Drumbeat: November 17, 2009

Pemex Proved Reserves May Drop 2.8% This Year

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleos Mexicanos, the state-owned oil company, said proved reserves of crude-oil equivalent may drop for an 11th straight year as existing fields dry up and discoveries are smaller than expected.

Proved reserves may decline 2.8 percent to 13.9 billion barrels this year, Vinicio Suro, director of planning at Pemex’s exploration and production unit, said in a presentation on the company’s Web site. Reserves may rebound again in 2013, he said.

Pemex, as the Mexico City-based company is known, has failed to replace dwindling output of oil at its offshore Cantarell deposit, the world’s third-largest deposit when it was discovered in the 1970s.

Group Wants Government to Jump-Start the E.V. Revolution

Calling for what amounts to a Marshall Plan to start manufacturing plug-in hybrids and battery-electric cars, a group of executives from the auto and utility industries, and prospective plug-in fleet buyers laid out a strategy on Monday at a roundtable in Washington.

The new group, called the Electrification Coalition, envisions significant federal assistance in jump-starting what it calls “grid-enabled” vehicles.

The Coming Nuclear Crisis

Perhaps the most worrying problem is the misconception that uranium is plentiful. The world's nuclear plants today eat through some 65,000 tons of uranium each year. Of this, the mining industry supplies about 40,000 tons. The rest comes from secondary sources such as civilian and military stockpiles, reprocessed fuel and re-enriched uranium. "But without access to the military stocks, the civilian western uranium stocks will be exhausted by 2013, concludes Dittmar.

It's not clear how the shortfall can be made up since nobody seems to know where the mining industry can look for more.

Now you can hear electric cars coming

HALOsonic technology makes electric vehicles sound more like spaceships or sports cars - which should make roads safer for people with visual impairments.

Chris Nelder, logi Energy: Is the IEA World Energy Outlook Politically Distorted?

The International Energy Agency (IEA) released its annual World Energy Outlook (WEO) this week — a report I always anticipate eagerly. Hey, it’s like Christmas for energy geeks. The IEA found coal in its stocking though, after a report the previous evening in the UK’s Guardian newspaper cited unnamed whistleblowers alleging the agency had been distorting its true view on peak oil in order to prevent public panic.

Petrobras Oct oil output stable at 2 mln bpd

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras said on Tuesday domestic oil output in October stood at 2 million barrels per day, virtually unchanged from the record output of September.

Production remained at record levels in October after the company brought two platforms back online, increased output at the Marlim Sul and Caratinga fields and began production at its Piranema field off the coast of northern Brazil.

Petrobras, Union Fail to Agree a Day Before Deadline

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA and a Brazilian labor union failed to agree on a wage increase today, a day before a deadline expires for the state-controlled company to make a proposal.

Officials from Petrobras and the oil workers’ union known as FUP are seeking to replace a labor contract that expired in September in meetings that started yesterday and continue tomorrow. FUP set tomorrow as a deadline for Petrobras to present a new contract proposal, Aldemir de Carvalho Caetano, finance director at the union, said.

Buffett reveals new investments

US billionaire Warren Buffett's investment firm has revealed new stakes in Nestle and Exxon Mobil.

Berkshire Hathaway said it held 3.4 million American depositary receipts - which represents shares in foreign companies - of Nestle, worth $144.7m.

It also reported owning 1.28 million shares in the oil giant Exxon Mobil, valued at $87.6m.

Pick your peak: Which resource runs out first?

Last year’s spectacularly high prices for oil made believers — at least temporarily — out of many previous peak-oil atheists. Even today, the persistence of $78-or-so-per-barrel oil even in a still struggling economy continues to keep the words “peak oil” on many lips.

Whether we’ve already hit that peak (as oil industry expert Matthew Simmons believes), arrive there before 2020 (which we have a “significant risk” of doing, according to the UK Energy Research Centre) or still have decades to go, there are no shortage of other peaks that could be looming in the not-too-distant future.

Which do you think will strike us first? Will it be peak oil or …

7 ways to generate and save energy at home

Prepare for battle if you're ready to pull away from the electricity grid and generate at least some of your energy at home. "The first thing you do is make war on consumption," said Richard Perez, the publisher of Home Power Magazine, which guides people through the transition to a life built around renewable energy. "In other words, analyze where you are using electricity and see where you can make it more efficient."

It's all gravy: Cost of Thanksgiving meal sees biggest drop since 2000

People cooking up a traditional Thanksgiving feast can be thankful it won't be as expensive as it was last year.

The price of making a traditional Thanksgiving meal -- turkey, stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie and all the trimmings -- will drop 4% this year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. That's the biggest decline since 2000, says Bloomberg News.

Waiting for the end of the world

(CNN) -- This is how the world ends -- at least at the multiplex this month.

Last weekend's box-office champ "2012" primarily uses an ancient Mayan prophecy to spin a tale of world destruction. "The Road," due out November 25, showcases a father and son navigating a post-apocalyptic world of ash, cold and cannibals. And the indie documentary "Collapse" gives voice to one man's belief that, as we exhaust natural resources, civilization is ready to crumble.

OPEC should boost spare oil capacity to ‘cash in’

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) should continue to invest in oil production capacity even as demand drops so that it can "cash in" when a supply crunch arises, according to think tank Chatham House.

“Every time companies like Saudi Aramco have to turn on their excess oil capacity, it is at a time of extremely high oil prices,” Paul Stevens, a senior research fellow in energy at London-based Chatham House, said today at a conference in Abu Dhabi.

“It is much better to sell oil at $170 a barrel than at $70 a barrel, provided you are not concerned about the long-term impact of that.”

Is There an Asian Energy Crisis?

Asia comprises many developing countries. Their need for energy is extremely high and growing; industrial sectors are expanding, but they are experiencing an energy shortage.

Countries are trying to develop power plants to supply this exploding demand for electricity, and they are experiencing high system losses as a result of outdated infrastructure, theft and corruption. Smart grid technology, however, with an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) as its foundation, can eliminate growing problems related to theft and corruption.

China provinces hit by severe gas shortage - report

BEIJING (Reuters) - Central and eastern Chinese provinces faced the worst natural gas shortage in years as supplies were diverted to snowstorm-hit northern China, while producers lacked incentives to expand output because of poor margins, a state broadcaster said on Tuesday.

Market Report: Oil Rebounds, China Warns of Carry Trade Bubble

A big rebuke from the Chinese as Obama's trip to Asia is not exactly looking like a success. Liu Mingkang, the chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, warned that US Fed policy has led to massive speculation and endangers the global economic recovery. He says that the huge carry trade is having a massive impact on global asset prices and has lead to massive speculation, "that was inflating asset bubbles around the world. It has created unavoidable risks for the recovery of the global economy, especially emerging economies and the situation is seriously impacting global asset prices and encouraging speculation in stock and property markets as well."

Iraq puts off decision on oilfield again

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's cabinet cancelled a Tuesday meeting at which it had been expected to approve deals with Western oil majors for the West Qurna and Zubair oilfields, because too many ministers were out of town, officials said.

It was not immediately clear when the decisions would now be taken but cabinet would likely try to hold a session before its next scheduled meeting on Nov. 24, said Ali al-Moussawi, manager of the government's National Media Centre.

Shell Expects the Americas to Have Big Role

Royal Dutch Shell sees a bigger role for North and South America as it seeks to boost global output of oil and natural gas in coming years, said Marvin Odum, president of the company's U.S. division.

Going forward, the region should be a "disproportionately growing part of Shell" as new projects come online in deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Brazil, the Canadian oil sands and natural gas fields in the U.S. and Canada, Odum said in an interview with the Chronicle this week.

Canadian Oil Sands Produce Economic Benefits, Environmental Costs

Canada is by far the largest supplier of oil to the United States, sending 1.8 million barrels south every day. And companies are spending billions looking for more, digging under stripped-out forests in search of a form of petroleum called bitumen. Environmental and native groups say the oil, which they call tar sands oil, hurts the air, land and water. They point to what it takes to get it to market.

And it takes a lot. Huge shovels dig the sand out and bitumen out of the earth and pile it into gigantic trucks. Syncrude, a joint venture among seven oil companies, runs its equipment around the clock 365 days a year.

Kosovo abandons plan for 2,000 MW thermal plant

PRISTINA (Reuters) - Kosovo has abandoned a project to build a 2,000 megawatt thermal plant due to lack of investor interest and will instead issue a new tender for a plant with half the capacity, the energy minister said on Tuesday.

Hydro wants hot water use to be metered

A water heater is one of the largest users of electricity in a typical home, the utility says.

With metered service, customers are encouraged to reduce costs by reducing their hot water use.

But some people are upset after receiving letters from Toronto Hydro giving them a conversion deadline and telling them to pay for the costs.

"They threatened to cut off my water heater unless the work is done by September. I'm away most of the summer," said Darryl Palmer, who wrote to me in August.

PV Grid Parity Not as Close as Hoped?

Writing about grid parity in IEEE Spectrum's Energy Wise, blogger Bill Sweet mentioned a recent Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory report that concluded that the installed cost of photovoltaic systems declined by >30% from 1998 to 2008, from $10.80/W to $7.50/W. Sweet indicated that although this appears encouraging, it is not.

Get a green job in two years

(Fortune Magazine) -- Community colleges have long held second-class-citizen status in the world of higher education. But they've suddenly become top tier when it comes to one important thing: training for new green-economy jobs.

Carving up Africa for Food and Fuel

Fifty million acres: gone! It’s a plot of land the size of half the farmland in all of Europe. One year ago, this tract belonged to its natives. Now, foreigners hold the deed. The scale of this landgrab is truly astounding. Nothing similar has taken place since Europeans carved up the subcontinent 200 years ago.

Like a Thanksgiving Day turkey-carving gone wrong, Africa’s in-laws are helping themselves. During the past year, South Korea grabbed 1.7 million acres in Sudan. Saudi Arabia scooped up 1.2 million acres in Tanzania. China gobbled up 6.9 million acres in the Democratic Republic of Congo and another 5 million acres in Zambia. India plucked up a 99-year lease for over 1 million acres of farmland in Madagascar. Africa is selling the farm.

The Nitrogen Fix: Breaking a Costly Addiction

Over the last century, the intensive use of chemical fertilizers has saturated the Earth’s soils and waters with nitrogen. Now scientists are warning that we must move quickly to revolutionize agricultural systems and greatly reduce the amount of nitrogen we put into the planet's ecosystems.

How the 40 year drop in the minimum wage helped cause obesity

I have written about the link between wages and obesity before—with wages dropping since the 60s and healthy food prices always going up, people eat more unhealthy food. But now two economists have drilled down into these issues and claim to have found a specific link between a drop in the minimum wage and obesity

Environment Or Economy? Obama's Balancing Act

President Obama's China visit touched on the issue of climate change and cooperation on green energy research. But his weeklong trip to Asia has also brought an acknowledgment that next month's big climate change conference in Copenhagen will not result in a new treaty.

Obama Has Failed the World on Climate Change

US President Barack Obama came to office promising hope and change. But on climate change, he has followed in the footsteps of his predecessor George W. Bush. Now, should the climate summit in Copenhagen fail, the blame will lie squarely with Obama.

Bill McKibben: Mr. President: Time to Quit Fibbing and Spinning

I’ll always knock on doors for Obama. But on the climate, we need more than rhetoric and excuses.

