Drumbeat: May 2, 2010

Peak Oil. Are the Lights About to Go Out on Western Civilization?

Most of the large readily-accessible oil reserves in the world have been discovered and many of them have rapidly declining levels of production. This comes at a time when global wealth is shifting to the most highly populated countries in the world. Where will petroleum supplies come from to meet surging global demand? We have long thought Saudi Arabia could provide endless supplies, but our special gust this week, Matt Simmons suggests the prolific oil fields of that nation are not only in rapid decline but that the supplies Americans assume still exist may no longer be extractable. Might new technologies provide a solution? If not, what will it mean for our living standards and America’s position in the world as a global super power. These and more questions will be asked of peak oil theorist, Matt Simmons. Also to be interviewed are the CEOs of an emerging uranium and a coal producer.
[Warning: 80 Mb audio file. It's a two-hour show. The Matt Simmons interview starts at 38 minutes in. Among other things, he says peak oil was five years ago.]

Of the issue of peak demand and the consequent casualties

Crude world has undergone massive transformation in recent months. Gone are the days when the issue of "peak oil" was dominating headlines. That has receded into the background. The very issue of peak demand is now getting on to the centre stage and is starting to impact things all around.

Demand has already peaked in Western, industrialized countries. Everyone from IEA (International Energy Agency) to OPEC now seems to agree. However, with demand continuing to rise in the emerging economies of Asia, not everyone was initially concerned. Eyes remained glued to China as the brightest star on the horizon as far as crude consumption was concerned.

Russia April oil output near record levels, gas falls

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian oil output edged down in April but remained close to record levels and well above 10 million barrels per day for the eight consecutive month, allowing Moscow to retain the world's top position ahead of Saudi Arabia.

Energy Ministry official data showed on Sunday April oil output stood at 10.11 million barrels per day, the second best result ever and down only slightly from a record-high of 10.12 million bpd in March.

Petrobras hopes to set oil value with Brazil govt

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian energy giant Petrobras said it will propose that the company and the Brazilian government negotiate a preliminary value for barrels of oil in a capitalization plan that could funnel billions of dollars into the state-controlled company.

Obama visits as oil slick threatens disaster

VENICE, Louisiana (AFP) – A giant oil slick closed in on the fragile Louisiana coast Sunday after attempts to stop it faltered, threatening an environmental and economic disaster as President Barack Obama arrives to visit.

With Obama expected in the area Sunday morning, windy weather earlier hurt efforts to corral the slick and the US admiral in charge of the response to the spill said it was inevitable oil would reach the coastline.

Coast Guard defends response as oil hits shore

A senior Coast Guard official is defending the federal response to a massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico as the first waves of oil hit Louisiana's ecologically rich wetlands.

Coast Guard Rear Adm. Sally Brice-O'Hara faced questions on all three network television morning shows Friday about whether the government has done enough to push oil company BP PLC to plug the underwater leak and protect the coast.

U.S. oil spillage could cost BP over $4.6 bln stg -paper

LONDON (Reuters) -The huge oil spillage in the Gulf of Mexico could cost British energy giant BP over 3 billion pounds ($4.6 billion) in containment and clean-up expenses, according to the Mail on Sunday.

The report said BP's own insurance company Jupiter had laid off some catastrophe risk to larger reinsurers such as Lloyd's of London, Swiss Re or Munich Re.

New Technique Holds Hope for Oil Spill Cleanup

Officials said a technique involving the deployment of dispersants underwater, near the source of the leaks, showed promise.

Machines and microbes will clean up oil

Tides, wind and rain will drive the oil deeper into the marsh, down into the vegetative mat, making it impossible for humans to go in and clean manually, he said. But once the flow of oil is stopped -- and no one knows when that will be -- scientists will spread fertilizer to boost several species of microscopic plants that degrade hydrocarbons such as oil.

Gulf Oil Spill Could Spell Disaster for U.S. Energy Independence

Louisiana is currently bracing itself for the big oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to hit their shores with devastating consequences. This calamity brings back the experiences and lessons learned from previous oil spill disasters like the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989 and the 1969 Santa Barbara channel oil spill.

Drill, Baby...Ugh

But this bill, the cap-and-trade bill, was strongly criticized by hardcore environmentalist wackos because it supposedly allowed more offshore drilling and nuclear plants, nuclear plant investment. So, since they're sending SWAT teams down there, folks, since they're sending SWAT teams to inspect the other rigs, what better way to head off more oil drilling, nuclear plants, than by blowing up a rig? I'm just noting the timing here.

Tax on Oil May Help Pay for Cleanup

WASHINGTON — The federal government has a large rainy day fund on hand to help mitigate the expanding damage on the Gulf Coast, generated by a tax on oil for use in cases like the Deepwater Horizon spill.

Up to $1 billion of the $1.6 billion reserve could be used to compensate for losses from the accident, as much as half of it for what is sometimes a major category of costs: damage to natural resources like fisheries and other wildlife habitats.

U.S. Missed Chances to Act on Oil Spill

The Obama administration has publicly chastised BP America for its handling of the spreading oil gusher, yet a review of the response suggests it may be too simplistic to place all the blame for the unfolding environmental catastrophe on the oil company. The federal government also had opportunities to move more quickly, but did not do so while it waited for a resolution to the spreading spill from BP.

The Department of Homeland Security waited until Thursday to declare that the incident was “a spill of national significance,” and then set up a second command center in Mobile, Ala. The actions came only after the estimate of the size of the spill was increased fivefold to 5,000 barrels a day.

Spill leads to concerns about proposed oil pipeline

A Minnesota oil pipeline spill last Wednesday has alarmed conservationists who are protesting construction of a much bigger and “riskier” pipeline crossing six states, including Nebraska, said Duane Hovorka, executive director of the Nebraska Wildlife Federation.

Hovorka said the Minnesota pipeline, owned by Enbridge Energy, carries tar sands crude from Canada through Minnesota to Wisconsin. He said an unknown amount of crude oil leaked out of a 1-inch crack into a wetland area where the pipe is located.

Thomas L. Friedman: Narcos, No’s and Nafta

So here’s my prediction: When Mexico’s steadily falling oil production meets its rising meritocratic middle class, you will see real political/economic reform here. That is when the No’s will no longer have the resources to maintain the status quo, and that is when the Naftas from the Instituto Wisdom will demand the reforms that will enable them to realize their full potential.

Energy crisis pulls plug on Pakistan

THE Taleban may be plotting bombings, and the economy is on the brink. But these days, the single biggest woe tormenting Pakistanis is as basic as an electric light bulb.

The country is in the throes of an energy crisis, with Pakistanis now enduring about 12 hours of power cuts a day, a gruelling ordeal that is melting ice, stalling air-cooling fans and enraging an already exhausted populace just as the blast furnace of summer gets started.

It’s a Crude World

New York Times reporter, Peter Maass’ new book Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil summarily outlines the impending global catastrophe that humanity faces if it cannot break its addiction to sweet Texas Tea. Having been in Baghdad during the 2003 invasion, Maass firmly believes the War was one for oil, but a horrendously botched one if the case. He points out how the city’s main hospital and the National Museum, containing thousands of irreplaceable Babylonian and Sumerian artifacts were blatantly looted while American soldiers guarded the Ministry of Oil with .50 caliber machine guns. If the war was a brilliant scheme by the Bush administration to secure oil resources, they forgot to factor in how the subsequent power vacuum would enable the chaotic destruction of Iraq’s oil infrastructure by money-thirsty bandits. Whoops!

Domestic blitz

They are known as radical homemakers - suburban warriors empowering themselves with long undervalued skills in a fight against consumerism.

'Green' isn't the point; it's peak oil

The backside of Hubbert's peak oil curve is being felt in the poorest countries already. Without dollars to purchase oil, they do without. As the crisis deepens, its impact on our region will be increasingly felt. A list of adverse events is projected to follow a declining supply of oil in the United States -- notorious for consuming 26 percent of the world's supply with 5 percent of its population.

At risk is a global economy that depends on constant growth. With declining resources, many things will happen, but growth and expansion are not among them.

Mixed messages on nuclear power?

“Nuclear energy is clean, cost-effective, reliable and safe,” says Patrick Moore.

The claim, made during an interview last week, is a paid advertisement for the nuclear power industry.

That doesn’t detract from its fundamental truth — nor should it spook environmentalists, Moore says. He counts himself as one.

Nuclear energy might not be perfect, he adds, but it doesn’t create greenhouse gases: Nukes are mankind’s best hedge against peak oil and global warming.

More investment in GCC renewable energy urged

The UAE and other Gulf oil producers need to introduce incentives to encourage investment in renewable energy given their massive natural potential in this field, the world's main renewable energy group has said.

The Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) said global investments in renewable energy projects surpassed those in the conventional energy sector in 2008 for the first time, peaking at nearly $140 billion (Dh514.2bn) against around $110bn in fossil fuel technologies.

Fossil Abstinence: Desert Power Plants Worse Than PV Panels

Mirrors shining on power towers or miles of pipes in thermos bottles not only waste resources but also waste time. They look impressive and deliver electricity without dumping greenhouse gases but are a façade that give the impression we’re moving in the right direction. Solar power plants and $60,000 PV arrays on homes do reduce our need for electricity produced by burning coal, natural gas and nuclear fuel, so what is wrong?

