Drumbeat: August 20, 2010

China keeps eye on Sudan oil investment

China is “frightened” of what might happen if Southern Sudan secedes and must strengthen its ties with the region’s leaders to protect its oil assets, said a Southern Sudan official.

Oil-rich Southern Sudan, which gained semi-autonomy in a 2005 peace deal that ended a 21-year civil war in which 2 million people died, is to vote in a January referendum on secession from the rest of Sudan to form a new country.

“A lot of wild rumours have been getting to them, that if the south separates, there will be insecurity, and if there is insecurity, their assets worth billions of dollars in the form of pipelines and so on will have been a waste,” Anne Itto, Southern Sudan’s minister of agriculture, told reporters today in the semi-autonomous capital, Juba, upon returning from China.

U.S. natgas rig count dips from 18-mth high

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The number of rigs drilling for natural gas in the United States fell seven this week to 985 after climbing to an 18-month high last week, according to a report on Friday by oil services firm Baker Hughes in Houston.

Last week, the gas-directed rig count hit 992, its highest level since February 2009 when there were 1,018 rigs drilling for gas.

US oil thirst up

US demand for crude oil and petroleum products climbed 3.8 % in July from a year ago, even as the sluggish economy weighed on gasoline demand for the month, the American Petroleum Institute said today.

Gulf States, Spill Coordinator Discuss `How Clean Is Clean' on Oiled Coast

U.S. states along the Gulf of Mexico and the federal oil-spill response on-scene coordinator, Paul Zukunft, are discussing “how clean is clean” when it comes to beaches and marshes soiled after BP Plc leaked millions of barrels of crude, National Incident Commander Thad Allen said.

Local and federal authorities need to agree on final shore conditions to determine when the cleanup effort is finished, Allen said during a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington today.

Shell Says it’s Cleaning up Major Oil Spill in Nigeria’s Bonny Island

Oil giant Shell says it has intensified efforts to clean up a major oil spill in the Bonny area of the Niger Delta. Bonny is made up of about 90 tiny islands and one large one.

Community leaders say current efforts have been unsuccessful and oil continues to gush from the damaged well.

PM makes return to Arctic to strengthen sovereignty claims

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper travels to Canada’s North next week as his government steps up efforts to resolve international border disputes in the region and critics sound alarm bells about the dangers of oil drilling in the Arctic.

In what has become a summer ritual since he took office in 2006, Mr. Harper will make his fifth Arctic visit to promote Canadian sovereignty in the region. The five-day trip which begins on Monday will bring him as far north as Resolute, where Canadian troops are engaged in a military training exercise with the United States and Denmark. He will also visit Churchill, Man., Cambridge Bay, which is situated on Victoria Island, and Inuvik, Tuktoyaktak and Whitehorse.

The trip is part of the Harper government’s plan, outlined in its throne speech in March, to achieve several key Arctic policy objectives.

Platts Report: China's July Oil Demand Pulls Back from June's Record High

Platts - China's apparent oil demand slowed in July, dropping from June's record high of 36.74 million metric tons (mt) to 35.82 million mt or about 8.47 million barrels per day (b/d), according to the just released Platts analysis of official data from the People's Republic of China. The July demand figure is down 5.6% from June and is up only 2.7% from a year ago, a sharp drop off from the double-digit year-on-year gain reported for the prior month.

"The sharp drop in China's oil demand growth in July is a clear indication that Beijing's tightening policies are taking effect," said Mriganka Jaipuriyar, senior editor for Platts in Singapore. "With both industrial production and asset investment dropping in the month, it is not surprising that oil demand has slowed down too. Looking ahead, whether we actually see negative oil demand growth will depend on whether China decides to pursue its tighter policies or reverses them."

Nigeria: Bonny Attack Cuts Nation's Crude Oil Export

Lagos — Nigeria's crude oil export, which had stabilised at 2.5 million barrels per day in the last three weeks, has declined as Shell declared force majeure on the export of Bonny Light following production deferment that resulted from a recent attack on its pipelines in Rivers State.

Nigeria: Election pressure mounts for quiet leader

While Nigeria's president remains silent on whether he'll seek the oil-rich nation's highest office in upcoming elections, the campaign has all but begun on the Internet.

A new website linked from a Nigerian government page purportedly advertises President Goodluck Jonathan's 2011 election bid, complete with a biography and a campaign platform. A Facebook page for the leader has more than 168,000 fans and there's a nascent Twitter feed in his name.

Nigeria: Nation's Dying Energy Sector

Since the discovery of oil in 1956 in Oloibiri, a town in Bayelsa state, the oil and gas sector cornered the economic activities and gradually became the lifeblood of Nigeria's economy. As the sector grows, more problems compound with very little or minimal solutions to address them.

Of recent, the sector was in the spotlight for several reasons such as fuel scarcity, shortage of gas to power, corruption and brain-drain.

Despite efforts by the past leaders to adjust some of the abnormalities that made the sector to operate in difficult terrain, the industry continued to top the list of inefficient sectors in the economy.

BP Well Manager Said No Warning of Blowout

(Bloomberg) -- BP Plc’s senior manager on the Deepwater Horizon rig saw no indications that natural gas was surging up a pipe before the explosion that set off the biggest U.S. oil spill, according to notes from an internal inquiry.

Feinberg Pledges to Issue Spill Checks to Individuals Within Day of Claim

Kenneth Feinberg, administrator of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, said he intends to issue emergency payment checks to individuals within 24 hours of an application for losses tied to the BP Plc oil spill.

Checks for businesses will be issued within seven days, Feinberg said today in a statement releasing protocols for the $20 billion fund. Emergency claims can be filed from Aug. 23 through Nov. 23, Feinberg said.

Remembering the remarkable Matthew R. Simmons

Matt Simmons was arguably the most influential individual on this side of the Atlantic to warn about the coming peak-and-decline of world oil production. Beginning in 2001, when he published his ground-breaking white paper on the world‘s giant oil fields, Matt alerted presidents, politicians and whoever else would listen that our energy joyride was headed for deep trouble. He drove himself tirelessly, riding the speaker circuit at breakneck speed, visiting some 25 countries to deliver over 400 fact-filled energy talks to industry, investment, academic, and general interest audiences.

Then, suddenly, he was gone. Matt died Sunday evening, August 8th, at his home in Maine. He will be missed enormously by his wife Ellen, five daughters, his close associates, and all of us who knew and respected him.

Review: Transport Revolutions by Richard Gilbert and Anthony Perl

Transport Revolutions presents an ambitious vision of a world, 15 years from now, that is well on its way to kicking oil and being run on renewably produced electricity. The book’s authors, internationally recognized transport policy experts Richard Gilbert and Anthony Perl, readily acknowledge the enormity of this challenge, with transport worldwide currently 95 percent dependent on oil. They have no illusions that the transition would be painless. But they nonetheless insist that it could be done. And they seem to have sold a lot of people on their vision: both editions of their book so far have been bestsellers.

Peak Everything

“Every generation has perceived the limits to growth that finite resources and undesirable side effects would pose if no new recipes or ideas were discovered,” the Stanford economist Paul Romer writes in The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. “And every generation has underestimated the potential for finding new recipes and ideas. We consistently fail to grasp how many ideas remain to be discovered. The difficulty is the same one we have with compounding: possibilities do not merely add up; they multiply.” The production of some physical resources may peak, but there is no sign that human creativity is about to do anything of the kind.

The fruit of sharing

Here's an idea that combines the Transition movement's drive to rebuild our local foodsheds with its drive to build new economic structures.

In our local neighborhood in Los Angeles, for the third year running, we are hosting a group purchase of bare root fruit trees. It started on a whim. I was ordering bare root fruit trees for my own yard, and thought perhaps a few others might wish to piggyback on my order. I posted it on our local Transition email loops and suddenly my order had exploded to 21 trees! We qualified for extra volume discounts at the supplier, and the box that arrived on my doorstep the following January was so big that it could easily have contained one of the Lakers basketball players!

Shell Files Complaint in Federal Court Against Argentine Fuel Price Ban

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s largest oil company, filed a complaint in an Argentine federal court against a government ruling that forces companies to rescind recent price increases.

Shell’s complaint was filed yesterday in federal court No. 9 where it will be reviewed by Judge Pablo Cayssials, according to a statement on the Court Information Center website. The government on Aug. 18 ordered energy companies to lower fuel prices to a pre-Aug. 1 level.

Shell sells Heide refinery to private equity fund

A sharp fall in fuel consumption in Europe and import demand from key markets such as the United States slashed profitability of oil refining business in the region since late 2008, putting at least 11 refiners up for sale, including the Heide site and Petroplus' Teesside in the UK.

Resting on our ores

Contemporary Australia is built on high commodity prices, due to demand from China and other rapidly industrialising countries. There is no certainty this will continue. Further afield, scientists say reserves of our second largest mining export - high grade iron ore - will be exhausted within 50 years, at current rates of production. Australia's new top export earner is black coal, expected to last another 90 years at current rates of depletion. Long before these dates, however, will be the Australian equivalent of peak oil - the point where readily accessible deposits are used up, and each new ton costs more and more in production costs.

When Australia finally depletes its non-renewable resources, what will we have left? Much of our manufacturing has shifted to cheap labour havens overseas, agriculture now only accounts for four per cent of our exports, and we're far from being a high-tech centre or a cultural powerhouse. If Australia once rode on the sheep's back, we now lie supine atop our piles of ore.

The Greening of Mining, Our Place in the 21st Century

Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam is in Kalgoorlie to present a paper at the AusIMM Sustainable Mining conference which will focus on the place of mining in a sustainable economy.

"Against a backdrop of climate change and the age of peak oil, we need to have a hard look at how resilient our mining communities are, the continuing dispossession of Aboriginal people, and the place of mining in the transition to a zero carbon economy," Senator Ludlam said.