Is Bill McKibben right to be angry with Obama?

The difference between Clinton’s flamboyant rhetorical pushing and Obama’s relatively laid back style is this: Obama’s still has a chance to work. However frustrating it may be to activists who want bigger words, bolder promises, and faster action, the fact remains that the Dems are within reach of passing a health care reform bill and have at least laid out a path to passing a clean energy bill and ratifying a binding international climate treaty in 2010. It’s too early to deem Obama’s leadership a failure.

No Peak in Oil Before 2030, Study Says

Few topics can inflame oil watchers more than the debate over “peak oil” – that difficult-to-predict moment when the world’s oil production reaches its highest level before beginning a long and irreversible path of decline.

In recent years, ominous warnings about peaking production have gained some prominence among traders and some analysts. They helped explain why oil prices soared last year on fears that oil supplies would fail to catch up with the projected growth in consumption.

A retired geologist predicted, wrongly it turned out, that global oil production would peak on Thanksgiving Day, 2005. Others believe that the peak in production will happen sometime between 2011 and 2015.

In this minefield, IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, the consulting firm founded by the oil historian Daniel Yergin, has resolutely been on the optimistic side of the peak oil abyss.

In a new report released this week, the firm once again explains why it believes that oil supplies will keep growing for the next two decades. After that, the firm says, production will reach “an undulating plateau,” meaning it will remain more or less flat for a couple more decades after that.

Shale-Gas Skeptic’s Supply Doubts Draw Wrath of Devon Energy

(Bloomberg) -- Arthur Berman runs a one-man energy consulting firm out of his home near Houston, producing research that says forecasts for natural-gas production in the U.S. are flawed. He’s won the industry’s attention and its anger.

Since last month, Chesapeake Energy Corp. and Devon Energy Corp., two of the five largest gas producers in the U.S., attacked Berman’s claims. Berman, 59, had his monthly column pulled from the November issue of World Oil after gas companies complained, prompting him to quit the trade journal.

Oil geologist Berman, who worked two decades for Amoco Corp., says company production projections for so-called shale gas in the U.S. are at least double what drill results justify. At issue are the rates of production decline in shale wells, where water, sand and other materials are injected to fracture rock and make gas flow.

“I think that the wells decline at a much higher rate than the operators think they do,” Berman said in an interview in Houston. “They’re being overly optimistic.”

Of oil reserves, fudged data and World Energy Outlook '09

(Arab News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- The energy industry is peculiar -- in more than one ways. The issue of reliable data, or rather the lack of it, plagues the industry. National priorities, global geopolitics and corporate interests make the matter still worse.

The World Energy Outlook (WEO) compiled each year by the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) is an eagerly sought after annual affair. The precious database compiled by the OECD energy watchdog is regarded -- and indeed correctly too -- as a guide post to industry trends.

The just released WEO '09 has been no exception. And as always it reached some interesting conclusions. Despite the repeated claims of peak oil pundits arguing it was just round the corner, the document concludes that as a consequence of the financial crisis, in fact the global energy use is set to fall this year. The report projected the global demand to remain lower than projected in last year's report, reflecting the impact of the economic crisis and of new government policies introduced over the past year.

A person familiar with IEA's plans said "demand-management policies" are having more impact, than previously expected, on the consumption patterns in the developed world, which accounts for about 55 percent of world oil consumption.

Has Oil Production Peaked?

Given that oil is a non-renewable resource, in a sense the world is always running out of it. Unless global demand collapses, at some point in the future oil production will peak and eventually be exhausted. But this prediction is close to a tautology. For it to be useful, believers in scarce oil must be able to predict such things as the timing of the oil peak, the state of demand when oil production reaches it, and the pattern of decline.

But the track record of “peak oil” theorists on such matters has not been impressive: their predictions have steadily moved forward the date that global oil production will peak. Worse still, they have made no serious attempt to identify why their earlier predictions have had to be revised.

GCC oil revenue will hit $1tr in 2030

The world is expected to reach its peak oil production level in 30 years, he said.

"The challenge is to reduce the peak oil demand," Al Khateeb said, adding global oil consumption is expected to reach 120 million barrels per day before 2040.

He said currently 61 per cent of the energy available gets wasted. "We use only 39 per cent of the energy available to us," said Al Khateeb.

Monbiot: The one thing depleting faster than oil is the credibility of those measuring it

If the whistleblowers are right, we should be stockpiling ammunition. If we are taken by surprise, if we have failed to replace oil before the supply peaks then crashes, the global economy is stuffed. But nothing the whistle-blowers said has scared me as much as the conversation I had last week with a Pembrokeshire farmer.

Wyn Evans, who runs a mixed farm of 170 acres, has been trying to reduce his dependency on fossil fuels since 1977. He has installed an anaerobic digester, a wind turbine, solar panels and a ground-sourced heat pump. He has sought wherever possible to replace diesel with his own electricity. Instead of using his tractor to spread slurry, he pumps it from the digester on to nearby fields. He's replaced his tractor-driven irrigation system with an electric one, and set up a new system for drying hay indoors, which means he has to turn it in the field only once. Whatever else he does is likely to produce smaller savings. But these innovations have reduced his use of diesel by only around 25%.

Why peak oil doesn’t matter

A large proportion - up to 50 per cent or more - of the original oil resource cannot be profitably extracted because it’s simply too expensive to get the stuff out. Long before geological limits are imposed on oil production via peak oil, economic limits kick in.

That means total production depends more on the price, rather than the quantity, of oil. As investors we can therefore think about oil as an unlimited resource with a variable price.

The Next Step for the Bakken Oil Formation

The problem, however, is that peak oil is more than just a U.S. concern. Even more troubling is how easy people simply dismiss the bad news — even more so when the strings are being pulled by politics.

Were you surprised after a whistleblower came forward last week, accusing the IEA of being politically distorted?

When one-quarter of the world's oil production comes from just twenty fields, you'd think people would be a little interested in the fact that the largest of those fields are well past the peak.

Robert Bryce: The New Natural Gas Paradigm: 30,000 Trillion cubic feet (and counting)

While the peak oil debate will surely rage on for years to come, perhaps the more important finding in the IEA report was completely ignored. In the executive summary, the IEA concludes that “The long-term global recoverable gas resource base is estimated at more than 850 tcm (850 trillion cubic meters.” That translates to just over 30,000 trillion cubic feet of gas. That’s more than double the 2008 estimate put forward by the IEA, when it said that “Ultimately recoverable remaining resources of conventional natural gas, including remaining proven reserves, reserves growth and undiscovered resources, could amount to well over 400 tcm.”

But in 2008, the agency didn’t include unconventional gas – that is, gas from shale, tight sands, and coalbed methane -- in its estimate of recoverable gas resources. The IEA’s latest report provides further proof that the shale gas revolution necessitates a re-thinking of our approach to natural gas, and therefore, energy policy.

IEA says sees little OECD oil demand recovery

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Oil demand in wealthy countries has not improved much and the patchy state of global recovery could prompt OPEC to keep output steady at its next meeting, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Tuesday.

High distillate stocks in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the group of 30 rich nations, underscored the sluggish rebound in those economies, since diesel is a key indicator of industrial activity, IEA executive director Nobuo Tanaka said.

Crude spike not warranted in soft economic recovery - IEA

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--A sharp and sudden increase in crude prices could do more damage given the imbalance of the ongoing global economic recovery, said an executive at the International Energy Agency (IEA) on Tuesday.

While improving economic fundamentals, particularly in Asia and the Middle East, have helped drive up fuel prices, the same is not evident in the rest of the world, said Nobuo Tanaka, the IEA's executive director, in an interview.

Kuwait says OPEC to keep production steady

KUWAIT CITY (AFP) – Kuwait's Oil Minister Sheikh Ahmad Abdullah al-Sabah said on Tuesday OPEC will leave its production unchanged at its meeting next month, adding that current oil price was "comfortable."

"Nothing. (Quota will remain) as is," the minister told reporters when asked if the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) could alter its production quota at its December 22 meeting in Angola.

Russia to launch new Asian oil export route in Dec

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will sell its first tanker of Siberian oil from a new Pacific port in December as Moscow seeks to conquer Asian markets and warn Europe that competition for energy resources is rising.

Traders told Reuters on Tuesday Russian leaders will attend the tanker-loading ceremony at the port of Kozmino, which will mark the launch of the Pacific branch of Russia's first pipeline to Asia.

EU risks winter gas crunch despite Russia pact

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The European Union and Russia on Monday (16 November) signed an early warning agreement designed to prevent sudden energy cut-offs. But the Slovak Prime Minister, after separate talks in Moscow, said a fresh gas crisis is lurking round the corner.

"From what I have heard today it seems that there will be enormous problems between Russia and Ukraine as Kiev is not capable of paying. There were even indications of a repeated disruption of gas supplies to Europe in January," Slovakia's Robert Fico said.

Gas surplus to vanish by 2011: Gazprom

Depressed natural gas NG-FT consumption in Europe will rise next year and the surplus of gas will disappear in 2011, boosting prices, Gazprom deputy chief executive Alexander Medvedev said Tuesday.

PetroChina Raises Gas Output at Second-Biggest Field for Winter

(Bloomberg) -- PetroChina Co. has raised daily natural gas output from Changqing field, its second-biggest, to 55.8 million cubic meters to meet winter heating demand, the company said.

Sinopec 2010 Gas Output May Rise More Than 50 Percent

(Bloomberg) -- China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., the country’s largest oil refiner, may increase natural gas production by more than 50 percent to meet the nation’s demand for the cleaner-burning fuel.

Newcastle Coal Exports Fall 20%; Ship Queue Lengthens

(Bloomberg) -- Coal shipments from Australia’s Newcastle port, the world’s biggest export harbor for the fuel, fell by 20 percent last week while the number of vessels waiting to load lengthened.

French Oct Gasoline Consumption Down 2.9% From Year Earlier

PARIS -(Dow Jones)- The consumption of gasoline in France in October dropped 2.9% from a year earlier, after four consecutive months of increase from June to September, French oil industry association Union Francaise des Industries Petrolieres said Tuesday.

"This drop puts an end to the consecutive increases from June to September that led to belief in a recovery of gasoline consumption in France after several months of fall," UFIP said.

Colonial Pipeline Limits Gasoline Shipments on Excess Orders

(Bloomberg) -- Colonial Pipeline Co., which operates the largest pipeline linking U.S. Gulf Coast refiners and East Coast markets, will limit shipments of gasoline because orders exceeded the company’s ability to deliver fuel on time.

The Alpharetta, Georgia-based company issued the requirement, known as an allocation, in a bulletin to shippers for the 67th cycle. The restriction applies to shipments on Colonial pipelines running north of Collins, Mississippi.

Petrobras eyes end to Iran operations

Brazilian state-run Petrobras is considering ending its activities in Iran, local reports said today.

Petrobras international director Jorge Zelada said the company was studying the pull out because discoveries it had made there were not commercially viable, and the concessions would be returned to the government.

India's Reliance looks to oil for growth: chairman

MUMBAI (AFP) – Indian energy giant Reliance Industries will launch an "aggressive" oil and gas exploration campaign over the next three years, its chairman Mukesh Ambani told shareholders on Tuesday.

