Drumbeat: October 26, 2010

Curtain Being Pulled Back from The Oz of Gas Shales

The technical success in tapping natural gas shale formations has turned the perception of the role of gas in the future energy supply of the United States on its head. Where natural gas was once thought to be too valuable to be burned under boilers powering electric generation facilities, gas is now so ubiquitous that we are considering not only burning it in every energy market but also exporting it to world energy markets in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG). The gas shale revolution has changed the American energy market, which can now be summed up as "from fasting to feasting." But is that view certain?

Oil and gas industry fires up drilling

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Drilling for oil and gas is back in full swing after last year's lull, according to a report released Tuesday.

There were an estimated 11,300 oil wells, natural gas wells and so-called dry holes drilled in the third quarter, the American Petroleum Institute said. That's up 45% from the third quarter of last year, when drilling activity slumped.

In a break with historical trends, the number of oil wells completed this year has outpaced the number of natural gas wells that have been finished.

Iran may retaliate for Europe plane fuel ban-report

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki warned European countries on Tuesday that Iran might retaliate in kind for their denial of fuel to Iranian aircraft because of U.S. sanctions, a news agency reported.

Iran, at loggerheads with the West over its nuclear programme, has been hit by a new wave of international sanctions over its uranium enrichment activities, which the West fears are part of a plan to build a nuclear bomb, a charge Tehran denies.

Should the West worry about Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant?

REUTERS - Iran took a key step towards firing up its first nuclear power plant on Tuesday when it began loading fuel into the core of the Bushehr reactor on its Gulf coast.

Iran says the Russian-built facility will start producing electricity in early 2011 after many years of delay and that the West is wrong to accuse the Islamic Republic of seeking to develop weapons from nuclear technology.

China's Cut in Iranian Oil Imports Is Nuclear `Warning,' Petromatrix Says

A reduction in China’s imports of crude oil from Iran may be a “warning sign” regarding the Middle Eastern country’s pursuit of nuclear technology, according to consultants Petromatrix GmbH.

China cut crude imports from Iran in the period from January to September compared with a year ago even as the world’s biggest energy consumer shipped in more oil, Petromatrix said. It decreased supplies from Iran to 415,000 barrels a day, from 499,000 a day last year, Petromatrix said, citing data from the Beijing-based Customs General Administration.

Russia launches first big post-Soviet oil refinery

NIZHNEKAMSK, Russia (Reuters) - President Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday launched the first major new Russian oil refinery since Soviet times, the 140,000 barrels per day first phase of a three-part complex in the oil-rich region of Tatarstan.

Medvedev pressed a symbolic red button to launch the first phase of the refinery, built at a cost of nearly $6 billion.

Saudi Aramco, Shell Need Five Years to Drill for Gas

(Bloomberg) -- A joint venture between state-owned Saudi Aramco and Royal Dutch Shell Plc will require five years to complete its second phase of exploration for natural gas in Saudi Arabia’s southern Rub Al Khali desert.

Canada crude-High refiner inventories pressure spreads

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Canadian cash crude spreads have widened slightly amid pipeline restrictions on the Enbridge Inc network as well as high inventories following the summer's pipeline outages, market sources said on Tuesday.

The price differentials for December business are a bit weaker than last year at this time, but are much narrower than they were in September, when Enbridge was dealing with outages on two of its major U.S. pipelines.

Polish government approves gas agreement with Russia

WARSAW (Itar-Tass) -- The Polish government has approved a gas agreement with Russia, which increases gas deliveries to Poland, the government press office said on Tuesday.

The government approved the agreement due to the Polish need for larger gas deliveries, which will build up national energy security, the press office said.

Richard Heinberg: Alaska and energy

Alaska has enormous opportunities for renewables—wind, microhydro, geothermal, tidal, even solar. But these are far from being adequately developed, and progress in that direction will take time and lots of investment—a dramatically higher pace of investment than is currently evident.

More ducks land on Syncrude tailing ponds

More ducks have landed on a tailings pond owned by Syncrude Canada, three days after Syncrude was ordered to pay a C$3 million ($2.9 million) penalty for a similar incident that killed 1600 ducks and helped fuel environmental opposition to Canada's oil sands.

Foreign investors more cautious with Brazil -Fraga

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Foreign investors will scrutinize Brazil more intensely because of the government's use of state-run lenders and the $70 billion capital injection in oil company Petrobras, financier and former Central Bank President Arminio Fraga said on Tuesday.

The cozy relationship between Petrobras (PETR4.SA)(PBR.N) and the government, which for many investors involved serious conflicts of interest, left over some "unease" among international investors, Fraga said.

Brazil shows large C02 emissions cut before Cancun

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 34 percent over the past five years and virtually met its 2020 target, the government said on Tuesday, a month before global climate talks begin in Mexico.

Climate host Mexico struggles to curb gas flaring

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Activists and diplomats have hailed Mexico's strong support for action against climate change, but a spike in natural gas flaring at offshore oil fields since 2006 has blemished its green reputation.

President Felipe Calderon has vowed to slash flaring by the end of his term as part of Mexico's efforts to voluntarily cut greenhouse gas by 50 million tonnes a year and nudge the world closer to a new climate treaty at talks next month in Cancun.

Statoil gets U.N. backing for gas project

STAVANGER, Norway (UPI) -- More than 83,000 tons of carbon emissions will be removed from the atmosphere by processing natural gas associated with a Mexican oil field, Statoil said.

Statoil announced that a joint venture with Mexican state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, to reduce gas flaring at its Tres Hermanos oil field in Mexico received U.N. registration as a clean development mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol, a first for Mexico.

Food security risk if crop biodiversity lost: report

(Reuters) - Future global food security may be at risk unless greater efforts are made to conserve and use the genetic diversity of cultivated crops and their wild relatives, the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said.

The world's cereals output needs to rise by 1 billion metric tonnes a year by 2050 to feed a population that is expected to grow by about 40 percent by then from 2005, the FAO said in a report published on Tuesday, reaffirming its earlier forecasts.

Navajos Hope to Shift From Coal to Wind and Sun

BLUE GAP, Ariz. — For decades, coal has been an economic lifeline for the Navajos, even as mining and power plant emissions dulled the blue skies and sullied the waters of their sprawling reservation.

But today there are stirrings of rebellion. Seeking to reverse years of environmental degradation and return to their traditional values, many Navajos are calling for a future built instead on solar farms, ecotourism and microbusinesses.

“At some point we have to wean ourselves,” Earl Tulley, a Navajo housing official, said of coal as he sat on the dirt floor of his family’s hogan, a traditional circular dwelling.

Oil falls to near $82 before US crude supply data

SINGAPORE – Oil prices slipped to near $82 a barrel Tuesday in Asia as traders looked to the latest U.S. crude supply reports for clues about the strength of consumer demand for fuel.

China Raises Fuel Prices to Help Cool Economy, Conserve Energy

China, Asia’s biggest oil consumer, increased retail gasoline and diesel prices by 3 percent today as part of government measures to cool the economy and meet energy-saving targets.

Dispute over Iraqi gas licences

Al Iraqiya, the political bloc that won the most seats in Iraq's national election, believes the country's recently awarded gas development contracts are "illegal", suggesting it may cancel the deals if it forms the next government.

The statement highlights the potential pitfalls faced by the companies that last Wednesday won licences to develop gas fields in Iraq in an auction held by the country's oil ministry.

BP may close gas field over Iran sanctions: report

LONDON (AFP) – Energy giant BP is poised to close a gas field off Scotland, jointly owned with Iran, because of European sanctions over the Islamic republic's controversial nuclear programme, a report said Tuesday.

The firm was studying a regulation banning joint investments with the Iranians that could shut down its Rhum field, which lies some 250 miles (400 kilometres) off Scotland's northeast coast, reported The Times.

Penn to halt future natgas drilling on state land

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell will announce on Tuesday a moratorium on future natural gas drilling in state forests, state officials said on Monday.

The Democratic governor will sign an executive order instituting the moratorium on further leasing of state lands for natural gas drilling.

Iran Starts Loading Fuel Into Bushehr Nuclear Reactor, Press TV Reports

Iran began loading fuel into the core of its first nuclear power station, which is scheduled to begin generating electricity next year.

The loading process and testing of the plant at Bushehr will take about two months, Ali Akbar Salehi, who heads the country’s Atomic Energy Organization, said today on state-run Press TV. The 1,000-megawatt plant will then need to warm up and is expected to begin producing power at 40 percent of its capacity in February, he said.

The Myth of Peak Oil and Why Peak Oil is Overrated

While the peak oil theorists keep consistently declaring that the world oil is going to peak and that society is going to collapse soon afterwards .But these peak oil theorists only consider conventional onshore oil while making their apocalyptic prophecies but they do not consider the development of new technologies that have enabled the extraction of heavier and unconventional oils like tight oil, bitumen tar sands, extra heavy oil, oil shale.

Oil Resources and Carbon Footprint

Basically, we have a lot of oil, and by the time we run out, we will be on to other sources of energy, be it biofuels that supply the entire USA in 15,000 square miles (approximately 0.42% of the USA’s surface area), or be it in new nuclear/solar/wind/water/fusion technologies.

Cairn Greenland drilling update disapoints

Cairn Energy, the British oil explorer, disappointed the market in a Greenland drilling update, revealing no commercial discoveries in one well and failure to reach target depth in another.

Rosneft in talks on joint oil, gas projects in Ecuador

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) - Russia's largest oil company Rosneft may participate in development of oil and gas condensate deposits and oil refinery projects in Ecuador, the company said on Tuesday.

BP to fund Fla. seafood inspections

TALLAHASSEE — Oil giant BP has agreed to pay Florida $20 million over the next three years to cover the cost of seafood inspections and a marketing campaign, Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Bronson will announce Monday.

"We think the plan is sound, we believe that it will protect the consumers across the nation," Bronson said.

Report: "Green" product claims are often misleading

More than 95% of consumer products marketed as "green," including all toys surveyed, make misleading or inaccurate claims, says a report today.

Perplexing energy policy

Wind power, especially offshore windmills, and solar power are not cost-competitive today. I doubt offshore wind will compete on price in my lifetime, and I’m convinced solar power in the Northeast will remain too costly. The federal Energy Information Administration took a shot at forecasting the costs of new energy sources in the year 2016, obviously a difficult thing to predict. The findings: Natural gas, our primary source of power generation in Massachusetts, would be by far the cheapest. Hydropower and biomass were forecast to cost more than gas, but less than wind and only about half the expense of offshore wind. Solar power was even less competitive on price, according to that forecast.

US approves world's biggest solar energy project

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States approved on Monday a permit for the largest solar energy project in the world -- four massive plants at the cost of one billion dollars each in southern California.

Is EPA protecting you or the Ethanol Lobby?

Many petroleum refiners and retailers are worried that a big jump in ethanol content might lower the quality of our gasoline and threaten the safety of our customers. That’s why we fought so hard, unsuccessfully, to persuade EPA to look out for the best interests of the American consumer. And that’s why we’re considering legal action to seek to overturn EPA’s unwise move, on behalf of the millions of American who buy our gasoline every day.

Rebuilding local economies: A shift in priorities

From the burgeoning popularity of farmers’ markets and co-operatives to the revitalisation of community banking, people are organising to reclaim the economy from large profit-driven corporations and ‘too big to fail’ financial institutions. The small-scale and diversity of these local initiatives masks the immense potential they hold for addressing fundamental flaws in the current model of economic development. Rather than treat the swing towards the local as a fad or misplaced radicalism, the policy community should work to support this alternative vision for sustainable, human-scale development.

In Yemen, Water Grows Scarcer

Increasingly sharp water shortages could cost Yemen 750,000 jobs and slash incomes by as much as 25 percent over the next decade, warns a new report on Yemen, an increasingly troubled Middle Eastern nation.

The report was produced by the consulting firm McKinsey and Company at the request of the Yemeni government.

Groundwater depletion rates are so rapid in the capital, Sana, that the city could effectively run out of water by 2025, according to an estimate in the report by a hydrology expert who manages the city’s groundwater basins. A preliminary draft of the report was obtained by the Science and Development Network, a nonprofit information service.

China's Three Gorges Dam reaches maximum water level and electricity output for 1st time

BEIJING (AP) — Water rose to the maximum level at China's Three Gorges Dam on Tuesday, driving electricity output to full capacity at the world's largest hydropower plant for the first time since it began operating two years ago, its operator said.

