Drumbeat: January 7, 2010

Endless Oil: Technology, politics, and lower demand will yield a bumper crop of crude

Schoonebeek will not flood the world with crude. But its success presents a stiff challenge to those who argue that oil production is in irreversible decline. Consumer demand, technology, and global politics are shifting in a way that could spell a future of oil abundance, not of catastrophic dearth. As Leonardo Maugeri, a senior executive at Italian oil major ENI, puts it: "There will be enough oil for at least 100 years."

Many analysts and industry executives have little doubt that there's plenty of oil in the ground. "Only about 32% of the oil [in reserves] is produced," says Val Brock, Shell's head of business development for enhanced oil recovery. Shell estimates 300 billion barrels and maybe more might be squeezed out of existing fields, much of it once thought beyond retrieval. Peter Jackson, Cambridge Energy Research Associates' London-based senior director for oil industry activity, has reviewed data from the world's biggest fields. His conclusion: 60% of their reserves remain available.

Uh-oh: The return of $3 gas

"Gas is going to continue go higher because the commodity markets in general seem to be on the run right now," he said, adding that oil could approach $90 before cooling off and that gas might head toward $3 a gallon as a result.

That could be a problem for consumers. Some economists think that $3 a gallon for gasoline could lead to a noticeable change in consumer spending behavior.

...Of course, the fact that energy prices are on the rise is partly good news. It's not all about cold weather creating supply and demand disruptions. It's not a coincidence that gas prices started to rise last year just as there were more signs that the worst was over for the global financial markets and economy.

"Oil prices will go up over 2010," said Chris Probyn, chief economist with State Street Global Advisors in Boston. "We may get short-term relief once the cold spell is over, but energy prices will be higher than they were at the end of 2009."

Commodites Bull Market Will Roar Like a Tiger in 2010

Through 2010, both Commodities and commodity-linked Equities will tend to show volatile but high performance, with very strong gains in specific sectors and subsectors. Following the failure of the Copenhagen climate summit, harder assets than soft energy, or high leveraged and subsidy dependent alternate and renewable energy stocks will feature. This starts with oil, uranium, coal and perhaps natural gas, and will rapidly boost a wide range of food and bioresource soft commodities.

ANALYSIS - China eyes Caribbean fuel oil market now, crude later

MEXICO CITY/BEIJING (Reuters) - PetroChina's move to take a big position in Caribbean oil storage should give the state oil company immediate muscle in the region's residual fuel trade and open up longer-term options for crude trading.

PetroChina's assumption this week of Saudi Aramco's lease on 5 million barrels of oil storage capacity at the strategically located Statia terminal in the Caribbean signaled its intent to build a global oil trading network.

Pakistan: Prolonged power outages make people suffer

PESHAWAR: The prolonged power loadshedding and low pressure and suspension of gas supply is making consumers suffer in NWFP, as electricity remains cut off for eight to 15 hours a day while natural gas supply is affected at peak hours.

The energy crisis is deepening with no solution in sight in the near future. Electricity loadshedding in urban areas is almost eight hours a day and in rural area it is above 15 hours. Already protests and road blockade across the province are being reported.

Pindiites facing severe kerosene oil shortage

According to a survey conducted by APP here on Wednesday, kerosene oil’s supply is insufficiently in various localities including Dhoke Kala Khan, Dhoke Kashmirian, Shamsabad, Katarian, Dhoke Hassu, Ratta Amral, Fazalabad and Dhoke Syedan.

Most of the people belonging to the lower middle class and low-income groups reside in these areas and use kerosene oil as fuel, when there is a shortage of Sui gas in the morning and evening peak hours.

Iraq, Iran to meet to draw border

AFP - Iraq and Iran will hold talks from next week to formally mark their borders, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Thursday, weeks after a dispute between the two countries over an oil well.

ConocoPhillips Extends Maintenance Shutdown at German Refinery

(Bloomberg) -- ConocoPhillips extended maintenance work that has shut its Wilhelmshaven oil refinery, Germany’s third-largest.

“Planned maintenance continues at Wilhelmshaven,” Bill Stephens, a ConocoPhillips spokesman based at company headquarters in Houston, said today in an e-mail. The refiner had expected that the German facility would be in so-called turnaround for the “majority” of the fourth quarter, according to a third-quarter earnings statement.

Shell to transform Montreal refinery into terminal

CALGARY, Alberta, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L) said on Thursday it will transform its Montreal East refinery into a fuel terminal, making the 130,000 barrel a day plant the latest in North America to be closed amid weak returns in the industry.

Shell, which has operated a refinery at the site for 76 years, said in a statement that the plant did not fit into its long-term strategy.

Heavy snow slams North American business

CHICAGO/HAMBURG (Reuters) - Blasts of Arctic winds and drifting snow gripped much of the northern United States and Canada on Thursday, slowing business in the agricultural sector and threatening to disrupt natural gas production.

Thailand: Free NGV conversions for taxis pitched

The Energy Ministry plans an open bid for private companies to install natural gas kits in taxis to help operators deal with rising oil prices.

"As oil prices have begun to jump again this year, we want to be prepared for a shortage of liquefied petroleum gas if it happens again," said Norkhun Sitthipong, the deputy permanent secretary of the Energy Ministry.

When a home energy audit pays

There are some simple improvements that are relatively cheap and can pay for themselves quickly.

Just adding the insulation, caulking and lights might run an average homeowner $5,000 to $7,000, he said. That could shave about 30% off a home's energy bill each month. And if the government picks up half the cost, the payback time for homeowners would be just a few years.

"It's a win-win-win," said Burt. "It creates jobs, it saves energy, and it saves consumers money."

Unsold clothes destroyed at H&M -- until Twitter roared

New York City's homeless may be wearing a motley collection of castoff clothing: the rejects from the closets of more financially-blessed residents, perhaps, or the logo merchandise from now-merged banks or defunct companies, maybe even some cast-offs from local discount retailers that lingered too long on the clearance racks. Yet, you won't see any such freebies from H& M or Walmart. Instead of donating unsold clothes to the needy, the two retailers have evidently been quietly stuffing unloved frocks in the trash.

According to The New York Times, unsold clothes from the two retailers were found destroyed in garbage bags outside the H&M store on 34th Street east of Sixth Avenue, and in the nearby 35th Street Walmart. At Walmart, unworn clothes had been punched with holes by some sort of machine. At H&M, they'd been slashed by a box cutter, rendering a bunch of fiber-filled coats unwearable.

John Michael Greer: Housebreaking the Corporations

From this perspective, the problem with corporate persons is simple enough: the only risk they run in breaking the law is that they have to pay wergild, and that doesn’t constrain antisocial behavior any more effectively now than it did in Anglo-Saxon times.

My more perceptive readers may be wondering at this point whether I’m seriously proposing that corporations should be thrown in jail or put to death. Yes, that’s what I’m proposing, with the adjustments needed to account for the differences between corporate persons and natural persons. What’s the essential nature of imprisonment for a crime, after all? The criminal ceases to be a free person; for a specified period of time, he is a chattel of society, and society has the right to profit from his labor during that period. And capital punishment? The criminal, having proven that he isn’t willing to abide by even the most minimal standards of social existence, ceases to exist by act of society. Both of these can be applied to corporations easily enough.

2010: The year to really start worrying about food security

t started already last year, but 2010 is shaping up to be the year in which the issue of food security takes on a greater sense of urgency. Why? Because policy-makers have connected the dots about where current trends are taking us, and it’s scaring them silly.

Consider the factors affecting food production: Climate. Water. Land. Fertiliser. Energy. Now consider the trends affecting those factors...

Collapse Comes to the Alamo for Two Nights Only [We're Screwed]

Ruppert virtually predicted our current economic crisis, and he did it at a time when things didn't seem all that bad, even to fancypants, pipe-smoking (probably) economists. His predictions about international political turmoil have similarly come true over the past decade, and his ostensibly wild 1970s-era accusations of CIA drug dealing were pretty much validated by the Kerry Committee nearly a decade after he made them. Now, Ruppert says, we're speeding toward a future that looks a hell of a lot like the ending of Fight Club. So how crazy is he, exactly?

Troubled times: A talk with James Howard Kunstler

Rochester, N.Y. — James Howard Kunstler always figured he would be some sort of cultural commentator. “I was doing that kind of writing in college” — he graduated from SUNY-Brockport in 1971, a drama major — “and I became a newspaper columnist at a pretty tender age of 24.”

It was novels where Kunstler made his impact at first, including “The Wampanaki Tales,” “An Embarrassment of Riches” and “Blood Solstice.” In more recent years, though, Kunstler has been particularly known for his nonfiction works of social criticism, in which he takes a hard look at many of the elements of industrialized Western (especially American) society — and warns that many of them may not be sustainable once the oil runs out. His books include “The Geography of Nowhere” (1994), in which he details (and decries) the rise of suburbia, and “The Long Emergency” (2005), in which he argues that Americans are going to be forced to down-scale their lives due to declining oil production — life won’t be centered on the automobile and the highway anymore, he holds.

API Chief Comments on Additional Regulatory Hurdles

American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Jack Gerard issued the following statement on Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's announcement that he would impose additional regulatory hurdles before allowing companies to drill for oil and gas on federal lands:

"In what has become increasingly familiar double-talk from this administration, Interior Secretary Salazar today again spoke of the importance of domestic oil and natural gas, while making it more difficult to produce American oil and gas, put more Americans back to work and help restore our nation's economy. Under the guise of offering certainty for investors, Interior Secretary Salazar has taken steps to further delay and limit American energy resources for all Americans."

E.P.A. Announces Strict New Health Standards for Smog

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday proposed stricter health standards for smog, replacing a Bush-era limit that ran counter to scientific recommendations.

The new limits -- which are presented as a range -- will likely put hundreds more counties nationwide in violation, a designation that will require them to find additional ways to clamp down on pollution or face government sanctions, most likely the loss of federal highway dollars.

Final Quarter of '09 Barrels in $75B in Oil and Gas Deals

PLS, Inc. and international partner Derrick Petroleum Services report that Global M&A activity for the 4th Quarter 2009 totaled nearly $75 billion in 172 separate deals, up from $21 billion in 112 deals in 3rd Quarter 2009. According to Brian Lidsky, Managing Director, Research, at PLS, "ExxonMobil's blockbuster $41 billion all-stock bid to buy U.S. unconventional resource leader XTO Energy took the market by surprise and marked a significant shift for the major back to North America onshore natural gas. The deal vaults ExxonMobil to the largest producer in the United States and gave the market and producers a large dose of confidence. U.S. gas prices have been in a slump for over a year. Shortly after the Exxon deal, French company, Total, struck a $2.25 billion JV with Chesapeake in the Barnett shale of Texas."

What Is Peak Oil?

The first step to understanding Peak Oil is the recognition that oil is a finite, non-renewable resource. Over the last century and a half, oil has powered phenomenal economic and population growth. As LiveScience notes, besides water, there's no other liquid that humans rely on more than petroleum. It fuels our vehicles, heats our homes, paves our roads and is used to make countless consumer products.

Poland May Cut Gas Deliveries to Industrial Customers

(Bloomberg) -- Poland may reduce natural gas supplies to industrial customers such as PKN Orlen SA depending on temperatures or possible cuts in Russian fuel imports.

“We are monitoring the situation and whether we’ll announce the reduction will depend on the air temperatures, the amounts of gas imported from Russia and the level to which the storage facilities are filled,” Malgorzata Polkowska, a spokeswoman for the country’s pipeline operator Gaz-System SA, said by phone today.

U.K. Issues Gas Balancing Alert as Supply Falls

(Bloomberg) -- National Grid Plc, manager of the U.K.’s natural-gas network, issued a gas balancing alert for today, the second this winter, after supplies from Norway fell and it forecast record demand.

A gas balancing alert is designed to ensure the safe operation of the network. It’s meant to act as a signal to gas shippers to increase flows, while some companies may need to reduce consumption. National Grid also issued an alert Jan. 4.

Statoil Says Output at Troll Shut Down Due to Technical Issues

(Bloomberg) -- Statoil ASA, Norway’s biggest natural gas producer, said production at its North Sea Troll field was shut down at 9:15 a.m. local time due to technical issues, according to spokesman Gisle Johanson.

Russia and Belarus talks continue

Russia and Belarus were locked in a second day of talks aimed at resolving a dispute over 2010 oil supply prices, Russia's Energy Ministry said today.

Poland unlikely to ask refiners for dividends

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland's treasury is unlikely to ask two refiners PKN Orlen and Lotos to pay dividends out of their 2009 profits, Deputy Treasury Minister Mikolaj Budzanowski said on Thursday.

Iraq readies for big exports

Iraq plans to begin crude oil shipping operations in March as it prepares to export larger volumes of crude in the future, the head of Iraq's State Oil Marketing Organisation said today.

China tightens grip on Kazakh gas

Chinese President Hu Jintao and his Kazakh counterpart, Nursultan Nazarbayev, were liberal with their profuse eulogies such as a "milestone in Sino-Kazakh relations" and "an epoch-making event" after their talks in Astana on December 12.

Hu had every reason to describe his official visit to Kazakhstan as a success. The two leaders signed three important documents relating to cooperation in the development of renewable energy resources, a joint memorandum on financing the second section of a gas pipeline from Kazakhstan to China and a credit agreement for the reconstruction of Atyrau oil refinery in West Kazakhstan.

Flicking the switch: the pressing issue of getting UK business energy efficient

With the disappointment of Copenhagen turning into history and the economic situation still tough, there is growing concern that not enough is being achieved to get businesses more energy efficient. But those that have 'switched on' say they are reaping the benefits.

