Drumbeat: August 6, 2010

Analysis: China Raises E&P Efforts Overseas, at Home

Chinese oil and gas companies have stepped up their offshore exploration and production (E&P) efforts abroad as China's largest onshore oil fields are mature and production has peaked and China seeks to secure additional energy supply.

In a June report, consulting firm Wood Mackenzie noted that China's national oil companies (NOCs) have been aggressively pursuing merger and acquisition activity over the past year of oil and gas interests, which will result in net overseas production reaching a new record level of 1 million BOE/d in 2010 from CNPC/PetroChina, Sinopec Group and CNOOC Ltd combined.

Crude Falls as U.S. Jobs Report Raises Concern Economic Growth Is Slowing

Crude oil fell for a third day as weaker-than-forecast growth in U.S. company payrolls bolstered concern that economic growth in the world’s biggest oil- consuming country is slowing.

Oil slipped as much as 2.4 percent after the Labor Department said private payrolls that exclude government agencies rose by 71,000, less than forecast, after a gain of 31,000 in June that was smaller than previously reported. A government report on Aug. 4 showed that U.S. fuel supplies rose last week as demand fell.

Southwestern Energy Says Dry Weather May Slow Pennsylvania Shale-Gas Work

Southwestern Energy Co., the largest natural-gas producer in the Fayetteville Shale of Arkansas, said development of the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania may be slowed if dry weather continues the next few months.

The dry weather means less water is available from the nearby streams for use in the process known as hydraulic fracturing, Steven Mueller, chief executive officer at Houston- based Southwestern, told investors today on a conference call.

Pakistan: Floods threaten plants

MULTAN (Pakistan) - MASSIVE flooding in Pakistan has threatened electricity generation plants, forcing units to shut down in a country suffering from a crippling energy crisis, officials said on Friday.

Electric Car Firm Pulls The Plug

Barry Bernsten tried to launch a battery electric car company, but says he didn't have the right friends in Washington.

Food shortage may spark violence in Pakistan: report

WASHINGTON: About 77 million people go hungry in Pakistan while 36 per cent of the population are afflicted by poverty, says a new report released on Wednesday.

“From small farmers to the urban masses and internally displaced persons, millions of Pakistanis are affected by the scourge of food insecurity,” warns the report by the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars, Washington.

The report notes that while the global food crisis subsisted in 2009, Pakistan continues to suffer from an acute food shortage.

Wheat hits loss limit after rally on Russia export halt

Manitoba (Reuters) - Wheat markets tumbled the daily limit on Friday, posting their biggest daily percentage loss in 14 months as investors took profits a day after pushing prices higher with Russia suspending grain shipments due to its worst drought in a century.

South Africa Increases Coal Exports to India by 74% in July, Trader Says

South Africa’s Richards Bay, the continent’s largest coal terminal, increased sales to India by 74 percent in July from June, according to a trader.

Purchases rose to 2.1 million metric tons, according to a note yesterday by mjunction Services Ltd., a web-based trader backed by India’s biggest steel producers. Purchases climbed 52 percent from a year earlier. Imports in the first seven months rose 14 percent to 11.63 million tons.

No Gain From Rain for Indonesia Coal as China Demand Cools

The heaviest rainfall in seven years in Indonesia, the world’s second-biggest coal exporter, is failing to stoke price gains as Chinese demand cools.

Scientists Forecast 9 More Atlantic Hurricanes

The forecast for the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season calls for nine more hurricanes by November, including five major ones with winds topping 178 kilometers (110 miles) per hour, a Colorado State University study said Wednesday.

U.S., Vietnam Hold Nuclear Technology Talks as Suitors Vie for Contracts

The U.S. and Vietnam are holding negotiations on sharing nuclear fuel and civilian nuclear technology, an agreement that will enable American companies to invest in the Southeast Asian country’s atomic industry.

Turning a Crisis Into an Opportunity

Now that the country’s worst oil spill in history has finally been stopped, expect a gusher of political debate over what it meant and whom to blame. For three months, Mr. Obama was tested in a way he had not been before, his seemingly detached initial response to the crisis evolving into a tougher approach to face down a multinational corporation.

Don't double tax oil and gas industry

Kansas has a vibrant and thriving petroleum industry. Since the first commercial sales of natural gas from the Hugoton Field in 1928, oil and gas have been important to the people of this state. It is for this reason that the Obama administration's move to impose a double tax on the oil and gas industry is all the more troubling.

The United States is alone among its peers in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in taxing its corporations on their worldwide income. Most nations, in contrast, tax their corporations only on the income they earn in their home county. But if you're a U.S. company, wherever on this planet you make a dime, Uncle Sam is going to get his cut.

These Days, Carville Praises Oil Spill Response

James Carville, the outspoken Democratic political strategist and television pundit, has sent what amounts to a very public kiss-and-make-up note to his friends in the White House, praising President Obama’s recent handling of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

A Looming Oxygen Crisis and Its Impact on World’s Oceans

As warming intensifies, scientists warn, the oxygen content of oceans across the planet could be more and more diminished, with serious consequences for the future of fish and other sea life.

Appeal of bikes broadens, but riding remains risky in Syracuse

Cyclist Neil Hueber saw the interest in bikes spike when gas prices hit $4 a gallon. While many of those looking for cheap transportation have found current fuel prices more palatable and slipped back into the driver’s seat, bikes continue to appeal to students.

They’re cheap to buy and even less expensive to maintain -- no insurance, no fuel, no parking costs.

New Ways to Scrub Out the Carbon

Three technologies lead the pack for capturing the carbon dioxide in coal while also harnessing the energy. On Thursday, the Energy Department endorsed the “oxyburn” strategy, which involves filtering the nitrogen out of air and burning coal in pure oxygen, with a resulting flue gas that is almost pure carbon dioxide; it will attempt that in Illinois.

China: Energy-intensive firms lose electricity aid

BEIJING: Preferential electricity rates granted by 22 provincial governments for high energy-consuming businesses have been totally scrapped, China's top economic planner announced Friday.

All energy-intensive enterprises must be subject to the new power tariff surcharges introduced in May, said the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) in a statement posted on its website.

The news comes three days after Chinese statistics authorities said China's consumption of energy relative to economic output rose in the first half by 0.09 percent from the same period last year.

Chevron wins bid for Canada Arctic rights

Chevron has bought an exploration licence for the Beaufort Sea in Canada's Far North, bidding C$103.3 million ($101 million) as the country gets set to review offshore drilling following the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Valero enters into talks to sell Paulsboro refinery

(Reuters) - Valero Energy Corp said on Friday it had entered into negotiations to sell its 195,000 barrel per day refinery in Paulsboro, New Jersey.

Some manufacturing heads back to USA

There are myriad reasons for the shifts, often called "onshoring" or "reshoring." Chinese wages and shipping costs have risen sharply in the past few years while U.S. salaries have stayed flat, or in some cases, fallen in the recession. Meanwhile, U.S. manufacturers have been frustrated by the sometimes poor quality of goods made by foreign contractors, theft of their intellectual property and long product-delivery cycles that make them less responsive to customer demand.

Chinese missile could shift Pacific power balance

ABOARD THE USS GEORGE WASHINGTON – Nothing projects U.S. global air and sea power more vividly than supercarriers. Bristling with fighter jets that can reach deep into even landlocked trouble zones, America's virtually invincible carrier fleet has long enforced its dominance of the high seas.

China may soon put an end to that.

U.S. naval planners are scrambling to deal with what analysts say is a game-changing weapon being developed by China — an unprecedented carrier-killing missile called the Dong Feng 21D that could be launched from land with enough accuracy to penetrate the defenses of even the most advanced moving aircraft carrier at a distance of more than 1,500 kilometers (900 miles).

BP says it might drill again in spill reservoir

NEW ORLEANS — BP PLC said Friday it might someday drill again into the same lucrative undersea pocket of oil that spilled millions of gallons of crude, wrecked livelihoods and fouled beaches along the Gulf of Mexico.

"There's lots of oil and gas here," Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said at a news briefing. "We're going to have to think about what to do with that at some point."

The BP spill is already gone and forgotten

FORTUNE -- BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster may have drawn more public attention than any other oil spill, but there's a good chance that sordid history of spill cleanup efforts will repeat itself. That history is to bomb the crude with chemicals so it's out sight, then place the incident out of mind once the slick appears to be gone.

After the spill: What's been learned?

As the crisis ebbs and emotions calm, it's time to begin looking back to ask what lessons have been learned, what should have been done differently, what there still is to worry about — and how things might go differently next time. Some fresh insights are beginning to emerge:

A ‘Small’ Spill: China’s Environmental Tango

Not long after taking up work in Beijing, I ran across an interesting chart that, reduced to a nutshell, says this: when Beijing’s air is bad, the government tweaks things to make its pollution reports look better than they really are.

Pig-lipsticking, of course, is anything but a Chinese invention, but on Chinese environmental matters, it has long been something of an art. Consider November 2005, when Harbin’s city government announced that it was shutting down the city water supply for four days of maintenance. (The real reason: a 100-ton slug of benzene was floating down the Songhua River past water-intake pipes.) Or last August, when, after 166 children in a Shaanxi Province town were hospitalized with lead poisoning, the city authorities issued a statement saying the local lead smelter met all national environmental standards.

Poverty and Lack of Research Block Path to a Well-Fed World

I’m catching up with a great package of reports, commentary and analysis in the July 28th edition of the journal Nature on the challenging, but entirely doable, task of feeding roughly 9 billion people by midcentury (and doing so without using up the last patches of arable land). One of the best things about the package is that most of the content is freely accessible, as was the case with an important paper on feeding the world in the competing journal Science in February.

The Nature reports explore the vital role of advancing and disseminating useful agricultural practices and technologies, including but hardly limited to genetically modified crops, but also the simple reality that poverty is the main source of hunger now, not a lack of food. A central theme is efficiency, getting higher yields on small plots with fewer inputs of water and fertilizer. There’s a nice downloadable summary poster of some of the main findings.

USA's greenest cities? You might be surprised

A new scorecard picks the 22 greenest U.S. cities, several of which are well-known as eco-friendly such as Portland, San Francisco, Boulder and Seattle. Yet others might surprise you.

Among the top scorers are four cities in Texas as well as Reno, Columbus, Ohio, Springfield, Ill., and Dubuque, Iowa, according to the "2010 Smarter Cities" by the Natural Resources Defense Council's online resource center, smartercities.org. The rankings are based on energy use per capita, renewable power investments, efficiency efforts and conservation incentives.

Greens Debating Tactics Instead of Ideas

In Politco, Darren Samuelsohn has a solid roundup of reflections by environmental campaigners on why, despite spending tens of millions of dollars, they failed to gain the votes for any climate action in the Senate. But the entire discussion is about tactics, not ideas. There are scant signs, yet, that anyone within the Beltway is willing to shift toward attacking the entwined energy and climate challenges as less a 20th-century-style pollution problem and more a 21st-century-style technology and innovation opportunity.

