Drumbeat: October 2, 2010

Russian Oil Production Reaches Post-Soviet High on Rosneft Field

Russia, the world’s largest energy supplier, pumped a post-Soviet record amount of crude last month as state-run producer OAO Rosneft increased output at a new field in Siberia.

Output advanced 1 percent from the same month last year to 10.16 million barrels a day, according to Bloomberg calculations based on Energy Ministry data released today. That beat the previous record of 10.15 million barrels a day in June.

Rosneft led the advance as it boosted output at its Vankor field 78 percent to 264,000 barrels a day.

OIL FUTURES: Crude Extends Rally As Dollar Weakens

Crude oil futures rose to a seven-week high Friday, extending this week's rally on the back of continued dollar weakness and positive economic data.

Light, sweet crude for November delivery settled $1.61, or 2%, higher at $81.58 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange settled $1.44 higher at $83.75 a barrel, the highest settlement since May.

IMF says China policy to help yuan revalue

Policy moves by the Chinese government to free the yuan from a dollar peg will help the Chinese currency rise, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund, said on Saturday.

"I am confident that the new policy of the Chinese authorities will lead to the revaluation of the yuan," Strauss-Kahn said during a conference in the Black Sea resort town.

Iraq's Shi'ite union backs incumbent Maliki as PM

Iraq's Shi'ite alliance backed incumbent Nuri al-Maliki as the next prime minister Friday after months of argument, but he still faces severe obstacles in his bid for a second term.

Crude Oil Rises on Economic Data, Caps Best Week Since February

Oil rose, capping its biggest weekly gain since February, after economic data from the U.S. and China bolstered optimism that demand is growing in the world’s two largest energy-consuming countries.

Crude advanced to the highest level in eight weeks as China’s purchasing managers’ index gained in September at the fastest pace in four months, according to a report today. U.S. consumer spending increased more than forecast in August as incomes climbed, a Commerce Department report showed.

JP Morgan Says More Cushing Drawdown on Midwest Refinery Refill

Midwest refiners replenishing inventories after the Sept. 27 restart of Enbridge Energy Partners LP’s Line 6B may extend an eight-week decline in Cushing, Oklahoma, stockpiles, according to JPMorgan analysts.

The pipeline was shut after it ruptured July 26, curtailing heavy crude shipments to refineries in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Ontario. As repairs continue, the link is transporting about 245,000 barrels a day, compared with its capacity of 283,000 barrels, Terri Larson, an Enbridge spokeswoman, said in an e- mail yesterday.

Oil Majors to Dominate U.S. Shale Gas M&A, Wood Mackenzie Says

Oil majors will continue to buy shale gas resources in the U.S. and dominate that market over the next couple of years after spending $21 billion on the fuel in the first half of this year, Wood Mackenzie said.

“Shale gas offers a good fit for the large caps and majors, playing to their technical capability, financial strength and long-term view, all of which are pre-requisites for those looking to build a material position,” Luke Parker, manager of merger and acquisition research at Wood Mackenzie Consultants Ltd., wrote in a note today. “Hence this peer group will continue to dominate the large scale deal activity.”

Companies including Exxon Mobil Corp., BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc are snapping up reserves of unconventional gas, an industry term for fuel trapped in shale formations, coal beds and impermeable sandstone rock. The companies are betting prices for the cleaner-burning fuel will rise as governments curb carbon dioxide emissions and as more accessible sources dwindle.

September's Auto Sales Jumped

Major auto makers reported U.S. auto sales rose 28.5% in September, lifting hopes for an uptick in buying in the final three months of the year.

Auto makers sold 958,966 cars and light trucks last month compared to 746,104 a year ago, according to researcher Autodata Corp. Year-ago sales were damped by the end of the U.S. government's "cash for clunkers" incentive program.

Reliance Industries East India Field Crude Output Down 23%-28%-Govt Official

Crude oil output at the Dhirubhai-26 oil & gas field of Reliance Industries Ltd. (500325.BY) has fallen by 23-28% due to fluctuating production levels and low reserves, a senior official at the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons said Saturday.

"The oil production has gone down from a peak of 30,000-32,000 barrels per day to about 23,000 barrels per day in the last two to three months," the official said.

Judge Is Removed From Chevron's Ecuador Pollution Lawsuit

The judge overseeing a multibillion-dollar pollution lawsuit against Chevron Corp. (CVX) in Ecuador has been removed from the case following a request by the company, according to court documents.

In an order issued Thursday, the president of Ecuador's Lago Agrio court, Nicolas Zambrano, asked Judge Leonardo Ordonez to stop overseeing the case.

UPDATE: Consol To Close Pennsylvania Mine, Idle One In Utah

Consol Energy Inc. (CNX) said Friday it will close a Pennsylvania mine and idle a mine in Utah because of their operating costs, resulting in a combined 231 layoffs and furloughs.

The moves, to be made in December, come as prices for coal used in electricity generation remain under pressure due to a slow recovery in power demand and as generators turn more to running plants fueled by cheaper natural gas.

Repsol, Sinopec in deal to tap vast Brazilian oilfields

Spanish energy giant Repsol Friday announced a 7.1-billion-dollar alliance with China's Sinopec, a major international player, to help develop Brazil's massive offshore oil reserves.

Sinopec, which as part of China's drive to secure energy supplies for its booming economy already has Brazilian interests, will take a 40-percent stake in Repsol's Brazil affiliate.

Sinopec Dreaming Big In Deal For Repsol’s Brazil Fields

Simon Flowers, head of Wood Mackenzie’s Corporate Analysis group, says that $7.1 billion was a huge premium to his $1.6 billion valuation of Repsol’s proven and probable oil reserves in Brazil.

“The scale of the premium suggests the buyer is assuming both aggressive oil price assumptions and that significant new reserves will be found on the Repsol acreage,” said Flowers in a statement this afternoon. Said another way: the Chinese have extreme faith that oil companies will figure out how to drill and develop heretofore impossibly difficult reserves. Rendering seismic data on Brazil’s subsalt fields is a challenge. Wells can cost $150 million, just to drill.

Chevron gets permission to drill off UK coast

Britain has granted Chevron Corp. permission to begin the first new deepwater drilling in the North Sea since the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, brushing aside calls for a U.S.-style moratorium on off-shore drilling.

The decision, confirmed on Friday, means that Chevron can begin drilling an exploratory well immediately in its remote Lagavulin prospect in waters north of the Shetland isles off the Scottish coast.

Blasts mar Nigeria’s 50th birthday party

At least seven people were reported dead after two explosions struck Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, on Friday, close to the parade ground where the county’s rulers and foreign dignitaries were marking 50 years of independence for Africa’s most populous nation.

Militants from the restive Niger delta oil province had issued an alert shortly before a pair of car bombs detonated five minutes apart outside the federal high court, a short walk from Eagle Square, the venue for the independence day ceremony.

