Drumbeat: October 20, 2009

CIT debt offer by obscure fund raises questions

NEW YORK (Reuters) - An obscure hedge fund said it offered to buy $1 billion in debt from CIT Group Inc but declined to identify its source of capital. CIT would not comment on whether it was seriously considering the offer.

...Logi is currently raising capital for a Peak Oil Value Fund to target investments based on expectations that global oil production has neared a top.

Peak Oil, a controversial theory in the energy sector, holds that oil prices will surge as output peaks and exporting nations curb shipments even as demand continues to climb.

Critics say the theory ignores the technological advances that have opened up vast new areas to exploration, such as deepwater drilling, oil sands processing and shale drilling.

An oil supply crunch may be looming

Basically the evidence says that we are very close to a sort of maximum output of available oil onto the market. And that this has extremely big geopolitical consequences, and governments have neither acknowledged this, and neither have they seemingly put together any kind of policies that would seek to move us away from the potential crunch of having insufficient oil coming onto the market.

OPEC and corporations disagree as oil hits 12-month high of $80 per barrel

Abdalla Salem El-Badri , secretary-general of OPEC, blamed governments for failing to keep speculators in check, pointing out that there was no shortage of oil supplies around the world.

"I'm not an advocate of banning speculation, but they should not be going wild," he said. "If they go wild, everybody goes wild."

Gazprom to Sell as Much as 90% of Shtokman LNG in North America

(Bloomberg) -- OAO Gazprom, the world’s biggest natural-gas producer, plans to ship 80 to 90 percent of the fuel from its Shtokman project in the Arctic to North America as recovery of the world’s largest economy spurs energy use.

The Moscow-based company plans to sign 20-year contracts in 2010’s first half to use gas-import terminals on the U.S. Gulf and East coasts, said John Hattenberger, head of Gazprom’s energy-trading unit in Houston. Shtokman will produce an estimated 1 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas a day starting in 2014, followed by an additional 2 billion cubic feet a day in about 2016 and 1 billion cubic feet in 2018, he said.

The return of oil price shock

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Oil prices are back around $80 a barrel for the first time in nearly a year. But is that good news or bad news for the economy? Let the debate begin.

Of course, the knee-jerk reaction is to declare that rising oil prices must be a bad sign. After all, increased energy prices could be considered the equivalent of a big fat tax increase for an already cash-strapped consumer.

Grandma's greener than you

While the federal government is urging Americans to pay for energy efficiency upgrades to their homes, the family of Cornelius Votca, 94, of Mankato, Minn., closed off the upstairs bedrooms and the front parlor in their home during winter months to save heat from the coal or wood stove. It had to be dark before anyone could turn the lamps on, and with no radio or TV, no one was using electricity late into the night. You don't need a carbon tax when people lack the funds to pay the going rate for energy anyway.

Transcript: Energy, Security & The Long War of the 21st Century

Q. What happened to the DOD initiative in March 2005 for renewable energy sources? Was peak oil reached in 2005 or is it near? Bob Hirsch says we need 20 years to mitigate our dependence on oil, but the peak could be well at hand. Are we on the brink of a crisis?

A. We’re close. Hubbert had predicted that the U.S. would peak in 1970. He was only off by a year. Thus his approach is credible. Oil production has peaked in a number of places in the world. The Saudis are reluctant to share information on their reserves; it will take some detective work to figure them out. See Matt Simmons’ claim that they have peaked already. Oil is cheap in Saudi Arabia, but their production costs will increase. There’s increasing demand from China, India, and other countries. The Saudis can’t make up for a drop in production elsewhere this time as they did back in 1983. Prices will go up.

US coal peak production: Point and counterpoint

A timely debate on "United States Coal Peak Production" will enliven the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Portland, Oregon, today. Highly regarded experts David B. Rutledge of the California Institute of Technology and Robert C. Milici from the U.S. Geological Survey will be keynote speakers presenting opposing views.

Russia Clears Pipeline Hurdles

MOSCOW -- Russia this week moved a step closer to realizing its two major export gas pipeline projects under the Baltic and Black seas to Europe, after receiving long-awaited approval from Denmark and Turkey.

Tuesday, Denmark gave the green light to construct the Nord Stream in its section of the Baltic Sea, becoming the first country to clear the project.

Students build green cars for $7.5M in prizes

The kids at West Philadelphia High School’s Academy of Automotive and Mechanical Engineering are a driven bunch, and that’s good news for everyone. What’s driving them is their effort to design a 100-mpg passenger sedan that could go a long way — on very little fuel — toward helping to fight America’s oil habit.

Rolling toward a resurgence in train travel

Seems the airlines aren’t the only ones suffering from a decline in business travel.

Last week, Amtrak announced that 27.2 million passengers rode its trains during the previous 12 months, a drop of 5.4 percent attributed primarily to a decline in business travel along the busy Northeast Corridor.

Nevertheless, the numbers represent the second-highest passenger load in Amtrak history, and proponents of rail travel maintain that even more people would ride the rails if service were more convenient.

Producer Prices Fall, Indicating Sluggish Wholesale Demand

Even as investors were bidding up the prices of commodities like oil and gold last month, wholesale prices in the United States were falling, reflecting weak demand at home.

The government’s Producer Price Index fell 0.6 percent in September after rising by 1.7 percent a month earlier, the Labor Department reported Tuesday. The figures show that, despite a weakening dollar, inflation remains a remote concern as the American economy struggles to pull itself out of a deep recession.

“The demand for goods is still very soft; the United States economy is just barely recovering,” said Allen Sinai, president of Decision Economics. “In a weak economy where consumer spending is weak, businesses have been slashing left and right. This surprisingly deflationary result reflects that.”

No moves to shift oil from dollar: OPEC sec-gen

LONDON (Reuters) - OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah al-Badri said on Monday he knew of no plans to shift international oil trade away from its dollar denomination.

When asked if he was aware of any such moves, Badri said: "No, no, this is a 100 percent member country policy."

Chevron Says No Currency Can Challenge Dollar in Oil Trading

(Bloomberg) -- No currency can challenge the dollar’s dominance in oil trading, Chevron Corp. Chief Economist Edgard Habib said today.

Petrobras Sets Monthly Oil Production Record in Brazil

Petrobras' average oil production in Brazil in September, 2,003,940 barrels per day, set a monthly record, surpassing the previous mark set in March 2009 by 12,000 barrels. This mark was 5.6% higher than a year ago and 1.2% more than August 2009.

The 24,000-barrel difference, compared to August, resulted from the resumption of activities on Platform FPSO Cidade de São Vicente, in the Tupi area, in the pre-salt area of the Santos Basin, and on platform P-19, in the Marlim Field, in the Campos Basin. Other factors that figured-in were a well going on stream at the Piranema Platform, in the Sergipe sea, and increased production at the wells interconnected to the P-48 (Caratinga) and P-51 (Marlim Sul) platforms, in the Campos Basin.

EDF, Gazprom Agree on U.S.-Europe Five-Year Natural-Gas Swap

(Bloomberg) -- Gazprom Marketing & Trading and EDF Trading agreed on a five-year swap of natural gas between the U.S. and European markets.

