Drumbeat: April 5, 2010

Congressional Research Service - Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress [PDF]

The USGS estimate for total undiscovered oil and gas in the Arctic exceeds the total discovered amount of Arctic oil and oil-equivalent natural gas (240 billion barrels), which constitutes almost 10% of the world’s known conventional petroleum resources.

An important caveat to the USGS assessment, however, is that it excludes economic considerations. The report only includes resources that would be technically recoverable with current technology; they may not necessarily be economically recoverable under prevailing oil and gas prices.

Despite the warming trend in the Arctic, a discovery of new oil and gas deposits far from existing storage, pipelines, and shipping facilities can not be developed until infrastructure is built to extract and transport the petroleum. For example, a Devon Energy spokesman noted in April 2008 that a 240 million barrel discovery in the Beaufort Sea won’t be developed for at least 10 years because the company does not have the infrastructure to transport the oil. Other areas with oil and gas potential, such as offshore east Greenland, may take even longer to develop because they are still covered by substantial summer sea ice that would hinder exploration and development unless more ice melts.

Iran says any oil sanctions would hurt West

TEHRAN (Reuters) - A senior Iranian energy official dismissed on Monday any move by the Islamic state's Western foes to impose sanctions on its oil sector, suggesting it would only hurt their own economic growth.

"Any disruption in the supply of crude oil ... will lead to the intensification and prolongation of the economic recession (in consumer countries)," said Hojjatollah Ghanimifard.

Pakistan eyes foreign cash for energy

LARKANA, Pakistan (UPI) -- Foreign investors could take advantage of opportunities in the Pakistani energy sector through domestic partnerships, the Pakistani president said.

Pakistani is wrestling with a looming energy crisis that is plunging parts of the country into darkness because of rolling blackouts.

Moscow forks over bonus for Venezuelan oil

MOSCOW -- Moscow agreed to pay Caracas $1 billion in bonuses to tap some of the largest oil fields outside of the Middle East, the Russian prime minister said in Moscow.

"Our partners have said they are ready to expand our partnership in the energy sector," said Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. "If an agreement is reached, Russia will pay Venezuela an additional $1 billion bonus for oil field development."

Dana: will the intrepid explorers run out of gas?

Over the past 15 years, the business has fanned out from the North-East into places like Egypt, Mauritania and Senegal, exploiting North Sea know-how, and building on its admirable record of explorations, then trading in some of its successful discoveries to buy existing assets that were already producing oil.

It has been a high-risk strategy meticulously managed by Cross and his hand-picked team of industry vets in their Carden Place offices in Aberdeen.

The question now is whether this can continue. The oil guru Matt Simmons has pointed out that the world reached the point of maximum production – peak oil – in 2005, and that almost every new discovery is of oil that is much more sour, or gas that is at a higher temperature, higher pressure and more difficult to extract.

The cost of exploration in ever-more hostile environments and deeper waters makes this an extremely risky gamble for investors.

Canadian pipeline unaffected by Tesoro explosion

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Kinder Morgan Energy Partners said on Monday that its Trans Mountain pipeline to Canada's West Coast from Alberta was operating normally after an explosion at Tesoro Corp's Anacortes, Washington, refinery.

The 300,000 barrel a day pipeline feeds the refinery, where a naphtha hydrotreater ignited on Friday, killing five workers. Tesoro has said that crude intake was down to 70 percent.

Syris scraps refinery deal with Kuwait's Noor - oilmin

DAMASCUS (Reuters) - The Syrian government has cancelled a deal with Kuwait's Noor Financial to build a 140,000 barrel per day refinery in eastern Syria, Oil Minister Sufian Alao said on Monday.

Valero Says Has Time to Replace Crude Oil Lost to Hijackers

(Bloomberg) -- Valero Energy Corp., the largest U.S. independent refiner, said it will replace an estimated 2.5 million barrels of Iraqi crude oil worth more than $200 million carried by a supertanker that was hijacked yesterday.

U.S. EIA likely to revise Louisiana natgas output

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Monday that changes in its monthly natural gas production report will likely lead to smaller Louisiana natural gas output figures.

Total Fires Up 2nd Yemen LNG Train

Total announced that the second train of the Yemen LNG natural gas liquefaction plant has started production. Combined with liquefied natural gas (LNG) production from the first train, commissioned on October 15, 2009, it will enable the Yemen LNG plant to reach its full capacity.

Pak resolves to continue Iran gasline project

TEHRAN (Agencies) – Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has underlined Pakistan’s firm determination to continue the project for importing gas supplies from Iran irrespective of the US pressures.

“Despite the US conditions for Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, we will continue this great project,” Qureshi said in an exclusive interview with Fars News Agency (FNA) on Sunday.

MMS to Prepare EIS for Offshore Leasing Program

The Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS) published in the Federal Register a Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed 2012-2017 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program. The Notice of Intent also opens a public comment period on the scope of the EIS. The comment period will be open through June 30, 2010.

MMS Schedules Public Meetings for Environmental Study

The Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS) has scheduled 13 public scoping meetings in seven locations to solicit comments for the development of a programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) for future geological and geophysical exploration (G&G) in the Mid- and South-Atlantic OCS.

Cameroon to Open Coastal Areas for Oil Exploration

Cameroon will soon begin licensing companies to explore for oil in the Atlantic coastal Bakassi peninsula and nearby Mamfe basin, a senior official in Cameroon's state-run National Hydrocarbons Corp., or SNH, has said.

"Results obtained from the Mamfe basin have since 2009 attracted the interests of oil companies, which want to invest in the area," said Serge Angoua, who heads the department for the promotion of mining at SNH's oil exploration directorate.

Syria Puts 8 Onshore Blocks on the Table

Syria has invited international oil companies to explore, develop and produce hydrocarbon from eight blocks, the Syrian ministry of petroleum and mineral resources said in an announcement Monday.

Entergy cancels plans to spin off nuclear plants

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Power generator Entergy has canceled its plan to spin off five nuclear plants into a separate company.

The plan has encountered opposition since it was announced nearly two years ago, and the decision announced Monday comes after New York regulators rejected the plan last month.

The Case for Cleantech: Old Myths and New Realities

I can remember reporting on clean energy myths several years ago, trying to dispel the widespread misinformation being dispersed about a great young industry.

Countless hours were spent researching available data to rebut early dishonest claims like, "There's infinite oil available," or "Clean energy will never be profitable."

I'm glad I did that... Because I'm proven correct, again and again, with each passing day.

China Yuan Repegging and Other Non Free Market Trade Imbalance Solutions Are Doomed to Fail

In theory, energy prices could rise so high on account of peak oil, that shipping costs could become a major determining factor for all goods and services.

In regards to the RMB: Given that 99% of economists think the RMB would soar if China floated it, I am not convinced it would.

Oil Headed to $100-$110 Near-Term

Gone are the days of cheap oil.

Gone are the good ol' days when it cost $10 to fill up my old Chevy Malibu... only to be replaced by an era of $3+ pump prices across a country ravaged by depress — er, recession.

And we're all left to wonder if the days of triple-digit oil, damning the petrol gods that be, and flipping off gas station attendants may be returning...

Peak oil and the end of life as we know it in Northeast

You think things are bad now? Just wait.

We could be inches or minutes away from a global economic crisis that will make the current recession look like fun — the day we realize we’re running out of oil.

Kunstler: False Spring

One also could not fail to reflect on the recklessness of a nation that placed untold million-dollar bets on the idea that it would be possible to travel anywhere in an automobile from houses like these a few scant years from now. This far along in the tribulations of our time, most Americans still have not heard of peak oil, and the few who have regard it as some figment that Ralph Nader or Al Gore conjured up on an acid trip in a sweat lodge. The more sophisticated among the mentally unwashed are certain that the earth has a creamy nougat center of low-sulfer light crude oil, or they heard that the Bakken formation in Dakota holds more oil than Saudi Arabia, or that the whole US car and truck fleet will be electrified in a year or two, or that we can drill-baby-drill our way to permanent oil abundance, or just that the American can-do spirit will come up with something to keep Happy Motoring alive because we're the greatest! Such grandiosity!

Energy Independence Talk Is Just So Much Gas

Nobody ever talks about independence for other products. We don’t care about automobile independence, or bottled water independence, or underwear independence. We avoid asserting that those would be worthy goals, for a good reason: Free trade enhances our welfare by allowing us to import products from those who have a comparative advantage producing them.

Why should energy be any different? Three arguments are most commonly offered.

Oil Surges to Highest Level in 17 Months on U.S. Jobs Report

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil surged to the highest level in 17 months after March data showing employers in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil consumer, added the most jobs in three years, bolstering optimism that fuel demand will climb.

Oil increased as much as 1.2 percent after the Labor Department reported that payrolls rose by 162,000 last month. Oil also climbed before a report today that may show service industries in the U.S. expanded in March at the fastest pace since 2007, based on a Bloomberg survey of economists.

EIA to make gas data revisions: report

(Reuters) - The U.S. Energy Department is preparing to make large revisions to its U.S. natural-gas production data, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi State Suppliers Raise Crude Oil Prices

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest state-owned oil company, raised official selling prices for light crude grades for customers in the U.S. and Asia for May. Abu Dhabi raised its retroactive March prices on all grades.

Iran Set to Reduce Heavy-Oil Prices for Asia After Saudi Cuts

(Bloomberg) -- National Iranian Oil Co. is set to cut official selling prices for heavier grades of crude supplied to Asian refiners to 15-month lows after reductions by Saudi Arabia yesterday.

Oil India Has $2.5 Billion Cash for Acquisitions

Bloomberg) -- Oil India Ltd., the state explorer that bid for Gulfsands Petroleum Plc, said it has more than $2.5 billion cash available for acquisitions as it seeks producing assets overseas to help boost the country’s energy security.

SKorean navy pursuing hijacked tanker off Somalia

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - Officials say a South Korean navy destroyer is pursuing a supertanker believed to have been hijacked by pirates in the Indian Ocean off Somalia.

The tanker was believed to be carrying more than $150 million worth of crude oil owned by San Antonio-based Valero Energy Corp.

Deadly quake jolts Mexico and California

A liquefied natural gas import terminal operated by Sempra Energy south of Tijuana was not damaged by the quake, a company spokeswoman said.

However, a major highway connecting Mexicali with Tijuana on the Pacific coast was badly damaged by a crack that opened up that was at least three feet deep, according to a Reuters witness.

Vacationers returning from their Easter holidays found themselves snarled in huge traffic jams with many motorists reporting difficulty finding fuel.

"Thank God nothing happened to us. Now we just have to wait until the police let us fuel up," said Maria Lopez, who said she had been waiting four hours for gasoline to allow her to return to Tijuana.

Venezuela To Amp Up Oil Output

New consortiums aim to double production by 2016, even in an environment favoring lower-carbon options.

Pemex standing short on crude, seeks help against long odds

Mexican Energy Minister Georgina Kessel said on March 31 that Petroleos Mexicanos needs help from international oil companies. The occasion was the International Energy Forum in Cancun. The Mexican oil fields under consideration for development are much more difficult to access today. This means that collaboration with other companies on an international level is required. Easy oil is running out. Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil said his company was sharing its views with Mexican authorities.

New Tesoro CEO Faces State, Federal Probes After Refinery Blast

(Bloomberg) -- Gregory Goff will take over as Tesoro Corp.’s chief executive May 1 to face a wave of state and federal investigations following the worst industrial accident in the oil refiner’s history.

Canada Oil Sands Are Still a Gamble

Energy investors are showing their short memories, Breakingviews says. The stampede to the initial public offering of Athabasca Oil Sands is a tribute to the allure of Canada’s extra-heavy oil. Last week Athabasca priced at the high end of its range and raised $1.35 billion, twice its goal.

Yet, the publication says, it was only two years ago the sector was hit hard by the economy. Greater bullying of private oil companies by governments around the world makes it all too easy to forget the risks of another price slump, Breakingviews suggests.

Baker Hughes Opens New Operations Base in Saudi Arabia

Baker Hughes significantly strengthened its Middle East capabilities with the opening of a new operations center in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. The 100,000-square-meter facility, which houses laboratories, offices, repair and maintenance operations and a remote collaboration center, is part of Baker Hughes’ expansion plans for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a key growth market for the company.

Fujairah quietly carving its niche

FUJAIRAH // Fujairah’s rise as an export and trading hub for oil is a watershed moment for an economy whose abiding theme has been to make do with less.

When international companies were scouring the Trucial States for oil 50 years ago, Fujairah came up short, and the emirate’s leaders turned to two simple resources they did have: mountainous terrain, and deep, still coastal waters near the world’s main East-West shipping lanes.

Fujairah fuels up to expand oil hub

FUJAIRAH // The world’s second-largest pit-stop venue for international shipping will more than double in size in three years as Fujairah undergoes a transformation into an oil hub to rival Singapore and Rotterdam.

The business of supplying and trading fuel is the quieter side of an oil industry that dominates Middle Eastern economies. Gulf states are big exporters of crude oil but many also import fuel oil, a viscous product of the refining process used in shipping and power stations. Much of that fuel oil is stored, blended and re-exported from Fujairah.

Colorado oil-and-gas rules no longer hot-button issue in governor race

The political controversy over new oil and gas drilling rules, which dominated the gubernatorial campaign a few months ago, has fizzled, as the Democrat vying to replace Gov. Bill Ritter has signaled a more conciliatory stance toward the industry.

