Drumbeat: April 2, 2010

Michael Klare: Is the World’s Future Resource Map Tilting East?

Think of it as a tale of two countries. When it comes to procuring the resources that make industrial societies run, China is now the shopaholic of planet Earth, while the United States is staying at home. Hard-hit by the global recession, the United States has experienced a marked decline in the consumption of oil and other key industrial materials. Not so China. With the recession’s crippling effects expected to linger in the U.S. for many years, analysts foresee a slow recovery when it comes to resource consumption. Not so China.

In fact, the Chinese are already experiencing a sharp increase in the use of oil and other commodities. More than that, anticipating the kind of voracious resource consumption that goes with anticipated future growth, and worried about the availability of adequate supplies, giant Chinese energy and manufacturing firms -- many of them state-owned -- have been on a veritable spending binge when it comes to locking down resource supplies for the twenty-first century. They have acquired oil fields, natural gas reserves, mines, pipelines, refineries, and other resource assets in a global buying spree of almost unprecedented proportions.

Dmitry Orlov: Collapse Competitively

We are heading toward economic, political and social collapse, and every day that passes brings it closer. But we just don't know when to stop, do we? Which part of "the harder we try, the harder we fail" can't we understand? Why can't we understand that each additional dollar of debt will drive us into national bankruptcy faster, harder and deeper? Why can't we grasp the concept that each additional dollar of military spending further undermines our security? Is there some sort of cognitive impairment that prevents us from understanding that each additional dollar sunk into the medical industry will only make us sicker? Why can't we see that each incremental child we bear into this untenable situation will make life harder for all children? In short, what on earth is our problem?

Finds fuel deep-sea oil rush

THREE significant new oil and gas regions have been identified off Australia's coast, raising the potential for a wave of offshore exploration that could create booming new resources hubs around the nation.

A combination of new technology and the high price of oil has prompted the commonwealth's Geoscience Australia survey body to push technical limits and explore frontier areas in deep water, turning up startling new resource potential.

Russia-Venezuela ties a source of concern

CARACAS, Venezuela (UPI) -- Russia is building economic, energy and military ties with Venezuela as President Hugo Chavez confronts mounting political problems over shortages of electricity, water and essential consumer goods.

Ukraine offers Russia role in gas pipe plan with EU

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine's new leadership said on Friday it was inviting Russia to join the European Union in a plan to revamp Ukraine's gas pipeline network, which carries crucial supplies of Russian gas to Europe.

The announcement by Prime Minister Mykola Azarov effectively reversed a March 2009 agreement, signed by former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, for the EU to overhaul its pipeline system -- a move that had angered Moscow.

U.S. EPA Approves Shell's Exploration of Chukchi Sea

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has given Royal Dutch Shell approval to explore in the Alaskan Chukchi Sea.

Shell had been awaiting approval from the EPA for air emissions permits to move ahead with its exploration this summer. The EPA decision follows an announcement from the Obama administration that it will support the awarded lease program, although it canceled several planned lease sales on the Alaska North Slope.

Offshore Drillers See Swelling M&A Interest

A weakened and fragmented offshore oil and natural gas industry could soon be targeted by cash-rich private equity firms and strategic buyers.

Analysis: Nigeria Tendering Process Goes Electronic

Although Nigeria has been a volatile region characterized by unrest in recent years, the country is still one of the largest oil producers in the world. The Nigerian economy is closely tied to the oil sector, and the country's oil industry officials have encouraged local content inclusion. In 2009, Nigeria was the 8th largest OPEC oil producer, averaging approximately 1.8 MMb/d during the year.

FACTBOX - Key political risks to watch in Mexico

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Raging drug gang violence, a tepid economic recovery, flagging momentum on economic reforms and declining oil output are all risks to watch for this year in Mexico, which needs to keep up investor confidence to maintain its debt ratings and help it out of a recession.

Mexico state oil company Pemex adjusts 4th-qtr net

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico state oil company Pemex revised its fourth-quarter net loss to a deeper loss of 65.1 billion pesos ($4.97 billion) due to an accounting adjustment, the company said on Wednesday.

On March 1 Pemex reported a fourth-quarter net loss of 16.6 billion pesos. It is now adding an additional 48.5 billion pesos to that loss, Pemex said in a statement to the Mexican stock exchange. The adjustment was found and reported to an independent auditor, the company said.

Pemex Needs Foreign Aid in Mexico's Oil Patch

Mexican Energy Minister Georgina Kessel said Wednesday that state oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos needs the help of international oil companies, like the ones attending the International Energy Forum here, in order to reverse the decline in its crude output.

"The fields that we are approaching now in Mexico are much more difficult to access," she said at a news conference during a break in the forum's private meetings.

"What this means is that we require, in one way or another, the collaboration of other companies on an international level precisely in order to recuperate our levels of production," Kessel said.

Motorists left dry at the pump

Perth motorists experienced delays at petrol pumps in the lead up to the Easter long weekend as stations across the city ran out of supplies.

Low supplies of unleaded petrol saw some service stations in Perth run out of petrol or close some of their pumps as motorists rushed to fill up their vehicles.

A FuelWatch spokesman said yesterday the cause of the petrol shortage was unclear but urged motorists not to panic.

Pakistan: Hike in petroleum prices draws severe reaction

PESHAWAR: Hike in the prices of petroleum products has drawn strong reaction from both the consumers and business community in the NWFP who termed it unjustified on Thursday.

Our view on energy dependence: Yes, drill offshore for oil, and do many other things, too

U.S. production is way down; imports are way up. Guess who loses?

Opposing view on energy dependence: No need to drill offshore

Everyone can agree we need a stronger, safer energy future for our country. The question is, how do we get there? I believe the answer is a comprehensive clean energy and climate strategy that takes advantage of solutions that hold the greatest potential to put us on a clean and domestic energy path.

And simply put, more offshore drilling moves us off this path.

Electric cars stir debate about fuel-economy standards

Electric-vehicle provisions in federal fuel-economy and emission rules announced Thursday already threaten to shatter the uneasy truce among automakers, environmentalists and the Obama administration.

The rules, proposed by the Obama administration in the fall, set a 35.5 mpg average for the U.S. auto industry by 2016.

One of the only questions that remained about the final rules was how automakers would be credited for their electric vehicles in meeting emissions goals. Credits could be used by an automaker to offset emissions by its non-electric vehicles.

Boost for U.S.-China Clean Energy Research

The Department of Energy announced this week the availability of $37.5 million in financing for Chinese and American researchers working on clean energy projects.

The goal is to stimulate joint research between the countries, which are the world’s top energy producers and consumers, and greenhouse gas emitters, said David Sandalow, the department’s assistant secretary of energy for policy and international affairs.

Resisting the Nuclear Boom: A new wave of uranium mining threatens Indigenous communities in the Southwest

GRAND CANYON, Ariz.—The American Southwest has again become ground zero in the debate about nuclear power.

Since December, miners have resumed crawling deep into the earth on the edge of the Grand Canyon to mine high-grade uranium ore at the Arizona 1 Mine, which had been closed since the late 1980s. Owned by the Canadian Denison Mines Corp., it is the first uranium mine to open in northern Arizona since nuclear power again became a popular idea in Washington within the last decade. The greater Grand Canyon area faces a possible explosion in the number of new uranium mines.

Restoring natural capital in degraded landscapes

The interests of farmers are often perceived to be in conflict with those of both the ecosystems and the markets in which they operate, says Mark Chandler. In this week's Green Room, he argues that ongoing, directed efforts can create profitable, sustainable situations for everyone.

Gaviotas: Village of Hope

“Excellent,” said Lugari. “We’ll proceed A.V.V.”

“A.V.V.?” we asked.

“Allí vamos viendo,” he explained. “We’ll see what happens as we go along.”

The response seemed nonchalant, but it represented an approach that has been fundamental to the village’s longevity. Everywhere we looked, we saw examples of how the Gaviotans had encountered obstacles, gone back to the drawing board, and “surprised” themselves by discovering a way to adapt. The very building in which we stood, for example, had been a solar hot-water panel factory before shifting markets and government policy forced Gaviotans to search for a new product. Gaviotans’ efforts to grow their own food had led them through experiments in hydroponics, use of organic fertilizers, and African goat-herding. The beautiful glass and steel building that was once a fully functioning hospital was converted into a research laboratory and then a water-purification and bottling plant.

It became clear to us that most of the successes at Gaviotas were not a result of brilliant planning but of a trial and error process, replete with wrong turns and detours.

Gulf countries facing water shortage: report

The GCC region is facing potential water shortage with limited groundwater resources, which is already facing depletion because of over-use, the Economist Intelligence has said in a report.

The next ten years will see rising water demand, as the GCC’s expanding middle class adopts an increasingly water-intensive lifestyle, featuring private swimming pools, gardens requiring big sprinkler systems, and even a growing interest in golf.

Five tips for people who love both the Earth and old houses

Here in New England, where we depend heavily on oil heat and where old houses constitute a large component of our housing stock, we have to deal head-on with the seeming contradictions of conserving energy and preserving historic architecture. But does this mean these two goals are in conflict? Maybe not, if preservationists and conservationists can find a way to meet each other halfway. From the preservation perspective, here are some thoughts on where we are coming from.

Countries Blame China, Not Nature, for Water Shortage

BANGKOK — In southern China, the worst drought in at least 50 years has dried up farmers’ fields and left tens of millions of people short of water.

But the drought has also created a major public relations problem for the Chinese government in neighboring countries, where in recent years China has tried to project an image of benevolence and brotherhood.

Farmers and fishermen in countries that share the Mekong River with China, especially Thailand, have lashed out at China over four dams that span the Chinese portion of the 3,000-mile river, despite what appears to be firm scientific evidence that low rainfall is responsible for the plunging levels of the river, not China’s hydroelectric power stations.

Oil settles near $85, higher fuel costs ahead

Oil prices have been stuck in a range of about $70 to $85 a barrel for months. That may be changing and it could mean higher fuel costs before long.

Crude pushed to an 18-month high Thursday. It passed $85 a barrel at one point, driven by optimism that the world will need more oil as it pulls out of the Great Recession.

