Drumbeat: December 3, 2010

Iraq Needs Robust Oil Exploration, Gas Development-PM's Adviser

LONDON -(Dow Jones)- Iraq needs to plan now for its future by robustly exploring for more oil in its vast fields and capturing more of its natural gas for electricity generation, the country's top energy adviser said.

As the world's largest oil companies begin tapping the potential of Iraq's massive oil and gas fields following recent contract awards, the war-ravaged nation could halve its proven oil reserves within just 20 years if the country doesn't get serious now about exploring for more oil, Thamer Al-Ghadhban, chairman of the advisory committee to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, told Dow Jones Newswires late Thursday in an exclusive interview. Likewise, he said, Iraq must boost its gas production and build more gas-fired power plants rather than burning off most of the gas associated with oil output, as it does today.

U.S. Oil, Natural Gas Rig Count Climbs by 26 to 1,713, Baker Hughes Says

Oil and natural-gas rigs operating in the U.S. jumped to a 23-month high, gaining 26 to 1,713, according to data published by Baker Hughes Inc. Oil rigs gained 18 to 742, and natural-gas rigs added eight to 961.

Eastern Siberia: A new frontier

Part of the rationale behind the increased pace of E&P activity in Eastern Siberia is the introduction of a more favourable tax regime for operators in the region. However, this is partially counteracted by high development costs, due to the region’s remote nature. These should start to come down, as supporting infrastructure matures and the labour market shifts in favour of the professionals required by the industry. The International Energy Agency is expecting Russian oil production to remain relatively flat between now and 2015, as the new capacity in eastern Siberia will mainly serve to offset declines in the West. In the longer term, it expects output to fall to slightly over 9mbpd by 2035, despite a rise in NGL production. In contrast, natural gas output is expected to accelerate from the 480bnm3 seen in 2009 to over 800bnm3 by 2035.

California Consumes More Oil Than China: Fact or Market Manipulation?

In this clip dated Nov. 17, CNBC's Sharon Epperson quoted an analyst's note from HSBC (HBC) pointing out that California currently consumes more crude oil than China.

I do not have a copy of the HSBC report, and therefore cannot verify how the conclusion was reached; however, it is hard for me to fathom California even belongs in the same sentence with China on any economic measures.

'Guerrilla warfare' pricing hikes gas costs

Gas prices in Eastern Canada have been heading higher on account of the "guerrilla warfare" pricing tactics employed by gasoline retailers, says an industry consultant.

Venezuela, Bolivia Say Climate Talks At Risk as Japan Refuses New Cuts

Venezuela and Bolivia said the United Nations climate talks may fall apart because industrial nations including Japan are refusing to promise further cuts to greenhouse gas emissions.

“What we have here after five days is a total uncertainty about the continuity about the second period of commitment,” said Pablo Solon, the Bolivian climate negotiator, at a briefing today in Cancun, Mexico. “This is totally unacceptable.”

No new areas to fish, study finds

The frontier is gone when it comes to fisheries, a new study finds. Every area of the Earth's oceans except around the polar regions is being exploited, leaving no new areas for the expanding human population to open up.

The amoeba of cultural change

In the Q&A section of public presentations we often get asked "How do you tell people about Transition ..." Then the questioner launches into a vivid description of how his attempts have failed to get through to his Hummer-driving brother-in-law, or his boss who vacations in the Bahamas, or his fellow churchgoers who rhapsodize over malls and "bargains" at big box stores, or his neighbor with the pristine, overwatered chem-lawn.

You can plug in a multitude of variables to describe the opulent consumption but in each of these instances the approach has failed for the identical reason: Our questioner doesn't understand how to use and work with the dynamics of cultural change.

China promises new support to solar development

BEIJING—Beijing is promising new subsidies to develop China's solar power industry -- policies already under fire from the United States as a possible trade violation.

BP says gov't estimate of oil flow too large

WASHINGTON (AP) -- BP is mounting a new challenge to U.S. government estimates of how much oil flowed from the runaway well deep below the Gulf of Mexico. The issue will be critical in determining the size of federal pollution fines the company will pay.

Don't panic! 'There is no food shortage'

"Stories about some shops having empty shelves are caused by a slight disruption to the timing of supermarket deliveries, which is only to be expected in this kind of weather, but the fact remains that deliveries are happening regularly.

"Buying extra supplies of food won’t help the situation and will only end up with people wasting money and wasting food, and I don’t think anyone wants to see that."

Pemex Sees Supreme Court Support for Oil Contracts

Petroleos Mexicanos, the state-owned oil company, said that the preliminary votes from Mexico’s Supreme Court mean that the new performance-based contracts are legitimate.

In a preliminary vote, nine Supreme Court justices upheld a regulation allowing Pemex to pay bonuses to contractors after they meet exploration and production goals, according to an e- mailed court transcript of today’s session.

Mexico court rejects part of Pemex law challenge

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's Supreme Court voted on Thursday to uphold some rules permitting state oil monopoly Pemex to contract with private companies but said deliberations will continue next week.

"We will resume discussion of this issue next Monday," Chief Justice Guillermo Ortiz said at the end of the court session.

Pemex Gets $3.25 Billion of Credit From 25 Banks, Reuters Says

Petroleos Mexicanos secured $3.25 billion in credit from 25 banks, Reuters reported, without saying where it got the information.

The amount includes a $1.25 billion line of credit for three years with banks including Bank of America Corp., Barclays Plc and JPMorgan Chase & Co., plus a $2 billion, five-year loan from Citigroup Inc. and HSBC Holdings Plc and other banks, Reuters said.

FACTBOX-Key political risks to watch in Venezuela

(Reuters) - President Hugo Chavez's latest nationalization drive, political tensions in parliament, moves against the oil industry and the long tail-end of a recession are all risks to watch in Venezuela in the coming months.

Report calls for radical redesign of cities to cope with population growth

By 2040, the world's urban population is expected to have grown from 3.5bn to 5.6bn. The new report calls for a radical re-engineering of cities' infrastructure to cope. "The future is going to look pretty urban ... with more and more people shifting to cities to the point that, by 2040, we're going to have two thirds of all the people in the world living in cities," said Ivana Gazibara, senior strategic adviser at Forum for the Future and an author of the report, Megacities on the Move.

"If we go on with business as usual, what happens is unmanageable levels of congestion because personal car ownership has proliferated," she said. "Cities could be a pretty nasty place to live for the two-thirds of the global population in the next 30 years if we don't act on things like climate change mitigation and adaptation, smarter use of resources and sorting out big systemic things like urban mobility."

Texas Proposal Spurs Race to Dispose of Nuclear Waste

WASHINGTON — Aged nuclear plants in Vermont and Illinois may be playing the equivalent of musical chairs in a graveyard, vying for space at a dump in Texas whose owner hopes to accept radioactive waste from many other states.

Under an alliance struck 16 years ago between Vermont and Texas, tiny Vermont can fill up to 20 percent of the space at any low-level nuclear waste dump built in Texas’ wide-open spaces. Texas got the right to exclude other states’ waste. But as a company prepares to begin construction this month on the state’s first one, the arrangement may be jeopardized by swiftly changing circumstances.

A private company that won a contract to operate the plant, at a site in Andrews on the New Mexico border, wants to accept waste from the 36 states that do not have access to a dump for some of their waste now. And a commission made up of representatives from the two states that controls the planned dump has proposed a rule for accomplishing that.

Waste disposal is so difficult, says the company, Waste Control Services, that power plants and other generating sources have reduced their volumes sharply. And Vermont and Texas together produce so little that, the company adds, it would have to charge huge amounts per cubic foot and per unit of radioactivity to get its investment back.

Crude Oil Heads for Biggest Weekly Gain in a Month on U.S. Economy Outlook

Oil headed for its biggest weekly gain in a month on speculation that U.S. fuel demand will increase as the economic recovery gathers pace in the world’s biggest oil consumer.

Futures have climbed 5.3 percent this week, the most since the period ending Nov. 5, as data showed U.S. home sales rose and manufacturing expanded. A Labor Department report today may indicate that hiring in the U.S. increased for a second month. Oil reached a three-week high after the Bundesbank raised its forecast for German economic growth next year.

“Macroeconomic sentiment has improved with stronger data from the U.S. and China,” said Andrey Kryuchenkov, an analyst with VTB Capital in London. “However, this optimism has little to do with fundamentals. A sustained rally is unlikely here.”

Pump prices headed higher in time for holiday rush

Retail gasoline prices are poised to test highs for the year just as the holiday season pushes into high gear.

Gasoline production has been affected by a series of issues at refineries that serve different parts of the country, which is sending prices higher on futures contracts. That comes as oil prices are climbing on upbeat news about the global economy.

JPMorgan Says Crude Oil Price Will Reach $120 a Barrel Before End of 2012

Oil will advance to $120 a barrel before the end of 2012 as consumption grows in emerging economies, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which is responsible for about 40 percent of global supplies, is unlikely to increase production in the first half of next year unless prices surge through $100 a barrel, the bank said in a report today. Futures traded around $87 a barrel in New York today, near their highest price in two years.

Economic recovery is too fragile for $120 oil

Prices will surely rise in the long term but a herd mentality has taken hold of the crude oil market.

Oil Analysts Split on Direction of Crude Price Next Week, Survey Shows

Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News were split over the direction of crude oil prices next week amid signals the U.S. economic recovery is accelerating while stockpiles climb.

Ten of 28 analysts, or 36 percent, forecast crude will advance through Dec. 10. Ten more respondents predicted that futures will be steady. Eight said there will be a decline. Last week, 42 percent of analysts expected the market to be little changed.

Saudi Arabia May Boost Arab Light Oil to Highest Price Since August 2009

Saudi Arabian Oil Co., the world’s biggest crude exporter, may raise the official selling prices of all of its January-loading supplies to Asia as a surge in processing profits boosts demand for crude.

Europe Gasoline at Two-Year High; Gasoil Rises for Third Day: Oil Products

European gasoline barge prices rose to the highest level in more than two years as Koch Industries Inc. bought lots and crude climbed.

Coal's Two-Year High Prompts U.K. Utilities to Burn Wood

The highest-priced coal in two years is making wood pellets a viable fuel alternative for U.K. power producers, heralding a doubling of electricity generation from biomass in the next three years.

Qatar in talks over $6bn plant

European petroleum groups such as Total and Royal Dutch Shell may be seeking entry to Qatar's emerging petrochemicals sector just as the US company ExxonMobil prepares to leave.

The two European petroleum groups are among several companies reportedly in talks with the Gulf state's energy ministry over a US$6 billion (Dh22.03bn) petrochemicals project that ExxonMobil has probably decided to abandon.

Historic rig enjoys a total rejig

It will now be deployed by the Abu Dhabi Marine Operation Company (ADMA-OPCO) and the Zakum Development Company (ZADCO), the two ADNOC operating units that pump oil from offshore fields. Both are joint ventures between ADNOC and international oil companies.

Large-capacity expansion projects at offshore fields - including Umm Shaif and the Lower and Upper Zakum reservoirs, which are among the biggest in the Gulf - are part of the Abu Dhabi Government's plan to raise the emirate's oil output capacity by a quarter to 3.5 million barrels per day by 2018.

Russia's Transneft asks govt to raise tariffs by 2-3% from 2011

Russia's oil pipeline monopoly Transneft has requested Federal Tariff Service's permission to raise prices 2-3% from January 1, a service spokesman told RIA Novosti on Friday.

Transneft head Nikolai Tokarev has said the company had enough funds to service its debt and it did not plan any tariff increases next year.

Civilians displaced as Nigeria raids oil delta camps

(Reuters) - Several civilians have been killed and scores displaced during raids by the Nigerian military against armed gangs in the creeks of the oil-producing Niger Delta, local residents said on Friday.

A military taskforce (JTF) comprising the army, navy and air force began raiding three camps which are believed to belong to a notorious gang leader in Delta state on Thursday, close to the Ayakoroma and Okrika communities.

Activist claims military 'killing spree' in Nigeria leaves 150 civilians dead

LAGOS, Nigeria — A military raid involving heavily armed soldiers and aerial bombing runs has killed as many as 150 people in Nigeria's oil-rich southern delta, according to a human rights activist.

Oghebejabor Ikim, national coordinator for the Forum of Justice and Human Rights Defense, told The Associated Press Friday that houses have been destroyed, civilians killed and women raped in the operation that began Wednesday.

Saudi King Abdullah to Undergo More Surgery on Vertabrae Today in New York

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah will undergo more surgery today in New York to repair several vertebrae, the official Saudi Press Agency reported, citing a statement from the Royal Court.

Sarkozy Seeking to Sell Military Aircraft, Nuclear Reactors on India Visit

French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrives in India tomorrow seeking a slice of its multi-billion dollar military spending and pushing Areva SA’s bid to sell at least two nuclear reactors.

Falklands oil not enough for profit-leaked cable

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil resources in the Falkland Islands, a British territory claimed by Argentina, are insufficient to be profitable, an ExxonMobil Corp executive said, leaked U.S. documents show.

The cable from the U.S. Embassy in London was dated February 2010 and was about a new oil drilling effort then starting in the Falklands and a resulting rise in tension between Britain and Argentina.

"ExxonMobil International Chairman Brad Corson told us he does not believe there is enough oil on the Falkland Islands Continental Shelf to be profitable, citing Shell's earlier oil exploration attempts which they abandoned," the cable read.

Norway sees smaller 2010 non-oil budget deficit

(Reuters) - Norway's Finance Ministry said the 2010 structural non-oil budget deficit will be 5.2 billion crown ($849.2 million) lower than it forecast in October at 119.6 billion crowns.

The underlying deficit was still some 14 billion Norwegian crowns more than guidelines meant to limit the spending of oil revenues allow during "normal years".

EU energy ministers call for better safety for oil drilling

Brussels - European Union energy ministers called Friday for a tightening of the bloc's safety rules on offshore oil drilling as early as possible next year.

The EU was spooked in April by the disastrous spill from a BP oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. The catastrophe led to calls for a wholesale revision of offshore drilling rules in the EU.

