Drumbeat: July 8, 2010

China stacks away more oil

Sinopec Group has started building another crude reserve base of about 20 million barrels in eastern China and expects to complete it by the end of 2011, according to reports.

Groundbreaking for 3.2 million cubic metres of crude tanks has just begun at Rizhao, a port city in Shandong province, a company official said to Reuters.

The parent of Sinopec Corporation also plans to add a crude reserve base of a similar size in Beihai, in the southwestern Guangxi region, by September 2011.

Shell to end jet fuel supplies to Iran Air - source

(Reuters) - Oil major Royal Dutch Shell will not renew its contracts to supply Iran Air with jet fuel in response to pressure from the U.S. to cease business with the Islamic republic, an industry source said on Thursday.

Obama Spill Investigator Sees Role for Oil Self-Policing Agency

(Bloomberg) -- William Reilly, co-chairman of President Barack Obama’s commission investigating the BP Plc oil spill, said the oil industry could benefit from a self-policing agency similar to one that monitors the safety of nuclear power plants.

“I’m very interested in using that approach, as an addition, not as a substitute for regulation, but as a way to raise the bar,” Reilly, former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, said in an interview today.

Hard Times Wash Up Before BP Oil in Gulf Coast Towns, Bayous

May and June mark the peak of shrimp season here, says Griffith, but Lesso’s business is off about 65 percent. Federal and state authorities have shut fishing grounds, and hundreds of boats that would normally be hauling in shrimp have been hired by BP for its cleanup efforts. Lesso’s 35 employees have taken pay cuts as processing plunged from 72,000 pounds a day to 25,000.

Battlefield General: Is Bobby Jindal Making Sense?

Bobby Jindal, a Rhodes scholar with a skeletal frame, doesn't look like a battlefield commander. But since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, Louisiana's Republican governor has cast the fight to protect the state's coastline as a struggle for survival. "The war against the spill continues," Jindal wrote in a typical Twitter post June 21. "We will not wait on bureaucracy or wishful thinking, we will move forward."

Exxon sees greater scrutiny after spill

(Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp, the largest U.S. oil company, expects heightened government scrutiny for the industry following BP Plc's well rupture, but no measurable risk is seen longer-term for the company's natural gas exploration plans, CEO Rex Tillerson said on Thursday.

BP stake may help oil sovereign funds diversify

A stake in BP PLC may seem like a curious purchase for sovereign wealth funds looking to diversify oil wealth, but it holds a definite allure: gas and renewable energy expertise and exposure to emerging economies.

BP push for Mideast investors may pose problems in U.S.

Striking a deal with Abu Dhabi, which is part of the United Arab Emirates, could raise national security concerns.

Four years ago, Congress threatened to block Dubai, another emirate, from operating eight U.S. ports as part of the emirate's takeover of a British company. Dubai relented and agreed to transfer its stake in the facilities to a U.S. entity. And five years ago, Congress foiled China National Offshore Oil Corp.'s bid to buy oil company Unocal Corp. In both cases, lawmakers cited security concerns.

Phil Flynn, vice president and energy analyst with PFGBest Research, said increased Middle Eastern investment would only add to BP's image problems in the United States.

Owner of exploded rig exploits offshore status

Transocean is the world’s largest offshore drilling company, but until its Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in April, few Americans outside the energy business had heard of it. It is well known, however, in a number of other countries — for testing local laws and regulations.

Iran buys July gasoline from Turkey, Chinese sellers

(Reuters) - Iran is buying around half of its gasoline imports in July from Turkey and the rest from Chinese sellers, oil traders said on Thursday.

Many gasoline sellers have stopped trading with Iran due to U.S. sanctions on those that supply the Islamic Republic, making it more expensive for Iran to meet its import needs.

Issuing of new U.S. drill ban over BP depends on case

(Reuters) - The Obama administration said on Thursday it will immediately issue a revised ban on deepwater drilling if an appeals court does not allow it to reinstate the six-month moratorium it imposed in the wake of the BP oil spill.

However, it will not impose a new drilling ban if the federal court in New Orleans supports its initial moratorium, an Interior Department official told Reuters.

Giant skimmer gets another shot at Gulf oil spill

NEW ORLEANS -- The giant Taiwanese oil skimmer known as 'A Whale' is getting another chance to prove its value in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP May Have Third Vessel Receiving Oil From Leaking Well in 2 to 3 Days

BP Plc may start collecting oil aboard a third vessel near its leaking Gulf of Mexico well in two or three days, National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen said.

The Helix Producer I, which has the capacity to double the oil collected at the site, may be connected to the Macondo well in the next 48 hours if weather is good, Allen said today at a press conference in Theodore, Alabama.

Obama administration seeks BP plans on oil cap

(Reuters) - The Obama administration has asked BP Plc for a detailed timeline and contingency plans for the latest effort to contain the Gulf Coast oil spill.

Egypt, Saudi Aramco to hold oil spill drill in Nov

DUBAI (Reuters) - Egypt and Saudi state oil giant Aramco plan to launch an oil spill containment exercise in an Alexandria port in November, an Egyptian official said on Thursday.

The Choice: Drill, Baby, Drill or American Values. You can't Have Both

Claiming that domestic drilling is a viable solution to America's energy crisis is dishonest and irresponsible. It is a policy that sows the wind and we are already reaping the whirlwind with human lives, with jobs lost and local economies destroyed, and with the shores of the Gulf. Drilling has a roll in our energy supply but is FAR from providing the answer to America's energy addiction.

Ex-offshore drilling regulator defends her tenure

CASPER, Wyo. — The former director of the federal agency that regulates offshore drilling is defending her tenure in the wake of a disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, saying no safety rules were relaxed while she was in charge.

BP says no Gulf output shut by storm; restaffing

(Reuters) - BP Plc said on Thursday that none of its crude oil production at the Atlantis, Holstein, Mad Dog and Thunder Horse platforms in the Gulf of Mexico was shut by a tropical disturbance, but nonessentials have been evacuated from those sites.

Iran says high oil price will offset sanctions

High crude oil prices and better agricultural output will help accelerate Iran's economic growth this year, its Economy Minister Shamseddin Hosseini said today, partly offsetting the impact of sanctions.

Ghana sees 2010 flows

Ghana will definitely pump its first barrel of oil in 2010 but it will take four to six months to reach its planned output of 120,000 barrels per day, Energy Minister Joe Oteng-Adjei said today.

Musings: Natural Gas Price Rebound Heat Driven; Supply Still Grows

After peaking at $6.01 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) on January 6th, natural gas futures prices steadily fell until they bottomed at $3.84 on March 29. From that point gas prices rebounded to above $4/Mcf and traded in the low $4 range for the next month. Gas prices began to move higher in response to hotter than normal temperatures finally reaching a near-term peak at $5.19/Mcf in mid June. Since then, gas prices have fluctuated wildly but generally have remained in the upper $4/Mcf range as continued supply growth battled hotter weather and hurricane supply-disruption concerns. The weak U.S. economic figures recently reported have begun to weigh more heavily on gas prices.

PDVSA tracks down stolen goods

Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA said it has recovered stolen oilfield equipment taken by thieves who caused a loss of production of some 60,000 barrels per day and oil spills in western Lake Maracaibo.

LNG terminal at Gwadar Port likely alternative

Karachi — The much needed Iran Gas Pipeline project seems to be in hot waters international pressures and the UN sanctions against Iran it is learnt.

If the project fails to materialize the government is considering to set up an LNG Terminal at Gwadar port as an alternative to Iran gas pipeline project which is being considered as the savior in the persisting energy crisis in the country.

Energy still king in KSA

There is talk of Saudi Aramco deploying over 100 exploration drilling rigs by the end of the first quarter next year, and major project awards have been forthcoming from Abu Dhabi. Companies which have ridden out a period in which collections, or rather payment for work done, has been a major problem should take some respite from the fact that, on the whole, energy has now normalised, and those payment strains should begin easing from the top down.

