Drumbeat: November 8, 2010

Will masses embrace electric cars despite high prices?

The biggest automotive revolution since horseless carriages first rumbled along rutted roads is about to take place — and you'll have to strain to hear it.

That's because the first mainstream electric cars in nearly a century will be hitting the streets over the next couple of months, and their electric motors are as eerily quiet as they are tailpipe-emission-free.

Automakers such as Nissan and Chevrolet are touting the new vehicles in splashy ads, but already there are signs that wary mainstream consumers won't be quick to embrace the largely untested electric models. Automakers likely will have no trouble selling out their initial, limited production to electric enthusiasts and early adopters who have to have the latest thing, but mass acceptance that would lead to profitable production in big numbers remains a question.

Chevy Volt can go the distance

DRIVING ON I-95 (CNNMoney.com) -- On a long rainy-day drive from Washington, D.C., to Times Square, the Chevrolet Volt showed itself to be more than just a technological oddity.

The Volt, it turns out, is a really good, fully functional automobile that could just save you a lot of cash on gasoline, too.

Is the oil and gas industry heading for a staffing crisis?

Executives have been worried for a while that their workforces are getting older, with a lack of new talent coming in to replace retiring staff. Instead, young engineers and other bright graduates who are looking for a career in industry are heading for the much more sexy green energy sector.

Energy investments to hit $26trn

Saudi Arabia has completed a gigantic hydrocarbon capacity expansion programme involving investment of more than $100 billion and this will support global energy security, according to its oil minister.

Ali Al-Naimi said the programme was part of overall plans by the 12-nation Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers to expand their sustainable output capacity to face world demand.

Panel: Dollars did not trump safety in Gulf spill

WASHINGTON -- The presidential commission investigating the massive Gulf oil spill has found no instance where a decision deliberately sacrificed safety to cut costs.

Fred H. Bartlit, Jr., the panel's chief counsel, in a presentation Monday said the probe did not uncover any case where an individual made a conscious choice to "favor dollars over safety."

Scientists Fear Oil Is Settling on Bottom of Gulf

The federal government is concerned that oil from the Gulf of Mexico spill may be settling on the ocean floor, causing environmental damage where it's hardest to see.

Where's the Gulf oil? In the food web, study says

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Scientists say they have for the first time tracked how certain nontoxic elements of oil from the BP spill quickly became dinner for plankton, entering the food web in the Gulf of Mexico.

The new study sheds light on two key questions about the aftermath of the 172 million-gallon spill in April: What happened to the oil that once covered the water's surface and will it work its way into the diets of Gulf marine life?

Pakistan: Gas crisis to pinch the country - II

To overcome gas shortage Pakistan will import gas from Iran. For $2.5 billion Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project, the government has awarded a $55 million feasibility study contract to ILF of Germany, imposing the condition that the feasibility should be completed in 12 months, instead of original plan of 18 months. The agreement (GSPA) has been signed from third party certification for uninterrupted supply of gas from the source field to Pakistan for 30 years.

Pakistan: Steps to calm the gathering storm

The country has faced an acute energy crisis over the last three years. Be it a supply gap in electricity generation resulting in prolonged outages, a demand surge because of unplanned growth in gas consumption or inter-corporate debt in the energy sector, we have seen it all.

On top of that the fuel logistics sector is under a cloud due to attacks on supplies to Afghanistan. In one way or the other, numerous problems have been faced by ordinary citizens and businesses. Even the government has not been spared.

Chinese to help build Ring Road, power plants

LAHORE: Punjab government on Saturday signed memoranda of understanding with two Chinese companies for cooperation in infrastructure projects including the southern loop of the Lahore Ring Road.

The government and the China International Water and Electric Corporation and the Welt Connect Company would also work together on several hydro, wind and solar power projects across the province.

Drug Cartels Disrupt Basic Services In Mexico

Five Pemex workers went to their jobs at a government-owned gas compression plant near the Texas border six months ago and never returned. Masked men, apparently members of a drug cartel operating there, had warned employees of Petroleos Mexicanos that they were no longer allowed to enter the area.

Around the same time in May, three inspectors for the Mexican Environment Department headed into the wooded mountains west of Mexico City to investigate a pollution complaint. Their tortured bodies were found the next day. Authorities said they stumbled onto a drug lab.

Coal May Rise 12% Next Year on Asian Demand, Deutsche Bank Says

(Bloomberg) -- Coal burned to generate power may jump 12 percent next year on Asian demand for the fuel and supply constraints in producer nations, Deutsche Bank AG said.

Cook Islands election in jeopardy over transport issues

Problems with transportation in the Cook Islands could threaten the country’s November 17 general elections

The islands of the Cook group are widely scattered and difficulties have been experienced with just one ship left to service the outer islands, especially the northern group where there is a fuel shortage.

Algae for biofuels: Moving from promise to reality, but how fast?

A new report from the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) in Berkeley projects that development of cost-competitive algae biofuel production will require much more long-term research, development and demonstration. In the meantime, several non-fuel applications of algae could serve to advance the nascent industry.

'Even with relatively favourable and forward-looking process assumptions (from cultivation to harvesting to processing), algae oil production with microalgae cultures will be expensive and, at least in the near-to-mid-term, will require additional income streams to be economically viable,' write authors Nigel Quinn and Tryg Lundquist of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), which is a partner in the BP-funded institute.

A Taxpayer-Funded Sucker Play for the 21st Century

Now I'm not so naïve to believe that we're going to see an end to subsidies for fossil fuels.

Despite coal and oil being mature and profitable industries, the handouts will continue simply because you and I do not dictate OUR energy policy. That's left up to the special interest puppet masters who spin truth and fill bureaucratic troughs.

However, the realities of peak oil, national security vulnerabilities, and a new industrial revolution in clean energy (in which we're clearly allowing China to pummel us) will be enough to force a transition of our energy economy.

Thermodynamic roots of economics

The first and second laws of thermodynamics should also be called the first and second laws of economics. Why? Because without them there would be no scarcity, and without scarcity, no economics.

Kunstler: Pre Post Mortem

The unvarnished truth of our predicament is that all pathways now lead to the same destination: a falling US standard of living as measured conventionally. What's unknown is how swift and severe this decline might be, exactly what all its implications are for the social order and geopolitics, and whether it might present itself in a form that could be called collapse. For the moment, one question is: do we go broke the standard way by having less money, or the trick way by destroying the value of our money so that folks (as President Obama might say) have lots of it, only it isn't worth anything. There is even at this late date much debate between the inflationistas and the deflationistas - that is, those who think the economy ends in a bang or a whimper.

A world made by hand needn't wait

Kunstler sets himself apart from other writers who’ve tried to imagine such a world—and who usually populate it with cannibals, evil zombies, and a sky that will never be blue again—by remembering the creed of all good novelists: Fiction is folks. In other words, it’s about the people, stupid. Kunstler manages to portray the collapse of everything we presently regard as indispensible, while somehow leaving us with the idea that not all change is bad and not all people are evil. People are just people. Some of them will take from you if they can, but most will surprise you every time by their willingness to give of themselves for what is right.

Review: "The Witch of Hebron" by James Kunstler

Having stated publicly that he is not anti-feminist as many concluded from his first post apocalyptic novel, World Made By Hand, Kunstler attempts to redeem himself with the title character. The Witch of Hebron is a delectable goddess of a woman who survives living alone through the grace of various psychic powers and the healing of men with a good lay. Armed thus, she appears to have an edge in a world peopled with robbers and filled with frequent violence.

