Drumbeat: July 30, 2010

ANALYSIS-Russian oil output yet to peak, say drillers

(Reuters) - Global oil servicing firms are seeing strong growth in Russia as companies order advanced technology for depleted West Siberian fields in a move that may allow Russian output to grow further from current peak levels.

Russian oil output has grown by 70 percent since 1999 to exceed 10 million barrels per day and become the world's largest. It has defied repeated predictions it would fall as depletion of West Siberian fields outpaces production growth in East Siberia.

But oil servicing firms say the quest for the best equipment and technology may allow Russia to achieve even its ambitious targets to produce as much as 10.7 million bpd by 2030 if Arctic and offshore Caspian Sea fields are also put on stream.

Why We'll See $300 Oil by 2020

For decades, the theory of peak oil—or the idea that the world either has or will soon exhaust its ability to produce more oil—was derided as a doomsday scenario too unbelievable to ever come to pass. But $147 oil and one commodity crash later, and suddenly peak oil doesn't sound so strange after all.

In fact, mounting scientific evidence suggests that peak oil will not only be a reality, but may soon be upon us, says Charles Maxwell, senior energy analyst for Weeden & Co.

Scientists: BP dispersants have made spill more toxic

Amid growing concern about the use of dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico, a group of scientists working for law firms suing BP says their testing indicates that the dispersants being used to break up the oil are making this spill even more toxic to marine life.

U.S. Justice Staff Said to Urge Subpoenas for BP Managers

U.S. Justice Department attorneys conducting a criminal probe of the BP Plc well explosion in the Gulf of Mexico have recommended that a grand jury be convened and BP managers subpoenaed to determine if any laws were broken, a person familiar with the investigation said.

Niger Delta Militants Threaten to Resume Attacks on Oil Facilities

Nigeria's main militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), is threatening to resume attacks on oil facilities in two weeks unless there is more progress in tackling the region’s problems. A spokesman for the group blames what he calls government inaction.

Venezuela approves Orinoco oil joint ventures

Reuters) - Venezuela has formally approved the creation of three joint ventures with foreign energy companies in the next step towards developing the OPEC nation's vast Orinoco extra heavy crude belt.

The Latin American country signed deals with several companies in February to exploit the reserves in the region, which are seen as some of the biggest deposits in the world.

Sri Lanka: Where there’s oil – There’s turmoil

We are almost certainly on the threshold of a new era of economic development and international diplomacy ushered in by the imminent discovery of oil. Drilling is due to start in the Mannar Basin next January. This opens before us exciting prospects of economic prosperity as well as daunting challenges posed by players in the arena of global political and diplomatic relations.

Mexico arrests Pemex oil official in bribery case

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican police have arrested an official at state oil monopoly Pemex on suspicion of trying to sell an exploration contract for around $19,000, the attorney general's office said on Thursday.

Kabul rioters burn SUVs, yell 'Death to America'

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan police fired shots on Friday to disperse hundreds of people protesting the deaths of civilians in an accident involving a U.S. Embassy vehicle, officials said.

A crowd of angry Afghans shouted "Death to America," hurled stones and set fire to two SUVs after the crash on a road leading to Kabul's airport, according to the capital's criminal investigations chief, Abdul Ghaafar Sayedzada.

A NATO official told AFP the vehicles involved in the crash belonged to the U.S. Embassy.

Greek gas pumps dry despite strike order

Serious fuel shortages persisted in Greece on Thursday, hurting businesses and the country's tourism industry, after an emergency order to force striking truckers back to work was stalled by red tape.

Large coal reserve base to be built in Wuhan

(China Knowledge) - Henan-based China Zhong Ping Energy Chemical Group Co will team up with the Wuhan municipal government to build a large coal reserve base in the city, according to a statement published on the website of the Department of the Commerce of Hubei Province.

China's Nuclear Power Building Boom

The demand for emission-free nuclear electricity in China is growing as quickly as its megacities and middle-class. Some analysts estimate that China will need to build as many as 300 new nuclear power plants by 2050 -- a nuclear building boom so ambitious that it threatens to tax the world's supply of uranium to its limits. China currently has 17 nuclear reactors under construction or in the planning stages and 11 in operation. For comparison, the United States depends on 104 active reactors to provide about 20 percent of nation's electricity.

Steve LeVine: How long will the Chinese put up with coal?

Woodmac's report concludes that China's appetite for LNG will swell for the next decade, requiring the gas equivalent of 380,000 barrels a day of oil imports, but that this demand will be cut in half in the 2020s. Why? Woodmac doesn't say China will give up on gas, but rather that it's going to develop its own domestic resources -- specifically shale gas, using hydro-fracturing technology invented in the United States. In this scenario, China's gas supplants its use of industrial oil, but not too much coal, which will continue to be far and away the fuel of choice for the production of electricity.

GM to boost Chevy Volt production

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- General Motors announced Friday that the automaker has raised its planned production of the Chevrolet Volt electric car to 45,000 in 2012.

Originally the automaker planned to produce 30,000 Volts in its second year of production.

Gazing at the globe through a glass half full

I’m settling into my summer reading: I’ve read Matt Ridley’s The Rational Optimist and I’ve now moved on to a note just out from Baillie Gifford called Rational Optimism.

I found myself rather taken by Ridley’s book – largely because I think I might be something of an optimist myself. I’m mildly concerned about peak oil. But I also think it pretty likely that any long-term crisis over a shortage of fossil fuels will be thwarted by something along the lines of Ridley’s “vast solar power farms” in Algeria and some “pebble-bed passive safe modular nuclear reactors”. As my husband mutters every time an oil doomster comes to dinner, the Stone Age didn’t end because they ran out of stones.

Industrial Graft-Vs-Host Disease and the Throw-Away Economy

It has been noted among many Peak Oil advocates that in the future, as the cost of a) producing consumer goods, b) shipping them from the other side of the planet, or c) both, rise with the price of oil, people will turn repeatedly to repairing that which they already own.

Unfortunately, when it comes to many (most?) of the small consumer items we take for granted, this may be somewhat wishful thinking.

How Can We Reduce Oil Consumption & Still Ship Goods and Ourselves Around the Globe?

Two things which I think are worth keeping front and center when discussing how we wean ourselves off our petroleum addiction: Travel between nations is good; trade between nations is good. It's easy to point out specific incidences where less-than-savory outcomes resulted from trade and travel, but on the whole both are beneficial for human culture. What we need to address is how are we going to move our goods and ourselves around in less energy intensive ways, so that both are less harmful to the planet (and therefore ourselves).

