Drumbeat: October 1, 2009

Natural gas tumbles with most ever in storage

NEW YORK — Natural gas prices tumbled Thursday after the government reported the U.S. is using so little that it has more in storage now than at any other time on record.

The report was welcome news for homeowners who heat their homes and cook their meals with natural gas. Suppliers already have cut rates in many parts of the country as stockpiles ballooned above the five-year average, and a continued drop in natural gas prices should convince others to cut prices as well.

Natural gas for November delivery fell 34.7 cents, or 7.2 percent, to $4.494 per 1,000 cubic feet on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The Energy Information Administration reported Thursday that underground aquifers and caverns in the lower 48 states stored 3.589 trillion cubic feet of natural gas last week, topping the previous all-time high of 3.545 trillion cubic feet set on Nov. 2, 2007. Government records go back to 1975.

NATO chief warns of climate change security risks

LONDON — Climate change has "potentially huge security implications" and NATO countries should use the alliance as a forum to address the challenges it creates, the new NATO chief said Thursday.

Rising sea levels, droughts and falling food production could spark large population movements and conflict, while the melting of Arctic ice risked inflaming tensions in the region, Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.

"I think it is within the natural scope of work for NATO to be the forum for consultation and discussion on these issues," he told reporters following a speech at a joint NATO and Lloyds conference in London.

Could Food Shortages Bring Down Civilization?

“In early 2008, Saudi Arabia announced that, after being self-sufficient in wheat for over 20 years, the non-replenishable aquifer it had been pumping for irrigation was largely depleted,” writes Lester R. Brown in his new book, Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization (W.W. Norton & Company).

“In response, officials said they would reduce their wheat harvest by one eighth each year until production would cease entirely in 2016. The Saudis then plan to use their oil wealth to import virtually all the grain consumed by their Canada-sized population of nearly 30 million people,” notes Brown, President and Founder of the Earth Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based independent environmental research organization.

“The Saudis are unique in being so wholly dependent on irrigation,” says Brown in Plan B 4.0. But other, far larger, grain producers such as India and China are facing irrigation water losses and could face grain production declines.

Ukraine oil import plan hits Russia-owned refinery

MOSCOW/KIEV1 (Reuters) - Russia's LUKOIL may be forced to halt its Odessa refinery in Ukraine if it is unable to find crude volumes to replace those cut off by Ukraine's plan to import oil through the Black Sea port in October.

Ukraine's plans to ease its dependence on Russian crude oil supplies URL-E may also result in the stoppage of Urals exports from the Odessa port, industry sources said on Thursday.

EnCana bets on strong bitumen prices

Canadian giant EnCana which is splitting into two companies, said “strength” in heavy oil prices will continue.

“With the current oil price at $67 approximately, we’re realizing a bitumen field price in the range of $52 to $54 per barrel,” EnCana executive David Goldie said in a presentation on a conference call with investors and analysts today.

Dong to double Gazprom flows

Danish utility Dong Energy signed a contract with Russian monopoly Gazprom to double deliveries of natural gas through the Nord Stream pipeline from 2012.

The Danish utility in a statement said it would activate an option in its initial Gazprom contract to double deliveries from the initial 1 billion cubic metres of natural gas through the Nord Stream pipeline.

Nigeria oil militant 'ends fight'

One of Nigeria's militant leaders has given up his armed struggle against the government in the oil-rich Niger Delta.

Ateke Tom told a news conference the government had offered him a pardon, and said: "I hereby formally accept the amnesty offer and lay down my arms."

Gulf State Gamble

A growing need for high-wage jobs for citizens, as well as a desire to be prepared for the post-carbon economy, has kicked biotech development into high gear.

Petrobras, Tenaris Share Forecasts Increased at Deutsche on Oil

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil’s state-run oil producer, and Tenaris SA, the world’s biggest maker of steel tubes for pipelines, had their share estimates raised at Deutsche Bank AG on higher oil price assumptions.

Petrobras’s American depositary receipt forecast was increased to $48 from $42 while Tenaris’s was raised to $41 from $30, analyst Marcus Sequeira wrote in a research note.

Venezuela says no new Orinoco areas after Carabobo

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela will not assign any new areas in the Orinoco oil belt after it completes an auction for its Carabobo project, the Venezuelan state-run oil company PDVSA said on Thursday.

Florida drilling gets boost from solar

The Florida Solar Energy Industries Association (FSEIA) backs drilling offshore of the Sunshine state, saying that revenues from offshore production should act as a bridge to renewable energy.

“With Florida expected to face billion-dollar budget shortfalls for at least the next three years, revenues from oil and gas drilling could help our state meet its budget needs while providing a permanent, dedicated revenue source for programmes that invest in renewable energy technologies,” FSEIA boss Bruce Kershner said.

“We believe the proposal to tap these energy resources, with stringent environmental protections, can help move our state toward renewable energies that will reduce our country’s dependence on fossil fuels.”

Refiners May Violate Credit Terms as U.S. Fuel Demand Sputters

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. refiners may fail to meet financial requirements of their credit agreements later this year as slumping fuel demand erodes the profitability of making gasoline and diesel.

Independent refiners, which don’t have oil and natural-gas wells to fall back on, are being pushed to the brink of violating performance covenants of their loans, said Scott Van Bergh, energy banking chief for the Americas at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York. Bankers and analysts say Western Refining Inc., Tesoro Corp. and Alon USA Energy Inc. are among those fuel makers at risk of failing to meet debt terms.

Extra $1.4bn for Sakhalin 2

Gazprom-led Sakhalin Energy has lined up $1.4 billion in new funding for the Sakhalin 2 liquefied natural gas project, according to reports.

The money comes on top of $5.3 billion provided by the Japan Bank for International Co-operation and a consortium of international commercial banks, Reuters quoted Ian Craig, the head of the project, telling Russian news agency Interfax.

The new funds will be paid in soon, Craig told Interfax.

Finnish Foreign Min. Foresees 'Arctic Strategy' to Exploit Reserves

Finland is to get an Arctic strategy to allow it to establish guidelines for Finland's possibilities to exploit the areas. According to Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Stubb (Nat. Coalition Party), the strategy is to be ready already next year.

"The Arctic regions have proven invaluable. We need to put effort into it," Stubb said at the 20th anniversary celebrations of the Arctic Centre in Rovaniemi.

CNOOC in Talks to Enter $5B Uganda Oil Project

China state-owned CNOOC Ltd. has become the latest company to enter talks with Uganda over a large Tullow Oil PLC-led project, people familiar with the matter said this week.

Barnett Shale Seen as Model for Drillers Worldwide

The search for unconventional natural gas deposits in areas like the Barnett Shale of North Texas not only is dominating gas drilling in the United States, but it will also become pervasive worldwide.

State Issues Rules on Upstate Natural Gas Drilling Near City’s Water

After months of deliberations, state environmental regulators on Wednesday released long-awaited rules governing natural gas production in upstate New York, including provisions to oversee drilling operations near New York City’s water supplies.

The regulations, in a report requested last year by Gov. David A. Paterson, do not ban drilling near the watersheds, as many environmental advocates had urged. But the report sets strict rules on where wells can be drilled and requires companies to disclose the chemicals they use.

Russia's Gazprom starts trading natural gas in U.S.

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A unit of Russia's energy giant Gazprom said on Thursday it had begun trading and marketing of natural gas in North America in a first foray into the United States by a Gazprom Group's company.

Pemex to produce less than 1.5Mb/d by 2017 - analyst

It will be very difficult for Mexican state oil company Pemex to produce more than 1.5Mb/d oil by 2017, independent Mexican energy analyst David Shields said in a presentation at the Green Expo in Mexico City.

Production is currently just more than 2.5Mb/d, down from some 3.4Mb/d four years ago.

"Pemex's outlook lacks seriousness in all senses," Shields said, adding that the company has adopted the hoped-for output of 3Mb/d through 2017 and simply summed production sources to reach that total.

Venezuela to Set New Conditions for Carabobo Auction

Venezuelan state energy firm Petroleos de Venezuela said after a meeting with top oil companies that it will set new and final conditions on the Carabobo oil drilling auction on Nov. 12.

In a statement late Wednesday, the company also said the auction in which PdVSA will receive oil firms' offers is being pushed back to Jan. 28. The planned bidding has already been delayed several times amid lower global oil prices that have sapped some of the excitement out of Venezuela's first oil licensing round in years.

Pickup Sales Fall in Another Blow to Automakers

PONTIAC, Mich. — The closing of a big General Motors truck plant this week is another sign that America’s love affair with pickup trucks is fading fast.

Duke opens two wind farms, taps Siemens

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Duke Energy said on Thursday it brought two new wind power projects on line and said it would use Siemens Energy wind turbines as well as General Electric turbines at a planned Wyoming wind farm.

Growth in wind power has slowed this year due to the crisis in credit markets, but the United States is still expected to add about 6,000 MW of wind capacity, equivalent to about six coal-fired power plants.

Texas uses wind power to stay world energy capital

For years now, Houston has been known as the energy capital of the world. When renewables started to appear on the horizon, many in the Lone Star State feared Texas’s days in that leadership capacity were numbered. People increasingly said they no longer wanted to rely on fossil fuels and particularly oil - the stuff Texas was famous for.

Fast forward a few years and it is clear Texans are much more than just a bunch of oil men, they are entrepreneurs.

