Drumbeat: October 7, 2009

Richard Heinberg: Our Evanescent Culture and the Awesome Duty of Librarians

How secure is our civilization’s accumulated knowledge?

It is a question that, in a fundamental sense, transcends many life-and-death concerns (threats of sickness, natural disaster, or military invasion) that prompt us collectively to spend fortunes on insurance, health care, and weaponry. We know that we each individually will die, though we are willing to go to great lengths to delay the event as long as possible. But we have an overarching shared interest that the world of ideas will go on without us: that our descendants will continue to compose music, invent tools, refine scientific knowledge, and write histories, extending into the indefinite future the cumulative, constantly evolving universe of signs, symbols, and skills that have enriched our lives. Cultural death—the passing of the wisdom, artistic creations, and practical knowledge of an entire people, painstakingly built up over many generations—is a loss almost too wrenching to contemplate.

Yet cultural death happens. The examples from history are legion. Anthropologists and archaeologists have identified well over 10,000 distinct human cultures, of which most have perished, many by absorption into one multi-ethnic civilization or another. Linguists have catalogued over 6,000 human languages; again, most are extinct or endangered, often for a similar reason—absorption of indigenous populations into multi-ethnic urban civilizations. But civilizations are also mortal: about 24 are known to have existed over the past 5,000 years, and again most are now dust.

Arctic Region Beckons As North Sea Fields Decline

The North Sea has long held Western Europe's richest trove of hydrocarbons, but now 50 years after the first major discovery in the region, production has been in decline.

In a prime example of the challenge that aging oil fields present for energy giants, North Sea production is expected to drop by about 300,000 barrels a day in 2009 and 2010, a scenario that would put daily output below 4 million barrels.

CFTC May Tighten Enron Loophole on Natural Gas. Power

(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission may impose new rules on 17 natural gas and power contracts offered on the Intercontinental Exchange Inc., further tightening the so-called Enron loophole that exempted some contracts from regulation.

'Dollar's role will decline'

The US dollar will be a reserve currency for a long time but will gradually "give place" for other currencies, Algeria's Oil Minister Chakib Khelil said today.

"The same trend that happened to the pound sterling, which used to be the major currency for commodities and reserves, has left its place to the dollar, so it is normal that the dollar will slowly leave space for the euro, maybe for the yuan, for the yen and so forth," Reuters quoted Khelil saying at a news conference.

Shell: North American Natural Gas Production Will Grow

Royal Dutch Shell plans to increase its natural gas production in North America, said Marvin E. Odum, head of the company's U.S. unit.

Royal Dutch Shell plans to increase its natural gas production in North America, said Marvin E. Odum, head of the company's U.S. unit.

Though gas prices are now very low, Mr. Odum said in a Monday interview with The Wall Street Journal, Shell believes long-term prices will recover, justifying the company's interest.

ConocoPhillips plans to sell assets, cut spending

ConocoPhillips, the third-largest U.S. oil company, plans to sell $10 billion of assets in the next two years and cut capital spending in 2010 to reduce debt and increase returns on capital.

The divestitures may include oil and natural-gas properties and refineries, Houston-based ConocoPhillips said today in a statement. Proceeds will be used to help the company achieve its target debt-to-capital ratio of 20 percent to 25 percent, according to the statement.

Pickens predicts oil prices to soar

NEW YORK (Reuters) -- Texas oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens said Tuesday he has increased his long oil and natural gas position in recent weeks.

"It's not my personality to be short," said the billionaire who has made his fortune investing in the oil sector.

Suncor Says Oil Sands Increasingly Important in Energy Industry

(Bloomberg) -- Suncor Energy Inc. Chief Executive Officer Rick George said Alberta’s oil sands are increasingly important as a supplier of energy.

Shell, Halliburton Push the Limits of Extreme Well Conditions

Halliburton has recently deployed its new Hostile Sequential Formation Tester II (HSFT-II™) tool. This latest formation evaluation tool allows operators to evaluate formations at increased pressures and temperatures, up to 30,000 pounds per square inch (psi) and 450°F, respectively, and in boreholes as small as four inches. No other commercially available formation testing tool is rated for such operating conditions.

Key Nigerian Militants Taking Part in Amnesty Deal

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) -- Key Nigerian militants have agreed to disarm and a government spokeswoman said that is improving the country's oil production. Analysts, though, warned Wednesday that militant attacks could resume after a cease-fire expires next week.

Russians to Pay $600MM, Not $1B, to Start Venezuela Oil Drilling

A Russian oil consortium will only have to pay $600 million, not the $1 billion Venezuela previously said, as a down payment for its participation in exploiting Venezuela's Orinoco oil fields, a top lawmaker indicated Tuesday.

Petrobras to unveil rig tender details

Brazilian state-run Petrobras plans to issue tender details next week for 28 deep-sea and ultra-deep-sea drilling rigs, Guilherme Estrella, executive for exploration and production, said today.

Estrella said the first eight rigs would be contracted for Petrobras ownership and exclusive use, while the other 20 would be freighted to other companies.

Judge upholds Ky. price gouging statute

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A judge in Frankfort has upheld the constitutionality of Kentucky's law against price gouging.

The ruling by Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate on Monday allows a lawsuit by Attorney General Jack Conway against two oil companies to continue.

Don’t Stop with Fossil Fuels: End Energy Subsidies Altogether

Ending subsidies for fossil fuels is a good idea but it should be coupled with policy that eliminates subsidies provided to all energy sources. Subsidies create complacency within the industry and direct money that could be used more efficiently elsewhere. The private sector investment in energy research is actually larger than many might think. True breakthroughs in energy technology take time but the private sector has been generating marginal improvements in efficiency for decades.

Automation runs on energy, not on politics

Hofmeister reminded ISA EXPO attendees that automation devices do not run on political aspirations, they run on electrons. “You need coal, uranium, gas molecules; you have to have reliable electrons. It affects you directly—your company and your personal well-being. We can’t let political talk determine what the future looks like,” he said.

In the last five years, this country has shelved or delayed or stopped the plans for 100 electricity pulverized coal generating facilities—to begin to replace an aging generation of 600 coal plants where the age is 35 years, Hofmeister said.

The "Double Dip" Recession, Foreign Oil, and a National Rail Network

Economist Nouriel Roubini recently advanced the proposition that higher oil prices, rising government debt, and a lack of job growth will throw us right back into recession once we finally start to escape from the current one. Roubini labeled this potential phenomenon a “double-dip recession.” In essence, it’s a giant “Catch-22” --- we can’t have continued prosperity without cheap oil and we can’t have cheap oil without a bum economy. This unfavorable scenario presents itself to us precisely because American policymakers over the past few decades have ignored our nation’s most pressing concern: the energy crisis.

Undoubtedly, we’re all aware of America’s massive reliance on foreign oil. Instinctively, we all realize this is most likely a detrimental thing. Yet, very few people have ever laid out much in the way of a comprehensive plan to deal with the crisis. There have been some attempts, however.

Peak Oil and the Necessity of Transitioning to Regenerative Agriculture

As global energy availability begins to decline over the next several decades, energy-intensive industrial methods of food production will have to be transitioned to regenerative practices that 1) sponsor their own energy, 2) build soils and 3) produce in abundance. There are successful examples of regenerative systems that meet these three imperatives. The foundational principles of existing regenerative systems should be used in the development of new practices unique to each individual ecosystem. While borrowing principles from traditional agricultural systems, it is important that modern knowledge of biological dynamics be used in conjunction with appropriate scale technologies to enhance traditional practices and meet the three policy imperatives. The transition to regenerative agriculture is necessary to avoid being locked into a system that depletes our soils and is dependent upon an energy resource in decline (fossil fuels).

