Drumbeat: February 21, 2010

With U.S. demand in retreat, Saudi Arabia looks to China

Oil has always been at the heart of the political, diplomatic and economic links that tie Riyadh to its ally Washington. The relationship may be loosening, but oil will continue to underpin the U.S.-Saudi connection, analysts said.

It is no longer direct exports so much as the Saudi capacity for balancing the global oil market that gives the kingdom sway with Washington, Beijing and other consumers.

Riyadh is the only holder of significant spare oil output capacity, the main recourse to deal with any surprise major outage in global supply.

Kuwait to tap tougher gasfields

Kuwait, which has been struggling to expand the capacity of its energy sector, has struck a deal with Royal Dutch Shell to tap into the emirate’s technically challenging deep gas deposits.

The project is crucial to economic prosperity because Kuwait is short of gas to supply its power and industrial sectors, and for years has experienced summer power cuts.

Iran discovers $85bn oil and gas reserves

TEHRAN: A recently discovered gasfield in Iran has reserves of 12.4 trillion cubic feet, with an estimated 249 million barrels of condensate gas, an energy official said yesterday.

Iran said it had discovered the Soumar oilfield and Halgan gasfield with total value of reserves at $85 billion.

Iran calls on IAEA not to surrender to will of certain states

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast said Sunday that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) should not surrender to the will of certain states over Iran's nuclear program, the official IRNA news agency reported.

The international nuclear watchdog should uphold its prestige and identity and never let the will of certain states be imposed on the international community, Mehman-Parast was quoted by the report as saying.

Nuclear scientists have made Pak’s defense invincible with their hard work: PM

KHUSHAB/ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that the defense of Pakistan has been become invincible due to the hard work of its nuclear scientists, adding that the peaceful use of nuclear energy has helped in improving the economy of the country and resolving the energy crisis. "Defense of Pakistan is a sacred duty and its security is a tough responsibility which the Pakistan army could not perform alone. To perform it in a better way, the help of the Pakistani nation and nuclear scientists is a must", he said while addressing the employees and nuclear scientists of the Khushab Nuclear Complex here on Saturday.

UK plans first nuclear fusion power plant

BRITISH scientists have drawn up plans to build the world’s first nuclear fusion power station. They say it could be pouring electricity into the National Grid within 20 years.

Nuclear fusion, the power that lies at the heart of the sun, offers the prospect of clean, safe, carbon-free power with a minimum of radioactive waste. But despite decades of research the technical problems have seemed insurmountable.

This weekend, however, Research Councils UK (RCUK), which oversees the British government’s spending on science and technology, has said it believes that many of those obstacles are close to being overcome.

U.S. turns to Sweden as model in nuclear waste storage

While progress here has lagged, the Scandinavian country has successfully chosen a site for a geological repository after including citizens and local government in the discussion.

From hot to rot for wonder crop

Tony Wood, president director of the P*yry Forestry Industry, said a combination of bad headlines and a lack of investment interest had seen enthusiasm for jatropha crash in 2009, with most major projects in Indonesia put on hold.

"Where previously a range of consultants had been running all over the country looking for potential jatropha areas," Wood said, "suddenly these same people found themselves back on the job market."

Green in 2010: Windfarms on your house

That's just one of the things pitched to consumers at this year's Green Products Expo in New York. Others include ultra efficient toilets and plates made from leaves.

First-time buyer? More $100,000 green homes are available

If you want a new green home but are tight on cash, good news. The number of affordable, energy-efficient modular homes continues to increase as Pennsylvania-based builder Excel Homes offers a new line aimed at first-time buyers.

The homes in its "Starting Line Up Series" are targeted to be sold for under $100,000, and depending on region, for as low as $60,000. They have less than 1,000 square feet, but with vaulted ceilings, sunken living rooms and hardwood floors, Excel Homes says they have all the style of larger homes.

Smoke bomb: The other climate culprits

When China and India reduce their sulphur dioxide emissions, the rate at which the planet is warming will rise dramatically. Satellite measurements show that China is already making headway, says Frank Raes of the European Commission Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy. As a result, the rate of warming could increase from the current 0.2 °C per decade to 0.3 or 0.4 °C per decade. "Locally, it might go to 0.8 °C per decade," Raes says. Such rapid change would make it much harder for both people and wildlife to adapt.

The world-saving habit you'll hate (and the great puzzle of the well-intentioned do-nothings)

Last week we received a letter at the Post Carbon Institute office from Scott B., a sports car owner/engine rebuilder/computer programmer, whose frustration is boiling over at the lack of attention paid his Big Idea to Save the Planet (BISP).

Scott’s letter presented a very, very simple idea, one that has been gnawing at me since I read it, forcing me to take a closer look at a perhaps unsolvable equation (more on the Great Puzzle below). Scott’s idea:

Cap the national driving speed limit at 34 MPH (55 KMH).

Envisioning sustainable communities

We want to take the discussion further by arguing that the best way to motivate people to adopt the profound changes that real social change would require is to show them a successful model in action. This is likely a goal of Transition Towns and many other sustainability movements, but most of these are framed within the existing economic and social structures of mainstream U.S. society. Unasked is the question of how such reform initiatives can resist the centralizing and hierarchy-inducing influences of corporate America.

Tug of war between producers and consumers on the cards

Although there is little talk "yet" of a "double-dip" recession, fears are mounting that the pace of economic recovery in the euro zone will be extremely slow, increasing the investors' appetite for the US dollar. And this increased appetite for the US dollar among investors could also begin to put downward pressure on oil prices.

Market fundamentals are also weighing in on prices. Supplies from non-OPEC producers and OPEC NGLs and other liquids are expected to rise by nearly 1 million bpd in 2010, offsetting most of the expected demand growth. Global inventories are projected to rise sharply in the second quarter, despite heavy maintenance, after a modest fall in the first, the CGES report projected.

BP chief economist Christof Ruehl also believes that huge price spikes, like the $147 a barrel seen in summer 2008, seems unlikely. The reduction in OPEC output quotas, which amounted to 4.2 million barrels a day, was the main driver of the price increase last year, Ruehl said. It will take more time for faster economic growth to push prices up further, he said.

"Even if the good years were to return tomorrow, then too it would take three years to burn through this excess capacity and bring it down to a level where it was before the crisis of "08," Ruehl said. "That means in the foreseeable future, the next two or three years, sudden oil-price spikes are unlikely."

French oil refineries strike spreads

PARIS (AFP) – Strikes at French refineries look likely to spread as Exxonmobil employees were called to join a protest at oil giant Total that has raised fears of supply cuts.

Total's management told AFP on Friday it had started halting refining operations after unions extended their two-day strike, in protest at the closure of a plant in Dunkirk, to an unlimited action. The group has six refineries in France.

Aramco, Total Said to Hire Bankers to Issue Sukuk for Refinery

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabian Oil Co., the world’s biggest crude producer, and Total SA hired banks to sell Islamic bonds to help fund the construction of a $12 billion oil refinery, said two bankers familiar with the transaction.

Energy minister calls for creation of national hydrocarbon monitoring system

MOSCOW (Itar-Tass) -- Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko called for creating a national system that would monitor the movement of hydrocarbons in the country.

“Russia needs to create a unified state information system that will use modern means for monitoring the movement of hydrocarbons on all of the transport routs in the country,” he said on Saturday.

“In the past, only Transneft had a system of export schedules. Now we are considering the possibility of having a unified information system in order to get data on the movement of hydrocarbons by all means of transportation,” the minister said.

Plan to truck hydrofracking wastewater to Finger Lakes shelved, for now

A drama that linked Pennsylvania, a tiny Finger Lakes town and 663 million gallons of chemical-laden water is foreshadowing a problem New York will face if it allows high-volume natural gas drilling.

Oil and gas companies drilling for natural gas in Pennsylvania are running out of ways to dispose of the millions of gallons of wastewater produced by “hydrofracking” the Marcellus Shale.

