Drumbeat: June 15, 2010

BP Suspends Oil Spill Recovery After Ship Fire

(Bloomberg) -- BP Plc said it temporarily stopped collecting oil from its leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico after a fire aboard the collecting vessel.

There was no damage as a result of the fire, said Toby Odone, a BP spokesman. Recovery is expected to resume today, he said.

Collection stopped as a safety precaution because of the fire, which was observed at 10:30 a.m. New York time and may have been caused by lightning, London-based BP said today in an e-mailed statement. The company said there were no injuries.

Cuba says preparing for BP oil spill

HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuba is making preparations to protect its coast as the BP oil spill continues spreading through the Gulf of Mexico, Cuban officials said on Tuesday.

They offered few specifics about the preparations, but said Venezuela, Cuba's oil-rich ally, has sent a team of spill-fighting experts to help the communist-run island.

Republicans accused Obama of 'exploiting' oil

WASHINGTON (CNN) - As President Obama prepared for a primetime address on the oil spill and Democrats presided over a hearing on Capitol Hill with oil company CEOs, Congressional Republicans accused the President and his allies in Congress Tuesday of "exploiting" the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico to push for their comprehensive energy legislation. GOP leaders argue the Democrats' proposals would have a devastating impact on the struggling U.S. economy.

Vermont congressional delegation calls to end tax breaks for oil industry

WASHINGTON – The Senate could vote today on a measure by Sen. Bernie Sanders to end more than $35 billion in tax breaks for the oil and gas industry.

The Vermont independent has proposed putting $25 billion in savings toward reducing the deficit and $10 billion toward the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program over five years. Such funds help municipalities build windmills, make energy efficiency improvements or improve sewer treatment plants.

Norwegian Oil Workers May Strike at Statoil, Shell Platforms

(Bloomberg) -- Norwegian offshore oil workers may strike starting on June 17 if mediation fails, affecting Statoil ASA’s Gullfaks and Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s Draugen platforms.

Two-day government-mediated talks affecting 6,700 offshore workers in Norway will end midnight on June 16, possibly triggering a strike, according to employers and unions. Initial talks between three unions, Industry Energy, Safe and the Norwegian Organization of Managers and Executives, and the Norwegian Oil Industry Association, broke down on May 6.

POET cellulosic ethanol cuts greenhouse gas emissions by 111 percent over gasoline

Ethanol produced by Project LIBERTY, POET's first planned commercial cellulosic ethanol plant, will reduce carbon emissions by 111 percent over gasoline, an independent lifecycle analysis shows.

Facing a freeze: Governments are reviewing plans to open Arctic waters to oilmen

WHEN BP’s Macondo well began spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the firm was in the midst of an effort to persuade Canada’s energy regulator that safety standards for offshore drilling in the Canadian Arctic were expensive, impractical and should be relaxed. Hearings on the subject were promptly suspended and the regulator declared that no new drilling permits would be issued pending a review of existing rules. “We have a duty to pause, to take stock of the incident,” says Gaétan Caron, head of the National Energy Board.

For a time it looked as though the Arctic would be the next frontier for Western oil firms, which have only limited access to the most promising prospects in sunnier climes. The retreat of the polar ice cap is making the region easier to work in, and there is thought to be lots of oil and gas to tap. But Canada is not the only country now thinking twice: America, Norway and even Russia are all contemplating tighter rules for drilling.

Oil industry 'double checking' deep drilling safety

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has triggered fresh questioning inside the oil industry about the safety of deep offshore drilling, one of Britain's top inspectors has told the BBC.

For BP, Toll Likely to Extend Past Cleanup

On the face of it, BP can easily afford to pay the short-term costs of the oil well that is leaking millions of gallons into the Gulf of Mexico. Last year, the company earned $17 billion, and it ended the year with more than $8 billion in cash.

But concerns about BP’s ability to meet all its obligations over the long haul — or even survive the crisis intact — are rattling the government, Gulf Coast residents and investors.

How to Think about Oil Spills

This article needs to begin with a big mea culpa. In the April 26 edition of The Weekly Standard (which went to press on April 16), I wrote: "Improvements in drilling technology have greatly reduced the risk of the kind of offshore spill that occurred off Santa Barbara in 1969. .  .  . To fear oil spills from offshore rigs is analogous to fearing air travel now because of prop plane crashes in the 1950s." On April 20, the Deepwater Horizon platform exploded, touching off the worst oil spill in American history.

Ouch. I've understandably been receiving indignant emails from environmentalists wondering whether I care to opine about the seaworthiness of the Titanic while I'm at it. The basic point was nonetheless correct. While we still don't know the precise cause of the failure of the blowout preventer on the Deepwater Horizon (a technology that has successfully prevented spills in more than 150 offshore drilling accidents over the last 40 years), early accounts suggest that the same factors that cause most airplane crashes came into play: complacency and sloppy maintenance.

Could the BP oil spill increase GDP?

Annie Lowrey notes a J.P. Morgan Chase analysis suggesting the BP spill will actually raise the country's GDP, at least in the short term. "Cleaning up the spill will likely be enough to slightly offset the negative impact of all this on GDP, J.P. Morgan said," summarizes Luca Di Leo. "The bank cites estimates of 4,000 unemployed people hired for the cleanup efforts, which some reports have said could be worth between $3 and $6 billion."

The gulf tragedy doesn't negate the fact that oil is a green fuel

A rolling "dead zone" off the Gulf of Mexico is killing sea life and destroying livelihoods. Recent estimates put the blob at nearly the size of New Jersey.

Alas, I'm not talking about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. As terrible as that catastrophe is, such accidents have occurred in U.S. waters only about once every 40 years (and globally about once every 20 years). I'm talking about the dead zone largely caused by fertilizer runoff from American farms along the Mississippi and Atchafalaya river basins. Such pollutants cause huge algae plumes that result in oxygen starvation in the gulf's richest waters, near the delta.

Pickens pushes natural gas after oil spill

Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens is warning Americans that the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico may make the country even more dependent on foreign oil.

In a statement Tuesday, he said, “In the wake of the tragic Gulf Coast oil spill, we need to recognize that any U.S. reserves lost will invariably increase our foreign oil dependency, further jeopardizing our national and economic security.”

The Moral Imperative of the BP Oil Spill: Drive 20 Percent Less

So what can be done in the immediate future to rectify the whole mess? I propose that we can offset the moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico by driving 20 percent less. What follows is an outline of how I came to this conclusion, and what government can do to achieve it quickly.

US share of Saudi 2009 crude exports dips to 14% from 20%: Aramco

(Platts) - Saudi Arabia sent 14.3% of its 5.646 million b/d of crude exports last year to the United States, down from 20% the previous year, state-owned oil and gas company Saudi Aramco said Tuesday in its annual review.

The kingdom has been focusing increasingly on oil markets in Asia, which is expected to account for the bulk of future oil demand. The Aramco figures show that Asian countries accounted for 55.7% of crude exports in 2009, up from 52.7% in 2008.

Exports to Europe, including the Mediterranean, accounted for 9.8% of total Saudi crude exports last year, down from 12.2% in 2009.

LUKOIL cedes much of Saudi gas block, appraising finds

KHOBAR Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - Luksar, a joint venture between Russia's LUKOIL and state oil giant Saudi Aramco, has relinquished 90 percent of a gas exploration block in Saudi Arabia, Aramco said on Tuesday.

Luksar relinquished most of the 29,900 square kilometre area in Saudi's vast Empty Quarter last October and has decided not to go ahead with a second phase of exploration there, Aramco said in its annual review on Tuesday.

PDVSA and Aruba's Valero

Speculation is what is been roaming the globe with this business of PDVSA taken over Valeros' Aruba refinery. It would not fit PDVSA's strategies at all, Aruba's never has been a target for PDVSA, is a very old refinery and needs a lots of money to be able to process Venezuelan heavy crude.

I could be dead wrong, but PDVSA is on the verge of collapse, not money to buy anything.

Bangladesh saves power for World Cup TV coverage

Factories in Bangladesh have been asked to stop work in the evenings so there is enough electricity for people to watch World Cup football on TV.

The government's request follows protests over power cuts which have interrupted coverage. Angry fans have attacked several distribution centres.

Russia can help Pakistan overcome energy crisis

KARACHI: Pakistan can look to Russia for assistance in overcoming its energy crisis. This was said by Russian Consul General in Karachi Andrey V Demidov at a reception hosted at the consulate to celebrate the National Day of the Russian Federation.

The Russian Consul General said his country was blessed with vast energy resources and Pakistan could utilize these resources and their expertise. He said Russia was willing to help Pakistan exploit its vast coal reserves in Baluchistan and Thar.

Saudi unveils 1st domestically made car

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia—The desert kingdom whose oil reserves help fuel the world has developed its first car -- an SUV that named after nimble desert deer found in Saudi Arabia.

The Larger Struggle

We in the democratic world tend to assume state capitalism can’t prosper forever. Innovative companies can’t thrive unless there’s also a free exchange of ideas. A high-tech economy requires more creative destruction than an authoritarian government can tolerate. Cronyism will inevitably undermine efficiency.

That’s all true. But state capitalism may be the only viable system in low-trust societies, in places where decentralized power devolves into gangsterism. Moreover, democratic regimes have shown their vulnerabilities of late: a tendency to make unaffordable promises to the elderly and other politically powerful groups; a tendency toward polarization, which immobilizes governments even in the face of devastating problems.

California Org Brings Solar Savings to Low-Income Families

In March, we introduced you all to GRID Alternatives, the non-profit, California-based organization that provides free solar photovoltaic (PV) home energy systems to low-income communities. In order to do so, GRID Alternatives combines California’s alternative energy incentives with its own fundraising dollars.

Today, we begin a three-part series, taking a closer look at the people and process behind GRID Alternatives’ installations.

Stop baying for BP blood. Nationalise oil instead

If Obama's post-spill proclamations are to be believed, the US administration bears no responsibility for the catastrophe, and instead is wholeheartedly committed to environmental protection, developing alternative energies, and all the other buzzwords so beloved by politicians and voters alike. BP can be instantly cast in the role of pantomime villain by opportunistic senators, set up as the fall-guy for a society which – when the going was good – lauded BP and its peers to the heavens for their work.

In that respect, a better comparison would have been to the collapse of Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns rather than the twin towers, at least in the way that the credit crisis and the Deepwater spill have brought out the worst hypocrisy in those scrambling for political cover after the event. It is no secret that politicians and diplomats have been in the pocket of energy companies almost since the first oil was struck in Pennsylvania in the 1850s, and the murky relationship has continued ever since.

BP is isolated as rivals hit out over leak

BP is bracing itself to be hung out to dry by rivals in the oil business, when they give evidence to US politicians on safety procedures today.

Lawmakers slam Big Oil over 'boilerplate' emergency plans

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Executives from five of the world's largest oil companies are under fire on Capitol Hill Tuesday for having cookie-cutter contingency plans for dealing with disasters like the Gulf Coast oil spill.

BP gets OK to burn off captured oil, gas at sea

PASS CHRISTIAN, Miss. – BP won permission to start burning oil and gas piped up from its broken seafloor well as part of a pledge to more than triple how much crude it stops from spewing into the Gulf of Mexico.

