Drumbeat: October 29, 2010

U.S. Senators raise concerns on Canadian oil sands pipeline

(Reuters) - Nearly a dozen U.S. Senators on Friday raised questions about the need for a proposed $7 billion pipeline that they said will bring "dirty oil" from Canadian oil sands to U.S. refineries and significantly increase the country's reliance on fossil fuels.

The lawmakers, 10 Democrats and one independent, said the State Department needs to answer several key questions before deciding whether to approve TransCanada's application to build the 2,000-mile Keystone XL pipeline.

New royalty regulator pledges vigilance

For energy companies, the scariest thing to emerge from BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico may be the Office of Natural Resources Revenue, a federal agency that can levy penalties of hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Interior Department has shut the Minerals Management Service, or MMS, which was faulted for coziness with industry that bordered on corruption.

MMS is being replaced by three new agencies, the first of which opened for business on 1 October and collects royalties generated by oil and gas companies drilling on federal leases.

Replying to Report, Halliburton Says BP Is to Blame in Gulf

WASHINGTON — Halliburton, whose failed cement job on the BP well in the Gulf of Mexico was identified as a contributing factor to the deadly blowout by a presidential investigative panel on Thursday, is defending its work and assigning the blame for the accident to BP.

In a six-page statement issued late Thursday night, Halliburton questioned tests that showed its cement to be unstable and incapable of holding back the oil and gas in the well, saying they were conducted on different formulas than what was eventually used on BP’s doomed Macondo well. It said that a sample of the cement it planned to use on the well, tested shortly before pumping began on April 19, had produced a positive result.

Chevron 3Q profit slips 2 pct

NEW YORK — Chevron Corp. said Friday income slipped nearly 2 percent in the third quarter on costs related to the Gulf of Mexico drilling moratorium and hefty foreign exchange charges.

Why the Peak in Peak Oil is a Myth

My question for you to consider is, at what price will peak oil occur? This may seem like an interesting question to ask but it plays a crucial role in understanding how the future will play out. Now price will obviously play a critical role in the peak oil debate. This is because as the oil (or gas) price increases so does the quantity of recoverable reserves AT THAT PRICE. In other words, as the price goes up, more and more marginal reserves become economic further pushing the peak oil problem into the future. We see this all the time as oil companies can book more or less of their production tail depending on the forecast prices. In many instances, wellbores that have been shut in can be restarted as the oil price increases.

Brazil Says Offshore Oil Field May be Americas' Biggest Find in 34 Years

A deposit of 15 billion barrels would be almost twice the size of state-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro SA’s nearby Tupi field, would eclipse Brazil’s total current reserve base and also be the biggest find in the Americas since Mexico discovered Cantarell in 1976. Deepwater fields in Brazil’s so-called pre- salt region have yielded the largest discoveries outside the Middle East in the past decade, said Julius Walker, an oil analyst at the Paris-based International Energy Agency.

“Nobody is making discoveries like these anywhere at the moment,” Walker said in a telephone interview t

Pemex Increases Chicontepec Output Estimate for 2011

Bloomberg) -- Petroleos Mexicanos, Latin America’s largest oil producer, increased its estimate for Chicontepec’s 2011 production to “around 70,000” barrels a day, 15 percent higher than the previous forecast.

The oil company based in Mexico City “will continue increasing production” after it reaches the new output estimate, Carlos Morales, the company’s head of exploration and production, said today on a conference call with investors.

Analysis: Unconventional Onshore Plays Still Center of Energy M&A Activity

According to Deloitte's Oil & Gas Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) Report for Mid-Year 2010, exploration and production (E&P) transactions continue to make up the majority of merger and acquisition activity in the oil and gas industry, comprising 76 percent of all oil and gas transactions in the first half of 2010. The center of M&A activity is the rapid rise of natural gas E&P in unconventional formations onshore.

Canada's Hibernia oil field bigger than thought

(Reuters) - Regulators in the Canadian province of Newfoundland boosted their reserves estimate for the Hibernia oil field off the province's Atlantic Coast by 12 percent on Friday.

The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board said Hibernia, Canada's largest producing offshore oil project, contains 1.395 billion barrels of oil, an increase of 151 million barrels from the previous 2006 estimate.

U.S. natgas rig count climbs 2 to 967 - Baker Hughes

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The number of rigs drilling for natural gas in the United States rose by two this week to 967, its first gain in three weeks, according to a report on Friday by oil services firm Baker Hughes in Houston.

The gas directed rig count hit 992 in mid-August, its highest level since February 2009 when there were 1,018 rigs drilling for gas.

Lower 48 US Aug natgas output up from July-EIA

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Gross natural gas production in August in the lower 48 U.S. states rose 1.8 percent from upwardly revised July output, according to data released Friday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Why Producers Aren't Hedging Natural Gas

Natural gas prices in Canada are so low that end users are now trying to seduce producers to hedge, so they can lock in longer term low prices. But few producers are keen to lock in long term losses.

‘Ideally, renewable energy should not be subsidised’

Ideally, renewable energy should not be subsidized at all. In the long run society cannot and should not subsidize energy supply. In the short run, there are good reasons to support research on the development of new technologies. But the most important policy tool to support renewable energy will be taxation on fossil fuels.

Turkey nuclear deal nears end with high-level talks

The nuclear contract Korea hopes to sign with Turkey seems imminent as the two governments held a two-day, high-level negotiating session in Ankara on Thursday and Friday. According to the Knowledge Economy Ministry, the talks that could lead to the signing of an intergovernmental agreement were led by Korea’s Vice Minister of Knowledge Economy Park Young-june and Turkey’s Vice Minister of Energy Metin Kilci.

German Industry Feels Rare-Earth Metals Squeeze

Worries over a bottleneck in rare-earth metals from China, which are needed in the production of high-tech equipment, have dominated a conference on raw materials in Berlin this week. Beijing says export quotas are almost filled for the year. German Economics Minister Rainer Brüderle has called for more recycling and greater cooperation between the EU and the US to fill the gap.

German Economics Minister Rainer Brüderle told industrial and financial heads in Berlin on Tuesday that Chinese restrictions on rare-earth metal exports have started to weigh on the German economy.

The approaching electricity crisis

It appears that, come January, we’ll not only face continually rising electricity prices, but we’ll also be much more likely to have unreliable electricity just as the winter storms come. When you add the expected loss of jobs and household income, it appears that the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations will cause an electricity and economic crisis of epic proportions.

At last, the wind of change is blowing in favour of local power

It seems only minutes ago that it was a good and progressive thing to be local and active. Suddenly the wind has changed. A report on the energy industry, to be published next week, will reveal that the number of onshore wind farms to be granted planning permission dropped by a half in the 12 months to September. The problem, it seems, has been local activists who are not quite so progressive, after all; in fact, they might even be that terrible new thing, regressive.

Why the government is making TV manufacturers disclose energy use

Because my old-world-craftsman of an electrician hasn't yet shown up, I can't say for certain that my house's electrical problems were caused by my (currently inert) 55-inch Samsung. But according to the Environmental Protection Agency, this mother sucks down 187.54 kilowatt hours per year, which is more than one-third of what a refrigerator would. As big TVs go nowadays, that isn't even so bad! The EPA warns on its Energy Star site that "some of the largest, high resolution, direct view TVs (versus rear projection products) can use as much electricity each year as a new, conventional refrigerator, or roughly 500 kWh, every year."

Wind Power Growth Slows to 2007 Levels

In July, the American Wind Energy Association reported that it was having a lousy year. It appears the third quarter of 2010 wasn’t much better.

According to an analysis to be released on Friday, the trade group reports having its slowest quarter since 2007, adding just 395 megawatts of wind power capacity.

For the year to date, new installations were down 72 percent.

Halliburton Ordered to Turn Over Cement in Deepwater Horizon Spill Probe

Halliburton Co. was ordered to turn over cement used on the Deepwater Horizon project in connection with a probe into the cause of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The order was given by a federal judge in New Orleans on Oct. 27.

The release of the court order today follows yesterday’s National Oil Commission report that Halliburton cement used on the BP Plc well in April was unstable but used anyway.

TIMELINE - Gulf of Mexico oil spill

REUTERS - Here is a timeline on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and its impact since an explosion on a rig killed 11 workers unleashing the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

Airlines haven't been this profitable since 1978

For an industry that's supposed to be suppressed in times of economic downturn, that's incredibly good. Good for the corporations and shareholders, that is. Average consumers, meanwhile, should be concerned. Because the profits aren't stemming from more people are buying plane tickets -- rather, it's that plane tickets cost more money to buy.

Some historical context: This is the airline industry's best quarter since 1978. Back then, Pan Am and TWA still ruled the skies, JetBlue and AirTran didn't exist, and Capt. Sully was flying an F-4 Phantom II in the Air Force. It was a different era of commercial flight.

Tesla reopening in Fremont is a very good thing

Nearly seven months after the last Toyota Corolla rolled of the assembly line, the venerable auto manufacturing plant along Interstate 880 is back in business.

Tesla's reopening of the Fremont facility for the assembly of its electric cars was the first step in what could be a renaissance of old-fashioned blue-collar jobs and the emergence of 21st century clean technology.

'Vertical Farm' envisions tall future for farming

DETROIT – A new book by an urban agriculture visionary aims to change the way people think about farming, offering a look into a future where city skyscrapers — not rural fields — produce the world's food.

In "The Vertical Farm," Dickson Despommier challenges the notion that plants should be grown in soil, advocating for developing and investing in big projects using hydroponic greenhouses and other indoor growing technology in cities.

Trillions necessary to maintain Russia's oil production

The new figure of 505 million tons a year will largely be met by existing production regions, according to energy minister Sergei Shmatko.

But come 2020 further growth will only be possible through new deposits and technologies, Putin warned, raising the spectre of peak oil production in the mid-term future.

However, the investment necessary is the industry is to keep up with the current production levels is more than 8.6 trillion roubles, Putin said, admitting that the tax regime had to be changed.

Dubai Faces Environmental Problems After Growth

DUBAI — Dubai’s skyline is the most sparkling in the Middle East. But down on the ground, the environmental problems of a quickly erected city built on sand look a lot less alluring.

In the last year, tourists have swum amid raw sewage in Dubai’s slice of the Persian Gulf. The purifying of seawater to feed taps and fountains is raising salinity levels. And despite sitting on vast oil reserves, the region is running out of energy sources to support its rich lifestyle.

The simple basics of waste treatment and providing fresh water, in addition to running major industrial projects, require so much electricity that the region is turning to a nuclear future, raising questions about the risks, both environmental and political, of relying in part on a technology vulnerable to accidents and terrorist attacks.

Oil drops below $82 ahead of Fed moves, US vote

"Too aggressive a course of quantitative easing would launch commodities prices ever higher," Cameron Hanover said in a report. "Corporate profits had been one of the bright spots in an otherwise anemic economic recovery."

"Almost everything depends on what the Fed does next Wednesday."

Big Oil: Good Deal

Depleting, unreplenishable reserves. A continual challenge for oil companies is to find more oil - especially in an environment where drilling is suspect, "peak oil" (the earth running out of oil) is a concern, and governmental protectionism is growing.

These concerns are largely the reason why this industry is chock-full of companies trading at low price-to-earnings levels and high cash-flow yields.

Poland and Russia do a deal

Poland and Russia have finally sealed an accord that will see Russian gas imports to the country increase.

Today's deal came after the European Union intervened to guarantee other countries will have access to a pipeline carrying the gas.

Report of resumption of East China Sea negotiation with Japan refuted

HANOI - China on Friday refuted the report that said it agreed to resume negotiation with Japan on the exploration of oil and gas fields in East China Sea, during a meeting between the two countries' foreign ministers.

SCSU professor eyes oil deposits in study

Professor Juan Fedele is leading the research at St. Cloud State with the help of grants from Exxon Mobil. And while his research is helping answer just one question in the complex search for deepwater oil and gas reserves, it’s part of a trend that has seen exploration at deeper depths for an increasingly precious commodity.

“Deepwater is basically our last frontier,” said Richard Heinberg, senior fellow-in-residence at the Post Carbon Institute. “We’ve gone about oil extraction using the low-hanging fruit principle. That means we went after the highest quantity with the lowest cost resources first.”

Scientists to see if oil spill hurt deep sea life

NEW ORLEANS – A team of scientists are leaving on a research cruise to see if the BP oil spill hurt deep-sea coral and organisms that live around natural oil and gas seeps in the Gulf of Mexico.

It's counterintuitive, but scientists say an oil spill could hurt organisms such as tube worms and mussels that eat oil, gas and hydrogen sulfide gushing from natural oil and gas seeps. That's because these organisms can die if oil settles on them from above.

Rare earth recycling

Electronics recycling might just have become a lot more appealing this year.

Why? Because anything that has computer technology in it must contain rare earths, and the world's rare earth supply is not as free-flowing as it used to be.

China Is Said to Resume Shipping Rare Earth Minerals

BAOTOU, China — The Chinese government on Thursday abruptly ended its unannounced export embargo on crucial rare earth minerals to the United States, Europe and Japan, four industry officials said.

Corn's Gain to Two-Year High Fails to Curb Ethanol Profit

A combination of increased ethanol usage, higher prices for dried distillers grains -- a byproduct of the fermentation process -- and natural gas costs near a 13-month low are benefitting ethanol refiners. The fuel jumped 19 percent this year, the second-best energy investment after coal, which has gained 34 percent. Corn, the main feedstock, rose 40 percent.

New reports reinforce need to expand biofuel production

Given the latest news from two government reports, we need to start changing the “drill baby drill” chant to “distill baby distill.” One study, from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory recently concluded in a soon-to-be-published paper, that indirect land use change (ILUC) resulting from expanded corn ethanol production over the past decade has likely been “minimal to zero.” A second study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) revised downward by 90 percent oil reserves in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska from a 2002 estimate of 10.6 billion barrels to slightly under 900 million barrels today.

Commodity spike seen boosting food costs in 2011

Consumers are enjoying the lowest food-price inflation in nearly two decades, but the skyrocketing prices of corn and other commodities is expected to take a bigger bite out of paychecks in 2011, according to the government. Foo

d costs are expected to rise 2 to 3 percent in 2011, which would be the largest jump since the 5.5 percent increase in 2008, the last year there was a big jump in the price of corn and other commodities. The price jump in 2008 brought a torrent of criticism on federal biofuel policies.