One gas company proposed a solution: Bring the dirty water to New York’s Finger Lakes.

Chesapeake Energy Corp., an Oklahoma City company that holds dozens of drilling leases in Central New York, wanted to store up to 663 million gallons of wastewater from Pennsylvania in a converted natural gas well 87 miles west of Syracuse, in the Steuben County town of Pulteney. The town sits less than a mile from Keuka Lake.

EPA official focuses on formulas, not feelings

He remembers the date clearly -- May 23, 2007. He was an assistant professor at SMU, watching a webcast as state regulators voted on an air pollution plan.

Just before the vote, a group of representatives from the oil and gas industry spoke up, using numbers Armendariz instantly felt were wrong. He thought the regulators had miscalculated how much ozone-forming pollution was coming from natural gas compressor engines in North Texas. The plan was approved anyway.

"It was amazing that that kind of error could happen," Armendariz said this month during a talk with a group of neighborhood activists concerned about gas drilling in Fort Worth.

In Wyoming, Debate Swirls on Taxing Wind Industry

With currents of powerful wind gusts whipping across its plains and plateaus, Wyoming has become a new frontier for the wind industry — the latest energy development for a state that only recently experienced a natural gas boom.

But in a place that is both cautious about such growth and interested in the potential benefits, some believe that those behind the wave of wind farms and turbines need to pay their fair share.

A new bill being pushed by Gov. Dave Freudenthal would change the state’s renewable energy landscape by levying an excise tax on wind energy production, the first tax of its kind in the United States, energy experts say.

Is K.R. Sridhar’s 'magic box' ready for prime time?

The Bloom Energy CEO is finally unveiling his entry in the fuel-cell arena after years of playing it close to the vest.

Snail mail may soon be delivered by e-vans

LOS ANGELES — In the e-mail era, the U.S. Postal Service hardly seems plugged in — but at least it wants its vehicles to be.

The Postal Service has awarded contracts to several California firms to develop a prototype postal van that would run on electricity.

An audience with the UK Met Office

Dr Matt Huddleston, principal consultant on climate change at the UK Met Office, talks to Stella Farrington about changing weather patterns and their future effect on energy demand.

U2 Guitarist’s Plans for Development Don’t Find Green Harmony

Public access verses exclusive seclusion is an ever-ranging debate that has enveloped a member of the environmentally conscious rock band.

National survey of Canada’s infrastructure engineers about climate change (free registration required)

Canada’s built infrastructure is often intended to have a useful service life of many decades. This can either be extended or degraded depending on a multitude of factors such as: initial design, proper operations and maintenance, as well as weather and climate factors. All of these act in combination to affect an infrastructure’s useful life.

Furthermore, Climate Change – the fact that historical weather patterns may no longer be indicative of what will happen in the future, could exacerbate the vulnerability of infrastructure in terms of degraded service life or premature failure. Many fields of engineering still rely heavily on historical weather data. Presently, future-looking weather data that is suitable for use in day-to-day engineering practice is often not readily available to Canadian engineers. Furthermore, many existing technical codes and standards still reference historical weather data. This adds to the complexity and uncertainty associated with engineering decisions about infrastructure.

On ice

From 2006 to 2008, a team led by Das and Washington University scientist Ian Joughin recorded the drainage of a 2.2-square-mile supraglacial lake that astoundingly emptied most of its 11.6 billion gallons of water in 90 minutes, with a volume that sometimes surpassed that of Niagara Falls.

It also formed “the tallest waterfall on the planet for that brief period - 6.2 miles,’’ said Das.

Climate change's impact on forests being measured via expanding tree trunks

Last year, when Parker analyzed the mountain of data his team had collected, he found something surprising: Their trees were adding bulk at a surprisingly fast rate.

Parker said the best explanations for this all seemed to relate to climate change. Temperatures in the area have risen by three-tenths of a degree; the growing season has lengthened by 7.8 days; and the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen. All of those might speed up photosynthesis, the engine of tree growth.

Saving the Amazon may be the most cost-effective way to cut greenhouse gas emissions

If the U.S. adopts a cap-and-trade program, companies facing carbon controls could meet part of their obligations by preserving Earth's largest tropical forest.

Companies fund projects to preserve Amazon rain forest

Families in Boa Frente receive $29 a month to spend in a town upriver. The village also has a new brick walkway, rainwater cisterns and a new school with solar panels and Internet access. In exchange, residents agree to protect the forest surrounding their plots instead of clearing more trees for farming or fuel.

The windfall comes courtesy of Marriott International Inc., the $12-billion hotel chain. It is part of a complex -- and controversial -- plan to save the world's rain forests with the help of big business.

Geo-engineering: the planet's savior or untested danger?

SAN DIEGO, California (AFP) – US researchers are studying the steam from ships, condensation trails of airplanes and volcanic eruptions as they try to understand how and even if the fledgling science of geo-engineering could slow global warming.

But where some researchers are forging ahead with the new science of tinkering with the atmosphere to change the climate, many others are warning that geo-engineering is untested, potentially dangerous and distracting the world from reducing greenhouse gases.

Economic View: A Small Price for a Large Benefit

FORECASTS involving climate change are highly uncertain, denialists assert — a point that climate researchers themselves readily concede. The denialists view the uncertainty as strengthening their case for inaction, yet a careful weighing of the relevant costs and benefits supports taking exactly the opposite course.

Organizers of the recent climate conference in Copenhagen sought, unsuccessfully, to forge agreements to limit global warming to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century. But even an increase that small would cause deadly harm. And far greater damage is likely if we do nothing.

Saudi production fell 274,000 b/d to 7,945,000 b/d in December according to JODI World Database.

I'm sure that you meant to say that the Saudis increased their excess production capacity from 11/09 to 12/09.

In any case, the year over year comparisons (12/08 to 12/09) for some other countries are interesting (as monthly US oil prices went from $41 to $75), e.g. Canada & Venezuela.

Sure ;-). Regarding ELM, year over year (12/08 to 12/09) demand in Saudi is up 15.1% according to JODI World Database.

Its the demand for Saudi oil that fell in December after all they have over 4million b/d of spare capacity. Lets party on.

Right, they couldn't find buyers for all their oil.

I'm confused by the numbers on Saudi oil. I often see in articles that SA produces 10 mbd, but the numbers on that list shows closer to 8 mbd. Is the difference NG?

Unless you count natural gas liquids Saudi Arabia has never produced 10 million barrels per day. Their peak production was in 1980 when they produced an average of 9,900,000 barrels per day.

However if you do count natural gas liquids then Saudi Arabia is producing just under 10 million barrels per day, or were for the greater part of 2009. When people say SA produces 10 mbd they are obviously including natural gas liquids, or bottled gas as I like to referr to it as.

Ron P.


Natural Gas Liquids or Liquefied Natural Gas:


It is obvious that crude oil and natural gas liquids are not the same thing. Yet they are added to get the 10MBD number. Things that are different can not be added. It only confuses and obfuscates what is going on.

I have railed against this practice many times. So why do so many energy analysts do it? One reason could be ignorance of the subject or of logic. The more sinister explanation is economic gain from creating the illusion of more oil than there really is.

Natural gas liquids have only about 60% the energy density of diesel according to the Wiki article. So we are left to wonder when crude oil and NGL are added is it by volume or what? If it is by volume clearly a barrel of NGL does not equal a barrel of oil due to energy density. That is the first error.

But even if it did, crude and natural gas liquids are different because they are used differently by the infrastructure. One BTU of crude oil is not the same as one BTU of natural gas liquids. Crude oil is used mainly for transport while NGLs have others uses. They have different prices. They are stored and transported differently.

Adding them together creates the impression that both can be used for transport and that there is more transport oil available than there really is. Adding and comparing things that are different is wrong.

I don't think these kind of games are played with other commodity forms like grain and metal. But when energy commodities are analyzed logic and mathematical accuracy seem not to matter anymore. Why?

