Drumbeat: April 7, 2010

The Peak Oil Crisis: Countdown at the Guri

Now, if you are wondering why a falling water level in the Venezuelan highlands should be if interest to Americans, the answer is easy. Despite years of political tensions between the Chavez government and Washington, the U.S. is still importing some 800,000 barrels a day of crude from Venezuela. Should these imports go away, it is likely to come suddenly - shipping oil from Venezuela to Louisiana only takes two days -- we are going to see an instantaneous jump in gasoline prices. Given that the U.S. is at the top of President Chavez's least favorite countries list, it does not take much imagination to figure out who would be shut off first if exports have to be curtailed.

Are We Heading for a Decade of 1970s-Style Stagflation?

The big unknown in the decade ahead is the timing of Peak Oil, that is, when global supply falls irrevocably below baseline demand. As I have stated here many times, I believe we are in the "head-fake" stage when global Depression (oops, "Great Recession") is cutting demand so much that there is still enough surplus production to keep prices relatively low. As the output from supergiant fields falls, then all this surplus production will at best be replacing supply lost to depletion.

When Peak Oil kicks in, then $300/barrel will seem like a "fair price" and the shockwave to the U.S. economy will outstrip the 70s oil price shock by an order of magnitude because the low-hanging fruit of efficiencies have been picked.

But nobody knows when supply will fall irrevocably below demand, as geopolitics and physical supply are both causal factors.

Iran: Obama ‘can’t do a damn thing’

TEHRAN, Iran - Iran's hard-line president on Wednesday ridiculed President Barack Obama's new nuclear strategy, which turns the U.S. focus away from the Cold War threats and instead aims to stop the spread of atomic weapons to rogue states or terrorists.

Catastrophe thinking

The fact that people can imagine catastrophe doesn't mean they want to think about it, or do what's necessary to address it when that requires importing a dose of the pain into the present.

Atlantic may see above-average hurricane season

(CNN) -- University forecasters predict the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season will be above average, with 15 named storms and eight of those becoming hurricanes.

The Colorado State University report was released Wednesday, nearly two months before the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season on June 1.

2 more glaciers gone from Glacier National Park

BILLINGS, Mont. – Glacier National Park has lost two more of its namesake moving icefields to climate change, which is shrinking the rivers of ice until they grind to a halt, a government researcher said Wednesday.

Report: Dozens killed in Kyrgyzstan protests

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan - Anti-government unrest rocked the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan on Wednesday as thousands of protesters stormed the main government building, set fire to the prosecutor's office and looted state TV headquarters.

At least 17 people were killed and least 180 wounded in clashes, the government told the Associated Press, while Reuters reported that an emergency services official said more than 50 people may have been killed.

The eruption of violence upset the relative stability of this mountainous former Soviet nation, which houses a U.S. military base that is a key supply center in the fight against the Taliban in nearby Afghanistan.

Demonstrators furious over government corruption and a recent hike in power prices looted the state television and radio building and were marching toward the Interior Ministry in the capital, Bishkek, according to Associated Press reporters on the scene. Elite police opened fire to drive crowds back from government headquarters.

Oil Prices On a Tear and Headed Higher

"It's safe to say that we'll see triple-digit oil prices by the fourth quarter of this year," Jeff Rubin, the former CIBC World Markets Inc. chief economist who accurately predicted oil's surge during the last decade, said in an interview with Bloomberg News. "When we get into 2011 or 2012 and we start to deal with prices of $120 a barrel, $147 a barrel, $160 a barrel, that's where I think at least the global economy becomes very challenged."

Schork Oil Outlook: Crude Aiming for $100?

Even traditionally conservative Saudi Arabia and the UAE have added production capacity. Put simply, OPEC refuses to cut its quotas under the assumption that global demand will pick up to absorb the spare barrels currently in the system. But when every one of the world’s largest oil producing nations is flooding the system with barrels, the market will need a very large sponge.

Baker Hughes wants prices to remain at current levels

KHOBAR: US oilfield services firm Baker Hughes needs oil prices at least around current levels of $86 a barrel, a top executive at the firm said yesterday. “We want oil prices to stay at least where they are which means for us doing business and for projects to continue,” said Belgacem Chariag, president of Baker Hughes for the Eastern Hemisphere.

Alaska's next move

After months about hearing conflicting reports about shale gas, the dean of oil & gas, Daniel Yergin, stated in a speech that the developments of fracking and seismic have been the greatest changes in the oil & gas industry in a century.

Shale is for real.

So exporting gas to foreign markets might be an option.

Dash for Poland’s gas could end Russian stranglehold

American technology to produce shale gas is unleashing a scramble for drilling rights in Poland, where experts believe vast reserves of unconventional gas exist that could help to weaken Russia’s grip on Europe’s energy supplies.

BP fights to limit controls on shale gas drilling

BP is lobbying on Capitol Hill against a federal US environmental agency being given jurisdiction over the use of a controversial method of extracting gas from shale deposits, ahead of an important meeting this week.

The London-based oil company wants decisions on drilling techniques such as hydraulic fracturing – which uses high-pressure liquids to force fissures – to be taken at state level, rather than being left to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), whose specialist committee meets on Wednesday to discuss its concerns.

Venezuela arrests 8 alleged Colombian spies

Chavez said the suspects, who were detained more than a week ago, had computers and satellite telephones and were using cameras to take photographs of Venezuela's power plants.

"They were moving around the country, taking photos," Chavez said during a televised speech. "Some of them have identification cards from the Colombia's army. The Colombian government will have to clarify that."

Don’t Drill for the Bill

Apart from the severe environmental hazards, Obama’s proposal is problematic because of the short-term solution it provides. Experts estimate that the total yield from the new drilling proposal will only provide three years of oil and about two years of natural gas, based on current consumption levels. These are paltry numbers. Nor is this, in fact, really a “solution.” The recovered oil and gas will not be available for many years, and it is possible that once the oil and gas tracts are found, extraction may be prohibitively expensive. In this circumstance, the country would not benefit—perhaps even losing money—and the environmental damage from preliminary research would have occurred needlessly.

Slick oil move by Obama

At 98 years old, Fenway Park in Boston is the oldest baseball stadium in America, and attending a game from this storied venue is one of the true pleasures of the sport.

Part of the iconography must be the experience of the so-called "Citgo" sign, an 18 by 18 meter 1960s' pop-art inspired light display featuring the trademark red triangle logo of the old Cities Service Petroleum Co on a roof outside the park, but visible inside it. Indeed, its visibility from most of the greater Boston area makes it one of the most recognizable features on the city skyline.

But recently, adult politics have invaded the playground. Between 1986 and 1990, Citgo was taken over by Venezuela's state-owned oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela.

The energy crisis

Among the many crises that Pakistan is facing today, undoubtedly the shortage of energy is the most serious one. It has not only stunted the economic growth but also has the potential of disturbing the peace and order in the country, as reflected by the increasingly violent public protests against long power outages.

Oil consumption rises 11 per cent in 9 months

KARACHI - Total oil consumption during the first 9 months (July-March) of FY10 stood at 14.8 million tons, up 11 per cent from the corresponding period of last year. Oil sales during March 2010 stood at 1.8m tons, up 34 per cent MoM and 4 per cent YoY on the back of robust HSD and petrol sales, according to the latest numbers released by the OCAC.

US Energy Boost to Get Pakistan Moving

A new $125 million USAID Energy Program will upgrade five major power stations, replace more than 11,000 tube wells producing water for agriculture, and boost Pakistan’s overall power production by 10 percent.

The crisis threatens the country’s political and economic stability. In volatile Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, day-long power interruptions that cut off the supply of clean water caused deadly riots for several weeks in May 2009.

Uganda: Fuel crisis intensifies as reserves run dry

Motorists will have to brave the petrol shortage until the end of this week after the government admitted that its reserves at Jinja are empty. State Minister for Energy Simon D’ujanga said the Jinja reserves have no fuel because they are being refurbished.

“We are now relying on the reserves from the fuel companies,” he said while giving government’s view on the shortage at the weekend.
The refurbishing of the reserves has been ongoing since the late 2007 political crisis in Kenya broke out, even though Mr D’ujanga said they will be ready by July/August.

A no from the World Bank could mean rolling black outs

South Africa could be faced with countrywide rolling blackouts if Eskom does not receive the massive loan it has requested from the World Bank.

Climate scientist Hansen wins $100,000 prize

(Reuters) - U.S. climate scientist James Hansen won a $100,000 environmental prize Wednesday for decades of work trying to alert politicians to what he called an unsolved emergency of global warming.

Out of the Demographic Trap: Hope for Feeding the World

Since independence in 1963, the Akamba’s population has more than doubled. Meanwhile, farm output has risen tenfold. Yet there are also more trees, and soil erosion is much reduced. The Akamba still use simple farming techniques on their small family plots. But today they are producing so much food that when I visited, they were selling vegetables and milk in Nairobi, mangoes and oranges to the Middle East, avocadoes to France, and green beans to Britain.

What made the difference? People. They made this transformation by utilizing their growing population to dig terraces, capture rainwater, plant trees, raise animals that provide manure, and introduce more labor-intensive but higher-value crops like vegetables. For them, “multiplication” of their numbers has been the solution rather than the problem. They have sprung the demographic trap.

Is Africa underpopulated?

Africa's billionth baby, the doom mongers predicted would, if he survived to adulthood, only perish in one of the coming resource wars fought over land or water or oil or minerals, or simply fall victim to the unvarying instability that trails in the wake of over-population.

