Drumbeat: October 12, 2009

Why Oil Is Much More Plentiful Than "Peak Oil" Advocates Claim

When you consider the U.S. has pumped 75 billion barrels of oil since 1977... that means, conservatively, we could recover another 35 billion barrels of oil from known fields.

A lot of the big oil companies scrapped their EOR plans in the '80s, when the price of a barrel of oil wallowed in the teens. Now that oil is back up around $70, EOR is viable again... and it represents a huge "new" source of oil.

Oil jumps nearly 2 percent on optimism

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil jumped 2 percent on Monday on optimism about the pace of global economic recovery and as cold weather across the United States boosted fuel demand.

"Stunning records for cold were set across the nation, increasing the demand for heating fuels over the weekend," said Phil Flynn, analyst for PFGBest Research in Chicago.

Russian Stocks Extend Longest Rally in 11 Months on Oil, China

(Bloomberg) -- Russian stocks extended the longest rally in 11 months as higher oil and metals prices boosted earnings prospects for commodity producers and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin traveled to China to strengthen exports.

Interior Dept Mulls Risks of Drilling in Chukchi Sea

The Department of the Interior is in the final stages of its review looking into the risks of offshore drilling along the nation's outer continental shelf.

Interior officials in Washington, D.C., said the agency is in the final review of a revised environmental risk assessment of offshore drilling in outer continental shelf areas leased under the agency's current five-year leasing plan.

Oil/Dollar Link Is Pretty Slippery

For oil prices, subject to such oblique influences as Chinese economic growth, Nigerian politics and Atlantic winds, rules of thumb are alluring.

One currently in vogue is that oil prices increase as the dollar weakens. As oil is priced in dollars, intuitively this makes sense. Working the other way, expensive oil widens the U.S. trade deficit, which should weaken the dollar.

Middle East and Africa bear untold riches for exporters

With the confluence of "peak oil", scarce metals, and constrained food, the best endowed of these regions will see a steady climb in their terms of trade. The OECD says Africa has the potential to become an agricultural superbloc, if it can unlock the wealth of the savannahs by allowing farmers to use their land as collateral for credit.

Mexico needs bigger oil reforms

When the U.S. economy sneezed last year, Mexico didn't just catch a cold. It got the economic equivalent of swine flu and now faces its worst decline in 77 years. Mexico's two biggest sources of hard currency – oil exports and remittances from migrants in the United States – are drying up at an alarming pace.

Pemex Says It's Evaluating, Not Reconsidering, Chicontepec

Mexico's state oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, said it's evaluating performance in the Chicontepec oil region but isn't planning to suspend work there.

Saudi keeps Nov supply cuts steady to Asia buyers

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, will keep steady in November its curbs on the contracted volumes of crude it supplies to Asian term buyers, industry sources said on Monday.

Saudi Arabia has notified three term buyers in Asia it would keep curbs on crude oil supply in November at 5 to 15 percent, steady versus October.

Mexico power firm closing may ease tax hike plans

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The closure of an inefficient state-owned power utility, expected to bring in big savings, could open the way for the Mexican government to scale back its tax hike proposals, Finance Minister Agustin Carstens said on Monday.

Iran's gas deal crucial for Switzerland: report

TEHRAN (Xinhua) -- A Swiss official said here on Monday that Iran's gas deal is crucial for Switzerland and his country attaches much importance to the deal with Iran.

Swiss Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Ambole said in a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Mehdi Safari that the two countries' relations are deeply influenced by the contract and the prospects of the two countries' relations will be more brilliant by the materialization of Iran's gas exports to Switzerland, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

Natural Gas Hydrate Development Has a Long Way to Travel

It is estimated that natural gas hydrate reserves in the world are almost twice reserves of traditional natural gas, oil and coal in terms of oil-equivalent tonnage, or 50 times traditional natural gas reserves.

However, natural gas hydrate has a long way to go before it can be developed on an industrial scale because geographic and environmental protection issues have to be overcome.

The hybrid wars heat up

Oil prices are going up. As I sit here writing about Honda's new hybrid, the 2010 Insight, on the desk next to me is the front page of The New York Times declaring that major oil and gas projects now being delayed are setting the stage for "another surge in oil prices once the global economy recovers."

So a spike in the price of oil is really just a matter of time. For Honda right now, the price of oil is not so much an issue of time, but of timing.

That is, will pump prices go back up to the levels of last May/June that looked like they would make the launch of the gas-stingy 2010 Insight hybrid a smashing success?

Oil producers help tackle climate change

At the 2006 Arab Energy Conference in Amman, Jordan, I suggested that oil producers are part and parcel of the human race and that they will not be immune from the impact of climate change. I suggested that Arab oil and gas producers should embrace a CCS project and share its experience with the rest of the world. The Arab oil and gas producers may even be able to use CO2 injection to enhance oil recovery from mature fields and therefore the expensive CCS projects may become a very attractive and profitable undertaking.

Obama's Climate - Change Hopes Get A Boost

UNITED NATIONS/LONDON (Reuters) - Official Washington sounded more upbeat on Monday than it has for weeks in sizing up U.S. President Barack Obama's chances of progress on a climate-change bill in Congress this year.

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer predicted the committee she leads would approve a bill before a U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen in December while Obama's Energy Secretary Steven Chu said he hoped all of Congress would pass a law by then.

Future to sustainability lies in peaceful transition

By now, the concept of sustainability is one that most people are familiar with. Though there are many ways to define a sustainable society, there is really only one alternative to it. Basically, you're either on or off the bus. By definition, being unsustainable only lasts for so long. It's the ultimate dead end.

What does that mean in the current context of our lives, our homes and communities, and life as we know it? There are many examples of human and nonhuman populations that have lived in relative balance with the world for tens of thousands of years. However, they were not multiplying and consuming resources at the enormous rate we've become accustomed to. Can we envision what our community will look like in 5,000 years? How about 100?

The Economic Revolution Is Already Happening -- It's Just Not on Wall St.

Thousands of alternatives to the punishing corporate model have sprouted up across the US, building up an alternative economy as Wall St. crumbles.

Save Kids. Take 250,000 Cars Off US Roads: Wend Magazine Tells How

To help readers get in the right mood, the Wendex gathers together scary statistics, which seem to equally reflect another world.

For example, we're informed that 50% of US school kids are dropped off in the family car. But if just 20% of those kids living within two miles of school either biked or walked, the the US would avoid 43 million miles of driving. Or put another way, if the number of kids who walked/biked to school returned to 1969 levels, the USA would reduce its emissions equivalent to taking 250,000 cars of the road. It's well established that kids aren't exercising like they use to and that childhood obesity if a growing health care issue. But did you know that 20 billion extra pounds of carbon dioxide are released annually due to overweight and obese US citizens?

ANALYSIS - Rising US population makes 2050 climate cut harder

OSLO (Reuters) - A rising population will make it harder for the United States to make 2050 cuts in greenhouse gas emissions than for Russia and some other rich nations with shrinking populations, a Reuters survey showed.

Leaders of the Group of Eight agreed in July to cut developed nations' emissions by 80 percent on average by 2050 in a costly shift to renewable energies. They said the target could aid a U.N. climate pact due to be agreed in December.

But the goal -- if implemented by each nation -- would allow Russian citizens to emit almost twice as much as Americans in 2050, according to Reuters comparisons of emissions and U.N. Population Division projections

Carbon capture coal tech must be ready by 2019: U.S.

LONDON (Reuters) - A technology to bury underground the greenhouse gas emissions produced from burning coal must be ready for global deployment by 2017-2019, U.S. energy secretary Steven Chu said on Monday.

Coal is the world's single biggest source of carbon emissions, at 40 percent. Other sources included burning oil and natural gas, and deforestation and the production of cement.

Max Keiser: Oil Trade's U.S. Dollar Dump Rumors Are True

Max Keiser, international journalist, provocateur and ex-stockbroker, was interviewed on Tuesday by the Russia Today television network on the oil trade’s so-called “U.S. dollar dump” (courtesy of GATA). He reported that he was hearing from his sources in Paris and the Middle East that there was substance to the widely publicized article by Robert Fisk (The Independent) about worldwide collaboration to replace the U.S. dollar as the medium of exchange for oil trading.

UK: Shadow energy minister warns of West Midland power crisis

The West Midland economy could be among the hardest hit by any potential shortfall in the UK power supply because of its energy-intensive manufacturing sector, according to shadow energy minister Greg Clark.

Speaking during a visit to Birmingham, Mr Clark warned of interruptions in supply and price spikes which could damage the region’s businesses if investment was not made in the UK’s energy capacity.

'Aramco eyes South Ghawar job'

Saudi Aramco plans to award an integrated drilling contract in South Ghawar worth $500 million in a bid to cut costs, according to reports.

"They want one company to provide the rigs, directional services. The objective is to cut costs," an oil services company sources close to the bidding process told Reuters.

Kunstler: Booby Prize

The combination of extreme resource dependency and religious fanaticism is a fatal equation for the Middle East. They are angry, crazy and often savage people who own something we can't live without, and we are overfed buffoons, often savage ourselves, who think we can make them like us -- whether they like it or not. Again, personally, I don't believe the status quo will persist a whole lot longer. The US economy is radically de-complexifying (i.e. crashing). Part of this will be expressed in the bankruptcy of US military capacity -- at least where supporting troops-on-the-ground in foreign lands is concerned, and probably overseas bases, too.

The US could get in trouble with other sources of foreign oil (think: Mexico) before anything chokes off the Middle East. But in one way or another, the US will soon become both capital-and-energy-resource-challenged to an extreme, perhaps to the extreme where we can't feed ourselves. Our problems in running the nation as it has been set up to run -- as a colossal demolition derby with sideshows of bargain shopping and infotainment -- are insurmountable if one accepts the majority view that it is "non-negotiable."

Going fission

Is nuclear power the only way to meet Australia's future energy needs and cut carbon emissions?

Australians warm to nuclear power

Australians are warming to the idea of nuclear power, with almost one in two saying it should be considered as an alternative source of energy to help combat global warming.

An Age/Nielson poll found 49 per cent of Australians believed nuclear should be on the nation's list of potential power options, while 43 per cent were opposed outright.

Canada should follow Europe's lead on climate change, minister says

It's time politicians in North America began taking the type of politically risky measures to cut carbon-dioxide emissions that their counterparts in Europe have already initiated, says the Danish minister playing host to the coming United Nations conference on climate change.

And Connie Hedegaard, Denmark's minister for climate and energy, said the inaction of some is making life difficult for politicians in jurisdictions taking the threat of global warming seriously.

Interview with Sadad al Husseini: Part 2—“A lot of Money = a Little Oil”

Question: In the past you’ve mentioned that world oil reserves are overstated by as much as 300 billion barrels.

Sadad: It’s very important to adhere to proper reserve definitions when we’re talking about oil. Oil is money in the bank. If you are very loose in terms of how you define it, you can go off and make assumptions that are unsustainable. The current numbers published—I call them “declared reserves”—are something like 1,200 billion barrels. On top of that there are another 150 billion of extra-heavy crudes and 150 billion Canadian type of bitumens. So that would lead you to believe that we have roughly 1,500 billion barrels of proven oil reserves. In fact, those are hardly proven. There is a lot of speculation. If we go back to the SEC type of definitions, that number drops way back, maybe down to 900 billion. I think it’s important to be precise about the definitions if not the actual estimates, because that’s the only way we can decide how much can be delivered on a timely basis. So yes, I think I would say 900 billion proven, perhaps 1,200 billion probable and potential. But that’s about the limit.