No grain analyst would think of adding corn and soybeans and come up with a bushels of grain number to publish and promote as profound insight. They would be laughed out of business. Nor would any metal analyst add gold and iron production and claim tons of metal production rose or fell. The error is obvious.

But when it comes to energy, Alice in Wonderland additions/comparisons of things that are different are acceptable.

Which is why NOONE would ever dream of counting 'Tons of Food Aid', since that aid would obviously include apples, oranges, Wheat and Soy in those packages, or count how many 'Vehicles' are driving on our highways, or bother to add up how many Megawatt Hours are created by a combination of sources, like Wind, Solar, Coal and Nuclear.

Even if there might be a reason to count things as members of larger, more generalized groups, for all sorts of good reasons.

If SA is exporting that much energy, they're exporting that much energy. What's dishonest is when it's misrepresented, or left unclarified, that they are not talking purely about Oil Production.

Of course, it seems that I've heard that Metal/Mineral mining will take a few different elements from their ore, and so when they talk about their proven recoverable reserves in tons, it seems that this would, in fact, be 'Tons of Metal' ..

Resistance is futile. I was trying to determine whether or not to use propane or electricity to heat my house. Of course, I could not do that since that would require converting both to btu output for comparison. And then I would have to do things like calculate the efficiency of each source. Since I could not compare two different kinds of energy, I gave up and didn't heat my house at all. Wife and dog are still alive but not happy.

Adding them together creates the impression that both can be used for transport and that there is more transport oil available than there really is.

only if you dont consider gasoline a transportation fuel. ngl's, c2 through c6, are primary components of gasoline. in older days, gasoline was the primary product of ngl processing. granted ngl's are the feed stock for petrochemicals, but plenty of ngls are used in gasoline.

Now, right there, right on that sentence, let us STOP, HALT, TAKE A BREATH and read what Darwinian just pointed out, but that most folks do not know:
"Their peak production was in 1980 when they produced an average of 9,900,000 barrels per day."

Now please, may I actually beg here, PLEASE consider what happened to the world since 1980. After the Saudi peak, one would think there would have been decline, poverty, the size of vehicles would have had to decline, the size of houses should have come down, the economy should have STALLED.

But instead, the 20 year period between 1980 to 2000, these were THE BEST YEARS the American economy have EVER KNOWN. It literally brings tears to the eyes to think of those days, to be alive in that period if for no other purpose than to just watch it occur! What a time! The cars, the clothes, the homes, the travel, the educations of the kids, the EXPERIENCES, this is the very fabric of LIFE.

And it all occurred after Saudi Arabia peaked. Astounding to think of isn't it, and so completely at odds with what most folks would believe or would even imagine possiblle. How could it have been possible, HOW?

Now I will let you guys play.



You write a lot of stupid stuff but this is a masterpiece even for you.


Due to where your post is placed I assume you are referring to my post on thinking through the Saudi all time oil production peak of 1980 and it's horrible effect on the U.S. and world economy. If so, I am Roger. Please explain your objection if you would.



Yes I meant Roger, not Ron.


You're a pretty smart guy Roger, but you write some stupid stuff sometimes.

Any comment that draws a lot of responses will wind up with the earlier ones a long way from where they should be in terms of clarity after a few hours..Later comments will be between the two in question.This is why I almost always address my comments by name to the original commenter-even though my responses are mostly general in nature.

Occasionally I have thought about also including the exact time, for additional clarity.

Only a few of us are free to follow the action live -we have to duck in and out mostly.

That's an interesting point RC. But that period wasn't all peaches and cream for eveyone. Consider the millions of folks who became unemployed due to the global recession brought on by the oil price spike of the early 80's. OTOH, those who economies depended upon cheap oil eventually boomed when the KSA opened the taps and flooded the world with $10 oil. But they easily had that capacity due to the huge drop in consumption starting in the early 80's. In fact, you could carry your point to the rapid rise in Chinese oil purchases from 1Q '09 when prices dropped to $38/bbl. Good times for China...not so much for the rest of the world.

In fact, I've been trying to get my head around a new weird thought I've had about PO: periods of time when oil prices reach low points despite an ever decreasing net sales capability by the exporters. Yes, a world of periodic low oil prices even when the max global production rate drops. Lets' say when max rate is 80 million bopd. Why would we see such low prices even when we're capable of producing far less then we can today? Same old simple answer: the supply/demand relationship. Oil prices spike = economic crash = oil prices drop = economies recover but not to former levels = oil prices rise (even though max production rates are even lower) = repeat cycles.

Some will find many flaws in this model. And rightly so perhaps. But we've just gone through a 3 year period that does seem to support the possibility.

"But they easily had that capacity due to the huge drop in consumption starting in the early 80's."

ROCKMAN, you hit the point I was hoping to make...exactly correctly, that the demand side matters at this point much more than the supply side. The supply side has to this date shown no real weakness, but the demand side has, over and over and over again. This is the point Saudi Arabia has been trying to make for years.

I keep truing to make THE POINT: Demand destruction is not in itself a bad thing. In fact, it can be a VERY, VERY good thing! Now, we know that it will have no effect on the bigger picture of peak oil, but I am referring to the effect on the lifestyle and the national economy. Demand destruction of oil when planned and when done correctly can make the developed world even richer than it is now.

We have in our grasp the opportunity create a coming 50 year period better than we have ever seen to this date. And Saudi Arabian and even world oil production may decline at the same time, that is very important but not critical, depending on how we manage what we all know is going to have to occur anyway.

We have to decide to face reduction in oil consumption, bring it on, but divorce it from the belief that the world will end as we know it. It may end as we know it, no one can predict that, and some folks may deeply desire that all remnents of the modern age end, I cannot control that nor can anyone else, but that is a seperate issue from "peak oil" per se. Decline in oil consumption does not mean decline in living standards unless they are incorrectly managed. In fact, I foresee an age when gasoline is available, but desired only as recreational fuel, for racing, certain boating and recreational aviation, that sort of thing.

The days of the working horse are pretty much past. But millions of horses are kept, quartered and fed for recreational and racing purposes. Such will be the gasoline and crude oil industry, an industry to provide some small volume of fuel for recreational purposes. It will probably be about 5% of the amount they now provide to the world, a volume so small it can be easily replaced by synthetic fuel if the need arises, but due to the cheapness of fossil crude oil and the vast amount of it still available, most recreational uses of the internal combustion engine will probably still rely on gasoline. All economic life support (transport, home heating, electric power production, etc.) and petrochemical industries for maintaining a modern society will have by then moved off of crude oil, and be much more solar based, either directly or indirectly. This seems to be the path to the future. The only question is, do we still have the mental power in the developed world to make it happen in an organized way. Only time will tell, and I will almost certainly not live long enough to see it completed, even if I life to a ripe old age.


I keep truing to make THE POINT: Demand destruction is not in itself a bad thing. In fact, it can be a VERY, VERY good thing!

Good for a very few people perhaps but not for everyone. I live in Florida Roger, the tourist economy here is on the skids because of demand destruction. The condo boom has burst and people who bought are losing their ass because of demand destruction. People in the auto industry are losing their jobs because of demand destruction. People in the auto supply business are losing their jobs because of demand destruction.

What you fail to realize Roger is that the entire economy is built around cheap energy. When people get laid off then that they buy less of everything. As a result people who make things not even related to the auto or oil industry loses their jobs. And unless oil gets cheap and abundant again, they will never work again. It will only spiral down further and further until the economy completely crashes.

Of course that will not happen if oil becomes cheap and abundant again. But if the oil supply continues to decline then the entire world economy will decline in lock step with the decline of cheap energy.

And if you are younger than I am then you will see it! Hell I once hoped to be safely dead when everything collapsed. But I am 71 and expect to live 10 more years or more. To my sorrow I will witness it myself.

Ron P.