Preparation for groundbreaking offshore wind farm project begins in Atlantic City

New Jersey is in a race to have the first offshore wind-generated power project, and the state just might beat Massachusetts, where U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar last week announced the approval of a 130-turbine wind farm in Nantucket Sound. That project, under review for nine years, continues to be threatened by lawsuits.

Cape Cod Residents Don’t Expect One Ruling to End Long Fight

Word that the federal government had approved a permit on Wednesday for Cape Wind Associates to build a 130-turbine wind farm off the coast here barely caused a ripple in Hyannis, where the installation will be visible from parts of the town, including a popular beach and many houses.

After a nine-year battle over the proposal, most here thought the decision would lead to even more years of litigation and waiting.

War Against a Wind-Rich Super Grid

After several years of debate, a coalition has emerged around the idea of a strong national electric grid, centrally planned and broadly financed, that would promote renewable energy. The group includes giant investor-owned utilities, public power entities, influential elected officials of both parties and state energy officials, and they speak with a single voice.

And they oppose it.

The Lure of Carbon Capture

Carbon capture and storage, or C.C.S., is shorthand for a complex technology to remove carbon dioxide from power plant emissions and store it (for a few millenniums at least) somewhere other than the atmosphere. With coal-fired power plants accountable for roughly 40 percent of the world’s carbon emissions, it’s a long-sought-after solution to the looming threat of climate change.

Yet the technology remains dauntingly expensive, and technical hurdles remain.

Norway delays Mongstad Carbon Capture and Storage project

(Reuters) - Norway said it would delay the decision to finance a top carbon capture project to 2014, after the life of the present parliament, in a major setback for a technology seen as key to mitigate climate change.

Building a Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) facility at Mongstad in western Norway was proving too complex to do on schedule, said Oil and Energy Minister Terje Riis-Johansen.

A Snowball Effect Heats the Arctic

A feedback loop can be a nasty thing. In one, a small disturbance becomes self-reinforcing and is greatly amplified — the proverbial snowball effect. This is one way that seemingly minor contributions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere — a few hundred parts per million — just might destabilize the climate.

About 2 million of us here in the Boston area are under a boil water order -- i.e. we have nonpotable tap water -- due to a break in the main water supply pipe and switch to backup reservoirs. Peak oil preparations pay off early! I simply unpacked my Katadyn Pocket water filter and have as much clean water as I need, without time-consuming boiling and cooling or going out to try and find bottled water on empty supermarket shelves.

It sounds as if you are more prepared than most for the new world (that would be a "third" one) that we are now entering. Of all the infrastructure that is now aged beyond its useful life, water mains are the most crucial.

No water, no life.

We haven't unpacked ours yet, but we did get a some extra water to get us through. Also highly recommended is an extra bottle of wine or Sam Adams. :-) The latest reports say that the flow has been stopped and repairs are underway. The break occurred at a weld, and should be fixed in a couple of days. The difference between our leak and the one in the GOM is that this one might actually make the Charles cleaner for a few days!

Those filters are good for bacteria and protozoa, but, at 200nm, not viruses. Is it possible to know for sure that viruses are of no concern?

No, it's not possible to know for sure. But when the backup reservoirs are activated, it's basically like drinking (clean) pond water. (Actually, not even as bad as that, because they have been chlorinating this water.) That's what these filters are designed to let you do, say for backpacking trips. Additionally, Katadyn mentions that viruses can be retained by the filter (despite the larger pore size) because viruses naturally attach themselves to larger particles.

Data Points about Deep Water Horizon

Ignition was almost immediate when oil and gas flared up and out of the oil rig. Initial flames shot 200' to 300' in the air (60 to 90 m). This implies a significant fraction of natural gas to me, although heavier fractions than methane can do this.

I have seen no reports of natural gas erupting to the surface, or seen underwater photos of gas separating from oil into bubbles (likely at shallower depths).

Simplified, under free flow conditions, the flow speed increases till the friction of the pipe is very close to the delta in pressure.

More at


Sand will likely be produced as well and will be eroding any steel along the way.

The original 5,000' drill string is still largely intact, with a "V" bend at about 1,500' above the sea floor (3,500' down). Major leak there.

Several million barrels of oil will be enough to cause decade long damage to fisheries. More oil (10+ million barrels ?), plus a hurricane to force oil into the marshes, will be required for a complete and total wipeout of all fisheries. Fishing culture and infrastructure will disappear if there is nothing to catch for years. Unfortunately, the odds of that are > 10%.

Oil will be rounding Key West, heading towards the Atlantic within 2 weeks.

Cheap beach rates in 2011 (and 2012 ?) due to tar balls.


Any more to add ?

This business about the riser extending to 1500' above the sea floor has been troubling me. If I understand correctly, the riser is a 21" diameter pipe. That's a heckuva flagpole. Imagine a pipe, less than two feet in diameter, standing higher than the Sears tower.

Free-standing columns are prone to elastic failure (buckling) which often happens well before they reach the limits of material strength. For a quick reality check on this 1500' flagpole, I did a simplified calculation. Wikipedia provides a formula for self-buckling of columns, which have a natural height limit above which they become unstable:


This equation makes the assumptions of (a) a solid cross-section, and (b) a free-standing column; with those, the formula yields a maximum stable height of slightly less than 250'. Now, the pipe isn't actually solid, and it's actually supported at a couple of locations (the wellhead, and the next point of contact with the seafloor). Also, the buoyancy effect of the seawater results in ~10% reduction of the weight of the pipe. Even with all these corrections, however, 1500' still seems way too high for that pipe to remain erect without collapsing under its own weight. Perhaps the internal fluid provides some additional buoyancy effect, if it's of sufficiently low density relative to that of seawater.

the riser was in tension, so buckling does not enter into the calculation. you said it yourself: bouyancy results in a 10 % reduction in weight. the riser was, however not in tension when the rig went over and buckling was the mode of failure.

The pipe is coated with flotation coating for near neutral buoyancy. Also extraordinarily high quality steel.


Thanks Alan, the idea of a flotation coating makes a lot of sense. I hadn't realized they used those. Clever petroleum engineers.

Good luck to you, and to all others directly affected by this spill, over the coming weeks. I hope they can stop the bleeding soon.

I'm not an engineer , but practical experience teaches me that a pipe made of the same quality steel which is only a small fraction of the wieght per foot of a solid round bar is nearly as stiff as the bar, or stiffer.

My personal seat of the pants estimate is that a pipe which wieghs the same per foot as a solid round bar is eight or ten times stiffer.Any construction guy who has had to improvise levers from materials at hand will tell you the same.

My personal seat of the pants estimate is that a pipe which wieghs the same per foot as a solid round bar is eight or ten times stiffer.

Actually its not hard to figure out. The contribution to stiffness of a piece of stuff in a beam is directly proportional to its distance from the center of stiffness of the beam. In our case the COS would be the pipe-axis. The stiffness of a solid cyllinder would go as the integral of R times delta area, i.e. the integral of R**2 (which looks like R**3). The mass per unit length would scale as R**2. If you work it out stiffness per unit lengthdividied by per unit mass will look like 2/3 R for your solid, but like R for a thin walled pipe. So the pipe will be 50% stiffer per mass for the same outer radius. Of course if you held the mass density the same, you would want to make it a thin walled pipe with large radius (but that's not relevant for the current discussion).

Yes in the real world when you want a lever in a hurry you substitute a piece of two inch pipe with a quarter inch wall thickness for a silod rebar or something of that nature which wieghs about the same but is much smaller in diameter.

I can easily by myself bend a one inch rebar using it as a lever, but even four or five guys working together together cannot bend the two inch pipe in the same exact circumstance.I can't really say about the ten because I have never seen that many pulling on a single lever.

Once upon a time long ago and far away I learned the principles involved in physics class, but the math evaporated long ago .

why would anyone even try to design against buckling, a structural member with a diameter measured in inches and a length measured in miles ?

trust me, those risers are not designed to withstand buckling.

they are designed to avoid compression (buckling).

try this experiment: draw an isometric diagram of a mile long riser on a sheet of paper.

...a structural member with a diameter measured in inches and a length measured in miles...

say again??? only in your dreams, elwood

what?... you're talking about risers... my mistake....

only in my dreams, then!!!

juvenile boy humour, sorry, couldn't resist ;-) - the marvels of the English language!
------- now back to serious discussion --------

A tricky model stclair. Consider this one complication: the riser is now filled with water and oil...maybe a lot of oil. It might not be standing upright as much as it is floating upright.

Probably minor corrections. Pipe might actually do better than solid, as its a matter of stiffness versus density per unit height, and the material near the axis provides little stiffness to the structure. Plus the seawater is probably 13-14% of the density. But those would maybe bring the fail height up to maybe 300feet.
But, Alan say's there are some floating stuff attached to make it near neutral bouyancy. Which only makes sense if the possibility of buckling failure (or just the difficulty of holding that much weight from the platform).

freakin' civil engineers......want to build everything from the ground up.

Amen to that. I worked with them (or better yet was under their thumb) for 13 years.
Can't stand 'em, and was happy to find the job I have now.

Now I get to tell THEM what to do..... Feels great.

This makes me wonder though - if this well blows off the gas cap, won't that mean that there won't be any more pressure to bring the oil to the surface? What are the odds that the oil leak peters out on its own before they get around to drilling a relief well, in other words.

ericy -- if it's a pure pressure depletion drive you would be correct. But that process could run for a year or more. And if it's a water drive reservoir (more likely) it will flow until the reservoir is depleted. Unless the relief well kills it first. Most likley outcome IMHO.

