Drumbeat: November 10, 2010

BP Gears Up To Shut Down UK North Sea Field On Iran Sanctions

LONDON -(Dow Jones)- BP PLC said Wednesday it was taking steps to shut down a natural-gas field in the U.K. North Sea that it jointly owns with Iran, confirming a warning last month that new European sanctions could interrupt the operation.

Last month, the European Union approved new sanctions, including a ban on joint energy investments by Iranian and Western companies among other things, in a bid to bring Iran to the negotiating table over its nuclear program.

Exxon Holds Its Ground

Nearly a year ago, Exxon Mobil made a multibillion-dollar bet on its vision that natural gas will become a dominant fuel during the next few decades.

Tuesday, Chevron made a similar -- albeit smaller -- wager on a domestic natural-gas producer. As Chevron starts to sell its Atlas deal to shareholders, Exxon continues to have trouble convincing its investors it made the right move.

Still, Exxon isn't veering from its long-term strategy of bulking up on U.S. natural gas. In December, the oil company announced plans to buy XTO Energy Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas, making Exxon the largest gas producer in the U.S. This summer, it bought gas producer Ellora Energy Inc. of Boulder, Colo., for $695 million, and opened a terminal along the Gulf Coast to import natural gas from the Middle East.

Tennessee Gas line snags cut New England supplies

(Reuters) - Problems on El Paso Corp's Tennessee Gas Pipeline system have cut natural gas supplies to the New England region and boosted prices over the past week during the heating season's first bout of cold weather, traders said on Wednesday.

Canada Oil Sands Industry Must Get 'Social License' To Grow - Report

CALGARY -(Dow Jones)- Negative perception of Canada's oil sands could slow its growth if the industry doesn't make a compelling case for continued development, a report by the U.S. consulting firm Deloitte says.

Brazil Agency Recommends Halting Work At Petrobras Refineries

SAO PAULO -(Dow Jones)- Brazil's Federal Accounting Office, or TCU, recommended late Tuesday halting work on two refineries being built by state-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PBR, PETR4.BR) because of signs of overbilling.

Analysis: 3Q10 M&A Activity in O&G Sector Surpasses 2009 Levels

Despite ongoing uncertainties about future business in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and cautious and uneven equity markets, merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the U.S. oil & gas sector overcame challenges to surpass 2009 levels in the third quarter of 2010.

Tax Dispute Halts Tullow Drilling on 2 Uganda Blocks

Tullow's exploration and appraisal drilling on two oil license blocks in Uganda has been halted by a tax dispute between the government and Heritage Oil, said Tullow's Chief Operating Officer Paul McDade Wednesday.

White House altered report justifying drilling ban

WASHINGTON — An inspector general says the White House edited a report about the administration's moratorium on offshore oil drilling to make it appear that scientists and experts supported the idea of a six-month ban on new drilling.

The Interior Department's inspector general says the changes resulted "in the implication that the moratorium recommendation had been peer reviewed." But it hadn't been.

Saudi Aramco gives Shaybah extra-time

Saudi Aramco has agreed to extend the bidding closing date for the construction of the Shaybah natural gas liquids project, according to reports.

US LNG bound for Europe

The US is set to supply gas to Europe for the first time, with a tanker of liquefied natural gas expected to arrive in the UK from Louisiana later this month.

Venezuela ponders Saudi cooperation in the oil field

Venezuela's Foreign Minister Nicolás Maduro and Saudi Petroleum Minister Ali Ibrahim al Naimi discussed on Tuesday in Riyadh how to improve bilateral cooperation in the oil field, a Venezuelan official communiqué reported.

Pakistan Determined to Purchase Iran's Electricity despite US Opposition

TEHRAN (FNA)- Pakistani Minister of Water and Power Raja Pervaiz Ashraf stressed his country is determined to purchase the cheap gas and power supplies offered by Iran irrespective of the US pressures.

Speaking to FNA in Islamabad, Ashraf rejected as "baseless and wrong" reports that the US is imposing pressure on Pakistan to dissuade the country from holding a gas or power deal with Iran.

Iran says to test own model of Russia S-300 missile

(Reuters) - Iran has developed a version of the Russian S-300 missile and will test-fire it soon, the official news agency IRNA said, two months after Moscow decided not to deliver it to Tehran to comply with U.N. sanctions.

Energy crisis: Pakistan calls for balance

UNITED NATIONS: Highlighting its rising electricity needs, Pakistan has called for a balance in the International Atomic Energy Agency’s regulatory, promotional and safety functions to ensure its continuing relevance in the context of promoting peaceful uses of nuclear energy and non-proliferation.

Time now for the fireside chat

Constructing policy around continued economic growth is a fool's errand.

Cutbacks force destitute to queue for food

Hundreds of desperate Romanians left destitute by the country's austerity drive queued for food aid today in the Black Sea port of Constanta.

Authorities say nearly 75,000 people currently qualify for rations of flour, cornflour, pasta, sugar biscuits and powdered milk.

The Unintended Consequences of Carbon Reduction in China

In China, blackouts and fuel shortages accompany efforts to meet a greenhouse gas target.

New $1.1 million program to create urban farms in Cleveland's Kinsman neighborhood

Officials from the city of Cleveland, the Ohio and U.S. Departments of Agriculture and the Ohio State University Extension Service announced a three-year, $1.1 million pilot program Wednesday to create an urban farm at East 83rd Street and Gill Avenue.

These officials hope that the Cleveland Urban Agricultural Incubator Project will not only turn people into entrepreneurs but will help convert a food "desert" into an oasis of fruits and vegetables.

The Lazy Person’s Guide to Being Ecofriendly

Think you don’t have time to be green? Here are seven small things you can do that have a big impact.

USA's most walkable neighborhoods? Top 40 ranked

Fed up with traffic and car expenses? In need of exercise? The solution may be a walkable neighborhood. But which one? WalkScore.com ranks the top 40 in USA's largest cities.

Of course, rents in many of these neighborhoods -- led by San Francisco's downtown and New York City's Soho -- are pricey, but residents can often go carless and save money that way.

Environmental insecurity in North Korea

Accompanying the famine in the late 1990s was a debilitating energy crisis. At its worst, North Koreans had little or no electricity, resorting mostly to firewood to heat their homes and thus contributing to a sharp increase in deforestation. Fires, landslides, insect damage, and drought have further contributed to the degradation of forests since the 1990s.

The New Republic: How Bush Ruined Daylight Savings

Now that the elections are over, we're hearing a lot about how President Obama should adopt simple, crowd-pleasing, populist measures that will again endear him to the middle class — like a Clinton-style foreclosure moratorium. Well, here's a smaller idea that would allow him to improve millions of Americans' lives, save money and energy, and reverse one of the lamest excesses of the Bush administration: Obama should repeal the daylight savings time change codified by the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Why Is Obama Cuddling Up to Karl Rove and His Gas Drilling Friends?

In the days following Tuesday's election, President Obama's first peace offering to hardliners across the aisle was telling: "We've got, I think, broad agreement that we've got terrific natural gas resources in this country," he said. At the same time he was giving the thumbs-up for natural gas drilling, Karl Rove was doing the same, appearing as the keynote speaker at Pittsburgh's David Lawrence Convention Center for the DUG (Developing Unconventional Gas) East Coast conference on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale.

Juicy tax breaks for electric cars

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Nissan Leaf will carry a price tag of $32,500, but some California residents could drive one for just about $17,000 -- roughly the cost of a typical gas-powered compact sedan.

That low, low price is thanks to incentives from the federal government, which offers a $7,500 tax credit to buyers of plug-in cars; the state of California, which offers a $5,000 rebate; and local governments in California's San Joaquin Valley, which offer another $3,000 in rebates.

Electricity Storage: Can It Work?

FORTUNE -- The curious thing about electricity is that it is the only commodity we can think of -- with the possible exception of soufflé chocolat -- that has to be consumed the moment it is made. Power travels across the grid at the speed of light. And what isn't used is wasted. Now, a new industry is emerging that could change all that. "Grid storage" could, says Pike Research, hit $35 billion in sales by 2020, up from only $1.5 billion today.

Ethanol industry coping with higher corn prices

Carl Sitzmann, chief executive officer at the E Energy ethanol plant at Adams, said robust demand for its 50-million gallon output per year should be enough to compensate for higher production costs.

Clean Energy Tops Agenda in Connecticut

When Connecticut’s Republican candidate for governor, Tom Foley, conceded defeat to Democrat Dan Malloy yesterday, clean energy’s prospects in the northeastern United States got a lot brighter.

Congress' new chance for clean energy

Our nation's energy challenges are pressing and immediate. Unlike countries in Asia and Europe, the United States has neglected to join the global clean energy marketplace. We have no long-term clean energy plan, and so we have few domestic clean energy technologies or industries. While the world surges ahead, we risk being left behind, dependent on yesterday's energy solutions to solve today's energy challenges.

We know what steps to take. We must reduce our dependence on oil. The transportation sector alone is 95 percent dependent on oil. American taxpayers spend from $500 million to $1 billion a day on foreign oil, 39 percent of which is imported from "dangerous or unstable" nations, according to a Truman National Security Project report.

The Environmental Movement’s Winter of Discontent

After a frustrating two years on the Hill, environmental groups are worried that the midterm elections may leave energy and global-warming policy progress out in the cold.

After a Strong Counterattack, Big Coal Makes a Comeback

With an aggressive campaign focused on advertising, lobbying, and political contributions, America’s coal industry has succeeded in beating back a challenge from environmentalists and clean-energy advocates. The dirty truth is that Big Coal is more powerful today than ever.

Kozloduy nuclear plant gearing up for lifetime extension - report

Bulgaria's Kozloduy nuclear power plant has started the process of extending the lifetime of its fifth and sixth reactors, the plant's new head Kostadin Dimitrov told Bulgarian National Radio.

The country's sole nuclear plant will first call a tender to select a company that will carry out a study on the units' capacities, he said. The operation permit of one of the units expires in 2017 and the plant should take all the necessary measures to extend its lifespan by at least 20 years, Dimitrov said.

Oil Will Be `Substantially Higher' by 2012 as Supplies Drop, Goldman Says

Oil prices will be “substantially higher” by 2012 as the global stockpile surplus shrinks and excess production capacity drops, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the most profitable bank in Wall Street history.

Global economic growth will drive oil demand and reduce inventories, which are still “exceptionally high” in developed countries including the U.S., the world’s biggest user of crude, Goldman said in a report dated yesterday. Spare capacity held by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will decline as the 12-member group, which pumps 40 percent of the world’s oil, boosts supply to meet demand, the bank said.

Crude Slips from Near Two-Year High

Oil declined from near a two-year high in New York before an Energy Department report that may show U.S. crude inventories increased last week.

Futures slipped as the dollar reversed earlier losses against the euro, reducing the appeal of commodities priced in the U.S. currency. A report showed that China’s net purchases of crude declined last month. The industry-funded American Petroleum Institute said yesterday crude supplies fell the most in two years, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said oil prices will be “substantially higher” by 2012.

Fed's dollar flood may force oil prices up

The US Federal Reserve may be paving the way for more expensive crude by releasing floods of dollars as it seeks to boost sluggish domestic economic recovery.

"Cash and carry" hedging is now the principal driver of crude prices, not the fundamentals of supply and demand, said Dr Leo Drollas, the deputy executive director and chief economist of the London-based Centre for Global Energy Studies.

Oil demand set to pick up

Oil demand is expected to strengthen in the next few years as the global economic continues to recover and Asian markets consume more crude, according to an expert at the prestigious Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.

Bassam Fattouh, Academic Director of the Oil and Middle East Programme at the British Institute, ruled out an immediate oil supply crunch on the grounds spare crude capacity is still high.

Saudi Aramco to Supply Full Contractual Oil Volumes to Asia for December

Saudi Arabian Oil Co., the world’s largest state-owned oil company, will supply full contractual volumes of crude to Asia for loading in December, according to refinery officials in the region.

Saudi Aramco, as the company is known, will provide 100 percent of cargoes sold under long-term contracts for a 13th month, according to the officials from Taiwan, China, South Korea and Japan, who requested anonymity, citing confidentiality agreements with the Middle East producer.

Goldman Advises Buying 2011 European Gasoil Amid Diesel Shortages in China

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the most profitable bank in Wall Street history, recommended buying contracts of European gasoil for settlement in January 2011 on the basis of diesel shortages in China will continue.

Europe's Natural-Gas Oversupply Will Last a Decade, E.ON Ruhrgas CEO Says

Europe’s natural-gas oversupply will remain for the next decade, E.ON Ruhrgas AG’s chief executive officer said today in Berlin.

“The gas glut will remain for the next decade,” Klaus Schaefer, the head of E.ON AG’s natural-gas unit, said at the European Autumn Gas Conference. “A return to the equilibrium is still some way out.”

The oversupply will peak next year or in 2012, said Schaefer, appointed CEO three months ago. Europe’s gas demand rose in the first half and E.ON estimates the region’s oversupply at 30 billion to 40 billion cubic meters, he said.

New forecast warns oil will run dry before substitutes roll out

At the current pace of research and development, global oil will run out 90 years before replacement technologies are ready, says a new University of California, Davis, study based on stock market expectations.

The forecast was published online Monday (Nov. 8) in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. It is based on the theory that long-term investors are good predictors of whether and when new energy technologies will become commonplace.

“Our results suggest it will take a long time before renewable replacement fuels can be self-sustaining, at least from a market perspective," said study author Debbie Niemeier, a UC Davis professor of civil and environmental engineering.

Peak Oil Prognosticators at it again and are wrong again

A new study from the University of California (Davis) proclaims: “New forecast warns oil will run dry before substitutes roll out.”

The press release begins: “At the current pace of research and development, global oil will run out 90 years before replacement technologies are ready, says a new University of California, Davis, study based on stock market expectations. The forecast was published online November 8 in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. It is based on the theory that long-term investors are good predictors of whether and when new energy technologies will become commonplace.”

Really? Might not geology have something to do with it? Predictions that we will run out of oil have been made almost since oil was first produced in the U.S. in 1859 in Pennsylvania.

Jeff Rubin: Rising oil presents an opportunity for Latin America

In the soon-to-come world of triple-digit oil prices, distance will cost money. All of a sudden geography will become a lot more important to trade patterns than it has been in the ever-shrinking global economy.

That’s about to have a profound impact on where we source goods. The cost of shipping goods from Mexico or Central America to U.S. markets is half the cost of shipping them from China, where most of them come from today.

Coal Dominates

Now, as you now, I was recently at the Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO) conference in Washington, D.C. The main reason I went was to see my friend and Energy World Profits editor Gregor Macdonald speak on the "Rise of Coal."

I will offer Gregor's perspective on coal later. First, I want to tackle some of the bigger issues of Peak Oil, the most important being that global oil production appears to have peaked in 2004.

How to read today's big report on the future of energy

The International Energy Agency -- the autonomous Paris-based research group funded by an array of mostly European and Asian governments -- has released its annual energy outlook (English language executive summary here), one of the most eagerly awaited big-picture prognostications in the business. The takeaway from this year's report, which was leaked to the Financial Times last week, is that governments matter: What they do, or don't do, about climate and energy policy in the next decade will determine what we pay for oil, and how much of it we have.

Australia 3rd biggest gas producer by 2035

Australia is poised to overtake Norway to become the third largest gas producer among OECD nations by 2035, driven mainly by the booming liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector.

The International Energy Agency's annual World Energy Outlook report forecasts Australian gas production ranking third among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries towards the end of the projection period, which is 2035.

