DrumBeat: June 18, 2009

US oil, gas reserve dropoff less than stated - study

HOUSTON, June 18 (Reuters) - U.S. oil and gas reserve additions were hit hard by low prices at the end of 2008, but accounting rules forced companies to overstate the real decline, Ernst & Young LLP executives said Thursday.

Charles Swanson, managing partner of the accounting firm's Houston office, said reserve growth could recover quickly when the economy rebounds, boosting prices and improving the economics of discoveries that had to be taken off the books.

"The physical hydrocarbons are there," Marcela Donadio, Americas director of oil and gas, said at a briefing on the firm's 2009 "benchmark study" of 40 companies' exploration and production performance.

The Peak Oil Crisis: The Year of the Dollar

Our peak oil crisis is morphing into a dollar crisis. Despite record inventories, and millions of barrels sitting in anchored tankers, oil prices continue to rise. Earlier this week the average price of gasoline rose to $3 in California and many are predicting that the rest of us will be seeing $3 gasoline later this year.

While analysts are moaning that $70 oil is not justified by supply and demand, it seems that oil has become a favored store of value as massive US deficits eat away at the value of the dollar. The dollar goes down; oil goes up. For now there is so much excess capacity that geopolitical developments, stockpile reports and run-of-the-mill oil news has only a minor effect on oil prices.

As Wall St ails, oil traders weigh return to roots

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - For a growing number of oil traders, there's a new math at work in the traditional career calculus: why take the stress, long hours and uncertainty of a Wall Street job when the easy money is in physical trading?

While investment banks and hedge funds nurse the painful wounds of constricted credit markets, lessened liquidity and more restrictive remuneration schemes, oil majors like BP and independent traders like Vitol are raking in record profits by filling up storage tanks or exploiting global arbitrage.

Big effort to ensure security of supply

Many Bulgarians only realised that Russia was the country’s exclusive supplier of natural gas last January when temperatures in their homes fell sharply and hot water taps ran cold. The dispute between Russia and Ukraine shut down the pipeline bringing gas across the Danube from Romania and forced heating plants in Bulgarian cities to operate at minimum capacity during the coldest winter in a decade.

Bulgaria’s big chemicals and fertiliser plants were also hard hit. Industrial output fell by almost 20 per cent in the first two months.

“It was a sobering moment,” says Ilian Vassilev, head of the Sofia office of Deloitte, the international consultancy. “For the first time, the government had to think about how to diversify gas supplies.”

The pitfalls of natural gas as the default climate change option

Cheap, plentiful natural gas is a mixed bag. With a glut of natural gas and depressed demand in the US, the industry outlook may have been glum. Plenty of big LNG projects are still going ahead. So news today that US natural gas reserves may be much bigger than thought may not be welcome news for many.

Investors hoping to take advantage of the recent unusually wide gap between gas and oil prices might be disappointed (although this depends very much on your views of what is driving natural gas markets).

EU discussing fresh anti-gas crisis tactics

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - European gas companies may end up buying excess volumes of Russian gas to help prevent a new EU supply crisis, in plans to be discussed at the EU summit on Thursday (18 June).

Russian supplier Gazprom is facing financial and technical difficulties after having contracted to buy set volumes of gas from Central Asian producers while facing a sharp drop in demand in the EU and Ukraine.

Natural gas companies spend $178-million on B.C. exploration rights

Natural gas NG-FT explorers displayed a surprising burst of confidence Thursday morning when the British Columbia government revealed that $178-million had been spent by energy companies to snap up new rights to explore for the commodity.

Despite the bonus for the provincial treasury, where the deficit is worsening, it is difficult to say the spending is a trend – or if it's a budding sign of recovery in the energy business. It is, however, a reversal from the severe weakness of the last five auctions.

UK oil refinery strike goes on, plants unaffected

LONDON (Reuters) - Contractors at a Total oil refinery in eastern England continued their week-old unofficial strike on Thursday over planned redundancies, a spokesman for the French energy company said.

Contract workers have also stopped work at several power stations in Britain in sympathy this week, after 1,200 contract workers walked off a construction project at Total's Lindsey refinery in Lincolnshire last Thursday.

Socialism on the never-never

GLOBAL capitalism may be in crisis, but thanks to “21st-century socialism” Venezuela’s economy is “armour-plated” and the country’s poor have nothing to fear. That has been the message from Hugo Chávez, Venezuela’s president, and his ministers in recent months. If anyone is to suffer from the lower price of oil, the country’s mainstay, they insist it will be only “the oligarchy”. And serve them right: according to Mr Chávez, the rich are merely “animals in human form”.

The oil price has doubled from its December trough (although it is still only half its peak of a year ago), so one might expect Mr Chávez’s fighting talk to be reflected in resilient living standards. But inflation is close to 30%, real wages are falling and welfare schemes have suffered big cuts in their budget. The mood on the streets of poorer suburbs of Caracas, the capital, is glum.

Colorado Springs Utilities plans to buy wind power

Colorado Springs Utilities plans to purchase 50 megawatts of wind energy from Clipper Windpower in a deal that will provide 3 percent of the city's electricity in 2011.

The deal, which has yet to be signed, calls for the utility to pay up to $273 million over 20 years. Wind turbines for the project will be constructed in eastern El Paso County.

Obama's forgotten climate agenda

Congress is set to consider an $846 billion climate bill. Supporters say it could save money and the environment, opponents say it's too expensive.

Most Oil Projects May Not Be Profitable

The majority of new oil projects in Russia will not be profitable even with oil prices at $150 per barrel, according to an Energy Ministry proposal on how to reduce taxes at undeveloped fields.

Based on data from oil companies, the ministry determined that under the current tax regime most new oil projects would not be financially viable. Of the nearly 10 major deposits, just three would make sense to develop, and even then only with a Urals crude price of no less than $60 to $90 per barrel.

Without additional tax incentives for new fields, Russian oil companies will be producing 40 million tons less crude in 2013 than they did last year, the ministry said.

Asia imports of W.Africa oil surge on China demand

LONDON (Reuters) - Asian imports of West African crude oil have surged by around 11 percent this month on strong demand from refineries in China and India and due to low freight rates, trade and industry sources said on Thursday.

A Reuters survey of oil companies and importers showed 50 cargoes of crude oil from Nigeria, Angola and other African exporters such as Equatorial Guinea, are moving to Asia in June, equivalent to around 1.58 million barrels per day (bpd).

Oil at $50 will help economy, hinder investment: UAE

DUBAI: An oil price of $50 a barrel may help the global economy recover faster, the UAE oil minister said, but could deter investment in capacity among non-OPEC producers according to International Energy Agency estimates.

Russia Jan-May gas exports via Ukraine down 45.5pct

KIEV (Reuters) - Russian gas export to Europe via the territory of Ukraine fell by 45.5 percent in January-May 2009, year-on-year, Ukraine's energy ministry said on Thursday.

The figure was a slight improvement from a decline of 50 percent seen in the first four months of 2009.

Belarus looks to Turkmens as ties with Russia sour

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan - Belarus's president is in gas-rich Turkmenistan to find new markets for his country's exports after diplomatic ties with Russia soured.

Dow, Gazprom to work on reducing greenhouse gases

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Dow Chemical Co and Russia's Gazprom Marketing and Trading Ltd said on Thursday they will work together to develop and implement greenhouse gas reduction projects around the world.

The companies signed a memorandum of understanding to identify projects that could reduce millions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions through Dow technologies and other cooperative efforts, they said in a joint news release.

Exelon to lay off 500 workers, take $40M charge

Exelon Corp. said Thursday it will lay off 500 employees and incur a $40 million severance charge in the second quarter, both part of a massive restructuring plan designed to cut costs.

The company -- which runs the utilities ComEd in Chicago, as well as Peco Energy in Philadelphia -- also plans to cut operations and maintenance spending by 3.5 percent in 2009, a move expected to save about $350 million.

John Michael Greer: Survival isn't cost-effective

The classic example has to be the plethora of projects for “lifeboat communities” floated in recent years. The basic idea seems plausible enough at first glance: to preserve lives and knowledge through the decline and fall of the industrial age, establish a network of self-sufficient communities in isolated rural areas, equipped with the tools and technology they will need to maintain a tolerable standard of living in difficult times. The trouble comes, as it usually does, when it’s time to tot up the bill. The average lifeboat community project I’ve seen would cost well over $10 million to establish – many would cost a great deal more – and I have yet to see such a project that provides any means for its inhabitants to cover those costs and pay their bills in the years before industrial civilization goes away.

The unstated assumption seems to be that as soon as the intrepid residents of such a community move into their solar-heated cohousing units, start up the wind turbines and the methane generators, and get to work harvesting tree crops from the permacultured landscaping all around, industrial civilization will disappear in a puff of smoke and take its taxes, debts, and miscellaneous expenses with it. Pleasant though the prospect might seem, I am sorry to say that this isn’t going to happen. The residents of any lifeboat community founded today will not only have to come up somehow with the very substantial sums needed to buy the land, build the cohousing units, wind turbines and so on, and plant all that permaculture landscaping; they will also have to earn a living during the long transitional process that leads from the world we inhabit today to the conditions that will pertain at the bottom of the curve of decline. Some awareness of these difficulties may go a long way to explain why, of the great number of lifeboat communities that have been proposed over the last decade or two, the number that have actually been built can be counted on the fingers of one foot.

