Drumbeat: April 29, 2010

John Michael Greer: The Costs of Complexity

As far as I know, Goldman Sachs had nothing to do with the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform. Still, the entire strategy of pursuing petroleum production in deep waters is an attempt to solve a hideously complex problem – the problem of peak oil – by adding on another layer of complexity. There’s a simple response to peak oil, of course; it consists of using less petroleum, making do with less energy per capita, and learning to live within our means. Once again, though, “simple” doesn’t mean “easy,” any more than it means “enjoyable” or “politically acceptable.”

The result is that we’re pursuing oil wherever we can find it, no matter how complex or risky the prospect might be. Deepwater drilling is one example. It’s complicated stuff, far more expensive and demanding than the methods used to extract oil that happens to be conveniently located under dry land, and when the standard problems faced by oilmen everywhere crop up, responding to those problems involves a whole new world of complexity and risk. One of those standard problems is the risk of a blowout: a sudden surge of crude oil and natural gas that can come bursting up through a well at any point between the moment it’s first drilled and the moment the relatively sturdy structure that handles production is in place.

U.S. Govt. Issues Safety Review of All Offshore Rigs

The Obama Administration Thursday escalated its response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, as administration officials said for the first time the disaster could prompt a re-evaluation of President Barack Obama's recently announced plan to allow expanded offshore oil and gas drilling.

Administration officials outlined their stepped up response to the oil spill as a giant oil slick headed for a landfall as early as Friday evening.

MMS Postpones 2010 Offshore Industry Safety Awards

The Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS) announced today that the 2010 Annual Industry SAFE Awards Luncheon scheduled for May 3, 2010 at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas has been postponed.

The ongoing situation with the Transocean Deepwater Horizon drilling accident has caused the MMS to dedicate considerable resources to the successful resolution of this event, which will conflict with holding this ceremony next week.

Afghanistan forces face four more years of combat, warns Nato official

British and other foreign troops deployed in Afghanistan face a "very tough" time ahead and can expect to be engaged in a combat role for three or four more years, Nato's most senior civilian official in the country said today.

Argentina To Import 900,000 Cubic Meters Of Diesel - Report

BUENOS AIRES (Dow Jones)--The Argentine government plans to import 900,000 cubic meters of diesel from Venezuela to compensate for an expected shortage of fuel this winter, the daily El Cronista reported Thursday, citing unnamed Planning Ministry officials.

The diesel will be used to supply new power generators amid an expected decline in gas supplies during the colder months that run from May through September.

Fuel shortage feared as Shell staff plan strike

More than 600 employees of Shell Uganda and Kenya plan joint strikes to protest their failure to secure job guarantees in the face of the company’s planned withdrawal from the two East African countries.

Exxon, Shell Make Offer to Avoid Argentine Oil Strike

(Bloomberg) -- Exxon Mobil Corp., Petroleo Brasileiro SA and other oil producers offered Argentine workers an 18 percent raise in a bid to avert a nationwide strike that could lead to fuel shortages, an industry group said.

Karnataka facing severe power crisis

NEW DELHI/BANGALORE: Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on Wednesday said that the State is facing a severe power shortage with demand-supply gap of around 22%. The daily restricted energy consumption is around 150 million units (MUs) with an average annual load growth of 8-10%.

The daily energy shortage is about 20%. The restricted peak demand is about 7877 MW and the availability is about 6100 MW. The demand - supply gap is also widening year by year.

Do-it-yourselfers leading charge as electric vehicles gain traction


Oregon still a role player in biodiesel production

MEDFORD — Oregon biodiesel production is still feeling its way through the industry's formative stages.

The hip alternative fuel of the new millennium has enjoyed legislative and environmental support. It's created a few jobs, provided a steady market for waste oil from restaurants and spawned the need for new farm crops.

The most ardent of proponents, however, realize that developing a sustainable fuel source for the 21st century is accompanied by growing pains. Even Oregon's top producer appears to be a mere role player when grouped with out-of-state entries.

Turning our Victorian terrace into an ecohome: part one

Ecohome envy. That's what I've had for a very long time. I've visited new houses of every eco type - a new build ecohouse in Clapham, the Angell Town ecohousing estate in Brixton and beautiful designer co-housing (Hockerton in Nottingham and Springhill in Stroud).

Then I started hearing about 'ecoretrofits'. No, they're not 1950s makeovers - it's the eco refurbishment of old housing stock. Most of the houses in the UK are old, draughty, single brick houses (no cavity walls) that have been around a long time and are likely to be around way past 2050 - the date by which the Government has committed the UK to an 80 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

Oil-rich Venezuela gripped by economic crisis

SAN CRISTOBAL, VENEZUELA -- Every day for the past three months, government-programmed blackouts have meant the lights flicker and go dark in a city that once bustled with commerce. And Fifth Street, with its auto parts stores and car repair shops, has ground to a halt.

"We just stop," said Jesus Yanis, who paints cars. "We don't work."

Neither does the rest of Venezuela, where a punishing, months-old energy crisis and years of state interventions in the economy are taking a brutal toll on private business. The result is that the economy is flickering and going dark, too, challenging Venezuela's mercurial leader, Hugo Chávez, and his socialist experiment like never before.

No matter that Venezuela is one of the world's great oil powers -- among the top five providers of crude to the United States. Economists say Venezuela is gripped by an economic crisis that has no easy or fast solution, even if sluggish oil production were ramped up and profligate state spending were cut.

The wind man who beat Cape Cod's elite

Gordon's laugh has now turned into a celebratory smile. After a vicious nine-year fight on Cape Cod, Gordon has finally won approval of his wind farm to be built in the iconic waters of Nantucket Sound. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Wednesday signed off on the project.

"We're trying to pioneer a new path to move America forward in obtaining cleaner energy, a healthier environment and putting people to work to harness the inexhaustible winds that we're blessed with off the Cape," he said.

ADNOC awards gas contracts

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has awarded more than US$5 billion (Dh18.35bn) of contracts to develop the strategic Shah gasfield, just a day after the US oil major ConocoPhillips pulled out of the $10bn project.

Pakistan: Ban imposed on new village electrification

ISLAMABAD (APP): Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervez Ashraf Thursday said that government has imposed ban on new village electrification to conserve energy and minimize power crisis.Speaking at function organized by Islamabad Chamber of Commerce here he said the ban would remain intact till the normalization of the current power situation.The minister said protection to commerce and industries was the government top priority and all out efforts were being made to provide more facilities to this sector.

Pakistani court rules out LNG deal

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, April 29 (UPI) -- A contract signed in February with French energy company GDF Suez and Islamabad didn't follow standard protocols, a Pakistani court ruled.

The high court in Pakistan ruled that a contract to import liquefied natural gas from the French energy company violated standard procedures, The Wall Street Journal reports.

China to build two nuclear reactors in Pakistan

BEIJING: China has agreed to build two new civilian nuclear reactors in Pakistan, a report said on Thursday, amid persistent concerns about the safety of nuclear materials in the restive south Asian state.

Chinese companies will build at least two new 650-megawatt reactors at Chashma in Punjab province, the Financial Times said.

Energy conservation a social responsibility

Pakistan is facing the worst energy crisis of her history for the second consecutive year. This year we are experiencing increased load shedding from the very onset of the summers. The life is disturbed to an extent that demonstrations are being taken out in every nook and corner of the country. There is a definite increase in public protest compared to the last year. It is due to their lack of faith in the ability of the government to resolve the crisis.

Islamabad traders demand one hour extension

The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) convened a meeting of representatives of traders here on Tuesday to reach a consensus over closure of markets in the light of government’s announcement regarding conservation of energy.

Most traders were in favour of closing markets at 10 p.m. However, ICCI President Zahid Maqbool said that energy crisis was a national issue and business community should cooperate with the government in this connection.

Ending America's energy deficit

First, let’s slash our dependency on imported oil and pursue advanced technologies like next-generation biofuels, improve the fuel economy of cars and trucks and build a truck fleet powered by natural gas.

Second, let’s create jobs in new energy industries -- manufacturing, delivering and installing alternative energy technologies.

Despite mixed signals from Washington, clean energy is one of the few bright spots in the sagging U.S. economy.

A green light unto the nations

Israel can lay a leading role in curing the West of oil addiction.

Green tech innovation is moving faster than people’s imaginations

Over 300 representatives took part in the exercise, which resulted in a number of findings including that the majority believe the technologies key to our future either already exist or are under development and that it is more the adoption of these technologies, not the development of new ones, that should be the focus.

“Excluding the odd hover car or personal rocket ship, we found that the vast majority of what was suggested is already being implemented to some degree or another – suggesting that technology is moving faster than people’s imaginations and shaping the way we live as it does so,” comments Neil Butcher of Arup’s Advanced Technology & Research practice.