I agree absolutely that much disruption is coming, but we must be honest and say that this was coming one way or the other anyway, without peak oil or with it. My goal (and I am not trying to play wise ass, I am searching for all sensical scenarios!)is to figure out how to plan for the next half decade, and how seriously I should concern myself with energy availability and price in the immediate future. The need to get away from oil to me is well established, I am simply talking aobut the here and now. Demand destruction will have to occur, either planned, or if we don't try to plan, unplanned and very messy and painful.

Let's talk about Florida for instance, and I am somewhat familiar because I have business relationships and interests there, mostly in the Tampa area.

In the period beginning around 2000, a number of firms (who must go un-named here) began farming out employment in IT, software, market and media research, accounting and consulting, etc., to firms outside the U.S. (mostly in India) to reduce costs. This had nothing to do with energy but was due simply to the technical ability to now handle this work by way of the internet. So the trend toward less employment was well underway before the recent fuel price spike and before the recent economic downturn. This has only been pronounced by the economic downturn, and now we would have to argue whether the economic downturn was caused by the energy price spike. I am the first to admit that higher energy prices did not help...but they did not last all that long, and we have to admit that energy prices right now are very cheap if you adjust for the collapse in energy prices in the 1990's and the rate of inflation on everything in the economy since the 1990's. I would go even further and say that energy right now is astonishingly cheap, even idiotically cheap. For the benefit of longer term planning and alternatives it should be around $100 to $110 per barrel.

We almost must talk about two things, energy as a percent of income and energy, not just oil. Energy overall is still relatively cheap if you are gainfully employed. Not everyone is. Is this a sign of the end of the U.S. and developed nations, or simply the result of an economic downturn that had to be anticipated after the greatest run up in incomes, savings, prices, etc., the boom of the 1990's. Those were staggering times. Not for everyone, but for many people, the best years of their lives.

My point is, and you already know this of course, is that we are dealing with a very complex situation. Some of the firms I was referring to above are already beginning to rehire because they realized that (a) they had cut too much staff to be able to continue reliable service to their customers and (b) the Indians are not gods, and can sometimes experience difficulties delivering the services they promised. Some of the firms are even posting hiring bonuses not seen since before 2001.

As for me, I certainly intend to be a visitor in Florida this year,probably in the next couple of months, both for business and pleasure, and even look at some real estate down there, which in some cases is now cheaper than in Kentucky (you have to be familiar with the dirt cheap Kentucky market to know how astonishing that is!) This recent weather and snow has reminded many Americans of what we always found so endearing about Florida!

As for tourism overall, your so right, the need for cheap oil is a huge factor. It is not the only one. Right now people are hoarding money not because fuel is too expensive but because they are afraid of being outsourced right out of their job. That fear will persist regardless of the price of gasoline, so I really don't know how long a rebound in tourism will take.

Again, it is complicated. Which has sucked more money out of the economy in the last 10 years, the increases in energy prices or the corruption and idiocy of the American financial community. My bet is that the latter has taken more money than the energy costs of the U.S.in total, never mind the minute increases in energy costs which lasted for only a short time.

Again, I think oil and energy issues are HUGE to the future of the U.S. The problem is trying to dig through the chaff of all the other issues to find out exactly how big a factor they are playing right now compared to other very serious economic issues. Or to put it directly, pull in the banks first so we can at least get a grip on where we are headed.


What you fail to realize Roger is that the entire economy is built around cheap energy.

I have to disagree with that - what the (Western indulgent) world is based around is the production, distribution, and consumption of ridiculous rubbish. I can see Roger's point clearly enough - if there is a lower demand for oil, plus all that implies, then there IS a chance the world could be a better place. It is not all about failing tourism and condos in Florida, it is about a serious and long-term commitment to building things that work well in a post cheap oil world.

The fact that there are millions of people in jobs that are have no long-term sustainability (selling WalMart stuff in Orlando, for example) - is a real, hard, problem ... but it is solved by defining and creating new jobs in areas that matter, it seems to me - but I am not sure the USA is capable of such a change.

Good for a very few people perhaps but not for everyone. I live in Florida Roger, the tourist economy here is on the skids because of demand destruction. The condo boom has burst and people who bought are losing their ass because of demand destruction. People in the auto industry are losing their jobs because of demand destruction. People in the auto supply business are losing their jobs because of demand destruction.

I too live in Florida and am definitely feeling the pain of living here. However I also see a positive, for example there are few power boats out on the ocean and that might be good for our local reefs along with less detritus and lawn fertilizer run off. There are fewer off road vehicles and swamp buggies out in the everglades. There is less development and maybe just maybe the remaining Florida Panther habitat will not be destroyed.

I'd love to teach the residents and the tourists to sail and kayak and bike into our natural wonders. There are people here who are starting to take a different view and maybe just maybe we can develop a more environmentally friendly economy that doesn't depend on the blatant exploitative super consumerist model we have been pursuing until now.

Yesterday morning while my 55 year old gorgeous girlfriend together with about 4000 other runners ran a half marathon along the beach, I volunteered to ride my bike and help out with the wheelchair marathoners.

There was a significant stretch of A1A that was shut down to car traffic for the event. Perhaps its just me but it seemed to me that both the locals and the tourists really enjoyed the respite from the automobile traffic at least for a few hours.

Best hopes for an ecologically sustainable economy for South Florida and the world.

Roger, now I ask you to step back and take a breath. Now repeat after me: Oil is fungible! Now say that over and over again until it sinks in. It simply doesn't matter when Saudi peaks. The US peaked in 1970, the UK peaked in 1999 and so on. The world peak is what matters. As long as the US could get the oil to run its economy that was all that mattered.

The oil crisis of the early 80s did cause a recession. This oil crisis has caused an even deeper recession. But this time it will never end. In the mid and late 80s cheap oil returned to theworld. This time cheap oil will never return. The world cannot run for more than a few years, as it has been running for almost a century, on $80 oil.

And it all occurred after Saudi Arabia peaked. Astounding to think of isn't it, and so completely at odds with what most folks would believe or would even imagine possiblle. How could it have been possible, HOW?

How? Because the world did not peak Roger. Cheap and abundant oil returned to the world. If cheap and abundant oil ever returns to the world then this Great Recession will come to an end. If it does not then this Great Recession will turn into the Greatest of all Depressions.

Now just keep saying to yourself "Oil is fungible!

Ron P.

Let's not forget that US wages peaked in about 1970, concurrent with the US production peak. All of that supposed wealth occurred by putting momma and the kids to work. We never really left the recession of the 1980s.

edit: spelling

Agreed. I don't agree that 1980-2000 were the best years the US economy had ever known. Quite the opposite, actually. They were marked by a sharp slowdown compared to the '50s and '60s. And as you note, real wages dropped. We made it up by sending mom to work, and by an explosion in the use of credit - credit cards and HELOCs. We're working longer hours than our parents did.

As Elizabeth Warren points out, we aren't really spending more than our parents. Sure, we're spending more on some things, but it's balanced by spending less on others. But we are working harder, and we're much more vulnerable to financial trouble.

And I think that's what we can expect peak oil to look like. People doing the right things, but still slowly falling behind.

Hi Ron,

re: "Oil is fungible!"

Except for the contracts and "special" relationships. Question mark?

"China has developed a two-pronged strategy toward energy investments. First, it has pursued exploration and production deals in smaller, low-visibility countries such as Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, and the Republic of Congo. Second, it has gone after the largest oil producers by offering integrated packages of aid." (http://www.cfr.org/publication/9557/)

I should look up parallels with US, etc.

Or, does this not make much difference, really - ?

With U.S. demand in retreat, Saudi Arabia looks to China (uptop)

As I have noted, "Chindia's" net oil imports, as a percentage of total net exports from the (2005) top five net oil exporters, rose from 19% in 2005 to 27% in 2008.