Sunoco, Valero Shut Refineries as Winter No Match for Fuel Glut

(Bloomberg) -- Oil refiners from Valero Energy Corp. to Sunoco Inc. are cutting the most capacity since the early 1980s, anticipating the coldest U.S. winter in a decade won’t be enough to soak up a glut of fuel.

The returns from processing crude into heating oil for delivery in February are the lowest in six years after the recession cut demand by the greatest amount since Jimmy Carter was president. The margins for making heating oil and diesel may decline 33 percent by January because of the increasing supply, according to Energy Security Analysis Inc.

Jim Rogers Claims 20 Year Commodities Boom to Replace Financial Crash

Jim Rogers and others commodity boomers may also be mistaken in thinking that oil price recovery automatically translates to sustained price recovery for non-oil commodities. In the short-run, yes, but without sustained real economy recovery, no. The special case of oil, summarized by Peak Oil, is itself becoming less special and more complex, as multiple transitions gather pace. The long-announced 'decoupling' not of China and India from OECD economic trends, but of the global economy from oil is itself more possible, today, than previous.

One very near-term lever for this partial and transient change, within global energy transition, is the coming but only short term natural gas supply bulge. We can place this bulge at about 2010-2014. This can be compared with the previous bulge in oil capacity additions, taking place on a longer timeframe, in a context of low but regular growth of the global economy through about 1985-1995. Short-term impacts on oil prices through 1995-2000 were dramatic, in the sense of setting very low ceilings for each oil price recovery.

China May Seek Oil Investment in Ghana, Guinea to Meet Demand

(Bloomberg) -- China, the world’s second-largest oil consumer, may be seeking to invest in oil in the Western African states of Ghana and Guinea to help fuel its economy and bolster energy security.

Putin Travels to China to Expand $100-Billion Energy Relations

(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Vladimir Putin arrives in China today bidding to strengthen a relationship forged by Russian oil exports to Asia’s largest energy consumer.

Russia, which this year sealed Chinese oil contracts valued at $100 billion, is now negotiating an agreement that would make China OAO Gazprom’s biggest customer for natural gas. Its communist neighbor currently buys no Russian gas.

Russia Needs 15 Years to Reduce Reliance on Energy

(Bloomberg) -- Russia will need as long as 15 years to free itself of its reliance on raw materials and become a modern economy, President Dmitry Medvedev said.

“That is a perfectly plausible time frame in which to create a new economy, an economy that will be competitive with other major world economies,” Medvedev said in a television interview last night. “Once a significant portion of our revenue is generated by something other than energy exports, let’s say at least 30 or 40 percent of it, then we would already be living in a different economy and a different country.”

Iraqi oil impasse seen deterring smaller firms

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's failure to pass delayed energy legislation is unlikely to deter oil majors from doing business in a country already saddled with risk, but it may halt investment in smaller fields, a top U.S. official said.

"The oil and gas law certainly matters, but it is not critical to the big energy companies," Patricia Haslach, the official who oversees U.S. efforts to help Iraq resurrect its economy, said in a recent interview.

Shell Expects Output at Prelude off Australia in 2016

(Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s largest oil company, said first liquefied natural gas from its Prelude project off northwestern Australia is expected in 2016.

A final investment decision is scheduled for early 2011 and Prelude is projected to have an operational life of 25 years, Shell said in a draft environmental impact statement posted on its Australian unit’s Web site. Shell plans to use the world’s first floating LNG plant to develop the field.

Five risks to watch for in the Middle East

BEIRUT (Reuters) - From Iran's nuclear ambitions to the fallout from the financial crisis in the Gulf, the Middle East offers several risks that could affect wider world markets.

BHP Says Olympic Dam’s Mine Haulage System Damaged

(Bloomberg) -- BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, said a mechanical failure damaged the main haulage system at its Olympic Dam copper, uranium and gold mine in South Australia.

An investigation is under way and the system won’t be restarted until it is safe, BHP spokeswoman Kelly Quirke said in an e-mailed statement. A secondary haulage system is operating, she said. Quirke wouldn’t say what effect the incident would have on production or whether the company would be forced to miss deliveries to customers.

U-turn urged on UK energy policy

The liberalisation of the UK's energy market should be reversed, with ministers taking more control of decisions such as building renewable energy generation, the government's Committee on Climate Change will say today.

The call for a U-turn on two decades of government policy that has created one of the most liberal energy markets came as the committee, chaired by Lord Turner, concluded that deregulated markets did not produce the needed investment in low-carbon energy and a diversity of supply.

EU Boosts Builders With Green Renovation Plan

BRUSSELS - Fifteen million European buildings should have eco-friendly renovations over the next decade to cut energy use, with builders and architects re-educated to do the lucrative job, a draft EU report says.

The European Union should also make mandatory its goal of cutting energy use by a fifth over the next decade, creating about 2 million new jobs, says a draft of the EU's "energy efficiency action plan" obtained by Reuters.

The proposal for a binding energy efficiency target is expected to spark a fierce political battle.

New German government won't slash solar power rates: source

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's conservatives and their Free Democrat allies will reform the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) but cuts for solar power rates will be modest to prevent harming the fast-growing industry, a coalition source said on Sunday.

"We're not going to take an axe to the EEG and we obviously won't agree to any changes that would damage such an important sector," a source told Reuters. "Any cut in feed-in tariffs will be modest -- not anywhere near as high (as) some are suggesting."

Iceland looks to serve the world

Since the financial crisis, Iceland has been forced to retreat back from high octane bubble living to nature.

Fortunately, there is a lot of that nature to retreat to.

It is a breathtaking world of volcanoes, endless prairies and ethereal winter landscapes.

Not, you might think, the most obvious place to stick millions of the world's computer servers which are, for all their uses, rather less attractive.

But the country now wants exactly that - to become home to the world's computing power.

Debate Follows Bills to Remove Clotheslines Bans

CANTON, Ohio — After taking a class that covered global warming last year, Jill Saylor decided to save energy by drying her laundry on a clothesline at her mobile home.

“I figured trailer parks were the one place left where hanging your laundry was actually still allowed,” she said, standing in front of her tidy yellow mobile home on an impeccably manicured lawn.

A world awaits you in the 'Whole Green Catalog'

It's about time. Modeled on the "Whole Earth Catalog," this compendium of products, easy on the Earth, ranges from kitchenware to cars to pet food.

Lush and stylish, the book lists everything you need to make you want to go off-grid: sustainable skateboards, products to help you recycle, appliances, biofuel and cashmere.

A world awaits you in the 'Whole Green Catalog'

It's about time. Modeled on the "Whole Earth Catalog," this compendium of products, easy on the Earth, ranges from kitchenware to cars to pet food.

Lush and stylish, the book lists everything you need to make you want to go off-grid: sustainable skateboards, products to help you recycle, appliances, biofuel and cashmere.

California’s Food Banks Go Locavore

Traditionally food banks have gathered mostly leftover or damaged boxes and cans from supermarkets, food processors and other mass distributors and then passed along the food to soup kitchens and food pantries like the one in East San Jose. Food banks have always found some fresh produce to give away; a few have managed to give away a lot. But for the most part, they have trafficked in processed foods — widely available free, simple to transport and warehouse and quick to fill empty stomachs.

Increasingly, though, food banks have been looking to agriculture. California is at the forefront of this change. Since 2005, the California Association of Food Banks has struck deals with farms and packers across the state, where, on behalf of its members, it collects truckloads of fruits and vegetables that are too small, ripe or misshapen for supermarkets to sell.

A Second Manhattan Project?

The conventional view is that it would take a long time to develop Generation IV nuclear technology. This is mistaken because the Indians expect to complete a commercial Generation IV Fast Breeder Prototype Reactor in 2011, and then begin to build standaed production reactors immediately after, They currently expect to complete at least 4 commercial fast breeders by 2020, and more later.

Kurt Cobb: The purpose of it all

More recently, some scientists have come to believe that human activities are bringing about an entirely new geologic age. And, therein seems to lie our purpose, to alter the landscape and the atmosphere to such a degree that we bring about wholly new conditions on Earth.

How do I know this? Simple logic. First, economist Herman Daly has very compellingly explained why growth in developed nations has become "uneconomic." The short version is this: Marginal costs are exceeding marginal benefits. Yes, growth produces more of what we call wealth; but it also degrades the air, water, soil and climate, all of which are necessary for us to produce and enjoy wealth, but more important, essential to our survival. The costs to the environment and the social costs associated with high inequality are greater than the benefits of economic growth. The rather touching concern by the rich for the plight of the poor in a hypothetical no-growth or steady-state economy can easily be explained. In a steady-state economy we would have to be much more concerned about the distribution of wealth, not its mere accumulation. As Daly puts it, "We are addicted to growth because we are addicted to large inequalities in income and wealth. What about the poor? Let them eat growth! Better yet, let them feed on the hope of eating growth in the future!"

Carbon-neutral Transport Systems: Are We Doing Enough?

The sense of urgency evident in this question emanates from two scenarios: peak oil and global warming. I am using the word "scenarios" judiciously as the first is bogus and the second relies heavily on computer models. Moreover, it is not clear that our scarce resources are put to the best use in designing and implementing a carbon-neutral transport system "this century". They may be far better deployed in encouraging and researching carbon sequestration or other cleanup technologies, for instance.

Whither Resilience and Transition? Why ‘Peak Oil’ Has Yet to Outlive its Usefulness

It’s been a fascinating few days. Early in the week, Nate Hagens and Sharon Astyk were suggesting that perhaps the term ‘peak oil’ has outlived its usefulness, given that we have almost certainly peaked, and that the peak oil movement needs to shift its focus. It echoed something I wrote a while ago, likening ASPO and the wider peak oil movement to a Loch Ness Monster Society, dedicated to establishing the existence of this fabled creature. They organise conferences, scientific searches of the loch, write papers and journals, and then one day, an entire, intact Loch Ness Monster washes up on the shore. Then what? They have no reason to exist any longer, their whole raison d’etre vanishes overnight.

However, I don’t think it is that straightforward. For me, what we are seeing, taking a step back and looking in the longer time context, is a series of pulses. Peak oil won’t go away as an issue, it pulses in and out of the collective consciousness and hopefully will increasingly come to underpin Government policy-making. In July 2008, peak oil was pulsing as the oil price hit record highs, and issues around economics were in the background. Now, economics has been the key pulse for the last year or so, and peak oil has been pushed off the side of the stage until the last few days. If Colin Campbell’s original analysis, elaborated by David Strahan in his talk at the 2009 Transition Network conference, is correct, what looks likely is that the two will pulse alternately, as any kind of economic recovery increases demand, which raises the oil prices, which dampens economic recovery, which reduces demand and lowers prices, which increases demand, and so on and so on. Until the connection between the two becomes clear, they will continue to pulse alternately.

Lufthansa, Air France May Limit First Carbon Charges

(Bloomberg) -- Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Air France-KLM Group, Europe’s largest airlines, are seeking to limit costs they will be required to pay for buying greenhouse- gas permits.