EPA and NHTSA Issue Notice of Intent to Develop New Greenhouse Gas and Fuel Economy Standards for Light-Duty Vehicle Model Years 2017-2025; Proposal Expected by 30 Sep 2011

The US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Notice of Intent (NOI) to begin developing new standards for greenhouse gases and fuel economy for light-duty vehicles for the 2017-2025 model years. The two agencies expect to issue a proposal by 30 September 2011.

Analysis: Other Countries Fail to Follow U.S. Lead on Drilling Moratorium

The six-month offshore drilling moratorium imposed by the Obama administration due to the April 20 Gulf Coast oil spill remains in place, but foreign countries have failed to follow the U.S. reaction to the oil spill by shutting down offshore drilling.

The Institute for Energy Research reports that countries with offshore oil resources do not intend to follow the U.S. in imposing a moratorium on offshore drilling, nor are they slowing progress towards exploration and development of offshore oil resources in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere.

Oman crude oil production up by 7pct in first 8 months 2010

Gulf News reported that Oman's crude oil production rose by 7% in the first 8 months of this year to 208.5 million barrels compared to 195 million barrels in the corresponding period in 2009.

Here's an interesting discussion on Revkin's Dot Earth about the decline in US science literacy.

‘Gathering Storm’ Approaching Category 5

The rampant lack of science understanding in the US has long been seen as an impediment to economic progress, since that lack makes the US less competitive in world markets. For example, I recall reading that China produces more than 300,000 engineers a year, whereas in the US, we only graduate some 60,000 a year. Also, there are a number of engineers in the Chinese government. I think China and India will continue to beat the US in world markets, which will make the events after Peak Oil much more one sided.

One may view the NAS report online and download a copy for free. The Executive Summary ends with a scary list of some indicators of the failure of the US...

E. Swanson

The caveat is, both China and India are in severe overshoot (the sky was green during my brothers last trip to China), and so environmentally degraded, no amount of technology will save them from being some of the first over the cliff.

China is merely the last great industrial power, and that is probably a liability.

China's pollution and other environmental problems are well known. During the Olympics the Chinese tried to clean up the air in Beijing, imposing rather strong restrictions on their population. I suppose that the Chinese are at a place a bit like California in the 1950's, where rapid development produced serious problems with air pollution. The first step is agreeing that there is a problem and then finding ways to address that problem.

Remember that China has implemented the strongest population policy on Earth, the result has effectively reduced their population by a total near that of today's entire US population. While we in the US don't like the structure of their government, it's obvious that they can do things much more rapidly than we can. China may end up as the last great industrial power, but they also have previously been the greatest empire and they know how empire and capitalism work. Recall this definition of a colony: A nation which exports raw materials and imports finished goods. I would yet not count them out over the long haul...

E. Swanson


...the result has effectively reduced their population by a total near that of today's entire US population

I suppose you mean reduced from what it would have been if they had continued with Mao's idea starting in the 50s to increase population.

it's obvious that they can do things much more rapidly than we can

Corruption in China is incredibly pervasive. The distribution of the new wealth is so great that it will likely result in social calamity.

they know how empire and capitalism work

Nobody knows how capitalism works, and certainly not the Chinese.

I would yet not count them out over the long haul.

Perhaps not, but don't overestimate their case either.

Life expectancy at around 73 is comparatively good in China. Birth defect rates are high and increasing, but it is not clear whether that is due to environmental causes or to better record keeping and more women deferring child birth to later years.

Those would be the two metrics to watch in order to determine whether pollution is having a major detrimental effect on the population.

Populations can survive pollution at much higher levels than we currently enjoy in the US. For example, industrial Britain in the late 1800s and early 1900s was pretty well choked with coal fires which emitted lots of nasty chemicals as well as radioactive elements.

London as late as the 1960s got periods of very heavy coal / air pollution. 4000 excess deaths one week in the metropolitan area, I seem to remember. We could barely walk along the street after dark, and driving just ceased.

I saw a story on this a while ago, and I share it with you.


This subject has been discussed on TOD in the past. When you dig deeper into the numbers the definition and caliber of engineer is not comparable one to one.

If you want to get any value out of that analysis, you need to get comparable data, ideally over time.

Here are two critical articles on what sounds like a similar study from 2005-6.

I have not read the National Academies study and did see elsewhere that China's patent applications are soaring.

The conclusion probably has some validity and they may have improved the methodology (I know they did not do the earlier studies). NAS does have a stake in the issue and it should be subject to the same scrutiny as everything else.


About That Engineering Gap...
Is the U.S. really falling behind China and India in education? Not really. Take a closer look at the data


Heard the One About the 600,000 Chinese Engineers?

The 2004 China Statistical Yearbook, issued by the Chinese government, reports 644,000 engineering graduates that year. But the yearbook merely assembled the numbers sent by provincial governments. The accuracy of these provincial reports is unknown, and it is unclear whether the provinces shared common definitions -- the word "engineer" does not translate easily into many Chinese dialects.

In fact, about half of what China calls "engineers" would be called "technicians" at best in the United States, with the equivalent of a vocational certificate or an associate degree. In addition, the McKinsey study of nine occupations, including engineering, concluded that "fewer than 10 percent of Chinese job candidates, on average, would be suitable for work [in a multinational company] in the nine occupations we studied."

I am waiting on pins and needles for all those engineers in China to produce 60%-efficient solar PV cells for 20 cents per watt (exclusive of BOS), 120 MPG SUVs that last 15 years with only routine maintenance, Mr. Fusions cranking out electricity almost too cheap to meter, invisible, inaudible, wild-life-friendly 5 MW faceplate wind turbines for $100K each (exclusive of transportation and installation costs) etc.

They ought to be trying to engineer a sustainable future for their 1.3B + folks and avert an ecological catastrophe over there.

Instead, they will engineer out Play Station 5s, I-Phone 6s, headache-inducing 80-inch flat panel 3-D TVs, and likely plenty of new war toys for the PLA, PLAN, and PLAF. Maybe some indoor refrigerated ski mountains while they are at it...and don't forget about Taikonauts on the Moon by 2019...

Are you confusing the Japanese for the Chinese. I think the Chinese are doing toasters, microwaves, tableware, linen goods, and other more mundane products. The Japanese are the gadgetaholics. lol...

Of course the US isn't doing much of anything manufacturing these days.... :-(

The Chinese manufacture more gadgets than we think...and they will fully move into that market in a few years.

They may be exporting cars to us in a few years too...

Have you watched the video or read the report Summary? Are you suggesting that the NAS and the NAE don't know what it takes to educate an engineer or scientist? The other issue is that US society gives little respect to engineering or science as careers and thus relatively fewer students enter those fields. Perhaps that's because engineers and scientists have not compensated as well as lawyers, doctors and MBAs on Wall Street...