Business spoke out forcefully, last month, after the failure of Copenhagen to deliver a binding global agreement on climate change. The CBI called for urgent action from Government and business in order to maintain the much-needed momentum to get a deal done internationally, while back at home getting businesses more energy efficient.

Rubin, Oil Rally Predictor, Sees $100 Crude in 2010

(Bloomberg) -- Jeff Rubin, the former CIBC World Markets Inc. chief economist who accurately predicted oil’s surge during the last decade, expects crude to reach $90 a barrel this quarter and $100 by the year’s end.

Accelerating demand in Asia and the Middle East will force consumers to rely on costlier non-conventional energy sources such as oil sands, said Rubin, who spent 20 years with the Toronto-based bank and last year published a book on energy economics, “Why Your World is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller.” Rubin correctly forecast in 2007 that crude would reach $100.

“It’s safe to say that we’ll see triple-digit oil prices by the fourth quarter of this year,” Rubin, 55, said in a telephone interview yesterday. “I would expect prices to move pretty close to that level, and be in the $90 range probably by the end of March.”

How much fuel do we use in a year?

Sketchup is a fantastic 3D modelling package that Google bought a few years ago. Having done a small amount of work on Swift and Maya, I found this tool immesurably simpler. This is how 3d interfaces should be done! The commands, whilst very different to common 3D packages, are all logical and started to come naturally after only an hour or so of experimentation.

Inspired by PageTutors post on how much a trillion dollars is that used Sketchup for the illustrations, I thought I would have a go myself by calculating and displaying how much of a energy based raw material would be needed to power the entire world for a year.

Oil Drops, Snapping 10-Day Gain, as Supplies Enough for Winter

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil fell in New York, snapping 10 days of gains, on speculation that rising U.S. supplies will be enough to withstand the cold snap.

The Energy Department said crude inventories rose 1.3 million barrels last week, the first increase in five weeks. Stockpiles were forecast to fall by a Bloomberg News survey. Supplies of distillate fuels such as heating oil dropped less than expected. Oil fell on speculation China’s move to slow bank lending may reduce commodity demand in the world’s second- largest energy consumer.

Natural Gas Prices Rise To Yearly High

(RTTNews) - Natural gas prices surged to a yearly high on Thursday as cold temperatures across the U.S. boosted the need for heating fuel. Traders also looked ahead to the Energy Information Administration's weekly inventory report.

February natural gas settled at $6.009 per million British thermal units, a rise of 37.2 cents on the session.

Exxon Shuts Rotterdam Refinery Units for Maintenance

(Bloomberg) -- Exxon Mobil Corp., the world’s largest oil company, shut units at its Rotterdam refinery for planned maintenance, limiting supplies of fuels such as heating oil at a time of freezing weather.

US breaks with 'drill anywhere' energy policy: official

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States is moving away from the "drill anywhere, whatever the cost" energy policy of the previous administration, officials said Wednesday as they announced reforms in the way oil and gas leases are attributed.

"We don't believe we have to be drilling everywhere and anywhere," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told a news conference where he and other officials announced changes to the way the US government manages onshore oil and gas exploration leases.

"We believe we have to have a balanced, thoughtful approach that allows for the development of oil and gas resources but at the same time protects the treasured landscapes of America," Salazar said.

Industry: Grouse measures could mean delays, costs

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The Petroleum Association of Wyoming says oil and gas companies face more drilling delays and higher costs under a new U.S. Bureau of Land Management policy for protecting sage grouse in Wyoming.

Association Vice President Cheryl Sorenson says the policy could require companies to put radio collars on sage grouse to track the birds before receiving approval to drill.

The Dreaded 'Double Dip'

Put plainly, there appears to be a lack of political will to end this crisis, led by banks who continue to hang onto bad assets, overpay themselves and refuse to lend in anything like the volume needed to restart real growth. Meanwhile, they continue to stall the kind of regulatory reforms that would stem their appetite for the kind of risk-taking that put the global economy on a fast track to total implosion in the last decade.

Put on top of these factors the effects of an inevitable Federal Reserve decision to raise interest rates by summer, and another “peak oil”-driven acceleration of oil prices in the direction of the $140 a barrel level that was a major trigger in the ungluing of the global economy just a couple years ago.

Nippon Oil to Buy LNG From Chevron, Build Terminal

(Bloomberg) -- Nippon Oil Corp., Japan’s biggest refiner, signed an initial agreement to buy liquefied natural gas from Chevron Corp. and may spend about 50 billion yen ($539 million) to build a terminal to import the fuel.

The Tokyo-based refiner plans to purchase about 300,000 metric tons a year of LNG starting in 2015 from the Chevron-led Gorgon project, Nippon Oil said in a statement today. The fuel from the A$43 billion project is to be delivered to the planned terminal in Aomori, northern Japan, that will have two 140,000- kiloliter tanks. Terminal operations are to begin in April 2015.

Aluminum Smelters in Henan May Face Power Shortages, CRU Says

(Bloomberg) -- Some aluminum smelters in China’s Henan province, the largest producer in the nation, received notices from power suppliers to prepare for stoppages, according to CRU International Ltd.

There have been “periodic power supply disruptions” in provinces including Henan and Hunan, though the impact “is not serious” so far, Wan Ling, a Beijing-based analyst, said by phone today. She declined to name the smelters affected.

Russia, China, Iran redraw energy map

The inauguration of the Dauletabad-Sarakhs-Khangiran pipeline on Wednesday connecting Iran's northern Caspian region with Turkmenistan's vast gas field may go unnoticed amid the Western media cacophony that it is "apocalypse now" for the Islamic regime in Tehran.

The event sends strong messages for regional security. Within the space of three weeks, Turkmenistan has committed its entire gas exports to China, Russia and Iran. It has no urgent need of the pipelines that the United States and the European Union have been advancing. Are we hearing the faint notes of a Russia-China-Iran symphony?

Chinese resources chief eyes Antarctica minerals

A DELEGATION of Chinese dignitaries, including a senior resources minister, flew into Casey Station in Antarctica yesterday to meet Australian officials.

The Chinese contingent lunched with visiting Australian Antarctic and diplomatic officials before being taken by helicopter to their research icebreaker Xue Long, the Snow Dragon, moored in the nearby bay.

The presence of the Chinese Minister for Land and Resources, Xu Shaoshi, underlines China's increasing interest in the vast natural resources of Antarctica.

Study: US biofuels policies flawed

The United States needs to fundamentally rethink its policy of promoting ethanol to diversify its energy sources and increase energy security, according to a new policy paper by Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

The paper, "Fundamentals of a Sustainable U.S. Biofuels Policy," questions the economic, environmental and logistical basis for the billions of dollars in federal subsidies and protectionist tariffs that go to domestic ethanol producers every year. "We need to set realistic targets for ethanol in the United States instead of just throwing taxpayer money out the window," said Amy Myers Jaffe, one of the report's authors.

Our planet is now overstocked!

Nobody mentioned the real problem in Copenhagen - never mind the solution to it. The problem is that there are now too many of us on board. More than twenty years ago, through no fault of my own, I found myself on Gay Byrne's "On the job quiz" and one of the questions I was asked was, "What is the population of the world?" I got the correct answer, which was four billion. Now, had I been asked that question in 1950 - apart from the fact that I wouldn't have known the answer, the figure was 2.5 billion. If I'm asked the same question in 2050, I won't be able to answer on account of being dead, but the correct answer is likely to be ten to twelve billion. Are you getting the picture? We are populating planet earth to an unsustainable level. Just look at it this way: it took all of human history until 1950 to get the population up to 2.5 billion and yet we expect mother earth to nourish and sustain a further ten billion a mere hundred years on? Once again, may I insert my favourite Bill Clinton saying; "that dog ain't gonna hunt"!

Benn unveils plan to boost UK food and 'grow your own'

Plans to boost food production in Britain and reduce its impact on the environment have been unveiled.

The government's 20-year food strategy includes making land available for people to grow their own food and more healthy cooking courses.

Minister Hilary Benn said shoppers had led the push for free-range eggs and could do the same for sustainable food.

Do we need to say our prayers?

For millions of people in Africa, climate change is a reality, says Greig Whitehead. However, as he explains in this week's Green Room, in religious nations such as Kenya, many believe that tackling global warming is beyond their control.

First Carbon Tariff Will Tax CO2 at the Border

The first carbon tax to reduce the greenhouse gases from imports comes not between two nations, but between two states.

Study: Climate change means greater risk of catastrophic wildfire

Leading University of Montana researchers have released results of a new study that shows climate change will increase drought stress in northern Rocky Mountain forests, leading to increased potential for insect infestations and risk of more frequent and severe wildfires.

The peer-reviewed study, conducted by UM forestry researchers, finds that longer periods of drought will stress the forest ecosystem that includes areas in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, with increased insect epidemic and wildfire disturbances. The economic impact of highest concern is the potential of a catastrophic wildfire in the region, which could affect more than 360,000 people who live in homes in the forest-urban interface that are valued at $21 billion.

“As temperatures rise, we will see about two months of additional drought stress each year by late this century,” said study author Steve Running, Regents Professor of Ecology in UM’s College of Forestry and Conservation. “And the worse global warming gets, the more significant the consequences for forests.”

Methane release 'looks stronger'

Scientists have uncovered what appears to be a further dramatic increase in the leakage of methane gas that is seeping from the Arctic seabed.

Methane is about 20 times more potent than CO2 in trapping solar heat.

The findings come from measurements of carbon fluxes around the north of Russia, led by Igor Semiletov from the University of Alaska at Fairbanks.

"Methane release from the East Siberian Shelf is underway and it looks stronger than it was supposed [to be]," he said.

Re: Rubin Sees (Daily/Monthly) $100 Oil in 2010 (uptop)

The EIA has annual US spot crude oil prices calculated through 2009:

All sources above $80 today!

Market data provided by Reuters

UK issues second gas balancing alert this week


We are burning more coal than for years, and we have started shutting down supply to big industrial users, and incredibly, some hospitals.

As I don't watch much television news has anyone noticed much US coverage given to the energy problems our Brit cousins are enduring? Be nice if they did play it up. Could be a mild wake up call if they did.

You would be hard pressed to notice it being reported in the UK media. One paper is covering it.

Of course, six inches of snow generates weeks of headlines.

Amazing Ralph. I'm not surprised our press hasn't hit it hard since they stil need to be covering the Tiger Wood's story so closely. But I would have thought the fuel problem would have been front page everyday over there. Is it a gov't friendly press or just a lack of connection to the future.

The future is here, but is just not widely ditributed yet so the press does not notice.

Here's the Guardian now

1970s-style rationing as National Grid cuts off gas to factories

Factories in the north-west of England and east Midlands are today having their energy supplies cut off for the first time in years as the severe weather and creaking power infrastructure lead to 1970s-style rationing.

In the first tangible sign that fears over energy shortages are translating into supply disruption, the National Grid has withdrawn gas via suppliers such as British Gas from 94 industrial customers who have signed up to interruptible contracts in a bid to safeguard power to domestic homes.

...British Gas said it could not immediately confirm that it had cut off some customers in line with Grid demands but said the problems were caused by transmission overload rather than the potential shortage of supplies which have triggered a growing political row.

"If anything there is an oversupply of gas and certainly no shortage at this time. This [the current problem] is about moving it around the country," said a spokesman.

Andrew Bainbridge, chairman of the Major Energy Users Council, said power interruptions were the last thing that struggling industry needed at this time. "I feel sorry for those companies who have taken a gamble by entering into interruptible contracts in return for lower bills. It just highlights the need for the UK to have secure supplies at the lowest possible cost which we currently don't have."

"If anything there is an over-supply of gas." That spokesman needs to be taken out and shot.

Sadly funny Tow. Like the guy didn't drown...he just had an over-supply of water in his lungs.

Sky News now

National Grid Issues New Gas Shortage Alert

2:40pm UK, Thursday January 07, 2010

Rob Cold, Sky News Online

The National Grid has issued a new gas alert - the second such warning in three days - as demand hits record levels in the freezing weather.

National grid says there is no risk to domestic consumers

A key gas line supplying the UK was disrupted earlier today, causing another headache for power bosses.

Disruption refers to Langelad pipeline. Real time displays are still currently offline so we can't see what's going on right now.

And now the minimum possible mention on BBC website


The National Grid has issued its second gas alert in three days, and said major customers were cutting back on usage in response to the alert.

Right now it's being discussed on "BBC radio 5 live": it's not by any means being suppressed, it's just that as usual they aren't asking coherent questions based on the big picture.

Rob Cold?!

Shouldn't it be Rob Warmth? Ducks and runs for cover...

Wonder if the Sky News Centre is on an interruptible gas contract? Maybe it's an in-joke. Actually they have just corrected the name to "Rob Cole". I'll bet it was deliberate but someone senior did not see the funny side.

A Google search still confirms that it originally said "Rob Cold" though.

In that case if I were making the joke I think I'd have said, "Rob Coal" :-)

"If anything there is an over-supply of gas."

It seems most of the commenters are of a similar opinion, what do you propose should be done about them?

This comment in particular pretty much sums it up:

1> it's a scam
2 /> don't worry we'll adapt
3 /> plenty of gas where I am so I don't believe in shortages anywhere else

I was about to suggest, burning them at the stake but perhaps freezing them at the stake will prove to be more economical, eh?

They are correct TODAY, the problem is the size of the pipes in some parts of the country, not the reserves.

For now it's just like peak oil - it's the flows, not the reserves that are the problem, but give it a few more weeks like this and the reserves will be a problem.