Report: Chinese Solar Capacity Could Jump to 1GW or More by 2011

As China primes its energy market for explosive growth, the country could see 1 gigawatt of solar power generation capacity by 2011, said a new report by GTM Research.

That would be a big jump from the current 140 megawatts of mostly off-grid solar power generation capacity, assuming that China is on track to deploy the incentives it outlined earlier this year and approve projects without delay, the report said.

Solar Panel Tariff May Further Strain U.S.-China Trade

HONG KONG — Companies that import solar panels to the United States are facing up to $70 million in unexpected tariffs.

The bill comes at a time when the industry is already struggling and could hurt both foreign solar panel makers and foreign and American distributors.

It could also further strain trade relations between the United States and China.

John Michael Greer: The Metaphysics of Money

Compare any two energy resources in practical terms and it’s clear that in most cases they’re not even apples and oranges; they’re apples and orangutans. Take petroleum and solar energy as good examples. A highly concentrated form of chemical energy and a rather diffuse form of electromagnetic energy have very little in common, and even when they can do the same things – you can heat a house with passive solar design, for example, or you can heat it with an oil-fired burner – the technologies are totally different. Easy talk about swapping one for the other thus evades the immense challenge and nearly unimaginable cost of scrapping multiple continent-wide infrastructures geared to oil and building new ones suited to solar energy. (There are plenty of other questions that it ducks, too, but this one will do for starters.)

Presumably an economist would notice something odd if he sat down at a lunch counter, ordered the daily special, and was handed instead a box of socket wrenches, even if the price of the wrenches was exactly the same as the daily special. If the economist was starving on a desert island and a crate that washed ashore proved to contain socket wrenches rather than food, the difference would be a matter of life or death. This latter is uncomfortably close to our position just now, as the world’s energy companies race each other and the clock to extract fossil fuels in nearly unimaginable volumes from the Earth’s dwindling supplies. If we allow ourselves to wait until those supplies start to run short, it will be much too late to start retooling our civilization for some other energy resource, even if one happens to turn up.

Can one woman save Africa?

When does planting a tree become a revolutionary act – and unleash an army of gunmen who want to shoot you dead? The answer to this question lies in the unlikely story of Wangari Maathai.

She was born on the floor of a mud hut with no water or electricity in the middle of rural Kenya, in the place where human beings took their first steps. There was no money but there was at least lush green rainforest and cool, clear drinking water. But Maathai watched as the life-preserving landscape of her childhood was hacked down. The forests were felled, the soils dried up, and the rivers died, so a corrupt and distant clique could profit. She started a movement to begin to make the land green again – and in the process she went to prison, nearly died, toppled a dictator, transformed how African women saw themselves, and won a Nobel Prize.

Post-human Earth: How the planet will recover from us

WHEN Nobel prize-winning atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen coined the word Anthropocene around 10 years ago, he gave birth to a powerful idea: that human activity is now affecting the Earth so profoundly that we are entering a new geological epoch.

The Anthropocene has yet to be accepted as a geological time period, but if it is, it may turn out to be the shortest - and the last. It is not hard to imagine the epoch ending just a few hundred years after it started, in an orgy of global warming and overconsumption.

Bill McKibben - Earth to Obama: You can't negotiate with the planet

The House has already approved the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, and a Senate version is expected at month's end. Even if Congress drags its feet, Obama will visit China in mid-November to likely conclude a bilateral pact that will set the stage for the huge Copenhagen climate conference in December. It promises to be one more big fight.

But, throughout the process, as industry and environmentalists, Chinese and Indians, Americans and Europeans push and prod each other, another more important negotiation will be going on behind the scenes. That negotiation features human beings--led more by Obama than anyone else on the planet--against physics and chemistry. It's not going to be enough to strike a deal with Beijing or Delhi, to meet in the middle on some mutually plausible scheme. A deal has to be struck with the climate itself, and the climate is unlikely to haggle.

The Australian town that kicked the bottle

Plastic bottles were ceremoniously removed from shelves in the sleepy Australian town of Bundanoon at the weekend as a ban on commercially-bottled water – believed to be a world first – came into force.

The ban, which is supported by local shopkeepers, means bottled water can no longer be bought in the town in the Southern Highlands, two hours from Sydney. Instead, reusable bottles have gone on sale, which can be refilled for free at new drinking fountains.

Bill McKibben: A Timely Reminder of the Real Limits to Growth

I thought of Limits to Growth last week, when Nature published a lead article by a large and illustrious team headed by the Stockholm scientist Johan Rockstrom. Titled “A Safe Operating Space for Humanity,” it set boundaries for nine interlinked planetary thresholds, arguing that if we crossed them we risked destroying the “unusual stability” that has marked the Holocene, which is the name scientists use for the last 10,000 years, the period when civilization arose.

The almost-good news is, we don’t know enough about two processes that lead to crossing those thresholds — the loading of aerosols and particulates in the atmosphere, and the effects of chemical pollution — to know if we’ve already gone too far.

The bad news is, we’re close to crossing most of the rest of the boundaries. The authors estimate that we currently allow 9.5 million tons of phosphorus to flow annually into our oceans, mostly because of fertilizer use, and that past 11 million tons we may well trigger “large-scale ocean anoxic events.” Ozone concentrations in the atmosphere — 290 Dobson units before the Industrial Revolution and 283 at present — can’t dip below 276 without catastrophe, the authors note.

An eco message for the masses

Why am I doling out the Haterade? Here are the scary facts that McKibben & Co. won’t share with the impressionable youth: There have been two, and only two, significant environmental events in the past year and a half. The first was last summer’s run-up in gasoline prices. It was $4 per gallon gasoline that for the first time in living memory (temporarily) reduced Americans’ automobile use. That meant less pollution, and less carbon released into the atmosphere.

The other significant environmental event was last fall’s near-collapse of the global market economy. Again, consumption declined and manufacturing output fell. People traveled less and bought less. Net result: less carbon released into the atmosphere. Those effects, too, are temporary.

Enviro-score to date: Invisible Hand 2, Human Behavior 0.

Trouble for Iraqi elections brewing in oil hub

BAGHDAD — Iraqi lawmakers appear to be snagged again at a familiar impasse: how to settle power-sharing disputes in the oil-rich city of Kirkuk before important national elections.

Parliament officials have scheduled a Thursday session to seek some compromises in the three-way dispute that has held up critical laws on oil investment and increased worries about more ethnic-driven violence. But each side — Kurds, Arabs and Turkomen clans — has shown little sign of giving in as they did in January's races for provincial councils.

Russia, Kazakhstan deals elusive

Russia and Kazakhstan's leadership have reiterated pledges to boost their bilateral economic and energy partnership. However, they remain divided over some divergent interests, notably in gas processing and oil transit.

Gas shortage could leave Anchorage in the dark

On a warm and sunny Wednesday afternoon, Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan broke the bad news to residents of Alaska's largest city: They better be prepared to shiver in dimly lit houses this winter if they want to avoid freezing to death in dark ones.

Lawmakers order audit of state natural gas corporation

JUNEAU -- A legislative committee has ordered an audit of the state-funded Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority.

Brunei: Streetlights Off To Conserve Power

Bandar Seri Begawan - With the current unstable electricity supply situation, the Department of Electrical Services (DES) has resorted to switching off street lightings in several areas to compensate the heavy load on the grid.

UAE: Learn from the past to ensure energy supply

One consumer doesn’t receive a utility bill for six months, another is asked by his landlord to pay the previous tenant’s delinquent charges, and another complains about exorbitant rates in a country where price per kilowatt/hour is well below generation costs. Some of those problems come from confusion at the consumer level, but it doesn’t take an electrical engineer to conclude that there are glitches in the electricity supply. Nor does it take an expert to shed light on recent blackouts in Sharjah and Ajman and the exclusion of 1,000 buildings in the northern emirates from the federal grid.

Energy challenges in Nigeria : The way forward

Nigeria is the sixth largest producer of crude oil in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Africa after Algeria . The current power generation in Nigeria as of today is estimated at less than 6,000 megawatt.

This is a far cry from the projected power requirement that would adequately sustain our industrial and domestic activities in the quest to be among the industrialised nations in the 21st Century. No doubt Nigeria is undergoing an energy crisis. This results in a disparity between the actual energy generated (useful power) and what is available for consumption in the distribution network via the national grid.

Pemex Sells 1 Billion Euros of Bonds Due January 2017

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleos Mexicanos, the country’s state-owned oil company, sold 1 billion euros ($1.5 billion) of bonds due in 2017 to help finance a record investment plan aimed at reversing the fastest decline in production in six decades.

Saudi and Malaysia plan $2.5bn energy, oil invest fund

In a statement the companies said the fund would target the renewable energy sector and “long-term sustainable economic development” projects in Malaysia. It is also aimed at attracting further investment from the oil-rich Middle East region to Malaysia, the statement said.

Too Hot Not To Handle

What I liked best about the book was its section on the opportunities presented to us by what Friedman sees as an inter-connected fivefold set of global issues: tightening energy supplies; an intensified extinction of plants and animals; deepening energy poverty in the third-world; a strengthening of petro-dictatorships; the acceleration of climate change. Friedman (although he shies away from giving cost estimates of the proposed shifts) charts the policies we will need to address the energy issues: target mandates for renewable energy sources for all utilities; a price signal on carbon expenditures—either a tax or, preferably, a cap and trade scheme; new regulations fostering greater energy efficiency in building codes; dual use buildings to save on energy; a much expanded research and development program for new, clean energy. Friedman argues that if we are only looking for easy quick-fixes on energy renewal we merely play games. What we need is an energy system.