Devon Seen Finding Ample Demand as Exxon, Eni Chase Oil Assets

(Bloomberg) -- Devon Energy Corp., the biggest independent oil and gas producer in the U.S., has plenty of company in seeking to sell billions of dollars in energy assets. It may also find plenty of suitors eager to bid.

Regal Petroleum Fined Record $1 Million for Breaching Rules

(Bloomberg) -- Regal Petroleum Plc, a U.K. explorer in central Europe and Africa, was fined a record 600,000 pounds ($1 million) by London’s Alternative Investment Market for misleading investors about a Greek discovery in 2005.

Regal fell as much as 2.4 percent in London trading after AIM’s Disciplinary Committee said the company was over- optimistic about the Kallirachi prospect in Greece and took longer than it should have to inform the market that the two wells were being abandoned.

Chevron sues former lawyer in Ecuador case

Chevron Corp. has sued a lawyer who used to represent the plaintiffs in a $27 billion pollution lawsuit against the oil company in Ecuador, hoping to cast doubt on the case.

Electricity from the Ocean

I know that when I can buy a car that meets my needs that can be charged by plugging into my garage at night, I'll buy it ... and I'll stop patronizing my neighborhood gas station. And when enough people do this, those gas stations will close (not all at once, but one by one) ... leaving a lot of contaminated vacant lots, not a desirable asset. There are a lot of dominos in the oil business, just as in the automotive business, and when they start to fall it might get ugly.

CEOs endorse 'foothold strategy' for electric cars

A group of CEOs on Monday came out favor of a regional roll-out of electric vehicles in up to eight cities to demonstrate the viability of the technology and incubate the fledgling industry.

The Electricifcation Coalition held a press conference in Washington, D.C. and released an Electrification Roadmap, which prescribes the business and policy steps required to ramp up electric vehicle adoption.

Enzyme Producers Set Sights on Taking Oil Out of Chemical Production

COPENHAGEN -- Enzyme producers that use bacteria and living cells to break down biomass into sugar in the production of bioethanol, an alternative to petroleum-based vehicle fuel, are now taking aim at oil used in chemical manufacturing.

Their goal: to replace the oil used to make chemical ingredients in plastics, fibers, diapers or synthetic rubber with sugars extracted from plants in an enzyme-based process.

Nuclear energy best substitute for fossil fuels

KUWAIT: Director of the Arab Nuclear Energy Institute, Dr. Abdulmajid Mehjoob, said yesterday that the institute is extremely interested in seeing Arab countries turn to using nuclear energy in many fields, including electricity production and water distillation.

Electricity-hungry Vietnam looks to join nuclear club

HANOI (AFP) – Vietnam is expected to take a key step towards meeting its burgeoning appetite for electricity by paving the way for its first nuclear power plant, but debate is still raging over the controversial project.

Parliament in the fast-growing communist state is set to vote at the end of November on the project -- which lawmakers have been mulling for more than a decade -- after legalising the use of nuclear power in 2008.

First Energy Bank to build $1 bln Saudi solar plant

MANAMA (Reuters) - Bahrain-based First Energy Bank plans to build a $1 billion polysilicon plant in Saudi Arabia with a local partner to cater to rising regional investments in solar power, the company said on Tuesday.

Sustainability certificate to promote green in curriculum

A sustainability committee of interdisciplinary faculty has recently been created to foster sustainability in education across the board at Temple. Terry Halbert, the director of Temple’s GenEd program, is overseeing the group, which is working on the creation of a sustainability certificate that will be available for Temple students to earn along with their degrees.

Building a resilient future for the Sunshine Coast

Evidence suggests that our climate is changing, with predictions indicating we can expect more severe storms, higher temperatures and rising sea levels.

Combine this with mounting financial pressure from increasing oil prices, and you begin to see the enormous impact climate change and peak oil will have on our community, our environment and our lifestyle.

That is why we need to act now.

The Draft Sunshine Coast Climate Change Strategy aims to guide the transition to a low carbon, low oil, resilient future for the Sunshine Coast.

GE Enlightens China Regions Working to Curb Pollution

(Bloomberg) -- The Ordos region of Inner Mongolia, home to one of China’s biggest deserts, is being transformed into the site of a pine forest that will stretch across its low hills as far as the eye can see.

The local government’s tree-planting program is part of a plan to “assume our green responsibilities and build a civilized way of life,” Du Zi, the local Communist Party secretary, told energy executives at a conference last month in Beijing.

Hawaii's famed white sandy beaches are shrinking

A "triage," strategy could be applied to Kailua, which is lined by multimillion-dollar homes but doesn't have seawalls.

Fletcher proposes identifying areas where a land conservation fund would buy five or six adjoining properties. The state would tear down buildings on these plots and allow the beach to shift inland.

He said when erosion hits more sections of Kailua beach, there's going to be a clamor to put up seawalls.

"That will be a very important moment," Fletcher said. "If we allow the first home to put up a seawall, then we're probably dooming the entire beach over the course of a couple of decades...

Our view on climate change: Imperfect ‘cap-and-trade’ is best option to fight warming

It’s complex, costly — and as good as the political system can produce.

Opposing view: ‘There is a better way’

Employ carbon-cutting strategies that don’t kill jobs and raise costs.

China "studying" plan to delay final climate deal

BEIJING (Reuters) - China on Monday distanced itself from proposals to delay a binding climate pact to 2010, but might be willing to sign up to a "political deal" at climate talks next month if it includes strong commitments from rich nations.

Beijing's domestic quest to boost energy efficiency and curb emissions growth will also continue unabated even if a set-back in global negotiations slows the flow of foreign investment into carbon-cutting projects in China, experts said.

Denmark seeks specific pledges at climate talks

COPENHAGEN – Denmark has told the United States and all other developed countries they must bring specific pledges to cut greenhouse gases to next month's climate change conference, the Danish prime minister said Tuesday.

Obama calls for climate pact with 'immediate' effect

BEIJING (AFP) – US President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that the United States and China want next month's climate change talks in Copenhagen to culminate in a global accord that has "immediate operational effect."

We "agreed to work toward a successful outcome in Copenhagen," Obama told journalists after talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

SKorea sets greenhouse gas reduction target

SEOUL, South Korea – South Korea announced its first greenhouse gas reduction target Tuesday, pledging to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases by 4 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.

The announcement came amid dimming prospects for a new global climate-change pact at next month's U.N. conference in Copenhagen. South Korea is not among countries that must cut emissions under the existing Kyoto Protocol, and Tuesday's voluntary target-setting could put pressure on developed nations to act more aggressively to fight global warming.

Climate change could put public's health at risk

A new report found that nearly all communities in the U.S. face added health risks because of climate change, but few states have developed plans to address this.

Survey: Gov'ts see climate change as aid challenge

NAIROBI, Kenya – A global network of aid agencies says world powers consider climate change the most significant challenge to humanitarian work.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies says rich, middle-income and poor nations expect aid agencies to face more demands caused by climate change-related emergencies such as floods.

Climate deal key to fight "devastating" hunger: U.N.

ROME (Reuters) – The United Nations said on Monday that agreeing a climate change deal in Copenhagen next month is crucial to fighting global hunger, which Brazil's president described as "the most devastating weapon of mass destruction."

Russia's Medvedev warns of climate catastrophe

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned on Monday that climate change posed a "catastrophic" threat in some of the sharpest comments yet on a subject the Kremlin has often seemed reluctant to confront.

U.S. submarine's trip to Arctic should sound alarms for Canada: expert

The recent surfacing of a U.S. submarine near the North Pole and an increase in military activity in the Arctic this year should send a warning to the Canadian government that other nations are serious about boosting their presence in the resource-rich region, says a specialist on Canada's northern security.

The U.S. navy recently confirmed that the USS Texas and its 134-member crew completed an Arctic mission, with some U.S. media outlets noting the nuclear- powered submarine broke through the ice near the North Pole and stayed on the surface for 24 hours.

Why is this appearing in TOD:Canada? Wait, allow me to rephrase that: Why is this appearing in TOD:Canada, eh? ;)

I don't know why. The settings are the same as I use every day, but for some reason, it turned up in TOD:Canada.

Maybe it's the secret plan to pay off our national debt--we become another province of Canada.

I for one, as a proud American, will not engage in curling.

Methinks you speak too soon. I could see curling a Moosehead or two or six up to my lips. Sometimes ones must be willing to compromise.

Drinking beer at 7 (or 8/9) in the morning? Truly a Yank!

Do we all get a Tim Horton's around the corner as part of the deal?

"a Canadian fast food restaurant known for its coffee and doughnuts." Wow, must be a lot of cops in the Great White North, eh? Maybe throw in a Captain Submarine or La Belle Province? Molson and a side of Poutine! Then it's down to Park Central.

And a free hockey jersey, too.

Don't you listen to country music? It's five o'clock somewhere.

I always considered that a Jimmy Buffet song. 'Margaritaville' music.

Well, I think Whiskey Before Breakfast is a fine way to start the day (Warning: Big mp3 file). Must be the Irish in me...

E. Swanson

Begore. Is it in the Jar?

There's already an anthem for those who drink Beer for breakfast, too. Quite rousing.

Surely It couldn't have anything to do with Uncle Sam's submarine showing the flag and the rise of the Arctic as a new oil patch ?

Maybe the Pentagon is sending us a coded message since as Gail posted below the system is acting up.
Maybe a Pentagon war gamer is letting us know they read TOD ;-)

Well, I tried editing the post and re-posting it. We're still in Canada.

Guess this is a matter for tech support...

you must not have heard. china traded their debt to canada for the us.

Jamaica: OUR gets ready for more renewable energy

Could be expensive

However, Mian, an energy guru, has warned that the policy to increase renewable energy could be an expensive venture.

"Renewable will never be cheap and the Government must understand that," Mian said.

He added: "You make a policy, you say you want 20 per cent renewable, then the consumers must be prepared to pay for that. This is not America, this is not Europe."

Jamaica began its major push towards greater use of renewable energy in 2004 when the Government opened the Wigton Wind Farm.

However, despite massive investment, Wigton has barely been able to pay its bills. When the company began operations, it entered into a 20-year power-purchase agreement with the Jamaica Pubic Service Company to sell all the electricity generated by the wind farm at US$5.5/kWh

Energy guru my foot, must be an associate of Yergin and Lynch. No mention of net metering or encouraging private homeowners or companies to invest in their own renewable electricity generation.

Got to go and bang my head against a wall somewhere.

Alan from the islands

"Renewable will never be cheap and the Government must understand that.."

Never say never, Gov'ner ..
Renewable IS cheap after it pays for itself, isn't it? (In fact, at that point, it's basically FREE !! )

As the ADHD student told my Dad, long before the acronym existed.. "Immediate gratification? Naw, that takes too long!"

But clearly, the government does understand that it's expensive right now.. and that's all that seems to matter, ~alas!

I look forward to the day (soon) when the main course at the CERA Thanksgiving party is Crow avec Champignons (thought since we had joined Canada, I would dust off my French).

Salut mes amis!

The interesting thing is that in Toronto, the largest metro area in Canada, you are hard pressed to find anyone who can speak French (excepting some fed guv employees). Walk around and you can hear Cantonese,Mandarin,Greek,Italian,Spanish,Portuguese,etc.etc. but no French at all. The only remnant here is that we say Eh all the time.

Dust off your French?

Québecois n'est pas français ;-)



Salut mes amis, Eh!

