Drumbeat: December 5, 2009

ASPO.TV News - Acknowledging the Reality of Peak Oil (video)

The reality of oil depletion is undeniable. Volumes of publicly available data, collected over many decades, demonstrate that the world may have reached the point of maximum oil production. Despite the clarity of the facts and data, leaders in government, industry, and business are reluctant to articulate and address the enormous challenges that a declining oil supply will have on the world economy - and the urgent steps that should be taken to mitigate shortages of our most valuable energy source. This video features industry veterans Sadad al-Husseini, Jeremy Gilbert, Jeremy Leggett, and Chris Skrebowski, who discuss why governments and business are reluctant to face up to the realities of peak oil.

ASPO.TV News: Peak Oil Reality - Production & Depletion Issues (video)

Four leading petroleum industry experts discuss the major production challenges posed by peak oil. While new fields are being discovered, the steady pace of depletion, a growing world population, and diminished investment in new exploration and production point to a constrained world oil supply in the next few years. This video features Sadad al-Husseini, Jeremy Gilbert, Jeremy Leggett, and Chris Skrebowski.

OPEC unlikely to change supply on Dec 22 - Gulf delegate

CAIRO (Reuters) - OPEC is unlikely to change its official supply target at a meeting later this month as oil prices are at a level reasonable for producers and consumers, a senior Gulf OPEC delegate said on Saturday.

Mexico shuts Gulf oil ports due to bad weather

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico closed its three main oil ports on Saturday as a cold front in the Gulf of Mexico brought high winds and waves, the government said.

Europe better prepared for Russian gas crisis

Europe’s new liquefied natural gas import terminals, greater grid flexibility, low demand and a boom in gas trade should help Europe cope better this winter if Russia cuts supplies to its biggest customer again.

Europe’s largest LNG terminal, South Hook, and a smaller nearby facility in Wales have helped keep Britain well supplied enough to send large quantities of gas to continental Europe since they opened, while the Adriatic LNG facility should calm Italian jitters.

INTERVIEW - Algeria, Egypt to form Selena energy joint venture

CAIRO (Reuters) - Algeria's state-owned energy firm Sonatrach is setting up an oil and gas joint venture with two Egyptian national companies, its chief executive officer told Reuters on Saturday.

"We could invest around maybe $15 billion but it is not settled yet," Sonatrach CEO Mohamed Meziane said in an interview.

Canada says China to increase canola oil imports

TORONTO (Reuters) - China's state-owned Sinograin plans to increase Canadian canola oil imports to 350,000 tonnes in 2010, an increase of 200,000 tonnes, the Canadian government said in a statement on Saturday.

China is the top export market for Canadian canola and shifts in demand are closely watched by traders of the oilseed.

The Hostage Business

TWO CARLOADS OF gunmen wearing ski masks parked outside Goodfellas, a popular karaoke bar in the Nigerian city of Port Harcourt, on a damp August night in 2006. When the first militant barged through the front door, he was holding an automatic rifle and yelling, “Everybody down!” John, a gregarious Scottish oilman, was sitting at a round table near the entrance, watching one of the owners, another Scot, impersonate Mick Jagger while singing “Satisfaction” at the karaoke machine. He and the other 50 or so bar patrons dove for cover. John lay motionless on the ground as the intruders scanned the floor, randomly picking hostages.

Analysis: Chevron Steadily Grows Profits

As one of six supermajors, Chevron Corp. is the second-largest US oil company by market value, the largest private producer of oil in Kazakhstan and the top oil and natural gas producer in Thailand. The company produces nearly half of Indonesia's crude oil and is the top leaseholder in the US Gulf of Mexico.

In 2008, Chevron added approximately 1.34 Bboe to its proved reserves to its portfolio. During the year, the company produced on average 2.53 MMboe/d from more than 20 different countries around the world.

Could Los Angeles eclipse Detroit?

Detroit’s January auto show may soon be eclipsed by the Los Angeles Auto Show. Now that would be something.

For almost two decades, Detroit has been one of a handful of must-see auto shows in the world. But like the Tokyo motor show, Detroit is in decline. As Detroit slips in importance, Los Angeles is working hard to take its place as America’s premier auto show.

Pakistan: Clean environment must for survival

KARACHI (APP) - Advisor to Chief Minister, Sharmila Farooqui has said that although Pakistan is the home of most beautiful and varied topography, yet the eco system is under threat.

She said the situation was aggravating due to water scarcity, energy crisis, illegal cutting of trees, air, water and noise pollution, improper solid waste management and lacking conservation techniques.

Todmorden's Good life: Introducing Britain's greenest town

It's an ordinary small town in England, but its residents claim they've discovered the secret that could save the planet. And with world leaders preparing to gather in Copenhagen in just over a week's time to debate how to do just that, the people of Todmorden in the Pennines this week issued an invitation: come to our town and see what we've done.

Shopping local is a healthy habit

What would a Zero Waste Christmas look like? Would it still be Christmas? Is it even possible?

It's hard to say. It is even harder to imagine most of us getting on that particular bandwagon.

We tell pollsters that we long for a less commercialized Christmas. At the same time, we tell them that we expect to spend as much or more than last year during the holidays.

A history of climate change


Attempting to explain the ice ages, Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius theorizes that changes in carbon-dioxide levels in the atmosphere may alter our climate. "It is unbelievable," Arrhenius notes, "that so trifling a matter has cost me a full year."

Americans Toss Out 40 Percent of All Food

Addressing the oversupply of food in the United States "could help curb to the obesity epidemic as well as reduce food waste, which would have profound consequences for the environment and natural resources," the scientists write. "For example, food waste is now estimated to account for more than one quarter of the total freshwater consumption and more than 300 million barrels of oil per year representing about 4 percent of the total U.S. oil consumption."

The energy space-time continuum, a big picture-portrait. Not a pretty one.

The nations set to gather soon in Copenhagen are on a twisting, misty, potholed road in a car with one rickety headlight and hardly any white lines to drive by. The truth is, humanity is facing a future that is at best uncertain and at worst apocalyptic.

Nuclear power, hydroelectricity and stocks of abundant and clean-burning natural gas may be part of an answer to greenhouse gases produced by coal and oil. But the biggest issue facing this month’s climate summit is that “peak oil” is already upon us – when the maximum rate of extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline - and “peak gas” may not be far behind.

The International Energy Agency sees world energy demand rising 50% between now and 2050, with oil, coal and gas still being used as primary feedstock, in that order. That’s sobering when you consider that most of the easy oil has already been found, and according to the University of Cape Town’s Association for the Study of Peak Oil SA (Aspo), gas production is only a generation (say 20 years) behind.

Crude oil prices tumble to a seven-week low

Oil prices ended the week tumbling to a seven-week low as massive crude supplies and a surging dollar overshadowed encouraging job numbers.

The U.S. dollar, which is used to price crude contracts, has had an especially heavy influence on oil trading this year. It's helped oil double in price from $40 to more than $80 a barrel in the past several months despite weak consumer demand and bloated supplies.

But as the greenback rallied Friday, oil prices started to fall.

Phil Flynn: The Energy Report for Friday, December 4, 2009

That Ol' Supply Side Glut Rut.

In a day of economic mixed signals and shifting emotions, at the end of the day oil got weighed down by the old supply side glut. Oil probed the lower end of the trading range, which excluding the Dubai drop aberration, is in the$75 handle. Ok I know that to a market purest there is no such thing as an aberration and oil has already broken down and will resume the trend downward. While I agree they are right the truth is I think that the Dubai drop was a glimpse of our future but the market is not ready to accept that reality yet.

Orders to US factories unexpectedly rise in October as demand surges for aircraft, petroleum

WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to U.S. factories unexpectedly rose in October, the sixth gain in the past seven months. It was further evidence that the manufacturing sector is beginning to recover, which will help support the overall economy.

Orders rose 0.6 percent in October, the Commerce Department said Friday, much better than the flat reading that economists had expected. A jump in demand for commercial aircraft and petroleum products led the gain.

Saudi Arabia’s Al-Naimi Says Oil Price Is ‘Perfect’

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil prices are in “the right range” and there is no need to reduce inventories, Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said ahead of an OPEC meeting scheduled for later this month.

“Inventories are coming down, the price is perfect, and all investors, consumers, producers -- they’re all very happy,” Al-Naimi said today in Cairo, where Arab oil ministers are holding an annual meeting.

Iraq to decide on Qurna, Zubair before year end

CAIRO (Reuters) - Iraq's government is expected to decide on deals with oil majors to develop the West Qurna and Zubair oilfields before the end of 2009, a deputy of the oil minister said on Saturday.

