Drumbeat: November 27, 2009

The Tragedy of 21 Darts [PDF]

This is a long article on the subject of oil & gas reserves and due diligence.

My purpose is to alert you to revision of SEC Regulation S-K and Regulation S-X effective January 1, 2010. Concealed in a handful of benign new regs is a financial truck bomb that's going to blow away "proved reserves" as a meaningful metric of oil company assets.

Old definition: Proved Reserves are those quantities which can be estimated with reasonable certainty to be commercially recoverable from known reservoirs under defined economic conditions. Proved quantities are limited by the lowest known hydrocarbon as seen in a well penetration unless otherwise indicated by definitive geoscience, engineering, or performance data. Seismic data alone is not sufficient to define fluid contacts. Undeveloped locations may be classified as Proved in undrilled areas of a reservoir that can be judged with reasonable certainty to be commercially productive.

New definition: Industry is no longer constrained by the criterion of certainty. An operator can book incremental proved reserves from planned enhanced recovery projects (gas injection, acid fracturing) based on a pilot project. Coal seam gas, bitumen, oil shale and other unconventional resources can be booked as Proved Reserves. Estimated reservoir properties in the aggregate is a departure from the old rules. The new SEC definition does not require that an analogous reservoir has to be in the immediate area or in pressure communication. Seismic analysis and reservoir models are sufficient to book Proved Reserves.

Hold on to your shorts, it gets worse.

Unsustainable 2010

The latest video from Sustainable Earth. Includes new reports from government, the military, intelligence agencies and major NGO's. It ends on a positive note; the reality of consequence will finally free humanity from short-term thinking.

Investing in Hard Assets

One must grasp the implications of peak oil, the long decline of fossil fuels, the slow process of substituting renewables, and the long-term effects of quantitative easing to see that buying rail during a depression is very, very smart.

History will show that even at $100 a share, Buffett got those assets on the cheap. It was a typically shrewd move, in part because there so few opportunities to invest in real assets that are not directly (and negatively) correlated with oil prices and credit growth.

Save money, look good: why you should manage energy

As more companies think hard about a shifting future and the uncertainties related to peak oil, climate change and carbon taxation, they, too, are noticing that energy is an undermanaged area of their operations. The era of managing energy has arrived.

If your organization has significant property to manage (heating, lights, building systems) or uses energy as a production input, you should have an energy manager.

Getting technology implemented

The oil industry has been fast to adopt new technology when it sees an obvious benefit, he said. It is the “second largest user of computers in the world after the entertainment industry.”

If a technology could be developed which would enable 40 to 60 per cent oil recovery, that should be adopted quickly as well. “The argument for peak oil would be pretty moot,” he said.

Iran nuclear crisis: are new sanctions on the way?

The latest criticism of Iran by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is another sign that new sanctions could be on the way.

The IAEA resolution, censuring Iran's secret construction of another uranium enrichment plant, was supported by Russia and China.

This does not mean they will join in a new round of international measures against Iran. But it does mean that Iran cannot count on them for diplomatic support.

Old fridge? Here comes ‘Cash for Appliances’

On the heels of its ballyhooed "Cash for Clunkers" program for cars, the federal government is expected to finalize details in the coming weeks of another tax-supported shopping extravaganza, known as "Cash for Appliances."

Supported by $300 million from the economic stimulus, the program will offer rebates to consumers who buy energy-efficient refrigerators, dishwashers, air conditioners and other appliances to replace their older models.

Economy keeps Americans home for holiday

CHICAGO - There's still family, turkey and football, but one Thanksgiving tradition is taking a hit this year. Millions of Americans are spending the holiday at home, saying the poor economy has made it unaffordable to hit the road or board a plane.

"It's too expensive," said Benita Hall, 24, a nurse's aide who can't afford to travel from Cincinnati to Atlanta to see her mother and siblings. "It's depressing because you want to be with your family for the holidays."

Nearly 38 million people are expected to take trips this year, slightly more than last year but 20 million fewer than in 2005 when the economy was better, according to AAA auto club. Air travel is expected to drop 6.7 percent this holiday compared with last year, AAA said.

Australian town ‘under siege’ by thirsty camels

ALICE SPRINGS, Australia - Australian authorities plan to corral about 6,000 wild camels with helicopters and gun them down after they overran a small Outback town in search of water, trampling fences, smashing tanks and contaminating supplies.

The Northern Territory government announced its plan Wednesday for Docker River, a town of 350 residents where thirsty camels have been arriving daily for weeks because of drought conditions in the region.

Obama’s Climate Goals vs. the Senate’s

The White House said on Wednesday that the United States was aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions “in the range of” 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050.

The House of Representatives is on board: those specific emissions targets were set in a bill it passed last summer. But the Senate is another story. The legislation is stalled there, and members from rural, manufacturing and coal states — including a number of Democrats — are raising objections to the terms of the emissions caps, and are seeking changes, including exemptions and subsidies for energy producers and agriculture.

U.S. Crude Oil Production Poised for Biggest Jump Since 1970

United States crude oil production for 2009 is on target to have its biggest one-year jump since 1970, according to a Platts analysis of industry data.

With U.S. oil production averaging 5.268 million barrels per day (b/d) through October, the gain in U.S. output will be the most since the country produced 9.637-million b/d in 1970, which turned out to be the peak year of U.S. crude output, according to Platts' analysis of data published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). If that 5.268 million b/d figure holds through December, this year would show a 6.4% boost from the 4.95 million b/d average of 2008 and rank as the best U.S. oil production year since 2004, when output averaged 5.419 million b/d.

For comparison, in the 40 years since U.S. oil production peaked annual output has jumped only eight times. Seven of those increases were minimal; only in 1978 was there a jump of significant magnitude, an increase of 5.6%, to 8.7 million b/d.

China Calls U.S. Tariffs on Oil Well Pipes 'Discriminatory'

China says the U.S. Commerce Department's decision to levy an average of about 13.7 percent anti-subsidy tariffs on its oil well pipes is "discriminatory."

The tariffs, designed to counter China's unfair government subsidies, were announced Tuesday, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported. They will range from 10.36 percent to 15.78 percent, affecting more than $2.5 billion worth of Chinese exports.

"China is strongly opposed to the U.S. move of continuing with its discriminatory measures and arbitrarily raising the anti-subsidy duty rates," said Yao Jian, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

Storms shut Mexico oil ports

Mexico closed the Dos Bocas and Coatzacoalcos oil export terminals today because of bad weather.

Russia Approves Energy Strategy Until 203

The Russian government approved on Thursday an energy strategy until 2030, which foresees an increase in energy output and a declining reliance on natural resources.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has ordered the Energy Ministry, the Economic Development Ministry, the Natural Resources Ministry and state-run nuclear power corporation Rosatom to secure the fulfillment of the new strategy and make annual reports to the government.

Kenya: Refinery Stand-Off Poses Supply Shortage Risk in Petroleum Market

According to oil marketers, the Kenyan refinery is holding some 300,000 tonnes of crude belonging to marketers.

But the KPRL's general manager Mr John Mruttu said the refiner held 139,000 tonnes of crude by Monday this week but the bulk of the consignment was yet to be bought by marketers from the financiers.

Petrobras Starts Up Major Gas Pipeline from 2nd Largest Reserve

The Urucu-Coari-Manaus gas pipeline was inaugurated on Thursday, November 26, during a ceremony attended by president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The event was held at the Isaac Sabbá Refinery (Reman), the first unit to receive the gas coming from Urucu.

French boost for South Africa carbon capture

A French development agency has extended a R1.568 million loan to the Central Energy Fund's carbon capture and storage efforts, it says.

India: Nuclear science study is new thrust area

New Delhi: The opening up of India’s nuclear energy sector, following the accord with the US, is prompting a shift to the subject by universities in anticipation of an upsurge in demand for scientists who specialize in the discipline.

Delhi University had started a masters-level course last year in nuclear science and engineering, and this year Guru Jambheshwar University, Hisar, has started its radio ecology centre. Both of these will offer specialized instruction in managing nuclear waste, the effects of radiation biology, and radiation research and safety.

Monbiot: Grim reaper's role in climate change denial

These people aren't sceptics; they're suckers.

Such beliefs seem to be strongly influenced by age. The Pew report found that people over 65 are much more likely than the rest of the population to deny that there is solid evidence that the planet is warming, that it's caused by humans, or that it's a serious problem. This chimes with my own experience. Almost all my fiercest arguments over climate change, both in print and in person, have been with people in their 60s or 70s. Why might this be?

There are some obvious answers: they won't be around to see the results; they were brought up in a period of technological optimism; they feel entitled, having worked all their lives, to fly or cruise to wherever they wish. But there might also be a less intuitive reason, which shines a light into a fascinating corner of human psychology.

The Fundamentals of Oil Shocks

James Hamilton: According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the recession actually started back in December 2007, even though the really dramatic financial developments—like the failure of Lehman—came in September of 2008. So we were in a recession for three-quarters of a year before the really serious financial problems ever started. And if you look just at GDP growth, U.S. GDP was actually growing in real terms over those first three quarters. That's unusual, to look at a period where GDP was growing and call it a recession. If we hadn't had the severe downturn in the fourth quarter of '08, the NBER might never have said we were in a recession at all.

So given all that, the question becomes: What were the sectors that really were in trouble? One of the very important ones was the U.S. automobile sector, which was subtracting about 0.5 percent GDP growth at an annual rate for those first nine months. There's no question that, for that sector at least, what was going on with oil prices was very important. Sales of U.S.-manufactured SUVs plunged at the same time that sales of imported, more fuel efficient cars were going up. That combination was unquestionably influenced to a great degree by what was happening in oil prices, and U.S. manufacturers were hit particularly hard.

Also, it was really starting to pinch consumers' incomes and their spending power as we got into '08, which was one factor causing a slowdown in consumption spending. In my opinion, these developments were really what tipped the scale. And if you say the recession started in December '07, I think it's hard to conclude that what happened to oil prices was irrelevant in making that judgment.

Iraq plans 180 wells for 2010

The state-run Iraq Drilling Company plans to drill 180 oil wells in 2010, and will be able to drill more than 250 new wells every year from 2011 onwards, the head of the company said.

Thirty of the new wells planned for 2010 will be in northern oilfields and 150 in the south, adding roughly 360,000 barrels of oil per day to Iraq's output capacity, Iraqi Drilling Company director Idrees al-Yassiri told Reuters in an interview.

The number of new wells next year will exceed the total number drilled in the six and a half years since the US invasion, he said.

Frontline Posts First Loss in 7 Years as Demand Drops

(Bloomberg) -- Frontline Ltd., the world’s largest operator of supertankers, posted its first quarterly loss in seven years on slumping demand and said it plans to eliminate single-hull carriers from its fleet by the end of next year.

Shell, PetroChina To Develop Shale Gas In Sichuan

SHANGHAI -(Dow Jones)- China has begun its first joint development project in shale gas, in a bid to tap into an unconventional source of cleaner-burning fuel to meet the nation's rising demand.

Energy major Royal Dutch Shell PLC and China's top listed gas producer PetroChina Co. (PTR) have signed an agreement to jointly develop shale gas resources in southwestern China's Sichuan province, China National Petroleum Corp. said Friday.

Angola mulling Norway-style oil fund - report

OSLO, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Angola is considering setting up a Norwegian-style sovereign wealth fund to manage its oil revenues, Norwegian daily Aftenposten reported on Friday.

Angola has said it plans to have the new sovereign wealth fund ready to invest its oil money abroad this year but has yet to announce a date for its launch.

IAEA governors approve first nuclear fuel bank plan

VIENNA (Reuters) - International Atomic Energy Agency governors on Friday approved a Russian plan for a multilateral uranium fuel bank, seen as a way to stem the spread of nuclear arms.

Backed by the United States, the plan would allow uranium producer Russia to set up an IAEA-supervised bank to provide low-enriched uranium to countries for their civilian nuclear programmes if they can show a perfect non-proliferation record.

Bulgaria Rethinks Pro-Russian Energy Policy

Long one of Russia's most reliable energy customers, Bulgaria is now reconsidering its dependence in favor of diversifying suppliers and investors.

Cez, Macquarie set for defeat on German energy market

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Foreign utilities and investors such as CEZ or Macquarie face another setback in the lucrative German power market, this time beaten by an eastern German city.

Foreign competitors have had trouble expanding in Europe's largest power market after initial successes several years ago by utilities like Sweden's Vattenfall and France's EDF

Gazprom set for rare victory in European expansion

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Russia's Gazprom, the world's largest gas company, is set for a rare victory in the quest to expand its foothold in western Europe.

Shareholders in eastern German gas supplier VNG, which has been importing Russian gas for more than 40 years, are set to agree to GDF Suez selling its 5 percent VNG stake to Gazprom and have indicated they would allow the Russian company to buy more shares.

Australia: Energy efficiency a cheap way to slash emissions

CUTTING energy waste may be the only thing we can all agree on at the fag end of a divisive debate about the best way of tackling climate change in Australia.

As it happens, that is the most productive area we could possibly focus on, environmentally and economically. One proposal that could emerge out of the carbon pollution reduction scheme (CPRS) before Parliament is the creation of a prime ministerial task group to develop a broad-based market mechanism to promote energy efficiency next year.

Peak oil panic? Dubai or not Dubai?

Could the mushrooming Dubai debt crisis be a preview of what peak oil will produce among the oil-selling nations?

Dubai – meaning the few poweful men in control–launched itself on a campaign to become the combo Las Vegas, Miami and Wall Street of the Mideast. That meant huge construction projects and rampant purchasing of key properties across the globe. A large portion of the action in Dubai is run by sovereign firms, belonging primarily to the Dubai government and its leaders. However, they’ve borrowed up to $60-billion from all over the globe. Stock markets today tanked when the story broke: no interest payments for six months from one arm of Dubai World.

...Why would tiny Dubai start grasping and reaching for a different future? Because they know their oil is running out and they don’t wish to go back to living like nomads or sailing little wooden boats around the Persian Gulf. Of course, now it appears their investment plans looked better in theory than in practice.

Oil Drops to Six-Week Low as Dubai Debt Delay Rattles Investors

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil tumbled to a six-week low as Dubai’s attempt to reschedule its debt prompted investors to sell commodities.

Oil dipped below $73 in New York as the dollar jumped, dulling the appeal of crude as a currency hedge, and equities fell. Dubai World, the government investment company burdened by $59 billion of liabilities, sought to delay repayments, raising concern worsening defaults may hold back the global recovery.

