Drumbeat: November 20, 2009

Mexico oil output rises slightly in Oct from Sept

MEXICO CITY, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Mexican oil production increased slightly in October from the previous month, lending credence to the government's argument that a steep decline in output appears to be stabilizing.

Mexico produced 2.602 million barrels per day of crude oil in October, state oil monopoly Pemex said on Friday.

That was a decline of 5.6 percent from a year earlier but was a hair above the 2.599 million bpd produced in September. It was the second straight month showing a slight increase.

Mexican oil production is down by about a quarter from a 2004 peak because its once-largest field, Cantarell, is declining.

U.S. natural gas rig count falls for second week

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The number of rigs drilling for natural gas in the United States fell for a second straight week, dropping two to 726 this week, according to a report on Friday by oil services firm Baker Hughes in Houston.

The U.S. natural gas drilling rig count has gained in 14 of the last 18 weeks after bottoming at 665 on July 17, its lowest level since May 3, 2002, when there were 640 gas rigs operating.

But the rig count is still down sharply since peaking above 1,600 in September of last year, standing at 785 rigs, or 52 percent, below the same week in 2008.

Texas high court agrees to rehear Exxon case

DALLAS — The Texas Supreme Court has agreed to grant a rehearing in the nearly 15-year legal battle over accusations that Exxon Mobil Corp. sabotaged abandoned wells.

Saudi Arabia set for Asia crude benchmark switch, but when?

SINGAPORE: Saudi Arabia is all but certain to adopt the Dubai Mercantile Exchange's (DME) Oman crude oil futures contract as its benchmark one day, oil traders say. Now the main question is when, not if, it makes the switch. The growing confidence that state exporter Saudi Aramco will eventually abandon the Dubai/Oman crude assessment price as its basis for Asian exports is bolstered by two things: the tone of recent discussion between Aramco and its customers; and its abrupt switch to a Gulf sour crude benchmark for all US sales.

The 10-billion-barrel battle

Henry Lyatsky is a man on a mission.

The Calgary-based oil industry consultant is on a one-man campaign to lift the moratorium on offshore oil drilling on Canada’s West Coast.

While his message gets a sympathetic ear in in his home town, the centre of Canada’s oil industry, his mission is more of an uphill battle in British Columbia.

U.S. Fears Iraq Development Projects May Go to Waste

BAGHDAD — In its largest reconstruction effort since the Marshall Plan, the United States government has spent $53 billion for relief and reconstruction in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, building tens of thousands of hospitals, water treatment plants, electricity substations, schools and bridges.

But there are growing concerns among American officials that Iraq will not be able to adequately maintain the facilities once the Americans have left, potentially wasting hundreds of millions of dollars and jeopardizing Iraq’s ability to provide basic services to its people.

The Oil Casino: SEC Heading for Monte Carlo, Part III

Let's examine a simple idea. In every producing oil well, formation, or field there is a finite quantity of recoverable hydrocarbons. This so-called Ultimately Recoverable Resource is definitively known in retrospect after secondary injection, infill and flank development, or fracturing, chemical or steam enhancements that lifted every drop that makes economic sense.

In a mature field, where reservoir performance is fully understood, no sane person will spend more than $1 to recover less than $1 of oil & gas. Wells are abandoned, rigs withdrawn, and the field is sold. Smaller operators might be able to eke out a bit more value from "sub-prime" acreage or strata. They have lower overheads and more leisure to search for crumbs.

Chris Nelder. logi Energy-China: The Vampire Squid of Commodities. Part Two

Rodgers has no doubt that China understands peak oil and expects future supply disruptions, which is why it’s accumulating foreign assets and diversifying its import options.

Peter Dea, the president of oil and gas exploration and production company Cirque Resources LP, made the same point a bit more obliquely, rhetorically asking if China had no doubts about the future of oil, why would they have recently outbid Exxon Mobil for new drilling in Ghana?

America's Pending Collapse

In an essay, written by Richard Heinberg entitled “Should We Prop-up a Dying Economy” (19 October 2009), he argues that the economists and the people who follow physical science disagree sharply about where this economy is going. Peak Oil, whether it is present now or just years away, will mean that the economy will contract. The economists state that growth can happen in any environment, yet it is apparent that when oil prices spiked in 2008, the auto industry and the airline industry almost went belly-up. Shrinkage of energy means shrinkage in the economy, we have all been under the notion that we can borrow against a growing economy. The facts are that if the economy does not grow, there will be very little in the growth of capital to repay debts that are leveraged at an average of an average of 350% of debt to GDP ratio. Where will new capital come from?

Valero Closes Delaware Plant, the Third Shut in U.S.

(Bloomberg) -- Valero Energy Corp. said it will permanently close its Delaware City, Delaware, refinery because of “very poor economic conditions.” The 190,200 barrel-a-day plant is the third U.S. refinery to shutter because of weak fuel demand.

The plant was losing $1 million a day this year, Bill Day, a spokesman for Valero said in a telephone interview. Valero considered strategic alternatives for the plant, including shutdowns of certain processing units, and a sale.

Western Refining Inc. said Nov. 9 it would close its 16,600 barrel-a-day Bloomfield refinery in New Mexico and use the plant as a terminal. Sunoco Inc.’s Eagle Point refinery in New Jersey stopped production earlier this month and was idled indefinitely because of low demand and increased foreign competition, according to Chief Executive Officer Lynn Elsenhans.

Petroplus Holdings AG suspended operations at its 117,000 barrel-a-day refinery in northeast England and is converting the site into storage and a terminal, CEO Jean-Paul Vettier said Nov. 5.

The table below shows refineries that are slated for sale, closure or conversion, and units idled for economic reasons.

Recovery over a barrel

After a fall in demand during the depths of the crisis, the IEA now expects global demand for oil to be 84.2 million barrels a day this year and more than 86.2 million barrels a day next year.

Then there is the looming problem of Peak Oil - the stage when demand outstrips the world's capacity to produce it.

In September, a Macquarie Bank report found we had already hit that wall. Report author Iain Reid says production capacity will peak at 89.6 million barrels a day this year. By 2012, demand will exceed this.

Utility shut-offs soar for poor PG&E customers

The report's authors aren't sure why the number of disconnected customers is growing so quickly at PG&E, compared with other utilities in the state. PG&E rate hikes last fall and this spring may have played a role. So may the utility's new SmartMeters.

The advanced electricity and gas meters, being installed throughout Northern and Central California, allow PG&E to shut off service via a wireless signal, without sending an electrician to the home. The easier process may be leading to more shut-offs, said Dana Appling, director of the utility commission's Division of Ratepayer Advocates, which issued the report.

"All they have to do is flip a switch," she said, adding that her division doesn't have solid proof that the meters are leading to more disconnections.

Consolidation to hit solar in 2010: BP Solar

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - More consolidation could hit the solar power industry in 2010, as tough competition and falling prices whittle away companies that are sitting on high cost assets and loaded with debt, the chief executive of BP Solar told Reuters on Thursday.

BP Solar, a unit of BP Plc, and other solar companies are seeing demand for the renewable energy systems pick up after a dismal year of difficult financing and a tumble in panel prices, but panel prices will continue to drop.

Vermont Yankee nuclear plant critics renew campaign to block 20-year license extension

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — Hoping to sway lawmakers, two of the state's most famous residents and one of its former governors joined groups opposed to the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in announcing a push for Town Meeting Day votes on whether the plant should keep operating past 2012.

Ice cream icons Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield and former Gov. Phil Hoff lent their voices to those who want the Legislature to turn thumbs down on Vermont Yankee's request for a 20-year license extension.

What Peak Oil Can Do for Climate Change

With all eyes focused on the Copenhagen climate summit in less than three weeks, perhaps its time for the peakists to find a new purpose.

The reason is simple. Money isn't interested in problems; it's only interested in solutions. And wherever capital goes is where the changes will be made.

Industrialized Nations Unveil Plans to Rein in Emissions

With less than three weeks remaining before negotiators gather in Copenhagen to hammer out a global response to climate change, a rapid-fire succession of countries are unveiling national plans that serve as opening bids for reining in heat-trapping emissions.

U.N. Report Calls for More Environmental Protection in Wartime

A report released this month by the United Nations Environment Program and the Environmental Law Institute calls for stronger international laws to protect the environment during times of war.

The report found that although existing laws of war — including aspects of the Geneva Convention — address environmental protection, their wording is imprecise. Strengthening, enforcing and clarifying existing legislation could help protect “natural assets” during wars, the study says.

Cuba tries to keep the lights on: Cuba gets plenty of oil from Venezuela. So why is it adopting "extreme measures" to avoid blackouts?

But just as Cuba’s petroleum trade has soared, revenue is plummeting from other key exports like nickel, pharmaceuticals and tobacco products. Foreign trade is down 36 percent this year, as the global recession and $10 billion in damage from three 2008 hurricanes have drained Cuba’s finances.

Thus, analysts say, the more oil Cuba can save, the more it can sell abroad.

“I think it is actually a prudent effort on the part of the government that acknowledges the reality that Cuba is in dire need of hard currency,” said Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado, a U.S. expert on Cuban energy at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

“The extent to which they can conserve or curb consumption in order to reserve refined fuels for re-export is logical, but yet another hardship for the people,” he added.

Valero to Permanently Close Delaware City Refinery as Demand Declines

(Bloomberg) -- Valero Energy Corp. said it will permanently close its Delaware City, Delaware, refinery because of losses at the plant.

Pennsylvania residents sue over gas drilling

DIMOCK, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Residents of a small rural Pennsylvania town sued Cabot Oil & Gas Corp (COG.N) on Friday, claiming the company's natural-gas drilling has contaminated their water wells with toxic chemicals, caused sickness and reduced their property values.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania, accuses the company of violating state environmental laws by allowing drilling chemicals to escape from gas wells, where they are used in a technique called hydraulic fracturing.

Total Says Shtokman Natural Gas Start Delayed 2 Years

Shtokman, a natural gas field in Russia's Arctic waters that is one of the world's largest gas deposits, will start producing two years later than OAO Gazprom's planned launch date, according to one of the partners in the megaproject.

Shell seeks to reassure analysts on major projects

Royal Dutch Shell Plc will aim to reassure investors on the costs and profitability of its Pearl gas-to-liquids and QatarGas projects during a field trip for analysts.

Moscow’s Leash

Many analysts think that Gazprom’s “grip” on Europe has loosened. The company has been battered by the economic crisis, while the Continent is now coping with a glut of natural gas rather than scrambling for resources. But this is a cyclical crisis, not a structural one. Europe still needs gas, and Gazprom still wants to sell it. And although the times have changed, Europe’s energy challenges have not gone away.