Creating a sustainable city

A working bee of global proportions planned for the spring will put an emphasis on homegrown, organisers in Dunedin say.

Sustainable Dunedin City (SDC) is part of an international alliance promoting a global climate working bee for October 10 - dubbed the 10/10 Global Work Party - the follow-up to last year's big 350.org campaign, which highlighted dangers associated with carbon exceeding 350 parts per million in the atmosphere.

Indonesian train now has women-only carriages

JAKARTA, Indonesia – As the train rattled into Indonesia's capital, 19-year-old Wiwit Wahyuningsih leaned back in a soft, pink-cushioned seat in a carriage newly designated exclusively for women.

It was a great feeling, the university student said, knowing she didn't have to worry about being ogled at, pinched or even groped.

Solar firm turns 35

BRATTLEBORO-- Awareness of peak oil, climate change and American dependence on foreign oil has spiked in the last few years, and Integrated Solar Applications, founded in 1975, says it has watched enthusiasm for solar power come full circle.

To celebrate its success and say thanks to the community, Integrated Solar will host a 35th anniversary celebration from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday at its site on the banks of the West River, 121 Spring Tree Rd.

Though 600 invitations have been mailed, the celebration is free and open to all, according to Adam Thurrell, system design and sales manager.

Gas Hole: a crude conspiracy

"We have a serious problem - America is addicted to oil," said former President George W. Bush during a speech in 2006. Gas Hole: a crude conspiracy opens with quotes from U.S. presidents ranging from the 1970s up until Bush, all voicing the same concern with oil dependency. And yet today, oil prices are higher than ever and the planet is rapidly running out of 'black gold' - so why has nothing been done?

According to writers, producers and directors Jeremy Wagener and Scott D Roberts, it's because change could threaten the profits of the oil industry. "They're in the most profitable portion of their business right now," says actor Joshua Jacskon of our post peak-oil society.

11 green inventions that go too far

The green movement has gained a lot of momentum in recent years, no doubt prompted by rising energy costs, a weak economy and environmental disasters like the BP oil spill.

Some have been quick to capitalize on the trend, losing practicality in the frenzy to attain another kind of green — the kind that shows up on a balance sheet. Others create extreme concepts that will never become everyday realities, in order to raise awareness.

Either way, the results can be just plain nuts.

Crude Oil Declines to Six-Week Low Amid Signs U.S. Recovery Is Faltering

Crude oil declined to six-week low as rising U.S. jobless claims and a contraction in manufacturing added to concern growth in the world’s biggest oil-consuming nation is slowing.

Oil, down 2.4 percent this week, fell after the Labor Department said yesterday weekly claims for unemployment benefits climbed to the highest level since November. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s general economic index dropped to the lowest reading since July 2009. Total U.S. inventories of crude and oil products reached the highest in at least 20 years, Energy Department data showed earlier this week.

“You certainly see an overhang developing in oil product stocks in the U.S.,” said Harry Tchilinguirian, head of commodity markets strategy at BNP Paribas SA in London. “Gasoline demand has witnessed a difficult recovery from its recession induced-lows, and one of the main stumbling blocks for this has been high U.S. unemployment.”

Fuel Supplies Hitting Two-Decade High May Send Oil to $70

The biggest U.S. petroleum stockpiles in two decades are leading oil bears to predict further price declines that may lead OPEC to restrict production.

Inventories of crude and fuel products rose to 1.13 billion barrels last week, the highest level since the Energy Department began keeping combined weekly data in January 1990, according to a report Aug. 18. Oil has fallen 9.9 percent since reaching a three-month high on Aug. 3.

Gazprom denies revised gas price talks

Russia's energy giant Gazprom today denied a newspaper report that Germany's E.ON , the world's largest utility by sales, is seeking to lower prices for gas supply.

Pemex Seeks Foreign Partners to Develop Offshore Oil Fields for First Time

Petroleos Mexicanos, Latin America’s largest oil producer, expects to hire foreign oil companies for the first time to explore and produce in the Gulf of Mexico as it seeks to arrest a five-year decline in output.

Hungry For Oil: Feeding America's Expensive Habit

Every day the United States goes through another 20 million barrels of oil. Finding enough crude to supply the country's oil habit is difficult because much of the oil that's easy to get to is gone. Now companies are extracting oil in places that are expensive to drill and raise concerns about safety and the environment. BP's disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is the most obvious example.

Major study charts long-lasting oil plume in Gulf

WASHINGTON – A 22-mile-long invisible mist of oil is meandering far below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, where it will probably loiter for months or more, scientists reported Thursday in the first conclusive evidence of an underwater plume from the BP spill.

The most worrisome part is the slow pace at which the oil is breaking down in the cold, 40-degree water, making it a long-lasting but unseen threat to vulnerable marine life, experts said.

BP rejects data withholding claim

Oil company BP has fired back at Transocean in a dispute over the withholding of information about possible causes of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

James Neath, BP's associate general counsel, said an August 18th letter from a Transocean attorney asserting BP was not releasing critical data contained "many false and misleading assertions".

BP spill payouts likely to prohibit lawsuits: report

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Recipients of money from BP's 20-billion-dollar oil spill compensation fund will likely be required to waive their right to sue any firm involved in the disaster along the US Gulf Coast, The New York Times reported Friday.

Citing internal documents from lawyers handling the fund, the daily said businesses and individuals who accepted compensation from the fund would waive their rights to sue not only the British energy giant, but any company implicated in the largest accidental spill in history.

Shell, Basf Ordered to Pay $354 Million in Brazil Plant Contamination Case

The Brazilian units of Basf SE and Royal Dutch Shell Plc. were fined a total of 622 million reais ($354 million) after former workers suffered health problems because of contamination at a plant in Paulinia, Sao Paulo state, from the 1970s to 2002.

Mother claims child died due BP refinery pollution

HOUSTON (Reuters) – A woman sued BP Plc's North American subsidiary on Thursday, claiming excess pollution from the company's refinery in Texas City, Texas, contributed to her infant child's death.

Pakistan Flood Aid Helps Fight Terrorism as Peace `Fragile,' Qureshi Says

Increased aid to Pakistan’s flood victims, including $180.5 million pledged at the United Nations yesterday, will help to keep terrorists from capitalizing on the crisis, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said.

“We are not going to allow them to take advantage or exploit this natural disaster,” Qureshi told reporters in New York yesterday. The result “depends on how effective and quick the response is. That is why it is so important that the international assistance comes immediately.”

Cnooc Banks on Acquisitions, China Oil Output for Growth as Profit Doubles

Cnooc Ltd., China’s biggest offshore oil producer, said overseas acquisitions and discoveries at home will drive the company’s future growth after record output helped more than double profit in the first six months.

“Contribution from overseas assets is expected to rise steadily,” Chairman Fu Chengyu said in yesterday’s earnings statement in Hong Kong. Apart from adding reserves in China, “merger and acquisition opportunities will also be an important driving force for the company’s medium- and long-term growth.”

S.Korea's KNOC makes hostile offer for UK oil firm

LONDON (AFP) – South Korea's state-owned Korea National Oil Corporation launched a hostile takeover bid for Dana Petroleum on Friday, becoming the latest Asian power to seek foreign assets to meet booming energy demand.

KNOC has offered to buy the British oil explorer, which has operations in Europe and north Africa, for about 1.87 billion pounds (2.3 billion euros, 2.9 billion dollars), it said in a statement.

Petrobras May Delay $25 Billion Share Sale, Two Government Officials Say

Petroleo Brasileiro SA’s $25 billion share sale may be delayed as Brazil’s state-run oil producer and the government start negotiating the financial terms of a related oil-for-stock swap, according to two government officials familiar with the matter.

Majnoon oilfield deal is finalised

Several of the world’s biggest oilfield services companies are preparing to work on the giant Majnoon oilfield in Iraq.

Companies including Halliburton, Nabors and possibly Petrofac are finalising contracts to help Royal Dutch Shell and Malaysia’s state-owned Petroliam Natsional (Petronas) boost the field’s production capacity to 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) from its current output of just under 45,000 bpd.

Kuwait Petroleum, Pertamina May Triple Java Refinery, Make Petrochemicals

A unit of Kuwait Petroleum Corp. and PT Pertamina, Indonesia’s state-oil company, will study the feasibility of more than tripling the capacity of the Balongan oil refinery in Java.

Balongan’s oil-refining capacity may increase to as much as 425,000 barrels a day from 125,000 barrels a day, Pertamina spokesman Mohamad Harun said by telephone today.

Pennsylvania voters back infrastructure tax hike: Governor

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) -- Most Pennsylvania voters support a plan for higher taxes on oil companies and motor vehicle licenses to pay for repairs to roads, bridges and public transit, state Governor Ed Rendell said on Thursday.

Rendell released the poll ahead of an August 23 meeting of lawmakers to discuss ways of filling a $472 million gap in transportation funding created by the federal government's rejection of a state plan to put tolls on Interstate 80.

Study: UK demand for electric vehicles to surpass hybrids by 2020, hit 21% market share

A new British study by Glass's Information Services Ltd. (GIS) is predicting that battery electric vehicles will overtake hybrids in UK market share and will reach a combined total of 21 percent by the end of the decade. That market share matches the expectations for France and Italy, but falls short of Germany's potential – which is expected to hit 26 percent.

Our expectations of electric cars must be tempered with reality

Electric cars are often spoken of as if they will turn the tide against the current fleet of petroleum junkies. But we may be far from that nirvana.

Green queen gives women voice

Helene Pelosse dreams of driving around Abu Dhabi in a solar-powered car instead of being tied down in bureaucratic wrangling over climate change.

The head of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is used to political compromise and the painstaking pace of international negotiations.

But that does not cloud her vision of the future: that one day, relatively soon, clean, renewable energy will cover 100 per cent of human power needs.

There isn’t any sensible alternative to nuclear power

Ask the average environmentally-concerned person how our power generators will achieve the tough emissions reductions needed to play their part in cutting global warming, and you will probably get a simple, clear answer: wind and solar.