That marks the culmination of the mammoth $23 billion project on the upper reaches of China's longest river, the Yangtze, touted by the government as the best way to end centuries of floods along the river basin and to provide energy to fuel the country's economic boom.

People from Chinese mainland show great concern for climate change: survey

Climate change was one of the top three concerns globally, on a par with economic stability and terrorism, while 57 percent of people from the Chinese mainland strongly agreed that it was amongst the biggest issues they worry, the highest level in all 15 countries and regions, according to the latest survey released by HSBC Tuesday.

Government's £1bn carbon tax grab 'will delay green investment'

The Government's £1bn "green" tax grab has caused further controversy, with claims it will delay investment on environmental measures and cause companies to waste money on unnecessary changes.

Oil refiners add $1.5 million more to climate change rollback initiative

Two of the biggest backers of the effort to suspend the state's landmark climate change law contributed $1.5 million last week to the rollback initiative.

But with about a week to go before the election, the Proposition 23 campaign appears to be losing the fundraising battle by a 3-to-1 ratio.

California vote on Proposition 23 can set the pace on global warming

America rarely sees a popular vote directly on global warming, let alone one also tied to the economy. Most government action to deter climate change has largely been left to elected leaders, regulators, or judges – with few results so far.

Now, in a Nov. 2 ballot initiative, California stands to send a strong message to other states and Congress on whether the public wants to make short-term sacrifices for long-term cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions.

Changes in Energy R&D Needed to Combat Climate Change, Experts Say

ScienceDaily — A new assessment of future scenarios that limit the extent of global warming cautions that unless current imbalances in R&D portfolios for the development of new, efficient, and clean energy technologies are redressed, greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets are unlikely to be met, or met only at considerable costs.

The study identifies energy efficiency as the single most important option for achieving significant and long-term reductions in GHG emissions, accounting for up to 50 percent of the reduction potential across the wide range of scenarios analyzed.

I recently read (and constantly hear) the phrase "Okay, you told me the energy supply problem, now give me a solution to that problem."

It reminds me of something I heard a few days ago. A college aged person told me "not to worry, the economy will get better, it always does."

To which a gentleman, in his 50s, replied, "it always has; but that doesn't mean it always will. We've never had these conditions before."

About six or seven years ago I sent my granddaughter, about to enter college at that time, a link to an article explaining peak oil and why we were about to hit it. I emailed her a few days later and asked if she had read it. She replied that she had red part of it then she told me: "Granddad, it is obvious we are running out of oil and the government should do something about it." She refused to discuss the subject any further after that.

In other words, she bought my argument about peak oil but, to her mind, there was absolutely nothing to worry about because the government would do something to fix the problem. She, and everyone else in my family, have no concern about the problem whatsoever because the problem will be fixed. We have people in the government who fixes such problems, end of story.

I think the problem, with peak oil disbelief, runs deeper than the surface however. There is the deep seated belief that nothing can ever happen that will drastically alter our way of life. Life will continue as it is simply because it always has.

She, my granddaughter, eventually graduated from James Madison U. with a degree in history. One would think that a history major would know about the Great Depression and all the hardships it brought. But I believe the Great Depression is no more relevant in her mind than the Black Death. Both are in deep history and are events to be studied but we need not be concerned that such conditions could ever return again.

Ron P.

I find history to be a depressiong subject as all the main characters end up dying. (and that's a recurring theme.)

There is a deeper cause to to the disbelief, but I haven't figured it out yet.

"the government should do something about it."

'The Government' did do something. "The Carter Doctrine", "The Great Game", "Mr. 5%" - all examples.

there was absolutely nothing to worry about because the government would do something to fix the problem

There are people who seem to believe that Government is made of people better than the citizens and are therefore above creating a situation where the citizens would be disadvantaged to the benefit of the people who are 'in government'.

where the citizens would be disadvantaged to the benefit of the people who are 'in government'.

The main problem with that is their actions are only slightly helping themselves. The true oligarchs that are the real benficiaries are outside of government. The politicians probably don't even like them, but are dependent upon their political funding.

Oligarchs do not have the power of the State to benefit themselves. Oligarchs can ask for State backing (and get it) but can't directly tap that power.

Seems Matt Taibbi has a new book - Griftopia. A fine example of 'The Government' providing a 'solution' to a budget shortfall.

When you're trying to sell a highway that was once considered one of your nation's great engineering marvels — 532 miles of hard-built road that required tons of dynamite, wood, and steel and the labor of thousands to bore seven mighty tunnels through the Allegheny Mountains — when you're offering that up to petro-despots just so you can fight off a single-year budget shortfall, just so you can keep the lights on in the state house into the next fiscal year, you've entered a new stage in your societal development.

Government is made of people better than the citizens

The process of getting on the ballot as the party candidate for elective office, winning elections for progressively higher offices, raising funds, running campaigns, running ads and websites, kissing up to the media, bargaining for support of other party hacks and politicians, etc., selects for people who are not particularly well suited to actually govern.

The low pay scale and high benefits of most government jobs recruits people who are not particularly talented, who are risk averse, and security minded.

For a start, we could disqualify all lawyers from running for executive or legislative office, since separation of powers requires that they stick to the judicial branch.

For a start, we could disqualify all lawyers from running for executive or legislative office, since separation of powers requires that they stick to the judicial branch.

And here's an example of how far the US of A has strayed.

Used to be a time ANYONE could pack a ham sandwich and some charges, go down to The Grand Jury and do a presentment.

After the 1940's when some corrupt judges in NY got busted because some people did that, a Grand Jury true billed 'em, and after a trial the judges did time most States stopped allowing citizens from directly going to the Grand Jury.

An interesting case can be made about the seperation of powers - the Lawyer holds a bar card, issued by 'the bar' who is controlled by (in some States) judges. The power for you to practice actual law is held therefore by the people you stand in front of....the judges.

Now if one could craft a complaint and have it presented to a Grand Jury about the issue you mention Merrill - would an end be put to that issue?

For a start, we could disqualify all lawyers from running for executive or legislative office, since separation of powers requires that they stick to the judicial branch.

I seem to remember that 35 of the 74 men who framed the U.S. Constitution were lawyers. If they seriously worried about keeping lawyers out of the executive and legislative branches, they didn't do anything about it.

Mind you, I think it would be a great idea. A variation would be a lifetime ban on practising law in any jurisdiction where that person has been a legislator.

The ones that weren't lawyers were businessmen and landowners, e.g. Ben Franklin and George Washington. The Founders didn't object to the basic racket of government; they just didn't want to share wealth and power with London. "No taxation without representation."

The separation of powers has made the US vulnerable to lawyers. The founders, following Montesquieu who didn't see where England was actually heading, bought into the separation of powers. Honest mistake, nobody had ever done what they were trying to do. The real foundation of democracy is the concept of the loyal opposition, by which when a party grows fat in power it can be replaced by the opposition which has been criticizing them. The founders were horrified at the very idea of parties, but by 1800 they were full grown. Now we have a system with so many veto points (don't get me started on the senate) that a party can just barely govern.

The real foundation of democracy is the concept of the loyal opposition,

And if the citizens had the power to go to The Grand Jury and point out violations of law so that The Grand Jury could then true bill public officials doing things in violation of the law - you'd have the "loyal opposition" in the forms of citizens who'd stand up.

Such power would work to take down various Corporations I'd bet.

The Founders wanted a weak central government. The constitution is actually constitution 2.0, constitution 1.0 being the Articles of Confederation, which was too weak to be effective.

Factions were known in the colonial legislatures, typically along the lines of "town versus country", although lines were also drawn on religious and ethnic divisions.

The fundamental failing is basing the structure on the notion that argument and a division of the house is a way to arrive at the truth, or at least at a good result.

a weak central government.

And its so weak that over 95% of Federal Criminal Law hinges on a case in the 1940's that a man growing wheat on his own land for his own purpose - never to leave his own land - was an expression of Interstate Commerce.

"too weak to be effective" is a very old canard. The initiators of the 1787 constitution did NOT want a weak central government, which is why they provided the executive with power only limited by the spectre of impeachment and by the purse--both of which were easily circumvented. The current US federal government is far worse than the British government revolted against in 1776. Separation of Power theory does have a chance of being effective IF ALL power sectors are separated in fact, which is far from reality in most western governments. For example, in the USA the Regulatory Power resides within the Executive Power and is thus rendered ineffective, thus leading to economic chaos and gross law-breaking by the Legislative, Judicial and Executive. The dysfunction of the 1787 constitution was made clear when Jackson was able to defy the USSC and "remove" the natives from their lands in the southeast and even more so by Polk's illegal invasion and war aganist Mexico. And if that isn't enough, then the Civil War should have ushered in wholesale changes instead of the very limited and flawed amendments adopted.

For a start, we could disqualify all lawyers from running for executive or legislative office, since separation of powers requires that they stick to the judicial branch.

Of course the same principle should disqualify current and former congresscritters from executive office.

Hopefully these proposals are intended as entertaining hyperbole, because as serious ideas they are pretty boneheaded. Obviously, people who have studied the law are going to have expertise which is useful to the job of legislating.
Perhaps we should prohibit grocery managers from becoming farmers, or carpenters from becoming architects, or car mechanics from becoming car designers – or honey makers from being beekeepers.
Interestingly though, such daydreams have a long history: Lawrence Friedman, in A History of American Law, mentions a "Utopian stream" in "American popular legal culture," which "manifested itself, from time to time, in the noble experiment of prohibiting lawyers – there was a feeble attempt in this direction in early Virginia – or in attempts to reduce or abolish formal law. There is, in much of American history, a persistent dream of doing without lawyers ..."
BTW, the term "congresscritters" is really quite sophomoric – just a little bit less ridiculous than, say, "Obamacare." Serious adults don't speak that way.

BTW, the term "congresscritters" is really quite sophomoric – just a little bit less ridiculous than, say, "Obamacare." Serious adults don't speak that way.

Would you prefer liars? Incompetents? Failures?

What words would you prefer to 'KongressKritters'?


I don't see "congresscritters" as in the same class as "obamacare." The latter is partisan. The former is not. And IMO, it's not really meant as an insult. It's a humorous way to avoid using a gender-specific term like "congressmen." Sure, you could say "congresspersons" or "congressmen and congresswomen" or "congressional representatives," but they are awkward or unduly formal. "Congresscritters" is casual, lighthearted and nonpartisan.

Use of the word 'critter' is an attempt to de-humanize them. Separate "them" from the "us".

Perhaps the original poster would prefer that separation be noted by "The Right and Honorable" - what with all the honor they have.

As usual, The Onion gets it right.

It's so true that Americans have a deeply ingrained belief that nothing will ever change drastically. I believe it is part human nature to operate that way, but it also is an artifact of being part of a very powerful and successful empire; hubris if you will.

It reminds me of the episode of "Star Trek" where a doomsday machine completely destroys a Vulcan crewed starship. First Officer Spock is asked if he (telepathically) sensed the crew's terror on the Vulcan ship before it was destroyed. He replies that there was no terror, only total astonishment. Because the total destruction of a Vulcan vessel could never even be imagined by Vulcans due to their long history of never being defeated by anyone for many, many centuries.

There are a lot of people who are going to be totally astonished by what is about to unfold over the coming years.

The best recent historical parallel I can come up with (also being a history buff) is the change that happened in europe after WWI. Within the span of less than a decade europe was completely transformed. I'm sure many of the royal families of europe were "astonished" (if not dead!).

WWI is a good example. Krugman pointed out that we've had globalization before.

Writing in 1919, the great British economist John Maynard Keynes described the world economy as it was on the eve of World War I. “The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth ... he could at the same moment and by the same means adventure his wealth in the natural resources and new enterprises of any quarter of the world.”

And Keynes’s Londoner “regarded this state of affairs as normal, certain, and permanent, except in the direction of further improvement ... The projects and politics of militarism and imperialism, of racial and cultural rivalries, of monopolies, restrictions, and exclusion ... appeared to exercise almost no influence at all on the ordinary course of social and economic life, the internationalization of which was nearly complete in practice.”

It seemed unimaginable that it would end, but it did. And energy was the reason, at least according some, who argue that the transition from coal to oil was the root cause of the world wars.

She refused to discuss the subject any further after that.

A similar experience with a member of my family: I showed End of Suburbia, provided links, etc., but when a professor of environmental sciences intervened, saying, "Peak oil is unscientific," the subject completely disappeared from discussion..

I now never bring it up with people, unless they're "in the know."

We lay observers have absolutely no chance of convincing people that we're headed over a cliff.