But there is a counter argument: each new baby is another consumer – and modern economic growth is driven by demand. The billionth baby is the engine of future prosperity.

Corvallis resident lives low-impact lifestyle

Like many homeowners, Jonathan Carroll, 44, chose his home for its size and its view. It's a 750-square foot bungalow with purple trim and a southern exposure.

Unlike many homeowners, he paid off his mortgage on his 40th birthday _ a personal goal _ and it costs him precious little to maintain it. The home _ like much in Carroll's life _ is powered by the sun.

Communities and activists are at war over wind farms but only one thing is certain: Scotland's landscape is set to change for ever

The 140 turbines stand 110 metres tall. Each blade is 45 metres long, the width of a football pitch, weighs 12 tons, and turns at a maximum speed of 140mph. By the time the extensions to Whitelee are completed, in 2012, there will be 215 turbines covering an area of 80 square kilometres.

Everything about wind farms is big, and they are big news too. Every day there are stories in the papers about permission being sought, granted or rejected for a new wind farm in Scotland or elsewhere in the UK. There are plenty of stories, too, about communities divided over the issue of turbines being built in their area.

Tibet speeds up growth of renewable energy industry

A total of 162,805 tons of standard coal can be saved annually in Tibet as a result of the wider use of solar energy heating and electricity production, according to the Tibet Autonomous Regional Bureau of Science and Technology.

Tibet is one of the regions in China with most solar photovoltaic power plants as its total capacity of photovoltaic power generating facilities exceeds nine mw, Ma Shengjie, director of the bureau, noted.

Vancouver in line to get charged up

B.C. is the first region in Canada to develop with regulations and guidelines for (EV) charging Japanese infrastructure. It's expected that 80 to 90 per cent of charging will take place at home or at work, which involves changes to residential Mitsubishi building codes and the provision of charging stations in both public and private parking lots.

General Motors loses $3.4 billion

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- General Motors reported $3.4 billion loss in the fourth quarter of 2009, but is on track to possibly return to profitability in 2010, the company said Wednesday.

Hummer sale: Only 2,200 left

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- General Motors said made it official on Wednesday: It is shutting down the Hummer SUV brand and offering rich rebates in a bid to move the remaining 2,200 vehicles.

Jeff Rubin: New U.S. drilling will prove meaningless

Maybe it’s a gesture to the American right, which is still seething over the recent passage of Barack Obama’s national heath care package in Congress. Or maybe it’s just soma for increasingly anxious American motorists, so they can sleep at night without wondering how long their petroleum-based lifestyles can possibly last.

But either way, President Barack Obama’s sudden reversal of the ban on new oil and gas drilling in protected U.S. waters is nothing more than a public relations exercise that will still leave Americans facing the daunting reality that they must learn to consume less, not more, of the one substance they have grown so overwhelmingly dependent on.

Oil hovers below $87 after mixed US supply report

A stronger U.S. dollar helped keep oil prices below $87 a barrel Wednesday after a report showed U.S. gasoline supplies fell more than expected last week while crude and distillate inventories rose.

Leading Peak Oil Theorist Now Thinks We're At Peak Demand, Oil Won't Break $100

We frequently see peak oil believers who are highly accomplished scientists, but with little economics background. It shows how peak oil theory would make total sense if we existed in a world without economic forces, such as behavioral responses to rising or falling prices.

The funny thing is that Mr. Campbell is now probably too bearish on oil prices with his $100 near-term limit. With oil prices at $86 as it stands, it's pretty feasible they could break $100 if the world economy keeps growing at a decent clip. That's only a 16% move, which from the perspective of a market participant is nothing and definitely within the realm of possibilities.

Saudi Arabia to Spend $80 Billion on Power Capacity

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s biggest economy, plans to spend $80 billion on expanding its power generation capacity and transmission network in the next decade to meet rising demand.

Japan Refiners May Improve Margins Because of Planned Shutdowns

(Bloomberg) -- Japan’s oil refiners may get higher profit margins for selling fuels such as gasoline in May and June because of maintenance shutdowns next month that will take 27 percent of combined capacity around Tokyo Bay offline.

Tokyo Commodity Exchange gasoline prices for delivery in May and June are higher than for the four months through October, a phenomenon known as backwardation. Refiners are likely to reduce oil imports and draw down fuel inventories, driving up prices ahead of the start of the summer driving season in July, said Anthony Nunan at Mitsubishi Corp. in Tokyo.

Cambodian PM sets Chevron oil production deadline

PHNOM PENH (AFP) – Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Tuesday he would terminate his country's contract with Chevron if the US energy giant does not begin oil production from offshore fields by late 2012.

Following the discovery of oil in 2005, Cambodia was quickly feted as the region's next potential petro-state, but production has stalled as the government and Chevron appear to have failed to agree over revenue sharing.

BP Says Forties Oil Output to Rise to 654,000 Barrels in July

(Bloomberg) -- BP Plc, operator of the Forties pipeline system, said production of the North Sea crude will rise to 624,000 barrels a day in June and 654,000 barrels a day in July, up from 557,000 barrels in May.

Sinopec Group Completes $1.3 Billion Brazil Pipeline

(Bloomberg) -- China Petrochemical Corp., the nation’s second-biggest energy producer, completed a $1.3 billion natural-gas pipeline in Brazil before a visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao seeking to deepen bilateral ties.

Suncor steps on Syria gas

Canada's Suncor Energy expects to start gas production in Syria by the middle of this year, with the head of the company's Syrian operations adding its is interested in bidding for blocks with oil potential.

Heritage sees Uganda deal, Iraq well disappoints

LONDON (Reuters) - British oil explorer Heritage Oil said the Ugandan government supports the sale of its interests in two Ugandan oil fields to Tullow Oil and said it would need to drill deeper at a test well in Iraq.

Uganda Won’t Swap Oil for Russian Fighter Jets, New Vision Says

(Bloomberg) -- Uganda won’t swap oil for six Russian Su-30 fighter jets because no Russian companies are currently prospecting for crude in the East African nation, New Vision reported, citing Defense Minister Crispus Kiyonga.

EU energy commissioner targets Russia in first visit

Brussels - The European Union's energy commissioner made Russia the destination of his first official trip outside the EU on Wednesday as building work started on a controversial gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.

Russia is by far the EU's largest supplier of natural gas, but member states in Central and Eastern Europe accuse it of abusing that position for political reasons, making the question of energy supplies a hot diplomatic issue.

Gazprom confirms Ukraine pays for gas supplied in March

MOSCOW (Itar-Tass) - Gazprom has confirmed that Ukraine paid for the Russian gas supplied in March in full, the press service of the country’s gas giant told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.

Naftogaz fully paid for the actual volume of gas exported in March.

Kiev waits on Moscow gas deal

Ukraine's new leaders said today only a deal with Russia on a new price for gas supplies was holding up this year's draft state budget, adding they expressed confidence in reaching an agreement with Moscow.

Russia May Limit Eurobond as Budget Deficit Falls

(Bloomberg) -- Russia’s government may limit its first sale of foreign-currency bonds since 1998 to $10 billion as rising oil prices reduce the need to borrow, UralSib Financial Corp. said.

Nigeria sacks head of state-run NNPC oil company

Nigeria's Acting President Goodluck Jonathan has sacked the head of the national oil company Mohammed Barkindo.

He will be replaced by Shehu Ladan, who was himself dismissed from the state-run NNPC by President Umaru Yar'Adua before he fell ill last November.

Reliance facing hurdles to hit peak D6 output

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Reliance Industries is unable to hit peak gas production at its D6 block off the east coast due to customers not buying allocated volumes and a lack of pipeline infrastructure, a top official at the energy major said.

ANALYSIS: China-Argentina soyoil spat about stocks, crushers

SINGAPORE/KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - While on the surface a trade tussle about dumping of Chinese goods, the subtext of Beijing's move to restrict Argentine soyoil imports is China's record edible oil stockpiles and struggling oilseed processors. China has accumulated massive reserves of soybean, palm and rapeseed oil, putting pressure on the country's crushing industry that is operating at just half its 94 million tonnes a year capacity.

Mine-Explosion Site Among Those Where Massey Disputed Findings

(Bloomberg) -- The mine in West Virginia where 25 people were killed is among sites where Massey Energy Co., the largest coal producer in Central Appalachia, disputed U.S. findings of safety violations, records show.

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued more than $900,000 in fines for the Upper Big Branch mine in the past year, according to federal data compiled by Bloomberg. Massey is appealing more than $250,000 of the largest fines, among them one in January for ventilation systems that are supposed to prevent the buildup of methane gas and coal dust that can cause explosions.

Massey's image hit, not prospects

Though Massey's reputation could suffer because of the explosion, Wall Street remains impressed with its long-term ability to ramp up production to reap higher prices for steel-making coal.

Tough times for U.S. coal industry

The giant explosion that killed 25 coal miners in West Virginia on Monday comes at a difficult time for the coal industry. It's faced with slumping demand because of the Great Recession and is feeling the pressure being put on U.S. and other countries to cut emissions of greenhouse gases that come from burning coal and other fuels.

Here are some questions and answers about the state of the coal mining industry.

Diligence Is a Factor in Controlling Risks From Methane

Coal mines will always have methane, often in explosive concentrations, geologists and engineers say. The only question is how diligently miners and mining companies will work to avoid explosions.

