Drumbeat: October 25, 2009

Global oil supply: Separating fact from fiction

Steven Lynch's opinion piece published in the August 25 edition of the New York Times, “Peak Oil Is a Waste of Energy,” contends that there is no danger of near-term decline of production rates because great volumes of oil are believed yet to be discovered. This simplistic view fails to recognize that an aging handful of giant and super-giant fields (only 320 of the world's 16,000 oil fields) provide nearly 60 percent of global oil supply. We provide an alternative view that field size, not just total undiscovered volumes, will determine future production rates and costs.

To illustrate this point, compare an oil field to a glass of water with a straw (our capital cost) as the means of extraction. A single glass of water can be drained by one straw at a very low cost. To drain the glass faster, add multiple straws for a higher extraction rate and higher cost. Consider that same volume of water poured onto a table. There are now many much smaller puddles that require their own straws. Not only is the unit cost of extracting each small puddle much higher than in the case of the glass, the productivity of each straw is much lower. In practice it is not possible to produce from the multiple puddles at the same rate as from the glass. We have “drunk” most of the oil from the giant and super-giant fields. What we have left are a few glasses and many, many puddles. Even though there may be many puddles yet to be discovered, it does not change the fact that they produce at a lower rate and at a higher cost than their larger brethren.

Current giant and super-giant fields are soon destined to be so depleted that no leap in technology or increase in price will prolong their life. Oil is a finite resource. Because the amount of oil has been underestimated in the past doesn't mean it is today or will continue to be.

Byron King : The Energy Crisis Just a Bit Delayed

Eighty-five million barrels a day.

That’s the most that can be produced. So when recession causes a temporary decrease in world consumption, it can seem like those 85 million barrels are enough. But consumption is bound to resume its upward climb, while those 85 million barrels a day are all we get. The day of reckoning has just been delayed for a little bit.

“Can’t we get more than 85 million barrels?” some folks are bound to wonder. Let’s look into that.

BP Joins Race to Find Arctic Oil

BP, the British oil major, has joined the rush for oil in the Arctic by conducting its first seismic study in the region.

It is being carried out in the Beaufort sea, 150 km (93 miles) off the coast of Canada.

Iran says committed to crude production quota

TEHRAN: Iran has always adhered to its implied output target under OPEC's existing output curbs and has not violated its commitments, its OPEC governor Mohammad Ali Khatibi told the semi-official Mehr news agency yesterday. The most recent Reuters survey of oil firms, OPEC officials and analysts showed Iran, the group's second-largest producer, pumped 430,000 barrels above its OPEC target in September, the most in absolute terms of any member. "Iran has always been committed to crude production quotas set by OPEC and there has never been any violation by Iran in this respect," Khatibi said.

Saudis sell fuel oil at steeper discount

The stream of cargoes from Saudi Aramco's refineries at Ras Tanura, Rabigh, Jubail and its joint-venture plant with ExxonMobil in Yanbu — at least 925,000 tonnes so far — have hit the highest level for the October month in five years, due to refinery outages and as power generation needs over the summer eased.

China devours Western prop of falling oil prices

It used to be the case that when the Western world went into recession, oil prices would automatically fall.

As the principal energy consumer, a weaker West meant the global economy needed less crude.

The resulting lower energy costs would help us escape recession, easing fuel bills while allowing our central banks to cut interest rates with less fear of inflation.

The world has now changed. The West remains in an economic coma, yet oil just hit $81 a barrel – the highest this year and up 115pc since February.

Lawmakers get earful on rural energy crunch

Two hours of testimony Friday from leaders of Alaska's 12 Native regions brought different stories with the same theme: communities from Barrow to Adak, Shishmaref to Kodiak, are suffering under the weight of high energy prices and frustrated they can't make use of the state's rich resources to lower costs, provide security and protect the environment.

"Alaska is one of the richest states in the nation," said Tony Weyiouanna of Shishmaref, an eroding island community in the oil-rich Chukchi Sea. "We're here with an abundance of natural resources ... and we're in an energy crisis."