Kurdistan: A lot of oil, a lot of risk

These days, Kurdish leaders and international investors assembling here speak a common language: oil. Kurdistan sits on plenty of it, and the region's current peace is a welcome feature for oil companies looking to explore here.

But Kurdistan's oil fields pale in comparison with the mega oil fields to the south. The Kurds are staking a potentially explosive claim on the area around Kirkuk, which holds vastly more rewarding, but risky opportunities.

Ukraine Says Paid for Russian Gas Supplies in Full

(Bloomberg) -- Ukraine paid Russia for November natural-gas supplies after the government converted the International Monetary Fund’s special drawing rights into dollars, the country’s state energy company said.

The Only Way to Play Energy Now

Because, let's face it, over the long haul, demand for oil and gas will drastically outstrip supply. And the majority of that supply is controlled by a handful of obscenely wealthy foreign businessmen who, as old T. Boone Pickens points out, don't like us very much.

Point being, oil and gas prices will eventually recover -- and then soar to new highs. When they do, everyone's going to get pinched at the pump -- yet only a few will get rich.

Talking Energy: gas power

The UK is facing wholesale transformation of its energy generating system. The closure of end-of-life nuclear and coal power stations is coinciding with ambitious commitments to reduce carbon emissions and the demise of North Sea gas. Whatever we replace our current generating capacity with has to provide affordable, reliable and low-carbon energy – an energy trilemma.

Repsol Argentine Workers May Hold National Strike

(Bloomberg) -- Repsol YPF SA’s Argentine supervisor- level workers may hold protests nationwide and strike on claims the oil producer didn’t honor salary agreements.

Chevron Sells LNG, Stake to Tokyo Electric in $82 Billion Deal

(Bloomberg) -- Chevron Corp. signed an $82 billion contract, Australia’s biggest energy deal, to supply liquefied natural gas to Tokyo Electric Power Co. and sell the Japanese utility a stake in its Wheatstone project.

U.S. Naval Intelligence Views Iran’s Naval Forces

A new report (pdf) from the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence describes Iran’s naval order of battle, as well as the Iranian Navy’s history, strategic options, and favored tactics.

“Today, Iran’s naval forces protect Iranian waters and natural resources, especially Iran’s petroleum-related assets and industries. Iranian maritime security operations guard against the smuggling of illegal goods (especially drugs) and immigrants, and protect against the poaching and stealing of fish in territorial waters.”

Chávez Seizes Three More Banks, Stoking Fears

Venezuela's government took over three more banks Friday, adding to a growing list of smaller banks in the oil-rich country that have been seized by the government this week on charges that its owners illegally used deposits for their own enrichment.

The growing scandal has unnerved depositors about which banks are safe, posing a threat to the broader banking system. It has also become a potential political liability for President Hugo Chávez, because the owners of the seized banks were seen as close to top officials.

Israel closes sole oil and gas terminal on Gaza border

Gaza City - The population of the Gaza Strip is facing an acute cooking gas shortage this winter, after a unilateral Israeli decision in October to permanently close the sole oil and gas terminal between the coastal Palestinian territory and the Jewish state.

Ecuador sues Chevron in US over arbitration claim

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The government of Ecuador has asked a U.S. judge to stop Chevron Corp from pursuing an international arbitration claim in response to allegations of environmental pollution in Ecuador.

The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court in New York on Thursday, follows a Sept. 23 arbitration claim by the second-largest U.S. oil company, Chevron, which opened a new front in its defense of a $27 billion lawsuit over accusations of Amazon rain forest and river pollution.

Richard Heinberg - Energy transition: one chance to get it right

The ongoing, relentless depletion of our nation’s—and the world’s—coal, oil and natural gas resources will eventually force us to depend increasingly on renewable energy. By the end of this century, America will have an essentially all-renewable economy, whether or not we have planned for it. 

Apocalypse or Not: 5 Tips for Prepairing for Peak Oil: Preparing for peak oil is just common sense.

Whether peak oil means, as many people argue, the end of civilization as we know it, or simply a painful and challenging reordering of the status quo, remains a matter of debate. But either way, it makes sense to prepare yourself. Even if peak oil remains decades away, many of the things you should do to prepare for peak oil and other calamities are also simply prudent common sense, not to mention a great way of cutting your carbon emissions. So here's a list of 5 ideas to get you started preparing for peak oil—apocalypse or not.

A Tale of Two Cities: City of the Past, City of the Future

Looking at the world through the lens of energy investing and peak oil, it's hard to imagine a starker contrast than Dubai World and Masdar City.

Both will rise out of a barren wasteland of sand in less than three decades, but only one was designed to survive the future.

Gordon Brown on Building a Global Community to Fight Climate Change (Video)

Some in the United States shiver when they hear the words 'global citizen'--many Americans unfortunately (and nonsensically) feel they have communistic connotations. But if we're going to solve the pressing problems confronting the world--climate change, hunger, poverty, peak oil, the water crisis, etc--we're going to have to start acting like global citizens sooner rather than later. And as British Prime Minister Gordon Brown explains in this great TED talk, building a stronger global ethic doesn't mean one-world governments or adopting a single currency--it means becoming increasingly cognizant of the international community and acting in tandem to make progress. Video after the jump.

The sixth extinction

There is a holocaust happening. Right now. And it's not confined to one nation or even one region. It is a global crisis.

Species are going extinct en masse.

Every 20 minutes we lose an animal species. If this rate continues, by century's end, 50% of all living species will be gone. It is a phenomenon known as the sixth extinction. The fifth extinction took place 65 million years ago when a meteor smashed into the Earth, killing off the dinosaurs and many other species and opening the door for the rise of mammals. Currently, the sixth extinction is on track to dwarf the fifth.

What -- or more correctly -- who is to blame this time? As Pogo said, "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

The truth about lithium: abundant and recyclable

We can understand the tendency to draw an analogy between lithium and oil: they’re both finite natural resources found in concentrated deposits, and they both can be processed and used to power electric cars. However, beyond these superficial similarities, the analogy is running on empty.

Oil is a non-renewable resource that can release energy through a combustion engine. When it burns to power a car, it’s gone forever. Lithium, on the other hand, is integrated into an energy storage device. It doesn’t inherently contain energy – it just holds it until you need it. When a lithium-ion battery discharges energy to power a electric car, it is the stored energy – not the lithium – that is depleted.

Pilot Projects Aim to Integrate Solar Into Fossil Plants

A pair of new projects will test the integration of large-scale solar fields into coal- and natural gas-fired power plants, an industry research group announced yesterday.

Taiwan plans massive growth in solar energy

TAIPEI — Taiwan plans to boost its use of solar panels by a factor of 200 over the next decade and a half in an effort to increase clean energy, a ranking official said Friday.

Solar panels across the island currently have a capacity of five megawatts, enough to power 500 buildings, but by 2025 that figure is targeted to rise to 1,000 megawatts, said Wang Yunn-ming, deputy head of the Bureau of Energy.

Wind turbines don't lower home property values

Good news for homeowners tilting at windmills! Installing wind turbines or living near wind farms won't noticeably lower their property values, according to a government-funded study released this week.

Global biodiesel demand to double in 5 years

The driver for biofuels usage is not limited to the United States and Europe, but is also growing in the Asia-Pacific and Latin American regions, according to Tammy Klein, executive director of global biofuels services for Hart Energy Consulting. She spoke about the global biofuels outlook on the opening day of the Canadian Renewable Fuels Summit held Dec. 1 and 2 at Vancouver, British Columbia.

Govt: Some $600M to go to energy plants

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) -- The federal government is speeding up plans to produce more renewable fuels, announcing Friday it will spend nearly $600 million to help build plants that turn wood chips, cornstalks and algae into fuel.

The government will team up with private companies to create 19 biorefinery projects in 15 states. The government's $564 million share will come from stimulus funds and will be combined with $700 million in private investments.

Feds give clean coal projects $979M

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Multibillion-dollar clean coal projects in West Virginia, Texas and Alabama are getting $979 million in federal stimulus funding, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Friday.

The money will go toward retrofitting existing coal-fired power plants owned by American Electric Power, Southern C.o. and Summit Texas Clean Energy to capture and store carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas linked to climate change. The Energy Department is aiming to have the technology available commercially — and to share with other big coal-using countries — in eight to 10 years

Oil Industry Isn't Liable for Polar Bear Deaths

(CN) - Oil and gas drilling is not responsible for declining polar bear numbers in the Beaufort Sea along the northern coast of Alaska, the 9th Circuit ruled, saying the local energy industry is in compliance with federal environmental laws.