Federal authorities gave permission late Monday for BP PLC to use a new method that involves pumping oil from the busted wellhead to a special ship on the surface, were it would be burned off rather than collected.

After delays, U.S. begins to tap foreign aid for gulf oil spill

Four weeks after the nation's worst environmental disaster, the Obama administration saw no need to accept offers of state-of-the-art skimmers, miles of boom or technical assistance from nations around the globe with experience fighting oil spills.

Will Obama 'go big' in primetime speech?

WASHINGTON - Tomorrow night, in his 20 minute address to the nation, will President Obama go big? Or will he go small? Will he use the auspicious moment to argue for the imperative of carbon pricing, or will he greet the nation by announcing new regulations on part of the energy sector?

Poll: Obama not tough enough on BP

Washington (CNN) - When it comes to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a new national poll indicates that most Americans don't think President Barack Obama's been tough enough on BP.

Engulfed in damages: Get ready for years of ugly litigation once the BP oil spill disaster hits the courts

I am waiting for Act Two. That is when the PR flacks go home and the lawyers take over. Lawyers are an unsentimental lot. It’s all very sad about the pelicans and the groupers, but as several attorneys explained to me: Fish can’t sue. Only people can. And once the oil spill hits the courts, the public is in for a rude awakening.

Gas Rally Boosts Coal’s Allure for Power Plants

(Bloomberg) -- The 16 percent jump in natural gas prices in the past month may prompt U.S. power producers to move to coal, as rising temperatures boost air-conditioning demand.

Merrill Hires European Power, Gas Traders, SparkSpread Says

(Bloomberg) -- Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch unit hired two traders for its European power and natural gas desk, SparkSpread said yesterday on its website, without saying where it got the information.

Caymans Move Cut Transocean’s Tax by $2 Billion, Magazine Says

(Bloomberg) -- Transocean Ltd., owner of the Deepwater Horizon offshore rig leaking oil in the Gulf of Mexico, reduced its U.S. tax bill by almost $2 billion since 1999 when it moved its headquarters to the Cayman Islands, a published report said.

Tax Notes magazine, a weekly journal published by Tax Analysts, said Transocean’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission show it cut its overall global tax rate to 16.9 percent in 2009 from 31.6 percent a decade earlier after moving from Houston.

Setbacks cloud U.S. plans to leave Afghanistan

WASHINGTON - Six months after President Obama decided to send more forces to Afghanistan, the halting progress in the war has crystallized longstanding tensions within the government over the viability of his plan to turn around the country and begin pulling out by July 2011.

Can Buried Treasure Save Afghanistan?

In February 1975, Mobil Oil Corp. announced a stunning find. The U.S. petroleum giant’s exploratory drillers had struck oil in the Bach Ho (White Tiger) field off the South Vietnamese coast. Saigon officials, scarcely believing their luck, hastily called a press conference. They displayed a small vial of black gold from the test well and declared it was a turning point in the war. Presidential Palace spokesman Hoang Duc Nha joked that he was growing a mustache to look more like Saudi Arabia’s oil minister at the time, Sheik Ahmed Zaki Yamani. U.S. Embassy officials were just as cheerful and vocal, believing that the prospect of South Vietnam becoming an East Asian Saudi Arabia would rally the country’s war-weary troops and civilians and revive U.S. congressional support for the war. The euphoria was short-lived. A few weeks later, Hanoi’s Soviet-made tanks crashed through the gates of Saigon’s Presidential Palace, defeating the U.S.-backed regime.

Wind farm officially opened off Essex coast

An offshore wind farm situated off the coast of Essex has been officially opened.

Gunfleet Sands wind farm, in the Thames Estuary, is made up of 48 turbines, each standing 130 metres high.

Why we may never be able to say goodbye to oil

As recently as 1990, China got through around two million barrels of oil every day. That figure is pushing seven million now and set to rise to twice as much again by 2030.

As America's Energy Information Administration points out, that extra demand alone will add 10% to the world's consumption.

Another way of looking at it is that the Chinese currently consume just one litre of oil a day per head, compared with 11 litres in the United States.

If the country's oil demand were to reach US proportions, total world consumption would double.

As so called "peak oil" theorists have it, such levels of production would be impossible to achieve, now that the rate of worldwide extraction is already in, or close to, terminal decline.

Crude Oil Futures Rise on U.S. Stockpiles Outlook, Euro Rebound

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil rose in New York before a report that may show growing U.S. demand for the fuel and as the euro recovered against the dollar, boosting the appeal of commodities.

U.S. crude stockpiles probably fell for a third week, a Bloomberg survey showed. The Energy Department is scheduled to release its weekly report tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. in Washington. The euro rebounded to $1.2257 and the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.4 percent.

A Look At BP's World Energy Review

The study found that world energy consumption fell by 1.1% in 2009, the first decline since 1982. This decline in consumption was led by OECD countries, which saw a 5% decline in consumption in 2009. Emerging countries led by China and India grew energy consumption by 2.7%, but this was not enough to trump the much larger users in the OECD.

The statistics on worldwide oil demand mirrored the overall energy trends, with a large decline in OECD demand overwhelming the high demand growth regions of the world. Total oil demand fell by 1.7%, or 1.2 million barrels per day, in 2009. Oil demand has now fallen for two consecutive years, and is below the level of demand in 2006.

Saudi output slashed in 2009

State oil company Saudi Aramco's crude output fell by a million barrels per day in 2009 from the previous year as the kingdom led Opec in making steep production curbs, data from Aramco showed today.

Aramco's crude output was 7.9 million barrels per day in 2009, the company said in an annual review released today, down from 8.9 million bpd in 2008, reported Reuters.

Saudi Aramco's Khursaniyah gas plant online in June

(Reuters) - Saudi Aramco's gas processing plant at the 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) Khursaniyah oilfield will be fully operational in June, the state oil giant said on Tuesday.

The gas plant has capacity to process around 1 billion cubic feet per day (cfd) of raw sour gas from the Abu Hadriya, Fadhili and Khursaniyah fields, producing around 560 million cfd of gas.

What The Gulf Spill Means For The Future Of Oil

Since the spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the government has announced a series of measures aimed at restricting new drilling activity. The short term measures include a six-month extension on a ban on permits for new drilling in deep water. New drilling in other parts of the country remains on hold.

Fitch slashes BP rating owing to oil spill

LONDON (AFP) – International ratings agency Fitch said on Tuesday it had slashed BP's credit rating by six notches from "AA" to "BBB", citing the impact of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster.

"Fitch Ratings has downgraded BP plc's long-term issuer default rating and senior unsecured rating to 'BBB' from 'AA'," it said in a statement. The 'BBB' rating is just two notches above junk status.

Magnitude of Gulf of Mexico oil spill fuels concerns that BP may be bankrupted

As President Barack Obama made his case for BP to escrow $20 billion to ensure that environmental and economic damages from the undersea Gulf Coast oil gusher are paid, fears heightened that the company may seek bankruptcy protection in the face of claims that grow every day as more oil billows into the ocean.

BP denies bankruptcy rumors, seeks advice

NEW YORK (AFP) – BP has tapped financial advisers at Goldman Sachs, Blackstone Group and Credit Suisse as pressure mounts on the British energy giant over the devastating Gulf of Mexico oil spill, US media reported on Monday.

A BP spokesman denied the reports, saying the group did not want to reveal "who are our advisors and on what they are advising us."

Poll: Oil spill's economic impact worries public

WASHINGTON — Americans overwhelmingly view the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as an economic and environmental catastrophe that will reverberate for a decade and more, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds.

When President Obama addresses the nation Tuesday, he'll face a public that is pessimistic about the future of Gulf coastal areas and their wildlife. Half of those surveyed say some beaches will never fully recover, and even more predict some species of fish and birds will never return to normal levels.

Eight in 10 expect the spill to hurt the U.S. economy and drive up the cost of gas and food.

BP engineer called doomed rig a 'nightmare well'

WASHINGTON – BP took measures to cut costs in the weeks before the catastrophic blowout in the Gulf of Mexico as it dealt with one problem after another, prompting a BP engineer to describe the doomed rig as a "nightmare well," according to internal documents released Monday.

The comment by BP engineer Brian Morel came in an e-mail April 14, six days before the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion that killed 11 people and has sent tens of millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf in the nation's worst environmental disaster.

Efforts to Repel Gulf Oil Spill Are Described as Chaotic

For much of the last two months, the focus of the response to the Deepwater Horizon explosion has been a mile underwater, 50 miles from shore, where successive efforts involving containment domes, “top kills” and “junk shots” have failed, and a “spillcam” shows tens of thousands of barrels of oil hemorrhaging into the gulf each day.

Closer to shore, the efforts to keep the oil away from land have not fared much better, despite a response effort involving thousands of boats, tens of thousands of workers and millions of feet of containment boom.

BP faces grilling in Congress, Obama to speak on TV

WASHINGTON/HOUSTON (Reuters) – BP Plc's U.S. chief faces accusations in Congress on Tuesday that the energy giant caused the worst oil spill in U.S. history with a calculated strategy to cut costs, hours before President Barack Obama uses a televised address to defend his handling of the disaster.

White House: Obama ready to seize claims process

PENSACOLA, Fla. – President Barack Obama is reassuring people in Gulf Coast states that he's up to the enormous job of helping them recover from the disastrous oil spill, laying the groundwork for a prime-time speech Tuesday night. His chief spokesman said Obama is poised to seize the handling of damage claims from BP, if necessary.

Gulf Coasters skeptical of Obama, BP promises

PASS CHRISTIAN, Miss. – President Barack Obama promised that life would return to normal for people living on the stricken Gulf Coast, and BP said new efforts will more than triple the amount of oil it captures from a ruptured undersea well. But the pledges don't reassure some residents.

"I think that as long as BP is still in control, there's not a lot he can do other than show support for the residents of these Gulf states," Jennifer Jenkins, 34, of Long Beach, said of Obama.

Oil-processing gear's U.S. route sparks fears

HELENA, Mont. — As the nation anxiously watches the catastrophic continuing Gulf oil spill, one portion of the country is growing concerned about another oil-related issue — a plan to transport the enormous machinery required to build an oil-processing plant in Canada.

The immediate issue is not the plant itself — which would extract oil from sand — but the disruptions and environmental issues involved with trucking more than 200 massive pieces of Korean-built processing equipment along the path of Lewis and Clark and adjacent to famed wild and scenic rivers in Northern Rockies.

It Doesn’t Matter What Obama Says About the Oil Spill

The irony was that BP’s latest discovery was the mother lode of oil reservoirs. Vladimir Kutcherov is a Russian specialist in the theory of the abiogenic deep origin of oil, the view that it is not created from the activity of living organisms; that oil is the result of dead dinosaurs.

Oil, it would appear, is created deep within the Earth. Kutcherov believes that BP drilled into “a migration channel”, a deep fault on which hydrocarbons generated in the depth of the planet migrate to the crust.

The other irony is that the BP disaster should put an end to the widely disseminated “peak oil” theory that says the Earth is running out of oil. If Kutcherov is right—and I think he is—that means the “hole” that President Obama and BP wants “plugged” is comparable to trying to plug a volcano. The effort could take months, if not years.

