Drumbeat: August 15, 2010

As China Expands in Latin America, Tensions Fester at Its Mining Venture in Peru

SAN JUAN DE MARCONA, Peru — In its worldwide quest for commodities, China has scoured South America for everything from Brazilian soybeans to Guyanese timber and Venezuelan oil. But long before it made any of those forays, China put down stakes in this desolate mining town in Peru’s southern desert.

The year was 1992. Chinese companies had begun to look abroad. One steelmaker, the Shougang Corporation of Beijing, set its sights on an iron ore mine here and bought it in a move that seemed particularly bold. At the time, Peru was still plagued by attacks by the Maoist guerrillas of the Shining Path.

But the hero’s welcome for Shougang soon faded. Workers at the mine, which was founded by Americans in the 1950s and nationalized by leftist generals in the 1970s, began fomenting the unexpected: a revolt that has endured to this day, marked by repeated strikes, clashes with the police and even arson attacks against their nominally Communist bosses from China.

Afghanistan Says It Locates 1.8 Billion-Barrel Oilfield in Nation's North

Afghanistan discovered an oilfield containing an estimated 1.8 billion barrels of crude in the north of the country, a Mines Ministry official said.

“A huge oil resource, which looks like a triangle, with an estimated 1.8 billion barrels of oil, has been discovered by Afghan geologists in cooperation with international geologists between Balkh and Sheberghan provinces,” Jawad Omar, a spokesman for the ministry, said in a phone interview today from the capital, Kabul.

Aramco invites bids for Shaybah gas plant - sources

KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia, Aug 15 (Reuters) - State oil giant Saudi Aramco has invited engineering firms to bid for the construction of a power plant related to a natural gas liquids (NGL) project at the kingdom's Shaybah oilfield, industry sources said on Sunday.

Aramco is shifting its exploration and production focus to developing gas output as it looks to meet rising domestic demand from power plants and the petrochemical industry.

Capital spending fuels revenue need

Increased spending by the Abu Dhabi Government is pushing up the level of oil revenue that the emirate needs to balance its budget, official documents show.

Iran offers three billion dollar bonds to fund gasfields

Iran in need of 40 billion dollars of investment to fully develop its South Pars gasfields.

Ex-BP boss Lord Browne did not discuss Lockerbie bomber release

Former BP chief executive Lord Browne has said he never discussed the release of the Lockerbie bomber when he held talks with Libya's leader.

Lord Browne, whose 12 years in charge at BP ended in 2007, said he had met Colonel Gaddafi twice to discuss gas and oil exploration in Libya.

But he told an audience at the Edinburgh International Book Festival he had not lobbied the UK government for the release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi in order to help BP land a deal.

BP’s Relief Well Delayed on Risk of New Oil Release in Gulf

(Bloomberg) -- BP Plc needs to provide additional analysis and plans that will ensure no oil is released when the company drills a relief well and pumps mud and cement to the bottom of the Macondo well to permanently kill it.

BP determined there is 1,000 barrels of oil trapped in its Gulf of Mexico Macondo well after cement was poured from the top earlier this month. The London-based company will probably need until Aug. 17 to provide a method to perform the so-called bottom kill without an uncontrolled release of crude, National Incident Commander Thad Allen said during a conference call with reporters yesterday.

Fishermen take shots at BP skimming program

PASCAGOULA, Miss. — Johnny Ray Harris hunted for oil in the gulf near his home for 45 days straight, radioing in coordinates to cleanup crews when he spotted large, inky patches floating in the choppy waters.

“I would call it in, but no one ever came. Not once,’’ Harris said, sitting on his 73-foot-long shrimp boat beside a box filled with unused rubber boots, gloves, and coveralls. “What a waste.’’

Energy world will miss you Matt!

Peak oil guru Matthew Simmons is dead. Considered a maverick in the close-knit world of energy finance and idolized by many, Simmons did more than anyone else to bring to widespread public attention the obscure theory of "peak oil."

Demand for energy has become a "runaway train that cannot be easily slowed or reversed," Simmons said in May at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston. "We are in the early stages of a global train wreck when demand outstrips supply and shortages begin," he underlined.

Simmons was controversial — at the least — yet he enjoyed a global following. When he spoke, the world listened. "Single-handedly Matt set out on a crusade not to change the world but to wake us all up," said Lad Handelman, a colleague and friend.

Simmons put Maine on the green energy map

He will be missed here less for what he did than for the future he told us was possible.

Transition agriculture

DURHAM - We know that fuel prices will rise dramatically as they dry up in the near future, so what are farmers, who are so depend-ent on oil, going to do about it?

That is what a global initiative, begun in Ireland in 2002, called Transition Town is looking at specifically, and a big part of its perspective is agriculture.

‘Abandon affluence’ — 25 years on

In his influential 1985 book Abandon Affluence, radical Australian sociologist Ted Trainer made the argument that the capitalist economies of the rich world, and the wasteful consumer culture they spawned, were unsustainable and the ecological limits of capitalist growth were fast approaching. Trainer will speak at the November 5-7 Climate Change Social Change conference in Melbourne.

India Needs New Farm Methods to Boost Growth to 4%, Singh Says

(Bloomberg) -- India needs to invest in technology to cultivate dry areas and boost farm production lagging at the slowest pace of growth in five years, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in his Independence Day speech.

Playing for Columbus, but Fighting for the Lands Back Home

Growing up in the small southern Louisiana town of Gonzales, Jason Garey did not venture far for family vacations. Many of them were spent down in the marshes, where Garey and his three siblings learned to fish, shrimp and crab in the bountiful brackish waters.

But by the time he was in college, Garey began to notice that the landscape was changing. A small barrier island near the outpost of Grand Isle — a dirt mound, really — where he had landed his canoe six months earlier was no longer there. In other places, the shoreline was 30 feet farther back than the last time he had visited.

“That’s when it hit home that this is a huge, huge problem,” said Garey, a reserve forward for the Columbus Crew who has a goal and two assists this season. “You realize that it’s gone and it’s going to keep getting worse.”

A Battle in Mining Country Pits Coal Against Wind

LORELEI SCARBRO’S husband, Kenneth, an underground coal miner for more than 30 years, is buried in a small family cemetery near her property here at the base of Coal River Mountain. The headstone is engraved with two roosters facing off, their feathers ruffled. Kenneth, who loved cockfighting, died in 1999, and, Ms. Scarbro says, he would have hated seeing the tops of mountains lopped off with explosives and heavy machinery by mining companies searching for coal.

Critics say the practice, known as “mountaintop removal mining,” is as devastating to the local environment as it is economically efficient for coal companies, one of which is poised to begin carving up Coal River Mountain. And that has Ms. Scarbro and other residents of western Raleigh County in a face-off of their own.

German Government Considers Nuclear Power-Plant Operators' Fund Proposal

Germany’s government may drop a plan to tax nuclear fuels and instead accept an industry proposal to receive revenue from a fund, financed by nuclear power-plant operators, in exchange for extending reactors’ operating lives.

The government is considering alternative ways of collecting 2.3 billion euros ($2.9 billion) a year from nuclear- energy producers while also promoting renewable energy sources by diverting some of the profit utilities make by letting their nuclear reactors run longer.

'Green' gas could power up to 300,000 Irish homes

Around 300,000 Irish homes could be heated for a year by the natural gas produced from grass and household waste. A new study by Bord Gais, the Irish gas board, reveals that at least seven and a half percent of Ireland's annual natural gas demand could be met by processing waste into cheap, green and renewable energy.

Green means go as high-voltage vehicles hit isles

The movement to make Hawaii's roads greener passed a milestone yesterday.

The first high-voltage electric car that supports the 240-volt international charging standard J-1772, the Wheego, and its dedicated charging station were unveiled at the Green Energy Outlet's location in Kakaako. The cars were available for test drives and pre-orders.

U.S. Cancels Some of Brazil's Debt in Exchange For Forest Protection

On Friday, the Obama Administration announced that it will cancel debt from Brazil in exchange for forest protection. The U.S. has done the same for Bangladesh, Belize, Botswana, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Indonesia, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and the Philippines. Deforestation accounts for about 20 percent of global warming emissions, making zero deforestation a priority in places like Brazil and Indonesia, which rank third and fourth for GHG emissions, respectively.

In total, the U.S. will cancel $21 million of Brazil's debt in exchange for protection of the Amazon. This won't cancel all Brazil's debt payments, but it will lesson them over the next five years.

India, Mexico to discuss climate change

Ahead of the global climate change summit in Cancun, Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa touches down in New Delhi on a three-day visit on Sunday that will explore views on evolving a strategy for negotiations at the Nov 29-Dec 10 UN meet on combating global warming. Espinosa will hold talks with External Affairs Minister SM Krishna on issues relating to climate change, intensification of economic ties and the UN reforms. She will also meet Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh and Indian officials involved in climate change negotiations.

In Weather Chaos, a Case for Global Warming

The floods battered New England, then Nashville, then Arkansas, then Oklahoma — and were followed by a deluge in Pakistan that has upended the lives of 20 million people.

The summer’s heat waves baked the eastern United States, parts of Africa and eastern Asia, and above all Russia, which lost millions of acres of wheat and thousands of lives in a drought worse than any other in the historical record.

Seemingly disconnected, these far-flung disasters are reviving the question of whether global warming is causing more weather extremes.

The collective answer of the scientific community can be boiled down to a single word: probably.

Think OPEC Exports Won't Decline? You're Living In A Dreamworld

Howard Gruenspecht: …we think that in the OPEC region, there will be an interest in substituting natural gas for the growth in domestic oil demand in the mid-east region, which does tend to free up oil for the world market.

And there you have it. An answer that only a post-war economist could give: soaring domestic demand for oil in OPEC nations, already cutting into exports, will dial back in the years ahead and convert to natural gas–in order to free up oil for exports…to us here in the West! I had to replay the exchange several times, to get the full measure of Greunspecht’s ridiculous answer.