China refiners agree 12 pct rise in 2010 Saudi imports

BEIJING/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Chinese oil firms have agreed to buy a total of about 1.04 million barrels per day of crude from Saudi Arabia under a term pact finalised for 2010, roughly 12 percent above the 2009 contract level, trading sources told Reuters.

The pace of growth quickens from a rate of under 10 percent seen this year over 2008, as demand in the world's No.2 oil consumer looks poised to recover more on the back of China's solid economic expansion.

FACTBOX - India's crude imports by country in Apr-Sept 2009

(Reuters) - India imported 68.3 percent of its crude oil requirements during April-September from the Middle East, with Iran topping the chart followed by Saudi Arabia, government data showed on Friday.

BP, ConocoPhillips Reduce 2010 Spending Plans in Alaska

BP and ConocoPhillips have reduced their capital spending and developmental budgets for Alaska in 2010 because of higher costs to produce mature fields, disappointing exploratory results and the state's new tax regime, the companies said.

Energy's the topic of the week

If I could sum up one theme that spoke for the entire week of events, it would be this: innovation.

Dr Yergin, chairman of the IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates and author of a prize-winning book on the history of the oil industry aptly noted that while the 20th century was the century of oil, the 21st century will be the century of energy innovation.

"This intense push for innovation is drive by two powerful forces - the quest for clean energy and the need to provide energy for economic growth," he said.

Electricity imports hit France's energy autonomy

France has for decades been fiercely proud of its world-beating nuclear industry but is now having to import electricity from its neighbours and could face blackouts this winter.

News of the imports prompted the environmental group Greenpeace to say Wednesday that this was further proof that France's policy of producing three quarters of its electricity from nuclear power was a big mistake.

France decided after the 1970s oil crises to rapidly expand its nuclear power capacity in order to build up reliable energy supplies, and has long exported power to its neighbours.

But ever-rising demand for electricity combined with ageing nuclear reactors have brought that policy under increasing scrutiny.

El Nino intensifies Latin America drought

MONTEVIDEO — From a devastating food crisis in Guatemala to water cuts in Venezuela, El Nino has compounded drought damage across Latin America this year.

Blackout in Brazil: The Problems With Hydropower

It’s everyone’s worst nightmare: being caught in an underground subway in the midst of a power outage. Yet, that is exactly what happened recently when Brazilian commuters in the city of São Paulo were trapped inside trains and literally had to be pulled out of subway cars. In addition to sparking problems in public transport, the blackout or apagão led to hospital emergencies and the shutting down of several airports. In all the power outage darkened approximately half of the South American nation, affecting sixty million people.

In recent years Brazil has become an economic powerhouse yet the blackout exposed vulnerabilities in the country’s infrastructure. In the wake of the power outage, government officials intent on sustaining high economic growth have tried to figure out what might have gone wrong with the country’s electrical grid. Initial reports blamed the power outage on the massive Itaipu hydroelectric dam though a spokesperson for the facility said there had been no problem at the plant.

Sustainability and Social Justice: Do the Math

According to data compiled by the UN, the Global Footprint Network, and Dr. William Rees at the University of British Columbia, total human consumption already exceeds the Earth's capacity by 30 per cent. This is known as biological 'overshoot'. The UN estimates that most natural services to human societies - forests, fish, fresh water and clean air - decline annually. As human population and consumption grow, our collective overshoot increases.

Meanwhile, the wealthy 15 per cent use about 85 per cent of the resources - the total energy and materials - the 'stuff' - that Earth provides. The 'wealthy' includes anyone who has a home, job, transport, access to education, hot showers, convenient fuel and food every day: people in the so-called 'developed' world. If you have those things, you live among the wealthy 15 per cent who use most of the world's resources.

In Kiribati, a way of life is being washed away

''The contamination of the groundwater started in the late '70s, and after that erosion started and houses started to fall into the sea,'' recalls Aata Maroieta, the 64-year-old village chief.

''The force of erosion was stronger than the sea walls and eventually the Government said, 'All you can do is relocate.' ''

Peak Oil Files: Why Is Saudi Aramco Building Supercomputers?

The biannual list of the world’s 500 fastest computers was released on Tuesday and Aramco had two new entries at No. 119 and No. 134. Both are Dell clusters, running Intel processors and both are very, very fast.

The oil industry uses Concorde-jet speed computing to aid it understanding underground reservoirs and to look for new sources of oil and gas. Aramco used another computer cluster to build a “full field model” of the Safaniya oilfield in 2008.

Clearly, Aramco is taking a sophisticated approach to understanding its remaining oil resources. And peak oilers will likely argue that Aramco’s interest in teraflops is a sign that it needs all the help it can get to ensure oil keep flowing out of its once mighty fields. After all, why bother throwing so much muscle into understanding the reservoir if there were no worries about its future performance.

IEA provides a rosy supply of crude

The International Energy Association (IEA) released its World Energy Outlook to controversy on Nov. 10. The U.K.-based Guardian newspaper quotes IEA sources admitting the agency's figures for future oil production were inflated because of U.S. pressure. The two separate sources within the IEA want to remain anonymous because they feared reprisals. Now why does this matter?

Put simply, future oil shortages are being downplayed. In 2005, the IEA predicted daily oil production would rise to 120 million barrels by 2030. But harsh criticism forced the agency to cut this estimate a number of times until finally, in 2008, the IEA claimed the world oil production would be 105 million barrels a day by 2030.

Crude prices follow world markets downward: Still, with oil near $80 per barrel, consumers are starting to feel the pinch

NEW YORK - A global sell-off on equity markets dragged down crude prices by nearly 3 percent Thursday, the first decline this week.

..."Bottom line, the race is on; between falling demand and falling production," analyst Stephen Schork said. "Regardless of the outcome, one result is almost guaranteed ... the consumer will lose. And, given that consumer spending is responsible for more than two-thirds of the U.S. economy, that does not bode well for the strength of the incipient recovery."

Macquarie Says Crude Oil May Fall to About $60 Next Quarter

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil prices may fall to about $60 a barrel in this and next quarter on weak demand from developed countries and growing inventories, Macquarie’s oil economist Jan Stuart said today.

Analysts Split on Direction of Crude Oil Prices, Survey Shows

(Bloomberg) -- Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News were split over whether crude oil prices will fall or be little changed next week amid a weak dollar and ample fuel supplies.

Ten of 27 analysts, or 37 percent, said futures will drop through Nov. 27. Ten more respondents predicted that oil will be little changed. Seven said futures will rise. Last week, 50 percent of those surveyed said prices would fall.

“I think we’re still in a very well-defined trading range when it comes to oil,” said Phil Flynn, vice president of research at PFGBest in Chicago. “Oil just can’t stay above $80 a barrel, but by the same token it can’t seem to stay below $77.”

Russia Waives Ukraine Gas Fine, Easing Threat of Supply Cuts

(Bloomberg) -- Russia agreed to waive fines on Ukraine for consuming less gas than contracted and said it would renegotiate volumes for next year, easing a threat to shipments of the fuel to Europe.

“We made a decision not to impose penalties, and I want to confirm it in public,” Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Yulia Timoshenko yesterday in Yalta, Ukraine. “Despite agreements reached earlier on volumes, to avoid sanctions next year it was decided that OAO Gazprom and NAK Naftogaz Ukrainy will agree on new volumes.”

Russian transit gas via Ukraine down 26.4%

Transit of Russian gas via Ukraine to Europe fell by 26.4% 74.5 billion cubic metres in the January to October 2009 period from 101.2 Bcm in the same period in 2008, Ukraine's Fuel and Energy Ministry said today.

European countries have cut energy consumption as industrial activity has fallen due to a global economic slowdown.

Obama administration pauses on Alaska drilling

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration has delayed a decision on a request by Shell Oil Co. to drill for oil and gas in Alaska's rugged Chukchi Sea. The delay came after the oil company asked for time to respond to criticism of its plan to drill in the icy sea, a prime habitat for threatened polar bears.

Marvin Odum, president of Shell Oil Co., the U.S. unit of Royal Dutch Shell, denied Thursday that the oil company had requested the delay.

But a letter from the Minerals Management Service, an arm of the Interior Department, says Shell asked for a chance to respond to a deluge of public comments submitted to the agency about the proposal to drill off Alaska's Northwest coast.

Kazakh Credit Risk Drops Most in World as Oil Revives Economy

(Bloomberg) -- Kazakhstan is regaining bond investor confidence faster than any other country as rising oil prices spur an economic rebound.

Angola sees boost in oil money

Angola's oil revenues from taxes and fees charged to oil companies operating in the African nation are expected to rise to $16.6 billion in 2010 from $15.7 billion this year, according to the country's draft budget plan.

Angola, which rivals Nigeria as Africa's biggest oil producer, has calculated the oil revenues based on an average oil price of $58 dollars per barrel for 2010.

Angola: Senator Lugar Hails New Chapter in U.S.-Angolan Relations

Lugar noted that Angola is an important trading partner for the United States, primarily because of its oil and gas. He said Angola has now eclipsed Nigeria as the largest oil and gas producer in Africa. "Angola has demonstrated the vitality of its petroleum industries, which operate on the cutting edge of technology in deep-water oil fields off coast. On the strength of this oil extraction, Angola has maintained an average GDP growth of more than 14 percent per year since 2002. Nonetheless," he said, "Angola remains near the bottom of the U.N.'s Human Development Index," which tracks the economic well-being of a country's population.

He cited estimates that Angola may be within five to 10 years of reaching peak oil production and, therefore, he stressed the need for diversifying the country's economy in the long term, to establish alternative sources of income. Angola's success in diversifying its economy, he said, will depend on "expanding the important progress already made towards deepening democratic governance, improving public transparency, creating a business environment that is unambiguous in its law and its practice."

Housing bust halts growing suburbs

The recession and housing collapse have halted four decades of double-digit growth for nearly half of the nation's biggest rapidly expanding suburbs.

Twenty-four of the 53 cities of 100,000 or more that grew by at least 10% every decade since 1970 lost population in the last two years.

Cargill warns on self-sufficiency

The drive towards self-sufficiency in response to last year's food crisis will fail, a top executive at Cargill has warned, adding that the idea that countries "can be self-sufficient in every single food is a nonsense".

The warning by the world's largest trader of agricultural commodities comes ahead of next Monday's UN World Summit on Food Security in Rome, the first since 2002. The summit was prompted by the surge in the price of staples such as rice and wheat, which last year hit record highs, sparking food riots in countries from Bangladesh to Haiti.

LCC threats: The Environment, fuel prices, aircraft financing and fees & taxes

Inevitably, fuel prices are critical to the shape of the industry. For the lower cost carriers, fuel constitutes a higher proportion of costs and LCCs are consequently more sensitive to substantial input price increases. As jet fuel prices went through USD170 a barrel last year and rising, many LCCs were becoming seriously compromised. Peak oil promises to threaten the basic model again, as economies recover.