Continued signals of strength in the manufacturing industry helped extend a recent rally. Oil prices have risen about 23 percent from early February as the industrial sector leads a gradual recovery in the U.S. economy. Some analysts are becoming worried, however, that too steep of a climb in oil prices could choke off the economic rebound.

Natural Gas Rises Most in Two Months on Slower Supply Increase

(Bloomberg) -- Natural gas futures advanced the most in two months after a government report showed that U.S. inventories increased less than analysts anticipated.

Supertanker Rates Jump Most in Five Weeks as Cargoes Increase

(Bloomberg) -- The cost of delivering Middle East crude oil to Asia, the world’s busiest route for supertankers, jumped the most in more than five weeks as the volume of shipments increased.

Charter rates for very large crude carriers, or VLCCs, on the industry’s benchmark Saudi Arabia-to-Japan route gained 8.7 percent to 83.24 Worldscale points, the biggest climb since Feb. 22, according to the London-based Baltic Exchange. Returns from the voyage surged 19 percent to $44,576 a day.

Gas price pain not shared across U.S.

Everyone grumbles when prices at the pump rise, but some drivers pay more depending on where they live. A new study shows how gas price spikes hurt the wallets of drivers in some states more than in others.

On average, Mississippi drivers spent more than 6 percent of their annual income on gas in 2009, compared to drivers in Connecticut and New York who spent just 2.5 percent of their income on gas. But a price spike similar to the one in July 2008 would have worsened the imbalance — Mississippi drivers would have seen driving costs shoot up to 11 percent as opposed to just 4.3 percent for Connecticut and New York.

U.S. Oil Rig Count Rises for Fourth Week, Gas Rigs Up

(Bloomberg) -- Oil rigs working in the U.S. rose for a fourth consecutive week to an 18-year high, propelling the country’s total rig count, Baker Hughes Inc. said today.

What's driving up oil prices again? Wall Street, of course

WASHINGTON — Oil consumption has fallen, demand from U.S. motorists for gasoline is flat at best and refiners that turn crude into fuel are operating well below capacity. Yet oil prices keep marching toward $90 a barrel, pushing gasoline toward $3 a gallon in many markets, and prompting American drivers to ask, "What gives?"

Blame it on the same folks who brought you $140 oil and $4 gasoline in 2008: Wall Street speculators.

Experts attribute much of the recent rise in prices to flows of speculative money into oil markets. These bets are fueled by investor expectations that the U.S. and global economies are poised to return to growth and thus spark increased use of oil. Strong growth in China supports the narrative of rising oil consumption and tightening supplies.

Britain rejects state owned gas storage

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will not build state owned gas storage to ensure energy supply as this would raise gas prices, unsettle gas the market and harm commercial investments, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said.

"In light of these challenges, the Government has decided not to pursue this option," it said on Thursday in a report on gas security.

Russian March oil output hits new record

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian oil production rose in March to a record-high 10.12 million barrels per day (bpd) from 10.08 million bpd in February, an Energy Ministry official data showed on Friday.

Rosneft says in PDVSA talks, no proposal on refineries

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's largest oil producer Rosneft said on Friday it was in talks with Venezuelan state firm PDVSA "on various issues," though there were no proposals to acquire a stake in PDVSA's German assets.

Selling our oil dear: the advantages of a cheap Chinese yuan

When we buy things made in China — whether clothing, or garden tools or electronics or millions of other things that are partly or wholly made in that country — we are paying the Chinese price for eggs. We are paying the Chinese price for shelter and transportation and leather and thread.

That's why a pair of leather gloves is cheaper now in Canada than it has ever been.

But when Chinese people buy oil, they are paying world prices, the same prices we are. That's a very good deal for Canadians. Not so good for Chinese oil consumers, or egg producers, but they can hardly blame us for that.

4 workers hurt, 3 missing in explosion, fire at Wash. refinery

ANACORTES, Wash. (AP) — An explosion and fire erupted at an oil refinery in Washington state early Friday, leaving four workers injured and three missing, officials said.

Oil, Oil Everywhere

Occidental Petroleum is the untrendiest of the big oil companies. Unlike its bigger rivals, Oxy has no refineries and no interest in Canadian oil sands, liquefied natural gas or deepwater prospects. The Los Angeles company is unabashedly partial to oil, with 73% of its reserves in crude; most operators are more than half natural gas.

Now Occidental is breaking ranks in another way by upsetting the commonplace view that the days of "easy oil" in the U.S. are over. Last year Oxy announced a new find outside Bakersfield, in Kern County, California, which is shaping up to be the biggest onshore oil discovery the U.S. has seen in three decades. It likely holds more than 1 billion barrels of oil (and natural gas equivalents) that will be easy and cheap to extract.

Athabasca IPO melds oil sands' might, China muscle

(Reuters) - Athabasca Oil Sands Corp's IPO, the biggest in Canada in years, heralds a return to the oil sands by investors from home and abroad, and the growing power of China to direct capital flows.

Three myths about the coming crude oil crisis

Oil tanked because of the financial crisis, not because peak oil was wrong. Once the financial mess gets straightened out, oil prices will roar back.

About 85 percent of the world’s oil is produced by just 21 nations. Many of these have already peaked and turned down. The list includes the US (formerly the world’s largest producer), OPEC member Indonesia, Venezuela, the United Kingdom, Norway, Libya, and Mexico. The world has lost almost 20 million barrels of daily oil production because of these declines.

The only reason global oil supplies haven’t tanked during the last couple of years is that supply was forced up to compensate. The extra came mostly from Saudi Arabia, Russia, and China, with a little more from Brazil and Angola. Unfortunately, little extra capacity is left today. Russian and Chinese production has plateaued. The Saudis claim to have a little extra capacity left, but many officials (like famed oil analyst Matt Simmons) warn that the Saudis are covering up growing problems at Ghawar, the world’s largest oil field.

What Are Today's 'Extraordinary, Popular Delusions?'

1 – “The world is running out of fossil fuels.”

This notion flows from the Peak Oil Theory, which was originally conceived to discuss a particular oil field or producing region, and later extrapolated to all oil worldwide, then to all fossil fuels worldwide. I’ve been hearing some variation of it for the 40 years I’ve been investing. I entered the brokerage business in 1972, just in time for the OPEC cut-off a year later. Every single time the oil or natural gas stocks decrease for a couple months, some Chicken Little runs around alerting the media that we’re all about to freeze in the dark.

Bunkum. We do not have a clue what fossil fuels remain below the 70% of the planet covered by the world’s oceans (although the North Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and the recently discovered elephant fields off the coast of Argentina may provide a hint of what is yet to come.) Ditto for vast stretches of land like the oil sands found in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Maybe there is even more farther north. Who knows? If I were to succumb to the Popular Delusion that there was no more coal, natural gas (of which better technology has just unlocked quadrillions of cubic feet in shale rock that we didn’t count as reserves just ten years ago) or oil, I might be investing solely in ethanol, other biomass, wind and solar companies. And I would miss the greatest dividend stream and capital gain potential from the energy that currently and for the foreseeable future provides more than 90% of all our needs.

Don't do deals with Iran: US tells India, Pak

The United States is "encouraging" India and Pakistan to not conduct transactions like their gas pipeline with Iran at a time when it's engaged in sensitive negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear programme.

Putin arrives in Venezuela to meet U.S. foes

CARACAS (Reuters) – Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin arrived in Caracas on Friday to meet with the two main South American foes of the United States and launch a $20 billion venture to tap the Orinoco heavy oil belt.

Putin will discuss energy, agriculture and defense issues with Venezuela's leftist President Hugo Chavez and later meet Bolivian President Evo Morales, both fierce critics of what they call U.S. "imperialism" in Latin America.

Alaska Senate passes bill to split oil, gas taxes

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) -- One of the hottest button issues this legislative session -- the separation of Alaska oil and gas taxes -- passed the state Senate with little dissent Thursday.

The measure changes Alaska's system of taxing oil and natural gas production together. The bill now goes to the House, with lawmakers facing adjournment in just over two weeks.

New test assesses gas drilling effects on soils

(PhysOrg.com) -- Researchers have developed the Cornell Soil Health Test to evaluate soil response to management on different types of land. It's intended to assess changes due to gas drilling work.

Saudi minister applauds US oil drill plan

CANCUN, Mexico (AFP) – The plan to expand oil drilling off US coasts unveiled Wednesday by President Barack Obama was part of "good moves" aimed at meeting world energy demand, Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Nuaimi said here.

Drill, Baby, Drill

President Barack Obama's decision to open up portions of the U.S. coastline to offshore drilling is a move in the right direction. Proponents of offshore drilling will argue that the proposal does not go far enough, since drilling will be limited to areas south of New Jersey on the Atlantic Coast, certain sections of the Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska. Critics will argue that the decision will increase the U.S.' carbon footprint and dependency on fossil fuels and contribute to global warming. But the decision reflects reality. Fossil fuels will continue to be an important source of energy for the U.S. economy over the next several decades as global economies gradually shift to cleaner, renewable sources of energy.

Analyst points out holes in Obama’s oil drilling plan

Obama’s plan to open up new areas of the Eastern coast of the United States for offshore oil drilling may be something energy-related, but it’s far from enough, according to Bernard Weinstein, associate director of the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University.

Weinstein said while the plan, which Obama announced Thursday, gives access to oil drilling in new areas, other areas that have greater potential to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil are still closed off, including the northeast coast and the West Coast.

Obama Drilling Plan May Aid Democrats on Climate Bill

(Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama’s pledge to expand offshore oil and natural-gas drilling may help Democrats deliver legislation that regulates carbon dioxide emissions before any fuel is produced.

Obama's energy challenge is coal, not oil

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama touched off a new environmental skirmish with his decision to open vast new areas of the American coastline to offshore oil drilling. But as loud as that battle is going to get, it is nothing compared with the real energy war to come.

I speak, of course, of the Coal War.

Environmental regulations to curtail mountaintop mining

The Obama administration on Thursday imposed strict new environmental guidelines that are expected to sharply curtail "mountaintop" coal mining, a controversial practice that has enriched Appalachia's economy while rearranging its topography.

The announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency ended months of bureaucratic limbo on the issue. It was hailed by environmentalists but condemned by coal industry officials, who said it would render a technique that generates about 10 percent of U.S. coal largely impractical.

In Montana, Governor Stirs Ire Over Coal

Controversy is swirling in Montana after the governor, Brian Schweitzer, requested in a letter sent to local officials that they voice support for “coal money” from a proposed new mine in exchange for receiving funds to build roads and other infrastructure projects.

“Please return a letter confirming that you ’support the use of coal money for the completion of your project/projects,’” reads the governor’s letter, which he circulated to a number of counties around the state.

Almost 200 Missing in China After Spate of Coal Mine Accidents

(Bloomberg) -- At least 192 people remain trapped after five coal mine accidents in China in as many days, as rescue efforts continue in the country with the world’s worst record in mine safety.

Navajo Nation stands by power plant despite snags

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The challenges facing a proposed coal-fired power plant on the country's largest Indian reservation are stark: the withdrawal of a key federal permit, no secured customer or transmission line, and uncertainty over the future of climate change.

The Navajo Nation acknowledges the challenges, but both the tribe and its partner in building the $3 billion, 1,500-megawatt Desert Rock Energy Project say they are committed to moving forward. Environmentalists who have fought the project contend it will be nearly impossible to do so.

Budget ‘Tailwind’ to Lift India Power, Road Builders, Jain Says

(Bloomberg) -- India’s record spending on roads, power plants and ports will provide a “tailwind” for equipment makers, leading the benchmark stock index to a 10 percent gain this year, Principal Pnb Asset Management Co. said.

Hydro bill to get even bigger

A forecast increase of $15 a month in electricity costs for householders isn't as high as it sounds, says an energy consulting firm. It's actually higher.

Aegent Energy Advisors Inc. says that by 2011, consumers will typically be paying about $25 a month more for electricity than they do today, an increase of $300 a year.

Japan aims to boost energy efficiency worldwide

CANCUN, Mexico — Japan urged other countries Thursday to raise energy efficiency through enhanced information sharing and step up the battle against global warming as energy ministers from both oil producing and consuming economies agreed to boost their dialogue to ensure stability in energy markets.

Innovation: Only mind games will make us save power

By the end of the year a million smart meters will have been installed in UK homes, and hundreds of thousands of US homes already have them. It's too early to draw many conclusions about their effect on power use, but a number of small studies suggest that the new infrastructure won't have the desired effect unless it's supported with the right psychological approach.

Not only are few people motivated to change their energy use, but using an energy meter can reveal just how small the payback for changing your behaviour can be.

Nuclear energy 'the only answer'

Australia will eventually have to factor in nuclear power from up to 50 reactors if it wants to seriously reduce carbon emissions, energy experts say.

Buyers Scarce for Converted Weapons Plutonium, GAO Says

The United States has struggled to interest nuclear power suppliers in buying mixed-oxide fuel it plans to produce using nuclear-weapon material, even though the National Nuclear Security Administration intends to offer the MOX fuel at a lower price than standard low-enriched uranium, congressional investigators said in a report made public last week (see GSN, Feb. 26).

The United States intends to reformat no less than 34 metric tons of plutonium into nuclear fuel, as part of a deal that requires Russia to eliminate an equal amount of bomb material.

PetroChina Won’t Build Electric-Car Charge Stations, News Says

(Bloomberg) -- PetroChina Co. won’t build charge stations for electric cars and has no plans to develop new energy projects except for non-grain fuel alcohols for the moment, Shanghai Securities News reported today.

Future cars, now

California's Air Resources Board should set standards that push the industry beyond old under-the-hood technology to achieve cleaner, more efficient cars.

International movement could be coming to West Coast

The global Transition Town initiative could be coming to the West Coast region adding to the 13 communities already taking part in Canada, after a workshop was held on March 21 at the Long Beach Lodge.

Emissions limits, greater fuel efficiency for cars, light trucks made official

Consumers will pay more for cars upfront but may save money in the long term under new rules finalized Thursday by the Obama administration that will increase fuel efficiency and for the first time set greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars and light trucks.

FACTBOX - New vehicle emission standards by the numbers

(Reuters) - The United States finalized rules on Thursday to boost car and truck fuel efficiency standards and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles. Canada's government also will implement the measures on its auto industry.

Below are details of the plan from the U.S. government:

Everybody Wins

The new automobile fuel economy standards formally adopted by the Obama administration on Thursday will yield a trifecta of benefits: reduced dependence on foreign oil, fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and consumer savings at the pump.

Canada will not go solo cutting industry emissions

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada will not unilaterally impose limits on greenhouse gas emissions from industry, saying on Thursday that it will work in tandem with the United States, as it is doing with vehicle standards.

"We don't anticipate doing this alone. Industrial regulations will require the same kind of collaboration that we've had with the United States on the transportation sector," Environment Minister Jim Prentice told Reuters.

Desert spreading like 'cancer' in Middle East

Burgeoning populations, which put further strain on the environment, and climate change are accelerating the trend, he said.

"The trend in the Arab world leans towards aridity. We are in a struggle against a natural trend, but it is the acceleration that scares us," he said.

Probing Question: How fast are the polar ice sheets melting?

The massive ice sheets that blanket Greenland and Antarctica are shrinking. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, summer melt on the Greenland ice increased by 30 percent from 1979 to 2006. Though the situation in Antarctica is less clear, scientists are also seeing loss of mass there, particularly in the fragile West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Part of the reason, said Sridhar Anandakrishnan, a geophysicist in Penn State’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, is rising ocean temperatures attributable to global warming. The melting ice, in turn, raises the specter of rising sea levels. While the current rate of rise is calculated at only about an inch per decade, Anandakrishnan said, the big question is how this rate may increase over the next 50 years with continued warming.

Copenhagen climate summit wasn't a flop, reports say

Reporting from Washington — The Copenhagen climate summit, roundly dubbed a failure when it ended last year, may actually have sparked significant steps toward curbing global warming, according to some environmentalists and financial analysts.

Analyses from groups, including Deutsche Bank, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the liberal Center for American Progress, are challenging the snap indictment of the December conference, which drew wide criticism for failing to produce a new treaty to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Today, it is six months since this poll: What's Ahead in the Next Six Months?

This is what the survey said:

The price of oil is in the $80 to $100 range. The economy is either limping along as before, or easing a bit. There were 14% who said the economy would limit along at today's level; price will exceed $80, and 10% who said recession will ease, price will reach $80 to $100.

Initial votes were pretty much all over--probably more toward more recession and lower price than how things actually turned out.

But up to about a week ago, the price had mostly been staying below $80, so the 22% that guessed that were just a week off or so. Not bad, I'd say.

Are you going to put up a follow on survey for the next six months. If so can you include a 'will spike to over $100' option - linked with heading into a second economic dip.

Thus far I'm doing quite well off Euan's price vs production graph - but the proof is in the next 6-9 months. If things follow as predicted from there, we're headed for another trip southward in the western economies.

And it might be useful to have an article ready so that when prices do spike again, and people claim its market manipulation, you can point to the prediction curve and get the press coverage.

ng in storage (1.638 tcf) -vs- year ago (1.654 tcf) indicates that ng supply/demand are about in balance, balancing items notwithstanding.

fun house traders, focused on a less than expected weekly net injection into storage and three day weekend, bid the price up. meanwhile, back at the ranch, the ng rig count and imports are rising.

Re: Countries Blame China, Not Nature, for Water Shortage

We are going to have much more of this in the future as warming continues. Idiots will look for scapegoats but that won't save them.

I notice that a lot of researchers who are quoted by the media use "may", "could", etc. way too excessively. A researcher's "may" is a politician's rock hard "fact". Scientists have to change their jargon when communicating with the public.

RE: Russia hits record 10.2m barrels up top

in other news today:

Obama enters new deal with Russia to scrap more Nukes

in an alternate reality where john McCain won:

Russia implicated in axis of evil. No connection to stragic petrolium reserves

I'll say one thing for the US - they sure do know the value of oil and oil buddies.

Go - go Obama!!


Note that this is a monthly post-Soviet record. Looking at crude + condensate + NGL's, it looks like 2009 Russian production was back up to the same annual rate as 2007 (9.9 mbpd), following the small decline in 2008 to 9.8 mbpd (EIA). Admittedly, the 2009 rebound was a surprise to me; I expected to see a continued decline in 2009. In any case here is Sam's outlook for Russian production & consumption (the initial 2005-2015 projected rates of change are shown):

The wild card for Russia continues to be the frontier basins, but IMO they are to Russia as Alaska is to the US, i.e., helpful, but not a material game changer.

In regards to the increase in Russia oil output to a new record (or at least a 21st century record), it appears in retrospect that the fall of the Soviet Union was perhaps fortuitous in postponing PO until 2005 to 2010 at the latest (the year de-pending on what grade of oil you look at and whether you include all ‘liquids’, etc.).

Where we would be in 2010 without that extra Russian oil is a subject that some of the optimists quoted in various articles above would probably never under-stand.

You would think that high oil prices plus high oil output would be Nirvana for Russia, but that is not the case. Within the last few days Russia has announced plans for a major bond offering to help plug its increasing federal budget gap. Apparently the burden of complexity and the effects of diminishing returns – more specifically falling energy return on investment – is already starting to bite. Which make sense if various theories, such as ‘net energy’ or ‘cliff oil’ are to be validated.

If $80 oil is not good enough for the world’s largest oil producer, those that are complaining about $80 oil being ‘speculator driven’ will unfortunately find out rather soon that a market being ‘supplier driven’ in the age of Exportland 2.0 will be much worse.

wt - I'm not able to enlarge that graphic on Russian oil. Is there a link? thanks.

It worked for me. This is a link.

Looking at FSU consumption 20 years ago you see staggering drops. Ukraine 1991-95 was -26.12%, -42.17%, -18.90%, -2.48%, -26.05%. The top 10 for 1992 consumption contraction is solely Soviet bloc, it looks to be the same for most years in that era.

