Drumbeat: June 5, 2010

BP Collected 6,077 Barrels Friday at Well

BP PLC collected 6,077 barrels of oil on Friday, the first full day after a new containment cap was placed over the deepwater well in the Gulf of Mexico that has been leaking for more than six weeks, the company said early Saturday on its website.

The first daily estimate of oil collected indicates that possibly between half and one-third of the oil that is spewing from the BP-owned Macondo Well is being captured. Last week, scientists led by the U.S. Geological Survey estimated that between 12,000 and 19,000 barrels a day were gushing into the Gulf.

"Optimization continues and improvement in oil collection is expected over the next several days," BP said in the update.

Carbon Capture on the Cheap?

Skyonic, which has developed a system for converting smokestack fumes into sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and other minerals, is moving toward commercialization and says that early data from its pilot plant indicate that it will be able to undercut many of the industry estimates for the cost of capturing the gas.

"We can capture carbon for less than $22 a metric ton" at scale, said CEO Joe Jones in an interview. The cost figure does not include revenue generated from selling minerals produced in the process.

By contrast, McKinsey & Co. has estimated that early traditional techniques for carbon capture, i.e., storing it in underground caves, will cost $80 to $120 a ton and go down to the $30-to-$60 range over time. Some of the cost can be defrayed by selling pressurized streams of CO2 to oil companies for enhanced oil recovery.

BP Funneling Some of Leak to Surface

“I would say that things are going as planned,” Kent Wells, a BP executive, said at a briefing Friday afternoon. “I am encouraged. But remember, we only have 12 hours’ experience.”

Later, BP reported on its Web site that in the first 12 hours of operation the cap had diverted 76,000 gallons of oil to a ship on the surface. Current estimates are that oil is leaking from the well at a rate of 500,000 to 800,000 gallons a day.

With Drilling Stopped, Losses Could Multiply

One oil industry group, the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, has estimated that each exploration and production job represents four supporting jobs in and around the region. If that is the case, thousands of jobs — and millions of dollars in wages — could be affected by the work stoppage, the group said.

With that in mind, a growing chorus of residents, business owners and local politicians in the gulf region are imploring the Obama administration to reconsider the deep-water drilling ban.

BP chief Tony Hayward sold shares weeks before oil spill

Tony Hayward cashed in about a third of his holding in the company one month before a well on the Deepwater Horizon rig burst, causing an environmental disaster.

Mr Hayward, whose pay package is £4 million a year, then paid off the mortgage on his family’s mansion in Kent, which is estimated to be valued at more than £1.2 million.

There is no suggestion that he acted improperly or had prior knowledge that the company was to face the biggest setback in its history.

Canada’s Oil Sands May Gain From Deepwater Drilling’s Pain

The inadvertent benefit to the oil-sands industry from the spill may be more than just cosmetic, with deepwater drilling likely to face higher costs from new regulations as a result of the disaster. The great expense and particular environmental risks of oil-sands development could look ever more bearable compared with the potentially catastrophic consequences of deepwater drilling. Any eventual shift of investment from the Gulf into the oil sands could also be a boon for the Canadian dollar and the country's economy.

Crude from oil sands and deepwater wells has only become economical to extract over the past several years as oil prices have risen and technology has advanced. Both sources are much more expensive than conventional oil production. Both methods require oil prices of between $50 and $60 a barrel to be profitable, said BMO Capital Markets analyst Randy Ollenberger. The Gulf spill, however, is likely to lead to regulations that could increase the costs of deepwater oil production beyond that of developing oil sands, he said.

Stopping A Spill? There’s Always the Nuclear Option

The Soviets nuked several out-of-control gas wells, according to reports. In the Central Asian republic of Turkmenistan, a fire has raged for nearly 40 years after a drilling rig ignited underground gas. And in some places on earth, leaking and oozing oil has been blithely ignored for decades.

Here are some examples of oil and gas blowouts around the world that have produced strange results — and equally strange efforts to fix them:

Panel recommends continued use of oil dispersant

A federal panel of about 50 experts is recommending the continued use of chemical dispersants to break up the oil gushing in the Gulf of Mexico, despite its harm to plankton, larvae and fish.

Panel member Ron Tjeerdema (juh-DEER'-muh) said Friday they decided the animals harmed by the chemicals underwater had a better chance of rebounding quickly than birds and mammals on the shoreline. Tjeerdema chairs the Department of Environmental Toxicology at the University of California, Davis.

Governor Rell vetoes Connecticut energy bill

Citing concerns that recently passed energy legislation would increase energy costs, Governor M. Jodi Rell this week vetoed Senate Bill No. 493, An Act Reducing Electricity Costs and Promoting Renewable Energy. Governor Rell's action will now trigger a special legislative session to consider whether to override the gubernatorial veto.
Governor Rell, in her veto message, said that "in the midst of both this great recession and our well-known state budget challenges I cannot ask our already over-burdened and over-taxed residents and businesses to bear the additional burden of the costs associated with this bill."

Lawmakers Eager to Take Action

WASHINGTON—Congressional Democrats plan an aggressive legislative response to the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, led by proposals to raise liability limits for oil companies that cause spills and a renewed push to enact legislation to promote "clean energy."

Among other initiatives likely to be considered, beyond raising the cap on oil-spill liability to $10 billion or more: Improvements in oil-worker safety, a toughening of environmental protections for offshore drilling and a further revamping of the Minerals Management Service, the bureau in the Interior Department that manages the nation's oil resources. President Barack Obama has already ordered a wide-ranging overhaul of the MMS, dividing its current responsibilities across three other agencies.