Will tar sands continue? Follow the money

Even as the world’s oil and gas companies continue to tap into Canada’s oil sands, the movement against using the carbon-intensive fuel generated from them continues to grow. ForestEthics, which has been campaigning against the use of oil sands-generated fuel, says it now has 10 companies who have publicly taken action against the use of oil sands or other high-impact fuels.

Nuclear Boom in China Sees Reactor Builders Risk Their Know-how for Cash

The ballroom of the Grand Hyatt on Beijing’s East Chang An Avenue was packed. The occasion: the first-ever China International Nuclear Symposium, a gathering of China’s top nuclear players and the world’s nuclear power companies, including Westinghouse, Areva SA, and Hitachi-GE.

What brought the Chinese to the Hyatt on Nov. 24 and 25 was a hunger for the latest technology, Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its Dec. 6 issue. What brought the foreigners was money: According to Michael Kruse, consultant on nuclear systems for Arthur D. Little, the Chinese are ready to spend $511 billion to build up to 245 reactors.

The cost of nuclear power is debatable

WE ARE being softened up on the virtues of nuclear power, and the hand - no, the fist! - of the Energy Minister, Martin Ferguson, is evident.

On Wednesday he released a study by the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, which found that by 2040 nuclear reactors will be cheaper than solar thermal, or coal-fired power plants with carbon capture and storage - assuming a carbon price rising to $US90 a tonne and Australian electricity prices almost tripling to $112 a megawatt-hour.

Beebe: No general revenue for highway improvements

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- A group that's trying to find ways to raise millions of dollars to improve Arkansas' highways got an unequivocal "no" from Gov. Mike Beebe on Thursday to its suggestion that state general revenue be diverted to road construction.

Arkansas has a per-gallon gasoline sales tax of 21.5 cents, which is devoted to highway funding. Beebe said he understands that revenue from the tax has declined as motorists drive more fuel efficient vehicles, while at the same time highway construction costs have been rising.

Pondering new breed of 'clean' energy vehicles

Perhaps no technology will transform society in the coming years as much as that related to personal transportation, since transportation is one of the most pervasive factors playing a negative role on the atmosphere.

How to provide choices and flexibility to mobility needs is a question many have for a long time. A sign of our times is that peak-oil and economic uncertainty has plunged the automobile industry into a state of flux, and that soon the internal combustion engine will be obsolete, the question is: What's next?

If the $30 Billion We Give Oil Sands Went to Green Energy

Many Canadians are surprised to learn they are paying more than half of the cost for all the natural gas consumed at the Alberta oil sands through tax and royalty write-offs -- $1.7 billion this year alone. With gas prices and consumption predicted to balloon in coming years, what will be the collective cost to the taxpayer in the next decade for turning gas into bitumen? And what else could we do with this money?

Change is Upon Us, Part 2: Peak Oil

Peak Oil. You may have heard of this term before, as it’s been slowly creeping into mainstream consciousness over the past 10 years or so. The concept, although not difficult to understand, is still often poorly understood, often due to it being misrepresented by those who have a continuing vested interest in denying that peak oil is happening.

Climate change clock winds down

Most of our transport planning is still based on the implicit assumption that we will always have cheap petroleum fuels. The orgy of building roads, tunnels and bridges in cities like Brisbane is a spectacularly misguided use of scarce resources.

We should be assessing transport schemes now to see how sensible they will look when fuel prices rise to $5 a litre, as they are likely to be within a decade, or $10 a litre, as they could be by 2025.

How Bulk Buyers Can Save Local Farmers

Farmers here send produce south to Toronto by the tractor-trailer load. They have no interest in farmers' markets or buying clubs. But even for large-volume producers, it's difficult to stay in business. Prices haven't kept pace with the cost of everything else and it's getting hard to compete with imports.

Reaume is the executive director of the Holland Marsh Growers Association, which formed in 2008 with funding from the Ontario Greenbelt Association, to try and capitalize on a growing interest in local food and access new markets willing to pay a premium for made-in-Ontario produce.

PCON Film Series Links Oil Dependence and Food Production

As part of the Peace and Conflict Studies (PCON) film series, last Monday evening, the Peace and Conflict Studies department sponsored a movie, "Crude Impact," that highlighted the need for energy consump­tion reduction and traced oil's role in global conflict. The event in Golden Auditorium argued of the severity of problems caused by fossil fuels.

Even though the movie is a bit outdated, it has a large amount of pertinent informa­tion. For example, the movie asserts that agricultural growth caused exponential population growth which has led to an unsustainable demand of fossil fuels. By managing population growth, the world's energy can be better handled. The movie also points out that educated women have less children. So, promoting women's rights across the world leads to at least two ben­efits: a more sustainable population and a set of rights for women.

Reform Comes Knocking at Railroad Commission

Texas has three railroad commissioners, who are elected statewide. They regulate oil and gas, which you’d never know from their title. But that’s not the only reason there’s a serious effort afoot to change the agency’s name and replace those officeholders with part-time gubernatorial appointees, as there are at most of the state’s other regulatory agencies.

Another, bigger reason is that there are lily pads and launch pads in Texas government, and the Railroad Commission is a launch pad. Being a railroad commissioner is less an end than a means — a way to propel yourself into a better, more high-profile and more powerful job.

The Texas Railroad Commission was established at the end of the 19th century as an effort to regulate trains, but it morphed into the biggest player in world energy pricing. OPEC was modeled on the agency’s control of Texas oil well production, which limited supply and kept up prices worldwide.

Taking Square Aim at Critics, E.P.A. Marks Its 40th

In the summer of 1970, President Richard M. Nixon consolidated the anti-pollution enforcement powers of 15 federal departments into a single new entity, the Environmental Protection Agency. “We’re going after the polluters,” William D. Ruckelshaus, the agency’s first director, said after his nomination to the post. “All of them.”

The agency, which officially opened its doors on Dec. 2, 1970, turned 40 years old on Thursday. It has a long history of successful battles against polluters, from its regulation of acid-rain-causing sulfur dioxide emissions to its bans on leaded gasoline and the toxic pesticide DDT.

Special Report - Making forests pay in a warming world

SEMPIT, Indonesia (Reuters) - Deep in the flooded jungles of southern Borneo, muddy peat oozes underfoot like jello, threatening to consume anyone who tries to walk even a few yards into the thick, steaming forest.

Hard to imagine this brown, gooey stuff could become a new global currency worth billions a year, much less an important tool in the fight against climate change.

Yet this is a new frontier for business, says Bali-based consultant Rezal Kusumaatmadja, and a new way to pay for conservation efforts in a world facing ever more pressure on the land to grow food and extract timber, coal and other resources.

Deforestation Slows as Brazil Chugs Toward a Goal

While many countries are somewhat stalled in their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Brazil has been making progress, in large part by combating deforestation of the Amazon. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has helped Brazil brand itself as one of the greener large developing countries.

This week Mr. da Silva, whose term ends at the end of the month, announced that deforestation of the Amazon had dropped to about 2,500 square miles a year. That’s about half of what it was two years ago and a third of what it was in 2000.

As Biodiversity Declines, Disease Flourishes

A study by a group of biologists, ecologists and medical researchers casts new light on a phenomenon farmers have known for years: the less genetic variety in a crop or a herd, the greater the risk that disease will decimate it. Biodiversity in ecosystems, the scientists report in the Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature, dampens a pathogen’s ability to spread among humans.

Climate: UN report highlights ocean acidification

CANCUN, Mexico (AFP) – Carbon emissions from fossil fuels may bear a greater risk for the marine environment than thought, with wide-ranging impacts on reproduction, biodiversity richness and fisheries, a report at the UN climate talks here on Thursday said.

EU loans China half a billion euros for climate change measures

Luxembourg/Beijing - The European Union's financial arm on Friday loaned China half a billion euros (660 million dollars) to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

China Turns Negotiating Tables on U.S. at Stalled Cancun Climate Meeting

The U.S. pressed China to do more at climate-change talks in Copenhagen last year. Now, as the U.S. falls short of its own goals, China may have gained more credibility in renewed negotiations by moving to clean up its energy industry.

“It used to be thought that China wouldn’t act until the U.S. took leadership,” Mark Fulton, a managing director at Deutsche Bank Climate Change Advisors in New York, said in an interview. “But unless I’ve missed something, China has already taken substantial action.”

Are we freezing because of global warming?

But before we write off our current cold snap as the British weather playing its usual tricks, we still need to explain why the Arctic high pressure has strayed so far south. And here, says Prof Maslin, is the more likely, and more subtle, link with climate change. "For me," he says, "this shows that the climate is becoming more dynamic, and thus large shifts in the wind patterns are possible – in this case, sub-tropical air being trapped further south than usual."

Climate change can't be stopped. So adapt to it

But hey, if you're confused, that's where the smart money is: it's real, it's happening, and we're not going to stop it. And snow in early December won't make a blind bit of difference to that.

Growth of flood claims linked to climate change

Canadian insurance companies are facing unprecedented growth in claims and payouts for water-related home damage, and industry experts lay the blame squarely on climate change.

..."For most of the country, the infrastructure is not built for the climate that we are now starting to see," argued Brock Carlton, the federation's CEO.

Four Degrees and Beyond Special Issue Journal

Tyndall Centre brings the latest climate change research to the UN Summit in Mexico. The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research is a major contributor to a specially themed '4 degrees and beyond' edition of the Royal Society’s prestigious journal Philosophical Transactions A.

The special edition was released today to coincide with the start of the UN climate change summit in Cancun, Mexico. To enable the widest dissemination to climate change policy makers and non-academics, the papers in this normally specialist journal are open access and free to download

The collection of papers by leading international scholars from the Tyndall Centre, Oxford University, the Met Office and overseas institutes, explores the likelihood of large climate changes of 4 degrees and the potential impacts of these changes. The research addresses the challenges involved in avoiding high levels of warming, as well as the challenges of adaptation should society fail to do so. It stems from the first academic conference to analyse 4 degrees and beyond, last year by the Tyndall Centre.

Saudi Arabia Then (early 2004) and now (late 2010):

Early 2004:


Mr Al-Naimi said: "Saudi Arabia continues to be committed to OPEC's $22-28 price band. There are signs that worldwide inventories have begun to build but no one really knows for sure. I do not believe there is a fissure [within Opec]. There is dialogue. Opec in general is committed to the band," he said.

And of course, the Saudis significantly increased their net exports in 2004 and 2005, up to a recent peak of 9.1 mbpd in 2005, but then. . .

From the (December, 2010) Saudi item uptop:

Saudi Arabian Oil Co. may raise the official selling prices of all of its January-loading supplies to Asia as a surge in processing profits boosts demand for crude.

Old policy (through 2005): increase net exports to try to equalize supply & demand.

New policy (post-2005): let higher prices equalize supply and demand, as post-2005 Saudi net oil exports have averaged about 8.0 mpbd in the 2006-2010 time frame, versus 9.1 mbpd in 2005 (note that average annual oil prices in 2006-2010 have all exceeded the $57 level that we saw in 2005). Of course some of us think that the Saudis were unable to keep increasing their net oil exports after 2005 and they had no choice but to let higher prices equalize supply & demand.

Tthe new policy was implemented in early 2006, when the Saudi Oil Minister complained that because of a lack of demand for Saudi oil, "Even their light/sweet oil," they were forced to curtail their net exports. This was of course about midway through six straight years of rising annual oil prices, from $26 in 2002 to $100 in 2008. I continue to find it odd that the Saudi stock market crashed at precisely the same time that the Saudis started delivering less oil to the markets, in response to rising oil prices:


It almost makes one suspect that the Saudi Royal Family was shocked to learn that they could not keep increasing their net exports--in much the same way that Texas oilmen were shocked that Texas oil production started falling in 1973, after the RRC went to a virtually across the board 100% allowable, in 1972.

Go easy on the Royals. You tried to pay an NYC surgery bill lately? :)

Gotta hand it to Charles, he's been dead nuts on top of the gasoline situation in the NE. Today's anecdotal Southern Maryland evidence -

Went in to the gym at 5am and looked at premium gas: $3.16/gal

Came out of the gym an hour and a half later: $3.26/gal

+10 cents in 1.5 hours. I only care about premium since my WRX requires it and if I ever stop riding my motorcycle to work (it works fine on low-grade) I'll have to shell out the high dollars.

PS - the jump up to $3.74 I mentioned two days ago was erroneous, later in the day it was revised back down to $3.14 as I suspected it would be.

We're paying $3.49 to $3.59 for premium unleaded in
SW CT .. It's been over $3.33 for at least a month now ..

Triff ..

Average in UK for premium is $7.58 (£1.275/litre)

Thanks for the shout out. Today's gasoline market trading was uneventful, not surprisingly after rising smartly for 3 of the 5 business days this week.

There also was not much US news about gasoline today, but there were some expectations that gasoline imports from the east coast of Canada will resume early next week and start arriving in New York harbor not long afterward.

So the premium of Northeast gasoline relative to the rest of the country should moderate. On the other hand, the rising price of oil indicates that in general, gasoline prices will still be rising most everywhere else in the US in the next few weeks.

Our experience from about November 10 until now in the New York Harbor area should serve as a warning that total US gasoline inventories will be vunerable going into 2011 - although based upon recent trends, outright shortages should not crop up anytime soon (within a few months).

From the penultimate article:

"For most of the country, the infrastructure is not built for the climate that we are now starting to see"

I think we can safely change the first part of that to "For most of the world"

My first thought when reading the passage you quoted "not built for the climate" was...by climate, do you mean the environmental climate or the business climate. I think, perhaps, both are true.

Despite a horrible jobs report this morning, NYMEX crude rises to $88. The frog is getting slowly boiled again.

Precious metals are in record territory again; gold over $1400, silver over $29.

So does the increase in price of various different commodities imply it's more a case of the weakness of currency than an appreciation of the various commodities?

Yes, I think this is going to be a big issue. Most people don't realize how much our infrastructure is designed for the local climate.

