Drumbeat: May 26, 2010

Gulf oil spill: 'Top kill' procedure begins

Engineers have begun the "top kill" maneuver aimed at stanching the gush of oil from a blown-out well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, BP and U.S. Coast Guard confirmed.

The much-awaited procedure began at 1 p.m. Central Daylight Time, according to BP.

The maneuver, which BP officials warned could take hours or days to complete, would attempt to overpower the upward flow of oil by pumping drilling fluid -- and eventually a cement mixture -- at high pressure down the well. Several hundred engineers in Houston have prepped for the effort for weeks.

If executed incorrectly, however, the top kill could blow the fail-safe systems, dramatically increasing the flow of oil.

Chevron CEO: Oil Industry Suggests Govt Raise Safety Standards Due To Spill

Chevron Corp. (CVX) Chief Executive John Watson said Wednesday the oil and gas industry has asked the U.S. government to raise the safety standards for offshore drilling in order to avoid another "tragedy" like the massive spill that is still threatening the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

Speaking at the company's shareholder meeting in Houston, Watson said the company leads one of the two industry task forces that last week gave U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar a report with recommendations about the procedures that should be implemented and improved to avoid another massive accident.

BP poised for 'top kill' to try to plug spill; final decision to come Wednesday

The most critical moment in the oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico is at hand, as BP engineers armed with 50,000 barrels of dense mud and a fleet of robotic submarines are poised to attempt a "top kill" maneuver to plug the gushing well a mile below the surface.

It's far from a sure bet. BP chief executive Tony Hayward said Wednesday morning that the company hadn't yet decided whether to go forward with the risky plan, which rather than sealing the well could possibly make the leak worse.

"Over the last 12 hours, continuing through the night, we have continued to take pressure readings and establish flow pulse," Hayward said on NBC's "Today" show. "Later this morning I will review that with the team and I will take a final decision as to whether or not we should proceed."

Rear Admiral Landry Approves “Top Kill” Procedure

Federal On-Scene Coordinator Rear Admiral Mary Landry, acting on the validation of government scientists and in consultation with the National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen, has granted approval for BP to begin proceeding with their attempt to cap the well using the technique known as the “top kill.”

This expedited step provides the final authorization necessary to begin the procedure.

Upstream Online: BP admits 'crucial error' ahead of blowout

For a full, no-nonsense explanation of the top kill, check out the Oil Drum.

Russian supreme court backs antitrust fines against TNK-BP

Russia's Supreme Arbitration Court (SAC) Tuesday backed a ruling by the country's antimonopoly service fining TNK-BP for abusing antitrust legislation and setting artificially high oil products prices, in a decision widely seen as setting a precedent for similar cases against other oil companies.

House and Senate to Unveil Bipartisan Electrification Bills

On Thursday, May 27, House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming Chairman Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL) - followed by Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) - will introduce the Electric Vehicle Deployment Act of 2010, legislation that aims to advance the widescale deployment of electric vehicles and to develop the infrastructure needed to support them, largely through the selection and creation of specific geographic areas in which government incentives and local initiative will combine to provide all of the elements of an electrified transportation system.

The U.S. Exports More Corn Ethanol

The United States has gone from being a net importer of ethanol to a net exporter, which will continue to help fuel Nebraska's growing ethanol market, said Todd Sneller, executive administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board. . .

Another reason for the growth of U.S. ethanol exports, according to RFA, is the saturated domestic market for ethanol.

"Ethanol use in the U.S. is arbitrarily capped at 10 percent per gallon of gasoline (E10). Based on historic gasoline demand trends, this arbitrary 10 percent cap, called the 'Blend Wall,' would be around 12.5-13.5 billion gallons of ethanol. The U.S. industry has the capacity to produce 13.5 billion gallons annually, with more capacity waiting in the wings," RFA reported. to continue reading. . .

There is nothing low cost about exploiting our land to produce politically driven, taxpayer subsidized ethanol through industrialized corn growing.

Wind industry executives pessimistic about growth this year

"Right now, wind energy needs to get more cost-competitive," said Michael O'Sullivan, a senior vice president for NextEra Energy Resources, a major wind generator in Texas.

It was much easier for wind generation to compete against natural gas when gas cost $8 per 1,000 cubic feet, O'Sullivan said. But with it now only slightly above $4, renewable power "has gotten expensive" by comparison, he said.

Arctic oil spill could have 'catastrophic' impact: scientists

The Beaufort project found that the presence of oil accelerated the melt of sea ice in the spring, partly by causing the ice to absorb more radiation from the sun. Surprisingly, the study also found that the oil encouraged the growth of simple organisms such as algae and plankton.

Adams said the behaviour of a big oil spill in deeper Arctic waters is difficult to predict without more field research.

BP Cites Crucial 'Mistake'

The memo sheds new light on a key test performed hours before the explosion that has been a focus of congressional investigations. BP previously told investigators that a "negative pressure" test, which checks for leaks in the well, was inconclusive at best and "not satisfactory" at worst.

But in the meeting Tuesday, BP went further, saying the results were an "indicator of a very large abnormality" but that workers—unnamed in the memo—decided by 7:55 p.m. that the test was successful after all. That may have been a "fundamental mistake," BP's investigator said in the meeting, according to the memo. Reps. Henry Waxman (D., Calif.) and Bart Stupak (D., Mich.) wrote the memo, which was made public Tuesday.

After that, workers began to remove the heavy drilling fluid, called "mud" in the industry, that provides pressure to prevent any gas that seeps into the well from rising to the surface.

The memo also describes a breakdown in communication aboard the rig in the hours leading up to the explosion that made it tough for workers to monitor how much mud was coming out of the well—a key measure of whether gas is leaking in, according to the memo.

After five weeks of gushing oil: 'Top kill' plug readied

Marking five disastrous weeks, BP readied yet another attempt to slow the oil gushing into the Gulf on Tuesday as a federal report alleged drilling regulators have been so close to oil and gas companies they've been accepting gifts and even negotiating to go work for them.

U.S. to Toughen Drill Rules

President Barack Obama, fighting to stay ahead of the political storm over the Gulf oil spill, is expected to announce on Thursday that the government will impose tougher safety requirements and more rigorous inspections on off-shore drilling operations.

Trade Groups: Liability Hike Would Drive Many from GOM

Legislation seeking to increase producers' liability for economic damages from oil spills would make oil and natural gas operations in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) uninsurable by all but the largest companies, two producer groups said.

"Initial economic analysis shows raising the liability cap to $10 billion per incident would limit Gulf operations to only the largest companies, forcing mid-size and smaller firms who cannot self-insure from the market," said Jack Gerard, CEO of the American Petroleum Institute (API), which represents major producers.

EPA Considering Banning BP from Gov't Contracts

The EPA said in a statement that, according to its regulations, it can consider banning BP from future contracts after weighing "the frequency and pattern of the incidents, corporate attitude both before and after the incidents, changes in policies, procedures, and practices."

Several former senior EPA debarment attorneys and people close to the BP investigation told ProPublica that means the agency will re-evaluate BP and examine whether the latest incident in the Gulf is evidence of an institutional problem inside BP, a precursor to the action called debarment.

Civil fine in Gulf spill could be $4,300 barrel

The basic fine, according to the act, is $1,100 per barrel spilled. But the penalty can rise to $4,300 a barrel if a federal court rules the spill resulted from gross negligence. The fines were originally set at $1,000 to $3,000 but that was raised in 2004 to keep up with inflation, according to Tracy Hester, head of the Environmental Law and Policy program at the University of Houston.

(To see an EPA memo on 2004 revisions to penalties outlined in the Clean Water Act, click here: here )

It is unclear, however, that the EPA would try to apply the fines, or seek maximum penalty levels. EPA officials did not respond to several calls and e-mails requesting comment.

SBA Approves $571,000 in New Economic Injury Loans for Small Businesses Impacted by Deepwater BP Oil Spill

The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved 15 economic injury assistance loans totaling $571,000 for small businesses in the Gulf Coast region, SBA Administrator Karen Mills announced today. Additionally, the agency has granted deferments on 64 existing SBA disaster loans in the region.

SBA is offering economic injury loans and deferrals on existing loans to fishing and fishing-dependent small businesses as a result of the Deepwater BP oil spill that shut down commercial and recreational fishing waters.

Obama's Leaky Offshore Drilling Halt Raises Eyebrows

How is it that the Obama Administration could declare a moratorium on offshore oil drilling immediately after the Deepwater Horizon explosion only to have 17 permits issued afterwards?

That's the question NPR's Ari Shapiro attempted to answer with a report on All Things Considered. The answer? It's complicated.