Even at today’s depressed levels of economic activity, oil prices are hovering around USD70, partly on speculation, partly due to production and refining issues. Once prices rise above these levels, there is a steep reduction in the value proposition of LCCs vs full service airlines.

Gold Investing Expert: Bob Moriarty Goes on Record Part II

Peak oil is real and the only thing preventing $200 a barrel oil right now is a recession that is morphing into a depression. Energy of all sorts is good.

Food is an analog of energy so agriculture is good.

Uranium is the only reasonable replacement for oil but we have waited for too long to recognize peak oil and we are going to pay for that error of judgment.

Chris Nelder, logi Energy-China: The Vampire Squid of Commodities, Part One

In his presentation on China’s oil and gas balance, Michael Rodgers of PFC Energy made one thing abundantly clear: China’s domestic oil production has nearly peaked, while its demand for oil is only going up.

CBI boss's memo to Gordon Brown: when you're in a fiscal hole, stop digging

While sanguine about the possibility that the world has passed the point of peak oil, Lambert says the CBI is concerned that action will be needed to prevent energy shortages by 2016-17. "It won't happen because people can see it coming."

Even in a season of apocalyptic films, these facts are really, really scary

In Collapse, Ruppert connects the dots between peak oil, essential human services, alternate energy sources, agricultural production, governments, money interests and strategies for survival. All power points from his recent book, A Presidential Energy Policy, Ruppert delivers them in a plain-spoken vocabulary peppered with imaginative analogies. But this is not merely an activist doc intended to support Ruppert's treatise. Smith gives us something much more: a subtle portrait of a man whose sense of duty has affected his personal life.

Water and Energy Crisis Looms on Horizon

Ocean Energy Institute founder and energy investment banker Matthew Simmons gave an hour-long keynote address at the Island Institute's 2009 Sustainable Island Living conference on Saturday morning at the Strand Theatre in Rockland. Simmons titled his talk "The Gulf of Maine: What Lies Beyond the Fossil Fuel Horizon," but his presentation ranged far outside the Gulf to encompass the globe.

Sporting a delicate windmill as a lapel pin, Simmons started off by reflecting on the concept of sustainability, a current buzzword among energy development experts. "More and more people around the world are beginning to wonder, "Does the globe have a sustainable strategy?'" Simmons said. "It's all about sustainability. Sustainability means protecting or improving our living standards. And without abundant water and energy, we are not sustainable," he said. "There's no question that our oceans are energy's last frontier."

Who cares about peak oil when you have corn cobs?

The nation's biggest ethanol firm says costs for corn-cob biofuel are coming down. But what happens to the soil?

SAfrica plans new nuclear power station by 2020

PRETORIA (Reuters) - South Africa, plagued by chronic power shortages, plans to have the country's new nuclear power plant up and running by 2020, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters told a nuclear conference on Friday.

State-owned power utility Eskom, which operates Africa's sole nuclear power plant with a total capacity of 1,800 MW, cancelled plans to build a new facility at the end of last year, citing financial constraints.

Doubts raised on nuclear industry viability

(PhysOrg.com) -- The investment in nuclear power has been growing around the world over the last few years, being viewed as a means for countries to control their energy security, avoid the price fluctuations of other energy sources, and reduce their carbon dioxide emissions, but concerns are now being raised.

A scientist from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology predicts that supplies of uranium are running out and countries relying on imports of uranium may face shortages by 2013, while a New York Times journalist suggests new nuclear power plants are an "abysmal" investment that will never pay for itself without government financial support.

BP Invests $3 Billion in Alternative Energy Globally

(Bloomberg) -- BP Plc, Europe’s second-biggest oil company, has invested $3 billion in alternative energy globally and is on course to meet its commitment made in 2005 to spend $8 billion, said a company official.

London-based BP will focus mainly on wind power projects in the U.S., solar in India and China and biomass in Brazil, BP China President Chen Liming said at a Beijing conference today.

Beijing to Boost Alternative Energy, Electric Cars

(Bloomberg) -- Beijing plans to build a 70 megawatt solar power plant and a 50 megawatt biomass power plant as part of the city’s focus on expanding the use of alternative energy, the capital’s Development and Reform Commission said today.

The government will also develop wind power, nuclear power and geothermal power, according to a statement by the commission issued before a news briefing.

China May Lead Mergers in Asia Clean Energy, Stanchart Says

(Bloomberg) -- Asia’s renewable business led by China may see mergers and acquisitions because of overcapacity, declining raw material prices and multiple players, an official from Standard Chartered Plc said.

“There will be consolidation in the wind and solar sector in the near future, predominantly in China,” said Brad Sterley, director, renewable energy and environmental finance. “The renewable energy market is very fragmented in the manufacturing sector.”

China May Increase Wind Turbine Exports, Morgan Stanley Says

(Bloomberg) -- China may increase wind turbine sales to the U.S. and Europe because of lower domestic demand and an overcapacity in manufacturing, threatening global makers, an official at Morgan Stanley said.

Power grid constraints in China may leave as much as 4 gigawatts of wind power generation capacity lying idle, slowing further additions in producing electricity from wind, said Sunil Gupta, managing director for Asia and head of clean energy at Morgan Stanley in Singapore. As much as 40 percent of China’s wind power generating capacity may be unutilized, he said.

Md. regulators approve Garret County wind farm

BALTIMORE – The Maryland Public Service Commission has approved an application to build a 50-megawatt wind energy farm atop Backbone Mountain near Oakland in Garrett County.

Geothermal Needs Support: Industry

Indonesia needs to relax its laws to make it easier to explore for geothermal energy in protected forests if it is going to meet a target of lifting electricity demand from renewables, an industry official says.

Cabinet approves solar power programme

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India's cabinet on Thursday approved its first solar power plan, pledging to boost output from near zero to 20 gigawatts (GW) by 2020 as part of its plan to fight global warming.

Shun beef to stop climate change, says India

NEW DELHI (AFP) – India, a stronghold of vegetarianism where the cow is a sacred animal for the majority Hindu population, has urged the rest of the world to give up eating beef to help reduce global warming.

"The single most important cause of (carbon) emissions is eating beef," Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said during a speech on Thursday, his office told AFP.

Sex, food, and climate change

Roughly two centuries ago, British thinker Thomas Malthus famously predicted that human overpopulation would result in food shortages and mass famine. “The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man,” he said. For a long time, his idea that mass famine would overtake humanity was rejected out of hand by those who pointed to industrial agriculture and vastly increased crop yields. Industrial agriculture proved him wrong, or so the textbooks said.

Malthus’s ideas are now back in vogue as global food futures are uncertain, due to a devastating combination of fresh water depletion; drought caused by climate change; the collapse of the world’s oceans; an increase in fuel prices (as global oil supplies peak); soil erosion caused by excessive pesticide use; and the replacement of agricultural lands by biofuel crops.

NY AG: AES Corp. agrees to pollution disclosures

NEW YORK – AES Corp., which operates several coal-fired power plants in the U.S., has agreed to put more information about global warming in its public financial disclosures.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that AES, based in Arlington, Va., is the latest power company to agree to give investors more information about pollution.

Energy leaders back climate change deal

GENEVA (AFP) – Energy industry leaders on Thursday called for an international deal on climate change to tackle financial uncertainty and prevent potentially catastrophic global warming.

"The climate framework is the top long term issue," World Energy Council (WEC) Secretary General Christoph Frei told a UN conference on energy security.

Harvard Finds Kidney Stones, Malaria Among Global-Warming Risks

(Bloomberg) -- Kidney stones, malaria, Lyme disease, depression and respiratory illness all may increase with global warming, researchers at Harvard Medical School said.

Climate change from the burning of fossil fuels will add to risks to public health, said Paul Epstein, associate director of Harvard’s Center for Health and the Global Environment in Boston. The center and groups led by the American Medical Association are presenting data at a briefing today in Washington as a call for action to curb emissions.

Scientists baffled by global warming's time-out

Temperatures haven't risen this decade, as climatologists expected. Is it sunspots? Ocean currents? Secret volcano?

Melting sea ice dilutes water, endangers sea life

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Melting of the Arctic sea ice due to global warming is diluting surface waters and this is endangering some species of shellfish which need minerals in the water to form their shells and skeletons, scientists have found.

In a paper published in Science, they warned that this has serious implications for ecosystems in the Arctic.

From the first link. I realize that they use the supercomputer for a particular reason but I have long known that certain classes of problems benefit more from thinking smart than thinking hard. Reducing complexity systematically always makes a problem less hard to solve and statistical physicists have used straightforward probability arguments to understand how massively complex processes play out w/o having to use a supercomputer.

The whole oil depletion problem benefits greatly from a "simple" reduction in complexity. Many people would probably find it odd that you need huge supercomputers to help us figure out exactly where the oil resides, yet you can essentially write the proof on a piece of paper that would describe the shape of the peak oil curve.

Another thing that got me thinking. I wonder if the UK Met office used that same supercomputer to figure out if the supercomputer actually created 12,000 tons of carbon a year. For being only the 89th fastest supercomputer in the world, that sounds like a huge amount of barrels of crude to burn off just to make electrons run around inside some chips :)

In the comments section on the WSJ blog, I posted a version of my Oilwatch post about Saudi net oil exports versus US oil prices:


As noted in the post, I think that the Saudis did their best in the 2004-2005 time frame to bring oil prices back into the $22-$28 OPEC price band, as annual US oil prices rose from $26 in 2002 to $57 in 2005. But then we have the 2006, 2007 & 2008 Saudi net export data as US annual oil prices rose from $57 in 2005 to $100 in 2008.

2009 US oil prices will probably average around $60. If the 2010 annual oil prices exceeds 2009, and if Saudi net exports don't match or exceed 9.1 mbpd in 2010, we will have seen five straight years of Saudi net exports below their 2005 rate, with four of the five years showing annual year over year increases in oil prices--and to top it off, the starting point of $57 in 2005 was twice the upper end limit of $28 that they pledged to support in 2004.

The ELM is precisely one of these emergent kinds of models that doesn't require a lot of computing horsepower. Yet it only takes someone like Jeffrey and Sam to exercise their brain-power to discover its utility. :)

I nominated Sam and myself for an award--for the most blindingly obvious mathematical description of something that is however probably at the same time still the most overlooked factor affecting global oil supplies and oil prices. And of course, several other people studied the issue before we did, but here is our key contribution, the three characteristics of net export declines:

(1) The net export decline rate tends to exceed the production decline rate;

(2) The net export decline rate tends to accelerate with time;

(3) As implied by #2, net export declines tend to be front-end loaded, with the bulk of post-peak cumulative net oil exports (CNOE) being shipped early in the decline phase. A corollary to #2 and #3 is that the initial post-peak CNOE depletion rate tends to greatly exceed the initial net export decline rate.

