Drumbeat: October 13, 2010

Outlook for Shale Gas in Europe Is Uncertain

LONDON — The chief executive of one the largest oil and natural gas services companies in the world said Wednesday that shale gas could be much harder to recover in Europe, compared with the United States, because of concerns about environmental damage and other issues.

“We should not underestimate the challenge,” said Andrew F. Gould, the chief executive of the company, Schlumberger.

“The drilling and producing of shale gas wells in Central Europe will be very different from doing so in the southern United States for financial and logistical, social and regulatory reasons,” Mr. Gould said during Oil & Money, a conference convened by the International Herald Tribune.

Iran’s Bushehr nuclear plant to receive fuel next month

The United States and Israel maintain that Iran, a country awash in oil, is using Bushehr and its enrichment program covertly to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran denies the charge, maintaining it is looking past a period when its "peak oil" exports decline.

Bulgaria hopes for new Russian natural gas price reduction -- minister

SOFIA (Itar-Tass) -- Bulgarian Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism Traicho Traikov said his country hoped to secure a new reduction in the price of Russian natural gas at the upcoming talks with Gazprom.

Ontario puts focus on green energy, jobs: minister

OTTAWA -- It is no surprise that Ontario is the target of an international green energy trade dispute, the Canadian province's energy minister said on Wednesday, given the formidable growth of its renewable power sector.

Ontario, Canada's most populous province and the country's economic heartland, is the target of a Japanese complaint to the World Trade Organization about renewable energy equipment.

Japan invests $120m in ethanol plant

In the Philippines the province of San Mariano, Isabela, is to receive a $120 million (€86 million) investment for the construction of an ethanol plant.

...The project will see sugarcane planted across 11,000 hectares in San Mariano, creating jobs for roughly 15,000 farmers, in addition to a further 500 jobs in the new plant itself.

Sun Shines on Solar

Job growth may be in the dumps for most businesses, but in the solar arena, the sun is shining, according to a report released this morning.

Part 1: What constitutes overpopulation in America?

Somehow, innumerates pretend they possess a case for unlimited population growth. Can they rationalize that today the USA loses 250 creatures to extinction annually because of habitat loss? Every added American causes 12.6 acres to be destroyed to support him/her: known as "ecological footprint'. If we add another 100 million--that equals 1.26 billion acres of wilderness choked by concrete and asphalt. Creature extinction rates inevitably rise from that equation.

Our cities suffer gridlock and toxic air beyond comprehension. Quality of life spirals into the toilet. We import 7 out of 10 barrels of oil. What happens when Peak Oil becomes serious in the coming years? Food?

Which U.S. states are most energy efficient?

U.S. states made significant progress in boosting energy efficiency this year even though Congress failed to pass a major climate and energy bill, says a 50-state annual scorecard released Wednesday.

States are now spending nearly twice as much on energy efficiency as in 2007 and twice as many adopted or advanced energy-saving building codes for homes and commercial properties in the last year, according to the 2010 scorecard from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, an independent and non-profit group.

Import Prices in U.S. Fell in September, Reflecting Drop in Oil

The cost of goods imported into the U.S. fell more than forecast in September, contributing to a slowdown in inflation that is concerning the Federal Reserve.

The 0.3 percent decrease in the import-price index exceeded the 0.2 percent drop projected by the median forecast of 52 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The 3.5 percent gain over the past 12 months was the smallest year-over-year increase since November.

EIA ups US gas production guess

The US Energy Information Administration slightly raised its estimate for domestic natural gas output this year, but forecast still lower production next year as weak prices slow drilling.

US production of natural gas is expected to rise 2.2% to 61.29 billion cubic feet per day this year, driven by a continued increase in drilling despite tanking prices, the EIA said in its October Short-Term Energy Outlook.

European bid to freeze deepwater drilling collapses

A bid to freeze deepwater drilling in Europe in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico disaster has collapsed under pressure from the multi-billion North Sea oil industry.

Petrobras Stock Rating Cut by Credit Suisse After World's Largest Offering

Petroleo Brasileiro SA’s stock rating was cut by Credit Suisse Group AG, the third downgrade by an analyst this month following the company’s $70 billion share sale.

EU Says It Won't Apply `Retroactivity' When Restricting Carbon Offsets

The European Union’s planned proposal to impose extra quality restrictions on the use of United Nations emissions offsets linked to hydrofluorocarbons after 2012 won’t be retroactive, a senior EU official said.

New Warnings About the Challenges of Oil Depletion

Over three jam-packed days at the sixth annual Conference of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas (ASPO USA), a single, coherent picture of a world unprepared to encounter energy limits began to emerge, articulated by an impressive array of experts on energy, economics and the environment. From across the political spectrum, Rear Admiral Lawrence Rice, former Carter Secretary of Energy Dr. James Schlesinger, and former Green Party Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader offered up remarkably similar accounts of both the timeline for declines in available oil supplies and the global and national challenges that will accompany a nation that has never fully grappled with either liquid fuel depletion or its implications for a highly oil dependent society. As Dr. Schlesinger dryly remarked, “Can our political process face up to the challenge? I see absolutely no reason for optimism.” All three men expressed concern that our political leadership has thus far failed to grapple with peak oil. Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (Rep., Maryland), leader of the Congressional Peak Oil Caucus, observed that China’s strategic response to energy depletion was considerably more advanced than our own.

China, Oil and the (New) Great Game

Future historians may well agree that the twenty-first century Silk Road first opened for business on December 14, 2009. That was the day a crucial stretch of pipeline officially went into operation linking the fabulously energy-rich state of Turkmenistan (via Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan) to Xinjiang Province in China’s far west. Hyperbole did not deter the spectacularly named Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, Turkmenistan’s president, from bragging, “This project has not only commercial or economic value. It is also political. China, through its wise and farsighted policy, has become one of the key guarantors of global security.”

Saudi has no plans to extend capacity for now

There are no projects in hand to extend Saudi Arabian oil capacity, which stands at 12 million barrels per day (bpd), Saudi-owned al-Hayat newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing an unnamed high level source.

The capacity figure places the kingdom level with Iraq’s ambition to reach 12 million bpd output capacity this decade.

Oil prices have stabilised – for the moment

The return to spare capacity in Opec has reduced the spectre of “peak oil”, at least in the short term and so too have developments in non-Opec supplies. In 2010 we expect these supplies to increase year-on-year by 1.3m b/d and in 2011 to rise by 0.6m b/d. However next year’s increase consists largely of natural gas liquids, condensates and biofuels. In contrast, conventional crude production is forecast to remain flat.

Spare capacity is not confined to oil supply. There is also clear evidence of enduring surpluses in both the tanker and refining industries, the consequence of a significant new-build programme – triggered by the booming returns in the middle of the decade – coming to market just as the recession destroyed demand.

OPEC to Agree to Keep Quotas Unchanged at Meeting Tomorrow, Delegate Says

OPEC will agree to keep production quotas unchanged when it meets tomorrow in Vienna because the oil market is well-balanced for the next few months, a delegate said today.

While demand is slowly increasing, commercial stockpiles remain high for the moment and OPEC should raise supply again when it becomes clear that demand is overtaking supply, said the Persian Gulf oil official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Iraqi oil output plans overambitious - executives

LONDON - Problems with security, political instability and poor infrastructure mean plans by Iraq to expand its crude oil production dramatically over the next few years are overambitious, oil executives told an industry conference.

Iraq is sitting on some of the biggest proven oil reservoirs in the world, which Iraqi officials said last week were as high as 143 billion barrels, giving it the world's fourth-largest reserves after Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Iran.

But it will take many years for the country to turn those vast resources into extra oil production.

Thar coal seen as only solution to power crisis

KARACHI: Renowned scientist and member of the Planning Commission Dr Samar Mubarakmand has asked the government to declare coal a matter of national security and of national importance to encourage companies to invest in this sector.

While the President Flies, the People Queue for Fuel

LILONGWE - A public spat has developed between the Malawian government and organisations in the small south-eastern African country over foreign exchange being "wasted" on foreign trips undertaken by President Bingu wa Mutharika. The consequence has been repeated fuel shortages, organisations say.

Kazakhstan Seeks $100B in O&G Investments

Kazakhstan is seeking up to $100 billion in investment in its oil and gas exploration and production sector over the next decade as the nation seeks to more than double crude exports and sustain rapid economic growth, Prime Minister Karim Massimov said on Wednesday.

"We are currently exporting 1.31 million barrels (of crude oil) a day and we aim to take it to 3 million barrels a day," by 2020, Massimov told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview in Singapore.