Trapped in an age of false plenty

In the 1920s, in southern US states like California and Florida, it wasn't uncommon to see solar water heaters on the roofs of homes. Not that there were a lot of people eager to be green back then, it was simply an inexpensive way to heat water.

Then natural gas wells were drilled, and pipes were laid, and new homes were built with the pipes running right up into the hot water heaters. And the rooftop water heaters vanished.


Because natural gas was cheaper? Of course not. How could anything you pay for be cheaper than free sunlight? But natural gas was more efficient, and it didn't require home builders to put up the rooftop heaters, and roofs probably looked a bit prettier without pipes running across them.

The watermelon party

Two years ago as the world's economy collapsed, The Economist devoted an entire issue to the idea of so-called steady state economics.

The issue featured two academics who were already stars of the environmental movement, Tim Jackson and Herman Daly.

First results from Transition Together evaluation

‘Transition Together’, the street-by-street behaviour change programme developed by Transition Town Totnes and now being piloted in 10 other communities, has just completed analysing the data that has come back from the first 4 groups, comprising 32 households in Totnes. They have completed all 7 of the sessions set out in the workbook, and the data offers a fascinating first look at whether the process works or not. The results from the other 31 groups currently underway are expected this Autumn. Here, Fiona Ward of Transition Together shares the results that have emerged.

Unnatural Science

Clearly I’ve been out of some loop for too long, but does everyone take for granted now that science sites are where graduate students, researchers, doctors and the “skeptical community” go not to interpret data or review experiments but to chip off one-liners, promote their books and jeer at smokers, fat people and churchgoers? And can anyone who still enjoys this class-inflected bloodsport tell me why it has to happen under the banner of science?

Hammering away at an ideology, substituting stridency for contemplation, pummeling its enemies in absentia: ScienceBlogs has become Fox News for the religion-baiting, peak-oil crowd.

Fossil Fuel Subsidies Are 12 Times Support for Renewables, Study Shows

Global subsidies for fossil fuels dwarf support given to renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power and biofuels, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said.

Governments last year gave $43 billion to $46 billion of support to renewable energy through tax credits, guaranteed electricity prices known as feed-in tariffs and alternative energy credits, the London-based research group said today in a statement. That compares with the $557 billion that the International Energy Agency last month said was spent to subsidize fossil fuels in 2008.

“One of the reasons the clean energy sector is starved of funding is because mainstream investors worry that renewable energy only works with direct government support,” said Michael Liebreich, chief executive of New Energy Finance. “This analysis shows that the global direct subsidy for fossil fuels is around ten times the subsidy for renewables.”

Disguised Blessing

Oil is nobody's poster child at the moment, what with the spill off China's Dalian port an aching reminder of the much larger calamity on the U.S. Gulf coast and persistent fouling of places like Nigeria. This can be a dirty business, even before the fossil fuel is burned and we experience whatever the effects of that are.

Yet there is good news on the oil front--the gloomiest pricing scenario has not happened. Remember July 2008, when spot crude exceeded $140 a barrel? Serious people were contemplating a $200 level, and some in the "peak oil is here" camp--that's the theory that the world has already begun to exhaust its reserves and, thus taken by surprise, will enter a panicky price spiral--were talking $300. In fact, the spot price has barely touched $83 in 22 months.

Oil Falls, Poised for Weekly Decline, on Weaker Global Economic Concern

Oil fell in New York, poised for its biggest weekly decline in four, on concern that faltering global economic growth will curtail a recovery in fuel demand.

Crude pared yesterday’s 1.8 percent gain as Asian and European equities dropped before a report on U.S. gross domestic product. Oil has retreated 1.4 percent this week, its largest loss since the five days ended July 2. Prices may decline next week as U.S. inventories rise, according to a Bloomberg survey of analysts.

British Gas warns of rise in energy bills

British Gas, major provider of gas and electricity to UK homes, has said energy bills may rise although it "will try to delay" the hike as long as it can.

The warning comes just as the company is being pressurised by consumer groups to cut energy bills, after it reported a 98 per cent rise in profits to £585m over last year.

Gulf of Mexico Oil Imports Rise as Floating Storage Wanes

Oil imports into the Gulf of Mexico region surged to a record last week as the profits from floating storage evaporated, pushing traders to unload their cargoes and forcing crude futures lower.

The price advantage for traders who buy oil and store it at sea for a month instead of delivering it immediately has shrunk 90 percent since May. Floating storage in the Gulf dropped 24 percent in the week ended July 23, Bloomberg data show.

Rosneft, Others May Deliver Gasoline to Iran

Rosneft, Gazprom Neft and Tatneft may begin delivering gasoline to Iran in a month, the head of the Iran Commission of the Moscow Chamber of Commerce and Industry said Thursday.

Talks are being held on a “working level” and the first delivery may take place in late August or September, Rajab Safarov said in an interview.

China Declares Sovereignty in Southern Sea as U.S. Seeks Role in Disputes

China declared its “indisputable sovereignty” over the South China Sea and held naval drills in the waters, pushing back against a U.S. role in resolving disputes in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.

“China has indisputable sovereignty of the South Sea and China has sufficient historical and legal backing” to underpin its claims, Geng Yansheng, a Ministry of Defense spokesman, told reporters at a military compound outside Beijing today. It opposes efforts to “internationalize” the issue and will resolve differences through “friendly negotiation,” he said.

Big Oil posts better profits on higher fuel prices

NEW YORK — The major oil companies continue to climb back from the recession, with higher fuel prices driving up earnings.

After setting record profits in 2008, the oil industry tanked last year as the global economic downturn induced a dramatic drop in oil and natural gas prices. On Thursday, Exxon Mobil Corp. said it earned $7.56 billion in the second quarter, its best result since the last three months of 2008. Royal Dutch Shell Group posted a 15 percent gain in net income. A day earlier, ConocoPhillips said net income nearly tripled in the April-June period.

Exxon Mobil, PetroChina In Talks On China Gas Project -Source

BEIJING -(Dow Jones)- U.S. oil major Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) is in talks with PetroChina Co. to jointly explore and develop an unconventional gas block in the resource-rich Ordos basin in north China, a person who has direct knowledge of the matter told Dow Jones Newswires.

A successful conclusion to the talks would mark the entry of another global energy major into China's huge but undeveloped shale or tight gas sector, which China hasn't been able to develop due to a lack of technical expertise.