Recent research by the International Energy Agency shows that nearly half of interviewees worldwide think that wind and solar power will be the two main sources of electricity generation by 2040. There is just one problem: that idea is naïve, overoptimistic, and almost certainly mistaken. Quite literally, it is “hot air”.

Europe’s Brisk Energy Transition

Europe’s evolution toward a heavier reliance on renewable energy is nicely documented in a report released this week by Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics agency. The study, “Statistical Aspects of the Energy Economy in 2009,” provides a wealth of interesting detail without a lot of editorializing.

From 2008 to 2009 alone, the use of renewable energy in the European Union increased 8.3 percent. As I’ve reported as part of our continuing series, “Beyond Fossil Fuels,” some countries have made particularly great strides in this arena. Portugal now gets nearly 45 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, up from 17 percent five years ago.

Go Solar Before it's Too Late!

One of the biggest misconceptions people have about solar is that it is just about to become so cheap that you better not get any now, because in a few years it will be much cheaper.

Basking in Energy-Efficient A.C.

Of all the things I could spend $8,800 to buy, a new central air-conditioning system is not near the top of my most-wanted list. But that’s what I did this week, and I actually feel pretty good about it.

I am happy about the $1,500 tax credit I am going to get for buying a very efficient system, one that is going to save me hundreds of dollars a year. To sweeten the pot, the manufacturer offered a plan that allows me to pay for the system over three years with no interest. My installer told me that the financing deal was unusual for this time of year, but business has been slow in these recessionary times.

B.C. wood pellets a green hit in Europe – but not Alberta

Every day, 500 tonnes of tiny wood pellets are churned out of Pacific BioEnergy’s Prince George plant, destined for thermal power plants in Europe. Loaded into boxcars and transported by rail, cargo ship and, finally, canal barges, they’ll travel more than 20,000 kilometres before they end up heating some kid’s waffle in Belgium.

Using B.C.’s pine-beetle-killed wood to reduce the carbon output of coal-fired power plants on the other side of the planet sounds cool but economically implausible. Yet biomass is Prince George’s fastest-growing commodity.

Pacific Island nations threatened by rising sea levels

Global warming could spell the end for a number of tiny island nations in the Pacific, Shi Yingying reports.

Despite their image of paradise on Earth, many Pacific Islands are struggling with environmental issues, such as rising sea levels caused by global warming, pollution, and conflicting relationships between the tourism industry, local culture and ecology.

Effects of rising sea levels to be examined

NEW HAVEN — A new concern has been added to the city’s natural hazard mitigation plan: rising sea levels.

The City Plan Commission Wednesday approved an update in the plan put in place five years ago, with the discussion turning to climate change and what might in store for the city’s coastline and riverfront properties.

UN to get report on climate panel August 30

PARIS (AFP) - A UN-requested review of the world's top panel of climate scientists, accused of flaws in a key assessment on global warming, will be unveiled on August 30, the investigating committee said on Friday.

The five-month probe into "the processes and procedures" of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is being conducted by the InterAcademy Council (IAC), gathering 15 leading science academies.

Caribbean Storm Damage Costs May Increase by 50% Along With Global Warming

Climate change may add 50 percent to the storm damage costs incurred by some Caribbean nations over the next two decades, said Swiss Reinsurance Co., the world’s second-largest re-insurer.

Wind, storm surges and inland flooding already cost some Caribbean nations up to 6 percent of their economic output each year, the Zurich-based company said today in a statement on its website. Global warming could add costs amounting to another 1 to 3 percent of output by 2030, it said.

What is the average percent output on an around the clock around basis of submerged tidal turbine?

The high output hours would be intermittent of course, but highly predictable;maybe it would be fairly easy to adapt to this internittency by using it to pump municip,al water into towers,and by over heating or overcooling well insulated buildings a bit by using smart hvac systems.

As I understand it,being a land lubber, the tide along an typical coast line ebbs and floods more or less at the same time,within an hour or so,, and it would not be possible to do much about the intermittency by seperating the plants geographically on say the Scottish coast;maybe a good site on the French coast might be far enough away to be suitable for balancing tidal production.

How do the distances play out?

The tidal cycle is 12 hours, 25.2 minutes. Basically twice in 24 hours plus an extra day every 28 days (lunar month). So it rotates around the clock as the moon rotates around the earth.

Very predictable, but out put will vary in every time period every 4 weeks.

The French use their world's largest operating tidal power plant like pumped storage. Maximize utility of power and not MWh.

Best Hopes for Tidal Power,


Alan ,

Thanks, I understand the twelve and a half hour cycle and the monthly cycle;I do get down to the coast to fish occasionally;where I go they seem to bite mostly on the incoming tide. ;)

My question was intended to pertain to the length of time the "sweet spot " lasts on the incoming and outgoing tide, and the length of the dead spot at high tide and low tide-I'm guessing an hour or more at both high and low are essentially dead times for generating power.

I'm also guessing that output is a lot less than name plate just before and just after both low and high tides.

So maybe such a turbine might produce at or near it's max only three of four hours a day, for a couple of hours each on the incoming and out going tide, with two daily dead spots of an hour or more each, and out put varying in a predictable way the rest of the day and over the course of a month.

Another question to do with the sea for anybody-how is the base lone measurement determined for sealevel?Is some marker set by the geological survey and arbitrarily referred to as the zero?

Understanding rising and falling sea level on average world wide is easy enough as icecaps melt or grow;ditto subsidence of land on a coast, or geological uplift of other coastal lands.Ditto temporarily high or lower sea level due to high or low pressure weather systems.

But I read stuff that seems to indicate that sea level is rising faster in some places than others ;this seems contrary to the expected influence of gravity, tides, and currents which should cause sea levels to remain basically constant , everything else equal.

Of course the authors of such work may not know thier stuff and attribute loss of land to rising sea level rather than subsidence of the land and so forth.

What mechanism allows sea level to rise faster in some places than others in violation of the principle that free flowing water seeks its own level?

Thanks in advance anybody!

I think you could potentially spread it out by combining two sorts of generators.
The one we are talking about here, utilizes the velocity of a more or less natural flow. Its output will be proportional (perhaps to the second or third power) to the derivative of the tidal height. If you built a barrage, essentially a dam, and used the height difference between the sea, and the reservoir behind your dam, you are exploiting the height of the tide (and the low level of low tide). So this form of tidal power peaks at the extremes high/low tide. So if you choose one of each, one is maxxed out when the other is dead.

Building barrages, which if i understand the terminology are essentially dams that work in both directions is very expensive ?

The prime point as I understand it in respect to submerged turbines of the sort described is that they are relatively cheap and non obtrusive and don't interfere much if at all with the local fish and so forth.

I don't know about the cost of barrages, although they seem like kind of an all or nothing sort of thing. With turbines you can start out small, and add more later. Barrages do change the environment and are controversial for that reason.

I think the main reason the sea levels can vary by location is due to different densities of water in different locations due to temperature and salinity. Low density water will have a higher level.

The tidal cycle is 12 hours, 25.2 minutes.

Yes I understand what you are saying Alan but looking at the tidal chart for here in Pensacola Fl, it looks like a full cycle is exactly twice that long.

8729840 Pensacola, FL

Ron P.

it looks like a full cycle is exactly twice that long.

A full cycle is basically two low tides, and two high tides. The high tide when the moon is overhead differs only slughly from the high tide when the moon is below the horizon. The tides are essentially symmetric wrt the moon, meaning the tidal strength away from the moon and towards the moon are the same.

One part of the tides is the lunar component, which causes the 12.25 hr cycle. There is also a daily solar component. The amount each component dominates depends on regional and local factors (latitude, bathymetry, coastal morphology etc.) The two high and two lows per day vary a bit in height because of this. Where the variation is low and the tide heights are similar in each part of the 12 hour cycle you have semi-diurnal tides. If one of the two daily cycle has a noticeably smaller range than the other, you have a mixed tide. I believe this is the case along much of the Gulf of Mexico, including Pensacola. Some places only have a single low and high each day, these are daily tides.
This one of the reasons, along with tidal range, that limits the viability of tidal power to only a few locations worldwide. I think tidal power is something worthy of post here on TOD to go over all the details.
BTW I just checked the Wikipedia page on Tides, its not bad.


Thank you everyone for all the interesting comments - without knowing anything about it, you'd think tidal power if it works would be very predictable & consistent.

Apparently, according to this newspaper report, more than 7% of the world's tidal energy resource is thought to be in Scottish waters.

And Scotland has 25% of Europe's wind resource. And 10% of Europe's wave resource. And 0.6% of Europe's population.

Well, they better have all that, because if they have to rely on solar, they're screwed.

In regard to solar prices-I'm screwed as far as getting tax credits, being retired on a very modest income.Otoh, we live well.;)

I am very interested in hearing the opinions of people with actual expertise as economists , business men, researchers, and so forth as to the likely future price of crystalline pv panels, inverters,batteries, and low voltage dc appliances such as freezers , refrigerators,and well pumps.Prices on the appliances are certainly out of line considering that the only real difference is the motor-this is due to low production volumes and lack of competition at present I suppose.

When I buy I will probably build my own racks, mount everything myself ,and run my own wiring, so actual purchase prices are the key for me.

Mac, these are credits, not rebates or deductions. You get a check.

Glad to find that out, thanks-so somebody with a fit income tax bill of three grand can wipe it out by buying a ten grand system with a 30 % credit?

But if you don't owe any fit, you still get a check for 3 large by spending ten?

I have never been eligible for credits although I have heard of them-I could only get ordinary deductions.

What do you think about the price trends over the next few years?

But if you don't owe any fit, you still get a check for 3 large by spending ten?

That would only be for refundable credits...