Web -- I suspect very little of that computing power is being applied to the exploration process. As you say such efforts work better on intuition and logic then number crunching. What I've heard is that they are continuously running reservoir engineer simulations...multi-billion cell designs. Basicly if they produce this well at a certain rate or drill a new well here what is the result. I also suspect that at this point they've maxed out the effort. Some small modifications as the stats update but I doubt there can be any big changes anticipated at this point.

Yes, the old finite element number crunching which will guarantee to use all available computing horsepower no matter how big the computer is. Not knocking what they are trying to do but they don't seem to be the least bit interested in looking at the ensemble effects of these physical processes.

In other words, all the variations in the diffusion and drift as they apply to Darcy's law and other ideas can get rolled up into some general formulations that we can use to establish some policy decisions. I only suggest that this will not take a lot of computing horsepower, just mental horsepower.

Maybe it's like the proverbial Perfect Cart where every part wears evenly, and lasts long, and then one day everything wears out at once. Maybe the goal is to have every well dry up at the same time.

Ford came close to this in the '70s with the Pinto, except for the lasting long part.

Once they're done with the oil extraction, the Saudis can turn their supercomputing power to the "recycling" of materials from their nuclear power plants which will be up and running by then. Knowledge is power, after all, and there's not a heckuva lot of difference between brute-force finite-element dynamical models of depleting reservoirs versus spherical implosion devices.

Perhaps the machines are just to model the various math for building a nuke plant.

And like the 1970's when the Shaw of Iran was gonna get nuke power plants, I'm sure there are no issues with KSA having fission power plants - what with ALL the people of KSA being such good friends with everyone else.

Good thing the world has all kinds of treaties from the 1950's so all the nations of the world can develop their own fission power systems.

(The best (ok, only) nuke plant modeling software I ever had was this: http://www.virtualapple.org/threemileislanddisk.html )

Very good analogy. I have actually just recently studied the math behind reliability and the effects of wear. There is much similarity behind dispersion in reliability and dispersion of oil processes.


Take something as simple as popcorn popping, which is a wear effect against the application of heat. A single kernel seems fairly uniform and should pop at a predictable time, but when you do the experiment, you will notice that all the kernels do not pop at the same time depending on the cooking temperature. In fact the pops are dispersed over a fairly wide range in time.

No one can predict when an individual kernel will pop but you can project the average quite well by just assuming the temperature and maximizing entropy in the dispersion.

Now whether the oil industry is trying to fight the forces of entropy and driving towards a situation where all the oils dry up at the same time, I can't say. It seems a bit conspiratorial, and in the end they won't win. They can try to do it with a mechanically designed Pinto but not with the vagaries of mother nature as an adversary.

just as with ghawar oil rate, popping rate is a function of water saturation. it seems this boils down(pun only partly intended,(popi)) to popcorn heterogeniety !

Obligatory Stuart Staniford link - Going, Going, Ghawar

It was leaked (Bob Shaw) supercomputer models that helped Stuart with this amazing analysis.


Any chance to get an Emeritus post from Stuart? Even just a 'hows it going'? or a submit your question for Stuart like Reddit does with famous people?

ps- thanks for the firefox plugins suggestions on Wednesday.

Thanks for the suggestion!

Since I work in a non-oil related part of FEA I would concur. People want to be able to brag about running the biggest model yet. Car crashes which are our bread and butter used to be a few tens of thousands of elements, now they are millions. I bet eighty percent of the possible safety improvements were discovered early on with the crude models. But you gotta impress the executives. Then if they really had their heads on straight, they would be doing automatic optimization of the design (to meet some overall system goals), and this requires hundreds of model runs. So there clearly is no limit to how much computational effort they cam expend.

Umm, I've been very interested in your work on various models, but have you actually validated that they give better predictions than the models running on the supercomputers? I know your models are "simpler" and "more intuitive" but are they solving the particular problem "better"? (In your stat phys analogy, my understanding is that probability arguments are effective on certain questions about the behaviour of a given physical system and not so effective on other questions.)

I have a post in the TOD queue about this topic, and it has been sitting there for over a week so I decided to cross-post to my own blog:

Of course my models are better, because no one is actually doing these kinds of depletion models ( this sounds presumptuous but I stand to be corrected if you find some :). As I said in a comment that got deleted on TOD yesterday, Petroleum Engineering as a discipline will not acknowledge depletion formally since they would then have to admit that the whole P.E. academic discipline will eventually disappear from all university curriculum. It is not in their interest to demonstrate the overall depletion. Whether they use supercomputers or not, they (engineering academia, nor the oil industry) won't attempt this. All I am saying is that I don't use a supercomputer because I don't have to. Read the post and you will see why.

Current plan is to put WHT's post up on The Oil Drum tomorrow.

Thanks, I can now spend all my Saturday responding to comments :)

Petroleum Engineering as a discipline will not acknowledge depletion formally

i think you have it wrong, they, pe's, are too busy creating flashy power point presentations(fppp).

argh ! i think i have mugambo acronym disorder(mad).

embryo -- I'm not sure if I understand your question. If you're referring to exploration models they are not done utilizing any computer. About the only widespread use of computers in the exploration game today is constructing Power Point shows in order to pitch your idea. The only significant application of computer power in the exploration effort is processing seismic data and that's relatively low effort compared to supercomputers. There's so little commonality between one exploration project and another that the wonderful redundancy ability of computers is of little value. In 34 years I've never seen a exploration project generated with a computer. The process is more like a cheesy private detective gathering up bits and pieces of info and drawing conclusions which are often incorrect. An old geologist once wrote: "Oil is found in the minds of men". I know that sounds rather romantic and simplistic but it is what I've observed continuously over my career.

I'll give you a very current example. In a couple of weeks we'll spud a well in S La. that is looking for a very valid target of 20 million bbls of oil and 100 bcf of NG. Based upon a sophisticated computer model? No. A company had previously drilled for the same target and stopped about 500' short in our estimate. They thought they had drilled deep enough and the reservoir just wasn't there. After they abandoned the effort another geologist looked at the same data and developed a very plausible alternative explanation which I agreed with. He was just one geologist sitting in his little office in Lafayette, La looking at a paleontology report on the well and noticed something that no one else had. So for a risk of $3 million we'll see if there really is about $2 billion of oil/NG down there. What dreams are made of embryo. And dreams originate in the minds of men.

As far as reservoir engineering modeling my efforts have always been very simplistic as the projects have been very small compared to a Ghawar field. As I understand it the need for the supercomputers is not so much the complexity of the model but the sheer volume of data involved. It's the speed that's needed more than anything else as I've been told.

I would only add that the 3D visualization computers are fairly sophisticated. As of 10 years ago, they had to use at least SGI workstations to do the visualizations. Many of these were multiprocessor machines and since I was working with these workstations at the time (ONYX-level), I knew that the oil industry was also a big client of SGI (fyi, I did vehicle simulations). Now, all they need to use is a souped up gaming PC to get the equivalent of a multi-million$ ONYX.

The rest I agree with. What is in the minds of men is the concept of uncertainty and how best to deal with it. What I try to do is quantify the uncertainty by using ideas from statistical physics such as the principle of maximum entropy. This does not require supercomputing power, only the careful application of the laws and rules of probability and you can come up with some good ensemble projections of the way things will play out. People have a hard time believing this could work but it does for many classes of problems. I don't think it will apply completely to the individual projects that Rockman looks at, but if we could take an ensemble of Rockmen projects, we can actually make some headway in the global prediction business.

Web -- certainly with you on the visualization capabilities of today's computer systems. For those not too familiar with the exploration process today, seismic data, especially 3d data (very high density data) really drives the process. And the visualization Web refers to is truly amazing. About 25 years ago I would work with paper prints (maybe 3' x 6'+) and make my interpretations. On a large offshore block in the GOM it might take a couple of months to make the interpretations and post it to a series of maps. Now I can do the same (actually with much more useful and accurate results) in less than a week. And if I needed an advanced process display back then I would send it to the computing center (but they didn't use supercomputers... just mainframes) and I would get the results back in a week or two. Now I can click my mouse 4 or 5 times and get the same results back in less than 10 seconds. And this is from a $500 desktop with a 1TB external hard drive.

This is why I've made the comment before that the exploration process has never been easier or more accurate then it is today. The problem is that there just aren't that many places left to look. But again, this is all done with dirt cheap desktop machines. My three large monitors cost more than the CPU that runs my seismic workstation. Not only pretty pictures but BIG pretty pictures. The software is the most expensive component...$25,000. But that allows me to do the work of at least four $180,000/year geophysicists from the good ole days.

Also Web, we actually do something similar to your "ensemble" approach. But we don't do it based upon the prospects...they are just to dissimilar to work that way. We really do it based upon the track record of an individual geologist. The great majority of geologists I've worked with over these years CANNOT consistently find oil/NG at a profit. Just a cold hard fact. It's not an easy business. But when you do find one (we call such a person a "hand"...about the highest compliment you can give someone in the oil patch). It's similar to your popcorn analogy. You can't accurately predict which prospects will work. But collectively you'll end up with a nice warm bowl of comfort food... if you sue the right popcorn. You want to get some handle on the "global prediction business" you'll need to assemble a collection of the best hands you can afford. These are the companies I worked with. And no one here is familiar with their names. These are not the Exxons et al. Nor are these the folks who would work the various "expert agencies that are providing us and our gov'ts all this critical analysis we need to guide us through PO.

....not so much the complexity of the model but the sheer volume of data involved.

it is the gigacell model they use, so it is both, volume and complexity. the basic model is rather simple with mega bells and whistles.

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."

Dittmar has submitted 4 stories on this topic here recently, beginning with The Future of Nuclear Energy: Facts and Fiction - Part I: Nuclear Fission Energy Today. Mountains of comments, most strenuously disagreeing with his conclusions.

I was not asked to keep this confidential, and I see no good reason to do so.

This morning I was asked to prepare one or more 1 to 2 page summary of ideas for an upcoming Jobs Bill (est cost $500 billion) to submit to staffers who then feed items up the food chain. Detail can be submitted in links.

It is possible that I could forward other people's ideas up the chain as well (NO PROMISES !)

I was told that I can publish anything I submit elsewhere (TOD ?).

Best Hopes :-)




My two cents.

I have talked to others here in the Midwest and many of us believe electrified very light rail down the rural interstates corridors between major metropolitan cities is the way to go. Think monorail or triangular tube rollercoaster type construction. This would be a jobs program, technology innovator and result in jump starting reduction in commuter miles/mass transit ridership.

My personal experience is that many people are driving fixed routes daily between and within population centers. This clogs the rural and metro interstate highway at peak times and spills this into the feeder roads as well. There are already car pools and ride shares running these routes and people would quickly switch to rail if it existed. By running between cities it would put stops in the city and pick up local commuters. Rail must be timely (run every 10-15 minutes at rush hour) and be convenient. That is make stops close to transit hubs running buses, bike racks, or access to skywalks in downtowns.