DOE's Chu Faces Grueling Year of Budget Battles, Oversight Hearings

Energy Secretary Steven Chu coasted through his 2009 Senate confirmation and began his tenure at the Department of Energy with broad political support for his goals to combat climate change and foster alternative energy sources.

The outlook is less rosy today.

Cost of Green Power Makes Projects Tougher Sell

Michael Polsky’s wind farm company was doing so well in 2008 that banks were happy to lend millions for his effort to light up America with clean electricity.

But two years later, Mr. Polsky has a product he is hard-pressed to sell.

His company, Invenergy, had a contract to sell power to a utility in Virginia, but state regulators rejected the deal, citing the recession and the lower prices of natural gas and other fossil fuels.

“The ratepayers of Virginia must be protected from costs for renewable energy that are unreasonably high,” the regulators said. Wind power would have increased the monthly bill of a typical residential customer by 0.2 percent.

Oil Trades Near a Two-Year High as U.S. Employment Figures Beat Forecasts

Oil declined from its highest level in two years as the dollar strengthened against the euro, curtailing crude’s appeal as a protection against inflation.

Futures advanced to $87.49 a barrel, the highest level since Oct. 9, 2008, before dropping as the euro fell on concern that Ireland will struggle to plug its budget deficit. Hedge funds increased bullish bets on oil to the highest level since at least June 2006, data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed last week, even before the Federal Reserve said it will boost debt purchases to revive the economy.

Hedge Funds Raise Bullish Bets on Oil to Four-Year High

Hedge funds ramped up bullish bets on oil to the highest level since at least June 2006 as the Federal Reserve enacted stimulus measures, helping drive crude to a two- year high and weakening the dollar.

China suffers diesel shortage, disrupting industry

BEIJING (AP) - Aggravated Chinese truck drivers parked for hours to buy rationed diesel Monday as shortages blamed on a government conservation campaign and possible hoarding by state oil companies disrupted industry and trade.

Supplies ran low after thousands of factories bought diesel generators to cope with power cuts imposed by authorities to meet energy-saving goals. That boosted already strong fuel demand amid rapid economic growth and complaints that major suppliers are withholding diesel to pressure Beijing to raise government-set retail prices.

When a Rig Moves In Next Door

IN the sparsely populated pastures of De Soto Parish in Louisiana, the ability to extract gas from shale — which can involve a process known as fracking — has been welcomed as an economic windfall. Some residents call it a gift from God.

But 1,400 miles to the north, in Susquehanna County in Pennsylvania, shale gas development has divided neighbors, spurred lawsuits and sown deep mistrust. Along Grove Avenue in Montrose, the county seat, a billboard looms overhead, advertising the services of a personal-injury law firm. “HURT by DRILLING?” it asks.

Natural gas currently satisfies nearly a quarter of the nation’s power needs. And with vast methane reserves now available in previously inaccessible layers of shale deep underground, its position as a cornerstone of the domestic energy supply may well be secured for decades — if the public supports it.

Energy firms lead the way for foreign deals in Iraq

Alongside BP, China's largest oil company last June became the first foreign firm to win a contract to produce oil in Iraq. China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) also leads a consortium, including Malaysia's Petronas and France's Total, which in January won a contract to develop the Halfaya oil field

Nigeria: 5 kidnapped in offshore oil rig attack

(AP:LAGOS, Nigeria) Gunmen in speedboats kidnapped five workers and wounded two others in an attack Monday at an oil rig operating off the coast of Nigeria's troubled southern delta, officials said.

The attack on the newly installed rig operated by London-based Afren PLC and a nearby support ship comes as sporadic attacks continue in a region supposedly calmed by a government-sponsored amnesty program.

Nigerian Militants Planning to Attack Crude Installations `In Coming Days'

Nigeria’s main militant group said they are holding four foreigners hostage and will start attacks on oil installations in the Niger River delta in “coming days.”

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta has custody of three French nationals and a Thai seized off Nigeria’s coast on Sept. 21 and will release names and personal details “very shortly,” Jomo Gbomo, a spokesman for the group, said in an e-mailed statement today.

Shell to sell 10% stake in Woodside for US$3.35B

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s largest oil company, is selling a 10% stake in Woodside Petroleum Ltd. for US$3.35 billion, freeing up funds to support a sixfold increase in its Australian natural gas production.

Sinochem Yields Approach Dow Chemical's as M&A Wins Support

Sinochem Group, China’s biggest provider of chemicals products, sold 30-year bonds at yields approaching those of America’s Dow Chemical Co. as investors showed confidence in its push to expand globally through acquisitions.

China’s Oil Companies on M.&A. Spree

China’s national oil companies have been on a massive spending spree and the deal-making looks set to continue unabated for some time, The Financial Time reported.

So far this year, Chinese oil companies have shelled out a whopping $24.6 billion on overseas acquisitions, or one-fifth of all global deal activity in the oil and gas secto, according to analysis prepared for the Financial Times.

Pipeline to Baltic, Moscow Road Herald $2.5 Billion Market

Russian companies building the planned Moscow-to-Minsk highway and an oil pipeline to the Baltic Sea are spurring a new market for infrastructure bonds that the government expects to reach $2.5 billion a year.

U.S. panel to examine causes of BP oil spill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House oil spill commission will delve into the root causes of the BP offshore drilling disaster at a meeting on Monday that may have liability ramifications for the companies that continue to point the finger at each other for the spill.

Officials gather for oil spill restoration talks

PENSACOLA, Fla. — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson will preside over the first official meeting of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force in the aftermath of BP's Gulf of Mexico oil well blowout.

The meeting is set to take place Monday in Pensacola.

No surprises as president's party wins Azerbaijan elections

When a consortium of western oil companies led by BP won the contract to develop the offshore Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli in 1994, the deal was dubbed the "Contract of the Century". As the EU countries seek to diversify their energy sources away from Russia, Azerbaijan is an important supplier of oil via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, and is likely to become the main initial source of gas if the Nabucco pipeline project gets off the ground, thus making stability in the country a priority for its international partners.

However, in the longer term, this stability is looking less certain. Azerbaijan is expected to reach peak oil production by 2020. When oil revenues start to decline, and economic growth in the hydrocarbons-based economy starts to tail off, dissatisfaction with the kleptocratic ruling elite is likely to increase - unless some real benefits are felt by the population, a report from the International Crisis Group report warned in September.

Georgia, U.S. Export-Import Bank in Talks on $200 Million Green Car Plan

Georgia is in talks with the U.S. Export-Import Bank on plans to spend as much as $200 million on electric and hybrid cars in a bid to create the first “green government” among the former Soviet republics.

The government plans to buy about 4,000 cars in the next three to four years from producers such as General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp., said Economy Minister Vera Kobalia. The cars will cost an average of about $32,000 apiece, she said.

Nuclear plant shuts down to repair leaky pipe

MONTPELIER, Vermont — Workers at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant detected radioactive water seeping from a leaky pipe in the complex Sunday, forcing the plant to shut down to make repairs. The Nuclear Regulatory Comission said the public was not in any danger.

Plant spokesman Larry Smith said the nuclear reactor was taken out of service at 7 p.m. and estimated it would take 13 hours for it to cool down enough so technicians could enter the area to begin making repairs.

China plans fifth nuclear reactor for Pakistan

China plans to supply Pakistan with a fifth nuclear energy reactor, accelerating Beijing’s commitments to its energy-starved south Asian ally, according to Pakistani government ­officials.