Total Reports 72% Increase in Profit After Raising Production

Total SA, Europe’s third-biggest oil company, reported a 72 percent increase in second-quarter profit after projects started last year were ramped up.

Profit excluding changes in inventories and the value of a stake in Sanofi-Aventis SA rose to 2.96 billion euros ($3.9 billion) from 1.68 billion euros a year earlier, the Paris-based company said today in a statement. That beat the 2.65 billion- euro mean estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Sunoco Rebounds on Refining

Independent refiner and marketer of petroleum products, Sunoco Inc. reported significantly better-than-expected second quarter 2010 results, driven by steady earnings from most of its business segments. Earnings per share, excluding special items, came in at $1.31, outshining the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 74 cents. The reported quarter result was substantially ahead of the loss per share of 27 cents in the second quarter 2009.

Pair of Atlantic Weather Systems Have Low Chance of Becoming Depressions

Two weather systems over the Atlantic and southeastern Caribbean have a “low chance” of strengthening into depressions or tropical storms, the National Hurricane Center said.

Russia To Export 5.5 Million Tons Urals From Primorsk In Aug

LONDON -(Dow Jones)- Russia plans to export 5.5 million metric tons, or around 1.3 million barrels a day, of Urals crude in August from its Baltic Sea port of Primorsk, which is lower than the 6 million tons planned for July, according to the loading program seen by Dow Jones Newswires Friday.

Formosa Oil Refinery Fire May Have Polluted Taiwan Fishery, Officials Say

A fire at Formosa Petrochemical Corp.’s residual processing unit this month may have polluted fishery near the plant, local government officials said.

Dead clams and fish have been found in an area of about 1,000 hectares (2,471 acres) since the July 25 accident, said Lai Chien-sheng, a section chief at the agriculture department of Yunlin county, where the plant is located. “We’re probing the cause of the deaths,” he said by phone today.

Regulators Warned Company on Pipeline Corrosion

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — The company responsible for a massive oil spill here was warned in January by federal regulators about insufficient monitoring of corrosion on the pipeline that federal officials say leaked more than one million gallons of oil into a major waterway this week.

The owner of the pipeline, Enbridge Energy Partners, received several citations from federal regulators in recent years before the warning in January. Company officials said they had routinely tested the pipeline for corrosion.

Enbridge: Corrosion not clue in oil spill

Reports of corrosion on Enbridge Inc.'s local oil pipeline aren't necessarily clues to the cause of the company's possibly 1 million-gallon leak into the Kalamazoo River this week, Enbridge officials said Thursday.

The unseen damage of a leaking pipe

Thick, black oil covers patches of grass on Debbie Howard's property, which borders the Kalamazoo River for slightly more than a mile.

Flooding has brought oil from the river onto Howard's 60-acre property in Galesburg, next to the Fort Custer Recreation Area. The water receded but left a coat of oil in its wake, she said.

Report: Michigan ranks high in pipeline accidents

WASHINGTON -- Michigan is more familiar than most states with oil spills and other pipeline accidents, according to a report released Thursday by the National Wildlife Federation.

Michigan had 61 "significant incidents" over the past decade, the ninth-largest number in the country.

Spill halted, Enbridge’s reputation sullied

The Enbridge spill into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River has been contained, but it’s left a nasty sheen on the company’s reputation and its sprawling network of aging pipelines in North America.

US expert says China's worst oil spill is far larger than government has reported so far

BEIJING (AP) — China's worst known oil spill is dozens of times larger than the government has reported, and some of the oil was spilled deliberately to avoid an even larger disaster, an American expert said Friday.

China's government has said 1,500 tons of oil spilled after a pipeline exploded two weeks ago near the northeastern city of Dalian, sending 100-foot- (30-meter-) high flames raging near one of the country's key strategic oil reserves. It has not updated that estimate since a few days after the spill.

But Rick Steiner, a former University of Alaska marine conservation specialist, estimated 60,000 tons to 90,000 tons of oil actually spilled into the Yellow Sea.

Explosion, Fire at Storage Tank at Pemex's Madero Refinery Evacuates 2,000

About 2,000 people were evacuated by Mexican authorities after an explosion and fire at a coker unit gasoline storage tank at Petroleos Mexicanos’s Francisco I. Madero refinery on the Gulf of Mexico.

The blaze was under control at 6:30 p.m. local time yesterday, said a Pemex spokesman, who asked not to be identified in accordance with company policy. No other facilities at the refinery were damaged, he said.

Libya boosts reserves

Libya's proven crude oil reserves rose to 46 billion barrels in the first half of this year after adding 612 million barrels from new fields, according to reports.

House to Take Up Offshore Drilling Reform Bill

Three months after the catastrophic oil rig explosion that sent millions of gallons of crude spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. House of Representatives was poised on Friday to debate legislation clamping down on the industry's offshore drilling practices.

BP's Hayward: 'I became a villain for doing the right thing'

Tony Hayward, who resigned as chief executive of BP in the wake of the Gulf oil spill, has said that he was turned into "a villain for doing the right thing."

In his first interview since deciding to step down, Hayward told the Wall Street Journal that he did everything possible after the Deepwater Horizon exploded, by taking responsibility for the spill and spending billions on the clean-up operation and efforts to stop the leak.

US gas stations: Stay BP or change name to Amoco?

NEW ORLEANS — BP gas station owners across the country are divided over whether the oil giant stained by its handling of the Gulf spill should rebrand U.S. outlets as Amoco or another name as part of its effort to repair the company's badly damaged reputation.

Sinopec Says BP Declined Its Offer to Buy Some `Good' Assets After Spill

China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., Asia’s biggest refiner, said BP Plc declined an offer by the Chinese company to buy some of its assets.

“We’ve talked to BP on some good assets, but they won’t sell,” Zhang Jianhua, senior vice president of the company known as Sinopec, said in an interview in Shanghai today, without naming the ventures. “We aren’t in any talks with BP right now.”

Blowout Beneficiary

BP's spill is scaring oil and gas majors out of the deep water. That's good news for shale gas pioneer Range Resources.

Gulf of Mexico Has Long Been a Sink of Pollution

HOUMA, La. — Loulan Pitre Sr. was born on the Gulf Coast in 1921, the son of an oysterman. Nearly all his life, he worked on the water, abiding by the widely shared faith that the resources of the Gulf of Mexico were limitless.

As a young Marine staff sergeant, back home after fighting in the South Pacific, he stood on barges in the gulf and watched as surplus mines, bombs and ammunition were pushed over the side.