OFM check the rules ... in the UK you can't get Government cash unless the installation work is done by a registered installer ... that means most people can't do it themselves!

future price of crystalline pv panels, inverters,batteries,

A crystalline panel comes from slicing a grown crystal. Volume isn't going to change the prices much as the making of the grown crystals is 'volume' - same stuff for making IC's

Batteries - unless energy storage changes a whole lot with ultra-caps or Beacon power's flywheels become cheap with mass production you won't see a whole lotta changes.

Inverters - not sure how much more volume could drop pricing.

The panels should be getting cheaper. Cost is materials plus manufacturing. And they are getting better at using less silicon (thinner wafers or whatever). So we should continue to see a declining cost curve. Of course supply/demand can make a big difference in the market price. Until the financial cruch hit panel prices had remained fixed to slightly rising for several years, as demand was high. Now we have the opposite effect.

I would think inverters would probably get a tad cheaper as well, but probably not by more than a few percent. There also are some newer types coming along, that can for instance not do so poorly if some (even one) panel is shaded.

Which reminds me rather of the state of South Australia, here in The Wide Brown Land (and it doesn't come much wider and browner than SA).

It has one or two of the very big uranium patches in the world, very promising geothermal (hot rock) prospects, substantial oil & gas reserves, fantastic solar potential, let alone very serious wind, wave, and tidal power prospects all along the vast coast facing the Southern Ocean.

It could be the energy capital of the continent - and even further - if our leaders understood the future a bit more.

Death of the McMansion

Just 9 percent of the people surveyed by Trulia said their ideal home size was over 3,200 square feet. Meanwhile, more than one-third said their ideal size was under 2,000 feet.


The Next Slums


Best Hopes for Rational Behavior,


We are still getting newcomers to Vancouver Island building huge homes. They sell out, from wherever, and build the dream box. Amazingly, these are older folks building multi-storied McMansions and seem to put in 3-4 bathrooms. With housing sales declining in Canadian cities, hopefully the trend declines. Why older people build 2-3 stories + basements is beyond me? I am in my my mid fifties with so many aches and pains from years of work, I wouldn't dream of more than a few steps for changing levels. Maybe they spent their lives in a spa and behind a wheel.

Who will buy these places when they move to patio homes? Not much of an investment.


I would guess some are building it as an investment (which they will sell "when the market comes back"). Some may want a house large enough for their children and grandchildren. They may only be thinking of summers and holidays, but they may end up with a full-time multi-generational home.

As for what will happen...probably the same thing that happened to the mansions of the golden age. Some will be demolished, many will be broken up into apartments (those extra bathrooms will come in handy!), a few will survive as is, as white elephants or historical buildings.

They may only be thinking of summers and holidays, but they may end up with a full-time multi-generational home.

This was also hinted at in another comment, but I find it to be a real puzzler. Vancouver Island is fairly sizable. Where are these houses located? The kinds of places that make for pleasant holidays typically make for lousy commutes, commutes that would become raving nightmares at the tiniest sign of a gas shortage. (Yup, one of my dear long-departed relatives had such a place, though minus the McMansion, in New Jersey in the 1970s.) So unless there's a viable plan for the working-age generations to live off an endowment, it seems like it might be less stressful to try out that sort of Victorian fantasy in a more urban, more accessible, less holiday-ish locale.

Or maybe one could instead try on the fervid hippie/doomer fantasy, and hallucinate a farmette piled high with relatives living by subsistence. But those are often holiday places rather than farms precisely because they're deficient in some little thing such as sufficient acreage, suitable topography, rainfall, soil type and condition, stuff like that, which limits US arable land to a mere 18% or 19% of the total. And no one ever seems to consider what should happen in that scenario when Grandma and Grandpa, beached in the back of beyond, start needing the constant services of doctors and skilled nurses, services that, like it or not, cannot always be rendered adequately by even the most well-meaning relatives.

The kinds of places that make for pleasant holidays typically make for lousy commutes, commutes that would become raving nightmares at the tiniest sign of a gas shortage.

If you don't have a job, you can't be too picky.

Rather than a Victorian or doomer fantasy, I'm thinking of the more prosaic sort of thing that happens every day, even now. Kid loses job or gets divorced, and moves back in with mom and dad.

I expect that the future will see more and more of this sort of thing: basically, one income supporting more and more people.

And here I was looking forward to supporting only 2!

Of course, kids that have moved out still require support too, it seems. 25 years ago, I did not, but my kids and others seem to - not just monetarily, but borrowing tools and various items. I guess that's another sign of the long, slow, slide.

It goes both ways. My parents are planning to live in their home as long as possible, sell it and move into our old condo just long enough to get the tax break when the house gets to be too much, then sell that and move into assisted living.

They don't want to be a burden to me and have planned accordingly, to the best of their ability. But they are counting on social security and pensions and IRAs that may not be there when they need them. If I need a roof over my head and they need someone to take care of them, moving back home would make sense for all of us.

I have a feeling a lot of people will find themselves in that situation.

Fidelity sees record number raid their 401(k)s

In the wake of news about a spike in new applications for unemployment benefits comes another potentially troubling sign: A record number of workers made hardship withdrawals from their retirement accounts in the second quarter.

What's more, the number of workers borrowing from their accounts reached a 10-year high, according to a report issued Friday by Fidelity Investments.

My parents (Father & step-Mother) are so arrogant I couldn't have them live with us for one day, let alone any longer. They spend all their time passing judgement on anyone and everyone, and that includes me. No thanks, regardless of the monetary consequences for both parties. I even gave up on seeing them in person. I just call every now and then.

My step Brother decided to let them live in his big house, but they drove him so crazy he insisted they both take a prescription drug to mellow them out. But then told them to give him a break last winter and they had to take to the road in their RV. But their back now, yikes!

Hi Earl.

You need to make nice nice to your brother!!!

I have my in-laws, aged 87 and 84, living here. They stay on the second floor, we stay on the first (we tried to move them downstairs, but... exasperation!) It's better that way!

Of course, there are 4 generations living in the house. It was built for 4 or 5.

Endless fun! And, for the rest of y'all, a preview of coming attractions!


Record Number Of Americans Using Retirement Funds As Source Of Immediate Cash

..."By the end of the second quarter, plan participants with loans outstanding against their 401(k) accounts had reached 22 percent versus 20 percent a year earlier."

And if anyone is so deluded to think that these not so gracious retirees have any intention of ever paying these "loans" back, we have some AJ-rated CMBS to sell you at par prime.

Which also means that suddenly Fidelity may find itself with worthless liens instead of cash, and should the market plunge again and the fund giant find itself in a need to satisfy billions in collateral calls, it is game over.

During the presidential campaign Obama promised to work for penalty-free withdrawls for economic hardship. Nothing has been done in that area (maybe it was not on the list of "#1 priorities?).

I wonder if our Dear Leaders might not want to slow the withdrawls instead of making it easier... ?

I think that if the rules changed to allow anyone to bail, there would be a rush for the exit!!! And a crash like none before.

Even as it is, the folks are pulling out of the stock funds and putting their holdings into cash accounts. This is causing quite an uproar on Wall Street!


Stuff Wall Street ... let 'em starve. I am advising everyone in my orbit to take their investment / retirement funds out of the share market, and instead invest it in cash and fixed interest ... and to adjust their superannuation accounts accordingly also. I also suggest it is not the time to have great faith in investment property either.

The point is not to make a big return on capital - rather the point is to preserve the capital to fund a modest retirement. There is robust resistance to this - those who think the share market will rise again healthily over the next five years, and do not want to miss out. Despite my advice that there are NO sets of circumstances on the horizon that will see a return to 2005-2007 levels.

But I can only offer (peak-everything related) advice ... I can't force anyone to take it.

I would absolutely not advise anyone to place their savings in fixed income securities maturing in more than five years (well maybe 10 years for some tax-exempts where it was planned to hold them to maturity).

Returns made by investing in bonds is not symmetric - that is the amount that would be lost if interest rates rose is potentially much higher than the amount gained if interest rates fell.

US will not follow the Japanese style 'deflation' scenario. Japan had more savings than needed, which pushed interest rates down there. The amount needed to finance US federal budget deficits is greatly in excess of the entire world's savings in the long run.

So yes, I am saying it's basically impossible we can see long term interest rates fall much, if at all, lower than now - and quite possibly go much, much higher.

Hummmm. And when will they report how many individuals are cashing out - early or not? That, to me, would be a trend to watch. I wonder when others will begin cashing out just to avoid losing out. That's where my partner and I are.

I have yet to investigate the impact of that for us, but the article that snarlin posted below made my heart beat faster. I hadn't considered a rise in the penalty... geez, and I just recently accepted having to pay it. His is in a company held 401K and mine is individual. My broker will turn cold as ice the moment I say I want out. She's talked me out of it before.

I hate feeling like a hamster.


There are some strong arguments for not pulling it all out at once. Income taxes for example. Diversify your risk (leave a good chunk in),

For myself, I will wait to a low income year past age 59.5.

Best Hopes,


I always wondered who was supposed to buy up all the paper wealth when the boomers got old enough to trade thier IRA and 401 paper for real actual spendable cash, this question being a favorite one often asked by one of my uber conservative friends.

He says he has never heard a convincing answer-not from his banker, not from his lawyer, not from his accountant, not from reading the news-and he reads a lot of different publications.

He never invested in stocks and stayed in the low end of the real estate market-single family houses- and has so far come out smelling like a rose-on the theory that people who rent can drop down to cheaper places when times are tough.

I guess we know now who is going to buy up all that paper wealth-people with cash , at a minor fraction of its former price.

Kid loses job or gets divorced, and moves back in with mom and dad.

Well, in a way that's why I was wondering where the houses in the original discussion are located. Kid's next job, if he or she finds one, isn't likely to pay much. If the house is in a typical sort of holiday area, not only will the commute be a nightmare as I said, but it will be a totally unaffordable nightmare on kid's meager wages. Nor do such areas typically support commuter buses, and even when they do, they only service 9-5 weekday jobs (a couple of buses inbound to someplace more urban in the AM, outbound in the PM), and kid's next job is highly unlikely to fit that description.