Thank you for all of your efforts here on TOD to inform people about the technology used in oil rigs. Time and electricity spent to tell readers like me (who know nothing about deepwater drilling) are truly appreciated. Thanks also to other professionals in the field who contribute as this crisis in the GOM unfolds.

I have been amazed at the machinery involved. I never had heard of a B.O.P before (or even a blow out, for that matter). It seems like a mysterious underwater world, remote, inaccessible, almost like science fiction, a story in a book where the reader can never go. Would that the whole oil spill episode were truly fiction!

From the article up top featuring Matthew Simmons:

Are we running out of oil? That is a question that has been talked about for quite some time. But are we quickly running out or are we just using up the most easily accessible and cheep supplies?

Why read on?

The first sentence is so wearying. It's like those "balanced" articles above evolution vs. "creation" that begin: "Did human beings descend from monkeys?" Why, yes, idiots. Evolutionists have always claimed that a monkey turned into a human being one day.

So, yes, idiot. We ARE running out of oil. That's what Hubbert said, isn't it? One day, without warning, you'll hear the straw gurgling at the bottom of the hole? Not.

As for "easily accessible and cheep supplies..." That line is for the birds.

God help us all. (I admit I'm extremely rattled right now about the GOM.)


What so many people fail to understand is that in a 1000 years, Evolutionists will be saying, "Yes, human beings did turn into Monkeys one day?" LOL

Agree with your sentiments...but a correction: scientists who specialize in studying the evolution of humans do not claim that 'humans descended from monkeys'. Some theories basically claim that humans and chimpanzees descended from a common ancestor about 5 million years ago. Monkeys have tails, apes (including chimpanzees) do not have tails. Curious George is not a curious little money, he is a chimpanzee. The Scopes Monkey Trial was misnamed. But why bother with the provisional details? My one niece and nephew (18 and 20 years old)are championing some FaceBook page which is trying to recruit one million people to sign up and attest that they do not 'believe' in evolution....but these two do 'believe' in a literal translation of the Bible. Their family firmly believes that humans were commanded to exploit Earth's resources as quickly and fully as possible, and that everything will be perfect for the chosen ones someday soon, so don't worry about acts of God such as this oil spill, or anything else for that matter. They also 'believe' that 'environmentalists', and scientists who hold the theory of evolution in high regard , and anyone who is not a Republican, are under the influence of Satan.

but a correction:scientists who specialize in studying the evolution of humans do not claim that 'humans descended from monkeys'.

I guess I didn't make clear that I was satirizing their "straw man" point of view. "Humans descended from monkeys" is one of those infuriating lines I abhor, like "we're not running out of oil."

As my mom used to say, "No sh*t, Dick Tracy."

Sounds like some of the same types of sayings my Mom said. Peace.

Some members of my family are creationists. I recently sent them an email in which I said I am sure that humans must have evolved by accident. No creator could possibly have come up with an animal this stupid and destructive. No response from my family of course.

No creator could possibly have come up with an animal this stupid and destructive.

What about a creator who himself was created by accident?

What about a creator who himself was created by accident?

Hmm, you mean like a stupid destructive creator who magically poofed itself into existence then proceeded to do all kinds of stupid destructive things then accidentally poofed itself back into non existence?

That would be heresy! May his noodley appendages strangle you in your sleep for proclaiming such blasphemy! I happen to have "PROOF" that "The Flying Spaghetti Monster" was very deliberately cooked up and the recipe can be found in "The Essential Pasta Cookbook".

Two, four, six, eight, now it's time to transubstantiate! Oh, sorry, my bad, wrong cult...

Just a thought here...

Will the oil on the surface of the water have any meaningful effect on the oceans thermal absorption characteristic?

Much less evaporative cooling. > Hotter water, good for hurricanes.


Well, robust amounts of water evaporating from the ocean's surface rises into the air and cools, where the water water condenses into water droplets, which releases the latent heat of condensation, which heats the air further and drives the atmospheric 'cells' or air columns yet higher, where the ambient temps are even colder, which causes even more water vapor to condense: wash, rinse, repeat until the air column hits the tropopause...above that the lapse rate converges near zero for a while, acting as a 'lid' on higher cloud structures.

Ergo, if a substance such as oil could eliminate or greatly reduce evaporation of water from the ocean's surface, then a hurricane moving into the oil-covered water zone would be starved of its main ingredients: water vapor and heat of condensation.

I wonder, though, in the big scheme of things, whether the oil sheen is thick enough, wide enough in areas, or just plain old effective enough to really block a substantive amount of evaporation of water from the ocean's surface? If so, it may have a dampening effect on hurricane strength, but I wouldn't count on that theory.

Let us suppose that the relief well works on July 15th. No new oil released. But months (and with say 10 million barrels) of blocked evaporative cooling.

The lighter fractions will disappear fairly quickly and normal (plus due to higher temps) water vapor cycles will appear in time for a, say September 1 Cat 5.


Alan, good point...I thought about this very idea while I was walking my dog after I replied to you.

Best hopes for only one GOM crisis this year...we all hope the well will be capped as quickly as possible.

Will the oil on the surface of the water have any meaningful effect on the oceans thermal absorption characteristic?

I am curious how much ppm of oil material floating on the surface may affect solar radiation absorption into the water. Not as a full film coating that inhibits evaporation, but as a 'black body' that absorbs sunlight.

Would be curious to see what some orbiting satellite infrared pictures are of the high oil ppm waters were.

The amount of evaporation from a body of water the size of the Gulf is immense. Reduce that significantly with an oil sheen and you would increase the flow out of the gulf into the gulf stream, and decrease rainfall somewhere else, probably over Florida. I hope the cap BP has prepared actually works. They claim it will be in place within 6-8 days.

Just to give you some idea of the magnitude, a square mile of water will evaporate around 5 million gallons a day in a warm, over 70, environment with 10 MPH wind. Plug that in to a slick the size of Puerto Rico.

Greeks Take to Streets in Protest of Deep Spending Cuts

ATHENS — Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets across Greece on Saturday, including hundreds of black-clad youths who clashed with the police here, as Greeks vented their rage at tough new austerity measures aimed at securing aid and avoiding a debt default. . .

“This crisis is not my fault, I won’t accept these austerity measures and I want to know where all the money has gone,” Emily Thomaidis, 29, the owner of a coffee shop, said as she marched through central Athens past vendors selling newspapers with the headlines “Fear. Rage. Hope.” She added, “Why should my generation have to pay the price for problems created by our parents’ generation?”

Can't say as I blame them, if this is true.

I thought that the most interesting part this article was the "1/3 rule." You pay 1/3 of what you owe to the government. You bribe the tax guy with 1/3. And you keep 1/3.

That kind of wholesale lying about assets, and other eye-popping cases that are surfacing in the news media here, points to the staggering breadth of tax dodging that has long been a way of life here.

"Greek Wealth is Everywhere but Tax Forms", New York Times

Taxes are the price one pays as a member of a civilized society.

Not likely to go over well with the Germans once they figure out that they are the hook for a country of shirkers. Mr. Artful Dodger, may I introduce you to Judge E.U. Banks, the chief magistrate.

I hope The Oil Drum will consider starting a separate report with ongoing stories and links about the oil spill, something similar to your hurricane coverage. Where is it going, what are the implications for residents, wildlife, and the economy? Links to videos would also be good. The NY Times story about this being Obama's Katrina is an example. Is this the story of the diminishing returns of complexity?

Flat - Check my post under HO's tech report today. You'll get an idea about the tight rope the administration is about to walk.


Would I be incorrect in saying that the 2 biggest net GOM producers, BP and the US Government, are on the scene?

One quarter royalty on deepwater leases coming??


Maybe FF. But bump the royalty to 25% and it could kill most future DW drilling. That wouldn't be a bad think in some quarters.

obama's katrina ? how so.? n.o. had a few days warning, bush sat with his finger up his............well.... better not go there....but browny was doin' a heck of a job. the national guard was busy searching for wmds. bush apparently wasn't even embarrased that canada had to send a hospital ship. sorry, this sounds like the rhetoric of the sorry looser wing of the wing nut party.

A small step in the right direction...

New Halifax farmers' market goes green

Four large wind turbines were being installed Saturday afternoon on the roof of the new Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market.

When it's completed sometime this summer, the building, at Pier 20 on the Halifax waterfront, will also feature solar panels, geothermal heating and a rooftop garden.


The market will be one of the most eco-friendly buildings in North America, Tufts said in an earlier CBC interview.

"We're basically using the sun, wind and earth to heat the building to a great extent," he said.

The walls will be covered with salvaged wood, and power will be supplied by solar panels and the rooftop turbines. The idea is to have a farmers' market with a near-zero carbon footprint, Tufts said.

See: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/nova-scotia/story/2010/05/01/ns-turbines-market...

Related: More farmers' markets sprouting

See: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/nova-scotia/story/2010/04/23/ns-halifax-farmers...

A virtual tour of the new farmer's market can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jner24Kd5VY

The Halifax Farmers' Market is the oldest continuously operating farmer's market in North America.



The design for the new market is impressive. Keith Tufts, the lead designer with Lydon Lynch, boasts a facility that will use 85% less energy and 50% less water than an equivalent R2000 building.