U.S. Department of the Interior Climate Change Response Strategy: Secretarial Order Addresses Climate Change Impacts on U.S. Lands and Oceans

On September 14, 2009, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar launched the Department of the Interior’s first-ever coordinated strategy to address current and future impacts of climate change on America’s land, water, ocean, fish, wildlife, and cultural resources.

“Across the country, Americans are experiencing first-hand the impacts of climate change, from growing pressure on water supplies to more intense droughts and fires to rampant bark beetle infestations,” said Salazar. “Because Interior manages one-fifth of our nation’s landmass and 1.7 billion acres on the Outer Continental Shelf it is imperative that we tackle these impacts of a failed and outdated energy policy. This secretarial order is another milestone in our continuing effort to change how Interior does business to respond to the energy and climate challenges of our time.”

Transition Town Somerville calls for energy crisis plan

The climate crisis, the energy crunch and economic instability are three main forces that have caused communities to start thinking about how they can be more resilient, including Somerville.

A group of citizens are taking this a step further by working to make Somerville a Transition Town, a concept that originated in Ireland and is taking hold around the world.

Cities of the future

There's nothing like a bleak and frugal present to get us all contemplating what the future will hold. Will it be brighter? Will it be better? And, of course, will there be jetpacks? As in the 1950s, when atom-obsessed Googie architecture arose from the postwar psyche, today's visionaries are letting their imaginations run wild as they plan the cities of the future—even if some of their current projects have been scuppered by the recession.

Indeed, there's a serious edge to some of the innovative designs we discovered, particularly when it comes to environmental appeal: a revolving building that produces its own energy, a lobby waterfall that helps cool the air. We can't guarantee that all the projects featured here will get the green light, but if you want to see what our future cities might look like, read on.

The Peak Oil Crisis: $75 a Barrel

Last week Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi revealed the secret for economic recovery, everlasting happiness and you-name-it. The secret -- keep oil prices at $75 a barrel -- turned out to be so simple it is surprising we didn't think of it ourselves.

During the last two years when oil prices took an unprecedented trip from $50 a barrel up to $147, down to $35 and back up to $70, we all learned a lot about how prices affect the world economy. This of course is the message the Saudi's are trying to convey.

Pickens Power Makes Al Gore Convenient Truth in U.S. Oil Policy

(Bloomberg) -- Trim and tanned at 81, T. Boone Pickens leans forward in his swivel chair to better hear Al Gore exhort solar and wind power. It’s a scorching August day at the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas. Pickens, who has made and lost billions betting on energy in his boom-and-bust career, waits with Democratic Party bigwigs for his turn to speak. His topic: why the U.S. must wean itself from foreign oil.

It’s a far cry from the wildcatter turned corporate raider and backer of fellow Republican oilman George W. Bush, who downplayed global warming as U.S. president. Now Pickens has ingratiated himself not only with environmentalists but with the Democrats who derided him. The reason: his Pickens Plan, which embraces natural gas and wind power and which proponents say would cut oil imports and curb air pollution in the process.

Kuwait says plan to boost oil production on track

KUWAIT CITY — Kuwait’s oil minister says the OPEC member’s plan to boost crude output capacity to 4 million barrels a day is on track for the year 2020.

Shaikh Ahmed Al Abdullah Al Sabah’s comment to the official Kuwait News Agency on Wednesday came a day after he said the output plan had been pushed back by a decade, to 2030. He had cited a weak market and a lack of skilled workers as the reasons for the change in the timeline.

SPE: Oil recovery takes NOC, IOC, service company collaboration

NEW ORLEANS -- Recovering the world’s remaining oil resources will require a collaborative effort of national oil companies, international oil companies, and service companies, according to Mohammed Al-Qahtani, executive director, petroleum engineering and development of Saudi Aramco.

Report: Exxon Mobil buys stake in African field

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Exxon Mobil has bought Kosmos Energy's stake in oil blocks offshore the West African country of Ghana in an area that contains huge crude discoveries, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The deal would be the first by one of the world's largest oil companies in the area, the newspaper said, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Is Exxon Betting on $100 Oil?

But Exxon's $4 billion says they aren't betting on $50 oil, the long term average. They need $100 a barrel to make Jubilee a risk-free investment with 10% annual return in my opinion.

Kashagan costs spiral to $38bn

The cost of developing Kazakhstan's huge Kashagan oilfield will rise by $7 billion to $38 billion, head of state oil & gas company KazMunaiGas, Kairgeldy Kabyldin, said today.

In July, Kazakh Energy Minister Sauat Mynbayev said the costs would fall by at least $1 billion from an estimate of $31 billion.

Iran Says It Is Ready for Foreign Investment in Energy Industry

(Bloomberg) -- Iran, holder of the world’s second- largest gas reserves, is open to foreign companies investing in its energy sector, the country’s deputy oil minister said.

“Many companies that belong to the government now will become private very soon,” Azizollah Ramazani, deputy Iranian oil minister, said yesterday in an interview in Buenos Aires. “I think the Iranian energy sector in very interesting for foreign companies, including American companies.”

Natural Gas Executives Put Faith In Industry's Long-Term Outlook

BUENOS AIRES -(Dow Jones)- The global financial and economic crisis has taken its toll on the natural gas industry, with sharp declines in prices and consumption, but industry executives on Tuesday expressed their faith in the long-term outlook.

"Primary gas consumption's share in the energy matrix is expected to be stable or rising in the next 25 years, at around 22%; historically that share in the matrix has never stopped increasing," said Antonio Brufau, chairman and chief executive of Spain's Repsol YPF (REP), in a speech to the World Gas Conference.

Emerging countries are going to be the main drivers of future natural gas demand, especially as incomes start to rise in places such as China or India, he said.

Oil Remains in Downtrend, Faces Resistance: Technical Analysis

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil remains in a downtrend, even as it rises for a third day, and will face multiple layers of resistance before any approach toward a September high of more than $73 a barrel, according to Societe Generale.

Oil will need to rise above the $71 a-barrel “selling level” before the upswing can be extended, said Stephanie Aymes, a London-based commodity technical analyst at the bank. Prices yesterday touched $71.97, the highest in October, as the dollar’s decline bolstered the investment appeal of commodities.

Turkmenistan to renew gas supplies to Russia in Oct

ALMATY (Reuters) - Turkmenistan hopes to renew gas supplies to Russia by the end of this month, Torye Yagshymuradov, head of the Central Asian state's geological institute, told Reuters on Wednesday.

Supplies from Turkmenistan, Russian gas giant Gazprom's main source of natural gas in Central Asia, were suspended in April after a pipeline explosion, which connects Russia and the former Soviet Union country.

Exxon Mobil Regains Top Ranking as PetroChina Falls

(Bloomberg) -- Exxon Mobil Corp. regained its ranking as the world’s most valuable company, overtaking PetroChina Co. after Chinese price controls failed to keep pace with rising crude costs, squeezing profits on refined fuels.

