Drumbeat: July 3, 2010

The new economics of gas

Dreams of a seamless global gas market are fading into the background as regional disparities in supply take centre stage.

Instead of freely traversing the globe as foreseen just a few years ago, the growing fleet of supertankers that carry liquefied natural gas (LNG) between continents is being diverted from North American shores.

Unable to unload their cargoes at attractive prices in a regional market glutted with gas, the few still arriving there are increasingly dispatched onwards to seek buyers in Asia or Europe.

Because of the recent surge in its unconventional gas output from shale deposits, the US has become a “virtual gas exporter”, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said last month in its medium-term oil and gas market report. Last year, the US became the world’s biggest gas producer, overtaking Russia.

G20 ignores looming energy and African trade crises

Despite attempts by violent black-clad militants to disrupt the G20 summit at Toronto, the leaders of the top industrialized and emerging economies managed to make progress on global economic issues.

Unfortunately, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his guests failed to address a looming global energy crunch that will scuttle the G20's commitment "to work with Least Developed Countries to make them active participants in and beneficiaries of the global economic system." And Africa will be hardest hit by the inevitable crisis.

US Works With Nigeria On Oil-rich Niger Delta Amnesty-Reports

IBADAN, Nigeria (Dow Jones) - U.S. experts worked on conflict management in the amnesty program declared by the Nigerian government for militants in the oil- rich Niger Delta, Robin Sanders, U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, has said.

"We are working with a local non-governmental organization; we brought U.S. experts to work with them on conflict management in the first phase of rehabilitation and reconstruction of the amnesty program," the News Agency of Nigeria quoted Sanders as saying in a report Friday.

Spill a wake-up call heard in the Americas

Most of Cuba's oil production comes from Matanzas or from shallow offshore waters. But Cupet, Cuba's state oil company, estimates that Cuba potentially has more than 20 billion barrels of undiscovered oil reserves offshore.

Spanish oil company Repsol-YPF began drilling for oil in waters 18 miles off the Cuban coast in 2004. Although several foreign oil companies have offshore concessions, Pinon said none of them are currently drilling.

But when they do, there's always the potential risk of a blowout - and that's when things could get sticky. The U.S. embargo would preclude U.S. equipment being sent to Cuba to stem a spill.

Libya NOC Still Has Faith in BP

Libyan National Oil Company (NOC) Chairman Shukri Ghanem said his company would continue to work with BP in oil exploration in Libya, and that the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico has not affected its confidence in the company.

"Exploration drilling in over two thousand meters of water is a new activity and of course, any new activity has effects, but should not stand in the way of scientific progress," Ghanem said.

Has the BP oil spill tarred your pension fund?

The BP oil spill disaster has done more than wake up the world to the risks of deep-sea drilling – it has also brought home to pension savers just how reliant they are on the fortunes of a handful of giant companies.

Why Is The Gulf Cleanup So Slow?

As the oil spill continues and the cleanup lags, we must begin to ask difficult and uncomfortable questions. There does not seem to be much that anyone can do to stop the spill except dig a relief well, not due until August. But the cleanup is a different story. The press and Internet are full of straightforward suggestions for easy ways of improving the cleanup, but the federal government is resisting these remedies.

Protest against hike in electricity, gas tariffs

Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) activists staged a demonstration in front of the National Press Club here to register protest over recent increase in electricity and gas tariffs and the government’s complete failure in keeping a check on rates of essential kitchen items.

India: Don’t Leave the Fate of Power to the States

Coal found in India is of low quality and, thus, almost everyone is importing it from Indonesia, Australia or South Africa. This is despite India having one of the largest reserves of coal globally. The problem is that coal is being produced only by one government-owned company [Coal India]. At present, it has a capacity of about 450 million tonnes. Though it is increasing its production, it might not be enough as India would need nearly 1,000 million tonnes of thermal coal every year if the announced capacities come on line.

China, Pakistan reach nuclear energy deal

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (UPI) -- The Pakistani government has finalized a deal with China to build two new nuclear power plants in the country, the Pakistani foreign minister said.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Mehmood Qureshi said Pakistan was working with its Chinese counterparts on more than 120 different projects, including two nuclear power facilities in Pakistan, the Associated Press of Pakistan reports.

Indonesian nuclear energy plan: A peer review

It is interesting that from all the so-called G20 distinguished major economies, only Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are currently not exposed to nuclear energy, let alone nuclear power plants.

But wait, the information is not entirely correct because just last month, Saudi Arabia decided to build its first nuclear power plant, the King Abdullah City for Nuclear and Renewable Energy, to be based in Riyadh.

And a short time ago, Turkey concluded a deal with Russia to build its first nuclear power plant in Mersin's Akkuyu district.

The other side of the nuclear power option

The government, as the latest developments indicate, is going forward with a plan to set up a nuclear power plant to mitigate Bangladesh's energy crisis. A Russian technical expert team has already been working on the prospect of setting it up at Rooppur, an old site designated for that very purpose in the 1960s by the then Pakistan government. It is considered a prestige project. Proposals have reportedly been received from China, South Korea as well, but the Russians have clearly won in the bid to clinch a state-to-state deal for at least a l000 MW nuclear reactor. We are told that a clearance certificate and technical and financial support worth US$ 3,66,000.00 from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has already been received during the caretaker government to prepare the Rooppur site for the purpose.

North Africa set to lead MENA in renewable power

Egypt's recent announcement of firm plans to develop a 1,000 megawatt wind farm is a sign that North African nations are set to lead the MENA region in renewable energy, outpacing richer Gulf states.

There are several reasons for this. They include superior wind resources, denser indigenous populations with less access to basic energy services, fewer conventional power generation options, proximity to Europe and lower fuel subsidies.

Smart meters: Truly a cure for energy blindness?

And now for a dose of reality.

No doubt smart meters are a good thing, but even their most ardent fans must admit that a degree of hoopla surrounds these little digital boxes. We hear that if consumers can just see how much power they use in real time, and what it costs, our energy woes will be no more.

Smart meters will even cure the blind. The energy blind that is.

Ray Kurzweil On 'The Singularity' Future

"When I was a student at MIT, we all shared one computer and it took up a whole building. The computer in your cell phone today is a million times cheaper and a thousand times more powerful. What now fits in your pocket 25 years from now will fit into a blood cell and will again be millions of times more cost effective."

GM's Chinese sales top U.S.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- China has become the top sales market for General Motors, the iconic American automaker owned by U.S. taxpayers.

When Less Was More

We tend to think of the decades immediately following World War II as a time of exuberance and growth, with soldiers returning home by the millions, going off to college on the G.I. Bill and lining up at the marriage bureaus.

But when it came to their houses, it was a time of common sense and a belief that less truly could be more. During the Depression and the war, Americans had learned to live with less, and that restraint, in combination with the postwar confidence in the future, made small, efficient housing positively stylish.

As we find ourselves in an era of diminishing resources, could “less” become “more” again? If so, the mid-20th-century building boom might provide some inspiration.

Smaller Oil Firms Might Exit Gulf, Browner Says

WASHINGTON—The White House's top energy adviser acknowledged that smaller oil firms might no longer be able to drill in the Gulf of Mexico as a result of legislation moving through Congress that would eliminate the cap on their liability for oil spills.

"Maybe this is a sector where you really need large companies who can bring to bear the expertise and who have the wherewithal to cover the expense if something goes wrong," Carol Browner, special adviser to President Barack Obama on energy and climate change, said in an interview. Eliminating the $75 million cap on liability for oil spills "will mean that you only have large companies in this sector," she said.

