Drumbeat: May 1, 2010

Bolivia nationalizes four power companies

(Reuters) - Leftist Bolivian President Evo Morales said on Saturday he had nationalized four power companies, including a subsidiary of France's GDF Suez, in his drive to tighten state control over the impoverished economy.

Morales, a close ally of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, nationalized Bolivia's key natural gas industry soon after taking office in 2006 and has since taken control of several utility companies as well as the Andean nation's biggest smelter and top telecommunications firm.

"We're here ... to nationalize all the hydroelectric plants that were owned by the state before, to comply with the new constitution of the Bolivian state. Basic services cannot be a private business. We're recovering the energy, the light, for all Bolivians," he said in the central Cochabamba region.

Cold facts fuel Armenia’s future

Yerevan // Tiny Armenia, a landlocked country with two closed borders and no commercial petroleum reserves, faces a huge problem securing energy.

Its ageing nuclear reactor, which supplies 40 per cent of the republic’s electricity, is due to be decommissioned in 2016; its natural gas supply from Russia is unreliable; and it has almost exhausted its hydro-electric potential.

Those, at present, are the only power and heating sources for the mountainous South Caucasus country with snowy Eurasian winters.

“The number one problem for us in Armenia is the energy problem,” Armen Movsisyan, the country’s energy minister, said recently.

Saudi, IEA views on oil above $80 highlight schism

CHICAGO/NEW YORK - Saudi Arabia and the International Energy Agency presented differing views on oil prices Wednesday, highlighting the potential for a schism to emerge between consumers and producers as crude tops $80 US a barrel.

Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi reiterated current prices were “more sustainable” as the worst of the economic crisis had passed. He has hailed as “beautiful” an oil price between $70 and $80 that, he says, benefits both producers and consumers.

But Fatih Birol, chief economist at the Paris-based agency that represents the interests of developed energy consuming nations, said separately in New York that crude oil at $85 a barrel, or higher, could “strangle” an economic rebound.

South Africa: Subsidies for the Rich, Cut-offs for the Poor

The article looks at how the state and the rich are using Eskom to subsidise giant corporations with cheap electricty in South Africa and are making the working class pay for this. The impact of this on people has been devastating, cut-offs have risen, prices have sky-rocketed and jobs have been slashed. The article goes on to argue that only direct action by the working class can reverse this. It then provides some thoughts on how struggles for immediate gains, like electricity, could be used to build a movement that could fight to replace the state and capitalism with an anarchist communist society .

Gas rationing begins in Sindh, Balochistan

Karachi —The energy crisis is now more visible in the largest city of Karachi with the introduction of gas rationing by Sui Southern Gas introduced in all major industrial areas and CNG stations from today with the view of energy conservation under the guidelines of Prime Minister Gilani.

Filling stations suspend sale of petrol, diesel

LAHORE- Most of filling stations suspended the sale of petrol and diesel here in the Punjab Capital on Friday to make windfall profits on the available stocks, a day before the expected increase in the prices of petroleum products.

This profiteering and black-marketing practice triggered worst fuel shortage across the City and multiplied the miseries of the motorists particularly of the motorcyclists.

More offshore platforms may shut due spill - MMS

(Reuters) - Two U.S. offshore production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico have been shut down and a third was evacuated as a precaution after a giant oil spill and further shutdowns are possible, the U.S. Minerals Management Service said on Saturday.

A ‘Three Mile Island for Offshore Oil’?

It'll be years before we know the full extent of the damage caused by the Deep Horizon oil spill. But as thousands of barrels continue to leach out of the ocean floor, and with no way of stopping it anytime soon, the magnitude of the disaster has become clear: this is the worst oil spill in U.S. waters since the Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of crude into Alaska’s Prince William Sound. The economic and environmental impact will likely be catastrophic.

But the bigger impact could be on the future of offshore oil production. At a time when the oil industry had seemingly conquered the extreme challenges of offshore drilling, the spill raises serious questions about our ability to safely tap what's seen as the final frontier of U.S. domestic oil reserves: the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

In Gulf Oil Spill, Fragile Marshes Face New Threat

The wetlands in the Delta have been sinking into the Gulf of Mexico at a rate of about one football field an hour for decades, deprived of sediment replenishment by levees in the Mississippi River, divided by channels cut by oil companies and poisoned by farm runoff from upriver. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita took large, vicious bites.

The questions that haunt this region are, How much more can the wetlands take, and does their degradation spell doom for an increasingly defenseless southern Louisiana?

Wake up, Obama. The Gulf spill is our big chance

President Barack Obama so far has said nothing about the screamingly obvious connection between the spoils of fossil-fuel dependency and the vision of a clean-energy economy that he's been sporadically promoting. Instead he had this tepid statement on the Gulf oil spill this morning: "I continue to believe that domestic oil production is an important part of our overall strategy for energy security."

How bad is climate change? Don't ask expert Joe Romm

Joe Romm is no ordinary blogger on climate change. A physicist who held a senior post in President Bill Clinton's administration, he's unusually well-respected.

So when former vice president Al Gore recommended Romm's new book, I wanted to check it out. Alas, it's not a pleasant, bedtime read. Like Bill McKibben's Eaarth, Romm's Straight Up (Island Press) is a gut-wrenching wakeup call. Romm writes:

"Averting catastrophic global warming requires completely overturning the status quo, changing every aspect of how we use energy -- and doing so in under four decades. Failure to do so means humanity's self-destruction."

Is Romm overly pessimistic? Or is he right?

Drilling Down: A Troubled Legacy in Oil

The spill in the Gulf of Mexico is the latest disaster for BP, which has been haunted by a history of cost-cutting.

...The price of the historic inherent flaws in BP's culture is currently at least $6 million every day for the clean-up operation. Repairing the environmental disaster will cost a fortune. Politically, the consequence for past cost-cutting is incalculable. Yet, BP's recovery and success is important to the world's oil supply.

Producing oil is an old, dirty and hazardous business. Easy oil—"the low hanging fruit"—is now the preserve of the traditional producer countries like Russia and Venezuela whose short-sighted self-interests are preventing efficient production from their oilfields. Western corporations have been compelled to switch their search under the Atlantic seabed and breaking technical frontiers. "Cracking the Gulf" is at the cutting edge of the industry's technical expertise.

In the rush to find more oil, BP's explorers in Houston, blessed by skills admired by rivals, have been remarkably successful. But the operating conditions are brutal. The constant stream of inventions to allow Big Oil's masters of the underworld to remotely guide a drill through a mile of water onto the seabed and then squirrel a 12-inch path through five miles of sand, salt, clay and rock towards a potential bonanza depends upon remarkable scientific calculations. Finding elegant solutions to seemingly intractable problems causes oil men's hearts to beat faster. Risk is the oxygen of oil companies.

BP plan deemed major spill from Gulf well unlikely

MOUTH OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER — The worst U.S. oil spill in decades reached into precious shoreline habitat along the Gulf Coast as documents emerged showing British Petroleum downplayed the possibility of a catastrophic accident at the offshore rig that exploded.

BP suggested in a 2009 exploration plan and environmental impact analysis for the well that an accident leading to a giant crude oil spill - and serious damage to beaches, fish and mammals - was unlikely, or virtually impossible.

BP, Transocean Lawsuits Surge as Oil Spill Spreads in Gulf

(Bloomberg) -- BP Plc and Transocean Ltd. face at least 36 lawsuits, including group cases with potentially thousands of plaintiffs, over environmental damage and personal injuries caused by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

At least 31 proposed class-action suits have been filed in courthouses from Texas to Florida. Commercial fishermen, shrimpers, charter-boat operators and beachfront-property owners asked to represent anyone whose livelihood depends on coastal waters imperiled by the drifting oil. At least 24 cases were filed yesterday.

Obama to visit Gulf oil spill area

Venice, Louisiana (CNN) -- President Obama will visit the oil spill area along the Gulf Coast within 48 hours, a White House official said Saturday as residents braced for the oil slick creeping toward the shore.

Obama could visit the region as early as Sunday because of the national significance and potential magnitude of the environmental damage, senior administration officials said.

U.S. Pressures BP as Gulf Oil Slick Spreads

VENICE, Louisiana (Reuters) - The U.S. government pressured energy giant BP to avert an environmental disaster as a huge, unchecked oil spill reached coastal Louisiana, imperilling fish and shrimp breeding grounds and vulnerable wetlands teeming with wildlife.

With oil gushing unchecked from a ruptured deepwater well in the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana, President Barack Obama's administration piled pressure London-based BP Plc, the owner of the blown-out well, to do more to shut off the flow and contain the spreading slick.

BP’s Response to Oil Spill Lacking, Government Officials Say

(Bloomberg) -- BP Plc should be doing more to protect coastal areas in the Gulf of Mexico from an oil slick formed after a drilling rig explosion, state and federal officials said.

“BP’s current resources are not adequate to meet the three challenges we face,” Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said. “The three challenges we face are stopping the leak, protecting our coast, preparation for a swift cleanup of our impacted areas.”

Gibbs: Deepwater Horizon Aftermath Could Affect Next Lease Sale

The review of the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster ordered by President Barack Obama could affect future Outer Continental Shelf leases, including the next Gulf lease sale in August, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Friday. Gibbs also said the review may impact the development of the administration's new five-year OCS drilling plan.

Obama, at the White House earlier Friday, ordered the Department of Interior to have the Deepwater Horizon report to him in 30 days. The president also said domestic oil production remains "an important part" of US energy security, but must be done "responsibly." The Minerals Management Service is slated to hold the Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 215 on August 18 in New Orleans.

Solution to Capping Well Remains Elusive

As cleanup crews struggled Friday to cope with the massive oil slick from a leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico, dozens of engineers and technicians ensconced in a Houston office building were still trying to solve the mystery of how to shut down the well after a week of brainstorming and failed efforts.

Relief-Well Plan Was Used in Worst Blowout Ever, Took 9 Months

(Bloomberg) -- The worst blowout on record took about nine months to cap using two relief wells, the same technique BP Plc has said it will deploy to stem gushing crude from the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico.

In 1979, Ixtoc-1, an exploratory well owned by Petroleos Mexicanos in 150 feet of water, blew out 600 miles (966 kilometers) south of Texas in Mexico’s Bay of Campeche and spilled an estimated 3.3 million barrels into the Gulf, according to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the American Petroleum Institute.

This oil spill is a recipe for disaster

WASHINGTON — What makes an oil spill really bad? Most of the ingredients for it are now blending in the Gulf of Mexico.

Experts tick off the essentials: A relentless flow of oil from under the sea; a type of crude that mixes easily with water; a resultant gooey mixture that is hard to burn and even harder to clean; water that's home to vulnerable spawning grounds for new life; and a coastline with difficult-to-scrub marshlands.

Gulf Coast experts have always talked about "the potential for a bad one," said Wes Tunnell, coastal ecology and oil spill expert at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

"And this is the bad one. This is just a biggie that finally happened."

The world's lifeblood

"This event is a game-changer" with consequences that are "long-lasting . . . politically," confidently predicted Richard Charter of Defenders of Wildlife.

But shutting off the spigot would be an even greater disaster for the country than what is now taking place in the Gulf of Mexico -- distressing as that may be.

For despite all the histrionics that routinely accompany such accidents, the reality is that petroleum powers modern civilization.

Life as most Americans know it is inconceivable without vast amounts of relatively inexpensive energy -- and it has to come from somewhere.

Oil Rises to Three-Week High, Gasoline Surges, on Weaker Dollar

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil rose to a three-week high and gasoline surged as the dollar weakened and a report showed the U.S. economy grew in the first quarter.

Oil climbed 1.2 percent after the greenback dropped against the euro for a third day on speculation Greece will reach an agreement on budget cuts needed to win financial assistance. The Commerce Department reported that the U.S. expanded at a 3.2 percent rate in the first three months of the year, capping the biggest six-month gain since 2003.

Chevron Posts Biggest Profit Increase in a Decade

(Bloomberg) -- Chevron Corp., the second-biggest U.S. energy company, reported its largest profit increase in at least a decade, exceeding analyst estimates, after recovering economies around the world spurred increases in fuel demand.

Total Declines as Profit Growth Lags Behind Peers

(Bloomberg) -- Total SA, Europe’s third-largest oil producer, dropped after its first-quarter earnings growth lagged behind rivals.

“The peer comparison will be a drag on the stock,” said Jason Kenney, head of oil and gas research at ING Commercial Banking in Edinburgh. In dollar terms, Total’s quarterly earnings per share rose 14 percent compared with an estimated 36.8 percent increase for European peers, he wrote in a note.

What’s Good for Petrobras Proves Bad for Shareholders

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil’s state-run oil company, is luring investors to its $25 billion share sale, the biggest in the Western Hemisphere since 1999. Latin America’s worst-performing stock market is no better off.

“It’s going to make life a bit harder for companies looking to go to the market as the liquidity might not be there,” said Nick Robinson, who manages $20 billion in emerging market assets at Aberdeen Asset Management Inc. in Sao Paulo.

Transocean Drops After Axelrod Comments on Drilling

(Bloomberg) -- Transocean Ltd., Halliburton Co. and McMoRan Exploration Co. dropped in New York trading after President Barack Obama’s chief strategist said no new offshore drilling will be allowed until this month’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill is investigated.

Alliance’s Fatal Cave-In Followed 19 ‘Roof Falls’

(Bloomberg) -- An Alliance Resource Partners LP coal mine in Hopkins County, Kentucky, had 19 instances of falling debris in the year before the roof buckled this week in an accident that killed two workers, according to data maintained by the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Thirteen of the incidents of “roof falls” at the Dotiki mine resulted in injuries, ranging from lacerations requiring stitches to a hairline fracture of vertebra, the MSHA records show. Federal regulators cited the mine 11 times this year for violations pertaining to roof support, according to the data.

FPL to Cut 300 Jobs, Go Forward With Plant Upgrades

(Bloomberg) -- FPL Group Inc., owner of Florida’s largest utility, plans to cut 300 jobs and go forward with $2 billion in upgrades to two power plants after a January rate ruling forced the company to review its spending plans.

Crude Oil No Longer Needed for Production of Plastics

ScienceDaily — Each year the world produces about 130 million kilo of ethene, the most important raw material for plastics. This gigantic industry is currently dependent on crude oil. And that is running out. Dutch researcher Tymen Tiemersma might have found a solution for this problem. With his new reactor we can produce ethene from natural gas and, therefore, in the future from biogas as well.