These guys have to sell to a tough crowd. Farmers markets are catching on because the 100 mile diet is catching big time. Most people still remember when grocery stores were stocked with root crops after November. Fresh fruit and vegetables would make an appearance as mid-summer delights. (Oranges would be imported around Christmas as a stocking treat). The presence of kiwis in even the smallest grocer in January indicates the degree to which customers in northern climates have become dependent on cheap energy for their food supply. There is a growing awareness (and unease) that such a lifestyle is not sustainable.

Halifax led the way nationally several decades ago with its composting and recycling programmes. Glad to see it is taking the initiative with its venerable market, too.

Here, here! to buying local.



Hi Tom,

I well remember the orange in the Christmas stocking, although I confess the barley candy was a bigger hit for me as a kid (remember those red and yellow roosters and Santas?).

R2000 construction sets the bar fairly high, and to use 85% less energy and 50% less water than that is a significant accomplishment. But beyond that, it's great to see community markets growing in popularity and more of our dollars supporting local farmers.

I forgot to mention, Tom, that the new farmers' market will have a pretty spiffy neighbour, that ain't no slough when it comes to energy efficiency and environmental sustainability.

See: http://www.nspower.ca/en/home/community/lowerwaterstreetrelocation/defau...

Best hopes for converting more coal-fired power plants into something for which you can be proud.


Hey Paul,

It is refreshing to know that the local utility, NS Power, is playing good corporate citizen and is at least making an effort to lead and not just follow public opinion. Mind you, the public is well versed on these issues, not out of any road to Damascus conversion, but because we got tired of paying for some humdinger past environmental mistakes... dare say, catastrophes.

For what it's worth, there nothing like boondoggles to raise people's environmental consciousness. The Sydney Tar Ponds, where the entrails of a hundred years of steel making were dumped, were ranked thirty years ago as the most toxic site in Canada. Despite commitments of hundreds of millions of dollars for clean up and countless studies, the Tar Ponds remain to this day an untouchable wasteland and a serious health hazard to nearby residents. And who could forget the New Camp Hill Hospital fiasco where, in an effort to cut costs in the early 1990s, poor construction led to the workplace poisoning of three hundred health care providers (i.e. doctors, nurses, etc.), over a hundred of whom never returned to the labour force. (The really sad part is, since it was a veterans hospital filled with the elderly, no record was ever kept of how it affected patients. They simply died!) And then there was the Halifax Harbour cleanup that was delayed by years, cost millions in over-runs, and at end, backfired because raw sewage ended up going into the harbour anyway. Now that was embarrassing... particularly b/c tourists were forever complaining about the stench.

It took a while, but after the fishery collapsed, clear cutting denuded the landscape, and numerous experiments with toxic overloads, the general public in Nova Scotia became very touchy on the subject. It is no accident that Elizabeth May, the leader of Canada's Green Party, comes from Pictou County, a heavy industry region of the province.

Herein may lie the silver lining to the GoM morass. Sometimes it does take royal f#@k-ups to get people thinking differently.

Yes, best hopes for converting more coal-fired power plants into something for which you can be proud.


PS and completely off topic: barley candy rules!!

'A Snowball Effect Heats the Arctic'

But a study by scientists at the University of Melbourne published this week in the journal Nature finds clear evidence that a positive feedback loop, driven by melting sea ice, is behind the Arctic’s dramatic recent warming.

The retreat of the sea ice has steadily uncovered wider and wider swaths of much darker ocean, which absorbs more solar radiation. The warmer water heats the air above it, leading to less floating ice below — and so on and so forth.

Oh wow, they just now discovered this! I know science needs to prove things, even obvious things, but I'm not sure if it was this obviously expected that it is news per se', except maybe between peers.

If on the other hand, they had concluded that more melting ice had caused something for example like it led to walruses eating more clams, leading to greater emissions of methane, and that was the culprit for more warming from sea ice melt, then I could see getting excited because it was unexpected.

I'm not sure if it was this obviously expected that it is news per se, except maybe between peers.

One of my physics professors used to refer to this sort of thing as "calibrating the intuition". In other words, it's useful and healthy to recheck the "obvious" occasionally and verify that what you think is "obvious" is actually true. For example, in principle it could turn out that the darkened ocean radiates more heat back into space in the fall before freezing over, largely offsetting the extra heat absorbed in the summer.

Now, with respect to broad-circulation media outlets running with it, I suppose they might have become fatigued and saturated with the Gulf story, with little "new" left to say. But not much else seems to be going on, leaving a void since the "pipe" they seek to fill remains about the same size every day whether there's news or not. On days when actual news runs short, what's left to fill the void is "news".

P.E. Would that methane be interepted as a "Black Walrus"?

It is funny - as I read this I couldn't help but think that a "Black Swan" is a white swan covered with oil.

I don't find it obvious that the extra solar heat will go into warming the air/surface versus heating the ocean waters. The later heat will eventually show up at the surface, but the lag could be years or decades. So linking less sea ice, and local warming is an important datapoint.

And I have seen claims that the low angle of the light hitting the Arctic waters would mean that you get much lower absorption than from a more direct angle, so that the difference between reflectivity of ice and open water may not be as much as expected. I've never been very swayed by these arguments myself, but it's good to see a scientific refutation.

And I have seen claims that the low angle of the light hitting the Arctic waters would mean that you get much lower absorption than from a more direct angle, so that the difference between reflectivity of ice and open water may not be as much as expected.

I'm sure we got environmental and climate specialists looking that that very issue. Solving for what hapens with shortwave radiation isn't rocket science (at least now that computers are so good). It would seem to me that the partitioning of the extra heat between the immediate weather (surface temperature), and water (which I think in the polar regions is generally sinking to form deep cold ocean currents that take hundreds of years to circulate), is the tricky part. Of course salinity as well as temperature is a driver of these currents, so net evaporation (or precipitaion) is also important.

Another paper that is out describes a strengthening of the (forgot the term) oceanic water cycle. Some regions have net evaporation, and the surface water gets saltier, while others get net precipitation and the surface water gets freasher. The change in the distribution of saltiness has been observed. All these sorts of things that can come out of simulations, and also be measured are useful for checking if the theory and simulation codes are working correctly.

I may be the source of that idea.

The reflectivity of water is like that of any other transparent medium and the fraction reflected exhibits an angle dependence. For high zenith/low elevation angles, the reflection can be quite large. For the ocean, this was proven with measurements some than 30 years ago. Of corse, during winter, the snow cover is a very good reflector, but there's almost no sunlight to reflect. The albedo of the sea-ice includes the reflections from the surface melt ponds, which form during the warmer months. Thus, the difference between the two albedos is going to be much less than the black/white image so often presented in the media.

The authors, Screen and Simmonds, used an updated climate reanalysis product (ERA-40), showing a link between loss of sea-ice and warming in the atmosphere above. They note a strong impact of cloud cover on the sea-ice cycle. I'm in the process of digesting the NATURE paper which the author sent me, so I may have more comments later.

E. Swanson

The reflectivity of sea water is not simple. If it was simply a clear flat liquid, then you can work it out exactly based upon the angle of incidence and the index of refraction. But with a nonflat surface, and or with stuff in the water, such as bubbles that can scatter light, it rapidly becomes a difficult problem. One recent geoengineering proposal, was to inject very tiny (micrometer sized) bubbles from ships, increasing the reflectivity of the seawater in the ships wake. (It might actually work).

The melting lags the insolation. I.E. it is now the beginning of May, and quite a lot of solar energy is available in the arctic, but temps and snow cover are still pretty high. But in mid August (which has roughly the same insolation as early may) the seaice melt will be nearing its maximum. I bet the sea ice area is still pretty high on June 21st (even in a record melt year).

Where did I say/imply that the albedo of sea water was simple? The measurements showed that the albedo was a function of wind speed, which was a proxy for wave height. However, the measurements at small elevations showed albedo approaching 30%, which is far larger than the 5% value when the Sun is high in the sky.

The formation of melt ponds would begin rather quickly in Spring, even though the Sun is still low in the sky. AIUI, there is a down welling infrared energy source from a temperature inversion above, which will melt the snow and the top of the sea-ice. After the Equinox (22 March), the Sun is above the horizon at the North Pole all day long. Initially, the water from melted snow and sea-ice can not drain thru the solid sea-ice and just sits there. The ponds grow larger due to their low albedo and may melt thru and drain later as the sea-ice thins or fractures. Thus, the albedo of the sea-ice tends to be variable thru the melt season, which is not easy to model in a AOCGCM.

E. Swanson

Interior Secretary Salazar: US Gulf oil spill may be worse than Exxon Valdez -- ‘90 days before ultimate solution’

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)--The BP oil spill in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico may be worse that the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said on CNN Sunday.

"The worst-case scenario is we could have 100,000 barrels or more of oil flowing out," Salazar said on CNN's State of the Union. ...

This seems as good a place as any to post these puzzling responses:

Pickens says chill out.

Pickens: This is a sad accident that happened but this is, you know, an unusual case but there've been others like this so I think way too much is being made of the... of the oil that's being... that's coming out there in the Gulf. All of that will get cleaned up and we'll be back... we'll be back to normal, the world hasn't changed because of this blowout.

Congressman says chill out.

GULFPORT — U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor on Saturday said people shouldn’t be so scared about the massive oil spill in the Gulf; he said after flying over it, “it’s not as bad as I thought.”