Kennedy calls on Utahns to ‘protect creation’

Utah’s close ties to Christianity should lend itself to better care of the environment, said Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

The Utah Museum of Natural History hosted “The Nature of Things 2010” lecture at Kingsbury Hall on Wednesday night, featuring environmental activist and nephew of former President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy spoke to a full house about sustainability and discussed how natural resources influence health, jobs and our character as Americans. With the audience often erupting in applause, Kennedy gave ideas as to how people can become energy dependent while making the world a better place.

Unserious About Iran

Obama is acting as if he believes a nuclear Tehran is inevitable.

Truckers tackle hard economic road

Trucking tends to be a bellwether for the economy, carrying about 90 per cent of all goods sold in Britain. But while barriers to entry are few, margins – already as low as 2 to 3 per cent – have deteriorated further during the past year.

During the recession, many smaller owner-driver operations parked up their vehicles or got out of the business altogether.

The number of heavy goods vehicle drivers claiming jobseekers allowance more than trebled between August and January, while the number of insolvencies has doubled in the past 12 months, says the Freight Transport Association. Two-thirds of trucking companies froze pay in the past year while 65 per cent have made redundancies.

Jo Tanner, FTA director of communications, says the industry is “struggling to survive”.

The 1p a litre increase in fuel duty on April 1 will have a further detrimental impact, truckers say. While the government agreed to stagger the annual 3 per cent rise in last month’s budget, it removed the biofuel differential, adding up to a further 1.5p to the price of a litre of diesel. “It’s a case of giving with one hand and taking with the other,” says Ms Tanner. “We’ve been sold a dud.”

Pakistan: Loadshedding at its worst

LOADSHEDDING disrupted the life of millions of people from all strata of society and the last one week was truly gruesome across the country in general and in the provincial metropolis in particular.

Students, patients, commuters, workers in public and private organisations, shop owners, industrialists badly suffered throughout the last week as the Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) and its Distribution Companies DISCOs, especially Lesco, had been completely unaware as to how much forced power outages were being carried out by the National Power Control Center (NPCC), Islamabad.

Q&A with Energy Secretary Steven Chu

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Energy Secretary Steven Chu, a vocal advocate for alternative energy and nuclear power, was in Silicon Valley recently to talk about the role of clean energy in combating global climate change. He also discussed the stiff competition the United States faces from China, which is moving quickly to close down inefficient coal plants as well as nurturing its fast-growing wind and solar industries.

Kurt Cobb: Faith-based economics in two graphs

It took a French newspaper to unearth information put out by the U. S. government more than one year ago that provides a worrisome projection for world oil supplies from an agency that for years said such supplies would be no problem for the foreseeable future. Glen Sweetnam of the U. S. Energy Information Administration acknowledged in an interview that total liquid fuel supplies could actually fall between 2011 and 2015 "if the investment [in new capacity] is not there."

While this report has been circulating on peak oil sites in the last week, it is a graph which accompanied Sweetnam's 2009 presentation (PDF) which I found particularly illustrative. (See below.) It reveals in stark relief the dangers of running the world using the ideas of what I call faith-based economics.

Olympic gold medalist Björn Ferry our new Peak Oil ambassador

One of the articles on the morning news on TV4 on Holy Saturday was a visit to the home of Sweden’s Winter Olympics gold medalist in biathlon Björn Ferry [website in Swedish] and his wife Heidi Andersson who is world champion in armwrestling. During the discussion with Lasse Bengtsson, Heidi described how Björn, despite having a great sense of humour, also often discussed more serious matters. When asked what Björn liked to discuss the answer was, to my amazement, “what will happen when the oil declines”. Then Björn said that he personally is thinking ahead and planning for a future with less oil. Could it be so that one of Sweden’s most popular sportsmen knows about Peak Oil?

Ohio firm converts Chevrolet Equinox to electric power

An Ohio company that converts cars to electric power is showing off its redo of a Chevrolet Equinox at the New York Auto Show.

The company, Advanced Mechanical Products, is offering test rides at the show in the electric Equinox, with plans to start selling them. It is taking orders and plans to start deliveries this summer.

Electric cars will get more popular - Shell CEO

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell Plc expects electricity-powered vehicles to account for as much as 40 percent of the worldwide car market by 2050, Chief Executive Peter Voser said on Thursday.

Voser, speaking at The Wall Street Journal's ECO:nomics conference in Santa Barbara, said technological improvements and increases in the cost of producing gasoline will give a boost to vehicles that run on alternative power.

"We think between now and 2050, we will go from 1 billion cars to 2 billion cars worldwide," he said. "We think by 2050, roughly 40 percent of those 2 billion cars will be electric."

Fuel Leak Threatening Great Barrier Reef

HONG KONG — Salvage experts and a tugboat crew struggled on Monday to save a large Chinese freighter that slammed into the Great Barrier Reef off Australia over the weekend, trying to prevent the vessel from breaking apart as some of the 1,075 tons of engine fuel in its tanks began oozing from the hull, threatening the world’s largest collection of coral.

The Toxic Side of Being, Literally, Green

Kermit was correct, being green really is tough, so tough that the color itself fails dismally. The cruel truth is that most forms of the color green, the most powerful symbol of sustainable design, aren’t ecologically responsible, and can be damaging to the environment.

“Ironic, isn’t it?” said Michael Braungart, the German chemist who co-wrote “Cradle to Cradle,” the best-selling sustainable design book, and co-founded the U.S. design consultancy McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry. “The color green can never be green, because of the way it is made. It’s impossible to dye plastic green or to print green ink on paper without contaminating them.”

The World Bank and the Four Horsemen of Climate Change: Apocalypse Now?

South Africa has one of the planet's most energy-intensive economies and Eskom plans a five-year, $50 billion dollar expansion to increase capacity. Its Kendal plant is already the largest coal-fired power station in the world. If approved, over $3 billion of the Bank loan will go toward constructing 4800 MW Medupi, the first so-called super-critical clean coal plant in Africa and the fourth largest coal-fired power plant in the world that, as advertised, will use "some of the most efficient, lowest-emission coal-fired technology available."

Peering into the future of science in U.S.

Another high priority is energy, and directly coupled to that, carbon emissions and global warming. They're really inseparable. The strong priority is increased funding in all research related to energy, particularly renewables and energy efficiency.

Climate-change skeptics have it wrong, memo to minister says

OTTAWA — Canadian scientists from six different federal departments have shot down a recent controversy that raised doubts about whether humans are causing global warming and have urged the government to base its climate-change policies on peer-reviewed research.

Up in the Air

No one has ever offered a plausible account of why thousands of scientists at hundreds of universities in dozens of countries would bother to engineer a climate hoax. Nor has anyone been able to explain why Mother Nature would keep playing along; despite what it might have felt like in the Northeast these past few months, globally it was one of the warmest winters on record.

Science historian discusses challenge of communicating climate science

In the last year, global warming skeptics seem to have redoubled their efforts to challenge the consensus that climate change is both real and caused by humans.

But this kind of pushback to “inconvenient” scientific conclusions should not come as a surprise, according to Naomi Oreskes, a science historian at the University of California in San Diego and co-author of book “Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming,” which will be released in late May.

“What's great about this book is that it explains the paradox that as the science has gotten stronger, the challenges have gotten more clear,” said Oreskes, who is scheduled to give a lecture Monday at the Conference on World Affairs. Her talk — “Communicating climate science: Why is this so hard?” — is sponsored by the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

How Congress can get a smart climate-change bill passed

OPPONENTS OF health-care reform like to point out that it will reshape one-sixth of the U.S. economy. But there's another big legislative push, overshadowed by health care, that would directly affect an even larger chunk: the effort to pass a climate-change bill.

Arctic thaw frees overlooked greenhouse gas: study

OSLO - Thawing permafrost can release nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, a contributor to climate change that has been largely overlooked in the Arctic, a study showed on Sunday.

The report in the journal Nature Geoscience indicated that emissions of the gas surged under certain conditions from melting permafrost that underlies about 25 percent of land in the Northern Hemisphere.

Emissions of the gas measured from thawing wetlands in Zackenberg in eastern Greenland leapt 20 times to levels found in tropical forests, which are among the main natural sources of the heat-trapping gas.

Link up top: EIA to make gas data revisions: report

This is a startling:

The department found it has been overstating output, the paper said...

...the Energy Information Administration, the statistical unit of the Energy Department, has uncovered a fundamental problem in the way it collects the data, the paper said.

One must ask if there is a similar error in the way it collects data from oil producing nations, including the USA?

Ron P.

The second-to-last paragraph:

The Wall Street Journal report follows a review of the EIA's flagship weekly oil inventory report that also found errors in the data.

(The WSJ artcile is here. It's behind a paywall, but can be viewed through Google. It has a couple of charts the Reuters article doesn't.)

I read an article in the WSJ a couple of weeks ago about how the weekly oil inventory data is wrong.

Shortcomings Exposed in Oil Data

One must ask if there is a similar error in the way it collects data from oil producing nations, including the USA?

I think Obama should appoint Matt Simmons as next head of the EIA :-)

Is the US shale gas glut then just like the death of Bobby Ewing - all just a dream?

this link in the eia article:

"Slumping U.S. natgas prices to take toll on drilling."


Even with the downturn in prices this year, shale resources remain attractive to the industry for the long term, since the wells are far more profitable because they produce at higher rates and do not decline as quickly as many conventional fields do.

Reporting by Matt Daily, editing by Matthew Lewis.

one or both of the matts must have been drunk.

Obama is acting as if he believes a nuclear Tehran is inevitable.


Energy Secretary Steven Chu, a vocal advocate for nuclear power,

Why wouldn't they end up with the same as everyone else.

At one time Iran was gonna buy some reactors in the mid 1970's and it seems the US of A was OK with that then.

I think it's worse than that (sorry no link right now).

When our guy was running Iran we started the nuke program there. Selling them nukes and weapons helped offset all the oil we were purchasing... We were pushing dozens of reactors to be built.


What about China?

Heck - remember "Iran-Contra"? We've got a record of selling arms to just about anyone, and those anyone's often end up shooting at us just a few years later.

Folks are armed to the hilt and fingers are getting itchy. How long until someone blows up an oil tanker? Things can't continue the way they are, but who's going to bust a move first? It's going to be an interesting Summer...

I suspect you already know the answer. Its OK if the Shah has Nuclear power - the UK and the USA put him there and hes a "goodie". Ayatolla and friends are the "baddies". Iran and Co "Axis of Evil" since 1979.

You re right - I already do know that score.

But the people who are screaming 'stop Iran' seem to forget these things. Like most of them don't seem to grasp Peak Oil.

So I guess the answer is to bring back the Shah. He's holed up in Maryland, just waiting for Obama to get his act together --

HIH Prince Cyrus Reza Pahlavi (Persian: رضا پهلوی, born October 31, 1960) is the former Crown Prince of Iran and the eldest son of the late Emperor of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and his Shahbanou Farah. He was the Crown Prince of Iran until the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Since then he has been living in exile and has been a leading and vocal advocate of the principles of freedom, democracy and human rights for Iran. He is also the Co-Founder of The Foundation for the Children of Iran.

He also promises to forgo some of the more odious of his father's methods for controlling the country....

Does anyone really know what the U.S. Government is up to in Iran?

Does anyone really know what the U.S. Government is up to in Iran?

Anyone who REALLY knows isn't gonna post it to TOD.

(Other places pointed out a date to be out of Iraq of Aug 10th 2010. Armed with that one datum - they've come up with a "attack Iran" date before Aug 10th so that no one has to leave the party. Yet, how many times here on TOD alone has 'attack on/before this date' been posted?)


It was a rhetorical question.

Seems like "they" just want to scare Americans as much as they want to scare the Iranians.

Would it really make any difference if everyone had a nuclear weapon? "They" give the impression they backed off North Korea because NK really does have one. Or do they?

Cutworms ate my new brocoli. I wanted to nuke them with malathion or something -- my wife objected.

In the end, the women will keep us guys from destroying the place entirely.

Paper collars prevent cutworms. It doe snot kill them, but it stops them from eating your plants.

Hope you have more plants to plant.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed future.

Diazanon works even better. And you don't have to spend hours on your hands and knees putting collars around your seedlings.

Cutworms loves onions, too. You going to collar every onion plant?

I save the collars for expensive plant seedlings that might get hit by a stray worm--and exterminate the worms.

Diazanon works even better. And you don't have to spend hours on your hands and knees putting collars around your seedlings.

People like you just don't get it do you?

Trade and Other Names: Trade names of this product include Basudin, Dazzel, Gardentox, Kayazol, Knox Out, Nucidol, and Spectracide. Diazinon may be found in formulations with a variety of other pesticides such as pyrethrins, lindane, and disulfoton.

Regulatory Status: Diazinon is classified as a Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP) and is for professional pest control operator use only. In 1988, EPA canceled registration of diazinon for use on golf courses and sod farms because of die offs of birds that often congregated in these areas. It is classified toxicity class II - moderately toxic, or toxicity class III - slightly toxic, depending on the formulation. Products containing diazinon bear the Signal Word WARNING or CAUTION.

Chemical Class: organophosphate

Pardon me, but I do get it. I'm becoming certified to apply pesticides commercially tomorrow, actually. I consult EXTOXNET regularly.

Diazanon is "toxic" to INSECTS when used properly. Good for the EPA for restricting its use. That's what their job is.

In the low doses that humans receive it, it is HARMLESS.

One who uses pesticides correctly has nothing to worry about.

I don't want Maryland to have nukes either. How will the good people of Delaware be able to sleep at night.