Rebutting Mr. Tamminen's Battery Electric Car 'Myths'

We at The California Cars Initiative (and our colleagues at Plug In America and elsewhere), were surprised to see the strong critique of plug-in vehicles at the website of the influential and usually eminently reasonable New America Foundation. In his posting, "The Myth of Battery Cars" NAF Senior Fellow Terry Tamminen, who serves as its Director of its Climate Policy Program, starts off saying "it's time to dump the battery-powered car in the same policy landfill as corn-based ethanol, and he concludes with "battery cars are no more viable at this time for solving our oil addiction on a large-scale basis than corn-based ethanol."

Call for research into pesticides blamed for vanishing bees

A recent review of current research by Buglife suggested that bees eating nectar and pollen containing certain neonicotinoids foraged less and produced fewer offspring. The chemicals are restricted in many European countries including France and Germany following similar research.

The Co-Operative Group, that is campaigning on the issue, has called on the Government to carry out its own research.

No rainforest, no monsoon: get ready for a warmer world

What will a 4 °C world look like? Brace yourself: the picture painted by the 130 climate researchers at the Oxford conference is not pretty. An average global increase of 4 °C translates to a rise of up to 15 °C at the North Pole. Summers in parts of the Arctic would be as balmy as California's Napa valley. Sea levels would rise by up to 1.4 metres, according to Stefan Rahmstorf at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany. Even the less pessimistic estimate of a 0.65-metre rise by 2100 would put at least 190 million people a year at risk from floods, says Rahmstorf's colleague Jochen Hinkel.

Australia’s Dust Bowl and Global Warming

A number of prominent scientists around the world said that Australia’s recent travails — prolonged drought, devastating fires and now dust storms, which blanketed Sydney last week — are linked to climate change, which is making an arid continent’s environment far more disaster prone. Some Australian researchers emphasized historical weather patterns. Conservationists, while calling for global action on climate change, also said that Australia needs to do more in its own backyard to protect land and water resources from agricultural, development and industrial interests.

What is the relationship of climate change to Australia’s problems? What is the lesson for the rest of the world?

'Planned recession' could avoid catastrophic climate change

Britain will have to stop building airports, switch to electric cars and shut down coal-fired power stations as part of a 'planned recession' to avoid dangerous climate change.

At U.S. gas pumps, it's Canada versus the rest of the world. And Canada's winning

Most consumers don't know it, but the oil sands that environmentalists love to hate - including Greenpeace, which sneaked activists into a Suncor Energy Inc. mine yesterday - are helping to steadily decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil. (Assuming that, like oilman T. Boone Pickens, you don't consider Canada to be "foreign.")

The U.S. Energy Department reported this week that July imports of Canadian oil hit 2.1 million barrels a day, a 5.4-per-cent rise from June numbers. It was the highest on record since the United States began releasing country-specific numbers 36 years ago - and came as Saudi imports reached a 20-year low in June.

The power, and threat, of Iran

The Pittsburgh dramatics, in a sense, signal the culmination of three pivotal events that took place in the Middle East 20 years ago. The first was the implosion of the Soviet Union in 1989; the second was the 1991 Persian Gulf War; the third was Yitzhak Rabin's victory in the 1992 Israeli elections. The consequences from these momentous events are coming to a head for Obama now. His course of action may determine whether this region is about to enter a new phase of bitter conflict or a new era of strategic change.

GM to shut down Saturn after deal with Penske falls apart

DETROIT — After months of negotiations aimed at saving the Saturn brand, General Motors said Wednesday it will stop making Saturn vehicles this year and wind down the brand by the end of 2010.

Windy days lower energy production costs

Windy days lower the production costs of energy in Ireland, the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) said today.

According to analysis revealed by the association at its autumn conference in Galway, strong winds have helped Ireland to save more than €200,000 a day on energy production costs.

George F. Will: Cooling Down the Cassandras

America needs a national commission appointed to assess the evidence about climate change. Alarmists will fight this because the first casualty would be the carefully cultivated and media-reinforced myth of consensus -- the bald assertion that no reputable scientist doubts the gravity of the crisis, doubts being conclusive evidence of disreputable motives or intellectual qualifications. The president, however, could support such a commission because he is sure "there's finally widespread recognition of the urgency of the challenge before us." So he announced last week at the U.N. climate change summit, where he said the threat is so "serious" and "urgent" that unless all nations act "boldly, swiftly and together" -- "time . . . is running out" -- we risk "irreversible catastrophe." Prince Charles agrees. In March, seven months ago, he said humanity had 100 months -- until July 2017 -- to prevent "catastrophic climate change and the unimaginable horrors that this would bring." Evidently humanity will prevent this.

What Could 4 Degree Warming Mean For The World?

Speaking at the international conference called ‘4 degrees and beyond’ at Oxford University, Dr Richard Betts, Head of Climate Impacts at the Met Office Hadley Centre, described the possibility of a 4 degree warming happening ‘before the end of the century’. He added that a scenario of very intensive fossil fuel burning could bring this forward by 20 years.

Foresting the Sahara

There's ambition, there's drive and then there's hatching a plan to combat climate change by turning the Sahara into a forest. The idea alone is enough to make your head ache. But Leonard Ornstein, a cell biologist at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, reckons he has worked out the details of how to afforest the world's largest desert - oh, and the Australian Outback as well.

Baghdad blacklists Sinopec

Iraq has banned China's Sinopec from the country's second bidding round because the state-run player has yet to ditch a contract in Iraq's northern Kurdistan region inherited when it took over Addax Petroleum, Iraq's Deputy Oil Minister Abdul Kareem al-Leaby said.

"I think yes," Leaby told Dow Jones when asked if his ministry would bar Sinopec from taking part in the country's second licensing auction expected to take place later this year.

Abdul Manhdy al-Ameedi, the deputy head of the ministry's petroleum contracts and licensing directorate, which is in charge of Iraq's bidding rounds, confirmed that the ministry has blacklisted Sinopec.

"Sinopec is blacklisted unless it changes its position and withdraw from these (Kurdish) contracts," he told the news agency.

China's birthday present: More resources

China's Communist regime is celebrating its 60th birthday this week with a massive parade in Beijing, and another big play for a greater share of the global resource pie.

Oil Falls as Supplies Cast Doubt on Biggest Surge Since April

(Bloomberg) -- Crude fell on speculation that yesterday’s 6 percent rally wasn’t justified because U.S. oil stockpiles are 10 percent above their five-year average.

Oil surged yesterday the most since April after the U.S. Energy Department reported a surprise decline in inventories of gasoline. Crude supplies climbed by 2.8 million barrels to 338.4 million, the report showed, more than analysts were estimating. Oil prices gained 1 percent between July and September, the third straight quarterly gain.

OPEC Oil Output Falls in September, Bloomberg News Survey Shows

(Bloomberg) -- The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries trimmed production for a second consecutive month, led by declines in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Angola, a Bloomberg News survey showed.

Production averaged 28.395 million barrels a day last month, down 50,000 from August, according to the survey of oil companies, producers and analysts.

Excluding Iraq, which doesn’t participate in output cuts implemented by the organization last year, the group’s production fell 10,000 barrels a day from the previous month to 26.045 million, 1.2 million more than the target.

Oilpatch downturn prompts rig project delays

EnCana was expected to provide up to $1 million per rig, for up to five rigs, as part of offshore energy agreements with the province. However, work was halted on the partially built rigs because of the downturn in Canada's oilpatch.

Estabrooks wouldn't say whether there was any guarantee that the work on the onshore rigs would be done.

"We've got a two-year extension at this stage and I'm satisfied with that … I guess time will tell and it's something we'll have to address in our ongoing relationship with the company."

Ecuador: 1 dead, at least 49 wounded in protest

QUITO, Ecuador — Police on Wednesday battled Amazon Indians protesting laws they believe would encourage oil drilling and mining on their lands, leaving one Indian dead and 40 police and nine Indians wounded, officials said. Indians said two civilians were killed.

"Tremendously violent groups armed with shotguns and rifles waited for police and met them with gunshots," President Rafael Correa said in a late news conference.

Ecuadorean Car Salesman Denies Seeking Bribe in Chevron Case

(Bloomberg) -- Carlos Patricio Garcia, who said he is a member of Ecuador’s ruling political party, denied seeking a $3 million bribe from two businessmen who secretly recorded him and turned over the videos to Chevron Corp.

Chevron alleged the recordings show a bribery scheme implicating Ecuadorean government officials and the judge who was overseeing a $27 billion environmental lawsuit against it. Garcia, 55, a car salesman in Quito, said he solicited contributions for Ecuador’s Alianza Pais ruling party and provided transportation and catering at its events. He claimed the oil company was behind the recordings, which he says were manipulated to discredit the country’s court system and to have the case dismissed.

“They made it look like I had all kinds of connections at the top, but I’m just like the baker on the corner: I know a lot of people, I talk to everybody, but I’m just a baker,” he said in a Sept. 29 interview in Quito. “These videos are not the original videos. They are edited versions.”

Rosneft Welcomes Privatization Talk

Rosneft CEO Sergei Bogdanchikov would welcome a move by the state to sell more of its shares, he said Wednesday, after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin promised a new wave of privatizations.