Oil prices fall on weak euro, US jobs report

NEW YORK: Oil skidded more than three dollars a barrel on Friday as a sharply weaker euro and a disappointing US jobs report sparked fresh concerns about the strength of economic recovery.

Electric car goes 623 miles on single charge

A car group in Tokyo recently drove an electric car 1,003.184 kilometers (about 623 miles) on a single charge, breaking its own record for greatest distance traveled without recharging.

I'd like to know how many times the drivers stopped--and how this affected battery performance. Also, how do you fit more than 8,320 batteries (albeit small ones) into a car as tiny as the Mira? I doubt that there was much leg room left.

Stanford Kids Develop An Open-Air Electric Car (Video)

Some Stanford graduate students have created a concept vehicle that may see some large-scale production and distribution. It's called the WENG, which stands for Where Everyone Needs to Go, and it's a four-seater, golf-cart like vehicle with some design-y elements meant for short trips near home. As one of the team members, John Stanfield, says, "Why are people driving 4 to 6,000-pound internal combustion cars to the grocery store?"

Commuter Bikes Answer the Call for “Greener” Modes of Getting Around

Performance Bicycle, the nation's No. 1 specialty bike retailer, recently launched the TransIt line of city and commuter bikes to help people make cycling part of their everyday routine. "I think we're in the midst of a renaissance of the American bicycle, and commuter bicycles are going to play a larger role in that trend," says Performance CEO Jim Thompson.

Many cities across the country are taking the initiative to encourage local commuters to bike to work by developing commuter bike paths and bike lanes on city streets. They also are providing bike "parking." Cycling to work and around town definitely takes planning, so commuters should take the time to map the best route, know how long the ride takes in order to leave in plenty of time, and possibly bring a change of clothes if it is hot.

A primary pivot point for California transit

As primaries approach, inquiring transit-obsessed voters want to know what each of the candidates might do about all the crumbling bus systems, the rusty rails, the ruby red budgets and the push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But the leading gubernatorial pols haven't said much about transit issues (and did not respond when this reporter asked them directly). Still, we can piece together some idea of how each potential governor would alter California's transportation environment.

Q&A: Abdalla Salem EL Badri, Secretary General, OPEC

How is Opec looking at the future?

Since its formation, Opec has been committed to three main objectives: Securing a steady income for producing countries; ensuring an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consuming nations; and bringing about a fair return on capital for those investing in the petroleum industry.

Oil producers are faced with the challenge of security of demand and how to better decipher demand patterns and trends. Without the confidence that there will be additional demand for oil, there is little incentive for producers to invest in new capacity. Our data show that as early as 2020, demand for Opec crude could be as low as 29 million barrels per day, or as high as 37 million barrels per day. This translates into an uncertainty gap for upstream investments in Opec member-countries of over $250 billion.

What are your projections for world oil demand and world oil supply? Also what are current OECD stock levels?

In OPEC’s latest Monthly Oil Market report, we are forecasting world oil demand growth for 2010 at 0.9 million b/d. Oil supply from non-Opec producers is expected to grow by 5,00,000 b/d. We also see a steady increase in OPEC NGLs, which we are forecasting will grow by 5,00,000 b/d in 2010. Meanwhile, our latest estimate for April showed OECD stock levels at 2.74 billion barrels, which corresponds to an overhang of 174 million barrels. This overhang is split between crude and products.

Euro sinks to four-year low as Hungary fears being the next Greece

The euro sank to a four-year low against the dollar today amid warnings that Hungary could be the next European country to suffer a Greek-style debt crisis.

Fresh fears around unwieldy European sovereign debts sent the euro falling through $1.20 and knocked stock markets in Europe and the US. A spokesman for Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban set off alarm bells among investors when he conceded in a television interview that the Hungarian budget was in a "much worse" state than the previous government had indicated and "skeletons were continuously falling out of the closet".

Thames Water opens first large-scale desalination plant in UK

Thames Water has spent £250m building the plant and pipes, and has said that the equipment will only be turned on at times of drought, when it can supply up to 1 million people.

However opponents have claimed that the plant will use too much energy and the company should be doing more to stop leaking pipes and reduce the average water use of customers by installing more water meters and better promotions.

Elsewhere, water industry experts have speculated that Thames Water could in the long-term connect the desalination plant directly to the next-door Beckton sewage plant, in east London, to produce recycled water. The recycling process uses similar technology and is usually cheaper than desalting water, but has so far been too unpopular to be accepted by homes anywhere in the world except the Namibian capital Windhoek.

Q&A: Upmanu Lall Gives Insight to India’s Nexus of Energy, Food and Water

There’s a powerful nexus, some might even say a vortex, where water, energy, and food all combine. It takes energy to treat and move water; it takes water to grow food. Upmanu Lall knows these intersections well. He’s the Director of the Water Center at Columbia University and studies the wide reaching impacts of water and climate. We spoke with him recently at a meeting of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council.

So, water’s a major issue; energy is a major issue; food is emerging as a major issue–yet they’re closely connected. Give us a picture of the nexus.

Upmanu Lall: Well, water and food are very easy to establish. Many people don’t seem to realize it, but worldwide, 70 percent of all freshwater used goes for growing food and so the connection there is very clear. One thing that’s not pointed out is that much of the pollution of aquifers and rivers also comes because of poor agricultural practices with regard to fertilizer used and pesticides, so there’s duel impact on water from agriculture and food on quantity and quality.