Chevron: Oil in Utah leaked from quarter-size hole

SALT LAKE CITY – Chevron Corp. said Monday it believes an electrical arc from a power line torched a quarter-size hole in a pipeline that spilled thousands of gallons of crude oil into a Salt Lake City creek over the weekend.

Rocky Mountain Power said the chain of events began with a tree limb that fell onto a power line late Friday, but the utility said it would be highly unusual for an arc to drill a hole in a buried pipeline by traveling through a metal fence post.

Far from U.S. Gulf, Nigerian thieves mop up oil spills

BODO, Nigeria (Reuters) - Using two large yellow tubes to funnel polluted water into his small wooden boat, Nigerian teenager Daniel Muukor helps to "mop up" the latest oil spill in the creeks of the Niger Delta.

But Muukor is not part of Nigeria's federal response effort to contain the spill -- the 15-year-old is stealing the oil to sell on the black market.

EU to ban investments in Iranian gas and oil

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg on Monday (14 June) agreed on a fresh batch of sanctions against Iran aimed at halting its nuclear program, with the new measures to target the country's massive oil and gas industry.

The inflation/deflation debate: The complete list of arguments for hyperinflation and deflation

The peak oil debate has nothing to do with inflation or deflation. If the price of oil will go up because the supply went down it will not signal inflation or deflation. We are going to see one of the biggest depressions ever, and in those environments you get all kinds of disruptions, and cutoffs of fuel are going to be one of those disruptions. But nobody was going apoplectic over the world running out of oil back when it was eleven dollars a barrel. You didn’t hear any of that. Everyone was complacent in 1998. So when you get near tops, you get all the wild forecasts and, just as with Google, everyone tries to outdo the other and one guy says we are going to run out of oil in 2060, and the other guy says no it will be 2030 and another guy says it will five years from now. So it’s the same kind of psychology that went on at that peak.

Tennessee: Fine Levied for Coal Ash Spill

The Tennessee Valley Authority has been hit with penalties totaling $11.5 million for the December 2008 coal ash spill at one of the utility's plants, partly to pay for oversight of the cleanup.

China Nuclear Plant’s ‘Very Small Leakage’ Contained

(Bloomberg) -- China’s Daya Bay nuclear power plant had a “very small leakage” from a fuel rod last month that has been contained, CLP Holdings Ltd., Hong Kong’s biggest electricity supplier, said in a statement.

Sweden: Greenpeace Activists Breach Nuclear Plant

The police arrested dozens of Greenpeace activists on Monday after they broke into the Forsmark nuclear power plant north of Stockholm before a planned vote this week on whether to replace the country’s existing reactors, many of which were built in the 1970s.

Toledo reinvents itself as a solar-power innovator

TOLEDO — This city is trying to swap its Rust Belt image for a new identity as a hub of solar-energy research and production.

The mission is being led by an unusual partnership of business, academia and government that could be a model for other aging industrial cities. "We are ready to do anything; we are ready to try anything," says University of Toledo President Lloyd Jacobs.

Peak Metals - What happens when we run out?

We can't live without metals. They seem to be in almost everything we use, and we've been digging them up for thousands of years.

But virgin metal supplies are finite.

Wollongong gets poor green rating

Wollongong is the worst ranked of all Australian cities when it comes to coping with emerging environmental pressures such as climate change, a national report has revealed.

The Australian Conservation Foundation's Sustainable Cities Index, which measured the eco-credentials of the nation's 20 largest cities across 15 indicators, found Wollongong was Australia's least "resilient" city - the most likely to falter under major environmental stress.

The unflattering result was due to a low education rate, comparably poor public health, a scarcity of volunteers and a lack of local food production, the index showed.

Tomato lovers sound off on heirlooms vs. hybrids

Is Garza talking about heirlooms or hybrids? The tomato-obsessed have firm, sometimes fanatical, opinions as to which is superior, with heirlooms getting most of the snooty vote. But Garza is talking about both.

She and a growing number of tomato aficionados are challenging tomato lovers to sample certain hybrids that burst with flavor and thumb their noses at diseases. "There are a few carefully selected hybrids that are just as good as heirlooms," she says. "I taste everything I sell. Tomato love is something we do not take lightly."

Travel without money poses challenges that make holidays more fun

To say that travel is the luxury – and not necessity – of the fossil fuel generation is an over-simplification. Globalisation has rapidly scattered close family and friends across the world, and the increasingly stressful jobs we seem to create for ourselves often mean we "need" to get away from it all, regularly. These holidays are often paid for on credit, resulting in even more stress once the fun is over, perpetuating the need for more temporary freedom and debt in the future.

Although this is all very understandable, our collective contribution to climate change through the way we travel is astronomical. Travel does not have to cost the Earth – or even money. There are two main expenses: getting somewhere, and staying there. To save yourself both of these, the only prerequisite is a sense of adventure.

Rahm Emanuel persuaded Obama to play it cool on climate bill. Post-spill, will the game plan change?

Two months earlier, she had prepared a policy document based on a short-lived interagency process designed to reach an internal consensus on climate policy, but the document had been languishing on Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's desk. Browner wanted to dust it off and use it to prep the president on a deeper level of policy detail, so the Iowa speech could send signals to Congress about his position on the design of a climate bill.

Emanuel and strategist David Axelrod didn't think that was a good idea. Better to stick to our basic clean-energy message, they argued, and stay out of the policy weeds. It was the sort of fight that happened all the time in the Obama White House, and the True Believers ended up losing every time. "It was lather, rinse, repeat, a thousand times in a thousand ways," said one. "You had this incredible green cabinet of really committed people, but the only thing that really matters is what the president says -- so everyone was trying to get words into his mouth. And Rahm was trying to keep the words out of his mouth. It was just a chronic pattern of infighting."

Climate panel chief welcomes climate debate

The head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri, says he welcomes "the development of a vigorous debate" on climate science.

Scientists want clear message on climate

REPRESENTATIVES of scientific organisations, including the CSIRO and the Bureau Of Meteorology, will meet today to discuss better communication of the science behind man-made climate change as the political and public consensus on global warming crumbles.

Scientists on hunt for climate-change clues explore rare tropical glacier

Bangkok, Thailand – Indonesia’s towering Puncak Jaya mountain on the island of Papua straddles one of the world’s richest and most inaccessible gold and copper mines. But the scientists currently prospecting on the 16,000-ft peak are digging for a different kind of treasure: fragile ice cores that can yield clues to the climatic past and give pointers on the future.

As Humans Advance, Andean Glaciers Recede

QUITO (IPS) - The spectacular glacier Number 15 of Antisana, one of the Ecuadorean capitals' sources of potable water, lost at least 36 percent of its original mass in the last 50 years. The Antisana is a snow-capped peak of the eastern branch of the Andes range whose three humps can be seen from Quito on clear days. It is located at the same latitude as the capital, 50 kilometres to the east.

Himalayan glacial melting still a threat

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, June 14 (UPI) -- While the Himalayan glaciers may not be in danger of disappearing as claimed by an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, they are still affected by global climate change, threatening food security for 60 million people, a new study shows.

Much food goes to waste, which squanders resources and adds to greenhouse gases

To make that calculation, researchers at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, began by tallying up how much food, expressed in calories, per person -- was available for human consumption in the United States in 2003. Then they estimated how many calories the average person ate that year. The difference between the two figures -- roughly 1,400 calories per person, or about 38 percent of the original supply -- represents the amount of food energy lost in the farm-to-fork journey.

Intensive farming has slowed climate change, say US researchers

Agriculture is often cited as a major source of greenhouse gases because of the reliance on fertilisers, pestcides and mechanisation in conventional farming systems.

However, a report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has concluded without the adoption of such technologies even more greenhouses gases would have been emmitted.

Oil Spill / Hurricanes / Drinking Water and Florida Orange Juice
Apparently almost 100% of Florida's drinking water comes from aquifers. If oil and dispersant are picked up by a hurricane and distributed across large portions of Florida, presumably this will eventually get to the water table. Am I correct in thinking that the only remedial action available would be more sophisticated filtration by the consumer?

Am I right in thinking that reverse osmosis filtration could take water laced with almost every toxin imaginable and make it drinkable?

60% of Florida's water is used in agriculture and industry – Regarding Oranges; Valencia's are late season oranges with a commercial harvest season of March to June, so there is a good chance that this years crop is safe, but what would be the long term implications of contaminated aquifers in Florida and neighboring states?

I believe the only supply that would be in any danger is the shallow aquifer which is mostly used for irrigation (home and agriculture) and some personal potable water supply. Water percolating through the sandy soil should be pretty clean by the time it is 'reused'.

It might be more of a threat to surface water.

Neither liquid water, oil or dispersants are picked up by a hurricane. Hurricanes drop water from the sky, they do not pick it up. Water vapor may be picked up in the central vortex, but nothing else. Water vapor condenses into rain but not oil vapor nor dispersant vapor.

I heard several times on TV: What if it starts to rain oil!" No it does not rain oil because oil vapor, if it is picked up, does not condense into oil rain. The concept is just silly. If liquids were picked up by the hurricane then it would pick up salt water and rain salt water on land. That never happens.

Neither dispersants nor oil will be picked up or rained down upon land.

Ron P.

Some will be blown well ashore during a hurricane event. I have been through several hurricanes and can attest to tasting salty rain twenty miles inland during and directly after the event. Experts say it was blown there as there is no such thing as salty rain. If a hurricane hit the area now before the oil moves off, the additional damage caused by an oily storm surge alone would be dang near Biblical IMHO.

tasting salty rain twenty miles inland

I can personally confirm the tasting of salt in the mist during a hurricane. I'm 16mi inland. It's blown off the ocean by the wind just like dust is picked up off the ground.

I see no reason oil would be any different.

I am sure someone has done the dispersion and dilution calculation.
It sounds kind of trivial.

What may not be trivial however is the effects of the light hydrocarbons (with things like benzene being toxic) or the effects of the nifty dispersants. No testing has been done.....we are live testing.


Corexit EC9527A is 30-60% 2-Butoxyethanol by weight. 2-B ( I will use the abbreviation 2-B ) is a main ingredient in many fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides ( especially Roundup ), insecticides, fuels, fungicides, cosmetics & leather treatment , and oddly enough, it is commonly used for " handling " oil spills .

It seems a leak of sulfur trioxide has caused green plant damage over many acres.

Sulphur trioxide sucks the water out the air to bind harder than anything you can think of. Oil and water hardly mix together

Hurricanes cause turbulence that mixes water from well below the surface, hundreds of feet in severe cases. Hurricanes also cause enormous tides due to the low pressure lifting of the water column. After Camile in 1972, bodies and debris were washed several miles inland in Mississippi. A friend of mine was on a team that recovered the bodies. What's near the shore and under the surface can wind up all over the place along the path of the storm. When I was in Biloxi three years later, the Air Force prohibited swimming along the coast because of all the debris stirred up by Camile. It was an Article 15 offence. Technically, you weren't allowed to be on the beach without shoes.

And by the way, global warming pumps more heat into the oceans. That's the heat that drives hurricanes. More heat, bigger storms. Just putting that out there.

