Drumbeat: December 14, 2009

‘Smart’ Electric Utility Meters, Intended to Create Savings, Instead Prompt Revolt

WASHINGTON — Millions of households across America are taking a first step into the world of the “smart grid,” as their power companies install meters that can tell them how much electricity they are using hour by hour — and sometimes, appliance by appliance. But not everyone is happy about it.

Customers in California are in open revolt, and officials in Connecticut and Texas are questioning whether the rush to install meters benefits the public.

Some consumers argue that the meters are logging far more kilowatt hours than they believe they are using. And many find it unfair that they will begin to pay immediately for the new meters through higher rates, when the promised savings could be years away.

IEA: 72p of every pound invested in energy needs to be spent on renewables

Dr Fatih Birol, chief economist of the IEA, said that 72p in every pound of new investment ought to be spent on clean energy, such as wind and solar, to hit current targets on global warming. The remaining 28p would be spent on nuclear and fossil fuels.

Global oil demand to grow 1 pct a year to 2035 - EIA

(Reuters) - Global crude oil demand is expected to grow 1 percent a year through 2035 to 111.7 million barrels per day (bpd) from this year's oil consumption level of 84.5 million bpd, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Monday in its new long-term energy forecast.

Uzbekistan damages regional power network

Uzbekistan recently officially announced that it will quit the Central Asia power system. Tashkent's decision affects all countries in the region, with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan suffering the most. The recent policy shift reflects the predicaments of Soviet period planning of energy supplies in the Central Asian region when - in general terms - upstream and downstream countries were presupposed to trade water for fuel.

Shares of EnCana, shale firms, jump on XTO offer

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - EnCana Corp stock rose as much as 8.7 percent on Monday as investors bid up shares of unconventional gas producers in the wake of Exxon Mobil Corp's $30 billion offer for XTO Energy Inc.

Exxon, the world's largest publicly traded oil and gas company, said on Monday it plans to acquire XTO for its exposure to shale gas and other unconventional gas discoveries that have reshaped North America's natural gas industry.

In Bolivia, Water and Ice Tell of Climate Change

EL ALTO, Bolivia — When the tap across from her mud-walled home dried up in September, Celia Cruz stopped making soups and scaled back washing for her family of five. She began daily pilgrimages to better-off neighborhoods, hoping to find water there.

Though she has lived here for a decade and her husband, a construction worker, makes a decent wage, money cannot buy water.

“I’m thinking of moving back to the countryside; what else can I do?” said Ms. Cruz, 33, wearing traditional braids and a long tiered skirt as she surveyed a courtyard dotted with piglets, bags of potatoes and an ancient red Datsun. “Two years ago this was never a problem. But if there’s not water, you can’t live.”

The glaciers that have long provided water and electricity to this part of Bolivia are melting and disappearing, victims of global warming, most scientists say.

Krugman: Disaster and Denial

When I first began writing for The Times, I was naïve about many things. But my biggest misconception was this: I actually believed that influential people could be moved by evidence, that they would change their views if events completely refuted their beliefs.

Friedman: The Do-It-Yourself Economy

In case you haven’t noticed, the U.S. economy today is actually being hit by two tsunamis at once: The Great Recession and the Great Inflection.

The Great Inflection is the mass diffusion of low-cost, high-powered innovation technologies — from hand-held computers to Web sites that offer any imaginable service — plus cheap connectivity. They are transforming how business is done.

U.S. oil use to 2035 won't return to peak demand: EIA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. energy consumption is expected to increase 14 percent by 2035, but the nation will rely less on oil and other fossil fuels to meet its energy needs, the Energy Information Administration said on Monday in its long-term forecast.

The fossil fuel share of U.S. energy demand over the next quarter century is expected to fall from the current 84 percent to 78 percent, the EIA said.

Oil use is forecast to remain "near" its current level, while ethanol is expected to account for 17 percent of gasoline consumption by 2035, the agency said.

What Energy Crisis? The Truth About Our Oil Reserves

One of the stories that we’ve been hearing for years now, in justification of the government’s refusal to allow any more drilling or the construction of any new refineries, is that our oil reserves are so low that they won’t last us very long if we use them.

It’s true that many people believed that in the past, and many apparently still do, but the truth that’s beginning to emerge now, is going to bury that idea, in the same way that we’re currently debunking the absurd idea of Anthropogenic Global Warming.

While there have been some stunning new discoveries, a huge part of our new found reserves, has come as a result of recent developments in drilling technology which now allow us to drill far deeper, as well as allowing us to change the direction that we’re drilling in once we’re already down quite deep. As a result of these new techniques, many of the existing proven reserves, can now supply us with far more oil than we thought possible before.

Ministers ‘in denial’ over renewable energy sources

Oil tycoon Sir Ian Wood has accused Scottish ministers of being in denial over their belief that the country’s energy needs can be met from renewable sources.

Iraq Was Not a War for Oil: But the oil fields are the nation's best hope for recovery.

What this means is that Iraq could quite soon be in a position to rival the output of Saudi Arabia and Iran. This is precisely what many of us in the regime-change camp used to point out: the huge, glittering prize of a democratic and federal Iraq situated between two parasitic theocracies and capable of challenging their oil duopoly.

Gulf leaders gather to discuss creating common currency

KUWAIT CITY (AP) — Leaders of the six Gulf Arab states were to move ahead with plans to set up a common currency and launch a new $1.6 billion regional electricity grid Monday, the latest bids for regional integration at a summit where Iran's nuclear program was also on the agenda.

How 'Cash for Caulkers' might work

If it's like New York's energy-efficiency plan, homeowners would hire a contractor to do a home audit and perform the work. Soon after, voila, a reimbursement check arrives.

TVA rates to drop again from fuel cost adjustment

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Rates for Tennessee Valley Authority residential customers will drop between $1 and $3 in the billing period that starts Jan. 1 due to another reduction in fuel costs.

Aramco,Conoco bring forward refinery bids deadline

KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - Saudi Aramco and U.S. ConocoPhillips (COP.N) have brought forward to Jan. 26 the deadline for bids to build a 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) oil refinery in Yanbu, five bidders said on Monday.

The deadline for five engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) proposals was originally due by Jan. 31.

Will Ecuador drought dry up Correa's popularity?

BOYACA, Ecuador (Reuters) - A drought in Ecuador is causing power blackouts throughout the country, slowing the economy's recovery and helping to push Rafael Correa's popularity to the lowest point of his presidency.

The approval rating of the firebrand socialist fell to 42 percent in a recent Cedatos Gallup poll, half of what it was in the early days of his government in 2007.

EPA mustn't ignore impact on business

The price could be steep for industry and consumers. The EPA finding clears the way for rules that eventually could force the sale of more fuel-efficient vehicles and require plants to install costly new equipment — at a cost of billions or even many tens of billions of dollars — or shift to other forms of energy.

Statoil's Chief Vouches for Natural Gas in Copenhagen

Major reductions in carbon emissions cannot be achieved in the short and medium term without a bigger commitment to gas, says Statoil's chief executive Helge Lund.

Bill McKibben: The Wide Gap Between Climate Rhetoric and Reality

Outside the window, right now, the atmosphere contains 390 parts per million (ppm) of CO2. That’s too much — as a result, sea ice is melting, glaciers retreating, deserts spreading. Science has told us where we need to go: 350 ppm. There’s really not much pushback against that number — the UN’s chief climate scientist Rajendra Pachauri has made it clear that it’s a necessary target.

But it’s tough. Any chance of getting there would require governments deciding to concentrate all their energies on speeding the transition to renewable energy. We’d have to work with the same fervor we do when a war beckons. And, uh, we’re not.

Rice husk powers into energy consciousness

Power hungry Vietnam will turn to rice husk in a big way as it seeks renewable energy sources to support its economic development.

IEA calls for "strong signal" to promote new investment for clean energy

COPENHAGEN (Xinhua) -- The International Energy Agency(IEA) on Monday called on governments to send a strong signal to spur new investment for clean energy.

"While the details of a binding agreement may not be completely worked out in Copenhagen, it is more important than ever that participants send a strong, indicative and ambitious signal that can guide energy investment and policy decisions globally," IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka said in a press release.

The economic crisis, which resulted in a fall in global energy-related CO2 emissions of around 3 percent in 2009, has provided "a unique window of opportunity" to change the current highly unsustainable energy path, the IEA chief said.

Coal still king in China, despite climate pledge

LINFEN, China (AFP) – The choking soot that coats Linfen is testament to an inconvenient truth behind Beijing's promises to curb its greenhouse gas emissions: cheap and carbon-belching coal remains king in China.

Although they say things are improving, residents of this city in northern Shanxi province live in one of the most polluted places on Earth thanks to China's reliance on coal, a dependence expected to continue for decades.

Alberta oil sector set to trump gas drilling

CALGARY - It's taken four decades, but oil will be king of the Canadian energy exploration sector again in 2010, says a forecast by the Petroleum Services Association of Canada.

The association predicts that 4,100 oil wells will be drilled next year, compared with 3,200 gas wells, the first time in 39 years that gas drilling has not trumped oil.

A Cleaner Grid

Canada is the largest foreign supplier to the United States of all forms of power generation -- oil and gas, uranium and, of course, electricity. There is a high degree of mutual economic dependence at stake, reflecting the extent to which our two economies are closely integrated, more so in fact than any other two markets in the world.

Electricity trade, primarily hydro power from Canada to the United States, is a key element of this unique market. It is cheap, abundant and clean. (Most of this trade is the export of hydro electricity from Quebec into the Northeast, and from Manitoba into the Midwest.) With the right policy and regulatory framework, we can ensure that electricity, particularly from hydro, will be an indispensable part of energy security for both Canada and the United States.

The Enbridge Oil Sands Gamble

Patrick Daniel, the CEO of Enbridge Inc, is bullish about the future of unconventional oil from Canada’s massive tar sand deposits. And understandably so. His successful company not only operates North America’s longest crude oil and liquid pipelines, but transports 12 percent of the oil that the United States imports daily from Canada.

“Energy is necessary for us to live long healthy lives,” he told a business audience this past September during remarks to the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce. “The oil sands is the second largest reserve in the world, and we can’t deny access to the rest of the world to that huge resource.”

Enerplus sees 2010 exploration spending at C$425 million

(Reuters) - Canadian oil explorer Enerplus Resources Fund on Monday said it will spend about C$425 million on its exploration activities for 2010, up 35 percent from its budget for this year, citing recovering crude oil prices and economic conditions.

