Drumbeat: March 30, 2010

Richard Heinberg: Quacks Like A Duck

According to an article in Le Monde on March 25, the US Department of Energy "admits that 'a chance exists that we may experience a decline' of world liquid fuels production between 2011 and 2015 'if the investment is not there.'" This bombshell emerged in "an exclusive interview with Glen Sweetnam, main official expert on the oil market in the Obama administration."

The Le Monde article goes on: "The DoE dismisses the 'peak oil' theory, which assumes that world crude oil production should irreversibly decrease in a nearby future, in want of sufficient fresh oil reserves yet to be exploited. The Obama administration supports the alternative hypothesis of an 'undulating plateau.' Lauren Mayne, responsible for liquid fuel prospects at the DoE, explains : 'Once maximum world oil production is reached, that level will be approximately maintained for several years thereafter, creating an undulating plateau. After this plateau period, production will experience a decline.'"

In other words, we don't believe that world oil production will soon reach a maximum and begin to decline (the "peak oil theory"); instead, we believe that world oil production will reach a maximum, stay there for a few years, and then decline. That decline could commence as soon as next year.

World energy briefing hears of peak oil by 2020

The world’s energy ministers are currently discussing a forecast of global oil supplies “peaking between 2020-2025.”

The International Energy Forum is the world’s largest gathering of Energy Ministers, who collectively represent “more than 90 per cent of global oil and gas supply and demand.” It is meeting March 29 –31 at the Mexican resort of Cancun.

“We Have Solutions in Hand: an interview with Dr. Michael Webber”

CS: You often repeat the maxim, “we use energy for water, and we use water for energy,” in presentations and articles, could you explain this concept further to us?

MW: The way it works out is – it is a way that is surprising to people – is we use a lot of water to spin turbines at hydrological power plants behind dams, we use water to cool power plants that use heat to make electricity, for example nuclear power plants, coal, natural gas etc., and we use water to grow energy crops like corn-based ethanol, so it turns out that water is a very important part of the energy system.

Without the water we do not have the energy, and the same is true the other direction, where we use energy for water. For example we use a lot of energy and electricity to heat, treat, and move water. So that means we use energy for water and water for energy, and without one or the other, we do not have the opposite and vise versa.

Mexico’s Pemex wrestles with oil decline

The tongues of fire soaring into the sky high above the platforms dotting the horizon across Mexico’s Cantarell oil field give away the problems plaguing Pemex, the country’s national oil company

The flames, the product of burning unwanted gas, are a visible sign that Cantarell, once the world’s third biggest oil field, is ageing and its oil production is declining.

The severity of Cantarell’s decline, which began its dramatic acceleration in 2007, caught Pemex off guard. In the past two years the company has raced to catch up, installing equipment such as compressors and turbines, to more than triple its capacity to re-inject the gas into the rocks 2km beneath the surface of the Gulf of Mexico’s azure sea.

But still, all around the Panuco drilling rig, Pemex continues to resort to environmentally unfriendly gas flaring.

Steve LeVine: Gazprom trifecta of woes a potential boon to Europe, the Caspian Sea

Gazprom, the largest natural gas company in the world, is experiencing a moment of truth. And so, by extension, is Russia, which has relied on the behemoth for a large part of its tax revenue, and as a spearpoint of its foreign policy. The main ramifications are a shakeup in security presumptions in Europe and on the Caspian Sea, both of which until recently have seemed to be under Gazprom’s thumb.

The reasons are these: Gazprom’s main market – Europe – is under threat from cheap competition from the Middle East; one of its expected future markets – the United States – is sated by new indigenous gas supplies; and the reliability of its key underpinning – political backing from Russia’s leadership – now seems a bit less full-throated.

China Oilfield Profit Climbs 1.1% as Cnooc Expands

(Bloomberg) -- China Oilfield Services Ltd., a unit of the nation’s largest offshore oil producer, posted a 1.1 percent increase in profit as its biggest customer Cnooc Ltd. continued to expand amid the global financial crisis.

Gazprom rakes in profits

Russian gas giant Gazprom more than trebled its 2009 net profit, which is reported to Russian Accounting Standards (RAS).

Glider Death Could Spark a Dynastic Struggle in Abu Dhabi

The body of Sheikh Ahmad bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the managing director of one of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds, was retrieved on Tuesday, fished out from a picturesque lake some 20 miles southeast of the Moroccan capital, Rabat, that his glider crashed into five days before. The 41-year-old was the half-brother of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the president of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Abu Dhabi, the most influential — and with some 8% of the world's proven oil reserves — the wealthiest of the seven states that comprise the UAE.

The sudden passing of Sheikh Ahmad, who was ranked number 27 on Forbes list of the "Most Powerful People" last year, is likely to precipitate a power struggle between several of his 17 surviving brothers as they maneuver to replace him. (The late Sheikh Zayed al Nahyan, former UAE president and the country's founding father, had 19 sons from several different wives. Another of his sons, Sheikh Nasser, was killed in a helicopter crash in June 2008.)

Drought may force power station to halt operation

TIAN'E, Guangxi - The worsening drought in southwest China could force the Longtan hydropower station, the country's second largest in operation, to halt power generation in another month, a company official said Tuesday.

The water level in the upper reservoir had been falling by 20 cm per day, said Chen Deqing, deputy chief of the hydropower station.

The Big Melt

Glaciers in the high heart of Asia feed its greatest rivers, lifelines for two billion people. Now the ice and snow are diminishing.

GM unveils 40 mpg compact

The automaker's new Chevrolet Cruze ECO will get very high gas --mileage without relying on any hybrid technology.

Chavez Cash Crunch Looms on Drop in Output, Morgan Stanley Says

(Bloomberg) -- Venezuela’s government may face a cash crunch as early as this year as oil production slumps amid stable prices, Morgan Stanley said today in a report.

The country, which depends on oil for 94 percent of export revenue, has seen oil output plunge to 2.2 million barrels a day from 3.7 million in 1997, according to Morgan Stanley. Investor bets that oil prices will stay close to $90 a barrel through 2015 increase the possibility that Venezuela won’t be able to depend on surging prices to back spending and maintain imports.

The government is tapping its savings even as prices for oil, its biggest export, hold above $80 a barrel, Morgan Stanley analysts Giuliana Pardelli and Daniel Volberg wrote in the report. International reserves fell to a nine-month low March 26 after the central bank transferred $4.5 billion to President Hugo Chavez’s off-budget development fund.

“Venezuela may be hard pressed to avoid its day of reckoning,” the Morgan Stanley analysts said.

Gulf states face crippling shortage of resources, report claims

The regional economic slowdown has temporarily reduced the risk of power cuts and water shortages, but the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states need to move fast to improve the management of power, water and food resources in order to forge a more sustainable growth path, according to a new study that assesses the long-term resource strategy of the region.

The report reveals that inefficient energy and water consumption has significant economic costs, while the possibility of future food price spikes poses an inflation risk to an import-dependent region.

Sinopec Starts Up $9.2B Natural Gas Project

China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., or Sinopec, has started operating its $9.2 billion Sichuan-East China natural gas transmission project, parent company Sinopec Group said in its inhouse newsletter Tuesday.

The project, which has a designed annual capacity of 12 billion cubic meters, will feed China's energy-thirsty eastern areas with natural gas from Sinopec's largest gas field, Puguang, and will increase the company's overall natural gas output this year sharply by about 50%.

Time to declare independence in energy business

On a recent visit to Calgary, the oil capital of Canada, I happened to glance at a wall plaque in the lobby of an office tower. It said 41 oil companies had their headquarters in that single building. In the whole of the Middle East, by contrast, there are not that many, and those that do exist are nearly all state-owned.

Alaska: Gas storage bill gets nod from House

The bill addresses a major and increasingly popular concern -- a looming shortage of Cook Inlet gas, long the primary fuel for heating homes and businesses and for generating electricity for the state's main population center including Anchorage.

Electricity shortfall reaches 5200MW: Traders express dismay over hike in power tariff

ISLAMABAD: Countrymen and the business community have rejected the increase of Rs 1.02 in electricity tariff by NEPRA on Saturday, They urged the government to revise the new tariff by NEPRA otherwise it would be impossible for them to pay electricity utility bills.

Cap 'not answer to population growth'

Mr Salt said an immigration intake of 180,000 each year is Australia's "get out of jail free card to fund our retirement of the baby boomers".

Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan said the current spike in migrant numbers is caused by a skills shortage, a resources boom and a huge increase in temporary migrants, particularly students.

Mr Swan said a population cap would compound, not solve, the growth challenges Australia faced.

Push to Eat Local Food Is Hampered by Shortage

EAST MONTPELIER, Vt. — Erica Zimmerman and her husband spent months pasture-raising pigs on their farm here, but when the time came to take them to slaughter, an overbooked facility canceled their appointment.

With the herd in prime condition, and the couple lacking food and space to keep them, they frantically called slaughterhouses throughout the state. After several days they found an opening, but their experience highlights a growing problem for small farmers here and across the nation: too few slaughterhouses to meet the growing demand for locally raised meat.

In what could be a major setback for America’s local-food movement, championed by so-called locavores, independent farmers around the country say they are forced to make slaughter appointments before animals are born and to drive hundreds of miles to facilities, adding to their costs and causing stress to livestock.

Saudi Arabia’s Al-Naimi Awaits Recovery Before Boosting Output

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabian oil Minister Ali Al- Naimi said the nation could boost output by as much as 4.5 million barrels-a day once demand recovers from recession.

The world’s largest oil producer is “waiting” for usage to rise after increasing capacity to 12 million barrels a day, Al-Naimi told reporters today in Cancun, Mexico, where he’s attending an oil conference. Prices in the $70-a-barrel to $80- a-barrel range are “as close to perfect as possible,” he said.

Crude Oil Trades Little Changed Before Report on U.S. Supplies

(Bloomberg) -- Oil traded little changed before a U.S. government report forecast to show that crude inventories increased while gasoline stockpiles fell.

The Energy Department report tomorrow may show that U.S. inventories of gasoline dropped 2 million barrels last week, and that crude supplies rose 2.5 million barrels, according to a Bloomberg survey. Employers in the world’s biggest energy consumer probably added jobs this month for the second time in more than two years, according to economists surveyed before an April 2 report.

Government set to unveil offshore drilling plan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration is expected to announce by Wednesday its updated plan for oil and natural gas drilling in U.S. waters, including whether to allow exploration for the first time along the U.S. East Coast.

The plan could pave the way for a significant new domestic source of energy, helping to reduce U.S. dependence on oil imports and boost supplies of natural gas used to displace coal in power plants as the country works to reduce emissions of climate-changing greenhouse gases.

Mexico’s Kessel Expects Supreme Court to Back Pemex Contracts

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleos Mexicanos, Latin America’s largest crude producer, is likely to win a Supreme Court ruling allowing it to offer performance-based contracts to oil companies, Mexican Energy Minister Georgina Kessel said.

“I don’t have any doubts that Pemex regulations will be ratified by the Supreme Court,” she said yesterday in an interview in Cancun, Mexico. Recent changes to Mexico’s energy industry were made within the constitution, said Kessel, also chairwoman of Pemex, as the state-owned company is known.

OPEC, IEA, IEF to Unveil Measure to Combat Oil-Price Volatility

(Bloomberg) -- OPEC, the International Energy Agency and the International Energy Forum will announce a “joint action plan” this week to combat oil-market volatility, IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka said.