Crude-Oil Futures Fall After U.S. Reports Declines in Jobs, Factory Orders

Crude oil dropped for a fifth day after a U.S. government report showed that employment slipped in June for the first time this year and factory orders declined more than forecast.

Oil fell 1.1 percent after the Labor Department said payrolls decreased by 125,000 last month as the government cut 225,000 temporary census workers. The 1.4 percent reduction in bookings with manufacturers was the biggest since March 2009, the Commerce Department said. Economists in a Bloomberg News survey projected a 0.5 percent drop.

Gas prices fall as July Fourth weekend begins

The economy may be making people nervous, but drivers should have a happy Fourth of July at the pump.

Gasoline prices have changed very little this week and, by some analyst estimates, may even fall a bit over the long holiday weekend.

The good news for motorists is that even with more people expected on the roads, ample supplies and anemic demand likely will keep prices fairly stable and below $3 a gallon this summer.

Gunmen attack two cargo ships off Nigeria, kill one

Nigeria (Reuters) - Gunmen attacked two cargo vessels off the coast of the oil-producing Niger Delta, killing one crew member and kidnapping several others, a Nigerian navy spokesman said Saturday.

Embargo on shipment of oil products to Iran was mistake–Total CEO

PARIS (Itar-Tass) -- The imposition of sanctions on Iran implying an embargo on petroleum products supplies was a mistake, says the chief executive officer head of France’s Total corporation, Christophe de Margerie.

Speaking at an economic forum in Aix-en-Provence in southern France on Thursday, de Margerie said that Total had suspended oil products supplies Iran. He said the decision was made in connection with the position of the United States and the European Union, which came out for more restrictive measures and introduced them unilaterally in addition to those that were endorsed by the UN Security Council on June 9.

"But I remain certain that this is a mistake. The embargo on petroleum products cannot be used to settle disputes of a political nature. It affects common people," de Margerie said. He assured that the Total would resume supplies "at the earliest opportunity."

The Oil’s Reach: A Risk Assessment

Follow-up: The likelihood that the oil from the spill in the Gulf of Mexico will reach shorelines along the Eastern Seaboard remains remote, according to projections issued on Friday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

In BP 'war room,' small victories, many uncertainties

The war room is not exactly a place where people are eager to be interrupted by reporters. This is where engineers devise plans for what is known as the "sub-sea" response. It's mostly a BP operation, but there are engineers from other oil companies, plus a smattering of federal employees. (Of 569 people on duty Friday, 221 were contractors and 18 were federal workers, according to BP.)

Decisions have to be reviewed and approved by government officials, but those officials, all the way up to the president of the United States, have made clear that killing oil wells is not a government specialty. BP is the responsible party for the spill, and this is the responsible war room for fixing the problem at its source.

The Petroleum Industry: Past the Tipping Point?

In the wake of the BP oil spill in the Gulf, is this time different? Will the U.S. finally be able to change its stance on petroleum? Will the petroleum industry itself be irrevocably altered?

Though I don't always agree with its perspectives, one of the better (i.e., more well-informed and reasoned) weekly energy newsletters I receive is "Musings from the Oil Patch", written by Allen Brooks, Managing Director of the boutique investment banking firm of Parks Paton Hoepfl & Brown.

BP Bringing in Equipment to Double Amount of Oil Caught From Leaking Well

BP Plc will put equipment in place this weekend that will allow the company to double the amount of crude being caught from its leaking Gulf of Mexico well.

BP has been using two vessels to capture an average of 25,000 barrels a day from the Macondo well. The company plans to connect the Helix Producer I, a floating platform which alone can process as much as 25,000 barrels daily and can easily be disconnected in case of a hurricane, by July 8.

In a Refuge Haunted by Katrina, BP Swirls In

The two-story structure was once a parochial school, and the touchstone for a neighborhood boy, long ago. Then Hurricane Katrina filled it halfway with water. Then it became a time-frozen reflection of the surrounding emptiness. Then it became Camp Hope, where volunteers spent their nights after working to restore pockets of St. Bernard, as much as could be done with lawnmowers and drywall.

Now the building has a new purpose. BP, the energy behemoth, is spending an estimated $600,000 to renovate it into a carpeted, air-conditioned dormitory where more than 300 workers can sleep after long days of helping to clean up BP’s catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico — a spill that has tainted the waters of this coastal parish, still grappling with its last calamity.

Possible oil-spill solutions pour in, seemingly unheeded, from around the world

A constituent of Sen. Mike Enzi's makes a product from beetle-killed pine trees that soaks up oil like crazy, but the man can't get BP to listen to his ideas. What's happened to his suggestions? "They've been lost," the Wyoming Republican complained at a hearing two weeks ago.

A Life on the Water, Drying Up

Capt. Pete Lacombe has the cabernet nose of a man who spends too much time in the sun. He would prefer to be underwater, diving or showing tourists the wondrous coral reefs of the Florida Keys, but the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has largely kept him onshore.

Advance bookings for his diving company are now nonexistent. His 28-passenger red-and-white boat mostly sits idle these days, sloshing in a marina here, its life jackets dry as sand.

BP, Coast Guard agree to cut risks of burning turtles in oil slicks

Under threat of legal action by environmental groups, BP and federal agencies on Friday said they would take steps to reduce the risk of burning sea turtles along with oil slicks.

BP - Not ARMAGEDDON but cover up.

World Oil published a database of 1200 blowouts in the Gulf between 1960 and 1996. That is equal to 33 blowouts per year in the Gulf Coast and we're still here.

I know you're probably thinking, "What about all the horrendous stories I've been hearing about the BP Deepwater Horizon well in particular?" Most of them are sheer nonsense. Now, the Facts instead of Myths, or disinformation, which ever you prefer.

Bob Moriarty: Due for End-of-Empire Do-Over?

TGR: What about the impact on future drilling?

BM: That's a really interesting question because, obviously, we need more regulation-some effective regulation. We didn't have it. In this situation, everybody involved was guilty. There will be far more rules on offshore drilling in the future and it will drive the cost of energy up.

TGR: That sounds odd coming from you. Normally you're sort of an anarchist and oppose regulations. You're anti-government-you call government impotent, useless and stupid. But in this case, if we'd had better regulations this wouldn't have happened.

BM: If you want to live in a country with no government regulation, move to Zimbabwe. Government regulation is appropriate in some situations. But it has to be efficient. We are at an end of empire. It couldn't possibly be any clearer-we are losing three and a half wars. We want to go nuke Iran, which is not the enemy of anybody, under the theory that they have nuclear weapons when 16 U.S. government agencies agree they don't. It's end of empire.

In depth: BMW Megacity Vehicle and Project I

2007 was a big year for the planet. That's when, for the first time ever, more people lived in cities than in rural areas. For car companies, this global trend means finding new ways to move people around in tighter and tighter spaces.

2010 BMW Group Innovation Days Mobility of the Future - Why electromobility?

The entire planet is affected by a looming shortage of resources. Key raw materials such as petroleum and precious metals are not in unlimited supply, yet day-to-day demand is rising. One of the causes of dwindling resources lies in the increasing industrialisation of the emerging nations. But population growth, rising living standards and the irresponsible use of raw materials are also contributing to this trend. The upshot: prices are rising in almost every commodity sector. In the foreseeable future – the exact point in time is disputed – the global limit of oil extraction (“peak oil”) will be reached. From that point onward the gap between supply and demand will grow ever wider and it will not be possible to meet all needs. That is why the quest for alternatives to oil is already proceeding.

Does the U.S. Lag in Social Entrepreneurship?

