Drumbeat: June 30, 2010

The Peak Oil Crisis: The Real Gulf Crisis

In the next few weeks, or if things do not go well, perhaps months, the leaking well will be plugged, fishing hopefully will resume, the tourists will return, and the whole matter will be left to lawyers who will spend decades arguing how much New Orleans strip clubs that lost business during the oil spill should be remunerated by BP.

Someday, however, it will become apparent that the real disaster is taking place 150 miles to the south at BP's multi-billion dollar Thunder Horse oil platform that was supposed to extract a billion barrels of oil at a rate of 250,000 barrels a day (b/d). Production at Thunder Horse began in May of 2008 and by the end of the year had reached 170,000 b/d. Then something unexpected happened; instead of production increasing to the rated 250,000 b/d, production began to drop at 2-3 percent each month so by the end of 2009 production was down to 60 or 70,000 b/d. As BP is under no obligation to tell us what is going on, little news other than mandatory federal production reports have been released.

TransCanada's Keystone line now delivering oil

Alberta (Reuters) - TransCanada Corp's $5 billion Keystone pipeline began operating on Wednesday, delivering 435,000 barrels per day of Canadian oil sands crude to Illinois refiners.

TransCanada, the country's No. 1 pipeline company, said it has completed filling the Keystone line with oil and is making commercial deliveries to U.S. Midwest refineries, two years after construction began.

Ghost of the peak oil theory

The recent BP oil spill in the US Gulf coast is a game changer. It has caught everyone's attention because of the graphic nature of damage. The US government has swung into action. The media worldwide provides continuing coverage. In fact, even the Indian media carries the story. It is particularly incensed by the double standards of the US government when it comes to another industrial disaster - the Bhopal gas tragedy. There the company was American, not British. And the victims Indians, not Americans.

But in this article let us focus at what the BP oil spill disaster means for crude oil prices.

Texas on alert as Hurricane Alex sweeps in

US President Barack Obama has declared a state of emergency in Texas as Hurricane Alex bears down on the coast with 80mph (130km/h) winds.

Alex is expected to make landfall near the Texas-Mexico border as a category two hurricane, forecasters say.

Senate panel lifts spill liability cap

A Senate committee voted today to eliminate any limit on the amount of liability oil companies would face as a result of offshore oil spills like the one now devastating the Gulf of Mexico.

The committee voted to eliminate the current $75 million cap on the amount of compensation companies would pay local communities for economic losses and the impact of offshore spills on natural resources.

No working phone number gets BP claim denied

PENSACOLA BEACH, Fla. -- An administrator for BP claims says it hasn't reimbursed leaders in a Florida Panhandle county for about $75,000 in expenses because it doesn't have the county's phone number.

NY pension fund has several options for BP suit

(Reuters) - New York's pension fund is analyzing its options about how to sue BP to recoup oil spill-caused investment losses in the wake of a Supreme Court decision on jurisdiction.

Alberta minister says duck deaths "overpublicized"

(Reuters) - Alberta Energy Minister Ron Liepert played down a verdict that found Syncrude Canada Ltd, the largest producer in Canada's oil sands, guilty in the deaths of 1,600 ducks that landed on a toxic tailings pond in 2008.

Nigerians angry at oil pollution double standards

Niger Delta, Nigeria (CNN) -- Nigeria's Niger Delta is one of the most oil-polluted places on the planet with more than 6,800 recorded oil spills, accounting for anywhere from 9 million to 13 million barrels of oil spilled, according to activist groups.

But occurring over the 50 years since oil production began in the Delta, this environmental disaster has never received the attention that is now being paid to the oil-spill catastrophe hitting the U.S. Gulf coast.

A love of lifelong learning

Consider the enormous and necessary debate now being waged over the role of fossil fuels in our society. The issues in this debate are addressed at every election, and in countless federal, state and local policy decisions between elections.

The duties of citizenship require at least a passing familiarity with the current state of knowledge in such diverse areas as global climate change (and the human contribution thereto); the geological and economic possibilities of “peak oil;” the human and environmental costs of various energy sources, from mining disasters to oil spills; the foreign policy and foreign exchange consequences of continued dependence on imported oil; and the potential contributions of new energy technologies and sources, not excluding conservation.

It is not sufficient to have an opinion on these subjects. Serious citizenship demands an informed opinion. And seniors need such information just as much as today’s generation of public school students.

Analysis: Doing nothing might have been best for oil spill

(Reuters) - It might have been better for the environment to have done nothing about the enormous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico except to keep the oil out at sea, British scientists said on Monday.

Marine biology and environmental experts said they feared the aggressive cleanup operation, during which oil has been set alight and oil-dispersing chemicals have been dumped into the sea, might be more damaging than the oil itself.

Previous experience suggests that containing the oil out at sea but otherwise leaving it alone to disperse and evaporate naturally is better in the long run but is regarded as politically unacceptable, they said.

BP oil clean-up efforts disrupted by 12-foot waves

New Orleans, Louisiana (CNN) -- BP's efforts to contain the largest oil spill in U.S. history are being disrupted by towering waves reaching up to 12 feet in height, company officials said.

Even though Hurricane Alex -- which was upgraded from tropical storm status late Tuesday night -- is headed away from the area affected by the oil spill, its winds and the waves the storm is producing are forcing BP officials to send oil skimming ships back to shore, from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle.

Blowout preventers: Drilling's fail-safe failure

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Gulf oil disaster isn't the only time a blowout preventer failed to stop an explosion. On June 3, a natural gas well in central Pennsylvania erupted despite the fact that it too was outfitted with a blowout preventer, spewing gas 75 feet into the air for 16 hours before it was brought under control.

Until recently, these so-called BOPs were touted by the industry for their ability to make dangerous drilling operations safer, or at least less dangerous. But although failures are rare, their consequences can be catastrophic.

The boom and gloom Louisiana economy

FORTUNE -- The closer you get to the sea in Louisiana, the angrier the rhetoric on the homemade signs posted by the side of the road. From, "BP, your mother nature said to clean your room," to, "Cannot fish or swim, how the hell are we supposed to feed our kids now?"

FACTBOX - How countries have coped with the oil "curse"

Many oil exporters during the 20th century found the rush of energy revenues spurred corruption and pushed up prices and exchange rates so quickly that other domestic industries were left uncompetitive.

Following are brief descriptions of how other countries have dealt with their oil wealth.

Mexico Energy Profile - A Top Oil Provider For US

In 2009, Mexico was the seventh-largest oil producer in the world, and the third-largest in the Western Hemisphere. State-owned Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) holds a monopoly on oil production in the country and is one of the largest oil companies in the world. However, oil production has begun to decrease, as production at the giant Cantarell field declines.

The oil sector is a crucial component of Mexico’s economy: while its relative importance to the general Mexican economy has declined in the long term, the oil sector still generates over 15 percent of the country’s export earnings. More importantly, the government relies upon earnings from the oil industry (including taxes and direct payments from Pemex) for about 40 percent of total government revenues. Therefore, any decline in production at Pemex has a direct effect upon the country’s overall fiscal balance.

US fines BP $5 mln for false output on trial lands

(Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Interior said on Wednesday it fined BP Plc a civil penalty of $5.2 million for submitting "false, inaccurate, or misleading" reports for energy output on tribal lands in Colorado.

Iran ready to meet gasoline needs despite sanctions: official

An Iranian oil official said Iran is capable of meeting its gasoline needs under any circumstances without facing any difficulty, despite sanctions against it, the local satellite Press TV reported on Wednesday.

Managing Director of the National Iranian Oil Distribution Company (NIODC), Farid Ameri, said Tuesday that Iran has managed to store 500 million liters more in gasoline reserves in the first quarter of the current Iranian year, starting on March 21, the report said.

Egypt firm wins $400 mln Saudi oil tanks contract

CAIRO (Reuters) - An Egyptian company has won a $400 million project to install petroleum storage tanks at Yanbu in Saudi Arabia, the state news agency quoted Egypt's oil minister as saying on Tuesday.

The company, Engineering for the Petroleum and Process Industries (ENPPI), will build 47 tanks of various sizes with a combined storage space of 12 million barrels, Sameh Fahmy said.

Obama, Saudi King discuss 2-state Mideast solution

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama and Saudi Arabian King Abdullah on Tuesday stressed the importance of a two-state solution to Middle East peace that secured a Palestinian homeland alongside a strong Israel.

Israel has eyes on Lebanon's resources

Newswire services have revealed that Lebanese President Michel Sulaiman has raised the super-sensitive offshore oil issue in the Eastern Mediterranean with his Syrian counterpart, President Bashar Al Assad. Sulaiman was quoted commenting: "There is an oil wealth in the sea which Israel began to extract. We think it is essential to take necessary measures to protect Lebanon's rights".