E. Swanson

It starts pretty young too - most kids want to be actors or sports stars and make a gazillion dollars. The math and science kids are just "geeks".

I am looking through the report. If you know where they discuss methodology, let me know. You already know that the answer to your second question is no, but I will confirm it.

I have no real disagreement with the rest of your comment, except maybe about engineer's social status, but I haven't thought much about it. I did say the study may have merit.

But I don't think it is unfair to point out that there may be vested interests involved and that in the past some similar reports have been shown to be flawed.

I agree that this is an important subject and do hope to be able to discuss it on an analytical, if not quite scientific, basis.

The social status of engineers and scientists in the United States is low and declining.

Even the word "technology" has been redefined to characterize consumer electronics that are moderately complicated to use. A "geek" or "techie" is someone who is an enthusiast for learning how to use more features of consumer electronics than are used by most people.

Frankly, I think Doctors and Engineers have also suffered in reputation due to the HealthCare and Industrial debacles we've been seeing.. even if the real root cause of these tribulations like overuse/misuse of Prescription Drugs and Antibiotics, Industrial Accidents and Environmental Wrecking are from Ownership and Money not taking real responsibility over its effects, it's the 'technicians' who get the evil eye, because their actual fingerprints are on the weapons.

I like to peruse the articles at MIT and watch what is coming technology wise. I find most of the really cool breakthroughs have names of scientists that are very much NOT traditional American names. We are importing much of our 'brilliance' these days.

We always have imported much of our scientific and engineering talent. In the '60s, many of my professors were from Europe. Many of our nuclear scientists, Nobel Laureates, leading inventors, etc. were either foreign born or were first generation Americans brought up in immigrant enclaves that preserved the cultural and educational values of their ethnic homelands. The only difference is that these days they are more often South or East Asian.

It's not clear whether the cultural, political, economic and educational systems of the United States are capable of sustaining a first-rate, indigenous science and technology community.

That's a tough one..

Ya got your Tesla, and Ya got your Edison. Ultimately both are 'immigrants'.. but the US is a pretty regular mixing of In-house and In-coming innovation, it seems to me.

'Nonsense! OUR Germans are better zan zeir Germans' (Kissenger? The Right Stuff)

"He had no hobby, cared for no sort of amusement of any kind and lived in utter disregard of the most elementary rules of hygiene. [...] His method was inefficient in the extreme, for an immense ground had to be covered to get anything at all unless blind chance intervened and, at first, I was almost a sorry witness of his doings, knowing that just a little theory and calculation would have saved him 90% of the labour. But he had a veritable contempt for book learning and mathematical knowledge, trusting himself entirely to his inventor's instinct and practical American sense."
—Nikola Tesla


Should I have used Bill Gates or Eli Whitney instead? Wright Brothers? Scott Joplin? Mae West?

I'm a big Tesla fan, but using him as a character witness for Edison is also a little tilted.. Edison was a twit.. but he was an AMERICAN twit.

Perhaps its the 'dumbing down of America.'

How many people you know that could have passed this 8th grade test from 1895?


Indeed. Start with the population sizes of the US and China and the US is much closer to parity in terms of "engineers per capita" produced.

The more troubling aspect of the situation, for me, is that both China and India appear to be able to put their engineering and science graduations to work in engineering and science jobs. Over the last 20 years, US industry has pushed a lot of experienced engineers out of their fields, and today's US graduates are having some problems finding jobs. I don't know how to address the problem that US private industry seems to be largely uninterested in hiring engineers domestically. I suspect, however, that R&D tax credits are not going to do the job.

I listened to Mr Augustine's CNBC interview, and one comment struck me right at the end - that two thirds of PhD graduates at US universities are foreign-born and they aren't staying - they are returning to their home countries.

Mr Augustine says we should staple a green card to their PhD certificate and get them to stay.

Education policy meets Immigration policy.

I recruit foreign graduate students (Asian and developing world) because the Canadian students simply don't have the mathematics our research demands, and seem unwilling to take the requisite math classes and apply the necessary effort. US colleagues make a similar complaint.

The US K-12 establishment seems to be focused on raising the average level of math performance, and especially on minimizing the proportion of students who fail standardized math tests. Little effort is being spent on identifying the several percent of students who will be able to do advanced mathematics and providing instruction and support to develop their talents. The same is somewhat true for science, although that is not as much a subject of standardized testing.

Most of our effort is in raising the level of mediocrity.

You are almost forced to send your child to a private school or to home school them, if you expect better standards. Not a great situation!

When I was getting my Computer Science degree, I don't know how many times I heard around campus 'If you can't make it in X, you can always switch to education'. Unfortunately, they weren't always joking... sad.

I don't agree. Move to a good area with a high rated school, and make sure they study. I went to a fairly decent public High School and I had great SATs, pretty good grades, went to college and studied engineering. I had no trouble in my career staying up with the guys from the fancy schools.

Seems to me home schooling is more about religious issues. And the money you spend on a private school you could spend on the better quality house you would buy to get in a high quality school district.

It depends where you are.
A religious education is a liability, as it reinforces superstition and delusion.
I have taught in both public and charter schools. Both can be rich and good educations.

It depends. The schools are generally better in the North than the South. Georgia usually ranks 48th in the nation on tests--sometimes 49th.

We talked to school administrators, but they were not set up to do more than try to get the lowest performing up to the average level. Outstanding students were pretty much on their own, until high school, when they did more "tracking". Then the advanced students got separate classes and smaller class sizes.

So we ended up using a combination of approaches, including private school. I home-schooled my daughter for one year (and worked part time myself) because we couldn't come up with a good option. My daughter had frequent migraines at the time, and starting a private school would have been difficult.

I have a Master degree and started to study math at higher level first at high school level for one year at the age of 26 and one year later I started at a university. I had bad grades from two years at high school but there so much other things to do.

Traveling to ASPO-DC

As noted before, Union Station is two blocks from the hotel and parking is basically impossible in the area. Union Station is served by Metro (Red Line), MARC & VRE (except weekends) and Amtrak. Ronald Reagan Airport is served by Metro and BWI by MARC & Amtrak.

So get a hotel within walking distance or close to a Metro station.

On Priceline, (and using Metro's map & station locator), I found Silver Springs Days Inn. 5 blocks from Metro (and a free "Vango" goes from station to within 1 block every 8 to 10 minutes). Current price is $56.69 + 13% tax. Reviews show some negatives, but not the worst (#8 out of 11 in area), so I plan to take the deal.

Your mileage may vary,


If you like to bed down in a friendly place, I see that there are some 13 Hostels in the DC Metro area..


If you've got a hankering for a more sociable stay, one of these might be appealing and affordable for you!


(I'll be on a Mountaintop in New Hampshire.. but have fun without me!)