Charting China’s Energy Explosion

If your gasoline and electricity bills go up in the years to come, and you want to blame someone other than yourself, a new report by the International Energy Agency has some ammunition for you.

In its annual global energy report, issued on Tuesday, the International Energy Agency predicted that China’s push for rapid economic development will dominate global energy markets and be the single biggest force in spurring higher oil prices and carbon dioxide emissions linked to climate change over the next quarter-century.

Company errors, complacency preceded oil spill: panel

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Complacency at BP, as well as at Transocean Ltd and Halliburton, led to serious missteps prior to the rig explosion that unleashed millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over the summer, the heads of the White House oil spill commission said.

The comments were more critical than Monday's Commission statements that rig workers did not place cost cutting over safety.

Oil spill commission hears conflicting opinions on whether Deepwater Horizon shutdown was a rush job

Early in Tuesday's daylong hearing of the national oil spill commission, a drilling expert advising the commission offered compelling testimony about the hyper-competitive, "get 'er done" ethos of the oil industry, and how BP's haste to get the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig to its next job might have led to some risky choices leading up to the worst oil disaster in American history.

But, by day's end, the commission's general counsel, Fred Bartlit, strode forth to knock down the claims of Steve Lewis, advanced drilling technology implementation engineer with Seldovia Marine Services, that seemed to suggest that BPs temporary abandonment of the Macondo well had been a rush job with disastrous consequences.

Tullow, Anadarko to Boost Oil, Gas Output From Ghana After Jubilee Starts

Tullow Oil Plc and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. plan to expand crude and natural gas production off Ghana following the start of oil production at the Jubilee field in December.

Petero unhappy with Norwegian players

Oil production off Norway is falling faster than expected and energy companies are not investing enough to boost recovery from maturing fields, the state-owned firm Petoro said today.

Halliburton Looks to Bolster Slumping Overseas Profits in 2011

Halliburton Co., the world’s second-largest oilfield-services provider, will need to turn around its sagging international business to achieve the 34 percent gain in earnings analysts are predicting for the company next year.

Petrobras May Invest $400 Billion Through 2020 on Finds, Minister Says

Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil’s state-controlled oil producer, may invest about $400 billion through 2020 as it seeks to develop the Americas’ biggest crude discoveries in more than three decades, a minister said.

Oman Plans to Produce 1 Million Barrels a Day By 2015, Oil Minister Says

Oman plans to produce 1 million barrels of oil a day in the next five years, the country’s oil minister said.

“We will be disappointed if we fail to achieve the target of producing 1 million barrels of oil per day,” Mohammed Bin Hamed al-Rumhy said today in an interview in Muscat.

Clean Energy Targeted for Mergers After $400 Billion Evaporates

Wind turbine and solar panel makers may be vulnerable to takeovers after clean-energy stocks lost almost $400 billion in value this year and factories expanded faster than product demand, investment bankers said.

Dubai May Pursue Own Nuclear Pwr Plans; Studies On - Official

DUBAI (Zawya Dow Jones)--Dubai doesn't rule out pursuing nuclear power projects on its own and has embarked on preliminary studies looking into possible alternatives to neighboring Abu Dhabi's atomic energy plans, an official at Dubai's top energy body said Wednesday.

"We have two directions: one is with Abu Dhabi and the other is studying what we can do in Dubai by 2030," Waleed Ali Ahmed Salman, a member of Dubai's Supreme Council of Energy, said Wednesday.

BP Says Australian Solar Project Would Cost $600 Million, Seeks Funding

BP Plc, vying for Australian government funding to develop a solar energy project in the state of New South Wales, has estimated that its venture would cost more than A$600 million ($600 million) to build.

Under New Plan, Satellites to Beam Solar Power Down From Space

In a step toward solving the global energy crisis, a new plan aims to harvest the sun's energy from space with satellites then beam it down to Earth.

The initiative, announced Nov. 4, is spearheaded by former president of India A.P.J. Kalam and the National Space Society, a nonprofit dedicated to making humanity a spacefaring civilization.

Eco Geek true confession: I drive an SUV


Well, the Explorer, a 2007, I think, was a gift. It was free from a beloved family member.

Yes, the gas bills are high, but I can't take on a Prius, Leaf, Tesla or any other car payment right now.

...This is a classic example of reality getting in the way of the greenest of intentions.

Fallout: New Vegas designer Josh Sawyer on post-apocalyptic games

What do you think the dominant themes will be in post-apocalyptic films and games will be going forward? In the fifties and eighties it was all nuclear devastation and more recently, movies have dealt with climate change. Do you see any new trends in apocalyptic thinking on the way?

If I have to guess, I'd say resource shortages. Peak oil, water consumption, and the viability of alternative energy sources are all hot topics right now, and I can only see them becoming more pronounced over time. Interestingly enough, it's what was cited in The Road Warrior as the cause of the war. This was mirrored in the opening of the original Fallout. Ideologies aside, the resources at stake were what made people desperate. It was still a hot topic in 1981 due to the 1973 oil crisis. We forgot about it for about 20 years, but unsurprisingly it's become a political issue and artistic theme again.

Peak oil is spurring locals' self-sufficiency

What if you woke up one day and found that the world as you knew it had ceased to exist? It’s a thought that has probably crossed the minds of many and perhaps been quickly dismissed by most as silly.

For Brennan Wauters, this prospect is real. That’s why he’s preparing for what he describes as a “collapse”.

From Wauters’s perspective, the game changer is peak oil. He believes that in the past five years, the world has reached the point of maximum production of oil, and that the supply of this fuel source is on the decline. One day, the pumps may run dry.

But the 42-year-old Vancouver man is not the type to hunker in a bunker. He isn’t storing food, buying gold, or stocking up on weapons to survive in a post-oil world.

The Economics of Happiness as a Response to Environmental Crisis (video)

All too often the debate is framed around prosperity and well-being on the one hand, and environmental destruction on the other—it's as if we have to chose between feeding, housing and educating ourselves, or having a livable planet to inhabit. Besides the obviously false nature of that choice, with so many of us suffering from overwork, economic stress, and that niggling feeling that the next big purchase won't really make us as happy as we'd hoped—it's nice to see some people making the case that a simpler, more localized, more community-centered approach to economics might not just make us more sustainable, but more fulfilled too:

Utility Official Suspended for an E-Mail Masquerade

SAN FRANCISCO — A Pacific Gas and Electric executive has been suspended with pay for using a fake name to join an online discussion organized by opponents of so-called smart meters, the utility company said on Tuesday.

For California, a Rebuff on 2 Pollution Plans

The agency judges the science supporting action plans for two of the state's sootiest air basins, in Los Angeles and the San Joaquin Valley, to be inadequate.

Kyoto Doubts Prompt Japan to Hedge as CO2 Spreads Balloon

Japan, the world’s fifth-biggest greenhouse-gas polluter, is building a new emissions market as the widest carbon-trading spreads in four months signal the 1997 Kyoto climate agreement will be scrapped.

EU reports biggest ever fall in car emissions in 2009

(Reuters) - Average carbon dioxide emissions from new cars sold in the European Union dropped by 5 percent last year, the biggest annual fall ever recorded, European climate chief Connie Hedegaard said on Wednesday.

The EU, home to 500 million people, has set a target for cutting average emissions from new cars to 130 grams of CO2 per km by 2015.

Paterson Wants New York to Slash Greenhouse Gases

After a 10-month study, Gov. David A. Paterson is leaving his successor an ambitious environmental plan to reduce New York’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the middle of the century.

IEA: last year's inaction on climate goals cost us $1 trillion

Each year, the International Energy Agency produces a report in which it considers trends in energy use and makes projections for the future. Usually, these reports simply take recent trends and project them forward, but this year's is somewhat different: its author uses a mixture of current trends and the projected impact of countries' pledges for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and subsidies for fossil fuels. This results in some eye-popping figures. Globally, we're subsidizing fossil fuel use to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars, at a rate of over five times the subsidies going to renewable energy. And our inaction on climate goals has tacked $1 trillion onto the cost of reaching them—in 2009 alone.

EU calls for one trillion euros in energy investments

BRUSSELS (AFP) – The European Commission unveiled on Thursday its energy strategy for the next decade, calling for one trillion euros (1.38 trillion dollars) of investment to improve efficiency and reduce pollution.

The European Union's executive called for measures to save energy, reduce household utility bills and secure supplies in a sustainable way across the 27-nation bloc.

'The planet won't be destroyed by global warming because God promised Noah,' says politician bidding to chair U.S. energy committee

A Republican congressman hoping to chair the powerful House Energy Committee refers to the Bible and God on the issue of global warming.

Representative John Shimkus insists we shouldn't concerned about the planet being destroyed because God promised Noah it wouldn't happen again after the great flood.

A warming Earth could mean stronger toxins

Global warming may be making pesticide residues, heavy metals and household chemicals more dangerous to fish, wildlife and, ultimately, humans, scientists warn.

Is Global Warming Responsible for Wild Weather?

Yes it is—but not as much as you might think.

Grid Enhancements required to collect 12 GW from wind in Wyoming

A summary and "first cut" defining the problems.


Best Hopes for More,


The plot thickens:

WASHINGTON, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Livestock producers and food
industry groups filed a suit on Tuesday seeking to overturn a
U.S. decision to allow higher levels of ethanol in gasoline,
saying it could push up food prices.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association, the National Meat
Association and other groups sued the Environmental Protection
Agency, saying regulators overstepped their authority when they
ruled last month that gasoline retailers could sell fuel
containing up to 15 percent ethanol. That is an increase from
the current allowable level of 10 percent.


If only ethanol was the sole source of the problem. I feel it reflects high energy costs and inflationary pressure in general. Farmers spending more money on oil and oil inputs require higher prices for feed and livestock. These constraints and climate change can reduce crop yields also. furthermore, higher demand can raise prices on commodities via increases in the global population.

Higher energy and population means higher food prices.

Question is whether food prices would go down much if ethanol was mixed at a lower percentage in gasoline. doubt it. would gas burn cleanly if ethanol was removed? would cities get dirty air again? would the fuel supply contract by 10%? Sounds bad all around.

Furthermore, maybe overeating should be curbed a little. We are a fat-arse nation last I checked. lol

Last Monday ended three carless weeks for me (due to repairs, one day with car and then new alternator failed).

Unexpected (no prior planning) and a bit inconvenient. Used the streetcar and shoe leather. I turned down offers from friends for rides. Those that suffered most are those I did favors for (take an ill gentleman shopping, Take friend to dentist, etc.) Put off my twice a month trip to Sav-a-Lot.

In a prolonged oil supply emergency, I think I could make one tank (18 gallons, 28-30 mpg) last over a year while still doing favors.

Best Hopes for Walkable Neighborhoods,


Do you have a diary of these weeks?

Sorry, no. Actually not THAT big a deal in my case. More advance planning, and more time spent. Missed an event at the University of New Orleans I wanted & planned to attend.

Had one client pick me up to go to a job site.

Took Shuttle to airport & Southwest to BWI, MARC to DC and bus/streetcar combo back from airport (my normal routine if I do not arrive quite late, then I take Shuttle).

I do most work @ home and remotely.

I have a Walkscore of 75


Best Hopes for Good Walkscores,


Alan, that's a really walkable neighborhood you live in. I was carless for three months in 2009. I discovered, as you did, how much other people depend on me for transportation in a crunch and back hauling this and that. I also discovered how hard it is for me to make a living without a car. It's not that I need it to commute to work, it's that when I need to get to a client's site, there's often no advance notice and no time to horse around trying to borrow wheels. There is also the matter of picking up engineering drawings from the printer. It's only a couple of miles, but it's not cost effective to take the bus in terms of my time.

I've actually got overall mileage down to under 4000 miles a year, a third of the national average. To some extent, this is horse hockey, however. I walk to work but my technician drives in 20 miles, and there's no good solution for it.

Best wishes for reorganizing our lives to need fewer road miles.

Guess you had a bearing failure on your alternator. I went weeks with a kaupt alternator on my 240D. When headlights went dim,it was time for a charge. You can start even the automatics by pushing them. - Lines of code in the Kumputer - Nine

Yep, that was the failure mode for the original and first replacement (replacement #2 did not rotate smoothly so it never went in).

Where is the computer ? Outside of my aftermarket radio, I thought I was absent one. (Utter simplicity under the hood, lots of room to get to stuff :-)

Best Hopes for Alternator #3 !


I drove to work yesterday, but only because I'd pulled something in my back. Prior to that, I don't think my car has moved in about three months (I usually travel by bicycle, and I when I get a small trailer, I'd probably be better off renting a car once or twice a year than registering the two - four, if you count the roadworthy-but-unregistered one, and The Project - that I have). What I consider a spread-out neighborhood, most Americans probably consider cramped. And this is in Australia, where we more or less mimic whatever you lot are doing. lol Our Public Transport is probably equally aenimic, however.

DOT Secretary LaHood says no to Ohio Governor-elect's request to use HSR funds for highways:

Sounds like the same thing here in Wisconsin with Gov Walker. For some reason he doesn't want Wisconsin to have $810 million. The governors from NY and now IL both have said they'll take the money if Wisconsin doesn't. Walker wants it for roads. While the roads in this state suck, we might as well grab a """free""" high speed rail if we can get it, even if its not true high speed.

"For some reason he doesn't want Wisconsin to have $810 million."

I think modernized rail, whether or not "high-speed", is a good thing. But there can be legitimate reason for rejecting the money. Every Federal funded program that I have ever read about has a provision for some sort of "matching funds" from the State treasury.

There is a lot of panic talk about States being unable to balance their budgets. This 'gift' may not be worth the pain, in the short run. If the deal had been that the Feds build and operate the railroad with zero State funds, AND the Feds pay the State for the use of State paved roads to transport workers and materiel, then refusal would really be irrational.

Now should the Governors be saddled with the requirement that the balance their budgets? Is that a smart way to escape from a financial collapse? Not in my humble opinion, but it is the Law, and somebody has already said "The Law is an ass."

I suppose the President could declare a National Financial Emergency, and suspend whatever laws and regulations and court orders are getting in the way of getting things done. I think I have read SciFi stories with that a part of the plot line.

Governor-elect Walker doesn't seem to have a problem wanting to use the money for roads. So the matching of funds is a non-issue.

He might be thinking in terms of only needing 20% for highway projects - rather than needing some higher percentage (?), plus escalating annual operating subsidies forever, for a passenger rail project. If he can get away with that, the state lege might need to appropriate a lot less to garner the same Federal 'stimulus'. On the other hand, if the money disappears to New York, then there's no 'stimulus' at all, and it's far from clear that he's really considered that outcome. On yet another hand (this gets to be one of those multi-armed goddesses), the new Congress might be unwilling to disappear the money to New York, or if they can't stop the Federal administration from doing that, they may well find some other compensatory way to stick it to New York (or to rail and transit projects in general.)

Isn't politics fun?

Isn't this just identity politics run wild. Rail is identified with those hippie leftists, and roads are for patriotic flag waving Hummer driving conservatives. Gotta squash the formers dreams, cause we're out to do some real damage here. Then if you can help the later group -or more likely make it look like it was that Kenyan Muslim pres who took away the cookie jar, that ought to rile up the base.

The science blogs are freaking out over that Shimkus video, "'The planet won't be destroyed by global warming because God promised Noah,' says politician bidding to chair U.S. energy committee" (which statement is actually old news.) I totally enjoy the comments over at Pharyngula.

This guy is the reason I support the Second Amendment.

'The planet won't be destroyed by global warming because God promised Noah,' says politician bidding to chair U.S. energy committee...