Dubai Shows No Guarantee Gazprom Debt Backed by State

Nakheel’s debt restructuring, and Dubai’s refusal to guarantee timely repayment before Abu Dhabi stepped in, is prompting investors from Mexico to South Korea to demand higher premiums for state-run company debt.

The extra yield, or spread, investors require to hold the bonds of Moscow-based OAO Gazprom, the world’s biggest natural gas producer, Mexico City-based Petroleos Mexicanos and Korea Electric Power Corp. rather than debt of their governments increased after Dubai said Nov. 25 that state-owned Dubai World would seek a “standstill” agreement from creditors.

Indonesia to reduce gas emissions by 26% until 2020

JAKARTA (Xinhua) -- Indonesia Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said on Monday that the country was committed to reducing its gas emissions by 26 percent in several phases until 2020.

"The forestry sector is expected to help reduce gas emissions to 14 percent in the first phase," the minister said when declaring the formation of a National Forest Management Unit (KPH) at Taman Hutan Raya Ngurah Rai of Bali island.

U.S. Offers $85 Million to Promote Energy Efficiency

COPENHAGEN — Marking the beginning of a second, more serious week of climate negotiations here, the United States Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced Monday that industrialized countries would spend $350 million over five years — including $85 million from the United States — to spread renewable and non-polluting energy technologies in developing countries.

The announcement came as representatives from developing countries walked out of the climate talks in protest, saying that richer nations were not doing enough cut their greenhouse gas emissions. The move stalled the ongoing negotiations, at least for the moment, as African delegates declared they were “outraged with the lack of transparency and democracy in the process.” “This is all part of the negotiating dynamic, especially as you get close to the end game,” said Jake Schmidt, director of international climate programs at the Natural Resources Defense Council,

Oil Falls a Ninth Day on Speculation Demand Recovery Is Slowing

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil fell for a ninth day, poised for the longest decline since July 2001, on speculation the global economy’s uneven recovery from recession may slow growth in demand for fuel and energy.

Prices declined after the Tankan business confidence index in Japan, the world’s third-largest oil consumer, posted its smallest improvement this year. Crude has dropped 16 percent since reaching a year-to-date high on Oct. 21. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said in a report today that prices have fallen because of “slow recovery” in demand in developed markets.

Gasoline Set to Fall to $1.60 a Gallon: Technical Analysis

(Bloomberg) -- Gasoline is poised for a slide to $1.601 a gallon in January, a price that will likely be the 2010 low, according to a technical analysis by T&K Futures & Options.

Futures for January delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange slipped below key support levels on Dec. 9, breaking through the 100-day and 60-day moving averages, according to Michael Smith, president of T&K in Port Saint Lucie, Florida.

“It just broke through support levels and I think it’s heading to $1.60 within 30 days,” Smith said in a telephone interview. “That will probably be the low for the year.”

Gazprom Sees European Price Rising to $325 in 2010, RenCap Says

(Bloomberg) -- OAO Gazprom expects the average European gas price to rise to $325 per thousand cubic meters next year, Renaissance Capital said in a note to investors, citing Alexander Medvedev, a deputy chief executive officer at the Russian gas export monopoly.

Iraq will be 'big player' at OPEC meet: US diplomat

BAGHDAD (AFP) – Iraq will be a "big player" at OPEC's meeting in Angola later this month over its allocated crude production quota following a string of deals with oil majors, a senior US embassy official said on Sunday.

China's Hu unveils landmark Turkmenistan pipeline

SAMANDEPE, Turkmenistan (AFP) – China's President Hu Jintao on Monday unveiled a landmark pipeline to transport Turkmen natural gas to China, a key victory for Beijing in its drive for access to Central Asian resources.

Hu, together with the presidents of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, turned a symbolic wheel at a refinery in Samandepe in Turkmenistan's vast Karakum desert which opened the pipeline to start the first gas flowing.

Exxon Mobil to buy XTO Energy in $41 billion deal

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Exxon Mobil Corp. said Monday it will buy domestic energy giant XTO Energy Inc. in an all-stock deal valued at $41 billion as it moves to boost its presence in the unconventional natural gas business through a major acquisition.

Armenia gas supplies from Russia stopped by 'bomb'

Russia has temporarily halted gas supplies to Armenia after an explosive device was found near a pipeline, Russian news reports say.

A security official said exports via North Ossetia and Ingushetia were stopped and would not resume until the device was defused, Interfax reported.

Shorting Mexico's Peak Oil Economy

The next Tequila Crisis will be a peak oil crisis. Mexico's government is dependant on revenues from declining oil fields. The prospects for replacing these revenues look slim. Shorting Mexico Country ETFs looks like a good way to hedge market exposure.

Some Lines In Favour Of A Troupe Of Buffalo Flying Over The White House Singing Pastoral Songs

The price of oil was manipulated through futures markets, principally by Goldman Sachs, in what amounted to insider trading. This became known quite widely in 2009, yet the financiers involved are not yet in prison. The misleading notion of peak oil was less mentioned in 2009 as it became better known that reserves have been increasing for some time, whilst the demand for oil has decreased.

The Official Policies

Peak oil is here and none of the alternatives hold any real promise as transportation fuels. Even if they did, implementing them would only give us a short respite as business as usual means more middle-class people, and more middle-class people will use more energy. To simply continue to burn fossil fuels as we have been will certainly doom us to the effects of global climate change and force us into war with other nations for the last drops of oil. Given the global climate change catastrophe, burning fossil fuels has to stop right now or there is really no chance of preventing the planet from becoming a place in which we, that is civilized humanity (not Homo erectus), cannot live.

Many other problems are only a little further down the tracks of time. Phosphate shortages, collapse of fisheries, species extinction, aquifer depletion, even erosion of soil, are all a lot closer than anyone with even a medium-range plan can ignore.

The Dubai model

Dubai was a petroleum-producing nation that ran out of this resource. Hence, Dubai’s visionary, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, set out to reconstruct its economy in anticipation of this natural resource depletion. Some say that our Government is attempting to implement the Dubai model in T&T. However our visionaries do not accept that our petroleum is depleting and have wedded our economic development plans to natural gas driven industrialisation. Diversification is thought to be the changeover from oil to gas with some lip service to on-shore diversification.

Property owners don’t get share of gas royalties

The Hales are entitled to a share of the proceeds from their gas, but since the wells rimming the family land began producing in 1998, they have not received a penny.

Instead, CNX cuts a check for the royalties it owes the Hales - and countless others whose gas it produces - and transmits the money into a state-run escrow account that landowners cannot monitor or access without clearing enormous legal and administrative hurdles.

Hale himself triggered this scenario by refusing to lease his gas to CNX, unaware that Virginia did not give him that choice.

"I didn't realize they could take your gas without a lease," he said.

In 1990, the Virginia legislature resolved that it could not allow stubborn individuals to hamper the development of coalbed methane - an abundant resource whose peculiar characteristics had prevented it from being commercially produced. Up to that point, state law provided that surface owners like Hale owned all the migratory gases beneath the surface of their land, unless they previously had sold the rights to their gas.

Dubai gets $10 billion from Abu Dhabi to cover debt

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Dubai's government said Monday it has received $10 billion in emergency funds from its oil-rich neighbor Abu Dhabi that will help pay debts owed by the struggling Dubai World conglomerate.

Secret document exposes Iran’s nuclear trigger

Confidential intelligence documents obtained by The Times show that Iran is working on testing a key final component of a nuclear bomb.

The notes, from Iran’s most sensitive military nuclear project, describe a four-year plan to test a neutron initiator, the component of a nuclear bomb that triggers an explosion. Foreign intelligence agencies date them to early 2007, four years after Iran was thought to have suspended its weapons programme.

Households take up challenge to be chilly

In Laura Nichols' Maplewood, N.J., home, Poochie the dachshund is a hot commodity.

Nichols and her four teenage children vie for the use of the 30-pound dog as an overnight leg warmer to stave off the 50-degree chill in their home.

Once again, Nichols has entered a local Internet message board's "furnace abstinence" contest where bragging rights and an iceberg-shaped trophy are at stake for those who can go the longest without turning on their furnaces.

Season's lights take on new meaning with time

Our Christmas lights, whether or not they’re the new LED variety, use unnecessary and damaging amounts of electricity. That electricity is produced violently by destroying entire mountains and the forest communities that thrived on them for millennia. Argue all you want for the continued use of coal but you cannot deny the truth. We can do much better and we should.

Author Wendell Berry stopped lighting his tree when he saw a billboard in Kentucky that said “Coal Lights Your Christmas Tree.” From that year on he has allowed the ambient light of the room to light his tree.

A good read meets head on with an eco-challenge

In The Ecotechnic Future, John Michael Greer expands on his book on peak oil, The Long Descent, presenting his vision of what might happen to our society as we run out of natural resources.

Greer takes the approach that life won't suddenly end when resources do; rather, he compares our society to others in decline, such as the Roman empire and the Mayan civilization, and does it in an accessible way, using clear comparisons with nature.

Biofuels: why we don’t need them

Biofuels seem unlikely to be widely used or play a major part in reducing net CO2 emissions or replace fossil fuels burned by internal combustion engines.

Oklahoma senator plans to rain on climate talks

COPENHAGEN — The final week of the United Nations climate change summit boils down to a battle between President Obama and the self-described "skunk at the picnic."

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., who has called global warming a "hoax," plans to travel this week to Copenhagen. He'll stay just long enough — as few as three hours, he says — to tell heads of state that the Senate will not pass an energy bill that would limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Saving Forests to Cut CO2 May Win Global Backing for First Time

(Bloomberg) -- Negotiators at United Nations global-warming talks in Copenhagen recommended that tropical forests be protected for the first time as part of a climate change treaty.

The proposal, published in a draft UN text, acknowledges that forests play an important role in moderating the amount of carbon that goes into the atmosphere. The plan will be debated this week in the negotiations that are set to end Dec. 18 with a global climate accord.

Keeping forests intact is essential to limiting carbon- dioxide emissions. Chopping down trees and leaving them to rot or burn contributes almost a fifth of global greenhouse-gas output, according to UN scientists.

Walkout in Copenhagen heightens fears of failure

COPENHAGEN (AFP) – The UN climate summit hit major turbulence Monday when developing nations walked out of key negotiations and China accused the West of trickery, as the spectre of failure loomed heavily over Copenhagen.

As campaigners warned that negotiators had five days to avert climate chaos, ministers acknowledged they had to start making progress before the arrival of 120 heads of state for the summit's climax on Friday.

Canada ranks low on annual climate change report card

COPENHAGEN -- Canada ranks just ahead of Saudi Arabia when it comes to progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, says an annual climate change performance report looking at 57 high-emitting countries.