Taylor said the oil could break up before reaching Mississippi shores.

Are we crazy? Or are they retards? Both?

They are crazy retards whistling past the graveyard.

My opinion of Pickens just plummeted.

They aren't taking it as seriously as they should, but they are not too far from the mark.

I understand this is a very serious spill, but after all is said and done I have a feeling events will prove that the environmentalists were, as usual, prone to hyperbole.

Well then, this assessment, combined with previous pots on Drumbeat in which several people reminded us that natural oil seeps have been documented under the GOM, the OCS off of California, and other locations in the World, means we can get back to our regularly scheduled programs and not worry our little heads about anything that the global corporations and their government lackeys don't want us to worry about.

What the hey, hurricanes are a fact of life along the GOM and Eastern coasts as well...every bad blow may be a grand opportunity to roll in and buy some oceanfront property for your next McMansion super cheap! That's what the brokers and the financial analysts on the TV machine say when the stock market tanks..."what a great buying opportunity!"

Go sell the 'hyperbole' comment to the fishermen on the Gulf coast...if you make it back, let us know what they thought...

Go sell the 'hyperbole' comment to the fishermen on the Gulf coast...if you make it back, let us know what they thought...

Good facilely emoting response... but life lacks easy zero-risk answers... without inexpensive fuel, too expensive to run all those guzzling diesel boats - and without inexpensive fuel, more recession and fewer customers for their generally yuppie-priced product. And in the short to medium term, usefully inexpensive fuel meeting those needs will come from where it comes from, not where you or I or they might wish it would come from (Titan?) Can't just wave a magic wand and replace all those diesel boats (and with what?) in an instant. So I guess they'll have to suck it up and write it down as a cost/risk of doing business, as if it were yet another hurricane.

OK, I was not advocating the BAU of (over)fishing the oceans, either. We don't have a 'right' to go to the restaurant and supermarket and have any kind and amount of seafood that our fat rear ends want to snarf. My point was that the many of the concerns expressed about the consequences of this spill are not hyperbole, IMO. And once again, why, any time concerns are raised about the environment, does it have to be attributed to some shadowy, sinister sounding tribe of 'environmentalists'?

Can't 'regular Joes and Janes who are not card-carrying members of an environmental organization be intelligent enough to understand that events such as this spill have negative consequences, some of which are potentially far-reaching in scope and across the time domain? But it is easier for some folks to evoke the specter of 'the environmentalists'...which in some folks is a code-word for people who hate America, capitalism, Mom, and apple pie. 'Environmentalists' is a one-size fits no-one useless straw man. If, in its simplest abstraction, an environmentalist is a person who cares about the health of his or her environment, then what sane people out there are NOT environmentalists? Actions, of course, speak louder than words.

And nice staw man argument there...since there are no zero-risk activities, then lamenting the consequences of any event, no matter what the scope, is therefore hyperbole. Again, I nor many other folks here I would imagine, likely do not justify off-shore drilling in order that we can snarf down copious quantities of sea food all across the globe. Far from it. And I suppose in your world it is impossible for fishermen to use sail-driven vessels. Like someone said downstream about living a slower, simpler lifestyle, 'that sounds like a pain in the butt'...depends on your perspective, I suppose.

And I suppose in your world it is impossible for fishermen to use sail-driven vessels.

Yes indeed, in a modern world sail seems highly unlikely, even ludicrous, for commercial fishing, as the primary source of propulsion. Nineteenth-century methods might support a small niche market, but not what's going on now. And there's no way such methods could conform to modern food-safety regulations.

You can't have the catch just sitting there becalmed and spoiling for random lengths of time, not any more, not in 2010. It may have been perfectly legal to sell slightly stinky fish and poultry as late as around 1900 as is mentioned in, say, several of the Sherlock Holmes stories. But that's now ancient history.

Or, OTOH, if you've got power available on the boat in sufficiently prodigious quantities to flash-freeze or even refrigerate the catch in keeping with modern regs, then you've probably also got at least a BAU-lite boat that does not need to rely on sail for primary propulsion.

Which reflects one of the problems I have with these facile back-to-the past notions, however romantic they might seem: when positing a scenario, one ought to check for at least a modicum of self-consistency. And when that check reveals the scenario to be pretty much a non-starter, then it's time back up and run over it again...

[As to those environmentalists, one doesn't have to invoke shadowy tribes to realize that every time something bad happens, the noisier ones are out there carrying the (metaphorical) "prepare for thy doom" picket-signs, just like the bearded old guys in cartoons, or the guys you'd see for real once in a blue moon hassling the crowds at the ferry terminals in lower Manhattan. And guess what - this has all been going on for a very very long time, and accidents, even terrible accidents, have been going on for a very very long time, and ... and yet ... the world goes on.]

My comment about sail-driven vessels would apply to an altered reality in which sea food is caught in much smaller quantities and consumed locally along the applicable coasts. Surely you realize that there was a time not all that long ago when there was NOT and Outback, etc. in every city of a significant size, nor was there a cornucopia of seafood in the local supermarket.

Your reply indicates that your mind set is firmly fixated on maintaining BAU.

The times, they are changing.

...an altered reality in which sea food is caught in much smaller quantities and consumed locally along the applicable coasts.

OK, I'll accept that as a conceivable scenario - sail-driven vessels delivering small quantities of somewhat toxic half-spoiled fish to local ports as in the Sherlock Holmes stories. However, the larger realities in which that scenario was embedded the first time around involved a world of about 1.3 billion people (even fewer earlier) and we've now got 7 billion.

That suggests to me that most people need not fret about the scenario too much because only a small proportion could remain around to live in it. And that suggests to me in turn that it cannot possibly come about anytime soon because people aren't going to just give up, roll over, and die. Have I mentioned a certain little problem with self-consistency in bandying these scenarios about?

People will invent some sort of BAU-lite despite your cocksure certainty. Or they'll have a very long period of turmoil before things again become peaceful enough to permit those slow-moving easy-prey sailboats to operate. Or they'll limp by on the Three Days of the Condor thing for longer than doomers can maintain their "preparations" in good working order. Or something in between. But none of that will play out soon enough for anyone now reading this to live long enough to sail those boats.


My scenario does not imply a crashed population, where people have rolled over and died willingly. You infer much...my scenario of a much smaller, lower-technology fishing fleet serving the needs of the coastal population does not require a mass die-off of the population as a whole. The population which does not live close to an ocean shore would simple not eat seafood on a regular basis, except for the very wealthy among them. They would be eating meat and taters, or maybe in reality would eat less meat than at present (at least less beef and maybe less pork)and eat mainly vegetables and fruits in-season. See Paul in Halifax's and Zadok's exchange concerning local farmers' markets up in Nova Scotia.

You have me figured wrong....I am not cocksure about much of anything. It has been enlightening exchanging posts with you.

"the world goes on"

Which world? We have now fundamentally changed the nature of the living systems of the planet, your facile rationalizations notwithstanding.

It would be the height of fatuousness to expect the world to remain embalmed and frozen in exactly some particular primordial state. Even before "we" came along, ice sheets repeatedly obliterated large chunks of the biosphere. That had no important consequences - stuff comes and stuff goes and that absurd nonexistent personification "Gaia" simply doesn't care a whit. And once "we" invented agriculture, even more change followed. And now there's those pesky fossil fuels, and "our" sheer numbers. And yet, in all those different states and many more, the world did go on and it does go on, just not as an embalmed, static, unchanging corpse. Sorry if it disappoints you that it goes on, though I don't understand why it would.

Did anyone say anything about a static world. Nice try in creating a straw man.

This is like telling someone who you are bludgeoning to death that it is no big deal since change happens all the time. Somehow we are not comforted by this profound perspective.

Or, OTOH, if you've got power available on the boat in sufficiently prodigious quantities to flash-freeze or even refrigerate the catch in keeping with modern regs, then you've probably also got at least a BAU-lite boat that does not need to rely on sail for primary propulsion.

In a more likely future, fuel will be expensive, and the fishing boat/crew will have to use methods that deliver enough fish per gallon of fuel to make a profit. I'm not a fishing expert, but I imagine that the big fuel cost is dragging those huge nets through the water. That part would probably be done by sail power, and the crew would just have to wait for sufficient wind. Fuel would be sparingly used for powering equipment and emergency manuvering, and perhaps even moving the boat during calm conditions. I don't forsee a sudden cold-turkey approach to peakoil, rather a gradual tightening of the economics of fuel usage versus alternative modes of production.

"I don't foresee a sudden cold-turkey approach to peakoil, rather a gradual tightening of the economics of fuel usage versus alternative modes of production."

Yes. It has been a very very long way round to the pub, but finally we reach some sort of rationality.

I can think of a variety of niche fisheries where, if labor was cheaper and oil more expensive, sail as a primary motive power would work today.

Ice can be created on-shore, with grid electricity, and carried with you. A secondary source (either FF or bio-fuel) trolling motor, or battery and/or solar PV electric trolling motor would be needed as well.

Pulling into a dock by sail alone can be a problem.


Why use ICE and not Salt. Salt is the traditional method of preserving fish. You salt the fish down and pack it, then when you get to shore you wash the salt off and cook it a little.

Anyone living within 100 miles of the coast gets fish, mostly salted, but they get fish.

Smoking and salting and drying are the age old methods of preserving fish, and for that matter other meats, along with brining which can be either salt or vinegar. You don't see them very much because we have refridgeration these days, but when you don't have electricity you have the tried and true old methods to fall back on.