Bogdanchikov said the sale needed to attract new shareholders and investors. “I am aware of such proposals. We have not discussed them but in general, in terms of increasing the free float, attracting new investors, we welcome them,” Bogdanchikov told reporters on the sidelines of VTB Capital’s investment forum.

Why Russia's Oil Market Will Never Look Like America's

In brief, take-or-pay was largely an artifact of the integration of the pipeline transportation and marketing of gas. Once pipelines became open access common carriers, these contracts became unnecessary, and buyers and sellers relied on more market-like arrangements.

Nothing like that is in prospect in contracting for pipeline-transported gas in Eurasia. This is primarily true because the mother of all bundled gas companies–Gazprom–sits at the center of everything. Indeed, Gazprom wants to extend its integrated activities into downstream marketing.

Pertamina runs short of patience on Cepu

State-owned Pertamina said ExxonMobil has been given ‘enough time’ to lift oil flow from Cepu, hinting it may push for changes in a contract to operate the oil and gas block.

Iraq and its oil: Deterring foreign investors

SUITORS keep knocking on the door of Iraq’s oil ministry but the people inside are still coyly loth to say “come in”. Licences to develop oil fields are being awarded at tortoise speed. The ministry has been telling companies looking for exploration and drilling contracts to give unusually large upfront loans before they can be considered for long-term deals. Iraq’s parliament, still full of MPs who are wary of foreigners coming to “steal Iraq’s oil”, have obstructed progress by failing to pass the required laws. Still, Iraq has the fourth-largest oil reserves in the world behind Saudi Arabia, Canada and Iran. With MPs in recess for the summer, technocrats in the ministry have quietly been taking some cautious steps towards turning Iraq into the global hydrocarbon giant it says it wants to be.

IMF ups Mideast growth to 4.2 percent in 2010

CAIRO (AP) — The International Monetary Fund on Thursday raised its forecast for economic growth in the Middle East to 4.2 percent next year, citing the rebound in oil prices and stabilization of the global economy.

The increase of half a percentage point from the IMF's earlier estimate largely reflects the overall increase in crude oil prices, the dominant revenue source for many Middle Eastern economies. The IMF kept its 2009 projection for real gross domestic product growth in the region unchanged at 2 percent.

EDF, E.ON to Swap Power Assets in France and Germany

(Bloomberg) -- Electricite de France SA, Europe’s biggest generator, and E.ON AG, Germany’s largest utility, agreed to swap assets to cut debt and meet antitrust regulations.

E.ON will get the 35 percent it doesn’t own in French energy supplier SNET and rights to 800 megawatts of nuclear output, in return for giving up 1,215 megawatts of atomic and coal-fired generation in Germany. Each side of the deal may be worth as much as 1.5 billion euros ($2.2 billion), according to Christian Kleindienst, a credit analyst at UniCredit SpA.

Judge dismisses lawsuit over oil pipeline

WASHINGTON — A judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by an environmental group that claimed a permit that allows the construction of an oil pipeline between the U.S. and Canada violated federal law.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon ruled Tuesday that the Natural Resources Defense Council did not have the authority to challenge the permit issued for the TransCanada Keystone Pipeline by the State Department.

Toyota Prius stays on top in mileage

There's a little something extra for car buyers who have their hearts set on top fuel mileage in the Toyota Prius. But they'd better not get tired of the car's wedge shape.

The world's best-selling gasoline-electric hybrid car is out for 2010 with slight increases in length and width, more horsepower, improved steering, upgraded interior and new features but with the same shape as before and pretty much the same exterior styling.

NRC finds problems in NJ nuke plant emergency

LACEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. – Federal regulators say the emergency shutdown of the nation's oldest nuclear power plant in July exposed two low-level problems.

The Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in southern New Jersey was shut down after a lightning strike knocked out electricity to the area.

EPA to delay 79 coal mining permits in 4 states

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — President Barack Obama's administration put the brakes on 79 applications for surface coal mining permits in four states Wednesday, saying they would violate the Clean Water Act.

The action is the administration's latest attempt to curb environmental damage from a highly efficient but damaging mining practice known as mountaintop removal. Each permit likely would cause significant damage to water quality and the environment, the Environmental Protection Agency said in a statement.

Hopi, Navajos say environmentalists not welcome

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) -- The leader of the country's largest Indian reservation threw his support behind the neighboring Hopi Tribe, whose lawmakers declared environmental groups unwelcome on the reservation.

Navajo President Joe Shirley Jr. and Hopi lawmakers say environmentalists' efforts could hurt the tribes' struggling economies by slowing or stopping coal mining.

W.Va. meet led to Klamath dam removal, salmon aid

MEDFORD, Ore. — The turning point toward removing four Klamath River dams in Oregon and California to restore struggling salmon runs came in the little Shenandoah Valley town of Shepherdstown, W.Va.

Michael Bogert, an aide to then-Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorn, summoned representatives of PacifiCorp and the governors of Oregon and California to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Conservation Training Center there in May 2008. They would find a way to peace in the Klamath after decades of battling over water, fish, power and farming.

Green living is the star

On Saturday, Green Everett will host its fourth-annual Everett Renewable Living Fair at the Snohomish County PUD in Everett.

More than 40 specialty vendors will be at the fair, which will also feature speakers, documentary movie screenings, and activities for kids focused on sustainable living and renewable energy.

Deloitte: Investors return to 'cleantech' sector

DENVER — A research firm is reporting signs that investors are slowly returning to the clean technology sector by putting money into solar and wind companies, batteries, electric vehicles and green building products.

Deloitte's Cleantech Group said Wednesday that third-quarter investment in the sector totaled $1.6 billion in 134 companies in North America, Europe, China and India.

Cyprus tourism eyes options as climate warms

NICOSIA (Reuters Life!) - Sun and sea tourism to the Mediterranean could feel the brunt of climate change and the industry should start diversifying if it is to survive, say scientists.

The Mediterranean basin attracts about 20 percent of the world's tourists each year, but its appeal as a sunny holiday destination may diminish as temperatures inch higher.

Ancient Forests Reveal Clues How to Endure Weather Extremes

(Bloomberg) -- Fossilized remnants of long-ago rainforests discovered in Illinois coal mines are providing clues about how trees and their ecosystems were able to withstand weather extremes from ice ages to global warming.

Tropical trees were pushed to the brink of extinction during ice ages and then bounced back to help form most of Earth’s coal resources 300 million years ago, according to a study published today in the journal Geology.

California timber firm to market its forests as weapon against global warming

Reporting from Sacramento - The state's largest timber company Wednesday announced a groundbreaking agreement to begin marketing its vast forests as a weapon in the fight against global warming.

Sierra Pacific Industries' announcement comes less than a week after the administration of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pushed through new rules that allow the firm to sell its trees' ability to absorb harmful carbon dioxide from the air.

Proposed U.S. Carbon Cuts: All Bark, No Bite?

The unveiling Wednesday morning of the Senate's long-awaited draft legislation to reduce U.S. carbon emissions and shift the country to a clean-energy economy signals that Washington is inching ever closer to addressing global warming. The sweeping bill, sponsored by Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer and John Kerry, will cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 20% below 1990 levels by 2020, and 83% by 2050 — targets that in the short-term are a bit more ambitious than a similar carbon cap and trade bill passed by the House two months ago. "This is the beginning of one of the most important battles we will face, as legislators, as citizens," Kerry said Wednesday, flanked by veterans, local legislators and clean energy entrepreneurs. "It is time to reinvent the way America uses energy."

EPA aims to cut emissions at factories, power plants

WASHINGTON — For the first time, the federal government plans to restrict greenhouse-gas emissions from factories, power plants and other industrial facilities under a proposal revealed Wednesday.

The proposed rule requires new facilities and those undergoing major maintenance to limit their greenhouse-gas emissions using the "best available" technology. That might include energy-efficiency steps or equipment under development to capture greenhouse gases and funnel them into storage.

"We are not going to continue with business as usual any longer. We have the tools and the technology to move forward today, and we are using them," said Lisa Jackson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA would oversee the rule.

How Central Heating Changed How We Live

The design of a home changed because its inhabitants started behaving differently, says architect Harry Charrington. Today the average temperature in a home is 22C, compared with 18C in the 1950s, he says, yet people 50 years ago felt just as warm as we do today. "People don't wear clothing to keep warm any more. One of the social norms is that people can go around in shirt sleeves at home or in the office. So central heating has changed the way people think about clothing. "Rather than put extra clothes on, they put the heating on. It used to be that if it got cold, you put a jersey on and if it got warm you opened a window. People don't have an expectation that they will have to change the way they behave in cold weather."

As well as a huge increase in energy consumption, says Mr Charrington, there were also design implications. Insulation like double and triple-glazing has become more common, and rooms are larger."Everyone wants open-plan now, but you can only have open-plan with central heating. The traditional design of small rooms with a radiant heat source [a fire or stove] has gone."

"People used to huddle in small rooms around a fireplace, but the television has probably taken over from the fireplace.

"You used to need warm carpets and heavy curtains and drapes, whereas now people can live with laminate floors and floorboards. The typical Victorian home had very heavy materials and a curtain over every door to stop the draughts."

People are also able to stay up later, he says. "People used to have to go to bed when it got too cold, even as late as the 1950s. Now people can sit up in a T-shirt and go to bed when they want to."