Poor Casualties of the New Cold War

THE second biggest power supplier in Britain is due to announce bumper profits next month. Scottish and Southern Energy, which has nine million customers, has already forecast that pretax profits for the six months to the end of September will be significantly higher than last year’s £303million.

Speculation is rife that the company could announce profits for the period of nearly £600million. But with average annual household energy bills standing at £1,239 after a 42 per cent rise last year, any rise will enrage consumers.

Petrobras $4 billion bond issue Brazil's largest since 2000

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Brazilian state-run energy company Petroleo Brasileiro S.A., or Petrobras, sold a total of $4 billion in bonds Friday in two parts, the largest debt sale out of Brazil since the start of this decade.

Massive interest in the issue comes despite a new Brazilian tax law announced Monday, which levies a 2% tax on foreign investment in local equities and fixed-income assets in order to slow appreciation in the real against the dollar.

Sri Lanka faces fuel shortage in oil union protest

COLOMBO (AP) — Long lines have formed at gas stations in Sri Lanka's capital as workers of the state-owned oil corporation continue a strike to push for a pay increase.

The four-day strike has paralyzed fuel distribution in the capital, Colombo, but authorities say panic buying has aggravated the situation. The strike ends Sunday.

Nigeria’s Oil Rebels Order ‘Indefinite Cease Fire’

(Bloomberg) -- Nigeria’s Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, the main armed group in the country’s oil region, said it started an “indefinite cease fire” to enable talks for a “lasting peace.”

The cease fire, which went into effect at midnight this morning, followed a meeting between President Umaru Yar’Adua and Henry Okah, leader of the group also known as MEND, on Oct. 19,. Okah subsequently conveyed to the movement the government’s readiness to talk with group’s chosen negotiators, MEND spokesman Jomo Gbomo said in an e-mailed statement today.

U.S., Russia, France agree to ElBaradei proposal

VIENNA (Xinhua) -- The United States, Russia and France Saturday endorsed a proposal by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mohamed ElBaradei on Iran's nuclear development, but Iran said it needed until next week to respond.

The United States, Russia and France have indicated their positive response to ElBaradei's proposal on a draft agreement to supply Iran with nuclear fuel for its research reactor, which among other things produces radioisotopes for medical purposes, according to the IAEA.

Jordan inks gas deal with BP

Aman - The Jordanian government on Sunday signed an agreement with British Petroleum for the development of the Risheh gas field near the Iraqi border, a deal envisaging an eventual investment of about 10 billion dollars.

Power plant needed to meet energy demand, province says

Energy Minister George Smitherman says that a gas power plant located in the southwestern Toronto region will be far healthier than Mississauga's coal-burning plant that the province recently closed.

Alaskans wait to see if Palin's gas pipeline plan will produce state's next big economic boom

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Sarah Palin hit the vice presidential campaign trail last year and touted what Alaska could provide for the rest of America — a natural gas pipeline to help lead the country to energy independence.

When a pipeline might be built remains a giant question for Alaskans who need the project to support a vulnerable economy and for the Lower 48 states that need the gas, and a petroleum economist who spent more than 25 years in the Alaska Department of Revenue says it may never happen under Palin's plan.

Thought Experiments on Birth and Death

Rush Limbaugh reacts to a population report by proposing that a reporter kill himself to save the planet.

Farmers sell wives to pay debts in rural India

The region is called Bundelkhand, spanning the two northern Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. It is here that drought, debt and desperation have pushed people to extremes.

To survive the bad years, some farmers say they turn to the "Paisawalla" -- Hindi for the rich man who lends money. Farmers say the loans from these unofficial lenders usually come with very high interest.

When the interest mounts up, lenders demand payment. Some farmers work as bonded laborers for a lifetime to pay off their debts. Others here say because of years of little rain and bad harvests they are forced to give money lenders whatever they ask for.

Sometimes that includes their wives.

'Family planning may need adjustment'

China may be ready to fine-tune, if not to end, its 30-year-old family planning policy - rules that helped fuel the country's economic miracle by preventing 400 million births, but which brought their own challenges, including an aging population.

Adjustments, such as the encouragement of urban couples comprising two only-children to have a second child, and the abolition of the four-year interval between births in the countryside, have been made across the country in recent years.