From the link: "Representative John Shimkus insists we shouldn't concerned about the planet being destroyed because God promised Noah it wouldn't happen again after the great flood. "

And from Genesis:

And God spoke to Noah, saying, Go forth of the ark, you, and your wife, and your sons, and your sons' wives with you. Bring forth with you every living thing that is with you, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creeps on the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply on the earth.

Rep. Shimkus conveniently skips the part where God tells Noah to "bring forth" all of his little creatures, which we humans are doing our damnedest to exterminate.

One could argue that Noah's children haven't kept his end of the bargain.

I just discovered that the video I mentioned is not part of the article. Here it is:


my oh my! Wow! I am utterly gob-smacked! Fair play to him though, courage of his convictions and all that, but my goodness he looks stupid.

The ironic thing about US politics is that the US Constitution explicitly separates church and state, yet US politics is overtly religious as demonstrated by this, frankly, bizarre elected politician. Here in the UK however the church is explicitly part of the state - indeed each day prayers are required to be said in parliament before the debates begin - but no one, and I mean no one, would ever be permitted to read from the bible in a parliamentary committee meeting! Actually, the electorate wouldn't send a politician like this to parliament in the first place.

I wonder what this guy's constituents think of him now?

(btw, I write as a Christian so I am not knocking the belief just the application of the belief in a secular parliament. There is a time and a place etc)

The only reason he said what he said is to suck up to his constituents.

He may believe it, he may not. Doesn't matter. He said it because that's what his constituents want.

well surely not all of his constituents believe in the 'inerrant word of God'. Those that don't would be repulsed by his speech!

well surely not all of his constituents believe in the 'inerrant word of God'. Those that don't would be repulsed by his speech!

That's surely considered to be a feature, not a bug! Thats the nature of our (very sick) country these days.

Shimkus is an asshat--a CC denier, against cap and trade but for expanded ethanol. Previously part of the GOOP cover up of page molester Mark Foley. Now likely chair of the House Energy Committee which is why he's dangerous.

“Adapting is a common, natural way for people to adapt to their environment. I think mankind has been adapting to climate as long as man has walked the earth. When it rains we find shelter. When it’s hot we get in the shade. When it’s cold we find a warm place to stay.”

-Joe Barton (TX-6), ranking Republican on Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees global warming and energy legislation.

“I don’t think that it has been established yet, as a fact, that global warming is the issue of the day. One thing that we need to do is look at the science.”

-Representative Michele Bachmann (MN-6)

It's plant food ... So if we decrease the use of carbon dioxide, are we not taking away plant food from the atmosphere? ... So all our good intentions could be for naught. In fact, we could be doing just the opposite of what the people who want to save the world are saying.

-Representative John Shimkus (IL-19)

And my alltime favorite "April Fool":


“People are afraid of some of the environmentalists out there ... It’s not whether or not we’re going through a global warming period. We were, we’re not now. God’s still up there, we’re now going through a cooling spell. The whole issue there was ‘is it manmade gasses, anthro gasses, CO2, methane.’ I don’t think so.”

-James Inhofe, ranking Republican on Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which oversees global warming legislation.


...and it seems "We, the People" have just elected a fresh new chain of fools.

Do I need to explain my doomer side again? .......... Anyone?

anthro gasses


Surely the EPA has some very strict guidelines regarding ppm emissions of those...


That's not a certain Bean Dinner scene from Blazing Saddles, is it?

Gives a whole new meaning to 'You're paying for Atmosphere' .. no?

Yeah, though I think I'd pass on James Inhofe providing it...

Wed. 2:45pm est:

Producers of high fiber foodstuffs such as whole grains and legumes are enflamed over the EPA announcement today that they will recommend that Congress enact a tax on food products that cause high levels of the greenhouse gas methane in humans, also known as anthro-gas. EPA spokesman, Frank Lee Flatular, said this is a necessary step towards controlling global warming. Industry leaders, including NABP (National Association of Bean Producers) chief, Bart Fadly, insist that this move is purely political; "It isn't our products causing such a foul odor in Washington. In short, this just stinks to high heaven."

Whatever God says to the Senate is Truth.

Trouble is, religion is myth-information...

E. Swanson

... and the correct information is what, exactly...

... go, on have a crack at that one mush! ;)

go, on have a crack at that one mush! ;)


Ok, now that we know how to write 'MUSH' in hieroglyphics, we can consult the Egyptian gods and goddesses for their take on what constitutes correct information.


BTW, Amon, Amen, Ammon-Ra, Amen-Re, Amun, Amon-Re.. You get the idea.

Ra! Ra! Ra! Praise be and Hallelujah! AMEN! That must be correct information, right?

Fred, hon, I'd like you to cut back on the silly posts. We aren't too happy about the signal to noise ratio lately in the comments. Please try to keep your comments on-topic and productive.


You see the same response to horror among nurses and doctors.

I totally understand that. Indeed, our guidelines say occasional and on-topic humor is welcome. The key words being "occasional" and "on-topic."

I'd like to have more emphasis on quality over quantity here. There are plenty of other sites where people can goof around and post fart jokes.


But all those Egyptian gods, they were people infected by the evil Ga'ould parasites, come here to enslave mankind...... Oh wait, Stargate is only fictional you say!

religion is myth-information

Thats a good one. I hope you have it copywrited, cause I wanna steal it.

The phrase might be a combination of "The God Delusion" (Dawkins) and references to "Christianity is a Bronze Age myth". The phrase might also be appropriate for a title to some writings in an atheist publication. I suppose the phrase might be best used as a bumper sticker or on a t-shirt intended to inspire "vigorous debate". Go for it!!!

E. Swanson

The Congressman does not know his Bible.

Genesis 9:11

I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.

Nothing was said about fire, (or excessive heat).

And it is not God that is destroying the earth, but us humans, with foreknowledge of the results.

2nd Peter 3:10

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

Better Hopes for Bible Thumpers,


From the link:

He added: 'Today we have about 388 parts per million in the atmosphere. I think in the age of dinosaurs, when we had the most flora and fauna, we were probably at 4,000 parts per million. There is a theological debate that this is a carbon-starved planet — not too much carbon. And the cost of a cap-and-trade on the poor is now being discovered.'

Two points: The highest ever CO2 levels were during the early Carboniferous period and they were 1500 ppm. At that time the entire world was one hothouse. It was summer year around almost everywhere. Most of the land we know today except the highest elevations were under water. And that was way, way before the age of the dinosaurs.

Climate and the Carboniferous Period

Similarly, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Early Carboniferous Period were approximately 1500 ppm (parts per million), but by the Middle Carboniferous had declined to about 350 ppm -- comparable to average CO2 concentrations today!

Point #2: Are we going to base policy based on theological debates? If our congress is going to do that we are in deep trouble sure enough.

Ron P.


The age of dinosaurs is the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous, not the Carboniferous. Though not at 4000, CO2 levels approached 2000 in those times.

All countries base policy on Theological information, but they may call it by another name.

" ....but they may call it by another name."

Economics and "wishfull thinking" come to mind.

Are China's policies theologically derived? Your comments reflect western hubris thinking.

Yes, Chinas policies are theological. Yin and Yang, etc....

Origin Of 'Breathable' Atmosphere Half A Billion Years Ago Discovered

For a decade, he and his team have been assembling evidence of climate change that occurred 500 million years ago, during the late Cambrian period. They measured the amounts of different chemicals in rock cores taken from around the world, to piece together a complex chain of events from the period.
Their latest measurements, taken in cores from the central United States and the Australian outback, revealed new evidence of a geologic event called the Steptoean Positive Carbon Isotope Excursion (SPICE).
Amounts of carbon and sulfur in the rocks suggest that the event dramatically cooled Earth's climate over two million years -- a very short time by geologic standards. Before the event, the Earth was a hothouse, with up to 20 times more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere compared to the present day. Afterward, the planet had cooled and the carbon dioxide had been replaced with oxygen. The climate and atmospheric composition would have been similar to today.

21% oxygen and low levels of CO2 are recent characteristics of the Earth's atmosphere.

Yes, the recent part that includes all life with a brain and four feet.

Which part of the bible did he read about the "age of the dinosaurs" in anyway?

bleepin' god bleep. that's funny

Speaking of missed cruise boats ...

How do you see the recent stranded Carnival Cruise boat being related to Peak Oil?

The difference between the Carnival Cruise Boat and Peak Oil is that the cruise passengers got rescued.

... got rescued ... By Reagan of all things !

Well. There we go again.

The highest ever CO2 levels were during the early Carboniferous period and they were 1500 ppm.

According to Bob Berner, CO2 was much higher (like, triple that) during the Ordovician. There are also spikes associated with major flood basalts, such as the one of ~3000 ppm coincident with the Siberian Traps at the end of the Paleozoic.

Google "GEOCARBSULF", the PDF of his 2006 paper should be available. Figure 18.

Like you though I can't believe this clown wasn't laughed right out of the room. We are well and truly hosed.

You get the kind of government you deserve.

(At least, that has been my belief for quite some time.)

Link up top: Peak Oil Prognosticators at it again and are wrong again

The Energy Information Administration shows that world petroleum reserves in 1980 were put at 642 billion barrels. In 2010, EIA puts world reserves at 1,354 billion barrels. How can reserves more than double in the last 30 years in spite of the increasing consumption?...

It costs money to make these measurements...

Again, peak oil deniers are focusing on those ever increasing reserves. And the author really believes that those 1,354 billion barrels of reserves the EIA says exists are based on actual measurements. If they only knew.

Though I am an atheist I do love one biblical passage, Matthew 7,21: “By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them”. I like to change that a little bit... "By their arguments you can understand their ignorance." Whenever anyone bases their arguments against peak oil based on the EIA's, BP's or the IEA's reported world reserves instead of oil production rates, I know their arguments are full of sh... excrement.

Ron P.

See, the fact that you are an atheist is the problem. If you believed in God, you would know that we cannot possibly run out of oil when we are also told by God to be fruitful and multiply. Combine that with the promise to Noah and two of our biggest problems are solved. Now that the God party is back in control, it will be smooth sailing and infinite reserves from here on out.

Everything created in the world is a solution to a problem. Just a matter of correctly matching the solutions to the correct problems...

Even if reserves went up 10 times, and we could only pump 80 million barrels per day, we would still have peak oil. Reserves have very little impact. Ultimately it will come down to who controls the ownership of the wells. The next decade may see a few new wars over oil. Places like South America and Africa may become battle grounds.

From the Peak Oil Prognosticators link above

The term “known reserves” is a purely economic and legal construct, which has nothing to do with how much petroleum is on the planet.

That is priceless! ROFL !!!!! HA! HA!

edit: oops, didn't catch Ron's post above, where this should belong..

Summary of Upper Zakum oil field expansion plans by Exxon Mobil

In UAE/Abu Dhabi, they claim it is the 4th largest oil field in the world.

A local review, some details for the public



Technology key to ExxonMobil and Abu Dhabi relationship

Containing an estimated 50 billion barrels of oil, the Upper Zakum field produces more than one-half million barrels a day. Through the efforts of professionals from ExxonMobil, ZADCO, ADNOC and JODCO, and by applying ExxonMobil’s leading-edge technology, the project could boost daily field production by 200,000 barrels over the next six to seven years — a sizable contribution toward meeting future growth in global oil demand.
Upper Zakum lies about 50 miles northwest of the city of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The offshore field covers more than 450 square miles and contains some 450 wells drilled from more than 90 existing platforms. Wells typically extend 7,000 to 8,000 feet below the earth’s surface.


Elwood - A couple of odd things about those numbers. Assuming a 50% recovery of that 50 billion BO at 500,000 bopd, the field will take it will take 129 years to deplete if production stays flat. Obvious production rates will drop as it's depleted so the field would have at least a 200 year life. And bump it up another 200,000 bopd and you still have a field life in excess of 100 years. Something seems very odd: if there's that much oil a lot more wells should be drilled. And about well count: 450 wells doing 500,000 bopd = 1,110 bopd. Not bad but not that impressive for the ME. And 450 sq. miles by 450 wells is one well per 640 acres. That doesn't seem like an unreasonable spacing.

Can't ague to strongly against their numbers since, as usual, they don't offer the details to evaluate their numbers. But I'll just say those numbers don't pass my personal smell test. Either their reserves numbers are way too high or the prospect of $80+ oil isn't incentive enough to have them drill more wells in order to reduce the field life. Just not very credible IMHO.

No, no, the 50 billion barrels is proven reserves not OOIP. Or that is what the UAE is claiming. And you don't believe them? How dare you!

UAE has world’s 4th largest oilfield

The US giant ExxonMobil is developing the offshore Upper Zakum, home to a staggering 50 billion barrels of proven crude, making it the fourth largest oilfield on earth, according to a senior company executive.

At 500,000 barrels per day that gives it an R/P ratio of 274 years but at 700,000 barrels per day the R/P ratio drops to only 196 years? Reasonable don't you think? :-)

Ron P.

Ron - Once again sloppy reporting on their part: Proven reserves can be OOIP. Or it can be recoverable reserves. Or it can any other form of "proven" metric. But more to the point: I was wondering if I had been reading the wrong numbers because the field life, as you point out, makes no sense. I can promise you if I had a reservoir with that much oil in it and with those types of flow rates I would triple the number of wells as fast as possible. Even offshore it would be malpractice to not do so IMHO. Thus my suspicion: their words badly match their actions. Like the guy who claims to have a $1 million in the bank but needs to bum lunch money off of you: the story just doesn't play well IMHO.

The same group that under developed Iraq's oil Anglo-Persian Oil Company (later British Petroleum), Shell, Compagnie Française des Pétroles, and a group of two U.S. companies--Exxon and Mobil Oil--owning 23.75 percent each of the shares, and investor Calouste Gulbenkian's interests the remaining 5 percent, also developed Abu Dhabi's oil.

There was concern about not flooding the market. 75 year concession in 1939, first on-shore well in 1950, first discovery abandoned, first production 1962. Not very aggressive. A concern about flooding the market (also true of Iraq) may have kept oil in the ground.

After nationalization, the stated strategy for development was 100 years reserves. In a complex reservoir environment, that ratio could be understated.

In this specific case, Abu Dhabi, where handling the massive cash inflows has been a problem till lately, I can see producing at quarter millennium rates.

The town of Abu Dhabi itself was no more than a tiny village, and there were no roads in the entire emirate in the 1950s


Jed Clampet had nothing on the al Zayed family. If you cannot handle the revenue from production, why produce ?

Best Hopes for post-2050 production from Abu Dhabi


I can promise you if I had a reservoir with that much oil in it and with those types of flow rates I would triple the number of wells as fast as possible.

Don't forget - the UAE is part of OPEC and has to (more or less) adhere to quotas. Maybe they consider it unlikely they'll ever get a big-enough quota to pump more from it.

Or, perhaps that 750K bpd is only "Phase I"?

Could be a lot of explanations. From the article, there is also this to consider:

It is one of the most complex fields in the oil industry because of high rock porosity and low pressure. This is why BP and Total in ADMA-OPCO joint venture were reported to have refused to invest in the field in the early 1970s.

No, no, the 50 billion barrels is proven reserves not OOIP.

the article you cite does not state 50 gb proven reserves.

numerous other articles state 50 gb ooip with reserves of 16 to 20 gb. personally, i have formed no opinion as to whether the reserves are overstated or understated.

is there a law against increasing production in the future ?