The companies say they are trying to lock in prices for allowances to emit carbon dioxide needed under a European Union climate-change program taking effect in 2012. The German airline Air Berlin Plc said last month the new EU rules governing jet exhaust may add about 1.5 billion euros ($2.2 billion) a year to the industry’s expenses, spending that may reduce profits or be passed along as higher ticket prices.

Will Congress chicken out on climate change?

Once close-quarters combat over health care is ended, will Washington, D.C., have the stomach to move on climate change legislation? Deploying front groups and Gucci-wearing lobbyists, Big oil and big coal are already manning the barricades to stop it.

Climate Bill: Economy Killer or Job Maker?

(AP) Nestled in Ohio's Amish country, Bill Belden's 124-year-old family owned brick company has thrived on the region's rich red clay and shale, and cheap energy from abundant coal.

Which he's convinced that a climate bill being considered in Congress will end.

Recession Cut U.K. Emissions By 2 Percent, Climate Panel Says

(Bloomberg) -- The economic crisis probably cut Britain’s output of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming by 2 percent in 2008, the Climate Change Committee, which advises the U.K. government, said today.

Recession could trim polluting emissions by 40 million to 75 million tons over the five years through 2012, the committee report said. Even so, output of heat-trapping gases isn’t declining fast enough for the U.K. to meet self-imposed legally binding budgets laid out in April by the government, it said.

Flood victims in Burkina Faso illustrate the effects of climate change

OUAGADOUGOU (AFP) – A world away from the heated negotiations for a critical deal on stopping climate change at the UN summit in Copenhagen, Burkina Faso inhabitants are suffering the direct consequences of global warming.

Jacqueline, Noroudine and Guy-Prosper are among the 150,000 made homeless by floods after the heaviest rainfall in decades hit Burkina's capital Ouagadougou last month. On September 1 some 30 centimetres (one foot) of rain fell in the space of 10 hours, the heaviest rainfall in the west African country since 1919.

Melting Permafrost May Help Explain Why Many Denali National Park Wetlands Are Drying Up

Scientists working in Denali National Park suspect that permafrost melting that’s caused by climate warming might be an important reason why many of Alaska’s shallow lakes and wetlands have shrunk or disappeared. If the trend continues, wetland-dependent wildlife might be severely impacted.

Russian climate goal weak as "methane bomb" ticks

MARRESALE, Russia (Reuters) - The snows are late in coming on the Arctic Yamal peninsula where moist, dark permafrost entombed for 10,000 years crumbles into the sea at the top of the world.

Western scientists and environmentalists say collapsed river banks, rising tide waters and warmer winters in northwest Russia are clear signs of climate change, but they add Russia is in denial, ignoring a potentially disastrous "methane bomb".


"The rise I see now is in food stamps, even from teenagers," Mr. Mustafa said. The number of food-stamp recipients was up 22% in June from a year earlier.

So, for those who see doom on the horizon and have family members (parents, grand parents, siblings, and other close relatives) who do not see doom coming (perhaps not even any hint of doom)...how do you reconcile the likely necessity of "letting them go" and leaving them to their own devices as you re-locate or attempt in whatever way you've deemed necessary to improve your likelihood of survival?

And/Or has anyone decided that there is such a high probability of the world going down the tubes/dieoff, that they've decided to check-out on civilization (aka "quit the day job") and "see the world" ("bucket list") before it turns into a giant ball-of-crap not worth living in?

On the flip side, how many have actually put aside plans to do either of those because they can't just let the family go, and would rather "tough it out" with them, potentially living (or not) a miserable existence, than to abandon them?

Perhaps this would best be worked into some sort of "campfire" post.

I see my family as part of my "hedge" for the future. They actually have assets and skills that would be quite useful in a doom scenario. (Agronomist, surgeon, farmer, engineer, veterinarian, etc.) Most of them are not expecting doom, but they still have their skills.

And if I'm wrong, and BAU or something like it continues for the rest of my life...they may be the ones helping me, rather than the other way around.

I agree Leanan

My extended family seems to be experiencing profound swings in reality.

They come up here and get an ear full from me, which they have started to actually listen to as I have “predicted” what seems to be going on with “amazing accuracy”.

Then they go home and climb back into the average 4 hours a day of TV every day and eventually become opiated back into denial. Then I can’t get any of them to do a damn thing, even though most of them have been seriously affected by collapse.

Rinse and repeat at least 4 or 5 times a year.

I was able to talk my Sis into moving up here and she has not regretted it for a moment. Sometimes I think she has too much fun. There may be a few who “flee” to our place at some point and we try to keep that option open as best as possible.

I have dropped out more than most. Sold out of just about everything except supplies, tools, and a few comforts. Zero debt, goodly savings, very cheap overhead.

Over all my immediate family has blossomed beautifully with this powerdown thingy.

More time with family, friends, music, cooking, gardening, canoeing, etc Just having more time in general seems almost like a “too good to be true” luxury. My wife and I think of it as resting up for the big push which is likely to happen eventually.

I still make money now and then doing odd jobs, consulting, selling, but nothing even close to what would be called part time work.

I have a big project in the works (hyper-efficient food processing facility) just in case Leanan’s superdoomer extended BAU scenario comes to be, (god forbid).

With entire countries beginning their slide down the "quality of life" scale, it would seem that time is running out for the BAUers. The main impact will be absorbed by the middle classes, ironically the class least likely to give up on BAU and the future bête noire of the elite and poor alike.

Telegraph: Britain has worst quality of life in Europe, study says

The study comes less than a week after the United Nations moved Britain out of the top 20 list of most desirable countries to live in for the first time.

There is probably little that can be done for those not already reasonably advanced in their preparations. It's only possible to help those that are willing to help themselves and keep a place open for close family. The rest are on their own unless they're lucky enough to have desirable skill sets or resources that lend themselves to the drastically altered future.

Not everyone will get through the bottleneck (financial and otherwise), this is something we must internalise, and nobody has been issued with a pass that guarantees passage to the other side. We help those we can, let loose those we can't and expect nothing more from others in the same circumstances.

To be fair it was done by a price comparison website and rated 'high fuel prices' as a bad thing. I don't dispute Britain is a dump, I just don't want the Telegraph telling me that 'Uswitch' has any quality judgement that is relevant to our future needs.

how do you reconcile the likely necessity of "letting them go" and leaving them to their own devices as you re-locate

Already done. They're family, but they're also individuals and must make their own choices. So, I reconcile it this way, if they show up at my doorstep, they'll be given what shelter and food I have. If, as Leanan points out, the situation is reversed, I know the opposite will also be true.

For me there is no conflict, just a lot of wasted opportunity and frustration.


Same here, the move is done, but the door is left open.

I think it is important that the person to make the decision is the one with the most understanding of the situation. Seems obvious, but I find often the decision ends up with the least capable or knowledgeable person. For example, a spouse who wants to stay fully engaged in BAU and is ignorant (wilfully or otherwise) of the immediate threat, is left to decide whether the family makes sensible preparations or not. Therefore allowing the least informed or capable person to decide the future of the entire family, leaving the more informed partner to watch the unfolding events with frustration and foreboding.

With out a catalysing event of such force that people are immediately motivated to adapt, then people are just going to act like the frog in boiling water.

It`s hard to know who has the most understanding of the situation!

I`ve studied this PO stuff a lot while hubby hasn`t.

But in Japan at least the cities are where all the people with PhDs and other high educations live so that they can compete against their peers. There in the cities there is high energy flow and high-rate material cycling (shops, hospitals, universities, trains, etc.)and of course high complexity.

Ask anyone here and they will agree that all the smart people live in Tokyo.

Go into the countryside and find people who don`t speak "properly", who sometimes seem backward or uneducated even if they aren`t....

It seems to make sense in a lower-rate energy regime to go somewhere where with lots of fields, clean water, etc.

Yet that isn`t being absorbed here in any way, except in a macro way. The new Minister of the Interior named Seiji Maehara cancelled tons of new infrastructure (ie cement build-up) plans that the old LDP had on tap. I think they are trying to preserve nature here, finally!

What if the "smart" people used their power, money and influence to outwit their country cousins? En masse.......high taxation of land that resulted eventually in confiscation, taking tax money from the farmers to pay to take city buildings down....the list of possible ways they could outwit the people in the countryside is long.

If you go and join the powerless and uneducated people in the countryside then you might be setting yourself up as a victim of the well-heeled, powerful and hungry later.

On the other hand, continue to live among the edcated elites in the city and you take the other risk of becomeing a poor slum dweller when your luck runs out.

So the future isn`t perfectly clear, although I wish it was.

Not really knowing what to do, perhaps maintaining one`s composure is the best that can be expected.

Continue to work at the job until it`s gone then go to the back up plan which would mean more basic and cheaper living in the countryside.

My family - the ones I care about most - are my grandchildren. None of them is 'of age' yet; 4 live with me and are 3, 7, 9 and 12 years old. How can I abandon them? How can I best help them?

Right now the parents of the 4 living with me are in denial. Yet, I am supporting them already.

To make matters worse, I live in an area that will not support local agriculture sufficient to feed them, and we are under a Court Order to stay within one county as to three of the grandkids.

I expect that, at some time in the very near future, I will be making an 'illegal' move to a better location. We're looking at land right now!

I wish you the best of luck. I hope you get time to post your experiences.

In the case of total collapse, I will either be a part of a cooperative family and community effort working towards preserving life and building a new post industrial economic order; sharing knowledge, sharing resources, sharing both work and harvest, or I will my quietus make, although not with a bare bodkin, whatever that is. I have no desire to survive if it requires abandonment of loved ones, or the disturbing options of shooting my neighbors to keep them out of my food hoard, or watching them starve to death as I eat it. In my view, united we muddle through, or nothing.

Since the other family members expect the near future to be like the near past, we've been unsuccessful. My wife and I unilaterally bought plots of land for them around ours on the big isle in Hawaii when we planned to move there; what the heck, it was pretty cheap at the time. (and still pretty cheap, for those who like the idea and are young and healthy).

But it became clear that they were utterly uninterested; and my wife and I inherited the care for my seriously ill dad, and then when he died my disabled-and-worsening mom. This messed up any plans we had to relocate ourselves, so we've remained on Oahu and paid our personal bills by selling off the big isle lots.

There's a good chance that we'll still leave here if my mom's situation changes abruptly; go to Oregon or southern Indiana or some such place. I think that we may well wind up in an "extended family" situation - an artificial one, in which we decide where we want to be and then attract others to live with us or near us in a collaboration of sorts. I think "mini communities" even of several families living in a cluster might be able to function better in varying conditions, as a mini-superorganism of tight alliances.

We have no kids, so it's not as intense a worry as it would otherwise have been. And we both tend to focus more on big-picture environmental activism than personal survival.

Incidentally, the big isle is still a great place, but the exodus of doctors is an interesting reality check on what loss of complexity can mean, particularly for those growing older. We've come to take medically "cheating death" for granted to live into our 70's to 90's. The mortality rate for older people will probably soon be a lot higher on the big isle than for Oahu. If I have a heart attack sitting here typing, I'm 2 minutes from a facility which could shove a balloon into my heart and likely cure it. If I was typing from the big isle and the same thing happened, not so much. The place I often run into my big isle friends is at Kaiser Hospital in Moanalua, where they need to fly to get any sort of modern med care. That won't be indefinitely possible, nor is it much good for emergencies. Of course, the same in general applies to Hawaii itself, it's just that the big isle is showing the effect first.