EPA official says agency may reduce cellulosic mandate for 2010

At a recent conference, Environmental Protection Agency Office of Transportation and Air Quality Director Margo Oge expressed that EPA is considering whether a renewable fuel standard for cellulosic ethanol of something less than 100 million gallons/year might be the most viable option for next year due to the possibility that 100 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol might not be available in 2010.

Greece Commits To Green Power

Athens Greece's new socialist government plans to unveil a new law next month to boost renewable energy production as part of its "green growth" model and revive stalled projects with a capacity of more than 7,000 megawatts.

IEA evaluates Chile's energy policy

SANTIAGO (Xinhua) -- Chile should establish a long-term energy strategy to assure investments coordinated with social and environmental costs, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a report Friday.

According to the IEA, the report "Chile Energy Policy Review 2009" makes an integral evaluation of Chile's energy sector, including institutional frames, energy security and environmental protection policies.

Iran May Qualify for Nuclear Fuel Supply Plan, Poneman Says

(Bloomberg) -- Iran may qualify for imports of uranium under an international program to provide countries with “cradle-to-grave” supplies of nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes, Deputy U.S. Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman said.

Turkmen-China gas pipeline nears completion

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan - Work has been completed on the Turkmen section of a pipeline that is due to begin transporting natural gas from the energy-rich Central Asian nation to China by the end of the year, state media reported Friday.

Keeping Natural Gas in Pipelines, Not Air

The Environmental Protection Agency issued its latest report on the Methane to Markets program intended to encourage industries to capture “fugitive” emissions of the one heat-trapping greenhouse gas that is a valuable fuel, methane. (Nearly all of natural gas is methane.) The illustration above shows the emissions captured so far in international partnerships and those identified but not yet pursued. The gains are substantial, and — as we reported recently — often profitable. But there is still huge untapped potential for capturing emissions from gas wells, oil tanks, coal mines, landfills, livestock operations and other sources.

Proposed Water Plant Raises Growth Issues in Marin County

Nothing about the Marin Municipal Water District storage yard and the run-down wooden pier protruding into San Francisco Bay give any hint of what they are: the site of what may become one of the fiercest water battles in Northern California in decades.

It is, on the surface, a set piece: an emotional struggle over a large planned water project facing strong environmental opposition. But at a more basic level, it is a contest over the ever-volatile issue of growth in Marin County.

Fill It Up With Electricity, Please

ELECTRIC cars are coming in big numbers for the first time. Again.

The prediction has been here before, almost every time governments have worried about oil supplies and air pollution. Manufacturers dabbled with electrics after the oil shock of 1979-80. In the 1990s, California said it would require their sale to address its almost intractable air pollution problem. But the technology was not ready, and the state gave up.

As Hybrid Buses Get Cheaper, Cities Fill Their Fleets

IF you wonder whether hybrid-electric vehicles will ever catch on, simply ask one of the millions of people who ride in them every day.

Hybrid-electric buses, that is.

Transit systems from New York to Taipei, and from Ames, Iowa, to Ann Arbor, Mich., are adding hybrid buses at a rapid clip. New York, by far, has the nation’s biggest fleet of hybrid buses, which run on electricity and diesel fuel, with nearly 1,000 in all five boroughs, most in Manhattan.

Finding Ease, Efficiency and Fun on a Scooter

A FUNNY thing happened on the way to $4-a-gallon gas, financial collapse and gridlocked city traffic. Americans finally climbed off their Hogs and out of their Hummers and discovered scooters — the zippy, fashion-forward transpo-pods that have long filled the streets and sidewalks of Beijing, Paris, Rome, Shanghai and other cities throughout the world.

American city dwellers, from Miami to Seattle, are being lured into Vespa and other scooter dealerships by the prospect of 70-plus miles per gallon efficiency, traffic-dodging agility and leave-it-anywhere parkability.

‘Green’ and ‘Luxurious’ in the Same Sentence

WHEN hybrid cars make a green statement, they tend to proclaim penny-pinching mileage and shared sacrifice. But mass-market hybrids like the Toyota Prius have been about as luxurious as a recycling bin, as racy as hemp Birkenstocks.