Here's why I don't think the distinction is as important as we seem to make it out to be:
If the reserves are based on proven, then there is room for reserve growth -- which happens with a conservative estimate.
If the reserves are on the optimistic side, then the reserve growth is 'built-in'.
The end result is you get the closer to the same ultimate. This is not a hard and fast rule but it does explain why the USA ha higher reserve growth thsn other parrs of the world -- initial conservative estimates always seem to grow. That's the nature of probabilities, as the most likely result will emerge, no matter how hard you couch it as 'conservative'. Sad that most people can't seem to understand this.

there is a lot of abuse of the term reserves(irrespective of the various classifications of reserves).

reserves mean one thing and only one thing:the quantities of oil (and gas) expected to be produced in the future under existing operating and economic conditions.

the term in common usage is applied to everything from ooip to eur and sometimes even used correctly: estimated remaining to be produced oil(and gas).

for example, i can't tell from the stories i referenced if upper zakum reserves are actually 16 to 20 gb, or if the 16 to 20 gb includes cumulative production of about 5 gb. so reserves could be anywhere from 11 to 20 gb.

reserves mean one thing and only one thing:the quantities of oil (and gas) expected to be produced in the future under existing operating and economic conditions.

True, but there is the element of probability wrapped around it, so it immediately has uncertainty. Creating artificial distinctions between different definitions becomes less meaningful when the probabilistic uncertainty bleeds from one level to the next. Your example shows this quite clearly.

"Oil prices will be “substantially higher” by 2012 as the global stockpile surplus shrinks and excess production capacity drops, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the most profitable bank in Wall Street history."

There is way too much focus on the "price of oil". Price speculation only deepens the problem. The price will become irrelevent as supplies run low. Oil will simply become unavailable in some areas. Goldman continues to bankrupt the country...

A cartoon caption, where the chairman of the board is addressing his board of directors:

"Gentlemen, while we have found that the End of the World scenarios are quite grim, we have concluded that the Pre-End of the World scenarios can be quite profitable."

There's another old joke, which is one of my favorites.

The story is that the world will end tomorrow, and three newspapers put it in their headlines:

USA Today -- World to end Tomorrow - 87% of Americans disapprove

New York Times -- World to end Tomorrow - Women and Minorities Hit Hardest!

Wall Street Journal -- World to end Tomorrow - Market to Close Early.

Quite true about unavailability. Often on this blog thoughts are given as to who will get dwindling supplies. It's a given that those wealthy enough won't lack. Comments also abound for the order of importance, with first the military, then essential services, then ag. As if future allocation will be based on what's best for society in general. It's rarely been that way in the past, why should it change?

With ag, I am very fearful. With the past as a guide, distribution always goes first to the most powerful in the county. CRP, Wetland Reserve, general disbursement for farm improvement, etc, first to the largest, the rest wait for a new congressional allocation. Smaller farms and farmers, those not producing the lion's share of exportable grain, will be high and dry.

Going over the deep end, as so much of non grain food and meat we consume is produced on small farms, I forsee a Venezuelan solution. Arepas, a gag in the throat corn patty "fortified" with vitamins and minerals, distributed by the government to the rest. The new food stamp, about as palatable.

Did the stone age end, because the supply of rocks declined?

No, the stone age ended because the utility provided by stone implements could be had at a lower cost with the use of other materials.

There is not too much focus on the price of oil; rather there is too little appreciation of the information contained in the price. Heralding speculation as relevant to the price trend is an example of the failure to appreciate that information.

Oil is, and will always be, not available where the price cannot be met. Where the price can be met, there you will find oil in use. Where the utility provided by the consumption of oil can be provided at a lower cost by the consumption of something else, say electrified mass transit in combination with self-propellation, then the something else will replace the oil consumption in question.

Smart policy will respond to the information contained in the price and facilitate the substitution. Countries that depend on the rationality of individuals to make a timely substitution will be laggards and slip into poverty. Such, I suspect is the fate of the US, though you never know: Goldman Sachs and companions may order the Republicans to adopt a regime that facilitates substitution: carbon tax, railroad investment, intelligent discussion...

There is no equal to price when it comes to the efficient dissemination of information. Production data is easily rendered meaningless by the invocation of concepts like declining demand. It is much more difficult to obscure the information contained in price, though ill-informed comments about speculation are a way to attempt to do so.

Despite your hesitation, price is where it's at.

If the accessible flint had ran out the stone age would have ended. There is no flint around where I live but there is iron ore.

Karlnick, exactly true. If fact that's what happened. Search for Catal Huyuk in Turkey, once a geopower due to control of weapons grade obsidian. When the recoverable flint ran out, the age of metallurgy got going.

Did the stone age end, because the supply of rocks declined?

I'm so tired of that old saw. It has been a 150 years now since we started with oil and there has been nothing new in energy since then except nuclear fission.

And we are now starting to enter the inexorable price rise phase for oil and there is still nothing to replace it with. The best we've got is expensive Li-Ion electric cars and even more expensive fuel cell cars.

The time for a magic oil replacement has ended. We are now in the phase where we watch the oil price go up and then replace it with the next best thing as the price gets too high.

Every once in a while I have a cornucopian day where I think they will come up with an efficient, (relatively) safe way of extracting methane hydrates, and we enter a 50 year natural gas glut.

I'm tired of it too.

If you're talking about "rocks", the rejoinder is that the stone age has not ended -- in fact we haven't hit "peak stone" yet. We mix stone with cement and call the result concrete.

If you're talking about stone tools, one of the major changes in the Neolithic was the adoption of tools made of fragments of flint or obsidian embedded in wood or bone handles. Before that, whole flints were used. That seems like an innovation born of scarcity to me.

And oil is not a tool, so the analogy is bad.

And we are now starting to enter the inexorable price rise phase for oil and there is still nothing to replace it with.

Exactly. That's the problem with the idea of price as an indicator. For that theory to work, the market must have perfect foreknowledge of the future--something which, we now know, is impossible.

It's also another defect with the "didn't run out of stones" story. We have always moved to a fuel and prime mover that was obviously, overwhelmingly superior to the one before it. From oars to wind. From wind to external combustion engines (steam). From external combustion to internal combustion.

Our choices now are all inferior in some way to internal combustion.

Price is a messenger that tells us how to allocate resources. We should want the price of oil to be high to encourage conservation and alternative fuel use. The price of oil will be a signal that tells us when the decline in oil production is likely to begin. Oil will remain available unless rationing starts. Goldman bankrupts the country? How about the gas hogs with their SUVs and their McMansions?

How do we get the right signals if higher oil prices just lead to deeper recession which leads to lower prices which just starts the cycle all over again? Right now the signal says to party on as evidenced by the fact that there has been a reversion to SUVs and trucks over passenger cars. If there is not a belief by those in charge that there is a good probability that there will be oil shortages in the near future, nothing will be done to try to intervene to send the right price signals. Thinking God will provide doesn't help.

And then there is the whole issue of unincorporated external costs, including military cots to keep the whole oil economy in place. Not to mention the dishonesty by those who are supposed to be giving us the right data on oil supplies.

A steep gas tax seems like the best policy to me, but I know it will never fly with the way things are right now.

Yes, the cycle of prices is frustrating. Longer term, reduced world oil production should produce sustained higher oil prices - which is the signal markets need to eventually correct.

Most prices related to oil are very artificial and are heavily manipulated.
Price will not be an indicator of anything more than vast amounts of suffering by the poor.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending November 5, 2010 [PDF]

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 14.1 million barrels per day during the week ending November 5, 153 thousand barrels per day above the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 82.4 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging 9.0 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production remained virtually unchanged last week, averaging 4.2 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 8.1 million barrels per day last week, down by 489 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 8.7 million barrels per day, 90 thousand barrels per day above the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 802 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 180 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 3.3 million barrels from the previous week. At 364.9 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 1.9 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 5.0 million barrels and are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased by 0.6 million barrels last week and are near the lower limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 11.8 million barrels last week.

Well well. A combination of strong domestic (US) demand and falling product imports, as well as falling crude imports, has lead to a sudden plunge in US oil and product inventories (excluding the national SPR). Altogether commercial inventories fell 11.8 million barrels last week. At that rate, er, do I really have to explain what will happen if inventories keep falling at this rate?

Distillate demand is up 16.0% in the latest four weeks over last year. I’ll repeat that – demand is up sixteen per cent over last year. While I sometimes talk about EIA adjustments, this week the EIA has adjusted product inventories up 1 million barrels, so the plunge is not due to some technical adjustment.

Gasoline demand is up 1.8% in the latest for weeks; demand for all oil products is up 2.9% over last year. The year to date demand increase is about 367,000 bpd – about double the gain the EIA and IEA are now telling you [although I would expect they will slowly and quietly adjust upwards their US and China demand figures over the next few months].

The strong figures for distillate demand have now continued for almost six months. While these numbers may appear at first inconsistent with other economic numbers, they reflect real improvements in demand. Problems small companies had financing supply purchases last year have moderated, and they are now rebuilding stocks. Also, there is an increase in hard goods imports into the US – most of which, apparently, are shipped cross country by truck.

The only bright spot here is that oil imports lately are below the expected trend, and will likely increase somewhat soon. While you may remember I was warning about a falloff in oil imports to hit in October or November – after a surge a few months ago when offshore tankers were drained of stored crude – there is some hope for a minor improvement through the end of the year. I am not an expert on shipping, but reports indicate that OPEC stepped up imports about two weeks ago – as usual - to accommodate the northern hemisphere winter by maybe 300,000 bpd. I assume that a fair portion of that will make its way to the US.


I would still urge caution on the demand data as it is way out of line with MasterCard SpendingPulse gasoline supply data. Also in the latest EIA monthly data (August) gasoline is only up 0.75% on the previous August and diesel is up about 10% - both much lower than the latest weekly figures. According to Matercard demand has fallen since August for gasoline at least (don't know their diesel figure).

I think the EIA weekly reports are still underestimating finished product exports and overestimating recent product imports. This has been made worse by the recent French refinery strikes. Some product which is not in the country is being counted as domestic "product supplied" in my opinion. If so we will see these US weekly demand numbers reduced when the monthly revisions come out and possibly reduced even further in the annual revision.

I note that if we look at EIA product exports the values for all products this week are exactly the same to the last digit as the values provided last week - so there's no counting involved whatsoever - just fill in the blanks.

I completelty agree that the EIA weekly reports are underestimating finished product exports and overestimating recent product imports. I've mentioned this several times this year, and it would be logical considering the supply porblem in China and France.

Still even if we discount some of the diesel demand, overall demand has held up better than most have predicted. Overall oil plus porduct imports may no longer be enough to keep up with US demand.

I'm surprised that our demand for gasoline and distillates is so high this year, in light of sluggish real GDP growth. Note that GDP (from the demand side) is defined as Consumption (including consumption financed by debt) + Investment (including investment financed by debt) + Government (including government spending financed by debt) + Exports (including exports financed by debt).

Gasoline would mostly be consumption spending, but if it is used by a business (e.g. for a pickup truck or something it might actually show up as Investment, which of course it isn't--ecactly). If Government (any level of government) spends money on gasonline it shows up as Government spending.

Distillates include home heating oil--right? If so, that would be consumption. I don't know if diesel is considered a distillate too, but because it is essentially the same as home heating oil maybe it does.

Jet fuel would show up mostly under consumption, but also a lot for Government because of the military.

I don't know where all this extra spending for pretroleum products this year is coming from. We won't have that data for about another five to six months. Anyway, SOMEBODY is spending a lot more for petroleum products this year, mostly because of price increases but also because of increased quantities of gasoline and distillate that have been sold this year.

Well, we crossed the $88/barrel line today but it did drop back down below $88. I wonder what it will take for the price of oil to hit the news. I guess it has to show up in retail gasoline prices first.

> I wonder what it will take for the price of oil to hit the news.

That's easy. Crossing the $100 mark again.

Concerning the EIA, they did raise their US demand forecast the other day (as I have been predicting for months). But what took them so long?

U.S. Liquid Fuels Consumption. Projected total U.S. liquid fuels consumption increases by 260,000 bbl/d (1.4 percent) in 2010, which is about 60,000 bbl/d higher than forecast in last month's Outlook. A year-over-year decline in total liquid fuels consumption averaging 40,000 bbl/d in the first quarter of 2010 was followed by a year-over-year rise averaging 520,000 bbl/d in the second and third quarters, led by increases in motor gasoline and distillate fuel oil consumption. During 2010 as a whole, projected gasoline consumption increases by 0.3 percent and distillate consumption increases by 3.4 percent. Total liquid fuels consumption increases by a further 120,000 bbl/d (0.6 percent) in 2011, as all of the major petroleum products register consumption growth (U.S. Liquid Fuels Consumption Growth Chart). Gasoline, distillate fuel, and jet fuel consumption each increase by 0.7 percent in 2011.


How do Priceless Prognosticators such as Goldman- Sachs come to the conclusion that broke countries will be able to afford higher prices?

Oil Will Be `Substantially Higher' by 2012 as Supplies Drop, Goldman Says

What has been happening for almost ten years is that shrinking marginal crude production capacity has been pushing up prices to the point where first vulnerable business entities and individuals (wage earners) went bankrupt, then national business entities went bankrupt, now sovereign and state/municipal entities are falling bankrupt causing a systemic and self- reinforcing decline in demand.

This has been a long- running dynamic with no sign anywhere that it will change. According to Goldman, the bankrupts are going to find some cash and bid up petrol prices again?

Don't look now but the world is in the middle of a multi- year bear market in crude. Oil prices are self limiting. Entities dependent upon cheap fuel fail along with fuel price increases.

Conservation is being exercised by means of the bankruptcy process. $45 oil did in American- style ponzi 'growth' and speculation hedges against rising fuel prices. That fuel prices are eating into analysts' darling China 'growth' model is obvious due to that country's massive and growing speculative real estate ponzi bubble. Oil prices at the current + $80 level are annihilating the China economy and the US economy just a little bit faster.

The decline in open interest suggests that speculative interest in this contract does not exist, Without speculative 'hot money' there is little to push the price higher. Right now it is the speculators that have the money.

The world's 'growth industry' is poverty, people in this category have problems finding enough to eat, They cannot bid up the price of fuel.

If Goldman publicly says something is going up, I'd tend to think that they shorted it and it will go down. I trust their public statements as far as I can throw GS.

I agree 100%. Goldman is a master manipulator.

In These Lean Days, Even Stores Shrink

Anchor Blue is among a growing number of retailers thinking small — chopping off big chunks of stores or moving to more efficient spaces. The change reflects two trends in the retail world: Chains looking for new ways to cut costs in the sour economy, and consumers demanding a less sprawling shopping experience as they spend with greater purpose.
“The customer walks in the door, and often sees a huge selection of stuff in a multibrand store, and can’t figure out what to buy and ends up buying nothing,” said Paco Underhill, founder and chief executive of Envirosell, a Manhattan-based company that advises stores on shoppers’ behavior. “We have reached the apogee of the big box, meaning that we can’t grow the store or the shopping mall any bigger, or get any more time or money out of somebody’s pockets.”

HVAC and lighting energy demands will shrink as well.

“The customer walks in the door, and often sees a huge selection of stuff in a multibrand store, and can’t figure out what to buy and ends up buying nothing...”

Translation... the customer walked in and realized:

The branded stuff is all the same; off-shored to the same factory in China.

So why bother?

I had an "enlightening" experience along these lines recently. I needed to replace a malfunctioning fill valve assembly in the main bathroom toilet. I've done it plenty of times before, so headed out to the local Lowe's where I discovered that they only carried one brand (the same cheapo brand that had stopped working). Not to be deterred, I drove the extra half mile to the Home Depot. There I found that they, too, carried only one brand - the same brand as Lowe's.

So much for the "Big Box" stores providing "huge selections."

Brass toilet fill valves, assembled in the US from US & imported parts (they do the best that they can).