Norfolk, VA is having a hard time coping with rising seas, but still people want to build on the shoreline.

Let them. Maybe it will help cut the surplus population.

We're Toast


Professor http://ag.arizona.edu/%7Egrm/ goes nuts, faces reality.

Victor, 7th comment down, burns the toast.

I'm gone before the deniers start scraping the toast.

Can't stand that sound!

From your link:

Much to the chagrin and willful ignorance of the mainstream media and also editors at sites that focus on energy, including The Oil Drum and Energy Bulletin, the industrial economy could reach its overdue terminus quite soon.

It’s far too late for a fast collapse of the industrial economy: By virtually every economic measure, we’ve experienced a lost decade already.

The top part of that quote reminds me of a post by Nate Hagens years ago on TOD where he likened those who worried about climate change to a distracted chimp poking around for ants to eat while a saber-toothed cat (peak oil) stands behind him, abouts to pounce and eat the distracted chimp.

Of course, in this case it is the peak oilers (chimps) poking around looking for silver BBs while the fraud-based financial system (saber-toothed cat) gets ready to eat them along with all their grand plans.

Guy McPherson is a big-time doomer. Of the sort that actually wants a collapse. We've got a doomer or two on staff here, but I don't think we have anyone who actively wants a fast crash.

Now, I think Nate would agree that financial issues will be a problem before peak oil.

And I suspect many people were taken off guard at how fast the climate is changing. I am now convinced climate change may prove to be far more catastrophic for the average person than peak oil.

Here's what's happening in most of the world...

It is a truly beautiful paradigm changing insight! It really blew my mind...

That was fascinating !

The one thing I keep thinking about is how one restores the vast amount of land needed for herbivores to move around freely in this model. We've chopped the land up so badly into farms and small lots.

Well to be honest it seemed to me that Alan Savory was saying that there is plenty of open land that is already in the process of becoming desert in places like Texas where they have millions of heads of cattle in feedlots, let them out to trample and graze at regular intervals.

We could also put the unemployed to work breaking up parking lots and knocking down fences and deliberately not supply them with Porta Potties while they do their work >;^)

I can visualize that ;)

"Here's your lunch pail and your shovel"

I've thought about that, but why break up the parking lot? Its an awesome microclimate if its blacktop. Could grow lots of heat loving veggies in containers. Heck...put high tunnel hops over it and grow almost year round. Shut it down for Dec/Jan.

I have a friend doing just that in an urban farm.


Thank you for the link. He made a lot of sense but left out some critical elements. Clearly, there is an optimal stocking level. You can't have wall to wall grazing animals. How did he arrive at appropriate levels? Rotational grazing in the US is the big "new thing" in the US. Yet, he would seem to be arguing that this is wrong. Also, he didn't say whether stocking levels were changed seasonally.

But, as you say, there are lots of things to think about.


In Omnivore's Dilemma, Joel Salatin explains (to Michael Pollan) rotational grazing in this way: The grazer -- like any other animal -- has preferences for certain "eats". If you allow the grazer to stay on the same pasture, it will preferentially remove the most desirable forage, leaving behind the less desirable stuff. By keeping grazers on a short rotation, you prevent build-up of less desirable forage, plus you reduce build-up of parasites that prey on your grazers. Salatin follows his cattle with chickens -- which he points out is a model found frequently in the natural world -- which pick at the fresh cow pats, eating the fly eggs and scattering the manure (which speeds breakdown of your manure). Only when ample regrowth of your most desirable species has occurred, does he bring his cattle back in to graze again.

Maybe it's just a contrary nature, but all this reliance on Joel Salatin and Pollan get me. For starters, Joel has some of the most unique land and climate in the US. An ancient river valley, the Shenandoah, combined with evenly distributed 40 inch rainfall in a temperate, little snowpac or dessicating heat, humid area. And after traveling many miles last winter to hear Pollan speak at a land grant university, I was very upset he didn't take any questions from all the aggie students just waiting to interject. Just some softball throws from the moderator, and he's gone.

There are many folks out there, making rotational, or strip, or all season, or all winter, or complete pasture, grazing work in their area. You don't have to have high priced chickens in the DC market to make it go. That certainly helps, but ag is first and foremost local in production.

It's my understanding he didn't have to buy that land, either.

Then there's the fact that people actually pay HIM to "apprentice" on his farm.

Years ago, a farm manager I know went to one of Salatin's workshops and had to participate in a PRAYER.

I was very upset he didn't take any questions from all the aggie students just waiting to interject. Just some softball throws from the moderator, and he's gone.

This is not surprising.

Actually, I think he's probably over limestone residuum, not alluvium. I've not seen his farm but I know about where it is and I would guess that it is a red, clay soil typical of the rolling parts of the Shen Valley. It can be surprisingly hot and dry in those parts in the summer months -- especially so in the last decade or two.

Salatin has obviously figured out what works for him but it may not be applicable in all parts of the country. When I read Omnivore, I was struck by how far some of Salatin's customers drove to pick up their free range chicken. I suspect that troubles him as well, but like the rest of us, he is doing what he has to do to survive.

I assumed he was in ancient valley silt, the Shenandoah Valley being one the older watercourses of the country. Still, to me and much of the country, that limestone parent and it's cation exchange ability, coupled with small particle size from the clay, is to die for. And I'm certain that Joel has improved his original soil many fold over the years. The hot and dry is only relative. Summer thunder and rain is common, and whenever I have been in the east in summer, it's not the temps that knock me over-it's the humidity. Holy Mackeral, but plants thrive in it.

Perhaps there's a tinge of jealousy to boot with ol Polyface-his notoriety AND his unique farm location/production options give him all sorts of bottom line help. I do admire what both Pollan and him have done to highlight problems, and no doubt he could have run corn, then sold DC developer lots prior to the crunch and retired in the islands.

Doug, the surface of the Shendandoah Valley is largely an erosional -- not a depositional -- feature (that's true where it extends north into the unglaciated portions of PA, as well). The Valley lowlands are primarily underlain by limestones, dolomites and shales of Cambrian to Ordovician age. Only about 15 percent of the Valley is alluvial terraces or floodplain. Overall, the topography is gently to steeply rolling with more resistant rocks (shales and cherty dolomites) underlying the steeper portions of the landscape. For more info, I suggest "Geomorphology of the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia and West Virginia and Origin of the Residual Ore Deposits." by John T. Hack, USGS Prof Paper 484, 1965.

I can't lay hands on my Virginia state soils map at the moment, but Swoope (where Polyface is) is on the western edge of the Valley floor, just east of where the terrain breaks sharply higher into sandstone and shale rocks. All is relative I guess but he's farming stuff that is much more suited to grazers than it is row crops -- certainly nothing as productive as Corn Belt soils or even like the sandy soils of the Southern Coastal Plain. IIRC, Salatin talks in Omnivore about having made significant progress in rehabbing soils on the farm.

I have always gotten a strange vibe from Salatin. I am quite interested in sustainable models of agriculture, and in fact have taught college courses on the subject for a few years. Something about the whole Polyface Farm thing gets my spider senses tingling... maybe it's just the somewhat aggressive promotion

And yet, a friend of mine went down there and took the course and was all inspired and everything. But I don't know that New Hampshire folks should be thinking that Salatin's scheme is necessarily applicable to us up here in the Granite State uplands.

I totally agree with doug fir - "ag is first and foremost local in production."

To put things in perspective: The Harrisonburg/Staunton Virginia area is big-time industrial poultry production. So, in Salatin's mind, I'm sure he sees himself as "fighting the good fight."

The other thing you have to put into perspective is that Virginia is Bible Belt country. That may creep some of the folks here out, but that's just the way it is -- particularly in rural parts of the state. As someone who lived there for many years, I can say that if you let a Southerner's religion get in the way of your trying to understand where he's coming from, you won't probably get to know him.

There is another cultural clash here that Pollan gently glides by. Pollan is a deeply urban creature, but Salatin has no interest in sustaining urban society. Pollan has to face the fact that he can't have his cake and eat it too. If he's going to lionize Salatin, he has to accept or at least work carefully through his anti-urban bias.

I thought Pollan was pretty gracious, and yet he didn't hide the Religious and anti-urban zeal that Salatin brings with him, either.

The fact that this labor-intensive idea has to be supported by selling to a clientele' that is willing and able to write a bigger check is of course also a function the extremely cheap, mass-produced food it is in competition against. Anyone have a better way to thread that needle? You can say it's unsustainable, based on wealthy patrons, but to me it seems that this is the 'subsidy' he's worked out which has enabled him to develop this plan. The economics of it could probably only be ultimately 'proved' if they were able to proceed in a less extremely slanted playing field. (Not unlike Renewable Energy, it seems)

I thought the central ideas of identifying as a 'Grass Farmer', and of finding patterns to let a handful of species work in a (carefully managed) cooperation in order to help contain pathogens, deal with waste constructively, and preclude a lot of the standard external inputs is one which can be mirrored in other regions, it would be an adaptation to local details and would surely require as much observation and involvement as he seems to have committed himself to where he is.

Clearly, there is an optimal stocking level. You can't have wall to wall grazing animals. How did he arrive at appropriate levels?

Todd, to be honest this is really the first I'd heard of Allan or his work and the only reason I even did that is because he happened to win the 2010 Buckminster Fuller Challenge, an organization that I support and follow.

From what I understand so far from this admittedly very brief exposure to his work is that he arrived at his conclusions over a rather extended period of observation and trial and error living and ranching in his native Rhodesia.

I agree with your points and yes he does seem to be saying that "Rotational Grazing" is the wrong approach under most circumstances.

In any case a lot of what he says seems to make sense in those grassland ecosystems that co-evolved with large grazing herbivores such as bison, antelopes, zebras etc... The only animal that we currently have in large enough quantities that could have an impact similar to that of such herbivores are of course cattle. Which at least in the case of Texas are locked up in feeds lots.

If I understand correctly then stocking levels are allowed to be very concentrated for short periods and then the animals are dispersed into the fields which are then grazed all year round. I think this partly mimics the effects of mass migrations of animals such as Wildebeest and buffalo but I really haven't studied this in detail so it's just a hunch.

Presumably for the USA the sustainable stocking levels would be the same as when buffalo roamed the plains? It's all about recycling the nutrients - I would guess that all those buffalo only supported a few predators, like the plains of Africa only support relatively few lions, cheetas, hyenas etc compared with the vastly more grass eating animals.

I think that means that, long term, the plains of the USA will only support a very few humans sustainably.

Excellent point. The idea that this means we can all live happily ever after on an all beef diet does not follow. There is clearly a case to be made for returning large ungulates to their restored native habitats. But it's not going to feed the current world population.

Hard to reply to this little subthread. First, current human world pop is long beyond sustainable, whatever your definition of that highly loaded and ambiguous term. Frank Popper of NJ had the "Buffalo Commons idea in the 90's. That tourism inspired idea went nowhere. Grains are way overrated. From an ecological point of view, feeding human populations from the seed, or portion of the seed, of a grass is terribly wasteful of the plant production. Grains have acquired their stature from their storage ability. There is much more to pasture farming than mimicking native ungulate pops. It's about the flow. There's no manual, no one size for stocking rate, or even specie. What works for him probably won't work for you.


There have been numerous studies of both human and bison populations
pre European contact. These authors comment on those and give their
reasoning for concluding there were 30 million bison and no more than
130,000 people dependent on them.

I think that means that, long term, the plains of the USA will only support a very few humans sustainably.

That may or may not be true for many reasons. However humans aren't exactly Saber Tooth Tigers either, they are opportunistic omnivores so the point is invalid.

This conversation is about restoring dead desert soils to a living system by allowing large herbivores to roam and graze on them.

For the record I too think that we are way past overshoot but recovering some of those soils may still prove useful for some survivors.

This conversation is about restoring dead desert soils to a living system by allowing large herbivores to roam and graze on them.

Not completely it's about how some of those deserts came to be - like the 'dust bowl'.

The only proven sustainable way is nature's way - hunter gather, like all the other animal species on earth ... which implies a very much smaller human population.

I don't have near the bandwidth, or speed, to mess around at your link. But judging from the lead page, it's about time the role of grazers get wider attention. We've all seen the hoopla recently with grass fed beef and human health, the promising aspects should include more of the farm and environmental returns. Many studies show healthy pastures and their livestock can actually decrease methane production, through soil microbial activity. The increased microbial activity absorbs livestock production, additionally, livestock on healthy pasture have lowered production themselves compared to feedlot and confined diets.

And Mr X, you would no longer have to worry about ethanol returns, either financial or energy wise. Premium land that can get 200 bushel corn, land that will also make 10+ ton/ac of high quality forage, has been shown to provide higher returns with cattle, even given the miserable price of cattle and the subsidy laden corn at $3.00. How can that be, you ask. Returns are also a function of cost. Get rid of that harvesting and tillage equipment, that $250K combine, ah but there's a rub. All that revolving debt, and besides, it's a kick to drive that monster. Climate controlled cab with the world satellite connected, sitting high above the plain with more power than an Abrams tank. Just watch those kernels swoosh in....

I know, corn isn't at $3 anymore. Well, cattle aren't still at $.80

Many studies show healthy pastures and their livestock can actually decrease methane production, through soil microbial activity. The increased microbial activity absorbs livestock production, additionally, livestock on healthy pasture have lowered production themselves compared to feedlot and confined diets.

That in a nutshell is pretty much it!

Doug fir-

I won't buy meat if it isn't grass fed.

Interesting graphic.

That is from Jan 1st to Dec 31st 2000...

Re: Are we freezing because of global warming?

A few days ago, Westexas asked about the state of the Gulf Stream. What's occurring to the folks in the UK and Northern Europe might be a warning about the future as the THC changes. There have been model experiments which link this present pattern to the decline in sea-ice, which has resulted in more open water in the Barents Sea. Climate Change may already be happening, IMHO...

Edit: Here's a look at the present TOPEX sea surface height for the North Atlantic:
Mighty strange to the east of Greenland, if you ask me...