Peabody May Raise Offer as Macarthur Coal Rejects Bid

Peabody is battling commodity supplier Noble Group Ltd., which is backed by China’s $300 billion sovereign wealth fund, for control of Macarthur’s future as shipments of coal to China last year tripled and prices doubled. China’s demand for coal used to make steel is forecast to rise 5.6 percent to 38 million metric tons this year, according to a Macquarie forecast.

South Africa Energy Needs Collide With U.S. Policy

JOHANNESBURG — The Obama administration, caught in an awkward bind between its own ambitions on climate change and Africa’s pressing energy needs, is facing the first test of its new guidelines discouraging coal-fired power projects in developing nations.

Luzon faces 2 weeks of rotating blackouts

MANILA, Philippines - Power outages in Luzon will continue for the next 2 weeks but will not affect the country's first nationwide automated elections on May 10, the Department of Energy said Wednesday.

Lyondell Leaves Kalamazoo Poisoned as Bankruptcies Mar Cleanups

(Bloomberg) -- Environmentalist Jeff Spoelstra says an 80-mile stretch of the Kalamazoo River that runs through toxin-laced land in southwestern Michigan was on its way to becoming safe again. The area, once home to Potawatomi Indians and Dutch celery farmers, was finally on the verge of getting cleaned up.

Then, in January 2009, Lyondell Chemical Co. filed for bankruptcy protection. The Houston-based petrochemical giant argued in court that as it reorganized, it could avoid what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said were about $2.5 billion in cleanup costs for the river, which flows into Lake Michigan, and another $2.5 billion in liabilities at 10 other polluted spots across the country.

Australia’s Rudd Considers More Ship Tracking at Reef

(Bloomberg) -- Australia may expand the tracking of vessels beyond the northern parts of the Great Barrier Reef, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said, as a salvage crew prepares to drain oil from a Chinese coal vessel stranded in the marine park.

The ship ran aground four days ago “in broad daylight in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef,” Rudd said today in a radio interview from the northern Queensland city of Townsville. “We’ll be demanding some answers on this one.”

Public supports energy over environment: poll

(Reuters) - For the first time in 10 years Americans are more likely to say the United States should give more priority to developing oil, natural gas and coal than to protecting the environment, according to a poll on Tuesday.

James Mulva: On energy policy, let's have a level playing field

If someone gave you a gift, would you throw it away in hope that one day something better might come along? Washington may be doing just that by overlooking America's latest industrial success story — the remarkable resurgence of natural gas.

Technology, ingenuity and nature's bounty have dramatically transformed the domestic supply outlook. Natural gas is so abundant that it promises a viable path to energy supply security and affordability, economic growth, job creation and lower greenhouse gas emissions. No longer just a bridge to the future, natural gas can be part of the long-term energy solution.

Unfortunately, many in Washington believe that renewable energy can easily and cheaply replace carbon-based fuels. But the facts argue otherwise. Even with vigorous growth, renewable sources cannot ramp up fast enough to displace the carbon-based fuels that carry the energy load today.

When size does matter

The PM needs to put flesh on his population policy before the issue explodes.

Pennsylvania can't toll Interstate 80: Governor Ed Rendell

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Pennsylvania's plan to put tolls on Interstate 80 was rejected by the federal government, Governor Ed Rendell said on Tuesday, which means other revenue-raising options -- from privatizing to taxing oil companies -- must be reconsidered.

"There's no doubt in my mind they were wrong," the Democratic governor told reporters on a conference call. "In these issues, the Bush administration was much more favorable," Rendell said, declining to conjecture as to what caused the shift in policy.

Swiss solar-flight bid to take off for first test flight

ZURICH (AFP) – The Solar Impulse aircraft, a Swiss bid to fly around the world on solar energy, will make its first test flight Wednesday at a military airbase in western Switzerland, organisers said.

Nonprofit Group Will Prod Companies to Report Their Water Use

SAN FRANCISCO — The Carbon Disclosure Project, an investor-backed nonprofit organization that has persuaded some of the world’s largest corporations to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions, will announce on Wednesday that it is asking 302 global companies to begin issuing detailed reports on their water use.

Study Says U.S. Waterways Are Warming

Many streams and rivers in the United States are getting warmer, with the greatest increases in urbanized areas, according to research to be published in an upcoming edition of the journal Frontiers of the Ecology and the Environment.

Twenty major streams and rivers, including the Colorado, Potomac, Delaware and Hudson Rivers, are warming at statistically significant rates, the study found.

EU Carbon Auctions Will Limit Pain for Exchanges

(Bloomberg) -- A plan to auction European Union carbon-dioxide allowances for the third phase of the bloc’s emissions trading market will limit the “negative impact” on existing exchanges and brokers, the regulator said.

“The allowances auctioned should be available for delivery within five days at the latest,” the European Commission said yesterday in a proposal on its Web site. “Such short-term delivery deadlines would limit any potential negative impact on competition between the auction platforms and trading places in the secondary market for allowances.”

‘How to Save the World’ Wins Web Video Contest

How to fight climate change? Well, you could start by just saving some electricity. Or saying no to plastic bags. Or turning off the tap while you brush your teeth.

Simple. It doesn’t take a superhero.

That, in essence, is the message of some of the delightful video entries for a competition held by the Asian Development Bank to highlight the risks posed by climate change. The contest was open to citizens of the bank’s 67 member countries.

Most Oregon greenhouse gas not what you might think

An inventory conducted by Metro concludes that driving our cars and heating our homes aren't the region's biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions.

It's how we make, move and toss away all the stuff we consume.

According to the inventory, manufacturing products and food, moving freight and managing waste produce an estimated 14.9 million metric tons of greenhouse gases annually, or 48 percent of the emissions produced in the tri-county Portland area.

Natural gas and fossil fuels account for 27 percent, and emissions from transit, cars and light trucks accounts make up 25 percent of the total.

"Consumption matters as much as energy and transportation," the report concludes.

EU satellite to check climate change impact on ice

BERLIN – The European Space Agency is launching a satellite that scientists hope will help them pin down the effects of global warming on the Earth's ice packs more precisely.

The CryoSat 2 mission, which starts Thursday after years of delays, will be able to pinpoint details of changes in polar ice so scientists can better understand the alarming picture of the world's retreating ice caps.

Regarding Jeff Rubin's article - New U.S. drilling will prove meaningless. It is clear to me that the only way that Americans will begin to come to terms with their energy predicament is for us "tree huggers" to stand off a bit and -- within reason -- allow oil exploration to go forward in as many places as we can allow. We need to thoroughly air out the nutball belief that America is sitting on vast economically recoverable energy reserves -- if only the environmnentalists would allow us to exploit them.

By allowing anyone with a reasonable EIS and the $$$ to explore to do so, we might finally come to some understanding of just how precarious our situation is.

It is clear to me that the only way that Americans will begin to come to terms with their energy predicament is for us "tree huggers" to stand off a bit and -- within reason -- allow oil exploration to go forward in as many places as we can allow.

That's very generous of you, but exploration is going to go ahead whether you "treehuggers" "allow" it or not.

Also, as for "coming to terms"--irrational arguments blaming "environmentalists" for an "energy predicament" is perhaps the only inexhaustible resource in the U. S. of A.

I harbor no illusions that anything will be conserved, Mike. I've said many a time that when humans have finished, it will look as though a plague of giant locusts has swept over the planet. I figure we are less than 100 years from that point. Mostly, I just want to see Sarah Palin, Ray Learsy and Dan Yergin eat their crow when the time comes.

"Mostly, I just want to see Sarah Palin, Ray Learsy and Dan Yergin eat their crow when the time comes."

Well, then! You Tarzan, me Jane!

... and you are right: silly of me to think I might have even a bit of control over the what is exploited and what is not.

Relax, We’ll Be Fine

This column is a great luscious orgy of optimism. Because the fact is, despite all the problems, America’s future is exceedingly bright.

Yes, my opinion of David Brooks plunged tremendously when I read this. WHAT controlled substance had he been consuming when he wrote that?????

Allow some room to let your opinion of him sink much more.

It's my opinion of NPR/PBS that has plummeted so far in their willingness to continue using Brooks and his ilk for commentary. His comments in '05/'06 about Iraqis and Arabs being capable of handling elections was a notable marker along this steep glide path.. noone else on the NewsHour bothered to challenge the statements, I was sad to hear.

You can get a lot of mileage with a confident smirk, it seems. (They seem to like CERA as well)

Dave Brooks is an unapologetic apologist for the cornucopian futures faction.

It's amazing that he sees 400 million people in USA as a "feature" instead of a dire bug in the system.

Another interesting item was on today's CSPAN: Jared Diamond and others debate the opposed positions of the pessimistic druids versus the optimistic engineers as it regards limited Resources and Innovation:


Yeah, but don't forget, most of those 400 million people will be young and enterprising. So we're all good.

Probably by the time there are 400 million of us most will be hungry.

I like to look at the backgrounds of talking heads to see what kind of education the clown may have.
David Brooks has a history degree, which is nice, but hardly makes him an authority on energy issues, economics, population dynamics, depletion, etc....

The man should consulted when the question is, did George Washington really chop down a cherry tree, was Newton inspired by an apple falling on his head or did people know the world was round before Columbus sailed west to harass indians.

He may also be consulted about how not to dangle a participle.

That's it.

Even with a history major, if he actually had a good understanding of history, he wouldn't be making such stupid statements. I don't expect him to be an authority but I expect him to have read widely enough that he would have an understanding of what is happening in the energy and resources fields. Learning doesn't stop at the point where you get the degree; that is where is should be beginning.