Now, in the face of stricter mileage standards, a new generation of luxury hybrids and plug-ins is looking to convince affluent buyers that they can have their green cake and eat it, too. Even luxury automakers that once publicly scorned hybrids, especially diesel-centric European companies, are readying electric-bolstered cars for showrooms.

BMW Offers Plug-In Electric Diesel Hybrid (and It’s Green, Too)

LOOKING around the floor of the Frankfurt auto show in September, it would have been easy to conclude that the future of cars lies in pod-like electric models and not sports cars.

But with his Vision EfficientDynamics car, a model of what future BMWs might become, Adrian van Hooydonk, director of BMW Group Design, presented a different sketch of the future. BMW’s offering at Frankfurt was a plug-in electric diesel hybrid that is about as green as they get, rated at the equivalent of about 75 miles per gallon, but with the sporty acceleration of a BMW M3 sports car — like a zero-to-60 time under 4 seconds and a top speed of 155 miles per hour.

Wind power prescribed for China's energy needs

Environmental scientists from the U.S. and China estimate that wind power alone could meet China's projected electricity needs for 2030 using wind turbines installed over a combined area nearly the size of Manitoba.

The goal of the study is to determine the practicality of switching China from generating electricity using coal and other fossil fuels to a greener energy source, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution.

Nuclear energy becomes pivotal in climate debate

WASHINGTON – Once vilified by environmentalists and its future dim, nuclear energy has become a pivotal bargaining chip as Senate Democrats seek Republican votes to pass climate legislation. The nuclear industry's long-standing campaign to rebrand itself as green is gaining acceptance amid the push to curtail greenhouse gases.

Nuclear debate: A dangerous option that wont solve climate change

There are three main problems with the nuclear “solution” to climate change — it is a blunt instrument, a dangerous one, and it is unnecessary.

Climate-change skeptics causing delays: Scientist

Canadian climate-change scientists say growing skepticism about global warming in the media is confusing federal politicians and causing delays in action that could prevent dangerous changes in the Earth's atmosphere.

Science Museum's climate change poll backfires

The museum’s Prove It! website, which is designed to influence politicians at the Copenhagen climate summit in December, allows members of the public to pledge their support, or lack of it, to the environmentalist cause.

But so far those backing the campaign are out-numbered nearly six-to-one by opponents.

Thousands gather worldwide on day of climate protests

Kicking off with thousands gathering on the steps of Sydney's iconic Opera House, global warming protests took place around the world yesterday to mark 50 days before the UN climate summit.

From Asia to Europe via the Middle East, activists staged lively events addressing world leaders and to mobilise public opinion around climate issues.

Many waved placards bearing the logo 350, referring to 350 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 in the atmosphere which scientists say must not be exceeded to avoid runaway global warming.

"Lawmakers get earful on rural energy crunch"

Shishmaref Island is one of those communities where their houses are falling into the sea from rising sea levels and melting permafrost. It is ironic that they are, apparently, on the list for wanting to develop more resources.

This, sadly, is likely to be how the energy slide will play out on a larger scale. People will put climate change second, and wanting to keep warm and fed first, unless we can find alternatives to fossil fuels, and pdq (pretty darned quick).

The irony of Shishmaref, to me, is that they no longer live a "Native American" lifestyle. They are as wholly dependent on a fossil fuel lifestyle as any other "normal" US small town. They hunt with guns and motorized boats, teenagers run ATV's all over the sand dunes, they even have a "Mini-Walmart" where they import all kinds of (plastic) products from the mainland, including milk, fritos and gasoline.


If real people weren't involved, this would make a great case-study in sustainability.

From the captioned article (linked uptop)

Robert Keith, chairman of the Native nonprofit, Kawerak Inc., in Nome, urged lawmakers to come through on a proposal to create a state energy department to carry out a mission of delivering state oil and gas to Alaskans first, and outsiders second.