This is a great article and it mentions Jeffrey Brown and Samuel Foucher's Export-Land Model. Seems these guys are getting more famous every day. ;-)

Aramco's newly released 2009 Annual Review confirms an 8.5% rise in Saudi Arabia's crude oil consumption last year to 2.26m b/d. If folks have not heard of the Export-Land model now, they soon will.

Ron P.

Gregor is a member of TOD, and we've featured his articles as key posts from time to time.

Gregor also has a blog worth following.

From the article:

The Middle East is not going to voluntarily transition away from oil, even marginally. And, the natural gas that our flaky EIA in Washington imagines will be used to “substitute for oil” will instead be used for new power generation and to make fertilizer.

What is little realized is how dependent ME nations are on oil for electrical generation; for 2006 (latest data that I have) no less than 22.57% of KSA consumption was for power, for instance. And for sources of power they are markedly diversified compared to Iraq or the UAE, by which of course I mean they also use gas. This is all low hanging fruit which, if picked, would make the ELM run backwards. If not from elwood's crazy figures for Khuff gas or admittedly monstrous resources like the Pars fields then something wholly novel, like thermal solar power. All of these are taking their sweet time to build out, however, with attendant rises in the meantime of consumption of oil.

KLR, ever since I discovered that Saudi Arabia was burning a whole lot of crude to produce electricity something has baffled me. Their neighbor Qatar, is sitting on the largest gas reserve in the world. It is five times as large as the second largest reserve and averages over ten times the size of the next 10 largest. Why don't Saudi buy natural gas from Qatar to produce electricity?

They could buy gas for a lot less than what they could sell their oil for. And all it would take is a pipeline from Qatar just across their border. With all that gas they could get from Qatar, why are they burning crude oil to produce electricity?

Ron P.

"With all that gas they could get from Qatar, why are they burning crude oil to produce electricity?

National security?

Does anyone have figures on where household energy goes in Saudi Arabia? Do they use water heaters? What proportion of houses have A/C? Refrigeration? etc? If their electrical consumption is going through the roof, where is it being used?

Yes, the vast majority of Saudi homes have air conditioning, water heaters and all the other amenities that most Western homes enjoy.

However when I was there, 80 thru 85, there were still a lot of shanties with no electricity. There were whole villages that looked like slums. I imagine these are all gone by now. They were an embarrassment to the Royal Family then and I suppose they have gotten rid of them.

I would imagine that a lot of the electricity have gone to upgrading people's homes. Their population is also increasing. But the largest jump in electrical use would likely be their industrial additions. They have built several new refineries and are currently building a huge petrochemical plant near Jubial.

Ron P.

My WAG about KSA and imports of whatever stripe of FF is that an element of national pride is at work. Importing hydrocarbons there is more than a bit akin to hauling coals to Newcastle, after all. Plus they can keep their populace busy poking holes in the Empty Quarter etc.

Elwood's data about the Khuff is interesting - and puzzling - and ironic. After all, he had absolutely nothing good to say about domestic US shale companies and their hype; from the looks of things the Khuff gas is just as uneconomic, given that KSA is showing very little interest in tapping into it, whatever its size. No matter how sour that gas is, surely tapping into it and doing some fuel switching is a simpler way to build up additional oil export capacity than revamping a monstrosity like Manifa, right?

I need to flesh out the data on oil consumption more - I'm converting bkwh info into bpd, which is a calc I'm more than a bit dubious about. EIA has numbers for both resid and resid for bunkering, which along with power generation are about its only two applications. Should be able to get an alternate set of numbers there to see how they compare.

from the looks of things the Khuff gas is just as uneconomic, given that KSA is showing very little interest in tapping into it, whatever its size.

where did you get that idea ?


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.


A significant portion of the gas production is coming from the South Ghawar Field developments.

Your link doesn't really go anywhere. EIA says primary developments in non-associated are three offshore fields: Saudi Arabia Energy Data, Statistics and Analysis - Oil, Gas, Electricity, Coal.

The Arabiyah and Hasbah fields are believed to contain high- sulfur natural gas that will be sent to be processed at the Kursaniyah gas hub. These high sulfur levels, as well as their offshore location, will make this gas relatively expensive to develop.

Also expensive/challenging projects in the Rub Al Khali and Neutral Zone, with the latter throwing in political hurdles as well. Nothing whatsoever about tapping into all that condensate. It isn't even mentioned in connection with Ghawar, where they point out that 57% of the countries P1 is associated.

The Khuff sounds very much like oil shale or methane hydrates or the Orinoco - some staggeringly huge resource that just isn't economical to tap into right now, and perhaps never will be. Certainly if it were the EIA would have something to say about it. Instead they just throw in some figures about the country's output of NGLs.

sorry 'bout that, just type in 131917, the number of the spe paper the excerpt is from. anyhow, the excerpted part was the point is was trying to make: aramco is steadily developing this resource.

The Khuff sounds very much like oil shale or methane hydrates or the Orinoco - some staggeringly huge resource that just isn't economical to tap into right now, and perhaps never will be.

then is s. pars/ n. dome snake oil too ? and how 'bout the relatively small area of ghawar that is developed and producing ?

don't take this personal, but do you suffer from amnesia or other impairment ? we have talked about this almost daily for the past week or two.

You put that like I'm denying the existence of hydrates et al. Cornucopians point to resources like this as if they conclude any form of debate whatsoever, simply from the magnitude of their scale. I threw in the EIA page which quite candidly says the Saudis aren't doing jack with the Khuff, what more do you want?

only looking at eia data means you are walking around half blind. the eia report for ksa shows total production and crude oil production, but condensate is included in crude oil and the difference being ngl's. the eia needs to bring their data into the 21st century, imo.

the installed condensate capacity for ghawar permian khuff and older rocks is about 750 kbpd. this capacity was installed since 2001 and previous to that ghawar permian khuff (gpk)gas production was limited to "lean" gas areas of gpk. you won't find that in the eia as far as i know.

i arrived at this by reading a stack of spe papers and other articles i have accumulated in the last month or so.

there is apparently a misconception held by some that condensate yield is the same everywhere, including qatar. i have another stack of spe papers, textbooks, reports and experience going back more than 30 years that says nay, that ain't so.

you don't need a phd in petroleum reservoir engineering to know that, in fact pe 101 will do. but absent that, here is elwood gas reservoir engineering 100.01


that covers about 90 % of gas reservoir engineering. and that will be $999, my regular rate.

look forward to hearing a lot more on this !

edit: you may have noticed that eia shows oil reserves in thousand barrels per day - wtf ?

I'm not even bothering to parse the data, just relying on the EIA summary of activity, which tells me that they're not especially interested in the Khuff. Perhaps it will pan out like Alberta, where a resource takes decades to become economically viable on a large scale.

What I took exception to was your characterizing "Doomers" as deliberately not paying attention to the Khuff. The world runs on oil, not NGLs, barring the odd conversion and/or forklift. Sure we could convert lots of vehicles; but the gas of choice worldwide is CNG - I have plenty of data on how that's unfolding, too. Sure KSA could tap into this and free up lots of oil for export that they're currently burning up for power - but what the EIA says is that they're just not doing this; indeed they're still exploring for gas. If they know about this huge resource in the Khuff but are still exploring elsewhere that tells me it's just not the best value for them right now, hence my refs to oil shale or hydrates in the rest of the world.

This may have some links of interest for you: The Oil Drum | Questions About the World's Biggest Natural Gas Field. From 2006, includes chart from Simmons & Co with "Dry gas underlying Ghawar has been disappointing."

SAUDI ARABIA - The Oil & Gas Fields. | Goliath Business News

The huge Khuff gas reservoir deep beneath Haradh's oil Fms has been partly developed by Saudi Aramco. (This was to be developed by a group led by ExxonMobil, under the $15 bn core project for which it signed the initial agreement on June 3, 2001. But the US super-major opted out earlier this year - see Gas Market Trends No. 13).

Would enjoy a whole article on this, btw, don't get me wrong.

yeah, thanks for the oil drum link from 2006. i hadn't seen that one before, that was before i started reading tod.

but really, there is nothing new in the article. interesting that processing of sour gas in s. pars/n. dome(sp/nd) was problematical in '06, and that sp/nd hadn't(hasn't) been fully deliniated. sound familiar ? the same applies to gpk, i.e. difficulty with processing sour gas and not fully deliniated.

you recognize, of course that sp/nd is offshore and offers additional challenges.

i am not surprised that simmons(rest his soul) found "dry gas underlying ghawar" dissapointing. i don't really know what to make of that, or what he meant, but the gpk is a rich gas condensate. dry gas is a component of gpk, but dry gas is just not a description i would apply to gpk.

legacy production from gpk was a more lean gas, i don't have a lot of details on that, but plan to as i accumulate more of the spe articles.

a lot has happened since '06. from bp's statistical reviews, qatar's api gravity has climbed to nearly 58 deg. api in '09. the increasing api gravity indicates that qatar is producing mostly condensate. (i am a little suspicous of that data, but none the less, that is what the data says)

jeffery brown's description of sp/nd was interesting, and appropriately cautious. it seems that wells 5 km apart may not be enough.

not like some on here who tend to go off half cocked.

Where do you find the API info in Stat Review? That rings a bell but I can't find it in the current edition. I know about other sources like the EIA Percentages of Total Imported Crude Oil by API Gravity. They also have heat content data on international crude/NGLs, which has to be the dullest most useless series ever - just 29 solid years of the exact same numbers over and over.

Glad you found the TOD link of interest.

I'm dubious of the three gas supergiants; icy Barents and sour gas Qatar-South Pars are undersea and Yamal is below a floating sponge of tundra.

Natural gas is the most expensive fuel after oil and I would not be surprised if the price of gas per btu of these reserves is even higher than the price of oil today.
The economics are that when all the cheap gas is gone then they'll get around to developing these deposits. Today the Iranians import gas from Central Asia.

Shell just joined Russia's consortium on Yamal.

I made some comments about Qatar and KSA earlier this year, and if my memory is correct, their are unresolved disputes between KSA and Qatar that are slowing down the sale of NG from Qatar. I'm not clear on why they can't agree to terms.