The plan will tackle “volatility of the price and other issues like the outlook of the energy market,” he told reporters yesterday before the biennial IEF ministerial meeting that starts today in Cancun, Mexico. “We’ll have closer dialogue with our organizations and we’ll see what we can do.”

HSBC, Standard Chartered Want Libya Units, Libya Says

(Bloomberg) -- HSBC Holdings Plc and Standard Chartered Plc are among the international banks that have applied to set up units in Libya, the North African country’s central bank governor said today.

The central bank in February said it planned to grant two licenses for foreign institutions to set up units in Libya as the holder of Africa’s largest crude oil reserves moves to cut back the government’s role in the economy.

China invited to join IEA as oil demand shifts

The head of the International Energy Agency, the developed world’s energy watchdog, has called for China to join the agency and warned that the institution risked losing relevance as energy demand shifted eastward away from its current members.

Nobuo Tanaka, executive director of the IEA, told the Financial Times: “Our relevance is under question because half of the energy consumption already is in non-Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development countries. And for oil it is soon coming that the majority of consumption is happening in non-OECD countries.”

Forecourt closures at all time low

The latest Retail Marketing Survey, conducted by the Energy Institute (EI), shows that, after a slight rise in 2008, the number of forecourts in the UK has fallen from 9,283 to a new low of 9,013 in 2009. This is compared to 1967’s all-time high of 39,958 forecourts.

The number of fuelling points at forecourts is growing but these statistics show a steady drop in fuel sales despite a continued rise in the number of registered vehicles on the road.

Qatar commits major gas shipments to China, India

Qatar has committed substantial amount of its natural gas for China and India, the country's energy minister said on Monday.

Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Abdulla bin Hamad al-Attiyah said his country had already signed shipment contract of 12 tons of liquefied natural gas to China and signed shipment contract of seven tons of liquefied natural gas to India.

Abu Dhabi, Conoco May Decide on Shah Sour Gas Plan Next Quarter

(Bloomberg) -- Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., the state-owned crude producer, and ConocoPhillips are set to award work contracts for a sour-gas project this month and may decide to go ahead with the venture in the second quarter.

The Shah gas development is set to come on stream in the second or third quarter of 2014, Saif Ahmed Al-Ghafli, chief executive officer of the joint project, told reporters today.

Total Loses Bid to Overturn Fine Over Erika Oil Spill

(Bloomberg) -- Total SA, Europe’s largest oil refiner, lost a bid to overturn a 375,000-euro ($505,000) criminal fine over a 1999 oil tanker accident that spilled fuel along the French coast.

The Paris appeals court said today that the company should have done more to vet the ship’s sea-worthiness. Prosecutors said the company failed to enforce its own internal standards on the vessel, which it hired from another company.

European energy agency could form super-regulator

Brussels is pressing ahead with plans to establish an energy agency which is seen as a prototype European regulator. The body could eventually restrict national policymaking but could also give important impetus to North Sea wind power and developing a European "supergrid".

Russia, IAEA Agree To Establish World's First Nuclear Fuel Bank

WASHINGTON -- Russia has signed a deal with the UN's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to set up the world's first nuclear fuel bank of low-enriched uranium for countries that need fuel for civilian purposes, including nuclear power plants.

Uranium May Have ‘Hyper’ Price Run, Uranium Energy Corp Says

(Bloomberg) -- Uranium prices may start to rise at the end of the year as demand from utilities improve, Uranium Energy Corp., an explorer for the nuclear fuel, said.

Prices may jump to $100 a pound from about $40 a pound now, Amir Adnani, president and chief executive officer of the U.S.- based company, said today in an interview in Hong Kong, without giving a timeframe for the target price. Prices may average about $75 a pound in the next 5 to 10 years, he said.

Nissan Undercuts Mitsubishi Rival With $40,600 Electric Car

(Bloomberg) -- Nissan Motor Co., aiming to be the world’s biggest seller of electric vehicles, will sell its battery-powered Leaf car from 3.76 million yen ($40,600) in Japan before government subsidies, less than Mitsubishi Motors Corp.’s 4.6 million yen all-electric i-MiEV.

Texas Weighs Efficiency, Solar Mandates

Texas regulators may soon ramp up mandates requiring tougher energy-efficiency standards and development of renewable energy sources other than wind power.

Researchers conclude 100 per cent renewable electricity supply is feasible

Europe could generate all the electricity it needs from renewable sources by the middle of the century, according to a major new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) that rejects concerns about the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources.

Innocent civilians: becoming an endangered species in America's resource wars

The age of the global resource wars has arrived with the U.S. in the leading role; wars are being conducted in foreign lands to advance an agenda designed to guarantee a supply of natural resources which the U.S. and our NATO partners desperately need into the future. But, as these wars are being waged, we need to ask this question: will we as a nation, a government, and a people continue to pursue this agenda when we know full well that it will result in hundreds and thousands of innocent civilians losing their right to exist?

9 Things We'll See Down the Back Side of Peak Oil

In 2007, my 9 Things That'll Happen When We Run Out of Oil list swept across the Internet and I had enough reader responses to keep me busy for two weeks.

Not only did readers respond, but I was surprised by how many doom and gloomers there were. Today, I wanted to bring a more light-hearted approach to peak oil. I'm rather curious as to whether or not your sentiment has changed... After all, crude has been trading over $80 per barrel for more than a week. With the geopolitical scene in an uproar today, it's difficult to see the bears winning the day.

Raymond J. Learsy: Methane Oozing in Alaska, Cows Jumping Over Mars, Dinosaurs in Arabia; Peak Oil Pranksters Don't Read This!

The oil industry and its complicit profession of English speaking geologists, many on oil industry staff, have been working for several generations to make us believe unquestioningly that oil and gas are of biological origin. It is a cornerstone of the Peak Oil Dogma that has indoctrinated us into the belief that oil is consummately and imminently finite permitting the oil industry and its allies to drive all over us setting prices beyond the wildest dreams of Croesus. You see If oil supply is running out quickly as we are taught (as it has according to oil industry and geological gospel ever since that first well in Pennsylvania in the 1850's) a lesson that the oil industry wants us to learn each and every day is that we will have to pay, pay, pay.

Well just suppose we have been purposely misled. That the Peak Oil Pranksters and their geologist sidekicks have been the purveyors of one of the great con jobs in history. That oil and gas is not the biological phenomenon that has been drummed into us. Rather that oil and gas are a geological phenomenon, inherent to the geological construct of the earth and all that means to its expanse and availability.

Japan should raise food self-sufficiency to 50% in FY 2020: panel

TOKYO — An advisory panel on Monday presented the agricultural minister with a basic farm policy plan calling for raising Japan’s self-sufficiency in food to 50% on a calorie basis in fiscal 2020. The plan warns that there are concerns about medium- and long-term food security due to the growing global population.

A beginner's guide to permaculture gardening

Permaculture is a design system which sprang up during the 1970s oil crisis, a reaction to food insecurity and the desire for self-reliance. Combining attitude and practical application, it encompasses anything from recycling, reusing and regenerating, to simply observing.

E.P.A. Delays Plants’ Pollution Permits

WASHINGTON - The Environmental Protection Agency said Monday that it would not require power plants or other industrial sites to obtain federal pollution permits for emitting greenhouse gases before next January.

The statement formally affirms an agency announcement last month that it would phase in the regulation of climate-altering gases over several years, starting with the largest sources.

"Below" 2C opens new rift in U.N. climate battle

OSLO (Reuters) - A goal to limit global warming to "below" 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) is opening a new rift for 2010 talks on a U.N. climate treaty as developing nations say it means the rich must deepen cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

An alliance of 101 developing nations and island states says the temperature target, endorsed by major emitters since the Copenhagen summit in December, is tougher than a previous goal by industrialized nations of 2 degrees as a maximum rise.

How my YouTube channel is converting climate change sceptics

My channel, Potholer54, now has over 27,000 subscribers. The videos have been mirrored by others all over the internet, and several university lecturers have asked if they can use it in their environmental science classes. Most importantly, former sceptics tell me the videos have changed their minds about the reality of climate change.

That success, however, comes at a price. It means looking at the science – not scary and unrealistic images of submerged cities. It means accepting the fact that Al Gore is not always right, and he should not be defended when he's wrong. It means acknowledging that while sceptics like Christopher Monckton and Martin Durkin fabricate a lot of their facts, many environmental activists tend to exaggerate theirs.

Among Weathercasters, Doubt on Warming

The debate over global warming has created predictable adversaries, pitting environmentalists against industry and coal-state Democrats against coastal liberals.

But it has also created tensions between two groups that might be expected to agree on the issue: climate scientists and meteorologists, especially those who serve as television weather forecasters.

Did Climate Influence Angkor's Collapse? Evidence Suggests Changing Environment Can Bring Down a Civilization

ScienceDaily — Decades of drought, interspersed with intense monsoon rains, may have helped bring about the fall of Cambodia's ancient Khmer civilization at Angkor nearly 600 years ago, according to an analysis of tree rings, archeological remains and other evidence. The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may also shed light on what drives -- and disrupts -- the rainy season across much of Asia, which waters crops for nearly half the world's population.

Koch Industries funds climate change deniers: Greenpeace

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Koch Industries, a huge privately-owned US company dominated by oil and chemical interests, is plowing millions of dollars into campaigns to discredit climate science and clean energy policies, a report alleged Tuesday.

Between 2005 and 2008, the Kansas-based conglomerate that "most Americans have never heard of" spent nearly 25 million dollars to fund "organizations of the 'climate denial machine,'" environmental protection group Greenpeace said in the report.

Sierra Club chief explains climate change strategy

Reporting from Washington - As an environmentalist, Michael Brune made a name for himself by spearheading an unrelenting and ultimately successful campaign to pressure Home Depot into phasing out sales of lumber from endangered rain forests.

Now, Brune is taking the reins of the Sierra Club at a time when much of the movement has turned away from confrontational tactics in favor of compromise, especially on the push for sweeping new federal legislation on climate change.

EU’s Cap-and-Trade Emissions Fall 10%, Survey Shows

(Bloomberg) -- Carbon dioxide output from about 11,000 factories and power stations in the European Union’s emissions-trading program fell 10 percent last year, according to the average estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Emissions in the program probably fell to 1.903 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide from 2.118 billion tons in 2008, according to the survey.

Carbon Trading and the Great Recession

The current recession brought with it a slow down in industrial production, and that has translated into far fewer greenhouse gas emissions in 2009 than in previous years.

The scale of that reduction should become clear on Thursday at about midday Central European Summer Time, when the European Commission in Brussels is expected to issue preliminary figures for the amount emissions from factories and power plants covered by its Emissions Trading System.

Billionaire oilman T Boone Pickens makes his move on water

T Boone Pickens has been wrong before. The billionaire oil man discusses those times openly in his book, The First Billion is the Hardest. But mostly being wrong for Pickens is really a matter of timing - not substance.

And that is why it is interesting to note, in a recent interview, how keen he has become about wind – and now, water.

