Drumbeat: September 26, 2009

Our oil, U. S. need

Canada's oilsands may take a daily beating in the international media and from environmentalists, but the arithmetic of U. S. consumption and supply all but ensures a long, prosperous future for our dirty oil.

The United States imports 60% of its daily fuel requirements. President Barack Obama has vowed to wean his country off Middle East oil within 10 years. The U. S.'s other nearby secondary suppliers are either hostile (Venezuela) or their production is dwindling so quickly that they could be a net importer of oil within five years (Mexico). For every five barrels of oil America consumes a day, one comes from Canada. One barrel of every 20 now consumed in the United States is pumped straight out of the oilsands, a number that could triple inside of 15 years.

That leaves the United States with one stable long-term oil option. And we're it.

Robert Bryce - America: A World Leader in Oil Exports!

There has never been a more global, more integrated, more transparent market than the modern crude oil and oil products market. And yet, the calls for America to be “energy independent” continue to be heard from both the Right and the Left.

Iran threatens oil transport route

With the prospect of Israel bombing Iran's nuclear facilities looming, Tehran has renewed its threat to shut down the strategic Strait of Hormuz, through which up to 40 percent of the world's oil supplies pass, according to a report from Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.

Iran's massive oil revenue discrepancies

TEHRAN (UPI) -- Massive discrepancies between Iran's oil revenues and official statistics over the last four years are being covered in the national press.

Wednesday, Tehran's reformist daily E'temad carried a report headlined, "Find the $25 billion."

Venezuela, Petrobras to build $12 billion refinery in Brazil

PORLAMAR (MarketWatch) -- Venezuela state-run energy firm PdVSA and Brazil's Petrobras plan to ink an agreement Sunday to move forward with plans on building a refinery together, a top Venezuelan official said Friday.

Soaring cost estimates for the Brazilian refinery had in recent months threatened to kill the project before it begins. But Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez, who also is president of PdVSA, said the issues are being ironed out.

Ukraine seeks new natural gas suppliers

KIEV, Ukraine (UPI) -- A top Ukrainian official said Ukraine should review its existing natural gas contract with Russia in order to purchase natural gas from Central Asia.

One day, all houses will be built this way

Social housing tenants could soon be living in state-of-the-art green homes built from natural materials such as clay, hemp and sheep's wool, which are being pioneered as part of Prince Charles' campaign to create beautiful sustainable property.

The next wave

Cars with bodies and parts made from seaweed and powered by biofuel derived from algae and saltwater could be the wave of the future if a couple of companies have anything to say about it.

Ethiopia embraces renewable energy

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (UPI) -- The Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation has signed contracts with three Chinese companies for renewable energy projects.

One on One with Ali al-Naimi, Oil Minister of Saudi Arabia

GHARIB: But Mr. Naimi, when you -- what are you going to focus on? What will be the biggest growth industry outside of oil ultimately?

AL-NAIMI: Number one is food. Number two is water. Number three, believe it or not, is energy and environment. These are the three areas of focus. Now, why do I say energy? It's a different energy. It's solar energy.

Oil and gas reforms announced after B.C. bombings

DAWSON CREEK, B.C. — In the wake of six bombings targeting natural-gas pipelines on the B.C.-Alberta border, the B.C. government announced Friday a package of reforms aimed at improving relations between the oil and gas industry and residents.

Pemex oil theft case nabs second exec

The president of an Edinburg gas company pleaded guilty today in Houston federal court on charges relating to theft of an oil product from Mexico's oil giant, Pemex.

Oil prices impact Mexico's budget

MEXICO CITY (UPI) -- Mexico's Chamber of Deputies speaker urged those dissatisfied with the president's 2010 budget to present options not based on high oil price projections.

El Universal reported Thursday that Speaker Francisco Ramirez Acuna of the Partido Accion Nacional suggested that legislators who disagreed with President Felipe Calderon's proposed 2010 budget offer options not based either on an increase in debt or high expectations regarding oil production and sales.

Ghana: Fuel shortage hits Tamale Metropolis

The Tamale Metropolis is facing fuel shortages as most of the petrol filling stations in the area had not received supplies, causing most motorists to park their cars and motorbikes.

Some of the fuel stations the GNA visited had only diesel on sale and the only fuel station with petrol was the Total station one along the Tamale Teaching Hospital road, which was crowded with buyers struggling for hours to buy the commodity.

Connecticut: Price war pumps up gasoline business

The statewide average is $2.52 a gallon. It was $3.70 a gallon at this time last year, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report. But prices dropping a penny at a time were a regular occurrence Friday as two stations battled for the lowest price.

Carbon Emissions Can Really Build Up

The challenge of climate change usually brings to mind images of industrial smokestacks or gas-hungry SUVs. But commercial and residential buildings consume nearly two-fifths of all energy produced worldwide and spit out 8.4 billion tons of CO2 emissions each year, or 30 percent of the global total. And while the price tag for reducing greenhouse gas emissions is cheaper for buildings than for transportation or hard industries, construction of more energy-efficient buildings won't pay for itself through lower energy bills. Pure market incentives aren't enough; governments must get involved.

Canada MIA in carbon talks

With climate negotiations limping into the home-stretch, the United Nations pulled out all the stops this week. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon brought 100 heads of state together to tackle greenhouse gas emissions in a bid to re-energize bargaining.

While world leaders exchanged ideas, Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper sent his environment minister, Jim Prentice, to listen in, take notes, and make excuses.

S.D. farm products take a price dive

Going into the 2009 harvest, all the state's major farm products and ethanol are well below record highs set the past few years. Impatience is rampant as producers are looking for a recovering economy to jump start demand that will help use up stored grain and spur new production of milk, meat and renewable motor fuel.

Making that itch even more prickly is a projected bumper corn crop that would further upset the supply-demand balance.

Area pushes for rapid transit system

A group of community leaders plans to meet with U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., to request federal money for a rapid transit system that would link east and west Gainesville, the University of Florida and Santa Fe College, and major shopping and employment centers.

The estimated cost is $185 million and would include money from developers of several large projects along the route.

Mother knows breast

Breastfeeding saves energy, cuts greenhouse gases and uses fewer natural resources.

Oil-related firms feel impact of credit curbs

ITS Tubular Services (Holdings) says that economic conditions and the fall in available credit facilities have had a major impact on operators’ capital investment programmes.

Directors of the Aberdeen-based provider of specialised products and services to the global oil and gas industry say this has resulted in cancellations or delays in activity.

They add in their annual report for 2008, which has just been released by Companies House, that the near-term outlook is difficult to assess given the state of credit markets.

Rhine Barge Rates for Oil Products Advance on Low Water Levels

(Bloomberg) -- The cost of shipping oil products on the Rhine River advanced as lower than usual water levels reduced the amount of fuel barges can carry.

Time to put pressure on Russia

What a difference a slump makes. Chief executives of the big western oil and gas companies met a kinder, gentler Vladimir Putin on Thursday in Salekhard, Western Siberia. The Russian Prime Minister had invited them to a town with a population of 36,000, right on the polar circle, to highlight the promises of the gas fields of the Yamal Peninsula, and to throw open the doors to Western investment and technology.