"Looking at the emissions level of the ranked countries, the United States, Canada and Russia place very poorly," says the report, to be officially released as global climate change talks resume in Copenhagen Monday.

Keeping It Frozen

FAIRBANKS, Alaska—While the world debates the causes of climate change and what, if anything, to do about it, Alaskans are busy dealing with its consequences.

Permafrost, the frozen ground that lies just beneath the surface in most of the state, has become less stable in many areas, thanks in part to higher average air temperatures. It has begun to thaw in the warmer months and refreeze in the winter, causing shifts that wreak havoc on the structural integrity of the pipelines, railways, roads and buildings that sit on top of it.

"If we're going to build on frozen ground, we want to keep it frozen," says Dan White, director of the Institute of Northern Engineering at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

To do that, engineers increasingly are turning to a low-tech solution: devices called thermosiphons that draw heat out of the ground. It's a solution that shows how effective even relatively simple ingenuity can be in the absence of a more comprehensive, policy-driven response to climate change. But Alaska's experience also shows the limits that such stopgap measures often run up against.

RE: Exxon bying XTO Energy.
It looks like they paid a lot for a gas comapny.
Warning PDF
Perhaps someone can look at this out fit and explain its prospects.
They seem to have some cash flow.

jog -- XTO (originally Cross Timbers) was a modestly successful company some years ago. Then it decided to conquer the world. They began a very aggressive production acquisition effort. Not sure the source but they appeared to have more than enough capital when it came time to write the big checks. From a technical stand point I've always heard they had a top notch staff and clever management. Not sure why the shareholders decided to let go of it. Had a big debt load ($10 billion). Maybe the lower prices, with little prospect for NG prices to improve anytime soon, motivated them. Interesting that they took stock in the trade and not $'s. Maybe they want to hang on to the potential upside when the NG market rebounds.

The deal won't affect PO of course. It might hurt domestic oil/NG production prospects some though. IMHO XOM won't be nearly as aggressive in developing the resource base as quickly as XTO might have. The deal probably reflects a cheap and (more important) quick way to boost their reserve sheet. This is how the majors have always reacted when there's a slump in the oil patch: use their capital base to play catch up at the expense of weakened companies. The only potential advantage for the US consumer is that when NG prices do return to levels sufficient to justify ramping up the resource plays XOM will have the capital to do so. Whether they have the personnel to do so is another question. We'll see how many XTO hands XOM will take with the deal. My guess would be very few. If the age of the XTO staff is similar to most companies many of the laid off XTO hands might decide it's time to retire.

A quick review of their production history suggests that most, if not all, of their areas of operation have passed peak production. With low gas prices seeming to stretch over the horizon (bearing in mind that for bean-counters the horizon is the next quarterly earnings statement) they probably thought now would be a good time to get out, before the real decline sets in; which it will, now they have cut back so much on drilling. And they have all that debt to service. How much of it will start giving problems if their revenue slows too much?

To my mind, the really curious feature of the deal is the other side. Why would Exxon Mobil, which has unloaded onshore and shallow water domestic properties at a rapid rate for the last couple of decades, buy a company whose assets are a mixture of shale gas (with rapid decline rates staring them in the face) and ancient fields in places like the Permian Basin, where new technology has managed to squeeze a few more barrels from essentially depleted plays?

Rockman's comment about staff might be part of the answer: XTO has staff with a track record of making money scraping the bottom of the barrel; Exxon Mobil has technical staff taught throughout their careers to pay attention only to potential elephants. Getting people with this experience might reflect a realization by top management that there aren't any more elephants to find.

Given the way the rules have changed for reserve definitions I think its simpler.

I'd have to imagine this acquisition fits well with the new SEC rules for oil/NG reserve reporting. I don't think actual production is nearly as important.

One of my predictions is that we will start seeing reserve claims inflate rapidly over the next several years. It looks like Iraq is going to take the lead in this inflating reserves and giving ridiculous estimates of production. Mexico to some extent tried but seems to have backed off a bit. They set their timelines to short I suspect and talked to much about real oil production. Expect better spin out of Mexico in the near future. For example they claimed to halt the decline of Cantarell recently.

In any case generally world wide we should see a massive wave of expanded reserve claims as the new SEC rules have loopholes you can drive a VLCC through this will result in inflated claims worldwide as everyone wants to keep the status quo on claimed reserves.

Iraq of course has set the barrier to how absurd your claim can be ridiculously high so I did a bit of exploration in my back yard and it looks like I'm setting on at least 1 billion barrels of oil so I'm looking into buying the mineral right for the region.

Turns out all the volcanic action in the pacific north west has created these immense glass caverns filled with abiotic oil. You can tap them with a simple shovel and pick. I planted turnips on top to hide the discovery since I rent and don't have the mineral rights.

paper reserves is probably the main reason from xom's stand point.
xto's motivation is pretty clear, a 25 % premium to an already inflated stock price.

wall street didn't think it was a very good move for xom. i am a little surprised at how not very good they thought this was for xom. xto was a fly on the back of a company like xom.

speculators thought it was a good move for every other tom, dick and harry claiming to have ung reserves.

interesting that this was a stock deal (except for the acquisition of debt), xom is preserving capital and they will probably need it.

It's just a Madoff Ponzi play on a global scale, inflate expected returns and get a whole planet to keep investing in your game.

xom is preserving capital

Not really. They are preserving cash. Equity and cash are both forms of capital.

I doubt it has anything to do with thinking they "will need it". Exxon would easily be able to borrow in any scenario except a very sharp second downturn. And if they thought that was likely, they wouldn't be making acquisitions.

ok, maybe i should have said "the cash component of capital" ?

xom can certainly borrow money, but why would they want to ? xom could have made this acquisition based on about 1 fiscal quarter's earnings.

Actually XOM didn't have to borrow a dime to make such an acquisition. Not sure where they are now but several years agon XOM had a cash reserve exceeding $35 billion. It's possible that part of XOM leverage in the deal was to take out that debt with it's cash reserve. I suspect it's earning rate on its cash was significantly less then the interest rate on that debt. I've seen more then one company make a great trade using that leverage.

I did a bit of exploration in my back yard and it looks like I'm setting on at least 1 billion barrels of oil so I'm looking into buying the mineral right for the region.

Well you can kiss it goodbye. A billion barrels is just too much to pass up. I'm assembling the invasion fleet now, it should arrive shortly -hope you like fireworks we got shock and awe planned for starters.....

LOL :)

Might as well go on into Canada while your at it I've heard rumors of weapons of mass destruction up there. Last I was in Canada the bastards used a particularly ingenious weapon called Molson to mass destruct me. I've heard they have a variety of similar weapons all of them potent and dangerous to outsiders.

And they claim to have a substance that you can turn into oil our catch woolly mammoths with if you want. However in reality all they do is use this Molson stuff on you till your convinced to go hunting for woolly mammoths in the tar pits and your never heard from again so beware.

Memmel .. the Yanks have had Canadian on draught (draft in your language) for a long time. But now the tap is pulling a lot of sand.
I don't think you insulted our beer so we won't be declaring war any time soon. Come again soon. If you drink it here it won't show up in your negative trade figures.

U.S. Offers $85 Million to Promote Energy Efficiency
over 5 years, that is!
Let's see $17 Mil/yr /304 Million USA-niks = $.06 from each Murikan per year .... no?

And the U.S. will have to borrow that.

Well that at least is one thing we SHOULD be borrowing or investing towards, no? Of course at a much more substantial level..

That's less than some of the year end Wall street bonuses.

That's getting in the range of some of the larger lottery jackpots.

Now there's an idea - buy a lottery ticket on behalf of world, winnings to be used to combat GCC. Might accomplish more than what our governments seem to be willing to do. . .

Cash on hand..from Yahoo Finance
Microsoft $33.47B
Cisco 35.37B
I could go on.

Personally, Copenhagen is starting to strike me as a prelude to a joke.... So what, if we can't get all parties to agree then no-one will bother to work on this problem?

Why don't we put all the delegates into two greenhouses, seperated into groups of deniers & groups of concerned people. Put CO2 scrubbers in with the concerned people; and dry-ice with the deniers (purely for cooling purposes). The group that lasts the longest (and is still alive) in their greenhouse gets to set policy.

(Pardon me... I'm in a sarcastic mood.)

You're pardoned Iggy. But your "solution" may point out exactly why Cop. had little chance of working. In your example the delegates would certainly choose to protect their personal interests, such as staying alive. Seems to be the same problem at Cop. - self interest rules the day.

Not a big surprise IMHO: when was the last time we saw any society (particularly a wealthy one) voluntarily sacrifice their interests for the benefit of another societal group. Sure, pass out some extra rice or some drugs. But to make a real personal sacrifice?

Even if it doesn't work, the world is watching this. Its failure will force those who know we must act to try other approaches. Some, of course will try the same approach.. I can't say whether it'll be persistence or variances that will be better at pushing this thing forward, but I do at least think that there are more and more people who are noticing that this is a real issue.

At this point, Inhofe and his ilk actually HELPS to cement the proponents to the task, and keep us from letting down our guard.

The problem is getting a couple hundred nations together and expecting them to all agree. Isn't going to happen, and isn't even needed.

If we really want to get serious and see some real effective action, then the G20 need to get together and come up with an agreement among themselves. They are the group that really counts, they represent the bulk of the world's population, most of its GDP, and most of its GHG emissions.

You'll know that we have moved beyond political posturing and into serious action when you see that happen, not before.

Good point. Helping Africa (and Tuvalu) is well and good, but if these countries block an agreement, then they can mostly be ignored - they're not going to make much difference with respect to climate emissions, unless they take the rain forests hostage or something.

The real problems are China, India, USA and Australia, in some order. China and India, obviously because they are the most populous countries on earth, borderline NICs and nuclear powers. The USA because the undemocratic senate gives Obama preciously little room. Australia, because the coal lobby is so strong and there's already much denial about environmental issues.

Ignorant -

I think the idea has merit. A nice scientifically verifiable experiment.

It's similar to a suggestion I make a number of years ago. I suggested that all of those tobacco company CEOs who testified in front of Congress that smoking did not cause cancer should be made to smoke three packs a day of unfiltered Camels or Chesterfields for the next five years. We could then compare the condition of their lungs with a non-smoking control group. Hey, it's the scientific method in action!



Copenhagen Climate Talks SUSPENDED, IN CHAOS.


Shocked. Shocked, I tell you.