Number of the Week: 41.7 Million Spend Too Much on Housing

In the conventional narrative of the recession and recovery, one bright spot has been the speed with which U.S. households are shedding their debts and getting their finances back in order.

The latest data from the Census Bureau, though, offer a less encouraging picture: Even as the average household debt burden improves, an increasing number of households are finding themselves financially stretched.

As of 2009, some 41.7 million U.S. households, or 36.7% of the total, faced housing costs that exceeded 30% of their pretax income — a level typically defined as the threshold of affordability. That’s an increase of 1.5 million from 2007, despite a sharp drop in house prices and policy makers’ extraordinary efforts to bring down mortgage payments. . .

According to the American Community Survey for 2009, released earlier this week, the ranks of the financially ill are growing, at least in terms of the share of the population that is paying too much for housing. That’s particularly unfortunate given the fact that the housing bust, for all the pain it inflicted, should at least have made it cheaper to put a roof over one’s head.

Too many unemployed/ underemployed. And subprime mortgages were helping some, but now they have lost them.

Also in the article :-

"Renters were worse off, and played a bigger role as more people lost their homes and became tenants. While the glut of houses in places such as California and Florida allowed many defaulters to rent luxurious homes for a fraction of their previous mortgage payments, the shift of people from homeowners to renters helped keep rents rising across the country. As a result, in 2009 some 47.7% of renters faced excessive housing costs, up from 45.6% in 2007."

It was predictable that, as more people started renting, rental costs would rise.

As a renter, I'd like an opportunity to borrow $500,000 for real stuff I want, and then work out a modified repayment plan that didn't involve my having to give the stuff back. Please understand that this opportunity I am asking for is not for my personal benefit. I am asking only to ensure equity to renters versus homeowners, and to support the economy. If you don't give us renters this opportunity, then the economy will never recover. (Well, this argument worked for bankers and homeowners, so it should work just as well for renters.)

September auto and light truck production data.

                    Domestic    Foreign       Total by Vehicle Type	 Percentage
Auto	            145,449     329,217  ||   474,666	                 49.5%
Trucks              288,034     196,266  ||   484,300                    50.5%
                    =======     =======       =======
Total by Brands     433,483     525,483  ||   958,966	
Percentage             45.2%       54.8%		

Auto production is up about 18% year over year, while light trucks are up about 41%. The US love affair with SUVs and pickups is not over. However, the product mix may have shifted towards more crossover SUVs.

Americans are insane.

It's not so much that SUVs/pickups get terrible mileage...it's just that they are, in many cases, in incredibly poor taste.

Most SUVs and many pickups are ugly, oversized, and not particularly fun to drive.

Not to mention that lots of people spoil them by placing nonsensical, ridiculous bumper and windshield stickers on the back of them, announcing to the world this or that club they belong to, as if anybody cared.
To say nothing of the Jesus fish.

Many of the drivers are aggressive on the road...which makes no sense, considering their handling capabilities. One understands if a Corvette or BMW speeds by...when a housewife in a Tahoe does the same...what is she thinking?

It's amazing how many drivers of such behemoths are actually oversized people themselves (America is pretty much tied with Mexico for the fattest country on planet Earth).

I remember the days when middle aged folk used to drive station wagons, maybe minivans, and young guys wanted to drive muscle cars. Sometimes you would see the odd Jeep or two roll by and you would guess they were an outdoors type. But nobody even thought of driving these things every day.

Sorry for the rant. I'm not even an elitist, just a middle class guy who is exhausted by the ugliness of American life these days. We are a fat, classless, clueless people.


Based on the marketing of these gigondo SUVs and pickem-up-trucks, and based on the Dilbert's and soccer moms I see driving them around town alone and empty, I can theorize that many people have bought the 'Like a Rock' marketing that by buying and driving these things they can fulfill their innate desires to actually at least look like they had real, fulfilling jobs working with their hands, building or fixing or growing things.

Hey, come on, some of us actually need this stuff. I'd be up a creek if I didn't have my old '90 Dodge 1 ton 4x4. Besides hauling the usual boondocks stuff like hay and firewood, we get lots of snow in my mountain area that not only takes a 4x4 with chains but even with that we get snowed in at least a week or two every winter. Heck, I just spent $1,300 (half the value of the truck) putting on new "luggy" tires - these ain't your mother's snow tires! Forget about gas mileage which is why....

My other regular driver is a '84 Subaru hatch back. Why? it not only gets pretty good gas mileage but has "real" four wheel drive with a high and low range - not this whimpy AWD stuff. It's sort of used like a car but I have no compunction hauling a couple of bales of hay or bags of fertilizer in it. I was noticing that I should clean it out since there are some 5 year old papers and crap on the floor.

Now, my wife drives a Toyota Corolla. But, that's another story.


They are not talking about you. No doubt the people in L.A. with 4wd really need it for the occasional rain storm. I have found, however, that AWD and 4WD is overrated. For deep snow, yes. For just traveling city streets and well traveled highways, no, even with snow. I travelled for years in Colorado to skiing with a Honda Prelude and had no problems with snow tires.

I have fond memories of breaking 1 meter of fresh snow in the Highlands of Iceland in a Subaru 4WD. The Chief Engineer of Landsvirkjun just aimed between the rows of 2 m tall orange sticks.

I asked what to do when the snow covered the 2 m sticks and he said "you should not be out driving then".


I drove on black ice (at night with 40 mph cross-winds and blowing snow) for 9 years in North Dakota with plain old front-wheel drive cars and minivans with all-season tires with nary an accident...same goes for my wife and two teen children.

We did see plenty of SUVs (including Jeeps) spin out and in the ditch on Rt 83 (four-lane divided hwy).

Good driving vs. folks with four-wheel-drive who mistakenly abused the prudent speed on icy highways.

My other regular driver is a '84 Subaru hatch back.

I have a friend who survives by buying these in LA, and taking them to Montana to sell===

Maybe you should consider tracked vehicles:


If half-measures won't cut it, then consider:


Actually, I used to have a CAT (bulldozer) parked next to the cars/trucks in the garage. It was a JD 540 with a two way blade. I could kick myself for ever selling it - the rationale being I only used it 20 hours a year. But, when you need a CAT, you want a CAT. Ugh! Big mistake. Had it for about 10 years.

Let's go back to the rationale for selling it. My "neighbor" was a general engineering contractor and had equipment up the whazoo. So, why keep my CAT? Because the damn guy died at 55 after divorcing his wife and moving away...but it was after I sold.

The only "good" thing about his death was that he had an adjoining "airport" for his plane and he died in his sleep rather than crashing into someone's house.


Edit to add: My garage/shop is about 1,800SF (an "unbelievable" 74' long). I could park 6 vehicles in it if I gave up the shop.

Ditto... I have a suburban to pull a utility trailer and move people. I have a CNG Civic to get back and forth to work (in a car pool). SUVs have there place.

