Drumbeat: August 23, 2009

Peak Oil And The Generation Gap

Discussions of survival tactics in a post-oil world can be categorized in many ways: pessimistic and optimistic, pacific and militaristic, technophobic and technophilic. But a curious dividing line can be seen between older and younger speakers. The old tend to think of little more than their bank accounts, often to the point of dismissing all else with the comment, "Well, anyway, I'll probably be dead before much happens." The young, on the other hand, expect to be entering a strange new world - if they think anything at all. The difference can be seen in terms of whether one expects to be living mainly before or after the end of the money economy.

We stand on the peak between the rise and the fall of the Oil Age, and descriptions of the future may be either scientific analysis or science fiction, the latter serving a useful temporary role when the former is insufficient. The many studies of oil depletion seem to indicate that the peak itself was around 2008, and that by about 2030 oil production will be about half the peak rate. An older person of today might not have to worry about that 50-percent decline in production. A 20-year-old of today, on the other hand, will be 40 years old at that time, still planning to live for another few decades.

Iraqi oil export reaches highest level since 2003

Iraqi oil exports in July reached their highest level since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, said oil ministry spokesman Assem Jihad.

Exports rose to 63.1 million barrels last month from 57.7 million in June, he said.

Brazil develops fossil-fuel fever

Brazil, long proud of its push to develop renewable energy and wean itself off oil, has a bad case of fossil-fuel fever.

An enormous offshore field in territorial waters — the biggest Western Hemisphere oil discovery in 30 years — has Brazilians saying, “Drill, baby, drill,” while environmentalists fear the nation will take a big leap backward in its hunt for crude.

There has been virtually no public debate on the potential environmental costs of retrieving the billions of barrels of oil, a project one expert said will be as difficult as landing a man on the moon.

Brazil gov vows opposition to new oil rules - report

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The governor of Rio de Janeiro state, where most of Brazil's oil production is located, said he opposed changes to regulations that would reduce the state's tax revenue, a newspaper reported on Sunday, days before the country's revamped oil rules are unveiled.

GCC seaports have $40bn investment pipeline – study

New research on the GCC Port sector from the Kuwait Financial Centre (Markaz) has found that CC governments have benefited from high oil prices during the last several years, aiding them in reducing external debt and increasing expenditure.

The majority of this expenditure has been focused on infrastructure building. Among the various facets of infrastructure development, the sea ports segment is witnessing a robust growth in investments.

Could gas shortage happen again?

While local station owners and officials have made some changes to ensure a quicker response to a crisis and better access to different suppliers, we're still largely at the mercy of the storms. Last September, back-to-back hurricanes Gustav and Ike shut down 15 Gulf Coast oil refineries, as well as the Colonial Pipeline, which supplies much of the East Coast. That left much of the Southeast with deeply curtailed supplies.

Some in the industry think it could happen again.

Industrial and energy projects see 17% fall in value until July

The value of energy and industrial investments in the UAE has dropped by 17 per cent in the first seven months of this year due to continuous liquidity problem and investors' low-risk appetite.

Power shortage sparks big shift in petroleum market

A deepening electricity supply crisis in the middle of an economic slowdown is shaking Kenya’s petroleum supply chain, opening new avenues for small players to grab market-share, the latest industry data shows.

Industry lobby, the Petroleum Institute of East Africa’s (PIEA), data shows that the top four players lost market share in the past 12 months as small players broke into the high value bulk fuel oil supply business and petroleum consumption dropped with the steady rise in prices and continued slowdown in economic growth.

In Japan, bikes now use battery power

Chie Igawa is part of a trend that's transforming Japan's roads. The 36-year-old Tokyo homemaker zips her kids around on a battery-boosted bicycle without breaking a sweat or having to worry about traffic rules.

Domestic sales of the bikes eclipsed those of scooters for the first time last year and have jumped 24 percent since January, according to the Tokyo-based Bicycle Promotion Institute. In 2008, Yamaha Motor Co. sold more of the bikes in Japan than motorcycles. Rival maker Panasonic Corp. predicts the market will triple to a million units a year.

In Maine, Tensions Over Ailing Lobster Industry

Lobstering is as vital as oxygen on Matinicus, which is smaller than Central Park. But the global recession has made an already fragile livelihood all the more so, forcing Maine’s lobster fleet to grapple with the steepest price decline in decades.

Soft-shell lobster was fetching about $2.30 a pound at the docks last week, down from $4.25 in August 2005; the hard-shell variety was going for about $4.50 a pound, down from $6.50. That drop, combined with higher costs for bait, fuel and gear, has made tensions in the industry as thick as Down East fog.

Gardening from the couch: Michael Pollan

Uber food writer Michael Pollan, the New York Times reporter who has written such in-depth and unsettling books about agribusiness and our food chain, was asked in an interview with NPR's Fresh Air what he thought of Michelle Obama's vegetable garden and President Obama's food policies in general.

In this interview with host Dave Davies, Pollan says Obama hasn't done much to take on the toxic health and environment effects of agribusiness, but he expressed surprise at the magnitude of the impact of Michelle Obama's garden.

Debating How Much Weed Killer Is Safe in Your Water Glass

The E.P.A. has not cautioned pregnant women about the potential risks of atrazine so that they can consider using inexpensive home filtration systems. And though the agency is aware of new research suggesting risks, it will not formally review those studies until next year at the earliest. Federal scientists who have worked on atrazine say the agency has largely shifted its focus to other compounds.

Our Water Supply, Down the Drain

In the United States, we constantly fret about running out of oil. But we should be paying more attention to another limited natural resource: water. A water crisis is threatening many parts of the country -- not just the arid West.

...Droughts make matters worse, but the real problem isn't shrinking water levels. It's population growth. Since California's last major drought ended in 1992, the state's population has surged by a staggering 7 million people. Some 100,000 people move to the Atlanta area every year. Over the next four decades, the country will add 120 million people, the equivalent of one person every 11 seconds.

More people will put a huge strain on our water resources, but another problem comes in something that sounds relatively benign: renewable energy, at least in some forms, such as biofuels. Refining one gallon of ethanol requires four gallons of water. This turns out to be a drop in the bucket compared with how much water it takes to grow enough corn to refine one gallon of ethanol: as much as 2,500 gallons.

Saudi raises oil output to benefit from prices

Saudi Arabia boosted its oil production by 144,000 barrels per day (bpd) in June apparently to net higher revenue after crude prices climbed by more than $10 a barrel, official figures showed yesterday.

Kuwait increased its production by 30,000 bpd, while Iran cut supplies by 30,000 bpd and the UAE gave no figures for its June output. Qatar pumped about 2,000 bpd below its May output.

Reporting its crude production to the Riyadh-based Joint Oil Data Initiative (Jodi), Saudi Arabia said it pumped 8,357 million bpd in June against 8,213 million bpd in May, an increase of 144,000 bpd.

Energy companies poised to exploit oil riches

THOSE who see oil as the motive behind all western dealings with the Middle East will no doubt be feeling vindicated by the deals currently being struck in Libya by British energy companies.

Libya is already Africa's leading oil producer and also has huge natural gas resources, but it remains largely unexplored because of the effects of repeated sanctions on the country.

The UK government and British companies now joining the queue to invest are well aware that licences to explore depend on the goodwill of the Libyan regime. Lord Trefgarne, the former trade minister who chairs the Libyan-British Business Council, said last week that there would be "benefits" for British firms from the decision to release Megrahi. He said: "In Libya, business matters and political matters are inextricably entwined."

Iraq budget outlook firms on oil's rise

The Iraqi budget outlook appears more stable given the recent rise in oil prices above $70 a barrel, the governor of the Central Bank of Iraq said.

'Because of the dependence of Iraq's economy on the oil sector, it is very important that oil prices are back to a respectable level,' Sinan Al-Shabibi told Reuters Television.

Iranian Lawmaker Criticizes Nominee for Oil Minister

(Bloomberg) -- The head of the Iranian parliament’s energy committee expressed concern about President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s choice to take over at the Oil Ministry.

The nominee, Masoud Mir-Kazemi, is ill-suited because he lacks relevant experience, senior lawmaker Hamidreza Katouzian told state-run Mehr news agency.

Mexico senator eyes deal with Brazil's Petrobras

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - An alliance between Mexican oil monopoly Pemex and Brazil's Petrobras would be an "important and fundamental" way to help boost Mexico's flagging output, a ruling party senator said in a newspaper report published on Saturday.

Last week, Mexican President Felipe Calderon said during a trip to Brazil he was interested in a deal with Petrobras to help increase both countries' oil production.

Nigeria Rebels Suspend Peace Talks, May Resume Attacks in Delta

(Bloomberg) -- The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, the main armed group in Nigeria’s oil region, said it suspended peace talks with the government and may resume attacks on oil infrastructure.

The group, also known as MEND, is opting out of an amnesty program because the government “expects disarmament without the real issues being addressed,” spokesman Jomo Gbomo said in an e-mailed statement today. “MEND will be compelled to resume with ferocious attacks on the oil industry at the end of our cease-fire on Sept. 15.”

Sinopec’s Net Surges on Fuel Prices; Beats Estimates

(Bloomberg) -- China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., Asia’s biggest refiner, said first-half profit rose more than four-fold, beating estimates, after the government eased curbs on fuel prices and the nation’s economic recovery spurred demand.

Net income increased to 33.2 billion yuan ($4.86 billion), or 0.381 yuan a share, from a restated 7.7 billion yuan, or 0.057 yuan a share, a year earlier, Sinopec, as China Petroleum is known, said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange today. That compares with a 27 billion-yuan median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of four analysts.

Timid oil giants hand back their cash

The world’s top six oil companies have showered investors with $130 billion (£79 billion) in dividends and share buybacks over the past year and a half, according to new research.

The payouts have coincided with a global buying spree by government-controlled rivals from China, India and the Middle East, prompting some to wonder if the companies that once dominated the world oil industry have given in to the increasingly powerful state-backed groups.