In 'Faith Misplaced' Palestinian history gets personal

In "Faith Misplaced," Ussama Makdisi, a Lebanese-American professor of history and Arabic studies at Rice University, succeeds in constructing a history that is pointed and deliberate but still represents the larger realities of Arab-American relations over the past two centuries. The book is a welcome and helpful resource for any reader wishing to understand how Arab-American relations have fallen to the nadir they are at now.

Alaska aviation industry worried by fuel shortage

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- A jet fuel shortage could cost the state thousands of dollars in landing fees.

The fuel shortage is causing dozens of cargo aircraft to bypass Alaska on their way overseas.

The Department of Transportation estimates that 25 cargo flights out of 600 each week are no longer stopping in Anchorage.

Woolsey, Khosla: Bullish on biofuels

What should we do with corn?

Shove it into cows that become fatty, high-cholesterol meat that contributes to heart disease? Turn it into cheap sugars that make people fat or sick?

Or use it to produce biofuels that will help reduce the U.S.’s dependence on Middle East oil, improve our balance of payments and create jobs instead of funding terrorists?

That’s a loaded question, of course, but that’s the way that James Woolsey, the former head of the CIA who is now a venture capitalist, put it to a friendly audience of biotech executives.

Interactive Map Shows Worldwide Water and Energy Tug-o-War

The water crisis and energy crisis are not necessarily exclusive issues around the globe. The generation of electricity is hugely dependent upon water, which is a quickly disappearing resource. Power plants heavily rely on water to create the power we consume, and the power we also use to create more clean drinking water. So, often the crunch for water and energy come into conflict. With a new interactive map, IEEE has highlighted areas across the globe where water and energy are posing problems, and highlights solutions being explored to alleviate them.

Richard Heinberg: Solarize the White House

Symbols matter. When Jimmy Carter put solar panels on the White House in 1979, they weren’t today’s efficient electricity-generating PV panels (they produced only hot water) and the goal wasn’t to make 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue energy-independent. Nevertheless, during a historical period remembered for oil shocks and gas lines, this was a way of sending the message that changes were needed in America’s energy habits and that the President was ready to lead by example.

The symbolism was just as clear in 1986, when the Reagan White House removed those solar panels. Federal renewable energy tax credits had been rescinded, gas was cheap again, and U.S. energy goals had been refocused on maintaining access to the world’s oil—which is to say that they had essentially been militarized.

Pictures of the two occasions were and are worth about a billion barrels’ worth of words.

Despite energy crisis, U.S. slashes mass transit

Just at the moment when the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill has generated two months of non-stop headlines about the dangers of oil dependency and the federal government in America finally has something of a platform to call for Americans to wean themselves off oil dependency, cities, counties and states across the US are decimating their public transit systems and forcing people, willy-nilly, to return to their cars.

Palm's productive patch

A training program for the unemployed may solve Palm Island's fresh food shortage.

Indonesia to cut energy subsidy, carbon emission

Indonesia has decided to join developed countries' move to reduce huge amount of subsidies on energy, while making efforts to reduce carbon emission as part of global efforts to curb global warming.

The huge amount of energy subsidy has been deemed as a hindrance for Indonesia to convince investors to spur growth. The Southeast Asia's largest economy has struggled to jump to investment grade after Fitch and Moody investor ratings raised the country's risk rating to one notch below the grade earlier this year.

Almost one third of the country's state budget of 1,126 trillion rupiah (some 124.63 billion U.S. dollars) in 2010 is used for subsidy and payment of debt interest. The subsidy for oil and gas reaches over 90 trillion rupiah (some 9.96 billion U.S. dollars) this year.

Govt, oil companies to discuss petrol pricing - oil secy

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Oil firms and the government will jointly take a decision on how often petrol prices should be revised, Oil Secretary S. Sundareshan told reporters on Wednesday.

Brazil eyes shipyards to dodge oil curse

RIO GRANDE - Brazilian politicians are bickering over future revenues from massive offshore oil discoveries, but cities like Rio Grande have already secured the most important benefits of that wealth — thousands of jobs building offshore equipment.

'Gazprom admits $32bn Belarus debt'

Russian gas giant Gazprom has admitted to owing Minsk $32 million for gas transit through Belarus, the former Soviet state's First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko said today.

Perth 'may step in' over Browse LNG row

The West Australian state government is set to look at the compulsory purchase of a section of land earmarked for Woodside Petroleum's A$30 billion (US$25.6 billion) Browse liquefied natural gas project after talks with indigenous landowners failed for a fourth time, it said today.

Mexico denies refinery project with Reliance

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico's energy ministry has denied a media report saying it was planning to construct a new oil refinery in partnership with Indian energy company Reliance Industries.

India's The Economic Times reported on Monday energy major Reliance and Mexican state-run oil giant Pemex may soon join up to develop a green field refinery in Mexico, but the Mexican government immediately denied the report.

Saudi to award Yanbu refinery deals soon-sources

KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - State oil giant Saudi Aramco plans to award deals to build a 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) oil refinery in Yanbu in the coming few days, industry sources said on Wednesday.

Yanbu accounts for just under a quarter of Saudi plans to add around 1.7 million bpd of refining capacity to the current 2.1 million bpd.

CNR pumps up volume at Horizon

Canadian Natural Resources saw May output from the Horizon Oil Sands project come in ahead of projections, adding it expects June production volumes to rise.

Gazprom eyes Hunt's Yemen LNG stake

Russian state-run gas giant Gazprom may buy Hunt Oil's stake in Yemen's liquefied natural gas plant, possibly in tandem with Saudi Arabia, Russia's government said today.

Greater U.S. oil independence a casualty of BP spill

(Reuters) - Another casualty of the BP oil spill may be the quiet shelving of a piece of boilerplate U.S. policy that has weathered eight presidencies: ending America's dependence on foreign oil.

While the ambition to be self-sufficient, or nearly so, in its energy use will likely remain a long-term U.S. goal, the rising anxiety over offshore oil drilling and a raft of new regulations are almost certain to temper the pace of future production from the prolific Gulf of Mexico.

Gulf beaches hit as distant hurricane pushes oil

GRAND ISLE, La. – Rough seas generated by Hurricane Alex pushed more oil from the massive spill onto Gulf coast beaches as cleanup vessels were sidelined by the far-away storm's ripple effects.

Enbridge: natgas force majeure on Gulf

(Reuters) - Enbridge said on Monday that it declared force majeure on its offshore Nautilus natural gas pipeline system after some Gulf of Mexico producers shut in supply as a precaution against Tropical Storm Alex.

Company spokeswoman Terri Larson told Reuters daily gas production approaching 100 million cubic feet was shut in on the 103-mile, 600 mmcfd capacity Nautilus line.

Gulf oil spill: The story so far

Since the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion April 20, BP and the federal government have struggled to control the oil spill that has followed. The complex effort has involved several attempts to stem the flow of oil at the wellhead, amid uncertainty about how much oil, exactly, has been flowing into the Gulf of Mexico. Now in its third month, the Gulf oil spill seems likely to continue at least until August. Here is an accounting of some of the most important – and confusing – developments.

What will get sick from the slick?

Nature investigates five of the Gulf of Mexico's signature species.

TNK-BP says may be a buyer in BP asset sale

(Reuters) - Russia's TNK-BP may be a buyer in BP's asset sale if it sees interesting opportunities, including downstream assets in Europe, TNK-BP chief executive Maxim Barsky said on Wednesday.

"If BP starts to sell assets which are of interest to us, we will take part," he told reporters, adding that BP has yet to decide which assets it will sell.

EnBW chief says hopeful for nuclear tax discussion

BERLIN (Reuters) - German utility EnBW is hopeful that talks with the government over a planned tax on nuclear power production will take place soon and twin any tax to permission to run plants longer, its chief executive said.

German climate goals tied to nuclear power: lobby

(Reuters) - German energy group BDEW on Wednesday called for an extension of the country's nuclear reactor lifespan, stressing the role of the carbon free technology in helping to meet national climate reduction goals.

Gas to displace coal on road to clean energy

Vast newly discovered reserves of natural gas could help the United States move to a low-carbon future, says a report by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge.

The assessment — The Future of Natural Gas — estimates that the United States could reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from the electricity sector by at least 10% by shutting down the least efficient coal-fired plants and ramping up existing gas-powered generators that are running below capacity. Gas-fired plants emit roughly half as much carbon dioxide as equivalent coal stations.

Same ol' fossil foolery

When I asked an energy lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently why her organization opposes mandatory restrictions on carbon emissions -- the all-but-doomed cap-and-trade provision -- she replied that such a measure would cause an intolerable rise in our monthly electric bills.

In practically the same breath, she asserted that nuclear power should be part of the nation's portfolio, even while lamenting that the cost of a nuclear plant has multiplied in recent years and could exceed $10 billion by the time any were built.

US Farming Should Change To Meet New Challenges, Expanding Needs

U.S. farmers are under pressure to produce more, pollute less, fulfill consumer preferences, and make a living -- all with increasingly scarce natural resources and the uncertain effects of climate change, says a new report from the National Research Council. To help U.S. agriculture evolve to meet these demands, the report concludes, national agricultural policies and research programs should look beyond focusing only on low costs and high production and adopt a holistic perspective to farming that encompasses multiple end goals.

