Drumbeat: October 12, 2010

Experts examine how Cuba's offshore oil could be 'game changer'

Cuba’s anticipated development of its offshore oil resources would profoundly affect its national economy, but have more political impacts on relations with the US, experts generally agreed at a forum on Oct. 8. “What we’re seeing could be a potential game changer,” said Kirby Jones, president of the Alamar Associates consulting firm. “For the first time in 50 years, Cuba would have something the US needs, something of strategic importance.”

The quantity of foreign oil companies already present in Cuba suggests that the country doesn’t necessarily need the US as it moves ahead, he suggested during a seminar cosponsored by Inter-American Dialogue and Florida International University’s Cuban Research Institute. “The question of whether we provide a lifeline to Cuba’s economy has become academic,” he said. “We’re starting a new ballgame here, and have had some spring training. But others are crowding into the lineup.”

Participants immediately dismissed rumors of the Chinese already drilling off Cuba. But they also indicated that China could eventually play an important role in parts of Cuba’s oil industry beyond exploration and production.

Gulf drilling ban lifted if you 'play by the (new) rules'

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Tuesday lifted the moratorium on deepwater exploratory oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico — provided companies follow new safety rules.

"Operators who play by the rules and clear the higher bar can be allowed to resume", Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said at a news conference.

GM denies having 'lied' on Chevrolet Volt electric claims

General Motors has shifted into damage-control mode -- just like its bad ol' days -- as it fights media blasts about the new Chevrolet Volt "extended-range electric." Several news outlets charge that they were misled about Volt's powertrain and that it isn't as unconventional or gas-mileage thrifty as billed.

Why did Google bet $1 million on Shweeb?

Out of those frequent discussions evolved Barnett's idea for Shweeb, a system of personal, pedal-powered monorail pods that he hopes can one day become an alternative form of urban transit. With Shweeb, pods hang from an elevated track that, theoretically, would stretch to destinations throughout a city.

California's green-jobs numbers paint a mixed picture

For Jerry Brown and many of his fellow Democrats, the future of California's struggling labor force hinges on a clean energy industry they say is poised to take off.

They picture a green California where hundreds of thousands of people work to install solar panels and build electricity-powered cars.

The numbers, however, tell a less gung-ho story, at least when it comes to meeting the immediate challenge of putting to work the 1.3 million people statewide who have lost their jobs since 2007.

Oil industry attention turns to Iraq amid concerns about US production post Gulf spill

LONDON (AP) — Iraq's oil production is increasingly important to meet world energy demand, industry executives meeting in London said Tuesday, as they predicted that the political fallout from the Gulf of Mexico spill will have a long-term impact on U.S. production.

After years of sanctions and war, Iraq — home to some of the world's largest reserves — is finally finding the political stability necessary for oil extraction.

"Iraqi supply is one of the largest game changers," International Energy Agency executive director Nobuo Tanaka told the annual Oil & Money conference.

Gulf spill will mean higher costs, fewer small operators

LONDON — The Gulf of Mexico oil spill will push up costs and reduce the number of offshore oil and gas operators in U.S. waters for a long time to come, oil company executives told an industry conference on Tuesday.

Gov't: Offshore drilling ban to be lifted Tuesday

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is lifting a moratorium on deepwater oil drilling that was imposed in the wake of the massive Gulf of Mexico spill, officials said Tuesday.

The Interior Department scheduled a 1 p.m. news conference in which Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is to "discuss the current suspensions on deepwater drilling," the Interior Department said.

FACTBOX - Oil spill claims total $1.2 billion in seven weeks

(Reuters) - The Gulf Coast Claims Facility, created to compensate people and businesses for damages related to BP Plc's Gulf of Mexico oil spill, has paid $1.2 billion in claims since the organization took over the process from the oil company on Aug. 23.

BP's cleanup of Alabama beaches to begin

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. — BP says it plans to start deep-cleaning Alabama's beaches next week.

Company spokesman Ray Melick said Monday the process will begin as soon as a weekend of concerts and boat races wraps up in Baldwin County. Melick says the company doesn't want to interfere with the tourist season.

Gas station reps blame speculation for latest price spike

Area gas purchasers said there's no real reason for the price increase, but investors are driving up the price.

The increase isn't tied to the typical supply-and-demand indicators that determine price, such as weather events, refinery problems or other reasons for a shortage, said Bob Astor, wholesale fuels business manager for Shipley Fuels Marketing.

"There's no weather to speak of, no major refinery problems. No storms were an issue in oil refining states, so they can't blame that. There's more than adequate inventory," Astor said.

PDVSA to Sell $3 Billion Bond to Meet Dollar Demand

Petroleos de Venezuela SA, the state oil company, plans to sell $3 billion of bonds in the local market as part of effort to meet demand for U.S. currency.

Poor trading margins cloud annual Asia oil bash

Traders attending the annual Asian oil industry bash will likely be in a darker mood as firms struggle with poor trading margins, even as expansions from last year's nascent recovery stiffen competition in a crowded market.