Kenneth Mulder, Nate Hagens & Brendan Fisher: Burning Water: A Comparative Analysis of the Energy Return on Water Invested

While various energy-producing technologies have been analyzed to assess the amount of energy returned per unit of energy invested, this type of comprehensive and comparative approach has rarely been applied to other potentially limiting inputs such as water, land, and time. We assess the connection between water and energy production and conduct a comparative analysis for estimating the energy return on water invested (EROWI) for several renewable and non-renewable energy technologies using various Life Cycle Analyses. Our results suggest that the most water-efficient, fossil-based technologies have an EROWI one to two orders of magnitude greater than the most water-efficient biomass technologies, implying that the development of biomass energy technologies in scale sufficient to be a significant source of energy may produce or exacerbate water shortages around the globe and be limited by the availability of fresh water.

Link up top: 9 Things We'll See Down the Back Side of Peak Oil is a real gaffer. But my favorite came from the second nine: And Now... 9 (NEW) Things We'll See Down the Backside of Peak Oil

3. OPEC's oil production declines by 50%, yet members still insist their reserves have doubled... again.

I tried to think of something to send them for their #1 position but I will have to think about it for awhile. I suppose it would be some future quote from Dan Yergin, or Michael C. Lynch or perhaps Raymond J. Learsy. But I could not think of an appropriate denial quote when we are down to 50 percent of peak oil production. Perhaps someone here can think of a good one.

Ron P.

Maybe in the spirit of Baghdad Bob ("Their infidels are committing suicide by the hundreds on the gates of Baghdad") and Hannoi Hanah we could have Denial Dan and Miracle Michael.

"The undulating plateau continues. We will reach 100 million barrels a day within the next decade".

I miss Baghdad Bob, though he does look quite similar to Robert Gibbs.


At last, he's revealed in print that he is quite off his rocker.

People think I'm nuts when I say this, but the new Triumvirate--the new Trinity, if you will--among anti-science Americans is going to be:

Climate Change Denial

Intelligent Design

Abiotic Oil

The third plank is almost in place. B. A. U.

He's supported abiotic oil for quite awhile. Learsy is proof that liberals can be as dopey as conservatives.

From: Raymond J. Learsy: Methane Oozing in Alaska, Cows Jumping Over Mars, Dinosaurs in Arabia; Peak Oil Pranksters Don't Read This!
, up top.

Natural gas prices are touching six month lows while oil prices are now at whisker from six month highs. Given the traditional relationship between these two fuels, wherein one would closely track the other, there is something clearly and profoundly amiss.

Let me get this straight. If market prices show oil is scarce and gas is cheap, then Peak Oil is wrong because the market says so. Could it possibly be that Peak Oil is right and that the price of oil is high because of it? And that is what is "clearly and profoundly amiss".

I think I know who the real prankster is.

It is Mr. Learsy who compares things that are different. He jumps from oozing methane to abiotic oil in what appears to be a leap of faith. Just because two things come out of the ground does not mean they are related. Especially two very different things like oil and natural gas.

Perhaps when oil is discovered on Mars he may have a case. But not yet. What is also clearly and profoundly amiss is Mr. Learsy's logic.

Learsy's article is pure bait. We shouldn't take it. The fact is that the origin of oil doesn't matter to peak oil theory. Whether it's organic, abiotic or made by Keebler Elves the same problem remains we're using 30 billion barrels a year and it's replacement is so slow that it may as well be 0.

Well just suppose we have been purposely misled. That the Peak Oil Pranksters and their geologist sidekicks have been the purveyors of one of the great con jobs in history. That oil and gas is not the biological phenomenon that has been drummed into us. Rather that oil and gas are a geological phenomenon, inherent to the geological construct of the earth and all that means to its expanse and availability.

I just knew it. It's all ROCKMAN's fault!

FM -- Just consider me the Gabby Hayes of TOD. And you old farts can explain to the youngsters here who Gabby was.

ROCKMAN? Is that you?

Yes...in my youth, of course

A more recent picture of The Rock, after he switched from development work to exploration projects:


Just a word about Ray Learsy...

He is described as a "scholar." Just for the information of those who wonder, scholar and scientist are not the same animal. What he said is just bad science. As a "scholar" he cherry picks his information.

And, if you are Gabby, where's Roy? Or maybe the Duke?

OTOH, "Windy" was the original moniker when he/you palled around with Hoppy.


Learsy is proof that liberals can be as dopey as conservatives.

Hey that's not fair. An example: There are scientists who deny global warming. This is proof that the issue is still in doubt since there are scientists on both sides of the issue.

Now is that statement fair? Of course not. What is left out is the fact that scientists that believe in global warming outnumber those who do not by perhaps 100 to 1.

Sure there are liberals who are dopey about peak oil. But with literally tens of millions of liberals in the world, what would you expect. I believe, though I admit I have seen no survey to support my conclusions, that among peak oil deniers, 9 out of 10 are likely conservatives.

Ron P.

I don't think that's correct.

I suspect it's closer to 9 out 10 Americans in general who don't believe in peak oil - or at least, don't think it's something they need to worry about any time soon.

Liberal vs. conservative determines whether they blame Big Oil or environmentalists, that's all.


A big er..... ah a big AMEN! to that from a conserrvative Biblle thumping athiest. ;-)

Liberals tend to believe such things as "New Age" religions (Wicca, etc.), homeopathy, "natural" healing (naturopathy), "quantum" healing, the "superiority" of "organic" foods, herbal and aroma "therapies," "psychotherapy" in all its various formulations (Freudian, Jungian), 12-step "substance abuse treatment" programs, the "Adult Children of Alcoholics" cult, the "co-dependency" hoax, and Qigong. That's for starters.

Read the Huffington Post for an unending parade of hilarity.

In the late 80s and early 90s I was founder and president of the local "Freethought Forum" in Huntsville, Alabama. We had close to 100 members and were all liberals. None of us believed in any such crap as you describe Mike. We were, to the man and woman, skeptics.

On the other hand I must admit that there are a few conservatives who are also hard core atheist. I have met one, only one, in my lifetime. I am 71. By at least 100 to 1 they are all Bible bangers of one schism or another.

Ron P.

Sounds like you have there a "self-selected" sample of the finest liberals.

I didn't intend to sound as if I were smearing all liberals. I was riffing off Leanan's "can be." Liberals' superstitions tend to be qualitatively different from conservatives' superstitions.

My boss has an astrological chart on his wall. He plants according to lunar cycles. Goddess help me.

Is it an "astrological" or an "astronomical" chart? One is scientific and the other is voodoo.

yep, them darn lunar cycles, nothing to do with water.

Make that 2 now Ron.

Rockman, in truth the words "conservative", in politics, originally meant "to conserve things as they are", or "opposed to change". The word "liberal" meant, "we want to change things" or "unopposed to change". Like in the South, most liberals wanted to give everyone civil rights, conservatives wanted to keep segregation. That period, in the late 50s and early 60s, was when the South changed from Roosevelt liberals to Goldwater conservatives.

I was a young man in those days and actually took part in a few civil march demonstrations. A lot of other native southern white folks felt the same as I but damn few took part in any of the demonstrations. Anyway I had insults and a few eggs hurled at me by conservatives. I knew then that I would be a liberal forever.

Nowadays conservatism is mostly about fiscal policy and I am sure that is why you are a conservative. I say mostly but not entirely. Most of the southern conservatives I know insist that we are a Christian Nation and therefore the Bible should be taught in schools.

But I am sure you would never have thrown an egg at me Rockman. ;-)

Ron P.

No eggs Ron...too poor back then to waste food. I'm not sure what the new terms would be but the conservative/liberal labels just don't seem to work well for me anymore. Some of the most religiously dogmatic folks I know are probably liberal by you standards. But then I know a few who fall a little to the right of Hitler. I know a few "liberals" who talk a good game but wouldn't voluntarially hang with blacks if their lives depended upon it. Growing up in Nawlins in a integrated neighborhood makes it a little hard to tolerate such closet racists I suppose. Then there's was that life lesson when I was 18 that reinforced my understanding that underneath the skin color we have a common shade...red.

I think I'm down to just "nice folks" and "a**holes". And the distinction doesn't depend upon whether they agree with me on any or all issues. It more a matter of how they go about dealing with people and life in general. So some days it's hard to tell if I'm the most tolerant or intolerant person I know. Pretty much depends on if you've p*ssed me off or not.

I think I'm down to just "nice folks" and "a**holes"

Or even ...




Ron, You know some of my opinions at least toward my running for president during the last election. Though I am a christian I would be classed also as a tree hugger in most circles.

I hung out in Natural food stores, I drink a little, I even smoke a little (not everyday though), I like aroma therapy, healing herbs have been around longer than political parties though that is an opinion.

I call myself a Christian, but I don't think America is a christian nation, it was a place to start over for most of the people that came here from somewhere else.

With my views on tree hugging and environmental issues I am sometimes classified as a liberal but I dislike being labaled anything but being a Christian.

When running for an office, I am a mixed bag of issues, so I don't easily fall into catagories, except maybe Crazy( anyone thinking about running for office has to be a bit that way).

BioWebScape designs for a better future.

Then the lord came down and spoke in Bush's ear and said "let there be plenty of Iraq oil for America, but you will just have to sacrifice a few hundred thousand people to your God".

And then there was war.

...I've said it before and I'll say it again: The biggest irony the world has ever seen is that the US has enshrined in the constitution the absolute separation of church and state yet you are all so bloody hung up with religion and politics!

"You baby-killing, same-sex-loving liberals are all going straight to hell where you will burn for all eternity and then some" or
"You illogical conservative bible-bashing dinosaur hating evolution denying inbred white-hooded God freaks are idiotic losers"


Christ, Buddah and Darwin would you all just chill out!! You should never have separated church and state - then you would be like us: wishy-washy non-plussed couldn't give a monkey's laid back Britons where our head of state is our head of Church and school prayer is mandated by law!!

Oh the irony!


Mandating any practice or culture in school is the most certain way I know of driving it into oblivion in a single generation. Much of the finest British literature is now unknown to the younger generation because we were forced to read it in school!

The biggest irony the world has ever seen is that the US has enshrined in the constitution the absolute separation of church and state yet you are all so bloody hung up with religion and politics!

Dead on. As soon as I saw the words "liberals can be as dopey as conservatives" I knew we'd get this kind of thread. But it’s a good thing in a way. Belief, or otherwise, in some Christian God, or how left or right wing you are, doesn't affect whether or not you are able to believe that PO is a real issue - and so TOD get all sorts posting. I hope that means there won't be some nasty ideological ‘blocker' when PO starts to take effect. The US will see the problem for what it is and (hopefully) take action.

Agree in general but modern American conservatives are different beasts. Their culture and belief system mandates that they believe the earth is 6000 years old, all humans come from Adam and Eve who were magically created by God, that humans have license to use the Earth however they see fit, and that God will always provide for them (thereby, climate change and peak oil are not real, just like evolution isn't real).

The closing of the conservative mind is one of the greatest untold stories out there, but it's increasingly easy to see now. Tea partiers are just the beginning. DailyKos and pollsters have been at the forefront - they show, using sound methods, that a solid number of Republicans, for instance, believe that Obama wasn't born in the United States. What's so interesting about this belief is that it doesn't even make sense, doesn't fit into any sort of narrative. For example, a liberal might believe that Bush stole 2000/2004, or a truther might believe 9/11 was a conspiracy - but at least it shows that they are trying to think, trying to put 2 and 2 together, to equal 4. Conservatives don't even do that. Obama wasn't born in the U.S., and that's it! Yeah, but then where was he born? How can you show or establish that he was born there? Or if Obama is a Manchurian candidate, who is pulling the strings? But conservatives don't even try to flesh this out, as their minds are closed.