India Loses to China in Africa-to-Kazakhstan-to-Venezuela Oil

Indian Oil Minister Murli Deora traveled to Nigeria, Angola, Uganda, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela this year, leading a record number of delegations to gain oil for the world’s third-fastest-growing major economy.

The flurry of visits is part of a new drive to find oil for India’s 1.2 billion people after losing out to China in at least $12.5 billion of contracts in the past year. India proposed a sovereign wealth fund to bid for reserves, told state-controlled Oil & Natural Gas Corp. and Oil India Ltd. to make a major acquisition each this year, and raised the amount they can spend without government approval to 50 billion rupees ($1.1 billion).

Oil Rises, Heading for Monthly Gain, on Forecast of Declining U.S. Supply

Oil headed for a monthly increase, before a report forecast to show crude inventories declined in the U.S., the world’s largest energy-user.

Alex Becomes First June Atlantic Hurricane Since 1995

Alex became the first June hurricane in the Atlantic since 1995 as oil companies evacuated workers in the Gulf of Mexico and girded for a storm surge that may affect production and refineries in the region.

...The hurricane has halted about 25 percent of crude production in the Gulf of Mexico and 9 percent of natural-gas output, the U.S. government said.

Three rigs and 28 platforms have been evacuated because of the storm, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement said in a statement on its website. Almost 396,000 barrels of daily oil output were shut-in, along with 600 million cubic feet of gas.

Jeff Rubin - Hurricanes: A knockout blow to Gulf production

It took almost five years for Gulf production to reach to pre-Katrina levels. Consider how much longer it will take Gulf production to recover, if it ever does, from the fallout of devastation caused by a blown-out deep-water wellhead that could remain uncapped over an entire storm season as severe as that of 2005.

Even the impact of a single storm would be catastrophic, forcing BP to disconnect its containment system for a minimum of 10 days, thereby allowing the unfettered discharge of 600,000 barrels. That’s a couple of spills the scale of the Exxon Valdez. And storm conditions would also suspend drilling activity of the relief wells, which are still months away from completion.

Europe must impose tough oil sanctions on Iran: US

BRUSSELS (AFP) – Europe must follow through on its pledge to impose sanctions on Iran's energy sector in order to coax Tehran back to the negotiating table over its nuclear activities, a top US diplomat said Tuesday.

Iran fears falling oil sales – not UN sanctions

With poor refining infrastructure and cheaper crude available elsewhere, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad should be starting to panic.

Fuel Oil Glut in Singapore Widens Price Gap to Dubai Crude

Fuel-oil prices in Singapore, Asia’s biggest energy trading hub, may weaken relative to Dubai crude as imports from Russia, Mexico and the Caribbean drive up record stockpiles.

Deliveries to Singapore will rise as much as 20 percent next month from June to 4.2 million metric tons, according to a Bloomberg survey of seven traders from Singapore to Tokyo, who declined to be identified as they aren’t authorized to speak on transactions. The discount to crude may widen to $9 a barrel, the most in a year, from $4.43 today, the survey showed.

UK gas down on Troll return, volatility remains

LONDON (Reuters) - British spot wholesale gas prices came off nearly 9 percent on Wednesday following resumption at Norway's Troll gas field, but traders remained nervous about volatility.

OPEC's Crude Production Fell From a 17-Month High in June, Survey Shows

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ crude-oil output dropped from a 17-month high in June, led by a decline in Nigeria, a Bloomberg News survey showed.

Production slipped 157,000 barrels, or 0.5 percent, to an average 29.23 million barrels a day, according to the survey. Output by members with quotas, all except Iraq, dropped 122,000 barrels to 26.865 million, 2.02 million above their target.

Shell, Exxon launch German gas storage sale: sources

(Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil Corp. have launched the sale of their German gas storage business, which could fetch up to 1 billion euros ($1.22 billion), several people familiar with the matter said.

Salazar May Provide More Details on New Drill Ban at Congressional Session

U.S. Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar, who has promised a new ban on deep-water oil drilling after an initial one was ruled illegal, has hinted what a revised moratorium might look like and may provide more details when questioned by members of Congress today.

BP shares jump amid takeover talk

LONDON — Shares in BP PLC are up more than 9 percent in London, a day after an industry analyst stirred talk of a possible takeover of the British oil company.

Special Report - BP oil spill a gusher for lawyers

(Reuters) - From a legal perspective, BP's Deepwater Horizon blowout and the 1989 grounding of the Exxon Valdez are in many respects night and day.

"The Gulf is seen to be a systemic breakdown," said Zygmunt Plater, a professor at Boston College Law School and former chairman of the Alaska Oil Spill Commission's legal task force after the Valdez disaster. "It's not just one guy who had some drinks."

U.S. says accepting foreign help with Gulf oil spill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States will accept offers from a dozen countries and international agencies to help contain and clean up the BP Plc oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the State Department said on Tuesday.

Land-based spills add up, too

Human-caused spills send more than 300 million gallons of oil into North American waters every decade, an amount roughly double the highest estimate of the BP spill, according to studies by some of the world's top scientists.

Gulf's coastal wetlands surviving despite oil

BELLE CHASE, La. -- From a seaplane 1,000 feet above Louisiana's coastal wetlands, the places hit hardest by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill are easy to spot - dark slashes marring a vast expanse of marshes and bayous.

Yet more than two months after the spill started, the view appears to confirm what many scientists are concluding: The wetlands, a haven for fish and seabirds and a flood buffer during the Gulf's notoriously vicious storms, "have come through so far pretty unscathed," Paul Kemp, director of the National Audubon Society's Louisiana Coastal Initiative, said after a recent 260-mile flight over most of the affected sections.

Bill Clinton: ‘We may have to blow up the well’

Little noticed comments from former President Bill Clinton over the weekend which he made in South Africa are perhaps -- well -- a bit explosive.

"Unless we send the Navy down deep to blow up the well and cover the leak with piles and piles and piles of rock and debris, which may become necessary - you don't have to use a nuclear weapon by the way, I've seen all that stuff, just blow it up - unless we're going to do that, we are dependent on the technical expertise of these people from BP," Clinton said.

BP meets deadline for oil spill payments to govt

WASHINGTON – BP has met its July 1 deadline to pay the federal government for the initial costs of responding to the Gulf oil spill.

BP, Transocean Told to Alert U.S. to Acts That Deplete Assets

The U.S. Justice Department asked BP Plc and four other companies associated with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to give the government advance notice before depleting assets that could cover judgments against them.

BP floating financial lifeline to station owners

HOUSTON — Gas could become cheaper at some BP pumps after the oil company agreed to measures meant to help distributors and station owners offset a consumer boycott against BP fuel that was sparked by the out-of-control spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Gulf Coast tourism officials plead for help

WASHINGTON — A $500 million marketing campaign will be necessary to combat public perceptions about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill that could ripple for years, tourism officials told congressional staffers Tuesday.

BP Proposes Emergency Fund to Cover Oil Spill Costs, FT Deutschland Says

BP Plc proposed starting an emergency fund financed by the oil industry to help pay for costs from spills, the Financial Times Deutschland reported, citing Chief Economist Christof Ruehl in an interview.

Smaller companies wouldn’t be able to shoulder costs from an oil spill such as the one that followed the sinking of the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico, the newspaper cited Ruehl as saying.

Gingrich slams Obama on Gulf gusher and sounds off on climate

A couple of years ago, Newt Gingrich was sounding like a climate activist. The former Republican speaker of the House posed with current Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi on a couch in front of the Capitol for a 2008 ad sponsored by Al Gore's organization, the Alliance for Climate Protection. "[O]ur country must take action to address climate change," Gingrich said, calling on Americans to "demand action from our leaders."

In his new book To Save America: Stopping Obama's Secular-Socialist Machine, Gingrich pushes a strikingly different view, decrying "the doomsday theory of climate change," which he attributes to the "high-tax, big-bureaucracy, job-killing, and government-centralizing environmentalism of the Left."

Shares in electric-car maker Tesla soar 40% after IPO

DETROIT — In what may be a 1990s-like blip of irrational exuberance, investors sent shares of unprofitable electric-car maker Tesla Motors soaring more than 40% Tuesday even as the overall stock market fell sharply.

Solar Start-Up Rakes In Capital

SunRun, a San Francisco start-up that leases rooftop solar arrays to homeowners, said Tuesday it had raised $55 million from investors.

The equity investment led by Sequoia Capital, a prominent Silicon Valley venture firm, is one of the largest made in a solar leasing firm and a sign that companies are poised for a major expansion beyond the industry’s core market in California.

Solar-powered plane set for pioneering night flight

GENEVA (AFP) – The prototype of a pioneering Swiss bid to fly around the world on solar energy aims to take to the skies on Thursday in the first attempt at a night flight fuelled by the sun, the team said.