Has the Green Investment Bank selected the right target?

The Green Investment Bank should boost struggling independents not hand public money to multinational utilities.

Wider Metro Manila water rationing looms

Energy Secretary Jose Almendras has advised consumers that electricity prices may go up as suppliers are forced to use the more expensive bunker fuel and oil to operate power plants.

But he said: "Hopefully, when the rains are in full swing, and the dams are full, we should see improvement in generating costs."

John Michael Greer: Seeking the Gaianomicon

The archetype I proposed as a model for an appropriate-technology revival in the age of peak oil – the archetype of the green wizard – comes with certain standard features in folklore and fantasy. One of them happens to be a full-blown archetype in its own right: the book of ancient and forgotten lore. Those of my readers who plan on becoming green wizards will need to provide themselves with the grimoires, literally “grammars,” of that art, and in this post I propose to explain how to do just that. Yes, it involves a quest; the details will follow in a bit.

Hurdles for a Natural Gas Transition

Her calculation runs like this: coal-fired capacity comes to 335,000 megawatts today, and it produces an average of 72 percent of the electricity that would result from around-the-clock full-power operation. Doing that with modern, efficient natural gas plants would consume 39 billion cubic feet of gas a day, or 14.1 trillion cubic feet a year.

That is a rather large number given that today, national consumption of natural gas for all purposes is only a little over 20 trillion cubic feet a year.

Tropical Storm Warning Issued for South Texas, Mexico as Gulf System Forms

Residents of south Texas and northeastern Mexico were warned to expect a tropical storm today after a weather depression formed in the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Lawmakers Oppose Canadian Pipeline

Facing a decision on a proposed pipeline to bring Canadian crude oil to the United States, the Obama administration is confronting growing resistance from politicians who oppose the project or, at the very least, urge further study before approval.

The massive pipeline, known as Keystone XL, would allow Canada to export an additional 1.1 million barrels a day of oil to the United States. The United States currently imports 1.9 million barrels a day from Canada. Canadian oil sands are expected to become America’s primary source of imported oil this year.

BP Investigates Resignation of 18 Traders, Singapore's Business Times Says

BP Plc is probing the resignation of 18 traders mainly from its Singapore operations, the Business Times reported, citing an unidentified person.

The person declined to specify what BP was investigating, the Singapore-based newspaper reported. The report said the traders had made up almost its entire fuel oil trading team in Singapore.

BP may pay for wasted oil

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Adding to BP's problems in the Gulf, the company may have to pay the U.S. government royalties on all the uncollected oil currently spewing into the water.

Saudi Investors Have Limited Chance to Buy Stake in BP, Banque Saudi Says

Saudi investors have a limited chance to buy a stake at troubled BP Plc, said John Sfakianakis, Chief Economist at Banque Saudi Fransi.

Saudi newspaper Al-Eqtisadiya said on July 7 that a group of Saudi investors were eying a 10 percent to 15 percent stake in the company without mentioning where it got the information. Sfakianakis said such an acquisition was unlikely.

Oil spill response doesn’t address issue

The paradox is that, even though Obama cannot stop the oil from gushing, his search for someone’s ass to kick might be an effective solution because it de-politicizes the looming crisis of peak oil. The present oil crisis is not simply signaling an ecological crisis, inadequate administrative oversight, the multiple risks associated with oil extraction, and the greed of BP shareholders. The present oil crisis in the Gulf of Mexico signals a terminal crisis in global capitalism. In the popular media, very little has been done to connect this oil crisis to the crisis of peak oil.

Faith in Government Gone, Citizens Appalled by the Oil Spill Turn to Each Other

Nothing says more about citizens' loss of faith in government than a website in Santa Rosa, CA called "StoptheGusher", where ordinary citizens have gathered to share ideas, offer suggestions, and rack their brains about what to do about the Gulf Oil Spill.

Almost three months into this crisis, both BP and the White House appear paralyzed. But on StoptheGusher, people spend hours composing long, intricate plans and copying their Congresspeople, proposing concrete underwater containment barriers, and suggesting organic products such as Kenaf, an oil-soaking plant grown in North Carolina, Georgia and Texas that is ground down, refined and marketed as SupremeSorb.

Rick Rule on Oil & Gas vs. Green Energy

Peak oil is more an economic and political phenomenon than it is a geological phenomenon. I think we’re past $40 peak oil but I don’t think we’re past $200 peak oil. There are technologies, as an example, miscible CO2 flooding to recover oil from allegedly depleted oil fields. There are new basins, albeit remote, frontier basins. There are new technologies that allow dry gas or LNG to be substituted for liquid oil. It’s an economic function because these technologies and substitutions require higher energy prices. At $200 oil, we’ve got lots of oil.

Peak oil means expensive food

The impacts of even a small drop in production can be devastating. For instance, during the 1970s oil shocks, shortfalls in production as small as 5 per cent caused oil prices to nearly quadruple. The same thing happened in California a few years ago with natural gas. A production drop of less than 5 per cent caused prices to skyrocket by 400 per cent. What, then, can we expect when the annual decline rate, beginning soon, falls into the presently predicted range of 4 to 10 per cent?

Every sector of the economy will be affected, but the initial lack will be felt in terms of food. In this regard, Cuba's experience has relevance for us.

Moving home and hearth

While years ago, a modest three-bedroom asbestos home with an outside laundry and gas boiler with the weekly collected dunny was Nirvana, now nothing short of two-and-half-bathrooms, stone kitchen benchtops, eight-kilowatt reverse cycle air-conditioners and if possible, a triple remote-operated garage are regarded the minimum.

Another main difference is that young people now are totally gobsmacked about any notion of saving. Saving, what is that? The hysteric Harvey Norman jingle goes; "I want it noooow". It perfectly sums up our terminal materialism with so many expecting everything immediately, at the same time easily accepting being eternally on the hock as well. Our love of credit has never been higher. 'Peak house mortgage' has overtaken 'peak oil', and this will inevitably also run its course with a sea of mortgage defaults polluting our economic landscape with dire consequences for many.

Heads in the sand

How can a city that can't get bike lanes right deal with peak oil?

Patrick Takahashi: Hawaii: The Proposed Symbol of Energy Independence

Hawaii is that proverbial canary in the coal mine regarding Peak Oil and the economy. Our only hope is a global partnership to as quickly as possible help us attain a high level of energy independence. But why should Hawaii be singled out for this privilege?

The reasons are many, but the most compelling is that we are the ideal sustainability test tube: progressive leaders, abundance of renewable options, high cost of energy (an electricity bill 250% higher than the national average, so commercialization can more quickly be attained), relatively small size (less than one half of one percent the population of the Nation, so the investment will be affordable), singular political clout (the most powerful congressional member in Senator Daniel Inouye, and leader of the Free World, President Barack Obama, who was born in this state) and, soon, sheer desperation, and, therefore, motivation. Provided is a golden opportunity for the World to work together with us to create a symbol for sustainability.

Soybean Yields Will Drop on Climate, Ozone, University of Illinois Says

Climate change and pollution may cut yields for soybeans and other crops by 2050 unless plants are adapted, the University of Illinois said, citing research.

Tests showed crops grown in open fields benefitted less than expected from higher levels of carbon dioxide in the air, the university said in a report published yesterday. The yield increase was only half of that assumed by the United Nations’ climate-change panel to predict world food supply in 2050, according to the report.

Russian Oil Erodes Middle East's Hold on Exports to Asia

Russia is sending record amounts of oil to Asia, eroding the dominance of the Middle East, as refiners in South Korea and Japan increase purchases from a source that’s three weeks closer by ship.