Nitrogen independence crucial to sustainability

As our community prepares for life after peak oil, our local food and farming systems are receiving lots of attention. Given our climate and soils, we could produce a diversity of crops to supply our food and fuel needs. But where do the nutrients to grow these crops come from, and is the supply sustainable? These are just two of the questions that must be addressed to ensure the long-term sustainability of agriculture in our region.

In Close Proximity: Relocalization to the rescue

Civilized man was nearly always able to become master of his environment temporarily. His chief troubles came from his delusions that his temporary mastership was permanent. He thought of himself as 'master of the world,' while failing to understand fully the laws of nature.
-- Tom Dale and Vernon Carter, "Topsoil and Civilization," 1955

Our delusional sense of permanent mastership over the environment accelerated dramatically with the creation of the first American oil company in 1854.

Bay Area Maps Out Bike-Sharing Effort

The San Francisco Bay area, long a center of cycling aficionados and Zipcar enthusiasts, is about to play host to a $7 million pilot bike-sharing program that will blend the two popular commuting alternatives.

Medvedev to Oversee Deals on Nuclear Plant, BP Assets During Vietnam Trip

Russia plans to build Vietnam’s first nuclear power plant and buy BP Plc’s assets in the Southeast Asian country as President Dmitry Medvedev travels to Hanoi seeking to revive ties with the former Soviet ally.

Solar Power Projects Face Potential Hurdles

The Ivanpah plant is the first of nine multibillion-dollar solar farms in California and Arizona that are expected to begin construction before the end of the year as developers race to qualify for tens of billions of dollars in federal grants and loan guarantees that are about to expire. The new plants will generate nearly 4,000 megawatts of electricity if built — enough to power three million homes.

But this first wave may very well be the last for a long time, according to industry executives. Without continued government incentives that vastly reduce the risks to investors, solar companies planning another dozen or so plants say they may not be able to raise enough capital to proceed.

Is B.C.'s sockeye boom a one-off?

In 2009, about 11 million sockeye were expected, but barely one million showed up, sending economic and cultural shockwaves along the coast as commercial, sport and aboriginal fisheries closed.

The disaster of 2009, which came after three years of poor returns, was seen by many as the end of salmon on what had been the world’s most productive rivers.

But then everything changed, and 35 million sockeye came streaming back to the river this summer and fall.

French climategate ends with sceptic’s humiliation

Allegre's objections to man-made climate change may sound vaguely scientific, but in fact his book was riddled with basic errors and he insulted prominent scientists, calling them "religious fanatics", "Marxists" and "mediocre scientists".

One highlight was a graph he personally redrew to suit his argument. Hakan Grudd, the scientist who created the original graph, called Allegre's behaviour "unethical".

Check Out Gorgeous Photos Of How London Will Look After A Global Warming Crisis

A shantytown grows around Buckingham Palace.

The linked story on the St Cloud State University professor being funded by Exxon-Mobil is a bit pathetic. These guys are deluded if they think that some toy experiments using a long aquarium is going to accomplish anything. The professor is a refugee from the more expansive St Anthony Falls lab at the University of Minnesota, and even there the results they find (PDF - Subordinated Brownian motion model for sediment transport) essentially only confirm the effects of entropy. I spent some time analyzing these transport curves and it is actually less complicated than they let on, simply the result of the analysis of disorder and constrained randomness:

So the sad part is, and the reason I like to work on this stuff, is to show how much much of a farce it is for these research groups to act like they are doing anything more than working on toy problems. If the professors and researchers actually used the straightforward entropy analysis, their research work would dry up as they could explain most of the behavior without having to go through all that extra effort.

Web--This is one reason why I like your posts. Because of your knowledge of probability and statistics, you are able to cut through a lot of BS both within those who espouse peak oil and those who don't. Honesty and clarity are needed in this arena. Some have voiced the idea that The Oil Drum has outlived its usefulness because peak oil is upon us. I am not so sure of either the premise or the conclusion. There are too many variables and insufficient data to speak with certainty about peak oil.

One complaint or argument against peak oil is the charge that peak oil has been called every year for the last 100 years by someone. That complaint does not take into account the quantity and quality of evidence adduced by the persons who have made faulty predictions. Yet, for the sake of credibilty, the charge must be answered. Eventually, if anyone makes enough predictions, they are bound to be right, but not necessarily because they understood the problem. I believe it is incumbent upon us to use the best scientific reasoning we can muster. With that, we must be aware of the ways our arguments are subject to error. It is better to speak with confidence rather than certainty.

For example, one of the areas of uncertainty is reserves. We just don't have good data on all of the world's reserves of petroleum, but even with that uncertainty, we can make predictions of what is likely to be true--that is how much the variation in reserves affects the timing of the peak. This goes back to my advocacy for the concept of confidence. Being overconfident is a result of straying too far in our conclusions from what the available data can tell us. Speaking with confidence means speaking of our best assessment about the probability of our being correct within a certain interval rather than a point.

There are common errors which researchers make in designing controlled studies. What we are attempting to do is draw conclusions from data about a complex system which has many variables we can't manipulate. We can only observe. Web Hubble's argument about heuristics is important because it is important to know what it is we are actually doing. Hubbert linearization (I don't understand the math on anything around here) is a description of observations which occurred under certain conditions. We don't know what will happen to those curves as conditions change. We don't even know what the governing variables are. Predictions based on the Hubbert Linearization are subject to error for which we have no account.

The problem with speaking with certainty about a matter which involves so many interacting variables (economics, geology, politics) is that you create so many opportunities to appear foolish. In making the arguments for near-term peak oil, the best thinkers on the matter identify the evidence on which their conclusion is based, the evidence against their own arguments, and the caveats which must apply while interpreting the evidence, and variables, which if introduced, could change the conclusions.

Because there are so few sources of good information on the topic,one of the functions of the Oil Drum is to provide education about the best evidence regarding oil depletion and energy matters. We need to acknowledge when our evidence is weak and be confident when it is strong. Another function of The Oil Drum is to vet strategies for mitigation. There are only a few of us on The Oil Drum who are actually doing research, most of us are trying to understand the meaning of the findings of others. Most of us are trying to figure out what course our lives ought to take given what we know. Many of us would like to see a wider understanding of the energy problems before us. While the Oil Drum can't truly be a peer review system, it can help us separate wheat from chaff in a rough way so that we may draw reasonable conclusions about what may occur, what policy responses might be helpful, and how we, as individuals choose to live our lives.

Because of the way that randomness and probabilities work, the predictions usually have a bias but that bias goes down over time. You can see this if you work out a Monte Carlo simulation of possibilities:
http://mobjectivist.blogspot.com/2009/12/monte-carlo-of-dispersive-disco... which said

Even though a substantial spread exists in potential outcomes, we have to consider that most of these have occurred in the past and we should discount negative results in any future projection. In other words, since nearly half of those that show large variance in peak date have occurred in the past, we can eliminate the possibility that an alternate history will put the actual peak much beyond the next decade. One can justify this argument by simply considering adding Bayesian priors and running the Monte Carlo from the current date. I believe that this spread in outcomes has probably contributed (along with unanticipated reserve growth) to the usual problem of jumping the gun at predicting a peak date.

Here's yet another reason to batten down the hatches...

Apparently now economists are flat out proclaiming there's no chance for a double dip recession and we should be well on our way to a "soft landing"...

You know what this probably means right ? Cliff - dead ahead ("nobody saw this coming...")


So, I guess these economists are forecasting that the stimulus is working. Right?

We are not technically in a recession now. Correct? Tell that to all the unemployed, including those who gave up looking for work years ago. Recessions tend to make companies leaner and meaner in order to maintain profits even if revenues do not increase. Combine this with continued outsourcing and it is hard to see how the U.S. will ever get unemployment back to a reasonable level.

Yes, they were very upbeat this morning on CNBC.

I do get the feeling that the economy's improving. Whether it's sustainable is a whole 'nother question. I am guessing it's not. Denninger claims it's all government spending.

Business failures and personal financial meltdowns now provide the remaining low-hanging fruit for "growth". The economy is "improving" partially because assets are being cannibalized.

And who thinks that the national political climate after the November elections is going to lead to effective national political policies that really help us going forward?

Congress is going to be populated with bats#%t crazy people who want to repeal the law of gravity, disprove evolution, question thermodynamics, and cut spending to the point where millions will be laid off from government jobs.

We're so screwed!

At least, in a sick and perverse way, it might be fun to watch.


At least, in a sick and perverse way, it might be fun to watch.

I know you didn't mean this seriously. It disturbs me that even the majority of TODers who should be cognizant of what is coming are doing, essentially, nothing. As a doomer and prepper I am more than aware that it is impossible to cover every base even for the midterm. In fact, I am more aware because I have actually taken action. But my aim, like that of many other doomers, is to buy time.

I am further disturbed that most people will not have developed what I would call a "survival psychology" even if they do nothing to prepare. Without this I believe they will find themselves in panic mode and be unable to accept reality but rather will oscillate between unrealistic beliefs that things will turn around and depression; in other words, they will give up or turn "ugly."


Your "survival psychology" is the thing I think is most important. Actual preparations are important, but let's face it, what happens to any individual, family or even region is going to be dominated by chance. I've got one foot in the old world and I'm trying to step off into the world that's coming. There are many things I want to do, but cannot spare the time or funds. I have to make compromises because I must accommodate the needs and wants of my kids and my wife. Even if I could make all the preparations I want to, I might still be driven off by chance events well beyond my control.

I might be angry, I might be sad, but I will not be disoriented or in a state of panic. That may be the best I can do.

It disturbs me that even the majority of TODers who should be cognizant of what is coming are doing, essentially, nothing.

You're passing judgement without knowing the circumstances of those doing nothing. Maybe some of us want to add solar but we are trying to get our businesses moving and grooving again to bring in the bucks to get on steady ground again. Maybe any other prep that may cost money might be difficult for some right now. As the Buddhists say, "Tread lightly".

I would also add...no one has any way of knowing what other people are doing. People who really expect the worst tend to be paranoid, and may not want to talk about what they're doing in public.

Also, they may be preparing for a different future than you imagine, and they could be right.


Yes, all true but, interestingly, I have yet to meet someone who is a doomer that didn't want to discuss the topic.

As far as different futures go, perhaps, I'm uncreative but I doubt that BAU, BAU lite or a sustainable Ecotopia are ahead. Even the transition movement has many, many faults. I believe an important point is that if I, and other doomers, are wrong, we impact no one but our families. On the other hand if we are right, it is highly likely that those who made no effort to prepare will impact us negatively in one way or another.

Guess we'll have to wait and see.


I have yet to meet someone who is a doomer that didn't want to discuss the topic.

I've met quite a few. There are some who fear the zombie hordes - who think if people know they have solar panels and 5 years worth of freeze-dried food, they'll be attacked. There are some who fear drawing attention from the FBI or Homeland Security or some other government types. And there are some who are simply private people. They don't talk about their personal lives, period.

I believe an important point is that if I, and other doomers, are wrong, we impact no one but our families

I think it depends on what, exactly, you're doing. If we've learned anything from the mortgage crisis, it's that what other people do can affect you, even if it doesn't seem like it.

Guess we'll have to wait and see.

If we live that long. I'm not sure we will.

I mean, you say you've been preparing for 30 years. But for 30 years, BAU has continued. Isn't at least possible that it will continue for another 30 years...or more?

But for 30 years, BAU has continued. Isn't at least possible that it will continue for another 30 years...or more?

Well, I would have to say that BAU has changed, beginning about two years ago. Unemployment about doubled. That is a change. But BAU continuing for another 30 years or more? No, no, not even a remote chance of that happening, not a snowballs chance in Hades.

I know that watching the peak oil plateau and waiting for change is a little like watching paint dry. But things are definitely changing. And in two or three years, at most, the decline will begin. And then things will start to change at an accelerated rate. A cliff if you will.

Ron P.

It's possible you're right, but I wouldn't bet on it. You admit you didn't foresee the demand destruction caused by the Greater Depression. I didn't foresee the current natural gas situation. Heck, I thought the natural gas cliff in North America was a far surer thing than peak oil.

The fact is, people are terrible at predicting the future. We are really, really bad at it. Chances are, whatever we're predicting, we're wrong.

That is why I like Greer's take on it. Prepare to improvise, because your plans will likely come to nought.

Prepare to improvise. Exactly.

My belief is that the best anyone can do is ; shave the odds in your favor. No guarantees something won't blindside you.

The ability to think on your feet may be the ultimate survival tool. Having multiple options is desirable, but is quite expensive. A better option would be to test how well you can downsize. Try a week without spending any money. You'll soon realize what is necessary and what is luxury.

These are the good old days.

Try a week without spending money. Laughs.

By that I think you mean not paying out anything, but still having your lights on, and still eating food you have on hand or in your garden, Right?

I know a lot of people that have no money to spend after they pay their bills around the first of the month. They don't have credit cards, they might have piggy banks, but they usually have to save change just to buy bathroom tissue and dish soaps.

I still try to see if I could get by on only spending 60 dollars a month on food, even though food prices have gone up at least around here they have, your milage may vary on that account.

I live on $8,580 a year, what medicare does not pay I have to pay out of pocket, because the doctors require it, I can't get glasses or dental work done unless I have money. If I did not live with my parent's I'd be a lot worse off than I am now. Though I can still fend for myself, IE I know where food plants grow, what in nature I can eat and what I should avoid eating, and which areas are better to live off the land than others.

But for the vast majority of people in the US they don't know which plants in the forest are edible and which aren't. Unless they have had parents or grandparents telling them this information or have learned it on their own. I am amazed at how many people don't even know how to cook these days in the 30 something age range.

It would be good for anyone to teach themselves that money won't make them happy, by seeing if they can go a week without spending any of it, maybe if they also lived in a dark house, and did not turn the TV or computer on, or used their cell phones, they'd learn some more things about living that they never knew about.

Oh well, whatever happens tomorrow happens, I can either choose to have fun handling it or I can cry about it. Crying might be helpful to get the negative emotions out of the system, but other than a few brain chemical reactions, crying won't help me much, nor will worry.

If I had to only live off what my yard were producing right now, I'd need a bigger flow of water to get the tannic acid out of the acrons. I have a few other edibles, but not even enough to handle living off of them. More work growing more things next year.

So as far as not spending money for a week, and still having the lights on and such, I have gone about 3 weeks not spending money.

Though I would have loved to have gone to play pool these lasy few weeks, I found a place the games are only 75 cents. A 25% savings over the last place.

BioWebScape Designs for a better fed and housed world, where money is not the end all of the system, but you still have to work helping others.

Good one.

Basically, "money" is how we evaluate the deserving-ness of people: who should live and who should die; and as between the living, who should live better and who worse.