Re: Jad Mouawad, No Peak Before 2030 (linked uptop)

Mouawad asserts, without naming him, that Deffeyes' prediction for a global crude peak in the 2004-2008 time frame, most likely in 2005, was wrong.

My comment on the NYT website:

Regarding Kenneth Deffeyes' prediction for a global crude oil production peak in the 2004-2008 time frame, most likely in 2005, in fact the EIA shows that global crude oil production in 2006, 2007 and 2008 was below the 2005 rate (although 2008 was basically flat), as average annual oil prices rose from $56 in 2005 to $100 in 2008.

While I suppose that it is true, in the narrowest possible sense, that crude oil production did not peak on Thanksgiving Day, 2005, Deffeyes always made clear that the Thanksgiving prediction was basically just a way to frame the discussion.

The author's characterization of Deffeyes' prediction as wrong is one of the most misleading things I have ever read in the mainstream media regarding oil supplies, and I have read LOTS of misleading things regarding oil supplies.

This is a prime item suitable for complaints to the Public Editor at the New York Times:


WT -- It sound like we're stuck in an endless battle (for a few years anyway) with the MSM over the distinction between max production rates and actual production. Easy to guess that as the global economy recovers demand will rise a bit. As soon as production exceeds the previous low demand volumes the MSM will announce PO is officially a lie. And even as max delivery declines but as long as demand stays below that level the MSM will be shouting their message from the roof tops IMO.

Well... MSM can shout all they want, but fewer are listening.

MSM does themselves no favors when they report bogus oil facts, bogus economic recovery facts, bogus housing market facts, bogus employment spin. You get my drift... B O G U S.

Guys, MSM is not a single entity. The Guardian is part of MSM and they published several articles on peak oil. Granted that is the first big newspaper to do so but I have read many article on peak oil originally published in smaller newspapers.

Also, several cable channels, The Science Channel, The Discovery Channel and others, have ran documentaries on the end of the oil age. Several magazines, National Geographic being one of them, have published long specials on the end of cheap oil and the eventual peaking of the world oil supply. It will come piecemeal. First a few members of MSM start asking questions about peak oil, then a few more and so on.

It will be the same with the public. In 2001 when I first became aware of peak oil there were only a very few of us but our numbers have grown steadily over the past few years. Soon it will be an avalanche of people as well as MSM who start sounding the alarm.

Of course it will be too late by then to really mitigate the situation. But that is just the way it goes. The vast majority of people do not respond to arguments, only events. That means that the vast majority will believe in the reality of peak oil only well after the peak. We are post peak right now, but it is not far enough in the past and oil extraction has not decreased quite enough yet to get most people's attention.

Ron P.

The vast majority of people do not respond to arguments, only events.

Indeed Ron. Look at a comment on a comment on the Guardian article from Monbiot about PO and agriculture.

Most convincing fact that peak oil is near or already happening is that most oil producing countries are past peak.

It's not 'convincing' at all. The quantity of decrepit used cars is increasing all the time, but it has no affect on the output of new ones.

If people respond to arguments, most times it is something like this.

The Economist may run an article on Peak Oil before the end of the year (2009). Fingers crossed!

Oh come on. The Economist also suggested levying Vat on foodstuffs in the final editon I received before I cancelled my subscription in frustration. They are ultra Market liberAls who would support an invasion by Martians if it turned a profit. I don't need to read the article to know what it will say - some say we are nearing peak but we can rely on technology to improve yields and alternatives If only the evil goverment would allow business to work free of shackles , oh and we need Tibetan engineers to do all the work as every pound spent on wages comes off our next yacht, er we mean there is a skills shortage, sorry.


I'd like to write something about the net present value issue with regards to the longevity of oil and gas wells about which you have so compellingly commented previously. This seems to be a crucial element that is missing from the shale gas discussion. If you are willing to speak with me, please contact me at kurtcobb2001 (at) yahoo (dot) com.



Kurt ..did you get mt response?

From the comments to that NYT piece it seems that many of the readers don't take that piece too seriously.

How does CERA get funded? Where does the money come from? (I can write more credible-sounding cornicopian scenarios.)

P.S. Hello & Bon Jour! I now have to remember that there's no resting in the public washrooms.

"Where does the money come from?"

Sadly, it comes from us, buying energy.. filling the car and the running the furnace any buying products.

We all vote early and very often for CERA and BAU by being a part of it.

HI Bob,

Thanks for the reminder.

Surely, you don't expect the 'newspaper of record' to fact check. Or to argue from the facts.

Silly you, Westexas.

The New York Times will always act to uphold the American constitution. And America is constituted for the benefit of several property owning, rent collecting elites. Renting money being one of their more lucrative activities.

When these elites have decided on the means to maintain their power and glory while admitting to peak oil then Jad will whistle a new tune. He is, after all, paid to serve.

I think we can expect to hear more and more about 'political factors'. But this narrative is thin gruel and will not hold the mob in line once it occurs to people that 'political factors' are a historical constant and so do not provide an adequate explanation for the changes in oil supply. Enablers, or lackeys if you will, of elite power, such as the NYT, Cera and so on, will be casting about for a new narrative. I can't think what the new story will be, but I'm working on it, as by all evidence the person/persons who come up with a new obfuscation will be well rewarded.

Eventually, peak oil will gain admission into official factdom. As this admission will occur in the context of declining 'wealth'--a lowering tide that leaves adrift the unfueled boats with de-skilled crews-- I expect a period of ideological struggle that will likely be dominated in its early phase by a shifting of the 'political factors' explanation from the constrained oil supply problem to the problem of inadequate supply from 'alternatives'. Some of the groundwork for this shift is already occurring here at The Oil Drum, as the inadequacies of coal and nuclear are placed squarely in the frame of political factors.

When these elites have decided on the means to maintain their power and glory while admitting to peak oil then Jad will whistle a new tune. He is, after all, paid to serve.
Part of a long tradition of service. Let me get a little something from the bookshelf.....

The following remarks were apparently made by John Swinton in 1880, then the preeminent New York journalist, probably one night in during that same year. Swinton was the guest of honour at a banquet given him by the leaders of his craft. Someone who knew neither the press nor Swinton offered a toast to the independent press. Swinton outraged his colleagues by replying:

"There is no such thing, at this date of the world's history, in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it.

"There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone.

"The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press?

"We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."

(Source: Labor's Untold Story, by Richard O. Boyer and Herbert M. Morais, published by United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America, NY, 1955/1979.)

Thanks, Jeff,

For providing a guideline here - makes it much easier for the somewhat overwhelmed person. :)

Just spent a good 15 minutes on a carefully-worded letter to the Public Editor.

I also suggested that the NYT Editorial Board ask for a full and immediate scientific investigation into global oil supply decline, impacts and policy options, by the US National Academy of Sciences, with a parallel Congressional inquiry. www.oildepletion.wordpress.com.

Sarah Palin was looking in the wrong direction for the invasion !

Does this mean no more Republican Party, Louisiana & Quebec can form the Alliance Francaise, we get universal health care and we don't invade anybody any more ?

Best Hopes for Parliamentary Democracy,


Well, after joining Canada (part of the commonwealth) you now have a monarch (Queen Elizabeth II), although I suspect that's just titular rather than having any power (unlike the UK where theoretically she still has power).

Liz I could stand, but no way will I put up with Chuck.

Times have changed-35 years ago the Queen was revered here-now a sizeable % of Canadians think she was involved/behind the Diana hit.

A sizable number of us also believe the Royal Family is irrelevant - they were in Newfoundland recently and nobody showed up, even though it was a free, public event.

Would it matter if she was/was not involved in some way?

Are there not enough other matters that would result in a lack of reverence?

At the bottom of The Next Step for Bakken" link appears the word advertisement.

So? If I didn't post links because their sites were supported by advertising, there would be very few links to post.

The "peak oil doesn't matter" link's just too stupid to comprehend.

Okay, so 50% of the oil is costly to extract, okay then let's just throw some more money at it... is that what they want to tell me?
Gosh, economists are like monkeys throwing feces at each other and feeling great about it.

They simply won't make the connection costly=difficult=low rate of extraction + bunch of other problems.
Besides they forget the net energy problem which would seem to be the biggest issue from a theoretical perspective.
Simplified: Money is just a energy/labor currency and it's real energy (not just printed money out of nowhere) that keeps the economy going.

So while it's costing you hell of a lot to extract the stuff to keep things going, your budget is magically left untouched, well no, is even increasing...
Do they really think that they could sit in their trading ivory towers, playing the stock market while everyone elses life is just going to hell, how do they think such disparities can be maintained?
Maybe the first thing we should be thought in school are the laws of thermodynamics, then those morons would maybe understand that we can't have an energy bailout.

Sorry, when I'm all angry about this but I'm just 22 and those guys have essentially just effed up my future big time and instead to turn things around they just steer straight into the iceberg.
In the end it must be more of a cultural problem than anything.
Most of the people in my age group and when confronted with limits to growth stuff rather deem me a fanatic than realizing what's at stake.
Seriously one of the most messed up generations ever.

PS: Where does that idiot come up with that 50% number, I'd really like to know...

It's just propoganda sheep feed for the sheeple to obfuscate the problem. TPTB are desperately scrambling to maintain status quo. 75% of the masses will reguritate this crap to soccer dad so that he thinks he can still eat 15 varieties of breakfast cereal and wack off to the sound of his V10 exhaust note. Just ignore it. We're all merrily dancing ocver the cliff edge anyway.

Well, he's partly right in saying that what is still in the ground doesn't matter. The reality is that we can't afford to get very much more of it out very quickly, it is getting too expensive. That is the reason peak oil is expressed as a bell curve and not as a triangle with the peak followed by a cliff; otherwise, we could just keep producing more and more and more until it was all gone. Money does matter.

In the period 1999-2008 on an annual basis you saw contraction in global production in 5 years. '83 and '85 contracted slightly too, and the early years of the 80s as well - but that you can chalk up to geopolitical and economic considerations. Contracting supply per se has been the earmark of this decade - yet we hear these promises of ca. 2 mb/d advances year after year. Perhaps the IEA means it will all come online in 2029.

Another way of looking at this would be to remove spare capacity that was fed into production in '03/'04 to boost supply - it did so, but at the expense of OPEC being able to moderate price. I'll have to look at that later. Perhaps compare spare capacity and what's listed in the Megaprojects.

From the article - "As investors we can therefore think about oil as an unlimited resource with a variable price."

This is not true. Oil is not "unlimited". Even when the price was up to $147 per barrel, production only rose a very small amount. It takes a lot of new and costly infrastructure to extract the remaining oil.

Price cannot go up past a certain point. If a person makes $200/day, he cannot pay $200/day for gas. Even if there is "50% oil remaining", the extraction rate may still go down on a daily basis.

From the article - "As investors we can therefore think about oil as an unlimited resource with a variable price."

As long as we cling to a free market it is a safe statement to make, i.e. supply and demand will balance, and price will be the mechanism. Of course that doesn't mean that $1000 oil will create 100mbd of supply, but the argument will still work (that doesn't mean it is correct, debates are often won by clever bull droppings), that it is price rather than unavailability that led to the dramatic drop in demand.

The way I figure it, at the molecular level dollars are made of time, ideas, raw materials and energy.

When the variable price of energy goes up, it means that the very formula for the dollar has changed, and you're gonna need more time, or better ideas or some more raw materials just to stay even.