State-controlled PetroChina’s Shanghai-traded shares have dropped 2.2 percent since Sept. 2, when the Chinese government last raised domestic prices for gasoline and diesel. Exxon Mobil rose 0.7 percent in the same period to a market capitalization of $330 billion, compared with $325.5 billion for PetroChina.

Typhoon bears down on Japan; car plants shut

Some oil firms halted shipments although the storm has not so far affected refinery production.

Nippon Oil Corp said it had halted marine oil product shipments at its Mizushima and Osaka refineries in western Japan Wednesday afternoon.

Idemitsu Kosan Co said it has halted marine oil shipments at its Tokuyama and Aichi refineries Wednesday afternoon. Overland oil shipments have been also put on hold at the Tokuyama refinery, a company spokeswoman said.

Japan Energy Corp, the nation's sixth-biggest oil refiner, said it would halt overland oil shipments from its Mizushima refinery in western Japan during the night hours. Nansei Sekiyu KK's refinery in Okinawa said high seas were delaying some ships.

Leaked Iran paper exposes IAEA rift

WASHINGTON - Excerpts of the internal draft report by the staff of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) published online last week show that the report's claims about Iranian work on a nuclear weapon is based almost entirely on intelligence documents which have provoked a serious conflict within the agency.

Contrary to sensational stories by the Associated Press and The New York Times, the excerpts on the website of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) reveal that the IAEA's Safeguards Department, which wrote the report, only has suspicions - not real evidence - that Iran has been working on nuclear weapons in recent years.

How Israel Was Disarmed

The U.S. abstention is sending shock waves through the international community, which has long been accustomed to the U.S. acting as Israel's de facto protector on the Council. It also appears to reverse a decades-old understanding between Washington and Tel Aviv that the U.S. would acquiesce in Israel's nuclear arsenal as long as that arsenal remained undeclared. The Jewish state is believed to possess as many as 200 weapons.

Keeping warm should be a bit cheaper this winter

WASHINGTON — Staying warm won't be quite as expensive this winter. People who heat with natural gas should do especially well, seeing their lowest bills in five years.

But no matter what fuel is used, heating costs are expected to take less of a bite out of household budgets in the coming months — from $20 to as much as $280 lower than last winter depending on what fuel is used, the government says.

Sunoco idling Eagle Point plant, furloughing 400 workers

Sunoco Inc. said Tuesday it is indefinitely idling its Eagle Point refinery in Westville, N.J., and furloughing all 400 workers there.

The Philadelphia-based oil refiner and gasoline retailer also said it is halving its quarterly dividend to 15 cents from 30 cents, starting with the first quarter of next year.

More motorists die on rural roads

The focus on rural highway deaths comes at a time when traffic fatalities in general — even those on country roads — are dropping. Overall U.S. traffic deaths dropped last year amid record-high gas prices and the recession.

The decline was less on rural roads even though drivers there cut travel more sharply. Rural traffic fatalities have declined steadily to 20,905 last year from 25,896 in 2002.

In every state — even Massachusetts, which has the lowest percentage of rural fatalities — there are more rural deaths per 100 million miles traveled than urban fatalities.

A key reason: People drive faster on rural roads, which are not as well-engineered as urban highways, increasing the likelihood of death or severe injury in crashes, Munnich says. Other factors: behavioral differences, including more drunken driving and less use of seat belts in rural areas, and slower delivery of acute medical care.

After the peak

To prepare for the inevitable decline in fossil fuel production, San Francisco's Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force has concluded the city needs to rapidly implement the community choice aggregation and its related renewable energy projects, beef up "buy local" programs, convert unused land (including some park and golf course property) into public food gardens, and consider implementing city carbon, gas, vehicle, and fast food taxes.

The U.S. Bets a Billion on New High-Tech Automakers

Don't think the billions in government subsidies for automobiles are all flowing to Detroit. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is ready to loan nearly $1 billion to Tesla Motors and Fisker Automotive, two fledgling automakers with deep roots in Silicon Valley and Southern California.

Colo. company looks to salvage Neb. ethanol plants

LINCOLN, Neb. — A Colorado-based company could be in the market for abandoned ethanol plants in Nebraska.

Gevo Inc. of Englewood, Colo., would retrofit the plants to make an alternative fuel called biobutanol.

AES wind farm kicks off in Bulgaria

SOFIA — AES Geo Energy, a Bulgarian unit of US energy giant AES Corporation, launched on Tuesday the largest 156-megawatt wind farm in Bulgaria, the company said.

Canadian Hydro plans offshore wind farm

Ontario's green-energy Klondike is spreading offshore, and in a big way.

Canadian Hydro Developers Inc., the country's largest independent developer of wind-energy projects, said on Monday it plans to erect enough wind turbines in Lake Erie to power two million homes.

Bad air quality could trigger appendicitis: study

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Short-term exposure to air pollution could trigger appendicitis in adults, possibly because pollutants cause inflammatory responses, according to a Canadian study published Monday.

Researchers found that people exposed to nitrogen dioxide for a week during June, July and August -- when levels of the pollutant are at their highest -- were almost twice as likely to come down with the potentially deadly condition as those who had no exposure.

Energy reports will examine markets' effects

The Energy Information Administration will issue a series of reports on the effects of financial markets on energy prices, the agency's director, Richard Newell, said Tuesday.

The reports will evaluate the effect of financial markets on energy prices within the context of other factors, such as storage capacity, physical inventories and geopolitical factors, Newell said. He did not say when the reports will be issued.

Obama orders feds to cut energy use, emissions

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama on Monday ordered the federal government -- the nation's largest energy user -- to cut its greenhouse gas emissions and to reduce its impact on the environment.

The president's executive order also requires all agencies to conserve water, reduce waste and use the government's enormous purchasing power to buy more environmentally sound products. Once the changes in place, they could touch everything from the kinds of vehicles in federal fleets to the use of recycled paper and non-plastic utensils in government cafeterias.

Feds award $2.7M for Wolverine carbon project

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — An electric power co-op that wants to build a coal-fired plant in northern Michigan has received a $2.7 million federal grant for a project designed to prevent industrial carbon dioxide from contributing to climate change, officials said Tuesday.

The Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative Inc. project is among 12 funded by the Department of Energy to test technologies that capture carbon dioxide and store it underground instead of releasing it into the atmosphere, where it traps heat and warms the planet.

E.U. Plan to Curb C02 Would Favor Solar Power

BRUSSELS — The European Commission is expected to introduce a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that directs the largest slices of €50 billion available for research and development to solar power and capturing and burying emissions from coal plants.

India's thirst is making us all wet

ONE nation's thirst for groundwater is having an impact on global sea levels. Satellite measurements show that northern India is sucking some 54 trillion litres of water out of the ground every year. This is threatening a major water crisis and adding to global sea level rise.

Green roofs offset global warming, study finds

Filling rooftops with plants and dirt can help pull a modest amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, found a new study.

While green roofs certainly won't solve the global warming problem, their ability to sop up greenhouse gases — even just a little bit — bolsters the case for planting them on city buildings, despite extra costs on the front end, said lead researcher Kristin Getter, of Michigan State University in East Lansing.

Volcanic eruptions may have thawed ice age

A little melting ice can touch off a firestorm.

As ice sheets thawed toward the end of the last ice age, Earth responded with a fit of volcanic eruptions that spewed CO2 into the air and created the balmy climate we know today, according to a new study.