Venezuela says France's Total to invest $25B in heavy oil production

PORLAMAR, Venezuela - Venezuela's state oil company says France's Total SA will invest $25 billion in the nation's Orinoco Oil Belt.

Natural Gas Declines on Concern Demand Will Increase Slowly

(Bloomberg) -- Natural gas futures declined for the first day in four as a government report showing a drop in orders for durable goods signaled that a recovery in fuel consumption may be slow.

Demand for goods meant to last several years dropped 2.4 percent, the worst performance since January, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Economists expected an increase. Purchases by industrial users such as carmakers and chemical plants account for about 29 percent of consumption.

U.S. Gas Fund May Shrink With CFTC Rules, Hyland Says

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. Natural Gas Fund, the largest exchange-traded fund in the fuel, may be forced to shrink if U.S. regulators tighten limits on energy speculation, said John Hyland, the fund’s chief investment officer.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission may cap energy investments amid concern speculators contributed to record-high commodity prices last year. New limits may force the fund to reduce shares, Hyland said in a Bloomberg television interview.

Natural gas crusader

Randy Eresman's job description is changing, and it is not just because EnCana Corp., the naturalgas and integrated oil company he now leads, is spinning off its oil and refining operations into a new company called Cenovus Energy Inc. He's a petroleum engineer by training but increasingly is becoming a lobbyist and marketer for the natural-gas industry. His challenge? To convince legislators, auto manufacturers and consumers that natural-gas vehicles are the way of the future. Goodbye drill bit, hello podium. Mr. Eresman sat down with the Financial Post's Carrie Tait to explain his changing role and the challenges in his way.

Phibro Fund Rose 22% as Commodity Indexes Fell, Document Shows

(Bloomberg) -- Phibro LLC, the Citigroup Inc. energy-trading unit that the bank may be forced to sell, said funds that it manages for outside investors rose 22 percent since the start of 2008 as commodity indexes fell, a solicitation document showed.

Schlumberger ranks high on list of ‘green’ companies

Horseheads, N.Y. - This week’s issue of Newsweek magazine ranks America’s 500 largest corporations according to how “green” they are, and a company planning to build a controversial facility in Horseheads fared pretty well.

GE Energy bulking up in Houston

If the global energy complex were a giant roulette table, GE Energy would have a chip down on nearly every number. From wind turbines and solar panels to offshore oil and gas equipment and coal and nuclear power plants, the Atlanta-based arm of U.S. industrial and media conglomerate General Electric Co. is in the business. And a growing portion of that business is being done in Houston, GE Energy CEO John Krenicki said during a visit to local company facilities this week

The End of Oil?

Oil is the curse of the modern world; it is “the devil’s excrement,” in the words of the former Venezuelan oil minister Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo, who is considered to be the father of OPEC and should know. Our insatiable need for oil has brought us global warming, Islamic fundamentalism and environmental depredation. It has turned the United States and China, the world’s biggest consumers of petroleum, into greedy, irresponsible addicts that can’t see beyond their next fix. With a few exceptions, like Norway and the United Arab Emirates, oil doesn’t even benefit the nations from which it is extracted. On the contrary: Most oil-rich states have been doomed to a seemingly permanent condition of kleptocracy by a few, poverty for the rest, chronic backwardness and, worst of all, the loss of a national soul.

We can’t be rid of the stuff soon enough.

Oil shipping sector heading for downturn: Teekay

"Today's voyages are barely paying owners enough to get the ship from point A to B. It's just paying for the fuel and certainly not paying enough for owners to pay back their bank financing and debt costs," Chan said.

This in turn is leading to poor maintenance of ships by some owners who are running out of cash, he added.

Mexico's Cantarell oil field may be stablizing

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican oil production fell again in August but state oil company Pemex said it had some early indications the rapid fall in output at its giant Cantarell field may be slowing.

Mexico pumped 2.542 million bpd in August, a decline of 7.9 percent on a year ago but production at Cantarell edged higher for the first time in more than two years.

Oil price to rise on stronger demand: Goldman Sachs

(Reuters) - Goldman Sachs said oil prices are likely to be higher in the future due to a recovery in demand and a decline in production, and expects European integrated oil companies to struggle to sustain the current level of production.

Tank farm opposition files petition Community Strength asking judge to repeal Petroplex permit

VACHERIE – A community group is asking a Baton Rouge judge to appeal the state’s approval of an air quality permit for a proposed petroleum storage tank farm along the Mississippi River near Vacherie.

The New Case for Natural Gas

Natural gas has recently emerged as a vital but neglected complement to the paragons of low-carbon energy: renewable energy and energy efficiency. Recent developments in technology, from gas wells to home appliances, suggest a need to fundamentally reevaluate the role of natural gas in the energy system. Together with renewable energy and energy efficiency, natural gas should be a cornerstone of strategies to advance energy security and reduce the threat of climate change - a conclusion that has recently been supported by U.S. environmental leaders, including Robert Kennedy, Jr., John Podesta, Carl Pope, and Tim Wirth.

Hartwick College picks 'energy' as 2009-10 theme

On Oct. 16, the college will present ``Energy Roundtable: Peak Oil'' from noon to 1 p.m. Associate Professor of Education Mark Davies will lead a discussion of issues surrounding peak oil.

...The theme will include educating the Hartwick community about fossil fuels, peak oil and alternative-energy sources, involving the campus and community in efforts to reduce their ecological impact. Local energy topics such as natural-gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale will also be addressed.

Worldchanging Interview: Paul Hawken

Hawken was this year's Sustainable Industries: Economic Forum keynote speaker. During the event, Hawken asked the 300 plus sustainably-minded business leaders, entrepreneurs and political heads to truly look at the data: dangerous levels of atmospheric CO2, peak oil, peak soil - peak everything. Despite this, he said he remains optimistic. He focused much of his talk on solutions such as innovative solar design and collaborations, like linking green banking with affordable, green housing, food and transportation.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce in climate rift

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A rift widened between the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and some utilities as another major power provider quit over the business group's hard stance on pending climate regulation.

The Public Service Company of New Mexico, the state's largest utility, quit the chamber Friday just days after California's largest utility, Pacific Gas and Electric Co., said it was leaving because of the chamber's "extreme" positions.

California funds biggest energy efficiency plan

LOS ANGELES - California is embarking on the most aggressive energy efficiency plan among U.S. states, having earmarked $3.1 billion to retrofit homes and other programs that will cut power needs equivalent to three medium-sized power plants.

Some grapes are purple, but this winery has gone green

The air conditioning runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the new building. His first electric bill for the new structure was $49.

That's because Carroll, his wife, Christine, and son Tom Jr. care about the environment and spent a small fortune to use the latest technology, geothermal heat and solar roof panels to power their business.

Tom Carroll is a prime example of what state Rep. Steve Santarsiero, D-Bucks, and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's John Hangar want to see as they are working to push House Bill 80 through to passage.

Talking transportation — NuRide: The secret way to a cheaper commute

I have the solution to highway congestion — a simple plan to cut traffic by 50 percent. All we have to do is get every SOV (single-occupancy-vehicle) driver to carry one additional passenger who’d otherwise be driving alone. But don’t call this “carpooling” or it’ll never succeed.

Scrubbing the Atmosphere

Governments are doing practically nothing to study the removal of carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere, but this technology could be a much cheaper form of climate protection than photovoltaic cells and other approaches getting lavish support, according to an article published today in Science.