The confusion apparently stems, according to Ari, from the Obama Administration, inexplicably, not putting a consequential order like the moratorium in writing.

BP's oil spillcam: A horror movie about the gulf that's deeply compelling

For all the gunk on television, it's hard to think of a more depressing show these days than the "spillcam," the live, continuous underwater footage of the broken BP pipe that has been gushing away deep, deep down in the Gulf of Mexico for more than a month now.

Spillcam combines the dread of horror films with the monotony of Any Warhol's eight-hour silent movie of the Empire State Building. There is no sound and nothing happens, except the inexorable, unending flow. You watch a little, and then a little more, and then you can't stop watching as a steady plume of dark brown oil belches upward from the floodlit, rocky ocean floor.

Whither the Deepwater Horizon costs?

Bloomberg has this chart suggesting $95bn has been wiped off the price of the five companies associated with the GoM oil leak:

It suggests Transocean’s decline has been steepest, but it’s the giant market cap of BP that inevitably has attracted the most attention. The company is thought to have lost about $26bn of its value thanks to the Deepwater Horizon accident, when compared against its sector.

Several equities analysts believe, based on the likely costs of the spill, that BP shares have taken a bigger hit than is warranted. But arguments are emerging against this view.

BP chairman takes on US critics

BP’s chairman hit back at critics of the company’s response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, insisting that they ought to remember that the group was “big and important” for the US.

Mr Svanberg, who took over as chairman in January, said the company’s board felt Tony Hayward, the chief executive, was doing a “great job”, in spite of widespread criticism in the US.

“This is a very difficult issue to deal with, a leak in 5,000ft of water,” Mr Svanberg added. “Everything that can be done is being done.”

He also rejected calls for the government to take direct control of the clean-up operation.

Not just oil: US hit peak water in 1970 and nobody noticed

The general concept of peaking has also been valuable, as it applies to just about any finite resource. A new analysis suggests that it may be valuable to consider applying it to a renewable resource as well: the planet's water supply.

The analysis, performed by staff at the Pacific Institute, recognizes that there are some significant differences between petroleum and water. For oil, using it involves a chemical transformation that won't be reversed except on geological time scales. Using water often leaves it in its native state, with a cycle that returns it to the environment in a geologic blink of an eye. Still, the authors make a compelling argument that, not only can there be a peak water, but the US passed this point around 1970, apparently without anyone noticing.

Link to a site that provides a free early version of the paper.

Brazil Petrobras April Total Gas, Oil Production 2.599M BOE/Day

In Brazil, Petrobras domestic oil production rose 1.9% to a record average of 2.033 million barrels a day in April, up from March's output of 1.994 million barrels a day. That topped the previous record of 2.004 million barrels a day set in September 2009. April's production was also up 2.9% from April 2009, Petrobras said.

Venezuela GDP Fell 5.8% In 1st Quarter - Central Bank

Oil production is trending lower as mature fields begin to naturally pump less, while new oil blocks aren't being developed quickly. Also hurting overall economic output has been a drought and poor planning in the electricity sector, which have contributed to massive water and power outages that have stalled factory assembly lines.

Manufacturing output fell 10% last quarter compared with that quarter a year ago.

At the same time, inflation is running at an annual 30%, so even with a government increase to the minimum wage, real salaries are lower this year compared with last.

Answer to Schwarzenegger's cuts: Oil tax and billions in borrowing

Billions more for schools and universities. No devastating cuts to programs for the poor. Millions of dollars for reeling cities and counties. And the only new taxes would be paid by oil companies — a long-sought proposal that may find new sympathy in California amid backlash over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

That's the promise of a budget proposal unveiled Tuesday by Democrats in the state Assembly. The plan — which involves tax maneuvers and borrowing nearly $9 billion against the state's recycling program — is a baroque attempt to plug a $19.1 billion deficit while staving off harsh cuts proposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Oil Leads a Broad Rout as Investors Unload Risk

Commodities were part of a wider move by investors out of riskier assets over concerns that Spain is headed down the same path as Greece, which will need an outside bailout to handle its debts.

For oil, a commodity with demand closely tied to global growth, the declines over the last month have been the most pronounced since the worst of the downturn in late 2008 and early 2009. The front-month July crude futures contract settled down 2.1% at $68.75 a barrel.

China, U.S. To Enhance Cooperation On Energy Data, Shale Gas

A working group will be established to make formal arrangements for cooperation between the U.S. Energy Information Administration and China's National Energy Administration, including information sharing, the collection of energy production data and end-use consumption data as well as strategies for the dissemination and analysis of energy information, it said.

The two countries will also open communication on establishing an energy emergency early-warning system and work together to prevent manipulation of oil-futures markets, it said.

Foreign Firms Dominate Wind Energy in U.S., Land Stimulus Dollars

Overseas companies also own and manage many of the wind farms sprouted along our amber fields of grain. Last year their U.S. subsidiaries even tapped the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, sending billions in federal stimulus dollars to foreign-owned energy and manufacturing conglomerates in Europe and Asia.

Through one stimulus measure -- the Section 1603 Grant Program -- developers of renewable energy are entitled to a reimbursement of 30 percent of the cost of building a facility. Since last September, that government program has given out $2.3 billion to developers of U.S. wind farms. About 70 percent of the rebates -- more than $1.6 billion in U.S. tax dollars -- has gone to foreign developers, according to an analysis in February by the Washington-based Investigative Reporting Workshop of grant information released by the Department of Energy.

Economist: Europe debt hurting Wyo. energy prices

The European debt crisis is driving up the value of the U.S. dollar, which makes American products more expensive in foreign markets, he said.

"That has hurt Wyoming," he said. "It will continue to hurt Wyoming because it makes energy less competitive. It drives down the prices of oil, it drives down the prices of natural gas to a lesser extent."

Energy Industry Seeking Shield From Financial Overhaul Bill

As Congress heads into its final round of negotiations on a financial overhaul bill, energy companies are making a push to win exemptions from strict derivatives regulations.

The House and Senate have passed separate bills that would require companies trading in markets ranging from interest rates to crude oil to post collateral to a central clearinghouse. Energy companies have warned setting aside the cash to comply may force them to curb investment, take on additional debt or reduce their use of derivatives.

Oil, gas and power industry lobbyists have fought a long, largely unsuccessful battle to convince lawmakers to apply the new rules only to banks and hedge funds that build their businesses around derivatives trading.

Welcome To Peak Oil - The Deeper You Drill, The More You Might Spill

While it is hard to imagine how exactly they got process safety so wrong - drilling a mile below sea level without frequently testing and certifying that the system would actually shut the flow off when needed? - we should not miss the larger point, that this failed charge signifies the arrival of Peak Oil.

Alaska pipeline shut down following oil spill

Crude oil from the trans-Alaska pipeline spilled Tuesday into a massive tank and overflowed into a containment area, shutting down the 800-mile line until the hazard is removed.

The spill happened during a scheduled pipeline shutdown at a pump station near Fort Greely, about 100 miles south of Fairbanks.

Pennsylvania Marcellus output may top 2.5 Bcf/d in 2011

Natural gas production from the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania is expected to more than double in 2011 to 2.5 Bcf/d from 1 Bcf/d in 2010, the Pennsylvania State University's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences said in a study Tuesday.

Brazil's booming agriculture sector eyes global markets

Brazil is the world's biggest producer of coffee, oranges and sugar cane.

It is the second largest grower of soy, and the third for corn. And it is growing faster than its competitors.

"We have the fourth largest agricultural system in the world, after China, the United States and Europe," says Dr Guilherme Dias, professor of rural economy in the University of Sao Paulo.

"But their production is stalled while Brazil's is growing fast, so I think we will be ahead of United States and Europe in about 20 years."

In graphics: Eurozone in crisis

One of the main causes of the currency crisis in the eurozone is that virtually all countries involved have breached their own self-imposed rules.

Overall, Greece is the worst offender, with debt at 115.1% of GDP and a deficit of 13.6% of GDP. But among the bigger economies, Italy's debt is even higher than Greece's as a percentage of GDP, while Spain's deficit is 11.2% of GDP. If the UK were in the eurozone, it would also fall foul of the criteria, with its debt now standing at 68.1% of GDP and its deficit at 11.5% of GDP.

Flash floods destroy Bankladesh livelihoods

There have been efforts to introduce a strain of rice that can survive under water - and therefore still be harvested, even when submerged by flooding.

Those strains tend to originate in China and there is a reluctance to adopt them.

"The problem," says Mr Chowdhury, "is that we are accustomed to eating one kind of rice and people are not happy to change their cultural habits."

Meanwhile, families will have to endure the shortage of food and they will have meagre resources, if any at all, to purchase the seeds for planting next year.