The next part is the water and energy linkage. In many places in the world, population densities are now high enough that locally grown food can’t be sustained via natural rain fall or natural stream flow. So people end up on being ground watered–this is a very large energy consumer. Similarly, if we are looking for drinking water at high quality–and this is a health issue obviously–then we require treatment of water: this is a major energy consumer. This is the direction in which energy influences water use. On the other side, if you look at thermal energy production–whether it is through coal fired, oil, gas or nuclear means, and now solar thermal as well–then you require a fair amount of water for cooling. That actually can be avoided if one takes air cooling methods, as are in practice now in Arizona and Southern California, but then you take an energy efficiency hit. Either way, you have to recognize that there’s an issue.

Lead poisoning from mining kills 163 in Nigeria

Dr Henry Akpan, the health ministry's chief epidemiologist, told Reuters 355 cases in at least six locations in the northern Zamfara state had been reported so far and 111 of the dead were children, many of them under five.

"We discovered unusual cases of abdominal pains with vomiting, nausea and some having convulsions," Akpan said. "These people were around the area where they were digging for gold. The fatality rate is 46 percent."

Many victims died after coming into contact with tools, soil and water contaminated with large concentrations of lead.

Mexico's May Crude Numbers Show Output Stabilizing

Mexico's state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, produced an average of 2.603 million barrels a day of crude from May 1 to May 30, according to preliminary figures by the National Hydrocarbons Commission posted on its website Friday.

Output was slightly higher in the May period compared to April when Pemex averaged 2.593 million barrels a day. In May 2009, crude output was 2.609 million barrels a day.


The link you gave for Mexico's May Crude Numbers Show Output Stabilizing is behind a paywall, but you can get in through Google news.

Cantarell down 5 Kbd MoM and 144 Kbd YoY. How exactly do they play to hit 3.3 Mbd by 2024? And of course, WT would wonder if anybody besides Mexico would see any of that oil.

I have a subscription, so even when I go through Google News, it won't give me the other link. In general, if you find stories behind a paywall, try searching on the title.

For 2010 #78, 79, 80, Banks closed by FDIC

TierOne Bank Lincoln NE 3.3 Billion; Assumed by Great Western of Souix Falls SD, FDIC Amount ?
Arcola Homestead Savings Bank Arcola IL 16 Million; assumed by FDIC
First National Bank Rosedale MS 63 million; Assumed by FDIC

Total hit to the FDIC trust fund estimated to be $315M, $297M of that due to TierOne. Calculated Risk publishes the relevant portions of the FDIC press releases for each of the closure announcements, including the trust fund estimates.

Hope this post will stay afloat amidst all the noise.

Please look at this link:

Suggestion to BP ... from Steve Dvorak (above) called the Super Quick Undersea Incident Device, or SQUID. Dvorak, whose nickname is MacGyver after the 1985 television series starring Richard Dean Anderson, is a Houston-based inventor, builder and designer, who already has several patents (although not one for SQUID).

..his idea, which is so simple and seemingly workable that surely anyone at BP who knows about it must be having a "DUH" moment.

He envisions a giant steel anchor in the shape of a ring, perhaps 48 feet in diameter. It could be assembled at the water's surface, aided by flotation devices. Attached to the ring is a mile-plus-long sleeve made of flexible plastic. Once the ring is assembled and the sleeve attached, the ring would be deployed to the ocean floor. As its being lowered, the sleeve would open up like a parachute, rise to surface (because it's lighter than water) and naturally fill with water along the way.

"You’re allowing gravity and specific gravity and fluid dynamics to do the work," Dvorak told me.

The oil would rise up the plastic sleeve to the surface, where it would drain into an area contained by a boom or a floating pool-like structure. The oily water could be quickly siphoned off by skimmers

I'd sure like to hear comments from experts about this. Is it truly workable? Seems too good to be true.

The big problem with this idea is that the flow is a mixture of oil and gas at high pressure. The pressure at the bottom is more than 2,000 psi, yet, the gas still bubbles out of the flow. If this mixture is captured in the plastic sleeve and allowed to rise, the gas would expand as the pressure is reduced. As a result, the volume of water, oil and gas would increase within the sleeve. The sleeve would tend to limit the expansion and this would force the flow to rise faster as the mixture nears the surface. Since the sleeve would be made of rather thin plastic, which could easily rupture.

Then what would happen? At the surface the mixture of water, oil and gas would spill directly onto the surface, where it would be difficult to contain with booms even during good weather conditions and we are now entering hurricane season. I think the gas would be the biggest problem which would kill this concept. The gas would flow into the air above and would be a major fire hazard, as well as a toxic mix which would be dangerous to breath.

E. Swanson

me and a couple other toders were kicking this around yesterday on HO's post, and getting lambasted. But to my way of thinkin'
"At the surface the mixture of water, oil and gas would spill directly onto the surface"
This could be the opportunity to pump the stuff onto vlcc's
My thought on the expanding gas was a semipermeable material.
Another issue is ocean current.
But hell it was just an idea, I couldn't get anyone over there to talk about it, just ridicule, which often means your onto something. By all means TODers rip this idea to shreds, I'd like to know were it falls apart

I think the gas would be the biggest problem which would kill this concept. The gas would flow into the air above and would be a major fire hazard, as well as a toxic mix which would be dangerous to breath.

Indeed. 3,000 ft3 of NG/bbl times 15,000 bbl/day is 45 million ft3 per day. Not something I would particularly like to be around.

I can envision a chimney sort of device, if it were suspended from something like a semi-submersible drilling rig equipped with a sealed bell at the top. The bell might provide the kind of controlled environment where it would be possible to collect the gas and either compress it for recovery or flare it off. The platform could also mount large-scale gear for separating oil from water, and storage for the oil.