The hurdles are always getting 4-7 government entities to sign on and agree since jurisdictions overlap, Federal, State, County, City, and other. Getting all parties to allow the land to be used or agree to easements is more of a road block than money to actually install the rail. There is less access to land for rail than for roads which are still being built and widened.

Thank you for a good presentation.

I am afraid that we won't see this begin as a jobs program. The administration seems to be buying in to the Wall Street model of BAU.

However, as the peak fades into the past, and oil rises as a barrier to transportation vis-a-vis $10 gasoline, cooperation will suddenly seem like a good idea. Problem: will there be any resources available then to start, much less finish, the project?

Congrazt to ya for having an ear to power.

Alas the outsouring of making of stuff to other nations (thus allowing the illusion of growth and increasing prosperity) combined with the economic end of cheap oil won't let us return to "the way things used to be" which is the un-stated goal of the bill, right?

Using the long stick of government to bump people towards jobs in an economy with electric motors being the prime mover VS internal combustion engine prime movers along with a class of workers who more directly capture photons in the form of solar thermal hot water/PV or even wind. But such will not be instant jobs nor the high pay of the past.

Locomotives and railcars are still made in the USA (EMD moved to London, Ontario). Buy America provisions make mass transit cars assembled with here with some US parts.

Steel rail and ties are made here, as is copper wire etc.

Labor to install would be local (mostly union).

Best Hopes,


And while rail will be a big part of the picture - for every rail car there will still be many more, far smaller electric motors being used as prime movers. But building out rail is a long-term and I'm guessing the only things that have a shot at funding in a special bill would be short term boost in numbers.

Finished within 3 to 3.5 years is the criteria. A number of projects (NOT ALL) can be done within that time frame.

Best Hopes,


Well, good luck on the project ideas.

Can you get 'em to think about the embedded eMergy in the projects/plans?

I happened to listen to this Commonwealth radio show What's the Economy for Anyway? ANNIE LEONARD, COLIN BEAVAN, DAVID BATKER, CHIP GILLER and thought 'yea as long as we are applying filters to ideas - why not the environment'
(things like the Happy Planet Index gets mentioned. http://sca21.wikia.com/wiki/Happy_Planet_Index is a good start point.)

eMergy modeling software:


And MotivePower is in Idaho. They have models designed specifically for commuter rail.

Well I think you gotta be thinking that the future benefits of the public money being spent should be at least comparable to the governments net cost. Note that a job that costs say $1000,000 nominally, costs the government less than that -because the government collects taxes paid by the employee, and it collects taxes from the indirect jobs that come about as the worker spends his paycheck. So in principal, the government could make a project payoff for the taxpayers, that would lose money if undertaken by private industry. But, the key is to not get carried away by the "shovel ready" stuff, -or buy the gotta buy from within the country (economic nationalism) stuff.

That much said, clearly preparing to live in a world with fewer fossil fuels, and other nonsustainable resources is the greatest need. I would think low tech negawatts should come first. Putting attic insulation into low income housing isn't as sexy as say highspeed rail, but I think the cost effectiveness is much greater. But, I'm sure you are already thinking along these lines.

"low tech negawatts should come first. Putting attic insulation into low income housing isn't as sexy as say highspeed rail, but I think the cost effectiveness is much greater."

Just what I was gonna say. 9/10 of what we have to do is cut back and conserve and increase efficiency--maybe 99/100.

We can survive without zipping between cities on electric trains. We can't survive in the north without well insulated houses in an energy constrained future. Low-tech water-saving devices and practices might be next, and programs to improve the tilth of soils, especially around major urban centers, and train people how to grow, store, and cook their own food.

There are very few trained and experienced farmers, and most are quite old--not good.

Same with nurses, lab techs...

We have almost no one who knows how to make a shoe in this country--also not good.

Mostly, though, we need a massive information (propaganda?) program to explain something of the depth of the problem.

As a note, I have NEVER emphasized inter-city rail passenger service. I see that as just nice lagniappe. I have also been AGAINST high speed rail in the USA. We need the basics first, before the luxuries.

The cities of the north also need food#. Electrified trains to bring food and essential goods would be a major positive step.

That people can also travel on those same rails would certainly be nice, if not an absolute essential (in WW II the priorities were 1) freight trains 2) troop trains 3) civilian passenger trains).

OTOH, water saving is not important at all in many areas. I have 16,000 m3/second of fresh water flowing by me less than a mile away.

And I wear Johnston & Murphy, Cole Haan and Allen-Edmonds shoes. All Made in the USA. Last year I spent just $20 less on shoe repairs than on fuel for my car.

Best Hopes,


# Dietary guidelines are still 5 servings of different fruits and vegetables, preferably brightly colored, per day. I can just about do that here year round with local food. In the north, I do not see how.

Well, yams are pretty colorful, and they store pretty well in a root cellar.

There are always unintended consequences of everything. Here in Minneapolis even the old parts of town are more spread out than the older areas of eastern cities, partly because the trolley system made it easier for people to live further from downtown and other work centers and still get there easily and cheeply. So even public transport can lead to a certain amount of sprawl.

We just completed a commuter train that goes fourty miles north of downtown. I was quite excited that we finally had some non-auto transportation options going north, but I do wonder if this is going to further enable and encourage further sprawl along that corridor.

Congratulations on landing this wonderful opportunity. Let us know how if goes.

So glad they finally contacted you. Just curious what the criteria are? For light rail would they be?

Shovel ready, in areas of current high unemployment, direct access from ag areas to population, projects where 'corridors' with wind, rail, and grid are already running side by side, housing 'dead zones' with sensible rail projects pending...you already probably have a pretty good feel where we will get the best value for the money, yes?


Spend most of it retrofitting older homes with new windows, roofing, insulation and weatherstripping.

Most of those items are actually built in the USA while there is a substantial installation overhead generating jobs in the otherwise moribund home construction industry.

This puts money directly into the hands of blue collar workers while saving homeowners a wad on their monthly energy bills. Maybe they'll be able to make the next mortgage payment!

I know there is already some money being spent on this but it's a drop in the bucket compared to the need.

Instead of planning to build nice, new, expensive shiny toys that might save us money a decade from now lets do some dirty, unglamorous, inexpensive work that will save us money next year

-- Jon

I really like this idea.

It might even help those who most need it: renters.

I'd suggest (I can't back it up with numbers) the expenditure now as suggested should not be incompatible with spending on future "shiny toys", which of course I would suggest be LFTRs.
I mean you do both.
Both forms of expenditure are actual expenditure, which stimulates the economy much more than tax reductions do. Both forms increase skills and both forms invest directly in the future.
Of course if you want to be really cynical about it, you could imagine a scenario where expenditure on the development of thorium cycle nuclear reactors is outsourced to some cheap labor country like, oh I don't know, India.

And don't forget a national program to do millions of add-on insulated white metal roofs with water collection features.

1) Insulated -- most energy loss in a home/apt is out the roof; but adding insulation in the attic is labor intensive (not a minus in your project, but if your money all goes to labor, you get fewer roofs done -- better more roofs, more saving)

2) White -- see Secy. of Energy Chu's presentations

3) Metal with water collection features -- most American homes have toxic roof shingles where the rain washes a steady stream of the asphalt away; it is possible to collect and use the water, but to unknown result. Rather than tear these off (wasted labor, creation of landfill waste), leave them all on there, under a nice insulating blanket and metal roof that drains into an integral guttering/collection spout system that flows into barrels or cisterns.

Imagine all the energy saved (1) from the added insulation; (2) from the reduced air-conditioning load in summer; and (3) from reduced water pumping. And the nice increase in global albedo doesn't hurt either.

C'mon, people. I proposed this almost a year ago! And have re-posted repeatedly.

Link already in this thread.

Let individuals/small communities decide what works best for them: energy generation, retrofits, both, individual or community-based, etc.

Use only locals working with/for locals... etc.


Another suggestion would be to expand the use of electric trolley bus. Perhaps implement Rapid Bus Transit systems. One could also tie in updates/improvements to the grid in order to implement these systems. When I've talked to our city council member here in Seattle, he has said that we've delayed making investment in our grid. So federal help in this area would be welcome because the cities don't have the revenue.

This would be a good jobs program because it entails investment in clean transportation and it would use the same civil engineering and construction companies that are used for building roadways.

Wow, congratulations Alan!

LOL! literally as I was reading this post I happened to have the radio on in the background and someone on NPR was saying Jobs, jobs and more jobs!

That has to be a good omen :-)

Amazing timing. The Denver area regional transportation authority says that without additional federal dollars, they won't be able to complete the build-out of light rail in the region. I suspect much of the work could be shifted into your 3-to-5 year window. Immediate jobs in construction, mid-term jobs in rolling stock and such, plus ongoing maintenance. And some probable second-order effects with development along the rail lines occurring sooner.

Ideas for a jobs bill.....sounds interesting!

I know that here in Japan the new govt cancelled a lot of huge cement infrastructure projects like dams, highways, etc. The bulldozers are parked...the cement mixers are parked, but what about the people who would have liked to run these machines? They can`t just park these people! People have to eat!

I read that the Hatoyama govt (they do understand peak oil I think) is sending them into agriculture and forestry training programs. My take: "here is a sandwich and a hand saw, good luck!" Or "here is a row of turnips to weed, here is a hoe and here is your rice ball for lunch! Good luck!!"

What did Deffeyes say again? Fishing, forestry, ranching, mineral extraction/mining and farming....these are the basic 5 professions that withdraw the energy and resources first. The rest of the pyramid of jobs and professions sits on the shoulders of these 5. Therefore, one approach to an energy crisis is to put people to work at the basic level of energy/resource extraction BUT do so at a VERY INEFFICIENT AND MODEST LOW LEVEL. Enough output to feed the one person doing the job is a worthy goal. Actually, spending the day fishing in a small boat or cutting down one tree in a forest would probably be a nice change from many boring office jobs. No need for expensive fossil fuel inputs either (except the sandwich).

I`m convinced that the Hatoyama government is hoping these people will stay in the rural areas, starting news lives living off the land, becoming self-sufficient and reactivating the villages.

Another growth area in jobs here which the govt helps people to train for is home-helper for the elderly. There are so many elderly and no family to care for them (they are busy working.

Tree planting.
Carbon sink, resource creation rather than depletion. Need I say more?

I've not updated this post, but the gist of it still applies. Transportation isn't the most important issue we face, energy and food are. And resiliency. Distributed systems.


This program will impact every American and employ a large percentage, whereas a rail project a small fraction. It would recycle huge amounts of materials, provide energy for every household in the US, and be a huge stimulus to the economy because the money would be instantly and almost completely injected directly into the economy of every town, every city, every state.