More Single-Hull Ships May Be Scrapped, Aiding Rates

(Bloomberg) -- Shipping rates may gain support as more single-hulled supertankers head to scrap yards, as owners of these vessels see demolition as the best option in a weak market, E.A. Gibson Shipbrokers Ltd. said in a report today.

Three so-called Very Large Crude Carriers, which can carry two million barrels of oil, have been sent for demolition so far this year, matching the total for all of 2008, when shipping rates were higher, the broker said.

Two VLCCs sold for scrap this month “is perhaps an indication that more owners may be considering cutting their losses as more charterers turn their back on the singles,” Gibson said in the report.

Energy companies sparse for offshore bids

NEW ORLEANS — A huge glut of natural gas, a recession and an uncertain economic picture led to a largely quiet auction for government offshore leases today.

Energy companies bid $115 million for 162 separate tracts in the western Gulf of Mexico, about half of the leases bid on last year for $483.9 million.

Gulf Coast vulnerable as refiners hit hard times

The Gulf Coast could be the biggest loser in a shakeout of the U.S. refining business that some analysts and industry executives view as inevitable in coming years as rising costs and weaker demand for petroleum fuels pummel the industry.

The region is especially vulnerable not only because it has more plants than other areas and competition is more intense, but because a reduction in refining anywhere would hurt oil and gas companies that support jobs and economic growth in this part of the country.

Yet permanently closing oil refineries may be unavoidable if the industry is to remain profitable in the long term and adjust to what is likely to be a smaller U.S. market for petroleum fuels over time, analysts said.

“If it doesn't happen, it's going to be bad for refining in general,” said Alfred Luaces, an industry consultant with Purvin & Getz in Houston.

PTT Says It May Need 50 Days to Plug Oil, Gas Leak

(Bloomberg) -- PTT Exploration & Production Pcl said it may take at least 50 days to plug an oil and gas spill at its Montara project in the Timor Sea off Australia by using another rig to intercept the leak and plug it with mud.

Power move: In praise of the University of Houston’s electrifying Energy Research Park

Houston took a big step toward becoming an energy city, not just an oil city, this past week when the University of Houston officially closed the deal to buy the old Schlumberger Well Services property. On that roughly 70 acres, not far down the Gulf Freeway from the main campus, UH plans to launch its Energy Research Park: an ambitious place where all sorts of bets are being placed on The Next Big Thing.

Does the wind blow enough?

The short answer, according to experts who work for neither wind power companies nor anti-wind advocacy groups, is yes — building wind turbines will reduce emissions from fossil fuels.

The longer answer is, well, longer. Wind is no magic bullet, according to the experts, but its alleged shortcomings fail to crowd out its benefits when you look at the big picture.

Honda looks to the future with fuel-cell technology

TOKYO — Honda Motor Co. is backing hydrogen power for the cars of the future, waving aside a decision by the Obama administration to drop the so-called fuel-cell technology in favor of battery-run vehicles.

"Fuel-cell cars will become necessary," said Takashi Moriya, head of Tokyo-based Honda's group developing the technology. "We're positioning it as the ultimate zero-emission car."

Boris Johnson takes to the hydrogen highway

Boris Johnson is to help create Britain’s first “hydrogen highway”, using a scheme to promote zero-emission cars modelled on one introduced in California by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the state’s governor.

The mayor of London wants to make Britain a leader in fuel cell technology and is planning a network of hydrogen filling stations in the capital. He intends to assemble a pilot fleet of about 150 hydrogen cars in the run-up to the 2012 London Olympics, together with five buses and 20 black taxis.

Honda to unveil electric car in U.S. by 2015: report

TOKYO (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co Ltd plans to develop an electric car to debut in the U.S. market by around 2015 as tighter environmental regulations push demand for zero-emission vehicles, the Nikkei newspaper said on Saturday.

USDA releases report on use of manure for energy

Manure can be used to produce energy commercially and on farms without competing with the supply needed for fertilizer, but the economics might not be beneficial to all farmers, according to a report the USDA produced for Congress titled “Manure Use for Fertilizer and for Energy.”

The vegetable gardeners of Havana

With no petrol for tractors, oxen had to plough the land. With no oil-based fertilizers or pesticides, farmers had to turn to natural and organic replacements.

Today, about 300,000 oxen work on farms across the country and there are now more than 200 biological control centres which produce a whole host of biological agents in fungi, bacteria and beneficial insects.

Havana has almost 200 urban allotments - known as organiponicos - providing four million tons of vegetables every year - helping the country to become 90% self-sufficient in fruit and vegetables.

India to import food amid drought

India will import food to make up for shortages caused by a drought thought to be affecting 700 million people, the finance minister has said.

...The farm minister, Sharad Pawar, said the government would take action to ensure prices remained stable.

He added: "[The] situation is grim, not just for the crop sowing and the crop health but also for sustaining animal health, providing drinking water, livelihood and food, particularly for the small and marginal farmers and landless labourers."

Kurt Cobb: The show must go on

So quickly is Lake Mead falling that an intake pipe which supplies 40 percent of Las Vegas' water may emerge above the lake's surface by 2012. The Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) is working furiously to lay pipe for a new intake that will assure continued supplies should the lake fall below the current intake on schedule. The authority is a consortium of water districts that act together on water issues.

But the new intake may not be enough. A recent report from two researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography calculates that there is a 50 percent chance that Lake Mead will cease to supply water to the millions that rely on it by 2021. They calculate a 10 percent chance that this could occur by 2014 and a 50 percent chance that lake levels will drop below those necessary to generate electricity from Hoover Dam's many generating turbines. Their study assumes no changes in water management. But they hope to prompt radical changes in that management with their conclusions.

IBM-Sponsored Report: Utilities Not Ready For Climate Change

NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- A report sponsored by International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) says that 90% of utilities around the world know they are at risk from climate change but fewer than a third said they have performed any financial review of the possible impacts on their business.

Utilities face a variety of potential problems from climate change, including shortages of water to cool plants, increased generation demand from hotter summers and power outages from more frequent severe weather, according to the report. They also face challenges as society tries to address the need to curb carbon emissions with new technologies like electric vehicles, which will increase electricity demand.

On the Las Vegas article, the development there seems almost quaint in comparison to a place like Dubai.

How ironic it is that Las Vegas, an oasis in the desert, is entirely dependent on large quantities of water to accomplish anything. All the lighting, air conditioning, slot machines, etc, are all powered by water. As anyone can imagine, there's LOTS of room for efficiency gains in Las Vegas, merely from the perspective of just lighting! However, last time I was there, the hotels had finally started migrating a good portion of their lamps, etc to CFL bulbs, which is a good start!

However, like many other places, long term, Las Vegas is certainly a doomed city, at least in my opinion.

~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com)

It's gonna make a very cool ghost town, though.

Not to worry, they'll just tap groundwater: Vegas water planners say keep working on pipeline - San Jose Mercury News

The pipeline would stretch to the Snake River Valley in White Pine County, more than 250 miles north of Las Vegas along the Utah state line, and tap other aquifers in other counties. Officials say it could supply enough water for almost 270,000 homes.

I blame the Rat Pack for the whole allure of Vegas, they headed there after their favorite hangout on the shores of the Salton Sea was washed out for a second time. What is with these thugs and arid aberrations?

Now that is approaching something on the scale of Dubai. They just have to excavate a big lake bottom to place the fresh water.

...the development there (Las Vegas) seems almost quaint in comparison to a place like Dubai.

What? A lot of folks think the collapse of Vegas to them means: "Wow I guess we'll have to find a different locale for our vacation/convention." Hear me now and believe me later: The economy of Las Vegas (which is humongous) is financed with your money and mine and this whole global economy. If you think you're safe in Des Moines, IA from any loss from the collapse of "sin city" guess again. Las Vegas isn't some "quaint oasis" in the desert...Las Vegas going down the drain will be akin to the sinking of the Titanic. It's demise will drag a lot of wealth to the bottom of the Ocean with it.

What we should be asking: Is Las Vegas a symptom of America which is a system based on the insatiable need to grow? I offer the following (no link sorry):

On Tuesday February 03, 2008, Las Vegas Business Press reporter Howard Stutz filed the following story:

The Boulevard Formula

“…some 40,000 new hotel rooms are in phases of planning and construction along Las Vegas Blvd (The Strip) which will keep a construction work force employed through 2012.

…when completed, roughly 30 billion will have been invested and the Strip’s room capacity will have jumped 30%.

When you look at the annual employment growth, naturally the largest historical trends flourish during the openings of major resorts, said Brian Gordon, a partner in Las Vegas Based Applied Analysis, a financial consulting firm.

Residential Home sales are off roughly 44%. Taxable sales are down and consumer spending has dwindled, Gordon said…"these conditions are expected to change."

The logic of this strategy is astounding. Here is a city that is hopelessly dependent on national and regional prosperity in order to maintain the current infrastructure announcing that in order to weather the current economic downturn they will increase the infrastructure by 30%.

I still can't get the last quote out of my head: “These conditions are expected to change”

That was then and this is now: "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas"

These days, that motto is imbued with a worrying sense of irony. Because America's most outrageous city is facing a growing multitude of problems, and they all boil down to a single, unavoidable point: right now, far too little happens in Vegas, because not enough people are actually staying there.

The onset of global slowdown, high petrol prices, and a nation-wide housing slump is spelling disaster for a town that owes every aspect of its wealth – from that gaudy replica of the Eiffel Tower to those scale models of Venetian canals and the Pyramids of Egypt – to its ability to inspire free-spending hedonism.

Shares in casino operators, the engine room of an economy reliant on its liberal attitude to public morality, have been hemorrhaging value like a down-on-his-luck gambler.

The property market, which rode the wave of a boom for most of the past decade is now below its peak by anything from a quarter to a third (depending on whose figures you believe), while Nevada now boasts, if that is the right word, the nation's highest foreclosure rate.