Part of the problem appears that there is limited pipeline capacity between the countries, but that may only be a symptom of the larger failure of the two countries to agree on terms. However Kuwait is stepping up its LNG imports from Qatar, which of course, do not require a pipeline through KSA.

However Kuwait is stepping up its LNG imports from Qatar, which of course, do not require a pipeline through KSA.

But it does require a lot of electricity to turn the natural gas into a cryogenic liquid. When you add the cost of the liquidification plant, the cost of the cryogenic ship and the receiving plant, the cost of LNG considerable. When you can just build a pipeline it is much simpler and much cheaper.

Ron P.

I don't know if this (from Wikipedia) is the reason why KSA doesn't buy gas from Qatar, but it could be:

February 24, 2010, Qatar and Iran signed a defense cooperation agreement in which the two countries stressed the need to expand their defense cooperation. [14]

Iran and Qatar will

* exchange specialized and technical committees
* expand cooperation in training
* conduct joint campaigns against terrorism and insecurity in the region

March 10, 2010. Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani has given his support to Iran’s right to nuclear technology, and considers Iran’s nuclear project to be for peaceful nuclear energy purpose

Given KSA's dislike and distrust of Iran, perhaps they view Qatar's moves as threatening, making Qatar a potentially unreliable partner.

This is really about KSA and Iran, the centers of the two factions, and virtually at war.

cultural reasons for being a different sect of islam maybe?

Qatar - Percent Sunni Muslim: 86% - Percent Shia Muslim: 14%
Saudi Arabia - Percent Sunni Muslim: 95% - Percent Shia Muslim: 5%

Iran - Percent Sunni Muslim: 9% - Percent Shia Muslim: 90%

Iran - 66% population shia, 33% sunni.

How's the area where you live doing? From the pictures, it looks like the entire nation of Pakistan is under water.

so 1% is aethist, Christian, Buddist, Taoist, Quaker, et la?

No,1% is Zoroastrian.

I have met an Iranian Jew. Rare as hen's teeth.


Yeah, I meet one as well in Beijing in 1986, he also had red hair which really made him a stand out out in China. I never got his full story but I believe he may been forced to leave after the revolution.
He defiantly was a strange character.

I don't think there would be many left these days.

25,000 in Iran. Many more outside according to Wikipedia

Today, the largest group of Persian Jews is found in Israel. As of 2007, Israel is home to just over 47,000 Iranian-born Jews and roughly 87,000 Israeli-born Jews with fathers born in Iran.[1] While these numbers add up to about 135,000, when Israelis with more distant or solely maternal Iranian roots are included the total number of Persian Jews in Israel is estimated to be between 200,000[2]-250,000.[3]

The United States is home to 60,000-80,000 Iranian Jews, who have settled especially in the Los Angeles area and Great Neck, New York.


Iran has quite a few Armenians (Greek orthodox). And Jews. The second largest Jewish population in the middle east.

Okay... looks like it's a source fight.

Population: 69,018,924
Percent Shia Muslim: 90%
Percent Sunni Muslim: 9%

March 26th, 2007


There's quite a bit of kicking back and forth in the comments there.

It is my understanding that Saudi Arabia has no infrastructure for importing gas from Qatar, neither pipelines nor re-gasification terminals. Kuwait, in a similar situation, recently leased a tanker from Trinidad that had re-gasification capabilities so that they could import Qatari gas. The recent GCC grid may make it easier for Qatar to run the power plants themselves and simply export the electricity. However you look at it, the GCC countries will be using a lot more of their fossil fuels 'in house' and I expect them to be net importers of natural gas by the end of the decade.

It is my understanding that Saudi Arabia has no infrastructure for importing gas from Qatar, neither pipelines nor re-gasification terminals.

Yes we all understand that, the question is why? Qatar borders Saudi. It would be a rather short pipeline through friendly territory. They could do it and import the gas by pipeline for a tiny fraction of the cost of buying cryogenic gas.

Ron P.

Why don't Saudi buy natural gas from Qatar to produce electricity?

why would qatar do that ? qatar's gas is commited to lng shipments.
anyhow, qatar had a moratorium on new gas export projects. maybe they are considering gas cycling to improve condensate recovery instead of pissing it away by selling dirt cheap lng.

In 2005, Qatar Petroleum became worried the North Dome’s reserves were being developed too quickly, which could reduce reservoir pressure and possibly damage its long-term production potential. In early 2005, the government placed a moratorium on additional development projects at the North Dome pending a study of the field’s reservoirs.[15] This assessment is not expected to end until after 2009, meaning new projects are unlikely to be signed before 2010. However, this did not affect projects approved or underway before the moratorium.[16]

have you considered the possibility that ksa has plenty of gas of their own ?

have you considered the possibility that ksa has plenty of gas of their own ?

Good God, just Google it Elwood. There are dozens of recent articles that can be found documenting Saudi Arabia's desperate shortage of gas.

Booz and Company report shows increasing gas shortage in GCC

Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates are facing a reversal of a decades-old status quo: an increasing gas shortage in the region amid a significant supply overhang in the rest of the world.

And this: Saudi Gas Shortage Will Last A Long Time

We have posted link after link on this list documenting the fact that Saudi Arabia has had to resort to generating electricity with crude oil because of their desperate shortage of natural gas. Yet you continue to post that Saudi has plenty of gas.

Gad! What does it take to get through to you?

Ron P.

ksa had 280 tcf proven gas reserves at the end of '09 and produced about 2.7 tcf in '09 so their depletion rate is less than 1 percent. it would seem that ksa's problem is not gas reserves, but productive capacity.

i have explained time and again that development of sour gas reserves takes time.

what does it take to get through to you ?

i have explained time and again that development of sour gas reserves takes time.

NO it does not. Saudi Arabia has been producing sour gas for decades. They know everything about it and have had sour gas facilities for decades. They were producing sour gas when I was there in 1980 thru 85. Here is a link fron 2003:

Saudi Aramco Khursaniyah Oil and Gas and Hawiyah NGL Recovery Programmes, Saudi Arabia

The work includes the construction of two trains of gas conditioning and ethane and NGL recovery with a total capacity of one billion standard cubic feet a day of sour gas. The facilities will also produce 560 million standard cubic feet a day of sales gas and 300,000bpd of ethane and NGL and 1,800t of sulphur.

Talk about someone not knowing what they are talking about, you are so far out in left field that you are totally lost. Producing sour gas in no big challenge. All they have to do is build a train to remove the hydrogen sulfide. That is no real challenge and they have been doing it for decades. But I think I said that didn't I. Still, it seems one must continue to repeat one's self in a vain attempt to get through to you.

Ron P.

NO it does not

ace hardware ras tanura must be temporarily out of sour gas trains.

either that or the giga cell multi option compositional models running on a supercomputer must be taking longer than expected.

but aside from that, why would ksa import gas from qatar with their 280 tcf proven gas reserves ?

I had to replay the exchange several times, to get the full measure of Greunspecht’s ridiculous answer.

And, the natural gas that our flaky EIA in Washington imagines will be used to “substitute for oil” will instead be used for new power generation and to make fertilizer.

OK, it may be fun to snark about this, and the snark may turn out to be correct. But... but... but... if these guys don't want to free up oil for export, what exactly could they possibly intend to do for an economy in the medium term? Specifically, how do they intend to eat? They certainly haven't got a physical climate capable of supporting large numbers of small-scale hippie permaculturalists or the like. They do have lots and lots of sand, but even that is apparently useless since there have been repeated reports over the years of Saudi Arabia importing sand. And UN charity may not be a viable solution either. So inquiring minds are left to wonder...

With lots of sand and lots of sun, it's always seemed to me to be the perfect place for that ultimate "oil extender," solar.

Apparently they are using it for desalination--http://solveclimate.com/blog/20100407/ibm-launches-solar-powered-desalination-saudi-arabia

And this just came out yesterday:


"First Saudi National Company Formed to Manufacture Solar Power Plants"

Gail will like this quote:

"aside from providing an alternative source of clean energy, it also contributes to the preservation of conventional sources of energy, primarily oil, for future generations."

For some reason "oil extender" always reminds me of hamburger helper.

I have often complained about how forms of energy are treated as interchangeable, especially in EROEI calculations. A BTU of energy of a different form is different and can not be added, subtracted or compared to another form as is done with EROEI and barrels of oil equivalent for example.

It is the same principle that makes it impossible to compare/add/subtract a bushel of corn and a bushel of soybeans. While the answer comes out in bushels of grain, it is meaningless since it tells us less afterwards than we knew before. That is what happens when abstractions are reified.

It matters which form a unit of energy is in. It is more important than EROEI. If energy is in a form that can not be used by the in place infrastructure it dramatically reduces its utility. The market discounts its value as in the case of natural gas which can't be used in most vehicles on the road and which lacks a distribution system.

On the other hand the market place puts a premium on electricity even though there is an energy loss in producing it. The utility of electricity is so high that it compensates for the loss of energy in its production from coal or natural gas.

That is why electricity with a .6 EROEI makes sense. The in place infrastructure of electrical devices can not run without it. The same is true for ethanol with its small EROEI calculations.

Ethanol is a liquid form of energy compatible with the liquid fuel using vehicular infrastructure and the liquid fuel distribution system. These characteristics make the utility of an ethanol BTU higher than a natural gas BTU for transport purposes.

That is why ethanol makes sense.

EROEI and barrels of oil equivalent are nonsense. Things that are different can not be compared, added, subtracted, multiplied or divided. They are different. If such calculations are done anyway with different forms of energy, the result is nonsense.

EROEI and barrels of oil equivalent are nonsense. Things that are different can not be compared, added, subtracted, multiplied or divided. They are different. If such calculations are done anyway with different forms of energy, the result is nonsense.

I'm sorry x, but no matter how many times you repeat your mantra, you're still making yourself ridiculous. To use your terminology, you are nonsensical. You don't seem to understand basic physics and thermodynamics, at all.

Using FF to make ethanol is reverse alchemy - turning gold into lead.

ONLY things that are different can be compared. Otherwise, they're the same. Get it? You are comparing things in every one of your posts.