China says to maintain trade cooperation with Iran

(Reuters) - Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang told the visiting Iranian oil minister on Friday that Beijing would maintain cooperation with Tehran on existing projects, after the United States called on Beijing to observe sanctions.

"Iran is an important trade partner of China's in western Asia and North Africa and one of the country's main oil suppliers. Bilateral economic and trade cooperation has achieved fruitful results," state television paraphrased Li as telling minister Massoud Mirkazemi.

Oil Falls Third Day as U.S. Job Loss Forecast Spurs Demand Growth Concern

Crude oil fell for a third day as forecasts that the U.S. lost more jobs last month fanned concern that fuel demand will lag behind supplies.

Futures in New York fell as much as 0.5 percent before a government report that may show a drop of 65,000 jobs in July. Crude may also retreat next week, a Bloomberg survey of analysts showed, reversing a 3.7 percent gain in the past five days.

“Inventories worldwide are at very high levels, and the demand recovery seems to be relatively weak in industrialized countries,” said Eugen Weinberg, head of commodity research at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt.

Crude Oil May Fall as Fuel Stockpiles Increase, Demand Drops, Survey Shows

Crude oil may fall next week on speculation that U.S. fuel inventories will climb as demand declines, a Bloomberg News survey showed.

Twenty-eight of 46 analysts, or 61 percent, forecast crude oil will decline through Aug. 13. It was the most bearish result since July 2009. Twelve respondents, or 26 percent, predicted that futures will increase and six saw little change. Last week 42 percent of analysts forecast a drop.

Cambodia to sign cooperation deal with Iran on oil

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Officials from Cambodia are to travel to Iran next week and the two countries will sign agreements covering cooperation in the oil sector, the foreign minister of the Southeast Asian state said on Friday.

Abu Dhabi aims to become 'leading exporter' of gas

Abu Dhabi has long-term plans to expand its gas exports, an independent study of the emirate’s energy sector shows.

The emirate’s two big gas pro-jects, the Shah gas and “integrated gas” developments, “will go a long way to meet domestic needs and establish Abu Dhabi as a leading gas exporter through expansion of its gas terminals”, said Gilles Valentin, the editorial director of The Oil and Gas Year Abu Dhabi 2010, released yesterday by Wildcat Publishing in the UK.

UAE: Japanese tanker attacked in Persian Gulf

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- An explosive-laden dinghy had struck a Japanese oil tanker in the Persian Gulf last month, the Emirati state news agency said Friday, in the first official confirmation that the incident was an attack.

Indian Oil May Sell Shares If State Cuts Stake in Refiner to Pare Deficit

Indian Oil Corp., the nation’s biggest company, may sell new shares if the government reduces its stake in the state-owned refiner to raise money for social spending and to narrow its budget deficit.

Eni Said to Delay India Oil Block Exploration on Rig Shortage, BP Spill

Eni SpA, Italy’s largest oil and gas company, may delay exploration of an offshore field in India by at least a year, said two people with knowledge of the plans.

Eni, which owns the Andaman block with Oil & Natural Gas Corp. and Gail India Ltd., is reconsidering the risks of deepwater exploration following the BP Plc accident in the Gulf of Mexico, one of the people said. Difficulties in sourcing a rig may also push back drilling until at least the second half of next year, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is confidential.

Senate Democrats seek to end Big Oil tax break

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senate Democrats on Thursday proposed repealing a tax break for some major oil companies, including BP Plc, effective December 31.

Pemex Postpones Drilling to Test Deep-Water Equipment

Petroleos Mexicanos, the state-owned oil company, will postpone drilling a well in the Gulf of Mexico that would be its deepest ever while it tries out new equipment in a shallower project, a company executive said.

BP looks to relief well to finish kill

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AFP) – With its runaway well in the Gulf of Mexico finally plugged with cement, BP turned Friday to a relief well to make sure that the source of the United States' worst environmental disaster is killed for good.

"This is not the end, but it will virtually assure us that there will be no chance of oil leaking into the environment," Thad Allen, in charge of the US response to the spill, said Thursday after BP's Macondo well was plugged.

"I think we can all breathe a little easier," he said.

To seal or sell? BP has options on remaining oil

NEW ORLEANS – The vast oil reservoir beneath BP's blown-out well could still be worth billions of dollars even after it spewed crude into the Gulf of Mexico for more than three months - but the multinational company blamed for causing the disaster isn't saying whether it plans to cash in on this potential windfall.

BP: Now Come the Fines

BP could face as much as $17.6 billion in civil penalties, based on a federal panel of experts' estimate on Aug. 2 that about 4.1 million barrels of oil leaked from its well into the Gulf. Although environmental lawyers say BP is likely to negotiate a lower penalty, the fines could still crimp the company's ability to pay for cleanup costs, force it to sell more assets, and cut into future investment plans of incoming Chief Executive Officer Robert Dudley.

Transocean gets 249 lawsuits, claims over oil spill

ZURICH (AFP) – Close to 250 lawsuits or claims have been filed against Transocean, the company which owns the BP-leased offshore rig behind the huge Gulf of Mexico oil spill, a filing by the firm showed Thursday.

Sales plunge in oil spill's wake

Businesses on Florida's Gulf Coast are watching tourism dollars slip away -- even when there's no oil in sight.

BP Offers Venezuelan, Asian Assets to Rosneft and TNK-BP, Vedomosti Says

BP Plc’s incoming Chief Executive Officer Robert Dudley offered to sell projects in Vietnam, Pakistan and Venezuela to OAO Rosneft and TNK-BP, Vedomosti said today, citing an unnamed official closed to the British company.

Scientists give Gulf of Mexico a 'C' before spill

The Gulf of Mexico was not a pristine place even before the BP oil spill. Scientists asked to grade its health pre-spill gave it a "C" and graded its fish and wetlands a "D."

The Associated Press sought these baseline assessments from 75 scientists as part of a series that will follow the recovery of the Gulf. Scientists only offered grades in their areas of expertise and an average was calculated for each category.

In Comments on Oil’s Fate, an Air of Mistrust

As my colleagues Campbell Robertson, Justin Gillis and I reported on reaction, scientific and otherwise, to a government report on the fate of the oil in the gulf, it emerged that the Obama administration faced something of a credibility gap in conveying its findings to some gulf residents, environmental groups and even scientists.

There were plenty of varied opinions out there, of course. But what came through loud and clear in the interviews I conducted was how leery many were of pronouncements by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the government agency charged with monitoring the health of the waters and the climate.

Report: China considering $14.7B investment to spark production of hybrids and EVs

China's new ten-year investment plan (2011-2020) sets aside over 100 billion yuan ($14.7 billion U.S. at the current exchange rate) for the development and production of alternative technology vehicles. The plan is expected to be approved later this month and should go a long way towards helping China reach its annual production goal of 500,000 hybrids and EVs starting in 2011.

Transition Town Workshop at UNH

DURHAM — A two-day Transition Town Workshop on ways to work in your community toward a transition to life after peak oil consumption will be offered Aug. 14-15 in Nesmith Hall, Room 119 on the University of New Hampshire campus.

Young adults want way out of poverty

This might all sound like the back to the land movement of the '60s, but don't ever call these young people hippies, because they'll give you good reasons why you're wrong. First of all, they are not naïve children rebelling against the establishment — these are responsible, hard working and knowledgeable young adults who are about to meet one of the greatest challenges humanity has ever faced head on; if they don't make a go of it there won't be a safe place to run back to and they know it. Add to that, the fact that they're not walking into this believing that it will be easy; that they're asking for all the advice and assistance the establishment can give them to make their ideas work; and that they're hoping their community will include struggling people of all ages who share their ideals and maybe, just maybe, they'll make believers of us all. And just in case you need more convincing look up transition towns, ecovillages and intentional communities on the web; you might be surprised by what you find.

Fungus on Track to Extinguish Bats in Northeast

A research team organized by Thomas Kunz of Boston University has concluded in a new paper that a common, beneficial bat species is likely to be completely wiped out across much of the Northeastern United States within 20 years due to a spreading fungal infection. The basics are laid out in the news section of the journal Science, which is also publishing the research paper. The news report mentions that bat biologists suggest landowners can create boost bats’ prospects by erecting bat houses.

Roadside Invader: Engineered Canola

Genetically engineered canola resistant to two common herbicides has been found growing widely along roadsides in North Dakota, one of the first instances of a biotech crop establishing itself in the wild.

Wheat prices soar. Are bread prices next?

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- With wheat futures soaring to their highest level in two years, you could soon find yourself paying more for a loaf of bread at your local grocery store.

The price of wheat has surged more than 80% from its seven-month low in June. Prices continued to rally Thursday, surging to their highest level since August 2008, after Russia said it would ban grain exports until Dec. 1 due to a drought that has destroyed more than 20% of its wheat crop.

Wildfire Smoke in Moscow Forces Delay of 120 Flights

More than 140 flights were delayed at Moscow airports because of thick, acrid smoke from forest and peat-bog fires east of the city that raised pollution to almost five times the maximum admissible levels.

Japan power firms mostly behind CO2 cut goals -survey says

TOKYO (Reuters) - Most Japanese power firms are behind self-imposed goals to cut carbon emissions under the Kyoto Protocol, a Reuters survey showed on Friday, but carbon traders said the companies have enough U.N. credits to offset the lag.

The survey showed more than 100 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent of carbon credits due to be delivered by 2012 are unused in the 10 power firm accounts.

US envoy: Climate talks slipping backward

BONN, Germany – Global climate talks appear to have slipped backward after five days of negotiations in Bonn, the chief U.S. delegate said Friday, adding that some countries were reneging on promises they made last year to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Poor countries agreed with the grim assessment made by U.S. negotiator Jonathan Pershing, saying that latest round of talks on how to fight global warming have been frustrating.

California: Brown Puts Whitman on the Defensive over Greenhouse Gases

How does California attorney general Jerry Brown fight billionaire Meg Whitman in the battle to be the next governor of the Golden State? Whitman, the former CEO of eBay, spends nearly as much per day (an average of $531,378 over the past six weeks) as Brown has spent all year — $633,205. Yet the cagey and frugal Brown leads the free-spending billionaire in the latest poll 37% to 34%. By necessity, Brown is running a low-budget guerrilla campaign against Whitman, whose spending has now zoomed past the $100 million mark. Skilled at jumping on issues and turning them to his advantage, Brown is living off free media, hoarding his $23 million in campaign cash for fall television ads and doing his best to keep the Whitman juggernaut off balance. And now, he's picked up his latest weapon: Proposition 23 on the November ballot.

Australians' Views Shift on Climate Change

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Australians' attitudes about global warming could be a factor later this month in the general election where climate change has emerged as an issue. The percentage of Australians who are aware of climate change and say it results from human activities fell from 52% in June 2008 to 44% in March 2010, while the number attributing it to natural causes increased 10 percentage points.