How much oil could a hurricane bring onshore? Pick a number.

I agree that a lot of oil will come ashore. It will be blown ashore. It will not rain oil or dispersants.

Right now we are all guessing as to what effect a serious hurricane would have on the oil spill. There is nothing in the past we can use as a guide. But if the center of the hurricane is to the east of the spill, it will help because it will blow the oil further out to sea. But if the center is to the west of the spill it will make the disaster far worse. It will blow a lot of the oil out to sea now much closer. And what is close right now will be blown ashore.

Ron P.

Sorry, Ron, but a long history of rains of fish and other unlikely occurences means that there is a finite (though small) probability that a portion of the oil spill could be picked up by way of waterspout resulting in it coming back to the surface over land.

This may or may not be actually connected to a hurricane, I don't know enough of the science involved to know anything more than Possible:Unlikely.

Yeah, I know. There is also a long history of rains of frogs also, but I have never seen one. And I consider it extremely unlikely that I will ever see it rain frogs, or fish, or oil.

Ron P.

" Neither liquid water, oil or dispersants are picked up by a hurricane. "

As the Gulf coast may well then be awash with contaminants, already soaked well up into the wetlands, and facing the compound forces of High Seas, Storm Surges, High Winds and all sorts of resultant mixing, would you consider holding off on these blanket statements? Really.. you're a very smart guy, but your insistence on such Black/White statements makes it hard to appreciate your better contributions.

Maybe you can't help it, but I'm hoping you can.


Bob, please get real. You know very well we were talking about raining oil and dispersants People, on this list and on TV and radio have been talking about it raining oil. My point was, and is, this is impossible. I clearly stated that oil could be washed ashore, especially if the hurricane was west of the spill.

Really Bob, I know you are a very smart guy but you sometimes insist on twisting people's words to mean something they never meant.

Maybe you can't help it, but I'm hoping you can.

Ron P.

I only dispute "impossible", because if it can rain fish and frogs it sure as heck isn't impossible for it to rain oil by exactly the same mechanism.

The odds, however, are somewhat lower since oil slicks are less common than fish schools.

Who's twisting words, Ron?

"Picked up" means "picked up", which doesn't limit a heavy storm to the evaporation that gets most of the water up into the sky. Clearly, with the fishermen who are getting sick, that there is still plenty of Non H2O evaporation going on anyhow.

I know you like to keep strict control of your absolute definitions, but there's more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in your Lexicography.

Moderation in all things..

but your insistence on such Black/White statements ... Maybe you can't help it

I've been dinging him on it for some time. If it makes you feel better pretend Ron has a inoperable non maligenant brain tumor that makes him act that way.

I've seen it. I was standing in my garage watching one heckuva Central Illinois storm, and a fish dropped out of the sky right in front of me. (A perch, if it matters.)

So I'm curious, now that you've mentioned probabilities. Anyone else seen it rain frogs or fish?

A fellow I know had a fish land in his fishing boat when he was caught out on open water near a thunderstorm headed his way;he got caught in it and the little fish about three inches long came down with the rain.He supposes that it was initially lifted by the wind from a wave crest, or that it leaped out of the water maybe because a larger fish was chasing it and was then carried aloft by the wind.There was no funnel cloud.This mountian raised landlubber says he now has a lot more respect for thunderstorms on the water and won't go out again when one may occur. He almost went to the bottom because the wind and waves came up so fast;he thought he could outrun a thunderstorm on the bay, but apparently they travel faster than 35 to 40 mph which is all his hot rod fishing boat can do.

But this sort of thing is probably of no importance, except that it might be one means by which small plants and animals naturally reach islands isolated by salt water from the place of origin.

The real question seems to be how far inland and upstream oil might be carried by the storm surge of a major hurricane.I'm sure some body who lives on the gulf coast can fill us in in this respect.

Yeah, it's not really relevant to the current situation, and I've drifted way off-topic. I think I just had in mind some vague notion about the relevance of probabilities. The people living on the gulf must be getting exceedingly tired of seeing themselves become part of the statistical evidence. I can see why they would fear even the improbable.

I know of someone who was killed when a tornado picked up a nail and drove it through his brain. The probability of that happening to any specific individual is extremely low, but they went ahead and had a funeral for him anyway.


Yes, a very low probability, it would seem, but then if you went and had a 'Nail Spill' with hundreds of thousands of barrels of nails next to your state, and then hoped none of them got impaled into the head of your various freshwater supplies, it would seem there might be reasonable cause for concern.

'What could POSSIBLY go wrong?..'

Exactly. I promise I won't ramble on again, but bear with me and I'll go back to lurking for a while. That's what I mean about statistics. The gentleman I mentioned was working on his farm, and tried to finish something up before the storm rolled in. You just don't tempt a tornado. It was still an unlikely event, but he increased the unfavorable odds. Certainly it was unlikely that a pot of gold would drop at his feet. The best you could hope for would be a fish or a frog. Or maybe an oak door.

I don't know what the probability is for oil blowing ashore, but it's a lot higher than it was two months ago. I don't know what all could happen as a result, but probably most of those things are bad. This is uncharted territory. The uncertainty of this event must be weighing heavily on the gulf's population. I think our analysis of the event makes us lose sight of the human aspect, and that worries me.

That's not rambling, that's rambling!
(might be salient.. but it's hardly concise!)

You're fine!


no critters. I once watched a tiny fluttering thing fall from thousands of feet to land near me and it turned out to be a solid oak front door complete with knob and knocker. Always figured there had to be a tornado associated with that one.

Another fellow I know slightly was working on a high rise construction job when a storm blew up and it scattered full size sheets of plywood laid out on the roof ready for use over a path a half a mile long.He said it was only good luck that somebody wasn't killed.Such occurences are probably quite common but not publicized for obvious reasons so long as nobody gets hurt.

A heavy layer of oil on the near shore water could concievably be scattered over a lot of land by hurricane winds.The question would then be whether ENOUGH oil would be deposited in any GIVEN spot to cause serious harm.

My guess is that mostly there would not be any real problems over the general area but even a thin sheen of oil on water harm a lake or river and there might be some localized severe damage to particular plants, animals or insects, etc, that turn out to be especially sensitive to oil.

A tablespoonful will kill all the misquito larvae in a good sized tank about a couple of yards square-verified by personal use of cooking oil poured in livestock water troughs.


Wind and oil
The winds from a hurricane hurl ocean sea spray miles inland, often causing major defoliation and tree damage far beyond where the storm surge penetrates. For example, Category 2 Hurricane Bob of 1991 blew sea spray inland 4 miles (7 km) inland over Cape Cod. The salt deposited defoliated nearly all the deciduous trees along the coast. Kerr, 2000 document the case of Category 2 Typhoon Gay of November 23, 1992, which hit the 15-km wide island of Guam with 95 - 100 mph winds. Interaction with another typhoon disrupted Gay's thunderstorm activity, resulting in a nearly rainless typhoon for Guam. As a result, heavy amounts of salt coated the entire island, resulting in nearly complete defoliation. The salt didn't actually kill many plants, and the island re-greened within a year. The Category 3 New England Hurricane of 1938 was able to cause salt damage to trees as far as 45 miles inland, due to wind-blown sea spray. Thus we can anticipate that a hurricane passing over the oil spill will be able to hurl oil and toxic dispersants many miles inland during landfall. In regions where little rain falls, the concentrations of the oil and dispersants may be a problem. Again, we have no experience with this sort of situation, so the potential risks are unknown.

Rain and oil
Hurricanes evaporate huge amounts of water from the ocean and convert it to rain. In general, we do not need to worry about oil dissolving into the rain, since the oil and water don't mix. Furthermore, about 50-70% of the oil that is going to evaporate from the spill does so in the first 12 hours that the oil reaches the surface, so the volatile oil compounds that could potentially get dissolved into rain water won't be around. Hurricanes are known to carry sea salt and microscopic marine plankton hundreds of miles inland, since the strong updrafts of the storm can put these substances high in the troposphere where they can be carried far inland as the hurricane makes landfall. The Eastern Pacific's Hurricane Nora of 1997, whose remnants passed over Southern California, brought traces of sea salt and marine microorganisms to clouds over the central U.S. similarly, we can expect any landfalling hurricanes that pass over the oil spill to pick up traces of Gulf of Mexico crude and transport it hundreds of miles inland. However, I doubt that these traces would be detectable in rainwater except by laboratory analysis, and would not cause any harm to plants or animals.

Lightning and oil
Could a lightning strike from a hurricane ignite oil from the spill, and the hurricane's winds hurl the flaming oil inland, creating a fiery maelstrom of water, wind, and flame? This would make a great scene in a typical bad Hollywood disaster movie, but it's not going to happen with the universe's current laws of physics. Lightning could set an oil slick on fire, in regions where the oil is most dense and very fresh. About 50-70% of the evaporation of oil's most flammable volatile compounds occurs in the first 12 hours after release, so fresh oil is the most likely to ignite. However, the winds of a hurricane are so fierce that any surface oil slick of flaming oil would quickly be disrupted and doused by wave action and sea spray. Heavy rain would further dampen any lightning-caused oil slick fires.

Bringing oil at depth to the surface
Hurricanes act like huge blenders that plow through the ocean, thoroughly mixing surface waters to depths as great as 200 meters (650 feet), and pulling waters from depth to the surface. Thus if sub-surface plumes of oil are located within 200 meters of the surface, a hurricane could potentially bring them to the surface. However, the huge sub-surface plumes of oil found by the research vessel Pelican were at depths of 2300 - 4200 feet, and a hurricane will not affect the ocean circulation at those depths.

Nature's little equalizer; heat dispersal coming to a beach near you, perhaps. Magnified this year by a SST enhanced by black, oily water. Entropy happens.

And I consider it extremely unlikely that I will ever see it rain frogs, or fish, or oil.

if you would stand under and downwind of a flare from an oil or rich gas/condensate well(drilling or producing)that has extinguished, you would experience an oil rain. ranchers in north dakota complain that their cattle wont eat the grass under a flare because the grass is covered with condensate.

Neither liquid water, oil or dispersants are picked up by a hurricane.

Glad we've got that sorted out.

Water vapor may be picked up in the central vortex, but nothing else.

Yet somehow the blind nuts are finding small marine squirrels....

Scientists were surprised to find what appeared to be frozen plankton in some cirrus crystals collected by research aircraft over Oklahoma, far from the Pacific Ocean. This was the first time examples of microscopic marine life, like plankton, were seen as "nuclei" of ice crystals in the cirrus clouds of a hurricane.

but I have never seen one.

Well then. That's all the 'truth' "we" need.

Eric, your link headline: Hurricane Winds Carried Ocean Salt & Plankton Far Inland

Of course they do. The winds carry salt spray and whatever far inland. I, and several others, have stated such. Hurricanes, in the northern hemisphere, turn counterclockwise. If there is oil on the east side of the hurricane then it can be blown far inland.

I should have not have used the words "picked up" but it is very clear from my post that I was talking about oil and dispersant vapor being picked up and then returning to earth as rain! I meant that the vapors, and I stated that, cannot be picked up by the hurricane and then condense back into oil rain. It does not rain oil. All vapors can be sucked up in the vortex, as I stated, but only the water vapor can condense back into rain.