The import situation is odd, EIA data shows the USSR importing 30.55 kb/d in 1991; the next year the individual series for the component states begin and the sum of their imports is 587.67 kb/d. This is exactly what "Eurasia" is shown as importing; in fact that series and USSR seem to be the exact same. Looks like some lingering Soviet propaganda here. Total consumption for Eurasia goes from 8350 to 6825.4 91-92, really bottoming out in a few years. 7% reliance on imports isn't big. Russian consumption for 2008 was close to 1995 levels.

Looks like FSU is charting an Iraq style trajectory down, a series of peaks each lower than the last.

Thanks for the link. That projection for future production decline in Russa is so sharply dropping down, it makes me wonder what that's based on. Obviously there is an expection of a sudden loss of pressure, or increasing water cut, but why?

Here is a link to the article:


Sam used the logistic method, heavily weighted toward the pre-1990 data for Russia. As noted above, the wild card is production from the frontier basins in Russia, but the annual data basically show a production plateau, starting in 2007.

This summer Alfa Bank warned of problems with mature Russian oil fields because of rapidly rising water cuts.

Ah ha! I've bookmarked the article and will definitely refer to it from time to time to see how those projections are matching up to actual.

Hello WT, when I see the diagram above, I cannot imagine, how we in germany can get any further. At the beginning of the year the "Verband der deutschen Mineralölwirtschaft" ( something like the API in the US ) publihed under the headline "Russian Oil imports are getting more and more important" following statistical figures for the year 2009.

North Sea imports down 19% ( decline in respect of total imports about 5%)
Opec imports down 10.7% ( 4,5% )
The stake of russian imports up from 32% to 35% ( that means total amount of russian imports were nearly flat, considering the decline of the other two).

So I suppose that North Sea import decline will continue hitting zeroline about 2013.
Last year Russias GDP was down 8%. A recovery of 4% - 5% is expected for this year. Additional stress by a russian export shift to the east.
If that is not enough for a double digit decline, well the OPEC imports will also continue to decline ( I fear in a massive way).

So I think germany/europe will win the race towards the cliffs. Or can You give us any hope?

Unfortunately, the ELM 2.0 premise is that developing countries will continue to outbid developed countries for a declining volume of global net oil exports.

I think that the primary short term problem for Europe is natural gas, with Norway possibly hitting a production peak or plateau, and with the suspicious Russian NG production data (they keep talking about weak demand, while Norway is producing flat out).

I almost don't know why I bother, but the confluence of several of the articles above well illustrates much of the key cause of our predicament.

What's driving up oil prices again? Wall Street, of course
Of course, it's speculation again, nothing to do with constrained supply...

What Are Today's 'Extraordinary, Popular Delusions?'
If I were to succumb to the Popular Delusion that there was no more coal, natural gas ... or oil, I might be investing solely in ethanol, other biomass, wind and solar companies. And I would miss the greatest dividend stream and capital gain potential...

Of course, the only thing that matters is what we can invest in to make $$. Our utter reliance on finite resources, to say nothing of their impact on the environment upon which we depend for life, matters not one whit.

Drill, Baby, Drill And associated articles.
Of course the answer to our dilemma is to do more of what we've always done. Go find more oil. We can feed the juggernaut of global capitalism endlessly forever, and it does nothing but benefit everyone, everywhere, always and forever.

There is no better way to live than ultra-consumption. We are the masters of the universe, and our worship of the almighty dollar at the expense of everything else (including ourselves) is the ultimate religion, the apex of human accomplishment, and we were destined to arrive here by the path of unending progress that we have been on for 10,000 years or so.

So sad that we are so intelligent, yet so blind and deluded.

Money matters not a bit, in the grand scheme of things. Enough food, a bit of warmth, some comaraderie. This is all we need.

When I shower in solar heated water, dine of solar baked food (increasingly grown in our own 'local' sunshine, and work this summer to further renovate our house to be passively heated by the sun, I feel ever further alienated from the insane culture that surrounds me.

End rant.

I feel ever further alienated from the insane culture that surrounds me.

You are not alone. I need nature and silence everyday to keep sane.

Anyone have a recommendation for a good solar oven?

We use The Global Sun Oven, and it works quite well. It's a little pricey. We got ours in a deal from none other than Matt Savinar in combination with a Kill-a-watt for just over $200 for the pair. Dunno if the same offer still stands. My only complaint is that it's not quite big enough for a full sized baking sheet. But it works well enough overall, even though we live in the woods and have to move it every hour or two to keep out of the shade. If you've got unfettered SoCal sun, it should bake up a storm for you.

Of course it's quite possible to make your own more cheaply. There are many designs. I've made several, from simple cardboard box in a box with aluminum foil reflectors that work.

If you've got unfettered SoCal sun, it should bake up a storm for you.

It's a myth. There's no sun here. Very unpleasant climate...especially close to the beach. ;-)

Thanks for all the tips folks.

I use the Sport model from the Solar Oven Society, and it works well in Vermont, from late February or early March into October.

I originally built my own out of a couple cardboard boxes, some plastic peanuts for insulation, some aluminized mylar, and a bit of polycarbonate. But the design relied on the box lid being used as a reflector, and my site has a lot of wind on many sunny days. The oven would just get blown around, or at least the reflector would be knocked out of whack.

I got the Sport model because it's so low-slung and aerodynamic. Haven't had any wind problems with it. Some dishes in there, like vegetables or arroz con pollo, come out among my all-time home-cooking favorites.

I'm very interested in a solar still. Are there any plans for a home made system or decent arrangements to purchase, would need to produce or filter at least a couple of gallons a day.
Are there effective portable models available?

Plenty of options exist for this on a survival basis. Dig hole, place bucket with hose at bottom of hole, place plastic sheeting over hole with rock in center. The survival at sea option has an inflated cone that catches water around the rim. (if you really care I can dig up online pictures/howtos - just ask.)

Look at the thermal output of the evacuated glass tubes or the dishes I posted above. Either solution would give you PLENTY of steam that you could condense. If you don't like either of those, consider the other stuff at redrok.com

A couple GALLONS a day? Sheesh!.. Intervention!


the Knowledge Publications site by Steve Harris has quite a few pieces on security measures like water purification and other 'civil defense' type applications of Renewable Energy. Very DIY stuff, and sometimes a bit moonbat (Not as bad as Greenish, though), but keep the best, leave the rest.



I was thinking that collected tank water would need sterilizing at some point or even collected swamp water etc. If the mains fail, I just want a backup to filter and crap water I can collect.
I know I can throw those black solar shower bags on the roof they get hot enough to kill most organisms but the solar still, appears to be the best solution for a clean and relatively reliable supply. I want one to have ready just in case.
Thanks again.

Photovoltaic solar panels, an inverter, and a microwave oven :-)

When TSHTF, you need more high technology, not less.

And if all the junk burns out, I've seen solar panels get hot enough in the sun to fry an egg.

(If we had ham, we could have ham and eggs, if we had eggs..)

If you're bringing fresh, solar-baked items into THIS thread, you have to bring enough for EVERYONE. You know that, right?

I'm just dying to take our retired Kitchen chimney out and put in a focusing Heliostat on the roof so I can have me a Solar Oven right in my kitchen! (And when it's not baking, it can be heating water, or maybe drying mittens..)

Doing that project will take some serious negotiating with the family, however.. as great as it would be.

Ah, even the internet has it's limitations, else I'd be happy to share...

As for the solar oven in the kitchen, I've had similar thoughts. Somewhere in Backwoods Home or a similar magazine w/in the past 5 years I've seen pics of a passive solar home that had such a built in sun oven in the kitchen wall. Couldn't find it just now with a quick google, but it's out there somewhere. Neat idea.

I wonder....as all the non-HD big projection tv's head to the landfill, is there any organized attempt to salvage the large fresnel lenses? It seems like they could be useful solar zappers. I've grabbed a few as I've seen large sets put on the curb on "bulky item day", but nobody else seems to be doing it.

I'm almost scared to play with them in the full Hawaii sunshine... I'll bet I could melt copper.

thanks... hadn't thought of that

Steve Harris, the 'Sunshine to Dollars' Knowledge Pub's guy has expounded on using these. You could do some damage with them, no doubt. (He won't hear of 'PO' or any of that nonsense, I warn you. Otherwise, a crafty and compelling character.)


Heres a 'That blowed up real good!' video with fresnels..
'Melting a Brass Padlock'
(WARNING! Don't stare at your screen too long! Pausing this video and leaving the room could melt parts of your desktop! View responsibly.)

So yeah, that lens'll fry up your spuds, son.

"I feel ever further alienated from the insane culture that surrounds me."

Clif, talk about the money quote buried in the posting. I think you accurately and eloquently stated something I have been feeling for a good long time.

Pete Deer

I used to feel alienated from the insane culture (of more and more) that surrounds us all.

But the more i studied up on things, the more comfortable I got with the whole human energy-dissipative project!

You have heard of jumping on logs that are floating in a river? You have to be agile. That is what this economy is like.

When things energetic were on their way up, then families would suddenly find a member among them---a bright son or daughter---who was clever enough to go to college. The tuition money was also found (funded by the excess that accrued from the up-lifting economic propulsion)....Voila...new elite/member of middle-class!

Now as things energetic head down into the opposite diferection, family by family will suddenly find not enough tuition money, or test scores that were OK 10 years ago are not good enough now. Applications to Ivy League colleges tripled from just about 25 years ago. But the population hasn`t tripled! And the number they admit has stayed the same. The bar is being raised and raised and raised again. Across the board. The low scorers exit the game....but that isn`t a horror story IMO, then you can start with the growing food/ working with your hands/ producing. And you can compete with the machines now because oil is expensive. What is not to love about this?????

My family is still dancing in the middle-class........but I fully expect it to be harder to stay there---and so what???? I don`t love plastic and all the food that comes from god-knows-where. I don`t love the huge anonymous cement building I work in. I want to fall out of the middle class BUT you cannot do so before the time naturally comes, otherwise you are putting yourself or your children at a disadvantage (IMO). You must wait patiently for the ticket that puts you back into the producer class. If you are a genius, it may never come, BTW! Because your skills as a great doctor or writer or playwright or musician will make you more valuable doing that.