Yes. That is something that definitely won't hurt - learning to live with less. At the very least, it's good for the planet.

I would also add that acquiring skills that would be useful in a variety of scenarios also won't hurt (unless you spend too much money/go into debt to do it).

"Prepare to improvise, because your plans will likely come to nought."

And look at what's likely, not the zombie apocalypse. For instance, do I really need a generator with a year's supply of fuel, or do I really need to be able to use the trolling motor battery to run the circulating fan in the woodstove over a cold night with the lights out? I can recharge the battery with the car during the day, and last for the three or four days it might take to get the power on in a worse plausible case situation here.

In the summer the problem is keeping the refrigerator going. A bigger inverter will handle that, although the car has to be running to power the inverter , but only a couple hours a day. Again, not too difficult. And I don't have to keep testing and maintaining the generator to make sure it will work when I finally do need it.

And with the basic system set up, if the zombies do start to rise, a couple of solar panels should do OK in the summer. In the winter up here the zombies freeze in the winter, and won't be problem until spring, at least those that the coyotes don't eat piecemeal.

In my view there's another factor to consider in addition to that essay of Greer's. Most of what the more doomish types are willing to acknowledge to be legitimate plans or preps seems to be tremendously reliant on youth (or great genetic luck) and very high physical fitness. Just one serious illness, or one broken leg, might throw some of those plans and preps so far into a cocked hat as make them utterly irretrievable.

I seem to recall that there have been a number of anguished posts over the years from older TODers who came face-to-face with this inconvenient reality, though I don't know a practical way to put my finger on one. But in any event, the population of the 19th century was young and fit, since the alternative was dead, save for the few who were very lucky genetically or economically.

We simply aren't going back there with our old populations. Or, if we do, it will kill off huge numbers, and it seems inconceivable that a mass genocide could occur peaceably enough that detailed plans laid far in advance would still be of much use by the time they finally needed to be carried out.

Then again, as I remarked once before, this kind of morbid speculation seems to be limited to the United States. It is rarely if ever found on, say, the European threads, except when introduced by someone from the USA. So perhaps it's not something to worry about excessively, but rather an off-the-wall reflection of US founding mythology or something of the sort...

I think you're correct, we're not going back we're going forward. Most of the population aren't physically capable of doing anything other than what they're currently doing. Seems people still believe there are choices when in actuality there are few to none. Greer's catabolic collapse, but with a sclerotic non-adaptable population, economic and political system. Faced with economic and energy declines plus climate change what we will see is people trying to carry on doing what they're doing but failing and as a result slowly losing everything they have. People that rely entirely on money for their survival will probably be the worst affected.

Most of what the more doomish types are willing to acknowledge to be legitimate plans or preps seems to be tremendously reliant on youth (or great genetic luck) and very high physical fitness. Just one serious illness, or one broken leg, might throw some of those plans and preps so far into a cocked hat as make them utterly irretrievable.

Yes. A friend of mine ran into that. She was lucky enough to be able to retire young (40) due to an inheritance. She bought a little place off the grid in rural northern California. It ran off solar panels, a wind turbine, propane, a generator, and a lot of elbow grease. Then she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was barely 40, a vegan, and a marathon runner, but sometimes you lose the genetic lottery. She went to SF for treatment, but back home, she couldn't pump water or crank the generator because of the surgery. Her mom ended up flying in from across the country to take care of her for a couple of months. She's doing well now, but that made her realize that she'll probably have to move back to the city as she ages.

Then again, as I remarked once before, this kind of morbid speculation seems to be limited to the United States. It is rarely if ever found on, say, the European threads, except when introduced by someone from the USA. So perhaps it's not something to worry about excessively, but rather an off-the-wall reflection of US founding mythology or something of the sort...

I've noticed this as well. The whole survivalism thing is very American, perhaps because of our recent frontier past. It's spread a bit to other English-speaking countries like the UK and Australia, but in general, the rest of the world thinks we're nuts for even thinking that way. It hasn't been a notably successful thing to do in past collapses.

I think you are conflating the US and the world. Unemployment may have doubled in the US, but not really anywhere else.

I'm in Indonesia now, which is in a bit of a mini boom.

To a large degree the pain that Americans see is just a transfer of wealth to other people. Asia is doing fine.

At the end of the day, the couple million people in the US had it too good for too long and the couple million here didn't. A slight reversal isn't the end of the world or a great injustice.

Except, unless the rest of the world delveraged from the US while I was asleep, the fæcal storm hitting the oscillator Stateside will translate in to worse problems elsewhere.

You don't take millions of the world's biggest consumers out of the market and expect boom times from a relatively few dirt poor Third Worlders getting a slightly better paycheque than before.

Except, unless the rest of the world delveraged from the US while I was asleep, the fæcal storm hitting the oscillator Stateside will translate in to worse problems elsewhere.

I'm afraid that while you were sleeping, much of the world did deliverage from the US and are now doing relatively well. China and India were the largest participants in the deliveraging process.

We here in Canada experienced a downturn because our sales to the US went down, but otherwise it wasn't that bad. Australia did better because they are closer to Asia.

Much of Europe did badly because they pursued many of the same policies the US did. In retrospect, that was a mistake.

Chindia are instead making their own bubbles of unsustainability, and again, they're not free from America either. They're copying the same mistakes the Anglosphere made, and doing it on a far larger scale it seems. China and India may be moving away from surviving only as America's consumer supporter, but they aren't out of the woods yet. If the US goes down, you better believe it affects the largest owners of American debt.

Hint: They're in Asia.

I recall some ominous-sounding warnings posted on Drum Beat two days ago:

1. there are a number of Executive Orders waiting to be signed but won't be signed until after the election because they are so "hot."

2) You better have 6 months of food stored by the end of the year or you'll be in a world of hurt.

The first 'prediction' is not bounded, but then the second warning is bounded by the date of 1 January 2011.

So, apparently, BAU is over and TSHTF NLT 31 January 2011, giving a month's buffer on these dire-sounding warnings.

The sky is falling, the sky is falling...


Todd--I agree with you that business as usual is very likely to end relatively soon. However, conclusions about how one lives one's life are going to be based on a number of variables. I am rather technically and mechanically challenged. I make my living using words. I can change light bulbs. Devoting my energy to personal mitigation against peak oil is futility in my estimation. I do little things that I can. I bought a Prius when my Camry died. I try to reduce unnecessary energy consumption. Given my assessment of how little understanding there is of this problem, I see little value in my expending my life's energy to push a boulder up a hill. I contribute what intellectual muscle I have to furthering our understanding of the problems and leave it at that. Because I am convinced that the problem is huge, I doubt that individual preparations will make much difference. We know that catastrophic events occur and have occurred throughout geological time. I think there is a significant possibility that the confluence of peak oil, climate change, and other resource depletion (fresh water) could be catastrophic for human societies and result in accelerated extinction of many species of life, possibly our own. On the outside, it may appear that I am conducting my business as usual. On the inside, I am assessing what contributions I can make, what I can and can't do given my make-up, and waiting for conditions to change to see if there is anything I can contribute to the collective survival of our kind.

It disturbs me that even the majority of TODers who should be cognizant of what is coming are doing, essentially, nothing.

A lot of us who seldom post anymore are too busy with survival type stuff. Just helped my mate process 15 lbs of the sweetest sweet corn I've ever tasted. Some of the squash we harvested I'm not sure what it is (they do weird crosses under cover of darkness). Getting the back-up generator tuned up, firewood is all in.

Hunkering down.

"Some of the squash we harvested I'm not sure what it is (they do weird crosses under cover of darkness)."

It's not just mine that are fooling around? Now I feel better.

It occurred to me to wonder if anyone is planning to leave the country - seems to me some of the rhetoric is starting to look like Germany in the 1930's.

I ask only after seeing the "stomp" video in Kentucky.

Apologies in advance for possibly offending anyone.

some of the rhetoric is starting to look like Germany in the 1930's.

How so?

Rand Paul isn't wipping any masses of people into a frenzy with his rhetoric.

Try these excerpts from an essay by Joseph Goebbels :-

"One has taken all sovereign rights from us. We are just good enough that international capital allows us to fill its money sacks with interest payments. That and only that is the result of a centuries-long history of heroism. Have we deserved it? No, and no again! "

"Three million people lack work and sustenance. The officials, it is true, work to conceal the misery. They speak of measures and silver linings. Things are getting steadily better for them, and steadily worse for us. The illusion of freedom, peace and prosperity that we were promised when we wanted to take our fate in our own hands is vanishing. Only complete collapse of our people can follow from these irresponsible policies."

"Therefore we demand homes for German soldiers and workers. If there is not enough money to build them, drive the foreigners out so that Germans can live on German soil."

It goes on. And plenty more just like it.


Rhetoric that matches the above has been going on for some time in the US of A.

Lou Dobbs (they guy who had Mexican Illegals on his estate taking case of his horses for 60+ hours a week) mentioned jobs and foreigners quite some time ago.

International capital has had 'by the sackful' cash leave the US of A.

Unemployment has been up for some time and the books on the numbers have been cooked for some time.

It is, however, a very slippery slope to go from ranting on TV, on the blogs or in the paper, to having one's "followers" find justification in stomping on the heads of people who have different political or religious views. Or handcuffing and removing reporters and dissenters.

If that isn't stopped, and pronto, they just move on to the next step, since the echo-chamber of people around them tells them they did the right thing.

I lived in South Africa during the Apartheid era, and can tell you quite a lot about propaganda. Also, wire taps and people disappearing in the night, or being "detained" and held without cause or trial, or the right to legal counsel.

I don't care which side the of political divide one is on, when it comes to physical violence to send a message, everyone should be against that.

It is, however, a very slippery slope to go from ranting on TV, on the blogs or in the paper, to having one's "followers" find justification in stomping on the heads of people who have different political or religious views. Or handcuffing and removing reporters and dissenters.

Police abuse cases have been going on for years - what happened to her is typical of a mild police abuse case. Had there been no cell phone cameras or a cop doing the abuse - this would have been a non-issue.

when it comes to physical violence to send a message, everyone should be against that.

And yet - that is exactly what's been happening for YEARS and the US Federal Government has been behind many, many cases of it.

All that's happened here is someone who didn't have the color of authority has done what people who have the color of authority do. That and there was a camera rolling.

The lesson seems to be - have your own cameras rolling at all times...because breaking the color of authority issue is beyond any one of us.

Agreed. It is important to note that the violence of the US police and security system is 1000 times worse than this and moving in the wrong direction, although I do condemn the actions of this individual.

I ask only after seeing the "stomp" video in Kentucky.

That was disturbing, I agree, and unfortunately probably a sneak peek of things to come. If one party can successfully convince their constituents that the other party is causing their suffering, which seems to be working, then those people will get more and more violent against what they perceive to be the perpetrators of that suffering. As we descend the net energy ladder, that dynamic will build to greater degrees of intensity until there is widespread open violent acts unless someone high enough up in the political picture is willing to explain to folks the situation with oil, that it is not a liberal or conservative initiated problem, but rather the logical progression of a finite resource that cannot flow at the rates and price it once did.

But politicians love to fool people into thinking all sorts of hateful things towards the opposing party, so don't expect the practice of whipping up hatred to stop anytime soon.

I for one am considering Canada, but only because I'm a born Canadian and the process should be easier. I have no illusions that it is anything other than a frozen socialist wasteland, but increasingly I want to escape the insane asylum.

I think that one can have a pretty good life in most parts of America if they stay underground, so to say. Don't get involved in politics. Maintain a network of family and friends that you are close to, don't piss off anyone. Do a good job at work and don't complain, even if you are miserable. Keep your peak oil preparations, whatever they may be, to yourself and only those closest to you.

The only exception I make is if local secessionist movements arise, in which case I think they deserve our support.

I know some peak oilers who have moved to Costa Rica. (Someone here who was an expert on South and Central America recommended Costa Rica, because their political system is less corrupt and more open to outsiders, than, say Mexico's.)

Me, I think Canada's probably a good bet. Lots of water and other resources. Not too crowded. Might actually benefit from global warming. I love that country.

But if I moved there (assuming they let me in), I'd be an outsider. An immigrant. If you're really expecting things to get bad, you probably don't want to be an outsider in the community. (Not something you have to worry about, of course.)

I know some peak oilers who have moved to Costa Rica.

I knew someone that moved there alone, and got his house broken into and ripped off every time he left for town to get supplies. So if you go there, understand you will need a ferocious dog (you hope they don't shoot) to watch the property or at least one well armed person at all times. Remember, there's always advantages and disadvantages to each locale.

The peak oilers who moved there didn't have any problems with crime. (They occasionally post updates at PeakOil.com.) It sounds like they've become part of the community. Their kids speak Spanish like natives, and they've started a farm and are selling soap and honey at the local market. They love it there.

I wonder how Cliff(?) is doing in Mexico?

The poster who I used to argue with when he said we don't really have any use for electricity.

Hope he's in an area that isn't subject to these drug-wars.. but I think he was near the US border, closer to Baja.. to me it sounded like a region that could become a focal area for disturbances.

I do like boundary areas, it's why I live on a coast, and being 'near' to Canada is also keeping some travel options open.. as well as being near to a lot of undeveloped forest. (Even if much is privately owned, there aren't a lot of people in much of it.)

I also take well to the Greer idea you mention. Be ready to improvise.

My family shares a house in Costa Rica with friends (we vaguely thought about a peak oil retreat, but I don't really think that is realistic for us).
But I spend part of each year down there, and I think getting to know your neighbors and becoming friends is a much more practical strategy than ferocious dogs and "at least one well armed person at all times". The Costa Rican community is very tight, and outsiders who come in with that sort of combative attitude quickly create so many problems and conflicts that they don't last long before they get frustrated and move away. Wealth disparity between locals and expats is often large, and petty theft does happen both to locals and foreigners but most people deal with it without violence. In the valley where our house is, almost everybody is related in a few families and good relations with those clans is a requirement for enjoying time in the valley.

"I think that one can have a pretty good life in most parts of America if they stay underground, so to say. Don't get involved in politics. Maintain a network of family and friends that you are close to, don't piss off anyone. Do a good job at work and don't complain, even if you are miserable."

Sorry, but I don't agree. If the US starts down the road of a less-tolerant society with fewer rights, it won't matter if you are just quietly going about your business. You may piss someone off just by existing. Maybe your neighbor will come to covet your property. Maybe someone won't like the way you dress. Maybe they'll just try to provoke you for the heck of it. Maybe one of your family members will attend a meeting, and your name will show up on a list.