Natural-gas fueled power plant planned at Kalama

KALAMA, Wash. (AP) -- Energy Northwest dropped plans last year to build a power plant at Kalama that would have been fueled by converting coal and oil refining byproducts into a gas.

After peak oil, peak steel?

You’ve heard of peak oil, but you may soon start hearing about “peak steel”.

Or you will if you listen to Eiji Hayashida, chief executive of JFE Steel of Japan. The head of the world’s fifth biggest steelmaker told the FT that from around 2015 world steel output will reach a plateau for at least 5-10 years, driven both by resource constraints and a weakening in demand.

Nigeria: Former president's aide indicted

ABUJA, Nigeria—A personal aide to former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo faces a six-count indictment accusing him of money laundering in a case involving massive bribes paid by a former Halliburton Co. subsidiary.

Deepwater drilling: risks and consequences

What if, as in Hungary's red sludge disaster, oil executives faced possible prosecution for spills that result in loss of life?

Canada Oil Sands: Trying for a Better Environmental Image

Since President Obama entered office the subject of Canada’s oil sands and its environmental impact has been a thorn in the side of U.S.-Canada relations. First it was the president-elect criticizing the “dirty” oil sands during the election campaign. Then criticisms came from Capitol Hill politicians over the carbon footprint of the oil sands during discussions over building a new pipeline to haul more oil sands bitumen to U.S. refineries along the Gulf Coast. In recent weeks, the debate has been re-energized as some of the leading anti-oil Congressional leaders ventured to Canada. While in Canada, these American politicians agreed to meet with various parties involved in the oil sands development debate. From media reports and comments by people in attendance at these meetings, little progress was made by the supporters of the oil sands in swaying the views of these U.S. politicians, although two U.S. Senators have sponsored a bill to make Canadian oil sands production exempt from any import restrictions.

Nissan Leaf news: BP agrees to put fast electric-charging units at its gas stations

Electric car drivers will be able to go to gas stations to top off their batteries, thanks to a deal announced today between ECOtality and oil giant BP.

BP Products North America Inc. has agreed to take part in a pilot project that will put fast-charging stations at 45 BP and ARCO locations, with the chargers coming online as early as March. Specific locations for the chargers have not been determined, but BP is expected to install them in Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga, as well as other cities that are part of “The EV Project.” The Blink electric vehicle DC Fast Chargers are capable of giving a full charge in 30 minutes, ECOtality said.

Kurt Cobb: Prelude, my peak oil novel, coming soon

I wrote Prelude in hopes of reaching a much wider audience than is typically possible through blogs, articles and nonfiction books. I believe I've produced not only an engaging tale, but also a tool for activists to use to spread the word about the challenges of peak oil.

New Zealand: Parliamentary Report Warns Of New Oil Shock Looming

Decades of economic turmoil and recessions face the world as oil supplies run low and energy prices surge, says a parliamentary researcher.

Parliamentary Library economics and industry research analyst Clint Smith has set out in his paper, The Next Oil Shock, evidence that the New Zealand economy -- and those of other developed and developing nations -- will be exposed to supply crunches and price spikes.

Though known oil reserves will last another 25 to 32 years, low-cost reserves are being rapidly exhausted, and an oil "supply crunch" could start in 2012 or shortly afterward as demand rises and supplies fail to keep pace.

"World oil production capacity will not grow or fall for the next five years, while demand will continue to rise," said Mr Smith.

Summary here. Full report is here [PDF].

New report 'demands a rethink on oil'

Conservation organisation WWF-New Zealand is calling on the government to rethink its hands-off approach to future oil prices as a new report published today by the New Zealand Parliament warns of impending price shocks.

Crude Oil Rises as IEA Increases Demand Forecasts, China's Imports Climb

Oil climbed for the first day in three in New York after the International Energy Agency raised its global demand forecasts and China reported crude imports reached a record.

The IEA increased its forecasts for worldwide crude use by 300,000 barrels a day this year and next. Futures rose as much as 1.1 percent after Chinese customs data showed the world’s largest energy consumer imported a record 23.3 million metric tons of crude in September.

Heating costs cool, giving homeowners some relief

NEW YORK — Most U.S. homeowners should get some relief on their heating bills this winter.

The price of natural gas, the fuel that supplies 70 percent of the nation's heat, is relatively low for the second year in a row, and falling. Also, forecasters predict a warmer winter across much of the country — especially in the Southeast, which suffered through a historically cold winter last year.

IEA cuts 2011 oil demand growth estimate, ups 2010

(Reuters) - Global oil demand growth is expected to accelerate for the rest of this year but is revised lower for 2011 and could slow if the world economy disappoints, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Wednesday.

Global oil demand next year will still be higher at 88.16 million barrels per day (bpd) compared with 86.94 million bpd this year, but the rate of growth will slow.

Gasoline Supply Drops to Lowest Level Since June in Survey

U.S. gasoline supplies probably declined last week to the lowest level since June as refiners performed seasonal maintenance and imports fell.

Stockpiles dropped 1.5 million barrels, or 0.7 percent, in the week ended Oct. 8 from 219.9 million in the prior seven-day period, based on the median of 18 analyst estimates before an Energy Department report tomorrow. Oil inventories increased in the survey and distillates slipped.

Chinese crude imports hit high

The world’s second largest oil consumer China imported a record amount of crude in September as refineries produced more fuel to meet growing domestic demand.

The 35% year-on-year increase in monthly imports contributed to gains that took US crude above $82 today. China is the world's fastest growing oil market and Beijing's rising fuel needs to meet robust economic expansion are driving global demand growth.

OPEC to Maintain Output Quotas, Urge Compliance, Kuwait's Al Sabah Says

Kuwait will recommend that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries maintains oil production quotas, the country’s Oil Minister, Sheikh Ahmad al- Abdullah al-Sabah, said in an interview today.

“We will maintain, and we’ll be asking for more compliance,” which is currently about 54 percent, Sheikh Ahmad said at the airport before leaving Kuwait to attend an OPEC meeting in Vienna.

Algerian LNG output falls

Algeria's liquefied natural gas (LNG) output has fallen to about half of the country's installed capacity after sweeping leadership changes at the state petroleum company Sonatrach brought on by a government corruption investigation. Such low LNG production levels are highly unusual at a time when European utilities would normally be building up their gas inventories in preparation for the northern hemisphere's winter heating season.

Ukraine challenges $1.7 bln gas deal with Russia

(Reuters) - Ukraine's State Prosecutor has filed a lawsuit to cancel a January 2009 gas deal under which Ukraine's Naftogaz paid $1.7 billion to Russia's Gazprom , the prosecutor's office said on Wednesday.

Gazprom ups spending plans

Russia's state-owned energy giant, Gazprom, plans to increase its investment programme significantly in 2011, Deputy Economy Minister Stanislav Voskresensky said today.

Total Starts Halting All Its French Refineries as Workers Extend Strikes

Total SA, Europe’s biggest refiner, started to halt operations at all its French plants because of strike action, increasing the likelihood of fuel shortages.

The industrial action is “incompatible with the normal functioning of the refineries,” Total spokesman Michael Crochet-Vourey said by telephone. The Paris-company has five active plants in France, able to process 945,000 barrels of crude oil a day.

“Total workers have not only decided to extend the strike but to toughen the action by stopping all the refining installations,” the CGT union, the largest in the industry, said in a statement. “Since yesterday not one drop of fuel is leaving Total sites.”

France taps into emergency stock

France has tapped emergency oil reserves, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said today, as the country copes with a near halt in oil refining due to strikes at refineries and its top oil port.

EU Moves to Toughen Rules for Offshore Oil Drillers

The European Union took a step toward tightening rules on oil exploration with an action plan prompted by BP Plc’s spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The European Commission, the EU’s regulatory arm, said it would propose stricter standards for offshore oil drillers and broader liability rules. The aim would be to ensure that oil-rig operators demonstrate their technical capacity to deal with accidents and to widen EU environmental-liability legislation covering coastal areas to include all marine waters.

Norway energy giant won't return to Gulf until spring

Statoil ASA, Norway’s biggest oil and gas producer, won’t resume drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico until “early spring” at the earliest, after the U.S. authorities lifted a ban yesterday.

Lifting of Deep-Water Drilling Ban Fails to Win Praise for Obama

The Obama administration’s decision yesterday to lift its ban on deep-water drilling ahead of schedule satisfied neither energy companies nor critics of offshore oil and natural-gas exploration.