Unlike many here I'm an automobile lover so I do have some appreciation for SUVs/pickups.

I suppose I'm somewhat of a NIMBY, if that's even the right word, when it comes to them...I much prefer smaller cars to share the road with. They are less intimidating, and you can actually see where you are going, maneuver into and out of parking spaces etc.

It may be just psychological, but it is what it is.

Todd, as you live up in the mountains in a rural area (and you grow some of your own food), you would fall into the category of someone who actually uses pick up trucks and such to live.

I am referring to the 'urban cowboys and cowgirls' who roar around metro areas without hardly ever using their cargo boxes.

Status symbols and the need to feel secure by riding high and wrapping themselves in thousands of pounds of steel.

I agree with you.

Alas, that makes us "elitists" in this shit culture we call America.

SUVs = Stupid Useless Vehicles. But we encourage them with the double standard for gas mileage. There should be one standard. If the auto companies can meet this one standard with Stupid Useless Vehicles, then fine.

But they haul Ass. So I guess that makes up for it.

And when the gas prices go up again, guess who will be the first to whine?

I find it amusing that in Texas (and lots of other places) 2WD SUVs are so popular. I spent a (mercyfully) very brief and temporary period living in Houston in the late 90's. One of my co-workers drove a 2WD Suburban. I could never figure out why she felt that she, her husband, and infant child needed such a huge vehicle. But to me, a 2 wheel drive Suburban is downright silly. It makes about as much sense as decaf coffee or near beer. I'm LOL just remembering the whole scene.

I don't really mean to put down Texas, but sometimes my far north and far west bias shows :-)

New Data Highlight Weak Recovery

A separate report Friday showed consumer spending rose 0.4% in August, the same rise as a month earlier. Personal incomes increased 0.5%, but have been flat two months in a row when government payments like Social Security are excluded.

Flat personal incomes excluding transfer payments are a problem.

If you look at US Bureau of Economic Analysis data, wages from private industries are still way down from where they were, without adjusting for inflation. The thing that is rising is Government social benefits.

The thing that is rising is Government social benefits.

Rising? Not hardly.

Social Security is flat, there was no cost of living increase this year, and probably not next year either.

Of course, that doesn't stop my rent from going up, and up...I'm at 38% of income now, and it's going to get worse.

Every state is slashing social services, bad budgets are always balanced on the backs of the poor.

Does anyone have links to support either Gail's or VT's assertions regarding social benefits in the U.S.?

The case may be that the per-person benefits may currently be stagnant in nominal and or real dollar terms, but are projected to increase in at least nominal terms in the future.

The other factor is that more people will become eligible, as the U.S. population ages, and also as the U.S. population in general continues to increase.

More people in the system, even if their real benefits stay flat, equals more social benefits in aggregate.

To me, a big problem seems to be the lack of work for people in the U.S. And then, the flat wages/salaries.

I was schooled in the macro-economic theories of relative advantage, and at an earlier point in my life was sold on the globalization concept, NAFTA, free-trade, etc.

Now I am more concerned with Americans making their stuff here and having decent-paying jobs.

The bill of goods we were sold about Americans replacing their manufacturing jobs with service jobs, export-import jobs, etc. seems to be a mirage.

A nation of shopkeepers, indeed!

I think my city has reached peak Walgreens and CVSs...and now, peak Mattress Firms.

Peak Starbucks was reached a while ago.

Same with peak Chili's, Apple-bees, TGIFs, Bennigans (oops, that national chain closed)...

Seems that the progress of automation and out-sourcing has resulted in peak supportable people in the U.S. Stated another way, the number of economically superfluous people is increasing past sustainable levels. But peak share of U.S. wealth for the top 5% appears not to have peaked...

In my county, we are past peak Burger King and Arbys. We had one of each, but both have closed in the past few years. Now that we have a Super WalMart and a Lowes, we are going to lose a couple of hardware stores and I expect that one or more of the 3 other supermarkets might close as well. The Super WalMart has downsized over the past year or so, by widening the isles and lowering the height of the shelves, thus stocking fewer items...

E. Swanson

The Super WalMart has downsized over the past year or so, by widening the isles and lowering the height of the shelves, thus stocking fewer items...

Security cameras work better with this setup.

I forgot to mention 'Peak nail salons'...

I like the idea from 'Breaking Bad' that nail salons are useful ways to launder drug money!

There doesn't seem to be 'peak churches' yet...some group has been trying to put one in across from my house for over a year now...will block my mountain view and treat me to increased traffic on my residential street and to a lighted parking lot...

Hundreds of residents in my division showed up at the zoning and county council to speak against it and ask the folks to move 1/4 mile to C1 zoning along either of two major road arteries, but the folks said that land was too expensive.

And churches don't pay property taxes, like I do...can't wait to see the effect on my house market value.

And most of the parishioners will drive from ~ 5-10 miles away to get to their building.

This is from mid-2008, but I doubt that much retail space has been added since then. There are many storefronts vacant in the local strip malls and downtowns.

Sharp Rise in Shopping Center Vacancies

Last year, developers built 143 million square feet of new shopping centers and big-box stores. Another 137 million square feet is expected to be completed this year.
This growth is on top of fifteen years of unprecedented expansion as big-box retailers sought to overpower independent businesses and competing chains by building ever more and bigger stores a problem compounded by billions of dollars in development subsidies doled out by local governments.
Between 1990 and 2005, the amount of retail space per capita in the U.S. doubled, from 19 to 38 square feet. In contrast, European countries generally have less than 10 square feet per person.

Due to HVAC, lighting, and signage, retail is pretty energy intensive.

As noted, we have 4x the sq ft/capita of Europe and 10x the sq ft/capita of the USA 1950.

Low hanging fruit as energy climbs in price.


I expect government social benefits include health care--and these costs are exploding.


Here's just one quick example for you...

The state government agency that runs the Medicaid health insurance program for low-income people announced $112.8 million in cuts that were described Wednesday as “devastating” to the state safety net.

State of Washington Medicaid cuts and general-fund savings include cutting:
• $39.4 million from outpatient pharmacy assistance for all Medicaid clients.
• $20.3 million from the recently reformulated Disability Lifeline (formerly General Assistance Unemployed), affecting 21,000 people.
* $10.1 million from the low income children's health insurance subsidy for 27,000 people.
• $8.3 million from adult dental services for 105,000 people.
• $4.6 million from adult hospice services for 2,600 people.
• $800,000 from adult hearing and vision services for 69,400 people.
• $3.3 million from interpreter services, affecting 70,000 people.
$3.2 million from a program that paid Medicare Part D premiums for residents eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, affecting 49,000 people.
• $2.9 million from physical, occupational and speech therapy for 20,000 people.
• $1.2 million in family planning for 43,000 people.

from the Tacoma News Tribune, by Brad Shannon.