Like I said...I think there will be a lot of people with no jobs. Who no longer even hope to get jobs.

For those with more hopeful outlooks...location may matter less, because people will be telecommuting (if fuel is that expensive).

On the property next to where I am living this summer in BC's southern interior, a retired couple is building a 4000 sq foot house, with a separate but connected and serviced 800 sq foot garage. They have lived ordinary, working class lives and have some savings. But 91 year mama/mama-in-law died last year. And her house, quite modest by all descriptions, fetched a million dollars in Vancouver's out of whack housing market.

When I first spoke to the couple two years ago, they were planning a much more modest home on the property, which they purchased several years earlier for a song. They were then waiting upon the death of mama.

What motivated the change in plans? Not smart investment thinking. The house will not be worth it's construction cost upon completion. This is a beautiful, if arid, part of the world, but the nearby town is struggling economically and the list of unsold houses grows monthly.

It all does give meaning to the phrase "a million dollar view", which honestly is how one could describe it, when the smoke from BC's many AGW supported (pine beetle kill)forest fires is not obscuring the valley below and mountains yonder.

The project is providing some needed jobs on site and sales in town. The quality of workmanship and materials is high.

For anyone interested, the house will likely be available in about ten years given the health of the missus.

The family of William A. Clark, copper baron, dismantled their mansion and had it rebuilt on the same spot, against their banker's advice, just to provide jobs for people during the Great Depression.

If you assume bedrooms are for visitors, a bath per bedroom is naturally nicer. If you're packing relatives, parents, etc., it makes for less conflict too.

Perhaps they believe kids will bounce back, or eventually move in?

More likely, they wanted this house forever, and now can get it, so they do? Same reason that middle-class guys buy Porches for themselves when the kids graduate college -- because they can. My wife and I have a dream house never built, and now that we're close to affording it we've gone from 9 people in the house a few years back to only 6, and eventually (probably) to 2. Would I build the dream house with basement now if I could...probably. In three years, probably not.

Really, it's not the size of the house but how many people live in it, sq ft per individual. More is better, when you're in unattached buildings.

I see a large lot is now defined as 1/6th of an acre. Can't put much of a garden on that.....

My parents managed 1/2 acre with gardens until 70's. By about 80 the garden was mostly gone, as energy levels and health care needs converged to limit spare time.

Why older people build 2-3 stories + basements is beyond me?

Dear, dear. In the USA, since the close of World War II, people have been well-taught by the Federal government, at behest of both social engineers (many well-intentioned, but we know what the road to hell is paved with) and the real-estate lobby, that:

The more you build, the more somebody else will eventually pay you lavishly for.

This has been backed by gargantuan direct and indirect subsidies such as mortgage deduction, and by zoning discrimination such as allowing rental housing only near freeways and bordering on industrial areas. In this world-view the usefulness of the space to the owner is of little importance; it's all about quantity and readiness for sale. Since Canada is in some respects very similar to the USA (sorry but I'm calling it as I see it), I'm not at all surprised that it should follow suit to some extent.

Who will buy these places when they move to patio homes? Not much of an investment.

Under the teaching just cited, this is not an important question. Someone will always pay lavishly even if you have to wait a bit. The hoarding of real estate is a sure-fire road to unearned riches, and it's infinitely scalable, lanes can be tacked on without end. I don't feel surprised that some Canadians buy into this part as well, particularly since Canada seems officially to feel, perhaps a bit pridefully, that it has been and still is largely immune to the financial problems; what could possibly go wrong?

Plus there is the leverage -- it's a beautiful thing. Pay only $25,000 down on a $500,000 house, sell it in two years for $600,000, and you've made $100,000 on your $25,000 (well, maybe $58,000 after paying the sales commission). Plus the mortgage interest is tax deductible. There is no way you won't get rich.

This is argued by people would never borrow $475,000 to buy $500,000 of a sure fire stock. Note that interest paid to buy an investment is also tax deductible.

People lack the ability to do basic financial calculations.

Of course, you can't exactly live in your stock portfolio, nor get a 30 year loan to buy that $500,000 worth of stock.

Quite a few of the "homeowners" didn't exactly intend to live in the houses either, and they would go for the 3-year ARM intending to either flip the house or re-fi to take their profits out before the rate went up.

Or as they affectionately call it on the housing bubble blog - it's the REIC - as in the Real Estate Industrial Complex

Not everyone thinks this way. My dad said he wanted to move to a little house with a big medicine cabinet. I live in a 3000 ft sq house, too big now the kids are gone but I have built a 900 sq ft house all on one floor on the property for our retirement house. It has a big medicine cabinet which I hope I will never use. Time to reread Ozymandias.

Time to reread Ozymandias.

Ozymandias was right

Re: There isn’t any sensible alternative to nuclear power, up top.

Maybe for Hong Kong, this is true. But from my perspective, the whole article is hot air. And my personal location tells why:

In recent comments I have been trying to show little by little what the post Peak Oil energy infrastructure looks like around here starting with wind. Iowa is trying to be a leader in alternative energy and it has the resources to make alternative energy happen with the help of government policy and subsidies.

The following graphic shows that most Iowa turbines are located in the north.. My stamping grounds are numbers 17, 32, 34 and Cerro Gordo county just east of number 17 in which the Cerro Gordo county wind farm I talked about yesterday is located. That wind farm is missing from this graphic for some inexplicable reason. There are a lot of wind farms in Iowa and they are hard to keep track of.


The Hancock County wind farm is just south of the Crystal Lake wind farm which is also partly in Hancock County (number 17 on the graphic). It is located south of the itsy bitsy town of Duncan. Here is part of it as shown on Google Maps. The white lines are roads through the corn/soybean fields and the dots are the turbines.


Here is the view just south of Duncan:


And yet another one showing turbines on both sides of the road. Press the right or left arrow keys to see a 360 degree view.


There are 148 turbines producing 97 megawatts in the Hancock County wind farm.

The success of this wind farm which was build in 2002 led FPL to develop the larger Crystal Lake wind farm just north of it 7 years later and which now surrounds the home place. The grid became so overloaded around here that a 41 mile long high voltage power line was built to carry electricity from the Crystal Lake wind farm to a substation at Manly. Shown here is part of the new power line and 3 wind turbines on the other side of the road:


Since I’m trying cover as many of the wind turbines as I can think of around here, I should mention the wind turbine at the Forest City School. It was put up in 1999 and producers .6 megawatts which is sold to the towns municipal power company to defray electricity costs of running the school.


The grade school is behind the parking lot shown in the above Street View.

Here is another Street View looking north:


I'm always surprised (but maybe I shouldn't be!)at all the doughnuts who argue that wind power is no use because the wind doesn't blow all the time. As X implies and George Monbiot has pointed out, this problem is easily overcome by connecting lots of wind turbines in different locations to the grid. Even if the wind isn't blowing where you are, somewhere else it is.

In addition to better interconnections, other methods can help address the problem too, such as smart grid management (in Austin, TX, system operators can directly override thousands of thermostat settings if needed, for instance) and development of large-scale storage technologies such as sodium-sulfur batteries and expansion of pumped-storage capacity. For sunny areas, thermal storage technologies hold promise for generating power when it is needed rather than just when sunlight is available. There is no silver bullet, but a combination of methods working in tandem combined with reduced overall energy consumption is far better than utterly failing to utilize renewable energy sources.

Wind and solar energy won't be as cheap as the energy to which we've become accustomed from fossil fuels, but that doesn't mean it can't work at all, and on the other hand, what would be so cheap and easy? Certainly not nuclear power, particularly if scaled up to the point that its staunchest proponents would like to see. What strikes me about most of the nuclear cavalry is that they tend see nuclear energy as a panacea for our energy woes while brushing aside concerns over the technology's shortcomings. It's a view that places great (largely unwarranted) faith in the eternal march of technology and progress and attempts to sidestep resource constraints as well as many still-unanswered questions about the long-term risks and liabilities. Most proponents of renewable energy, on the other hand, recognize that no single technology will be able to do everything on its own and that energy production will need to be combined in many cases with more active management of transmission, distribution, and consumption. There will surely be a role for nuclear power in many cases, at least until critical supply issues and bottlenecks emerge, but the idea that it makes all other technologies irrelevant is preposterous.

Beyond which would be that Wind won't be the only source, either.

BB's, not silver bullets, eh?

I noted on the Texas Windpower story the other day, that the author was all riled up by the fact that there wasn't enough wind on that terribly hot day. Any chance they had enough Sunshine that day to have taken on the challenge? No, that's just impossible!

Then again, one has to be aware of the environment they've chosen to live in. (Or they WILL have to, soon enough) If you can't take the heat, get the hell out of the oven!


If you can't take the heat, get the hell out of the oven!

Good point. Trouble is, as I've said before, almost every place in the USA that's not a dangerous oven or sauna in summer, is a dangerous icy freezer in winter, complete with doctors busily advising older folks to move to warmer climes to reduce the risk of permanent disability from broken bones that never quite knit properly. And the few areas that have neither problem are either so fearsomely expensive that you have to be born into them rather than move there from elsewhere, or else so isolated that only would-be hermits might want to move there from elsewhere. So no glib advice exists, that would also be widely valid, useful, and suited to such a broad-brush declaration, about where to go.

, is a dangerous icy freezer in winter

With passive solar and earth shelter - all but Alaska can keep you from freezing temps.

would-be hermits

I keep looking for the job of hermit - no rich people seem to be taking on hermits as was the style.

Cold is a problem too, but the ice problem I had in mind was falling on it. No type of building, from a Le Corbusier skyscraper, to an earth shelter with good primitive-mindset appeal, is any help with that. Most people can't just lock themselves inside all winter. That's why their doctors tell them to move to warmer climes when they get older. And even when you're young, a broken ankle from the ice can lay you up for quite some time; I've seen it happen.

interesting stuff, Mr X.