That's really hilarious because that "remarkable 30-year safety record" ended with Three Mile Island - which by the looks of it probably wasn't too far removed from when this ad was published... and I think the Shah got booted out of the country the same year as TMI...

I'm reminded of one of my favourite UK comedies from the 1980s - Whoops Apocalypse

The series details the weeks leading up to the Apocalypse.

...The Soviets have a new ally in British Prime Minister Kevin Pork (Peter Jones) of the Social Democratic Alliance Party (SODEMALL). Pork has gone insane and believes himself to be Superman. The British foreign secretary is blackmailed by the Soviets to join the Warsaw Pact. This situation so unnerves the foreign secretary and the Chancellor of the Exchequer that they don Green Lantern and Hawkman costumes, and are locked up in a padded cell at 10 Downing St.

...Meanwhile the Shah, who has temporarily been given sanctuary aboard a space shuttle, manages to crash it into the Moscow Kremlin. Believing it to be a bomb, the Russians launch their weapons at America. In the final scene Soviet missiles are on their way to obliterate the United States and President Cyclops has to decide whether to retaliate. The title sequence already showed the aftermath of the decision, Earth reduced to a nuclear wasteland. In a final twist, we discover that the woman we see in the title sequence selling buttons reading "WEAR YOUR MUSHROOM WITH PRIDE" is in fact the First Lady, who was hidden in a fallout shelter and is one of the few survivors of the war.

It was hilarious - honest!

Loved the spoof news items it carried such as:

A man carrying a sign saying "The end of the world is nigh" was arrested today in London for leaking classified information.


"energy independence -- a nonsensical goal that would never be pursued by anyone who understands economics."
Bloomberg Story - http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601039&sid=alrIKAwXk2Ls

Well, Mr. Hassett seems to have at least cast off the shackles of unabashed Nationalism. He argues that it makes sense to buy from countries who can sell a commodity for a better price.. but balance of trade doesn't seem to bother him. I wonder if this viewpoint has become essentially 'transnational', by maintaining the illusion that one is not physically dependent upon the region they inhabit, but only upon the financial assets they hold. Like JIT inventories, this assumption only works as long as the roads (and electronic funds transfers) are rolling.

..and as a person who is more comfortable with energy flows, I've had little incentive to pursue economics.

Quite. I noticed that his "3 arguments" conveniently missed National Security, despite the leadoff with the President obviously making exactly that argument (at least implicitly by the choice of venue and event, I haven't read his full speech to see if he invoked it explicitly).

So, 3 economists walk into a bar, the bartender insists they pay cash.

And when the bartender has no cash-paying customers, he will open a tab for them.

Money is a force, not a substance. Real people -- and that includes economists -- will adapt to the contemporary culture, which may or may not include credit cards, paper money, gold, cowrie shells, wampum or giant stones with holes carved in the middle.

Much of the argument on this site seems to start from the assumption that there is only one right way to do something. In my opinion (of no particular value other than to me, and because I have lived and thrived in various mutually antagonistic regimes) the important thing is to figure out where you are, what you need to survive, how to grow your social network to improve survival -- and as if by magic, life goes on.

It was a *joke*, in case you missed the obvious and ancient formula.

Not a good one, I know, but if I could write good jokes I probably wouldn't be where I am today.

The implication is supposed to be that the bartender doesn't trust economists with money...

if i buy 3 beer now and i know beer will be more expensive in the future, then i can drink 2 now and sell the the last beer later for more than i payed for the first 3, pay my bar tab, and pocket the change...... i just don't think i can be trusted alone around beer tho.... so uh, if i buy 3 shots of tequila.....oh wait....

October 01, 2008
Today's Humor: Investment Advice

If you had purchased $1,000 of Delta Air Lines stock one year ago, you would have $49 left.

With Fannie Mae, you would have $2.50 left of the original $1,000.

With AIG, you would have less than $15 left.

But, if you had purchased $1,000 worth of beer one year ago, drunk all of the beer, then turned in the cans for the aluminum recycling REFUND, you would have $214 cash.

Based on the above, the best current investment advice is to drink heavily and recycle.

And to think I drink beer from bottles - I'll just never understand this investment stuff.

No, I didn't miss the joke. It was just a convenient jumping off point for my own rant.

Communication by Internet sound bite is difficult at best.

And to think, "they" want us all to convert to "electronic medical records." Imagine the confusion and misunderstanding if that really happens

The one thing I know about is keeping track of vast amounts of data, Global mapping being one of my former jobs. One thing that can realy be helpful is to have a backup copy of every peice of data both in paper and in a file format.

Some issues with paper is that it gets damaged by fire, water and tears easy. Some issues about Electronic storage media, it is still damaged by fire, you ability to read the data is limited by programs and by hardware compatability. I have a few old 5 1/4 inch floppys with cool games on them, not that I can find a system that can play those games.

In 20 years the media that is used to store data has to be converted, or might fail you. If you have old hand written copies, you might still be able to read the stored data( written information ).

It is a whole lot easier to change data electronically than it is when in paper format, but each has its ups and its downs.

As far as medical records, it is always best to have a walking around copy of them anyway. I have moved so many times in my life that having a walking around copy was a common practice, though it can be costly, Though that is counter balanced with the fact that it is my health we are talking about.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed future, (mostly done on paper).

The bartender MIGHT open a tab for them, IF he trusts he will get paid.

Money is a 'symbol' of force, only made real if people will enact the promise written on that slip of paper, or accept the commonly held worth of the coin.

I was wondering if the Economist was going to put an IOU on the bar, and the Bartender responds by putting a Photo of 3 (Very Dry) Martinis next to it for his customers.

In the spirit of the subprime mortgage business, the bartender's decision whether or not to open a tab, asumming the owner allows some bar tabs, is likely to be based on whether or not he'll be given "have one yourself" drinks or other inducements by the client. It's the bar owner who cares about whether he'll eventually get paid.

The AEI is all over the place on the Obama decision to open up more offshore drilling. This piece argues that we should import rather than drill for environmental reasons. Another one makes exactly the opposite argument, that US offshore drilling in recent years has a much better record on spills than oil tankers do, so we should drill rather than import. They have published pieces that assert the decision is a shrewd and useful action, and others that assert it's stupid and worthless.

I am always tempted to write to anyone who does an "Energy independence? What a silly notion!" piece and demand that they say who will be exporting in 20 years, and how the US is going to outbid China and India for those exports.

So doesn't that mean that the sensible thing to do is to restrict consumption to imports as long as any imports are available, reducing inland production and use to a minimum and hoarding them for when real shortages show up? Drill baby drill is just a really dumb attempt to keep prices low in a circumstance when low prices will be a deathtrap.

"drill baby drill" is

a) a clever (and almost certainly focus-group tested) line to take against political opponents.

b) a nifty way to maneuver the discussion away from the scary question, "what do we do when there's not as much oil?"

c) a cool dance step to do while the ship is going down.

You forgot one dovey: an important component of our economy. Certainly not a solution for PO but, none the less, an important part of our base.

..but for how long?

I, being a dyed in the wool hyper-liberal Californian, am in favor of developing all of our on and off-shore oil resources...

but only in the context of developing more sustainable energy options. Our oil, coal and natural gas resources give us some breathing room to develop sustainable energy resources without first experiencing a Mad Max collapse.

I simply don't believe that gobbling up all of our "once through" resources as fast as possible in the name of the economy makes any sense at all. Oil needs to be treated as what it is: a one time natural endowment of extraordinary value. Not just something to pay today's wages and enable the Winnebago company to keep building motorhomes.

Ok, I'll go along with that on one condition; that everyone including the drillers / producers, lobby our politicians to set a high minimum price on crude with a floating tax which puts a rational base price under oil and N gas (and probably coal as well) so that the wastefull boom-bust-boom cycles are stopped and the consumers always see a high price, regardless of what any OPEC leader might decide. If the revenues collected must be used to pay down our government deficits, then so be it.

In regards to Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi State Suppliers Raise Crude Oil Prices above, I think it is telling that they appear to be validating current oil prices at the highs for the year.

In addition, SA it not responding to prices moving out of the $70 to $80 range, for which recently SA said was 'comfortable' for the world economy, and is not increasing output (well assuming that they could increase output for the type of oil desired):

The Persian Gulf state was one of four OPEC members with production limits to cut crude output in March, according to Bloomberg estimates. Saudi Arabia pumped 8.2 million barrels a day last month, 50,000 barrels a day less than in February and almost 200,000 more than its OPEC quota. U.A.E. production was 20,000 barrels a day higher in March, according to the survey.

Not to mention more Persian Gulf supplies are headed East, which will eventually have dire consequences for US oil imports and subsequently the level of minimum operating supplies necessary to keep the US oil/product system smoothly functioning:

Saudi Arabia, which has joint-venture refinery projects in China, is seeking to strengthen its role as a supplier to Asia as demand from the U.S. and Europe slipped with the global financial crisis. The biggest oil exporter agreed in February to raise crude supply to India to 40 million tons a year, or about 770,000 barrels a day, from 25.5 million tons a year, India’s Oil Ministry said in a statement after a meeting between the top crude officials from both countries.

As I said the other day, if and when we cross the $200 mark, I expect to see two things: (1) The Saudis talking about "weak demand" for $200 oil and (2) Analysts talking about millions of barrels per day in excess Saudi oil capacity.

Spent time looking at oil price- we're up $6 in the last week or so. It seems like we're in 2007 all over again, just before the 2008 spike. Any thoughts as to whether we'll see another spike late this year or next year ala 2008 and economically crash hard again? In other words, does anyone think we're going to repeat 2008 once the economy 'recovers'?

This morning it's looking to me like the start of a long hot Summer - and it's only April!

... Oil going up, bombings, potholes, oil tanker hijacked, Mexicollapsing, ELM 2.0 kicking in.

All we need now is a hurricane!

All we need now is a hurricane!

Oh, I'm pretty sure we'll get a few before the end of summer. (Sitting less than 2 miles from the beach here in sunny South Florida...)

Supposedly, SST readings for the Caribbean etc. are forecast to be quite warm in the coming months - even relative to scary years like 2005...

Check out post #5 at Dr. Jeff Master's blog on WeatherUnderground (sorry couldn't find a link to the original data at NOAA) - and don't be scared by Dr. Master's blog, this was his April Fools Day entry:


The key to mid-2010 prices is how much demand for oil there is - especially from Asia. While there has been some marginal increase in oil output for recent months as compared to the same months last year, supply probably is not growing anywhere near as fast as the 2 million bpd demand gain year over year (vs. comparable month last year).

Demand is being met in part by the much discussed increase in 2009 inventories following the great financial panic of late 2008 and early 2009. Probably one can find an article even in today's news about 'high' inventories and how the price of oil is 'not justified' by 'supplies' - supplies in this case ususally meaning in the media net current inventories in the US and not the amount of output available daily.

Since US oil demand is recovering, for whatever reason, and if that continues, at some point the conditions for a new price spike will exist - but not just yet.

If the Fed doesn't raise the fed funds rate at today's emergency meeting, I think the price spike continues from here. Supply and demand won't matter--supply will head right back out onto tankers and into China's growing reserves.

There is absolutely no question that we repeat 2008 again, or at least have a spike followed by a crash. The only open questions are how high does the price go, and when does it happen again.

My guess is that these spikes will continue to happen in the peak driving months for the developed world, and that each successive spike will actually see a lower maximum price - I don't think we will test $147 for awhile, if ever. For the simple reason that the world - especially the U.S. - is incredibly liberal with oil consumption, and the amount of demand destruction that can, and will, occur is just staggering. It hurts nobody if you don't go out in your SUV at 10 pm to get a bag of cheetos. But of course, if everybody does this simultaneously our economy contracts. As we head down Hubbert's curve I expect these spikes to happen more frequently and more violently, which is a scary thought.

But there are some very intelligent people here and elsewhere who would disagree with me and I respect that. Nobody knows for sure and we are in completely uncharted territory.

Don't worry oilman! A bunch of intelligent people have told me that at a certain price point alternatives become viable regardless of any oil inputs. I guess $86.76/bbl just isn't that magic number. I wonder if they'll ever admit that oil was just a one time endowment of concentrated, liquid energy and that alternatives simply will never be a true oil replacement due to factors such as EROI and EROEI.

Haha, right...but what I'm getting at is that nobody really knows if oil will or won't go to $200, etc. I think this is very unclear and will only be clear in the rearview mirror.

Link up top: Kurt Cobb: Faith-based economics in two graphs , Kurt Cobb posts this graph from CERA:

Notice that they assume that there is 2.93 trillion barrels of ultimate recoverable reserves plus another .68 trillion barrels of unconventional oil that will be extracted or produced from some other source also. They also post Colin Campbell's estimate of 1.92 trillion barrels of URR. But there have been recent reports that even Campbell's estimate is too high.


Their new research argues that estimates of conventional reserves should be downgraded from 1,150bn to 1,350bn barrels to between 850bn and 900bn barrels...

That would put URR of conventional oil at 1.85 to 1.9 trillion barrels with 1 trillion barrels of that already recovered. But I contend that even that amound of URR is not supported by any real proven reserves but ony by guesses as to how much undiscovered oil is yet to be found. I believe that OPEC reserves may be overestimatd by as much as two thirds. That would put conventional oil remaining oil reserves at between 600 and 700 billion barrels.

That should have put the peak several years in the past. However with the recent, (8 to 10 years ago), widespread use of horizontalo MRC wells, the peak of most giant and supergiant fields have been delayed by several years. That is by sucking much harder from the very top of the reservoir the peak will be delayed until the water gets to the very top of the reservoir. Then the fields will experience a sudden drop off in production, or more accurately a sudden rise in the water to oil ratio.