Same here. Once in awhile i drop a hint or make some comment, but that is where it usually ends. People are too busy playing with themselves and driving in circles, brainless zombies...

I recently watched a documentary on Discovery channel about the history of the Earth. Over the last 5 billion years, there has been lots of radical change, some of it sudden and cataclysmic, some of it gradual. Our planet has undergone radical climate shifts from tropical conditions near the poles to an ice covered planet. Early life was only under the sea as the radiation hitting the earth was too strong for life to survive on land. The conditions on this planet became just right for life to flourish, but were not always so. We believe that conditions will not radically change, because they have not done so in the last few hundred years. It has not been observed within living memory. The threat of climate change is not that climate will change in ways it hasn't changed before, but that the process has been radically accelerated by the addition of human generated greenhouse gases. Oil has been in use for only a few generations, yet all who have been born within the last 90 years can't remember life without it. We are born into this modern world with the sense that electricity and fossil fuels are natural law.

Over the last 5 billion years, there has been lots of radical change,

True, our Sun is around 4,5 billion years old, therefore Earth, I would say, has probably 4 billion or so. During those 5 billion years she went from not being at all to her present state and I dare to call it a radical change, too. :o)

Modern humans are believed to appear some 200 000 years ago, which is almost right now compared to all those 4 bln years. Even the very first humans didn't see all those marvelous cataclysms and climate shifts so I think we can't really imagine what the old lady is capable of. :P

We may have some models and try to predict how she will behave after reaching all those tipping points, but until we see we really don't know for sure.

She was quite stable for some time, but now this seems to change and at accelerating rate. What's worse, we are not really helping with all that burning of fossil fuels...

As you pointed out, no radical change has been observed within living memory (except all those fires in Russia, floods in Pakistan, melting of glaciers and polar ice), and the accelerating change seems still very gradual, like the slow process of boiling a frog.
But I'm quite sad, because this time we are the frog and still do not seem to care...

Modern humans are believed to appear some 200 000 years ago, which is almost right now.

They still had a way to go to be "modern." The relevant date seems to be 40 to 60 thousand years ago when our ancestors began to move out of Africa into the rest of the globe. The next date was about ten thousand years ago, when the development of agriculture allowed the development of cities and writing. There may have been a big leap forward in language leading to the African dispersal; writing has led to all our technical advances. No one lives forever, but writing is permanent memory (while the media last).

This is my best shot (from A Citizen's Guide to an Oil Free Economy)


Appendix B – Oil Supply Emergencies

The “American Way of Life” is vulnerable to an oil supply emergency that can develop in a number of simple to complex ways. The following are some potential scenarios.

Economic – “One day” the USA may need to pay for its imports with exports. Nations with oil to export may no longer be willing to trade their “black gold” for ever more US Treasury bills from our printing presses. Rather, they may want something more tangible in return. The Chinese are ready and willing to trade goods for oil. In 2009, we exported $1.57 trillion and imported $1.95 trillion, 24% more imports than exports.

Political – “One day” the House of Saud may be replaced by the Islamic Republic of Arabia (perhaps even with a nephew of Osama bin Laden on the Ruling Council). The Islamic Republic of Iran might work with their fellow Islamic Republic and together they could intimidate all the emirates of the Persian Gulf.

If the Islamic Republic of Arabia decided to only export enough oil to buy food, medicine and spare parts, there would be a severe oil supply shortfall world-wide.

There are many other potential political risks. The 1973 Arab Oil Embargo and the 1979 Iranian Revolution are past examples.

The Chinese have been very active in assuring the reliability of their oil imports. Some examples are buying half of an Ugandan oil field, lending Venezuela money that will be paid back in oil over 20 years, over 100,000 Chinese are building infrastructure in Angola, in Iran they are supplying parts and expertise to build subways, develop oil fields and much more. The net result is that in an oil supply emergency, Chinese oil imports will be disrupted less and other nations proportionally more.

Natural Disaster – A Cat 4 or Cat 5 hurricane pushing water up the Houston Ship Channel would not only destroy 40% of our refining capacity but also severely disrupt our oil supply network for many months. There is not enough spare refining capacity in the world to offset the loss of Houston and it would take months for shipping to adjust and bring the USA whatever refined oil products that would be available. If another hurricane hit New Orleans that same year, or even the following year, the effects would be even more catastrophic.

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is 99% unrefined crude oil, which would be of little help if many refineries are destroyed.

Peak Oil Exports – Peak Oil is the point in time when world oil production peaks and then declines. Peak Oil Exports is when oil being exported (and imported) peaks and then declines. The delta between the two concepts is the oil produced and consumed domestically by oil producers (about half of world production).

Since the USA is the world’s largest oil importer, peak oil exports is our primary concern. Domestically, the USA is 40 years past our own oil production peak, with crude oil production now down by half. In fact, Texas can no longer produce enough oil to meet its own internal demand.

Internal oil consumption by the major oil exporters is rising quickly and many of them have chosen to shield their population from world oil prices. Gasoline prices are subsidized to anywhere from 11 cents to $2 per gallon. An example of increasing production coupled with reduced exports is Russia in 2008. Russian oil production rose slightly, stimulated by record oil prices, but Russian oil exports fell due to a 6% increase in domestic demand.

Saudi Arabia is not only using more gasoline and diesel to support their growing economy and population, but they recently announced plans to burn an additional 1 million barrels/day of crude oil to generate electricity by 2020. The Saudis are short of domestic natural gas and electrical demand is currently growing by 8% per year. The Saudis would rather burn crude oil than imported natural gas to generate electricity.

The US Joint Chiefs of Staff is well aware of this strategic threat, and in JOE2010 state “A severe energy crunch is inevitable without a massive expansion of production” and “By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and, as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 MBD”.

10 million barrels per day is almost one-quarter of total world oil exports. It is difficult to grasp all the implications of an oil shortfall that large. However, the German Army (Bundeswehr) attempted to do so, with disquieting results.

The German Bundeswehr study of the effects of post-Peak Oil Exports was recently leaked.

[in German]

A detailed evaluation of the report :


Life will [must] continue ... because it always has.

"There is the deep seated belief" about this.

Yes there is.
And it must be so due to a fundamental feature of biological evolution.

Back in days long gone, our species split into two groups:
(1) Those who innately were hard wired to believe "Life must continue", and
(2) Those who were not.

Surprisingly, Group number 2 went instinct.
And left "us", the progeny of Group number 1, to carry on.


oops -them peoples couldn't spell none write ether ;-)

Is this some newer law of nature that I have not heard of? Is there some science about this. Who were the 2's?

Your assertion sounds far too general. Please give some support. Thanks


newer law of nature that I have not heard of?

I don't know of a scientist who has identified a fundamental "never give up" gene.

However, the urge to "continue" is somehow required (for sexually reproducing creatures) so that:

1) a member of a surviving species stays alive long enough to reach sexual maturity; and
2) the urge to "continue" includes an urge by the surviving member to mate; and
3) for the female, the urge includes continuing until the newborn can fend for itself.

Who were the 2's?

The Neanderthal Romeo and Human Juliet hypothesis


Scientists have had trouble reconciling data from analyses of human mitochondrial DNA and the male Y chromosome. Analyses of human mitochondrial DNA indicate that we all share a common female ancestor 170,000 years ago. Analyses of the Y chromosome indicate that we share a common male ancestor 59,000 years ago (Thomson et al. 2000).

How can we account for the idea that our common grandmother is 111,000 years older than our common grandfather? Is there a hypothesis that could potentially reconcile these two dates? Perhaps we are given a clue in recent findings that a small percentage of human DNA is Neanderthal.

Also see


Neanderthals mated with some modern humans after all and left their imprint in the human genome, a team of biologists has reported in the first detailed analysis of the Neanderthal genetic sequence.

In his and Dr. Reich’s view, Neanderthals interbred only with non-Africans, the people who left Africa, which would mean that non-Africans drew from a second gene pool not available to Africans.

An estimated 1 to 4 percent of the DNA in Europeans and Asians (i.e. French, Chinese and Papua probands) is non-modern, and shared with ancient Neanderthal DNA rather than with Sub-Saharan Africans (i.e. Yoruba and San probands).

So, someone has determined that neanderthal was not sufficiently optimistic and that is why they died out? Maybe they were overly optimistic, and H.S. were pessimists? Considering the large base of doomer mentality we observe, both here are elsewhere, that seems at least as likely, now, doesn't it?


In a nutshell, at the root it was climate change…

About 55,000 years ago, the weather began to fluctuate wildly from extreme cold conditions to mild cold and back in a matter of a few decades. Neanderthal bodies were well suited for survival in a cold climate—their barrel chests and stocky limbs stored body heat better than the Cro-Magnons. However, the rapid fluctuations of weather caused ecological changes to which the Neanderthals could not adapt. The weather changes were so rapid that within a lifetime, plants and animals someone grew up with would be replaced by completely different plants and animals. Neanderthal's ambush techniques would have failed as grasslands replaced trees. A large number of Neanderthals would have died during these fluctuations, which peaked about 30,000 years ago.

Studies on Neanderthal body structures have shown that they needed more energy to survive than any other species. Their energy needs were up to 100-350 calories more per day comparing to projected anatomically modern humans (AMH) males weighing 68.5 kg and females 59.2 kg. When food became scarce, this difference may have played a major role in the Neanderthals' extinction

When further climate change caused warmer temperatures, the Neanderthal range likewise retreated to the north along with the cold-adapted species of mammals.

Apparently these weather-induced population shifts took place before "modern" people secured competitive advantages over the Neanderthal, as these shifts in range took place well over ten thousand years before AMHs totally replaced the Neanderthal, despite the aforementioned recent evidence of successful interbreeding.

And yes, it is highly probable that during their extinction process many of the Neanderthal experienced a feeling of ever widening pessimism. As the end due near and things got progressively worse in a cascade of misadventure, misfortune and disaster, a doomer mentality took hold, clouded their judgment, and misinformed their survival instinct thereby accelerating their slide into oblivion.

There is the deep seated belief that nothing can ever happen that will drastically alter our way of life. Life will continue as it is simply because it always has.

This is the source of the belief in heaven, or an afterlife. We just can't imagine not existing.

To paraphrase John Michael Greer from ASPO 2010: peak oil is a predicament, not a problem.

And Chris Martenson: open your mind that the future will be very different than the past. Prudent adults should prepare for the sharp corner in the road just ahead.

The problem is that it may take 200 years for the economy to "get better" this time......

it may take 200 years for the economy to "get better"


The two Greek roots of the word "economics" are oikos -- meaning more or less the household or family estate -- and nomos, which can mean rules, natural laws or laws made by the government...
Source Wikipedia


* "to better" as a verb, meaning to undergo betterment
* better, an alternate spelling of bettor, as a noun, is someone who bets (gambles)
Source Wikipedia

Now I'm not much of a 'bettor' but I'd still be willing to wager that 200 years hence, neither the family estate (the world as we know it) and much less the rules of the house will be even remotely recognizable by anyone alive today.

When I tried discussing this with my sister she said "They'll figure something out". I wonder who "they" is ?
My brother, on the other hand, said "if the dollar goes down, everyone else will follow" (since everyone is connected). Always the family pessimist.

I'm always amazed at how readily people blame governments for failing to do something, while, at the same time, voting to prevent them from doing it.

As Daniel Gilbert points out, people are really, really bad about predicting the future. We're terrible at it, even when we should know better from personal experience. (We know buying a new car or a new dress or a new house didn't make us happy last time...yet we always think it will this time. This time is different!)

He argues that the best way to predict the future is to look at the past, because the future is always more similar to the past than most people imagine.

And yet...sometimes, things really do change. Sometimes, it really is different.

I'm still not 100% convinced that this is one of those times, though. I may live another 50 or 60 years, and I wonder if I, like Matt Simmons, will reach the end of my days still considered a peak oil crank.

In another 50 to 60 years, we will not be peak oil cranks.
We will be blamed for not doing anything about it.

I doubt that peak oil will ever become widely recognized. Consider even the case of American oil production, which peaked in 1970 and is now roughly half what it was. You'd have difficulty finding one American in 10,000 who would admit this peak in 2010, some 40 years later.

People are not wired to understand limits to growth. I can't find any example in history of peak anything that gained widespread recognition as such. There's always a competing story that flatters the listener and becomes the official story.

(We know buying a new car or a new dress or a new house didn't make us happy last time...