I hope some wind developer comes along and leases your place so you can quit growing corn and take it easy. ;)

Fidelity: 401(k) hardship withdrawals, loans up

In the wake of news about a spike in new applications for unemployment benefits comes another potentially troubling sign: A record number of workers made hardship withdrawals from their retirement accounts in the second quarter.

What's more, the number of workers borrowing from their accounts reached a 10-year high, according to a report issued Friday by Fidelity Investments.

It looks like bed bugs are a starting to make a serious comeback. I think decline means that each individual will witness less order in their personal lives. I personally don't buy the idea that bed bugs are coming back because we quit using DDT, or because of increased travel. I am curious about why we are seeing this resurgence.

You can check the bed bug registry if you are considering travel or a move:

Head lice were a rarity in schools in the UK 40 years ago. Now they are largely resistant to the less toxic treatments and are a constant irritant. Fortunately they are so well adapted to their human hosts, they are little more than an irritant.

Slightly OT, but head lice are not resistant to vinegar, mineral oil, ethanol.....use these in turn, soaking the head with a towel or shower cap for 30 min. to let the applied substance stay wet and you will see the head lice go away. Every time.

What's missing for back-to-school? 135,000 teachers

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- More children are crowding into classrooms in Modesto, Calif. Parents are paying extra to send their kids to full-day kindergarten in Queen Creek, Ariz. And the school buses stopped rolling in one St. Louis area school district.

These are but a few of the unwelcome changes greeting children as they start the school year. Tight fiscal times are forcing school districts to lay off teachers, enlarge class sizes, cut programs and charge for services that were once free.

I guess sacred cows make good hamburgers when times are tough. I thought school buses would be among the last things cut. And a public school where wealthy parents can pay to get their kids more schooling...wow.

Buses make perfect sense, but only if you charge the kids to ride it. Otherwise, the district pays the bill and the parents get the benefit. Shifting the transportation cost helps the school budget, but hurts the greater society.

Really, parents should pay for bus rides, before school care, and after school care, as they are options which benefit only those who participate.

Private schools have the same issue. My kids don't have a bus to ride, but I wish they did. It seems impossible to organize enough parents to have a common pick-up/drop-off routine to even have a regional hub for more efficient transportation, and home pick-up/drop-off is beyond what the school will consider given geographic range. Carpooling on occasion is about the best we've accomplished.

Around here, private school students use the public school buses. The theory being that everyone pays school taxes, even the parents who don't use the public schools.

Taxpayer-provided school buses make sense when you look at the history of public schools. They weren't really something parents demanded. They were something everyone else wanted, particularly small business owners. The kids who were free labor on the farm were a pain in the cities. They hung out on the streets, committing small crimes and intimidating customers. The idea of public schools was as much to get them off the street as anything. Many parents resisted, because of the expense. Hence the truancy laws.

It looks like sacred cows also make good end-of-the-world media hype when times are tough. There's no issue too trivial to make the subject of Queen For A Day histrionics. Most people, seeing "Bayless School District", would think multiple schools over a wide area, with kids walking miles and miles if the buses stopped (would have been true anyplace I've lived.) But it looks to be a tiny catchment area of a minor elementary school. So tiny that the bus service fails the "so what" test. I always thought the level of municipal balkanization in New Jersey was beyond belief, but here it's well and truly over-matched.

And then there's the whining about class sizes of twenty five - would that I had such luxury growing up - although, having also experienced class sizes in the thirty-four range I would accept complaints about that. Maybe one of our problems is that the whining is every bit as shrill when it's about minor inconveniences or outright non-problems as it is when there's a real issue that ought to be dealt with - which means that the bureaucracy spends its time on grandiose investigations of nothing, instead of spending its time solving real problems.

Be patient Paul.

The Education Bubble has just barely started to pop.

There will be lots more "end-of-the-world media hype, histrionics and minor inconveniences" in the days, weeks and years ahead.

Note added: actually, I missed that this nano-"district" apparently also has some sort of high school. Astounding. Absurd. But the main point stands.

Take a look at the large amount of money and time that is spent on "sports" in high schools and colleges in the USA! In most of the rest of the world, I am told, "sports" are a private after school activity, not something that takes large amounts of school money and time.
There is talk in the local paper today about the possibility that the college at St Cloud MN will have to drop its FOOTBALL program due to Minnesota's large fiscal shortfall. And what the local paper sports writer is most worried about is that this could then be seen by local school leaders as a place where the local college or high schools could save money by terminating their "sports" programs too. If any other academic program in schools wound up having as few of its participants gainfully employed in that area after graduation as "sports" programs do, that academic program would be canceled forthwith.
And considering that almost 1/4 (or more) of the local paper is all "sports" news(?) you can see what the writer is worried about.

Varsity sports are essential to producing physically fit recruits for the military.

In other countries there are youth groups, parks departments, political parties and other entities that run youth sports leagues and do just as good a job of that.

In America, there is high school football, which to me seems mostly a source of kids with kneecaps too busted up for the army.

Baloney. (Or I missed the sarcasm, since the point is so very often made seriously.) Varsity sports involve a very few participants, but lots and lots of spectators sitting around on their @$$es for hours stuffing themselves with junk food. And even the participants spend ridiculous amounts of time strapped down and unmoving in cars, driving endless distances to games. The whole mad affair can hardly be anything more than a serious hindrance to physical fitness on the whole, even before we consider Apuleius's twisted knees. Its real purpose is primarily to entertain parents (in high schools) or entertain alumni (in colleges.)

Chomsky adds this reason: "The purpose of organized school sports is to teach irrational obedience to authority."

If kids don't have jobs then they need sports, or something attractive to keep them from being idle.

I know plenty of parents who view competitive sports as a leg-up on a sports scholarship. Me, I view them as a way to help insure my sons don't get arrested and daughters don't end up pregnant.

All in all, they associate with good kids and competitive but decent parents -- it's just another societal filter in many ways.

As for the programs, I'd say they are marketing as much as anything. Every high-school kid wants to go to a D1 college if they can, and the football team is usually the reason why. Such teams won't go away until the college loan slush funds dry up, which is already happening. Still, OU or Nebraska without a football team is hard to imagine.

If kids don't have jobs then they need sports, or something attractive to keep them from being idle.

They have World of Warcraft, FaceBook and texting to make sure they are not 'idle'.

My hometown in Mass spent the last few decades consolidating the schools and demolishing the small ones for urban infill development. Which means most of the kids are bussed long distance to a Kunstlerian monstrosity by the side of the highway. I just got a house near one of the remaining schools, and I have high confidence that this is the end of that trend.

In my native Israel, there was no school busing. Kids rode the same municipal buses as everyone else. I think that's a far more civilizing thing to do with the kids anyway.

" consolidating the schools and demolishing the small ones for urban infill development"

The same mental illness struck my community the past decade. Two schools in the center of town torn down and replaced with two bigger schools (to accomodate plans for increased bussing of rural students) replaced them on the outside of town.

The Dark Comedy of Errors goes on...

Things like the Disability Act, which effectively seems to require every public school to provide almost any conceivable "accommodation", no matter how fantastically expensive or exotic, work powerfully against smaller schools and in favor of the "mental illness". So do things like the desire of high-school parents to enroll their kids in every conceivable exotic subject, whether needed or not, to get a "leg up" for college. So do things like the desire of high-school parents to put their kids into "well-known" sports programs, where "well-known" will be at least in part a synonym for "large-school".

My kids just start college early, during high-school. A regimented structure denies opportunity, while some flexibility encourages acceleration. It's not too hard to have a year of college done during school hours, while still maintaining all the social aspects.

To me, 3A is about the right sized high-school. Most kids can play a sport or play a key role in any activity they wish as the school is small enough to not have too much competition, while having a decent breadth of programs.

For elementary, I'd say the smaller, the better. It's good to know every teacher at the school, and for them to know all your kids.

The articles above, about ‘Fuel Supplies Hitting Two Decade High’ and 'Crude Oil Declines', would make one think that US oil and product storage tanks are bursting at their seams. Granted that US inventories are 21 million barrels higher than one year ago - that’s about one whole day more supply than before. Wow! But not mentioned is that various oil, tank, and pipeline companies are intentionally building up storage facilities and extending pipelines, and are intentionally building up supplies. More supplies are needed partly just to fill up the pipelines, better facilitate oil futures trading, and partly to be better prepared for various emergency situations – such as hurricanes, pipeline breaks, and import problems.

Also not mentioned is that floating storage around the world has disappeared (except near Iran) and these land based reserves are needed in case imports start falling for any reason.

Implicit in the bearish price expectations of market traders is that oil imports will hold up at a level equal to last year’s imports. So far it nearly has, but only catching up with last year's level after all that floating storage out there came ashore. Let’s see if imports can hold up as OPEC reduces exports this fall.

Oil exports from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, excluding Angola and Ecuador, are forecast to drop by 240,000 barrels a day in the four weeks to Sept. 4, tanker tracker Oil Movements said Thursday.


Crude oil Days of Supply gives a more accurate picture:


That is a very good point concerning the volume of products that exists in transition stages. The entire oil shock model is based on the premise of monitoring the probability flow of oil as it transitions from the discovery stage to the fallow, construction, and maturation stages before it is extracted. The next stages of transportation, refinement, storage, etc are essentially inconsequential when you consider that the important rate limiting step always relates to how fast we can get it out of the ground from the reserves.

The start of the serious hurricane season is August 20th (till September 30). This is forecast to be a record bad (or near record bad) hurricane season.

NOT filling up inventories would be foolish.


Right. Jeff Masters says Aug 18th, handy chart included - I won't post it here, it's a big 'un. 95L forming up SW of Cape Verdes, should be a TD by Sun/Mon.