Let's be generous. Let's say it takes one energy unit of petroleum to make one energy unit of ethanol. So, you've gone through all that trouble and work and expense for nothing - less than nothing, because ethanol is an inferior energy source to petroleum. Capiche?

You're confusing an *energy AND liquid fuel crisis* with a simple *liquid fuel crisis*. There's also the problem that ethanol is NOT compatible with the in-built infrastructure in anything higher than a near trivial amount. Plus, you don't mention the environmental devastation involved in getting enough of it to make a lick of difference.

Are Humans smarter than Yeast (used to make alcohol to run SUVs)?

There's also the problem that ethanol is NOT compatible with the in-built infrastructure in anything higher than a near trivial amount.

This is like listening to folks debate the impossibility of heavier-than-air flight in 1903.

GM is the leading producer of E85 FlexFuel vehicles, with 18 different models available in the U.S. in 2009. This is a large step toward our goal of having 50 percent of the annual vehicle production be E85 capable by 2012.

Learn about E85 ethanol and how GM is developing FlexFuel technology to make use of this exciting domestic energy source.
View "Biofuels. Here Today. Beyond Tomorrow." (PDF)


You can continue to believe the ethanaught kool-aid or you can figure out how they are going to do it.

What would be your preference if you had to take the dire choice, to be shot dead by a bullet made from gold or just a plain old led one ? You would also be told they wont shoot you before you have made up your mind.........

I reckon you'd have picked the Gold-bullet before a 'blink of an eye'.

/this was Snarkchanol Philosophy meant for X.

Gregor also has a blog worth following.

Agreed. It is worth following to get a sample of peaker/doomer predictions gone wrong.

For example, on March 11, 2009 we are told:

So beyond Thunderhorse we have a ton of attrition in US production. Onshore it comes via price volatility. Offshore it comes via hurricanes. Based on my analysis of US production this decade and the current price crash, US production will be very lucky to average 4.9 Mb/day for 2009.

It just so happens that the 5.4 mbpd forecast the EIA made early last year, which Gregor dismissed as too optimistic, was, in fact, close to the mark. The actual number was 5.361 mbpd. But I don't suppose Gregor will have learned a thing from that prediction.

I am not speaking for Gregor but if you read the article carefully his prediction is based upon oil prices staying very low. As you know, oil prices are much higher than in March 2009, which was a long term low point.

I have a suggestion for you, before you twist another article around to your liking. Why don't you tell us exactly how much production to expect from the US, on average, over the next year? And by the way, what's your expectations for world oil output?

When the EIA made the forecast which Gregor disbelieved, they too were making their prediction within the context of low oil prices. But gee, I dunno, maybe Gregor thought the EIA didn't know anything about oil prices.

As for US output, I'm expecting production to be steady around 5.5 million bpd over the next year or so.

Concerning world output, I'm expecting a new monthly production record within the next year or so. In fact, we're almost there right now. And I'm going to have soooo much fun when the record is broken! :P

Have all the fun you want. I, for one, never considered monthly production numbers to be very important--too short of a time frame for seeing significant long term trend--basically static.

It's like saying because someone had a cold snap somewhere that GW is a hoax.

It seems Saudi Arabia has been unusually quiet the past several years. None of the haughty pronouncements regarding capacity, price ceiling, etc. Almost as if the country wants to not call attention to itself.

It is good to see this information seeing more of the light of day:


The September 11, 2001 attacks provided the impetus for continuing robust growth in the U.S. Military-Industrial-Government Complex (MIGC) after the 10-foot-tall Super-new-Soviet-man threat faded away.

I remember clearly that during 200 ND 2001 the MIGC was trying to bang the drums to gin up China as the new threat to replace the Soviet Union...there were articles in most of the military and foreign policy publications about the PRC being the U.S.'s new 'near-peer competitor'. Media (and the intel community inside the military [I was there])were painting pictures of dark clouds over Taiwan and the South China Sea...China and the U.S. had a dust-up resulting in PRC holding one of our spy planes and its crew in custody for a awhile...


Ever since 9/11/2001 our MIGC has been prospering, and we have been going to town with our military adventures against the 'Worldwide Islamic fundamentalist terrorist threat'....most folks are at least passingly familiar with our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan (between video games and American Idol etc), but very few are aware of our smaller, but persistent, ops in many parts of the rest of the World.

In addition to the huge cost in lives (both U.S. and mostly non-U.S. people)and resources, we are likely planting millions of acres of well-nourished seeds of hatred towards us which may result in serious blow-back for us...perhaps decades down the road.

The May strike in Yemen, for example, provoked a revenge attack on an oil pipeline by local tribesmen and produced a propaganda bonanza for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. It also left President Saleh privately furious about the death of the provincial official, Jabir al-Shabwani, and scrambling to prevent an anti-American backlash, according to Yemeni officials.

We have shot ourselves in our foot before...U.S. meddling in Iranian affairs in the mid-1950s leaves a sour taste in folks' moths which manifests itself in 1979...U.S. arming of the Afghans against the Russians from 1979-1989, combined with our huge troop footprint is KSA to prosecute Gulf War 1 in 1991 puts a burr in OBL's saddle (and provides him with trained fundamentalist killers)and blow-back occurs in 2001...wash, rinse, spit, repeat.

I can try to relate this situation to the current Campfire discussion of 'How much is enough'.

How much war is enough? How much military/intelligence/homeland defense budget is enough? How much 'collateral damage' is enough? How long is enough in the 'Long War'?

If the average U.S. citizen was 99.99% safe from being killed or injured by terrorist actions, then how many trillions of dollars and more dead and injured people (of any nationality)are justified to push that to 99.999% safe?

Or maybe our collateral damages will decrease our safety from attack considerably in the future...maybe the graph of U.S. military expenditures on the Y-axis and safety on the x-axis has a downward slope? There's a good investment from the MIGC perspective...sell the bill of goods about 'fighting them over there instead of here', then blow-backs occur, which justifies more of the same policies and expenditures...a nice self-licking ice-cream cone for a long time.

Do you realize how well defense contractors have been doing?

Sorry, go back to 'supporting our troops' with those magnetic yellow ribbons on your cars.

I was 'a troop' for twenty years, up to a few years ago. Gosh, how I dislike those yellow ribbons...typical shallow sloganeering symbolism substituting for even the beginnings of critical thinking and analysis.

Talk about out of date and backwards. "American Idol" has been over for a couple months; now we have "America's Got Talent".

I also was a troop for a number of years. Rather amazing, isn't it?

I compare our war on terror or drugs to our nuclear deterrent. I have no idea how effective efforts are, but I am sure we WASTE substantial debt reducing numbers of dollars on it. One Ohio Class boomer hold 24 missiles. Each missile can hold up to 10 MIRV warheads (there are treaty limits). That makes 240 1.5 Mt yield for pretty much annihilation of all the major and medium population center of the country of your choice. We have 18 Ohio's. Trident D5 can reach a long way and can be fired with the boat at the dock. On the other hand, there can be at least an argument for keeping enough extra on hand to ensure MAD. Little ole me has no idea where the margin is, so I am satisfied with the current triad structure. The bomber components and land based components has been greatly reduced over the years. No new missiles or bombers for their groups are 'known' to be in the works.
I am a US Army combat vet and half Korean. The last two 'actions' have been excursions and farting around where we do not belong IMHO, but we were PO'ed over 911. I really believe that is what drove us to Afghanistan. We should have just Clinton Cruise missiled the place and called it a day. Yep, we got suckered again. Obama should get Sir Nigel Elton Sheinwald to come to the White House twice a week to read bedtime stories to his little kids about the British excursions into Afghanistan and how they turned out. We always forget. I ignore all the yellow ribbons. It is the @$%^&%$^& gold stars that make me cry. I have seen far too many.

Yes, the gold starts in the windows make me sad. Especially since the people represented by them died in an enterprise ('The Long War/Global War on Terror [GWOT]) which may very well enhance the probability of future terrorist attacks rather than decease the likelihood of such events.

Then there are the much larger number of our soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen who have various physical disabilities from these adventures, for the rest of their lives.

Then there is the even larger number of our veterans who will bear the burden of emotional/psychological wounds for the rest of their lives.

Of course, the numbers of people in the categories I just enumerated are dwarfed by the number of people affected in the same ways by our campaigns, but who are not U.S. citizens. Out of sight, out of mind for most of our citizens.

Break break: Some of your numbers regarding the Ohio class SSBN and Trident D5 weapons systems are incorrect, but the particulars just do not make a difference in the big picture.

'Keeping a little extra for MAD' made me smile.

The folks who still believe that the Ruskies have some kind of 'WOPPER' computer which continuously calculates the U.S./Allied vs. Russian 'Correlation of Forces' and will inform the Kremlin of the exact moment when the correlation tips in their favor, allowing them to smite us, have a grossly cartoonish and inaccurate view of how things work.

My big picture: The Russians have no more interest in smiting the U.S. (and/or Europe) than the Man on the Moon.

China has even less interest.

China has been around for thousands of years, and they still take the long view on affairs of the World.

Russia is much more worried (and always has been) about the U.S attacking them than we are of the reverse. See Napoleon, 20 MILLION killed in WWII, etc.

Russia is much more worried about 1 Billion+ Chinese who may eventually be interested in expanding into Siberia to help themselves to timber and minerals and water and so forth.

Of course, Russia also is heavily worried about Islamic fundamentalist, but mostly nationalist, folks in the Chechnya and 'he Stans' and surrounding areas...Russia, IMO, stands a greater chance than the U.S. in receiving WMD blow-back/retribution from the folks with long memories whom they have brutalized.

Bottom line: The Nuclear high priesthoods in both Russia and the U.S. are very interested in keeping the funding streams flowing fast and hard to keep the jobs programs alive and kicking.

And President Obama took the bait, because Democrats are scared to death of looking 'weak on defense'.

Go read the Unclassified Nuclear Posture Review, and read about the large 'investments' we are going to make in the U.S. over the next twenty years for the Doomsday industries.

What President Obama got right in his NPR was his calling out of the threat from 'loose nukes' and improvised WMD devices.