Hi Greenish,

I'm already 70 and still able to bike about 4,000 miles a year - but, only because of modern medicine. I would probably be deceased several times without medical intervention. Currently, I have the benefit of a total knee replacement. I recall that my grandfather had serious arthritis issues that diminished and shortened his later years. His only recourse was to visit "hot springs" in an attempt to get relief.

We've come to take medically "cheating death" for granted to live into our 70's to 90's.

Both my parents lived into their 90's (again with good medical care) but I really wonder if you and I will enjoy this same level of care? My guess is that 10 years or so from now the ability for a 75 year old Medicare patient to get a knee or hip replacement will not be so easy to come by - nor the balloon trick for the heart problem. We (well, at least people in my age bracket) might be the first ones to truly understand what it means to experience a "decline in the US standard of living".

Nobel Prize for Economics goes to two Americans
Two experts in theories of economic governance win award a year after regulatory lapses led to global meltdown in financial markets.

Elinor Ostrom, a professor at Indiana University, and Oliver E. Williamson, a retired professor at the University of California-Berkeley, will share the $1.4 million prize.

The Nobel committee said Williamson's theories show that large private corporations exist primarily because they are efficient. While such businesses may abuse their power, he argued, it is better to regulate such behavior directly rather than through policies that limit the size of corporations, according to the committee.

Ostrom was recognized for her work that demonstrated how common property can be successfully managed by user associations. She is the first woman to win the award...

The committee said Ostrom's research has moved analysis of non-market institutions "from the fringe of economic analysis to the very center." Her work shows that local communities often manage common resources better on their own than when outside authorities impose rules, the committee said.

"...The Nobel committee said Williamson's theories show that large private corporations exist primarily because they are efficient..." What the f*$#?

"...The Nobel committee said Williamson's theories show that large private corporations exist primarily because they are efficient..." What the f*$#?

I don't understand your reply Gecko. Are you saying; "This is so damn obvious why are they awarding anything for it?" or are you doubting the results of that study? If it is the former then I agree with you but if it is the latter then I disagree.

It should be obvious to anyone that the larger a corporation the more efficient they can be if managed properly. WalMart is a perfect example. They can buy more at cheaper prices and be far more efficient than any mom and pop store. This should apply to any type of business. The bigger you are the cheaper you can buy parts of inventory. Bigger companies have a larger margin of profit therefore they continue to get bigger and bigger.

But again, why should this surprise anyone? It should be as plain as the nose on your face and deserving of no prize whatsoever.

Ron P.

Here's a case of a large corporation being more "efficient":

Nissan Leaf sucks on the government tit.


Not "efficient" at production of goods, but getting more "efficient" with capital.
The relation between exchange and user value is about the only criteria in capitalism.

The point is yes, duh, bigger is better. But in the quest for bigger is better (and I should have expanded on this), there are all sorts of externalities. Some are deemed just too big to fail (GM!) or if poorly managed have detrimental consequences for the economy (Fannie Mae). Others have disasterous psychological impacts if they go under (Lehman Brothers).

However, even bigger might not be better- 7 of the 10 biggest companies are related to pertoleum/hydrocarbon extraction, yet production has remained flat for the last 3 years or so.

I personally think ELM is Nobel worthy, and I'm sure Westexas could use a spare $1.4 Million. However, the Nobel runners are too busy giving prizes to first year presidents and economists that state the obvious, so who am I to judge?

I think in this case, what is meant by "efficiency" is the same as what is meant by "successful" in the following quote:

The operation was successful. However, the patient died.

In the type of scenario we propose, the patient would go on a diet and exercise program and no longer need the surgery. Thus the surgeon would be robbed of success. The diet and exercise program would not get a Nobel prize, because the criterion of "successful surgery" is not met.

Reductionism, my favorite target these days.

I doubt it completely. From what I have seen the size of a corporation has nothing to do with its efficiency - other than that small, inefficient corporations go under more quickly while large inefficient corporations can linger on for a very long time (due to inertia and by leveraging their too-big-to-fail status). I have worked for a very large corporation that was so incredibly incompetent on so many levels, but mostly I have worked for small companies. I can assure you the crap that I saw working for a large company would have sunk a small organization within a year.

It should be obvious to anyone that the larger a corporation the more efficient they can be if managed properly.

Ah, the "if managed properly" thing is the killer. The Peter Principle guarantees that these will eventually rot from within. In the short term they will make lots of money for investors and the upper managers. Gradually as incompetent careerists take over and manage only or their short term self interest the strength of these organisations drains away. The best result being that they get taken over by a slightly less rotted entity. Walmart may NOT be a good example as they are still greatly controlled by the original Walnut family who manage for their self interest. But this objective may not be efficient in the long run. If it collapses and leaves a need to rebuild the old "inefficient" small scale distributed goods distribution system. This transition will not be very pleasant resulting in shortages and high prices. Not to mention the manufacturing system that these efficient methods destroyed, replaced with very distant low cost and vulnerable sources. This double impact has been very efficient at removing wealth from the consuming communities with the bulk of the money flowing to corporate profits. The short term efficiency has only been supported by credit replacing local wealth and I think we are seeing the logical results of that scheme.
There is no real Nobel Prize for economics anyway. Apparently there is no real Nobel Peace Prize either and the good of this is to expose the silliness of the Nobel prize concept. It is just good cheap editorial content for the infotainment industry and much cheaper than actually paying for journalism.

Yeah, well it looks like Nobel Prizes are thrown around like confetti these days and any old jackass seems capable of ending up with one.

Aw, come on. Barack won the peace prize fair and square- just like his buddies Al Gore in 2007 and Jimmy Carter in 2002. You should know by now that the road to the peace prize goes through the White House!!!!!


Our peace prize winner just ordered another thirteen thouisand troops to Afghanistan,these being in addition to the twenty three thousand extra announced earlier,according to today's Washington Post.

While you all argue about large corporations, you ignore the solution:

Her work shows that local communities often manage common resources better on their own than when outside authorities impose rules

This fits perfectly with transition, relocalization, 100 mile lifestyle/diet, managing the Commons, et al.

We have a Faux Nobel winner saying Power Down is a good idea (though she may not realize it).

THAT is what you should all be discussing.


Yeah, I saw that. She said that the commons COULD be successfully managed, contrary to classical economics. Well, gee, this is a no brainer- if our ancestors weren't able to do this, they would have starved to death a long time ago...

Our descendants will need to be able to do this... Might we end up going back to the ways of the Native Americans? Using only the minimums possible and wasting nothing...? That was sustainable (for the most part). Everything was 'commons'...

Our descendants will need to be able to do this.

I think you'd better move your clock a bit forward.


For the record there is *NO* Nobel Prize in economics.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The The Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, commonly referred to as the Nobel Prize in Economics,[1] is an award for outstanding contributions in the field of economics and is generally considered one of the most prestigious awards in that field.[2] The official name is the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel (Swedish: Sveriges riksbanks pris i ekonomisk vetenskap till Alfred Nobels minne). It is not one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895.[2][3][4][5][6] The Prize in Economics, as it is referred to by the Nobel Foundation, was established and endowed by the Sveriges Riksbank in 1968 on the Bank's 300th anniversary, in memory of Alfred Nobel's 1895 will.[2][7][8][9] Like the Nobel Laureates in Chemistry and Physics, Laureates in Economics are selected by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.[10][11] It was first awarded in 1969 to the Dutch and Norwegian economists Jan Tinbergen and Ragnar Frisch, "for having developed and applied dynamic models for the analysis of economic processes."[9][12][13]

This is an amusing quibble, but apparently the selection process is the same as for the prizes in the will, and the institution doing the selecting is the same. So to all intents and purposes it's a Nobel Prize; the distinction is without a practical difference even if Alfred Nobel is rolling in his grave. Did Nobel ever express an attitude towards economics?

Well hmm he left Economics out as one of the sciences worth of a Nobel prize.
I suspect that his opinion of the matter is fairly clear.

Precisely! Economics is voodoo, not science.

Take a moment to look at today's oil price:

73.40! It's going up. Confirm price at the following link:


Wasn't $80 one of the cut-off points in Leanan's recent poll? I think I voted for high prices ahead!

Gold, Silver, Platinum, Copper, Oil and Gas are all up.That's because the dollar is sinking.

I'm more concerned about a dropping dollar than a rising barrel of crude.

One is concomitant on the other. The reason, today, for increase in oil price is the decline in dollar value. Look for that to increase, and when the 'recovery' [so called] creates a bit of increased demand for oil, all Heck is going to break loose.

Prediction: oil cuts loose from the tie-in to the dollar as a reserve currency. New paradigm? I dunno... probably not the Euro, but who knows? Oil price, vis-a-vis the greenback goes through the roof. Any semblance of a recovery is seen by all as a complete fabrication. Timeframe: maybe 6 months? Then, Phase Two of the Long Emergency hits.

I still prefer the "long descent," since it is nicer and easier. I just don't believe it any more.

Re: Iceland looks to serve the world

Someday, we might power a whole data centre with not much more electricity than what it takes to operate a toaster. That day is some years down the road, but this is a start:

Sun Microsystems Unveils Fully Integrated, High Performance Flash Storage Arrays Designed to Accelerate Databases and Enterprise Applications

Sun Microsystems Inc. (NASDAQ:JAVA) today announced a significant leap forward in the industry with the introduction of new Sun(TM) Storage F5100 Flash Array that extends Sun's flash portfolio with the latest innovation that offers customers the best way to scale storage performance.


The Sun F5100 Flash Array features up to two terabytes of solid-state Flash capacity and an unprecedented 1.6 million read and 1.2 million write IOPS performance in a single rack unit (1.75 inches) - yet consumes just 300 watts. This new high-performance, super-efficient storage array delivers 1.6 million IOPS of performance, which is comparable to 3,000 enterprise hard disk drives that span over 14 data center racks and consume more than ten times the energy (40,000 watts).

See: http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS92137+12-Oct-2009+BW2009...

Best hopes for smart energy solutions.

Edit: I'm pretty sure they meant to say "4,000 watts", not "40,000".


Oh, and remember that all those watts consumed creates heat that must be removed. This is why server rooms are air conditioned.

Turns out that half the energy to run a server room is used in cooling it- so those thousands of watts consumed by the equipment ALSO means thousands of ADDITIONAL watts of cooling necessary. Double whammy...

Hi Geckolizard,

Just to correct what I said above, 3,000 hard drives would likely total 40,000-watts, plus whatever else that would be required for cooling (kinda boggles the mind when you think about it). Your point is well taken.

Best hopes for smart energy solutions and better math skills.

Edit: For additional background on solid state drives, see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPagpPQTaQY#t


IMHO, it is quite easy for the world to find new uses for that savings.

Hi Cinch,

Quite true. The ThinkPad I'm typing this on draws between 19 and 20-watts in light operation (this at maximum screen brightness). Thus, 40,000-watts would power roughly 2,000 such devices.