“It’s the Dubai surprise,” said Thina Saltvedt, a commodities analyst at Nordea Bank AB in Oslo. “It’s the flight to safety on all the uncertainty over the turmoil in Dubai. Until we get more information we’ll probably see a sell-off in risky assets.”

IEA Chief Presents Sobering View of Our Energy Future

Monday night at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Fatih Birol, Chief Economist at the International Energy Agency (IEA) presented the highlights of the recently released 2009 World Energy Outlook, which was recently completed. Yours truly was in attendance, and got the scoop just for you dear readers.

Mr. Birol knows his stuff- he worked for OPEC for six years, has written lots of articles about energy and energy policy, has won lots of awards for his work and is steeped every day in the numbers and analysis of global energy consumption and production. He’s known for being pretty plainspoken. So when he has something to say, we should listen.

And what he has to say isn’t pretty.

Allianz fund sees opportunities in energy squeeze

LONDON (Reuters) - The world faces a potential energy supply squeeze as economic growth rebounds, offering huge investment opportunities in the oil and gas industry and in other energy companies, a fund manager said on Thursday.

Christopher Wheaton, who runs two energy industry-focused funds for Allianz Global Investors, the asset management arm of insurance giant Allianz, told Reuters the growth in demand for energy, particularly oil, and supply constraints would make many energy companies increasingly profitable.

Interior: Oil and gas lease plans include Alaska

WASHINGTON — Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says the government has scheduled 38 oil and natural gas lease sales for public lands next year, including one in Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve.

The proposed Alaska sale would be the first in two years in the Alaska reserve, where environmentalists are seeking permanent protection from oil and gas drilling.

Spain's Repsol to invest $1.5 million in Bolivian gas

LA PAZ (AFP) – Spanish oil company Repsol YPF will invest 1.5 million dollars over the next five years to boost natural gas production in Bolivia, the company announced Thursday.

Gazprom Said to Seek Japanese Pipes for Almost 20% of Gas Link

(Bloomberg) -- OAO Gazprom is seeking to reach a $3 billion agreement with Japan to supply almost one-fifth of steel pipes for a gas link in Russia’s Far East, partially replacing domestic producers, a person familiar with the plans said.

The Russian gas exporter may decide by the end of this year on borrowing as much as $3 billion from Japan Bank for International Cooperation for pipe imports, the person said, declining to be identified because the talks are private. Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said in September Russia was in talks with Japan on a loan of $2 billion to $3 billion for the project.

Russia Suspends Oil Duties for East Siberian Exports

(Bloomberg) -- Russia will suspend duties on crude oil exports from 13 fields in East Siberia next month in an effort to boost production for Asian markets.

The fields include OAO Rosneft’s Vankor, OAO Surgutneftegaz’s Talakan and TNK-BP’sVerkhnechonsk, the government said today on its Web site. Moscow-based Rosneft plans to raise output from Vankor to more than 500,000 barrels a day from 180,000 barrels at present.

Nissan hatches plan to boost battery cars

President Barack Obama has set an ambitious goal of putting at least 1 million battery-powered cars on the road by the middle of the coming decade.

Many in the auto industry have charitably called that target ambitious. Others are less polite. But while it may be a difficult goal, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn is among those who believe the public may get charged up by the switch to electric power.

India electric car pioneer plans biggest plug-in plant

NEW DELHI (AFP) – Chetan Maini, the engineer who pioneered India's first electric car, had his eureka moment two decades ago when he drove a vehicle fuelled by solar power across the blazing Australian outback.

Now Maini, the man behind Reva Electric Car Co., is building in southern India what he says will be the world's biggest factory making battery-powered city commuter cars.

Melbourne 2030 will be "transport chaos": Professor

The state government will need to rethink its policy on meeting urban demand as the city reaches five million people, urban management expert, Professor Nicholas Low, warns.

Speaking ahead of a University of Melbourne public forum on the implications of “Melbourne @ 5 million” on Thursday December 3, Professor Low said “more” people does not necessarily mean ”better”.

“Melbourne at five million is nearing the population of the core of London, Paris or New York. Imagine London without its Underground, Paris without its Metro, New York without its Subway: it’d be transport chaos. Right now that looks like Melbourne's future by 2030.”

"Unsustainable" cities need radical rethink

"Cities provide living space for more than half of the world's population, and this rate is set to rise. They produce half of the economic output but also half of the pollution," Schmitt told swissinfo.ch.

"This leads us to the conclusion that cities are no longer sustainable no matter where they are. We know the more they expand the more quality falls. There is a limit of size."

The Future Cities Laboratory will draw on an array of global talent to coordinate research in three main areas: sustainable building technology using new materials and architectural methods, finding sustainable supplies of water, energy and transport and the interaction of populations and addressing planning solutions to urban-rural conflicts.

Clean energy, better homes cut pollution, save lives

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Better home insulation and ventilation and using electricity instead of fossil fuels could reduce indoor pollution and save thousands of lives, especially in low-income countries like India, a study has found.

Home & Garden: Extending the Gardening Season

There are more reasons than ever to make that effort. The later into the fall that I eat my own greens, the more I dread relying on salad greens shipped in bags from California that seem more tasteless with every passing winter, and the price grows increasingly prohibitive. As energy investment banker Matthew Simmons said in his recent keynote address at the Island Institute's Sustainable Island Living Conference, "We should end global food and rely on local food. In my opinion, it is the energy content that will end global food." Elaborating, Simmons said that the cost to obtain increasingly scarce fuel in the future will preclude international or transnational transport of food via truck.

Brazil: 'Gringos' must pay to stop Amazon razing

MANAUS, Brazil – Brazil's president said Thursday that "gringos" should pay Amazon nations to prevent deforestation, insisting rich Western nations have caused much more past environmental destruction than the loggers and farmers who cut and burn trees in the world's largest tropical rain forest.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva made the comments just before an Amazon summit in which delegates signed a declaration calling for financial help from the industrial world to halt the deforestation that causes global warming.

"I don't want any gringo asking us to let an Amazon resident die of hunger under a tree," Silva said. "We want to preserve, but they will have to pay the price for this preservation because we never destroyed our forest like they mowed theirs down a century ago."

Canada PM to attend Copenhagen climate meeting

TORONTO — Canada's prime minister is reversing his position and will attend a United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen next month, Stephen Harper's spokesman said.

Dimitri Soudas announced Thursday that Harper decided to attend one day after U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced their attendance at the U.N. talks. Soudas said Harper's decision was based on the fact that now "a critical mass of world leaders will be attending."

World leaders spur on climate debate

PORT OF SPAIN — World leaders sought on Friday to spur on the global-warming debate ahead of a Copenhagen climate conference that has been fired up by pledges from China and the United States to cut emissions.

Australia carbon cuts hit by opposition revolt

SYDNEY (AFP) – Australia's bid to pledge carbon cuts ahead of next month's global climate talks was in serious doubt Friday as an opposition revolt over the legislation threatened to trigger snap polls.

New climate targets may not change daily life much

WASHINGTON — Americans' day-to-day lives won't change noticeably if President Barack Obama achieves his newly announced goal of slashing carbon dioxide pollution by one-sixth in the next decade, experts say.

Except for rising energy bills. And how much they'll go up depends on who's doing the calculating.

Munich Re presses for progress on climate

BERLIN—Next month's Copenhagen summit needs to make significant progress toward a new climate-change deal, a leading reinsurer said Thursday, arguing that global warming already is costing billions of dollars per year.

"Our statistics clearly show that the loss burden from weather-related natural catastrophes is increasing," said Torsten Jeworrek, a board member at Munich Re AG.

In Greenland, warming fuels dream of hidden wealth

Global warming is melting the fringes of the frozen world where Greenland's Inuits have hunted seal, whale and polar bear for generations. It's thawing the permafrost on which their homes are built. It's disrupting Arctic wildlife and fish stocks, and making hunting trips more dangerous by thinning the ice that supports their dog sleds.

But all is not doom and gloom. The retreating ice could uncover potential oil and mineral resources which, if successfully tapped, could dramatically change the fortunes of this semiautonomous Danish territory of 57,000 people.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates there are more than 18 billion barrels of oil and gas beneath the Arctic waters between Greenland and Canada, and 31 billion barrels off Greenland's east coast.

Dubai is still in the crosshairs this morning. Questions to be answered:

- How many and how much are global banks and companies exposed in Dubai (i.e., Halliburton)?
- Why were so many involved in Dubai?
- If this could happen in Dubai, why not other places that, until now, looked protected from the global financial crisis (i.e., China, India)?

This is an interesting development indeed.

RBS Led Dubai World Lenders, HSBC May Have Most at Stake in UAE

(Bloomberg) -- Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc underwrote more loans than any institution to Dubai World, the state company seeking to reschedule debt, while HSBC Holdings Plc has the most at risk in the United Arab Emirates, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.


`The Bank of England secretly lent £61.6bn to Royal Bank of Scotland and HBOS at the height of the financial crisis to prevent their immediate implosion, it said on Tuesday`


For the curious, here's a good overview of some of the projects the money went to:


Mind-boggling stuff!

We have friends who were in Dubai about a month ago. They went for the Formula-1 race there, and through a combination of frequent flier miles and knowing people they got to go without having to pay much of anything.

They had all of these pictures and stories about massive developments - from their description and pictures I would say that the place seemed more like Monte Carlo than anything else. They were aiming at getting the world's richest people to come and play there. Our friends don't know that much about the things we discuss here, so they were all agog about how nice it all was, but even they recognized that those palm islands were an ecological nightmare.

My guess is that as things unwind there, the various developments will get shuttered, and the uber-rich will take whatever money that they have left and go elsewhere.

That compendium leaves out the best one: The World.

Developed by Nakheel, a subsidiary of Dubai World that also made the Palm Islands, it is simply unbelievable. And apparently unsellable:

A Five-Star Ghost Town at the End of 'The World'

Depending on your point of view, the World is either the apex of mankind's ingenuity or a cautionary tale about the feverish excesses of Dubai's 21st century boom. Each island was selling for $15 million to $50 million, by invitation only: its developers were pitching the spits of land to tycoons, sportsmen and celebrities. But when Dubai's property market imploded last year, dropping more than 50%, cheeky headlines in the international press suggested that "the end of the World" had arrived. One dealer was quoted as saying that the multibillion-dollar project had been postponed "indefinitely."

Explore on Google Maps

There is a fair amount of confusion between Abu Dubai and Dubai, both members of the UAE. The author of the Peak Oil Panic article linked uptop appears to be confusing the two:

Why would tiny Dubai start grasping and reaching for a different future? Because they know their oil is running out and they don’t wish to go back to living like nomads or sailing little wooden boats around the Persian Gulf.

It's my understanding that Dubai itself has minimal oil reserves, and that Abu Dubai has the vast majority of UAE oil reserves, but the banks and government in Abu Dubai apparently do have considerable exposure to the unfolding real estate debacle in Dubai. The key question is to what extent Abu Dubai bails out Dubai.

In any case, this basically appears to be part of the global real estate meltdown.

There is a fair amount of confusion between Abu Dubai and Dubai, both members of the UAE

Did you mean Abu Dhabi under "Abu Dubai"..? Just curious, not that I would like to sound like Google... :D ;)

As I said, lots of confused people. . .

Um... I just asked, because I'm not familiar with any place within UAE bearing this name you mentioned - Abu Dubai. Is it some part/district of Dubai? Because there is a city 75 miles southwest of Dubai named Abu Dhabi. So... I was just curious, if I'm missing something here as I'm quite familiar with the geography of UAE and I don't know about any place named like that, or you just misspelled the name. :)
If there is Abu Dubai, I would like to know the latitude & longitude so I can find it on a map. O:-) Thanx.

I was of course putting myself in the "confused" category.

Come on webtexas...get your story straight.

Gobble gobble

That should be Abu DHABI not Abu Dubai. It is the capital of the UAE and has most of the oil



National anthem: "Mairzy Doats and Doazy Doats and Little Abu Dhabi."

Many people, and specially in the UK, are praying that Abu Dhabi will come to the rescue of their bankrupt neighbor, Dubai, but it may not happen. Abu Dhabi also wants to turn itself into the financial center of the Persian Gulf and it has its own building projects, less fantastic than Dubai, extraordinary nevertheless. Abu Dhabi has the oil, the gas and the money and it may be that there can be only one.
Fascinating all this !

They have been battling over a new regional currency I think we know know who will win.

I can never see a similarity between China and India. It's only the low wages that they share. India has explosive pop growth and no overall plan. At least China tries to consider the future, even if they end up in the same mess as we are.

The only future I expect here in the UK is hypothermia

India doesn't have the infrastructure and IMO it will hit them hard down the road.

India will be hit hard but India has been hit hard many times before. The new middle classes will evaporate and there will be massive starvation, but in a century from now it will be just another chapter in the nation's 3000 year history.

Most Indian people are Hindu. All good and bad fate is the result of karma, how well you behaved in a previous life. So I will die. Next time I will be dealt a better hand.

A century from now, industrial society will be a bad dream. India will still be there.

India has made its mark in recent history by being the "outsourcing" king of the world. Even they, however, have been downsized and squeezed for more work in America for less money during these economic hard times.

Living in India and as an Indian, I tend to agree with your assessment - make that 5000 years though. The karma bit is a bit overdone if you ask me. Not sure if that level of mute acceptance is there.

I think what will hit us very hard will not be PO but Climate Change. Almost all our agriculture depends upon the monsoons and if these become erratic we're done for. This year we had a severe drought in most parts of India and then unseasonal floods in October near where I live.

I also think that most parts of the world will resemble India post peak. We are a functioning anarchy. Per capita oil consumption is 1 barrel/year. Per capita electricity consumption is about 700-800 Kwh/year or thereabouts. 21 out of 28 states are in some form of strife. And we get by somehow. Most people on this forum will be shocked at how little people can get by with.


Not those of us who were kids in the 70s!

And many of us would underprice Indian etc engineers etc now. $20k a year would be riches for me, and if I'm very lucky I may be able to squeak into a job where I'll essentially be out-producing the Mexican immigrant they have now, for the same pay or less. May pay as much as $10k a year - same level of work used to earn me $30k back in the 80s. Crossing my fingers ...

(And I write for free! my blog: http://alexlcarter.wordpress.com )

True to some extent. Indian cities will be hit hard, middle class will suffer. The villages subsist on very little, agriculture would be hit with fertilizers becoming expensive and irrigation being impacted. India's large population would be a huge burden when food shortages appear. As some one put it, the more complex systems will suffer the most.

In Indian villages life is simple, and can be easily retooled to go back to age old methods for living in a sustainable manner.