Resuming drilling is a risk worth taking

Given the financial damage to the battered Gulf economy and the nation's need for domestic oil, resuming drilling operations in the highly productive Gulf is a calculated risk worth taking. Sure, it would be wonderful if solar and wind and other green energy sources made new drilling unnecessary, as environmental groups desire. But the nation isn't there. As long as the best place to find oil is offshore, drilling should resume and expand, with strong new safeguards in place.

Risks remain unacceptable

Nearly six months after the BP disaster, the Gulf Coast is still reeling, but Big Oil's influence on Congress and our energy policy continues to rampage ahead, out of control. The BP disaster was a wake-up call, but our leaders keep hitting the snooze button, most recently by ending the moratorium on new deep-water drilling.

Shell gives MIT $25m for gas, oil research

Royal Dutch Shell PLC will give the Massachusetts Institute of Technology $25 million to research new, efficient technologies to help find and deliver oil and natural gas, officials are expected to announce today.

U.N. nuclear agency faces dilemma over Syria

(Reuters) - The U.N. nuclear agency says Syria is stonewalling its investigation into suspected atomic activity, but it may hold back from escalating the dispute to avoid opening a new front at a time of rising tension with Iran.

Finding their inner square at the annual peak oil meeting

Seen as the fringe and "out there" wing of the energy world, the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas-USA shows signs of finding its inner nerd as its sets its sights on making a bigger policy footprint.

The Great Transition: Beyond Carbon

If there is one thing that defines the 21st century, it is the end of oil. But not just oil. Over the coming decades, we face the prospect of terminal depletion of the world’s major mineral energy reserves, with major ramifications for the future of industrial civilization.

A survey of about a hundred of the world’s most respected petroleum geologists by the Association for the Study of Peak Oil found that the vast majority expected world oil production to peak between 2010 and 2020, and that “the ‘peak’ is more likely to look like a bump on a long ridge than the classic bell-shaped curve.”

2011 Tesla Roadster 2.5 S Review

Green cars are not supposed to be like this. They’re for hairshirt wearing, bike path populating hippies who are obsessed with how few miles their produce has traveled and whether their child’s Kindergarten is LEED Certified Gold for eco-friendliness.

Chevy Volt tiff: Price is only real flaw

Oh, puhleeeze.

Knock off the carping, sniping and snarking about the Chevy Volt (see earlier post here that includes GM's full-throated defense). The attacks from Volt rivals and from writers seem so silly, so irrelevant.

They are about on par with criticizing a diesel railroad locomotive because its diesel engines turn a generator that runs the electric motors that turn the wheels that drive the train. Who cares? Works fine.

U.S. Said to Allow Rise in Ethanol Content in Gasoline Blends Up to 15%

The Obama administration will grant a request from ethanol producers to permit higher concentrations of the corn-based fuel additive in gasoline for vehicles made in 2007 and later, according to a person familiar with the decision.

China's wind power capacity to grow five-fold by 2020

BEIJING (AFP) – China's wind power capacity will increase more than five-fold over the next decade from 2009, a report forecast on Wednesday, as the country steps up its drive to develop clean energy.

Total installed wind power capacity will reach at least 150 gigawatts by 2020 compared with 25.8 gigawatts at the end of 2009, according to the China Wind Power Outlook 2010 report.

Jeff Rubin: Factories pay price for using green power, twice

Just because the Waxman-Markey bill is roadkill on the U.S. Senate floor doesn’t mean the U.S. doesn’t already pay a heavy price for its carbon emissions. If you doubt that, try getting your local power utility to build a new coal-fired generating station. Between 2006 and 2009, applications for 83 new coal plants were either turned down or withdrawn in the U.S.

Murray plan jeopardises world food needs

THE Australian Lot Feeders’ Association (ALFA) has joined the chorus of opposition to the recommendations by the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) to significantly reduce agricultural water availability in the basin.

ALFA President Jim Cudmore, stated “that the proposal to reduce agricultural water availability by between 27-37pc will not only cause irreparable harm to affected rural and regional communities but will impede the ability of Australia to feed the world”.

Poverty forces Roma people to scavenge toxic e-waste

Persecuted Roma communities in France are being forced to scavenge for dangerous e-waste, potentially threatening health and questioning the country's recycling policies.

A Climate Proposal Beyond Cap and Trade

The death of cap and trade doesn’t have to mean the death of climate policy. The alternative revolves around much more, and much better organized, financing for clean energy research. It’s an idea with a growing list of supporters, a list that even includes conservatives — most of whom opposed cap and trade.

EPA: Hope for progress with China despite friction

SHANGHAI – China and the U.S. are working together on cutting greenhouse gas emissions despite the deadlock over a broader global agreement on fighting climate change, the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday.

"My hope is that we will see continued progress on the issues. They are vitally important," EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, said in Shanghai after attending U.N. climate talks in northern China's Tianjin last week.

C.D.C. Girds for Climate Change

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced their first-ever direct grants to states and cities to study the potential effects of climate change in the United States.

Some $5.25 million will be split among eight states and two cities seeking to evaluate and mitigate health impacts from everything from hotter summers to an anticipated increase in waterborne illness resulting from flooding as glaciers melt and raise sea levels, the centers said.

2 tidbits I saw - one far more interesting than the other.


"Watching TV or playing computer games for more than two hours a day is related to greater psychological difficulties irrespective of how active children are."

And the less interesting - aka "hey! Educating over peak oil is gonna be hard"

I saw that first one yesterday, and wondered if what's true for kids is also true for adults. There have been all those studies linking Internet use with depression.

It also reminded me of that Putnam study, where they scanned people's brains and found the benefits of social interaction don't apply over the Internet. Our stone age brains need face-to-face interaction, not phosphor to phosphor.

Some people like to say TOD is a community, but I've come to believe the opposite. Community is people you know in real life, not imaginary friends on the Internets.

As for Facebook and its ilk...I wonder if one day we'll look back and see it as just another version of TV.

"Community is people you know in real life, not imaginary friends on the Internets."

Jeez, Leanan. I always feared you were just a computer assisted figment of my imagination :-(

I saw that first one yesterday, and wondered if what's true for kids is also true for adults

I am aware of the claims of the 'smash your TV crowd' about refresh rates and sound+moving images bypassing parts of the brain. These claims are coming from somewhere - I just don't know how one can really measure the effects without effecting the outcome.

Considering I've been using 'the internet' back when I was but a node on a UUCP link - I'm not sure I'm the best person to judge the effects.

the benefits of social interaction don't apply over the Internet.

*smile* I've met my fellow man - ya sure there are benefits to, as my old man would call 'em "the ugly public"

TOD is a community, but I've come to believe the opposite.

In the sense that it tends to be re-enforcing of known positions.....sure.

I don't think it has anything to do with refresh rates, though anything's possible.

If I had to guess, I'd say the problem is sitting. It may be that going to the gym or Little League practice a few times a week just isn't enough to offset the toxic effects of sitting - especially when so many of us sit at work or school all day long.

And also, that TV and computer use replaces face to face social interaction for many.

And also, that TV and computer use replaces face to face social interaction for many.

I found that all of my children communicate by instant messaging and the like only with people they know from real life, ie classmates or relatives. Seems to be quite a different attitude compared to their parents generation.

Agreed that sitting is bad, both scientific studies and personal experience support this idea.
I have set up a standing workstation which I use intermittently, but I would like to make a home-built treadmill desk (The Steelcase ones cost more than $2000).

I don't always like sitting all day in my office, but the majority of my day is spent at a lab bench, either standing or on a stool. I've made a point of using one of the few stools that has a back for when I need a little less time spent hunched over Erlenmeyers and volumetrics. Still, it does feel better using the stool than being sat in a padded chair at times, though I can't do all such delicate tasks standing.

I'd like one of those treadmill desks, too. I, too, have a standing workstation I use intermittently. I'm still getting used to it.

Standing gets uncomfortable after a while, and I think being in motion, even if slowly, on a treadmill would feel better for the long term (plus blood would not pool in your legs).

Sometimes i wonder if people on this forum ever eat or sleep. All this interneting isn't good. Get outside, enjoy life. I've taken up running, which really helps with stress. I also like looking good for the ladies so i can have lots of babies to make all you people mad (you know all those pretty girls all want to hop in the sack with me) :) :) Even becoming an alcoholic and drinking at a picnic table at a local park is better then sitting on the webs all day.

Depends mymom. I'm sitting in front of a monitor 16 hrs a day/7 days a week for my work be it in the office or on a drill rig. I don't need to apply constant effort so I'm grateful I can bounce in and out of TOD all day. When monitoring my wells at home my social interactions are with my wife, dog and the TV. I've got some social interaction with my work mates but that's pretty much the same ole same ole. My next most common social interaction is with the lady at the drive thru window of the donut shop every morning. I suspect a good many of our other TOD cohorts are tied to their monitors whether they're surfing TOD or not.