Global economy shrugs off debt crisis

Europe’s sovereign debt crisis sent shock waves across the world as it proved that the recovery from the great recession was neither steady nor guaranteed.

But through this tense period, most economists have remained confident in the world economic recovery. Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Italy are simply not big enough to derail the global economy.

Global Economy Shrugs off Debt Crisis

The end of the world is still nigh, just delayed a bit.

A couple of humorous links that are good (that are based on the opposite conclusion):

Clarke and Dawe ask the million dollar questions (comedy)

The grasshoppers and the ants – a modern fable

Everybody in the west knows the fable of the grasshopper and the ant. The grasshopper is lazy and sings away the summer, while the ant piles up stores for the winter. When the cold weather comes, the grasshopper begs the ant for food. The ant refuses and the grasshopper starves. The moral of this story? Idleness brings want.

Yet life is more complex than in Aesop’s fable. Today, the ants are Germans, Chinese and Japanese, while the grasshoppers are American, British, Greek, Irish and Spanish.

The Japanese government is a huge grasshopper if you look at debt % of GDP. They're in a mess.

The Germans have exporters syndrome and the industry is not prepared to handle a turndown. I expect Germany's debt load to increae drastically if they start having to prop up their exporters.

The Chinese, well I have no idea what's up with them.

As far as the identified grasshoppers, Ireland actually took a great deal of rational steps to rebalance their economy and their government's position is ant-like. The Greeks and Spanish have serious union and corruption issues that are likely to sink them.

As for us Anglos, we know our problems. It remains to be seen if we're going to deal with them or just push the government bubble on down the line.

Everybody in the west knows the fable of the grasshopper and the ant.

Here is another hilarious take on the subject: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SX6ugG2iuN4 (forwind to 3:55)

Ants the Germans and grasshoppers the Greeks and the Spanish?

Of course it must be because the Northern races are thrifty, hardworking and virtuous and the sun burned Mediterraneans and their brethren, lazy and corrupt.
Hours worked by selected countries, 2008
Greece 2,120
Mexico 1,893
Italy 1,802
USA 1,792
Japan 1,772
Spain 1,647
La France 1,544
Germany 1,430
(taken from a graph in TAE)

As it is well known butter doesn't melt on the lips of the Anglos.

How The Global Oil Watchdog Failed Its Mission

"More worryingly, when the Guardian broke the story about the IEA whistleblower (28) in November 2009, Campbell wrote an open-letter to Terry Macalister, Energy Editor of the newspaper. He explained the events around the 1998 WEO and declared:

“I explained this (the “coded message” of the 1998 WEO) to a journalist (David Fleming) who contacted the element within the IEA which was pleased that this important hidden message should get out.” (29)

Having read that with great interest, I immediately wanted to know who the “element within the IEA” could be. To my surprise, Campbell told me that the “element” was..."


A guest host on CNBC this morning had a pretty good quote, "Governments worldwide are trying to regulate the price of energy; soon, the price of energy will regulate governments worldwide."

That guest host was great (I think his name was Mark Fisher ?) - he said he thinks the next big thing will be a "reset" of the global economy whereby there's a sort of collective realization that printing more and more money is pointless and all that really matters is grain, energy, water etc.

Apparently he's a big commodities guy (but wasn't always like that - he "saw the light" at some point). Based on his comments he sounded like he should have been posting on TOD.

In typical CNBC fashion they cut him off soon after the topics started to get too heavy - because of course there was yet another car commercial they just had to play rather than let the guy really get on a roll...

In typical CNBC fashion they cut him off soon after the topics started to get too heavy

That's something I don't like on CNBC, the hushing of guests by way of talking over, going to ads, or forcing a switch in subjects. Since the station is rooted in rah rah, pure capitalism i.e. zero regulations, the best part of the broadcast is guest comments. I suppose we will have to settle for those occasional golden nuggets jammed in here and there, like the one WT posted.

Yup. As I said yesterday, if the US government tries to price-control oil Nixon style, it'll discover that most of the sources lie outside its jurisdiction. Pay the going rate or shut down. Of course, since governments are best at vetoing things and shutting them down, maybe that's what we'll get when the populist wave crashes ashore.

I think you're right Paul. Nixon price controls are the wrong prescription for where we're at. Perhaps we should nationalize all of the resources on all federal land including off shore fishing and oil drilling. The govt. is so inefficient that it will no doubt take 2 people to do the job of 1 which will solve the unemployment problem. The price of gas will rise so high that most people will cease driving cars for personal transportation so Peak Oil problem solved.

If you have the conviction that we have already seen the high water mark of Oil production in relation to personal consumption you must understand that tyranny in one form or another is soon to arrive. Wouldn't you prefer a dose of socialism to plutocracy?


The price of gas will rise so high that most people will cease driving cars for personal transportation so Peak Oil problem solved.

Since fuel is only 33% of what oil is used for, switching everyone to EVs or public transportation would help, but not solve, the problems of peak oil. The rest have to do with production of food and transportation of most everything. That and plastics and pharmaceuticals, of course.

The best that a sudden halt to automobile use could do is to create a temporary fix. The fact is that all fossil fuels will peak and diminish. Given sufficient time, use will halt from total exhaustion of resources. By then we need to be at sustainable population with sustainable energy sources and food sources in place... otherwise people die.

Meanwhile, it looks to me like Pluto is running the show, and he's taking advice from Daffy!


Since fuel is only 33% of what oil is used for,

I assume you mean transportation fuel. I don't think that is even close. In California it is 74 percent of what oil is used for. Googled it but could only find the percentage used in California.


In California, 74 percent of our oil is used for transportation -- cars, planes, trucks, buses and motorcycles. We'll learn more about transportation energy in Chapter 18.

I have seen other figures that indicate 70 percent of all oil use is for transportation fuel. Obviously the rest of the nation is not that different from California.

Edit: Found this: http://www.nrdc.org/air/transportation/gasprices.asp

Of the 20 million barrels of oil consumed each day, 40 percent is used by passenger vehicles, 24 percent by industry, 12 percent by commercial and freight trucks, 7 percent by aircraft, and 6 percent in residential and commercial buildings.

So if you add the 40 percent used by passanger vehicles to the 12 percent used by trucks and the 7 percent used by aircraft, that comes to 59 percent. That still leaves out trains and ships. I think 70 percent of petroleum use for transportation fuel would be pretty close.

Ron P.

I stand corrected. I meant automobile use, since that was the previous post. And, I would accept 40% as close. Don't know where I saw the 33% but that was what stuck in my head... a surprisingly low number (as is 40%) when considering how much automobile fuel we use here. The figure I recall is worldwide, and includes the many countries where automobiles are rare, or less common.


That remark goes hand in hand with the idea that oil is not priced in dollars, rather dollars are priced in oil.

“The latest issue of the International Energy Agency's annual publication, World Energy Outlook, is a case in point. It has a story to tell which will profoundly affect the future of every man and woman on earth... The prospect of a one-way oil price shock early in the next decade changes the present economic and political agenda profoundly. Assumptions of sustained economic growth and low unemployment will be blown out of the water… So why is the IEA not shouting about this? As the most influential policy body in the oil business, it is in a delicate position. It cannot just blurt it out. It cannot say: ‘We are looking at a big, permanent oil deficit, for which we can offer no solutions'… The IEA has revealed the situation in coded form.”

From the above posted http://www.countercurrents.org/badal250510.htm

... does this mean that TOD may be on to something? Wow!! To quote again Leonard Cohen, Hallelujah!

Nevertheless, in 1998, the most influential member of the Agency, the USA , didn't like at all what was coming from their study. A structural problem with oil as identified by the IEA team would undeniably question the sustainability of the current economic model.

And what did Clinton, Bush and Obama do in the meantime besides: 1) go to war for oil "security" while lying to the public, and 2) Blow multiple overlapping economic bubbles while deregulating financial markets until fraud was endemic throughout... ???

Clinton, Bush and Mr. "Change-You-Can-Believe-In" himself Obama should be tried for treason.

Tried for treason sounds a little extreme. Is your real name Ann Coulter?

The Autoextremist sees a bright side:


Their administrations were aware of the impending Peak in world oil production.

What policies did they promote at home? How about Climate Change? How much real effort there? Peak Oil was not a "fringe theory," all three presidents were aware of it and what it meant.

Bush and Obama took/take Peak Oil seriously enough to go to war to control the oil in the middle east.

They did not tell the public the truth, and still are not telling the truth (recall Three Days to the Condor - they'll tell us "then" ?? ).

They also helped dismantled the safeguards in the financial system and refuse to put them back in place - even now that the global economy is collapsing. Obama did not have to carry on the Bush Doctrine economy.

You may give them a pass now, but let's see what your kids say in a few years.