Hello Gecko,

The A/C requirements are a big plus for Iceland--they can just suck in the naturally cool or cold outside air, dehumidy & filter it if required, then let it cool off the building & electronics within. Basically, just fans for air-movement are required, not the energy-hogs of A/C compressors like in hotter areas. Compare to the scorching summer temperatures and the blowing dust in my Asphaltistan.

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

Gecko, I see a lot of stuff about the energy appetite of the internet-nothing about the offsetting savings in other areas.

Do you have any data in respect to the energy saved by the net?

Maybe sending an email is a lot less energy intensive than a phone call.An email is certainly less energy intensive than a snail mail letter.

I have been able to save making an all day trip at least once by means of having a badly needed illustration from a service manual delivered as an email attachment rather than going to get it-although it might have been possible to get it by fax.

Aren't long distance phone lines and internet trunk lines pretty much one and the same thing nowadays?

I don't make nearly as many trips to the bookstore in my car since I have gotten high speed net service.

Surely somebody must made at least some estimates as to the net energy impact of the net.

99% of the useful content of the internet (direct busieness transactions, science, some media and blogs,
personal email etc) probably uses 1% of the power. Cut out the U tube, the advertising, and direct streaming video and the only big energy users would be the search engines. And there would be a lot less to search...

Aren't long distance phone lines and Internet trunk lines pretty much one and the same thing nowadays?

Yes indeed, once encoded into 1's & 0's it doesn't matter whether its voice, video, E-mail, or web pages, it is all the same to the transmission equipment.

Elsewhere I've seen that their largest server farms use up to 100MW of power. Mind-boggling amounts of computers humming along.

And 1.8GW for Google's data center? That does seem like an awful lot of power. For comparison a medium size city's modern telephone switching center may operate off 2000 Amps at 50 VDC. That's only 100,000 watts running about 30,000 lines and associated equipment.

I think Google's modularized, container-sized server farms (each container is a self-contained server building block) use 250Kw per container.

Elsewhere I've seen that their largest server farms use up to 100MW of power. Mind-boggling amounts of computers humming along.

Elsewhere I've seen that their largest server farms use up to 100MW of power.

100 million watts? Are you sure about that? I spent my career working in large computer centers, some of them back in the days of big iron, (large mainframes), and no center I ever worked in even remotely approached using that kind of power.

Ron P.

Power density has gone up, I expect.

If you figure 1/2U and 100W/blade in a server farm, at 70U per 19" rack (say 4 square feet), that's 14KW per rack.
With a 50% packing that gives 1.75KW/ft^2.

10K ft^2 data center => 17.5MW just for computing resources.

Take cooling, higher power density servers (300-400W/U is not out of the realm of possibilities), and larger datacenters into account and 100MW can happen.

It's still scary, though.

I'll raise you the 800W pizza-box blade I saw not too many moons ago...

I worked in a building that formerly housed one of SAC's Semi-Automatic Ground Environment computer systems (used to coordinate air defense radar returns and air defense responses).

The SAGE project resulted in the construction of 23 concrete-hardened bunkers across the United States (and one in Canada) linked into a continental air-defense system called "SAGE." . SAGE was designed to detect atomic bomb-carrying Soviet bombers and guide American missiles to intercept and destroy them. SAGE was linked to nuclear-tipped Bomarc and Nike missiles. Each of the 23 SAGE "Direction Centers" housed a A/N FSQ-7 computer, the name given to it by the U.S. Military. The SAGE computer system used 3MW of power, and had approximately 60,000 vacuum tubes. It took over 100 people to operate.

The total project cost is estimated to have been between 8-12 billion dollars (1964).



~ 3MW power draw...I'm not sure, but I do not think that included the power for the HVAC and the office lighting...

Hi Paleocon,

I read that as well (see: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/may/03/google-data-centres). Clearly, we have our work cut out for us.


"Someday, we might power a whole data centre with not much more electricity than what it takes to operate a toaster."

ROFLMAO. "We" can bloat software - a readily scalable process with modern 'development systems' - faster than "we" can ever design lower-power electronic switches - a not-so-scalable process. Almost the whole foundation of modern programming theory is that one is not allowed to know whether one is consuming one clock cycle, or a hundred million, to get two numbers added up. It's the last remaining Soviet economy, where no one knows the cost of anything. (The reason, of course, is that since the late 1950s clock cycles have been nearly free compared to programmer time, even on something with 1% of the power of a cheap modern desktop PC and renting for $1200/hour, and except in very special circumstances encountered mostly in certain types of numerical simulations.)

Microsoft is fantastically skilled at bloating software, but even the Linux guys have gotten much better at it. Never mind the immense skill of the Java guys at consuming as many clock cycles as possible to complete even the simplest task.

There's just a whole raft of everyday tasks (not large-scale scientific computing of course) for which a present-day computer is as slow or slower than one from 20 years ago, although one must admit the execution has become fancier - it does, after all, take a tremendous amount of computation to calculate those stupid distracting translucent window-edges on Vista.

Funny I'm actually trying to design a software system that can reverse this process.

I've had no choice but to add significant flexibility but I worked very hard at making this finite i.e its flexible and this comes at a cost but its only flexible at one layer.
The hope not really proof was I knew enough about software design to get it right. As I've worked on the software its becoming obvious that for the most part I got it right. I.e a finite amount of flexibility is both possible and all thats needed to develop a system that can reverse the software bloat process.

Kind of like DNA is very flexible but in a rigid sort of way and can scale up and down as needed.

Nothing super fancy is closures a runtime type system and function always called via function pointers. Each of these are individually inefficient but they are finite costs and the flexibility is sufficient for any design.

Some times some well defined and designed inefficiencies is actually the most efficient design in practice ala DNA.

How many others here remember how tight your programming had to be to fit on a 360Kb floppy, with space left over for the intermediate compile and link files? And only 64Kb of RAM to handle the compilation. Every line of code had to be maximised to the limit. I was using WATFOR and then FORTRAN 77 in those days.

Oh well, even nostalgia ain't what it used to be!!

Whats interesting is how little of this early code has survived even to today while the "mainframe" code seems to live on. Here I include the IBM stuff and unix.

Somehow the freedom on the old big iron was enough to write code thats still around today morphed rewritten but with obvious roots back into the early unix code base. At least for unix I'm sure on the cobol side a lot is the same code :)

The point is it seems a lot of this super refined stuff by its nature is eventually tossed in exchange for flexibility.

In a bigger picture when I look at various goods being produced today I see a lot of what I call super refinement taking place. With my kids the oldest is now seven and diaper technology was changing quite a bit when he was young but with my two year old differences are minimal it seems all the brands are about the same with only dubious super refinement happening. I know a lot about diapers like most parents.

But also I can readily see all of this refinement tossed out the window and a move to more refined cotton diapers happening with only some of the technology crossing over if disposable diapers become unavailable. So you can see that if the problem changed a lot of the most recent diaper technology will be tossed if it can't be adapted. I'd guess the shape and elastic would be kept and a variant of the absorption concepts but overall they work in materials probably tossed.

Off topic maybe from computer programs but I see a lot of our advanced fitting this sort of frame work with over refinement thrown and new starts made. Makes one really wonder assuming we don't lose our technology how much will actually be kept and found of long term utility.

When I look around I find it hard to identify much that might make it. Silicon based computers seem certain to be replaced eventually with some sort of organic/quantum computing solution as a best guess but its hard to see silicon even twenty years out.

In general with computers some sort of organic or organometallic based technology seems better over the longer term. And for software so much of it is geared towards our civilization its hard to say what will make it. It seems that something like XML will last while its really hard to say about our computing languages. My own work is a fusion of XML and traditional programing and even if its not the next thing I think that a move to declarative/action style programing is the future. And if you look at the steady increase of emoticons it seems that computing is moving slowly towards a new richer pictographic based language and away from ones based on written languages. This is slow but I once looked at chinese and felt it would have been a lot better base for computing languages than english derived ones. It looks like a move to pictographic declarative languages thence to a simplified symbolic form is the longer term future. Some freakish mix of chinese and symbolic math. The way I did my language is a bit of a first step in that it allowed you to create your own first class XML tags equal to the builtin ones.
Its just a matter of moving towards symbols for tags instead of spelling them.

Sorry for rambling but I find this sort of thing important its the problem I like to work on flexibility and a roadmap into the future so that your work is not just tossed because its overrefined nor is it tossed because its to complicated for no reason. Their seems to be a middle road. Actually if you look at music esp classical their seems to be a real convergence to a sort of "perfect" instrumental music that happend over time. The various folk music styles seem to revolve around and add their little bit to this sort of core classical music base that as far is I can tell is loved by practically all groups.
I've not been to every part of the world of course but it seems that the orginally western classical music is highly regarded. Other strong classical traditions exist but I see a slow melding and sort of correct perfection taking place with music thats the sort of concept I'd like to see in engineering. Given time I could readily see a sort of unification happen in music that also correctly balanced all the differences it seems its on or maybe capable of true perfection which includes the right amount of differences imperfections and new ideas but in a total additive sense. While engineering seems more 3 steps forward 2.963 steps backwards game.

While the U.S. just borrowed another 128 billion from China-Japan to continue two wars in the Middle East, China continues to secure future oil supply.

China May Seek Oil Investment in Ghana, Guinea to Meet Demand

(Bloomberg) -- China, the world’s second-largest oil consumer, may be seeking to invest in oil in the Western African states of Ghana and Guinea to help fuel its economy and bolster energy security.

Why is the U.S. so asleep when it comes to the need to secure future oil supply?

Hmmm how about letting the Chinese and Russians pay for all the infrastructure then simply take it when we need it ?

Better even wait until the national governments throw the scoundrals out and either "help" these poor oppressed nations or claim the government is oppressive and not democratic and help them on the road to democracy.

Once you assume the plan is to take what we need then whats the rush ?

simply take it when we need it.

A sort of Iraqi type war scenario? We claim we are there to spread democracy like a chain reaction, then we hook up our hoses and presto we have the black gold!? It's an interesting take. Of course we'll need a duo like Bush junior and Darth Vader. So who could we get - let's see - How about Romney & Palin. Romney strapped a dog to the roof of his car so he's ruthless enough, and Sarah was ready to bomb Russia over Georgia, so maybe it could work.

Sarah was ready to bomb Russia over Georgia, so maybe it could work.

Yeah, she thought that Atlanta was worth fighting over, or so I've heard...

Geckolizard, the Russian province, Georgia. Remember when it was invaded by the Russians during the 08 prez campaign?

But maybe you were following my line of sarcasm, in which case ignore my response.

Yes, sir, Yes I was...

Yes, I'm sure Sarah got quite lost in all that talk of Georgia and probably mentioned Atlanta, at which time McCain quickly pulled her aside and tried to explain, but she probably resisted and remained lost. Poor Sarah.


"As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where– where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border." --Sarah Palin, explaining why Alaska's proximity to Russia gives her foreign policy experience, interview with CBS's Katie Couric, Sept. 24, 2008

Poor Sarah.

Earl -- And let's not forget the potential for China to eventually spread the benefits of socialism to those oil producing countries. And remember that China also has a substantial (and nuclear armed) naval force to assit in such humanitarian efforts. Nor are they constrained as their U.S. counter parts when comes to bribing (or "neutralizing") local politicians...at least according to U.S. law.