Bill McKibben: The Science of 350, the Most Important Number on the Planet

350 is the most important number on the planet.

Which is odd, because until about 22 months ago no one even knew it mattered.

But that's when, in December of 2007, NASA's Jim Hansen gave a slide show at the American Geophysical Union annual meeting in San Francisco. He'd been thinking about what it meant that we'd just come through a summer of very rapid ice melt in the high Arctic, and that researchers were reporting "ahead of schedule" changes in dozen other of the earth's big physical features--melting glaciers, acidifying oceans and so on.

UN climate chief hails Bangkok talks

BANGKOK — UN climate talks in Bangkok are the most constructive since the 2007 launch of negotiations to deliver a planet-saving pact on global warming, the UN climate chief told AFP on Wednesday.

"This is the first time over the past two years that we have seen this kind of constructive focus on how we are actually going to make this thing work," said Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Climate a Bigger Challenge Than Recession, China Says

(Bloomberg) -- China, the world’s biggest polluter, said climate change is a challenge that it shares with the world and is a more formidable one than the global recession.

The world’s third-largest economy is committed to helping fight climate change and has taken “responsible” steps, Vice Minister of Science and Technology Liu Yanhua said at a conference in Hong Kong today, reiterating the stance of President Hu Jintao.

C.I.A. Climate Center Irks Barrasso

Senator John Barrasso, a conservative freshman Republican from Wyoming, said on Tuesday that he would try to stop the Central Intelligence Agency from opening a new climate change center by choking off its funding.

“The C.I.A. is responsible for gathering foreign intelligence information for the United States,” Mr. Barrasso said in announcing an amendment to a 2010 spending bill to block any money being spent by the agency on the new office. “I don’t believe creating a center on climate change is going to prevent terrorist attacks.”

Feds award $2.7M for Wolverine carbon project

So there you have it, in spite of the Public Service Commission seriously questioning Wolverines baseload growth projections, we have the Feds butting in and seeing and raising the stakes.
House speaker Andy Dillon (D - Redford)wants to put people back to work, all one hundred them.
Did I mention he's a Democrat?

This is perhaps Northern MI most economically depressed area but one hundred permanent jobs (Wolverine's estimates) won't stem the tide of young people leaving this area.
The Carmeuse Lime Co. can see a big profit in having their ore carriers return laden with coal rather than empty.

Re: Volcanic eruptions may have thawed ice age

Having seen only the news report, I am a bit skeptical about the claim that the glaciers started melting rapidly about 12,000 BP. The data for the melting of the glaciers, which is available from records of sea level, indicate that SL had already risen some 35 meters by 12,000 BP, rising to about 90 meters below present levels. Thus, the melting was already well underway by the time this report claims the melt accelerated. There was a pause in glacier melting during the Younger Dryas period, 12900–11500 years BP, thus the end of the YD would appear as a in increase in melt rate and thus faster rise in SL.

E. Swanson

Looking at the graphs in the publication, it seems like it agrees with your statement regarding sea level rise before 12,000 BP. The period of 12,000 BP to 7,000 BP was a period of increased volcanism and high sea level rise.

List Huyber's Publications

Rising by 35 meters from when? You can remain skeptical if you like, but without some sort of rise/time stats for before 12,000 the 35 meters is just 35/X.

What is the subject here is the correlation between a one time increase in subduction activity due to removal of the ice overburden. This rise is still proceeding in some previously glaciated areas and the counter effect was, as I recall, as much as 50 feet in some places. This is believable considering the plasticity of the planet and the dislocation of 125 meters times the surface of the ocean - serious mass here. Newton would not have been surprised at, or skeptical of, a little reaction.

The lowest stand of the ocean at LGM was some 125 meters below present, as seen in the Barbados coral record, although there is more recent analysis, as I recall. There's been considerable modeling effort to reconstruct the history of the change in sea level by Peltier, among others, as well as various measurements taken. The higher latitude regions where the ice had been kilometers thick, the land surface rose as the mass of ice melted, while, as you note, the extra mass of the water in the oceans may have slightly depressed the surface there. The isostatic rebound is continuing in Eastern Canada and Norway-Sweden-Finland-Baltic Sea regions.

Here's a brief discussion from SCIENCE Mag. Notice the first graph, which shows that sea level rise was almost continuous as the warming progressed after LGM to 8k BP, at which time the sea level had risen to present levels. There is also another report in the same issue regarding sea level change during the Eemian, some 135,000 BP.

E. Swanson

I don't see the post-glacial rebound as the cause here. That is simply a large scale readjustment of the upper mantle to the changed surface pressure. What I envisioned as being the driver, is that magma slowly migrates upwards until such time as it reaches a level where the hydrostatic pressure is too little to contain the dissolved gases in the magma, then the gases start to bubble out, and an eruption soon ensues. So if you remove some of the overburden you reduce the hydrostatic pressure. As normally magma rises pretty slowly (I read 6 centimeters per year under Mt Hood), deglaciation as seen from the standpoint of a pressure sensor in the magma is equivelent to a few thousand years of hydrostatic pressure drop due to the magmas slow rise. So my expectation is that you may be able to get a few thousand years worth of volcanism to happen within a few hundred years. Of course undersea, the overburden is increasing, so presumably undersea volcanism is suppressed?

You also get heat below the surface of the earth from radioactive decay in some minerals. Heat may be localized in one area of the crust as mineral concentrations vary and friction or collision from tectonic events generates other heat. The hot molten rock rose as it was less dense than solid rock; especially the subducted sialic sedimentary rock that was much lighter than the mafic igneous rocks it was subducted under. Glacier or no glacier on top of a volcano, the magma was going to rise where there were weakeness along local stress planes (compression and tension created fractures).

Glacier or no glacier on top of a volcano, the magma was going to rise where there were weakeness along local stress planes (compression and tension created fractures).

Thats true. But if the trigger for the eruption is the confinement pressure of the magma reaching a critical point, then removing ice might bring the trigger point hundreds of years ahead in time. Conversely ice deposition might temperarily delay eruptions. In either case with a constant amount of ice things will eventually revert to their natural rates. Your basically tapping into a pipeline at a point closer to its origin, and taking out the bypassed oil as well. So you get a large temprary increase in output.

Good point. Consider the Bentley Subglacial Trench in the WAIS. It is a giant rift valley the size of Mexico. IMO, floating the ice off the Bentley could jumpstart a giant caldera which would then make things much worse for all of Antarctica. Picture the albedo effect of volcanic ash as chocolate icing on a continental sized cake for fast melting.

There is another problem...it does not correspond to the data from either Vostok or EPICA Dome C. The two EPICA Dome C datasets are different representations of the same data:



The VOSTOK series covers about 450,000 years and the increase in CO2 begins about 17,000 years ago (I have the spreadsheet that has this data so I'm not "eyeballing" this). Added to this curve is the Law Dome data gives near term concentrations.


I have the rest of the EPICA data (apparently at home on a different hard drive) that goes back more than 850,000 years. The ice record goes back about 885,000 years but the bottom extent of the ice gets jumbled up so the data on consists of "good ice."

What is present is a fairly consisent pattern of steep increases in CO2 and methane on period of about 105,000 years. While the idea of the loss of mass as assisting volcanic activity (just as the landslide on the north flank of Mount St Helens uncorked the pressure of magma chamber), the timing shows that the dramatic increase was already well underway. Orbital dynamics and the precessionary oscillation of Earth go a long way to explain the underlying triggerring mechanisms and the positive feedback of the GHGs complete the deal.