If they told the public the truth, collapse would happen almost immediately. Is that really the best option at this point? What seems to be happening now is that the leaders are holding up the house of cards called modern prosperity as long as they can, to give people time to prepare. The more people that are prepared, the better our chances of getting though collapse with at least some chance of a tolerable life thereafter.

I'm not so sure leaders telling the truth outright is the best way to go at this point. President Carter told the truth in a televised speech in 1977, but everyone ignored him (even his own party). Now it's too late for the truth.

Preacher, you're right about that. The problem is worse, though, with the status quo maintained. It makes folks believe there is no problem, and no urgency. Of course, the delay has been so long that the problem has become a situation - not something that can be solved, but something that must be dealt with. Of course, politicians won't deal with it, and they are just doing what they can to postpone that. Meanwhile, numbers of people continue to rise, and we hear how well the economy is recovering.

The reality will be disguised forever as we have succeeding recessions, depressions and are told that it is demand decrease that is causing the diminished availability of fossil fuels. As we proceed ever downward to whatever sustainable level awaits us.

The longer we put off change, the more difficult it becomes, and the more painful.

I have told friends and family for years that we should have listened to Preacher Jimmy. Instead we listened to Saint Ronnie the Wrong, and here we are, watching the end game in progress. Nice going, folks! We deserve whatever we get!


I don't know what would have happened if any of the three had told the public the "truth" - even some watered-down version of the truth.

It would depend on what they said and how they said it. Telling us Peak would not happen for 50 years certainly was not a better choice - as Zaphod said, these presidents stoked the fires of consumption increasing complacency and making more and more people debt-slaves.

And what DID they DO instead of telling the public anything resembling the TRUTH?
1. war for oil- check,
2. destroy the financial system be removing key laws- check,
3. do not enforce the laws that still remain - check
4. spend trillions on bail-outs- check
5. build out rail ... no
6. Energy "Manhattan Project" ... no

you get the idea.

WE, the fat and happy (still), can afford to give them a pass.

Our children will not be so kind.

Hello members of TOD,

I have been aware of Peak Oil for about 2 months now and I've been following TOD for a couple of weeks, now I have decided to join. I need to say that I find all the information on the site, every opinion, to be of extraordinary importance, and thank you all for sharing your ideas for everyone to read.

I've been worried about the issue of Peak Oil, especially as I look around me and see young members of my family and community, and my imagination runs wild as to the suffering they'll face in the future.

I would like an opinion, an honest and educated opinion on what are the chances someone like me could last long during an oil crunch. I am open to change and to learning and I have the desire to live a simpler, sustainable life. I just desire being able have food, basic hygiene facilities and the ability to provide these to my family members. I don't really care about luxuries such as entertainment, etc. However, I have no property/real-estate (live in a rented apartment), don't earn very well (live from pay-check to pay-check), I have been working for just a year and have yet to finish my education (about 1 year left), I'm a programmer (a skill that I feel will be useless when oil prices sky-rocket and economies collapse), I have no knowledge of survival skills or permaculture etc. Thankfully I have no debt as I try to only spend and acquire what I can afford.

I personally have a very pessimistic view on the issue.

What are your views?

Hi, madcv and welcome.

I believe we are heading into a depression, so that is the context of my comments.

I would offer the basic advice I give to everyone: start creating community wherever you decide you are going to live during this period. Even better, become one of the organizers of the community. I would ignore the people who say that you should go it alone...there is much you (and all of us) can do when we band together. Find or start a Transition initiative if it doesn't already exist where you live.

Interestingly, software consulting wages for certain skills have held up during this economic downturn. If you are nimble and network well, you may be able to keep a fair amount of money coming in as the economy declines.

Start learning practical backup skills that you can barter with. For example, I am studying building energy auditing.

Managing your attitude is as important as anything else! But the primary determinant of your attitude is the future you are living into. Set yourself a big goal then get to work on it. The alternative is to keep shrinking your goals because you are not seeing the opportunities that exist for you in addition to the threats. If you go down that route you will become and stay depressed.

Big goals will keep your spirits up especially if you work with a group of people who share those goals. When you get down one day someone in the group will lift you up. You will find yourself doing the same thing when someone else gets down.

Use this as an opportunity to grow, not to shrink.


Here, read this:

It's an excellent example of what a certain group of men and women with big goals did during the 1929 depression.

Why are you trying to fill the lad's head with such nonsense. It's a fact that the future is filled with misery and death, and that's just in the geriatric ward. Outside, marauding bands of starving murderers will haunt every street corner, every country lane and might even spend the odd night at home in the suburbs.

Go to church, lad, and pray for the relief of hell, because one week of post peak oil living will be beyond the darkest fantasies of Dante. And no, you don't have much time. The financial crisis is Satan's signal.

Put your ear to the ground, you can hear the rumbling of the horsepersons of the apocalypse. Although it might be your stomach. Damn that uncertainty principle.

Andre is much too modest (how does he put that accent mark in his name?). He has an excellent web site called PostPeakLiving he should've mentioned. Check it out.

Thank you, I will check out these links.

The (not so) funny story of me and WT's ELP plan.

In the shower one morning (December, 2008), I finally made up my mind to "walk into my bosses office and demand a pay cut" as WT advised. I drove into work, and was sitting at my desk, thinking of how to phrase it, when my boss came by and said "I've got bad news, we are going to have to let you go". I can't help but think what would have happened if I had made my move earlier.

Not funny at all. Unfortunately, I can't ask for for a paycut as my salary is already in the bottom 30% of the salary range. I've already cut out everything that wasn't a necessity. Either way I see the logic to the ELP plan.

When I started working, I moved to within 7 kilometres of my employer. It is an advantage to renting, as I can move when needed.

Madcv, welcome to the list. Yes, opinions here are all over the map. Also some opinions has changed in the last couple of years, I know mine has. Here is my "current" opinion, but one that might change in the next couple of years.

I do not believe a peak oil crunch will come in the next five or six years. Peak oil is in the past but few people realize it, or give much importance to that fact. The real crunch will come from the world's debt crisis and, I believe anyway, the bursting of the Chinese real estate bubble. These two things combined will send the world into an economic tailspin. A huge worldwide depression is upon us.

All this will drive down the demand for oil as the world's ability to produce oil declines also. It is a remarkable coincidence that both will happens at the same time that will be the case. Or, it may be no coincidence at all if the current financial crisis had its genesis in the peaking of oil prices along with the peaking of oil production. But the decline of oil production will insure that the world never recovers from the depression brought about by the financial crisis.

But what to do? I am doing absolutely nothing because I am 71 and hope to be safely dead when things get really bad. I have three sons and six grandchildren and I would hope that they would prepare for the coming collapse in some kind of way. But they all think I am a crazy old man who thinks the world is coming to an end. They won't listen to a damn word I say.

Wish I had some good advice as to what you might try, but I do not. Sorry.

Ron P.

Thank you very much.

Hi madcv

A good source for learning some survival skills is the WWOOF organisation. This is Willing Workers On Organic Farms, and has branches in many countries. The basis is that that people swap labour for food, accommodation, and education on organic farms.

Go to www.wwoof.pt to see what is available in your country. Many young (and some very Old!) people spend their holidays or nomad lifestyle in this way.

As an aging (60yo) doomer, I expect to see the early stages of the Great Decline, but nowhere near the bottom. My advice would be to develop as many basic, practical skills as you can. The most valuable skills are likely to those that address the most basic human needs; food, water, shelter, clothing. High quality, easily carried hand tools that support these activities will always be an asset.


Hi Madcv,

Welcome. I'm a prepper/survival-oriented person. You can get an idea of where I'm at by reading a key post of mine http://www.theoildrum.com/node/4979.

I'd suggest you spend time at http://www.survivalblog.com There is a large store of daily information and excellent archives.

For free what-to-do information I'd suggest reading the LDS Preparedness Manual (~200 pages) available as a free download at http://www.green-trust.org/freebooks/Preparedness This book has excellent, useful information!

If you have a few bucks buy How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques and Technologies For Uncertain Times by James Wesley Rawles ISBN 978-0-452-29583-4 Rawles also runs the Survivalblog site.

Good luck. Keep plugging away and you'll get there.


PS...If you possibly can, find a mentor who is actually doing it (I say, "doing it" because no one ever really gets done.). It will save you going up a lot of dead-ends and telling you where to find information as well as giving you a sounding board where you can talk about concerns both as to what to do but also how things might play out. A couple of buddies and I talk on the phone almost every week to commiserate and three of us used to get together once a month for a looong lunch where we'd not only talk but also bring along printouts of articles (to give to the other people) that were important but that they might have missed.