Fighting global warming in poor nations will mean tax on trade and travel

A US$100 billion (Dh367.31bn) promise by the industrialised world to help poorer countries fight global warming will require new taxes that could hit world trade, air travel or financial transactions, an environmental expert told UN climate talks yesterday.

Such levies, which would affect everyone from air passengers to workers transferring funds overseas, have become a key point of debate at ongoing climate talks that aim at reaching a new international treaty on global warming by December.

Arctic discovery confirms impact of global warming

It’s no wonder Ottawa won’t do anything to reduce climate change. The warming Earth has made a dream come true for federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice.

“I’m elated,” Prentice is reported to have exclaimed when informed HMS Investigator, a British ship that sank 155 years ago while searching for Sir John Franklin’s doomed Northwest Passage expedition, had been found in the cold western Arctic Ocean.

A climate ‘Plan B’ for team Obama

Now comes an even fresher report -- this one from the Presidential Climate Action Project (PCAP) -- that details several ways President Obama also can be a "go-getter," using powers Congress delegated to the Executive Branch in the past.

PCAP offers five ideas for presidential action, with details on how to implement them before Cancun:

Coal: The cheap, dirty and direct route to irreversible climate change

The global dominance of industrial interests dependant on cheap energy sourced from coal mean climate change is inevitable

Regarding "Roadside Invader: Engineered Canola" above,

Perhaps we should be growing Canola and other grain crops along the thousands of miles of roadsides and medians of US highways to recycle vehicle exhaust back into biofuels. There have to be a couple million acres there. Leave the farmland for food production. Lease the rights-of-way to farmers for a dollar a mile. Harvest at night.

States already spend millions keeping these rights-of-way mowed and, like Georgia are having a hard time footing the bill:

...GDOT last year announced it was cutting back on mowing state highway medians and other state rights of way to no more than once a year because of budget constraints.


That has been suggested and discussed before.

The problem is that the EROEI would be very low. Biofuels are marginal at best, and if you add the long distances required for harvesting roadside weeds, you'll be using more fuel than you're producing.

....you'll be using more fuel than you're producing."

Ha! That hasn't stopped them yet. This is Government. This is subsidized. (sorry) Although if this process was more distributed and kept more local.....

Maybe the "must pay its own way" on energy is the wrong parameter. Perhaps a 50% reduction in energy use would be better than BAU.

It is feasible to maintain right of way shoulders and medians in many cases by harvesting hay rather than simply mowing.

In some cases this would obviously be profitable, and might even generate some very modest amounts of revenue from leases.In others it would lower the costs of maintainence considerably if local farmers were hired to do the work rather than highway maintainence companies.

The problem is that one horse, two horse small farmers, who could take on this work profitably, aren't able to deal with all the red tape.

Best wishes for simpler and more results oriented regulations in the future!

Highway hay is so full of trash that it is quite risky to feed, and is nearly worthless...

Some local farmers are nevertheless feeding it,by mowing and baling right up to the road side ditches, which are often only inches from the pavement around here and I haven't heard of any problems;but the vast majority of trash along local roads consists of paper and plastic food wrappers and containers, plus a few aluminum cans.

Some of these guys are most definitely infringing on right of way, but nobody has ever said anyting to them except if they put up a fence too close to the pavement.

Finding an occasional piece of paper or a plastic grocery bag or bottle in hay is quite common;I would never stop to pick up such a piece of trash while making hay myself, even if it saw it,glass excepted, unless I expected to sell the hay at a boutique price to a horse fancier with plenty of money.

But I wouldn't feed purchased median hay to any prized breeding stock myself. ;)

Such hay could also be put to alternative uses as mulch on construction jobs or as bedding.

Cows are pretty dumb, but they aren't delicate.They will occasionally eat paper, and a few will also eat plastic food wrappers if the wrappers have sugar or salt residues on them, but they generally are capable of sorting thru thier food,with the exception of very small items (such as fragments of baling wire) which are often swallowed. Once upon a time ingested wire caused problems, but nobody uses baling wire anymore.

Unless they choke or get enough such false foods to stop up the digestive plumbing system,you won't likely ever know the difference.

This is based on personal experience, but don't take it to the bank.

Your cow or calf might die from eating a relatively rare poisonous object tossed by a passing motorist if you feed roadside hay.

The most interesting object I ever saw caught up in a baler was a three foot copper head which was sticking half out of a bale and still wiggling , although it was fatally injured and incapable of biting;my future fatherinlaw picked up the bale off the ground before he noticed the snake and threw the bale all the way across the wagon we were loading rather than onto the wagon when he realized what he had hold of.

This reminds me of the good old days when Cher was singing about sixteen (Her)and twenty one (Him) and Poppa shooting boyfriends;she could been singing about me and my girl.

I was never able to pick her up on a Saturday without her Daddy shanghaing me into a few hours of hard labor, except during deer season, when he expected me to show up an hour before daylight to drop him off at a favorite spot.

But it was worth it!

I have found some interesting things in my hay bales over the years. One of the fields that my hay comes from seems to be used by some locals as a skeet range, so I get spent shells and bits of clay pigeons. Also beer cans, sticks and pine cones from the edge, dead snakes, etc. Once I found a glove in my bale. No body parts though, thankfully.

"with the exception of very small items (such as fragments of baling wire) which are often swallowed. Once upon a time ingested wire caused problems,"

Hence, the famous cow magnets, favorite playthings for generations of farm kids.


Canola oil is biodiesel like soybean oil.

EROI studies generally give an EROI of 3.2 for biodiesel(5.3 per NREL), except Pimental-Patzek which claim it is 27% net energy negative even though their calculation shows it actually to be 2% positive.

An analysis from the University of Idaho exposes Pimental-Patzek's biodiesel errors.


Why would you choose to believe P&P?

I wonder if it's still a patent infringement to collect the seeds from plants growing on the public right of way...

That was my thought, too: Percy Schmeiser.

Exactly !

I always thought patenting life was a poor idea...

Edit : my more cynical side wonders if they knew they were on borrowed time with it "going wild" and were trying to make as much money before the event as possible...

"Two plants were found to have genes conferring resistance to both herbicides, suggesting that the crops resistant to each herbicide had mated."

Some "enterprising" individual may grab this hybrid and develop it for sale, most likely winning any legal argument from Monsanto and Bayer regarding patent infringement. Who will they sue, Nature?


it has been legally established here in the united states and canada that monsanto's patents for the round-up ready resistant soybean genes follow the plant. so if any of this grows on your property your growing a 'stolen' product and monsanto's legal team can and will push to get the legal system to force you to pay up.

Re: Roadside Invader: Engineered Canola,

And if it’s resistant to a widely used herbicide, it would remove one option for killing it, although other herbicides could do the job.


"You can't solve a problem with the same kind of thinking that got you into it in the first place."
Albert Einstein

Somehow we really need to find a way to empower people who can think critically and have a whole systems science based approach to our problems.

I just read this blog post by Orac a science based proponent of Medicine, what he describes in his field seems to be ubiquitous throughout our educational system up into its highest levels.


We can no longer afford to water down our science education anymore. I'd like to be more radical than he is and make it impossible to get a degree in the humanities,legal profession, economics or social sciences without at least a C+ grade in basic sciences, physics,chemistry,biology and math. With in depth testing in critical thinking, logic and the scientific method. If you can't pass you don't get any college degree, period!

Yep, this lack of basic understanding in science is rampant. Add in the Dunning Kruger effect and it gets much worse. Look at the climate change debates for examples of this.

The quote above is probably not an example of this ignorance though. Monsanto certainly has lots of folks with advanced science degrees. The effect is probably related to what Upton Sinclair noted. To paraphrase - It's difficult for someone to understand a scientific fact when their paycheck depends on them not understanding the scientific fact.

The quote above is probably not an example of this ignorance though. Monsanto certainly has lots of folks with advanced science degrees.

I'm sure that is true. My reaction was more along the lines of noting that if a particular plant is resistant to herbicides and you start applying different herbicides it could through natural selection evolve a resistance to the other herbicide as well. This phenomenon is quite well documented by the way and should be understood by any biologist worth his salt.

So applying herbicides to control weeds might not be the best approach to begin with and we need to perhaps think outside the box and look for other means of control. Canola loving locusts might be a start...

Or a herd of goats.

“Superweeds” are plaguing high-tech Monsanto crops in southern US states, driving farmers to use more herbicides, return to conventional crops or even abandon their farms........
The gospel of high-tech genetically modified (GM) crops is not sounding quite so sweet in the land of the converted. A new pest, the evil pigweed, is hitting headlines and chomping its way across Sun Belt states, threatening to transform cotton and soybean plots into weed battlefields.


I wonder if this is the "evil pigweed" that I've been battling this summer. Mother Nature doesn't give a crap about Monsanto's hubris, or their perceived level of 'understanding'.

Too bad pigweed is toxic to livestock.

My understanding is that "pigweed" is actually amranth, which is edible. That would be one way to get rid of it.

This is what is "pigging out" in my gardens:

Amaranthus retroflexus (pigweed family)

TOXICITY RATING: High. The plant is quite common and very toxic.

ANIMALS AFFECTED: Cattle and swine are the animals most likely to be affected; goats and sheep can also be poisoned.

DANGEROUS PARTS OF PLANT: Leaves, stems, roots.

CLASS OF SIGNS: Breathing problems, trembling, weakness, abortions, coma, death.

PLANT DESCRIPTION: Redroot pigweed (fig. 33) is a large (to 5 feet tall), coarse, annual with red stems and simple, egg-shaped, wavy-margined, alternate leaves. The green, inconspicuous flowers are borne in short, compact clusters along with green spines. Seeds are small, shiny, and black. Fields, barnyards, and waste areas are the favorite habitats of this weed.


It seems that Redroot Pigweed is the variety that has become resistant to herbicides.

Or is it Amaranthus Palmeri? Or both?



What we call pigweed around here (New Hampshire) is actually a Chenopodium - C. album. Another local name for it is "lambs-quarters". It is quite edible when young - delicious in fact. It is a rampant weed, but nice in the salad bowl.

The county agent identified what we have as "redroot" (retroflexus).
Both, it seems are toxic to livestock and , under certain conditions, humans. Either way, it's a pain in the butt. Spiney and deep rooted, too bad goats can't eat it.

Hi Ghung,

I did some quick checking and ran into some studies examining the potential for biological control of retroflexus such as this one.