I think my point was very obvious that I was talking about rain, not blown water or oil. And I am sure a fish or two has been picked up by a waterspout, or a frog by a tornado, and returned to earth miles downwind. But this has absolutely nothing to do with the subject of oil or dispersant rain. It does not rain oil! It never has and it never will!

But if you, Bob or whomever wish to nitpick because I did not use the word "rain" in every sentence, thought it was blatantly obvious that I was talking about rain, then have at it. I am used to such nitpicking from some people and can take it.

Ron P.

Rather than saying "seems I was wrong" you are busy trying to defend your mistatement. I wonder what you'll be doing if collected data shows hydrocarbons + dispersants found in the rain. Will you then say "gee I was wrong" or will you still keep handwaving and claim the data was wrong?

(Rain is showing depleted Urainium in places like India. DU is rather heavy, yet is in rainwater. Flies in the face of the "science" Darwinina is using, doesn't it?)

but only the water vapor can condense back into rain.

Huh. Would you care to show the science you are using to come to this "truth"?

Because "the truth" I am aware of has rain needing material like ice, dust or other things to act as a 'seed' for the rain. Thus rain is more than ONLY water vapor.

Thus dust that interacts with hydrocarbons or perhaps oil+surfactant/oil+dispursant may be able to act as a 'seed'. The physical interaction of a falling bit of water (rain) can interact with vapor and bring it down to the land.

[I] can take it.

No you can't. Rather than saying "I was wrong" you either shut up and don't respond or keep claiming you are correct.

(And "some" people are claiming 'oil rain'. But they are cartoonists.
http://www.xkcd.com/748/ )

Darwinian: I heard several times on TV: What if it starts to rain oil!" No it does not rain oil because oil vapor, if it is picked up, does not condense into oil rain. The concept is just silly.

I agree the concept is completely silly. Other than yourself, who has suggested it?

It is fairly well known (even by people that watch TV)  that the forces of nature are not to be taken lightly. For example, strong winds have brought down many bridges and to satisfy your "tighter than a camel's ass in a sandstorm" scientific threshold, I should clarify that in some cases this was a result of resonance.

Darwinian: Really Bob, I know you are a very smart guy but you sometimes insist on twisting people's words to mean something they never meant.

Ron, if anyone is word-twisting in this thread, then it is you. I never said anything about oil or dispersant vapors going through phase changes and satisfying your (obviously very tight)  definition of whatever it is that constitutes "rain".

If you think you see ambiguity in any of my future posts - be a good fellow and kindly seek clarification, instead of making assumptions.

Informed emergency planning sources in Florida have informed WMR that the state faces severe fresh water shortages and power blackouts if the thick crude oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster clogs sea water intakes at the largest seawater desalinisation plant in the United States -- the Tampa Bay Seawater Desalinisation Plant at Apollo Beach in Tampa, Florida.

The plant, which uses seawater reverse osmosis to turn seawater into 16 to 19 million gallons of drinking water daily for residents of the Tampa Bay area, faces the threat of filtration membranes becoming clogged if oil from the Gulf of Mexico enters its intake pipes. Such an event would render the plant unable to process seawater, resulting in a major fresh water shortage for the Tampa Bay.

Similarly, oil clogging the water cooling intakes at the Crystal River Nuclear Power Plant on the Gulf of Mexico coast, some 80 miles north of Tampa, could force the shutdown of the Unit 3 pressurized water nuclear reactor. Such an event would result in power shutdowns in the Florida areas served by the power plant.

The article The inflation/deflation debate: The complete list of arguments for hyperinflation and deflation gives a list of 50 reasons why we will experience deflation and 50 reasons for inflation. Solid reasoning on both sides. What it amounts to is 100 reasons why we are screwed.

Yes, I plan on going through the list later when I have time. I would like to have a better handle on whether we are headed for inflation or deflation. Up to now I have been looking at only two reasons, one for inflation and the other for deflation.

For inflation: The average's taxpayers, share of the national debt, (not every man, woman or child's share) ,is about 1.2 million dollars... and growing. There is just no way that debt will ever be paid. Therefore there are only two options, either default or inflate it away. I have always assumed it will be inflated away.

For deflation: A recession always brings a slowdown in inflation and a serious recession or depression always brings deflation. The reason is that if no one has any money to buy anything, then prices drop. It is that simple.

However if no one has any money, or everyone has a lot less money, to spend then the tax revenues go down... way down. This means the government must borrow even more money to pay all the bills.

I agree, looks like we are screwed.

Ron P.

Unfortunately, positioning oneself to protect against deflation is very different than the approach to protect against inflation. There is the possibility of a hybrid, stagflation, but the shear extremes of the past years make me think this is unlikely. Seems to me that we will have one or the other, in spades.

Never before have I viewed so much of my financial future dependent on the correct call of a binary choice. Will we be destroyed by fire? Or ice? Some people I truly respect are on both sides. Stoneleigh at Automatic Earth and John Williams at Shadowstats have good cases on both sides.

The way I see it, Easter, the choice is not binary. Previous bouts of inflation/hyperinflation occurred during periods of energetic growth of the system, especially when asset-backing of the fiat currency was removed (off gold standard). It could still happen, but current monetary easing is going into balancing the pull of the black hole of derivatives and securitized assets (top layers of the inverse pyramid at link below). We've never had such an imbalance before in the history of currencies. Typically for the inflation feedback loop to get started and go exponential, I think you need support from growth in employment and salaries to cause the economy to accelerate. Can that happen here without the energetic support base? I don't think so. So while basic needs may inflate or not lose value, things that we want or are part of the old civilization that needs to contract/decline/disappear will probably decline in relative value. Of course, the degree of stag deflation depends on the level of stupidity displayed by our leaders, since policies to address entitlements will dictate the degree of relative stagflation between needs and wants.

We've never had such large imbalances, and we've never had the volatility and printing ease of electronic money. When things happen, they'll happen fast. I am mostly out of the financial system, at this point.



Increases or decreases in the level of money supply are thought to influence the level of production in the economy. However, this is true only if the "externals" to the economy -- i.e., sources of energy from outside of the money circle --are constant. When the availability of energy changes, the economy changes in ways not correctable by manipulations of the money supply.


The buying power of money is the amount of real goods and services that it can buy. If the amount a dollar can buy diminishes, this is called inflation. Inflation can be caused by increasing the amount of money circulating without increasing the amount of energy flowing and doing work, for example, when more money is printed. It can also occur when the money supply is constant but less work is done, for example, because energy becomes scarce. As long as there is unused fuel energy to be tapped, increasing the money supply can increase the flow of energy through the system, causing growth as well as some inflation.

During wartime, even when the money supply is not increased inflation occurs, because energy is diverted away from normal production into military activities. This reduces the energy available per dollar in the main economy, causing inflation.

Depression and Recession

The depression of 1929 was caused by a shortage of circulating money, a shortage of institutions to process money, and a lack of spending. At that time, the government undertook massive efforts to increase the circulation of money and the flow of energy. Energy was abundant, so stimulating the flow of money increased the inflow of energy. The recession of the 1970s, however, was caused by a shortage of energy. Increasing the money supply did not help in this case, as there was no increase in the inflow of energy. Thus, if the economy is in a period of low growth, increasing the money supply will increase the amount of work in the economy only if there are untapped fuel reserves available. If not, increasing the money supply will only increase inflation

Double digit inflation (and worse) can happen even with fifteen or twenty percent unemployment. Look at the records of Mexico and Argentina over the past sixty years for specific examples of this phenomenon.

The most likely scenario I see for a powerful (if not hyper) inflation depends on the politics of the situation, namely the possibility of a strongly populist current. This is because, as has been pointed out, the link that is missing is moving money into the hands of consumers. The idea of moving money into banks to cause inflation doesn't hold water, IMunHO. Neither does providing money to "the people" via government expenditures. For the first, bank lending into a depressed economy is not going to be big enough. For the second, again, it's a matter of scale. How much government expenditure (say military for instance) goes into pay for soldiers and how much bonuses and graft for corporate elite? It's not just a matter of amounts, but of surpluses for individual consumers. So what would it take? Electronic distribution. Something like rolling together food stamps, unemployment insurance (extended), rent/mortgage assistance into one package. What would this take politically speaking? Well, it would have to be some form of populism. "If you can bail out the bond holders, why not us?" reply: "A nice idea, but all the money's been spent." reply to that "To hell with the bond holders." But the first wave of populism looks like it will be on the right with it's program of putting even more in the pockets of the elite, as has been the case since Reagan.

Stoneleigh and John Williams are both right. First come the deflationary pressures, which we are now experiencing and which might get worse. Then, in response to deflationary recession or stagnation will come more deficit spending plus continued easy money from the Fed. The Fed is an engine of inflation, as can be seen by looking at price levels and how they have increased since 1913, when the Fed came into being.

My conjecture is that 2012 will be an inflationary year, primarily because of the presidential election and continued pressure for more government spending and easy money to combat rising unemployment.

To the best of my recollection, no president since FDR has been re-elected when unemployment was greater than 10%. And Obama is no FDR.

Previous inflation was in the context of expanding use of natural resources. We are looking at a novel situation: resource limitation. That is a major reason why discussions such as these have a natural home on T
OD. That's where one can find understanding of resource limitations.

I'm leaning more and more in favor of the defaulting on the debt scenario.

We have three options.
1) Earn our way out. Not gonna happen: Peak Oil guarantees that.
2) Inflate our way out. Less likely than a lot of people think. No major modern industrial economy has ever chosen this path except Weimar Germany. The consequences are too terrible, the destruction of living standards too complete, the breakdown of social order too great a risk.
3) Default. If you're the biggest kid on the block, why not? Who's going to do anything about it if the world's most powerful nuclear armed nation simply tells everybody, "Too bad. Go take a hike."?

I think the point is that extracted resources will be lower going forward, and, as a result, the things we can make with those extracted resources will be lower. If these produced goods are divided in any reasonable way among all people, each person will be poorer--regardless of whether there is inflation, deflation, or the system breaks.

I think the most likely outcome is the system breaking. This might happen if it becomes impossible to buy more than a very narrow range of imports, because of debt defaults and mistrust among nations. If this should happen, we will each have money, we just won't be able to buy things with imported components (cars, computers, fertilizer, replacement parts for much equipment). My own view is this is really the most likely scenario . I am not sure that inflation or deflation is even the right question to ask in such a scenario.

My personal opinion is completely in your camp, Gail.

I have heard this situation called BIFLATION - inflation in the essentials and deflation the non-essentials. Unfortunately, in the US our incomes are largely tied to jobs in the non-essentials - which makes the pain of biflation even worse.

We will see increasing real cost of essential goods and services, driven by both scarce inputs and by interruptions to the highly organized network that provides those services today. We are participating in a non-robust system facing increasingly volatile input streams.

Our ability to purchase non-essential goods and services will evaporate, driven both by displacement (income diverted to essentials) and a contracting service-based economy. We may eventually rebuild our manufacturing base, but only if the raw materials are available and probably not soon enough to matter.