A very bullish oil presentation from Goldman

Jeffrey Currie, head of energy research at Goldman Sachs, made a very bullish case to investors in a presentation on Wednesday. He sees oil at $95 per barrel by December 2010.

Petrobras Approves First Offshore Heavy Oil Development

Brazil state-controlled oil company Petrobras (PBR) has approved the development project for its Siri field in the Campos Basin, the Estado news agency reported Wednesday.

The field will be the first in the world to produce extra heavy oil from an offshore site, the report said.

Oman eyes solar, wind power plants

Oman is looking into building solar and wind power plants to meet rising demand as the sultanate faces a gas shortage, a government energy official said.

How Can America Cope With the Oil and Energy Crisis? - New Informative Book Challenges Americans to Adapt to Having Less Despite of Being Used to More

BANGOR, Mich. (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- "The bad news is that rising prices of oil may bankrupt our economy unless we learn how to reduce our energy use," states author Maynard Kaufman in his stirring new book. "The good news is that earth-centered values are being affirmed by increasing numbers of people." Released through Xlibris, Adapting to the End of Oil: Toward an Earth-Centered Spirituality, shows how earth-centered spirituality can help us live more modestly on the earth and preserve the climate.

Maintaining Our Prosperity

This submission aims to better inform its readers about the monumental changes that we now face as we pass worldwide Peak Oil and enter into the era of the decline of oil and the overall energy available to our society. This renders our growth dependent economic system (Capitalism) no longer viable, which will have profound effects on the functioning of our society.

Australia’s new Energy White Paper will be crucial in dealing prudently and effectively with the immense challenges facing Australia as the era of cheap energy and the economic system based upon it comes to an end. We are now in the early stages of an unprecedented economic failure - the terminal decline and probable collapse of global Capitalism. We are completely unprepared for this failure of our economic system and tsunamic societal change that will soon be imposed upon us. We face the prospect of protracted economic dysfunction and mass unemployment leading to social and political unrest. If we fail to respond prudently to this emergency we face the prospect of the failure of our essential services and even the collapse of our society itself.

Garden power sparks aid for region's needy

DTE Energy is putting to good use the land ringing its power substations by planting vegetable gardens.

The Detroit utility giant has teamed up with Gleaners Community Food Bank to grow tomatoes, lettuce, herbs and other greens at six more substations in southeastern Michigan, expanding a community gardening program begun last year.

Fertility of lands in Rangpur region falling following shortage of green manure, sulphur, zinc

Land fertility in Rangpur region comprising Kurigram, Gaibandha, Nilphamari and Lalmonirhat districts is falling alarmingly due to shortage of green manure, sulphur and zinc in the soil.

Unrestricted use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides were also contributed in reducing fertility of lands, agricultural experts here said.

Activists Risk Arrest to Stop Mountaintop Removal

COAL RIVER VALLEY, WV - Moments ago, four concerned citizens entered onto Massey Energy’s mountaintop removal mine site near Twilight WV and have begun to scale a150-foot dragline machine to drop a banner that says, ‘stop mountaintop removal mining.’ The climbers plan to stay on the enormous dragline, a massive piece of equipment that removes house-sized chunks of blasted rock and earth to expose coal, until police arrest them. Equipped with satellites phones and a web camera, the climbers will be available for interviews.

Warmists are Eco-vandals

We must assess the environmental damage caused by global warming alarmists.

Estimate Places Natural Gas Reserves 35% Higher

Thanks to new drilling technologies that are unlocking substantial amounts of natural gas from shale rocks, the nation’s estimated gas reserves have surged by 35 percent, according to a study due for release on Thursday.

The report by the Potential Gas Committee, the authority on gas supplies, shows the United States holds far larger reserves than previously thought. The jump is the largest increase in the 44-year history of reports from the committee.

The finding raises the possibility that natural gas could emerge as a critical transition fuel that could help to battle global warming. For a given amount of heat energy, burning gas produces about half as much carbon dioxide, the main cause of global warming, as burning coal.

(WSJ's take: US Has Almost 100-Year Supply of Natural Gas)

Survivalists act as energy fears grow

Convinced the planet's oil supply is dwindling and the world's economies are heading for a crash, some people around the country are moving onto homesteads, learning to live off their land, conserving fuel and, in some cases, stocking up on guns they expect to use to defend themselves and their supplies from desperate crowds of people who didn't prepare.

The exact number of people taking such steps is impossible to determine, but anecdotal evidence suggests the movement has been gaining momentum in the last few years.

These energy survivalists are not leading some sort of green revolution meant to save the planet. Many believe it is too late for that, seeing signs in soaring fuel and food prices and a faltering U.S. economy, and are largely focused on saving themselves.

Has Oil Peaked?

I have written many times how we have forgotten about “peak oil”, and the future is being written now. Low prices are causing exploration budgets to shrink. Following are two charts that graphically show the reduced income for the majors, and reduction in capital expenditures. Lower investments will slow the discovery of productive oil fields, resulting in lower production in the future, when we need it.

Santa Cruz Group Gears Up for Life After Cheap Oil

In late May, a small grassroots organization called Transition Santa Cruz convened for an evening meeting at the police station on Center Street. The subject of the hour was how the community could bolster Santa Cruz’s public transportation system and steer residents away from sprawl and dependency on cars for every outing and errand. Led in part by Micah Posner, director of the cycling advocacy group People Power, the discussion quickly veered into a debate over whether or not high-density housing would facilitate a public rail system or do the opposite and lead to more cars on the streets.

Pressure over land rights to increase, conference told

As metals and resources become more precious, First Nations people will come under increasing pressure to relinquish their lands to mining operations, participants at a Queen's University conference were told yesterday.

Oil prices may create more local tourism

A Royal Roads University professor says local tourism will survive a tough recession but that peak oil and localization of travel will affect the industry in coming years.

Taxing to Better Mileage?

The bill, as it stands, is less likely to be affecting normal car owners — so this is for our SUV/truck-driving neighbor. Because even if you bought a 1990 Chevy Cavalier or Ford Taurus, you’re still probably getting well above 18 mpg.

So obviously, this bill is almost strictly for those non-Peak Oil-thinking, overzealous SUV or truck buyers. These folks have roughly the same restraint and foresight as those who purchased houses that they couldn’t afford.

Leaving war behind

Economic collapse is the unavoidable result of unsustainable and ultimately unjust lifestyles fostered in the industrialized nations and spreading like cancer throughout the developing second- and third-tier nations.

Oil Little Changed After Nigerian Militants Attack Pipeline

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil traded little changed in New York after militants attacked a pipeline in Nigeria, Africa’s largest producer.

A “major” delivery line to Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s Forcados terminal was breached using high explosives yesterday, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta said in a statement. U.S. crude stockpiles fell a more than-estimated 3.87 million barrels last week to 357.7 million, the Energy Department said yesterday.

Nigerian Rebels Claim to Destroy Shell Crude Pipeline

Bloomberg) -- Nigerian rebels said they destroyed a “major” crude oil pipeline in Bayelsa state-owned by Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s biggest oil company, according to an e-mailed statement.

OPEC not likely to increase output

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is unlikely to agree to raise crude production any time soon, despite a steep rally in oil prices since winter, Qatar's top energy official said yesterday.

"No, I don't think so," Abdullah al-Attiyah told Reuters when asked if the group would consider an output hike at its next meeting in September to cool a price spike some economists worry could hinder the economic recovery.

Iraqi oil minister accused of mother of all sell-outs

Furious protests threaten to undermine the Iraqi government's controversial plan to give international oil companies a stake in its giant oilfields in a desperate effort to raise declining oil production and revenues.

Iran’s unrest won’t lead to higher oil prices

Of perhaps greater concern to the average American is whether there’s an oil story behind a vote that seemingly few people take seriously. Specifically, could problems in Iran lead to another oil spike that would show up in higher gasoline prices?

Although the answer is likely no (the price of a barrel of oil has fallen 4 percent since the elections), there are a few scenarios that might on their face impact oil supply.

Oil consumer hedging recovery? Still early days

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - While Pakistan's move to consider hedging some of its oil imports may suggest that energy consumers are thinking differently about the outlook for prices, most remain gun-shy after a punishing year.

Falling options costs -- the first hint of price stability after two months of gains and OPEC's aggressive targeting of a $70-$80 oil price -- make it cheaper for consumers ranging from import-dependent governments to global airlines to buy protection against a further rally.

For the moment, however, those signs are tentative, with the majority of analysts calling for a bigger short-term price correction, while hedgers from the Sri Lankan government to Singapore Airlines nurse hundreds of millions of dollars in losses after prices crashed from $147 a year ago to under $33.