I would like to see an urban and suburban "Garden Corps" program. I got a chance to visit the postcarbon institute in Sebastopol,CA (in 2007) before it moved, and it was amazing what they did with very little space. The urban part of the garden corp could focus on rooftop gardens, unused lots, etc. and all that entails, and have some sort of incentive for corporations and small businesses and hire and train people to consult and manage the plots. The suburban corp could focus on helping homeowners and renters who want to do more with their yard, but don't have the knowledge or time. People could sign up to have their yards placed into the program and would receive some produce and knowledge in return?
So much rainwater is wasted in northern california, I would like to see a program that helped people build rainwater capture systems, even if it was just rainbarrels or whatever.



No corps, just help neighborhoods do this. This is what is happening in Detroit, NY and other places. I'm running out the door, but the project I am starting in Detroit is about training people to produce their own food, and other aspects of resilience.

Lots of green stuff happening in Detroit. I'm headed of to the Georgia Street Community Garden/Georgia Street Community Collective now for a clothing drive and craft fair.


On a smaller scale I just walked back from the Saturday Farmers & Fishers Market (much from part-time farmers near the city, a co-op of black small farmers from central Mississippi, three part-time fishermen and one full time, etc.) and shared my surplus seed for my winter garden with my neighbors (many of whom grow summer only gardens).

Best Hopes,


BTW, all new programs simply cannot be set up in the time frame for a "Jobs Bill". Highway Dept's have long lists of shovel ready projects that will employ people. We need better ideas but similar time frames.

It would not be difficult to get this program up and running. Not at all. What do you need? Nothing, that's what you need.

If you want to turn it into a typical gov't program, then you set up a dept. They set up procedures. They figure out a system for a training program. You train people for several years. They get hired to do all these retrofits. You have a procedure to apply for a retrofit. You have a disbursement process. You have another agency to enforce proper use of the funds. Another to prosecute fraud.

Or, you can simply set up an online disbursement center where people can apply. You give it, say, three to six months for people to do proper planning. Have a group of people trained over that 3 - 6 months to review the viability of plans submitted, with an eye to actually HELPING people put together good plans, i.e. train them to give feedback to plans that seem off, and set up a review process for those plans that get rejected to help them get accepted. When one is accepted, the money is disbursed.

Make sure everyone knows prosecuting fraud in this program will be the sole objective after, say, the second or third year because all plans should be in progress by then.

5k per household
groups, neighborhoods, small towns - no cities - may apply
plan must benefit only those directly involved
they get to keep any of the 5k they don't use, but must use it all up to achieving as much as they can
have a minimum required energy/GHG savings


Seriously, Alan, how much time is needed to go to a supplier, get a 3k solar set up or go to the junkyard and pull parts to make one yourself?

Best Hopes for Less Greewashed BAU or BAULite or ChangeLite,


Alan: I know you are mostly focused on transport-related projects, but this needs to be said.

The US needs a new Civilian Conservation Corps, and we need it now.

This new CCC could have a broader mandate than the original one. One thing in particular I would like to see them do is to provide assistance to low-income people to retrofit their homes for greater energy efficiency. They could also retrofit public buildings, and install solar thermal water and space heating.

This type of work would provide valuable on-the-job training to a bunch of otherwise unemployed young people. We need to provide them with this first rung on the ladder, or they are going to end up being a "lost generation". Remove them from the surplus of job applicants for a while and we'll make it easier for the unemployed with good work experience to find something else.

This needs to happen immediately. FDR got the original CCC up and running in just a few months. There is no excuse for further dithering.

The peak oil first-person shooter, Frontlines: Fuel of War is on sale for $7.50 this weekend. I really hate Steam, but for $7.50, I might put up with it.

Interesting leanan. Had I written the scenario I might have had the US and China in the same coalition. They need us to buy their products and we'll need access to all that crude they've been acquiring so our economy stays strong and can pay for China's output. As I coined it a while back: MADOR = Mutually Assured Distribution Of Resources. I think this story plays well...until there's only enough for one of us.

In the television series Firefly, the Chinese and the Americans form a powerful alliance. I suspect that China and America have been secret allies for a long time.


I am going to take a pass - the shoot-em-up games don't do much for me. Besides - the wife already gives me boatloads of crap for playing with RailWorks.

I confess...I love first-person shooters. I was permanently warped by "Doom" in my misspent youth. I thought that game was the most amazing and awesome thing I ever saw.

It was a peak oil game, too, sort of. A shortage of hydrocarbons on earth was the reason there was a research station on Mars. It was supposed to be solving Earth's energy crisis, but instead opened a portal to hell. It was probably just an excuse to have shootable exploding oil barrels all over the place, but still.

There was a **story** behind Doom?


'Catastrophic' warning as fires flare in Australia

Hundred-year records tumbled this week as the south and southeast of Australia sweltered through a heatwave which dried out vast tracts of bush and farmland already in the grip of a decade-long drought.

Flights were delayed due to the unseasonable heat, thunderstorms, strong winds and the effects of smoke on visibility, air traffic officials said.

The first "catastrophic" or "Code Red" warnings -- a new category introduced after February's deadly Black Saturday fires -- were declared in parts of the two states, under which residents are strongly advised to flee their homes.

I knew this was going to happen:

Poll: Public shifting blame for recession

"The bad news for the Democrats is that the number of Americans who hold the GOP exclusively responsible for the recession has been steadily falling by about two to three points per month," said Keating Holland, CNN polling director. "At that rate, only a handful of voters will blame the economy on the Republicans by the time next year's midterm elections roll around.."

It was inevitable.
I know I shouldn't be, but I'm a little surprised it's happening so quickly.
Then again, the shift is actively being assisted by certain groups of people...
And I would think there will eventually be a quite vigorous counter-offensive as well...

I look at it differently. I realize that at various times there have been substantial differences between the parties, but those days are gone. Now they are just different groups vying for a chance to serve the same masters (the small percentage of the population that has accumulated a huge share of the wealth and power). The public is stuck in the illusion of this false choice, so they oscillate back an forth between the two, looking for some way to break out of the cycle - but it has no effect. The part that is interesting is what happens as that anger with no outlet builds - what will happen then? Will some clever sociopath be able to harness it?

Yes, those days of pretending that there were substantive differences between the two parties are indeed gone. So I guess it's appropriate that all the blame for the recession not fall on the GOP, or any other particular bunch of short boys.

The nation shuddered at McCain, repudiated Hillary Clinton, and went for the promise of change. And the electorate was rewarded with a clear demonstration of how futile and empty a gesture voting has become, at least at a national level and regarding financial controls.

I'm not saying that there's no difference between the candidates - far from it - the awarding of the Peace Prize was part of a global sigh of relief that our nation had apparently backed off from the most infamous policies of the Sociopath-in-Chief.

But "until you change the way money works, you have changed nothing," and that's a change we'll never see happen voluntarily.

When I read the below:

The Federal Reserve, through its extensive network of consultants, visiting scholars, alumni and staff economists, so thoroughly dominates the field of economics that real criticism of the central bank has become a career liability for members of the profession, an investigation by the Huffington Post has found.

all I could do was think of the Upton Sinclair quote that shows up on the right side saying "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it."

Are any geothermal plants using coal/natural gas as a booster to achieve higher temperatures (and thus higher efficiencies)? Geothermal provides a lot of heat relatively cheaply, but the low temperatures make the turbine efficiencies very low (which also makes for high water consumption/KWH. I could see a hybrid CCGT/Geothermal plant being very competitive. In places with existing coal power plants near hot spots, can geothermal be used to reduce the amount of coal used?

Denniger posted comment on this today:


This is movie material either way.

I dunno. Denninger is easily excited. A few e-mails taken out of context doesn't equal grounds for jailing Al Gore.

You have got to be kidding me.

Taking 10 year old e-mails out of context, and jumping to conclusions, doesn't prove one damn thing!

I think Denninger makes a lot of good points when he talks about financial matters, which is strange, because he is clearly out to lunch when it comes to logic in regard to climate change.

"... to hide the decline." could mean literally anything.

" a number of dishonest presentations of model
> > results by individual authors and by IPCC." doesn't tell anyone HOW they are dishonest. Are they over-optimistic, or over-pessimistic?

I'm sorry, but Denninger has no idea what this stuff means, and his claims to the contrary are pathetic.

Real Climate: The CRU hack

More interesting is what is not contained in the emails. There is no evidence of any worldwide conspiracy, no mention of George Soros nefariously funding climate research, no grand plan to ‘get rid of the MWP’, no admission that global warming is a hoax, no evidence of the falsifying of data, and no ‘marching orders’ from our socialist/communist/vegetarian overlords. The truly paranoid will put this down to the hackers also being in on the plot though.

Interesting. Apparently, RealClimate was the one who alerted the university to the hack. Someone tried to upload the information to their site.

I have read the article at RealClimate and WattsUpWithThat. I have also read the associated comments. The emails speak for themselves, and the RealClimate reply is weak.

The emails show the following:

1) Intentionally making up data to falsify a warming trend.
2) Money laundering to evade United States Taxes.
3) Destruction of data to avoid releasing it.
4) etc.

The argument about Soros funding is a Red Herring, used by real climate to avoid dealing with the devastating emails. Last nite, AGW died.

Attached is a news article with many of the mails. Read them.


BS !!


I take the BS as disputing the claim. I will link parts of the text of the emails. For a good news report on, go to


Quotes of Note:

- I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.

- The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.

- Send them the raw data as is, by reconstructing it from GHCN. How could this be done? Replace all stations where the WMO ID agrees with what is in GHCN. This would be the raw data, but it would annoy them.

- So, if we could reduce the ocean blip by, say, 0.15 degC, then this would be significant for the global mean – but we’d still have to explain the land blip.

- It would be good to remove at least part of the 1940s blip, but we are still left with “why the blip”.

The full emails are available at the link i posted. They speak for themselves.

They speak for themselves.
No, they don't. RealClimate explains them, and it's not what you and Denninger think. For example:
No doubt, instances of cherry-picked and poorly-worded “gotcha” phrases will be pulled out of context. One example is worth mentioning quickly. Phil Jones in discussing the presentation of temperature reconstructions stated that “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.” The paper in question is the Mann, Bradley and Hughes (1998) Nature paper on the original multiproxy temperature reconstruction, and the ‘trick’ is just to plot the instrumental records along with reconstruction so that the context of the recent warming is clear. Scientists often use the term “trick” to refer to a “a good way to deal with a problem”, rather than something that is “secret”, and so there is nothing problematic in this at all. As for the ‘decline’, it is well known that Keith Briffa’s maximum latewood tree ring density proxy diverges from the temperature records after 1960 (this is more commonly known as the “divergence problem”–see e.g. the recent discussion in this paper) and has been discussed in the literature since Briffa et al in Nature in 1998 (Nature, 391, 678-682). Those authors have always recommend not using the post 1960 part of their reconstruction, and so while ‘hiding’ is probably a poor choice of words (since it is ‘hidden’ in plain sight), not using the data in the plot is completely appropriate, as is further research to understand why this happens.
A lot of the supposed evidence of fraud is actually just normal statistical adjustments to data, that have to be made to make up for changes in the way temperatures were measured, etc. It's perfectly open and they say what they've done when they publish.