Central heating also meant the rise of the bedroom as a living - not just sleeping space - for children, rather than everyone congregating in the living room or kitchen, she says. So the teenager's domain, a symbol today for youth consumption and freedom from parents, was born.

"So you could argue that central heating played a part in the start of the disintegration of the family."

All these trends might be reversed if central heating starts to decline.

All that is pretty obvious to anyone who's ever lived in, or even looked at, older homes. Victorian houses are so dark and cramped by modern standards. The rooms were tiny, and some didn't even have windows. But that was by design, to conserve heat. Now people buy them and knock all the walls out. I suppose it would be easy enough to put them back if they need to.

A lot of old New England homes had something called a "keeping room." It was a room off the kitchen, meant to take advantage of the heat from the hearth. Often, it was the only heated room in the house. The family would sleep there in the winter. Or sometimes just the parents; the kids were left to freeze in the upstairs bedrooms. People who were sick or women giving birth would stay in the keeping room as well.

I wish I had one of those big beds like Ebenezer Scrooge had. Sleep warm even if the room is cold.

Yes, that was the reason for canopy beds with drapes. Like in Harry Potter. The drapes were for warmth.

Sleep in a sleeping bag in winter. I sleep at the far end of the house from the fireplace & stay toasty in the same bag I used on Denali & Cerro Aconcagua, among other mts.

I agree.

There's no need to keep the whole house or apartment warm at all times, especially at night. A down duvet or sleeping bag should be able to keep most people warm at night, even if the temperature is near freezing.

During the day, an expedition style down parka or even down pants would keep almost anyone warm in any temperatures. Of course, I'm a guy with good circulation that can't handle heat very well, especially at night. I sleep best when it's just above freezing.

What you say is possible, but NOBODY is going to live this way until they absolutely have to. I'd be more people keep their house at 80 in the winter and 70 in the summer than would be willing to go for 50 in the winter and 90 in the summer. It just doesn't cost that much today.

Well, if "NOBODY is going to live this way until they absolutely have to" then how come I do? I have a natural gas burning furnace but don't intend to even turn it on this winter. Last winter the only time it was on was during the week we were away at the holidays, so the pipes wouldn't freeze. In years past when we did use it the thermostat was kept on 50^oF. If anyone got cold they were welcome to build up the fire in the fireplace insert, or put on more clothes. There's an evaporative cooler on the roof, too, that hasn't been used in years. The water & electric bills are far lower in summer by not using it. So what if it gets 90^oF in the house in summer? It's only for a few weeks in July and then only during the heat of the afternoons. I could afford higher gas & electric & water bills but actually prefer, or at least don't mind, heating with wood & foregoing the swamp cooler in summer. I have six cords of wood cut & stacked & the fall & winter wood cutting season is just getting started. I hope to have ten cords for the winter of 2010 - 11.

DD, the caps were intended to accentuate the hyperbole, but surely you realize you're an outlier? I know several families that don't heat or cool much at all (often have their utilities cut off, in fact), but that's due to economic necessity, not choice.

I grew up in a house that kept the heat low (50's at night) and no A/C, and it made for a chilly shower in the morning but was perfectly livable. But nobody in my current middle-class world (including my family) is willing to do that now.

That's one reason I think the crash will be slower than many predict -- there is an awful lot of energy use that can literally switch off instantly, with some sacrifice. Just most people see no reason to sacrifice yet.

Hopefully by the time I need to make that sacrifice, my insulation work will be complete and it won't take much to keep the house reasonably comfortable year-round.

I had a plumbing problem this summer and went for about a month without hot water. It was (barely) tolerable taking cold showers during the hot summer but you're right! I sure wouldn't want to do without the gas hot water heater in the winter. :)

Sleep in a sleeping bag in winter.

I do sometimes. I'm a bit infirm at the moment and will be for some months, I think the entry and exit of a big four poster big would be easier to manage than cocooning and uncocooning.

In the 1600's to 1800's, homes in the Europe (and later in the Northeast USA) were taxed based on the number of windows and/or chimneys hearths). A cold home was a economic choice.

And in my area - you were taxed based on the closets you had. Hence the 1890's vintage place lacks closets.

Just thought that some of you would enjoy this ongoing series of comic strips about gardening , permaculture, growing food in the city, reclaiming abandoned land, urban homesteading, etc.
*Use the arrows in the brown bar under the strip to see them all.

There is even some about resource limits and peak oil! See at:

I nice way to introduce people to some new ideas :^)

LOL "I checked the stats and let me put it this way: most who already know about Permyz keep coming back for more.
You rock! (All several dozen of you)."

Edit: This one is priceless http://www.permyz.com/2009/09/07/43-demand-destruction/

A Modern Answer to the Commune

A long article about young adults living together in an arrangement that goes beyond mere "roommates", but seems to be something smaller scale and a bit less ambitious than a "commune".

We've been speculating here that we are likely to see increasing numbers of people sharing living spaces in various relationships. This article is just one bit of evidence that such a trend is ongoing.

I knew one person who tried it for a few years. I guess some do it out of necessity, while others try it for the out-of-the ordinary experience.

My impression is that the group eventually becomes (sort of) territorial WRT "outsiders."

I wonder what happens when the group gets older and sicker. Do they suddenly recruit young, new members? Or does the group fall apart, for lack of resources to take care of the old and ill?

I think this is something mostly young people do. The group tends to break up via the usual passages of life: graduation, marriage, parenthood, a new job in another city, having to care for elderly parents, etc.

It's hard to afford an apartment in a good neighborhood in your average large city, so young adults and other singles often need roommates. But once they start earning more money, and start pairing off and settling down, roommates are a fifth wheel.

In my (limited) experience, the biggest "irritating grit" in any kind of living in non-family groups is people with different views on what they want/what's acceptable behaviour/etc (and with family it's more that there's a strong enough force to counteract these issues than that they aren't there). So bringing in younger members is going to be difficult as in some area's they'll inevitably have different views from the significantly older members. I suspect the only way it would work would be "continously" (say, every couple of years) bringing in new members so there's a spectrum of ages who can "associate most intensively" with the people closer in viewpoint (and thus probably age) to them. But then that can't happen in a small group.

Well as long as energy is still pretty cheap, people will continue to enjoy the luxuries of isolation, and the irritations of co-habitating will be avoidable, as are most other forms of frugality.

I have friends in Co-housing.. there are a lot of skills to be relearned or reinvented, and getting there means a lot of annoying meetings and volunteer time spent.. but I bet it's gonna grow pretty soon. As soon as reality really hits.

For anyone living in the NYC/NJ area, a Permaculture Course led by Andrew Faust will be held in Warwick, NY (60 miles from NYC). The cost is only $500. Contact: hathornfarm@gmail.com (845) 239-2174 The course starts October 10.

Before anyone gets excited over this '500 mile battery'
that uses the (MIT was it?) 'nano-tech' Lithium-ion surface changes, I'd like to point out that research into "nano-tech" shows the 'nano' portion has a blood-brain crossing potentional and some 'nanotechs' will effect nerves.

Imagine Lithium that can main-line itself straight to the brain.


Not intending to snort my power cell, so that's one less thing to worry about.

Anyway, such nanoparticles of DOOM have existed a long time in the public domain. Titanium dioxide in certain compounds like suncream, can be carcinogenic.

One does not need to 'snort' something for it to be release into the environment.

Nano-lithium (as individual particles) is different than creating 'nano-structures' on a material BTW.

Or putting nanoparticles of TiO into creams to be liberally applied to the skin.

"America needs a national commission appointed to assess the evidence about climate change" Will

We have one, George. It's called the NAS. http://dels.nas.edu/climatechange/
Maybe you should take a few science classes; yer horribly illiterate, and lack a certain truthiness when you bump yer gums about climate change.

There's an obvious connection between the timing of George Will's op-ed and the Kerry/Boxer climate bill released yesterday.

John Kerry: Taking Control of our Energy Future.

In the last few months, we've seen that the forces resisting change will say nearly anything and will spread the most obvious and egregious lies to try to derail progress. Please be ready to join with us to rebut the fears and smears we know all too well will be heading in our direction. No sooner did we announce our bill than the other side scheduled a press conference to label and distort.
John Kerry

I would hope that the majority of the readers and posters on The Oil Drum might openly and actively support this legislation. The conservative opposition is working overtime to abort any efforts at reducing carbon emissions. Yeah I know it's not adequate but for now it might be the best we can get.


George Will is scarier than O'Reilly or Limbaugh.

'Evidently humanity will prevent this.'

Evidently, humans are the only ones we can talk to in order to try.. but Mr. Will is so concerned about appearing 'unconcerned', that the message has to be cut.

From "At U.S. gas pumps, it's Canada versus the rest of the world. And Canada's winning." Up top:

And here we learn here that Growth Energy is pushing for country of origin labels on fuel pumps:


Without country of origin labels on fuel pumps the public doesn't have a clue the source and and how that source was used to make the gas they are pumping. Of course the oil companies like it that way. They claim labeling is unworkable.

Perhaps for a specific area, but that can re resolved with a label on the pump that lists in order of providers of crude oil to the United States. It would remind buyers that:

"Canada is the largest single supplier of oil for U.S. refineries, comprising 15 percent of the supply, according to the Energy Information Administration."

And that a lot of the Canadian crude comes from Alberta and the Tar Sands. Then the label could go down the list of other suppliers like Venezuela, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and of course our own domestic production. The law might require that this label be updated yearly and reflect the fuel being pumped at that pump to account for various blends of ethanol for example.