Chinese automaker to open headquarters in L.A.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Chinese automaker BYD said Friday it has chosen sunny Los Angeles as the site of its North American headquarters.

BYD, a manufacturer of electric and hybrid vehicles backed by investor Warren Buffett, said it was lured by L.A.'s green energy policies, such as incentives for zero emission vehicles and solar roofs.

‘Buy American’ boondoggle

Democratic senators want stimulus dollars to be used on clean-energy projects, but only if the builders agree to buy American equipment.

Could Arizona Export Clean Energy?

TUCSON, Ariz. - A pair of Tucson-based scientists has developed a plan for Arizona’s energy future that proposes a dramatic increase in the use of solar and wind energy.

They say the plan, if pursued aggressively, would have Arizona generating all its electricity using 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2040 and exporting excess electricity to other states.

Japanese companies keen to set up bio-fuel plants in India

CHENNAI: Japanese firms are coming to India to set up bio-fuel plants and others will collaborate with Indian firms in the area of sustainable energy development, said Kazuo Minagawa, Japan Counsel General in Chennai on Friday.

Arrests in carbon trading case

Tax officials made 21 arrests in the UK this week as part of a Europe-wide investigation into suspected tax avoidance in the carbon trading market.

Preparing for an Ice-Free Arctic: Part 1 - China's Growing Interest in the Thawing North

China is paying increasing attention to the melting of the ice in the Arctic Ocean as a result of climate change. The prospect of the Arctic being navigable during summer months, leading to both shorter shipping routes and access to untapped energy resources, has impelled the government to allocate more resources to Arctic research. Chinese officials have also started to think about what kind of policies would help the country to benefit from an ice-free Arctic environment.

Preparing For Peak Oil (video)

One family prepares for peak oil by converting their home to a net-zero solar powered home, becoming more self-sufficient and making energy efficiency improvements.

Bolivian villagers want compensation as glaciers melt

For the Incas, and most of the Andean civilisations, snow-capped mountains were divinities to be honoured, as they supplied water.

But now it seems those gods are losing their powers. Researchers say that the glaciers are in dramatic retreat across the Andes due to rising temperatures.

In the small village of Khapi, below the stunning - and still snow-covered - Mount Illimani, the sense of anxiety is profound.

An idea has taken root there - that those who have caused the snow to retreat and the waters to slow should be brought before an international court.

A religious take on climate change

Were it not for the setting in a stately Romanesque cathedral near downtown Los Angeles, the gathering might have been mistaken for a political rally.

Many of the 90 people present signed cards to California's two U.S. senators urging them to support legislation to roll back greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Others pledged to oppose efforts by oil companies and conservative activists in California to suspend the state's landmark Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. They signed a "carbon covenant" to oppose illegal logging and deforestation in the developing world.

Yet for most of those last Sunday, the underlying motivation was not political but religious. They said they had a moral duty to care for the Earth and all of God's creation. They called for a widened understanding of what it means to love one's neighbor in a world where choices made on one continent can affect people thousands of miles away, including those in poor countries least able to cope with climate shifts.

Damn, that oil spill is really nasty. WSJ estimates that 25,000 barrels a day are leaking into the gulf. That's an Exxon Valdez every 10 days and some reports are saying it might take 3 months to fix it all!! Not to mention that there is the possibility of a gusher where 50,000+ barrels a day might just get out. Drill, baby, drill just turned into spill, baby, spill.

WSJ estimates that 25,000 barrels a day are leaking into the gulf

Really? Bloody heck! The British media is still saying 'only' 5,000 bbls per day. Do you have a link to the 25k?

If it is 25,000 - and God forbid 50k - then that is catastrophic.

I feel for all those fisherman and shrimpers. Not to mention the ecology.

Dow Jones had a report. Someone posted a link in the comments yesterday.

The NY Times has a similar article.

Link to pretty good graphic showing the current oil slick, the GOM Eddy Current and the Loop Current. Not a pretty picture.

Oil spill could travel far

That should cover just about all of the areas recently opened for offshore drilling by Obama.


Yikes! Fred better get his booms ready (if any more are available).

One million feet are reportedly in transit from all over the world ATM.

But we get first dibs on them.

And it appears that we could use all 1 million feet.


PS; Some booms are absorbent (according to local reports). They absorb oil and then are disposed of. Good for a 10,000 gallon spill in a harbor. Not quite so good in this case, except perhaps as a secondary line of defense for a critical point.

I just had an amazing vision of Fred, visor and sunglasses on, paddling his kayack around his favorite reef, dragging several miles of boom behind him. Paddling hard! ;->

There are going to be a lot of idled shrimp and fishing boats and unemployed fisherman who could be out there manning those booms right now. As a matter of fact I understand that they are already signing them up to do exactly that.

Unfortunately restoring the damaged ecosystem and bringing it back to health after the impacts of the spill take their toll on the salt marshes and wetland areas will probably take many many years. Enough time for a couple more spills and Hurricanes to deal a final death blow.

Perhaps the silver lining in this mess will be that people will start to wake up. I'm not holding my breath.

So this is what energy independence looks like eh?


Some speculation that the East coast of Florida could be hit harder than the West coast:


Here's a good site regarding the oil rig disaster:


At the Farmer's & Fisher's Market, there was talk of a hurricane feeding oil into Lake Salvador and the Barataria Preserve, destroying the marshes all the way towards New Orleans.

I think this map link works


Click to magnify.


Proceeds up the East Coast in the Gulf Stream

Perhaps the spill will reach Washington D.C.. The reaction of politicians should be interesting.

Holy $hit!!


WASHINGTON – The oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico has grown tremendously in just a day or so.
Satellite images analyzed by the University of Miami show the spill has expanded from the size of Rhode Island to something closer to the size of Puerto Rico, close to tripling.

Hans Graber, executive director of the university's Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing, said Saturday that the spill is moving faster and expanding much quicker than estimated.

Graber says the size of the slick was about 1,150 square miles on Thursday. By the end of Friday, he says it had tripled to about 3,850 square miles.

Tripled!! In one freaking day? That's super exponential!!

This looks like the 'Chernobyl of oil spill disasters.'

Already much more far-reaching and will impact the health and well being of many more.

Nuclear isn't just made to look good by coal...

Experts' fears grow as spill's surface area triples

VENICE, La. — The surface area of a catastrophic Gulf of Mexico oil spill quickly tripled in size amid growing fears among experts that the slick could become vastly more devastating than it seemed just two days ago.

...Alabama's governor said his state was preparing for a worst-case scenario of 150,000 barrels, or more than 6 million gallons per day. At that rate the spill would amount to a Valdez-sized spill every two days, and the situation could last for months.

150,000 bpd worst case?

Relayer, ex-AMOCO, posted Sept 2008 on TOD an insider's view of the current scene and BigOil knowledge of Peak Oil:[begin quote]

"Thank you and all contributors very much for all the hard work that goes into pieces such as this.

I have been lurking almost since the inception of this site and consider it one of the best places on the web for info and informed speculation on the oil situation.
I have refrained from contributing in the past, for the most part having not much of import to add that someone else has not already said. But one detail I would like to comment on.

The MSM have been touting the current link between high gasoline prices and refining capacity. Sure, there is a short term problem here, but only short term.
I began my career with Conoco in 1971. I distinctly remember meetings in the mid 70s in which it was stated that no more new refineries were going to be built in the U.S. We had enough existing capacity along with future upgrades to existing refineries to take care of foreseeable production. Small wonder that no new refineries have been built here since 1976.

Most of the world had been well explored for quite some time already, the U.S. peak was finally accepted, and the big question was where to risk capital next? Offshore, yes, North Slope, of course. The North Sea was a pleasant surprise. Nigeria was the last place in the world Conoco wanted to go, lol. One of the countries they considered 'relatively' stable was Venezuela. Well, that worked out ok for some time, but now look, nationalized.

The early 80s saw a mini-repeat of 73, rumours abounded that it was actually caused by an unexpected high water carry-over in North Ghawar wells. These rumuors were quite interestingly ignored by the MSM.

I switched to Amoco in 1985. Interesting difference in corporate cultures and direction. In 1989 all of us in the ivory tower in Chicago (some 5000 people) were treated to a series of presentations based on decisions that resulted from years of analysis in tandem with some outside consultants.

The big takeaway from this was the fact that they stated that Amoco would most likely not exist as an independant concern by the end of the century due to the need to Get Big in order to afford the risk entailed with going Deep Water.

In 1999, 10 years later, they 'merged' (lol) with BP. One of the stipulations of the takeover was that BP would no longer stand for British Petroleum, thus the moniker Beyond Petroleum. (This was a hint, lol.)

I mention this only to point out that the majors have not just been blindly running around with no clue.
It is my belief that at least some people in virtually ALL of the majors have a very good idea of what the future holds, at least in a general sense. It is the details only that defy prediction.

Virtually all of the majors have investigated the alternatives, biofuels, wind, solar, geothermal, tidal, you name it. Amoco owned the then largest manufacturer of Solar cells- Solarex. (There's the Beyond part, hehe.) Back in the 70s Phillips, along with the Feds, built a commercial scale plant for oil extraction from oil shale in Colorado. Too expensive and energy intensive was the conclusion.

There are numerous examples within the industry. When I hear Congressmen call for the oil companies to plow profits back into research I just have to laugh. Who do they think has done the lions shares of the research fo far?

Personally, I am very much impressed with how closely they tagged our need for refining capacity. We are bumping up against our max present capacity just as production plateaus.

I am dismayed at RR talking about no awareness of Peak Oil within the industry. The clues have been there for at least 30 years, longer if you stretch.

I liken it to a good game of Chess, the opening is long past, the players have developed their strategies and developed their positions as well as possible. A few combinations have been attempted, some fients here and there. Serious mis-direction now and then. We are now deep into the mid-game, who are the survivors going to be?

Rest assured that if I knew I would have posted it long ago. I never achieved a position high enough to be included in the schemes of the high and mighty, lol. Just hints, clues and paying attention to what everyone was doing as well as possible. It didn't really click for me for sure until March 17, 2005. Again, all the clues were there, but only if you were looking I guess.

I am out of the oil business now, being caught in the aftermath of the BP/Amoco rationalization in 2002 and now am in the hazardous waste business, how fitting, lol. 'Oil man attempts to expiate for lifetime of sins', rofl.

Yes, the entire situation rather boggles the mind doesn't it. I recall the SUV/light truck exemption thing (late 80s was it?). Could simply NOT believe it... By that time I had managed several different facilities and watched untold millions of gallons of product pass through.

All of the majors were going farther and farther afield for the next batch of product. It just did NOT take any deep thinking to realise that this couldn't go on forevor.

And then they go and do this... Pretty much puts an end to the oil company/car manufacturer conspiracy theories. GM, Ford and Chrysler go bonkers building these behemoths and pretty much neglect the bottom end of the market place, giving up huge market share in the process. Can you say bad management? And they have the gall to blame their problems on unions and entitlements, omg.

I can only chalk it up to multiple cases of the rich and powers-that-be looking out only for themselves, a supremely human condition it would seem. How much communication is there at that lofty level of society?

Let's face it, the oil companies themselves have known for decades that oil wasn't forevor. They all have had R&D divisions working on alternatives for decades. The ones that I have worked for have, internally at least, touted themselves as Energy Companies, not just oil companies, once again, for decades now. Only recently have you seen some of them proclaming this publicly.

Were they all thinking that technology would have the solutions when it became necessary? And now here we are on the edge of the precipice and nothing has presented itself, in spite of Big Money having been thrown at it already.

Some of the players, if not all, at the top of the oil companies have to have ideas and plans for further personal prosperity. Do these plans include us? Do they talk to their peers outside of the industry? How far and wide is the knowledge spread?

It may be telling that we have oil men in the White House now. I hope they have better plans than what I have been able to discern so far.

Just look at the players and what they say.
BP- all is well says CEO Sir John Brown, oops, got caught lying to a judge, yer outta here says the Board of Directors, valiantly trying to cover their butts. But governments and media continue to base plans for the future on the BP statistical revue. Meanwhile 12 BP traders indicted within the Natural Gas Liquids department for LPG futures manipulation.

Exxon CEO says no such thing as Peak Oil, well for 50 years at least. But somehow has not been able to increase reserves.

Pickens and a few others are not afraid to tell the truth. CNBC has Pickens on for an hour as a guest host one morning in May 2006. He says several times that Production is peaked. He also states Ethanol is a non-starter and even explains, in an easy to understand way, why. When he is gone CNBC goes back to their regular programming and does not mention the salient issue of our lifetimes again that day.

Chevron CEO probably the most honest of the Major bigwigs so far. He is on record, within the last month or so only though, as stating it's a problem of scale. Any decent % reduction in a 21 million bpd habit is a pretty tall order. There, we have it, the truth is out. But did anyone notice? Pretty brave statements actually in light of his position.

This refining capacity talk is just another red herring thrown out in a long line of mis-direction for the masses imvho. I am not going to be distracted by it.

Yes, I agree the middle class is toast soon. We should have been working on population reduction and per capita energy use reduction a couple of decades ago.
Sorry for my rambling, but I have worked over 30 years in the business and can not help but be fascinated by the developments and machinations as they become apparent.
The worst part is that my youngest son is 9 and I struggle with how I can best prepare him for the future.

Interestingly enough, it was some time in the 70s that Conoco sent out copies of 'The Seven Sisters' to ALL employees and made it virtually required reading. I have to admit it was very engaging and illuminating."

Arrogant fools who "know best" and promote slavery and torture and monopolistic power in their delusions of "God's work" and "survival of fittest" madness are in-charge.

Perhaps only chaos remains a viable strategy to break the stranglehold in order to regain the fairness inherent in justice.

reddot - I like those words, and thanks for the industry insight.


Arrogant fools who "know best" and promote slavery and torture and monopolistic power in their delusions of "God's work" and "survival of fittest" madness are in-charge.

That sentence makes no sense whatsoever. Who are you talking about, Conoco? Perhaps BP or Exxon or CNBC and all the folks you talked about in your first post? Do they have delusions that they are doing God's work. And what does "survival of the fittest" have to do with anything?