Beijing’s growing support for Pakistan, including military hardware, poses a dilemma for Barack Obama, the US president, who arrived in India on Saturday. New Delhi is also becoming more concerned about Pakistan’s close relationship with China.The supply of a fifth nuclear reactor to Pakistan comes after confirmation this year of Beijing’s agreement to build two 650MW nuclear energy reactors at Chashma, in the central part of Pakistan’s Punjab province, reported The Financial Times.

Siemens Forecasts 40 Billion Euros of Renewable Energy Sales in 2014

Siemens AG aims to grow revenue from solar equipment, wind turbines and other products designed to save energy to 40 billion euros ($55 billion) by 2014 as it jostles with General Electric Co. for market share.

Taiwan moves to slash solar energy prices

Taiwan is preparing to reduce wholesale prices for electricity generated by solar panels by as much as 20 per cent as part of moves designed to bolster the competitiveness of the territory's fast-expanding renewable energy sector.

According to reports in the Chinese-language Commercial Times, the price cut is intended to drive demand for solar energy and provide a boost to domestic solar panel manufacturers.

Report slams EU biofuel policy

An area of unspoilt land twice the size of Belgium could be converted into fields and plantations by 2020, resulting in major carbon emissions, as a result of Europe's thirst for biofuel, according to a report from nine environmental groups.

Land-use change on this scale could cause up to 73 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year – the equivalent of putting around 26 million cars on the road by 2020 - according to an independent report published today (8 November) by groups including Action Aid,

Process removes carbon, yielding cleaner natural gas

Imagine a source of energy that is plentiful, produces small amounts of pollutants that contribute to global warming, and can be delivered to homes, businesses, and power plants without new distribution systems.

That source could already be here. A new technology developed by a Canadian company aims to remove carbon from natural gas before it’s burned, cutting carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 40 percent and capturing solid carbon — known as carbon black — a substance that can be used in making tires, laser printer toner, and other products.

Oil producers' mood begins to shift over carbon tax

Some oil companies are calling for pricing mechanisms for carbon emissions and even carbon taxes after years of resisting such moves.

So far, the most fervent supporters of carbon pricing are based in Europe but there are signs the movement could spread. "Carbon pricing is essential," Hege Marie Norheim, the senior vice president of Norway's Statoil, told the ADIPEC oil conference in Abu Dhabi last week.

Climate scientists plan campaign against global-warming skeptics

WASHINGTON — Faced with increasing political attacks, hundreds of climate scientists are joining a broad campaign to push back against congressional conservatives who have threatened prominent researchers with investigations and have vowed to kill regulations to rein in man- made greenhouse-gas emissions.

The efforts reveal a shift among climate scientists, many of whom have traditionally stayed out of politics and avoided the news media. Many now say they are willing to go toe-to-toe with their critics, some of whom gained new power when the Republicans won control of the House in Tuesday's election.

Climate change prosperity or disparity?

What do you do when your entire homeland is slipping into the sea?

This is the earth-shattering reality facing the Polynesian nation of Tuvalu, rapidly being reclaimed by the Pacific owing to rising sea levels.

For the families of this small, slivered island nation, climate change is not something to prepare for in the distant future; it is a reality leading to the melting of polar ice caps and currently stripping them of their homes, their livelihoods and their ancestry.

Melting ice cap clears path for further destruction

Beautiful. Russia can get natural gas to China faster than ever, where it wll quickly be consumed, resulting in increasing greenhouse gas emissions, and even faster rates of polar ice melt.

Even better, the shrinking Arctic ice cap will provide easier and easier access to fossil fuel resources in the North -- currently estimated to represent about one-fourth of the world's untapped oil and gas reserves.

Global warming may thwart food production

"Water for agriculture is critical for food security," pointed out Dr. Mark W. Rosegrant, a senior research fellow at the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

"The link between water and food is strong," said Dr Lester R. Brown, president of Earth Policy Institute, also based in Washington, D.C. "We drink, in one form or another, nearly 4 liters of water per day. But the food we consume each day requires at least 2,000 liters to produce, 500 times as much."

Link up top: No surprises as president's party wins Azerbaijan elections

However, in the longer term, this stability is looking less certain. Azerbaijan is expected to reach peak oil production by 2020. When oil revenues start to decline, and economic growth in the hydrocarbons-based economy starts to tail off, dissatisfaction with the kleptocratic ruling elite is likely to increase - unless some real benefits are felt by the population, a report from the International Crisis Group report warned in September.

Azerbaijan to hit peak oil by 2020? It looks like they will hit peak oil well before that and perhaps they are already there. Except for taking a hit from a gas leak their production has been flat for two years. According to the EIA they produced 1,061,000 bp/d of C+C in July of 2008. Then they had a gas leak that caused them to shut down half the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli oil fields in the Caspian Sea and production dropped to 650,000 bp/d the next month. It took them until the following April to completely fix the problem and get production back to normal. In April of 2009 they produced 1,063,000 bp/d.

In July of 2010 their production was 1,038,000 bp/d. Production has been virtually flat since they reached full production in April of last year. Wikipedia Megaprojects shows not much coming down the line for them. They have a 100 kb/d project scheduled for 2013 and a 200 kb/d project scheduled for 2015. Those projects, if successful, cannot do much more than keep them flat, if that.

Ron P.

Azerbaijan: Country Economic Forecast: 01 Nov 2010

This reflects a slowdown in oil production growth to just 1.9% from a spectacular 15.6% in 2009, though the latter was largely a bounce-back from the production problems of late-2008.

For 2010 as a whole, we forecast GDP will increase by 4.5%. However, we now expect a slowdown to just 3% in 2011 owing to a likely dip in oil production.

Wikipedia Megaprojects shows not much coming down the line for them.

Ron, it looks like there is a fair chance that Wikipedia's list isn't complete.

From last week on TOD (Current and future Saudi and Russian oil production):

Samotlor: Reawakening The Giant

According to the latest calculation, Samotlor still holds more than 7 billion barrels of oil in place and around 100 billion cubic meters of gas, and ranks among the five largest fields in the world.
The updated reserve count helped to secure approval in December 2005 for a new enlarged development plan for the field. Around the same time, the company reached another milestone for the long-term planning and sustainability of its business by securing an extension of the Samotlor licence until 2038.

TNK-BP announces that Samotlorneftegaz, part of the Group, has accomplished 3D seismic survey at the Samotlor field, which covered a total of 900 km2. The interpretation of the obtained data enabled TNK-BP to discover and start development of seven new oil deposits adjacent to the main production area.

The second pdf discusses seven satelites to be developed. it seems this would have made the megaprojects list. maybe that is the problem with megaprojects - omission. (comments from elwoodelmore)

A couple of points. Samotlor is in Russia, not Azerbaijan. And Wikipedia Megaprojects do not include infield drilling in old giant, largely depleted fields. All that infield drilling may increase production from Samotlor but it will not put more oil in the ground. And production from Russia's old giants are expected to drop by 5 percent per year so I doubt it will change anything very much.

The field, (Samotlor), is 80% depleted with water-cut exceeding 90%
TNK-BP's Samotlor Declared World's Sixth Biggest Field

. If you exclude all the drilling activity taking place every year, then Russian organic decline in production is close to 19%. To compensate for that organic decline, Russia drills somewhere between 5,000 and 6,000 wells every year...

. 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.
Russian Oil and Gas Industry Surprises Analysts

Without all those thousands of infield wells these old fields, including Samotlor, would have a decline rate of 19 percent... and growing.

Doesn't look much like a candidate for Wikipedia Megaprojects to me.

Ron P.

And Wikipedia Megaprojects do not include infield drilling in old giant, largely depleted fields.

The question is if the following can also be considered as infield drilling in 'the old giant' ?