I think that as we begin to collapse we will find increasingly bitter conflicts between the best traditions of American independence of mind and skepticism, mostly found on the left now, and the Christian know nothing, hear no evil, see no evil mindset of the interior and Southern conservatives.

Agree in general but modern American conservatives are different beasts. Their culture and belief system mandates that they believe the earth is 6000 years old, all humans come from Adam and Eve who were magically created by God, that humans have license to use the Earth however they see fit, and that God will always provide for them (thereby, climate change and peak oil are not real, just like evolution isn't real).

Bit of a sweeping statement and exactly what I was getting at above! I am sure there are many American conservatives who do not hold this proposition. Just as I am sure there are many liberals who do not want to abort every unwanted fetus or jump into bed with another member of their sex.

but one essentially based in fact. The GOP is home to a greater proportion of anti-scientists - be it evolution, climate change, etc.

2007 Gallup Poll:

As expected, political affiliation reflects a difference of opinion on origins:
bullet Only 30% of Republicans believe in "evolution;" 68% do not.
bullet 61% of independents believe in "evolution;" 37% do not.
bullet 57% of Democrats believe in "evolution;" 40% do not.

2008 Pew research poll:

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted April 23-27 among 1,502 adults, finds that the already substantial partisan divide over global warming has widened in the past year. Fully 84% of Democrats and 75% of independents say there is evidence that the earth's temperatures have been rising, compared with just 49% of Republicans.

I guess all those polls are roughly on the mark - and having a 'liberal' bent I find the fact that so many Americans don't get evolution pretty scary. But that's part of Christian fundamentalism - which has never really taken off here (Australia) or the UK, but is pretty mainstream in the US. You know, I did see a poll last year that said something around 25% Americans believe in alien visitations .. if that is true it's even scarier !!

I guess my point is that, fortunately, Peak Oil has so far not become part of anyone's belief system as such. There's nothing stopping a right-wing nutcase or a loony commie accepting Peak Oil. And there's no line in the Good Book like ".. and He said unto His people there will be a minimum daily flow of 86 million BOE gushing from the Earth for as long as thoust needs it ...", so there really should be no religious argument either.

I have found this whole thread disturbing. A description of cognitive dissonance at it's best. As someone who was far better at the sciences than literature and the arts in high school, I find it difficult for example, to understand how one can deny the overwhelming evidence for evolution.

Being brought up in a Christian country by Christian parents, forced me to try and rationalize the apparent conflict between the scriptures and my belief in science. It wasn't too hard really. As a matter of fact in sixth form as part of a General Paper class (links provide explanation for those not familiar with the British Commonwealth high school system), I won a debate arguing that the story of Genesis can be interpreted to be the story of evolution. If I remember correctly, I even did a pretty good job of convincing our teacher, who was an local clergyman. My basic thrust was that:

1) There was no way that the people God charged with writing that story could have written it any other way, bearing in mind the language available to them and their understanding of the universe at the time.
2) The order of events in Genesis also roughly coincides with the order of events for evolution, a remarkable coincidence IMO.
3) Quoting Psalm 90:4 "For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by", implying that, no matter how long a time interval is from man’s time-bound perspective, it’s like a twinkling of an eye from God’s eternal perspective, thus explaining how six days could represent the millions of years it took for the the planet to form and life to evolve to it's present state.

Essentially, I interpret the bible in such a way that it does not conflict with my scientific beliefs as opposed to modifying my world view to match someone else's interpretation of the bible. I'm pretty sure I aint the only one who does that but, my beliefs pretty much preclude me from associating closely with just about all of the devout practicing Christians I know.

It seems that there's going to be lots of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth when some people have to face the fact that they have no God given right to $1.00 a gallon gas for their 10mpg Hummer. It aint gonna be pretty.

Alan from the islands

I think the problem for conservatives is that many of these ideas have become part of their identity. If you dont believe in younf earth creationism you aren't considered to be a full fledged member of the tribe. Likewise for global warming is a new world order conspiracy. Abiotic oil looks to be joining the list. If you are conservative and don't profess these things you just don't fit in with the current bunch, so you either learn to pass all the litmus tests or find yourself as a second class party member (you are free to vote for us, but keep your mouth shut). On the liberal end of things belief in most of the planks is an individual choice -so long as you subscribe to a preponderance you belong. So modern American conservatism has come to be anti-science and anti-elitist, pro flag waving .....

This is partly the result of the fact that journalism and capitalism are incompatible. Truth finding and fact establishing are boring, but emotional appeals to hatred of the other guys is easy and lucretive. The assymetry is that few big money players want to bankroll liberal slanted media, but big money flows into rightwing media. So the conservative overton window has been relentlessly pushed ever further rightward by the echo chamber. Leftwing attempts to set up the same can't attract enough advertising revenue to survive.

thank you, Ron.

I'm a liberal, as are most of my friends, and, for the most part, they are sensible and skeptical people.

to draw conclusions based on what's on Huffington Post is unsound. HP cares most about drawing eyeballs to the site. Hence the emphasis on Tiger Woods, supermodels, etc., etc.

I know several hard core athiests conservatives personally, and believe that there are millions of us around;however, present day political coalitions being what they are,we generally don't find it expedient to advertise this personal information.Ya gotta take yer votes where ya find'em, even at the expense of looking like a yahoo !

We are in a position similar to that of an intelligent cop who belueves in the decriminalization of drugs-there are too many career downsides involved for him to "out himself" in this respect.

Incidentally, I find it quite amusing that large numbers of self proclaimed liberals here in this forum now recognize the long term effects of many liberal initiatives, and are wringing thier hands in despair over finding solutions to them.

Of course I personally am intellectually honest enough to admit that it took two -both the left and the right -to create these babies that have grown into monsters threatening to kick us out of our houses.It's a pity more liberals are not so inclined-to being intellectually honest in advocacy and assigning blame, I mean.More conservatives too, of course!

The only thing I believe on that list is frequent aromatherapy with organic marijuana. OTH, Obama is too far to the right for my tastes. What does that make me?

Probably fun to be around!

Yes, some liberals on Huffington post are crazy. But have you ever heard of Fox News, or "EIB?"

I'd say huffpo comments are comparable with something you'd find on freerepublic, but not Fox News stuff. The comments on both sites are totally off the wall at times. I think both groups will be quite surprised about what the future actually ends up looking like.

the "superiority" of "organic" foods

Yea - the "crazy" Monsanto's data agrees with them thar "liberals".


The findings only came to light after Monsanto was forced to publish its raw data on safety tests

Dr Seralini concluded that rats which ate the GM maize had ' statistically significant' signs of liver and kidney damage.

So you tell 'em mikeB! You tell em all!

What makes you think that I support Monsanto?

Your Manichean, dogmatic viewpoint that forces you to think in either/or categories, that's what.

Not everyone who is skeptical of the claims of the "organics" movement supports Monsanto.

Not everyone who is skeptical of Monsanto supports "organics" superstitions.

You are the one who put "air" "quotes" around your words.

Why don't you man up and say what you mean?

(Hint: Food that doesn't cause liver damage VS non-organic versions of the same food that does is usually considered superior. And you don't need "air" "quotes" to make that point.)

You forgot to mention "GenderMainstreaming".

Hi Ron and Leanan,

Agree with Leanan.

Ron, I'd say...let me think if I know of even one exception...every single academic scientist I've ever spoken with about "peak oil" either denies it outright, *OR* denies the impacts.

These two emotional stances seem to be equivalent in outcome...yes?

Actually, just thought of one exception. And that person said he flat out didn't want to think about "peak," because it's just too depressing.

The latest thing I've heard about is the prospect of solar production in North Africa and the (presumably) elegant power lines across to Europe. (And BA-only-slightly-different-than-U).

And they really believe it.

Now, I admit a slightly different discussion is the technical feasibility of conversion to an all-electric infrastructure - (oh, yes...and no economic growth, population reduction, etc.) - and the feasibility of same, assuming zero cultural and political barriers.

That's one discussion I haven't seen, in case you have a reference for me.

Most methane detected on other planets is indeed of abiotic origin. Which ofcourse doesn't imply that crude oil found on our planet must also be of abiotic origin.

A discussion about the origin of oil has little to do with the observable fact that more and more countries are unable to expand their oil production. Oil has to be found and put on the market before we can consume it, whatever the origin.

For anyone interested in basic chemistry, methane has a very simple chemical structure - CH4 - i.e. one carbon atom bonded to four hydrogen atoms.

Since both carbon and hydrogen are pretty readily available everywhere in the universe, it shouldn't be surprising that methane is found pretty much everywhere, too.


"Methane is a relatively potent greenhouse gas. Compared with carbon dioxide, it has a high global warming potential of 72 (calculated over a period of 20 years) or 25 (for a time period of 100 years).[2] Methane in the atmosphere is eventually oxidized, producing carbon dioxide and water. As a result, methane in the atmosphere has a half life of seven years[citation needed].

The abundance of methane in the Earth's atmosphere in 1998 was 1745 parts per billion (ppb), up from 700 ppb in 1750. By 2008, however, global methane levels, which had stayed mostly flat since 1998, had risen to 1,800 ppb[3]. By 2010, methane levels, at least in the arctic, were measured at 1850 ppb, a level scientists described as being higher than at any time in the previous 400,000 years. [4] (Historically, methane concentrations in the world's atmosphere have ranged between 300 and 400 ppb during glacial periods commonlly known as ice ages, and between 600 to 700 ppb during the warm interglacial periods)."

In the inner solar system, most methane would be biotic. Farther out, it would accrue and be a natural compound. It has to do with the solar wind, the nature of the planets and the like, and has to do with why the 'inner' planets are rocky and small, and the outer ones are gas giants. Also, in part, why astroids are rocks and comets, farther out in orbit, are iceballs. Interesting stuff!


when you say "most methane on other planets" do you mean you know of methane from another source on other planets? biotic? does that mean life exists elsewhere?

Insufficient data to make a hard conclusion, but since the possibility of life elsewhere hasn't been ruled out yet I think his statement is good.

Most importantly: all of somethig is still most of something, there just aren't any other parts.

when you say "most importantly"......

"most" implies other parts.

anyway, i know life exists on other planets, i just can't prove it..and it really doesn't matter cuz the laws of physics exclude us from traveling or communicating with them in any meaningful way.

no my friends, we are stuck with this planet and all it's limits, it is nature's way.

Actually there's a whole buffet of junk floating around out there: List of molecules in interstellar space - Wikipedia. All the way up to complex stuff like acetone, benzene, propanal, in volumes larger than the solar system. But Learsy is just a deluded conspiracist, read the links I provide above. Abiotic oil simply doesn't exist.

Actually it's worse than that.

Abiotic oil is irrelevant.

As has been said here so many times before, it's all about the flow rates. Regardless of the original source, the replenishment rate of crude oil is many orders of magnitude smaller than the rate at which we are pulling it out of the ground.

If you cut a thousand trees a day in the Hundred Acre Wood, it doesn't matter how many you've planted to replace them.