However we develop our social innovation chops, one thing seems certain; we live in a world of peak oil, peak food, peak water, peak credit and climate change. This set limiting factors is growing logarithmically in its capacity to shape civilization in the 21st century. At some indiscernible point in the future, these social innovation strategies will need to be directed inward to solve systemic problems for communities domestically; communities which were architected upon the fatal assumption that natural capital was infinite.

Ethanol likely to have major role as fuel

Former Saudi oil minister Sheik Ahmed Zaki Yamani was once quoted as saying, “The Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of stones.”

Rather, it ended because somebody invented something better.

Is that what’s eventually going to happen to oil?

Abengoa, Abound to Get $1.85 Billion in U.S. Solar-Project Loan Guarantees

President Barack Obama today announced $1.85 billion in loan guarantees to Abengoa SA’s Abengoa Solar unit and Abound Solar Inc. to build sun-powered facilities in the U.S. that he said will create thousands of new jobs.

In his weekly address on the radio and Internet, Obama said the money from the Department of Energy will help the U.S. transition to a “clean energy economy” that creates hundreds of thousands of jobs in the future.

Japan donates 10 million dollars for Galapagos solar energy

Japan has donated 10 million dollars to Ecuador to help fund a solar energy project in the Galapagos Islands, a UN-designated World Heritage site, Ecuador's Electricity Ministry said Friday.

An agreement between Quito and the Japan International Cooperation System Company will help start a plan to introduce "clean energy with solar generation systems to be located on Baltra Island," one of 13 islands that form the archipelago, the ministry said in a statement.

Bard Group Units to Build Two Wind-Energy Parks off Netherlands Coastline

ZeeEnergie CV and Buitengaats CV, units of German wind-turbine maker Bard Group, agreed with the Dutch government to build two wind-energy parks off the country’s northern coast.

China to Include Smart Grid Technology in Five-Year Plan, Xinhua Reports

(Bloomberg New Energy Finance) -- China is drafting a five-year energy plan through 2015 to include smart grid technology as one of the key industries for research and development, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The government will provide funding to build several research centers this year to develop transmission technology to connect wind and solar power to the grid, said Li Ye, a government official at the National Energy Administration.

China Exploring New Approaches To Protect Environment

NANJING (Bernama) -- China's government is exploring new approaches to protect the environment, as well as to deal with the heightening conflict between environmental protection and economic growth, said Zhou Shengxian, Environmental Protection Minister on Saturday.

China took only 30 years to have the environmental problems that had gradually emerged in developed countries over 200 to 300 years, Xinhua news agency quoted Zhou as saying at a theme forum of the Shanghai World Expo in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province.

Could Crystals Sponge Up the Carbon?

As a climate change prevention strategy, carbon capture and storage is nowhere near ready for prime time. On the storage side of the equation, major questions remain on how and where to sequester the billions of tons of gas produced by power plants and industry every year. Another stumbling block, known as the parasitic energy cost, is the amount of energy needed to strip carbon out of power plant emissions. Carbon capture technologies being tested today, like amine scrubbing, exact an energy penalty as high as 30 percent, a vast and perhaps untenable expense to utilities and society.

Yet a breakthrough in chemistry may be able to radically reduce the cost of stripping carbon from power plant emissions, potentially making carbon capture and storage a far more realistic climate change solution. That is the hope, at least, of researchers studying a remarkable class of materials called metal-organic frameworks.

Activists Beg Obama to Step Up Climate Push

A coalition of environmental organizations sent President Obama a letter on Friday pleading for him to intervene in the stalled Senate negotiations on climate and energy legislation. The groups, which have been largely supportive of the president’s energy policies, expressed concern that time was running out for any action on climate change this year. Only the president’s personal and persistent attention can break the stalemate, they say.

Obama May Back Down on Carbon Regulation Deadline to Court Republicans

How much is President Obama willing to compromise with Republicans in order to produce an energy bill this month? A GOP senator present at Obama’s Cabinet Room meeting to discuss energy on Tuesday said that Obama appeared prepared to postpone one of his most serious threats to the country’s top emitters of greenhouse gases in order to bring a handful of Republicans on board.

Nixon administration debated global warming

YORBA LINDA, Calif. — Global warming warnings were debated in President Richard Nixon's administration as early as 1969, according to newly released documents examined by The Orange County Register.

...Moynihan wrote in a September 1969 memo that it was "pretty clearly agreed" that carbon dioxide content would rise 25 percent by 2000,

"This could increase the average temperature near the earth's surface by 7 degrees Fahrenheit," he wrote. "This in turn could raise the level of the sea by 10 feet. Goodbye New York. Goodbye Washington, for that matter."

Congo: UN says at least 220 dead in oil explosion


Jeez. I guess smoking cigarettes while siphoning fuel is not a good idea.

Maybe fuel siphoning while smoking should be part of the "on the job training" requirements for all oil company executives when their company is involved in a major spill. Instead of the "small people" taking all the risks, the executives can share in the hazards that their risky decisions bring. How's that for a regulation with some teeth?

Re: Could Crystals Sponge Up the Carbon?

If this idea works as claimed, my WAG is that it might also turn out to be good for storing NG or H2 for transport vehicles. If it works...

E. Swanson

sounds promising. two questions come to mind, what are the costs and is it scalable ?

this sounds somewhat similar to a molecular sieve, in use since the '80's and not in wider use because there are less expensive ways to do the same thing - on a large scale.


Molecular sieves are often utilized in the petroleum industry, especially for the purification of gas streams and in the chemistry laboratory for separating compounds and drying reaction starting materials

meanwhile, the canadians are way ahead of the usa.



Enbridge also said on Monday it will join TransAlta and Capital Power in Project Pioneer, a C$1.4 billion scheme to trap carbon dioxide emissions from the Keephills 3 coal-fired generation plant west of Edmonton.


The partnership's plan involves using chilled ammonia capture technology, developed by France's Alstom SA (ALSO.PA), to strip out carbon dioxide produced by the power plant.

There clearly is the potential for solutions far less parasitc of energy than the Amine methods in use today. The problem is we need goiod solutions yesterday, but all these research projects promise something several days after tommorrow. And of course if something works great absorbing pure CO2 plus nitrogen, there is no guarantee that it can be recycled enough times in a post combustion environment (with whatever forms of dirt/pollution might exist in trcae quantities).

In search of an oil plume
Scientists using research tools in new ways to look for signs of oil spreading down below, but have turned up nothing

Yet no ppm maps. Simple enough, it would seem. Drop sampler to various depths, close sampler, return sampler, run HPC. (chromatographic analysis). Begin near spill, follow currents, map concentrations. Nope. These guys shone UV lights on it. Sciency, but not too, you know, actually effective.

They are taking samples and doing analysis. Some have been posted at NOAA and EPA. You can also look at sample maps to date to get an idea of what they are doing. They will put our maps once they have validated information and per review it. Of course it will change over time as things degrade and disperse.

From In depth: BMW Megacity Vehicle and Project I

Take, for example, peak oil. Krommes used a peak oil chart in her presentation that showed the peak coming around 2025 or a little before then. Everyone knows peak oil is coming, but now we know the timeline BMW (or, at least, some people within BMW) is operating under.

There, that settles it! Peak Oil in 2025! BMW says so! Of course BMW is probably following the lead of the IEA which is why I keep saying that more pressure needs to be put on the IEA/EIA to describe how exactly they come up with their numbers for their forecasts.

After all if Peak Oil is way off in 2025, India's brand new shiny $3 billion airport was a great investment. See India unveils $3 billion new airport terminal. Onn the other hand if the peak was 2005 then ........