I won't detail at the moment but countries are not as capable of throwing away old contracts as they once were. We hear stories of a country nationalizing this aspect or that aspect. What doesn't hit the headlines is the pressure brought to bear on such situation. It can take many years but there have huge multi-billion penalties paid for such action. Typically these settlemnts are kept very secret...at least from the public. My wife's daughter is an attorney who functions in this world. It was a surprise to hear where some of the biggest leverage against these naughty sovereigns came from: the IMF, the International Money Fund. The bottom line: no gov't can function in the global economy without the support in the international banking system. And the bankers are typically a big losser on these broken contracts. And, like most bankers, they don't respond well to losing money. There will come a day IMO, long after Chavez is buried, that the Vz people will pay a terrible penalty for his actions. Might be 15 years or so but legal actions don't die of old age...the billable hours never stop adding up.

Yes o wise Master.
Young Bull and Old Bull standing on hilltop looking down at all the Breeder cows in the Valley.

Young Bull says, "run down and "get" a cow."

Old bull says, "walk down and "get" them all."

Indeed, whats the rush? How much oil is in the Afgan hills?

Saudi Arabia has notified three term buyers in Asia it would keep curbs on crude oil supply in November at 5 to 15 percent, steady versus October.

Looking for advice here to counter a conspiracy theory.

This sounds so much like constraint and good business but is it possible that this is a bluff? That they don't have the oil to sell but can't admit it for fear of growing Russian markets?

Feel free to shout this down if I am barking up the wrong tree. I just can't believe such 'self-imposed constraint' from a country with the internal problems they are currently facing.

I think this was covered 6 months ago:
Saudi Arabia's Crude Oil Production Peaked in 2005

Saudi Arabia's historical crude oil production indicates a peak of 9.6 million barrels/day in 2005. In 2008, crude production was 9.3 mbd. In 2009 it is forecast to be 8.1 mbd followed by an increase in 2010 to 8.5 mbd. Unfortunately, after 2010 a steady decline is forecast.

My guess is that, if ace's graph/data are correct, their production is down for geological reasons.

Thanks for the response. From the graph you could certainly argue that they are down 10-15% and so no 'constraint' going on at all. Maybe not flat out but close to it?

[I wasn't here 6 months ago so please repeat these reviews occasionally for the newbies]

I don't think it's quite that simple. This was a big debate a couple of years back. Is Saudi Arabia past peak?

IMO...they might be, but it's as much for "above ground factors" as geological ones.

Stuart, who once argued that Saudi oil production was going to "nose dive into the desert," changed his mind after it didn't happen. However, the Saudis did not raise production much either, despite spiking oil prices. Stuart came to the conclusion that the Saudis could raise production, but it was difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. It's not just turning on the taps, like they imply. It takes years, and lot of pricey infrastructure must be built. And with oil prices down to half what they once were, a lot of projects are being delayed.

I don't read that much into Aramco's Asian oil allotments. They adjust those monthly; the fact that there has been no real change for months is not news. Demand is way down anyway.

Early in 2008, or maybe late 2007, when prices started to get wild, the Saudis promised an increase in production; they added 500 or so wellheads, and their production did not increase. They must have breathed a sigh of relief when demand went down later during 2008, since they could relax production, drill some more wells and get ready to produce close to where they were in 2005. I doubt they can actually top that figure, no matter what. However, their plateau has been extended by the economic crash, and they might have a bit of surplus production capability based on what they are pumping today.

Early in 2008, or maybe late 2007, when prices started to get wild, the Saudis promised an increase in production; they added 500 or so wellheads, and their production did not increase.

That was one reason Stuart was so convinced that production was going to nosedive. The number of wells drilled was going up exponentially, while production was not.

However, a petroleum geologist told me at the time that it would be 3 years or more before that drilling would show up in production. As it turned out, we didn't get to test that, because in the meantime, demand crashed along with the world economy.

However, a petroleum geologist told me at the time that it would be 3 years or more before that drilling would show up in production.

I find that statement problematic. We are talking about wells drilled in existing fields, with pipelines already installed everywhere except to that well. How long does it take to drill a well, then pour and pipe it. Three months at the most? Then oil production from that well should start immediately. Perhaps this geologist was talking about new, undeveloped reservoirs?

Anyway I would love for some oil man like Rockman to confirm this?

Edit: Searched with Google and didn't find much but I did find this:
Reliford Drilling 4,000 Foot Well In Search Of Oil

Reliford said that he estimated the cost of drilling the 4,000-foot well at $200,000 (the pipe alone will cost over $70,000), and they expect it will take three weeks to drill to the depth.

Three weeks to drill, another week to pour and install the plumbing and then lay the pipe to the connecting line. Two months at the most. However I am still waiting for input from an oilfield man.

Ron P.

Ron -- I'll have too make some big assumptions as to what that geologist meant. Maybe this is his rational...maybe not: You're right...drill well, complete, turn to the tanks. Take a month or two. Then repeat. But if the new well adds a good bit of water to the system it might take many months to expand the water seperation/disposal sytem. And if you know the next wells will add more water then you have to expand in advance to accomodate those increase.

I also wonder if he's factoring in a decline rate. Adding a new well now and then might not show a net increase. Thus you need to add a lot of wells (taking, perhaps years to drill) to show a noticible net gain. A new field takes time to figure out your production facility requirements. So you drill a number of wells to size it. But three years for an onshore field seems a tad long to ramp of production significantly.

Or maybe it was just more geologist BS...you know how we love the sound of our own voices and like to show off. P.S. No idea what it costs to drill a 4000' well in the KSA but in the US it was at least twice your number last year. It's hard to imagine drilling overseas would be cheaper.

Rockman, thanks for the input. Actually what I was concerned with was not what it takes to show an increase but what it takes to stay even, or almost even. The link Leanan posted on September 26th, http://seekingalpha.com/article/163358-alex-burgansky-russian-oil-and-ga... , said Russia was drilling 5,000 to 6,000 new wells each year to try to offset the 19% decline rate that Russia was experiencing from their old fields.

They have not been successful in keeping producton from their old fields from dropping but new fields like Vankor has given them a slight increase in production in 2009 over 2008. They are still producing below 2007 levels however.

So you see my concern is primarily about Russia, not Saudi Arabia. I believe that Russia's new wells, in their very old fields, come on line within a couple of months after the drill bit hits, not three years.

Ron P.

Sorry Ron. Must have read too fast. Now that you have me thinking about it Russia might be a bigger unknown the the KSA. I've never seen anyone give what I thought was a clear assessment of Russia's real untapped potential. All kinds of stories about poor management and sloppy work. But it does make me wonder how good a handle anyone might have on their upside. I include the Russians in this group.

Well in general I think the three year concept is wrong for this case since a lot of the drilling was infield drilling.

Regardless I'd take reported Saudi Arabia production numbers with a big grain of salt or a couple of tons of sand if they did peak. With that said I think now what ever level they are producing at they have actually worked to ensure they have some short term surge capacity of some sort best guess is at least 500kbd for 30-60 days.

As far as actual production number if I'm right about where I think they are at then when they first announced the big cuts the production rate was probably close to their real one and this extends back to at least 2005. I.e I think they peaked at 8-9 mbd back in 2003-2004 and started declining in 2004-2005. At first really slow say even 1% the first year but basically doubling each year.

So guess this for example

2004 1%
2005 2%
2006 4%
2007 8% or 6%
2008 16% or 8%
2009 18% or 10%

Or something like that with the last few years decline rate guess probably high so maybe say 8% 10% 12% 14% or something like that.

This matches their decline up fairly well with the price of oil. And its a slow nosedive or slow start nose dive which is what you expect if your coming off the top of a plateau in production and crashing aka sharkfin. If between 2008 and 2009 the decline rate went from say 10-12% and the economy crashed by say 6-8% then they bought themselves about six months or so of breathing room before declines resulted in tight oil supplies.

The above is a fairly good fit with whats happened so far with oil prices.

Now my best guess as to the future is that the Saudi's will continue to steadily drop real oil production from here on out but also maintain a surge cushion so they can act as a swing producer. Once prices reach the point that the economy is again really shaky they will do a small surge that very important to them politically. God only knows what they will be claiming for real production and the size of the surge these are just fiction anyway. However the surge is primarily for internal political reasons and it should at least temporarily slow the rise in oil prices as the world waits for the great Saudi glut that won't happen.

At this point and I think the timing that Saudi makes its move will be really based on financial events I think the dollar will finally be obviously in a tail spin and fiat currencies starting to hit the rocks. So I don't think the Saudi's will lift a finger until the next financial crises has already started. If it results in oil prices really starting to get out of control their surge will maybe dampen the crisis for a bit.

However the real reason for the timing is to ensure that from this point forward any large increase from Saudi Arabia is refused until the western world gets its financial house in order in other words they will use the promise of oil they really don't have to try and force western fiat currencies to not be allowed to fail at least over the short term. Of course at this point they will seriously be moving to a oil based currency.
They are playing when this happens but way to many signals are being sent to assume it won't happen.

This switch to a oil backed currency should shield them from the finaly collapse of the fiat currencies at least to some extent and the resulting confusion should pretty much ensure that any hard accounting of Saudi production is difficult and of course we can assume at this point with the sharkfin models that the decline rate in saudi production should have began to lessen i.e the annaul decline precentage starts to drop fairly quickly from its peak rate say 14% -> 10% ->8%. A large influx of cash esp once they have a oil backed currency should allow them to moderate their decline rate. Internally one can hope their new position of wealth and power will allow them to grow their economy but in a efficient way and at some point of course per-capita oil usage should level off. Reasonably probably somewhere near US per capita usage or say twice that. They will aggresively look at NG and probably Nuclear and even large coal imports to offset internal demand and keep exports resonably high. So at some point they will do their best to try and minimize the export land problem. In general however demand should be iffy with some major economies actually collapsing at this point so supply and demand should begin to balance at a probably very high oil price. From here on out as demand for oil for fuel wanes its other uses remain and a diversified petrochemical industry will form the cornerstone of their economy with the focus on higher value petroleum products.

If you think about it this is pretty much their only way out and even if you don't a agree with the decline rates or times I don't think it matters all that much all indications are that they did peak and I think what I outlined above is the only viable solution. So no matter what we will probably never see a large sustained surge from Saudi Arabia again they will do their best to stabilize exports and eventually move to value add exports as even these eventually decline.

The only point at which they really need to make sure they can make the right moves is right there at the start of the collapse of the dollar and forming of a oil based currency so they face one very critical obstacle until thats past they will say and do anything to hide their real situation. Once a oil based currency is actually running I'd not be surprised in the least for them to acknowledge world peak and even their own.
Not sure it matters to to many people at that point :)

So overall we may never know for sure what KSA had/has etc. But if I'm right I think the timing is important because if they are on a shark fin curve then then this will happen over the next 12 months i.e the next collapse is probably already less than 12 months away.
This means a very sharp spike in oil prices with no real economic recovery followed but obvious destabilization of the fiat currencies and the move away from the dollar and of course collapse of the stock market and real collapse of the banks etc etc with 12 months.