What's more than a little ironic about Learsy's ravings is that while most people in the Oil Patch obviously disagree about abiotic oil, the majority of people in the Oil Patch are probably on the same page as Learsy in regard to Peak Oil. ExxonMobil, from 2006:

"Contrary to the theory, oil production shows no signs of a peak. . . Oil is a finite resource, but because it is so incredibly large, a peak will not occur this year, next year, or for decades to come"

ExxonMobil Advertisement in New York Times, June 2, 2006

Or at least, that is what a bunch of them will say in public.

In private, they go around buying up natural gas resources, because they can't find much low-priced oil, and hope gas prices will go higher.

Right. Follow the money and look at what they do, not what they say.

Peak Oil and Abiotic Oil can co-exist.

At Peak Oil, we were using 1,000 barrels/second.

There are natural oil seeps all over the world. PERHAPS abiotic oil exiting the natural system. New abiotic oil in, old out as storage underground fills up.

The shipwreck of the Exxon Valdez created quite a mess, but with only hour or two of our 1,000 b/sec production.

Natural seeps of oil never seem to cause major problems. Perhaps because <1 barrel/sec seeps out. This gives a clue as to the upper limit of the abiotic oil production rate.

Less than 1 barrel/sec for the world total.

We have an underground storage system that has been filling up for 6,000 to 100 million years at <1 barrel/sec. Once it filled up, it starting seeping out. See natural seeps.

We have been pumping the natural storage system dry @ rates up to 1,000 barrels/second.

Even if the natural reservoirs are being replenished at <1 barrel/sec with abiotic oil, we will still hit Peak Oil and a catastrophic decline in production.

Best Hopes for Logic,


I think Leanan just posts this stuff to see everyone work themselves into a lather ;^)

I'll be right back -- I have to rinse and repeat.

Re: China invited to join IEA as oil demand shifts

Last month, China’s oil demand grew at 28 per cent, a level the IEA described as “astonishing.” For the first time, Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, now sends more oil to China than to the US.

Not just "astonishing" - I'd say unbelievable

“For the sake of transparency, we need their help,” Mr Tanaka said, referring to the Chinese government. He noted the IEA’s storage level reports – a key indicator of whether the market is over- or under-supplied – were losing their significance because they failed to include some of the world’s biggest hoards of oil.

Oh I'll bet they need Chinese help.

Mid-ranking Chinese officials have been allowed to attend IEA committee meetings on issues such as the energy security dialogue and energy technologies. They had also attended meetings on more sensitive subjects, such as emergency response and long-term policy planning, IEA officials said.

No comment needed.

Opec studying plan to boost oil price band by a third (April, 2004)

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

Saudi Arabia’s Al-Naimi Awaits Recovery Before Boosting Output (uptop, March, 2010)

Prices in the $70-a-barrel to $80- a-barrel range are “as close to perfect as possible,” he said.

A Future Headline?

Saudi Arabia’s Al-Naimi Awaits Recovery Before Boosting Output (March, 2016)

Prices in the $200-a-barrel to $300- a-barrel range are “as close to perfect as possible,” he said.

Net Oil Exports and the "Iron Triangle" (July, 2007)

In regard to discussions of Peak Oil and Peak Exports, I have described what I call the “Iron Triangle,” which consists of: (1) Some major oil companies, some major oil exporters and some energy analysts; (2) The auto, housing and finance group and (3) The media group.

If one resides in the oil industry leg of the Iron Triangle, and if one has concluded that Peak Oil is upon us, or extremely close, does one say, "We cannot increase our production," and thereby encourage massive conservation and alternative energy efforts, or does one say "We choose not to increase production and/or we are temporarily unable to increase production for the following reasons (fill in the blank)?"

The latter course of action would tend to discourage emergency conservation efforts and alternative energy efforts, and it would encourage energy consumers to maintain their current lifestyles, perhaps by going further into debt to pay their energy bills, and it would in general have the net effect of maximizing the value of remaining reserves.

In regard to the members of the MSM and many energy analysts who seem intent on ignoring the disconnect that we have seen between global crude oil production and net oil exports in the 2002-2005 time frame (rising production & net exports in response to rising oil prices), versus the 2005-2008 time frame (flat to declining production & net exports in response to rising oil prices), Michael Lewis probably had the best comment (in regard to the mortgage meltdown), to-wit, it's amazing what people will miss when they are paid to miss it.

When reading OPEC propaganda, I am reminded of Mary McCarthy's great slam of Lillian Hellman:

"Every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the'."

Actually, I think that the Saudis were telling the truth in early 2004--when they pledged undying, unyielding support for $22 to $28 oil--because they significantly increased their net oil exports in 2004 & 2005, but then we entered the Twilight Zone in early 2006, when they started complaining about a lack of buyers for their oil, "even their light/sweet oil," as oil prices crossed over the $70 mark in the second quarter of 2006.

We seem to have a new economic paradigm--where high oil prices are a sign of weak demand, which I suppose is technically true, the demand for $82 oil is probably less than the demand for $22 oil. I find it interesting that the annual oil price to date in 2010 exceeds all prior annual oil prices, except for 2008, when we hit $100.

I predict that when and if oil prices cross the $200 mark, the Saudis will be talking about a lack of demand for $200 oil, and the MSM and energy analysts will still be talking about millions of barrels per day of excess Saudi productive capacity.

Incidentally, our buddy Dan Yergin also offered his 2¢ worth regarding future oil prices in November, 2004. He was quoted in a Forbes column as asserting that oil prices would have returned to a long term index price of $38 by November, 2005.

Of course, Al-Naimi and Yergin's underlying premise was that we wouldn't hit a global production plateau, let alone a peak, for decades to come. And if they had been correct, then their price projections, an upper limit of $28 to $38 may have been correct. But of course, global crude oil production and more importantly global net oil exports were flat to declining in the 2006-2008 time frame. So now they are forced to assert that high oil prices are restraining demand, but of course the elephant size question in the room they are intent on ignoring is why have all annual oil prices to date exceeded the $57 annual price that we saw in 2005?

I think Al-N is telling the truth today, that is saying something that he can rationalize and with which he can be comfortable morally. Well, in so far as the perfectness of the current price is concerned. But even the spare capacity claim might be true, if spare capacity refers to the ability to generate new supply for a short period of time. How many days worth of stored product do they have at, say 2.5mbd? Does he have to admit that forcing daily production up 2mbd will only work for x number of months and will damage long term production, in order to be morally at ease with the truthiness of his words?

At $80 per barrel many OECD countries, especially the US, can only bid for oil on the basis of a depletion of residual wealth. Greater Chindia (incl Vietnam, etc) can increase wealth by consuming additional $80/b oil, and can probably continue to do so at a considerably higher price. At $80 per barrel, the US and like countries are hurt, but can carry on in such a way as to maintain the stability of the international system in which Al-N and cousins are heavily invested.

The price is "perfect" because the system continues to work, even if the systemic need for growth is realised now in Greater Chindia, and to some extent in Germany and other well-organized welfare states in the OECD. Even the economies that can't, as a whole, make wealth-creating use of oil at $80, and rely on wealth depletion to support their marginal oil use, have within them, some firms which can make wealth-creating use at that price. These firms add to economic growth at the system wide scale, even as the US, for example, stagnates and even declines as a whole.

Al-N and cousins are not invested in the economic and social well-being of the US, they are invested in an international system, which at the moment requires only that the US, the UK, etc don't collapse, and especially that the financial system, significantly headquartered in these nation-states, doesn't collapse. So far, mission accomplished.

At $80/b new production can be brought on stream and can, on the whole, add to growth and systemic stability. Below that price, production drops. Above that price, the economically obese are forced to run at heart-attack inducing speed. It looks a lot like a price that somebody like Al-N might describe as perfect.

It is interesting that the DOW can do no wrong right now. Every day eeks out positive gains while in the background, the price of crude does the same. There is another slow march up in price every week. It may slide a bit day to day or week to week, but the trend is up....slowly.

I call this the "boiling frog" cycle because no one in the MSM seems to notice that water is getting warmer and warmer until all of a sudden, "Hey how did we get to $90 all of a sudden?"

What will be interesting is to see if we continue to climb in price until around July and then we get another little crash in price come Aug/Sept time frame. However, this time, the crash does not go as far as last. Repeat this cycle every year...slow build in price to higher level than last year and then a crash to a higher level than the last crash.

This does play out like memmel's "stone in a pond" theory. I'll have to search TOD for that oldie but goodie.

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabian oil Minister Ali Al- Naimi said the nation could boost output by as much as 4.5 million barrels-a day once demand recovers from recession.

I wish there was a way to call Ali Al- Naimi on this bluff. If I only had a huge refinery that could process 4.5 million barrels-a day?

Ah...there is the beauty of KSA, Inc. No one outside KSA really knows, so you can say whatever you want and there is no way to falsify directly. Seems like our financial system has learned a thing or two from KSA, Inc.

Dmitry Orlov has a new slide show on his web site "CLUBORLOV". There are 27 slides, Slide 2 is below.

Our Future and the End of the Oil Age

Peak Oil Theory vs. Reality

Global oil production peaks and declines gradually; slow growth
Alternative and renewable energy ramps up to compensate
Challenging economic environment, many social and political problems

Massive spikes in oil prices crash financial markets and kill growth
No money for alternatives or further oil exploration and production
Financial, commercial, political collapse followed by something completely different

Well so much for a slow collapse if Orlov is correct, and I suspect that he is.

HOPE: for an alien intervention?

Peak Oil models work well for individual countries. Prima facie: most of USA peaked in 1970 (Alaska peaked later)

Individual countries compensate by importing oil from countries that have not peaked yet

When the entire planet peaks, there is nobody left to import from - except aliens from outer space, of course!

Industrial economies cannot grow without increasing fossil fuel consumption (empirical result).

Without growth, debts go bad, economic and political problems mount, and economies collapse

He copies slides from The Oil Drum. Good to know he is a reader.

Ron P.

At various times I'm educating people about why my company exists and thus the story of oil and finance must be told. Here is part of the backgrounder that seems to be much in line with Orlov's thinking:

Declining energy availability means that the accumulated worldwide debt held by governments, businesses and individuals will never be repaid. “Stutters” in the financial system like the one that occurred in 2008 (which not coincidentally occurred at the height of a global oil shock) will keep occurring until bailouts lose their effectiveness and people lose confidence in the current system. 

The connection between declining energy and the financial system is almost always overlooked, which has allowed people to mistakenly think that alternative energy sources will smoothly make up for declining fossil energy. In reality, the past two years have shown that a financial crisis does not discriminate: billions of dollars worth of renewable energy projects and oil projects alike have been shelved as credit has become tighter.

The global economy was always set up to fail because the financial system was never explicitly linked to resources:

The Financial System is Disconnected

Inside a properly designed system (ie. a stable one), at this point in the arc of our civilization we would be decreasing the money supply instead of increasing it. The system as designed now is highly unstable and a significant resource limitation, such as declining oil production, will cause it to reset to a new, much lower equilibrium point. Since the peaking of oil production is either this decade or has just passed (please see Preparing for a Post Peak Life), we will live through this reset. No amount of technology can make up for a badly designed system such as the one we have created.

Unlike what occurred in 1873, 1907 and 1929, in which growth resumed relatively soon after the financial crisis, this crisis marks the beginning of de-industrialization for our civilization. Industrialization was enabled almost three centuries ago first by the use of coal followed by oil, natural gas and uranium. When our civilization hit the fossil fuel jackpot, our population and economy grew to exploit the extra energy. Now, as fossil fuels and particularly oil are at the cusp of decline, their substitutes should already be fully deployed. Instead, we are just beginning: renewable energy currently makes up less than 1% of the primary world energy supply (International Energy Agency 2007).