If this were done people would see the contribution ethanol is making when they pump their gas. And they could see the contribution they are making to environmental degradation by pumping oil from Canada.

Then they would be better equipped to decide which they prefer: More ethanol, more oil from Canadian Tar Sands, or more oil from Russia and the Middle East. They would over a period of time theoretically realize that the portion of gas coming from American crude is slowly but steadily declining if they pay any attention at all.

Labeling fuel for country of origin is workable if the label is for the U.S. as a whole and fuel type specific. We require it on cars and food. Why not fuel?

And that a lot of the Canadian crude comes from Alberta and the Tar Sands. Then the label could go down the list of other suppliers like Venezuela, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and of course our own domestic production.

you're assuming somebody other than you and a handful care about where the oil comes from. if you need gas to go to work and put food on the table, the gasoline might as well be made from living babies and kittens.

someone's very existence versus a photo of a sludge lake in canada. and some dead geese. you already know the answer.

edit: graphical pictures on cigarette packs never stopped people from smoking. what makes you think it would make people driving less?

As unpleasant as it is I have to agree with 3z. Farmer mac has been making the same point for a while: if you're going to argue for conservation for the sake of the environment you've already lost the debate with the majority of the American public. That might not be so apparent today but wait. Forget about pictures of dead geese. Pictures of flag-drapped coffins doesn't slow their consumption. Whether anyone else accepts the premise or not, the great majority of the consuming public believes we have troops deployed in the ME because of oil. You can present a mountain of valid science showing just how the world will suffer as we expand coal burning as the other FF escalate in price and/or become less available. But the coal will be burned in ever increasing amounts because the politicians will allow it. And if some of those politicans attempt to resist they will be out of office just as quickly as our consumers can vote them out. I have absolute faith in the ability of our citizens to unit in a common cause once they are sufficiently motivated. And nothing will motivate them more then the fear of lossing, to a significant extent, BAU. Understand, I'm not saying this a moral course we're on but just a very predictable one IMHO.

Welcome to the Doomer club!

surf .. Not sure if I deserve a membership or not. Guess it depends on who's future you're referring to. How ever bad it gets I'm sure the US will use its economic/military leverage to our maximum benefit. Add that to the fact that I make my living selling oil/NG and the lack of common sense conservation policies in this country. I see my personal future in a pretty good light. Just a shame what that future will be for the rest of the globe.

I'm sure the US will use its economic/military leverage to our maximum benefit.

Rockman please clue me in on what our maximum benefit might be. Could it be sterile, acidic Oceans, ravaged environments, poisoned waters, deforestation, advancing desertification or the next 3 seasons of American Idol?


Profit. Oh and being able to line your pocket with FRNs.

Joe -- I'm talking about what the average American will view as maximum benefit. And that benefit is that we will misuse our power to minimize the effects of PO on our economy. Maximum benefit doesn't mean all peaches and cream...just better then many others will experience. An easy example: the US economy might not look all that good in 10+ years. But now compare that to what the Mexican exconomy will likely look like at that time. I think the real shocker to many will be how badly the EU economies will suffer. Between Russia's strangle hold on their NG supplies and the diversion of their current oil resources to the US and China I see a greater magnitude for reversal of fortunes for them then most third world countries. As badly as we need to expand alts the EU, vene with their current conservation efforts, needs to be pushing greater advancement at any costs IMO.


Come on - you're a member now! You've outlined nicely why we're fated to not do what needs to be done.

Whose future? That is the question! Me, personally? Very optimistic! Society and the human race in general? DOOMED!

I'm in solar, you're in oil/NG. Thanks, Oil Drum!

4.4-million-year-old fossil could reshape human origins

Check out the comments. Gotta love this one:

Why are we wasting money on these "discoveries." Universities, which get a lot of government money, should be focused on more important, practical subjects like extracting more oil and natural gas out of the earth or helping us defend ourselves from Iranian rockets. This evolution nonsense helps no one.

..changes the notion that humans and chimps, our closest genetic cousins, both trace their lineage to a creature that was more like today's chimp. Rather, the research suggests that their common ancestor was a walking forest forager..

There never was such a notion that the common ancestor of chimps & humans was a knuckle walker, so this analysis of Ardipithecus changes nothing. This is the type of sensationalism that makes science news reporting so worthless & annoying. The original literature is a so much better source of information. Bipealism evolved long before the divergence of Homo and Pan. This is well known. Knuckle walking in gorillas & chimps evolved independently. It is not an ancestral trait they share.

Note also the sensationalism and hubris here:

Lovejoy says the fossil's lack of sharp canines suggests male ramiduses cooperated in foraging rather than competing for females relentlessly as chimps do today.

The specimen described is a female. It's lack of sharp canines may well be a sexually dimorphic feature. It says nothing about male behavior, as the author apparently imagines. It's as if in order to be interesting, some encompassing claim about primate nature has to be postulated, on the basis of no evidence at all, as if the fossil isn't interesting in its own right. This sort of "journalism" annoys me.

Agree on the sensationalism of the article...but this is basically an analysis of an old fossil, and there are more than one known of this species (supposedly). So Lovejoy could have been referring to other fossils, not just the female shown in the photo, when he talked about sexual dimorphism.

That's actually what I find most annoying about science coverage. They leave stuff out, assuming it's too complicated or boring for the average reader. They are probably right, alas.

Actually, it's hard to find a dedicated science reporter any more. The cub reporters they now assign these articles to are probably those who could most benefit by reading a good science reporter's article.

Article acknowledges:
"We can't say this species was a direct ancestor of modern humans, so we have to be careful...."

If you have a chance, read R. M. Sapolsky (Stanford U) and his findings on stress and testosterone levels in baboons; the more cooperative male baboons had lower levels. Could have been reflected in tooth development in these fossils... or maybe not.

..the more cooperative male baboons had lower levels.

No doubt. If they weren't cooperative the males with higher testosterone & corticosteroid titers would beat them up.

Gee, things have not changed too much for the upright human in a million years or so.

Who would have guessed.

The cooperative males were noted as being more likely to be cooperative with their subordinates.

Actually, if you read the studies, many of the males with higher testosterone tended to die off early. In one troop 100% of them went bye-bye during an epidemic; while the less agressive males survived.

..many of the males with higher testosterone tended to die off early.

After they'd sired the preponderance of troop offspring. Remember that fitness isn't about survival, per se, it's about differential reproductive success. Reproducing often & early, then dying, is a successful strategy for a male baboon.

... but wouldn't the surviving males kill the offspring of their dead competitors? (My knowledge of primate behaviour is sketchy, but I have an idea that's one area where primates are like the big cats.)

Some male monkeys do kill infants sired by other males. Rhesus macaques do, I believe, and perhaps langurs. I'm not sure about savannah baboons but wouldn't be surprised. Apes, of course, practice infanticide. But it is unlikely to occur if the offspring are weaned, if the mother has female relatives to help her defend her infant, or if the sire was related to the newly dominant male.

Ardi's Secret: Did Early Humans Start Walking for Sex?

"Success, measured in number of offspring, goes to macho males with big sharp canine teeth who try to mate with as many ovulating females as possible. Sex is best done quickly—hence those penis bristles, which accelerate ejaculation—with the advantage to the male with big testicles carrying a heavy load of sperm. Among females, the winners are those who flaunt their fertility with swollen genitals or some other prominent display of ovulation, so those big alpha dudes will take notice and give them a tumble, providing a baby with his big alpha genes.

Let's suppose that some lesser male, with poor little stubby canines, figures out that he can entice a fertile female into mating by bringing her some food. That sometimes happens among living chimpanzees, for instance when a female rewards a male for presenting her with a tasty gift of colobus monkey.

Among Ardipithecus's ancestors, such a strategy could catch on if searching for food required a lot of time and exposure to predators. Males would be far more successful food-providers if they had their hands free to carry home loads of fruits and tubers—which would favor walking on two legs. Females would come to prefer good, steady providers with smaller canines over the big fierce-toothed ones who left as soon as they spot another fertile female. The results, says Lovejoy, are visible in Ardipithecus, which had small canines even in males and walked uprigt

Males would be far more successful food-providers if they had their hands free to carry home loads of fruits and tubers—which would favor walking on two legs. Females would come to prefer good, steady providers with smaller canines over the big fierce-toothed ones who left as soon as they spot another fertile female. The results, says Lovejoy, are visible in Ardipithecus, which had small canines even in males and walked upright.

Lovejoy's explanation for the origin of bipedalism thus comes down to the monogamous pair bond. Far from being a recent evolutionary innovation, as many people assume, he believes the behavior goes back all the way to near the beginning of our lineage some six million years ago.

But there is one other, essential piece to this puzzle that leaves no trace in the fossil record. If the female knew when she was fertile, she could basically cheat the system by taking all the food offered by her milquetoast of a provider, then cuckold him with a dominant male when she was ovulating, scoring the best of both worlds. The food-for-sex contract thus depends on what Lovejoy calls "the most unique human character"—ovulation that not only goes unannounced to the males of the group, but is concealed even from the female herself."

Regular meals, monogamy, and discretion—who would have thought our origins were so sedate?


Female baboons are not monogamous. Neither are male baboons. I find the strategy discussed here totally in conflict with field observations... really.

There never was such a notion that the common ancestor of chimps & humans was a knuckle walker, so this analysis of Ardipithecus changes nothing. This is the type of sensationalism that makes science news reporting so worthless & annoying. The original literature is a so much better source of information.