South Korean imports of Russian crude climbed to an all- time high of 179,000 barrels a day in May, equal to 7.3 percent of the country’s supplies, according to government data. Japan took an unprecedented 241,000 barrels a day, up 61 percent from a year ago, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry data showed.

The first completed segment of the $26 billion East Siberian-Pacific Ocean pipeline is boosting competition between Russia and the Middle East, the world’s two biggest oil suppliers. North Asian processers can access the Russian oil, known as ESPO, for about $1 a barrel less than Dubai crude, according to shipping rates and data compiled by Bloomberg.

Crude Rises to One-Week High as Supplies Drop, IMF Boosts Growth Forecast

Crude oil climbed to the highest price in a week as the IMF bolstered its economic outlook and a decline in U.S. crude inventories added to signs of recovery.

U.S. crude stockpiles fell 2 percent to 351.8 million barrels last week, the biggest reduction since September, the American Petroleum Institute reported. The Energy Department will release its own weekly data today. The International Monetary Fund raised its forecast for global growth this year, reflecting a stronger-than-expected first half.

Gas drillers seek input on Pennsylvania natgas tax

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – Pennsylvania's shale gas industry says any state tax on natural gas collected at the wellhead should be accompanied by new rules and regulations, but critics say that's just a tactic to secure fewer restrictions on their operations.

Ghanaians to Stage a Protest Asking Lawmakers to Raise Petroleum Royalties

Ghanaians will today stage a peaceful demonstration asking lawmakers to increase oil-industry royalties by almost double the maximum level.

The protestors want Ghana to increase royalties to 20 percent from between 4 percent and 12.5 percent now, George Kotey, who is leading the demonstration in the capital, Accra, said by phone today.

China to Extend Resources Tax to Entire Nation to Fund Government Spending

China plans to extend a tax on oil, gas and coal output to the entire nation, stepping up efforts to raise funds for development of poorer inland provinces in a move that will reduce earnings for resource producers.

Chevron, Rosneft Black Sea Drilling Plans Depend on Request for Tax Breaks

Chevron Corp. and OAO Rosneft’s plan to drill for oil in the Russian Black Sea hinge on a request for government tax breaks, according to a copy of their initial drilling agreement obtained by Bloomberg News.

The final agreement is conditional on the group gaining assurances of “fiscal relief” from the Russian government “to ensure the economic viability of the project,” according to the document. The two sides aim to finish negotiations by the end of March and start drilling at the end of next year. Chevron will have a 33.3 percent stake in the venture.

BP dampens hope of early leak fix

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – BP dampened hopes that it could plug its leaking Gulf of Mexico well sooner than forecast on Thursday, while a battle between the U.S. government and the oil industry over a deepwater drilling ban heads to court.

BP stuck to its August target to complete a relief well to halt the worst oil spill in U.S. history, after a press report raised hopes the company could stem the 80-day-old leak sooner.

US government launches new website on Gulf oil spill

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US government Wednesday launched a new website to give information on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, moving away from the portal jointly run with oil giant BP.

Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the top government official handling the spill, said the site www.RestoreTheGulf.gov was "designed to serve as a one-stop repository for news, data and operational updates related to administration-wide efforts to stop the BP oil leak."

Obama administration set for drill ban legal fight

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration heads to court on Thursday with a single goal -- to reinstate a six-month moratorium on deepwater oil drilling imposed in response to the BP Plc oil spill but blocked by a federal judge.

The high-stakes showdown starts at 3 p.m. local time (4 p.m. ET) at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans, where government lawyers will square off for one hour against drilling companies before a three-judge panel.

Economic peril seen from offshore drilling ban

HOUSTON (Reuters) – A Gulf of Mexico deepwater drilling ban has already cost offshore jobs in a nascent U.S. economic recovery and a lengthy moratorium will put the industry at peril, sector executives said on Wednesday.

Moratorium to cut U.S. oil output 82,000 bpd: EIA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. offshore oil drilling ban will reduce crude output by an average of 82,000 barrels per day next year, more than previously estimated, the government's top energy forecaster said on Wednesday.

The Energy Information Administration had said last month that the moratorium, which the government put on exploration rigs in response to the BP Plc oil spill, would reduce next year's U.S. crude output by an average of 70,000 bpd.

Base drilling halt on results, not an arbitrary timeline

Which is worse: Risking another catastrophic oil spill like BP's April 20 blowout? Or inflicting even more financial damage on the already battered regional economy?

There's no easy answer, despite what the industry and environmentalists say.

Let drilling resume

The moratorium neither improves safety nor mitigates risk.

Energy Department Lags in Saving Energy

WASHINGTON — Like flossing or losing weight, saving energy is easier to promise than to actually do — even if you are the Department of Energy.

Its Web site advises that choosing new lighting technologies can slash energy use by 50 to 75 percent. But the department is having trouble taking its own advice, according to an internal audit released on Wednesday; many of its offices are still installing obsolete fluorescent bulbs.

Aircraft completes first solar-powered night flight

PAYERNE, Switzerland (Reuters) – A giant glider-like aircraft has completed the first night flight propelled only by solar energy, organizers said on Thursday.

Solar Impulse, whose wingspan is the same as an Airbus A340, flew 26 hours and 9 minutes, powered only by solar energy stored during the day. It was also the longest and highest flight in the history of solar aviation, organizers said.

How China Has Pruned Its Families' Trees

With a current population of 1.3 billion people, China now boasts fertility rates of around 1.6 births per woman, well below the 2.1 replacement rate at which a population is maintained. But the country is also saddled with one of the planet's worst gender imbalances, largely a result of women aborting female fetuses due to a traditional preference for male offspring. Other countries such as India and South Korea also have skewed sex ratios, but the pressure to bear a son is all the greater in China precisely because many families are limited to just one child. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences estimates that by 2020 there will be at least 24 million "bare branches" — men destined to stay single because there are not enough wives to go around. As more of those boys become bachelors, China risks all sorts of social plagues — from criminal gangs to greater trafficking in women.

The other danger is that China will grow gray before it is rich enough to cope. Reducing population growth has meant that per capita GDP rates have zoomed upward. But factories are now facing shortages of young, skilled labor. By 2050, one-third of Chinese will be elderly. Despite its communist heritage, the People's Republic has little in the way of a national social-security system. Will a generation of "little emperors" be willing or able to support their parents and grandparents?

Masdar to drive change with carbon data

Masdar City is set to reveal the carbon footprint of hundreds of materials that will be used to build the US$22 billion (Dh80.8bn) carbon-neutral development at the edge of the capital.

The data, from Masdar’s efforts to procure low-carbon cement, aluminium, steel and other materials for its groundbreaking city, covers 400 products plucked from the many advertised as environmentally friendly, said Richard Reynolds, the department supply chain manager at Masdar City. It will be disclosed by the end of this year.

A Flush of Funding for Carbon Capture

In the endeavor to reduce greenhouse emissions, carbon capture and storage technology continues to generate a lot of interest.

Climate scientists praise report on hacked email scandal

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Leading climate scientists on Thursday welcomed a British report that cleared researchers of exaggerating the effects of global warming and said they hoped it would restore faith in the fight against climate change.

Julia Kollewe Guardian.co.uk, Thursday 8 July 2010
BP is working to fix the leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico by 27 July, weeks before its publicly stated deadline.

The company is due to report second-quarter results that day. It hopes to provide more information on its liabilities from the oil spill to shareholders, as well as its initial findings on the causes of the disaster.

BP had previously stated that it hopes to have a fix in place by mid-August. It wants to make progress by 20 July, the day David Cameron is visiting the White House, the Wall Street Journal reported.

"In a perfect world with no interruptions, it's possible to be ready to stop the well between 20 July and 27 July," the head of BP's Gulf Coast restoration unit, managing director Bob Dudley, told the Journal. He added that this "perfect case" is threatened by the hurricane season and is "unlikely".