Biological control of pigweeds (Amaranthus retroflexus, L. A. Powellii, S. Watson and A. bouchonii Thell.) with phytophagous insects, fungal pathogens and crop management

Abstract Pigweeds (Amaranthus spp.) are of economic importance worldwide. In Europe, Amaranthus retroflexus is one of the ten weed species of greatest economic importance. It is a serious problem weed in several field crops (e.g. maize), as well as in vegetables, orchards and grape vines. It is an annual spreading by seeds which have a long viability and are dispersed principally by wind and water, but also by machinery. There is great variability in seed germination which renders control with post-emergence herbicides difficult. In addition, triazine herbicide-resistant populations occur in ten European countries. The aim of this subproject of COST action 816 is to investigate the possibilities of classical and inundative biological control of Amaranthus spp., to characterize potential biological control agents and to develop methods for their integration with current phytosanitary measures in the target crops. The project was initiated with an extended literature survey followed by field surveys for insects and pathogens associated with Amaranthus spp. in several European countries. Promising isolates of fungal pathogens have been tested on detached leaves and whole plants, and initial studies on the application of pathogens causing damping off in seedlings have been made. Further, the variability of different provenances of Amaranthus spp. in response to fungal attack has been investigated

Biological control - insects - pathogens - germination - taxonomy - genetic variability

Geez, Fred, it's Friday night, but thanks! All I can say is this is a self-important plant, prolific and invasive. Any non-toxic, natural method of control will be welcome.
See y'all in the morning!

'Life finds a way' , eh?

The great Ian Malcolm rant..

"The medieval world of feudal politics and religious dogma and hateful superstitions fell before science. But, in truth, this was because the medieval world didn't really work any more. It didn't work economically, it didn't work intellectually, and it didn't fit the new world that was emerging."
Malcolm Coughed.
"But now", he continued, " science is the belief system that is hundreds of years old. And, like the medieval system before it, science is starting not to fit the world any more. Science has attained so much power that its practical limits begin to be apparent. Largely through science, billions of us live in one small world, densely packed and intercommunicating. But Science cannot help us decide what to do with that world, or how to live. Science can make a nuclear reactor, but it cannot tell us not to build it. Science can make pesticide, but cannot tell us not to use it. And our world starts to seem polluted in fundamental ways- air, and water, and land- because of ungovernable science."


"The great intellectual justification of science has vanished. Ever since Newton and Descartes, science has explicitly offered us the vision of total control. Science has claimed the power to eventually control everything, through its understanding of natural laws. But in the Twentieth Century, that claim has been shattered beyond repair. First, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle set limits on what we could know about the subatomic world. Oh well, we say. None of us lives in a subatomic world. It doesn't make any practical difference as we go through our lives. Then, Goedel's theorem set similar limits to mathematics, the formal language of science. Mathematics used to think that their language had some special inherent trueness that derived from the laws of logic. Now we know that what we call 'reason' is just an arbitrary game. It's not special, in the way we thought it was."

Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park pp 312-313

Science is simply a process to understand and explain natural phenomena by using other known natural processes. It is different from a belief system because the results are testable and explanations must be repeatable. Explanations are not dogmatic either and can be modified with more evidence.
Or more simply, it is simply finding out how the universe actually works. What people do with that knowledge is another story.
Science can explain fire as a process of combustion. You can use that knowledge to make a more efficient fire, fight wildfires or burn down your neighbors house.

"What people do with that knowledge is another story."

Well, clearly, what people HAVE DONE with that knowledge IS the story, isn't it?

It's great to say 'Science is the search for testable knowledge..' That's what Crichton was pointing at as well. THAT is the dogma. That is the driving ideal..

"Our Religion believes in Peace!" (But do as I say, not as I do, OK?..)

Religions and the Sciences have done great things.. and also terrible things. I'm not worried about defining them as 'The Same'.. I'm simply pointing out that any driving ideology has that shining beacon out front, that in the shadows of it's wake are all the casualties that you're not supposed to attach to that shining beam of pure good-will and noble intentions. (cough, cough! Oil Spill.. hack, hack, Nitrogen feeding into High Explosives, Green Revolution, Zyclon B)

GMO's are now dogged with 'SuperWeeds', just like the Hegemony of Antibiotic Abuse has created a parallel universe of Superbugs. These Irresistable Forces keep meeting Immovable Objections..

"With great power comes great responsibility." .. but from Corporate America we get "You're not the boss of me!".. while the Researchers get to say "We were just testing a theory.. we just proved a concept.. we're not responsible!"

Not an ideal, not dogma, that is simply the process. Its not the same as beliefs such as magic or the supernatural

Are saying that because people can abuse knowledge, it should not be sought? And we scientists blindly ignore the consequences and will do the bidding of whatever evil pays us? The discovery that fossil fuels could drive steam engines (and thus the Industrial Revolution) was more trial and error than truly scientific. The consequences such as climate change and Peak Oil were determined by scientists, you wouldn't be aware of them otherwise. I take exception to your characterization of scientists because it is an old sterotype - that of Dr. Frankesntein. All though some are arrogant jerks, and some work on corporate projects heedless of anything but profit, that by no means can be used to disparage all scientists and a rational investigative process. Yeah, science can have good and bad consequences, but misanthropy never produces anything but loathing and despair.

BTW Micheal Chrichton and Robin Cook made fortunes playing upon peoples fears of science and medicine. And in Chricton's case you can add in fears of evil environmentalists and Japanese.

I am not saying 'Knowledge should not be sought'.. but that it does come with serious limitations.. such as the ones mentioned above.

It is a human pursuit, not angelic or demonic, and it is revered AND is reviled because it gives us access to power and control. Edgar Allen Poe also wrote missives on the downsides of meddling with the powers of the universe, when the meddler was driven by unsound motives.

You mention medicine, look at our healthcare industry. Do you think it's wrong to challenge the pride and power that has led to the rash of deaths due to misprescribed drugs? .. or the countless family Bankrupcies due to overpriced prescriptions, insurance and treatments?

My criticisms are not to say 'get rid of Science and Medicine'.. but that there are still very real blind-spots and disproportional priorities and motives that drive what is researched, what is funded, and what research gets revealed to the public, how much value is ascribed to the 'Ownership of Knowledge'..

I don't think Dr. Frankenstein is the model for all or even most scientists.. but I do see that he is still in the room. Science does enable a great deal of powerplaying, and that role should be understood.

Science has attained so much power that its practical limits begin to be apparent.

Somewhat of a mixed message sentence.

It has been my observations that:

A)If someone is overheard to go to their church (temple, etc.) reliably, and be able to state memorized quotes, they get praised.

Scream "(Insert diety name here)!" and people react strongly.

B)If someone is overheard to be going to school, and be able to quote scientific facts, they usually do not get praised as strongly as A.

Scream "science!" and the response will probably be confusion at best, or laughter at worst.

What I am trying to communicate is that there seems to be more justifications and rationales for actions thrown around using religion and belief systems. Actions justified or rationale via science are less often reported in the news.

This is the same Michael Crichton who wrote a book explaining that global warming was an elaborate conspiracy by scientists to garner research funds............

Same one.

I've been trying to devise a Unified Field Theory, but have gotten nowhere with it.

I feel he was full of beans on 'State of Fear', and have lambasted its existence and its later trumpeting more than a few times, but it seems to me that he was 'in the zone' with many of the exhortations in Jurassic Park and some other works..

You bringing this up to say that the points I quoted above don't have anything to them? I didn't put that in to somehow rest on Crichton's authority, but because that Malcolm rant rings true every time I see something like these GMO complications come up.

Science would be perfect, but there are human beings involved.. and the truly objective gets besmirched with subjectivity.

"So what will happen?" Ellie said.
Malcolm shrugged. "A change."
"What kind of change?"
"All major changes are like death," He said. "You can't see to the other side until you are there." And he closed his eyes.
"The poor man," Hammond said, shaking his head.
Malcolm sighed. "Do you have any idea," he said, "how unlikely it is that you, or any of us, will get off this island alive?"

"Sometimes the magic works, sometimes it doesn't.." Old Lodgepoles - "Little Big Man"

Wasn't Crichton always pretty much anti-science? Even Andromeda Strain, was essentially "spaceflight OMG your gonna bring back a plague that will kill us all". Not to mention that meteors have been bringing space stuff to the planet for 4.5 billion years. So then he makes a totally unrealistic superbug, eats anything unstoppable etc., and a simple rainstorm kills it off!


I agree , emphatically.

Anyone who can't or won't take the courses you mention and pass them should be given a certificate certifying that they have limited training in certain aspects of business or some other field, rather than a college degree.

Certain words, such as marriage, mean certain things to thw public in general.Degree and diploma are such words.

I have no problem with gay people getting hitched, morally or otherwise, but I wish there was a well accepted alternative word for such unions;this would go a long way toward soothing the feelings of the large majority of people who believe the word marriage is rightly defined by the union of a male and a female.

It might also help gay folks get ninety percent or so of what they want a lot sooner than otherwise, meaning legal recognition of thier unions.The last ten percent, social acceptance across the board, will necessarily await the current generation of middle aged and old people dying off.

the whole idea of separate and unequal for gay folk will never go away, but, like anti-black racism and sexism, it will indeed slowly fade into the background as the generations advance through time.

Most of the younger generation think the anti-gay crusades are utterly lame and pointless...folks being gay...this is a non-issue for them.

I wish there was a well accepted alternative word ....this would go a long way soothing feelings of majority of people who believe the word marriage is the union of a male and a female.

So let's get this straight, cause I'm still very confused.

1) Say a woman gets a sex change operation and then "weds" a man.
"Marriage" or not marriage?

2) Say a man gets a sex change operation and then "weds" a man.
"Marriage" or not marriage?
In this 2nd case, note that the wedding is between a 'woman' and a man.

3) Say a man gets a sex change operation.
And a woman gets a sex change operation.
Then they wed each other.
What do we have now? "Marriage" or not marriage?

4) Say a first person with XXY chromosomes (i.e. a hermaphrodite) weds a 2nd person with XXY chromosomes.
Say also they both get operations so that one has clearly male organs and the other clearly female organs.
What do we have now? "Marriage" or not marriage?

And how is each of cases 1-4 treated under US Tax code?

Extra points bonus question:
Say the IRS decides to "audit" couples 1-4. How deep in can the IRS investigate so as to determine if for tax purposes it is a 'marriage' or not marriage?

As if this had something to do with energy, it does not, but against my better judgment I will respond anyway.

Marriage, in this case, is a legal term not a medical term. It is not up to the state or country is confirm the DNA of people getting married IF, and only IF, it is decided by the lawmakers to make marriage purely a legal term. And IF they do, then the DNA of the two people getting married has nothing to do with it.

IF the lawmakers of a state decide to let people of the same sex marry, and the courts uphold that decision, then that settles it. The question of the DNA of the people getting married then becomes moot.

My belief, and it is a belief supported by a great deal of science, is that sexual desire is not a learned behavior, it is innate. Gay people are gay from birth, whether that was determined by the genes or more likely, their prenatal environment, doesn't matter, they are born that way.

Therefore discrimination because of a fact of birth is just another form of bigotry.

Ron P.

I'm a little ambivalent on this topic. I certainly think that people should get a basic grounding in critical thinking and how to do factual reseach.

However, I also think the paper totally dismisses alternative healing practices out of hand :-


"In other words, I fear a generation of physicians perfectly suited to "integrate" so-called "complementary and alternative" medicine (CAM) into their practices."

I'm not sure why the author should fear this - medicine today is all about cold, clinical diagnosis by machine (test), and resolution by drug therapy or surgery.