In my experience buying those things, did make me happier..for a while. But the novelty of the changed circumstances wears off after about a month. But, we do get a transitory effect, and we are more likely to remember the sudden change when we got it, then the slow tailing off of the good times.

Paying them off was a bigger rush to me. John

He argues that the best way to predict the future is to look at the past, because the future is always more similar to the past than most people imagine.

Yes, it always has been... except all those times when it was nothing like the past. The USA in the 1930s did not remotely resemble the roaring 1920s. As Chris Martenson is fond of saying, the next 20 years will look nothing like the last 20 years. And those next 20 years actually begun about 2 years ago. We have never had a recession as long and as deep as this one since the Great Depression. And it is likely to get much worse than the Great Depression during what's left of the next 20 years, or about 18 years.

I'm still not 100% convinced that this is one of those times, though. I may live another 50 or 60 years, and I wonder if I, like Matt Simmons, will reach the end of my days still considered a peak oil crank.

That means that you are not 100% convinced that the current recession was caused, at least in a large part, by high oil prices and the current plateau of oil production. And it means that you think that when we come off this six year plateau it will be on the upside... and continue up for the 50 or 60 years you speak of.

Ron P.

The Great Depression was obviously one of those times when things were different.

And yet...they weren't that different. There was great hardship for some, but for many, life continued as usual. Hunger no doubt increased, but the death rate did not.

My own family didn't notice the Great Depression all that much. We were quite poor then, and remained so. Perhaps in better times we'd have pulled ourselves up faster, but at the time, it didn't seem unusual.

That means that you are not 100% convinced that the current recession was caused, at least in a large part, by high oil prices and the current plateau of oil production.

That would be correct. I think this bubble was going to burst, peak oil or no peak oil. High energy prices might have been one of the pins that pricked the bubble, but it was inevitable, oil prices or not.

And it means that you think that when we come off this six year plateau it will be on the upside... and continue up for the 50 or 60 years you speak of.

Not at all. Rather, I think a combination of demand destruction, conservation, renewable energy, and high tech production methods might allow us to stagger on for quite some time, obscuring the issue of peak oil.

Not at all. Rather, I think a combination of demand destruction, conservation, renewable energy, and high tech production methods might allow us to stagger on for quite some time, obscuring the issue of peak oil.

That's an interesting perspective. I'm more in the collapse category, but find that possibility to be an interesting one. Someone, I think it was pi, posted recently an example of a Japanese man that had gone from wealth to a lower income status over recent decades, discussing the stuff he had lost along the way. Your view would suggest a similar idea, staggering along, just at a lower clip. More expensive energy zapping chunks of wealth but not necessarily causing collpase.

Personally I think the US is in a pickle, whereas I see the rest of the World as maybe fitting your scenario. The US with suburban sprawl and with it a need for so much oil usage per capita is in a unique position of having its economy based on cheap oil. With much more expensive oil it will surely falter. Where will all the suburbanites live? We can't all squeeze into the big cities, right? I'm not sure if that would even be considered living if it was so densely populated. Anyway, I see the US economy collapsing due to higher energy costs, accumulated debt, degrading infrastructure, default on loans, over-commitment on pensions, etc. But then one could argue there will be lots of oil for the remainder of the world.

Maybe in that sense peak oil simply leads to a sluffing off of part of the world economy, mostly in the US, to become something less than it was, but not collapsed. I can see that as a possibility, sure.

I find it difficult to understand some of the things that people seem to find so necessary to have such as iphones/blackberries, x-boxes, SUVs, country club membership, long distance commutes.

Downshifting requires you to re-evaluate what is important, and what isnt.

I suspect that many things people current count as essential will fall by the wayside and prove to be little loss

Where will all the suburbanites live? We can't all squeeze into the big cities, right?

Actually, I think we could. (Whether we'll want to is another issue, of course.)

American cities are as sprawling as the rest of the country. Even NYC doesn't make the list of the world's densest cities.

I think it's possible that our wastefulness might actually be a help, not a hindrance. It means we have plenty of room to cut back. We can live 5 or 10 or 15 to an apartment, rather than one person in a 5,000 SF McMansion. We can trade in our monster mega-fridges for the dorm-size models they use in Europe. We can trade our SUVs for Priuses, or, gasp, even carpool.

Thomas Homer-Dixon touches on this in The Upside of Down. He argues that efficiency is a trap of sorts. It reduces resiliency, meaning the system is less able to deal with unexpected shock.

Many to the world’s biggest coastal cities will be underwater due to ocean expansion. Some major relocation of the world’s population is in the offing.

Many to the world’s biggest coastal cities will be underwater due to ocean expansion.

Now you're into global warming rather than simply peak oil, but an interesting point nonetheless. I keep wondering what the timing is of global warming induced effects. Most on TOD think peak oil will have its effects long before global warming, and that's true as long as a GW tipping point is not hit. If for example positive feedbacks lead to much greater warming within a short period of time, then peak oil fades into the backdrop as people scramble for higher ground.

Right now we just don't know the timing of an oil production post plateau descent, or of GW tipping point. Should be interesting whichever comes first.

Some of the science seems to indicate that prior estimates were conservative; now they are anticipating 2.5 to 4 meters plus in rise, perhaps as early as 2050.

For those of you in their 20s, living in New York or Miami... you will see some serious water.

It is the tipping points that are of most concern. I have read some interesting posts on technologies that could sequester carbon dioxide and add to soils at the same time; still waiting to see any build out though. It would be nice.


Ah, cmon. Where have you heard that? It doesnt sound like mainstream research? Do you have some peer-reviewd articles saying that?

See http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/syr/en/spms3.html table SP1.
Projected rise for scenarios is 0.18 to 0.59 meters end of 21st century.

I am not saying that is good, but it is not several meters 2050! I also heard a talk by Lennart Bengtsson a few weeks ago, also showing with rough calculations such figures.

However, sea level will increase slowly also in later centuries, after the pollution has stopped! So eventually (say 2500) coastal areas will have a problem, if nothing is done.

IPCC 2007 is regarded as very conservative wrt sea level rise forecasts. The Copenhagen Congress, March 2009 doubled the estimate, see page 9 of the synthsis report:

"The new observations of the increasing loss of mass from glaciers, ice caps and the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets lead to predictions of global mean sea level rises of 1 m (±0.5 m) during the next century. The updated estimates of the future global mean sea level rise are about double the IPCC projections from 2007."

I think that assumes a linear response so no allowance for catastrophic events.

Yup, relocated underground - About 6 feet underground to be more precise?

Actually, I think we could.

Wouldn't it be a lot like like Taiwan or Hong Kong the way memmel describes them? Anyway, Jane Goodall just did an interview (sorry, no link) of the chimps. She says humans and chimps have the same range of behavior, from loving to killing one another. That doesn't sound very good when thinking of squeezing a whole bunch of people together that once had McMansions and Hummers. But it probably can be done as you say.

It's not like it would be a bunch of total strangers. More likely friends and family, just helping each other out as families are wont to do.

My immediate family lives in three homes now, when we regularly shared a small apartment in former days. We could live under one roof without crowding. Right now, we all have spare bedrooms that sit empty.

And as the boomers age, they may come to see living with their children as a good thing, rather than a sign that they've been bad parents.

I take it you do not believe in "Freedom of the Bathroom"? (Big Grin).

So, following Homer-Dixon's logic, you reduce waste and become more efficient, thereby saving yourselves for the shock of the next leg down, when your efficiency has reduced resiliency, and you collapse. That is the problem with all conservation and recycling efforts when faced with a relentless decline in the availability of cheap fuel over time. Those efforts only buy some time at the beginning of a downturn, which can and probably will, go non-linear.

BTW, I had/have relatives (my 95 year old mother is still around) that lived through the Great Depression as lower middle class farmers/ranchers. They were relatively poor, but their occupation and rural state helped them survive quite well. When my mother's relatives sold their farm in 1933, the bank took their cash proceeds and they basically had to begin again from zero cash elsewhere. OTOH, there were upper class financial people that were jumping out of buildings in 1929-31. So there was a broad spectrum of experiences, depending upon your lot in society at the time.

".. when your efficiency has reduced resiliency, and you collapse. That is the problem with all conservation and recycling efforts when faced with a relentless decline in the availability of cheap fuel over time. Those efforts only buy some time at the beginning of a downturn .."

Bingo. Resiliency is the goal to chase, not efficiency. A minor example of this, from the transportation field, might be switching from using a SUV for trips <10 miles to using a bicycle. Note that switching from the SUV to a Prius would be chasing efficiency while doing nothing to improve resiliency, whereas switching to the bicycle is a whole nother thing.

Linear efficiency improvements to the fixtures of our present BAU does nothing except delay the day of reckoning.

Thank you, rapid (thinking) chicken! Perhaps an example of non-linear response for resiliency might be switching from the SUV to a nice horse and buggy. The buggy could be made of recycled auto parts or old-fashioned wood, iron and leather. The horse or mule would be almost entirely non-industrial based, if grass fed.

Lets assume peak oil as a given. Does this mean that energy prices will one day spike substantially higher and stay there? Or will we see a gradually increasing oil price increase over years or a series of price spikes and price collapses but an underlying upward trend? I think substantial financial market involvement in oil makes the orderly upward increase all but impossible.

It seems to me that which path is followed has more to do with the final outcome. Obviously a steadily increasing price will give people time to adjust. A sensible public policy would be to introduce a tax that would have the effect of driving prices steadily higher- i.e. the tax would be dropped during a price spike and increased during a price drop. Unfortunately the political will doesn't exist to do that nor the second best policy which is to ban speculative investment in oil particularly through futures markets.

An energy tax that is offset dollar for dollar by a reduction in payroll taxes would leave the net tax burden the same. Thus whether you believed in Peak Oil is irrelevant but I think would buy valuable insurance if Peak Oil were to happen.

crazy - "Does this mean that energy prices will one day spike substantially higher and stay there?" I suppose it depends on your perspective. I've worked in the oil patch 35 years and from my chair we've reached that situation. Anything close to $80/bbl is a spike IMHO. How long will we hang here? No idea but it seems somewhat stable at the moment. Perhaps low NG prices are helping the economy offset the oil price. I'm not sure the economy can handle a much higher price for too long without demand destruction eroding prices. It wasn't but about 10 years ago oil was $10/bbl and more recently $38/bbl. Maybe the public/economy has gotten use to $75+/bbl oil. From the perspective of the oil industry today most operators are giddy. Much of the oil flowing today was developed based upon price expectation of half of what they are now. And in some cases even less.

The really interesting pattern, IMO, is the progression in annual price declines, from $14 in 1998, to $26 in 2001, to $62 in 2009:


If this pattern holds, the next year over year price decline would bring us down to the $120 range.

Hi Peak Earl,

I agree that USA is in a pickle - since we have the highest per capita consumption. I'm expecting a modest decline in oil production within two years - 2% per year, at first. I believe oil prices will jump to at least $160 and stay in a range $100 - $300 - causing severe disruptions. It may take 20 years or more before enough alternative energy and demand destruction allow economic growth to resume.

The winners will be OPEC, Canada, and other oil exporters. Winning companies may be oil sand and oil shale producers, coal to liquid outfits, gas-to-liquid enterprises, coal producers and the oil majors. Natural gas will experience a large jump in demand and there will be a rush to convert vehicles to ng.

The losers will be all the oil importers.

But what you say is a collapse of the US economy will be rather a higher rate of change than other countries will see...and maybe in some ways that will be good in the long run. All those suburban areas are easier to convert back to farms than cement high rises. A country that uses less oil might stagger on for decades, with people living in tinier and tinier one-room apartments in cement buildings, having no families because they can't afford to get married or have kids, or keep any pets except a goldfish. A more and more attenuated economy with fewer and fewer souls to be seen or heard. Finally a tiny humm of nothing, the land is empty as the last 95 year old passes away quietly and alone in his deserted highrise. That is what I think might happen in some city areas in other more efficient countries!

Wouldn't the US be better with its upheavals and then renewal comes soon thereafter?

"There was great hardship for some, but for many, life continued as usual. "

I'm surprised none have followed this thought yet. Isn't that what is occurring today?

How many here have been really hurt by our current economic troubles? Probably not many, it certainly isn't that evident to me when I go to town or the city. Yet it is misery and great change for others. One in 34 wage earners in the US went last year making zip. Nada. Zero. Total wages in the US were down 5% from 07. http://tax.com/taxcom/taxblog.nsf/Permalink/UBEN-8AGMUZ?OpenDocument. Yet most of us haven't felt much save a little that could be seen as normal up and down.