Our living standards are going to go down due to declining oil production in the future. I think the way this decline will happen is for prices to go up faster than wage rates do, and I think the unemployment rate over the next twenty years will be twenty percent or higher due to continued decline in real GDP.

Don, why do you expect decline?

I've read all of the literature (Hamilton, St. Louis Fed, Hirsch, Ayres, etc, etc), and I can't see evidence for it. What are you looking at?

I expect decline in real GDP in the short term because the debt deflation is still ongoing. See theautomaticearth.blogspot.com I expect the stock market to fall abruptly and drastically some time during the rest of 2010. Consumer spending is weak, I expect it to get weaker. Business investment (except in inventories over the past few months) is practically nonexistent.

In the long term real GDP will decline for reasons put forth in THE LONG DESCENT, by John Michael Greer. Living standards and population are likely to decline in stairstep fashion over the next hundred years and possibly two hundred years.

Declining oil production means long-term real GDP will decline. In the short term, financial crises will dominate the news. Our financial institutions are by no means out of the woods. Most banks, if they had to write down their bad loans to market value would be insolvent.

I expect decline in real GDP in the short term because the debt deflation is still ongoing.

What do you think of James Hamilton's argument that the Fed has the power to prevent deflation? See http://www.econbrowser.com/archives/2008/10/deflation_risk.html

Business investment (except in inventories over the past few months) is practically nonexistent.

I've seen company reports (Intel, Microsoft, Caterpillar, etc), but not followed any official data series. Is there a data series that you follow for this, or that you would rely on?

Declining oil production means long-term real GDP will decline.

Are you relying on Greer for this assumption? Why do you think oil can't be replaced by wind, nuclear, solar, etc?

Yes I agree. The whole concept of currency becomes meaningless. Value of a currency peels off the currency and has no more presence there. Inflation and deflation aren`t in play at that point. I`m not sure when that will happen though. Probably within a few years I`m guessing.

Jabberwock has a powerful argument when he asks what the rest of the world can or will do if we tell everybody to take a hike.

This move will be avoided -until it can't,perhaps.

Personally I think that default is in the cards, on a grand scale, and that unless WWIII erupts as a result the world will survive.

Unfortunately war seems increasingly likely in my personal opinion.

Now let us suppose that we have some moderate inflation especially of commodities and certain services such as health care, along with increasing costs of natural resources of all types, and the political situation gets very very iffy due to so many people being out of work and out of money due to the failure of thier investments and pensions, as well as a possible permanent crash of the suburban real estate market.

With the economy shot to hell, the govt may have no good options and only a very few bad ones, politically speaking.

If it looks to tptb in DC that they may lose control in the near term but that they can perhaps stay in control over a somewhat longer term by printing and distributing enough money to keep the country functional from one week to the next at the risk or even the virtual certainty of a runaway inflation over a longer term, they will run the risk.

I will necessarily and rationally eat my seed corn to avoid immediate starvation even though doing so puts me at very high risk for starvation next year.

So far as I can see those who argue that the economy cannot be inflated to prosperity again are concerned are probably correct.

But I think they are totally mistaken when they say the dollar cannot be inflated;none of the reasons they give are rooted in physical laws.

When and if the congress and administration get desperate enough at some future time, they will take direct control of the dollar and print as many as necessary to stave off an immediate collapse regardless of the eventual consequences.

I am not saying this WILL happen but I have not read or heard any convincing argument holding that it cannot happen.I think the odds of it happening sometime over the next decade or so are significant, given the precarious state of the world.

I can think of a dozen ways to get the funny money into the hands of consumers, most of them already in place, such as social security, govt salaries, govt purchases,functional negative income taxes,lowering of current sales and income taxes by paying for govt thru printing dollars, etc.

Stimulus checks...public works...gauranteed minumum incomes....helicopters of the financial sort can be found easily once the existing rules and referees are thrown out of the game.

Well put.

I don't think the government will have the slightest problem getting money in the hands of consumers if it wants to. It will be a sad day if a third world country like Zimbabwe can get into hyperinflationary high gear with just a printing press while the US can't do that with high speed supercooled computers. But maybe I just believe in technology too much!

Anyway financial events will most likely develop in way that will be unique to the post peak, resource short world. Not that I know for sure what will happen, but I think it is a safe bet that relative to other prices, prices of natural resources will rise.

Of less certainty is how the world will react to resource shortages. If the last 100 years of US monetary history is any guide, there will be eventual high rates of inflation. Alternatively, price and allocation controls, especially on oil may slow price rises, but will probably encourage shortages.

Unfortunately war seems increasingly likely in my personal opinion.

ANY course of action which does not ask 'how did your past decisions get you here' will be the one chosen.

A slow economic collapse has the disadvantage of allowing for introspection. Asking leadership 'Hey - when did you know this and why didn't ya do anything' sure looks like a looser if you are in the leadership class.

"Too bad. Go take a hike."
Probably a little too raw. How about, "All that Treasury paper you have? We've just changed its status to Federal Reserve paper. Still worth about as much but doesn't pay interest. Suggest you hold onto it in case you need to buy some food later on."

What a wild set of new-items. Thank you Leanan.

Absolutely fascinating reading.

Forever at oil's teat, BP Bankruptcy, Peak Metals, Warming (Himalayan Glaciers), a smattering of "fear" stories, all valid, but the big picture this little compendium gives me is just fascinating.

A little nuclear leak here, mysterious arcing light wires piercing embedded pipelines....wasted food (ban restaurants!!!)......

Oh....abiotic oil...mother vein puncture... whoaaaa!

Seems a bit like a theater of the absurd. Or more like a fuzzy picture, with blobs of paint here, a dab there, a brush here.

Not sure I like the emerging picture. My Rorschach take on this is blotty.

The alternatives are too obvious (at least to me), too close to the nose as it were and maybe not "profit"-able enough.


The abiotic story will never die. When world oil production goes into irreversible decline, the conspiracists will have their story ready: Oil is being kept off the market to (a) punish the working man (b) to drive the price of oil up to the benefit of the oil companies/Saudis/Wall Street(c) to appease the climate change crowd, etc. etc.

Increasingly, I am convinced that finding the truth about such things as 9/11, climate change or peak oil is less important that simply isolating myself (speaking as an American) from the erratic behaviors of a dim-witted, superstitious, entitled and completely-reckless populace.

Get thee to a quiet place and be ready to subsist on taters and rutabagas. The America that we grew up with is toast.

Why would you think that that oil would not be kept off the market to punish people? There's calls for that to happen here all the time ("stop drilling to create such a shortage it will force people to go bankrupt and live differently"), and it's all justified with "moral condemnation".

It's just the new "green religion". If it wasn't, people would be merely doing what people do, looking at it objectively and investing heavily their own money in speculating on alternatives. But nobody does that, they just want someone else's money wasted on it by having the government spend. If you're not willing to put YOUR money in it, you don't believe in it.

Because someone is always willing to sell.

Though you are spot on about the "Green Religion", and it's existence is getting in the way of simply doing what needs to be done both by its adherents and its opponents.

Because someone is always willing to sell.

As Lenin pointed out:
"The Capitalists will sell us the rope we will hang them with"

Cabbages are easier to grow than rutabagas and store better too.;-)

mac, I live in the Northeast and grow both rutabagas and cabbage. I've been storing rutabagas in my unheated garage for the past several winters and they store very well -- an honest six months. I keep fresh cabbages for maybe three months but by Christmas, I've pretty well eaten them (then I start in on the kraut). Honestly, though, we can grow the heck out of rutabagas and I've had very little pest pressure.

The Atlantic low pressure system has now been downgraded to a 30 percent chance of developing into a hurricane. It was 60 percent yesterday morning, then downgraded to 40 percent yesterday afternoon and then back up to 50 percent early this morning. The 8AM EDT report dropped it to a 30 percent chance however.

Atlantic Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook

Ron P.

I guess 92L is dead, but i have heard some chatter that it might regenerate in a few days. More interesting to me right now:

I know we still have that upper level low spinning in the gulf, but it sure is bringing an influx of warm moist air into the gulf today. If convection can get firing on the right side of the upper low, it will be in a more favorable upper air pattern for development, and with the recent posts of how boiling hot the gulf is, I don't think it would take too much of a spin to get things going. Remember Allison didn't take much before it was a 50 knot TS making landfall in Galveston, TX.

hat tip to WX4caster88 of easternuswx.com

Re: Sweden: Greenpeace Activists Breach Nuclear Plant

The headline in particular is more alarming than the story. The protesters scaled the fencing surrounding the plant, and were able to reach one or more buildings. It does not appear that they were able to enter any buildings before the police hauled them away. Maybe it's just me, but when I see "breach" used together with nuclear plant, I infer holes in containment buildings or reactor housings, not some number of people getting over the outer fence.

Post 9/11, a lot of attention was paid to what might happen if terrorists had flown the planes into a nuclear plant. My impression of the results of the study is that the reinforced concrete containment buildings for the reactors would survive. But the holding pools for spent fuel -- which is still hot, in both the thermal and radioactive senses of that word -- and the circulating pumps and other infrastructure for those pools are much easier to penetrate.

One can conceive of several modes of attack which might destroy a nuke from outside the fence. Getting inside just makes it easier, although crossing the fence line alerts the security forces such that one has less time to accomplish the "mission" and makes escape more difficult...

E. Swanson

Security breach is security breach... It's the right word. The question that bothers me is WHY? What possible "good" would they do by breaking into a generation plant? Interfere with its operation? I'm just not seeing the wisdom in it, which is why I'm seriously afraid of people who will do stuff like that. We're all witnessing the effects of bad judgement in the GOM right now, why would we defend it (bad judgement) anywhere else?

One possible reason for breaking into the plant is to show that it can be done. Theoretically it is not supposed to be possible. So if the plant management can't get security right, what else are they also mistaken about.

I'm not advocating their approach, just pointing out a perfectly rational reason for breaking into the plant: To discredit the plant operations. I'm also not saying that this is an effective means to discredit plant operations.

I haven't been in a nuke since before 9/11 but previous to that I worked in several different ones and I am quite confident that a small bunch of half trained amatuers could not have gotten in back then unless they parachuted in.

I am equally certain that a small group of well motivated and well organized and equipped soldiers with orders to shoot thier way in could have gotten inside easily,in a matter of minutes.

I have no way of knowing of course but I suppose that the reactors would be shut down and disabled on the double by the operators if a nuke were actually attacked by terrorists;my guess is that they could not be restarted by any means on short notice and therefore the terrorists would not be able to create or force a meltdown even with the help of the operators held at gunpoint.

If they brought a lot of very powerful explosives they could disable the plant and probably create a radiation release but a containment building makes a bank vault look like a paper matchbox.

Bombing a spent fuel storage site with full size bombs(hundreds of pounds and up in size) of the sort usually dropped by planes would probably result in a serious radiation release if the bad guys got lucky and scored a direct hit.Professional soldiers could probably haul in such bombs as part of a ground based attack.

There are a lot of spent fuel storage sites at nuclear plants.

"There are a lot of spent fuel storage sites at nuclear plants."

Indeed, including along major rivers that are water sources for large urban areas.

All too true, dohboi!