This is very much a time to get involved in politics, to try and make sure the worst does not happen.

Afterthought : history can be an interesting subject. If Texas did secede from the Union, Mexico might find it an attractive re-acquisition target.

Quite a few posters are overseas. I left a year ago in anticipation of evident problems ahead. My understanding of the situation is that some counties will fare better than others. I now speak Thai and am learning Bihasa [ Malaysia and Indonesia ]

It is also quite evident to me that my plans will only work as long as I can sail my boat. Maybe 15 years. Then I will certainly need health care. Back to the US and live near a major military base.

Hope this helps you crystallize your plans.

These are the good old days

Ilargi at The Automatic Earth has a very good analysis of the Consumer Metrics Institute's CMI growth Indices, which is updated daily and with an offset, tracks well with the BEA's GDP. If it is anywhere near correct, we have already started the plunge but will be 3-4 months before the mainstream will pick it up.

I feel bold enough to predict that next week, the Repubs may make a strong showing, late November, the BEA will revise the GDP numbers downward, Government in the USA goes into full gridlock, and things will continue to spiral downward. Some truth will be revealed that neither the "Tea Party", the Repubs or the Dems will perform any effective actions to make a difference.

Please return to your seats and fasten your seatbelts. The captain has turned on the seatbelt sign.


Please link directly to the post you're talking about when linking to a blog, rather than to the front page. That way people will know what you're talking about even when the blog is updated.

There are some interesting charts there, particularly this one, that shows spending dropping at a time when it's usually ramping up.

Still, the retail numbers have been decent. I'm thinking the economy will hold up through the Christmas season, and maybe even through spring.

For daily measures, see here: Gallup Daily: U.S. Consumer Spending

Retail is really getting a jump start on things this year - I've seen Christmas stuff in stores around Halloween before but I saw my first commercial mentioning Santa last night. That was a new early record as far as I can remember.

It's only game 2 of the World Series and Christmas ads have started already.

You can smell the desperation in the air for the retailers.

I think I scooped you there - Costco has had plastic, light-up, garden Santas since September ;)

But remember when the World Series used to be played in OCTOBER? It's another example of needless "growth". MLB added a round of playoffs in 1995 - allowed second place teams to compete for the championship, called it "better" and got more TV money for it.

Well this chart from your first link, Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the S&P 500 clearly shows we are in the very middle of the second dip of a double dip recession. A recession is defined of two or more successive quarters of negative GDP growth.

We are now leaving the third successive quarter of negative growth. How on earth can anyone claim that we are not in a recession?

Ron P.

GDP is the green bar chart.

Red Line is something called the "Growth Index".


Oh darn, that's my third mistake. One in 1966 and two today. ;-) But it looks like recessions follow the growth index by only a slight time lag so GDP should go negative again soon.

But what the hell is the Growth Index? Are there different kinds of growth, the GDP kind and the Index kind?

Ron P.

I don't think you made a mistake. The Growth Index is the rate of change in GDP. It is just as negatively strong as it was in 1998. I suppose one sure way of avoiding have to declare a recession is by having the economy yo-yo every few months. Technically they can avoid a string of consecutive months which defines the state of "recession".

The Consumer Metrics Growth Index, which is what you're looking at, is a metric designed by a private forecasting firm which measures online consumer discretionary spending. It did a good job of tracking GDP growth - until recently. I believe it has begun to fail recently due to the fact that consumer credit has been falling so much. Much of that decline is due to defaults on credit cards, and consumers using credit cards less recently. Since most online purchases involve credit card use, Consumer Metrics is tracking a method of payment which is in decline. So their growth index could be in decline, but that would say nothing about GDP because a larger portion of consumer spending in GDP is not via credit cards.

It doesn't look like it's begun to fail to me.

That is, the relationship with GDP seems the same as always.

That chart does not show the latest quarter, which is at the +2% mark. According to Consumer Metrics' Growth Index, GDP should have been negative 2% in the 3rd quarter, not +2%.

As I understand it, it does show the latest quarter.

Ilargi argues that the curve has to be shifted to match the backward-looking GDP, and that's what the chart does.

Look at the chart closely. It only shows 2 bars (the green ones) for GDP for 2010. The 2% growth which was announced today was for the 3rd quarter, not just the 2nd quarter. So, that chart needs to be updated. Next, follow the red line: If the Consumer Metrics Growth Index was truely predicting GDP, GDP growth would probably have been negative in Q2, and it certainly would have been negative in Q3. But it was negative in neither quarter.

Okay, I thought you were talking about the CMG data.

I still don't think you can say it's begun to fail. If you look at the whole chart, you can see it's never tracked exactly with GDP. There are some pretty big "misses" in the past as well.

Here is what Ilargi said regarding Q3 (and Q4) GDP based on his reading of the leading indicators.


The expectation among "experts" is that the initial report on Q3 GDP will come in around +2%. Remember, this can undergo strong revisions later on. If we look at the 365-day index in the graph above, we can make a preliminary "prediction" (remember, no crystal ball) for GDP going forward.

As the graph is right now, that is with the 3-month shift forward, Q3 GDP according to the CMI 365-day index comes at around +1.25%. And if I can be bold for a moment, I would say chances are that no matter what number is published tomorrow, the BEA Q3 GDP will be very close to that after all revisions have been done. Sadly, we won't know until say, Christmas. If we look at what the 365-day would appear to say about Q4, I would say we come to about -0.5% (average the graph over the 3-month window).

As I understand it, the CMG index is based on the use of a trailing average. A moving average acts like a filter, but a very poor one. First off, the process induces a phase lag in that the value actually should apply at the mid point of the averaging period. For example, a 180 day trailing average would represent the variable at a time 90 days in the past. Also, moving averages induce aliasing into the data, that is false signals, which distort the curve. What Ilargi did by shifting the curve may have added further distortion to the resulting comparison with GDP. Sorting out the validity of this analysis would take some serious thought, which I have not done...

E. Swanson

He does admit that it's a very rough prediction.

Yes, it shows GDP as still positive. The Growth Index is supposed to predict future GDP.

Cat - I would agree with those economist that we aren't heading for a double dip. But only because we're still in the single dip IMHO. I know how they define a recession (2 consecutive GDP drops and then recovery) and I don't care. I was curious what GDP was doing in absolute terms and found the data (http://www.measuringworth.com/datasets/usgdp/result.php). The chatter about the percentage growth in GDP this last year is rather misleading IMHO. Depending on which metric you look at the absolute value of GDP has been relatively flat since 2005 to 2007. Chart it up on that web site and you'll see the US has never seen this trend in GDP ever. Others can argue whether we'll stay flat or expand again. But right now GDP is essentially the same (actually a little lower) than it was in 2009. GDP may be increasing over where it was 6 months ago but longer term it has not grown in absolute value in 3 to 5 years.

And that explains to me why we're still have such high unemployment: if the economy is producing no more output then it was 2 or 3 years ago why would we expect to see more people employed in that output than those working back then. Add to that the expanding population and the supposedly increasing efficiency of the work force we should see high continued high unemployment.

Your comments on economic growth are correct. Real per capita GDP in the U.S. peaked in 2005, right along with oil production. There will continue to be fluctuations in GDP, but in my opinion we will continue at zero real GDP per capita growth for a while, and then the GDP will decline in real (inflation adjusted) terms as U.S. oil imports and oil production decline.

IMHO we cannot have economic growth with $80 oil and excessive debt loads on individuals, businesses, and governments. A deflationary depression over the next few years is a distinct possibility, even in the absence of a decline in oil production.

I'm preparing for bad times ahead by enjoying all the luxuries I can afford now and by restudying the stoic philosophers.

By the way, I agree with the commenter who said the current GDP number of 2% for the third quarter is likely to be adjusted downward in about a month.

Sailor - Your last comment highlights what started bugging me about the MSM. They just regurgitate the change in GDP as if that's the real story. As you note it isn't the important story: the fact that for the first time in at least 80 years the GDP of the USA has remained essentially flat for multiple years. I won't play an armchair economist and offer meaning to this trend. But IMHO it explains our continued unemployment numbers as well as a pessimistic view that those numbers won't improve anytime soon. The GDP, above all else, is very slow to change in any significant amount. It might be up 2% from the previous quarter but it's still on a relatively flat plateau. And it's difficult for me to not relate that plateau to the one many now perceive for a PO plateau.

Rockman -- the real median income per household peaked in '99, declined, rose again to a lesser peak in 2007, and resumed its decline.

Actually, the peak in '73 was about $45 K, while the peak in '99 was about $52 K, or a 15% improvement in 26 years.

For 2009, the real median income had fallen to $49,777, which is up only about 11% from '73.


I think per capita numbers are better than per household numbers, because average household size has been changing (decreasing) over time.

Per capita real median income for males is lower than in '73, although the peak in '99 was slightly higher than '73.

Per capita real median income for females has been increasing. And female participation in the labor force has been increasing. Women's earnings and a smaller household size account for any increase in household real median income since '73.

'73 marked the end of US post-war prosperity and the beginning of US economic stagnation.


The link you cite does not say that real median income per capita for males peaked in 1973--for the very good reason that it did not. There was genuine economic growth between 1973 and about 2005.

In my opinion the peaking of per capita oil imports into the U.S. in 2005 and continuing decline of domestic oil production marked the real turning point from a usually growing economy to a stagnant one.

Contrary to some, I see no reason to believe that the economy will decline at the same rate as the decline in oil consumption per capita in the U.S. My guess is that declining oil output will trigger global financial collapse--followed by a large and abrupt decline in real GDP and personal incomes. After the financial collapse there may be some partial recovery, but the trend of the economy over the years will be down right along with declining oil production. As I crunch the numbers from an economist's point of view, the rate of decline in real GDP will probably be somewhat less than the rate of decline in global oil production over the long term. From a sociological point of view, however, I think there are risks of war and internal disorder that could make the real GDP decline much faster than the the decline in oil output over the next twenty or thirty years.

I didn't say that real median income per capita for males peaked in 1973. Look at the graph. Median income per capita for males was slightly higher in 1999. But not by much. And it declined from 1999 on.

Almost all improvement in median income per capita nationally has been due to more women entering the workforce and progressing to higher income jobs.

However, note that a lot of this is due to monetization of transactions that were previously not monetized. If the family sat down to a dinner prepared by Mrs. Cleaver that was not a transaction captured in the GDP. Today, if the family sits down to a dinner prepared by Applebees, it is.

Also, this is the median, which separates the less fortunate half from the more fortunate half. The earnings of the more fortunate half of the population have increased faster, so the real mean income has gone up more significantly since '73. This is coupled with the fact that incomes in later years have been derived more from investments, benefits, and transfer payments and less from wages.

For the median American male, and probably for his family as well, actual living standards have been on a decline since 1973.

It is probably impossible to compare "actual living standards" in 1973 with those today because technology has changed so much. In 1973 I still used a manual typewriter; today I have a laptop computer. I am on a couple of medications that benefit me greatly that were not invented in 1973. My cell phone is more convenient than a landline and costs me about the same as a landline did in 1973 (correcting for inflation). My car has all-wheel drive and airbags, which were not around in 1973, and it has 239,000 miles on it, which is way more than I got on any previous car. I have a CD collection and also one of DVDs now. I can easily buy organic foods at the local supermarket now, which was not the case in 1973. Notice also that people now live substantially longer than they did in the seventies.

Now according to your values, "actual living standards," may have peaked in 1973, but I think you will find that most authorities disagree with you on this point.

The essential thing to realize is that we now live in a thoroughly centrally planned economy, with the Fed having practically purchased the entire nation with money created out of thin air.

There is no longer any pretense that we have a free market anymore.

In such an environment, it doesn't even makes sense to talk of "double dip recessions" or anything like that. We are completely zombified now. That's why things basically appear normal. Everything is being supported by endless liquidity from the Fed.

So when economists say that is no chance of another recession, what they are basically admitting (even though they don't realize it), is that there is no chance of a recession in a centrally planned finance economy, supported by endless amounts of money. They very well might be right.

But what people need to understand is that such an economy really can't work. Nothing good can come out of it. There will be no significant innovation, no increase in living standards, no optimism, nothing. We will continue to live in oversized homes we don't own, drive oversized cars over long distances to meaningless jobs, eat terrible food (again, not payed for by ourselves but by the Fed, handing money to the government for food stamps) which makes us oversized and ill, and overpay for everything else, destroying any chance of building wealth for ourselves or our families.

And all of this because the Fed refuses to entertain the thought of either a recession or banks going under, so it prints money and buys up everything so that nothing can "fail."

Trust me, I don't want to believe this is true. But just look around you, read the news.

We haven't had a free market since the corporations started metastisizing and globalizing.

Seriously, people talk about "free markets" as though we all lived in Mayberry RFD, let the best hardware store win.

It's not like that, and hasn't been like that for decades.

It's not government - it's government run by corporations.

with the Fed having practically purchased the entire nation with money created out of thin air

More and more I'm seeing that people are finally getting it about the "money" thing.

Common Dreams had an article today about the illusion of the "money" thing. [link]

Here is a short excerpt:

In an illuminating dissertation called “Toward a General Theory of Credit and Money” in The Review of Austrian Economics, Mostafa Moini, Professor of Economics at Oklahoma City University, argues that money has never actually been a “commodity” or “thing.” It has always been merely a “relation,” a legal agreement, a credit/debit arrangement, an acknowledgment of a debt owed and a promise to repay.

The Common Dreams writer still does not get it about the question regarding between "whom" the promises are made and how the various promising parties assume the presence of abundant cheap oil.

But that realization will come about in due time. (Perchance after it is too late, but all in due time.)

[ i.mage.+]
[i]= image, [+]= more info

Well put.

Basically money will be printed up for almost every problem. For example, when oil prices start skyrocketing within 2 years, the government will provide more energy subsidies that will lead only to more inflation - since, well, we can't print up more oil.

Eventually the US dollar will be near worthless because of endless money 'printing'. Nearly and not totally worthless if there is some gold left at Fort Knox, (which if there is, no one has seen it). The US dollar based worldwide trade system won't last much longer. Think of it as the bonfire of the currencies, with the US starting the fire that will consume all fiat currencies.

Re: http://www.businessinsider.com/pictures-of-london-after-global-warming-2...

Some great photos with compilers giving themselves lots of latitude (desertification, mini ice age, paddy fields!)

Thought the most interesting part was the montage of current weather events (link on slide 15), now that's scary, and real too.

The photos are fun.
Just now though, London commercial property BAU makes a come-back. 'Party on', as you say over there.