Denbury to Use Man-Made Carbon Dioxide to Coax Oil From Wells

(Bloomberg) -- Denbury Resources Inc., the oil producer that last month announced the industry’s largest U.S. acquisition of this year, plans to use carbon dioxide captured from factories to boost crude output from decades-old fields.

Oldest U.S. Oil Fund Targets Solar Stocks as Crude Outlook Dims

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleum & Resources Corp., the oldest U.S. oil fund, plans to invest in solar- and wind-power production for the first time since its founding in 1929 as governments crack down on fuels linked to greenhouse gases.

The carbon-cutting crew's faulty logic

Globalisation, whether we go for capitalism or caring and sharing, gives us fewer, richer people with less damage to the environment as a result of having fewer emissions, than not globalisation. So those telling us that localism, regionalisation, are a cure for climate change are clearly ignoring, ignorant of or lying about the scientific consensus.

In e-mails, science of warming is hot debate

Leaked just before international climate talks begin in Copenhagen -- the culmination of years of work by scientists to raise alarms about greenhouse-gas emissions -- the e-mails have cast those scientists in a political light and given new energy to others who think the issue of climate change is all overblown.

The e-mails don't say that: They don't provide proof that human-caused climate change is a lie or a swindle.

But they do raise hard questions. In an effort to control what the public hears, did prominent scientists who link climate change to human behavior try to squelch a back-and-forth that is central to the scientific method? Is the science of global warming messier than they have admitted?

Britain lashes out at climate sceptics

BRITISH Prime Minister Gordon Brown has led a chorus of condemnation against ''flat-earth'' climate change sceptics who have tried to derail the Copenhagen summit by casting doubt on the evidence for global warming.

Hacked climate e-mail rebutted by scientists

The scientists from two major research centers, a national think tank and NASA, claimed during a telephone news conference that the e-mail exchanges were taken out of context in an attempt to influence pending greenhouse gas emissions policies.

It is, they said, a cynical, blatantly dishonest effort to cloud the fact that the world is now confronting a huge, potentially disastrous climactic shift.

"There is so much information that tells us the planet has been warming," said Gavin Schmidt, a climate modeler at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. "No independent study is going to come up with anything other than what we've already concluded."

Why there's no sign of a climate conspiracy in hacked emails

Some of the contents of the hacked email material, such as the "Harry_read_me.txt" file, might appear shocking, with its talk of manipulation and "tricks". But raw data almost always has to be "fixed".

Obama shifts Copenhagen visit to boost deal

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama on Friday abruptly altered the timing of his upcoming appearance at an international climate summit in Copenhagen, hoping to capitalize on steps by India and China and build a more meaningful political accord, the White House said.

Study: Slowdown in warming last year not permanent

North America wasn't as warm as expected because of cooler water in the North Pacific — a condition called La Nina — but the rest of the world continued to warm, researchers said Friday. The overall warming trend is expected to continue worldwide.

Glacier threat to Bolivia capital

Fears are growing for the future of water supplies in one of Latin America's fastest-growing urban areas - Bolivia's sprawling city of La Paz and its neighbour El Alto.

Scientists monitoring the glaciers high in the Andes mountains - a key source of water - say the ice is showing signs of shrinking faster than previously forecast.

Great opening Leanan. Reminds me of my drive home through the mountains the other night. At least both of my headlights still work!
Many of these posts remind me that not only are reseves getting more difficult to access geologically, but perhaps more so politically. Having travelled a lot I know that there are many parts of the world where they don't give a damn if we (the U.S.) get any of their oil, not if they can sell to other nations. The deniers around me have no clue how much ill-will there is for the United States in much of the world. This, and inevitable conflict over remaining reserves will certainly add to the PO problems we face, IMO.

If you are referring to the opening article, it is interesting that this is their impression:

But the biggest issue facing this month’s climate summit is that “peak oil” is already upon us

We will have to wait and see if this holds true. From what I understand, the threat of climate change is the "biggest issue" that faces the summiteers. That is what the climate summit in Copenhagen is ostensibly about. Or does that writer have some inside information?

Well, isn't it still the debate about whether this 25-pound weight around our neck will drag us under, or if it's the other 25 pound weight tied to our feet that will drag us under instead?

The last thing we need to do is fight over which one is worse.

It's driving home again it's not oil per se, it's oil at a better than (I think the magic number is) 5 to 1 EROEI, and that there will be oil in the ground still when we're back to chipping flints.

But it is important to follow policies to handle PO that don't make AGW worse - like unconventional oils or coal to oil ...

Nice to see some of the basics of westexas ELP plan in Apocalypse or Not: 5 Tips for Prepairing for Peak Oil: Preparing for peak oil is just common sense.

I see that over and over with my peak and non-peak friends, a non-peak will say, "But what if all this bad stuff doesn't happen, what about your preparations then??" and one of us Peakists will say, "That's even better, getting out of debt, lowering expenses, becoming productive, etc all make for a better life". This always stuns non-Peak types.

The sixth extinction article brings up many worthy points that don't get stressed enough.

We are already in an apocalypse. Unique forms of living creatures that have been on the planet for millions of years are evaporating as we speak, by the tens of thousands per year, far above the background rate of about one extinction per year.

Humans are, of course, ultimately just one more species. We can crow about our adaptability, but many other species have been around much longer than ours. Humans (unlike, for example, turtles) have never lived through a great mass extinction event before.

And please don't give me the Limbaugh line some ditto head parroted in the comments--that 99% of all species that ever existed are now extinct. Please. Ninety some percent of all humans that ever lived are now dead. So does that make it no big deal to kill humans?

Ninety some percent of all humans that ever lived are now dead.

You are correct! If you google How many people have ever lived you will get several opinions but the vast majority of them give a figure of between 100 billion and 110 billion. That means that approximately 94 percent of people who ever lived are now dead.

I have heard, and read, many who mistakenly claim that the living outnumber the dead. That is a gross error. I think it started when someone wrote, several years ago, that there are more scientists alive now, (then), than have ever lived. That was probably true then but I don't know about now.

But Limbaugh's claim is absurd. After every great extinction it takes several million years for the diversity of animal and plant life to return. And of course when it does return it in no way resembles the former plant and animal life.

Ron P.

The key thing to note here is that the assertion "we all die" is not supported by the facts. 10 or 6 or whatever per cent haven't, undermining the inductive leap. I could just as easily dispose of PO and AGW and other doomerish piffle, but it's time for my nap.

The assertion is that "we all WILL die", and is correct, but still meaningless. Enjoy your nap. Make it a nice long one.

The WILL is implied as is the smiley.

Its like saying that 99.9999999% of the insects that ever lived are dead. We know how meaningless such statements are, but Lush Phlegmball's ability to create a false perspective is accomplished and deadly.

I wonder what will trigger the "aha" moment, or that moment when the lightbulb finally goes off in peoples' brains that we are in a multi-faceted crisis.

Maybe the following things need to happen :-

1. The gas pumps run dry. Permanently.
2. The corn doesn't come up. Anywhere.
3. The bees don't emerge. At all.
4. A 30 foot wave engulfs the coastline. Everywhere.

Does this sound too much like a movie script ?
Of course, by the time any, or all, of the above happen, it will be somewhat too late for H. sapiens.

We may be getting some 30 foot waves in the coming week... (North and Central CA)

One more oil price shock will make PO mainstream. One more Katrina will drive home AGW.

I don't think so.

I suspect that repeated spikes are going to make people blame speculators. Even some peak oilers expected the price to up and and keep going up if scarcity is the problem.

I think the fact that we had the spike up to $150 then a drop to $35 means people are going to be resistant to the idea of peak oil during the next spike. They'll assume the price will go back down, like it did before.

Even some peak oilers expected the price to up and and keep going up if scarcity is the problem.

That is the problem.

People need to be educated that evertime the oil price goes up a lot - we will have a recession bringing down the price. Everyone I've explained this to gets peak oil quite quickly.

The lightbulbs won't go off in most peoples brains until the lightbulbs (and everything else) goes off, finally.

Israel closes sole oil and gas terminal on Gaza border

Its a shame to see the world, and especially the United States government silently watching and abetting this ethnic cleansing and torture of an entire population locked away in the world's largest open-air prison...

Back to the "invisible triage" discussion of the past day or two: plausibly deniable inaction can be just as effective as purposeful action in determining who suffers and who benefits.

Before too long a lot of the world will be saying, "sucks to be them, but at least it's not me or mine" as stories of abuse and death expand.

As for cooking and heating, isn't Gaza far low enough in latitude to benefit from solar cooking?

Haze from being next to the Mediterranean reduces solar irradiation, but yes, it would be useful *IF* you can get a good spot (Gaza is VERY crowded).