Excellent tech support on phone (I have a toilet made in March 1938 from a unique style made from early 1930s till 1948).

Best Hopes for Quality,


Thanks for the recommendation, Alan.

Maybe it's just that I'm getting old and curmudgeonly, but it sure seems that the quality of most stuff readily available for home improvement these days just isn't what it used to be.

When did EVERYTHING start being made of plastic?

Yeah, I've been there too. Sometimes better stuff like what Alan found is still available, but it's not easy to find it and get it quickly when you've got something broken and need to fix it. A lot of times I find it is better to take the old, quality made thing apart and rebuild/remanufacture it than to replace it with new crap.

Did you attempt to disassemble the malfunctioning valve to clean it? If there is grit or sediment in your water, it can clog pr wear the valve. We have that problem with the water from the wells where I live. I have a filter on my main line, which helps, but my tenant does not, so his toilet valve goes out about once a year...

E. Swanson

I have had the same problem with a drain on my bathroom sink. the chinese one leaked like h3ll. I finally bought a Kohler from wisconsin. Thank god for them.

It may be that shopping comes full circle.

They used to just be community areas for markets and staples.
Then cheap fuel allowed department stores and strip malls.

Perhaps now we will go back to open markets, that are open certain days of the week, like we do for farmer's markets....


Student yobs rampaging through London. Their reason? They don't want to pay for their (mostly useless) university education. But they want the benefit of a degree. The proposal is that once - and only once - they start earning £22,000 or more they start to repay the cost of the course. And these mindless morons have a problem with this? Idiots. Why should I and other tax-payers pay for their bloody education. I've just paid for their compulsory education (primary and secondary) and now these parasites want me to pay for them to waste their time doing some fecking useless course in 'basket weaving' or 'sports psychiatry' for three years. No thanks, I have trouble enough putting a roof over my head. Typical thoughtless morons. Get the water-canons out. This is one time I am firmly on the side of the state. Sort these scum out. Gimme gimme gimme. Sod off and get a job you lousy excuses for adult human beings.


I have to wonder how they're going to react to real austerity measures, such as energy/food rationing. I doubt higher education is the only thing that they feel they are entitled to.

30 years ago, only 10% of 18yos went to university in the UK. All course fees were paid by the state, and a living allowance was available to the children of poorer parents. My parents paid about one third of my allowance. My accommodation and some food was subsidised as well. I finished my Masters year with more cash than I started...

These days, about 50% of 18yos go to university. That is an insane proportion. The average current student will leave with £20,000 of debt. In future this may raise to £40,000. A very high percentage of recent graduates are unemployed. My first house cost £45,000. These days, even a mundane office job requires a university degree. School qualifications have been dumbed down to the point of uselessness for judging a candidate's abilities.

Even when I started work aged 22 with two degrees I was completely green. 25 years later, I try to be a different shade of green.


Here is a BSc Hons degree from Liverpool Hope University. Go to university for three years to study "Football Studies and Health". Price tag? £3,225 per year - £10 GRAND for the course fee alone. Then there is accommodation etc.

Now I am an avid football fan. I love it. But a fecking Honours degree - Bachelor of SCIENCE???? Fine. You want to waste your time on this sort of Mickey Mouse course that's your decision. Its a free country. But don't bloody ask me to pay for it, and don't then trash London when the sugar is taken away.

Absurd. Utterly absurd. And there are plenty of other examples of non-courses like this.

[EDIT: For non-UK readers the importance of "30 Millbank" which was invaded by a violent minority is that it is the headquarters of the ruling Conservative Party]

Violence at Tory HQ overshadows student fees protest

There have been violent scenes as tens of thousands of people protested against plans to treble tuition fees and cut university funding in England.

Demonstrators stormed a building in Westminster housing the Conservative Party head quarters, smashed windows and got on to the roof.

Outside, a crowd of thousands surged as placards and banners were set on fire and missiles were thrown.

Student leaders condemned the violence as "despicable".

While I certainly don't condone the violence I can certainly understand the general protests. When I went to university it didn't just cost me nothing - I actually got paid for it, as did most of the current politicians responsible for ever increasing charges.

Yes reform is needed but your average 16 or 17 year old thinking of university is going to have problems with contemplating many tens of thousands of pounds of debt in their name however it is dressed up.

Some of the ex student leaders in political power now were on violent demos 20-30 years ago when Thatcher was in power (and some of them were Tory as well - not just Lib Dems). The most destructive student organisation in the UK in the last 30 years was the Federation of Conservative Students. So right wing and drunkenly destructive that Norman Tebbit finally shut it down in embarrassment.

By the way these useless degrees you mentioned were dreamed up to keep more people out of the unemployment numbers for a few years. Which reminds me - I once heard of someone who genuinely studied for and achieved a joint honours degree in "Hotel Management and Forensic Science" - I think there's a tv show in there somewhere :-)

"Hotel Management and Forensic Science" - I think there's a tv show in there somewhere :-)

...from the stains on the sheets, the empty bottle of champagne and the used condom blocking the loo I can conclude that sex was had in this room last night!

...from the fact that he booked in on his own, ordered room service for one and bought two adult movies I can conclude that he is a traveling salesman who doesn't get much skin-time with his missus


Keep writing - I'll get on the phone to Sky with a proposition :)

At least the costs are reasonable still. Here I paid $20K per year for a state school (but out of state). In-state was not too much less. The better private university here is $40K per year.

Everybody goes if they can, though, as even low-level jobs require them. I know of companies that require that ALL employees have a degree, including the warehouse!

The reason the University degrees are dumbed down is that they had to be dumbed down. If you aim at getting 50% of the population in University then you have to cater for a University population with an average IQ not far over 100 while if you only have 10% at University the average IQ of the student population is over 120.

It looks good on the Governments C.V. 30 years ago only 10% went too University now we have 50% at University so we must now be all much better educated, all based on the assumption that we are all have equal ability. The result now is that they are trying to educate people above their level of incompetency.

I personally would like to see a system where kids when they left school at 16 worked half a day and studied for a degree the rest of the day, and take 6 - 8 years over it with an exam at the end of every year and two two failures and your out.

You have to remember that the government tweaked the system to make the university statistic look better. There used to be universities and polytechnics with the universities responsible for the degree level education and above, if you could not get into university you could try for a polytechnic. Suddenly the government changed the polytechnics into universities and so the percentages in universities magically increased overnight.


But they want to get degrees in economics, law, advertising and business administration so they can work in the financial sector which is the only sector of the British economy that is still flourishing...


In the US 40 or so years ago a young man could leave high school at 17 or 18 and in a few years have a house, a car or two, a wife and child and some retirement credit in hand. That possibility has faded away as the work he could do has been automated, out-sourced and obsoleted. As women increasingly moved into the work force and unions have been decimated wage growth has reversed. Full time employment for women, once thought of as enriching is now virtually a necessity for both the high school graduates and the degreed.

For all those years we kept hearing that education is the key to a better job, as the folks with degrees haven't been losing so much. Hence, here in the US just as in the UK, we have a hugh increase in the number of college students and, no suprise, many less qualified students. Now the double whammy: those barely qualified students with their "just barely" degrees are running headlong into the movement overseas of the jobs requiring degrees. This is what is referred to as a "systematic" problem. It won't be solved by an increase in demand as the politicians are fervently hoping for.

It isn't reality that is so cruel. What is cruel is the conflict between reality and expectations.

I'm suggesting to relatives now that they take a three pronged approach to 'post A-level' 3-4 years:

1) look to get a degree via the Open University - part time study. Pick something easy yet recognised, with skills that might prove useful.

2) get a part time job to earn some money, most likely combined with...

3) start a company with a decent business model and learn as much as possible about the realities of it. Do this as part of a like minded group.

It delivers what I think is the best 'portfolio' of risk reduction activities, with the ability to swap and change as circumstances dictate. After 3-4 years the young adult would at a minimum, end up with a CV that would give them a better chance of a job than most of their peers. At a maximum, they might have a running, working, company to grow and expand.

Love a good conspiracy theory when I see it. Was looking at info online concerning the "missle" contrails 35 miles off the coast of Los Angeles and found an interesting theory.

They made a link between the disabled cruise ship, the Carnival Splendor, and the mysterious (missle?) contrails seen off the coast of California near LA. The theory says that China tested an EMP device/missle on the cruise ship which left it stranded in the Pacific a bit south of San Diego. Official reports is that it lost all power due to an engine fire. After this "attack", a US missle was launched Monday evening from the Catalina Island area as a warning or actual retailiation.

I've just started watching 'The Event' TV series about a bunch of aliens in prison in Alaska. These aliens conveniently look just like you and me (helps keep the wardrobe budget down, I s'pose). Anyway, in the first episode some loony-tune hijacks a plane and tries to crash it into a party attended by the President in Florida. The Aliens manage to 'disappear' the plane, magically transporting it to Arizona. (The script writers conveniently gloss over the fact that if they can translocate a full jumbo a thousand miles in the blink of an eye then they should have no problem breaking out of jail.)

When I saw the news about the 'missile' launch I instantly knew that there is more to the TV series than meets the eye. I am now dead certain that there are omnipotent aliens on the loose in the US. They obviously have powers to launch ICBMs at will. You guys should be 'fraid, real 'fraid.

Well, since the military has "no idea" what it was, it could be anything, I suppose. Any eye witnesses out in LA on the contrail that night? I doubt the airplane explanation. If you look at the video footage, there appears to be a single "flame" at the top of the contrail as it goes up.

Anyways, another thing we will never truly find out about.

The Event does have some holes in it. Perhaps the aliens could have gotten out of prison, but had a reason to stay there. Did you realize Jason Ritter is John Ritter's son. I thought he looked familiar.

We saw it - but we thought it was Vandenburg testing a LGM-30 Minuteman - or some such. Its uncommon but it happens.

The teleportation hole is acknowledged by episode 3. There are limits to their technology, just as there are to ours, so at least the writers aren't pulling a Lost and making crap up as they go alone.

Conspiracy theories are so much fun, however if one happened to have checked the local
Notice to Mariners, 45/2010 the US Navy issued this warning for local waters...


warning is repeated in 46/2010, and they note missile firing activity off Kauai also.

This warning notwithstanding many people are still sure it was little green men pulling our collective legs. The Navy doesn't know anything about it, that's funny!

Since I actually go out on the ocean once in a while I check things like the Notice to Mariners, BTW the US Navy doesn't like negative publicity that might accrue from accidentally firing a missile at a fishing boat or some foreign vessel coming into port loaded with Chinese doodads for the little ones...It might put a damper on the Xmas Holiday cheer...

I thought the missile was full of spam..

whoa! Just finally looked at the video. Naah, that couldn't be a missile!

And of course we'd be told exactly what's going on - I mean, aren't we always?

Mystery Missile Was Actually A U.S. Airways Flight From Hawaii To Phoenix


So US airlines use rocket powered planes? How else do you explain the intense point of light at the very tip of the "contrail".

Sunlight reflecting off the bottom of the aircraft. I have actually seen that before. Watched a bright "disk" of light in the sky for several minutes that eventually turned out to be an airliner once the alignment with the sun was lost. Was VERY eerie for the first minute or two.

That said, after watching the video, I have to say that does not look like any aircraft contrail I have ever seen, but does resemble the contrails from missile launches I have seen from a great distance. Here in Phoenix we can occasionally see launches from both White Sands and Vandenburg under the right conditions (sunrise and sunset respectively), and both are roughly 500 miles away.

How else do you explain the intense point of light at the very tip of the "contrail".

It looks to me that it's in the area between the engine exhaust, and where it has condensed enough to block the sun. The bright area is a partially formed contrail with the sun shining through it.

But the question is, why didn't it show up on any radar recordings?

I think it did show up on radar. They just automatically discounted all the planes, because they were expected - not mysterious or unidentified.

Pretty obviously a plane, IMO. Not moving fast enough to be a missile.

1) According to the Federal Aviation Administration, radar in the area did not reveal any fast-moving unknown targets.


6) Satellite pictures match this to a contrail.


Did you see it?

That's not a commercial airline contrail. I'd better sign off, someone's knocking at the door.


UPDATE 1-US EIA sees bigger drop in 2011 non-OPEC oil output

In its new monthly energy forecast, the EIA said it now expected non-OPEC oil output to fall by 250,000 bpd next year to an average 51.22 million bpd.

The drop in 2011 output is due to declining total North American and North Sea oil production and decreasing supplies from Russia, the agency said.

They actually got this information from the EIA Short-Term Energy Outlook which came out yesterday. Last month they had the 2011 non-OPEC decline at 240,000 barrels per day so this is no great revision.

The biggest loser next year, they say, will be Mexico, down an average of 180,000 barrels per day and the biggest gainer will be Azerbaijan, up 150,000 barrels per day. They have the UK down by 170,000 barrels per day, Norway down 130,000 barrels per day and all Europe down by 350,000 bp/d.

North America, (Canada, US and Mexico), they say, will be down 210,000 bp/d with the US down 90,000 bp/d and Canada up 60,000 bp/d.

Ron P.

They also have this for next year:

Total World Production:  87.27 mb/d
Total World Consumption: 87.77 mb/d

They have the UK down by 170,000 barrels per day

Yippeee! We don't want a trade surplus anyway. Surpluses are for wimps. We'll just import 170,000 more barrels from other countries and pay for it with fiat currency. ELM - bring it on! This should be fun!

Okay, I can no longer remain silent. I've lurked on TOD for a couple of years now. Enjoy the discourse, the intelligent and passionate discussions. I am a scientist by training, and I find that TOD appeals to my perspective in that regard. In other words, "if you're going to make a point, provide some ****ing links to peer-reviewed studies, allow us all to examine the data, or just shut the **** up. Your call."

Sorry about the language, I had to vent a bit.

Now to the point of my diatribe: Last night was bowling night. Always a good time, and it being a social occasion, our conversations are more socially oriented than, say, what is discussed here on TOD. I don't watch much TV, so I'm a bit lost when my bowling team starts talking about some vampire series on HBO or the latest American Idol. I'll zone out when conversation turns that direction. However, last night...

Last night, two of my teammates briefly discussed the economy. One of them (J) is an artist (painter), the other (T) a physician who works at the CDC and travels internationally extensively. Their discussion, as best as I could follow it, went like this:

J: yeah, the economy is going to just explode upward.
T: oh yeah, folks are going to be having lots more cash soon...

I heard that, my jaw dropped to my knees...and they continued:

T: yeah, I saw an episode of "Entertainment Tonight" and they said the economy will be picking up soon, more actors are getting work...
J: yeah, and my brother-in-law has the new iPad and iPhone4....

After I re-attached my jaw, I asked "J" what indicators made him think that way. His response?

J: More people are buying art.

My response, which came immediately and without hesitation:
sTv: But that's just the wealthy, not middle-class, and certainly not factory workers.

His response?

J: well, I'm buying art, and I'm middle-class.

Okay. This conversation came early in our bowling evening, and it so perturbed me that I could no longer focus on the game, and I bowled the worst I've ever bowled. My average is going down, and my handicap is going up. Damn!

What perturbed me so deeply was, to put it simply, the delusion. These two fine people, my good friends...are they so deluded that they cannot see the **** storm about to descend upon us?

Or am I the one who is deluded?

Hmmm. As I have been trying to get a handle on my future on this planet, and as I have made attempts to study and understand all the ingredients that make up how we live our lives (I'm American), my journey has taken me to TOD, to Climateprogress.org, to AAAS.org, NAS.org, and of course to the various denier websites like WUWT.