Let us hope that they don't push for this earlier date by cutting corners. Of course since they have never cut corners before in order to speed things up it is sill of me to even suggest that.

:)) Nicely put. As they say, we offer three kinds of service: good, cheap, fast. You can pick any two.
BP has really mastered the "fast and cheap" version. If you would like to cut corners, there is no better razor than BP. :P

Many Missouri farmers not expecting good wheat harvest
Friday, June 11, 2010 BY ANDY OSTMEYER/The Associated Press

LAMAR — David Sheat gave up on wheat this year. "This will be the first year — and I've been farming for 50 years — that I will not have any wheat at all," said Sheat, who farms near Lamar. He normally plants 360 acres of wheat, and last fall he put in 125 acres. "We ended up tearing it up," he said of the latest crop. "It just really rotted in the field. Too wet, too cold, too quick."...
That's the story farmers and university extension specialists are telling around the region. A wet spring in 2009 delayed planting of corn and soybeans. That meant those crops came on late and farmers were late getting them out of their fields, which prevented planting of winter wheat. And what was planted in southwest Missouri hasn't done well. Gene Danekas, director of the Missouri Field Office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service, said this year's wheat harvest in Missouri may be near a record low.

While a butterfly flapping its wings in China may not affect the weather here, in a world where we are trying to extract the maximum any field can produce, the unusual weather last year is reaching into this year. Using so much of the planet's resources for ourselves has created a fragile situation.

This article, posted yesterday on Energy Bulletin discusses research into perennial grains. I found it pretty interesting, although it looks like perennial wheat is a long way from being ready for large-scale planting.


Perennial grasses were what we had before the dust bowl. While waiting for new perennial grasses that can be adapted to modern agriculture, we are in increasing trouble with non-perennial crops. AGW will no doubt make all future agriculture chancy.

Heavy Rains in Central Corn Belt Take Toll on Corn and Soy Crops http://www.soybeansandcorn.com/news/Jul8_10-Heavy-Rains-in-Central-Corn-...

I can't predict the future, but these thoughts need to be tempered. I won't go into all the problems of perennial grass. WSU at Pullman, WA is making great strides with perennial wheat, yet private dollars are betting on higher yields from lower inputs. Corn talk is 300 bu/ac average yield. Adoption of either system will swing on greatest return to the farmer.

I'm not ready to attribute our current heat wave to AGW , or to deny a connection.

But after a spring so wet the really old people can't remember one like it, we have had nearly two months with no significant rain on ourr place-such thunderstorms as we have had paseed over or by without hitting us.

I am of the opinion, but have no records to prove it, that the combination of heat and dry in the immediate area is the worst in living memory.

Our mature apple trees are dropping fruit and shedding leaves-we've never seen this happen locally before.

It is not hard to find farmers all over the country who will quickly agree that the weather is changing, and for the worse.

Old Farmer, of course we can no more say this hot spell is AGW than the critics can say the cold winter proves no AGW. But with 6 billion people on the planet the situation for farming becomes more fragile whatever the reason for odd weather.

OTOH it is hard to posit some reason for glaciers melting other than planet wide climate warming (whatever the reason) and when the glaciers are gone the situation for people who depend on summer water for irrigation from normal annual melts of glaciers becomes dire.

It must be sad to see the apple trees under such stress. I have been watering blueberries but the ripening berries keep getting smaller anyway. Luckily we had ample rain last end of summer, winter and spring so our well is holding for now. Have had droughts start as early as April here in Alabama so we are not in trouble ... yet. But I suspect we have had more sustained high heat days than usual.

I've been wondering what impact the recession is having/has had on weather, what with attendant decrease in sulfate etc emissions. Can't find much on this topic however, surprisingly enough.

There is a problem with reducing emissions, especially in China. Dirty emissions (the kind that create the haze over Chinese cities) can cause global dimming and global dimming can hold back climate warming. Particulate drops out quickly from the atmosphere, while warming gases persist for decades. So per some scientists, if we have a big drop in dimming warming might accelerate rapidly.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLfBXRPoHRc first part -You should be able to find the rest from that location

Here is the part about the temperature changes after 9/11 when jets were grounded and therefore no contrails


Some scientists now consider that the effects of global dimming have masked the effect of global warming to some extent and that resolving global dimming may therefore lead to increases in predictions of future temperature rise.[43]

Complicated stuff this interaction of the planet with us humans. We do massive experiments on planet earth (lets see what happens if we burn eons of captured carbon in a few hundred years) and yet we cannot begin to understand how the whole ecosystem works together.

Rodale Institute:

The term 'organic' was first widely used in the U.S. by J. I. Rodale, founder of Rodale Press, in the 1950s. "Rodale failed to convince scientists of the validity of his approach because of his reliance on what were perceived to be outrageous unscientific claims of organic farming's benefits."

"I'm going to live to be 100 unless I'm run down by a sugar-crazed taxi driver," said J. I. Rodale, a father of the organic movement who died of a heart attack at age 72 while taping an episode of "The Dick Cavett Show" shortly after announcing "I’ve decided to live to be a hundred" and "I never felt better in my life!" The show never aired. *


Essential to biodynamic farming are the relationships between humans, plants, animals and the cosmos. In order to produce quality food we believe we need to care for the Earth as a living organism. Biodynamic farming is based on anthroposophy, a movement that started with a series of lectures given by Rudolf Steiner.

Logical fail: Rodale saying one stupid thing means all studies studies from the Institute are worthless.

I have no idea what the point of the second quote was, except that the point is certainly as childish as the first.

Please, get over your failure at permaculture.


I'm not ready to attribute our current heat wave to AGW , or to deny a connection.

Like you, I subscribe to the layperson's caution--but we do have a scientific consensus about AGW that looks pretty darned convincing.

I also have the experience of having taken college-level meteorology and climatology classes in the early eighties, and the predictions made then are coming true--in spades.

As a small-scale farmer: I can attest to the weather volatility that has been blowing minds of late. Here in the Northeast, we've experienced summers of hideous, out-of-season rainstorms followed by out-of-season dry spells. This year, winter ENDED in FEBRUARY. When the leaves and blossoms began to come out at the end of April, I literally said, "We're doomed." The May frost came right on schedule--and wiped everything out. No apples here, and no strawberries.

Then the rest of May was dry, dry, dry. It retarded the hay crop (which we're now finding as we fork hay in 90 degree heat). The July dry spell came right on time--but on the heels of that May drought, so some things are vulnerable.

Overall, because of the preternaturally early spring and summer, we're having bumper crops of just about everything except fruit.

Just now I was viewing videos of "dead malls" on YouTube. They are still open, but have almost no tenants and very few customers. But anyone appearing on the videos seemed very happy! The malls look just awful---but somehow I bet they are better now that they are almost abandoned....there seems to be something honest about the empty condition of these cheesy, fake, soulless, cheaply built places. Better now than when they were in their heydey of bubbling credit. A lot of major department stores are scheduled to shut down some stores this year here in Japan. There is always a final bowing ceremony as the shutters come down for the last time. The store manager is wearing his best suit and bows perfectly and without any expression then it`s over. Beside him stand some female employees wearing coordinated suits and white gloves and high heels. They bow too. The whole thing is awfully sexist, if you ask me. Noone smiles, no one cries. It`s covered on TV later with a headline like "Isetan`s Last Day at Mitaka".
Noone mentions peak oil, of course. I am kind of glad to see these stores go! Too much unnecessary and wasteful consumption was their modus vivendi.

More private planes are being repossessed

Not only are more planes being repossessed, the ones being repossessed are more expensive than they used to be.

"In 2007, we picked up a lot of single-engine planes worth $20,000 to $40,000," Cage says. "This year, the average value of the aircraft we've picked up was $400,000."