The government will always spout the story line that everyone deserves a chance to better themselves, consume more etc. etc. But that is also the human craving to compete.......we can`t help it. So don`t be depressed (although it is easy to be so about this I agree). The economic merry-go-round will see to it that everyone starts to live more sustainably whether they want to or not.

I have read in one of your posts that you are living in Japan.
In mid 80s at a film festival I saw an incredible Japanese film/movie about zero growth economy.
The movie shows life of a small village in ancient Japan where the villagers have a limited supply of food (limited by the availability of land).
When old people in the village lose ability to work children take them to the nearby mountain and leave them there to die in the cold without food.
I have been looking for the movie for a while but can't find anywhere - probably because the movie is politically incorrect.
Could you have a word with your Japanese friend they might remember the movie and the title.

The film is Narayama-bushi kô (1983). Hypnotic.

Thanks! Looks like it's available at Amazon. I think I'm going to buy it.

It can also be rented from Blockbuster, and I assume Netflix.

From Jim Hansen's newsletter:

The good ol' price level has reached the danger zone where two things happen:

- Speculators rush in looking for an easy speculative profit which makes the price rise further, bringing in even more new credit,

- Big parts of the fuel- using economy fall down.

The chance of a spike materially increases with every dollar of increase which means months of unaffordable fuel and demand destruction along with some of that new credit.

To subscribe to the newsletter (PDF): email:


Put 'Subscribe' in the subject line.

We can take comfort that not all societies are as insane as we are. Much of Scandinavia, for example, continues to make sound investments in renewable energy. Japan refuses to allow mass immigration even though they face a demographic bust. Even China, although they are buying up oil and gas around the world, are also building a ton of wind turbines and solar panels, and they have an official population control policy. One also gets the feeling that the Middle East, in the not too distant future, will be moving from fossil fuels to solar power.

But here in the states, we will use up fossil fuels and celebrate population growth until it kills us. I guarantee you, the world doesn't care what happens to Phoenix, DFW, or Atlanta.

Link up top: What Are Today's 'Extraordinary, Popular Delusions?'

Bunkum. We do not have a clue what fossil fuels remain below the 70% of the planet covered by the world’s oceans...

Bunkum. We do have a very good clue as to what fossil fuels remain below the 70% of the planet covered by the world's oceans. Other than a few exceptions of very tiny amounts of hydrocarbons found in igneous rock due to seduction, all fossil fuels have been found in sedimentary rock. In fact that is where all "fossils" are found. There is absolutely no oil to be found in the basement basalt that covers the deep ocean floor.

Of course there is oil to be found in some oceans but only on the continental shelf, none off the continental shelf. To even suggest that there might be vast oil deposits found in the basement basalt shows just how delusional some people really are.

Ron P.

Good one Ron. I'm getting so tired of the crap people are spouting anymore for endless oil. Seems more abandon reason when the times get tougher.

But, but...isn't there Oil, Oil, Oil Everywhere?!

Last year Oxy announced a new find outside Bakersfield, in Kern County, California, which is shaping up to be the biggest onshore oil discovery the U.S. has seen in three decades. It likely holds more than 1 billion barrels of oil (and natural gas equivalents) that will be easy and cheap to extract.

Wow! It likely holds more than a billion with a B barrels! Hot diggity dog!!

A billion barrels- so, how much is it with respect to consumption? 5-10 years...?

A billion barrels is 50 days of US consumption, or 13 days of world consumption.

But hey- at $80/bbl, it's $80 billion, so someone's getting rich...

But hey- at $80/bbl, it's $80 billion, so someone's getting rich...

You got that right! I think that's how ROCKMAN's boss does it too ;-)

I have been giving this some thought. It seems that investment people are running things; the hedge funds, especially, have lots of money they want to invest.

Given the past experience we have had, we will see the HF's entering the oil scene soon... and there is a real danger here. These people see everything according to the profits available. It won't matter if they are producing oil at a negative EROEI, only whether they can show a profit this quarter. This they will do by fast depreciation of assets, and sale of what is left after they are done. They can 'take an healthy industry private,' provide huge tax benefits to the investors by accelerated depreciation (all perfectly legal, you understand), basically rape the company, sell off the most profitable parts, and then do an IPO on what is left, foisting it off on public investors with thoroughly cooked books and no hope for profits for the next 20 years (in past times... no hope at all today).

It's called free market capitalism... it goes by the slogan "Greed is good," and it has already ruined our country.

Just my opinion, and my addition to the rant!


FM -- Only when me and my cohorts get it right. Of course such discoveries won't change the ultimate PO end game by much I'm always puzzled by how some folks poo-poo such efforts.

Here's a break down of that $80 billion. I have to make some educated guess but won't be far off. About $12 to $15 billion goes to the mineral owners. Typically farmers and other private citizens who will then pay about 25% of that amount to the state and Feds in taxes (about $4 billion). Then there's about $4 - 5 billion in direct severence taxes directly to state and local gov't. And then there's the many ten's of millions of $'s they spend with companies to develop those reserves and all the jobs (and income tax payments they'll make). So a rough estimate: of the $80 billion about $25 to $30 billion goes directly to gov't agencies and private citizens. And what happens to the rest? Oxy is a public company. The rest goes to dividends and company operations. The operations monies are spent on salaries and other biz expenses with Oxy and other companies. And who gets that big fat dividen check? Mr. Oxy? No...it goes to the shareholders. And who are the shareholders? Like most major US corporation much of the stock is owned by all the various retirement funds... includings millions of union members.

And last but not least, that's a reduction of our import imbalance by $80 billion. I can understand how some folks have trouble giving up their hate for "big oil" but the bottom line: If Oxy has found a billion bo then that's wondeful news. Doesn't change PO to any great extent but it really is great news for this country.

ROCKMAN, don't get me wrong, I'm not Poo-Pooing you or the way you make your money, more power to you and I totally get that it "Doesn't change PO to any great extent but it really is great news for this country." Hey a lot of people need jobs right now. I'd be the last person in the world to begrudge someone their daily bread.

I was just underscoring what a tiny drop in the bucket a billion barrels really is. I know most people who read TOD already know that but the average Joe is totally clueless and will take such news to mean all is fine and dandy and we can all go back to consuming and happy motoring like before.

That's what I think is the disservice being done by the media that puts this information out there and uses it to spin reality and sets the average Joe up as an easy mark for the manipulators who will take advantage of his ignorance and sell him more BAU on credit he can't afford.

There are days when I'd really like to strangle some of those SOBs

No...it goes to the shareholders. And who are the shareholders? Like most major US corporation much of the stock is owned by all the various retirement funds... includings millions of union members.

You sort of say this (or something similar) fairly regularly, Rockman. At one level it is even possibly true, but the implication is that somehow Team USA is a huge hippie commune or socialist paradise ... whereas the reality is that income disparity in the USA far exceeds most of the OECD, and the top 10% (or even1%) - owns a huge proportion of the assets and wealth of the country.

The fact that a few (or even a lot of) union pension funds are in the mix can be really quite misleading - their share ownership stake per capita is minuscule, compared to the truly wealthy of the country.

car .. It's a fact: the great bulk of stock equity is owned by the masses thru retirement funds, insurance funds, etc. The great bulk of value in our society is from real estate holdings...both home owners and businesses. And in my experience the great majority of income variations is a result of ability/effort variations. Unfortunately ability/success is closely dependent upon education. And that's where our country has failed terribly IMHO.

If a 30 year old man can't read or do math at a 5th grade level then how can you expect him to have a nice share? There is suppose to be a disparity in such a case. The fix isn't knocking the folks who have been sucessful. The folks who have failed with the education system should be the target and every effort made to fix that problem IMHO.

It is not a zero sum game. What I have didn't come from someone who didn't get their share. It came from my efforts. Not to make it too personl but I grew up in one of the poorest areas in New Orleans and received the same crappy education. But I didn't stop trying. And that's where we're failing a huge chunk of the poulation: we're not doing all we can to chamge the system. I mentor in the inner city and trust me: it almost always appears hopeless. An almost insignificant energy towards fixing the problem. Many of my fellow mentors are satisfied with their individual results. But collectively the entire effort is achieving little for society. Individual successes....yes. Changinf society as a whole: complete failure IMHO.

It is not a zero sum game. What I have didn't come from someone who didn't get their share. It came from my efforts.

Those are not mutually exclusive. As resource limits kick in, I think it will increasingly become a zero-sum game (actually, I think it already is), but that says nothing about your share coming from your efforts. In a zero-sum game you use your efforts to get someone else's "share".

It's bad enough that some people are delusional about finding oil off the continental shelf, but Congressman Hank Johnson is concerned that Guam Will "Tip Over and Capsize" with the deployment of 8000 Marines. If you weren't a doomer before, this ought to put you over the edge.

How ignorant do you have to be to not understand that that was metaphor?

If insist on spreading manure please limit it to your garden.

Except he spends the whole first minute waffling, like someone who only got introduced to English five minutes before the meeting, on about the islands dimensions, then using a literal physical gesture and bringing up coral reefs to boot.

Even assuming he wasn't being an ignoramus (Islands do not work that way. [/Morbo]), his inability to even phrase his supposed concern better than a four-year-old is hilarious.

And anyone who has spent more than five seconds researching Guam will know 8k more people will NOT "capsize" it at all, literally or metaphorically.

The guy is clueless.

On the contrary. I thought it was genius. He's a Buddhist you know.

morbo ..the news monster?

How ignorant do you have to be to not understand that that was metaphor?

In the immortal words of John McEnroe, "YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS"!!!

You're coming to the defense of this guy? And how exactly is this spreading manure?

I think Escape Artist might have been joking eeyores ... perhaps don't jump to literal conclusions too quickly! Always assume everyone is tongue-in-cheek until proven otherwise, I suggest. That's the Australian way, for sure.

"...found in igneous rock due to seduction..."

Now that is in interesting way to frame it. Wonder what or who is getting seduced...? ;)

Sorry the word was supposed to be "subduction" but my Word spellchecker flagged it as wrong. I just clicked on "change" without paying any attention to the word it changed it to. Turns out I had originally spelled it correctly but Word spellchecker does not have the word "subduction" in its dictionary and flagged it as being misspelled.