When looking for a mentor, be sure you both have complete rapport and also be aware that some may have agendas to which you may not subscribe. If this interests you, I'd be willing to play that part for a while. You can contact me a detzel at mcn dot org. We're getting a new computer set-up so I can't respond to email for about a week. Also be aware that I don't like to carry on email conversations but rather like to talk directly to people on the phone.


Hey, Todd
If you start having those lunches again, let me know.

Hi Mike,

Give me a call and we can set something up (don't call after 8PM since it's close to bedtime). It would be you, Kent and I since Frank moved. You'd be welcome to bring anyone you want. I would probably ask a new guy from Willits (that's you, Harry) I met through TOD who gets it.

We met at the park and brownbagged it. Usually started around 11:30 and BSed until 1-2.

All the best - Todd

Will do; might see Kent in town, too.


Thank you, I live in Portugal. I'm going to try to see what's going on here.

So the good news is you have no debt. People with mortgages (like me) have a real risk depending how PO works its way through the economy. And if you're still in education, I'm guessing you're young.

I would recommend you start acquiring skills that will be useful post-oil. A few suggestions (and I'm sure there will be plenty more):

First aid
Food gardening (can you get access to an allotment or volunteer at a community farm?)
Making stuff the old-fashioned way (soap, clothes, baskets, shoes...)

If possible, start building links with people who do have assets that will be valuable post-oil - particularly, people with land. Farmers especially. Right now they rely on machines to do the work for them, post oil they'll be back to looking for labourers.

So I'd also recommend you get or stay in physical shape; walk, cycle, get regular exercise - because willing labour will likely retain some value post-oil.

Like you I'm relatively newly PO aware and thinking about what the future holds and how I get myself and my family through the bottleneck, so I know what you're going through!

Best of luck

unlike some here I'd suggest you go on holiday - not going to get the flights soon or be able to pay forit if available - see the world


follow the good advice of the others - there are many ways here

but dont buy a car of course

buy some beer , enjoy a take away pizza , keep an eye on main stream news

buy some popcorn and enjoy the ride!


(reaching peak oil burn out ;) )

oh , i forgot to add - don't listen or read anything from westtexas - that export land model is SCARY - I mean you'll be slitting your wrists man! :)

give up now ! its like 2012 without the happy ending ( if you could say 2012 had a happy ending for most people .....)

remember its going to get worse, before its gets worse

export land model? not too familiar with that...I'll check it out...then stay away from it :)

You can get a sense of the Export Land dilemma by looking at the numbers directly as a series of data graphics with the Energy Export Databrowser. For example, here's the UK's Oil situation in graphical form:

In it you can see:

  1. consumption rose until the first oil shock in 1973
  2. consumption took another hit in the second oil shock in 1980
  3. the coal miner's strike is evident in the increased oil consumption in 1984
  4. the development of North Sea oil took the UK from importer to exporter of oil
  5. the Piper Alpha disaster of 1988 shut down ~20% of the UK's oil production
  6. despite production peaking in 1999, consumption has remained steady and the UK has slipped back into importer status

Look at a few of these graphics and you'll have a good sense of what's going on in the world.

Happy Exploring!

-- Jon

I think you might find this helpful:


If you're reading this, you are aware of and probably concerned about the depletion of earth's finite fossil fuel resources, on which modern technological civilization is almost completely dependent, popularly called "Peak Oil" or PO for short. Good for you! By becoming aware of the issue and seeking to learn about it, you are already ahead of the vast majority of people. By trying to find out what, if anything, you can do about it, you're even further ahead. I'm betting you are more likely than average to be open-minded and someone who thinks for him/herself. My advice: don't stop thinking for yourself by adopting without question the dogma of PO doomerism.

I consider myself to be a person of above-average intelligence and a critical thinker, and yet I was sucked in by the 21rst century's equivalent of a doomsday cult. I was ripe for the picking.

I first became aware of the unsustainability of modern civilization in the 1970s, during the so-called oil shocks. I was a kid, but reasonably bright and with a scientific bent, so I read almost everything I could find on energy in general and oil in particular. What I discovered wasn't comforting. We had just 30 years of oil left! We needed it for all the chemicals and plastic things I had previously taken for granted. And here I was, burning this valuable stuff up in Dad's lawnmower! There had to be a better way.

I looked at renewables, but at the time, they all looked like losers. I wouldn't hear the term EROEI (Energy Returned On Energy Input) for another 30 years, but even a teenager could see that if you put more energy into something than you could expect to get out of it, it wasn't going to solve the problem. That was true for alcohol fuels, and it was true for solar (photovoltaic) panels. Fusion power sounded good but again even a teenager could see that if you don't yet know how to make something work, it would be foolish to gamble the future on figuring it out in time.

Then I found coal and nuclear power. There was lots of coal, at the time, 500 years worth. And nuclear power, we couldn't ever run out of that (not necessarily true, but I believed it at the time). I had the answer - we were saved! You see, I liked modern technology, and I still do - to me, it was (and is) worth saving. I set the snooze alarm for 1990 (a few years before the oil was due to run out) and more-or-less forgot the whole thing.

In 1987, I first heard about global warming. This was surprising since during the 70s I remember people saying we were heading into a new ice age. Still, I looked at the CO2 and temperature data, and it did seem as if the cooling trend had ended and the earth was gradually warming up, and of course the rise in CO2 levels was clear as a bell. Although the causal relationship was yet unproven, it seemed to me that we'd be better safe than sorry, and so this just looked like another good reason to cut down on using fossil fuels. Unfortunately, mainstream thought seemed to have gone strongly against nuclear power, apparently (to me, having read a lot about it) without much more reason than that Hollywood had made it the spawn of the devil. Since I had already concluded renewables weren't going to do the job, I was resigned to the idea that we would burn through the remaining fossil resources until there weren't two carbon atoms left clinging together, and only then switch to nuclear power.

By the mid-90s it was time for my wake-up call. I discovered and started reading BP's world energy report. The forecast oil doomsday hadn't occurred, in fact there was a comfortable increase in the reserve numbers and the R/P (Reserve-to-Production) ratio had expanded to 40 years. It was beginning to look like this wasn't going to be a problem in my lifetime. The price of oil had crashed and headlines talked about an oil glut. All this extra oil was good news, but it looked as if, instead of counting our blessings at having another century or so of petro-chemical production, the US was hell-bent on burning it up in monstrous, wasteful trucks. What happened to the conservation programs? And when exactly were we going to start building nuclear plants? What about global warming?

About ten years later, I was debating energy issues with one of my greenie friends at dinner. While we both agreed on the need to kick the fossil fuel habit, her contention was that we could get all the energy we needed from renewable sources, whereas I was convinced that we needed nukes because renewables were a Hollywood eco-fantasy and that if you "did the math", you'd probably need a solar cell the size of the entire desert southwest to meet the energy needs of the US. She challenged me to prove that, so off I went to the web to do some research. In doing so, I found...

More here: http://peakoildebunked.blogspot.com/2006/07/307-confessions-of-ex-doomer...

Yeah, right. This is so full of standard denialist BS, I doubt is is anything but trollery.

Oops, sorry, checked the source. It's even worse than denialist BS--it's our old friend John Denver (JD), banned, I believe, from this site for being an uber-troll.

Is "Jim Gatz" a renamed JD? Or is he just a JD acolyte?

Ah, and just became a member minutes before posting this.

Anyone else interested in joining me in flagging this trollishness as inappropriate?

"flagging this trollishness as inappropriate"

I'd flag it as hilarious if it wasn't so boring.


Well, I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However, this podcast by UBC ecological economist, William Rees, might help to clarify some of the sobering realities.

"Understanding the Human Brain: From the Boiled Frog Syndrome to Embracing a New Story."


I consider myself to be a person of above-average intelligence and a critical thinker,

I think here you make two mistakes in one sentence. ;-)

Ron P.

Remind us what you were saying a while back about ad hominem attacks.

I'm not sure you understand what "ad hominem" means. It's gotten so that people seem to think an "ad hominem attack" means any kind of personal slight, which it does not. It has a precise meaning in logic and debate - it means "I'm claiming this guy's argument must be wrong because he is a jerk". And of course, that's a logical error - plenty of jerks are capable of mustering a logical argument, and indeed of being "right".

Here's an ad hominem argument: "So and so is a known child molester, therefore his views on economics are clearly wrong."

I think what Ron might have been saying (and he is more than capable of explaining himself) was the other way 'round. Like "this guy's arguments are clearly wrong, therefore these particular claims of his intelligence and critical thinking have amusement value."

I tend to agree with Ron on this one, but no matter - whatever else he was doing there, that's not an "ad hominem" argument.