Of course, we're probably talking a billion-dollar sort of platform, and there's no way it's going to continue operations in a hurricane.

First of all, we are supposedly pulling 10K barrels per day with the present Lower Marine Riser Package leaving (supposedly- never believed it) 10K barrels/day of predominantly crude oil, leaking out the sides. Seems to me that this SQUID concept is a good solution to work in tandem with the present system, which even though it's only getting 50 percent of the 20,000 bbls per day, it is seemingly dealing with the methane problem. Or is this incorrect? Where are the hydrates going?

So assume that the present system is dealing with half the flow, and that you can design a durable covering containing the oil column with the SQUID and lots of other things become plausible. Next problem is to deal with the surface oil and the inherent problems of bad weather. Instead of making an open boomed pool which is susceptible to wind waves and hurricanes, I would instead bring in a modified supertanker anchored permanently like an oil platform and featuring a circular bottom port in the middle. The ship is positioned at the top of the tube and brings the flow right into the ship like an umbilical cord, thus completely internalizing it. There it's protected from waves, etc and you could deal with any gases not captured by the currently operating setup via fire suppression methods. Design this great belly in the ship so that it can process the remainder of the non-captured oil. Plausible?

I had actually suggested a similar and even more elegant solution here on TOD over a week ago. Please see.


And on my website ( www.squareandc.net) over a month ago and broadcast it widely. Word has it that it had even reached the White House.

There is more to the cap and contain story than meets the eye.

He must read TOD: (Drumbeat: May 24, 2010) http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6501/628432

Concerning the plight of the unemployed oil industry workers caused by the six-month moratorium imposed by the United Stated Government to take time ot review oil drilling safety and environmental policies, and procedures:

I consider the oil industry employees to be in the same boat as the Gulf fishermen and those in the seafood industry, as well as restaurant employees and hotel/tourism employees: The people whose livelihoods have been halted or diminished by the BP DWH oil spill should be provided compensation.

To keep people from losing their homes or going hungry, the USG should initiate payments equal to these people's lost income and sue BP for reimbursement. If BP drags its corporate feet, USG should seize its U.S. assets. If we haven't frozen their U.S. assets yet, we are late-to-need IMO.

This simple plan would allow USG and the oil industry to take the necessary time to conduct root cause analysis and devise and start implementing new policies, procedures, and using new (to the U.S.) safer equipment. At the same time, people who lost their incomes through no fault of their own can be kept afloat.

BTW, is there a reason these oil industry employees cannot receive standard unemployment payments from the git-go? At least that should be the default starting point.

I am not drooling blood looking to dissolve BP as a fundamental goal, but fair is fair: This is BP's operations, their incident, and they are on the hook. All the other involved companies are also on the hook, in turn. Either USG goes after them directly or BP sues their subs, or both.

The treatment of laid-off oil industry workers is an interesting point. I hadn't thought about them theoretically being able to ask for compensation from BP. I expect the bother of doing it, even if it could be done, would keep many from doing it.

I expect the states most affected by this will see higher unemployment from a lot of kinds of people -- those in the tourist industry; those in fishing; those in oil drilling; and the many other people that these folks would normally buy goods and services from. If these people get unemployment compensation, they will have to cut back on other spending, affecting a lot of people they would normally get services from. State unemployment compensation funds will be hard hit. State revenues will also be likely down, as state income tax and sales tax revenues will be down.

The only offset would be all the folks hired for attempted clean-up.


Maybe Ben can help?


I agree there are no easy answers.

Rather than a permanent set-up, or even a long-term arrangement, I was thinking of addressing the concerns of the laid-off oil workers for the duration of the off-shore deep-water drilling moratorium. I think that a six-month aid program to bridge these folks to the time when they will be employed in their familiar private-sector jobs supporting off-shore drilling should be do-able...do you agree?

As far as any longer-term reduction is such jobs...as employment in this sector eventually declines over time that folks will have to adapt. The folks in the domestic auto industry, the steel industry, etc. etc. have had to adapt as well.

At any rate, even if off-shore drilling went full-throttle, the day would come in the Gulf when most all of the plays would be found and exploited, and then employment in this sector would decline from that point. That point would likely come sooner under a 'Gulf Drilling Manhattan Project' approach...and the number of folks left high and dry looking for new jobs would be greater.

It is an interesting question. If this story in the LA Times is indicative, there are a significant number of people along the coast who have been working as day labor or subcontractors, and who probably aren't "employees" that fall under the UI program. Workers on the drilling platform probably don't fall into that category.

You have to wonder how much information collected by BP will end up in the hands of the IRS. Certainly the amounts paid to individuals will. To the extent that BP simply takes the word of people who don't have prior year tax returns, the ones who failed to file will be in a potentially tough position. Once they tell BP that they net $50K annually as a charter boat captain, but haven't paid any income tax for years, the IRS is going to be very interested.

Wonder if Congress will consider some sort of income tax amnesty program for those in that situation?

Wonder if Congress will consider some sort of income tax amnesty program for those in that situation
Let's hope they don't. Any compensation paid to anyone for loss of income should be based ONLY on income tax filings. Otherwise, what hard proof is there of the boat captain's claims?

If the industry is as valuable as they would have us believe, there ought to a be a lot of people paying income tax. If they are going to scream for compensation, it is only reasonable to shine a light on these people to see just how much they should really be getting compensated for. If that shows up that they are tax cheats, then they suffer the consequences, as would anyone else.