Good - Copenhagen had nothing to do with attempting to do something useful about CC, rather it was being used as a tool to try to get an edge. That is the only way that those who are in power know how to behave. It's all about winning today, everything else is discounted to zero.

I am finding the whole thing quite amusing. The denial by sceptics is by far outdone by the denial that of those scientists and leaders expecting something to come of this debacle. In fact not only are these scientists and politicians in denial - they are hypocrites and cowards.

No one is willing to adress the big white Elepahnt in the room: what must the people do. We are the end users: how do our lives have to change? No one wants to adress this question. No politician wants to be the one telling the populace this:

1) Capitalism and the free market economy and Globalisation must go into reverse.
2) Your standard of living must be reduced.
3) You must consume less and shop less.
4) You must live in smaller homes.
5) You must give up most of your driving.
6) You must forego all above to allow developing nation to attain some of above.
7) YOu must reduce the amount of children you have.

I can make the list WAY longer if any of you want to feel more pain.
If any of you are under the delusion that it needn't be too bad to reduce your C02 footprint to an 'acceptable level' then you really havn't listend to what the energy people at TOD have told you.

So listen to me Climate zealots, deniers, sceptics, engineers, bus drivers, hypocrites, housewives...everybody must make cuts yet none of us are going to do becasue it would mean giving up too much of our lifestyles for it to be effective in curbing C02 to a 'safe' level.

I really hope some of you out there are realists.


Countries within tropical latitudes will always require to generate less CO2 because, on average, it's warmer! The sun shines...Of course developed countries need to drive less, smaller cars etc..But living at 56deg N requires far more energy. The situation in GB, one of the most overcrowded countries with terrible trade deficits could collapse very fast..


To comment on your first point - I don't think "capitalism" is an ideology. No matter what happens capital will need to be deployed to execute projects as was true in Nazi Germany, Mao's China, Communist Russia, the USA in the 1920s and today. I also don't think "Globalization" is a good thing. The whole north american economy has been reduced to service while skilled manufacturing shifts to slave labour in China. We ship tuna overseas so it can be canned and then ship it back to be marketed.

Your second point - I think a walkable livable community without scads of cars locked in a smog line would be an improvement. Smaller much more distributed farms would add - not detract from quality of life.

I consume less and shop less now. See above. My daughter is learning Ukulele (She likes it), my other is learning the flute. They both excel at languages. We rid ourselves of television in 1997. That was a serious quality of life improvement.

Our house is too big for us but - insulate insulate insulate. A wood stove and a walk to the grocery store except for the big shops - those go by car. But the changes we need are not here yet.

I long for a life with less driving.

Developing nations can skip the oil age entirely. They are agrarian and pedestrian societies now. The can have more wealth without a paved road to Walmart. With the peaking energy supplies discussed on this board I would propose that we should plan to get to this rather than have it thrust upon us all. You used the term realist - it is apt.

In the world, study after study has shown that increasing education of a populace leads to lower numbers of children. Why this is can be debated but there can be nothing wrong with more schools. Smaller schools and more of em.

I consider myself a realist and an optimist. I have high hopes for Copenhagen as I think a post above pointed out - we can expect desperate people to employ other methods and I know what was meant by that.

As Dr. M. L. King said so poignantly - "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable."



I'm going to bring all you've said to focus with one foul swoop:

"Hell hath no fury like a deprived westerner"

Good luck in bringing the 1 billion population that live like we do down to Earth AND convince the other 6 billion who want to live like we do that they can't live like we do.

I really appreciate your sentiment but most people arn't like you and don't understand the limits to growth.


ps.. I'd like you to take through to conclusion what would happen to the atmosphere if 6 billion of us used wood stoves.


Your are right - 6 billion of use can't use wood stoves. But I would point out that most of the people on earth heat and cook with bio-fuels now. Charcoal, and the like. My wood stove is modern and efficient and uses very little wood compared to the massive "old school" open stone hearth that it sits inside. That thing pulled 800 cfm out of the house and (at -40 outside) would have consumed 70,000 btu just to stay even) A massive insulation campaign is preceding the installation of a ground source heat pump. The wood stove is just nice.

My point is this;

If we accept that global warming and raising CO2 levels is a problem then changes are necessary and I think we can come to some working way that this can be accomplished. Indeed we have no choice in the matter.

If we accept that peaking energy supply will lead to major limits to growth then we need to find ways to limit this need through planning rather than waiting for it to be thrust upon us. If we accept peak oil then globalization is going to end regardless.

Hell hath no fury like a deprived westerner? I am not so sure. I was in the middle of a massive flood in WPG and the ice storm in Quebec and my observation was that calamity brings people together in a remarkable way. It is when things are politicized that people get all "fury" like. Don't get me wrong - your probably right, if we keep discussing these issues the way we are in the MSM then fury is what we will get.


Your are right - 6 billion of use can't use wood stoves. But I would point out that most of the people on earth heat and cook with bio-fuels now. Charcoal, and the like.

This is probably not entirely true. My experience is that propane is now the primary cooking fuel with biofuels coming in second in a lot of the 2/3 world.

Even in Bangladesh propane is a important fuel so although I've not been there I think the pattern is pretty much the same worldwide. So no they don't use wood nearly as much as in the past. Of course this present a serious problem when propane supplies decline.

When I collaborated with Engineers Without Borders the ballpark figure was around 2 billion people using wood, dung or charcoal (from biomass) for cooking, heating and lighting.

I think the number comes from a 2005 WHO report,

but has not improved significantly (maybe more kerosene now). That's 1 in 3 people! (and by the way, the use of such fuels is responsible for 1.8 yearly deaths from indoor polution).

On a hopeful note, in the third world, many poor families are contributing to CO2 reductions using improved cook stoves and biogas which has a high potential to save CO2 (see for ex. http://www.serd.ait.ac.th/teenet/cooking.htm )

I was at COP15 this weekend. I went to the demonstration where 950 people were arrested. It was actually quite peaceful (after the black block and some innocent people in the wrong place were arrested preemptively ). There were about 100,000 people chanting, marching and showing all sorts of banners and slogans.

I could not help but notice the irony... a political group calling for solidarity and action while playing britney spears to chear up the masses, campaining on an old truck and using a big diesel generator for the music.

_"what do we want?"
_"Climate Justice!"
_"When do we cant it?"

and of course I could not help myself: "No you don't!"
Hearing Fatih Birol last year say that if OECD countries emited zero (no cars, no industry, no transport, no commerce, no food, ... so absolute crash! ) we would not reach the 450ppm case ... I had to shake my head when protesters called for 350ppm. My general feeling was that people are worried but don't grasp the paradigm change and the sacrifices involved.

_"what do we want?"
_"Climate Justice!"
_"When do we can't has it?"

snicker snicker

1.8 deaths? S'cuse me, I'm gonna go huff some wood smoke ....


I meant:

_"When do we want it?"

It's hard slogging. I've been working on this lower energy life for some time, and it's not easy going.

The hardest part is keeping that greenness while making a living.

Cars, for example. I live in a walkable community of sorts, because I made a decision to do so way back in the day. I get around pretty well for most purposes without a car, including walking to work.

But it's boffus. My technician drives 20 miles to work. I can't get out to visit clients or sites without a car. My ability to function out of a small, cluttered office with one employee is dependent on the internet and all its back end server farms. My large format printing is done by a local shop two miles away (great). I either drive there or send my tech because taking the time out of the work day to go by bike costs too much (not so great.) I have occasionally been able to time it to pick up drawings after hours by bus, but usually the timing doesn't work.

Sure, I recycle printer cartridges and use recycled paper, but that seems like stopping global warming by changing light bulbs, another boffus feel good moment.

It's easy-peasy when you don't have a choice! No office! No printer! No employees! And in today's job market I'm not about to *become* an employee however I try!

I was, over the warm months, making the equivalent of a $5 an hour job 50 miles away, but now that winter's in, my income has dropped to zero! Boy, am I green!

I attempted to send you an e-mail Saturday, check for one from a KVnet address.

None recieved so far, try:


That's the address I used, maybe a SPAM filter caught it somewhere. I've sent another.

OK That was a knock-down drag-out fight had to find your messages in my spam folder than not allowed to reply to a spam message so I had to write down your URL then start a new message, pray God it gets to you.

This is what I keep telling people, the Internet is breaking down. Not later, it's happening NOW.

Anyway, I mailed you my mailing address, again pray God it gets to you.

Any help sent to me must be completely off the books, well-wrapped cash. I don't use banks, or anything so modern as Western Union, never have and now that I have to stay underground, never will.

I know, I know, people can argue that I ride a motor vehicle, and am still on Big Brother's books somewhere, but once my EMT training is over with I'm probably going to sell that, and go to bicycle, the ultimate insurgent vehicle!

Survival is going to amount to being OFF THE GRID in all ways.

For what it's worth, in gmail if you open a message in the spam section and use the "move to" message to move it to your inbox it will become a normal message and you can do things like reply to it.

Uh, I used to think that too.

Fleam, you are demand destruction in action.

It's funny 'cos it's true!

And I'm the "bloated bourgeousie" compared to most ex-middle-class, most are in the local shelter (luckily most homeless eat pretty well here, good soup kitchens in Gilroy, which is why I encourage Toto to come out here) and no electricity, no internet, no shoes if they don't sleep on 'em, etc.

People like Toto and SouthLeftCoast have disappeared into the world of ultimate demand destruction, I may be "disappeared" this time next year, and the time's coming for YOU reading this, at some time.

This is why it's better to pay attention to those further ahead in this, instead of fearing them, trying to do 'em in, etc. You can learn from them, and if you're nice to your local homeless they may just remember you when you're among them.

I don't think "capitalism" is an ideology. No matter what happens capital will need to be deployed to execute projects as was true in Nazi Germany, Mao's China, Communist Russia, the USA in the 1920s and today. I also don't think "Globalization" is a good thing.

I disagree.

Capitalism is an economic and social system in which capital, the non-labor factors of production (also known as the means of production), is privately controlled;[citation needed] labor, goods and capital are traded in markets; and profits distributed to owners or invested in technologies and industries.

There are plenty of examples of sucessful civilizations that were able to execute projects without the need for capitalism. Case in point:

The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems. Initially established during the Preclassic period (c. 2000 BC to 250 AD), many Maya cities reached their highest state development during the Classic period (c. 250 AD to 900 AD), and continued throughout the Postclassic period until the arrival of the Spanish. At its peak, it was one of the most densely populated and culturally dynamic societies in the world. [1]

The "non labour factors of production are owned privately" is one definition. Capitalism can be defined as an ideology but that doesn't make it one. That definition goes on to say;

labor, goods and capital are traded in markets; and profits distributed to owners or invested in technologies and industries.