Note: none of the previous cycles in the ice record come close to present day concentration of CO2 or other GHGs. Only the interglacial of about 315,000 years ago exceeded 300 ppm. The current interglacial before the Industrial Revolution had leveled out at approximately 280 ppm. This past May, the observatory of at Mauna Loa hit 390 ppm for the first time in its measurement history. In my lifetime (a span of more than 56 years), CO2 has increased from ~310 ppm to 390 ppm.

I'm not sure what you are looking at because the graph above clearly shows CO2 increasing at 14k BP and plateauing till around 11.5k BP.

That's a significant discrepancy.


Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending October 2, 2009

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 14.6 million barrels per day during the week ending October 2, 16 thousand barrels per day above the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 85.0 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging 9.4 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging 4.0 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 9.1 million barrels per day last week, down 435 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 9.3 million barrels per day, 826 thousand barrels per day above the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 1.0 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 214 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 1.0 million barrels from the previous week. At 337.4 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 2.9 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 0.7 million barrels, and are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 0.1 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 3.8 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

The secret -- keep oil prices at $75 a barrel -- turned out to be so simple it is surprising we didn't think of it ourselves.

Who knew??!!!

That one ranks right up there with the suggestion amongst the mice that the cat be belled, or the one about the chicken suggesting to the pig that they put on a ham and eggs fund raising meal.

There is no problem that doesn't have a "simple" solution. Unfortunately, things aren't always so simple for those who are suggested as being the actual solution.

WNC et al:

No big deal for the chicken but serious badness for the pig. :-)

I notice our fuel prices have gone down a bit over the last couple weeks. Regular is $2.65.9 here in Reno. In our group of six old guys at coffee every morning, we don't drive that much so even $5 is not too big a deal. There would be a lot of groaning if it went much higher than that though. A couple are X-truckers and they know many more still on the road and no one likes the result of $5 diesel. Now that's bad news.

I read a lot about the financials here and abroad. None of that is presently effecting our group so it is kinda 'Oh Hum'. It would be interesting if the Fed Audit Bill passed and the whole bunch (and half of the presidents, Obama's and Bush's, financial people) were convicted for fraud. I just wonder if the Fed's rules are written that anything that is not directly prohibited is OK in stead of anything that is not directly permitted is BAD.

We all agree, these are interesting times.

Max Keiser on the Fisk article and dollar demise.

This guy is just as funny as he is informative.


Fisk addresses the deniers.

Video interview with Fisk.

Demise of Dollar, First Fisk item on subject.

Idiotic Mike Whitney Reply that fails to mention the fact that Fisk reported the process would be implemented over a nine (9) year period.

Great video link Porge. Wasn't sure whether to laugh or be shocked, or both. He has a point that all these countries lending to the U.S. are funding the two wars, and maybe one in the future in Iran. Interesting his take on these countries being tired of the U.S., and willing to debase the dollar. Seems like we might be isolating ourselves from the rest of the world in more ways than just our currency.

He sure is impudent. I wonder what it would cost for him to by life insurance. I do think he is likely as not right on.

If the rest of the world could sink the US and still economically survive then oil supplies (add 15 mbd) would be more that adequate for, maybe, 10 years?

Fortune has a nice graph showing many key metrics of the economy and how they are performing... Jobs, homes, stocks, loans, income, CEO confidence... And the picture is not rosy at all...


The question which really needs to be asked, but isn't (does anybody dare?):

If the US economy is entering a long-term episode of chronic stagnation and decline, what would the indicators look like?

The answer, I'm afraid, is: pretty much like these graphs.

Hello Geckolizard,

I noticed how the overall index 100.0->14.25 now basically approaches the dollar devaluation from now back to the Fed Reserve's creation, so that a $1 in 2009 now only buys real value worth roughly 10% of what an old dollar would buy.

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

Wetlands loss caused by Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas pipelines

A new study for the federal Minerals Management Service concludes that the construction of pipelines related to oil and gas production in the Outer Continental Shelf of the Gulf of Mexico "can cause locally intense habitat changes, thereby contributing to the loss of critically important land and wetland areas."

Barrett -- I read this story as just another Fed money grab by a state,. First, the title is completely misleading. The wetland losses were not the result of OCS pipelines. The OCS pipelines don't cross the wetlands in the first place. But there has been a loss of wetlands attributed to canals being dug into the wetland to accomodate drilling rigs. But it's difficult to estimate how much damage. If there were never man-made activitites in the wetlands we would still be losing portions of this ecosystem daily. The La. coastline has been sinking for many millions of years and will continue to do so. Actually one of the biggest culprits of tidal land losses is the fact that the US. Corps of Engineers won't allow the Mississippi River to change course. As a result all the sediment load of the river goes straight out into the deep GOM Basin. Of course, doing so would destroy the economy of La. and probably the entire country. The bottom line: the state allowed certain oil/NG activities (much to their financial benefit) along the coastline which did lead to some level of damage. Now they want the US tax payers to pay for a fix. Don't have time to explain but what makes their efforts even more selfish is that there is no fix IMO.

Nature will fix it some day...


This is much better...this New Yorker article is 27 pages long and tells the story well...written in 1987, its warnings about New Orleans' being mostly below sea level were prescient.


The wetland losses were not the result of OCS pipelines. The OCS pipelines don't cross the wetlands in the first place

I have seen aerial photographs where they do. And since Louisiana has no beaches, we have wetlands facing the sea all along the coast, it is hard to imagine how how offshore pipelines could NOT be crossing wetlands.

And there are solutions. Caernarvon has been a success, the second one silted up too close to the Mississippi River and too little by the coast and should be reworked. Dozens more can, and should be built.


Best Hopes for Freshwater Diversions,


Kuwait says plan to boost oil production on track

KUWAIT CITY — Kuwait’s oil minister says the OPEC member’s plan to boost crude output capacity to 4 million barrels a day is on track for the year 2020.

Shaikh Ahmed Al Abdullah Al Sabah’s comment to the official Kuwait News Agency on Wednesday came a day after he said the output plan had been pushed back by a decade, to 2030. He had cited a weak market and a lack of skilled workers as the reasons for the change in the timeline.

Anyone here understand how a person can say something one day, then completely contradict the same statement the next day -- something's really fishy here.

So the question remains, when is Kuwait going to produde 4 million barrels of oil a day:
1. 2020
2. 2030
3. Never

If I recall correctly, Kuwait's oil production peaked in the 1970's at about 3 million barrels/day.

Anyone here understand how a person can say something one day, then completely contradict the same statement the next day

Just a different culture.

In my experience it's just an expected part of Arabic culture - tell people what they want to hear, different people want different stories.

We expect our Western politicians to be 'economical with the truth' and avoid difficult questions altogether.

The result is the same in both cultures!

Hmmm. Well, in my perhaps limited experience, the al Sabah's simply aren't that honest. If it's culture, they've elevated it to an art form, doing for BS what stonehenge did for rocks.

"How Israel Was Disarmed;"
If you don't have time to read the whole op-ed piece, it is a fantasy about what might happen in the future. It projects that the UN Security Council will demand the destruction of Israel's nukes in exchange for full inspection and control of Iran's program. . . .As if Israel would pay any attention to UN resolutions.