“An Idea Whose Time Has Come”

The OECD has just released a new book: “The Economics of Climate Change Mitigation: Policies and Options for Global Action beyond 2012.” To quote from the Executive Summary (pp. 5-6): “Closing the gap between domestic and international fossil fuel prices could cut GHG emissions drastically in the subsidising countries, in some cases by over 30% relative to BAU levels by 2050, and globally by 10%.” Further, “Energy subsidy removal would also raise GDP per capita in most of the countries concerned, including India and, to a lesser extent, China.”

Inhofe on why global warming isn’t real: ‘God’s still up there. We’re going through these cycles.’

On C-Span’s Washington Journal this week, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), the godfather of global warming deniers, said that he will travel to the climate change summit in Copenhagen this fall to present “another view.” “I think somebody has to be there — a one-man truth squad,” he said.

Indian PM on climate deal: 'I'm not an astrologer'

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (AFP) – Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Friday he could not predict whether the world will meet a deadline on a climate deal, saying a summit here only took up global warming in broad terms.

"I'm not an astrologer," Singh told a news conference when asked if a December conference in Copenhagen would succeed in sealing a successor framework to the landmark Kyoto Protocol.

Calif. OKs fee to pay for global warming program

Despite industry objections and threats of lawsuits, California air regulators on Friday approved the nation's first statewide carbon fee on utilities, oil refineries and other polluting industries.

Bill McKibben: Why 350 is the most important number on the planet

We've been running a huge ­ campaign – it's blown up into the first real grassroots global political protest about global warming – called 350.org. The number comes from new science that followed the shocking melt of Arctic ice in the summer of 2007. Researchers became convinced that climate change was happening faster than they had previously expected, and that they had enough data to put a real number on it. That number was 350, as in parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere. Above that level, in the powerful (and peer-reviewed) words of Nasa scientist James Hansen, we can't have a planet "similar to the one on which civilisation developed or to which life on earth is adapted".

Unusual Arctic Warmth, Tropical Wetness Likely Cause for Methane Increase

Unusually high temperatures in the Arctic and heavy rains in the tropics likely drove a global increase in atmospheric methane in 2007 and 2008 after a decade of near-zero growth, according to a new study. Methane is the second most abundant greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide, albeit a distant second.

Science Report: Climate Change Speeding Toward Irreversible Tipping Points

Losses from glaciers, ice-sheets and the Polar Regions appear to be happening faster than anticipated, and melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet surface also seems to be accelerating. In the summer of 2007, the rate of melting was some 60 percent higher than the previous record in 1998.

Some scientists are now warning that sea levels could rise by up to two meters (6.5 feet) by 2100, drowning low-lying countries and coastal cities.

So Shall You Reap: How Climate Change Will Affect Farms

Many farming communities think global warming won't hurt them. They're wrong.

You might think a little global warming is good for farming. Longer, warmer growing seasons and more carbon dioxide (CO2)—what plant wouldn't love that? The agricultural industry basically takes that stance. But global warming's effects on agriculture would actually be quite complicated—and mostly not for the better.

Nosing around the Petroleum Community Forum, I see a lot of uploaded ebooks. Most of these are hardcore engineer material, but there are some more general interest titles, too. The bulk of the titles are hosted at 4shared.com, but also at sites like Megaupload and Rapidshare. Search for "oil" or "petroleum" at the first two. Rapidshare-search-engine.com is the only search engine for RS I've found that works. A couple of users have uploaded most of the material at 4shared, it's easiest to just peruse what's in their public folders there.

This Oil Monthly report by the Centre of Global Energy Studies is another interesting find from the PCF.

Surprise; 20,000 downloadable SPE papers(2006,2007,2009) - Petroleum Community Forum. Follow the instructions at the bottom of the page, not the ones initially given. The first few I've opened date back to 1962.

Hmmmm...The Tehran Times and some other news services are reporting that Iran is replacing the US $ with the Euro as the Forex reserve currency as of this month.

What happens next, I wonder? It does seem like the G-20 is stressing out over Iran now....

Maybe I should just double up on my dose of Xanax and I`ll be fine, just fine, really I will.

This exact story has appeared in the TOD comments regularly for at least four years. It is pretty safe to assume that what happens next is the same as what happened the other 100 times: nothing.

This is a non-issue and I am amazed at how many people continue to bite on it. The Iran Oil Bourse / US$ story is the abiotic oil of economics.

"..safe to assume.."

It's never that safe to assume, Irans intrests are very much served by moving away fron USD for oil sales, but it's a balancing act.

While they are depend on USD they are more vunareable to economic warfare, if they try to escape the $ they are very much at risk form physical warfare, as happened to Iraq when Saddam tried to move to euro trading for oil.

As US military power is stained in Iraq and Afghanistan the window for Iran to move away from the dollar opens, there has been alot of talk on this front, of which little has come, this dosn't mean it won't happen in the end.

Maybe they should be replacing the US $ with the AU$ instead, it seems the Aussies must have some really powerful mojo to be able to influence the price of gas at the pump in the US of A.

From: One on One with Ali al-Naimi, Oil Minister of Saudi Arabia

GHARIB: But when gasoline prices not long ago jumped from $2 a gallon to $4, that wasn't because of government taxes. That was because the actual price jumped.

AL-NAIMI: Right. Australian speculating, Australian financial institutions from playing around with the price of oil.

It seems we should all bow down and pay homage to our all powerful Australian overlords, no?

Regarding the 'Scrubbing the Atmosphere' article from Mr. John Tierney at the NYT:

I was not ware of the 'lavish' subsidies being showered upon home PV technologies and installations.

Lavish, compared to what? Federal subsidies for highways and airports? The feds turning a blind eye to mountaintop removal coal mining?

The Feds turning a blind eye to the Mercury issued from coal power plants into our environment?

Not forcing firms and society to explicitly account for the costs of 'externalities' is indeed a huge subsidy by itself.

From Mr. Tierney (whose bio states that he always wanted to be a scientist but went into journalism instead because it had a much less rigorous peer-review process)

I wondered if governments and other entrepreneurs would follow his example (and if we would someday have nanobots gobbling up carbon dioxide).

Yea...unleash the nanobots...there couldn't possibly be any unforeseen consequences to this plan, could there?

Let us see....the choice is difficult: Either:

1) Fix the root cause, or

2) Ignore the root cause of the problems and try to overlay more incredibly complex and expensive technology over the problems and hope a that all negative branches and sequels were foreseen and pruned before implementation...

Next article from Mr. Tierney:

Why spend all these lavish sums on contraception and family planning when we could just rocket the extra folks to a terraformed Mars and Venus, then after a short period of development, to the other habitable planets of the other starts in the Universe?

BTW, Isaac Asimov put that idea paid a long time ago with his short article titled 'Fecundity Unlimited': He calculated that at a very small growth rate (My memory fails me on what number he picked for his case example) that it would take until the year 11,000 CE for humans to convert all the Carbon in the Universe into human beings.

To show the power of exponential growth, he assumed interstellar travel and breaking apart planets and mining nebulae for resources would be perfectly feasible, and even picked carbon as the rate-limiting element vice Phosphorous to make be as liberal as he possibly could..in order to demonstrate just how screwed we will be back in the 'real world' without a zero-population-growth policy.