The interpretation of the obtained data enabled TNK-BP to discover and start development of seven new oil deposits adjacent to the main production area.

socar expects 66-67 million metric tons per year by 2015.


socar expects 66-67 million metric tons per year by 2015.

In bopd please.

bp's 2009 statistical review shows 1.033 million bpd, all liquids, and 50.6 million metric tonnes, so using that as a rough conversion would suggest 1.368 million bopd. that conversion may not hold into the future with increased condensate and ngl production expected from shah deniz phase 2. statoil, bp and cheveron are principals in that project. shah deniz phase 2 would probably qualify as a marginal mega project with maybe 12,000 bpd condensate plus ngls.

I know you don't like repeating things from old threads, but it seems like this one from last night needs a little more notice. It is by "MoonofA" http://www.theoildrum.com/node/7098#comment-739795

Today we ROV-watchers at #theoildrum chat saw the end of the Deepwater Horizon Macondo MC 252#1 subsea operations.

After cementing the top of the well bore and testing the cement, a cap in memory of those who died in the Deepwater Horizon accident was placed on the wellhead. As this is a "well from hell", the ceremony fittingly included a screw-up and ..... bubbles.

Video of the ceremony.

Is BP going to use the second "kill" well to resume production???

E. Swanson

The Relief Well II is only temporarily abandoned and we ROV watchers saw no further effort on it. We find it likely that it will be some day used for production though probably not under BP's name.


I was surprised to see the well head still down there, normally around the world, a P&A requires everything down to 10ft has to be removed from the seabed, therefore the conductor is cut and the wellhead removed. What are the regs for the GOM? Is this an exemption for deep water? Or a special for a special well?

Thanks for all your input during the kill operation.

A more fitting video cut - in normal speed and with appropriate music - by my friend Rocky Paloma: In Memory of the DeepWater Horizon 11 - The Final Cap on the Well

Please distribute this to the people who cared about the Macondo issue.

Dubai economist suggests phasing out subsidies for fuel, water and electricity, adding a 5% VAT and a carbon tax to help start the move away from oil.

It is worth noting that this media is owned by the ruling family of Dubai and this may be a trial balloon. Dubai has a trickle of oil, most (~95% of UAE production) is in Abu Dhabi.


Best Hopes for Better Taxes,


Any idea of what they pay for gasoline/diesel in UAE? How about water/electric rates? Be interesting to compare. Even here in the states prices seem to vary widely. Gasoline was $2.82 here last night.

In a September 2010 article talking about small scale smuggling from Oman, the retail price for 95 octane gasoline was $0.47/liter.

At 3.78 liters/gallon, that = $1.78/gallon.

Other Gulf states are lower.


Special Report: Oil and ice: worse than the Gulf spill?

But even as Russia opens its northern waters to exploration, there's reason to pause. In the wake of BP's catastrophic leak in the Gulf of Mexico this spring, Russian officials and experts warn an oil spill under the ice could turn out far worse than one in warmer deepwater climates. Arctic conditions -- remoteness, fragile ecosystems, darkness, sub-zero temperatures, ice, high winds -- make dealing with an oil spill a massive task.

If the world is getting so desperate for oil that we must drill in the Arctic where ice flows can pull an oil platform from its moorings and devastate the surrounding ecosystem then we are getting desperate sure enough.

This is a very long, very detailed and very alarming article but well worth your time to read it.

Ron P.

Swimming In Crude?


Crude-- unlike gold and silver, which do not have weekly transparent inventory reports, and has much higher storage costs and capacity issues-- actually has to adhere to the economics of supply and demand, and despite future inflation concerns, in the near term prices must go down due to swollen supply in the market.

Otherwise, we literally will be swimming in crude oil.

Disclosure: No positions
About the author: Dian L. Chu M.B.A., C.P.M. and Chartered Economist. Market analyst regularly contributing to leading financial sites.

A load of complete garbage

She says

oil inventories actually added another 2 million barrels build to the current stockpiles...Oil imports fell to 8.6 million barrels per day from the prior week's 9.5 million (See Chart). So we even had a build with lower imports

Well yes if you ignore this


U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum
Reserve) increased by 2.0 million barrels from the previous week

...Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 2.7 million barrels last week
...Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 3.6 million barrels
...Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 5.5 million barrels last week

The author is either an idiot or selectively quoted the EIA crude figure ignoring produced product in storage.

She can swim in as much crude as she wants if it is not refined at a sufficient rate to counter product drawdowns but if that pattern continued she wouldn't actually be able to swim in gasoline let alone drive anywhere.

And it's very strange for someone called "Chu" who posts on Twitter as "Asiablues" not to have heard of China and its massive diesel shortage and stock drawdowns. Oh wait she mentions China but claims they will be reducing demand going forward ( "If we take a look at China and India, they will be using less oil as well") totally ignoring that the purpose of the Chinese price rises is to try and slow their huge reported rate of increase in demand - not to actually decrease demand.

tow - a question I can't answer - re: import volumes, reserves on hand, etc. China has been acquiring direct ownership of crude around the globe for many years now. If China ships 5 million bbls of Angolan oil it owns (IOW crude it hasn't purchased on the open market) does it show up on the books as an import volume? Technically it is imported in that it's shipped to China but it wasn't purchased by China...they owned it as it flowed out the well head. We all know intuitively what "import" means but that doesn't necessarially mean the book keepers are viewing it the same. IOW if we don't count crude from the GOM fed leases as imports because we own the oil at the well head is the Chinese owned production from Angola not counted the same way? The only difference in these two situations is the distance the crude is shipped. But, then again, N Slope cude is shipped a long distance and we don't count it as an import because we own it. So maybe Chinese owned oil isn't counted as an import either.


To the best of my knowledge that oil is supposed to be counted as Chinese imports. However if the Chinese decided to add some/all of it to their internal production (reported as over 4.2 million barrels per day in September 2010 up 9% on September 2009) then it would need some sleuthing to track that down I guess.

That is a very interesting question Rock. How does other International Operators book their overseas production? Say BP production outside UK?

An increase of 9% over September 2009 would put their September 2010 C+C production at 4,170,000 bp/d. Given their rate of increase as of late that would be about right. They produced 4,056,000 bp/d in July according to the EIA.

It is interesting however that the EIA Short Term Energy Outlook (Table 3b) has China peaking in June, July and August 2010. Wonder what they know?

Ron P.

Strange in that EIA projection you linked that the EIA expects a big drop in Chinese production in the 4th quarter. Chinese reported current production is greatly exceeding earlier projections of both the EIA and IEA.

I actually wonder if the projected Q4 drop is because the EIA hasn't updated the projected yearly figure and so has to have a much smaller figure projected in Q4 simply to balance their 4.16 mb/day for the year.


2010 Q1   Q2   Q3   Q4 (projected)
4.16 4.16 4.20 4.19 4.10

Well the November release of that page is due out later today. We will see if they change their projection.

Ron P.

For comparison the IEA has

Q1  Q2  Q3  Q4
4.0 4.1 4.1 4.1

Production is projected to be stable at about 4.1 throughout 2011. Also the IEA has September China production at 4.13 mb/day which is considerably less than China reported itself.

Just in case it helps, import data used to be available here.

It now says

Q1   Q2   Q3   Q4
4.16 4.20 4.18 4.12

Energy in 2035: China and oil dominate
As a result, oil demand is forecast to rise to 99 million barrels per day in 2035, compared to 84 million barrels per day in 2009, the report said. As a result, the price of oil is expected to increase to $113 per barrel in 2035 from about $87 currently.