Other big changes have been afoot. Like the last few recessions, this one is once again transferring the wealth. Up and up, fewer and fewer. According to the above author, income for the cited top earners went from over 91 million in 2008 to over 518 million in 2009.

Which brings me around to the changes we'll likely see with PO (flows) and energy. "If we turn out excess lights, cut the waste, change this to that, ride this instead of that, we'll make it" is a common theme. Baloney. Like wealth, some will drive their Hummer for a loaf of designer bread, others will walk. I don't see any great powerdown where energy supplies are equitably allocated for all to enjoy. That's dreaming.

Yes. And even the best of times, some people suffer terrible hardship. For many, this is still a recession, not a depression - where your neighbor loses his job, but not you.

I get the feeling that things are still pretty rough for the older unemployed - the boomers nearing what used to be retirement age in the good ol' days. But my younger friends - the ones in their 20s and early 30s - seem to be doing well now. They're not only finding jobs, they're getting picky, and confident enough to quit in order to pursue higher pay or more opportunities for advancement...or just because they're bored. Some are even buying houses, because of the "bargains."

I have a feeling this won't last. If TAE's predictions are correct, we're headed back into recession next year sometime. But for now, it really does feel like a recovery for many.

It is very rough for the older unemployed, he said from bitter experience...

The phrase about your job vs the neighbor's I first heard as a campaign retort, Reagan to Carter. As I had lost mine back then, it bit pretty hard. The calamities don't hit as reported, such as an "overall 8% loss of wages" in the country last year. They wipe out individuals, we're all targets on the shooting range, but only a few hit. For most, there's not even any cutting back, you keep all your old magazine subscriptions.

"The Great Depression was obviously one of those times when things were different.

And yet...they weren't that different. There was great hardship for some, but for many, life continued as usual. Hunger no doubt increased, but the death rate did not."

Yet the differences between the 1930s and the 2010s are critical ones.

In the 1930s, Oil hadn't peaked anywhere. Humans were still well down the frontside slope of their primary energy source.

Population was a fraction of what it is today.

Nuclear weapons didn't exist.

The rising American Empire was still a strong stablizing force globally.

Mass media only existed in limited form. It was as much a source of information as a source of mass distraction. IMO, people paid attention more.

A higher percentage of the population (almost everywhere) was involved in the production of food.

The "Green Revolution" had yet to take its toll on soils and aquifers, despite fairly local events such as the great dust bowl.

Climate change was was only beginning to accelerate.

Ocean systems had yet to reach critical decline points.

In the 1930s, while many of these systemic changes were beginning to present as problems, due to our continuing mismanagement of the planet, it's resources and, indeed, our mismanagement of ourselves, these are now predicaments. We face the tipping point of too many critical systems in the next 80 years. I see the differences as being profound. All things are pretty much maxed out. The warning signs are everywhere, and blatantly obvious.

The Great Depression also ended with the most horrific war that humanity has ever unleashed upon itself...... yet.

Nice list, Ghung. Thanks for pointing these things out. It is different this time. 7 billion vs. 2 sumpin', and all that that entails, plus others that you point out...

I'm goimg to throw myself out of the window.
The ground floor window.
(Tip from Dmitry Orlov)

Thanks Dmitry.

But you miss one of the biggest-the importance of cash in everyday life. The comparison is between economic times, and in the 30's, cash for most was rare before the depression. Food was in large part produced at home, for even job holders, not just a higher proportion on farms. The basics of clothing and shelter were at least repaired by the owner. No one even heard of a "cost of living", the term not been invented, it wouldn't have applied.

Still, Leanan's point is valid, the 30's depression and the economic turmoil of today don't affect the majority, just certain individuals. The question is will it progress? Hard to answer, but your list points to ecological collapse. I don't deny the symptoms or likelihood of that.

"But you miss one of the biggest-the importance of cash in everyday life. The comparison is between economic times, and in the 30's, cash for most was rare before the depression."

Cash is merely an artificial analogue for real assets, artificial wealth. Cash can't by me fuel that's already been burned; can't buy me food that won't grow; can't buy me water that doesn't flow; can't buy me love. Cash represents our divorce from our hunter/gatherer selves. It's a promise that grows weaker with time.

Leanan is right that things weren't that different in the Great Depression. People's economic status changed, but within the same political and social structure as before. Now both the political and social structure being assaulted by right-wing billionaires who see no need for a middle class, and consider government an unnecessary impediment to whatever it is they feel like doing. But while they mop up all the loose change (like the pile of assets backing Social Security) and privatize the commons, we're hitting the limits to growth. The ultra rich may live nicely for a while in their fortresses, served by remnants of the lower classes, but energy and raw material shortages are going to mean fewer options for all.

I half believe that the right-wing actually thinks that government is an unnecessary nuisance, that society and goods just appear, like groceries in the supermarkets, and no social order is necessary to produce Life As We Know It. When they've drowned the last of government in the last bathtub, we'll find out.

And yet...sometimes, things really do change. Sometimes, it really is different.

I'm still not 100% convinced that this is one of those times, though.

Leanan, while I certainly would like to wish you another 60 years of enjoyable and productive life, I'm really quite curious as to what it might be that is keeping you from being 100% convinced that this time it really is different.

Personally I can't think of a single thing that is not currently already in the throes of profound change. I'm talking about literally everything, government, politics, balance of power, economics, climate change, global ecosystems, rain forests, coral reefs, species extinction, etc, etc... Even a cursory examination of the potential interaction of all these individually complex systems leads me to read the writing, that IMHO, is already on the wall in ten story high glowing red neon letters that say THE TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGING

What is that makes you think things might not be changing? Or do you mean that the inertia embedded in our political and human nature is so great that despite the world around us changing we simply are not willing to acknowledge that change and therefore will attempt to ignore it?

What is that makes you think things might not be changing?

I think they are changing, but more slowly than is readily perceptible to the average person.

There is indeed a great deal of inertia, and it's not just a matter of our acknowledging it or not. We tend to see things as black and white, and very linear, but reality is far messier than that. As an example, back when I first started hanging out at peak oil sites, in 2004, there was much excitement because the price of oil broke $35, then $40/barrel. Most of us were convinced back then that oil over $100/barrel would have a profound effect. If not the collapse of civilization, then at least widespread acknowledgment that peak oil was real.

Since then, oil hit nearly $150/barrel and has settled around $80 - twice the prices we were so excited about back in 2004. Civilization did not collapse, and people still think peak oil is a crock. Americans are back to buying trucks and SUVs. That doesn't mean there have been no effects...but the changes have been far smaller than most of us believed six years ago.

Since then, oil hit nearly $150/barrel and has settled around $80 - twice the prices we were so excited about back in 2004. Civilization did not collapse, and people still think peak oil is a crock. Americans are back to buying trucks and SUVs. That doesn't mean there have been no effects...but the changes have been far smaller than most of us believed six years ago.

Ok, I get your point, though in my view, to use the somewhat tired Titanic cliche, the iceberg has been struck and the consequences are going to bring major change to all the passengers regardless of whether they are the ones still going about the rearranging of the deck chairs on the upper decks or the few that are already getting into the life boats. Meanwhile the folks in steerage are already drowning bellow decks and the captain who knows the truth can do nothing to change the final outcome...

My favorite recent song from Roy Zimmerman sums it up nicely! "End of the Ship"

I really think it's foolish to try to reduce the state of the world to nothing but an oil price chart. The system is more complicated than just that and there are more ways for it to break.

Peak oil variables:

Transportation of Oil
Refining capacity
Use by exporting countries (ELM)
Transportation systems
Alternative energy sources
Transformation processes
Economics (demand)
Monetary valuation
Global political changes
Governmental market place interventions

Each of these plays on others, some on a single and many on multiple variables. If each acted on a single other, you would be looking at well over 1 million complex variations, all pulling and pushing at the frameworks of society.

Fmagyar noted that he “can't think of a single thing that is not currently already in the throes of profound change. I'm talking about literally everything, government, politics, balance of power, economics, climate change, global ecosystems, rain forests, coral reefs, species extinction, etc, etc...”

I have been researching this complexity, hoping to compile a book about the convergence of crises we are observing. Initially I wanted to hurry, believing they would come together soon, and bring the edifice of our society to a sudden halt. A few years ago I stumbled on TOD, and over time have come to believe that the plateau will last a few more years... though I am not sanguine past 2015. Largely this comes from the interaction of the economy on demand, and of diminished demand as a mitigating factor in PO.

Several authors express a belief that any society this complex is subject to catastrophic failure from linked or synergistic causes. Others see the very complexity as providing a source of stability, especially in view of current events. Myself, I am not so certain, though IMO it will be the faltering of agriculture that seems most likely to be the direct cause. That could come from peak oil, certainly from peak gas, and even more from destruction of soil banks. I am glad, in a way, that I only have relatively few years left to experience the fall I see coming. And I regret that my grandchildren have so many years .

In the words of Douglas Adams' God, “We apologize for the inconvenience.”


Paradoxically, the closer people are to the center of power, the more provincial they are. Americans, being citizens of the world's sole superpower, are the most provincial of all.

In a small metro area, people are more aware that important things are happening in other cities, states, and countries which will affect their lives and futures. In New York and Washington, people tend to focus on what is happening in these cultural, business and political capitals and disregard what is happening in other cities.

The same phenomena happens among countries. People in small countries know that their governments are not fully in control of events, and that cooperation and trade with partners is preferred to going it alone. In the United States, not so much.

As a result, the US has a whole panoply of idiosyncratic characteristics, ranging from peculiar accounting standards to our now-unique weights and measures. In many cases, such as in areas of safety and environmental standards, our practices reflect a risk-aversion that has been affordable to us, but that is not affordable to the rest of the world.

Our policies regarding energy use also reflect the peculiar affluence that we have enjoyed. Our provincial outlook will make it more difficult to adjust to a new reality in the future.

Paradoxically, the closer people are to the center of power, the more provincial they are.

Two observations about the effects of power and how the brain thinks.

Those in power have their hierarchy of needs filled.

Wiki Maslow's hierarchy of needs
Their minds turn from fundamental needs, and if they are at all concerned, the problem is framed as a moral/philosophical issue. Hardly pressing.

  • The other point is that the Left hemisphere develops a narrative (this posting is such a narrative) that allows no fresh information in.
    It is the function of the right hemisphere to detect possible threats. Unfortunately energy,like carbon dioxide, is an invisible threat and the right hemisphere is (usually) mute.
    On the occasions when the right hemisphere speaks it sounds like the voice of God to the left hemisphere.

    Hint: Avoid approaching a horse from his left hand side, as his right hemisphere may perceive you as a threat.

    The systems being analyzed have interconnections but defining system interdependency is an intense discipline that cannot be done easily. There are almost always resources that can be called upon that are not imagined

    Well, change is a constant throughout history. Take the first half of the twentieth century, two massive world wars, the automobile, the atomic bomb. I mean that kind of stuff is massive change and would have been perceptible, however dimly, to the people living then.

    But what happened during the petroleum age is the people of the rich countries from 1945 onwards became fat, happy, and complacent. They shoved history, poverty, and death out the door.

    Now history, poverty, and death are returning. We have the internet, instant communication, and so every thing is magnified in our view, even though some of these changes are small, some big, some fast, some slow.

    There's really no reason to be surprised or alarmed, it is what it is.

    Having said that, I look at population growth and the explosion of fiat money/debt and I think, whoa, we have a big problem here.

    The economy will indeed get better, but it may well look different afterwards. Either the big banks will die, or they will become the entire government.

    The story on weathered oil on the Gulf of Mexico surface reported a few days ago was incorrect. Here's an update:

    An LSU algae specialist on Monday concluded that the red substance covering miles of the near-shore Gulf off the Mississippi River delta is algae, not oil, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said.
    Ates said it is possible the substance could be a mixture of oil and algae, because oil can accumulate on the exterior of algae as well as be absorbed by algae. She was conducting further tests to determine if that has occurred.

    Robert Barham, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, said Ates' finding meant there would be no fishery closures in the area.

    Fishers and other boaters began reporting miles-wide areas of the substance last week during a stretch of calm weather. Its burnt orange color matched that of the weathered oil from the Deepwater Horizon that covered much of the Gulf during the height of the spill.

    Large blooms of red and brown algae were also mistaken for BP oil late last summer in the Breton and Chandeleur sounds. Samples taken to Ates from those locations were subsequently identified as a non-toxic dinoflagellate.