He helped build the gulf’s very first offshore oil drilling platforms in the late 1940s, installing bolts on perilously high perches over the water. He worked on a shrimp boat, and later as the captain of a service boat for drilling platforms.

The gulf has changed, Mr. Pitre said: “I think it’s too far gone to salvage.”

‘Peak oil boost for our industry’: 2020 Vision

However, the Twenty Teens are predicted to herald the arrival of Peak Oil. This will finally bring home the message that our transport needs to change dramatically.

Has this province reached its peak?

In a sense, Alberta reached its peak oil moment years ago with the decline of conventional oil reserves followed by the demise of its natural gas sector. When previous booms went bust, the expectation of the good times cycling back was always fulfilled — a resiliency no longer guaranteed.

Given its dependence on the oilsands, Calgary’s one-horse standing’s been whittled down to a pair of hooves and the pony they’re under has become an international pariah.

T3 presents - Making Sense of the Financial Crisis in the Era of Peak Oil

Transition Town Tramore (T3) and Futureproof Kilkenny have come together to organise for Canadian Energy Consultant and Financial Blogger Nicole Foss to visit the South East and give a presentation entitled Making Sense of the Financial Crisis in the Era of Peak Oil.

Nicole's presentation will give a thorough overview of the problems being faced within the financial system, and explain how it relates to the problems being experienced in the energy production system.

Living off the land

Five years have passed since we left Sydney. It seems like five minutes, yet our city life feels like a hundred years ago. We left to become as self-sufficient as possible after learning about the coming age of shortages and chaos resulting from peak oil (see opposite). Six months after leaving Sydney behind, I wrote a book called Choosing Eden (published by Random House Australia) explaining the move to the little farm we grandly called Eden Forest Permaculture Sanctuary.

Improved Gulf power grid reduces blackouts

The new GCC electricity grid has put an end to power cuts in four countries in the northern Gulf but the lack of an agreed tariff is hampering more effective use of the US$1.4 billion (Dh5.14bn) network, a senior official says.

The grid, which was connected for the first time last year, has allowed Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar to better handle surges in demand on the hottest summer days.

Spain Nearing Accord With Solar Producers on Reducing Subsidies

The Spanish government and solar- power producers are moving toward an agreement aimed at reducing subsidies to the industry and reining in electricity prices without damaging the country’s renewable energy industry.

Spain to Investigate Solar Plants Over Subsidies, Government Official Says

Spain may force any solar plant owners who cheated on paperwork to gain higher subsidies to repay income earned through deception, a ministry official said.

California Clears Hurdle for Electric-Car Charging Stations to Sell Power

California regulators voted to make it easier for electric-car charging companies to sell power in the U.S. state that’s likely to be the biggest market for such vehicles.

Fight Gears Up on Biomass

There is evidently no form of energy, including renewable energy, that lacks opposition. A big spat right now centers on biomass power plants.

Bike may spark an electric revolution

Eqbal al Yousuf said his company planned to sell Phoenix’s first 150 electric pick-up trucks by the end of the year but mainly in the US where there were government cash incentives for buyers and American authorities were pushing for green vehicles to be used in the public sector.

Without the government support to reduce the cost and risk in the UAE, local consumers will be wary of spending the US$75,000 (Dh275,475) for such a pick-up, he said.

“Humans get scared of anything new. We get scared of the unknown,” Mr al Yousuf said. “And this technology here is unknown for a lot of people around the world. So without the government push, without the government support, even if it’s cost-effective, a lot of people will not go for it.”

Instead of four-wheel vehicles, Mr al Yousuf plans to sell Phoenix’s electric bicycles in the UAE as early as September, before they are rolled out in any other market. The first shipment will be for 500 bikes, he said. The $800 bicycles have a maximum speed of 26kph and a range of 31km on a full charge.

Government funding for electric cars cut by 80%

A government scheme to give motorists money off when purchasing electric cars has been cut by 80 per cent. Despite recent warnings from independent climate change groups that Britain must increase the amount of electric cars drastically if it wants to meet EU emission targets, the fate of low-carbon charging points hangs in the balance. Environmental groups, politicians and electric car-makers argue that cutting the incentive will reduce the amount of green jobs and harm the cars’ take up.

Energy Department tests energy-saving program

The Energy Department has picked Bethesda-based Marriott International Inc. to be one of the companies in a pilot program to help businesses, governments and other organizations reduce energy use in their buildings.

EPA rejects challenge to climate rules

The Environmental Protection Agency Thursday rejected an effort to keep it from regulating greenhouse gas emissions, saying that e-mails released in last fall’s “Climategate” scandal gave it no reason to reconsider the science of global warming.

In a sternly written opinion, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said she didn’t agree with requests from the GOP attorneys general from Texas and Virginia, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other conservative groups that questioned the underlying science linking humans to global warming and also warned of the potential economic burdens from new climate rules.

Cutting soot emissions best hope for saving Arctic ice

According to a new study led by Mark Z. Jacobson of Stanford University in the US, the quickest, best way to slow the rapid melting of Arctic sea ice is to reduce soot emissions from the burning of fossil fuel, wood and dung.

His analysis shows that soot is second only to CO2 in contributing to global warming.

Another great TED video: Susan Shaw: The oil spill's toxic trade-off

Break down the oil slick, keep it off the shores: that's grounds for pumping toxic dispersant into the Gulf, say clean-up overseers. Susan Shaw shows evidence it's sparing some beaches only at devastating cost to the health of the deep sea.

Just another case of externalizing the costs - we don't want to be bothered with messy beaches as a reminder of the ridiculous lifestyle we have adopted. So... let's screw over every other species below the surface of the sea. The decision to use dispersants is a fine analogy for every decision we make when given the chance to take the fork in the road that would lead us to reflect on what we're doing and where we're headed.

Just another case of externalizing the costs - we don't want to be bothered with messy beaches...

Hey, even gives a whole new meaning to economist's jargon, "sunk costs vs stranded costs."

Biomass energy review shelved

Nova Scotia's utility regulator has stopped its review of a $208-million proposal to burn wood to generate power while it reviews alternative energy projects.

The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board shelved the biomass proposal Thursday. Board members said they wanted information about other options so they can do a thorough comparison.

See: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/nova-scotia/story/2010/07/30/ns-biomass-power-r...


Regulators hit pause on biomass
Board suspends hearings to get info on alternatives to $208-million project

A regulatory hearing on Nova Scotia Power Inc.’s application to build a $208-million biomass energy project in Port Hawkesbury has been put on hold pending a review of other renewable energy projects.