Venezuela Buys Stake in Dominican Oil Refinery, EFE Reports

(Bloomberg) -- Venezuela will pay $130 million in cash for a 49 percent stake in the Refidomsa refinery in the Dominican Republic, EFE reported, citing the island nation’s housing minister, Vicente Bengoa.

Petroleos de Venezuela SA will also give the 34,000 barrel- a-day refinery 30,000 barrels a day of oil for free for three months, rather than charging 60 percent of market price, the Spanish-language news service reported.

Aramco, Total award Jubail refinery contracts

Saudi Aramco and France's Total S.A. said Thursday they had finalized contracts for their 400,000 barrel per day joint venture Jubail export refinery, pushing ahead with a project that had seen investment delays as the two companies sought to cut costs.

The refinery -- a key part of the oil-rich kingdom's plan to boost overall capacity -- is expected to be fully operational by the second half of 2013.

Welch pushes for cheaper fuel

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - U.S. Rep. Peter Welch wants the country to switch to cheaper crude oil for its emergency oil supply.

The Vermont Democrat introduced a bill Wednesday that would require the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to sell and replace 70 million barrels of light sweet crude oil with the less expensive heavy crude oil, according to the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus.

US auto lobby's clout flagging

WASHINGTON – Arrayed like props behind the Rose Garden lectern, Detroit automotive executives applauded last month as President Barack Obama announced new federal standards for gasoline mileage and greenhouse gas emissions.

Many in the auto industry said the moment was a triumph that clinched their long-sought goal of national rules for fuel efficiency and tailpipe pollution, heading off a confusing, state-by state web of requirements. Others say it symbolized just the opposite — a humbled industry forced to swallow tough new mandates_ and highlighted the diminished clout of one of Washington's most potent lobbies.

Energy-saving bulbs light up recycling puzzle

More states are moving to establish safe recycling programs and address the mercury content of the popular curly, compact fluorescent light bulbs.

EU And U.S. Set Energy Standards For Office Equipment

BRUSSELS - The European Commission and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have set new standards for office appliances which could save the equivalent of one year electricity consumption in Ireland.

ADB says it will double clean energy investment by 2013

MANILA (AFP) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will boost its investments in "clean energy" to two billion dollars a year by 2013, doubling its current contribution, the bank's president said Wednesday.

Graham Ford, CEO of Heliodynamics, maker of Combined Heat and Power for urban and industrial environments

I mean one of the projects that we’re looking at in Middle East is exactly that where new towns are being created and they have a number of problems; they’ve got to cool them in the intense heat of the desert and they’ve got to provide water, and they’re looking to plan for the future beyond peak oil which is rapidly approaching if it hasn’t got here already, and so they’re interested in solar.

And there are communities in Australia of course that have a very similar combination of problems. I mean, with this technology you could establish whole towns and cities say along the southern coast of Australia where it’s just desert and very little rain. That wouldn’t be a problem. You could build these cities and provide them with water, so it’s a very interesting technology for a desert continent like Australia.

Continental says biofuel did well in flight test

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Continental Airlines said a blend of biologically derived fuel and jet fuel performed slightly better than jet fuel alone during a test flight by the world's fifth-largest airline.

During some parts of a 90-minute test flight in January, the blended fuel displayed a 1.1 percent increase in fuel efficiency over traditional jet fuel alone, the Houston, Texas-based airline said in a statement on Wednesday.

Mixed future for sugar ethanol

SUGARCANE has been recognised as the cheapest renewable crop from which to produce ethanol but waiting for technology to catch up in order to make it viable could be the hardest thing for growers.

Announcement of atomic plant set

CINCINNATI – The site of a former uranium enrichment plant tucked away in the hills of southern Ohio has the necessary infrastructure for a nuclear power plant — abundant water, a power grid and bipartisan political backing.

It's where the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant enriched uranium during the Cold War. Cleanup of the site is still going on, along with construction of a new-technology centrifuge process to enrich uranium for use in nuclear power plants.

Money to shut nuclear plants falls short

VERNON, Vt. - The companies that own almost half the nation's nuclear reactors are not setting aside enough money to dismantle them, and many may sit idle for decades and pose safety and security risks as a result, an Associated Press investigation has found.

The shortfalls are caused not by fluctuating appetites for nuclear power but by the stock market and other investments, which have suffered huge losses over the past year and devastated the plants' savings, and by the soaring costs of decommissioning.

Beetles called threat to water, power supplies

WASHINGTON - Hoping to get some attention and more federal money, experts on beetle-ravaged forests in the Rocky Mountains argued that wildfires there would threaten water and power supplies to millions of people across the West.

Climate Bill That Isn’t ‘Perfect’ Is Worth Passing, Chu Says

(Bloomberg) -- Congress should approve legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions this year, even if the targets aren’t “perfect” and need to be tightened in the future, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said.

Climate change hits China's 'poor hardest'

BEIJING (AFP) – Climate change hits China's poor the hardest and also forces some of those lifted out of hardship back into it, activist groups Greenpeace and Oxfam said Wednesday.

The two urged the Chinese government to review its existing poverty alleviation policy to take climate change into account, in a report compiled with experts from the nation's Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

800,000 homes face flood risk, warns climate change report

Twice as many British homes will be at risk of flooding than previously thought because of the impact of climate change on sea levels, according to a report by government-appointed experts.

Warming may outstrip Africa's ability to feed itself: study

PARIS (AFP) – By mid-century, climate change may have outrun the ability of Africa's farmers to adapt to rising temperatures, threatening the continent's precarious food security, warns a new study.

Growing seasons throughout nearly all of Africa in 2050 will likely be "hotter than any year in historical experience," reports the study, published in the current issue of the British-based journal Global Environmental Change.

Six nations -- Senegal, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Sierra Leone -- are especially at risk because they will face conditions that are today unknown anywhere in Africa.

'Game-changer': Report on climate change urges action

WASHINGTON — Droughts, floods and wildfires have worsened due to global warming, an Obama administration report found Tuesday in the most complete federal look yet at the effects of a changing climate.

"Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States," released by White House science adviser John Holdren and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration head Jane Lubchenco, echoes past climate assessments, but comes amid a push in Congress and by the Obama administration to limit the emission of heat-trapping "greenhouse" gases.

Global Warming Bill Is A Job-Killer

Environment: Democrats failed to create jobs with their unnecessary, pork-laden stimulus bill. Now they want to kill even more of them with an equally unnecessary global warming bill.

The party that cares so much about jobs for "working families" sure has a funny way of saving them.

Amid pre-summer frosts and hailstorms, the White House this week released a sky-is-falling report on global warming that outdoes even Al Gore in predicting doomsday scenarios.

U.S. Study Projects How 'Unequivocal Warming' Will Change Americans' Lives

Climate change is already reshaping the United States, according to a new federal report that predicts global warming could have serious consequences for how Americans live and work.

Climate change threatens water supplies

SAN DIEGO (UPI) -- Speakers at a water utilities convention in San Diego, Calif., say it's getting more difficult to manage water supplies amid global warming.

Climate catastrophe getting closer, warn scientists

PARIS (AFP) – The world faces a growing risk of "abrupt and irreversible climatic shifts" as fallout from global warming hits faster than expected, according to research by international scientists released Thursday.

Global surface and ocean temperatures, sea levels, extreme climate events, and the retreat of Arctic sea ice have all significantly picked up pace than experts predicted only a couple of years ago, they said.

Dallas Morning News article about large budget cuts that the Dallas City Council is being forced to consider:

Calculated Risk post about falling state revenues:

And of course federal revenues are falling sharply, while spending is skyrocketing, which is a pattern that can continue for a while I suppose--while the federal government can borrow money from creditors, or from the Fed, or from both. But at some point, I would think that the federal government will be forced to join local and state governments in implementing job and service cuts.

There will of course be attempts to increase revenue by raising taxes, which will probably be mostly counterproductive. The problem is that we cannot afford our current level (let alone projected levels) of government spending.

Are you saying that the Emperor has no cloths on?!?!?!?

He's not saying the emperor is naked. The emperor is naked.

Dude, the emperor is naked, tied up and is being lowered into a vat of boiling oil. And he has no clue how to get out of this situation...

Oil doesn't boil.

It sure does what we CALL boiling as soon as there's a plump little emperor in it.

Looking down from his perch, the Emperor is declaring that:
The Earth is Flat, Hot, and Getting Uncomfortably Crowded (now that he is joining the pool).

Suitcase With $134 Billion Puts Dollar on Edge: William Pesek

Think about it: These two guys were carrying the gross domestic product of New Zealand or enough for three Beijing Olympics. If economies were for sale, the men could buy Slovakia and Croatia and have plenty left over for Mongolia or Cambodia. . .

This tale has gotten little attention in markets, perhaps because of the absurdity of our times. The last year has been a decidedly disorienting one for capitalists who once knew up from down, red from black and risk from reward. It almost fits with the surreal nature of today that a couple of travelers have more U.S. debt than Brazil in a suitcase and, well, that’s life. . .