In the 12 months since the last Asia Pacific Petroleum Conference (APPEC), several companies, including oil major BP, have restructured their trading business, while some brokerages have ceased regional operations.

U.S. energy policy: It's complicated

We should be able to come up with a coherent energy strategy -- if only Congress weren't too paralyzed by partisan bickering to enact one.

Bad News for Oil Drilling in Mexico

The moment someone asked why anyone would want to leave Mexico in the first place, I chimed in, “Wouldn't you? The whole country is ready to collapse.”

I received nothing but blank stares.

“How do you figure?” the bartender asked, a confused look on his face.

I responded casually, “Pour me another pint and I'll tell you.”

The Promise of Fusion: Energy Miracle or Mirage?

The U.S. has invested billions of dollars trying to create a controlled form of nuclear fusion that could be the energy source for an endless supply of electricity. But as a federal laboratory prepares for a key test, major questions remain about pulling off this long-dreamed-of technological feat.

What good's a Volt without an outlet?

If you think trying to find an outlet for your laptop at the airport is a chore, wait until you have to find an outlet for your electric car at the hotel.

Car makers ride on India car sales boom

INDIA : More than 200,000 cars were sold in India in August.

According to a report, all car makers in the country posted their best-ever sales figures.

And the festive season starting in the country, automakers are hopeful of even better sales.

Israel lags far behind world in renewable energy

A new report by the international renewable energy research organization REN21 found that Israel is lagging far behind the rest of the world in producing electricity from renewable energy.

The report found that 18% of the world's electricity is produced from renewable energy but only 0.4% in Israel.

Why landfill mining could be the next big thing

It might sound like a load of old rubbish, but landfill mining could be the next resources idea to sweep Britain and the rest of Europe. UK company Advanced Plasma Power (APP) has formed a joint venture to dig up a giant landfill site in Belgium, and will recycle half the rubbish and convert the rest into renewable electricity. The project, which will become operational by 2014, is thought to be the first of its kind in the world.

Hacking the low tech future

The technology industry has grown up in an age of cheap and abundant energy, and that has shaped, deeply and fundamentally, the way it sees the world, what it chooses to make, and how it designs what it does. You have to think only of the short lifespan of the devices, the fact that they are discarded, not upgraded, when technology moves on; or the emerging service designs based on the world of the cloud; and always on, on demand access. But the age of cheap and abundant energy is coming to a close. It is about to become scarcer and more expensive. How does the technology energy need to respond?

It’s worth, quickly, making the case about energy, for not everyone believes this. John Michael Greer, in his book The Ecotechnic Future, uses the analogy of a group of field mice who find one day that someone has dumped a huge pile of grain in a corner of their field. They eat it and multiply, until the grain starts to run out.

Soils and Souls

Wendell Berry, who farms in his native Henry County, Kentucky, has become a kind of poet laureate of the sustainable agriculture movement, exploring culture and agriculture in verse, short stories, and novels. Establishing himself as a leading critic of industrial farming with his 1977 non-fiction book The Unsettling of America, he has been relentless in his analysis of the disastrous consequences of a consumption-obsessed, profit-driven society on both the human and the natural world.

China overtakes U.S. as biggest energy consumer - IEA

(Reuters) - China has become the world's largest energy user, having overtaken the United States, the head of the International Energy Agency said on Tuesday.

"China is now the largest energy consumer by our definition," the executive director of the Paris-based IEA, Nobuo Tanaka, told an industry conference.

"Probably half of the oil demand increase comes from China. Nobody knows when it (will) slow down."

IEA Head: Half Of Oil Supply By 2015 To Come From Offshore Output

LONDON -(Dow Jones)- Half of the world's oil supplies could come from offshore production by 2015, the head of the International Energy Agency said Tuesday.

Offshore production currently provides one third of global oil supply, but this is set to change rapidly in the coming years, Nobuo Tanaka, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, told reporters on the sidelines of the Oil & Money Conference.

FACTBOX - China's options for gas supplies

BEIJING (Reuters) - Russian gas from East Siberia may not make it to China by end-2015, as Moscow hopes, as China will be sufficiently supplied by other sources and can afford to wait.

Market dynamics have shifted in the past few years to put China in a stronger bargaining position for an eventual annual supply of 60-80 billion cubic metres of Russian gas initially agreed in 2006.

Below are details of options China has, according to analysts and Reuters reports.

Gazprom aims for major gas expansions

MOSCOW (UPI) -- Moscow aims to invest billions of dollars in its natural gas sector to expand output by as much as 50 percent, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said.

Putin said his country has the ability to increase gas output to 35 trillion cubic feet of gas per year, up from the current rate of 22 trillion cubic feet, as early as 2030.

Russia to Fund 400 Bln U.S. Dollars on Gas by 2030

Russian gas export may grow to 520 billion cubic meters by 2030 and Russia will invest over 400 billion U.S. dollars into the sector development, said Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko on Monday.