'Cheesegrater' project revived as London office market recovers
Land Securities, Britain's biggest property developer, last week said it would restart work on a 37-storey building known as the Walkie Talkie in nearby Fenchurch Street

Pictures: Rice paddies and salt water? If we really have not built the next London barrage in time, I would rather expect London to be abandoned than camped out next to a functional palace.


Rice paddies and salt water?

It's possible. They're working on it.

Photos are very powerful media, and as such, I would have hoped more caution was shown with them. Depicting mature palm trees and the iced over Thames in the same slide show generates alot of confusion, in a topic that doesn't need any more ambiguity for the average joe. The author may be reveling in his photoshop skills, but I wish he'd left them on his computer.

As noted above, the second slideshow series needs to be promoted.

Re: A shantytown grows around Buckingham Palace

Hmm, with the new Conservative/Lib-Dem government slashing welfare housing payments it has been estimated that perhaps hundreds of thousands of the poorest families in London will no longer be able to afford the rent. The government argues they should move to areas with cheaper accommodation. The outspoken (also) Conservative Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has said that he will not allow Kosovo style ethnic cleansing of the poor from London under his watch (Johnson under fire for 'Kosovo cleansing' comments).

Well now we see how both the cuts can be enforced and the less well off allowed to continue to live in London in close proximity to the very rich!

Shanty Town around Buckingham Palace
- (Cropped and compressed sample image - follow link for originals).

Excellent! All though the shanty town dwellers seem to have 'recycled' the Royal Gates to Green Park but left the Victoria Memorial. Would have thought the gold leaf on the memorial would have gone too!

I particularly like the one with the Household Cavalry on camels!

The housing benefit is going to be capped at 400 pounds a week. That is 20,000 pounds a year--or roughly $32,000. And these are poor people?

If housing prices had not ballooned out of control London rents wouldn't be so ludicrously high. Still only large families receiving housing benefit living in a single large house will ever hit that limit. But it's the arbitrary decision to chop 10% off the benefit after one year of unemployment that will hit very large numbers of people and some of them very hard.

The lack of sufficient "social housing" is what forces families to live in more expensive private rented homes. Of course if the UK hadn't sold off much of its best council housing stock at bargain prices to chase votes then there would be much cheaper homes for the less well off to live in. Instead they can easily find themselves at the wrong end of a ten year plus queue for relatively low rent council housing.

Showing Buckingham Palace surrounded by shantytowns is just a cheap exercise in using Photoshop. In reality, it will probably be surrounded by Manhattan-style condominiums which will cost a minimum of $1 million Euros (the pound will be gone by then). The poor will have to live in shantytowns somewhere that is now occupied by sheep.

The pictures of London immersed in water are also a cheap Photoshop exercise. Southern England has been sinking into the ocean for thousands of years. Prior to 8500 years ago, you could have walked from Paris to London without getting your feet wet in salt water. London has sunk by 1 foot per century since the Romans founded it, and there's no real reason to expect it to stop. It's not an insurmountable problem, just ask the Dutch for advice in managing dikes and below-sea-level cities.

Let's ask them in 90 years, maybe they can lecture us on floating cities.

No, hang on. A Mr. Nagin would like a word.

Oil Royalty Agency Threatens Fines in Wake of Spill and Corruption Scandal

The Interior Department has shut the Minerals Management Service, or MMS, which was faulted for coziness with industry that bordered on corruption. MMS is being replaced by three new agencies, the first of which opened for business on Oct. 1 and collects royalties generated by oil and gas companies drilling on federal leases. The Denver-based office will track cheats with a computer algorithm and add auditors to ensure the government gets every dime it’s owed, said Gregory J. Gould, the agency’s new director.
Now Gould’s job is to collect some $10 billion a year in royalties from thousands of on- and offshore oil and gas leases, the nation’s second-biggest source of revenue after federal taxes. Energy royalties work much the way income taxes do: Companies self-report what they owe, and like taxpayers, many cheat, audits show.

Gould’s agency will get 19 more auditors this year, bringing the total to 164. The new audit review system uses a risk-based algorithm, modeled in part on one used by the Internal Revenue Service, to identify companies most likely to cheat. Previously, only the biggest companies faced the prospect of an audit, Gould says.

“By going after only the big companies, small ones knew they could cut corners,” he said. “This takes that away.”

Government, independent lab results confirm recent anomaly algal bloom, not oil

Final lab results, from government and independent labs, came back Thursday showing that samples taken of reported oil in West Bay, La., were absent of any crude oil, confirming initial findings that the discolored water was the result of an algal bloom.

The large, orange blooms of algae in the nutrient-rich West Bay waters closely resembled the emulsified oil seen several months ago before BP's Macondo well was capped.

Response teams aboard vessels and aircraft deployed to the area and made a visual determination that the large orange mass was algae. Samples were taken Saturday and sent to Entrix for analysis and confirmation. The returned analysis concluded the following, "Sample contains some mid-range nC17 - nC20 molecular weight hydrocarbons consistent with a biological source. Negligible unresolved complex mixture, few resolved n-alkanes, steranes and triterpanes. Conclusion: No crude oil present."

Additional samples were taken by a Coast Guard pollution investigator and sent to the Coast Guard's Marine Safety Lab for analysis. The Coast Guard Marine Safety Lab scientist reported, "The six samples collected on Saturday do not contain a quantity of petroleum detectable by the analysis conducted. Traces of hydrocarbons consistent with biological material were detected."

Re: Trillions necessary to maintain Russia's oil production (uptop)

Here is a different version of the same story, but with a key change in focus:

Russia can sustain 500-mln-ton (10 mbpd) annual oil output: Putin

"Thanks to newly-prospected reserves, the advancement to new grounds and more efficient exploitation of old oil fields, we can maintain our oil output at the current level of about 500 million tons a year for decades ahead," said Putin in the Volga city of Samara as quoted by local media.

Until 2020, 8.6 trillion rubles (280.8 billion dollars) were needed to boost Russia's oil industry, he said.

Here is one more:

Russia needs $280bn for stable flows

Russia's mature fields, mostly in West Siberia, are on the decline and require investment to maximize their output at a time when oil companies also face heavy investment needs in East Siberian greenfields.

Shmatko said mature fields would still account for 70% to 80% of output in 2020.

From EIA:

500 million tons a year of all liquids works out to be about 9,600,000 barrels per day of C+C. That is about 200,000 barrels per day less than they produced this month, October, of 2010 as Vankor ramped up to full production. October will be a new record for them. They will likely average about 9,700,000 barrels per day for the entire year.

What they are talking about therefore is keeping production flat from now until 2020. They can do that, Putin claims, if they invest 292 billion dollars in the effort.

I find this a little strange, Putin is saying that it will take $292 billion just to keep production virtually flat. And, Putin claims, that even with this huge investment, the world's largest oil producing nation will go into decline after 2010.

Understand that the Russian Government is taxing oil production at the alarming rate of 73 percent. But if they drop this rate to 65 percent Putin believes that the oil companies will invest that extra money in maintaining flat production.

But there is a cavite:

The new figure of 505 million tons a year will largely be met by existing production regions, according to energy minister Sergei Shmatko.

That is they are going to keep their old giants fields on a production plateau for the next 10 years. That varies with what Renaissance Capital oil and gas analyst Alex Burgansky stated in September of last year:

There are plenty of projects in Russia, both, new projects and existing brownfield projects. Russia is a very mature producer. If you exclude all the drilling activity taking place every year, then Russian organic decline in production is close to 19%...

Therefore, next year there will be a lot fewer fields coming on stream; in the absence of new incentives to put more money to work to grow Russian oil production, it will naturally start declining, with organic decline rates of around 19% and growing.

But the money did keep flowing and oil production did keep growing, though only slightly so. But the growth was mostly due to one new field, Vankor. Of course there were other, but much smaller, fields that also came on line.

Anyway what he is saying is without massive infield drilling Russia's old fields would decline at 19 percent and that percentage is growing. Somehow I don't think they can hold this 19 percent and growing decline rate back for another 10 years, even if they do invest $292 billion in the effort to do so.

Ron P.

I'm not trying to hijack the thread Ron, but didn't you have a comment first up on discrepancies with EIA #'s? No discrepancy?

Yes I did but I made a mistake and asked Leanan to delete it. The article in question on Colombian Oil Production stated that oil production would end the year at 685,000 barrels per day. I stated that the EIA already has Colombia producing about 200,000 barrels per day above that.

But it was my error. The 685,000 barrels per day was only for Ecopetrol SA, Colombia’s largest oil company while I mistakenly thought it was for all Colombia. My error so I deleted it.

I made another error in July of 1966 so this was my second. ;-)

Ron P.

So 10*365*9,600,000=35,040,000,000 bbls
292,000,000,000 / 35,040,000,000 = $8.33 per bbl. A bargain, no?


I recall that 1966 error, something about world population stabilizing at 2 billion, wasn't it? Kidding aside, thanks for the explanation, when you load drumbeat and there's only comment, you tend to dwell on it.

Well no that was not it. World population in 1966 was about 3.4 billion. Actually the mistake was that I thought I had made a mistake but I was mistaken, I had made no mistake at all.

But I think the world population will eventually stabilize, at somewhere .5 and 1 billion.

Ron P.

My prediction for the world population is it will stabilize at exactly 0. The question is when.

A wiki for the biofuels research community

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have created a technoeconomic model that should help accelerate the development of a next generation of clean, green biofuels that can compete with gasoline in economics and well as performance. This on-line, wiki-based model enables researchers to pursue the most promising strategies for cost-efficient biorefinery operations by simulating such critical factors as production costs and energy balances under different processing scenarios.

... although biofuels research is a highly dynamic field, advances made by one group in the field have rarely been considered in the models developed by other groups, primarily because no avenue for such an exchange of information existed.

In the JBEI technoeconomic model, each unit of operation in the biofuels process flow sheet has a dedicated discussion thread, making it possible for experts in different fields to collectively and publicly address issues associated with different sections of the biorefinery. To make the model interactive and dynamic, and to ensure its accuracy, parameters and assumptions will be updated in response to feedback obtained from users in the biofuels research community.

More on the mortgage mess.

Mr. Rought bought the cabin from Deutsche Bank on Jan. 27, 2009, paying in cash. He spent the next seven months fixing it up in anticipation that his daughter, Hannah, “would live in the house and be away from her parents for the first time in her young life,” court records show.

But in August of that year, when the Roughts pulled into the driveway, they noticed that something was wrong. The American flag was missing, the house had been broken into and the locks had been changed.

The Roughts’ belongings were gone too, including an heirloom dining room table, pots and pans, a pile of firewood — even the bracket used to hang the American flag.

He tried to tell them they had the wrong house, but it still hasn't been settled.

It's going to take years to clean up the mess.

Three years after the housing bubble collapsed under the weight of lax mortgage underwriting, some 5.5 million families have lost their homes or are in the process of losing their homes to foreclosure. Estimates vary, but analysts say there are at least that many more foreclosures likely before the wave subsides.

And the number could go far higher: Without a change in government policy, some 11 million borrowers are at risk of losing their homes, according to a research report earlier this month by Amherst Securities, which advises investors in mortgage-backed securities. That’s roughly one-fifth of the 55 million mortgages outstanding on the 80 million homes in the U.S.

Eventually, Mr. Rought hired a lawyer. Deutsche Bank declined to comment, and Field Asset Services did not return calls seeking comment.
Joseph deMello, a Massachusetts lawyer who represents Mr. Rought, said the common denominator in many of the cases was an overwhelmed system of foreclosures in which banks relied on subcontractors to do much of the work.

They wait several months to hire a lawyer after Deutsche Bank changes the locks on their property? And they hire a Massachusetts lawyer for a property in Michigan?

While lawyers may make lousy politicians, they are essential in many property transactions. Also, hire a local lawyer who knows the courts in the area.

They wait several months to hire a lawyer after Deutsche Bank changes the locks on their property?

Well, judges like that you try to solve things before going to court. And it does give time for them to dig themselves deeper/rack up damages.

Personally, I'd march down to the county Sheriff and ask 'em to do their job an arrest some people.

I think what irks me most about the recent news cycles on the mortgage mess is the unquestioned acceptance of the bank/finance description of the problem being "paperwork" issues by nearly all media outlets

If they would do even the slightest background work they'd learn that what we're dealing with is massive corporate fraud. These banks/mortgage service companies are invoking foreclosures (which by lucky happenstance earns them some nice fees) but neglecting to get owner consent. Well, this isn't exactly right, they are referring to the MERS database as the owner as that is where the slicing and dicing of the mortgages into securities was recorded. But the courts have already ruled that MERS can not be the "owner of record."

I'll stop now, because you all are probably aware of this. But, %&*$!!!, if I hear that its a "paperwork" issue one more time, I'm gonna scream (hopefully I'll be alone in the car at that time, with the windows rolled up).

Don't worry. As other nations start getting upset over being sold the same property many times (see the tail of the Stern Bear and its resale operation) their protests will make national news.

There has to be a reason for the dumping of bonds.

What happened to banks not wanting to foreclose because they wanted to avoid mark to market (allowing them to keep home prices inflated)?

Orlov guest post: Specter Is Haunting America

America is the most rationally conceived of all modern, civilized societies. We have more science and technology, more lawyers and laws, more prisons and prisoners, more military bases—in short, more and larger systems of domination than any other country on the planet.

We also have more money managers and swindlers, more rat race, more mental illness and more lone gunmen acting out against whatever they perceive as an injustice in their world. And yet we keep marching straight ahead to the precipice...

...The American middle/working class is still preoccupied with gazing at the shadows cast upon the walls of its cave/prison, preferring to go on believing what they are told by their owners and handlers..

But even our European brothers do not understand the magnitude of this seismic event. It is neither a fiscal nor an economic problem. It is not a matter of having the wrong political leadership, nor is it the result of confused or misguided personal priorities. It is a crack in the dome of the theater of the Spectacle that began with the advent of human history, of civilization itself.

It is the endgame of the human evolutionary dead end that has pathologically sought artifices of manipulation and control at all costs.

What is haunting the globe today is the specter of primitive anarchy,... It is now everywhere and has a will of its own. It can no longer be brought under control, through force or through reason, and there will be no escaping it.

It is not interested in you; it is coming after who you think you are.