Alan from the islands

I just read in Aviation Leak and Spy Technology that the future for the airline and defense industry is bright...predictions of rising passenger loads for airlines and the need for many more airliners over the next twenty years; and of course military/defense aviation is expected to continue to be a big money-maker!

Emirates Airlines has orders now to possess 90 A380 super-jumbos...apparently they don't buy this whole Peak Oil thing...

From Airlineworld.com:


There, that settles it! Peak Oil in 2025!

Well, even if it was "that far away", that is only 14 years from now! (It is still 2010 isn't it?)
I am an old man and I still see numbers like 2025 and think that dates like that are WAY into the future - Only to have to realize that they are only a few short (and getting shorter?) years away.
A $3 billion airport probably isn't going to pay for itself in less than 14 years?

Emirates Airlines has orders now to possess 90 A380 super-jumbos...apparently they don't buy this whole Peak Oil thing...

Well they do have their own fuel supply:probably through UAE oil.

Their own PO curve will probably mean Emirates could be the last major Intl Airline flying. All the others would have run out of gas or run out of the cash to pay for it.

"But when it came to their houses, it was a time of common sense and a belief that less truly could be more. During the Depression and the war, Americans had learned to live with less"

Both my parents were children of the depression. My dad first saw military service in WWII when he lied about his age and signed up with the RCAF for flight school, got caught and sent home. When he was old enough to enlist, he joined the Navy and went to Annapolis. Eventually he flew for every branch of the military. Between WWII and Korea he flew for local oil companies and was enrolled at UofH, majoring in Geology.

He built a house for my mother in Houston. My earliest memories are of being loaded up with my brothers into our stationwagon and driven out to Pine Valley (which was at that time still rural) to inspect the progress of our home. He had to personally approve each piece of timber and be there to watch the slab poured. It had a breezeway and an attic fan. By the age of six I had been instructed in the dynamics of air flow and understood which doors and windows to close to increase attic fan functionality. That little 3 bedroom house still stands and is still efficient.

The house I live in now was begun in 1936 and finished in 1942 (in what was a rural area). We know the exact dates because the first and last board were signed by the four men who built it and dated. It's on piers and the walls are all hard pine-when it was built, wall paper was hung over the interior boards on a cheesecloth attachment, which I found when I stripped off sheet rock.

These builders not only had common sense, they had a sense of permanence, kinship to their world and joy and pride in labor that somehow we forgot to pass on to the generation that followed us, perhaps those of you who read this. Time to review the lessons we have learned so painfully and restore that which is good of our inheritance.

Happy 4th of July.

I was recently in the building trade and aghast at how the insidious earwigs of planned obsolescence had invaded the minds of the workers. They literally envisioned the buildings being razed and rebuilt in a few decades. One carpenter I spoke to, however, had done a guild-apprenticeship in
Europe and told me stories of working on 400-year old buildings including homes. He had the right idea.

Lord Oil Slick returns!
New Efficiency Czar of cuts

Lord Browne knew that the Conservative Government was preparing to resurrect his tarnished career.

the man nicknamed 'sun King' - because of his regal affectations - was to be Whitehall's new 'Efficiency Czar', charged with finding the £6.2 billion in public spending cuts promised in the Budget.

Despite being widely blamed for the original decisions that resulted in the devastating Gulf oil spill - now putting BP's very existence in doubt - and in the process costing Britain's pension funds billions of pounds (because of their huge investments in the firm), Lord Browne has been asked to bring his same cost-cutting brain to Britain PLC's state spending.

Individual lighting could cut energy use by 40 percent

The General Services Administration is overhauling how it lights federal offices — one cubicle at a time.

By replacing row upon row of fluorescent lights with controllable task lights above each workstation, GSA estimates it can cut lighting-based energy consumption by 40 percent or more.


The potential to save energy through the new lighting installations is high. Lighting accounts for about one-fourth of all electricity consumed in office buildings, according to the Energy Department.


Occupancy sensors allow the lights to be turned on and off automatically when an employee enters a cubicle or leaves after an extended period of time. In addition, the intensity of the lights can be increased or decreased to suit specific employees' needs. Most employees have opted to use about 60 percent of the maximum power available in the lights, said Mark Levi, energy program manager at GSA's Region 9, headquartered in San Francisco.


By studying how often the lights remained on during the workday, GSA discovered that employees occupied their cubicles for only 55 percent of the day on average. Twenty-two of the workstations were occupied for less than three hours on at least half of the 32 days studied.


"The simplest way to save energy is in fact to turn the lights off," Powell said.

See: http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20100701/FACILITIES02/7010304/

I'm becoming far more aggressive in reducing lighting loads in our retrofit work. Whereas, previously, I would simply retrofit light fixtures on a one-for-one basis and call it a day, I'm now more inclined to physically remove them from service wherever possible. For example, the cafeteria in one of the schools I audited this week is illuminated by nine continuous rows of 2-lamp F34T12 wraps spaced 1.8 meters apart. We will be removing four of these rows and converting the remainder to 28-watt T8s driven by low output ballasts. With that, the lighting density will fall from 36-watts per m2 to less than 10. The majority of classrooms have twelve 3-lamp T12 troffers for a total connected load of 1,560-watts. The default option would be to retain this configuration and re-lamp and re-ballast, which would cut this load in half. Alternatively, we could replace them with new 2-lamp troffers, for a 2/3rd reduction. The third and more extreme scenario is to remove the four fixtures that run parallel to the windows and replace the remaining eight with 2-lamp troffers; this would drop us to 344-watts for a nearly 80 per cent reduction. The classrooms have wall-to-wall glass and even on a moderately overcast day with all lights turned off we were averaging between 450 and 600 lux.

I would have never entertained this third scenario but the client is pushing us hard in this direction. They have made it abundantly clear that they want to reduce watts and light levels in all of their facilities. We've steadfastly resisted, but I'm gradually coming around to their thinking.

Please turn off all lights when you enter the room.


Not knowing the terminology in lighting, what are troffers and wraps? Also what are the efficiencies of T12's vs T8's? What classroom/cubicle lux level do you consider reasonable?

Thanks a bunch,

Paul in Ontario

My apologies, Paul, for referencing terminology not commonly used outside our trade. A troffer, also known as a "drop-in" or "lay-in", is a fixture that is designed to rest inside the suspended or grid ceilings found in most offices and commercial spaces. The three standard sizes in the North American market are 1x4, 2x2 and 2x4 ft., the latter being the most common.

A wrap is a surface mounted fixture that has a wraparound prismatic lens, such as what is shown below:

This picture was taken in a classroom that we had previously retrofitted. Here, there are four continuous rows running front to back with a fifth row aligned parallel to the front blackboard. Originally, each wrap contained four F34T12 lamps and drew 160-watts (note the four "tombstones" or lamp sockets in the lower half of the picture). We retrofitted with two high performance 28-watt lamps and a low-output electronic ballast, which dropped each fixture to 43-watts. Even after cutting the lighting load by almost 75 per cent, we still averaged between 800 and 1,000 lux with no daylight contribution whatsoever.

As a rough rule of thumb, a conventional 2-lamp T12 fixture with reduced wattage lamps and energy saving magnetic ballast supplies about 65 lumens per watt, whereas a comparable T8 system with a high efficiency electronic ballast generally operates in the range of 95 to 98 lumens per watt, making it roughly 1.5 times more energy efficient. But that's not the whole story -- the high gloss white enamel finishes and more advanced optical designs that are available today means that the new fixtures we install deliver considerable more light than their predecessors....even the reduced number of lamps (where applicable) and their smaller diameter means less light is absorbed by adjoining lamps or lost when it bounces off the internal reflector.