Israelis and Palestinians both rely on rooftop solar water heaters. Adding rooftop solar ovens to the mix is easy.

But, given the Gazan policy of repurposing water and sewer pipes for making those damned rockets, I'm not holding my breath waiting for them to devote scrap aluminum for that purpose.

See, if they could just figure out Israel's trick for getting the Americans to send them brand new Helicopters and Fighter jets, they might be able to use their scrap pipe for non-military uses..

They can use their pipes for non-military uses any time they feel like it.
They have the pipes and they have their free will. All they have to do is "give peace a chance."

Civilized people use sewer pipes for piping their sewage away. They do not use them to send rockets against schoolchildren. (Gazan rockets are mostly launched at 7:55 AM every day, to maximize the chance of hitting schoolkids in Sderot.)

What an utter load of crap - that the Palestinians are denied access to the water is well known. Israel is a failed European colony. In 60 years they have been unable to capture an area larger than New Jersey, they have absolutely no natural resources (especially water), and are losing the population battle. They have not been effective as a base to secure the oil in the region. Their attempts to take Lebanon in order to secure the water and the oil pipeline route from Turkey are not likely to succeed. In the coming years it will become increasingly difficult for the Western powers to maintain the project and it will eventually be abandoned. It's a damn shame that so many have to suffer in the mean time.

"Israel is a failed European colony."

Israel is a nation composed of Jews who are born there, and descended mostly from Jews who lived in Arab countries, NOT Europe.

It's those "Civilized People" who are sending Giftwrapped Helicopters to the Knesset, and killing far greater numbers of the Palestinian Civilians. Pick your targets carefully!

How do you mean 'Free Will' for people who have been ghettoized like this? Israel gets to call it 'defense', shooting ducks in a barrel?

Hamas's efforts are aimed 100% towards killing Israeli children. That is why they aim their rockets at 7:55 AM.
Israe;'s efforts are towards killing Hamas combatants.

Being better armed than your enemy does not make you a bad guy.
The FBI is better armed than the KKK, after all.

Yet another partisan hack. We are GOOD! They are BAD!

Blah, blah, blah...

Sending pipe bombs is bad. Sending on purpose to kill schoolchildren, is BAD.

Willfull blindness to it, also bad.

Using cluster bombs in populated areas is BAD


Or just bulldozing homes. Etc., etc., etc.

This is one tragedy I largely stay out of because it has no solution other than the two sides simply choosing to forgive and forget. Period. Talking about it is pointless. That said, I can't stand lying in any form. (I don't mean, "No, honey, you look great in that!")

How anyone can get lost in these good/bad scenarios astounds me. Yes, we've got a lot we've had to put up with from conservatives and nutter Christians, but would anyone seriously suggest every conservative and christian was a kook or scumbag, etc? Nope.

Free will is what all people have. They have the choice to send rockets or not to send rockets. They choose to send rockets.

They have the choice to send the rockets at any time of the day. They choose to send them when they think it has the most chance of hitting schoolkids.

They also have the choice not to send rockets. They have the choice to use what materiel they have towards improving their living conditions instead of using it to make bombs. They choose to make bombs. If killing Israelis is more important to them than having plumbing, then I for one have no reason to give a damn about their not having plumbing.

Hamas's efforts are aimed 100% towards killing Israeli children. That is why they aim their rockets at 7:55 AM.
Israe;'s efforts are towards killing Hamas combatants.

Being better armed than your enemy does not make you a bad guy.
The FBI is better armed than the KKK, after all.

It's not about being 'Better' armed..

One, it's about how your weapons are being used. The numbers of Palestinian dead are regularly on the order of tenfold more than Israeli..

Two, it's about arms being supplied by these so-called 'Civilized' people, the ones who can do their killing and not muss up their hair, I suppose.. a civilized people who should be HELPING Israel, NOT giving them more weapons that have served only to refresh and escalate these conflicts.

How does any of this pretend to be making Israel safer? You can't see Israel's willing part in a vicious circle here?

"The numbers of Palestinian dead are regularly on the order of tenfold more than Israeli.."

And the numbers of German dead in WW2's western front were far more than the numbers of allied dead. That does not mean the allies were the bad guys.

If you try to kill children and fail, that does not make you a good guy.

But apparently trying to kill children and succeeding does.

That kind of hyperbole is as much a part of the problem.

For one thing, you can't engage in "ethnic cleansing" inside a "prison." Cleansing means pushing people out. Prison means keeping them in. And ironically, Israel does neither. The Gazans are free to leave to any country that will take them in. They are just not free to enter Israel. And, since the Gazan government, with Gazan majority support, has in its party platform a policy of cleansing the Israelis out by relentless murder, Israel is hardly to blame for not wanting them in.

When the Gazans give up on their pet hate and actually focus on their material well being, I might find reason to do the same. But if their material well being in the here in now is not their main focus, then there is no need for it to be anyone else's.

As long as the Israelis continue to build settlements on stolen land and refuse to share Jerusalem they are the bad guys in my book. They have the guns so they have the obligation to be more obliging. I am so ashamed that we (the Americans) give them the guns to enable them to act so badly.

"They have the guns so they have the obligation to be more obliging"

That is a very strange view of the world you have.

Guns, Money, Water. They are in a position of power, so they have the clear upper hand, therefore more opportunity to initiate the process of ending this. So far, most of their solutions have been militaristic, and so received the predictably similar reactions..

It's not going to end.

Peak oil means Israel is going to be a disaster. It's a completely unsustainable society - environmentally and politically. The only question is whether they take the world with them when they go.

And the Arab nations are sustainable? The whole region is in the same predicament: cooperate so you can have an extensive solar-thermal desalination infrastructure, or die out.

The Israelis are in the forefront of developing those technologies. The Gazans are in the forefront of digging up vital infrastructure for the purpose of killing.

No, the Arab nations are not sustainable, either. The whole region is a disaster waiting to happen.

I do think the Arabs will prevail, however, simply because there are more of them.

The Gazans have just as much opportunity to end this. All they have to do is stop the rockets.

Actually not. Except in the sense that Vichy France made peace with Germany.


Yes, just like Vichy, Gaza can let Israel come in and round up all the Jews in Gaza for deportation and slaughter.

Slightly absurd analogy there.

So, anybody fit a curve lately?

Saudi HL, 1991-2009 YTD:

HL Saudi Arabia 1991-2009

Don't see this sort of thing around here much anymore.

KLR -- Nice fit. But it's chilly in Houston this morning and my coffee hasn't kicked in yet: what am I looking at?

Thanks in advance

Explanation in our early 2006 Texas/Lower 48 article:


The Texas & Saudi plots are crude + condensate.

Here is my argument that the 2006-2008 decline in Saudi production, relative to 2005, was mostly involuntary:

Recent annual US oil prices versus recent annual average Saudi net oil exports (EIA):

Oil price & net oil exports:
2002: $26 & 7.1 mbpd
2003: $31 & 8.3
2004: $42 & 8.6*
2005: $57 & 9.1
2006: $66 & 8.6**
2007: $72 & 8.0
2008: $100 & 8.5

*Saudi Arabia reiterated their support for the $22-$28 OPEC price band in April, 2004, and they made good on their promise to attempt to bring prices down, as they increased net oil exports in 2004 & 2005.  An article from April, 2004:

“Mr Al-Naimi said: ‘Saudi Arabia continues to be committed to OPEC’s $22-28 price band. There are signs that worldwide inventories have begun to build but no one really knows for sure. I do not believe there is a fissure [within Opec]. There is dialogue. Opec in general is committed to the band,’ he said.”

But then we have the 2006, 2007 & 2008 data points:

**In early 2006, the Saudi oil minister complained of an inability of find buyers for all of their oil, “Even their light, sweet oil,” as annual oil prices traded in excess of twice the upper limit of $28 that the Saudis had pledged to support only two years earlier. Of course, I guess the Saudis could have offered to sell another one mbpd for $28 per barrel, if they had the oil to sell.

In any case, based on mathematical models this was coincidentally at about the same stage of depletion at which Texas, the prior swing producer, started having trouble finding buyers for all its oil, “Even its light, sweet oil,” in 1973.

And here is Sam's (HL based) 2007 projection for Saudi (total liquids) production and consumption. The estimated initial 10 year (2005-2015) rates of change in production & consumption are shown:

The cumulative shortfall in Saudi net oil exports, between what the they would have (net) exported at the 2005 rate and what they actually (net) exported was 840 mb, from 2006-2008 inclusive, as US oil annual oil prices went from $57 in 2005 to $100 in 2008. On the import side, the US and China are respectively prime examples of the OECD and non-OECD responses to rising oil prices.