From the lead link up top:

“The ratepayers of Virginia must be protected from costs for renewable energy that are unreasonably high,”

By all means - this has become prime directive in the US - protect ratepayer / consumers from paying too much for things that are, in reality, very costly (energy, food, war, transportation).

Of course if we weren't constantly transferring our wealth to the parasite class we might be able to pay for real products at prices more reflective of reality and it wouldn't seem like such an afront to our sensibilities.

An always difficult choice: Gold or the planet.

The deniers' two cents are being given an awful lot of weight these days.

Believe it or not, some folks think that renewables are a leftist plot and will use ANY excuse, even a tiny increase


My home town of Southampton, UK is hoping to build a 'wood chip' biomass power station. The rough-n-ready statistics are that it will costs £300m to build ($500m), will produce 100MW - 'enough to power 200,000 homes' and will burn through 800,000 tonnes of wood chips per annum.

So back of the envelope calculation would mean burning 4 tonnes of wood chips per home per year. So I guess the questions which arise are:

1. Is this a realistic per household tonnage? Doesn't actually seem very much, given the amount of wood my open fire burns.
2. Where will the City source the wood chips? Will they be grown and chipped to order or will they be waste from some other industry such as furniture making (Ikea?)
3. Is this truly sustainble?

Anyone know of any other such power stations?

4 t/home is roughly 4 cubic meters. This is right order of magnitude.

There's this 44 MW wood-fired power plant opened a couple of years ago in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. Uses mostly locally sourced forestry residue and willow.

There are a host of options for wood chips; forestry leftovers, wood waste, short-rotation crops and bioenergy trade for instance. I'd be surprised if any U.K. based solutions weren't clean.

Some biomass power gets built at port locations to take advantage of growing international biomass trade, and I suspect that may hold for Southampton. In that case the chips may come from places like Canada or Russia, and from what I've been able to glean, most of it is mostly OK.

Canada used to have a practice of clear cuttings, but that seemed to be changing last time I checked (a couple years ago) and anyway they'd use leftover wood for chips. Most of that was just thrown away before and probably much of it still is.

Quite a few wood chip and pellet operations have opened in the east of Europe over the last years and I don't really know how they are operating. State of the art harvesting technology and practices that have been developed mostly in Sweden and Finland over the last twenty years are definitely sustainable.

www.bioenergytrade.org is a place to visit to find out more. Has lots of pdfs.

Canada used to have a practice of clear cuttings, but that seemed to be changing last time I checked (a couple years ago) and anyway they'd use leftover wood for chips. Most of that was just thrown away before and probably much of it still is.

Which raises an interesting question.
In the lottery that passes for Carbon Accounting, is this waste considered sequestered, or just off the radar as it has no value.
When it generates power, will Canada, or the buyer, claim the brownie points. (or will both claim ?)

Don't know, sorry. What I've been reading on carbon trading up to now has discouraged any attempt to try to find out how it works.

The one thing I like that has come out of the carbon accounting concept are the CDM and JI frameworks, which have helped to establish some much needed energy generation in developing nations. Though I vaguely remember some criticsm on implementation and it hasn't exactly been a torrent, I get the impression that it has helped to make a difference, and that clean generation technologies perform rather well in poorer environments. It's uncertain what happens with CDM/JI when the Kyoto process expires.

As a side note, the share of woody biomass based electricity generation for 2008 was 5.5% for Sweden and 9.2% for Finland, according to IEA and EurObserv'ER data. (linked paper details the various input sources derived from wood)

There are a lot of this type of poweer stations in my country Sweden. I attach a link to a map where they are all presented.


The information in the text is swedish but says among other things that there are now 160 of them and 40 beeing planned. The text further says that 9 % of the electricity used in Sweden came from this type of plants in 2009.

I don't know how the plant that you will have in your town will work but in Sweden they always produce both heat that is used to heat the nearby town and electricity. The heat comes from the cooling water that is transported in pipes in the town and is connected to houses via heat-exchagers. Producing both heat and electricity you get a much higher efficiency compared to if you just produces electricity.

Much of the wood pellets burned in Sweden's thermal plants and woodstoves is sourced from Florida, USA. A true-cost accounting would be interesting.

I made an attempt to try and find some information on true-cost accounting looking at general pages from some of these plants, including the one in my town, but I didn't find any.

I think I have heard that the price of bio-fuel has increased due to a rising interest both from privat houses that use this for heating and from power plants. I didn't find any references to imports from Florida but Norway and the Baltic countries where mentionned.
I also found a discussion of imports of old rubber trees from some african country but I don't think that consitutes any large part.

Some of these plants also burn garbage and in some cases this is imported from e.g. Germany.

As far as I know, there are no shipments of wood chips out of FL.

After the hurricanes of 2004 a couple barge loads were sent to Italy. It became clear that it wasn't cost effective and the people living near Port Canaveral complained of the smell & debris blown about.

Found this:

One region in the US South that has drawn much attention lately is the tri-state area of Southern Georgia, Southeast Alabama, and northern Florida, a wood fiber hotspot profiled in the latest issue of the North American Wood Fiber Review. Within this area, a significant number of new wood-to-energy facilities have been announced with one major pellet plant already operating. Sited in Northern Florida, Green Circle Bioenergy began operations in early 2008 and is exporting the entire production to energy plants in Europe.

Two additional large-scale, export-oriented pellet plants are on the drawing boards. The German company RWE plant in southern Georgia is under construction with plans to commence production in the 3Q of 2011, and Magnolia Biopower has announced plans for its own pellet export plant to also be sited in Southern Georgia.


I assumed Britain would import wood from the Amazon. Chainsaw the rainforest so Timmy can recharge his Ipod.

The decline of newspapers is creating a glut of pulp wood trees planted perhaps 20 years ago. Hence biomass instead.


Hopefully Southampton will give Balcas (http://www.brites.eu/) a generous contract. Then Balcas can afford to give me a generous contract!

The monster Drax Power Station has been co-firing with biomass for some time (i.e. chucking in some firewood along with the coal), but Sweden probably has the highest percentage of wood-fuelled power generation.

There's a useful beginner's guide available at http://www.iea.org/techno/essentials3.pdf

Drax was also useful for all those cow carcasses when we had foot and mouth..

Aussies get some criticsm of their chip exports from Rainforest News, although the relation of cause to effect isn't entirely apparent by reading the article.

But I'm happy to take their word and state for now that chips from Australia may not be mostly ok.

Some of their earlier news appears contradictory though. A bit of searching yields that there seems to have been quite something going on down under during the latter years:

Tasmanian peace in the forests

Tas forest peace deal looks to end native forest logging

And indeed:

The national Leader Senator Bob Brown was shot at and arrested while protesting in Tasmanian forests in the 80s.

That and some other readings not related here for the sake of brevity makes me revise Aussie status anew from may not be mostly ok to may be mostly ok after all :-)

Re: Removing Carbon from Natural Gas

Interesting, but what they don't acknowledge is that a good chunk of the thermal energy released by burning the "uncleaned" gas is due to the formation of CO2. So you give up probably half or more of the thermal energy (after losses) in the portion of the methane that gets decarboned. This would have to be subsidized to the hilt to make it economic.

And everybody wants to power the world with off-peak electricity, as if it were both free and CO2-free. Energy storage for wind or solar? Perhaps, but there are probably better options for that.

And I'd like to see their math on this:

The result: natural gas with 5 percent to 10 percent less carbon. Each 1 percent reduction in carbon lowers carbon dioxide emissions by about 4 percent, according to Atlantic.

Carbon removal is an endothermic process. Anyway, you have to get rid of the carbon later.