Critics of the biomass plan argued during four days of hearings that it wouldn’t help reduce greenhouse gases or the burning of coal.

It was also suggested there wasn’t adequate waste-wood supply to feed the system, which might result in increased clearcutting of Nova Scotia’s forests.

See: http://thechronicleherald.ca/Business/1194325.html

Best hopes for this ill-conceived proposal dying once and for all.



I don't know if this great link has been shared before,
from the Rocky Mountain Institute,

an interactive oil imports map

which can be useful for presentations on oil dependency and peak oil.

Wondering if the Enbridge pipeline leak will fuel the demise of the planned Alberta through BC to Kitimat tanker port? I still don't think the First nations of BC will allow it to proceed due to lack of treaties, etc. Significance? Oil Sands oil will remain directed south as opposed to flowing to China.


Here's today's story about another impact of extreme weather from the NYT. The loss of a portion of the Russian grain crop isn't the only problem...

E. Swanson

A lot of heavy flooding elsewhere, too..

Pakistan and Afghanistan got hammered..

Meanwhile, the forest fires in Canada are so big and widespread that they are affecting skies in Southern Minnesota, hundreds of miles away.


On the radio they said the persistent haze we've been having is partly from these fires.

We had smoke smell and haze down here in central NH earlier in the summer from forest fires in Quebec. Pretty nasty at times.

The Montreal Gazette - Sep 26, 1985

In a 25-page, the U S Geological Survey estimated there are 55O billion barrels of oil In the world still to be discovered, but that 120 billion of those barrels are in the Middle East.

"The most important conclusion of our study is that the Middle East Increasingly will monopolize world petroleum supplies," said Charles Masters, the chief author of the report.
"Even with continued frontier exploration effort and success, that distribution reality is not like to change." he said. "We have but a few decades to enjoy the convenience of crude oil as our major energy fuel."

The researchers said the known reserves and new discoveries can be expected to meet the world's needs until about the middle of the next century. But. they warned, "we can anticipate many irregularities in its availability during those last decades of oil prominence "

Contrast that with the resources-are-bursting-at-the-seams of USGS 2000. It anticipates CERA's bumpy plateau, too, but without their apparent sugarcoating of the concept - or at least as far as I know they didn't comment much on the negative side of enduring decades of marginal spare capacity, with attendant volatility of price and spot shortages.

Re: Fossil Fuel Subsidies are 12 Times Support for Renewables (above)

Talk about lies, damn lies and statistics. While the absolute total $ amount of subsidies for FF is 12 times the $ support for renewables, given the vast majority of our energy supplies come from FF, the subsidy per BTU / BOE / KWH equivalent will be the other way round - per BOE, FF gets very little subsidy, whereas renewables get quite a lot.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for subsidising renewables and removing FF subsidies; what annoys me is MSM using numbers to present a misleading story.


If you could elaborate, I'd be grateful.

They didn't elaborate on what assumptions were included in that $557 billion of 'FF Subsidies', but there are surely significant expenditures from the Western powers and others that are essentially spent to 'protect the pipelines' and continue the Crude Party.

Beyond that, I don't think it is reasonable to compare it with BOE, but instead against GDP or similar. It's about the amount invested, and what it says about our priorities. Clearly Renewables do not deliver the energy punch of OIL, but their importance lies in our having access to other sources than Burned Fuels, be that for Emissions and Carbon Issues, Resilience, Balance of Trade.. these issues will point towards our use of subsidies on vitally important but difficult-to-quantify Inputs and Outputs.

As all that goes, our massive protection of the Oil Infrastructure certainly shows itself as both Profligate and Short-sighted.

I posted the top web address (Renewable subsidies) onto the Greenwall at the Greens Party here in Australia.
We are about to vote.

I am motivated to put an end to the Punch and Judy puppet show that is the Australian election.
I am taking aim, not at the Puppets but the Puppet Master.

Tony Hayward has his reward, Money.
I can't think of any way of expressing myself politely , Tony.

Interpreting Headlines -- Improved Gulf Power Grid

Improved Gulf power grid reduces blackouts

The grid, which was connected for the first time last year, has allowed Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar to better handle surges in demand on the hottest summer days.
Qatar, which maintains a large electricity surplus, said last year it would be willing to export power to neighbours
“I don’t want to mention names but some countries had virtually no spare capacity, they were very comfortable because of the interconnection, so they have to rely on the other states to help them,”
The grid will receive a major boost when the UAE, the region’s second-largest power network, plugs in early next year.

One more day on the theme of future net LNG exports from the gulf region.

The GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) consists of all the nations on the Arabian peninsula except Yemen. Several countries of the GCC (Suadi Arabia, Kuwait) experience recurring power shortages during the summer. Both of these nations also fire some of their power and desalination plants with oil which they would rather sell. Connecting to a regional power grid would allow them to avoid burning up their main export as long as imported electricity is cheaper than an oil fired power plant. At current prices, natural gas is a much better bet for building new power plants and the region has abundant supplies.

The major natural gas produces in the group are Qatar (~10 bcf/day), Saudi Arabia (~7 bcf/day) and the UAE (~5 bcf/day). The other members produce 1-2 bcf/day. Both Kuwait and UAE are natural gas importers while Saudi Arabia, with no infrastructure for importing, consumes everything it produces.

Building power lines is cheaper and faster than building natural gas pipelines and with the new electrical connectivity we should expect regional power consumption to increase. With new plants being fired by Qatari natural gas we are basically witnessing an export of Qatari gas (in the form of electricity) to its immediate neighbors.

All this boils down to the following assessment from a global net exports perspective:

The new GCC grid will hasten the decline of net LNG exports from the region.

"Everything is connected ... take a look."



Saudi Arabia YOY Diff Petroleum Consumption

Looks like it's working. Who knew that all they needed was an intertie or two? Or not; the North Grid members (Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar) hooked up last July:GCC Electricity Grid Connection On Track, Bahrain’s EWA Says Maybe the electrons didn't arrive in time...or there were bugs in the system. Or Saudis just felt like driving around more. Trend is definitely down from those lofty heights now.

Note negative numbers at depth of crude price/height of recession; even petro powers feel the sting, perhaps in petrochemical exports.

As for last summer, the article stated that the grid was up but that power sales were arranged between individual members. The grid was probably way underutilized last summer.