The cumulative shortfall between what the US would have (net) imported at the 2005 rate and what we actually (net) imported from 2006-2008 inclusive was 687 mb.

The cumulative increase between what China would have (net) imported at the 2005 rate and what they actually (net) imported from 2006-2008 inclusive was 839 mb.

So, China not only offset our cumulative decline, their increase exceeded our cumulative decline.

I think in general OPEC consumption models are inadequate. We all know oil is highly subsidized (or atleast much cheaper compared to world market prices) in OPEC - which means it will be very inefficiently used.

But with decline, available oil for export declines - which will eventually force OPEC to either increase domestic oil prices or ration the oil (probably both) to cut domestic oil consumption. They have to do this because those countries are heavily dependent on imports for food etc. Besides the elites will not just give up their ability to acquire luxury goods from abroad. They can also cut down oil consumption by better using their NG or even PV for electricity and desalination.

Amen Brother! Saudi production is something I would love to know more about. For some reason I got hooked on these Vince Flynn CIA books lately. It is fiction but it just has had me wondering what our intelegence agencies know about the KSA's production and depletion. One would think that would be something they put significant resources into tracking.

Years ago on TOD there was an "informed source" (Jeff Vail ?) that the Saudis had a gentlemans' agreement that the CIA/NSA would not go snooping around Aramco. Easy to believe with Bandar Bush (really his nickname) was Ambassador to the USA from KSA.


OTOH...there's the theory that Valerie Plame's real job was to find out if Saudi Arabia was past peak or not.

Thanks for bringing me current on past topics! It would be fascinating to see what the CIA knows.

They know how to spell "intelligence".

And that is why Hillary killed Vince Foster, as he was also on this track. Lucky the Queen of England let Hillary borrow her Black Helicopter, so she could hide the gun in Lenin's Tomb, and the rothchilds financed the operation.

Alan -- generally I'm not much on conspiracy theories but I have fair idea of how the KSA reserves are evaluated and who's doing the work. Wouldn't take satellites or some Secret Agent men to get the info. Just write some checks and the folks with the info would pass it on. There are too many expats involved in the process to keep many secrets IMHO. For probably less money then the CIA spends on copy machines they could get a pretty clear evaluation. So if they haven't done it then the handshake deal makes some sense. OTOH, even if they did have such an agreement I would still expect them to cheat. I would if I were running the show. And I'm generally a pretty honest guy. The answers are just too important for America's security.

Four major sources of people in wheelchairs in the USA. Gunshots that hit the spinal column but do not kill (too many black men in wheelchairs in New Orleans from that), complications from diabetes, spina bifida and cerebral palsy from trauma during birth.

The first is non-existent in Europe, the rates of diabetes in the EU are a small fraction of ours and the EU rates for bungled births & birth defects are somewhat lower than ours due to socialized medicine (the USA is #1 in cost for health care (33% more than #2 Switzerland) and #21 to #36 in results, depending on the metrics used).

Best Hopes,


Darwinian,What do you think of Rockman's evaluation of how to find out about Saudi reserves?

I think it would work but the CIA is not concerned. They think the USGS knows what they are talking about and just don't think it is all that important. No one really gives a damn right now. They believe it will be business as usual for another hundred years or so.

Ron P.

I agree for the most part Ron. It may be more of a situation where you already have an idea what the answer is and don't like it. So you don't dig for the answer. You're basic "Don't ask...don't tell" approach to PO perhaps.

It would be more accurate if you called it a "rumor" rather than an "informed source".

So you want to know about "data"?

I can see that you are linking to global warming articles and calling out climate scientists, which essentially amounts to criticizing how "open" the scientists have been with their "data".

So I just want to out the hypocrisy of your question.

On the one hand, we don't have any good data from oil the major producers, so it is left to people like us to try to root at the truth.

On the other hand, they complain about climate scientists who are also trying to root out the truth, yet they get hammered over their methods.

And arguments about only the climate scientists being government funded are moot, in regards to having special rights to that data. Big oil has received so many free leases and tax breaks over the years that we should also be able to see all their historical information.

Having said that, at least you show some intellectual curiosity. Which is more than most of the climate skeptics have shown.

If I am eyeballing that chart correctly, Saudi has cumulative production so far at about 115 billion barrels out of a total of about 202 billion barrels. That means that they have remaining recoverable reserves of about 87 billion barrels and are approximately 57% depleted.

Thanks KLR, great chart.

Ron P.

These things are a snap to make with Excel/Open Office(my weapon of choice)/etc. Recently TOD member Joule was griping about all the cheap readymade charts you see here...don't profess anything past layman's expertise with this stuff myself. It's just fun/fascinating to play with the data and wonder if you could make a genuine call pre-peak, or why the numbers behave like they do.

The mean of Q is 92.71 bbo. Dunno about where the regression intercepts X, that's how lame I am...I need to bookmark more of the material the real experts here have done, Sam for instance. He had a histogram of all the estimates for HL on given dates, important with a swing producer like KSA. Take out 2009 and you get a higher URR, natch. But we know (?) this year's decline was voluntary, hence arbitrary. You get a feel for the low estimation this simple curve fitting has with cornucopians, and peakists who find it wanting, WHT and Rapier for example.

I prefer the bottom up approach; all empiricism: One megaproject, two megaproject, three megaproject...pretty soon you've taken care of that decline rate nightmare. But the curve fitting approach is fascinating, most especially since so many of its practitioners can't figure out why it often works, and works well.

This is an interesting chart as well (not mine):


From Kaufmann & Cleveland's Oil Production in the Lower 48 States: Economic, Geological, and Institutional Determinants. Their conclusion was that Hubbert's approach wouldn't work on other geographic regions, that he was "lucky"; but when I stare at this chart the thought occurs that maybe Hubbert derived his peak date from just a few numbers, the changes in annual production you see here, for instance, contrary to their conclusion. Like Deffeyes wrote, production chugs along, ignoring calamities such as the Great Depression, WWII, Jimmy Carter. ;) Also I recently charted much the same, a regression on world annual changes, and it hits the X axis in 2005 of all spots.

There's a site of Global Warming Art; how about Peak Oil Art?

I only find HL wanting in the fact that the data has to follow a Logistic sigmoid for it to work. If it doesn't follow this specific sigmoid -- and it won't if, e.g., the behavior plateaus -- then you can get the wrong URR.

Here is an example of a logistic that shows deviations such that it starts accelerating (plateau behavior) and decelerating (say, demand destruction type behavior).

In the one case, you can overestimate the URR and the other case, you can underestimate it if you choose to weight it more with recent data. And this occurs because you can't look ahead in the curve, and only deal with the data you have.


Cool, a mathematical expression to describe Drill Baby Drill.

Away from modeling itself James Lovelock had this to say:

LR Kump writes: “Throughout his book, Lovelock decries American science. He refers to the “disastrous mistake” of assuming “that all we need to know about the climate can come from modeling the physics and chemistry of the air in ever more powerful computers.” The geochemists’ box models of global biogeochemical cycles and the atmosphere and ocean scientists’ general circulation models ignore the physiology of a living planet. They assume linear parameterizations where life instills parabolas, with multiple equilibria and sharp transitions from homeostasis to positive feedback and system failure when pressed beyond optima. In Lovelock’s view, American science is too compartmentalized into narrow disciplines, too reductionist in approach, so well funded as to stifle creativity, and too reliant on computer models. Lovelock places higher value on observation and experimentation than on modeling. To understand his perspective, imagine Marcus Welby, M.D., using computer models to generate a prognosis for progression of a serious disease.

Which isn't an exact analogy to the energy industry - I suppose! - but an interesting viewpoint nonetheless, and something we can relate to, what with the paucity of models in the first place, and near infinite difficulty in ascertaining their validity in our current situation. Plus you have the whole subject of mitigating peak oil in the first place, making it the non-issue practically everyone in the public considers it to be.

Don't know about experimentation but we have plenty to observe, for one thing what I perceive as sweat on Mike Lynch's brow when he touts Iraq, Venezuela and Nigeria as hot spots for forthcoming supply (sarcasm? black humour?), or says in his last column that forecasts are only valid for 5-10 years. Uh, in your previous column you said it was two years, Mike. You need a coffee or something?

I think the IEA fessing up to non-OPEC peaking - peaking! - has some of these cornucopians a bit freaked out. Somebody drill into some more pre-salt, quick!

Unintended laughs from Phil Flynn:

Peak oil in the near term looks about as credible as the science of global warming!