That is the term "capital" that I am referring to. Whether the profits are re-distributed or how that happens is the ideology part.

I don't understand the Mayan reference as I know little of that society and your post doesn't explain how the structure was built or how the workers were fed, what the farmers got out of the deal and whether or not slavery was a factor.

That huge temple you show was built with slave labor, under the worst possible conditions you could ever imagine. The Mayans may have been advanced, but they weren't civilized. Neither were the Egyptians or the Romans.

While there were certainly slaves in Mayan society to claim they were not civilized is patently absurd.

The provincial governors were nobles of the four royal families, and were supreme within their own governments.

The rulers of towns and villages formed a lower order of nobility, not of royal blood. The king usually acted on the advice of a council of lords and priests.

The lords alone were military commanders, and each lord and inferior official had for his support the produce of a certain portion of land which was cultivated in common by the people.

They received no salary, and each was responsible for the maintenance of the poor and helpless of his district. The lower priesthood was not hereditary, but was appointed through the high priest. There was also a female priesthood, or vestal order, whose head was a princess of royal blood.

The plebeians were farmers, artisans, or merchants; they paid taxes and military service, and each had his interest in the common land as well as his individual portion, which descended in the family and could not be alienated.

Slaves also existed, the slaves being chiefly prisoners of war and their children, the latter of whom could become freemen by putting a new piece of unoccupied ground under cultivation.

Imagine that, they even looked out for their poor and helpless and allowed for their slaves to become freemen, how profoundly uncivilized of them...

That huge temple you show was built with slave labor, under the worst possible conditions you could ever imagine. The Mayans may have been advanced, but they weren't civilized. Neither were the Egyptians or the Romans.

Historians are coming around to the veiwpoint that the Eqyptian pyramid builders were not slaves. They worked because of a combination of wages and religion (i.e. they bought into the making of a resurection machine for the Pharhoe thing). So perhaps these things were built on a sort of tithed labour.

I'd like to see a link to this. While I would be open to accepting this point, without any supporting evidence, I need to discard it

They worked because ... religion

Isn't that just a trickier form of enslavement?

Isn't that just a trickier form of enslavement?

More like a parasitic meme, in my opinion. Do you also discard the religious component acting as a motivational factor in the building of cathedrals during the middle ages?


I don't think there is anything difference between the "religious component acting as a motivational factor in the building of cathedrals" and the "religious component acting as a motivational factor in the building of other religious monuments".

The only difference, to my mind, would be the degree to which the workers were able to choose to dedicate their efforts to the monument, rather than to something else.

I haven't read Leanan's links, so am not up to date, but do get the impression that compulsion has also often been a major motivational factor.

I'd like to see a link to this. While I would be open to accepting this point, without any supporting evidence, I need to discard it

It's been in the news a lot over the past few years. Like here:


The discovery of the workers' living quarters changed the view of the pyramid workers. They were clearly not slaves, judging from their homes and possessions, but skilled craftsmen who were relatively well-off.

Isn't that just a trickier form of enslavement?

Sure. Just like volunteering for the military, or the Peace Corps, is a trickier form of enslavement.

1. Thanks
2. I think it may be an issue of degree. Armies also raise forces through drafts. I don't know where on the continuum the monument builders lie. I'll read your link.

I've seen the idea tossed around here that pyramid building was a public works project to curtail unemployment. A stimulus package of sorts.

i don't think that means what you think it means.. :-)

'civilized' implies living in cities, and by extension, all the
rest of the complex economic and political structure, economy,
surplus production and distribution, hierarchy, etc, that go
along with cities and indeed make them possible in the first place. The Maya were indeed very civilized.

That says nothing about whether they were (by today's western
social standards) cruel or brutal.

One more thing that cheap mineral energy has given us: the
ability to shift more of the burden of civilization onto the
earth directly through the use of machines, and the relative
lessening of that burden of tyrannical cruelty _for a short while_. For maybe a century we swam in such wealth that we
could indeed and even often did share the party with all and sundry.

All else aside, that short while has been over for some time,
and now even with our cheap energy we can't afford to be
generous or nice, and our very civilized culture is indeed
more brutal than the maya ever were.

Just as along the avenues in Maya cities between the palaces
and mansions of the rich, and the temples and treasuries of
the kings, there was plenty of 'polite' society who never saw
or perhaps even suspected the cruel domination of their poorest and slaves on which their power rested, so we in the
wealthy countries today find the magnitude of destruction and
misery our culture is founded on to be almost invisible.
Bringing it to light often even invites a hostile reaction
from the rest of our civilized fellows (especially the ones
higher up the food chain who stand to lose if any righteous
indignation eats into some of their profits)!

Of course, we have gone so far into overshoot that it will
be a long long time before surpluses capable of supporting
even a civilization like the Maya will reliably available in
most places.

i don't think that means what you think it means.. :-)

Your point is well taken, though I bolded that part of text to underscore the fact that not only were the Mayans civilized in the sense of living in cities but they might also qualify in the modern humanistic sense of looking out for their less fortunate members of society.

In any case, I think we agree that to argue that the Mayans were *NOT* civilized, is absurd by any measure.

Hey, Marco! You are correct, of course. And, of course, none of the politicians who are controlling this will ever do anything like that, or recommend, or even talk about what needs to be done.

The consequence, of course, is that it will be done anyway. It will just be messier, take longer, be more expensive, and perhaps be deadly. But, then, that is in a year or two or three... meanwhile there is an election to win. A bonus to award/get. Kids to bear [to say nothing of arms - it is, after all, our right].

Of course, we learned today that there is pleanty of oil! Peak oil is a myth, like AGW, and <...the truth that’s beginning to emerge now, is going to bury that idea, in the same way that we’re currently debunking the absurd idea of Anthropogenic Global Warming.

Strange species, homo sapiens. Wonder if they'll be missed.

Denmark produces 45% less CO2 per capita than the US, has a higher GDP per capita, a better lifestyle per capita and yet has far, far less low-emission resources per capita available than the US: Denmark has less hydro, less wind, less solar, less geothermal, less biomass, less tidal, less wave and even less nuclear energy than the US. This is fact.

If Denmark can do it with less options and current technology, the US is able to do more with far more options available and to choose from.

But apparently US-politicians are simply more concerned about saving Wall Streets bonuses than to invest in long-lasting, sustainable, wide-spread American jobs and US-politicians also do not want to reduce the dependence on fuel imports.

I agree that we could cut our per capita CO2 in half technologically but Denmark has a couple of advantages socially:

  1. no native automobile industry
  2. towns and cities that developed pre-automobile
  3. cultural homogeneity
  4. scandinavian sensibilities

Americans respond best to financial stimulation and will quickly learn to conserve once energy gets expensive.

-- Jon

To which add:

5. Flat terrain. Crucial with those slow, heavy, fat-tired bikes. Don't try one of those on, say, the steep hills in Driftless Area of Wisconsin, 'cos you might blow out your knees.

6. Virtually no hazardous summer heat, average July high a mere 69F. Helpful with biking safely and with walking, especially if one has to take certain kinds of meds, or is simply no longer a youth.

7. Average January high a balmy 36F, so snow melts off regularly. Biking and walking much safer than in places where thick well-polished ice accumulates all winter long. In the USA, many doctors routinely advise their older patients to leave such places, or at least virtually to imprison themselves for the winter.

8. Amazing willingness to pay steep transit fares - in this example, $3 gets you three zones, a mere 13.7km, which is nothing. (And that's about 35 cents a mile, which is not enormously less than the overall price of driving a car solo in the USA.) In New York City, $1.90 gets you from one end of the city to the other (except Staten Island), up to 50km in the extreme.

9. Wall-to-wall people. Not The Netherlands, but four times the density of the USA. Helps make transit financially practicable.

These things don't always transfer well from one country and culture to another...and any attempt to do so, whether out of philosophy or out of necessity, may incur considerable friction...

Actually Boston is a US city, which is not only more densely populated than Denmark, is relatively flat, was founded well before the invention of the automobile and bicycling and walking is an option not exclusively in spring and autumn as far as weather is concerned and yet Boston produces almost 50% more CO2 per capita than Denmark.


And Americans in Boston or New York may not be willing to pay high transit fares, but they don't seem to mind to pay exuberant rents and costly heating bills which by far exceed Danish transit fares.

The head of the New Orleans bicycle group uses Copenhagen as the model we should follow. So far, we are making significant progress in several directions to promote bicycling.

Best Hopes,


Well, yes, in most places in the USA, safe walking and bicycling are not quite exclusive to the spring and fall. Still, in June, July, and August, I'd much rather cycle or walk any distance in Copenhagen than in the miserable steam heat of the East Coast even as far north as Boston - never mind the unutterably awful sauna of the Southeast or Gulf coasts, which were mostly thinly settled backwaters before air-conditioning, and rightly so. Similarly, in December, January, and February, for the most part, I'd rather be walking or cycling in Copenhagen than risking broken bones on the perennial winter ice in large parts of the USA.

In Copenhagen, IIRC, well over a third of local trips are by bicycle. I don't think that's so for Boston; indeed I don't know of any place in the USA where it's so; and that may be for a reason.

I know a professor at the University of Iceland that bikes all year round (Egill Hreinsson, professor of EE). He claims that German studded ice tires make him more secure on snow and ice than regular tires on asphalt.

August cycling in New Orleans is quite tolerable if you keep moving and are dressed lightly.

The reason that bicycling is not so common in the USA is lack of infrastructure, support and the automobile culture; all of which can change. Davis CA is close BTW.

Best Hopes,


And perhaps more relevant, very little oil/products are refined within Denmark. So the per capita CO2 numbers are almost meaningless.

This is the second big ruckus caused by poor nations. They tend to get sidelined by the big guns, and have limited options for defending their interests. Hence, the threats of boycott etc. It has already been patched up and put back on track, mid afternoon (euro time).

Essentially, they want to be sure that the Kyoto mechanisms stay in place at least until comprehensive new mechanisms come on stream. The rich nations tend to want to simplify things by fusing everything into one negotiation stream, but with chances of failure or endless delay being great, the third world prefers a bird in the hand.

And they won. There will be two streams, two documents for heads of state to sign. One based on Kyoto, to keep the clean development mechanism and funding stream, and the biggie, the global action plan, which may or may not have any content by Friday.

a prelude to a joke....

the joke is inhofe showing up and telling the world that god caused global warming and that it is cold today in oklahoma.