David Brooks and Tom Friedman are amongst the worst offenders of sycophantic apology for whatever the status quo of TPTB happens to be. If tomorrow Obama decided to scrap all investment in alternative or nuclear energy, they would be singing his praises and say fossil fuels would last forever. If tomorrow Obama were to give a speech touting renewables, they would opine that green energy is our future. They have no core, and they stand for nothing.

But then again, the first rule of a society in secular decline is that it can never admit to being in secular decline.

he [David Brooks of New York Times] wouldn't be making such stupid statements

It isn't that Mr. Brooks is stupid but rather that he is blinded by a laser like ideology.

Just imagine Ronald Reagan's smiling face boring down into your eyes from that shining city up on the hill.

Can you see it?

The future is bright.

The lunch-is-free-for-me markets will deliver a solution to those who truly believe.

Clearly those people (can we call them people?) who can't get a job in this wonderful economy, those people who are in foreclosure, those people who don't have medical insurance coverage, etc. are nothing but lazy non-believing infidel bums who want merely to take from the truly deserving and not contribute to the markets.

When we talk about the entrepreneurial young, we are talking about the masses of gullible college kids we can convert into right wing ideologues with use of advanced mind bending techniques.

If you build a field of pure capitalist dreams, they will come (and they will buy).

History has proven at least that much, time and again.

The Lord will provide.

People, we can stop running out of oil by...
never, ever using another ounce of oil.

I'm sending this nugget of wisdom to Brooksie.
I know he'll be overjoyed.

The problem that I see in all that data flung out in the David Brooks piece is that it the rise up the peak Oil hump, and 2008 and $147 oil, and Peak Production will change the face of the thinking. Almost all the data dates as ending 2007, going forward it is anyone's guess how far DOWN we will go, but it is rosy picture of past wealthy trying to sell you profits till the cows come home.

I don't doubt that there will be a lot of change for the coming years, but looking back at the positive growth in the past 30 years, won't be the same thing as looking forward in the next 30 years.

Everytime I go out along the city streets all I see is more empty buildings, with signs of "Please Please rent me, my owners are looking to make back what they lost, honest I'll be a nice building for you and not decay!"

Past data does not equate future preformance.

Prepare for the worst Pray for the best.

BioWebScape Designs for a better fed future.

I brought my copy of The Long Emergency near the screen when I was reading that column and the book burst into flames, and my computer simultaneously began to emit clouds of dark smoke. I think JHK and DB may be the anti-eachother. Whatever drug gives you the delusion that watching the Sopranos will make your generations so smart that your mere proliferation on the planet will improve the economy, I want enough to dose the physical laws of the universe with.

I've said many a time that when humans have finished, it will look as though a plague of giant locusts has swept over the planet.

The Lorax!

A thneed is something that everyone needs...

That is my daughter's favourite story - because I put so much conviction into reading it....

Well, I said basically the same thing here a few years ago: eventually in the US we will be exploring everywhere in the US - including the White House lawn if they thought there was any oil/gas there.

As in the 1975 movie, Three Days of the Condor, where it is said about oil (albeit in the Mideast): "They won't want us to ask 'em. They'll just want us to get it for 'em!".

Good old Cliff Robertson. That movie made a big impression on me when I was a kid, and that line, in particular, has always stuck with me.

Agreed, was a good movie. Robertson, Redford, Sydow, Houseman. All excellent performances.

Silent Running was a powerful message for me as well.

And, of course, Soylent Green.

"The oceans -- they're dying."

Terrified me as a child. Now it's coming true.

If we do start exploring for oil on the white house lawn, the govt. will have to pay the oil companies to do it.

Oil companies want to make money, not throw it away.

Oklahoma used to be famous for the oil wells on the Capitol lawn.

(My uncle lived a few blocks away on a street of substantial middle class houses that has now been leveled. Never heard why, or what's replaced them.)

As a tree hugger myself, I agree 100%. Let them drill where ever they want. If the RNC wants, they can drill in igneous and metamorphic rx in a nice National Park for all I care. I know money to drill will not come from oil companies, so I guess it will have to come from Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich and their supporters.

Drill baby drill!!!

I'm with you POT: it's a win-win situation IMHO. If there are significant commercial volumes of oil/NG out there then its development aids the economy on a number of levels: more jobs, more royalty income to the feds, more local taxes, less imbalance of trade. Of course it would be of little or no impact on PO but still good for the economy. And if enough drilling is done fast enough and kills the USGS estimate (as I personally expect it would) of all those "undiscovered reserves" the public might begin to think about PO more seriously. It will take at least 5 years before enough wells can scratch the surface.

I don't think people that consider themselves "tree huggers" have it in them to stand off.

I don't know. I have a feeling that the late Edward Abbey would not have stood off. Then again, he seems to acknowledge in the final chapter of Desert Solitaire (the "Trinity" passage), the deluge that is coming.

He might have stood off; he didn't believe in burnout.

"One final paragraph of advice: Do not burn yourself out. Be as I am-a reluctant enthusiast... a part time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it is still there. So get out there and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains. Run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to your body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those deskbound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards." -- Edward Abbey

As much as I've enjoyed his writing, outliving the bastards is not an environmental goal, it's an indulgence ill-matched to what's needed.

Sadly, he didn't outlive the bastards, dying too young. My favorite author.

Ah, but he did. Every day of his life.

+10 for quality not quantity!

Just heard on CNBC minutes ago: Peak oil? Maybe not. The reporter, Bob Pisani, said: Peak oil? Maybe not, EOG just announced a significant discovery in its South Texas location. That and the discoveries off the Brazilian coast.... I don't remember the exact words other than the first four but that was the gist of his comment.

So I guess that puts the kabash on Peak Oil. We can all now start talking about something else. Anyway here is the only link I could dig up on that vast EOG discovery. How vast they did not say.

EOG Projects Double-Digit Production Growth On Discoveries

EOG Resources Inc. (EOG) unveiled a significant oil discovery in its South Texas Eagle Ford location, as well as discoveries at its other operations, which led the oil and natural gas company to project double-digit organic production growth through 2012....

The company has pumped up production of crude oil--in part by using the same horizontal-drilling technology that has made it one of the largest independent U.S. gas producers.

Good to know they are using superstraws on their older fields just like most of the rest of the world.

Ron P.

900 million barrels.

Fantastic, that is 11 days supply for the world. So I guess no more peak oil.

Ron P.

It could have am impact on the shape of the bell curve...,

of course, you may need a magnifying glass to see it.

that is 11 days supply for the world

900 million barrels of oil! When I read that, the thought was, wow, that's a game changer! But then realized from your post it's only 11 days worth worldwide. The world has grown so dependent on oil in such huge amounts its mind boggling. Sure makes the whole system that has been built up around this energy source seem tenuous.

Just knowing 900 MB will last only 11 days provides an easy way to see just how hard it will be to scale up any kind of alternative, like ethanol, CTL, etc.

This is barrel of oil equivalent, so it's not clear if that includes some BOE for natural gas.

Anyway the value of the stock only has gone up $3 billion in the last week or so. So the stock market is indirectly saying that the net present value of the discovery after extraction costs, the discovery will earn much less than selling 900 million barrels of oil (about $75 billion). Or in other words, the energy return on energy invested does not equal a new Spindletop - as Jeff Rubin would probably say (like in his article about offhsore drilling).

This is barrel of oil equivalent, so it's not clear if that includes some BOE for natural gas.

yes the boe's include ng converted on an energy equivalent basis of 6 mcf/barrel. this is according to the prescription of the sec.
the price conversion is running closer to 20 mcf/barrel.

some companies report an ip on a boepd basis while flaring the ng.

Financial "news" stations operate like a casino room full of slot machines. Whenever someone hits a jackpot there is lots of noise and blinking lights. Meanwhile - in relative silence - the room as a whole is losing about 8 times as much as on average.

Whether it's a oil find or a company making stock-boosting news, it's the same modus operandus.

Spectacular flare-outs like Enron, Lehman, etc do get air time; but usually only after most of the damage has already occurred.

Ron -

Earlier on CNBC this morning they had a guest host (didn't catch his name) who repeated several times that he was predicting $100 oil and that it was a fundamental supply issue. The CNBC blowhards kept trying to steer it toward a link with the value of the dollar but the guest host was having none of it... He shot him down with the following logic:

Each person in the US uses 25 barrels per year
Each person in China uses 2 barrels
Each person in India uses 0.9 barrels

To paraphrase him: There's no way that China will be stay at 2 barrels or India will stay at 0.9 - and I just don't see where all that extra oil is coming from...

They probably had to come up with a breathless announcement of some incredible new find in South Texas just so the masses and speculators didn't get too rattled by what the guest host had said earlier...

There are many channels on TV where one can view fiction. CNBC is one of them.

After Stewart's slamdown last year, I'm surprised people still watch the pump & dump operation that CNBC runs.

Earlier on CNBC this morning they had a guest host (didn't catch his name) who repeated several times that he was predicting $100 oil and that it was a fundamental supply issue.

His name was Byron Wien, vice chairman of Blackstone Advisory. Here is the link:

Wien's Oil & Gold Outlook

The developing world consumes a little over 20 million barrels a day. They are going to add 1 million barrels per day every year for the next 20 years. I don't know where that oil is going to come from.

I don't know where it is going to come from either. But I would guess that it is not going to come from anywhere. That oil will be a no-show.

Ron P.