But I fixed it, I checked it again but this time I clicked on "add to dictionary". Now I will never have that problem again.

I usually type all posts in Word before copying and pasting to the list.

Ron P.

Oh, I figured it was meant to be "subduction", but the typo seemed so... fitting...

s'allright. We all know that subduction leads to orogeny.

Implantation of hydrocarbons via "seduction", glad I wasn't around to have to witness it!

Don't worry abiotic oil reproduces asexually, nothing to see here, move along...

Bow chika waw wow
Bow chika waw wow

Real doomer porn I guess. (or is it BAU porn....so hard to keep the players straight)

It's not porn its EROITICA

TICA being The International Cornucopians Association...

happy motorers seduced by abiotic oil. the seduced part wasnt bad enough, the "ones who got lucky" weren't supposed to get addicted.

Other than a few exceptions of very tiny amounts of hydrocarbons found in igneous rock due to seduction,

Sorry to play the spelling nazi card, but seduction?

Hurrah, we are saved! Hydrocarbons can be seduced into more convenient locations! Unless of course you mean subduction, in which case TEOTWAWKI will resume as programmed.

re: What Are Today's 'Extraordinary, Popular Delusions?'

We do not have a clue what fossil fuels remain below the 70% of the planet covered by the world’s oceans

Actually, we do. The Continental Shelves have been thoroughly surveyed, and once you hit the edge of the Continental Shelf, it's Game over man, game over!. The ocean floors have all been recycled by plate tectonics, subducted under the continents, and any oil there has been turned into diamonds (at best).

Ditto for vast stretches of land like the oil sands found in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Tens of thousands of wells have been drilled through the oil sands to delineate them, the governments of Alberta and Saskatchewan have all the drilling data on their computer databases, and you can buy it from them on CD-ROM if you are thinking about doing an exploration play.

Maybe there is even more farther north.

I worked for a company that ran a drilling fleet of 26 ships in the Canadian side of the Arctic Ocean for years. We and our competitors drilled up all of the likely prospects. We found a lot of interesting things, particularly natural gas, but not much oil. I believe the Russians had similar results on their side of the Arctic Ocean.

#1 Popular Delusion - there are large areas of the world which have not been explored for oil.

You have to wonder what motivates a guy like this when it would take him just a few evenings with a few good books to get a basic understanding of petroleum geology and prospecting. He clearly has NO idea of what it is he is talking about.

You think he doesn't know he's talking crap?


Joseph L. Shaefer is the CEO and Chief Investment Officer of Stanford Wealth Management, LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor. A retired General Officer, he spent 36 years of active and reserve military service, the first six in special operations, the next 30 in intelligence. He is professor of Global & Security Studies (Intelligence, Counterterrorism, Illicit Finance, etc.) at American Public University / American Military University. He analyzes the Big Picture first, then selects asset classes, sectors and individual securities.

I will tell you what motivates them -- good statistical analyses of oil depletion do not exist, apart from the models that I have constructed. The heuristics of Hubbert Linearization do not arise from first principles arguments and one can imagine skeptical people not believing a bunch of hand-wavers. So we will continue to see skepticism until mathematical and scientific models become established. Someday I will come up with another physical phenomena completely based on heuristics and empirical evidence, but peak oil is the best (and only) example yet.

I will tell you what motivates them -- good statistical analyses of oil depletion do not exist, apart from the models that I have constructed.

Really? Might there not be stuff you haven't seen?

Undertow, have you ever seen WHT's work? Take a peek.

"So we will continue to see skepticism until mathematical and scientific models become established."

I'd like to believe that, but climate change work tells me otherwise.

Well at least climate change has some science behind it. You can debate its correctness but you have something to use as a yardstick. Climate science w/o the science would be a hopeless case to argue.


I'm skeptical that a good statistical analyses of oil depletion would make a whit of difference. When clowns like the guy that sparked this discussion can't even differentiate between basic principles of geology - continental vs. oceanic crust - then I think it's a great leap of faith to think they can parse details from statistical analyses. They're much more likely to just wave it off and proclaim that we're all full of "bunkum" because they don't "believe" that on this big planet we could possibly be "out of oil".

Not that we don't appreciate your efforts WHT - I just don't think anything is ever going to convince the skeptics. I think you have the side of the "hand-wavers" wrong - they are largely not on the peak oil side of things but with the skeptics.

Take RockyMtnGuy's first hand account of drilling many test wells in the Arctic Ocean - he has been there, has seen the data and he can confidently say that for at least a portion of the Arctic there just isn't a significant amount of oil... does that mean that something won't be found - of course not - but it does decrease the likelihood - yet the skeptics will just continue to hand wave and point to other places that "haven't been explored" but that in reality have been to some extent (because there are those who know geology and that significant oil doesn't appear just anywhere - and that fields that can be exploited on a massive scale are among the rarest things on earth).

I'm not sure why a model is needed to explain what seems to be, at least in the big picture, a pretty intuitive concept. A model is great for depletion rates and perhaps many of the details regarding how this plays out but it in no way changes the fundamentals - there is virtually no chance that enough unexplored areas exist on the planet to sustain (nevermind grow) our current rate of usage. And from what I've seen the skeptics aren't arguing about how exactly depletion of oil should be modeled - in their eyes there's no need for modeling that because it's never going to happen.

Cat -- You've learned well grasshopper. I suppose the modeling/masterbation analogy did the job.

See, NOW, I'm confused again.. I thought it was the 'drilling all those dry holes and getting squat' that was the Autoerotica in this topic. You know, the 'hands-on' stuff. The practitioners get to claim to be actively part of "Oil Production" (or Re-Production).. at least in theory.

Please expound..

I appreciate the fact that no one can come up with a good instance of some physical phenomena that has no mathematical model behind it.

It really is a comical situation and at the very least provides me a source of motivation as the basic model is not too difficult to understand. That people equate this to some masturbatory analogy suggest some self-conscious inadequacy on their part.

But we're dealing with two very differnt types of models here. You are focused on quantifying depletion, whereas the author of the article in question was obviously unaware of the qualitative models used in prospecting for oil. I remain of the opinion that he can't care about the quantitative until he understands something of the qualitative models used to guide petroleum discovery.

I can't speak to the inadequacy of existing oil depletion models. Hubbert is continually criticized for being a mickey-mouse modeler but I, for one, am still awed by the idea of some guy being able to predict the US production peak to within a couple of years, fourteen years before the fact. If he was seeing with just one eye, it was a pretty good eye.

In that case Hubbert was like an alternate Isaac Newton who happened to use some heuristic strategy to describe gravity, entirely bypassing the invention of calculus.

Isaac Newton who happened to use some heuristic strategy to describe gravity, entirely bypassing the invention of calculus.

LOL! he just kept guessing the right answers to an infinite series of calculations, "De analysi per aequationes numero terminorum infinitas", and wrote them down in "dot" notation,and it all just happened to fit together perfectly into a very precise educated guess which ended up being called the theory of gravity...No calculus needed,I guess ;-)

And then he went crazy trying to figure out alchemy, iirc.

So I use calculus all the time, and shouldn't concern myself with the peersonalities.

No, no. I'm very conscious of my inadequacy.

But in this case, I was just making a dumb sex joke for Rockman. I had left trying to meet your challenge far behind in my trajectory.

I'll give you a good Heuristics story, though.

It has been a little bit of a legend that the Cinematographer for Raiders of the Lost Ark, Englishman Douglas Slocombe, didn't use a light-meter to make Spielberg's fun and pretty action film there. When asked about it, he said something like, (in my recollection) 'I used to meter my shots, but after a while I knew what this light would do at such and such a distance, using such and such an emulsion (film type).. and I would end up just nudging the meter until it said what I wanted it to be shot at anyway, so I finally stopped using it..'

Seems so far like Hubbert's Heuristics are about as good as Spock's guesses. We'll see, I quess.

Spock: Mr. Scott cannot give me exact figures, Admiral, so... I will make a guess.

Kirk: A guess? You, Spock? That's extraordinary.

Spock: [to McCoy] I don't think he understands.

McCoy: No, Spock. He means that he feels safer about your guesses than most other people's facts.

Spock: Then you're saying... it is a compliment?

McCoy: It is.

Spock: Ah. Then I will try to make the best guess I can.

(always a Salient, supporting argument from the movies, eh?)

Your challenge stands to fight another day!

Heck Web.... I’m a petroleum geologist. We're bred to glow in our inadequacies. How else can one pursue a career when you’ll be wrong much more often then right? It was either be a geologist or run for Congress.

I try to convince my bosses that my job should be more like baseball, where, according to Ted Williams, you can fail two-thirds of the time and be considered an excellent performer.

I read Ken Deffeyes's "Beyond Oil" pretty soon after it first came out; it was a library copy so I don't have it with me to check that this is exactly right, but one story kind of stuck with me (I am likely to muddle the details, since it's been more than 5 years).

He had done some exploring in a certain mountain range in Iraq and thought there might be oil there somewhere, just not where he looked. He got together with some other geologists who also had done some exploration of the same mountain range. They laid out a map and started their discussion, and it turned out that, among them, they had already explored the whole mountain range! Result: no oil.

The story made me think that, if we got all the geologists in the world together in a big room with a map of the world, and they all marked where they had looked, even they might be surprised by how little unexplored territory is left.

Anecdotes do not constitute science or math. The problem is that Deffeyes never progressed beyond that point.

I worked a year or two with Deffeyes. He might not have as much fun as you do with complex statistical models.... hey, wait a minute, I was writing software for him, to his specifications, and there were some pretty complicated statistical models in there... anyway, that Deffeyes fellow is one smart scientist.

You may have some good ideas, and maybe there are lots of folks who ought to recognize their value and yet fail to, but that doesn't make them stupid or incompetent. That's just the way it goes in the world of science and technology. TONS of great ideas just vanish into the ether. It's that way in art, too.

Good salesmanship doesn't really improve the quality of what you're selling, but it sure can help to enhance the recognition of its quality! My two cents: it's not such good salesmanship to throw mud at important customers! Just smile and be persistent!