Spent fuel can be safely transported and we need to store it someplace well away from water and people, such as in the middle of an empty desert, with a few marines rotated in constantly on training exercises to keep an eye on it.After all , they have to train anyway.

I do have some reason to believe that security is a lot tighter than it used to be at nukes inside the US, and it seems extremely unlikely that a large enough group of real soldiers will real soldiers equipoment could get close to a plant without the fact being discovered but it might not be impossible.

I am quite confident that a small bunch of half trained amatuers could not have gotten in back then unless they parachuted in.

Given the sleeping guards found in some of 'em - it strikes me that amatuers can get past a sleeping guard.

Link up top: Why we may never be able to say goodbye to oil

'No ready alternatives'

It is not what most of us want to hear, but energy demand growth will remain focused on oil and gas because there are no ready alternatives.

A link posted on June 11 stated: "Unlike the 1980s, when an oil-price-induced global recession flattened commodity markets for years, cheaper oil will not stimulate a rapid uptake in demand. Then, few alternatives existed. Now, says Tertzakian, they do."

Well, no, as the link above states, they do not exist. I don't know where some people the idea that we could just switch to alternatives and carry on business as usual. Sure such things as solar, wind and even nuclear exist but as the above article points out, their contribution is very small and will remain so.

But for the moment, there is no alternative to burning hydrocarbons.

Present estimates suggest production from all existing oilfields being exploited is waning by 3% per year.

So with demand rising by some 2%, that is a widening gap that the industry cannot bridge, with or without all that crude oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.

The Gulf oil spill is a tremendous disaster. But there is a far, far greater disaster looming on the horizon, the decline of world oil production. And there is nothing, no alternatives, that have the slightest hope of filling the gap.

Ron P.

We can't "just switch", but since oil distribution will become less consistent as supply tightens further we will do the best we can anyway.

We won't have any other choice.

We won't have any other choice.

And because we won't have any other choice this means that we will have sufficient alternatives? Those alternatives will ramp up as oil ramps down and we can continue business as usual?

Whew, I was worried there for awhile. Glad you straightened me out R4ndom.

How do you pronounce that name? Let me guess. Ar' forn dom'? Am I close? Or perhaps the 4 is silent. ;-)

Ron P.

I don't believe that there will necessarily be *sufficient* alternatives, just that what alternatives are available will be used to the best of our abilities.

If by some miracle they do turn out to be sufficient for a while I'll be as shocked as anyone.

The name is really just Random, but I mucked up my initial signup and redid it with the 4 in place of the a. Who knew I'd wind up sticking around long enough for it to matter?

Real name is Dan, which is about as informative but you can use it if you like.

So can we call you D4N?

Just kidding.. really just popping in to agree with your point.

I have to wonder if Ron were crawling across the desert and ran across an area with lots of glasses, and each one only had a few drops in it, would he bother to start drinking them, even if it would be a lot of work, and 'might' not even ever quench his whole thirst? (Even after it became clear that they would refill those few drops if you waited around for a few hours..)

No.. let's not waste our time on these insignificant dribs and drabs, and instead keep sputtering on about how little hope there is to keep the party going. The next party could have a chance, IF we were ready to try a lot more sharing and cooperation, and hardcore preparation.. but that's too dreamy, no?

In survival, you get your water where you can, and a drop here and a drop there, equal a lot, if you add them together.

All I could see was me, pouring from one glass into another, into another and so on down the line to get a full glass of water.

Maybe that is what you wanted to imply all along. We can't be to choosy where we are willing to live in the days ahead. How many of you will be willing to live in an earth shelter dirt hut?

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future.
Hugs from a cool Arkansas, okay it is night.

I don't think oil production has declined since 2005. Neither has it increased significantly. The more interesting question is what is happening to oil production capacity. Some claim that there is excess capacity of more than 6 mb/day. I don't believe that number. IMVHO, the true excess capacity at this time is roughly 3 mb/day, but I obviously don't KNOW that number, and nobody else does either.

I just posted this on another list:

I believe there is some spare capacity in OPEC but I am not sure how much. I think that a as of February 2009 OPEC had over 3 million barrels per day of spare capacity. They have increased production by about 1.2 mb/d since then and they have also had some decline.

My guess would be that OPEC has about one million barrels per day of spare capacity right now.

The logic is simple. I think they were all producing flat out in July of 09. By February of 09, their lowest month, they had dropped by almost 3.5 mb/d. They have since increased production by 1.2 mb/d. But they have also had some serious decline problems in the last two years. So I think 1 mb/d is a pretty good guess. But as you say we don't really know. But I think the claimed 6.5 mb/d, or anything in that neighborhood, is absurd.

Ron P.


Your numbers look right. However, Saudi claims a much higher excess capacity than you estimate. I'd like to test Saudi claims by trying to buy more oil from them. And anyway, they are for all intents and purposes a dependent of the U.S., because we provide the military shield to keep Saddam Hussein and others from taking over their oil fields. There has been a long-term agreement between the U.S. and KSA that they will keep the oil valves open to keep prices down while we guarantee their safety militarily.

I think the Saudi target price for oil of $75 per barrel is a specific example of keeping oil prices down. They seem to alter production so as to aim for that price.


Alternatives exist. Have for a long time.
But oil is where the money was. And so we lived in a century of oil.
Deepwater horizon is definitely the tipping point, too many things point to it to be otherwise.
For Oilteratives, please visit


For associated thoughts


All ideas birth when the time is ripe of when conditions are ripe. Premature birth is no good for anyone.

We are at a death/birth stage in our evolution right now.

Beyond interesting times, eh?

Inflation or deflation?

The best analysis will likely be that which keeps as close to the facts as possible and avoids speculation as much as possible.

Start with the fact that most money in circulation is money of account. It's just an entry in a ledger, of some sort, of someone's promise to repay a loan plus interest. Peak Oil, almost by definition, means the future capacity to do useful work will be continually diminished. Lenders let loans on the assumption the borrower will repay. That assumption further rests on the implicit assumption that the borrower will be able to do useful work in some fashion to generate revenue to service the loan. However, on the whole, society's capacity for useful work will be diminishing. Hence, loans will default, ergo, the stock of money will likewise diminish. This is deflation. Prices may go nuts and the price of some commodities will fluctuate wildly. But, the overall context will be an economy with a diminished capacity for useful work, wealth generation, and the servicing of debt.

Entities with debt liabilities will fair far worse in the coming decades. As in any deflationary period, cash is king. Without cash, you cannot secure necessities you can't make for yourself. Of course there's barter, but don't expect extended trade networks to run on barter. Local currencies may pop up here and there, but they don't have the protection of tender laws. You can't pay your taxes with them and anyone is free to refuse them. Precious metals have the same limitation. If no one has cash to buy them, they're worthless save for barter.

In my opinion, the inflation/deflation question is best explored in terms of physical economy; the capacity to do work.

I think the core problem of debt in an economy of stagnant to declining means is the exponential cost of compound interest. The burden compounds exponentially but the means to service it does not, so the system is destined to crash. The problem is that virtually all money is created as part of an interest-bearing debt pyramid. As we move into a new economic reality, we MUST scrutinize the assumptions undergirding the monetary system itself. Peak Oil and economic stagnation need not mean systemic financial collapse if we respond by changing how our money is issued and banking systems function. This must be a big part of the conversation about the future. We can't rely on those at the top to change the current system, which is the basis of their position of privilege. We have to agitate from below and force this discussion. Who should be responsible for money creation and who should control the banking system in an era where money earning money by its very existence once again becomes usury and criminal exploitation instead of a god-given right? Money, after is all, is just a part of our social contract. As P.O. changes the circumstances then so must this contract.

Max Keiser talks with Mike Ruppert regarding peak oil and his film "Collapse".


I like Max cause he is crazy but not "crazy". :^)

Saudi Aramco 2009 Annual Review Released


With almost half of 2010 gone, SA has finally released the 2009 Annual Review. I'm sure Darwinian will be shocked, but they increased their reserves by .2 billion barrels -- despite producing 2.9 billion barrels over the year. They did report one oil find, Sirayyan. It apparently has 3.1 billion barrels of reserves.


I think it took them months to craft this paragraph with sufficient disclaimers:

Currently, and for far into the future, the oil fields of Saudi Aramco do not and will not require the application of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques. However, as part of our commitment to managing the oil fields of Saudi Arabia for the long-term and for the maximum benefit of the Kingdom's citizens and energy consumers around the globe, in 2009 we began planning a pilot project for CO2 sequestration and EOR. We completed a compositional simulation study to evaluate the project, which would include seven wells aligned to inject CO2 into a mature flooded area in the northern 'Uthmaniyah section of our Ghawar field. The project incorporates a comprehensive evaluation program, including selective coring and saturation logs to measure the quantity and type of fluids in the formation.

They don't require EOR techniques?!? What about the millions of gallons of seawater they pump into Ghawar every day to keep up the water drive? If that isn't EOR, then EOR doesn't exist. How convenient of them to overlook that.

eor is a term that evolved in the 80's and replaced the term "tertiary" recovery. before the advent of fancy sounding eor, recovery processes were refered to as primary(depletion), secondary(waterflooding or gas injection) and tertiary. tertiary recovery techniques were typically applied to fields that had been waterflooded and utilized chemicals or miscible gas injection such as co2.

eor can mean anything and aramco is refering to what used to be called tertiary.

"A dire report circulating in the Kremlin today that was prepared for Prime Minister Putin by Anatoly Sagalevich of Russia's Shirshov Institute of Oceanology warns that the Gulf of Mexico sea floor has been fractured “beyond all repair” "


I dunno. Look at this other story on that site:

Gulf Coast Evacuation Scenario Summer/Fall 2010 Martial Law Alert!

Due to toxic gases from the fractured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, the possible off-gassing of the highly-toxic Corexit 9500 (the chemical dispersant used by BP in the oil spill clean-up), acid rain and various as-yet-unknown forms of environmental damage, we believe that the government will have no choice but to relocate millions of people away from the Gulf Coast. Those living in Florida are presently at the highest risk, but the danger also appears likely to spread to all Gulf Coast states east of Louisiana and possibly even to the entire Eastern half of the United States once hurricane season begins.

Evacuate 30-40 million people.

Acid rain? With entertainment like this, who needs news?

Even more:


The carnage to the United States is so staggering, it will take your breathe away. Should what the scientists, who are trying to warn everyone about, is even close to be true… all of Florida will be completely destroyed and everyone and everything on it.

worse yet:

At some point the drilled hole in the earth will enlarge itself beneath the wellhead to weaken the area the wellhead rests upon. The intense pressure will then push the wellhead off the hole allowing a direct unrestricted flow of oil, etc.. The hole will continue to increase in size allowing more and more oil to rise into the Gulf. After several billion barrels of oil have been released, the pressure within the massive cavity five miles beneath the ocean floor will begin to normalize.
This will allow the water, under the intense pressure at 1 mile deep, to be forced into the hole and the cavity where the oil was. The temperature at that depth is near 400 degrees, possibly more. The water will be vaporized and turned into steam, creating an enormous amount of force, lifting the Gulf floor. It is difficult to know how much water will go down to the core and therefore, its not possible to fully calculate the rise of the floor.
The tsunami wave this will create will be anywhere from 20 to 80 feet high, possibly.......