Perhaps only chaos remains a viable strategy to break the stranglehold in order to regain the fairness inherent in justice.

Chaos is a strategy? I would think chaos would be the results of a lack of strategy. But one cannot regain fairness because there has never been fairness in this world. Well, not for any length of time anyway. Life is unfair, life is terrably unfair. Life is unfair for all animals, including the humans.

The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive; others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear; others are being slowly devoured from within by rasping parasites; thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst and disease. It must be so. If there is ever a time of plenty this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored.
Richard Dawkins: River Out of Eden, page131-132.

Ron P.

Ron - thanks for having the patience to read the above post. If anybody is writing a post that long he might need his own web-site.


Hi, Joe,

I get your point, and sympathize, but sound bite commentary and conversation have a lot to do with the pickle we are in today.

A fast concise state,ment is great if the reader is on the same page, if he already has the requisite background knowledge to understand the big picture.

I can assure you that excepting the small number of people who folllow sites such as this one rgularly, or have a relevant technical education,etc, the typical person DOES NOT HAVE the necessary background data in his head to appreciate the issues.

There is only one way to acquire this background knowledge, and that is to study the issues in detail, from an economic, scientific, historic, or other pov.

The only way to convey detail and nuance is thru an involved and etailed accounting of some aspect of the problem.

If you are not already an expert, you will never be one unless you read and study the long stuff-the books, the long magazine articles such as you find in The Atlantic or Harpers or the New Yorker, or LONG COMMENTS such as the one you refer to above.

Of course I have read enought of your comments to know that you yourself are very well informed, and can safely skip such comments.

I have referred a good friend, a businessman, to this very comment, as a good source of food for thoughtwithin the last few minutes.

He NEEDS to read this kind of comment.It puts the big issue -depletion- into terms he is familiar with, and in a way he cannot dismiss..

Wisdom comes with contemplation and reflection.After reading this referenced piece, my businessman buddy will have a much more accurate picture of the state of the ff industry, one not easily displaced by glib talk of renewables and new technology.

Wisdom comes with contemplation and reflection.

OFM - thanks for the reminder. I read the post in it's entirety and reddot has something to say worth hearing. Sometimes I will get half-way through a long post before I realize that it is a rant and then I miss other worthy posts because I don't have the luxury to spend a lot of time here.


reading "People's History Of The United States" currently and realizing that in the US (pre- and post-colonial days) the 'arrogant fools' have pretty much always been in charge and probably always will be.

7 more banks seized Friday. "Seized" seems a more appropriate term than "closed"...

Two Missouri banks among FDIC seizures Friday

Regulators on Friday shut down two banks in Missouri, three in Puerto Rico, and one each in Michigan and Washington, bringing the number of U.S. bank failures this year to 64.
The number of banks on the FDIC's confidential "problem" list jumped to 702 in the fourth quarter from 552 three months earlier, even as the industry squeezed out a small profit. Still, nearly one in every three banks reported a net loss for the latest quarter.
The FDIC expects the cost of resolving failed banks to grow to about $100 billion over the next four years.

Boy, that news doesn't really mesh with "recession's over" news we're getting from the government and MSM.

The newspaper this comes from is actually ran by the Journalism program here at the University of Missouri. So it is not the usual "corporate-controlled" type of reporting.

Often the students producing the articles do an amazing job of digging deep into the stories.

The bank closures are usually posted here starting about 7 PM EDT Fridays.


Bill McBride @ Calculated Risk posts a (long and growing) list of troubled commercial banks.

The current number of cripples is 722.

Ironically, many of the banks closed by the FDIC were not on the list.

speaking of MSM and recession;

"Good Morning America - 25% of ABC Staff Fired"


I don't see any in Georgia, for a change.

Why not three or four relief wells ?

Deepwater drilling is a risky business. A certain % of wells have severe technical difficulties. Some, you just start over again with.

It is entirely possible that the first relief well will hit a multi-month long delay.

OTOH, Well B or Well C may go down "smooth as silk", months quicker.

Also, the blow-out well had just been cemented. This implies to the layman (me) that problems may have developed anywhere along the drill string. Continuing erosion from sand in the produced oil could create problems that did not exist on Day One of the blowout. At least one relief well could aim for a lower intercept of the existing well bore.

Given the magnitude of this disaster, redundancy in efforts to stop it are only prudent.


PS: I would be pleased if some reporter asked this question at the next news conference.

Alan, there will be multiple relief wells drilled, and they will keep drilling until they intercept the wellbore.

A second rig, the Enterprise, is underway to the site. It took over a week to safe out the drillsite it was on before it could go. The DD3 was just the first rig that could mobilize into position.

There is also word in some of the other forums http://gcaptain.com/forum/professional-mariner-forum/4805-transocean-dee... that a 3rd rig is underway also.


Exactly Alan. Even simple wells run into problems. And it can happen long before the get to the intersect point.

Pretty good article linked on Huff Post:


BP's containment problem is unprecedented
The company must stop a relentless gush of oil nearly a mile below the surface, in a situation that hasn't been dealt with before.

And once the emergency abates, BP faces tough questions. Oil industry experts this week compared the accident to a plane crash or space shuttle disaster that may have been the result of a cascading chain of mishaps. There are supposed to be safeguards: sensors that detect changes in pressure, cross-checking protocols, emergency response systems, and people monitoring everything 24 hours a day aboard the rig and by satellite. "We are all very curious," said an industry source who asked not to be identified because he worked for a rival oil company. "What happened to all that equipment, all the computer power, all the automated systems and manpower in place, could not be invoked to stop this?"

The assumption is that an oil-rig perfect storm occurred, very quickly. "There would have been a dozen barriers that had to fail in order for this accident to happen," said Tim Robertson, an oil-spill consultant with Nuka Research and Planning Group in Alaska.

Perhaps the biggest question, to experts, is why the blowout preventer valves didn't shut. The huge device, which caps the well, is equipped with emergency systems, including a "dead man's switch," a device of last resort that is supposed to be fail-safe.

BP's m'aidez, m'aidez has become an even clearer May Day! May Day!

Until we can answer the "WTF Happened?" question, IMO a valid concern is whether we should continue to be drilling in these mile plus water depths.

Canada is only an accident away from killing off all life on the Grand Banks. Is anyone saying anything around here? No. Why? Newfoundlanders and Nova Scotians have benefited financially from deep water oil extraction (Scotia shelf and Hibernia). The same holds true for Britain and Norway with proceeds from the North Sea.

The fisheries and marine ecology have already been devastated by human activities. We have, for too long, viewed the oceans as a limitless cornucopia for our exploitation of its riches and a bottomless abyss for our garbage and entrails.

The sad truth is we are all culpable by our addiction to oil. I remember hearing one commentator in the documentary Crude Awakening, no matter who we are in the modern world (Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Atheist, whatever) "oil is our god". And like the pagan gods of yore, it is a wrathful and capricious deity that demands constant appeasement and sacrifice.

Should the practice of drilling in mile plus deep waters continue? The wise and obvious answer is no. Will it continue? The stupid and obvious answer is yes. We have placed too much hubris in our own genius and too much faith in our god to have it any other way.

Pathetic really.

End of rant. I'm now off to conduct a wedding. O happy day!! Any advice for the young couple?

Any advice for the young couple?

Yes, don't have children. In fact get a vasectomy and a tubal right away.

Excellent advice! I got snipped when I was 26. I'm 35 now, no kids, and life is good.

Unfortunately, other people's children may have to care for you when life isn't so good.

Fine, the mean number of children each woman may have in her lifetime must be 2.1 in order to stabilize the population and have any chance for longer-term sustainability. There is absolutely no argument here....infinite growth, no matter how small the rate, is not possible. The only rational discussion is how much less than 2.1 per woman birth rate we need and for how long, in order to stabilize at a truly sustainable population.

Hopefully no one on this list perpetuates the ultimate ponzi scheme of having to increase population growth to increase economic growth, and to support the elderly...that paradigm is toxic to our future and for the Earth.

Go ahead and not have children, let the most fecund inherit the world. They seem quite intelligent.

very funny Floridian... But perhaps it was always like this...

Nope. As historian Gregory Clark explains the more economically successful in England left more children. The English of today are descendants of the smarter owners and businesses and farms of the last several hundred years.

The shift toward higher fertility among the lower IQ is a product of...wait for it...the use of fossil fuels to raise living standards. Freed from Malthusian limits the dummies made more babies than the smarties.

There is no proof that Dumb_Dad + Dumb_Mom = Dumb_Kid.
Or that Rich_Dad + Rich_Mom = Smart_Kid.

There are some indications, however, that Genius_Dad + Genius_Mom = Autistic_Kid.

Floridian, my comment was not about population control. The future looks pretty bad. I was suggesting that anyone that cares about their children would not want to bring them into such a future. Our gene programs tell us that all that matters is getting our particular genes into the future. Some of us however can think other thoughts than those embedded in us at birth.

Humankind, meet Black Swan. Black Swan, meet humankind. It appears we are going to get very well acquainted with each other. . .

Not a swan but plenty of black (stained) big birds;

"Pictures: Gulf Oil Spill Hits Land—And Wildlife"


Do the methane clathrates on the GOM floor increase the risk of blowout during setting of cement well casing?

reportedly from Halliburton (pdf) via firedoglake.


• Shallow water flow may occur during or after cement job
• Under water blow out has happened
• Gas flow may occur after a cement job in deepwater environments that contain major hydrate zones.
• Destabilization of hydrates after the cement job is confirmed by downhole cameras.
• The gas flow could slow down in hours to days if the de- stabilization is not severe.
• However, the consequences could be more severe in worse cases.


Deepwater Well Objectives
• Cement slurry should be placed in the entire annulus with no losses
• Temperature increase during slurry hydration should not destabilize hydrates
• There should be no influx of shallow water or gas into the annulus
• The cement slurry should develop strength in the shortest time after placement

Conditions in deepwater wells are not conducive to achieving all of these objectives simultaneously

dovey -- Not at the stage the BP well was in. There were probably 3 or 4 different strings of casing set through the shallow section before BP began the deeper completion. Just a guess but they probably had casing set to 12,000' or so before they ran and cemented the last casing string.

Thanks, that's interesting. A naive question - do they put cement casing down the whole well? Sounds like quite a challenge. The whole thing is an astonishing technological feat, actually.

Yes dovey...a whole series of casing is set. First is the drive pipe pushed several hundred feet into the soft sediment. Anywhere between 20 to 36 inch diameter. Then surface casing down to 4,000' or so. A smaller diameter, of course, so it can be run inside the drive pipe. Cement is pumped out of the bottom and circulates up the outside between the rock and the casing. Then another sting might be set at 12,000' (smaller diameter still and then cemented). This sequence might be repeated several more times before total depth is reached.

The main reason for setting casing is that the rocks will change pressure as you get deeper. Shallowest is "normal pressure"...equal to a mud weight of 9.2 lbs per gallon of mud. As you drill deeper you need higher mud weights to counter the formation pressure. But if you drill with a high mud weight (like 17 lbs per gallon) it will fracture the normal pressured rocks if they are exposed. This THE biggest challenge in drilling in Deep Water: knowing when and how much to increase mud weight. Pore pressure analysts, as I once was, are tasked with making this estimate pf the PORE PRESSURE GRADIENT. Get it wrong (too high a MW) and you might collapse and lose a $100 million hole in the ground. Get it really wrong (too low a MW) and the well blows out, men die and the environment raped.

That's what makes the BP blow out so odd: it didn't happen during the really tricky time while drilling. The well was drilled sucessfully and casing run. At that point it's not risk free but not nearly as dangerous. Obvious BP figured out how to turn a low risk standard phase into death and destruction.

many thanks for the detailed response ....

Does this catastrophe mean much to the wider issue of PO? It seems likely that drilling close to the coast is now on the back-burner for the foreseeable future, thereby hindering the possibility (such as it was) of developing more US sources of cheap(ish) crude.

Deep water, as opposed to "close to the coast", drilling is likely to be inhibited.


"Drill, Baby, Drill" is the only thing TPTB know how to do. They have invested in that strategy. No other course can penetrate their imagination. "Off the table" for now, but after the oil is still washing up on beaches in far away places, the agenda will come back, as one of the articles above suggests, 'because oil drives [our fetid, so-called] civilization.' Do we need birds? No. Do we need wildlife refuges? No. Do we need parks? No. Do we need oil? Yes.

It will be just like nuclear power. I thought it was dead, done, gone. The new book on Chernobyl is absolutely devastating, a thousand nails in the radioactive coffin. But Obama and his handlers (CFR, The Business Roundtable, etc...) have planned our future and it is called "The Suicide Train" for us, "The Gravy Train" for them: Nukes and Fossil Fuels get subsidies! Faster, make this train go faster...

Who are Obama's handlers?--

“The Business Roundtable joined the Business Council at the heart of both
the corporate community and the policy-formation network and now has
the most powerful role…. The Roundtable’s interlocks with other policy
groups and with think tanks are presented [below--in the link].” -– G. William Domhoff, Who Rules America?

The Roundtable’s first year of operation was 1972, which coincided with
the beginning of the CEO salary explosion, and has been the driving force
behind the unprecedented concentration of wealth since their inception.
Their dominance over the US economy and government is unparalleled.
Their members are a Who’s Who of everything that is wrong with our
economy. Here is a partial list of some of their lead members:

——-Lloyd C. Blankfein, Goldman Sachs
——-James Dimon, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
——-James P. Gorman, Morgan Stanley
——-Vikram S. Pandit, Citigroup, Inc.
——-Brian T. Moynihan, Bank of America
——-Brendan McDonagh, HSBC
——-Robert W. Selander, MasterCard Incorporated
——-Kenneth I. Chenault, American Express Company
——-Rupert Murdoch, News Corporation
——-Glenn A. Britt, Time Warner Cable Inc.
——-Philippe Dauman, Viacom, Inc.
——-Jeffrey R. Immelt, General Electric Company
——-Brian L. Roberts, Comcast Corporation
——-Steven A. Ballmer, Microsoft Corporation
——-John T. Chambers, Cisco Systems, Inc.
——-Randall L. Stephenson, AT&T Inc.
——-Ivan G. Seidenberg, Verizon Communications
——-David G. DeWalt, McAfee, Inc.
——-Steven R. Loranger, ITT Corporation
——-Paul T. Hanrahan, AES Corporation, The
——-Riley P. Bechtel, Bechtel Group, Inc.
——-W. James McNerney , Boeing Company, The
——-Rex W. Tillerson, Exxon Mobil Corporation
——-Marvin E. Odum, Shell Oil Company
——-John S. Watson, Chevron Corporation
——-James J. Mulva, ConocoPhillips
——-John B. Hess, Hess Corporation
——-James E. Rogers Duke Energy Corporation
——-J. Larry Nichols, Devon Energy Corporation
——-Ronald A. Williams, Aetna Inc.
——-David Cordani, CIGNA
——-Jeffrey B. Kindler , Pfizer Inc.
——-Angela F. Braly, WellPoint, Inc.
——-John C. Lechleiter, Eli Lilly and Company
——-Edward B. Rust, Jr., State Farm
——-Andrew N. Liveris, Dow Chemical
——-James W. Owens, Caterpillar Inc.
——-Ellen J. Kullman, DuPont
——-Edward E. Whitacre Jr., General Motors Company
——-Michael T. Duke, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

AlterNet: The Most Powerful Destructive Corporate Business C... http://www.alternet.org/module/printversion/145996

Drilling will be stopped for a long time, like when nuclear power was stopped after "3 mile island".