"In general, the volume of investment until 2030 is estimated at 12.3-14.7 trillion rubles (412-493 billion dollars) in fixed prices as of January 1, 2010," said the minister at a conference devoted to the development of Russia's gas sector.

Oil giant's exit deals blow to NZ hopes

Oil exploration off New Zealand has been dealt a blow by ExxonMobil's decision to abandon its Great South Basin prospect.

The company held 90 per cent of a permit off the Southland coast; New Zealand's Todd Energy held the rest.

The partners are estimated to have spent tens of millions of dollars assessing mainly gas prospects in one of the harshest deepwater prospects in the world.

Russian oil export duty to rise in November

Russia's oil export duty may rise in November by 22.5-25.5 U.S. dollars per ton, to 289-292 dollars, the Finance Ministry said Tuesday.

Refinery Status: Enbridge Line 6A At Reduced -3-

Enbridge Inc. said Monday that its crude oil delivery pipeline, Line 6A, will operate at reduced rates for an indefinite period of time to facilitate further integrity inspections along the span. Line 6A services ExxonMobil's Joliet, Illinois, refinery and Citgo's refinery in Lemont, Illinois.

UK should fund gas-fired carbon capture: adviser

(Reuters) - A recent global gas glut means Britain should fund carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) for gas-fired as well as coal-fired power plants, the government's chief scientific adviser told Reuters.

Africa: China in Region - The Lies, the Half-Truths And Facts

Highlighting the Chinese commodities crunch set against the global backdrop of the American-led global economic implosion, Naidu makes it plain that the Chinese interest in Africa is resource-driven, with nearly 80 per cent of Chinese imports classified as oil or petroleum-based since 2000.Nancy Dubosse offers a similar summary based upon the Chinese divergence from national development agendas in aid dependent nations like Angola and Zambia to focus on the extractive sector.

Africa: Oil is a Far Cry From Being Continent's Curse

Johannesburg — THERE is no African oil curse, maintains global oil and gas expert Dr Duncan Clarke, only an inherited and continuing curse of politics.

Responding to the frequently cited "curse" theory that is linked to Africa's natural resources, Clarke says: "The oil industry already contributes in huge measure to continent-wide economic growth and investment partnerships with the state and its national oil companies, and acts as a pillar of corporate governance in Africa. The misuse of oil revenues, where it exists, is a government matter, not a corporate one."

Entergy: Justice Dept. opens civil investigation

NEW ORLEANS — Entergy Corp. says the Justice Department is conducting a civil investigation of competitive practices of its regulated power units.

The New Orleans-based company disclosed the investigation prior to the opening of financial markets Tuesday.

Europe May Ease Jet Carbon Fees

BRUSSELS — The transportation chief of the European Union said Monday that airlines based in the United States could receive an exemption, at least in part, from European carbon regulations if Washington moved to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at home.

“We are ready to negotiate and to talk about these issues and not only make declarations,” Siim Kallas, the European commissioner for transportation, said during a news conference. “Adequate measures from other countries can be taken into account.”

Time is now to plan for new sea level

The Olympia City Council is wise to plan now for sea level rise and its effects on the downtown business district.

City officials have agreed to spend $75,000 on an engineering analysis on the use of barriers and sea walls to keep rising tides from flooding downtown streets and businesses.

Climate change could lead to Arctic conflict, warns senior Nato commander

One of Nato's most senior commanders has warned that global warming and a race for resources could lead to conflict in the Arctic.

The comments, by Admiral James G Stavridis, supreme allied commander for Europe, come as Nato countries convene on Wednesday for groundbreaking talks on environmental security in the Arctic Ocean.

Crude Oil Futures Decline in N.Y. Before OPEC Meeting as Dollar Strengthens

Crude dropped for a second day after Saudi Arabia signaled that OPEC may leave production targets unchanged at its Oct. 14 meeting and the group lowered its forecast for demand for its oil.

Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said the market is “very well-balanced” and prices between $70 and $80 a barrel are “ideal.” Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. cut its forecasts for 2011 and 2012 oil prices because of high stockpiles.

Crude Oil to Stay Below $84 on Bollinger Band Hurdle: Technical Analysis

Oil will remain below $84 a barrel in New York this week because of chart resistance marked by a Bollinger Band, according to Cameron Hanover Inc.

Crude, which reached a five-month high of $84.43 a barrel last week, won’t sustain rallies to revisit that price because the market is “overbought,” said Peter Beutel, president of the energy adviser in New Canaan, Connecticut. Futures fell today for a second day after advancing 12 percent in the past three weeks.

OPEC May Maintain Quotas After Saudi Minister Says Market `Well-Balanced'

OPEC ministers gave their strongest indication yet that they will leave oil-production quotas unchanged at this week’s meeting as faltering growth in some of world’s biggest economies stifles demand.