The study of Peak oil does have in common with the science of climate change in that no controlled experiment exists to test any theories against. The science only exists to be able to understand and predict the future. So scientists are left to their own devices to come up with their own approaches to evaluate how the theories are progressing. It will forever follow an iterative process and it will never end, since unlike some controlled experiment with preconditions and postconditions that approach simply does not exist. If he so badly wants to get rid of the science, then we would have nothing left to make projections against.

The more I watch how this is playing out the more I think it is all about marginalizing and suppressing the quest for an objective truth. In the end, it has nothing and everything to do with climate change. Climate change is just a way for them to pick away at the "credibility of science".

In the end, it has nothing and everything to do with climate change. Climate change is just a way for them to pick away at the "credibility of science".

I think that is a bit of an exageration. Notice the word bit. It looks like the strategy is to kill the messengers with the worst news first, then single out those with the second worst news....

Have to agree. IMO, they just go down the list and check boxes for anything that counters BAU.

Mr Flynn seems to be a double denier, so if we just multiply his views it'll make him positive.

Good article on Global warming. Was it included in the news round up?


The ‘science’ of global warming

The author of this pathetic piece of denialist propaganda makes some howler assertions:

1) now discredited “hockey stick” graph

Really, show me the evidence. Proof by assertion does not cut it when glaciers that existed for over tens of thousands of years are disappearing around the world.

2) deleting relevant documents

For starters, CRU was not allowed to redistribute data by NATIONAL met services so the illegality argument is a total crock. Then, deletion of said data is irrelevant since it remains in the NATIONAL met service possession. Finally, this data is NATIONAL weather station data. Satellite data is more comprehensive, less biased by heat island effects and operator incompetence. Denialist clowns can't be bothered with real data they are only interested in politics.

3) The Settled Scientists have attempted to (in the words of one email) “hide the decline”—that’s to say, obscure the awkward fact that “global warming” stopped over a decade ago.

Hilarious. Why would any self-respecting professional want to waste time dealing with such politically motivated inanity. Denialists simply have no good faith in their efforts. The "hide the decline" is more out of context nonsense:

"As for the ‘decline’, it is well known that Keith Briffa’s maximum latewood tree ring density proxy diverges from the temperature records after 1960 (this is more commonly known as the “divergence problem”–see e.g. the recent discussion in this paper) and has been discussed in the literature since Briffa et al in Nature in 1998 (Nature, 391, 678-682). Those authors have always recommend not using the post 1960 part of their reconstruction, and so while ‘hiding’ is probably a poor choice of words (since it is ‘hidden’ in plain sight), not using the data in the plot is completely appropriate, as is further research to understand why this happens."


"Stopped over a decade ago". This has to be that famous denialist "math" a la 2+2=5. The average temperature from 2000 to 2009 is higher than from 1990 to 1999 even if you throw out the Pinatubo year.

Not picking on you, dissident, just felt like throwing my 2c in on the issues you identified.

1) now discredited “hockey stick” graph

The hockey stick hasn't looked like a hockey stick for many years now.

http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Report/AR4WG1_Print_Ch06.pdf (PDF)

2) deleting relevant documents

There are two different 'deletions' that went on.

The 'data deletions' are unfortunate but unlikely to change any published results significantly.

The suggestion to delete email to avoid a FOI may be illegal, especially if acted on.

3) “hide the decline”

It was hidden in plain site.
Here is an article on the issue in Nature 1998:

Tree-ring chronologies that represent annual changes in the density of wood formed during the late summer can provide a proxy for local summertime air temperature1. Here we undertake an examination of large-regional-scale wood-density/air-temperature relationships using measurements from hundreds of sites at high latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. When averaged over large areas of northern America and Eurasia, tree-ring density series display a strong coherence with summer temperature measurements averaged over the same areas, demonstrating the ability of this proxy to portray mean temperature changes over sub-continents and even the whole Northern Hemisphere. During the second half of the twentieth century, the decadal-scale trends in wood density and summer temperatures have increasingly diverged as wood density has progressively fallen. The cause of this increasing insensitivity of wood density to temperature changes is not known, but if it is not taken into account in dendroclimatic reconstructions, past temperatures could be overestimated. Moreover, the recent reduction in the response of trees to air-temperature changes would mean that estimates of future atmospheric CO2 concentrations, based on carbon-cycle models that are uniformly sensitive to high-latitude warming, could be too low.

K. R. Briffa, F. H. Schweingruber, P. D. Jones, T. J. Osborn, S. G. Shiyatov & E. A. Vaganov

Thanks for the Nature quote. So the divergence actually supports the temperature trend since trees are stressed out of the previously established wood growth pattern.

To call this Climategate is beyond absurd. This while the IEA scandal has all but disappeared even though it is deadly serious for the near future.

You can stop worrying about AGW Not A Rock, they fixed it.

"Copenhagen, Schmopenhagen"

How It Works
Military planes (or helium balloons) spray the stratosphere with sulfur gases, which disperse and oxidize. The particles scatter back into space some of the sunlight that would have been absorbed by the planet's surface. As more sunlight is deflected, the planet cools. It's like an artificial version of an erupting volcano.

Let's see the design for getting 10 MILLION tons of SO2 into the stratosphere (above 30 km in the tropics for dispersal to reach middle to high latitudes) every year. Only the U2 and M-55 fly as high as 22 km, some fighter jets can do parabolic trajectories to reach above 30 km. So we are left with balloons, so they have to be controllable and there has to be enough of them to deliver the millions of tons of SO2.

The SO2 forms H2SO4 by reacting with water and then grows sulfate aerosol particles that are large enough to sediment quickly out of the stratosphere (that is why the Pinatubo effect lasted only two years). The additional sulfate will do wonders for ozone depletion as the PSC density will increase.

Engineering hack "solutions" create problems.

Sorry but you seemed to have missed the Chem-trails of sarcanol trailing from my post.

I should have labeled it.

Soups, never forget you live in a country where The Onion is considered serious news.

I prefer to think of it as the country in which one cannot distinguish between The Onion and "Serious News."

Better still - a country where the most trusted news show comes on comedy central.

Six more banks added to the list:

to the sound of Jeff on Survivor "Who will be next?"

Bank failure tally reaches 130

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The nation's tally of 2009 bank casualties hit 130 Friday when regulators shuttered a large Ohio bank, an Illinois bank, a Virginia bank and three small Georgia banks.

The FDIC has no money left. They are apparently going to raise money by asking banks to prepay their fees for the next three years now.

State Bank invades Atlanta with failed bank deals

... The FDIC has an implied waiting period of six months before allowing a failed bank acquirer to do another deal, but in this case, Marinac said, “apparently it was waived.”

“State Bank has apparently impressed the regulators with how they’ve integrated Secuirty Bank in just five months,” the bank analyst said.

State Bank is now an approximately $3.5 billion local powerhouse, adding about $1 billion in assets and 10 branches in Atlanta overnight, and turning itself into at least the 11th largest lender in the metro area.

“[These failed banks] give us a really attractive platform to build the presence in Atlanta we envisioned when we bought the [Security Bank] in July,” Evans said Friday in an interview with Atlanta Business Chronicle. “These two banks represent a very mature core book of deposit relationships, and they have locations that match up very closely to the places we’d like to grow.”

They also note that both Atlanta banks "were pummeled by an over-reliance on real estate development loans and an inability to backstop the losses.

In other news... my pipes froze last night. 19 degrees, central Texas.

From links up top: Chávez Seizes Three More Banks, Stoking Fears.

So who is copying who? The FDIC seems to be first and has the biggest total. So Chavez is copying the FDIC?

Are the Feds more socialist than Chavez? Looks like it if we compare bank seizures. Maybe number comparisons are invalid since the U.S. has more banks to begin with.

X, it is not the same thing. The FDIC, when it takes over a bank, does not keep it. The bank sold to a bank that is not in trouble. The FDIC covers all depositers, under a quarter of a million dollars, so they do not lose their money.

Would you rather have it otherwise X? Would you rather just let the bank go bankrupt and all depositers lose their money? Would that be "non socialist" enough to suit you X?

Ron P.

I think the FDIC protection has been shown to be useless, it takes a year to get your money back or more in the case of an actual bank failure or run, and then you *may* get half, or less .....

To my thinking, once you put your money IN a bank you've lost it, you're trusting it to strangers who are known crooks.

Pugsley's Alpha Strategy, and the "modern doomerism" (or whatever he calls it) philosophy expressed by That Survival Podcast Guy on his page, are much more likely to enable you to retain your wealth.

I think the FDIC protection has been shown to be useless, it takes a year to get your money back

But of course. Who wants to wait a whole year for your quarter million? Better just throw it away. That useless FDIC, wanting to give you your quarter million a year after the bank failed. Tell them to stuff it!