Irving Oil cancels biodiesel project

Weeks after mothballing a tidal energy research project, Irving Oil Ltd. has withdrawn its application for environmental approval to build a biodiesel refinery in Saint John.

NRC panel: Nuclear waste dump process continues

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- A Nuclear Regulatory Commission legal panel put a proposal for a national nuclear waste dump in Nevada back on track Tuesday, at least until the full commission decides whether the Department of Energy can withdraw its plan.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu doesn't have the authority to pull the plug on a process that Congress started when it passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Act in 1982, the NRC Atomic Safety and Licensing Board said in a 47-page order issued in Rockville, Md.

Organic needs global co-operation, says Holden

Organic bodies around the world need to work together more closely to promote the environmental benefits of sustainable farming, the departing director of the UK’s Soil Association said yesterday (29 June).

Partick Holden, director of the organic certification body since 1995, plans to step down from the role in September to forward the case for sustainable agriculture around the world.

White House Energy Session Changes No Minds

WASHINGTON — The senators who emerged from a White House meeting with President Obama on energy policy on Tuesday made no effort to paper over the large differences that remain between them.

Democrats continued to insist on putting some sort of price on greenhouse gas emissions; Republicans continued to insist that to do so would be to impose a tax that would smother the economy.

“We have to take a national energy tax off the table,” said Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee.

Years wasted in climate battle, study says

A decade has been wasted in the fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions because official policies have failed to deliver, according to a critical assessment from the government's Committee on Climate Change.

In a report published today, it says much tougher regulation of businesses is urgently required if enduring cuts are to be made.

Environment: Province is on track to meet its projected cuts, will now focus on transportation

FREDERICTON - On track to cutting greenhouse emissions to 1990 levels by 2012, the New Brunswick government is now targeting the transportation sector to further reduce emissions.

Perfect storm warning issued on climate

A perfect storm is coming and we are not ready for it, an international climate change conference on the Gold Coast has been told.

The ingredients are already mixing and the storm could hit communities around Australia within 20 years, says Donovan Burton from the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility.

Global warming 'solution' could backfire

PALO ALTO, Calif. (UPI) -- A cloud-seeding scheme proposed to combat global warming could change global rainfall patterns and result in water shortages, researchers say.

Whitening clouds over the world's oceans to reflect more sunlight and reduce global warming could in fact increase monsoonal rains over oceans while causing the world's continents to become drier on average, a Carnegie Institute study released Monday said.

Why Climate Stumps Even the Brightest Scientists

Working climate scientists are almost unanimous in their view that the earth is slowly warming up and that human activity, particularly the combustion of fossil fuels, is the primary cause. But beneath that surface unanimity, predictions vary about how much the planet will warm in the future because of rising greenhouse gases. Scientists’ best guesses range from mild warming, to which the planet and its people might adapt easily, to temperature increases so extreme that life on earth would be radically altered.

China sets sail for the Arctic

A Chinese research vessel and ice-breaker is due to set sail this week for the Arctic, a region much coveted by Beijing for its wealth of scientific data and natural resources.

The shrinking of the frozen sheets blanketing the Arctic -- thanks to global warming -- are expected, at least in summer, to allow navigation of the area and access to its as-yet untapped supplies of oil and natural gas.

Troubled Arctic waters: Canada needs to take immediate action to retain control over the North

Expectations of a better standard of living by both rich and poor have blinded many of us to the consequences, as evident in the failure of the Copenhagen climate-change conference to achieve a firm consensus. Today, leaders of the Arctic countries are faced with a similar conflict as a result of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The risk of such a spill in the Arctic, whether from offshore drilling or commercial shipping, has pitted environmental safety against the insatiable desire for economic growth. Adding to the challenge is China’s determination to become a major participant in the economic development and governance of the Arctic.

IPCC expects big increase in sea-level forecasts

The world's peak climate-change scientific body will "almost inevitably" make a large increase in its predictions of world sea-level rises due to global warming when it releases its next landmark report in four years, says the vice-chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

In an interview with the Herald, Dr Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, the IPCC's vice-chairman, said recent satellite observations showed extensive melting in the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.

That will have to be considered in the next IPCC assessment report on climate-change science - regarded by governments and scientific organisations as the world's pre-eminent scientific document on climate change - when it is released in 2014 and should lead to the increase in predictions of sea-level rises, he said.

Dr van Ypersele said the sea-level rises estimated in the panel's last assessment report in 2007 were now known to be on the low side.

My favorite movie for illustrating what the future may look like is THE GRAPES OF WRATH. I'd like to see other people's lists of favorite movies (just one or two top favorites) that are good for thinking about what the post-Peak Oil decline is going to look like.

good for thinking about what the post-Peak Oil decline is going to look like.


Post-Peak Oil decline - I can't think of any, but after that it's either Mad Max or The Book of Eli/The Road. :P

Yeah I could see that happening in one form or another, or a little bit from each. But all this in more industrialized nations and nations affected from likely wars of energy desperation. I feel that the only people able to maintain BAU are isolated and remote tribal societies who never had oil to begin with. But then again global warming would be the massive pebble in their shoes.

Not Shane?

I like the book Tortilla Flat, although I did not see the movie. I also loved The Grapes of Wrath and it had a real influence on me.

Tortilla Flat....The book portrays with great sympathy and humour a group of paisanos (fellows-countrymen), denouncing society by enjoying life and wine in the idyllic days after the end of the Great War and preceding U.S. prohibition.

Tortilla Flat was made into a film in 1942

It may be a crappy time to come, but I am going to do my best to sit in the sun, make and drink wine, go fishing, and play with grand kids. Gardening and raising meat is a given.

I would definitely enjoy a Tortilla Flat-like outcome. Given I can manage a consistent success with the gardening thing.

Star Trek Movie - Di-lithium crystals baby! Warp Speed Scotty!

But this planet, she can't take it any more captain!!!

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Scotty: “I’m giving her all she’s got, Captain!”

Kirk: “All she’s got isn’t good enough! What else have you got?”

Scotty: “Captain, if I push her any harder the whole thing's gonna blow!”

Kirk: “Maximum Warp!?”

Kirk sounds like a cornucopia-minded economist. No offence to any economists here on TOD.

No offence to any economists here on TOD.

I would like to rephrase that to: "No offence to any non-cornucopia-minded economists here on TOD." :))

Cornucopia-minded economists better be offended and change their views of how finite worlds work and quickly, because their BAU got us into this mess in the first place and we surely need that kind of BAU like... like... more Macondo well oil in the Gulf.

I don't think there are any economists on TOD. It would be beyond their purview to learn anything about where basic resource inputs actually come from. The "free market" simply provides them, and always will.

Oh, I don't know, I've heard the guy that wrote this book comes on here sometimes...


hint: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6584#comment-647112

Hehe, present company excluded of course!

Yup, that's me--an economist in good standing, though I've let my membership to the American Economics Association lapse.

The book is pretty good, and it is available cheap on amazon.com

I've been reading here for quite a while without an account. But since I am about to graduate on International economics you just forced me too register and reply. ;)

I sense quite some hostility against economists here, I slightly understand why but don't forget that many economists are just doint what they are paid for or saying what people want to hear. Do you think the majority of people want to hear that endless growth does not exist?
There is a part of economics that does not allow for peak oil (or whatever input) related matters because inputs are ignored, but don't forget there is also a large part of economics that is very useful in a peak oil environment. (for example, supply/demand dynamics, products chains etc etc.)

But I am sure some economists are stuck in their models which only work for BAU, or maybe economists in the USA are different from ours...

Welcome to TOD!

No two economists are alike. I'm close to Herbert Simon, John Maynard Keynes, Herman Daly, Kenneth Boulding, and Robert Heilbroner in how I understand the economic problem--which is scarcity. Fundamentally, we have too many people on earth and too few resources to support them in a decent style of life. Declining oil production will lead to economic decline which will lead to rising death rates and falling birth rates.

Economic growth is no longer the solution to our problems, it IS the problem.

Logan's Run.

I would suggest Testament (1983). It is the story of what happens from fallout in a small town in Marin County (across the Bay from SF) after SF is nuked. The people are unprepared and do everything wrong. They slowly dieoff. This is not a film for people who are depressed (and I mean this seriously). No gore or special effects.


Films have a tendency to over-simplify things, but the closest to the future I can imagine is a slower, more gradual progression to the essentials of "Soylent Green". Granted it never shows what's happening in the non-urban areas, but I think to have large indigent populations a la The Grapes Of Wrath people have to believe things are better elsewhere. With the modern mass media I think it may be communicated that there isn't a significantly better place to be, so the slow erosion of (ultimately energy enabled) amentities, including plentiful food, in the cities of Soylent Green looks plausible.

I think we will see huge migrations in the U.S. toward the Pacific Northwest because
1. It grows plenty of food.
2. It has cheap reliable electricity from dams on the Columbia River system.
3. Near the ocean the climate is mild. Many or most heat with electricity, because it is so cheap.
4. It is mostly white and will appeal to new waves of "White flight" from cities and close-in suburbs and also outer suburbs and exurban areas distant from major cities.