It is NOT stopping! Nothing is stopping. BAU! Full speed ahead!

Would some of you industry experts please comment on this analysis posted today on George Ure's web site. Please tell me this isn't true.

2. A reader who is an engineer of considerable experience says watch this one evolve carefully because it is destined to continue to grow and he shares this long (but worthy explanation why:

"Heard your mention of the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico this morning, and you (and most everyone else except maybe George Noory) are totally missing the boat on how big and bad of a disaster this is.

First fact, the original estimate was about 5,000 gallons of oil a day spilling into the ocean. Now they're saying 200,000 gallons a day. That's over a million gallons of crude oil a week!

I'm engineer with 25 years of experience. I've worked on some big projects with big machines. Maybe that's why this mess is so clear to me.

First, the BP platform was drilling for what they call deep oil. They go out where the ocean is about 5,000 feet deep and drill another 30,000 feet into the crust of the earth. This it right on the edge of what human technology can do. Well, this time they hit a pocket of oil at such high pressure that it burst all of their safety valves all the way up to the drilling rig and then caused the rig to explode and sink. Take a moment to grasp the import of that. The pressure behind this oil is so high that it destroyed the maximum effort of human science to contain it.

When the rig sank it flipped over and landed on top of the drill hole some 5,000 feet under the ocean.

Now they've got a hole in the ocean floor, 5,000 feet down with a wrecked oil drilling rig sitting on top of is spewing 200,000 barrels of oil a day into the ocean. Take a moment and consider that, will you!

First they have to get the oil rig off the hole to get at it in order to try to cap it. Do you know the level of effort it will take to move that wrecked oil rig, sitting under 5,000 feet of water? That operation alone would take years and hundreds of millions to accomplish. Then, how do you cap that hole in the muddy ocean floor? There just is no way. No way.

The only piece of human technology that might address this is a nuclear bomb. I'm not kidding. If they put a nuke down there in the right spot it might seal up the hole. Nothing short of that will work.

If we can't cap that hole that oil is going to destroy the oceans of the world. It only takes one quart of motor oil to make 250,000 gallons of ocean water toxic to wildlife. Are you starting to get the magnitude of this?

We're so used to our politicians creating false crises to forward their criminal agendas that we aren't recognizing that we're staring straight into possibly the greatest disaster mankind will ever see. Imagine what happens if that oil keeps flowing until it destroys all life in the oceans of this planet. Who knows how big of a reservoir of oil is down there.

Not to mention that the oceans are critical to maintaining the proper oxygen level in the atmosphere for human life.

We're humped. Unless God steps in and fixes this. No human can. You can be sure of that.

I'd be more impressed if the author worked out if he is talking about barrels per day or gallons per day. First he talks about 200,000 gallons and then a few paragraphs later it becomes 200,000 barrels.

And as for the nuclear bomb idea, well that is just daft!

I haven't seen any confirmation that the rig is actually resting atop the BOP. Graphics I've seen show it off to the side of the well. Anyone have better info?

This situation is scarey enough without people using exaggeration, assumptions, and disinformation to create fear.

Ghung -- If I recall correctly sonar found the rig about 1500' north of the well head.

Thanks, Rock.

it would be great if you could put together a piece on the origins and causes and likely outcomes of this disaster
throw in some images and graphics for us simpleminded folks

my concern is that if there were all these failsafe locks in place, and the odds of them all failing at the same time are infintesimal, then maybe they were not in place at all
maybe BP, in the spirit of cost cutting, skipped a few steps.

I don't think so poly...I'm too lazy. LOL... beside folks like tow, ghung et al are much better at it.

But I will offer some very insider and very prejudiced view of the entire operations. You won't find this info in any tech presentation. But when the facts eventually come out don't be surprised if my unsupported guess (at this time) is close to correct.

Safe guard capabilities: extremely good. Been perfected for decades. Mechanical failures of these safety systems are not uncommon but almost always a result of exceeding system limits. And almost always caused by human error. And commonly this error is made as a result of cost considerations. Total daily ops cost on a Deep Water rig can run $1,000,000 per day. And problems happen. The last DW well I drilled was estimate to cost $100 million. It cost $150 million when done…and it was a dry hole. That deosn't get you a year end bonus.

During the drilling of a well there are a 100 moments when a critical decision is made. Wrong decision and you’ll drop $5 million for the mistake. Time is money…big money. And every day the morning report is issued show how much was spent the previous day as well as the cumulative cost. And everyone in the company sees those numbers. Pressure all up and down the management pyramid. I’ll offer the most extreme example of this pressure observed first hand. About 8 years ago I was sent out to run electronic tools down the hole on a 25,000’ hole drilled by a major independent US company. They had drilled the last 2,500’ of the well in the most unsafe manor I’ve ever seen. I’ll skip the tech details…too complicated and not really the point. How worried were some of the hands: when they came off their 12 hour shift they would sleep in the escape capsules on this drill ship. Took me 6 days to complete my task. Fortunately they didn’t find any hydrocarbons in the well. But I did measure 19,000 psi sands in the bottom of the well that contained only salt water. In this case the risk wasn’t taken just to same money but to get the well down and hopefully find oil/NG. And someone in a coat and tie sitting in a Houston office was willing to risk the lives of 130 souls onboard to get that well down. And the drilling contractor wasn’t guilt free in this case either: at anytime they could have forced the operator to abandon the effort and plug the well. But they obviously didn’t want to lose that fat day rate. No laws were broken and I promise you no operator would ever declare that this particular op didn't violate their company's standards.

Almost no one knows this story because the well didn’t blow out: no oil on the water….no lives lost…no CNN choppers overhead. The other hands and I did our jobs. Didn’t like it, to say the least. But it was our jobs. Maybe some chose to never work for this drilling company or operator again. But most probably would.

I don’t a clue as to what caused the BP blow out. But if it is eventually blamed on mechanical failure that failure was most likely due to pushing the system beyond known limits. In the world of mechanics it’s simply said: “Stay out of the red or get dead”. And the push was likely due to an effort to avoid management displeasure.

The other hands and I did our jobs. Didn’t like it, to say the least. But it was our jobs. Maybe some chose to never work for this drilling company or operator again. But most probably would.

I work in a different area and quit my work a few months ago and used every trick I could to get away as fast as possible. It had been beneficial at least in the short run to stay a short while more but I did not want to.

And the push was likely due to an effort to avoid management displeasure.

I worked really hard to avoid management displeasure and pushed the limits of truth but I did never cheat or lie. I have now seen what they sell and are happy that I quit.

Would some of you industry experts please comment on this analysis posted today on George Ure's web site. Please tell me this isn't true.

"This isn't true." (Probably.)

It's "Urban Survival." A website to AVOID.

We have friends who have developed a groundbreaking predictive technology which we simply call "web bot" technology developed by Cliff of www.halfpasthuman.com. The technology, which samples large portions of the public internet with an eye toward "sensing the future" based on subtle changes in language, seems to have given indications before-the-fact of a large number of major news events

IOW, entrails reading.

Couple of wrong statements there.

1) Blowout occurred just after well was cemented. This means (to layman me) that the mud in the drilling string contained the pressures till then.

2) The relief wells are being drilled a half mile away. Debris from the platform is apparently a non-issue, even @ BOP (it sank to one side).

3) Total depth of well is 18,000' from reports I have read.

I am intrigued by methane hydrates as a "new" problem.


I am intrigued by methane hydrates as a "new" problem.

Actually it is possible that methane hydrates is the solution to this problem.

Methane hydrates have been found in Mississippi Canyon of GOM in 3000 feet of water.

The Japanese are looking at ways of producing methane hydrates rather than LNG as a way of transporting stranded natural gas. Here you would bury the wellhead in methane hydrates produced in ships on the surface as an ice/rock slurry choking off the flow of oil. At that depth (top of bathypelagic zone) the water is at freezing.


After BP impliments my totally novel idea I expect they will gratefully send me a couple million dollars for my help in solving their mess, but if they can't find me they may instead donate that amount to TOD web site.


What is more unlikely--that my idea will work or that BP sends the check?

I do hope that they are going to be super cautious with regard to blowout prevention when they get to the point where the relief well taps the original. The last thing we would need would be for that hole to blow out too.

Dude -- Not saying this guy doesn't have some valid points but he's clearly spinning the event to further his own agenda. And not that it really matters but the rig isn't sitting on top of the well head. Just more hyperbole on his part. Does tarnish his rep a bit IMHO.

Certainly a disaster of horrible scale even if the well stops flowing today. No way to minimize the seriousness.

Apparently it's going to take 2-3 months to fix this mess! :(
Who knows what the leak rate is, I've read 25,000bpd is the current leak but could be upto 50,000bpd. A rate of 200,000 is mind boggling to say the least.

Six months also reasonably possible :-(((


Alan -- And that if nothing goes wrong with that process. Even when they do get deep enough to cut the original hole that's when the tricky phase really begins. When they intersect the original hole there may be a huge pressure surge. They'll be planning on that and will have safety protocols in place. But, then again, so did BP. Coincidentally just got an email from my former boss when I was a pore pressure analyst. Wanted to know if I were up for a gig on one of he relief wells. He hasn't secured the contract yet: chicken and egg -- can't get the contract without someone to fill the slot and can't get the contract without a warm body to fill the slot. All his other PPA's are tied up and, as he put it, he needed an "expendable body" really bad. Yes...a dark sense of humor helps cover the obvious anxiety. Had to remind him of the promise to my young daughter about given up offshore gigs. He said he remembered but thought I might reconsider so I could be a part of history. A very sad history, of course. But I'll admit the thought had crossed my mind even before he messaged me. But I had an easy out: I'm on crutches right now after double knee surgery. But still...

Well. . . look at the bright side. If the reservoir is not pressure depleted by the time they seal the well off, and if you don't make it back, you will have done your part to bring on enough proven reserves to meet global demand for a few hours.

Indeed WT...what you and I have dedicted our lives for: adding two or three minutes to our national dillusional sense of energy independence. Ouray!

Perhaps we will get lucky. If this well performs like the Thunderhorsefield (see yesterdays post), it could water out, maybe before they even get the relief wells drilled.

I have heard from a petrologist that the data that oil companies have on possible Arctic plays indicate the likelihood of very high pressures and more gas than oil. Any of you oil patch folks know anything about this? Could it be that drilling in the Arctic might lead to more such disasters because of pressures outside the range of current technology to deal with?

ET -- See my answer above. But any prssure CAN be handled properly. That's not the important question. What is: whether it will be dealt with with in a safe manner.

Arctic plays under pressure....or more deeper wells under higher pressure with more risk....

I have to say that the analogy between a junkie looking for his next fix (even if it is dangerous, lethal stuff because all of the high quality easy stuff is gone) and the oil-dependent civilization lurching from one oil well to another, each more dangerous and difficult than before, looks more air-tight every day.

What happens to junkies after they really can`t find anymore drugs to support their habits? Sometimes they recover, so it isn`t hopeless!

The allegation that BP has compromised safety and environmental protection to cut cost is hardly surprising.

We as consumers have been so well trained, brainwashed, into blindly accepting the notion that cheapest price means best purchase choice.

I see this as one of the major must change issues.

Re: Chinese automaker to open headquarters in L.A., up top:

Lose the NUMMI plant, gain a BYD sales office:



Time for complexity to be tested.
Fishing industry could be brought to its knees.
Sport Fishing same.
Real Estate Values
Local Businesses will be hurt, how much can they take in already weak economy.
Higher seafood prices...
The list could go on and on.
For how long will the economic effects hold?

Sad for the habitat.

Yet,,,, every industry you listed is totally reliant on cheap oil.
No easy answers.

But the cheap oil is going to run out no matter how many wells we drill. So why sacrifice the ecosystem that is our true lifeblood for a few more years?

And of course, hurricane season is just starting, and this is an area that frequently is in the bull's eye. Imagine if a cat 3 or worse hits on top of all of this. It could very well happen.


Marxism views history as a series of modes of production and of relationships between human beings determined by them, from primitive communism, organic and natural, through to the societies based on class divisions. The capitalist epoch established itself on the basis of modern production techniques which utilised the discoveries of science and concentrated the workers in great factories. The modern proletariat, deprived of any means of subsistence, was to become a seller of its own labour power.

However, under capitalism improvement of the systems of production generates increasing misery and insecurity instead of being a condition for well-being. The enormous accumulation of commodities produced, for the most part useless or dangerous, and which the market cannot absorb, generates the phenomenon of over-production, of poverty amongst wealth, which is such a defining characteristic of capitalism.

In addition, the increased employment of machinery and relative reduction in the number of workers produce the tendency of the rate of profit to fall: the more Capital’s unrestricted growth seems to make it a force which entirely dominates society, the more its power and vitality is reduced. This mechanism which underlies the economic crisis means it is impossible to remedy.

It is this ‘agonal’ state of capitalism which forces States to have recourse to imperialist war: it is just to postpone its own demise that on the one hand the global bourgeois class pushes for an increase in the extortion of surplus value from the working class, and on the other, to precipitate humanity into a third imperialist war, in which the workers will be lined up against each other on opposite sides of the barricades; intimidated or brainwashed into fighting for ‘their’ country, and thus for ‘their’ bourgeoisie, rather than for their own, international class.