Undoetunely thisis not a 6 month moritorium, the rigs are not going to sit idle, they will go to Africa, Brazil etc. More importnatly its rumored that the first new regulation will reguire double BOP's which do not exisit, and would take 15 months to 2 years to manufcature and deliver.....If something does not change, environmentalist and anti drilling poponents are going to geet their wish, and one day the US will pay a dear price for stoping drilling in the Gulf.

Might it be prudent for the U.S. to require companies wishing to develop undersea oil fields to drill one, maybe two relief wells in parallel with the drilling of the production well?

I have not heard of the 'double BOP' requirement...is 2 years too long to wait to have needed extra safety margins to allow us to continue producing GOM oil?

Sir, it is apparent to me that the U.S. is currently paying a price for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

With more efficient ground transportation machines and with sparing use of our more efficient machines, the U.S. could clearly reduce its ground transportation oil use by 50% or more. The motivation would be an appropriately motivational tax surcharge. The tax surcharge should be levied to make the cost of driving, even with much more efficient vehicles, at least 50% more expensive per mile than it is today.

Using far less oil will help prevent us from making poor/rushed choices and cutting corners during oil production.

Besides the rigs sitting going elsewhere, the people doing the work are going to try to find work doing something else. Maybe a few in charge will go with the rigs, but the lower level workers will look for other employment.

There has been a huge problem with adequate experience levels in the oil and gas industry, because of the boom-bust pattern of employment. Quite a few people decide this work pattern is not for them, and move on to something more stable. The current set of layoffs can only make the problem of finding experienced workers worse, once the industry tries to start re-hiring.

* It is unlikely that many will be able to find other employment, as we're having a bit of a problem with that - a problem that is only just getting started.

* If you make a living in a industry that harvests public resources in an environmentally sensitive area, and your industry demonstrates that it cannot deal with the kinds of problems that are likely to occur and causes a huge environmental disaster and gets shut down, then does society owe you compensation and/or should it allow you to keep doing that job?

* How long will all the oil in the gulf forestall peak oil, and is it worth the risk?

We are going to face the consequences of peak oil sooner or later. Is it better to have taken huge risks and made big problems, as well as adding more carbon to the air, just to hold on to our present course a few years longer?

The reality is that we have a society with huge percentages of people who's employment and activities are no longer a net benefit to the society, but only to them.

Anyway, relax - the US is not about to stop producing gulf oil, it's all just posturing. Energy is the foundation of power, and those who love power are not stupid enough to just forget about that energy.

Well, perhaps we should become much more fuel efficient in our vehicle selections to keep our beaches clean. I would support a ban on all oil drilling in waters too deep for divers to fix any potential problems. Also, we have a trip planned for many months now, to Panama City in Florida, If the beaches are fouled then the inconvenience to us, and many others, should be charged, dearly, to BP. I know this is a minor consideration in regards to fisherman in the area, but hey, lets add it ALL up!

If something does not change, environmentalist and anti drilling poponents are going to geet their wish, and one day the US will pay a dear price for stoping drilling in the Gulf.

What needs to change is the cavalier attitude that some in the oil industry have toward environmental and safety standards. Many of us have been skeptical of oil industry assertions that deep water drilling can be done safely and cleanly and the Deepwater Horizon disaster has confirmed our worst fears.

If you are worried about losing your job, I suggest you talk to Tony Hayward about it. He is the biggest threat to your financial security -- not the Sierra Club.

Unfortunately I am only dimly aware of the Texaco-Chevron controversy in the Ecuadorian Amazon as briefly outlined in the NYT today:


I wouldn't be surprised if there are articles about this situations in the annals of TOD.

Then I read yesterday a little about the situation in the Nigerian Delta...maybe Michael Moore should make oil extraction/refining/usage a topic for one of his documentaries...or has he already done so and I missed it?

I have been involved with this, and there is an amazing amount of misinformation out there.

There is a lot of damage caused by the current operator, PetroEcuador, which is being passed off as caused by Texaco-Chevron. It is really a shake-down, in my opinion, and a lot of well-meaning individuals have been drawn into he controversy, thinking if a big oil company is named, there must be a problem.

There is considerable evidence of fraud on the part of those making the accusations. Whether or not Texaco did damage in the 1980s and 1990s is almost irrelevant to the suit. The natural weathering process is such that any oil spills from many years ago in a tropical area have pretty much degraded by now. Also, there was a remediation plan, and it was followed, so no one has been able to show any real evidence of long term damage.

Since the accusers couldn't find anything valid to point to, they sent unsuspecting reporters to sites where PetroEcuador had recent oil spills, or pits they have recently been using, and not cleaned up. The whole situation is almost humorous, it is so ridiculous.

I have been involved with this, and there is an amazing amount of misinformation out there.

You betcha!
Big oil got the venue change for the fix, but the government changed, and a trial without the fix was going down.
Big Oil could not take the chance without controlling the outcome, and are now trying to change the rules again.
Chevron will lose if the trial goes on in the venue they originally manipulated the system for.

My Mother just sent me this link via email


It pertains to an effort by the Sierra Club to beseech the U.S. State Department to not approve a pipeline from Canada to the U.S. carrying oil derived from the Canadian tar sands.

I signed the petition, even though I know this is just spitting in the wind...

Real action would be raising CAFE to 60 mpg by 2018 and significantly raising taxes on oil in the same time frame.

I won't hold my breath...I talked to a person a few days ago who was so proud of her SUV...V8...rides 'SO Nice!'...has a wireless capability built-in so she can use her cell phone hands free...she said that buying this vehicle was her big ambition at this stage of her life...she mentioned that it didn't get as good gas mileage as her previous vehicle, but oh well, 12 npg wasn't great but the price of gas was low and she swooned again about how smooth it rode!