The one I put in bold? That's me. The premium money gets taken from my check before I get it. That means my rent, overnight, goes from 38% of my income to 40.3%. (For our math nitpickers: my definition of income. If it doesn't go into your bank account, it isn't income.)

The state's revenues have collapsed. They are cutting everything, except for pensions, debt service and basic education. How long before they have to renege on those three too?

(Edit: here we go; California is reneging on their pension obligations: "complete negotiations within days to win pension concessions from Service Employees International Union Local 1000" MSN)

As the gravy train runs out (both in terms of jobs and benefits), that means less immigration, which means slower population growth.

I have long maintained that immigration will only slow once we effectively become a second/third world nation, and immigrants would no longer have any incentive to come here. Which is precisely what's happening.

I understand your personal situation, but I am merely pointing out that there are many sides to every story.

Somehow, we are not smart enough to have low population growth and a functioning society with a well funded government.


I am sorry to hear this.

Keep on keeping on.

There is now talk about more than doubling TriCare family annual premiums for retired military, like me.

It would go from $460 to $1,000 per year.

Granted, this is still very low compared to the open market...but...the recruiter told us that we (and our wives) would have free lifetime health care in exchange for at least 20 years of honorable service.

I no longer think that military pensions are inviolate either.

I guess it's our turn to learn what the First Nations learned long ago.

"Their" word is no good.

I don't know about your personal situation and am sorry to see you lose support that you had expected to receive.

However, your "First Nations" comparison way off base.

US states are facing very tough funding decisions and are going to have to make trade offs. US labor unions, particularly state and federal employee unions, negotiated deals years ago that the government is going to have to unwind.

I really don't think people should be posting their personal problems in public, but if they should expect others may have different opinions.

US labor unions, particularly state and federal employee unions, negotiated deals years ago that the government is going to have to unwind.

I think this is the elephant in the room that everyone is trying to ignore.

It seems to me, that some pay cuts are in order for these people, and health care workers too. Just about everyone else has taken a pay cut/lost benefits or lost their jobs, so I don;t think it would hurt for gov and health care to share some pain - a 5% across the board pay cut will not put them in the poorhouse.

It is analogous to oil = tax "production" is decreasing while tax "consumption" is steady/increasing. The Fed gov can go into deficit but State and municipal cannot (in theory).

Someone had posted here before (he is a teacher IIRC) that he suggested to his superiors that he would rather take a 10% pay cut than a 10% chance of losing his job, and was told to never say such things again.

But this issue has to be addressed, sooner or later. The age of entitlement is over - your job is only worth what people are willing/able to afford, regardless of what your union negotiated in the good times.

It isn't that the social benefits are necessarily higher per person. It is more that there are more collecting them -Social Security as well as other benefits.

Striking French Workers Jam Marseille Port

Striking dock workers in France have paralyzed the country's main southern port of Marseille.

Officials in Marseille said access to the port, including the key Fos-Lavera oil terminal, was blocked Friday, and the disruptive action was spreading to other ports...

Unions across the country have vowed to tie up transit, air travel and schools nationwide on Saturday and again on Tuesday, October 12...

Remember, Remember the 5th of September, 2000

“Remember, remember, the fifth of September,
Petrol sedition and plot.
I know of no reason why the Petrol malfeasance
Should ever be forgot.” (1)

It started with a few angry French fishermen ...

The impact of 'nature-deficit disorder' on the health of children

Children can more easily identify obscure cartoon characters than the native plants and animals that live outside their front door. And this lack of connection to the natural world can have a profound impact on their health and well-being. Richard Louv, the author who coined the phrase, "nature-deficit disorder," will address this issue in a plenary address at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference & Exhibition Saturday, Oct. 2.

In his talk, Louv will speak about the transformation in the relationship between children and nature, and how society is teaching young people to avoid direct experience in nature. That unintended message is delivered by schools, families, even organizations devoted to the outdoors, and codified into the legal and regulatory structures of many local communities.

Children are not allowed to be out of an adult's sight until age 12, this is the de facto law in every state. Adults are swamped with work, both at the job and at home. When they finally get a rare moment of being caught up, a hike in the woods is the last thing on their minds.

When I was a kid, it was perfectly safe for me to ramble through the woods, alone, and ride my bike hither and yon, alone. That is not the case today.

As long as it is not safe for kids to explore without their stressed out exhausted parents, "direct experience in nature" is simply not on the menu.

Even adults are losing direct experience. The author of "Program or Be Programmed" talks about data bubbles and reality tunnels and how the internet enables them in the digital age:


Internet addicts like myself who follow Peak Oil are clearly in a reality tunnel. And Peak Oil has its own data bubble for sure.

If it were not for the internet, how many could deduce Peak Oil from direct experience on their own?

I know I could not.

I don't really think it's any more or less safe than it was, just the perception has changed. I'm not that old, and I never had a car seat when I was a baby or child. I don't think car travel was any safer back then, it's just what people did.

A couple of new CRS (Congressional Research Service) Reports

The Mexican Economy After the Global Financial Crisis

pg 9-10 … Mexico’s long-term economic recovery and stability will depend upon what happens in the oil industry.

The Mexican government depends heavily on oil revenues, which provide 30% to 40% of the government’s fiscal revenues, but oil production in Mexico is declining rapidly. Many analysts state that Mexican oil production has peaked and that the country’s production will continue to decline in the coming years. Mexico is the 7th largest producer of oil in the world and is one of the top three sources of U.S. oil imports, along with Canada and Saudi Arabia. Mexico’s state oil company, Pétroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) has stated that output from the country’s biggest oilfield, Cantarell, is declining much more rapidly than expected. Production is declining so rapidly Mexico could possibly begin importing oil within ten years. Mexico’s exports of crude oil have been falling since 2006, and it is currently a net importer of both gasoline and natural gas.

… Because the government relies so heavily on oil income, any decline in production has major fiscal implications. According to one journal article, if oil output drops below two million b/d, the government would have to cut spending by more than 10% or increase taxes correspondingly, which would likely affect economic recovery.

Deflation: Economic Significance, Current Risk, and Policy Responses

pg 2 ... The expectation of further deflation can create a self-reinforcing downward spiral that deepens and prolongs the fall of economic activity as households and businesses adjust their economic outlooks.

To avoid that outcome, government would likely need to take policy actions that not only counter the current negative demand shock and constricted flow of credit to the economy, but also create the expectation among economic agents that the future price level will be higher than the current price level; in other words, government would need to convince economic agents to expect inflation rather than deflation.

For anyone who may be interested, an online version of the presentation I have been doing all over the US in Europe is now available. The topic is peak oil, finance, and interactions between the two. It lasts about 80 minutes.

A Century of Challenges


Note this is not free; it costs $12.50.

True. It is a professional production. We sank a lot of resources into producing it, not to mention the time it took to develop it in the first place, and the time it took to secure the rights to the images. It costs no more than a Hollywood Movie at the cinema. People can decide for themselves whether or not they think it is worth it.