Since TOD is most interested in Peak Oil (and Peak Fossil Fuels), I have found it a good resource, which is why I keep coming back every day.

My concern is not for my own sanity, I am pretty damn sure I'm not delusional.

But are my friends? I've seen comments from some of you that corroborate what I'm writing at this moment. A few years ago, I asked my Dad, who is 78 yrs old and former military, if he had heard about Peak Oil. His response was flippant: "There's plenty of oil out there. Go search for "Bakken"." So I did. That's what brought me to TOD in the first place. How had my Dad heard about Bakken? One of his golf buddies at his club said he worked for the "oil companies" and he was going to North Dakota often, and they're "drilling and capping wells left and right until the price is right, then they'll start producing. You just wait and see, we've got something up our sleeves, we're just waiting for the right moment, then we're gonna kick ass and take names".

That was a few years ago. Where is my Dad's golf buddy now? Last report was that he had lost his job, and "they're going to be sending me to Brazil to do some support work for the oil companies".

So, there's two scenarios for us to contemplate, both quite similar in the abject delusion that they each exhibit. I am not sure if I'm actually posing a question to the group here at TOD as much as making observations. I've been in other recent discussions with my group of friends concerning climate change, peak oil, the plastic in our oceans, the disappearing coral reefs, ocean acidification, etc. Only a few of them are interested in those topics; most just make a joke about it and change the subject, and I have once even been shouted down on the subject of climate change.

We Are In Trouble....and we don't have the first clue about it. Kunstler et al talk about a "die off", another Great Extinction Event. Heinberg et al talk about the changes that will forced upon us when we realize that we are past Peak Oil and on the decline...and yet the vast majority of Americans continue BAU as if that elephant in the room will just >poof!< disappear, sort of like the Virgin Mary when she died, just >poof!<.


Well, sorry about the length of this post. Actually, not really. If the mods on this board wish to censure it, that's okay. I needed to write this down anyway, to get the thoughts out of my head and organized in some fashion.

Thanks to all who post here. Your talents, insight and opinions are cherished and much appreciated.


Great post, sTv! I hope it doesn't fall victim to one of Leanan's best tricks ;-)


Since he's a newbie, I edited out the profanity.

STV - no cussin' please.

...and yet the vast majority of Americans continue BAU as if that elephant in the room will just >poof!< disappear

What elephant in the room?

That's the way "they" see it.

Ha ha. Welcome to our disreality spotting team on this, Red Pill, side of the Matrix.

My profile asks from day one, "Why do their eyes glaze over?"

It seems that you had a personal glaze over moment with your bowling buddies.

Oh well.

It's happened to pretty much all of us.

[ i.mage.+]

[ i.mage2.+]

Its a heartfelt post, yet it confirms that most people are just not interested in bad news, especially big bad scary news, unless of course its about the latest celeb misdemeanours.

Broadly I'm in favour of appealing to the wallets and envy of the unthinking majority. I'm not sure that appealing to their sense of responsibility, even if their inaction adversely affects their children's future, will do any good at all.

I was brought up in an era when the US were the world leaders and champions of the free and I believed it. Increasingly I view the self-centred policies of the US with alarm and dismay, and the latest election results seem to confirm that the blinkers will stay on.

Increasingly I view the self-centred policies of the US with alarm and dismay

Indeed. And hypocritical too.


"Please co-operate with us whilst we debase our currency to inflate away our unpayable debts and boost our exports. But please continue to buy our debt and please continue to allow the dollar to be the reserve currency of the world. It is very important that we all co-operate and let the US get away with it. Thank you for your co-operation, muchly appreciated. Over to you Ben; they are all co-operating now so get those printing presses buzzing"

I agree with Ghung...sTv's post was somewhat refreshing for some reason I can't explain. But I suspect many on TOD have had the same experience. Long ago I stopped having conversations about such matters with most folks. Their disconnect from reality was just too depressing. One of the last deep discussion I had was with a nephew back in 1985 when I explained the potential energy brick wall his young duaghters would likely run into in about 20 or 30 years. I could have better spent my time chatting about PO with a monkey for the progess the effort made.

Like the old joke about not trying to teach pigs how to roller skate: p*sses them off and frustrates you. Why bother?

Or like wrestling with pigs - you both get covered in mud and they like it.

I've had the sTv experience more times than I care to remember. Heck, I've had it in the classroom many times when I've been teaching my Energy or Sustainability classes.

I would be choogling along, thinking that I'd gotten them to understand the 2nd Law, and then they'd suggest some "solution" to the energy "problem" that betrayed a rather fundamental misunderstanding. Back to square one.

If one or two students in my class "got it", I was happy.

I think mostly they believe that "They" will come up with something. Technology to the rescue, or something like that. It almost seems to be biologically hardwired. They just can't accept that a chapter in our way-of-life story is coming to an end.

I wrote Appendix B for those that are dimly aware of the risks (oil only) that we face.


in my larger article "An American Citizen's Guide to an Oil Free Economy" Chapter 1 - Electrified Railroads.

I am curious if cutting and pasting that Appendix would have an impact of J & T and others like them. Any thoughts ?

PS: I deliberately used "Peak Oil Exports" instead of Peak Oil, to force fresh thinking by redefining the problem. A number of people have a pat response to Peak Oil already in place.

Best Hopes for Raising Awareness,


Hey, Alan.

I'm getting this 'You can lead a horse to water' sense when I think about your question.

My self-test is "Would I show this to my wife?" She is firmly on the side of straightening up our food supply, ala Michael Pollan. Local, raw, pure, real FOOD. She is concerned about Global Warming. She is well aware of environmental and food-borne toxins, and the power that Corps have to sidestep new regulations that would get much of this crud out of our lungs and stomachs..

She KNOWS I am concerned about our future energy supplies.. BUT, she is first putting out our daily fires, in order to get our daily bread. She just can't let that sort of 'ICEBERG!!' emergency enter into her formulas unless it is clearly igniting both the front and back doors of the house. The fact that I AM looking farther out, and wondering whether the snowpack we stand on will Avalanche today or in a Decade or more IS keeping a lot of my attention away from these daily fires, which is certainly a strain on our marriage, but, seeing this looming disaster and not buying the arguments of the Debunkers, I can't look away from it, either.

I think the question that has to get planted in 'their' minds is something like, "What if it will take a LOT of OIL to have this recovery, and we discover that it just isn't available? You know we've been flat for five years now, right?"

"We're simply not ready if this thing is going to go south on us. We don't have backups, and oil supply is clearly dodgy now. Banking on Shale or Tar Sands is a very high-percentage shot.."

I don't know.. I just think it would make the most sense to find a few nuggets that will stick in there, the way you get hooked on a puzzle in a whodunit, or an injustice.

Reading your book's TOC might be a good trigger or hook like that.. but I think it's step two. The first step is getting them to see that there's a real problem.


That sounds an awful lot like the situation I'm in. It is very difficult to do the long term preparations when the short term stuff is right there in your face requiring your attention. My wife often has to field more of that on a daily basis. And it only gets tougher as life throws more crap at you. That's true on a macroscopic scale too, which is the essence of what Hirsch was saying.

'You can lead a horse to water'

Yes, my basic attitude. I cannot FORCE anyone to think or internally challenge their basic assumptions. I am just trying a slightly different angle of approach, in hopes of some change in world view.

Plant seeds of doubt, open the door, whatever metaphor you chose.

Best Hopes for Rationality,


I too have had similar experiences. I have talked about resource depletion to hundreds of people, and I would guess that maybe 5% of them "get it". In my case, that means about 20 people. What really surprises me, however, that of those 20 people only 3 are willing to take action to mitigate the risk of the likely outcomes! The other 17 just can't seem to motivate themselves to make any of the necessary lifestyle changes. It's as if they "get it" on an intellectual level but not an emotional level. They are like deer in headlights.

The other 17 just can't seem to motivate themselves to make any of the necessary lifestyle changes.

It's hard to assess this sort of blanket judgment while having been told nothing of what you (or they) might regard as the 'necessary' changes, and what their circumstances - age, economics, family - might be. TOD posters variously and stridently advocate actions that are mutually exclusive - ranging for example from "move into a walkable city" to "move into an isolated rural farm/bunker."

So, if you define the 'necessary' changes on the nineteenth-century farm/bunker model, that won't make a lick of sense unless you're fairly young, fit, and genetically lucky - not only in order to have enough time remaining to bring your plan to fruition, but also because so many people are beyond heavy labor by the time they're in their 40s - just watch them struggle to climb three steps up into the local bus. On this model your uptake of 3 in 20 would be doing quite well indeed. (And while it may be fun to snark about American obesity, a local labor exchange in, say, Indonesia, will not be attended by very many fat people, and yet when you hit about 50, you're toast, ignored, not hired. Likewise, for many centuries, the topmost age for bearing military arms has been seen as about 50 or 55. Modern medicine simply has not altered this by one jot; it has only enabled far, far more people to reach such an age than ever before, thereby making a complete nonsense of any wholesale return to the past.)

Or, if you define it as buying a bunch of stuff that's costly upfront - electric car, solar system, whatever - it may not make much sense unless you've got that kind of money. After all, going head over heels into debt may not be a helpful move, or even a feasible one in the event any sort of lending standards whatever are restored. And immobilizing yourself with a lot of expensive fixed capital (this way or indeed with the bunker) could turn out to be a bad idea.

Or, if you define it as moving into "a walkable neighborhood in the city", but such a move would entail separation and isolation from family, then even if there is some sense in it, the cost may outweigh the benefit.

Then again, I've pointed out before that this sort of "personal prep" discussion seems to be almost exclusive to the USA-centric threads. While I suspect that's tied somehow to our founding mythology, I'm not sure beyond that why it is so. Maybe people elsewhere are more sensible about the need for their actions to be somewhat compatible with living in the here and now, rather than solely with living in a future that unfolds precisely according to whatever script plucked from the intertubes happens to underlie their "preps". (I think there's going to be tremendous buyer's remorse over this sort of thing with the passage of time.) At any rate, some of the TOD staff seem to be versed in sociology, and I'd be interested to see an analysis of this rather strange manifestation of US exceptionalism.

"Or, if you define it as" ..... trying to get enough people, of any age, to become aware, adjust their lifestyle, set an example and speak out, so as to influence policy and perhaps soften the landing ,,

Naive, I know, but that was the plan.

...to become aware, adjust their lifestyle, set an example...

Therein still lies the rub. Adjust their lifestyle in what manner or direction, set what example? What I sort of labeled as the American exceptionalist approach seems to lead into a confusing morass of signposts pointing in many conflicting directions.

You are correct about U.S. exceptionalism. We have the myth of rugged individualism--that we control our fates. You won't find that in Europe or Asia or Africa. For the Muslims, what Allah decrees is what Allah decrees, and there is no sense worrying about it. Confucian and Taoist traditions have similar themes. If you look at the classical Greek and Latin writers there is nothing about the idea of progress (They believed in decline from a gold age to a silver one to a bronze one to the iron age they lived in. They also believed in cycles, or at least many of them did). Hindu traditions and teaching give a good picture of fundamental values, beliefs, and norms in India. Europeans are far more fatalistic and pessemistic than are Americans; DeToqueville noted this trait, and it is still true, though less so since the Vietnam War than before it.

I like to live in the here and now. Tomorrow I won't be on TOD much if at all because I'm going to have a champagne and old movies party with my woman friend of eleven years (a women much younger than me and very attractive). The party begins at about nine thirty in the morning and goes to whenever. I will not be like John Maynard Keynes, who said not long before he died, "My only regret is that I did not drink more champagne."

Carpe diem.

Also, I think it is good to consider the possibility that one may live to a great age. Who is going to look after me? My wife (now ex-wife) wanted to have five children. We could only afford to have four. But now I have children to look after me and to support me in case my Teachers Retirement Association pension and Social Security income becomes worthless due to hyperinflation. Most posters on TOD seem so proud of having no children or only one child. To that, I say, Bah, Humbug. I've increased the quality of the gene pool and have provided productive labor to the economy--while also going as far as I can to ensure my security when TSHTF and after TEOTWAWKI. Besides, I now have grandchildren, and there is no greater joy for an old person than watching and interacting with his grandchildren.

So what have I piled up in gold and silver and firearms? Practically nothing. I sold my gold coins to finance my children's college education, and I've given away or sold most of my firearms. I do have some silver dimes that I got from an incredible winning streak at the slot machines in Las Vegas on Labor Day, 1965, and I still have the survival kit that I bought back in 1957.

Keynes "My only regret is that I did not drink more champange".

Leon Bloy: "There is only one great regret: not to have been a saint".

Bloy's statement haunts me every day of life, and indeed I have not lead a saintly life although I wish I had. I'm 74. Don't have much time left.

The older we get the more we should cherish and enjoy each day that is left to us. I live as if there is a 50% chance that I'll die tonight and a 50% chance that I'll live to eighty in relatively good health. Doubt if I'll make it past eighty because the males in my family on both sides going back three generations have not made it past about sixty years old. I've made it to seventy and am in good health. That's more than I expected twenty years ago, so each extra day is a gift.

Best wishes Don and I do really mean that

I just hope I've got an Internet to post on why I'm 70.


My wife and I are proud of our two children.

By all means be proud of and rejoice in the company and knowledge of your four children, as this is a done deal.

None of our talk changes the simple and immutable math that ~2.1 children equals the population replacement ratio, and a global mean of 4, 3, or 2.5 children per woman is unsustainable in the course of time.

The universe and the math which underpins it gives not a whit about what you and I care about.

I have heard tell here on TOD about how, at one time, certain native peoples tried to make decisions based on what they thought the effects on the seventh generation hence were to be...if only we all had that long-term perspective and devotion to duty to our species and all the life on this planet.

Most posters on TOD seem so proud of having no children or only one child. To that, I say, Bah, Humbug. I've increased the quality of the gene pool and have provided productive labor to the economy--while also going as far as I can to ensure my security when TSHTF and after TEOTWAWKI. Besides, I now have grandchildren, and there is no greater joy for an old person than watching and interacting with his grandchildren.

So true and so little understood even by fare-over-avarage brains like here in TOD! Morons breeting even more morons would not help anyway. But big brains not breeding anymore is the worst thing in the long run anyone could think of.

Of course only if the human race means anything to you. Otherwise it is just fine :-) However this will not help "the nature" when the sun is becomming a real big hot-red mess :-)

This is called "degeneration toward the mean"?, "degeneracy toward the mean"?, "...to the mean"?... I can't find a reference.
The smart ones take themselves out. The dumb ones breed like maggots in the spring. There's way too many. It is our only true purpose.
Without death, life becomes unpleasant. The smart ones had advantage. The dumb ones fell into open sewers and died.*
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXoWwonpQto Death takes a holiday

I don't think it's true that most people here have no children.

As for the ones who don't...why shouldn't they be proud? If parents can be proud of their children, nonparents can be proud of their choice as well.

I don't buy the "marching morons" theory. There's zero evidence for it. Effective birth control has coincided with rising IQs each generation.

I don't buy the "marching morons" theory. There's zero evidence for it. Effective birth control has coincided with rising IQs each generation.

Because you have no glue at newer scientific research at this topoic.

The Flynn-effect occoured because of phentotypic rises of the IQ levels because of better nutrition in pregnancy and early life, because of better schools, because of better knowledge of risks in pregnancy (drinking, smoking), ... It occured mainly in the lower half of the caucasian


But the effect vanished around 1990 (several studies in UK, Nederlands, Norway,...)

Now IQ levels are allready in decline because of different fertillity levels.