    State biologists said large algal blooms are not unusual along the Louisiana coast from spring to fall because the nutrient-rich waters from the Mississippi River often become warm enough to support their explosive growth.

    The lesson is an old one - don't speculate in the absence of proper data. The inital report was based on identification of the substance from an airplane. Nola.com published compelling pictures, a fisherman confirmed gunk on his boat hull, and a seasoned scientist provided a plausible explanation about oil resurfacing. Made a compelling story.

    The next day, Coast Guard personnel visually examined the material in water samples and said it looked like algae but lab analysis would be needed to be sure. Now this is confirmed by lab analysis.

    The lesson is an old one - don't speculate in the absence of proper data.

    And how is one supposed to get proper data?

    Claims of people who are collecting data having their samples taken away, claims of access being denied to actually collect samples, et la.

    The next day, Coast Guard personnel visually examined the material in water samples and said it looked like algae but lab analysis would be needed to be sure. Now this is confirmed by lab analysis.

    And the lesson you don't seem to getting is this too is a claim. Where are the other parties who collected samples from the same source at the same time and have run tests?

    So you reject the inference that algae seen under the microscope are evidence of microorganisms? This identification is made by algal ecology expert Dr. Sibel Bargu Ates.

    So you reject the inference that algae seen under the microscope are evidence of microorganisms?

    Go re-read what I said.

    Where is verification by other parties? Where is the chain of custody?

    This identification is made by algal ecology expert Dr. Sibel Bargu Ates.

    So is the claim.

    *YOU* are the one riffing on "proper data" - I ask about the lack of verified 3rd parties and you go spinning off into "algae seen under the microscope are evidence of microorganisms" How does that answer the question of "proper data" like:

    Chain of custody
    Other parties collection of samples and analysis

    Your comments on the content of a link is no better than a claim.

    Saying 'algae was found under a microscope' can be a true statement as the likelyhood of any sample from the gulf is going to have algae to find. Wouldn't be shocked that any weathered oil sample will have Algae in it - thus making your statement "algae seen under the microscope are evidence of microorganisms" again "true". But lets not move the goalposts.

    You wanted a story to be a lesson about "proper data" - so, where is the chain of custody and where are the other parties who made collections at the same time and sent to different places for analysis. I'm for making the "lesson" more complete.

    The 2 inches of oil at the bottom of the Gulf are an ecological disaster already. No need to desperately pretend there is no problem.

    Orlov discusses How (not to) Organize a Community.

    ... their acquaintances and friendships were formed within a peaceful, civilized, law-abiding mode of social behavior.

    When they are forced to turn to scavenging, outright theft and looting, prostitution, black market dealing and consorting with criminals, they can no longer recognize in each other the people they knew before, and the laboriously synthesized community again dissolves into nuclear families.

    Where neighbors continue to work together, their ties are likely to be weak, based on altruistic conceptions of decency, mutual benefit and on personal sympathies—a far cry from the clear do-or-die imperatives of blood ties or clan or gang allegiance.

    You gotta love that. Orlov's glorifying the zombie horde. All I can think of is Christopher Lee's Saruman proclaiming "We must join--we must join with Sauron."

    Who cares about maintaining a conscience? It's survival at all costs, baby.

    Bring me my roasted baby on a spit.

    Peter Beutel was on CNBC again yesterday. He said demand has fallen off a cliff, compared to this time last year. According to him, if not for speculators, oil would be half the price it is now.

    Thanks for the heads up Leanan. I just watched it. Very interesting. Here is the link:

    An Energized Oil Trade

    Airtime: Mon. Oct. 25 2010 | 5:05 AM ET
    Commodity prices are storming higher, with Peter Beutel, Cameron Hanover.

    Ron P.

    I watched that piece, too.
    Frankly, my reaction was that his was a dopey analysis.

    Globally, demand has not fallen off of any cliff that I can see. It seems more likely that global demand pretty much equals present global supply. If I'm correct in that analysis, then the current price of oil makes perfect sense; the price being set under current conditions by the replacement cost of the marginal barrel (oil sands @ approx $70/brl).

    This makes much more sense to me.
    The people who have been saying that oil prices are the product of speculation are in part the same people who have been insisting that the "correct" price of oil should be considerably lower for the better part of a year now.

    I think they are wrong.

    Latest EIA data shows US petroleum consumption (4 week average) down 0.5% on the same period last year which is well within the margin of error of the weekly data compared to the monthly data.

    However where he gets his cliff from is the weekly data shows product supplied dropping from 19.708 to 18.453 mb/day between the last week of September and the first week in October then staying down. Up to the end of September the US weekly reports showed consumption well up on last year then all of a sudden it jumped to down about 2 percent in the space of 1 week.

    My guess is there is something wrong with the figures and the "cliff" that happened over a weekend is not real. Either the EIA were overestimating demand up to end September or they are underestimating demand since start October. We will see when the monthly figures come out.

    Here's the last 5 weeks product supplied up to October 15 (Thousand barrels per day)


    2009 18,476 18,909 18,733 18,936 18,669  
    2010 19,177 19,708 18,453 18,333 18,398

    I noticed that Denninger ran a post last week on the big demand drop but did not query the figures. I've seen occasions where there has been a several percentage points revision in the weekly estimates compared to the final figures.

    I recall suggesting a few months ago that the weekly supply figures were overestimating gasoline demand at least compared to the mastercard estimates so perhaps the EIA has just re-synched with reality.

    Since July, refinery utilization went from ~93% to ~86% in the Gulf Coast region. It shows a solid downward trend, I have always thought the EIA randomly adjusts weekly numbers but the overall trend is substantive -- but that is just my impression. My guess is that US demand numbers are down significantly but China has made up the difference with record high consumption (hence the interest rate and oil price hike in China). The price of oil is never due mainly to speculation (10% either way is a rule of thumb).

    EIA 4-Week Avg Gulf Coast Refinery Utilization

    You could basically take most energy analysts' prior comments, and just change the date and the price level that is too high (due to "speculation"), and have their current comment. But rarely do they mention flat to declining annual crude oil production, or the decline in global net exports, or the fact that Chindia's net imports as a percentage of total global net exports went from 11% in 2005 to 17% in 2009.

    Weak demand in the US is not a new story. The reality is that the US is gradually being shut out of the global oil export market, as we transition toward "freedom" from our reliance on foreign sources of oil.

    I agree. Here are some China data for 2010 (q1-q3):

    China’s September Crude Oil Imports Advance to Record

    Crude imports in the first nine months rose 24 percent to 181.16 million tons.

    Passenger Car Sales
    Crude Oil Import
    Coal Import

    "Bottle-Neck Ethics"

    But there is utility in asking if (bioethics, which argue that animals are sentient and therefore eligible for personhood) isn’t a symptom of fossil fuel.

    In blunt terms, decrying speciesism is possible on a full stomach. Get hungry, and animals start looking like — well, animals. Tasty animals.

    ...Famine and disease and borders will be used as weapons of war. The lines we draw between ourselves and animals - so we can eat them - will be drawn between groups of humans.

    Hey, if God didn't want us to eat animals, He wouldn't have made them out of meat.

    I doesn't seem like there will be too many animals left.

    Britain's biggest animal 'killed for antlers'

    A giant red stag thought to be Britain's biggest wild animal was killed for its antlers, according to reports on Tuesday.

    An industry source claimed hunters would have paid up to 10,000 pounds (15,800 dollars, 11,300 euros) to the landowner for the opportunity to shoot the creature.

    Why is this not eerily like Easter Island??

    "Hey Bob, I'll give you 10,000 clams to build the last big head on the island."

    I despair for the species...

    Joe Bageant:

    Algorithms and red wine: Is the “digital hive” a soft totalitarian state?

    ...And I look at the faces of these young men and women, who are among the brightest, best educated and common good oriented the world has to offer. A taxi’s headlights flash through the window of the darkened bottiliberia. Each face is illuminated for a moment, then golden dimness again prevails. And I am saddened.

    I do not expect that the world they have inherited will show them one ounce of mercy. But it is heartening to see clear competent minds drawing the right conclusions.

    And I ask myself, what chance does America’s far less informed, and purposefully misled public stand against all this?

    One shudders.

    I love this part:

    Life is lived anecdotally, not algorithmically. And anecdotal evidence is not allowed in the new digital corpocracy. As one poster on Democratic Underground put it, “Anecdotal now has this enforced meaning such that no one is supposed to believe what they experience, what they see, hear, taste, smell, etc. The Powers That Be have basically extinguished the notion of inductive reasoning. Everything has to be replicated in a laboratory and since 90% of all the labs in this nation are operated by Corporate Sponsored monies, not much truth comes out of them.”

    There are many things for which I have an opinion based on what I have experienced, but for which I have no proof, and for which I have no means of ever obtaining proof. There is a constant stream of studies and reports for established scholars that refute the thing I believe, but I find flaws in either methodology or quite often a vested/conflict of interest. At one point I realized that hell, I'm not a court of law, I'm a person, and I'll damn well go on believing what I believe. The only one I have to convince is myself.

    "I'm a person, and I'll damn well go on believing what I believe."

    You might as well be explaining the drive towards global warming denial and suspicion of scientists (or Aqua Buddha?).

    Some things just _can't_ be known through simple direct observation. It's too macro- or micro-. It seems like everybody with an opinion on global warming thinks they are qualified to give their "technical" rationalization (sunspots, medieval warming period, etc...) which amounts to nothing better than urban myths.

    The same will be true when peak oil really enters into the realm of watercooler discussion. Everyone will rally around abiotic oil and Alex Jones conspiracies.

    The fact that I can't understand how to send a man to the moon doesn't change the fact that collectively we were able to do it, by trusting the information of specialists that contributed to the greater body of human knowledge. That level of trust is vital for a complex society, otherwise we slide all the way back to the Olduvai gorge.

    Yeah, I should have worded it differently - they key difference is trust. It's not that I don't find science and the scientific method to be useful tools, and I would be mightily persuaded by real research done by others. I do not have to do it myself. The problem is the almost total corruption of our society - you'll read some very official proclamation about the results of some study in the press, but when you look into it further you find that they took no new data but rater crunched the same old data sets. Then you find out who did it and who funded it and what biases they were likely to have. Or maybe you don't because that's not so easy to find out. So in the end you fall back to what you know anecdotally, what you have personally observed. It's a PITA - you want to use science but too many others are already using it (or rather its trappings) to better their fortunes.

    So the take over by the White Lab Coat Priesthood is complete.

    That's what I've labeled this new iteration of religion. Ironic that the scientific process grew out of religious study, eventually existed in opposition as deterministic truth, and has eventually become that which it fought.

    Aldus Huxley is pulling a BSFG I'll bet (Big S*!t Faced Grin)

    "especially in a state that already pays some of the country’s highest power prices."

    From top link "Perplexing energy policy"

    And why shouldn't it? The tiny, overpopulated state long ago passed it's potential from fall line water power. But all believe it is our birth right to have ever falling prices, esp on gas and energy. Trades of an hour's labor for a pr of shoes or coat at Payless or Shmoe's Outlet are written in the constitution.

    We do it by throwing the full cost elsewhere. On debt for our kids. Other laws to pass it on to the public at large, afterall, it's only pennies. But usually to the environment. It gets to clean up our mess, there's no price for it's use. A new study shows shipping cost reductions of up to 25% time, 50% fuel for the newly emerging Arctic trade routes, you bet we'll grab them. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101025161150.htm Soot in the Artic, big ol place like that will handle it. Not really.

    Talked about this yesterday... OUR storm is coming together very nicely:



    No mass chaos or destruction here in SW Wisconsin yet. Winds should pick up this afternoon. Hoping for a 70+ mph gust to get rid of the remaining leaves.

    I was riding home on a single speed road bike and I could feel myself accelerating when I got a backwind. Really bizarre sensation. Going cross-wind I had to lean into the wind sideways.

    The definition of an extreme event.

    The gusts approach hurricane level, and the low pressure in the center is equivalent to a category 3 hurricane. Can we call it a "land-cane"?



    Looks like an eye in there.

    India agrees to supply of rare earths for Japan

    TOKYO — Tokyo said Tuesday that India has agreed to provide a stable supply of rare earth minerals to Japan as the high-tech economy looks to diversify sources after a spat with key provider China

    In a statement, the premiers "decided to explore the possibility of bilateral cooperation in development, recycling and re-use of rare earths and rare metals and in research and development of their industrial substitutes."