You might be right; I've very little experience of the US beyond a few big cities. In the UK, beyond a slight population density difference between north and south, there's nowhere that seems better by enough to justify speculatively travelling there with no relatives there.

No! No! No! The Pacific Northwest is a terrible place! Nobody in their right mind would go there ;->

Nobody in their right mind would go there ;->

He says, as 300 million GPS nav systems lock on to the co-ordinates for the Pacific Northwest.
And they are off!

Great! now I can finally have some peace and quite around here...

or as Yogi Berra said it,

"Nobody goes there anymore. Too Crowded!"

The trouble with the Pacific Northwest is that there really isn't that much of it. As soon as you crest the Cascades, you're in the Rocky Mountain high desert, from Alberta down to Arizona.

I'll second that!
And if you want a novel instead of a film, how about "The Wild Shore" by Kim Stanley Robinson?

I hope we only slip as far back as the 1890s, a la "McCabe and Mrs. Miller" where an unlikely pair of misfits start a whorehouse in the Cascades and are faced with a takeover by a mining company.

A world without electricity, but not without comforts.

O Brother, Where Art Thou? or really any movie about the same period.

I think "Children of Men" captures the coming social chasm fairly well. Refugee "fugees"/Undesirables in cordoned off detention centers - the 'elites' living pretty much like they always have.

My idea of the best post-peak movie would be "The Postman". I do not consider the Mad Max movies very good post-peak movies at all.

My favorite movie of all time is Doctor Zhivago. Of course that is a historical drama and not a post peak movie.

Ron P.

Yeah, Ron, I like Postman, too. Except for the happy everything returns to normal ending. Where'd that come from? Not gonna happen.

"Quest for Fire"??

I don't think it was made into a movie, but 'A Canticle for Leibowitz' by Walter M. Miller gets my vote for post-apocalyptic realism.

Not a movie but a book that someone here on TOD recommended (that I haven't started yet):
Parable of the Sower

Here is the description from the fan group on Facebook (which apparently comes from wikipedia):

Parable of the Sower is the first in a two-book series of science fiction novels written by Octavia E. Butler and published in 1993.

Plot summary
Set in a dystopian future, Parable of the Sower centers on a young woman named Lauren Olamina who possesses what Butler dubbed hyperempathy – the ability to feel the perceived pain and other sensations of others – who develops a benign philosophical and religious system during her childhood in the remnants of a gated community in Los Angeles. Civil society is near collapse due to resource scarcity and poverty. When the community's security is compromised, her home is destroyed and her family murdered. She travels north with some survivors to try to start a community where her religion, called Earthseed, can grow.


Based on some of the Facebook comments, it seems that some of the religious crowd has taken to it (at least a bit).

Interesting that Kunstler went in a similar direction (i.e. supernatural) at the end of World Made By Hand.

Starship Troopers! They were able to figure out the energy thing (note the wind turbines at the base on the alien homeworld) but they were still fascists, unfortunately.

The best movie depicting a post peak oil future was the 2nd Mad Max movie, Thunderdome. At the beginning they explain why civilization failed due to wars over depleting oil - the kids in that clan had the history of what had happened all wrong - the town used methane from pigs to generate electricity - they bartered for everything because there was no fiat currency and they had upgraded UFC style fights. That's the future - absolutely!

The Battleship Potemkin

Synopsis: Fed up with the ship's officers' brutalities and with maggot-infested rations, the crew of the battleship Prince Potemkin revolts. The rebellion ignites an uprising by the citizens of Odessa, resulting in Czarist troops' infamous, systematic slaughter of insurgents and bystanders.

Although this was primarily a propaganda film by the former Soviet republic, the charted events that ultimately led to the Bolshevik Revolution are convincing on several levels. It's worth remembering that during the deflationary crisis of the Great Depression, the elites had their private yachts off Long Island fueled up with standby crews for a quick getaway in the event of a wide-scale revolt. When government austerity measures begin to be imposed on U.S. citizens will the government resort to violence to put down insurgencies?


May I call your attention to the ENDING of Battleship Potemkin?
Whereas in a British or American film you would have an heroic Sea Battle with thousands of dead sailors and brave, mad, Anglo commanders at sea, (think of the History Channel every day, that's propaganda for you) in the movie the Russian fleets run by the worker sailors peacefully rejoins.

The Flintstones?

Lord of the Flies

Dies the Fire by S.M. Stirling

From Wikipedia:

Dies the Fire chronicles the struggle of two groups who try to survive "The Change," a sudden worldwide event that alters physical laws so that electricity, gunpowder, and most other forms of high-energy-density technology no longer work. As a result, modern civilization comes crashing down.

I liked this book because although the sudden-apocalypse thing is pure fantasy, after that it tries to be fairly realistic. In particular I noticed how the author portrays that the failing remnants of the state governments become the enemy, trying to use their fading police powers to seize anything and everything from anyone who has anything, commandeering any crops and livestock they can find- even though it means the seizees will starve to death.

Dies the Fire by S.M. Stirling

Second the motion. I loved this book. The premiss that gets it going was a little hard to swallow, but if you can suspend your disbelief over that, the rest is boderline genius.

In addition to what VictorianTech said, some of the other things that Stirling emphasized were:
1) The re-learning of old ways to do things;
2) The repuposing/recycling of stuff left over from the industrial age; and
3) The need for community. No one lasts for long alone.

This book, perhaps more than any other, has influenced my vision of what a post-fossil fuel world might look like, particularly if there is some kind of sudden collapse.

Bienvenido Mr Marshall
Welcome Mr Marshall
"As the Mayor of the town I owe you an explanation"

It is well known that the post WWII Marshall plan never reached Spain, so the movie satirizes that, a poor Spanish town that dreams that the Americans will help them.
They had a good harvest that year.

As a French I can't resist to recommend Delicatessen "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delicatessen_%28film%29" for some post-apocalyptic dark humor... "Bon appetit"

It looks like the arctic will be ice-free a lot sooner than 2030 but,so far, no bites from the shipping crowd.

Little interest in Arctic shipping

A recent survey is pouring cold water on the prospect of international shipping traffic steaming through Canada’s Northwest Passage despite visions that melting sea ice and longer periods of open water will turn the fabled waterway into a busy cargo route.

"These companies are really, really not interested in Arctic routes," said Frederic Lasserre of Quebec’s Laval University. "It’s never going to be a Panama Canal."

…Lasserre contacted 125 shipping firms from Asia, Europe and North America and got responses from 34 companies representing 62 per cent of the market in 2008. Only 11 of them expressed any interest at all in shipping through the Northwest Passage.

Lasserre got similar results from a second, more extensive survey last summer. That survey suggested that resistance to the passage was strongest among companies focused on container shipping — the largest part of the market, but one that relies on dependable, accurate delivery times.

Only six out of 46 container shippers would even consider an Arctic route, the results suggested.

…"What the companies are selling is not merely transportation, it’s also schedules," Lasserre said.
"There’s no interest in the shipping to incur delays or to have to pay the penalties that they would have to suffer. It costs them money."

As well, ice-strengthened cargo ships are more expensive to build and are less fuel-efficient. Insuring ships through an Arctic route is also costly. It all eats away at any savings realized from a shorter voyage.

Interesting points.

Also, at the point when the Arctic is ice free, the world will have some bigger troubles to deal with than trying to shave a bit of time or money off of ocean voyages.

The disruptions to northern hemispheric weather patterns and ocean currents are likely to be profound and mostly not benign.

And the methane that will be bursting from the shallow (at least) parts of the continental shelves and from the tundra will almost surely be a game changer/ender.

In the last week it looks like the ice sheet has begun to break up across the majority of the arctic sea, with more than two months of the melt season still to come. There is a chance that the exact geographic north pole is ice free even as I type.


The ice sheet has always flowed. However, now the entire ice sheet is being blown around the arctic ocean by winds on an almost daily basis.

By the end of the melt season I would be surprised if there was more than a few percent of multi-year ice left.

Yes, by all measures, ice loss has been stunning this year, especially in the last few days.

Cryosphere Today just updated the last three days, and melt is even more widespread now

It should note than the study only apply to the North West passage. North East passage is much easier and might be used much sooner.

Looks like there is no way out;

"The only way out is growth"


As soon as it becomes mainstream that we have hit the "Limits to Growth" wall we can expect all hell to break lose.

A few billion people going through the Kübler-Ross sequential stages of grief at approximately the same time... OH BOY!!!

Indeed, a few billion furious people, especially considering that all that anger will be pointed in the wrong direction.

I wonder...if by some miracle a couple billion people can get to the bargaining phase, if any promising change can occur.

these stages are non-linear and non-permanent. so you never know what you gonna feel.

Giving up bottled water. How one Australian town did it. (Concord, MA - starts on Jan 1.)