Defending against these requires different skill sets and operations than the mass invasion and occupation ops we have been engaged in since 2001. It certainly does not require a trillion dollar offensive WMD weapons complex.

The SSBN-X (to replace the Ohio-class SSBNs) could very well cost over $100B U.S. for RDT&E (research, development, testing, and evaluation)/fielding , and this doesn't count lifetime O&M (operations and Maintenance) costs, nor does it count the next evolution to replace the current Trident D-5 SLBM (Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile), nor does it count any costs for sustaining the actual nuclear weapons which would equip the SLBM.

Over the ~40-year life of SSBN-X, the total bill for everything (new sub, missile, payload, maintenance/overhaul, training, paying the salaries for the crews, maintenance folks, paper-pushers) would GREATLY exceeds the initial fielding cost of the SSBN which is what everyone is focusing on.

Add to these costs the estimates costs to field a replacement for the Minuteman III ICBM system, and for a 'Next-Generation Bomber', and all the inter-related hardened, redundant, and encrypted Command and Control Systems, and you are staring down the barrel of TRILLIONS of dollars of future expenditures...all to play a game which exists in our minds.

Some Self-Licking Ice Cream Cone habits can be extremely expensive.

Good thing we don't have any other prioritizes to spend our lives, talents, resources, and budget on in the next 50 years.

China has been around for thousands of years, and they still take the long view on affairs of the World.

I recently travelled to China for the first time, and was struck by the effect that the one-child policy has had on that Country. 35% of Chinese couples are still limited to one child, and the remainder are allowed two.

Concurrent with the 'green revolution' of the 1960's and '70's the China experienced a baby-boom (see Gapminder for fertility trends) which ended with the beginning of one-child in 1979. Now here we are 30 years later and not surprisingly there is a huge cohort in their 30's. Much of the economic growth, savings rate, and hard work that the media explains as superior work ethic can be better explained by demographics; a large part of the population are in the prime of their lives, have no or few dependents, and are saving for an uncertain old-age.

The Chinese population and economy will look very different in 20 years, and things could go badly after that if they do not have an alternate supply of young workers and/or energy and automation to provide for an aged population.

The obvious plan is to invest in currently high-fertility populations overseas. The current push to trade schools and infrastructure in Africa and Central Asia for resources is about fueling current growth, but is more about developing the workers of the future, and ensuring that they owe China a large debt that must be paid off in exports between 2040-2070. Their current huge stockpile of foreign currency will allow that debt to be loaned in whatever denomination is required.

I am not sure what role the MIGC could play wrt this China-Africa-Central Asia
co-operation. There is no benefit in interfering, since America/U.K. lacks the capability to displace China as an investor, and trying to neutralize 'potential threats' will only create enemies.

Assuming that Western powers are operating according to a plan, that plan must be feudalism. We are rapidly sorting ourselves out into rich and poor, so it appears that our 'Africans' will be ourselves, and our military will become a domestic police force. If the machine cannot operate successfully overseas then it will turn on the easiest target.

The Chinese population and economy will look very different in 20 years, and things could go badly after that if they do not have an alternate supply of young workers and/or energy and automation to provide for an aged population.

Indeed. China has one of the more rapidly aging populations in the world. That, coupled with a near total lack of any sort of pension system, is believed by many to explain why the Chinese savings rate is the highest in the world. Even with the spectacular savings rate things could, as you note, turn out badly for them.

In some ways, the current Chinese accumulation of US financial assets looks like an insurance policy for the future: if the Chinese reach a point where their workers cannot produce a sufficient surplus to meet the needs of the elderly, they can start cashing those assets in for US-produced goods and services. That seems like an insecure dependency to me. The US seems more likely to play the role recently played by AIG (an insurer without the assets to pay off on the policies it has issued) than as the productive engine that can meet its own needs as well as those of the Chinese.

The Chinese population and economy will look very different in 20 years, and things could go badly after that if they do not have an alternate supply of young workers and/or energy and automation to provide for an aged population.

Yes, by that time they will have eclipsed the US as the largest economy in the world.

China Passes Japan as Second Largest Economy

Experts say unseating Japan — and in recent years passing Germany, France and Great Britain — underscores China’s growing clout and bolsters forecasts that China will pass the United States as the world’s biggest economy as early as 2030.

And of course by then they may own half of our physical assets and real property so yes, I imagine their suffering will be immense.

It takes a very tough guy to go on to a ghetto and repossess a car for a finance company.

China will have the moral high ground when it comes time to collect on all the resources bought up in place overseas, or stashed in electronic form, but the collection process is going to be a rough one indeed.

I expect we will soon realize that China is growing into a formidable conventional military power as the next step in the logical
(but insane) natural sequence of power politics.

If we hadn't fallen for the big govt koolaid originally, we would not now be saddled with the MIGC that is surely going to be the death of us, one way or another, unless something else gets us first-Capn Tripp, maybe.

Anybody who truly understands conservatism in principle understands this.

But life ain't simple, and political reality is comparable to the layers of an onion-

If we weren't (temporarily) the big military and economic dog,somebody else would be.

Mother created us to cooperate as necessary to survive in small groups;when technology and culture - both essentially extended phenotype phenomena -allowed group sizes to grow up to nation/state proportions, the need for cooperation for individual survival in the face of natural restraints was TEMPORARILY negated.

The competition shifted to GROUP level competition-state against state.
In biology, competition is permanent and constantly relevant.

Some states/countries are going to go down;this is as certain as Darwinian evolution.

When we are thin enough on the ground again, assuming anybody is left,we can start competing again in small groups against drought,frost,snakes,bugs, rats,and meat eating predators.

I have benefited mightily myself from the growth of the super state;it provided most of the money necessary to look after my bedriddem Momma for over a decade, and my old Daddy would be in a hell of a spot for cash without his social security check, having spent what he saved on Looking after Momma,and he would not have an artificial knee.

I may yet live to collect in a serious way myself from one or another scheme along the lines of medicare or even income limited welfare programs.

I'm not passing judgement-just pointing out the obvious.

The best line of defense we ever had against the military industrial complex coming into being was the philosophical one roughly described by or as Jeffersonian democracy-small govt,low taxes, govt performing only such essential functions as can only be effectively performed by govt.

This is not to say that such a system can work today, or this country, can be operated along such lines today.

But if we had stuck to that formula,a huge part of today's problems would not exist;we wouldn't be bailing out fannie and freddie, or worrying about how to pay the social security/ medicare tab.

People who took care of thier business and saved would probably be mostly ok;people who didn't probably would mostly starve slowly.

As it is, we may ALL go down TOGETHER in a crash;the grass hoppers and the ants will likely suffer equally.

Some of the ants may be p o 'ed enough to take out thier frustrations on the grasshoppers when tshtf.

If there is a hard crash, I believe I would keeo my mouth shut when dealing with ants if I were a former grasshopper.

[I hope I have an opportunity to stick it to some lawyers and bueracratic drones some day and charge them a truly outrageous price for a ham or a bushel of apples;maybe they will have to marry one of thier better looking daughters to an ugly nephew or something along those lines, or wash muy dirty underwear.

I will probably just put bankers on my personal no service list. ;) ]

I'm not complaining, personally or as a political partisan;I have never paid i very much into the welfare state, having successfully avoided working regularly at taxable work, for the most part.When I did work for a year straight, it was mostly half each in two different calender years.

Nothing is permanent,and I have lived most of my life out at or near the "peak of flavor" of both capitalist and socialist economic endeavours-I lived easily as a worker in the flush decades, and I have a good shot at continueing to live easily as a retiree , with the help of a modest ss check and nearly free health care , assuming the economy manages to wheeze and stumble along for another ten or twenty years.

If the average U.S. citizen was 99.99% safe from being killed or injured by terrorist actions, then how many trillions of dollars and more dead and injured people (of any nationality)are justified to push that to 99.999% safe?

In our shallow fear mongering sound bite debates, there never is a price too steep to pay for adding the illusury extra 9. So this thing will ratchet on up until we collapse under the burden. Those who don't understand the dynamical evolution of systems, but think with their Amgydalas, are doomed to this sort of self imposed trap.

I am a Brit not a Yank but I find this self deprecating attitude of trying to find reason for people hating you, rather irritating to put it mildly. We Brits had the same problem when we were top dog, it is normal. This masochistic navel gazing should stop, and stop trying to find excuses. People don't need an excuse to hate, they just do, ask any Dane. By the way I don't remember Roosevelt spending too much time wondering what he had done too piss of the Japanese in Dec 1941.

yes, let's not examine the efficacy of what we're doing.

Wasn't that one with Roosevelt and Japan over oil? Hitler and Roosevelt? Hitler and Russia? Maybe in part, right?

In reference to your question about 99.99 vs. 99.999. I suspect we would spend almost unlimited amounts to protect 300,000 American citizens. Look what the loss of 3000 did.

yeah, a 1 in ten thousand shot of dying in a terrorist attach seems awfully high. i'd imagine the odds of dying in a terrorist attach are much smaller then the odds of getting struck by lightning.

but that's his point, isn't it?

That's it. We'll declare War Against Lightning! These random attacks against innocents cannot continue! We'll use 'Shock and Awe'! (waitaminute, lightning already uses that) We'll use Shock and . . and . . . (think of something, dammit!) ;-)

Benjamin Franklin already fought and won that war.

"The lightning rod was invented by Benjamin Franklin in the Americas in 1749 and, perhaps independently, by Prokop Diviš in Europe in 1754."


Not sure whether this has been posted before:

World Carryover Grain Stocks Fall to 72 Days of Consumption - "Uncomfortably Close" to Level Prior to 2007-08 Food Price Spike

Estimates for this year’s global grain carryover stocks have fallen to 444 million tons, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s August 12th World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report. This amount of grain remaining in the world’s silos and stockpiles when the next harvest begins is enough to meet 72 days of consumption.

“This drop in world carryover stocks of grain to 72 days of consumption is moving us uncomfortably close to the 64 days of carryover stocks in 2007 that fueled the 2007–08 spike in world food prices,” says Lester R. Brown, president of Earth Policy Institute.