I think the point being that it is a product for sale. Nobody is making a comment on the content, or suggesting that you should provide it for free. It sets a precedent for anyone else who wants to offer their products for sale at TOD.

By the way : for anyone interested, my latest book is now available at....(just kidding)

I mention it because people here had recently expressed an interest in my views. I have already referred them to the primer guide at TAE, and to the audio-only version of the presentation that is available elsewhere online. My opinions continue to be freely available to anyone who might be interested. This video was simply an attempt to make the big picture more accessible to a wider range of people. I hope TOD doesn't feel that anyone is suffering for my having linked to it.

Again, I think you missed my point. This isn't about the video - it is, IMHO, and other participants can (and, I'm sure, will) jump on my head and say otherwise, about marketing of products.

The value, to me anyway, of this forum is the free exchange of ideas, which makes us all the richer, without the marketing. If another participant had linked to your video perhaps that would feel less "promotional".

After all, people post links to books here all the time. But Tainter doesn't come and post a link to his own book.

Just saying...and anyone else here is free to disagree with me.

Thanks Stoneleigh for your existence and wit- you have reshaped mine - I'm convinced it will be worth the money.

Your major takeaway point regarding the overall global picture - where you explain...
>> that oil's annual growth over the years went hand in hand with Global GDP growth .... but that on the other side of actual Peak Oil oil's dwindling presence will have little or nothing to say for 'what next?' ..... as financial and political effects will prove much faster to trigger the 'what next?' outcome.

I'm afraid you will be proven right on this reasoning.

It seems to me that Russian oil production is misbehaving. I read on the oil drum in February 2009 that:

"Russian crude and condensate production has fallen from 2007 at 9.44 mbd down to 9.36 mbd in 2008. Continuing decline in Russia means that non OPEC crude, condensate and oil sands has passed its peak in 2004."


This is a typical Oil Drum statement of "fact" that then proves to be wrong.

I also remember reading that Russian gas production might have peaked... Hmmm.. must be my memory playing games with me.

Also a little amusing to see that when there is an article on increasing oil production everybody in the comment thread just ignores it and hopes it will go away. :-) But then again I'm just an oil patch guy and have never come up with my own third degree model for extrapolating data.

Russian gas production is currently a long way down from its post Soviet Peak. Gazprom claims this is due to "lack of demand".

The President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, claimed in a recent interview (with David Frost on Al Jazeera) that Russian oil production is actually declining right now but they are covering it up. Perhaps he just wants them to invade again though.

You are something else, really, Undertow. Invoking the Butcher of Tbilisi as a credible source on Russian oil production. Aside from killing Ossetian civilians sleeping in the middle of the night with an artillery and MLRS barrage, Sack-of-sh*t-vili has no other credentials to make him an authority on oil.

BTW, sunshine, there was a massive drop in demand for Russian gas in the wake of the 2008 financial collapse that slowed the EU economy and relatively mild winters (AGW denier snow jobs notwithstanding).

Dissident, personally I think Mikheil Saakashvili is a nutcase. That doesn't mean I automatically assume the opposite of *everything* he says though.

And if Russia is playing games with oil/gas figures then so is everyone else that matters anyway.

An immanent decline from Russia seemed likely, based on what the Moscow Times was saying and what Halliburton was saying.

It is hard to estimate differently than what others are saying. Ace's approach is to look at the pieces he can, and what folks are saying, and try to make forecasts based on what people are saying--where they are drilling, what public plans they have made. The approach is less that perfect--but so are other approaches.

It seems to me that it is mostly economics that will determine when oil supply will go down. Oil price can only rise so high without causing recession--perhaps $80 or $85 a barrel, according to work by Dave Murphy. It is this, rather than what people think, that is the real issue.


My personal wish is for you and reservegrowthrules and others to keep posting you links to facts you wish to post, your personal observations from your field of work, and yes, even your opinions!

A group of people engaged in a discussion perhaps would benefit from having people post views that are outside of the majority...otherwise one has an echo chamber with monks chanting the canon over and over again.

Where am I at?

I know that Earth has a finite amount of matter.

I know that oil and NG and coal reserves are finite.

From the evidence presented on this site and other sources, it appears to me that humans have been consuming oil faster that new discovers are being made.

I know that new discoveries will be made for some period of time in the future...

I do not know how large these discoveries will be or when they will be made or how hard it will be to produce the oil...

The tripping point for some folks is: No one knows how much more oil is out there.

Before I get burned on the cross of alleged BAU-worship, I figure that having a bunch more oil does not solve, and in fact exacerbates, the other Limits-to-Growth source and sink problems.

Back to the question of how much oil: As long as new discoveries are made, there will be hope by many folks for new discoveries being made.

Assuming we exploit all the available oil in the U.S. OCS and in Alaska, under the Arctic Ocean, and under Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the White House lawn, people will then point to the land under the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps.

Of course, going down this road leads to discussions of EROEI, affordability, and other practical concerns and eventual show-stoppers.

One effort that could help put this 'but we haven't looked there' issue is a U.N.-sponsored International Geophysical Year (or Years), 'map the Earth's fossil fuels reserves' effort, where all nations cooperate and deploy great amounts of technology and effort/legwork to seismically map and conduct exploratory drilling across the globe (maybe this is a five-year effort). Leave no stones (Antarctica, Greenland, Arctic Sea, all over Africa, etc.) unturned (maybe this is a 10-yr effort?).

Of course, many nations and companies and individual land-owners will not wish to put their cards face-up on the global table, so this idea would founder.

Right after this effort is complete then the Soylent Corporation Oceanographic Survey of 2020-2025 can kick off...


You may be suprised to find that I agree with almost everything that you have written in your post. I believe that the next century will see an incredible struggle for resources, with water perhaps being the most critical. I also believe that we must all strive to reduce our carbon footprint: In our private lives, at work, and in how we plan our futures. I am of the opinion that the greatest threat of all to the planet is population growth and that this is an issue that has been ignored for far too long out of political correctness.

I believe that renewables are the only way to provide a sustainable future and will be able to provide all the energy that we need in the future but that during a transitional phase we will still be heavily reliant on oil and gas. This transition is already occuring as commented in one of the articles recently linked here at the oil drum: "UK Oil consumption falls as uptake of renewables increases".

But. I also believe that crying wolf about oil production all the time is the worst possible way of moving forward: Two years of declining production is taken as a sign that production can never increase again. A price spike is taken as a sign that prices can never fall again. Such stupidity will only be rewarded by being proved wrong and as a result those that are against change will have opportunity after opportunity to say: "I told you so". We may very well see a new peak in world oil production in the relatively near future.