Green funerals?


A friend of mine had a green funeral. Wicker casket in an unmarked grave in an open pasture field.

She was a young mother of two, a cancer research scientist who sadly died of cancer. Must have been 200 people at the burial.

After dying of natural causes a long time in the future, I for one would like my body left in the woods to be scattered by the wild animals that eat it, leaving bones all around to creep people out.

You could will your body to the govt "body farm" where they study decomposition then. Otherwise, I doubt it's legal to leave a body "uncovered" after death. (Should you do what you've suggested, it would lead the authorities to doing a lot of extra work when the body or bones are discovered.)

Otherwise, I doubt it's legal to leave a body "uncovered" after death.

What are they going to do? Arrest you and fine you for illegal decomposition... I'm sure there'd be a whole slew of lawyers jumping at the chance to defend that case.

Seriously, there are few places I know, where if I wanted to do that, they'd never find my remains, I'm not going to even hint where they are. Of course it does assume I'd be able to get to those spots on my own power and die there.

Depends on the state. But a body is taken to a funeral home when someone dies. There needs to be a death certificate - in order to accomplish things. A funeral home takes care of notifying social security etc.

It's more complicated than you may imagine. In our state if you are cremated, you can keep the ashes.

But, this may surprise you, it's not that easy to take "possession" of a body and do with it as you will. You may well know places to leave one outdoors. Indeed that is the custom in Tibet. Special cliffs are places where bodies are picked clean by buzzards.

Check out the law where you live. As I say... not so easy to hang onto a body after death. Especially if you need a death certificate to close accounts or do other things. Without a death certificate there are many things you cannot do - one of them being dispose of any estate, no matter how small.

But don't trust me. Do your research. Find out for yourself. Even imagine yourself driving a dead, decomposing body somewhere. Imagine explaining to the police why you've got your dead relative or friend in the trunk....

I apologize for having a wide smile while reading your post. O:-)

It's because you are mixing two different things in one sentence and it comes out quite funny. ;)

"In our state if you are cremated, you can keep the ashes."
Definitely, I would -love- to keep my own ashes. :D

I understand, you were trying to say that kids of the deceased would have some problems with all those things, but for the deceased it wouldn't matter much, whether (s)he can keep his/her ashes or not. And what about the last will? One could put it there.

"Dear all, my last wish is to be taken to __________ [fill in the desired place] and left to my own devices. And please, inform forensic guys, too that I'm not a victim of foul play and/or give them my DNA sample."

Wouldn't it work that way? The body would be there for all necessary paperwork, all the certificates and stuff and after all is said and done, last wish could be fulfilled. ;)

Ok, I'll ask for them to be "shipped" to me.... ;)

Very funny!

In the words of Yogi Berra, when asked by his wife where he wanted to be buried he said:"Oh I don't know, why don't you surprise me".

You will always keep your own ashes.

Think about it.


But don't trust me. Do your research. Find out for yourself. Even imagine yourself driving a dead, decomposing body somewhere. Imagine explaining to the police why you've got your dead relative or friend in the trunk....

TheraP, LOL! My friend, that entire comment was mostly tongue in cheek! I wouldn't for a microsecond consider driving around with a decomposing corpse of friend or relative in my trunk. My ex-mother in law, maybe. I doubt the cops would appreciate my witty comebacks and rejoinders, much...

What I did mean, quite seriously, was that if I knew I was going to die and I wished to go somewhere under my own power to a place where I might do so in peace and without the intrusions of unnecessary artificial medical procedures. I might decide to do so and I could think of a few places I might go where my remains would probably not easily be found.

I would also notify my friends and relatives of my plans, say goodbye and just tell them I was going camping in the wilderness without specifying where. They could notify the proper authorities when I did not return after a sufficient amount of time and be honestly able to tell them they had no idea where I had gone...

I'm pretty sure I could pull this off. Now, go away and let me decompose in peace, wouldja?! >;^)

If you're planning on decomposing make sure ASCAP doesn't find out about it.

They'll probably demand royalties...

In the literature department they deconstruct, in the music department they decompose...

Arrest you and fine you for illegal decomposition...

LOL! :)))
Yes, and then put you in jail for the rest of your life! Wait a minute... Then, let you -ROT- it the jail! YES! That will teach you a lesson for leaving your bones outside! :D
But seriously, there are judicial systems capable of sentencing people for 150+ years of jail time. And what happens, if the poor sap dies? Will he be prematurely released for "good behavior"? :P Well, for the last 20 years he didn't make a peep, so probably yeees. :D

I just wanted to express my agreement with you, FMagyar, and I'm also considering that kind of green funeral. :)

Disclaimer: All puns were intended and no jailors or lawyers were harmed in the making of this post.

As Major Hochstetter used to say on Hogan's Heroes:

"You vill be shot, court-martialled, and sent to the Russian Front... In that order!!!"

How about cremation with energy recovery?

http://www.crematenergy.com/ still available if anyone is thinking of creating a startup...

How about cremation with energy recovery?

I guess you wouldn't want to waste any energy... depending on the corpse it could be a very positive EROEI!


Here is how it happens: The human body, which is 85 percent water, burns outside to inside in a rapid cycle of layer-by-layer dehydration and ignition. The heat dries out the skin; the dry skin ignites. That fire dries out the next layer of muscle and fat, which then ignites. And so on, until the internal organs are consumed.

According to B&L President Steve Looker, who designed the Phoenix II, the average body gives off a modest 1,000 Btu per pound of meat (burning wood, by comparison, gives off 6,000 Btu).[4] But an extremely obese corpse - like the one Rapp recently had to burn in its casket because it was wedged in so tightly - can run to 17,000 Btu. "That's like burning kerosene," says Looker. The Phoenix II takes these differences into account and carefully regulates the amount of oxygen entering the retort to ensure a controlled, efficient burn.

Trini subsidies hurting Jamaica farmers, says Tufton

AGRICULTURE MINISTER Dr Christopher Tufton yesterday charged that Jamaican primary producers were being short-changed within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) as a result of a subsidised agro-processing sector in oil-rich Trinidad and Tobago.

He indicated that in some instances, Trinidadian agro-processors used raw materials imported from outside the region with "unclear duty arrangements".

Making his contribution to the 2010-2011 Sectoral Debate in Parliament, Tufton said Jamaican primary producers were not operating on a level playing field with their Trinidadian counterparts.

The tension continues. Regular readers might remember this story where the president of the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association "demands day in court over Trinidad energy subsidy". I expect the these sort of complaints to get louder if/when things get worse.

Alan from the islands

Various items reminded me to recommend this site, Arctic Economics, to the authors of The Oil Drum and its readers.

Ecuador First-Quarter GDP Expands 0.33% as Oil Revenue Slumps on 'Boycott'

President Rafael Correa yesterday said revenue from oil, which represents about a quarter of the South American country’s economy, had fallen because private oil companies were holding a “species of boycott” against the government. Ecuador is forcing oil companies to renegotiate contracts to give the state greater control over output. Oil revenue slumped a year-on-year 9.6 percent in the first quarter, while Ecuador’s non-oil sector expanded 2.39 percent.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending June 25, 2010

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.1 million barrels per day during the week ending June 25, 98 thousand barrels per day below the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 88.4 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging 9.4 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging 4.4 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 9.5 million barrels per day last week, down 631 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 9.7 million barrels per day, 543 thousand barrels per day above the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 1.0 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 183 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 2.0 million barrels from the previous week. At 363.1 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 0.5 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories decreased while blending components inventories increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 2.5 million barrels, and are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.6 million barrels last week and are in the middle of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 3.6 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period has averaged 19.3 million barrels per day, up by 4.7 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline demand has averaged 9.3 million barrels per day, up by 1.5 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel demand has averaged 3.8 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, up by 10.9 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel demand is 1.8 percent lower over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

Note that distillate (mostly diesel fuel) demand is up a powerful 11% over last year. While I don’t have a PHD in economics, you don’t need one to see that the US economy is recovering – at least here in the second quarter. Total oil product demand is also up a fairly strong 7% growth year over year vs. the comparable four week period.

As I have previously discussed here, the growth in distillate demand is due to general business inventory restocking and distribution, increasing product imports, and new clean air standards for maritime uses. So about 900,000 barrels a day more are being used as compared to the year ago month. I am still expecting the EIA and IEA to make some upward revisions to their 2010 demand figures, although strangely as opposed to prior years, they have become much more conservative about projecting economic growth and oil usage.

Oil output in the Gulf of Mexico has been so far barely affected in the last month due to the oil spill, and also, imports into GOM ports appear to be almost unaffected up until June 25. Since then the closing of Mexican oil export terminals due to Hurricane Alex, plus the closing of some oil production platforms in the GOM, should have a significant impact on next week’s oil supply report.