I do not think we will even make the predicted 9 Billion by ~ 2050 without something snapping...

Hi Moonwatcher: I thought the bit about nanobots was incomplete since it didn't mention grey goo. :-)

"New Home Sales Up 33 Percent ... Shows Economic Improvement." In the small print we find August 2007 150 new homes were sold. This July they sold three and in August they sold four new homes.

Reno is having a biker fest called Street Vibrations. Lots of Harley's in town. I notice one had Maine license plates. That could be cold ride home. The show and some other bikes of course came here in covered trailers pulled by big pickups.

We already have nanobots gobbling up the CO2: we call them "diatoms". And other phytoplankton. Some of the stupidest ideas never seem to die.

My favorite comment: "It's like trying to clean up the bathroom while the loo is still overflowing". The commenters were smarter than the author of that article -- plant trees, or stop cutting them down, or capture the carbon at the smokestack. Duhhh...

My favorite comment: "It's like trying to clean up the bathroom while the loo is still overflowing". The commenters were smarter than the author of that article

I do agree with the author on his main point however. The amount of research money spent on free air capture is pitifully small. Once we stop the loo overflowing, we will then still have to deal with the smelly bathroom. I suspect free-air capture via enhanced silicate weathering will be one of the proposed BB's for gradually reducing the atmospheric concentrations. Early deployment of such would be a mistake, as it would only encourage us to emit more. But some small effort to lay the groundwork for what to do after we discover the nasty mess we've made makes sense, if only as a means of (uncertain) insurance.

Inhofe: "God's still up there."
Prove it, Jimbo. Yer in science class, now.

75 Percent of Oklahoma High School Students Can't Name the First President of the U.S.

I'm surprised 25% can.

Your NEA-driven public education system at its best! I suspect you'd get similar numbers from any other state -- as the article indicated it was the same in AZ at least.

Oklahoma is used for marketing surveys because it's so average -- quintessentially so. But note these are high-school students -- many will make up answers whether they know the right answer or not, if there's not money on the line at least.

But yes, things suck in OK. People are dumb. Public support is thin. There is no work, water, housing, or food. Churches sit on every corner, and people actually go to them (sometimes even on Wednesdays). By all means, don't move from where you're at! :)

Edit: Reading the background article, a key point sticks out:

the telephone surveyors called a sample of 1,000 public high-school students

I just quizzed my 7th grader, who got 9 out of 10 and waffled on the 10th. I question how the survey "randomly" gets names and numbers of high-schoolers anyway. Note also that OK conservatives are famous for lying on polls, to screw up results.

OK conservatives are famous for lying on polls, to screw up results

Yes, don't want anyone (say a manufacturer looking for a new plant site) to think that there is an educated work force there.

Lying about who the first President is simply disrespectful to the memory of one of our greatest Founding fathers.


When it comes to high-schoolers, once you've gotten past caller ID and vetted a parent who is willing and a teen who is willing to answer polls, your sample is already pretty skewed. When you read the questions it'd be really hard to miss them all, so I assume those are jokers.

The more telling point is those who scored 6 - they appear to be trying. The fact they couldn't pull 8 or 9 is pretty significant in and of itself.

But yes, I'm sure such behaviors cause problems all the time. On the good side, it also scares off house speculators. On the bad side it seems to attract unions -- and the OEA (OK version of the NEA) is the most powerful union in the state.

Was it President District of Columbia, first name Washington?

It's some guy on a coin.

... In a recent survey here in Britain 40% of 14 year olds thought that Winston Churchill was a fictional character and that Britain was once a colony of America.

Well, it is sort of a colony of America Now-----

I'd be willing to wager that the same 40% believe that Daddy'O, JC and da Holy Spook are in up there in the clouds looking down upon them with great concern...

We should check with he Talking Snake, as he is my go to guy when dealing with Bronze Age Fiction.

Fun as these surveys, in the UK there is a tendency for the great British public to extract the urine, as it were.

The stupidity of the American public has become a running joke. Everyone has seen those Jay Leno Show promos. Jay asks one young woman: Who lives in Vatican City? Answer: The Vaticans? Pointing to an American Flag, he asks another young lady; How many stars on that flag? Answer: It's moving too fast to count em.

Is it any wonder we are doomed?

Ron P.

This is probably true for every country in the world. I remember once reading that the majority of high school kids in India do not know how to calculate the area of a triangle. I was once asked by an Indian engineer (EE) why computers need a hard drive. To be fair he graduated in the mid eighties when Indian EE curriculum did not teach about computers. Back then it was all about motors, power, transformers, etc. Still, I was taken aback by his question.

And remember that Jay Leno is looking for humor. He is not going to show you the people who responded intelligently to his questions. He is only going to show the stupid responses to get a laugh.

I was once asked by an Indian engineer (EE) why computers need a hard drive

Computers don't need a hard drive. But to be useful over time they do need some kind of persistent storage.


Heh, I just remembered storing my BASIC programs on a cassette recorder connected to my old Commodore VIC20. It even had a 16Kb memory expansion card, whoopee! Hard Drive? Didn't need no Steeenkin Hard Drive :-)

...or a Commodore 64 with the casette drive. That was definately a while ago.

Then dual floppy drive IBM PC clones, before the hard drives started to come out, right around the 286 times.

First computer: C64

Floppy drive: 172K (or ~ 344K once you use an office one-hole punch and notch the other side...

Boot-up time: about 2 seconds

External Modem: 1200 bps

bi-directional dot matrix printer, 24-pin head.

Got me through University just fine, played a lot of games to boot.

After college, I sold PC Clones for a small company no one remembers...I distinctly remember my fellow salespeople telling prospective customers on the phone that they might not ever need the power the 'Swan' AT/286, but that the Swan XT10 (8086) would be all the computer they needed for years. Same conversations about the 'extravagant' EGA video cards vs. the perfectly fine (for games) CGA cards, and if you really wanted the sharpest text, go for the Hercules monochrome video cards...we carried three colors of monochrome monitors: green, amber, and white text over black.

I would love a current version of Winders XP on an EEPROM chip or whatever (maybe off of a fast flash drive?)so that my computer could boot in about 5 seconds...

I believe the price of my Apple II with two floppy drives was over two grand. I just got this Dell a few weeks ago with a TB HD, GBs of RAM, several GHz speed for ~$700. My first IBM AT with color monitor, 1 MB extra RAM and 20MB HD cost well over $6K. I used to eat supper while one of my 'C' programs compiled.

To put that in perspective ... gas was about $0.35/gallon.

A lot of netbooks don't have hard drives. Nothing spinning in the whole box, just a lot of flash memory. You can fit sixty or a hundred gigs in a space the size of a matchbook now.

Leno's been doing that routine for years. Lots of videos at YouTube. Even using the outliers of stupidity for yuks, it's pretty astounding. [Jay shows famous pictureof sailor kissing girl on VJ day; "What is going on here?" "Celebrating the end of the war?" "Correct! What war?" "Uh, the War of 1954?" "Who did we fight in the Cold War?" "Antarctica?"]