The Green Movement is garbage

The Green Movement activists make it sound so easy. Ride a bike, eat organic, turn off your lights, plant a tree - it's so simple! If you do these things, it will solve the global energy crisis, prevent famine worldwide, and save you money. They way they talk makes one wonder how we ever weren't going green.

Why I stopped believing in environmentalism and started the Dark Mountain Project

To me, this is the most exciting thing about the Dark Mountain Project. It has brought together people from all over the world, from varied backgrounds – writers, poets, illustrators, engineers, scientists, woodworkers, teachers, songwriters, farmers – all of whom are tied together by a shared vision. It is a vision that a few years back would have seemed heretical to many greens, but which is now gaining wide traction as the failure of humanity to respond to the crises it has created becomes increasingly obvious. Together we are able to say it loud and clear: we are not going to 'save the planet'. The planet is not ours to save. The planet is not dying; but our civilisation might be, and neither green technology nor ethical shopping is going to prevent a serious crash.

U.S. may send in troops as Gulf oil spill worsens

NEW ORLEANS—A massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is even worse than believed and as the government grows concerned that the rig’s operator is ill-equipped to contain it, officials are offering a military response to try to avert a massive environmental disaster along the ecologically fragile U.S. coastline.

But time may be running out. Not only was a third leak discovered — which government officials said is spewing five times as much oil into the water than originally estimated — but it might be closer to shore than previously known, and could have oil washing up on shore by Friday.

At the same time, there appeared to be a growing rift developing between BP PLC, the operator of the oil rig that exploded last week in the deep waters of the Gulf, and the Coast Guard, which is overseeing the increasingly desperate operation to contain the spill and clean it up.

Crude Rises as Equities Advance, U.S. Refinery Activity Surges

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil rose for a second day in New York as equities rallied and a report showed U.S. refinery activity surged to its highest level in almost two years.

Oil gained 1 percent yesterday as the Federal Open Market Committee said economic conditions “are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate for an extended period.” Gasoline supplies fell 1.24 million barrels last week, a report from the Energy Department showed. They were forecast to increase, according to a Bloomberg News survey.

Naphtha Margin Narrowing to Gasoline on China

(Bloomberg) -- The gap between the price of naphtha and gasoline in Asia is narrowing for a fourth straight week, the longest stretch since November, as China’s manufacturing economy strengthens.

Sinopec Refines 20% More Oil to Fuel China’s Economy

(Bloomberg) -- China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. refined 20 percent more crude oil in the first quarter compared with a year earlier to meet higher fuel demand from car owners and factories in the world’s fastest-growing major economy.

Iraq eyes doubling of oil output by 2014

CAIRO -- Iraq says it aims to almost double its oil output to 4.5 million barrels per day by 2014.

Under a new five-year plan posted on the Ministry of Planning's website, Iraq also says it hopes to sharply boost its domestic refining and oil storage capacity and raise gas output.

Woodside, Shell Pick Floating LNG to Develop Sunrise

(Bloomberg) -- Woodside Petroleum Ltd., Australia’s second-largest oil and gas producer, said it plans to develop the Sunrise liquefied natural gas project in the Timor Sea using a floating plant to process the fuel.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, a partner in the venture, said Sunrise would become the second project, after Prelude, to use Shell’s technology to chill gas to liquid on board a vessel. The Sunrise floating LNG plant would produce 4 million metric tons of fuel a year, Shell Australia said in a statement today.

Gazprom Quarterly Net Rises Eightfold as Gas Demand Recovers

(Bloomberg) -- OAO Gazprom, the world’s biggest gas producer, posted an eightfold increase in profit after fuel consumption in Russia and Europe recovered.

PPL Agrees to Acquire E.ON U.S. Unit for $6.7 Billion

(Bloomberg) -- PPL Corp. agreed to buy E.ON AG’s U.S. power and natural gas unit for $6.7 billion in cash as the owner of Pennsylvania’s second-largest utility seeks growth outside its home state.

Sempra Settles Litigation, Cuts Earnings Forecast

(Bloomberg) -- Sempra Energy, the co-owner of an energy-trading venture with Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, agreed to a $410 million settlement of claims arising from the California energy crisis in 2000 and 2001. The company also cut its 2010 earnings forecast.

World Energy Demand Unexpectedly Increases

One of the only benefits of a global recession was supposed to be a reduced demand for energy, particularly for transportation fuels, such as oil.

Surprisingly, that's not happening.

MMC May Propose $1.2 Billion Power Plant Expansion

(Bloomberg) -- MMC Corp., Malaysia’s second- biggest electricity producer, may propose to the government a plan to spend as much as $1.2 billion to expand its Tanjung Bin coal-fired power plant to avert a potential supply shortage.

A power reserve shortfall may emerge as electricity from the Bakun hydroelectric dam on Borneo island may not be transmitted to Peninsular Malaysia as planned, Hasni Harun, who will become MMC’s group managing director on May 3, told reporters in Kuala Lumpur today.

GE to Tap Demand for Smart Meters in $200 Billion Global Market

(Bloomberg) -- General Electric Co. is poised to tap the $200 billion smart-meter market as nations upgrade more power meters to improve electricity use and lower costs.

More than a billion electricity measuring units may be changed to “smart meters” in the next two decades, said Luke Clemente, general manager for GE Energy’s digital energy business. A smart meter system may cost $100 to $200 a unit, depending on the technology used, and the business may be worth as much as $200 billion excluding add-on systems and devices, based on calculations from GE data.

Ten Green Energy Gambles for 2010: Update 2

The stock market is up, and my bets against it are down, except in energy. It's time to double down.

Wind-Power Projects May Stall on U.K. Grid Regulation

(Bloomberg) -- A U.K. plan to install more than 8,000 offshore wind turbines by 2020 may be delayed by a government plan to contract out work to connect the wind farms to the grid, according to Centrica Plc and E.ON AG.

Regulator Ofgem has said allowing competitive bids would attract investors to the industry and curb the 15 billion-pound ($23 billion) cost of connecting 33,000 megawatts of capacity over the decade. Wind-power producers contend that awarding the work exclusively to other companies, who may lack expertise in offshore wind, could slow projects.

World No. 2 Disc Maker Bets on Solar Over Blu-Rays

(Bloomberg) -- Moser Baer India Ltd., the world’s second-largest maker of blank discs, expects its solar unit to dominate within five years as demand for clean energy in India outpaces that for DVDs and Blu-rays.

The Arches’ Behaviour festival gets intimate

If these shows don’t grab your attention, maybe Dean Gibbons and the Knowledge of Death will. This show combines puppetry, physical theatre and striking visual affects to tell a darkly comic work that looks at the twin threats of climate change and peak oil.

York holds Energy and Climate Fair

10 a.m. — "Peak Oil," a slide presentation by York resident and engineer Tom Page.

Citizen’s Group Plans Extensive Audit of U.N. Climate Report

A leading global warming skeptic recruited a group of concerned citizens to fact-check the sources referenced in the U.N.'s latest climate-change bible -- and gave the report an "F." Now she's planning the nail in the coffin: a comprehensive audit of the entire report.

Saving the planet: Australia slips from leader to laggard

Sydney - Australia was always an unlikely instigator of action to mitigate climate change.

It is coal-export world champion and league-leader in per-capital greenhouse-gas emissions. Along with the United States, it refused to accept the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which set emissions-reduction targets for rich nations.

But carbon crusader was the mantle Kevin Rudd took up when he became prime minister two years ago.

Lobbyists rev up over U.S. agenda

Energy and natural resource interests, bracing for Senate action on a comprehensive energy and climate change bill, spent $125.5 million during the first quarter — or nearly a 30% jump over what the industry spent on lobbying during the same period last year. The legislation is aimed at slowing global warming by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

The Edison Electric Institute, a utility trade group, dramatically increased spending, reporting $4.2 million on first-quarter lobbying expenses, federal records show. That's a 63% increase over the amount the association spent during the same period in 2009.

"Climate change has been a major investment in time for us and our customers," said Jim Owen, a spokesman for the institute. The group is scrambling to ensure utilities would receive free pollution credits to emit greenhouse gases under proposed legislation, rather than bid on them in an auction. Owen said the savings would be passed on to customers.

EPA Scientist Says East Coast Beaches Threatened by Sea Level, But Nobody’s Listening

For nearly 30 years, Titus has been sounding the alarm about our rising oceans. Global warming is melting polar ice, adding to the volume of the oceans, as well as warming up seawater, causing it to expand. Most climatologists expect oceans around the world to rise between 1.5 and 5 feet this century.

Some of the hardest-hit areas could be in our own backyard: Erosion and a shift in ocean currents could cause water to rise 4 feet or more along much of the East Coast. Titus, who contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Nobel Prize-winning 2007 report, has done more than anyone to determine how those rising seas will affect us and what can be done about them.