Today's failure of the Langelad pipeline is classic - failed at point of maximum stress! ... with inadequate backup ... now there's a surprise!

One major purpose of SRS is supposed to be to maintain pressure in the grid over these temporary interruptions - they are not really there to supply extra gas because it is cold. Unfortunately two out of three of these sites are so depleted (by being used for cold cover) they can really only be called upon in an emergency. We should have far more strategic storage sites and spaced around the grid.

Yeterday's physical flow into the Transmission System as a whole was shown (on the Nat Grid site before it went down) to be significantly below demand (and the GBA trigger) even before the Langelad problem although they had not yet reduced the GBA trigger to reflect this.

Edit: National Grid site just back online. Still showing very little flow from Langelad pipeline.


And 32GWh of demand apparently cut-off so far


Hmm, Noticed "Dynevor Arms" has re-appeared on the SRS storage sites data. I thought that was supposed to be closed now because new LNG import facilities meant it was "no longer needed". Presumably it has not yet been physically decommsioned and is being rapidly brought back into service?

What with Exxon's shutting down their Rotterdam refinery, I would not be surprised to learn of increased cross Atlantic shipments of distillate to Europe and increased volumes of gasoline back to the US. That might not make the news as we are flush with distillate and short of gasoline on a historical basis. Anyway, the TV folks seem to just pass on what news they can find on the wires, so I think that one would would want to follow the wire service reports instead of looking at TV, especially FAUX NEWS...

E. Swanson

It (the snowstorm and cold snap) was mentioned on CNN last night, but from the perspective of snarled traffic and closed-in airports. No mention of the dreaded word "shortage".

we don't have time for that kind of stuff...

didn't you hear - balloon boy's father is going to jail today ?!

Rockman - your post suggests an idea. Maybe there is room with the many TV cable stations available to have one dedicated to energy. It could have specials on wind, solar, geothermal, oil, gas, nuclear, etc.

But it could also be an energy news station, with updates on how the UK are doing, Pakistan, Russia vs. Belarus, Iraq-Iran oil rig dispute, China securing oil worldwide, U.S. demand destruction, etc.

There could be Youtube videos shown on peak oil.

There could be a weekly show on peak oil, and debates discussing the topic. It might be the best way to gain public interest on the topic - one that will certainly affect their lives in the not too distant future. Certainly more interesting to us TOD types than the usual tabloid genre'.

Actually, from time to time, the History Channel has some good energy-related stuff.

This week is "Armageddon Week", which is a mix of mysticism, doomerism, catastrophe, the 4 horsemen, etc etc, but in between all those things you hear people say things like "we haven't prepared for the End of Oil".

The main issue I have with the mention of oil depletion in this scenario is that the watcher can't distinguish between fact, fantasy and rampant speculation. It's all over-dramatized without presenting the real facts.

There have some pretty well-known people interviewed this week - Tainter and Diamond, to name just two.

Right at this moment, people are talking about sustainability and overuse of resources, climate change and alternative energy. Program called Earth 2100. Michael Klare and Thomas Homer Dixon are talking right now about oil depletion. Oh, Kunstler, Pollan and Richard Heinberg, too.

Of course, you can't tie people down and force them to watch. And, I imagine, a progam too full of factual information would put most contemporary viewers to sleep.

On right now but will be shown again later tonight at 12:00 till 2:00 on The History Channel:

Earth 2001Top U.S. Army, intelligence, and policymakers who have modeled a scenario of the next century say that if we continue on this trajectory, over the next hundred years the "perfect storm" of population growth, resource depletion, climate change, terrorism and disease will converge in an unstable world with catastrophic results. What lessons of the past must we heed to survive?

I am recording it to watch later.

Ron P

I think this is the same show ABC aired last June.

You may be able to watch it online at their web site.

It is the same show.

The anouncement claimed new in 2010, but the cartoon storyline was the same, perhaps they obtained a few new talking head sections (a bunch of 30second interviews of important doomers).

I think it was just new to the History Channel.

I noticed some updating - dates like 6/2/09 became 1/1/10. There may have been a couple more experts, too.

And now the National Grid (Gas) Real Time Pages have all stopped working with "Server Error in '/ui' Application." messages.

Noticed there was a big spike in electricty system buy prices today at lunch-time and we had to restrict exports to France for a bit at the time. Two or three hours until peak electrical demand for today. Fingers crossed again.

Annual UK natural gas production through 2007 (EIA):

Do you have more current data?

It occurs to me that the UK is to the Continent as California is to North America, in both cases at the edge of the distribution system.

Normally real time data and history is available at http://www.nationalgrid.com/uk/Gas/Data/efd/ezgraph.htm but that's offline right now.

Oddly enough, the EIA country level website is partially down (they are not displaying the View History and Excel data file buttons). I suppose they are partially down for maintenance.


Energy statistics for the UK are available from the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Try this page, and download the third spreadsheet from the bottom (Indigenous production of primary fuels ET 1.1).

FTX, seems your link has the hottest info and a serious "Houston-warning"

UK nat.gas prod yoy, drops a whopping 24% over selected months :

August 4.8
September* 5.4
October 6.0
Total 16.2

August 3.4
September 4.0
October p 5.0
Total 12.3

UK natural gas net exports/imports (again only through 2007, EIA);

Net exports above the zero line; net imports below the zero line.

You really are an evil ELM-man, but I guess you already knew that :-(
But under any circumstances, don't tell Gordon, he may panic and we don't want that to happen, do we ?

I find it endlessly fascinating that the Cornucopians believe (or claim to believe) that the sum of the output of regions like the US, UK, Norway, etc., which all show clearly defined production peaks, will result in a near infinite rate of increase in production, and ultimately, a worst case scenario of an "Undulating Plateau."

What? Don't you believe that technology will come to the rescue?

It's not until we are at the very precipice that technology will swoop in and save us....or not.

Deus ex machina

Most people don't realize it, but this is the plan.


That was supposed to be a secret! ;-)

Here is a hard-copy from FTX spread sheet. It lists all UK indigenous energy as of Dex 2009. It's definitely going down the drain - FAST! - 13% overall. What's the latest on Tiger, come again?

Historical and last year oil & gas production figures for the UK (at field level in some cases) can be down loaded here


Month by month production data was available up to end of 2007 at the following site (Forties oil field shown - change the field number to see other fields), but these are going to be taken off-line soon. I guess the data will be made available elsewhere. I have a copy as text if anyone ever want it.


*** PDF *** Statistical Review of World Energy 2009 says UK production, end 2008 : 69.6 bcm =>> 2456 bcf, so just continnue and extend that straight line in your histogram ....

I notice US exports of resid spiked around July, top export destinations in Oct are

Mexico	Singapore	Canada	Netherlands	Panama	Brazil	Ecuador	Turkey	Chile

From the Energy Export Databrowser:

Any more questions about what is happening?

-- Jon

Great plot Jon...thanks. Especially interesting when you menatlly overlay WT's import/export plot. Obvious to see how the N Sea broke that import trend...for a while. Now it's back to a very scary projection if the UK can't secure more foreign supplies.

Agreed, jonathan.s.callahan's Energy Export Databrowser (EED) is great for understanding upcoming trends. But if you need the latest updated info it lags those with 1-2 years.

Take for instance Undertows comment just down thread Government Energy Minister : "What the scare-mongers don't realise is that we produce 50% of our own gas in the UK so supply is not an issue"
If this is the case - and I believe it is - UKs nat.gas picture is really grim and not presented (this bad) in EED, almost beyond belief. And believe you me, Norway has little or no more nat.gas in the pipeline, so the UK better start to ship in nat-gas from far and wide.Yesterday.

paal -- I know they just opened up a new LNG import terminal in the UK. You know what impact, if any, this has had on local supplies?

No info from me on the new UK LNG-import-terminal, but I have news on a Norwegian LNG-Export-terminal, named Melkøya. It's been more offline than online the last couple of years, hopefully this is not 'a LNG normal'
Just Google "melkøya trouble" or something thereabouts and as the swift learner you are (?) you will soon understand : these LNG-stuffs are 'not easy'---

Very interesting paal. For all: The Nor. LNG export facility: "Over six months of production, the plant emitted 1,6 million tonnes of CO2— more than two per cent of Norwegian emissions".

Perhaps one of those "unintended consequences". Actually more like an unadvertised consequence. Turning NG into LNG takes a lot of horse power = lots of fuel burning. Wonder how the BTU's balance out the trade of burning coal vs. making LNG and then burning it. OK you engineering geeks...get calculating please.


Below a diagram that shows the development in UK gross imports of natural gas by source (incl. LNG).

UK saw an expansion of the Grain facilities about a year ago, and in addition 2 new LNG receiving terminals, South Hook and Dragon, was opened in Milford Haven some months back.

Very interesting Rune. Is the drop in Norw NG imports a result of increased Norw LNG imports? Seems to match. Either way it certainly looks bad for the UK

Thank you ROCKMAN!

Norway is a big net exporter of NG, mostly pipelined, but some as LNG from Melkøya/Snøhvit.

Exports of natural gas, from Norway to UK, is down a little during 2009 compared to 2008. It seems like some of the UK NG imports from Norway has been substituted with LNG as from last summer when South Hook and Dragon became operational.

Awesome plot Rune!

Can you perhaps add another 'unstacked' plot so that we can see the growth (and decay) of each separate source?

-- Jon

It's interesting that the UK was importing Nat Gas during the '80s, they went from being an importer of oil pre-1980 to a strong exporter.
There's your Thacher revolution right there...

The gas came from coal - hydrogen - then in the early 70's everything was converted to North Sea gas - methane.

The UK produced all it's own coal up until the mid 1980's when Maggie Thatcher closed down all the loss making Government owned pits.

The coal lasted hundreds of years (production peaked ~1913), the UK gas and oil will be gone in maybe 50 years of production (peaked after ~25 years).

It occurs to me that the UK is to the Continent as California is to North America, in both cases at the edge of the distribution system.

I think there are substantial differences. Excluding gas moved directly from Norway, UK gas imports come from a long distance and are piped through heavily populated areas. In fact, the markets in the areas the pipes cross are much bigger than the UK market. As you imply, the UK is a relatively small market tacked onto the end of the distribution system.

California's sources and pipelines are a different story. California's "imports" are from western Canada, the Rocky Mountain area, western Texas, and New Mexico. The areas through which the pipelines run are, for the most part, sparsely populated. California is the market these pipeline companies want to reach. For example, El Paso Natural Gas is happy to deliver some gas to Phoenix and Las Vegas, but the large majority of their capacity is intended for California deliveries. Ditto for supplies delivered from the north: Idaho, Washington, and Oregon are nice little markets, but the big deal for the Canadian producers is reaching northern California.

Here is an interactive map displaying the Norwegian pipeline-systems connected to Europe. Clicking the pipes gives some details.

A few years ago, natural gas prices in California spiked to around $20 or so, primarily because so much gas was being taken out prior to reaching the state border. Something similar happened a year or two ago in the UK. In any case, as one looks west from both regions, there aren't too many other consumers nearby.

Since 2000, there have been three spikes in the residential price for NG in California. In each case, there was a coincident spike of approximately equal magnitude in the national wellhead price for NG. Residential gas prices in Arizona, OTOH, simply showed their usual strong annual pattern, so much so that the effects of the wellhead spikes are hard to see in the EIA's monthly charts. During the most recent spike, the seasonal pattern in Oregon and Washington (alternate markets for Canadian gas bound for California) showed below-expected prices.

All of this suggests to me (YMMV) that the California spikes were driven by broad-based shortfalls in US production. California's suppliers in New Mexico (for example) could presumably have piped some of their gas east, and so California had to pay more, but I don't see any strong evidence that greater-than-normal amounts were diverted elsewhere.

Perhaps interesting that the peak of the spikes were in the summer months, when electricity demand peaks. I wonder if the NG price spikes in California would have been as severe if they were allowed to purchase increased amounts of coal-fired electricity from out of state?

From the 'Telegraph' report above:

The pipeline operator warned on Monday there was a "high likelihood" that customers with so-called interruptible contracts - which include factories and NHS trusts - could face supply disruption. Such customers pay lower gas rates on the understanding that their supply may occasionally be cut in order to protect supplies to homes.

As I said last time - 3 yrs ago - this CANNOT safeguard UK electricity supplies.

If you closes a UK hospital, then 1000 staff/patients stay home consuming 4kW power each, in gas + electric [ie gas with conversion losses]. Where is the saving in gas? It only works for that tiny amount of very heavy industry remaining in the UK. Let's hope they don't recharge their electric cars when they go home..

[edited to correct units..]

...we have started shutting down supply to big industrial users, and incredibly, some hospitals.

Hi Ralph,

Given these hospitals purchase gas under interruptible contracts, I assume they can switch to #4 or #6 fuel oil as required?


I don't think it is very incredible; all hospitals have back-up(s) for when electricity/heating goes off-line.

There was a big fuss a few years ago when hospitals received cut-off notices after a major fire affected supplies. Most that received the notices apparently had no immediate alternatives and were in the end spared on that occasion. Not sure what the current situation is.

I'm sure hospitals have generators as back up (or should) so this surprises me. May possibly be a problem when you start running out of diesel, and tankertrucks are stuck in snow or refinery employees are on strike.

Oh I imagine they can keep the power on but a lot didn't have any other source of heating if the gas is cut off. That was the status a few years ago and I doubt it has changed all that much since then. Hospitals said at the time they had no idea they could be interrupted until they got the notice of disconnection. Apparently the contract was negotiated way over their heads nationally and it came as a surprise to them that they were considered non-essential.

Someone better inform UK hospitals about the gasproduction graph westexas posted above then!