Quick! Wikipedia! S=1/2bh where S is the triangle's area, b is any side's length and h is the height of the triangle, a line at right angles to the base. Whew.

we had a lady try to drive on a newly paved and baracaded street here yesterday, a worker stopped her, pointed to a rosd closed sign, and told her "the street is closed."

she replied " it doesnt say when"

he said " it is closed now "

75 Percent of Oklahoma High School Students Can't Name the First President of the U.S.

That's pretty bad. I have been in Oklahoma and knew they were kind of on the dense side, but I thought it was better than that. But consider these other statistics:

50% of them can't name their teacher.

25% of them can't name their father.

15% of them don't know their own name.

10% of them don't know where the bathroom is, and have to pee in the corner.

5% of them don't know where the door is, and are trapped permanently in the classroom.

Okay, I admit it. I made those statistics up because I like kicking people when they're down.

But according to the article, only 3% could pass a citizenship test. Is this because all the smart people left? Have they considered deporting the other 97% to some other country that doesn't have enough dumb people of its own?

But who then will re-elect Sen. Inhofe ?


The Age of Stupid website http://www.notstupid.org has a link where you can send a "stupid" postcard to the individual of your choice (Inhofe is one of the choices). When I first read it I thought it was not a really constructive action, but after hearing the latest comments...

Considering that my child attends one of the most expensive Taj Mahals of public edukation in the country, her American history teacher spent the fall of 2008 talking about Obama almost exclusively, everyday, all the while we shovel thousands of dollars a year into the school district. So while you sages take after the last unprotected class left in America think about taking a break from such a fun activity and pickup one of the kid's American History textbooks, and then get back to me why our kids cannot answer basic questions.

I haven't been a booster of ground source heating and cooling systems, so as partial atonement for past sins:

Sudbury, Ontario approves new geothermal technology
System recovers energy from sewer water to heat and cool homes

The City of Sudbury has given the go-ahead for a greenfield residential development to install a new type of concrete sewer and wastewater pipe that captures thermal energy both from the surrounding soil and effluent that passes through the conduit.

The invention is called the @Source-Energy Pipe, developed by Renewable Resource Recovery Corporation (RRRC), a Sudbury company that has a patent pending on the design.

The re-enforced pre-cast concrete pipe, manufactured by Rainbow Concrete Industries, is lined with geothermal piping channels which carry a mixture of 30 per cent ethanol in water. The pipes are traditionally installed, with exterior connectors joining up the energy recovery system. These channels are hooked to a heat pump located inside each building serviced by the system.

See: http://dcnonl.com/article/id35462

The beauty of this design is that no excavation is required beyond that needed to install the sewer system.


The heat-transfer medium might not freeze, but I hope they pay attention to the sewage temperature as well :-)

Hi DIYer,

Given Sudbury's harsh winters not an unreasonable consideration so, please, everyone, no cold showers. What surprises me is the modest cost saving, projected to be just 10 to 20 per cent. You have to wonder if the risks don't outweigh the potential gain.


Do they explain how they keep the sewer pipes from freezing in the winter?

The ground where I live freezes about four to six feet deep in winter. Usually, they bury the water mains immediately above the sewer mains because the heat rising from the sewer pipes keeps the water pipes from freezing, but in cold winters the water mains still freeze.

However, if they start sucking the heat out of the ground to heat the houses, I think they'd freeze everything eight or twelve feet deep.


I'm afraid I don't have a good answer. That said, sewer discharge temperatures are probably a little higher than most of us realize; e.g., the average winter sewer temperature in Montréal is reportedly 15C.


It seem to me that the main problem with the idea is that if you are going to treat the sewage at a treatment plant you want it to be warm enough for the bacteria to work effectively.

Hi biophiliac,

True, but the volume of waste water processed is likely to make this moot. For example, the downtown Halifax treatment plant that was knocked out of service last February processes between 80 and 100 million litres a day (it's one of soon to be three serving metro HRM). And, of course, heat is being extracted from both the sewer flow and the earth surrounding the pipes.


GSHP for urban apps will use vertical bores, typically 300 feet. You could insulate the top 20ft and still do fine.

I would think wastewater heat recovery systems would do more harm to sewage temps. I understand those can recover something like 75% of discharge heat to pre-heat water heading to a hot water heater.

Hi Paleocon,

Are you referring to drain water heat recovery devices such as GFX and PowerPipe? If so, the amount of recoverable heat is said to be between 10 and 30 per cent (source: http://www.fee.qc.ca/en/residential/drain-water-heat-recovery-systems.php). Generally speaking, these types of systems work well in the case of showers where there is a simultaneous draw and outflow, but not dishwashers and clothes washers where filling and draining occur at different times.

In any event, for each million litres of waste water processed, we could theoretically extract one MWh of heat and the reduction in effluent temperature would remain below 1°C. I don't honestly know if this would adversely impact treatment efficacy, but I suspect we could recover at least some heat harmlessly.


Yeah, that was the sort I was thinking -- must have misremembered, or saw marketing hyp. I will always trust your numbers, Paul, as you live and breath efficiency! Good point on the dishwasher and clotheswasher.

Since we're talking hot water, what's the price point for the new GE heat-pump hot water heater? I see press releases and specs on-line, but no price clues yet.

Hi Paleocon,

According to this Reuters report, it will retail for about $1,500.00.

See: http://www.reuters.com/article/gwmCarbonEmissions/idUS202789734420090727

I seem to recall GE telling us that it would cost $300.00 to $500.00 more than a conventional water heater, but this initial estimate appears to have been somewhat optimistic. Perhaps electrical utilities will offer attractive lease rates; e.g., in neighbouring New Brunswick, over 90 per cent of residential water heaters are leased through NB Power.


Thanks. I think the last water heater I bought was about $700, so that leaves $800 or so to amortize. Given a 10 year life you'd save money quickly if you had an all-elect house I'm not sure you would versus gas though -- it'd probably take a COP of 2 or 3 just to break even versus gas, and you'd struggle to ever pay the original investment back.

How well can it work when the outdoor temp gets cold? Seems like you'd need pretty good ventilation to source enough heat. My gas unit has a combustion air vent and flue, but probably most elect heater closets have essentially zero air flow. Grabbing heat from indoors would be great during the summer, but counter-productive in the winter.

Given a 10 year life

I suspect that if it was designed right, you could reuse the heat pump after the tank dies. I think it is the water tank, that buildsup corrosion and eventually fails. The expensive heat-pump part could in principle be designed to remove and be added to another tank.

For the most part, homes that are heated with natural gas are equipped with natural gas water heaters; electric water heaters are normally found in homes with either oil or electric heat (sometimes you'll find a gas fireplace, water heater and other gas appliances in homes that had been previously all electric, but the baseboard electric heaters remain in place because the installation of a forced air system is impractical or prohibitively costly).

During late spring, summer and early fall when there is little or no space heating demand, a HPWH should provide quite good results; a typical gas water heater has a EF of 0.6 and the estimated COP of the GE HPWH is 2.35, so electricity would have to be almost four times more costly before gas pulls ahead. If the home is heated with a heat pump, a wood or pellet stove, or any other fuel that is less costly than electric resistance, a HPWH will likewise outperform a conventional electric tank.

Our dehumidifier operates six to eight months a year, so to the extent that a HPWH displaces its operation (a side benefit is free dehumidification), our water heating costs are effectively nil.