If they are not and by necessity the world on the route to a fast collapse in world oil production then we should see oil prices rising but more steadily as the economy enters a L type recession maybe slowly moving upwards this is the sort of recovery economic data alone indicates and one reason I think TPTB have been so desperate to take measures to kick the can down the road in doing so they can deal with a sort of slow moving crisis spread over years. Effectively the game a company takes of taking repeated one time charges every single year to hide collapse. Of course even in this game oil prices become a real problem but it could be 2-3 years out.

Regardless the next twelve months will tell us which path and I don't think it matters to the Saudi's all that much if collapse is 12 or 2-3 years out it does not change the outcome for them they play the same game it just different timings.

I just can't see that the rapid return of oil prices to around 70 is possible without us being on the fast collapse route given I see the Saudi's adding about the same amount of spare capacity back no matter what their internal situation is. Thus the rest of the world has to be collapsing even if somehow the Saudi's are not given the economic collapse even Non-OPEC output should have been sufficient to cover any pullback by the Saudis.

Say oil exports are resonably split between OPEC and non-OPEC and give everyone but the Saudi's a little bit of cheating room. Assuming world oil demand dropped by 72*.06 = 4.32 mbd then non-OPEC by default has 2mbd of excess capacity vs previous demand. Its really hard to see that the claimed cutback would have resulted in the current price. Almost all of it suggests that at first at least all that would have happened is OPEC would have simply lost market share. Given the economy is not really recovering just not falling as fast and basically somewhat leveling. And the rapid fall resulted in a glut although the size is debatable then oil prices should be reflecting a very long slow rise with 100-140 2-3 years out in the future. One would expect that prices may just now be breaking 50 in this case given the weakened state of the economy and unemployment still rising actually demand may still be falling at a slow rate so any cutback by opec that did result in a signifcant price increase should have been slowed by a little bit more demand contraction.

Now this stall in prices at around 70 itself seems to be more a case of supply is still not super constrained and the natural seasonal market is at a low. I.e a continued draw down of reserves coupled with the seasonal fall off in demand is more than enough to produce a few months of slow down in price increases. Also of course OPEC has announced the desire to target 75 so assuming a lot of the market takes their word at that level its going to be tough to break this barrier until supply becomes seriously constrained.

So a stall at around 70 given the time of year is hard to explain and given no hurricanes we are in many ways lucky.

My best guess is that on average storage is at least in the middle of the five year range if not a bit higher so storage is not yet a burning issue and we have hit a temporary stall point as prices have actually risen sharper than they should have resulting in a bit more demand contraction in step with the steadily rising unemployment rate and natural seasonal drop off. No real magic just a bit of a temporary balance. However as we enter winter and if supplies start to be drawn down again this balance will evaporate and oil prices will march upwards as we get closer and closer to strained supplies a exponential increase. So no matter how you slice and dice it the Saudi's will either have to increase production fairly soon if they can and or crisis point is still several years in the future. I don't see any stability regime lasting for more than a few months without a real increase from Saudi Arabia if prices cross into their danger zone.

Thus if they really want to target 75 they are going to have to act at some point as far as I can tell. Obviously the latest would be if somehow we manage to stay stable by next summer some sort of increased output seems required to maintain a price band.
For exactly the same reasons if they had kept production steady and ignored seasonal changes then oil prices should have been falling right now. The same arguments I use to explain why even if we are crashing fast we can have a stall in prices are equally valid if supply was maintained at a fixed levels we should have peaked at 70 or so then fell back to say 60 right now with prices falling into the start of the winter and then rising towards 70. KSA would literally have to micromange oil supply to the world to actually maintain a stable price band not influenced by the decent seasonal swings. I just don't buy that they are suddenly able to control oil supply and prices to the point they don't move with seasonal demand. In stead I believe my argument makes a lot more sense that still ample storage and short term seasonal factors can work to result in a stall in prices esp if overall global demand is still contracting slightly and it should a little bit given the steady increase in price early this year and the unemployment numbers.

So although its tought to call it right now and realistically it could still go either way I think the odds are now in favor of the fast crash route.

Now thats not to say we won't see a step like phenomena in prices as periodically we get all the factors influencing oil prices to balance but I think we are much much closer to our structural demand levels and export land has not stopped so if we are on a fast crash until at least some countries start to actually collapse into disorder the chances of another price crash or slim until we have a real structural collapse in a major country.
Even then I think by the point we start hitting these sorts of limits the financial tailspin I mentioned earlier will be in action so pretty much no matter what the current fiat currencies are going to rapidly devalue vs oil. So or bottoms are most likely small dips or short term plateaus in price at best going forward. With oil finally becoming permanently highly priced once a oil backed currency is created vs all the now national currencies unless they bite the bullet and peg.

And I know I repeated myself a bit but I was trying to give a few different perspectives on the same basic argument.

No matter how I do it I keep coming back to it really seems like our future will be very clear within 12 months I just can't get a solution which results in us waiting much longer before we know a lot about what happens next. Of course between now and then anything is possible but I think the truth will effectively have to be forced out within this period. It may be obfuscated in the sense of showing up more as a currency collapse that covers the real oil collapse but price wise its the same effective result and same outcome.

For the US at least there remains a good chance that we may actually defend the dollar this does not mean that it won't slide rapidly vs oil but instead of allowing it to collapse we will rapidly increase interest rates and embark on a path that is certain to destroy the middle class and suburbia. My opinion is that we in a sense do both i.e raise interest rates to the point that the dollar devalues slowly but not enough to prevent a rapid rise in oil prices but enough to finally collapse the housing market. Thus we will throw the middle class to the wolves so we can be part of the next currency solution.
I don't think it matters outside of the fact that if the US is faced with a decision of allowing its currency to collapse or screw the middle class it will choose to screw the middle class first and then and only then allow currency collapse hopefully after other countries have collapsed. Note that of course the collapse of other contries ala Iceland will of course drop oil demand and lesson the price rise so the policy stand a good chance of making the US one of the last men standing so the speak esp if the euro explodes in the process. And probably of course the Yen. A sharp rise in oil prices is probably enough to take out the Yen and it will steadily drain China dollar reserves in a bit of war of attrition. We would still fall of course but we would effectively countrol our descent with the collapse of suburban house prices collateral damage.

And of course this leads into the fact that if housing actually collapsed and we managed to keep our currency afloat via high interest rates and a real clean up of some of the worst banks i.e we did what we should have done overall cash to buy gasoline would actually remain high at the expense of decimating housing so our economy would actually not collapse. It would be wounded for sure but still functional and the dollar relatively strong although still falling vs oil. Of course our longer term future is toast as no way could the national debt be paid at the point but its a standing deadman poise.

So we will default but the key is we choose the time. If to many people choose this path of throwing their public under the bus of course the resulting economic contraction could well stabilize oil prices as it would not just be falling asset values purchased with debt but a real overall contraction of the fiat money supply with the certain default in the near future of the government or hyper inflaiton. Its funny because no matter what its just a temporary trick. For the current reserve currency however given its a matter of who is the last one left to discuss the new world order I think its a necessary trick and we will defend the dollar enough to control is slide regardless of the middle class.

Sorry again for the long post but given we seem to have passed the point at which oil prices should have shown a healthy decline of the Saudi's where truely in charge I thing that things have leaned enough more to my fast collapse concept to repeat them. Its not 100% yet obviously but the odds grow every day. Right now I'd say they are 60-80% with me really setting at 75% certain. I'm putting a lot of weight on the lack of significant price declines as we entered the fall and am comfortable in discounting a plateau as seasonably reasonable given my even low estimates of real storage levels. It should be almost impossible for the market to be looking like its approaching new highs right now with any other model. Enough probability that its not 100% certain but I'm being lenient in giving it a 25% chance.

This is a very interesting graph. Did everyone stop producing [in response to the drop in demand?] after 1979, or just the Saudis?

It was an OPEC thing, mostly a Persian Gulf thing, and was not in response to a drop in demand. It was the result of the Iranian revolution, the Iran, Iraqi war and the resulting tanker wars in the Persian Gulf. Oil prices spiked to the highest prices ever. Prices of the early 80's were not eclipsed until 2008.

Ron P.

Did anyone read the link up top; Why Oil Is Much More Plentiful Than "Peak Oil" Advocates Claim. It is gobblygook, it makes no sense at all.

Oilfield reclamation technology is actually the future of the entire U.S. oil industry. It's safe, inexpensive, and will get cheaper over time. According to a 2006 study for the Department of Energy, the U.S. has about 210 billion barrels of oil that it can recover using EOR techniques. That's nearly 10 times today's proven reserves.

The US really has ten times today's proven reserves yet total production is about half what it was at the peak of production. Oil is really much more plentiful than we peak oilers claim yet in spite of very high prices, the production rate keeps falling. And this is the case for non-OPEC production where there are no quotas.

They call water injection a "secondary" recovery technique. Then they say:

Tertiary recovery, or enhanced oil recovery (EOR), employs more sophisticated techniques to recover another 25% of the original oil in place. That means companies can recover 50% to 100% as much oil as the field originally produced.

What in the hell are they talking about? Water injection can recover about 30% from carbonate fields and from 35 to 40% of sandstone oil. What tertiary recovery techniques can recover 60 to 80% of the OOIP" Where do these articles come from and where are they getting their information?

Eidt: Question, what are "tertiary recovery techniques?" Would that be steam injection? That has been around for over 40 years and is not much better than water injection. Or is it C02 injection? That is being done in so few fields that it is almost a non issue. Down hole pumps are used in cases where water injection is not practical but that certainly could not be considered tertiary. What are these techniques that enable us to double the production from tired worn out fields?

Ron P.

This stuff is so wierd it is almost unreadable. However, given what I know, I guess they are saying that, "When you consider the U.S. has pumped 75 billion barrels of oil since 1977... that means, conservatively, we could recover another 35 billion barrels of oil from known fields." Which, of course in the cornucopean vernacular translates into 210 billion barrels... using voodoo economics. Maybe this is trickle down oil?

Even if true, this might put off peak oil, what? 7 months?

you can try this link :


for a discussion on co2 eor.

shell is claiming a recovery that can actually be attributed to co2 injection is about 6% of ooip through 2008 for the denver unit of the wasson field, west texas. the wasson field produces from the permian san andres dolomite. i believe the ultimate recovery from wf from the denver unit was expected to be around 40% of ooip.

waterflooding can achieve a much higher recovery than you quote if two factors are present 1) a relatively steep dipping reservoir and 2) a low viscosity oil.

three examples of high recoveries from such fields are from lost soilder and wertz fields in wyoming, where the waterflood recovery was ca 65% of ooip. two of these projects were in sandstone reservoirs(tensleep) and one in carbonate(madison). amoco(bp) conducted co2 projects in these reservoirs and claim an additional recovery of ca 5% ooip. i have my doubts that they actually recovered this much additional oil because of the method that was used to estimate recovery under wf alone. these projects look more like acceleration projects than actual increased recovery.

the article you commented on is poorly written by someone who seems to lack an understanding of the subject writen about.

edit: the link posted above has been fixed.

Read also:


From the article(2005):

CCS could produce an additional 2 to 3 million barrels of oil per day, assuming a technically recoverable reserve base of up to 89 billion barrels in 10 basins.


EOR requires additional supplies of man-made CO2
Unfortunately little of the 89 billion barrels is recoverable due to the current CO2 supply shortage, as existing planned expansion will use up most of the available supply. In Texas, current oil leases are roughly 20% primary, 60% secondary (waterflood) and 20% tertiary (CO2).