Like his occasional collaborator, NASA climatologist James Hansen, Titus has decided to speak out. He’s crisscrossed the country to meet with state and local officials in coastal areas, urging them to start planning now for the slow-motion flood. Yet his warnings have mostly fallen on deaf ears. “We were often told by midlevel officials that their bosses did not want to plan for anything past the next election,” he says.

I fear the worst from the BP oil spill.

Exxon Valdez redux.

I also noted that the operator is "BP LLC". LLC stands for "limited liability corporation".

Best Hopes for Just Compensation at least,


I am horrified at the possibilities with this spill. The leaking could go on for a long, long time. I think of the all the vital wetlands, the Gulf fisheries, and I want to weep. I have a feeling this is not going to be a trivial event. It already isn't.

Not sure what just compensation would be for the destruction of one of the most productive wetland/fishery complexes on the planet.

Best Hopes for a Miracle, I guess.

Only people can be compensated. Fish, wildlife and the rest of nature just suffers in silence.

Ron P.

Ron - I began smoking cigarettes when I was 16 years old. At that time a pack of cigarettes cost less than $.25 a pack. 20 years later I was referred to a pulmonary specialist for treatment of chronic bronchitis. As a condition of treatment the physician said "not smoking" was mandatory. Spending an hour sitting in the waiting room with "victims" suffering in various stages of pulmonary stress was all I needed to get me off tobacco.

I don't believe there is any monetary compensation for the distress tobacco had caused those unfortunate people in the waiting room but there was a massive change in U.S. policy toward tobacco in the last 20 years. A pack of cigarettes now cost over $5.00 and education is mandatory at an elementary school level. "The message is "if you choose to smoke it will steal your health, eventually kill you and in the meantime it will be expensive!"

Today our "addiction" to fossil fuels is wrapped around everything we do as a people. Any talk of reducing our consumption of energy is politically repugnant. Why isn't gasoline $10.00 a gallon at the pump? This is a simple solution to a complex problem but as willing as we are to punish those foolish enough to continue smoking with additional taxes there is little will to punitive measures that might threaten our own personal way of life. Let's admit to ourselves that we're all complicit in these disasters.

As they do in thousands of AA meetings across the world today let's begin our recovery from fossil fuel addiction with the humble statement:

We admitted we were powerless over our addiction - that our lives had become unmanageable.


Oh, please. That foolish silly Bush-ism of an "addiction" metaphor is growing ever more tired with age even if it's a convenient conversation stopper. The use of medical terms in that manner is a device used by zealots to appropriate for themselves the sort of license doctors have - and must have in order to carry out their duties - to do things that are felonies for anyone else. So if officials in the former Soviet Union wanted to lock up their opponents, they would declare their opponents insane, a medical term, rather than merely wrong.

So now, having invoked "addiction" as a magical incantation giving yourself that sort of license, do you really intend to imply that any and all human activity beyond eating, sleeping and defecating is a medical condition to be quarantined or 'cured' using as much coercion and violence as might be required to contain or stop it? Should we also strap everyone in bed for life, on the grounds that if they stand up there's the tiny chance they'll fall, hit their head the wrong way, and die?

Yes, the leak is a bad thing. And yes, it may temporarily impact things like the 0.015%-of-GDP (yawn) regional seafood "industry". But that industry is toast anyway without "reasonably" priced fuel for all those diesel boats, and it's also toast without "reasonably" priced fuel supporting an economy in which people can afford its costly luxury-priced products. So they can just suck it up. [Sure, before fossil fuels, there was fishing along the coasts primarily for local markets, but nothing like the modern "industry" selling far and wide.]

Why not just knock off with the whiny wishful thinking? Life is risky - indeed the mortality rate remains 100%. Stuff happens, almost by definition, that's what risk is. So what? Deal with it: short of relocating to another universe with different physics, mortality and risk may never be abolished.

And yes, it may temporarily impact things like the 0.015%-of-GDP (yawn) regional seafood "industry".

The reduction of all things to a dollar value is both the genius and failure of our civilization.

The reduction of all things to a dollar value is both the genius and failure of our civilization.

Now that's a brilliant quote!


I agree.

PaulS - You and I are from different planets. On my planet we whine about over-population and the loss of biodiversity. We ride bikes and plant gardens and take public transportation by choice. (Why does that threaten you?)

On your planet self-righteous indignation appears to be the default mode while you whine about ecological disasters in the following terms:

...temporarily impact things like the 0.015%-of-GDP (yawn)

Here is an excellent point you made:

...if officials in the former Soviet Union wanted to lock up their opponents, they would declare their opponents insane, a medical term, rather than merely wrong.

On my planet you would be declared insane...


On my planet you would be declared insane...

Precisely. Because it's a totalitarian dictatorship.

PaulS - Is a nation a totalitarian dictatorship if it is a nation of responsible laws? Isn't theft and fraud civilly and criminally a crime? Like it or not with 7 billion people on this small planet civilizations are now considering crimes against The Commons as Capitol Offenses. That's right! Being an a**hole might be against the law...


Then again you are insane, so....

I would prefer living on a planet with less whining and less self-righteous indignation. I especially would prefer less of the self righteousness. But posing as morally superior helps to satisfy an instinctual desire to have higher status.

Excuse me Future Pundit...In the event of Future Collapse which tribe might you mingling with? AARGGHH! (make pirate sound)


That foolish silly Bush-ism of an "addiction" metaphor is growing ever more tired with age even if it's a convenient conversation stopper. The use of medical terms in that manner is a device used by zealots to appropriate for themselves the sort of license doctors have - and must have in order to carry out their duties - to do things that are felonies for anyone else.

Thank you for this, PaulS.

I'd even go farther: "addiction" isn't even a medical term. It's a twenty-century scam. Time to bury it.

The whole "substance abuse treatment" paradigm--namely, the "twelve steps--is pseudo-medicine.

Self-help is an enterprise wherein people holding the thinnest of credentials diagnose in basically normal people symptoms of inflated or invented maladies, so that they may then implement remedies that have never been shown to work. Source.

mikeB - If you had ever made a 12-step call in the middle of the night to try and prevent another addict from going over the edge you would realize how stupid what you just said is. You and PaulS can do me a big favor...when you see any posts that has my moniker on it skip it. I'll return the favor by ignoring your ignorant rants as well which I normally do.


Actually addiction is a real neurological phenomenon involving, among other things, fewer dopamine receptors in drug addict brains.

Hyperbolic discounting seems to affect addicts and gamblers. The sense of perceived future payout before immediate gratification has gone whack in these people.

Holy crap, where did that rant come from? You just made that all up. Your post seems to say a lot more about your bitter thoughts than about the subject at hand or anything else.

When that mad "zealot" (to use your expression) GW Bush used the word "addiction", surely even you could understand that it was a metaphor, and an apt one at that.

Conversation stopper? Magical incantation? Strap everyone in bed for life? The Soviet Union's abuse of psychology? This is word salad.

We're all going to die, so nothing matters at all - is that your point?

Whiny wishful thinking? What's that about?

You seem rather tightly wrapped this afternoon. In my opinion, you need a stiff drink or three.


I think addiction is a good way to put it. The drug is all of the energy slaves we become dependent on and can not "imagine" living without. Also like an addiction the "cost" at first seems manageable but progresses in time to become unmanageable.

While I have issues with some aspects of the basic 12 step program it has facilitated the improvement on many peoples lives.

By economic value of the catch, it may be the most productive fishery in the world. Overfishing has been limited by quota (and some species are "sport fishing only"), so we are still fairly close to "Peak Catch".

The currents and wind may take this spill over the entire Louisiana coast. Several years to recover.

Best Hopes for calm waters to burn some oil off,


Miami Herald discussion of the oil spill and the GOM Loop Current:


Unfortunately, it appears that the oil has a heavy asphaltene component--which will contribute to tar balls.

Rockman hit it yesterday when asked about discharge changes. Said any amount any time was possible, and now estimates have the flow 5x yesterday, with a talk of a different leak closer to shore.

BP is already laying the blame squarely at the feet of Transocean, LTD.

In any event, winning the judgement, as we know from the Exxon Valdez case, doesn't mean anyone ever actually gets the compensation.

sounds like I should hold off on purchasing any RIG given the undefined liabilities here.

This could be very different - Exxon Valdez was in corner of the world where very few people live (albeit a very beautiful corner of the world) and although it got plenty of media coverage it didn't impact that many people directly - this is much much different.

I suspect any lawsuits would be very very high profile cases due to the population density, the value of the natural areas as food sources, tourist destinations etc. Not to mention how we've been force fed the nonsense thru all the ANWR debate etc. that this can be done in an environmentally sensitive manner with all risks completely discounted... there will be many who smell blood in the water when it finally comes down to getting the chance to seriously land a punch on the face of "big oil".

Also we have to take into account the possibility that we've now fouled the same coast that was just starting to recover from one of our worst natural disasters 5 years ago...