Lastly, we use 5,000K lamps almost exclusively due to their enhanced scotopic properties, i.e., the human eye is more responsive to the blue end of the spectrum, so perceived brightness is greater than what the light meter would suggest. When all is said and done, a 50 per cent reduction in energy demand is possible with little or no impact on light levels and a 70 to 80 per cent reduction is not unrealistic if light levels exceed current standards.



Thank you for an enlightening answer!

Much appreciated.

Paul in Ontario

A very important consideration is the heat from a light, more efficient lights pay you back twice because they lower cooling costs.

My hearty congratulations, thanks, and encouragement to you and your endeavors!

Please open branch offices of your company in the U.S. !

I thank you for your kind words. Energy efficiency and lighting design are my two life-long passions and our association with Nova Scotia Power opens up all sorts of possibilities that were not available to us previously. Every kWh saved is another half-kilo of coal that won't be burned and I can't imagine a greater motivator than that.


"The simplest way to save energy is in fact to turn the lights off," Powell said.

Well, not always.
I live in a cold climate and wind up having to add heat to the house for about 8 months of the year. During that time any lighting left on is just putting heat into the house, so the energy is not going to waste - It just reduces the amount of other energy I have to add to the house.
During the summer when I have to on occasion subtract heat from the house, I use a ground source heat pump to pump that subtracted heat into the ground from whence it will be pumped back into the house during the colder months when I need to add heat to the house.
My house is insulated to R50, so I am not wasting much heat or energy.

Hi Jon,

Your ground source heat pump can presumably heat your home for one-quarter or perhaps even one-fifth the cost of an incandescent or fluorescent lamp, so the heat generated by your lighting effectively displaces that which would be otherwise supplied by this more efficient and less costly alternative.

Also bear in mind that office and commercial spaces are often air conditioned virtually year round, even in colder climates, due to their sizeable heat loads, e.g., lighting, office equipment, occupants, passive solar gain, etc..


Hi Paul,

For new construction, I'm putting the row of lights nearest the window on a separate switch. I also use 3 tube troffers where I can, and circuit them with the two outside tubes on one switch and the inside tube on another switch. So instead of one switch to turn on the lights for a classroom, I put in four: two for the window row and two for the interior rows. Sometimes I switch the board lighting separately as well.

Two switches on the three level fixtures give three lighting levels, with one, two or three tubes on.

The extra circuiting is quickly recovered in lower energy costs.

Hi Celt,

In fact, these 3-lamp T12 troffers have two magnetic ballasts and are wired for bi-level switching, so one switch turns on the centre lamp and a second the outer two, just as you described. It's a smart way to go as it provides greater flexibility but, in practice, all three lamps are turned on even when one (or two) would suffice. A replacement 3-lamp fixture would be fitted with a single electronic ballast so this option, albeit infrequently exercised, is taken away from us. We could get creative and use a 4-lamp electronic ballast in one of the existing troffers to drive the two outer lamps in it and those of an adjoining fixture in a master-slave arrangement, and a single 2-lamp ballast in its companion to drive the centre lamp in each, but our material and labour costs would increase and we would forfeit the efficacy gains of going with a new replacement.

If all twelve fixtures are replaced with new 2-lamp troffers, we'll use one of the 4-wire circuits to feed the four fixtures closest to the window and the second to feed the other eight. If, however, we eliminate the window row, then each circuit will control one of the two remaining rows.

Our preferred route would be to use a bi-level ballast, but product availability and cost could be an issue (see: http://assets.sylvania.com/assets/documents/pg_%2078-79%20Bi-Level%20_%2...)



Thank you, I like that bi-level dimmer. I'll keep it in mind for retrofits. I usually design for new construction. I like to sneak in some "green building" on plain vanilla conventional lighting design, but the State of Washington took all the fun out of it when they wrote the new energy efficiency guidelines. Now, what I've been doing all along is mandated.

You're most welcome, Celt. Washington State is certainly one of the leaders in energy efficient lighting and it's good to see that they continue to raise the bar higher and, in the process, endorse much of what you have been doing all along.

I did some further digging and discovered that we can order our standard 2-lamp troffer with these Osram ballasts, i.e., Metalux's 2GC8 with the HR8 DIM program start step dimming option (see: http://www.cooperlighting.com/specfiles/pdf/metalux/091407_2GC8232.pdf). I'll have to confirm price with our supplier on Monday, but this appears to be our best solution. It's not very often that you come across a school equipped with bi-level switching and it would be a shame to lose this capability when you already have the 4-wire feeds in place to support it.

So, at least for the time being, it looks like we'll be replacing these fixtures one-for-one. However, to further maximize our potential savings, the first switch will turn on the two inner rows at 50 per cent output and leave the window row off. The second switch will kick these first two rows to full power and the window row to 50 per cent; thus, the maximum load will be 548-watts, for a net savings of just over 1,000-watts per classroom. [The first of the two pairs that would normally feed this window row will be capped off, thereby preventing these fixtures from achieving full brightness.]

The retrofit of this one school will eliminate some fifty tonnes of CO2(e) emissions, one tonne of SO2, 250 kg of NOx and 1,500 mg of Hg per year.


Yesterday Aljazeera news network ran a serious feature on peak oil Empire: Running on empty? with a refreshingly honest assessment.

Increasing global demand has outstripped supply.

The solution has been to search for oil in ever more remote regions of the world, requiring ever greater technological commitments, and risks.

But the catastrophic oil spill off the coast of the US has underlined just how vulnerable and expensive offshore oil drilling is.

The US cannot decide how to satisfy the increasing demand, and with China competing for this precious resource will the world turn once again to the Middle East to fulfill its need?

Already exhausted by oil wars, will this volatile region become the battlefield once again?

Or is there now a more global race for resources, with huge injections from Iraq to Sudan; from Iran to Nigeria; from Equatorial Guinea to Madagascar?

And who holds the power, big oil companies like Exxon Mobil and BP, or leaders like Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and their nationalised industries?

And what happens when the oil really does run out? Who and what will be the dominant power in the 21st century? Nuclear, solar, wind, bio-fuels, algae?

Meanwhile, BP has forced a news blackout of a critical report by AU 60 Minutes (Australia)

AU 60 Minutes BP Oil Spill Video, 13 June 2010, Removed by BP Demand Part 1

AU 60 Minutes BP Oil Spill Video, 13 June 2010, Removed by BP Demand Part 2

If removed by YouTube get this Zipped file:

http://cryptome.org/bp-axed-video.zip (9.8MB)

That AU 60 Minutes report is devastating.

Meanwhile, BP has forced a news blackout of a critical report by AU 60 Minutes (Australia)

Eh? What do you mean a "news blackout"?

Here's the program page with full transcript http://sixtyminutes.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=1068159

Sorry Undertow, but if you go to http://sixtyminutes.ninemsn.com.au/ you will notice that the program 'The Poison Tide' does not include the video. As they say, "a picture is worth a thousand words" and 2 pages of dry transcript and a non-descript photo is likely to get a lot less traffic than a video viewed by 5 million viewers. Welcome to corporatocracy.

As far as I can see they only put up selected extracts of previous programmes. I don't see how you can jump to a conclusion of BP censorship here - unless it was there and then removed at some point? And how could BP impose a "news blackout" on the Nine Network in Australia? And if they can do that wouldn't they have been better imposing a "blackout" before the broadcast?