Iceland when I was there in the mid '70s was still salting and drying fish.

Best hopes for learning the old methods, they aren't forgotten in all parts of the world just yet.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future.

Greater than the Exxon Valdez is "hyperbole" now? I'd hate to see what you classify as being an understatement. You're not Pickens, are you?

What hyperbole? Can you cite specific events that were overstated, by whom, and the actual event? I only ask because for the last decade or six things have gone pretty much as the environmentalists have said they would, thus find your BS comment insulting confusing.

Rachel Carson? Right.

Club of Rome? Right.

Admiral Rickover (that wacky leftist)? Right.

James Hansen? Right.

Well, not exactly... things are even worse than they were supposed to be. Or so the pesky facts keep indicating.


Personally I would be happy to see the end of oil come sooner rather than later. However, I agree with Pickens here. I regard this event as a bit of a black swan event, i.e. a low probablity event that we just got unlucky about. If I take the two big US offshore blowouts as data points (Santa Barbara channel in the late sixties, and the current one), that suggests a recurrence interval of circa 40years. We don't have 40years worth of offshore oil left, so the odds of another catastrophic spill if we pursue offshore should be pretty small. Especially considering the new tighter regs that will come about because of this accident. I still think expanding the availability of offshore tracts is the most responsible policy. Both in terms of obtaining marginally more domestic oil, and more importantly in avoiding an escalation of strife between the drill-baby-drill types, and the environmentalists (who will be made the scapecoats for the coming energy and resource shortages).

If we had confidence that the time span between major disasters like this would remain every 40 years, you might have a point. However, as we push into deeper waters and deeper into the ground, with the increasing price of materials and labor nipping at the heels, I would not be surprised if the frequency of incidents increase.

Also, I think we are forgetting about the Exxon Valdez when we jump from the Santa Barbara spill to the current day...

In addition, I just read a story where the journalist claims that the Nigerian Delta has suffered quite a bit of environmental insult since drilling began there...but, that is out of our site, and certainly out of most folks' minds.

The name 'Amoco Cadiz' popped into my memory, so a few clicks brought me to this memory-jogger, which is by absolutely no means a comprehensive list:


EOS -- Probably not really a Black Swan technically speaking. The distinction is whose expectations? A farmer sitting in a corn field in Nebraska might have zero expectation of such an event as we're seeing. But I worked offshore as a memberof a team charge with trying to avoid such a situation. I spent 12 hours a day for 30 or 40 days at a time anticipating and providing data to prevent such an accident. We all knew the events happening out there right now was a real potential worse case scenario. All the hands knew it. All oil company management knew it. All the gov' regulators knew it. Anyone with a decent education could go on the Internet and see the potential too if they studied it long enough.

Probability it would happen with any one well = small. Probability it would ever happen = almost certain. Not really a Black Swan IMHO.

I think that Taylor doesn't appreciate what he was seeing in his overflight. His response appears uninformed.

I interpreted Pickens in a different way. To me, he appears to be saying that this disaster will not change the face of modern BAU. He may very well be right. Very little changed after Chernobyl, very little changed after the Valdez - we put a few more regulations in place and tootled merrily along our way. While nothing was the same for the areas affected by these disasters, by and large the rest of the world went along as it had been. As well, there appears to be an entire subculture of "see, it wasn't too bad" operating (especially WRT Chernobyl). The GOM may be changed for many many years - but BAU will continue.

Just my 2 cts.


The spill may be much worse then they are admitting, an FSU estimate has it already passing Valdez




Here is a quote from one of the first commenters on the dailykos article:

"From a commenter at Grist, and this sounds correct.

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!

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 toaccomplish. 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 anuclear 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 250,000gallons of ocean water toxic to wildlife. Are you starting to get the
magnitude of this?"

Can anyone throw further light on this?

the guy is an engineer?
funny, the way he mixes gallons and barrels, i would swear he is innumerate.
factually wrong on a few counts- first, although this rig had drilled to 30,000 feet in the past, this well was about 18,000 feet.
also, apparently the wrecked drill rig itself is about 1,500 feet from the well, not on top of it. True, there is likely to be some pipes and debris on the sea bed adjacent to the well, but nothing like the drill platform itself.
to characterize it as "a hole in the ocean floor" seems to be hyperbole. As i understand it the BOP may still be functional and the leaks are in the remaining stringers, so if it can be engaged, voila.
if not, there are still potential engineering solutions to stem the flow at the BOP.
here, this link was posted on DB yesterday, still the best account of the whole story i have read so far, excellently written with pictures so even, well...


"destroy the oceans of the world"? egad. crazy talk.
I read dkos myself sometimes, but in the same frame of mind as i scan Drudge or Perez Hilton.

The poster certainly does seem to be talking in extremes.

But estimates of the flow rate out of this thing seem to be jumping by a factor of five or so every couple days. It started out 1000 bbl/day, then jumped to 5000, and now there is talk of 25,000--that is a million gallons a day, according to a Wall Street Journal article.


That's a Valdez every 12 days or so, an event that contaminated shores as far as 1000 miles away from the spill. And this one could take months to stop, if it can be stopped at all.

And the ratio of spilled oil to contaminated water does seem to be about one to a million.


This could be much more than a local catastrophe.

OK, I tracked down some stats on oil dispersion over water surfaces and got that, if this thing is spilling oil now at the rate of one million gallons a day (as the WSJ has reported), it would take ten years a that rate to cover the world's ocean surface with a very thin film of oil.

Please check my math and facts...

Mile ^2 = 2.6 meter ^2 x 10 ^6

25 gallons can cover one square mile of ocean surface

million gallons a day are leaking

> 40,000 miles^2/day

= ~1 meter ^2 x 10 ^ 11/day

total ocean surface = 3.6 x 10 ^14 m^2

~3600 days (~ten years)—total coverage

Of course, the rate could go up (or down) and the spill could stop any time, or continue for months but presumably not years (?).

But still, this could theoretically cover a very large area indeed.

And now, after multiplying the estimated flow rate by 25 from the original guesses (aka lies), they are now double again to 50,000 bbl/day= about two million gallons a day.


Will currents spread this across the Atlantic? Further?

There are apparently some billions of gallons of oil in this formation. Is it all coming out?

We wanted oil, and old mama nature is giving it to us in spades.

As bright and knowledgeable as the posters to this site are, and I am impressed almost daily, I don't think any of us can really get a handle on how big a deal this gulf spill is and it's ramifications for the future. I fear this is the blackest of black swan events, and it will affect much more than the gulf and atlantic coasts. The result of man's hubris and misplaced attempt to control his environment. I will send off a prayer today. I'm not thinking that this will end well.

And, now, something totally different....

Go slow on wind power

Jane announced to her family, as she had every day that week, "Dinner will be some time between six and nine. It depends when the electricity will be available to run the stove. In the meantime, you can watch TV. I'm sure it will be on often enough that you can understand the program."

If their electricity came only from wind turbines, this is a scenario that they would face regularly.

Exaggeration? No.

See: http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/opinion/article/1034011

And if you like Mr. McQueen's thinking on wind power, checkout his take on global climate change.

Climate campaigners, sceptics live in different worlds

Re-filling my Pez dispenser with Accuretics....


Well, maybe folks are going to have to make some adjustments, such as living a slower, simpler life where available electricity is scarcer and more expensive, and activities such as posting on the Internet may be restricted to a window of time each day? People will have to adapt, oh well, maybe we will all find the time for more exercise, gardening, playing games with the family, and so forth.

As far as his climate change views, he takes certain folks to task for allegedly cherry-picking temperatures extremes and where they occur while ignoring other regions of the globe:

The question that these writers never answer is: "WHERE is it warming?" They ignore recent exceptional winter conditions around the globe. They pick only high temperatures and never talk about record lows. The conditions that they warn about are within normal variation

He seems to miss the idea that the Arctic seems to be warming proportionally more than the temperate latitudes and the equator...and that this is a bad thing because of the potential for positive feedback loops in the Arctic. He also may not understand the concept that warming air can hold more water vapor, which can lead to increased snowfalls in certain areas.

There are numerous variables influencing climate which we don't understand as well as we need to.

If the sun lapses into an extended period with few sunspots, a situation similar to the Maunder Minimum and the attendant "little Ice Age" could occur...or maybe this won't be the case.

If the sun's output tails off for awhile, then our human-made CO2 emissions may mitigate the magnitude of cooling which would otherwise result from such a situation...but then after the sun returns to its previous activity levels or its output increases beyond what we see as the 'baseline', the twin effects of increased solar activity and increased CO2 could provide an amplified warming effect, possibly detrimental to humankind.

Interestingly, in the time period of hundreds of millions of years, some people think that the threat will be the continual diminishing of CO2 due to its sequestration into limestone and so forth, combined with a steady decrease in Earth's geological activity (Volcanoes, etc, which acts to replenish CO2. As CO2 falls below the minimum needed for most plant life, the Earth's biodiversity would nose dive. That, combined with a steadily brightening Sun, may spell the end of Earth as an abode for life within ~500 million years from now or less.

None of this discussion validates the notion that Humans emitting unbridled quantities of CO2 and other substances into the atmosphere is of no consequence, IMO.

Given an ever increasing number of data years I would think that the trend would be fewer new records each year for a climate that has normal variability within an overall steady state.