This is from a recent workshop by the Army on Renewables , Thermal & Electrical Energy Storage , Power & Energy Architecture, Energy Conservation, Building Envelope and Materials Sciences , Physical Architecture (PassiveHaus) and Tools & Systems Analyses Methodologies for the Net Zero Energy Initiative

Proceedings of the ERDC-CERL Net Zero Energy (NZE) Installation and Deployed Bases Workshop (PDF 3.4 M)

From the Abstract. The United States faces profound security and economic challenges directly related to the growing constraints on established global energy resources. U.S. Army energy demand is projected to outgrow affordable supplies even after accounting for the impact of anticipated energy efficiency and management innovations.

… The inescapable conclusion is that energy resource limitations are a non-negotiable constraint for the foreseeable future.

See slide 2-3 for their take on the likely peak dates for oil & gas
Other workshop presentations: http://dodfuelcell.cecer.army.mil/NZE_Agenda.php

It would appear that the military does not have a 20 year lead on ‘solutions’ for this subject

We need an elegant suite of NZE solution options that can be tailored for adaptation at any Army installation or deployed base, depending on climatic zone, mission needs, extent of legacy versus new facilities, etc. There is no overarching power delivery-energy storage-demand architecture and methodology to do this today. Every one of today’s solutions is a ‘from scratch’ solution.

Observation: I think it’s important to recognize that many of these military net-zero energy programs and timetables are driven by Executive Orders (i.e. presidential directive). This suggests that the civilian leadership (at the executive branch level at least)is fully cognizant of the situation and, given the fact that they have no scalable workable solution, chooses to keep our population in the dark.

You win at least a (Bubblegum) Cigar on your last paragraph Seraph, particularly the last sentence. Although I'm 99.44 percent sure that Energy is only one of the items on a very very long list of things they don't want us to know or we wouldn't want to know...

"terror, terror every wheror"

Halloween/"1929 Crash" Anniversary Thoughts From Art Cashin

According to the buzz we’re hearing, a new speculation on terror may be evolving. We suspect that the seed may come from warnings from the authorities that a future attack might be “Mumbai style”. That reintroduces a sense of randomness. You’re not safe by staying out of airports or tall buildings. You’re not sure what will be safe.

Apparently, folks are trying to address the Mumbai style randomness by finding an anchor or a signal. The speculation has seized on the botched car bombing in Times Square. It has been merged into a new theory that car bombings or car fires will be used a diversion. They can attract large crowds – fire, police, press and the curious. The large crowds would be vulnerable targets.

A second version suggests the car bombs are to divert authorities and leave other targets vulnerable. They even have a Halloween aspect – but Halloween is too near. So, since the first was on 9/11 – how about 11/9. And you thought you had to go to school to study creative writing. Happy Halloween!

Cargo sparks security alert at international airports

Security alerts are under way in the US, UK and Middle East after suspicious packages were found in Britain and Dubai.

The White House said the packages had been found overnight on two planes in transit to the US from Yemen.

Investigations are continuing at Newark in New Jersey, and Philadelphia

Nuclear-Powered Water For The UAE?

Their immediate target is to pursue nuclear energy as a solution. By 2017, Abu Dhabi wants to have four plants to satisfy nearly one quarter of its energy requirements. Here’s the what NY Times discovered about that:

But from a sustainability perspective, nuclear power makes little sense, said Mohamed Raouf, the environmental director at the Gulf Research Center. While it produces clean energy, “it’s not renewable, there’s a very big problem with waste, and uranium supplies are projected to run out in 40 to 50 years — around the same time as oil,” he said. “So there’s little logic unless you really want to develop it for political and security reasons.”

Okay the New York times is saying that the Gulf Research Center is saying that we will run out of oil and uranium at about the same time, in 40 to 50 years.

Well hell...

Ron P.

The NY Times article was posted up top. ("Dubai Faces Environmental Problems After Growth")

Very interesting. But also from my original link we have this little gem.

In response to these problems, Abu Dhabi recently committed to building underground aquifers, but there is still the issue of energy. With peak oil looming and the emirates running short, they are grasping in whatever direction they can to avoid a waterless future.

The Emirates are running short of oil! Now that is a revelation. But they appear to be far more worried about the water that oil brings, via desalination plants, than anything else that their oil brings them.

Also interesting to find that they, the UAE that is, accepts the reality of Peak Oil.

Ron P.

Also interesting to find that they, the UAE that is, accepts the reality of Peak Oil.

It's not quite the revelation the blog post makes it out to be. "Peak oil looming," if you read the NY Times article, turns out to be "in 40 or 50 years."

I did not read it that way at all. Peak oil is looming now and we run completely out in 40 or 50 years.

Ron P.

"Peak oil looming" is the blogger's take. It wasn't mentioned in the original article.

Re: Brazil Says Offshore Oil Field May be Americas' Biggest Find in 34 Years

I know y'all are excited, but here is my running tally of Brazilian oil discoveries since December 2005.

Brazil Oil Discoveries: Name - Size - Month/Year
Papa-Terra - 700 million - 1 billion barrels - 12/05 (LINK)
Xerelete - 1.4 billion barrels - 7/07 (LINK)
Tupi - 5-8 billion barrels - 11/07 (LINK)
Golfinho - 150 million barrels - 7/08 (LINK)
Iara - 3-4 billion barrels - 10/08 (LINK)
Additions to Jubarte - 1.9 billion barrels - 10/08 (LINK, LINK)
Tiro - 150 million barrels - 10/08 (LINK)
Sub-salt layers of Baleia Franca, Baleia Azul, and Jubarte - 1.5-2 billion barrels - 11/08 (LINK)
Aruana - 280 million barrels - 8/09 (LINK)
Guara - 1.1-2 billion barrels - 09/09 (LINK)
Vesuvio - 500 million - 1.5 billion barrels - 10/09 (LINK)
Caricoa - 681 million barrels - 11/09 (LINK)
Well OGX-2A - 400-500 million barrels - 11/09 (LINK)
Addition to Marimba - 25 million barrels - 11/09 (LINK)
Well OGX-4-RUS - 100-200 million barrels - 02/10 (LINK)
Well 1-OGX-3-RJS - 500-900 million barrels - 02/10 (LINK)
Well 4-PM-53 - 25 million barrels - 02/10 (LINK)
Additions to Barracuda - 65 million barrels - 2/10 (LINK)
Maastrichtian section of Well OGX-5 - 30-90 million barrels - 2/10 (LINK)
Piranema - 15 million barrels - 3/10 (LINK)
Wahoo - 300 million barrels - 4/10 (LINK)
Franco - 4.5 billion barrels - 5/10 (LINK)
Pipeline and Etna (well OGX-6) - 1.4-2.6 billion barrels - 5/10 (LINK)
Waimea and Fuji (wells OGX-2 and OGX-8) - 600 million-1.1 billion barrels - 5/10 (LINK)
Carimbe - 105 million barrels - 5/10 (LINK)
Brava - 380 million barrels - 6/10 (LINK)
Libra - 3.7-15 billion barrels - 6/10 (LINK)


Running total: 35.506 - 56.866 billion barrels

As long as we find one like this every 108 days, we are fine.

From your link:

Brazil currently has proven reserves of about 14 billion barrels, the ANP said.

I don't understand this at all. They say they have 15 billion barrels of proven reserves yet your tally puts their reserves at between 35 and 56 billion barrels. Could it be that the size of most all of those fields were exaggerated?

Anyway, how much of these reserves are pre-salt? Is there any pre-salt oil currently being produced? Not that you would know the answers but if you have a guess it would be appreciated.

Ron P.

I don't understand this at all. They say they have 15 billion barrels of proven reserves yet your tally puts their reserves at between 35 and 56 billion barrels. Could it be that the size of most all of those fields were exaggerated?

No, it's because they haven't added most of those discoveries to their proven reserves yet. Often they don't do that until many years after a discovery is made. In fact, some oil companies don't add reserves of an oil field until well after it's started production.

If you have been posting here as long as you have, and you still don't know that . . . let's just say it makes me wonder.

Sorry to be such an ignorant fool AC. You will get no more responses from me, ignorant or otherwise.

In fact, some oil companies don't add reserves of an oil field until well after it's started production.

Well I know OPEC countries count as proven reserves oil fields that have never produced a barrel. Saudi for instance has always counted Manifa and the hundreds of fields that they say they have discovered but have never produced a barrel.

If you have been posting here as long as you have, and you still don't know that . . . let's just say it makes me wonder.

Ron P.

We aren't talking about OPEC NOC's. In Brazil we're talking about Petrobras and other publicly-traded companies who have to comply with SEC rules. Petrobras hasn't even booked any reserves from Tupi yet, even though it was discovered 3-4 years ago.

That explains why business rules governing resource extraction make it extremely hard to treat this as a science. If it was a science we would get a most likely estimate for ultimate resources and we can go from there.

But that's OK. According to the Dispersive Discovery model, I can give you a cushion of 800 billion barrels of oil globally and it would barely nudge the peak.You can stick to your hopeless bean-counting AC, I will trust the probability and statistics models.

WHT. That's a silly comment. The SEC rules ensure that the reserves are really proven and not just wildly estimated like in Iraq. All these reserves will be booked in good time once a thorough analysis has been carried out. Also your exceedingly arrogant comment "you can stick to your hopeless been counting" does you no credit at all. For years the argument has beeen: "We are not finding enough reserves so production will have to start dropping". When reserves are found it changes to "Well, I'm religious and I don't believe in your numbers and I will ignore them anyway and anyway you can't 100% prove them". Peak Oil must not become a religion. You must base your arguments on fact. Not rubbish and insults.

Its not arrogance just the acknowledgment that we need to accumulate data collected from years and years ago and then apply careful modeling to estimate the long term outcome.

The problem is that none of your brethren has ever done this or perhaps deemed it important enough to do.
Once you find this paper, please present it and then we can do a side-by-side comparison.

Ron, Production from the pre-salt has started from an FPSO (Floating Production Storage and Offloading) vessel provided by BW Offshore. Production started in March 2009.


and before anybody points out that this is a very low level of production: This is a test unit only. The main production will be developed over the next 5-10 years.

Petrobras will rapidly be ramping up the production from Tupi using a series of 8 enormous FPSOs built in Brazil.



Brazil will keep ramping up oil production for the forseeable future and will be one of the countries that ensures that we will have a new peak in world total oil production soon.

BTW, I took the total from another list I compile and accidentally put it at the end of the Brazilian list above. The end of my post above should read as thus:


Running total: 28.506 billion - 48.866 billion barrels

Apologies for any confusion.

Thank you for an excellent list. Funny how TODers seem to leave these fields out of their graphs.

No analysis of Brazil's discoveries???

I'd love to hear from the experts, but my take is that the new field is in no way a game-changer.

It will be slow and expensive to produce and require a lot of new technology to be brought onto the market, it contains at most roughly double what was found in Tupi, which is expected to produce 75,000 b/d next year. So if the two fields combined contain 20-25 billion barrels of ultra-deep reserves, you get maybe 250,000 out of those per day, and they will be expensive. For comparison, Ghawar on its own has or at least had peak output of around 5 million barrels per day. What really matters is how many barrels per day a field can produce and at what price, not the total technically recoverable reserves it contains. Even very large new reserves like those being discovered by Brazil will be remote and difficult to access and are unlikely to make up for declining fields elsewhere and increased consumption in developing and oil exporting countries. Makes no difference at this stage in the game - gets us nowhere near the Saudi Arabia every two years that needs to be discovered, and even if we do, it says nothing about the cost.

The 75K bpd planned for Tupi next year is just the pilot project. I don't think they're certain what its peak production will be, but one estimate is as much as:

The second phase of development is expected to commence in late 2010, using a floating production, storage and offload vessel (FPSO) with a capacity of 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day and four million cubic meters of gas per day by 2010. It is estimated that around ten FPSOs would be needed for the development of Tupi field and it would reach peak production of around 1,000,000 bopd in the year 2021.

AC, that is precisely the issue. Tupi may ramp up to a wonderful number at the end, but getting there will not happen quickly. By the time Tupi reaches 1 million bopd we will have seen production decreases elsewhere and if they are significant then there will be a demand/supply imbalance leading to higher prices and you know the rest.

Also, I recall reading that Thunderhorse had some pretty good numbers attached to its expected production performance, which it has yet to meet and production has actually declined. It may be too early to assume anything about Tupi's future performance until it really is producing, and not for a pilot project.

Hello all,

I've been reading TOD for some time now, but have just set up an account today. Can't believe such a generic username was available but I guess there's not a lot of concern/awareness of Peak Oil in Ireland.

It's fascinating to read all the comments from people who are clearly very skilled and knowledgeable about what to do to try and survive as best as possible once 'BAU' ceases/declines.

What would you recommend as the best course of action to prepare for Peak Oil for someone who has very few practical skills? (I'm a Maths graduate and qualified accountant). Assuming we have maybe 2-5 years before production starts to decline significantly, what would you prioritise? I'm thinking I could start learning gardening - doesn't appear impossibly difficult to me.

By the way, has anyone hear read the blog of Greg Pytel on the cause of the Financial Crisis. For me, the oil price spike was a contributory cause but the whole system was rotten to the core in any case and would have collapsed from something else if not oil. That's not to detract from the urgency of the Peak Oil problem, which I believe is the most important issue facing the world today, but for me the sideshow of the financial crisis has little to do with oil.
Here is the link if you are interested



I'm sure you'll get a bunch of different suggestions, but I think gardening is a good place to start. As John Michael Greer often points out, whatever preparations you make have to make economic sense now, not just in your imagined future (not least because the future will probably not be what you expect). A lot of people on this side of the pond have taken up gardening to provide their families with healthy food and to save money on groceries. So it definitely qualifies as something that makes sense now. If you have a yard or allotment to do it in, anyway.

And I agree with you about the financial crisis (though some peak oilers, notably Jeff Rubin, disagree). The bubble was going to pop eventually, oil prices or no oil prices. It was inevitable. Japan's asset bubble burst, when oil was only $20 a barrel.

You're not alone Irish, there's not alot of "awareness" over here either, and come Wednesday morn, after the elections, we should have absolute proof:(

Hey Colm;
Welcome aboard!

One approach that might be useful is simply to identify those things which are the 'umbilicals' that you depend blindly upon, in order to start formulating what the alternates are.

For Example, What essentials are done with electricity? If the power were gone, what would you suddenly realize you didn't have access to any more? Refrigerated food is usually the first one people think of.. but if you're adventuresome, try switching off the master breaker on your electrical panel for a FULL DAY, and see what you come up with. Keep a notebook (and a flashlight)

This isn't just to postulate 'what if the Grid fails, or the world runs out of electricity?', it's really to take a direct look at your dependency on it, and how many obstacles you'd hit almost immediately if the power were shut off. No Light, No Phone (maybe), No Toaster Oven, Garage Door won't open without you pulling on a chain or twisting a motor-axle several thousand times. If your emergency box is in the basement, is that where the candles and flashlights also are? Matches?