The market is “very well-balanced,” Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said late yesterday as he arrived in Vienna for the Oct. 14 meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Shokri Ghanem, chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corp., said in London today there’s no need for to alter quotas, echoing comments made by Qatari Oil Minister Abdullah al-Attiyah in an Oct. 10 interview.

OPEC Trims 2010 Demand Outlook for its Crude as External Supplies Increase

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries trimmed its demand forecast for its members’ crude for this year as production from outside the group grew the most since 2002.

PetroChina's Biggest Refinery to Process 9% More Oil as Fuel Demand Climbs

PetroChina Co. will increase crude- oil processing at its biggest refinery by 9 percent this year from a year earlier as demand gains, an official said.

Refining volume at the plant in the northern city of Dalian will rise to 17.5 million metric tons, or 350,000 barrels a day, said a refinery official, who declined to be named because of company rules. The facility’s oil-processing volume rose to a record of 16.03 million tons in 2009, parent China National Petroleum Corp. said in January.

French strikers step up their campaign

Strikers tried to shut down France today with airports, public transport, schools and the postal service all hit in a showdown over government attempts to raise the retirement age.

Refinery workers also walked out, leading one union to warn of looming petrol shortages.

French Refineries, Nuclear Reactors, Ports Disrupted by Nationwide Strike

A nationwide strike by French refinery, power and gas workers lowered crude processing rates and cut power output while the possibility of fuel shortages loomed as Marseille oil terminals remained blocked.

Workers at ten of the country’s 12 refineries voted to strike today and others may follow, CGT union representative Christian Votte said by telephone. Deliveries to and from plants on strike will be blocked and refining rates reduced, he said.

Energy majors set sights on Turkmenistan

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (UPI) -- A scheduled visit by executives from Chevron and Total is indicative of the long-term energy potential for Turkmenistan, a government leader said.

Baymurat Hodzhamuhammedov, the deputy prime minister of Turkmenistan, said his country was expecting a visit by executives from Chevron and Total "in the near future," the Turkmen news agency Turkmenistan.ru reports.

Shell CEO criticizes Gulf spill

The head of Royal Dutch Shell says that his company would never have made the mistakes that led to BP's devastating Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

But Shell CEO Peter Voser acknowledges that the industry as a whole is not prepared to deal with a spill of that size.

Exxon, Chevron's Africa Ambitions Face Risk From State Curbs

Oil producers led by Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and Tullow Oil Plc tripled spending in sub- Saharan Africa to $30 billion a year in a decade, finding twice the U.S.’s remaining reserves. The flow of cash is now at risk as nations from Uganda to Ghana tighten control of the industry.

Explorers face being stripped of licenses or awarded less favorable contracts as governments seek to reassert authority over their natural resources. There’s also the challenge of operating in countries emerging from civil war such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone.

Billionaire Cline Talks Clean as Coal Mines Supply Most Energy Since 1970

Cline foresaw that the dwindling Appalachian supply, coupled with what he expected would be rules to force all power plants to add scrubbers to remove pollutants, would make Illinois coal attractive. If plants had to clean the coal anyway, Cline reasoned, why not use inexpensive Illinois stock?

Peak Oil Experts Fear Big New U.S. Job Losses, Economic Downturn

Ralph Nader helped conclude a cutting-edge energy conference Oct. 9 in Washington, DC by describing what the public must do to reduce predicted new job losses and similar hardship.

"Deal with public sentiment," he told a rapt audience at the annual convention of Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas, USA (ASPO-USA) in urging steps to achieve better-informed voters and consumers. "Half the population doesn't believe in global warming."

DBEDT serious about Hawaii's energy future

An e-mail I received Monday morning from Richard Ha, a farmer on the Big Island and co-chair of the Geothermal Working Group, sheds light on the seriousness of Hawaii’s dependence on foreign oil.

Just back from a Peak Oil conference in Washington D.C., where dozens of top energy experts, economists and human rights activists convened to discuss declining reserves of extractable oil, Ha reported back that peak oil was expected to hit in two to five years. Peak oil is the highest point of world oil production before it begins to decline.

Wind could supply fifth of world energy: Greenpeace

BEIJING (AFP) – Wind power could meet about a fifth of the world's electricity demand within 20 years, an industry group and environmental watchdog Greenpeace predicted in a new report released on Tuesday.

Google to help build East Coast wind farm

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Google is investing in a new wind farm power grid to be located off the East Coast of the United States.

"We just signed an agreement to invest in the development of a backbone transmission project off the Mid-Atlantic coast that offers a solid financial return while helping to accelerate offshore wind development -- so it's both good business and good for the environment," announced the search engine company in a blog on Monday night.

In Big Oil Texas, Democrat looks to sun and wind

HOUSTON (Reuters) – As a former oil entrepreneur, Bill White is by no means a foe of Big Oil, the engine at the heart of the Texas economy.

But if the Democrat wins the state governor's race next month, he will be spending lots of time working with two other resources in abundance in Texas -- sun and wind -- and trying to make the whole state much more energy efficient.