And at some point, someone, somewhere in the MSM may even "break" the story that many of the deepwater GOM fields have had actual production profiles, e.g. the main productive structure in the Thunder Horse complex (the poster child for deepwater GOM exploration), that are far below the projected production levels.

In the mean time, the silence in the MSM and industry is deafening. I am on the verge of calling it disgusting--especially the lack of industry press coverage, e.g. Oil & Gas Journal, Rigzone, etc.

And now we are just having to burn up all of what comes out of new well - that's really not a very good combination... Plummeting production at older wells and completely wasting a new one.

It's all part of our current tragic comedy...

I thinnk your point will soon be discussed, alot. It's bound to come up now that the spill situation, at least this morning, looks so bleak.

Looking at other site coverage, the sub-headlines are linking to past spill extent. It'll be a short time till the actual costs are compared, and the fate of Thunderhorse. Maybe Undertow could link that famous listing picture of the platform.

From here this morning, it looks like the defining issue, reference point, for the emerging offshore debate. I imagine the administration is having second thoughts on it's actions a couple weeks ago. It certainly will add fire to the debates for additional alternative energy, from corn etoh to wind.

I should be recalling other spills, but the images floating through my mind are those several years back of Nigeria. The scales aren't close, one offshore, other on, but it seems to me those Nigerian spills, their ongoing nature, were a large point in precipitating the violence which followed.

we can hope that this one "water's out" too!

Oh no, don't say that... (punch 'big oil') There are people writing comments on the local paper's website here today that it could have been the responsibility of 'environmental nazi's'.

well the vast majority of us "econazis" aren't morons like Rush and his flock... we can actually do the projection forward in time that if an oil rig were deliberately sabotaged it would result in a huge ENVIRONMENTAL mess...

so, it comes as no surprise whatsoever that they think that... that's how their infantile brains function so they project that same level of thinking on their "opponents"

my punch was a metaphorical reference - as in a nice uppercut by some high profile lawyer for a state or group of states...

To be fair to BP, they certainly do seem to do a good job of being involved in virtually the complete range of possible Oil Patch incidents--whether it be exploration/production problems (the current spill), or transportation problems (North Slope pipelines) or refinery explosions (Texas City Refinery).

At least with BP, you get the complete upstream to downstream package.

Essentially, they are winning the PR campaign...

Were I BP, I would be lining up my billions in net revenue against certain U.S. Congressional races and buying sufficient TV time to swing elections my direction. I would also be writing a short thank you note to the SCOTUS for legitimizing my spending on campaigns in the US. God bless their hearts!

If I am an American citizen (and I am), I would be reading up on corporate personhood and participating in the campaign to amend the constitution in order to narrow corporate "rights" such as unlimited corporate free speech in elections. I would be taking my lead from Riki Ott, an ocean biologist and former Alaskan fish crew leader who watched with disgust as Exxon weaseled its way out of financial obligations for the Valdez crime. She is now helping to organize the move to amend.


"to narrow corporate "rights" "

Nice idea, but it's too late. The Supreme Court is now stacked with pro-corporatists and they are busy EXPANDING the right of corporations.

Hence the populist push to amend the Constitution.

The SCOTUS has no role in passing a constitutional amendment. And if an amendment saying that some rights apply only to natural persons is adopted, the SCOTUS doesn't get a choice. Well, I suppose that they do, but if they continued to rule that 1st amendment free speech applied to corporations, when a new amendment said that it didn't, that would certainly seem grounds for impeachment. And if support for the new amendment was broad enough to get it passed, Congress would presumably be willing to impeach some or all of the justices.

Of course, it's more complicated than just saying that a corporation is not a person. For lots of purposes, you want a corporation to be a person. The Corporation of London, physically represented by the Lord Mayor, was treated as a person so that the city could swear fealty to the monarch, fitting it into the feudal system of the 12th century. We would like our corporations to be persons in the sense that they can sign contracts, hold property, sue and be sued, etc.

Here in germany runs a commercial of Chevron, which claims "We provide You with the energy to tackle climate change!" . That`s a good one, isn`t it?
So BP provides us with the stuff to tackle oil spills.

This accident and the squadra defaultista of struggeling states here in europe reminds me of a poem, I read decades ago

The time has come, the walrus said,
to talk of many things,
of why the sea is boiling hot,
and whether pigs have wings.

worst of show here:


the 1964 eugene island explosion and spill was also operated by bp (amoco - fka pan am petroleum).

Beyond Pathetic

Speaking of costs and compensation...

This past January, a 672 gallon spill cost the county of Orange $1.5 million to clean up: http://www.dailypilot.com/articles/2010/04/08/publicsafety/dpt-hboil0403...

The 1990, American Trader oil spill (400,000 gallons) in Huntington Beach resulted in a $4 million settlement (for 250 claimants), but not until 2002: http://articles.latimes.com/2002/dec/28/local/me-trader28

A few weeks ago I was speaking with a retired OC Judge and as I am apt to do, turned the conversation to energy. He confidently proclaimed that nuclear was the answer and that nuclear accidents were a thing of the past. Really!?

Edit: I had missed this article in an earlier drumbeat and have emailed it to the Judge: http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/apr2010/2010-04-26-01.html

The whole incident is a plot by the democrats to stop further offshore drilling.
Could be good, but could be bad too.
Only time will tell.

Do you suppose they dropped a bomb from the democrat air force or used a democrat submarine to torpedo it?

Or maybe it was democrat devils from under the earth pushing the plug outta the pipe.........

Nah, they drilled a hole through the plug with their horns...

Would it be feasible to detonate a thermonuclear weapon to "seal off" the leak? I don't know whether it would even be possible to deliver one at this depth.

It's possible, but probably undesirable.

No way of knowing if it would "seal" anything; might fracture subsurface formations and cause more leakage.

Radiation would be a problem, as would "fall-out" - or, in this case (?)flush-out(?).

Potential tidal actions could be disasterous to shore-line areas. (Previous underwater detonations were done in confined atolls).

Shock wave could kill fish (and mammals, possibly human swimmers too).

Sub-surface fireball bubble would be a big unknown.


Don't need to go to such extremes tex. Drilling a relief well and hitting a target less than 2' wide a couple of miles below the surface might sound impossible but it can be done routinely. It takes time, of course. But such "geosteering" of the dril pipe is one of my jobs. The technology to do so is quit amazing to say the least. The relief well will cut the original hole and pump down "kill fluid" to stop the oil flow. But it could take a couple of months...or more. In the meantime all they can really do is recover the surface pollution as best as possible.

Rock- what is the likelihood of hitting the out-blowing well-duct at first attempt ?
Are they/you shooting continuous seismics during this operation to verify that the relief well string is aiming correctly towards the failing well?

Always get close the first time paal but seldom hit it square on. No seismic...not nearly accurate enough. I can steer a drill bit to hit a coffee can first try 5 miles away. But the trick is knowing exactly where the coffee can is. But there are down hole electronic devices right behind the dril bit that can detect the metal casing in the blow out well. Then make minor adjustments to hit the casing. Once you hit the casing they'll have to pull out of the hole and change over to a metal cutting mill bit. That's when it gets a litle dangerous. They'll have very heavy mud in the releif well that should flow into the blow out hole and kill the well. Should work that way but not always easy.

Just wondering about that coffee can. If drilling from a solid platform, that seems possible. How long before they can set up something solid enough for the equipment to be sufficiently steady in the water?



There are no oil rigs with mile long legs. They float on the surface. They are very steady!

They hold their positions with DP:

Dynamic positioning (DP) a computer controlled system to automatically maintain a vessel's position and heading by using her own propellers and thrusters. Position reference sensors, combined with wind sensors, motion sensors and gyro compasses, provide information to the computer pertaining to the vessel's position and the magnitude and direction of environmental forces affecting its position.
Source Wikipedia

I thought they were teathered to cables reaching bottom and anchored there. Thanks for clarifying.

It sounds like the engines are always going? What is the energy cost for these things? Impact on EROEI?


From memory the larger drill ships do about 12,000litres or 3100 US gal per day. See the specs below

Main Power 6 x Wartsila 18V32 rated 9775 hp each, driving 6 x ABB AMG 0900xU10 7000 kW 11,000 volts AC generators
Thrusters 8 x Kamewa rated 7375 hp each, fixed propeller, full 360 deg azimuth

zap -- some amazing engineering on these floating drill rigs. Besides having a buffering system to minimize sea roll on the entire rig there's a very elaborate compensation system that keeps the drill pipe and riser from moving even when the rig is rolling. If it gets too rough you shut down but it can normally handle a pretty strong roll.

How does that work in hitting that coffee can (even a small sway is maginified many times over 5,000 ft)? Is this sufficiently steady to expect relatively quick work in capping the wellhead? What happes if that drill goes all the way through(even a small roll would raise the drill, it would seem)? Mud into the mud?