We'll need a few more months of data to find out if it's working for this summers' peak air conditioning demand. I've got the JODI refined products data up at the JODI Databrowser. Poking around you'll see that consumption of gasoline is in a steady upward trend but that consumption of diesel and residual fuels shows a strong seasonality.

Here's the chart for diesel. It'll be interesting to see if the summer time hump gets flattened out by the GCC grid. Also notice that Saudi Arabia has been a net importer of diesel for the past eighteen months.

Diesel, not residual? Diesel's something you burn in backup generators but for grid power you usually burn lower value grunk. Looks like their stocks of resid are trending down too, and they had to import a few barrels in 2008 as well.

The latest version of the Journal of Energy Security is out with several interesting and well written articles. My favorite:

The Role of Natural Gas and Central Asia in Indian Energy Security.

I highly recommend this free publication for anyone interested in international energy issues.


Re: Living off the land

This story falls into a category that disturbs me at some level. I don't want to disparage the author's efforts, but...

Consider the photo accompanying the story: a small child feeding chickens. Wearing what is clearly manufactured clothing. In an enclosure that appears to be wire or fabric manufactured mesh supported by PVC pipe. They have plans to get "off the grid", but there is no indication of how they will do that, nor how much manufactured equipment will be involved in accomplishing that and maintaining the system. PV panels, inverters, batteries and wire all come from somewhere.

Too many "self sufficiency" pieces implicitly assume that, somewhere not too far away, there's a much more energy-dense technology-rich city cranking things out. Even something as conceptually simple as a lead-acid battery is not a device you casually toss together in the garage. And they ignore that if the farmer is going to obtain things like replacement batteries from that city, s/he needs to produce not only enough food and other produce for their own family, but to exchange for the manufactured goods as well.

It is almost impossible for a family farm to be truly self-sufficient. It's at least one of those "takes a village" things. What fiber will you grow? How will you spin it into thread? Weave fabric? Cut and stitch clothing? Shoes? How much metal is involved in the tools for all that? Where does that come from? I recall reading a piece by an author who was mentally populating a "tribe" that would be self-sufficient when the oil ran out. High on his list was an electrician who knew how to wire PV panels and battery banks. But nowhere on his list was a smith who could fix a broken hoe or a carpenter who could build furniture by hand or a weaver or...

MCain, your comment is spot on. I just saw one example in Mystic the other day: nails. In industrial society, one nail costs a few cents. In the olden days (exemplified in the historic blacksmith workshop at Mystic Seaport), it took 5 minutes of a highly skilled professional to make one. That's about 5 dollars if the workshop plus the blacksmith charge $60 per hour (2010 dollars). That means you need to produce about five pounds of tomatoes to buy one nail!

Anybody trying to become self-sufficient would better take a lifetime supply of everything with them into the homestead, or else self-sufficiency will mean poverty. On the other hand, if you remain partially integrated into industrial society, you could buy 100 mid-size nails for those five pounds of tomatoes (and you could even afford high-tech devices such as screws ;-) )

I've heard about settlers that upon getting ready to move would burn their houses to the ground and pick through the ashes for the nails.

Level of complexity seems to me to be correlated with population density. The more people you have, the more division of labor there can be, the more skills are required, and the more complex the list of items one can create/build/repair.

I'm not sure how complex life could be for a family group of just a handful of people. Beyond that, a minimum number of non-directly-related individuals is needed for genetic diversity of population.

That's true but like a factory or a power plant there is a "critical mass"; the minimum size necessary to enable a certain economy of operation. The real question is how big that population is for a sustainable life style.

Yup, I don't of many back-to-landers who have plans to live in a thatched hut, hunt animals with spears and bows and arrows, grow vegetables with digging sticks, etc. But ultimately that's where we will end up. You can't make solar panels without fossil fuels and you can't make metal tools when all the easily accessible ores are depleted (yes I know there's always the landfills). Humans are going back to the wild -- or going extinct.

I agree no family is going to be 100% self sufficient in todays world. Obviously there are huge far-future challenges to get these local economies together that can produce fibre, that can make nails and the like. But realistically, there is an awful lot of nails out there that have been manufactured already, and plenty of clothes in our wardrobes and flea markets already. We are surrounded by a huge amount of products that we can repurpose and reuse for many years to come and this bounty of necessary goods will likely still be being produced and available for a long time to come.

We can and must take these small early steps towards a different, lower energy future. Energy descent seems inevitable over the long run, but the decline will be gradual and allow time for adaptation. We dont need to spin our own thread or grow our own fibres. We dont need to be self sufficient today. We don't even need to be totally self sufficient in the future. But we do need to be drastically less oil reliant in the near future. We have to take the first steps to reduce our oil dependence now. Reduce, not eliminate. Oil will still be pumped out of the ground long after I am put back into the earth. Coal, solar, wind or nuclear can still power a nail factory when the oil flow reduces. Oil is not going to run out. The flow rate will reduce to a trickle, that is all.

That doesnt mean we are going to stop creating useful stuff like metal nails. It does mean we are going to have to eliminate a lot of pointless effort in other areas. Personally I am quite optimistic right now. A better life will be had by our great-grandkids. It will be a life somewhat different but more satisfying in some ways. A lot less modern junk, a whole lot less ecosphere, but more human contact I think.

Whereas I totally agree with your comment, and I also became a little sceptical of the article when they mentioned everyone attended a ponziculture course, but, your comment also disturbed me. Riding the storm requires cutting dependencies on the failing economic system, and where dependencies remain they must be transformed into non-critical ones (ie. allowed to continue albeit with a backup for when they fail).

You seem to be suggesting that because it is difficult we shouldn't bother to even attempt it, that somehow it is futile. When the truth is that if we are to survive we better learn pretty quick how to provide for ourselves. There isn't really an alternative is there, dependency equates to relying on a dying system for survival.

I think it's a case of better-defining "self-sufficiency". I think when people use the term "self sufficient", they are mostly referring to food. Even that is pretty difficult without land of a decent size, and enough hands to work it.

Many of us can contribute by becoming self-partly-sufficient (if that is a dictionary term) - i.e. by growing our own fruits and vegetables, and maybe producing an amount of our own power, or even wool for clothing.

I have more trouble with the idea of "weathering the storm" as if the predicaments we face are of short duration, and all we have to do is make it through the "trouble" in order for life to be back on an even keel again, albeit with lower energy inputs.

In my view, we have to get used to the idea of a continuity - or, as some describe it, a long grind, to the bottom of the energy slope.