Key report aims to tackle global peak oil crisis

The Bristol Partnership and Bristol City Council have welcomed the report of the Peak Oil Study, presented at the Partnership board meeting on Thursday 15th October.

The study was commissioned by the Bristol Partnership and the city council to consider the implications for Bristol once global oil production has peaked and production is in decline. The comprehensive 108 page report spells out the potential impact of ‘peak oil’ on every aspect of Bristol life - transport, food, healthcare, public services, the economy, power and utilities.

The report can be downloaded here.

The Ecotechnic Future (book excerpt)

Modern industrial civilization is simply a form of technic society that gets its nonfood energy from fossil fuels and maximizes production of goods and services in the usual R-selected way at the cost of vast inefficiency. At the other end of the spectrum is the climax community, the ecotechnic society, which gets its nonfood energy from renewable sources and maximizes the efficiency of its energy and resource use in the usual K-selected way at the cost of more restricted access to goods and services.

If this is correct, our own civilization is pursuing a wholly misguided image of what advanced technology looks like. Since the late 19th century, when science fiction writers such as Jules Verne began to popularize dreams of future technologies, “advanced technology” and “extravagant energy use” have been for all practical purposes synonyms, and Star Trek fantasies still dominate discussions of what a mature technological society might resemble. If the model just outlined has any validity, though, a truly mature technology may turn out to be something very different from our current R- selected expectations — and this requires a radical rethinking of most ideas about the future.

Feed hungry, then help them feed themselves

've seen what chronic hunger does to people in places such as the Cite Soleil slum in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The long-term strategy for reducing the widespread hunger there and elsewhere in the world is to give poor nations the resources they need to sharply increase their production of food. That won't be easy.

For example, there is little arable land in Haiti, a once lush-green Caribbean nation. The country's poor vandalizes the landscape by using trees for fuel, which robs the soil of vital nutrients needed for agriculture and condemns millions of Haitians to a life of hunger. A part of the answer to Haiti's food shortage is biotechnology — which includes the use of scientifically altered seeds to improve food production — that Clinton and Vilsack said the U.S. will share with other nations to jump-start their food production.

The Economic Case for Slashing Carbon Emissions

Amid a growing call for reducing atmospheric concentrations of CO2 to 350 parts per million, a group of economists maintains that striving to meet that target is a smart investment — and the best insurance policy humanity could buy.

6 simple ways to save energy at home

Seal electrical outlets in the exterior walls of your house. Foam insulating gaskets (less than $1 each) "act as a barrier so conditioned air stays in, rather than leaking out," says Jonathan Passe of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Just unscrew the outlet cover, install the gasket, and replace the cover.

PetroChina adds 1.5m cu m of oil storage capacity

China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), the country's leading oil and gas producer, added 1.5 million cu m of oil storage capacity in the first three quarters of this year, the company said yesterday.

CNPC had also completed early-stage works for 24 oil storing projects from January to September, the company said in a statement on its website, without elaborating.

China's leading oil companies like CNPC and Sinopec have all accelerated the construction of their own commercial oil stockpile. Sinochem Corp is likely to complete a 2-million-cu-m oil reserve in Zhoushan in Zhejiang province next year, sources close to the project earlier told China Daily.

China eyes 11 mln bpd oil refining capacity by 2015

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will raise its crude processing capacity to 550 million tonnes or 11 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2015, and lift output of refined oil products to over 300 million tonnes, according to an industry plan released on Tuesday.

The crude capacity target would be a quarter higher than the 440 million tonnes of capacity in 2011 planned by Beijing.

Byron King: Can the Oil Market Keep Up With Oil Prices

It might be a comforting thought to believe that world oil output can increase. Indeed, many policymakers in the U.S. and Europe apparently dream themselves to sleep at night pondering how the current oil volume of about 85 million barrels per day could move upward to, say, 95 million barrels per day – ‘if only the world oil industry were more efficient.’

Yeah, right. Except the global oil industry is not that model of dreamland efficiency. Sure, there are some bright spots. The big internationals like Exxon Mobil , Chevron, BP, Shell, etc. are good. There are some really good state oil firms like Brazil’s Petrobras and Norway’s StatoilHydro. Saudi Aramco is outstanding. These guys are all doing great work to keep the world’s pipelines and tankers filled.

But much of the rest of the world’s oil industry lacks the knack for capital discipline and crisp project execution. Venezuela’s oil industry is a basket case, what with the Chavez-led nationalizations and mass firings of recent years. Output is falling in Venezuela, and this from a nation with among the largest hydrocarbon reserves anywhere in the world.

Crude Oil Falls From One-Year High as Dollar Pares Decline

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil fell from a one-year high as the dollar pared losses against the euro and OPEC Secretary- General Abdalla El-Badri said prices above $80 will hamper economic growth.

Oil traded above $80 as the dollar index, which measures the U.S. currency against six major currencies, fell to its lowest since August 2008, boosting the appeal of commodities as a currency hedge.

“The oil price going further up from here is perhaps the biggest risk to the global economic recovery,” said Kaha Kiknavelidze, a managing partner at London-based Rioni Capital Partners LLP, a hedge fund that specializes in emerging markets.

U.S. gasoline price up 8.5 cents to 5-week high: government

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The price U.S. drivers paid to fill up at the gasoline pump soared to the highest level in five weeks thanks to rising crude oil costs, the Energy Department said on Monday.

The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline increased 8.5 cents over the last week to $2.57 a gallon, down 34 cents from a year ago, the department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly survey of service stations.

Oil Breaks Resistance, May Climb to $90: Technical Analysis

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil has breached a key resistance level of $76.28 a barrel, giving it the “capacity” to rise to just under $90 based on Fibonacci retracements, Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. said.

Oil, which is trading near a one-year high in New York, is “taking a pause” to consolidate before moving up toward $89.85 a barrel, said Geoff Clear, the Singapore-based head of Asian commodities at ANZ.

Oil: "Black Gold" or "Fools Gold"?

While it can be conceded that forecasting the price of oil will always remain challenging, several indicators and trends are leading us to believe that the price of this ‘black gold' could well retrace in the medium term. Thus any investor chasing the stratospheric highs reached temporarily last year may well find only "fool's gold" instead.

Oil is cheap at $78 a barrel and we should increase gas usage for cars.

There are two main drivers of last week's temporary record: the value of the US dollar, which makes every commodity more expensive and the ever increasing US consumption of gasoline and distillates. The guzzlers on US roads are increasing, and powering vehicles with natural gas is not pursued vigorously enough. The "Peak Oil Theory" is no longer a theory and finding oil will continue to be more and more difficult and expensive.

OPEC Isn’t Comfortable With Oil Going Back to $100

(Bloomberg) -- The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries isn’t comfortable with oil prices returning to $100 a barrel, said the group’s secretary-general, Abdalla El-Badri.

El-Badri said he doesn’t expect prices to reach three figures in the near future as there is “no shortage of oil supply.” The rally to a one-year high above $80 a barrel today is driven by higher equities, the sliding dollar and speculation, he told reporters today.