While I would almost always agree with the bolded statement, have you ever taken a look at that particular body of literature? Whew. I got a glimpse into that morass about 10 years ago. No consensus on anything, every other author interprets the same specimens totally differently, endless circular arguments, battle lines drawn over hypotheses that were obviously formed with incomplete data but must be defended to the death, five different names for the same "new" species with little or no justification for why it is distinct from some already-described australopithecine, etc. Even if I thought human evolution was the greatest field of study ever, I don't think I could stand working in it. Those anthropologists make paleontologists look like a unified, harmonious, consistent group.

let's face it, money spent on trying to prove that the world is more than 4,000 years old is a complete waste. Everyone knows that there is no proof of evolution and the lunatic belief that the world is 'millions of years old' is just pure bumkum. Oil is being continually created in the Earth's crust. It is only wacky enviro-fascists losers who want to stop us using oil and coal etc. And while I am at it, climate change is just another way for the elite to enslave the rest of the world. There is absolutely no scientific evidence that CO2 warms the earth. If it were true how come today I had to wear a coat to work but yesterday I only had a shirt on? Today should be hotter than yesterday. If global warming was real then explain why it isn't.


So, what is your plan ... party on ??

Surely you detected the sarcasm? So yeah, party on ... like it's 1999!

Alan from the islands

Getting anthropologist to find oil?


Getting anthropologists to design a missle defense system?


How's the SETI thing going with finding intelligent life in America then?

For some people, evilution didn't happen.

Indeed the notion of defending the US from Iran is very popular.

From the Fox News headline:

Most Americans say they are worried about Iran developing a nuclear weapons program, and think President Obama should be tougher on the rogue nation. In addition, a clear majority supports the use of force to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

According to a new FOX News poll released Thursday, a sizable 69 percent majority of Americans thinks President Obama has not been tough enough on Iran. That includes over half of Democrats (55 percent), two-thirds of independents (67 percent) and almost all Republicans (88 percent).


By a two-to-one margin the public thinks the U.S. will eventually need to use military force to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons -- 59 percent think so, while 29 percent think Iran can be stopped without the use of force.

Furthermore, 61 percent of Americans support the U.S. taking military action to stop Iran, including majorities of Democrats (53 percent), Republicans (73 percent) and independents (55 percent). Some 28 percent of Americans oppose military action against Iran.

The Iraq invasion was very popular until it went bad. IMO Obama and company are aware that these numbers will reverse in a heartbeat if things go poorly (then he will be blamed and these sheeple will turn on him with a vengeance).

The Iraq invasion was very popular until it went bad.

If I had time to waste I'd sign up on free republic and woop up the request for more troops in Afganistan per the request. Support the troops and all.

(and yea, everyone likes a winner. Of course the inital bloodshed in Iraq would be popular.)

In addition, a clear majority supports the use of force to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

"Expert analysists predict almost none of those in favour of use of force will be serving or previously-serving members of the Armed Forces..."

"barnett shale a model for drillers worldwide"

more like a model for using other peoples money. where is berman ?

Town’s LED street lights national first

Annapolis Royal may be the first town in Canada to replace all of its street lights with energy-efficient LED fixtures.


Annapolis Royal is among 10 Nova Scotia communities, along with Halifax Stanfield International Airport, taking part in a $1.15-million pilot project to phase out bulbs that waste energy.

The program is partially being paid for by the province through its ecoNova Scotia for Clean Air and Climate Change fund. Eco-Nova kicked in $756,000 toward the plan, while Conserve Nova Scotia and Natural Resources Canada added another $400,000.

See: http://thechronicleherald.ca/NovaScotia/1145301.html

I was in Annapolis Royal on Saturday, and had noticed nearly all of the municipal street lights have been already converted. They've started to replace fixtures here as well (e.g., Robie St. by the Commons and along Barrington St.). My general impression is that there is less light overall and somewhat noticeably more glare because the LED arrays are angled outward to provide good coverage. However, it's a nice, clean, crisp 5,000K light instead of the putrid orange glow of HPS; on balance, not an unreasonable trade-off.


I wonder which brand LEDs they're using?

Note that traffic lights are almost all LED by now, thanks to the heavy usage level and cost/danger/incovenience of changing them our. However, I see quite a few with patchy LED outages in the bulb, probably caused by a driver defect or a connection issue. Still, a mostly-working light is a lot better than a non-working one, and this sort of fault can be readily addressed during an annual check-up rather than as a demand repair.

I think less lighting is a plus -- all that over-lighting does is tone down our eye sensitivity and create light pollution. It's nice to have a little light, but I don't think we need much.

We do need illuminated street signs though -- I've noticed that as municipal and private lighting goes down (and my eyes get older) it's increasingly hard to read the common street corner signs as you pass them by, if they're not in your headlight field. Of course such signage lighting would take very little power at all - a gentle glow would suffice.

Hi Paleocon,

The fixtures are manufactured by a local firm, LED Roadway Lighting.

See: http://www.ledroadwaylighting.com/satellite-series.html

In the city of Halifax, over half of the HPS fixtures in service operate at 70-watts and just 1,600 out of some 30,000 operate at 200-watts or more. Supposedly, these replacement fixtures adhere to IES/CIE standards, but the road surface is unquestionably darker.


At a glance it looks like they're using the Cree cold white LEDs, but under-driven to reduce temp. If their thermal management and construction is good, they should easily last the 20 years stated. I personally wonder whether the current LED drivers are up to the life of the LEDs though.

Note that those units can be dimmed as well. Maybe the local municipality has them operating at less than 100%? 80% savings is pretty significant.

Hi Paleocon,

I don't know who supplies their LEDs, but their claim of up to an 80 per cent savings in energy use is pushing the limits of credibility. The case history featured in this brochure suggests a 55 per cent reduction, a more realistic number, although a 150-watt HPS should draw no more than 190-watts in total.

See: http://www.novascotiabusiness.com/site-nsbi/media/NovaScotiaBusinessInc/...


I thought that smelled pretty optimistic too, but then I wondered if the basis wasn't cost instead of power, and somebody had factored in labor costs to maintain the bulbs. Probably those streetlight bulbs cost $100 bucks to change with a cherry-picker.

Hi Paleocon,

I'm not 100 per cent certain, but I believe the claim is related to energy alone. That might be possible in the case of a lower wattage/reduced output model vis-à-vis a 70-watt HPS (90-watts with ballast).

What I find fascinating about Annapolis Royal is that for a tiny community of fewer than 450 inhabitants, it has developed a fairly comprehensive energy management and GHG reduction plan that would put many larger municipalities to shame.

See: http://www.annapolisroyal.com/em_cc.php


From the first article, which claims a 53% savings, I should think the road surface must be darker. Both current LEDs and HPS lamps seem to supply on the order of 70-100lm/W. That makes it kind of hard to see it as useful to anyone but "conference"-going politicians who would use it as overpriced urban jewelry letting them say "my gee-whiz is bigger than your gee-whiz."

Also, the really bright white LEDs have way too much blue in them, which doesn't mix well with the strong chromatic aberration of water-air interfaces (which is why cold-white LED lights, as well as the old mercury vapor lights, may seem to have a blue fringe around them as seen from any distance.) Things look quite ghastly under HPS light, but it might be interesting to know how the very blue LED light actually affects safety for better or worse.

Hi Paul,

I don't personally find the slightly bluish tint to be objectionable -- unless the client requests otherwise, we use 5,000K in all our lighting retrofits and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

In any event, the following papers might help answer some questions pertaining to mesopic vision and spectral distribution as it pertains to roadway lighting.





Sigh. Looks complicated enough to provide endless fodder for lawyers, here in the States.

Note that traffic lights are almost all LED by now, thanks to the heavy usage level and cost/danger/incovenience of changing them our. However, I see quite a few with patchy LED outages in the bulb, probably caused by a driver defect or a connection issue. Still, a mostly-working light is a lot better than a non-working one, and this sort of fault can be readily addressed during an annual check-up rather than as a demand repair.

Saw a fairly horrendous traffic accident last winter following a blizzard. The wind had packed the space under the hood and in front of the LED bulbs full of snow on the north-facing lights. They run cool enough that most of the snow was unmelted the next day. A truck ran the red light because they couldn't see it, taking out two cars that pulled out in front of truck after their lights turned green. I prefer the LEDs, but will be more cautious than ever in the winter.

The Sun is an excellent literary mag that I subscribe too. I was pleasantly surprised to see their featured interview this month is with our pal JHK


The situation in Anchorage with natural gas sound dreadful, based on the article you linked: Gas shortage could leave Anchorage in the dark.

If natural gas is declining, and it is used for both heat and electricity, who would consider moving to Anchorage? Why would any business stay there? It is not exactly a hospitable environment, without energy supplies.

Are there any bright spots we weren't told about in the article? If not, I can understand why Sarah Palin might have wanted to leave.

Of course the laws of supply and demand will sort it all out at some price.....and it's all well and good as long as substituting "freezing" for "warmth" is an acceptable input to the equations.

Having lived in Anchorage for quite a while, and maintain a home in Homer still, what I saw was that most residential construction was crappola, barely insulated, typical south forty-eight construction.

One would think they understand that it's cold, most of the time up there, but they mostly build and act like their living somewhere in southern Illinois.