Ron P.

A year is enough in the kind of economy we're in to find you homeless, displaced, jailed perhaps for sleeping on the sidewalk or being in the tent city during a raid, papers no longer in order, sick or even dying of exposure, etc.

Remember it will be worth your quarter-million dollars to the bank to use security, lawyers, whatever, to prove you're just a crazy homeless person or a fraudster.

Yep, I find it easy to imagine the banks going PayPal on us.

If putting your money into arable land, beans/bullets/band-aids, PMs buried in a safe place, etc is equal to you to throwing it away, then by all means do not do these things.

My bank failed, I had my money back within hours.

It doesn't take a year. If you're under the limit, you'll hardly notice that your bank failed.

It might take a year if you have more than a quarter million. You'll get the quarter million, but then have to wait with other creditors while the bank's remaining assets are distributed by the courts.

Not true. My bank failed. I was without my money for only the weekend. Friday close of business to 8am Monday. (That's why bank failures are almost always announced Friday night. It gives them until Monday morning to get everything up and running.)

think the FDIC protection has been shown to be useless, it takes a year to get your money back or more in the case of an actual bank failure or run, and then you *may* get half, or less .....

Actually that describes what happens to money over the $250K (or whatever the current limit is). The first $250K is still immediately available. For amounts over that you gotta open independent accounts or risk the potential of a haicut and/or delay.

Dar - I was hoping that some one else would take you to task on this but...

What Chavez has done is far better than what the US has done

Chavez has been the best thing to happen for Latin America since Simon Boliver;


What Us has done is kill small local banks and Hand them over to the selected banks that TPTB have decided will be the one who win (oh yes, and they have decided that the US tax payer will pay for this Obamanation also). This is decided by those who will PROSPER most from these decisions.

If you do not understand this Darwinian, you UNDERSTAND NOTHING.

So souper man we can assume you have all your saving and investments tied up in Vz and not the US? I commend your confidence in Hugo.

I believe he said Chavez has been the best thing to happen for Latin America - not for him or for you or for the US. Inasmuch as anyone who aspires to lead a country is probably an ambitious sociopath and therefore potentially dangerous, he is in fact improving the lives of people who were once denied the benefits of the natural resources wealth of their land. Naturally this pisses off those who used to get those benefits.

Rock - No, you can assume that I believe that the ultimate goal of protecting your wealth, YOUR INVESTMENTS, YOUR SAVINGS, is what will lead to ALL OUT NUCLEAR WAR.

DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT? HELLO??????? Nobody seems to want to understand this connection. WTF?????

WTF is it you don't understand about this? Or is it that you just accept this as reality. In which case you are most likely shooting for BIG GAINS in order ride out the worst of whats to come.

A little bit of news for you.... THERE IS NO WAY TO RIDE OUT what is to come. You are going to eat $hit no matter what you think you are doing to get ahead of the game. This fallacy of wealth insulating you from reality is TOP of the list of delusional thinking...Hello???????

I have heard your comments about how you and your companies strategy is to get ahead of it all and ride it out in luxury in some remote location.

Rockman - you of all people have to understand how delusional this is. Please? I need you to acknowledge this...if not then Frigging shut down this whole Oil Drum web site circle jerk....

The pattern continues. As long as power hungry despots employ anti-capitalist rhetoric, the left will embrace them as as heroes regardless of how bad their regime is in reality. I am certain that in 5-10 years the left will denying that they ever supported Chavez, just like they did with Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot.

Yes, hold right wing and pro-capitalist theories to account for harm they have done. But apply it equally to those who used pretty words about social justice to further their own power base. Chavez is a thug and a tyrant who has stoked anger and deceived his people with ideology to build his faction and seize power. Chavez and Bush are soul mates. Their plans are the same, even if the details of their deceptions are different.

Time will tell. Just hope the people of Venezuela and the region aren't hurt too badly by it.

Exaggerate much...

If Venezuela was even a tiny bit like China 50 years ago, or Cambodia there would be howls 24/7 in the media. When you find some death camps for us perhaps you can report back and lets us all know.

The fact is that Chavez is a popularly elected leader who continues to have the support of 60% of the population since after all he is doing what they want. His 'crimes' are stepping on the interests of foreigners who are upset that the easy money days of getting Venezuelan resources for next to nothing AND having the pittance they pay in fees be siphoned back to them are over. Cry me a river.

So souper from your words I take it that in a effort save the world from nuclear war you're not protecting your savings.

We all have the right to our opinions. Mine is that Petrobras has maybe been a tad better for S. America then Hugo. But, as I said, opinions might vary.

What, your pipes froze at only 19 F? But, climatological winter only just started on 1 December, because it's usually coldest (on average) around the middle of January, so your pipes might freeze again. I'd say your house was not properly insulated or the pipes were improperly placed in outside walls. Around here, the winter temperatures do drop below zero. My pipes haven't frozen yet, but then, my pipes are within double insulated (12 inch thick) walls. The only problem I might have is the pipe from the well to the house, but I dug the trench 2 feet deep to place it below the frost line for our area.

If I were you, I'd be Edgy 2...

E. Swanson

And that's another thing about those damn banks, they'll make your pipes freeze quicker'n .... (snapping fingers) it's a known truth, why my Aunt Sal, last year, she went to make a deposit in the bank, It's safe, she sez.... it's modern, she sez .... well, she come back pretty durn fast, had a pie on the windowsill you know.... din't help, them pipes was friz solid. Hadda send Lem underneat' there with the gas-o-line torch .....

Watch out for snowy climes, like, uh, Texas: Historic snow hits Houston. Jeff Masters' blog, the contributors throw in their usual galley of pix, including snow in frickin' Louisiana! WTF!

Sunny and mild in the days here in Oregon. Your loss our gain etc. Cold nights are quite sharp though, but no drifts like last year, when the ice pack stuck around for more than a month.

$1.2 billion Swedish Rail Tunnel completed 9.4% below budget

In 2000, a highway + rail bridge/tunnel was completed between Denmark & Sweden. The rail part has been quite successful and overwhelmed the local Swedish rail system. Quite a bit of commuting has developed between Copenhagen & Malmo (Swedish city of other side of the straits) plus freight from Sweden to the rest of the EU.

A new over water rail link between Denmark (Copenhagen) & Germany is planned which will increase the freight and passenger demand between Denmark & Sweden even more.

This new tunnel is designed for 450 trains/day and will start with 350 trains/day. This is an incredible volume ! 24 hours x 60 minutes /450 = 192 seconds (admittedly two way traffic).

Over 40 years, $1.2 billion is $182.59 per train (at 450/day, $234.67 at 350 trains/day). But that tunnel should last for centuries (the tunnels dug by Chinese coolies for the US Transcontinental RR are still in use).

This is an example of just HOW MUCH traffic two rail lines can handle if optimized.


Best Hopes for Long lived Energy Efficient Infrastructure,


A comparable project is needed in the USA under Baltimore. The existing late 1800s tunnel cannot handle double stack containers and is capacity constrained.

A comparable project is needed in the USA under Baltimore. The existing late 1800s tunnel cannot handle double stack containers and is capacity constrained.

But do you really think we are capable of doing something like that, sensible, but invisible. Instead we will spend billions chasing the highspeed rail pipedream.

Instead we will spend billions chasing the highspeed rail pipedream.

That`s excactly why you`ll never have a viable passenger rail system in the US. You, and many others, consider spending billions on highspeed rail systems a waste of money.

Problem is that most Americans have "been nowhere, done nuthin'". If we're not doing it its not worth doing, the hubris of the "American Way". If more people traveled enough they would know how far behind in our thinking we are. Trains aren't perfect but you can sure learn a lot more about where you're going and where you've been, riding a train... see more and enjoy the ride. On the other hand:


Looks like a party to me!

As far as I'm concerned, the North American population has utterly failed to understand the inherent advantages of rail transportation, and as a result has been completely left in the dust by Europe and Asia. China, Japan, EU, and now the Persian Gulf countries are spending heavily on rail infrastructure.

The only thing that's happening here are a few urban light rail systems. The North American freight rail system is antiquated and doesn't appear to have changed much in the last 100 years, except they've gotten rid of the cabooses. Intercity passenger trains are considered a fringe system use by mostly by aging hippies. Only 2 percent of the North American population have ever riden a train in their own country.

Alan, I can see that you're fighting an uphill battle against an entrenched attitute against rail. I believe that the only thing that would change the minds of North Americans would be to actually build a high-speed rail system between a couple of nearby big cities such as Houston-Dallas. Once people actully experienced a fast, modern rail system, the opposition would evaporate.