Oil and gas producers spent $35.6B last year, expected to spend $34B this year

The Canadian oil and gas extraction industry spent $35.6-billion in 2008, up 12.5% from 2007, according to Statistics Canada. The economic downturn hit the oil-patch hard last year, but did not kick in until later in the year. Despite budget cuts, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers expects spending in the non-conventional and unconventional petroleum sectors to reach $34-billion in 2009, Statistics Canada said.

Yergin vs Simmons 2: Battle of the IEA data interpretations

There’s a little bit of irony in this, surely. Last year’s World Energy Outlook marked for many observers the point at which the IEA adopted a tone far more favourable of peak oil theory. The inclusion of data from that very set of 800-odd fields saw the IEA revise its decline rate for post-peak fields from 3.7 per cent to 6.7 per cent. Enough to set off headlines all around the world about the decline of oil.

OPEC Wants Floating Storage to Disappear Before Raising Output

(Bloomberg) -- OPEC wants to see oil stored at sea disappear before it considers raising production to stem the rally in prices, Secretary-General Abdalla El-Badri said.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries sees “no shortage of oil in the market” El-Badri told reporters at the Oil & Money conference in London today. The rally to a one-year high above $80 a barrel today is driven by higher equities, the sliding dollar and speculation, he said.

Shell May Order at Least Three Floating LNG Ships, Says Technip

(Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc may order at least three floating liquefied natural-gas plants for about $5 billion each as Europe’s biggest energy producer seeks to be first in the race to tap so-called stranded deposits using the untested technology.

“There will be a minimum of three units and maybe more,” said Bernard di Tullio, chief operating officer of Technip SA, hired by Shell along with Samsung Heavy Industries Co. to build the ships. “We could see the first ones floating within four or five years,” he said in an interview from Paris.

Reliance Ind eyeing refineries in U.S., Europe - report

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Indian energy giant Reliance Industries is in preliminary talks with U.S.-based Valero Energy, Sunoco and Flying J to buy refineries, the Business Standard newspaper reported, citing unidentified sources.

Royal Dutch Shell's three refineries in Europe are also on the company's radar, the sources told the paper.

Conoco sees little case for big oil mergers

LONDON (Reuters) - The chief executive of U.S. oil major ConocoPhillips (COP.N) said he does not expect another round of consolidation in the oil and gas industry as happened in the 1980s and 1990s.

Jim Mulva said oil companies were leaner than in the past, which meant there was little room for synergies from putting companies together, and that politicians could also oppose big tie-ups.

"I don't see a really compelling case for consolidation like we saw in the 1980s or 1990s," Jim Mulva told the Oil and Money conference in London.

Conoco sees oil surplus being eroded before long

"We are unlikely to have long production surpluses and weak oil prices," Jim Mulva told the Oil and Money conference on Tuesday.

Mulva added that the cost for oil companies of replacing the oil they pump with new reserves had fallen in the past year, but not as much as the drop in oil prices.

Kuwait plans to spend 63 bln dls on mega projects

The daily did not name any project but Kuwait, awash with cash from oil revenues, has been planning a new business hub dubbed Silk City as well as a new modern harbour, a railway and metro system.

Nigeria looking for ways to help poor Delta region

ABUJA, Nigeria -- The managing director of Nigeria's state oil company has told The Associated Press the government is looking at ways to empower impoverished communities in the country's oil-producing Niger Delta, which has been rocked by an insurgency.

The government says more than 8,000 militants disarmed under a recent amnesty program and that now development must take place.

Some State Senators Ready to Take on Oil Lobby

TALLAHASSEE | The aggressive push for oil drilling off Florida's shores is backed by a coalition of powerful, well-financed business interests who are determined to succeed where they failed before: the state Senate.

But even as proponents insist they'll corral the votes they need, Senate skeptics are multiplying - including the chamber's presiding officer and several key Republicans who sound increasingly hostile to the idea.

Toyota unveils new hybrid-only model

TOKYO – Toyota Motor Corp. has unveiled a more expensive and bigger hybrid-only model than its hit Prius, underlining the Japanese automaker's ambitions to make green technology more widespread.

The "Sai" sedan is Toyota's second hybrid-only model after the Prius. Toyota offers hybrid versions of other car models.

Could America Tax Gasoline More (And Fund Clean Tech)?

Since the United States' addiction to oil is widely documented and recognized as a threat by both sides of the political spectrum, why shouldn't it tax oil more to curb the consumption?

This could effectively stimulate efficiency, decrease the amount of oil the country consumes each day and also help to curb greenhouse gas emissions. One dollar per gallon would bring $140 billion to the Federal government each year. One dollar per gallon would amount to 39 euro cents per litre. Even with such a tax, the United States would keep on taxing less heavily gas than most OECD countries.

Five Technologies That Could Change Everything

It's a tall order: Over the next few decades, the world will need to wean itself from dependence on fossil fuels and drastically reduce greenhouse gases. Current technology will take us only so far; major breakthroughs are required.

What might those breakthroughs be? Here's a look at five technologies that, if successful, could radically change the world energy picture.

Fuel-Thirsty U.S. Navy Pledges 50% Cut in Oil Use by 2020, and More

The United States Navy is taking a big leap forward in "greening" its 50,000-strong, gas-guzzling fleet of vehicles, committing to a 50 percent cut in oil use by 2015, the Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus declared in a speech at the Naval Energy Forum.

That's not all. Mabus said the Navy will attempt to get 50 percent of its total energy from alternative sources by 2020, including its ships, aircraft, tanks, vehicles and bases. Currently, that figure is at 17 percent.

German Coalition Plans New Solar-Power Legislation by Dec. 31

(Bloomberg) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s incoming government intends to cement proposed cuts in solar- power subsidies in legislation passed this year, a coalition paper says.

Lawmakers from the coalition of Free Democrats and Merkel’s Christian Democrats want to reduce power costs that are partly driven by the subsidies as soon as possible, according to the document, which calls the costs an “unjustified burden.”

Freakonomics Guys Flunk Science of Climate Change

(Bloomberg) -- Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner are so good at tweaking conventional wisdom that their first book, “Freakonomics,” sold 4 million copies. So when Dubner, an old friend, told me their new book would take on climate change, I was rooting for a breakthrough idea.

No such luck. In “SuperFreakonomics,” their brave new climate thinking turns out to be the same pile of misinformation the skeptic crowd has been peddling for years.

Global Warming in SuperFreakonomics: The Anatomy of a Smear

They have given the impression that we are global-warming deniers of the worst sort, and that our analysis of the issue is ideological and unscientific. Most gravely, we stand accused of misrepresenting the views of one of the most respected climate scientists on the scene, whom we interviewed extensively. If everything they said was actually true, it would indeed be a damning indictment. But it’s not.

Geoengineering wars: another scientist teases out surprising effect of global deforestation

AUSTIN—A new and unpublished analysis of the regional impacts of a hypothetical scheme to mitigate global warming via radical deforestation was unveiled here Sunday at a gathering of science journalists and writers, on the heels of a blogging firestorm about geoengineering and climate change in anticipation of the release of Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance.