Not the genotypic IQ is thinking fast, especially in the "First worl" or "West"


Your links do not support your position. At best, they seem to be saying any link is tenuous. They also argue that it's better nutrition that leads to higher intelligence. Um...if that's the case, then fewer children is better, right? If it's access to resources that means smarter children, fewer is better in a lower-resource world.

The links have notes to the original documents. The Flynn effect is clearly vanishing, at least in the developt countries.


The links also say that there is absolute no doubt that cognitive capability are to some degree genetic (Heritability of IQ). Of course you can discuss if the genetic component it is 30, 50 or 80%. But the percentage discussion is misleading anyway.


In reallity you cet a (genetic) "frame" from your parents, e.g. you can reach an max. IQ of 120 if all is perfect from the beginning (nutrition, cognitive stimulation in early years, best possible school...). In reality you will allways miss this number. How fare of course depends on the environment. In Somalia you may reach only 80 because of bad nutrition and so on. In a middle class family in the US of A you may reach 110... Thats's it.

Also the links say that the higer the IQ (and therefore the cognitiv capabilities), the lower the fertility. So the "potential IQ" of a nation / society is slowly but shurly goin down. Better nutrition / school / etc. can compensate this for some time (you get the Flynn effect), but some day... Like technology and Peak Oil... Can compensate some time, but not in the long run...

At least it doesen't matter how it works, but it is absolute clear that parents transfer their cognitiv capabilities at their chidren. And the cabability of the parents in avarage in modern societies is lower than the overall avarage IQ. This means - polemic - the dump are breeding faster than the smart. And that is a problem in the long run. Especially because the complexity of the technical solution is ever increasing and we need (theoretic) more and more engineers and scientist. But we get less and less (of course we may have more people with the formal education, but this not necessary means we get them)...

Look at some schoolbooks of the 60's and 70's (math, physics).

With the nutrition you are right of course, but i doubt that this is a very strong parameter compared to the critic fertility trends...

I've never said intelligence wasn't at least partly heritable. However, it's a big jump from there to "The Marching Morons."

Also the links say that the higer the IQ (and therefore the cognitiv capabilities), the lower the fertility.

Yes, but it also says the reason for that is that more intelligent people don't screw up their birth control as often. It's not that intelligent women want fewer children, nor is that intelligence is genetically linked with lower fertility. It's that less intelligent people are worse at family planning. That has undoubtedly been true throughout human history, and somehow we've survived.

The limits to one's intelligence are set entirely by heredity and prenatal environment. The extent to which a potential intelligence becomes actual is entirely limited by the environment.

For example, Jews immigrating to the U.S. around 1900 had the lowest or second lowest (I forget which.) I.Q. of any ethnic group comming to the U.S. Now Jews, as an ethnic group, have one of the highest I.Q.s of any ethnic group in the U.S.

The limits to one's intelligence are set entirely by heredity and prenatal environment. The extent to which a potential intelligence becomes actual is entirely limited by the environment.

Exact! Good to know these days somebody far away understands for real!


It's that less intelligent people are worse at family planning. That has undoubtedly been true throughout human history, and somehow we've survived.

That's true of course, but first this correlation is no much stronger because of modern contreceptive! Furthermore, rich and wealthy people in the past had often more childreen than the poor (England has data for this assumption) and - more important - until the 20 century the children of the wealthy survived by fare more often to sexual maturity than the children of the poor! This has strong "Eugenic" implications to some degree.

In our days allmost all childreen survive to maturity, which is of course a good thing, but no faster breeding means in deed more offspring even after sexual maturity. And that was not the case 200 years ago!

Next, smart woman (with high formal education) normally desire the same number of childreen than the less inteligent - as you suggest. But empirical data says that they fail to achive the number of desired chidren by far more than the poor. The reason? They have to ensure their carrer first, so they delay their first pregnancy to higher ages (in West-germany 35 is no absolut normal for the first - and mostly only - child). If anything (relation, carrer...) no goes wrong, they often fail to even give birth to one child, not to speek of 2 or 3. Even in the US of A the number of offsprings from woman with very high education is much lower than the total fertility rate (US of A around 2.0 since 1990).

Modern feminism (which is of course also a good thing, but with some not-so-good consequences) also leads to smaller numbers of offsprings, and often the smartest woman are those how follow feminism down the road.

All in all if you take one and one these leads of course to dysgenetic tendenciess to some degree! How fast this happens can of course be discussed, but it happens!

I also see this not as single factor or and factor which is more important than peak oil for example.

But i came to the conclusion, that:

Dysgenetic tendencies + peak resources + FIAT-money / dept / ponzy financial system = very, very bad cocktail in the long run!

@ Don sailorman

Quite so. But note that if something cannot keep on going indefinitely, then it won't. After the Collapse I daresay the wealthy will have more surviving children than the poor. On the average, wealthy people are smarter than less wealthy people. Obviously there are huge numbers of individual exceptions to this generalization, but there has been a lot of sociological research done on this. The wealthy have lots of advantages.

100% agree!

My words "The smart ones take themselves out" characterize witnessing women wishing to not suffer a child to experience these times.

Quite so. But note that if something cannot keep on going indefinitely, then it won't. After the Collapse I daresay the wealthy will have more surviving children than the poor. On the average, wealthy people are smarter than less wealthy people. Obviously there are huge numbers of individual exceptions to this generalization, but there has been a lot of sociological research done on this. The wealthy have lots of advantages.

Keep up the newfound non silence. As for me, I get my financial advice from Sarah Palin. I hear she is an expert on Quantitative Easing.

No. That name tag was supposed to say: "Quaint and Pleasing"

hey so deluded that they cannot see the (hey the software now auto edits bad words! I had to re-edit to add this notice about **** being replaced with ****'s)storm about to descend upon us?

Say they see it....what then? What can they, as individuals, do?

What's the benefit to them to seeing the storm? VS feeling good over the shining city on the hill that's just around the bend?

Or am I the one who is deluded?

I'm rather sure I had portended doom! by 2005 over peak issues.

Yet, here we are. Not doom!ed....just yet.

Say they see it....what then? What can they, as individuals, do?

Well, here's a simple program that should fit most people's needs:

It's easy to see that the world may be heading for more trouble, and we need to prepare for hard times ahead. But it can be daunting to decide what to do, what to stock, and when to get it.
I've been working at this a while, and I've figured out a simple balance in what to buy, and when to buy it, that I think will help other Preppers move ahead with confidence.
You could call it my 100/1,000/10,000 system, and I hope it helps you get going, and get to a place where you feel more prepared for the tough times ahead.



I like the way they think at the survival blog. Either one believes TSWHTF or they don't. If one believes then not much should stand in the way of preparing. If not, forget about it.

My question to people who think it will end in Kum-by-ya, join hands and transition into the future is, "How many people participating in WATTS where hungry?"

Our deep well handpump is especially good here in the high desert. I can easily pump two gallons per minute.

concerning the complaint about the software editing out certain words, have you tried "tempete de merde" (excuse my French)

The right wingers sporadically flog the Bakken, under the usual story "we have more oil than Saudi Arabia, just let us drill for it (preferably through the bodies of tree huggers)". So lots of people have heard wildly optimistic claims, sometimes second or third hand. I don't know if they get advertising revenue from those who are seeking investment in Bakken drilling ventures, but pushing the meme that we got all the stuff we would ever want, if only the libruls would get out of the way, is re-enforced frequently.

eos - Are you offering up a little bit of a strawman argument? I work in the oil patch...not exactly a liberal stronghold. And I never hear anything abount liberals or environmentalists holding up oil/NG activities. Our common discussion is about the fact it's getting very harder to find any place good enough to poke one more hole regardless of who might oppose the idea. About the only place where that talk shows up is in re: the the North Slope. I'll agree with you that this is a very old and tired song. But otherwise I don't see anyone else bringing up the subject except for a few liberals who trot it out to bash conservatives. Or maybe it's just an easy filler for the MSM to throw out from time to time.

I don't think EoS is referring to the oil patch drilling through the bodies of 'enviro wackos' to get to the "sweet caramel centre of the Earth" (as someone on here once put it), but that the right-wingnuts (personified by Sarah Palin, Glen Beck, and the rest of the FoxPublican Tea-Baggers) are. The 'mainstream' Republican Party and Democrat Party are two sides of the same self-interested coin, but the Tea Party and assorted hangers on will happilly destroy every safeguard protecting America and Americans, so long as the top 5% make out like bandits. I'd hate to be a coal-miner in Virginia.

The Bakken was definitely a great play for the companies that had acreage in the sweet spot and it has probably made a dent in the US production decline. However, when compared to how much oil is burned worldwide each day the Bakken is pretty insignificant.

As far as the statement that companies were capping off wells until oil price went up that does sound delusional. For a while companies were having trouble getting oil out of North Dakota (it was a very significant oil increase for the local area), but they have expanded the pipeline network and I know that EOG set up some kind of system to ship the oil out on rail. I have also heard that some recent press releases by EOG have disappointed their investors because their Bakken production is not living up the expectations now. It seems maybe that they are now running out of acreage in the sweet spot. I guess the Bakken maybe won't be the next Ghawar?

sTv: for a general comment about TOD I would recommend that you don't take it to seriously. I am not saying that peak oil, global warming, etc. are not real, but that if you spend too much time dwelling on them it wears you down. I think Eric Blair's post above sums it up pretty good. I thought we were doomed in 2008 and here we are still having the same discussions today.

My concern is not for my own sanity, I am pretty damn sure I'm not delusional. But are my friends?

Here is what I can tell you from my five years' experience discussing 9/11, peak oil, exponential growth and dieoff with friends and family.

These subjects are taboo and protected by sacred myths, which purpose is to shield the psyche from the pain of comprehending cruelty. The myths are like clothing that protects a naked body from the elements. A myth, like a placebo, is effective only as long as one believes in it. Therefore we train mental "blind spots" onto our myths that make them immune to discussion.

Like me years ago, you are amazed that when you attempt to move disussion into your friends' "blind spots," they can't "see" the information you present. And moreover, they will deny the existence of the blind spots! But this seems to be a fundamental aspect of human nature. There appears to be plenty of literature on the subject, too.

The Wikipedia article for Philip Zelikow (Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission) has this to say:

While at Harvard, he worked with Ernest May and Richard Neustadt on the use, and misuse, of history in policymaking. They observed, as Zelikow noted in his own words, that "contemporary" history is "defined functionally by those critical people and events that go into forming the public's presumptions about its immediate past. The idea of 'public presumption'," he explained, "is akin to William McNeill's notion of 'public myth' but without the negative implication sometimes invoked by the word 'myth.' Such presumptions are beliefs (1) thought to be true (although not necessarily known to be true with certainty), and (2) shared in common within the relevant political community."[15]"

But this seems to be a fundamental aspect of human nature.

It kind of has to be so.

Without the blind spot, we would spend every day facing the specter of our mortality.

[ i.mage.+]

Consider it a kind of EROI of the brain. It takes much less energy to accept someone else's prepackaged sugar coated specious reasoning than to actually check the facts for yourself. This actually makes sense. If we had to verify and validate every fact we ever heard and never took someone else's word for anything, we would never be able to act at all. Unfortunately, we can all see the consequences of that mental short hand.


Sorry sTv, but that's how it's going to go. Very, very few will see what they do not want to accept, including people we care a lot about personally. The society will collapse, the process will take generations punctuated at times by moments of rapid change. It's just the hand we were dealt - we in the western industrial world got to live the first part of our lives in a period of great wealth and comfort, mostly at the expense of many more in the rest of the world. Our society is partly the result of the incredible energy in FF, and partly the fruits of empire, both of which are failing. We each have to come up with a way to live that is meaningful to ourselves in that new reality. It is not a problem that can be "solved", nor something that can be fixed, rather something that must be accepted and endured. Do what you can in your own way.

seems to me, sTv highlights one of the components of strong belief, or one might venture to call it 'faith' (with a nod to shimkus and his critics above, and because no matter how grounded it all feels in data, the future remains largely uncertain) -- frustration that others do not or cannot see/understand/concur. i expect all tod-ers have experienced such circumstances.

my humble recommendation: spare none of your energy trying to make minds meet. while there is breath yet in your body, let your building, planting, producing, and devising that which will benefit the next generation serve as your prayer for mankind, then sleep each night satisfied. it's all you can do.

Well said, and that is where I have ended up too.

“The ultimate test of the human conscience may be our willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.”
– U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson (1916-2005), principal founder of Earth Day


re: "Who is delusional here, me or them?"

Not to forget that we're all blind men, holding different parts of the elephant. What you see might be true, and what they see might also not be false. It's just not be the right time to tell them about what you've discovered, as hard as that is to accept.

What other options might you take up in the meantime? (Putting it down on paper sometimes helps..) It could be that your actions will speak louder than your explanations anyhow.


(EDIT: For my part, I'm getting off the computer and doing some more insulating in the basement!)

What perturbed me so deeply was, to put it simply, the delusion. These two fine people, my good friends...are they so deluded that they cannot see the **** storm about to descend upon us?

Our primate brains are adapted to favor anecdotes over data, to focus on experiences that confirm rather than question our innate tendency toward bias, and to assume "tomorrow" we be like "today."

In short, we see what we want to see.

(Warning: those of us here tend to have minds "debauched by learning.")

...why do we fall prey to erroneous thinking? Are we stupid? It certainly doesn't seem so! All of us make ... mistakes in thinking and deciding...including highly trained professionals such as doctors, lawyers, and CEOs of major corporations. Instead, two basic reasons come to mind. First, we all have natural tendencies to search for and evaluate evidence in a faulty manner. The reasons for these tendencies range from evolutionary considerations to just wanting to simplify the thinking process. Second, critical thinking and decision-making skills, which could counteract our natural tendencies to err, are typically not taught in our schools....


Much of what is reported on TV and other media outlets is actually pseudo or junk science.

Thomas Kida, Don't Believe Everything You Think.

There are three camps of folks:

[1] I do not believe in peak oil/climate/overpopulation bad news.

[2] I believe in peak peak oil/climate/overpopulation bad news but it will not happen in my lifetime.

[3] People like us in a 0.0001% minority who believe, but I never met any of them face-to-face in 3-D.

There is also

[4] I accept your case that there is peak oil/climate/overpopulation bad news, but "they" will do something about it.

That was the gist of the most recent conversation I've had. She seeemed to understand the energy problem OK but she remained totally unphazed because of her belief that "they" (the government? the markets?) will have the problem well in hand and so sort it out, behind the scenes, with no real impact on anyone's lives. BAU.

What your friends are seeing is true too. The important part to realize is that knowledge without action is nothing. For finances I suggest you start here:


For other preps I suggest the link Todd provided. If you will not take the action to do either, you will be like most of the posters here.

one has to have an open mind to accept new information, especially when that information is particularly counter-culture or outside the realm of the everyday. i think people in general aren't wired to have very open minds but are more disposed to get into physical and mental routines and think about things a certain way, all the time. of course we all can have more open minds, it just takes the desire and effort to get there.

i think Peak Oil is a particularly difficult subject to embrace because not only is it counter-culture and counter-intuitive to mainstream thinking, it also is somewhat technical and complex to grasp initially. so, coming to the concept for the first time, not only do you need an open mind, but you have to be logical and diligent with your studying.

I feel fortunate to have been able to see somewhat eye to eye over time on this with many of my closest friends. but i understand what's likely going on inside someone's head when they hear about this. even people who can be persuaded that there is a serious problem will likely retain some notion that there won't be any massive changes coming, that TPTB will obviously figure something out to address this. that's just conventional wisdom, the conventional wisdom of generations that have lived very comfortable, relatively intransigent lives. one must seriously research the topic before one realizes that convention wisdom is founded on a house of cards. but again, to even accept that conclusion, one must have a pretty open mind as well.