Not to be entirely pessimistic. If Rockman is on the job, I expect it will happen. Just wondering about time frame, and expectations.

Also, is there any definitive word about what caused the blow out in the first place as yet?


zap -- hard to believe I know but even in 20' seas the bit at the end of the drill pipe dooesn't even move an inch. As I said: amazing engineering. Actually the goal is for the mill bit of the relief well to cut thru the drill pipe and casing. The new well will have very heavy drilling mud in it that will be pumped under very high pressure into the original well. Usually works but not full proof.

Wow! That IS amazing!


Interesting and thanks for reply.
I would (in my head that is) assume the blowout well is a so called known target with coordinates and all (?), and since you can hit 'the 5-mile-can' it should obviously be possible to hit somewhere on the rising casing.

paal -- Yes...very well known coordinates for the well bore. As the hole is drilled they actually survey its location every 100' or so (and sometimes continuosly) with equipment that's essentially like down hole GPS. Accuracy varies but they probably know withing 10' or so where the casing is right now. Get that close and the electronic tool behind the drill bit can guide you the rest of the way.

So, "Lake Palin" will continue to expand for 2 months, at least?

Thanks - I'm going to steal that.
and to add substance:
Oil spill declared National Significance

There's going to be a big bar tab on this one.

The article said about 2 months for the relief well. Is that within reason?

We are coming onto hurricane season soon... GOM starts early, sometimes in May. Any thoughts on what happens when an early hurricane slams into the spill?


Reasonable zap but there's always potential problems. At this water depth even little non-serious problems can cost you a couple of weeks.

We may not have to wait that long - apparently some pretty lousy weather with onshore winds gusting to 30 mph are predicted over the next few days, with seas increasing to up to 10 ft...

Really lousy conditions for containment or lighting the slick on fire. Not exactly a hurricane but still really bad news from a weather stand point - we're certainly not going to get any help from the weather in the short term...


Think tidal wave and you'll not want to have one at 5,000 feet.

But going down and cutting the pipe and piling on some rocks might do the trick, I don't know though with the depth the aim of dropping something heavy might not hit the target.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future.

I enjoy reading the Energy Bulletin (dot) Net, but I think the site needs to seperate the Fossil Fuels/ Peak Oil (PO) articles from the Philosophy and Food Growing articles.

It's getting hard to be taken seriously when I reference articles by Cohen and Whipple only to find that the (city-raised) people who I referenced them to get a bit freaked out by an article on tail docking.

I mean, it's a great source of info for the veteran reader, but the entire home page is getting spread too far & wide for the unfamiliar potential new reader. KEEP ALL THE AUTHORS, but seperate by type of energy/PO-issues being discussed.

Just My Opinion.

Good point. That said, given the interdependence of all of these issues, there is probably also some value in combining these in order to help people connect the dots.

"only to find that the (city-raised) people who I referenced them to get a bit freaked out by an article on tail docking."

They need it. All part of Remedial Ed 101.

I don't see the point of turning people off when they are only interested in finding out about PO.

And there are many "facts of Life" that I prefer to avoid seeing; I've done enough engineering investigations on fatal accidents; it never stops being disgusting.

P.S. Not everyone is cut out to be a shepherd.

I understand your position, both seeing too many accidents, and not turning off people off. Especially when they are just starting to nibble, so to speak. But maybe PO is also about discovering we're in for a world of pain, that ways will change. It's interesting how the antidrug and antismoking commercials evolved to some of the most grisly images and stories.

But maybe I also get teed off that folks can be so divorced from reality. As Utah Phillips used to sing, lamenting the loss of the railroads, "...some people don't even know that milk comes from a cow." He had a rather humorous comment on virgin wool too.

Hope your lambing went ok, if you are also a shepherd.

I don't think believing in PO is that much of a choice for most people. Most have never even heard of it... and where would they hear of it?.. it's still considered a finge belief by most. So if someone asks, 'has anyone every calculated how much oil we have left?' it's easy to say, "yes" and just have them Google "peak oil" without adding any opinion. If they get interested, there's always TOD & Energy Bulletin.

PO don't necessarily mean pain, in my opinion. It's not many, but I do see a few people out of college who are basically dropping out of the "rat-race" and using (pratical) work as barter for food and a roof overhead. They seem to be happy; I suspect that many will also "enjoy" the "vacation" that'll come with PO.

I don't have a herd, but I do know a few people who raise sheep for wool. I hear views on docking both ways; personally I have no experience in that area. The biggest problem with sheep seems to be intestinal worms. (they are cute when they're little.) I'd like to get goats when I retire.

I don't know about the states, but here in the UK both of my sets of parents have independently heard of peak oil from the mainstream media. The issue they think is that they had thought that "peak oil is now-ish" means no jet-setting away for holidays. Likewise, of the view people who I've talked to about it (I'm not an evangelist so only talk about it if it naturally comes up) have heard something about it, but again consider it as a something that'll affect the "extreme behaviours". They don't really consider what it might mean in terms of trucking produce around, or being unable to have the modern pharamceuticals industry, etc. It's this belief that if peak oil really hits then "this time it's serious" that is the fringe belief.

I think the left and right hand columns are supposed to make this separation. The left side is supposed to peak oil; the right side is supposed to be general sustainability issues.

I haven't checked to see how well this is really happening.

They do a good job, but to the new site-visitor it's not so obvious. Besides, it seems that "image" does influence people.

Energy Bulletin's readership seems to be about 40% of that of The Oil Drum, according to Alexa.com data. Since they have more sustainability articles, I think their readership has a somewhat higher percentage of women.

Each site fills its own niche. I run into quite a few folks who have read my posts, but have virtually never been to The Oil Drum. They read my posts, republished on Energy Bulletin!

From link above:

CAIRO -- Iraq says it aims to almost double its oil output to 4.5 million barrels per day by 2014.

Increasing oil production from the current 2.4 million barrels per day to 4.5 million barrels per day by 2014 sounds optimistic to say the least. That would entail a sustained 500,000 bpd increase per year from mature oil fields that have been producing for decades. I this just more BS coming from another Persian Gulf country?

"Saudi Arabia’s oil exports warning"

"The head of Saudi Aramco, Khalid al-Falih, made a rather dramatic statement in a speech last week. The nation, the world’s biggest net oil exporter*, would have to divert a large chunk of its production capacity away from global markets and towards its own domestic needs,

Al-Khalil said Saudi Arabia would have to take some 3m barrels per day of oil off the global market by 2028, if the country does not become more energy efficient."


To save Leanan some keystrokes, she posted the link yesterday, but IMO it was a very interesting story--the Saudis basically acknowledged "Net Export Math."

I was surprised at the sparsity of comments here--not surprised at the failure of MSM to pick it up.

A group of MSM types consider stories on resource limits, especially truly scary stuff like a long term accelerating rate of decline in global net oil exports:


I posted about this three days ago when it first came out, as it is prima facie evidence that Exportland 2.0 is well in effect.

Note below how it is ‘suggested’ that KSA start preparing for a rapid rise in internal demand. Discussed previously at TOD was the fact that KSA’s oil use rises sharply in the summer ‘air conditioning season’, and based upon recent reports, oil use to generate electricity for air conditioning this summer may be higher than ever.

Experts suggest Kingdom develop renewable energy
April 28, 2010

Trabulsi noted that Saudi Arabia’s domestic demand for energy was increasing as the population increased. The growing demand for hydrocarbon-fed generation systems will eventually adversely impact the nation’s oil exports, which now account for a large part of the Kingdom’s GDP.

“The demand on utilities in the Kingdom has significantly increased,” Trabulsi said. “Underlying this growth are two drivers — residential end-use energy requirements and industrialization. On the residential side, the combination of high population growth, a young population, and a rising standard of living, has led to a substantial increase in the demand for housing and subsequently an increasing need for more electricity and water.”


Below is a picture of Saudi air conditioning demand from the JODI Databrowser.

Saudi refineries have not kept up with increasing internal demand and they now have to import diesel in order to run generators to provide electricity. Summer time peak demand has gone up 50% in only 8 years.

Energy consumption among members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (essentially the entire Arabian peninsula) is going to be a very big story going forward. Taken as a whole, they are only a couple of years away from consuming all the natural gas that is produced among their members and are rapidly eating into their oil export capacity.

The down slope of Peak Exports will be much steeper than that for Peak Production, especially among the GCC.

- Jon

BTW, great presentation last night! Looking forward to more from you...

Its such a shame that the Saudi's don't have more solar potential. That could really help their summertime load.

Yes, this is a BIG admission by the Saudi's and should sound alarm bells around the world

Everyone who reads this should pass the story on to their local science reporter along with the story about the release of the report by the US military: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/apr/11/peak-oil-production-supply

A leading global warming skeptic recruited a group of concerned citizens to fact-check the sources referenced in the U.N.'s latest climate-change bible -- and gave the report an "F." Now she's planning the nail in the coffin: a comprehensive audit of the entire report.