Again, it's not 'How ready are you for a camping trip or a Blackout?', it's 'How much does this IMPORTED POWER permit you to do basic, everyday things?' .. and THEN, you can start to make that list of the everyday things that depend on it, and find the often simple options that would let this not be a huge barrier were this invisible dependency to abandon you/us in a bigger way, on a greater frequency.

(Other blindly trusted imports, FOOD, TRANSPORT FUEL, HOME HEAT, REPLACEMENT PARTS )


hey irish,

i am similar to you. long-time lurker, new account. am in IT.

i would say 'yes - get started on learning to grow food as soon as possible'. i started 3 years ago and my knowledge has doubled each year - and again this year i am thinking about the lessons i have learned and some fairly major changes i have planned for next year. just get started! put something in the ground, learn about crop rotation, building good soils, what plants are suitable for your area, learn about low maintenance vege-gardens - open-pollinated, self-seeding perennial fruits and vegetables, and developing low water systems such as wicking beds (http://waterright.com.au/wicking-bed-history.html) - how to collect seeds, compost etc. don't be over-whelmed, just jump in and learn as you go.

check out the permaculture literature - those guys have some crazy good simple ideas.

there is also square-foot/metre gardening - which has pretty amazing claims (that appear valid) - about how you can grow relatively large amounts of food on small lots. next year i am going to give it a try.

i live on a suburban lot - 400sqm - i am confident that i can provide nearly 100% of our basic food needs (family of 2.5) within the next couple of years.

and PO or not - i am enjoying it very much - and am so glad i started and will continue if PO turns out to be a 'Y2K bug' style event. (fingers crossed)

additionally, my vege-gardening has inspired two of my neighbours to start their own patches. one of these neighbours is a retiree who has pretty much converted every space he has to food production. he was telling me about 2 days ago that he was bored and lonely and just watching TV all day, but now he is doing vege gardening he has found a new purpose in life. he is greek and he is teaching me about how they grow food 'back home' in his village.

learn about food storage - drying fruits etc

i could go on but the post may become unreasonably long. i am actually considering a blog etc to share the information i have acquired on practical preparedness. (and quite simply more sustainable living)

i guess i would sum it up by saying, look around you. look at the area you live in. what do people make there, and what skills do people have? if you live in a farming community -great - you will probably have an abundance of food and people with those skills, but there could be a shortage on ... textiles, or mechanical knowledge - whatever.

i think whatever happens, at best, for at least a while, we will be relying on our neighbours and community. cover yourself for the basics, food, water, clothing, hygiene, personal protection, and then start to think about what you can create that will be of value in your area to trade with the people around you.

you can make good quality dog food out of chicken eggs and vegetables. ( http://www.e-healthypetfood.com/html/egg_meal_dog_recipes.html ). you could build a solar ice maker and trade ice for things ( http://maipenarai.com/?page_id=61 ) or develop skills at converting discarded 2 stroke engines to solar driven steam engines - say for pumping water ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOqWzefvlfg )

anyway - hope this is of some help to you. perhaps i would suggest that best place to start is with hope, courage, and imagination.

best wishes

Dia Duit a Colm;

There's a few things going on, mostly along the lines of interest in recycling, permaculture, etc.
A few ireland-related links ..


Projects that could conceivably benefit from maths input would I guess be:
Local Currencies : http://theliquiditynetwork.org/ (many of the efforts to date are fairly naive and could use some macroeconometric rigour)
Engineering : http://openfarmtech.org/ (lots of ambitious design plane for a bored engineer)
Farming : Scope for analysis of nutrient cycles, insolation and water needs, modelling wrt. expected climate shifts of growth seasons, etc

For Preps, you should look at: Growing food, recycling as much waste as possible, cutting down on consumption, cycling, insulate your house to bejaysus, and assemble a library of how-to do practical stuff. (the RTE 'hands' series is for sale via the IFI shop in dublin).


Thanks everyone for the responses, I had assumed the drumbeat got closed a day or 2 after but I see there has been more comments.

I am aware of Transition Towns, seems like a great idea though I haven't got involved myself yet, perhaps I should.

Threads are automatically locked here after a week or so, as a spam prevention measure. Usually the conversations die down on their own after a couple of days, but sometimes it goes on awhile. If there's still productive discussion going on after a week, we'll either post a new thread or unlock the old one so the conversation can continue.

After some reading it sounds like Brazil is exporting very little oil. They may need to up production a few million barrels a day to help the rest of us.

Brazil is still a net importer of oil although they are closing the gap.


According to the EIA they became a net exporter last year.

The IEA agrees with BP that they were still a net importer last year (and that includes biofuels). However they are projected to be a net exporter (all liquids) this year by the IEA. That from the latest set of data I have from the IEA. I can't download the latest projections right now because the entire International Energy Agency website is down. How reassuring.

In the case of Brazil, inclusion or exclusion of biofuels might make a difference.

A person has to look at definitions pretty closely.

The BP figures for Brazil don't include biofuel but the IEA figures and the EIA figures linked above do. However the EIA estimates total liquids production for 2009 a little higher than the IEA and consumption a little lower. That difference is enough to move the country into the net exporter column for the EIA figures but leave it in the net import column for IEA data.

However both the EIA and the IEA have Brazil as a net exporter in 2010 but not if you exclude biofuels.

I note http://www.iea.org/ is still down. That's pretty unbelievable for a major international organisation to have a web site down for most of the day ( at least since I started trying).

From 'Why the Peak in Peak Oil is a Myth', I would skip this one. Hand-waving ultra technocopian blogger. This line made me laugh:

Since I typically question conventional wisdom, I often asked myself the following questions? Who says peak oil is a bell curve, and how do we know that we have used 2/5ths of a known resource?

So peak oil is now conventional wisdom? Well done, TOD!

PLEAZ! someone hit me over the head with a colorful graph!!!!

nasa is looking for billionaires to invest in one way star ships to colonize other worlds.
it just seems that BAU for TPTB is to jump ship. yup, read it here.


DARPA is mixed up in this. that is way more savvy that all of oil conundrum land. didnt i warn you all? dont you listen? why arent you all emailing the media and squash this plan? shouldnt we all die here on planet earth? why should we let some escape?

universal doom! death for everyone! stone knives and bear skins all around! FART!

Space agency officials confirmed feasability studies were under way to asses whether astronauts could be permanently sent to the red planet, or its moons, to establish human colonies.
The multi-billion pound mission, titled Hundred Years Starship, is being spearheaded by the Ames Research Centre, one of Nasa’s main research centres, based in Moffett Field, California.

Officials from the Pentagon's Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are also heavily involved in turning the science fiction idea into a reality.
Early estimates put the cost of such a mission, which has “just started” at more than £7 billion and could be achieved by 2030.
Scientists have been given £600,000 government grant – including £100,000 from Nasa – to start research into the idea, according to US reports.
The world’s billionaire’s, including Larry Page, Google’s co-founder, have been asked to help fund the project.
Pete Worden, the Ames director, confirmed the plans to a conference in San Francisco at the weekend.
“You heard it here. We hope to inveigle some billionaires to form a Hundred Year Starship fund,” he told the Long Conversation event at the Contemporary Jewish Museum.
“The human space program is now really aimed at settling other worlds. Twenty years ago you had to whisper that in dark bars and get fired.
“Within a few years we will see the first true prototype of a spaceship that will take us between worlds.”
Such a space journey would take up to nine months with volunteers embarking on the mission knowing they would never return to earth.
This is because the cost of returning astronauts to earth would make the project prohibitively expensive. Supplies would be sent to make them self-sufficient.
Such a mission would be gruelling for humans with forbidding conditions including sub-zero temperatures and a thin atmosphere.
Mr Worden said Mr Page was keenly interested in the project.
“Larry asked me a couple weeks ago how much it would cost to send people one way to Mars and I told him $10 billion and his response was, ‘can you get it down to 1 or 2 billion’,” he said.
“So now we’re starting to get a little argument over the price.”
But he admitted that he did not know how such a mission would work in reality.
"How do you live in another world? I don't have the slightest idea," he said.
"If you're a conservative, you worry about it killing us; if you're a liberal, you worry about us killing it.
“I think things like synthetic biology have lot of potential for that. I think rather than make an environment on Mars like Earth, why don't we modify life ... including the human genome ... so it's better suited to [Mars]?"
A DARPA spokesman later confirmed details of the mission.
"A key element of the study is exploring models by which sustained co-investment by the private sector in these areas can be incentivised,” he said.
“The study is currently in the early formulation stage, but will be entirely open and unclassified, with more details forthcoming in early 2011."
It comes as researchers claimed such a human mission was technologically feasible and was cheaper returning astronauts to earth.
Their new study, in the Journal of Cosmology, found the costs of safely returning a crew would eat up the majority of such a mission’s budget.
Dirk Schulze-Makuch, from Washington State University and Paul Davies, from Arizona State University, said four volunteer astronauts could undertake the first mission to permanently colonise Mars.
“A one-way human mission to Mars would not be a fixed duration project as in the Apollo program, but the first step in establishing a permanent human presence on the planet,” they said.
“There are many reasons why a human colony on Mars is a desirable goal, scientifically and politically.
“The strategy of one-way missions brings this goal within technological and financial feasibility.”
They added: “Nevertheless, to attain it would require not only major international co-operation but a return to the exploration spirit and risk-taking ethos of the great period of Earth exploration, from Columbus to Amundsen, but which has nowadays being replaced with a culture of safety and political correctness.”
Such a mission would come with natural “ethical considerations”, they admitted.

It's also really, really impractical as a solution.
Charles Stross has looked at this on his blog, several times
(here: http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2007/06/the-high-frontier-re...
and several here: http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2009/12/).

well first off terraforming mars is a no-go unless they have a way to restart the planet's magnetic field otherwise solar winds will rip away what ever we try to put up as a atmosphere. i have no idea what they could do to modify our genome to better suit mars though that idea does appeal to me more then terraforming.
second only post part of a article and not the whole thing. that violates copyright.
third while i think nasa is trying to do the noble thing and provide a way for the species to survive, i do fear you are correct and people who are otherwise worthless and old but have allot of money will buy their way onto the so called 100 year ship.

For the doom talkers and preppers,

Canada could use many of you folks....those musing about where to go, etc. Although I am a little concerned about hordes migrating out of the southern cities when the fan speeds up. (However, I am pretty sure they aren't reading this).

We are all just folks, regardless of what side of the border we come from. If it gets to the point where there is no room for thoughtful enlightened critical thinkers full of skills and contributions....then there is a problem too big for any of us.

For OMS afraid Canada is a socialist bastion, don't worry. We are as rednecked as anyone when we have to be. But just what is wrong with being proud to be union and compassionate towards those less fortunate? If that is socialism, we could all use more of it. At least we have medical coverage. (God bless you Tommy Douglas).

Leave the handguns and automatic weapons; bring energy (no pun intended), and a sense of humour.

Do you really think a border will mean dick before too long?

Politicians can say what they like, but we are all in this together. Todd talks about prepping, etc and we are (my family) prepping as much as anyone while still trying to live somewhat ....normal? With that said, would any of you turn a hungry child away?

I know damn well most of you wouldn't. I believe that if you take the time to seek the truth, and expend the energy to communicate what you believe you have discovered, then you care.

A few weeks ago a remark was made that this is not a community. No it isn't. But there have been many days when your posts have given me comfort. If my Dad were still alive i could seek his advice, but he ain't.

Excuse this weird post, but I have had a crappy week and the only free time I have had has been spent reading a few posts. I am sensing a sort a depression in some comments and it concerns me. Sometimes it seems to be frustration. Are we waiting for something?

Is it time for a different conversation?

Anyway, I am going to pour another and then have supper. Have a good weekend.



I think that the number of regulars that used to post a lot more than they do has been in flux recently. I know I have spent a good amount of time off line, or at least away from TOD. I do tend to spend more talking about food and housing issues in the drumbeats than anything else, and some days I read the days posts 4 hours from the next day's posting and get into the tail end of conversations, having something to add, but not bothering because it just seems pointless.

It is fall and a lot of folks have more work especially if they have gardens and farms, or have things to work for preping for winter months, that did not get done in the late summer.

Elections are coming up in America, and all the foreclosure mess, and money mess is getting some people down, especially knowing that Washington and the people controlling the money supply really don't care that much about other people and aren't doing anything to stave off the feeling of depression in the communities that people of TOD live in, it bleeds over into the whole mindset of everyone.

Doomers get gloomy and it has been a gloomy year so far, drought, floods, and nasty weather and earthquakes aside, there just seems to be a sense of doom over the next hill.

But welcome all you new posters, we aren't all gloom and doom, there is a bright new day ahead, crisp mornings and pumpkins you can get on sale cheap from the stores now that trick or treat is going away firs of Nov, I plan on buying a few if the prices go down enough and have stew and veggie dishes out of them.

Next year I'll get those seeds planted and see what kinds of fruits I can have from them.

BioWebScape Designs for a better fed and housed world.

Thanks for the invite to Canada, Paulo. I have duel citizenship, UK & then got US in 85. My wife and I have talked about moving out of the US if things get too weird. Well, they certainly are angling in that direction with the tea party/right wing so adament about eliminating the few rights we've gained via Obama's heathcare bill, and some even talk about eliminating the financial legislation and the minimum wage, which would would put a lot more folks in a tougher situation. I'm not interested in living in a country that reaches a point of simply pandering to the needs of increasing the income of the top 1%. A country of 1% super incredibly wealthy and 99% serfs is not a place I want to live. So we'll see, but the invite, albeit symbolic, is surely appreciated.

GE to order 'tens of thousands' of Electric vehicles

Oct. 29 (Bloomberg) -- General Electric Co. may jump-start the electric-vehicle industry with an order that Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt said will be the largest in history.

GE, whose power-generation equipment provides a third of the world’s electricity, will order “tens of thousands” of the vehicles in about a week, Immelt said yesterday in a speech in London, without giving a total or identifying a manufacturer.

“This is a huge step up,” said Brett Smith, a vehicle technology analyst at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “It’s the biggest order to date I’m aware of, by a lot.”


Not sure if I should really believe that but that is one heck of a jumpstart for EVs if true.