As a hangover from the frenzied growth of two years ago, Las Vegas is also in the grip of a speculative building boom, with dozens of cranes towering over the Strip.

Wynn Resorts is building a $2.2bn hotel, and Encore and MGM are spending $9.2bn on a 76-acre project called CityCenter. More than 40,000 new rooms will exist in four years, in a city that has 7 per cent of America's hotel beds.

They still talk about Vegas reaching 3 million without any idea about how they're going to get enough water. What a monumental failure in judgment.


P.S. thank-you Mr. Cobb for writing a timely and prescient piece on the water situation in Vegas. In the end that will trump everything else.

I said quaint in comparison. In case you missed it, check this link out: http://www.dubai-architecture.info/DUB-GAL1.htm

There are no mountain snowpacks nearby so I imagine lots of their fresh water comes from oil-driven desalination plants.

Cobb could have devised a convenient excuse to visit Dubai instead of Las Vegas, but that part of the world lacks hiking trails apparently. :)

WHT - What a great link. Delusion knows no limits.

I have a hard time looking at Vegas because I grew up there in the 60's and graduated UNLV (I know...what a shit school) in the early 70's. I've been a victim of the Vegas delusion along with countless others.

During the mid to late 70's recession the resorts were a fraction of the size and splendor of what they are now. Back then they were primarily concerned with keeping the lights on...expansion didn't begin until the roaring 80's when Michael Milken, the Junk-Bond King, was financing Steve Wynn's pipe-dreams (Steve was a major-league coke-head which fueled his Mirage).

What I was trying to point out is while Dubai is intoxicated with the fumes of oil-wealth the fate of Las Vegas will victimize all of our pocketbooks in the here and now.


Watch Las Vegas die on a graph:

Not to worry, Las Vegas will be declared by the Federal Government "To Big To Fail" and the Government will do what ever is necessary to keep it going forever?

Just like Detroit, New Orleans, Gary, Youngstown, Flint, East StLouis, Camden, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Bridgeport, Erie, Fairmont ... all too big or too important to fail ... Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas, Stockton, Ontario, Fresno, Oakland, Richmond.

How about Atlanta, Birmingham, Biloxi ...?

I can't imagine any one in thier right mind actually wanting to go to Vegas,unless perhaps to gamble in a big way.

And even that is no longer a workable long term business model,as it depended on the prohibition of gambling elsewhere.

Those of us old enough to actually remember Daniel Patrick Monihyan and "defining deviance down" can remember when you couldn't spend your paycheck at tens of thousands of business places often not more than a few feet apart on government run gambleing even in places as conservative as Virginia.

I expect some courageous everything to gain(and nothing to lose except maybe a career in national politics) character will soon put together a coalition of voters anxious for tax relief and those not so niave as to believe that drug /gambleing/prostitution prohitition works that will push thru a serious relaxation of the puritan prohibition laws.

There are already a lot of cops who believe that such reforms are necessary,and when somebody on a public payroll advocates smaller government,you gotta realize the situation is beginning to smell pretty bad.

The people who really believe in locking people up for smokeing a little pot or playing a few hands of poker for the grocery and rent money are dying out fast.

And my guess is that the time is ripe for many reasons for such a campaign for reform to go viral.

Incidentally my personal opinion is that as good as the democrats prospects were last election,it may be that OBama won only because of his edge on the net put him over the top among the little people.Opinions?

I can't imagine any one in thier right mind actually wanting to go to Vegas

Hey FM how you doin'?

10 top reasons why someone would want to go to Vegas:

10. Cheap Buffets
9. 24 year old cocktail waitresses in skimpy outfits bringing you free drinks.
8. The shrimp cocktail at the golden gate casino
7. Keno (gambling for the soon to be deceased)
6. 2 dollar blackjack
5. midnite bingo
4. 2 seasons - Hot and warm
3. valet parking
2. gated age restricted communities
1. No State Taxes.

Welcome To Las Vegas - The Haiti of the United States

Joe ;-)

I agree with your points however I must quibble with your metaphor...

Las Vegas going down the drain will be akin to the sinking of the Titanic. It's demise will drag a lot of wealth to the bottom of the Ocean with it.

Maybe something more like they're drying up, withering away and will blow away in the wind and turn to dust. That would be more appropriate IMHO, it's in the desert for criminiy's sake ;-)

Has anyone read The Bridge at the Edge of the World: Capitalism, the Environment, and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability by James Gustave Speth (Yale 2008)

It was noted in the letters to the editor section of the August 17th Chemical and Engineering News with the comment, "In it, he scientifically outlines the impossible coexistence of the capitalistic model with any type of sustainable or healthy future."


Looks like an interesting book. However, judging by the table of contents, it nowhere mentions peak oil or related topics. It's been noted here quite often before, but there's quite a divide between peak oil discussions and climate change/environmental discussions. My impression is that some people think that even raising one issue distracts from addressing the other, though I have no idea if Speth is intentionally ignoring peak oil issues or if he is simply unaware. Either way, I'm skeptical about any discussion of our future that ignores one or the other. While his critique of capitalism may be valid in light of only environmental issues, I assume he at least broaches the topic of how to address this incompatibility, and there I'm skeptical of any "solution" that only addresses one of these two problems.

I can relate to that. My son loaned me Zakaria's "Post American World". First thing I did was check the index; no "peak" anything, no "resources", 6 citations for oil, but no limit implied, 2 citations for iron, 1 for steel, 3 for coal, 3 for nat gas. How can you write 300 pages about the future without recognizing the limitations?

Speth's perspective shouldn't be too surprising since he is in the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

For those who don't remember, Gus Speth was a member of Jimmy Carter's Council on Environmental Quality, then went on to found the World Resources Institute. Whether he dwells on Peak Oil of not, he does mention Herman Daly and Amory Lovins. I'm almost certain that he understands Limits to Growth with several references to "sustainability", referencing both Dennis and Donella Meadows but doesn't mention the Club of Rome.

He may not think that Peak Oil is an immediate problem, as many of us who frequent TOD seem to expect. His information sources are likely to be the main stream academic sources, not Hubbert, Campbell, etc.

E. Swanson

I would agree with Jeff.

I would go further and say we hear a whole lot from environmentalists, but 98% of those environmentalists have no idea about peak oil and have only a weak understanding of resource depletions issues in general.

We are at a point where the world's population is in overshoot, and it seems like that should be a major thing we should be worried about, but I don't see environmentalists taking up the battle cry of needing smaller family sizes, everywhere.

Someone should be campaigning for less irrigation from fossil water reservoirs, but I don't see environmentalists caring about this. (I haven't been watch too closely, though.)

We need to be concerned about the health of the soil, and of pollinating insects, but I hear a whole lot more about "sage grouse" and animals that are "nice to look at". Also, there seems to be more concern about diversity than about adequate numbers of animals of different types. In terms of balancing numbers of animal on earth of various types, it seems to be that we should be reducing populations of cattle and pigs (and people should be adopting diets less dependent on their meat).

If there is a chance of significant possibility of major population die-off in a short period (less than 50 years, perhaps less than 20 years), then climate change issues become more complex. How does one balance the need for postponing die-off with the desire to make the climate better 50 or 100 years from now?

Someone should be campaigning for less irrigation from fossil water reservoirs, but I don't see environmentalists caring about this. (I haven't been watch too closely, though.)

You haven't been watching at all, it seems. Environmentalists have been publicizing and "caring" about this issue for years. Also population - recall "The Population Bomb". ZPG. etc.

Also improved agriculture. You know, the Organic Movement? Advocacy for eating less meat (or none at all). Eating locally, in season. Less destructive methods of tillage. These are all issues that the environmental "movement" has publicized and championed from the get-go.

And what's with this "98%" nonsense? Your whole post comes across as rather inappropriately angry. Yes, many environmental outfits specialize on one issue or another, but the broad environmental community includes everything you mentioned, and has for years.

Perhaps I am coming on too strong.

Each of these groups have their own emphasis. I am not sure the balance comes our right. Maybe there are some emphasizing population reduction, but their voice isn't being heard above everyone else.

Also, I worry that the carrying capacity of the world is way below 6.7 billion, if we don't have fossil fuels. Everything is precariously balanced now--all of the people and animals and a fossil fuel supported food supply. If we don't think things through carefully, it seems to me that it is possible to do some things in the name of environmentalism that will inadvertently push us over the edge faster to rapid population die-off.

I would argue that "Charismatic mega-fauna" have always had the largest "environmentalist" following. People have a tendency to fall is love with some animal, like a pet, and want to somehow protect it. They may not follow the path to the logical ends...habitat destruction due to human overpopulation, etc. But will try to do something within their range of understanding.

Is there any one rallying call amongst the actuarial group?

I haven't done much recently about rallying the call, but I did write three papers in the 2006 - 2007 period.

I wrote one piece more recently that didn't get published--I don't think it fit in with the agenda of the group doing the publication. It also indirectly suggested that some of the other papers in the same publication were wrong--something the committee couldn't live with.

About a year ago I talked to one actuarial group about peak oil. I recently offered to talk to the same group about another peak oil related subject. I haven't heard back--am not really expecting them to say, "Yes".

I think that the MegaFauna approach has been one marketing angle people/groups in the movement have applied on many occasions, and it helped with the American Eagle, the Panda, Whales and the Elephant, without question. You see what kind of flak, resistance and ridicule is created when they are trying to protect a Spotted Moth, a Mushroom or something as vague and uncuddly as a 'Wetland Ecosystem'

Environmentalists are sadly very easy targets for derision. It points to our alienated value system all too clearly.

(EDIT: Ok, Spotted OWL .. I just remembered why that seemed off.. but the point remains, it's hard to convince a people with no contact with the Natural World that 'little species' are as important as big ones..)

The lumber companies in Oregon erected a shrine to the spotted owl. It allowed them to essentially break the unions.

Yes, but the loggers still believe it was the "environmentalists" who beat them up with the spotted owl.