The law of Karma is binary, either it is true or not. If it is true, it applies to everyone and all living things. The law of karma then would apply equally to the rest of the world :-)

I don't think India's survival will be questioned by peak oil.

The law of Karma is binary, either it is true or not. If it is true, it applies to everyone and all living things. The law of karma then would apply equally to the rest of the world :-)

Lets assume it is true. Is sorting (by Karma) to souls to different regions possible. If all the people with bad Karma were born into a certain society, then the results could be very uneven.

I am no authority on karma, this is what I have read.
Sorting souls to different families happens. So souls born in a certain family have certain characterstics. Or another way, souls with certain karma are attracted to a certain family. The law of karma states that a soul will take a new birth depending on the karma in action. I am sure this can be extrapolated to a certain region/country etc.

An entire region/country would have collective karma.

It will take a while for all of these shoes to drop. First we will find out who lent them the money (mostly European banks, apparently), but there could be many other aftershocks.

They may have taken out insurance, for example, so insurance companies may be on the hook.

Then the question is where did the money come from? Did the banks invest on behalf of other investors (like with a mutual fund)? Then the investors themselves could be on the hook.

I am guessing that a DW default is a virtual certainty right now. They had originally borrowed the money and had gotten favorable rates, but now their credit rating is in the crapper and any more loans they get will be at deadbeat rates.

Stock market was down over 200 points on the Dubai news (though it's since recovered a bit).

"I think this is a sign of things to come," said Dave Rovelli, managing director of trading at brokerage Canaccord Adams in New York. "Commercial real estate continues to go lower. People are going to continue to default on debt payments."

But the cash registers are ringing at the malls.

Early reports from Best Buy and mall operator Taubman Centers offered some encouraging signs that consumers were buying more for themselves and that crowds were larger compared with last year. Toys R Us CEO Gerald Storch said that on average about 1,000 were in line for the midnight opening for each store.

"So far, we are seeing that consumers are willing to spend a little more than what was on their intended list," said Marshal Cohen, chief retail industry analyst at NPD Group Inc. "This is a big gift for retailers. It was missing from the equation last year."

And Denninger weighs in...

There are far too many people who have become far too complacent over the last six months. Such as goldbugs claiming "buy now or be priced out forever" at $1195 - who are missing $30 per ounce of their money in a matter of literal hours as margin calls fly around the world. I will repeat what I have said since the breakout at 1060 on the gold futures - there is no safe place to buy during a parabolic move. Yes, today, we stand having lost "only" the last three days of gains. So far. Better think about how you're going to hedge off the next $300 of downside move - if it comes. No, that's not a prediction - but the last two days are a warning that it both can and might.

This is a good read by Denninger. I especially like these paragraphs:

We are fortunate that this is a "little country" with a "relatively small" impact, even if they truly default and cornhole everyone with exposure. Total exposure is claimed to be somewhere around $60 billion - enough to hurt, but not enough to kill.

The point to carefully consider is not whether The Fed has played "shower the world by exchanging dollars for worthless crap", it is whether or not any of the underlying problems that led to the crisis, most specifically excessive levels of debt and leverage, have actually been addressed rather than being hidden and papered over.

Here is the danger that the "Dubai Debacle" represents. Dubai has become the "playground" for the rich elite. In itself, it represented nothing of great value, but somehow, it enticed global investment. Perhaps, it became a tax haven or safe spot in the Middle East for companies to be close to the action (i.e. oil producers). It represented a place to receive greater than normal returns on investments (emerging markets). These little bastions of investment growth potential are fading away, one by one.

This "Dubai Debacle" also opens up the whole "trust" issue when it comes to investment, credit and what are governments are really getting involved with.

Dubai's threat to U.S. banks: Although there's little direct exposure to Dubai World's default risk, U.S. financial institutions could take major indirect hits.

Bove said the underlying problem is that there is a lot of uncertainty floating around. For example, there's little information available about counterparty derivatives, guarantees that transfer default risk from lenders to other financial institutions. And it's unknown how much of Dubai World's debt guarantee is held by U.S. banks.

Are we to truly believe our financial institutions, markets, oil supply are sound and that the governments of the world have everything under control? When little cracks come through the BAU facade, like the Dubai Debacle, it becomes more and more difficult to maintain the illusion. Yet that is really the name of the game at this point in time. Huge amounts of money, all over the world, are going to maintaining status quo, regardless of future dangers.

It is all built on the trust of the billions of people believing that someone has it all under control.

Oh brother.

For starters, you don't get a margin call when the prices are going up. Unless of course you were short, in which case a margin call would cause short squeeze and make the price go even higher. Doesn't matter if it's gold or yo-yos.

The good part about Denninger posts is that I only have to read about 25 word in before I find another ignorant statement, invalidating yet another this-time-this-is-really-it rant. Got to give him credit for persistence.

Many people have been calling a top in gold since it was at $500 (in Robert Prechter's case since it was at $350). Denninger will still be calling a top in gold at $3000.

Of course, gold will correct occasionally as it marches to $5000. Some corrections will be brutal. However, as long as central bankers print money to bail out institutions with bad debt, the march of gold will continue.

The other thing is the China involvement-supposedly currently China has 1.9% of their reserves in gold.

Of course, gold will correct occasionally as it marches to $5000.

suyof - I don't dispute your notion of $5,000 gold but you need to extrapolate what $5,000 gold implies: The complete collapse of the U.S. Dollar as a measurement of wealth.

That means bankrupt cities, no police protection beyond the federal govt. and the rise of a virulent form of feudalism.

The result of half-baked schemes on preserving wealth in the form of gold ingots: I bet you my armed gang can take (to seize with authority; confiscate) it from you.


I don't think the US will collapse when gold exceeds $5000 per oz. Maybe gas will go to $10 per gallon and a lot more people will be poor but that is not the same thing as no police protection or feudalism.

My guess is that 10 or 15 years from now the US will resemble BRIC countries.

suyog - That's seems a contradiction. Gold $5,000 per ounce, gas $10.00 a gallon. Major parts of the U.S. will have become economic basket-cases but the country still has the wherewithal to provide adequate police and fire protection?

Perhaps you're right. Even Haiti has plenty of police to keep the rabble in order. But Haitians have always been poor and they don't have guns, while Americans are armed to the teeth and tethered to to the notion of entitlement(aka The American Dream).

I don't believe we'll go quietly into poverty and disintegration. That is not in our DNA.


We (America) are a loose knit empire, from what I can deduce we are held together by economic circumstances and theory (enviromental materialism). I always mention Yugoslavia as an appropriate comparison as to how America is formed and ruled, but the Political Correctness mental disease is strong, and for now thankfully most people want to "dream" and think nice things, something Americans can do in seemingly unlimited amounts.


Speaking of the "Dream", which lunar pockmark do you want to meet at for a round of golf the next time "we" go to the moon?

Leanan - I think it makes sense to buy gold, buy gold, and buy more gold - but ONLY after all other preps are in place. Pugsley's Alpha Strategy should be your guide.

And gold only after easily divisible junk silver, and that only after what may be the most precious metals, lead, brass, and blued steel.

(Worth its weight in lead! My blog http://alexlcarter.wordpress.com )

So if I understand the deflationists correctly, they are saying - if - gold goes from $1200 to $900 it is a sure sign of deflation but the rise from $900 to $1200 in the last three short months is - not - a sign of inflation.

As I have mentioned before, I do not think it coincidental that gold has been rising almost steadily since the IMF printed up $281 US billion worth of SDRs in late August, followed by similar large moves from the US, China, and the ECB.

Any change in the price of gold is a sure sign of deflation and inflation.

Seriously though gold is a liquidity instrument esp when interest rates are low and risks are high.

My opinion is the rising price of gold is simply the signal that people are done with US Treasuries i.e the CB's are revolting against the US and our bond market will begin to tank in the near future. This is the smart money thats loaded to the gills with Treasuries steadily unloading.

Gold is signaling hyperinflation for the dollar if the US does not raise interest rates because it will spiral completely out of control if we can't get buyers for our debt and have to print.

Note this is still rich mans inflation not poor mans monetary inflation except of course for prices. I seriously doubt we will see any wage inflation even as the dollar tanks.

The reason is of course the dollar is highly over valued and probably needs to shed at least 50% of its value before we even begin to reach the point that wages will inflate. I suspect more like 75% before we even have a chance at wage inflation.

Eventually of course at some point after the dollar has devalued to the point that China's dollar reserves have lost most of their value and they have been forced to de-peg the US will raise interest rates but I doubt it happens until China and for that matter Japan are forced to depeg.

As long as they keep their peg we will print and the dollar will steadily fall and gold will go up and interest rates will remain low.
This could well be another couple of trillion dollars or more.

I would agree, but IMO even a 50% devaluation will not necessarily raise wages as the workers have little bargaining power. As the US dollar slides the CPI rate could still be quite muted especially if the makeup of the rate is tampered with. IMO the level of understatement of the CPI will reach absurd levels (similar to the bank accounting)down the road, in an attempt to hold together (keep down wages and benefits linked to CPI).

re: IEA Chief Presents Sobering View of Our Energy Future

Ace's World Oil Production Forecast from a few day's ago prompted me to revisit IEA's 2009 World Energy Model. This is the most astounding excerpt IMO:

The current World Energy Model, which is comprised of nearly 16,000 equations, is the 12th version of the model. It covers 21 regions.

So it has 16,00 equations (!), yet it shows a sharp slope discontinuity in the year 2015, where oil production suddenly starts increasing? [image] Ace pointed this out and it is further accentuated by the fact that several regions in concert drive up the sudden change in slope.

Mr. Birol knows his stuff

He may know his stuff, but it always seems that his "plain-spoken" talks don't match the plainly bad content of his technical material.

During the Q&A session that followed his presentation, someone asked him what his recommendations would be if climate change turned out to be an elaborate hoax

Don't worry, it is just a matter of time before the BAU crowd starts making a case against the PO proponents. They just have to take care of the "AGW hoax" first, which should take a few more days.

today is "black friday". my g.f. made me get up early and go to a local supermarket that is selling discounted notebook computers and digital photo frames. at 7 am they still had them. i understand only 20 per store. say chain has 30 outlets. only 600 laptops. is that a massive sell for for cheap chinese plastic goodies? is that enough to save western capitalism? 20 years ago i bought 5 arco 40 watt solar PV panels. only 11 months ago i cobbled them up on portable solar carts.
and only earlier this month i bought two dc/ac converters to finish up the last two carts. i am using AGM batteries. one cart has a 32 amp hour battery. when the converter signals under voltage and shuts down, it takes 12 hours of mid day sun to recharge the battery. mid day sun is 10 am to 2 pm. that is november sun with panel tilted to local noon sun declination and stepping outside every hour to align cart to face sun. tracking the sun increases conversion up to 40%.
every converter i seen has a 5 amp output. that is fine to run a notebook computer, a boom box and a lamp...or watch tv and run a dvd player. my solar carts can be seen at:
the arco panels were made in the usa. in storage for 20 years. same with heart converter. however. everything else is imported. solar charge controller, the cart, newer sine wave converters. the batteries are made in pennsylvania. i am a dumb ax so if i can do it so can anyone else. just has to spend some money.

Good job!
I tried to comment there, but my registration might not have taken. I wrote: (and then added to it..)


"I'm very interested in creating a portable 'Power Droid' of my own, and I go back and forth between things like the Solar Golf Cart (Google: John Howe Video New Farmer films, for a good solar tractor & club-car demo) so that it's self-propelled , or something more like a trailer that could follow behind a riding lawnmower that I could use in the woods for simple electric tools, like a small chainsaw and weedwacker. It would store in a special bay in the shed, and probably plug into a larger array and stationary battery system.

Don't forget to mount some cool looking blinky lights and sound effects on this to convince the more skeptical neighbors that they need one of these as well!



A local foodstand is selling locally grown seasonal produce (apples, squash, cabbage, various root vegetables) for a few more weeks (or until sold out) before they shut down for the Winter. I'm taking weekly trips to stock up... have decided to try eating as locally as possible for a few months to see how it goes. Plan to also eat nuts, grains, beans, and eggs to make sure I get all nutrients.

Anyone have recipes for slow cooked (lower temperature, longer cook time) vegetables? (Squash, parsnips, turnips, and potatoes are of interest.) Any suggestions on roasting squash seeds?

Why are rutabagas so heavily waxed?.. and what's the best way to de-wax?

Red cabbage and apple salad

1/3 cup organic cider vinegar or rice vinegar. Regular cider vinegar tastes nasty: industrial grade white vinegar with dubious flavouring added is my conjecture.
¾ cup of canola or mild tasting salad oil (can increase to 1 cup, we prefer it sharp).
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard or any other decent mustard
1 clove garlic minced
1 tablespoon white sugar or honey
(optional: chopped dill or parsley, dried mint for flavouring if you like)
Mix well with a whisk or spoon until an opaque emulsion.

½ medium head shredded red cabbage (works with green or white cabbage too).

5 chopped apples (skin on or off as preferred). We like Royal Gala but by February Galas are past prime, Ida Reds are good keepers throughout winter. As you chop, drop the apples into the dressing and mix, that way they won’t discolor.

Mix in the cabbage. The recipe is fairly forgiving and can be twiddled to suit your personal taste. Some people might like a bit more dressing which scales up well.

For a more substantial salad suitable for packed lunches for work or school, mix in cooled cooked wheat pasta. About 500 gram (1 lb) uncooked pasta. We like De Cecco fusilli, but any good pasta is fine that tastes of wheat and not like white paste. De Cecco uses bronze pasta moulds which are run at a cooler temperature, hence the wheat taste remains. Apples are great as a winter vegetable and very overlooked as such. Apples and cabbage go together very well taste-wise. The storage variety of apples, well, store very well through-out winter.

I´m not sure if slow cooking has really a requirement for different recipies. I do most of the cooking in my household and that's about all I contribute (my wife won't let me iron); my suggestion is to use your imagination and you'll find out. Good fresh good is really hard to spoil. Best advise: make it simple and cook what you like.

Bean dishes in a slow-cooker are very good and very easy to make.

I also like green pork chile verde with lots of tomatillos and small chunks of potatoes in my slow cooker; I even added white navy beans at the end once and would do it again. You could perhaps leave out the meat and play with the green chile verde sauce and other vegetables instead. If you do, purchase the chile verde sauce fresh from a local Hispanic store...much better than the bottled stuff.

You might also see if you have anybody doing a 'Winter-Share' CSA in your area, if you'd like more fresh stuff from now to Spring.. The one we are in in southern Maine has all sorts of useful foods coming through the whole time!