Of course this scenario also depends on the theory that OPEC oil reserves have been vastly overstated. I think this is a given.

Why does OPEC lie about its oil reserves?
How many real oil barrels do you see here? OPEC wants you to believe there are 3. But only 1 is real, they made up the other 2.

Why does OPEC lie about its oil reserves.

Ron P.

As someone mentioned in the comments to the website linked to the "Oil Reserves Overstated by 33%" Matthew Simmons covered this whole issue in his book "Twilight In the Desert".

Of course he basically called the Saudi's both liars and incompetents in his book, and then wondered why they would not give him more information and assistance! Duh.


Of course he basically called the Saudi's both liars and incompetents in his book, and then wondered why they would not give him more information and assistance! Duh.

They give no one any information on their oil reserves. They would not give him more information and assistance even before he wrote the book. Duh!

He got the vast majority of his information on Aramco and their field by field production and estimated reserves from the archives of the Society of Petroleum Engineers.

Ron P.


What do you say to a bet?

$100 says that the BP Statistical Review of 2014(5 years time) shows that the Middle East is producing not less than 26.2 mbpd, the same in 2008 AND that OPEC
is producing not less than 36.7 mbpd.

I happen to believe that ROW is well passed Peak so I do believe total oil production will be down a tiny bit but not OPEC.

See page 8 of 2009 BP Statistical Review.


If you want to be altruistic the winner can donate the bet to TOD.

How about a bet on actual production as opposed to what is reported? Unless you are one of the people involved in faking the numbers I can't see how you can know what will be printed in four years time.

I see we're almost at $87 a barrel now (just hit $86.80). What do you think the oil price will be in 2014?

As to the BP reported "Proved resources" you link to, at almost every other ad-break on Bloomberg tv I see a world literally made up of dripping oil with comforting statistics showing massive increases in reserves (Bloomberg STAT 18). I don't believe it when I see it there either.

Jimmie, or whatever name you go by, (I go by Ron, so please have the courtesy to call me by that name), I am 71 and in failing health. I probably will not be alive in 2014. Hell, I don't even buy green bananas anymore.

That being said however, if you have an argument as to why you think OPEC reserves are not overstated then please make that argument instead of grandstanding with silly bets. The link I posted explains one reason that I believe that OPEC reserves are overstated. (That OPEC decided, in the early 80's, to base quotas on proven reserves.) I have posted other reasons before.

But in case you forgot one of their reserves to production, for Middle East OPEC countries, are way out of proportion to Middle East non-OPEC producers. Their R/P ratio for OPEC African countries are way out of proportion for non-OPEC African countries. And the R/P ratio for Venezuela is way out of proportion for other South American countries.

That is two reasons. Another reason is that Petroleum Intelligence Weekly has posted survey data that Kuwaitis leaked to them showing that Kuwait's proven reserves are only about 24 billion barrels and proven + probable reserves are only 48 billion barrels. They claim 102 billion barrels of proven reserves.

That is three reasons and I could list more. So will you please stop this nonsense of challenging without evidence. A bet is not evidence.

Note: OPEC nations of Angola and Ecuador do not have ridiculous R/P ratios, their R/P ratios are rather normal. They have been OPEC members for only about two years. It would have been all too obvious if they suddenly increased their R/P rations upon joining OPEC. Ecuador is well past peak and has no reason to try to increase their R/P ratio. They are producing flat out anyway. But Angola is also producing flat out. Their production reached an all time high in February. But look for their R/P ratio to gradually creep up anyway.

Ron P.

OPEC discussed basing quotas purely on reserves, it was never implemented, as I've stated before. ScienceDirect - Energy Policy : OPEC production quotas and their application to non-OPEC countries*1

Available online 25 June 2003.


OPEC has employed production or supply quotas on various occasions since March 1982 in an effort to control oil prices. No explicit formula has been used to allocate quotas among members. Nevertheless, an implicit formula may be derived from OPEC's observed behaviour. The principal elements in the formula so derived are each individual member's oil production capacity and (merchandise) imports per capita. When an effort is made to extend this implicit formula to cover selected non-OPEC oil exporters, the results are unrealistic in terms of political acceptability. Therefore prospects for cooperative production restraint between OPEC and non-OPEC have been, and remain, extremely slim.

Now, this November 1989 article seems to imply that they were going to base quotas on reserves: OPEC Sets New Policy On Quotas - NYTimes.com

The new system means that as world demand for oil rises, those OPEC nations that possess the largest reserves will take what they please of the growing market and, consequently, set the price of oil as it serves their interests.

But it doesn't seem to have stuck; various other sources describe the OPEC quota system as horse trading. Trepidation at the idea of a reserves based system would make sense as a reason for boosting reserves surreptitiously; Iraq made claims even more brazen at the time than what became the "official" BP etc numbers: Iraq Expected to Seek Increase in Its Oil Quota - NYTimes.com

Iraq's announcement in July of a new oil reserve figure of 280 billion barrels - nearly triple the previous year's level and higher even than Saudi Arabia's - was a calculated move, people in the oil business said. 'More Politics Than Geology'

''It's a game that's being played, which is more politics than geology,'' one source said. ''It may be true that the oil is there, but it may not be economically feasible to produce it.''

Oil reserves are among the parameters used by OPEC to determine the size of a member's sales quota.

That was in September '89.

KLR, thanks for a great post. Your post shows "It's a game that's being played, which is more politics than geology." Yes, it is political horse trading and nothing to do with geology. Of course OPEC quotas cannot possibly now be based on reserves. If that were so then Angola and Ecuador would be down to almost nothing.

It is likely that they were never really based on reserves. As you say, they tried it but could not make it stick. However the members seem to be taking no chances whatsoever. That is they thought that they just might be based on reserves at some time in the future and assigned themselves a huge patch of reserves.

Again, thanks for very informative post.

Ron P.

Thanks Ron. The reserves=quota device may have been fabricated to pull the wool over the eyes of the rest of the world - certainly the conservation measures enacted in the 80s took a lot of money out of OPEC's pockets. I don't think that's too conspiratorial for consideration.

I've found some other odd things about reserves - Iraq's largest revision was 45.76% - in 1982. Was that justified? This was also the year in which the quota system began in the first place. Over the span of the BP review Vietnam is by far the laregst reviser on average, at 18.52%; but the 1986 UAE revision of 66.06% is the 4th largest in any given year, and the OPEC revisions far outweigh those of more minor producers - they create a visible bump in the late 80s when charted.

I also mentioned in another post about plateaus - China rather implausibly sat at 24 bbo for 12 years. According to the EIA data that is, BP numbers bump around more, and at lower levels...what a mess! Perhaps Khebab or Euan looked at this in years past. How can two primary sources of info differ by ca. 6 bbo? I don't think it's methodology, both give ca. 260 bbo for KSA.

I've found some other odd things about reserves - Iraq's largest revision was 45.76% - in 1982. Was that justified?

What else was happening about that time?

Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein:
The U.S. Tilts toward Iraq, 1980-1984

Initially, Iraq advanced far into Iranian territory, but was driven back within months. By mid-1982, Iraq was on the defensive against Iranian human-wave attacks. The U.S., having decided that an Iranian victory would not serve its interests, began supporting Iraq: measures already underway to upgrade U.S.-Iraq relations were accelerated, high-level officials exchanged visits, and in February 1982 the State Department removed Iraq from its list of states supporting international terrorism

Right. "He's a Hitler!" Again, this big jump is in the BP numbers but not EIA, who showed a minor decrease that year. EIA shows 11.3 bbo piled on in 1983, however. East Baghdad field was discovered 1976 so whatever we're looking at here would be reserve growth, or we are expected to believe it took them 6-7 years to conduct tests on a field kitty corner from the nation's capital. Which, given how screwed up Iraq's NOCs have been, might not be entirely implausible.

There's some information in Geographical Distribution of Iraqi Oil Fields
And Its Relation with the New Constitution (PDF)

Nice to know someone has calculated Iraq's oil reserves to 6 significant figures.

No sweat, Ron.

I won't bother you with silly bets(maybe somebody else will take up my challenge-;-)).

I hope you are in better health over the next decade(s) to witness the fun.

Even holding world oil production flat is going to produce some 'interesting' times.

Faith based economics: a very apt description.

If one actually takes in the enormity of the message contained within the second graph in Kurt Cobb's article it is enough to make one physically sick. This is a graph produced by the EIA, not some bearded hippie doomsday survivalist. We have all discussed this many, many times but here are my conclusions:

1. Aggregate world liquids (oil) extraction from currently producing sources is about to go into terminal decline.

2. Despite all the PR hoopla about electric cars, global demand for oil is set to grow rapidly over the next two decades.

3. The volume of liquids (oil) which is 'missing' from the EIA's graph is staggering. So to is the fact that no one, but no one, has a clue as to where it is going to be found.

4. The globalized economy is still in a critical condition, even under the old paradigm we are only just keeping our heads above water. The banks are still marking their assets to fantasy and almost all western states are technically insolvent were it not for the printing presses.

5. The globalized economy, as currently expressed, is totally and inextricably reliant on cheap, plentiful oil.

6. The globalized just-in-time food delivery system is totally and inextricably reliant on cheap, plentiful oil.

7. In the western world at most one person in a thousand has any inkling of what peak oil is about, and of those that do, even fewer really understand the full impact of the situation.

8. People are so utterly complacent it beggars belief. Here in the UK at the start of the decade (2001) there was a massive 'revolt' by truckers over the price of petrol. Truckers blockaded refineries and there was wide-spread chaos as petrol stations ran out. The economy took a real hit as a result. Back then the protest was initiated when petrol got to 80p per liter. It is now half as much again at £1.20 - where are the protests? People are so utterly comatose but it won't last for ever.

That second graph is the most disturbing thing I have ever seen. Second to that is the Export Land Model. I am scared, we should all be scared. When future historians look back at the first few years of the second decade of the 21st century they will remark 'how could the collective human species be so completely complacent when the facts were staring them full in the face'

That second graph is the most disturbing thing I have ever seen. Second to that is the Export Land Model. I am scared, we should all be scared. When future historians look back at the first few years of the second decade of the 21st century they will remark 'how could the collective human species be so completely complacent when the facts were staring them full in the face'

I think you already answered this question yourself. Though I would venture to guess your stated numbers are probably overly optimistic.

In the western world at most one person in a thousand has any inkling of what peak oil is about, and of those that do, even fewer really understand the full impact of the situation.

I'm pretty scared myself and what really gets me is that I can't even get my best friends and family to take me seriously about any of this. All of them with university degrees and some with advanced degrees in science. Some days I just want to roll up into a ball and cry. I have a kid in High School who is being brainwashed and at times just trying to teach him critical thinking skills is about all I can manage. Though maybe I'm doing him a disservice and ignorance might be bliss...

I'm pretty scared myself and what really gets me is that I can't even get my best friends and family to take me seriously about any of this. All of them with university degrees and some with advanced degrees in science. Some days I just want to roll up into a ball and cry. I have a kid in High School who is being brainwashed and at times just trying to teach him critical thinking skills is about all I can manage. Though maybe I'm doing him a disservice and ignorance might be bliss...

Sometimes I curse the moment I became peak oil aware. That was about 3 years ago now although I was vaguely aware of it before then. Back then life was good. Fun. Happy. Now my outlook and expectations have been completely turned upside down. Things which were a given, such as participating vigorously in the capitalist growth-based economy are now just unfunny jokes. I started my own company at about the same time I began taking peak oil seriously. At the time I was really fired up to grow my business and get rich. Now I know that this will be completely in vain. Coupled with witnessing the way the politicos have bailed out the bankers and the on-going financial mess we are in has made me really reassess my life and direction. The only problem is I honestly do not know what to do. Where to live, who to live with, what to do. It is actually extremely difficult to 'drop out' of mainstream society. These are not easy times and on occasion I lapse back into deep depression. I just can't figure out what is what anymore. Nothing makes sense. I just thank my lucky stars I do not have children.

Ditto (and maybe I should buy you some outsourced beer that gets shipped half way across the planet... and if you will live to tell the stories, you'd be silly proud to talk about the "beer container artifact from a far away country called India", wouldn't you? ;) )

Dropping out of mainstream is where the challenge seems to be. I went through the classic 5 stages of grief myself with "bargain" being the longest phase (~1.5 years) followed by depression (second longest) (~1 year). The denial was the phase when I used to read TOD, occasionally, over RSS and never even bothering to have a "registered user account" :)

I did quite a lot of mis-investment in the bargain phase. I believe loss of wealth is likely to cause a depression. For that's what must be keeping all the "very rich" folk out there in denying peak oil?

Be glad, you're next stage in the 5 stages of Grief is Acceptance... and I bet, you'll be glad to have finally arrived - to this Actual world! That said, corporate jargon like "Growth", "Scalability" and (this one's best) "Resilience" tickle me to death. I count them in the meetings and I thoroughly enjoy every meal :)

All said, I'd really like to get you a beer because it tastes, just the same, as it used to taste 3 years ago! Feel free to drop in your shipping address to suraj at sunson dot in :)

And yet nothing has really changed except your awareness of it. You are alive today, tomorrow you might not be, and that was always true. In fact one day it will most certainly happen that way. Just because all the crap we were taught from birth was, well, crap, does not mean life is not worth living. Look at it this way - most of us were lucky enough to be born in the time and place of peak wealth and luxury. We've been very lucky SOBs, we won the lottery of time and geography - isn't that good enough? So have a few pints and deal with what comes next as best you can - pretty much no matter how it comes out you're still luckier than most all of people who ever were and will be.