Seraph is not the only person I have seen attribute the removal of this video to pressure from BP.
There is a limited number of entities which would want to see this video suppressed, and BP would surely lead the list.

But I am puzzled by this outcome (ie. appearance of censorship) as well... not much to be gained in trying to do so, and very difficult to achieve these days.
Why remove the video but leave the transcript, and what reputable media team would agree to this?

I stumbled across this version 10 days ago... unfortunately it has a much smaller screen than the YouTube segments but is therefore less grainy.
It's also complete, rather than broken into two parts:

Yes as far as I can see from searching the censorship claims started on "Above Top Secret" and similar sites then propagated elsewhere along with claims that everywhere it is posted it is removed - which is clearly not true as the version someone uploaded to Youtube has been there for a week now.

Nine In Australia apparently say the video contains clips which they only have limited streaming rights to (reports of people phoning and asking them) and would have to renegotiate if they wanted to make it permanently available for streaming. That's normal for the industry and, in fact, seems normal for the website clips of AU 60 Minutes (ie they seem to commonly expire). If they really wanted it taken down it would have been removed by YouTube by now.

There are tens of thousands of BBC videos I wished were available for permanent streaming which expire after a week. Absolutely nothing to do with BP though and I can't see why this case would have anything to do with BP either.

FYI, for followers of hype-sters and charlatans, sad notice that Vinod Kholsa, who haunted this site in summer of 2006, is still roaming the energy funding landscape and is as creepy as ever. Today he's called out over at

I posted a comment there directing interested parties to the VK v. Robert Rapier interchanges.

Yesterday I was looking at several TED videos, which some of them I linked in yesterday's drumbeat, toward the bottom, so go check them out, But later in the early morning hours I found the water filter that I am going to be adding to my rainwater and water use systems.


From there you can find his company and maybe get a Lifesaver bottle or Jerrycan for your own water filteration bugout bag, or home use.

Along with watching a few more TED talks, it seems to me that there are minds out there that have been working on the Sustainable (not trashing our planet, and living within the footprint of less than one earth) future, though I guess I am only watching the ones where that is the theme, and might be missing the pie in the sky ones.

We have had several Key Posts lately about all these issues, and it is not as if no one but us here at TOD know about the problems, it is enough people talking about them and doing something about it one small step at a time.

I am trying in my small way to do something about the issues at hand, as are a lot of you fine folks as well. But for all the folks that might read here and think we are all nothing but Doomers and Nothing can be done folks, I direct you to look around and check out people who are doing things, and have posted to the pages listed in the site's archives. Go out and Look at the TED site and look at what other people have done, are doing and what to dream the big dreams and the small ones too.

For how many ever years we have left around here, don't let it be said that you did nothing to help make your world a better place to live.

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


I've watched and thought a lot about the lifesaver bottle. One of the fundimentals of any emergency storage program is water... without it, you are pretty much SOL. Water is also a PITA to store however, rotating it, finding room for it, getting appropriate containers for storage, etc. 55 Gallon Barrels for water storage cost around $75 each, and weigh something like 440 pound when full.

I saw the TED and other demos of the lifesaver bottle and thought, what a great idea, but is it really worth the $150 for 4000 liters, or $180 for 6000 liters that Amazon currently wants for them? (they cost even more when they first came out). I had concerns about longevity (heard reports of them breaking... they are under pressure), and am not totally convinced about the seal over the teat keeping out contaminants. The amazon reviews on it are a mixed bag.

So, I looked around some more... found the "Lifestraw Family" purification system (some good videos on Youtube) but found out that I can't purchase one as a private consumer (only available to international charities). Finally I came across the "Sawyer Complete Water Purification System", which is what I ended up purchasing to fulfill my emergency water supply needs.

Why the Sawyer?
1) No pumping, no chemicals, no pressure, no moving parts, no filter replacement needed.
2) Pore size = 20 nanometers... slighty larger than the 15 nm claimed size of the Lifesaver, but still small enough to remove viruses. Removal rate of viruses is 5.5 log, which is 99.9997%, Protozoa = 6 log, 99.9999% and Bacteria is 7 log or 99.99999%. All three removal rates exceed EPA requirements.
3) Lightweight, foldable, packable.
4) 1 Million Gallon guarantee on filter. Wait, say what??? Basically, Sawyer has a lifetime guarantee, unless you allow the filter to freeze, drop it from "high heights", modify it, open it or allow it to clog with drink mix

I got mine on Moontrail for about $165, which is halfway between the price of the Lifesaver 4000 liter, and 6000 liter prices. If anyone is planning on purchasing the Sawyer, they have other models for cheaper, but those will not cover virus filtration. Virus filtration is not considered necessary in the US, but it certainly isn't going to be something you regret in uncertain times.

Sawyer Filter on Moontrail

Sawyer's Website (includes some good videos)

I figure this system will serve me and my family well, regardless of what the future holds. I can bring it backpacking/camping, use it freely if a "boil water" advisory is issued, and still have it available with capacity to spare if the SHTF. Since I won't have to worry about changing/buying/finding a new filter, I can freely supply clean water to my neighbors... maybe in exchange for something that I desperately need.

..open it or allow it to clog with drink mix,...

how is it that drink mix and not pond scum will clog the filter ?

water purification by filtering is old school technology. chlorination is more cost effective but not necessarily better in the better living through modern chemistry world of today.

how about keeping a supply of chlorine and knowing the proper treatment rate ? or using tablets designed for that purpose ?


i find it hard to believe that there is not a better, more cost effective, small scale means of filtering water than an overpriced nanometer filter. i dont know of an alternative, however.

So, firstly, chlorine tablets make the water taste like... chlorine. Pool water isn't my favorite flavor of drink. Secondly, the tablets generally treat about 1 Liter of water for each. Of what you linked, the best deal was a 50-pack for about $12. So 50 Liters for $12, which is about 12.5 gallons. Most sources recommend you store at least 14 days worth of water per person, which for my family of 4, that would mean about 48 gallons, or about $50 worth of tablets. So, $50 for 14 days worth of emergency water, or $165 for a lifetime worth, plus the ability to help out my neighbors as well. I prefer the security of having a limitless supply, filter water while camping, filter and drink tap water when travelling outside the US, etc., but you can make your own choice. If the cost is an issue, and good filters are unfortunately not cheap, they have a bucket version of the 0.02 Micron filter that you can get for about $140, or a Water Bottle or Bucket verison of a less effective filter (0.1 micron - no virus filtration) for $60-$70. Ceramic filters, the previous gold standard can't match up in longevity or filtration ability.

0.1 Micron Filter on Amazon.

Water filtering is old school technology... water filtering of viruses is not. Lifetime filters that only need to be backflushed to be cleaned, also not new tech. As for the drink mix clogging the filter, I never said that it would... merely that they wouldn't warranty damage from undissolved drink mix. If you want the whole statement it reads "Drink mixes must be completely dissolved before they will pass through the filter! If the filter becomes blocked, try backwashing with hot water. Blocked filters from juice or drink mixes are not covered by this warranty." Personally, I don't intend to put drink mix into the unfiltered water, and then filter it... I'd prefer to filter the water and then add the mix if necessary. Some backpackers however add the mix to dirty water, and then have flavored water pass through into their bite tube. If I'm still thinking about flavoring my water at TEOTWAWKI, then life is pretty good. 8*P

Pool water isn't my favorite flavor of drink.

thank you for the response, snarky as it is.

nearly all municipal drinking water is chlorinated. it is not necessary or recommended to add as much chlorine as is contained in pool water.

i find it hard to believe that there is not a better, more cost effective, small scale means of filtering water than an overpriced nanometer filter. i dont know of an alternative, however.