I think medicine would benefit from a return to the "bedside manner" which used to be observed by the family doctor that knew you as a patient, and came to the house when you were ill.

Particularly, since we are entering energy descent.

I understand you bemoaning the lack of scientific method, though, in terms of how to analyse information in the world around us - I have two science degrees - one in Pharmacy, one in Computer Science.

But, I would point out that when I went back to do the second degree, I had to repeat a couple of 101 classes, and lab work is much easier when you have been in the workforce for a while - one is much more organized. I recall one lab where I ended up with half the new students watching me work on dissecting cranial nerves in a dogfish - not because I knew any more than they did about cranial nerves, but I looked organized.

There's a difference between "method" and "tools". I think we have a lot of "tools" today, but are suffering from a lack of "method".

Invasive plants are nothing new;genetically engineered or not, they aren't a joke, but they can leads to some good ones being told.

A few decades back, I was at a meeting where the control of johnson grass was being discussed.

After an hour or so of examining the various failed strategies that had been tried, the last guy put up a slide listing all the available management options.

The last line read"Grow johnson grass hay".

Some guys laughed so hard they got out of breath.

invasive and noxious weeds are not nearly as troublesome as the evasive and obnoxious ones. malapropisms can be fun too !

Regarding Johnson Grass.

When my farm was being row cropped the 'operators' had always sprayed enough RoundUp to keep the growth under control. They didn't waste it since it would only kill what the leaves absorbed.

Yet all the time Johnson Grass is building rhizomes. Underground. A huge quantity of barely suppressed weeds are building up a huge inventory 'underground'.

And after I threw them off my land , they had just taken the last spring wheat crop out of the fields and I had sown fescue around the edges mixed with the wheat in order to 'shepherd' it(the fescue that is as a means of erosion control), then the Johnson Grass had a huge field day. I was working still and only on the farm on one weekend per month.

In just that one summer the Johnson Grass grew to over 14 ft tall. Standing on the hood of my big tractor I could just barely see over the tops of it. It had taken in just a short couple of months my entire farm.

The rhizomes and billions of seeds in the soil totally ruined my fields.

It took another 15 gallons of RoundUp at a very high cost to kill those stands in late summer. I then NoTilled the fields with Orchard Grass and Red Clover,,yet I fought the remnents of that infestation, brought about by Modern Farming practices , for literally years.

Johnson Grass came to this area from Texas via cattle trucks. When I was growing up on the farm there was NO Johnson Grass. None.

If you leave Johnson Grass alone it will take the fields and crowd out everything else. When frost hits it then it becomes toxic (prussic acid?). If you cut and bale it then your just spreading its seeds around to other areass. Other farmers who then become infested should rightly beat your butt with vigor for such activity.

Mules and horses will eat the young JG and hogs will root up and eat the rhizomes. Other than that the best remedy is to keep clipping your fields before it reaches about a foot or foot and a half for then it starts putting energy into the rhizome. All new growth from rhizomes takes energy OUT of the rhizome.

But of course you are already infested with billions upon billions of seed in the fields IF you have ever,ever let it 'head out' and drop its seeds. A very bad thing to let happen.

Yet many farmers will let fields go to JG and then the winds and other means take the seeds to neighbors fields. Another whipping is called for then.

Johnson Grass(JG) is not a laughing matter and only a total abject fool would let his stock eat it. Someone who is without much sense. Like my neighbors who are too
lazy to clip their fields. Their cattle are poorly and tend to calf poorly since they eat mostly bitterweed, marestail,cheet, nodding thistle, and johnson grass.

Some people should not be allowed to tend ground. They should be frying burgers at a fast food emporium instead.

I used to do custom baling and sometimes had to get off the tractor to puke from the rough and neglected fields that I ran my equipment on. First time was usually last time.

Buying hay then will surely cause you to become infested. Sit a big round bale out in the field for the cows. Two years later its a huge weed patch. Almost guaranteed. And some wonder just where it comes from. Another farmer farming with his eyes 'wide shut'.

I also found the USDA/FSA meetings a total waste of time. They were all 'fronting' for BigAg businesses. They are the ones who are responsible for most of the depletion and destruction of the soil in the USA.

Their agenda is not Nature's agenda. Its almost diametrically opposed. For all the farm programs put on by extension agents and ag profs that I have attended most all were a total waste of time.

It was not always thus. The USDA yearbooks of way back had very good practical information. It all went crazy when Big Ag Corporations came on the scene.

Sorry if this is old news.

On December 31, 2009 Forbes published an opinion piece titled System Overload that questioned whether the battery industry was overbuilding global
manufacturing capacity. The third paragraph noted:

“By 2015 the new factories will have the global capacity to produce 36 million kilowatt-hours of battery capacity, enough to supply 15 million hybrid vehicles, or 1.5 million fully electric cars, says Deutsche Bank.”

Recent analysis of the statement by John Peterson http://www.batteriesinternational.com/cover_story.pdf concludes the global capacity would only save 4.58 hours of global oil consumption (I assume that's cummulative so 1 day after 5 years).

More interesting is the analysis of CO2 saving, which using the current 500-600g/KWHr, makes Prius style hybrids the biggest winner over PHEV or EV basically because so many more can be manufactured from the available supply of batteries. Does not factor in reductions in CO2 per KW, or the use of low carbon power sources for charging, but I must admit the credability of EV had worried me as 1KW = 4 Miles = 500g (125g per mile which is hardly Zero emission).

If true then the global capacity for pure EV of only 1.5 million cars per year and say 5 year battery life means there will only be 7.5 million EV's on the worlds roads in 2020 and unless new battery manufacturing capacity is increased that's it.

...means there will only be 7.5 million EV's on the worlds roads in 2020...

Great! Less than 1 per-cent of the 806 Million vehicles today! Making real progress here, guys.


If oil production shrinks dramatically by 2020, causing the price of gas to increase dramatically (or even not be available at the pump) 7.5 million vehicles might amount to a large portion of the entire useable vehicle fleet.

From the Archives

Saudi Reserves
The Age - Jun 2, 1983

BAHRAIN. 1 June. — Arabian- American Oil Company (ARAMCO) chairman John Kelberer estimated Saudi Arabian recoverable reserves as being in excess of 165 billion barrels, using present oil exploitation techniques.
He wrote in the 'ARAMCO Bulletin' that a 10 per cent increase in the recovery factor would mean the addition of 16 or 17 billion barrels of oil, an amount probably equal to total remaining recoverable reserves in the US.

back of envelope calculation:

Say they have since been pumping an average of 7m per day, about 2.5 billion bbls / year

Number of years since 1983: 27

Amount sucked up since 1983: about 70 billion.

Amount of genuine reserve growth since 1983: ???

2009 BP WEO stated KSA reserves: around about: 250 bbbl

mmmm... something fishy going on in KSA.. (not that it is news to anyone)

mmmm... something fishy going on in KSA.. (not that it is news to anyone)

maybe, but "they are lying" doesn't quite connect the dots.

this ain't new news and this ain't a secret, but ksa has some condensate reserves.

a condensate sampler here:

SAUDI ARABIA - The Arab Light Producers - Ghawar Group

Ghawar is the largest axis of fields in the world and is the main producer of Arab Light crude oil in Saudi Arabia. It is 250 km long and 15 km wide. It contains several fields, of which eight are major oil producers,and huge fields of natural gas in a Khuff reservoir deep beneath the oil formations (Fms).

The main boost to Arab Light (AL) capacity came from a 520,000 b/d expansion at Hawiyah. Deep beneath Hawiyah's oil reservoir lies the Jawf field of non-associated Khuff gas. A $2 bn, 1,440 MCF/d gas processing plant built at Hawiyah came on stream in late 2001 as the 4th such facility in the Master Gas System (MGS). Hawiyah plant produces 170,000 b/d of condensate and 1,000 t/d of sulphur. The plant is being expanded by 800 MCF/d.

The Jawf gas/condensate field was found on July 21, 1994, as the Hawiyah-200 exploratory well yielded 20.2 MCF/d of sweet gas and 3,286 b/d of condensates from an interval of 13,650-14,353 feet. The well was spudded in January 1994 and was the first in a series of deep tests to explore new gas reserves on the flanks of Ghawar. It encountered zones bearing extensive sour and sweet gas deposits in a Khuff Fm at 12,500 ft. Now Jawf produces non-associated gas from six wells.
Deeper drilling through the Jurassic beneath other Ghawar oil structures had since the 1980s proved up large reserves of gas sometimes with condensate in Permian Khuff limestones and pre-Khuff sandstones

Qatif is said to contain 17 TCF of gas and 200m barrels of condensate.


Saudi Aramco is focusing much of its Khuff gas development on the 9 TCF Karan field, 100 km north of Ghawar, where it is to produce 1,000 MCF/d in 2011.

Saudi Aramco experts still point to an earlier estimate that the Najd fields could have up to 30 bn barrels of liquids and major reserves of natural gas. The liquids and gas are reservoired in Paleozoic Fms older than the Khuff, at depths ranging from 7,900 to more than 9,000 ft. Some reservoirs are more than 150 ft thick.

full text here:


10 gb here and 10 gb there, and pretty soon you have something.

Elwood, condensate is not subject by OPEC quotas. Only crude oil is subject to OPEC quotas. So when Saudi Arabia starts producing one, or two, or three million barrels per day of condensate, then I will give some credence to your continuing claim that Saudi Arabia has almost unlimited quantities of condensate that they could produce if they so desired. (They could sell that condensate, not subject to OPEC quotas, at $80 a barrel you know.)

Also, condensate comes up with natural gas. Condensate is never produced only as condensate, independent of either associated or non-associated natural gas. So when Saudi stops burning crude oil to produce electricity and starts burning all that natural gas they are producing, in order to produce all that condensate, then I will give some credence to what you say.

But until Saudi does that, until Saudi starts acting like they actually have all that natural gas and condensate that you claim, I will keep my doubts.

I have no doubt that they have some Khuff gas and condensate associated with that gas, but I think you are GROSSLY exaggerating the amount of gas and condensate under Ghawar.

I have always heard that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Well, the proof of Khuff gas and condensate is in the producing. And until they do start producing, I will hold my doubts.

Ron P.

I will give some credence to your continuing claim that Saudi Arabia has almost unlimited quantities of condensate that they could produce if they so desired.

where did i say that ? i will repeat here what i said before:ghawar permian khuff could contain up to 250 gb condensate.

and, as i have stated before, the permian khuff contains mostly sour gas which is difficult and expensive to process. are you expecting aramco to just open the wells and fill a supertanker ?

So when Saudi stops burning crude oil to produce electricity and starts burning all that natural gas they are producing, in order to produce all that condensate, then I will give some credence to what you say.

that ground has already been covered. you claimed just a few days ago that oil was insignificant in electrical generation:


A 58 percent increase in oil used for electricity would be no big deal because they likely used very little for oil the year before.

from bp's statistical review, ksa gas production(all of which is used domestically).