In any case it appears that the economy is now responding to oil prices in a linear fashion -- every time the price crosses $80/bl the kettle goes off the boil. I can't really see a repeat of the '08 prices anytime soon, the response time to price signals is too short, and without a bubble there isn't enough economic momentum to get there.

For myself, I spent the afternoon in the crawlspace doing repairs and maintenance on the duct work. Next on the agenda is more insulation.

From what I have read in the real world deep water rigs can cost $250 million to at least 1 billion, in shallow water $25 million and on land perhaps $2.5 million. If the oil companies are doing deep water drilling and exploration and even considering the arctic, what does that say for the marginal cost of production...

wse -- Actually I don't think I've seen a cost for DW rig under $500 million in quit a while. As far as very DW drilling there are only about 20 rigs that can drill at water depths greater then 6000' or so and about 18 are under contract to Petrobras for the DW Brazil play. I think all the DW rigs built in the last 10+ years have been done with operator commitments/financial support. The drilling companies are going to be very, very slow to ramp up anytime soon after the bust last year. In fact, if DW drilling doesn't pick up soon you might see some of those rigs being scrapped for the steel. Happens everytime there's a bust.

Isn't the Arctic pretty shallow in general? Laherrère dismissed much of its oil potential simply owing to immaturity. Would they need the real monster semisubs to do a bit of poking around?

Also, are rigs designed to work in Arctic environments as a rule? With the region melting at an ever faster pace - we're ahead of 2007 levels for decline of Arctic ice now - it seems like the machinery will need to be that more robust to deal with icebergs and floes, I'd think.

Why not use the Glomar Explorer, a 618-foot ship advertised as being constructed to mine the manganese nodules to instead drill for Arctic oil?

If a rig costs 500mm, that is equivalent to the gross revenue of
500,000,000/78 = 6,410,256 bbls of WTI.
Assuming a daily flow rate of 50k bbls that is 128 days of production, or 4 months or so.
If the rig produces for 200 days/year that is about 10mm bbl, so that equals a return of 10/6.41= 156% on investment.
(That ignores variable costs, but it puts seemingly large dollar amounts into perspective)

A little better perspective for you Peak. Drilling rig owners don't receive one dollar from the production stream. They get paid a daily rental fee by the operator. Varies a good bit but the big DW rigs were running about $700,000/day at the peak last year. You can figure a payout on that but the overhead is pretty high....paying the hands, insurance, maintenance (it is essentially an ocean going vessel, etc). I can't give you a good estimate but you can imagine the sum isn't very small. Last time I heard a drilling company talk about such matters they were looking for a 5 or 6 year payout period.

Rigs don't produce. Their income is based on days contracted. Most DW rigs contract for a minimum 1 year to as much as 5 years with cancellation options (which can be expensive). When there's a drilling bust the rigs get stacked: all the hands are let go and it goes into a dormant state.

A DW well will cost the rig rate + operational expenses. As an example I was on a DW GOM 2 years ago. Rig rate = about $700,000/day X 85 days = $59.5 million. By the time we finished the hole the total cost was $148 million. BTW...it was a dry hole. Not one sniff of oil/NG. When you do make a field discovery you'll drill a handful to maybe a couple of dozen wells. A DW producing structure can run between $500 million and $1.5 billion.

As you say large $'s. But then producing 300,000 bopd does generate a good bit of revenue. But 16.7% off the top goes to the federal gov't for royalty. The operation costs for DW production = never have heard a number but I'll guess around $500,000 to $800,000 per month.

Thanks for injecting a bit of reality in my dry numbers approach.
You seem to imply that the oilcompanies are not the rig owners. Are the oilcompanies the operators, or do the oil companies hire operators who hire rigs? Outsourcing makes sense to me if it is not your core business, drilling a hole to try to get oil out would seem to be part of the core business of an oilcompany, no?

I understand that the vast majority of rigs are owned and operated by contractors. The two websites below (and their links to the company sites) should provide a huge amount of background.

Drilling rigs are capital intensive and highly technical to operate. Oil companies broadly manage part of exploration risk by being able to enter into contracts of various lengths (1-3 years typical) with these companies.

As discussed above rigs are contracted out at daily rates, which vary greatly depending on the nature of the equipment and the current level of demand for it. While rates may have a variable component, they are largely fixed over the duration of the contract period.


Peak -- Almost no oil company owns the rigs it drills with...especially offshore. Way to expensive if you're not constantly drilling. The company responsible for drilling a well is called the "operator". But the actual personnel drilling the well are seldom employees. Drilling, especially offshore, is the world of subcontractors and consultants. The $148 million dry hole in the DW GOM I mentioned had an average of 140 souls on board at any given time. Only two were employees of the operator. The rest were subcontractors and consultants such as myself. I've consulted for Exxon many times. But would I want to be an employee? If I did want to be employed by a major I wouldn't have quit Mobil Oil in 1978. I'll take their money but that's as close I care to get.

The skills required in such operations are highly specialized. No company can afford to maintain the equipment or personnel on a full time basis when they are only drilling periodically. Exxon et al don't drill wells: they rent the folks/equipment used to do the drilling. The operators just pay the invoices.

Those are some nice numbers...
Sometimes the whole situation is so totally bonkers I just have to laugh.
Especially the economic nutjobs...

@WNC Observer
Good point and spot on ^^!
I mean we all know that there might be more than enough oil but that doesn't mean we'll ever get to it.
You need money, technology and if you reach the point (with already existing technology) where there's no energy gain.
So instead of having an approach that incorporates more than just a cost-extraction correlation he (the guy in the article) just stays within his
conventional comfort zone, blocking out other possibilities and ultimately reality.
(Not to say that I or anyone on TOD is perfect in regarding all the factors but at least were open to discussion and we tend to
interpret the economy as a subsystem of our world which imposes it's limits, rather then the other way around.)

Well we may be dancing off the cliff but I still think that it's important to get the "truth" out.
Not only from a philosophical perspective, like one rather wouldn't want to live the obvious lie of exponential growth (blue or red pill anyone?) but
I think it's our chance to give TPTB a real hard blow because if we don't bother then people wouldn't even know why things are falling apart.
Didn't someone make the point that if all the poeple would be aware of this stuff, than the whole system would have collapsed already?

We've seen how people buy into obvious lies and they will continue to do so. Dimitry Orlov believes we'll have a long and painful decline rather than quick and "clean".
Maybe the rate of decline and a more sustainable "recovery" are the things we can really influence.

(It would actually be quite funny if someone did an interpretative dance to explain all this stuff.
The peak-everything ballet, including the oil(moon-)walk, economic shutdown Riverdance and not to forget the die-off breakdance... any dancers on TOD?)

(It would actually be quite funny if someone did an interpretative dance to explain all this stuff.
The peak-everything ballet, including the oil(moon-)walk, economic shutdown Riverdance and not to forget the die-off breakdance... any dancers on TOD?)

A bit primitive but it does get the point across:


This one isn't actually dance but the music and lyrics aren't too bad:

The Esso Trinidad Steel Band - Apeman


maybe someone can blend the two together...

Heart patients lacking vitamin D more likely to be depressed

People with heart disease and similar conditions who don't have enough vitamin D are more likely to be depressed than their counterparts with adequate levels of the "sunshine vitamin," according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Orlando. This link seems to be even stronger in the winter.

...A second study by the same team of researchers found that people age 50 or older who lack vitamin D are at a higher risk for heart disease and stroke, and are more likely to die earlier than people the same age who get adequate amounts of the vitamin.

In general, supplements have been very disappointing, sometimes even harmful. But vitamin D might be worth a shot. It's cheap, with apparently little downside.

No argument from me.

Dr. Cannell (Vitamin D Council) on Vitamin D & depression and mental illness respectively:



Regarding heart disease and depression, it's possible that in many (but of course not all) cases, heart disease & depression are symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency. And Dr. Cannell has noted that a fairly high percentage of young people who have died from H1N1 virus complications suffered from mental disabilities, which in many cases again may be a symptom of Vitamin D deficiency.

Dang! This place is turning into the Vitamin D Drum!

(We're all taking D in liquid drops, mixed into our Cod Liver Oil and Chlorella (Powdered Blue-Green Algae, essentially).. fringy, crunchy and oily, all at once!)

Actually, one of Nate's correspondents suggested a post on Vitamin D. It might be an interesting topic, perhaps part of a "Staying Alive in 2025" series. In this case, how to stay alive and healthy with greatly reduced health care.

I vote affirmative on the Vitamin D post. Campfire?

I doesn't seem like it will be a problem getting enough vitamin D if we are all out in the fields soaking up rays all day.

jokuhl, This is nitpicky, I know, but I used to identify and count phytoplankton, both freshwater and marine, for a living, so this is something I know. Chlorella is a single-celled green alga, not a blue-green. Maybe you are taking a Chlorella/Spirulina mix?

Is there a form that is best? Seems like for many supplements there are various formulations or combinations at differing price points. Do some offer greater efficacy?

Maybe mushrooms grown with sunlight exposure.

Best bang for my buck is walking to my local beach. What? You don't live in South Florida?!

Then I guess you need to make a co-payment at your doctor's office and have him prescribe you a vacation, to the sunny southern climes, that is somehow covered by your health insurance ;-)

Here's me Kayaking in front of the Oasis Monstrosity of the Sea in Fort Lauderdale on Friday the 13th, hey the vitamin D was free!


I agree with Dr. Cannell that if you don't haven't had your blood level tested, using the 25(OH)D test, you don't know if you are Vitamin D deficient, and as noted below, we lose the majority of our ability to synthesize Vitamin D from sunshine as we age. Interesting essay on the topic:


Studies suggest that, between ages 20 and 70, there is a 75% reduction in the ability to activate vitamin D. The capacity of conversion from 25 (OH) vitamin D to 1,25 di(OH) vitamin D also diminishes.

This would explain why 70-year olds come to the office, just back from the Caribbean sporting dark brown tans, are still deficient, often severely, in blood levels of vitamin D (25(OH) vitamin D). A tan does not equal vitamin D.

In any case, my doc has started testing her patients here in the Dallas area, and she has found that about 90% of patients are Vitamin D deficient, i.e., below about 30 ng/mL on the 25(OH)D test. After I asked her what her "D" level was, she got it tested, and she tested 13 ng/mL. After taking one 50,000 IU dose per week (this is a prescription dosage), she was still only up to 25 ng/mL. Last time I talked to her she was taking 100,000 IU per week, until she got her blood level up to the optimum range.

Living in Seattle, I had an undetectably low level of vitamin D. So it's 2,000 IU a day for me.

Studies in the Pacific Northwest are one reason that many researchers are focusing on Vitamin D deficiency as one of the possible leading contributors to autism. If memory serves, children on the shady, generally overcast, side of Oregon are twice as likely as to be autistic as children on the sunny side of Oregon. Also, the rise in autism generally coincides with efforts by the dermatologists to keep children out of the sun and to use sunscreen when outside (plus rising computer and computer game usage & TV time).

I've heard it's also suspected in the unusually high rate of MS up here.

They see the same pattern down under; the farther south one goes in Australia, the higher the rate of MS, with Tasmania having the highest rate.