    Clinton urges Caribbean countries to be energy efficient

    He noted that the Caribbean has the highest cost for electricity in the world, with Jamaicans paying three times more for the service than persons in the United States.

    President Clinton says Caribbean governments need to utilise natural sources of energy in order to reduce dependency on expensive sources.

    He also says pursuing a path of using clean, renewal energy represents the greatest opportunity for economic and social growth for the Caribbean. ....

    The former US president further suggested that Caribbean countries should focus on common interests and seek to reduce those things that divide them.

    He was delivering a public lecture under the theme “Embracing our Common Humanity”.

    Huh!!! So, President Clinton gives a talk in Jamaica under the theme
    “Embracing our Common Humanity” and the person reporting this "breaking news" story spends 8 out of 13 sentences talking about energy. “Embracing our Common Humanity”? Hmmmm? I wonder if Bill is trying to tell us something?

    Alan from the islands

    Clinton was probably more interested in the thongs along the beach and the buffet line!

    Well he'd be out of luck then. At a hotel in the heart of Kingston's business distroct, he's hours away from the resorts/good beaches, unless he goes by helicopter. At a J$13,000(US$150) a plate dinner the female attendees are not likely going to be "thongs at the buffet line". For one, for $150 you better not have to get out of your seat and at that price, very few if any, sweet young things can afford to go. My apologies if I have offended any ladies in the audience.

    Alan from the islands

    That stinks! I'd have them throw in a week stay at Sandals.

    What Jamaica needs is a couple of nuclear reactors (hurricane proof of course). Not sure if wind is doable (hurricanes) and probably don't have the land needed for solar.

    For most buildings that far south (but hazy/cloudy), the annual PV output from a roof coated with PV solar would be greater than the annual consumption.

    Best Hopes for Energy Efficiency,


    With about 50 square metres of roof area, I receive about 50kW of solar power in full sunlight. With about 6.2 sun hours per day average and assuming 10% conversion to electricity, I should be able to produce about:

    6.2x50x0.1x30=930kWh per month

    I should be able to get my monthly consumption down to under 100 kWh per month so for me

    the annual PV output from a roof coated with PV solar would be greater than the annual consumption.

    by about a factor of ten. That means, I could probably scrape by with 500-700W of panels with 1-1.5kW offering a healthy excess margin. The only drawback with solar is the high upfront costs and the fact that the local utility doesn't do netmeetering (yet), driving the up front costs even higher than they would otherwise be.

    Here's hoping Clinton's words did not fall on deaf ears.

    Alan from the islands

    Nice. Get an EV and you won't need to buy gas again.

    I suspect the islands will have electricity problems since I assume they are largely powered by diesel generators. And that is expensive electricity. The islands really need to adopt wind & solar power such that the diesel generators are more for baseload and shortages when the wind is weak.

    'Hydraulic fracturing' mobilizes uranium in marcellus shale

    Scientific and political disputes over drilling Marcellus shale for natural gas have focused primarily on the environmental effects of pumping millions of gallons of water and chemicals deep underground to blast through rocks to release the natural gas.

    But University at Buffalo researchers have now found that that process -- called hydraulic fracturing or "fracking"-- also causes uranium that is naturally trapped inside Marcellus shale to be released, raising additional environmental concerns.

    Current EPA standards allow 30 micrograms per liter of natural uranium in drinking water.

    Nowhere in the cited article is there any mention of actual amounts of uranium in the Marcellus, or a plausible mode for it to move from the fractured shale to drinking water.

    Nor is there any suggestion about what to do with the uranium contamination from erosion of the extensive outcrop of the Marcellus in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. If the amount of uranium in the Marcellus is significant, surely there is extensive groundwater and surface water contamination in these six states.

    I'm not sure I agree that there are extensive outcrops of most any formation in New York State - a large portion of the bedrock in the state is covered by glacial drift. The less resistant formations would likely be present in valleys where a significant thickness of till likely accumulated.

    Uranium is already an issue with these formations in that a good portion of NY (and other states) is in the high risk zone for radon vapor intrusion due to the presence of naturally occuring uranium in the bedrock.

    As for not seeing a plausible mode for migration of uranium when hydraulic fracturing is conducted - well I think that's just a bit silly since increasing the mobility and hydraulic connection is the whole point of fracking - it's not like natural gas is given preferential treatment and is the only constituent to become mobilized. Hydraulic fracturing to improve the yield of marginal water wells is occassionally done in this area and the results can be a bit of problem at times because sometimes the fracking mobilizes silt that infilled some of the fractures - this can require significant redevelopment of wells and sometimes the turbidity of the water only returns to pre-fracking levels after a long period of time. So I'm not convinced that the potential issue with mobilizing uranium (probably contained in the silt infilling some fractures) is something that can just be dismissed out of hand.

    Nowhere in the cited article is there any mention of ... a plausible mode for it to move from the fractured shale to drinking water

    As was mentioned in the article -
    "We found that the uranium and the hydrocarbons are in the same physical space," says Bank. "We found that they are not just physically -- but also chemically -- bound.
    ... When Bank and her colleagues reacted samples in the lab with surrogate drilling fluids, they found that the uranium was indeed, being solubilized.

    Cross-contamination of drinking water has been demonstrated in a number of Pennsylvania sites.

    If you can move hexavalent sulfur with a water/hydrocarbon slurry, you can move hexavalent uranium.

    Nor is there any suggestion about what to do with the uranium contamination from erosion of the extensive outcrop of the Marcellus in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.

    Hydrofracking has the potential to expose several orders of magnitude more surface area than erosion of the 'extensive' outcrop. The vast majority of Marcellas is under a couple thousand feet of rock.

    Sera - The correct term is NORM: naturally occuring radioactive material. And NORM is produced with oil and NG from all wells. Water produced from such wells tend to have higher NORM levels. NORM doesn't present any particular problem with the production stream in that it gets transported to where ever the production ends up. The only real environmental hazard is with the production equipment: over many years of production NORM levels constantly concentrate on the metal. That why production equipment typically has to be sent to a certified disposal site when eventually removed from the well.

    The Buffalo researchers also point out: "Even though at these levels, uranium is not a radioactive risk, it is still a toxic, deadly metal," Bank concludes". But they also fail to point out the concentration of typical NORM: you would have to eat several tons of dirt before you digested enough of this "toxic, deadly metal" to cause you any problems. BTW: you back yard is loaded with NORM. The common name for NORM is DIRT. I'm not trying to minimize concern but that's the "naturally occuring" part of the name. BTW: shale by it's naturally is normally high in NORM. In fact that's the primary method for telling shale from other rock types in a well. We run a gamma ray log down the hole. Shales show up as "hot" compared to other rock types.

    I've pointed out before there are potentially serious environmental problems with the frac'ing process. NORM is not one of them.

    In the coming age of peaking fossil fuel prices, will countries with a stake in maintaining their comparative competitive advantage under globalization resort to converting their merchant shipping fleet to nuclear power? Will nuclear power provided by 100 megawatt hot tub sized nuclear batteries successfully replace huge diesel ship engines thereby adding to the competitive advantage of imported goods over the locally produced items?

    Under the fear and distrust of nuclear power, will countries that don’t convert their merchant fleet from maritime oil power to nuclear power lose big time in this global competition and fall into third world destitution? Time will tell, and soon.

    ausgang -

    I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for nuclear-powered merchant ships, at least any time soon.

    Even the US Navy, where money is usually no object, has found it difficult to justify the cost of nuclear-powered surface vessels, which is why few of our cruisers and not all of our giant super carriers are nuclear powered. True, the military typically has very demanding technical specifications that greatly add to the cost, and one would think that these would be less stringent for civilian applications, but once you're dealing with nuclear power you've added a whole other level of complexity. This complexity pertains not just to the physical equipment but also with respect to training, certification, and security issues regarding the crew.

    It will probably be necessary to furnish these ships with a quasi-military security detail. Visualize Somali pirates hijacking a nuclear-powered oil tanker and holding it for ransom by threatening to blow it up and create a major release radioactive material.

    The shipping industry is highly competitive and capital-intensive. As such, I think the oil supply situation would have to become near hopeless before shipping companies start seriously thinking about nuclear power.

    Please keep in mind that I like nuclear power for stationary electrical power plants, but I question whether using it for merchant vessels is a desirable application. Keep in mind that this was already tried with the USS Savannah in the 1950s, and wasn't much repeated. But as you say, time will tell. But I don't think any time soon.

    The Russians have some nuke powered icebreakers. The Canadians looked at recharging submarine batteries with an uprated (from 20 kW) Slowpoke reactor. It can operate unattended overnight.


    20 kW is about 27 hp.

    I could see a sailing ship with supplemental power from several uprated Slowpokes. Say 100 shaft hp.



    All U.S. carriers are nuclear-powered at this point in time.

    Our oldest,first nuclear carrier, Enterprise, will retire in a year or so.

    No U.S. cruisers are nuclear-powered. We had a few a dacade or two ago, and retired them.

    All U.S. submarines and all carriers...no other ship types.

    Thanks, Leanan, for posting "Is EPA protecting you or the Ethanol Lobby?", up top.

    It is a prime example of the propaganda and fear mongering of the oil lobby that ethanol supporters are up against. It was written by a representative of the National Petroleum Retailers Association and is hardly objective.

    It's first sentence is wrong. Henry Ford in the first days of the modern car planned to run his Model Ts on ethanol. Ethanol or corn whiskey was around long before oil. Oil took over from ethanol because it spurted out of the ground in gushers. It was then dirt cheap and ethanol could not compete.

    That is no longer the situation. Most of our oil is imported and America must send its wealth to foreign suppliers to pay for it. When Americans buy gasoline they are mostly supporting foreign oil suppliers many of whom do not like us and some of whom have supported terrorism. That is not protecting the American consumer.

    The second paragraph infers that ethanol is of inferior quality to gasoline. How so? Are apples inferior to oranges because they are not orange? Ethanol is different than gasoline. It can not be inferior or superior to gasoline. Each has its own standard and they can not be compared.

    When they are mixed in an engine designed for gasoline there can be problems at high blend rates. But in engines that are designed for ethanol such as some race cars, ethanol does just fine on its own.
    If gasoline were put in race cars designed to run on ethanol I suspect there would be problems because of the lower octane.

    E85 cars have been running on that fuel for 20 years or more with few problems. Does the oil industry guarantee that your car will not have problems if you burn only gasoline? Of course not. It is a preposterous red herring argument that ethanol producers should guarantee that a car will not have problems if it burns ethanol.

    Boat motors and outdoor equipment in general have cheaply made motors that are not build to last. Lawn mowers come to mind.

    The shifting base fallacy is used to make the amount of increased ethanol added to gasoline appear bigger than it is. If ethanol goes from 10% to 15% the change is 50% for ethanol but it is only a 5% change in the content of a gallon of gasoline. That a 5% increase in gasoline ethanol blend is a safety hazard for consumers is ridiculous.

    Then the author claims the EPA decision was political and engages is some EPA name calling. Of course the timing of the announcement was political. But who was it that was demanding more testing before any increase and asking for a delay in approval of E15? So now they have been outmaneuvered and complain about it. Ethanol is the most tested of any fuel. It was running cars before gasoline.

    As for subsidies and mandates, the oil industry is far more subsidized and mandated than ethanol. It's mandate is the monopoly of liquid fuel for vehicles. Any attempt to introduce a competive liquid fuel like ethanol or to move to mass transit is fought by oil interests. The best interests of consumers are always put last and not first as the article claims.

    People dying in Wars for Oil security started by two oil men Presidents are the sons and daughters of consumers and it is oil consumers who are paying for it both in taxes and a sagging economy. Is that oil looking out for consumers? It was George Herbert Walker Bush's buddy Saddam who started the first War for Oil Security and his boy George W. followed in his fathers footsteps. Now going on 8 years later we are still bogged down in Iraq.

    It was not ethanol that created this mess, it was oil men.
    As for claiming that if consumers wanted ethanol in their gas, oil companies would supply it. Don't make me laugh. Did oil companies put lead in gasoline because consumers wanted it? Did they put MTBE in gasoline because consumers asked for it?

    The EPA exists in large part to clean up the mess produced by the consumption of oil, not ethanol. That is one reason it is constantly under attack by oil interests not that ethanol interests have much love for it either.

    The whole article is nothing but propaganda and lies.

    Are you suggesting that growing a huge amount of corn ethanol is good environmental policy?

    No, he's suggesting that coconuts migrate. :)

    I found this today; not sure if it was already posted.