Japan stimulus plan to focus on green tech: report

Japan is planning subsidies to boost corporate investment in factories making environment-friendly products, in a fresh economic stimulus package expected next month, a report said Friday.

Under a programme targeting low-carbon industries, the government will give subsidies for investment in production plants for automotive lithium ion batteries, LED lighting and other environmentally friendly products, the report said

The last instalment of the VPR series on big hydro is available on their website.

Big Hydro: What's Next For Hydro-Quebec

Hydro-Quebec continues to build new dams in the north so it can feed the U.S. market for renewable energy.

But it may be a risky strategy. A leading Quebec energy economist says Hydro-Quebec may not be able to charge the higher prices it needs to cover the escalating costs of its new construction.


Bernard's scenario is good for Vermont because the deal the Vermont utilities signed with Hydro-Quebec pegs the price to the wholesale market. The contract will start at about 6 cents a kilowatt hour and will be adjusted annually. But Bernard says it's costing Hydro-Quebec about 10 cents a kilowatt hour to develop new power projects, such as the $6.5 billion dollar development on the Romaine River near the Gulf of St. Lawrence. He says the era of large, cheap mega hydro projects is over.

See: http://www.vpr.net/news_detail/88671/


That's the problem when the price is established by the blended rate and not the marginal rate of new power. If anyone is expecting new power systems construction based on 0.06/kWh, get ready for the last of electrified civilization.

0.10/kWh is probably the lowest rate achievable today with a 5-7 year COD (Commercial Delivery). Some are a little lower but they are taking advantage of existing infrastructure. Our current project under development may be 0.10/kWh. BC Hydro's Site C, built on an existing river system with existing transmission is slated at 0.16/kWh. (Note, that should be an anti-benchmark).

I am sure 0.10/kWh and 0.16/kWh are wholesale electric costs. The retail cost would be quite a bit higher--perhaps 5 cents per kWh higher than wholesale. Many of us in the US are used to paying retail rates now down in the 0.10/kWh range now. (The EIA electricity page has a map showing that the average US retail electric rate was 9.74 cents/kWh in 2008.)

There are a lot of folks with electric heating, and of course electric air conditioning. If they are paying $400 month now, they are going to be paying more than double that if the wholesale rate is 16 cents per kWh, and at least 50% more if the wholesale price is 10 cents kWh. In order for this to happen, people will be cutting back a lot on other things--and setting their thermostats differently.

It is fairly easy for the average American household to cut their energy (including electricity) bill in half without undo suffering.

Just got by bill for 32 days, Electric + gas, $121. 1,450 sq ft SFR in New Orleans. About 60% of prior owners bills. Next year should be below $100. When all is finished, perhaps $75 for mid-July to mid-August at current rates.



Blended rates don't send the right price signals as you know, but I'm not sure how you get around that. I guess inverted block rates help, but I wonder if they're sufficient in themselves.

As mentioned, I fully expect our electricity rates (already the second highest in Canada) to double within the next ten years as we transition away from coal and HFO. It's going to be painful so I hope folks start preparing now for the inevitable.


South America Enters the LNG World

Greetings respected TOD readers.

I have been asked to speak at the ASPO 2010 World Oil Conference in DC this October on the "Net Exports" panel. Not surprisingly, westexas will lead off the discussion with a presentation on oil. I will be talking about natural gas and someone else (?) will be discussing coal.

I claim no insider knowledge of the natural gas industry and am studying up to make sure I fully understand global natural gas issues. To collect my thoughts I have set up an EnergyTrends blog where I will post pieces like the one above. To create some of the new plots for this blog I have also set up new GasTrends databrowser focused solely on natural gas and including data from both the 2010 BP Statistical review and the 2010 EIA International dataset. (You are welcome to play with this databrowser but it is subject to change and not yet ready for the general public.)

Any comments, suggestions or corrections to the above piece on South America as well as any additional sources of information on this topic would be greatly appreciated.



the 1800 tcf gorilla, of course, is the south pars/north dome field of iran/qatar. many projects are in the pipeline and further developments are suspended by the moritorium on new gas export projects. qatar wants to "study" it. the status of the moritorium is apparently in question and some sources claim the moritorium may be extended to 2012.

if you haven't already researched south pars/north dome, here is a good place to start:


this one titled "Khuff Gas Condensate Development" will have some additional background on the subject.


russia alledgedly has supergiant gas/condensate fields capable of production in suspense due to lack of infastructure.

so your task is not an easy one.

incidentially, i have noticed that some of the lng/gtl/condensate projects in progress for south pars/north dome didn't make it onto the wiki megaprojects list.

Yes, South Pars/North Dome is perhaps the biggest question mark.

From my initial investigations I expect that I will treat the entire Gulf Cooperation Council together and tell a story there of rapidly increasing domestic demand and the desire to displace oil as a fuel for thermal power plants in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

I haven't done enough research on Iran's situation yet but I believe Iran deserves to be treated separately given it's special international status.

The EIA shows that Iran was still a (small) net NG importer in 2008:


westex, do you know how the eia treats gas injection ? do they subtract injected gas from production, or treat injected gas as consumption ? or does it show up in both production and consumption ?

this one accounts for about 3.6 bcfd somewhere.


EIA Analysis of Iran:

Natural Gas
In 2008, Iran was the world’s fourth largest producer and third largest consumer of natural gas

According to Oil and Gas Journal, as of January 2010 Iran’s estimated proven natural gas reserves stand at 1,045 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), second only to Russia. Over two-thirds of Iranian natural gas reserves are located in non-associated fields, and have not been developed. Major natural gas fields include: South and North Pars, Kish, and Kangan-Nar. In 2008, Iran produced an estimated 4.1 Tcf of natural gas and consumed an estimated 4.2 Tcf; the difference made up by imports from Turkmenistan (see below). Natural gas consumption is expected to grow around 7 percent annually for the next decade.

Both production and consumption have grown rapidly over the past 20 years, and natural gas is often used for re-injection into mature oilfields in Iran. According to FACTS Global Energy, Iran’s natural gas exports will be minimal due to rising domestic demand even with future expansion and production from the massive South Pars project. In 2008, roughly 70 percent of Iranian natural gas was marketed production, approximately 16 percent was for enhanced oil recovery gas re-injection, and shrinkage, loss, and flaring accounted for about 14 percent. As with the oil industry, natural gas prices in Iran are heavily subsidized by the government.

The EIA glossary page has two subtly different definitions:

Dry Natural Gas Production: The process of producing consumer-grade natural gas. Natural gas withdrawn from reservoirs is reduced by volumes used at the production (lease) site and by processing losses. Volumes used at the production site include (1) the volume returned to reservoirs in cycling, repressuring of oil reservoirs, and conservation operations; and (2) gas vented and flared. Processing losses include (1) nonhydrocarbon gases (e.g., water vapor, carbon dioxide, helium, hydrogen sulfide, and nitrogen) removed from the gas stream; and (2) gas converted to liquid form, such as lease condensate and plant liquids. Volumes of dry gas withdrawn from gas storage reservoirs are not considered part of production. Dry natural gas production equals marketed production less extraction loss.

Natural Gas Dry Production: Gross withdrawals of natural gas from reservoirs less gas used for reinjection into reservoirs for repressuring, gas that is flared or vented, gas lost in transmission, and shrinkage. Derived by subtracting shrinkage or extraction loss from marketed production. It represents the amount of natural gas that can be marketed and consumed as a gas.

The variable in the International data is "Dry Natural Gas Production" so I would assume the first definition holds.

There is no definition of "Dry Natural Gas Consumption" nor of international "Imports" or "Exports" so those three are not totally clear.

To complicate things further, the identity "Production + Imports = Consumption + Exports + Stock Draws" holds for most but not all countries in their dataset (e.g.US, Mexico) if you assume stock draws are zero. Given that they do not report stock draws, their accounting is impossible to check.

Nobody said data management was easy!

thanks wt and jsc. that clears it up and makes sense too.

consumption is dry gas consumption, as far as i know. i can't really think of a situation where wet gas or raw gas is consumed in any major quantity.

marketed production can include ngl's, if it is sold to a second party for processing.

looking at the eia us monthly production report, the column gross withdrawls is (wet)gas production. the column marketed production would relate to gas sold after the removal of "lease" condensate and possibly, but not necessarily, ngl's. dry gas production is what is left - methane gas.

Things have moved a little in my fiber optic pipeline monitoring project.
1. Due in no small part to NAOM, and mcain6925, this idea 'has merit' in the words of the EPA.
2. The person that received my submission is now working on it and contacting various departments in the government to 'work the idea'.
3. There are security issues that this system can address, and there is a huge demand for technology to address this. The handler let me know. Wow.
4. They will contact me back. Apparently, there is a process where ideas with merit can be looked at 'objectively'.
5. This idea addresses all pipelines, both vertical and horizontal. If it can work for pipelines, there is no reason it could not work on well casing pipes.
6. It is crazy enough to be considered a moment of inspiration. I am in good company. The Ampex engineer that invented helical scan. Elias Howe dreaming of the solution for the sewing machine. Roy Plunkett is also a favorite.
Good luck all and NAOM and macain, I will remember you and the others here and keep you posted. I imagine the government has a filing cabinet full of 'crazy' ideas with merit.

Mortgage fraud thrives in good and bad times

If some of the mechanisms are new, a lot of the fraudsters are not: in many cases, they turn out to be mortgage brokers, appraisers, real estate agents or loan officers. "Because they're insiders, they see exactly what's happening and they're able to stay one step ahead of the game," said Todd Lackner, a fraud investigator in San Diego. "They're the same people who were committing fraud during the boom and they were never caught or prosecuted."

They're screwing over the banks, but since more than 90% of mortgages these days are backed by the government, it's the taxpayers who are really on the hook.

In some neighborhoods, there hasn't been a legitimate home sale in years, just these con jobs.

"They're the same people who were committing fraud during the boom and they were never caught or prosecuted."