I was there in those years, in a little logging town in Western Oregon. The big mills ate the little mills for breakfast; the big mills then closed down and built a few computer operated small-log mills and broke the few unions that existed and destroyed the gippos. They still cut big logs throughout the 80's -- but shipped them all overseas to Korea and Japan and China.

And then they blamed the loss of jobs on the "spotted owl."

Hmmm. Yes, I recall stopping by the roadside in a valley southwest of Mt. Ranier. It was about 1990. About all I could see in any direction was clear-cut. And it was obvious that it had been a blitzkrieg operation because there had not even been time for regrowth to occur. I thought to myself "No wonder the loggers are pissed. They've completely destroyed their own livelihood."

Across the road from where I stopped was a bed and breakfast. The proprietors must not have owned much of the property around the place because the only standing trees for quite some distance was a little patch hugging the house. Pathetic.

Ther may be something to your contention that the logging continued in a big way,but at that time I cashed a check for five grand that a logger gave me for a five acre patch of timber so scrubby that I had already solicited bids over the last couple of years previous to PAY SOMEBODY to take it so I could put it in pasture.

I think most people will agree that there was a major reduction of logging in general in that area at that time,but I could be wrong,I have not checked.

take my word for it,
I was logging n. cal. at the time. the anti-enviro's were livid. "To hell with the spotted owl, we want jobs"
at the same time SP was retooling to computerized mills, increasing output and cutting workers. this was some very crafty sh$t (a well crafted pr campaign) that took place right before my eyes in my own small town (logging town).
get this, Sp is now moving out of this area (destroying our local economy) and opting to locate production along the I-5 corridor. wtf, they have a rail line adjacent to the mill here.
Mac, iirc you are located in the south? (sorry,) come out to the pac. n. west, big timber, big money, slow growing forrests, not sustainable.

Yes in the south.

Timber on the stump went thru the roof at that time in this part of the world and the accepted explaination was the lack of supply from your area,which had been holding down prices-supposedly.

But I really didn't make any effort to find out why,or know anything more about the issue than you could read in the washington Post or the Richmond Times Dispatch,both of which are readily available along I95 in the area north of Richmond,where I lived at the time.

The Post is a liberal paper,and thier reporters are pretty good as a rule. I am fairly sure they went along with the reduced harvest scenario-but maybe most of the land placed of limits to logging was not spotted owl land at all,so we may be on different pages or even in different books.

Looking into it now would probably involve paying for access to back issues of business publications.

I think that the MegaFauna approach has been one marketing angle people/groups in the movement have applied on many occasions, and it helped with the American Eagle, the Panda, Whales and the Elephant, without question.

Chicken/egg (more fauna?): it's also the angle most eagerly picked up by the MSM, as an anthropomorphic human-interest story.

There is a linkage between our economic system and peak oil that (IMO) gets less attention than it deserves. We wouldn't be facing a problem with peak oil if it weren't for our economic system, because any more rational system would have recognized the short-term nature of fossil energy and the high external costs from burning through it at the rate we have been. Without capitalism, we wouldn't have been driven to the high consumption, growth dependent, "race to the bottom" system that has led to our current problems.

So I have no problem with a book that focuses on why capitalism is non-sustainable, and doesn't specifically address peak oil. What I have a problem with is peak oil discussions that portray peak oil as the crux of the problem, and ignore the deep problems with the system that got us here.

Everything is precariously balanced now--all of the people and animals and a fossil fuel supported food supply.

People balanced with animals ? The animals needed for the food-industry, although that is a monstrous industry. A lot of other animals are driven to extinction by human activity. People and fossil fuels are also not balanced. There is a lot of waste use of oil and gas. But to say that because of that Peak Oil (and Peak Gas) is not relevant is not so, as it is the waste that made the economy growing.

Unfortunately I must agree about that "ninety eight percent" of environmentalists not being well informed.

The csience behind climate change ,etc,is fine but if you talk to randomly selected ordinary people such as an English teacher or a lawyer etc,both examples of the educated elite,you will find that very very few have any understanding of these issues beyond the level needed to help a gradeschooler with a homework assignment.

"We need to be concerned about the health of the soil, and of pollinating insects, but I hear a whole lot more about "sage grouse" and animals that are "nice to look at."

Here in Salem, Oregon, just down the road from Portland and its "first in the nation" Peak Oil Task Force (whose report sits, moldering on a dusty shelf somewhere, unread by all but a handful, none of whom are in positions of authority) a tiny few of us are trying to stop a disastrous blunder that's one part pork and one part willful blindness.

AS part of the "stimulus package," one part of USDA (Natural Resource Conservation Service) is working at cross purposes to all the other parts of USDA that are trying to get on board the local food/community gardening bandwagon.

(Oh, by the way, happy National Community Gardening Week, Aug 23-29.)

The USDA, with billions of stimulus dollars burning a hole in their pocket, rejected Salem's request for a flood control easement to do a natural restoration of 14 acres that regularly flood. Instead, USDA proposed, and Salem seems poised to bite one, locking up 200 acres of rich, productive Willamette River bottomland that has been farmed for 150 years (and that has never generated a single dollar of flood damage claims).

The birders and other so-called environmentalists are all for it --- after all, when you need more food, you just go to the store, right? They aren't talking about doing a natural restoration on paved land, or pulling up parking lots, or the golf course (which abuts the land in question) -- no, they want the federal money so they're happy to kick 200 acres of great, productive land into a permanent state of suspended animation in the name of "natural restoration."

The folks who I know who are all for this haven't given a moment's thought to how precious 200 acres of rich land inside an urban growth boundary -- land that is refertlized and remineralized every winter in the floods, really is. Instead they bleat about how we need more "natural" areas.

It makes me crazy. I keep wanting to suggest that they stop eating if they thing farming is so unnatural.

India will import food to make up for shortages caused by a drought thought to be affecting 700 million people

So, India is going to import food, 700 million (a tenth of the world's population on top of those already going hungry) suddenly going short of food is not good, judging by recent price rises peak food may not be far away - presumably ELM for food applies, so does anybody have an idea when world 'net food' exports goes to zero?

Presumably food takes priority over all other non-food crops so it will have to become more profitable than non-food cash crops like cotton, biofuels and tobacco to persuade farmers to switch? ... Peak cotton soon as well? ... or is it peak everything?

I might have to change my diet more quickly than I was anticipating! What is the order of importance ... food, tobacco, cotton, biofuels? If biofuels are the least desireable crop that has implications for ramping up oil 'all liquids'.

If I remember correctly, the world has been drawing down food stockpiles over the past few years, and as such, we're getting closer to minimum operating levels... This is an old article, but something that a quick google search provided:

Many more people in the world can be fed using current grain production levels by the reduction of ethanol production, and also the reduction of meat consumed. (The grain input on meat is many times higher than if the grain had been consumed by humans directly.)

India is one of the nations making ethanol from cane sugar. The highest sugar prices in 28 years might go higher:


Just a quick update on Bill. We're experiencing bursts of heavy rain and moderate winds at this point; the winds have been picking up somewhat, but nothing dramatic by any means. Environment Canada is reporting winds from the east at 42 km/hr, gusting to 59 at Stanfield International, although the airport is further inland.

Nova Scotia Power is reporting scattered outages -- just over 6,300 customers have lost service as at 11h55 ADT.

See: http://www.nspower.ca/en/home/residential/outageinformation/livepowerout...

NSP's web cams in the vicinity of their future head office have been experiencing sporadic outages, but you can view the harbour here: http://www.nspower.ca/en/home/community/lowerwaterstreetrelocation/south...

So, all-in-all, we're doing fine so far.


You've got another few hours until closest approach I think. Stay dry! Doesn't look too nice outside on the webcam. Here is the latest from buoy at Station 44150 - La Have Bank

24-hour plot - Wind Direction Wind Direction (WDIR): SSW ( 210 deg true )
24-hour plot - Wind Speed Wind Speed (WSPD): 54.4 kts
24-hour plot - Wind Gust Wind Gust (GST): 71.9 kts
24-hour plot - Wave Height Wave Height (WVHT): 44.0 ft
24-hour plot - Dominant Wave Period Dominant Wave Period (DPD): 18 sec
24-hour plot - Atmospheric Pressure Atmospheric Pressure (PRES): 28.98 in
24-hour plot - Pressure Tendency Pressure Tendency (PTDY): -0.30 in ( Falling Rapidly )
24-hour plot - Air Temperature Air Temperature (ATMP): 67.1 °F
24-hour plot - Water Temperature Water Temperature (WTMP): 69.1 °F

Hi Undertow,

No doubt there are several more hours of nasty weather that lie ahead. The rains are becoming more steady, the wind gusts somewhat more frequent (and powerful), and the number of service interruptions is continuing to climb (currently, there are some 16,500 customers without electricity).

So, again, nothing too worrisome so far.


44 feet @ 18 seconds.

I wish we could get some surf like that here! Only a couple more months until Winter though. Folks are pretty much expecting an El Nino type Winter here on the US West coast - big storms, lots of rain.

Hi got2surf,

Earlier today, Environment Canada had projected twelve metre high waves, so that sounds about right. As at 16h15, there are 40,000 customers without electricity and that number will climb as the storm moves closer to Cape Breton (we lost power briefly, but it's back up again).

No more rain locally, but the winds are still quite strong.


Cheers to you too, and good luck!

Not too many years ago finding surf took a lot more skill/work. Technology now provides a lot of data. The 'wave height' at the buoy only loosely correlates to the waves at any given spot on shore. Usually they break the numbers down further ("click on the buoy") and that data can provide additional help.

Today in central California where I was it was about chest high. South swell from the Antarctic Winter. Calm enough to spear some fish. I still wish it was big and surfable.

Surfers on the East coast pray for hurricanes like this one. I checked out a few pictures this morning.

Here's an indication of wave activity and, potentially, a peak at some future Darwin Award recipients:

See: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/nova-scotia/story/2009/08/23/hurricane-bill023....