I sneak looks at TOD while my code is compiling, but sometimes I get pulled in, which is bad for me, because I bill by the hour for my contract software development, and I cannot bill my clients for time I spend surfing.
But my internet behavior can be addicting when it interferes with healthier behaviors like exercise and social interaction, which I suspect is true for almost everybody on TOD.

Some people like to say TOD is a community, but I've come to believe the opposite. Community is people you know in real life, not imaginary friends on the Internets.

It's still a community, by definition. From dictionary.com:

3. a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists (usually prec. by the ): the business community; the community of scholars.

It just has or doesn't have certain properties that other communities have. This one doesn't have the face-to-face property.

I meant community in the Putnam sense.

ok, thanks for the clarification.

Some people like to say TOD is a community, but I've come to believe the opposite. Community is people you know in real life, not imaginary friends on the Internets.

Wow, that post leanan was quite a moment of self reflection (since you spend plenty of time on TOD) and who knows, maybe second guessing the whole purpose of this experience.

Like all things, it needs to be done as part of other experiences, like face to face interaction. Fact is, how many people do each of us know in which we can exchange peak oil ideas face to face? My wife won't even talk about peak oil. Most people I know don't even have a clue about the topic. And that's a big part of what the internet has come to exemplify, and that is the ability to connect with people that are interested in a particular topic.

For the intermittent moments I pop onto TOD I enjoy it very much and never expect it to be a substitute for face to face interaction. All things in moderation is the key to a full life. So perk up Leanan.

I've been thinking of the future of TOD a lot lately. As I've said before, in many ways I feel our job is done. Peak oil is now in the rear-view mirror.

People often ask for more social-networking type tools here. Chat, instant messaging, user blogs, etc. My inclination is against it, though. I don't think it's a good thing to be encouraging people to spend more time and energy online.

(This is my own personal view, and not that of the staff in general.)

Not sure about others, but I hope you keep it up. I may not drop by for several months, esp in summer or harvest, but I come back to get the skinny. Still no other place like TOD for what it does. For many of us, PO is in the rear view, but not for the majority. And new arguments pop up like flies. I like the sorting that goes on here, and the news compilation at the top of every drumbeat. No other place quite as good.

Like Earl alludes above, you get both sides here, and for many of us, our contacts that are PO aware are limited.

I agree with you about the chat and such. For those inclined, emails can still be listed in your profile if you like.

It's a good question whether TOD is the place to continue the work but I too think there is still a job to be done, too, since it will take years before an appreciable number of people accept peak oil.

The folks at realclimate.org could probably say that climate change is proved, too, and yet they seem to be as busy as ever.


There's an old saying that will apply to TOD...You don't miss your water till your well goes dry.

Kind of met you at ASPO Sacramento. Best wishes on your PO work.

Isn't it as much a matter of working post peak? I mean, my most compelling question has to do with how we will triage the remaining energy and FF materials... who does it, based on what? This is where a better understanding of how the peak will progress might aid planning.

Assuming, of course, we do not crap out as a species from resource wars.

If there is to be any hope, we cannot just be a respository of negative reductionists. Our maps of the future need to be more than guesses and truisms, with "Here there be monsters" inscribed at the margins.


I mean, my most compelling question has to do with how we will triage the remaining energy and FF materials... who does it, based on what?

Agenda 21
There is the 1st stab at it.

Be aware while you look in these parts, you'll find things like (taken from 3 sources was looking for the water quote):

For more than a hundred years we heard about oil being a "fossil fuel." No one ever explained how fossils are down FIVE MILES in geological stable zones where oil comes from. Yet acheologists will tell you that the geologic record for life stops just a few yards down in the ground ?

Here are some of the items that are considered NOT sustainable: private property, fossil fuels, golf courses, ski lodges, irrigation, consumerism, paved roads, commercial agriculture, farmland, grazing animals, traditional family units.

Not stated in the UN documents is the fact that in order to meet the goal, a community would have to reserve thousands of acres of land to set up expensive solar panels or even more land for wind mills. Consider that it takes a current 50 megawatt gas-fired generating plant about 2-5 acres of land to produce its power. Yet to create that same amount of power through the use of solar panels would require at least 1,000 acres. Using wind mills to generate 50 megawatts would require over 4,000 acres of land, while chopping up birds and creating a deafening roar. The cost of such “alternative” energy to the community would be vastly prohibitive. Yet, such unworkable ideas are the environmentally-correct orders of the days that the mayors are being urged to follow.

Perhaps the most egregious action offered in the Urban Environmental Accords deals with the topic of water. Action number twenty calls for adoption and implementation of a policy to reduce individual water consumption by 10% by 2020. Interestingly, UN begins by stating: “Cities with potable water consumption greater than 100 liters per capita per day will adopt and implement policies to reduce consumption by 10 percent by 2015.” There is no basis for the 100 liter figure other than employing a very clever use of numbers to lower the bar and control the debate. One must be aware that 100 liters equals about 26 gallons per person, per day. According to the UN, each person should only have 10% less than 26 gallons each day to drink, bathe, flush toilets, wash clothes, water lawns, wash dishes, cook, and more.

As far as based on what - how much money do you have VS how much money do I have. Different rules based on how much money you have.

Notably absent from Agenda 21 was any suggestion at population control.

Who seriously believe we are going to be able to maintain the current level of energy production? Having said that, why would the 4000 acres for wind power or the 1000 acres would need to be done in an agricultural location? In fact, deserts are much better for solar... and for wind for that matter. Mountains, where wind is steadier and more available, are better for wind power. As for birds:


Aside from that, oil is produced from oceanic sediment that is subducted...

And, who seriously maintains that the fossil record ends a few yards down into the ground?

And, finally, it is my fear that it will be economics that dictates the determinations of who gets the oil/gas/etc., who lives and who dies. And when that happens, the reaction of the dispossessed may not be pleasant. I don't have an answer to many of these questions.

Thanks for commenting. And for the link to Agenda 21. I appreciate it.


Hi Earl,

I've been suggesting forming discussion groups with people in "your" area for some time. Our group met yesterday (I won't mention the topics so as to avoid a fiasco like last time) as we do every other week for a long lunch discussion (1 1/2 - 2 hours).

In rural areas like mine it's pretty easy to stick up a note on one of the bulletin boards in town or write a letter to the editor. I'm sure there are similar ways in more populated areas.

There are only three of us and we've made little effort to get bigger. There are many pros and cons regarding group size. In our case, we've all known each other for 30+ years and pretty much share the same views.


I've been suggesting forming discussion groups with people in "your" area for some time.

My area, you mean rural northern california, a couple hours north of SF? Anyway, I was mostly trying to help leanan to understand that peak oil is a very specific topic and such getting a big group to discuss it lends itself to the internet, although its a medium that lacks face to face interaction. But also, the information on peak oil comes in here and there and this site acts as a news station of sorts to assimilate new information. I'm not sure a group of people sitting down to discuss the topic could equal the TOD experience.

Leanan mentions peak oil is a past tense topic, since many think it occurred in 04/05 and questions its continued pertinence. I for one think the situation is just starting to get really interesting. We haven't even gotten to the descent from plateau yet and things are popping. I'm as interested in how peak oil manifests itself economically as reserves deplete and price rises as any of the other information that is discussed, like techno possible fixes, etc.

I think TOD is cutting edge and look forward to many years to come of dropping in to find out the latest.

Hi Earl. I almost purchased in Ukiah many years back! You near there?

I agree with your assessment about TOD. It is an important link to much important knowledge.

Thanks for being part of it.


What about the studies showing we are hardwired for up to 150-200 contacts? That was supposed to be what controlled numbers in our closest circles, etc. Does the Internet increase that; does it serve as a single contact but provide a multiplier? If so, is it a good or bad thing? How do we evaluate that... what is a victory?

This is an interesting thread.


People don't actually interact with everyone they are around when they are online, what I get is a small number of people that I engage with (either actively or passively) and then a blur of "everyone else posting".

Much the same as walking through a crowd IRL, or perhaps closer to driving down the freeway.

A day late, I know - hope you see this, Leanan.

Very interesting post - do you have a link to the Putnam study? Or a title or something more I can use to find it?



Edited to add: Never mind; I see it's the Bowling Alone guy.

Yes, that guy, but I don't think it was covered in "Bowling Alone."

He was surprised by the results. He thought the Internet would prove to be different from TV, in that TV watching is passive and isolating, while the Internet could create connections with other people.