My wife has also found a really great recipe for a Raw Kale salad, which might sound like something that's barely endurable, much less appetizing, but I swear to you, we've taken this stuff (and Kale is a year round Lettuce, AFAIK) to several dinners and potlucks, and there's NEVER any left overs.. little kids will just reach in and nibble on the stuff, if they can get around me!

I’ve been really addicted to raw kale salads lately. They are full of nutritional life energy, and they really hit the spot when you just need something healthy. This recipe is my favorite. There are only 5 ingredients so as long as you have the other stuff on hand in your kitchen, the only fresh ingredient you need is the kale. This recipe literally takes about 5 minutes.

If you’ve never had a raw kale salad, let me assure you that it does not taste like plain raw kale. A raw kale salad requires you to wilt the leaves so it takes on a milder taste that is easier on your digestion.

* 1 bunch of raw kale
* 1 t salt give or take
* 1/2 cup coconut oil (other oils will work, but I like coconut because of the sweetness)
* 1 handful of raw cranberries (soaked in oil for a couple minutes to soften them up)
* 1 handful of raw pinenuts (or silvered almonds)

Peel or chop the leaves off, so that the leaves are separated from the stem. (the stem is too thick to eat). Then chop the leaves a little, if the pieces are to big. You know, just so its the right size to fit in your mouth. Place the kale in a large bowl and sprinkle the salt so that the leaves are lightly coated. Now is the fun part. Press the leaves down and start to kneed them like you would do to bread. Pick them up and squeeze them to facilitate the process. After a couple minutes you will notice them turning a darker green color and taking on a slightly cooked texture. Once that happens you are ready to toss in the rest of the ingredients. If the coconut oil is hard, you may need to warm it up a bit by dipping the jar in hot water. Taste the salad and add more salt if needed. You’re salad should have a lightly salted but mostly sweet taste to it. Salivate over your healthy creation.


The above is a close approximation, found on the web. No time for excessive transcribing today!

The main point is the 'Squeezing'.. it's very sloppy, oily business, and it's really 'crushing' the stuff for a minute or so.. but is the key to the whole affair!

(I think Leslie adds some Apple Cider Vinegar, and maybe Honey to this, and a touch .. maybe a BIG touch of fresh Garlic- Cilantro or Dill could never hurt, either!)


Good for you!

Squash seeds: Very lightly coat with oil, salt, spread out in a baking pan, bake 300 degrees for a bit (you'll smell them, catch hem before they start to smell carbonized), stir, bake a few more minutes, optional garlic powder and hot chili powder.

Any root can be slow cooked with a little liquid and seasonings.

Rutabagas dehydrate, hence the wax. They used to be stored in wet sand. If you find a farmer you may be able to intercept them before the hot dip.

You may find the quality of your own cooking with local ingredients so amazing that you want to keep it up into next year. When the tomatoes, peppers and tomatillos are piled high and as cheap as they are going to get, it's a good time to put up your own condiments. The quality is better than anything most working stiffs like me are willing to buy.

My work is seasonal and project driven. Years ago, I got in the habit of putting up as much jam, salsa, tomato sauce, pickles and other pricey condiments during the summer as I could squeeze in the time for around engineering projects. They chow is good all year despite massive income fluctuations, and I have the ingredients around for quick meals of pasta, burritos and Pad Thai without a lot of thought.

Hi Ignorant,

Where do you live? Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have an excellent online resource in Seasonal Cornucopia, a database that "chefs, restaurateurs, home cooks and gardeners in the greater Puget Sound Region of the Pacific Northwest can use to easily identify when local foods are in season." Type in Kale, for example, and the results tell you when it's available and usually, a linked Kale recipe(or other searched for ingredient) from my friends' Patricia and John's Cook Local site, to help you create tasty dishes.

You may also want to explore root cellaring, so you can extend the life of the root veggies and don't have to cook everything at once. And I'm happy to put in a plug for Sharon Astyk's new book, Independence Days: A Guide to Sustainable Food Storage and Preservation. :-)

On a Happy Thanksgiving grateful note, my church has decided to once again faciliate the Community Design for Energy Transition: A Discussion Group classes:

A discussion group for "The Transition Handbook," which offers concrete strategies for engaging with the local community to build resilience against possible threats including climate instability, resource depletion, and financial downsizing, while improving our neighborhoods and restoring balance. In a context of positive, local solutions, Transition intelligently addresses the perception of many that our industrial, financial systems and governmental are fundamentally non-sustainable. The class is a book club format with weekly questions to consider as one reads, and discussion of those questions during gatherings.


Anyone who grows zucchini knows, that plant produces a LOT. And when they're grown between the corn, you'll find yourself tripping over well-camouflaged, almost 2-foot long monsters. So, I found out the neatest thing: Take these el-biggo's and cut 'em in half, scoop out the seedy gunk with a spoon into a bowl, and put the now-seedless halves on the compost pile or cut up to feed to your sheep, pigs, other large eaters of such things. Take the bowl of seedy gunk and sort out the gunk. Last stage is put in a colander and swish water around and get the last bits of gunk out and it takes away a lot of the slime too. Spread the seeds out and let dry a few days or a week. Now the good part! Just put the seeds in a frying pan with a bit of oil and salt, and toast them. This is best done with a lid to keep 'em from popping out and you can shake and toss them around that way. Put 'em in a Mason jar since they'll be dry and may absorb water if left to the open air. Eat. No shelling, just eat. DELICIOUS. It's almost a shame to harvest zucchini young.

(If you like to read while you eat: www.//alexlcarter.wordpress.com )

I was listening to a radio 4 (UK) station this morning. They were debating what political suicide it would be for any leaders to implement measures to curb our C02. Shortly after I had an epiphany!!! It was sore.

We 'the people' don't really know yet how we are supposed to change our lifestyles. Of course we at the oildrum have fairly good idea - but no-one outside our circle really has the remotest idea. This is perpetuated wholely by the fact the the politicians leading us simply do not know either. Everyone is in complete and utter ignorance.

I'm going to take this one step further. I'm willing to bet that even many climate scientists that study and concur with global warming theory do not fully understand what we need to do as a society to implement the kind of cuts they would insist upon.

WRT real life changes and all the dirt, no-one has got a clue. It's gridlock as far as I can see. An impasse de CO2.

When I talk to most people about it (either in terms of peak oil or AGW) the sort of answers I get range from changing all the lightbulbs in the house to buying a car that does 50+mpg.
What no-one seems to appreciate is the sheer scale of the problem. It is orders of magnitude beyond popping a turbine on your roof or switching your appliances off at night. Society must power down NOW.....:-(

The sicentists in this respect are of no use whatsoever. They did their bit. They don't know how to reset society. Enter the politicians.....too scared to do anything meaningful.

I'm sorry. I would say it is game over.

Now many of you are going to say we shouldn't give up the fight. What fight? - there is no fight - very few people want to give up their lifestyle and more importantly even fewer realise they will HAVE to give up their lifestyle. Then just as I am finished this rant the big white Elephant walks into the room to tell us 4 BILLION other people on the planet want to live like the west does. I really needn't say any more.


The scientists do there bit so we at TOD have a better understanding. Of course it is naturally after heavy filtering that we come down to conclusions, as scientists are not so popular with the general populace, nor politicians, nor the media playing it down. Especially with the results they present. That is what makes us understand we cannot count on anyone, so don't.

It's always best to run away from the fight.

as scientists are not so popular with the general populace, nor politicians,

The strange thing is that scientists are near the top of the list in polls of honesty and trustworthiness. But, that does not translate into believing that they are telling us the truth.

People tend to cling tenaciously to the norms they grew up with, but the norms change from one generation to the next. Which is to say, its not so much that anybody ever changes their mind, they just get replaced by other people.

As an example, I don't drive. Parked the car awhile back and its been the easiest thing I ever did and the most satisfying. I grew up bicycling everywhere and its like relaxing back into "normal" to do the same now. On the other hand, there are clearly very many people who are not and will never be in any kind of shape to do the same. A whole generation grew up without any sense of fitness, or the basic human ability to cart their own body well from one place to another. Historically, that's an anomaly, and prone to self-correction.

it isn't just fitness-for many American males, you are what you drive-it is the accepted sign of success.

my extended pinky finger exemplifies the root of the problems that plague us...

I came to that conclusion a couple years ago. The forces in action now are unstoppable and likely have been for the last couple decades. The first job always was to get people thinking differently otherwise their actions wouldn't change. That's always a tough job and it's very slow going because new conversations trigger the immune system of existing ones. The climate change activists are seeing exactly that now with people pushing back against their assertions. The PO people are experiencing the same thing.

Giving birth to a new conversation is difficult, time-consuming and often very dangerous to one's health (c.f. Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Alexander Litvinenko (Russian dissident poisoned by radiation), John Lennon, and of course Ghandi).

Conversations run people and thus the world. Most people think they have free will; this is a grave error.

Most people think they have free will; this is a grave error.
I think you know my view on this--------
One of the great illusions.

The irony is that we have tons of choice, but most of those choices involve choosing what color of cheap plastic crap to buy, but all of this choice serves to overwhelm people and distract them from the more important things going on.

To me, the Buddhists seems to have the best way of figuring out what is really important in life and what isn't.

as someone who has spent thousands of hours on the cushion, it is at it's best, a strategy.
Of course, I could be ignorant.

but most of those choices involve choosing what color of cheap plastic crap to buy

I go further than that...the choices aren't truly choices, but we think they are.

I can think of two examples where people have started thinking differently, social mores changed, and many people changed their actions as a result changing their way of thinking. The first is smoking. 25 years ago, smokers kept ashtrays on their desks at work. Research found a link to second-hand smoke, and now they smoke outside.

The second is drunk driving. Mothers Against Drunk Drivers mounted an effective campaign, and now it is ... if not customary, at least not unusual to have a sober designated driver.

So, it can be done. Not fast, though. The smoking / lung cancer change research was publicized around 50 years ago. MADD started over 25 years ago.

Sorry waterplanner - I class that as a 'change the lightbulbs' comment.

Shifting peoples attitues so they dont kill themselves through cancer and car crashes is a WAAYYYYYYYY different ball park from convincing them that their entire lifeslyles will have to change. It really wasn't difficult to start thinking this 'differently'

Furthermore if it took them 25-50 years to reduce those simple things.................
You've buried your own point.


I don't like jumping on the negative wagon Water but consider how many folks still smoke today and how many thousands still die from the actions of multiple convicted drunk drivers. Imporvements perhaps but these are still major problems even after the efforts of many hardworking folks.

I gotta agree with Marco here. Not only is it much more fundamental change we are asking for (although timid first steps like Waxman-Markey, and Copenhagen, are only asking for very minor changes), but that the consequences are more indirect. With those examples, the primary benefit from the change accrues to the individual making the change. With climate change, each persons change is only one seven billionth of the picture. So it is easy to just be greedy and accept whatever the other 6,999,999,999 people leave for you.

Marco -- I agree with you, actually. I thought about adding a line that if it took 25 years to change some (not all) people's behavior for something like smoking, then we were way too late for climate change and PO.

I guess my point was that there have been situations where societal mores and behavior can change.
What I didn't say is that it takes a long time and there has to be a hell of a focus on it.

There was an interesting article in the Times a few days ago, about what it takes to change behavior. Knowledge alone won't do it. Advertisers have known this for decades, but environmentalists still put their efforts into doing things like handing out brochures - as if changing minds will change behavior. The truth is, even motivated people who believe in the cause won't necessarily inconvenience themselves.

Even climate scientists aren't really changing their lifestyles. They are still jetting off on ski vacations, driving cars, etc. And these are people who understand the problem, and are more likely to be influenced by rational arguments than most.

So what does it take to actually change behavior? Social pressure. Putting up a sign asking people not to idle their engines while waiting for their kids outside the school does little. Having an authority figure - a cop, say - politely talk to them about it does work. People are more likely to quit smoking when their friends do. (According to one theory, the reason the US smoking rate is no longer falling quickly is because the remaining smokers are socially isolated from nonsmokers, in little enclaves with other smokers.)

Even climate scientists aren't really changing their lifestyles. They are still jetting off on ski vacations, driving cars, etc. And these are people who understand the problem, and are more likely to be influenced by rational arguments than most.

To quote Dick Cheney, "Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy." Many of us realize consciously (and probably many more realize subconsciously) that there's no point in cutting back on our individual energy expenditures if that simply allows others to sustain or increase theirs. I can't personally stockpile the petroleum I do not burn today because of my self-restraint and reserve it for use by me and mine ten years from now. Nor will any personal reduction in CO2 emissions that I might make because of my self-restraint have any measurable impact on the climate I will have to endure ten years from now, or that my descendants will have to endure a hundred years from now.

When one casually observes that the US military, a huge user of oil, is specifically exempt from carbon restrictions it puts all these B/S international meetings into perspective. Look out for yourself because you can be sure these grifters are looking out for themselves real well.

Not nessessarily true, if you exercise restraint in your use of fuels (walk, turn of lights) you can not only do your bit for the planet now but also use the money saved to invest in stocks, oil futures etc so in 10 years you will have access to your share of what you saved.

This is my view. A combination of not using much fuel and not having any debt leaves me free to make choices in the future that depend upon how things play out in the future.

So what does it take to actually change behavior?

Bankruptcy works pretty well too.

These interesting times of ours have us facing immediate (i.e. the next few years) bankruptcy at the personal, corporate and government level as well as the near term consequences (i.e. the next few decades) of peak oil. Most people will change their behavior with respect to fossil fuels when either:

  1. Job loss leaves them with insufficient income to purchase inexpensive fossil fuels.
  2. Inflation leaves them with insufficient income to purchase expensive fossil fuels.

The other major motivator that goes unmentioned is copying folks who are more financially secure, more successful and happier. For far too long, it was the risk takers and power consumers who were the envy of others. That may be changing now.

My recommendation is to "be the change you want to see in the world" in hopes that your positive example will influence others. (Look at the organic food movement as an example.)

Best hopes for 'voluntary simplicity', 'slow food' and 'communitarian living'!

-- Jon

PO evangelists don't make changes either [this is not at you Leanan BTW]. I am always astonished how the high priests can report about this or that event you attended in Italy or Texas..If peak oilers can't use video conferencing then who are they preaching to??

So what does it take to actually change behavior? Social pressure.

The problem is that it's not obvious where the pressure is going to originate. We flew in a guest speaker, who expressed guilt during the dinner after her talk about the carbon associated with her flight. People at the table were quick to try and help her assuage her guilt. And after all, what choice did we have...none of us are originally from the city we work in. We all regularly fly to conferences and to visit family, who often live on other continents. We've made career choices that were contingent on a particular way of doing things. I'm not sure I could work in my chosen field in the city where I was born.