According to this report, the highest recorded wave was 26 metres in height (http://www.cbc.ca/canada/nova-scotia/story/2009/08/24/ns-power-hurricane...)

May the waves always be kind to you.


So, all-in-all, we're doing fine so far.

Fortunately it is passing to your southeast. The means the forward speed of the storm, reported to be around 35mph is subtracted, rather than added to the rotational speed. NewFoundland may not be so lucky, but at least the storm will be somewhat weaker then.

Hi EoS,

Thanks for mentioning this. I don't want to sound disappointed, but I expecting things to be a lot worse and it turned out to be pretty much a non-event, at least in this part of the province. Customer outages are down to just under 4,200 and service should be fully restored by 23h30 ADT this evening, so that's especially good news.

Best of luck to our friends in Newfoundland and Labrador.


Apparently the wolrds population will peak at 8,784,618,995 on the 27th May 2058!!



I wonder what lovely apocalpse Galen Huntington has put in his model that causes peak people at this time!!

Crosses 7 billion on December 2012. Now where did I put that Mayan calendar.

speaking of 2012 - Peak 3D Visualizaton due later this year.
I think they have got it all packed together in this movie, as far as I can grasp anyway . CaDoom, Thy Kingdom come
Also, the Thames Barrier shall be tested this year ... :-)

Looks like a good movie. I think I'll rent it on 22nd December 2012...

Actually, serious point here :) I believe that we, and all Creation, is actually just a sophisticated computer program and when 'The End' happens the Software Consultant in the Sky will just hit delete and that will be that. not sure about buildings falling down, tsunamis and flaming balls of molten rock. One moment you will be drinking a cup of tea, or scratching your butt and the next minute the Celestial Hard-drive will be reformatted. No more tea, no more butts...nothing.

LOL. You are the type of person who, at a party, says something bizarre which is followed by a pregnant pause then an unsubtle shift of conversation! Me too....It usually however has the word 'oil' or 'peak' in it. I then get lambasted by my wife afterwards for talking nonsense in front of the other guests.


Indeed I am!

I like a good tease. A few days ago i was invited to a dinner party by some good friends. I knew that the middle class 'conservative' (small 'c') guests were comfortable in their opinions and didn't like to think or view things from a different angle - even though most have been to good universities. (aside: strange how the more traditional the education path, the less inclined one appears to question the consensus).

Before leaving for the dinner party I wrote some words on a scrap of paper and put it in my pocket. Half way through dessert I placed the folded piece of paper in the middle of the table, got everyone's attention and then bored them all rigid about Peak Oil and resource depletion in general.

They were polite and listened at first but soon the eyes started to roll and the sniggers got louder. Eventually one of the guests said the magic words and everyone 'here-hered' in agreement. Like a magician, and with some theatrical embellishment, I unfolded the piece of paper in the middle of the table and showed them. All it said was: "they will discover something else".

From that moment I was ostracized and, finding no one willing to talk with me further, found myself drinking my coffee in the den with the children and the dog. They were much more receptive to my wacky ideas. Especially the spaniel.

Not sure how long it will be till I am invited back. Poor people! Didn’t like to be scared by a deranged prophet of doom, you see! I’ll have the spaniel round for a bowl of rabbit and tripe though.

I refer you to and

Don't feel bad, some of my best friends are dogs.

The picture they show first did not pass the ROFL test. The rest was more laughable.

Also, the Thames Barrier shall be tested this year ... :-)

I have seen the Thames barrier raised and almost overflowing - it did it's job but it was a very close thing!

If it does overflow it will make NOLA look like a duck pond!


I blame the Italians for building London where it is - they didn't think ahead, just did things the easy way.

I blame the Italians for building London where it is - they didn't think ahead, just did things the easy way.

The Italians were more comfortable in Colchester. Should have stayed there. Unfortunately the shopping was crap and the centurions' wives begged the emperor to move the capital to London so that they could swan around Bond Street and Sloane Square.

Edit: and to be fair, no self respecting Italian wife would want to have to suffer all the Essex girl jokes...

no self respecting Italian wife would want to have to suffer all the Essex girl jokes

As in ...

What's the difference between an Essex girl and a shopping trolley? ... the shopping trolley has a mind of it's own.

Unfortunately, Essex girls really do exist that meet the specification!

I have to suspect that there are Essex boys who also fit the definition, but maybe noone has even demanded that they have any. (Of course it applies everywhere else as well..)

Yes very funny guys! I've never seen such a conjuction of Italian and Essex girl jokes.

Flying overseas for medical treatments--it seems like totally the wrong time for starting such things.

Insurers aim to save from overseas medical tourism

And the doctors have all been patting themselves on the back for being so indispensable and immune to outsourcing!

Someone is going to have to take care of the inevitable bad outcomes -- local doctors will be rather reluctant to pick up someone else's problems, though.

This is a step in a logical progression (if you accept the logic of capitalism).

Before this, we had Indian pharmaceutical and medical instrument and consumables companies cutting medical costs.

The next step: Indian insurance companies - cutting premiums by 80% also.

Following step: Indian lawyers - cutting litigation costs by 80% (and further cutting premiums).

From here we can go several places: the lawyers can take over commercial and tax business from US companies, and maybe criminal law also. Then we can have Indian law enforcement, Indian prisons, Indian "defense" contractors, ...

Going in another direction, the financial law business will lead to Indian Merger & Acquisition firms, and Indian megabanks.

The sky ability of Americans (and Europeans) to borrow is the limit!

Note: "Indian" here is intended as short-hand for "low-cost foreign provider" - NOT as a racist term.

I haven't had time to check it out yet but my(personal) personal shopping info source is usually good and it appears that you can outsource your eyeglasses prescription and get your new glasses back for about ten to twenty percent of the usual cost,in two weeks.

I will know soon as I intend to give it a try.

Be sure to have an person with skills measure the distance between your pupils...

You still have to get the prescription from a liscensed eye doc here in the states,and the word is that the glasses have been meeting with the approval of the eye docs.And here in Va and nc at least you are fre to take your prescription to any liscensed supplier of drugs,eyeglasses,prosthetics,etc,you please.

There are a few medical professionals who are turning thier backs on the big money mmedicine model.

My personal physican accepts no insurance except as required by law (medicare,etc),takes twenty minutes minimum with every patient every visit,and charges only thirty five bucks for a visit.My guess is that he still nets well over a hundred grand because he lives over his office in a building that belongs to him and he has only one and a half employees..

But he does seem to have stashed some money before he left the big city.

He is one hell of a good doc or else maybe he gets such good results simply because he takes his time as needed.There are numerous sober minded poeple around here that credit the fact that they are alive solely(although they are apt to credit the fact that he is here to Jesus) to this man,and some of them are quite well off and were spending serious money elsewhere previous to his arrival.

He seldom writes a prescription for a nongeneric drug-he says that the books are cooked to make the ones still under patent look better than the generics but that generally speaking this is not true,and that this truth is well known within he profession.

Apparently lots of docs own lots of stock in lots of companies that sell or manufacture drugs,medical liability insurance,etc.And lots of docs are apparently so hard up that they can be easily influenced by no more than a few days a resort at a conference sponsored by big pharma.....

And of course if thier patients aren't paying personally why the hell should they care any way?

As far as I can see medical insurance in any form is likely to degenerate into a tragedy of the commons unless some strong incentives are included to discourage excess consumption.

It seems that in traditional chinese medicine doctors were paid to keep you well.Somehow I doubt the average citizen in this country can get his head around that concept.

I get my glasses in the second-hand store. Hit the right store and you can find a rack of prescription glasses and you try them on until you find one that seems to "work". Optometry is not medicine, it is engineering. Ever heard the phrase "close enough for engineering work"? The whole approach is misguided IMO. It can't be about what is good for your eyes since you can get reading glasses w/o a prescription. What's up with that? So it must have more to do with liability and perhaps with motor vehicle laws.

What's up is that the people supposedly regulated for the public good by issuance of restricted liscenses that are hard to come by are able to charge about two hundred to three hundred dollars per hour for something I am sure I could learn to do in a few days at most-operate the machine used to administer the eye exam.

Restraint of trade would be the charge if I could bring it.

So my eye doc wants me to pay an extra thirty five bucks to send digital pics to a specialist ,who probably examines a hundred sets before lunch.Probably nets a grand a day at least.

So why don't we just let somebody like me operate the machine for twenty five bucks an hour,and send the pics to a specialist every time?

A medical supplier billed my mom a hundred and seventy bucks for a butt board-a piece of polished wood used to get from a wheel chair into a car seat and back.It was worth maybe five bucks plus the good wax job plus stocking and delivery-say thirty bucks at the outside should have netted a generous profit.

Certainly a few people would suffer from the lower standard,but as a whole we would be much better off ,society wise,to break the backs of all the bloodsucking economic parasites we are saddled with these days.

Conservationist may not understand some things as well as others but he does have some logic and facts on his side.

I bit. Got some prescription reading glasses for $20 Canadian. Work like a charm. Now I'm ordering some bifocals. Bit more expensive, but I'm willing to take the chance. They will cost about 20% of what I would ordinarily pay.


Just a quick heads up that the current Time Magazine has an article on food that touches on several topics discussed here.

Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food

Somewhere in Iowa, a pig is being raised in a confined pen, packed in so tightly with other swine that their curly tails have been chopped off so they won't bite one another. To prevent him from getting sick in such close quarters, he is dosed with antibiotics. The waste produced by the pig and his thousands of pen mates on the factory farm where they live goes into manure lagoons that blanket neighboring communities with air pollution and a stomach-churning stench. He's fed on American corn that was grown with the help of government subsidies and millions of tons of chemical fertilizer. When the pig is slaughtered, at about 5 months of age, he'll become sausage or bacon that will sell cheap, feeding an American addiction to meat that has contributed to an obesity epidemic currently afflicting more than two-thirds of the population. And when the rains come, the excess fertilizer that coaxed so much corn from the ground will be washed into the Mississippi River and down into the Gulf of Mexico, where it will help kill fish for miles and miles around. That's the state of your bacon — circa 2009.