It's kind of funny. If you have a slightly elevated cholesterol level, you are practically gang tackled before you can get out of the office, with doctors and drug salesmen trying to force feed you statins (and they keep trying to get the recommended LDL level down, with no discussion of cancer rates versus low LDL levels, or any discussion of the two types of LDL, one good and one bad), but there is no money to be made in urging people to take Vitamin D.

See? Computer games and Videos should go back to using CRT's, so we get our UV exposure.

So how is your local food and water supply? Do you ever take a fishing pole out with you?

Food and water are not too bad I have a pretty good local farmers market. I scuba dive off my kayak on the local reefs which are quite nice. There are good fish and lots of lobster. I'm president of this club www.kayuba.org

Just make sure you take D3, with calcium. Of course, the maximum tolerable Upper Limit (UL) for a daily dosage is another question. The official NIH position is that 2,000 IU of D3 is the UL, but that is under review, and Cannell and Vieth, among others, hotly dispute this number, asserting that 2,000 IU should be the minimum dosage for adults, with the UL closer to 10,000 IU per day.

Cannell recommends 5,000 IU per day, until you get your blood level in the 50-70 ng/mL range, using the 25(OH)D test, and then adjust the dosage according to your age, time of year, etc. Incidentally, over the age of 40 most people lose the majority of their ability to synthesize Vitamin D from sunshine, and there is one school of thought that this contributes heavily to many age related disorders, and it may be one of Mother Nature's ways of getting rid of us once we are past our peak reproductive years.

I would say talk to your doc, but most are only slowly joining the Vitamin D bandwagon. 17 out of 17 medical professionals I have polled did not know their own Vitamin D levels at the time I asked them if they knew their D level.

Yes, make sure it is Vitamin D3, and from Lanolin (Sheep's Wool). And you can take a lot with no effects, 10,000 to 20,000 a day. Yes, that was not a typo.

D3 has help my 75 year old mom immensely with her fibromyalgia and depression. But it is not a lack of D3 that hurt her, it was the free amino acids (glutamate and aspartate) that were depleting her stores. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16521124

About vitamins in general, no thing we reduce from the environment will help your health. If you keep eating crap and take some vitamins you will not see as good results.

Careful with the extreme statements, Christian.

There are large changes we need to be making in BOTH those categories. Certainly our bodies need to be flush with the right nutrients, hydrated, de-stressed and fit in order to clean the junk out that pollutes our air, water and ourselves.

But getting out of a polluted city or a toxic house, etc.. will surely also help people who are in them.

"In general, supplements have been very disappointing, sometimes even harmful."

I disagree....

A friend who's diabetic recovered full kidney function over a 10 month period after reading this article (below) and trying 500mg of vitamin B1 (in lieu of the trial's 300).


I recently got treated to dinner for passing the article along last year.

P.S. Prime Minister George E. Cartier wrote lovely piano music.

I think you know that one person's result, or even one study, doesn't really mean anything. Maybe it will pan out. There was more good news about niacin recently.

But in general, I stand by my statement: supplements have been disappointing. There was all that excitement about antioxidants a few years ago...until research showed that antioxidant supplements seemed to actually increase people's risk for cancer.

Human health is complex, and it's difficult to do the kind of controlled research necessary to tease apart the problems.

until research showed that antioxidant supplements seemed to actually increase people's risk for cancer.

The problem is that antioxidant supplements are generally only vitamin C and vitamin E, while there are many more antioxidants, f.i. resveratrol. And if most people who take supplements think: 'now I can take less care of what I eat', the increased risk for cancer is explained.

I remember seeing an infomercial about a supplement of antioxidants or phytochemicals, I can't remember which. Whatever the particular beneficial was it occurs naturally in broccoli, and a single dose of their supplement had about the same amount of the ingredient in question as about 20 pounds of broccoli. I can see why that may not be such a good idea.

The problem is that antioxidant supplements are generally only vitamin C and vitamin E

Not true. They've tested all kinds of antioxidants, not just those.

And if most people who take supplements think: 'now I can take less care of what I eat', the increased risk for cancer is explained.

No, it isn't. The studies were double-blind. Neither the subjects nor the researchers knew who was getting real anti-oxidants, and who were getting placebos.

I think you're misunderstanding the second point, Leanan. the idea is that the entire cohort "Those who take supplements" is equal to the cohort "Those who drink diet soda" in that they will both overcompensate for their perceived "good" choice and end up eating more/worse in the long run, destroying the supposed benefits.


No, I'm not misunderstanding it. I'm saying it doesn't apply.

I'm talking about research studies, where they give two statistically matched groups pills. One gets supplements, one gets placebos, and neither knows which they are getting.

If they were truly a benefit to supplements, it should show in such a study. Instead, the opposite happened: those who got the real supplements got sick at higher rates than the controls. They ended the studies early because of it.

No, I'm not misunderstanding it. I'm saying it doesn't apply.

I'm talking about research studies, where they give two statistically matched groups pills. One gets supplements, one gets placebos, and neither knows which they are getting.

If they were truly a benefit to supplements, it should show in such a study. Instead, the opposite happened: those who got the real supplements got sick at higher rates than the controls. They ended the studies early because of it

Right Leanan, in double blind studies it doesn't apply.
I would like to know what the composition of the supplement was. For a supplement to do harm something must be very wrong, f.i. too much vitamin A or too much beta-caroteen.

Some of the studies are mentioned in the link I posted in the comment that started this whole sub-thread. One study involved beta-carotene, the other selenium and vitamin E. And there have been several others, such as folic acid.

For a supplement to do harm something must be very wrong, f.i. too much vitamin A or too much beta-caroteen.

I don't think so. These are well-designed studies. They had no reason to think that level of supplementation was harmful.

As I said...I think there's an awful lot that we just don't understand about human nutrition.

One study involved beta-carotene, the other selenium and vitamin E. And there have been several others, such as folic acid.

Well, too much beta-caroteen is known to increase the number of lung cancers.
There are studies which show negative effects from large quantities vitamin E, but also which show positive effects.

I don't think so. These are well-designed studies. They had no reason to think that level of supplementation was harmful.

As I said...I think there's an awful lot that we just don't understand about human nutrition.

Certainly Leanan, but all the substances you mention don't have those negative effects, when given in the normal recommended daily dosis.

My comment had nothing to do with the efficacy of supplements.


Then you posted it in the wrong place, because this is a discussion of the efficacy of supplements. :-)

And since the issue of the behavioral effect of taking things that are "good for you" came up...


One thing I have seen, Leanan, is some early research suggesting that natural sources of these things are better than manufactured ones. This is not to diss manufacturing, but (purely guessing here) I'd imagine that many of these chemical interactions are more complex than we initially imagine and the complexities for an anti-oxidant, a vitamin, or whatever are enhanced/controlled by the other chemicals in the foodstuffs in which they are naturally found.

For instance, the anti-oxidants in blueberries and cherries seem to have more beneficial effect than those in manufactured form. This makes sense since we evolved eating those types of things in their natural state. Thus the problem of the supplements is that they do not accurately reflect the necessary chemistry under which we evolved and so their impact is not what was expected, or put another way (as you said), human health is more complex than it first appears.

I believe thats true with Vit E. The very potent wheat germ oil [keep it refridgerated] is much more synergistic than synthetic Vit E which does almost nothing.

They've been saying that for decades, but I'm not convinced.

I suspect Gary Taubes is correct. Studies on nutrition, especially human nutrition, do not take into account the food substitution effect. That is, if people are eating one thing, they are eating less of another. If they cut out one thing, they eat more of something else to make up for it. If you're eating lots of blueberries and cherries, you're probably eating fewer potato chips. I think a lot of the "real food vs. supplements" effect is due to food substitution.

Good studies try to adjust for this, but it's difficult. People aren't mice. You can't put them in cages and feed them a specific diet.

Human health is complex

Considering we have just a hint that epigenetic effects for what the Grandmother eats effects the Grandchild - what we don't know about health is staggering.

Toss in the dis-information of the health care and the GMO plant producers and it's no wonder people become dissapointed.

A couple of points folks... Vitamin D is a hormone.
Your body makes all that is needed if it gets enough ultraviolet exposure.
This is in contrast to a true vitamin which cannot be made by an organism.

And, Leann, you are correct. Here's an article fresh from JAMA today that showed that taking folate plus vit B12 increased the incidence and lethality of lung cancer.

Finally, autism is a pretty straight forward condition, both in its causes and its manifestations, once you know what to look for.
More on that later.

Finally, autism is a pretty straight forward condition, both in its causes and its manifestations, once you know what to look for.
More on that later.

As a father of an Asspie kid I have spent a lot of time reading about autism, spoken with more specialists than I care to mention, interacted with parents, and also lots of kids with different levels of severity of autism. The one thing I can say for sure is that neither its causes nor its manifestations can be said to be straight forward, they are anything but...

Yeah, we do know quite a bit about it but there is still an enormous amount we do not know. Unless you happen to have degrees and or deep knowledge in medicine, neuroscience, genetics, microbiology, environmental science, psychiatry and actual experience with people who are autistic I doubt you can back up your assertion in any way that will convince me.

Regarding sunshine & Vitamin D, Dr. Cannell obviously agrees, but there are two problems: winter (eight hours of sun exposure in Boston in winter do not provide enough sunlight, from what I have read) and age (as noted up the thread, over the age of 40 we lose the majority of our ability to synthesize Vitamin D from sunlight). And in any case, the majority of Americans (and 90% of my doctor's patients here in Texas) are Vitamin D deficient.

Regarding Vitamin D & autism, Dr. Cannell has a whole chapter devoted to the topic at:


If the vitamin D theory of autism is correct, then to the extent it is correct, the current plague of autism is an iatrogenic disease, caused by modern sun-avoidance and the organizations that promulgated it.

Here is a short video clip prepared by the Vitamin D Council:


There is an ongoing study of pregnant women who have previously had a least one autistic child. They are being given 5,000 IU of D3 during gestation and 7,000 IU of D3 during lactation, and the rate of autism in the D3 group will be compared to the overall population and to the prior data.

From link above.

Any long-term forecast is by definition tricky. But analysts at IHS said they have coaxed production data from more than 450 fields around the world, including in OPEC, as well as projects outlined by oil companies to develop new reserves.

So CERA has access to production data from OPEC. Does this mean that they have accurate data for Ghawar, Burgan, Khurais, .... ? If they do, I'm sure most of us TOD would dearly like to see it. Someone here should contact CERA and ask them for that data. If they want money, it would probably still be worth it, if for no other reason to tear the data and CERA apart.

I believe it's been looked into. The cost is insane. Plus, you'd probably have to agree not to reveal the information publically.

Maybe the guy who writes about the Bakken for us has access and could give us a few insights.

I loved 'Coaxed'.

It really gives you a chance to visualize their process and methodology, no? Makes them seem so diligent and dutiful next to the 'Ominous Warnings' from these 'Peak Oilists', as they, undaunted, forge ahead braving this tawdry minefield..

Major Sharon Astyk kvetch about Kjell Aleklett: Peak Energy Vs. Climate Change: Stupidest Debate Ever.

Kjell Aleklett should really pretty much stop talking about climate change, because he looks like a fool when he does. And that’s not a good thing, given that he’s not one - on energy he’s done deeply important work, and I’d hate to see people dismiss it because he says dumb things about the climate.