E. Swanson

Wow! Would damming cause that? Expansion from higher temps? Winds?

Not being an oceanographer, I can only offer this. The sea surface height is a function of the density of the total column of sea water below. Since the deeper layers change slowly, I would think that this implies that the surface layer(s) have become less dense, thus the height must increase to give the same pressure distribution below. This would be consistent with the reports in the literature of a freshening of the surface waters of the Nordic Seas. That process would tend to reduce the THC flow to deeper layers which has appeared in several AOCGCM experiments as a result of Global Warming.

It might be that an extra flow of low density water and sea-ice leaving the Arctic Ocean thru the Fram Strait might have resulted in a pool of low density surface water at this location. Or, it could be that the surface winds have influenced the local surface currents, pushing more water into the region. My WAG is that this isn't the cause, but, lacking further evidence, I can't say which. A serious oceanographic survey would be required to measure the salinity profile. Such efforts take time (and lots of money) to take the measurements and then produce the data and then more time to reach publication, where I might see it...

E. Swanson

Methane hydrates are bubbling down there?

The Topex/Poseidon instrument on the Jason-1 satellite only has a geographical coverage from 66 S to 66 N. The blob of red you are seeing is an artefact of the processing.

The following comes from a Radar Altimetry Tutorial:

... The TOPEX/POSEIDON Sea Surface Height Anomaly product is generated from the TOPEX/POSEIDON Merged Geophysical Data Record, Generation B (MGDRB), Reference 1. It is organized as 10 day (actually 9.915 days) repeat cycles, the same as the MGDRB. There are 127 orbits per cycle and each orbit has a period of 112 minutes. The ground track of the orbits are about 315 km apart at the equator. Along track measurements are approximately 1 sec and 6 km apart. Each orbit is composed of 2 passes, one ascending from -66 deg to +66 deg latitude and the other descending from +66 deg to - 66 deg. The passes are organized this way to avoid data boundaries in the middle of the oceans. ...

A more careful graphical depiction of the data would have missing values (blank holes) for data above 66 or at most 67 deg N latitude.

Sorry to spoil the fun, but there is nothing in the data north of Iceland because ... drum roll please ... there aren't any data north of Iceland.


Well, the web site from which I took the graphic claims otherwise, since they use data from several satellites:

Welcome to the CCAR Global Near Real-Time Sea Surface Anomly Data Viewer. This page allows you to view maps of the sea surface anomaly for any region in the global ocean (70°S to 70°N latitude). Maps are produced from Jason, TOPEX/Poseidon(T/P), Geosat Follow-On(GFO), ERS-2 and Envisat altimeter data processed in near real-time, usually within 12 to 36 hours of overflight.

The European satellite is sun synchronous with an inclination of 98.55 degrees. That one can sense to a latitude of (180-98.55) = 81.45. I suppose I should have looked a bit deeper into the source before posting. Of course, whether this data is unusual or not is the central question and is one which I can not answer. One can plot data from the link above back to 1993...

EDIT: Here's a link to a NOAA site which presents forecast sea surface temperatures for the North Atlantic. The location of the Gulf Stream is clear as seen in the boundary between the warmer mid latitude Atlantic and the colder Sub Polar Gyre as the Gulf Stream leaves the US coast off North Carolina. The temperature information says little about the rate of flow below the surface...

E. Swanson

Re: Deforestation Slows as Brazil Chugs Toward a Goal, up top:


Annual U.S. ethanol production stood at 3.4 billion when deforestation peaked in 2004. In 2010, the ethanol industry will produce nearly 13 billion gallons. So, Amazon deforestation has fallen 76% since 2004, while U.S. ethanol production has increased 279% in the same period.

"Today's announcement by Lula is just the latest exhibit in a recent barrage of evidence that is undermining the argument that ILUC is a significant concern in the context of U.S. biofuels expansion.

In the argument about energy subsidies taking place on the Senate floor yesterday Senator Grassley did Chubby Checker one better by comparing things that are different while doing the Republican twist.

He said that letting the ethanol subsidy die on schedule at the end of the year was a tax increase (which according to Republican ideology is always bad).

Then he compared ethanol to bio diesel which for all practical purposes died after its $1 per gallon subsidy ended. Both local bio diesel plants are shut down.

Obviously bio diesel and ethanol are not the same. But in energy discussions it doesn’t matter much. The United States exports diesel to Europe which has a lot of diesel cars. If I understand the situation correctly this is because distillates (diesel and heating oil) are a percentage of refinery output that refiners produce at the same time as gasoline.

There is good demand for gasoline in the U.S., but not so much for diesel.

He held up the prospect that ethanol would meet the same fate as bio diesel if its subsidy ended ignoring the fact that ethanol has a mandate and bio diesel doesn’t.

If removing the subsidy for ethanol is a tax increase, if follows that removing other subsidies are also tax increases.

Take, for example, the extended unemployment benefits “subsidy” which is also about to expire at the end of the year leaving the long term unemployed with no income. According to Grassley that is a tax increase and it is no small increase.

It is a tax increase of 100 percent since all the income of the long term unemployed is taken away.

Another example would be cutting/eliminating oil subsidies. This is a tax increase on gasoline which many on this forum, including myself, think is necessary and long overdue. This upside down world view has definite upside politically for gas tax increase advocates.

It is now possible to raise gasoline taxes with political cover. Doing without the ethanol subsidy may be worth it. The problem remains that as gasoline consumption falls due to Peak Oil and increased taxes after oil subsidies are cut/removed, ethanol demand will also fall since it is mostly used at a fixed 10% blend rate with gasoline.

Republicans have mastered the twist: Dumbfounded Democrats made dizzy by circling Republicans are speechless.


The concept of peak as applied to deforestation seems rather absurd. Whether it peaked or not, it is still occurring. Stop it dead in its tracks, and then maybe we can have some hope.

Went to the Denver pedestrian mall yesterday. Everyone was walking or taking the free hybrid electric buses that go back and forth the length of the mall. The mall is 2 kilometers long and is immensely popular, vibrant, and full of energy. Downtown Denver is thriving. Also saw the bikes for the bike rental program in various parts of the city on my bus trip to the Doctor.

I used to work in downtown Denver in the early 70s. Downtown was largely skid row and full of bums. Everything has changed over the years for the better.

Best hopes for cutting through the crap and just getting out of our cars. There is a beautiful world out there, still, even with all of our problems. Burning a lot less fuel would certainly help whether it is oil derived or partly plant based.

Besides, peak deforestation leads quickly to no forests at all, unlike peak oil, if the past is any indication. It happened here in New England ca. 1860 and all they had were hand tools and a tiny population. We are just now regaining some forests that match what was common in 1800.

On one hand we see claims that wind power will only generate x (small) % of load so it is irrelevant, on the other that biomass is "renewable" so let's ramp it up. I'm not so sure about the "renewable" claim for biomass over the short term, meaning within our lifetime.

Best hope for recognizing the ecosystem benefits of old growth forests in a time of peak environmental stress.

The concept of peak as applied to deforestation seems rather absurd.

So who are you going to fight?


U.S. biofuels policy drives deforestation in Indonesia, the Amazon

Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, January 17, 2008

“U.S. incentives for biofuel production are promoting deforestation in southeast Asia and the Amazon by driving up crop prices and displacing energy feedstock production, say researchers.

William Laurance, a senior scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, says that massive subsidies to promote American corn production for ethanol have shifted soy production to Brazil where large areas of cerrado grasslands are being torn up for soybean farms. The expansion of soy in the region is contributing to deforestation in the Amazon.

“Some forests are directly cleared for soy farms. Farmers also purchase large expanses of cattle pasture for soy production, effectively pushing the ranchers further into the Amazonian frontier or onto lands unsuitable for soy production,” said Laurance.

Look at Easter Island. We'll fight to burn it all, and then we'll fight each other. Until people start freezing and starving, it's just white-wash, IMHO.

There is a beautiful world out there, still, even with all of our problems. Burning a lot less fuel would certainly help whether it is oil derived or partly plant based.

Agreed that when public investment creates welcoming public spaces that are not car-dominated that the public flocks to them. But the problem is that every small step to create infrastructure that is not inherently car-dominated sparks the chorus of emotional car-dependent people claiming that investment in anything but roads is un-realistic, elitest, and a boondoggle. Merchants on Boulder's pedestrian mall fought hard against the creation of the mall, which now has some of the highest rental rates per square foot in the state.

I have personally spent lots of time fighting these political battles in Boulder/Denver metro. The commercial success of LoDo and other renewing downtown neighborhoods is very much a result of transit, bike, and pedestrian public investment. Yet Colorado's own Republican congressmen are talking about trying to pull the Federal funding for light rail expansion, despite the local job-creation effects.

Even without the climate and peak-oil aspects, a less car-dependent lifestyle has many health, financial, and pleasure benefits. But when I just visited relatives in the Midwest, 4 lane roads with massive public infrastructure investment lacked sidewalks, and only the poor(and freaks like me) walked in the litter-strewn shoulder or gutter, while the SUVs zoomed by. This lack of investment in pedestrian, bike, and transit facilities is a self-fulfilling prophecy that only cars are "practical". The consequences in obesity, oil consumption, and trade/government/household deficits seem outside the discussion in heartland America.

Anecdotally, I can report that, from an insider who should know, a certain GOP senator who recently voted against the herd, and for the recent food bill, had a number of large donors call up and state that they would withdraw their support if it happened again.

Such is how money manipulates politicians.

I am watching the next few votes with interest.

I've been trying to track Jeff Rubin and Nicole Foss, two very thoughtful analysts of the economic effects of our unfolding net energy crunch. But I have yet to find any sustained discussion by them of their competing inflationary/deflationary models. Does anyone know if there has there been a sustained dialogue/debate between them, and is this accessible?

About two weeks ago on theautomaticearth.blogspot.com there was a discussion on these issues. Rubin will not directly debate Foss, because he despises her as a noneconomist.

Rubin will not directly debate Foss, because he despises her as a noneconomist.

Yes, those day long sessions during which economics grad students are forced to chant, "despicable non-economists", over and over for hours on end, have been all too effective.

Still, even though the public is well aware of this practice in economics departments everywhere, if you are going to include this line in your novel, you might want to change the names, or, alternatively, provide a footnote indicating the time and date when Rubin explicitly identified Foss as a despicable non-economist. There's likely to be hundreds of quotes you can use given the effectiveness of the forced chanting sessions.

Otherwise, keep up the good work. It's nice to be straightened out after reading all the misleading stuff that the likes of Krugman, deLong, Shiller, Galbraith, Stiglitz and ilk foisting on an unsuspecting public.

Shiller is a good economist. Read his books.

Galbraith also had a lot of good things to say. He was a great writer, too. I'm speaking of John Kenneth Galbraith, not his son.

"Shiller is a good economist."
Is that Robert or Bradley. I was just trying to google Shiller.


Still, even though the public is well aware of this practice in economics departments everywhere, if you are going to include this line in your novel, you might want to change the names, or, alternatively, provide a footnote indicating the time and date when Rubin explicitly identified Foss as a despicable non-economist.

He certainly did not say "despicable non-economist". But he certainly was a bit dismissive during a Q & A session of the 2010 ASPO meeting. You can find an MP3 of that by going to the comments sections of theoildrum articles on the 2010 ASPO conference. And shortly after the ASPO conference, Jim Pupulava had both Jeff Rubin & Nicole Foss as guests. To to Puplava's FSN site and download/listen to those shows . . . the small tift between the two was brought up on the show with Nicole.

I find both Nicole & Rubin quite interesting & informative. I don't agree with everything either of them says and I can find ways of reconciling their views by dismissing parts of each.

Economics is "The Dismal Science" and there is always a lot of disagreement.

I am sticking with ecological economists such as Costanza, Daly, Elinor Ostrum, William Rees, works by Odum, et. al.

Add Kenneth Boulding and Robert Heilbronner to your list of economists worth reading.

How about Nicholas Georgescu Roegen? I like "The Entropy Law and the Economic Process" very much.

Let's see: Costanza and Odum are systems ecologists, Rees is a population ecologist, Ostrum is political scientist and Daly is advocating steady state economics, something his mentor, Georgescu-Roegen, convincingly argued is impossible in this universe.

But hey, understanding part of the picture is almost as blissful as complete ignorance. Getting your head around any more than a part brings one dangerously close to uncertainty, which leads often to anxiety and eventually drug and alcohol dependence and in severe cases to suicide and karaoke singing.

Ha, haven't reached the anxiety level of karaoke singing yet but some of my good friends are already there. The good news is that all these folks consider the economy a subset of the environment which gives them a huge leg up on the neo-traditional cornucopians (economists) which represent the remaining 95%+. And, steady state is probably not too bad of a goal, at least while we are still in the climax phase of our world's FF based energy pulse.

The economy is not a subset. It is just a way of looking at the world, modelling it. Some people are better at it than others. Leaders in governments, business and labour, NGOs, everywhere, rely a great deal on what professional economists see when looking at the world. A matter complicated by the range of perspectives, leading leaders to hire communication graduates to evaluate the advice of economists.

People good at looking at the world in terms of production, distribution, consumption, would have to find something else to do to pay their rent were it not for scarcity.

Peak oil will generate a lot of work for economists.

Boy, that's going to piss off a lot of people.

They appeared together at ASPO, and had a pretty spirited discussion, in the context of the Q&A, if memory serves. Regarding the short term direction of oil prices, it appears that Rubin has--so far at least--been more correct, although longer term they are probably on the same page.

Rubin ventured into the world of electricity, in which Nicole is an expert from her business background, and she thoroughly demonstrated how little Rubin knew about the topic.

Rubin still represents in his thinking a form of BAU light. Nicole is describing what is more likely to be the situation, in my view.

It is also a timing question. We may get inflation in the shorter run but deflation when we are heading down the back side of the FF energy pulse.

And if one listens to Jim Pluplava (Where Mrs. Foss is now a regular) and George Ure (Whom the other 1/2 of theautomaticearth likes) you'll see:

Inflation for some assets, deflation for others.