The other problem I see is akin to the problem with trying to convince the uninitiated that peak oil matters. The general public often lacks any real understanding of where the energy they use comes from. As a result, there is a tendency to assume that carbon-free technologies would be forthcoming, if only there was the political will. Consequently, the only implied behavioral changes necessary involve influencing policy-makers accordingly.

Those of us who have been worried about climate change have been trying to educate the public for decades. Remember, Hansen's heavily reported testimony before Congress back in 1988 and Gore's book and the Earth Summit in 1992. The impacts of a serious attack on the climate change problem have been obvious to anyone who thought about it from a systems approach. Welcome aboard!

The denialist camp has been honing their political attacks for more than 20 years. I've engaged in numerous discussions with denialist on the Internet over the past 15 years. Even though I had accumulated a fair understanding of the science, I had little success against those who were determined to ignore the facts of the situation. So, you are probably correct in that the denialist have the ability to sway the public into thinking there's no problem. The current dust up just proves that scientists aren't politicians and can't deal with the denialist media circus they now caught in. So it would appear likely that we are going to blunder on, heading toward some unknown precipice that will appear suddenly on the horizon when it's too late to stop the train.

The only hope might be another big El Nino coupled with the return of sunspots, which could bring a repeat of the extra warm temperatures seen the year 1998. In the mean time, it's winter and it's going to be cold in the NH, so settle in...

E. Swanson

Your theory is that CO2 levels are elevated or cannot be reduced because "denialists" are the main obstacle to a meaningful reduction in CO2 levels-show the evidence for this theory or claim of yours. I ask because posters seem to repeat the same thing ad nauseum-if we can just fix the "denialists" everything else will be easy. IMO the "denialists" is a big smokescreen-CO2 levels are not going to be reduced. What definitely will happen is a huge transfer of wealth based around the appearance of efforts to reduce CO2. Basically a War On Carbon similar to the USA War on Drugs or War on Poverty with similar results. Jobs for bureaucrats, empire building, gigantic trading revenue and avenues for corruption and fraud, along with increased CO2 levels-that is what they are trying to achieve IMO.

It is funny that everyone with a car thinks we need to reduce CO2.

"We're driving down to the beach and starting a big bonfire to celebrate Earth Day!" -anonymous

Brian -- I have to support your view from a different perspective though. I have no problem accepting global warming. I also have no problem accepting the likelyhood that not only will the situation not get better but will almost certainly get worse IMHO. The cold hard reality of how the world economies work. We've fought many wars in the last 200 years that were greatly motivated by economic factors. The subsequent loss of hundreds of millions of lives did not prevent these military adventures. Am I to believe the world economies will not turn to burning even more coal as the supply of oil/NG diminishes just to prevent countries from lossing some coastal areas? Flies in the face of all we've seen in today's societites. I don't mean this as a slap in the face of all those brave souls out there trying to make a difference. But the cold hard facts won't change: mankind has been willing to sacrifice the lives of millions while risking the lives of their own citizens to preserve economic power. What sort of instantaneous genetic mutation will change this base character of man?

Brian, my claim is that the denialist are part of an organized campaign to ignore the effects of increasing CO2 on the Earth's climate. I fully expect that the political situation won't allow the sort of effort required for a reduction in CO2, although it might be possible to reduce the rate of increase enough to put off the worst of he expected impacts until the impacts are so flaming obvious to most everyone that we agree to make the change in direction away from fossil carbon as an energy source.

As Rockman suggests, there will be considerable political pressure to keep on doing what we've been doing for 200 years, that is, a massive conversion of fossil fuel energy into temporary wealth for some of the Earth's population. Oil isn't as much of a problem, if Peak Oil really is near, but the replacements for oil, such as coal, tar sands and oil shale, will present a considerably worse situation as their use will result in an increased rate of CO2 emissions for the net energy produced.

I'm rather against the proposed Cap-and-Trade scheme, as there are too many opportunities to game the system. But you and your conservative friends would not allow a more realistic approach to solve the problem, heck, the Repugs aren't going to vote for any of the Democrats proposals. The problem is the same as the "me first, screw everybody else" approach of the free market idiots that run the financial side of things. If you want to complain about something, go sink your teeth into their butts. Reaganomics has died a messy death, but the body of the beast is still twitching after it's brains were scrambled...

E. Swanson

I am sure you are aware that Barack Obama listens first to those "me first, screw everybody else" guys before anyone else. Some feel that the "me first,screw everybody else" crowd will be controlling climate change measures-you seem convinced they won't be-time will tell.

I am sure you are aware that Barack Obama listens first to those "me first, screw everybody else" guys before anyone else.

So I guess that is why Obama is trying to extend health insurance to the 45 million uninsured in the US?? Common sense would say those arguing for the health care status quo in the US (20,000 extra deaths a year among uninsured) are the real "me first, screw everybody else" people, and their comments often reflect it (ie., "I don't want to pay for anyone else's health care or retirement", privatize Social Security, "free-market" health care,etc.,etc.)

The mental gyrations of the conservative mindset never cease to amaze me.

I've lived in a Republican stronghold, it's enough to make you contemplate sniffing glue.

96% white, at least 80% republican, at least 50% on welfare, food stamps, anything else they could get out of the gov't.

The difference is: A liberal wants to be able to get Food Stamps if they need them themselves AND anyone else who needs 'em.

A conservative wants to get Food Stamps etc to the tune of all they can get, but doesn't want anyone ELSE to get them.

It's a matter of a psychology of abundance vs. a psychology of scarcity.

(b-o-r-i-n-g ... http://alexlcarter.wordpress.com )

Alex...your blog may or may not be boring, but your repeated links to it are. ;-) There's a reason why we disabled sigs here. Can I ask you to cut back to, say, once a week?

"No follow" is automatically added to all links posted in the comments, so posting it multiple times won't help your pagerank.

OK no problem! Thanks for letting me know!

I'm not even sure after your explanation what "nofollow" is or does, it's taken me literally TEN YEARS to get a working blog up, so I'm liable to make all kinds of mistakes that seem like I"m being intentionally annoying but am actually not, just ignorant.

The Internet will be gone in 10 years mark my words. I don't even know what the use is of having a blog this far into the Doom, but for now it's something to do.

Thanks for the great work Leanan.

The Internet will be gone in 10 years mark my words.

As we know it now yes. The movement to IPv6 and the grumblings of 'you need to have a licence' like the radio licence of the early 1900's will make the 'net a different place.

But unless the ability to make 3 volt CMOS chips goes 'poof' - there will be networks of computers.

I appear to have acquired the dreaded "conservative" label mainly by pointing out the obvious influence over Obama by Goldman Sachs and other powerful financial interests. The same guys controlled Bush like a puppet, but I guess it all makes sense in your world.

I appear to have acquired the dreaded "conservative" label mainly by pointing out the obvious influence over Obama by Goldman Sachs and other powerful financial interests.

I can only speak for myself. It marks you as a populist. Populism comes in both liberal and conservative varieties, so it ought not be enough to pin you down. It is becoming increasingly clear that there has been a lot of "legislative capture" by those with big money. How direct that influenece is is debatable. Perhaps they are able to control what the economic experts are saying, and he ends up choosing from plans, all of which are heavily influenced? Or perhaps there is a greater degree of awareness of the influence?

In either case, we got no good options.

Brian, didn't I write: "I'm rather against the proposed Cap-and-Trade scheme, as there are too many opportunities to game the system."? I don't doubt that business interests will try to control (and possibly profit from) any efforts to cut emissions of greenhouse gases.

I've written about direct rationing as a way to reduce such emissions, i.e., some agency takes control of the flow of carbon and gives out an equal allotment to each consumer over some time period, then reduces the succeeding allotments. Cap-and-Trade as it's being proposed might look similar, but the individual isn't going to be the recipient of the allotments, only businesses, AIUI. The result of cap-and-trade from the perspective of the individual consumer would be increased prices, which would likely be seen as a tax increase.

Do you have a better solution, or are you (like the Repug politicians) against any real effort to reduce emissions?

E. Swanson

Black: 1. Tax gasoline at European levels 2. Pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan and dramatically cut the size of the US military 3. Slash income taxes to the bone-raise the personal exemption to $60000 4. Get rid of the deductibiliy of mortgage interest 5. Apply a tax credit/refund per employee for every USA employer (the USA currently doesn't have a hope of increasing private sector employment meaningfully the way things are going) 6. $9.00/hr federal minimum wage 7.Tax (tariff) levied on any product or service originating in a nation with lower federal minimum wage than the USA. That is 7 ideas in 7 minutes. Now on to the important stuff: Do you actually believe that every single powerful person in the USA is unaware of what would be needed to be done? NEWSFLASH: the rulers of the country are too busy looking after THEIR futures to worry about inconsequential nonsense like the future of the USA. What I just wrote in a few minutes sounds like the campaign speech of every grifter-once they are elected everything becomes oh so "complicated". You just watched Barack Obama transform from guy railing against big military, big Pharma and big Wall Street into the best friend these three have ever had and it only took a matter of months and still you cannot pull yourself away from the Koolaid for five seconds.

Your theory is that CO2 levels are elevated or cannot be reduced because "denialists" are the main obstacle to a meaningful reduction in CO2 levels-show the evidence for this theory or claim of yours. I ask because posters seem to repeat the same thing ad nauseum-if we can just fix the "denialists" everything else will be easy

Full of crap on this, per usual. Stating that there are fools intentionally stopping change doesn't in any way imply them getting on board will change everything. What is certain, both historically and logically, is that their actions have impacted the understanding of what climate change is, whether it is based in legitimate science, and action to deal with the problem.

I know it makes you feel good to think it's OK for you to be profligate because, gosh, we just can't do anything about it (though we've already done this with CFCs, acid rain, Dioxin...), but that's bull.

As always CCPO you have many fatal errors in your statements.

Right now there is very little difference (in terms of positive action towards reducing C02), between a "DENIER", a politician, a scientist, a housewife, a buisnessman. We are all guilty of inaction. The real proportion of people making MEAINGFUL reductions vs those that agree with AGW is very low. Same for those that don't belive in AGW. That is a very important distincion and one that seems to go straigh over your head. Let me put it simply for you. Very few people, regardless of whether they believe of not, are doing much about it.

Yes the denialists may have obfuscated the truth a bit but you see it really makes no differnece as so few people are prepared to change their lifestyles becasue of it. That is my whole point from the start.

Your next fatal flaw is another 'change the lightbulbs' statement. Sorting out acid rain, CFC's and dioxins were again of a few orders of magnitute easier to sort than the problem we now face. I laugh at my own use of the word 'problem' - it hardly does the situation justice.


The only point you made that was relevant to what I said was the last. There are orders of magnitude, not least because of the massive - not "bit" - interference of the Oil lobby, et al.

No it was entirely relevant: you said his statement fas "full of crap".

His statement refers to the fact that AGW proponents cite denailists as the reason for lack of progress on the matter. I'm telling you the lack of progress is everyones fault - both deniers and regular human beings from all walks of life.

Very few people, deniers or not, wish to change there ways. The AGW proponets just like to mouth off a bit without actually doing a lot whereas the AGW deniers like to mouth off a lot and also do not very much. Oops thats the same then.


I agree that any efforts to solve the problem of AGW are going to be difficult, perhaps fruitless. One reason for this is that there needs to be an overall consensus amongst the population that there is a real, urgent need to make the necessary changes. The fact that the AGW denialist camp are spreading FUD has contributed to a decrease in the sense of crisis in the public mind. Their successful disinformation campaign implies that indeed, efforts by individuals or a small fraction of the general population will result in no meaningful reduction in CO2 emissions until the problems become acutely obvious and thus too late to address without massive economic intervention and/or remedial action.

E. Swanson

Explain how "denialists" are directly responsible for Barack Obama's expansion of US military spending and the thus greater use of oil by the US military (specifically exempt under all these scams/schemes). I would assume the Rethugs are also somehow responsible for his ramping up of the permanent Afghanistan war (I wonder if any fossil fuels will be used).

Red Herring, yet you're not a closet denialist.

eye roll

It took some work getting you to admit you were a denialist, then change your stance. As you can see, it is quite possible to create change, but impossible if the facts are said to be lies and the lies facts, as is the case with climate science.

As to your pointless screed above, WTH do you not get about this sentence I wrote above?

Stating that there are fools intentionally stopping change doesn't in any way imply them getting on board will change everything.

Don't just read what is written, but what is clearly implied. Also, don't read what you wish things said, but what they do.

The really interesting thing is when 'the people' work out that either they cut their consumption to what they will consider 'starvation' levels - or there needs to be a sizeable reduction in total population numbers...

Maybe I'm a cynic, but I think they are going to opt for option B.

But it's very easy to fall into a cynical mindset when one decides to see the people of the world, or of the west, etc.. as a great and monolithic 'They' ..

There are a lot of 'they subsets', and it makes a lot more sense to try to pick out, as the 12 steppers would have put it, 'smaller, more reasonable goals' .. I mean, here we are, moaning and groaning about not being able to affect the mindset of 'The People of Earth', or the Developing world, or the US, or the OECD. Of course we're seeing spots and running for the fallout shelters.. it's a great strategy for despair.

'Please grant me the strength to change what I can, the patience to accept what I can't change, and the wisdom to know the difference.. and God, if you're really planning to destroy me.. just do it, ok, we can skip the 'driving me mad' part, alright?'

Yeah, the climate crowd is in denial. But they may be coming off it as I get the impression that geoengineering is being considered more seriously.

Anyway... there is a fight. People have been fighting it for a long, long time. I haven't got the stomach for it and I'm no part of it but you COULD choose to make it your own, "game over" or not. Why deny it? Or you could just support the prisoners and such from a politically-correct human rights perspective. That's relatively safe.

The answer I always give people, if I have been able to lay out all the constraints to them, when they ask "well, what should we do?"

I say LESS

We have a global movement underway right now where millions are deciding (forced) to do less by becoming unemployed. This trend will increase for the foreseeable future. This could be a great way to reduce consumption if it were not for the fact that if you don't have money you DIE.

We have a system where a relatively small group of people, who are not at all affiliated with any government, decides who gets to have obscene amounts of wealth and therefore gets to live, and who should have their wealth taken from them via taxes, inflation, lack of access to capita, & interest, and therefore must die.

Who are these a$$holes and who made them god?