Government Energy Minister said a couple of days ago on BBC News (approximately from memory): "What the scare-mongers don't realise is that we produce 50% of our own gas in the UK so supply is not an issue".

I nearly punched the screen. Just a few years ago we produced 100% of our own gas.

Hmm, makes me wonder who produces the other 50 percent of "your own gas". This is classic thinking, "they" are sitting on "our" resources.

Hi Paul,

I would expect these institutions can switch between natural gas and oil; it's hard to imagine a critical care facility would leave itself exposed in that manner. The situation with respect to electricity may be a bit more complicated in that the backup generators may not be designed to serve 100 per cent of the hospital's needs.


Well that would be sensible wouldn't it? To make sure you had alternatives if you agree to have your gas cut-off. Very hard to do if nobody told you in advance though and in many cases physically impossible even with advance warning without major plant replacement.

Hi Undertow,

I have no knowledge of what's happening, so this is idle speculation on my part, nothing more. If a hospital were to go cold and dark as the result of this crisis, the political fallout would be enormous. You can bet the National Grid and Labour government would do everything in their power to prevent this from happening.

If gas had to be curtailed due to a critical shortfall, then I would expect only those hospitals with alternate sources of heat and process steam would be targeted. And if things were truly dire, I would expect schools to be closed first and hospitals dead last.

Also, it's not uncommon for steam plants to have fuel switching capability, partly for supply security but also as a way of switching to a lower cost alternative should their cost position shift. (Most likely burned oil originally and part of the plant was converted to gas some years later.)


Backups ... not the British way old boy ... it's inefficient, until you get a failure of something like the Langeled pipeline ... longest ubdersea pipeline in the world. Reminds me of why we have gone to globalisation - but the long supply chain distances make the system efficient and fragile!

Hi Paul and Paul,

In the U.S. at least, hospitals do have generator back up, and you are correct, it is only for critical circuits. It's one of the things that makes electrical design for health care facilities so expensive. It essentially has to be wired twice.

Paul,if you're interested in some input on the RFP you mentioned several days ago, drop me an email.

Hi Debbie,

Thanks very much for your kind offer of assistance; it's greatly appreciated. With everything else on the go, my partners and I have decided to let this one pass. That said, we have a good working relationship with one of the big ESCOs and if they should win this contract, there's a possibility all or a portion of this business could be subcontracted to us. My concern is that we honour our commitments to our existing clients and that things not slide sideways on us in terms of the quality of our work and, thankfully, on this point, my partners are of like mind. The deadline for submission for this RFP is January 15th and if I should hear anything further I'll pass it along.


Electricty Real Time data offline as well now. In fact looks like the entire National Grid site is down. Electricty Balancing Mechanism site still up though which has the data only slightly delayed.

Electricty Real Time data offline as well now

Somebody's being economical with the truth. Now why do you think that has happened? ... wrong kind of snow on the pipes and wires? ... what a surprise, seeing as it's election year!

Or, more mundanely, all this media attention has flooded the web servers with unprecedented demand and they have crashed.

After all, they wouldn't have anticipated extra demand on cold days....

Wot? .... computer networks failing at time of maximum demand ... who'd have thunk? ... good excuse, we'll use that, blame Microsoft! Phew!

BTW our military computer networks don't use the same operating systems do they?

Xeroid, it is the servers that host these links that have failed from too much traffic. It simply does not matter what operating system anyone has, they will still not be able to access a server that has crashed.

Larger, faster servers can handle much more traffic. Also military servers have a firewall that keeps out the riff-raff like you and I. They seldom, if ever, have such overload failures.

Ron P.

it is the servers that host these links that have failed from too much traffic.

Too much traffic, got it.

Larger, faster servers can handle much more traffic.
And so can a good operating sysytem.

FreeBSD has a better track record under load than Windows. On the same hardware with similar software, more connections can occur 'till a "too much traffic" "crashes the OS" happens.


It simply does not matter what operating system anyone has

It DOES matter what OS one chooses. It in facts matters what you code in. Look into articles about Nasdaq thinking of using the same legnths of ethernet cable....you'll find comments about tweaking the network stack and comments about coding in assembly.

Eric quoting me...

It simply does not matter what operating system anyone has...

The greatest crime anyone in a debate can commit is quoting out of context. Of course it matters what kind of operating system one has. But you deleted the second half of my sentence! Gad, how can you have the audacity to do such a thing and make it look like I was making such a stupid statement as "It doesn’t matter what kind of operating system one has?" What I said was:

It simply does not matter what operating system anyone has, they will still not be able to access a server that has crashed." And that is correct.

So Eric, if you think there are operating systems that can access a crashed system, please post the name of that system. But please don't ever quote me out of context again.

Ron P.

Lets see the original comment was about OSes:

Wot? .... computer networks failing at time of maximum demand ... who'd have thunk? ... good excuse, we'll use that, blame Microsoft! Phew!
BTW our military computer networks don't use the same operating systems do they?

You, so desperate to be "correct" go with:
they will still not be able to access a server that has crashed
Trying to somehow ignore the claim that Microsoft OSes are not an issue. Ya know what? A machine that is off isn't able to be accessed. Were you next going to argue that?

But lets go to your claim of correctness:

It simply does not matter what operating system anyone has, they will still not be able to access a server that has crashed." And that is correct.

If an Apache Server crashes on FreeBSD I can still access the OS. In fact, on UNIX, I can delete large parts of the OS such that new logins and new connections won't work but the existing connections and logins will work. And if I have Xen running - I can access the server OS data just fine even if the server OS is not responding.
In some cases I may be able to access the underlying non-responsive Server OS. And without Apache or similar application server software running you won't get web pages outta FreeBSD.

And plenty of times on an Apple ][+ I was able to recover data by not power cycling, reloading the crashed application AND crashed DOS, droping into monitor mode and re-starting the crashed application. Now you did need a modified NMI ROM - but who didn't have one of them back in the day?

Glad to have educated you further on how such magic can bve done.

OT but, do you like Dilbert? Any favorite characters?

One serious question. After reading the article about Pakistan and load shedding, what do you think it would be like to manage the electrical grid and computer/internet networks for a living?

what do you think it would be like to manage the electrical grid and computer/internet networks for a living?

To be surrounded with old outdated hardware, standards based on old models that no longer reflect the present reality and then toss in bosses that insist on Microsoft because the last jackleg wrote some stuff with it so there is lock in into a known broken environment?

I already live that dream bay-beee.

Its why I'm qualified to point out that the Microsoft toolset is broken. How about you?

Actually, I was wondering what you imagine it would be like trying to do your kind of work in Pakistan or some other place where they have to live with chronic, often unexpected and indefinite load shedding.

How would it affect your productivity, your moral in general, if you were trying to maintain critical computer networks yet never knew when and for how long the power might go out on any given day.

Me, I can use a computer but I can't teach it any tricks (unlike my dog, it doesn't respond to bribes of dog biscuits).

Which toolset are you talking about?

I develop software for a living, and while it is oftentimes fun to blame the tools or blame Microsoft, in many cases it is just application bugs which lead to screwy behavior. The same application ported to Unix would be just as broken.

So how much longer until Bill Gates grip slips and Windows nolonger dominates?

Typically, it's when the whole platform / paradigm changes. Visicalc was the original spreadsheet, but WordPerfect and Lotus ruled office software under DOS. Once Windows came in, they couldn't survive the change. (Having the same company selling both the operating system and applications software was probably part of it).

Microsoft's cash cow is Windows. Google is giving them a scare, since it's they're rolling a lot of things out on a new platform: internet-based "cloud computing". My guess is it will be a change like this that knocks out their dominance.

Eric has said enough, but Darwinian just so you know, I was being sarcastic and I appologise for not being clear about that.

I obtained have many diverse qualifications during my career, several are to do with computer networking, my job was as a consultant to fix failed complex systems that others couldn't easily fix, my area of operation was approximately half the world from Eastern USA east to India and all countries in between.

I would be much more inclined to believe the servers are in a clustered environment using a Linux distribution of some sort.

the servers are in a clustered environment using a Linux distribution of some sort.

The "live data" is likely to not be clustered.

Other sources.
Windows Server 2003
Source code from the web page:
action="FeaturePageFull.aspx" (aspx is a microsoft technology)
Various paged called htm
So yes, Microsoft can be blamed


Below some diagrams based upon the most recent data from DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change) that may help shed some light on what is presently going on with UK nat gas supplies.
Diagrams are clickable and opens up in a bigger version in a new window

The diagram above shows UK disposition of natural gas supplies from January 1996 to October 2009, based upon monthly data converted into average daily quantities.
The diagram illustrates how UK increasingly is relying on imports (red area) to cover their nat gas consumption.

The white line shows the development in UK indigenous marketable supplies and the dark blue line total consumption.

In the diagram is also shown the development of the 12 MMA (12 Month Monthly Average) for UK nat gas consumption (dark red line) and the 12 MMA for UK marketable production (orange line).

The diagram also illustrates how the economic slowdown has lowered UK nat gas consumption.

The diagram above shows the development in Year Over Year (YOY) growth and decline in UK marketable nat gas from January 1996 to October 2009.
Note how the decline was limited with the growth in energy prices (oil and natural gas) during 2007 and 2008.

What should get attention is that recently the annual decline in UK marketable nat gas has been accelerating and as of October 2009 had reached an annual rate of close to 14 % and preliminary data for November 2009 from National Grid shows that this acceleration in declines continued and reached an estimated annual level of 16 % by November 2009.

Chances are that the decline in UK marketable nat gas supplies could reach an annual rate of 20 % this winter.

It seems like the cold weather came as a surprise on many, but I have not seen any official forecasts that expected that UK marketable nat gas supplies could decline at an annual rate of 20 % or perhaps more.

This may serve to illustrate that when nat gas fields decline their annual decline rates is both hard to predict and is often very........aggressive.

Ahhh... Mr Likvern, "The King of fresh graphs", brilliant!

Eyballing your first graph the UK is importing 1/3 of her nat.gas nowadays, definitely better than the sited 50% somewhere. That said - while looking at your second graph - it is all in disarray again for me (or rather for the UK to be correct) The plunge over the last recorded months (aug-oct 2009) is extremely steep and I wonder what it could stem from ? I'm tending to agree with your conclusive sentence here "This may serve to illustrate that when nat gas fields decline their annual decline rates is both hard to predict and is often very........aggressive."

EDIT : I just saw your other informative graph up thread, so obviously they have gotten their LNG Import on line. Cheers

Hello paal, good to see you around

The diagram above has been lifted from National Grid’s “Gas Transportation Ten Year Statement 2009”, page 52 issued in December 2009. I have added the red line (at 150 Mcm/d) and the vertical dotted line indicating where in time we are now.

As of November 2009 total UK marketable natural gas production (preliminary data from National Grid) was around 145 Mcm/d. And as the diagram shows, this is far below the forecast published in the document I lifted it from and referenced above.

On an annual basis UK is presently importing around 1/3 of their nat gas consumption.

As of these days demand is in the range of 450 - 460 Mcm/d and marketable supplies from indigenous production I would now put at around 150 Mcm/d, then add 80 - 100 Mcm/d from storage withdrawals which means that presently around 200 - 230 Mcm/d is balanced by imports from Norway, the Netherlands, through the Interconnector (from Belgium) and LNG.

In other words UK is importing close to half of its nat gas consumption these days.

All UK LNG receiving facilities are presently operational and delivering nat gas into the distribution system.

I suspect aggressive decline rates to be the major cause for the now, steep decline in UK marketable natural gas production.

Great - this info clarifies the Minister-Claimed 50% import of nat.gas (recently ongoing) thanks.

But that chart of yours looks rather scary- so I looked up that document on the Web trying to understand more of it... because, errr I mean, your "We are here"-marker in comparison to National Grid’s very-very fresh 10y-scenarios 'doesn't add up'.
What I try to say is ; the deviation through just one year of 25% is 'too freakishly wrong' ... no?

I'm not sure how you arrived at 150 mcm/d though , but Rune let it be clear : I buy into your number, given what I have seen today from other sources..

I cannot get my head around the info in your modified chart.
There is nothing on the planet that changes so much - 25% up/down - over a year, except for the stock exchange ---- yeah and now also British nat-gas projections. Fold your hands and let's all sing Jerusalem (the hymn). Frankly, what else is there to do ?

Fold your hands and let's all sing Jerusalem (the hymn). Frankly, what else is there to do ?

Congratulate Lithuania (pop 3.5m) on closing it's last remaining nuclear reactor last week?

Anyone care to comment on this?


Likelihood to Interrupt for 08/01/2010

NTS 	Specific
NTS South West 	High
NTS South East 	Low
NTS Southern 	Low
NTS Other 	Low

This is different from the situation up until now which only had "LDZ" (ie customer loads) listed as liable to disruption. This seems to be saying the Network Transmission System in the South West Region is at High Risk of Interruption tomorrow unless I am misunderstanding it.

Having no basic idea of this reporting or the activating thresholds for them- I can not comment. But if it is close to what you suggest, I take it for granted the BBC should interrupt their scheduled programming and "Inform"..... BBC is after all mandatory pay TV no ?

The main BBC1 TV News tonight used the nice user-friendly version: "National Grid has issued a second alert today which asks suppliers to make more more gas available." They did not mention that customers were already being cut-off. BBC Radio 4 main evening News did mention this (PM Programme). Radio 4 listeners are supposed to be better educated in general and presumably the BBC thinks can stand worse news. Peak tv news bulletins are dumbed down. May well be discussed tonight on tv on the more heavyweight Newsnight though or maybe even on the political show "This Week"

Whatever NTS Specific Interruption means I have never seen anything other than "Low" in that panel before.