More information. This time from WUWT.

Quotes of Note:

- Phil and I have recently submitted a paper using about a dozen NH records that fit this category, and many of which are available nearly 2K back–I think that trying to adopt a timeframe of 2K, rather than the usual 1K, addresses a good earlier point that Peck made w/ regard to the memo, that it would be nice to try to “contain” the putative “MWP”, even if we don’t yet have a hemispheric mean reconstruction available that far back

- Also, it is important for us if you can transfer the ADVANCE money on the personal accounts which we gave you earlier and the sum for one occasion transfer (for example, during one day) will not be more than 10,000 USD. Only in this case we can avoid big taxes and use money for our work as much as possible

There is more, but these quotes should give you a feel for the emails. As I said before, these mails speak for themselves. AGW died last nite on a Russian server.

There's nothing illegal about trying to minimize your tax bill. There are legal ways of doing that, and most of us use them if we can.

I have worked as a tax accountant, this is not legal.

It appears to be a Russian foundation giving money to a Swiss researcher in the UK. US tax law probably doesn't apply.

Actually, what I find most disturbing are the e-mails about FOI requests. Don't want to jump to conclusions. It's obvious that this is not a "random" sample of e-mails; someone went through and cherry-picked them. It is normal to discuss what's covered under FOI requests and what isn't, at least on this side of the pond. But suggesting the deleting of e-mails is not kosher. (Though apparently, no e-mails were deleted, and the recipient claims not to even remember why such a request would be made.)

Hmm. Someone posted an explanation of sorts at RealClimate, for why Phil Jones would try to evade a FOI request. Apparently, he got his data from various national weather services, on the condition that it remain confidential. (They sell their data, and would lose money if he revealed it for free.) So he had reason to try to avoid revealing the information.

The climateaudit folks claim that all data and "codes" should be available from a web archive following a paper's publication. This apparently follows the lead set by the econometrics field. Unfortunately, econometrics is not a great example of a field making progress in understanding anything.

All of this is just a furious (and illegal, violating privacy laws) attempt to overturn science by ad-homimem slandering of scientists. No one is immume to a concerted attempt to string together out of context quotes. As a commentor on realclimate said, this says a lot more about the state of denialists, than about the scientists. Those folks will stop at nothing.

According to the NY Times, the hack came to light when the hackers tried to break into the RealClimate server to post a fake blog post, along with all the e-mails. Ye gods.

I have said for a long time, PROSECUTE. This is nothing short of mass sui-genocide. That such a sentence isn't hyperbole is chilling.



With all due respect, tax accounting is not the same as research science. I don't think it prepares you to understand much about the scientific process.

I state this as as someone who has two Bachelor of Science degrees in different fields.
By the way, I also do accounting and taxes, and there's a big difference between a bank statement reconciliation and doing field scientific research.

You should read RealClimate again - they very clearly describe the research process.

One wonders why you aren't concerned about the illegal hacking of the archives.

One also wonders why you aren't upset about the illegal libel and slander you and your cohorts constantly dish up.

One wonders why you are not upset that you and your cohorts constantly present false and misleading statements all over the web.

One wonders why you accept the credentials of non-climate scientists, but question everything climate scientists publish.

One wonders why you are willing to take comments out of context to advance an agenda, even after the context is explained to you. "...trick..." , for example.

Show is what in all the bile you spew does anything to dispute the science?


One wonders why...

Oh, never mind, no need to wonder, just another denialist concern troll, gotta wonder who's taxes he was doing and if he ever used legal loopholes to his client's advantage. What a wanker!

The only reason this is interesting is because they can just as easily do this to the oil depletion analyst folks. That is why you have to keep hammering on the data and the interpretation to make it rock-solid and beyond reproach. As it stands, the amount of heuristics and subjective judgment that conventional oil depletion depends on makes it very susceptible to this kind of attack. I realize that the other side will do whatever they can, including lie, to maintain their BAU, but that only means that we have to be stronger in our own arguments. Good science always wins out, even if it wins when it is too late.

That is why you have to keep hammering on the data and the interpretation to make it rock-solid and beyond reproach.

I just don't see it that way at all. They are playing political/PR theater here. Convincing the irrational masses, not elite thinkers is their game. Bombproof mathematical proof is incomprehensible to well over 99% of the population. It can't compare to a good ad-hominem attack. Unless a majority of people can distinquish good thinkers with impeccable intellectual integrity versus skilled propagandists, that approach just won't work. And those skilled propagandists are very good at winning over poorly informed political brains. And they will be many of the same ones, funded by the same sources that we see attacking AGW.

This can be argued. How did the ideas of AGW take root in the first place?

It was not an appeal to the 99% of the population. It was to the thinkers. We just have to maintain our arguments to the thinkers while worrying on how to do the framing to the rest of the public. Respond to this comment at http://www.theoildrum.com/node/5949

Emails out-of-context and purposely misinterpreted change nothing. RealClimate does a good job of providing context.

Reading the full emails provides better context. RealClimate is doing a poor job of answering the questions. The fact that RC brought Soros into this issue shows they are desperate.

You've posted nothing that puts any of the climate science in question. You should be ashamed of yourself. Or is your check for posting such too large to refuse?

Look, this Al Gore as a modern day Mother Theresa is what is pathetic. The guy has managed to turn 2 million into 100 million in a few years by working in partnership with Goldman Sachs by promoting climate change. Now that doesn't mean that climate change should be "denied" but it definitely means that all the blind followers should open their eyes and welcome some objective scrutiny. ANYBODY that makes that kind of money working with Goldman Sachs should be under public scrutiny when they are influencing public policy and the spending of taxpayer money. This has nothing to do with "denying" it is just common sense unless you are in favor of the USA being absolutely totally gutted, which is the trend.

And he is fat also----
This is just a plot to sell books and make money.
That global warming and Co2 stuff is a commie plot to deny my divine right to prosperity, and make capitalism fail so socialism will take over!
Science is Satan!

Why Oh why does this always degenerate into an ad hominem attack on a non-scientific spokesman who attempts to warn policy makers about the looming catastrophe of climate change?

As for Al raking in the big bucks, Brian, you probably got it from Fox News' edit of Gore's Senate testimony.


Can we put this false narrative put this false narrative to bed, Please?

Agree. Come on, Brian. Nobody was saying Al Gore was a saint. Why even bring this topic up? It doesn't produce productive discussion.

Can we put this false narrative put this false narrative to bed, Please?

But, it is working. It wins public debates. Unless our culture changes so that we begin to treat serial liers as harshly as we treat serial rapists, this sort of stuff will continue.

You want the culture to change in that manner-exactly what do you conclude the culture of Goldman Sachs is based upon-it sounds like you are portraying it as hard work, integrity,honesty and responsibility to the shareholders,customers and the taxpayers who fund the bonuses.

Look, this Al Gore as a modern day Mother Theresa is what is pathetic.

Being Mother Theresa isn't high praise. As an example (and only because it was on the 1st page of the search list)

As Christopher Hitchens has said, an English nurse actually left after Mother Teresa had refused to help a child who would certainly have lived had he had a course of antibiotics. Her response was that it was irrelevant because he was going to meet God anyway!

I guess I could have said Ghandi but who knows what that sucker was up to on the side.

I have seen a few articles that were basically exposes of Mother Teresa. A common criticism is that she used money to build convents and such, instead of feeding people, and that she truly believed suffering would bring you closer to god, and so didn't do much to alleviate it in her hospices.

A friend on mine actually worked with her in India. Her view was she rebelled against Catholic regulated action, and took matters into her own hands.
But we must be realistic, as when religion gets involved, superstition and ignorance prevails.

From the link you posted :-

"General Comments
The idea that climate without human intervention can only undergo “natural variability”, and that “climate change” can only result from human activity is false and fallacious. It is in conflict with all that we know of evolution and geology. It is simply wrong to assume that “ climate change” automatically implies human influence on the climate.

This fallacy is embraced by the Framework Convention on Climate Change, but the IPCC (Footnote to “Summary for Policymakers. Page 1) claim that they are prepared to accept “natural variability” as “climate change”. They are, however, unwilling to accept the truth, which is that climate can change without human intervention. "

This is the sort of thing that can only impress a non-scientific mind confused by words longer than one syllable.

"Natural Variability" has, of course, been going on since long before humans arrived on the scene, and, of course, we see it today also. That's why it's called "Natural".

No-one I know has ever said there isn't some natural variability going on e.g. El Nino.

However, the point is that the changes we are seeing cannot be accounted for by "Natural Variability" alone.

To show this, one must be able to differentiate between "Natural" and "Man-Made" forcers, i.e.carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, as the major contributor.

This is done by measuring Carbon12/Carbon13 isotopes, and also by carbon dating, C14, which show recognizable traces of burning of fossil fuels e.g. lignite.

It never ceases to amaze me how non-scientific people can take a few comments out of context and create a false scenario out of them, as if they knew what they were talking about. And that people believe them.

Rare type of tumor occurs in 1 out of 100,000 people. Natural Variability.
Rare type of tumor occurs in 10 out of 100,000 people in a town next to a chemical plant pouring toxics into the drinking water. Man-made.

But, natural variability is almost always many times slower than the changes that are hapening today. What the paleoclimate history shows is the existence of feedbacks that allow small changes in inputs to generate large changes in the climate state. Both theory, and paleoclimate studies give roughly the same value for sensitivity to a doubling of CO2. And the increase in CO2 inventory (atmosphere plus oceans) is a reasonably good match to human emissions.

Yes. Of course, in my rare tumor example, what I should have said was this :-

1 in 100,000 : Natural Variation
10 in 100,000 if you are drinking toxic water released by a chemical plant : 1 rare tumor could be passed off as natural variation, 9 rare tumors are man-made

The difficulty is knowing whether you have the one naturally occurring tumor, or one of the nine man-made ones (even though you are just as dead either way, but 10 times more likely to be dead if you live next to the chemical plant in question).

Like the idea of the firing squad, no-one knows, exactly, whose was the bullet that killed.

e.g. hurricanes
Scientists can only state that the frequency and intensity of hurricanes will increase due to warming of the oceans, but, unfortunately, can't say exactly which hurricane is the one which is naturally occurring, and which are the ones that are man-made.