I've gotta go with sgage on this one. Ron was calling out a troll (as well as a number of other responsible posters here) to a newbie who had asked TOD for help and instruction on preparations for Peak Oil. That person doesn't need propaganda...he can get plenty of that from MSM.


I think it was an intelligent posting that Ron attempted to deride by mocking the intelligence and critical thinking capability of the poster.

The poster has a demonstrably valid point that nuclear represents less environmental hazard than fossil fuels. He is also right that declining consumption of fossil fuels will not [likely] be matched by increasing supplies of renewable energy.

I think he is wrong to suggest that nuclear can make up the difference. Should I mock him, or call him a troll, because I think differently? Of course not.

Ron, on the other hand, is well known even to his own family, as a crazy old coot.

Ron, on the other hand, is well known even to his own family, as a crazy old coot.

Talk about an ad hominem attack! True, I did state that because I believe in peak oil some of my children and grandchildren think I am a crazy old man. But only on that issue. They think I am a very bright old gentleman on just about everything else. ;-)

Ron P.

during the so-called oil shocks.

So called means? What is ment by that?

I looked at renewables, but at the time, they all looked like losers.

At the time. Huh. And now?

(And when has passive solar construction EVER "a loser"?)

it was true for solar (photovoltaic) panels.

Was. As in the past?

Because this is what I've gotten from another source.

Life-cycle analyses show that the energy intensity of typical solar photovoltaic technologies is rapidly evolving. In 2000 the energy payback time was estimated as 8 to 11 years,[80] but more recent studies suggest that technological progress has reduced this to 1.5 to 3.5 years for crystalline silicon PV systems.[74]

Thin film technologies now have energy pay-back times in the range of 1-1.5 years (S.Europe).[74] With lifetimes of such systems of at least 30 years[citation needed], the EROEI is in the range of 10 to 30. They thus generate enough energy over their lifetimes to reproduce themselves many times (6-31 reproductions, the EROEI is a bit lower) depending on what type of material, balance of system (or BOS), and the geographic location of the system.[81]


And at this point I'm done deconstructing a post from JD as its not like the others here on TOD need convincing or pointing out how JD is wrong is gonna change JD's mind. I have gardens that need my attention.

So you can opt to believe a poster who provides no data to back up their position or you can look at the sources that offer up a different position.

Lots of good advice above. It's just so hard to know what's going to happen. Will there be inflation or deflation? A long descent or a full-stop crash? There are good arguments for many different scenarios. I think at the very least the next ten years are going to be tumultuous as our financial system flounders and we begin to come to terms with what a finite planet means.

Michael Ruppert is a major doomer (watch a presentation of his advice here:

I do think he's right that everyone's situation is different, depending on where one lives (he advises sticking with a place you really know well), one's level of health, the value one's geographical location has to central government, etc. I also think he's right that at this point investing time and energy into the sustainability of one's local community will bring the greatest returns. Of course, it helps if that community has at least a chance at being sustainable (i.e. not Las Vegas or Phoenix.)

On a macro level, Stoneleigh's primer "How to Build a Lifeboat" at Automatic Earth is good, though, since I still have a mortgage, I can't say I've followed all of it.

Since I'm a practical person, I can't help but give practical advice.
1.) At the very least, have on hand a Berkey water filter, six weeks of food, a solar or crank flashlight, and a bicycle with a rack or other ability to carry things.
2.) (For winter) Have a blanket on your bed warm enough you can set the thermostat to 50 degrees at night. Have wool or fleece clothes warm enough you can set the thermostat to 60 degrees during the day.
3.) (For summer) If you live where it's hot, install a couple ceiling fans so you can live most of the year without air conditioning.
4.) Get some access to a community or other garden to grow vegetables. Try out the farmer's markets in your community. (In an energy crunch these farmers may be clever enough, by hook or crook, to get their goods to town for sale.)
5.) Think twice and even three times about having children. (You sound young, so this may not even be on your mind.) We just don't know what the shape of the curve is ahead of us--undulating wind down or shark fin drop off. Children are enormous source of joy, but if things become bad enough that survival is at stake, having to provide and care for young children will be very, very hard. After things shake out the next couple of years and the slope ahead becomes clearer, that will be a good time to take stock and see what makes sense in terms of children.
6.) Stay healthy. You don't want to be in need of surgery, MRIs or pharmaceuticals. For chronic conditions, start investigating Chinese medicine or herbal or dietary remedies.

Once you've settled on a place you want to invest in, my advice is to look around and see how you want to pitch in. My personal campaign these days is "Bicycling and Public Transit are Fun, Cheap and Easy (and Not Just For Poor People.)" My theory is that a great deal of the adaptation ahead of us is psychological. If people feel ashamed of the changes they will need to make, that creates extra pain. If, instead, the changes are fashionable and popular, people's habits can transition without a lot of anger and resistance. Whatever you decide to work on, the good news is that there are lots of opportunities to make a difference. In many ways this a very creative time. The task ahead of us is literally reimagining and reinventing the world.

Thanks for the advice.

I'm trying to find a bicycle with some ability to carry things but its very expensive for me. Here in Portugal, salaries are generaly very low, if I where to purchase one of these bicycles it would account for 40% of my monthly salary, as much as my monthly rent. If I were earning minimum wage it would be worth 66% of the salary.

Where I am residing I don't have heating or air conditioning. Generally if it's cold, I wear layers of clothing (as much as necessary), when it's hot, shed the layers of clothing.

As much as it pains me, I have let go of the idea of having children or ever having a house.

I have been thinking of moving to Luxembourg for 2-3 years and try to save up some money as I can earn up to 4 times more than I am now (then I may be able to invest in some gold or silver, and equipment for gardening etc.), and generaly have a better quality of life. Then I would come back to live locally, near family and see how I fare.

Again, thanks for the advice.

Ah, I didn't catch on that you aren't in the U.S. Sorry. Hard to know how much of the advice would hold true for Portugal. (I've been to Portugal once. Beautiful country; friendly people. Water issues?) If you could earn enough money in Luxembourg for a bicycle and gardening equipment (does your family have access to land? water?) it might not be a bad idea.

As much as it pains me, I have let go of the idea of having children or ever having a house

You can't totally give up on the future just because of peak oil. Peak oil does not mean "the end of the world"(TEOTW), it means "the end of the world as we know it"(TEOTWAWKI).

Personally, I'm two months away from the birth of my second (and last) child. My 2 year old daughter has already given me more joy than I could have ever imagined. When times get tough, my kids will give me a reason to keep going, and I expect them to be an incredible asset during those tough times. Almost everything I've ever seen on surviving hardship lists "the will to live" as being the #1 most important surviaval concept, and kids will give you that in spades.

Sure, think about what you would do for drinkable water if there was no tap-water available. When you buy food at the store, pick up an extra can of whatever and store it away for emergency use. Read lots of books on "country living", food storage, learn how to garden, buy seed packet even if only to trade them to someone else, etc. But whatever you do, don't give up on having a family or getting married because of what most likely will happen if nothing changes, because circumstances might change in the meantime(for better or worse).

You might get hit by a car tomorrow morning, or, maybe you win the lottery. Maybe some researcher discovers a way to make solar, or wind or tidal power 1000x more efficient than they currently are. Live your life, plan for the worst, hope for the best. Any amount of planning that you do puts you in better shape than 90% of the population.

I agree with you completely that children are great bringers of joy. And my congratulations on the birth of your next child.

Unfortunately I feel I will not have the courage to support a child through times of great troubles and suffering. But that is me.

Thank you very much for your input, it did cheer me up :)

Try to live not in one of the biggest cities. Find the smallest city or town where you can get a job, but especially choose a town where food is grown nearby. Look for a town that has rivers near it, even if they are polluted. You can always filter water by yourself but you will need it.

Don`t buy a car. Even if relatives pressure you, just stick with walking/biking/public trans.

Try to buy basic simple food: raw vegetables, grains, dried beans, fresh things. Don`t get into the habit of using frozen food. Use fresh food and cook it yourself.

Look for a job that has connections to a food producing company. Food producing companies need accountants, IT staff, clerical staff, etc. They often have connections with farmers. Try to build professional connections to people who work in farming. Make friends and make yourself useful. Another idea is something in a medical field. People always need antibiotics and aspirin. Work for a company that produces them or in a small hospital in a not too big town that has fields near it.

If you have time for a hobby, choose something that you really like where you an make something (leatherwork, metal, sewing, rent a plot of land for a garden, get some small livestock, like rabbits or chickens).

Good luck!!!

You need a copy of my never-to-be-published book, 'Profiting from the Coming Depression'.

The governments will have to tax and print their way out; Stimulus II. This must be coordinated to avoid arbitrage.

The problem right now satisfying the banksters who created/hold the debt.