GE Expands Solar Business as Immelt Seeks to Mirror Wind Growth

General Electric Co., which has become the world’s second-biggest wind turbine maker in less than a decade, is expanding production of two thin-film solar products to increase its renewable-energy business.

Taiwan Cement plans large solar power plant

TAIPEI (AFP) – Taiwan largest cement maker plans to build a large solar power plant, the company and local media said Monday, confirming a trend for the island's companies to focus increasingly on green technologies.

Scottish Wind May Gain in `Overdue' Review of U.K. Costs

Scotland, source of almost half the U.K.’s renewable energy, may benefit from a proposal to scrap the 20-year-old rule blamed for impeding wind and sea power.

Ofgem, Britain’s electricity-grid regulator, said it will take comments until Nov. 17 from energy companies and academics on changes that may abolish the system that charges the highest carriage rates to generators furthest from consumer centers. It’s due to make a decision next year.

India solar power plans over-subscribed

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India will begin rolling out hundreds of megawatts of solar power by December next year, ahead of an initial target for an ambitious plan that seeks to zoom production from near zero to 20 gigawatts by 2022.

New research questions hydroelectric emissions

GENEVA (AFP) – Scientists have found that some reservoirs formed by hydroelectric dams emit more greenhouse gases than expected, potentially upsetting the climate-friendly balance of hydroelectric power.

Global warming threatens 80pc plant, animal species

Less than 20 percent of plants and animal species in the world’s tropical forests may remain in their current form by the end of the century due to global warming, a new study says.

Large Swaths of Earth Drying Up, Study Suggests

The soils in large areas of the Southern Hemisphere, including large parts of Australia, Africa and South America, have been drying up in the past decade, a new study finds.

Population shifts 'substantially influence' emissions

Changing population dynamics could "substantially influence" future greenhouse gas emissions, a study has suggested.

A team of US and Austrian researchers found that urbanisation could increase emissions by up to 25% in some developing nations.

However, industrialised countries could see emissions fall by about 20% as a result of ageing populations.

There's a tropical storm in the Caribbean Sea, which has just been upgraded to a hurricane. The storm is named PAULA and is headed toward the Yucatan or the Gulf of Mexico...

E. Swanson

Chuck Watson tells me that there is little chance that Hurricane Paula will make it past the Florida Straights, given the dynamics. There is a cold front moving south across Florida over the next day or so, and very strong steering flow will grab whatever is left of Paula by then and drag it over Cuba and out to sea.

Yes, that's the forecast track which also appeared on the National Hurricane Center link I posted. Lets hope Paula makes that predicted hard right turn as otherwise it might end up in the Gulf of Mexico...

E. Swanson

There's another and bigger storm headed right at us-unfunded health care commitments on the part of govts all over for thier retirees.

Read all about it in todays NYT;the article is mostly limited to New York Cioty and state problems but it is safe to say that most of the country will be dealing with similar difficulties.

There are so many different storms A brewing.....What of the other end - the students who took on non-dischargeable debt like student loans who find out that their choice is no longer able to pay the debt they took on? Or how will they obtain housing? (Some colleges are axing humanities departments while land in London is over 1 million pounds for what was described as a dump.)

The outcome will depend on who has the piles of paper indicating ownership and who does not. Odds are it'll be like a biblical Jubilee, 'cept any debt owed to the 'lesser' classes will be 'forgiven' and the debts owed to the 'greater' class will still be owed.

The bigger the difference between the haves and the have nots will act like any system where there is a high delta between the low and high order state.

Now I've not picked up the book
but here seems to be a taste of it.

Please start your own thread, rather than posting your comment as a reply to a completely unrelated post.

It makes the discussion confusing, and frankly, it's kind of rude to do this just to get higher on the page. Some people might want to use the "permalink" or "subthread" option to refer others to an interesting discussion, and having the thread derailed by a totally different topic is a pain.

Many of those seem mutually exclusive

You call that a 'Radical Pessimist'?! Bah! My optimistic 76 year old mother could come up with more doomerish scenarios than that...

I am sure she could but as far as I know your "optimistic 76 year old mother" is not writing articles in the Saturday Globe and Mail which is a national paper and this article was in the weekend edition.

I thought that was the interesting part.

I am sure she could but as far as I know your "optimistic 76 year old mother" is not writing articles in the Saturday Globe and Mail which is a national paper and this article was in the weekend edition.

Good point I'll suggest to her that she might do that... >;^)

That was in the drumbeat yesterday. You are correct though it was interesting.

Thanks I missed the Drumbeat yesterday. Usually I go to it to start my day.

Uruguay, S. Arabia plan for food security

Mohamad Al Hussaini, deputy general manager, Riyadh Exhibitions Co., said Saudi Arabia is the largest economy within the Gulf Cooperation Council, the world's top food-importing region.

"With a population of roughly 28 million people, the kingdom has immense food demands that the government intends to meet by boosting spending on agriculture and related sectors," said Al Hussaini.