Morning Conspiracy Theory

A little over a week ago Mexico announced it had bought deep out-of-the-money options on oil puts for 230 millions barrels.

Since then the price of oil had dropped like a rock, making those options worth way more (maybe 2 or 3 times more) their previous value.


If they sell those options now and oil prices rebound, they will win on both ends.

I suggest a conspiracy theory with a healthy dose of salt -- still, it all seems very convenient for Mexico.

King -- Not sure if it's a conspiracy but I get you point. Mexico did it all out in the open. Everyone playing a futures angle takes a risk: win big/lose big.

Now maybe some of the traders dealing with Mexico made some insider bets. Can't avoid that happening.

Since then the price of oil had dropped like a rock, making those options worth way more (maybe 2 or 3 times more) their previous value.

Not a chance! The put options have a $57 strike price so they are still way out of the money. Oil is trading this morning at around $70 a barrel. True, they have gained some value since the price dropped by about $8 a barrel since they bought them but they have also lost some time premium. I would expect that the puts are worth perhaps 50% more than the purchase price.


Absolutely! Do you believe that Mexico knew that the price would drop to $70 a barrel? If so they would have bought December 09 closer to the money puts and made a lot more money. If you know what the price of oil is going to do in the near future, you don't need any oil, you can get filthy rich just buying options. But no one knows what the price of oil is going to do in the short run so no one is getting rich buying options.

The put options are a form of insurance against a sharp dropin oil prices. They have done this before. Mexico is just playing it safe... and smart.

Oil sector watches Mexican strategy

After all, it hedged its 2009 output at $70 a barrel – a strategy that netted it a profit of more than $5bn.

That deal, struck in mid-2008 as oil rocketed towards $150 a barrel, was bravely contrarian when forecasts for a price peak of $200 a barrel were widespread.

Ron P.


Deep out-of-the-money options are highly sensitive to price changes and increase in value geometrically as they approach the strike price, I've been trading them a long time. They are risky, but the reward is a high return if they move in the direction you want. Also, the longer the term of the option, the more sensitive they are. As the strike date comes closer, they lose value since there is less time for the price of the underlying commodity to move in the direction you want, but as these are way out in time, they could be highly volatile.

That being said, I don't have any reason to believe that there is a conspiracy, but you have to admit the timing couldn't have been better.

By the way, Mexico unloaded last year's options in the spring when prices hit rock bottom -- they didn't actually deliver the oil at the striking price of the option. They did better. Someone down there really knows what to do.

Kingfish, I was a stockbroker as well as a commodities broker. Albeit for only six months but I traded options for years before that. I know options. For instance you say:

Also, the longer the term of the option, the more sensitive they are.

The exact opposite is true! Of course deep out of the money options with only a month or less left before expiration, are worth almost nothing. But they can jump a couple of pennies daily which is often 50% or more because they are worth only pennies to start with. But close to the money options become extremely volatile near their expiration. Far more volatile than the same strike price expiring a year later. Come on man, every options trader should know that.

But as Matthew Simmons says: Data trumps all theories! Check it out.

NYMEX Light Crude Oil From here you must click on Dec 10 put.

The December 2010 put, $58 strike price, closed yesterday at $4.03. The $50 put, $8 further out in strike price, closed at $2.28 or 43 percent less. Or, to put in correct terms, the $8 closer to the money option is worth only 43 percent more. So my estimate of a 50% gain was a little high. And and that is with no difference in time premium. A month or two loss in time premium would make the difference even less.

they didn't actually deliver the oil at the striking price of the option.

Of course not. A put is not a contract to deliver oil, it is an option on a contract to deliver oil. It might be said that a put, or call, is a derivative of a derivative. Anyway puts and calls are almost always settled in cash.

Ron P.

Hey, I'm not trying to dish your street creds. But close to the money options near to expiration is a very special situation. In general, the farther away from the expiration date, the more volatile the option price will be. Whatever. Totally unimportant. Frankly, I think your example of a 43% difference completely illustrates my point -- did Mexico make 43% (likely more) in a little more than a week on a 1.5 billion dollar investment? I'd take that.

In general, the farther away from the expiration date, the more volatile the option price will be.

Again, the exact opposite is true. The father the expiration date the less volatile the option price is. I have no idea how you arrived at such an idea but I have traded options for years and have deeply studied the option pricing system. Futures as well as the options derived from them are less volatile the further out the expiration date. All you have to do Kingfish is check the closing price at the end of the day. That will give you the change that day. You will almost always find that the father out futures contracts and options change less than the near term futures contracts and options on those contracts. The only exceptions will be on days when there is almost no change in the near term contract price. But if there is a large change, the far out futures and options will change less.

Again, on days when there is no change, or very little change, in the near term contract, the further out contracts and options may change a bit more. This is because they are "catching up" from days earlier when the near term futures changed a lot but the further out contracts changed very little. But if you are looking at swings, and what trader does not, the near term swings in far greater ups and downs than the far out contracts.

The further out the expiration date of the futures and option contract the less volatile they are. The near term futures and options prices will swing up and down, sometimes violently. The far out contracts make much smaller swings. Just observe Kingfish. I have been observing, and trading, for years and I know that is the way it is. Also, it just makes common sense! Why, in heavens name, do you think the far out contracts, and options, would be more volatile?

Frankly, I think your example of a 43% difference completely illustrates my point -- did Mexico make 43% (likely more) in a little more than a week on a 1.5 billion dollar investment? I'd take that.

Of course you would. Anyone would. But you seem to be implying that Mexico knew that the price of oil would fall that far that fast. Anyone knowing that could have several times the 43% the put appreciated. It would be extremely dumb to have made so little on such knowledge. Mexico did not know what the price of oil would be. And they still have the options. They bought them as a hedge. That is the usual reason oil producers buy put options.

Ron P.


You are right, and I totally got off the point of the post which was just what happened to cause the suddent drop in price. Did the Mexican govt forsee the drop? I seriously doubt it, but couldn't the coincidental timing indicate that something else happened, such as markets interpreting the purchase as an indication of what's coming. Anyway, my sincere apologies to you if I was rude.

Not a problem Kingfish. I enjoyed the exchange.

Ron P.

United States Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced Monday that industrialized countries would spend $350 million over five years — including $85 million from the United States — to spread renewable and non-polluting energy technologies in developing countries.

Whoop Dee F'n Doo! that amount is tantamount to unequivocally stating "you poor scumbags can stick your stinkin renewable energy projects where the sun don't shine", cause we don't give crap about you or renewable energy! We need our billions to go into nation building for the countries that have some of that black gold, ya hear?!

/rant off.

I wonder what the Exxon move to takeout XTO says about the Berman thesis that shale gas is uneconomic? Exxon isn't exactly known for buying worthless assets or overpaying (although they should have made this move 9 months ago when all the independent E&Ps were on the ropes.) To me, this is pretty strong validation that the big shale gas players are worth more than some have suggested.

catman -- I would offer that the SG reserves are not worth more then many have suggested. In fact, that's exaclty why Exxon "bought" XTO. It was really a stock trade...Exxon didn't pay a penny for them. But why did Exxon do it? Just a guess on my part but it may have been just a fast way to catch up on the resource plays. And do it at a price less then the original players have spent. We'll never be able to break out the costs of each component of the acquisition, but if we could it might show that Exxon has now gotten into the resource plays at an entry price far below where the other players did. And Exxon does have a big advantage over many of the resource players: they can sit there a few years and wait for NG prices to rise. Exxon has been chocking on a huge capital accumulation for years. Anytime XOM wants to throw 5 or 10 billion bucks at resource drilling then can just write the check out of petty cash. Likewise, Exxon can payoff that $10 billion XTO debt tomorrow. I would guess that XOM's cash account is earning a good bit lower rate then on that $10 billion debt is paying interest. Net money in the bank for XOM.

Rockman -- You don't spend your money, even if it's in the form of stock, to "catch up" on a resource play if those plays don't make economic sense from a value creation standpoint in the first place. I agree Exxon is trying to "catch up." They basically missed the U.S. shale gas resource play (although little known to most, they actually had a stake in the original Barnett Shale play but sold it before it really took off) and now are buying XTO because it would be extremely difficult to try to replicate the leaseholdings of any of the big SG players. Meanwhile, they're also trying to get in on shale gas plays in a big way in Europe. So my question remains: why would they do this if shale gas economics didn't make sense?

Don't neccessarialy disagree with you Catman. A big part of the economic value of a SG well is what you paid for the acreage. Can't do the numbers but as you say, Exxon is buying in cheap compared to the original players. Also, it's a fact: most of the SG acreage is uneconomic today. Not a debate. The SG players have admitted the same by shuting down their drilling programs for the most part. Rest assured: you will not see Exxon running a few dozens rigs onto their SG leases anytime soon IMHO. But when NG prices recover they'll have the capital and leases to take a shot at it.

And yes, I've seen companies do acquisitions that didn't make economic sense even by their own calculations. But there are often other motivations then profit. In this case though, I don't think Exxon is doing that.

This brings up a thought I have about the Exxon purchase of XTO. If XTO is anything like the other big players in the Haynesville, the majority of their assets are in undrilled leases. If so, then it will have to be drilled in the next 3-5 years or it will expire. I would think they would do that rather than risk top leasing by the circling block busters. I know XTO has a lot of conventional production here in East Texas, maybe the acreage that is HBP would justify the cost.

True boby. And there are some sweet spots in various trends that might be drilled under current pricing. And yes, cash flow is always the prime metric in such acquisitions. And leases do expire. And if you mention "top leasing" (having an option to lease some land that's already leased in the event the lease runs out of time before it's drilled) in any of the SG plays in Texas and folks will look at you like you're nuts. If we wanted to spend the money I could sublease hundreds of thousands of SG lease acres FOR FREE today if I promised to drill a well. As you implied: if NG prices don't rise soon 100's of millions of $'s of SG leases will expire undrilled.

What about Inhofe at Copenhagen?
"He'll stay just long enough — as few as three hours, he says — to tell heads of state that the Senate will not pass an energy bill that would limit greenhouse gas emissions."

Are there precedents for this? Senators telling Churchill and Stalin that they wouldn't ratify anything agreed at Yalta?

The precedent everyone has in mind is Clinton signing Kyoto, never ratified. But I can't think of a country in the world where voters would countenance opposition leaders publicly undermining their chief of state at international conferences.

This sort of behaviour is very, very humiliating for the USA. We've sort of got used to that over the last decade, but we (Europeans) hoped it was over.

Any chance of an electoral backlash against the republicans over this? Oh I suppose not.