Energy transitions historically take three to four decades. Thus far they have occurred while the previous energy source was still available. For instance, we continued to use wood while coal was being phased in. Similarly, coal was available as oil increased its role and oil in turn enabled us to drill for natural gas and mine uranium. We have never before attempted to move to a new energy source while the one we depend on declines at this scale. Nor have we had the almost unimaginable amounts of debt to finance during the transition. It’s important to note that, historically, financial crises often mark the onset of civilizational collapse.

What follows the industrial phase of our civilization will not be an automatic return to how we lived two centuries ago. Though large scale, capital intensive solutions (like nuclear power plants) will gradually decrease in number and then disappear as credit dries up, we still have available many relatively simple low-tech “appropriate technologies” that will support daily living. However, the disappearance of credit signals a radical economic transformation as globalization reverses and life for most people becomes very local very quickly.

Very well laid out aangel IMHO. The credit angle seems to be the best explanation for what I've seen in the last 12 months: oil and NG (until the last month or so) prices have been more than adequate to spur conventional drilling. We came into existence to buy conventional drilling deals last September and have been overwhelmed by the number of viable prospects available. Yet there are few companies buying into deals. And not because they don't recognize the opportunities. We just dropped two good looking drilling deals because the owners couldn't sell off the balance of the wells after we commited for 50%.

As you point out, if the market can't fund a viable and well understood oil/NG industry what chance is there to fund expansion of new alt industries? And that highlights just the uncertainty issue. Even if a sudden confidence develops the credit still may not be available.

Thanks, Rockman. I think Gail is correct to keep inserting the question "what about the credit/financial system?" at every opportunity. I watch all these tech mavens discuss their wonderful technologies (and they are wonderful) but they just assume that the money will be there. In a moment of candor they will admit that government support is needed for loan guarantees and such but mostly the financial angle is underplayed, I think.

aangle -- I'll shorten the old joke to just the punch line: how do you open a can of beans when you have no tools? Economist answer: first, assume you have a can opener. After that, the task is easy.

Economist answer: first, assume you have a can opener. After that, the task is easy.

Actually I thought it would be more along the lines of, wait until you get really hungry, because that will create the demand for a can opener, once you have demand the someone will surely come along and supply the can opener...if that doesn't work eat the economist ;-)

Damn FM...stole my thunder again. But yours was much better. Also much sadder as it seems to be the way the system has eveolved.

If it comes to that, I hope I'll be good at imagining I have some strong steak sauce!

wait until you get really hungry, because that will create the demand for a can opener, once you have demand the someone will surely come along and supply the can opener.

You know, there are some interesting problems involved with this because, while the tin can was invented in 1810, the can opener was not invented until 1858. So, there was a 48-year period in which people would take a can of beans off the shelf, look around, and say, "Now what do I do?"

For the most part they just found some convenient tool such as a chisel and/or a hammer and whacked the top off the can somehow. Not particularly user-friendly, but if you have a lot of tools lying around it can be made to work.

This came particularly critical during the Civil War, because there were millions of soldiers sitting their with their cans of beans, and no tools handy. They would look around, and realizing that the only thing they had was a rifle, they would shoot the top off their can of beans. Not particularly efficient, but it did work.

Now, the moral of this story is that if you invent a tin can, you should also invent a can opener to go with it. It's much more efficient that way.

I think there's a parallel with the electric car here, somewhere.

Denialist answer: Assume the data that there is no can opener is wrong. Problem solved, until he starts getting hungry.

doomer answer: We don't have a can opener, and we'll all starve to death because nobody will ever invent one.

doer answer: Here's a can opener. I just invented it.

abiotic answer: There's no need to invent a can opener because beans well up from sources deep inside the Earth.

climate change answer: We need to stop people from inventing a can opener because methane gas emissions from eating beans will contribute to global warming.

ethanol answer: We don't need to invent a can opener because we can drink beer instead.

electric answer: We need to invent an electric can opener because none of the other can openers are good enough.

oil company answer: We need to invent a can opener that runs on diesel fuel because otherwise we won't make any money.

In general I'm more positive on this whole Peak Oil thing than I was a few years ago.

Sure I think things could get dramatically worse in countries that have enjoyed 'the fruits of cheap energy to the max'. If your a Chinese guy who has just moved to the city from your parents farm things would clearly be looking up, especially since you have only just started loading up you credit card and spending your savings. Throughout the next decade gas prices might double or triple but you ride the Shanghai metro and have a scooter and life still seems good. $120+ oil spurs alternative energy developments and each time you journey home it seems you see new solar panels, wind turbines and other 'green' technologies replacing those nasty coal stack that used to belch stuff out before the recent 5-year-plan clear air mandate.

There seems to almost be a desire to think this time is different but there have been many many financial crisis, government debt defualts and the like in the past and I think there will be many more before we get to a stage of 'civilisation collapse'.

What exactly are we equating 'Peak Civilisation' with anyway and from which worldview?


What exactly are we equating 'Peak Civilisation' with anyway and from which worldview?

Nick, we are talking about peak oil, not peak civilization. We have never had peak oil before. We are also talking about "peak people". We have never had peak people before either. And this debate is also about overshoot. In in the animal world population collapse always follows population overshoot. And we are animals.

Ron P.

I really like Dmitry's work--gives a different perspective, and he has a great sense of humor. A few quotes from Dmitry's presentation:

Slide 17: Each resident of North America employs the equivalent of 100 "energy slaves": services provided by machinery that runs on fossil fuels. But emancipation is at hand!

Slide 21: Transportation needs are much reduced if the entire town relocates into the shopping mall and the office park

Slide 21: Basements of demolished suburban houses can be flooded and used for aquaculture, or for tree nurseries, etc.

Slide 25: Our harbors, bays, sounds, estuaries, rivers and canals are our prime regional transportation assets

I love that idea of using the basements of suburban houses as supersized, pre-constructed "raised" beds for growing stuff... you'd need a lot of soil though...

you'd need a lot of soil though...

Seems to me that filling some of them with water and raising fish might be easier to do.
You could filter the water through raised hydroponic vegetable gardens with some low voltage pumps and solar panels for power. Soil is great if you have it but if you don't there are alternative means.

More workers are choosing fear over flex time, experts say

(CNN) -- Out of sight. Out of mind.

Out of a job?

That's the grim scenario lurking in the minds of a growing number of American workers whose anxieties are driving a curious trend, workplace experts say.

Companies are offering employees more chances than ever to work at home or outside their office through "flex time." But fewer workers are accepting the offers for a more convenient schedule, according to several work-life experts.

People want a shorter work week, but they're afraid to take it.

From bucolic bliss to gated ghetto

Home foreclosures have devastated neighborhoods throughout the country, but the transformation from suburban paradise to blighted community has been especially stark in places like Willowalk -- isolated developments on the far fringes of metropolitan areas that found ready buyers when home prices were soaring but then saw an exodus as values crashed...

"We built too much of the wrong product in the wrong locations," Leinberger said...

The Lopez family plans to stick it out, knowing they can't sell their house for anywhere near the $440,000 they paid for it. Based on comparable prices in the neighborhood, the place is probably worth about $170,000 now, and maybe less. They're petitioning their bank for a loan modification.

""We built too much of the wrong product in the wrong locations," Leinberger said.." Then, his eyes downcast, he told the courtroom, "We were only following orders. This is what the market told us to do."

Alas, the market did not accurately predict future prices at the pump, and millions of Americans simultaneously confronted an unwanted exercise in calculating the net present value of $100 per month in additional unexpected commuting costs and deducting that amount from their leveraged home site. Voila, wealth vaporization!

People were just out and out lied to.
The growth economists and the media were telling people they were rich, cut taxes and bought on credit.
Globalization kept prices amazing low.
The market is just a casino for rich assholes.

A decade of zero real growth that felt like heaven.

Masters of the Universe

Wow, good one major...and right on.

The mortgage broker we used back in 2002 responded when I expressed concern about the fact that I was self employed and new to the area and he waved off any need for documentation, "don't worry, if you run into trouble you can just sell it real quick next year and pocket a tidy $50k to boot". Who could say no to that?

Sold out 5 years later for twice what I paid... to the agent who sold it to me...he still has it on the market 3 years later.

How does a construction supervisor with seven kids and a stay-at-home spouse afford a house that cost almost half a million dollars?

Must have put a substantial amount of money down from the sale of a previous home.
I'm wondering if he has health insurance.

Or gotten a really creative mortgage.

Yes, I think the answer is that he couldn't afford it, but bought it anyways.

I have a friend who worked packaging up ZZZ rated loans into AAA packages before the bubble burst. He saw some incredible things, including a school bus driver getting a $600K house with no money down. How? The application said:

Occupation - School bus driver
Income - $200K annually

Interest only mortgage: Approved!

Its amazing what you can do when someone else is assuming the risk.

Perhaps that's the simple distinction Leanan: there's what he could mortgage and then there's what he could afford. And by afford I mean handle the liability one assumes when the borrow such a relataively large compared to their income.

The answer is that we have lost our marbles. Any former, quaint ideas of thrift, savings, living within one's means, etc., are dead, at all levels: pesonal, business, and government.

America's toast.

"The answer is that we have lost our marbles."

Yup, and our moral fiber.
Cell phones did it!


And as back-up:

But not me. I hate 'em.

To be fair...he probably thought it was a great investment. Mortgages, along with college loans, were supposed to be "good debt."

Oilman,those quaint ideas are among the true foundations of what real conservatism, is, which is why I still call myself a conservative;but of course the word and the philosophy have beeen abducted and gang raped to such an extent that I'm really tired of trying to point out that the baby has been thrown out with the bathwater as we haved morphed in to what we are today.

I have posted comments here outlining my support for dozens of staple liberal ideas or initiatives.Why?Simply because yesterday's liberal value is today's conservative value.

But we have gotten to the point that we want too much change too fast, and such changes too often come with too many uninteneded consequences.Without a strong conservativ e element in our govt ans societyt, we would probably have flown off on some totally harebrained scheme by now, such that some bunch off ehgg head professpors would be in complete control of a police state-benevolently operated by a wise king professor of course. ;-)

Of course I am tilting at windmills in insisting on talking about conservatism as it should be and not as it exists in it's current form.

My guess is that about half or more of people who describe themsellves as conservatives do so out of a conviction that they are defending something that doesn't exist anymore except as a tattered remmnant-a free enterprise system. Another bunch describe themselves as conservatives because they are true believers in the church, but there are many in that group who will quite readily admit in private that they don't believe in a literal interpretation of the bible-I know lots of farmers who are only semiliterate, and nearly all of them will admit to a belief in evolutoion in private;but after all they have seen it in (forced) action.

But if you accuse a man and his PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS OF BEING A SUPERSTITIOUS IDIOT, WHICH IN PLAIN LANGUAGE is what nearly every commentator who mentions religion at all in this forum actually DOES -well you can't just expect him to say sorry , so sorry, thank you for being so kind as to enlighten me, I will henceforth become one of you.just give me a couple of days to burn down the church, plow up the cemetery where my parents are buried, have a nice bible burning with beer to celebrate, and get down to the registrar's office and change my paperwork so I can vote in your primary next election.