Deffeyes is one scientist among many capable of figuring something out. The fact that he didn't just means that somebody else now has a chance.

Its logic + smart visualizing that is needed to show that your finds will never be as large as it used to be. I do this to the folks who keep bringing buzzwords like "black swans" to say "we'll find a mammoth someday and it will change your peak oil argument". I once used to talk about "why the date doesn't matter and why we should prepare". But nowadays, here's what I typically do:

1. pick or draw a map
2. Arbitrarily put a dot on it and say "let's say we explored for oil here." (mark it 'A')
3. There are two outcomes for each exploration. We either found oil or we didn't.
4. If we didn't find, we go elsewhere and look. (draw a dot elsewhere and mark it 'B')
5. Now, if we didn't find here either and if we drilled at C (a mid-point between A and B), chances are we'll only find something as big as A-B.

Given oil is formed in its own "window" of depths, chances are your find is going to be proportional to the area of the field only (ie., finding an "oil tank" underneath that goes 200 miles deep is not known).

... and then suggest them the book "Hubbert's peak: The impending world oil shortage" by Deffeyes. Typically, nobody buys it and I'd like to think they were either convinced or their reptilian brain denied this overwhelmingly simple argument to go back to their caramel custard :)

That is only a description of the premise yet it won't set forth any quantitative bounds. Therein lies the problem, as no one can go beyond the word problem stage.

You're talking about underground resources. You're demanding hard numbers where none exist (for human eyes, anyhow.

Why do you think Hubbert used the data that he did and had to work a model from it?

It IS like the CC argument, where you might HAVE TO act on information that doesn't have the luxury of mathmatical certainty.

Re: dealing with uncertainty

All I ever use are probabilistic arguments. Hubbert couldn't have used these same arguments, i.e. stochastic theory, because they were not standard practice yet

Web, I applaud your efforts and no doubt -- for those who have the wear-with-all to understand and make use of such a model -- it would be a significant contribution to understanding oil depletion. But I see something else at work here and it is this: we humans live in a world which even the relatively educated are poorly equipped to understand. The temptation for many is to throw up ones hands and fall back on prejudice and wishful thinking.

There is plenty of good information available on oil exploration. Even a reading of an intro geology text book would clue a person in to the futility of drilling the deep ocean willy-nilly in hopes of finding oil. I detect a lack of intellectual curiosity in this guy. With all due respect to you, I don't think he would be interested in what your model had to say.

Thanks, but not to the point. I asked for an example of another critical physical phenomena without a formal analysis model behind it.

That certain people would not be swayed either way addresses a separate hypothetical.

That might help convince some people - but there will be others who will choose to beleive otherwise. Forget climate change - just take a look at evolution.

When someone is determined to stay deluded - he will succeed.

Evolution has at least the science of genetics behind it. All that resource depletion needs is a good bean counting model, but look and you will find nada, zilch. Frankly, quite embarrassing.

and any oil there has been turned into diamonds (at best).

Hey, I guess we'll just have to burn diamonds to keep warm then, eh?

If you can't find oil, diamonds are a good second choice.

For generations, geologists exploring the Arctic regions of Canada kept saying, "There have to be diamonds here, somewhere."

There are, and the geologists who found them are very, very rich. There's not much oil, but lots and lots of diamonds.

RockyMtnGuy -

Thanks for re-telling your account of drilling in the Arctic. I have pointed to your experiences several times while talking with people who just make sweeping statements about the availability of oil in places that "haven't been explored" - as evidence (not necessarily proof - but a decent data set of evidence) that it's very unlikely that there are magical gigantic pools of shallow oil in the great "unexplored" north.

Problem is, I remember reading your comment about this from a while ago but I couldn't remember who it was that posted about having done this. I'm glad I caught it when you described it again - now I can give credit where it's due.

Of course this won't sway the opinion of those who are convinced that we should be able to drill anywhere between Florida and France. Or if you hit them with the little oceanic crust issue they'd probably argue that the basalt was put there by the government and environmentalists to keep the price of oil high...


The thing about the Canadian sector of the Arctic is that it HAS been thoroughly explored for oil, and the results were less than encouraging. It's vastly different from the Gulf of Mexico. The region is gas-prone rather than oil-prone, and tectonic activity has fractured most of the potential reservoirs, allowing their contents to escape.

The Canadian government spent a fortune subsidizing Arctic exploration (they used to subsidize our efforts to the tune of $1.25 in subsidies for every $1.00 we spent, so we had no incentive to cut corners.) We ran out of prospects before we ran out of money. We could still get lots of money, but there was nothing left in Canadian waters to drill.

To view the Arctic as a vast, unexplored region is more than a bit naive. Oil companies explore the most likely areas to find oil first, and leave the least likely ones for last. The main reason the US sector has had less drilling activity than the Canadian sector is because it really doesn't look as good.

This is the same problem that occurred when US oil reserves peaked around 1970. The US government assumed that the unexplored areas had the same potential as the areas that had already been drilled, and that if prices were high enough, companies would find much more oil. This turned out not to be true - they drilled the empty areas on the map, and found very little new oil.

Rockman was there and will know all about this.

RockyMtnGuy -

I know this is a very late reply to this thread (I was away from TOD for a few days - oh the humanity !) but I wanted to relay my thanks for your explanation - it's very insightful and as I pointed out, provides a nice piece of ammunition against those who are so convinced that we can just stick a "straw" anywhere into the earth's crust and be rewarded with copious amounts of oil.

Your comment about the release of contents of potential reservoirs due to tectonic activity is particularly interesting to me. Thanks again for the info.


Obama giving one helluva "I didn't say peak oil, but.." town hall on MSNBC.

Of course, as soon as I posted this, he was asked about health care. Check the news tonight for his oil and gas rap.

Thanks for posting the Gaviotas article from YES! Magazine.

They make some points that are often on my mind while considering our 'predicament' .. they amount to basic tenets of my own philosophy..

But the real lessons of Gaviotas aren’t about technology. “What was spread in large part,” Zapp said, “was that people learned to believe in their own abilities.”

Gaviotas demonstrated to the world how effective it is to involve ordinary people in creating their own technologies and solving their own problems.

[Dr. Jorge] Zapp’s experiences at Gaviotas led to a turning point in his work. He left what he calls the “priesthood of science,” in which experts deliver ­knowledge to “the masses,” and committed his life to helping people develop their own solutions. In Zapp’s definition, development means renewing one’s faith in the collective intelligence of humans.

We do hear a lot of commentary here about how stupid people are. I strongly disagree, believing instead that we are essentially intelligent, but often seriously misinformed. It's correctable. Not easy, but not impossible. (OBLIGATORY TOD DISCLAIMER!!! That it's possible to teach individuals, for normal people to find some solutions. This is NOT a formula for BAU.. does NOT mean there is no problem.. just means there ARE some hopeful prospects to take on out there.)

..[Lugari] wanted to show the world that it was possible to live sustainably by drawing on local resources, or as he describes it, living within the “economy of the near.” And he has done so by staying faithful to two principles: allowing space for adaptation and creativity, and ensuring that everyone, not just “experts,” is involved and empowered.

We do hear a lot of commentary here about how stupid people are. I strongly disagree, believing instead that we are essentially intelligent, but often seriously misinformed. It's correctable. Not easy, but not impossible.

I share your point of view to some extent. It is also the reason I often roll my eyes when someone says that alternative energy such as wind and solar won't or can't work. The problem is that they are starting from the premise of BAU and everything that it implies.

They just can't see past it. They can't yet envision for example, a spherical, low voltage DC refrigerator, powered by a 100 Watt solar panel...

They can't yet imagine a world where they are actually empowered to solve their own problems and have to live within their environmental means.

Perhaps at least some people will snap out of their zombie like trance once their current world is shattered like a crystal goblet being hit by a speeding bullet.

I may have told you about a Brazilian friend who moved to New England, and started working at a lumberyard, back in the day. I asked him if he met a lot of 'attitude' from the coworkers, and he shrugged it off, saying there is stupidity everywhere.. but I pushed for a little more, and he conceded, 'Yeah, it seems other places in the world, the stupid people weren't quite so proud of it as here.'

So yeah, there are many not-inconsiderable blockages to our inherent intelligence, I do realize this full well.


As any Brazilian will tell you there are two expressions that represent, I think, a fundamental cultural difference from ours.

One is "Quebra-galho" which literally means "break a branch" but is used in the sense of solving a problem with something that was not originally intended to be a solution for that problem. Say your alternator belt breaks a hundred miles form the nearest town on a lonely country road and you end up fashioning a temporary replacement by braiding one out of your girlfriend's nylon stocking.

The other one is "Quem não tem cão caça com gato" which translates quite well literally and means "he who does not have a dog hunts with a cat.

So basically we have a culture in which it is the norm to make do and to look for solutions out side of the box.

I'm not sure how exactly this relates to the comment about people being proud about their stupidity but I think it may have to do with the fact that Brazilians as a rule are willing to be flexible in their need to try alternative ways in order to survive, they are mostly very poor and resource deprived. People who rich are often arrogant and very sure that they know what "The right way" is, they tend not to try doing things differently even if circumstances change. They are too set in their comfortable ways.

I think that Brazilians may intuitively sense this to be a poor strategy for long term survival and probably think it's not too smart. Certainly nothing to be proud of.

'Yeah, it seems other places in the world, the stupid people weren't quite so proud of it as here.'

one of the fringe bennies of being "exceptional."

I think human beings are very good at solving problems. Unfortunately, human beings are not as good at defining what the problems really are. An example of a problem that the people are trying to solve is, how do we maintain the existing auto infrastructure, including the ability to drive whatever we want as far as we want, when we want, and where we want. As others have pointed out, this should not be considered a problem but a predicament. We should start by reframing the problem as a transportation problem, including the attempt to solve the problem of needing/wanting so much transportation in the first place.

We fail in part because we are locked into the existing paradigm, the existing business, the failure to define what we are really about and what we really need. The auto companies convinced people long ago that life was not worth living without the ability to drive everywhere, to see, as it were, the USA in their Chevrolet.

Snapping out of our trance will not be sufficient. There needs to be a substitute, viable vision of the future to substitute for their exising flawed, doomed, ruinous vision of the future.