The obvious solution is to nationalize all the banks so the government can print the new money in peace.
If the government has to fight 'inflation' by price controls that's a price we must be all willing to pay.


Price controls, what a wonderful way to insure that things that are imported will become completely unavailable such as oil.

Trouble brewing in North Korea, but probably not the one everyone's worried about:

Will dormant Mt. Baekdu volcano awaken?

Mountain Baekdu, a dormant volcano on the border between North Korea and China, is showing signs of a possible eruption in the near future, experts warned Tuesday.

"Baekdu could erupt anytime soon," said geologist Yoon Sung-hyo at Pusan National University, who has monitored the nation's highest mountain (2,744 meters) for any changes. "A variety of indicators are backing this scenario. The thing we should try to predict is when. It's clear it's imminent."...

...If the eruption is major in scale, it would bring about massive consequences to the two Koreas as well as the surrounding states, including China, Japan and Russia.

"The amount of volcanic ash from the most violent eruption nearly 1,000 years ago was enough to cover the entire the Korean peninsula to a height of 1.2 meters," he said, citing scientific studies. "Baekdu's caldera contains nearly two billion tons of water. If it evaporates into the air all of a sudden mixed with volcanic ash of a major eruption, it would be blown to the east and consequently engulf Vladivostok in Russia and Hokkaido in northern Japan."

And of course we still have Katla in Iceland which could also be classed as imminent.

The eruption of Katla is not imminent. The disaster-porn crowd discovered Katla's history when Eyjafjallajökull satrted erupting. You can go to the Eruptions http://scienceblogs.com/eruptions/ blog to see what I'm talking about.

Nothing about Katla not being imminent that I could see on that blog. Last I heard there was reports of earthquake activity at Katla a week or so ago.

It has been quiet the last few days, but given the long term history, a major blow in the next 18 months is quite likely. Whether that qualifies as 'imminent" is, I suppose, a matter of definition.

"The amount of volcanic ash from the most violent eruption nearly 1,000 years ago was enough to cover the entire the Korean peninsula to a height of 1.2 meters," he said, citing scientific studies. "

If the re-mineralize the earth people are right - a new dawn in the ability to grow food in that area then. North Korea is saved!

Considering the mythological importance of Mount Baekdu in the "official" biography of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, I'm pretty sure an eruption would be a very bad sign. 8*P

Kim Jong-il's official biography[5] states that he was born in a secret military camp on Baekdu Mountain in Japanese occupied Korea on 16 February 1942.[9] Official biographers claim that his birth at Baekdu Mountain was foretold by a swallow, and heralded by the appearance of a double rainbow over the mountain and a new star in the heavens. (source wikipedia)

his birth at Baekdu Mountain was foretold by a swallow

Strange, most births are foretold by contractions, but a swallow certainly would be easier on the mother ... a gulp would be preferable to all that pushing...

by the appearance of a double rainbow over the mountain

Culturally, in North America, that could mean only one thing... our dear Leader is gay. Time for the beloved dictator to come out of the closet. It's o.k., Kim, won't be difficult with a name like yours.

a new star in the heavens

Wow, that's the dream of every contestant on 'America's Got Talent!' or 'Britain's Got Talent!' Maybe Susan Boyle can give our dear Leader some makeover tips.

Sorry folks, couldn't resist.

So the Bangladeshis are thinking about planting rice that can grow and be harvested underwater.

They may need to engineer the next generation of kids so they can grow and breath under water.

This will be/is becoming one of the first major non-island nations to be largely uninhabitable because of GW-driven ocean rise. Just a one meter rise, pretty much a sure thing within a few decades, will inundate 15% of the country and contaminate wells much further inland.

They are nearly surrounded by India, which will not be eager to take refugees in. The neighboring Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) region is already the most densely populated place in India, and given its low elevation, also at risk from rising seas:

wiki--India Population Density Map

Just a one meter rise, pretty much a sure thing within a few decades

This might just be a quibble based upon the fuzzy meaning of a few. I think of a few as meanin 3-5. A meter sea level rise is unlikely prior to 70-100 yeras from now. The current rate is a bit over 3mm per year. A meter per century requires a three times increase (fairly likely, but probably a few decades away).

Good News from the Pacific Northwest

Upgrades underway at Columbia river dams

Workers are preparing to install a new 45-ton turbine at the second-largest hydropower producing dam in the United States, part of a multiyear upgrade that will generate power for an additional 30,000 Northwest homes.

The $120 million project at Chief Joseph Dam on the Columbia River is one of several planned around the country as the federal agencies that operate hydropower dams replace aging equipment and employ new technology to produce more power from the same amount of water.

In the Northwest, about 40 percent of the region's low-cost electricity comes from hydropower dams, many of which were built decades ago and require upgrades.

The region also is home to the largest power-producing dam in the country — Grand Coulee Dam — where work is wrapping up to replace 18 turbines. Ten new turbines are to be installed downstream at Chief Joseph Dam by 2014.

Chief Joseph Dam already supplies enough power for the city of Seattle. Between both dams, the new turbines will produce enough power for an additional 60,000 homes once they are fully operating.

Best Hopes for Technology, Efficiency and Reduced Consumption.

-- Jon

Well isn't that a pickle! Guess where I was today... On the Columbia River, but upstream. All sorts of upgrades are going on in this region by expanding planed for capacity during original dam engineering.

It's a massive and beautiful country, I recommend anyone to get up there and see it.

Saw this in the Seattle Times today, so of course someone in the Oildrum community was all over it as well. Thanks Jon. =)

Nice to see some good news every now and then, and stories like this one make me happy to live in the Pac NW. More power from the same amount of water is pretty hard to beat. Add in a few more wind projects, and maybe a dash of tidal power when it develops a bit more and we have the makings of shutting down the single coal power plant in Washington (and the lone coal plant in Oregon as well).

One quibble I had with the article was:

In the Northwest, about 40 percent of the region's low-cost electricity comes from hydropower dams, many of which were built decades ago and require upgrades.

Forty percent is way off, because it is counting California as part of the Northwest(heh). Hydropower generates 37% of the electricity for the 5 state area of WA-OR-CA-ID-MT, but since this article was about the Northwest (mostly about Washington state really), Hydro is about 70% of Washington, 58% of Oregon, and 78% of the power mix of Idaho. Its marginal, in my view, to consider Montana as Northwest(if nothing else, 62% of electricity from burning coal should get them booted out of the club), and California really doesn't qualify (ask any Californian and they would say they are part of the "west", not the NW), Northwest Hydroelectric Association membership non-withstanding.

Northwest Electricity Generation Sources

Nitpicking, I know, but for most inhabitants of this planet "the Pacific Northwest" is that area occupied by Japan, Korea, Eastern Siberia, etc, ie those countries in the NW Pacific. The west coast of USA and Canada border the North East Pacific.

I am aware that geography is not a strong point for many USA inhabitants, but TOD contributors are mostly a cut above the average.


Except that it's the Pacific Northwest (of the US), not the Northwest Pacific. Japan et al. are the Northwest Pacific. Not so hard to figure out.

Actually, the region in question for Canada is our Southwest. Yes, Southwest Canada and ours is over 90% hydro and will be 98+% within a few years. In the BC Clean Energy Act BC Hydro has been ordered to not use Burrard Thermal NG plant except for absolute necessity. Once replacement generation for the Lower Mainland (Vancouver area) is in place the plant will be decommissioned.

Kind of crazy eh? In BC they consider natural gas to be "dirty", but it all amounts to carbon emissions.

I believe what the article is referring to is the WECC and the western members thereof.

There has been quite a bit of discussion of the circumstances under which the Schlumberger (SLB) crew left the rig on the day of the explosion. To me the two key questions are: (1) Did the SLB supervisor express concerns about the hole condition and (2) Did he insist on his crew being evacuated?

In any case, a fairly eye opening statement follows.

WSJ: Heated Argument on Rig Hours Before Blast

Douglas H. Brown, Transocean's chief mechanic on the Deepwater Horizon rig, said key representatives from both companies had a heated argument in an 11 a.m. meeting on April 20. Less than 11 hours later, the well had a blowout, an uncontrolled release of oil and gas, killing 11 workers. Mr. Brown said Transocean's crew leaders including the rig operator's top manager, Jimmy W. Harrell, strongly objected to a decision by BP's top representative, or "company man," over how to start removing heavy drilling fluid and replacing it with lighter seawater from a riser pipe connected to the well head. Such pipes act as conduits between the rig and the wellhead at the ocean floor, and carry drilling fluid in and out of the well. . .