...Cage says that even the rich deserve some sympathy.

"I think that ego is still the biggest part of it, because they were really wealthy a couple years ago, and now the one thing they thought would never happen is staring them right in the face," he says. "A big part of the job is making sure that we treat these people properly. Allow them their dignity. Allow them their pride. Don't try to take that away from them."

Repossessing the rich:

"A big part of the job is making sure that we treat these people properly. Allow them their dignity. Allow them their pride. Don't try to take that away from them."

God forbid to do that for the poor...

Dignity. Pride. Should be for all!

As I watch the Tea-Party crowd run around incensed as all get-out by the insults they feel they've received from the 'Intellectual, Secular Elite' , or the defensiveness of 'Big Tough Men' when their Manliness is remotely questioned.. or listen to song after song in the country tradtition that seem to be intensely protective of every little nuance of 'the good, simple life', as it stands defiant against the proud, the fancy, the hip and the urbane.. 'I don't ride no limousine'. Not that I disagree, but to have so many of these songs rallying around 'We're not shmucks, and we don't care if you call us shmucks!(and yet as we're singing about it everyday, sort of ought to give you the impression that we're actually pretty sick and tired of it.. and we're not schmucks!)

This ethic of 'let them have their pride' takes on some very familiar American themes (tell me if they're as common elsewhere, I just don't know) .. a long-standing anger about being cast as a 'hick', or dumb, or weak. Mind you, this isn't always a question of whether you ARE these things, just whether you're being looked at that way.

Being teased for effeminacy, or tatty clothes, or being 'white trash' .. just being laughed at seems to be cause for an insane outburst, that it's a fate worse than death. BeLITTLEment..

Remembering my Brazilian friend who I asked if the American knuckleheads he dealt with in his first years were different from the Brazilian ones.. and he said. 'Yeah, the American idiots seem to be more proud of the fact..'

To me, such 'Proud Behavior' is really just 'Extreme Pride Sensitivity' from having their pride so thoroughly crushed most of their lives.. it's like an alergy.

"They should be pitied, not punished" Goeth- Schindler's List

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending July 2, 2010

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.2 million barrels per day during the week ending July 2, 135 thousand barrels per day above the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 89.8 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging 9.4 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging 4.4 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 9.4 million barrels per day last week, down 68 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 9.7 million barrels per day, 449 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 1.3 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 297 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 5.0 million barrels from the previous week. At 358.2 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 1.3 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 0.3 million barrels, and are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.9 million barrels last week and are in the middle of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 0.4 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period has averaged 19.3 million barrels
per day, up by 5.1 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four
weeks, motor gasoline demand has averaged 9.4 million barrels per day, up by 2.0
percent from the same period last year.

So over the same 4 week period, the EIA says gasoline demand is up 2% while Mastercard says down 1.7%. I really wonder if these EIA figures are accurate or if they are again massively underestimating exports of finished product (counting product actually exported as US consumed) as has happened previously.

Like I've mentioned recently, I don't think the EIA figures are that far off, and where has it been proven that Master card generally is more accurate?

Anecdotal reports indicate gasoline demand is strong:

July 8, 2010

US Cash Products-Midwest gasoline up on stocks, refinery upset
HOUSTON, July 8 (Reuters) - Low inventories in the Magellan Pipeline and the Wednesday shutdown of a gasoline-making fluid catalytic cracker at Citgo's Lemont, Illinois, refinery boosted gasoline prices in the Midwest on Thursday, traders said.

'Short on gas in Magellan,' one trader said, adding that the FCC at Citgo's 167,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) refinery will take one to three weeks to repair.

Citgo said on Wednesday that several process units, including the FCC, were down due to bad weather which caused electrical problems.

Chicago gasoline rose 3 cents per gallon, while Group Three gasoline jumped 1.25 cents per gallon, traders said.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Thursday that crude oil inventories fell sharply in the week ended July 2 after Hurricane Alex prompted producers to shut down Gulf of Mexico operations.

Gasoline stocks gained 1.32 million barrels to 219.44 million barrels, the opposite of a 200,000-barrel drop expected by analysts polled by Reuters.


Like I've mentioned recently, I don't think the EIA figures are that far off, and where has it been proven that Master card generally is more accurate?

I have no opinion on the accuracy of Mastercard reports. Just saying the last time I noticed such a discrepancy it was the EIA which revised demand down. Gail wrote a post Can you believe EIA Weekly petroleum demand estimates?

If one looks at the weekly forecasts, they are considerably higher than the monthly actual amounts. This seems to happen on a regular basis. For the year 2008, EIA's forecasts averaged 654,000 barrels a day higher than I would have estimated based on weekly data. This is about 3.4% high - not great if that is the basis for statements about how demand is running.

...Part of the problem seems to be misestimation of petroleum exports.

...Of course, at some point EIA may start getting the weekly estimates right, in which case one doesn't have to worry about this issue. Until then, if you see something that looks like great news about demand bouncing back, check carefully to see how the numbers are calculated.

I didn't see that post by Gail before.

Unfortunately I tried to review the available data from late 2008 and there is not enough information left to review those conclusions made in the post, maybe because the EIA revised it. However more recent revisions do not show any significant discrepancy.

I think it is posters westexas and memmel (and myself) that say the only really important inventory number is the when actual inventories approach minimum operating levels. After that, the distribution system becomes unstable - local shortages develop, prices rise, and refiners can't increase output any further.

Right now, as compared to the last two years of refinery operations, utilization is very high. So even without figures, we know that something is up - and reports of low gasoline supplies in a major pipeline confirms that.

I've said many time that net inventory figures put out by the EIA could be off as much as 2% at any time - which is more than enough room to account for a discrepancy between the EIA and Mastercard.

I think it is posters westexas and memmel (and myself) that say the only really important inventory number is the when actual inventories approach minimum operating levels. After that, the distribution system becomes unstable - local shortages develop, prices rise, and refiners can't increase output any further.

Memmel believes recent EIA data to be garbage - "This Week in Propaganda" as he puts it. Memmel suggests true US petroleum inventories are in the mid to bottom half of the average range - not above the upper limit as claimed.

I wish Memmel would comment more often these days.

Well, yes and yes, but before that he talked about MOLs.

His point about inventory data leading to a false sense of confidence is a good one. If we keep in mind that we are only looking at US figures, we don't know the trends in the rest of the world - except with some delay.

Even minor changes in world supply/demand can lead to large changes in inventories in a very short time. So if the EIA is unreliable, we could suddenly find ourselves in the middle of a shortage.

I'm just trying to stay one step ahead of the day when that shortage comes by using the figures we have.

I am somewhat surprised that despite the largest oil import terminal in the US (the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port) being closed for three days last week, the EIA reports oil imports into the Gulf Coast area actually increased slightly last week. When it is also considered that other Gulf ports were closed for part of last week due to bad weather, the import number frankly doesn’t make sense.

To my knowledge, oil imports are counted when offloaded, not when the tanker arrives in port. Here is an explanation of how imports are counted from the EIA:

The type of commodity, port of entry, country of origin, quantity (thousand barrels), sulfur percent by weight, API gravity, and name and location of the processing or storage facility are reported. Sulfur percent by weight is requested for crude oil, crude oil burned as fuel, and residual fuel oil only. API gravity is requested for crude oil only. The name and location of the processing or storage facility is requested for crude oil, unfinished oils, and gasoline blending components only.

The above implies the import should be in the storage facility when counted. My conclusion here is that the EIA went ahead and counted the tankers waiting to be offloaded anyway, although I have no direct knowledge of this.

In addition, the EIA reports that domestic production actually increased last week, which also appears to be impossible based upon the production lost in the Gulf of Mexico. Granted oil output from the North Slope Alaska picked up, after some slowdowns the prior week before, but that would have best only offset the loss in the Gulf area. However the EIA is reporting oil output from the Gulf region about unchanged.