For those not up to speed on these matters, Kjell's posture is that there's simply not enough carbon to bring on CC; Hansen's paper on peak oil (pdf) included a BAU scenario - literally what is was called - where oil production peaks ca. 2016 but we simply carry on with unconventional sources like CTL to hit 445 PPM eventually. Kjell's paper on this: Severe climate change unlikely before we run out of fossil fuel. Sharon is in the IPCC-has-downplayed-rate-of-change camp, that CC is happening at an out of control accelerating pace now, and that suggesting its effects will be limited is dangerously foolhardy at this stage.

Dunno what to think myself; what did the early 80s recessions do for global CO2? Seem to recall that they unfortunately just kept stair stepping up with barely a detectable pause.

A little humor for all: just last night on the Jay Leno he showed an ad from 1976. It was put out by Esso (now Exxon). A panorama of glaciers at the waters edge. The caption: "Esso produces enough energy everyday to melt 7 million tons of ice". Wonder if Exxon is offering reprints these days.

I'll see if I can get a screen capture of that to post here. Would make for a good Christmas card...

Excellent KLR...good luck. I know a few Exxon hands I'd like to send it to.

Found it on hulu.com. It's at the 10:30 mark.

Oh Boy...

Esso Melts Glaciers

Humble indeed.

What is 7 million tons of ice? About a 300 meter wide cube? (just guessing)

The density of ice is 0.9167 g/cm³ at 0°C, whereas water has a density of 0.9998 g/cm³ at the same temperature.

I know you of all people can do better than guess ;-)

Hint: A cubic meter of pure water at four degrees Celsius weighs 1,000 kilograms, or one tonne (a metric ton).

Good work KLR. Already working on that Christmas card

It's not just Kjell. Several recent polls are noting the shift in the US this year. The Pew Research group shows an astounding 15% drop in belief of CC occurring since Oct 2008.


The page above delves into several reasons for this drop, notably system justification, that people have a need for an outlook that all is ok.

I think another factor unmentioned above is simply the weather this last year over much of the US-cool and wet. At least I hope it is that changeable. But my outlook for us doing anything to meaningfully confront CC is bleak at best.

I've heard that "belief" in climate change is correlated with the season -- when it's hot, people are more inclined to believe, and vice versa. I'd like to see a paper...

Gallup among other notes the change in attitudes, so I think there is more than just seasonality, esp belief shifts between winter and summer. What I was alluding to above is more the effects of a cooler wetter summer.

Even though the year progressed initially in the west as a poster child for the Hadley Center, by August folks were laughing right and left at the mention of global warming.

The crucial aspect of the shifts is how much higher it raises the barrier to drop carbon levels. The thought of the US going to even a cap and trade supported by every bleeping financial lobbyist is becoming unthinkable.

One one hand, the 445PPM seems to be an outdated number (from a time where ablation wasn't taken into consideration; ablation now seems to be a far more dangerous mechanism for ice cap destruction than it was ever considered - if at all - a few years back).

On the other hand, Sharon Astyk could have made it less personal (instead of "he looks like a fool" maybe "he is understating the danger" might have seemed more objective). The way it's now written doesn't make her look impartial.

P.S. Canoes a la portage!
P.P.S. Is everyone getting a Looney now?.. I'll take as many as Ottawa is willing to hand out!

(as soon as I asked for a Looney the Canadian banner disappeared... figures.)

Kjell's position doesn't bother me in the slightest. It's a bit unfair of Ms. Astyk to say that he "simply doesn’t believe climate change is a serious issue, and has said so." My reading is that he acknowledges the seriousness of the issue but focuses on its energy side.

Oxfam has also pointed out the grim tradeoff between allocating energy for aid vs. decarbonizing the economy. As we enter the century of shortages and rapid climate change, these kinds of terrible choices will be ever more common.

To the response above 808's: If Kjell says something utterly stupid that shows a complete bias and contempt for the science, why should Sharon hold back? This is what he says

By clever marketing of unrealistic future scenarios the IPCC has blinded the world’s politicians – particularly those in the EU – to these facts.

Clever marketing? What an ass! And a stupid ass, at that. He couldn't have typed a more biased sentence. I agree with Sharon, anyone who dismissed climate change because they are too wedded to PO to see clearly is a fool on a fool's errand.

I am utterly amazed that seemingly intelligent people don't get that decoupling the two issues is insanity. Not enough fossil fuels? To do what? Has he lost touch with reality? At less than 450ppm we are seeing every effect we feared:

melting ice caps - ALL of them
shifting habitats - many out of synch
acidifying oceans
more intense storms
changing ocean and air circulation
unpredictable weather
rising oceans
rising temps
melting permafrost
melting sea floor clathrates

But going to 450 or 550 is OK?

What is it about being too close to an issue that makes people's brains turn to mush?

Agreed, I certainly can't defend that statement.

My take on it - and I'm no climatologist - is that given the GHGs we've already put into the atmosphere, a lot of GCC is already "baked into the cake", and we've probably already passed some critical tipping points. The surprisingly rapid melting of the arctic pack ice and the Greenland ice cap, and the observed release of methane from the thawing tundra, all seem to me to be strong confirmation of this hypothesis.

This being the case, we are going to have to cope with GCC regardless of what we do from here on out, so talk of "preventing" it is pointless. I am also quite sceptical of talk of cutting way back on FF consumption above and beyond what will normally follow from geological limits. Such cut-backs would require an effective world government (which we don't have); otherwise, every nation would want to be a free rider and leave it to the others to make the cuts - the old tragedy of the commons thing again.

No, coping with the consequences is what we had better be focused upon at this point. That will be difficult enough.

Such cut-backs would require an effective world government

Nor will we.

There is a statement from China 'and the emperor is far away' - as the people making the laws are WAY over there and I am WAY over here I'm not worried about law X attitude.

As organizations become larger, so does the chance for graft and corruption. Exactly how are you going to stop graft and corruption on a WORLD level?

How do you deal with the sociopath who becomes part of the world Government?

Much time is spent on the message of localize here on TOD. Why not 'localize' the Government instead of 'going global'?

Or, shucks, we could do both. Throwing up our collective hands equals 6C, and that equals TEOTWAWKI. Literally.

Sign me up under mitigation and adaptation.


In answer to your last question, it did not change things much. In fact, the oil Yom Kippur oil embargo had more of an effect. Here are the data for Mauna Loa plotted here:

CO2 MaunaLoa(1970-2000)

A larger version is provided through this link:

As a practical matter it is the addictive or cummulative effect of pumping the CO2 (or equivalent) into the atmosphere, not just the rate per year that directly affects concentration. Once above a threshold, the CO2 accumulates and ever dropping to 1970's level of fossil fuel consumption will only slow the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere. And it will keep going up.

That is why you see such drastic and (some would say) draconian decreases projected as being required to deal with and limit impacts. We probably aren't in for a runaway warming scenario, but the effects of what we may be in for as the overall climate patterns change are likely to be undesirable.

The IPCC and specifically the models that the IPCC used are becoming better and are great for slow changing scenarios, but it gets much more complex to deal with short-term effects.

This peak oil thing is going to be a tad serious isn't it?

No, don't worry, I ain't had my head in the ale (yet). Sometimes I tend to think that I am fully briefed, fully aware. I know what is in store on the down slope. But then every now and again something tweaks at your sub-conscience and it really hits home. For me just now it was reading the Guardian piece about the Welsh farmer who has tried valiantly to quit using diesel on his farm but only managed to reduce his consumption by 25%. It just goes to show that our entire food system is soaking in oil.

We are in trouble. Heaven help us.

I find his remedy a bit peculiar and fantastical to say the least, nevertheless the article was well written.

further down the article...

There are two possible options: either the mass replacement of farm machinery or the development of new farming systems that don't need much labour or energy.

There are no obvious barriers to the mass production of electric tractors and combine harvesters: the weight of the batteries and an electric vehicle's low-end torque are both advantages for tractors.

Monbiot does write well. Shame he can't face ALL the facts - or he would have to accept his family overproduction.

This is all nonsense. Just plant some oil seeds and make biodiesel. Yes, I know the EROI isn't fantastic, but it is good enough, and certainly preferable to starvation.

I just don't get all these people being so worried about the tractors standing idle in the fields while everyone starves. That is the LAST thing that would happen. I am pretty confident that people will move heaven and earth to avoid getting to that point.

Complexity and Tipping Points, WNC.

Sure, we'll want to move Heaven and Earth (BACK to where we liked them) .. but we might not get the chance. The path to a reworked approach to farming likely has a steep learning curve, is dependent upon a stream of new tools, or even just the parts to rework old tools.. With the best of intentions, we still have a lot of bottlenecks and not a lot of time. A lot could go wrong for a lot of Farmers, even if some squeezed through, and still have a climate that matches and supports the seeds they're planting.

The 'unstoppable force' (our technology and considerable population..) will go head to head with the immovable object.

Airdale's posts here about working on tractors should be a warning sign that these things are complex machines which could well lie and rust uselessly if you don't know the correct computer codes to get the frammajammuz coflibulating again. Is my ignorance in these matters showing? Never professed any knowledge whatsoever so no diff. A Campfire piece on dealing with recalcitrant vehicles, or working on same during the current BAU, would be a good thing. Perhaps someone has info on bypassing all that fancy circuitry, that would be well worth printing out.

Don't need no stinkin' tractors. Tilling is unnecessary. Having one family per acre or two equals no need for a tractor, regardless.

Have one in the community for pulling out stumps, hauling if you must... one should do.



Highlights from the Petrobakken conference call presentation.

There are slides showing the latest economics of Bakken drilling in Canada and results which show new techniques are reducing the speed of the decline in well production.

Also Petrobakken has started the field test of THAI (toe heel air injection) in Saskatchewan.

Your site's on the fritz so I can't comment on the details here. However ND production gains are being wholly obviated by declines in PADD 5 so unless this is tech applicable to heritage fields - and it mostly just seems to be capital thrown at horizontals and fracs, i.e., brute force and nothing really new - I don't see this as an attraction beyond crass $$$$ considerations. Wouldn't this money be better invested in companies implementing conservation measures like co-gen?

So you are saying that Petrobakken should take their billions of dollars and instead of getting less than 6 month payback and 500% IRR invest it into co-gen and get what kind of returns ? Also, the Petrobakken shareholders bought a piece of an oil company that is developing the Bakken oilfields and THAI/CAPRI tech. So they should do what ? Leave their land leases ?

The horizontal multifrac drilling is being applied in non-Bakken oil fields by Natwest.

the THAI Capri if it works develops heavy oil fields like the oilsands all around the world.

US total oil production is going up in 2009, because of Bakken and Gulf of Mexico oil.

US total oil production is going up in 2009, because of Bakken and Gulf of Mexico oil.

i will believe that when i see it.


EIA US field production of crude.

Aug 2009 monthly number 163,857,000 barrels of oil. That monthly number is higher than any monthly number until you get back to May 2005.

2009 is averaging 3 million barrels per month higher than 2008, 2007 was about the same as 2008

2008 did not have a monthly number higher than 159,113,000
2007 had a max of 161,112,000

an extra 330,000 barrels per day or 10 million per month would be the 2003/2004 level.

i see what you are saying wrt 2009 vs 2008, but still,it aint over till it's over.

where does the 330,000 bpd come from ?



30.4 days times 330,000 barrels per day is 10,032,000 barrels per month.

163.8 million barrels per month plus 10 million barrels per month is 173.8 million barrels .