Can't find the link at the moment. Will look.

Greater psychological difficulties are a small price to pay for stimulating brain function.

(sarcasm off)

I want facebook's "like" button available for all comments. Some of the comments have a better-than-slashdot quality humour.

Desalination plants lose $1 m a week

The Gold Coast desalination plant and Brisbane's recycled water scheme together ran up a $57m loss in the year to June 30 -- losses to the taxpayer of more than $1m a week.
The losses would have been even higher -- $86.1m -- had it not been for a $28.5m tax writedown.

This has become a big election year issue in Australia. But we can’t get it on the media’s radar screen in California where 19 of these are planned for the coast.

UAE desalination plant spending to jump 300%

It said the price of desalinated water has started to rise again. There has been considerable progress in reducing the energy consumption of desalination plants, which has brought down operating costs, but the cost of building new plants is rising. This is largely due to extra spending to protect the environment, and the cost of more energy efficient equipment, the report finds. Five years ago the benchmark price for a thousand litres of desalinated water was around $0.50, but today the best plants struggle to deliver water for less than $0.60 per thousand litres. Despite this, water from a desalination plant is still less than one thousandth of the price of bottled waters.

They “struggle to produce water at $0.60 per thousand litres” but they never disclose what they pay for the oil to generate the electricity. What would the price be if they paid market prices for oil?

Shuaibah produces energy and water quietly, cleanly

The plant, which processes 194.4 million gallons of seawater per day...

He said 300 megawatts of the energy produced is used internally for the power and desalination plants.

That’s a whopping 12,000 kwh/acre foot of water (325,000 gallons) including what is “used internally.” So how much does a power plant use “internally?”

So how much does a power plant use “internally?”

The water used in the boiler is recycled and only a small amount escapes. It is treated water that they try to keep the PH at 6, or neutral. But they use millions of gallons for cooling. If they are on the ocean they can use salt water but if inland they must use fresh water. They recycle that water also but thousands of gallons per day is lost through evoperation in the cooling towers. Drive by them and you can see the clouds of water vapor rising from them.

Desal plants are really energy hogs. Using desalinated water is just burning oil or gas to get water. When oil peaks desalinated water will peak also.

Ron P.

Using desalinated water is just burning oil or gas to get water.

What about using the "waste heat" from a thermal powerplant? I would think that thermodynamic efficiency would take a small hit, but at least you are using something we currently just dump into the environment. Of course if you are pushing high pressure water through an Osmotic membrane, then you can only use high quality energy (work).

Using waste heat is where desalination can actually be cost effective. Then all you really pay for is the vacuum pump. And capital costs, of course.

Sixty cents for a thousand liters of water sounds pretty good to me. That just the operating costs? Are they desalinating seawater or do they have a source of brackish water?

It seems to me that a desalination plant's purpose is to produce water, not money. If a desal plant is losing money it must be because there is otherwise enough water to support a price below its economic break-even point.

When people in Southern California are choosing to let their yards go brown because water is too expensive to use on grass, then I expect that the market will be right.

Desalination is the water equivalent of hydrogen fuel - it is "manufactured".
12,000kWh per ac.ft is 9.75kWh per cu.m, or for those of you who pay by 100cu.ft, 28kWh/100cu.ft. Price the electricity it $0.10/kWh and you will have a price similar to what the cheaper cities charge for water.

Of course, this is just the energy, does not include the O&M of the plant, or the return on investment for the capital cost. All of which will add up to about the same again as the energy cost.

So now you have potable water, that you have to deliver in the normal way, so more cost still.

This is why desal is the last resort. The most expensive, current, water supply options for LA are now at the same level as desal, that is why so many plants are on the drawing board. Unlike surface water, they are, at least, weather independent.

Waste heat from a power plant is usually not quite enough, but desalinating warm water is easier than cold water. It would be possible to modify the cooling tower arrangement to condense the vapour and collect the water. This would require even more cooling water, and for it to be pumped to to the top of the cooling tower.

Doing desal when you haven't done all the water efficiency stuff first is as silly as growing corn for ethanol to fuel SUV's, instead of just using smaller vehicles, and no country would be silly enough to do that.

Distillation techniques for desalinization have been known for centuries, but what about reverse osmosis technology? Should be considerably more efficient if done correctly. Cleaning off the membrane is the only difficulty.

As for energy, why use kilowatts? Concentrated solar would do an excellent job in the Mojave Desert, pipeline seawater in, pipeline fresh water out, and keep some around to turn the desert green with high value, low water consumption crops. Lettuce not the best idea. Maybe aloe vera or other succulents which have cacti properties. Process locally and sell off the concentrate.

RO is the state of the art for distillation, and has been for over a decade. However, when you have large amounts of heat available, distillation techniques may be cheaper.

Getting seawater to the Mojave is no mean feat. The energy used to get water from the north to the south via the State Water Project is not much less (about 2/3) of that used for desalination. Getting rid of the brine is something else again - you could evaporate it to salt.
And, by bringing seawater into that place, you run the risk of bringing in some kind of invasive species.
better to do the solar desal by the coast, but that land is all lived upon!

The oilstate has a powerful mainstream media partner, and it is getting ready for the return of George W. Bush as Iraq oil comes bubbling through.

The oil industry receives $133.2-280.8 billion per year in U.S. taxpayer support, but who cares?

Adding up the tax deductions, credits and other public benefits the oil industry receives, U.S. taxpayers support oil to the tune of between $133.2 billion and $280.8 billion annually, according to DTN research. It's a wide range because definitive numbers on many benefits are ranges unto themselves. Documents DTN examined didn't always pin a solid dollar figure on a tax break or other incentives.


That doesn't include another couple hundred billion in military expenses to safeguard control over sources of imported oil.

And does it include the no tax policy on jet fuel?

The "expense" of health destroyed and lives lost in the cancer alleys of Louisiana and CA?

Does it include:

the cost of the permanent drought in the South West?

increasingly frequent and ubiquitous monster 100- and 500-year storms that wash away children, houses, towns, infrastructure...?

Stronger hurricanes?

Longer warm seasons that are disrupting natural cycles and contributing to rampant beehive collapse?

The imminent extinction of moose from my state?

Mass extinction around the globe?

The acidification of the oceans?

The loss of one of the planets two ice caps in the next few years?

The melting of tundra and sea bed methane driving GW into runaway mode?


Oh my GAWD, you're saying an industry gets TAX BREAKS???? That's a stinking disaster! Call out the troops! Everyone knows every tax return should say:

1) How much did you make this year?
2) Send it all

Only that will satisfy the socialists here. Of course they'll be smart enough not to make anything, since they will only have to wait for THEIR checks to arrive, courtesy of those fools who still think they should work for a living and produce anything.

For all who are interested, Teh Tax Foundation has statistics through 2008.


My observation: while taxes are a bit higher for the top income people, they are the ones with disposable income. Trying to tax the bottom 50% to balance the budget won't work, b/c they do not have any money left to pay taxes.

Also, missing from this is any note about what those bottom dwellers pay for Social Security, which is that bit 'entitlement program' that the wealthy hate so much, and which they do not pay for, so why do they gripe?

Adding in that extra 6.2 % make a huge difference in figuring who actually pays for things.

I only wish other programs were funded like SS... say defense? That would mean that the oil companies would be paying for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan!

Of course, pay as you go is only for us suckers. We aren't even allowed to give our President a line item veto.


The above article on the Chevy Volt is yet another description of the engine not having any mechanical connection to the wheels. A different article I read a few days ago said there is a conventional mechanical drive system. Does anyone know definitively which is correct? I'm not much interested in the Volt otherwise, I'm just curious if the official descriptions were really that deceptive, or if the reporting is merely incompetent.

OK, it looks like that was answered in one of the links in the article. There is no mechanical drive train.

According to Wikipedia above 70 MPH there is a direct connection engine to wheels.


This drivetrain layout usually operates as a plug-in series hybrid design since mechanical power drives the generator, which in turn either charges the battery pack or provides power to the electric motor. At speeds higher than 70 miles per hour (110 km/h), if the battery is depleted, the IC engine is directly coupled to the wheels, hence the Volt operates as a power-split or series-parallel hybrid in this mode.

Electric motor in front driving through inefficient hypoid to rear wheels. I'll wait for something with 4 electric wheel motors.