Edit: I found a further definition under Report Explorer.It says: "NTS Specific: Specific interruption to address known NTS constraints". That doesn't tell us much more either but it presumably includes some very unpleasant solutions to address the "known constraints". Also on the report explorer version there is a "C" annotation beside the "High" which means "Corrected" so they have changed it to "High" within the day as I thought.

Good news though is that Langelad supplies now almost back to where they were before the interruption.


If National Grid expects that the gas demand in any part of the National Transmission System will exceed the available capacity, it will instruct shippers supplying gas to interrupt some, or all, of their interruptible NTS and LDZ customers to ensure there is sufficient capacity to deliver gas to firm consumers. National Transmission system interruption is generally invoked over a wide area.

whatever that means.

And now we have the names of some companies hit.


"There are some customers in the north-west and east Midlands who have had supplies interrupted because they are on interruptible contracts and we are facing high demand," said a grid spokeswoman.

Well-known manufacturers at locations around the country – including the south and east of England – confirmed they were experiencing power supply problems but most asked for their names to be kept private to avoid panicking shareholders. But Vauxhall (GM) and British Sugar both confirmed gas had been cut off but said production was being kept up by the use of stand-by, oil-fired, generators.

"From 6pm on Monday British Gas asked us to stop using gas so ever since we have used oil and we will do that until they tell us we can start using gas," said a spokesperson for Vauxhall.

That suggests to me the companies that don't want it known to avoid panicking shareholders do not have the same backup facilities as GM and British Sugar

"From 6pm on Monday......... "
This means that several large users have been 'off nat.gas' for 3 days already. Interesting.

Yes, presumably they and others switched voluntarily on request following the first GBA but that hasn't been enough so now we are into involuntary disconnects.

Edit: BBC1 tv 10pm main news gave this reasonable coverage near the start of the bulletin finally.

UK has an official censorship mechanism to keep the narrative framing 'on-message'
three cheers for western free press.

The businessinsider is doing a great job lately, exposing PO. My compliments.

Cramped on Land, Big Oil Bets at Sea

This is a very good article with an embedded 2.5 minute video about the world's largest drill ship. However there are a few misleading statements in the article including the following:

Falling output from old fields has stoked fears that world-wide production could be nearing its peak. Global oil reserves -- a measure of oil that has been found but not yet produced -- fell in 2008 for the first time in a decade, according to BP's annual statistical review. Moreover, there are signs demand could soon catch up to supply. Global oil consumption has risen by 5.4 million barrels a day in the past five years, while production has risen by just 4.8 million barrels a day.

World oil production has risen by 4.5 million barrels per day in the last five years? Absurd! In the last 5 years, since 2004, Crude oil plus Condensate has fallen by an average of 442,000 barrels per day. And in the last four years, since 2005, it has fallen by a whopping 1,686,000 barrels per day.

And even if you count bottled gas, (my favorite term for NGLs), ethanol, palm oil and whatever, since 2004 All Liquids has risen by only 860,000 barrels per day. But in the last four years All Liquids have fallen by 604,000 barrels per day. So how in heavens name can BP's annual statistical review say that production has risen by 4.8 million barrels per day in the last 5 years? I don't follow BP's data but I don't believe even their data shows that.

(All my figures are based on the EIA's International Petroleum Monthly and using the last 9 month average for 2009 data.)

Ron P.

Perhaps I can write to them, and get the matter clarified. The only way I can see that they might have come us with number like they have is to compare 2007 to 2003 on an all liquids basis, which doesn't make any sense. Maybe it is a way to open up a channel of discussion as well.

Gail, probably what they were comparing was the average, all liquids, from 2003 verses 2008. If that is what they were comparing then it is over 5 million barrels per day. But comparing 3003 production with 2008 is deceiving. It is now 2010 and the last five years does not include 2003. Also it completely masks the fact that Crude peaked in 2005 and All Liquids peaked in 2008 and that oil production has been on a nearly flat plateau for the last 5 years.

At any rate it is all academic now. Non OPEC, which currently produces 58 percent of the world's oil, peaked in 2004. It is only a matter of time now before even BP must admit peak oil is in the past.

Ron P.

I think maybe what they compared is BP production. It was 81,820,000 million barrels a day 2008 and 76,990,000 b/d in 2003, for a difference of 4,830,000. Consumption is shown as 84,455,000 b/d in 2008 and 79,071,000 in 2003, for a difference of 5,384,000. The reports are on different bases, which is how consumption can be higher than production.

It's behind a paywall. It's viewable through Google news, or at these links:



(The Rigzone version was posted in Tuesday's DrumBeat.)

Thanks Leanan, I found it while surfing google.news and did not realize it was behind a pay wall.

Neither the Yahoo link or the Rigzone link has the video. But if you paste Cramped on Land, Big Oil Bets at Sea into google.news you will get the video.

Ron P.

Crisis Just Beginning: Economist CNBC Video

Simon Johnson, an economist at MIT Sloan School of Management, says the crisis is just beginning.

A really pessimistic economist, something you don't often see on CNBC.

Ron P.

What's going on at CNBC here, lately? See the Dreaded Double Dip, above.

There, they address three problems...

To fix the first measure, massive debt and foreclosure relief and job creation is required. To tackle the second, alternative energy technologies need to be addressed in a serious way. Instead of diddling around with soft technologies like wind and solar, a gargantuan push for nuclear power and major water diversion/hydroelectric projects is required. To address the third, either the banks need to be forced to loan, or the government may need to come up with some alternative method of exchange, altogether.

They set out the first solution correctly, though IMO it is impossible without setting up hyperinflation. Most likely the government types want that, since it would devalue debt to near zero; of course, any later spending would become impossible without a new currency. Oops... isn't that what they urge as a solution to problem number 3?

Frightening, isn't it. Leanan's thesis about further home devalution is also covered quite well, if in a depressing projection.

I won't comment on the second problem/solution discussed, except to say that hydroelectric is about topped out, unless someone has a way to build a few new mountains and can arrange rainfall/snowfall to provide the liquid necessity there.


Nothing to worry about...

Retailers See Holiday Sales Rebound From Grim 2008

The nation’s retailers on Thursday confirmed that they had a merry Christmas in 2009, a year after weathering the worst holiday shopping season in decades.

Retailers as varied as Costco and Saks posted robust year-over-year increases at stores open at least a year, a crucial measure of retail health known as same-store sales. Some chains — TJX Companies, Ross Stores and Aeropostale — reported double-digit increases. And a number of retailers raised their earnings estimates, suggesting the nation’s stores are in the early stages of a turnaround.

I think I see how this going to play out...

Recession scars will linger long after economy heals

What Irons calls "economic scarring" will long serve as a reminder of the 2007-09 recession.

Millions of workers who've lost their hold on the labor market are seeing their incomes reset to a permanently lower level. Young people who entered the workforce this year can expect to earn substantially less during their careers than those who start work during booms.

As state and local governments slash spending, some children will lose educational opportunities, including the chance to attend college.

Others will be weakened by untreated physical and mental illnesses.

They're going to tell us the recession's over, the consumer is just traumatized and needs to get over it.

That's it in a nutshell. Another wedge to the permanently unemployed, just like the last times. The question remains whether we'll ramp up, GDP wise, as before.

Edit question: Did anyone find out the fate of totoneila?

Totoneila is fine. He's just not interested in peak oil any more.

To expand...

Alan from Big Easy called his ex-girlfriend. She said he was fine and has moved on to other interests but was reluctant to reveal any more than that.

This upbeat reatiler news just doesn't ring true. A year in which so many people are out of work, or underwater on their mortgage, or maxed out on their credit cards and desperately trying to pay them down - and yet they all go out on the mother of all spending sprees? And where WERE all those crowds in the store, where WERE all those filled to the brim shopping carts?

This story just doesn't seem to match up with my observations of reality, nor with the observations of many other people that I've heard. It really makes you wonder how true it really is.

Or is it the case that the previous year was SO bad, that even if this season was still bad, it wasn't quite as bad as last year, that makes it look relatively better? I suspect that is much closer to the truth.

In other words - Bad News: We're losing money; Good News: We're not losing it quite as fast as we did last year.

Upon such a foundation prosperous economies are not built.

CNBC this morning ran this story, with their usual rah-rah spin. However, they did note that even though stores sold more, the average price paid for things was lower.

My own very limited observations differ. When I get to the city, stores seem full, too much for me, and at times the item I want is sold out. We went to try and see Avatar over the holidays, and crowds were horrendous. Shows sold out. Don't know the cause, but ag commodity prices received are abysmal, ie normal unfortunately.

Then there's this:

"The unemployment rate, which stood at 10% in November, is expected to stay uncomfortably high for the foreseeable future. Some experts even suggest that the labor market won't be able to fully recover from the 7.2 million jobs lost since the start of 2008 before another recession and round of job losses."


No recovery for the unemployed... "before another recession and round of job losses."

Thinking on WNC's comment and my own observations, it appears the debilitating effects thus far are regional. Which is how I recall the recession of the 80's. It was awful in the non-coast west, no jobs, period. Yet talking to friends on the east coast, it was "Morning in America" by the early 80's. Things picking up, jobs if you looked. Real estate prices and local jobs didn't really start to recover until the early to mid 90's for much of the rural small town west. (Prior to the recession, rural RE prices were quite inflated due in part a runup in commodity prices.)

Don't go by the crowds for Avatar - the movie theaters did a good business even during the depths of the Great Depression. A movie ticket is still a lot cheaper than a lot of other stuff.

There was a late boost in December sales, but people need to hear the entire year figures or at least the entire 4th QTR figures. That is what is NOT being reported and those numbers are not quite as cheery.

Bad News: We're losing money; Good News: We're not losing it quite as fast as we did last year.

I'd go with - good news we have less competition as many have closed their doors.

Strikes me as a few retailers are trying to be the last man standing.

(things to watch - look for wider isles and less deeply packed shelves. Local grocery store chain has a couple of isles that are packed with cardbord boxes with the store log all in a row. Along with bottled water. They widened the isle with a banner "now with wider isles for more shopping room" not "now with less stuff")

Tax Receipts Down presents a quandry versus the report of same store sales being up until you understand the methodology at work there.

Multiple retail organizations report retail sales. Almost all of them use a similar "same store" methodology. If a store goes out of business, it gets dropped from the reporting roles. Thus you have the situation where store closures and layoffs can see drops in gross business revenue (and thus sales and income taxes) but the remaining stores get more business because consumers have fewer locations from which to choose. So "same store" sales are up roughly 3% year over year, yet total tax receipts are down 7.7 percent. The real and important result is that total sales are down, year over year, yet most mainstream media won't report this, primarily because they simply report whatever press releases are handed to them rather than doing their own investigative journalism.

Similarly, tomorrow the BLS is expected to post very rosy unemployment numbers, perhaps even claiming job "gains" have begun. Yet at the same time, Total NSA Unemploment Claims Hit Another Record. What is going on here? It's a combination of "special" BLS "seasonal adjustments" coupled with the broken BLS Birth-Death model that has been wrong for every month of the recession since 2007.

These sorts of discrepancies in reporting are not simple statistical error either. When all of your errors in prediction end up on one side the actual data, there is a bias problem in your data methodology. The BLS has demonstrated again and again that it has a clear bias problem in how it processes data. Likewise, the retail sales organizations tend to under state sales losses during periods of contraction and understate sales gains during periods of growth.

The information provided by such organizations can be useful if you understand the inherent issues in their methodology. But if you simply take the raw reports as "truth" then you are going to be deceived again and again.

For those of you wanting to understand more about Emergency Unemployment Compensation, a nice comment was made by jswede at Zero Hedge:

regarding the EUC, Emergency Claims Number.... realize that this claims bucket does not usually exist -- which is why many are not so familiar with it (ie Liesman etc)... it's created when the job losses are i) massive and ii) folks don't find work. first you claim benefits, when that runs out, you claim extended benefits, then, if you STILL don't have a job, if it's made available, you claim EMERGENCY benefits...

in this recession, EUC did not exist until mid-2008... that's to say that it was at ZERO in mid-2008.... by the end of 2008 it was at 1.6mil people... at the beginning of Nov 2009 it was at 3.6mil... it's at 5.1mil at the latest reading, on 12/18 (~2 week delay in these numbers as I understand)... that's 1.5mil people added in 6 weeks.

and it's getting worse: ONE WEEK AGO, the 12/11/09 EUC number was released at 4.4mil... today's reading came in at 5.1mil for 12/18, and the increase reported was +235k...again: FOR. THE. WEEK. ... but that doesn't add up to the increase... oh yea, there was the +460k revision to the 12/11 week... nearly 700k people added on the week from 12/11 to 12/18.... chart it if you're on bloomberg: {INJCEUC } it's getting STEEEP.

the EUC bucket is the 'last stop'. with 1 job for every 6 people looking (perhaps worse at this point?), it will only get bigger. this week was the first that EUC was higher than Cont Claims. and it will become more massive, even as media focuses on the initial claims, assuming that, like in OTHER recessions, people eventually find work... not this time.

In other words, EUC claims are exploding at the very same time that the BLS is likely to claim that things are getting better. In short, the real economy is still very, very ill, and claims of recovery are nothing short of hyperbole. If a private individual made claims this blatantly false about an individual stock, they would be in jail, yet the citizens of the United States blindly accept such lies from their government. This is why the problem we currently face is so deep. It goes beyond the technical aspects of resource depletion or the economic aspects of the financial crisis into the very depths of how we are organized and what we choose to believe from our information priesthood. Just presenting the facts about peak oil will never alter behavior. Even the recent price crisis has not altered behavior much yet. For behavior to change, belief systems have to change but changing beliefs of anyone is always a very difficult proposition. And while a few societies have managed to reorganize to avoid collapse, most do not. The reason why comes right back to the difficulty of changing belief systems before the crisis destroys that society.