Growing Gulf Dependent on Imported Food

For the Gulf Cooperation Council member countries Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, 90 percent of all food has to be imported at a cost of $6.7 billion according to a new report by the World Bank.

"90 percent of all food has to be imported"

Sounds like a die-off just waiting to happen.

Tptb in the area are counting on us to keep them in power and keep the food coming in exchange for the oil.

We are locked into a mutual dependency that at some point must come to a bad end.

But so long as we have the military resources, and they have the oil, we can contin ue on from one day to the next until some crisis finally upsets the applecart for good.

Import requires fuel; fuel requires oil; oil supply stops, food stops. Sounds simple enough to me.


Uruguay has 3,5 million people and is, somewhat bigger than England and Belgium put together to make some sort of comparison. A fertile but not a big country. I doubt that they can feed themselves and also 28 million Arabs with grain, fish and meat, in any case there won't be much left to export to other countries.
Fray Bentos (the name of a small town there) is a household name in the UK as for a long time AngloAmerican exported corned beef from there, but they up and left the country a generation ago, taking the Fray Bentos trade mark with them. Now they make their products somewhere else, Brazil for example.

Before the invention of the steam ship and refrigeration Uruguay used to export charque, meat in barrels filled with salt, by sail to Cuba to feed the slaves working the sugar plantations there. After all "corned" beef refers to the rough salt used to keep the meat, just a technical improvement on charque.
So no problem, they can export charque to Arabia, like for ever. Halal, of course and if the Israelis pay, Kosher too.

"The Turkish air force helping the PLAAF to see NATO combat tactics and training up close and personal is a very bad idea. It is deadly serious stuff."

Re: Stoneleigh's talk at the ASPO-USA DC conference. It seems Stoneleigh from The Automatic Earth may be on to something.

Google eyes online consumer index to track inflation

Google is readying its own "Google Price Index" (GPI) based on a vast database of online purchases, providing a daily measure of inflation, said a top company official quoted Tuesday in the Financial Times. Google has not yet decided whether it will publish the index (GPI), which is still in development.

...Varian said the GPI indicates a "very clear deflationary trend" for goods purchased online in just under a year of data gathering, a potentially worrying prospect for US officials.

This is why the PTB hate the internet. Data like this is available, and they cannot manipulate it. It makes one suspect the figures one sees every day, as spun out by our overlords in D.C.

And, I should think that it is more than potentially worrying...

Question: can the trend be modified? Reversed? Contradicted?

The answer, with video, in the news at 10.


I would think this would not necessarily be a very good indicator of price changes since it would exclude things like rent, house purchases, gasoline,oil,auto mechanics, plumbing, propane, natural gas, water, health care,food, and other items not bought off the internet. Further, do prices of goods purchased through the internet track closely with similar goods not bought on the internet? Probably so, but would like to see a study that shows how closely they correlate.

It will be a great, and VERY objective, indictor of the prices of the things it measures. It;s just that everything it measures is a discretionary item, and everything you listed, is not.
The clear trend already is that discretionary (read unneccessary) items are deflating, and essential items, and mandatory ones (like health insurance) are inflating.

Here in Canada, no one trusts the official inflation figures any more as they exclude "volatile" items like housing and energy. Those two excluded items also happen to be the two single largest costs for most households, so how meaningful is an inflation number that excludes them?

Think of the Google index in the same way as the Dow Jones or the Case-Schiller home price index. Both of those are non government indices, based upon purchases of a specific range of "things", yet are very useful and are THE barometers for their respective markets. Expect the Google index to be closely watched by the retail industry, and retail banks, credit card issuers etc.

What I would like to see is for Google to go a step further and create a few other indices, including their own version of a real world inflation index, which can be done by people reporting prices for the specified goods/services. It will be more accurate, and more relevant than the government figures ever are - Google does not have a vested interest (as far as I can tell) in making the numbers as "nice" as possible.

The Internet itself is causing the price of many things to drop due to increased competition. I wonder how/if they will take that into account.

Maybe they are not applying the correct BLS "hedonic adjustment".

"Probably half of the oil demand increase comes from China."

They predicted this in the mid 1990s. Why is this news anymore?

"Nobody knows when it (will) slow down."

Maybe when supplies become too costly. But that is a wild guess. Certainly not once the atmosphere is overloaded with CO2 and begins to change the global weather patterns and climate.

It appears that the Chinese auto situation is a race between oil supply and gridlock. Bertel Schmitt reports regularly on developments there over at TTAC.

Yesterday, he reported the Chinese auto industry expects sales of 17 million this year surpassing the the highest ever U.S. car sales. They expect sales to be 40 million cars per year in 2020 and 70 million per year in 2030. I was tempted to link to it here yesterday, but I'm too busy harvesting corn.

Today he has another post about Chinese car sales which were up 19% in September.


Confusion reigns on sales numbers in China as it does in Chinese traffic.

The country is so large that they don't even know how many car manufacturers there are.