All this time I thought these increasingly smaller discoveries would only make a marginal difference in peak. It's nice to know I was wrong.

Ron -- You might be building expectations with the super straw comment. It will take me a bit to flesh it out but here's some of the preliminary "facts": The Eagleford is another fractured shale play similar in some aspects to the other SG plays. It is not an oil play. It's NG with a condensate (around 50 API) yield ranging from 50 to 300 bbls per million cuft (oily in the shallow end and not as much for the deeper end of the play). It appears the Texas Rail Road Commission is calling for 80 acre units. That's consistent with the relatively limited drainage capabilities of SG plays. Looks like 4,000' laterals with 12 to 14 frac stages per well. Completed well costs in the range of $5 - $7 million. Probably the least accurate estimate at the moment is decline rates and URR. That 900 million bbl (equivalent) number is rather meaningless IMHO since it doesn't specify any of the critical assumptions. And as most here already know the URR number is probably the least important estimate with regards to potential trend production rates. All I can do is make a very rough guess: 3 bcf + 360,000 bc per well. Or about 900,000 bo equivalent. If that's anywhere close to right then it will take 1000 wells to develop EOG's URR number. That will cost around $6 billion at today's cost. I'm guessing about 3 months to drill. So that will take about 330 rig-years to drill. Or take 50 rigs for 6 years or so. The only hint I've seen of the economics is that the breakeven price for Eagleford development is $4/mcf. If correct we're right at the no drill limit today but should look a lot better next winter.

The one aspect that makes the Eagleford standout from most of the other plays is the condensate yield. Very attractive with today's oil prices. It's also in a part of Texas with a lot of infrastructure support. OTOH we can spend a lot of bandwidth discussing what this might mean (or not) for future US production rates. I probably won't participate much though. Until we get a handle on decline rates and better URR numbers (which IMHO will take about 100 to 200 wells with at least two years of production history) 3 to 4 years from now most of the chat will be much too speculative IMHO.

led the oil and natural gas company to project double-digit organic production growth through 2012....

To get some perspective, Ron, what percentage of world production does EOG represent? Their production will go up 10% a year for two years. Yippee! What will that do to the rest of the world production?

All this is is a publicity event, orchestrated to pump up the value of the stock so the officers and directors can exercise their options for big gains!

We see this all the time. Sometimes it is just a company announcing their intent to purchase some other companies, which will increase their production (with a direct and equal reduction of the other company). It doesn't mean much.

So, why do they call it a 'new discovery'?


Back away from the TV. CNBC will rot your brain.

But what about the adage, Keep your enemies closer?

It's a trap!

The World3 model developed by Club of Rome the authors of the 1972 Limits to Growth report is available online. Five variables were examined in the original model, on the assumptions that exponential growth accurately described their patterns of increase, and that the ability of technology to increase the availability of resources grows only linearly. These variables are: world population, industrialization, pollution, food production and resource depletion. The authors intended to explore the possibility of a sustainable feedback pattern that would be achieved by altering growth trends among the five variables.

Check out Online World Simulation here.

The relationship between food and population seems completely wrong.

How so? In the standard run, the population is increasing while food is increasing. As food levels out and starts to decline, population (with a lag) levels out and then declines, and keeps declining along with food.

Right now we produce much more food than we need, hence the ability to increase population. When we produce less food than we need population decreases. That's what I see in the graph.

An EIA study by Glen Sweetnam (PDF: http://tinyurl.com/yzymbcm) predicted (pages 9 & 10) :

From 2007 to 2015: US liquids Production will increase by 1.7 Mbpd.
From 2015 to 2030: US liquids Production will increase by 2.6 Mbpd.

So they expect US liquids production to increase by about 4.3 Mbpd from 2007 to 2030!

I guess we can all sleep peacefully now.

Was just parsing the AEO Retrospective Review: Evaluation of Projections in Past Editions (1982-2009), which the EIA updates yearly - it used to be called the AEO Forecast Evaluation.

These are the percentage errors for predictions of 2008 US oil production (Table 6):

AEO 1991		10.2 
AEO 1992		11.7 
AEO 1993		12.1 
AEO 1994		1.4 
AEO 1995		5.9 
AEO 1996		7.5 
AEO 1997		9.3 
AEO 1998		14.0 
AEO 1999		14.4 
AEO 2000		5.0 
AEO 2001		6.6 
AEO 2002		5.5 
AEO 2003		19.7 
AEO 2004		23.0 
AEO 2005		23.7 
AEO 2006		13.7 
AEO 2007		13.5 
AEO 2008		3.4 
AEO 2009		0.3 

Notice the bump in overestimation post 9/11, or post Iraq invasion. 1994's forecast was more accurate than 2008's! Baffling stuff. This bump is also observed for 2006/2007 - their methodology was modified to show much greater output for some reason, or they decided declines would be much gentler here on out; or someone told them to boost the numbers. I don't think hurricanes are a big factor here; they wouldn't have an effect on 06/07 at any rate.

Here are some brief calculations on inflation rates 1971- 2010 or 39 years. I more and more think that this is the only way to look at it. This has been a golden period of cheap food and energy. Declining relative prices of raw and basic materials mask the high inflation rate and everyone is happy. Population spikes.
Copper 0.52.09 => $3.25 = 4.8% per year average price increase
Wheat $49 => $249 = 4.3% per year average price increase
Gold $40 => 1040 = 8.7% (im taking the 200 day MA here)
Oil $3.56 => 78 = 8.2%
S&P 500 (x dividends) = 6.7%
Increase US$supply(M3) = 7.9%

The last number is the kicker. Growth in M3 explains everything.

So let me tell my personal story
I read Twilight in the Desert in 2005, which was my epiphany. I remembered as a young guy the oil spikes in the 70s, and the gold spikes. So my simple thought was
"oil drives inflation, and inflation drives gold"
I put all my savings and and RRSP (or 401K as you call it) into gold in 2005 when gold was about 460. I remortgaged the house to buy more, and took my wife's savings as well. and as we got more money in the past 5 years we have put it mostly in the same place.

I did get nervous (im not a complete idiot) and wanted to diversify, so I bought the Canadian oil sector ETF in March 2009 at 12.85. This was complete luck, but my rationale at the time was oil has to be higher in a year, and the US$ / Can$ ratio was out of whack, so bringing up US$ to Canada gave me more bang for the buck.

My compound annual growth rate for 5 years is about 46.4% per year.

So who cares about the past, what about the next five years? I plan to stick with exactly what I have been doing. Lets see what happens.

I like postage stamps as an inflation indicator. They actually track inflation pretty well, and are an easy way to visualize it.

I am just old enough to remember placing a three cent stamp on an envelope in the mid 1950s. Today it is $0.44. That is about a 93% depreciation in the value of the dollar over my lifetime.

I've been using 90% "rule-of-thumb" from my childhood in early '60's to present, simply based on typical labour wages ($1.75 to start in large industry vs. now $18.00), an imperial gallon of gas ($0.45 then to 4.2 x $1.02 / litre = $4.40 now) house prices, and many others. We should do an abrupt re-valuation of all currencies at 10:1.

The cost of postage has not changed, Observer. It is now 3 cents for postage, and 41 cents for storage!


I had a somewhat similar experience, I found aspo end 2004 and twilight early 2005, I was on the wait list for the book, you have to be lucky to be listening to the right tune at the right time, my portfolios were up 5x from early 05 to early 08. Then you might remember that Ilargi was posting on tod in 2007, I exited oil (too bad) and went short (my first time ever) various financials in nov 2007, did well until march last year but luckily I became less certain and reduced my exposure to under 10%. Completely missed the rebound in the economy and oil because I did not realize USG would bail out everybody to the extent it did, and that zombie banks would stay alive. Also missed gold because the gold story in recessions is mixed, buying for jewelry has not just crashed but jewel boxes are now the biggest mine in the world... fear of fiat currencies is driving gold, of course may go higher and meanwhile inflation is once again just above short term interest rates, but IMO not for long... interest rates are rising rapidly, not good for any asset class - what will insolvent governments everywhere have to pay to borrow all these trillions?

IMO china is in a bubble and have been diversifying away from treasuries and into commodities, the open questions for me are whether they can continue stockpiling and whether we double dip... related to this is at what price will oil push us back into recession... savings is dipping again and those walking away have money to spend, but eventually they will be renting... BAC announced foreclosures up 6x this year... does this mean they will acknowledge so many losses that the market will have to recognize insolvency...

Obama’s Nuclear Policy

I have a different interpretation of this policy shift than has been reported. I think he told us that he's considering using nuclear "bunker busters" in Iran. There was a technical report recently explaining the limitations of conventional weapons on underground bunkers. Included in this report was an explanation that radioactivity would not be contained underground.
A bombing like that would certainly be destabilizing in the short term. The long-term would be "interesting".

The thought did occur to me that this is actually sort of a "good news, bad news" game. Good news: we're going to restrict our use of nukes even further. Bad news (coming soon?): except for Iran, where we're actually going to have to pop a few.

Interesting Diary on European Tribune on this quoting an (extremely unpopular) Israeli writer

Why Israel will not attack Iran

My comment was as follows

A good find. I agree with both the title and much of the rationale.

My analysis is that the nuclear issue was a non-issue dreamt up by the US neocons to justify attacking Iran once it became apparent that Iran had an effective veto over their Iraqi strategy. But I think that the US had their 'end of empire' Suez moment in the first half of 2007 when the Chinese made clear that energy security is as much a priority for them as it is for the US.