One possible explanation for both of the above possible counting errors is that the EIA also took away 1.925 million barrels of oil for unexplained reasons from the total oil inventory report. This may well be part of the 5 million extra drop I was looking for, so I would expect a downward revision of 3 million barrels in the coming weeks.

...the EIA reports that domestic production actually increased last week

they must be including macondo.

According to the EIA Weekly Petroleum Status Report, crude in storage dropped 5 mbbl last week. Motor gasoline increased 1.9 mbbl and distillate increased 0.3 mbbl. The large year-over-year increase in distillate consumption is there, showing a 15% gain.

So, your drop in oil in storage did happen last week, if one looks only at crude.

E. Swanson

E, Charles’ point was that imports actually increased on the Gulf Coast, the place that had all the problems. That is strange to say the least.

        PADD 3 (Gulf Coast)
Jun 04, 2010  5303
Jun 11, 2010  5408
Jun 18, 2010  5909
Jun 25, 2010  5183
Jul 02, 2010  5529

Ron P.

Lower 48 production actually decreased this week but only slightly. The big change was Alaska. Apparently they were down part of last week for some reason.

                U.S.  Alaska  Lower 48
Jun 04, 2010	5445	563	4882
Jun 11, 2010	5503	608	4895
Jun 18, 2010	5501	606	4895
Jun 25, 2010	5257	362	4895
Jul 02, 2010	5414	521	4893

But you are correct the EIA seems to be totally ignoring input from the GOM. The GOM has had some dramatic changes over the last few months. Production in the GOM has dropped some 220,000 barrels per day since peaking last September. Total US production was up some 70,000 bp/d over the same period. That just don't seem very likely.

Ron P.

As per the EIA, the EIA uses a model based on past history with some real-time pipeline data (guessing Alaska here) for it's weekly domestic supply numbers. Maybe we should contact them and ask for the code. That would be a hoot.

US crude pares gains, EIA draw smaller than API's

(Reuters) - U.S. crude oil futures pared gains on Thursday after government data showed a smaller inventory crude drawdown last week than the one reported by an industry group late Tuesday.

Though more stunt than anything, that 26-hour solar powered night flight suggests something very important:

It's just not possible for energy issues alone to bring down civilization. We may all be much poorer in 3 decades having endured a disruptive transition to expensive sources....but that's pretty much the worse case due to energy depletion.

There's plenty else out there that might get us though.

Solar-Powered Plane Flies for 26 Hours

PARIS — Slender as a stick insect, a solar-powered experimental airplane with a huge wing span completed its first test flight of more than 24 hours on Thursday, powered overnight by energy collected from the sun during a day aloft over Switzerland.

The organizers said the flight was the longest and highest by a solar-powered craft, reaching an altitude of just over 28,000 feet above sea level, at an average speed of 23 knots, around 25 miles per hour.

Solar planes are about as practical as solar cars (which are all glorified bikes). Just because it can be done doesn't mean they are a drop-in replacement for personal transportation or air travel. They are nothing but science projects with little value other than bragging rights.

They are nothing but science projects with little value other than bragging rights.

No, that comment shows that you don't get it at all. No one involved in the Solar Impulse project has any illusions in that solar planes are in any way a practical substitute for air travel as we currently know it. However, what it is, is a real world test pushing the limits of state of the art technology. More importantly it is also a symbol of the paradigm shift in how we use and think about energy in general.

In a similar vein your comment about solar cars being glorified bikes also misses the point.
Actually that is exactly what they should be!


The sooner more people understand that the better our chances of surviving with a high quality of life well into the future.

To borrow from J. Howard Kunstler and adapt it to thinking about private transportation:IMHO
The private automobile is the greatest misallocation of resources in the entire history of human transportation.

You're typing on what was once 'merely a science project'. How about showing a little respect?

People push on boundaries with these tests, and new avenues are found.

.. and I haven't heard any of them claim they have made a 'drop-in replacement' for car or air travel, have you?

But here are some real solar-electric cars that get people to work every day..
(Noone said the panels have to be ON the car, did they? A couple dozen of these folks charge from PV)

MEG, 3rd picture into the gallery of RAV4 owners.
"Power comes from our roof-mounted 4.8kW PV solar PV system. Have seen Range over 120 miles. Our "second car" is a battery-assisted bicycle and a regular bike, and our "third car" is a membership in City CarShare."

..oh, and my Favorite Solar Cars, Spirit and Opportunity ..
6 Years on Mars, doin' donuts on the ApresDiluvian Dust!

" NASA's Mars Rovers Set Surface Longevity Record
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Project will pass a historic Martian longevity record on Thursday, May 20. The Opportunity rover will surpass the duration record set by NASA's Viking 1 Lander of six years and 116 days operating on the surface of Mars."

.. Spirit is either Hibernating or has 'gone to bed' finally..

This is a lovely dream. I can imagine a farmer taking off from his organic fields with a load of tomatoes and chard, destined for the market on the town square. I can also imagine irate customers pelting his plane with bruised fruit and canvas bags. Or a pig with wings riding shotgun on the dangerous return flight.

Such a machine is a testament to man's ingenuity and occasional transcendence over nature, but will not by itself secure this industrial system. How will a solar powered flying "stick insect" mitigate the complete isolation of several hundred million suburban Americans from their own food, energy, and industrial necessities when the transport system breaks down?

By the way, this is not the first time a solar device has flown a human. The Gossamer Albatross completed a successful crossing of the English Channel in 1979 with a human on board.

The Gossamer Albatross was human powered by pedaling and it flew about 5ft off the ground.


Agreed there will never be solar powered commercial flights.

But here's the point: that a renewable-energy powered advanced civilization is technically possible is being conceded across the board.

Soon, you are going to see people living normal suburban lives with electric cars. In the next 2 years we'll see suburban blight expand due to poor employment and at the same time thousands of people living normal middle class suburban lives with little personal oil consumption.

Don't think in terms of either/or. Both Kunstler & Treehugger are going to have plenty to crow over in the next 2 years.

Soon, you are going to see people living normal suburban lives with electric cars.

We all make our best guesses and live with them...I figure that in the next two to four years it's more likely that we'll have a repeat of September 2008 (global credit freeze) and the central banks will dilly dally instead of rushing to the rescue.

With a significant enough delay in restoring credit flows, major sections of our society's supply chain will begin to disintegrate. Even if the credit resumes flowing, it's unlikely to flow at the rate it does now and it will go toward only "sure bet" investments. In many cases, because of its amazing energy density, anything that still uses petroleum will be a better bet than some of the alternatives, including electric cars. A company that creates scooters that sip gasoline and can haul cargo will do as well as or better than an electric scooter company once the gasoline supply restabilizes after the initial disruptions.

Get ready to watch the disintegration of our economy...it won't be fun to watch but we all have front row seats.

Things seem to be getting harder to bring back to equilibrium by the day, but I'm amazed it has kept together this long--
To someone not paying attention, life is a bit harder, but will turn around soon.
Discounting the future has provided evolutionary fitness, but is now a liability.

I think the reason renewables aren't shown such enthusiasm on TOD is that they're always discussed in the context of advanced civilization - which for most people is equal to an "advancing" civilization. But most here realize that serious contraction of our population and our economic paradigm ("infinite growth for all") are a couple of fundamentals that must occur along with implementation of renewables to even give renewables an outside shot of sustaining civilization in something resembling its current manifestation. And from all that I've read here there are few that see any meaningful change happening voluntarily that might afford renewables a chance at being more than a minor player as we gain speed heading down the back side of the peak.

Hammer - nail - head- thumb OUCH!

Well put Cats

"But most here realize that serious contraction of our population and our economic paradigm..."