Tell this to the hospital where my Mom was admitted last week. The nutritionist still brings in day-glo jello and margarine laced White Dinner Rolls..

Doctor, feed thyself, I say!


See my above comments,most likely the nutritionist has more meetings with the cfo than with the medical staff.

It's infuriating.

The stuff is poison. It's decorated with known carcinogens and has had all its nutrients stripped and boiled away. I could see her immune system shriveling while we sat there. She's home now, awaiting test results, but we're bringing her real food if she goes back in. It's inexcusable. FOOD is our best medicine, and the physicians are even eating this kind of crap.


We have defied the predictions of half a dozen doctors regarding my Mom's passing so far for about twelve years by using a combination of farmers medicine and hi tech.The high tech is an occasional stay in ic for pneumonia,etc,for a few days.

The farmers medicine is isolation from other sick people and health care providers,who are the biggest sources of fatal infections in hospitals and nursing homes.

The rest of farmers medicine is real food,cooked by one meal at a time,etc,plus lots of attention.
I am the provider of most of the meas and attention for now,which is why I can spend so much time blogging.Gotta stick close but not that busy.

I am becomimg increasingly alarmed by the amount of biologically active,persistent pollution in the environment,and of course some of it is the residue of insecticides,herbicides,etc.But as far as I can see,not being an expert of course,the vast majority of these substances,both in terms of kinds and quantities,are not the result of on farm use.

Some are used in processing food or in food packageing,but mostly these pollutants seem to have either industrial or consumer goods origins.

And although the testing of ag chemicals may leave something to be desired,they ARE tested and subject to fairly strict controls and record keeping these days.

Industry has a lot of catching up to do in this respect.

FOOD is our best medicine, and the physicians are even eating this kind of crap.

Unfortunately, most physicians do not really believe the first part of your sentence, hence the second part. It is only a small cadre of physicians and psychiatrists who believe that food is our best medicine. There is an international organization that holds a conference every year to discus developments in the field of "Orthomolecular Medicine". I will not bore anybody here with repetition of personal experiences of my family and myself with nutritional healing.

Those of you who have read my musings on this subject on previous occasions will know that I believe that most MDs are drug pushers for big pharma. Before any doctors reading this get offended, it's not their fault. The system that trains doctors, trains them to be like that. Doctors who take a serious interest in nutrition have to get information and experience on their own steam. As a rule, the influence of nutrition on health is given very little time in medical school. Doctors and medical students have told me this.

Alan from the islands

FOOD is our best medicine, and the physicians are even eating this kind of crap.

Unfortunately, most physicians do not really believe the first part of your sentence, hence the second part. It is only a small cadre of physicians and psychiatrists who believe that food is our best medicine.

Well, as most physicians know something about biochemistry and 'empty calories food' they should know it. They know that all vitamins and (trace-)elements are necessary for the organs to function properly. Most know about anti-oxidants and their function and that you can find them in f.i. fruits and vegetables.

I posted this link in Friday's DrumBeat. I believe it's actually the cover story in the print edition - pretty cool.

Gulf Coast vulnerable as refiners hit hard times

This study suggests 1.1 mb/d of capacity will be closed, the June Deloitte study 2 mb/d. Here's a graph I made of operable capacity vs gross inputs, showing how overbuilt the US refining infrastructure is at the moment:

Hello TheDude,

Thxs for the chart to aid the discussion. It will be interesting to see if the Amer. Petrol. Instit. [API] decides to be proactive, then starts publishing many MSM ads warning that it is in the best interests of the IOCs and refinery companies to start closing some of these refineries to remain BAU profitable as we go postPeak.

Otherwise, those un-informed 'Murkans of the 'There is plenty of oil' and 'Drill, baby, drill' mindset will become enraged at the IOCs, bankers, and speculators, the next time shortages erupt. They still believe that all you have to do is "..go shootn' for some deer, then up from the ground came some bubbln' crude" Jed Clampett-style, so that they can continue their easy-motoring lifestyle.

I would think it would be in the API's best interest to start defusing this early, with a large public relations program, as there is nothing to be gained by waiting until tens of millions of angry 'Murkans are queued up at empty pumps as we go postPeak.

I wish sometimes that I had lots of money to burn to help educate these 'Murkans. It would be fun & instructive to open a gas station called "Hubbert's Downslope & ELM fuels". The software would track every customer's previous purchase so that the next time they try to pump gasoline: the gals are purposely reduced by an early pump shutoff, plus the price/gal is automatically higher.

IMO, it would make a pretty good skit for Candid Camera, too. :)

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

Indonesia & Mexico

Mexico is four years into their Net Export decline, and I thought it would be interesting to compare where they are relative to Indonesia, when they were four years into their Net Export Decline, since both countries were consuming 52% of production at their apparent respective final production peaks (1996 for Indonesia & 2004 for Mexico).

In simple percentage terms, relative to 1996 levels, the EIA shows the following for Indonesia in 2000 (CNOE = Cumulative Net Oil Exports):

Production: Down 6.7%
Consumption: Up 20.9%
Net Exports: Down 37.1%
Post-Peak CNOE: 79% Depleted

Four years later, in 2004, in simple percentage terms, relative to 1996 levels, the EIA shows the following for Indonesia (CNOE = Cumulative Net Oil Exports):

Production: Down 28%
Consumption: Up 43%
Net Exports: Down 100%
Post-Peak CNOE: 100% Depleted

In simple percentage terms, relative to 2004 levels, the EIA shows the following for Mexico in 2008 (CNOE = Cumulative Net Oil Exports):

Production: Down 17.2%
Consumption: Up 6.7%
Net Exports: Down 42.9%
Post-Peak CNOE: Approximately 80% Depleted (Estimated)

Both countries saw roughly the same net export declines, percentage wise after four years (on the order of 40%), but in Indonesia the consumption increase was a bigger factor, in Mexico, the production decline was a bigger factor. I estimate that Mexico, like Indonesia, will be in the vicinity of zero net oil exports eight years after the production peak (by the end of 2012).

Here is the graphical depiction of the situation from the Energy Export Databrowser. The top row shows the production/consumption histories for oil in Indonesia and Mexico. The bottom row shows the production of energy from all sources in each country.

It's clear that Indonesia, though no longer an oil exporter, has continued to increase their production of energy from all sources up to the present thanks largely to coal. Unfortunately for Mexico, neither natural gas nor coal are likely candidates to make up for the oil shortfall. Mexico's production of energy from all sources is already falling and is likely to stay on this trend.

One immediate consequence is that Mexico will have to re-invent their tax structure in very short order. If you own or are thinking of owning vacation property in Mexico you should bear this in mind.

-- Jon

Westexas, how does the 400,000 b/d imports to Mexico from the US of relatively expensive refined oi products affect your "net" projection?

Mexico's product imports are reflected in the EIA net export numbers, which they define as domestic production less consumption. Net imports, for a net importer like the US, would be domestic consumption less production.

For example, let's assume "Production Land" (P) and "Refinery Land" (R), and let's ignore refinery gains. P has crude oil production of 2 mbpd, but no refining capacity. R has 2 mbpd of refining capacity, but no production. Each country consumes one mbpd of product. P ships 2 mbpd of crude oil to R. R consumes one mbpd of product, and ships one mbpd of product back to P.

So, P's net oil exports are domestic production less consumption, i.e., two mbpd less one mbpd = one mbpd. R's net oil imports are domestic consumption less production, i.e., one mbpd less zero = one mbpd.

In regard to the question of what happens to domestic consumption in exporting countries, as their production declines, I have looked at 21 examples of net export declines. In all 21 cases, the net export decline rate exceeded the production decline rate, or rate of increase in production in regard to China (Equatorial Guinea's net export decline was almost the same as the production decline, because they have very little consumption). The four former net oil exporters--China, UK, Indonesia & Egypt--all showed accelerating net export decline rates, with significantly different demographic factors.

I wish the EIA would offer for download a jumbo workbook like the Stat Review. It's irksome to have to wander through all the IPM tables.

One curious thing I notice is that Mexican refinery capacity dropped 144 kb/d in 2007, right when their exports to the US dropped 173 kb/d as well. Their demand is mildly contracting, too, according to Table 2.4 of the latest IPM. 2008 was down 10.77 kb/d on average - just a fraction of the production/export declines, of course. How does that compare to your other ELM examples?

I suspect that Mexico will show a decline in consumption this year, relative to 2008, but I suspect that it will just slightly slow the rate of decline in net oil exports.

As noted above, the key point is that every case I have looked at so far, at least with any amount of consumption anyway, showed a net export decline rate in excess of the production decline rate. Here are the numbers for the four former net oil exporters. Note that the country with the fastest net export decline rate, the UK, had the lowest rate of increase in consumption, almost zero over the decline period.

Four Former Net Oil Exporters
Production & Net Export Increases/Declines Per Year, Over the Referenced Time Frame, Are Respectively Shown (EIA, Total Liquids)

China (1985-1992)
+1.8%/year (Prod.) & -16.9%/year (Net Oil Exports)

Indonesia (1996-2003)
-3.9%/year & -28.9%/year

UK (1999-2005)
-7.8%/year & -55.7%/year

Egypt (1999-2006)
-3.8%/year & -37.1%/year


How about a paragraph or two on refinery gains,as they relate to the way the production and consumption numbers game is played?

If I understand the pea under the nutshell aspect of this thing correctly,this is one of the tricks that has neen used to delay public understanding of the facts of peak oil.


Not much mystery here. During the refining process, the various components of crude oil are separated and the longer chain hydrocarbons are "cracked," with hydrogen being added to the hydrogen deficient hydrocarbons, all of which increases the volume of total liquid, versus the crude oil input.

How much refinery gain in % compared to let's say 10 years ago ? 2%, 5%, 10% ?