It terms of practical politics, I must admit that I think a lot of liberals (who would doubtlessly be good friends of mine if they lived on my road) are somewhat simple minded-they don't seem to understand the concepts of group identity and backlash worth a hoot.

There are no consistent conservatives in politics these days anyway.

We have mommy-state liberals who think the government should be taking care of everyone, and daddy-state liberals who think the government should be punishing everyone.

I try to stay out of people's religion, myself, and have been trying to teach my kids likewise. There is rarely anything to be gained by it.

Leinberger and his ilk and their pathetic reduction of everything to a saleable unit, a share, a "product" are IMHO precisely what have sunk this country.

I so despise this BS corporate speak and its inherent disconnect from anything that is real life. What a society we've created - now go home "human resource" from your financial acquisition position to your suburban "product" and cook up a nice dinner of "food product"... A system that can never see a fish, a tree, a gallon of fresh water, a person, or an acre of land as anything other than a unit or a product is twisted beyond belief - and that's exactly where we find ourselves currently.

Here's a clue Leinberger - stop building "product" for "human resources / clients" and start building places where people can experience what it's like to live and re-connect with society again.

I agree. We got into a rut somehow forgetting our past, that things were rosy and you can sell someone anything as long as you make them want it.

I guess I am jaded, my parents grew up during the depression and had very little, but made do with what they had. My dad only bought what he could afford to pay for with his Military retirement check. It was a good example. I thought it was the norm.

I found out that everyone else was buying the maximum they could barely afford, if one thing went up in price, they'd lose it all. What went wrong, who was teaching these people this BAD idea of buying, and when did it start happening.

The Me generation, Which I am a part of, but was taught by older parents than the rest of my generation. Everyone seemed to think that they deserved something, that they could be rich and powerful like their dream people( the rich and famous ). A whole generation of Me minded people, made another layer of kids all the more ME centric, and they go out and buy the PRODUCTs that the other Me generation is selling.

Totally crazy. I have $1,250 in credit card dept, and that is my only debt. I make about $9,000 a year. By all accounts I should at least have $25,000 in credit card debt and a $75,000 mortgage to boot. Boy Am I glad I am not the norm.

BioWebScape designs for a better future.

Now to get these people housed in earth shelter passive solar homes that are under 300 square feet per person, that might be a good goal.

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) has offered another plan for dealing with energy and climate issues. Here's a Blog comment from the WaPo and an outline of his plan. He seems to think simply mandating increased energy efficiency and increased alternative fuels production would do the trick, cutting the need for oil imports by 2/3. No need for Cap-and-Trade or any hard limits on CO2 emissions...

E. Swanson

Back in an Aquaculture course, of all places, of long ago, I first came on the dictum "The solution to pollution is dilution." It was said tongue in cheek, so that we understood it's fallacy.

I never cared for cap and trade, it's demise didn't bring a tear. I know we couldn't come close to passing it in the US. But this plan is just a shove of carbon pollution under the rug. It's dilution, by BAU, that won't come close to meeting it's lowly goals:

" Cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25% over business as usual, or approximately 2 gigatonnes, by
2030. This climate savings trajectory meets half of President Obama’s 2020 climate goal."

Half of the administration's goal 10 yrs later, with no teeth, hoping for market guidance. We'll buy up some of the dirtiest coal plants, and authorize new funding for nukes. What we need is a carbon tax, although that seems literally impossible now. I would much prefer Senator Cantwell's proposal.

A comment on the link article best sums up the misguided thoughts of most on carbon-"CO2 is the natural product of living organisms and is not pollution." Because we excrete it, it's safe.....which comes right back to the old dictum and concentrations and what to do when you can no longer dilute.

That old sound byte has been bugging me a lot lately, because for so many years I heard it used with affirmative intent.

Now that I have some experience with the world it is obvious to me that dilution is pollution, the only cure for pollution is concentration so you can turn the waste back into a resource.

No doubt it was affirmative in intent when penned, but by the early 70's when I came across it, it was already obvious that it wasn't enough, that it didn't solve anything. I recall a paper mill back then, whose compliance with stricter regulations on discharge consisted burying and lengthening their effluent pipe under the river bed until it reached the confluence of another river downstream. Bingo, public no longer complained, outa sight, outa mind, and it fulfilled the regs of ppm x/gpm receiving water.

Concentration is not the answer, the answer is changing the process or product. Pulling the contaminant from the flow is incremental at best, creating its own host of problems.

As I like a good stirling (and have been tracking CHP with stirlings for 12+ years)

29 March 2010 - UK utility E.ON has announced an exclusive deal to bring the next generation of the ‘WhisperGen’ micro-CHP unit to Britain’s homes under the slogan: a power station in your garage.

E.ON and Efficient Home Energy (EHE), part of Spanish manufacturer Mondragon, are working together to deliver the first European mass-produced version of the Stirling engine-based micro-CHP unit, which generates 1 kW of electricity and 12 kW of heat for home heating and hot water.

HSBC you say?


“Carbon trading was the major loser from Copenhagen,” HSBC analysts said in their March 21010 Quarterly Index Review. “Cap and trade needs hard targets and binding rules – and Copenhagen delivered neither,” HSBC said.

Oil is up to $82.42 now (Bloomberg). Doesn`t it seem like the price is climbing faster suddenly? Just a few days ago it was around $80. Anyone care to guess where the breaking point will be when the price becomes too high and crashes again (taking the global economy down with it again?)

I know this sounds bleak but I see a thin and undernourished drug addict rolling up his sleeve to inject into himself another round of the powerful substance that he can no longer manage without. He will stagger a few steps after that then collapse again on the pavement. Ironically, a field of wheat lies within a few days` walk but the addict can no longer manage to find the field or understand how to grow wheat or harvest it. Oil addiction is a true isolation from our own selves.......

OK, I'll bite, but I am just basically repeating myself.

I don't see oil causing a US recession until it nears $100, and I do not see the possibility of a 'price collapse' being very high until we are back to record highs in the $150 or higher area. This probably will not occur this year.

The last collapse was mostly financial panic driven, so if in the next instance, where I expect the Fed to be issuing trillions $ more in new money, probably a similar financial collapse affecting the price of oil will not occur.

Least I be misinterpreted, I do believe there will be ongoing periodic financial panics, quite possibly worse than 2008/2009, but not just yet. They might not result with the price of oil not being lower - but higher. I view the first post peak financial cycles as being drawn out, followed in a year or two by even faster and faster financial changes. The end result will the actual default of the US dollar and/or Treasury market - probably not later than 2016. Possibly the British Pound could collapse first but contrary to recent thinking, the Euro will emerge (albeit temporarily) as a safe haven currency.

Nissan today announced US price for their electric car - Leaf. After rebate it will be about $25K. Leasing is even better at $349 a month.


Ghosn is one of the few auto majors who seem to take Peak Oil seriously.

It's $32,780 without the tax credit. Rather expensive compared to hybrid vehicles.

Why compare without tax credits ?

Infact in California after rebates this will be just over $20K - cheaper than Prius. For a highly anticipated V1 electric cars - this is incredibly cheap.


The relative affordability of the announced price surprised some industry observers.

Especially the $349 a month makes it really cheap.

That's interesting California is giving out rebates, considering the financial straits they're in. How long will the federal rebate last?

Right now it seems like weather and normal driving greatly reduces the range of the LEAF. The 100 mile range appears to be a bit optimistic.

It is calculated without the use of air conditioning and heating. Use of either will reduce your range significantly.

Why? I linked yesterday to RAV4 EV owners who were Regularly reporting over 100 miles/charge, some getting up to 150.


.. and that's with Nimh's.

Oh yes, Tesla guy saying things about Nissan.

Anyway, 100 miles is using the city cycle - so it is for low speed city travel. Personally I'd think of it as 80 mile range.

If I had to guess, I would say Nissan is just trying to get ahead of the others on something which might be useful 20 or 30 years from now. Either that, or Nissan is broke, finished, and trying to go out with a hurrah.

With our present infrastructure, I don't for the life of me see why anybody would buy this over a fuel efficient standard ICE, or hybrid, or plug-in hybrid.

I'm a member of the Electric Vehicle Association and there are many people who want an "emissions-free" vehicle, as the story above mentions. Of course it's not emissions free, etc., etc. but that's the thinking.

Whether there will be 25,000 orders by December is a toss up. I have my (strong) doubts.

Nissan has 80K "hand raisers" now. They are assuming they will get 50% of them to pre-order.

They are going to build some 50K cars per year for the next 2 years. I don't think they will have any problem selling that many in Japan + US. Given the low 20K price in California, they may be able to sell all of them in CA alone ...

I think the idea that all cars should be able to travel 300 miles at any time is just a BAU mentality. There are 60 million households in the US with multiple cars. It makes perfect sense to me that all but one ICE car is traded in for an EV. Afterall, when the oil rationing and long gas queues hit, efficient ICE cars would suffer as well.

To the first question as to why Nissan is doing this, I think they are trying to leapfrog others. Big bet, big returns.

Toyota went with their hybrid and scored big - GM with its Volt is leapfrogging them with an EREV - and Nissan which has the second worst fleet mileage of all major auto makers in the US, leapfrogs GM with a pure EV. Makes sense to me. The important thing is they are able to pull this off - pricing the car so cheap as to be a direct competetion to Prius. They even say they are making a profit at this price ...

From reading some of the headlines I get this general feeling that the world is in the last ditch effort to stave off the end.

From climate change, to where FFs come from everyone is looking for a way to explain that nothing is going wrong and that everything will be able to go on being BAU. The Gov't of the US making blanket statements that everything is fine, no worries go on spending like there is no tomorrow.

Then there are the headlines where people and countries are seeing the changes and worry about their future.

2010 the year people got a handle on their fear, only to see more fear looming over the horizon, just a few years into the future. People stating that when the end happens they hope to be long dead. Nope. You folks and I will be here when it all happens because it is happening right now. Our chair lift is about to disgorge us for our trip back down the mountain, but someone just told us the avalanche is starting and we are on the top of the wave.

Good luck my fellow earthers, nice ride to the bottom, see you at the sky lodge for a hot toddy and steaks.

BioWebScape designs for a better future, even if today I am gloomy.

See it wasn't suppoused to be this way, because human beings are intelligent. When I was in College (1983) I did a paper on how the Lynx population followed that of their prey, the Snowshoe Hare. Lynx populations were dependent upon the number of Hares present. Humans are no different, Now there are less prey than predators available.... Oh yes... investors vs. workers, or those who are trying to rape those who will provide physical labor... in exchange for another day to live! Only competition, greed and self serving needs prevails. Do you see this in sophicated and advanced bee and ant cultures ... of course not. Human Civilization, let the greediest go down first!!!

People stating that when the end happens they hope to be long dead. Nope. You folks and I will be here when it all happens because it is happening right now.

I disagree with this. There is a very long-standing tendency among Boomers + GenX to see themselves as incredibly special (for example there was no real sex before about 1968, etc), and therefore that the peak-oil induced future dystopia will happen while they're around to enjoy the show. Let's head for the hills, stock up on the hand-tools, and install the PV panels quick!

I think there is a much slower unwinding to occur before there is anything like that level of change for any of us over about 40 today. Sorry to disappoint, but there is a lot of resilience in the system, plus millions (if not billions) of us who are quite determined to keep the party going for as long as possible, and will give it a very good go. I would not under-estimate the strength of all that. So I expect we are talking about decades before there is truly drastic change ... which of course is no reason not to implement every possible rational mitigation strategy from today - but in relation to that, I am even more sceptical that it will happen.