Why not do a fact-check of the real bible first ?

Anyone giving the IPCC IV an F is an idiot by definition.


I support Eco-Nuremberg.

Good point. Did you notice the news story claiming that Noah's Ark has been found???

E. Swanson

Noah's ark has been found 100s of times before, but somehow it keeps getting lost again.

during his crusade the leading skeptic developed a tumor in his frontal lobe

he recruited a group of concerned citizens to perform brain surgery on him by following along in "Neurosurgery for Dummies"

he gave his citizens group an "A-" for effort and is resting comfortably after his partial lobotomy

"see even average people can step up and perform the detailed work needed to assess climate science and brain surgery... all in the same week..." the skeptic pointed out in his first post-op interview...

what a load of...

EDIT: the skeptic ringleader is a "she" - I missed that on my first read of the quote above... I'm apparently next in line for the surgery...

Good point, but that train left the station oh, about 40 years ago when the societal 'we' decided that in order to make things "democratic" and "fair", we should abolish education standards and pass virtually everyone. And that all utterances, or so-called "texts", no matter how stupid, are to be valued equally since they are all produced by human beings. Oh, the irony: looks to me like the Right is doing a fine job of reaping what the Left had sown.

One of mankind’s oldest and most innovative ways of harvesting solar and tidal energies after it has been concentrated for free by natural systems into high quality protein, is through the harvesting of coastal fisheries. Only the energy cost of the harvesting needs to be paid by man, the rest is freely provided by nature. Until – something like this massive Gulf oil spill occurs that causes an interruption of the harvesting of this “natural energy” source. Which yields the greater amount of net energy and economic benefits to our society, the oil or the coastal fisheries? Should not this question be carefully addressed before we continue on the present path of risky, deep water oil development? With this massive, ongoing oil spill “experiment”, we may, in the months ahead, get a good answer to this question. Let the bean counting of damages begin. One thing is for sure, the court mediated procedure for assessing the benefits and the costs of oil development has proven to be an abject failure. Even the distant, “unaffected” parties suffer great losses as well.

Junkies always need the next fix, and never want to jones---

I think the oil spill may help people start to hate their cars even more. Yes gasoline is an addiction. It is a bad love affair, with humanity always getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop...higher prices, pollution, devastating oil spills.

I had to actually move to another country in order to live a reasonably safe car-free life. My husband also dislikes cars---and we manage well without any----but we`ve endured lots of horrible comments from family members who want us to get a car. Not to mention oceans separating other US family members and us. My mother, rarely seeing her grandchildren, is beyond heart-broken: I never visit because of the horrible unsafe highways, the lack of public transportation. She went from being disappointed to upset to ballistic to just numb, wordless, sadder than sad. All because of cars. ALL!!!

I have written off our whole mess of a era as a huge wasteful morass of negativity---malls, gameboxes, plastic, cement, incinerators, polluted water----all of it effects of oil and oil`s energy. No I am not depressed. But I am a bit bitter. Watching the oil spill unfold I feel a sense that nature is mirroring my own personal---and my family`s---cynicism and sense of loss, waste and devastation. I could go on about other effects here---equally horrible----but I`ll spare everyone. Suffice it to say that an imploding complex economy is not a pretty sight.

Will there be a rebirth? Will there be something better? Will we ever get over this oil phase?

Won't make a difference at all to most people. Those directly impacted may shift their views, and the industry may have some changes, for the average American it will be one week of daily news and then 10 years of dreary lawsuit updates until everybody is sick of hearing about it.

If fish prices skyrocket a few more will scream for inquiries or "justice", but unless they are a Tyson-sized company BP will just put them in the hopper with the other lawsuits.

here is an interesting observation from World Energy Demand Unexpectedly Increases by Sean Kennedy :

"Dargay and Gately base their conclusion on the observation that the demand for oil no longer appears to respond to price. While price increases in the 1970s placed downward pressure on the worldwide demand for the fuel, the increased oil prices of the past decade had no such effect. Instead, worldwide demand for oil increased by 4% during that time."

so as WT points out we have had a price increase of $26 to current $85, which is approx 16% per year, or 4X developing economies GDP growth rate, and yet demand in the developing economies steadily increases

very odd.

Demand is coming from population increases.

According to market theory, the high prices will encourage alternative energy, thus lowering use of oil and demand for it.

Several prominent authors have opined that it would take more than 25 years to replace the oil based infrastructure, and that there is insufficient energy and capital to do the job. I am not totally convinced the situation is that helpless as yet, though the lack of sustained efforts is making it more and more likely, IMO.

When the supply is less than the demand, prices must rise. If supply does not rise, prices must rise more, until "demand" becomes impossible due to lack of money. Some would call that collapse. Without an enormous shift in emphasis and a Herculean effort on the part of business, government and citizens, our future falls at the 6% per year the Saudis noted, less what little increase in alternative energy is possible. Of course, also less the amount of natural gas energy and coal energy available before they peak and go into decline.



There is one other factor, greater efficiency and conservation.

Shift freight from trucks to electrified rail, 20 BTUs diesel > 1 BTU electricity.

Build Urban Rail and let Transit Orientated Development develop around it, fewer VMT and net is about the same; 20 BTUs diesel > 1 BTU electricity plus TOD should use less energy to live in, shop in, etc. (i.e conservation should be greater than that 1 BTU of electricity).

Bicycle more, a few more food calories, a LOT less oil.

Factor in a lot of this, soon, and the outlook tursn from black to some shade of gray.

This has been my "cause" for some time now. And getting some traction.


I received this from a friend. Does anybody here know anything about this product?


I'm ..'kinda'...looking at these guys' system..
no clue as to cost
I live in a urban area..
have two chimneys..that I'm thinking of
converting to wind towers

I like the low profile of their system
and the fact that it's shielded...both from birds and high winds

any opinions
or other manufacturers..??


Available wind power depends on swept area.

Looks to me like their system would require lots more material to sweep the same area as a normal horizontal axis turbine, so I would expect the financial and energy return on investment to be low. Vertical axis wind turbines have not generally been cost competitive anyway, and this one looks more expensive than most VAWTs.

I would argue against installing any wind turbine on your residence. Noise, vibration, and turbulence from the structure would be the reasons. The reason wind turbines go on high towers is to get unobstructed and more nearly laminar flow.

Available wind power depends on swept area.


However, for some users, a more important 'efficiency' metric (than KW per swept area) is Cost per KW.

For these Cost-sensitive buyers, sometimes it might make sense to consider a horizontal-axis turbine.

The linked HAWT looks interesting but they don't have numbers to look at yet .. Cut-in wind-speed, cut-out wind-speed, KW generated over a range of speeds, cost of installation, cost of planned maintenance activities ..

Although in theory such a design might be practical at low heights in a 'cluttered' (turbulent wind-flow) environment..

Small wind attached to a house doesn't really work.
You need at least 80 feet height to get into the energy producing wind zone.
The biggest you might get on your house is 250 watts (not 3.6 kw!).

Rooftop solar PV and solar hot water are much better.

My gut reaction is to avoid giving this company any money.

Mixing Tesla turbine tech with conventional wind blades does not sound wise to me, and the diagrams they provide on that landing page raise more questions than they answer.

The design is still a drag turbine, in that one side of the vertical rotor will be moving against the wind. The web site had no information on efficiency and even failed to list the rated wind speed and dimensions. Sure, it's probably going to produce some useful energy, but at what cost per kWhr?

E. Swanson

I had a neighbor-actually about a mile away, but the closest for a good ways, who powers his earth home with soley wind. In the early 90's. Very old technology. Car battery bank, no generators. 12 volt lights, appliances. He was a Teamster, wife a nurse, 2 kids. Not your stereotypical hippies. He always maintained it would be much cheaper to tie in to the grid, but obviously he didn't care to.

Posted this yesterday on the oil spill thread, but thought it was worthy to post here as well. Environmental group that specializes in satellite imagery analysis says the GOM leak can be calibrated at around 20,000 barrels per day. That's enough to take it to Exxon Valdez spill amounts in less than two weeks -- with one week already past.

The nonprofit environmental group SkyTruth warned that the growing disaster "could soon surpass the sorry benchmark 20 years ago set by the 11 million gallon Exxon Valdez spill."

Based on an analysis of radar satellite images of the spill, SkyTruth calculated that at least 6 million gallons had already entered the gulf -- at a rate of about 20,000 barrels a day. (An oil barrel is 42 gallons.)

SkyTruth posted its estimates on its website, SkyTruth.org, before the Coast Guard announced its new leak estimates.

This is really bad if true. With these numbers we might see a serious famine if it continues and disrupts the food chain.

Please elaborate. Obviously, this will affect the fish food chain, but other than that I do not follow you on the serious famine contention.