Ignorance is a badge of honor among the cave man segment of the Republican Senate, and fits in with the story and myth that is the basis of reality for a significant portion of the US public.
Although intellectually embarrassing, it will help the career of Inhofe, and give comfort to the simpletons who are AGW.

No. But he'll be there as exhibit A of the dunderheads and flat earthers that Obama has to contend with back home. As Sun Tzu said....

The real question is if Inhofe is likely to end up anywhere near the protesters in his three hour "who the hell IS he" visit? Because if he does, there has to be a fair chance he would end up swinging from a tree.

And why does he think any heads of state would bother with him anyway? Its a big boys meeting and he's a minnow.

... swinging from a tree

A big smile involuntarily crossed my face when reading that ! It came straight from my "lizard brain" and bypassed my neocortex that judges ethics, morality, compassion, justice and all of that nonsense.

Happy thoughts ....


I honestly don't think someone like him, with the distorted worldview he has, could understand how loathed he is by climate activists and greenies. He would literally be seen as a criminal and worthy of the most extreme punishment.

Of course, that's how those in the future are actually likely to view his ilk. There was an interesting drama-documentary-animation hybrid on BBC4 last night called "The Age of Stupid" with Oscar-friendly Pete Postlethwaite. Worth catching if you get the chance.

There are three obvious reasons for the trip:
1) To support local fossil-fuel production industries, and the involved constituents.
2) To needle Obama for his policies, and making sure the opposition has media fuel.
3) To reflect the cynicism of his voters who believe that any global climate solution is an excuse to make money flow from conservative farm/energy states to liberal states and then on to global financial firms and bureaucrats.

Obama has picked so many battles to fight that he cannot hope to win them all, and soon he will lose them all as he bleeds out from a thousand cuts. Every issue has its knife-wielding adversaries, and he'll leave Copenhagen bleeding from a few new wounds.

Sure - if they're not careful they may be kicked out of the White House and lose control of the House and Senate to the Democrats.................

Any chance of an electoral backlash against the republicans over this? Oh I suppose not.

I doubt it... and the hubris of the Rs is boundless, as is the stupidity of our voters.

The real problem is that the spin from the MSM is controlled by the Rs. And their owners want BAU, ever and ever, amen.

I'd never log on to TOD again, because here I get verifiable information. Truth, if you would. At least that is the hope. Except, it is like watching a train wreck in super slow motion. Horrifying! Yet, strangely, you have to watch!

Of course, there is always the element of, how many cars will leave the track? What collateral damage will be wrought? What unimagined consequences might there be. And, it is from multiple fronts. Climate Change. Peak Oil. Populuation Crisis. Economic Chaos.

Ahh... breathe. B r e a t h e ...

Democrats undermined Bush administration actions in a number of countries. Republicans undermined Clinton administration actions. This is a fairly common activity historically and has been used especially by members of the United States Senate to underscore its importance in the overall scheme of things. Inhofe's opposition may be primarily ideological but other Senators have used their position to force foreign countries and companies to "play ball" with the Senate, mainly in terms of concessions, especially to key senators and the states from which they originate. Any country engaging the United States should already be aware of these issues or will become aware of them very rapidly. For a past example, look at the concessions of the Japanese automakers to key senators in order to open plants in the United States. These concessions came in the form of plants in those states harboring the most powerful senators of that day, allowing those senators to return home triumphant by adding new jobs to local communities.

Your claim appears to imply that the Eurozone is more autocratic and therefore somehow better. I would suggest that these systems are simply different. The United States is not a parliamentary democracy and thus does not function in the same manner as many parliamentary democracies.

That's pretty much what I thought, David. US exceptionalism, if applied in the manner you outline, will make America a diplomatic basket case in the modern world. As long as US pre-eminence was unquestioned, other nations had to put up with it. This is no longer the case.

The problem is, the sort of pork-barrelling negotiations you describe are feasible in a format of bilateral negotiations -- that was the preferred mode of the GWB administration -- but completely inapliccable in a multilateral context. You want to send a senator from each state to international negotiations? Fine, just dissolve the Union, you get fifty seats in the UN.

European democracies are not, on the whole, autocratic. However, there is a fundamental loyalty in the way things are done -- the opposition doesn't actually expect to impose its views until it has won an election.

And thus African, South American, and Asian approaches, all of which also differ from the Euro-centric world view must also be wrong because they do not conform to your particular visions of how governments should function? US Senators have always played this game. If the Europeans did not want the US to become the industrial and then military power that we became because of how our government functions, then you and your predecessors should not have invested so heavily in the United States. Yet you and/or your predecessors did exactly that, being willing to accept how the US government functions in exchange for the benefits of such an alliance. Would you also cry foul if Obama signed a climate treaty but the US Senate refused to ratify? Yet again, that is exactly how the system works in the United States and has worked for 200 plus years.

The US president cannot sign a binding treaty without Senatorial approval in the United States by a two thirds majority. That is how our legal system is structured. If you find that objectionable as well, then I suggest Europe go it alone and not try to engage the second largest carbon emitting nation in obtaining a treaty. But that won't work, will it? Europe, no matter how much it dislikes the US system, is going to have to deal with the US system of government, just as the US and the rest of the world is going to have to learn to deal with the Chinese system. Neither of those governing bodies function like a European parliamentary democracy but both must be engaged to obtain a meaningful carbon treaty. Failure to engage either is, quite simply, failure. Obama is discovering this in his interactions with China. But if he wants that treaty then he has no choice but to continue to engage. Likewise, if Europe wants this treaty, it has no choice but to continue to engage.

Obama's signature on a climate treaty is worthless unless he can obtain 67 senatorial votes out of 100 possible approving the treaty. It doesn't matter whether you like that or not, Alistair, but that is the reality of the situation. Failure to accept that and failure to work with that knowledge will ensure there is no treaty. Is that the outcome you prefer?

This sort of behaviour is very, very humiliating for the USA. We've sort of got used to that over the last decade, but we (Europeans) hoped it was over.

Honestly, Inhofe represents the most backwards state of the US. Oklahoma tried to outlaw Richard Dawkins, even Texans look down at Oklahoma. Inhofe's voters will lap this stuff up.

This sort of behaviour is very, very humiliating for the USA...but we (Europeans) hoped it was over.

Dear me ... you (Europeans) do realize that you are thousands of miles away? Out of sight, out of mind.

I do know, from many encounters with European visitors, that Europeans, no matter how bright or well-educated, tend to have next to no intuitive grasp of the sheer size of the USA. (I can also think of Europeans, Napoleon for one, who were without any grasp of the sheer size of Russia.) It's so big that most people - aside from members of what we used to call the "jet set", or those involved in international activities - will experience no adverse consequences that they will be able associate with the "humiliation". None, zero, zip, nada.

So I suppose there could theoretically be some backlash if some Democratic opponent found a way to frame it as an election issue. However, I would advise you not to hold your breath - I don't know how to break this to you gently: you are simply not on the radar screen.

(I can also think of Europeans, Napoleon for one, who were without any grasp of the sheer size of Russia.)

Sorry Paul. I just couldn't help myself:



My partner got a notice from Velocity Credit Union asking him to vote on a proposition to convert from federal share (deposit) insurance to private insurance - in this case ASI, American Mutual Share Ins. Corp.

In 2009, due to estimated losses in the NCUSIF, the credit union's federal deposit insurer announced a premium affecting all federally insured credit unions. As a result, Velocity Credit Union has been assessed a premium in 2009 of $675,106. This additional cost for federal deposit insurance adversely affects the credit union's earnings and net capital in 2009...

So, they are being asked to give up federal insurance backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government for private insurance, which is not. What would you do? From the board:

Much like your credit union, ASI is a credit union-owned private organization whose only business is to insure credit unions... ASI has operated successfully for 35 years, and no credit union member has ever lost money in an ASI-insured account...Your board has examined and is comfortable with ASI's financial performance.

I might be a little nervous about a company that only insures credit unions and is a credit union too.

Anyone else come across this with credit unions?

The XTO buyout is smart because demand for natural gas will grow as our country adopts policies to address climate change. For example, the installation of wind turbines requires natural gas backup (the capacity credit for wind is very low - % that can be relied on to supply peak demand). Look at any utility's resource plan and you'll see there are plans to install a huge amount of natural gas-fired generation. I just started a blog at http://nathanrpaine.wordpress.com to provide information on energy law and regulation and investment startegies in the energy markets. Check it out.

Yes. This happening with credit unions and banks. Because the fees are going up so much (kinda like hurricane insurance after Katrina), they're looking for cheaper options.

Clark Howard recommends avoiding this like the plague.

Back when I got involved with private credit union insurance a long time ago, I discovered that the insurers were fairly frequently smaller than the credit unions they insured. When the did their analyses, the assumed that the failure of individual institutions were "independent", and that the amount of insurance payout would be only a small percentage of deposits, because most loans and investments the credit unions made would be good.

I would agree with the others. You don't want private insurance of credit unions.

The credit union I joined as a teenager (account # < 1,000) has a equity to loan ratio of 16% (twice what most banks have) last time I looked. They have gov't insurance (NCAU ?) for $250,000 PLUS private insurance for another $250,000 for a half million/account.

Good if looking for a place to deposit a very large check (sell a house, inheritance I suppose) but not that big a deal. Or that costly (very well run, conservative, they avoided fixed rate loans BEFORE inflation under Carter).

Private insurance for $250,000+ seems OK to me.

Best Hopes for Solvency,


My wife received this from an e-mail storm of mis-information going around her circle of mostly well-healed conservatives. Just a reminder of what we're dealing with. I post it as received so please excuse the typos, etc.

About 6=months ago, the writer was watching a news program onoil and one of the Forbes brothers was the guest. Th= host said to Forbes,
"I am going to ask you a dire=t question and I would like a direct
answer;&nb=p; how much oil does the U.S. have in the ground?"
Forbes did not miss a beat, he=said, "More than all the Middle East
put together."

Please rea= below:

The U. S. Geological Servi=e issued a report in April 2008 that only
scien=ists and oil men knew was coming, but man was it big!=nbsp; It was a
revised report (which had not been=updated since 1995) on how much oil was
in this area=of the western 2/3 of North Dakota, western South Dakot=, and
extreme eastern Montana .....

Check THIS out:

The Bakken =s the largest domestic oil discovery since
Alaska's=20 Prudhoe Bay, and has the potential to eliminate all
American dependence=on foreign oil. The Energy Information
Administration (EIA) estimates it=at 503 billion barrels. Even if just 10%
of the=oil is recoverable. At $107 a barrel, we're looking at=a resource
base worth more than $5.3 trillion.