When I first heard of the $134 billion story, I was tempted to glance at my calendar to make sure it didn’t read April 1. Let’s assume for a moment that these U.S. bonds are real. That would make a mockery of Japanese Finance Minister Kaoru Yosano’s “absolutely unshakable” confidence in the credibility of the U.S. dollar. Yosano would have some explaining to do about Japan’s $686 billion of U.S. debt if more of these suitcase capers come to light.

As I think Denninger pointed out, there is a problem with the counterfeit theory. Who would buy a $500 million bond without verifying that it was real?

There is $540 billion of student loan debt in America. A few of those "freedom" suitcases would help make many debt-slaves happy.

Problem solved, the Treasury Department says they are fake.

U.S. Says Bonds Seized in Italy Are ‘Clearly Fakes’

June 18 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. government bonds found in the false bottom of a suitcase carried by two Japanese travelers attempting to cross into Switzerland are fake, a Treasury spokesman said.
“They’re clearly fakes,” Stephen Meyerhardt, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of the Public Debt in Washington, said yesterday. “That’s beyond the fact that the face value is far beyond what’s out there.”

He means what's out there in bearer bonds, not the total outstanding debt in bonds, (as opposed to what's in notes and bills), of course.

Ron P.

I think he would say that even if they weren't fakes, the stakes are too high.

You are of course implying that they were not fakes at all and the government is just lying. From my link above:

According to the Italian authorities, the seized notes included 249 securities with a face value of $500 million each and 10 additional bonds with a value of more than $1 billion, as well as securities purported to be “Kennedy” bonds. Meyerhardt said no such securities exist.

They had Kennedy Bonds no less, even though no such bonds ever existed. Do you think they are lying about that also. Do you believe the government actually issued Kennedy Bonds and are now trying to convince the world that no such bonds ever existed? How likely is that?

Try to remember Ockham's Razor, the simplest answer is by far the one most likely to be correct. The damn bonds were fake.

Ron P.

If your theory is that these are fakes, who exactly were the counterfeiters planning to sell these to? Nobody wastes their time and money making up perfect copies of 500 million dollar bond certificates just for amusement purposes.

It could be that they were planning to use them as collateral for a loan, or more likely, sell them to people/companies wanting to use them as collateral.

Hey, I'd pay $5 for one!
I've already got one of these framed at home: http://www.clintonhollins.com/img/61475.jpg

Okay Brian, the Kennedy Bonds, that never existed, and were certainly never issued by the Treasury Department, were real, not counterfeit.

Errrr, how do you explain that one?

Again, have you ever heard of Ockham's Razor? It would do you well to read up on it.

Ron P.

Ron: I never claimed they are real-my point is that I don't know what is going on here and you definitely don't know what is going on here. If a guy is caught at the airport smuggling cocaine, only a fool would assume the authorities captured the only human on the planet smuggling cocaine. Two guys are found to have 134 billion in presumably fake US bearer bonds-they appear to have been apprehended through chance-now how many billion in similar presumably fake US bearer bonds would a reasonable person conclude there to be out there? 100 times as much? WT thinks fakes would be used as collateral for loans-jeez 100 X 134 billion equals 13.4 trillion US dollars possibly being used as collateral for loans? Who knows? All we know is what the media would like to inform us of (I realize you feel that is 101% of everything that is out there).

Ron: I am convinced if we had this discussion 6 years ago you would be arguing strenuously that Don Johnson (Miami Vice) was the only guy into this trip http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,625637,00.html

Brian, I don't really care what Don Johnson was up to or who else was or was not involved. I don't care now and I wouldn't have cared then. And I wouldn't have argued anything because I really don't give a damn.

However you would probably have argued that the government was involved and it was some kind of a government conspiracy. And I would have simply snickered and shook my head.

Ron P.

Ron: I never claimed they are real-my point is that I don't know what is going on here and you definitely don't know what is going on here.

We only know that they were crooks. What else is there to know? Crooks come in all flavors. Who knows what they were up to? Who cares?

Ron P.

We only know that they were crooks ... Crooks come in all flavors ... Who cares?

Actually all we know is somebody isn't telling the truth - it may not be, as you suppose, the people caught with the bonds - we don't have enough information, probably deliberately so IMO. Though if you knew how European internal borders work I think you would say this probably wasn't just a lucky catch.

The biggest crooks I know are national Governments, they do break laws but don't typically get taken to court - they stole the huge amount of gold backing our currencies for one!

Who cares? You should, somebody is trying to manipulate your currency - there are many Governments around the world who are desperate to do this with real or fake bonds, it doesn't really matter.

If the bonds are real and declared real by the US lots of people have a big problem, including you! The US is caught out lying big time, the holders likely go to jail, the owners have lost 40% of a huge amount of money, the Italians have a massive legal problem, the world economy is likely to fail big time as the currency markets dislocate etc etc.

If the bonds are real but declared fake by the US nobody has apparently broken any laws so nobody has a problem since only the bond holders and a few people in the US Government knows the truth and all can live to deal in private another day.

If the bonds are fake and declared fake by the US nobody has a problem since they weren't caught breaking the law by trying to exchange them for anything. You had better hope that this is in fact the very unlikely situation for all our sakes.

I don't think the US is going to declare fake as real.

Hence my reason for expecting the US to declare the bonds fake whatever their status.


I will guess that what they were up to was passing a little counterfiet.The guys who actually make the stuff usually sell it for a pretty small percentage of the face value to the people who actually pass it.

The world is full of people who are pretty smart in thier own line of work,and therefore think they are smart period.

If the denominations were smaller,I would expect them to be sold directly to successful crooks capable of passing them as the loot from some insider theft of the private bank of some third world dictator or oil prince.A high level bueracrat in the treasury department of some country such as Iraq or Iran could probably pass one of the big ones,maybe by depositing it in an overseas bank account maintained by his government and cleaning out the account pronto.He wouldn't have any problem with financing his disappearance if he pulled it off!

I bet there are plenty of cocaine tycoons out there with a few million in cash stashed who would buy one of these bonds at maybe one tenth of one percent of it's face value even though they suspect(know) that it's a fake,figuring to make some sort of creative use of it later.

one one thousandth of one hundred million is still a hundred grand- enough to hire the finest engravers and paper makers at a profit or I miss my guess.

It defies common sense to think that the bonds are real,given the info so far available.Occam's razor it is.

I could use them as a deposit requested by some kind Nigerian people who are promising to give me a lot more money.

In any case, as the Bloomberg column noted, $134 billion isn't what it used to be. The Treasury is going to try to borrow $104 billion next week:


The Treasury Department's report for May, released last week, pointed to a growing gap between government spending and income at a time when the economy is struggling to emerge from recession and tax revenues are likely to decline.

The U.S. government posted a $189.65 billion budget deficit in May, a record for the month and the eighth straight monthly deficit, the Treasury Department said on June 10.

I'm just curious if anyone else has symbolically post PO-ized their entertainment. I never bought into cable TV; and after some thought I decided not to get a converter box. The first few days are sort of like (I guess) going through an addiction withdrawal, but things settle down nicely after that.

TV is in big trouble demographically speaking because of the Internet and video games-the main audience at this point is older women and sports fans. Anyone under 30 didn't grow up with the TV as a dominant medium.

I don't think that really matters. The line between TV and Internet is fading, with many people subscribing to so-called "Triple Play" packages - phone, Internet, and TV bundled together.

There was a report the other day that found cable TV providers are doing very well in the recession, and projected to keep doing well. People are staying home, and that means they're watching TV. It's seen as an economical alternative to going out to the movies, the ballpark, etc.

It's possible that one day people will use the Internet instead of cable TV to watch programming...but that would be putting money in the left pocket rather than the right. The producers of content would still be paid. The Internet providers are also the cable TV providers. They still get their money.

It's possible that one day people will use the Internet instead of cable TV to watch programming

I already do.

All the main UK terrestrial TV channels have internet 'on demand' feeds of programs going back a month for free (no TV licence fee required), plus I can watch video feeds of the best acedemic lectures from Universities around the world. No need for satelite, cable supplier, conversion to digital, video recorder, go away to university etc - all you need is broadband.

Here, at least, the future seems to be rapidly moving to on-demand 'transmit to one' not broadcast.

Many US networks offer that as well.

But many find it annoying. Even with broadband, it can be glitchy. And you're stuck watching ads, while many people used to VCRs and DVRs are used to FFing through ads.

I've given up on TV.

Not everyone will of course. But it is the mind numbing programing and commercial interruptions that made giving it up easy for me. I find that broadband does get overloaded at certain times of the day mainly in mid afternoon and around 7 PM local time. I just don't try to watch video during those time frames.

Also a lot of the broadband cutting out is not due to the internet IMO but due to servers on the other end. I can get You Tube just fine sometimes, but when I try to watch some of my favorite programs on Chinese websites they cut out intermittently.

What I like about the internet is doing your own programming. Right now I'm listening to my favorites on Songza in one internet window while I'm typing this in another internet window. Try doing that with television.

Television is going the way of newspapers IMO. There will always be some who prefer newspapers to the internet and some who prefer television to the internet, but not me.