The crisis in 1929 led the imperialisms to declare war on each other during the second world massacre: only after destroying people, cities, machinery, commodities did they manage to get a new cycle of accumulation underway again. This demented cycle of growth drew to a close in the mid-seventies, when the current crisis really started.


There is only one force within capitalist society which can deal the death blow to this regime, the working class, the class that not only already produces all of the wealth but which also, having once freed itself from its political and economic subjugation to capital, is the bearer of the new society, communism, which from within the capitalist shell is pushing ever harder to emerge into the full light of day.

But today, due to the immense difficulties encountered on its centuries’ long path to emancipation, the global working class, despite the conditions being objectively mature, is forced to start once again from nothing.

The revolutionary bid for power in the first two decades of the last century produced a world communist party, the Third Communist International, and basing itself on the radical intransigent theses of left Marxism, it achieved victory for the revolution in Russia and took power in the name of the world communist revolution.

The revolutionary wave, the mainstay of which was proletarian defeatism in peace and in war, would eventually be defeated, thenceforth the working class would be assailed on all sides by lies and betrayals – worse even than those that caused the degeneration of the Second social-democratic International – which made it forget its class interests and the hard lessons of the past.

Stalinism, Maoism and Castroism, along with the theory of socialism in one country, would all end up concealing capitalist and bourgeois parties, states and economies, all of which were total capitalist, under the banner of communism.

In parallel the communist movement would support the demand to defend bourgeois democracy and would ally itself with the forces of anti-fascism, the degenerate communist parties turning into the most eager defenders of parliaments, constitutions and bourgeois justice.

The trade union movement was dragged into this vortex of submission to capitalist institutions too. If previously it had been inspired to fight not only immediate economic battles around jobs and wages but also to realise its true purpose by fighting for the long-term goal of the emancipation of the working class from capital, it would now jettison this view.


The crisis of capital doesn’t, in the final analysis, represent a crisis for the working class, even if it will be hardest hit by its consequences. Properly understood it represents the mortal crisis of its social and historical enemy and is the premise for the revolutionary overthrow of the present regime, and for the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Comrades! We must start again from square one!

The working class has its stock of theory, its vision of the world along with a century and a half of lessons learnt in the course of many defeats and a few, great victories. Everything it has been taught, by enemies and false friends, over the last eighty years has proved to be lies and falsehoods; however, it has never been betrayed or deceived by authentic Marxism, whose correct predictions about capitalism’s crash are before the eyes of all.

The present task is reconnection with the original communist doctrine and with the International Communist Party; the party which alone is the depositary of this doctrine, and which alone is capable of deploying it within the organisation and wielding it in the realm of political activity.

On the plane of the immediate struggle to defend working conditions, wage levels, etc, the international proletariat will need to find the strength to respond to the sustained attack it is being subjected to by reequipping itself with a class trade union organisation, which having as its aim the unconditional defence of the workers will once again reject any co-responsibility with the bourgeoisie for the economy in the name of ‘the national interest’. This union, organised on a territorial basis as well as by trade, will include workers of different trades, nationalities and political opinions, the employed and the unemployed, and bring together workers currently kept separate in individual workplaces. This will favour the coordination of battles fought for common objectives and lead to greater unity.

The great task that awaits present and future generations of workers is a stirring prospect; the communist emancipation of mankind from this thoroughly rotten and decrepit society.

I just ain't buying it Zeitgeist

- The destruction of the natural world is not the result of global capitalism, industrialization, 'Western civilization' or any flaw in human institutions. It is a consequence of the evolutionary success of an exceptionally rapacious primate. Throughout all of history and prehistory, human advance has coincided with ecological devastation.
John Gray, "Straw Dogs"

Capitalism is not the culprit and Communism is not the answer. The problem is Homo sapiens. I am reminded of a cartoon I saw years ago. Another planet, with doctor's garb on, was examining a very sick earth. The verdict: You've got humans!

Ron P.

Capitalism is not the culprit and Communism is not the answer.

As long as the argument is between the ownership of the means of production, I agree.
If the means of production comes into play, then the argument falls apart.
Capitalism rewards sociopaths, and holds them in high esteem. We can organize a economic an social system that doesn't reward psychopathic behavior, as some of our tribal ancestors did, although as Pinker has pointed out, violence and murder were much higher than now.

While as much as I liked Straw Dogs, we must view it from the conditions that Gray emerged from, his conservative economic culture, and his geographic and social conditioning.

But our past evolutionary fitness has rewarded short term rewards, heuristic over critical thinking, and basing reality on story and myth.


Marx was right about the failures and inherent contradictions of the capitalist political economy, and his anaylsis far better than any bourgeois economist.... however, he never considered the limits to growth, or their Malthusian consequences. Communist ideology won't stop us from wrecking the planet in the pusuit of ever more material wealth and luxury - it's just spreading that luxury and destructive consumption much more evenly amongst the populace - champagne abnd fast cars for everyone, not just the ruling class.

And as for the Leninist party-building, working-class-consciousness-building route to revolution, have you noticed how that's been doing in the last 2 or 3 decades? Working-class movements have been smashed, snubbed out - the bourgeois ideologists have shown their ability to control the political agenda, and shift the wealth to themselves whilst the working class swallows their message, and votes for more free-market enterprise.

I certainly think that a centrally-controlled, resposibly-operated society is the only way that we're going to prevent humans from completely trashing the planet, but there's no evidence to suggest that Marxist-Leninist ideology can deliver it. I wish it could, but there's no chance.

Regards Chris


Working-class movements have been smashed, snubbed out - the bourgeois ideologists have shown their ability to control the political agenda, and shift the wealth to themselves whilst the working class swallows their message, and votes for more free-market enterprise.

Yes, but a small, dedicated group of people continue to work on projects to attempt to 'de-personalize' the corporation, e.g., Democracy Unlimited


Corporations that violate the standards of our communities and preform gross acts of barbarism and destruction (like BP), should be disbanded, their funds expropriated to pay for the remediation of the vast destruction they have caused.

Hightrekker, I think you missed John Gray's message entirely. What he said had nothing to do with economics or conservatism or any culture other than human culture in general. I am amazed that you could connect the evolutionary success of Homo sapiens with some political movement. That connection simply escapes me. Homo sapiens evolved long before there were any kind of political parties whatsoever.

Hightrekker, think evolution and think about what evolutionary success is all about.

We are competing with every other form of large animal life on this planet for resources and territory... and we are winning. We are successful in this endeavor beyond belief. We are literally driving other forms of animal life, and many forms of plant life, into extinction with the expansion of our territory. And we are even depleting the sea of fish in our desperate search for food.

Harvesting fish beyond their ability to reproduce is basically equivalent to eating next year's seed corn. The same analogy can be made to pumping water from the earth's aquifers faster than it can be replaced or clearing forest faster than it can be re-grown. And of course I could give you a dozen other such examples.

As far as carrying capacity goes the earth at 100 percent of carrying capacity for living creatures and has been since the Cambrian era. For every new member humans add to the population something else must go to make room for that new person. The glass is full and adding new people just causes something else to spill over the brim, out of existence.

Forget that John Gray wrote the passage and just look at it for its content without trying to figure out the political leanings of the author. Some statements carry a strong political message and some carry none at all. The passage from Straw Dogs that I quoted is an example of the latter. It just states that Homo sapiens are a great example of evolutionary success and that is the cause of the destruction of the natural world.

After all, the whole world is being raped and destroyed, not just that of capitalist countries. China was an ecological disaster under Mao and has lately gotten worse in direct proportion to their population increase.

Ron P.

"the whole world is being raped and destroyed"

Yes, but not every society is as rapacious as every other. I agree that the primary issue is not capitalism vs communism, but right now, capitalism is pretty much the main player. But before they collapsed, most communist countries were trying hard to be just as rapacious as capitalists.

The main problem is ff driven industrialism based on the idea of limitless growth. Many other societies have had disastrous effects on their localities, or even entire regions. But only modern industrialism has been able to destroy the entire global life support system.

We have to get our heads out of our 19th century ideological butts!

But only modern industrialism has been able to destroy the entire global life support system.

Dohboi, modern industrialization is just the natural progression of things. Once we found coal, we used it. Once we found oil and gas, we used them. We used these resources to create industrial society and to create them to create the green revolution. These things enabled our population to explode.

You must understand, it was the success of the species that led to the destruction.

Ron P.

lots of semantic issues here--when we are talking about the development of western industrial society, that more than anything defined itself as NOT nature, and call it natural--well, we are using words in very tricky ways.

Same with the term 'success.' Success does not have any meaning by itself, even though it is used as if it does. The term always begs the question--success in what?

I agree that western (and now global) industrial society has succeeded beyond most peoples imaginations in attaining many of the goals it set for itself. But whether that constitutes 'success of the species' is another question.

Hightrekker, I think you missed John Gray's message entirely.

There you go again - starting yet another post with yet another insult of another poster ... and you had the temerity to complain about ad hominem tactics by others yesterday! You are breath-taking Darwinian ... I trust it makes you feel superior - and BTW your understanding of the differences between capitalism and communism needs a lot of work.

Hightrekker, I think you missed John Gray's message entirely.

Umm, this doesn't sound like an insult to me.

And then you end with this??

I trust it makes you feel superior - and BTW your understanding of the differences between capitalism and communism needs a lot of work.

Pot...kettle...and adding very little to this forum.

Other than sucking up to Darwinian, your contribution to this forum is hardly overwhelming either ... I am here to learn - how about you? And if you tell someone they "entirely miss the point" then it is quite insulting, confronting - and hardly conducive to informed debate. Perhaps go paint your own kettle.

Other than sucking up to Darwinian, your contribution to this forum is hardly overwhelming either ... I am here to learn - how about you? And if you tell someone they "entirely miss the point" then it is quite insulting, confronting - and hardly conducive to informed debate. Perhaps go paint your own kettle.

***** 5 stars for Hilarious Hypocrisy.

My contribution in this case was to try and encourage you to be a little more congenial in your replies to others.

Apparently, a complete waste of time.


Cargill, give me a f***ing break. Saying someone misses the point is not an insult and neither is it an ad hominem attack. I have often missed the point of someone's post and so have you.

Do you just comb through my posts and try to find something that you can attack me for? Is that all you have to do? I would think you could find better use of your time.

Oh, and I made absolutely no comment on the difference between capitalism and communism. I simply stated that neither is to blame for the destruction of the natural world. Well actually it was John Gray who said that but you can glean from my post that I agreed with him. And I am not at all interested in debating the difference between capitalism and communism since neither have anything to do with the subject of my post. The subject was the destruction of the natural world. And the evolutionary success of Homo sapiens is the problem.

Ron P.

although as Pinker has pointed out, violence and murder were much higher than now

Maybe that's what it took to keep the sociopaths from running amuck.

Yep Darwinian. Our markets are flawed because human brains are so flawed. Our brains are chock full of flawed heuristics that are themselves the products of evolution. We have lots of cognitive biases and tendencies to commit errors in reasoning. It is amazing we do as well as we do all considered.

I agree, traits that brought fitness in the past, are now liabilities.
Even with a arduous education, constant skillfulness and attention, it is overwhelming.

Capitalism seems to have been slightly worse but you are right it is not the culprit, and you are right that rapacious humans are the problem. However rapacious humans did not put a hole in the ozone layer or raise the PPM of CO2 in the air until a few short centuries ago. Rapacious humans limited by the rest of nature work out some balance as they did in Australia until rapacious humans with better tools and fuel arrived. Perhaps we will create for ourselves a world which is so difficult to live in that we will be kept in check, or perhaps we will extinct ourselves. Bacteria that live in balance in the natural world become rapacious in a petrie dish with lots of food and no enemies and overshoot their population. Deer introduced on an island with no predators do the same. The problem is not so much the rapaciousness as the lack of controls. For a time we have won all the control problems - food and disease. That of course is about to end, just as it does for the lucky deer with no predators and lots of grass and the lucky bacteria with a petrie dish that looks safe and endless.

Zeitgeist, we are all born naked, knowing nothing. To make it in the world, we all sell our labour. Okay, maybe not the IDBs (In Daddy's Business), but most of us are workers who must educate and market ourselves to get the best deal possible in life. And that's applicable under every system of government.

Capitalist or communist, you will end up with big organisations with professional management. I've always maintained that it doesn't matter who is running an organisation -- civil servant or CEO -- as long as it is properly and professionally run.

Here in South Africa we have Eskom (Electricity Supply Commission), a parastatal. For years we had the cheapest electricity in the world. Eskom overbuilt power stations in the 70s, anticipating infrastructure expansion that didn't come (the apartheid government swung spending to social projects -- schools, hospitals, welfare -- to damp down internal unrest). So we had the benefit of paid-for power stations, excess generating capacity (hence stability of supply), and long-term coal contracts at low prices. Thus low electricity prices.

But then an idiot of a cabinet minister called Alex Erwin was put in charge. He decreed no new investment by Eskom. The private sector must build generating capacity. Well, the private sector took one look at our low prices and said "Sorry, no can do. We can't make a profit at these prices." But prices had to stay low because "Our people are poor. They can't afford to pay more." (Which is admittedly true.) And said cabinet minister signed contracts with aluminium smelters to sell them our very cheap electricity.

Result: The economy outgrew Eskom's generating capacity. We had rolling blackouts. GNP was affected. People complained. The old coal contracts ended and coal is now massively more expensive. So, instead of ramping up capacity and prices gently over a number of years, we now face swingeing price increases of 25% a year for a crash program of power station building, while we hold thumbs hoping for no more rolling blackouts. (One benefit of the recession -- power consumption declined to a manageable level.) And individual people and small businesses must bear the cost of the increases because the mines and smelters pay the old low prices under long-term contracts.

Point being, this is an example of government management, both good and bad, in the same organisation. And it could happen in a Communist or capitalist (well, maybe semi-socialist for the extreme free marketers out there) system.