The Volt’s 149-horse electric motor spins the sun gear. When starting off, the ring is locked to the case and power flows to the wheels through the planet carrier, providing more mechanical advantage than the Prius’ 80-horse electric motor gets driving the wheels directly. At about 70 mph, the Chevy’s motor is starting to spin too fast to be efficient, so the ring gear unlocks from the case and locks to the smaller motor/generator. Now both e-motors spin, propelling the Volt to 101 mph turning at reasonable rpm in electric mode. The Prius’ gas engine must start turning when vehicle speed exceeds 62 mph.

Once the Volt’s battery is depleted, the engine fires up and clutches to the generator to produce the power required to drive the car. Above 70 mph, when the generator couples to the ring gear, the engine gets a more efficient direct mechanical connection to the wheels. In defense of Chevy’s earlier stance, the only way this gas engine (or the Prius’) could ever drive the wheels without lots of help from the battery is if you somehow MacGyvered up a way to jam the sun gear to a stop.

OK, so they can drive the output from the engine directly, but there's no gearbox from the engine. Instead they used a more powerful electric motor driving through a 2 speed planetary gearbox. Meh, nothing revolutionary. An overweight, overcomplex, overpriced vehicle with most of two drivetrains and fuel storage systems, that gets decent mileage and can go a short ways on electric only.

GM and its suppliers have 10s of billions tied up in plants that make engines and transmissions. The only thing missing seems to be a torque convertor. I wonder whether the clutches are electric or they have a hydraulic pump and fluid logic like a regular Power Glide or Hydramatic.

They have no manufacturing plants or technology base with which to make generators, electic motors and batteries.

When all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail.

Electric-Transmission Automabile

By K. W. Stinson - Associate Professor of Automotive Engineering
The Mechanical Engineering Department has just received by gift from R. Tom Sawyer B.E.E. 1923, M.E. 1930, a 1927 Jordan coupe in which he installed an electrical transmission of his own design and manufactured by the General Electric Company while he was in their employ. This transmission consists of a direct-current generator directly connected to the engine crankshaft and a motor that is mounted back of the generator with its shaft geared to the rear axle.
The engine drives the generator and produces electrical energy which is delivered directly to the motor to drive the automobile. In this way there is no direct relation between the engine speed and the car speed at any time. The variation in the generator output for starting and high speeds is controlled by automatic field switches operated by the variation of pressure in the engine intake manifold.

I think that there were a number of electrical automatic transmissions prior to the torque convertor / planetary gearset type taking over the market.

And this wasn't even the first one. That honour would go to a Mr Ferdinand Porsche, who built the first one in 1900. had an engine, generator ("dynamo") battery, and drive the front wheels through hub motors - an arrangement being touted for "future" electric vehicles!


He went on to make a 4wd version, which is the first recorded 4x4 car in history - a series hybrid!

Almost every idea in cars was invented by 1930, it's just that many of them did not make it into production or did not stay there.

They may have lots of capability in gearbox manufacture, but this one has only a single planetary set on the electric motor.

The NY Times on the economy:

To wander exurban Pinal County, which is where Florence is located, is to find that the unemployment rate tells just half the story. Everywhere, subdivisions sit in the desert, some half-built and some dreamy wisps, like the emerald green putting green sitting amid acres of scrub and cacti. Signs offer discounts, distress sales and rent with the first and second month free.

Discounts do not help if your income is cut in half. Construction workers speak of stringing together 20-hour weeks with odd jobs, and a 45-year-old woman who was a real estate agent talks of her job making minimum wage bathing elderly patients. Many live close to the poverty line, without the conveniences they once took for granted. Pinal’s unemployment rate, like that of Arizona, stands at 9.7 percent, but state officials say that the real rate rises closer to 20 percent when part-timers and those who have stopped looking for work are added in.

At an elementary school near Ms. Wheaton’s home, an expansion of the school’s water supply was under way until thieves sneaked in at night and tore the copper pipes out of the ground to sell for scrap.

Their forecasters are predicting it won't get better for 5-15 years.

That's assuming the NZ report is wrong...

When a supply crunch forces oil prices beyond a certain point, the cost of oil forces consumers and businesses to cut other spending, inducing a recession. The recession destroys demand for oil, allowing prices to drop. Major international organisations are warning of another supply crunch as soon as 2012.

The world may be entering an era defined by relatively short periods of economic growth terminating in oil price spikes and recession.

We recently moved, and I was able to consolidate my office into our house, reducing my commute from 10 minutes to 10 steps. My North Dallas office lease was up at the end of September. When I moved in several years ago, all 8 of the ground floor offices were occupied. There are only two occupied offices left--a home health care company and a company working on the right of way for highway projects. When I turned my office keys in, the onsite property manager said that four tenants just that week had told her that they were leaving because their businesses had failed. She said that she expected to be laid off any day now.

Regarding oil supplies and (especially) OECD economies, I've compared it to a dog on a chain that keeps testing the limits of the chain and keeps getting jerked back--and each time the dog is jerked back, one link is taken out of the chain.

But in regard to more important matters, I'm deeply concerned that if the Texas Rangers make it to the World Series, it's a sign that the End of the World is at hand, not in 2012, but in 2010.


It appears that there is no water, no agriculture, and no natural resources in Pinal County. Why would people expect to be able to make a living there?

The believe in Magic? - No really we have no understanding how natural resources are a baseline on how productive an area is.

you missed the sentence about the rent-a-prison.

In the link:
The Great Transition: Beyond Carbon
it says at the end:

but it also points to the unprecedented opportunity to envision, and work toward, a far more equitable, sustainable and harmonious post-carbon civilization.

Considering the inequity where you have:
The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.
"One in 87 working-aged white men is in prison or jail, compared with 1 in 36 Hispanic men and 1 in 12 African-American men. More young (20-34) African-American men without a high school diploma or GED are currently behind bars (37 percent) than employed (26 percent)."
Gini Index by rank - where is your nation?
Voice votes in Congress to allow illegal bank paperwork to become legal. (that way none of 'em are accountable)
Books like The Ruling Class: How They Corrupted America and What We Can Do About It
And the spirited defense of the 70% waste in Carbon trading of 'at least they are doing something' and 'Carbon trading is less than 1% of the total business of investment bankers'

Exactly how are a group of people/systems that are in place which contribute to so much of the inequality going to be 'made equable'? The same goes for nation-states who's actions are less than harmonious or equable - how are these unmututal nation states going to be made mutual?

It's actually a pretty decent article, but then this is tacked on the end:

The 21st century may well signify the end of industrial civilization as-we-know-it – but it also points to the unprecedented opportunity to envision, and work toward, a far more equitable, sustainable and harmonious post-carbon civilization.

I don't know if that's just some obligatory optimistic ending required to get published, but it is pure conjecture and wishful thinking and isn't supported by anything else in the article. It is possible that such a civilization may arise someday, but none of us will live in it. We will spend the rest of our time trying to make our way through a time of chaos and transition, and the time for such new civilizations will be far in the future. When has a civilization collapsed to be immediately replaced with something new and different and better? This has been part of Greer's themes, and I agree. It seems that people simply cannot grasp the time scales involved, or perhaps they simply cannot envision a world that does not have them in it and therefore assume that they will be present to participate.

The "unprecedented opportunity" has been squandered.

Paste that quote onto the sign Wiley Coyote holds up while suspended in mid-air, after he runs off the edge of the cliff.


Thanks FM !

RE corruption of America

One comparison of obvious evils comes to mind. The financial 'titans' such as Goldman Sachs, BOA, JPMorgan Chase, etc. are obviously violating laws with impunity and, in a like fashion, BushCheneyRumsfeld et. al. obviously violated laws against torture and pre-emptive wars.

All merely illustrating that the rich and powerful can do as they damn please and not only get away with it, but represent themselves as doing good for society.

Can Oil Demand Meet Rising Global Production

EESI Congressional Briefing. Panel members included Tad Patzek, Guy Caruso, Robert Hirsch, Art Berman. Presentations, audio, and video available.

Thanks for the link, Debbie!

Debbie, I think you got that title a little backwards.
Shouldn't it be the same as the page to which you linked?

Can Oil Production Meet Rising Global Demand?

E. Swanson


Was that a Freudian slip or intentional sarcasm? The headline at the link you provided reads "Can Oil Production Meet Rising Global Demand?"

Alan from the islands

It was a slip. Thanks.

U.S. Said to Allow Rise in Ethanol Content in Gasoline Blends Up to 15%

The Obama administration will grant a request from ethanol producers to permit higher concentrations of the corn-based fuel additive in gasoline for vehicles made in 2007 and later, according to a person familiar with the decision.

Only one small station in our area is selling ethanol free fuel. The owner's family has been in the fuel distribution business for years. I asked him why he's made the decision to sell alcohol free gas. I was amazed that this "hillbilly" mom and pop gas station owner was so well informed on the subject, on the environmental, political and the technical liabilities of increasing the ethanol content of fuels. While his fuel is a bit more expensive than his competitors, he's got my business in the future.