The pipe line needs to be shut down and recyled ASAP. The oil and gas needs to stay in Alaska, for Alaskans.

Sara lives in Wasilla, BTW, a burb to the north. Hopefully she will move to Florida soon, (none too soon for me)and help the Floridians on their path to DRILL, BABY, DRILL.

The oil and gas needs to stay in Alaska, for Alaskans.

So it can be used to heat
build and act like their living somewhere in southern Illinois.

You won't mind if the lower 48 then doesn't send food that way, nor provides military protection? I hear you can see Russia from the porches.....

runner....you seem somewhat conflicted. You tease about Sara potentially pushing "Drill, baby, Drill" in FL but at the same time appear to want AL production (which has resulted from the same "Drill, Baby, Drill" mentality) to stay within the state. But I can get behind your push for Al oil for Alaskans if you allow us the same option in Texas. Then we would have $.50 gasoline for the next several decades. Works for me. But sucks for NYC of course

The better question would be why they don't build an LNG terminal and increase local storage. Apparently there is a need to "sink" gas during part of the year, and shortages in others, so it seems to be a problem of poor local planning.

Lax building standards and a failure to massively insulate appears to contribute as well. The time to insulate is during the summer, so planning ahead just a bit (on the individual and community part) would have helped a lot.

Of course, humans don't do any of this well, so I'm not criticizing AL residents anymore than others, including to an extent myself.

No, not conflicted,,,convinced. I am a very strong supporter of States rights. Supporting unsustainable living arrangements for other states that suckle at the teat of the Fed is wrong. My idea is that if you want to live in the desert, hey that's ok by me, but don't bleed another state for your water or energy. Want to live in Alaska? Then deal with what's here, don't force another state to provide support. If Alaska had no oil and only had Caribou Turds to heat with, I would be in favor of keeping those, only in Alaska as well. Charity begins at home, FIRST. State government should provide for the needs of the State residents with a little long term planning, and not take the bribes of big oil to bleed Alaska dry.

I have a home in Florida, as well as Alaska, getting Palin to Florida, keeps her busy and out of AK, and Floridians need to take care of their own energy needs as well.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a one month buffer tank of natural gas at your house. Anyone know if that is feasible? The natural gas comes into a 500(?) gallon tank as storage and comes out to your house. Then if the pressure drops or whatever, you can burn through the 500 gallons.

On a related note, anyone install a nat-gas standby generator and have opinions about one?

Possible, but not feasible - the pressures would have to be very high to make the volume reasonable, and that means a lot of tank cost.

Go for LP instead - that's exactly how it works already.

I'm looking at a multi-fuel generator now. I figure one out of four power sources (NG, gas, propane, or electricity) will be available when I really need it. Especially if I store some myself.

a 500 gal tank is about 66 scf and the average annual consumption is about 6600scf/person/month(80 mcf/yr). so your tank would have to be at about 100 atmospheres(~1500 psi). that is for one person and averaged for the yr.

and addressing paleocons recommendation on lpg, appliances have to be designed to burn lpg or be converted.

Propane is the way to go, the fuel never goes bad.

Almost all the top tier genset makers offer a dual (Tri) fuel setup that will run on Nat, Pro, Gas, and some even convert on the fly. It just derates the genset when you change from Gasoline to the other fuel. Not a problem anyway, just go to max on natural and accept the over build when you need to run Gasoline.

My setup is this way. No grid tie, all solar and backups. Piped Natural to the place, with two 500 gal underground propane tanks, and a 1000 gal underground gasoline that I also use for personal transportation. Won't last forever in a Nukem scenario, but WTF, neither will I.

I would'nt even try to build storage for natural, a waste of time IMO, power down, go solar and live simple. Cool Runnnnning Man....

Alan and I agree with Bill O'Reilly about something. I wonder what Billo thinks about electrified rail?

Swiss Health Care Thrives Without Public Option

“Switzerland’s health care system is different from virtually every other country in the world,” said Regina Herzlinger, a Harvard Business School professor who has studied the Swiss approach extensively. “What I like about it is that it’s got universal coverage, it’s customer driven, and there are no intermediaries shopping on people’s behalf,” she added. “And there’s no waiting lists or rationing.”

Since being made mandatory in 1996, the Swiss system has become a popular model for experts seeking alternatives to government-run health care. Indeed, it has attracted some unlikely American admirers, like Bill O’Reilly, the Fox News talk show host. And it has lured some members of Congress on fact-finding trips here to seek ideas for overhauling the United States system.

. . . These are among the reasons health care costs consume 10.8 percent of gross domestic product in Switzerland, compared with 16 percent in the United States, the highest level of spending among industrial countries, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Note that it's a fairly new system, and there are lots of price controls on docs and labs, as well as copays, and no senior discount. No mention of tort structure either.

There are a lot of aspects to like -- like shared-cost, where the state helps out when costs exceed 8% of income -- that's like our 7.5% itemization, only you'd get to include the "insurance" cost in it since your employer isn't already taking that deduction.

The biggest issue I can see is that GPs and routine procedures will tend to get squeezed hardest, though they probably are the most necessary components. Whoever sets the controls has a lot of power, and would suffer the lobbyist poisoning here in the US.

I could live with a copay structure that is mostly private-pay, but with gov't support at the edges. And I'm a conservative. :)

I remember hearing that the Swiss government had to step in recently because 6% of the population was refused coverage by the private insurers. In Switzerland 6% was considered a national scandal.

The natural gas situation is important not only for what it leaves us not knowing about natural gas, but for the peak oil community, another issue is at stake:

If we (myself as much or more as anyone else) could have missed the future of natural gas so badly some 5 years ago (I was certain many we would never again see natural gas below $4 per million BTU), and as badly as fellow "peak" concerned folks such as Matthew Simmons and the other book "High Noon For Natural Gas", how much do we think we can know about oil pricing and production into the future?

It's troubling.


What do you mean "we," Kemosabe?

Many peak oilers expected the "Greater Depression" scenario. Or at least saw it as a possibility. As far back as 2005, and likely earlier, there are discussions of this scenario on peak oil boards. Where the problem isn't lack of resources, it's lack of money to buy resources.

Heck, it was Matt Simmons and Mike Ruppert who put the term "demand destruction" on the map. Simmons' predictions of price spikes had caveats like "unless there's a global recession."

I do think that the Great Depression scenario faded a bit over the years (until last fall, of course). Many peak oilers expected high oil prices to cause a global recession. But they didn't. The economy held up for years, and people started thinking "Maybe it's different this time."

As usual...the prediction's right, the timing is wrong.

I made sure to tell people that we could stretch out supplies if we entered a worldwide depression — but that was hardly a choice anyone really wanted: massive unemployment in exchange for a few more years — and then even more unemployment.

Balqon Mule150 is one brawny beast of burden in electric truck form

Balqon has taken advantage of the Governors Global Climate Summit to launch the monster truck that finally rounds out its range; the Mule150. We're talking serious Class 7 truck action here. We're talking a 230 volt AC motor rated at 300 hp bolted up to an automatic 6-speed Allison transmission that pulls like its namesake all the way up to 55 mph. We're talking a massive 280 kWh lithium ion battery that will carry 7 tons of goods for 90 miles (150 miles unloaded!). Serious. A real world, real work, all-electric kind of truck.

and at the other end of the spectrum,

Tokyo Preview: Mitsubishi i-MiEV Cargo concept ready to move your eco-friendly goods

Looking something like a larger, more modern Nissan S-Cargo, it's a smaller option for folks who might not need something as big as a Ford Transit Connect. Whether for small business duty or family recreation, the Cargo adds a big box of usefulness to the basic MiEV platform.

Seems like the idea that electric drive systems for short haul delivery vehicles, is a better business proposition than electric cars may be gaining some ground.

Alan from the islands

Hopefully we can get a lot of those out there before the bottom drops out.

40 years ago the UK was awash with electric delivery trucks. It worked fine - with a few headaches, until home delivery was killed by car shopping:


I wonder what the range of this bike is? It does look like it provides a cheap, reliable commuting option.

The Sept 28 iddue of The New Yorker has a great PO poem by Wendell Berry called "A Speech to the Garden Club of America":

"...unlike our economic pyre/That draws from ancient rock a fossil fire/An anti-life of radiance and fume/That burns as power and remains as doom/ The garden delves no deeper than its roots/ And lifts no higher than its leaves and fruits."

(I didn`t have time to quote the whole thing but it`s worth reading.) In the same issue Susan Orlean has along article about keeping what she calls the new "It Bird"....the chicken, apparently it`s a craze sweeping the USA. Is that true???

It is true that at pet shops here suddenly I`ve started to see giant bags of chicken feed where there were none before! But you need a car to haul those heavy bags home......

But you need a car to haul those heavy bags home......

Or a bicycle trailer. Or throw them over your shoulder.

Russian production just hit a new peak apparently:


It is not a peak, it is a new record. It is only a peak when production starts to decline.

I was being ironic.........

Baltimore police cars may have failed due to fuel contamination by diesel not ethanol:


If diesel went in the cars, then gasoline probably went into the buses that also broke down.

The most probable cause would be the fuel truck driver putting diesel in his tanker rather than gasoline, or the tank farm operator lining up the wrong tank for a load of diesel coming down the pipeline. As ethanol is not shipped by pipeline, and doesn't use the same tankers, it would be difficult to make that error.

When you hear hoofbeats, think horses not zebras. (Dr. Dean Edel)