This would make the increasing number of record hot days even more significant.

"Well, maybe folks are going to have to make some adjustments, such as living a slower, simpler life where available electricity is scarcer and more expensive, and activities such as posting on the Internet may be restricted to a window of time each day?"

that sounds more like a pain in the butt.

That is your current perspective...you and others will either mentally adapt to a new reality as it develops or you will fight accepting the way things will be and you will be unhappy.

I lived quite a bit of my life without computers, cell phones, and the internet. I would miss having any Internet access since it provides me with a great portal to man's knowledge (Science Daily, Live Science, Space.com, news outlets, Arts and Letters web site, a plethora of others...)...having at least a few hours per day of trons to access the internet would be swell.

I would not miss cell phones...I haven't had time to play many computer games for over two decades...lots of other great things to do out-doors when I am not working...

that sounds more like a pain in the butt.

When inevitable changes come there are two types of people. Those who resist and deny the change as long as possible, are one class. The second group see's the changes as inevitable and embraces the change. The second group is setting itself up to (relatively) thrive after the change, the former to failure.

The downfall of many simplistic, over-eager dichotomies is the tertium quid. Specifically, here, sometimes there's a third kind of person - the one who embraces some change to the extent even of cutting himself off from society, then discovers the hard, even bitter, way that the change didn't happen during his lifetime after all, or did happen but not in accordance with the plan he embraced.

I was about to write "himself or herself", and there would have been truth in that. However I remembered the saw/canard about asking for directions - which I think is correlated to another overconfidence-related tendency - latching on to an idée fixe, overthinking it, and running off way too hard with it.

However I remembered the saw/canard about asking for directions - which I think is correlated to another overconfidence-related tendency - latching on to an idée fixe, overthinking it, and running off way too hard with it.

I don't know what you're on Paul, but I'll have some too. Spacey!

The more I read them, the more I think that from the reader's point of view op-ed pieces are one of the most useless inventions ever. Whatever else one thinks about Bjorn Lomborg, he has at least worked for several years consistently laying his case in reasonable detail and to some extent responding to criticism of his models and thinking. Once you subtract the words used in the "helpful scene setting" from the already limited word count, in almost all of them you're basically left with the writer's point, assertions that the writer has seen data backing up his point (there's no space to actually provide enough details of precisely what data that is to look at it for oneself), and the the writer pointing out how some element of the "conventional thinking" is thus wrong/deluded. And the writer's next op-ed piece the following week has a different subject, so there's no tracking of which points turned out to be right and which to be wrong.

I guess as long as the writer gets his paycheck it doesn't really matter though.

Gulf oil spill: BP calls disaster 'inconceivable'

The accident in the Gulf of Mexico that has unleashed a massive oil slick was unforeseeable, said BP PLC Chairman Lamar McKay, speaking on ABC's "The Week" Sunday.

McKay said more preparations for such an accident weren't made because it "seemed inconceivable" that equipment in place to avert an oil-well blowout would fail. ...

I don't think that word means what he thinks it means.

Quite true barrett. In blow out school (yes...you can get a certification) there's a whole chapter of what you do when the "inconceivable" happens. These BP talking heads are really starting to piss off me and others in the oil patch. They already started pointing fingers at the drill crew before the memorial service planning began. They might not know for months who was at fault. And it might have been someone on the drill crew. But no one knows that yet.

The all too common failure of imagination weasel out these days. "How could we possibly conceive such a thing?" What, are these companies being run by people with the intellectual capacity of Colonel Klink? And do they immediately resort to a Sgt. Schultz, "I see nothing, I hear nothing Hogan!"

For someone that spends most days contemplating and working to prevent the inconceivable (c'mon, there are parts of electrical engineering that can be describe this way, that's what protection and control is about - one of my specialties).

To sum up, the entire country and industrial complex has become one big Stalag 13.

Where, exactly, does the buck stop? Apparently with underlings, not leaders. Ollie North, those poor dupes at Abu Ghraib, that idiot and Valerie Plame...

We need a few more people willing to stop a few more bucks.

Pronunciation: \ˌin-kən-ˈsē-və-bəl\
Function: adjective

The Net Present Value of making adequate preparations is judged to be more than the cost of resulting lawsuits for making inadequate preparations.


Sad but true Alan. But in this case the BP bean counters missed the mark big time. But the gov't does the same thing: calculate the cost of increased safety regs vs. the value of the potential loss of life. I seem to recall that in the case of airline safety they use $500,000 per potential life lost vs. the cost of the new reg.

Eveything has a price, eh Alan? Even the wetlands. Wonder if they would set the same price on New England wetlands.

I always wonder how the airlines get by on (or away with) such a low number (not even on the high side of expected remaining lifetime earnings) when it seems like lawsuit awards run to $20,000,000.

Paul - As I understand the process it doesn't have anything to do with airline liability. The gov't evaluates a new reg that will cost the airlines $50 million to impliment. Someone in the gov't estimates that the reg will save X number of lives over so many years (can't remember the time frame). So if X times $500,000 is less than $50 millon they don't change the reg. Sounds cold I know but we all make such decisions daily. Do you have an in-home fire suppression system that might cost $30,000 to install? Probably like most of us you don't. So you feel saving the life of your child isn't worth $30,000? Wow! Now that's old. But would any of us back away from installing a $20 smoke alarm? So a child's life is worth $20 but not $30,000?

Life is full of decisions. Seems cold to equate the value of life in dollars and cents. But what's the alternative...spend your entire life savings on every safety feature available? Or do you protect against only the most likely?

To end this dark chat on a lighter note: consider life insurance. You're betting against the ins company and you hope they win.

Good illustrations, Rockman.

WRT BP vs. me and my house: I make nada from my house...it is a money sump. BP, on the other hand, if I read this site correctly, made some $14B in 2009. So, they could afford the whole-house fire suppression system, whereas I cannot.


And if the extra safety precautions cause gasoline to cost 50 cents more per gallon, people will either find a way to pay for that with their current mileage or they will drive fewer miles, buy a hybrid or electric car, bike, walk, and/or car-pool.

The other difference between BP and me and my fire suppression system and my kids: If I lose my kid(s) due to not buying the system, that is my personal loss. If (fill in company name here) screws something up big-time like this spill, the environment, and many many people outside the company, lose. Private domains vs. the commons.

ROCK, if you've noticed any of my comments in the last couple of days, please observe that I've been clear about not being the least bit surprised about making such tradeoffs. So clear that I've already sent someone off the deep end by observing that if we followed his puritanical black-and-white approach we'd all have to strap ourselves in bed for life for fear of the risk of falling down, hitting our heads, and dying, should we ever have the temerity to get up.

However I was just a little surprised at the low-ish size of the number in the light of the way Congresscritters and other professional alarmists proclaim Armageddon every (exceedingly rare) time there's an air crash, pounding their fists demanding ever more costly and paralyzing rules. Plus there are the statements I've heard at navigation conferences that some aeronautical regs are so over-the-top persnickety that the implicit value of a life is often well north of $1 billion, which is a lot more than $500,000.

If any sort of ethics whatsoever entered the picture, rather than things being driven mainly by the sort of gland-driven fist-pounding tub-thumping political hysteria clogging these threads on the Gulf blowout, that money would be diverted from implementing even one single additional aeronautical reg at such astronomical expense, and spent more productively. For example, the ongoing failure to upgrade countless thousands of badly designed street intersections has been said to reflect an implicit value of a life well south of $100,000. (And anecdotally I can believe that since I can think of at least a couple of major local intersections where it took five or ten needless fatalities to finally induce a re-do.)

With respect to the $30,000 fire alarm, one must of course do the arithmetic correctly. The odds that any fire alarm system will actually save the child's life are very low. After all, the vast majority of people escaped the vast majority of even bad fires long before fire alarms even existed. And even the most expensive system does not always save the life. And most of all, the overwhelming majority never experience a bad fire in the first place. So even if the odds of the system actually saving the life were as high as 0.1%, then $30,000 would correspond to an implicit value-of-a-life of $30,000,000, not $30,000. Of course, the vociferous, domineering, moralizing alarmists will phrase it the way you did in your hypothetical, at the 1:1 ratio, instead of the correct 1:1000 (or whatever) ratio, in order to stampede people into the sort of hysteria that they feed on.

Life is full of decisions. Seems cold to equate the value of life in dollars and cents. But what's the alternative...spend your entire life savings on every safety feature available? Or do you protect against only the most likely?

Bingo. As I've been saying, that's exactly the problem. Alas, some people seem just too simple-minded, moralizing, and puritanical ever to wrap their minds around it. So we encounter rubbish such as advocacy of a return to donkey power, when an economic transformation in that spirit would kill many orders of magnitude more than only eleven people and some fish. Even more scary, under the right circumstances, in the right places, utopian simple-mindedness on that sort of pattern induces some to turn themselves into "feedstock" for lovelies such as the Taliban and their ilk.

'Strap yourself into bed'? Donkey Power? Great over-the-top exaggerations you toss into the fire there. This is the kind of reactionary ire you get for having the temerity to suggest that companies which make billions in profits spend a little more to be safer...and that people in society maybe would buy and operate more gas-thrifty cars and carpool here and there. Somehow that transmogrifies into 'donkey power' in your mind. Your BAU defenses are on automatic overdrive.

Hey,nice to know you have a heart for those 'only' 11 guys and a few fish...very big of you.