Getting more into Campfire territory here, but what worries me is the increasing isolation of the leaders of our society. Bankers socialise with bankers. Businessmen with businessmen. Peter Drucker in his autobiography said it was common for his parents in Austria in the 1900s to have a dinner party with a doctor, a professor, a merchant, a senior civil servant, a judge, etc. all present, i.e. a mix of professions from a wide stratum of society. So they got a feel for the broad general problems of society, and this would moderate their actions, as opposed to the single-minded pursuit of selfish advantage a la Goldman Sachs and their ilk.

(Edit: This was written before I saw the Eskom article above.)

Um, in case you haven't noticed communism is the nauseating corpse.

great! this is an undergraduate McGill B+ analysis in a 101 course.

thanks for the input

Electricity: good plan with a big hole

It’s 10 to 20 years late, but we’re finally getting some realistic talk about what we’re facing regarding energy. The government’s renewable electricity plan, unveiled a week ago, raises consciousness about this much higher than what we’ve been used to.

It acknowledges the problems and limitations of the various options — including its controversial biomass project. It damps down our longstanding Nova Scotian fantasy of an electricity strategy based on exports and does the same with the bizarre and pointless claim cooked up by former premier Rodney MacDonald that we’ll be leading the world in green energy by 2020.

Feed-in laws — fixed prices for green energy producers — will be introduced at the community level and smaller, a move that puts us among the leaders in that regard, along with a planning office to help the smaller producers get going. A "renewable energy administrator" will be named to manage competitive bids for energy, taking it out of the hands of the privatized Nova Scotia Power Inc. "Smart technology" and "smart meters" to more efficiently manage power loads will be pushed forward, and the transmission system upgraded to the new reality. Municipalities will be drawn in, the regulatory system overhauled, and more.

See: http://thechronicleherald.ca/Columnists/1180098.html


The prince of Fundy tides
N.S. has turbine in water while N.B. still studying sites

Nova Scotia appears to be ahead of New Brunswick in the race to harness the tides of the Bay of Fundy for electricity.

The province has already deployed one underwater test turbine in the Bay of Fundy and two other devices are set to be deployed over the next two years.


Patrick Brannon, a research analyst with the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council, said Nova Scotia has been pushing to tap into the resource, but it could be years before it is known how viable the resource is, both in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

"It’s still quite a few years away to make it commercial. It is a high-cost production of energy, so a lot of testing needs to be done," said Brannon, of the Halifax-based think-tank.

See: http://thechronicleherald.ca/Business/1179982.html

Tidal project delayed again
Turbine prototype gets redesign to generate power cheaper

One of the three projects involved in Nova Scotia’s $76-million effort to generate electricity from the Bay of Fundy has fallen behind schedule for the third time.

Minas Basin Pulp and Power of Hantsport and its U.K. partner Marine Current Turbines Ltd. have decided to redesign its prototype to be tested on the bottom of the Bay of Fundy, causing a delay in the installation date.

The company is now targeting a launch date of 2012 for its device, which resembles a submerged windmill.

See: http://thechronicleherald.ca/Business/1179704.html

Harnessing the Bay of Fundy tides 'not a race'

HALIFAX - Nova Scotia developers already have a turbine in the water, but that doesn't mean New Brunswick is lagging in the quest to harness the Bay of Fundy tides, says the province's renewable energy guru.

Speaking at a renewable energy conference Wednesday, Bill Breckenridge disputed the notion that New Brunswick trails the Bluenose province in the tidal game.

"We're not behind," he said after updating conference goers on New Brunswick's approach to tidal power. "I don't see it as a race."

See: http://nbbusinessjournal.canadaeast.com/journal/article/1032777

Best hopes for developing technologies that help reduce our dependency upon coal and oil.


BC released a similar plan in Bill 17 this past week. Not getting much media attention outside of BC due to the GOM oil problem I guess. Just search BC Energy in Google News or


Site C hydro electric development will remain contentious but they came up with a slick angle to promote it and get it moving with the comparatively high 0.16/kWh energy rate - tying it to other forms of renewable generation in the region. Brilliant really...

Brilliant indeed, BC EE. One would have thought that BC has enough hydroelectric storage capacity to accommodate the 103 MW of wind power currently in place plus a whole lot more.


I saw several of these ethanol industry ads a few days ago on the television machine...


Nice propaganda...'Ethanol has contributed zero dollars to foreign oil producers' (my paraphrasing)...'no wars have ever been fought over our ethanol reserves'.

Where do I start?

What is the EROEI for Ethanol? What...2.0 soaking wet? Are these people saying that zero foreign oil resources have been/are/will be used to produce ethanol?

Where, exactly, can they point to our 'Ethanol Reserves'? The huge expanses of corn fields? How about we ban HFCS and Ethanol and put the cropland previously used for these bogus products into a fallow status and give the soils a rest and reduce the algae-feeding nutrient loads for the estuaries?

Back to the oil spill: I studied earth sciences, not engineering, so this may be a no brainer. But isn't there a dynamic going on where the weight of 5000 feet of seawater is working to displace the lighter crude oil from its underground reservoir? Once you rupture the barrier containing the crude, seawater pours in adding to the forces pushing the oil out. With multiple openings into the reservoir the process will continue until the reservoir is empty or until all of the holes are plugged.

Just another argument for being really careful about drilling in deep water, or not doing it at all.

I understand your point grumpy but the pressures in those reservoirs is so high that no water will flow downwards. But that's also the bad news. If the mechanism is water drive in the reservoir the oil will keep flowing until the reservoir depletes or they cap the well.

BP has such a bad environmental record it is possible that the whole thing is due to a hopelessly corrupt management culture.

If they had TWO blowout preventers and both failed, I have to wonder if they bother to actually test them before installing them.


The BOPs on the DW Horizon consist of 5 sets of rams and two annulars. BOP rams rams are solid blocks of steel with rubber seals, they can be a fixed size or variable size. A common variable is 3 1/2" to 7". An annular is a big donut of rubber which will compact around any size pipe up to the size of the BOP which in this case is a 18 3/4"
The rams are rated to 15,000psi and the annular are rated to 10,000psi

All subsea BOPs have built in redundancy with two independent control line running on each side of the riser, on the Horizon these are fiber optic.

I do not know the exact stack configuration, but most likely they have one set of shears and 4 sets of pipe rams. This model of shear rams would need a booster kit to cut anything heavier than drill pipe. I suspect this would be fitted but it is not stated on the web page.

As for two BOP's, you could say they 7. With two control system. The main set of accumulators (stored hydraulic pressure) are on the rig with more strapped to the BOP sub sea. This is incase the supply lines are broken. The sizing of all this store energy is strictly laid out by API.

The ROV stabs they have tried, is a stinger on the ROV stabbing into a socket on the BOP. The ROV has a pump, and pumps fluid directly into close function on the selected ram.

As for testing, yes they do test them, every 3 weeks like clock work. I am sure we will find the BOPs were operated, they have functioned but something is blocking the path. If it was just a matter of someone not operating a switch the ROV hot stab should be able to close the Rams, and it can't.

Probably a silly question - but here goes: is 15,000 PSI sufficient to deform the pipe against the pressures forcing the oil/gas out of the reservoir?

thanks for any clarification


15000psi is the pressure rating of the BOP ie it can hold back 15000psi of formation pressure.

The hydraulic pressure to operate the rams on most rigs 3000psi. The deep water rigs usually run a 5000psi but are regulated back 1500psi for most operations. It is not until you want to shear do you go to the higher pressures

Toolpush - Would you be willing to talk to me off the record? I am a journalist at the TP and trying to produce a graphic of the possible failure points that led to the blowout. Need some more technical info how the cementing process works. Please email at djshea2@gmail.com. Thanks.

For those outside New Orleans "TP" is Times-Picayune, the local New Orleans paper, and a pretty good one !

"We publish come Hell *AND* High Water"


Can the pressure coming up from the oil reservoir exceed that pressure rating?

Only if the oil company got their calulations wrong. You always choose a BOP with a greater pressure rating than your expected formation pressure.

Only if the oil company got their calulations wrong. You always choose a BOP with a greater pressure rating than your expected formation pressure.

Does the offshore drilling rig owner/operator or the oil company it is contracted to choose the BOP and other equipment used for a drilling project?

A suggestion:

From the picture of the oil pouring out of the end of the pipe, the pressure in the sunken drill string is quite low.

1. Seal two of the leaks with magnetic clamps (magnets work well underwater).

2. Slow the flow down further by crimping the pipe with a pile driver.

3. Sink a boat hull upside down over the remaining leak (guide it into place lashed to a Navy sub) (might need extra ballast to counter uplift of collected oil).

4. Drop another drill string with a metal drill into the hull and collect the oil.

#3 and #4 (a dome, not a ship hull) are being fabricated right now. Low probability of success.

#2 Oil pressure is likely too high, set-up, etc.


At the local Farmer's and Fishers Market in New Orleans, only two fishermen (actually their wives & kids & kinfolk) rather than the usual four or five showed up. Lines at their tables before 8 AM, sold out @ 8:30 or so.

Better Luck Tuesday, but that may be it,


Remember folks, Tuesday is Soylent Green day! Line up early to get your ration...

Interview with an alleged survivor. Sounds real.


"...the sheer volume and pressure of gas that hit all at once was more than the safety systems and controls we had in place could handle..."

A riveting interview--even though the interviewer is a bit of a jerk.

They talk it down a little: it was the fault of "mother nature" ( He didn't quite say "We didn't know!" but damned near); this is just a "once in a lifetime thing" so other rigs shouldn't be shut down.

Of course, I've never expected they would be shut down. Oil is all.

It does increasingly sound like problems with the cementing job was a factor. Interesting stat regarding cement jobs & blowouts from the MMS:

Gulf oil spill: The Halliburton connection

Cementing a deep-water drilling operation is a process fraught with danger. A 2007 study by the U.S. Minerals Management Service found that cementing was the single most important factor in 18 of 39 well blowouts in the Gulf of Mexico over a 14-year period -- more than equipment malfunction.

Halliburton has been accused of a poor cement job in the case of a major blowout in the Timor Sea off Australia last August. An investigation is underway.

According to experts cited in Friday's Wall St. Journal, the timing of last week's cement job in relation to the explosion -- only 20 hours beforehand, and the history of cement problems in other blowouts "point to it as a possible culprit." Robert MacKenzie, managing director of energy and natural resources at FBR Capital Markets and a former cementing engineer, told the Journal, "The initial likely cause of gas coming to the surface had something to do with the cement."

I understand that they set the bottom plug and tested the pipe and BOP.

Then they stung out and displaced the mud from the riser with sea water.

Then they stung back into the BOP and it blew the seawater up over the 240' derrick.

From the pictures I've seen, the inside of that BOP looks like a lunar command module. Surely there was a pressure reading at the casinghead available back at surface. Also, all the pipe coming back into the rig floor would have had shut valves for the stingin?? Or is it necessary to be open ready for pumping procedures??


I wonder if the primary cause of the blowout was a failure of the cement and bottom plug.


I have read you previous posts going back to the Ghawar field posts, and even though I am in the oil field I would struggle to understand them. So I hope I do not confuse you with my drilling terminlogy

The plan would have been to run and cemented the 7" liner, set the liner packer seal and after the cement hardened, test the liner. Usually a trip out of the to change assemblies uses up your time, but it appears they did not trip out as they pumped their cement plug through the running tool. They would have pumped a balanced cement plug, Wait for it to harden, and test by setting down 15000lb or pressure test. Continue out, most likely pumping a surface plug, then when at the BOP displace mud to sea water, removing about 1000psi from the formation which should have been sealed off.

It is required to have two tested barriers before leaving the well. These would have been the cemented liner, and the first cement plug. They both failed!! The rest is history.

"From the pictures I've seen, the inside of that BOP looks like a lunar command module"

I think you must be talking about the modern dog house. Much more comfortable than standing out in the whether with a crow bar (brake handle)in your hand.

Is the cement below the BOP? Is the implication here that the oil is leaking below the BOP? I wouldn't think so because the oil is leaking from the pipe above the BOP, right? How can something with the cement job cause the BOP to fail?

Candid and right from the source, FF.

"In the deeper water ..the deeper overall volume of the whole depth itself..your dealing in the 30 to 40 thousand pound per square inch range..some serious pressure there"

technological reach indeed.

.357 Magnum peak chamber pressure is 35 kpsi, occuring briefly while the bullet is being swaged into the rifling. This cartridge was intoduced in 1938, having been made possible by advances in steel metalurgy

The .30-06 cartridge was intoduced in (surprise!) 1906, and has a peak pressure of 60 kpsi ("proof" load is 65 kpsi).

Point is, engineers have been working with these pressures for a good while now. The key is that military rifles have design criteria requiring consistent performance under adverse conditions, and inspectors who take their responsibilities very seriously. BP should be able to handle this, if they take their inspection responsibilities very seriously.


I'm sure you are right. It's just that it seems they have to work that pressure from the far end of the barrel. (and the natural world is at the end of that barrel too) It seems that at any failure in the decision tree the round might go off catastrophically like it did here. With guns there are accidents ,maybe not the gun designers fault, but still with tragic results. And the gun designers know pretty much exactly where and when the pressure will occur.

My risk experience is with tree fallers, pilots, and firefighters so I'm a layman when it comes to these matters, but it does seem that the complexity and difficulty of this kind of oil production has strained the capabilities of man and machine to a point where failures have such risk to natural systems that they are beginning to outweigh the benefits.

Depths of 18,000 feet and more, pressures of (if accurate) 30,000 psi, unknown formation characteristics, mud weights, cementing failures, several separate drilling and casing operations, yes it's their business, but if I understand PO correctly now even the ultimately successful deep water score will will hardly add much more than a few weeks to the right side of Hubberts peak.

And then what.

Engineers should be tough.

Disasters like current oil spil usually happen because somewhere some suggestion(s) of engineer(s) have been overlooked/ignored/neglected by management. In almost all cases if technical things are left to engineers world would be much better.

Engineers are blamed to be too cautious and pessimistic but they are because they know better. When management (which is usually all economists and no scientists) is all about efficiency, engineering is all about resiliency. In the short term the efficiency people win because of immediate profits/stock prices gain/increase market share etc but in the long run resiliency people are the winners. Problem is that you can't reach the long term without surviving the short term. That is why economists always have an upper hand.

It is the economists that are managers because they have business degrees (bachelor/masters in commerce, mba, masters in economics, chartered accountants). Unfortunately even in technical matters engineers are put under managers. Managers who know very little to nothing about technical stuff do random guesses on what costs can be cut and usually not listen to engineers' protests.