That's what kills me. Instead of investigations and a good house cleaning for the industry from top to bottom - like after the Savings and Loan crisis - we bail out the criminals and let them continue the fraud.

Change you can believe in...

"They're the same people who were committing fraud during the boom and they were never caught or prosecuted."

Exactly! There seems to be an attitude in this country that white collar crimes are justifiable in the pursuit of money, whereas crimes with much less money involved, but sometimes include the threat of violence, are crimes that should carry very long prison terms. I personally do not get the distinction. Isn't stealing money, stealing money?

They don't even pursue these people. And so what happens is they continue to conjure up new schemes to rip people off. If you let the dog get up on the couch, it will. People are no different than dogs with regard to getting away with what they can. There no longer is any moral compass, but worse of all there is no effort to bring these outlaws to justice.

There has been a slight uptick in the incidence of burglaries in our neighborhoods. The local Community Policing organization is running a series of seminars around home safety, and the like.

Last evening, they hosted a seminar, with ex-burglars, still incarcerated, but trying to "give back" to communities as part of their rehabilitation, by talking about their backgrounds, and how they went about burglarizing homes, their preferences, and how they got caught.

It was one of the more fascinating seminars I've attended in recent years. Suffice it to say, they have hundreds of creative ideas for breaking into homes, and all had been arrested multiple times. Although, all said this was the last time. Of course.

One had worked for a national burglar alarm company, and was engaging in burglary while in their employ. Another had got his hands on an electric company uniform from a former employee, and used it to go door to door, looking for people not at home. A third was a professional locksmith.

Habitual fraudsters are habitual fraudsters, no matter the circumstances. Whatever rules one puts in place, they will find a way around them, until finally caught and arrested.

The overall message from the seminar was that communities where people know their neighbors, look out for each other, are aware of unusual activity occurring on the street and observant of their surroundings are much tougher neighborhoods for burglary.

Addendum : In connecting this to mortgage fraud, there would be less of it if people were able to borrow from local banks, where the bankers know the borrower and the neighborhood, rather than underwriting taking place hundreds of miles away, from behind a computer terminal.

It's really amazing how much mortgage fraud is happening. Here's a blog which lists recent stories about the various scams. I bought a lot out of foreclosure in a S/D of vacation homes and looked around at the other lot sales. I was stunned to find so many lots foreclosed in the S/D and some of the sales looked very odd, like the one next to mine that gave a California address that could well have been a file cabinet. Quite a few of the lots appear to be impossible to build on, but you never know what people might do...

E. Swanson

From the Archives

Motor Car Saturation Point Held To Be Still Far In Future - Palm Beach Post - Sep 16, 1929

"Mr. Chrysler, do you regard the American business of making automobiles as approaching its maximum?"

"By no means. There is no such thing as saturation point for a standard product in any nation which is growing.

"Some one has said that saturation would come 'when everybody in the world owned a motor car and none over wore out.' Even that would not tell the story because as a nation increases in population and wealth it needs more automobiles, furniture, houses, and other means of civilization.

"Not only are millions of cars being sold to replace those going out of use, but the owner of two or more cars is now a considerable and increasing market. Together with first time owners, this class amounted to 825,000 in 1927 and increased to 1,326,000 in 1928. This increase by more than half a million in a single year represents an advance in American standards. Many of our newer communities have been constructed on the presumption that every adult will have his own car. In some of our best suburbs it is essential that each house have a multiple-car garage. The two-car families are increasing.

Good example of oil companies' ability to make money in post-peak regions, by incrementally increasing recoverable reserves in a region, while not being able to make a material difference in the global supply situation. It's in regard to the "Wolfberry Play," on the Western Shelf of the Midland Basin.

Re: “That’s Oil, Folks!”

This month, Skip Hollandsworth reports on a new oil boom under way in Midland, where there were supposed to be no more booms. It seems a clever drilling technique has unlocked the Permian Basin’s hidden reserves, made some people very rich, and started a familiar stampede of landsmen to the county courthouses of West Texas. Like the Giddings boom that we wrote about in 1981, the new boom in Midland is the result of a handful of independent operators taking a chance on an unorthodox theory. Skip’s story (“That’s Oil, Folks!” page 114) reminds us of the romance and excitement—and tremendous risk—of the search for oil, but it also makes it clear how much the business has changed since Spindletop. This new play in the Permian Basin may yield 1 billion to 2 billion barrels of unexpected oil. That’s great for Midland and Odessa, but it’s not going to change the world, which now requires 86 million barrels of oil per day to function. . .

But Skip’s story is not about energy policy or the politics of offshore drilling. It’s about how a particular corner of the oil business really works. And that’s why you should read it. Especially now, when the phrase “oil business” tends to conjure images of exploding rigs and shamefaced executives. The men Skip writes about have more in common with Anthony F. Lucas and the Hamill brothers than they do with deposed BP CEO Tony Hayward. They aren’t villains or saints. Just real people making tough decisions on the hunt for something precious, finite, and mysterious.

The full article is by subscription only:


Huh. The Best Little Oil Well - TIME, Monday, Feb. 16, 1981

The well is one of the more than 1,000 new discoveries in the so-called Austin chalk, a complex geological stratum that lies between Houston and Austin. Oilmen have long suspected that the area held many "sweet pots" of oil and natural gas, but they always lacked the incentive and technology to find them. Now better seismic analysis and the skyrocketing price of crude have made it profitable to search out smaller deposits. Hamlets in the area like Old Dime Box and La Grange have turned into boomtowns. In Giddings, the epicenter of the oilfield, houses that rented for $75 a month now go for $300, and one local entrepreneur is converting old oil-storage tanks into motel rooms renting for $20 a night. That is exactly what the girls at the old Chicken Ranch used to charge.

"Y'all implement enhanced oil recovery techniques, y'hear!"

Whatever happened in the early 90's seemed to be just as effective, or more so:

The last 5 years in Texas are quite literally a plateau, around 1.1 mb/d - Jean's projection was off a titch, ca. 200 kb/d. Wonder why they aren't doing the like in CA, if Drill Baby Drill is all it takes. All of this EOR via fracks "helps," our absolute peak of imports peaked 5 years ago after all. I think we pushed the goalposts about 6 inches thataway, and created jobs/wealth, all that fun stuff.

David Shields predicted that this was coming:

Exclusive: Mexico mulls first crude imports in decades

Pemex's media relations office said no decision to import crude oil had been taken. Mexico has not imported crude oil since the discovery of huge offshore oil fields in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico in the 1970s.

Pemex is looking to increase domestic refining to meet rising demand for gasoline and diesel and reduce its growing reliance on fuel imports, which exceed 500,000 barrels a day. Experts have warned that slumping oil production could turn Mexico into a net oil importer before 2020, but the sources insisted the current import proposal is aimed solely at improving refinery profitability.

Scary stuff. David Shields has a fine prediction record. You may remember I posted some important news about Cantarell from him way back in 2005, where his worst case scenario about Cantarell was quite dire - and largely correct.

It's puzzling to me why the EIA, IEA, and many oil analysts quoted in the media cling to the idea that additional new supplies will appear in 2011 and beyond, while evidence accumulates that Mexico, Venezuela, Iran, etc., are in the middle of steep output falls.

The Doug Hendrie article on The Australian Broadcasting Commission's website is a good,concise account of Australia's dangerous dependence on mining resource income.However at the end of the article he gives a plug for the proposed National Broadband Network,all 40 billion dollars of it.
We certainly need infrastructure but this is certainly not a high priority.

The Mathaba article on Greens in WA inveighing about nuclear power and uranium mining is about what I expect in this time of madness.

In contrast,the article by David Dodwell in the Khaleej Times,"There isnt any sensible alternative to nuclear power" is a refreshing bit of sanity.But of course it doesn't emanate from Australia.

We are off to the polling booths here today.I will vote for the Greens as usual.They are the best of a bad lot in a sorry situation.

thirra to quote Dr Spock that is not logical. The Greens Party will outlaw nuclear power maybe even medical isotope production.

Of course if that broadband network budget was cut in half it would buy a couple of AP 1000 reactors. I have satellite internet not cable and it works fine 99% of the time.

Broadband, when used for shopping, education, and work, generates negawatts. The equipment and network should be more energy efficient than it is, but it still saves power overall.

Communications are a good thing, IMHO.

Passive Optical Network technology can also be used to increase the energy efficiency of broadband. The change of networks to digital has generally increased the use of energy. In the old days, a telephone line was continually provided with -48 volts and ground on the two conductors, but only leakage current was drawn until the subscriber lifted the handset. Then >20 milliamps was drawn to power the telephone.

PON can be applied to both carrier distribution networks and business LANs. See MOTOROLA PASSIVE OPTICAL LAN SOLUTION BRIEF

POL is an eco-friendly solution that provides savings on power, space and cooling
A POL solution is inherently greener than a copper-based Ethernet LAN. By replacing the power hungry distribution and workgroup switches from each floor with passive optical splitters, POL eliminates the current energy needs and corresponding carbon footprint associated with the many thousands of kilowatt hours of power and cooling systems usage on each floor of every building on campus in operation 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.

What if the fiber cables also happen to carry petroleum? Talk about coaxial flow. The feds are working on my fiber around pipeline idea right now. What if pipelines were 100 times safer AND carried data for others?

Follow the Money

Dirty Energy Money is an interactive tool that tracks the flow of oil, gas, and coal money in U.S. Congress. Find out which energy companies are pumping their dirty money into politics and which politicians are receiving it.
Latest News
Follow the Money
Published by Steve Kretzmann on August 10th, 2010

As Congress begins August recess, those of us who care about America’s addiction to oil, climate change, and a clean energy future have been scratching our heads, wondering why, after historic levels of pressure we can’t even pass an oil spill response bill, not to mention a real clean energy or climate bill.


And now they can pump in unlimited amounts of money...