The corn harvest has been absolutely fantastic. Not only is corn making new price highs, the weather has been unbelievably warm.

This has dried down the corn so much that it is less than the moisture standard of 15%. Little drying which uses natural gas or LP gas will be required this year. Many farmers haul the corn to market directly out of the field thereby saving on handling.

But what is good for corn farmers is bad for corn users and they are complaining:


China threatens to quit importing corn. But with a booming economy, many people rich enough to afford cars will pay up for products made from corn like meat, milk and eggs.

The Chinese are good negotiators. Now if they could just learn to drive, they may avoid gridlock before oil gets too expensive or becomes unavailable.

I'm betting oil prices will get so high that Chinese cars sales of 40 million units in 2020 will never happen. 70 million sales in 2030 sounds just crazy to me.

If it happens, few of them will be able to move just for lack of space on the roads.

Oil and China account for nearly the entire trade deficit, and without dramatic changes in policy unemployment will stay near or above 10% indefinitely.


Re: Google to help build East Coast wind farm

Well, technically Google has agreed to invest in an underwater transmission system which would allow offshore wind turbines to transmit power to the mainland. The article points out that if built out fully — NYC as the northern terminus and Virginia coast just south of the Chesapeake Bay as the southern terminus — the line would allow an operator to purchase cheap power in the south and resell it for much more in the north.

The additional transmission capacity would probably be welcome even if the offshore wind farms never materialize. With a capacity of 6000 MW, it could help considerably in one of the country's critically congested areas. Underwater cable is significantly more expensive than a land-based system in most locations. I wonder if that holds true for the NYC to Washington corridor, where so much of the land has been developed.

It is hard to see that this project would make sense, if it is just to transmit wind energy, since, for one thing, most of the time the line would not be used to full capacity. There is also the question how it would be financed--that is, where the source of revenue would be.

Indeed. I suspect that wind is "just an excuse," and the real purpose is to import electricity into NYC and northern NJ. I don't know about the other parts of the funding, but Google is always looking for someplace potentially profitable to invest some of their billions :^)

The source of revenue is the same as any other transmission project on the planet, system operators pay for transmission, and utility customers pay the system operator.

I know this response is part of your usual Eeyore approach to renewable energy, but the design with multiple connections to the main grid on land allows power to rerouted to land if high wind power production is greater than the capacity on one of the sections. And of course, like any other transmission line on the grid, electrons from any source will be able to be transmitted to any destination, including rerouting around land grid sections at capacity.
Google intends this project to fix the chicken-and-egg issue that wind developers will not build wind capacity without transmission capacity available, and transmission developers will not build transmission capacity without generation capacity available. I think it is a masterful approach by Google, and I believe they will make plenty of money doing the right thing and stimulating wind power development.

There is no doubt that Google's investment will make wind power development in East Coast offshore more practical and more economically viable.

Hear, hear.

It sounds like a bit of a gamble, but only one about as uncertain as whether the sun will come up tomorrow, and can I bank on using some of that power? You just have to be insulated against a bit of cloud-cover.. but eventually you know that the source will return, and it will be strong.

Google to help build East Coast wind farm

Stardate - 21xx : Skynet's awareness is less like that of a human being and more like that of an ant colony...

If EnglishLanguageMonkey is out there somewhere, would you please translate this for me?


Reference to the Terminator movies, I suspect.

I'm more concerned about the battalions of Predator Drones that are replacing air-force capacity. Not only that this tech might be very handy for terrorists, but especially in the insidious ways it's being used by 'The Good Guys'. Very easy to pretend there's no blood on our hands.. and it's not a problem of machines getting smart, but of humans who have dispatched their connection to the people they are targeting, and who follow programs as machines themselves..

Maybe since I am a code monkey too (developing building energy modeling software), I thought CodeMonkey76's comment was funny and to the point.

He is comparing Google to the rise of machine intelligence in the Terminator series of movies, but also pointing out the (to me happy consequence) that Google seems to be taking more of a collective than individualist approach at least in some respects (ie., Google.org philanthropy and Google's multi-billion investments in renewables and efficiency).
Maybe an anthill would make better decisions than a bunch of Ayn Rand acolytes, unwilling to even admit the existence of altruism.

It was mainly a joke re: Terminator Movies, not meant to stand up to much analysis.

Although I would agree with Ayn Rand that altruism doesn't really exist. I never read Ayn Rand, but I get the impression I don't agree with her on much else. As is often the case extreme views are just two sides of the same coin. If you go far enough one way, you come back around on the other side like the 'Asteroids' game. I've been a nihilist for the most recent half of my life, but that doesn't mean much in practice.

I was maybe thinking that Skynet, actually one machine intelligence as Google might develop into in someone's sci-fi dream, would need to be a complete robot. In order to be a complete robot, it would need energy input ( wind farms ) as well as intelligence. Heck, why shouldn't a machine intelligence even have some human components? These might even be upgraded ( Whovian Cybermen anyone? Some versions completely lack any biologic components. ) or made obsolete. Don't ant colonies denude the forest of edibles and then move on? Is any one ant able to do so? No, but the colony can and does. Anyway, when the human rebels destroy the wind farms, they will be duely made into batteries... Ok, that part of 'The Matrix' is too dumb to swallow. Instead they'll be ground into lubricating oil.