Har de har de har...Ho Ho Ho snortle.
You have got to love them.
Dumb stupidity is so attractive
But who loves me?

"In much knowledge is much sorrow,
and much sorrow in much knowledge." Ben Sira


Given your screen name, yours is the funniest comment I have ever seen.

Now why would the Sierra club do this? The oilsands already produces as much as deepwater GOM, and could ramp up to replace all US offshore production. It is about the lowest risk (environmental) production you can get, and is transported by pipeline, not ship.
They would do the world a better favour by stopping Nigerian production first.

Unfortunately, none of this seems to make a hoot of difference to the 12mpg SUV driver - they just don;t care abut anyone else but themselves.

There appears to be a contingent of people who wish Americans and the world in general would revert to life back in the early 1800's before there was oil. Good luck with that.

Re Hayward taking profits for 1/3 of his BP shares weeks before the oil spill, from wikipedia (link below):

In March, 2010, the rig was experiencing problems that included drilling mud falling into the undersea oil formation, sudden gas releases, a pipe falling into the well, and at least three occasions of the blowout preventer leaking fluid.[39] According to a report by 60 Minutes, the blowout preventer was damaged in a previously unreported accident in late March, and BP overruled the drilling operator on key operations. BP declined to comment on the report.[40] The American Bureau of Shipping last inspected the rig's failed blowout preventer in 2005.[41]

On March 10, 2010, a BP executive e-mailed the Minerals Management Service that there was a stuck pipe and "well control situation" at the drilling site, and that BP would have to "plugback the well."[42] A draft of a BP memo in April warned that the cementing of the casing was unlikely to be successful.[39] Halliburton, a week after the explosion, said that it had finished cementing 20 hours before the fire,[31] and that it cemented the Macondo well but had not set the final cement plug to cap the bore as "operations had not reached a stage where a final plug was needed".[43] A special nitrogen-foamed cement was used which is more difficult to handle than standard cement.


Others might not have known the events above. But it's hard to envision that Tony did not know them! I've read that they had even sought legal advice about a potential oil spill for this well. (sorry, can't find a link for that at the moment)

I've heard about all sorts of trouble this well had been having for a year.. now maybe that's just the business, but it sounded like there were alarm bells ringing.

1/3 of his holdings?

As Maxwell Smart used to say, "That's the most suspicious thing I've EVER seen!"

(and yet it's not.. I was amused at Bush being so cavalier in admitting to torture the other day, and saying he'd do it again. Priceless!)

"Would you believe 30 dollars?"

Goldman Sachs Asset Management fund dumped a good number of shares too.

Interestingly, Goldman gave BP a Buy rating in December when their fund had loaded up on the stock... they still have the BUY rating but their fund sold ~1/3 of their position in BP.


"I am the (pig)man, I am the (pig)man,
I am the Walrus, coo-coo-ca-choo"

But it's hard to envision that Tony did not know them! I've read that they had even sought legal advice about a potential oil spill for this well.

Slammer for BP

Right, because if he had known that a rig was going to go south his obvious reaction would have been to sell shares rather than kill the drilling on that rig...

And of course his decision to sell at that time has nothing to do with the UK financial year ending on the beginning of April...

Honestly, the conspiracy theorists are getting even worse.

Wow! What an interesting set of articles, the news they contain and the views expressed.

With all due respect, I come from the camp that all mitigation solutions (like cheap carbon capture etc.) are never going to see commercial light of day because of long lead times for dev. and testing etc. I had written to the editors at TOD if they would like to consider an article on my design vision, which is elucidated on my web-site


It is a comprehensive design vision (and actual designs), impactign every sphere of our lives, that, by seeing where we went wrong long ago, in bringing us to this design dystopia we live in, is seeking to set it all right.

And it is completely feasible, and I am not speaking of Zero-Point energy or over-unity machines or any such.

Just, retrace at where we took the wrong fork.

I call them In-Dust-Real designs for a Post-Carbon world.

We do not need to free of oil, but we can make it just another friend.

Please visit, it is currently in version 1 but soon to be updated.

I'd appreciate any and all interaction from TOD'ers.


The world will be changed not by people with old visions and new programs but by people with new visions and no programs... The Story of B


I skimmed your web site, and specifically looked at the material concerning new ideas in automotive design.

I took note of some broad, top-level concepts but did not see many details.

The 'top secret' auto (or maybe it would be better to say 'personnel transportation?') idea/design/project label is certainly a teaser...my thought on secrecy for such ideas is that if the idea is for something simple which does not use many resources in manufacture and in operation/usage and which is repairable for a long time period, I do not think that the current captains of industry will want to steal your idea...the current paradigm is to make things such as cars which have excessive speed and weight and complexity, and which need to be replaced often due to high repair bills and the allure of new excessive gadgetry.

Please let us know when version next is posted...I perceive from your material so far you are interested in borrowing ideas from nature, such as the locomotion, protection from the elements, etc. of animals?

Greetings Heisenberg,

Thanks for taking the time to peruse and yes, my ideas are very much along what are called "Bio-mimicking" lines, but they actually go much deeper. Much much deeper.

Regarding the auto idea, it really is something that needs to be birthed with a bang, not a whimper, so I'll be looking for some serious support to build version 1.0 of that. It has the potential to completely re-evolutionize transport.

I will post version 2 as soon as is up.