2000 - 49.8 bcm
2005 - 71.2 bcm
2008 - 80.4 bcm
2009 - 77.5 bcm

Condensate is never produced only as condensate, independent of either associated or non-associated natural gas.

and your point ?

I think you are GROSSLY exaggerating the amount of gas and condensate under Ghawar.

what is your estimate ?

Well, the proof of Khuff gas and condensate is in the producing. And until they do start producing that you claim,....

year Api gravity
1992 37.1
1993 38.3
1994 38.4
1995 38.6
1996 38.2
1997 38.5
1998 38.4
1999 39.8
2000 39.0
2001 39.8
2002 40.6
2003 40.3
2004 40.9
2005 41.5
2006 41.5
2007 41.8
2008 41.1
2009 41.8

plot ksa's oil gravity and tell me that ksa's condensate production is not significant - or - you could just read the article.

I will hold my doubts.

yeah, i got that.

further lite reading for your friday evening enjoyment:

Stimulating Khuff Gas Wells with Smart Fluid Placement

The increasing domestic demand for gas in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is triggering more gas development projects. Challenging targets are set to increase the gas production in the coming years. Many rigs are been shifted from oil to gas developments. As consequence, existing projects are under high pressure to maximize the production of each gas well at the lowest operational cost possible, complying, of course, with the highest industry EHS standards.
A significant portion of the gas production is coming from the South Ghawar Field developments. In this area, most wells are completed as horizontal or highly deviated wells, and it is common to find dual lateral and open hole completions, leveraging on the consolidated carbonate Khuff formations.


I'm with Ron on this. Why go to all the trouble of revamping Manifa, all that offshore heavy sour H2s laden gunk, if they could just throw together some GOSPs and produce these colossal volumes of +C? It sounds like the condensate is one of those resources that isn't quite so simple to utilize, even if it is a "cash river" as Deffeye's buddy said about casinghead gasoline. This is just my position given the direction things are headed in. The API info is intriguing, but perhaps there are simpler explanations for it as well.

Why go to all the trouble of revamping Manifa, all that offshore heavy sour H2s laden gunk, if they could just throw together some GOSPs and produce these colossal volumes of +C?

you are not getting it. they don't just throw together some gosps, got that ? processing sour gas is expensive and difficult, got that ? it takes time and money, got that?

take a look at gas production. is it increasing ?

assume for a nanosecond that aramco is lying. how do you know they are not understating their reserves ?

can you connect the dots ?

Manifa will run $11 billion. I throw that out as a beginning to a real cost comparison.

take a look at gas production. is it increasing ?

Actually I went to the trouble of checking that at the Energy Export Databrowser, and, surprisingly enough, it isn't; -3.5%
for 2009 according to BP. Wonder what the EIA has to say. That loss of associated really stings, it would seem.

The way I look at there are a handful of explanations: they are building out both crude and gas capacity for diversification; they are focusing on crude over gas to maximize revenue; they are focusing on crude due to declines in heritage fields; they are focusing on crude because it's cheaper/less problematic than gas; they hope the crude expansion will bring enough associated to meet domestic demand.

Elaborate more on what you're at if you're in the mood - this is an intriguing topic. It's just that from my perspective this is another resource that's difficult to tap, no matter its size, cf US oil shale.

yes, gas production was down 2008 - 2009, as i posted from bp's statistical review:

2000 - 49.8 bcm
2005 - 71.2 bcm
2008 - 80.4 bcm
2009 - 77.5 bcm

down 3.6 % 08 - 09 and up 56% 2000 - 2009.

Elaborate more on what you're at if you're in the mood - this is an intriguing topic. It's just that from my perspective this is another resource that's difficult to tap, no matter its size, cf US oil shale.

happily, to summarize, this is the difference between drilling a 20 mmcfd/1300 bcpd horizontal well that probably won't decline for years and years and a 20 mmcfd/0 bcpd haynesville well that declines at 80 %/year to a marginal rate in a few years. this is the difference between a difficult xx millidarcy reservoir and a xxx nanodarcy "reservoir".

1 millidarcy = 1/1,000 darcies
1 microdarcy = 1/1,000,000 darcies
1 nanodarcy = 1/1,000,000,000 darcies

so the permeability of khuff is on the order of 100,000 greater than haynesville.

i don't want to represented that this is easy oil, but not bitumen or oil shale either. did you mean shale oil, aka bakken ?

the jury is still out on the bakken, but imo, the 4 gb claimed by the usgs is optimistic. there have no doubt been some economical wells drilled in the bakken, but even in the sweet spots, public traded companies are overstating thier reserves by a factor of about 2 based on performance.

it remains to be seen how much territory is actually economical. current acerage costs in the bakken are unsustainable, a classical oil boom, ala spindletop, imo.

the permeability of the bakken is not much better than the haynesville. steep declines are characteristic of the bakken too, on the order of 40-60%/ year for a few years to a marginal rate.

did you mean shale oil, aka bakken ?

No, oil shale, which shares staggering massiveness and lack of exploitation with the Khuff condensate. Why aren't they drilling up a storm here if it's what it's cracked up to be? Uneconomic - lack of export capacity perhaps? Or they expect to extract what they need elsewhere, or cut demand through efficiency. Last week Jon Callahan posted an intriguing story about the new ME cross country grid tie ins; maybe that'll curb consumption enough to make extracting more NG irrelevant in the first place. Forget which DB we were discussing this in but here's a news article: Improved Gulf power grid reduces blackouts - The National Newspaper

Why aren't they drilling up a storm here if it's what it's cracked up to be?

i thought we already covered that.

1)ksa is doing significant development of the gpk as detailed in the article cited above which is to be presented at the 2010 spe annual meeting:

The increasing domestic demand for gas in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is triggering more gas development projects. Challenging targets are set to increase the gas production in the coming years. Many rigs are been shifted from oil to gas developments.


2)ksa's gas production increased by 56% 2000 -2009

3)ksa's oil gravity has been increasing as previously discussed.

you previously refered to manifa crude as soug gunk and questioned why ksa would invest $11b.

manifa's crude does have a high sulphur content, but the gravity of manifa's crude is 28 deg api. by contrast many many conventional oil reservoirs produce crude in the 20 deg api range and the canadian bitumen is in the 10 -18 deg api range.

why wouldn't ksa invest $11b in such a project ? i think the answer is that they need it all to achieve their desired capacity.

(Can't edit my own post - hit the Flag as Inappropriate button by mistake...)

From the Archives

Saudi Reserves
The Age - Jun 2, 1983

BAHRAIN. 1 June. — Arabian- American Oil Company (ARAMCO) chairman John Kelberer estimated Saudi Arabian recoverable reserves as being in excess of 165 billion barrels, using present oil exploitation techniques.
He wrote in the 'ARAMCO Bulletin' that a 10 per cent increase in the recovery factor would mean the addition of 16 or 17 billion barrels of oil, an amount probably equal to total remaining recoverable reserves in the US.

Subsequently they raised P1 by 85.4 BBO, of course, 5 times Kelberer's figure. The earliest mention of this I've been able to find is from January 17, 1989: Six in OPEC Have 70% of Oil - NYTimes.com. Interestingly enough this was in the wake of Kelberer's retiring from Armaco the year before: Saudi Named Aramco Chief - NYTimes.com

DHAHRAN, Saudi Arabia, April 6— The Saudi Arabian oil minister, Hisham Nazer, has replaced an American to become the first Saudi chairman of the Arabian American Oil Company, his nation's major oil-producing company.

Mr. Nazer took over from John J. Kelberer, who headed Aramco for 10 years. Aramco's president, Ali I. Naimi, will succeed Mr. Kelberer as chief executive.

In November 1988, the company changed its name from Arabian American Oil Company to Saudi Arabian Oil Company (or Saudi Aramco). It's remarkable that the CEO of the company would describe such limits to KSA resources.

Our analysis from early 2006:


And as I have noted once or twice, despite annual oil prices exceeding the 2005 level of $57 for four years and for 2010 to date, annual Saudi crude oil production--and especially Saudi net oil exports--have not yet exceeded the 2005 rate.

This is in marked contrast to the large increase in production and net oil exports--in response to rising oil prices--in the 2002 to 2005 time frame.

The last few years don't really count - with this recession the customers aren't there for them to sell at full capacity to in the first place. Also when I plot HL for 1991-2009 I get an URR of something like 205 bbo URR - 59% of Q/T with R2 of 88%, a minor improvement. Looks like Khebab used the same year for a starting point.

The last few years don't really count

Good point. The rise in annual oil prices from $57 in 2005 to $100 in 2008 was strong evidence of a lack of demand--or at least that is what the Saudis asserted in early 2006, when they complained of a lack of buyers for their oil, "Even their light, sweet oil." And as I have occasionally pointed out, Texas has had similar problems, since 1972, in finding buyers for all of its oil, "Even our light, sweet oil."

Note that the Saudis pledged their undying support, in early 2004, for the $22-$28 OPEC oil price band:


Incidentally, in the 2006 paper, Sam was using C+C for Saudi production.

Hey, if you up it to $200 I'll consider buying some... but you may have to up it to $400 to make me actually buy it.

Hey, It's not my fault I drive a hard bargain.


Demand crashed in late 2008, you know. Using that annual figure is somewhat misleading. A moving average or quarter years would be more scientific. Other times, yeah, I'm ready with the crocodile tears for those poor long suffering Saudis and their failure to find anywhere to park their oil.

I'm using C+C as well - stole the numbers from some spreadsheet of Sam's. ;) We do have 4 more years of data to play with now.

When was Texas hard up for customers? 30 years ago when demand was keeling over? Or just at various intervals when they couldn't compete with cheaper stuff from the ME?

Actually, I think that the annual oil price and production/net export numbers are more indicative of fundamental supply & demand factors. And the fact remains that US annual oil prices have exceeded the 2005 price level for four years and for 2010 to date. And the 2010 annual oil price to date exceeds all prior annual oil prices except for 2008.

If one believes that the Saudis voluntarily curtailed production in the 2006-2008 time frame, due to a lack of demand, it makes sense that Texas has had to similarly curtail its production, due to a lack of demand.

I don't think Saudi Arabia curtailed production due to lack of demand; I do think, however, that Saudi has some excess capacity that they are keeping idle to boost the price of oil up to their desired $75 price range. How much excess capacity Saudi Arabia has is a deep dark secret; I don't believe their public pronouncements. Possibly the true excess capacity is roughly half of what is claimed, but that is just a WAG.

Every night for fifty years, I have gone outside before bed and emitted my most fearsome growl, and for fifty years I have succeeded in keeping all 100 trolls at bay. Well, possibly there's only fifty trolls, but that's just a WAG.

A moving average cuts through any noise though. These years are arbitrary constructs that don' tell the whole picture. You'd do better to speak of 2Q 2008, but the data comes with these labels we stick to, no matter their shortcomings.

The absolute peaks have a lot to say, too. Why'd KSA come back from the dead like that in 2008? What would the annual figure have been like if that bothersome recession hadn't happened? (Leaving aside the theory that the oil price spike caused it in the first place).