After that it's been sabre rattling all the way, since it suits:

(a) Iran - for whom the nuclear issue is a distraction for economic failure and a useful bargaining chip;

(b) Israel - as a distraction to creating land grab realities on the ground.

"the real rulers of the country, the clerics"

I disagree here, based on personal experience of meeting a reasonable sample of Iran's (pretty impressive and sophisticated) elite in the last couple of years. IMHO the final vestiges of clerical rule ended last June and Iran is now an oligarchy where the IRGC/Bonyads have essentially made a hostile takeover from the Rafsanjani etc 'oil mafia'.

The reason for the urgency was and is the wave of privatisations, particularly of Iran's complex of energy and petrochemical companies many of which are being flogged off this year, in all probability  to the Bonyads, who will no doubt have favoured access to credit to buy them.

Sound familiar?

The parallels with Russia's Klepto era are quite strong, even down to the 'siloviki' - well over half of the Shah's SAVAK continued after the revolution in the new regime. There they have prospered mightily, in the Iranian intelligence community which reports directly to the Supreme Leader, and they are as well placed as Putin's KGB became.

The difference is that I don't think that those now in power can keep control of either the economy or the well educated young population in the information age - I see the women of Iran as key players in the next year or two.

The extremely cynical might just think that the "best" time to attack Iran would be right after a spate of articles on why it won't happen.

The short term decision is whether they are allowed to fuel their new civilian nuclear power plant. That would seem to be the decision point as it was with Syria.

massey's blankenship:

“Violations are unfortunately a normal part of the mining process,” Blankenship said in an interview with West Virginia MetroNews Radio.

....and deaths are an unfortunate normal part of massey mining operation.


Blankenship, last September criticized “environmental extremists” for trying to take jobs away from coal workers and in the radio interview said the Upper Big Branch mine had been reviewed by multiple outside agencies for safety.

....massey has taken away at least 25 jobs this week.

i just dont see what is so difficult about installing and using methane detection equipment.......maybe a flock of canaries would work better.

well the problem is that those "multiple outside agencies" are all probably staffed by industry shills who used to work for Massey et al.

just like all the former Goldman-Sachs thugs who find yet another lucrative career move by becoming "regulators" with the SEC

something about the fox looking after the hen house, as I remember...

The cynic in me wonders if this is all just a big setup, laying the groundwork to switch entirely from deep shaft to unrestricted mountaintop removal mining?

If only.

It's really just BAU for the mining industry. It has always been dirty, dangerous work and few mine operators are willing to put the money into the best safety gear and procedures unless they are literally forced to.

maybe a flock of canaries would work better.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters from PETA surrounded the offices of the company and demanded Blankenship's head!

In case anyone has low blood pressure:


120/70 and rising rapidly now.

I especially like the exhaustive "References Cited" list, the certainty with which the author(s?) state that there are "no elements in Earth's core" and all the other wonderful truths in that paper. Must be from one of those regions of the country that, when you go there, you have to set your watch back 60 years.

I checked the date and that report was from the proceedings of a conference on energy in 1981, which was published back in 1982. Not a new paper, it is almost 30 years old. Since it was presented at a conference, it was not peer reviewed. I'd bet that the author was laughed out of the room...

E. Swanson

Nope, I would say he's the one still laughing. 1981/82 you say. If you recall at that time it was either try Carter's road or turn to voodoo.


How well I do remember, having worked briefly for Carter's election campaign in 1976. By December 1981, Reagan had been in office almost 1 year. Carter had been swept aside by Reagan's promises promises of "Morning in America" and "A Shining City on a Hill"...

E. Swanson

Yeah, that paper did get my blood pressure up, I laughed so hard.

Did that fellow who wrote this piece pass chemistry? Like, if all that "hot oil" flowed out over the land and "bleached" the clay layer below, wouldn't it also have been hot enough to burn? If so, how come there's still oxygen in the atmosphere??? I'm sure that's just a minor problem with his "energy fuels" theory...

E. Swanson

Evil, pure evil drives this crap. It's not stupidity you know.

The next most significant question concerns the locale of nature's manufacturing plant for all
the elements. Current theory teaches that all the elements of Earth were created in distant stars;
the EFT teaches that each planet creates elements from its interior source of energy particles, and
then uses these as building blocks for all its matter.

In the future, the question may not concern where to drill for oil so much as how deeply to drill.
Many companies, including General Motors, American Standard, and Coors, have already
successfully drilled their own private supplies of these fuels, further substantiating this energy fuels concept.

Many companies, including General Motors, American Standard, and Coors, have already
successfully drilled their own private supplies of these fuels,

I guess the General Motors bankruptcy trustee missed the endless oil supplies last year, eh?


My views are influenced by Ron Hubbard of "Scientology" fame, by Silvio Gesell's "Natural Economic Order", by Viktor Schauberger, the "Water Wizard" of early 20th century Austria and by "Spaceship Earth" Buckminster Fuller, the gentle giant and prolific discoverer of synergy and tensegrity. I acknowledge a deep debt of gratitude to all of these great thinkers.

I guess it is some kind of new age superstition (like negative energy). Funny, these guys can think of all these (probably) without being high.

We are in the early stages of a paradigm shift.I suppose it is not surprising that those who have substantial investment,psychological and material, in the present paradigm come up with all sorts of reasons why that paradigm must continue.

The fact that most of these reasons are contrary to reason and logic is typical of the human way of thinking/feeling.You just have to look at religion to see some "beautiful" examples of this.

Working-class USA, R.I.P.

Globalization is not a theoretical concept to the people of Dundalk or communities like it around the nation. Over the past 30 years, they have watched their jobs — and their prosperity and security — wither away, leaving them with little more than beer, cigarettes and lottery tickets at the corner store. Once we were a nation of workers, people who took pride in making things, no matter how dangerous or dirty the job. Today, we all play the numbers, from Wall Street's high-risk securities to slots (approved by the Maryland voters two years ago) to the big pink lottery machines on the counter of every convenience store in town.

...To understand the root causes of "Tea Party" rage, have a look at those shuttered factories, the crowded waiting rooms at social service offices, and the blasted credit histories of the long-term unemployed. Too many people from working class and lower-middle class backgrounds have watched their communities disintegrate around them. "A lot of workers feel like they've been betrayed," Dundalk labor studies professor Bill Barry told me a couple of years ago. "Some blame the unions, some blame the companies, some blame the government."

All revolutions start this way. Wait until we're a decade post peak- much of the upcoming dieoff will be violence related.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending April 2, 2010

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 14.6 million barrels per day during the week ending April 2, 370 thousand barrels per day above the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 84.5 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging 9.1 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging 4.0 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 9.6 million barrels per day last week, up 501 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 9.1 million barrels per day, 109 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 756 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 153 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 2.0 million barrels from the previous week. At 356.2 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 2.5 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 1.1 million barrels, and are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 2.4 million barrels last week and are in the middle of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 7.2 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

Crude Oil Falls After U.S. Supplies Increase More Than Forecast

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil fell for the first time in seven days after a government report showed a bigger-than- forecast increase in U.S. inventories as imports surged.

Supplies rose 1.98 million barrels to 356.2 million last week, the Energy Department said today. Stockpiles were forecast to climb by 1.35 million barrels, according to a Bloomberg News survey of analysts. Imports climbed 5.5 percent to 9.56 million barrels a day, the most since September. Refineries operated at the highest rate since October.

“The fundamentals don’t support prices at these levels,” said Michael Fitzpatrick, vice president of energy at MF Global in New York. “Oil supplies increased even as refineries boosted operating rates, which shows there is no problem with supply.”

Reported U.S. inventory levels haven't had any obvious relationship with price levels for over a year now. How long does that have to go on before people stop paying so much attention to the stupid inventory levels?

“Oil supplies increased even as refineries boosted operating rates, which shows there is no problem with supply.”

If and when oil prices cross the $200 mark, I predict that we will have then, as now, a few days of crude oil supply in excess of MOL.

Since there cannot be more than a few days of crude oil supply in excess of MOL, that is a safe prediction, Wes. And, I would say when, not if. But that is my opinion.


edit: When oil is more than $200 and there is no excess supply... that is when TSHTF

Digging deeper into this week's figures, for the third week in a row, the gain in oil inventories is almost exactly equal to corrections and adjustments from prior weeks (or months). Let me be clear that those adjustments may be correcting real prior errors, although I find it's starting to become unsettling that week after week the only gain in oil inventories is not, repeat not, from any unused excess supplies. So there is a problem with supply, contrary to the quote above.

Seasonally, oil inventories should be increasing during this time of year. If they are not, and they do not appear to be rising when adjustments are stripped away, then we are heading towards a problem with MOLs. According to the EIA own's projections, oil and product inventories will have to grow at a rate of more than 3 million barrels per week for the entire second quarter to maintain adequate MOLs, and right now, that doesn't look like it will be happening.

“The fundamentals don’t support prices at these levels,”

Of course we do actually know the price. But a large part of the "fundamentals" are seemingly based on dodgy storage data and guesswork from mysterious secondary sources who apparently hire people to stand and count ships then estimate how low they are in the water to guess the cargo weight. Maybe that's outdated though and they've got higher tech now. For all I know they might do some kind of hi-tech voodoo with chicken entrails until a revelation comes.

The real funny part about that is that OPEC itself uses these tanker counters to determine its own output, when it would appear to be much easier if OPEC members would just self report.

A Cornucopian Shouts "Peak!"