A different view regarding the story above re: the US gov tossing a tariff on imported Chinese pipe because it is subsidized by their gov't. Last time I looked the the Saudi et al govt's completely subsidize their oil industries. Shouldn't our gov't put a $20 or $30 per bbl tariff on imported oil? Me and the boys in the oil patch would like the same protection afforded the steel industry.

Don't bother with the obvious response: we know we are evil and everything possible should be done to run us out of the business. After all, if that did happen the country would still have all those friendly nations selling us their oil.

FYI -- I was grinning the whole time I wrote this message: for those who have trouble picking up on my sarcasm.

Shouldn't our gov't put a $20 or $30 per bbl tariff on imported oil? Me and the boys in the oil patch would like the same protection afforded the steel industry.

That's a great idea, along with a gasoline tax.

I 2nd that motion. A hefty fuel tax (say $20 US a gallon) with a equivalent levy on the embedded energy of all imports(fuels, fertilizers, toys etc) would raise at least a trillion a year ( to be used to support public transport and raise the tax threshhold so the poor and lower middle class would pay no income tax). Done carefully to protect poor people, farmers etc the only losers would be road hogs, Nascar fans and Middle East despots. More localization, more local jobs (some of the money would end up in building rail cars, wind turbines, small hybrid cars etc)and good for the planet. Big savings on the import bill.

Your rulers are quite aware of this and have been for a very long time. A few dollars would also be saved leaving Iraq and Afghanistan (a certain political party and then a President swept to power partly on those promises).

From your lips to Santa's ear Steve. Now...tell me another fairy tale

People don't want to change their level of lifestyle.
If we implement nuclear power the level of change required is less, since nuclear power can replace coal and gas for electricity and heat production. The only part of modern society that is hard to replace is liquid fuels, but this is not the biggest cause of CO2 emissions.
I think we will be implementing nuclear power for this reason, that is, it allows the continuation of a higher level of lifestyle. Nuclear is also cheaper and more reliable than renewables.
It just so happens that nuclear is lower carbon emitting than anything else.

Nuclear is also cheaper and more reliable than renewables.
It just so happens that nuclear is lower carbon emitting than anything else.

Same old pro-nuclear song, with unsubstantiated, fact-free blanket assertions.

And of course, the response is an old refrain too.

Energy efficiency is both cheaper and lower-carbon than nuclear. Any realistic life-cycle assessment would show that insulating attics is cheaper and emits less carbon than building, fueling, and decommissioning thousands of nuclear plants to push heat through uninsulated attics.
Energy efficiency is also available to individuals and not just multi-national mega-corporations, does not require a national security state to protect the fuel cycle, etc.


"Nuclear power is expensive and will divert resources from more cost-effective energy strategies.

* Building 100 new nuclear reactors would require an up-front capital investment on the order of $600 billion (with a possible range of $250 billion to $1 trillion), diverting money away from cleaner and cheaper solutions. Any up-front investment in nuclear power would lock in additional expenditures over time.
* Over the life of a new reactor, the electricity it produces could cost in the range of 12 to 20 cents per kilowatt-hour, or more. In contrast, a capital investment in energy efficiency actually pays us back several times over with ongoing savings on electricity bills, and an investment in renewable power can deliver electricity for much less cost.
* Per dollar spent over the lifetime of the technology, energy efficiency and biomass co-firing are five times more effective at preventing carbon dioxide pollution, and combined heat and power (in which a power plant generates both electricity and heat for a building or industrial application) is greater than three times more effective. In 2018, biomass and land-based wind energy will be more than twice as effective, and offshore wind power will be on the order of 30 percent more effective per dollar of investment, even without the benefit of the renewable energy production tax credit. "

I get my numbers from


I get my recommendation about the IFR and the LFTR from James Hansen


Energy efficiency is subject to Jevon's Paradox.
Individual action will not be enough - one of the criticisms of Al Gore's movie is he recommends individual action, and says nothing about the need for large emitters to be controlled.

Figures from


are a little lower than you suggest.

My belief is nuclear costs about the same nameplate as renewables, but the capacity factor for renewables means three times as much nameplate must be built for renewables to generate as much as nuclear; then more again must be built to make up for the variability of renewables; then a cobweb of transmission wires must be built to route power from where it is currently being generated to where it is wanted. The total expense of renewables is probably five times what nuclear would cost, in order to obtain anything like the same reliability and level of power.

Nuclear is just as good if not better at producing combined heat and power, and emits no CO2 at the plant in the process, and less CO2 in procuring the fuel than you'd spend to look after all that widely dispersed renewables.

Energy efficiency is subject to Jevon's Paradox.

Jevon's Paradox likely applies significantly only on the upside of the energy curve. On the downside, it's a different ballgame.

I agree on the down side its mixed with a game of Russian Roulette to make it more interesting.

When the commons gets to crowded a few of the players are shot and the game continues.

Yah, but efficiency/renewables renews the upside, does it not?

Energy efficiency is subject to Jevon's Paradox.

People parrot this bit of Oil Drum orthodoxy without any attention to what actually happens on planet Earth. Sweden, Germany, Norway, and many other countries have higher standards of living than the US but emit about half of US per capita carbon emissions because of energy efficiency, primarily as a result of high gas taxes and building codes. Within these countries, Jevon's paradox is nowhere to be seen, rather than spending their energy savings on buying more energy somewhere else, the population takes longer vacations and works 30% less hours.

There is no reason to believe that other countries would not have similar results if they adopted similar policies, and the hell with Jevons.

Maybe the economics of nuclear is good on pro-nuclear websites and in future projections, but in the real world, not so much. Wind is expanding at a rate of ~25% in the US, while nuclear grows at about 1.5%.

"According to the latest issue of the Monthly Energy Review published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, renewable energy sources—biofuels, biomass, geothermal, hydroelectric, solar and wind—provided 11.37% of domestic U.S. energy production in June 2009, the most recent month for which data is available. That represents a gain since the first half of 2007, when renewable sources accounted for 9.89% of domestic energy production, and from the same period last year, when they represented 10.2% of production.

At the same time, EIA’s latest Electric Power Monthly reports that renewable energy sources provided 11.18% of net U.S. electrical generation for the first six months of 2009—a significant gain over renewables’ 9.9% share for the first half of 2008.

Renewable energy sources grew by 4.62% during the first half of this year compared to the same period last year. Most of that growth came from wind and hydropower, which expanded by 24.54% and 7.14% respectively in the first half of 2009 compared to the first half of 2008.

In comparison, nuclear power increased by only 1.38%, while domestic fossil fuel production actually dropped by 0.7%. Meanwhile, overall consumption of fossil fuels—including imports—declined 7.67%."

They use nuclear quite a lot in Europe, and it helps achieve that high standard of living and low carbon emissions. The Europeans you mention do have more population density than the USA and a different approach to work and life. It will be a big undertaking to convert Americans to such an orientation. I think going nuclear would be cheaper.
I think you mentioned some future projections to do with renewables, so you can hardly criticize others for doing so about non-renewables.
Nuclear has not grown in the USA because it has not been allowed to. I think that was a mistake. Renewables produces more carbon emissions than nuclear and is more expensive per watt hour.

My belief is nuclear costs about the same nameplate as renewables

That is not my belief (or the belief of the Finns).

In any case, the USA can build build a maximum of eight new nukes in the next decade, but significantly more in the decade after that. Nuke is too little, too late for more than a second order solution (used to close the last coal plants in 2036).

Conservation can save in months, an existing wind farm can be expanded in 18 months, a greenfield wind farm in about 30 months, geothermal in 36 to 42 months, etc.

This issue has been discussed here before in great detail.

Best Hopes for Crash Conservation, a Rush to Wind & Geothermal and a safe economic build-out of new nukes,


Anyone who has worked on a large project to build a new gizmo knows they usually go over budget. Not until several have been built, and if there is cooperation to share knowledge gained, will the cost diminish. This has been true of renewables too.
Since no-one has been allowed to build a nuke in the USA for decades the skills have necessarily been eroded.

They have been allowed to build nukes in the USA at any time.

The nuke builders destroyed their industry by themselves. Zimmer had more (or at least as much) impact than TMI on prospective owners & financiers. TVA canceled 11 new nukes one day, and stopped repairs on Browns Ferry 1. WHOOPS started 5 new nukes, and finished one.

PLEASE stop the myth that it was anything but hari kari by the nuke builders that stopped new nukes.

In 2005, the nuke builders were given the store by the US Congress, EVERY imaginable incentive to build. A number of semi-serious paper shuffling efforts to date. HOPEFULLY we will break ground on 2 to 4 new nukes by 2014.


Well, obviously, I got that wrong.
It appears your point about there being a limited number of people around at any one time who know how to do a realistic (proposal to a) RFP and then build properly is more limited than I supposed.
I think that's a problem.
It doesn't change my belief we need more nukes and as quick a move as possible towards Gen4 nukes, but it does make me more pessimistic about it.

safe economic build-out of new nukes

A claim elsewhere I'm reposting.

Two designs were submitted one from the French and one from Westinghouse which I think is Japanese owned.
Both designs were exhaustively examined by the UK's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and found to be lacking in a number of areas. One of them had links between the operating system and the safety supervisory system which could allow a fault in one to stop the other working. The other failed on inspectability of reinforcing bars. Being encased in concrete they cannot be examined and presumably could fail completely without anyone knowing anything about it.

(I highlight the inspection part because that is how things like re-bar work...you put 'em in concrete where you can't see 'em. Rather damming that you can't submit a design that will pass muster after 50+ years of building plants tho.)

According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AP-1000 the AP-1000 design is ok in the USA. I really don't know why it is not ok outside the USA.
Certainly there is a risk with nuclear power projects that they can go wrong and then be an expensive mistake.
For example, Canada's MAPLE reactor fiasco is something I still can't understand. If someone had wanted to sabotage the project they could hardly have done a better job. The MAPLE reactor is probably just as safe as a CANDU, but it was supposed to have a negative PCR and instead it is (slightly) positive. This doesn't make it the next Chernobyl but it does mean someone really screwed up in the design department. If you want to make nuclear reactors, even for something as indisputably necessary and valuable as medical isotopes, you've got to build it so it is indisputably safe.
Nuclear reactors work very well, better than anything else, if they are done properly.

If you want to make nuclear reactors, even for something as indisputably necessary and valuable as medical isotopes, you've got to build it so it is indisputably safe.

Lets say each and every fission reactor in the US of A was magically built safe.

Yet, every year various operators pay fines for violation of safety rules. It would matter not if the reactor was designed safe if the operation is unsafe.

Nuclear reactors work very well, better than anything else, if they are done properly.

I'd say PV panels work even better. No moving parts (if one wants your panels to have no moving parts). If one wants to clean the panel you can, but they will operate without cleaning.

And under warfare conditions, a successful attack on a PV panel would result in what? Glass shards?

Whereas a fission plant under a sucessful attack ends up as a destruction multiplier due to the nature of the plant's fuel.

I doubt many would oppose, say, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia having megawatts of PV panels. The same can not be said for fission reactors.

Imagine for a moment the Shaw of Iran. He ordered fission plants from Westinghouse. Assuming they were built and in operation before the Islamic Revolution - what exactly would be the plan for the reactors when the government changed?

See my response to Alan above - the reality appears less hopeful somehow than I imagined.
Not because it should be that way, and not because I think any of your points are much good. I still think nuclear should be a better proposition than renewables, but if there are not going to be enough competent people to make it so, then it won't be so.


Gov't paid --> taxes --> our money --> plus bills

Wind/Solar/other (particularly DIY):

Our money --> some taxes --> No bills


Private Big Bus./Utils --> out of our control --> many can't afford it

Wind/Solar/other (particularly DIY):

Ours --> DIY much more affordable over long run


Control out of our hands

Wind/Solar/other (particularly DIY):

Control in our hands


12 billion --> N families (Alan, got a clue how many are served?)

Wind/Solar/other (particularly DIY):

12 billion --> 2,400 households @ 5k each for DIY

Remember: Nuclear, we pay the subsidies, construction THEN monthly bills THEN decommissioning. With wind, we pay 5k and are done for 20 - 30 years.


12 billion --> N families (Alan, got a clue how many are served?)

Wind/Solar/other (particularly DIY):

12 billion --> 2,400 households @ 5k each for DIY


Funds spent help a relatively small segment of society, even where built.

Wind/Solar/other (particularly DIY):

Funds spent benefit entire community and go directly into the local economy.


Crash could well equal multiple nuclear disasters.

Wind/Solar/other (particularly DIY):

Crash would equal lots of families still with power.

Me, I don't see where nuclear is a savior for anything but BAU and deep pockets. There are a few areas that should go with nuclear due to a lack of natural resources, but other than those, no.

For 24/7 electrical service (to keep the frig & freezer cold and lights in the bathroom, perhaps fans for central heat) the local solution is batteries. The grid solution is pumped storage.

Pumped storage is dramatically better by every metric (lifespan, environmental impact, cost, energy to build & replace, efficiency) than batteries.

I see no economic solution for a 90% non-GHG grid for North America without at least 25% of MWH coming from nuke (max about 55% nuke, policy choice between those two points IMHO). Even with widespread conservation, massive exploitation of Canadian hydro and using spring thaw flows from Great Lakes as giant "pumped storage" (quadruple Niagara Falls installed generation and release water for peak, screw the tourists).

We should Rush to Wind, Crash Conservation and rebuild our ability to build large #s of nukes. Wind should be at least 30% (perhaps 50%) of our total grid generation IMO.

Best Hopes,


Absolutely nothing will be better than a system that is primarily massively distributed, home- and community-owned energy production. Less efficient, far more resilient, and strongly adding to localization and local economies.

A certain amount of backbone is, of course, useful and even necessary.

Judging by your numbers, I'd say your conservation levels must be far less than I would advocate. Here's a nice take on it.


which of course leads us to the much-posted


BTW, anything that looks like BAU, is BAU.


I disagree that massively distributed home power is ALWAYS the best.

I do agree that cities and rural co-ops should own a much higher % of all utilities, the results for society would generally be better.

I strongly support solar hot water heating, and roof top solar PV MAY be the best way to go (I think a mix of home & business owned solar PV with some utility owned 0.5 MW to 100 MW systems may be ideal).

I would like to see more emphasis on solar cookers (think crock pot recipes).

Wind turbines are the best renewable available. 1 MW is the smallest economic size. I would like to see the Danish model more in use here (half dozen city investors and 1 farmer put up two WTs on the farmers land) but I also want to see Cape Wind and 300 MW wind farms, on & offshore. In Denmark the small groups own about 20% of the WTs.

Pumped storage is for big boys (including a group of city owned & rural co-ops in partnership).