The issue seems to be that the financial analyst quoted is infatuated with technology. Of course, he forgets the bigger statistical picture.

The technologies as described are essentially the band-aid placed on a thousand little cuts. Until the reporters start quoting someone with a vision of the bigger picture, its the equivalent of going to the school nurse if you have a medical problem. (weak analogy)

BTW, 80% of economists surveyed say the recession is over.

Actually, Ron, a company can recover nearly 100% of the oil in place especially in water drive reservoirs. And, of course, there much more oil in the ground in the US today then we've produced since the beginning of the industry. So the gov't boys are exactly correct in their estimation. And that's the great thing about working for the gov't: you never have to worry about a source of capital or profitability. Give me that fat gov't check book and in 15 years I'll have U.S. way back up. I mean it, really.

I once bought a field from Shell Oil where they had probably recovered 90%+ of the in place oil. Of, course, this field was run as a money looser for many, many years. There was a specific reason they did this but it's a long story. About 4 months after we bought the field a hole developed in the flow line from one of these "commercial" producing oil wells. Even worse, we're in the middle of a swamp in S La. so the whole production stream (oil + water) is going into the ecosysten. It happened in the middle of the night so no one noticed until daylight. An environmental nightmare, right? Not hardly. There wasn't even a oil sheen on the water...only takes a 10 or 20 parts per million to produce a sheen. This well had been producing 100% water for years. Over my recommendation we drilled 2 wells thru a dozen former oil reservoirs. Log calculations showed virtually 100% water saturation. Looked like there had never been oil in the rocks in the first place.

I really don't like to dump on my brothers at the Survey but I don't ever bother to read their reports. I have old school mates with the Survey that have told me for years how they hang on to their jobs there: Once given the desired answer they have to generate the models to justify those answers. Of course, this brings up the question of ethics but we avoid such an unconfortable topics when we get together for a ocassioanl beer now and again.

Thanks Rockman. You know, sometimes I don't know when you are serious or just joking. I took you seriously there for a minute, until I read the rest of your post.

Ron P.

It's easy to tell Ron: if I'm grinning like an idiot when I'm typing I'm just joking. I know i should point out sarcasm but I usually forget. But their statements were so ridiculous I didn't think about it. The really scary part is how serious our political leaders might take such "advice."

Remember Iraq? That would be the Arab country the US invaded in 2003 under false pretenses and continues to occupy.
And remember Kurdistan? That would be the mythical homeland of the Kurdish people that the US cynically exploited in its isolation and eventual invasion of Iraq.
I pride myself on staying well-informed about current events in our oil-rich satrapies but developments there have outpaced my understanding.
Defying Baghdad, Kurdistan Halts Oil Exports
So i need to get up to speed here...the Iraqi Parliament (love the Britishism) has not yet passed the so-called 'oil law' or governing legislation for how the nations oil resources are to be developed, by whom, and how the spoils are to be divided, right?
And yet our pals the Kurds went ahead and inked a deal with a Norwegian and a Turkish company to develop a couple of fields in their territory, right? ok, got it.
But apparently the Iraqi central government oil ministry controls the pipeline.
They never agreed to the oil deal and apparently they are a little pissed at their Kurdish brothers for jumping the gun...BUT...the economy being what it is and all, they found themselves needing the dough so they let the juice flow. And then told the Kurds to go piss up a rope when it came time to pay.
We can assume that we now have some crazy-mad Kurds, Turks, and Norwegians. The Kurdish oil ministry sounds like an unhappy place to be these days, even if intoxicatingly exotic.
So the Kurds have quit pumping (or at least quit exporting) until Baghdad pays the Kurd's clients what they are owed, (I guess) and the tab is getting up there, over a half billion or so, real money, even in these days of a shrinking dollar. And this is just for a tiny fraction (100,000 barrels a day according to the article) of Iraqs current output.
However...that proportion is expected to jump dramatically in coming years.
So...if you accept the premise that PO is in the rearview mirror, and...
you accept the premise that most of the world's new discoveries will be prohibitively expensive to develop...then
Iraq does represent some of the little remaining low hanging fruit.
This whole fiction of 'Kurdistan' that we have helped create is going to be a really destabilizing factor for years to come, a Frankenstein come to life.
"Semi-autonomous Kurdish region", what does that mean when US cuts out?

"Semi-autonomous Kurdish region", what does that mean when US cuts out?


Well, it means what it meant when we went in. Iraq is an artifical country. The only thing keeping it together was the willingness of the Bath leaders [Saddam Hussein. Remember him?] to use brute force and murder anyone who did not agree with them.

When we leave, no matter in a day, a month, a year, a decade, or a century, it falls apart. There are three parts. In the south, the Shiia. In the middle, the Bath/Sunnis [the actual minority of all three] and in the north, the Kurds. The Kurds, along with the Kurds who live in Turkey, want their own country. Kurdistan. When we depart, they will bolt in a New York minute. The, the Shiia will get help from Iran and form their own 'country' [until they are absorbed by Iran], leaving the Bath party and Sunnis to have the rest, which is mostly just Baghdad, and has very little oil. Kurdistan seems to have substantial reserves, and of course the main Iraqi oil fields are in the south.

So... why are we there? Well, to maintain the 'peace' of the middle east and keep the oil flowing, of course. Mostly it's the oil.

Really makes you wonder. I agree if we pull out of Iraq it falls apart. Looking at history it seems that only a steady supply of relatively strong rulers have kept the region controlled.
And stable is being generous.


On the otherside of course we have Pakistan a pull out from Afghanistan will most likely lead to at least partial collapse if not total of Pakistan. As far as oil a US pull out will result at least in internal instability and civil war and dropping Iraqi oil output.

Its tough not to best against another Iranian incursion if not all out war again. At the minimum extensive aid to the Shia population in Iraq and thence probably in Saudi Arabia.

If we do stay however looking over at Iran even if they honestly have no plans to develop long range nuclear missiles which is tough to swallow they should if we remain at two of their borders with large armies. Its a bit of a catch 22 for them. Esp given the recent political unrest and declining exports and a high probability that the US will eventually win at sanctions crippling their economy some more. In a weird way giving them a shot at the Iraqi oil fields is probably the best way to delay them developing nuclear weapons and thats a real iff.

I don't think Israel will sit forever on this issue and it already looks like they are looking at entering via Turkey to Iran. The Israeli's are innovative and I think if they decide to take unilateral action then they will and force the US's hand.

You can do all kinds of scenarios but basically they boil down to no matter what at some point either you need to see effectively a regime change in Iran or war seems certain just a matter of when and how and if its nuclear or not.

The instability in Iraq and Pakistan and of course Afghanistan along with the instability to the north of Iran that we tend to disregard just makes the long term situation seem to always resolve to a war within the next ten years at most.

About the only way out that seems to work is for Iran to really change its government and form a sort of loose relationship with the Shia's in Iraq and Iraq to somehow peacefully breakup into a sort of cartel where Baghdad gets a cut of the oil revenue and further more for the Kurds and Turks to get along and the mess in Afghanistan and Pakistan to reduce to a really low simmer. Any one of these don't happen and it seems like your back in the frying pan if not the fire.

And feel free to read the history this has been a problematic area since the dawn of civilization for a long time of course the fertile Iraqi plains where the draw but literally the tension between whoever controlled turkey and iran has resulted in Iraq being the battle ground for thousands of years. Often the center of the controlling empire but always with tension with Persia when not controlled by Persia.


And of course like all Empires we step into the quicksand of history.

Drive to Link Wind, Solar Power to Distant Users
Proposed Station Would Connect Separate Grids, Enabling Electricity Generated in Remote Sites to Reach a Wider Market

A new proposal to build a transmission link to connect the nation's three major electricity grids -- Eastern, Western and Texas -- is generating interest among energy policy makers because of its potential to accelerate development of renewable energy.

The project, called the Tres Amigas "superstation," to be built at Clovis, N.M., would bring a major change to the U.S. electricity infrastructure by improving connectivity. For example, power produced in Phoenix at this point can't be shipped to Dallas.

The lack of interconnectivity is becoming a larger problem as the nation adds more solar and wind energy to its supply. Much of that power is produced in remote areas and needs to travel to distant population centers, which is problematic under the current setup. Greater connectivity among the grids could open up the market for some renewable-energy developments because the electricity could be sold across a wider region or moved to where it is most needed.

See: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125539671133381751.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_LEFT...


Our old electric grid is no match for our new green energy plans

Often referred to as “the world’s biggest machine,” the North American electricity grid as a whole is an integrated network of generators and millions of miles of wires that crisscross the United States and Canada. It snakes across fields, over mountains, through tunnels, along highways, beneath sidewalks, under rivers and seas. If you live anywhere in Canada or the continental United States, this mega-machine “reaches into your home, your bedroom,” as one writer put it, “and climbs right up into the lamp next to your pillow.”

See: http://www.grist.org/article/2009-10-13-our-old-electric-grid-is-no-matc...


Reviewing energy policy in Nova Scotia

Oil prices have been stable for a while. When this happens, it always restores our illusion that things are under control. The upcoming world-scale meeting in Copenhagen in December, meant to replace the failed 1997 Kyoto Protocol against a backdrop of continuously rising pollution, finger-pointing among nations and polar ice melting beyond scientists' worst fears, may or may not shatter the fantasy.

Against this muddled backdrop, Nova Scotia's exercise in dealing with our small part of the big picture rolls on. You'll remember that Nova Scotia Power couldn't make the MacDonald government's target of five per cent renewable electricity by 2010, which it meant to do with wind power. The NDP government upped the target -- 25 per cent renewables by 2015....

See: http://rabble.ca/columnists/2009/10/reviewing-energy-policy-nova-scotia


This article immediately caught my eye, and my mind automatically changed one word:

'Aramco eyes South Ghawar job'

Saudi Aramco plans to award an integrated drilling contract in South Ghawar worth $500 million in a bid to cut costs, according to reports. "They want one company to provide the rigs, directional services. The objective is to cut costs," an oil services company sources close to the bidding process told Reuters.

The one word I changed was from 'costs' to 'risk'. So it then reads, "The objective is to cut risk."

South Ghawar, from what I understand as a layperson, has a geologic structure not known for being conducive for oil extraction and thus Saudi Aramco has avoided drilling there to any great degree. So are they hedging their bets by letting foreign companies do all the work at what will probably be a sweetheart deal for the Saudi's, based on the risks involved?

Darn, I didn't mean to blockquote the latter part, which is my conjecture and question.

You could have edited your post to fix it...if you didn't reply to it.

While S. Ghawar is of poorer quality than the nort, it is an overstatement to say that it is not conductive for oil extraction and incorrect to say they have avoided drilling there. See this post:


Foreign companies doing the work is nothing new. The difference here is that they are asking one company to do it all, rather than acting as general contractor. This might well reduce costs by forcing the bidders to offer up their shorts.

I was aware of this request for bids, but I am not sure if it is oil or gas.


See yesterday's DrumBeat. And maybe the day before.

dek -- As leanan says check back. I made a comment on the subject a couple of days ago. It a shame the MSM keeps feeding trusting folks such spin.