As I said, I think Internet and television are merging. Cable TV is offering ways to let people make their own programming, and the content creators are finding ways to make money off Internet viewing. It's not really like newspapers vs. the net. The experience of watching TV and watching on the net are becoming more and more similar, until there won't be any difference.

Agree that the glitchiness is often due to the server on the other end. MLB.TV is notorious for that. They offer a "premium" service with higher quality video, but trying to actually watch a game live in premium is a pain, because they just don't have the bandwidth. I've had the best quality on Saturday afternoons, when the US is blacked out for contractual reasons. You have to go through a foreign proxy server, but even with that, it's fast, because nobody else is watching.

What I like about the Internet is that it's interactive. I don't like just sitting there are watching something passively. If I can't influence what I'm watching, I at least want to discuss the show with others while I'm watching. I think a lot of people like that. A lot of my friends watch TV with laptops in their laps, so they can discuss what they're watching online. I also think that's a big part of the appeal of shows like American Idol - viewers can interact with it.

Still, I don't think this will be as big a deal as I originally did. I think a lot of people do want to be passively entertained. For every person who posts a comment or writes a blog, there's four people who'd rather just read.

I have been TV free for over 25 years----
The more you watch, the less you know.

Amen! Same here, stopped watching tv regularly when I was 16. Never, ever looked back.

What fills the time: now its music, gardening.

Cannot understand how people will volutarily undergo the insiidiuous process
of tv-induced stultification.

My kids can hang in front of the tube all day. Unfortunately for them, daddy is in charge :-)

I do watch TV; first I check the guide if there is anything of interest to watch, and if so I'll switch it on. Otherwise not.

Great book detailed heretofore mentioned 'insidious process' : http://www.amazon.com/Arguments-Elimination-Television-Jerry-Mander/dp/0...

From "Being There"


Ron Steigler: Mr. Gardner, uh, my editors and I have been wondering if you would consider writing a book for us, something about your um, political philosophy, what do you say?
Chance the Gardener: I can't write.

Ron Steigler: Heh, heh, of course not, who can nowadays? Listen, I have trouble writing a postcard to my children. Look uhh, we can give you a six figure advance, I'll provide you with the very best ghost-writer, proof-readers...
Chance the Gardener: I can't read.

Ron Steigler: Of course you can't! No one has the time! We, we glance at things, we watch television...
Chance the Gardener: I like to watch TV.

Ron Steigler: Oh, oh, oh sure you do. No one reads!

Conan the Governator sounds to me a lot like Chance the Gardener, only he takes his wisdom from sports and such like, not from the life of plants.
I can not agree on these criticisms of TV, least of all of American TV. There's choice, you know -as Maggie would said.
At least in Spain ALL the rich fascists and opusdeistas I know and I've known many, (remember that in Spain Fascism won the war with the help of Hitler, and thrived under the aegis of Eisenhower and subsequent American presidents) all without exception are against TV: because it teaches and enlightens the people.

The harm TV does! they say. "We are here in life to steal from this people, and TV wises them up", an engineer son of an Spanish Ambassador, husband of the daughter of a (small) bank owner once told me, watching the workers at the shopfloor of our factory.

And Spanish TV is bad, really bad, but not bad enough for their taste. If they could they would switch it off entirely.

For the holloi poloi who didn't have access to an expensive education TV is the least of evils, and the alternative is much worse a darkening of their world. I reckon they well know it.

I don't have the stomach for American TV anymore.. but not to argue with you, I just wondered if you've heard similar or even greater sentiments against the Internet? The fact that some 100million Americans seem to know how to TYPE now, and are reading and writing more than anyone in the 70's ever did as simple consumers.. I'd think the real threat would be this right here. no?

I haven't watched Spanish TV for a while (Is El Mundo de la Musica still on?), but at least back then it was much better than TV in the US. Italian TV is the worst. German TV is somewhat like I remember Spanish TV being like, few commercials, a fair number of educational programs, non-sensational news, not much of the really tasteless stuff.

Spanish TV now: Big Brother -then reports on BB, later on imitators of BB.
Gossip on celebrities, hours of it. Eagerly watched by housewives who have been liberated from boring household duties by advances in technology: microwave ovens, pizza delivery, dishwashers, hoovers etc.
Fútbol -soccer, hours of it
Toros -bullfighting, hours of it. Mostly watched by old people.
News, immediately all young people change channels or complain at the old geezers watching the news, -What for, uncle? It is always the same news !
After the news, sport news, that's soccer and the obscene quantities that Ronaldo gets paid.

Movies, American movies, lots of American movies or worse still: Spanish movies.
Once (years ago) a couple were queing at a Cinema theater in Madrid, when the woman realized with horror what was on show
-Manolo, it is a Spanish movie! That it its Spanish !
Both run away in horror at our common cultural heritage.

Late at night on TV for free on open local channels, hard porn.
Most of the good stuff biophiliac saw on Channel Two, years ago, has now dissappeared for the most part.

The horror! And yet, if it wasn't for the TV it would be worse.

I grew up with TV and loved it. Great stuff there!

When I stumbled onto meditation training, I became aware of the consequences of TV or, more accurately, the purpose of TV. It's effectiveness is frightening. I can't watch anymore.

The more you watch the less you know - indeed!

National Geographic, Discovery Channel and History Channel ain't so bad. And don't want to imagine to live without viewing sportevents like Wimbledon, Flushing Meadows, Tour de France and some football matches.

Sometimes. And even on these channels they have filler that I can only describe as idiotic. Nostradamus, UFOs, and those foul-mouthed jerks who build custom motorcycles come to mind.

I watch TV once or twice a year for 2 or 3 minutes. It's when I'm in a motel. I click thru the channels, get disgusted, and say that's it for this year.

Cable and Sat TV do seem to be likely lost post PO, but not local over the air broadcasting. Re-localization of broadcasting (radio and TV) could encourage a real flourishing of local arts and creativity.

I don't mean to discourage your decision to let TV go dark in your home; I'm just not sure that all TV will go dark, everywhere.

TV is one of the chief means the government has of controlling the people. I suspect they will keep it going as long as there is electricity to keep the boob tube powered. And after the electricity is gone, I suspect entertainment time will shrink. A lot.

Mass communications is a channel that governments, corporations, and other large entities have learned to use for their ends. That may be more difficult in a de-centralized TV landscape.

not at all. "They" are experts at infiltrating and controlling the smallest networks and groups.

I didn't used to think so, but I now believe the internet is the greatest tool ever invented for manufacturing consent.

Give all the Afghans broadband internet -- see if those "fractious tribes" can withstand the assault of Facebook. I'm fairly sure it would work a lot better than drone aircraft bombing, but of course, then different people would profit, and that might not be even thinkable.

Prior to being PO-aware, I had ditched the over-the-air, cable, and satellite, so I don't know all the specific details. But I do know that the new over-the-air digital broadcasting standards in the US, requiring new televisions or converter boxes, are a more complex infrastructure than the analog broadcasting system.

I bring this up because the new digital system will be harder to maintain during a decline.

I'm not sure of the logic here. IF there's energy/money/will/etc for maintaining broadcasting and receiveing equipment, I'd expect that more centralised broadcasting will be most supported, for the simple reason that with a centralised system you can hear/view the best in the nation/world rather than the best locally. ("Local man Barry does a passable scenery-chewing performance, but I'd rather spend 90 minutes watching Alan Rickman do a consumately OTT performance if he's available to be watched than Barry".) At least in the UK there's the tradition of moving repertory thatres dating from Shakespeares time of acting companies moving around the country, rather than local traditions.

IF entertainment becomes something that is only possible live (live theatre/monologues/etc) then the local environment may significantly improve.

Myself, I think there's a reasonable degree of truth to English satirist Alan Coren's remark that "It's clear that television is more entertaining than the majority of people, because despite no shortage of people around the place there's generally a TV rather than a person situated in the corner of living room".

Symbolically? We've stopped going to movies, watching TV, using the Internet, and we wake and sleep with rising and setting of the sun. We tell stories and share experiences and invent games and entertain each other. Sometimes we just lie in the grass, stare at the sky, and daydream.

Actually? Not much.

The good they die young!

I got the government coupon and bought a converter box. My plan is to rig up an antenna, and hopefully that will enable me to receive the local PBS station and the local ABC affiliate. We watch little TV, just PBS programs; it would be good to still receive the local ABC affiliate for breaking local news and weather, which is about the only reason we would ever watch them.

Once I have done this and assured myself that I can receive this much (not a sure thing, I live in a very mountainous area), then my plan is to cut off cable TV and stop feeding that leech.

These stations might not remain on the air forever, but they will probably go silent after satellite and cable systems do.

Here are a few links:

I built this antenna, and it works pretty good:


Here is all sorts of info on DTV and antennas


Here you enter your zipcode and it shows where the broadcasters are and signal strength at your distance.


I get 3 PBS stations, and the local one broadcasts on 3 channels. Always seems to be a cooking show on one of them.

Thanks, I might try the homebrew before investing more $ in a commercially-built antenna.

I know about the FCC site. Main problem is that it doesn't include translator stations, which are important in my area.