Food, Energy as examples of inflation things. Deflation - real estate.

Jim's FSNA podcast had both Rubin/Foss on one week and a discussion of the 2 POVs.

One thing that concerns me about both of them is how sure they are of the future. The world is very complex with many second, third and even forth order feedback and even nested loops and we need to respect this. That is one reason why so many seemingly good forecasts of the future go wrong.

Real estate can not be deflation because it was not inflation when real estate went up 20% a year for 4 years. The FED does not consider assets as inflation. So assets can't be deflation either.

To use the "core" of economics - Inflation is when the money supply expands.

Up until the next collapse of fiat currency, there will be inflation. Once a fiat currency collapses, well that is a kind of deflation.

The typical collapse of a currency is hyperinflation. Check the history books.

If you are sticking with the strict 'an increase in the money supply is inflation' definition - a fiat currency which is no longer printed is the ultimate collapse. No longer printing -> no longer inflating no?

Economists aren't as bad as lawyers - both have 'trade dress' and 'words of art'. Perhaps one day the economists will 1st define exactly what they mean before making their arguments here on TOD so none can doubt them and the point they are shooting for.

Both economists and lawyers use some Latin. Otherwise I see no similarities whatsoever. There is no exact translation of "ceteris paribus," though my translation "other things staying the same" is much better than the usual translation "other things being equal."

If you read Alfred Marshall's great book, you will see some more Latin--and a good deal of calculus in the footnotes. Lawyers don't use calculus. By and large, lawyers are innumerate.

aangel or others - I also have not kept up on their discussions as much as I would like.

Do you know if Rubin publically recognizes the amount of fraud in our financial system?

If he has commented, do you know if he has any suggestions for managing a Transition in a fraud-based financial system ?

Rubin really doesn't understand electricity well. He routinely dismisses EVs by saying that if we all plug in our electric cars there will be massive black-outs. This is very naive thinking on several levels.
1) Adoption of EVs will be gradual. People won't throw away gas cars and EVs are still struggling to be economically viable.
2) There won't be sudden peak demand problems since the EVs will be instructed to charge during the middle of the night. This is done using time-of-use metering incentives and all the modern EVs have intelligent charging systems that can be programmed as to when to charge.
3) There is more than enough RIGHT NOW to charge tens of millions of EVs w/o adding any new power plants as long as they are charged at night.

Both of them are probably right in some ways, wrong in others.

Debt destruction in theory is deflationary, except bad debts are being swapped for infinite cash from the Fed, which is being pumped into things like equities and commodities.

Bernanke is a smart man, and basically right: under a fiat money regime, it is impossible to have general deflation if the central bank is willing to provide liquidity at all costs.

But the question is where this liquidity ends up. It certainly doesn't end up in the hands of the struggling American, except for handouts like food stamps. It ends up in places like healthcare and commodities, producing price inflation which may end up in mini bubbles or in big busts.

The only way to remove yourself from this equation is to cut back on expenses, conserve energy, and buy gold and silver.

But really, I don't think this is too relevant to the endgame (which I see happening in my lifetime), namely, political dissolution of the U.S.

The U.S. is too big to fail, which ensures that it will.

"misrepresented by those who have a continuing vested interest in denying that peak oil is happening."

Who are those? and why?

Who are those? and why?

Is that an attempt at sarcasm or are you seriously incapable of thinking of anyone who might have a vested interest in maintaining the current status quo?! How about TPTB, governments, oil companies, automobile manufacturers, big Ag, the pharmaceutical industry, financial institutions, my mother, etc, etc...

"Those" are pretty much everybody in industrial civilization.

Maybe a more interesting question is who are those few who do not have an interest in denying peak oil?
(start with renewable energy industry, mass transit industry, bike/ped advocates, congenital iconoclasts, etc., I guess).

"Mrs. Smith?"

"Yes, doctor? What is it?"

"It's your daughter. We got the test results back and... she was born iconoclastic. I'm so sorry."

"Oh my god, no! What can we do?"

"There isn't much we can do. I'm prescribing beer in large amounts and combined with network television. Other than that, all we can do is pray."

tommy - And don't forget the group that some have difficulty understanding why they aren't PO deniers: the majority of oil companies. With all the denier/Pollyanna press releases put out by the public oil companies folks have the impression that the oil patch either doesn't get PO or just wants to deny it. It's a very self serving position for most of us: if the public really understood PO they would be pushing the politicians to float as many incentives as possible to get the oil patch drilling more. Again, for the great majority of us getting the public into a panic mode about PO is a plus. For a public oil company desparite to keep the populace believing all is well and that their stock is a good investment it won't be running up and down Wall Street waving a PO red flag.

Maybe a more interesting question is who are those few who do not have an interest in denying peak oil?
(start with renewable energy industry, mass transit industry, bike/ped advocates, congenital iconoclasts, etc., I guess).

"Those" are the few who are already convinced that BAU is dead.

Somehow I'm getting the feeling that you are not one of them, right?


You left out honest people looking at the facts and figures of oil production. Maybe they are in the po camp because they have examined the facts and think that hypothesis is more sound.

Set aside all the other groups. Those are possible methods to mitigate PO, albeit renewables other than wind, geothermal and solar are doomed to fail.

maybe nuclear has something to gain on po as well.

I think good nuclear practice could be an answer

What is the difference between a growing oil industry and a declining one? For investors and executives, it's going from swimming as sharks to dangling as bait.

--"Nuclear Boom in China Sees Reactor Builders Risk Their Know-how for Cash"

Wow, multinationals are practically tripping over themselves to hand China their intellectual property. Does anybody really think that Chinese companies really want to be long term partners? I'd bet any amount of money that their "partners" are going to use their intellectual property and within the decade become competitors.

I think the reactor builders are quite aware that the Chinese are going to steal all their intellectual property. However, the amount of money the Chinese are spending makes it worthwhile to let them have it. Their profit goals are short term, while the Chinese are thinking long term.

In the long term, the Chinese will dominate the industry. Note the comment:

...building a Western-designed reactor in China costs about $4 billion, 40 percent less than one in Normandy, and can be completed in 46 months, versus 71 months in France,

In the long term, once the Chinese master the technology, you will see them building reactors considerably cheaper than that, in significantly shorter time frames.

Keep in mind the reports of Chinese bridges made without re-bar.

Now imagine the normal short cuts and building failures that mothball/stop reactors in the US of A now over in China.

After a few of 'em crumble and poison the biosphere, the Chinese will stop using fission power along with the rest of the reasonable world.

Its possible that the breaks on their reactors will happen after the 3 gorges dam fails.

OTOH Ireland has started using Stainless Steel Rebars in their bridges giving good arguments for that selection "...... no maintenance for, say, 120 years."

*) I'm not expecting any reports from Chine like the ones you insinuate, any time soon. Have you seen the Shanghai skyline lately? Or their latest achievements on Hi-speed rails?

How is that example 'on the other hand'? These are on the other side of the world, in a democracy which has different pressures and priorities (it seems) from those guiding much of China's industrial growth mentality.

There is an 'other hand' as far as China's development goes, in that they 'centrally ride hard' on Green Energy and Economy as much as they seem to on coal and big roadways.. they act far less conflicted about building big across into what still are treated as 'hippie' sectors over here in the West.

My understanding is one can not see the Shanghai skyline due to the air pollution.

It'll be interesting to see if the people of China pushback on fission power once a few of the reactors fail or if the state will be able to keep the population from reacting.

It'll be interesting to see if the people of China pushback on fission power once a few of the reactors fail or if the state will be able to keep the population from reacting.

LOL! I think the population will be split between giving glowing reviews and going critical about all the decay...Of course the government might attempt to control the population by not sparing the rods.

I think Westinghouse and Areva may intend to outsource reactor construction to the Chinese. Build times in the West are just too long. If a third country brings in a Chinese construction crew the lawyers won't know how to deal with it. The Chinese construction crew will just get on with the job and ignore the protests.

If that theory is right the IP owners may see themselves selling more product by keeping the Chinese in the know.

China Begins Operation of First CPR-1000

The CPR-1000 is an “improved Chinese pressurized water reactor” technology based on an AREVA-derived three-loop design. Constructed by Sichuan-based DECL, the Generation II+ designated reactor features digital instrumentation and controls and a 60-year design life, according to the World Nuclear Association (WNA). The Ling Ao unit is the largest one planned, both in terms of capacity and size, and it is the most advanced in technology, efficiency, and automation requirements, Dongfang Chief Engineer Wang Weimin said in September. Under CGNPC’s leadership, the reactor will be widely deployed for domestic use—33 reactors are already in the construction or planning stages. According to the WNA, the reactor, which was built in 52 months, cost under 10,000 yuan per kilowatt (US$1,500). But it won’t likely be sold abroad, mainly because AREVA-owned intellectual property rights pose constraints, the organization says.


This sort of thing will become more and more common as the effects of climate change (drought, heat waves) takes hold in this region.

17,000 evacuated as huge blaze threatens Haifa

Mass evacuations continued across northern Israel Friday morning as dry easterly winds fanned a massive brushfire towards the city of Haifa.

Over 17,000 residents, including 600 prison inmates, were evacuated as the blaze raged out of control, devastating hundreds of acres of pine forest before sweeping down the slopes of the Carmel plateau towards Israel's third largest city.

The blaze broke out shortly before lunchtime and spread rapidly across the tinder-dry Carmel countryside, left parched after the hottest November in Israel in 60 years.

'Flames spread on a scale we've never seen'

It's too late to Wail at the Wall about climate change.

The hoax that is not a hoax has already begun to make its presence known.

AGW deniers should be the first ones to man up along the fire lines.

This and tornadoes in New York City?

It's obviously all Larry Gopnik's fault.

He should not have been uncertain about whether the Clive cat gets a passing or a kill joy grade.
He should have been much more of A Serious Man.

From BBC: Growing demand for resources 'threatens EU economy'

The growing global demand for natural resources risks undermining Europe's economy, a report has warned.

"We are consuming more natural resources than is ecologically stable," said EEA (European Environment Agency) executive director Jacqueline McGlade ahead of the formal launch of the fourth Environment State and Outlook Report (SOER 2010)

from the article :

The agency said there were no "quick fixes" but called on businesses, individuals and policymakers to work together to become more efficient.

Yes, that will do it! Become more efficient.... and then we can all go back to chasing exponential growth. Do these guys even have a brain?

It really is pathetic. So pathetic that I'm off down the pub to grow my beer belly exponentially.

For those that are expecting the internet to hold society together it all comes down to energy.

Energy use in the media cloud

... New research has analysed the potential future demand for downloaded data worldwide, such as social networking sites and on-demand TV programs, and the resulting energy requirements.

Assuming that the average westerner's media consumption moves fully online but does not rise substantially beyond current levels, and the global middle class reach western levels of consumption, the researchers estimate the overall demand to be 3,200 megabyte (MB) a day per person, totalling 2,570 exabytes per year by the world population in 2030.

The academics found, based on two independent sources of data, the current energy demand for bandwidth to be four watt-hours (Wh) per MB. They conclude that the average power required to support this activity would be 1,175 gigawatts at current levels of efficiency, and that a factor 60-performance improvement would be needed if infrastructure energy is to be provided by one per cent of renewable energy capacity in 2030.

Original Paper

The academics found, based on two independent sources of data, the current energy demand for bandwidth to be four watt-hours (Wh) per MB. They conclude that the average power required to support this activity would be 1,175 gigawatts at current levels of efficiency, and that a factor 60-performance improvement would be needed if infrastructure energy is to be provided by one per cent of renewable energy capacity in 2030.

Let's look at that number in relation to current global electricity consumption shall we?

1 gigawatt = 1000 megawatts

This list of countries by electricity consumption is mostly based on The World Factbook.[1] For informational purposes several non-sovereign entities are also included in this list. In addition, the per capita data for many countries may be slightly inaccurate as population data may not be for the same year that the consumption data are. Population data were obtained from the List of countries by population in 2005, except for years other than 2005, in which case they were obtained from the Wikipedia pages for the corresponding countries/territories. Average power per capita was calculated according to the formula:[2]

Power = Consumption·1,000,000/(365.25·24)/population, where power is in watts and consumption is in MW·h/yr.

Rank Country Electricity consumption (MW·h/yr) Year of Data Source Population As of Average power per capita (watts per person)
 World 17,109,665,000 2007 EIA[3] 6,464,750,000 2005 297
1  United States 3,872,598,000 2008 EIA[4] 298,213,000 2005 1,460
 European Union[5] 2,950,297,000 2007 EIA[6] 459,387,000 2005 700
2  China 3,650,600,000 2009 WSJ[7] 1,315,844,000 2009 277
3  Japan 1,007,067,000 2007 EIA[8] 128,085,000 2005 868
4  Russia 840,380,000 2007 EIA[9] 141,927,297 2010 785
5  Brazil 600,029,000 2009 EIA[10] 186,405,000 2005 226
6  India 568,000,000 2007 EIA[11] 1,103,371,000 2005 50.5

So will humanity consider the internet more or less important than other superfluous uses of electricity?
And this: the current energy demand for bandwidth to be four watt-hours (Wh) per MB. might help clarify why Leanan gets upset when I post my graphics >;^)

You seriously telling me that the average Yank uses more than twice as many sparks as the average European? What the heck do they use it for that we don't??? Must be skewed lower by the eastern Europeans, I can't imagine US electrical consumption being a whole lot more than western Europe's consumption.

Although we don't have this daft obsession with air-conditioning. Maybe that's it.

"Although we don't have this daft obsession with air-conditioning."

You also don't live in Phoenix.

But seriously, the waste here in the USA must be seen to be believed. Come to Minneapolis some time and I will take you on a tour.

People in the US waste so much electric power. They use washing machines that are top loaders, which are the least efficient configuration (as an example).

Frost free (thin insulation) refrigerator means that the thing is heating and cooling itself all the time. (design flaw or genius design???)