I very much dislike battery back-ups. If I install solar PV I will not add battery back-up. The fewer batteries installed, the better.

IMHO, we are not going to see a positive productive revolution as a solution to our problems. Our best shot is evolving current BAU towards something better. Once started, the pace of change can be startling.

Best Hopes,


I disagree that massively distributed home power is ALWAYS the best.

I said,

A certain amount of backbone is, of course, useful and even necessary.

We seem to be going in circles. We essentially agree, but the devil is always in the details.

Where we mostly disagree, I suspect is in time lines. Your view is more catabolic, mine more Bifurcations Galore. I suspect further we are both not far off the mark for our respective time lines.

I would argue, regardless of the basic time line differences, that you aren't going to address massive dislocation with gradual change. We need a big shift and we need it now, if we are to prepare for a major dislocation, or series of them.

Of course, given this is the most complex society has ever been, we should expect the largest dislocations humanity has ever seen. Amplitudes of a pendulum always match, all things being equal.


I agree that we mostly disagree on details, with the largest area of disagreement being just what changes society will endure post-Peak Oil and Peak Climate Change :-(

I suggest that people will cling to what they know for as long as possible (and a little longer than that). Evolving what they know (adding wind to the energy mix is a good example) is the most effective strategy today. Solar hot water heaters, solar cookers & super-insulation should also become widely known and used.

BTW, in a semi-Mad Max world, electrified railroads may become the focus of social organization instead of Barter Town.


I still think nuclear should be a better proposition than renewables,

The fission power industry hasn't shown they can operate without violation of saftey rules.

And from a global POV - some nations are not going to be allowed to have a fission for electrical power industry.

While putting PV or wind in a place with sandstorms may be rather damaging to the PV/Wind - if they are not going to be allowed fission for electrical power - what are their choices?

I don't know which countries you mean - perhaps Australia?
If a country's choices are so constrained, I guess they're in trouble.

And maybe I have this wrong too, but my belief is the nuclear power industry has a pretty good safety record. A whole lot more people die from producing and consuming power by other means than from nuclear. I'd guess more people die falling off roofs when installing PV than die from nuclear.
Nuclear is the one power industry where pollution may not be externalized. Fossil, PV, wind, are all allowed to externalize pollution aspects. All these produce more CO2 or CO2 equivalent than nuclear, and are not being required to do anything about it.

The waste fuel has been externalized, as well as radiation given off during normal operations, waste heat and Price-Anderson in the USA.


Well my education continues.

I thought the waste fuel was not externalized. It was supposed to go to Yucca or some safe repository but NIMBYs have stopped that. So it's being stored onsite is it not?
(Actually what I read about Yucca is that it is an oxidizing environment, not to mention at the headwaters of two or three watersheds, so really not the best choice).
I mean I know there are the stories of the mafia being hired to dump it at sea and so on, but that's illegal activity, which is a little different deal.

And of course, as a good Gen4 advocate, I don't think it's waste anyway, rather it is very valuable mostly unused fuel.

There is surely very little radiation released from nuclear plants. The Linear Non-Threshhold model is not that believable, and heck, coal plants emit more radiation don't they? And radon gas brought back to the surface from geothermal is significant isn't it?

Price-Anderson could be argued to be a pretty good thing. It is a collective insurance, isn't it?

Lots of questions, I'm asking.

Answer after the Saints win :-)


I remember I often picked them when I was in a pool in 2007, the other team I liked was the Tennessee Titans.
I've been to NOLA once. It rained for four days. I flew in and out, but the guys I felt sorry for drove down from Detroit for that weekend.

U.S. Crude Oil Production Poised for Biggest Jump Since 1970

That's an assinine headline. The biggest jump since 1970 occurred in 1977 when the Trans-Alaska Pipeline went on stream and Prudhoe Bay, the biggest oil field discovery in US history, went on production.

However, Prudhoe Bay didn't change the fact that US oil production peaked in 1970, because all the other giant fields in Texas and California were in terminal decline. Today, Alaskan oil production is also in terminal decline and down to pre-pipeline levels.

US oil production is about half of what it was in 1970 and unlikely to grow significantly. My interpretation of the minor uptick in production is that the US is halfway down the production decline curve and is getting to the flatter part where it starts to level off. That doesn't mean the curve is starting to go back up. That's not how these curves work.

It reminds me of the book

Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me
by Richard Fariña.

Fariña was killed in a motorcycle accident two days after the book was published, proving that things are never so bad that they can't get worse.

To add to Rocky's comment don't be mislead by the title. You may think it's saying we're about to produce more than in 1970. They mean the y-o-y increase is the biggest since 1970. The report goes on to say we may match the average production rate of 2004. That's not a bad thing, of course. Every little bit helps. But as Rocky also pointed out the last time we had such a big jump was when the North slope crude came on line. Last year's higher production rate was due to the Deep Water GOM fields coming online. I know the DW GOM fields...worked with them for the last few years. Like a man once said "I knew Jack Kennedy...and you're no Jack Kennedy". These DW fields are world class. But they'll all be depleted and abandoned before Prudhoe Bay Fld will be. And it began producing over 30 years ago. These fields are a great addition but they will have a much shorter life than PHB. But don't blame the author. This story is in a trade journal and we understand what they're saying. Unfortunately some of the MSM will pick it up and toss it out to a gullible public deep in denial.

This emphasizes again why I harp on our phrasology when communicating with Joe6Pack. A PO proponent says we're "running out of oil" and then the MSM throws out an absolutely factual story showing we've just had a big increase in daily production from where we were in recent past years. We very well understand the subtlty...J6P never will.

The Tragedy of 21 Darts
(linked above)

Interesting, but rambling, read.

The sense that I got from reading it was that all sorts of small company scammers are gonna go hog wild since they can literally claim anything they want in proven reserves and not have to explain any of it if they used proprietary technology to make their claim. Quite a change from the days when 'reserves were proved at the drill head.'

Anyway, it will be interesting to see what happens with reserve rates over the next couple of years.

A great link Ron (but it didn't work for me but copied the title and it popped right up on a Google search). I highly recommend all of TOD to study this article. And it will take some "study". Don't be put off by the length. Some technobabble but we can clarify here.

I suspect this might be the basis for the biggest issue tossed around TOD in the next year+. It will be totally incomprehensible to the MSM and the vast majority of the public IMHO. The new SEC rules might set back the public discussion of PO for some years to come.

I've read this piece. I don't think it will matter for production because the banks will still need to lend money to the drillers - that won't change at all (might even be worse). All this will be is an accounting gimmick - but if you'd like to weigh in with a guest post on the subject we'd welcome it. (I think Heading Out wrote about this a month or so ago..)

I agree Nate. Since we're not public I'm not dealing with the bankers these days. But my cohorts tell me the banks are now being much more conservative then even the old SEC rules. I just see the MSM taking the new company numbers and tossing them out to the public as a life perserver. Off the top of my head I can imagine significant upward revisions of DW GOM oil reserves next year.

I'll probably be sitting on a barge rig in S. La. for most of December. Should have enought down time to condense the subject into a more digestable format. Thanks for the invite.

It's not going to affect production, but it could affect the debate on peak oil. All of a sudden, discovery will be keeping up with consumption. If actual production lags, well, obviously the problem is national oil companies who won't let the free market work. Or big oil, sitting on their bounty just to drive the price up. Or environmentalists who won't let us drill. Certainly not geology, with all those nice reserves.

I think Leanann has the correct reading on this. It is mainly a way to effect the debate. If the public believes we have all we could ever need, if only we could do it over the dead bodies of whomever are the current scapecoats, then that leads to some badly maladaptive behaviors. And it doesn't lead to urgency in moving off of dependence on the resource. It also probably leads in the short term to an oil company stock bubble, which is probably the real reason these changes were pushed through.

Um, actually I wrote about it last January for the first time.

It follows in the mold of the change in rules for assessing the oil reserves of other nations, that has been written about many times in these pages - hopefully this time there will be a little more clarity in the results.

I don't think it will matter much at all. According to the rules of mean proportional extraction, one can only drill to a percentage of your true current estimates anyways (which is the reported reserves as described by HO). So it won't effect the modelers, as they will switch to monitoring rig count or some other proxy.

The other difference is that the new rules will necessarily modify the behavior of reserve growth. The dispersive reserve growth (that goes like t/(1+t)) may reach its asymptotic value more quickly, as the estimates won't incrementally increase like they did before.

Outstanding analysis. Agree with Rockman - this is a must-read. Bravo.

I really enjoyed that paper. Author is extremely sarcastic, a man true to my heart. When I heard about the SEC reserves booking revisions due to kick in next month my first thought was "Hydrocarbon Glass-Steagall repeal" - a vehicle to commit all manner of financial mischief, not to mention confusing the layman beyond all hope of understanding. We will have to start referring to "P1 (Original)" or the like to distinguish the (in theory) rigorously defined reserves booked in the past, defined by drilling and well tests as per SEC regulations, in contrast to massively overinflated new figures dependent only on 3D seismic, plus any and all unconventional sources, no matter how uneconomic - and these will be utlizied in calculating future supply curves, which were absurdly optimistic as it is. The 21 darts author covers this in detail, with examples to boot, and I'm glad to see someone investigating this in depth.

We covered this last year in the wake of the announcement: The Oil Drum | New SEC Oil Accounting Rules. I turned up a few stories of US independents who were mostly complaining about the mountains of additional paperwork this will entail, but stand by my prediction that we're in for whole newstands chock full of screaming headlines of the "newfound" oil cornucopia, all of it as ephemeral as Bernie Madoff's balance sheet. Bets?

Author is extremely sarcastic, a man true to my heart.

but the fact that freddie hutter says urr is 7792 gb must give you a warm and fuzzy fealing, dudnit ?

Naw, I've been reading Freddy's stuff for years, he's more bullish than a sperm bank for heifers. No big surprise his tune hasn't changed.

You're gonna have to give me pretty good odds KLR. But OTOH, current seismic is truly amazing compared to where it was when I started. But it's not foolproof to say the least. I've seen (and suffered) first hand a seismic picture showing a newly discovered reservoir extending to location X. And then drilling location X and not only not finding all the reserves the seismic indicated but finding none at all. Based upon my first experience as a petroleum geologist in 1975 I'm the last person the SEC would like commenting on the new rules. My first project for Mobil Oil was drilling the development wells off of a new platform in the GOM. Drilling locations were based upon the exploration group's maps after drilling two discoveries wells on the 5,000 acre OCS lease. My first 5 wells off the platform were dry holes. Those wells reduced the field's "proved" reserves from 125 bcf to 25 bcf and 25 million bo to 1 million bo. And these weren't even SEC reserves. These were our honest best guess numbers.

And, as I've mentioned before, that is the basis for my disgust with wildass wildcatters like westexas (luv ya brother).

My first 5 wells off the platform were dry holes. Those wells reduced the field's "proved" reserves from 125 bcf to 25 bcf and 25 million bo to 1 million bo.

Wouldn't it have been much more fun to be Vern "Dry Hole" Hunter, who back in 1947, after drilling 133 consecutive dry holes, drilled into a peculiar little anomaly on the seismic surveys to see what it was? It was a pinnacle reef and it held 400 million barrels of oil - the first big oil discovery in Canada.

In the modern day, they are hunting for pinnacle reefs that are as little as 70 feet across and as much as 700 feet high, and full of oil from top to bottom. If you hit one, it's like having a license to print money.

But, can you imagine trying to see a 70-foot-wide reef on seismic? No, you can't do it. You need to use more exotic technology.

But now you can book a squiggle on a log as P1, if this is correct. Or will operators need to rigorously shoot the purported field?

lrd says, downthread:

The real reason predictions of recoverable reserves are inaccurate is that the people who make them either don't understand the data, are unduly optimistic (perhaps due to inexperience), or are intentionally deceptive. The new rules will widen the scope for deception, while at the same time allowing a more realistic estimate of most probable reserves for those who understand all the data and its uncertainties.

Again, this seems to echo the justifications for repealing Glass-Steagall - to liberate financial institutions from credit restrictions and allow them create (sic) capital in novel ways, increasing wealth all around. We all know how that turned out. I can certainly see ways in which seismic data in of itself allows those with the means to interpret the data to give a more accurate assessment of what's in the ground; but, as Berman and elwoodmore are disclosing, there are plenty of unscrupulous people out there who will use whatever means they have to beef up that bottom line.

All of this is just in re: 3D, too. We still haven't gotten to bringing oil sands and shales under the fold. At least sands have a track record, shale is and remains a rock, of no more utility than granite, but in its case it's spent a bit of time being burnt in Estonia to deliver the filthiest electricity on Earth, and in the odd retort here and there. Classing it the same as any manner of conventional field is beyond ridiculous.

Interesting Rocky...never heard of Vern. But I would guess Vern was one of those promoting operators that made money even on dry holes. Can't be that unsuccessful and stay alive with out making some pocket change. When I was a puppy geologist I watched over a joint venture that drilled 18 dry holes in a row. And the operator's senior guys retired millionaires.

Yep...can't see a small reef like that. I wonder if they see a drape in the structure hinting that the reef is there. There is a rather exotic system I've used successfully and will be using again soon. Go to geophysicsinternational.com and check out the Petrosonde. I know it will sound very odd but it can work in the right circumstances.

Vern "Dry Hole" Hunter is something of a local hero in Alberta, illustrating the value of persistence in the face of failure. After drilling 133 consecutive dry holes, Vern was the toolpush on the rig that drilled Imperial Leduc #1 for Imperial Oil, the Canadian subsidiary of Standard Oil of New Jersey (Now Exxon). He only drilled one more well, Imperial Leduc #3.

Interestingly, Vern had commented, "They'll never find oil here - it’s too close to the city" (Edmonton). As it happens, most of the largest oil fields in Canada are within an hour's drive of Edmonton.

After Leduc #3, Vern was promoted to manager of Imperial Oil's biggest district (Edmonton) and was put in charge of developing a number of much bigger oil fields (because Leduc was just the start). Wherever he went, extremely rich people just wanted to shake his hand, buy him a drink, and maybe donate money to a major university in his name. The rig he used is now next to the Edmonton Tourist Information at the entrance to Edmonton, near the town of Leduc.

He passed away in 1987, a moderately wealthy and most likely extremely happy man.

His bio is at http://www.canadianpetroleumhalloffame.ca/members/hunter_vern.shtml

The author seems to use plenty of sarcasm yes, but it is sarcasm based on ignorance of what math allows you to do. I noticed that he takes potshots at the technique known as Monte Carlo simulation:

They are probabilities derived from an aptly named statistical software engine called Monte Carlo.