About the first article:

The old tend to think of little more than their bank accounts, often to the point of dismissing all else with the comment, "Well, anyway, I'll probably be dead before much happens."

Many old people do think that but its false logic, nobody knows how long he/she will live, a young person can die decades before an old person.

The further we look into the future, the less clearly we can see, yet there is a general feeling that there are a few years left before the roller coaster really begins to terrify.

I share that feeling. It seems to me that we are quickly entering (or may be already entered) the dark years of our lives and more we are going in future at this time darker it gets until a peak of that for your lives reach then things start to getting better. It may takes two decades to get any recovery.

All of this is fine, as long as we don't forget that money is only phlogiston, that mysterious stuff that was once thought to be responsible for combustion.

Wrong. Money is not always currency. Infact non-currency metal money is more money than paper-money and lots more money than plastic-money. The concept of money was there long before the chinese first printed paper-money.

A small house without a mortgage is a great blessing. So is a large garden, if you have sense enough not to grow low-calorie vegetables (you'll need heavy food for heavy work).

To really live on your garden crops it needs be some kind of grain atleast, if you can't afford to grow enough hay to keep animals for milk and meat. Growing vegetables at your backyard can be seen just as a hobby, not as a surviving skill.

If you live in the country, learn to use a rifle and hunt for meat; one deer or moose is a lot of meals.

That is an option for very few people in the real world. Its because most of humanity live in very crowded villages (think India and China) that have already almost wiped out forests. With very few and marginal land devoted to forests its extremely hard to get any wild animals for eating. For usa, russia and some parts of south america this can be a real option but only about 15% of humanity currently lives there.

And what about that more radical choice, to give up both money and tangible items? In the first place, Americans own vast quantities of junk, and hoarding is a national neurosis. Moving all that tonnage from one house to another can be enough to give its owner a heart attack. In the meantime, a house with one of everything is a prime target for burglars. A lakeside cottage filled with electronic gadgets might as well have a sign in front saying, "Take Me." Even now, the police cannot respond quickly to thefts in rural areas, and if situations become more anarchic the police will be even more overburdened.

Depending on police for safety is an option only during existence of a powerful govt. Otherwise the community is the shield. You can't survive alone even in middle of a lush green natural pasture with no humans around to hurt you. Its because beyond security needs too there are things you can't do on your own. Think about handling diseases, injuries, boredom etc.

Human relations are built on basis of co-operation which often demands sacrifice. When in a group of friends you may have to dine at a hotel that is not of your choice but the majority of group members voted for it. If you are willing to share one quarter of your time, energy and materials with friends and neighbours and relatives you can effectively boast your emergency response resources to the sum of resources of all members of community.

There is some real wisdom in Pakistan

yes indeed.I read him carefully.His cultural values are not ours and even though he seems to have some money,he is apparently willing to maintain a low profile and live simply.
(How about it ,wisdom?Where and how do you earn your money?)
His point about not living and working on vegetables alone is one that is often overlooked.

But when I have posted REALISIC figures on land needed to provide a sustainable diet by sustainable means and do it in a temperate climate w/o doing nothing BUT raising food all day every day,I am deluged with links to miracle workers who need only a couple of thousand sq ft,or maybe five thousandsqft to supply each person.

And the people who instruct me in these matters are invariably among the ones who make fun of people who believe in Jesus and republicans.

If I ever run short of money I might start selling them some minifarms,complete with tool kits,wheel barrows,and my new book how to "grow all you need on a quarter acre and get rich on an acre."

How about it ,wisdom?Where and how do you earn your money?

I get my money by making softwares. I get my food and clothing from my own farm. I live in village but have internet so able to communicate with outside world and sale my IT work.

But when I have posted REALISIC figures on land needed to provide a sustainable diet by sustainable means and do it in a temperate climate w/o doing nothing BUT raising food all day every day,I am deluged with links to miracle workers who need only a couple of thousand sq ft,or maybe five thousandsqft to supply each person.

Extreme poverty and/or unemployment can get you cheap, slave-like labour. Typically it needs 1 acre to support one person in traditional agriculture (use only rain as source of water, no artifical fertilizers, no pesticides, no green-revolution-seeds). If you do use green-revolution-seeds, canal water you need only 1600 sq meters (about 17,222 sq ft) arable land per person.

Traditionally in india and china selling a farm, a house and domestic animals was considered the last thing to do. Even people living in cities in 18th century earning handsome income used to keep farms in village to have something to fall upon in case of a crisis and to get direct food from farm. The practical thing is to grow grains which can be eaten both by animals and humans and hay that can be stored for six months to 1 year. These things were used to be brought to cities and houses had separate pillar like structures to store food. Milk animals were kept inside houses even in cities which are fed on the stored grains and hay, these animals used to provide a regular and reliable supply of milk and meat. Houses used to be large enough to grow fruits and vegetables to have a fresh supply of these. Given the distance from farm to city and slow speed of bull-carts usually only annual crops were brought to cities. Each house used to have an outhouse and solid excretions were taken out by a sweeper in his cart. Each day lots of carts used to go out of city to a dump place near city from which farmers used to get their supply of soil nutrients once the dust settle down.


Thank you.

I find your figures very reasonable and have doubled them ,roughly ,in planning on a self sufficient farm/homestead here in the southeastern US,thereby allowing for space for other necessary activites and a reasonable safety margin.

I have never been fortunate enough to travel in the less prosperous parts of the world but I have read many times of drought,blight,grasshoppers,etc,and starving refugees.

An area large enough to sustain the owner/ farmer in the event of a short crop is essential.

Because land and water is not in such short supply here as in most places,we can work a somewhat larger area less intensively,getting enough food to get by ok in fewer hours,leaving more time for engaging in any other available work to earn some cash income,or maintaining the house or home schooling the kids,etc..

And of course once an adequate reserve against the inevitable poor harvest is accumulated any surplus can be sold of course.

But given the state of the (mostly non existent) farming skills and the physical difficulty of farm work-especially when done by hand-I doubt there will be any surplus for quite awhile for most Americans who are able to establish themselves on a "doom stead".

The ones who try in places with less than friendly climate or water problems most likely will have to have a lot more land-possibly many times more.

Obesity will cease to be a problem rather quickly under such circumstances.

Fortunately as I see it we will have enough fuel and fertilizer available to provide a comfortable cushion for quite a while during the change over if industrial society collapses.

I do not believe that it will in the US ,at least not within the next decade or two.

During my travel phase of life, I spent a little time consulting at the Cummins Diesel plant in Poona. I was astounded by the number of people everywhere any time of day or night, and equally astonished at the contrast between the environment within that big fence and outside of it. Inside, a lush jungle of vegetation and very few people, and no goats. Outside, swarms of people and goats and no vegetation, with the goats vainly trying to stick their heads thru the fence to get at the green inside it.

Here, in the rural appalachian foothills, there is plenty of green, few people, and over a meter of rain , spread rather uniformly over the year. I can shoot a deer any time I think I can get away with it, or many other small deer, like rabbits, which seem to be extra numerous this year. We don't buy any meat. And my wife has a huge and productive garden-- and the snakes therein hurt a lot but don't actually kill you.

What am I getting at? TOO MANY PEOPLE. Solve that one, and all the rest of the way to paradise on earth is easy. How to do it? Propaganda! same as selling soda pop. So the morons- ahem, people-who are convinced by the soda pop ads will be just as persuaded by the two-kids-per-person ads.

Now, back to fun and games with heat engines. Thanks, Wisdom, and good luck.

Boris Johnson is to help create Britain’s first “hydrogen highway”, using a scheme to promote zero-emission cars modelled on one introduced in California by Arnold Schwarzenegger

Boris often boasts about his Oxford degree. He graduated in Greek Philology, that is, he is one of those people who doesn't even know what's the derivative of x^n, but he expostulates on Nuclear Energy, Hydrogen technology, Economic crisis, subjects about which he doesn't know anything at all and no one in Britain calls his bluff.

he is one of those people who doesn't even know what's the derivative of x^n

... and Gordon Brown is any better? The real world is run by such people and they are typically reactive, not proactive, short term thinkers, it isn't going to change.

Do they understand how the world works, do they have much control over how the real world works? IMO no, they assume tomorrow will be much like today but bigger and better and when they are wrong deny all responsibilty - take full account of those facts when deciding on your future strategies.

Here is a selection of topics that may interest TOD readers, topics that all were talked about on CNN while I was toiling on the stair stepper for an hour or so...

- Hummer dealer in Missouri added gun and ammunition sales (lots of assault weapons shown on his wall display)to keep his dealership viable. Possibly the gun business is much more lucrative than the Hummer business right now. There is certainly a co-marketing synergy among these products for the target demographic. The owner is also on the verge of opening a 60-acre dirt road/wooded driving course behind his dealership for people to tests drive Hummers. I gotta hand it to him, he is an innovative businessperson...I don't think his wares are good for society, but this is the land of the free, home of the knave.

- Social Security COLA will be suspended for the next two years (2010, 2011) due to deflation, according to SS trustee bigwigs.

- CNN wonks agree that Cash for Clunkers will probably just steal sales from the future.

- More municipalities reporting they have to pay to bury people, as more folks' families cannot afford funerals...CNN wonks yucked it up about how people are now too poor to die.

-Municipalities are turning to third-part bill collectors to hound people who are behind on property taxes. the talking heads agreed that this was a world-class stupid idea, since the homeowners are being pushed into foreclosure. The all agreed that the third party bill collectors could care less about the health of the communities or the families or the tax base...they were strictly in it to get their outrageous collection fees, fees that are being passed onto the homeowners, pushing them over the edge.