Excessive lighting. Standby power. Water use. In california 10% of the electricity is to pump water around the state.

etc etc

I'd like to see programmable thermostats on all conventional gas/electric water heaters. Time of day use will meet it's limitation with such technology.

Of course someone may already make one, as I haven't actually looked as it seems so ... unconventional.

Timers are available for electric and gas water heaters. If your gas water heater plugs in (electronic ignition with a fan exhaust) a standard plug-in timer (lighting style) will work fine. Insulating the tank and piping helps alot as well.

It occurs to me that single handled faucets waste hot water because folks tend to use hot water when they don't mean to. If the handle is in the center position when you turn it on, one is using hot water. Having seperate hot and cold handles will prevent this. Just an observation.

You seriously telling me that the average Yank uses more than twice as many sparks as the average European? What the heck do they use it for that we don't???

There are both cultural and climatic differences:

  • Air conditioning is more widely used
  • Much larger houses to be air conditioned and heated
  • Lighting and air conditioning of much larger stores and shopping malls open longer hours
  • More extreme climate than most of Europe increases all energy usage to keep comfortable temperatures year round.
  • Brighter street lighting (at least that's my impression: my recent European experience is limited to a week in Paris earlier this year, though I have visited much more of Europe over the last forty years).

Brighter street lighting (at least that's my impression: my recent European experience is limited to a week in Paris earlier this year,

So the USA is brighter than "The City of Lights"?

USA! USA! USA! ;-)

Maybe not coincidentally, at least in France, the electricity costs about 18 cents kWh, versus around 9 in the US.
I find the difference in consumption quite believable, every hotel I slept in in France had either timed or motion sensor lights in the halls, and not too many lights either, versus the 24 hour glare in the US.
Plus everything is bigger in the US (houses, cars, TVs, people) so it makes sense that electrical use would scale up proportionately.
I don't think Europe has any equivalent of Las Vegas, which should be visible several light years away (after a few years anyway).

everything is bigger in the US (houses, cars, TVs, people)

Hm, could we talk about their brains?

Edit: couldn't leave out Canada!

Quite interesting how much lower Denmark is than Norway, Sweden and Finland.
Of course Denmark is to the south and more maritime climate, but still I think societal investment in energy efficiency plus very high electricity taxation plays a part too.

Denmark has the highest electricity prices in Europe. Electricity costs in Norway, Sweden, and Finland are much lower.

While Denmark's electricity production is mostly coal and natural gas, Norway's electricity is almost 100% hydroelectric. Sweden and Finland are largely a mix of hydroelectric and nuclear.

Denmark advertises its wind power production, but it tries to avoid mentioning that it sells surplus wind power to Norway and Sweden at a loss - while it has to buy back hydro and nuclear power at high prices when the wind doesn't blow in Denmark.

It is very explainable . . . The other Scandinavian countries have lots of cheap electricity so they (ab)use it.

Iceland has massive amounts of nearly free geothermal energy.
Norway has massive amounts of nearly free hydropower.
Sweden also has significant amounts of nearly free hydropower.

Denmark lacks those really cheap sources of power. So electricity costs more . . . and thus less usage.

Also, all the other countries have higher latitudes such that they have longer nights thus use more lighting.

Considering that one expects many factors to enter into electricity consumption, that correlates quite nicely with climate and travel distances.

Iceland has a big surplus of renewable electricity, mostly hydro but also some geothermal. I assume that the high consumption per capita has to do with its two aluminium smelters and low population. I hope they're not wasting as much as the above graph shows.

has to do with its two aluminium smelters and low population. I hope they're not wasting as much as the above graph shows.

Aluminum exports are energy exports by another name. They did that deliberately, as they have huge hydro and geothermal resource per capita. Of course that usually also means cheap local prices, which can lead to wasteful usage as well.

And the fridge. Don't forget that. Americans have huge refrigerators compared to Brits. We often have more than one.

I just had to comment on that. We have two, one inside and one outside. I wouldn't need two myself, but this is my parent's house so I just go with the flow some days.

They shop once a week for some items, like milk, but buy it in half gallons and drink a lot of it, so they store those extra in the outside fridge. Which is also the cold drink fridge, when it is summer, otherwise the carport which is inclosed with lattice boards, is cool enough in the winter to be it's own fridge.

But my dad does a lot of work outside, almost all his projects are set up on tables outside one or more of the sheds. He can't drink water as it makes him sickish, so diet sodas or soda water are his thing. Plus he still makes big meals and stores the leftovers for the next week or so. We have a very ultra low food waste problem, unlike a lot of people I know, who seem to waste over 50% of the foods they cook, or bring home from the store.

If the power went out, we'd have food for days, just from eating the stocks in the fridges( my dad stores potatoes and bread in the fridge, also pecans, and extra garden produce till we can use them, in the extra fridge ).

I can say one thing though, if you need any sort of hardware item, any size hammer, tools for almost anything you'd ever do with relation to a house, he has at least one of them.

Where we waste enrgy with the extra fridge, we save it by being water frugal to the extreme. Using rainwater for almost all watering outside, and I think my dad washed the van once this year, when the tree sap got bad. No hosing off the driveway like the guy up the street does almost 5 times a week.

All I can see is the Jif peanut butter jars with the red lids, filled with nails, screws and stuff, there must be several hundred of them.

Maybe americans are also able with space to be pack rats, and collectors, I know we have gone through a lot of things that we have collected over the years and have been giving them away if we can't use them, or don't have room. WE have too many sheds to full of things, and hardly any room to build more things, or do repairs on things we saved from the trash, so we could give them a new home once repaired.

yeah Yeah, I know, just justifying the need for all that extra room we are using, time to pare down the 900 square foot house to a tiny home, and 60 items each.

BioWebScape Designs for a better fed and housed world.

HA - been a while since I've been on your side of the POND so tell me: are London office buildings lit up like a soccer stadium throughout the night? Many down town districts in the US can been seen over the horizon at 2 AM from their glow. How about your streets and highways: light enough to read a phone book at 2 am? How many TV's do you have running day and night? Years ago I saw a stat: the average US family with income below poverty level has two TV's per household. The conclusion was that we had the most affluent poor people in the world.

I think you get the idea. I recall years ago having lunch in a small restaurant in Zurich. After the meal the waitress counted the number of rolls left in the basket and charged me for the difference. Here the rolls are free and when you're done the law requires them to throw away what haven't been eaten. Is this a great country or what?

Now and then I see the waste and think about troopers sitting in the dark out on an ambush patrol in Afghan. It bothers me greatly what were willing to let others pay for our energy appetite.

Yeah, what an energy sinkhole. It's a good thing FIFA awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar instead of the US.

Qatar promises air-conditioned World Cup

Solar powered. Your oil dollars at work. Mind boggling.

Solar powered. Your oil dollars at work. Mind boggling.

I had BBC news on last night. I was only partially paying attention, but I thought they said Qatar promises to disassemble many of the venues and donate them to developing countries!

A police officer stopped by my buddies house when I was over there (they are good friends). Sat and talked for a solid hour. I watched his patrol car just sitting in the driveway, running the whole time. It wasn't even cold outside! (40F or so). Government employees are great at wasting energy.

Policeman I know--highway patrolmen, sheriffs, and sheriff's deputies--have told me that they have to leave their cars at idle when on duty or on call, because they may have to move instantly at high speed to reach the scene of an accident or other emergency.

Thus, what appears to be waste to an outsider may, in fact, not be waste at all.

Really? It takes that long to turn the ignition key?

Have you ever tried to accelerate from zero to ninety with a cold engine? Police deal with emergencies all the time.


Why not have hybrid squad cars? A Prius, from what i understand, starts off with an electric motor.

Maybe you saw this?

The city has overspent its fuel budgets over the past five years by a total of about $1.3 million, or 13 percent, with wide swings from year to year, according to records.
The fuel budget is part of the city's general fund, most of which is financed with property taxes.
"Budgeting for fuel is imprecise," said Margaret Kelly, the city's finance director.


I don't live in the city here and my local PD consists of one officer per shift (except on weekends), so my property taxes shouldn't skyrocket with increased gas prices.

It seems like the cop is either:

1) on duty, in which case there may be a justification for leaving the car running, but not for spending an hour at a friend's house, or
2) off duty, in which case it is fine to hang out with his friend, but shouldn't be wasting government resources doing it.

Looks like he was wrong either way.

That is one thing I mentioned above, here at this house we don't waste food. I could put in a five gallon bucket all the food we have wasted this year, due to spoilage from not eating it in time, or cooking something that was bad tasting and then thrown out, and still have room left in the bucket.

Frugal and waste not want not seems to have been drilled into me from an early age, but it was never a saying I heard much, just an attitude. I guess when you learn to pick up pennies, nuts and washers and all sorts of hardware bits from the ground, and have piles of them to sort at the end of the week, it just seems that waste was never something my parents did.

The other day someone on one of these threads asked if you'd want to trade with a trash picker in a thrid world country, willingly. I thought, yeah sure, got to be loads of neat things to fine in a dump, just like dumpster and trash diving around here. People throw away the darnest things, most of them just a bit of sewing here, or glue and TLC there and viola a good as new item for someone to use till we need to repair it again.

But the american need to throw away prefectly good food, because some ultra picky laws about food sitting out for 10 minutes to long, really bugs the tar out of me( checks tar levels to see if he can recycle some of it for something else, maybe roof shingle repair.).

A friend's wife is so picky if the can is out of date she tosses it, it drives him nuts, if it is not bubbled up or ozzing it's still good in most cases for years after the best by dates.

We have gotten to the point now that almost 50 million americans are without good food security, and that number is growing. A lot of the waste is getting pinched out of the system by people getting hungry more often than not. Give it a few years of this and you might see more of the free food movement some dumpster divers are pushing in some cities.

Waste not want not, who ever coined that phrase, might have had to deal with 50 million food stamp users knocking at the door, asking for extra money for this months grocery bills.

BioWebScape Designs for a better fed and housed world. enough food for all, and small enough homes so that you don't have to waste energy heating and cooling them.

You need not go further than

energy demand for bandwidth to be four watt-hours (Wh) per MB

to conclude the author is innumerate. The units don't make senmse, and hence are useless as inputs for any sort of calculation. Four watt-hours per what period of time? Per nanosecond? Per millemium? Ill posed problems and data implies garbage in, garbage out.

I assume he means four watt-hours for per MB transmitted through the internet (i.e. from the YouTube server farm to my house), however long that takes (fractions of a second, I assume).

Joules per bit-operation (say switching or transport) is a perfectly valid unit, and time need not be involved. CMOS integrated circuits are often rated in some unit that is more convenient but measures roughly the same thing. Faster ones tend to have physically smaller gates and tend to consume less energy per bit-operation, but tend to consume more power since more operations tend to be done each second.

Calling it "energy demand for bandwidth" does obfuscate it a bit and might have been expressed better (but more pedantically) by someone calling themselves "physorg". And it could have made more explicit whether the figure is indeed for transport from web server to viewer, though it's hard to see what else they would be talking about.

The number itself strikes me as high. At 4Wh/MB, or 14400J/MB, a video running at a grainy 300kB/sec would consume 4.32kW, or about three "house-units" worth. HD video would consume a lot more. It's not clear to me that typical monthly broadband charges could support as much of this sort of thing as they do, considering that electricity is only one of many costs. And the effects on the creaky grid should have shown up dramatically by now, numbers like this are well into EV-charging territory. Instead, it smacks of the popular academic hobby of exaggerating internet power consumption in order to make a point. Sometimes it's just smart-aleck Luddism; other times it's to "show" that really, it's not so terrible to fly constantly to here, there, and everywhere to listen to inaudibly mumbled "presentations" that one has long ago read in preprint and discarded.

I had thought it was energy per unit of longterm datastorage -presumably on some server farms disks. Unless the meanings are well defined they are essentially unusable.

The link to the "paper" actually only goes to an abstract. Thus, it isn't possible to see their data sources.

However, their conclusion seems unlikely. In fact, switching to a packet network delivery of video (the big bandwidth user) is likely to be much more efficient than existing analog cable networks, which broadcast up to hundreds of megahertz of video channels to every customer all the time.

There are many contributing factors to this analysis, at least when looking 10 years into the future (when energy will be more dear than it is today, and the incentives different). I will attempt to list the the high-points now, and maybe do a more thorough analysis when I have more time. Unlike most of the items I opine about, this is an area in which I actually have some expertise and personal interest. I have attended seminars and provided input on this topic specifically.

1) Growth in internet usage tends to decrease usage elsewhere, so a gain in bandwidth for telecommuting saves much more energy in avoided travel; ditto for on-line shopping, data collection, etc. 6:1 savings is the anticipated ratio, so 1% is rather a moot goal, if 2% on comm would same 5% more somewhere else.

2) Moore's Law really does apply here, so any projected bandwidth usage has to include a date, and that has to be collated with processing/cost enhancements. The article indicates 60x savings - that's 8 halvings, or 12 years on Moore's terms. Give or take a few years, this will happen. However, while BW goes up processing tends to also, so energy savings tends to be less pronounced -- it is better to expect more out of the same energy, rather than just saving energy, as long as the current paradigms hold.

3) Where you draw the boundaries of power consumption is critical. Transporting data across a network takes no where near 4WHr/MB, else a 1Gbps link would consume a megawatt. In fact, servers take a lot of power, but typically less than the access network, and those take less than the TV or computer in the home. Of late, 1W added power in the network picks up several watts in new power consumption in the home. Cost per bit would be an interesting metric, as would energy per bit.

4) Power for bandwidth is non-linear, as going from modem to DSL to fiber offers far higher bandwidth with modest increases in power. Wireless and satellite have their own curves.

5) Bandwidth accessibility is widely varying. If you gave everybody on earth a 100M feed using 2009 technology, power for "the internet" would be greater than all electricity available on earth. Most people don't have much access at all, though, and few have 100Mbps. Utopian universal bandwidth is not going to happen with current technologies....or any future technology.