There is! Michael Pritchard's water filter turns filthy water drinkable


However if more people live, that makes the long term population problem worse...

Should technology like this be distributed or withheld? We have some very very thorny dilemmas to wrestle with, don't we?

that is one of the overpriced nanometer filter(s) i was refering to.

a potential problem i see with these nanometer filters is plugging with mineral scale, if used long term. apparently the filters can be backwashed to some extent, but that wont remove mineral scale.

'Super-giant' oilfields redraw energy map

The map of the world's main energy suppliers is about to change as Iraq's forecast oil output quadruples over the next 10 years.

Iraq will eventually displace Saudi Arabia as the world's biggest exporter, experts predict, giving Baghdad crucial influence over the future price of oil.

I wonder just who are those experts who expect Iraq to quadruple its output? Apparently the IEA does not expect any such jump in Iraqi production. The chart below shows they expect a 40 percent jump over the next 5 years. Extrapolated over 10 years this comes to an 80 percent gain, a far cry from quadrupling their production.


At first I was convinced that Iraq might be able to increase their production by perhaps one or even two million barrels per day. But now I really don't believe they will be very much increase at all. June Iraq production was 2,365,000 barrels per day, about 180,000 barrels less per day than they produced in February of this year. They are going in the wrong direction.

Their old fields have an average decline rate of about 8 percent. And all those new contracts that was supposed to increase production are to get it from those very same old fields with infield drilling. Really, does anyone believe that?

Ron P.

Arctic ice extent is dropping fast this year and appears (at this stage via my own analysis) it could potentially surpass 07's record of 4.13 square kilometers minimum set on Sept. 16th, 2007.


I know its still early, but here's an attempt to predict this year's minimum.

In June ice extent dropped from 11,750 to 9000, a drop of 2750 sq.k. July historically has a greater melt, so figure a 3000 drop to 6,000.


August is usually similar in melt to June, so the estimate being used here is a drop of 2750, reducing the minimum to 3250 which would set a new record.

However, the season is not over until ice extent starts building back in by mid-sept., however the rate of melt is greatly reduced as the seasons begin to change. So figure a Sept. melt of just 250, which would end the season at 3000 square kilometers.

Even if August came in at 2500 instead of 2750 and Sept. had no melt, it would still set a new record (of 3500) based on the current melt trend, which of course is subject to changing weather patterns, thickness of ice, etc.

In any case, 3000 sq.k is my prediction for this season, which would break the 07 record by 1130 sq.k. Stay tuned for more reports later in the melt season.

07's record of 4.13 square kilometers
n any case, 3000 sq.k is my prediction for this season

I think you missed some units. 4 million kilometers squared is the right order of magnitude. I wouldn't try to predict where we are gonna end up.

I would. But, I would use the actual reasons rather than comparisons that don't logically actually have to do with this year. To wit:

* Reports last spring, from direct observations, that much of the ice is like swiss cheese.
* A report from a trek across the Arctic Ocean *this* spring that reported the same.
* both of these supported by the weakness observed in the ice across the entire AO, as opposed to the more usual largely homogeneous ice cap found at this time of year in the more central area and, particularly north of the Canadian Archipelago, which is where most of the multi-year ice usually hangs out.
* The neutral-to-leaning-La Nina Pacific oscillation, which typically brings sunny skies to the Arctic Ocean.
* The very late formation of much sea ice due to the warmth of the ocean, and the concomitant shorter time for the ice to gain thickness.
* That much of that late ice, and thus the illusory "normal" level of winter sea ice extent, was in the area of Alaska/Russia, thus not much important to ice melt this summer.
* The reports of methane seeps in Siberia, confirmed to be not just where found last year, but over wide areas of the Siberian shelf.
* Recent reports that ocean heat content is rising.
* Recent reports of Gulf Stream waters making their way up to Greenland.
* The finding in the last year or two that 2/3 of the melt is from below, hence the import of the previous two points.
* And, of course, the role of reduced albedo on the above points.
* The continued fall in ice mass even with the greater ice extent for the last two years - now four years running.

There are probably a few points I've missed, but if you aren't scared to death already, you're dead... or worse, a denialist.

The only way we avoid a new minimums for both extent and mass, and the latter is far more important at this stage, is a very cold, cloudy and relatively calm July and September. Pray La Nina does not develop, or is very mild.


Re: The new economics of gas

Because of the recent surge in its unconventional gas output from shale deposits, the US has become a “virtual gas exporter”, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said last month in its medium-term oil and gas market report

A "virtual gas exporter"? Whatever next? Gosh the UK used to be a net natural gas exporter before we had to turn to imports but, not to worry, because the UK is a "virtual gas exporter" as well!!

Yippee when every country has stopped being a net fossil fuel exporter and become a virtual exporter instead then clearly everything will be just fine.

Average US LNG Imports per month for the year to April (latest EIA data) compared to previous two years

Year Million Cubic Feet
2008 26,984
2009 35,605
2010 45,218

yeah, what the he11 is a virtual exporter ?

someone posted the root meaning of virtue here a few days ago - yeah, that's it - the us will be a manly exporter.

By "virtual gas exporter", they probably mean the US is diverting its LNG imports to other countries because it no longer needs them. It has a surplus of natural gas.

It's something like virtual reality. It's not real, but it's somewhat similar to reality.

The bottom line is that the US has access to more natural gas than it needs, so its moving it on to people who need it more.

By "virtual gas exporter", they probably mean the US is diverting its LNG imports to other countries because it no longer needs them. It has a surplus of natural gas

Well diverting some of the potential LNG imports to other countries. The US is still a net natural gas importer of course and net imports so far in 2010 are greater than in 2009 despite all the "gas glut" articles.

The gas companies expected a decline in natural gas imports because the US gets almost all of its imported gas from Canada, and Canadian production has been declining in recent years, as has US production. They contracted for LNG to make up the expected shortfall. However, US domestic production has increased rather than falling so there's more gas on the market than expected. They send the surplus of expensive LNG somewhere else.

The unexpectedly high level of US production is largely due to shale gas development. Experts tell me that Canada probably has more shale gas than the US, but it's a resource that has been largely ignored until now. There's also quite a large amount of natural gas stranded in Alaska and Northern Canada due to the lack of pipelines, so I think the North American supply is pretty secure for the near future (assuming they keep drilling for shale gas and build those expensive northern pipelines).

Oil is a completely different picture. The 40-year US production decline appears to be terminal, particularly with the ban on offshore drilling, and while Canada can increase its production from the oil sands, it can't increase it very fast. Meanwhile the supply from other oil exporting countries is highly dubious. A lot of the big oil fields that used to supply the world's oil are getting old and appear to be in rather bad shape, although the oil exporting countries are not exactly open and honest about it.

How generous of Uncle Sam. Was the decision made by the Politburo or the Supreme Soviet?

It's just market forces. The price of natural gas is low in the US, so companies divert it to some other country where the price is higher.

The real issue is the unexpectedly high level of US gas production due to the development of shale gas fields. since there is more cheap domestic gas available than the companies expected, they divert the expensive LNG to other countries with little or no domestic supply and higher prices.


I've uploaded a new version of my free Peak Oil software to my website.

* Added new BP data to existing data
* Prices are now expressed in 2009 US dollar
* Oil production- and price predictions have been slightly recalibrated (due to the availability of new data)

You can download it here: http://sokath.sourceforge.net/

Gen. Clark says renewable energy the ‘peace' fuel of the future

As a four-star general who served as NATO Supreme Allied Commander from 1997 to 2000, Gen. Wesley Clark has been in a unique position to see how vital energy independence is.