The solution: Engineers everywhere need to be tougher. They should not obey the managers when the management's decisions about projects are illogical/disastrous. Engineers are not money people, they usually earn less than managers and have a narrow network in industry so they worry more about their jobs. Engineers must show some strength. If management not listen to them then threaten to resign and do resign when the other choice is to be part of disaster making. A good engineer is never short of job, not even in a recession. Its the management, the bean counters, the talking heads that know little about what really matter that is the technical thing and know a lot about useless and sometimes even harmful plotting, wild guesses and wasteful excess reporting and meeting.

Engineers !!! Beware that you are the ones that run the industry everywhere. Its your duty to keep the industrial work running. Never give up in front of greedy managers. Show courage. Stand at your ground. Resign if you have to. Don't dirty your hands. Also increase your network and be very very strong technically. Remember that a corporation having all engineers and no economically educated manager can run well indefinitely but a corporation with no engineer and all managers can't run for a day, not in industry, may be in services (for eg banking, consultancy) but never ever in industry.

If memory serves, some of the engineers at the company that made the solid fuel rocket boosters refused to approve the Challenger space shuttle launch, and a manager for the company signed off on it since the engineers wouldn't.

Good memory, WT. If you would like to read the definitive account of this particular story, check out "Truth, Lies, and O-Rings: Inside the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster", by Al McDonald (2009). Al was the guy who said "no", and was subsequently overruled by his management, prior to the failure.

He has a pretty amazing story to tell; the book covers both the prelude and the aftermath. Following the incident, he was initially exiled by his company to work on something of little consequence until Congress threatened to shut the company down if they didn't put him back to work. Following that, he took over the redesign effort, and led the development of the new-and-improved solid rocket booster to fix the original design flaws. Incidentally, he's also a riveting speaker if you should ever have the opportunity to see him in person.

I am reminded of a comment by one of the engineers who worked on the REUSEABLE, GIMBALLING, CRYOGENIC main shuttle engines:

"Those clowns couldn't even design a lenght of pipe!".

There is a lot of innuendo in the WSJ article. An implication is that BP is to blame for using drilling contractors, and not using an in house drilling team.

"No one has yet revealed what stage the drilling at Mocando had reached, nor what could have triggered the explosion. The possible absence of a reliable cut-off switch to automatically seal the well would be an indictment of Transocean. Yet that possibility does not excuse BP from insisting on the installation of reliable back-up systems. Inevitably, the investigations now starting in the Gulf will at a later stage return to the previous calamities in Texas City, Alaska and Thunder Horse and note BP's earlier failure to adequately supervise its sub-contractors".

Will it, really?
The last company that I can remember that actually owned even a small fleet of rigs was Williston Wildcatters in the late 1980's, and it bankrupted them.
Why did the big boys contract everything out? The 1986 oil price collapse, followed by pressure from investors (the WSJ constituency) to cut costs in the 1990's. BP even had their own FX group.

And incidentally, some of the most blazingly incompetent and self-deluded managers I have worked with since 1971 have been engineers.

BP is to blame, period....... They are in charge of the drilling.
Way to go BP! Starting to wonder what caused that explosion too???
Sabotage maybe? Were there any Iranians on board the rig?

Sabotage maybe? Were there any Iranians on board the rig?

You can't be serious?

watch fox news in upcoming weeks and months, listen to talk radio, and you'll probably see that implication reappear.

a preposterously large segment of the US public thinks 9/11 was an action by Iraq, and a significant number think the towers were brought down by pre-placed explosives contracted by agents of the US government. Critical thinking skills are not exactly necessary or welcome in current culture.

There will be a good deal of cognitive dissonance associated with this horrific event and it will probably manifest in some pretty bizarre narratives in the public sphere. I'm just counting the days until the insane reframings start.

May even happen right here. Lets see... "if the damn greenies had allowed us to drill in (X) other location, we wouldn't have drilled there." "If the enviros had shut the hell up, we'd have 1000 more nuke plants now and wouldn't need to drill oil". Or "who benefits? Clearly the political power of Iran is helped by the US drilling less." Or "the Saddam Hussein hanging was faked, and he's prowling the seas in a nuclear submarine". Or simply "Aggressive First Strike by the Mole People? You Be the Judge." Note to Fox news and wackjob radio: send me a royalty if you use any of these.

Just as Eisenhower made the residents of nearby German towns walk through the death camps, we all need to own this, bigtime.

Just as Eisenhower made the residents of nearby German towns walk through the death camps, we all need to own this, bigtime.

Is anyone else deeply saddened that a mere 65 years ago we had leaders who actually promoted the ideas of accountability and responsibility rather than endlessly bloviate about it with zero follow through?

just yesterday friends and I were asking ourselves, which was the last US President you could/can actually look up to as a person? Someone mentioned Obama (!); I gingerly and half-heartedly said Carter (?). In any case, you have to go into the way-back machine to find one...

Kennedy or Eisenhower might be the ones?

which was the last US President you could/can actually look up to as a person?...

...you have to go into the way-back machine to find one...

Have the leaders changed that much or have we?

There was a time not long ago (a generation back) when the future still looked promising, when most people put their trust and confidence in public figures to look after their interest, and politeness and deference was a way of life.

Icons get smashed when iconoclasm is all the rave.

Harry -- The truth is that you really don't want the employees running well site ops. You would want the most experienced and well trained hands on the job, right? Then you want the consultants and service company hands out there. I'm VP Operations for a small company. Been in the game for 35 years. And pretty good at it of I do say so myself. But I always look first to my consultants and service hands for their recommendations.

To put it into simple terms: you're going to have open heart surgey. Who do you want cutting you open: the former heart surgeon now running the hospital admin or the heart surgeon who's doing 50 such ops a year?

Some points...

The solution: Engineers everywhere need to be tougher. They should not obey the managers when the management's decisions about projects are illogical/disastrous.

Tried this. They will simply overrule the engineer, or get another engineer who will bend to their will. Heck, I've even marshaled more facts and a better argument for my view vs. a senior scientist who's argument was basically, "This is a good idea, we should do it," with no supporting evidence or explanation.

Engineers are not money people, they usually earn less than managers and have a narrow network in industry so they worry more about their jobs.

This is generally true...

A good engineer is never short of job, not even in a recession.

...while this is not. I'm going to guess that someone has not looked for an engineering position of late.

Its the management, the bean counters, the talking heads that know little about what really matter that is the technical thing and know a lot about useless and sometimes even harmful plotting, wild guesses and wasteful excess reporting and meeting.

The other major issue that should be discussed is that engineers rarely have control over their own budgets and manpower allocations. The best they can do is sell their ideas to their management and financial people. It should be obvious there are a myriad of subjective factors that play into this process, and that many good ideas get left by the wayside because of said factors.

Show courage. Stand at your ground. Resign if you have to.

News on the spill gets worse by the hour. AP now reporting that the size of the slick has tripled in the last day or so.

Yahoo News

Sweet, now this will become the "3 mile island" incident for oil drilling, which could put an end to offshore drilling for a long time. The big hurricanes this fall could finish off the gulf oil.

I posted this upthread but one key thing that jumps out of me from that is

Alabama's governor said his state was preparing for a worst-case scenario of 150,000 barrels, or more than 6 million gallons per day.


I'm guessing he actually said 50,000 bpd, and the reporter misunderstood him--at least I hope it's a misunderstanding. The 50,000 bpd flow rates that they apparently tested some of the wells at in Thunder Horse was with a choke. Someone the other day wondered what a high flow rate, deep high pressure GOM reservoir would flow at with no choke. But as the Rock pointed out at these kind of flow rates, there is going to be a lot of sand moving too, which might help restrict the flow.

Another report from a local news source (WPMI-TV) also saying he said up to 150,000


And the Governor says he has heard many scenarios, including a total blow out, with more than 150,000 barrels of oil flooding the waters each day. When you look at the two extremes, we'll probably end up somewhere in the middle, the Governor said.

This seems to be the source for that worst case figure.


In an exploration plan and environmental impact analysis filed with the federal government in February 2009, BP said it had the capability to handle a “worst-case scenario” at the Deepwater Horizon site, which the document described as a leak of 162,000 barrels per day from an uncontrolled blowout — 6.8 million gallons each day.

Oil industry experts and officials are reluctant to describe what, exactly, a worst-case scenario would look like. But if the oil gets into the Gulf Stream — the warm-water current that flows from the Gulf of Mexico to the North Atlantic — and is carried to the beaches of Florida, it could become an environmental and economic disaster of epic proportions.

That same sand will abrade the well casing. With water & sand, one must stay under 5 m/sec to avoid serious erosion.

Oil & sand ?


This is Obama's "Katrina". He has now found out that the Gov't is not a fast moving group, even if you are President, things are not that easy to do. Just wave that majic wand, and clean it all up Obama! What are you waiting for, hurry up!

There appear to be some significant differences between the two events:

'The Government' does not appear to have a corps of experts and worker bees at the ready with warehouses of oil booms and containment/dispersal/clean-up equipment designed to respond to a very large oil spill such as this...we have been led to believe that the oil companies pay into an insurance-type pool and the industry is supposedly on the hook to respond and clean up such incidents.

Contrast with Katrina, where the government, meaning mainly the military, had the inherent capability to respond quickly and accomplish quite a few useful things such as transport in required supplies (including food and medicine), and transport people out. Much heavy equipment could be brought to bear (front loaders, bulldozers, back hoes, cranes, trucks, etc.). Back to the spill, It is not intuitively obvious what a bunch of grunts are going to do to help maters...the wetlands along much of the LA boot are not beaches, and there is no easy way for humans to wade through that and do anything even mildly useful to clean up the oil.

Quite, and the Feds began mobilizing in earnest *as soon as* it became apparent that this was beyond the capabilities of the normally responsible party. Additionally, there is communication going on here (publicly, we don't know what happened behind the cameras after Katrina).

Whether or not the actual effect turns out to be better in the end the current administration is doing a much better job of looking like they know what they are doing, which was one of the worst failings of the last one.

r4 - To be brutally blunt the gov't has zero assets to mobilize to be of direct benefit to the situation. They have neither oil spill containment equipment or any personnel trained in the response. For better or worse all the equipment and trained personnel were established by the oil industry as mandated by the gov't. This not a matter of rolling some FEMA trailers down to the shoreline. There are very specialized equipment and specifically trained assets required. Initially BP was in control of the effort. But they are essentially managing the effort. The actual equipment and personnel are not BP's. Should the gov't feel BP is not managing the effort properly the gov't has the authority to take over management immediately.

At a secondary level the gov't could bring a great many assets to bear in support of the primary effort. One aspect is obvious: the magnitude of this event will tax the system beyond sustainability IMHO. We are way beyond what any worse case scenario might have been planned. I find it interesting that despite some complaints about BP's response from some gov't sources the administration hasn't taken command of the operation. A wise political choice IMHO. If they did BP would no longer be responsible for either the clean up effort or capping the well. The same workers and equipment will be brought to bear. Except instead of a BP official standing before the press every day delivering more sad news, it would be a member of the administration.

We all know that the feds have next to no relevant assets to deal with this, but what little they do have (naval support vessels to keep civilian craft operational on scene for more hours a day is one thing I expect to see) is being mobilized to help out.

And they are leading the people who don't know WTF is going on down there, which as this turns into a nasty disaster is going to be at least as important as boom in the water. Not so much for the cleanup, but just for keeping the country running.

In short, as little as there is that they can do, at least they are getting their act together and doing it promptly. I can respect that.

True r4 -- But the feds do have one great and underappeciated asset: the Coast Guard.

This is Obama's "Katrina".

The "Awl Biz" is a private enterprise affair.

This is the time for the privatized sector to shine and show how much they can do and how fast as compared to big-government's "can't do" slow as you go mentality.

You know how we oilways bring old presidents out of retirement to handle special emergencies like Haiti, etc.?

Well this is the time to gusher GW Bush and Dick Cheney out of retirement cause they're both Awl Men and they'll know how to organize the private sector into fixing this here lill awl problem right down fast.

BP = Barrack's Problem

BP = Beach Polluter

BP = BAU Politics

The only thing harder than planning for a disaster is explaining why you didn't.
BP will regret this incident for a long time, and it could cost more than $3 billion.
Not to mention the bad press on oil companies by the environmentalists.

Why just cite 'the environmentalists' for providing 'the bad press'?

Why can't regular folks, who don't wave the flag of any interest group, reach the obvious conclusion that this event has plenty of negative consequences? Does one have to be a card-carrying 'environmentalist' to conclude that a huge oil slick is bad?

wrt 'the bad press'...would some prefer there to be no press reports on this subject (OK, I bet BP would like that), or some 'blow sunshine up our skirts' spin?

The shape of things to come for us all?

Greece police tear gas anti-austerity protesters

Greek riot police have used tear gas to disperse angry protesters in Athens, during a march against government cuts to tackle the country's crippling debt.

Clashes erupted at the finance ministry and a state TV truck was petrol bombed. A tense stand-off continues, with protesters hurling bottles and rocks.

Thousands of Greeks are taking part in May Day rallies called by trade unions and left-wing parties.

The EU is demanding the austerity cuts in exchange for a huge bail-out deal.

...Ericos Finalis, who was taking part in the march, described the planned government cutbacks as "the biggest attack on workers for centuries".

"They want to return us to the 19th Century - this is not going to be a battle but a war that will last for months or even years," he was quoted by AFP as saying.

At least at the present time, the groups doing most of the protesting in the US these days (Tea Party supporters) are advocates of austerity: no bail-outs, reduce the social safety net, get rid of teachers' unions, etc.

OK, not so much..."Get your government hands off my Medicare!"...and they say the same about Social Security when asked, ans if they happen to have retirements from a Fed or State job with the attendant medicare benefits, they don't want to talk about reducing their monthly paychecks or coverage from those sources either. They certainly don't mind the taxpayer-funded sidewalks they march on, or the roads on which they drive, or the public parks in which some of their rallies are held.

Where were these deficit hawk patriots when tricky Dick Cheney famously said on the TV machine that 'Deficits don't matter' with that little crooked smirk of his as he peered at the interviewer through the tops of this glasses? I didn't here a peep from these folks when GWB instituted the Medicare Part D prescription drug boondoggle...you remember, the law that wasn't paid for out of revenue increases or spending cuts, and the law that expressly forbids the federal government from negotiating prices with the pharmaceutical industry, and which forbids drub re-importation from Canada and elsewhere...remember all of that?