The links on this page in particular will give you more info on antennas than you really want to know:


http://www.w9wi.com/ is a database of North American TV & FM stations.

The main section includes translators. I built 2 antennas based on this coathanger TV antenna. It looks just like the one linked above. Except I used copper wire and soldered it all together.

Talking about Natural Gas in the US...

Can anyone tell me why the EIA's weekly petroleum status report is showing a massive drop in US Natural Gas Liquids production but the monthly reports don't?

From yesterday's report

                                    Four Week Averages            
Petroleum Supply                          Ending            %    
(Thousand Barrels per Day)           06/12/09  06/12/08    Change
Natural Gas Liquids Prod. *(4)            1,891     2,387     -20.8

*4 Includes adjustments for fuel ethanol and motor gasoline blending components.

Yet according to the EIA monthly figures, June production last year was 1,810 and May was 1,908 (the all time high). Why does the weekly report have totally different production figures for last year than the monthly report. The weekly and monthly figures for 2009 seem to agree. Latest monthly figure is for March 2009 at 1,850 kb/d.

What am I missing? If the clue is in note 4 are we to to expect big future historical revisions to the monthly figures as well or is the weekly report currently comparing apples with oranges?

"That the nation’s gas reserves were bigger than expected does not mean they will necessarily be developed, Mr. Caruso warned."

and that mr caruso pontificates on reserves doesn't necessarily mean he understands the meaning of the term reserves. i got tired of pointing this not so minor detail out until rockman reminded me of it yesterday.

“T. Boone Pickens Statement on Surge in Estimated Natural Gas Reserves”


Much of the shale gas is dry gas. It lacks condensates.

As the U.S. got 23% of its energy from natural gas and 62% from coal and petroleum, the natural gas might not last 100 years in a CO2 free legislative environment as it would be required to replace all coal and oil by 2050 when Waxman-Markey law might allow only 20% of the current carbon emissions. The carbon emmissions from ethanol production may be too high to satisfy Waxman-Markey type climate change laws, even if they burn sugar cane residue to fuel distilleries.

The low current prices for natural gas do not allow for 100 years of natural gas. When natural gas was $13 mmbtu there were higher reserves allowable by SEC reserve reporting laws that there are with NG under $4.50 mmbtu. Currently some of these tight shale gas fields cannot be counted as reserves because the price of natural gas is too low. There might be some drilling going on at a loss in order to save leases before they expire. Without drilling commitments completed by certain deadlines the lease agreements terminate.

"When natural gas was $13 mmbtu there were higher reserves allowable by SEC reserve reporting laws that there are with NG under $4.50 mmbtu."

increased or decreased sec reserves will indeed derive from price . the operative phrase therin is " under current operating and economic conditions" owtte.

what is billed as reserves by the ng pimpin' coalition has nothing to do with sec reserve reporting laws. these 1000's of tcf's of potential resources are only refered to as reserves by the ignorati(glamorously ignorant) and ignorantes(vigilantly ignorant).




Good news! we 'only' lost 608,000 jobs last week...

Jobless claims edge up in latest week

The number of Americans filing for initial unemployment insurance rose slightly last week, with the number filing ongoing claims fell for the first time since the start of the year, according to government data released Thursday.

There were 608,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended June 13, up 3,000 from a revised-up 605,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said.

The number was just above the 604,000 consensus estimate of economists surveyed by Briefing.com.

To steal a quote from Al - Best hopes on not finding yourself in an involuntary unpaid summer vacation.

Money manager Van Hoisington says unemployment and debt will make rising prices a non-issue

This "inflationist view of the world," which he outlines in his firm's recent quarterly review and outlook, stems from Milton Friedman's observation that "inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon." Hoisington goes on to say that "the Fed has expanded the money supply dramatically, and since inflation is too much money chasing too few goods," people think inflation is inevitable. But he thinks they're wrong.

For starters, Hoisington believes the economy will continue to be weak for years. And with unemployment at such high levels, companies won't be raising wages, and consumers won't be increasing their spending. That means demand for commodities and other goods will be muted, so there will be no upward pressure on prices. Overall, he sees the economy being no bigger in 2012 than it is today.

And Gold parties have caught on in the UK.

Good news! we 'only' lost 608,000 jobs last week.

That overstates the damage, unemployment claims of just over 400,000 are neutral (i.e. about as many hired as fired), so the net loss is around 200,000. The net rate of job loss, is now a bit lower than it was, hopefully that trend can continue.

According to the employment reports for this year, it looks like around 500-510K is neutral. Last month the average was 610K per week and the total jobs lost for the month was around 400K. This has been pretty consistent all year. In fact, too consistent, if you know what I mean.

The problem I have with the numbers is that the continuing claims number is dropping even though employment is still clearly dropping. Of course the only explanation is that people are dropping of the back end. As we are 18 months and 18 days into the official recession, and even the mostly wildly generous benefits are 18 months in duration, I would guess that 6.5 million is the high water mark for continuing claims unless the weekly claims start climbing again. If anyone knows where the data is that tells how many people fell off the continuing claims number at precisely the end of their benefits terms, I think we could come up with a better weekly reading of the employment picture.

Thanks for your post which sheds light on the real numbers. Some do take these out of context.

Re: 100 years of natural gas left

The report, due to be released Thursday by the nonprofit Potential Gas Committee, concludes the U.S. has more than 2,000 trillion cubic feet of natural gas still in the ground, or nearly a century's worth of production at current rates.

At least the WSJ added "at current rates", else Al Bartlett would start spinning in his grave -- despite being still alive. But I don't think they expect the economy to stay operating "at current rates" for very long. How many years if we also drive on it?

“Natural gas is part of the solution for a low-carbon future, and not an impediment,” said Chris McGill, the managing director for policy analysis at the American Gas Association, a trade group. “It has been difficult to get policy makers over that hump. Many have a vision of gas as a resource we’re running out of, and that’s just not true.”

Ahh, the vision thing.

I'll help you pick on them a little more Joules. If you look at it again he says "in place" reserves could supply us for a century. In place reserves can't supply us for day. They have to be produced to be of use. And that brings us back to the dependency of future NG production on pricing. At $3.50/mcf very little of that 2000 tcf will every be produced. Probably not enough for 10 years consumption let alone 100 years.

I would second/third that. Industry analysts are talking up the size of the resource and ignoring the production cost and/or price to clear it. It's as if some sort of amnesia has set in where we know about the resource, and today's prices are $4/mcf, ergo, that must be the cost of this resource!

Some legacy shale investments might be profitable at $4/mcf, but Chesapeake wants $7-8/mcf for their current plays. Maybe Chesapeake is all posturing, but I think they are closer to the truth on shale gas. The market could, maybe, accommodate that price for a while if the price was stable. But there are plenty of reasons to believe it will not be stable. From all I have read (I'm no geologist myself) shale is tough to drill through and you have to drill through it pretty serially to get to all that nat gas. The set up is for rapidly declining ROI or a price that needs to grow.

Just my cent and a half.

Hey, wait... isn't the same thing said about the Bakken Formation? Like, isn't there 50 years worth of US consumption up there in North Dakota?

Half Bakked, methinks...

from the t-boone press release posted above:

"The 2,074 trillion cubic feet of domestic natural gas reserves cited in the study is the equivalent of nearly 350 billion barrels of oil, about the same as Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves."

rush limbaugh will probably be spewing this gibberish as soon as he gets wind(all puns intended) of it.

steve -- I make one little picky adjustment to your post. With regards to "Industry analysts are talking up the size of the resource..." That's not quit correct. The industry analysts (I'm one of them at times) understand what might and might not get produced. But we'll submit those reports and the PTB, whether it's a CEO or T Boone, will run out with a big smile on their face and use those reports to confuse the public. It's been a rather steep learning curve for the shale gas plays but much of the mystery has been solved. Not so tough to drill anymore. A few more tech advances to come for sure but probably nothing to change the economics to any great degree.

As you and others have highlighted: the plays will be driven (or not) by the pricing factor. Pricing will determine how much NG we'll have in the future...not the "in place" estimates folks are throwing around now.

Concerning the link up top: John Michael Greer: Survival isn't cost-effective

The average lifeboat community project I’ve seen would cost well over $10 million to establish – many would cost a great deal more – and I have yet to see such a project that provides any means for its inhabitants to cover those costs and pay their bills in the years before industrial civilization goes away.

That is poppycock! The problem is in the type of survival community Greer is talking about:

The unstated assumption seems to be that as soon as the intrepid residents of such a community move into their solar-heated cohousing units, start up the wind turbines and the methane generators,...

Greer is saying that if we wish to have all the comforts we have today, then it would cost too much to be cost-effective. Of course but who really expects to have all the comforts we have today.

I have long advocated, on this list and others, that people form survival communities, locate them together in a small community with their farms within walking distance. Each community would have, hopefully, a blacksmith, a medic, a cobbler, and so on. In other words have people in your survival community that are trained in the trades necessary for bare survival. You would not need wind turbines, methane generators. Solar heating would be okay but it would have to be passive. In other words no solar panels.