I was expecting some actual evidence that Texas has ever cut back to <100% allowable since the lower 48 peaked. Maybe it has happened, but given the monstrous market it's smack in the middle of I'd be surprised. Might go trawling around for this evidence myself.

In early 2007, Stuart Staniford argued that the HL model was wrong for Saudi Arabia, because the observed production decline was greater than what the HL model predicted. I replied that was one of the reasons that I expected to see a future rebound in Saudi production, "Albeit to a level much lower than the 2005 rate." So, I expected a future rebound, but I was surprised at the magnitude of the rebound. Having said all of that, Saudi Arabia still has not exceeded their 2005 annual production rate.

But key point is oil delivered to the market place. They net exported 9.1 mbpd in 2005, at an annual oil price of $57, but only 8.4 mbpd in 2008, at an average oil price of $100. This is completely contrary to the export/price pattern that they showed from 2002 to 2005. Coincidentally, this was at about the same stage of depletion at which Texas started having trouble selling all of its oil (as oil prices went up about 10 fold from 1972 to 1980).

Regarding Texas:


No pulling my leg, please. The Victoria Advocate - Dec 16, 1976

Board Trims Oil Allowable
AUSTIN, Tex. (AP) - The Texas Railroad Commission voted Thursday to keep the statewide oil allowable barely below 100 per cent to start the new year.

The commission, at chairman Ben Ramsey's final allowable hearing, trimmed the production factor from 99 to 98 per cent for January.

Commissioner Jim Langdon said the allowable probably will fluctuate between 90 and 100 per cent for the next six to eight months.

Or are producing oil and selling it distinct things? Well, sure they are, but I can't imagine these guys just pumping oil for the pleasure of filling up tank farms.

"We are continuing to suffer attrition in production from all of our fields," Langdon said.

Good news/bad news report.

Oil prices fall; that would be good.

Wheat prices up: bad.

Stock market down: who knows?

Interest paid by US on Treasuries (2 yr variety) at an historical low: good news for US, since that means less paid out in interest. Bad news for conservative investors, as their income drops. If they sell the bonds, that is good news as prices on bonds go up when interest rates fall. I call this one neutral.

Dollar drops in value. No surprise here... seems like there should be some inflation along with this, except we are most likely entering or in a deflationary depression.

How does the future look? Grim. Falling wages and rising farm prices as the impact of our 150 year folly bears down on us from without, seem inevitible. Oil prices remain stubornly high, reflecting the rising costs of extraction from ever smaller and more difficult to reach reservoirs. The world reaction so far is to switch more to coal, excaberating the AGW problem, and hastening the peak of coal. Plus, of course, the coal remaining is less efficient and dirtier.

As the world climate switches to extremes of drought and flood, as transportation costs increase, and as fertilizers become more expensive as well, those grocery prices will continue to rise. With so little labor needed for farm to market production, jobs will remain in short supply, and the continuing downward pressure on wages will further depress the economy.

Soon, echoing the ad, we will be asking each other, "got food?"

And, who said this was a doomer site?


I gather the jobs report was worse than expected.

Weak job market puts recovery at risk

Friday's jobs data confirmed a series of economic reports showing that, after a surge in late 2009 and early this year, the economy is slowing. Gross domestic product grew at a sluggish 2.4 percent pace in the second quarter, down from 3.7 percent in the first three months of the year. Retail sales remain weak, and the pace of weekly jobless claims remains high . In surveys, consumers report they have grown increasingly wary of general economic conditions and their own personal finances.

That's not what should be happening at this point in a sustained economic recovery. Since World War II, U.S. recessions generally have been followed within a year by annual growth rates of about 6 percent, according to David Rosenberg, chief economist at Gluskin-Sheff.

Thirty months into typical post-War recovery, GDP would be 8 percent higher than pre-recession levels and payrolls would be up 721,000, according to Rosenberg. Thirty months into this recovery, there are 7.8 million fewer jobs, and GDP is still 1 percent lower.

I wonder if our fearless leaders are going to panic, and pass another stimulus bill. Elections coming up and all...

I gather the jobs report was worse than expected.

It is my opinion that the Calculatedriskblog had excellent coverage on the job reports:

Their "Percent Job Losses During Recessions, aligned at Bottom" graph is a great visualization, too.


Wow. That is a picture worth a thousand words.

Looking at the graph for employment/population data, one might argue that the US is just moving back to conditions of the 1960's before women entered the work force in larger numbers. Perhaps the difference today is that now there are more men who are unemployed, like me...

E. Swanson

Since World War II, U.S. recessions generally have been followed within a year by annual growth rates of about 6 percent, according to David Rosenberg, chief economist at Gluskin-Sheff.

I heard that same stat, 6%+, mentioned on CNBC on Thursday by a guest. So what we are getting now is 2.7%, but it should be over 6%. My assertion is the difference is caused by the price of oil. Historically when oil cost reaches 4% of GDP, it causes a recession. In today's dollars 4% is equivalent to 80 dollars a barrel. Oil price is currently hovering around 80. But even if the recessionary tipping point is 90, 80 will still cause a reduction in economic activity as we saw from the first quarter at 3.4% to this past quarter at 2.7%.

Regardless of how much oil is left to be produced and consumed, price in my opinion is the primary governing factor. If I'm off base on this, please stick me with a fork.

"And, who said this was a doomer site?"

Not I!


2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013?

N.B. nuclear plant another year behind schedule

Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. has informed the New Brunswick government and NB Power that the $1.4-billion refurbishment project of the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station is another year behind schedule.

Gaëtan Thomas, president and chief executive officer of NB Power, confirmed the further delay on Friday.

"Needless to say, we are very disappointed to have this latest delay in the completion of Phase 2 of the Point Lepreau refurbishment confirmed by AECL," Thomas said.

"This will push the project completion date back at least a year and possibly longer."

Under the original plan, the Point Lepreau reactor refurbishment was supposed to be finished on Sept. 30, 2009, but AECL, the federal Crown agency, ran into delays.

Until Friday, the most recent timeline said the reactor would be finished this October and ready to operate next February.

See: http://www.cbc.ca/money/story/2010/08/06/lepreau-behind-schedule.html#ix...

Shocked ! Positively shocked, I say !


2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013?

What comes to my mind is the old adage, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."

What's really scary is those who propose a second nuclear facility for N.B. If one don't turn a profit (or even work for that matter!), try two -- that should really improve the odds.

Mercy, preserve us from well intentioned technocrats!

Hi Tom,

Nuclear power killed Ontario Hydro and there's a pretty good chance it could kill NB Power as well. Thankfully, there are better options:

Efficient wind energy goal of Maritime group

A consortium of Maritime electricity companies is planning to team up with customers to make use of wind energy when it is available.

Although wind energy is environmentally friendly, it lacks the reliability of carbon-fuelled sources, which can be turned on whenever they are needed. Power utilities can mitigate this problem by spreading out production, on the assumption the wind will be blowing somewhere, but production cannot be made entirely consistent over a region the size of the Maritimes.

The $32-million Power Shift Atlantic project plans to recruit consumers to help solve the problem, finding ways for customers to use the power when it is available.

See: http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2010/08/06/pei-efficient-wind-energy-...

Best hope for smarter alternatives.


May wiser heads prevail.

Smarter alternatives. What's the odds?

As you say, probably better than before. Some of the more recent rhetoric seems to be moving in that direction.



P.S. Paul, on a completely different note, have you observed the jump in gasoline prices at the NS/NB border. I visited N.B. last week. The difference in price between Amherst (in N.S.) and Sackville (in N.B.) was 6 or 7 cents a litre. 98 cents/litre in NB, $1.05 in NS. If it wasn't for the toll at the Cobequid Pass it would be worthwhile for many Nova Scotians to drive to Sackville for a regular fill-up. I'm not quite sure how service stations in Amherst are surviving.

Hi Tom,

I haven't been following gas prices all that closely as I do so little driving (a tank of gas can last me two or three months and sometimes more). However, the MJ Ervin August 3rd survey confirms your findings. Regular grade gasoline in Nova Scotia currently retails for 105.3 to 108.1 per litre whereas prices in New Brunswick fall between 99.4 and 101.3 (source: http://mjervin.com/WPPS_Public.htm). That six to seven cent spread has got to hurt border stations, as you say.


Paul, still curious as to why the price differential? No doubt the government will come up with all kinds of justification.

Guess it's all just to make us Nova Scotians feel special.



Thankfully wind turbines continue to be installed and total installed capacity appears to be approximately 35GW in the US.


I agree. This is the direction we need to go and we'll get there eventually.

See: http://www.canwea.ca/pdf/Canada%20Current%20Installed%20Capacity_e.pdf


Greenland glacier calves island 4 times the size of Manhattan

A University of Delaware researcher reports that an "ice island" four times the size of Manhattan has calved from Greenland's Petermann Glacier.

Satellite imagery of this remote area at 81 degrees N latitude and 61 degrees W longitude, about 620 miles [1,000 km] south of the North Pole, reveals that Petermann Glacier lost about one-quarter of its 43-mile long [70 km] floating ice-shelf.

The new ice island has an area of at least 100 square miles and a thickness up to half the height of the Empire State Building.

I wonder if that could limit the loss of arctic sea ice by blocking an outlet.

A little bit, but most of the sea ice is flushed out of the Framm Strait. (At least that which hasn't melted already)

Hyperlocal Effects From A Changing Climate

On some days London is as much as 20 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than its surroundings. And that’s just because of the "urban heat island" effect. Any long-term climate effects brought on by general greenhouse warming would add additional heat.

A new study by three scientists at the Met Office, the British government agency responsible for making weather forecasts, looks at how hot cities could be by the year 2050.

If carbon dioxide is twice the 1950 levels, the Met Office simulations suggest that some cities in the Middle East could see temperature rises of 5.4 degrees[C] while cities in the western United States, southern Asia, and western Africa would suffer an increase of about 2 degrees[C].

As temperatures rise, so will energy demands.

Global tropical forests threatened by 2100

By 2100 only 18% to 45% of the plants and animals making up ecosystems in global, humid tropical forests may remain as we know them today, according to a new study led by Greg Asner at the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology.

Political Update: Canada

Looks like election speculation in Canada has been put on hold. Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced today that it would be inappropriate to go to the polls with the economy being as dodgy as it is.

Economy too fragile for election: PM

The last time Canadians went to the polls (October 2008), the markets tanked and global credit lines came under siege. The poor timing probably cost Harper his chance for a majority. He's far more cautious this time around.

Wonder what the entrails are telling heads of government these days? If Harper is too spooked to drop the writ, I suspect the forecasts at the Department of Finance are glum.

Nuclear Concerns as Russian Wildfires Spread Near Chernobyl

The hundreds of wildfires still spreading through Russia are beginning to approach areas affected by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear meltdown. Although only 30 square kilometers around the Chernobyl facility are still off-limits, some worry that radioactive substances may remain in the upper soil layer in nearby the Bryansk forests. If that soil burns, warn environmentalists, it could release potentially radioactive gas clouds. Here's what we know about this risk.