6) Design for power is only just taking off as a goal. Today, an idling CPU uses 1/2 the power of a fully-loaded server, so load-centralizing while de-powering idle CPUs is valuable (versus load-balancing, a competing goal). A core, edge, or access router/switch, though uses 90% of its peak power then idle, and cannot readily be powered down at all. DSL and fiber-loops are just beginning to include adaptive-rate power management in the technology Moving to a power-per-bit-transported rather than power-per-bitrate-capacity will be a critical improvement, and will make as much a difference as Moore's Law will.

7) The previous point is exacerbated by "throwing bandwidth" at quality of service issues in the core network, such that utilization is always low, and new (and high-powered) equipment is always being introduced.

8) Most equipment is on industrial power tariffs, so cost incentives have yet to be strongly felt in the network. Push for power consumption reduction comes from the PR and customer relations departments of providers as part of "green washing", not the operations people for practical power savings. The EU is ahead of the US on this front...not sure about Japan and the East in general.

9) The coupling between data rate and power growth is partially because power is so cheap. Much of the recent growth in bandwidth (exponential, of course) is for video (TV and movie) distribution, and you can transport those bits via the air (satellite or broadcast TV), cellular wireless, cable, fiber, DSL, US mail (NetFlix), or car (RedBox). Once the bits are in your house, you could re-play them again and again - does this count into your energy per MB cost? Or you can have them fall on the floor, wasted (settop or DVD player on but TV off), or you can send nothing but have devices phantom powered (infinite energy per bit). Right not there is a lot of latter skewing the averages.

10) Some parts of the network are reasonably susceptible to self-powering. A cell tower near here has a wind turbine on it - the towers are high enough to evade ground clutter, and the site and tower already exist, so adding a turbine is almost free energy. If you have wind, that is. Other devices are pole-mount and could have PV panels to provide some power, and others are cabinet-housed and could have a PV panel roof/sun-shade added. Almost all have batteries already, and could serve to flatten load peaks if modestly redesigned. This last point is my personal interest.

2) Moore's Law really does apply here [to energy consumption by the Internet]
... The article indicates [need for] 60x savings
- that's 8 halvings, or [a mere] 12 years on Moore's terms.
Give or take a few years, this will happen.
... as long as the current paradigms hold.

That's ridiculous.

Moore's is not a law of physics.

It was merely a historical trending observation that applied to the number of transistors on an integrated semiconductor die (chip) when the technology was starting to take off.

There is no basis for extrapolating it to energy usage by the Internet in 2010 and onwards.

Just in terms of data storage alone, the Internet is growing at exponential rates and needs to keep adding disk & server farms to keep up with the massive, and still growing, store and serve demands of the public.

While there are many clever people in Silicon Valley (and elsewhere) working on the problem, there is no guarantee that the solutions will follow Moore's law. After all, we are no longer talking about number of transistors on a chip at the dawn of the Silicon Valley age.

Moore's law does apply to the integrated circuits used in servers, routers, etc. As the number of transistors per square mm is increased, the power usage per square mm does not, i.e. the power consumed by leakage and by switching per logic function actually go down. Of course there are various types of circuits, and CMOS consumes less energy than TTL, and TTL less than ECL logic. Furthermore, silicon ICs consume less energy than ones made out of gallium arsenide. Therefore, as CMOS line widths go down, and CMOS clock rates go up, it becomes possible to do more things with CMOS ICs and avoid using the higher power technologies.

Storage also obeys its own Moore's law as the size of magnetic domain used to store a bit decreases. A 500 MByte 2.5" drive may use only about 3 watts, while a 500 MByte 3.5" drive of a few years ago consumed 13 watts.

Besides these technology improvements, there are lots of architectural optimizations possible. Telecom companies and server hosting companies are keenly aware of power consumption, not least because they not only pay a large utility bill, but they also install battery backup and emergency generator capacity to carry their services through interruptions of commercial power.

CMOS consumes less energy than TTL, and TTL less than ECL

Dude, you're obviously from one of the way back schools.

Almost nobody does TTL/ECL anymore. CMOS rules.
But as for leakage and power loss, once you get to Angstrom sized gate oxide layers things get pretty hairy. We're up against the physical limits of Mother Nature and she don't produce atoms in more miniaturized sizes.

Sure there are some incremental improvements in semiconductor, but not like in the old days. Moore's days are over.

With that said, think about the giant size Hi-Def TVs and computer displays used with cable/internet. Think about high bandwidth wireless links. Those still draw power. No one has invented a super efficient light source or an exponentially better radio. (Those fractal antennas are an amazing thing though.)

Moore's Law isn't over for another decade.

I was illustrating that there is not only incremental progress, but changes in technology as time goes by. For example, the use of EDFAs allowed amplification of Tb/s WDM fibers without demux, detection, regeneration, muxing. Sounds like a big step up in efficiency.

The power consumed by large screen TVs is independent of whether they are getting fed via broadcast, satellite, cable, or internet. Although the power consumption of a 50" LED backlit LCD is probably less than a 32" CRT TV, so even there, progress has been made. And its a lot more efficient than driving to see a movie.

Yeah . . . "Moore's Law" is one of the least understood and oft abused trends. It really only applied to one technology and only for a limited time period. It pointed out that improvements in photolithography and IC fabrication allowed for the numbers to increase at a very high rate such that ICs became much faster & cheaper. And although there other related technologies that have also grown pretty fast (such as disk drive density), almost no other technology has experienced such rapid advancement. It worked in that domain because it was basically all about pushing bits around . . . and bits are just information.

Unfortunately, Moore's Law has created unrealistic expectations in other technology areas. And people will be disappointed. For example, battery technology is a long hard slog. It is mostly tiny incremental improvements and an occasional jump due to a new chemistry.

Moore's Law will more or less hold for a few more years at least. Then more efficient usage will help out for a few more doublings after that. In 2020 we can see where we sit, but I don't think telecom power is going to be a significant issue on that facet at least.

6) Design for power is only just taking off as a goal.

I think for the bulk service providers like Google it has been importanat for a while. Mi buddy at Intel, says they buy the lowest clock rate chips for their server farms, and that they have their own special requirements of the chip architecture. These folks aren't just going out to Best Buy and ordering 25000 X's, then asking the utility to supply power.

Moore's law does still apply for roughly how much electronics processing you can get per Buck (or per picojoule). Design rule (feature size) is now getting really really small -32nm in production and 22nm being prepared, that one has to wonder when they will hit the wall. Back at the 130nm introduction almost a decade ago, they had some real challenges, and we thought that things would only get tougher. But, they got through the tough spot and it has been smooth sailing through at least 22nm. Sure advertised chip clockrates haven't really budged in about a decade, but the amount of things a CPU chip can do per clockrate has been going up substantially. I've seen presentations (non disclosure stuff) that indicate we got at least another half decade of fast progress ahead.

It appears that low power ARM chips are starting to go into servers.

As the volume warrants it, I'd expect to see a variety of specialized processors going into video server farms. For example, there is no reason to have floating point ALUs in a server that is just delivering files to a browser.

Russia's Nov oil output edges down to 10.25 mln bpd

MOSCOW | Thu Dec 2, 2010 2:37am EST

MOSCOW Dec 2 (Reuters) - Russia's oil output edged down to 10.2 million barrels per day (bpd) in November after hitting a record high of 10.26 bpd in the previous month, Energy Ministry data showed on Thursday.

Daily gas output rose to 1.98 billion cubic metres (bcm) in November from 1.87 bcm in October along with the steady drop in temperature.


Did we witness the peak for Russia? ..


The absolute peak was back in the Eighties. Here is what BP shows for 2005-2009 (C+C+NGL's):

2005: 9.6 mbpd
2006: 9.8
2007: 10.0
2008: 9.9
2009: 10.0

Ron and I thought that 2008 was probably the start of a renewed decline, but the 2009 and 2010 data show that it was not. However, Russia has basically been on a plateau since 2007, although it looks like 2010 will exceed 10.0 mbpd. However, when the decline does kick in, Ron and I both expect the the decline rate to be fairly high, given the advanced age of the older Russian oil fields.

Regarding Sam's modeling, Russia has been the only country out of the 2005 top five net exporters that has been falling near the top of his predicted production range, although the combined top five are well within his predicted range--falling between his middle case and high case.

WTI Just crossed over $89. How long before it crosses the psychological $90?

Not long. Speculators tend to be momentum traders, and the momentum is on the upside.

This on top of a disappointing jobs report. Argggh...

The disappointing jobs report is short-term bullish for oil, because it means the Fed will probably go on with QE2 and then do a QE3. Loose money means speculators can easily borrow more with which to buy oil contracts.

Loose money is like loose women--plenty for all and easily available.

Tight money is like tight women--not available on reasonable terms.

the Fed will probably go on with QE2 and then do a QE3


If that occurs, then the value of the dollar will drop a lot more, and the price of oil will go up.

The US is painting itself into a corner. As the debt rises out of control while the economy falters (from the standpoint of high unemployment) more QE's are encouraged, but they will in turn greatly lower the value of the dollar and raise the price of oil. Higher priced oil, due to its embedded cost in products, will hamper the recovery and risk causing another Govt. designated recession. Essentially we are in a downward spiral, and as oil price rises, we go farther down.

"the Fed will probably go on with QE2 and then do a QE3. "

You spoke too soon:

Bernanke Tells Nation This Sunday: More QE Coming

For those wondering why the market leaked higher in the last hour, it is because someone got an advance copy of the transcript (or advance notice) that in this Sunday's latest attempt at faux transparency on 60 Minutes, the bearded mutant-cum-supreme genocidal overlord says that more QE is coming.

"The euro rose to a session peak against the dollar in late afternoon New York trade on Friday after a report on the CBS website that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke did not rule out buying more than $600 billion of bonds in further quantitative easing."

Ben desperately needs to fund the speculators if he wants to keep the fraud alive a few more months.

(edit - Maybe Ben is pumping more in advance of the next WikiLeak on Bank of America ??? Man I hope Wikileaks' Julian Assange can stay alive and out of condom-malpractice prison long enough to get the BAC Crimes released)

This is one of those cases where I think it's best to trace back to the source of somebody's speculation rather than reading somebody's interpretation of it(especially in an article that appears on zerohedge). As far as I can tell, the zerohedge article is based on this story: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/12/03/60minutes/main7114229.shtml?ta...

The actual quote in the above article is "He explains why the Fed announced its intention to buy $600 billion in Treasury securities, defending against charges the move will lead to inflation and not ruling out the purchase of more." Although I do expect "Zimbabwe Ben" to burn through a lot of trees printing money, as far as I know, he's discussing QE2 not another round of money printing in this interview.

Maybe we will blow through $200 sometime next year. That should be the next psychological barrier.

That reminds me that Matt Simmons lost his bet. They locked up the money so John Tierney will still get paid. IMO, Matt was on the right track with oil price fundamentals -- he just didn't know about the fallout from credit swap derivatives.

The $10,000 Question

Mr. Simmons said he favored a simpler wager, based on his expectation that the price of oil, now about $65 per barrel, would more than triple during the next five years. He said he'd bet that the price in 2010, when adjusted for inflation so it's stated in 2005 dollars, would be at least $200 per barrel.

Matt, like many of the rest of us, didn't understand that the world economy can't handle $200 oil at this point in time. He lost the battle but he'll win the war. Tierney believes that we can have anything we want if we just wish hard enough.

Yeah, I remember that bet.
I recall Tierney saying he was simply following the lead of Julian Simon ... something about "commodities" always going down in price after they rise in price. Where is that good 'ole $20/barrel in oil commodity now a days? Huh?

I think Matt also failed to sufficiently account for how much of a feedback mechanism prices have. As the prices move sharply higher there is recession & demand destruction that cause the price to slip back.

Being a wealthy man, perhaps he didn't appreciate the feedback mechanism as much . . . if oil hit $300/barrel, he (Matt Simmons) would still have no problem filling up his tank. But when oil hit $147/barrel, a lot of poor people had to take the bus, carpool, ride their bike, etc.

2010 is not yet over.

It may not be over yet, but the bet was the average price in 2010. A brief spike over $200 won't do it.

I think whats important is that oil is showing it can make moves and is perhaps shown some independence from its previous tight coupling to the stock market. The extreme correlation is starting to fade.

Basically its becoming more of its own market with some bullish signs.

My best guess is this run is probably nearing its end and again I'd look at what happens next where is the next low and more importantly how does it get there.

If you look at oil over the last year its not been its upward movements that have been a problem its that its been periodically whacked hard blowing out the rallies. If we come of this high without crashing and showing some robust higher lows then my interest will perk up a lot.

If however things happen as they have in the past expect us to go screaming back to say 82-84 range in a matter of hours.

With that said a few thoughts.

My opinion is that the current price action is a result of the strikes in France coupled with the diesel shortage in China.
This has resulted in three deep pocket oil users needed oil at the same time. The third is the US as France rebuilds its oil and product inventory gasoline exports to the US have fallen off esp of course to the east coast.

And of course tensions in Korea are probably leading to some stockpiling there. Regardless we have developed a bit of a hole in global storage levels that will take sometime to build. In my opinion this eventually comes back to US oil storage levels. For this situation to resolve the US will be forced to drain down some of its extreme storage levels at least for a few months say 3-6. Or perhaps KSA will pulse and solve the problem. Even if they can I don't see it happening until after the US reports lower storage levels.

This of course brings up a point I've made a few times over I think a year now.

With the US storage levels well above the five year range 70+ oil is high.
If the US storage levels fell to the middle of the range then I believe the price of oil would double now that almost 200 a barrel.
If the US fell to the bottom of the storage range I think they would double again now about 300.

If you buy that argument then extreme post peak pricing has been priced into the market for some time. US storage levels have in my opinion been critical is preventing any sort of run on the bank if you will.

Yet if I'm right the only way out of the current problem is for the US to allow its storage levels to fall to allow Europe and China the breathing room they need to break out of the short term supply hole we have.

Of course this situation gets really really interesting if my hypothesis that a lot of our barrels in storage are paper barrels and not really there in the first place.