Such communities would cost a lot less than a modern day community outfitted with all the comforts of the industrial age.

Survival communities, in my opinion, are the only way to go. I believe trying to survive alone, on a farm or anywhere else, would be a fools endevour. Starving people will do everything to survive, and feed their offspring. That includes robbing your garden, stealing your goats and anything else you have of value. The protection of a well armed community will greatly enhance your chances of survival, though they will not guarantee it.

Ron P.

These survival communities will probably have to be formed on the fly as the collapse unfolds. I suppose someone very wealthy could buy up some land and recruit people with the necessary skills ahead of time, but I doubt many will be successful. There isn't much call for blacksmiths and cobblers in todays economy.

Only the young and physically fit would have a chance to survive in this manner. Most of them aren't land owners. A lot could go wrong anyway. It doesn't matter how well armed you are, if someone is determined to steal your crops they will do so. A little nuclear fallout could also spoil your farming plans.

I seriously doubt that anyone is going to survive by going back to the 18th century.

I seriously doubt that anyone is going to survive by going back to the 18th century.

There are at least a billion people living today with no electricity, water drawn from wells and food gathered from fields using only hand tools. That is clearly 18th century technology. I have no doubt that many people living today in the developed world could also survive under such conditions.

There is a certain range of personalities that are most likely to survive collapse unscathed, physically or psychologically, and adapt to the new circumstances. I have been able to spot certain common traits while researching reports of survivors of shipwrecks and other similar calamities. A certain amount of indifference or detachment is definitely helpful, including indifference to suffering.
Dmitry Orlov

Do not underestimate the will to survive. Of course it does not exist in everyone, but in some it is paramount.

Ron P.

agreed. and many of those people are quite old or feeble, and they get taken care of.

Absent warfare, people do get along pretty well for quite a long time.

But it is fun to have running hot water, central heat and broadband internet. Probably I wouldn't want to give those things up.

Do not underestimate the will to survive. Of course it does not exist in everyone, but in some it is paramount.

Yes that is true. In fact, I am making a very serious attempt to survive using 18th century technology myself. My neighbor, who is also collapse aware, and I butchered a cow together this past weekend in my garage. I raised the cow myself on pasture and hay, shot it, and we dragged it into the garage, hung it up, skinned it, gutted it and butchered it with knives and and a meat saw from Lehmans. How many Americans these days can say they've done that? The meat is fantastic, grass-fed beef with not an ounce of fat in it.

I own scythes and buck saws, do all my gardening by hand, and have a hand well pump. I will be looking for others to come and join me when TSHTF.

You should have done this in the parking lot of your local McD's as a demo ;-)

Also why wouldn't you have the cow walk into the garage under it's own power and kill it there?
Just curious.


Although I have dealt to many pigs, I have always used the local "Homekill" service to deal to cattle. Mostly due to the size problem with cattle, and the lack of a cool store to age the carcass for a couple of weeks before butchering.

"grass-fed beef with not an ounce of fat in it" is no doubt an improvement on the feedlot crap-beef that is the norm in US, but well-marbled, mixed-fodder-fed beef is another order of magnitude better. The small areas of fat throughout the flesh make the meat more tender, improve the flavour, provide essential aminoacids and fat-soluble vitamins (A, D & E), and alter the cooking characteristics so that a "rare" steak can be well browned on the surface and raw in the centre.

The ideal regime for cattle is a mixture of excellent pasture, browse fodder, and root vegetables. Few commercial farmers can provide this, but for homestead folk it is feasible.

Pasture should include many legumes (alfalfa, vetch, clover, etc), a wide variety of grasses, and many forbs such as chicory, dandelion, comfrey, yarrow, sorrel, plantain, kale etc.

Browse fodder includes a huge variety of shrub and tree material such as willow, poplar, tagsaste, flax, broom, etc.

Fodder beet (mangels), pumpkins, swede (rutabaga), carrots, etc, all add to the flesh and fat content of a good meat (and dairy) animal. The animals love them!

Great to hear that you are on the right path for (possible) survival, and hope you can continue to enjoy the good foods in life.


Can't help but agree with you:


Greer illustrates perfectly how too much education can be a bad thing.

His research assistants should be strapped to a whatever and whatevered, according to Druidic practice.


My approach: I assume that small towns located in places where small towns should naturally be, situated amongst some good renewable resources, and already having diverse local economies, are already well-positioned to survive. Better to just live in one of these and build on what is already in place, rather than to start from scratch and create some sort of pipe-dream utopia at considerable expense.

I suppose that would be better than nothing. However there are no local small towns where everyone depends on locally grown food and total local support.

Farmers, those that are left, live on huge farms with barns, tractors and silos, usually a great distance from any town. The small towns in their midst contain merchants and small industry. Their water usually comes from a few wells located well outside the town. Regardless where they get it, when the power goes off, their water goes off. The houses have lawns that could be turned into vegetable gardens but not much else. There would be no place for chickens, cows or goats.

And I must disagree with you on your main point. The people there are in no way well-positioned to survive. Their food comes from the supermarket, their water from the tap and their heat mostly comes from the power lines. Though I must admit that far more of them would likely survive than residents of downtown Chicago.

Ron P.

In 'Omnivore's Dilemma', Pollan describes Iowa as a 'Food Desert'.. such a great proportion of their produce is shipped in.

At least they have tools and soil.. with luck a decent well. But it all depends now on Turnaround time.. which is why I hope that outreach wins some converts here and there.. I think the volumes of unemployed will feed that number a bit.

a food desert because iowans need the finest framland in 'merka to produce bio-fuels fer 'merka. memo to self: been watching too much rfdtv.

I guess the life and death question is: How quickly will everything pan out?

If civilization collapses completely tomorrow, then there will be very few long term survivors anywhere.

On the other hand, if this is all going to play out more or less in slow motion over several decades or more, then that leaves the possibility open that a lot of people will do a lot of things to adjust and adapt.

For example, it is true that most people in my town right now still get most of their food from the store. There are some people (including me) producing some of their own food, and some people in the business of producing food for sale locally. Given enough time, as supermarket food becomes more scarce and expensive, more people will do more things to produce local food. I have tried to assess the situation in my town, and I believe that we DO have the potential to feed our population entirely from local resources. We CAN do it, but it does take some time to adapt and change. Our survival will depend upon our having enough time.

Ditto with things like water supply, energy, etc. We can make it if we have time to adapt and adjust and transform our local systems. Not enough time, and we're in trouble - as is everyone else.

On the other hand, there are some communities where the task would be hopeless and impossible, and no amount of time is going to change that. People would be wise to make those places where they formerly lived, and quickly.

The rate has always been the biggest question.

Well, it is now "tomorrow", and civilization has not collapsed yet. Maybe there is hope that we will actually have some time after all!


Depends on where the farmer is. In Vermont, the farms are not huge. Yes, they have tractors, but they don't have the huge ones you'll see in the Midwest and Plains states. There really are parts of the country that have a fighting chance if oil suddenly stopped flowing and the grid shut down.

If there is a total grid failure there is no money, no fuel pumps, no water pumps and no grocery stores after a couple days. Here, there are also armed gangs that will not starve as long as anyone else has any food. Q: Will a cop allow his kids to starve? Total grid collapse won't leave many survivers after a couple years.

How on earth can you postulate a total grid failure? The grid is not centralized, does not run on oil, has multiple redundancies and back ups. No matter how bad things get the grid will not totally fail overnight. Can't happen.

It could be gone in a flash (or several flashes).

I think you're missing JMG's point. He was saying that the communities, as proposed, aren't viable, not that there people couldn't put together a system that is. That being said, even the setup you're describing wouldn't work as long as a mortgage on the land property taxes need to be paid. Yes, people could put together small lifeboat communities, but unless they want to do it after governments collapse, they still need to be paid for within the current system, and that's a lot more expensive than most people assume.

Yeah, but like the Atlanta Journal Caricature-piece on survivalists up top, he seems to take pains to pick communities that are easy to scoff.

Getting Co-housing (which is only one, very singular variety of such communities) to work is going to be hit-and-miss, depending on the characters and the assumptions that they start up with.. even a 'failed' attempt is a whole slew of lessons learned and new perspectives on what might work and what won't.

There will be a lot of rocky starts and tumbles. I'm not going to wait for the ArchDruid of Doom to give it the thumbs up for me to see the ways to try again.

Personally, while I don't disparage the multitude of attempts to create new community models, I am already IN a multifaceted community, and there are a great number of potential systems and alliances that we can forge here and now to solve the many problems coming at us.. and we can get as close or stay as removed from one another as we see fits us or is necessary.

"The problem isn't whether you fall down. It's whether you get back up again.."

Joey: Look, I know you're hurtin' now, but in time you'll realize what you've achieved.
Jimmy Rabbitte: I've achieved nothing!
Joey: You're missin' the point. The success of the band was irrelevant - you raised their expectations of life, you lifted their horizons. Sure we could have been famous and made albums and stuff, but that would have been predictable. This way it's poetry.