'The Troubles' in Northern Ireland started in the late 60's and only now appear to be ending. Thats a 40 plus year storm that has really torn up that area. Might wanna make some loooong term preparations.

Post industrial ages villages are already forming. A few years back there was a newspaper article about a fire at a tarp city by a river not far from a real city in Connecticut. This fire brought to mind (briefly) the reality of communities forming under bridges, by bends in rivers and just behind the verges of quite cemeteries. I bet some of them are forming on former trading sites of pre contact New England natives. People are living in places like this and learning to adapt to their environment. They do so by exploiting any resource they can find; soup kitchens, dumpsters, land fills, outright theft; and those best adapted to it will be the ones to survive when the next major break comes and our civilization lurches down another notch.

Some will fall through the cracks and succumb to mental illness and starvation, while some will find a way to exploit that, too, like people have been doing for thousands of years. Bit by bit what it means to be cultured humanity will reconstitute while the rest of us speculate about what’s going to happen after the ‘crash.’


Self-sufficiency is truly possible only for a pre-stone age life style. For anything better than the most primitive tools, the making of stone tools is a complex process done by experts in stone knapping. Good material is not easy to come by, and the best flints were traded over distances of hundreds of miles.

I absolutely agree that a pre-industrial lifestyle is the only sustainable lifestyle. Not sure I'd go as far as *pre*-stone age, but stone age anyway.

I've been making changes myself lately -- doing everything possible to eliminate direct fuel use, but this often comes at a cost of additional consumption of manufactured goods, as was mentioned above. I still think I'm on the correct course, however, and here's why...

The current human population and the environmental resources necessary for a stone age existence simply don't mesh. Too many people, and the environment is too far degraded, just about everywhere on the planet. Where did earlier cultures concentrate? Near lakes, rivers, and the ocean -- all of which were great food sources. Here in Michigan where I've settled, every body of water is so contaminated by industrial, agricultural, or residential pollution that none of them would sustain a healthy population of people.

So moving immediately to a stone age lifestyle isn't possible here, and I doubt it's really possible anywhere else. It's where we need to end up, but it's not an option for everyone just yet. Industrial society is in the process of collapsing, but I doubt it will be a nice linear sort of collapse, with incrementally less energy used each year. I think the slowly increasing strain will result in great and sudden upheavals, such that we may just stop pumping oil next year altogether, or maybe 20 years from now. Who knows?

At this point I think it's important to try and make it through the *transition* to the post industrial world. In our current environment, that will by necessity involve some manufactured goods. Billions of people will perish, but eventually, if we don't *all* perish, some folks will be left, the environment will slowly recover, and a stone-age lifestyle will again be possible.

mcain -

jeez, give them a break will ya?! Maybe, just maybe, they thought that they would continue to wear their 'industrial world' clothes and use 'industrial produced' coop wire seeing as how they had them anyway...

... or would you rather that anyone wanting to get off the grid should first have a mass-burning in their front yard of anything they own from the 'industrial age' before they can be worthy of calling themselves truly 'Off Grid-ers'

come on man! there is doomerism and there is just barking. At least that family is trying. Hey, maybe they don't even have a connection to the most pervasive 'industrial' invention yet seen... the internet... Now, there's a thought.

Thanks Hacland,
I'm with you on all that.

Really, we've had people sending clockworks, coaches and printing presses across the oceans for over 400 years now. Why do people think that even a far more agrarian future would have to be one completely devoid of trade or manufacturing?


Too many "self sufficiency" pieces implicitly assume that, somewhere not too far away, there's a much more energy-dense technology-rich city cranking things out.

I think you are rather tough, even scathing. The authors don't make too many grandiose statements about "self-sufficiency" at all - in fact the reverse - they are upfront about what they haven't yet achieved.

Only a small proportion of Australia is suitable for this sort of effort (the coastal arc from Melbourne to Brisbane in the main, with Eden about half-way along it). But even though only a small proportion, it is still a huge area, without great population pressure, and with a lot of under-utilised land still available.

There has been a back-to-the-land movement in this region at least since the 1960s-1970s, and it continues to this day. Attend one of the many weekend markets and you will see a very encouraging exchange of local produce, and the recycling of a huge range of items. People sell hand-tools week in and week out, for example.

I think it is a good "five years on" article, and yet you appear to be making the perfect the enemy of the good. These people are trying to achieve an alternative lifestyle, and giving it a reasonable shot, it seems to me. Lack of purity about "self-sufficiency" in every respect (from growing cereal and fibre, to the production of electricity, etc) does not need to detract from the overall achievement.

C'mon , Mcain. One uses what he has when he has it. If I can get PVC pipe now I'll damn sure use it. If I can run high tensile electric fence now, I'll do it. If I can get overalls at Walmart for $28.97 now, I'll wear them. Where we'll be in 10 years is unknown, but I'll surely use today's available resources now to give me an advantage and a head start. The PV panels that I use now may not be available in 20 years.......so what. My wood stove will be, and the PVC pipe I buried today will still be there too. If I have to barter for thread to repair my overalls, so be it.

Go ride a subway in a loincloth.

Re: Fossil Fuel Subsidies Are 12 Times Support for Renewables, Study Shows, up top.

Sometimes I despair of commenting because it doesn't change any one's ideas. I do it anyway just for my personal enjoyment in pointing out the obvious, at least obvious to me.

From the article:

The U.S. in 2009 provided the most clean energy subsidies, at $18.2 billion, according to New Energy Finance. China provided about $2 billion of support, a “deceptive” figure because the country’s state-owned banks also provide “much crucial support” through low-interest loans, the group said.

With the capping of BP's gulf well TOD has recently returned to bashing ethanol again in a couple of posts. One of the posts claimed that the blenders credit is redundant and a waste of about $6 billion a year.

I am always amazed at the frugality of ethanol opponents. They see $6 billion a year as a boondoggle and go on and on about it. But we spend about $7 billion a month in Afghanistan for who knows what with few boondoggle complaints from anyone. That's about $84 billion a year. Not a peep of outrage.

And the GAO recently reported that the Pentagon has lost track of over $2 billion in Iraq. No outrage again.

Oil has subsidies much greater that the $18.2 cited in the article. They include the costs of wars for oil security that have been raging for the last 20 years. And the costs of lives lost, both American and non American. They include the cost of caring for the war injured and the lost productivity when returning soldiers can not work because of those injuries.

They include the costs of broken families who now have to struggle without support from a bread winner killed or injured in wars for oil security.

They include the costs and potential costs of events like BP's spill as limits are pushed to find oil in hard to reach places like a mile under water.