Total oil imports fell back by 600,000 bpd last week to more normal 2010 levels, although still a little bit above average for the year. A little known fact, even here at TOD, is that oil imports from Russia are quietly increasing – from almost none a few years ago. We might conclude that at least in the last three months (when we have seen higher imports) is that the US is winning the bidding war for basically stagnating world supplies of oil available for export. This may have much to do with the currently strong value of the dollar. Somewhat ironically the financial panic out of the Euro has brought cheaper oil to the US, resulting in higher demand and a stronger economy.

In general, refineries reduced their output slightly from fairly high levels to keep up with the strong demand. More specifically, refiners were successful in keeping up with distillate demand last week. The increase in distillate stocks this week may reflect mostly a temporary drop in distillate demand last week, slightly higher product imports, and a minor upward adjustment from the corrected April monthly report issued yesterday. Refiners used the drop in distillate production to tweet their overall output to provide more gasoline.

True about Russia, but they turned on the export taps in 2004 at 490 kb/d max and are still operating around that level. April imports from them were actually down YOY although naturally these numbers will wobble all over the place.

Check out exports, too - up 489 kb/d YOY for April. Top 3 destinations? Mexico, Canada, Brazil. Hey, refine your own oil!

Just a quick comment, the media painted today's report as bleak and showing poor demand. No mention that even though demand dipped slightly last week as schools were closed for the summer, demand is still about 600,000 bpd higher than three months ago, nor was it mentioned that a retroactive adjustment increase, of 4 million barrels, to April month end gasoline inventories (issued yesterday), may have explained the otherwise 'surprising' increase in gasoline inventories.

Supply Data Pressure Crude Prices

JUNE 30, 2010, 4:12 P.M. ET

Gasoline inventories, expected to decline during the peak of the U.S. summer driving season, increased for the week ended June 25, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported Wednesday. The increase in distillate fuel stocks, including heating oil and diesel, came in at more than double analysts' expectations.

The EIA also reported that its implied-demand figure for the week fell to its lowest level since April 23, down 2.6% from the week earlier.


Newt Gingrich should be in a freak show somewhere.

Maybe a freak show such as Washington DC?

Newt Gingrich should be in a freak show somewhere.

He already is. It's called the Republican party. (Couldn't resist)

Ah yes, of course, how could I forget.

Maybe a freakshow like Washington, DC?

As a DC resident, I support this. It means we'll have plenty of renewable hydrocarbons to tap into! He might need a new blowout preventer first, though.

Flagged. This kind of unsupported personal attack is beneath the decorum of TOD.

I'm not defending Gingrich here, far from it. I'm defending TOD. I've blogged about Gingrich in the past, with supporting data.

Not meant as a personal attack, more of a practical suggestion for his career path. Plenty of people make a decent living working in freak shows. Ever been to Coney Island? I think he'd fit right in there: "50 Cents - Come see the Living Fossil!"

So I just had what could aptly be termed an emotional outburst. It's funny ,it happened out of a clear blue sky so to speak. In fact there was nothing unusual going on, a typical no ride morning with the TV on CNBC for a bit. The conversation revolved around the issue of whether an electric car could compete with that outmoded concept 'Detroit' and if the advent of plug-in hybrids in China meant that we were already falling behind in the clean fuel initiative arena.

This is all boiler-plate conversation nowadays and would have escaped my notice if the detractor-type talking head and Mark Haines had not started whining about the infrastructure available to charge electrics not being in place. They went on to decry what the average apartment house dweller was to do to get his/her electric setup outfitted and how much 'trouble' it was going to be to make all these arrangements.

Trouble is:

oil soaked marshlands essential for complex eco-systems not coming back ever.

draining our life's blood into un-winnable direct and proxy wars in order to project power into oil rich regions where self determination of hundreds of millions of people is being given the last priority.

being addicted to a way of living that has been correctly characterized as being 'stuck up a concrete cul-de-sac without a fill up'.

lack of clean drinking water or losing the Arctic sea ice or Greenland's glaciers.

when you are thousands of miles away from a particular small sea passage where one strategically placed tanker or one silkworm missile can cut off 40% of the world's oil in a moment and disable one's entire economy, one's military sustainability, and one's ability to produce and transport food.

needing to 'eat' up to 10 kcal's of liquid FF energy for every kcal of food intake.

Trouble is not:

figuring out how to run a &*#@% extension cord to a
cheap and simple electro motive transport system that most anyone can easily put together themselves or carrying the batteries inside to charge or getting fit and just riding a bike or walking or beginning to 'hook up' the Drake plan.

It's all a bit of trouble. Maintain Scramble-and-crash or Powerdown-now the 'trouble' is which one do we choose.

oil soaked marshlands essential for complex eco-systems not coming back ever.

Ever is a long time.

The marshes are warm, there exists bacteria in the Gulf area that breaks hydrocarbon bonds for energy and the state some of the marshes are in now is post-recovery from the late 1970's Mexican spill.

one's ability to produce and transport food.

My ability to produce food needs land, sunshine and water. My ability to take FRNs and obtain cheap food at the store - well that needs oil.

Eric, the problem is that ecosystems are not perfectly-elastic systems -- they are meta-stable systems. Shocks such as the Gulf spill may overwhelm the ability of the ecosystem to return to a previous state. Only time will tell us how the system will untimately respond.

Ever is a long time

If there was a possibility that some species would not return that would be forever. I believe that complexity has been lost in spills of this magnitude. I also understand that the oil acts like a giant mower not only killing off the numerous organisms but removing all structure that is involved with the grasses leaving the coastlines open to the wind and wave action effectively moving that 'skirmish' line much farther inland for good or taking it out completely. At least in any time frame say NOLA will care about. I'll have to study up on Ixtoc, I'm sure there are many similarities/differences. I believed containment on the surface was better being 200 ft down.

ability to grow and transport food

I hope there are a lot of folks around like you. That's the point, it would help if we became more local. But for most people in the US whose food is patented by GMO, fertilized with NG, harvested by machine, comes in a package, brought by a truck, processed in a cannery the sudden loss of a almost half the worlds oil would probably be disabling for those processes.

It seems unprecedented and uniquely vulnerable. In this case the military likely would still stay supplied, the SPR would be tapped and an attempt would be made to secure supply lined by force. IMO this would only make the situation worse like Saddam on steroids. That second wave of disruption which will take longer still to 'repair' will likely cause food riots with fewer supplies moving and increasingly vulnerable at that. If it happened over a short time frame I find it hard to see how growing food is going to be the route most non agi-types will follow.

Interesting discussion though. Be gone for a few days.

Re: Water/Energy Tug-of-War

How could anyone come to the conclusion that Saudi Arabia has a "good" prognosis when more than half of their oil is being consumed just to desalinate water. In contrast, they look at two areas in California and assign one a "shaky" prognosis and the other a "grim" prognosis. Their assignment of per capita consumption also appears to be inaccurate. California per capita consumption is lower than Saudi Arabia and they report it as higher.

Half their oil?

At present desalination plants on the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf consume a total of 1.5 million barrels per day.

Solar Energy Initiative Launched

In 2007, Saudi Arabia was consuming 2.7 mb/d. If they could produce enough natural gas, they would use that to generate electricity. But they don't.

Their stats are misleading at best. Water consumption and their stats for the 4 reference points of the US are constant, no doubt their national figures. But that only points up another stat that is misleading-those which compare states. Imagine how different it'd look if 4 or 5 five eastern seaboard states were lumped together to approximate the land area of California.

Carbon tax rises tomorrow at the pump

Few people bought the Campbell government's 2008 promise of a revenue-neutral B.C. carbon tax, but as its second annual hike approaches, tax credits have shelled out more than the tax brought in.

Tomorrow is the levy's second birthday and like a toddler, it gets a bit bigger every year. The tax on a tonne of carbon dioxide will go up from $15 to $20 this year. The hikes are scheduled to top out at $30 a tonne in 2012....

At the pump, the tax will jump today from 3.33 cents to 4.45 cents on each litre of gasoline, netting the provincial government about $45 million to $50 million in fresh revenue.


How about those Canadians...eh!

I pay this carbon tax everytime I fill up the Yaris, and I'm one the few here who thinks this tax is a good idea. Its biggest drawback is the hordes of British Columbia border residents who travel to Washington State to fill up. Between the driving to Blaine or Bellingham and the idling at the 2-hour border line up, I'm not sure if any fuel has been saved by this tax. The most effective solution would be if US border states follow suit. You'll be surprised to learn that I think some US states will follow suit, if for no other reason that they're broke and desperately need new sources of revenue.

The most effective solution would be if US border states follow suit.

So then the line moves into the US between US States?

I am heading up to Victoria a little later this month and will be glad to pay this tax. At least it is a start on putting a price on carbon and my hat is off to the BC government for taking a leadership role here. I keep a bicycle there and that along with walking will provide most of my transport.

Hope you enjoy your stay here in Beautiful British Columbia!

Study links bee decline to cell phones

In a study at Panjab University in Chandigarh, northern India, researchers fitted cell phones to a hive and powered them up for two fifteen-minute periods each day.