The scriptures are a land registry document and give the right to prosecute the 60 plus year campaign of ethnic cleansing. The long history of European persecution of Jews entrenches this right in the constitution of the story we tell ourselves.

How dare I'madinnerjacket question this story.

US Climate Crisis negotiator unwittingly admits US will not even reduce emissions by the paltry amount required by Kyoto: "We are not going to be part of an agreement [Kyoto] that we cannot meet." Cannot in this context is the same as will not.

The rhetoric may be different, but the substance is the same: BushCo and ObamaInc are no different from each other on the international regulation of CO2 emissions.

He doesn't understand 'net exports' ... yet!

With respect to liquid fuels, Kyoto won't curb consumption because the fuel base will rapidly be consumed... In other words, Kyoto assumes (wrongly) that there will be liquid fuels of significant volume to burn in the future.

Coal, on the other hand- yeah, we're gonna see much more of that...

No one is surprised - this from a couple of days ago: Angry statement from 131 countries at climate talks in Bangkok claims rich nations are rejecting historical responsibilities.

If the 131 are really serious, they can just stop trading with the US and EU. That would force emissions reductions...

arthur berman has posted new installments on the haynesville and fayetteville shale plays:


berman is presenting a paper at aspo - denver.

Are you going to be in Denver?

BTW, the Shale Gas debate is beginning to remind me of the hysteria over the Bakken Shale. Of course, if memory serves, you also persisted then in not accepting the "New Physics."

no, westex i don't plan to be in denver, but i am interested in hearing what berman has to say(and what you will have to say as well).
yes, i remain a bakken skeptic. as far as i can tell, eur's supported by actual performance are about 1/2 what is being claimed, across the board. good luck with you visit to denver, but be aware, duffy's is now closed.

Re; The Heinberg article above.

Even though paper and ink are temporary, I am collecting thousands of books on gardening, prep, how-to, science and engineering and other useful subjects. I aim to be a post-peak librarian or knowledge bank of sorts for my community. As I have no community at the moment, the're mostly stored in boxes on pallets covered with a waterproof tarp in a storage unit.

Knowledge is too precious and hard won to lose. Check out your neighborhood used book store, thrift shop, yard sales, etc. for books Most of the library was bought for $1 a book or less, though there's some specialty books I had to have that were quite dear.

I've also stocked a few cases of copy paper and Ticonderoga #2 pencils since I don't think copy machines will be working. Need some info? Have a seat and start writing. I think the books will be too valuable to loan out when there's no Amazon.com to find a replacement copy.

I wish I could find one of those old hand-cranked mimeograph machines, a big supply of stencils, and a few cans of ink. There was probably a time in the early 1970s when those could have been gotten for pennies on the dollar. Unfortunately, that time is past, and now most of them are deep inside of landfills, I'm afraid.

Manual typewriters are still available, though.

Yep, I thought the Heinberg article was excellent, too.

It makes one think that we need to start building some heavily guarded Ft. Knox-type libraries with precious info laser-etched or stamped onto stainless steel sheets so that the info is available for future generations. If memory serves: TODer Darwinian had suggested something like this years ago.

Essential tools could be stored there too as 'visible, physical models' so future tool-makers would have a good idea of how to easily make replacements; ie, they wouldn't have to re-invent the metal-working lathe, ball-bearing, micrometer, medical & dental hand-tools, typewriter, etc.

I'm afraid a lot of future idiots will gladly burn any book they can find for heating/cooking fuel or toilet paper. It's really heart-breaking when you think about losing info that took countless generations to gather, refine, and improve.


There is a sunny side to this data preservation business-about 99 percent(m y personal wag) of all of it is essentially worthless.

In times to come it may be held as trade secrets but my guess is that the really good stuff is being stored away to a greater extent than we would guess by folks with the ready money to cover any and all bets whether they are good bets or not.

If I were rich I would have a flunky to hand copy my library as the books fall apart.And the hand copies would go on something really durable.

I wonder just how fine a print you could etch onto clay tablets using a jewelers glass-these tablets if kept safely stored are apparently good for many thousands of years.

Or maybe you could etch ordinary glass with scientific and mathematical texts.

Just a couple of thoughts of the top of my head.

Hello OFM,

Thxs for your reply. Good ideas, at least until an severe earthquake hit, then you would have lots of broken glass and broken ceramic tiles. With metal plates: hopefully just some repairable bends and scratches.

Thanks to all for responding!

Toto and OFM- There's got to be some way to laser etch book pages on non-corroding metal plates. Gold? Nickle? Would be expensive, sure, but would last for thousands of years.

No, they'd last until somebody could steal them and hock them for scrap. You need a value-free but sturdy media.

That why I said 'well guarded' in my original post. I don't think anyone would disagree with chopping a hand off, or blinding the eye of any idiot caught trying to steal a priceless plate out of the postPeak library. The plates could be made like the size of a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood-- then, no way to steal it.

EDIT: basically look, but don't touch. Nothing checks out of the building, but a person is free to copy the info down on paper, clay tablet, etc.

Plastic might be a good choice.

While the 'clay' sounds a bit too archaic, maybe that actually makes it the right kind of answer.

There are some great advances in ceramics that I saw a few of at a lab in New Jersey, years back. Knowledge that would be great to record ON and WITH a tablet.. of course, the mechanisms to create
presses and reproducible type are not that hard to put together, so making multiples is unlikely to be the chore that it once was.

I am reminded of the Great Library of Alexandria.


Multiple sites will be needed. Some like the Norwegian germplasm bank on an arctic island, safe, few people and hard to get to (arctic islands, Palmer Peninsula Antarctica, Tibet, Andes, Icelandic Highlands). Others in natural crossroads of movement and easy access (Malta, Niagara Falls, Geneva, Crimea, Capetown, Taiwan or Hainan Island, Uruguay, etc.)

The medium should have little or intrinsic value (how many gold and silver statues remain today ?) and I would suggest several mediums. Archival paper (2 or more of each since it is cheap and easy to handle), stainless steel foil, aluminum foil, glass/ceramic etching and microlaser etching (with multiple readers/magnifying glasses).

Best Hopes for Preserving Knowledge,



All your suggested materials are susceptible to destruction or recycling.

The ultimate medium would be some apparently useless material.

Grindstones are often made of tin oxide or silicon carbide; both extremely hard materials.
Using tin oxide (white) lettering as a filler on engraved silicon carbide (dark grey) slabs would seem to me to be to be a medium that would both last for a long time in natural weathering conditions, and be unlikely to be destroyed by some future society. The slabs might over time be worn down from spear sharpening, but would not be melted down or crushed for some practical or religious purpose.

One must never underestimate the potential of future humans to be controlled by religion. The history of humanity demonstrates time and time again that utterly stupid religious notions can be foisted upon otherwise sane people. Huge knowledge resources have in the past been destroyed by religious insanity. Although Peak Oil, Peak Water, Climate Chaos, Overpopulation, etc are major problems at this point in time, SUPERSTITION is the greatest problem that humanity has ever faced and never learned to deal with. The genus Homo can never truly advance to the species "Sapiens" until all religion is dumped on the scrapheap of history. The protection of scientific knowledge can never be guaranteed until the last religion is banished from human society.

Good Post! Jay Hanson Quote: "...stuck with obsolete belief systems, a society will have no understanding of why everything falls apart..."