Donkey power (emphasis added.)

OTOH The oil industry with the help of MSM has certainly put enough disinformation out there to cloud the issue of Global Warming so that the public is not aware that something akin to an asteroid (in terms of whether the planet is livable for humans) is going to happen to the planet.

I don't want more drilling and I would like to see donkeys become the usual mode of transportation. I am sticking to that.

Sometimes it's hard to tell where the hyperbole ends and the seriousness begins, but yes, the wonders of turning the clock backwards to the misery of bygone centuries seem to be a recurring theme in these discussions.

Wasn't really directing at you Paul. Just wanted to kick the discussion re: how we value risk aversion. Obviously most folks' views will be determined by their personal perspective. Always easy to tell someone else how to spend their money. The probability of a bad event is weighed against the cost of doing more to prevent it. Needless to say at a post event phase it will always be easier to say the money should have been spent. Again, to use the sad case of a child dying in a house fire, how do you say at that point it still was a good idea to not spend the money on the extra precautions? Look at the terrible event unfolding now how can you argues that more money should not have been spent to safe guard against such a blow out? And that's not to say that money should not have been spent and even increased in the future. But there will always be a practical limit on the amount.

My point really wasn't so much how much should be spent but should such drilling be allowed in the first place. If the increased safety costs are raised high enough to kill all future Deep Water wells in the GOM so be it. But the public and the gov't won't accept that when PO starts really hurting IMHO. It won't make a substantial difference in PO but the perception that it can will be inescapable IMHO.

People tend to forget the tradeoffs. Force others to spend millions to save a singel life. Then you are too poor to cover other lifesavings opportunities. I remember reading that spending money of crash barriers (guardrails, and those waterfilled barrels etc.) Costs maybe $10000 per life saved. But try to get the taxpayers to cough up for this? How about the traffic light that you'd ike down on the corner? County won't fund it until there have been N deaths! But, try to force some third party to spend many times that to save a life -no problemo!

Basicly the reality is if you subtract $X from the economy for whatever reason (such as making some activity safer), and mortality increases elsewhere because of increased poverty. But our storytelling, personaliztion way of dealing with things is very poor at weighing the tradeoffs. There are some things where only a cold calculation of benefits to costs will do.

In a poorer society, your argument has merit. But, in the USA, the over consumption is a problem in and of itself. Just throttle back consumption in the top, say, 1-%, and there is plenty. Forget the 26" rims on the Cadillac Escalade, a smaller swimming pool at the McMansion, one less trip to Chucky Cheese. These are the alternatives to safer technology.


How about the traffic light that you'd ike down on the corner? County won't fund it until there have been N deaths!

Short anecdote - in 1970 students were agitating for a zebra crossing across a very busy road running past the University of Sydney, to no avail. One Friday afternoon a female student was killed crossing that road - and students got active: a big bus was turned sideways, blocking all traffic, and cars were parked across the highway running the other side of the campus.

Someone went down to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and knocked out the railway lights. By 6:00pm the entire city was in grid-lock. But by Monday morning we not only had a zebra crossing, but we had pedestrian lights at the spot where the student was killed. People power indeed.

I don't think that word means what he thinks it means.

Let me explain...no, there is too much. Let me sum up.

I know the doomers will hate this article but this is progress.

Sam's Club Becomes the First U.S. Retailer To Install Micro Wind Turbines in its Parking Lot

LOL. As if I could be converted to cornucopianism by some wind turbines going up in a parking lot - a parking lot!

It's going to take alot more than that, my friend.

Don't get me wrong. Unlike some of the bird-loving environmentalists and NIMBYs, I think wind turbines are great. I just don't think they'll make a difference.

Oil demand likely to rise in India due to fast rising car sales.

Gurus Wrong, India Strong:

India is owned by Maruti Suzuki, with Korean Hyundai next. All the others are bit players. It will be a few years until India comes close to the importance of China, but with a population of more than 1.1b, this is definitely the market where you want to be in the long run.


'...in the long run'???


If you go to that link, you'll get pre market trading for the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P. It shows the Dow is estimated to go down 175 points on Monday! Now it could change between now and the opening bell or at the end of trading, but that is the highest pre market predicted drop I've ever seen. Could be a nasty day for investors.

Insurance companies are going to take a hit in the Gulf, the oil industry is going to take a hit from insurance hikes and new safety measures, and the mortgage, construction, and financial sectors will have to deal with the end of the New Homeowners' Credit. It's a lot of news to absorb. Look out below.

Futures are actually up for tomorrow, Earl. I think you were looking at the remnants of Friday.

Futures are actually up for tomorrow, Earl. I think you were looking at the remnants of Friday.

Yes, amazing how fortunes change from one moment to the next. Now the Dow is predicted to go up 44. Go BAU!


Shows just how volatile things have gotten.

Most every financial adviser will scream to you to 'Buy!! Buy!!! Buy!!!'

That way they get their commission, commission, commission, no matter what happens to you...

Oh, and that one loon on CNBC or whatever will honk his bells and whistles and scream Buy! Buy! Buy! too...

An article on LATOC

"And maybe Mother Earth will have poisoned us with the substance we have so greedily raped her -- and killed each other -- for... "You want oil?... I'll give you oil."


RE the Matt Simmons interview.

Is it me, or does Matt Simmons sound as though he is half-cut?

HA - "Half cut"? Is that a Yankee thang?

Rockman, I don't think so. I think it's a Brit thing. I'm a Yankee, and I don't know what he means. Half drunk maybe?

Half cut = three sheets to the wind, yes. But In Vino Veritas!

Rock, if one is 'half cut' then one has 'had a few sherbets'.

In other words one is slightly intoxicated.


Thanks guys. For a second I thought you meant he was Jewish and the victim of a circumcision gone bad gone bad.

that's just bad ;) ;)

What?? Yuze guys never heard of "half cut"? I guess I really do live between two worlds. For all their bad teeth and culinary arts worthy of crimes against humanity, the Brits have the best slang and colloquialisms. Just watch Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, or Snatch (Brad Pitt priceless as the Pikey - I hate Pikies!).

For those of us that grew up on Monty Python and Faulty Towers, if you aren't thinking, its not funny.

Thanks for the British to English translation. ;-)

He sounded like he always does to me. Perhaps you're mistaking his slight western drawl for drunkenness?

Does anyone know whether any of the components in question in GOM, such as parts in the BOP, were manufactured outside the US ? Subpar components from China ?

Unlikely hat. That's one of the last US strong points. But that can't preclude equipment failure.

I blame the whole thing on the Mexicans. If it was called the 'Gulf of America' this accident would never have happened.

There you go HA. Now you're picking up that dark oil patch sense of humor. Joke circulating a few days after the blow out: what do you call a drilling hand that's just laying here after he gets both legs cut off? Matt. You either have to laugh or cry. After a few days you get tired of crying.

Now this just proves my point made above. Friggin' hilarious!! The way the Brits can take various issues and wrap them up into one economical comment that evokes emotional responses across the spectrum is phenomenal.

I was raised around the Canadian/British culture and there were two things you brought to the dinner table, your appetite and your wit. Without both, chances were you would go hungry.

Ala. gov.: booms breaking down due to bad weather

MOBILE, Ala. — Alabama Gov. Bob Riley says most of the inflatable booms deployed to catch the oil spill are breaking down, forcing crews to rework their contingency plan.

Riley said Sunday that 80 percent of the thousands of feet of booms the Coast Guard and other crews have laid down off the Alabama coast over the past three days have broken down in the bad weather. He says the other Gulf Coast states are experiencing similar problems. ...

If you live in the Peak District in England and need some oil then this is the company for you ;)


Well, made me laugh anyway...

Now thinking like an American, or Londoner, I would run right out and copyright that whole company. Never has the irony been greater.

Could change their web page to read, "We deliver half the heating oil at 50% higher price and you're going to like it!"

Here's a sad commentary on the state of affairs. They had a poll this week here:


Crude oil is now selling for around $85 per barrel. What do you think is a fair price for a barrel of oil?
$20 or less (10%)
$40 (31%)
$60 (38%)
$80 (8%)
$100 (2%)
$120 (0%)
$140 or more (0%)
No opinion (7%)

The comments are most enlightening. Some of course ridicule the very premise of the question. But many just pull numbers out of the air, and insist that this would be a fair price. They assume that it is speculators and market manipulation that explain prices above what they deem to be fair..


Call me optimistic, but I see a glimmer of hope in this poll.

While ignorance still reigns on the rationale of these matters, I think it is very significant that the mean response, i.e. the price with the highest plurality, is $60/barrel. The public has come a long way in the last five years. Remember, it was only five years ago that the price of oil cracked the $50/barrel ceiling.

People's expectations today are showing signs of matching the reality of higher prices.

Place the 41% who think $40/b or lower is fair under the psychological sub-category of wishful thinking.


People's expectations today are showing signs of matching the reality of higher prices.

Oh boy, and that means what exactly, since their understanding of oil price and its effect on the economy or credit are non-existent? Most people don't even know how many gallons are in a barrel, so how could they be expected to know the consequences of one price vs. another? All the results show is people can make guesses.

This may have already been posted but if not...

Article talks about the type of oil, something that I have not run across yet.


"If I had to pick a bad oil, I'd put this right up there. The only thing that's not bad about this is that it doesn't have a lot of sulfur in it and the high sulfur really smells bad."