Big Oil resets its sights on Gulf of Mexico

These big oil and gas companies know the geology of the Gulf much better than other parts of the world. Taxes and royalties for projects in U.S. waters are considered to be much lower than foreign operations, and it's much easier and cheaper to deliver the oil to the consumer.

"It's one-stop shopping," said Fadel Gheit, an analyst with Oppenheimer & Co. "When you're working in the Gulf, you're sitting in the belly of the largest energy-consuming economy in the world."

The oil companies' reliance on the oil-rich deposits below the Gulf grew as they became more adept at pumping crude from the sea floor. In March, a month before BP's well ruptured, the industry produced 52.6 million barrels of oil from Gulf wells. That's the highest total for that month in records dating back go 1981.



'GDP data confirm recovery not advancing'

The U.S. economy remains stuck in neutral, according to the latest data, continuing a pattern of steady growth that is too slow to bring down joblessness.

Neutral is basically the same term I've been using recently, treading water.

As businesses completed a cycle of rebuilding their inventories and as government spending to stimulate the economy began tapering off in late spring, the growth rate started to slacken, a pattern that continued through the summer.

The long-term economic growth rate is trending at about 2.5 percent, attributed to an increasing population and rising worker productivity. That means that growth at or below that level, such as experienced over the past six months, is not strong enough to pull the economy out of its deep rut. That stands in contrast to past deep recessions, such as in 1982, which were followed by several consecutive quarters of 5 percent or faster growth.

Again we have this comparison to past recessions ending which were followed by a period of prosperity, marked by 5% GDP growth or greater. Yet this recovery is tepid, treading water, neutral.

Why? Many on TOD including myself would point to the 80 dollar price tag for a barrel of oil that is embedded in so many products. So the balance point of supply and demand right now is around 80 a barrel. What happens to GDP when that balance point reaches 90-110 a barrel?

For whatever value it may have, I thought it might be useful to list some of the things that have led up to this point in time, with a tepid economy:

1. Hubbert was correct that US oil production would peak in 1970, and to a greater extent the idea that world oil production would also peak some day.

2. 2004-2005 a peak plateau of oil production initiated, with marked increases in oil price until a peak price in July 08 of 147, followed by a drop in price to 35. This event coincided with the mortgage meltdown/real estate bubble bursting/stock market crash, entering into the great recession.

3. We do not know with absolute certainty that another higher production peak is not possible, except there is evidence to indicate that the Saudi's and other high production exporters did not increase exports much to take advantage of 100+ dollar a barrel prices to maximize potential profit, and therefore it would appear that a prodution peak had been reached that could not be exceeded at least during that time period. Adding to this evidence is the fact that no year had a greater level of exports than 2005.

4. Price of oil must remain high (+60 a barrel) for non-conventional sources of oil, such as Alberta sands. If the economy drops down in another 'step down' as it did in 08, with the economy struggling the price of oil will drop to meet lower demand, and these non-conventional sources will no longer be profitable. Even conventional sources from deep water will not be profitable below a certain price.

5. The current price of oil that consistently hovers at the 80 dollar mark is sufficient to keep the economy in neutral-treading water, as opposed to the post recession economic upward surge that usually occurs.

6. A post peak plateau descent in oil production will occur at some juncture (date unknown with 2012-2014 suggested by many), and or the price of oil will rise high enough from greater demand to cause another 'step down', or at minimum to slow the economy from neutral into another recession.

As we can see, the current situation is precarious with the next phase to occur when #6 ensues.


Thanks for a good post. I more or less agree with you on all your points although I may have a slightly different take on the conclusions.

1. Hubbert was certainly correct for conventional oil.

2. A plateau certainly continued. Whether this is a "peak" plateau very much still remains to be seen.

3. We don't. Remember that it takes time to ramp up production. Perhaps that just when production was being ramped up the financial crash came along and so the need wasn't there anymore? That would indicate that there is a lot of spare capacity in the system now. With the amount of spare capacity currently in the system we are very likely to see a new peak during the next 12 months.

4. Agreed. But this base-line cost might easily fall in the future as new technology is developed.

5. Agreed.

6. It may. And it may not. Depending on how far we are down the transition route. Also don't forget that the world is drowning in gas with prices spiralling downwards. Gas can replace oil for almost all applications. In Rio and Singapore which I visit frequently natural gas cars are very common. Natural gas busses are also becoming more and more common.

Regarding #3, I recall reading here that the Saudis were capable of producing upwards of 12 million barrels/day and IIRC this was when the prices were soaring. Yet the production never materialized.

Agree Kheris regarding #3, which is a point WT often makes. And it wasn't like the prices rised over a few months period, it was years in the making from late 04 to July 08 which was plenty of time to make good on usage of supposed spare capacity. Even the Saudi's themselves claim they only need 90 days to scale up their spare capacity. It didn't happen, therefore they don't have that capability. In fact, didn't Bush beg on bent knee for the Saudi's to open the spickets? They told him essentially 'this is all there is and there ain't no mo'.

Just now getting back on here since late last night - thanks for the reply nordic mist. I of course did not expect anyone to agree with all points made, but most stuck pretty good. It was fun to try and put down some of the things we do know about oil's history.

That't an interesting point made about NG in #6. Wasn't Congress going to vote on whether to do something along the lines of the Pickens Plan? Seems though that NG is being used for transport by localized trucking, like garbage hauling and taxi cabs. Remember, there is a lot of expense involved in converting ICE's to run on NG. CNG & LNG infrastucture so far is predominantly located at the companies using it, and not widespread for passenger vehicles. The infrastructure additions would cost a huge amount during a time of big deficits, so not so sure that will happen anytime soon.

Also wonder if there is a widespread conversion of transport to NG, if it wouldn't go from a surplus of supply to a very expensive fuel.

A while back on the oil drum I commented that the following graph is "silly". I did this partly to intentionally provoke. And partly because I believe it very much to be the case.

The graph assumes that we will never find a large oil field again. (The yellow bit of the graph from 2008 onwards). That is why it is "silly". Now it has been proved to be completely ridiculous:

Where is the Libra Field in Brazil? The Libra field discovery in itself may prove to be close to 15 billion bbls. Where are the new discoveries on the Tupi Field? Where are the discoveries on the OGX controlled fields in Brazil? That is not to mention the increased reserves in Iraq etc. which I agree are doubtful. However, closing ones eyes and saying there is nothing there because it is doubtful is not a very academic approach either. It now seems probable that total discoveries in 2010 will be far in excess of 20 billion bbls. Where is the "bleep" on the graph? Who says even more oil won't be found next year? Now that Brazil has shown that there is oil in the pre-salt the whole world will start looking. Time will show. But I am more and more certain that we are a long way a way from Peak Oil due to production constraints.

Reminder: For those of you who haven't read posts from this Norse Troll before :-) I believe that our strategy should be to use less energy and transfer to renewables as quickly as possible. I just don't believe that oil production will collapse in the near future. I also believe that other resources, such as water, may prove to be more critical in the short term. I also fervently believe that crying wolf will cause the world to head in the BAU direction rather than working on a smooth transition to renewables. Anyway. My big prediction for the next 12 months: We will see a clear new peak in oil production during the next year.

Reserves are irrelevant without the production. Production without the price cannot happen. Price without the money is the same. What about rhose paper barrels Iraq and Iran added?

Given we consume ever more oil today at a growing rate, these finds change nothing. We need a Ghawar or two a year, and I don't see that. But I do see a nice trend showing otherwise, with price and production data to go with.

Best hopes for a renewable future. Or something.

Naturally Admiral. But equally you cannot have production without reserves. And the argument by many poster on TOD is always that as we haven't had any large discoveries production is bound to fall. Which of course is true - as long as there aren't any large discoveries. :-)


I generally agree with your view.
People tend to be too extreme in their "predictions", specially the fall from a cliff crew.

And I do think the pre-salt is a game changer. These discoveries in Brazil are just the beggining, many more will come from the African western coast, which is part of the same geological structure of the Santos basin (millions of years ago these two coasts were tied together). There's literally an ocean of oil to be extracted below the salt layer.

Expensive? Technologically challenging?
I bet that was american oil producers said about producing oil in the middle of the arabian desert back in the first half of the 20th century, and then shipping it all the way to the US.

Having said that, I do think the world will be forced to stop considering GDP growth as the most important economic parameter.

Further finds that keep us on BAU only further validate IPCC projections for CO2 targets. Either we swallow the bitter pill now and change while we still can, or we avoid a fossil fuel energy crunch using unconventionals and steam right into a FAR larger problem that technology can't rectify.

Neither are particularly palatable, but I guess both still rely on the economy holding out. Doubtful as it is.

Reserves are irrelevant without the production. Production without the price cannot happen. Price without the money is the same. What about rhose paper barrels Iraq and Iran added?

Good post Admiral. Production is where the rubber meets the road, and any backroom fantasy reserve expansions means nothing.

It now seems probable that total discoveries in 2010 will be far in excess of 20 billion bbls.

Look at the curve in yellow. That reads 5 billion barrels per year. So sure, I agree 20 > 5.

Now look at typical Dispersive simulations of oil discovery profiles:

The numbers are in million barrels.

Note the spikes of 50 billion barrels around 2010. It doesn't make any difference! The peak is still around now, even though the URR is 2.8 trillion.

WHT. I'm just a simple engineer so this stuff is way out of my league. But I've never understood how something nobody knew about is included in a model like this. What happens if we suddenly find lots of deep fields around the world? What if it is only now that we find the really big fields?

I guess what I'm saying is that simulations and complicated models are very cool. But if the input is unreliable how does the output mean anything?

I don't think this model is overly complicated. It reflects the reality of reservoir sizing which is a significant fat-tail behavior. Every once in a while, you will strike a large reservoir and that accounts for the occasional glitches. The envelope is accounted for by searching a finite space with various rates.

The input becomes more and more reliable over time as we collect more and more data.

Hi there Sven

""What happens if we suddenly find lots of deep fields around the world? What if it is only now that we find the really big fields?""

Well that's easy to answer.....it all gets burned at an even faster rate, population continues to grow,,,,and we kill all the life on this Planet sooner. Ever hear of a little thing called Climate Change?


Hopefully, for all the other animal life on this Planet besides the Monkey Brains drilling for death, that's all it is when said and done, Black Death as sure as the
Plague, no more big fields will be found.

The Martian


this chart is based on a 20th century paradigm.

Again, pre-salt oil is a game changer, and according to Petrobras the program is already feasible with only $45 a barrel.

That's funny because I do analysis that isn't even on your radar. If you give me the details of your model, I can tell you what kind of backward prehistoric assumptions it is making. BTW, hope is not a model.

How much is pre-salt going to add? I have about a trillion barrels of yet-to-be-discovered oil in my model before the peak data changes much from 2010.


I have no model of the future, because it hasn't happened yet.

Models work only when boundary conditions and "laws" (i.e. deterministic patterns of repetition) remain the same.

When paradigms are changed, we get out of one box and find ourselves inside another, in which models based on the past don't work at all.

Wow. No wonder we find ourselves in this position. I guess that defines the cornucopian philosophy.


no cornucopianism here.

Just awareness of our own ignorance, specially when trying to predict the future. I guess Malthus would agree with me if he could speak now.

But you said:

Models work only when boundary conditions and "laws" (i.e. deterministic patterns of repetition) remain the same.

Which is a failure of your scientific imagination. It doesn't take much effort to find behaviors that do not show determinism yet are as much laws as Newton's laws of motion. Ignorance of a situation ("Just awareness of our own ignorance") can be cast as entropy, and you can do a lot with that understanding.

When is that oil coming onstream? How much of the resource is proven? Why are Petrobas any more likely to tell the truth than BP with Thunder Horse? Is Brazil immune to resource nationalism?

Answer me these, then we'll see if this changes anything. I see tens of billions of barrels trotted out. That changes nothing. And none of it is on the market today, nor will it be for years to come.


about one month ago mega-investors from all over the world (US, China, Iran, the list goes on) pumped tens of billions of dollars in the capitalization of Petrobras. Do you think they would invest on something that will not come onstream?

As for what it "changes", I'm not sure what you mean. If you refer to the fact that the US is entering a long process of impoverishment (relatively to its own previous standards), with ever more competition for energy resources, I guess we're on the same page.

Pumping money into a project doesn't validate its success. Thunder Horse, as I already mentioned, and plenty of older fields or other unconventionals that aren't meeting expectations.

Even if it produces exactly what they expect, it's no game changer in the world of peak oil.

Some of it is on the market today. The first FPSO was mobilised to the field within just over a year of the contract being awarded.

It now seems probable that total discoveries in 2010 will be far in excess of 20 billion bbls.

However, it also seems probably that consumption in 2010 will be in excess of 30 million barrels and consumption will again exceed discoveries, as it has every year for the last three decades at least.

How is this a game-changer?

Because these finds are just the beggining, and the respective estimates (produced by Gaffney&Cline, not some misterious middle eastern report) are conservative to say the least.

If a good part of the atlantic ocean floor at the aprox. latitude of the capricorn tropic literally sits above an ocean of oil, then yes this could be a game changer.

Awesome. I'll go let Hansen know. We can all throw a party when the WAIS gives us new beachfront property where currently there is none.

If a good part of the atlantic ocean floor at the aprox. latitude of the capricorn tropic literally sits above an ocean of oil, then yes this could be a game changer.

I have some bad news for you. The Atlantic is a relatively new ocean (most of the South Atlantic is <120 M years old) and the floor is still being formed by upwelling volcanic magma along the Mid-Atlantic Rift. The continental shelves are much older than the ocean floor and formed from sedimentary rock, but once you step off the edge of the continental shelf, it's a whole different ball game, and one not involving much oil.

According to my own accounting (see last post) we are already over 35 billion barrels in discovery this year, and that's just in my "recoverable" category. In addition to that, my OIP category (they are exclusive of each other) has over 50 billion barrels in discovery.

Welcome to the wonderful world of statistical fluctuations.

That is a Monte Carlo run of dispersive discovery and dispersive aggregation of reservoir sizes. I notice a couple of years close to 50. This also has a URR of 2800 billion barrels. Then notice the red curve which is a steady proportional drawdown on reserves to simulate extraction, and the fact that it doesn't budge much from 2010.

What if the 250b and 150b before and around 1950 (respectively) were overestimated, and the 50b at 2010 is underestimated?
If the three of them were, say, all around 100b, that would change the aspect of the curve a lot, wouldn't it?

It ultimately turns into a family of curves with this distribution of peak locations.

Most of those never materialized as they are in the rear-view mirror. Note that 10,000 runs are made and it gives all the possibilities.

Unfortunate that this kind of analysis isn't taught.