I may write a letter to the local paper promoting his choice, as folks have complained that his gas is too expensive. I doubt that the corn farmers in the area will approve.

On the subject of corn, "The Other Gold":

'Shocking' corn prices: the other rising gold market:

While gold bullion reaches record prices, golden corn demands its share of attention. Food prices have skyrocketed worldwide, and will soon hit consumers at grocery stores and restaurants.


Meantime, real gold in record territory (again):

(BTW, Bullion Direct has a link to this morning's Drumbeat. I've not noticed this before. And so it grows.)

http://www.quotecorn.com/ says corn is 579 cents / bushel this morning.

Does raising the ethanol content of gasoline matter when corn is at that price?

It does if you grow corn.

Daily change of 22.00 ( 3.96% ) [Corn Quote Updated Oct-13-10 9:16 AM ]

My recollection is that at around $5 / bushel converting corn to ethanol starts to lose money on every bushel. But the exact figure also depends on the price of natural gas used in the processing.

Corn prices appear to be headed towards levels that make ethanol uneconomic compared with gasoline.

What happens if the Govt. ends subsidies, to both?

There are 2.77 gallons of ethanol per bushel of corn. So $5 / bushel corn is $1.80 / gallon just for feedstock. The subsidy is about $.51 / gallon.

Economics of Ethanol has a Figure 1 which would indicate that ethanol from $5 / bushel corn is still economic versus $85 / barrel oil as an additive and for energy with the subsidy, but it is not economic as a source of energy without the subsidy. At $6 / bushel for corn, oil has to go above $90 / barrel even for the with subsidy case.

However, the finacial parameters may be different now than their 2006 assumptions.

Actually as corn cobb cellulosic ethanol plants start up more corn will be available for food will increase and prices should head down.


Jevons comes to mind. If When ethanol levels are increased to 15%, any gains made from the cellulosic process will be swallowed up by our continuing attempts at growth. But, as I've said before, we'll keep burning stuff until we can't.

The big reset is baked into the cake as surely as climate change.

An observation about Farm Policy made in 1983 and reposted by Willie Nelson back in 2008.
Some of you might find it interesting.

I'm thinking the answer to 'how would this work out with oil' would be 'poorly'

Early in 1942, the Banking and Currency Committee adopted the concept of “parity”. Congress then passed the Steagall Amendment, which provided for 100 percent parity for all raw materials

And now something new....
From the pdf http://mercola.fileburst.com/PDF/ExpertInterviewTranscripts/Interview-So...

What some of these recent studies have shown is that by the time you get to the third
generation, many of these families of hamsters that have been exposed to these
genetically modified foods are actually infertile and sterile.

Yuppers - GMO food strikes again!

It might lessen the human overpopulation problem....

Finally. Some good news. GMOs are obviously a conspiracy by Monsanto to cut the population. This is how they plan to feed the world. Just create a smaller world.

Interesting. There are women around here popping out babies left and right, so that crap isn't working fast enough.

The IEA's Highlights of the latest Oil Market Report is out today and so is the EIA's Short Term Energy Outlook. The IEA is predicting non-OPEC liquids to rise by 500,000 barrels per day next year while the EIA is predicting non-OPEC liquids to fall by 240,000 bp/d next year. (Table 3b)

I believe that the EIA's guess is a lot closer than the IEA's guess, but then that is just a guess. ;-)

Ron P.

If I can make a general observation that I've made before:

It looks like the IEA and EIA, instead of predicting what will happen in the oil markets, are now basically resigned to just catching up with reality in their monthly revisions.

For the most part, demand is usually under-estimated and supply is usually over-estimated.

The IEA seems to be doing a slightly better job on the demand side and I agree that the EIA is doing better on the supply forecast.

As a quick note, I usually follow 'Oil Movements' to see where OPEC exports are headed, but the last few weeks, they are missing in action - or maybe just on vacation. Other reports indicate that OPEC is not planning a year end build up in shipments for the Northern winter that we usually expect.

Anyone have any news on Thunderhorse production??



The main field in Thunder Horse was shut down for most of April, all of May and June. That is the latest from MMS. They have not published the data for July yet. They are changing the manifold.

Proforma Safety Participates in BP Thunder Horse Undersea Manifold Replacement

Lease # Mth-Year     Oil Production    Barrels per day   
G14658 	1 	2010 	1,982,372 	63,947
G14658 	2 	2010 	1,735,117 	61,968
G14658 	3 	2010 	1,744,759 	56,283
G14658 	4 	2010 	387,966 	12,932
G14658 	5 	2010 	0 	             0
G14658 	6 	2010 	0 	             0

The other field, which has several leases but all feed into the Thunder Horse platform, combined, produced 152,000 bp/d in June.

Ron P.

I assume that they started shutting down in April. Note the continued decline in the first quarter for the main field, which would be consistent with the observed 2009 decline.

Glenn Morton's chart, with production data through 1/10:

Link to article:


German scientists unveil self-driving car

AFP - Scientists in Germany unveiling the latest self-driven car on Wednesday said the days of humans behind the wheel are numbered and that their technology can slash accidents and help the environment.
"In the future it will be forbidden for safety reasons for people to drive cars," predicted Raul Rojas, professor at Berlin's Free University (FU). "The cars of today are the horses of yesterday."
"In five to 10 years the technology could be applied in private areas like airports, factories or warehouses. On motorways ... in 10-20 years," Rojas told reporters. "In cities the obstacles could be removed in 20-30 years."

"In the future it will be forbidden for safety reasons for people to drive cars," predicted Raul Rojas, professor at Berlin's Free University (FU).

I think he is right about the people will be forbidden to drive cars, part, though I highly doubt it will be for 'safety' reasons in the sense that I think Mr. Rojas imagines.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and venture a guess that only a few million humans understand what Peak Oil means and only a fraction of those understand the implications and even a smaller percentage of that fraction are willing to take those thoughts to their logical and ultimate conclusion. That still leaves about 6.9 billion humans who are still aspiring to own a car and consider it to be the ultimate status symbol and their ticket to power and freedom. Witness the predictions of car sales in China.


So suddenly has China materialized as a strong market for new cars that some in the industry are calling it the "C-Factor." As U.S. auto sales crumbled in 2009, sales in China rocketed skyward, eclipsing U.S. auto sales for the first time in history. Americans bought only 10.5 million cars last year, while Chinese auto purchases swelled by one third to land at 13.6 million. Some predictions put Chinese auto sales at around 20 million units by 2015, a dizzying tenfold increase from the paltry two million sold there in 2000.

Automakers are responding rapidly to this lucrative market and the impressive collection of vehicles at this year's Beijing International Automotive Exhibition is evidence.

Oh and I'd just LUUUV to meet the people who would pay US$ 673.99 for this 80 page forecast to 2016. ROFLMAO! I'd be more than willing to give them my own forecast for about 2 cents. They could save US$ 673.97...


China automotive market - forecasts to 2016
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Oh, and perhaps Mr Rojas should trade his professorship in Berlin for one at Beijing University instead.
Good luck with that!

This foreclosure thing is a hot mess.

'Robo-signers' add to foreclosure fraud mess

NEW YORK — In an effort to rush through thousands of home foreclosures since 2007, financial institutions and their mortgage servicing departments hired hair stylists, Walmart floor workers and people who had worked on assembly lines and installed them in "foreclosure expert" jobs with no formal training, a Florida lawyer says.

In depositions released Tuesday, many of those workers testified that they barely knew what a mortgage was. Some couldn't define the word "affidavit." Others didn't know what a complaint was, or even what was meant by personal property. Most troubling, several said they knew they were lying when they signed the foreclosure affidavits and that they agreed with the defense lawyers' accusations about document fraud.

Ye gods and little fishies.

I think a lot of people are going to get free houses.

Meanwhile, the public outrage continues to mount. In what is perhaps a sign of things to come, a Simi Valley, Calif., couple and their nine children broke into their foreclosed home over the weekend and moved back in, according to television station KABC of Simi Valley. The couple, Jim and Danielle Earl, say they were working with the bank to catch up on payments until they discovered a $25,000 difference between what they owed and what the bank said they owed. The family was evicted from their Spanish-style two-story in July. The home has been sold, and the new owner was due to move in soon.

get free houses.

Shoot the moon! Sue 'em for fraud.
Get 'em to pay you.

Skidmore shilling for his service.

(and if you get the home for free or a bit extra tossed your way - do consider a thank you donation to TOD.)