"When I first briefed=20 legislators on this, you could practically see
their jaws hit the floor. They had no ide=." says Terry Johnson, the
Montana Legislature's=20 financial analyst..

"This sizable=find is now the highest-producing onshore oil field
found in the past 56 years," reports The Pittsburgh Post
Gazette. It's a formation know= as the Williston Basin, but is
more commonly ref=rred to as the 'Bakken.' It stretches from Northern
Montana, through North Dakota and in=o Canada. For years, U. S. oil
exploratio= has been considered a dead end. Even the 'Big=20 Oil'
companies gave up searching for major oi= wells decades ago. However, a
recent technolo=ical breakthrough has opened up the Bakken's massive
reserves. We now have access of up to=500 billion barrels. And because this
is light,=sweet oil, those billions of barrels will cost America=s just $16

That's en=ugh crude to fully fuel the American economy for 204= years
straight. And if THAT didn't thro= you on the floor, then this next
one should - bec=use the information is from 2006!

=. S. Oil Discovery- Largest Reserve in the World

Stansberry Report Onlin= - 4/20/2006

Hidden 1,000 feet=20 beneath the surface of the Rocky Mountains lies=20 the
largest untapped oil reserve in the world= It is more than 2 TRILLION
barrels. On Aug=st 8, 2005 President Bush mandated its extraction. In
three and a half years of high oil prices=none has been extracted. With
this 'mother lode'=of oil why are we still fighting over off-shore

They repor=ed this stunning news: We have more oil inside our=20 borders, than
all the other proven reserves=on earth. Here are the official estimates:

- 8-times as much oil=as Saudi Arabia

- 18-times as much=oil as Iraq

- 21-times as much oil as Kuwait

- 22-times as much oil as=20 Iran

- 500-times as much oil as=20 Yemen

- and it's all right here=in the Western United States .

HOW can=this BE? HOW can we NOT BE extracting this? Because=20 the environmentalists and
ot=ers have blocked all efforts to help America become=20 independent of
foreign oil! Again, we are let=ing a small group of people dictate our
lives and=our economy.


Jame= Bartis, lead researcher with the study says we'v= got more oil in
this very compact area than the=entire Middle East -more than 2 TRILLION
barrels unt=pped. That's more than all the proven oil reserves of=crude oil
in the world today, reports The=Denver Post.

Don't think 'OPEC' will drop its price - even with this find? Think
again! It's all about the competi=ive marketplace, - it has to.

Do ya' think OPEC just might be funding the environmentalists?

Got your=20 attention yet? Now, while you're thinking=about it, do

The rant goes on to give some links that I didn't post but will if there is interest.

A snippet from John Michael Greer's The Long Descent,

"Whether the target du jour is liberal activists, financiers, oil companies, or George W. Bush, the assumption seems to that if only the right scapegoat can be found and punished, the problem will be solved."

His comments about The Evil Space Lizards impeding us from making the reality we want was entertaining as well as informative.

Go to Snopes.com and type in "James Bartis"

This is an old cornucopian missile in the war against science.

AIPAC is holding a meeting here in San Francisco today, according to certain types bragging about it on the radio today. They're having a fine time bragging about "noble" acts like bombing mosques etc.

Anyone think they can get in and spy and get a line on when the bombs start falling on children in Iran? These folks, with plans to conquer the whole Middle East and violently depopulate it, are the ones likely to have a huge effect on oil availability, rather than those in the discussions in Copenhagen.

An interesting statement was made in the seekingalpha article...

The earth's land surface is only 25%; the remaining 75% is offshore and that is a largely unexplored frontier. Thus on the supply side, I see no long term constraints.

I understand that oil was produced beneath the shallow seas when, basically, plankton died, dropped to the seashore, were covered with other sediment, and subducted beneath the continents. Time, pressure and heat combined to form oil. Too high a temp, too deep, too much pressure, and you wind up with gas, and no oil.

How are all of these deep sea deposits formed? Is anyone sufficient in paloegeology to make a statement about where we would expect to locate such? I guess, by identifying location of shallow seas, determining where the sea bottom from those seas subducted, and where they are now? I have always read that most possible oil locations were known and had been or were being explored.

zap -- you got bits and pieces correct. Plankton die and are the source for much of the crude in the world. And they do get buried within the sediments. But not subducted under the continents. Subduction of oceanic crust under the continents would destroy all organic matter. The oil/NG produced in the interior of the US comes from oceans and other water bodies that existed there long ago.

There's a very good reason most of the oil produced under the world's ocean occurs near the continents and not way out in the middle of the oceans. And it's not just because of the water depths. To produce oil/NG you have to have reservoir rock with sufficient porosity and permeability. The rivers transport the sediments from the continental land masses into the ocean basins. There such reservoirs would develop. But only around the rims of the continents. These transport systems can't carry those sediments into the deeper ocean areas. Additionally, without enough sediment load to bury those plankton you don't generate the conditions needed for hydrocarbon generation.

I know it can get confusing when you try to picture ancient shallow seas that are now tens of thousands of feet below the bottoms of oceans at water depths greater than a mile. Many of those giant Brazilian oil reservoirs sitting under 6 to 8 thousand feet of water and buried under 12,000' of sediment were once shallow beaches made up a broken shell fragments in a setting similar to Cancun.

In a general sense most of the likely spots on the globe where one MIGHT expect to find hydrocarbons are known. But whether there is X amount of oil/Ng there is another question. Years ago some folks speculated about the possibility of oil/NG existing in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Wasn't a serious discussion because even if it did exist there was no technology to drill or produce it. When I started in 1975 about 600' was the limit of the depth we could produce oil/NG. Now producing in 6000' isn't out of the question. But no one is going to drill in 6000' of water if there are no sediments there capable of trapping oil/NG. And a great deal of the oceans fall into that category. Using a ratio of "drilled vs. undrilled" ocean areas is completley meaningless.

Thanks Rock. This is why I come to TOD. I see these silly items that talk about 75% of the world is ocean, and we haven't drilled a fraction of it, as if that means there is oil everywhere. At least there is somewhere I can go for answers that make sense, from folks who know from doing.

And then there are the articles that say the US has 1.6 TBBL? More than all of the Middle East combined? Which, of course, being light crude oil and easy to get at, is not being exploited. Natch.

Which is another entire rant. Thanks again. You've been a help.

Thanks Rock. This is why I come to TOD. I see these silly items that talk about 75% of the world is ocean, and we haven't drilled a fraction of it, as if that means there is oil everywhere. At least there is somewhere I can go for answers that make sense, from folks who know from doing.

Yes, indeed.

And, not to mention plate tecktonics. Oceanic crust is created by undersea volcanism at the oceanic ridges, and is then transported laterally. As it ages, it cools, which causes its volume to decrease, that is why the ridges are ridges -they are the hottest crust. In any case, you gotta get far from the ridges to have accumulated any reasonable amount of sediment. So the only oceanic crust I'd think you'd have any hope of finding hydrocarbons in would be the oldest stuff, in the trenches -where the plate is subducting.

There's the problem created by plate tectonics. Unlike continental crust, ocean crust is continuously being subducted under the continents and the oil in it destroyed, while new crust is being formed elsewhere - but it contains no oil.

Whereas some of the continental oil deposits are more than 500 million years old, very little ocean crust is more than 200 million years old. The Atlantic Ocean only started forming 130 million years ago, and the region near the Mid-Atlantic Rift is much younger than that. Don't expect to find much oil near Iceland.

I have a question for you oil experts out there.

When driving accross the shale deposits in Utah between Green River and Grand Junction on I-70, one can see many drilling operations in progress at the moment, and I have always assumed this is for natural gas. However, many of the wells are subsequently equipped with small pump jacks and storage tanks. There is no electric grid out there, so they use portable generators to power the pumps. I have counted many (more than 20) of these scattered around.

Are they producing oil out of the shale? or is this NGL? Is it of commercial interest? ROCKMAN yesterday speculated they may be pumping water, but then these probably are not gas wells since the gas would escape. What is up with this? Enquiring minds want to know.


The generators are likely being powered off of produced lease gas (some gas coming up with the oil).

Natural gas production without a pipeline to deliver to has no economic value. So oil wells are probably what you are seeing.


Francois -- Some NG wells do produce water along with the gas. And such wells can be pumped or have the water lifted with other techniques. Gas only escapes when you have a hole in the line. We tend to fix those holes. I know this isn't an answer to your original question but just wanted to fill you in a little on production techniques.

Having driven that stretch several times, I have often wondered the same thing.
Beautiful part of the country!

that area is predominately gas, but not all, some is oil - liquid oil. gas wells can produce water but also condensate. if a gas well declines to a low flow rate, the gas stream's velocity isnt enough to keep the water and condensate flowing, the well loads up with liquids and stops flowing. sometimes the well can be returned to production by "swabing" (essentially lifting the fluid with a piston suspended on a cable line).

a couple of decades ago, i did an operating cost analysis of gas wells flowing vs pumping and the pumping wells were operated for less than the "flowing" wells. the cost of occasionally swabing was more than the cost of pumping.

that is a lonesome stretch of road, there to green river.

I have had a good deal of success in the past dewatering gas wells using gas lift. It is a method of introducing higher pressure gas into the tubing at various intervals to lower the head pressure of the liquids and allow them to surge out. Kind of like shaking a hot bottle of beer and popping the top off. This only works as long as bottom hole pressure is good; after that you have to hang rods and a bottomhole pump to get the fluid out.(pump jack)

the most important article in today's drum beat is bloomberg sez gazoline to go to $1.60 a gallon. so there is a santa claus. a gift from gold man sacks to the sheeple? another article today mentioned the
price being manipulated by gold man sacks. we got more bullets than they got. i want $1.60 gazoline! i bought another frozen pizza today. i better bulk up now for when i has to reduce. "it's all good", as someone famous sed. i cant remember his name. this famous person sed changing light bulbs or driving more efficient cars isnt going to help.
my solar panels are covered in snow. i aint going up on the roof to clean them off. i burned 8 "standard" paper grocery bags full of wood in my "cat" stove from friday 4:30 to sunday 4 am. i notice i dont sleep long when i burn wood. i get up every 2 or 3 hours to chuck more wood in the stove. very romantic. all that wood was reduced to two trays of ash. not to shabby. gubbermint is run by crooks for crooks. why do we need unlimited choices for toilet paper or vodka or frozen pizza but we get only two when it comes to running gubbermint? we are told to get out and vote and then we are told it is too expensive to count all the votes. they do sampling. HAH-HAH! it's all good. SN@RX!