Tankless gas water heaters (0.82 efficiency to get tax credit) and 20 year life are hard to beat, especially with the Obama tax credit.

Pick one that can later be used as a back-up for solar water heater (they sense incoming water temps and adjust) and it would be even harder to beat.

For those that can use the cooling and dehumidification, buying a Heat pump hot water heater and using it during the a/c months (draining it during winter) coupled with a tankless gas water heater would be equally hard to beat for those with too many Federal Reserve notes.


That's exactly what I was thinking. Having a multi-technology solution provides resiliency as well, but at significant expense. Plus, there's the issue of space. I'm not sure I can easily find homes for multiple pieces of interconnected hot water equipment.

Here gas is about 1/3 the price of electricity, so tankless would be a pretty good way to go.

As Paul pointed out, you could view the hot water as free if you use the heat pump to cool the home, or conversely you could pull the superheat of a home heat pump and consider the hot water free. Either way it's better than what most homes (including mine) have today.

At a glance it doesn't look like the GE unit has ducting for air flow. That would seem to be necessary to make it work well in most heater-closet environments?

So many potential projects, so little money!

Hi Paleocon,

Electric water heaters are sometimes tucked inside closets so proper air circulation can be a problem. In our case, we have an indirect tank (a SuperStor Ultra) that's tied to the oil-fired boiler and a small 120-volt electric tank squeezed underneath the basement staircase that pre-heats the feed water. Our utility room is fairly small, so I would have to rip out a storage cabinet and move the washer and propane dryer to accommodate another tank. As a further complication, we don't have a dedicated 240-volt circuit (and a finished basement with the electric panel at the opposite end of the house that prevents us from running one), so unless the compressor and controls are 120-volt, I'm sort of dead in the water. I could conceivably tap into the line that supplies the convection oven and disconnect the 4,500-watt backup element to prevent overloading (the heat pump itself draws just 550-watts); it would be a relatively simple matter of cutting the line at the utility room and installing a sub-panel which in turn would feed both appliances. One way or the other, I'd still like to go this route.


*IF* you can live with the aesthetics, running a circuit in, say, 3/4" EMT in the upper corner is an easy "do it yourself" job. Only slightly more difficult is to take the line outside (waterproof connections) in, say, PVC.

UF (like Romex) is rated for direct burial, but I would avoid that if possible.

In the USA, any subpanel has to be rated for 60 amps.

I am looking at daisy chaining a 4th sub-panel on my house to make adding more wall and floor outlets easier (and add a couple of scounces).

Best Hopes,


Hi Alan,

I'm not so sure a combination of electric (HPWH) and gas (on-demand) operated in the manner you describe would result in a net saving even at this higher EF. A condensing natural gas furnace that is 90 to 95 per cent efficient would supply the "raw heat" consumed by the HPWH at a lower cost, and a mid-efficiency furnace or boiler with an AFUE of 80% or higher would be more or less on par. Unless the homeowner has an old clunker in the basement -- an AFUE of 65%, say -- I can't imagine how you would come out ahead [and if that's the case, then they have a bigger issue on their hands].


Heating is erratic (at least down south :-) and running domestic hot water off of the central furnace is un-heard of here. Some people do capture waste heat from their air conditioning via desuperheaters (freon to domestic water xchanger in front of air or geothermal water condenser).

Perhaps where central heating is done every day for months (as we a/c every day for many months), it may be viable.


Hi Alan,

Most older homes in Atlantic Canada are heated by oil-fired boilers and a large percentage are equipped with internal DHW coils. Operating efficiency is generally acceptable during the heating season, but exceedingly poor during the off months due to the inordinately high stack and standby losses, e.g., an EF of perhaps no more than 0.15. I recall my old boiler use to kick on about every twenty minutes -- some seventy or more times a day -- and run for two to three minutes at a time just to maintain its set temperature. With the indirect tank and Tekmar control system, its replacement would fire-up once or twice a day as required and run a full eight to ten minutes -- much less fouling and a summer EF in the range of 0.60 to 0.75. Now, the small 67-litre, 120-volt electric unit does the entire job at less than half the cost (the boiler is turned off at the breaker).

On a completely different note: sometime ago, you had asked me how much "Motorola DNA" is found in the Osram Sylvania electronic ballasts we use in our work and I replied that I had no idea. Recently, I came across a ten year old electronic ballast that carries both the GE Lighting and Motorola brand names (see below).

So, in absence of a cross licencing or technology sharing agreement, these Osram ballasts contain no Motorola DNA.


I installed a couple of cases of those cross-licensed ballasts, but in the end Osram was high bidder. They bought Motorola ballasts in 2000.



Thanks, Alan, for setting the record straight.


"Massive discrepancies between Iran's oil revenues and official statistics over the last four years are being covered in the national press. Wednesday, Tehran's reformist daily E'temad carried a report headlined, "Find the $25 billion.""

Sounds like the Royal Canadian Mint, now being investigated by the Mounties after the RCM misplaced $15 million of gold.

"Natural gas futures declined for the first day in four as a government report showing a drop in orders for durable goods signaled that a recovery in fuel consumption may be slow."

Other than a record cold winter, I don't see how NG will be anything but cheap for another year. Too many optimists still drilling for shale gas. The next flood of surplus NG will be from northeastern British Columbia, where they are fracing madly away. I wouldn't go long on NG until at least late 2010.

"Goldman Sachs said oil prices are likely to be higher in the future"

They were also once predicting $200 oil. They should stick to gaming the financial markets.

I agree that the winter of 2010-11 will probably tell the tale regarding where NG markets are headed. The key question is the decline rates in the shale gas plays.

i think a lot of the drilling has to be directed toward holding onto leases.
and there is still a lot of drilling with other people's money. that ponzi scheme could go on for a few yrs, look at the barnett shale for an analog.

and the press releases from the horn river basin look a lot like the hype surrounding the haynesville.

"Nexen Announces More Horn River Shale Gas Success"


3 to 6 tcf from wells on 125 acre spacing ? they can certainly calculate that by estimating gas in place and assuming a recovery factor for 500 to 700 wells. and dont forget, they have to also assume a fantacy hyperbolic decline to fit the the reserves.

so, imo, this ponzi drilling will probably keep gas prices in check until reality catches up with fantacy.

haynesville wells can be reliably analysed within 6 or so months of production at capacity. forget hyperbolic rate/time analysis, 6 months may span 3% of a wells life. analysis based on rate -vs- cummulative will cover typically half the wells ultimate recovery.

i am also seeing some evidence of interwell interference on all of the 320 acre spaced wells and on some of the nominally 640 acre spaced wells with nearby production. you probably wont see that trying to fit an hyperbolic curve. public traded companies are telling the public that they can drill on 80 ac spacing and get the same recovery. what a bunch of scammers.

I like your phrase "ponzi drilling". It describes the shale gas drilling perfectly. I'm going to start using that around the NG people I know.

On the Hawken related article above:
He is doing some great things, but his economic philosophy is "neo- Smithian", and wants just better capitalism, without the corporations.
Those who know we cannot grow indefinitely in a finite system, see the delusion in his vision.