- From 'The Commitments' by Roddy Doyle

What's ironic is that you and Greer (and me) come out at about the same answer - working locally on a personal level, learning appropriate skills so as to be able to help those around you, while the world events are beyond our control.

Chicago-area suburbs see long grass as growing problem

Michael Mazo enjoyed the insects and other animals that flitted about the 2-foot-tall grass in the back lawn of his Buffalo Grove townhouse.

The Russian immigrant said he also regarded the lush greenery as evidence of the personal freedom he felt was guaranteed in his adopted homeland.

But for local governments coping with irate neighbors, a formidable number of abandoned or foreclosed properties and spring weather that's perfect for grass growth spurts, Mazo's dense turf was a growing headache. The village cut his grass, which violated a length ordinance, and will send a hefty bill.

Because of all the foreclosures, they've gotten tough on unmowed grass. Still, this seems pretty harsh. It was his backyard, and fenced.

What if the "grass" had been wheat or rye which the owner had planted as a crop? Would the city still cut his food supply? Last summer, my new neighbor across the road put down wheat straw to cover his new grass on some bare ground. There were some wheat seeds in the straw, which came up along with the fescue. For a while, I had considered cutting the wheat for a snack or to save the seeds. My neighbor got there first with his mower...

E. Swanson

What were formerly my three mowed lawns (upper & lower front & behind the house) I several years ago planted as mixed grass, legume & wildflower meadows. This year I am pasturing geese, ducks, turkeys & chickens on them. The geese, ducks & turkeys run free during the day and the chickens are in a mobile coop (a "chicken tractor") since they are hard to catch. At night the birds are secured in a poultry house from the abundant predators that occur here. I spread wheat & cracked corn as "scratch grains" for my birds and the wild Gambels quail. These grains I get free from my place of employment. Since the birds have access to insects & other forage this mix provides adequate nutrition. Some of the wheat has sprouted and I leave it for the birds. The only problem encountered this year has been one turkey drowned in the waterfowl pond and one pullet who turned out to be a cockerel. Since I live within the city limits I can't put up with a rooster so "meat bird" had to go.

In the 70s I rented a house in the supposed 'new city' of Milton Keynes, 50 miles north of London (a real city). The previous tenant of the house didn't mow his front lawn and received a stern letter from the council about 'lowering the tone of the neighbourhood'. He just wrote back to them listing all the species of wild plants that were growing in his 'nature reserve'.


Your Tax dollars at work:

Bill would require marine-engine ethanol study
June, 18 2009, 07:40 AM

A bill headed to the U.S. House of Representatives calls for a study of blended fuels in marine applications.

H.R. 2652, the Maritime Safety Act of 2009, is sponsored by Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., and Section 23 of the bill calls for the study. The bill received a favorable report from the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, which is chaired by Oberstar.


I'd prefer those tax dollars to be spent than having a mandate that gasoline include percentages greater than 10% of ethanol! Beyond ethanol being a waste of corn, subsidized as well, I have two vehicles that I wouldn't want E15 to be inside of, a 1985 Honda CRX HF that gets fantastic gas mileage anywhere up to 50mpg, and my 2005 motorcycle which gets 60-70 mpg...

Iranian (er, Canadian-Iranian) protesters are misinformed about their place in the oil production hierarchy. Based on this article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jun/18/iran-tehran-protests-basij

One Iranian Canadian who joined the protests believed they posed a real threat to the government. "People are so fed up their attitude is 'we can either keep living like this, or we can be beaten up and maybe have a few people killed and get rid of this government'."

"Look at us. We are the number-three oil producer and we are poor," he said.

KSA 10.8 Million BPD
Russia 9.9 Million BPD
USA 6.7 Million BPD
Iran 4.3 Million BPD

It's like we don't exist. Look at us. We are the number-three oil producer and I am poor.

The majority of new oil projects in Russia will not be profitable even with oil prices at $150 per barrel

So it's peak oil in Russia then! - just as we suspected.

I dunno. It sounds like the oil producers are just trying to get their taxes lowered.

I fail to see much difference between Peak and Peak Lite.


It all depends on economy. If world economy had huge demand for oil at 1 million $ per barrel, then production will go up. But of course there is hardly any demand (if any) for oil at this price. So if price is high enough then production will go up, but if economy can't pay (and therefore will be forced to shrink due to luck of energy) or has alternative to oil then production will not go up.

It all depends on economy. If world economy had huge demand for oil at 1 million $ per barrel, then production will go up.

Until new production cannot offset decline. And don't forget the lack of specialised manpower, even more in a few years.

Be careful where you buy your new car?

Minn. launches criminal probe of Hecker Automotive


The chief of the State Patrol, Col. Mark Dunaski, said at a news conference in the Minneapolis suburb of Golden Valley that dozens of customers in 15 Minnesota counties have reported that they never received the titles or license plates for the vehicles they bought. He said they've also complained that they traded in vehicles only to learn later from their old lenders that the liens were never paid off.

Hecker filed for personal bankruptcy protection last week, saying he owes up to $1 billion to up to 1,000 creditors. He has listed 95 creditors in court documents, including auto finance firms, banks, attorneys, and a business partner. He has shuttered or sold 25 of his 26 dealerships. He's also been sued by business arms of several automakers.

1 Billion -- Men!!! Is everyone printing money or what?

Wow, I'm listening to a program on National Propagnda Radio on "Conspiracy Theories" from a guy named Chip Berlet. Basically the message is that anything that does not agree with the official government propaganda is a "Conspiracy Theory" and therefore bad. Anyone who challenges the official party line is a quack, to be lumped in with the worst of radicals (killers of abortion doctors, antisemitics, white supremacists, etc.). Those who disagree with the official line are dangerous. The label of "Conspiracy Theory" is a wonderful tool to discredit ideas and prevent discussion.

I've no love for right wing groups, but there is a bigger message here about dissent.

I guess that's what one would hear when listening to "National Propagnda Radio".

I don't often listen to NPR anymore, but I left the radio tuned to the local station when listening to the traffic report this morning. When I went out to lunch they had this segment on discussing such topics, which seemed interesting. The condescending attitude was quite irritating, reminding me of why I switched to listening to music on the iPod. The MSM, including NPR, is a wasteland. It may be instructive to listen to the propaganda to see what is being put out there, but it is insidious and one must always be on guard lest the lies creep in while you are not paying full attention.

I listened to the first few minutes-the funniest thing was the fawning tone of the interviewer toward this "think tank" employee, not bothering to even ask him who pays his bills (and why). Hilarious.

Try Air America if you want a different point of view.

I didn't say it was a 'right' or 'perfect' or 'always true' POV, just a different POV from standard media. Some shows are fairly MSM, some are wacky, and some are more different than others.

Driven to Crime

One report by NICB that looked at owner give-ups from 2004 to March 2008 showed a direct correlation between an increase in this insurance crime and the then-rising cost of gasoline. The dumped vehicles of choice were often gas-guzzling SUVs and pickup trucks. Yet, even with the price drop in the second half of 2008, the uptick of cases has largely continued because of the overall economy, says Jim Quiggle of the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud. In most of these cases, the vehicle has become too expensive to fix, the owner is behind on payments or they have simply taken on a monthly payment they can't afford. "Normally honest people are cracking under financial stress," he says. "[They're] hoping for a quick fix by illegally dumping their unwanted cars for an insurance bailout."

LEAP/E2020 Update:

Global systemic crisis in summer 2009: The cumulative impact of three "rogue waves"

As anticipated by LEAP/E2020 as early as October 2008, on the eve of summer 2009, the question of the US and UK capacity to finance their unbridled public deficits has become the central question of international debates, thus paving the way for these two countries to default on their debt by the end of this summer.

Does anyone have information on the current output of the Cantarell field in Mexico?

I'm currently reading "Twilight In The Desert" and would like to know if it's output is inline with what the Pemex officials were speculating in this book.


Rembrandt posts the oil watch monthly on TOD monthly which has an amazing amount of graphs. Here is the last PDF (mexican production charts are 113 and 114):

June 2009


Cantarell Field or Cantarell Complex is the largest oil field in Mexico and one of the largest in the world. It was discovered in 1976 by a fisherman, Rudesindo Cantarell. It was placed on nitrogen injection in 2000, and production peaked at 2.1 million barrels per day (330,000 m³/d) in 2003. Production declined rapidly after that, and by 2009 had fallen to 772,000 barrels per day (123,000 m³/d), making it Mexico's second largest oil field after Ku-Maloob-Zaap.[1] In November 2006 Pemex reported that Cantarell had produced 11.429 billion barrels (1.82×10^9 m3) of oil.[2]

...By January 2009, oil production at Cantarell had fallen to 772,000 barrels per day (123,000 m³/d), a drop in production of 38% for the year

An eye-opening decline rate.

Skeptical about the bio-fuel angle, but the other uses are interesting:


We have some bamboo blankets and shirts, which are very soft. Someone posted a comment on this article stating that Hemp cloth was very soft as well. It does have the virtue of not being made of oil (EROEI Squad: yes, there may be oil involved in running the tractors to plant/harvest it and for trucks/trains to bring it to market).