I have the same outlook.
I know there are technically feasible solutions. They are not being implemented.
Tom Blees' Prescription for the Planet
essentially contains a full solution. The nuclear power could also come from the LFTR, and initially it could come from CANDUs, which are the easiest nuclear reactors to build today (they don't have the large pressure vessel). Even windmills could be used to create some power, although I believe they are more greenwash than real solutions.
Boron is used as an energy carrier. Boron has several times the energy density of combustion of gasoline. It is not a hazardous material. It could power cars quite easily by being combusted to boron oxide, and this oxide could be converted back to boron using the power from the nuclear reactors.
Plasma converters are used to handle waste and convert and recycle a range of materials.
The starting point is abundant power from nuclear.
According to this http://www.monthlyreview.org/100201wallis.php:
"there still remains the fact that nuclear power is linked to the potential for making bombs, and no disarmament process is underway. The imperialist governments will therefore not allow nuclear power to be distributed on a scale sufficient to match the potential global demand for it."
Those who have power will attempt to exclude others from having power. TPTB would prefer we compete amongst ourselves, as much as possible like rats, and not mention the unnecessary inequity of it all. The approach advocated by Tom Blees includes a large emphasis on public ownership, rather than the current process of socializing costs and privatizing profit.
The total approach would be much cheaper than today. At $80/barrel, 7 billion barrels of oil a year, the USA spends in excess of 500 billion per year on oil alone. For this price a lot more energy could be made available in the fashion Tom Blees advocates.

Edit I notice HAcland you say you are in the UK. Here is a note for UK residents from the EnergyfromThorium facebook page:
"The Drax Power Station in England produces 4 GWe from coal, has 12 hyperbolic cooling towers, and appropriate power transmission. If we were to replace it with 5 GW of liquid-chloride reactors, burning up the 100 tonnes of separated plutonium that England has, we could produce enough U-233 each year to start 5 GWe of power from LFTRs each year for 20 years, while eliminating the 22 million tonnes of CO2 that Drax emits."

Boron might be essentially non-toxic, but lots of compounds with boron, such as boranes and boride tricloride, are quite toxic indeed.

Same goes for carbon, but you're not about to stop eating, are you?

Of course not. But if someone said or implied that carbon is sometimes or always completely harmless since it is in nearly everything we eat, I would also hasten to correct him. Are you against accuracy and full accounting?

Nope, I am against unnecessary alarmism.

Despite benzine compounds and being a primary component in most naturally occuring venoms carbon *is* almost completely harmless.

So is boron, both in its elemental form and in its most commonly encountered compounds.

Remember that the most deadly single compound on the planet is H2O.

I guess it's just a difference in temperament then--I prefer caution and full information (what you prefer to call alarmism) to complacency. And, as you point out, the poison is often in the portion and the application. A couple cups of water in the lungs can indeed kill you quite quickly. And CO2, a vital part of the carbon cycle, becomes toxic to the global climate when dumped into the atmosphere in quantities of hundreds of billions of tons in a few decades.

I do find it odd that someone eager to gloss over or minimize real threats as 'alarmism' is bothering to show up at a sight devoted to the potential threat of peak oil.

Perhaps I was just reading tone into your original boron post where none was intended.

Now, if you have some indication that the burning of boron in ordinary air would actually result in the formation of some of those hazardous boron compounds, that would be interesting, relevant, and useful information but boron and boron oxide aren't those hazardous compounds. It would certainly be in line with your goal of complete information and full disclosure of risks.

It isn't pointing out a "real threat" if it isn't going to happen, now is it? And pointing out a threat that isn't there is alarmist.

Here is a lot of information about how boron would be used - GRL Cowan presented the idea to Tom Blees as far as I know.

And on his site, Graham actually documents all potential hazards of the process (including eating some of the oxide I think).

Thanks for the link. The earlier post did not make clear what form of boron was being considered. Boron hydrides are the best fuels known, but they are highly toxic. Boron oxides may not share these properties. My chemistry is not good enough to determine how likely it would be for Boron oxides to turn into hydrides by in any conceivable atmospheric, biological or other conditions.

But I am reminded that Thomas Midgley showed the total safety of the refrigerant chemicals he discovered--CFCs--by inhaling them.

They have now, of course, been phased out around the earth because of their destructive effect on the ozone.

But nothing bad could ever happen like that again, I'm sure. Let's forge ahead into a brave new future without listening to any silly voices of caution!

I believe I said boron to boron oxide and recycled back to boron (using electricity from nuclear power). I tried to be accurate in as few words as possible.

Just go with the flow!

I'm optimistic about just one thing - namely, there will come a point when basically everybody and their dog is peak oil aware, more or less. Hopefully the sooner the better. Once this happens, demand, and therefore production, will go down a cliff, and that's exactly what we need, because then the remaining reserves can be produced for a much longer time.

In other words it's just better to take the pain now - crappy little cars, bikes, motorbikes, public transport, living close to work, not going out at night, being cautious with money, etc. etc. And there will come a point in time when we take the pain. It won't be pretty, but neither will it mean collapse.

Look at India or Russia, for example. Much poorer than what we are used to in the West, but not collapsed by any means. That's where all of us are headed.

Of course ultimately we are all screwed as coal and natural gas will decline as well - but best not to think about that.

Maybe, but you may be underestimating the power of denial of reality, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. Witness the global warming/climate change 'debate.' The Arctic will be ice free, many coastal cities inundated, climate systems gone totally haywire, much of the earth turned to desert...and there will still be idiots claiming that there is no such thing as GW (much less anthropogenic GW).

Well, you could always make a move up here with all the other Florida People. You know, the folks who have a vacation place in the mountains where it's cool in summer and unlikely to be hit by a hurricane. I've got some land in one of those gated subdivisions I'll sell you real cheap, like, half of what it sold for to the last folks. It would be a great spot from which to watch the chaos as it has a 50 mile view. Or, you could buy the top of the mountain with the million dollar view, but that would cost you a bit more.

If I had not already built my solar house in the boonies, I would jump on that last one. Of course, without gasoline, one might find it difficult to drive 15 miles to town for food, etc...

E. Swanson

There are millions of people at least as confused/desperate as you, which is why I’m expecting a huge growth industry in transition towns/survivalist compounds/apocalyptic doomer cults in the coming years. My sense is that a lot of formerly mainstream people are at wit’s end and would be happy to abandon this sinking ship and seek their fortunes with like-minded people somewhere remote from the coming tribulations. In fact I’m throwing around ideas for starting something like this myself. I’m thinking Jim Jones for the doomer crowd -- hopefully without the kool-aid. :o

'how could the collective human species be so completely complacent when the facts were staring them full in the face'

Oh, this is really an easy one! They were preoccupied with buying shiny stuff like iPads*, iPods* and iSucks* :

watching NASCAR and somehow failed to notice the rapid crumbling of their technology-dependent civilization around them. Those future historians will probably also add to the end of their elaborations a short final note: "And good riddance!" :P

* All trademarks are property of their respective owners.

When future historians look back at the first few years of the second decade of the 21st century they will remark 'how could the collective human species be so completely complacent when the facts were staring them full in the face'

To be complacent, seems to me to imply that there is something better to be. If there's no way out then you might as well be complacent.

Any ideas? If the plan is to position one's self well so as to maintain yourself at stability, then your strategy can't work for everyone. If you tell everyone your plan it will be too late, if you keep it a secret you'll be alone. ( I'm thinking of countries here ). Naw, ya need to be a little bit Dr. Evil about this situation...
Aspiring evil dictators take note...

I guess spreading the word about advantages might at least help negate the advantages to be had by being clever/lucky leveling the playing field for 'the good guys'. Yeah right. Still, that just turns the problem into something else.. At some point you have to realize that knowledge is power and knowledge shared is power lost. Altruism, ( even gnu ) isn't really such, it's self interested vandalism of unfavorable systems. Is 'The Man' keeping you down? charity is a rebellious way to mess things up a little.

Still, it would be nice if there were an alternative...

If you tell everyone your plan it will be too late

Should be:

If you tell everyone your plan it will be too late to take any advantage because everyone will then know what you know

That wasn't very clear.

I couldn't agree more.
Today, crude is over 86$. How on earth can these economists predict a recovery with this price of crude??

At this particular point in history, what is or is not still underground matters far less than the megaprojects "in the pipeline". As the guy said, "the investment isn't there".

I suspect that there will be a lot of oil in the ground that will remain right there, forever, because we never will get the wherewithal together to get it out.

I suspect that there will be a lot of oil in the ground that will remain right there.

That's my assertion too. Once there is the final step down in an economic collapse, the oil will stop flowing, and billions of barrels will remain untapped.

Unless there is a lot of loose capital, and some extremely important projects that absolutely cannot be done without oil, it will not be long. We should begin to see oil triage soon. What do you think will be first to go? What will be last?

More important - who gets to choose?


I think the militaries of the world will take over operation of some oil production to keep their death machines running. This will be the final power play.


Cobb's second chart from EIA 2009 Sweetnam's presentation, slide 8, shows peak in about 2012.

12 years ago, the IEA 1998 WEO showed a peak in conventional crude at 2010 using URR 2 Tb.

That item in the chart called "Unconventional oil and NGLs" should really be called "Unidentified oil".

The quote below is from page 104 of the IEA 1998 WEO:

Reducing the level of assumed ultimate oil reserves to 2000 billion barrels brings forward the date at which production peaks to around 2010.

Given that a URR of 2 Tb is probably high an earlier peak is more realistic. The EIA shows peak crude, condensate and Canada oil sands at 73.72 mbd in 2005.

Oil prices could exceed $US100 in a few months then peak oil awareness should increase.

That item in the chart called "Unconventional oil and NGLs" should really be called "Unidentified oil".

So, how about delivery of Unidentified Oil being delivered by space aliens in UFOs? Unidentified Flying Oil seems abiotic to me.


In writing a computer program, the compiler will not let you get away with stuff like these "Unidentified Projects"; it will flag it as an error and won't let you run the program:

class undef {
  public static void main(String [] args) {
      double world2015 = 80.0;
      double UnidentifiedProjects;
      double total2015 = world2015 + UnidentifiedProjects;
      System.out.println( "2015 total = " + total2015 );      } }

And the computer's verdict:

undef.java:5: variable UnidentifiedProjects might not have been initialized
      double total2015 = world2015 + UnidentifiedProjects;
1 error

SouthWest Airlines to start saving fuel tomorrow

Perhaps -1% or -2% less/flight where new Air Traffic Control is available.


Best Hopes for even small steps,


On other subjects, I am a bit miffed. Yesterday there were some discussion concernign climate change (including a link to a book I intended to learn more about on the string about the manufacture of clothing. Both the original post disappeared, before I had time to link to the book) as did my reply to it. All well and fine to redact the posters but then today on "Drumbeat" we again see stories concerning climate change. I just think if the subject is out of bounds for the folks posting here it should not be included as though it were important by the editors.


RC - It's been explained several times that PO & AGW are two sides of the same coin. Get used to it.

"Arctic thaw frees overlooked greenhouse gas"


"Emissions of the gas measured from thawing wetlands in Zackenberg in eastern Greenland leapt 20 times to levels found in tropical forests, which are among the main natural sources of the heat-trapping gas."

It looks like this represents yet another feedback mechanism accelerating the rate of gw. Add this NOX feedback to the others:

water vapor from everywhere
methane hydrate from continental shelves
methane and CO2 from tundra
CO2 from drying soils
decreased CO2 absorption by oceans as they heat and acidify
CO2 from burning drying forests, grasslands, peatbogs...
albedo changes
Please add more that you know of; I'm trying to make a complete list. Compared to these 'positive' feedbacks that exacerbate the arming trend, there seem to be few clear 'negative' feedbacks that would slow the trend, and those that exist tend to be quite slow, like rock weathering.

Roger, Gail deleted ALL comments on climate change from that thread, excpet for a few complaining that their post had been deleted. That was Gail's special thread on clothing production post peak. I am guessing that she desired to stick to that thread and not let in others that would digress from the subject being discussed.

Drumbeat however is a general discussion and apparently climate change posts are welcome here. I am wondering why you did not post your climate change article on Drumbeat where it was on subject rather than on the clothing link where it was entirely off subject.

Had you posted it here I am sure it would not have been deleted.

Ron P.

The key posts may be very aggressively pruned. They don't want the discussion to drift off-topic. Do not post off-topic comments to key posts!

DrumBeats have more latitude, but I will prune the thread if I feel it's going in a direction that is not helpful.

The book recommended was Under a Green Sky: Global Warming, the Mass Extinctions of the Past, and What They Can Tell Us About Our Future.

we again see stories concerning climate change.

Don't expect 'em to go away.

With the C in CO2 coming from fossil Carbon and the various money-backed classes figuring out they make a buck by being "part of the solution" - there will be more pushing by the political classes on the matter and therefore more posts here.

Like it or not, the fate of oil is tied to not only the oil just being used up, but to money and the effects of CO2 in the air thus making both talks about money and warming fodder here.

Felix Salmon, a well known financial blogger, had a piece called Complexity and Doom yesterday. It discusses how under a situation of declining marginal returns collapse may be the most appropriate response.

We are doomed. We have reached a level of institutional complexity which renders radical simplification impossible, short of outright collapse......... The world’s biggest banks must become much simpler; the world’s biggest banks won’t become much simpler. The conclusion is not a pretty one.