I kept wondering what planet this guy is from. I used to really respect him. I still have his 1983 book, The Next Economy on my bookshelf. I'll have to skim it to see whether he's changed his view or I've changed mine.


We're all touching different parts of the elephant.

The part we here are focused on suggests that the elephant happens to be dying.. but just because someone else hasn't gotten that memo or accepted it, doesn't invalidate all of their thinking.

I think that Robert is mistaken about the ethanol lobby. The real power behind the ethanol lobby is probably a secret shadowy group of auto mechanics, who are salivating over the size of the repair bills resulting from going from 10% to 15% ethanol in the gasoline supply. Of course, as illustrated below, we already have examples of what happens when ethanol does go over 10%.

Ethanol Hobbles Baltimore Police Fleet

Baltimore officials are blaming an unusually high amount of ethanol in gasoline for breakdowns in the city’s police fleet last weekend.

According to The Baltimore Sun, over 200 police cars experienced engine problems after fueling up at a city-run pump, and more than 70 had to be “sidelined.” Officials cited by The Sun said that laboratory results showed that ethanol – not diesel, as was initially suspected — was the problem. Frank O’Donnell of Clean Air Watch said in an e-mail message that Baltimore’s troubles provided a “great example of why the E.P.A. should not be forced to permit higher concentrations of ethanol in gasoline.”

Just because a bunch of keystone cops can't figure out which hose is gas and which is E85 doesn't have any bearing on whether we should go to higher ethanol blends. Clearly the amount of ethanol put in the police cars was way over the 10-15% ethanol contemplated in a new mandate. There is ample evidence that modern cars like those likely used by the Baltimore police can handle blends up to 20 or 30 percent ethanol. I myself have run E20 in a '95 P71 (police cruiser) Crown Victoria with no problem. Likewise in a '97 Ford Escort.

If we are going to make energy policy on the basis of mistakes made by the dumbest people then our goose is cooked. Using an obvious blend of way over 15 percent as argument for not going to E15 makes no sense.

I find it strange that billions of gallons of ethanol can be blended in the Midwest with very little problem, but when Baltimore police try it they screw it up.

The solution is to mandate that all cars be flex fuel.

It was a jobber at fault, not the police personnel: Second Opinion: Police Car Fuel Snafu - A virtual meeting of The Sun's editorial board, where issues are discussed, opinions made - baltimoresun.com.

Others have reasons to want ethanol free gasoline, owners of antique cars for instance.
Jay Hancock's blog: How many other cars is ethanol crippling? - Economic navigation and sightseeing - baltimoresun.com

UPDATE: The spokeswoman for the boat-maker lobby says they're worried about what ethanol is doing to marine engines:

Hi Jay,

Thank you for your blog post on the ethanol misfueling issue. Your question of how many cars is ethanol crippling is one we’ve been exploring with boats, specifically. Since ethanol causes your boat engine to run much hotter, we anticipate that mid-level ethanol blends could cause serious problems with drivability, phase separation and corrosion in fuel tanks, fuel leaks and emissions problems. Boaters on the Maryland shore and throughout the US have already reported many of these problems with E10.

Our main concern is that EPA hasn’t done any tests on marine engines and ethanol to date. If anything above E10 is introduced in the marketplace, it will likely be a nightmare for boaters.

In any case, thanks again for brining some awareness to the ethanol issue.

Christine Pomorski

How much will a new one mbpd oil field help us?

Rune & Sam are working on answering a question I posed regarding the North Sea, to-wit, let's divide the oil fields into two groups, those whose first full year of production was prior to 1999 and those whose first full year of production was in 1999 or later (the North Sea peaked in 1999). I'm going to see if I can do the same thing for Texas, probably focused on 10 mb and larger fields.

In any case, right now it looks like the answer is around one mbpd for the peak annual production rate (circa 2005-2006) for the North Sea, for fields whose first full year of production was in 1999 or later, versus a 1999 total production rate of about 6 mbpd, so the new fields would be about 16% of the peak production rate--as North Sea production declined at a net rate of about 4.5%/year. So, let's assume it's 1999 and I tell you that new oil fields in the North Sea will have a peak production rate of one mbpd by 2005. What decline rate would you expect to see?

Kind of puts a new one mbpd oil field in perspective in regard to worldwide production (about 1.4% of the 2005 rate), although the world decline rate will presumably be lower than the North Sea decline rate.

North Sea in black, Texas in blue:

Incidentally, a question for the Saudi Arabia has not peaked crowd:

As I have said several times, it's entirely possible that I am wrong about 2005 being the final Saudi production peak, and if it does turn out that 2005 was the final Saudi peak, there was an element of luck in posting the early 2006 graph of 2005 Saudi production lined up with 1972 Texas production: http://www.energybulletin.net/node/16459

But here's my question. Since the Saudis have continued to show annual production below their 2005 rate, at about the same stage of depletion at which the prior swing producer peaked, we just need one year of annual production in excess of 9.6 mbpd to refute the 2005 peak, but at what point in time would you concede that 2005 was the final annual Saudi production peak--2010, 2015, 2020?

Hello WT,

Ooooh, this is a really tough question for someone who doesn't have the statistical chops of Sam, Tony, or WHT! My feeble crack at it follows:

1. First [Worst?] case where KSA is 2009-now just starting to come off the high flowrate plateau from their old, but massive fields, then experiencing a Cantarell, Yibal, or Russian decline pace >15%/year in their old, but massive flowrate fields.

The recent addition of new KSA fields, plus the old fields constant rework of waterfront override areas with ESPs and Jetpumps, would give them 5 years breathing room before inevitable depletion, again at 15%, catches up with them when the MRCs start to heavily water out again. Thus, this scenario says by [2010+5]=2015==>no matter what KSA tries to do thereafter [even if prod. is incentivized by high price/bbl], they can and have been only shipping less and less. No more denial; KSA finally fesses up publicly in 2015 that they had fast decline starting back in 2009/2010 and we are all screwed now.

2. Next case where KSA came off old field plateau back in 2005, but decline moderates to IEA statement of approx 7%. The new fields and rework are also at 7%. Using Rule of 72: 2005 + 10 = 2015 for one half of 2005 peak, Saudi King fesses up in 2015 that we are screwed.

3. Saudi King announces again that he has plenty of oil, but wishes to save it for future generations' enjoyment. Proclaims 2005 yearly volume to be cut in half immediately; self-imposed 'above-ground scenario', not geological. He embraces ASPO Protocols, cuts production when/if Israel and/or US attack Iran. Timing? IMO, guaranteed anytime before 2015 from scenarios 1,2 above. Simmons' audit finally takes place that reveals either 1 or 2 above. We are STILL Screwed, but it was merely announced earlier.

Combined probability sum of 1,2,3 above = 100%. World accepts Peakoil in 2015, half-glass Peakoil Shoutout is now a culturally-engrained tradition everywhere.

My [19 @ '19] WAG is historically proven when stats come out in 2020.

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

I have not posted here in a long time. but i had to post this. i find it very funny and interesting that all the countries* in Europe dead set against iran's nuclear program all seem to be on the end of the pipeline of natural gas coming from Russia.

*i have been hearing on and off again reports of support from Russia so i don't know about that.

And the connection between Iranian nuclear power and Russian gas and gas transit to Europe is?

iran is a exporter of natural gas and oil. not as large as russia is though.