But specifics will remain hidden. If one reads the design insights and looks around and says, what in this designed world I live in is designed on that basis? You will see nothing is..... then we can really talk. Putting it out there, willy nilly has a serious dilutionary effect, see youtube as an example.

Slowly but surely.


Carbon Capture on the Cheap? Top fold.

I hope so as there is little chance we will stop burning carbon, until the real feedback loop stops us.

It was not clear to me from the article if the process was endothermic. I assume so, which implies a lowered EROEI from the coal. But by how much?

Sodium is abundant.

The thing to remember about the carbon capture article is the disclaimer further down:

Is this all still a big 'if'? Yes -- both Skyonic and Calera, which also wants to mineralize carbon dioxide, remain in the prototype stage, and converting flue gases into solids does require additional energy, materials and expenses. How these materials and math problems work out will be intently scrutinized. Skyonic's process revolves around mixing sodium hydroxide with flue gases. Calera mixes carbon dioxide with seawater. Some have said that Skyonic's process will likely require harvesting waste to get the energy balance to work out. Top-tier VCs have mostly passed on carbon mineralization to date.

The operative words there are prototype stage, additional energy and working out the math. By math they mean when all costs, energy inputs etc. are figured in does it still make sense.

And we must ask ourselves if developing countries like China and india will ever use it because of the slight increae in cost to their super poor constituents, and if they don't are we all still behind the eight ball when it comes to carbon emissions?

I am suspicious that their costs estimates are way off. If it is in a prototype stage, there is a good chance it will not scale up well at all. If it requires additional energy, they likely have not figured it out.

Another issue with "regular" CCS is that because it uses more coal, it also uses more water, unless you build in air cooling, which is more expensive (original plant; not sure about operating costs). We are at our limit of water availability in many parts of the country and of the world, so water availability may be a deal killer, unless new plants with air cooling are built.

If this process starts with sodium hydroxide we could have a dog chasing its tail situation. Coal fired power stations generate electricity to make NaOH by the chloralkali process. Then it used to scrub CO2 from the flue gas of those same power stations. You've still got a major energy penalty using either chemical scrubbing or gas capture. Which is better is hard to say. I doubt either will be economic at the 80% CO2 removal rates we want.

At this point we have to wait and see. They were talking about a 75ton per year pilot plant. Thats about one typical American family. So clearly they are starting at tiny scale. Then you need to find huge markets for the end product. I think we would need a few billion tons per year in the US alone. So most of the product would have to be some sort of stable carbonate mineral used as say landfill or gravel, or else you just couldn't dispose of that much stuff.

Where does the sodium hydroxide come from?
The electrolysis of salt requires
a lot of energy. Probably cheaper to electrolyze water to make zero carbon H2 gas.


The preferred method of mineralization is with magnesium or calcium, not sodium.
What do you do with all the hydrochloric acid?

It was not clear to me from the article if the process was endothermic. I assume so, which implies a lowered EROEI from the coal. But by how much?

I slept on it. The extra energy might be coming from the waste heat in the exhaust stream.

6000 barrels/day is one third to one half of the total?? You must be kidding: watch the livestreams!
Even taking the 12000-19000 estimate (described as the lower limit by scientists involved in the flow rate panel), you have to take into account that this was before sawing off the riser. That strongly increased the flow.

Indeed, they are lucky to be getting 10%. Ever since I discovered the Top Hat is going from a 21" pipe at the BOP to 6" riser pipe, I lost most interest in this project. Un friggin believable...

I always wonder about these type of articles which extol some new breakthrough in internal combustion engine efficiency, yet we don't see the results in the show room.




Like one of the commenter said on one of these articles: There is no reason why a very-efficient ICE cannot be paired with batteries or a flywheel etc. to make an even more efficient ICE/electric hybrid.

Is VW wafting vaporware across the Internets with its 1L car?


Funny, I cannot find mention of the 1L car on VW's own website...

But wait, the Aptera is 'upcoming' (and has been for a while now):



The Japanese wouldn't disappoint us, would they? Surely we will see this car:


About the same time we get to choose between it and the Chevy Volt:



Thanks to the U.S. Nay's research, our electrical grids may be able to store limited amounts of power with advanced flywheels...


Ah, but that super smart guy Dick Cheney said that we can't conserve our way out of the energy availability situation, and that our American way of life is non-negotiable.

Anyone wonder why we have such an enormous 'defense' budget?

Ok, I get it, most everyone on TOD is exchanging posts re: the Gulf oil spill. However, as long as BP's CEO has so far gone unscathed (yeah right), let's move on:


'U.S. Urges G-20 Nations to Spur Domestic Demand'

But, I thought the message being touted was the US was pulling out of the recession. Then why do we need the G-20 Nations to spur domestic demand? Doesn't sound like much of a recovery. Stock market has tanked from a Dow of 11,300+ to 9,930, the Euro continues to slide downward, YTD the 80th US bank just went belly up, foreclosures are still raging, unemployment is 9.7 instead of 9.9 only because of census workers paid by taxes, with only about 20k private jobs added this past month.

Fact is, there is no recovery. With huge added debts to save favored corps and stimulus, the daunting task of repaying massive debt loads from years of tax cuts for the super wealthy and wars, has now caught up to any notion of recovery. Investors are spooked and fed & state coffers are running dangerously low. We're running on hope juice, fumes, spilled oil, impending hurricanes in the Gulf and a BP CEO smothered in this own joy of having paid off his family's mansion with a small portion of his 1/3 BP stock holdings sold 'JUST' before the spill.

And the U.S military (and especially its contractors) are scared _ _ _ _ -less about the prospect of the U.S. 'defense' budget staying flat, let alone decreasing...just wait for the looming 'guns vs. butter' food fight in the next couple of years.