Unfortunately, we see it all the time in the news where somebody is outraged at some kind of book. I like this section from Alan's Wikilink on the Library from Alexandria:
Amr ibn al 'Aas conquest in 642

Several historians told varying accounts of an Arab army led by Amr ibn al 'Aas sacking the city in 642 after the Byzantine army was defeated at the Battle of Heliopolis. Some historians, including Alfred J. Butler, argue that, when the commander Amr ibn al-Aas asked the Caliph Umar on what to do with the library he gave the famous answer:

"They will either contradict the Koran, in which case they are heresy, or they will agree with it, in which case they are superfluous."

It is said that the Arabs subsequently burned the books to heat bathwater for the soldiers.[21][22] Burning and destruction of the Library of Alexandria was reported to be the first act of sacking after Amr ibn al 'Aas forces entered the city.[1] It was also said that the Library's collection was still substantial enough at this late date to provide six months' worth of fuel for the baths.
What a tremendous waste if one considers that a single scroll may be a month or more of painstaking work--only to go up in flames in a minute!

The basic definition of Semantics is that Meanings are in people, not inherently in the things they love or hate, or are indifferent to.

You misunderestimate the power of evolution.
Our brains are wired for religion.

Blessed is the limbic system, for it rules our sheepish ways.

The reason for the diversity of materials was that different times and cultures may chose to "recycle" some but likely not all mediums. (Microetched likely takes almost zero materials).

Also that is why a diversity of sites is needed. Some accessible, some not.

Best Hopes for Preserving Knowledge,


"Although Peak Oil, Peak Water, Climate Chaos, Overpopulation, etc are major problems at this point in time, SUPERSTITION is the greatest problem that humanity has ever faced and never learned to deal with."

One can argue that science and unfettered technological progress is the root cause of all of our major problems, and organized totalitarian religion may be the only force than can keep it in check (or prevent it from ever gaining traction).


Reminds me of a group of survivors in the dystopic Aldous Huxley novel Ape and Essence (1948) who discover a new fuel supply - a cache of booke from what was once the Los Angeles Public Library.

Most modern books are chlorine bleached paper. They go brown in 30 years and will crumble completely in century. Non - bleached paper is good for a few hundred years. Cotton or flax or hemp paper is better. In the right conditions papyrus will last indefinitely.

The best 'paper' is velum. The skin of young goats. (hence handling with kid gloves) That lasts for ever, but goats are expensive.

Vellum gets washed and reused by people who think they have something more important to say.

Books won't be of much value when no one knows how to read. Survivors of population collapse, if there are any, may be literate but their children, if they have any, won't be.

Not everyone is going to give up, DD. Basic Literacy is clearly a tool that parents want to see their kids achieve. This didn't used to be the case nearly so much as it is today.

No Read, No Diploma? No work.

Gold spike gives consumers pause, not fever

Branded as the City of Gold, the streets of Dubai's old Gold Souk are getting fewer buyers as the price of the yellow metal is no longer within reach, retailers in the souk said.

"Our sales were already bad with the economic crisis, now it's getting worse because no one will buy at this high price," said Shibu Mohamed Mohamed, sales manager at Modern Jewelry.

"We have been getting a few people in today trying to sell us their old jewelry but we don't even have the money to buy it," he added.

To adapt, gold jewelry retailers in the Gulf region may even start requesting orders of 14 carat and 9 carat jewelry, said Mohamed Shakrachi, managing director of Emirates Gold, a Dubai-based gold bar refinery.

"I think the days of the 22 carats and 18 carats jewelry maybe counted especially if the price remains above $1000 level," he said.
IMO, this just helps show overall entropy & declining ERoEI in everything as we gradually 'water down' the quality of products, even heirloom jewelry. Obviously, the future melting down of 9 carat jewelry is still much better than processing very diffuse gold ore, but one can readily see it will take much more energy than melting 18 or 24 carat jewelry to get it back to 99.999 purity for bullion.

Makes one wonder when REAL pearl necklaces and cowrie shells will have greater adornment value [edit: and higher barter value] than junky gold jewelry, especially as ocean acidification and extinction will make these Natural items Unobtainium.

JODI Databrowser

I would like to get input from the TOD readership concerning a new databrowser I am working on.

The Energy Export Databrowser, based on annual statistics from the the BP Statistical Review, currently provides a broad historical overview of energy production and consumption trends.

To understand the gyrations of the oil market in the current volatile climate requires a dataset with higher resolution -- both temporally and in terms of distinguishing among refined products.

I have chosen to work with the data available from the Joint Oil Data Initiative which collects monthly data on several different products and flows.

I invite readers to explore and comment on the utility of the following prototype:

JODI Databrowser

Here are a few plots to prime the pump:

1) Saudi summer diesel usage (Do they power air conditioners with diesel generators?) has now outpaced diesel production by Saudi refineries resulting in both imports and large stock draws.

2) Japanese winter consumption of kerosene (Do they heat with kerosene stoves?) has dropped significantly in recent years and they are now seasonal exporters of kerosene.

Please be aware that this is a prototype databrowser and that I have not yet filtered out data known to have problems. Nevertheless, plots for G20 nations seem to be pretty believable. Just don't expect much from countries like Gabon.

I would appreciate any comments either in thread or at mazamascience [at] gmail [dot] com.

Happy Exploring!

PS__ If anyone knows of individuals or organizations that might like to support this kind of work I'd appreciate any contacts.

-- Jon

That's awesome, I hope to be using (at soon as I'm done with this post).

Am I the only one that finds it absolutely insane that Saudi Arabia uses natural gas (that they now are having to import) and crude/diesel to produce electricity but don't use solar at all? It would seem that the production profile of solar would be very beneficial to them. Hell, it would probably be cheaper!

Fascinating, Jon! Thanks for all your hard work.

Australia's use of gasoline has been flat, but diesel and kerosene have been climbing. I wonder what's going on there -- increased coal and iron-ore mining (diesel) and flying the workers in and out of the mines (kerosene)? Seems like that would hardly account for all of the growth. A change from petrol to diesel cars? More flying instead of driving?

These data visualizations are great for raising questions.

Australia's use of petrol has been flat

Corrected that one for you. ;)

Hello Jon,

1) Saudi summer diesel usage (Do they power air conditioners with diesel generators?) has now outpaced diesel production by Saudi refineries resulting in both imports and large stock draws.

This is fascinating info! I sure hope KSA is not burning diesel to grid power A/C in people's homes--what an expensive waste of refined fuel. Much cheaper to burn imported natgas or bunker fuel in those giant turbine plants. IMO, a very bad sign if this diesel to A/C is going on in KSA.

I think it is more likely the diesel imports are needed to keep KSA's huge numbers of drill rigs, smaller oil-service boats, heavy equipment, and fleet of diesel trucks moving so that they can continue to supply, rework, and repair the existing infrastructure, plus ramp up even more infrastructure. It is the classic Red Queen Problem, having to run ever faster and faster just to stay even--until she poops out.

I still would like to know how many of KSA's onshore & offshore wells are now running ESPs and jetpumps as these alone may require a lot of on-site diesel genplants to provide the electrojuice to power them. The Saudis are not going to go to the expense of building hi-voltage power lines to all these well-sites if the wells becomes worthless in just a few years.

This is great data, but I'm after clarification on what is meant by "exports" from a country.