Carbon removal is an endothermic process.

Thats true if you are removing it in the reduced form (not combined with oxygen), which seems to be the case here, carbon block is what powdered graphite. If you remove the carbon as either concentrated CO2, or as carbonates it isn't necessarily endothermic. In this case they claim to be
able to separate the carbon from the hydrogen, and burn the later. But if they sell the carbon for industrial processes it will eventually make it into the atmosphere anyway. So maybe it displaces a small amount of carbon which would have been mined to feed an industrial process. Or at a large scale at a considerable cost in energy efficiency you can (maybe) burn the hydrogen in methane and leave the carbon behind -hopefully to be buried.

Co2 extraction can only be an endothermic process.There is no escape. And in any case, volume ans masse implied are of the same order of magnitude as the combustible.

Co2 extraction can only be an endothermic process,

No, if you are forming a carbonate givem CO2 plus ???, the reaction might be exothermic. Its been too long since I studied chemical equilibrium stuff, but I think the fact that carbonated become unstable a high temps implies it is exo as opposed to endo thermic. [But that might be another in the bewildering variety of thermodynamic variables they use in Chemistry]

Artificial photosynthesis would allow reuse of the carbon in a familiar, liquid form (C16H34 or the hydrated, bio-fuel version).

It's a plasma reformer.
They're breaking CH4, methane, and the contaminants C2H6 (ethane), C3H8 (propane), etc. and into itty-bits and swiping the hydrogen.
Any bits left over will probably rejoin to make methane leaving lampblack. CH2 (carbene) is reactive: only lasts free for a moment.
Plasma reforming landfill makes 4 times as much energy available then it takes to run the process. It is called "plasma gasification".

Phosphate: Morocco's White Gold

Phosphate is used in everything from fertilizer to rechargeable batteries. And Morocco's King Mohammed VI has cornered the market
Even a temporary phosphate shortage could affect a range of U.S. industries. Phosphate fertilizer is used on just about every crop, though most in the U.S. goes to the 13 billion bushels of corn grown each year to make everything from corn syrup to cattle feed to ethanol. When prices climbed tenfold in 2007 and 2008, retailers and farmers scrambled to build local fertilizer warehouses as a buffer. Now, according to Dirk Lohry, owner of Nutra-Flo, a crop and animal nutrient manufacturer in Sioux City, Iowa, many of those warehouses stand empty as supplies are being used too quickly to build inventory. The prospect of a shortage has become serious enough that the Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence at the U.S. Energy Dept. recently assigned an analyst to study the issue; she was not permitted to speak publicly because of "geopolitical sensitivities."

Presumably the "Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence at the U.S. Energy Dept" would also study the issue of Peak Oil?

Looks like they've renamed it "Office of Intelligence and Counterterrorism at the U.S. Energy Dept".

Guess that sounds better these days.

Presumably the "Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence at the U.S. Energy Dept" would also study the issue of Peak Oil?

Yes, under the new name they are going to wage "War on Geology" That will teach a terrorist planet like earth a lesson it won't forget, for not giving us all we need when we need it.

Totoneila, of course, was the NPK expert (here on TOD I mean, not at DoE as far as I know :-)

Yes, "counterintelligence" would logically include disinformation.

According to Wikipedia its counterintelligence ops are now handled by Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive. But that could be disinformation of course :-)

If counterterrorism = counterintelligence which is the opposite of intelligence, then is counterterrorism = stupidity? Then would this be better called the Office of Intelligence and Stupidity?

What happened to totoneila, he just vanished?

I contacted his former girlfriend and she said he is all right. Just went in a different direction.


Thanks Alan, I'm glad he's ok, I've been wondering where he went for some time.

Re: Chevy Volt can go the distance, up top.

It’s a good thing software code doesn’t weigh much. The Chevrolet Volt boasts an all electric range of more than 40 miles, but it takes 10 million lines of code to get it there. The software heavy car features over 100 electronic controllers and also has a unique IP address for each one on the road.

For comparison, the new Boeing 787, which is widely considered to be the most electronic airliner ever, has around 8 million lines of code. And that includes the complex avionics and navigation systems. The new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter? Around 6 million.


Is this the first computer drive you can ride in? With that much software there has got to be bugs in it somewhere. Will GM require that it be connected to the internet periodically like Microsoft Windows or will each one require a trip to the dealer to update the software?

Sounds like "bloatware" to me... Good luck on that one. Probably have to have "Bill Nye the Science Guy" change the oil.

Well the mailperson stop by this morning to deliver my December issue of Motor Trend. I'm sure a lot of you will find it very interesting. Here are just a few of their stated comments.

"We torture test the high-tech Chevy Volt, the future is here. and it works"

"mission accomplished"

"It's not a hybrid! It's an electric car with a range-extending, gas-powered generator onboard."

I'm guessing each of the 100 processors has 100,000 lines of code on it, probably moostly the operating system, which is likely replicated in each of the other chips/processors. So it could be one 100,000 line code copied a hundred times, which is a lot less than ten million lines that are all unique. Given the great ability of jounalists to get things wrong, I think my interpretation is more likely.

The Linux kernel alone has a couple of million, so it could easily be one or two Linux-based systems and then a bunch of little controller functions. All cars have dozens of processors these days. It's not hard to have some costing less than $1 each.

Before too long every lightbulb will probably have its own controller.

Actually . . . yes. Computing is so cheap that you can put a processor in every light source. And you'll see that in the future. I guarantee it.

Most major airports have small chips in the fixtures for runway, taxiway and ramp lights. All are linked via a computer network. The chip reports the status of the lights, including what color lens is currently in use and the intensity setting and available options for bulbs that have variable intensity settings. Maintenance crews are automatically notified when there is a failure of one of those lights or its key components.

This gives literal meaning to the blue screen of death.

Er, shouldn't that be 'blue windscreen'? New meaning on system crash? A serious question is'how well has the code been audited?'.


Live stream now

Commission Hearing Focusing on Causes of BP's Macondo Well Blowout

What: The National Oil Spill Commission and its Chief Counsel Fred Bartlit will hold a two-day hearing on preliminary findings regarding BP’s Macondo well blowout. The primary focus of the hearing will be on the causes of the rig explosion.

Who: The Commissioners will hear from Chief Counsel Bartlit, representatives from companies involved in the incident, industry executives, technical experts, regulators and others regarding the rig explosion.

When: Nov. 8, from 9 am to 5 pm; Nov. 9, from 9 am to 5:30 pm. Doors open at 6:30 am for camera setup and media, and 8 am for the public.


Will masses embrace electric cars despite high prices?

No, the masses will not embrace electric cars even if they cost half as much as gas-powered vehicles. The masses probably won't embrace them until such time as a barrel of oil costs $1000.

My hunch: the only 'embracers' will be relatively wealthy, but deeply boring, males -- many suffering from an attention-seeking disorder. Their exotic pet cars will, they think, help them have something interesting to say at the water cooler or dinner table. Alas, since bores radiate boredom no matter what they touch, they will only turn others off the topic. ("OMG here comes Mr Range Anxiety again please get me out of here").

So let's carry out an online experiment. Hands up any TOD blogger on line who ACTUALLY OWNS AN ELECTRIC CAR.

[waits 30 seconds]


Nobody. I was right.

So there you have it: if the peak-everything aware elite who log into TOD won't buy one, WHO WILL?

Case closed.

[Reply to myself] I forgot this:

Why the electric car has no (wireless) future:



That article is almost 3 years old.
Batterie-tech is not standing still.

From the article:

we have to build many more power plants).

Closing oil refineries frees up a tremendous amount of electricity.