On the other hand, human beings are slowly destroying the ecosystems of the planet just as a result of our daily activities; never mind the big, dramatic oil spills. It is a crisis, but it is a continuing crisis that will move forward regardless of major oil spills. We think we can have or cake and eat it too but that is not in the cards.

Nature provides free services that are a great deal more valuable than the things that are counted by the gross domestic product. We are chipping away at nature which in turn reduces the value of those free service, which in turn means we have to spend more resources doing the things that nature does for free.

To elaborate:
1) the fishing grounds - if this becomes a huge spill over time where more oil pours into the GOM than it breaksdown it could destroy a lot of fisheries. My understanding is that fish are a big resource in many island and coastal human food chains around the GOM and the Carribean. 40% of the yearly US catch is caught in the current spill zone.

2) birds - a lot of migratory birds might be reduced in numbers. Many nest in LA this time of the year. I don't care what pro-modern agriculturalists say, insecticides are just band-aids; birds play a HUGE role in keeping down insect populations. Insects compete with humans for many of the same foods. If anyone thinks I over-worry on this point, kindly go and look at last year's gypsymoth damage in NJ (enough damage to have a noticable impact on deer and squirrel numbers in some areas)... bugs with no predators will kill a lot of vegetation. Gypsy moths are known to have killed off most of the few blight-resistant Chestnut trees that did survive the Chestnut-blight.

3) any "Black Swan" effects - worries me even more.

They can shut this down today, and the tar balls will be circulating the GOM (and beyond) for many months.

A hurricane storm surge could drive still fresh oil (more toxic than tar balls) deep into the swamps and bayous. And the effects of this could linger (oil chemicals in bottom of food chain) till the migratory birds arrive.


President Obama is stepping up the U.S. government's response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill by sending three Cabinet members to oversee the effort.

Joining Interior Secretary Ken Salazar at the site will be Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and environmental protection administrator Lisa Jackson.

One to mop it up and two to supervise!

They should line up the President, Congress and Scotus facing the spill. Together the wind would hold it offshore forever. Or, the BS would act as a barrier.


"declared an emergency season"???? wtf stoopid munkeys

Could one of the resident oil patch hands tell us what happens in the case of a hurricane forecast to be strong enough to overcome a floating platforms positioning system? How do you drop the drill string?

just -- There's a standard and Federal required procedure for securing a rig for a storm. First the existing hole has to be secured. Several methods with the last being the placement of a "storm choke' in the casing. It's set well below the mud line. Even if the rig is completely destroyed the well cannot flow out of the well head. Then the rig is secured. Drill pipe removed from the hole and the riser may be detached from the well head. The rigs are held in place by huge anchors and chains. The tender boats might lay out extra ones if there is time. Lastly everyone gets the hell out of Dodge if it's a serious blow...no personnel left onboard. Takes about 24 hours or more to do all this. The toughest part of timing the decision to secure is getting the hands back to the bank in time. Suddenly you have to transport 35,000 men in short period of time. Only so many boats and choppers. Can't wait too long so there are times when they pull the trigger for evac and then the storm doesn't come within a few hundred miles. Typically when a hurricane enters the Gulf all rigs are evac'd regardless of projected path. But when it hits it's up to Mother Nature if the rig will survive or not. And no, the rigs move much too slow to get out of the path of a hurricane.

Thanks. I'm trying to appreciate the challenges in stuffing a cork down a pipe through "mud" dense enough to keep the oil below, well, below. It ain't easy.
Something else has been piquing my curiosity. I've seen some images that purport to be the ROV trying to -it appears- move a lever arm on the BOP in order to activate it. (I think they even had labels--open and shut!) What motive force is supposed to be triggered by turning the lever-explosive? My admittedly slight knowledge of the devices reference hydraulics, which would, in this case, be gone, no? Which brings up another question. How do you regularly test a BOP when, as I understand it, the design of the device is such that it destroys the "pipe" in sealing it? Are the tests really just continuity tests of the sensors and control circuits?

The ROV are attempting to sting into the BOP with hydraulic lines. The BOP functions via these hydraulics. The plumbing is designed so that pressure can be applied to the different control modules to open and close the various valves/rams from this external source as a backup. If you look at one of the pics you see "SHR RAM". That's the shear ram that is suppose to cut the drill pipe. It obviously didn't make the cut. The blade may now be caught part way into the DP. They would try to back the SR off and reactivate to cut. Backing off the DP can be impossible at times given the damage. Sounds like that's what they discovered. The manual hydraulic activation by the EOV either works right away or never works.

The BOP receive an extensive testing. The testing procedure is highly regulated and done by independent contractors who have to sign under oath the validity of the tests. To pull and test the BOP once a month can take 1 to 2 days. And the operated is continued to be charged for operations at this time: $500,000 to $800,000 per day. Not cheap but an absolute necessity. A couple of years ago I was on a drill ship off Africa. Pulled the BOP to test and discover sea water had leaked in and completely disabled it. If we had taken a kick there was no way to control. That discovery killed my appetite for a day. All you can do is just lay in your bunk, stare at the ceiling and wonder "What if?". All the hands take BOP testing very serious...trust me.

That must be a pretty specialized ROV. I hope "stinging" is a bit more sophisticated that the everyday air or hydraulic QR...
So is the BOP, which has been described as the size of a house, brought to the surface to test? Is a secondary one installed during the test? Is the same regular testing regimen followed on a well when it is in production?
Lastly what do you make of the following from above thread...

"The Wall Street Journal reported that the oil well lacked a remote-control shutoff switch required by some other major producers, including Norway and Brazil. BP was at the forefront of recent lobbying of the US government against stronger safety controls for offshore drilling."

It seems clear a BOP was in place, so what is that about?

(thank you for sharing all this)

Different BOP tests. A function test can be done on bottom. But an inspection test requires unlatching and bring it to the surface. When the BOP is pulled specialized plugs are set in the well bore to secure it. Producing wells don't have a BOP per se. But they have other safety valves as I described the "storm choke" above. there are addition saftey controls on the surface production equipment.

Not sure about the remote BOP controls. They do have what are called "walk away controls". Essetially preset operations the computer controls once activated. In many offshore blowout it's usually the rig supervisor and/or the operator's rep (the "company man") in charge that are killed because when TSHTF they are the experienced hands that will run to the BOP and try to control the situation. The standing order for the rest of the hands is to run like hell.

The BOP was inplace. When the BOP's work, they work. When they don't, they don't. Not much in between the two extremes. Kinda like not being able to be a little pregnent.

What would be interesting is to know the position of the SHR RAM and
the pressure left in the accumulators. The BOP gadget must be designed smart enough
to indicate status at a glance. no?


The ram position is indicated by lights, basically red for closed, green for open and orange for block, which means no hydraulic pressure to the ram. To confirm the movement of the ram you need the lights to change along with a gallon count which indicates full closer. If the gallon count is lower, the rams are not fully closed.

Suddenly you have to transport 35,000 men

That would be the total in the storm area, right? Not just on one rig?


That's correct zap. A big rig might have 140 souls onboard. A small production platform might only have a handfull. Most of the hands in the GOM work on the producing platforms.


Or a much more exciting way to get off a well to hit the auto disconnect, "the big red button". The idea is if the rigs Dynamic Position malfunctions or the weather or currents makes take the rig off location by more than 5% of the water depth, then you land a tool joint on a set of pipe rams in the BOP. Hit the button and 20 secs later after the shears have cut the pipe and the riser is automaticly disconnected from the BOP you are sailing free.

Just for the record this is for unplanned events, where for Hurricanes you get several days warning. The well is sealed by the shear rams so the well in contained.

Iraq eyes doubling of oil output by 2014

CAIRO -- Iraq says it aims to almost double its oil output to 4.5 million barrels per day by 2014.

What happened to all the news stories about Iraq ratcheting up to 12-14 mbd? Or, maybe that will just take longer than by 2014? Or, maybe they realize the illusion of their own hype and are scaling back their estimates?

Those stories had the production at 12-14 mbd in 2020! Double production in 4 years; double again in 4 more =9 mbd); add 3 mbd during the next 2 years, and there you are. Easy as cake!


Ah, now I see. Yes, doubling numbers makes it all possible.

Deepwater Horizon oil slick to hit US coast within hours:


The Wall Street Journal reported that the oil well lacked a remote-control shutoff switch required by some other major producers, including Norway and Brazil. BP was at the forefront of recent lobbying of the US government against stronger safety controls for offshore drilling.

Safety controls? We don't need no stinking safety controls!

On second thought though, we do need some lobbying controls!



That hurts!

The Pentagon is considering various ways to help, including deploying ships.

Send in the drones.