Run! Run like the wind!

Wow! And I thought I was a doomer because I believe we are heading to the Olduvai Gorge in the next few years.

Incredible! If the giant tsunami happens, it will take out the entire gulf coast.... This would make Katrina look like a small event. All cities on the gulf coast would be under water - Houston, New Orleans, Biloxi, Mobile, Panama City, Tampa, etc......If I were within 50 miles of the coast, I would leave immediately.

The Tsunami would be Obama's Katrina!

Oh, wait, that one's been taken. Damn. ;)

"After several billion barrels of oil have been released..."

Huh? Haven't we read that there's only 50 million barrels or so of recoverable oil in Macondo? And the rest of that quote?!?

I don't know what they're smokin', but I sure want to git me some!

It's because the centre of the Earth is a gooey nougat, contained within the hard outer shell.

Do a Google search on the author.

James Wickstrom is a shortwave radio crank. His particular flavor of madness is Christian Identity, the school of neo-nazism that holds that the "white race" is the true Israel and the Jews are literal descendats of Satan.

Some of the things on Before It's News will never be news, because they are crap.

Intensive farming has slowed climate change, say US researchers

However, a report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has concluded without the adoption of such technologies even more greenhouses gases would have been emmitted.

This is embarrassing coming from PNAS. They miss Jeavon's paradox, that without the green revolution the population would not have been able to grow as high. Thus the carbon impact of the extra billion ( two billion, who knows how many ) people is not factored into their calculations.

BP Oil Spill: "Chronic Optimist" Chris Anderson Finds a Silver Lining

"The implicit costs of drilling" are now all too explicit, Anderson explains. "To the extent the spill allows us to properly incorporate the environmental and other risks into the costs of the product, that is going to let economics play a better role in steering us to a better path......."

short video


With so many forums going here, I am not sure this is the right place for this, but it is certainly newsworthy to those who have followed Simmons.

He says today that the situation on the GOM is dire, that the leak can not really be stopped, and it will result in a large submerged lake of oil. Also he predicts the bankruptcy of BP, and I think he means the entire company (and not just the US part, which I have already said will seek bankruptcy within months).

I know more than a few old timers here have called him senile, but his initial early estimate was that this was a huge leak - which has been confirmed as correct. I am interested if anyone has a rebuttal to what he says (sorry in advance if this was posted elsewhere today).

June 15, 2010, 12:46 PM ET.BP: Simmons Still Sees Bankruptcy; Massive Hole at the Well Bore? (Updated)

I caught up with Simmons this morning by phone to review his thoughts on the matter. He still thinks BP is headed for Chapter 11.

In response to calls for a $20 billion escrow to be set aside by BP, Simmons concludes the company’s as good as insolvent.

“They have $5 billion in cash, a $5 billion line of credit, and a $10B emergency line of credit,” says Simmons, “and they boast about how their operating cash flow is $17 billion per quarter. But that’s all consumed in capital expenditures. This outlay [the $20 billion] is going to consumer everything they have.”

When pressed about whether the company might not simply get other lines of credit, Simmons responded, “From whom? Who’s going to do that?” Perhaps Goldman Sachs (GS), which is apparently helping the company avoid a hostile takeover.

Turning to the spill, Simmons reiterated the rather surprising conclusion that the current “top kill” effort by BP, as well as the planned relief wells, will not stop the Gulf spill.


June 15, 2010, 4:11 PM ET.BP: Another View From Simmons & Co.


Did I mention that he also said millions may die from the fumes if they are dispersed by a hurricane?

Simmons is also appearing on CNBC this evening.

Matt Simmons was on Bloomberg earlier, adding some additional perspective to his original appearance on the station, in which he initially endorsed the nuclear option as the only viable way to resolve the oil spill. Simmons refutes even the latest oil spill estimate of 45,000-60,000 barrels per day, and in quoting research by the Thomas Jefferson research vessel which was compiled late on Sunday, quantifies the leak at 120,000 bpd. What is scarier is that according to the Jefferson the oil lake underneath the surface of the water could be covering up to 40% of the entire Gulf of Mexico. Simmons also says that as the leak has no casing, a relief well will not work, and the only possible resolution is, as he said previously, to use a small nuclear explosion to convert the rock to glass. Simmons concludes that as punishment for BP's arrogance and stupidity the government "will take all their cash." Now if only our own administration could tell us the truth about what is really happening in the gulf...


Simmons also says that as the leak has no casing, a relief well will not work, and the only possible resolution is, as he said previously, to use a small nuclear explosion to convert the rock to glass.

Converting the rock to glass. Perfect. What could go wrong?

I know Matt is a venerated peak oil person, but one wonders what he would have to say for people to stop taking him seriously on this spill.

It's bad enough without the hyperbole... and definitely without nuking the caprock strata.

Simmons also says that as the leak has no casing, a relief well will not work,

Has Matt gone off the deep end? The well does have a casing, that is the thing that they cut. That is the thing that the saw blade stuck in while they were cutting. That is the pipe all the oil was coming out of. I know because they had a live shot of it with the oil gushing out of the casing before the put that cap on it that is now capturing part of the oil. I am not sure how much however.

Ron P.

It is so hard to know who or what to believe, but clearly the information coming from both BP and the US government is not the whole truth. With all the toxic chemicals and noxious gases and potential hurricanes ahead, if I lived within 20 miles of the Gulf of Mexico and I had children, I would seriously consider sending them out of the region for the summer if I could.

I was watching Obama’s speech today and I nearly chocked when I heard him mention Peak Oil without mentioning Peak Oil.

"One of the lessons we’ve learned from this spill is that we need better regulations better safety standards, and better enforcement when it comes to offshore drilling. But a larger lesson is that no matter how much we improve our regulation of the industry, drilling for oil these days entails greater risk. After all, oil is a finite resource. We consume more than 20% of the world’s oil, but have less than 2% of the world’s oil reserves. And that’s part of the reason oil companies are drilling a mile beneath the surface of the ocean – because we’re running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water.
For decades, we have known the days of cheap and easily accessible oil were numbered. For decades, we have talked and talked about the need to end America’s century-long addiction to fossil fuels. And for decades, we have failed to act with the sense of urgency that this challenge requires. Time and again, the path forward has been blocked – not only by oil industry lobbyists, but also by a lack of political courage and candor.
The consequences of our inaction are now in plain sight. Countries like China are investing in clean energy jobs and industries that should be here in America. Each day, we send nearly $1 billion of our wealth to foreign countries for their oil. And today, as we look to the Gulf, we see an entire way of life being threatened by a menacing cloud of black crude."

President Obama, June 15, 2010

The full text can be found here

We cannot consign our children to this future. The tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now. Now is the moment for this generation to embark on a national mission to unleash American innovation and seize control of our own destiny.

This is not some distant vision for America. The transition away from fossil fuels will take [take place NOW?] ... Consumers are buying more efficient cars and trucks, and families are making their homes more energy-efficient. Scientists and researchers are discovering clean energy technologies that will someday lead to entire new industries.

Each of us has a part to play in a new future that will benefit all of us. As we ... transition to clean energy ... and create millions of good, middle-class jobs [blah blah] we [must] seize the moment. And only if we rally together and act as one nation - workers and entrepreneurs; scientists and citizens; the public and private sectors [will we make it through this].

Unleash the Yankee ingenuity that has already been off-shored to other countries.
Yeah. Right.

I loved the end
Faith and prayer, and a little more faith

2010 is shaping up to be the "Year of PO Confessions", indirectly, but still interesting.

Yankee ingenuity is what got us into this mess in the first place...

We need less emphasis on our "can do" spirit and a retreat to some form of humility amongst nature.

In 5000 ft of water and 15000 ft of sediment / rock we seem to have reached the point of "can't do"...

I generated a plot for a TOD key post a few years ago where I tried to plot the record well depth as a function of year.

The data points come about from doing some literature searching as described here: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2712

This follows to a degree a power law with time, explained by a combination of Moore's Law in tech improvements and a law of diminishing returns on where to look. After all, why go deeper if there are shallower spots elsewhere?

And this can't go on forever.

BTW, this analysis was all part of the Dispersive Discovery model for oil finds. It leads directly to the logistic shape of the famed Hubbert Curve and essentially a proof of Peak Oil theory, that Obama almost inferred but could not state.

"And this can't go on forever."

Quite right. The max depth must certainly be something far short of 20,924,640 feet!

Ghawar is roughly located at 27.47N, 48.52E. In a quirk of fate, the antipode just is 200km West of our old friend, Easter Island.

Anybody know where BP can come up with 40 million feet of casing? :D

"Time and again, the path forward has been blocked - not only by oil industry lobbyists, but also by a lack of political courage and candor." BHO

Let's see; change 'oil industry lobbyists' to auto lobbyists, to financial lobbyists, to Agriculture lobbyists, to medical lobbyists, to insurance lobbyists, to brand xxx lobbyists and the sentence remains true.

Do we see a trend here? We have discussed many times here on TOD the personification of the corporation and we are reaping the lack of moral concern from said corporations. Whatever the area of interest, the heartless corporation must not be allowed to set their own policy.

Now that would be a change I could believe in. ...rant out...

I was shocked too LesIsMore. Sounded like he'd spent a few days with a peak oiler and was now onboard. But knowing the problem and doing something about it is different. We will see what can be done.

"But knowing the problem and doing something about it is different." Spot on, guess where this comes from:
Why have we not been able to get together as a nation to resolve our serious energy problem?
It is a crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will. We can see this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our nation ... Our people are losing that faith, not only in government itself but in the ability as citizens to serve as the ultimate rulers and shapers of our democracy.
There are two paths to choose. One is a path I've warned about tonight, the path that leads to fragmentation and self-interest. Down that road lies a mistaken idea of freedom, the right to grasp for ourselves some advantage over others. That path would be one of constant conflict between narrow interests ending in chaos and immobility. It is a certain route to failure.

Answer: Jimmy Carter in 1979, looks clear which path was taken thirty years ago - "It is a certain route to failure."

Why have we not been able to get together as a nation to resolve our serious energy problem?

That's the $64 Trillion question.

The answers are far more complex than engineer Jimmy Carter could have imagined.

First and foremost there is the problem of the evolution-formed monkey brain and the clenched fist wrapped around the prize inside the coconut and refusing to let go.

One should remember that Carter's concern for our energy supply situation didn't really take form until after Three Mile Island and the Iranian Crisis. Remember too that Carter was an engineer on a nuclear sub and promoted nukes while in office. He was not re-elected in 1980 and Ronnie RayGun took over in 1981. That RayGun guy then essentially killed Carter's renewable energy research programs at the Federal level. After the Saudis flooded tha market with oil, driving the world price down to $10 a barrel, things went back to normal, i.e., "Party On Dude!". Given that it takes many years to institute a major policy change, Carter didn't have a chance.

E. Swanson

Check out this article!


'Saudi Arabia gives Israel clear skies to attack Iranian nuclear sites'

“The Saudis have given their permission for the Israelis to pass over and they will look the other way,” said a US defence source in the area.

Something gonna happen soon?

Something gonna happen soon?