This should be of concern to everyone. With floods in Iowa and Pakistan, drought, heat and fire in Russia, wheat damaged in Canada due to rain, etc. we may well end up lower than 64 days. I did a google search on "wheat shortage" http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rlz=1C1RNNN_enUS359US380&q=wheat+shor... with an interesting mix of positive vs. negative. I expect we will see local food shortages and higher grocery prices and I expect that like with warming it will vary from year to year but get progressively worse. We cannot keep asking more of the planet whether it be food energy or fossil fuel energy or predictable climate. The gig is up.

Some financial news commentators this week downplayed the rise in prices saying that shrinking world supplies of grain were still adequate. But they are missing the big picture here on supplies, which is similar to that of oil.

First of all, supplies will not be evenly spread around the world; certain countries could already be short on supply. Secondly, a surplus of sorts is needed just to keep the distribution system supplied and efficient. As we approach lower and lower levels of surplus, distribution systems and conditions become more chaotic. Look at how often we are still discussing high oil prices in 2008 and why it happened, with many complaining about speculation. Is it not wise to speculate on something where, when a shortage results, the price could go much higher? That is why governments most likely (witness Russia) cut off markets when shortages arise.

"Zombie" Banks sounds like rhetoric, but it is Reality.


The amount of bad home equityloan business during the boom is incalculable and in retrospect inexplicable, housing experts say.

Most of the debt is still on the books of the lenders, which include Bank of America, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase.

The result is one of the paradoxes of the recession: the more money you borrowed, the less likely you will have to pay up.

According to former regulator William Black, there are still "trillions of dollars of unrecognized losses" sitting on bank balance sheets.

With all do respect to William Black, the fraud and stupidity in the home equity ATM business the past decade is not "in retrospect inexplicable."

Ask Greenspan, Bernanke/Giethner, Dodd, Frank, Bush, etc about it. It was their plan after all.

Afghanistan discovered an oilfield containing an estimated 1.8 billion barrels of crude in the north of the country, a Mines Ministry official said.

Yes!!! We are saved! I knew I should have trusted in TPTB! They had this Afghanistan thing figured out all along!

Peak oil is dead! Long live BAU!

(I can not tell you how relieved I am. I may change my TOD name and go out and buy an SUV on this news!)


On the Taj or the Turk side?


1.08 billion / ( ~ 0.085 billion/day) = 21 days of current world consumption?

(media noise)

If my math is right that is 22 days of oil for the world. BAU extended 22 days!!!!

I am part of the problem...I still work for 'The Complex'.

I would gladly embrace receiving half the salary I now make in exchange for working the rest of my productive life engaged in expanding alternative energy resource installations.

Heck, I would love getting my wife in on the same gig...if each of us made half of my current income in renewable energy industries then we would be at the same current income but leading much more satisfying lives.

These opportunities are not going to materialize by themselves...we, as a nation, need to change our fundamental priorities. That would mean breaking a lot of glass and moving lots of folks' cheese.

I found these two articles this morning which seem to be of potential interests to TOD denizens:



Of course we will always need a military capability to defend our country...just not one with an ever-expanding blank check...

Personally, I would reduce our DoD forces and expand our Coast Guard and ICE forces, to better secure our borders.

But that strategy would not be as sexy (and as profitable) as expanding our Team America World Police juggernaut and stirring as many foreign pots of chili as we can.

These opportunities are not going to materialize by themselves...we, as a nation, need to change our fundamental priorities. That would mean breaking a lot of glass and moving lots of folks' cheese.

Bingo! BTW, If you need someone to help break some of that glass, I'm available...

I too was "part of the problem" back in the early 1970's. Even then, we were ignoring Dwight Eisenhower's warning:

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Back in the day, one reason I quit was to pursue ideas about alternative energy. I was most concerned about air pollution, thinking that I could build an engine which would burn vegetable oil. I quit working on the idea before the Arab/OPEC Embargo hit. Since then, I've accomplished little other than build a solar heated house, lacking enough funding to do any serious work. By now, others have been able to race far ahead of me...

E. Swanson

I served to twenty and got my check a month for life, and TriCare for Life for me and my wife (and our two kids until they are done with college or 23 1/2).

Nice plan, unless the government folds and our cherished 'for life' pensions and health care go by the boards. If that happens there will be a lot of PO'd retirees...see the movie 'Falling Down'.

I salute you for having the courage to follow your convictions.

I have been gently prepping my wife for the concept of us downsizing (our house, and other expenditures) after our children are graduated from college and have flown the coop (~ 4 years)...I have been pitching the idea of downsizing and de-junkifying, including me 'doing something else'...I would love to get into a small house, or even apartment living, and spend more time 'smelling the roses'.

I am trying to sell my wife the idea of bailing out of the rat race and BAU...not 'Grizzly Adams' or 'Little House on the Praire', but a significant downshift and simplification.

This is the most difficult marketing job in my life...

My spouse is partway there with me.. but is more focused on this month's bills than the next ten years' heating.. she gets the logic, but won't let go of the day-to-day.. which might as well stay largely intact. I'll work on tomorrows and help her with the Todays.. it'll be a while before we see much progress, but I'll build up my contingencies and do the homework for all the proposals. We won't get anywhere if we default on the house, though.

(Well, with the recent inheritance, it will be Two houses soon, with 4 floors out of 6 earning for us.. but if I could just heat them with Solar, we'd catch up on those mortgages a lot faster..)

I wish you and your wife well. Having rental income should help out a lot, assuming you have reasonable, well-behaved renters.


Yes, we've been able to pick very good folks so far.. and I'm able to do almost all the work on the houses, which are within a block of each other.

"Where has all the Capital gone, long time passing..."

'Junk' Bonds Hit Record
Companies Rush to Issue Riskier Debt as Investors Look for Higher Returns"

Investors have been snapping up the new non-investment-grade bonds, having grown frustrated with stocks and with the meager yields on safer government and high-grade corporate bonds...

Say good bye to the pension funds.

The market is mainlining risk now in a desperate search for yields.

I recommend, if you have not yet enjoyed watching it "Mind Over Money"


From the beautiful Pine Tree state:

Weatherization storm brewing as deadline nears
Tax credits, bonuses and rebates at stake

Maine is having a summer weatherization sale, and the phones are ringing off the hook.

The state recently extended its offer period for a $1,000 bonus, allowing homeowners to sign up by Aug. 31. Eligible owners who have an energy audit by Sept. 30 and make improvements by year's end that cut energy use by specific amounts can get as much as $5,500 in state rebates and federal tax credits.


For now, the eight-month-old program is slowly ramping up, with only 138 homes completed. The cost for each home averages $8,000, Stoddard said, mostly for insulation, air sealing and some heating system upgrades, such as setback thermostats. Follow-up audits estimate that the work is cutting energy use in homes by 38 percent.

See: http://www.kjonline.com/news/weatherizationstorm-brewingas-deadline-near...

If I recall correctly, the average Maine home uses between 900 and 1,000 gallons of fuel oil a year, so a 38 per cent saving works out to be about 360 gallons/1,360 litres a year. No. 2 fuel oil in Maine is presently selling in the range of $2.60 a gallon (source: http://www.maine.gov/oeis/heatingoil.htm), so we're looking at a simple payback of approximately eight and a half years at current prices. Of course, there's an excellent chance that fuel oil prices will trend upward over time, so the payback could be shorter. It should also increase occupant comfort and help lessen the strain on household budgets; for the elderly and those with limited incomes, this type of assistance can be a godsend.


so a 38 per cent saving works out to be about 360 gallons/1,360 litres a year.

I suspect you are underestimating the impact. If I interpreted it correctly, that was a 38% in total energy costs, not just heating. Most of the savings I would think will come off the heating bill, so the savings in oil use could be a lot higher.

That's true, EoS. There could be other measures included in the weatherization programme that would reduce other fuel use as well. Even reducing the run time of an oil-fired furnace could save a couple hundred kWh/year in terms of the blower motor (less for boiler systems due to the higher operating efficiency of the circulation pump).



Numbers for an energy audit mimic Arkansas findings.

Payback has to include the Time Value of Money. Current conditions make for interesting computations!

Hard for me to judge whether the programme offers good value for the money, SequoiaCPE. At an average cost of $8,000.00 per home and a 38 per cent reduction in fuel oil demand, the savings would be about $940.00 a year (possibly more if it's total household consumption as opposed to space heating demand only, but for our purposes we'll assume the latter). If we further assume a cash discount rate of five per cent and an annual fuel escalation factor of eight per cent, the ten-year IRR is 10 per cent and NPV is just under $2,100.00. All things considered, not too shabby.


Seemingly disconnected, these far-flung disasters are reviving the question of whether global warming is causing more weather extremes.

Yes, we must continually compile fresh new overwhelmingly definitive data to REVIVE the mere question of whether global warming is causing more weather extremes. Because ultimately we need to be burnt, flooded, wind blown, ruined crops, famines, sun stroked, etc. to even come close to ever getting the masses to admit we are effecting a new weather paradigm via our expulsion of greenhouse gasses. Yes, for many decades to come we will be arguing the point.

An article linked a few days ago suggests that the issue may be low solar activity--not necessarily climate change (or perhaps in addition to climate change).

Frozen jet stream links Pakistan floods, Russian fires
says the following:

There is some tentative evidence that the sun may be involved. Earlier this year astrophysicist Mike Lockwood of the University of Reading, UK, showed that winter blocking events were more likely to happen over Europe when solar activity is low – triggering freezing winters (New Scientist, 17 April, p 6).

Now he says he has evidence from 350 years of historical records to show that low solar activity is also associated with summer blocking events (Environmental Research Letters, in press). "There's enough evidence to suspect that the jet stream behaviour is being modulated by the sun," he says.

Blackburn says that blocking events have been unusually common over the last three years, for instance, causing severe floods in the UK and heatwaves in eastern Europe in 2007. Solar activity has been low throughout.

This is nonsense along the lines of the two Danish clowns and their silly forged regression analysis trying to "prove" (without any mechanism) that the warming in the last 30 years is merely solar irradiance increase.