Oil has a lot of hidden subsidies and costs.

But renewables like ethanol are attacked because the subsidies are easy to see and label. When it comes to subsidies it seems like out of sight is out of mind.

And of course there is the constant ranting about EROEI. Oil is said to have a high EROEI. Perhaps it does but only for the operation of pumping it out of the ground. That high return is collected by the oil company that does it. That is why they are wealthy.

Imported oil does not have a high EROEI. That was collected by the oil company that produced it. Imported oil has the high costs (subsidies) of wars for oil security associated with it plus the oil once imported is nothing but a negative energy operation.

It is comsumed. And the money to import more has to be earned by the economy or borrowed with actual payment postponed. It may look like no subsidies are being paid for imported oil but it has in fact subsidies very much higher than ethanol and its EROEI has to be much less than ethanol since there is no energy gain with imported oil.

We now import about 60 percent of American oil. This is a massive energy drain on the economy since foreigners collected the energy gain when they sold us the oil.

We collect the economic can if any when we consume the oil. If there is enough of it we can buy more oil.

We collect both the energy gain and the economic gain with domestic oil and ethanol production. But imported oil is a massive economic drain on the economy with no energy gain. The same is true with emported ethanol.

Even ethanol opponents agree that there is financial gain in ethanol production. The problem seems to be that they don't see themselves getting any of it and resent those who are getting it. That is the reason behind of boondoggle cries.

Funny thing is if the money goes to foreign wars in support of oil access, it is not a boondoggle.

Yet what do we see? Attacks on renewable energy subsidies which in the grand scheme of things are relatively small. We see fallacious reasoning where renewable energy is compared with nonrenewable using EROEI.

We see all energy being treated as the same. We see domestically produced oil, imported oil and ethanol being compared without regard to the true costs of each, both energy wise and money wise.

I'm not a doomer. But I can see the logic of becoming one with the way even the Peak Oil aware can not sort out the subsidies going to each form of energy and costs/benefits associated with the use of renewables vs non renewables.

Eliminate all subsidies but price in the externalities. I don't know what impact that would have on ethanol, but it would certainly raise the prices for oil and gas. Why, we don't even fully tax gasoline to cover the cost of roads. Continue with R&D funding because we can't trust the oil and coal companies to fund R&D in areas that compete with their product.

We need to move away from fossil fuels. I am not under the illusion that we can continue to have a growth economy without high density fuels like oil, coal, and gas. However, we should strive to make alternatives like solar and wind as efficient as possible in the mean time.

As usual, however, you spout nonsense like the EROEI for ethanol is higher than imported oil. Pretty interesting since you also state that energy from different sources cannot be compared.

It would also be interesting to see a computation on all the external costs of ethanol, including the dead zones in places like New Orleans.

One of the posts claimed that the blenders credit is redundant and a waste of about $6 billion a year.

Instead of trying to justify the spending of $6 billion because of various other boondoggles, perhaps you should confront the fundamental question: Is it a boondoggle to pay oil companies $6 billion to do something they are already legally obligated to do? Yes, it is. No amount of long-winded spin will change that. It is boondoggle, plain and simple, albeit one that directly benefits you. So you choose not to answer the question of whether it is redundant by substituting the question "Is $6 billion really so much?" Yes, especially when it isn't needed.

The same goes for your asinine "energy is abstract" argument. Energy is no more abstract than the corn you grow, it is just that conversations about it make you uncomfortable so you resort to hand-waving.

Oil is said to have a high EROEI. Perhaps it does but only for the operation of pumping it out of the ground.

Factually incorrect. The EROEI for refining gasoline in U.S. refineries is around 10 to 1 for heavy, sour oil and up to 12 to 1 or so for light sweet oil. Compared to ethanol's sub-2.0 EROEI, that is quite high.

EROEI has nothing to do with whether the oil is imported or what. It is Energy return on Energy invested. Energy, not money, or who the receiver of the profits happens to be. You reveal yourself as having not much grasp of what the term means.

Forget all about profits and subsidies and such for a moment. Think in terms of energy. If it takes ~1 energy unit of fossil fuel to make ~1 energy unit of ethanol, why not save all the hassle, extra pollution, etc. and just use the FF to begin with? That's the point that you just don't seem to get. It doesn't matter if the FF is imported or what, or if it's subsidized to the stars. It's energy, not $$$ we're talking about here.

Every time you come anywhere near making a point, you get off on your EROEI thing, and/or your "can't compare" thing. It really detracts from your credibility.

"Landmark family farm, Tuttle's of Dover, up for sale"

"DOVER (AP) — A New Hampshire farm that has been in the same family since the 1630s and has been called the nation's oldest family-run farm is for sale.

The owners of Tuttle's Red Barn in Dover have listed their entire property — a market, a farmhouse and 134 acres of land — through a real estate agent for $3.35 million."


Open Mike Friday...

I heard about this site on the Thom Hartmann radio show:


I have just started to play with it...

I like the 'Who is Shirley Ann Jackson' map...

Edit: the magnificent 7 and the 7 sisters are interesting as well...

I want someone to mash this up with biographies and income records and records of contributions to lobbyists/PACs/non-profit organizations, etc. Just for fun. I love the Internet...too bad internet surfing doesn't burn calories...

My paychecks come from the first name on that list (my employer's bank). This bank is owned by a local family, they made a business out of construction loans to the wrong people at the wrong time.

I think the chart only says 5 were closed today, but (dunno why) 12 statuses (including those on banks closed one or two weeks ago) were updated today.

Yes you are correct I was in a rush to leave.

Any stats on whether the pace of bank closings is rising, level or declining?

Calculated Risk covers bank closures every Friday, courtesy of an affiliate called surferdude808. Every so often CR produces a chart. From memory, the rate of closures so far this year has been a little lower than last year, but with government stimulus money disappearing in the second half of the year, who knows what will happen?

Although last year wasn’t exactly top of the pops, Anderson has great hopes for the future. As economic growth appears “closer to exponential than linear in the long view”, we could soon be thinking that growth of 5 per cent is “modest.”

From the glass half full posted above the line (Gazing at the globe through a glass half full ), this item is wild! It looks as though peak oil is now conflated to include uber atheists, no doubt in order to tar us with the brush of extreme rudeness? When PO became a religious issue, I do not know. Though doubters seem to travel with AGW deniers, ID proponents and the like. In any case, it is a strictly ad hominem argument, and the conclusion that we can expect exponential growth forever is absurd.