    This year, marketable gas production in Canada is projected to be a little more than 12 Bcf/d. That's a 29% decline since 2005.
    Are you ready to face the reality of the situation? It isn't pretty...
    It's clear that conventional natural gas production in Canada is not sustainable.


    Thanks for re-posting that Pollux.

    How does shale gas fit into this - I'm assuming that's one of the unconventional sources discussed in the original posting ?

    I'm wondering if the same Red Queen analogy works with shale gas ?


    Thanks for the repost. I believe we will be hitting the wall soon. I'm hoping the winter will be mild and will be saving my wood for the second half of the season.

    New weather system identified : "Chiclone" aka "windpocalypse"

    " 'Chiclone' snaps trees, power lines across Midwest"

    "CHICAGO (AP) — A storm drawing comparisons to a hurricane muscled across the Midwest on Tuesday, snapping trees and power lines, delaying flights at one of nation's busiest airports and soaking commuters who slogged to work under crumpled umbrellas.

    The storm — quickly nicknamed a "chiclone" and "windpocalypse" — swept an area that stretched from the Dakotas to the eastern Great Lakes. Severe thunderstorm warnings blanketed much of the Midwest and tornado watches were issued from Arkansas to Ohio...

    ..."Everyone in Chicago is used to foul weather but with this type of wind I just hope nobody gets hurt by things falling from buildings, flying pumpkins, debris," said the 41-year-old assistant college dean at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "

    Flying pumpkins ? Great Halloween weather...


    New weather system identified : "Chiclone" aka "windpocalypse"

    There was a cyclone just a week or two ago in the Pacific that was massive. They overlayed a pic of it onto a map of the US to provide an idea of its size - it covered the US from the Midwest to NY, and North Dakota to Florida. There was also that storm that flooded Pakistan dumping a record amount of precip. And now this record storm 'windapocalypse' in the midwest.

    Is anyone else wondering the same thing I am? Are these huge storms the leading edge of a new climate norm?

    No absolutely not - the denialists at various sites around the web have informed me that there were also big storms in 1993 and 1888 and 1712...

    so you see it's all perfectly normal... ;)

    I would like to see a graph of the number of extreme weather records set each year for maybe the last 50 years. Locally we have just finished the rainy season with many days hotter than average and records for the day equalled or exceeded. The amount of rain we had was exceptional though I cannot find any numbers to compare with previous years..



    This gives a graph of No. Atlantic cyclones and discusses other extreme events. The current wind storm set a record in the US for lowest pressure reading over land not connected to a hurricane.

    Maybe gail, being, after all, an actuary, could get access to some insurance company's charts on this.

    All I know is my homeowner's insurance went up again by 12%. My broker said there were a whole lot of claims for water in the basement this year.

    Ironically, he asked if I had a new roof put on lately. Before the storm. I told him, next year. This morning, I have flashing hanging down which needs repair. Another day of wind.

    "Global warming pushes up building insurance costs. Flash floods and giant hailstones help increase claims by 15% and insurance premiums by 10%"


    "Global warming seen pushing up insurance costs
    10 Oct 2006 17:09:05 GMT"


    Trouble is that this is just one parameter, a striking one though. I would like to see a combination of all records set, high temperatures, low temperatures, rainfall, snow etc etc. The question being are we seeing an increase in new records set? I keep hearing the phrase 'since records began' are we seeing more of these?


    NAOM, I don't know if anyone has compiled that exact set of data in exactly the way you want it presented, but here is a summary of reported weather extremes, particularly as they relate to expected changes from GW:


    Thanks, I doubt if there is a full compilation of what I would like but that one has a lot of it. It is VERY disturbing.


    Is anyone else wondering the same thing I am? Are these huge storms the leading edge of a new climate norm?

    How about:
    But then one has to assume that such a goal is reachable.

    New weather system identified : "Chiclone" aka "windpocalypse"

    I prefer the term "land-cane" since the low in the center equal to that of a cat 3 hurricane. The gusts are also approaching hurricane status in places, but no cat three since it's over land.

    The low has broken US records.

    Weird stuff is happening, folks. And more and more weird stuff has been and will be happening, on average, every year.

    Protecting the North American power grid from widespread blackouts

    A new NASA project called "Solar Shield" could help keep the lights on.

    While many utilities have taken steps to fortify their grids, the overall situation has only gotten worse. A 2009 report by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and the US Department of Energy concluded that modern power systems have a "significantly enhance[d] vulnerability and exposure to effects of a severe geomagnetic storm." The underlying reason may be seen at a glance in this plot:

    Since the beginning of the Space Age the total length of high-voltage power lines crisscrossing North America has increased nearly 10 fold. This has turned power grids into giant antennas for geomagnetically induced currents.

    Researchers find a stable way to store the sun's heat (w/ Video)

    Researchers at MIT have revealed exactly how a molecule called fulvalene diruthenium, which was discovered in 1996, works to store and release heat on demand.

    The molecule undergoes a structural transformation when it absorbs sunlight, putting it into a higher-energy state where it can remain stable indefinitely. Then, triggered by a small addition of heat or a catalyst, it snaps back to its original shape, releasing heat in the process.

    In effect, explained Grossman, this process makes it possible to produce a "rechargeable heat battery" that can repeatedly store and release heat gathered from sunlight or other sources. In principle, Grossman said, a fuel made from fulvalene diruthenium, when its stored heat is released, "can get as hot as 200 degrees C, plenty hot enough to heat your home, or even to run an engine to produce electricity."

    Compared to other approaches to solar energy, he said, "it takes many of the advantages of solar-thermal energy, but stores the heat in the form of a fuel. It's reversible, and it's stable over a long term.

    And I assume that fulvalene diruthenium is readily available at a large flow rate for $1.99/lb?

    The heck with fulvalene diruthenium - why not go straight to dilithium crystals?

    Ahead warp factor 3!

    and I assume that fulvalene diruthenium is readily available at a large flow rate for $1.99/lb?

    Not likely, from the linked article it says that the cost of Ruthenium is a "deal breaker"
    This is an interesting academic result, and might be useful where you need portable "heat battery", but I just can;t see it for large scale.

    And 200C is barely hot enough to produce electricity - you will get 10-12% efficiency with an ORC.

    Keep looking...

    But, direct use of that thermal energy would be quite useful. For example, heating a house and heating water do not require higher temperatures than that reported. With 200C, one could easily dry ones wash as well. Those three uses would meet must of the energy demand for a typical household. It might even be possible to run an A/C device as well with temperatures that high. There's no need to convert the thermal energy if the user is located at the point of collection...

    E. Swanson

    Yes, the heat can be used in a house at those temperatures and less, but this seems a very expensive way of storing it.
    If we are talking space heating, the well proven night store heater does the job just fine;

    For hot water, well insulated twin element electric tanks, that do their heating at night on off peak rates, have been around for decades.

    And for A/C, you would then need an absorption system, and I suspect you would be better to make ice and store the "cold".

    For time shifting of heat, this problem has already been solved.
    For portability of heat, I am not sure there is a question to be solved.

    Let me see
    Ruthenium: 12 tons per year mined, 5000 tons reserve, $175 ounce.
    A highly practical material for the storage of heat.


    One way to produce ruthenium would be to start with molybdenum, which has a price averaging between $10 and $20/kg, in contrast with ruthenium's $5500/kg.

    The isotope 100Mo, which has an abundance of 9.6% in natural molybdenum, can be transmuted to 101Mo by thermal neutron irradiation. 101Mo and its daughter product, 101Tc, both have beta-decay half-lives of roughly 14 minutes. The end product is stable 101Ru.

    2010 Updated Assessment of Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPRA)

    The National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPRA) has been the focus of oil exploration during the past decade, stimulated by the mid-1990s discovery of the adjacent Alpine field—the largest onshore oil discovery in the United States during the past 25 years. Recent activities in NPRA, including extensive 3–D seismic surveys, six Federal lease sales totaling more than $250 million in bonus bids, and completion of more than 30 exploration wells on Federal and Native lands, indicate in key formations more gas than oil and poorer reservoir quality than anticipated. In the absence of a gas pipeline from northern Alaska, exploration has waned and several petroleum companies have relinquished assets in the NPRA.

    This fact sheet updates U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimates of undiscovered oil and gas in NPRA, based on publicly released information from exploration wells completed during the past decade and on the results of research that documents significant Cenozoic uplift and erosion in NPRA. The results included in this fact sheet—released in October 2010—supersede those of a previous assessment completed by the USGS in 2002.

    Based on recent drilling resultes, the USGS has rather drastically reduced its estimate of oil in NPRA. According to their revised estimate, the NPRA contains 896 million barrels of undiscovered oil, in contrast to their previous (2002) estimate of 10.6 billion barrels . This is not unexpected to those of us who follow Alaska exploration issues. What has been publicly released and/or inferred about recent exploration efforts by ConocoPhillips and others in NPRA has not been encouraging, at least with respect to oil discoveries.

    While any such estimate prior to drilling is at best an educated guess, it is worth noting that many experienced N Slope geologists felt the 2002 estimate was somewhat too optimistic. Let us hope that the USGS has now erred by being overly pesimistic.

    896 million barrels eh? Enough to run the US for 45 days!
    Mind you, if it is recoverable, then it will run the Alaska pipeline for another 6-10years

    But there is lots of gas - will this in any way help move forward the construction of a gas pipeline, or does it not really matter how much gas there is?

    But there is lots of gas - will this in any way help move forward the construction of a gas pipeline, or does it not really matter how much gas there is?

    It could be important, if and when a N Slope gas pipeline is built. The currently known gas at Prudhoe and Pt Thomson is not sufficient for the entire planned life of the gas pipeline. In recent years there has been a fair bit of N Slope exploration specifically for gas, notably to the South in the Brooks Range foothills. (The Fact Sheet mentioned some of this gas exploration, at Gubic and Wolf Creek.)

    A few years ago, it seemed like the time for a gas pipeline might be here at last. However, competition from other gas sources has made it questionable if a gas line will be built anytime soon. The main impetus for the Northeastern NPRA drilling program has been about oil, looking for another Alpine. However (I'm speculating here) ConocoPhillips may have looked at gas as a sort of consolation prize. But without a gas line there is no way to monetize the gas.

    Re: The top linked article about shale gas decline curves.

    The editorial from Rigzone discussing the Financial Times article on shale gas well decline rates talks about the debate as to whether decline follows a hyperbolic or exponential curve.

    I would think we'd have gotten to the point that empirical evidence should be available as to how the production declines from these wells progresses - or is it simply too early in the game to tell ?

    They don't realize this yet but hyperbolic decline is simply a result of a mix of exponential declines.

    This is a simple view of the derivation:

    You can also get it by solving the Fokker-Planck equations for a disordered system (geologists rename F-P as the Darcy equation)

    So bottom-line, these guys are arguing as to whether the decline is homogeneous or not.

    A stretched exponential (Kohlrausch-Williams-Watts function): f(t)= exp[-(t/T)^b], b<1 can also be interpreted at a superposition of exponentials. Have you tried to see if this would also provide a reasonable fit to production decline curves?

    I wrote about a stretched exponential here http://mobjectivist.blogspot.com/2009/11/stretched-exponential.html and said:

    I would not use the stretched exponential because its derivation involves a disordered superposition of damped exponentials where only the time constant gets varied. In the dispersion that I care about, I take the velocity as the primary disperser, and only disperse the time constants if we have an additional waiting time distribution to consider.

    That's why people mess this up all the time. They keep on thinking that the time constant is the physical variant. In reality, it is velocity, or 1/time that varies, so that the derivation works out much more simply. Think about the parameters that can vary, both diffusivity and mobility have coefficients of 1/time.

    Thanks for the bottom line.

    So if I'm understanding your assertion correctly, depending on the nature of the "blend" of exponential declines - you'll get something resembling a "pure" hyperbolic curve or a "pure" exponential curve. It's that overall shift from one end of the spectrum to the other that's important to the industry if I read the article correctly - if the blend of exponentials = nearly hyperbolic then they're looking good but if the blend results in something resembling more of a single exponential function then their prospects may have been a bit overhyped.

    So to re-state my question, what blend of exponentials does the empirical data indicate (if indeed there are empirical data available yet) - a blend that resembles more of a hyperbolic curve or more of a (serious decline !) singular exponential function ?

    Have you done any work on this particular issue Web ? We'd love to hear from you about it up here in NY since it appears that this could have serious implications for the future of drilling in the Marcellus Shale.