After some years, they all have to be replaced, and already before that time there is a reduction in storage capacity.

They are working on this problem.

I don't say I'm convinced that it will succeed, but it's not so hopeless as the article from januari 2008 let us believe.

Closing oil refineries frees up a tremendous amount of electricity.

Don't refineries generate electricity internally from their own product?

Closing oil refineries frees up a tremendous amount of electricity.

This particular claim has no basis in reality.

My hunch: the only 'embracers' will be relatively wealthy, but deeply boring, males -- many suffering from an attention-seeking disorder.

You ever read about the acceleration, seconds needed to get from 0-50 mph ?
You know how nice it is to listen to music without disturbing motor noise ?

You ever read about the acceleration, seconds needed to get from 0-50 mph ?

You want acceleration? Then check this out!
On Monday 8.11.2010 at 11:20 LHC declared for the first time

"Stable Beams with Ions"

One of the first events from lead-lead collisions at a centre-of-mass energy of 2.76 TeV per nucleon pair.
It's OT I know but It is really really cool!

Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecasts plug-in electric vehicles could account for up to 9% of US auto sales in 2020 and 22% in 2030

Hmm - I wonder if that 22% in 2030 would represent a larger or smaller number of electric vehicles than the 9% in 2020?

SAE International has just published a 37-page issue of Vehicle Electrification, the "2011 Chevrolet Volt Development Story", available online here:

Carolus: I just dropped in and couldn't meet your 30 second time limit.

Would a solar powered golf cart (6 X 200AMP X 6VDC) qualify? It has a 3000 watt inverter on it and can run all my normal 110/220VAC tools or travel about 10 miles between charges. This is definitely not a Telsa for speed but our place is not too big. I built a little dump box on it so I guess it would be a truck. :-)

The solar charging station is underpowered at 42V @ 9AMPs but quite usable. The almost new batteries should last about 10 years since it isn't used much ... yet.

Thanks Lynford,

My heart is as big as my SUV so, yes, your solar powered 'jaunting car' qualifies as a borderline case. Do you use it for driving round your back yard? I'm sure my seven-year old nephew would be delighted to give it a try.

What's the boredom factor here? Do the girls get turned on by that (6 X 200AMP X 6VDC) 3ooo watt inverter 11o/22oVAC tools at 42V @ 9AMPs tech talk? Could this be the new 'game' for budding or wannabe alpha males?

Of course if you're stone married like me you could try the tech talk just to shut them up and lull them to sleep.

Sounds like good fun, though -- if you live in Arizona or the Sahara.

Read a few of these. I don't expect you to be impressed with these people, but they certainly sound like it's working for them.


Yes, the Rav4EV was pricey, considering it was a run of 2000 or so.. but the Batts are lasting for 100K plus miles, many charging with their rooftop PV. I don't begrudge them their pride in doing something like this, but it doesn't look like they're just giggling Shatner fans who are hoping to finally be able to pick up chicks.


Hey Lynford;
Mindful of your brand of gogo juice, I just checked out the prices for Kyocera 130's (I have 2) and 135's, and you still see the 130s selling for $650,and the 135s selling for $350.. I'm wondering if I couldn't manage to sell my two 130s online and pick up 3 or 4 135's for almost the same money..

I know you've got KC's as well.. thought you'd be interested to know the current prices, in case you're also into upping your watts..


Bob: I have three KC130's from three years ago. I don't know anything about the used PV market but you might give ebay a shot or craig's list.

Carolus: Our place is small and yes the grandkids like to drive it around the pasture. I had flat tire problems till I 'slimed' all four. I use it for small haul jobs around the place and powering tools and arc-welder outside away from the shop. In some places a golf cart is street legal but not around here.

The reason hardly anyone owns an electric car is because the first mass-produced affordable electric car (the Nissan Leaf) is just coming to market. I plan to buy one (January order date). Motivation is to cut down oil use, have a fairly stable price for fuel and less concern about fuel availability should we have another oil shock like we did a few decades ago. I will be driving about 10,000 miles a year in the electric car, and reserving my gas powered car for a few long trips per year.

I'm going to assume Carolus' post was (poorly done) sarcasm.

A lot of people that get EVs never want to go back. Full torque at 0 rpm. Completely silent. Never have to go to a gas station. A full 'tank' of fuel every morning when you wake up filled by your own home. No emissions. Very few moving parts. No oil, oil filters, air filters, transmission, exhaust system, tune-ups, spark plugs, distributor, etc.

I have a vehicle where the only external power is a few AAA batteries.

Re: Will the Masses Adopt Electric Cars?
I think they will. Electric cars actually have quite a few luxuries IMO:
-low end torque. The response of the vehicle off the line is fundamentally different. Driving an electric vehicle in city conditions is much more pleasant than an ICE, IMO.
-noise. This is a no brainer.
-fuel cost hedge: I know a lot of people that can afford higher gas prices but just don't like them. There's a huge psychological luxury to knowing that your fuel costs will be stable and may even go down, that your fuel is domestically sourced, and that your fuel supply could potentially be renewable.

For example: my parents are building a home right now. They are successful and could easily afford a large home but instead they opted for a smaller home on the same size lot. They chose luxuries such as solar panels, a battery system, LED lighting, geothermal heating and cooling, heavy insulation, and a greenhouse instead of things like granite or... a bigger house. They could have gotten a much better return had those funds been invested elsewhere but they desired price stability over return.

My own anecdotal evidence indicates that this is becoming more and more of a norm with lot's of people in my family's social circle going the same route. Does this represent the mentality of the general populous? Maybe, maybe not but if it did it would be in line with the minimax philosophy that is the foundation of Nash equilibrium.

I believe that people find controlling large amounts of energy to be exciting in some visceral way. Look at the things that are perceived as "cool" in popular culture, film, etc. - loud explosions, high speed, loud cars, big guns, fires, what have you. How many perfectly well designed, mostly quiet cars do you see (hear) running around with "fart cannons" bolted on the back? Harley's with straight pipes anyone? What is your typical Joe going to do to turn an EV into some loud, exciting, attention getting thrill ride?

Maybe they can mount a set of massive woofers and play a sampling of a big-block V8? Better still, someone can market speakers, a giant plate amp with gold plated monster cables, and a controller to allow you select the engine sound you want. If you can't pony up for that, you can always put a baseball card in the spokes.

Ya might wanna patent that one, Twilight.
Modulate an engine-sounds generating means from an internal accelerometer.
Squealing tires option?
Could be just hysterical!

I always think of the Jetson's flying car sound.
Or the scream of a TIE fighter.

It's pretty close to what BMW did with their Z4 I think - it sounded like crap so they put a speaker under the dash so the driver would hear something more appealing. Pathetic.

One thing EVs are not good at, heating and air conditioning. Either should reduce range, I think significantly in extreme weather (and cold weather reduces capacity in most battery types).

Windshield wipers and headlights should have more minor impacts.


I'd like to see how the Volt would handle subzero temps...would it even run on pure electric? not sure how it would keep the cabin warm. That cold really sucks the energy, even a gasoline car takes a 5 mpg or so hit it seems in winter (especially on short trips).

Electric cars makes zero sense in places like Idaho where the winter temperature can get to 30 below for a few weeks. You need heat not only to be comfortable but to see out the window. The battery capacity drops off maybe 20 % in temperatures as high as 65 degrees F.

And Nissan has probably made a very large marketing mistake claiming that the Leaf will go 100 miles. In the real world it will get perhaps 70 and should only be driven 50 to prevent a deep discharge.

I do like the idea of the Volt, though. Would be nice for that to come down in price before the economy drops another step.