I find this quite interesting . . . an author of a Cornucopian book titled "The Bottomless Well" now says:
"Whatever the debate about the ultimate total physical hydrocarbon resources on this planet, using technology we have, equipment and infrastructure that exists or could be built under any scenario in a few years, 2010 probably marks "the peak" production of oil as we know it today."

He tries to distinguish his previous work with these weasel words:
"(Readers familiar with my views on long-term energy supply--noting the title of the book I co-authored, The Bottomless Well, should not confuse what's possible, eventually, with what is today practical, in particular in the politically meaningful time-frames.)"

Well now . . . why didn't you consider what was practical when you wrote that book? I guess reading your book would be an impractical thing to do, eh?


I had to check the date to make sure it wasn't an April Fool's joke, but it is dated 4/5/10. Their argument in 2005 was that our total energy consumption would increase forever. At some distant point in time, conventional + unconventional oil production would hit a plateau, but we would easily and seamlessly transition to other forms of energy.

In any case, one of the comments to his column is shown below:

with no one running the country oil speculators are again forcing oil prices to ridiculous levels to take advantage of american drivers...

He adds

Absent a nuclear war, a pandemic or another Great Recession, there's little that can be done

-Mark Mills, a physicist, served in President Reagan's White House science office.

Hmm wonder if that's in his preferred order. We're doomed.

Incidentally, the full title of their book is as follows:

The Bottomless Well: The Twilight of Fuel, the Virtue of Waste, and Why We Will Never Run Out of Energy
by Peter W. Huber and Mark P. Mills

from Amazon:

From Booklist
The authors point out that America consumes 25 percent of the world's natural gas, 23 percent of its hard coal, 25 percent of its crude petroleum, 43 percent of its motor gasoline, and 26 percent of its electricity. They reveal that our main use of energy isn't lighting, locomotion, or cooling; what we use energy for, mainly, is to extract, refine, process, and purify energy itself. Huber and Mills list what they call the seven energy heresies: the cost of energy as we use it has less and less to do with the cost of fuel; "waste" is virtuous; the more efficient our technology, the more energy we consume; the competitive advantage in manufacturing is now swinging decisively back toward the U.S.; human demand for energy is insatiable; the raw fuels are not running out; and America's relentless pursuit of high-grade energy does not add chaos to the global environment but rather restores its order. Readers with prior knowledge of this complicated subject will appreciate their conclusions the most. George Cohen

Did you notice that, in the article, "Great Recession" is capitalized but "nuclear war" and "pandemic", being piddling little things, are not?

And while I can imagine a pandemic killing enough people to sufficiently drop demand but not enough to seriously hurt production (other than in the very short term) I find it curious that he wants us to believe a nuclear war would do the same.

Did you notice that, in the article, "Great Recession" is capitalized but "nuclear war" and "pandemic", being piddling little things, are not?

'Cause he's using "Great Recession" as a proper name.

You link to a Wikipedia Redirect Page (not recommended). The actual article is Financial crisis of 2007–2010

I note that the articles points out

Although this economic period has at times been referred to as "the Great Recession," this same phrase has been used to refer to every recession of the several preceding decades.

He chose to express himself that way.

The Bottomless Well: The Twilight of Fuel, the Virtue of Waste, and Why We Will Never Run Out of Energy
by Peter W. Huber and Mark P. Mills

Huber + um + Mills = Huber-um-ills (a disease manifested by extreme Hubris)

Now contrast Mills's statements with the "Leading Peak Oil Theorist Now Thinks We're At Peak Demand, Oil Won't Break $100" about Colin Campbell getting on board with CERA. What is this, a square dance? "Both sides dosey doe and change, crude price operates in the $80 range, promenade!"

There doesn't seem to be anything more detailed from Colin here other than this:

"Peak oil drives prices up in the first place. It has its own mechanism. We're sort of at peak demand right now," Campbell told Reuters from his home in the village of Ballydehob, West Cork. "I think presently the price limit is about $100."

If $85/bbl holds for April and similar gains are obtained with economic recovery and peak summer consumption I don't see how we stay <$100/bbl this year. Perhaps if we massively overshot the bottom and are recovering a secular trend downwards starting from where we are now. Or if China keels over in a big way.

(Crawls out of hole, scratches rear end, squints at sun ...)

It's not the NOMINAL price of oil that matters but the REAL price of oil. The relationship is between oil and dollars, both have individual valuation dynamics. Both change in value for a reason; the increase in price reflects a change in marginal utility. This is true for both the oil and the dollar. Oil is now too expensive to be wasted. One has become the proxy for the other in that if the one is too expensive to be wasted so must the other.

There is a famous economist who postulated this whose name escapes me at the moment ...

People cannot afford $200 oil. The oil refiners would go broke. They would have no business. Don't make the mistake of comparing the oil price dynamic to the real estate, medical 'care' or college education price dynamics. These are subsidy driven to create 'false affordability'. Oil prices have one foot squarely in the productive economy, the productive economy is supposed to subsidize the rest - to make everything ELSE affordable! In order for fuel waste to be profitable, it MUST be cheap. No cheap, no waste and the entire dynamic comes apart.

It has happened before, again and again. High prices are self- limiting. Even the $45 a barrel price caused problems for the industries and businesses that required $40 oil to be profitable. Just because a large and growing segment of US businesses - and others around the world - have failed already does not mean the world's economies have 'recovered' or can withstand an price shock.

If there is a shock - embargo, military action, Venezuelan cutback, etc. prices might rise ... then they would crash. Alternatively, they might remain stable with SHORTAGES developing along side relatively low prices.

Oil prices could fall to $20 a barrel w/ .50 cent gas. If you cannot afford a car or can't afford to register it, or don't have any money, gas might as well cost $1,000 or $10,000 a gallon.

It is hard to support high prices when refineries are closing for maintenance and tanker rates declining. None of this suggests that prices can't fluctuate. But ... $100 oil would probably crash the economies, particularly when Greece, and its Euro neighbors are starting to slide into oblivion.

Keep in mind it has been high real oil prices that have gotten us into the current mess already. We DON'T need higher prices in order for future damage to be done. It has already been done. We just can't see to allow ourselves to get to the mopping up phase ... where we finally junk all the automobiles.

(Crawls back into hole ...)

The price at which oil causes a recession (the "ceiling") keeps getting lower, and the cost of producing oil (the marginal cost) keeps getting higher. Therefore, they will one day have the same numerical value.

That should keep you awake at night.

So... is that why we are here at 3:38 AM?




Actually, I'm a volunteer on the rescue squad. Got a call at 3, got canceled, then couldn't sleep.
What's your excuse? ;-]

I had a sudden hearing loss earlier on the 7th; now I have tinnitis in the rt ear, and it is driving me nuts! Today I got a shot in the right ear. I guess I had it coming!


That's morning ;-) and who sleeps anyway?

You seemed to have overlooked the fact that the recession in the US started at the end of 2007 and kept climbing to $146 while the recession deepened. If there was direct cause and effect, that how could prices have risen to new highs during a recession?

I do not agree that the price of oil by itself causes recessions, but limitations to supply causing a reduction in economic activity (that is limitations to supply causing high prices, and not the other way around - high prices do not limit supplies, that would make no sense).

Poor little American drivers. Always getting screwed by the nasty speculators.

Where is justice?

Maybe he read a book from Kenneth Deffeyes, or visited the oil drum and educated himself about the real world....

Maybe he really is having a change of heart.


Maybe he really is having a change of heart.

Or maybe he's just moved from Plan C to Plan B and is salivating over the prospect of moving to Plan A?

I don't think he's changed much. Note this bit, from the end of the article:

That said, most debate will focus on both physical resources and technologies to supply the world's energy appetites, both of which are abundant and subjects for another day and column.

I think he is trying to change his view without admitting that he got it completely wrong before.

And boy did he get it wrong . . . he said this "Then there are methane hydrates. The U.S contains some 30 trillion bbl. worth of those frozen hydrocarbons off the shores of Alaska, the continental coasts and under the Rockies. There's little doubt they too can be extracted economically." Really? C'mon.

Under the Rockies?

Right next to the oil shale... And south of the Tar Sands. And with all that shale gas everywhere else and coal in Alaska, it looks like the next Middle East could be North America!!! /sarcasm off

In the latest article on methane at RealClimate David Archer states he believes hydrates are economical to extract. This is the reader comment and David's response:

In one of the peak oil books I recall reading how big oil gave up on mining methane hydrates (aka clathrates) and one of the reasons for abonding the project is the high risk for ships above the area. If the methane broke free quickly, it would reduce the buoyancy of a ship potentially causing it to sink abruptly. The Bermuda Triangle’s reputation for losing ships is thought by some to be related to this effect, but more it’s more likely that this reputation is a myth (and anyway the accompanying probably bogus reputation for losing an unusually high number of aircraft in the area couldn’t have the same cause).

As to whether using methane as a fuel is somehow good, it’s a lower-pollution option than most other fossil fuels and if it is going to be vented anyway it’s better if we burn it usefully. But if it is contained somewhere like under permafrost or in the oceans, it would be far better to leave it where it is (especially considering what it takes to cause it to vent out).