"The (BP) company man was basically saying, 'This is how it's gonna be,' " said Mr. Brown, who didn't recall the name of the BP representative in question. Mr. Brown said he didn't normally pay close attention to drilling discussions during the 11 a.m. meetings, which detailed all events on the rig that day. But he said he recalled the dispute, and the cynical reaction of Mr. Harrell as he walked away afterward, in light of the April 20 accident.

Mr. Harrell "pretty much grumbled in his manner, 'I guess that is what we have those pinchers for,' " Mr. Brown testified. He said it was a reference to the shear rams on the drilling operation's blowout preventer, which are supposed to sever the main pipe in case of a disaster.

The blowout preventer failed to stop gas from rising to the surface, causing the explosion, BP has said.

The guy they interviewed was a mechanic! He said he didn't hear everything and I bet he didn't understand what he heard. Consider this hearsay.

So, is that what your friends at BP told you?

who didn't recall the name of the BP representative in question

Sure would be nice to have a name for this guy. He is the Hazelwood of this disaster.

Edit: Looking like it's Robert Kaluza

Interesting story about shortages of two key components used for repainting the white and yellow lines on highways.

Sounds like the methyl methacrylate problem is temporary. Not so sure about the TiO2 problem though. I find this comment in the story to be telling:

"The symptoms of the problem are good -- that the demand has grown faster than expected," Turmail said. "But since this compound is used in many other products, our roads could suffer for it."

It suggests that there is a problem with the supply of titanium dioxide. Was this demand not anticipated by the suppliers of TiO2 for paint?

Perhaps Peak TiO2 is on the distant horizon. Or maybe the companies that mine the rutile, anatase, brookite, and ilmenite deposits around the world that are the source of industrial TiO2 will be able to ramp up production with relative ease in the coming months, and this shortage too will be only temporary.

But...because mining companies can't/don't just ramp up production of a mineral like TiO2 overnight, maybe this news is a sign that summer plans for highway repainting around the country will end up being postponed for quite awhile, maybe weeks or months, or a year or more.


An excellent interview of Leigh Skene, an economist who sounds like he really gets it. One of the rare breed of mainstream economists who also talks about resource limitations such as energy and water.

Liked the interview so much I have just ordered his new book!

Yes, quite the interview. Skene spouts a forecast that takes into consideration impediments with fiat curreny, water, over-population, aging demographics, energy, agriculture, bubbles, credit cycle, and sovereign debt. He would fit in nicely at TOD.

Thanks HAcland for this gem.


Would that be the same Stone Leigh of TOD editorial fame? Specifically TOD Canada... I believe so, but don't hold me to it.

If it is, Skene is one of the "new age' economists that see the world for what it is and not a theoretical construct of infinite substitution variables and inputs.

The Korean situation continues to blow hot:

The United States and South Korean militaries have announced plans for joint exercises and we will explore further enhancements to our posture on the peninsula to ensure our readiness and deter future attacks. The United States is also reviewing additional options and authorities to hold North Korea and its leaders accountable. We call on North Korea to halt its provocations and its policy of threats and belligerence towards its neighbors and takes steps now to fulfill its denuclearization commitments and comply with international law.

U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton's address, 1:34 minute, US demands world response over Korea warship sinking

From the same BBC report:

With tensions rising rapidly, the North has reacted angrily to trade and shipping sanctions announced by the South.

"If South Korea takes any provocative actions against us in terms of political, economic and military measures, backed by the United States, we will respond with war for justice," said the state-run KRT television channel.

2009... 2010... 2011... 2012... 2013

Point Lepreau work delayed again
Nuclear plant's rebuilding postponed another 2 months

Two more months have been added to New Brunswick's Point Lepreau nuclear power plant refurbishment schedule, CBC News has learned.

The latest revision comes because efforts to rebuild the province's nuclear reactor missed another critical deadline last weekend.

The $1.4 billion-refurbishment, which is being handled by the federal Crown corporation Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., began in the spring of 2008, with the reactor originally scheduled to be back up and running by October 2009.


In April, NB Power President Gaetan Thomas called on AECL to speed things up.

He said the Lepreau job is critical to NB Power's financial situation. It's costing New Brunswick an extra $1 million per day to pay for replacement power and other costs while the reactor remains offline.

See: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/new-brunswick/story/2010/05/26/nb-point-lepreau...


Hi Paul,

So NB Power is paying C$1 million/day for electricity from other jurisdictions while awaiting resumption of a C$1.4 billion refurbishing project on its aging nuclear power plant - a project already well over a year behind schedule with almost a third of the work yet to be completed.

What's more, this for a province of 750,000 souls. That's over a dollar a day per person and does not include the cost of the actual refurbishing, which if my rudimentary math skills are right is about a couple of grand for each resident.

A classic example of what happens when small players try to play in the big leagues. They get slammed to the boards.

If there wasn't so much already invested, I would suggest NB scrap the whole deal and go back to the energy drawing board.

Not good news for future utility customers.

More headaches for the Graham government.


Not being a nuclear energy expert, but understanding the politics of big cap-ex, I would agree with Zadok. With a population of 750K the ambition of the energy system outweighs the ability to deliver. Or, to put it in one of my favorite sayings, the mind is writing checks the body can't cash.

A few strokes of economic analysis in the era of decline versus the era when this plant was conceived and constructed would prove instructive for many.

First NB can no longer afford a nuclear plant (eg. their life equity investment is underwater like so many mortgages), next some can no longer afford the SUV, et cetera.

Hi Tom,

I can't put my fingers on the source right now, but I recall testimony presented to a committee of the provincial legislature that suggested Point Lepreau is the most expensive source of generation in the NB Power network; I believe the figure was 11-cents per kWh, which puts it well above the average retail rate. And this was before the start of the retrofit. Barring any more surprises, the final price tag to NB Power will likely reach 2.5 billion, with the feds picking up the rest -- $3,300.00 for every man, woman and child in the province. And now there's word going around that the extension in life may be as short as ten years, not the twenty-five years that had been originally suggested.

Ratepayers will be smarting from this fiasco for a very long time to come. And to add further insult to injury, the nuclear industry is lobbying the province to add a second reactor to the fleet. Do these guys have no shame?


Point Lepreau is the most expensive source of generation in the NB Power network; I believe the figure was 11-cents per kWh

At $3300 per resident, time for them to cut their losses and to begin thinking outside the box.

There are clean energy solutions besides nuclear and ones better suited for smaller energy markets. Diverse, small scale, and local projects feeding into the grid would probably work just as well.

First suggestion I would make to NB Power is for them to hire yourself, BC_EE, and Paul Nash at competitive consultants' rates (how does a $1000/day sound to you?) to come up with some other game plan.

(PS: BC_EE, even though NB is the only officially bilingual Cdn. province, I'm sure a nice unilingual contract is negotiable ;-)

Here's to better management prevailing,


You're too kind, Tom. Sadly, 2.5 billion could have bought New Brunswick a whole whack of conservation -- the equivalent of three or four Point Lepreaus with effectively zero operating costs.


Sadly, 2.5 billion could have bought New Brunswick a whole whack of conservation -- the equivalent of three or four Point Lepreaus with effectively zero operating costs.

That is sad. Bad money chasing bad choices.

When will we ever learn that a kilowatt saved is a kilowatt earned.

Here's to future prudence,





I've been slogging through the House Natural Resources oil spill hearing held today (available on the C-Span site). One thing caught my attention and I think it is a good example of the need keep questioning information and keeping an open mind.

During the afternoon session, at 2:34:40 into the testimony I discovered that the generally accepted belief that the UK and Norway require acoustic triggers as a method of activating the BOP is not true. They are simply an approved method, just as they are in the U.S. Turns out no one had bothered until recently to call regulators in the U.K. and Norway and ask if they were required!

Now, does that mean that all operators in the U.K. and Norway don't use acoustic triggers, that some of them do, or all of them do? I don't know. That would be the next logical question to ask.

I work on the Norwegian continental shelf and acoustical triggers are required.

It means you can operate the BOP from a lifeboat after you have evacuated the rig.

Well, since this info came from the head of MMS who resigned/or was fired yesterday, you may be correct. On the other hand, it may be a company regulation and not a Norway regulation.


Major Hurricane Could devastate Houston:

ScienceDaily (May 26, 2010) — With the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season less than a week away, a new analysis from experts at several Texas universities is warning that a major hurricane could devastate the Houston/Galveston region. A report issued by the Rice University-based Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disasters Center (SSPEED) indicates that even a moderately powerful hurricane could endanger tens of thousands of lives and cripple the Houston Ship Channel, which is home to about one-quarter of U.S. refineries.

Wow, I wonder if they came to their shocking conclusion by SEEING WHAT IKE ALREADY DID! Hurricanes always pose a grave threat to whatever major coastal metropolitan area they approach.