Defense contractors are used to at least a couple of percent growth year-over-year...will all the various political factions in the U.S. continue to pony up their tax dollars and have the government print IOUs to China to fund that?

Add I have to laugh my butt off every time I hear a sanctimonious contractor (usually a new business development guy) go on and on about how much better contractors are compared to GS employees, because contractors are capitalists! Wow, some free market system there...the company's 'Defense' arms' 'business' are 100% funded by U.S. taxpayers, at least for the U.S> arms and Arms services markets.

And these folks rail about single-payer/government-/tax-funded universal health care...the same deal (paid health care) that these taxpayer-funded leeches get.

The wheels are starting to come off the wagon...

The BBC on the G-20 Clustercoitus:

G20 nations stress economic recovery challenges

G20 finance ministers have said the recovery from the global economic crisis has been faster than expected, but significant challenges remain...

The statement also said the financial sector should make a "fair and substantial contribution" to future rescue deals - but did not refer to any bank tax.

A global bank tax is supported by the US and Europe, but opposed by some developing nations, as well as Canada and Australia...


A Global "Bank" Tax ????

"Fair and substantial contribution' to future rescue deals " ????

The Masters of the Universe are already preparing for future rescue deals. With new and improved schemes to get the public to pay in advance, while knowing the taxpayer will still come to their rescue when their little bank insurance fund doesn't come close to having enough money to cover "future rescue deals".

I love Tim Geithner. I love him sooooo much I wish he could go to heaven right now so he could experience eternal bliss at the right hand of whatever godthing he worships.

oh, and no mention of the begging "Spur Domestic Demand" in the BBC article... That is ironic though, they know we are at peak oil and yet they still chose to promote consumption. And another irony: the US goes to war and sets up eternal bases at strategic points in the middle east to ensure the flow of oil... and then tells others to get busy consuming it faster.

I think JM Greer and others better check their very-long-emergency/descent models of collapse again.

"(Speed it up a notch) speak,, grunt, no, strength,
The ladder starts to clatter with fear fight down height.
Wire in a fire, representing seven games, a government for hire and a combat site.

Left of west and coming in a hurry with the furies breathing down your neck.
Team by team reporters baffled, trumped, tethered cropped.
Look at that low playing!
Fine, then.

Uh oh, overflow, population, common food, but it'll do.
Save yourself, serve yourself...


"Any eventual shift of investment from the Gulf into the oil sands could also be a boon for the Canadian dollar and the country's economy."

BP is one of the players in the oilsands. A nice little touch of irony.

Hi Dale, I've commented not replied, this is an error I think, just getting the hang of this. Please see below.

IMO if this accident prohibits further offshore development, the oil sands are going to be mammoth. The Sierra Club has no clue who they're dealing with. The Albertans are the Texans of Canada and they're sitting on a gold mine, and they're not going to let some American treehuggers prevent them from digging.

In the end one hopes the oil sands can help peak oil mitigation in NA as we localize and begin the long transition to biodiesel.

It will be interesting to see how quickly the oil sands can be ramped up, although it's unlikely they'll be able to offset the decline in net oil exports.

Is the article saying that the dispersant would be evaporated along with water? I kind of doubt that.

It is, however, possible that water containing amounts of dispersant could be carried ashore by hurricane winds or surge, if the storm passed through a section of water containing it. In dry weather this could be a problem.


I'm new, first time. And I am grateful for you. I'm grateful to be free of the MSM on this one. But I'm gonna search for the Lucy show with the shower curtain. QUESTION: Someone able to tell more of the Canadian tar sands/BP connection? Canadian Dr. David Pearson's "Understanding the Earth" series, Lesson 22 Part 1 of 8, is on the Athabasca tar sands. Is this where BP is now involved? (have yet to learn how to get that orange typeface of the link to happen) Dr. Pearson is "mineguy101" on YouTube. And QUESTION: Could a geologist among you, or a poet, or a comic I guess, describe the formation into which this well was plunged? I'm one semester into geology and petrology wasn't covered in 101. Once more, many thanks, deep bow.

Regarding links: say you wanted to link to your favorite website. Use the 'a' code with <> brackets instead of these square ones:

[a href=http://www.giraffeboards.com] text goes here [/a].

Orange text!

Athabasca is the largest deposit in Alberta; there also Peace River and Cold Lake tar sands sites. BP's involvement in the tar sands, however, is not unusual. Most of the world's major oil companies all have a stake, including Sinopec (China's national oil company).

I study marine invertebrates, not rocks, so I'll defer to an expert on describing the geology.

go long hay

Unpossible. Try superimposing oil spill over your own city.

Please don't correct my spelling as this was a joke.

The first rule of PO is you don't talk about PO.
The second rule of PO is you don't talk about PO!

Every once in a while a MSM outlet runs a PO story, and in this case it's the New York Times turn: Imagining Life Without Oil, and Being Ready

Mrs. Wilkerson has now read two dozen books about peak oil and related topics. For a while, she became depressed at work and had trouble discussing her feelings with her husband because the conversations were so dire, she said. At work, her colleagues told her directly “that they were tired of hearing about it,” she said. “They felt I was going to an extreme, thinking collapse was going to happen.”

I agree with Darwinian, in that people even rational ones will not be move by arguments but rather only by events.

Unfortunately the MSM likes to paint anyone who does not have a rosy view of the future as nut jobs. If you don't think you'll have a terminator robot in your house circa 2050 you're a luddite fool, even when the past decade has been pointing to a not so nice future existence.