Here are some of those stores which fit into your description.

Looks like their sales data aren't included this time around...

E. Swanson

Dave, I meant to say the other day how glad I was to see you posting on TOD. Your vision and planning are sorely needed in the difficult times ahead!

Thanks again.

Great post!

I`ve been suspecting this would happen......no one would leave the city, no matter how bad it got. Even facing death, famine, people will stay and wait to join the heavenly choir rather than admit there was a horrible miscalculation made and go to the countryside and eat potatoes and chicken eggs they grew themselves.

There is no gene in our brains for "horrible mistake! hoof it! retreat!" It just doesn`t exist. The thinking, collectively, is that we cannot be wrong. Our progress is undeniable, it is true. But so many mistakes have been made also.

So little by little people on the perimeter, where there are fields and streams and forests, will find themselves not suffering as horribly as the people living where there is no food at all. Little by little the latter will cease to exist while the former reproduce and go about their lives, maybe slowly, maybe without tons of healthcare and material goods. The system will rebalance. But people will still look to the center, maybe a smaller town or a village, for complexity and talent.

There are thousands of homeless in Tokyo now---maybe 15,000 or 20,000 at least according to one estimate (some say more). They really can`t go anywhere I think. They are getting some basic food allowance and that`s about it. No one wants to really talk about this here. But what will happen to these people??? As their numbers grow and as govt programs fail....

It is a stark stark future upon us. People I know get tight-lipped when this topic (the homeless) comes up and then they look away.

There is no gene in our brains for "horrible mistake! hoof it! retreat!" It just doesn`t exist.

I think there is. But people tend to go toward the cities in times of trouble. It happened as the Roman Empire collapsed, it happened as the Mayan civilization fell...and we see it happening now, in Zimbabwe and Bangladesh and New Guinea. Even people who are traditionally farmers are fleeing to the cities. It's probably not reasonable to expect a city dweller to move to the country and try to be a subsistence farmer. Especially if they have no land, nor any money to buy land.

There there's this...

Renters' market: Prices fall 3%, vacancies up 8%

Home ownership is down, and so is renting. It's the "brother in the law in the couch" version of the apocalypse.

"Household formation rates slow down during recessions," said Severino. "They may move in with their families or rent larger apartments and partner up with friends. They partner with others much more then they do during more prosperous times."

Come now... we KNEW the Christmas sale reports were going to be upbeat.

And we know to expect quiet downward revisions for the next 120 days, just like Fall 2009 GDP numbers, the real estate numbers, auto sales...

We'll know what's doing when the state by state sales tax numbers are posted.

I heard that fellow on the radio in the UK two days ago. It's an interesting story which I suppose is another stitch in the doomist tapestry. I don't take CNBC very seriously. They report well, but it's a fashion show for analysts and their quackery. Not that he's necessarily incorrect, it's just that the overwhelming majority of the fools they parade on that show have less of an understanding of markets than my beagle. An' he aint clever!
Don't want to be negative about your post Ron, but the white noise of predictions for the next 2-10 years leaves me thinking of when I was a kid and would shut my eyes, stick my fingers in my ears and shout "lalalalalalalalalala". Of course, there are also Black Swans.....

State Tax Revenue in U.S. Drops Most Since 1963, Study Says

Revenue dropped 13.3 percent, or $80 billion, compared with the same nine months of 2008, to $523 billion, the institute said. Collections in the third quarter alone sank 10.9 percent to about $162 billion...

The worst economic slump since the Great Depression has forced states to cut spending, raise taxes and pass down costs to local governments to cope with $193 billion of combined budget deficits in the current fiscal year, according to a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report issued last month.

Get a little chilly out there, in more ways than just the weather...


U.S. car fleet shrank by four million in 2009
by Lester Brown

Pretty good article. Here are a few quotes...

America’s century-old love affair with the automobile may be coming to an end. The U.S. fleet has apparently peaked and started to decline. In 2009, the 14 million cars scrapped exceeded the 10 million new cars sold, shrinking the U.S. fleet by 4 million, or nearly 2 percent in one year. While this is widely associated with the recession, it is in fact caused by several converging forces.
The coming shrinkage of the U.S. car fleet also means that there will be little need to build new roads and highways. Fewer cars on the road reduces highway and street maintenance costs and lessens demand for parking lots and parking garages. It also sets the stage for greater investment in public transit and high-speed intercity rail.

Great news to hear about the shrinking car fleet!
I really hate cars. When you don`t have a car, you start to resent people who drive near you--the smell, the danger, the fact that they take up all that space and expect to have right-of-way, the noise. (My family has not one car and we`ve been car-free for 14 years, ever since leaving the USA.)

I am sure this phenonmenon of decreasing cars will be echoed around the globe. I cannot tell you what a relief it is to read this news!!! THANK YOU a MILLION times!!

I suspect that this is just the low-hanging fruit here. I am thinking that people are giving up spare vehicles that they kept around just because they could, but these things still cost money to insure. Even if you don't drive it, you still have to maintain it.

This was discussed in an earlier DrumBeat. My guess is that a lot of these cars were "cash for clunkers" turn-ins. They had to be destroyed to qualify. Some people probably turned in cars they weren't driving, and weren't planning to.

Others turned in cars they might have sold or passed on to their kids otherwise. Dealers are reporting a shortage of used cars, especially cheap ones, and blaming Cash for Clunkers. Poor people are being priced out of the car market.

The economy probably has a lot to do with it, too. Families who used to have two cars have cut back to one, to save money. People who are moving in with family or delaying moving out on their own may not need their own car...especially if they don't have jobs.

One statistic that is more difficult to "fiddle" is the cash flow from taxes. Look at all taxes and you can see the picture since the taxes are up to date, e.g. payroll/income taxes are usually paid monthly and sales taxes/VAT paid montly or quarterly.

Yet another community discovered that we haven't learned lessons from:


So if those 3 billion with $2.00 a day give $.75 per day to the 1 billion with less than $1.25 a day we solve the problem.

Oh yeah, and we should give $1 billion each to the heads of the banking industry for doing Dogs work.

About 3 billion people lived on less than $2.00 a day. The World Bank established a minimum amount needed for survival at about $1.25 a day. More than a billion exist on less than $1.25 a day.


So if those 3 billion with $2.00 a day give $.75 per day to the 1 billion with less than $1.25 a day we solve the problem.

Oh yeah, and we should give $1 billion each to the heads of the banking industry for doing Dogs work.

About 3 billion people lived on less than $2.00 a day. The World Bank established a minimum amount needed for survival at about $1.25 a day. More than a billion exist on less than $1.25 a day.


Dear Michigan, please prove me wrong

As we enter a new decade, it’s striking how much the situation we face in Michigan mirrors the one confronting our country.

Here at home, it's clear that the near-collapse of our domestic automobile industry is the major contributor to our present economic disaster –and before that, to the decline we have faced over the past 10 years. Never mind whether the biggest culprit was narrow-minded and poor management, bad product decisions, or kowtowing to the unions. The fact is that the industry shriveled, and over the decade, Michigan lost nearly a million jobs.

Now, our state is beginning to lose population as well.

Nationally, the worst economic downturn since the 1930s was clearly provoked by a combination of astounding greed, terrible risk management and asleep-at-the-switch government regulation of the financial industry And, as anybody who is trying to find a job or has lost their house can tell you, we're not nearly out of the woods yet.

Nationally, I am beginning to suspect that future historians will point to the decade we've just lived through as the beginning of America’s relative decline in worldwide leadership and prosperity.

Posted today by Phil Power who heads the well respected "Center for Michigan."


Now, our state is beginning to lose population as well.

Does anyone have any thoughts on where they are going? Over the last year, New York City, Las Vegas, and several California cities have all been reported as losing population.

Does anyone have any thoughts on where they are going?

Good question.

They aren't coming to Florida, we are losing population as well. It's probably too cold for them :-)


OIA Can't Deice Frozen Jets
Planes May Need To Sit In Sunshine To Melt Ice

updated 20 minutes ago
ORLANDO, Fla. - WESH.com
Officials at Orlando International Airport are keeping an eye out for ice Thursday morning.
Deicing is something that's not usually required at local airports, and OIA doesn't have the equipment used to remove ice from the planes.

Hope it warms up next week when I head for Cape Coral.

Yeah I hope so too! I was up on a roof helping with a solar install on Tuesday and with the wind chill it was a bit too cold for me. Keep in mind there was a time I lived in Buffalo New York but my blood has thinned considerably since those days.

I think we are supposed to have more seasonable temperatures by next week.

I haven't seen the stats but wouldn't be surprised to see gains in TX. Life is still pretty good here despite some turn down. Nothing like many parts of the country has seen. Sometimes it's easy to loose sight of how bad things are elsewhere when you live in Houston. Even my old worn out town (Baytown...home of the largest US refinery) still has commercial buildings gone up.

Don't mess with Texas: More Americans moving in

Texas, for example, never went through the boom-and-bust housing cycle that devastated the Sand States. Home prices remained affordable, and the state's unemployment rate was 8% in October, a full two percentage points below the national average.

So, it's no surprise that Texas added more than 3.9 million residents during the 2000s. Its population also grew by the greatest number of people (478,000) during the 12 months ended July 1. California was second with 381,000 followed by North Carolina with 134,000.

How many of these were Katrina refugees who decided to resettle in Texas rather than try and rebuild in New Orleans?

Probably about half a million. They would be included in the 2000-2009 figures, but none would be in the last twelve months. In fact, there are a few still drifting back to the Big Easy.

Texas, for one.

Re: Study: US biofuels policies flawed, up top.

The most important paragraph in the article is the last:

The study was supported by a research grant in environmental engineering from Chevron Technology Ventures.

As usual he who pays the piper gets to call the tune. The article should be taken in that light.

If biofuels policy is flawed and should be revisited it is clear that American oil policy is even more flawed. The subsidies and government mandates given to biofuels are but a tiny fraction of the subsidies being given to oil. Yet oil production is now stagnant and has dropped significantly in the U.S. in the past forty years.

Oil is subsidized in many ways. Oil has the oil depletion allowance while ethanol does not have a soil depletion allowance for example. Oil has the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to soak up excess supply which is a defacto oil subsidy. But the biggest oil subsidies are the wars for oil security. They have soaked up and are soaking up trillions of dollars of government funds.

The defense budget now consumes 80% of tax collections according to an article I read recently. And it exceeds all the money states collect in taxes to fund state government. The biggest current threat is in the Middle East which is a main source of world oil. These expenditures have to be added to the retail cost of oil and easily exceed any biofuel subsidies currently on the books.

As for mandates, there are at least two kinds: structural and governmental. So long as vehicles can only burn oil there is a defacto structural mandate for oil consumption. This could be changed by law to require flex-fuel vehicles or vehicles capable of running on natural gas. But oil interests have been successful in maintaining their structural mandate advantages just as they have been in maintaining the defacto subsidy of wars for oil security.

As far as eliminating tariffs on imported ethanol the effect of such action would be to subsidize ethanol producers in foreign countries instead of in our own. That is downright silly. The tariff on imported ethanol has to be maintained unless we are willing to have even bigger ethanol subsidy expenditures to fund both our own and foreign ethanol.

The economic costs of shipping resources to foreign oil exporters to pay for oil is hardly ever take into account in anti biofuel pieces like this one. We need to produce more energy ourselves so that we are not constantly drained economically to buy imported oil and fund wars in order to maintain foreign sources for that oil. That is the real reason wages have stagnated since peak U.S. oil around about 1970 and is behind the current economic difficulties.

Rethinking biofuels will solve nothing without rethinking oil and recognizing Peak Oil. The study is nothing but a shill for the oil industry. They paid for it and they got the tune they wanted.

The defense budget now consumes 80% of tax collections according to an article I read recently. And it exceeds all the money states collect in taxes to fund state government. The biggest current threat is in the Middle East which is a main source of world oil.

I'd be interested to see where you get those figures. According to a variety of sources, the defense budget in 2008 was less than $500 million, and total Federal tax collections were close to $2.7 trillion. That's less than 20%, not 80%. Now, as they say, "figures can't lie, but liars can figure", and there are plenty of lies to go around.

The defense budget does not include a few hundred million spent in Iraq and Afghanistan (but you did say "defense budget").

Total defense expenditures do approach 80% of "discretionary" expenditures. But:

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

That's from Article 1 of the constitution. It doesn't seem to indicate Defence [sic] is discretionary.

Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid by themselves add up to about $1.2 trillion, which is around 44% of Federal revenues.

RE: Study: Climate change means greater risk of catastrophic wildfire. Leanan's header post above.

I wrote a TOD Keypost article several years back which in part highlighted this aspect of climate change. Catastrophic wildfire is one I believe is neglected.

Some of this neglect is due to the attitude that it won't happen here or we'll fight it when it happens. Although the northern Rocky Mountains are highlighted in the above story, it applies just as much to much of the rest of the country, especially the South and the Southeast. As to the we'll fight it attitude, I had a personal glimpse of that last summer as a wildfire raged onto our land.

Mindful that for the northern rockies, conditions were ripe for fire. These conditions were predicted by the IPCC with greatly elevated snow packs last winter leading to excess spring grass and forb development, shortly dying back to provide high tinder levels. Come July drought, all were on alert, myself included, but was not prepared for the shenanigans and SNAFUs that accompany major wildfire.