From: Robert Bryce - America: A World Leader in Oil Exports!

Thus, while total US imports increased by 2.2 million barrels per day, or about 20%, over that time period, the amount of US exports of refined products doubled, to about 1.8 million barrels per day.

The difference between 2.2 and 1.8 is only .4 bpd, but look closer and you see the increase of 2.2 is 'by' and the increase of 1.8 is 'to'. Increases of by and to are different, because by means the actual total of 2.2, and to means only from what it was before to what it is now.

It's misleading. But even if one were to compare 2.2 and 1.8, it still means the amount we are importing is increasing greater than the amount we are exporting!!!

So although the article's title and line of reasoning seems to be leading one to think,'oh, I guess we shouldn't be as worried about our importation of oil, in the reality of closer inspection it draws stark attention to our growing dependence on oil! He mentions neocons so many times, I wonder if he is one, but is trying to distance himself from that group in an attempt to substantiate his premise because they have no credibility. But then he compromises his credibility with the article, so is he a neocon?

"A world leader in oil exports" does seem to be a tad misleading, especially since the US has been a net oil importer for more than 60 years.

US Net Oil Imports (EIA):

An very illustrative graph WT, which shows only a reduction of imports recently from the economic near death experience. Wow, 60 years! No wonder there is always 'talk' of becoming energy independent.

He mentions neocons so many times, I wonder if he is one, but is trying to distance himself from that group in an attempt to substantiate his premise because they have no credibility. But then he compromises his credibility with the article, so is he a neocon?

I know Robert, and he is definitely not a neocon. In fact, he is pretty liberal (he was a very harsh critic of Bush), but his energy views are quite conservative. I find myself in agreement with him 80% of the time, but I disagree with him on gas taxes and on his views on imports. He used to be in favor of gas taxes, but changed his views. As I pointed out in my book review for Gusher of Lies, I think the reasons for his abandonment of this position falls down under closer inspection:


Also, on imports, I have the same disagreement with one of the regular posters on my blog. He asks why I am so concerned about energy imports and not car imports. Here is what I told him yesterday:

First, this is an energy blog. Second, I am concerned about the overall trade deficit, but see the previous point. Third, imported vehicles aren't subject to a tripling in price over the course of a year. Fourth, even if they were, it is a lot easier for me not to buy an imported vehicle than to not buy imported oil. Demand for the latter is much less elastic. Over the long range, people can make arrangements to reduce consumption, but not everyone can do that over the short term.

I would say the same to Bryce. I think dependence on foreign oil places a country in a particularly vulnerable position. Essentially you are gambling that oil prices won't spike and crush the economy. Not a good gamble, IMO.

Expensive energy imports become an Achilles' Heel for exports as well. How can you manufacture good to sell locally, and abroad when the dollar is low, if at that same point oil is necessarily most expensive? How can you grow food profitably to sell abroad if the embodied energy cost is high?

America desperately needs cheap energy (NOT oil) to recover its manufacturing base as the dollar eventually crumbles.

I wonder if the US energy usage drop since the 80's wasn't an increase in efficiency, but just a side-effect of the economic shift from a manufacturing to a service economy?

Germany (pop. ~90 million) exports more goods than the USA (agricultural goods included) and their energy costs are substantially higher than the USA.

Cheap energy is *NOT* the key to manufacturing. Energy efficient manufacturing (see Germany) may be.


Germany exports more than China? That's news to me - thanks. I should get out more!

Efficiency is a major key, but the US will likely fall further than Germany and the EU once the dollar falls. Oil scarcity combined with a low dollar in about 2015 is really going to be a nasty vice I fear. Any cheap energy (plus as much efficiency as we can manage by then) would help soften the blow, but nothing is going to save BAU that I can see.

I remember reading that China passed Germany for value of exports in the recent recession.

One bit is buying Made in the USA goods. I recently researched washing machines and only two are made here, Staber and Bosch. The new Bosch Vision is the most energy efficient one made (Staber is very good though).

Also, only one USA company makes eyeglass frames here, one nail maker (Maze), etc.

Best Hopes for bringing manufacturing back,


I see many historically successful small businesses that are struggling now, and if their component prices from China went up 50% they'd be completely hosed. So many components can't be sourced in the US at all -- simply no remaining suppliers.

It's scary, really.

One reason to buy Made in USA, especially for essentials (I see eyeglass frames as being an essential product).

This site links to a number of Made in USA products


American Optical

I may have found a second US maker of eyeglass frames:


A one person artisan maker (with some help)


Military frames


Best Hopes for more Made in USA products,


Expensive energy imports become an Achilles' Heel for exports as well.

A low valued currency is supposed to be good for exports. All imports go up in price proportionately, but all domestic content -especially labour are priced in the national currency, so all in all a cheap dollar should be a boon to exports. More so to exports of things with higher domestic content.

jhk, the curmudgeon of armageddon, sez "the usa uses one billion barrels of oil every two weeks, almost all of which is imported from other nations". simple mathematics means that is 26 billion barrels a year. now jhk is some sort of "hexpert". if i was to bandy such a figure about TOD lots regular doomers would call me out on it. but let us say jhk is right. and let us say china and india are approaching same consumption levels. how long can this current level of consumption last? for the usa, it means 260 billion barrels over a decade. i also read, on TOD, that 40% is used for transportation. that implies burning and the release of exhaust gases. all that goes into the air. i dont know the exact percentages but i will guess a huge remainder turns into plastic which ends up in the oceans. if i was a gold man sacker i would be investing in ocean farming- not of fish but plastic. but i digress. jhk is always saying the next quarter (real soon like)will see the end of western technical civilization. i agree with his conclusion but not the time line. 10 years, that is what we got. will they be ten good years? for some, but mostly it will get nastier and nastier and that is if there are no unexpected situations some call black swans (war, pestilence, climate change (although what we really need is PRIMATE CHANGE)). i mentioned lots of times how i never hear discussed peak oil or limits to growth at all except on sites such as TOD or doomer blogs. it's the paradigm of hegemony. that is to say no one does nothing until it is too late. lot's of folks in for a rude awakening. what to do about it? see what happens next. too much conflicting "data" or should i say misinformation? it's the oil conundrum.

There is a mistake somewhere. Do you have a link? It's possible that Jim was talking about total energy, in terms of oil equivalent.

.... ANWAR contains perhaps four billion barrels of oil. Since America uses over 20 million barrels a day (one billion every fifty days), ANWAR represents about a half year's supply


humbaba, call me a dinosaur, but your use of all lower case letters (except for the CAPITALIZED words) drives me nuts so I didn't even read your comment, no matter how good it was. The Shift key is your friend...

maybe he is another anti-capitalist.

That hurt.

...as does paragraphs. I skipped it too.

Hello TODers,

from LATOCer Bdrube:

35 Million Americans on Food Stamps: 12 Percent of U.S. Population on Food Stamps Highest Since Records Kept in 1969.

..In the span of one month, the number jumped by over a million.

..I can only imagine how our country would look like right now if there were no food stamps or unemployment insurance. Can you imagine 35 million people out on the street in the United States of America?

..Ask those 35 million Americans if they feel the recession is over.

Deleted. Posted in old drumbeat by mistake.