[Response: Hydrate methane is now considered mineable in the right conditions. They destabilize it by injecting warm water or chemicals. Mostly this is from gas reservoirs on land. This may supply ~10% of methane production in the next decade or so. See Gas Hydrate Resource: Smaller But Sooner , By: Kerr, Richard A., Normile, Dennis, Science, 0036-
8075, February 13, 2004, Vol. 303, Issue 5660. David]

Dunno what the article has to say about land based hydrate extraction, as I don't have a subscription to Science. In the comments for the RC piece I passed on a link to the article on hydrates Jean Laherrère posted here, mentioning his primary ref for how the resource estimates for hydrate have been massively shrinking over the decades; Archer begged to differ with the conclusions there as well.

KLR -- A side note on "sh*t happens": Long ago when I just started at Mobil Oil we had a blow out in the GOM. BOP's kicked in and no problem. Until the NG leaked up around the conductor pipe and saturated the water column under the semi-submersible drill rig. Before they could drop anchors and be towed off location they lost buoyancy and it sunk.

Welcome back Geckolizard! Were you hibernating?

Got busy. But, I'm back... Thanks.

Thai premier declares state of emergency amid protests

The emergency allows authorities to take actions without court orders, such as summoning people, arresting and detaining people, and embarking on searches.

It allows authorities access to any communications, such as fax or telephone and gives them the power to end communications. Authorities are also permitted to stop Thai citizens from leaving the country.

Demonstrators Wednesday had been keeping a promise to intensify protests unless Vejjajiva dissolves parliament.

Jack, if you're around...is all this ruckus affecting ordinary people at all over there?

On a daily basis, the impact is mostly just inconvenience - and Thais have gotten fairly used to protests.

However, at the level of society, Thailand appears to be at or near one of the greatest turning points in History.

The country has one of the last non-constitutional monarchies (despite claims to the contrary) and has been run by some from of a palace army cabal for the entire lifespan of most of its citizens. But the King is old and infirm, as is Prem (the almost 90 year old architect of the system), the modern world doesn't love a feudal system and the common people are now aware of the degree to which the elite has lived a life of vast privilege on their backs. An abrupt change is going to come. It may be this week, it may be this year, it may be later than that, but it is going to happen.

Not at all clear to me how the country will handle it. On the one hand, their is a fairly robust political culture, a diffuse base of power and a desire for democracy. On the other hand authoritarian powers always weaken competing institutions and Thailand often seems like a complete mess barely contained.

I am generally optimistic that after the passing of the king, the role of the monarchy will wane and democracy will gradually prevail. forcing the elite to compromise and reduce their vast privileges. On the other hand, the may fight for them. It is hard to see any scenario in which the army would subject itself to civilian scrutiny or control, and there are a lot of bad actors around.

But this is progress, ugly or not. I am pro-red shirt as I do believe there basic fight is just and history is on their side. Nobody's perfect, but they are closer.

So not much happening now. A big waiting game. But I think everyone knows that the range of scenarios for the future is very broad and includes both very good and very bad options.

NSP faces opposition over biomass plan

Provincial woodlot owners and Nova Scotia’s largest environmental group will be lining up against Nova Scotia Power Inc.’s proposed $200-million power plant fuelled by burning wood waste in Cape Breton.

The groups are concerned about Nova Scotia Power using forest biomass at a new power plant at NewPage Port Hawkesbury Corp.’s mill in Cape Breton to meet tough new pollution regulations.

"No one is really presenting any evidence that it is sustainable. . . . There is no science to suggest it is a sustainable practice," said Wade Prest, a small woodlot owner and director of the Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators Association, on Tuesday.

Under the proposed project announced Monday, Nova Scotia Power will be the key investor in the energy project and papermaker NewPage Port Hawkesbury will be responsible for the operation and supplying the biomass to the mill for the next 40 years.

See: http://thechronicleherald.ca/Business/1175963.html

Personally, I don't believe large scale biomass operations such as this should be permitted. There has to be a better option. For a contrary opinion, see: http://thechronicleherald.ca/Business/1175756.html


Paul; (Halifax)
Double Negative at the bottom there?

Thanks, Bob, for catching this as it does alter the meaning rather radically! I need to be more diligent and carefully proof before clicking "Save".



Did you hear about the lecture by the linguistics professor on double-negatives, who added that there was no such thing as a negating double-positive... and someone in the audience blurts out, 'Yeah, right!'..


LMAO!! Thank you for that gem!

Oh the peculiarities of the English language...

like why it is that we park on driveways and drive on parkways?
or sweetmeats are breads while sweetbreads are meats?
or that noses can run or that feet can smell?
or that people who have a temper are forever losing their temper?

the contradictions are endless... but never startful...

Public supports energy over environment: poll

well, was there ever any doubt? sic transit virens....

If the quality of the two comments posted is representative of the public in general, I'd have to say, we are rather far up the proverbial malodorous creek, without any practical means of propulsion and we seem to be fast approaching the impact of said creek with a giant ventilator...

To be honest, I'm fast approaching a permanent state of apathy with regards all of this.

Think like Noah, Fred. (but maybe make the boat a little smaller..)

I've sort of perched myself near a few boundaries, I hope, where I can either be around people, or get away from people, depending on what seems best at the time. I can get to ocean, can get to Mts. Apparently good water around. Cranky, but fairly solid culture up here, too.

Like the old 'Trust, but verify..'

mine is 'Stay positive, but prepare..'

Yes, Fred. And I am nearing a better, or at least closer, understanding of the phrase, "borban van igazság."






Ah. A new resource added to my favorites! Köszönöm szépen.

I like 5 putanos; 6 is a bit heavy for my taste, though the Mrs. prefers it.


Extreme Hurricane Season Predicted

One nasty hit that takes out a refinery or some oil rigs and we are gonna see triple digit oil real fast. :-/ Just the threat of a hurricane may be enough. Meh.


Hmmmm ... why would a problem at refinery increase crude prices ? Shouldn't that affect just gas at the pump ...

I think it was westexas that was talking about pension plans states like CA had committed to that will be a problem as peak oil rears its ugly head. Well, here's an article today explaining this dire fiscal situation.


California's $500-billion pension time bomb

Why should Californians care? Because this year's unfunded pension liability is next year's budget cut to important programs. For a glimpse of California's budgetary future, look no further than the $5.5 billion diverted this year from higher education, transit, parks and other programs in order to pay just a tiny bit toward current unfunded pension and healthcare promises. That figure is set to triple within 10 years and -- absent reform -- to continue to grow, crowding out funding for many programs vital to the overwhelming majority of Californians.

Here is my post from yesterday:


Given generally flat to rising consumption versus declining production in an oil exporting country, the resulting net export decline rate tends to accelerate with time.

My premise is that given flat to rising government consumption--salaries, benefits, pension & healthcare costs, infrastructure costs, debt service, etc.--versus declining government revenue, it stands to reason that the money "net exported" out of government in the form of government services and aid to residents will show an accelerating rate of decline. Pension related expenses are the big item, since many government entities are legally required to make good on the pension plans (for current & retired government workers).

Pension related expenses are the big item, since many government entities are legally required to make good on the pension plans.

I suppose that legally required part will get tested at some point, in the not too distant future.

That seems reasonable. Like Peak Oil, Peak Taxes will have an impact. At some point we will either have raging inflation or depressionary deflation. Either would create the crisis you are talking about. If only my crystal ball were working better, I would tell you when...


Everyone is talking about the unfunded portion but not much about the so-called "funded" portion. The funded portion likely isn't anywhere near as funded but no one is going to reassess the numbers unless they are forced to.

If the numbers were redone, with sensible returns on investment (push aside peak oil for the moment) instead of silly 8% returns, the unfunded liability would show up as much larger.

Re: Two stories up-top

Don't read one without the other

The Peak Oil Crisis: Countdown at the Guri
Venezuela arrests 8 alleged Colombian spies

Appliance power drain not well-known to Ontarians

The majority of Ontarians are in the dark about just how much electricity consumption their home electronic appliances are responsible for, a new survey suggests.

According to the Ontario Power Authority, devices such as computers, printers and VCRs can account for 15 per cent of a home's annual electricity usage. But a poll conducted for the agency by Harris-Decima suggests that three in four Ontario residents aren't aware of the drain household electronic appliances can have, even when they're shut off.

The Ontario Power Authority says a household consuming 1,000 kilowatt hours a month could be paying up to $100 a year for what amounts to phantom power.

See: http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2010/04/07/power-drainelectronics.htm...


Air Marshals Stop Alleged 'Shoe Bomb' Attempt On United Jet to Denver
Qatari Diplomat In Custody After Attempting to 'Light Up' His Shoes

Authorities say an explosive team is on the way to the airport, and that while the presence of explosives has not yet been confirmed, they believe it was an attempted "shoe bomb."

Edit: CNN reports no evidence of explosives so far.

Oh great - another story about *terrorism* that will have the corporate media and tea-baggers foaming at the mouth for the next couple of weeks...

NBC News reported that the man said he was putting out a cigarette, which he smoked in the restroom, on the sole of his shoe.

A search of the man found no explosives, and a search of the plane with bomb-detecting dogs also turned up no explosives.

was putting out a cigarette, which he smoked in the restroom, on the sole of his shoe.

I was thinking 'strike anywhere match struck on sole of shoe' once the word Diplomat was used to describe the perp.

Why exactly would a Diplomat pack a shoe bomb? What would be the gain in having such a device and then using it yourself?

If one was gonna pack something, is there not the tradition of the diplomatic pouch where one could put whatever in?

A communications primer.

Trying to communicate your concern about PO to others?

Check out this video:

Although it is entitled The Story of Stuff, it is really a how-to about how to communicate with people who are not as advanced into the jargon and topic as you are.