Personally I have not heard anyone give any credible argument for how we get past this stage with ANYTHING resembling civilization let alone one organized enough to implement any of the techno fix solutions often discussed on TOD.

As soon as a goodly percentage of the population gets a hint of the real constraints we face its game over.

I agree e-e... In my daily dealings with people I just have a really tough time envisioning how we manage to do much of anything constructive once we really start to pick up speed on the way down (weeee !) . To be fair I'm sure there will be groups of people that have the best intentions and even some good ideas - but how they avoid being steamrolled by the rest is beyond me.

With a little better solar cell efficiency and a little larger batteries, vehicles like this could serve as very tall communications towers providing broadband services in rural areas. This saves on a great deal of expensive infrastructure of poles, cables, short cell towers, backup batteries, etc.

Comm towers?

Be easier and cheaper to use tethered balloons or blimps.

I suppose if you wanted to sex them up, you could add solar panels for electrolysis... make the hydrogen to lift them.

Then next version to be built for circumnavigating the globe will have a cruising altitude of 39,000 feet. If they can be built to fly above about 9 miles altitude, they would be above weather, air traffic and the jet streams, all of which would be problems for tethered balloons.

They would also get better coverage than would most balloons (although I once participated in flying non-tethered balloons at about 120,000 feet).

Hello Ryder,

re: "But here's the point: that a renewable-energy powered advanced civilization is technically possible is being conceded across the board."

Could you possibly please supply references?

AFAIK, no one - (i.e., no group, no institute, nobody) - has done a "top level" analysis regarding the feasibility of the following:

1) An "advanced civlization" - BTW, I assume you mean a global industrial civilization? - (Or, any industrial civilization?) - with electricity as the main energy carrier, as opposed to liquid transportation fuels (LTFs);
2) So-called "renewables" as the energy technology for electricity production;
3) The costs in any terms - financial, energy, labor - of switching from an LTF infrastructure to an electricity-based infrastructure;
3A) The time required for such a switchover;
4) The issue of the interdependency loops and the necessity of LTFs, esp. diesel, to power heavy equipment necessary to do things like maintain roads, necessary for electrical grid maintenance.
5) The limits to economic growth - (or increasing consumption of resources by humans) - regardless of the type of energy infrastructure in place.
6) And so forth.

Our request for Congress and/or the President, and/or any State government, and/or any Federal agency to direct the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to undertake an immediate investigation into the topic of global oil supply, impacts and policy options is here: www.oildepletion.wordpress.com.

Though more stunt than anything, that 26-hour solar powered night flight suggests something very important:

Just proves that contstantly orbiting spy drones have now been proven a possibility.

Won't need to refuel, long term reconnaissance, good for the spyers :)

Five Trends Shaping Data Center Designs

In the past, companies built data centers like parents buy clothes for their children: Buy big and wait for the kids to grow into them.

However, companies that designed spacious data centers ended up wasting a lot of money, powering unnecessary infrastructure. Today's data-center design decisions all pivot around maximizing efficiency, while giving companies a path for future growth, says Steve Sams, VP of global site and facilities services for IBM.

  • 1. Energy costs outweigh capital costs
    IBM's study of its customers' data centers revealed that the costs to run a data center quickly outstrip the original outlay for designing and creating the facility. Assuming a conservatively low 10 percent increase in energy costs, IBM estimates that the average data center will cost five times more to run over 20 years than it cost to build.
  • 2. Modularity matters
  • 3. Cooling is key
    Five years ago, customers were installing 500 watts of servers on each rack; now, a rack of servers frequently consumers 20,000 watts, says IBM's Sams. With greater energy consumption, of course, comes greater heat, which makes cooling technologies that much more important.
  • 4. Virtualized everything
  • 5. Self-diagnosing data centers

More and more, companies are locating data centers in cold climates near hydro power.

The potential savings for large data centers are big enough that it's worthwhile to put serious engineering resources into improving their efficiency.

Another small step in the right direction:

Reuse, Recycle, Reheat
Green Fund to recover local fish plant's wasted energy

The province is helping fund a heat pump system that will enable Icewater Seafoods Inc. to reuse wasted heat.


This project is "a win for Icewater and a win for the environment," said Wareham.

The heat pump system is expected to lower heating costs, saving the company an estimated 180,000 litres of fuel annually. According to Johnson, a reduction in greenhouse gases of 500 tonnes per year is also expected.

"It's also a win for our fishermen and customers," Wareham said. "If we're better operators, it's better for our fishermen and for our customers in Europe, who are very concerned about energy and carbon footprints."

The United Kingdom and France are the primary markets for Icewater's processed seafood products. Both are very conscious of the environment, noted Wareham, so the new system should add value to Icewater products.

See: http://www.thepacket.ca/index.cfm?sid=346181&sc=368

One hundred and eighty thousand litres a year would offset the annual needs of some 50 to 75 average size homes. Interesting to note that market forces are identified as one of the principal drivers. Years ago, I made a conscious decision to reward businesses I perceive to be environmentally and energy conscious and to eschew those who are not (e.g., the ones with their doors propped wide open on the hottest days of the year hell bent to single handedly end global warming). Let your dollars do the talk'n and don't be afraid to make your views known.


For what it's worth, political events in Canada are marked by a trend towards consistency in 2010.

A new governor general designate was announced today: David Johnston, president of the University of Waterloo, and a constitutional academic known for his moderate views and moderating abilities. Looks like this time the government in consultation with the Queen and the opposition have opted for substance over style.

Personally, I like the choice. We need someone with a good head on his shoulders and a non-partisan and no-nonsense approach to the office. Mr. Johnston will be the 65th Governor General of Canada since Samuel de Champlain and the 27th since Canadian confederation in 1867. He will be assuming duties on the 1st October.

Perhaps not a moment too soon. He's not likely to be faced with exactly the same type of prorogation decisions of the last two years, but instead he may be called upon to dissolve parliament for a fall election. Polls released today show the Conservatives 11 percentage points ahead of the opposition Liberals and thus potentially poised for majority territory. Very tempting to run on those numbers.

Conservatives 34.4 %
Liberals 23.9%
NDP (social democrats) 17.9%
Greens 11.2%
Bloc Québécois 10.0%

Looks like the Right Honourable Mr. Harper's high profile and low verbosity is paying off.


The biggest change on the Canadian landscape looks to be no change. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Doesn't appear that the Alberta oil patch is going to lose any clout anytime soon.

Des Moines BP station owner suffers lost sales due to oil spill:


A bit surprised that there has not been more discussion on the US practically declaring WAR on Iran. Historically, cutting off a Country's energy supplies is a declaration of war. Iran must ignore or down play the sanctions in order to save face and the US must enforce them or risk loss of credibility. How can this possibly end well?


"Last week, President Barack Obama signed into law far-reaching new sanctions on Iran that aim to squeeze the Islamic Republic's fuel imports and deepen its international isolation."


"Under the new US measures, any company providing fuel to the Islamic Republic would be penalized. "

"Meanwhile, the Iranian lawmaker explained that "Majlis has passed a law [in this regard] and the National Security Commission approved after the resolution that Iran reserves the right to take retaliatory measures against those countries that work in the framework of the resolutions."

"Iran reserves the right to take retaliatory actions in cases that its planes or ships face any problem," Falahatpisheh went on to say. "

I also noticed that people here on TOD aren`t talking about the possibility that the US may start a war against Iran soon. Possibly there is fatigue after it was discussed previously quite a bit. Possibly some people concluded that this war wouldn`t start until the economic situation became more dire, which is happening slowly (but we`re not there yet). Possibly there has been so much static, so many quotes, little news items coming out that it is impossible to keep up with it......this might be intentional on the part of Washington (keep the noise level low but persistent, make people accustomed to the idea of conflict against Iran, but don`t shock them now). I tend to think that there is a strategy to that effect.