Speaking of complexity:

What happened here in Jefferson County would turn out to be the perfect metaphor for the peculiar alchemy of modern oligarchical capitalism: A mob of corrupt local officials and morally absent financiers got together to build a giant device that converted human **** into billions of dollars of profit for Wall Street — and misery for people like Lisa Pack.


On a sewer project that was originally supposed to cost $250 million, the county now owed a total of $1.28 billion just in interest and fees on the debt. Imagine paying $250,000 a year on a car you purchased for $50,000, and that's roughly where Jefferson County stood at the end of last year.

A mob of corrupt local officials and morally absent financiers got together to build a giant device that converted human **** into billions of dollars of profit for Wall Street

When I first read this the **** was not hidden. I guess as it's one of the FCC's seven dirty words (clue: The first one) it had to be removed?

CNN has this banner at the top of their site:

BREAKING NEWS: 10-year bond yield surges to 4%, the highest since the height of the financial crisis in October of 2008.

What's up with that?

According to Bloomberg tv it's a sign of just how well the economy is recovering...

According to Bloomberg tv it's a sign of just how well the economy is recovering...

What I find interesting is just looking at this graph via calculatedriskblog. Sobering:


Supply exceeding demand. Yields move inversely to prices; when prices go down (more supply, less demand), then yields go up. When there are more bonds out there and fewer buyers, the buyers demand higher yields. We've been flooding the market with Treasuries, so this was inevitable. You ain't seen nothin' yet.

If you want a proximate cause, it is because the Federal Reserve's program of buying mortgage backed securities (ordinary mortgages bundled together and sold as a package) ended on March 31. The Fed bought about $1.25 trillion worth of mortgages. Yes trillion (for those outside the US I mean $1,000,000,000,000 by trillion).

Mortgages and bonds, like the 10% year bond, fluctuate together. The sudden and abrupt loss of Fed buying, which actually started early on in 2009 but really got going in March 2009, could cause massive distortions to the interest rate market, although surprisingly, the Fed doesn't appear very concerned about it. In fact the Fed is holding a meeting this date to consider even raising interest rates.


These are curious times indeed. I think the Fed will go back to buying mortgages at the next sign of economic weakness, but meanwhile pat itself on the back for getting the recovery going.

I suspect that the Fed will not so much be setting rates as following them. There are limits to how far out of sync they can get with the market, and the market is going to be demanding higher yields if it is to buy the flood of treasuries required to cover our $trillion+ deficits.

I agree that the Fed will doing more following than leading, but that doesn't mean it won't try.

As far as the 10 year rate goes, once we break through 4% many investors be will reconsidering whether it is really 'safe' to be investing in the bond market as opposed to the stock market or anything else. Rates could move up rather fast once the illusion about bond market stability is shattered - as the US government will keep coming to market with $trillions more in debt.

In a traditional market, bond yields rise as investors sell and switch to stocks which then (hopefully) rise. With the enthusiasm about the Dow at 11,000 and the looming recovery, money is just rotating out of perceived bond safe haven and into stocks.

Business as usual rocks on.

money is just rotating out of perceived bond safe haven and into stocks.

money is just rotating out of perceived bond safe haven and into stocks oil.

Expect the oil price to climb to a peak then collapse back as the money flows first into oil then back out to something else. The change in the price of oil (the blue line) is just the first derivative of the amount of speculative money looking to make something out of nothing (the orange line).


Half right.

Remember that since oil is a use-value commodity you need to overlay the speculative curve with the traditional supply:demand:price curve.

If you compare your curve to the 2008 peak it appears that you need about a 30 degree baseline rise to overlay the standard speculative curve over.

Not a perfect match, but it is a very complex system and I doubt the fundamentals portion of the curve is anywhere near linear.

I agree, I was just pointing out that a sigmoid shape to the price of oil almost certainly indicates speculators at work - despite what the market makers/regulators/banksters will tell you!

The ~30% upward slope of the x axis (well above general inflation, thus making the oil ever less affordable) that we also observe is the tell tale sign of peak oil IMO - so you end up with the blue oil price line like this.


@ xeroid

I think you are onto something here, but I don't agree that it's speculators to blame, but rather producers supporting the price with free money from fund investors who are seeking to hedge inflation. ie avoid a loss rather than make a transaction profit.

I reckon there's maybe $30 to $40 /bbl of finance in the oil price at the moment.

This was an interesting post by Andrew Butter at Seeking Alpha today, and I responded as follows

The New Reality of $90-Plus Oil -- Seeking Alpha

Great article, and congrats as well re your piece concerning your visit to Iran.

My analysis is that market prices have two bounds: an upper bound where demand destruction sets in; and a lower bound where production destruction (to maybe coin a phrase) takes place.

So far, so simple.

Markets also have three States: a Buyers' Market; a Sellers' Market and an Uncertain Market.

The difference is sequential.

In a Sellers' Market bids come in first and sellers hit them; in a Buyers' Market offers come in first and buyers hit them; and in an Uncertain Market anything goes.

Changes of State take place at the market bounds.

Clearly, oil appears currently to be a Sellers' Market testing buyers' capacity to pay. Whereas natural gas is a Buyers' Market testing producers' willingness to supply, and I think that the breakdown in the relationship between oil and gas prices reflects this difference in market States.

In relation to oil I think that the lower bound is probably around $50.00 bbl and that the crash from $147 was a typical over-correction.

The reason the price is once again at the upper bound is that it has been pumped back up to that level not by speculators or investment banks, but by ETF money. ETFs are borrowing oil from producers, and in return lends them money interest-free.

This is financial oil leasing


and it takes place in the opaque and systemically manipulated Brent/BFOE complex which actually sets the global oil price, and it is facilitated by investment banks.

The futures markets are the tail on the Brent/BFOE dog, and the investment banks are the fat fleas on the dog. The US WTI contract has been largely irrelevant to global oil pricing for many years, and the death knell was when the Saudis recently switched pricing to ASCI. This switch is consistent with my suspicion that the Saudis are acting as de facto Central Oil Bank, and were reducing their market friction costs.

As far as I know, this financial oil leasing was pioneered by Shell and ETF Securities in 2005, quite openly, and took place for the very good reason that it cut out the futures market's take, where the casino has maybe half a dozen zeroes on the wheel.

I think that for as long as dollar interest rates are at the zero bound then the oil price will be marched up to the top of the hill, will collapse, and then re-commence the march. For most of the time at the moment, the shape of the oil price curve is determined by the yield curve, I think.

Denninger writes about it.


No, this is not predicting a 1987-style crash - at least not today or tomorrow. But with both rates and oil headed up hard the effective tax this presents to the economy is going to hit home immediately and hard, with no evidence that this very same backup in oil is in commodities generally (look at wheat lately?)

That's not inflation, it's financial speculation in a blow-off top.

Real job creation and a healthier economy? We'll see.

All grades of oil back above $80 today! - signs of a green shoot, or peak oil?


Green shoots obviously. Get ready to cheer and put on your Dow 11,000 hats again they are telling me on Bloomberg. Time I got the bottle of Glenfiddich out.

Just read this piece from ECRI.


The conclusion on pg13 is remarkable. And Just to clarify this is without them factoring in the peak oil. But I guess that they are assuming the high oil prices are here to 'stay'.

The investment crowd is starting to smell blood...


The New Reality of $90-Plus Oil

Going forward, for now the World Bank is forecasting that the World’s nominal GDP growth in 2010 will be 3.8% and it will be 4.9% in 2012, that’s in US Dollars.

Assuming that number is in the ball-park (although remember it was prepared by economists, so caution is advised), that would suggest demand for oil is set to increase.

BUT – there are capacity constraints on the supply of oil (both real and artificial):

No one knows for sure how much spare capacity there is (everyone lies, even to themselves), but there is a pretty good consensus that unless some dramatic new technology is found (which hasn’t been found for the past twenty years), or unless electric cars become economically viable…still a long-way away... for the medium-term it’s highly likely that once the world economy starts to grow, demand will be in the neighbourhood of, or will exceed supply….and that will drive up prices.

Since 2005. . .

Using Sam's best case for the (2005) top five net oil exporters, their post-2005 CNOE (Cumulative Net Oil Exports) will be about 30% depleted (70% remaining) at the end of 2010. And then we have the Chindia Factor (ELM 2.0).

How about the new reality is that oil cannot drop below $90? If it does, production will slow even more.

If I were a very wealthy speculator [full disclosure: I have no position in any oil stock, or in oil as a commodity], and I saw that increasing price was NOT causing increased supply, I would start hoarding right now. Bunker Hunt, are you there? Bunker? Bueller? Anyone?

IMHO, this was what happened in 2007-8 when supply did not respond [because oil has peaked].

If this analysis is correct, watch out! $200, here we come.


GreenSpace: Pumped up over a smart heat-pump water heater

Most of us are not given to paroxysms of delight over appliances, however handy they may be.

But Paul Thompson is different, and not long ago the Washington Crossing retiree discovered something big - a new kind of water heater that saves him hundreds of dollars a year.

It's a heat-pump water heater, and it works like a refrigerator in reverse. It takes heat from the surrounding air and transfers it to the water. Basically, using electricity to move the heat is more efficient than using it to create the heat.

Once a niche, almost-oddball product, it has hit the big time. Two major companies, Rheem and General Electric, have introduced models in recent months.

See: http://www.philly.com/philly/living/green/89894332.html

Water heaters are the second largest energy consumer in the home and approximately one-half of all U.S. homes are fitted with electric water heaters (and over 90 per cent of all homes in some parts of Canada), so the potential energy and dollar savings are fairly significant.


Why will people get excited over a complex heatpump water heater and not a simple solar water heater that uses very little electricity?

Hi Ghung,

My guess is because they're a simple drop-in replacement and reasonably inexpensive -- approximately $1,500.00, less government and utility rebates where they exist. In our case, our local climate isn't solar-friendly (see: http://atlantic-web1.ns.ec.gc.ca/climatecentre/default.asp?lang=En&n=614...), our home is oriented east-west, the roof line is punctuated by multiple dormers, and the south/south-west exposure is shaded by cliff and stand of pine trees. Quite honestly, you would be hard pressed to find a less suitable candidate for solar. In addition, we run our basement de-humidifier virtually non-stop seven months of the year; one of the side benefits of a heat pump water heater as noted is de-humidification so, in effect, we receive two services for the price of one.


Not to mention that the neighbors can't see it.

Lots of folks out there willing, even eager, to save energy but aren't willing to take on the social stigma associated with it.

Social stigma?

LOL! That would be funny except that in the last couple of weeks I had to deal with a municipality that wanted us to put up a screen around a solar hot water collector in order to get the permit passed. I explained that this would cause a potential shading issue which would cause a rather severe deterioration in the collector's performance. No dice. The little old ladies who are the town's aesthetics police seem to have a lot of power there. The structural engineer in charge of permitting was sympathetic and understood the dilemma but couldn't do much more than shrug his shoulders. I decided to let the owner of the house deal with it...

Interesting. Reminds me of the story a short while back about the city in California (!) that didn't want their residents to alter their yard to save on water.


We're f-cked.

Hi r4ndom,

That's a valid point. Some homeowners would have no issues with respect to their appearance and may even view them a public extension or embodiment of their values; others may not be so enthusiastic.

I confess I'm of two minds. There are a couple homes in our neighbourhood that have solar DHW systems. When I walk by I'll think "hey, good for them!", followed by, "gez, no matter what else they do to this property, those panels will always remain the dominate focal point".


Solar hot water is more popular than PV in my neighborhood, but most of the hot water collectors are pretty ugly. And I think almost all are swimming pool heaters, so they are just partial support for backyard energy hogs. The PV panels (I've now seen a 13th home with them), all look pretty good -shiny black glass. Most of the PV units are hard to spot (on 2nd story roofs, often not facing the road etc).

Hi EoS,

The home down the street from us has four fair sized collectors. They're installed on a tilted frame, presumably because of our higher latitude, and there are two large diameter (insulated) PVC pipes that run from it to the edge of the roof and then down the side. It's hard to miss and if it were at the back of the house it wouldn't be an issue but, street side, it's as welcome as a cold sore on date night.


My thoughts exactly... though the article does mention they are cool looking because they resemble R2D2. Passive thermal solar just ain't that cool.

And of course the rest of the problem is that many houses have very little roof area aiming toward the south.

I recently looked a pretty old Craftsman style home, and there was almost no roof area that would clearly recieve good solar exposure, and what was there had very bad angles (the old houses with rooves pointing in every direction) but then noticed the nice long black asphalt driveway...the idea thing would be to run some pipes embedded in the drive, let the drive act as a solar collector and then move the heat by way of a small heat pump. I have seen designs like this before in magazines and it may be a great way to move forward.


One can find lots of ideas in magazines. Trouble is, many of those ideas aren't going to work. Your idea of using the asphalt D/W as a thermal source ignores the fact that the asphalt will cool at night and isn't going to gain much thermal energy above ambient during the day as it is cooled by the air above. In a really cold climate, which includes most of the US in winter, you would likely find that there was little heat to be gained.

An analogy would be the typical solar heating panels used for swimming pools which do not have cover plates. In summer, these systems collect lots of energy, since the water circulating thru them is below ambient, but in winter, there's no gain. Then too, with the asphalt D/W, the solar energy goes into heating the material below the asphalt, most likely a layer of gravel, as well as the asphalt, so that's another problem.