Shoppers drive greener supply chains

Consumer demand will be a major factor in tracking and reducing supply chain carbon emissions in the future, according to the latest study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Copenhagen Failure to Hurt CO2 Investments, IETA Says

(Bloomberg) -- December’s global climate summit in Copenhagen won’t produce clear policy and will discourage investors in projects to cut greenhouse gases, according to the International Emissions Trading Association.

Many investors “will be seriously disappointed, and that will reverberate through the market,” Henry Derwent, chief executive officer of Geneva-based IETA, said today at the Carbon Finance conference in London.

Climate change the 'sin' of rich countries: Cambodian PM

PHNOM PENH (AFP) – Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday urged rich countries to take more responsibility for causing climate change, saying poorer nations were the ones to suffer the fall-out.

"All of us poor countries do not cause climate change. (We) would like rich countries to take a bit more responsibility than before," Hun Sen said, branding it a "sin".

8 South Asian nations resist binding emission cuts

NEW DELHI – Eight South Asian countries have agreed they can't be part of any climate change deal that sets legally binding limits on their emissions, an Indian official said Tuesday.

Is India's climate stance weakening?

With less than two months to go until the big-ticket UN climate change conference in Copenhagen from 7-18 December, are cracks appearing in the tough-as-nails approach that has characterised Indian officialdom?

September Global Surface Temperature Second Warmest Since 1880

The northeast is getting snow already, and low temperatures. Does this mean global warming is a myth? Not necessarily. A new analysis of global temperatures show that the combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the second warmest September on record, according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. Based on records going back to 1880, the monthly National Climatic Data Center analysis is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides.

Rising seas threaten Shanghai, other major cities

SHANGHAI (AP) — This city of 20 million rose from the sea and grew into a modern showcase, with skyscrapers piercing the clouds, atop tidal flats fed by the mighty Yangtze River.

Now Shanghai's future depends on finding ways to prevent the same waters from reclaiming it.

Global warming and melting glaciers and polar ice sheets are raising sea levels worldwide, leaving tens of millions of people in coastal areas and on low-lying islands vulnerable to flooding and other weather-related catastrophes.

The Chinese are going all-in on oil, and they have been for some time.

I think I computed a few months back that they have been importing, every 100 days, an additional amount of oil that is equivalent to a day's supply of oil to the world. That means that they are storing 3.5 days of world oil usage, extra, every year.

But, like on the open plains, it's not what you kill that you eat, it's what you can protect.

I think that if it fits on a boat, China is buying (hording) it.

China IS the new economic super-power, we just haven't seen the cards yet. (we are apparently still trying to bluff their four of a kind).

I just finished reading an article about how the US is buying China's support for IRAN sanctions with Middle East oil contracts. This just further confirms my assumption that whatever the gov. does, or tells you to do is 180 degrees from what should be done.

Somebody posted new Chinese figures (I think it was Westexas ) on coal imports in the last couple of days.The increase was almost incredible.It doesn't take a genius to see that they are getting rid of dollars as fast as they can without creating a panic and at the same time buying while the buying itself, not to mention the going prices, are still good.

But when you say 'Economic' Super Power, doesn't that suggest that they simply have the biggest Can-opener? As with the 'How much of your kill can you protect?' line, even with a bit(!!) of stored fuel, what credit is their power really going to be based on, when balanced against the debits of feeding that population and that machine? The US, USSR and Brit Empires were able to scour their lands and their 'territories' for all sorts of Natural Capital, which ultimately fueled those Empires. Is there enough Raw Material to fuel a superpower any more?

Put another way, in Mad Max world, having a big loud mean gas-guzzler would quickly have become more of a burden than a benefit, no?

As counter-point to the latest Asian Superman hype one of the science channels on the stupidvision ran an interesting documentary on the desertification of Northern China. They too can eat the seed corn and from the looks of it they have done so ( the sands are purported to be within 40 miles of Bejing ). I would say they need to give Allan Savory a ring on the telly before all their growth catches up to them and they have much less farmland than they need.

They are busy on the farmland front too.

I realize that China has a lot of problems but at least they are doing the prudent homemaker thing and buying up stuff that is "in season" and cheaper now than than it will be later.

Still for all the hype about China their farming ops look like ours circa 1930, and they can go out and buy all the wheat they want but it still won't fix their long term problems instead it will turn them into dependents if they don't address the land issue. On my plot of land (at the undisclosed location) the erodable land is well farmed by my tenant, and I would not have it any other way, and after watching the Chinese kill off their country I must laud the NRCS.

There is no way China is even remotely survivable.
And they are so detached from the reality of their environment (at least my Chinese relatives), it makes any sort of wisdom and intelligence on the issue not even part of the absent discussion.
Unfortunately, I think India and Pakistan are even more on the edge.

Unfortunately, I think India and Pakistan are even more on the edge.

I fear you may be right there. I recently read that the GRACE gravity satellite has determined that they are using up the northern India groundwater at the rate of (wait for it) 54 cubic kilometers per year. Obviously those withdrawals will not be sustainable for long.

That can't be right can it?! BTW as a commercial diver I used to work at depths of 200 meters... so I have a feel for what it's like to be at 0.2 Km underwater. I can assure you its a lot of water overhead.

54 Cubic Km

But it's spread out over thousands if square kilometers-thr average amount of irrigation water used on each hectare probably is less than equivalent to twenty four inches of annual rain-a wag,I didn't check the number of square kilometers estimated to be irrigated with ground water.

But there is no doubt they are in real trouble-there are lots of reports of thier water tables falling like rocks.They won't be able to deepen the wells and run the pumps for long.

But it's spread out over thousands if square kilometers

Yes, but I assume it's coming out of non replenishable underground systems. Once used its gone.

We've had a few back and forths here recently about innumeracy and how the average person doesn't grasp large numbers. My comment and was just trying to convey what a ginormous ;-) amount of water we are talking about. When I actually visualized it, it really shocked me.

"54 cubic kilometers", doesn't quite convey the enormity of the problem.

They won't be able to deepen the wells and run the pumps for long.

Even if they could, the subsistence farmers will run out of wives and daughters to sell (in exchange for the pumps) before too long. Can your wife keep pumping out daughters faster than you deepen the well?

India's thirst is making us all wet

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

54 trillion litres of water out of the ground every year.

Ok so this is probably a good example of how we as a society deal with large numbers.

54 trillion liters, while still a huge amount of water is not equivalent to 54 cubic kilometers.

it's equivalent to 14,265,290,827,000 gallons of water, while 54 cubic kilometers is equal to 14,265,290,827,440 gallons.

Notice there is a difference of 440 gallons and that's equivalent to 8.8, 50 gallon drums.
Why that would last your typical American almost 5 whole days... /snark.

I know you are joking, but...

What is the definition of a liter?

It's 1000 milliliters, I'm not joking.

There's a rounding error in your conversion.

1m^3 = 1000l

1km^3 = 10^9m^3 = 10^12l

So by definition: 1 cubic km is precisely 1 trillion liters.

This is of course unless your snark started earlier than it appears to, in which case IHBT, IHB.

Yeah, I know, I grew up in a country that uses the metric system. What I forgot to mention was that those numbers were from two different conversion sites and I was trying to avoid the question "what is a liter", and "how does it equate to gallons", as asked by Erichacker above.