It does make one wonder how far Alaskan tribal groups are from following the lead of tribal groups in Nigeria, where the government is seeking to maximize exports without meeting local demand, especially the demand for refined petroleum products at subsidized prices, which is what the Alaskan group is seeking.

WT -- Got me thinking about state's rights in Texas. Even when TSHTF I don't see the state not allowing oil to be shipped out off state. OTOH, you know about the allowable system. Until the early 70's the Texas Rail Road Commission set a monthly "allowable" for all oil wells in the state. If they set it at 50% then the stated certified production rate from any well was set at 50% of that value. In effect, Texas was OPEC in all those prior years: they essentially set the amount oil oil available to the market and thus greatly influenced the price of oil. It might surpreise some folks but that regulation is still inplace and still enforced. But since the early 70's the allowable has been set at 100%. An interesting possibility: if TSHTF and the state drops the allowable to 70% what would the Feds do? The state f Texas actually owns a fair bit of Texas oil thanks to their royalty position. One could assume the state could restrict any products from such crude to instate sales.

Just a hypothetical but it does seem to set up a potential for a monumental legal battle.

Of course one key difference between the two states is that the federal government owns the majority of the land and minerals in Alaska, while the vast majority of the land and minerals in Texas are privately owned. It's probably one reason the Nigerian analogue probably works for Alaska, but not so much for Texas. And of course, Alaska was purchased from the Russians, while Texas joined the union as a former Republic.

Give indigenous peoples rifles and a snowmobiles, and you no longer are in the same paradigm.
Add hip hop and crack, and things really get interesting.
But peace and justice cannot be ignored, just because the idolized view of the "noble savage" has changed into the sensual reality thay has emerged.

Essentially, I view this as a microcosm of the situation the whole world find itself in. Rather than figure out ways to live with less, we scream for more resources. Unfortunately, as many of us are acutely aware, we are bumping up against the limits.
People in Shishmaref are facing a dilemma - watch their ancestral land fall into the sea, and they, along with it, or relocate somewhere else. They haven't been able to make that decision - they may be looking for outside funding to help.
Whatever they decide, this should be instructive for many of the rest of us - it won't be long before some of us are faced with the same dilemma.
It's no easier for the folks on the mainland who will have to absorb these refugees, possibly also in the face of scarcer resources.

It's no easier for the folks on the mainland who will have to absorb these refugees, possibly also in the face of scarcer resources.

You've hit on something there spring_tides I've thought about, and that is, many of us may think we've set ourselves up to avoid or mitigate the fallout to come from post peak oil and global warming, but the reality will probably be a situation where those that 'have' will be expected, if not required, to help those that become displaced.

We live at 1100 feet, far from any need to worry about sea level rise directly as far as it affects our home, yet indirectly there will at some point in time there will be potentially millions from the Sacramento low lying region displaced and moving into our area. We may be expected to house some. But then the question is, who is responsible for feeding them? Food is expensive now and will get much more expensive in a waterlogged future. What will it be like having families knock on the door asking for food and shelter?

It will be gut wrenching, but the reality is that scenario will probably happen, whether it's in 5, 10 or 30 years from now.

I sortof imagine a Hurricane Katrina-like situation but larger, and permanent, where refugees find themselves living in basements, attics and anywhere else where there is an empty space, and folks will take them in.

I imagine it won't be long before we are trading that accommodation for skills. i.e. the refugee that knows how to grow food, build a barn, fix the plumbing, etc etc. will probably fare better than those with no skills, since it will be expensive to house them if there are no jobs.

I'm not sure I know what I'd do with a group of marketing professionals ;)

I'm sure public aid will be requested, but, with the way states and cities are failing to fund budgets now, I don't know how much public aid we can expect. Maybe there will be an effort to create public shelters or refugee camps, although it's scary to imagine what those conditions might be like.

Yes, I think you're right about a Katrina type situation. Not sure the govt. will even be in tact to help out. I can see a lot of bartering going on at the front door. Well, what skills do you have? Can you be in charge of the vegetable garden? That means standing guard too you know? Bring any food with you? Have a cot & blankets?