He clearly is a manager, as any mathematician or statistician or knowledgeable engineer even would realize that Monte Carlo is simply an approach, distinct from say an analytical approach. If he isn't a manager and he is actually an engineer, then I say get the man an education.

I enjoy working on the oil depletion problems as a hobby because everytime I look deep into the way the industry looks at these problems, I always see room for improvement. Whether it is these manager types who think math is some sort of voodoo, or whether it is the IEA who seem to think a model needs 16,000 equations (!!! see the 2009 WEO model) to gain some credibility, I see a huge gap in fundamental understanding.

So whatever the author is advocating, it won't help in our understanding in our oil depletion projections.

Leave it to you, WHT to rescue fuzzy math from the dumpster.

Monte Carlo simulations(Black-Scholes) are what brought down Wall Street this last year.



Like I said, Monte Carlo is an approach, not a specific tool. This proves my point, as the author said that reserves computation was through a "statistical software engine called Monte Carlo". How can that same engine also be used to do Black-Scholes unless it is a very general technique?

If you don't believe me, then Partial Differential Calculus (Black-Scholes) also brought down Wall Street last year. In other words, you can use Monte-Carlo approaches to solve differential equations, which is how Black-Scholes gets formulated. So do you blame Ike Newton for not dodging the apple that fell on his head?

About the only thing I can glean from your angle of attack is that sometimes doing a Monte Carlo simulation is too easy and it allows you to do some otherwise heinous problems. Combine that with the fact that Black-Scholes is not a fat-tail probability model, the people that relied on B-S ended up getting BS.

The author is blaming bad result on a tool, rather than on the way the tool is used. Monte Carlo simulation allows a more realistic way of handling uncertainties than analytical reserves analysis.

I use both methods. This is usually when I'm doing "due diligence" on a property being offered for sale. Most such properties are presented with only an analytical approach; they are usually calculated using the most optimistic assumptions, and often with outright lies.

When such underlying data is stuck into a Monte Carlo simulation, the results are just as unreliable as when they are used for an analytical evaluation. The only significant difference is that fewer people understand the Monte Carlo simulation, and few people can replicate it.

Petroleum reserves depend on just a few properties of the reservoir and of the hydrocarbons: for oil, just the reservoir volume, the porosity, the water saturation, the formation volume factor, and the recovery factor. The reservoir volume can have really large uncertainties in many fields; the porosity usually varies greatly both horizontally and vertically within the the reservoir, as does the water saturation. The formation volume factor is actually fairly predictable, and only varies over a small range. The recovery factor is probably the most uncertain of all the unknowns, and at the same time the most important. A field with a recovery factor of 50% may appear to be potentially highly profitable; but the same field with a 10% recovery factor may be a money pit. And it's often very difficult to predict in advance what the recovery factor might be.

A promoter may propose a recovery factor of 50% when selling a field. If I (realistically) estimate the probability of this as 1%, put 25% as a P50 recovery factor, 10% as a P90 recovery factor, and run a Monte Carlo simulation, I'll get much smaller P50 reserves than the promoter who used an analytical process.

The other factor which is important to consider is the potential rate of production from a well. This limits overall production rate from a field when combined with the number of wells in the field (which are limited by legal requirements, available capital, available equipment and personnel, and sound engineering practice). Production rates are very difficult to predict, and most predictions seem to be optimistic.

The real reason predictions of recoverable reserves are inaccurate is that the people who make them either don't understand the data, are unduly optimistic (perhaps due to inexperience), or are intentionally deceptive. The new rules will widen the scope for deception, while at the same time allowing a more realistic estimate of most probable reserves for those who understand all the data and its uncertainties.

I agree with your take.

Here is an example of a plot of a reservoir sizing model mapped against real data. I used the Dispersive Aggregation model which follows the data pretty well. Dispersive aggregation has an analytical form, but you can also generate the results via a Monte Carlo simulation. I did not use a software tool for this; this is just plain random number sampling.


The blue dots are data from the North Sea.

Monte Carlo always shows noise at small sample sizes which is why the simulated points (in red) diverge at small ranks. The analytical model is a solid line.

Blame the fool, not the tool. Unless the fool is also a tool.

Creating statistics from simulations instead of reality is nuts.


Warren Buffett was right when he refered to these things as financial weapons of mass destruction.

You're up to your old trick of eyeballing curves.

You don't even realize that resampling is not even involved in this case. I am not resampling from the empirical data. I am sampling from a probability distribution that is generated from a Maximum Entropy Principle, where only the mean is assumed.

And why do you bring financial weapons of mass destruction into this? If you care to read The Black Swan by Taleb, he and I use the same ideas from non-normal fat-tail statistics.
Apparently from your "eyeballing" remark, you want to use the conventional statistics that
brought down Wall Street last year.

Part of the problem as Taleb said in The Black Swan with respect to understanding a phenomenon:

"We scorn the abstract; we scorn it with passion."

Open your eyes, Majorian.

WHT: Math can be used to gain insight. But, it can also be used to obscure the truth,and to add just enough of an aire of "this is magic beyond your capability to understand, so you gotta trust our experts". But it is not that the math is wrong, but just garbage in garbage out. But the number of people qualified to judge the quality can be made small enough that big lies can be hidden.

You are absolutely right. Recall how many equations that IEA uses in their model:


Let me repeat, 16,000 freaking equations.

In comparison, how many equations do I use in my reservoir size model? 1
How many parameters do I use? 1

The difference is that I actually think from first principles, and use ideas from thermodynamics and statistical physics to simplify the problem. We have the problem in oil depletion analysis in that science has not been used for so long, that people have forgotten how useful it is to gain insight.

IEA clearly go the GIGO route. That is plain embarrassing to stand behind 16,000 equations and present that as proof of their rigorously horrendous projection.

The problem with 16,000 equations is that the chance for an undetected programming error in all that is so high that GIGO might just mean "Gold In, Garbage Out".

The blue dots are missing in the legend. I do not understand everyhing what "Rank" but I should read about. Have you really find a model that fit this well with reality (the blue dots)?

Yes I know they are missing, that's why I added them in the text below.

Look up "rank histogram", its a very simple concept. And yes the model fits pretty nicely and it allows one to do some useful extrapolations.

Good points Ird. But even utilizing risked reserve analysis can kill you. Monte-Carlo simulation, like guns, doesn’t kill, people kill (both people and projects). In the example I gave above about drilling the first 5 wells off the platform dry, the 125 bcf/25 million bo estimate was based upon risked reserve analysis (typically a 10 bcf potential volume X 15% probability = 1.5 bcf). Though the Ps's were rather low, when they stacked multiple sands in the same compartment the total reserves added up to a significant level. Being a rookie at the time I can't comment on the skills of the folks that did these estimates. But the bulk of the problem may have just been Mother Nature's sense of humor. The two exploratory wells were drilled in different compartments and found two different series of sands productive. Then the risked reserve analysis extrapolated all the sands to the remaining dozen untested compartments. Not an illogical approach. Oil/NG migration does usually follow common paths. But in this case it didn't. The two exploratory wells found the only accumulations on this structure. Thus one might classify this as an example of a somewhat valid analysis that was grossly incorrect. This is something to keep in mind when being judgmental about the process. Just like playing poker, the guy with 4 kings (and incredibly high odds of winning) isn’t going to win if the other player has 4 aces.

Nate invited me to offer a detailed piece on the SEC rule changes. I’ll probably have it ready in early January when the new rules kick in. I think I’ll actually lead with a picture of just how difficult making these estimates are even when the analysts are being very honest/unprejudiced. Even though I’m sure many on TOD see me as some sort of “Geology God” there have been a very few occasions when I’ve been so wrong my momma would have slapped me.

..gringos must pay or the rainforest gets it..

We need to sort out now whether this is a valid principle. It's a bit like hostage taking or saying 'I won't smash your windows if you pay me'. When a country razes its forests it is a debit against them in the first place. There is a surge of CO2 and soot if the forest remnants are burned and perhaps a short term reduction of CO2 absorption depending on rainfall and replacement vegetation. On the other hand carbon uptake in pristine forests may be low in mature forests or negative in years of drought, wildfire or plant disease. Untended grassland may even be a better replacement.

I suggest paying to conserve forests is
1) a form of blackmail
2) unable to guarantee carbon capture.
Long term these countries are doing themselves harm by trashing their renewable resource base. If the income from selective logging or hydro electricity is not enough then they should find some new sustainable industry. Under a world carbon trading scheme those countries will be penalised for razing forests the same as if they burned coal. When fossil fuels run out countries that have conserved forests will have a form of natural resource wealth that others don't. So pay them nothing.

..gringos must pay or the rainforest gets it..

Yeah, this kind of blackmail is now in vogue. Almost as KSA said - if we do mean that monkey business of lowering our dependency on oil seriously, we should pay some hefty bucks for their lost economic opportunities, or how should I name that inability of princes to buy new diamond plated rolls royces... It's like paying them not to pump or what.
So no wonder other countries find this style of blackmail appealing and try their luck to fetch some buck.
I agree with you completely, preservation of their forests and renewables should be their utmost priority and kinda automatic and they should penalize farmers or those who deforest the land by heavy fines. Government would get quite a money that way I think... And of course they should drop the foolish idea of making ethanol from crops planted on deforested land and selling it as "biofuel". No wonder farmers have some nasty craving to chop down all those trees, if they are able to make money in ethanol business.

Speaking as a gringo, I think they have a point. They just KNOW all kinds of wealth has been extracted by us gringos from their country and rainforest, and they just KNOW we live like Kings compared to them, which frankly most of us do - I live just about at the bottom of the scale for the US and I'd still not change places with 'em.

(ramblings of a gringo http.//alexlcarter.wordpress.com )

Economic justice certainly has a strong moral case to make. But, politically it is a deal killer. It causes many to conflate the motives of economic justice activists, with the motives of climate scientists. This at least in part is the genesis of the cosnpiracy theories regarding the imposition of a new world order. We have two different problems: unjust distribution of costs and benefits, and denial of scientific and rational thinking as a tactic to avoid the former problem.

Of course they KNOW. And they are right, because West really does have a nasty habit to extract all the shiny and important stuff from poor areas and leave it in shambles, polluted and even more poor. So, I agree, they have a point and a good one. But they should have a law of preservation of their national riches and make forests protected biodiversity areas.
As a gringo myself, I live in a small country in Europe of which vast forest areas are national parks and protected by law. They should have that kind of law long time ago, too. We aren't rich either as a state and many people live on edge of poverty, but luckily nobody sees deforestation as a good way to lift us out of it.
(Myself, I sold my car years ago and I don't drink alcohol, so I hope that I'm not contributing to their deforestation that much... :P)
Um... I just wanted to say that I agree with your opinion, they have a point, but maybe paying them isn't very helpful... Because money used to end up in wrong hands and even if they would distribute it in their population, for what it would be used? To buy more cars, to try to live like gringo Kings? To pollute even more and hasten the peak oil? Would be there enough incentives to use all that money for renewables or just squander them and "eat" them (using it for food)? Wouldn't all this cause more emissions and thus quickening the global climate change? Because, frankly, as all species, people love to drink, eat and replicate in cancerous manner as soon as they have a chance. So, from peak oil point of view - as economies should rather contract than grow - I'm not seeing paying them as very helpful.
I don't know answers to my own questions, so maybe they would use all that money to deliberately power down and live a simple energy non-intensive lives. :) Who knows..? But I see a chance of snowball in hell that to happen. :P

Decades of "progressive" thinking and the Int. Left comes up with a racist clown in Brazil, how charming. IMHO this man is hiding behind his racist rhetoric and looting the country blind, just a hunch.

We should watch for the next time a cornucopian starts accusing the oil depletion folks of nefarious book-cooking. I think I saw the first instance here:

Hide the decline


Those that are following the climategate email story, knows what these codewords mean.
We will be accused of manipulating oil production declines. I suspect we will see more of this.

Huh? All three count 'em three of our data sources (EIA/IEA/JODI) are as public domain as they get. You must be getting sarcastic here. We don't have books to cook. IHS maybe. At least they have very detailed and expensive data; actually I recall being chastised by someone with access to IHS data at his job that, even if we had could audit OPEC reserves we wouldn't know what to do with the info; this person was not only an industry veteran (petroleum geologist) but also an AGW skeptic. Maybe Inhofe plants the same chip in their brains? ;)

Maybe some more whistles will be blown in re: IEA etc. That should add some intrigue to the business news cycle, no one remembers these things a week later it seems. Too many fish to fry in this thoroughly nutzoid world.

One thing the AGW sites have that we'd do well to emulate are the point-by-point FAQs. A quick trip to RC Wiki and you have all the answers to these nagging questions of whether climate is really cooling or if it's all really due to the sun etc. Not that this satisfies the McKintyres and Wattses, but who cares.

Apparently you have not seen the latest IEA projections. Either look at Ace's recent post or read what I wrote up:

We can with good justification state that IEA is "hiding the decline" with their projections.

Oh - we're not the IEA, though. I'll pore over your post in the morning, and maybe have some comments too.

I've got to wonder if the 16k equations wasn't a mistranslation. Perhaps they really mean 16k data points. Has anyone ever built up such a monster of a model? But then the IEA is one schizoid mess of a bureaucracy, as in Birol being called out by Strahan, or was it Monbiot? Or the rather blatantly edited graphs we found.

This is an interesting notion as well: Quantifying skeptical arguments « Climate Change. Again, this guy's my kind of smartass:

12) 5 points– For discussions on Al Gore’s private jet or new house, etc

13) 5 points– For implying that because we don’t know everything, we know nothing

14) 10 points– offering prize money to prove AGW right, or your new theory wrong

15) 10 points– For comparing yourself, or some other to Einstein or Galileo

16) 10 points– Pointing out that the sun actually influences climate

But the publicity will do us good.
Let's make up some letters right here and now:

Dear WHT,

I finally finished the Firrenggi calculations.

As you know, these complex hyberbolic sphere calculations will finally give us the exact answer to how many years of crude oil remain for mankind to exploit at current consumption levels.

The answer did not come out as we Peakists and Peak Oil Theory conspirators wanted. So I used a mathematician's "trick" and rotated the answer by 90 degrees so as to produce the answer of 8. Eight years.

Hee hee hee. Main stream media (MSM) will never catch us and our evil trick. They will never know that the true answer is ....

Now remember, keep this letter as an absolute secret. Mum's the word. We do not want MSM to learn the true answer. This way we can suck them dry with well capping and renewable trade nonsense for the next 8 years. Bwa ha ha ...

Mostly truthfully yours in our evil co-conspiracy enterprise,