When you are lugging your bags in Europe up and down stairs and over the track crossing bridges, do you ever wonder how handicapped people do it? I view it as a weight loss excercise, but my wife does not see it that way so I always look for an elevator or something. I never see elevators. I know we pack a lot heavier than most, but I always wonder how someone in a wheel chair gets about.

I always wonder how someone in a wheel chair gets about.

I've been puzzled by the same thing. For some reason you see way fewer wheelchairs in Europe. Is it because of the Europeans are generally healthier, or do the unhealthy stay at home? I think all new trains and stations in Europe are designed to handle wheelchairs.

possibly they don't , George was telling me that he'll get the train ticket and when he gets tothe station they can't accomadate him - so they order him a taxi ! wheelchairs adn trains apparently don't mix!


Old designs had some issues (but workable around). New ones don't.

Best Hopes for ADA access,


I've less experience of mainland Europe, but almost all big and medium UK rail stations have elevator access between bridges and platforms. The exceptions tend to be very old stations where the design and surrounding space does not allow retrofitting. Part of the reason that they're often not obvious is that they are often NOT by the same route you'd take as a walking passenger and not as direct. This is partly from constraints to retrofitting and partly because, situating train stations near city centres ("downtown") there's a limited amount of land available. Once you get to small rural stations, often there are open-air bridges which only have steps and no ramps.

This is all far from ideal for a disabled passenger, particularly since there's generally ONE elevator to a given group of platforms, so if that's broken then things are back to square one. But there is an attempt at providing disabled access.

I have a nuanced position, that I will try and explain later this evening.

Best Hopes for More Rail,


Having taken high speed rail in both France and Japan, I am mystified why Americans seem to think the technology either doesn't exist or is somehow impossible to implement when the French and the Japanese have been doing it for decades now. Are we to suppose the French and the Japanese are just a whole lot more wealthy/intelligent/educated/capable than we are that they can do this and we cannot? Yes, they have higher population densities, but we have regions that are comparable. What we have, that they do not, is cheap gasoline that inhibits developing other modes of travel

For those who haven't done it, traveling via high speed rail is far, far more pleasant than air travel. You are not squished like a sardine, there are no cabin pressure or turbulence issues, you are not breathing germ-filled recirculated air, and when you disembark, you are actually where you want to be (in the center of a city) rather than a $40 cab ride away. As an added bonus, you are not required to take off your shoes or have surly security personnel yell at you to look alive, time is money. (I swear the security personnel at SFO, my local airport, are among the most obnoxious on the planet.)

High speed rail is also superior to car travel because it's 3X faster and allows one to read/sleep/do work rather than stare at pavement for hours. Climate change and peak oil issues aside, high speed rail is one of the most pleasant, civilized ways to travel that there is.

And on a train you don't have to worry about getting stuck sitting next to someone like this:

On a more serious note, my impression is that the airlines are slowly atrophying. They are flying smaller jets less frequently. They turn more of the remaining flights over to regional carriers with far less experienced air crew (mainly to save costs, since the regionals aren't unionized). And they are completely discontinuing service to some regional airports.

And to top it off, they keep coming up with more and more fees and charges.

It used to be fun to fly. Now it is an ordeal. We have a friend who is a pilot for American Airlines, and even he doesn't like it any more. He was looking forward to retirement (he is now in his late 50s), but then they bumped up the retirement age, and now he is bummed. I was joking with him that someday you will see the pilot getting on the plane using a walker.

I wonder if the pilot had compensate with the ailerons.

I took a puddlejumper from Dulles to central PA a couple weeks ago, and after we got on, they asked us all to move forward of row 13 - something about the balance being off. At least no one was compelled to de-board, like the two unfortunates on the same flight the previous day.

Having taken high speed rail in both France and Japan, I am mystified why Americans seem to think the technology either doesn't exist or is somehow impossible to implement when the French and the Japanese have been doing it for decades now.

'Cause we're so gol-darned big! The country, I mean. We do have some voluminous people as well, like the basketball shaped gent in the post below. Things were different back in the days when the country was opening up and states had more initiative, but the automobile changed all that.

Our opponents were big, too: YouTube - What fits into Russia

I lived in Japan for many years and traveled in Europe a bit so I know what you mean. My impression is that these other countries grew up with train travel so the rest of the infrastructure adapted to the trains as the trains adapted to the people. Plus the government made it a priority to develop rail travel. In Japan there were massive land grants to rail companies. Along the private lines you'll see that the rail company builds in department stores and such at many of the stations so they get the benefit of passenger traffic and retail shopping.

In the US we invested in the interstates instead of rail. This has encouraged sprawl rather than concentration. At every train station in Japan you can get a book the size of a phone book listing local real estate. One feature listed with each house/apartment is the number of minutes it takes to walk to the local train station. Generally about 20 minutes or so is the limit. This is just an example of how thoroughly this has become ingrained to society there.

Local train travel is not particularly pleasant but it is quick compared to driving. The trains are very crowded and most people don't get to sit. Long distance travel is much nicer. It is much easier to get a seat and then you can kick back till you arrive at your destination.

I don't see us adding much train capacity in the US. It would take a combination of large investment and a large change of attitudes.

Baltimore is a tough nut as there are a lot of different competing concerns.

On the one hand, you would might like to dig a new harbor tunnel, straighten the track, and eliminate the Howard St tunnel. But if you did this, you would effectively abandon the existing station, but that station is well situation to serve traffic going north to Harrisburg.

Any new tunnels are constrained by many things, such as the location of the current subway system and many other factors. The FRA document examines all of this in great detail.


Good point to put in a plug for the interesting book, "Waiting on a Train" by James McCommons.


Burns at least 1/2 gallon oil per second!

I want one...................just to have!

It would make a nice lawn ornament.

A larger than average McMansion lawn would be required :-)


Just walked back from the Saturday Farmers & Fishers Market (about 0.8 miles away). John Besh (local celebrity chef and one of 17 local James Beard winners) was doing the demo. Excellent oyster & artichoke soup :-) (Souperman should try it :-)

Bought 1 lb of flounder fillets and a pound of black drum fillets from local fisherman. He puts his catch into a holding pond and yesterday afternoon his wife took them out and fileted them :-). Some turnips & broccoli (mine are not ready yet) but passed on the early strawberries (price too high).

Talked with neighbors coming and going and saw an old friend at the market.

A low energy lifestyle can be quite enjoyable :-)

Best Hopes for good local food,


Sounds like a wonderful morning, and sensually imbedded also.
The good life!

And just returned from donating blood and then pulled the fresh baked bread out of the oven (I turned it off and let it coast before I left). Cold mornings are good to bake bread :-)

Now to watch one of alma mater's, Alabama vs. Florida.

Best Hopes for Indoor Air Pollution :-)


From Calculated Risk:

Moody's: Option ARMs Show "Dismal Performance"

[The Option ARM] sector shows “dismal” performance, with more than 40% of borrowers 60 or more days past due on payments. And many of these loans have yet to experience a recast event, when initial minimum monthly payments jump as much as 60%, according to sources interviewed by HousingWire for an upcoming issue.

“Even though borrowers with Option ARM loans have the option to make monthly payments typically lower than the accruing interest on the loan, many borrowers are choosing a different option–not making any payment at all.”

This could help trigger the next step down, I think.


I've updated my Peak Oil software Sokath.

The new features are:

- Gasoline price prediction with certain accuracy.
- ASPO International data added

You can download it here: http://sokath.sourceforge.net/

I recall a media item was posted with respect to the recent Munk Debate on Climate Change, but I don't believe there was a direct link to the debate itself or, if so, my apologies for missing it.

See: http://www.munkdebates.com/

Peter Munk is a very interesting man, to say the least.

See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfTJ4uKbzUo

See also: http://www.cbc.ca/mansbridge/2006/11/this_is_a_test_entry.html


Has all of today's outrage been used up on the Israelis &/or Palestinians and AGW deniers, so that none's left for the lithium cornucopian referenced above?

I read the "Truth[sic] About Lithium" article yesterday and found it to be so stupid that it wasn't even wrong. It didn't meet the logical standards for an argument to be demonstrably right or wrong.

The last, best article I saw on the subject (long-lost link) stated that any plausible projected growth in Li production would be sufficient for the expanding market in rechargeable appliances like phones and laptops, but not much more.

The notion of large-scale recovery of Li from brines and other low-concentration sources is absurd - the author needs a close encounter of the 2nd Law kind.

That's something I'd like to know more about. I do recall there being discussions about significant limitations, but it is hard to get a good picture when people start counting disperse sources like seawater, etc.