Blocks are baroclinic and to a lesser extent barotropic instability features. The non-zonality of the zonal circulation is a measure of the energy being extracted by baroclinc instability from the tropical heat reservoir. In the limit of no baroclinic instability the zonal flow is axially symmetric. There is no requirement that only transient eddies grow from baroclinic instability, pseudo-stationary features can evolve as well. The key thing is that zonally asymmetric features in the flow require energy to be maintained. (In the zonal mean, air parcels are trapped in a cage of horizontal isentropes and basically vertical absolute angular momentum isopleths outside the deep tropics: vertical motion requires diabatic heating and horizontal motion requires a mechanical force, the Eliassen-Palm flux divergence which is related to wave activity).

How in hell can a block feature that has not happened in the last 1000 years be evidence of solar activity variation? The Russian temperatures, based on lake sediment analysis, are the highest for 1000 years. The persistence of the heat wave is also very unusual for Russia. Some 350 year regression analysis proves diddley squat. Which variables did Blackburn include in his regression model and how did he establish that they are independent?

The Polvani and Kushner mechanism shows that the stratospheric polar vortex is tightly linked to the subtropical jet. A weaker polar vortex translates into an equatorward shift in the subtropical jet and vice versa. (In spite of the fact that density falls off exponentially with height, e-folding scale of about 7 km, the stratosphere is important for the dynamics of the troposphere due to the propagation and reflection of Rossby waves. The polar vortex is key structure in the propagation of these waves.) As proposed by Kuroda and Kodera the 11 year solar cycle modulates the strength of the stratospheric polar vortex. During solar maxima, the meridional heating gradient and hence temperature gradient is larger (more ozone) and so the vortex is more intense by thermal wind balance. So the solar cycle modulates the subtropical jets via the stratosphere. It also modulates the tropospheric dynamics via sea surface temperature variation. Change in the subtropical jets translates to differences in the evolution of baroclinic instability since it grows on the subtropical jets (and pumps heat and momentum poleward in the processes driving the middle latitude jets). Depending on the structure of the subtropical jets there are differences in the life-cycle of the instability including the emission of Rossby wave trains:



So the leading order impact on blocking would be the 11-year period and not some multi-century variation since the total solar irradiance varies the most on the 11 year time frame. If Blackburn wishes to have a case he better come up with a mechanism. Everybody and his dog can do a regression analysis. Most of it is not science but poor statistics.

In layman terms, what do you think is happening? It appears that the warming of the Arctic is causing mayhem across the Northern Hemisphere allowing extreme weather conditions to form. I've been watching this occur since 2006 with seemingly increased volatility and amplitude each year.

Here, in central France, we seem to be in the eye of the storm with cooling being a slight problem at the moment, but nothing like the extremes of weather conditions being faced by other areas in Europe with heat, floods, droughts, storms, etc.

And what happens when the Arctic finally succumbs to the warming and becomes an ocean?

The Arctic Mediterranean is already an ocean. It's just that some of it is ice covered during part of the year. And don't forget the other problem, the Thermohaline Circulation, which appears to be weakening...

E. Swanson

the Thermohaline Circulation, which appears to be weakening...

Conventional understanding of how the thermohaline gets its push via extra dense, salty waters in a certain area of the Arctic waters and Antarctic, desdending to keep the circulation moving, is well understood. However, whether it has been recently weakening (due to freshwater melt) is another area of great debate. I've seen articles pronouncing it is, and others saying it isn't. Do you have any links clarifying the debate?


Is an analysis done by computer modeling, and does not have current data for support one way or another. It is a good article, though.


is IPY's site, and good for present data and follow up.


Within the long-term warming there will be shorter term variability, here is one analogy http://notesoldschool.blogspot.com/2010/08/simple-way-to-see-warming.html
And the short term swings are not only for temps, but also storm tracks and extreme events. So while every year may not be warmer and wilder than the previous year, overall the trend is up and extreme events are expected to become more common.

Of course the big question is whether or not we are already seeing this, in other words do the extremes and increased variability become the new norm? Like peak oil its something we'll only lnow for sure in hindsight. Helluva an experiment we're doing on ourselves, reminds me of Asminov's story "Silly Asses".

I agree about the changes in the Arctic Ocean, although I'm not a climate specialists I think that rapid warming there could really set things off.

The Arctic warms faster since there is geometric confinement (area between 30S and 30N is larger than area between 30N and 90N. But by far the dominant process is tropical heat buildup. This heat flows poleward one way or another. Although it is popular to speak of the surface temperature gradient as controlling baroclinic instability this is putting effect before cause. This thinking stems from old, idealized models of baroclinic instability such as the Eady model. So as the Arctic warms up faster the equator to pole temperature gradient is supposed to get weaker. But, 1) it is the subtropical jets that are of prime importance and they are not weakening due to Arctic warming and 2) ultimately the surface temperature gradient is maintained by baroclinc eddy transport of heat poleward so if the instability is reduced then the gradient will increase.

Instead of seeing weaker middle latitude eddy and associated block event incidence, we are seeing the opposite (e.g. snow in Saudi Arabia and Arctic heat waves) as you note. This year is also special because it is an El Nino year. The El Nino/La Nina cycle has more relevance for weather and this year's block pathology than any solar variation in the last 1000 years. Instead of follow the money it is follow the energy and there is plenty of buildup in the system. It is manifesting itself as more extreme weather. This has been predicted for a long time. Perhaps some will start to listen instead of wallowing in delusions that BAU has no consequences. But unfortunately we can easily experience a decade or more of cooler temperatures, and quieter weather, due to long term variations in the heat exchange with the oceans and then people will go back to sleep.

This is nonsense along the lines of the two Danish clowns and their silly forged regression analysis trying to "prove" (without any mechanism) that the warming in the last 30 years is merely solar irradiance increase.

I agree dissident. How many times has the Sun been blamed in a not so veiled attempt to distract from the real cause, manmade GH emissions? People need to forget about trying to blame the Sun.

I think some of the comments here miss the point a bit. There was no suggestion I noticed that the severe weather events are directly caused by solar activity levels, rather that jetstream behaviour is being affected, allowing global warming to really do its worst. If this is correct it will be rather ironic as a few years ago there were articles about reduced solar activity saving us from the worst of global warming in the short term.

The original Lockwood paper is related only to regional effects on Western Europe in winter. There is some more discussion here:


The Lockwood paper is available here:


Instances of Use of United States Forces Abroad, 1798 - 1993


This report lists 234 instances in which the United States has used its armed forces abroad in situations of conflict or potential conflict or for other than normal peacetime purposes. It brings up to date a 1989 list that was compiled in part from various older lists and is intended primarily to provide a rough sketch survey of past U.S. military ventures abroad. A detailed description and analysis are not undertaken here.

The instances differ greatly in number of forces, purpose, extent of hostilities, and legal authorization. Five of the instances are declared wars: the War of 1812, the Mexican War of 1846, the Spanish American War of 1898, World War I declared in 1917, and World War II declared in 1941.

It's (as in, it is) a shakedown.

Paper companies eye another serving of black liquor tax benefits

...Paper and pulp makers, including a number of mills in southwest Alabama, collected $8 billion or more last year in federal cash and tax credits by doing what they've done for decades -- burning the carbon-rich leftovers from the pulp-making process to fuel their mills.

The liquid, known as black liquor, was declared eligible for alternative fuel tax credits if mill operators mixed in a little diesel fuel.

At 50 cents per gallon of black liquor, publicly held paper companies collected $6.5 billion in federal money in 2009, either as cash or credits against taxes. Private companies such as Georgia-Pacific LLC also collected large amounts.

The alternative fuel credit expired at the end of 2009, apparently ending the lucrative federal subsidy.

But in July, the IRS released a six-page memo ruling that black liquor burned before Dec. 31 was eligible for the separate cellulosic biofuel tax credit, which paper companies had previously believed out of reach. That subsidy is worth $1.01 a gallon, twice as much as the alternative fuel tax credit, and companies can amend their tax returns to claim it.

Now, paper companies are trying to figure out whether the new credit will bring another windfall. Those that think they're eligible say they could collectively reap another $500 million or more.

Environmentalists and some members of Congress say pulp makers are abusing tax credits intended for makers of fuels such as biodiesel, meant to replace petroleum fuels...

This is an industry that polluted our rivers with Dioxin and then pulled out of Mobile, AL because they could pollute easier overseas. They left abandoned facilities and little options for the formerly employed.

The 1.8 billion barrels of oil that was found in Afghanistan. How much does that equate to in daily production? It depends on whether it can be converted to a reserve, or if only a part of it can be economically extracted.

Let assume that it is all reserves, and that they can extract 4% a year. Then the amount would be extracted would be 72 million barrels a year, or just under 200,000 barrels a day. This would seem to be an upper bound on what is available.

It would seem like they will need to build roads, pipelines, and perhaps electric infrastructure. Given the amount of fighting in the country and the ease with which oil can be stolen from above-ground pipelines, the pipelines should really be underground. It seems like this will take a very long time to get to this 200,000 barrels a day of production. Given the amount of oil that needs to be replaced each year because of declining production, it is hard to see that it will solve the world's oil problems.

The North of Afghanistan is wild territory. There is no pipeline anywhere near there. The oil will have to be trucked out to the nearest railroad then by rail from there. It is unlikely they will ever produce 200,000 barrels per day.

“Lack of capacity, lack of capital, lack of skilled people means that Afghanistan cannot extract the reserves itself,” Masood said in a phone interview today.

And they have an overabundance of terrorist that will not hesitate to hijack the oil on the way to the market, or just blow it up.

This is nothing to get excited about.

Ron P.

The north of Afghanistan is the easiest to keep under control of the Tajik, Uzbek, Hazzaras, and Turkmen, who generally have little affinity with the Pashtun majority from which the Taliban spring. These ethnic groups constituted the Northern Alliance which defeated the Taliban and could have held the country, had not Bush caved to Pakistani pressure and installed the Pashtun puppet government in Kabul.

Pipelines to the north connecting with the Central Asian networks should be easy to build, and from there, they can connect with the pipelines being built to China.

Building pipelines (or railroads) to the south over the Hindu Kush, through Pashtunistan and Balochistan to the Indian Ocean would be infeasible.

