Baker Hughes in Houston.

Still falling. Chesapeake thought we might get down to 750, but we punched right through that floor and are still heading down.

Prices are still too low. LNG is arriving. We are getting setup for a major shortage in another year.

I don't know if you guys already commented on it, but:

The ASPO Newsletter, by Colin Campbell, is done. 100 newsletters and the rest is history.

I've recently caught up on some PO reading and just finished Twilight in the Desert. 1.2 million barrels/day from Khurais would be impressive considering it was discovered in 1957 and its all-time peak output was 144,000 barrels/day in 1981.

Hello TODers,

I applaud this county for attempting to increase postPeak resiliency by building a I-NPK warehouse [Recall my dire FT Knox scenario], but IMO, they need a SpiderWeb to complete the vast areal dispersal process past the farmgates to the final topsoil square foot:

The Stutsman County Commission on Thursday approved a five-year tax exemption for a planned bulk dry fertilizer facility planned by Gavilon Grain. The facility is to be located with Gavilon’s grain elevator commonly known as Peavey West in James-town.

The plant would bring in fertilizer by unit train and then sell the fertilizer wholesale to retailers in a multi-county area.

..“We have zero funding for road construction for the next five or more years,” said Mark Klose, commission chairman.

..“We’re trying to be competitive,” said Rick Welding, manager for Gavilon. “If we get a quarter inch of rain now some of those roads become unusable.”
If we are now postPeak, this county should assume that all the county roads will degrade from now on...

IMO, a simple cost-benefit mental analysis should lead one to conclude that postPeak steel wheels on steel rails is far cheaper than thorns, potholes, mud, snow, ice, jagged glass, overflowing sewage, etc. I sure wish I could get hold of $1.3 million to jumpstart a SpiderWeb somewhere in my Asphaltistan. Recall my earlier posting on SpiderWebRiding a suburban golf course converted to veggies, fruit, and livestock.

Some more thoughts: recall my earlier posting whereby I conjectured that speculators bidding for the stock-shares of I-NPK companies might be the LAST BUBBLE before TSHTF.

Is Daniel Yergin and the Yerginites more likely to sink their money in a last gasp effort to profit from starvation, or do you think they are more inclined to actually buy real bags of I-NPK for long-term storage, then actually apply these Key Elements in their gardens or Eco-Tech Bunker/farms [ala Richard Rainwater]?

Still waiting for the papparazzi to snap a photo at a Home Depot's or Lowe's gardening center of Yergin buying a shiny wheelbarrow, then loading it up with I-NPK and O-NPK for his personal benefit.

Hello TODers,

Imagine how frantic the postPeak action will be here when almost nobody will give a damn about fresh cut flowers anymore. Instead, picture wild-eyed bidders screaming prices approaching Unobtainum for diminishing amounts of grains, veggies, fruits, seeds, and NPK:

Bidding on bulbs

It’s only 5am in the morning, but both men and machine are already in the middle of their workday. There are hundreds of them, loading carts, shouting orders, tapping on laptops and generally rushing about the warehouse, trying to keep up with the tight schedule...

..The peak of the craze happened in 1637, when one bulb went for what is equivalent to US$76,000 (RM271,131) today.

..The warehouse itself is a great, bustling depot, big enough to house 150 American football fields and its testosterone-charged players.

Hello TODers,

Is Cascadia and other areas ready for the invasion?

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is proposing to completely eliminate the state’s welfare program for families, medical insurance for low-income children and Cal Grants cash assistance to college and university students.

..The proposals would completely reshape the state’s social service network, transforming California from one of the country’s most generous states to one of the most tightfisted. The proposals are intended to help close a budget deficit estimated at $21.3 billion.

New big oil owners of Iowa ethanol plants make nice with farmers:


Hello TODers,

I was thinking about the latest update for Duncan's Olduvai. If one takes as a given the Boe/capita of roughly 4 barrels in just twenty-one years: how critical will the health of our topsoil be plus our ability to maintain or even add to its fertility?

This slideshow will be a review for most of my longtime readers:

http://www.ipni.org.br/ppiweb/pusawest.nsf/926048f0196c9d4285256983005c64de/c18330301248a471852570bc00541d05/$FILE/Optimized%20Potash%20History%20final.ppt#362,10,Slide 10
..During the 1840s, demand for manure was so great that it was shipped from New York to Albany over 250 km away.

NJ farmers paid $6.00/ton for manure at a rate of 10 tons/acre per year.."quite a tidy sum"
Obviously, they figured out how to do this without FFs. Since food is the paramount concern [after water] we need to recapture the knowledge of long distance O-NPK transport so that a high ERoEI is possible. IMO, we can't breed sufficient horses or draft animals in this short timeframe [plus the food to feed them] so shouldn't the world be getting quite alarmed that we are not building SpiderWebs to accomplish this task? Recall from the McFarlane PDF that the Japanese also transported dried fish fertilizers hundreds of miles,too.

EDIT: perhaps this is a better way to get the slideshow:

Development of the Potash Fertilizer Industry in North America
scroll to the bottom please, then click on the link to open the 58 slide ppt. Thxs