Just for interest, and since I haven't seen it mentioned already, it's now over 30 years since the Georgia Guidestones were erected (22 March 1980). I only found one story covering the anniversary in Google.

I actually love the Georgia Guidestones, and believe it is an issue that most people find difficult to accept. IT IS THE TRUTH. Hey, look, I purposefully did not breed, and turned down opportunities to do so... not to say that it did not have its ramifications on my mind... The wealthy Elites who paid to put up that complex and gorgeous Monument meant every word they said.... I still believe they are in charge... Humankind had an opportunity to willlfully submit to population control (what is intelligence otherwise) or be forced through natural forces to obey. Soylent Green is not an option. I would rather see the human species go extinct before a Soylent Green solution is inevitable. PLEASE STOP BREEDING!!!! 8 Billion is enough!!! But my cries shall not be heard. The Breeders and those of "unlimited resources" and "scientific miracles" rule! FIND NUTRITION IN YOUR COMPUTER CHIP! Let Mankind go out with a whimper, so that other species may simply survive. GOD DAMN US FOR WHAT WE HAVE DONE!


"You Maniacs! ... Damn you all to Hell!"

This post isn't based on any article, its just an observation. Which is the rising price of products and a reduction of selection to higher priced products. And the reason I think its happening is because the recession has lasted so long, manufacturers, suppliers and retailers are figuring anyone buying something must really need it and can afford it, so the price is raised. I bought MDF today and noticed its suddenly jumped from 28.95 for a sheet of 5/8" to 32.95 at Home Depot in Santa Rosa, CA. OSB went from 5.95 to 9 something in a blink of an eye. I asked why but there was no known reason for the increases.

Also, at places like our local Walmart, the selection has gravitated towards eliminating cheaper priced products. It's just starting to feel like those that can afford to buy are getting squeezed for more. Maybe that's the basis for the supposed recovery we keep hearing about.

About 6 months ago, Home Depot had an excellent "Special Buy". 3/4" AB or AC cabinet grade ply @ $25.xx. Later dropped to $23.xx and then jumped to $29.97. Gone this weekend.

I am stocking up on the $9.37/roll of R-30 unfaced insulation will the good times last.

Best Hopes for Bargains,


New Home starts are still scrapping bottom, especially SFRs. I see underlying demand, although some mills that sold give-aways (Special Buys) to stay open may have given up by now.

New Home starts are still scrapping bottom

Except for a little bit of urban infill, to my way of thinking we don't need any more new homes at all, and won't for many, many years. Retrofitting existing homes to become more energy efficient and to house more people in less square feet, thus concentrating and densifying populations, is what is going to have to happen for a long time to come.

Perk, I can offer an explanation about the MDF/OSB plkwood prices, but am not sure about the larger trend.

With wood, the wholesale price of lumber tanked middle of last year at $165/1000 board feet. LUmber mills across US and Canada have been laying off staff and closing. Many west coast Cdn mills have been sending as much stuff as they can to China.
Now, the wholesale price is up to $285/1000 bd.ft, which is profitable, just, for the remaining mills. So the price has recovered, but only because supply has finally shrunk to match the (diminished) demand.

Because not as much lumber is being milled, their is not as much waste (sawdust, chips) and the OSB and MDF makers are facing competition from buyers wanting that same waste for biomass energy, particularly wood pellets. A ton of sawdust turned into pellets commands a wholesale price of $150 or so, and is far cheaper to make than MDF sheets, so the MDF makers are getting outbid for the feedstock!

All the pulp mills have maximised their use of waste woodchips for biofuel so that has reduced chip supply to OSB makers, and some OSB makers that have their own cogen plants, have found it more profitable to burn the chips for energy than make OSB. Equivalent of aluminum smelters reducing production to resell electricity.

So, in this case, the suppliers have adjusted to new market realities of a smaller market, and it has taken a year for the production to slow and inventories to be used up.

As for the wider observation, I'm not so sure. My local supermarket is selling more cheap bread and less fancy stuff. Less people are paying the premiums for organic free range chicken meat, and they are selling more generic cheese. Now, doesn;t mean the prices of the cheap stuff are not increasing, they are, and the package sizes are slowly shrinking too.
IKEA's sales are down, but not nearly as much as boutique furniture places.

I think what is happening, partly, is that cheaper things have to get more expensive because they are not being subsidised as much by sales of more profitable things. Often a company's cheapest line is a break even or loss leader, and I think they are all having to re-price those to stand on their own.

AS for the supposed recovery, it's not a recovery until everyone has jobs again. Anything else is just statistics, which can be, and are, manipulated...

were you thinking that mainstream u.s. media was inching closer to acknowledging peak oil?
did you allow yourself to hope that serious sober commentators and journalists,
or their patrons in positions of power and influence-
would finally accept the inevitable facts of PO and start to consider the implications?

ha ha! what were you thinking??

NY Times-
Oil Prices Find Sweet Spot For World Economy
well, fugeddaboudit, the word is that volatility has subsided, stability has returned to oil prices, and it is in a perfect range that will encourage investment, discourage waste and allow for continued growth.
A 'virtuous circle', as it were.
The only potential dark cloud to this sunny scenario is those pesky Chinese, they might start to want more than their fair share.
But not to worry.
well because

But some analysts express hope that such countries can curb their oil demand growth as they build power transmission lines that will enable them to replace inefficient diesel generators with alternative power sources like gas and nuclear.

egads...brain-dead positive spin crap just like you hear on NPR every day, you can almost hear the rising inflection at the end of the sentences.

Haha! Keep up the good work sldulin, although I must admit when it comes to the MSM and bogus oil stories, I prefer to sit on the sidelines.

Dr. Michael Webber (up top) teaches a great 3-day Energy Crash Course at UT Austin. If you know any policy makers/agency or legislative staffers, encourage them to attend. The next class is August 17-19. Here is info from the last course: http://lifelong.engr.utexas.edu/etp10/

HI Debbie,

It seems something like a "short course" would be valuable.

I have questions about the content though. (Let me revise that to "reservations that would prevent me from recommending at this time.")

Dr. Webber says:

MW: "One of the challenges with the petroleum world is that we seem to be working harder every year just to stay in place, and the conventional easy sources – where you poke a hole in the ground and the oil starts rushing out – seem to be part of days gone by. So we are having to work harder to get oil out of the ground."

COMMENT (by Aniya): So far, so good.

MW: "We are having to mine sands, or mine shale, or go to heavier oils that require more upgrading and refining. This has all sorts of carbon, energy, cost and water implications."

COMMENT: Nothing about whether or not this "this" is actually a net energy positive.

MW: "As we move towards these synthetic fuels, the chances are they are likely to make up the difference."

COMMENT: My first reaction is to vehemently disagree. Am I missing something in the familiar argument for "peak oil"?

MW: "Whether we can grow that production so that our total liquid fuels availability is part of the question that is open for us to figure out."

COMMENT: Figure out?!? How?

Well, here I'll stop and put a plug in for the perfect (at least, it's something) idea:
www.oildepletion.wordpress. com.

Let the National Academy of Sciences deliver the (presumably) bad news.

MW: "As a society, I think the answer is yes, there is enough there, but at what price. We might be able to get plenty out of the ground, but at a higher price both economically and environmentally until we figure out new techniques to make them cleaner."

COMMENT: Actually, I'll add on one more comment.

I'm sure Dr. Webber is both a nice person and well-intentioned.

It disturbs me, though, when people of his standing don't say that, in fact, we will definitely *not* be able to "get plenty out of the ground" WRT anything like the current arrangements that fuel our global industrial civilization.

I'm filled with dismay.

If I was judgmental, I'd call it "doing a great disservice." Or, a large-size "sin of omission."

Does he know better?

That's my question.

Your link don't work. You put a space between the . and the com. Try this one.


Thank you, Ron.

If I was judgmental...

You are judgmental but then who isn't. I've taken the course, it is excellent, and Dr. Webber "gets" peak oil. How our future plays out, no one knows, none of us has ownership of that "truth." Dr. Webber has the credentials to change the perspective of exactly the folks who need to be reached.

Hi Debbie,

Thanks for writing.

Can I take a shot at re-phrasing it?

Here's what I'm wondering:

If it's the case that Dr. Webber "gets" peak oil, then, how does this mesh with the comments I quoted above?

To me, they do not match at all.

In fact, the comments of his that I quoted seem to go completely against the idea of limited supply and near-term (or just past) decline in oil supply - AKA "peak" as we know it.

In the interview, these seem to be summary points. If they are not, and they are merely introductory, then...perhaps there are summary points somewhere else?

So, that's my one question. It's in very specific parts, though, because I was trying to show, piece by piece, where my questions lie.

Second up, I'm glad you say he "gets it", it's just that these are his public statements and they appear (really IMVHO< but again, I'm trying to be specific) to be ones that aren't in sync with the PO view.

So, I'm also curious to hear more about your experience, what you liked, how you experienced his conveying the "peak oil message" (so to speak) and more specifically what you liked about it.

Have you ever considered a world without viotality... but stability? It's not possible...it used to be that way... a world without those who obtained their livings through speculation and price fixing... middlemen, wharehousers, investors, financial experts.... etc. etc.... PARASITES! Those who wish to intervene between producers and consumers, ply their trade, and justify its necessity!!? The PARASITES HAVE SUCKED THE HOST DRY! Killed it ! Now, reap the reward!!! AT Least 2/3 of the current worlds civilization needs to be done away with, perhaps closer to 3/4 then we can restore a world balance. Accept your death without a whimper, please! The Parasites have sucked the Host dry, now they must die!

The link above, How my YouTube channel is converting climate change sceptics is excellent. Presents clear, measured, succinct analysis both of the science and of the media hype surrounding it. Well worth a look.

I feel that what is happening at the corporate levels of 'living within the means' would happen in individual households also especially in US. Credit Card as a source of living would change. Already there are signals of this trend happening. One example is that despite drop in gas prices the consumption of gas did not shoot up. This is a good trend

WASHINGTON — In a reversal of a long-standing ban on most offshore drilling, President Barack Obama is allowing oil drilling 50 miles off Virginia's shorelines. At the same time, he is rejecting some new drilling sites that had been planned in Alaska.

Obama's plan offers few concessions to environmentalists, who have been strident in their opposition to more oil platforms off the nation's shores. Hinted at for months, the plan modifies a ban that for more than 20 years has limited drilling along coastal areas other than the Gulf of Mexico.

Obama was set to announce the new drilling policy Wednesday at Andrews air base in Maryland. White House officials pitched the changes as ways to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil and create jobs – both politically popular ideas – but the president's decisions also could help secure support for a climate change bill languishing in Congress.

See link for remaining article.


The U.S. Department of Energy admits that “a chance exists that we may experience a decline” of world liquid fuels production between 2011 and 2015 “if...


The DoE dismisses the “peak oil” theory

So the DOE admits peak oil without admitting it. Perfect information policy!

This reminds me to the German government's attitude of sending soldiers to the war in Afghanistan without calling this this a war - the story was rather sold to the public like a humanitarian aid mission.
At least until recently when a new minister admitted that the soldiers are in a "war-like situation" - a "surprise" that provoked public uproar.