I think some manufacturers warn that running the heater in an EV at subzero temperatures could cut the range of the car in half.

It's like driving an old air-cooled VW Beetle with the optional gas heater. The heater would use more gas than the engine did.

If you really live in extreme cold, I think the Volt would be a much better choice than the Leaf.

But one thing the modern EVs do is allow you to pre-heat or pre-cool the car while it is still plugged in so you don't waste valuable battery power for that task. It can be programmed to turn on at a certain time or be done on demand from a cell phone.

"Will the Masses Adopt Electric Cars?"

No, I don't believe they will. The era for such modes of transport for the masses such as the car is drawing to a close. The attempt to replace the ICE vehicle with these pathetic substitutes is a potent symbol of how powerless we've become in the face of the inevitable.

There is definitely a place for electric vehicles, but not for the trivial use of the masses. Our World is changing rapidly and needs to embody the Laws of Thermodynamics at its heart, which means massively reducing energy usage in all its forms. We're obviously not going to do this by choice, it will be imposed, so energy wastage has no future, which means trivial travel has no future, which means travel for the masses has no future.

Entropy drives out life. We've been living it up at the expense of all living things on the planet, but that's ending. Our massive energy usage has created a great deal of entropy which is killing all life and has now got us firmly in its sights. Life must conserve energy and reduce entropy to live, that means we must follow the rules if we wish to live.

Well said. The personal automobile concept is not workable without diesel/gasoline. But we will not quit until we absolutely cannot do it anymore.

Perfectly logical economic decision; turning variable costs into fixed costs. A lot of people just don't "get it"....or it just doesn't matter to them.

It mattered to me. That's why I bought a Toyota Prius. Sure, it's a slightly more expensive car, but I would just prefer a fixed monthly car payment that might be a little bit higher rather than be subjected to large swings in what I pay each week in gas. I would rather have predictability in my total budget and pretty much know what my weekly/monthly expenses are going to look like for as far out as possible. It's just easier to plan your life if you can predict your budget. Not everyone cares about this; I don't know why.

I don't understand - the Prius is simply a gasoline powered vehicle. Compared to my 11 year old 1500cc car how does it change your vulnerability to fuel prices at all?

It's a hybrid.

If you more than double your gas mileage that substantially changes the percentage of gas expenditure in a weekly commuting budget. In 2006, we had experienced swings in gas prices of around < $2/gal. to around $3.6/gal. (after Katrina).

With my old Taurus that meant gas could run anywhere from $25 per week to nearly $60 per week.

The Prius cut that price swing down to the order of + or- $6 or $7.

Depending upon one's income, this can make a big difference.

You are comparing apples to oranges - if you had a Prius with the same basic engine connected to a CVT and without all of the hybrid equipment (it would weigh considerably less), there is no way you are doubling the mileage. What the hybrid buys you over the conventional drivetrain is more power/acceleration (a luxury that is not required) and regenerative braking. That's it.

More generally though it is a gasoline powered automobile, and as such it does not insulate you from fuel cost swings, it just changes the gain. Any vehicle that uses less fuel does exactly the same thing, and the fact that it is a hybrid is of no consequence.

That's a bit overstated.

With a Prius, you at least have a vehicle that has a complete electric drive-chain in place. It's far less of a hurdle at that point to mod it up to PHEV and add to the Batts, so you have a true EV.

Yes, there's still that barrier to get to this point.. but the size of that barrier is more important than the mere existence of it.

Sorry, but you are hand waving. The Prius is not an EV, and it was not designed to be an EV. Is has nowhere near the battery capacity for that, and no one in their right mind would try to design a EV of that weight. Also I doubt it has a large enough electric motor to power a vehicle of that size. In other words, the Prius does NOT have a complete electric drive train in place, at least not one appropriate for its size.

My main point is that the Prius is and was designed to be a gasoline powered vehicle. As such it does not insulate one from the price and availability issues of gasoline. It does not matter how you do it, if you can travel X distance on a given amount of fuel you achieve the same results. A hybrid is one approach to improving mileage (mainly by being able to recover braking energy) and thereby reducing the impact of fuel price and availability problems, but it is not magic.

Just waving back at you, Twilight.


What percentage of US daily driving does that 12 miles cover? Lou Grinzo (first commenter) seems to be in favor.

Then add in the extending range batteries that have been getting developed..

Sure, there are MANY folks who drive farther.. but if a Cheap EV or PHEV is available with a shorter range, there's another incentive to start cutting those commute distances down.

The original comment I disagreed with was that somehow a Prius insulates you from the variations in fuel costs because it is a hybrid. I pointed out that hybrids, certainly including the one that Jabberwock owns, are gasoline fueled vehicles and do not do that any better than any other vehicle that gets similar mileage.

Since that point is obviously true, now you want to claim that a Prius is actually an EV because future versions might be able to go 12 whole miles without running the gasoline engine. At what speed? How about if there are hills? With how many passengers? While running the heater? It's not an EV, and pretending won't make it so

The Prius must lug around an entire ICE drivetrain and fuel storage system, as well as electric motor/generator and enough battery storage to do regenerative braking and assist the ICE. If you add enough battery storage to run without the ICE for significant distances then you've got 2 complete drivetrains and energy storage systems. There is plenty of energy in the gasoline, so having the electric stuff along for the ride is not a big problem, and you can at least recover some braking energy. But the ICE stuff is always going to be a big boat anchor when running as an EV, making sure you'll have to use it more than an equivalent EV would. The fundamental problem is that the amount of energy you can store in batteries for a given volume and weight pales in comparison to the same characteristics of gasoline.

A very good article and by far more differentiated than the - here very commen - population-bomb outcrying.

this + dysgenetics + peak ressources + FIAT-mony = time bomb

I'm from east germany (south-west Saxony) and i know what an aging and shrinking population means. Seeing you're home country die off is not as nice as some here suggest. See one more tree (we have allready much here in the ore mountains) growing doesen't make things better when you don't see children on the streets any more. But maybe whe are luky when everything falls appart, my gradparants have allready a big garden, growing much off their food...

A new look at an aging world

Don't you think the post peak oil descent will trump any concerns for an aging population? I for one see a future in which people are offing each other, and the ones to go first will be the old and too slow to defend their last remaining caches of canned food.

Right now BAU is still in full swing. Oil flows to market at a price that keeps commerce moving. But once the price reaches a point where commerce slows too much to satiate the masses, and the economy can no longer rebound even if oil price descends, then all bets are off. There won't be enough Bernanke printed bucks left to feed all the panicked people scribbling their names on the dotted line to receive food stamps.

A population that has a small percentage of disenfranchised does not extinguish the remaining BAU for the masses. But when that population of disheveled and hungry get angry and come together in great enough numbers to exert their remaining will on the others, duck for cover, run, hide, drive off somewhere, because they will be a force that cannot be stopped, and left in their wake will be empty stores and no police to protect those that have remained up until that point unblemished by catastrophe.

The Baby Boom will go Baby Bust, and with it any concerns about an aging population.

I think he just lit off a currency war.



It's official: No actions of cost-cutting contributed to the gulf oil spill.

In other news, Obama pays homage to Gandhi's nonviolence before selling 10 billion dollars worth military aircraft and engines to India.
"...the C-17s would significantly augment India's ability to move troops and combat systems"
"...General Electric Company ...F414 engines to be installed on the ...Tejas light combat aircraft."

In other news, Obama pays homage to Gandhi's nonviolence before selling 10 billion dollars worth military aircraft and engines to India.

That's why he won the Nobel peace prize...