And then in later years the questions will change to: Can you hunt game? Can you or your wife wash cloths on a rock? Know anyone that can forge steel? Know how to skin game and cure the hides? I don't need someone to tend the vegetable garden, I need someone to go get us some fruit trees, plant them and guard them. Bring me orange and apple trees and I'll give you shelter with no running water or heat.

I'm not sure I know what I'd do with a group of marketing professionals ;)

Mmmmm, soylent green...

I'm not sure I know what I'd do with a group of marketing professionals ;)

They'd probably make excellent fertiliser (I'm thinking "Blood 'n Bone). ;)

Rather than figure out ways to live with less, we scream for more resources.

Recently I've started to look at things in a slightly different way. Basically we're entering into an accelerating phase change were entropy is increasing dramatically, resulting in a greater need for complexity to maintain stability and a much higher requirement for resources. Like the "Red Queen" in Alice in Wonderland, we're having to run ever faster to stay in the same place, but we're beginning to stumble and cannot keep up.

As entropy increases, the pressure on natural resources heightens, the disorder of the environment magnifies (climatic, ecosystem, economic, etc), and socioeconomic competition between people and countries intensifies. Life becomes more hectic, more disorderly, more problematic, more uncertain.

The financial system has become disconnected from the real world and its resources, with increasing amounts of money creation in the system having little effect on real world resource production. The results are going to be less resources available per person at a time when they require more just to maintain there current lifestyle. At some point resource availability will fall to levels which are below those required for physical survival. So it is no surprise to see people on the margins succumbing first.

Agree. I had looked at it as the ends of the supply chain, more remote areas, being closed off first, as the cost to supply becomes too high, or the distance too far.

Just read today in local news (no link) that McDonalds is leaving Iceland, due to the crash of Iceland exchange rate and the fact that nearly all ingredients need to be imported...

BTW, there is old saying in computer programming that basically says 'a program is developed until it does not work'... hmm... any system is developed to be more complex until it reaches unworking state...?

Re: BP Joins Race to Find Arctic Oil

Rejoins race to find Arctic oil. When I worked for a predecessor company (Amoco) we had a fleet of 26 ships up in the Beaufort sea and I had our billion-dollar drilling platform on speed-dial. (I had written a program to predict when it would be crushed by the Arctic ice pack, always a big concern up there.)

We found a whole lot of natural gas, and a little bit of oil. Big deal. There's much cheaper natural gas much closer to markets, and you need one whopping big oil discovery to justify a pipeline out. We ran out of prospects to drill before we ran out of money to spend. The area is heavily gas prone, and most of the reservoir cap rocks have been fractured in the past, allowing any oil to escape.

So, do they think things have gotten better up there? Or are they just out of other ideas?

Door #2.

Devon discovered oil offshore near the McKenzie Delta of Canada. BP got some exploration acreage where they were going to bounce seismic waves in search of oil bearing structures. Exxon and Imperial also bought acreage in the neighborhood.

Shell got approval from the Obama administration to do exploration on its leases off the coast of Alaska in the Beaufort Sea.

Other companies have done some prospecting in Greenland finding traces of oil.

In the Russian Barents Sea there is Shtokman; a gas field of over 100 Tcf.

And I have a new multipay discovery in Texas. I guess we are saved.

Insider chat for WT -- Wait a month and I might beat you: In 2 weeks or so be spudding the sweetest deal I've seen in 34 years. A legitimate 20 million bo + 100 bcf target at 17,000'. Across a syncline from a proven field of same size. Better yet: only have to drill 2000' out of existing csg at 15,000'. That operator stopped short of the target section. Thought they had missed. But paleo shows they didn't drill deep enough. Good 3d coverage. No certainties of course but it will only cost $3.5 million to find out. We'll have 50% WI. As you know so well: the stuff dreams are made of. If it works it should push PO back a good 24 hours or so. Ha! And they were worried about future energy supplies.

Devon found about 240 million barrels of oil, which would be impressive were it south of the Arctic circle. As it was, they didn't bother to drill a second well because it's uneconomic at today's prices.

240 million barrels is less than two weeks supply for the U.S. It's not even a giant oil field. You basically need to find a supergiant to make Arctic development worthwhile. They've drilled over 250 wells in the Canadian Arctic without finding one.