There needs to be a substitute, viable vision of the future to substitute for their exising flawed, doomed, ruinous vision of the future.

Yes, but they need somehow to come up with that vision on their own. It can neither be forced down their throats nor can it be handed to them on a silver platter. They need to be a part of creating it and working for it.

I remember as a young boy going to the beach and seeing a sign that said:
"Always swim near a life guard" I thought that was just plain stupid.
I happen to like swimming far out in the ocean by myself. Not that I recommend that to anyone else, there are serious risks. But I eventually became a certified rescue diver.

My point is you have to at some point take responsibility for yourself the only way to always swim near a lifeguard is to be one. Even that won't guarantee that you will never drown.

Right, it's a crybaby disease that's endemic to our entitlement based culture. And I say that as a man of the left.

The thinking is thus: if every last 300 millionth American can't live in a McMansion fully powered by solar panels or wind turbines - then, by golly, we shouldn't build them, and nobody should get any power from them!


Entitlement mentality infects both sides of the spectrum. Even considering your nonsequitur, it does seem that way.


There is a story up above:

Buyers Scarce for Converted Weapons Plutonium, GAO Says

Does anyone know about this new fuel (mixed-oxide from plutonium weapons rather than standard low-enriched uranium). If the new fuel is cheaper, why are they not finding buyers? Not certain it is safe? Would there be problems with getting regulators' approvals? Or would it just be that potential buyers are not aware of the new fuel--too little advertising?

MOX is mentioned in Michael Dittmar's recent excellent post Part 2.
There he says that only 8% of the world's reactors are licensed to use it. Elsewhere I've read that although it can be put into 'ordinary' reactors, like the UK's old Magnoxes, the proportion that can be used has to be limited so that the existing control system can cope with it.

I'd like to hear more about this - I'm trying to understand all these different fuels.

France has licensed at least 20 of their reactors to use MOX fuel, but the plutonium they use is from spent fuel recycling; to the best of my knowledge, they do not use military plutonium at all. The Russians use MOX in some of their reactors. The NRC has licensed a handful of reactors in the the US to use MOX. One of the problems is that MOX is significantly more expensive than enriched uranium fuel at this time. Garwin and Charpak estimate the subsidy needed to make it attractive is $1-2 billion per 50 tons of plutonium.

If you haven't already found it, Garwin and Charpak's Megawatts and Megatons is a good starting point for background on most things nuclear.

I'm a bit out of touch on this topic, though I appreciate the need for short term use of fusion reactors for electrical power. Isn't MOX supposed to be pretty much recycleable, like up to 90% eventually? And, though more expensive at the outset, it will turn out to be quite less costly, especially in the area of waste containment?

Can anyone enlighten me here? Thanks.


Repeated recycling does have some limits. For example, Pu-239 is useful as a fuel component; other plutonium isotopes not nearly so much. Multiple recycling passes result in an increasingly higher proportion of the less desirable isotopes. This is the same reason that people using reactors to produce weapons-grade plutonium remove the fuel relatively quickly -- they want as high a proportion of Pu-239 as they can get. In addition, the estimated costs for MOX fuel fabrication, even if the plutonium were free, are higher than the current open-market price for reactor-ready uranium fuel.

I am becoming convinced that there is little reason to build thermal-neutron commercial power reactors (eg, any of the designs currently licensed in the US) unless you are going to do it soon, a la China. All of recycling, waste disposal, and fuel supplies are at least somewhat problematic. Those problems appear to be significantly reduced in fast-neutron designs. If you're going to go with fission, but you're going to wait some years before starting significant deployment, it seems like making a push to get fast-neutron designs completed and approved would potentially pay large dividends.

Per the enlightenment of Wikipedia:

"Mixed oxide, or MOX fuel, is nuclear fuel containing more than one oxide of fissile or fertile materials. Specifically, it usually refers to a blend of oxides of plutonium and natural uranium, reprocessed uranium, or depleted uranium which behaves similarly (though not identically) to the low-enriched uranium oxide fuel for which most nuclear reactors were designed. MOX fuel is an alternative to low enriched uranium (LEU) fuel used in the light water reactors that predominate nuclear power generation."


I was also looking at (from above):

Britain rejects state owned gas storage

"The policy statement rightly recognises the success of the liberalised energy market in delivering the necessary investment in new infrastructure," Laidlaw said.

I suppose Britain doesn't have funds for everything (or even the things it is already committed to buying). But this action doesn't really send a message that government is really very interested in taking much of a role, other than seeing that homeowners get what little is available, and better communication with Norway.

and better communication with Norway.

They make it sound like Norway is a country with one international phone line and telex machine. And even these need booked 5 days in advance :-)

I suppose it actually means yelling at them even louder as we run out of gas. That should fix things.

obama on the jobs report:

We are beginning to turn the corner

ok as long as this is not a u-turn.

We turn so many times, we are now back to square one ?

I remember this phase used a dozen times in Iraq duing the worst years.

.. or the edge of a waterfall. That's a corner, too.

Yes, and thank God for the census, eh Mr. President. Meanwhile, TAE reports that "Over 44% of jobless Americans are now unemployed for more than 27 weeks." Which helps to explain why US bankruptcy filings were up 33% in the first quarter of 2010.

Re: Gas price pain not shared across U.S.

The list of states ordered by percentage of household income spent on gas looks very much like a list of states ordered by median household income. This is not surprising. Census Bureau statistics suggest that the poor spend about 16% of household income on energy, those at the median about 6%, and the wealthy about 3%. The Census Bureau numbers reflect all energy spending, not just gasoline.

I have been thinking recently, that if we get the long decline that Gail talks about, it will particularly difficult for the poor.

I have been thinking recently, that if we get the long decline that Gail talks about, it will particularly difficult for the poor.

I came to that same conclusion a while back as well. Reduced net energy and its effect on the economy will definitely be felt by all, but the consequences will be the harshest on the lowest rungs. Over time and depending on the severity of the descent, those harshest consequences will work their way up the ladder. One of our goals is to stay above the fray as long as possible.

This is exactly the issue with the glidepath to sustainability. Going from 100 quads to say 50 then 25 quads in the US is fairly easy to design in theory. Yet even on this board there are plenty of folks who say they will only give up their 100 quad lifestyle when it is pried from their cold dead hands. I am figuring that they have the money to back up what they are saying. Even planning and practicing to go 25ish is different than actually doing it preemptively.

In the 25 quad economy if even one interest group consumes what they have the money or political mandate to consume that means somebody else ends up with nothing. Keep the military, wealthy, ag sector, trucking, whatever at present levels and there you have other folks freezing in the dark. The US is inequitable. We had abundance so the scraps used to be sufficient.

The co-operation of the wealthy to help build down to 25 where all can participate means they also get out of their SUV's ,share their McMansions ,abandon their present diets and so on. Investment must also flow this way. Just isn't likely.

Everything seems to fight for their resources...

I let a bunch of stock, including 2 horses, out to pasture for the first time this year this morning. They'd been smelling the new green grass over the fence for weeks, driving them nuts, but had still been confined to the barnyard. I keep them confined in the spring, still feeding hay, till the grass is well up and can take it. I had just finished harrowing and overseeding a couple pastures the other day, and their grazing a few days before germination could help its establishment. But I wasn't watching the hillside.

A herd of perhaps 60 elk were working down into our adjoining valley pasture- summer pasture for the stock. The elk spread out below, grazing the young shoots, separated by a fence and small stream. Then everybody noticed each other. The horses went nuts, tearing up and down their pasture, snorting, then stopping at the fence, ears cocked and staring. As if to say "What are you doing eating our grass." The two of them snorted and pawed, the elk bunched up tight on the far side of the stream and stared back. After a good bit, the elk sensed their greater numbers, jumped the stream towards the horses, and kept feeding. Some of the elk cows waded into a wet area, and just starting playing and frolicking in the knee high water. It was not until the elk moved on up the other side of the valley that the horses resumed feeding. They'd forgotten how hungry they were.

Not a rant, just a story. But it'd be great if all resource wars did end so peacefully, were so nice to watch.

Great story, doug! Most of us can only watch The Nature Channel on the boob tube. You're living it. I'm sure you know of your good fortune.

Not all agree about the good life. I doubt my kids will return, maybe, but now they want to live something different.

I'm sure it could end up like that.. just that we'll probably be the grass!

Been reading Dexter Filkins "The Forever War"-NYT correspondent's account of Iraq and Afghanistan. Tends to focus your thoughts.

Oh great, another peak to worry about: Helium.

Going, Going, Gone

The second most common element in the universe is increasingly rare on Earth—except, for now, in America.

I'm not sure if this article has shown up already in a Drumbeat. If not, it might be worth a discussion.

Helium’s “Fort Knox” is the Federal Helium Reserve (FHR) near Amarillo, created in 1925 to supply a fleet of military dirigibles that never fully materialized.

Helium was mentioned Wednesday in "Copper Peak".

He is second most common, and seldom found on earth. It is formed as Uranium degrades, so I understand.

He3, which is a viable fusion fuel, is almost absent from Earth, yet abundent on the Moon. In fact, mining of He3 will probably be the raison d'etre for going there. The Earth's magnetic field prevents He and He3 from landing here as it is expelled from the Sun. Since Luna does not have that bothersome magnetosphere, there is no barrier to accumulation, which is reportedly extensive.



On the 31st March Drumbeat I said in connection with the increased drilling:

However, there is the other shoe, that pairs up with this. It might be CO2 taxes, it might be fuel efficiency standards....We're coming up to Easter, so maybe an announcement on Thursday afternoon?

Thursday 1st April we get new fuel efficiency standards announced - to relatively little comment, just as everyone goes off for the break.

I think we know here which policy will do most to impact energy security and resilience.

Here endith the lesson on politics and news management.

Good call.. and probably a good analysis. I hope so anyway.

As far as what Oil we'll actually get from the South East OffShore, I'm reminded of a little Maine saying..

"Whenever I get four months behind, I just decide that I'm actually 8 months ahead. In the end, I lose a year but regain peace-of-mind, and what I would have accomplished in that year wouldn't have amounted to much anyhow."