After three months, they found the bees stopped producing honey, egg production by the queen bee halved, and the size of the hive dramatically reduced.

Do the phones have to be right next to the hive? It seems like bee hives and cell phone users usually keep their distance.

Wow! that is amazing, Leanan. I don`t have a cell phone and have always suspected they are dangerous.

Maybe you should also put this article in the TOD thread about population control. Cell phones may be helpful in reducing human populations by making people sick....

Psst. Wanna buy a natural gas powered Fiat?

Fiat sells a grip of natural gas-powered vehicles in Europe (130,000 last year), offering the alt-energy drivetrain on nearly every model. Of course, there’s a hitch. Or three.


According to this recent MIT study we are going to have lots of NG to power it.

And we definitely won't regret fracking up our soil, air, and water to get at it, will we?


Wow, that is quite a graphic photo! You know we will still do it just like we will continue to drill for offshore oil. We are hooked!

aach ! mit on kool-aid ?

1)an attempt to sanitize the term "resources" by implying these "resources" are actually recoverable. the csm gas supply committee includes in this catagory possible and speculative resources. that wasn't enough, mit's study upped the upper limit by one third.

2)the application of volumetric assumption to ung recoveries.

what else could one expect with "american clean skies foundation on the advisory committee ?

i'll see that delusion and raise you a mirage.

America’s Next Big Export?


I have a question. There were 33 wells that were going to be drilled, that were stopped by the Obama Admin. On ABC news last week they had a sidenote that 8 of the rigs have moved out of the Gulf of Mexico. How true is that tidbit from the news? How many Rigs were idled, and how many are still around waiting to go to work?

Money lost for someone I am sure, so who pays them for it, could they sue BP for the time lost, or do they just eat the costs?

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed world,
Hugs from Arkansas.

PS, I rarely read beyond the top post in the oil Spill threads.

CEO -- Probably correct. Last count I heard was 6 rigs but I haven't been trying to keep count. I doubt the drillers would have much chance to get BP to pay for their down time. BP didn't call for a moratorium...the feds did. I was told the overseas market had a fair demand for rigs so we may see more shipping out. Lossing $600,000 per day is a good bit of motivation to find another contract. Most rigs work on multiyear contracts so it will be a while before they make it back to the GOM. Especially the Deep Water rigs. Last I heard there were 21 rigs that could drill in 5,000' or greater. Petrobras (Brazil) had about 18 of those rigs under long term contract. Given the developing DW play off Brazil if they tie up the rest of those rigs it could be 10 years or longer before we see one back in the GOM.

I saw a newswire yesterday that said a bunch of CEO's from the deepwater players (IOC's, service co's, etc) met with Salazar yesterday and told him that they were in the final stages of plans to re-mob rigs to Africa and the Middle East.

No movement on the Fed's. part. One person - don't remember who - was quoted afterwards as saying that they were dismayed by the lack of consideration (on the part of the feds) of the impact that this would have on the Gulf Coast economy over the long haul.

Republicans objecting to the lifting of liability limits say that doing so will make it impossible for all but the largest oil companies to engage in offshore oil drilling. Is it only me but isn't the only silver lining in this disaster that it was caused by BP with deep pockets and significant engineering skills. What if the operator of this well was some LLC who simply would have walked away?

Have we gotten to point were ideology trumps even the most basic of reason?

Have we gotten to point were ideology trumps even the most basic of reason?


make it impossible for all but the largest oil companies to engage in offshore oil drilling.

Errr with the equipment to do the job running 1/2 a million a day isn't the act of drilling ALREADY only able to be done by "the largest"?

Transportation Energy Data Book Edition 29 just released.

It appears NSP's DSM initiatives will be even more cost competitive going forward.

NSP forecasts 12 per cent rate hike

A power rate increase of 12 per cent for residential customers and 18 per cent for industrial customers was predicted for next year by Nova Scotia Power Inc. on Wednesday.


“These rates are based on actual costs we are experiencing today to improve our environmental performance,” said Gallant in an interview.

The utility is required by the provincial government to purchase more expensive coal with reduced mercury content, he said.


He said that residential and industrial users should brace themselves for even higher rate increase proposals in coming years as the power company confronts a growing list of environment-related operating costs and passes them along to customers.

See: http://thechronicleherald.ca/Front/9017050.html

Best hopes for strong price elasticity.


I previously mentioned back about June 4 that I thought drilling insurance rates in the GOM would soar, although that may already seem obvious now to regular readers of TOD. There is more evidence of just how bad the insurance situation is:

Macondo sends insurance into stratosphere

24 June 2010 11:30 GMT

The Macondo blowout looks set to curtail insurance coverage for offshore drilling, forcing companies to self-insure or exit deep-water fields.

On 9 June, RS Sharma, chairman of India’s biggest explorer Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), said it would have cost the state-owned company three times as much if it had renewed its offshore policy after the disaster.

The BP oil spill will “significantly” push up the price of insurance on offshore drilling, said Lloyd’s of London chief executive Richard Ward in an interview with Bloomberg Television.


Sorry if this was posted before.


Hampshire College professor Michael Klare appeared today on NPR's "Fresh Air" with Terri Gross to talk about the era of "tough oil,"

My first post here at TOD. I really like the mission statement, and just about all the serious-minded comments seem like people here do value reason and logic. I believe there's a way to create a reasonable/logical approach to energy. It's somewhat complicated on the surface, but if you look at it a bit it's rather simple.

Since our approach to existence (and energy) comes down to the legislative branch of government, the starting point would logically be--how do you change the way Congress works? As it turns out, the Framer's of our high law foresaw that the legislative branch would become corrupted by money and power to the point it no longer functioned as it was designed to, so they put a convention clause into Article V.

Over the years, politicians and media have frightened Americans away from holding a convention by saying such a thing would be dangerous as it might re-write the Constitution, or that it would be taken over by special interests and we would have worse than the status quo. The convention clause has been characterized as if the delgates can mandate new law, but the convention can only propose amendments, and in order for those proposals to mean anything they need to be approved by 38 states for ratification.

Now look at the actual process: once the call goes out, there has to be elections for delegates. These elections would not be for legislators, but delegates--meaning the campaigns would be specific and issue oriented, as opposed to "It's time for change" rhetoric. In other words the dynamic of holding a convention opens up the political discourse (and of course that would include how to better approach energy).

We all lament the negatives of the human condition, but there are positives--one of them being that when people come together consenus happens; parliamentary procedure of a deliberative assembly facilitates this. Although it seems hard to believe, based on the speech of politicians and media folks, there are non-partisan issues today that an overwhelming majority of citizens can agree on.

All revolutions/reformations the world over have always come down to one thing--a tipping-point joined in a common cause. If 15 million Americans or so began advocating for the Article V Convention we might get one, and the country could come together to deliberate on what 3/4 of us can agree on.

There are people talking about it now, and that's why I wanted to spend some time here to let some of the concerned and reasonable members know about this. This site has some information: http://www.foavc.org

And if this site goes viral it could have a significant effect on governance: http://www.convusa.com

If any of the administrators of TOD read this, I wonder if I could draft a complete explanation with documentation and recent history to have it posted, so that readers/commenters can have an open discussion specifically on this subject.

Welcome to TOD! Keep up the thoughtful and well-written posts.

Lawrence Lessig and Joe Trippi speak out for calling a convention through the website CallAConvention.org. They started with the initial purpose of raising money for public finance of elections by means of the Senate and House bills, Fair Elections Now Act. That movement spawned FixCongress First, and then this call for an Article V convention.


our approach to existence comes down to the legislative branch

Sir, unquestionably this is one of the most bizarre notions in US history, which is quite an achievement. You wake up in the morning and do what? Make a law? Have a caucus with the neighbors? or read yesterday's Federal Register to decide whether it's still legal to hug your kids, eat breakfast, start the car and go to work?

The dilemma of legislation is this: you can't tax too much, mandate too much, borrow too much without causing pain. Cause too much pain and you get voted out.

The dilemma of legislation in the U.S. is that the very place where legislation is made has no say in making legislation.

The shrinking of the frozen sheets blanketing the Arctic -- thanks to global warming -- are expected, at least in summer, to allow navigation of the area and access to its as-yet untapped supplies of oil and natural gas.

Talk about the dog chasing its tail.

"Folks, we all hit a home run by virtue of burning mountains of fossil fuels for 150 years. Thanks to many generations we have opened virgin territory by way of CO2 emissions. Everyone that depended on FF should be commended for this, unique, unprecedented opportunity to cash in on a whole new frontier of FF exploration! Come one, come all and forget about the possibility of runaway global warming due to continued emissions, positive feedbacks, acidifying oceans, increasing costs of exploration against a world economy less capable of paying higher oil prices, an oil spill wouldn't break up very fast because the frigid waters would slow its decay, or the possibility of initiating an anoxia event in a shades of the Permian extinction re-enactment. No, just pad your wallet while the going is good. Remember, above all else, ignore the people that say we're chasing our tails!"