As for natural gas, they already know where there are hundreds of trillions of cubic feet up there. They need gas prices to go up considerably before it is worthwhile to bring it south.

Desperate plan to freeze coral samples as reef ecosystems die

The prospects of saving the world's coral reefs now appear so bleak that plans are being made to freeze samples to preserve them for the future.

Fire still going
The White House has declared a stated of emergency in Puerto Rico, following Friday’s massive oil explosion and fire at the Caribbean Petroleum Corp. storage facility outside San Juan. According to a CNN report, the fire is still burning out of control, and the FBI is treating the site of the blast as a crime scene

Just played "energyville" computer game from the chevron web site. They list Hydrogen as an energy SOURCE!! Unbelievable.
-Philip Arnason

Naw, if you get to level two and select hydrogen it reads:

Hydrogen does not exist naturally on earth and is not an actual energy source, but rather an energy carrier like electricity.
Hydrogen fuel cells are 2-3 times more efficient that a petrol engine running a car but the price of hydrogen delivered to a fuel tank is currently much higher. This may change by 2030 if hydrogen production costs come down or oil prices continue to rise.

Source: Rocky Mountain Institute

Ron P.

There you go Ron...busting another bubble. You could at least have allowed folks to enjoy the fantasy until the sun set. Shame on you.

BTW --I heard that you can get electricity from a potato. Have a good night buddy.

Yeah, I can get it from cockroaches too!

Hmm, do you get more juice if you tickle the cockroach?


I missed that, but the fact remains that you can select up to 25% hydrogen as part of the energy-mix for your city of the future, without specifying how that hydrogen will be harvested. More accurate would be the depiction of combining a coal plant with a hydrogen production plant, and thereby requiring less petroleum in your energy-mix. It's just a game after all, but I'm a stickler.
-Philip Arnason

Gee, they could just buy a few hundred square miles of desert in Utah or Nevada and just claim the 400W/sq m of solar energy as part of their mix too. I think Chevron already owns a bunch of land in California...

So Turkmenistan is going to ship 40 bcm to China real soon now. It was shipping over 30 bcm to Ukraine via Russia and over 10 bcm to Iran up until last year. Turkmenistan's export capacity is 110 bcm per year (link). So it makes sense that Nabucco is supposed to have a capacity of 30 bcm by 2020. This 30 bcm is supposed to remove the EU's dependence on Russia's gas (150 bcm per year). Of course the real story is that NATO is hoping for a coloured revolution in Iran (probably with the help of a bombing campaign) when they will be able to get access to serious amounts of natural gas. China is busy securing Turkmen, Kazakh and Uzbek natural gas, in addition to the fact that their reserves are by no means sufficient to export 150 bcm to the EU per year.

Check it out:


Finally a movie that will be released mainstream about peak oil. From the preview, it sort of looks like a movie version of Chris Martenson's Crash Course

haha I just realized that this dude's website (from the wilderness) is linked on TOD under the blogroll. Well, he made a movie, just so you know

It was the sleeper hit at the Toronto Film Festival.

AshtonW, it debuts in theatres on Nov. 6th. Can't wait!

I'm trying to figure something out. In the movie trailer for Collapse, he says when oil is too expensive for people to pay for, the whole thing (world economy) will collapse. Well, when it hit 147 a barrel it was too expensive for a lot of people and it collapsed, (and one could argue the economy collapsed for a number of other reasons too). But then demand destruction and investor fear drove the price of oil down to 30 something where people could afford it again. However, that low a price also greatly reduced exploration.

Let's review this sequence of events to get to the question:

1. An expanding economy increases oil demand.
2. With limited supply to meet demand due to a peak plateau of production, oil price will rise until there is demand destruction.
3. Price of oil then falls until demand sets back in.
4. But a lower price for oil then causes reduced exploration, (because the lower the energy returned on energy invested (eroei) the greater the cost of exploration, and that continues to increase.)
5. Therefore, as oil continues to deplete, the cost of oil must at minimum remain slightly higher than eroei or exploration ceases.
6. If exploration stops due to too low a price for oil - i.e. not enough financial incentive, then the depletion curve must accentuate on its descent at a much faster rate than on its ascent.