FYI joules -- The gov't, despite their best intentions, has no ability to help with the spill directly. They have no equipment to bring to bear. All the equipment is stockpiled by the industry and is ready to go as well as the trained personnel. But the gov't could provide much needed logistical support. The spill response teams are like firemen. They're good to go from the first bell. But firemen can't battle a blaze for 24 hrs a day for too long. And equipment can't run continuously without eventually failing. That will likely be a problem with this spill. It so much larger then could be planned for (leaking oil at 5,000' made the problem at least 1 or 2 magnitudes greater) that you'll start seeing systemic failures in a week or two IMHO.


Thanks for all your comments wrt this incident. I am still trying to figure out how they can estimate the rate of flow. Has anyone seen any references??

I am trying to think if the exit velocity out the pipe subsea could be measured/ estimated-- times the cross section. It is bucking 2,300 psi of pressure .... maybe there is no gas evolution (that is above the bubble point).

I can't believe you can do anything to quantify it once it disperses and hits the surface of the water.

FF -- Here's my simple yet elegant answer: the pull the numbers out their *ss. There are so many assumption needed to calculate the answer that the exercise is rather pointless IMHO. Just like estimating how much oil is floating on the surface. Satelite can give an estimate of the area. But what do you use for the "average" thickness of the slick? 30 mm...300 mm? Some of it will be that thin...some that thick and thicker. But even with that range you're looking at a magnitude difference in volume. I don't want to pick a fight with any of our truly clever engineers but every estimate will start with a list of assumptions. Pointless to argue about the final answer: any validity/error is hidden in these assumptions.

I believe that the US Coast Guard has some significant oil clean-up equipment stockpiled. And the US Navy has some minimal amounts of such equipment (mainly designed to clean up a spill caused by the US Navy).


"Lake Palin" will be coming to the Gulf Coast.
Might be time to put on a mooseburger, open a Bud, listen to some Ted Nugent, and shoot the oil covered dying birds and animals as they try and escape.
'Merican Way!

That's right Alan. The Coasties work with Clean Gulf to maintain and deploy the equipment. Probably the best help the gov't can bring is support for the Coasties. They'll start burning out in a couple of weeks given the intensity of the effort out there IMHO. Also, I pointed out some time ago, that support vessels are not a problem. In such situations Clean Gulf has the power to utilize any commercial vessels in the GOM they deem necessary.

I'm somewhat puzzled by all the Pakistan (and today Karnataka) power problems linked here. Is there a link I'm missing ?

Two important points to note are
- South asia has had energy problems forever. Blackouts and brownouts have been a way of life ...
- When shutdowns happen, diesel consumption goes up. Almost all businesses and factories have generators.

What would the people of Pakistan do if they did not have enough diesel to go around for every one's gennies?

I like these kinds of stories. It's interesting to see what the conditions are like in other parts of the world where they have chronic energy problems. Stories on South Africa (Eskom) are not to uncommon either.

It gives you an idea of what could happen in your own backyard in the not-too-distant future, even if we still feel invincible now.

Its not like I'm against these kinds of stories - I was just wondering what the lesson was supposed to be.

Pakistan is such a tinder box right now that it is very informative to see energy issues as additional "fuel to the fire".

It is just one more issue of Peak Oil, not enough to go around, poor planning, and how a big population country is having to deal with bad power generation choices. It might be a foretaste of what we would see if our supplies got thin, or our grid started going down.

It is unrest in a nation that has nuclear weapons, something to think about, who will be in power when the unrest settles the point and the government fails?

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future.

I'm going to echo CEO here and propose that Pakistan is a barometer for a modern nation in crisis as to how the institutions of a country might breakdown under an energy shortage. In this case, we are talking about electricity, but if when you read the story, you substitute "oil" for "electricity", the idea might strike a little closer to home.

Also, the problems in Pakistan are mirroring the situation in Venezula, and both governments are starting to look a bit shaky due to the energy/electricity shortages occuring in tandem. In the case of Venezula, many could care less, or would be happy if the government of Hugo Chavez fails. In Pakistan however, the fall of the government could turn into a catastrophy for the western world, as the main opposition in the country could currently be characterized as "militant Islamic". The potential consequences of an overthrow of the government could include nuclear war with India and/or nuclear terrorism in the US or Europe, as the militants would then be the ones who are running the Pakistani nuclear weapons program. Scary stuff and worth paying attention to.

In Pakistan however, the fall of the government could turn into a catastrophy for the western world, as the main opposition in the country could currently be characterized as "militant Islamic".

Main opposition is the Muslim League. No more rightwing than Republican here. Fundamentalists got beaten up in the last election.

I always find it amusing to see people here relying on MSM, which they regularly note as clueless, for information on places like Pakistan.

Institutions in Pakistan have always been broken - nothing to do with PO.

Institutions in Pakistan have always been broken - nothing to do with PO.

I think everyone here is well aware of that.

I find energy shortage stories interesting because of how people deal with them. One day, it will be us. A lot of people think if the lights go out, it will be chaos. (Admittedly, there is some reason to think that - the NYC blackout back in the '70s, for example.)

But many countries have chronic blackouts, and people just live with them. They may not be happy about it, but they don't riot.

People get tired of chaos pretty quickly.

Doing it right
These Canadian organizations are making the environment a big part of business

The Green 30 is based on how employees perceive their employer’s environmental efforts. We asked each organization that made the 2010 list—compiled by Hewitt Associates, a global HR consulting and outsourcing firm—to highlight some of the key programs, practices, values, leadership behaviours and actions that they think earned them high marks.



From the bottom up
How employees are turning their bosses on to sustainability

When Valérie Mac-Seing, a young Montreal lawyer, removed the paper cups and plastic utensils from her office kitchen a few years ago, some of the law firm’s older partners branded her a “green terrorist.” But Mac-Seing and her conspirators, the 25 other young lawyers who had answered her call to form a green committee at the Montreal office of Stikeman Elliott LLP, forged on—brushing off some surprisingly vehement resistance. When Mac-Seing put cloth towels in the kitchen, some of her co-workers started using more paper towels in protest. She also faced some backlash for ridding the kitchen of plastic utensils. But now, four years later, there has been a dramatic shift. Today, Stikeman boasts of its status as Canada’s first national law firm to go carbon neutral. Needless to say, the paper cups have seen their last days.

See: http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/04/29/from-the-bottom-up/

Always strive to do better and set a good example for others.


'Lake Palin' indeed:

From her wonderful, insightful, inspirational address at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans on April 9 2010:


If you think listening to her voice (and her brainless rhetoric) is like hearing screeching nails on a blackboard, start watching the video at 15:00 and stick around for the payoff around 18:05 or so...so prescient given the current oil spill.

I think her ridiculous riff on energy started at around 11 minutes or so...if you can stand listening for that long...

Spill, Baby, Spill...where's her big mouth now? Why doesn't she ride one of her chartered jets back down to New Orleans and sip drinks with her bendy straws and reiterate her same no-nothing statements right now?

Oh, and I cannot stand her continual mis-pronunciation of the word 'nuclear'...she insists on saying 'nu-cue-ler' and her brain-dead zombie fans eat it up with a spoon, you betchya!

Latest news:


And Governor Jindal is pleading for Federal help...and we need to send everything useful we can muster right away. Maybe in the future he will think more carefully before popping off on TV pandering to his base about 'needless, wasteful federal spending on volcano monitoring systems' and other folderol...

...she insists on saying 'nu-cue-ler' and her brain-dead zombie fans eat it up with a spoon, you betchya!

I think it's pretty well known by now that entrance into the far right fringe is in part based on the lack of ability to pronounce nuclear. Bush jr. set the trend.

We must be near collapse if someone like Palin can make 12 million (so far) without a working knowledge of the subject she is jabbering about; can make so many bold statements without ever having to answer any hard questions; can quit her job as governor without any repercussions whatsoever; and takes no responsibility for what might happen if her advice is taken.

What is most unfortunate is MSM's love affair with her, in which they continue to give her carte blanche to say anything without questioning it and spend a lot of time covering it when there are obviously much more serious subjects to delve into.

McCain gave this five year old a platform and once she started her ranting baseless diatribes, her ignorant base sat up and figured this was their female version of God.

most unfortunate is MSM's love affair with her [Palin]

What is ironic is that this is the unintended consequence of complex technology.

The internet and its free dispensation of "news" has driven MSM into the tabloid-level infotainment business.

Probably, much of the public has great disdain at this point for complex technology (it drove them out of their jobs) and they yearn for a you-betchya simpleton to be their Joan of Arc. Enter the dark Palin on a white horse. (Or is it the other way around?)

Infotainment MSM and Palin form a symbiotic (parasitic?) and explosive cocktail. How did we get to this point?

If you think listening to her voice (and her brainless rhetoric) is like hearing screeching nails on a blackboard,...

you mean shrill, baby, shrill ?


will exxon valdez palin' comparison to this ?

Miss Shrill Baby Shrill – cried out ‘Drill, Baby, Drill!’ – Never planned on a spill, baby, spill – She was only a shill, baby, shill.

-- John Fugelsang