BP puts the "Memorial Cap" on the well head. Only problem is the leaking is so bad they had a hard time getting their PR shots. The had to do a lot of special lighting and focusing. Probably will not see this video on the news.


Probably won't see this video either of BP doing a pressure test with a drill pipe on their cement job and the drilling rig moves so much they break off the drill pipe in the well.


When I was a kid my Grandfather liked to show us Three Stooges films, so I kind of get nostalgic when I watch the videos relating to BP's gulf disaster.

How true!

Quantam / Rockman / anybody

Does anybody know why the wellhead and conductor was not cut and removed as per normal oilfield P%A procedure?

Toopush, I am not sure. Here is a conference call from yesterday and Rear Adm. Paul Zukunft says the plug and abandonment is complete. He brags about the "Memorial Cap" but there has not been any release of video other then what we captured from the feeds that I know of.

Maybe it is a temporary P&A?


There is still 9.4k sq miles closed to fishing centered on the wellhead.


Toolpush, it might have to do with the pressure showing here.


Thanks Quantum for your references. There must be a difference in the US regs to what I am used to. To me apart from clearing the sea bed, fisherman usually complain if we do not, the wellhead would have provided some forensic evidence.

I am sure BP wants to close this book ASAP.

Toolpush, I found this that says they are supposed to be cut off 15 feet below the seabed. I am still hunting for the regs.

Permanently abandoned wells are corked with cement plugs up to 200 feet (60 meters) long. They are placed in targeted zones to block the flow of oil or gas. Heavy drilling fluid is added. Offshore, the piping is cut off 15 feet below the sea floor.


I must say that from the talk between the oil pros during the killing of the well, that is what I had expected. Is there a limit below which this does not apply? Is the area so crowded that bottom trawling does not happen so this is not done? Mind you, I cannot imagine any trawlers wanting to work around there.


a friend wants to know ......

"85 mb/day was the peak[[qp]] this is what were we pumping then? What
> we are pumping now? I know that we are not storing any significant
> amount anywhere. I am not trying to be a smart ass but just want a
> believable explanation that I can put my arms around; I really want to
> know. As I can observe, the traffic in CA's bay area is just as bad,
> there is no sign of reduction in driving most counties around here
> reports the terrible hit of the economy and at the same time report
> increased commute time. Countries like China, India, Vietnam
> practically doubled the amount of cars on the road or more. I can't
> believe we are burning less fuel. Big trucks are still selling here in
> the US. I can't help but believe that the peak oil is any more than an
> excuse to manipulate production from the biggest producers mainly OPEC
> and the refineries that has to process the crude for higher profit
> margin. If peak oil was true, we should be seeing $10/gal gas prices
> now or very soon in the future. I have a hard time accepting this at
> face value."

We have 15 % unemployment - add underemployment and we have about 20% of the people voted off the island

Have a look at the Tenderloain or South LA - the homeless problem is back with a vengeance. The people who are now underemployed are not consuming oil at the rate they once did - but the Chinese are more then happy to pick up that slack.

"The people who are now underemployed are not consuming oil at the rate they once did."

I think the point was that - and not just in the Bay Area - the traffic is as bad as ever, so somebody must be making up for any driving the unemployed might not be doing. (The underemployed may well be driving as much as ever - underemployment doesn't particularly involve driving on fewer days or for fewer miles to get to work; indeed it may even dictate the opposite.)

The amount of expected growth in traffic has not happened - most of the traffic was expected to rise over time.Fears of pure gridlock have been on the back of traffic planners minds for a long time now. The fact that is the same and not worse due to expected growth in population and prosperity means - in part - that the economy is flat.

Now take a look at the 99 weekers


Everything in political/economic policy is meant to support the cultural illusion that everything will be OK ie the band aid over the shotgun wound will work just ignore the blood everywhere - maintaining that illusion has now become the priory for our system.

It will take about 2 years before someone who was middle class takes a step down in class level. The car can be traded in for a used one that's just as good looking, the payments can be restructured or you can start renting. Government policy has softened the blow but make no mistake - we are living on borrowed time


Now look at this couple - look, they have a home. Why?
Because - in part they have the resources to pull from. They can negotiate, extend credit, sell off the future to serve the present. I have seen it go on for a long time until the jig comes up.

The amount of expected growth in traffic has not happened...

Perhaps, but please realize that this particular argument carries a whiff of the old "when you want to spin a statistical analysis, take as many derivatives as are necessary to get the sign you want" routine.

At 364.9 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

the largest part of that 365 million barrels is stored at cushing, oklahoma, the prefered storage location for domestic crude oil speculators.


Oil price just topped 88 bucks!


At 2:24pm pst

..Kid, you ain't seen nothing yet...!


I don't think we'll continue to see big prices in the near future. The economies are still quite weak and there is plenty of spare capacity out there. Perhaps we'll move to range around 100 because that is what a bunch of the OPEC members want now and Saudi Arabia doesn't seem to be voting them down by increasing supply.

However . . . $100 would hit a psychological barrier that could set of speculative wave. So who knows.

there is plenty of spare capacity out there

There is? Have you been out there and personally audited it? If not then the best you can say is "there is plenty of claimed spare capacity out there"

Saudi Arabia doesn't seem to be voting them down by increasing supply

"If they don't have a lot of additional oil to put on the market, it is hard to ask somebody to do something they may not be able to do."
-George W Bush 16th January 2008

The Saudis say that $90 oil is fine with them. Assuming they have spare capacity (and I think they have some, though I don't know how much Saudi + Kuwait + UAE have), they can hold the price down in the $90 range. IMO the Saudis and the others do not want $100 oil both because of its psychological importance but also because they do not want to induce a recession or depression in their best customers.

So they wanted it in 2008 then? Or do you believe they had no spare capacity then but now have not only countered depletion from existing fields but have also added gazillions of barrels (or whatever they claim today) a day of capacity but left it idle?

The Saudis and some other OPEC countries did indeed increase oil production after the 2008 spike. Why do you think the price went down so far and so fast? Part of it was recession and decrease in global demand for imported oil, but part of it was a significant (not huge) increase in oil production. Check the numbers, and recall that there are time lags when it comes to increasing oil production; it is more than just opening a few valves.

The Saudis and some other OPEC countries did indeed increase oil production after the 2008 spike. Why do you think the price went down so far and so fast?

Surge from storage into a crashing world economy that couldn't absorb the overload of the delivery system.

I don't think KSA will repeat that mistake. And once again if you check OECD import streams tracked by the IEA, KSA's supposed surges never actually show up when averaged over a year. They do occasionally cut back and pump the surplus into storage and then surge storage + full production as they were possibly "tricked" into doing by Bush (Did I really say that :-)) in 2008.

The fact remains that relentlessly year after year since 2003 they send less crude to the OECD as tracked by the IEA.

So if you look at the reported production numbers you see a surge. If you look at actual tracked imports you don't as Matt Simmons again frequently pointed out. But that's ok - they sent it all to the Chinese. Or it was a lie.

Don't forget that demand for imported oil by the U.S. and other OECD countries dropped a heckuva lot due to the Great Recession, and also that demand by the OECD still has not returned to pre-Recession levels.

I think OPEC has been sending OECD countries all the oil they want at the market price which seems to be set by OPEC, especially Saudi Arabia. When KSA said they wanted seventy-five dollar oil, over time the price moved to roughly seventy-five dollars. Now KSA says they like ninety dollar oil, and I think prices will fluctuate around this level for some time to come.

So Dubya was misinformed when he said "If they don't have a lot of additional oil to put on the market, it is hard to ask somebody to do something they may not be able to do."?

By the way if you think the Saudis were sending all we wanted why did Russia and other exporters continue to increase supply post 2003 to the OECD while the Saudis were reducing supply?

The Bush family has been on close terms with the Saudi Royal family for a long long time. They try not to embarrass one another.

The Saudis reduced supply to keep the price of oil from falling. The Saudis have a price they want at a particular time and they have been varying production since at least 1973 to get that price. One reason the Soviet Union fell was because the Saudis flooded the market with oil about the time Reagan came to office to drive the price down and bankrupt Russia as an object lesson to others who did not follow the lead of KSA. Of course Reagan was a huge beneficiary of this action by the Saudis, but that is not the main reason they increased production so much. It was to prove they could drive prices down and keep them down for years.

Which still leaves the question (which I added in an edit and you may have not yet seen to be fair).

If you think the Saudis were sending all we wanted why did Russia and other exporters continue to increase supply post 2003 to the OECD while the Saudis were reducing supply?

Why is it so hard for you as an economist to apply simple supply/demand economics and imagine that the reason the price is going up is because of simple lack of supply and is nothing to do with "what the Saudis want"? What else do you think they would say if they were in involuntary decline?

Economics can and does explain fluctuations in oil prices very. OPEC is a cartel. Saudi has been the price leader for a long time--the swing producer. The way the Saudis make the price of oil go up or down is by reducing or by expanding production. They may no longer have much excess capacity; nobody outside Saudi Arabia really knows. In any case, by restricting and decreasing oil production they can easily drive the price up to whatever level they want, at least within certain limits discussed below.

Of course, the Saudis know that if they drive the oil price too high then the economies of OECD and many other countries will go into recession or depression. They do not want that to happen because it would mean lowered oil prices--unless they were to cut production way way back. There may not be enough discipline within OPEC to support major production cuts. There is a lot of discussion about this question in economic journals and journals of business.

If Saudi Arabia is in involuntary decline I think we will become aware of that fact within a year or two. Currently there is no strong evidence (really no evidence) that Saudi Arabia is in involuntary production decline. I doubt they have the 4.6 mb/day excess production that they claim, but they may have half that, as Heading Out thinks. Or they have much less than that, as Darwinian thinks. Nobody outside Saudi knows how much (if any) excess production capacity they have.

The recent anouncement that the Saudis are fine with $90 oil (up from previous target of $75) may have some connection to QE too. In other words, it may very well be the case that the Saudis are firing a warning shot across our bows: Don't go to far with diminishing the value of the dollar, because if you do, then we'll just raise the price. That is conjecture; I do not know if anyone in the U.S. knows whether or not that is the case.

If Saudi Arabia is in involuntary decline I think we will become aware of that fact within a year or two.

I'll re-visit this thread in two years time ;-)

O.K., but you won't be able to add comments then. I often look at old threads. Sometimes I look at my old comments and they look pretty good; other times they are not so good.

I've often thought of making a book out of many of my comments over the past 4 years +. Of course there would be a lot of editing and some further words to provide continuity and bring things up to date, but it might be more fun than writing my memoirs.

It's comforting to think one has a book already written.. it's just pulling the bits together.

(And it's already in Prose!)

Now KSA says they like ninety dollar oil...

No, they don't.

Saudi oil policy still $70 to $80/barrel

"Saudi Arabia still believes that $70 to $80 a barrel is good for consumers and producers," the senior official, who asked not to be named, said.
"The oil minister only said that some producers and consumers think $70 to $90 a barrels is a good range," he said.

BTW, oil production from KSA is down 300,000 b/d since August according to EIA.

An unnamed "senior official . . ." That does not have much credibility. I still believe the earlier announcement that Saudi is fine with $90 oil is the more reliable announcement.

The Saudis and some other OPEC countries did indeed increase oil production after the 2008 spike. Why do you think the price went down so far and so fast?

The price of oil reached $147.27 in July of 2008. OPEC production peaked that same month at 31,672,000 barrels per day, crude only. In December of 2008 the price of WTI crude reached its lowest point of $32.40. OPEC production that month was 29,645,000 barrels per day, just over 2 million barrels per day lower than when oil hit its peak price. OPEC production continued to fall, hitting a low of 27,070.000 barrels per day in February of 2009. That month, February of 2009 WTI had a high of $45.30, a low of $33.55 and closed the month out at $44.76.

NYMEX Crude Monthly Price Chart

The OPEC production numbers came from OPEC Home, click on "Oil Market Report" To get their latest data.

Anyway, OPEC production hit its peak at exactly the same time as oil prices hit their peak, give or take a few of days. (I only have monthly data here.) And OPEC production bottomed out slightly after prices bottomed out.

But OPEC production stayed quite high during August, September and October. They did not really start to cut production seriously until November. At that time oil prices were in a free fall. That is why they cut production.... obviously.

OPEC Production beginning July 2008 in thousands of barrels per day.

Jul   31,672
Aug   31,545
Sep   31,255
Oct   31,009
Nov   30,222
Dec   29,645
Jan   28,690
Feb   28,070
Mar   28,083

Ron P.

Exactly right. And exactly what economic theory (oligopoly theory in particular) predicts the Saudis would do.

But they showed a large increase in net oil exports from 2002 to 2005 (relative to the 2002 rate), in response to rising oil prices, followed a large decline in net oil exports from 2005 to 2008 (relative to 2005 rate), in response to rising oil prices. This is similar to the post-1972 and post-1999 production versus price patterns that we saw in Texas and the North Sea respectively.

Frequently, the simplest explanation is the best, e.g., Peaks Happen.

That simple explanation may be correct; time will tell.

But I have another simple explanation: KSA and other OPEC members wanted prices to rise, and Saudi agreed to cut production to drive up prices. Saudi makes way more money by driving up prices a lot and cutting back oil production. Economic theory says this is what they should do to maximize their net revenue from oil exports. Also, the Saudis are no fools: They know that the lower the rate at which they produce the longer their oil will last. Kingdoms can have a multigenerational point of view that you do not find in democracies.

But that doesn't address his statement:

"But they showed a large increase in net oil exports from 2002 to 2005 (relative to the 2002 rate), in response to rising oil prices".

Correct. For the post-2005 decline to be mostly voluntary, one has to assume that in early 2006, the Saudis decided to completely abandon their decades long goal of serving as the swing producer, and instead elected to maximize the price of oil. I still think that it is interesting that the Saudi stock market crashed in early 2006 (maybe the Royal Family was as shocked as Texas oilmen were in 1973, when both groups realized that there wasn't any material amount of excess productive capacity left).

As noted above, perhaps the simplest explanation is the best--Peaks Happen.

Oligopoly theory predicts extreme price fluctuations. See "kinked oligopoly demand curve" on Google, for example. Or study game theory, which shows how difficult it is to maintain a steady equilibrium in a multiplayer game.

Other than the 2005 to 2010 time frame, have we ever seen five years of Saudi production--and more importantly Saudi net oil exports--being below a prior level, despite five years of rising* oil prices?

*It appears that annual oil prices in the 2006 to 2010 time frame will all exceed the $57 level that we saw in 2005.

Have you reported this disturbing news to the Texas Railroad (&Oil) Commission?

Maybe they need to quantitatively ease their production limits?

My educated guess is that both the Saudis and others in OPEC wanted the unprecedented increase. They know that oil is increasingly scarce. Why then would they not want to increase their revenue from oil exports?

You still haven't answered why they picked 2005 to stop increasing exports instead of 2002.

How dare you question the wisdom of Allah!

Off with your critically thinking head.

[ i.mage.+]

Why should they not pick 2005? Some people in KSA doubtlessly read TOD. Maybe they believe us!

My point is that they didn't pick 2005, 2005 picked them. You are the one saying that they picked a year, so my question was: why 2005?

I think that very few people in KSA and none outside of KSA know what they are thinking and doing. That is why we conjecture and guess so much--but nobody outside KSA knows, including the CIA.

They stopped increasing exports to the OECD in 2003. If they really did increase exports after 2003 as they claimed then they sent it all to countries which do not submit import reports to the IEA while, at the same time, reducing the amount sent to countries that did track imports.