I think that once the elections are over, a way will quietly be found to deal with these minor issues that will not cause any undue burden on the banks. It shouldn't be too hard to come up with a suitable distraction and some confusing language.

I think JHK nailed it pretty good:

And sadly too, the truth is that this ghastly mortgage fiasco was a fraud that the whole nation perpetrated on itself in a tragic rush to get something for nothing. Since the failure of authority is complete, it's now up to nature to act as the arresting officer. She's a harsh mistress. She's going to kick our ass.....

....With fraud absolutely everywhere in our banking system, like some advanced metastatic cancer, financial metabolism comes to a sickening stop. Nobody can buy or sell property. Nobody can trust any American financial institution.


But fear not! Congress to the rescue. HR3808 (refered to as "The Pigmen Protection Act):


One take:

Now, on to the most important part:

The bill allows for "electronic notarization" to be applied to all these titles which are floating around in cyberspace as part of these MBS/REMICS/CDOs/CDO-squareds/Cubeds.

Which means that the Pigmen can now simply hit the F10 "Confirm Ten Million Titles as Valid" key on their Magic Mortgage Validation Machine and then continue to proceed with foreclosures on the proles.

Furthermore, one has to ponder why Congress--who clearly has plenty of large issues with which to deal--suddenly and seemingly randomly decided to rush through this obscure bill, which doesn't even MENTION McMansions or McMortgages, per se.

Well, the answer is clear:

The Pigmen NEEDED this law to be passed, and pronto, because they were getting their butts kicked in court due to the fact that they have "diced-and-sliced" these mortgages into so many pieces (and didn't bother to properly record the titles when the loans were sold over-and-over) that no one has any clue where the paperwork is.

(please forgive the source site, it's where the case led me)

Passed on a voice vote; no voting record :-/

For a guy who 'nailed it'
Nobody can buy or sell property.

Is utter BS.

You can buy and sell right now. The jurisprudence for this is well established.

Loans will be harder to get, if you need a loan, and that translates to lower prices.

At any given point you could show up in front of a judge and ask for Quiet Title on any property. "An action to quiet title is a lawsuit brought in a court having jurisdiction over land disputes, in order to establish a party's title to real property against anyone and everyone, and thus "quiet" any challenges or claims to the title."

Now people may not like the price paid for property - but transactions can still go on.

Which financial institutions do you trust?

....and it seems that "The Pigmen Protection Act" was vetoed last week.

Actually a pretty good discussion about the whole mess on Stripper Web.

Yeah, but Obama has already said he won't sign HR3808.

Here's a twist to it:

Banks ‘hired hair stylists’ to vet foreclosures

In an effort to rush through thousands of home foreclosures since 2007, financial institutions and their mortgage servicing departments hired hair stylists, Walmart floor workers and people who had worked on assembly lines and installed them in "foreclosure expert" jobs with no formal training, a Florida lawyer says.

In depositions released Tuesday, many of those workers testified that they barely knew what a mortgage was. Some couldn't define the word "affidavit." Others didn't know what a complaint was, or even what was meant by personal property. Most troubling, several said they knew they were lying when they signed the foreclosure affidavits and that they agreed with the defense lawyers' accusations about document fraud.

Umm...that's the article that started this thread.

I think a lot of people are going to get free houses.

Silly me, I have been renting all this time! A lot of them are getting free houses already i.e. they are living in them without paying their mortgage. If what you say come to pass, there will be riots! Do you realize how unfair this will be, and the extreme level of resentment that it will create?

Do you realize how unfair this will be, and the extreme level of resentment that it will create?

And the present system is fair?

No one has resentment with the present system?

If you drew up a bad contract and executed that contract in a manner that was illegal - do you think the banks would be talking about fairness and creating resentment? Or would the banks be dragging you in front of a judge and putting the screws to you all the time saying "its just business".

I'm talking about neighbors to neighbors here. Forget the banks for a moment. Your neighbor gets to live in his/her house for free due to a paper mixed-up and you continuing paying your mortgage and in my case rent! Of course it is unfair, and there will be violence!

Most neighbors around here mind their own business.

Well, that's ever the problem with helicopter money. Those who don't get it will resent those who do.

Some believe that that was the real point of banning gold ownership during the Depression. It was a way to get cash into circulation, without it seeming to be a giveaway.

A closer scrutiny of original documents will be a good thing. It is likely to turn up a great deal of fraud by borrowers and by the mortgage lending companies that originated these mortgages at the height of the property boom -- frauds like saying that a mortgage was for a primary residence when it was really for an investment property.

Note that while BofA, Citi, Chase, Wells and GMAC are "mortgage servicers" for about 75% of the mortgages, in most cases they neither originated the mortgage nor do they own it now. At the height of the boom, a lot of the mortgages were originated by non-bank mortgage lending companies and sold through mortgage wholesalers to investment banks like Lehman for bundling into mortgage-backed securities. Alternatively, many were originated by savings and loans like Countrywide, IndyMac, Golden West, and WaMu. Most of the small originators have gone out of business and the large ones have been acquired. Most of the players have abscounded with their ill-gotten gains.

From Chase's Earning Presentation this morning:

~35-40% of homes are vacant at the time of foreclosure sale
~20% of all loans in active foreclosure are non-owner occupied on the application

Best known for creating the state-of-the-art Super Soaker squirt gun, Johnson believes he now holds the key to affordable solar power.


And here's a graph.

That one smells better than most of the "save the world invention just months away" articles, but it is disappointing that it seems that similar articles were published about the guy before (2008 & 2009).

This makes me wonder, because if it was legit, Al Gore or Google would have tossed the guy $10 million by now.

From the above : "Outlook for shale gas in europe is uncertain"

A.M. of CHK ,from the analyst meeting today, stated that he believed that shale gas projects in Europe will be a disapointment. He said that US big oil companies missed the shale play in the US, and are trying to make up for that in europe. He went on to say: they (CHK) looked at over 190 different shale plays all over the world, but that very few of them appeared viable. Could it be that North American shale plays are relatively unique, and are not likely to replicated in the rest of the world?

Could it be that North American shale plays are relatively unique, and are not likely to replicated in the rest of the world?


joe - you might be buying into the hype put out by CHK et al. The US SG plays have been a huge bust for the industry. It has almost completely destroyed Devon, formerly one of the largest independent companies in the country. Granted there are sweet spots in some SG plays still being drilled but the vast majority of acreage isn't viable with NG selling for less than $4/mcf. Much of the areas became unattractive when NG got below $6/mcf. As far as the Big Oil missing out on SG your incorrect. There are tens of millions of acres available in all the SG plays at prices far below what they were getting back in 2008. If ExxonMobil et al want to pick up huge chunks of the SG plays all they have to do is write the check. In truth they don't even have to write a check. Most of the original SG players can't drill their acreage positions up before the leases expire. Big Oil could sublease millions of those acres today without paying one penny: the company "farming out" the leases gets a piece of any well drilled.

And don't swallow the hype on the super hot Eagleford Shale play going on in S Texas right now. First, it isn't a SG reservoir such as the Marcellus or Haynesville. It's a fractured shale reservoir. And the companies hip deep in the EF aren't there for the NG...it's the oil yield that's driving the play. The NG in the EF has been known for over 30 years. But recently a portion of this trend (which runs from the Mexican border all the way to Mississippi) was discovered to have a very high oil content. The value of the oil in many EF wells is worth 5X or more than the value of the NG.

There is a huge reserve of NG IN PLACE in all the SG plays around the world. Very little of it is viable at current prices. NG prices rise and more SG wells will be drilled. But until prices get above $10/mcf or so and stay there for a while the majority of SG reserves aren't economic to develop in my estimation.

The New Zealand Parliament Research Report should be a wake up call to both the New Zealand government and opposition, but both are intent on more "growth", a "drill baby drill" and "the market will solve" it approach . But congratulations to Clint Smith on an truly excellent paper on global oil depletion with a NZ perspective. The emphasis on imminence of the next oil shock (2012?) and its profound effects on NZ’s economy is what stands it apart. eg. the conclusion that domestic oil production cannot insulate New Zealand from global oil price shocks because New Zealand pays the world price for goods like oil. His report will at least be the catalyst for some debate and as a very useful resource

There is more on the hype and hoopla about NZ’s “potential” oil reserves and how they cannot save us from the effects of the next oil shock here…

The ANZ guys will probably be posting something about this this weekend. It's a good paper, but it doesn't look like it will have much impact. Someone told me that this kind of paper is often written by student interns, and filed away never to be read again. Though the Green Party might mention it.