I just wish that posters on the oil drum could write that "Russian crude and condensate production has fallen from 2007 at 9.44 mbd down to 9.36 mbd in 2008. IF WE SEE A Continuing decline in Russia THAT WOULD mean that non OPEC crude, condensate and oil sands MAY have passed its peak in 2004." Rather than just writing that we have passed the peak as a fact. That was my point in my previous post. ACE has had made so many incorrect predictions on this site that he is bound to get one right at some point. But we should remember all the bad predictions at that point. ("Oil prices can never fall below US$100").

Once again: I feel that we should focus on renewables rather than finding the last drop of oil. But, meanwhile, Brazil, Iraq, Russia etc. will keep the world well supplied with oil.


I concur; we seem to be in agreement on our topics in these two posts.

I was not surprised.

Of course I agree that the appearance of crying wolf hurts the ability to persuade people to plan and enact other-then-ff energy sources. People can point back to Malthus and probably earlier.

How to navigate the tightrope between head-in-the-sand BAU and being uncritical and unscientific in our message?

The issues are complex to understand...I agree with you that more detail (caveats, qualifications, etc) are absolutely necessary for an informed discussion.

What I fear is that in the wider audience outside of TOD these caveats and qualifications would be taken as 'proof' that BAU is possible for as far as the eye can see.

I do not have an answer to that fear.

I guess the "Technology will save us" crowd has to claim victory wherever they can:

Recent annual production data (BP, C+C+NGL):

2004: 8.5 mbpd
2005: 9.3
2006: 9.6
2007: 10.0
2008: 9.9
2009: 10.0*

*Some people would apparently assert that 2007 to 2009 data provide clear evidence that Russian oil reserves are almost infinite. Party on Dudes!

Note that I expected the small production decline in 2008 to continue in 2009, but some of 'round these parts think that it's meaningful that Russian production virtually stopped growing in the 2007 to 2009 time frame.

EIA C+C chart:

Incidentally, inclusive of Russia, here are the annual combined net export numbers for the (2005) top five net exporters (which generally fall between Sam's middle case and best case projections):

2005: 23.8 mbpd
2006: 23.6
2007: 22.9
2008: 22.8
2009: 21.1

Sam's best case is that by end of 2013, three years hence, the (2005) top five will have (net) exported about half of their total post-2005 supply of cumulative net exports. No worries. Let's go get that Hummer.

Actually, you have no accurate data on Russian reserves. They are a state secret after all. So don't get too upity and sneer when your forecasts fail.

The rate of increase in Russian production from 2004 to 2007 was 5.4%/year (BP data). From 2007 to 2009 it was zero. If Russian averages 10.2 for 2010, the 2007 to 2010 rate of increase would be 0.7%/year. It's pretty clear that Russian production has virtually stopped growing, after showing a very rapid rate of increase as they rebounded following the collapse of the Soviet Union. It's a race between older declining production and new fields coming on line. IMO, the new fields in Russia are to Russia as Alaska was to the US, i.e. helpful, but no panacea.

Russia is--so far at least--falling toward the upper end of Sam's production forecasts, but as noted above, the combined net export output from the (2005) top five is falling well within his predicted range.

To return to the point at hand, I am hard pressed to understand how a zero to less than a one percent rate of increase in Russian production, after a 5%/year plus rate of increase, means that "Happy Days Are Here Again."

I am hard pressed to understand how a low rate of increase in oil production during a financial crash can be taken as showing anything at all with regard to ability to produce. The fact that it increased at all during this period is in fact fairly impressive.

But we do know their production numbers, and that's all that matters. Reserves are meaningless if they can't be brought to the fray in time.

Colin Campbell in 2002 predicted that Russia would peak (oil, and presumably C+C) in 2010.

Here is a youtube video of his prediction: part 12.

We shall see.

While I'm coming late to this party, according to the BP stats Russian production peaked in 1987 at 11,484,000 bpd. I'm pretty sure that they won't top that.

Well. That's good to know. Probably wrong of course... But nice to have your 1 penny of input.

Auto makers sold 958,966 cars and light trucks last month compared to 746,104 a year ago, according to researcher Autodata Corp.

What would be interesting to see and of more importance would be the difference between the number of new cars purchased and the number of old cars sent to the scrap yards.
Or maybe the change in the number of registered cars in the USA compared to the number of new cars purchased.
If more cars are being taken out of service than put into service then the amount of fuel needed will drop or if it's the reverse then fuel needs will rise?
Is the USA car fleet increasing, staying steady or declining?

Demand Increases For Used Cars says:

Citing high vehicle-scrappage rates, Banks foresees an impending demand for the auto industry in general. “Today, more cars are being disposed of than built,” he says. “That's unusual. It's creating a pent-up demand.”

However, it doesn't provide specific data.

It also notes that the ratio of used car to new car sales is way up from historical levels.

I'd think that with an overall fleet of about 240 million vehicles, that many of them are lightly driven older models kept on for convenience or specific purposes. Therefore, a small change in overall fleet size isn't likely to change fuel consumption as much as the replacement of inefficient vehicles by new, more efficient vehicles. Also note that the cash for clunkers program would have distorted scrappage rates.

Your post about Velomobiles being 20 times more energy-efficient than EV's was the most positive news I've heard all week.


(And I'm happy to roll my eyes when I hear the challenges about how they'll be squished by an SUV. So will any Pedestrian, Bike or Motorbike. With a Velo Fairing around you designed springy enough, you might just be able to bounce away from many a collision.. otherwise, it just back to 'Drive Defensively', and target the real culprit, the predominance of the Sport Obtuse Belligerant..)


But did you notice Velomobiles cost more than older used cars?

I thought those prices were apalling. If those things were made in any quantity at all the prices would be about 1/4 of what they are. Its yet another lesson in the value of mass production. Automotive products are the cheapest "technology" in the world because they have been made in vast quantities for about 100 years.

Really, so what?

Yes, used cars are cheap, while new autos are still being cranked out in heavy volume, and gas prices are maintained at crazy low prices.

Distinguish carefully between cost and value.

(Then look at supply/demand and economies of scale..)

ANDDDDD... You could pretty much BUILD a velo yourself from free and cheap spare bike parts that would get you pretty far up that efficiency pole.


Here's a link from an article by, Paul Ferrell of WSJ.com, going on a major RANT about his prediction of a 2nd American Revolution. Funny thing is he never mentions peak oil, but rather sees Wall Street Greed and Political Gridlock as the precursor causes.


'America on the brink of a Second Revolution'

...once the GOP Tea Party of No-No is back in power, compromising is not on their agenda, “gridlock” is. So anarchy is the only choice -- they will never, never work with Democrats … until forced by the Second America Revolution when the middle class finally rises up and overthrows the greedy wealth conspiracy of Wall Street, Washington, CEOs and the Forbes 400.

Till then, anarchy rules as the conspiracy keeps looting Treasury, stealing from taxpayers, conning us all.