Also I'm not sure why my graphics, they are 100% mine, keep getting garbled like what just happened. I guess its time to ask tech support at photobucket or give them more money?

You were a Sat. diver? I workded the patch (GOM) in the worst years possible 86-87.

Yep! worked mostly Campos basin off Rio de Janeiro for Brazilian company subcontracted by Petrobras back in the late 70's. I was trained in Italy by Sub Sea Oil. It wasn't a bad job back then ;-)

Here's me today. Picture taken two weeks ago. I'm the president of www.kayuba.org

Off topic, but did your hair go prematurely gray. I was 23 when I started and the sat diving guys were mid 30s at the most and they looked quite a bit older than I thought they should have, and that was one of the reasons I left for different pastures. Never made a gas pop since I was junior I got the scrub work in less than 50 feet of water. Water blasting barnacles off of nodes at least gave me a good fish feeding show, that's about all I can say about my diving career.

Off topic, but did your hair go prematurely gray.

Well I'm 56 now and have a full head of salt and peppered hair. I believe in my case it is genetic.
My grandfather on my mother's side passed away in his late 60's with a full head of almost black hair. I think there is some correlation between sat diving and premature graying but I'll be willing to wager that life style has a lot to do with it. A lot of my buddies drank and smoked when they were off duty. My own brother, who didn't do sat diving, is fully gray and he's 5 years my junior so looks older than I do. He also smoked heavily in the past, fortunately he managed to quit.

This is a pertinent observation.It is little recognized in this country among laymen at least that the fast industrialization of our farms had a lot to do with the crash and depression of the thirties.
Tractors hit the farms he same way model Ts hit the road.

We over produced big time with a lot less manpower, and the excess manpower added to the unemployment while farm commodity prices crashed.

It will be interesting to watch the Chinese as they continue thier transformation -My personal guess is that while they may do a lot on the technical front as far as fertilizers, pesticides, and irrigation ,etc, go they will not be in any hurry to find new jobs for the peasant labor.

Tptb there will most likely actively intervene to prevent the fast mechanization of thier existing farms in order to keep the bumpkins out among the pumpkins.Not that they have succeeded entirely in this respect, or that they will,but we hear a lot more about auto sales than tractor sales in China.

National Geographic did an issue last year and covered the desertifacation in China as well as the pollution problems they face. Very scary from there point of view.

Thanks for the link, Jim.

Good talk. Towards the end Prof. Smil lays out our collective problems pretty clearly, and then outlines what it would take for our civilization to survive the 21st century -- approximately the equivalent of world peace, universal brotherly love, and universal wisdom. Then he asserts we can do it.


Edit: many of the things Prof. Smil mentions he discusses at greater length in his books. I've read "Energy, Nature and Society" so I could keep up, more or less, with the talk. Also, while he's wrong about some details, at the "back-of-the-envelope" level, he's characterised things pretty accurately.

From my perspective his books "the Earth's Biosphere" and "Energy at the Crossroads" are classics. Not to mention "Feeding the World."

Fuel-Thirsty U.S. Navy Pledges 50% Cut in Oil Use by 2020, and More

That might work.

Question Everything

Cheer up gang, no layoffs this year, the boss just took on a FEDEX contract.


The usual cargo capacity was 2,000 to 5,000 tonnes. Windjammer cargo in general was bulk, unpackaged items e.g. lumber, coal, guano or grain.

The largest windjammer ever built was the five-masted full-rigged ship Preussen, which had a displacement of 11,600 tonnes. She was also one of the fastest, regularly logging 16 knots (kn) average speed on transatlantic voyages.


Typically, windjammers had semi-mechanized rigging, steel profile masts and yards and steel cables as running rigging where plausible. Since the windjammer hull is hydrodynamically optimized for good hydrodynamics because of sail handling, they were (and still are) capable of sustained high cruising speeds; most four-masted barques were able to cruise at 15 kn on plausible winds, some logged 18 kn regularly and Herzogin Cecilie is known to have logged 21 kn.

Their speed made them able to compete with steamers, which usually could barely do 8 kn, on ultra-long voyages.

The crew of a windjammer was surprisingly small; they could be operated with as small a crew as 14, and a typical crew could be master, mate, boatswain (bosun), 15 seamen and 5 apprentices.

It's actually pretty amazing some of the vessels that were around and powered by wind. It would be interesting to see a modern-design container hauling windcraft...the biggest problem would be the masts and rigging getting in the way of loading and the masts/rigging taking up space on the deck that could be used by cargo.

Same technology today would use skysail (http://skysails.info/) combine with motor, better hydrodynamic for the hull and large used of computer controlled system.

Some suggestions

Add batteries and solar PV panels with an auxiliary screw.

All ships today will be required to have electrical power for instruments & radio (and for crew quarters).

In a calm, a 2 or 4 knot screw would be quite an advantage. Also in maneuvering in port.

One option to expand cargo (containers) is to raise the height of the boom (so it swings over containers). Offloading could adapt from air cargo and have rollers that move containers to loading/unloading point. Between masts #3 and #4, or stern of ship.

I would just raise deck higher rather than put containers on deck.

I think bulk cargos (say oil, metals) would be first application.

Best Hopes for Sailing Ships,


Alan, I am more of a doomer than that.

I believe the Roman amphora is about optimum for our future. It is about four feet tall and 16” in diameter with two handles on the top and of course pointed on the bottom. The point fits into holes in the cargo boards and the tops are strapped to the rails with hemp. The earlier Greek amphora were shorter and fatter and not so strong. A forty foot boat with a crew of two or three can carry quite a number of amphora filled with grain, oil, wine and other stuff around the Med or great lakes or any fairly sheltered waters.

I once had a hardship tour in Athens and dove on a ship like this (not much left) from about 100 AD just a few miles east of the airport in about 35 feet of water. It carried about 75 amphora in three rows on each side for 150 total. Almost all the amphora were in tact but the contents were gone because the top plugs went away.

Would you believe they had a Garmin GPS? No I wouldn’t either because they hit some rocks, probably at dusk trying to make port before it got too dark. All of the amphora and underwater photos went to the Greek Bureau of Antiquities c. 1964-1965.

Leanan linked to the overview article in the WSJ about Five Technologies that Could Change Everything. There are also individual articles. The article about wind is The Answer Is Blowing in…Iowa. It talks about how all of the state incentives have gotten wind power in Iowa where it is. But this is what it says about its prospects going forward:

But like in many other places, Iowa's growth isn't likely to persist at the same clip, if only because of the limitations of its own power lines.

"Iowa is now at a point where they're hitting a wall," says the wind energy association's Mr. Detweiler. Its transmission lines are getting over saturated and the state needs to get over this large hurdle effectively, Mr. Detweiler says, if it wants to retain its status and continue attracting manufacturers and wind-project developers.

Unlike Texas, however, which is in its own transmission grid and can make its own calls on how to proceed, Iowa must agree with other states on transmission projects. And that's no easy task.

"Transmission is the big challenge," says Roya Stanley, director of the Iowa Office of Energy Independence. "While we still have some room on the grid in the state, it will be critical to have agreement regionally for further transmission build-out."

Gail you hit the problem dead center. Lack of coordinated Federal response on energy is slowing things down.