EIA data show that Chindia's net oil imports increased at about 9%/year from 2005 to 2008, while (2005) top five net exports fell at about 2%/year from 2005 to 2008.

Over the 2005 to 2008 time frame, US net oil imports fell at 4.3%/year. All of this occurred as annual US oil prices went from $57 to $100.

So, to summarize, from 2005 to 2008:

Net oil exports went down, especially from the top five;

Oil prices went up;

US net oil imports went down;

Chindia's net oil imports went up.

IMO, rinse & repeat.

No worries. 60 Minutes has a segment tonight on an "energy machine," from Bloom Energy. I suppose it's a fuel cell, but we shall see.


In the world of energy, the Holy Grail is a power source that's inexpensive and clean. Lesley Stahl gets an inside look at one inventor's "energy machine." 60 Minutes, Sunday, Feb. 21, 7 p.m. ET/PT.

More info:

Bloom Energy CEO: Fuel Cells for Home Power Will Hit “Grid Parity” Within 5 Years (12/09)

For Kleiner Perkins-backed startup Bloom Energy, the vision is to have its refrigerator-sized fuel cell devices eventually powering transportation — ideally within a decade. But according to a new interview with CEO KR Sridhar, an important milestone will come years ahead of that goal. Within 3-5 years, Sridhar tells BusinessWeek, the so-called Bloom box could reach “grid parity” for home use, or competitive pricing with conventional electricity sources. The 5-kilowatt device involves a fuel cell system that can generate electricity using a range of liquid fuels, such as natural gas or ethanol. Installed at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga in 2006, one of the earliest Bloom box units (running on natural gas) was reported in the New York Times last year to deliver enough power at twice the efficiency of a standard gas-burning boiler system, with 60 percent fewer emissions, for a 5,000-square-foot home (about twice the size of an average single-family home in the U.S.). Bloom marketing and product management chief Stu Aaron confirms those results in this latest report.

Really competing with conventional energy sources in the residential market, however, will depend on much more than efficiency and energy savings. Several variables will factor into the success of these devices as they become available — reportedly within the next year or two. Key issues could include the upfront cost of the devices, reliability and the relative ease of the process for installing them (largely in rural areas of the developing world currently lacking a grid connection, but also for use in conjunction with other power supplies in the developed world).

Natural gas is a liquid fuel? I guess the author meant to say a range of fuels.

Natural gas is a liquid fuel?

I know some who claim the earth is colling down, but I hadn't realized it had gone that far!

I have to think these are going to be really expensive, and if they go bad the repair is likely to be very pricy. Much more sensible to invest in solar panels, which actually create energy, then simply trying to make your own (mini) powerplant. I could imagine it might go over well with the pot growing crowd who don't want the authorities to track them because of their high power consumption.

Much more sensible to invest in solar panels, which actually create energy, then simply trying to make your own (mini) powerplant.

Just a thought, but perhaps, once a business or home is used to generating their own power using one of these things, it actually might facilitate the move to add, or switch to, other energy sources? I can imagine them wanting to add solar, or wind, over time....

I watched the 60 Minutes report. They claim an efficiency twice that of conventional generation methods from NatGas. They also claim a home size unit available for $3000 within 5 years. They have some heavy hitters testing the technology: FEDEX, Google, etc. They all seemed "tickled pink". I think it was Google who claim a $100k energy cost savings over 18 months. These guys seem legit. We'll see. It still needs hydrocarbon based fuels.

They claim an efficiency twice that of conventional generation methods from NatGas.

Uhhh! Combined Cycle gas turbines are more than 60% efficient. Double that is over a hundred percent! Now it is true that you could do combined heat and power. In a cold climate with high heating demand that might be a useful improvement. As far as I've heard (I haven't been keeping up with them), fuel cells need ultra clean fuel to avoid fouling the elctrodes. I'd be surprised if utility grade NG was good enough with some sort of pretreatment.

Ok I've waited long enough :)

I'm really surprised that no one else has picked up on this one.

Imports into the West esp into the US are closely monitored a whole lot of people know exactly how many VLCC's have unloaded in the US its not a number that can readily be hidden.

No one is counting tankers into china. Or if they are they are not challenging the official numbers publicly.

Am I the only one who finds this sudden love affair with China where numbers are whatever you want them to be interesting.
It seems as if I am :)

Given one of my key predictions about stressed complex systems is that the data will get increasingly opaque and falsified can you blame me when events work such that the ability to lie increases ?


Your are indeed onto something. I remember the days when people regarded firms like Enron and Blackstone Group as "black box" investing, because you invested essentially on faith.

The biggest "black box investments in the world are now nations, and none moreso than China and India.

I cannot go too deep into this because it involves confidential information but the greatest lesson is in dealing with Indian subcontractors and outsource firms who claim to be able to deliver results out of all proportion to reality, and no one can check.

Too late, the firm buying the services from the Indian firms realizes they are now spending as much in communication and attempts to coordinate activities and verify as results as ALL the work was costing them inhouse. The effect can be horrific, and there is no easy road home because the contracting firm has dismantled and destroyed its inhouse abilities, fired or retired out it's staff, dismantled computers and servers, etc.

The chickens are coming home to roost about....now.

When (not if, when) the truth becomes more apparent (the whole truth will probably never be known) the herd will begin to run and the massive slide of China and India could drag down the whole world economy with them, at least for sometime. But like Peak oil, no one knows on what day this may occur, or may have already occurred, but no one knows it just yet. One day is as good as the other.


I'm somewhat hard of hearing and informed Dell the cmputer company that since they don't seem to be able to hire anyone with an American accent to answer a phone I will ne ver own another Dell.

So I tried HP on the phone three times to be sure and got somebody I can understand each time.Bought the HP this time of course.

I recommend next time you get a Mac. Reasons:

1. Yes, you get an American on the end of the line who knows what he's talking about, but more importantly,

2. You never need to call him because the computer just plain works.

Isn't that the truth. And get 50+% more desk space, say goodbye to your anti-virus software and charges.

Matt O & doug fir,

First the necessary disclaimer: I'm a long time Mac fan! Having said that I'm typing this on a vanilla Windows box, I'm also well versed in Unix and have dabbled on occasion in the various flavors of Linux. A computer is still a computer and all of the mentioned OSes have their pros and cons.

What you are both saying just ain't true!

And, I really do like the Mac OS.

six hundred bucks versus fifteen hundred bucks.Money is tight around here, and I only play on the net and do a little word processing.Plus unfortunately I have nobody handy to teach me the quirks of the Mac-but just about everybody knows something about Bill's Abortion.

I have always scored in the high nineties on any and every knd of standardized test, but I capparently came to computers after my mental ruts were too deep to learn something so arbitrary easily.

So help me , every answer you get seems to be like this:

An airport copter shuttle pilot gets lost in the towers of Manhattan due to a sudden fog.A passenger notices a face plastered to an office window and the pilot says quick , ask him where we are.A sign is drawn , where are we? and the answer appears "just outside our window".

So the pilot floors the gas and is on his way.Asked later how he figured it out,he said "We got a perfectly accurate, totally useless answer, so I knew we were right outside the Microsoft building."

If I were younger, and had time to really learn this stuff , I do honestly believe I could make a very good living translating the manuals ans screen tips etc , into English.

That's apples and oranges mac. You've got the priciest Mac compared to a clunker. They are more $, but not like you put. Plus no additional anti virus charges for me. It works out. And each new version of windows is a learning curve, soon to fill your hard drive with hot fixes. Macs self instruct. My grown kids, not around to instruct, pushed me on to a Mac, I fought w/ cheap windows and HP too long....didn't even have to give up Firefox or Open Office to open all the Gates.

I've seen the cost issue fade away in my experience also but one of the reasons the business stays overseas is often that the governments are just so much more compliant: no safety expenses, no legal challenges, no unruly workers. So the direct labor costs are similar but the corporate oligarchs are simply more comfortable with similar minded governments.