“Is there any doubt about what America's dependence on foreign oil has meant?” said Clark at the 2010 Renewable Energy Action Summit held in Bismarck, N.D.

He said Secretary of State Baker “was real clear” that the 1990 war with Kuwait was about protecting foreign oil supplies.

“In 2002 in the runup to the second war with Iraq, we were a lot hedgier. Couldn't get anybody to admit the war was about oil,” Clark said. “But the truth was, it was about oil. And today Iraq is sitting on the world's greatest, undiscovered and undeveloped reserves of hydrocarbons. It is there, protected by Saddam all these years and that was what these last few years have been all about.”

...“We cannot move forward as a nation paying $300 billion a year out of our economy to other countries to support our energy consumption,” Clark said. “Can't do it - won't be able to make it. That is more than the health bill; that's your children's education.”

“By 1972, we had our first oil crisis and oil prices had risen considerably,” Clark said, adding he wrote one of the first papers on the oil crisis in 1973 at the Pentagon.

“It was clear even then that if we weren't independent in a source of energy in America, it would affect us in some adverse way,” Clark said. “I went so far as to suggest that someday we might end up seeing U.S. military forces deployed to the Persian Gulf to protect access to critical energy supplies.” He said it was “an absolutely blasphemous suggestion in 1973.”

“These colonels told me, ‘Captain, you can't write that in that paper ... They are going to accuse of us of wanting to start a war over energy,” Clark said.

Today America's counter-terrorism effort is really all about oil, he added.

I applaud the man for telling it like it is.

The "When less was more" article mentions that Houses used to be much smaller, and that now the average house is almost 2.5 times as big as the one I am living in now. Which was built in the Late 50's to mid 60's, it is in an older section of the area, houses just over the major road in a Developement were bigger and younger, than the ones over on this side of the road.

The two rooms we spent the most time in was the living room and the eat in kitchen. Being a family that did a lot of cooking together projects and using the kitchen table for games and dinner, and things that brought us away from the TV, We in fact did not spend a lot of time watching TV. Though for a while there it does seem like we did, then the programs changed and we drifted off to other things. Very rarely was nightly shows watched after 1988 when both me and my brother went off to the same college together. My dad would watch the nightly news, and any Star Trek on TV and watch movies from tape/disc. After the late 90's they stopped watching TV all together, dad saying that all the news was getting bad and to many topics he wanted to talk about Mom didn't want to hear about. My mom does not watch many movies these days, I can count on one hand how many she has watched in the last year.

So when the article talked about a built in TV I had to laugh, used to be the Radios that took up center stage, Now the computers are center stage.

Whenever we go visit my brother, I am always kinda in awe of all the open space he seems to not use. Around here when I have to have open space, I just go outside, and sit on a bench, chair, or hammock in the backyard. Or I go out hiking along the trails and byways around town.

We need to think about better housing designs, where we can build small, but build more open. A long time ago My dad designed an Octagon house, he always wanted to build, open in the middle, with a skylight and a pool feature, with rooms around the sides. Designs like that are being done right now in some of the small homes being designed and built around the world. A center room, with rooms around the outside wall, you want private go to a room, or outside, for company and family gatherings the center space is used.

We have loads of recycled materials we can use to build homes with now, and we have designs using earth, either above ground or below ground, domes and half barrel shapes.

The common wooden stick buildings with wrapped skins, just don't seem to be worth anything anymore. Most of the homes built in the last 50 years were built with AC and Heat being cheap and common place. We can build homes without the need of AC systems, and can have them with some space saving low tech but high efficency heating systems.

Changing the houses we build in the future seems like a no-brainer. So if you have any influence in your local Gov't, and if not find a way to gain some, tell people that changing the current building codes toward small energy sipping designs is for the better all around. Point them to talks by this guy.


The plan to build better and make it where designs can be shared worldwide is something that I have liked even before I heard about this guy. The world is big, really big and people all over the place have had ideas that few of us ever hear about, even in places and amoung people who should be seeking the connections with all the others in the world.

Each new person in the world, could be seen as a burden, or a blessing, it all depends on what you decide to think of them as. People have always been talking about the next Hitler, what about the next Thomas Edison, or Mozart, or any of the other greats that might never have made it to adulthood, and changed how you saw the world. I like the TED phrase, "Ideas worth Sharing".

So get out there and change the way people in your neck of the woods think about things, get involved and change something. And a warm hug to everyone that is already doing something, or has been doing things all their lives.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed world.

I read an interesting article about the large open spaces in new houses and how wasteful they are. Not just in heating and cooling but in noise. If you have a den and a living room, 2 people can make a small amount of noise watching a movie or playing on the computer, but in one large space only one person at a time can use it if noise is an issue. The largest room in my house is the kitchen, I had to re-model to make it that way, but it works as we all eat and socialize in the kitchen, the living room is half as big and is just a TV shrine.

Illinois Stops Paying Its Bills, but Can’t Stop Digging Hole

From suburban Elgin to Chicago to Rockford to Peoria, school districts have fired thousands of teachers, curtailed kindergarten and electives, drained pools and cut after-school clubs. Drug, family and mental health counseling centers have slashed their work forces and borrowed money to stave off insolvency.

"Greece by Lake Michigan." They're in so much trouble they make California look flush.

Allegations Emerge BP Is Dumping Sand To Cover Oil

C.S.'s original goal was to gain access to some of the areas being guarded by BP contractors and deemed "off limits" to reporters, but yesterday he, along with Save Our Shores's Judson Parker, made an unexpected discover.

They believe that BP has been dumping sand on the beaches in order to cover up oil. You can view some video Judson shot of the beach over here.

Well, on one of today's posts TinFoilHatGuy showed a pic of BP oil-sand in plastic bags being dumped in inland landfills.

This idea doesn't seen any worse...maybe better.

I do not think there is any good way to clean this stuff up once it hits the beaches...time and bacteria will eventually degrade it I guess...

The whole situation is FUBAR.

Hasn't this stuff got at least a better extractability than tar sands? How much is getting refined somehow?

I would think all the volatiles are gone so it is useless except maybe for asphalt as TinFoilHatGuy mentioned in an earlier post.But evidently he was lied to when he was told that it would be used for that purpose and they are just dumping it. I'm sure that the EPA considers that to be a registered temporary storage location. Gotta love the fine print in the regulations.

Gotta love the reduction of the use of dispersants that BP has been doing. (http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/07/02/dispersants-flow-into-gulf-in-scien...) More fine print to love.

The problem with the dispersants is that they are more toxic than the oil they are trying to disperse. They might make the problem look better to the uninformed public, but it's probably killing more of the sea life.

There are probably more than 200 natural oil seeps in the Gulf of Mexico, so a little oil contamination is natural. There are a lot of little oil-eating bugs out there working on it. The problem with the blowout is that they are putting too much oil into the environment, so the natural mechanisms can't cope with the volume.

No, the extractability would be considerably inferior to the Canadian oil sands (if you ever see them, there's an awful lot of oil in them) and there isn't a multibillion dollar extraction plant and upgrader handy to turn it into something the refineries could use.

One of the advantages of an onshore blowout is that you can bulldoze a dike around the well to contain it, suck up the oil from the ensuing oil lake, and truck it to the nearest refinery for disposal by turning it into gasoline. The problem with an offshore blowout is that the oil ends up in diluted form all over the ocean, and by the time it finally washes ashore it is so degraded it is useless for anything except maybe paving.