It seems to me that the US is doing all it can to force Iran to start the conflict. The constant BS about nuclear weapons programs fools no-one except the US sheeple. It's a bit like constantly prodding a hornets nest with a stick, so that you can "justify" retaliatory insecticide use.

Why US wants to start yet another unwinnable war is beyond the power of most rational people to comprehend. Thereagain,I have never known anyone accuse the US government or military of being rational.

Sadly I expect that the war will be started one way or another. If the Iranians can't be forced into action, the Israeli puppet state will be used to spearhead the conflict. Some pathetic false excuse will be used to rationalize yet another illegal US war.

Let us not forget that the Saudi Kingdom, with foreign devils (American forces) on holy land, also has some interest in the use of American military might to reduce the power of certain Muslim sects. (See House of Bush, House of Saud, Craig Unger).

Sometimes I have trouble deciding which is the puppet of the other, Israel or USA.

Sometimes I have trouble deciding which is the puppet of the other, Israel or USA.

niether. usa is a lapdog.

I don't think we're going to be starting a war. There's no political stomach for it. We still haven't extricated ourselves from Iraq or Afghanistan. We aren't going after Iran on top of that.

I think the saber-rattling serves two purposes: 1) to mollify Israel, which is likely to bomb Iran if we don't Do Something and 2) to prove that the "mommy party" is tough enough to be trusted on defense.

I hadn't been able to sort the ridiculous focus on Iran until I considered this: Geography. Buffer between Russia/China and the Iraqi oil.

Occam's razor.

Add in the need for a Satan to rally Americans to battle...


I don't buy it.

One, there is no way we are going to colonize Iran to the point it would serve as a buffer. You only need to look at Iraq and Afghanistan to see that. Iraq was supposed to be the low-hanging fruit, remember.

I've no doubt many in Washington would love to install peace, democracy free market capitalism, and the American Way in Tehran, but Iraq made it clear it's not going to happen. Syria, Iran, and the rest did not fall like dominoes after Iraq, and we simply don't have the resources to handle any more wars.

Iran isn't going to rally Americans at this point. They're tired of war. Afghanistan has gone on longer than Vietnam now, with no end in sight (despite what Obama says).

And if the point was to rally people, why is there so little press coverage?

I didn't express any opinion as to what or how, only the possible motivation. And, there are still a lot of secularists there itching to overthrow the fundamentalists. Maybe there is something in their tea leaves that makes them think it's doable.

Whatever. It's the only plausible explanation of the motives I can find, so will stay with that for now.


They cannot put boots on the ground. But they can bomb Iran from the air. They have a list of 10,000 targets they can destroy in a few hours. I think the drum beat for attack will start in fall, there will be a pretense to negotiate, negotiations will be declared a failure, an ultimatum will be given (which Iran will have to refuse) and bombing will begin in earnest in spring next year.

I hope the above scenario does not occur. We will wait and see.

Friends told me of this last night, but I found nothing when I did a search. Why is this so quiet? It's hardly appropriate in scale to the import of the issue.


Meanwhile, on our petit pied à terre, we're quietly getting our ducks in order.

NSP: New $200m power line between N.S., N.B. needed within decade

Nova Scotia Power is eyeing expansion of its electricity transmission system between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

The utility says a new 345-kilovolt power line costing $200 million will be needed within a decade to improve the stability and reliability of the power system in both provinces.


Nova Scotia Power says a new power line may be necessary to import and export electricity as more power will be generated from renewable sources.

"Anticipated changes in generation in Nova Scotia such as increased wind power may require reinforcement of the provincial (power transmission system)," the company says.

"Proposed large-scale generation developments outside of Nova Scotia, if pursued, also could provide material benefits for Nova Scotia Power customers which would justify the addition of a second (power line). Within the next decade, another (line) will become necessary."

See: http://thechronicleherald.ca/Business/1190874.html

Presently, Nova Scotia Power has 116 MW of installed wind capacity and another 200 MW committed or under construction. That number is expected to increase substantially over time, so a more efficient pooling of generation resources will greatly enhance reliability and help reduce the cost of service. The big game changer is the Lower Churchill Falls and beefing-up our inter-ties with New Brunswick makes the routing of that power via us that much more attractive.


The big game changer is the Lower Churchill Falls and beefing-up our inter-ties with New Brunswick makes the routing of that power via us that much more attractive.

That's really good news, Paul.

Another day closer to hydro replacing fossil fuel electrical generation on nôtre petit pied à terre.

Every bit helps.


PS: Now I'm wondering which way the juice will flow in the new lines? More musings that N.B. Power is pushing forward with its plans for a second nuclear power plant. The first reactor was too expensive so the solution is to build another by a different brand name.

I suppose if one has difficulties paying for an old Cadillac one might as well have a new Ferrari parked in the garage beside it. Sigh....

Hi Tom,

For additional media coverage on this possible second reactor see: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/new-brunswick/story/2010/07/08/nb-nuclear-lette...

Without knowing the full story, there could be considerable risk for all parties. For example, would NB Power be contractually obligated to purchase this power under a long-term contract and, if so, will it be cost competitive with other sources including Churchill Falls. What if provincial demand is less than forecast? Will there be penalties related to the excess? Will New Brunswick become overly dependent upon a single type of generation and, if so, what are the implications of this? Is the Province on the hook if the holding company goes bankrupt? Can this plant compete toe-to-toe with Hydro-Québec in the export market? Forgive my cynicism, but I don't see how this turkey can fly.


"As God as my witness I thought turkeys could fly" (t.v. classic, warning poor quality)

Just b/c you have big ideas in top management doesn't mean the folks on the ground don't see the foolishness of it all.

Consumer borrowing down sharply in May

The Federal Reserve says borrowing dropped by $9.1 billion in May. It also says borrowing declined by $14.9 billion in April, revising an initial estimate that showed a gain for the month.

So, what had been reported as a gain in April turned out to actually be a $15 billion decline?

Doesn't exactly shore up one's faith in government statistics...

Doesn't exactly shore up one's faith in government statistics...

I'm with Winston Churchill on this one. As he said, "the only statistics you can trust are those you falsified yourself". :o)

Or as Mark Twain attributed to Benjamin Disraeli: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."

When you graph the numbers, the pattern is clear. Consumer credit peaked the same month oil prices peaked, and has been declining ever since:

Mortgage lending peaked very slightly earlier. It had been pumping 1 trillion of non-taxable cash into the economy each year, but then stalled out. (Plus capital gains for most of the time, as a result of the phony high demand for homes.) Such a high rate of growth had been engineered, but couldn't be sustained, especially in light of high oil prices.

What struck me today when I looked at the numbers was how quickly the federal government debt rose to mostly offset the decline in private debt.

The increase in federal debt started in the third quarter of 2008 - the same quarter oil prices maxed out, then dropped.

Each of the patterns has shown little change since July 2008.

Hi Gail,

I appreciate how you tie things together.

Could you possibly expand a little on:

"What struck me today when I looked at the numbers was how quickly the federal government debt rose to mostly offset the decline in private debt."

How do you think this works? What is the impetus, and what is the result? What is the mechanism?

Could you give an example of the intersection so I can better try to understand?

Each of the patterns has shown little change since July 2008.

Do you see those patterns continuing in the same direction to a breaking point?

So, what had been reported as a gain in April turned out to actually be a $15 billion decline?

What's so disturbing about 'mistakes' like that, is the markets respond to the information when it is originally released, not later when it is changed. Which makes one have to wonder if it was in fact a mistake, or an attempt to manipulate investors.

Report: Smart grid spending grows to $46B by 2015

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Total worldwide investments in smart electric grids is accelerating and will approach $46 billion by 2015, the vast majority of it on back-end transmission and distribution systems, according to a new report by ABI Research.