#6 must be correct, because as the process of exploration initiated eroei was very low, but also the world economy was very small in comparison to what it is today. That process of exploration, infrastructure deployment, etc. took many years, let's say 130 years to reach a point where the demand for all oils ascended to near 90 mbd in July 08. Once peak is past, there would be a brief period (which we are in now) with sufficent incentive for exploration to continue, but at some reduced capacity for the world economy to support a certain oil price, eroei is too low and oil from then on can only sell for what the market will bear. But it must be at a much faster rate than the ascent, because we are now consuming so much more oil than we were on the ascent.

The hypothetical question is; Presuming the above scenarion is correct, what is the rate (percentage) of decline be for the remaining oil in place and how many years does that equate to, once exploration ceases, presuming all available oil is consumed, based on a potential recovery of 800 billion to a trillion barrels?

You have missed one aspect-countries/customers are locking up long term supply deals-once the supply passes a critical point, even having the money will not guarantee supply, as the supply is already contracted for (at market prices). At this point there will be all sorts of unforeseen spin off effects. This is what China is focused on-they don't care about the price-they will pay the going rate, but they want supply guarantees.

So true Brian. An example of how the Chinese have a huge advantage over taditional free market enterprises. It's not so much that don't want to make a profit but they have trouble understanding the concept. Years ago I met a guy who had been teaching free market concepts to a group of Chinese execs. He spent hours trying to get them to understand the basisc concept. They just couldn't grasp that if it cost you $1 to make a widget that you would sell that widget for more then $1. Their logic was simple: if the widget plant, employing a large number of workers and contibuting to GDP, can recover it costs why would they limit their sales by raising the price. One (and perhaps the only one) of the great advantages of communism.

I don't know if I'd call it a mainstream release. It looks like it's being released to a few "artsy" theaters.

i just purchased two power inverters for my portable solar power generators. before that i bought a couple of toner cartridges for my color laser printer. other than that it's paying bills and credit card. that's it. so i guess as an uhmerikan i am consuming less. i went to a big chain store today to make a credit card payment, lots of folks there. i was in and out. then went home. sat in garage admiring mild autumn afternoon. the only other "discretionary" spending i did was getting my car fixed. i notice if i dont buy anything or go anywhere i can get by. now that is scary. however there must be lots of folks in new jersey with disposable incomes. the streets were crowded with leaf peepers. i dont know what all the other TOD commentors do. all i know is that this winter it's all my extra cash to heat the house. me with a 3KW PV system on the roof and two wood burning stoves. i would take in boarders right now if they had skills, such as moon shining. now that is a post collapse skill that will be in demand. when will the gubbermint collapse happen? last, i would expect. soz i gots to be wage slaving to pay property taxes. does everyone in nj work for gold man sacks except me? absolutely no one seems concerned about THSHTF. wazzup with that? disconnect is the oil conundrum. SNORX! Qrrpdblx!

WASHINGTON — The development of a 17,000-mile national high-speed rail network would cost $600 billion, or $30 billion per year through 2030, Andy Kunz, president and chief executive officer of the U. S. High Speed Rail Association, said here at a conference yesterday.

The schmuck taxpayer has already pledged 23.7 trillion to cover grifter scams-this would pay for 39.5 sets of these USA wide high speed rail networks.

This is why I am not a supporter of high speed rail (except DC to Boston).

Too much money, all it transports is people (and very light cargo like UPS packages).

In Europe, air currently gets half the trips over about 300 miles/500 km and almost all trips over 500 miles/800 km.

London-Brussels HSR >50% modal share
London-Amsterdam just two direct HSR trains/day
London-Frankfurt not enough demand for a direct train between these two financial centers.

I prefer semi-HSR. Express frieght at 90 to 100 mph, pax at 100 to 125 mph on the same tracks. Express freight can be medium density, like fruits & vegetables.

Much cheaper as well.

Best Hopes for Rational Choices,


Steven Lynch == Michael Lynch??