The states, particularly the midwest, are forming groups on their own to solve the problem.

From the link http://www.governor.iowa.gov/news/2008/09/18_2.php
"Iowa joins Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin in this initiative, which will be conducted over the next 12 months and will develop a concrete plan or tariff proposal for the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator (MISO). These states will coordinate efforts with state regulatory agencies, transmission companies, utilities, independent generation owners, and other key parties. The initiative will also work closely with MISO, which is conducting a variety of transmission planning studies with results expected during 2009."

I keep seeing articles put up that say we can't afford the hvdc grid necessary to move the wind power to where it is needed but I think that before too long people will start changing thier minds in this respect.The figures for the lines mostly seem to be somewhere in the hundred billion dollar range.

We piddle that much away several times over every year on stuff that contributes very little to our well being other than providing some employment to the people involved-non productive employment, they might as well be on welfare.

I'm not very good at looking up figures and making sure they are good reliable figures-I'm too lazy to tell the truth and there are plenty of others here that sling figures like six shooters in old westerns anyway.

My guess is that if the people making the decisions once realize just how much money we will save as a nation by building the lines they will get on board.It's not just the utility that gets the wind power and thier customers that benefits.

If wind gets to say a ten percent total share of generation nationwide this will cut substantially into demand for coal and natural gas-thereby keeping prices from rising quite a bit.

Somebody here can tell us in a few seconds how many tons of delivered coal that would save over say the next twenty years and how much less expense ALL COAL BUYERS AND THIER CUSTOMERS will have to bear as the result of lower coal prices.The figures can only be rough approximations of course but I can see no reason why they shouldn't be in the ball park at least.

These savings will be leveraged by savings in emissions of pollutants of course but I think the better approach as far as building support is to emphasize the money aspect to a greater degree than has been done so far.

It's bad when there is not even enough money to prevent what looks like it will be costlier in the future. But actually it won't be costlier in terms of money, because the problems you describe will never be addressed. We will pay with the painful knocks of the bumpy descent.

I must admit that there is a substantial possibility that you are correct-but I suspect that our society is capable of more action than most of us realize once our backs are to the wall.
I believe there is a reasonable chance that we will slip and stumble thru the next twenty years more or less intact and mostly recognizable as the same society as we are now-but without the car culture.

A few serious and repeated blackouts will focus the voters atrention on the politicians in such a way that even gold -in- sacks might have to line up behind the electric utilities at handout time.

My scenario only holds if things don't go downhill really fast of course.We will have our new grid if we get an extended bumpy plareau.

Well ... without calling any names ... the 'five technologies are ...

- Space- based solar power ... didn't this get laughed out of here a few months ago?

- Batteries,

- more Batteries,

- carbon batteries, and ...

- 'let's let the world's humanity starve while we have cheap fuel for the cars, the lovable, fabulous, wonderful cars, without which our lives have no meaning.

Cheap fuel for the cars is the fantasy, the five technologies are complete idiocy. The world will dissolve into warfare before the 'food for cars' paradigm takes hold.

Whaddya expect from the Wall Street Journal? You go to McDonalds and you expect hamburgers, go to WSJ and get tripe.

Meanwhile: Vanek- Smith's article, "An Oil Supply Crunch May Be Coming":

Taylor: Basically the evidence says that we are very close to a sort of maximum output of available oil onto the market. And that this has extremely big geopolitical consequences, and governments have neither acknowledged this, and neither have they seemingly put together any kind of policies that would seek to move us away from the potential crunch of having insufficient oil coming onto the market.

Good grief! What market has Rip Van Winkle been paying attention to? Certainly not the petro market. Availability peaked ten years ago. It's been 'downhill' ever since! Even @ 1998's $10 a barrel the world was in shortage! Yes! With five billion humanoids living @ less than middle class lifestyles and with credit a- plenty, the shortage of sub- $3 oil and the industrial means to leverage it consigned these hapless and witless idiots to a non- future before they even were aware that they had lost the opportunity!

The relationship again is 5 billion hungry nincompoops versus (relatively) cheap $10 oil. It was really too expensive. The poorish of the world could not afford it. This is when it was cheaper than at any time since 1946!

You'll notice that the current price of $80 a barrel is right in line with both the trend and EIA speculation. None of this is rocket science.

Economists suck at relationships. Some do alright; James Hamilton and Brad DeLong do well with price structures, Krugman does a bad job brilliantly as he endlessly and marvelously spams for more and more free government money to fatcat bankers.

The rest simply don't get it, they are lost, they are completely submerged without self- knowledge in assumptions that a child could overthrow, the largest being that conditions last year or five years or ten years ago were the best case.

... That credit and energy supplies were optimal because the markets were pricing the goods (ralatively) cheaply ... or cheaply compared to what they might have been ... or because the production market could be serviced, that the market conditions therefore could not be improved upon.

All- in- all, a gigantic rationalization ... The assumption is completely false; there has been a long- term energy shortage, we cannot know what we would have done with (much) more energy being available, more energy than we possibly could access.

Don't you get it? It's not what the economy DID, but what finance's 'credit department' said it could have done!!! We've never lived up to 'cheap money's' expectations!

What wiil our (collective) mothers think?

The economists' assumptions limit the idea of 'markets' to America and Canada and a few of those 'Frenchy' Euro- countries w/ their own (limited) imagination- demands and aspirations. Believe it or not, we needed six or eight or fifteen extra Saudi Arabias ten years ago. We need twenty- five or so now. It's not enough to supply 'US' the wonderful, special,gifted creative us, the end of evolution us, its for the starving and car- less masses in Peru, Haiti, Belize, Guinea- Bissau, Cote- d' Ivoire, Yemen, etc. They deserve as many tract houses, TV's, fridges and A/C's as we do and if you don't belive me, there are plenty of Kalashnikovs and RPG's that say otherwise.

Nature has never cooperated and the hubristic idiots who call themselves economists and policy makers have made webs of lies and deceits that have calcified over the decades into a belief system that is more Orwellian than either Orwell or Kafka could have possibly imagined.

Is it gonna work out for all of us? Whaddyu think?

Here's Greer, who I (used to) admire:

Modern industrial civilization is simply a form of technic society that gets its nonfood energy from fossil fuels and maximizes production of goods and services in the usual R-selected way at the cost of vast inefficiency. At the other end of the spectrum is the climax community, the ecotechnic society, which gets its nonfood energy from renewable sources and maximizes the efficiency of its energy and resource use in the usual K-selected way at the cost of more restricted access to goods and services.

Uh .. JM ... What the f**k are you talking about???

Obviously, there is no 'ecotechnic' society otherwise it would be describable in simple English. After all, us morons are supposed to be in it ... make it up, right?

I can describe a future in simple English:

... People make things by hand in workshops and factories in small quantities @ extreme quality, there is a high level of art and craftsmanship with the best of the best equal to the masters of the past of Greece or Rome or renaissance Europe or China at its height and cities and towns are a delight to visit or live in, people live simply and nature predominates. There is no nano- medico- psuedo- foodo- technology. In fact, technology is actively suppressed.