Now that capital is being primarily invested overseas it will, indeed, be harder to re-create manufacturing in the U.S. I've noticed that most of our incadescent light bulbs are still made in the U.S. but all of the CFLs are foreign.

jjhman, you are correct, but how long will this advantage last? When the business is being recruited the host government will claim "oh yes, you can do as you please, we will stay out of your affiars." Businesses love to hear that, but when the next political change occurs, will the promises be honored? Many firms investing in Russia have found this out the hard way.

Recently there was a case in northern India where a firm tried to lay off employees due to business decline, and the employees (apparently not yet familiar with the professional way one is to act when being deprived of their livlihood) dragged the managers into the street where a mob beat them to death. The local authorities made no arrests (what are we going to do, they said, arrest the whole town?) and apologized, but pointed out politely that you must understand and honor the fustrations of the community, etc., etc.

Speaking of the problem of language and accents, when it is business to business transactions the problems are even deeper. Have you ever tried to explain the concept of our holidays and vacation time and the importance of Daylight Savings Time to an Indian payroll department unfamiliar with our customs? It can be an exercise in futility, and the time lost, hard feelings and trust lost in trying to repair employee payroll can devour the so called "savings" very quickly, as your firm gains a reputation as a firm that cannot be trusted to pay its employees (compare to a competitor who handles his payroll at a local bank, and can cut a check onsite to correct a payroll error).

Much is being learned by many firms each day. We are far from finished with improving these methods, but time, money and competitive advantage is being lost as we improve our learning curve.

I could give more examples, but it would take a book.


Don't know how reliable month to month figures from China are, but with the big increase in car sales over the last year - to levels even exceeding the US - one would assume that oil demand is significantly higher.

China’s January Crude Oil Processing Volume Rises 29%
By Bloomberg News

Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- China, the world’s second-biggest energy consumer, processed 29 percent more crude oil in January than a year earlier as the economic recovery spurred demand, the China Petroleum & Chemical Industry Association said.

Crude oil processing volume reached 30.14 million metric tons last month while oil-product output increased 24 percent to 18.59 million tons, the industry body said on its Web site.


Well I question that number also and quite a few people have.


Now why do I question such a fantastic report ???

Well where are the used cars ?

Whats the I crush rate ?
My understanding is that they basically have a permanent cash for clunker deal.


Beijing is so desperate to get high-polluting cars off the roads, the city has devised a scheme that will pay citizens as much as $3600 to give up heavily polluting vehicles -- and even give drivers more money to purchase cleaner cars.

So if you read the fine print which is actually available a completely different picture emerges and we see a cash for clunker deal of enormous size underway. The net gain ? Well who knows really obviously whats happening in general is decades of care purchases are being replaced in one intense year. And with a lot more fuel efficient cars I might add. Also many more affluent families are going to two or more cars when they used to have one. Government officials to 5-6 instead of three. In short your getting a lot more cars that are not driven daily in the country.

Overall I'd argue that total consumption could even be in decline depending on the ratios. Given the nature of the change at a minimum I'd argue that it should resemble the US in the 1980's. Its CAFE on steroids.

Whats really going on is not exactly hidden from view how every the fact that this is predominately and extreme fleet rollover even with the older cars removed is not highlighted.

Again whats important is not that digging tends to paint a different picture of the situation but that you have to dig around a bit to find the answer and it seems very likely to be quite different from whats being portrayed in the MSM plenty of bits that suggest things are not as they are portrayed.

Am I right am I wrong who knows but that is the real problem as you dig and not all that deep I might add you disturbingly seem to consistently discover that things don't quite add up. And worse in general consistent with trying to cover up a oil crisis as other issues.

I'll post again but my paper is up on my blog.


I'll post the link a few times.

The basic argument is dead simple even if there are mistakes in my approach if Chinese coal consumption skyrocketed then oil had to go down. And I think it has over the last ten years thats not fake. At least till recently coal was not and issue in China.

Good to see that you have a blog now ! Thx and Kudos for the effort !!

I would bet my last dime that Uncle Sam , not to mention the Russians , the Chinese, the Isrealis,...just about anybody with an operational spy satellite, actually, knows where every major ship in the world is to within a couple of hours, and the direction it was headed, at the time the satellite last passed over..Even somebody willing to work at Google Earth might be able to get a fairly good answer after a while.

The maritime unions (seamen) probably know, if they want to be bothered collecting the info, probably all the really big maritime insurance companies know-after all, the data can be had indirectly by subtracting the ships servicing the rest of the world from a known total of operational ships.

I bet the USN knows to within a mile the position of every large tanker in the world ,real time.

Memmel, I must admit that I am constantly intrigued by the way you look at the elephant from another pov.I personally would not be suprised if the Chinese are storing a lot of oil in places that might not be considered suitable by western businessmen.

Our own SPR is in old salt mines unless I am mistaken.

Certainly when we wish to withdraw it eventually,we will not be able to get it all-maybe one, two , or five percent(I have no real idea)will be left behind.

Maybe the Chinese might be willing to store cheap(relatively) oil in places where they can get only eighty percent of it back, anticipating much higher prices later..Maybe that's a good deal for them , considering they can pay for it with perhaps soon to be worthless dollars,or with some of thier cheap consumer junk.Maybe they have hacked Aramco's computer system , or managed to find a few turncoats within the Saudi govt and know more than we do.

Lot's of things are possible to a country possessed of huge amounts of cheap but top quality talent,as in programming , code breaking, hacking, diplomatic intrigue.........

So I have a question here for you, Rockman.

Suppose you had an existing pipeline from a tired old field field with some availabe low producing wells , to a refinery, and you wanted to dump some crude into such wells for safe keeping.If the geology were to be favorable, how much of it could you get back out of the hole?

I realize this would have to be only a scientific wild axx guess sort of an answer.Are there any other places that might be suitable for storing oil by the millions of barrels, other than tank farms and salt mines?

More blocked weather patterns?

Whether it's never-ending heat waves or winter storms, atmospheric blocking can have a significant impact on local agriculture, business and the environment. Although these stagnant weather patterns are often difficult to predict, University of Missouri researchers are now studying whether increasing planet temperatures and carbon dioxide levels could lead to atmospheric blocking and when this blocking might occur, leading to more accurate forecasts.

have you reduced your lifestyle today? if you havent, did you reduce someone else's?
"A survey that's expected to be an important tool as Detroit works to revitalize core neighborhoods and possibly shutter others finds about one third of residential lots are vacant or contain abandoned homes."

wars for oil. good thing we got the big guns, huh?
"Argentina is to make its case for sovereignty over the Falkland Islands to other Latin American countries, as tensions over potential oil reserves in the South Atlantic grow."

here's some conflicting info. some one should make a colorful graph to plot article distribution of reserves running out to reserves being added.
"Scientists have criticized a major review of the world's remaining oil reserves, warning that the end of oil is coming sooner than governments and oil companies are prepared to admit."

the ultimate bug out is when they cover you with six feet of dirt.
no one gets out of here alive.

"it's all good"

About the idea of "Capping national max speed at 34 mph" - I think it is an excellent idea. Afterall, the average speed at peak times on most city highways/freeways is probably less than 30mph.

The article lists the benefits ...

The obvious benefits of this proposed national slowdown:
• Massive reductions in oil consumption
• Immediate and significant C02 reductions
• Smaller, lighter vehicles = less materials consumption
• Instant surge in demand for high-speed rail (with vehicle docking stations)
• Large drop in tire-related particulate pollution (650,000 tons/year in U.S. alone)
• Plunging traffic fatality rates + reduced health industry expenses
• Constriction of suburbs

A natural extension of this would be to make golf carts and NEVs (neighbourhood electric vehicles) legal on all roads. Instead of expensive highway capable EVs we could buy really cheap NEVs.

One of the reasons TATA could build Nano so light and cheap is that speeds in India are lower than here. That is also the reason we see so many LPG/CNG (under)powered taxis there.