Case in point is New Zealand. On the Energy Export data browser, New Zealand has no exports. Yet the Tui field is producing oil within NZ's geographic boundary and exporting it to the refinery in Singapore, and has been doing so for 2 years now. http://www.nzog.com/Tui

So are a countries "exports" defined as exports from the country's geographic boundaries, or is an allowance made some how for economic ownership of the oil?

If it is the former, is the underlying data incorrect for New Zealand? Oil production rates are admittedly low (y/e 30 June 2009 was 9.12m bbl, y/e 30 June 2008 was 14.23m bbl) but I would have thought should still register.


First, a question for you:

If the Energy Export Databrowser had a "FAQ" page would you have gone there to look for the answer to your question? It would be nice to have a central location for answers to questions like yours.

Now here's the answer to your question:

The Energy Export Databrowser uses data from the 2009 BP Statistical Review which contains data for full years through 2008. BP only includes what it considers to be important producers in the worksheet on oil production. New Zealand apparently doesn't make the cut and is missing entirely.

While creating the Energy Export Databrowser, at several points I had to make an executive decision between simplicity/utility and scientific integrity.

One of these decisions had to do with missing production data. On the one hand I knew that BP only left out national production statistics if the production numbers were low and it would be reasonable in most cases to set them to zero. (Small numbers wouldn't change the appearance of the Databrowser graphics.)

On the other hand, I know that setting missing values to zero is the cardinal sin of data management and scientific integrity should require that I just label those data as missing. Unfortunately, if the production data are missing then I cannot calculate and display the export/import results that are the whole point of the databrowser.

So I chose to commit the cardinal sin knowing full well that 1) the overall picture for countries like New Zealand would not be that different from reality; and 2) careful observers like yourself would be confused by the lack of production data. In my application of the 80/20 rule (more like 95/5) you are in the elite 5% which is why you are getting a careful response.

Let's hope that the next release of the Statistical Review solves this dilemma for us by including some production data for New Zealand.

In answer to your question about geographic boundaries -- I assume that the BP dataset defines exports as coming from a country's geographic boundaries. I have never read anything to the contrary.

So why don't I include other data that is available from the EIA, etc.?

Working up even a consistent dataset is non-trivial and accounting for differences in definitions, reporting periods, etc. is far beyond what I can do in my spare time.

I hope that answers your question. Please let me know if it doesn't.

Thanks for your input.

-- Jon

The key metric is net oil exports, which is defined as domestic production less domestic consumption. If the number is positive, a given country is a net oil exporter; if the number is negative, they are a net oil importer (even though they may export crude and/or product). The EIA shows that New Zealand, as of 2008, was a net oil importer:


Incidentally, the Aussies are also net oil importers:


Incidentally, the Aussies are also net oil importers:

And increasing. We're well down the Decline Slope (although Marn is convinced our future lies in 'finding another Bass Strait", rather than ramping up renewables).

re: 350 is the most important number on the planet

Lowering the danger threshold should certainly sharpen our attention, since we are sailing a big boat that's hard to turn. I think anyone who understood that economies use the cheapest energy they can find, and economic growth is the process of accelerating that, would realize that none of the targets for CO2 reduction were ever realistic. We can't turn the big ship to the port and starboard at the same time. That's unfortunately what all our plans call for, and do it at ever faster speeds too. I think all these targets are purely hypothetical, just to get the conversation going.

You can't expand the main source of our multiplying impacts on the earth and reduce our impacts at the same time, except by rhetorical flourishes. That's what our consensus plans for sustainability all do. This plan, to fix each of our critically dangerous growing impacts on the earth by improving our productivity and efficiency to accelerate the economic growth process that has been causing all of them, doesn't work.

You get real solutions by addressing the real problems, not by dodging them.

We need to talk about peak money, and the true choice we have. It's between 1)letting things go till conditions are so bad there are no net returns on investment and 2) a voluntary self-correcting system of ownership like what Keynes and Boulding first proposed. I call the modern version using a whole system approach drawn from the example of natural systems that do something similar "Economies that become part of nature"

With new LNG projects being brought onstream there is increased recovery of NGL's. In some cases the sale of LNG cannot pay for the projects, but sales of natural gas liquids are helping to pay for some of the costs of the projects. More LNG projects are being considered while oil companies searched for shale gas plays around the world.

Shtolkmem gas field in Russia has over 100 tcf of gas, but the Arctic conditions make this project very expensive while natural gas supply is outpacing demand.

The UK Energy Research Centre today (8th October in UK) released its Global Oil Depletion Report.

Full report, executive summary, technical papers etc. available from this link

From the release page:

The report finds:

  • Despite large uncertainties in the available data, sufficient information is available to allow the status and risk of global oil depletion to be adequately assessed.  But the available methodologies can frequently lead to underestimates of resource size and overly pessimistic forecasts of future supply
  • The rate of decline of production is accelerating.  More than two thirds of existing capacity may need to be replaced by 2030 solely to prevent production from falling
  • While large resources of conventional oil may be available, these are unlikely to be accessed quickly and may make little difference to the timing of the global peak
  • A peak in conventional oil production before 2030 appears likely and there is a significant risk of a peak before 2020. Given the lead times required to both develop substitute fuels and improve energy efficiency, this risk needs to be given serious consideration

From the above link.

For medium to long-term forecasting, the number and scale of uncertainties multiply
making precise forecasts of the timing of peak production unwarranted. Nevertheless,
we consider that forecasts that delay the peak of conventional oil production until after
2030 rest upon several assumptions that are at best optimistic and at worst
implausible. Such forecasts need to either demonstrate how these assumptions can be
met or why the constraints identified in this report do not apply. On the basis of current
evidence we suggest that a peak of conventional oil production before 2030 appears
likely and there is a significant risk of a peak before 2020. Given the lead times required
to both develop substitute fuels and improve energy efficiency, this risk needs to be
given serious consideration.

This report direcly contradicts CERA report Pausing for Breath: Liquids Production Capacity to 2030

While the rate of future supply growth will be lower than previously projected, we expect strong capacity growth through 2030 to 114 mbd, .....

They cannot both be correct.

Thanks frugal. From the tone these folks appear to anticipate that once PO hits the oil industry will then be able to go find all those fields they've been ignoring to date. They are more concerned about the lead time needed to add all those reserves and don't seem to question the validity of the assumption that those untapped reserves are actually out there. Perhaps we should just look upon such semi-cornucopian assumptions as baby steps towards eventually acknowledging the truth.

Hello FTX,

"The report finds: "..large uncertainties in the available data..."

All the more reason to support Matt Simmons' request for an independent global FFs audit. If Peak Outreach ever goes full-on, then this should be the first thing we do. Yep, I'm still dreaming...

The availability/quality of data is pretty miserable in some parts of the world. But many people realize this. The Joint Oil Data Initiative describes their database efforts thusly:

When the Joint Oil Data Initiative (JODI) was first launched in 2001, the primary goal was not to build a database but to raise the awareness of all oil market players of the need for more transparency in oil market data.

The JODI effort still has a long way to go on data completeness and quality assurance but it seems they are making a good faith effort to get all the players involved in contributing data.

All they need now is a web site with a few good visualizations to show how useful these data can be. ;-)

-- Jon

Unfortunately, we may find out the effects of poor data the hard way:

Hint: cross your legs [for mental protection] before viewing this really clever & hilarious video.

Blind faith in one's "friends" is definitely the way to go.