For a more in-depth analysis of what is going on:

Highly recommended if you have the time and attention span.

Also an excellent read on the subject:

According to the most recent CIA World Factbook, Afghanistan consumes 5,000 bbl/day of petroleum. Grow that by a factor of 20 as they begin to build a real economy and it's still only 100,000 bbl/day. The 1.8 billion bbl may not be much on the world stage, but at 100,000 bbl/day it represents a 50-year supply for Afghanistan itself.

They are soon to begin selling rather large amounts of copper to the Chinese, and additional metals and minerals beyond that. If the Chinese copper deal is the model for future deals, the Afghans are getting both rail and electric infrastructure as part of the payment. A typical rail tank car for carrying hydrocarbons holds about 23,000 gals, about 550 bbl. So 100,000 bbl is about 180 tank cars. Some multiple of that would be necessary to account for travel and return times, but conceptually you could do the entire distribution by rail, without the need for pipelines.

If Afghanistan were to ask me for advice (fat chance that that would ever happen), I would suggest that they may want to be in the local oil production business, but they do not want to be in the petroleum exporting business.

Dems may use food stamp money to pay for Michelle Obama's nutrition initiative

Democrats who reluctantly slashed a food stamp program to fund a state aid bill may have to do so again to pay for a top priority of first lady Michelle Obama.

The House will soon consider an $8 billion child nutrition bill that’s at the center of the first lady’s “Let’s Move” initiative...

But House liberals are balking now, saying that while they swallowed the food stamp cuts to pay for urgent funding for Medicaid and teachers, they will not vote for more cuts in the child nutrition bill....

“It’s very sad. I think it’s just illustrating what dire straits our federal government budget is in,” said Sheila Zedlewski, director of the Urban Institute’s Income and Benefits Center.

“It’s unprecedented to raid one safety net program to feed another.”

In late stages of starvation, the body "starts eating itself." It chooses tissues and organs carefully, not indiscriminatel.

Just like our government.

"(He's) Been Dazed and Confussed for so long it's not true...

How Many "Top Priority" Issues Does Obama Have?

Early in his administration, Mr. Obama also assigned the "top priority" label to his campaign promise to overhaul America's health care system.

But a check of his speeches since taking office, reflect a bevy of other "top priorities:"

It's good to see Energy Security makes his list of Top Priorities.

"Cause I'm the Panderer,
yeah, the panderer,
I pander around, around, around

When the adults get home after the kids have spent 28 years having a ginormous party, there's a long last of things which need doing first. Isn't it nice he is surrounded by people who can work on each of those? Stick around for the "I'll get to that, too" list. It's like 7 times as long. Won't all get done in his 2 terms, but it's a good roadmap..

I don't dare look at that link. I'm sure he's also on some kind of a tear over, let's see; maybe Jobs, Education, boosting State Economies? Heavens, What a monster!

Not a monster. Just a pandering politician who is distracted.

He has no credibility when everything is his 'top priority' and what he manages to do is worthless, or worse - pretend climate change action, pretend financial reform, pretend health care reform, pretend Energy Security, on and on.

Obama is no better, or worse, than Bush or Clinton.


In previous TOD discussion posts, there were numerous folks concerned about the idea of a nuclear-armed Iran threatening Israel's existence.

I found two articles that may add to our understanding of the situation:

Israel has certain anti-nuclear delivery vehicle defensive capabilities:


and it appears that Israel may have survivable offensive nuclear strike capabilities (according to this article anyway):


Iran is not likely to do anything rash, come the day when it posses nuclear weaponry. Not unless it is prepared to sacrifice at least several of its largest cities.

India has also been busy preparing to defend itself:


Let us hope that cool heads always prevail.


while worrying about the survival of Israel, I am more worried about my own survival, a war in the Gulf would cut off 40% of the worlds oil supply, to put it mildly. I don't think that worlds economy would survive that.

There seems to be an assumption in your comment, that the Iranians are rational beings, and that they will not do anything stupid because the consequences would be too frightful to think about. The M.A.D. Doctrine ( mutual assured destruction) rather surprisingly will only work when your opponent is not mad. Now I am not saying that the Iranian leadership are mad but a collective leadership that believes that a long dead twelfth imman is suddenly going to pop out of a well, when the world has fallen into chaos, bringing Jesus along with him by the way, destroying tyranny and injustice and as a extra converting the world too Islam. But they certainly have a few problems concerning reality. They have even spent 25 million dollars building a triumphal way too tempt him out of his bolt hole. To think that these people will react rationally when the anal solids hit the ventilation system is putting too much faith in them, especially as they have been promised 72 vestal virgins in the after life. The Japanese had a better grip on reality in 1941 but it was certainly irrational of them too attack the United States, when there GDP amounted too only 3% of the U.S.A.s

And yet the Iranians' military doctrine is purely defensive. I wish the same thing could be said for other countries too.


I would like to ask you a simple question, if there military doctrine was purely defensive why the hell are they building ballistic missile?

There's nothing quite so impressively defensive as being able to reach out and wipe out your enemies homeland.

I would put good money that a higher percentage of Americans believe in The Rapture than Iranians believe in the Islamic version of the same.

Iran has a young, well educated and industrialised population was well as a small percentage of nutjobs and old fashioned paternalists.

The latter two groups are in charge at present, and the US likes it that way.

Now I am not saying that the Iranian leadership are mad but a collective leadership that believes that a long dead twelfth imman is suddenly going to pop out of a well, when the world has fallen into chaos, bringing Jesus along with him by the way, destroying tyranny and injustice and as a extra converting the world too Islam. But they certainly have a few problems concerning reality.



The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a woman who was created from a man's rib was convinced by a talking snake to eat an apple from a magical tree.. yeah, that makes perfect sense.

Don't forget to check out http://www.raptureready.com/index.php as well.

And how's life down the pits in Yorkshire these days? You don't sound much like Arthur Scargill to me.

There seems to be an assumption in your comment, that the Iranians are rational beings, and that they will not do anything stupid because the consequences would be too frightful to think about. The M.A.D. Doctrine ( mutual assured destruction) rather surprisingly will only work when your opponent is not mad. Now I am not saying that the Iranian leadership are mad but a collective leadership that believes that a long dead twelfth imman is suddenly going to pop out of a well, when the world has fallen into chaos, bringing Jesus along with him by the way, destroying tyranny and injustice and as a extra converting the world too Islam.

Lets say that 'fine - the leadership has some kind of belief in a mesiah popping up and a final judgment' and because of that they should stop any nuclear capacity - civilian or otherwise.

Where does that put America with its cadre of end time believers - many in the "leadership class"? How many and what beliefs are enough to say "nope, now you can't have these toys with the other kids in the sandbox"?

faith in them, especially as they have been promised 72 vestal virgins in the after life.

I believe the standard 'round these parts is to call you a bigot for making such a statement.

The Japanese had a better grip on reality in 1941 but it was certainly irrational of them too attack the United States

Really? Huh. The oil stranglehold in addition to the US military assistance of Japan's enemies were factors and they Japanese made a calculated bet and came up short because of the beaking of the diplomatic codes. They might have came up short even with no code breaking - but its not like we'll ever know.

Bigot I quiet like that one, usually it is racist, islamophobe, and my all time favourite hate speech, nothing in what I have writen is not true, my language was temperat, although I do admit to a hint of sarcasm, I presume therefore that I earned the reproof of Bigot for not showing fawning respect for the the Religion of Peace, an oxymoron by the way. Where I came from respect has too be earned not demanded and I am not going to show respect to Chairman Mohamed or any of his brainwashed acolytes who think that it is Pukha to fly planes into building blow up trains and murder schoolchildren so they can enter into a heavenly brothel with 72 virgins and with a permanent hard on. They unfortunately are going to be disappointed as I have it of good authority from the Angel Gabriel him/herself, that Big Mo got the message garbled during one of his epileptic fits and that it is not 72 virgins but one 72 year old virgin.

Now to get back to Japan and the second world war, the causes and reasons leading up too it are irrelevant, it does not matter who was wrong and who was right. It is irrational behavior to attack a country with a G.D.P. 33 times larger. It is in the bible by the way if you want too look it up, I can't remember where, perhaps revelations, but I can remember reading “GOD IS ALWAYS ON THE SIDE OF THE BIG BATTALIONS”.

I have to admit that there might be something in it but I don't think the American end of the world Christians are in the same league as Iranian Muslims, America still has a secular government, theirs is Theocratic, that is a big difference. I certainly have a healthy contempt for them though, Anal Roberts comes to mind I hope I have spelt his name correctly. What worries me more is this gentleman.


Deep Regards

Yorkshire Miner

There are few things I wouldn't do if I really believed it would net me 72 virgins...

Dan you are dead a long time to say the least.
If I was 21 about the average age of a martyr, 72 virgins wouldn't remain that way for long.
I would then have the rest of eternity to understand how naive I was.

On Friday, the Obama Administration announced that it will cancel debt from Brazil in exchange for forest protection. The U.S. has done the same for Bangladesh, Belize, Botswana, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Indonesia, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and the Philippines.

This is one of those giveaways that is a feel good, fairy dust sort of deal. On the surface it seems environmentally sensitive and a nice gesture to these poor countries, except we can't even secure the Mexican border, so how are we going to enforce all those countries from continuing to deforest whatever area has been secured in exchange for the loan giveaway?

If those countries listed are unable to repay their loans, why are we lending them money we have to borrow from China? We're in no position to lend money or give it away as the debt ticks towards 14 trillion.

I don't understand the US. Go heavily into debt. Prosecute extremely expensive wars achieving who knows what. Give money away to countries because they can't repay their loans. Allow foreign countries to export as much as they want into the US marketplace (which reduces our manufacturing base and causes widespread unemployment), yet those same countries restrict US imports. And even though huge debt is piled upon huge debt, those other countries hate the US.

Why does the US put its economic well being last?


We have self serving morons running the place, elected by other self serving (yet distracted) morons. We have a wide variety, pick your flavor. Socialist Democrat, Liberal Republican, they are all the same.