It may be energetically excellent, but it's politically ridiculous.

Proposing 55 again today would be pretty bold, and would still very likely be laughed out of the country.

We have the Poland Spring company drawing millions of gallons of water from various spots in Maine nowadays, all but one of them NOT at Poland Springs, but hey, how many of the Yankess are actually New Yorkers, right? .. and there was a taxing scheme that proposed to tax them from 60 cents to a dollar PER GALLON. Kinda plays like a piece of legislation that was simply written to fail, no?

a new twist to peak oil.
"Research into the social and environmental effects on communities that are economically dependent on oil and gas industries has revealed "social dysfunction and biological impoverishment." The research, published in Conservation Biology, revealed that over a nine year period the number of registered sex offenders in energy "boomtowns" was two to three times higher than towns dependent on other industries."

talk about doomer porn!

"Nothing puts a damper on a road trip like having to stop the car, pop the hood, and check the engine--unless of course you're just checking to see if your pork tenderloin is done. Engine-block cooking is a tradition going back almost as long as the automobile itself, and now that gasoline prices are at an all-time high, it's never made more sense to ask your engine to do more than just get you from point A to point B. Start your engines and get ready to carbecue!"

let's see yo do that with a sissy electric auto.

"it's all good"

Dear Humbaba

You really need to see the Canadian cult classic indy movie "Roadkill". Engine block cooking of roadkill by a serial killer in Northern Ontario was a major essential part of the movie. Check it out.

Today was a good day to dumpster dive. A great find, 12 good condition milk crates, and 3 other plastic drink bottle crates.

More power to reusing the offle of others.

As the world unwinds there will be more things people will throw away and if you need the planter pots, and future yard sale items go for it, if not, then pick it up and take it to the thrift stores.

Reduse, reuse, recycle.


That would be, 'Reduce - Reuse - Recycle - FORAGE' ..

I got a nice tidbit today, too. Grabbed the Quick-release bolt from the seatstem of an abandoned bike.

Those are really useful in all sorts of my homebuilt tools and gear.


I try to vist the local scrap metal yard at least once a week to see what has come in.

Recent finds-heavy duty caster wheels, good as new, seventy five dollars each at the local industrial supply, about two dollars each by the pound, but I did have to remove the bolts holing them on a machine.

A four by eight sheet of aluminum, former highway sign, excellent condition, fifty five cents a pound.

Contractors wheel barrow, flat tire cost eight dollars to fix, paid ten dollars, cost over a hundred new.

Mobile home axle , complete with wheels, tires , springs and hangers, twenty two dollars by the pound, tires thrown in for free,will be used to build trailer for use on the farm.

Virtually brand new condition Case backhoe bucket, seventy five bucks, maybe used a week at most.Cost a thousand years ago when new.No idea why it was scrapped other than accident or ignorance.

Heavy duty right angle gear reduction one hundred twenty to one ratio,with vbelt drive on input and number eighty chain sprocket on out put shaft, excellent condition, ten dollars at ten cents a pound, similar on EBay fourhundred fifty bucks asking, bid to three hundred when I looked.

Louvered 4 by 4 foot low speed warehouse ventilating fan, for permanent in the wall mounting , belt drive, needs new motor , otherwise excellent thirty five dollars.Will go in my shop eventually.

Lots of pipe, angle iron, flat sheet stock , channels, i beams, over a years time.I'm paying twelve cents a pound for this stuff-I will either build projects with it or barter it later.

A local handy man stays there all day once a week or so, robbing timers , relays , switches, and other small parts out of the constant stream of discarded appliances.I don't know exactly what he is paying for this privelige, but I doubt it it is over two dollars per machine, and probably much less.

I remember hearing about a guy who bought a peice of plywood at the Los Alamos scrapyard -must have been around 1980. We had the inconvenience of having to remove a metal box. Turned out it was a coin box from a soda machine, containing a couple of hundred dollars in change.

Saving the Amazon may be the most cost-effective way to cut greenhouse gas emissions

This is a recipe for fraud. First of all if a tropical country razes its forest it is a debit against them. We don't pay bank robbers not to rob banks. Since nothing changes on the ground except payment of money it is not a new form of carbon capture. Perhaps it could be backdated 100 years.

What if the tropical country takes cash to conserve one patch of forest then razes the patch next door? The forest people might use their carbon rent to switch from paddling canoes to outboard motors, a kind of indirect Jevons Paradox. What if the tropical country secretly rents out the same forest to another industrial country? A kind of carbon bigamy.

Does the money get handed back after a forest fire or drought and disease causes the trees to die? Who is measuring the annual carbon uptake? I believe infrared satellite imaging can help here. All this should be made stringent with full compliance cost recovery. It might be cheaper and more honest for the industrial countries to simply burn less coal in the first place.

A good reason to read the February issue of Harper's. One of the main articles is called Conning the Climate: Inside the Carbon Trading Shell Game.

Also a good reason to read James Hansen's excellent Storms of my Grandchildren. He eloquently rails against cap and trade and carbon credits.

Carbon trading is a scam and just another way to try and continue BAU.Seemingly intelligent people who presumably don't have money in the game seem to believe in it.

As Alice said,"things just get curiouser and curiouser".

Rather than construct an elaborate, confusing, and expensive scheme to drive up the price of coal so that it will be eliminated, why not just ban it in the first place. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.

Unfortunately, most of those who rail against cap and trade are people like Palin who don't want any constraints on carbon, regardless of the chosen methodology.

I don't have much faith in taxing the consumer either. It takes time and the ability to overcome inertia to get people to cut back or switch. Often, one simply doesn't have a way to get out of one's current consumption pattern.

One has to go directly to people to offer them free or near free upgrades to their homes. That is being done in Boulder, Co. because even those profess to be green won't get off their ass and insulate their houses. Even with a free door to door program, they found people who even resisted free upgrades provided directly by the city.

Besides, if we ever pass a cap and trade bill, it will have so many loopholes and workarounds that it will not serve its intended purpose. And if it were a bill that actually forced change, calls for its repeal would immediately ensue.

Let's face it. 99% of us don't give a rat's ass about the future. What did the future ever do for us?

Most people i come across don't think more then a week or month into the future. Some might plan a trip months in advance, but that is about it. They never think of the price of things, if they'll be available and what the weather will be like. I guess that is why I (and many here?) are so different. We actually try to "forecast" what the hell is coming and try to figure out how to cope, save our asses and save our families.

can I get your mom's email? I'm so over my mom. fact is, I had to shoot her

Laughing my ass off!!

Millions of Unemployed Face Years Without Jobs

Call them the new poor: people long accustomed to the comforts of middle-class life who are now relying on public assistance for the first time in their lives — potentially for years to come.

...“American business is about maximizing shareholder value,” said Allen Sinai, chief global economist at the research firm Decision Economics. “You basically don’t want workers. You hire less, and you try to find capital equipment to replace them.”

FWO's--Formerly Well Offs.

A silver lining?? Fewer are eating fast food breakfasts, believed due to the economy.

"Breakfast sales had grown at a ravenous pace during the boom years as busy workers scarfed down sausage biscuits on the way to the office, fueling a $57 billion business and accounting for as much as a quarter of sales at some fast-food chains. Chains opened earlier and expanded their morning menus to accommodate the traffic as lunch and dinner sales flatlined.

But as the jobless rate hit 26-year highs fewer people headed to work, and even those who did worried about their spending."


I read that one too....really chilling.
Because the numbers will just grow.
The thought struck me that the time when my own job---when everyone`s job I guess--- faces permanent elimination is certainly already within uncomfortably close range......and the looong lines of poverty-stricken people will get longer.
It is hard to say how close the time is until it happens, in my case. It is difficult to deal with the extremes of the uncertainty about the time frame vs. the certainty of the outcome. But I suppose that is also all part of the fun!
I mean that the people who drop out of the job market....essentially they have lost the race and their energy portion (commuting, their job, heating their house, eventually eating if the outcome gets worse and worse) will go to someone higher up the line, who will consume it gladly. But you do that knowing that your turn will certainly come in the future. And your energy portion will be turned over to someone who is a little bit more "fit". So we can all experience evolutionary forces up close and personal!!! Better than any theme park. It`s hands-on and so "real".
Great, just great........