That is about the monthly levels that were achieved in 2003/2004.

So if the gulf of mexico and bakken/three forks sanish can add and exceed the declining fields by 330,000 bpd.
then the US would be back to 2003 levels of monthly oil.

The horizontal multi-frac and other enhanced oil techniques could also slow or reverse declines by enabling more production from old fields thus making it easier for gulf of mexico and bakken to push up production.

ok, 330,000 bpd is the amount needed to exceed 2003 levels ? and gom may help some, but how much are you forecasting will come from the bakken ?

over the past 20 months, each new well in the nd bakken has added about 128 - 150 bopd. that is the net result after all the 2-3-4000 bpd wells (announced in public traded companies pr's) combined with less prolific wells (not announced in public traded companies pr's)and decline in the expanding well base.

128 bpd/well = ye 2007 to ye 2008
150 bpd/well = ye 2008 to ytd 2009(estimated).

KLR -- Did you say "crass $$$ considerations"??? Hell yeah...that's what we're in business to do...the crassier the better. Just a little tease but this is what oil companies do. Cogen companies do their thing. To each his own. I don't know if the ultimate recovery hype will ever live up to expectations but it sounds like it's a place to make a profit drilling for oil right now. I would guess that 99.9999% of the monies invested in the US right now aren't invested in cogen. I'd let those other folks have crack at all those cogen profits first if I were drilling in the play.

I knew a guy who was a big fan of small co-gen in the late 70's/80's. Had all sorts of projects, lots of work...then the bottom fell out as the economy dropped and then oil fell to the floor. Since then I've seen and heard the stories of wasted heat and inefficient process plants which are never reworked because there is no capital for side-line projects, given eternal needs for top-line revenue-generating projects.

Two weeks ago the guy died, still a "believer"in co-gen, and actually having just done some small work in the area again as a semi-retiree. He wasn't bitter per se, but his dreams of helping save the world while making some decent money with a technology that made sense never paid off.

Many of us have been there too, in one way or another. It's an engineer's version of "the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent."

I'm resigned to it all, it's follow the money writ large, and I'm not demonizing people in the FF industry personally, but the Bakken isn't some energy independence bolt from the blue like people make it out to be, barring its tech applied to other segments of US upstream activity, which I'm sincerely interested in btw. I'm just wanting to broaden my knowledge of how this all will play out.

Activities such as reinsulating/co-gen/green building should be equally lucrative from incentives. Ultimately when he persist in decade after decade of adding more CO2 to the atmosphere we're throwing more sticks on the fire we've started in the living room. And CSS won't find wide application, cuts into your uptake of crass $$$$, and the FF has substantial sway in Washington, while knuckle walking douchebags like Inhofe still roam free - and when scarcity becomes apparent their ilk will multiply in the halls of Congress.

I see matters pretty much as you do KLR. The Bakken is a good example of how the MSM is failing its duty to the public IMO. The arguments about how profitable the play is and how much oil it will eventually yield is a distraction from the basic nature of PO. For me it's comparable to arguing how big was the iceberg that sunk the RMS Titanic. Doesn't matter...the ship sunk and 1400 folks died. The Bakken may rightfully be touted by the industry as a great new horizontal play. That is something to be happy about: more income for US companies, land owners, local taxing authorities and a decrease in our trade imbalance. Every member of TOD should welcome the news IMO. But even if the most optimistic estimates prove correct it will hardly be noticeable on the global decline curve. It might represent a huge increase in N. Dakota production but it will have a very minor effect on the price of oil (in $'s and blood) from the Middle East IMHO.

Taking the Titanic metaphor a step farther, telling the public about how much oil is in the Bakken is like telling the people on the Titanic how big the lifeboats are, while ignoring the fact that there are only enough lifeboats for half of the passengers.

Or reassuring them that the watertight compartments in the back half of the boat are still intact, while glossing over the fact that if the front half of the boat sinks, it's going to take the back half with it.

Excellent add-on Rocky...excellent. Big life boats = big new fields like the Bakken. But not enough lifeboats/new big fields to save everyone. It fits so well it makes you want to cry.

I apologize in advance for no link, I am still working on it.

JP Morgan's investment team is sending a warning to their institutional investors that mexico's debt will be downgraded before year end:

"We continue to believe that Fitch Ratings will downgrade Mexico's sovereign debt rating by 1 notch to BBB (still keeping the ‘investment grade status’, and that Mexico will be able to avert S&P's downgrade."

For the record a BBB is one step away from junk bond status. It would get extremely costly to service their debt and to issue new debt if that were the case.

The single reason for the downgrade is the reduction in revenue from oil exports. JP Morgan's research team dodes not see the situation reversing anytime soon and the Mexican government is spending (like most countries these days) like there is no tomorrow.

It's interesting, people may not know what peak oil or the ELM is by name, but by god they are going to feel the effects soon enough. I agree with those at the drum who suggest Mexico may be the first "biggie" to fall.


Good catch Dan. Like many I hadn't been thinking about bond ratings. Could certainly be a death spiral. I know Mexico had been expecting the delivery of 3 DW drilling rigs in the next year or so. If they had any hope a reviving their oil production it would most likely come from the DW GOM. But that will cost a lot of $'s and take a good decade before any real revenue could be generated...if the reserves are there in the first palce. Given how much the public down there depends on gov't support (and with 40% of gov't vevenue coming from oil exports) it's difficult not to imagine really horrible times coming for folks down there.

Thanks Rock.

The people down there are in for a world of hurt for sure.

As to your other point: "If they had any hope a reviving their oil production it would most likely..." that is the third leg of the equation in my opinion that doesn't recieve much consideration.

Running out of easy oil..check
Producing countries consuming more, exporting less..check
Having so much debt they cannot get loans to get even the easy stuff..check mate.

And for sure the deep pockets of the world (ie china)will come and "help them out". But at what discount? Still means less revenue than they are used to.

Just reporting the obvious. Interesting times and all that.

One of Mexico's biggest current problems is that China can't come in and spend any money drilling. Against mexican law for outside ownership of oil reserves. China could do it on some loan basis but would they see Mexico as good a bet as Brazil? I wouldn't think so.

Mexico's bond rating has been in the news for awhile. They just passed their budget, and it's not pretty.

And here's a link...

Fitch May Cut Mexico Rating Today, JPMorgan Says

(Bloomberg) -- Mexico’s credit rating may be downgraded by Fitch Ratings as early as today after congress approved a 2010 budget that forecasts the widest deficit in two decades, JPMorgan Chase & Co. said.

Fitch and Standard & Poor’s each have a negative outlook on Mexico’s BBB+ rating, the third-lowest investment-grade rating, amid concern that declining oil revenue will swell the budget gap. Both companies said they in part were waiting to see the budget passed by congress before making a rating decision. S&P may decide against a rating cut, JPMorgan said.

Thanks Leanan, as always you are the best at what you do as I have ever seen.

Their deficit is less than 1% of GDP. With the exception of 1 year under Clinton, we haven't done < 1% since Eisenhower.

Our deficit is 12% in FY09, same or worse this year, and we get AAA. I see the ratings agencies haven't learned anything.

I guess I just don't know anything anymore. I simply cannot understand how the stock market can rush right back into a bubble after all that has happen in the last 10 years.

They should have warned me in High School when I took those IQ tests that a good number was going to result in a life time of frustration.

I simply cannot understand how the stock market can rush right back into a bubble after all that has happen in the last 10 years.

1) The Stock Market is a rigged game, and not in your favor.
2) The currency is being debased, so to keep up with/beat inflation investors "need" to have that money "at work" somewhere. Other traditional places like real estate don't look good either.
3) Many of the people in the market "learned" that by participating they were able to "make money". These people are repeating a pattern that worked for them in the past.

This is good: BLACK GOLD Chris Nelder, logi Energy: Is the IEA World Energy Outlook Politically Distorted?

The edges between the solid data and the gray zone gradually became sharper. Over the last few years, the agency’s estimates for peak oil production fell from 120 mpbd to 105 mbpd, but oddly, their forecast for the date of the peak remained stubbornly around 2030. Curves were gradually flattened, but reached the same point. Simple head-scratchers like that.

The language of the reports also grew in clarity and intensity, alarming critics. By last year, it had become downright shrill: “The world’s energy system is at a crossroads” . . . “global trends. . . are patently unsustainable”. . . “the era of cheap oil is over”. . . “Time is running out and the time to act is now.”

This year, they admitted what many of us had already figured out: Non-OPEC supply has basically peaked. Despite this, IEA still forecasts global oil supply will rise from 84.6 mbpd in 2008 to 105.2 mbpd in 2030.

Deeper into the article he, Chris Nelder, says that OPEC alone will have to come up with the additional 17.5 mbpd. That is simply not correct. Non-OPEC, by that time, will have declined by at least 10 mbpd. That means OPEC would have to come up with about 27.5 mbpd to reach the predicted 105 mbpd. That is almost double OPEC's current production. Have they gave any real thought to this scenario? No one in their right mind believes OPEC will be producint that kind of oil by 2030.

Ron P.

If I could ask the IEA one question, this would be it:

"You state that 200 experts reviewed your WEO 2009 report. Did even one of these experts question the depletion rate that you used to calculate future production?".


In a recent book called Candy Machine: How Cocaine Took Over the World by Tom Feiling it was interesting for me to read what a large energy profile that white powder has. There are huge inputs required to grow it, process it, ship it, fight it, acquire and ingest it. Also, the product of cocaine use is merely a certain feeling in the brain/body of the user. Unlike other commodities there isn't really a tangible end use of great value (like taking steel, for example, and putting up a bridge?) Reallocating all that energy to something more useful makes getting drug policy in developed countries right all the more important. Don't know if that is going to happen any time soon.

The author also makes an assertion that US military/police activity in Colombia is only secondarily related to cocaine interdiction. Colombia is actually America's number seven oil supplier. Candy Machine asserts that "80 per cent of the country has yet to be surveyed for potential oil reserves." If it weren't for guerrilla violence and the topography of the country even more oil exports could be realized. I've read here on TOD, and elsewhere, that most of the world was very thoroughly examined for oil reserves by the time the 1970s ended. Is it possible that there are surpise reservoirs in Colombia? Is it possible that drug policy in the US provides a nice excuse to "aid" Colombia by keeping a military presence next to these possible reservoirs? I suppose we'll be hearing more about Colombian oil in the next few years?


GWB "We are addicted to Oil"

Colombian Gold, move over.. now it's Colombian Black Gold.

For several years I've purchased 100 per cent renewable energy through Nova Scotia Power's Green Power programme to cover-off a little over half of our household needs -- five blocks per month of 125 kWh each. Sadly, this programme has been discontinued so, tonight, I switched to Bullfrog (http://www.bullfrogpower.com/). The cost premium is just 2-cents per kWh, so for $22.00 a month all of our electricity is now sourced from wind and low-impact hydro.

I'd like to encourage my fellow Maritimers to sign on to Bullfrog and give coal-fired power the boot.

No more coal-fired power plants !


This is classic-Goldman gets 70,000 million from the taxpayer and now the philanthropists are going to throw 500 million back to the schmucks through a transparent PR spin move-jeez it isn't even 1% http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Goldman-Sachs-Buffett-to-help-apf-42040964...

I have figured out the best business to start for the future.
Guillotine manufacturer.