It's simple, easy, it works because it has and can be a default if we don't nuke or broil ourselves into oblivion first. Excuse me, could you please pass the wine? How about some bread and olive oil? Don't mind the paintings, they could be Caravaggio ... but were really by some dude down the street ...

That's (the simple) life, no?

Concerning the link up top: Kuwait plans to spend 63 bln dls on mega projects

OPEC's fourth largest producer sits on about 10 percent of global oil reserves and pumps about 2.2 million barrels per day. It has a native population of 1.1 million besides 2.34 million foreign residents.

If Kuwait sits on 10 percent of global oil reserves then the world has less than half a trillion barrels left.

Petroleum Intelligence Weekly has stated that Kuwait's total reserves was only 48 billion barrels as of March 2001. Only 24 billion of that was proven and the reaming 24 billion was nonproven.
Petroleum Intelligence Weekly: Oil Reserves Accounting: The Case Of Kuwait

Table 1: Kuwait Oil Reserves As Of Mar. 31, 2001 (million bbl)					
In Place   Reserves  Production	Proven	Nonproven  Total		
168,909	   81,204    33,088	24,205	23,911	   48,116

That was 7.5 years ago. Given Kuwait's annual production of about .85 billion barrels that would mean they are down to about 42 billion barrels total, proven and unproven.

Those Kuwait claimed reserves, like the rest of OPEC claimed reserves, are totally fictitious. That case has been made over and over again by Petroleum Intelligence Weekly and other such prestigious publications. Yet writers for MSM continue to use those fictitious numbers, giving the world a totally erroneous picture of remaining oil reserves.

Oh well, all we can do is wait for the truth to come out. I predict that will happen, probably by 2012, or no later than 2015, when collapsing non-OPEC supply collapses and the call goes out to OPEC to make up the difference, and they will be unable to do that.

Ron P.

To get it right, all the main stream media has to do is look at this graph. Then they would have to dig through their archives to find out if there had been any announcements of giant new oil fields in OPEC countries.

To get it right, all the main stream media has to do is look at this graph. Then they would have to dig through their archives to find out if there had been any announcements of giant new oil fields in OPEC countries.

Frugal, don't be daft! That would mean doing research, not something MSM is keen to do...

Well actually most of MSM in the US get their data from the EIA. And the EIA gets their data from the BP Statistical Review, the Oil & Gas Journal and World Oil. And these three prestigious journals get their data by quoting what Kuwait says their proven reserves are.

World Proved Reserves of Oil and Natural Gas, Most Recent Estimates

Ron P.

Also from that article from Petroleum Intelligence Weekly:

The 48 billion bbl of remaining reserves (in 2001) is divided in almost equal portions between proven and nonproven. There is no breakdown of the nonproven reserves, but a source familiar with such data says they would likely comprise more than 80% probable, with the rest categorized as potential or possible.

Who is "a source" ?

Guardian Article

"Oil prices hit high but report warns of supply crunch"



has link to this interesting looking report


"Heads in the Sand - Governments ignore the supply crunch and threaten the climate" from Global Witness.

Apologies if this has been discussed before.

It's the top link in yesterday's DrumBeat.

oat meal is up another 20 cents. my supermarket always puts it on "sale" before they jack up the price. just 6 months ago oatmeal was $1.49 for store brand in a 42 ounce tub. now it's $2.20 cents. and tomato soup? 82 cents a can for the good stuff without additives.
although it was on sale 3 cans for 2 bucks (used to be 50 cents a can less than a year ago). fresh tomatoes are $1.99 a pound. orange juice is extremely expensive. apple juice has even gone up. used to be the cheapest juice around. but... i can buy an upscaling dvd player for $44! WOO-HOO! i just purchased a 300 watt "pure" sine wave inverter for my solar cart for $139 with free shipping. i figure i am to be broke through the winter with heating costs better get those necessities now before there are no more imports from asia. so it seems that some things go up and some go down. i dont know about clothes, i wear rags and hand me downs. i still got some shoes and sneakers i bought 4 years ago when i had money. none of my pants have holes in them yet. all my spare cash pays the property taxes. gubbermint is till doing ok. 4% raises, pensions, medical insurance, not private industry, there no 401(k)'s or health insurance or vacations or even lunch hours. at least i have a job, for now.

Where did you get the inverter, and what brand is it?


Yeah, I'd like to know too. Is it 300 watts continuous or at peak? That price sounds too good to be true.

A quick google of "300 watt "pure" sine wave inverter" turned this up:
300W cont. 1000W peak. $129 FS.

Going greener will be costly

Nova Scotians may face higher electricity costs in the short term as the province moves toward cleaner and renewable energy, says the man in charge of overseeing Nova Scotia’s renewable energy strategy.

Dalhousie University’s David Wheeler said Monday it is inevitable Nova Scotia Power customers will face a jump in prices but it will be cheaper than continuing to burn coal to generate electricity.

See: http://thechronicleherald.ca/Business/1148442.html

Three out of every four kWh consumed in this province are still generated through the burning of imported coal. It will take much time and effort and many ratepayer dollars to turn this ship around, but the job must be done.

No more coal-fired power plants !


An update on Mexico.

Here is the EIA website for data for Mexico:

They revised 2008 net oil exports down slightly, to 1.06 mbpd.

Based on (EIA) total liquids, the 2004-2005 rate of change numbers are as follows:

Prod: -1.7%/year
Con: +3.5%/year
Net Exports: -7.6%year

Over the 2004-2008 time period, the data are as follows:

Prod: -4.7%/year
Con: +1.6%/year
Net Exports: -18.7%year

This shows the expected accelerating rate of decline in net oil exports.

Note that the 2007 to 2008 production decline rate was 9.4%/year (EIA), and the August, 2009 total liquids production rate is down at about 7%/year from the August, 2008 rate (Pemex).

I am assuming no increase in consumption going forward, and I am using three production scenarios--decline rates of: 5%/year, 7.5%/year and 10%/year.

At 10%/year, average annual net exports would be zero in 2012.

At 7.5%/year, by the end of 2012, net exports would be pretty close to zero (but positive for the average annual data).

At 5%/year, Mexico would probably make it to the end of 2014 before hitting zero.

Don't we already know that Cantarell has continued its downward path and Chicontepec has failed to excite during 2009?

Therefore unless domestic consumption has significantly fallen back (I've heard no word of that) then shouldn't we expect to see an increase in the previous net decline rate, eg >9.4% for 2009 as a minimum. That would mean the 10% case would be the central mean and the excursions would be higher (say KMZ-born decline at 12.5%) and lower (say 7.5%, Chicontepec comes good and Cantarell levels out).

Given the natural increase in the decline rate over time even that would be generous.

The 2009 decline rate appears to have slowed somewhat versus the 2008 rate, and David Shields--who has been very accurate regarding Cantarell--thinks that Cantarell will stabilize, if memory serves, in the 250,000 to 400,000 bpd range, with a slower decline rate. But he thinks that Chicontepec is pretty much a failure, insofar as any significant increase in production is concerned.

In any case, it really doesn't matter that much. Mexico will have shipped about 90% of their post-2004 cumulative net oil exports (CNOE) by the end of 2009 under the following scenario, i.e, 90% of post peak cumulative net oil exports gone in five years.