From Bloomberg:

WTI CRUDE FUTURE (USD/bbl.) PRICE / 80.370 TIME / 19:42

Wow...breaking $80 used to stir things up here at TOD. What a difference a year or two make!!

On 60 Minutes, the Bloom Energy story, and the more interesting "Saving Ground Zero" story

"60 Minutes" had yet another in it's long string of rah rah stories about an energy device that will save us all.

After viewing, it looks pretty much like state of the art fuel cell technology, nothing more, nothing less, but with some good promotion.

The technology is fair, depending on scalability and capital costs,so the news here is not the technology itself, but the overall visualization of the direction technology is moving.

First, distributed power. This IS the direction home and business power is going, if for no other reason than grid based power has become unreliable, not sensibly priced, and businesses and now even home owners are tired of being enslaved to the rule by fiat of their utilities. Next to banks, utilities are gaining a reputation as unreliable co-parties to deal with.

"The dash to gas". The fate of distributed fuel cells and various other distributed power systems is based on the price and availability of natural gas and to a lesser extent propane. There can be no hope for some of these systems if natural gas were to peak in either price or availability. The U.S. is getting a real lesson here about the absolute importance of natural gas to our economy. The natural gas industry has a long history of promising gas into infinity, so we have to take them with a grain of salt. The problem here is that once the infrastructure is converted to natural gas dependence, the gas absolutely MUST be there. I do think that we are starting to see the beginning of a great dash to gas however, simply due to it's cleanliness in comparison to coal and its availability inside the borders of the U.S. At least for now.

Recaptured methane. Given that methane and gas are very close in compositon, and can be used in much the same way, I see an increasing interest in recaptured methane gas. One of the projects mentioned in the "6 Minutes" piece was a system using bio-gas from a landfill to help power a building. This is very sensible, but one could ask if it would not be as cost effective to simply burn the gas in a micro turbine or small piston engine (remember that the fuel cell they were describing was a 5 kilowatt cell, about the output of a riding lawn mower engine).

One commentator on the show made a comment that we may see technology similiar to this, but it will just as likely have GE or Siemans nameplate on the fuel cell. I think this is very possible. Remember that the gas turbine was NOT invented by GE. They have a long history of letting others do the dirty work and then stepping in when the return seems assured.

But the core ideas of the technology displayed are correct: Distributed power, multi fuel, with the potential to take advantage of captured waste, bio-gas, etc. The gains in efficiency along this path could be incredible. But Bloom is just one player among many.

The much more interesting article on "60 Minutes: tonight was the status of ground zero where the 9-11 attack occurred. In this piece we catch a glimpse of how almost a decade has passed and nothing has been done in rebuilding the old site of the World Trade Center.

The article pointed out all the factors that are bleeding the U.S. to death much faster than peak oil will ever be able to do: Indecision, lack of will, shortages of educated and capable leadership, lawyers and bureaucracy, and lack of financial power to make decisions.

There is no lack of steel to build the buildings and memorial, no lack of concrete, no lack of the machines or the fuel to power them.

The United States is in great danger of grinding to a stop while sitting in all the energy it needs, but unable to even be able to decide how to apply it, bled to death by the vultures of the U.S. financial system. This is the real danger now.

With each passing day, peak resources is sliding down the scale of threats as we find ways to bleed ourselves to death long before peak resources will have the opportunity to. The inability to concentrate, set priorities and make things happen is now a national epidemic. Perhaps it is something in the water, or television. We now seem to be suffering from what is a national dementia, a slowing of ability and brain function that is becoming noticable. Like a person who says "something is just not right", we are sensing our own illness, our own slipping away.

Is there anyway to regain our ability to concentrate, to actually plan and execute anything? On the world trade center memorial and rebuilding of ground zero, the truth is that most folks simply lost interest in it a few months after the event. It was yesterdays news. And besides, we had a new threat...the U.S. banking and financial community were beginning to show themselves to be far bigger threats to America than the terrorists could ever be.


The most interesting part of the fuel cell story was that they claim to have found a way to make the individual cells much cheaper "from beach sand" (silicon, of course) and their proprietary green and black inks. Much of the high cost of fuel cells has been the use of platinum, etc. They also use an inexpensive alloy separator plate. I read a while back that 80% of the cost of fuel cells (up to now) is the cost of producing the cell plates. If they've conqured that issue then these things could be viable. If they don't need highly purified silicon then that would make these things much less expensive and energy intensive to produce. I wonder what their "magic inks" are made from.

Haven't you heard Ghung? It's Unobtanium, Element 128.

The guy worked for NASA creating efficient ways to generate oxygen for a manned Mars mission and evidently was very successful. When plans for a Mars mission were scrapped he decided to run his gizmo in reverse and it worked, generating electricity. I got the feeling his "ink" coatings are similar to the printed solar cell process. These units seem to be operating as claimed, some since '06. The only problem they've had is polluted air from nearby interstates clogging the air filters. The air filters looked like standard HVAC HEPA filters.
They claim investments of nearly $500 million in developing this thing. Not chump-change.

Perhaps Rockman can help shed some light on the NG situation. I was looking at the extraction rates provided by the EIA and Natural gas has been on a plateau since 1970. I am not sure I trust recent advancements in technology to greatly increase rates or even keep them steady.

http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/ng/hist/n9010us2a.htm Extraction rates

http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/ng/hist/na1170_nus_8a.htm number of wells


Agreed. As Matthew Simmons has often pointed out, decline rates of gas wells can be astonishingly fast. This means that the demand side curve means everything, because it is easy to promise a century of gas "at current rates of consumption" if at the moment you speak the rate of consumption is very weak. Consumption rates will sky rocket if we try to move the whole economy over to gas...and what will be happening to decline rates of wells by then? Who knows, natural gas has been one of the most baffling commodities to predict in either price or supply for decades.


The inability to concentrate, set priorities and make things happen is now a national epidemic. Perhaps it is something in the water, or television. We now seem to be suffering from what is a national dementia, a slowing of ability and brain function that is becoming noticable.

This goes along with what I've noticed, and that is every opinion, right or wrong, based on fact or not, supported by data or not is given equal value as it is reported in the news. It's like a ship with 3 captains, a Dem a Repub and an Ind., with the Dem saying stear left, the Repub says stear right and the Ind. says stear straight and so nothing changes.

We can't afford to give every single opinion equal value. We must set an agenda and get moving in some concerted direction. But for now, you're right, there is a National dementia.

"60 Minutes" had yet another in it's long string of rah rah stories about an energy device that will save us all.

Yeah, this thing looks like it has the potential to be the new Segway .

The device appears to be a fuel cell that uses natural gas as a fuel, and while fuel cells are very efficient, they only make economic sense if you need electricity but do not have access to the electricity grid. On the grid it will have to compete against 1000 MW natural gas power plants. Electricity production has huge economies of scale, so a 1000 MW power plant is very cost-efficient on a per-watt basis.

How well will it do? I don't know, but I find it disconcerting that investors have sunk $400 million into an unproven device that hasn't made any money yet. They have to get the per-watt cost very low to compete against the local electricity company. Gee-whiz technology is fun, but I wouldn't personally want to bet the farm on it.

Our take on Bloom Energy and its powerplant in a box: http://earth2tech.com/2010/02/21/the-bloom-box-what-all-the-fuss-is-about/

boy you guys really got to the bottom of that

Yeah, I followed out that link hoping to learn a little more. What a wasted click.


See link, oil price broke above 80 dollars this Monday AM.