Imagining that occurring downslope PO when fuel is short, aircraft unavailable or delayed and communications snarled is beyond sobering. It'll travel as long as fuel allows. As it was, a fire initially contained by nearly heroic night-long fighting by diligent ground crews roared for 4 days. It went through 2 bureaucracies-state and fed, 4 Incident Commanders, shipped-in Hotshots, fixed wing and rotary air support, and little sleep for myself. Watching it explode along the nighttime mountain side, heading for your home, does that. We lost timber, but thankfully, our cattle and buildings were spared.

Doug -- what's your view of the debate over limited burns to reduce fuel load vs. doing nothing. I think some years ago they decided to let some fires burn around Yellowstone to reduce th fuel load in an attempt to reduce the chance of catastrophic fires.

Rockman,in Australia mosaic burning is sometimes used to reduce fuel load and also to maintain a diverse forest or grassland system.A lot of Australian vegetation actually benefits from a fire provided it is not too hot.There is also a contraversial idea of fuel reduction burning.

The principal problem with these methods is finding a window of opportunity in weather conditions so that the burn can be carried out safely.A fuel reduction burn that gets away is about the last thing that forresters and fire authorities need.

We have the same problem but on a much smaller scale than you thirra. We'll pile brush and wait for a light rain to burn. Our brush tends to have a rather high BTU so it's easy for it to get away from you.

And thanks Doug. I thought the Yellowstone fire put the issue on the front burner (pun intended) for some folks out there.

A way to use that brush:



First, a thanks for your informative posts. I'm not around here as much lately, time constraints, but still learn alot from yourself and others on PO.

The let it burn policy was instituted 15-20 yrs ago, depending on agency. As I recall, Climate Change had little to do with it, rather, it was recognizing that fire is a natural component of forest ecosystems, that fire suppression activities in the Smokey Bear era and before had resulted in unnatural fuel loads which would trigger large fires. It was floating in academia for a decade or better before the Yellowstone burn of 1988 changed alot of minds.

That as opposed to cc, which will result in mega forest wide fires. One has only to look at Canada these past couple years. When large areas of the forest are dead or diseased, huge fires result that dwarf our efforts at prevention. IMO, the idea that we can mitigate cc effects thru prescribed burning is good for funding.

Let it burn is dependent on quite a few factors. Management type would be a big factor not necessarily agency responding or jurisdiction. Wilderness areas are usually let burn unless the Wildland Fire analysis shows that something other than the wilderness is threatened. Parks different, state lands different again but depending more on the type of ground they are on.

It probably seems that the agency alone sets the policy b/c states ,for instance. tend to manage areas where houses are threatned and park service or forest service land not as much. Under incident command we are supposed to approach each one on it's merrits but I will readily acknowlege most 'locals' and states will generally shoot first with everything the've got and ask questions later.

Location (position, terrain), seasonalityy ,fuel loading, type, arraingement, expected weather, moisture content and size, and time of year determine how far a fire can go. (the list is longer of course) Often decisions are made based on triage (prioritization), land use (management for wildlife habitat, tree type, fuels reduction ect) and unfortunately a factor we who fight fires call 'political smoke'.

PO cc and fire. As I have said before. Early loss of snowfall and runoff, disease, and availiable resouces are already bigtime noticable in suppression and they'll get worse. Big fuels (1000 hr. and higher) which seasonally have longer to dry are one of the biggest factors in resistance to control. Lower live fuel moistures and stress from drought are biggies too.

The control burns are our friend idea is that fire per se isn't bad but catastrophic fire is. Unfortunately I have seen way too much of the second kind in recent years that only goes out with the season ending event. If the energy release component gets past a certain point and factors are in alignment there just isn't enough resource to catch it even if PO wasn't making it more expensive and cc wasn't putting the water farther away.

That said if it looks like a fire can accomplish fuels reduction w/o going nuclear and has a resonable chance of being herded to a timely demise by conditions w/o threatening tax paying values that's probably what will happen, whether it's control or wildland start. Too often that luxury just isn't avaliable.

The waste of efforts, $$ and poor decisions on the ground stuff is something that all of us have seen , done and screamed about. (and occasionally been able to prevent) Firefighter deaths and environmental concerns are contributers to the continual ebb and flow of policy too.


Nice addition to the let it burn policy. I have 2 sons who were seasonal wildland fire fighters. I appreciate your hard work, one of the hardest and most dangerous jobs today. That first nite of our fire it raced up nearly vertical terrain and ledge, and the guys were on it all night, with heat-heaved boulders and burning timber crashing down from the cliffs above.

Unfortunately, I also witnessed governments in action, and that was nearly as scary as the fire itself. The squabbling and in-fighting between agencies and between state and federal fighters, petty egos, cynical or uninformed dispatchers, budget constraints, and promotion possibilities of senior staff all contributed to a veritable clusterf**k that first 24 hours. The lofty lists of USDA manuals of fuels, priority, land management, etc were not in much evidence. I was particularly dismayed at the federal forest circus, who took control of the fire after state crews had it contained, ordering the state crews off. Then they did nothing for 6 hours, and the fire roared to life and jumped the lines.

I have nothing against fire as an agent for fuel reduction, as I said, it's a nice way to secure additional funding. IMO it's foolish to think it will have much effect against climate change. With regional-wide changes killing the forests, drought, heat, and the fact the vast majority of wildland fires are lightening set, I find little contribution. This is especially so in non wilderness areas, where I think money might be better spent cleaning up slash and debris on private lands and timber sales. But I realize all agencies are really strapped for funds, esp the police and enforcement work that goes with this problem.

"The squabbling and in-fighting between agencies and between state and federal fighters, petty egos, cynical or uninformed dispatchers, budget constraints, and promotion possibilities of senior staff all contributed to a veritable clusterf**k that first 24 hours."


Seen way too much of it. Been doing this for 32 years. Story of our lives. Way too aggressive burning out, turf battles, team transition problems. Lack of intermural information sharing. You'll get no arguement from me.

Our State agency had a huge lawsuit in 1985 on a 40,000 acre fire called Barker Mt. when several homes burned. 15 years later the Forest (Circus) had 30 Mile a tragedy much worse. These two events are given only as backdrop as to how gunshy the two agencies became in opposite directions. Pushing one agency to faster response the other I fear to an abundance of caution. I had a crew of ground pounders on one incident and worked equiptment on the other.

It may be this has some relevence or perhaps none to your fire. If it boiled down to personality or ambition I would not be surprized. I have always been too gung ho for the agency and I am not eager to burn but to get to the natural barrier ,get it lined ,reinforced and coax the the support in to staple it in place.

The only insider thing I can tell you today is that we were given directive this last season that Fight Fire Aggressively is back in vouge. After all if you can't draw the resources, (Cats are cheaper than Airplanes and we don't have airplanes), then you better catch stuff quicker. As opposed to let it get bigger so you can jump the priority list. I do think they are seeing funding is not limitless.

Occaisionally in spite of all the 'mating of elephants' fanfare that goes on(esp. in those first 24 hrs.) something right happens on the ground. It's been far too rare but worth savoring as I contemplate whether I've done my last season or not.

A 3 mile long extreem bike trail saved 900 acres from the last of 4 failed burnouts which we halted. Some simple line prep and a natural burnout did in a big fire another time, 4 not so hotshot crews from different parts of the country joined together and convinced the type 1 team to attempt some of the toughest line they had ever seen in record time to stop another large fire because no premier crews were to be had.

Maybe when some of the big toys and big money isn't so freely availiable we will realize what's really at stake and just get back to work. Just like I have to do in the morn.

RE: How much fuel we use in a year

I've been thinking lately about the issue of data-visualization as a way for helping people to realize the true scale of the predicament us humans now find ourselves in, and this article from above is my excuse to mention it here.

Last week there was some discussion on The Drum Beat about a graphic depiction of the relative amounts of coverage different news topics got. That and this article stirred these thoughts up.

It seems to me that one of the big challenges and frustrations expressed by the people who hang out here is getting others to wake up and actually see what is happening regarding energy supply, climate, economic issues, etc. In my view The Oil Drum's big strength is the general willingness of participants here to do the math, to not just assert that "x is the case" but to try to back up assertions with numbers, whether those come from oil production data, calculations about the relative costs (monetary and energetic) of energy "alternatives," or whatever. (As an aside, there is also a tendency here to throw all of that out and fall back on mere assertion when it comes to social and political topics at times. Some of my comments in the last few weeks since I have emerged from being a lurker have been intended as nags about that, however ineffective they may have been.) Hence the signature graphs of supply projections, price trends, and so on. But for the non-mathematically inclined those graphs are just so many plates of spaghetti to stare at in the attempt to divine the future. Now I don't have much math training, but do like math (and I enjoy teaching symbolic logic) so the graphs enhance the discussion for me, as I am sure they do for many other regular visitors to the site. As far as reaching the "general public", however, they may not quite get the picture across.

But there are a number of places out there in web land doing really interesting work in what, for lack of a better term, I'll call "visualizing of data."

One of my faves is a place called Flowing Data which first came to my attention when they did a great animated map of the US showing the spread of Wal-Marts.

Then there is the photographer Chris Jordan (mentioned by someone on yesterday's Drum Beat) who does huge format photos depicting resource usage, pollution, etc. Here's one of his images, it's the 28,000 barrels of oil consumed every 2 minutes in the US (== roughly 7.5 mby, does that sound accurate for 2007?) Check out his site for zoomed in images, and to see the true scale of his photos. The originals are usually around 10 feet tall!

These images, which I've used in classes I teach, are truly jaw dropping -- they succeed in depicting the HUGE scale of human impacts on the planet as graphs might not be able to.

Anyway, my reason for mentioning this is to see if others, who are involved in education/outreach/propaganda had any thoughts, or knew of other resources on the topic of visualizing data. Would it make any difference to PO awareness to have an animated map of the world's oil resources showing where and when discoveries were made and how they peaked in the mid 60's, and how patterns of importing and exporting have shifted since the US peak in the early 70's, etc., etc.? Might this be a direction for TOD to explore more fully?


I use a pair of maps, one showing the Paris metropolitan region and the other showing the Milwaukee metropolitan region. I then "plunk" the Paris region on top of Milwaukee to show that they are roughly the same spatial extent. Next, I point out that Milwaukee could easily attain Paris' population density and thereby support a similarly robust public transit system: all that needs to happen is for the rest of Wisconsin (those living outside Milwaukee) and the entire populations of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota to relocate to Milwaukee. Voila! Our American metro of 1.5 million begins to look like a European metro of 11.5 million.

The point is to try and communicate the extreme difference in population densities between places like the Midwest and Europe, and point out that we will not easily be weened off of our automobile dependence.

That sounds like a great way to make a point which could otherwise be fairly dry and technical. I love maps and make much use of Google maps (especially the satellite view which seems to be pretty recent) and Google earth to talk about things like siting of chemical plants, suburban sprawl, habitat fragmentation and anything else I can think of.

What I had in mind as far as data visualization though would involve combining maps with data in a more visually engaging way, enabling people who are just not that impressed with regular old graphs and histograms to "see" the significance of the numbers, and trends.

What I am looking for is out there to a certain degree, but remains scattered throughout cyberspace and kind of piecemeal. I recall, for example, seeing a great video that used Google earth to show all of the stages and impacts of mountaintop removal coal mining in West Virginia. It really made a strong impact on anyone who saw it. Now whether or not it had any lasting effect on anyone's behavior is an open question, but one can only hope.


Great idea wisco. Another interesting graphic: overlay Texas onto France or Spain. As the countries get smaller you need to section up several Tx counties to make the fit. It would be great to have a public rail system with their density. But we don't and certainly won't in my life time or my daughter's. Best we can do now is ride the "Dog" and that typically cost more then driving and takes a lot longer.

Our American metro of 1.5 million begins to look like a European metro of 11.5 million.

I just checked an official German website to refresh my memory from about 40 years ago but today Germany only has three cities with population over 1 million (Berlin, Hamburg and Munich). When I was there in the 1960s those cities were even smaller yet everywhere I went, even in cities with populations in the low hundred thousands, the public transit was excellent.

Would it make any difference to PO awareness to have an animated map of the world's oil resources showing where and when discoveries were made and how they peaked in the mid 60's, and how patterns of importing and exporting have shifted since the US peak in the early 70's, etc., etc.? Might this be a direction for TOD to explore more fully?

I myself have linked to this particular Chris Jordan image in the past. While I'm sure that the impact of his images, I'm a big fan of his work, are much better at helping people understand large numbers involved with resource depletion, they are still static.

On top of what you suggest I would love to see an animated resource depletion graphic of the world's oil fields at current consumption rates. Then I'd like to add the extrapolated addition of four new Saudi Arabias coming on line to supply future projected growth.

Hmm, while I was writing this I stumbled on this Google Earth 3D library add on that depicts world oil consumption by country. http://www.gelib.com/world-oil-consumption.htm Maybe someone could create an add on that also showed resources and discoveries.

Yes Google earth is something I've been wanting to look at more carefully, rather than my usual virtual flying around checking out cool places. Thanks for the link.

Here are a few nice peak oil visuals. And a few on Detroit and urban density as well.

Hey Incandenza, thanks! Those are great, and what I was looking for. It is especially stunning to see the juxtaposition of a bleak American cityscape with someplace as vibrant and full of life as Paris.


Wow, is that a new series? Has he finally gotten sick of arranging little bits of stuff (or using photoshop to arrange images of bits of stuff)?

Couple of WSJ articles. Behind the paywall, but free through Google.