For the sake of argument, let's round down to net exports of one mbpd for 2008 and assume that net exports drop at 250,000 bpd per year. Their annual net exports and CNOE would look like this:

Annual Daily Rate & Post-2004 CNOE at end of each year:

2005: 1.7 mbpd & 620 mb
2006: 1.6 & 1204
2007: 1.4 & 1715
2008: 1.0 & 2080
2009: 0.75 & 2353
2010: 0.50 & 2535
2011: 0.25 & 2626
2012: Zero Net Oil Exports (Production = Consumption)

Hello WT,

Thxs for this update. It now almost seems like the best proactive, mitigative strategy would be for the US and Mexico to jointly issue a mutual directive to rapidly forbid anymore Mex crude imports anywhere, especially to the Gringo North; an 'above-ground' directive to tell the Mexs to keep their own crude for their own people, for their own later postpeak use, as far into the future as possible, as they and the rest of the planet go postPeak. Otherwise, the massive and desperate immigration tsunami starts moving Northward that much sooner from geology-driven ELM trends.

Yep, the early, forced lack of Mex crude import volume would jack USA fuel prices up that much more quickly [causing pro-active US conservation and efficiency uptake measures], but that will still be much cheaper in the long run than continuing to import, then wasting this Mex-fuel in big Gringo SUVs for easy-motoring, then suddenly no fuel plus a big wave of immigration from the continuing 'below-ground' depletion and bad ELM %-trends.

In short: encourage Mexico to do their best to slow their sharkfin rate of flowrate decline by stopping exports, then move to a possible fat-tail strategy. IMO, it might be better for both the Mexicans and the USA; a move towards Optimal Overshoot Decline.

Much easier said than done, of course. My feeble two cents.

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

I get your point toto but, unfortunately for the Mexican folks, they are trapped. I understand your point about saving their crude for the future but what about the present? Last I saw their crude exports fund 40% of their federal budget. And much of the population is dependent upon fed subsidies for daily survival. With a lack of commercial enterprises to support their population they seem to have no choice but to use their oil revenue to feed their folks today. Hell of a choice: starve your folks today so you can help prevent starving them in the future. And then they are still faced with funding future oil development. No oil development funding today = less revenue to support the population in the future. Even if Mexico suddenly reversed their position of no foreign oil investments it would take a decade+ to be of any significant benefit IMO.

I still expect Mexico to be the poster child for the Mad Max world (however bad that might actually be). Their daily lives are so much more tied to oil revenue then more industrialized nations. Those countries would lose commercial activity to some degree but Mexico would lose the ability to feed themselves. Mexicans might not have a life many of U.S. would envy they are still better off then many other poorer countries because they have had the oil revenue distributed to the general population to some degree. Thus they seem to have farther to fall. An empty belly is a greater immediate motivation then losing some jobs.

There's a link up top "Feed hungry, then help them feed themselves" which talks about Haiti.

What's interesting, is that the nation of Haiti shares the island with the Dominican Republic and you can often draw the border between the two countries simply by noting where the trees stop.


It seems pretty pointless to worry about peak coal. It doesn't really matter if we are at peak or not, we can't afford to burn any more, period, let alone what's already been discovered.

I was just watching the main-stream 5pm news and one of the talking heads was interviewing the former EPA administrator, Christine Todd Whitman, whose view is that Climate Change is a natural phenomenon, that we are "exacerbating" with our actions, and therefore we have to do "something" (she advocates nuclear).
At this point, the interviewer said "But what about coal? We have 900 years of coal".

Needless to day, I almost passed out in my chair - then I started looking for where on earth this statement may have come from, and found this reference :-

"Coal is the world’s most abundant fossil fuel. Identified world reserves of coal should last at least 225 years at the current usage rate, and 65 years if usage rises 2% per year. The world’s unidentified coal reserves are projected to last about 900 years at the current consumption rate and 149 years if the usage rate increases 2% per year. Thus, identified and unidentified supplies of coal could last the world for 965-1,125 years, depending on the rate of usage"

Source : http://www.whitman.edu/environmental_studies/internships/reports/lane.htm (2002)

I find it appalling that the national media is so poor at fact-checking and qualification. It's hardly surprising the public is clueless.

Of course we cannot burn it, if we want to survive, but we will, because of survival fitness traits that rewarded discounting the future, heuristic thinking over critical thinking, and basing reality on story and myth.
Great insight, wrong species.

Well, I fear you might be right. I can only think that maybe down the line things will get so bad, you'll have people blowing up power stations and mining operations to stop them. It would be nice if we didn't have to let things get that bad in the first place, of course.

Re top-link:
Gazprom to Sell as Much as 90% of Shtokman LNG in North America
What's up with Gazprom? Don't they know about the North American gas glut, or do they know more about the North American gas glut than the North American main-stream media?

Either way, it seems a strange time to be making a deal like that. I'd have thought they'd have more bargaining power when prices are high. Maybe their financiers have them over a ... length of gas pipe.

The other deal Gazprom made seems to make sense for Gazprom: pipe ($) some gas to EDF in Europe, and EDF has to ship ($$$) the same amount to the US.

I work at a "large" LNG terminal on the east coast and I've not heard a thing about this yet. We get most of our cargo via Statoil as well. I'm also not understanding this statement:

"U.S. LNG imports will rise 34 percent this year to about 471 billion cubic feet, according to an Oct. 6 estimate by the Energy Department in Washington. Imports in 2010 may rise 40 percent, the department said."

Are they talking 2009 here? This entire year we've been DEAD. Like maybe a ship a month. Back in late 2007 and early 2008 we were getting a ship every 3-4 days on average, sometimes two at a time. I don't know where the large increase in LNG imports are going, but not to us. And we're one of the largest terminals in the country.

Whatever the case, I'll ask our director the next time I talk with him. I hope it's true, I don't like slow business.

lng imports can be found here:


natural gas monthly table 4 details lng imports. norway along with egypt, nigeria and trinidad/tobago are the major importers of lng into the us. the us also exports lng from cook inlet alaska to japan, i believe.

lng imports are down 54 % ytd vs '07 and 5% ytd vs '08.

Greg -- you have to keep the time frame in mind. However much of a "gas glut" we have now isn't relevent. Perhaps you're being sarcastic...understand that regarding the MSM. It's a 20 year contract starting in 2010. LNG compression is a very big cap ex and you need to have a secured long term market to justify. In a sense the guarenteed volume of sales can be much more important then the sales price. Same goes for pipeline economics too.

Chemical firms assail oil sector's green plan

Canada's two biggest chemical companies are urging Ottawa to adopt a single, national emissions cap for greenhouse gases (GHG), rejecting the oil industry argument that the oil sands sector needs an “intensity-based” system to continue its growth.

DuPont Canada Inc. and Dow Chemical Canada Inc. joined with a handful of other companies and environmental groups in supporting a national regulatory system with “common definitions and standards.”

“The cap-and-trade system should place an absolute, national cap on covered emissions,” the group said in a statement released Tuesday. It added that intensity measures are “not suitable” for determining caps faced by large emitters, such as oil companies, chemical producers and power companies.

See: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-a...