- And last but not least idiotic: A slick commercial featuring a man with a family of seven, a man who says he is an home energy use efficiency consultant who helps people insulate their homes, etc. The storyline goes on about how tough it is for average folks to pay higher home energy bills, and that some folks have to make tough choices between buying food and paying energy utility bills. The commercial ends with a voice over saying that coal is the answer to allow folks to continue to consume in the manner that they have been accustomed. So, to sum it up: Have six kids and lobby the government to push the throttle up and encourage more coal burning in order to continue to enjoy the BAU which is American citizens' manifest density. I searched for it on the Google bu no luck...watch CNN today and you might see it. Go coal! Have as many kids as you want and live the d ream!

-Edit- Oh yeah, and Admiral Mike Mullen (CJCS) expressed hi deep concern that Americans are lessening their support for the War in Afghanistan...he is afraid that the country will be re-taken by evil forces if/when we leave. Of course, he does not offer any opinion on when we might get the job done of making the Stan permanently free of people we don't like...I guess that McCain's 'we'll stay for 100 years, see if I care' attitude is operative.

Here's an interesting article just posted today:


Roubini, who foresaw this economic recession, said the global economy "could not withstand another contractionary shock" if speculation drives oil rapidly toward $100 per barrel. U.S. crude oil futures traded Friday at about $73.83.

With depletion and or the economy starting to have green shoots, isn't 100 bucks a barrel inevitable?

isn't 100 bucks a barrel inevitable?

Probably, but maybe not as soon as you might think. IMO it's too complicated to be sure ... Only if $100 affordable ... most of the world's population can't afford $70.

If inflation of oil prices is higher than world wage inflation then falling discretionary expenditure on other things may well crash the world economy. Do you think the banksters can stop overall deflation?

There's a more detailed article here. He thinks we may be headed for "stagdeflation."

US Oil Production:

I came across this decline curve for the US oil production. Some rough calculations put the rate of decline at ~2%. Questions for the experts on this board:


1) How did the US manage such a low decline rate (offcourse EOR, Deeper GOM and Alaska explain this low decline rate). Has this rate fluctuated over the last ~40 yrs ?

2) Why would the worldwide rate of decline be too dissimilar?

Please point me to relevant discussions from the past.


Let us envision the worldwide oil production average decline rate from here on out as 2% per year...I think that would roughly equate to a reduction in annual flow of some 50% ~36 years from now...about 2046.

The population may be verging on 9 billion by then, compared with ~6.7 billion today. Some 30% more people, and some 50% less oil flow per year...If energy use per person would increase at 2% per year without any efficiency gains, and overlaid over that we achieved 2% per year of efficiency gains on average for everyone, then oil use per person would be the same, but we would still have 30% more people and 50% less oil flow rate than today.

So...people will do with less oil.

This didn't answer your question...but it is a point to ponder...imagine if the oil decline rate is greater than 2% per year, and all things above remain the same.

I do realize that a 2% rate of decline is still something to reckon with. However, I would strongly dispute that world population would continue to grow at the current rate in a world with oil depletion.

If the rate is indeed 2%, which I doubt,(given the recent interview with Fatih Birol who states that the rate of decline is 6.7%), that means the world only needs to supplement the 2% energy from other sources per year. This offcourse does not take into consideration the EROEI calculations. I think I may have answered my own question, if its not depletion, EROEI will kill us.

Most of the major U.S. oil fields were developed a long time ago with primitive technology. Field pressures were dropped to zero, neighbors stole from each other (OK), etc. The end result was slop all through the system and a whole bunch of rocking horses 50 years later. By definition, poorly developed fields have long and fat tails. In addition, secondary and tertiary production frequently brought fields back to life... for a while. There was a lot of stranded oil. The U.S. peaked early while technology was still improving.
The world learned from the mistakes of the pioneers. Modern field development maximizes initial production and minimizes fat tails. Today primary (pressure) and secondary (flood) recovery occur at the same time and it results in efficient and rapid extraction, often to the point where tertiary production (CO2 etc.) is pointless as it produces no net energy. Oil field management (new fields and old fields) really hasn't improved significantly for 30 years.
Cantarell, Prudhoe Bay and the North Sea were magnificently managed and are falling off a cliff. You'll never see a rocker on any of them. CO2 injection is almost always proposed in old fields that were poorly developed as they contain considerable bypassed oil.
In addition, over the past 30 years as the new production from modern, well developed oil fields came on line, the secondary and tertiary oil from the old fields has also been coming on line. The money flowed towards fields that had potential until the potential was equalized. So it makes perfect sense that most fields around the world will peak at about the same time. This is not what happened in the U.S. and will result in a much more rapid decline rate.
In addition, much of the U.S. production was subsidized by internationally cheap oil. Companies kept their rockers going even if the well only produced an EROI of 2:1 because of the tax advantages. Post-peak, a net tax subsidy will not be available. Money spent towards non-economic energy production will suck money away from the economy, resulting in a smaller economy and less need for that energy. This is a bit harder to visualize. So many of the booked reserves will revert to resources and never be developed. Study coal production in Europe for a preview.

I am not an expert.

Cold Camel

That makes sense. It does explain the fat tail in the U.S. oil production.

A 7% decline rate is horrible, but I worry that Mr. Birol's 6.7% decline rate is really the extension of the peak production plateau caused by extraordinary production efforts due to historic sustained high energy prices. Now that those extraordinary efforts have ended, what prevents a 10% rate of decline, or worse? The companies that paid full price for drillers last July are getting hosed. So the next time the oil price goes up, oil companies will likely be very conservative and refuse to squander money on expensive projects, instead, they'll try to build big war chests and plug along on internal resources. I know I would.

But the oil companies could find that demand drops before the price gets high enough to warrant massive investment and risk. It's Catch-22. After a year or two of 10% production decline, funding the switch to alternatives would not be politically viable.

The numbers-crunchers who called PO early do not share my dire pessimism. They have been sticking their necks onto the chopping block for years, predicting a downturn when most everyone else thought they were nuts. Most now call for a mild decline rate (less than 7%). I fear that they have toned down their message for so long so that others wouldn't dismiss them out of hand, that they have failed to account for the difference of a world peak compared to field or national peaks.

But it will be easy enough to tell. If I am right the average decline rate over the next three years will be above 7%. I sure hope I'm wrong.

Cold Camel

Brilliantly put CC ! ... Modern field development maximizes initial production and minimizes fat tails

In a nutshell: Understanding oil-productions fate in space-time can not be compressed better than this - maximum pace there is. And then you say :

Cantarell, Prudhoe Bay and the North Sea were magnificently managed and are falling off a cliff. which is also true if the ultimate goal was to achieve .. ehhh... maximum pace ... now to my point :

Will our kids/grandkids agree ? I don't think so! And this spawns some more ... How come something can be be embraced 100% by Generation_Now - and utterly dismayed (hated) by Generation_Tomorrow ? To complete the mess : If Generation_Now switched place with Generation_Tomorrow the same thing would happen !

Conclusion : The idea of tomorrow is vague and not applicable today ! (my philosophical 2 cents)

Native -- something of a two-prong answer. In one way the US decline shares a similar factor as the world decline rate: the very old and large fields are at a late depletion stage. Typically per well production rates are low. Either the reservoir energy is very low or substantial amounts of water are produced with the oil. In both cases decline is slow. It's the large size of these fields which account for the large volume of the slowly declining reserve. The Deep Water fields don't really factor in that much. Their impact comes and goes in less than 5 or 6 years. In a similar way individual shale gas wells don't have any impact on US NG decline. It was only the ever increasing number of new wells being drilled which caused an apparent reversal of domestic decline. Now that the shale gas plays have died the decline rate will return to prior levels.

One of the big reasons for a US decline rate slower than the global rate isn't as obvious: small US operators. Except for a few old and big heritage US fields virtually all slow decline US oil production is operated by very small companies with typically just a handful of employees. But there are many thousands of such companies. The average production rate of a US well is less than 15 bbl per day (compared to many thousands bbls per day from the average Saudi well). A large corporation (or national oil company for that matter) cannot function profitably at that level. If one owns 5 wells making a total net income from just 20 bbls of oil per day ($350 per day at current prices) you can't pay out many thousands of dollars to employees to run the operation. But if it's just you and your spouse making that $127,000 a year to operate those wells you're not doing so bad. They may be small operators but they collectively produced much more oil than all the major oil companies combined. Even though some foreign operations have access to cheap physical labor much of the expense in operating an old field is mechanical. Big Oil and Gov't run companies just can't function at such a level.

Rockman thanks for the insight.

1) How did the US manage such a low decline rate (offcourse EOR, Deeper GOM and Alaska explain this low decline rate). Has this rate fluctuated over the last ~40 yrs ?

2) Why would the worldwide rate of decline be too dissimilar?

Perhaps because usa is taking out oil since about middle of 19th century therefore not applied advanced oil extraction techniques like carbon-di-oxide insertion, horizontal drilling etc much of its history. Therefore most of its old oil wells are not that hard pressed. I think there are two rules of thumb here:

1. More advance drilling techniques you use, rapid is the decline once the decline start, though in earlier and middle days of life of an oil well higher flow rates are achieved but they just borrow from future.

2. More advance drilling techniques you use, less percentage of oil you ultimately extract from Initial-Oil-In-Place. Thats why Saudi Arabia like to give its fields "rest". Its like more power you use in pulling the oil more is the damage that occur to rocks less oil you extract.

2. More advance drilling techniques you use, less percentage of oil you ultimately extract from Initial-Oil-In-Place. Thats why Saudi Arabia like to give its fields "rest". Its like more power you use in pulling the oil more is the damage that occur to rocks less oil you extract.

No. If you use too much 'power' the field can get damaged, like happened long time ago with a giant field in Oman. Then flow rates will become much lower. The advances in oil winning techniques result in a higher percentage of oil that can be extracted, but what counts is flow rates.

In Japan, bikes now use battery power

I just was in China.
In Beijing, Katie Meluha's 9 million bicycles have become el scooters and el bikes. It is happening now. I asked a student, and an el scooter typically costs 1 months average pay.

I will be in the market for an electric bike as soon as I can buy one locally with a good Japanese name brand on it.

And replacement batteries are cheap,relative to gasoline.