A friend of mine bought one of those old Craftsman houses and rehabbed it. They could have built an entire new house for all the money they put into it. If you built from scratch, you would be able to pick the proper angles and orientation for the best solar gain. If you really want an energy efficient solar building, you are going to give up many of those quaint architectural twists, unless your site allows the solar installation to be on the rear of the structure and thus not visible from the street...

E. Swanson

I'm still skeptical on this product.

Not that it doesn't preform the fundamental service of DHW but at the claim of 'savings.' The only thing I see fundamentally in the design that leverages technology is the heat pump part of the system which can have a COP > 300, IIRC.

I'd like to see a complete before and after on site, season degree day to season degree day, load calculation.

Obviously they are comparing against electric resistance heating, and assuming you are using a lot of hot water. I suspect NG fired units are similar in operating cost.


I know the Oak Ridge National Laboratory did extensive testing of HPWHs a number of years ago and the results were quite positive, and I would expect this latest generation of water heaters to perform even better.

In accordance with the DOE's standard test procedure, a conventional 50-gallon electric water heater uses 4,881 kWh per year and the new GE heat pump water heater uses 1,856 kWh, so there's over 3,000 kWh in the difference.

Consumer Reports in their testing found that the GE HPWH cut water heating costs by at least 50 per cent in "hybrid mode" whereby the backup resistance elements supply additional support during periods of heavy use. However, if you were to run it in heat pump mode only, the potential savings would be that much greater (here you effectively trade-off a longer recovery time and the risk of run outs for greater energy savings).

See: http://blogs.consumerreports.org/home/2010/03/ge-geospring-electric-heat...

The wattage of a standard residential water heater runs anywhere from 3,000 to 5,500-watts and a HPWH draws something in the range of 700-watts. Ninety per cent of all homes in New Brunswick are equipped with electric water heaters and the system peak generally falls around 08h00 due to the heavy demand for hot water in the early morning hours. Install one of these products in 50,000 homes and you could potentially cut peak demand by some 150 MW.

You can view a copy of these testing procedures at: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/appliance_standards/residential/pd...


Paul, I would add that there is a SUBSTANTIAL external benefit to these things. Going on your numbers, with an average of say, 3700 watts for a conventional system, then there is a peak demand reduction of 3kW per house that switches from std electric to this.

In the cities, many houses are NG hot water, but in the country it's the reverse.

In any case, most hot water heaters are recovering during the daytime, which is when the electric utilities see peak demand.
If 1000 houses change to these, that is a peak demand reduction of 3MW, 10,000 houses that is 30MW of peak demand.

So, for the electric utilities, this can be a major load management tool, in addition to the energy savings.

This is why the Canadian electric utilities, with lots of hydro power, are encouraging these things (along with many other peak shifting initiatives). All the peak power that is saved can be sold to the US, at peak prices, and bought back in the middle of the night at off peak prices. Call it "sell high, buy low"

Here in BC we are a net importer of electricity, but we make a net profit on exports for the above reason. Dehumdifiying of utility rooms is a definite bonus for the coastal areas. In the prairies, it would not be quite so effective, as the winter air is bone dry.

Of course, an "off peak" electric water heater can achieve the same load shifting, but not the energy savings. Both is definitely much better.

Hi Paul,

In addition, these GE heat pump water heaters are smart grid ready (there's a data port built into the side), so their backup elements can be shut off whenever the grid is under severe stress. For basically $500.00 per kW of load saving (or less if there's a customer contribution) it's a cost-effective DSM option. The utility could also recover all or a portion of its lost revenue through an energy efficiency benefits surcharge similar to what we have in this province, e.g., $0.00193 per kWh.

Lower peak demand + load shedding capabilities + reduced emissions for utilities with fossil-fired generation + potentially greater power export revenues = one sweet deal.


Re: Energy Independence talk...

Free trade enhances our welfare by allowing us to import products from those who have a comparative advantage producing them.

The concept of "Free Trade" is a misnomer. A worker in a 3rd world factory making widgets for ten cents an hour so Wal-Mart can make a corporate profit is not a "comparative advantage"? It's called exploitation. Perhaps we should return to the dark days of slavery, which at least was honest: We own you and we are using your labor for our purpose. At least the welfare of chattel was the responsibility of slave-owners.

The author, Kevin Hassett, is director of economic-policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, and is a Bloomberg News columnist. It appears to me that Kevin has a "comparative advantage" in the the pasty-faced pencil-neck market.

Here's an idea: Have Kevin work for 30 days in a Chinese manufacturing plant and get his experience first hand with what it takes to "enhance our welfare".


Yeah, but I don't know, Joe. He looks very confident in that Picture up top.

What I don't get in the statement you quoted is the 'Increases our Welfare' part. Especially with energy, where we are just pouring billions a day out of the country.

Is it as simple as "Well, if I'm invested in them and making dividends on the impoverishing of the US, that is a positive economic indicator in MY book."

...we are just pouring billions a day out of the country.

We are importing goods, services and resources and trading that for debt. Americans are riding high because of our governments ability to externalize our debt. We are able to continue this scam because of our "big stick". How else can less than 5% of the worlds' population hope to continue consuming 25% of world resources? What a lot of people on this site realize is that as soon as that pyramid scheme begins to unravel the U.S. will be on the quick road to financial collapse.

A signature of these times in America -- the nation too big to fail and tragically destined to do just that on account of its too big to fail-ness.

This far along in the tribulations of our time, most Americans still have not heard of peak oil, and the few who have regard it as some figment that Ralph Nader or Al Gore conjured up on an acid trip in a sweat lodge. The more sophisticated among the mentally unwashed are certain that the earth has a creamy nougat center of low-sulfer light crude oil, or they heard that the Bakken formation in Dakota holds more oil than Saudi Arabia, or that the whole US car and truck fleet will be electrified in a year or two, or that we can drill-baby-drill our way to permanent oil abundance, or just that the American can-do spirit will come up with something to keep Happy Motoring alive because we're the greatest! Such grandiosity!

The feeling spreads across the USA that our troubles are behind us. Employment is ticking up. The S & P index only goes up now. The banks have stabilized and those "toxic assets" (which I call "frauds" and "swindles") have been disarmed and safely buried under Yucca Mountain.
J H Kunstler

Kunstler might be a cranky old curmudgeon but I have come to depend on his Monday morning injections of despair.


There will be lots of dead.


What a lot of people on this site realize is that as soon as that pyramid scheme begins to unravel the U.S. will be on the quick road to financial collapse.

Along those lines is an article that just came out today. It was on Google news for just a short period of time but I got the link:


In March, more individuals and businesses filed for bankruptcy than in any month since October 2005, when federal bankruptcy laws were made more restrictive. There were 158,141 U.S. bankruptcy petitions filed last month — a 35% increase over February's figure, according to data compiled by Automated Access to Court Records (AACER). This was a 19% increase over the number in October 2009, the last record-high month.

This whole smoke and mirrors economic recovery bit is masked by some really hard situations by individuals, businesses, towns, cities, states and the Fed. How can it be called a recovery when the Fed goes over a trillion further in debt every year? I think this year is suppose to be about 1.6 trillion added on. That's not a recovery. Oil at 85+ per barrel based on tepid economic numbers is not a good sign. If the economy does kick into high gear, how long will it be before another economic step down occurs? It won't take much. 105-125 a barrel I'm guessing.

Too bad he conveniently overlooks another time that Mr.Obama (Mr Tibbs anyone?) has failed to live up to the dreamy vision Kunstler had of him.
Not a word about "drill 'bama drill"?
Kunstlers' kennedyesque elitism is starting to wear thin.

Well, those Chinese peasants are flooding into the cities to take those low wage jobs. As awful as their working conditions seem to us, for the Chinese taking them they are more attractive than staying on the farm. China is creating the worlds largest middle class from this same development, and wages do rise as the country gets richer. Of course our balance of payments are unsustainable, eventually we will have to start making more of our own stuff.

AEI, is a propaganda mill. They just made the news for firing an analyst for being too much of an independent thinker. You should expect that anything coming from these thinktank rent-an-expert is propaganda designed to serve the agenda of the rich tycoons that fund them.

I don't know. What would the Chinese worker be doing otherwise ? Anything better ?

I know in India - the "export oriented industries" treat their employees better, they are better paid and the factories are a lot cleaner and hygienic. They also get better workers as a result.

I don't know. What would the Chinese worker be doing otherwise ? Anything better ?

Hmmm, let's think for a minute...I can stay on this impoverished farm and slowly starve to death or I can spend 40 years as a wage slave at a widget factory.

Don't you get it? There's no choice. Why is that hard to see? But I imagine in 40 years the U.S. will be in the same or worse condition.


I used to read the same stories about the industrial revolution in England:
"Yes the factories were frightful and the slums were squalid but the people preferred them to the dismal lives they lived on the land"

Yeah right.

It turns out that the English peasants were turned out of their land so that sheep could graze. The wool trade was much more profitable than letting those crummy peasants grow grain.

I suspect much of the same today in India and China. After you take away the land that supported their families for a 1000 generations they become quite grateful factory workers. Even the children

"It turns out that the English peasants were turned out of their land so that sheep could graze. The wool trade was much more profitable than letting those crummy peasants grow grain."

Yep, and that was the real, historic tragedy of the commons--not the hordes overusing the common space, but one powerful man, with a desire for profit and a proto-capitalist ideology assuring him that it was natural and virtuous, kicking the masses off the land.

I haven't been keeping up with the issue lately, but I thought the greatest migration of history--hundreds of millions moving from the Chinese countryside to the cities--had started to reverse as the economy got sour. Is it shifting back again to urbanization?

Congressional Research Service - Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress

The report only includes resources that would be technically recoverable with current technology; they may not necessarily be economically recoverable under prevailing oil and gas prices.

Why do these reports never include EROEI? Unless the term, 'economically recoverable' is synonymous with EROEI above 1.0, they will believe that, because there is a profit from oil, we can continue BAU. In reality, when EROEI drops below 1, the only reasons for continued use of oil is for tasks only oil can perform. Pharmaceuticas, plastics, and so forth.

Also, how are they able to make statements about undiscovered oil reserves, when they have not been discovered yet. At this point they are inferred at best, and fictional at worst.

And, where do the find 2.4 BB in the 'known resources' of the world? Oh.. wait. That is stated, not proven, and they choose to believe SA, Iran, Iraq and Kuwait? Well, whatever they want. They will discover that rising prices will not impact production post peak... the only thing it can possibly influence is demand, by making it to unaffordable that no one can use the stuff. Then we take the next step down.

Ned ("the Head") to Phil (the Weatherman, not the Groundhog):

"Watch out for that first step. It's a doozey!"


If you look at the USGS map most of that recoverable hydrocarbon reserve is sitting in Russia's economic zone. Not off Greenland or the Canadian archipelago. Of course there is supposed to be plenty in the Beaufort Sea and off the coast of Alaska. The EROEI of shallow Siberian shelf gas or oil reserves is not that low. Norwegians already pump gas via underwater platforms that avoid ice damage. Canadian tar sands are EROEI garbage in comparison. Since NATO knows that the economically accessible reserves are out of reach, it is making noises about "not recognizing" Russian shelf claims. Of course no one will get anything out these shelves if they want to play this game.

This damn thing refuses to die...

N.S. biomass energy project planned

Nova Scotia Power and NewPage Port Hawkesbury have reached an agreement to develop a $200-million facility to generate electricity by burning biomass.

They are planning a 60-megawatt biomass project that could produce three per cent of the province's electricity to supply 50,000 homes.

This proposal is similar to one rejected by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board last year. But this version is promising to create an additional 150 jobs in the woods of northern Nova Scotia.

See: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/nova-scotia/story/2010/04/05/ns-biomass-newpage...

Burn coal not forests !


With all due respect, burning coal is a bad idea without using carbon capture and sequestration. If James Hansen is to be believed, we have already exceeded the safe level for atmospheric CO2. Your worry about biomass, that is to say, forests, would be pointless if the Earth's temperature passes some threshold which initiates a positive feedback causing a runaway temperature. The forests would die along with the rest of the life forms, including humanity...

E. Swanson

Hi BD,

From time to time you'll see a tag line at the bottom of my posts that reads "No more coal-fired power plants !", but this alternate version pops us when discussing industrial scale biomass operations. I very much despise both options.


I suspect there is a certain amount of sustainable fuelwood that could be tapped. When I lived in the southern rockies, the forest service would open up small tracts for thinning via firewood cutting. The area of these tracts is only a few percent of the areas that need thinning. Now New Mexico and Colorado are not NS, but pretty dry forests where in the normal order of things tree density is low. But, clearly we do have significant untapped resources. The current alteratives are either controlled burns, or just wait for a catastrophic forest fire, so increasing fuelwood harvesting would be an improvement. Whether NS has excess wood, is a question I can't answer.

Arctic thaw frees overlooked greenhouse gas: study

At least there is some good news. We will die, laughing.



The London Times this week and the NY Post have a little reported story that in fact scientists have discovered the Arctic Ice Cap sharply increased last winter and returned to levels not seen since 2001. A couple more years of that and maybe some mainstream media will report it.

Don't get complacent about that. It is true that the surface ice increased; it is also true that the depth of that ice diminished again, and that the mass of ice is lower. That means that when, as predicted, northern warming resumes at an accellerated rate, that ice will melt off faster than the grin off your face when you learn you are wrong.

You need to find new sources. NY Post is, well, Murdoch.


Do you have any links on this year's volume and/or thickness?