Power Shortages Dog Government Of Resource-Rich Venezuela

CARACAS (Dow Jones)--Venezuela, a country with vast reserves of oil and natural gas, as well as massive rushing waterways that cut through immense rain forests teeming with life, strangely finds itself teetering on the verge of an energy crisis.

Venezuela's seemingly endless resources, after all, have allowed the government for decades to just about give away its gasoline--a full tank of gas in Caracas costs about the same as one can of soda.

But due in part to the notion by many Venezuelans that energy in all its forms would forever be cheap and plentiful, the country is suddenly starved for electrical power, and officials are warning of a possible calamity.

Mexico's King Of Household Fuels, LPG, Faces Slow Decline

MEXICO CITY (Dow Jones)--Liquefied petroleum gas has been a staple in Mexican homes since the 1930s, but its use may have reached a high point as the world's top per-capita LPG user increasingly embraces microwave ovens, natural gas and energy efficiency.

Re: Endless oil (up above)

The Dutch field cited in the article will no doubt make a nice profit for its operators. But the average amount of oil to be recovered is 6 million barrels of oil per year! That's less than 0.02% of current consumption worldwide. With horizontal drilling, steam flood, and no doubt repeated 3D seismic surveys to guide the drilling and steam flood, I would imagine the energy expenditure to produce this oil is not trivial. If this is the best example Leonardo Maugeri, Peter Jackson, et al, can come up with to point towards "endless production", it's not very convincing. You'd only need about 300 or so of such projects coming on line every year to make up for the decline in current producing fields.

To put things into perspective, this kind of project most likely requires a 3D seismic survey at least every five years, to map where the steam is going. Such a survey would likely use a field crew for about three months. The numbers on active field crews are quite hazy, but Geokinetics Inc. recently claimed they were now the second-largest land seismic contractor in the world, and they have about twenty crews operating. The largest is the Chinese company BGP, and I doubt they have more than fifty. The total for all contractors can't be more than about 150.

If 300 such projects were to start every year for the next ten years, there would be 3000 of them in operation by 2020 (I doubt there are 3000 "depleted" fields that large worldwide, but let's assume there are). That would require about 600 3D surveys per year, which would require about 150 crews working full time, or approximately doubling the current number. I don't think this is possible. The experienced key personnel for seismic operations are already stretched to the limit, and they're mainly over fifty years old, many over sixty. The processing and interpretation experts are older on average, and take much longer to train.

Making a significant difference to oil supply with enhanced recovery from mid-sized fields (which this is) cannot happen in any realistic scenario. I've just gone into one reason why. There are many others.

I really enjoy reading claims by Shell, who are well known for their honesty in making such... circa 2003?

Really! Shell and CERA!

They make it sound as though high prices will increase EROEI! In addition to being slow going, and mind you I wish the technology would actually solve our problems, the higher the price of oil, the higher the price of the technology will go. As it takes more energy to extract oil, EROEI drops. Energy costs money, driving up cost of production and extraction.

Does anyone have a projection on the EROEI of the fields they are talking about in the Endless Oil post?

Making a significant difference to oil supply with enhanced recovery from mid-sized fields (which this is) cannot happen in any realistic scenario.

What about doing similar things in elephant fields? Why isn't SA doing it? Anyone?

Saudi Aramco is certainly doing this kind of thing, and has already included the expected results in their future production estimates, probably to an overly-optimistic extent.

At the recent Society of Exploration Geophysicists meeting in Houston, I listened to two papers by Saudi Aramco geophysicists describing a partial solution to the manpower shortage I referred to above. One specific segment of the data processing for their latest 3D survey over the Ghawar Field was estimated to require about 40 years to complete using conventional semi-automated methods. The new method they have developed, using more complete automation, has reduced the time for the process to under two years by greatly reducing the human input required for the procedure. This indicates to me that Saudi Aramco is actually applying the latest technology, including repeated 3D seismic surveys, to get every last barrel out of their fields. And that they also realize the manpower problem.

Incidentally, applying any of these advanced techniques to giant or supergiant fields tends to be much more efficient than for smaller fields, and I also suspect they work better for shallow oil (which includes most of the supergiant fields).

Thanks. I am constantly assessing and reassessing peak oil, for timing and extent.

Of course, the good news is that there are some newer technologies that have already postponed the peak, and will continue the plateau for longer than, I suppose, we deserve. The bad news is that those with the capital and ability seem determined to use that extra time for exactly nothing... except maybe getting richer? And, fouling the envirnoment even farther, and doing nothing whatever to prevent/avoid/remedy that situation.

Meanwhile, Joe Sixpack, Ranjar Sixpack in India, and Xiao Sixpack in China seem determined to bring the population of spaceship Earth to 7 or 8 Billion before the final fall from the precipice.

Strange species, homo sapiens. Do you think they'll be missed?

Back in November there was a lot of doom & gloom about Dubai - specifically their real estate.

"Gujarat builders eye Dubai realty in Burj auction"


Extending their stay, Gujarat builders will participate in an auction specially organised for them by a cartel of agents.
Though Gujarat’s builders have earlier organised trips to China, USA, Japan and South Korea, this is perhaps for the first time that they will come back with a little more than ideas to implement back home. Later in the year, CREDAI’s Gujarat unit will organise a trip to Brazil.

I wonder whether the rich in India (and other nearby countries) are looking at Dubai real estate for vacation homes. With much more liberal policies compared to other countries in the region Dubai is like the new Las Vegas. With water problems, extravagant real estate Dubai has a lot of parallel to Las Vegas ...

Later in the year, CREDAI’s Gujarat unit will organise a trip to Brazil.

Sounds like they are going to miss Carnaval (mardi gras) in Rio. I bet the Brazilians will have a field day with them.

"With much more liberal policies compared to..." it's all realtive, how about this
British woman tells Dubai police a waiter raped her... then SHE is arrested for drinking alcohol and having sex with her fiancé


Property prices have certainly come down a lot but of course that doesn't make them a bargain.

This sort of crap is going to kill tourism to this godforsaken place.

Some major coal-related news today. This is going to put major pressure on the Obama administration to stop Appalachian mountain top removal mining. Bombshell study: MTR impacts ‘pervasive and irreversible'

Quoting from the study appearing in tomorrow's issue of Science:

"Mining permits are being issued despite the preponderance of scientific evidence that impacts are pervasive and irreversible and that mitigation cannot compensate for the losses."


"Clearly, current attempts to regulate (mountain top removal / valley fill) practices are inadequate … Regulators should no longer ignore rigorous science."

From the researcher's press conference: "our conclusion is that mountain top removal needs to be stopped."

white snow is a black swan to england. so now we know what post peak oil will look like. gubbermints are run by crooks for crooks. they dont care about their citizens. i wonder when this will happen to uhmerika? i remember the oil embargo back in the 1970's. when will gas lines return to the good old u.s of a.? and i must point out how the black swan of white snow is reducing consumption. this meme was thrashed about quite a bit on the oil conundrum by pundit posters.

so this should be a good thing. reduced consumption that is. and i posit that only black swans will reduce consumption. i need me a frozen pizza. mmmmmmm, yummy.

and the usa military budget....solar panels on every roof. wind farms every where, a hybrid car for everyone. "cat" wood burning stoves in every house. free health care. can you say f-22?

bailouts for banks....same as military budget. can you say oligarch?

the rich will flee to gold and away from lead.

you heard of nostrodamus? he peered into the future.

i am nostrildamus. i sniff out the future. and from here the future stinks.

"it's all good"

Perhaps the rich will discover that the poor wish then to have not only an abundance of gold but also lead-perhaps if will be delivered in a way difficult to refuses-in gram quanitities at very high speeds.

I don't think the world will soon again see a time when the poor can be kept quiet because only the powerful have weapons.

A half a dozen men with a few gallons of gasoline can destroy a gated community in a single night.

And as we have seen in the Middle East, your friends and servants aren't -necessarily (your friends and servants.)

no comments on this today?
Russia, China, Iran redraw energy map . look at what is done not said.Lines being drawn.
I dont see any other future but war. Look at history and what you know of human nature. Then compare that to all you know about the weight and intractable nature of the problems facing humanity.
will the U.S. go down with out a fight. . .
War not for resorces but simply to reduce our numbers. War for the sake of killing.

Hope im wrong.
tell me im wrong
anyone wanna go in on a bundle. . .

Hokay, ex... you're wrong. And I'm lying.

Like you, I hope. What I see is population must decrease to 1.2 Billion, max. Probably will overshoot that and go down to 750 Million, then recover - maybe. The 'extra' 5.6 Billion to 6.9 Billion will not be happy about being invited to leave the party. They will be the ones who won't go down without a fight. Fighting to stay alive, not for the sake of killing. Still the same results...

Maybe some of the US and CAnada will escape a bit of the worst. Maybe. The EU will not be pleasant during the worst of it. Australia, if AGW leaves any part of it habitable, may get a pass as well.

Or not.

I keep asking, "Will we be missed?" I am afraid we won't be.

I still think some of the best advice is to take some time to enjoy what little time we have left with electric power, bring our families together into smaller communities, and learn to live a sustainable life, probably with very little by way of powered amenities. I will miss the internet, though.

I have a small farm in the midwest and am looking for an expert in the physical reality of Peak Oil preparation. Now don't get me wrong, I'm no slouch, I've been reading TOD since 2005. I generally know what I want, or have specific questions, but I'm tripping over the nuts and bolts.

What I'm really looking for is a PO savvy retired engineer who wants to play at PO prep. I offer strong backs, vision, healthy young children, friendly neighbors, trans-generational stability, clean air, water and land, a roof and a place to play.

The right candidate would view Peak Oil prep as a hobby, a chance to really build something and make it work. Actually, much of the challenge would be figuring out how to do without.

The right expert should intuitively prefer to use local post-Peak available materials, local labor, and strive for a design that the neighbors can copy. For instance, Solar HW heaters should be designed to use plumbing from abandoned houses and antifreeze from a still.

If finance is an issue, then this in not the right opportunity. The neighboring farm is for sale, but I'd rather have good neighbors.

Any suggestions on where I could find such a person? This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Richard Rainwater

Richard, if you're interested, I could post your request on my site under a new PO Exchange service. I've been meaning to make one for a while and this might be the perfect prodding to do it.

google richard rainwater
here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Rainwater

And I doubt that is actually him posting.

It's not. See his profile.

However...Camel, please don't impersonate people, even as a joke.

Sorry Leanan,

I waffled as to whether I should note that in the post. It was intended as a wake up call for those who fell back asleep.

I am not Richard Rainwater, but those who don't know his story would do well to study it. It's been a couple of years since he dropped off the map ... and he is too smart to be wasting his time, money and imagination.

For those who weren't around, RR is a PO aware billionaire who bought a plantation near a small town with the intent of taking care of himself by boosting the local post-Peak economy. This happened a couple of years ago.

Now either he's kicking himself, laid up after getting kicked by a horse, or he is doing ... what? I'd love to know how far he's gotten. Anybody in South Carolina able to do an interview/update?

In my terms, RR has unlimited money, unlimited social connections, and is incredibly bright. If those obstacles were removed from your personal situation, what might you do differently?

Cold Camel

Aangel, we corresponded awhile ago. I'm in SE Alaska and we discussed biomass. My offer is real. I would appreciate the post.

On the biomass subject, SE Alaska is hopping with ideas. The local native corporation is backing pellets. Mostly it is hot air, looking for a handout, but I've heard the technology of a pellet mill has drastically simplified. I haven't crunched the numbers myself, but apparently a $3.5M mill two years ago can now be built for $1M with twice the output. The old numbers didn't crunch, but now....

I'm off to other things. The opportunity awaits the bold.

Cold Camel (Not RR)

I thought about doing a pellet mill project last year, since we have a couple of saw mills in the area. Pellet mills have been around for a long time. They are even listings on eBay. One fellow last year was selling complete systems made in China fitted into a container ready to go. I think this is his store listing for such. There is another complete system of some sort presently being offered. Here's the link, if you want to contact them and maybe enter a bid. Notice that the original seller apparently provided a complete lack of support. The are US made stuff offered as well for which replacement parts are available...

E. Swanson

I am no longer interested in pellets, but they might work for someone else. What I was trying to say is that disruptive technology might have entered the pellet industry. Caveat empter.

Cold Camel

From the article above,
Methane release 'looks stronger', link:

"Methane release from the East Siberian Shelf is underway and it looks stronger than it was supposed [to be]," he said...there is a real fear that global warming may cause Siberia's subsea permafrost to thaw.

Some estimates put the amount of carbon trapped in shelf permafrost at 1,600 billion tonnes - roughly twice as much carbon as in the atmosphere now.

Why is all this global warming information occurring faster and stronger than predicted? The 07 Artic massive melt wasn't suppose to occur until 2056. The release of methane from the Arctic apparently according to this article wasn't suppose to be as strong as they are.

I keep thinking this line of failing to predict the speed of global warming is going to also play itself out with sea level rise. Once it rises faster than expected, there'll be the usual comment of it's happening faster than we expected.

Oh my, what a surprise!

2004 was the year of the Indian Ocean Tsunami, 05 was the beginning of the peak oil rocky plateau, 06 we got off scott free, in 07 the massive Arctic ice melt, 08 had the economic credit and real estate bubble bursting start to the Great Recession, in 09 we had the stronger than expected methane release from the Arctic, and so what will 10 bring us pretell?

It's a complex system, and I wouldn't be surprised if there are feedback systems that mitigate the problems. Still, this is why I don't rule out climate change being a bigger and sooner problem than peak oil. Tipping points, and all.