Even if altruism doesn't exist, the appearance of altruism exists.

Arguing about the motives of others tends to reflect more strongly on oneself than on them, as the arguments made necessarily begin to show one's own mind-picture since the mind-picture of other people is a black box to us.

so, boys and girls, everyone here heard of michio kaku? he's a real boffin, a genius, if you will.
did anyone see this video on youtube?


i suggest you do. he sez we are currently a type zero civilization (and after peak oil we become a type minus 1 civilization) but...he sez we will become a type one civilization in 100 years. heh-heh! i bet he dont read the oil conundrum. i say you all email him and give him a dose of ree-al-it-tee.

dont forget all those hydrocarbons on mars and titan. before TPTB give up BAU they will attempt to go get that juice.

i consider myself nostrildamus. i dont peer into the future, i sniff it out and from here the future stinks. what we need are more colorful graphs plotting the demise of western technology. plus we must discuss it endlessly. that's the ticket.

i consider myself nostrildamus. i dont peer into the future, i sniff it out and from here the future stinks. what we need are more colorful graphs plotting the demise of western technology. plus we must discuss it endlessly. that's the ticket.

Raaaight! Says the individual who claims for him or herself the moniker of the mythical Humbaba... Not that I disagree with you, but still... aren't we kinda the pot calling kettle black there, oh lord of stinky intestines, eh?

Woot! So are "we" the members of TOD "terrorists" in Kaku's worldview of his or are "we" 'realists'?

(Type 1 manage the planet and can control Earthquakes? With what - HAARP? Magic?)

This is big news for us down in little old NZ.

NZ parliamentary research office publishes paper warning of imminent peakoil:


There is a link embedded in there to the original research. As this is an in-house NZ parliament generated report is cant be simply overlooked by our politicians.


Nice find. Embedded in the original report is this little tidbit. "Between 2007 and 2009, oil exports fell 4.8 percent while world consumption fell only 1.8 percent." [29] A neat little confirmation of Westexas' Export Land model.

Fusion was mentioned so I feel at liberty to add this article from the Columbia Daily Tribune.

For a group of Israeli scientists, 64 has become a magic number.

That’s because it was the 64th trial of an experiment that yielded results that, they hope, will one day change the world.

Six years ago on a Sunday morning in a laboratory in Omer, Israel, researchers walked in to find that something extraordinary had happened. Water they’d left at room temperature two days earlier had boiled for more than five hours.

“I remember when” Tanya Zilov, an electrochemist, “started to scream,” recalled Shaul Lesin, the CEO of Energetics Technologies. “I came running from my office. I thought something broke.” What Lesin saw was evidence on a computer screen that 25 times more electric energy was being released than had been put in. For him, it meant the team’s efforts to produce a low-energy nuclear reaction commonly called “cold fusion” might have succeeded.

What Lesin saw was evidence on a computer screen that 25 times more electric energy was being released than had been put in.

Rate vs amount?

This is why I hate media news reporting, especially on energy issues. The reporters don't have the background to pick up on the ambiguities in a statement like that.

Looking a bit further down I see that their electrical input is being done with a complex waveform instead of simple AC or DC. That complicates measuring the power input and comparing it to the thermal power output.

Is there a paper somewhere (peer-reviewed or not) detailing their research or is this just another PR Puff piece?

Re: Climate change could lead to Arctic conflict, warns senior Nato commander

The sheeple are being conditioned to accept future aggressive action by NATO to grab fossil fuel resources like in Iraq. If you look at the USGS report on the Arctic fossil fuel potential, you will see that it sits within the economic zone waters of the USA, Russia, Canada and Norway. In spite of all the fuss there is not much under the north pole or outside of the shallower parts of the Arctic Ocean and the Barents Sea.

There is no territorial dispute between any of the Arctic basin states. The dispute between Norway and Russia has been settled. This means that in the future some countries are going to have to make new claims against territory they now do not possess in order to gain access to economic zones that are excluded to them. As per the USGS report the fossil fuel potential is over 70% in Russia's economic zone. Canada's reserves are pitiful and mostly in the Beaufort. The US reserves are limited to the Alaskan shelf. The economic zone of Norway is small. So it is rather obvious where the aggression will come from. From the people with little who think they can get a more "fair" distribution.

Naturally the Guardian article does not even bother to outline where the resource potential is, as if there will be fighting over the worthless Arctic Ocean interior that sits outside the economic zones where over 80% of the fossil resources are likely to be found.

Russia will work a deal with its key Asian and European partners to keep control of its Arctic reserves.

NATO has pretty much shot its wad in Afghanistan, and it is on its way to irrelevancy.