Here's a link to the current Arctic sea-ice extent, as measured from satellites. Be aware that the calculation of the "extent" variable is done differently than the calculation called "area", which some researchers look at. As for calculating volume, that is a different calculation and includes estimates of first year ice and multi-year ice. The sea-ice which survives at the end of a year's melt season is counted as multi-year ice. As the trend in coverage at the end of the melt season is downward, this points to a decline multi-year ice going into the following season. Of course, there are year-to-year variations...

E. Swanson

I think ice extent includes all grid blocks with a satellite estimated sea ice vover of 15% or more. Area and especially volume are a lot tougher to get good data for. The increase (to slightly below 79-2000) average was pretty rapid. I doubt it is very thick and should be gone early in the melt season.

You need to find new sources. NY Post is, well, Murdoch.

Strangely enough so is his other source - The Times (of London).

Thanks. I learned something today. I'm not that 'up' on Brit rags.


NY Post is, well, Murdoch.

And a Saudi prince is a major shareholder of Newscorp(se).

Interesting... assuming you do not mean that Murdoch is a Saudi Prince, that is.



Of course, a single year's data for maximum extent does not prove anything. The sea-ice extent did not "sharply increase", having only risen to the long term average. The important variable is the minimum extent, which has exhibited a downward trend. Last year's minimum was not as low as that of 2007, but that does not prove the long trend toward a decline after the melt season. After all, for the past few years, solar activity, as exhibited by sunspots, has been minimal and that is likely to have produced a slight cooling. Well, the sunspots have again begun to appear on the Sun, so it is reasonable to conclude that things will begin to warm.

Why not come back in August or September and give us an update on the latest data on sea-ice and climate? Until then, I think your story proves nothing, except that you might be spreading disinformation...

E. Swanson

2007,2008, and 2009 were so far below the trend that any return to normal will look like a big gain. So the best "bet" would be min extent will be greater than 2009.

The disinformation sphere will seize on anything that can be spun as global warming has stopped. With noisey natural systems there will always be some short-term metrics that can be spun into talking points.

And Fox Nation (owned by fox news) was claiming that 2 people died in Antartica trying to prove global warming.

Care to comment?

That the freeze happened so late in the season implies that a lot of extra heat had to be shed from last summer's melt.

It was widely reported in the MSM, and discussed here before you brought it up. Not to mention posted up top in the thread where you first posted about it. Pretty ironic, that you posted your complaint about the media ignoring it...when a link to a MSM report was in the same thread.

The BBC reporting that the UK General Election will formally be called after a meeting between Gordon Brown and the Queen tomorrow. The date will be May 6th as expected.

This is the date that has long been pencilled in - barring something totally unexpected but is now set in stone unless nuclear war breaks out tonight or something. Even I'm not quite that pessimistic :-)

PM to announce 6 May general election

Gordon Brown will announce on Tuesday morning that the general election will, as expected, be held on 6 May, BBC political editor Nick Robinson says.

The prime minister will go to Buckingham Palace to ask the Queen to dissolve Parliament.

On returning from the Palace he will formally confirm the date and make a speech in Downing Street in which he will dub the election "the big choice".

Pemex standing short on crude, seeks help against long odds

A humble request for information from all oil drummers. Does any one have the latest oil production figures for Mexico? Consumption numbers for this year would also be appreciated. Have been unable to check the drum beat on daily basis recently and am worried I may have missed this info even if it has been posted.

Thanks in advance,


Here's what Pemex reports for February:

Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), Mexico's state-run oil enterprise has announced that its February crude oil output was better-than-expected, recording only a 2% drop year-on-year to 2.61 million barrels per day (bpd)

Does anyone have March numbers?


The March data will not be out until April 23rd. Go to the link below and click on "Publication Schedule".

Pemex Petroleum Statistics

Ron P.

Thank you Craig & Ron. Early days yet but they seem to be showing a slight increase so far. 2991 (2010) versus 2971 for 2009. I know that Pemex said that they would be able to slow or arrest the declines somewhat, but I had thought it was so much hot air. Are Pemex known for being pretty reliable with their figures or could there be a political bias with a tendency towards hiding any bad news?

I came across this memo about the Mackenzie pipeline . It gives some stats on the amount of conventional natural gas and proven reserves. I thought I would post this as the recent news of the delay of this project will make thing interesting in the next couple of years. I don't believe the shale gas will be enough to maintain working pressure.


This pipeline is no closer to being built than it was 10 years ago. It is always "five years away". After five years of discussions, they still have not resolved aboriginal land issues, and it is certainly not economic at prevailing prices.
To make things worse, the Alaska government is determined to go ahead with their own, parallel, pipeline, instead of connecting to the Cdn one, so it will ensure that neither pipeline is really profitable, and that is why there has been no real progress on getting either built.

If I was the oil companies, I'd be looking at an LNG storage and terminal./ Liquefy and store in winter, then ship to whichever market you want in summer.

"Aboriginal land issues" are a cheap pretext. Aboriginals routinely get steam rolled by the Canadian government and its corporate buddies. The Alberta tar sands are a good example. So land issues are not even on the list of reasons of why this project is still pending.

Aboriginals routinely get steam rolled by the Canadian government and its corporate buddies.

Yeah, and if so, why are Aboriginal Rights written into the Canadian Constitution? Why did the Aboriginal Peoples of the North get their own territory (Nunavut - 20% of Canada's land area)? Why is the Canadian government paying billions of dollars to settle claims made by them under the treaties they signed?

They may not have gotten all the rights they wanted, but they did get a lot of them, and they are legally enforcible.

For a fascinating look at bees, our dependency upon these industrious creatures, and the threats to their survival, the CBC's The Nature of Things aired a programme last night entitled To Bee or Not to Bee. You can view this episode at http://www.cbc.ca/documentaries/natureofthings/2010/bees/

Also, for anyone interested in nuclear power, checkout their February 11th show entitled "My Nuclear Neighbour" at: http://www.cbc.ca/documentaries/natureofthings/2010/mynuclearneighbour/


MSNBC is going to have a special on Energy in the USA on Thursday at 11 PM, EDT.


CNBC has a special coming up later this month too. "BEYOND THE BARREL: THE RACE TO FUEL THE FUTURE" ON THURSDAY, APRIL 22ND AT 8PM ET


Last night (7:30 to 8:30PM, April 5, 2010) I was surprised to see a 1 hour documentary on Peak Oil on Canada's History channel (CH 522 on Bell Expressvu satelite service). It is to be followed apparently by a second 1 hour part from 7:00 to 8:00PM tonite. I think I gathered from one sighting of credits that the series has been produced entirely be Canwest Global.

Questionably, it starts by positing the immediate total disappearance of petroleum worldwide tomorrow. From there, it does a fairly decent "doomer-lite" presentation out to approximate stability 40 years later, with cities greatly reduced, everyone growing their own food, algae based bio-diesel supplying some transport, 6 aircraft trips accross the ocean per year, etc. IMHO completely unrealisticly posits no serious security issues, but that may just be me.

Not sure what's in tonites broadcast, as appears to have covered the crash --> recovery part already.

That sounds kind of like World Without Oil.

That's it. Hadn't heard of it before, but I recognize this bit of the credits.

"A Cream Productions Inc. Production In Association with Canwest Broadcasting, ITV Global Entertainment and National Geographic Channel "

It aired March 8 here in the US (they showed it in one two-hour block rather than in two parts). There's some discussion the DrumBeats that night and the day after. Most of us weren't very impressed.

Agreed, not very realistic, appears to have been written by the same group as did that movie which posited complete dramatic climate change in one night, but at least might get the idea out to a few more people.

I saw the World Without Oil show, and was singularly unimpressed. It was a totally unrealistic scenario. Why would the Canadian oil sands suddenly disappear and Canada have to ask for oil aid from the US? More likely the reverse. The rest of the show also demonstrated a complete non-understanding of the world oil markets.

More likely scenario - Islamic Jihad overthrows the government of Saudi Arabia, decapitates the king, and announces the official government policy is "Death to the Infidels". Iran announces it is onside with the Infidel Death agenda and is willing to back it up with nuclear weapons. Conflict spreads to Iraq, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. Arab governments in North Africa declare martial law in an attempt to suppress insurgents. Muslims in Nigeria seize the oil fields. At the next OPEC meeting, Chávez of Venezuela announces he supports the "Death to the Infidels" policy only for infidels in capitalist countries. Venezuela will still ship oil to socialists. OPEC exports to capitalist infidel countries fall to zero.

Meanwhile (other shoe dropping scenario) Russia suffers a political and economic crises and descends into chaos (not a unique situation). Russian oil exports fall to zero.

And then (it never is so bad that it can't get worse scenario) A category 5 hurricane rips through the oil platforms on the Gulf of Mexico and hits the refineries in Houston. GOM production and Gulf Coast refinery production fall to zero.

Finally (there is no accounting for stupidity scenario) Hilary Clinton calls the Prime Minister of Canada a "male chauvinist pig", he calls her a "tight *ssed b*tch", she slaps his face, and Canada announces it is diverting all its oil exports to China.

Okay, the Clinton bit is a little far out there, and is only loosely based on the spitting contest at the recent G8 Meeting of Foreign Ministers, but the rest of it is not improbable given the current international conditions.

It really needs to be analyzed in terms of Normal Accident Theory, because the components are not unlikely, and the chances of them occurring together are not unlikely. If it occurred, it would be an example of a Normal Accident.

At the end of it all, 30% of world exports would be gone. The US would be particularly hard hit and most Americans would be walking to work, if they had jobs at all. The Europeans would be only able to get oil if they were neither infidels nor capitalists. The Chinese would only have oil because they bought up all the available supplies when the Americans were not looking.

It's not hard to come up with a more credible crisis than "All the oil suddenly vanished for no apparent reason."

Canada Scenario:

As above elsewhere, but Canada revokes NAFTA oil sharing and decides to supply East Canada from Alberta.

They charter a few small tankers, CP & CN railroads manage to collect a number of ethanol rail tank cars, and they rail oil from Alberta to Thunder Bay, ON where a makeshift transfer port loads the tankers for transport via Great Lakes.

In the winter, or when USA makes Great Lakes navigation difficult, oil is piped (in what was NG pipelines) or railed to BC coast and tankers go via Panama Canal to Maritimes, Quebec and Ontario.

BTW, I simply call the scenario "When the Islamic Republic of Arabia kicks out the House of Saud" and then imposes Islamic purity and austerity. Only sell enough oil to buy food, medicine, clothing and essential spare parts. And they prefer to sell to Islamic nations.

Not so Good Hopes,


Actually, the pipelines from Alberta run as far east as Toronto, and already supply refineries in the Toronto area.

In a crunch, the pipeline from Montreal to Toronto could be reversed, and instead of taking Arab oil to Toronto, could take Alberta oil to Montreal. That is what it was built for following the oil crises of the 70's.

The problem is that the refineries in Quebec can only handle sweet, light crude oil, and Alberta has almost none of that left. What is going to the US is mostly sour, heavy crude and bitumen, and the refineries in the US Midwest have been modified to handle it.

Past Montreal, the pipeline bringing Arab crude in from Portland, Maine could be reversed to carry Alberta oil to the Atlantic Ocean, and from there it could be shipped to the Maritime Provinces. The problem, again, is the the Maritime refineries can't handle the kind of crude Alberta is producing, either.

The Eastern Canadian refineries are considerably less sophisticated than US ones, and would need billions in investment to handle heavy oil. That's not likely to happen on short notice, if at all. More likely, the refineries would just shut down.

And, frankly, Alberta doesn't care who buys the oil as long as they pay in hard currency. It's all about money, you know.

I thought that the capacity of that AB-ON pipeline was far short of the needs of Eastern Canada. Excellent point @ the heavy sour crude though.

If Canada reneges on NAFTA (causa bella ?) I doubt that Maine ports will be available.

So the issue is getting the crude to a refinery that can refine it. Say Aruba. Via BC, small tankers at Thunder Bay (seasonal) or QC (also small tankers ?). Given capacity constraints, I think railing it to BC, refine in the Caribbean and then to Eastern Canada trade the crude for light sweet with someone that does have available light sweet crude (Norway ?).


There have been many authoritative articles in such sources as TOD over many years about what the systems of our civilization have done to its life support system. Yet economic growth is still the dominant paradigm. Governments are striving mightily to stimulate growth renewal during the current crisis without any regard for the reality that our systems are rapidly depleting the limited natural capital. They have taken little notice of the available sound messages. Contributors to TOD and like sites must often wonder why they are ignored by the powerful.

Stephen Jay Gould provides in "Life's Grandeur" insight into evolution. He points out the evidence that species evolution has not been along the simplistic 'selection of the fittest' that many people believe is Darwin's theory. Gould takes the view that we should look at the "full house" rather than being selective of particular factors. He warns of the danger of reification of subjects.

There is little doubt that peak oil will have a profound effect on the operation and maintenance of the systems of civilization, such as the cities, in the near future. However, those whom spell out this danger without recognizing that it is only one of a multitude of components of natural capital that are being irreversibly depleted are eroding their credibility. Combining peak oil with the impact of climate change, the acidification of the oceans, loss of topsoil, fertility and arable land, species extinction, lack of potable water and depletion of aquifer water provides a much stronger message of what civilization has done. This is compounded by erection of the vast infrastructure of civilization, as illustrated by the cities,using vast amounts of natural capital, including the energy from fossil fuels. Operation and maintenance of this infrastructure using the declining natural capital is not a sustainable process.

Widespread dissemination of this full house is much more likely to wake the 'leaders' of our society up. Some worthwhile remedial action may then ease the inevitable contraction of the economy.