And before anyone goes there, let me tell you that I think the Democrats were idiots for passing this so-called health care reform bill...because it hands the health insurance industry tens of millions of new customers...the same insurers which skim up to ~30% of their revenue to pay for profits, administrative and marketing fees, etc. before one dime goes to pay for hospital rooms, surgeons, medicines, bandages. Medicare's administrative costs are no higher than 8%...we should have joined the rest of those socialists (certain countries in Europe, and Canada) in implementing single-payer health care and cutting the greedy middlemen out of the dance. Such reform should have rescinded Medicare Part D and re-done that correctly.

We currently pay about the highest cost per person in the World and are #37th in health care outcomes in the World...but these facts won't get in the way of the Tea Whiners hating the fact that there is a black, Democrat sitting President.

Couldn't agree more with your analysis.

Well the problem is that the election of our first black president could not have happened at a worse time, because it coincided with the onset of peak oil and bubble driven financial ruin, not to mention the departure of Bush Jr., whose handiwork you have described pretty well. 2008 was a perfect storm and I don't think we will ever recover from it. It's my opinion that the bailouts effectively finished the U.S.A.

Remember - WWII broke out ten years after the crash of '29. It seems long but actually it's a very, very short amount of time. So basically I think we will follow a sort of staircase model down but TSHTF may very well have to wait until 2020 or so.

The right wing idealogues will simply not allow a black president to be a strong, effective leader. Not to mention the fact that we have extreme political polarization, and this on top of a checks and balances system which may very well prevent the sort of rapid and large scale responses that present crises demand.

I wasn't asserting that the Tea Party positions made sense, only commenting on the contrast between the current group of protesters in the US versus those in Greece.

I think there's a subtle piece of misdirection going on by the focus on Social Security and Medicare. SS and Medicare are not only popular programs in general, they appear to be (as you indicate) popular with most of the Tea Party rank-and-file. The real "first strike", when it comes, will be aimed at Medicaid. Much of the action will be at the state rather than the federal level. In response to its budget problems, Arizona has substantially tightened its eligibility standards. Given their situation, the legislature had little choice: it was politically impossible for them to raise tax rates and the alternatives were to make very large cuts in state programs like roads and higher ed that have a much broader base of support.

Arizona is not the only state facing this problem. Most states have reached the political limit on tax rates, and their Medicaid costs are growing faster than their revenue. Other programs are being crowded out -- for example, California and Colorado are both in a slow-motion process of gutting their post-secondary public education systems. Over the next few years, I expect to see several states take actions similar to Arizona's. Eventually, I expect that states will start withdrawing from the Medicaid program entirely -- participation is not mandatory, even with the changes made in the health-reform legislation this year.

When Sen. Ted Kennedy was asked once if there were any of his political decisions that he would like to change, he said that the Dems should have taken Reagan up on his offer to make Medicaid a federal-only program (Reagan offered to support legislation that would make Medicaid federal-only, if it also made some other welfare programs state-only). I think Kennedy was right: the chances of getting something that looked like federal single-payer insurance before this would have been much better if Medicaid funding was a purely federal matter.

What I find funny (in a macabre sort of way) is that GW Bush and Obama have both been partying like its 1999. We are headed into an economic shock from Peak Oil that is going to rip the guts out of the economy and neither of them acted like we are living beyond our means.

Obama's even closer to the turning point and much more information about Peak Oil has surfaced. He's even more irresponsible than Bush (which is a high bar to meet).

The people in Washington DC are going to be in for a shock when they suddenly discover they are in control of a much poorer country.

Undertow, 1 and 1/2 years ago, I spoke to a woman from Latvia just coming back from a visit. I just wanted to do a little smaltalk and ask her how the people a faring there. I expected a reaction of a clinching fist, expressing how angry they are in her hometown. But she turned into a low voice answering my question, but more talking to herself:

"It´s all so bad. There are so many comitting suicide. Folks are now far worse of than they were in Soviet-Union times. Look my parents get 400 Euro pension. And there everything is more expensive".

That was before the IMF stepped in with a helping hand, suggesting a general 11% pension cut (and the like) will work fine.

The next time I saw her was when she came back from the funeral of her Dad. I didn`t ask the circumstances.

So now to Greece: It is said their depth derives to some degree, that the rich don`t pay any taxes.
Will there be e.g. an offering by the EU to help getting that taxes by putting some pressure of Swizerland, Liechtenstein, where the rich can hide their propperties from taxation? No Sir, not at all.
Will there be a demand to cut military spendings? No Sir, not at all.
Will there be a deal, that the ordinary Greeks will have to cut back, but a minimum income will be granted to avoid maximum hardship? No Sir, not at all.
There will only be cuts in salaries and pensions, layoffs ,rises in VAT and so on.

So best wishes for the ordinary Greeks in this war of annihalition. It is in my own interest, because conversations like that above are hard to stand.

Politicians are having a hard time getting the metrolinxs project going in Ontario. In the mean time I think they should start small and build up.


Life as most Americans know it is inconceivable without vast amounts of relatively inexpensive energy -- and it has to come from somewhere.

Well, is sounds like it is past time to redefine "life". And once you have transitioned to the life that is inconceivable because of peak oil, then what do you have and how do you define it? If only the fish and the birds could fight back.

I think there is enough brainpower and imagination right here on this site to conceive, imagine, and plan a future without vast amounts of relatively inexpensive energy. Plan now or pay later. It is our choice.

Another teachable moment, like 9/11, gone to waste.

Whistleblower: BP Risks More Massive Catastrophes in Gulf
A former contractor who worked for British Petroleum (BP) claims the oil conglomerate broke federal laws and violated its own internal procedures by failing to maintain crucial safety and engineering documents related to one of the firms other deepwater production projects in the Gulf of Mexico, according to internal emails and other documents obtained by Truthout.

Full article at http://www.truthout.org/whistlelower-bps-other-offshore-drilling-project...

Where the rubber meets the road RE: Schism between Saudia and IEA:

Costs of keeping that spare capacity have been rising, Naimi said. To develop a barrel of spare capacity at the Kingdom’s Khurais oilfield costs approximately $10,000, Naimi estimated, or double the cost of developing capacity in Saudi Arabia’s Empty Quarter a decade ago.

Meanwhile, costs of developing spare capacity at the offshore field of Manifa are about triple the levels of a decade ago, the oil minister said.

Saudi Arabia plans to spend $107 billion over the next five years in its upstream and downstream oil and gas sectors, Naimi said.

Current investments in oil production, however, may not be able to meet demand if an economic rebound boosts demand, the IEA’s Birol said.

“If as a result of economic recovery, demand continues to grow and if the investment regime is as it is today in four or five years’ time, we may well see prices which are higher than now,” Birol said, noting investments in oil production are still well below 2008 levels.

Add the cost of Saudia's creeping domestic demand and you have ... problems. Saudi customers can pay for using more fuel but with what, exactly? What production? Saudi Aramco needs higher prices but who is going to pay?

If your customers are bankrupt, they cannot afford cheap oil, certainly not the expensive variety. There is less commerce which results in less available funds to bid up oil prices. Expensive crude has the same effect as expensive credit; the operation of expensive credit (crude) imposes costs on output that eventually makes paying the more costly credit (crude) impossible. It's a positive feedback loop that becomes a compounding spiral. Look at Greece's - and Europe's - credit problems.

Which are at bottom an energy problem. Much of the drain on the European's output is fuel imports. The Europeans waste too much fuel and receive no return for its 'use' (waste). Driving in circles is not remunerative.

Birol - who seems to have become rational for some reason, perhaps he has a brain tumor - indicates the threshhold of economic distress has been reached - and in developing countries!

While Paris-based International Energy Agency has shied away from citing any price range that it believes suitable, Birol warned that oil prices of $85 a barrel or above would hinder economic development.

“If the oil prices stay at this level — (prices of) $85 a barrel and above will be a major risk for strangling the economic recovery efforts, which are very very fragile anyway,” Birol told Reuters on the sidelines of a climate change conference at the United Nations.

High energy prices may also stifle growth in developing countries, where high oil prices have pushed energy costs to a record 4.5 per cent of GDP, Birol said.

I wonder if he was thinking about China and India? Naimi is playing with fire. Maybe he knows that the US will become the swing producer in the event of a 'price spike' (what level?) and dump crude from the Strategic Reserve onto the spot market to kill the speculators the way Clinton did when he was king. Otherwise, the price could rise until demand is destroyed and the fragile economic recovery efforts are blasted into atoms.

I do agree with Birol - except that $45 oil is too high to allow for 'growth' and servicing the claims that the growth infrastructure has accumulated. i quess we are all looking the endgame in the eye ...

By all means...the endgame seems near.

Gasoline is up to 140 yen/liter around here for regular.

Despite that the govt still broods about "deflation" and stores keep closing.

Money is shoveled into the accounts of large companies, who build things which remain empty.

And food doesn`t go down in price at all, only up.

There is an intense quietness about the whole process, a queasiness. No one wants to discuss any possibility of a crisis. Maybe if everyone pretends like it is BAU forever, it will be.

I pretty much agree with you but if Bush didn't release oil from the SPR when oil was at $140, Obama won't either.

Also, I have said before that the US economy won't slow down at $85, but maybe near $100. But to be clear, I do expect oil to keep rising, and I do expect some kind of economic relapse ahead. Although not yet while US gasoline demand has been growing 3% year over year for about 3 months.

The oil leak is from drilling into ancient lands ?

possibly.. Atlantis... and mother nature is striking back

Government fears Deepwater Horizon well could become unchecked gusher


This account/Summary just arrived from a friend on a rig in Gulf of

The RIG from Hell.

Good read, great insiders view of the situation.

jmy -- So the gov't thinks it "could become an unchecked gusher". Got news for the boys in DC: it became an unchecked gusher the second it blew out and the BOP failed. And it will remain an unchecked gusher until it bridges over and kills itself or the relief well is successfully drilled. Maybe they're just trying to break the obvious to the public slowly.

bridges over???

Earlier explanation by Rockman.

Sand and rock from the formation is pulled in by the flow, and "naturally" plugs the well (or reduces it to a trickle). Or collapse of well bore by forces of flow.

Best Hopes for Acts of God,


Some more "D" stuff:

Study: Pregnant women should get more vitamin D

(Health.com) -- Pregnant women could -- and probably should -- consume 10 times more vitamin D than experts currently recommend, according to a new study. . . In the study, 500 women who were at least 12 weeks pregnant took either 400, 2,000, or 4,000 IU of vitamin D per day. The women who took 4,000 IU were least likely to go into labor early, give birth prematurely, or develop infections.

"Pregnant women need to take 4,000 IU of vitamin D a day," says Bruce Hollis, Ph.D., the director of pediatric nutritional sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina, in Charleston, and one of the authors of the study. "We didn't see a single adverse effect. It was absolutely safe, and we saw a lot of improved outcomes. The risk of preterm labor was vastly decreased and so was the risk of other complications of pregnancy."

Hollis and his colleagues presented their research today at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Vancouver, B.C.

I saw an interview last week with Dr. Kenneth Cooper (the "Father of Aerobics"). He said that they had an ongoing exhaustive study of vitamins & supplements, and he said that they had narrowed it down to two critically important items: Vitamin D & Omega 3's. He unequivocally stated that everyone should get their Vitamin D level checked (be sure and specify the 25 (OH) D test).

It always gets me how the "professionals" are always worried about side effects from vitamins. For some reason the pharmaceuticals which all have side effects are not a source of worry.

Since starting on vitamin D supplementation in winter my incidence of catching the flu has gone down dramatically, there are years when I don't get it at all, and when I do get it the symptoms are not as bad as in the past. Vitamin deficiency produces real, negative symptoms, which is what these "professionals" need to worry about.

What does Vitamin D have to do with Peak Oil, or energy, or anything this site is about?

Antoinetta III

If you want to get on westexas' case then I will get on yours. Just as peak oil is denied by the establishment (with only grudging, indirect admissions of its potentiality appearing in the last couple of years) so does the pathological, knee-jerk dismissal of "alternative" medicine by the medical establishment. Technotopia is supposed to supercede nature and reality.

I don't dismiss alternative medicine in the least, nor am I "getting on westtexas' case." While virtually all aspects of our life will be affected by Peak Oil, medicine will be only one of myriads of things so affected. If we had been discussing the effects of energy shortage on the future of medicine I wouldn't have said anything, but it seemed strange, popping up in a discussion of the GOM oil-rig blowout.

Over at Automatic Earth, a financial site, diet/vitamin discussions would come up and these started turning into flame-wars, until Ilargi banished the topic from the site, as indeed it seems at best only tangentally related to the purpose of the site.

Antoinetta III

New German invention to eliminate the need for lightbulbs and get sunlight inside the house. Going to market soon. I saw it on TV. Pretty cool but first off too expensive for household. I bet for a big building it would save tons of money over time and you could shut off a lot of power plants if this sort of thing were mandatory.


Light pipes already exist. There are very few new inventions, just marketing of old ideas.

Hi GS,

"On a sunny day" the cut sheet tells us that one of these devices could theoretically replace twelve 100-watt incandescent lamps. That suggests a total of 18,000 lumens, at presumably maximum output. Average output is likely to be roughly half that over the span of eight hours, say. That's the equivalent of about 90-watts of T8 fluorescent lighting, which suggests a 0.72 kWh per day savings in energy use.

To put this into perspective, if I replace one 4-lamp T12 magnetic troffer with a new 3-lamp troffer fitted with 28-watt high performance T8 lamps and 0.77 BF electronic ballast, I will get the same amount of light as before and save 95-watts. The cost of this troffer and lamps would be less than $40.00 CDN and it could operate 24-hours per day if need be as opposed to eight.

You could shut down a large number of power plants if you simply replaced/retrofitted the estimated 500 million T12 troffers that currently exist in the U.S. alone.


Thanks for the reply. On a sunny day is right. Even if it saves any use of electricity for when you can get the light, similar to wind power or solar, you need storage. So cool idea but what about light at night?

Pumped storage.

The Swiss are busy building 12 GW more to store French nukes overnight.