According to reporter Charles Hawley, "as Germany's wild boar population has skyrocketed in recent years, so too has the number of animals contaminated by radioactivity left over from the Chernobyl meltdown," which took place almost 25 years ago.

Apparently, mushrooms and truffles, which the hogs like to eat, are "particularly efficient at absorbing radioactivity.",

The Role of Mushrooms in Nature

From the Mushrooms and Toxic Wastes section:

In heavily industrialized areas, the soils are typically contaminated with a wide variety of pollutants, particularly petroleum-based compounds, polychlorinated biphenols (PCBs), heavy metals, pesticide-related compounds, and even radioactive wastes. Mushrooms grown in polluted environments can absorb toxins directly into their tissues, especially heavy metals (Bressa, 1988; Stijve 1974, 1976, 1992). As a result, mushrooms grown in these environments should not be eaten. Recently, a visitor to Ternobyl, a city about 60 miles from Chernobyl, the site of the world's worst nuclear power plant accident, returned to the United States with a jar of pickled mushrooms. The mushrooms were radioactive enough to set off Geiger counter alarms as the baggage was being processed. Customs officials promptly confiscated the mushrooms.

This reminds me of a story a number of years ago when there was a big fire north of Los Angeles. The smoke from the wildfire was full of automotive pollutants that had been settling in the forests there for a couple of decades. Our technology sins keep coming back to haunt us.

Frankly I'd be much more concerned about the noxious chemicals in the smoke, then any radioactive isotopes picked up. Smoke can kill you or ruin your health without needing radioisotopes.

Re: Southwestern Energy Says Dry Weather May Slow Pennsylvania Shale-Gas Work

"The dry weather means less water is available from the nearby streams for use in the process known as hydraulic fracturing, Steven Mueller, chief executive officer at Houston- based Southwestern, told investors today on a conference call."

Can anyone comment on what happens to this water? Is it recovered? If recovered how are the frakking chems separated to make it safe for disposal?

Or are we so stupid as to be injecting large amounts of fresh water into the bowels of the earth where it will be kept out the planet's water cycle for millenia just when we might need it most? To get more carbon?

Perhaps if we do enough of this we can keep the oceans from rising due to the gas we burn?

It's not a problem, it's a feature!

I'm in my angry phase...


If you dig thru the postings on TOD you'll find people who think its OK to do the fracking.

"Replaceable" resources like "potable water" arn't a concern.

So my earlier "Michelle Obama/Marie Antoinette" post got one funny response ("we like she is visiting spain"), two ad hom attacks that ignored the question poised, and then was apparently junked by the community.

This suggests to me that at least some of our TOD community have certain sacred cows that must not be disturbed, including certain celebrities and leaders who give support to "green agendas" but make no serious efforts to change their own behavior (i.e. "BAU for me, Green and sacrifice for you" ????). They are given a pass, their role as 'leader' is safe, unexamined and above reproach.

I'm not sure I understand this thinking, but it does help me to understand how the american public can repeatedly elect incompetent hypocrites to high office.

You seem to be just aching to be a martyr - please simmer down.

The replies to you were not ad hominem. And your original posting was a political troll.

It's not about sacred cows, it's about relevance.

Okay, so again, how about we address the question instead of the person asking the question.

When it come to our leaders - political or otherwise - what kind of standards do we, the peak oil/climate change aware, hold them too ???

In the tabloid article, the author made a number of points suggesting the First Family is no different than those before it. That Michelle Obama is not an Eleanor Roosevelt, but rather is more of a 'celebrity.' I said I think the Obamas are "frauds" - preaching one thing but living BAU, just like Al Gore. I'm sure we could find some republican examples too, that would be fine.

What do we expect from our leaders? If they do not even try to lead by example, how do you expect 'the competition' to take us seriously?

Apparently the aardvarkian brain is incapable of understanding that politicians aren't leaders, they are followers. That applies to both major parties in the US, as they steal the latest popular issues for their own benefit. The budget is too big? Well, just cut spending, only not the spending on pointless wars and useless military hardware, a plan which worked great for RayGun/Bush I. Or, raise taxes on the wealthy, (they can afford it since they are rich), then spend it to encourage the poorer fraction to vote for your side. Either way, it's basic vote buying, not leadership...

E. Swanson

aardvarkian brains are very small, but we make up for it by smelling rats from so far away we have enough time to respond appropriately ;)

what kind of standards do we, the peak oil/climate change aware, hold them too ???

"We" don't hold 'em to any standard as "we" can't.

The people who pull the strings and can "hold" them to a standard are not the rank and file TOD posters (tho a few of them or their staff are TOD readers) nor do the rank and file American Citizens have any meaningful way to "hold" them to any "standard". And the rest of the World - Even less "power" to "hold them to a standard".

The closest way is via the decisions where one spends their money. Woe be onto the American People if the rest of the world opts to stop accepting the FRN as a means to exchange goods.

This is a political rant, nothing more. Your post should have something to do with Peak Oil, the environment, the economic collapse due to peak oil or some related subject. You choose instead to post a silly gossip column about Michelle Obama and her vacation in Spain.

Get a life!

Ron P.

Yes Ron, ignore the question, be paranoid about poster motivations, pretend questions about the credibility of your leaders are not relevant, and attack the person asking the question.

So, back to the question that seems to anger you so much: If your leaders continue to live the BAU lifestyle, yet tell the public they must sacrifice, do you really expect them to have any credibility ?

Forget about Michelle and Barack, substitute into the question any other leaders from the Peak Oil/Climate Change movement, political leaders or otherwise. If they preach change, but do not themselves make any effort to live what they preach, should we support them?

Or should we expect more from our leaders and support those that still have some credibility?

(maybe the Obamas are the best we can expect - the best america can produce, and maybe we should not expect much in the way of 'change' at all)

When did the Obamas ask for sacrifice? The Obamas don't believe in sacrifice and believe we can grow forever, or at least act like it.

snarlin aardvark:
There are some wacky, angry old leftists here who can't stand the fact that their politicians of choice are no better, and in some cases, worse, than those of the right.

Obama's finished. A nincompoop, a one-term wonder who will be forgotten quickly, by choice, as the long emergency continues.

And the times before the last election when TOD was overflowing with snide and nasty comments about Bush?

I don't recall Darwinian bitching about that? Perhaps he did but I surely do not recall it.

It all continued non-stop along with all the favorable comments on 'The Chosen One'.

Now the Chosen Ones clothes have gone missing and yet he/she is still defended and others are taken to task for daring, yes daring to speak out?

This is rubbish. If its allowed en masse for one side then it should be fair game for the other.

I am a conservative. I knew the faults of Bush as well as the now visible faults of Obama.

For 8 long years I put up with the trash of the Clintons. So I welcomed a Republican for a change. Those were a wearisome 8 years. I will never forget that filth invaded the White House while others cheered him on.

After that we as a country lost our rudder. We are now totally adrift. We are going down , down and down.

You can only cheat the system for just so long.

Sauce for the goose....etc.

Not about Peak Oil? This is a Drum Beat and the headers are full of news of this and that and much of it NOT about Peak Oil.

Russia is burning. Is that about Peak Oil? Unemployment is down. Is that about Peak Oil.

Get a grip man.

I did not remove your earlier post. It went away because it got a lot of flags from regular members. That means it and all its replies are hidden.

That is the acceptable way to deal with a post you feel is inappropriate. Flag it. Do not attack the person who posted it.

I'd like to remind everyone that posting here is a privilege, not a right. And if this kind of interpersonal sniping continues, I just might make future Drumbeats "read only, no comments."

Thank you leanan, I know you did not flag that post, I did see you deleted an irrelevant response from the thread before it was flagged off the site.

I do like the flag feature. And thank TOD for privilege of posting here and for tolerating some of us.

Apologies for sniping too - some issues must really hit a nerve.

Do not attack the person who posted it.

Ever hear racoons fighting during the night? It's always the males. Amongst humans, males will conspire against another male, or group of males. Dominance is often determined by rough play. So you see, it's all in the natural order of things, a precursor of things to come in a post peak oil world.

Just wait until the collapse happens. Oh my!

That is precisely why I am considering making some changes. Some people don't appreciate what they have until it's gone.

here's something to do with P.O. (which can mean PI$$ED OFF). i always ramble on about titan, a moon of saturn. it has oceans of methane. pundits say that the current population of earth need at least 3 other earths for everyone to live like an uhmerikan. titan will fit that bill for one planet.
and two others? mars has methane, lots of methane.

"one primary plume of Martian methane contained an estimated 19,000 metric tons of the gas – about as much as is produced at a massive hydrocarbon seep at Coal Oil Point in Santa Barbara, California."


i say we go get it. it's either that or stone knives and bear skins. no in between. even posters on the oil conundrum will need those hydrocarbons to upload their colorful graphs. and what of trolls and shills and apologists? where will they get the energy to upload their posts?

top men, top men, mind you are working on it right now. you dont think DARPA aint got a off the books contract to do a study? maybe even got prototype space tankers to get interplanetary goo?

remember there is no limit to human greed and folly. !!!!HIROSHIMA,HIROSHIMA,HIROSHIMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My brother is a DARPA project manager. I could tell you something about plans for Titan, but then I'd have to... oh never mind.

[Edited to add: I love Friday night on the DrumBeat]

OK, I'll bite, it is Friday night, after all.

Let's say we are able to bring a large portion of the oceans of methane from Titan and we burn it all here on earth. If you burn methane CH4 + 2O2 ---> CO2 + 2H2O ...

Just curious what do you suggest we do with all that extra CO2 and water vapor we will be producing? Send it to the sun in disposable rockets or something?

I'm sure we could mine the asteroid belts for minerals to build all the rockets.

If we were capable of bring Titanian methane to earth, and making an energy profit from burning it, I think we wouldn't have a problem dealing with a few molecules of CO2. Space mining for fuel is just totally absurd. Perhaps if we ever get fusion going, and we use up all the Deuterium it would be worth space mining for it. But, mere chemical energy -no way!

Space mining for fuel is just totally absurd.

I hope you didn't get the impression that I thought otherwise.

need at least 3 other earths for everyone to live like an uhmerikan. titan will fit that bill for one planet.
and two others? mars has methane, lots of methane.

Please, humbaba, don't forget Jupiter.

Jupiter is one super super mega-size ball of hydrogen. A super-sized, super size ball of hydrogen!! Seas and seas of hydrogen. Oceans and oceans of hydrogen.

The engines we don't run on methane we can run on hydrogen.

Problem solved.

Heinlein liked Mars. I like Mars.....It's red and close. We need to figure out the magnetic field thing though. Maybe if we bury all of our high level nuclear waste there, the core will melt and we can make an atmosphere while we wait for the magnetic field to form. Mean time, we'll live underground and eat mushrooms, like Humbubba.

Have Space Suit, Will Travel..........

'Stone knives and bear skins'....The City on the Edge of Forever...you STTOS fan you!