Either way, hurricanes can be a very bad thing, and I'd imagine people would want to try and reduce their frequency and intensity, if they had the means to do so. Of course, they won't want to until they get hit by one.

There's a great line in an old Curtis-Lemmon movie called "The Great Race".

Curtis (the good guy) and Lemmon (the bad guy) and Natalie Wood (the love interest) and Peter Falk (the bad guy's henchman) get themselves (and their cars) stranded on an iceberg. Curtis keeps measuring how fast it's melting to see if they'll reach land before it does. Curtis says to Lemmon to "Keep it to yourself" (so as not to upset Natalie), and Lemmon responds and says "Oh SURE, I'll keep it to myself." Then, under his breath he says "Until it reaches my lower lip, and then I'm gonna mention it to SOMEBODY!"

(great movie, by the way, and you can see Professor Fate's car at the Petersen museum in L.A.)

Every time something like this comes up, I think of that scene for some reason.

A better analogy would be the old Burt Lancaster film-THE RAINMAKER. He couldn't change the weather, and these grifters can't/won't fix the climate, no matter how good it makes everyone feel to think they will. What they will do is transfer incredible sums of money from everyone else to themselves-they deserve it.

With people like you working so hard to prevent any action at all, all you are predicting is that your absurd desire for the end of the human race will likely come true.

And you deserve it, right?

1.I am not preventing any action 2. I am not interested in preventing any action 3. Simply pointing out the appearance of fraudulent or unethical activity should be interesting to you, not alarming or infuriating. 4. Even when you believe in leaders very strongly it is usually useful to stay aware of their actions 5. I think you would agree that Climate Change is a lot more important than Al Gore-probably not a good idea to label any scrutiny of the guy as "denialist" activity.

Of course, Brian, best not to label a spade a spade, a liar a liar or an orange an orange. 'Cause if we don't do that, then we are reasonable people. If we do that we are above the fray and all the unwashed masses will flock to our message. Right?

Or, is it that you wish to ensure no action on climate change by supporting the bilious, willful misrepresentation of climate science as conspiracy and fakery without any strong response so the unwashed masses will lap it up?

There is nothing of interest in any of that. Not one thing.

Compare not wanting to fulfill an FOI request with what we know to be true of denialist:

The position was paid for in the 90's by such groups as the GCC. FACT.

The position continues to be paid for by the fossil fuel industry. FACT.

So here you have a confirmed conspiracy, but the conspirators pretend we didn't confirm this AND try to turn their own guilt on the honest.

Bullpoop. Do not lie to me, for I WILL smack you upside the head with the truth hard and often.

Like I said, I am disinterested-the evidence is I have no idea what you are referring to. Man made climate change appears to be occurring-I have no idea how that relates to what you just typed.

these grifters can't/won't fix the climate, no matter how good it makes everyone feel to think they will.

I repeat: Bull.

Behind a paywall, but viewable through Google:

BP CEO Says US Gasoline Demand Peaked In 2007

NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--U.S. gasoline demand, hammered by the recession, will never return to 2007's peak, as greater use of biofuels and increased engine efficiency cut consumption of the fossil fuel, BP PLC (BP) Chief Executive Tony Hayward said Thursday.

"We will never sell more gasoline in the U.S. than we sold in 2007," Hayward said in an interview with Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal.

Odd that this article yields zero comments on wsj.com. It also doesn't appear to be in their Environmental Capital blog which usually captures energy stories like this. Sort of like, "ho hum, one of the world's largest companies is entering terminal sales decline in it's largest market...meanwhile, what will happen with Black Friday 2009?"

I think I 've solved the Fermi paradox.


Appearently when civilizations get really smart they build one of these:



the end.

Sorry, wee bit of Friday night humour.

This is old but interesting non the less.
It reminds me of Sun Microsystems slogan from the tech boom......."The Network is the Computer".

barnett horizontal shale snapshot:

23 wells completed between 2003 and 2008 estimated eurs.

min 1.3 bcf
max 6.1
mean 2.7
median 2.2 bcf

and a subset of 10 wells on one lease completed between 2004 and 2008, estimated eurs.

min 1.5 bcf
max 6.1
mean 2.9
median 2.7 bcf

these 10 wells show a nearly steady decrease in eur's between '03 and '08.
r(rank) , coefficient of rank correlation, = 0.79. so the date of drilling explains 79 % of the variation.

the obvious interpretation is that these wells are competing for the same reserves.

And they are currently producing probably 300Mcf/d and the cumulative production to date is probably 1.2bcf.

The question everyone wants to know is, "Can these wells produce another +/- 1.6 bcf for the next 24 years?"

Berman thinks probably not. Operators and TPH think probably yes.

Even if they do recover that much more NG if it takes that much longer to produce it won't ad much incentive to the play. The way companies value such future revenue streams is to apply a discount rate vs. time to that cash flow. The DR that most operators use essnetially reduces future cash flow beyond 7 or 8 years to nearly zero value. So even as some operators offer these bigger ultimate recoveries down the road, internally they don't utilize those distant reserves in evaluating the merits of drilling future wells. But, remember, they are selling the sizzle and not the steak. The goal is to boost stock prices. Secondary goal is to sell NG profitably IMHO.

I agree w/ your assessment to an extent. My perspective is from a different angle. As a buyer of production, T0 for my DCF estimate is several years after the well(s) is drilled and I would like to have some guarantee that the decline will behave as predicted/anticipated. It is my risk and I am not trying to pass that off on the Operators. I suppose that we will not know the answer to the shale gas question until it is proven in the field.

THe other thing to consider is that there is a bunch of money being spent on pipelines and policy that would like to have some guarantee as well. A money pit is not not in the best interests of anyone. IMO, the operators need to provide the steak as well. I hope they do, but Petrohawk wanting to cancel a free subscription to an industry trade rag is a pretty piss poor way to debate the question.

Even more piss poor was the way the editors instantly caved to such weak pressure.

And they are currently producing probably 300Mcf/d and the cumulative production to date is probably 1.2bcf.

close, the average cumulative for the 23 wells is 1.1 bcf, however, the average rate is 700 mcfd. i did not forecast an average life, although i could. this analysis is based on log rate vs cumulative analysis. an economic limit of 50 mcfd was used.

using an average current rate of 700 mcfd and an abandonment rate of 50 mcfd gives an estimate of implicit (exponential) decline rate of about 16 % and a quick and dirty estimate of economic life of 18yrs. seems a lot more believable than a 65 yr life pitched by some public traded companies. the 24 yrs. you quote may be close to reality. my calculation is from a current rate of 700 mcfd, so i dont know how a 300 mcfd current rate will fit into a 24 yr life.

the log rate vs cumulative analysis forecasts the wells to continue their hyperbolic ways for the near term.

Electrification Roadmap

In November 2009, the Coalition released its Electrification Roadmap, a sweeping report outlining a vision for the deployment of a fully integrated electric drive network.

The report details the dangers of oil dependence, explains the benefits of electrification, describes the challenges facing electric cars—including battery technology and cost, infrastructure financing, regulatory requirements, electric power sector interface, and consumer acceptance issues—and provides specific and detailed policy proposals to overcome those challenges.

digital or printed report available ...


I'm sorry, but are anyone else's spidey senses tingling with those Mexico numbers?

From a precipitous decline rate, to suspiciously flat, with the mother of all right turns?

Is there any independent confirmation of the numbers, because they are beginning to fail the sniff test for me?

It is hard to believe particularly given the announcement this last week that the push to develop the Chicontepec Basin fields was on hold due to cash flow issues.

Still, perhaps the nitrogen injection at the Ku-Maloob-Zaap is having its intended [if short term] effect.

The next couple of months should tell the story.

linky no worky

It would work if you had one of those mouse gesture add ons

Try this link

just kidding of course, you're right, there's no there there in the poster's link

oops, I meant, try this link

Sorry about the bad link - try this

Who cares about peak oil when you have corn cobs?

The Iowa study, quoted in the above, will certainly shed light on the impact of stover removal on soil fertility.
Most celulosic schemes conveniently overlook the likely increase in topsoil loss due to nutrient removal.

If Bob Shaw is right, and he likely is, then we are close to the time when resource depletion will make chemical/mineral replacement too costly a venture for many farmers.
Anecdotally, I have witnessed a tripling of fertilizer prices locally over the past year.

This site, claims 66% of NA topsoil loss is due to present agricultural techniques, stover removal can only exacerbate the process.

Biofuels off of our current farmlands aren't just a highroad to ecological hell.

Once We seriously start this foolishness, given oil depletion and politics, the high road will morph into a bobsled run ending in a ski jump.

It would be safer to build a few hundred Chernobyl design reactors and run them with high school dropouts in charge.


Of course we are probably ARE collectively dumb enough to start with the cobs ...we will finish in a few years with food riots.

Would any of our resident oil experts care to comment on this Titan process for increasing oil well yield? (apologies if already covered)


i dont know sh1t about microbial oil technology, but i think i can recognize sh1t when i see it.

1) there link to global successes is "under construction". is this because they dont have any ? as much effort as has been put into pitching this story, one would think they would have some examples.

2) more than once in their pitch, they refer to dislodging oil from the "rock face".

By dislodging oil droplets from the rock face within pore spaces...

we often hear of "oil wet" rock and some apparently think that oil is actually attached to the rock. "oil wet" or "water wet" only refer to the shape of the relative permeability curve. as oil accumulates in a reservoir, it must displace water, if there are truley reservoirs where oil has displaced 100 % of the water, they are rare, extremely rare.

3)the remainder of their pitch seems to be summarized with the following exerpts,

The nutrients create a change in the microbes' skin structure which becomes oily, and this induces the microbes to seek and attach to oil droplets—a condition known as oleophilic [oil loving]. Once they have been stimulated, hundreds of trillions of microbes work to attach themselves to oil droplets. The microbe’s skin is now induced to naturally seek an oil coating and is attracted to the oil droplets trapped inside the pore spaces of the oil reservoir.

Trillions of microbes now bathe in and attach to the trillions of oil droplets that were “trapped” inside the pore spaces.

This “attached” combination of oil, water and microbes as it travels through high permeability sections of the reservoir is agitated and rapidly mixed and forms under this stress a natural emulsion that blocks off these high permeability sections (thief zones).

like a microbial ant colony ? sounds far fetched, sounds convoluted, sounds too good to be true. i think i see sh1t.

there may be potential for microbes to generate surfactants which can release oil. surfactants have been studied for decades and the problem is apparently that surface tension must be reduced by an order or two of magnitude to be effective. this has proven impractical because the rock will tend to absorb the surfactant. imo, surfactants are only effective when used in combination with other alchemy processes such as asp, alkaline surfactant polymer.

If you're willing to buy this process, there's some waterfront property in New Mexico that you might be interested in, too.