And last but not least I don't think demand is sensitive to price in its current range indeed we may not see any real demand response until oil passed 200 a barrel and even then it would have to persist. In general on the demand side after the last price spike everyone will assume the current price is a temporary problem. In fact in this case at least for now thats the correct assessment its simply and issue of two consumers needing oil at the same time. The US is caught because of our gasoline imports but we are secondary.

So lets see how this plays out what happens next in this scenario will be interesting. If I'm right then what has to happen is real US storage levels must fall which will initially support prices but also relieve the short term supply gap putting a lid on the price increases.

Which to repeat will at least put pressure on real US storage levels if they are indeed inflated then it won't actually close the hole for long as then the US will be forced to buy more oil. Even if true this then puts pressure on KSA to finally surge to really close the gap. If storage levels are true then perhaps we peak in the 90-100 range then probably fall back into the 80's as this temporary hole is filled from steady and adequate production and the US builds again.

Perhaps if the US is inflating its storage levels what we see is the US reporting flat storage levels whilst really drawing down. If so then prices should moderate about where they are and head back down except the nasty hole is still there and the US would actually be buying. At best such and action would help cap oil prices and ensure the Saudi's are not forced into the surge issue. We assume some Saudi surge capacity so perhaps the Saudi's could quietly surge as they can and fill the hole. Prices would then probably remain bounded in the 85-95 range.

Lots of different outcomes as you can see but all of them hinge eventually on real US storage levels and then later on real Saudi surge capacity. A decent mount of real oil has to either be drawn from storage or pumped or both to calm the oil markets and fill the hole. If I have to guess I'm betting the last one that you don't see any real change in US storage level claims regardless of the price of oil.

And last but not least if we cross 100 a barrel and the US is still claiming storage levels well over the five year range then life is gonna get interesting fast. Using my price tripling concept the price if the US was forced to report storage near the bottom of the five year range would surpass 300 a barrel. That puts oil prices beyond economic sustainability.
And yes I think the world could handle 300 a barrel with gasoline running 8-10 dollars a gallon. It would be tough of course but not the end of the world. However going beyond that is not simple supply/demand but intrinsic infrastructure shortfalls. Indeed one can obviously guess that if oil even crossed into the upper 100's we would see at least some recessionary forces come into play perhaps pulling demand down.

My point is that something close to what we have today seems doable in the 100-300 range for oil. As we approached the upper bound financial moves would temper the price effect. Recession followed by extreme central bank policies followed by real wage losses. Obviously the purchasing power of fiat for commodities would fall. But the system would generally be intact.

A Saudi surge soon regardless of if its papered over and hidden by US storage claims is thus important I think. It can come quite a bit later on but still eventually we have to see a production surge in the next six months at the longest.
If we do get it and we do see prices fall back into the 70-80 range then heck we could have another year before oil again becomes a problem. A variant of this is the US allows storage levels to fall and KSA convincingly surges and comes to the rescue putting a cap on prices for another year at least.

So lets see how this current short term crisis is handled exactly how it plays out is of interest to me. Current price levels not so much its the next bottom and how reported US storage levels have changed when we hit it thats important.
We have a chance again to find out some real info on the oil supply situation as the current crisis is handled.


"Dear Santa: For Christmas I would like prices on futures contracts for WTI > $90 and at least 1 mb/d of spare capacity eroded in response. Oh, and a pony."

Note that the trend in the comparable situation 30 years ago - supply shortage, price spike, severe recession, demand retreat, etc - was manifestly down, for five years no less. That supply build back then really put in the fix; I still mean to calculate what spare capacity was at - can't find actual numbers! but will settle for reverse engineering graphs.

The good old days - major producer goes offline, goes to war with its producing neighbor - and SC drops to the levels we have now post price spike/severe recession.

KSA wants oil at $90 per barrel. Therefore, the price shall be $90 per barrel. In my opinion (carefully thought out) Saudi Arabia is probably reducing production voluntarily to boost the price to the $90 range. I think oil will stay around $90 a barrel until Saudi Arabia announces a different target.

I know, of course, that Westexas thinks that the declines in Saudi production are involuntary. Time will tell.

Presumably the Saudis could indefinitely claim that due to "weak demand" at various price points, $50, $100, $150, etc., they are curtailing their net exports. I still think that it is quite a coincidence that the Saudi stock market crashed at the same time that the Saudis (allegedly voluntarily) changed their export strategy--from increasing their net exports in response to rising oil prices to reducing their net exports in response to rising oil prices (early 2006).

IMO, Saudi insiders were shocked to learn, in early 2006, that they were unable to increasing their net exports, in much the same way that Texas oilmen in 1973 were shocked to learn that Texas production fell, after the RRC went from a near complete 100% allowable in 1972. The Saudis responded by dumping Saudi stocks.

Saudi stock market chart:



You may be entirely correct. On the other hand, note that when KSA announced they wanted the price of oil at $75 per barrel it approached and then stayed in that range--within a few dollars--for more than a year. A couple of months ago a Saudi spokesman announced that Saudi Arabia "liked" $90 oil. Surprise, surprise, the price now approaches $90 per barrel. If I am correct about KSA being price leader in an oligopolistic market, then we should expect oil to stay around $90 until KSA announces a different target. Time will tell.

Don, you may be entirely correct too, but the theme I see there is that each time KSA wanted to support the price at level X, they were able to do so, by restricting output. But if they wanted to resist price increases, they would need to increase output, and as far as I can tell, we haven't seen a case where they hold the price down by producing more, they always seem to hold it up, by producing less.

We certainly didn't see any big ramp up from KSA, to try to bring down oil when it was $147.

I regard their statements on a price "range" as being their statement on a price "floor", but "range" sounds nicer, as it implies they don;t want it too expensive.

Price resistance would seem to be provided by economic recession, rather than any actions by KSA - they would appear to want the price as high as they can get, without tipping things into recession. That seems to me to be the simple economics of maximising the value they get for their exports, regardless of their capacity.

The end game is therefore the price will rise to follow the pop growth x the inflation in Saudi.

I suspect that they are redefining each successive higher price level as the new "acceptable" price, because they can't come close to their 2005 net export level of 9.1 mbpd. What do you think of the Saudi stock market crashing, at the same time that the Saudis either voluntarily or involuntarily started reducing their net exports, in response to rising oil prices? A net export graph superimposed on the stock market graph would be very interesting.

I assume that KSA wants to maximize profit from their oil exports. Oiligopoly theory declares that the price leader in a cartel will voluntarily reduce production to maximize revenue and also net profit.

Doe KSA care if the rest of the world goes into recession or depression as a result of $90 oil? My WAG is that they do not care as much as they used to about this possibility. Why? Because if global oil demand goes down moderately, all the Saudis have to do is close some valves and reduce oil production some more to maintain the $90 price--the price they want.

Some other countries in OPEC would prefer oil at $100 or even $120 per barrel. However, KSA is calling the shots. My SWAG is that Saudi has enough excess capacity to keep oil down in the $90 region, in case world oil demand increases moderately during 2011. We're still on that "undulating plateau" of oil production.

I don't want to sound too much like a defense attorney, but again, what do you think of the stock market/net export correlation?

I do not have any knowledge of what causes fluctuations in the Saudi stock market. My guess is that in the short-run speculators using borrowed money dominate price movements on their stock exchange.

Net exports have indeed been going down for some time for KSA. The $64 trillion dollar question is why has this been the case. My hypothesis (or SWAG, to be more honest) is that the Saudis have been voluntarily reducing their net exports for the past two or three years so as to boost prices. They did not see the price spike in 2008 coming--and they did increase both production and exports right after the $147 peak in prices. Indeed, they overdid this increase in exports and drove the price way down below the level they wanted. In this case the kinked oligopoly demand curve model applies.

Having said all this, I say again that you may be right and I may be quite wrong in my hypothesis. We need more data, and I think we'll get the data we need to judge these issues in 2011 and 2012.

I predict oil prices will stay close to $90 a barrel until the Saudis announce a new target price.

Your ELM and related discussion predict that oil prices will rise.

We'll see.

By the way: We could both be right--me in the short-run and you in the long-run.

I am in this camp. KSA has to say something since they are the swing producer (at least traditionally) so the markets look to KSA. (as an aside, is Russia now the swing or are they at max production?)

KSA cannot pump much more oil so they have to 'act' like they are controlling the market, which is not great PR for KSA, but better than saying, "Sorry party is winding down for additional Saudi supplies."

If KSA said that the markets would get upset.

Now let me adjust my tin foil hat ;-) Fun to speculate isn't it?

Well I agree about your three legged stool of oil demand (US, France, China). It seems in retrospect Europe underestimated the impact of French strikes, and everyone – including China – didn’t get a grip on the diesel shortage in China until about 2000 service stations ran low on fuel.

There is possibly a fourth reason – Saudi Arabia and other Mideast OPEC members importing more gasoline recently is – at best – disconcerting. But as stated here before, the Saudis wanted $90 oil and they got it, and it’s possible but not likely they could be playing with the market a bit.

China also made a subtle switch this last week that I don’t think most appreciate – basically they are moving to import more resources to make up for the fact that China has placed many speed limits on how fast it wants to utilize its own resources. Actually if I was China, and had $3 trillion in depreciating currency reserves, buying up raw materials does not seem to be a bad idea.

Going forward, tanker tracker Oil Movements sees OPEC exports leveling out the remainder of December. This is confirmed by shipping reports that demand for large tankers (VLCCs) went up a little (about 1%) a month ago but also now has leveled out.

So we will not be off to a good start for the new year. There has been too much focus on inventories on hand and not the world supply/demand situation going forward. Basically we had a very fragile balance between supply and demand for most of 2010, but that balance now appears to be breaking down mostly because of increasing demand pressures. Yes we are still on the peak oil supply plateau, but the quality of oil is already falling, so there is less net energy from oil available (to put this in simple terms).

Whether we are just counting ‘paper barrels’ or real ones, the gasoline supply problem in the Northeast should open our eyes to the fact we still need the right oil in the right place at the right time for everything in our oil product distribution system to function properly. We don’t really know much about the quality of oil in storage, although I suspect most of the ‘extra’ oil is located near the central Gulf of Mexico coast and is of average quality. But that may not be much help to Northeast US refiners.

Because of the mismatch of the types of oil available and the types of oil products demanded, oil demand may increase more than expected so the right product can end up in the right place. Possibly this will lead to some lower quality oil and lower quality product just sitting around in storage, being counted in our inventory report, but basically not wanted.

As far as price predictions go, well I have said before that even $100 oil is not really going to influence US demand much. In fact, we could well see another ‘superspike’ at some point in time – even as early as 2011. In other words, a weak US economy won’t stop oil prices from rising. Of course if there is a new Korean or other war, we might look back fondly on the days when oil was had for less than $150.

My favorite energy book is MAN, ENERGY, SOCIETY by Earl Cook, 1976. I do not know of any more recent book that is equal to or better than this one.

Try large libraries to locate this book, e.g. the library at Texas A & M university, where Cook used to be a prof.

Thanks Don. I found 10 used copies on Amazon for $2.37 each. Since you're obviously smarter than a 5th grader I took your recommendation and ordered one.

My advice is to buy more used copies and give them away for Christmas to relatives and friends. I give away books all the time for Hanukah, Christmas, and birthdays--mostly on energy and population and our future.

I just ordered one also. I finished "Prelude" a few days ago and need something good to read. The book was $.01 but the shipping was $3.99. I guess they make all their money on shipping and nothing on the book.

Ron P.

Iraq probable oil reserves are now estimated at 214 billion barrels according to Thamer Al-Ghadhban, advisor to the Iraq PM, he is also in line with the prediction of 12m in daily production for Iraq in 2017:

As production ramps up, the veteran oil adviser Ghadhban said he recommends a "campaign to convert part of Iraqi probable reserves--estimated at 214 billion barrels--into proven reserves by drilling and seismic survey, in due time."

the advisor also estimate Iraq gas reserves at 162 Tcf:

Ghadhban estimates Iraq's gas reserves are even higher, with probable reserves of around 162 trillion cubic feet, mostly in the western desert near Iraq's border with Syria.


It is worth noting that Mr.Ghadban in October 2004 was calling for Iraq production to hit 3m by 2005, 3.25m by 2006 and 6m bpd by 2010:

By the end of 2005 we should have achieved a production level of 3 mbpd. Having passed that barrier, we will be looking for a medium-term goal of 3.25 mbpd in 2006.

If things go well and we get the security issue under control, then we expect 2005 to be the year of dialogue with the international oil community to prepare for a big increase in long-term production capacity.

In the long term we want to attain the long-talked-about increase in Iraq's oil production capacity to 6 mbpd and we look forward to doing this some time around 2010, depending, of course, on many factors working in our favour.


Of course none of those targets has been hit, today Iraqi production continue to languish at the 2.5m bpd level, lower than when Mr.Mr.Ghadban made his predictions in 2004. Anyone who is giving credence to Iraqi officials predictions, estimates or future numbers are fooling themselves; we would be lucky to see Iraq at 3m+ by 2014-2015.


Now watch Iran bump its reserves to 200 Gb+. By the way, I'm just copying what Ron said a few weeks ago when Iraq increased its reserves.

Iraq's reserve/production ratio is now almost 200 years, with a depletion rate of just over 0.5%/year. What a bunch of nonsense.

Actually the claims are not the problem nor is the "slippage". The problem is it allows peak oil to be converted into and above ground technical/social/political problem. The oil supposedly exists just this that or the other is slowing production.

Peak oil problem solved.

As far as Iraq itself goes you need only look at how the western oil companies have responded to Iraqi bids. And of course at the fact that Iraq has not done anything to give anyone lucrative bids to get investment flowing. Iraq is offering poor contracts and basically no one is really biting to get the ball rolling to 12mbd.

If the oil was really there and the production levels even remotely possible heck if 6mbd was possible then this impasse would have been worked out.

As far as the invasion goes we where hoping for a lot more but as I've posted even 1mbd of exports out of Iraq is more than enough to support our military. Also obviously the positioning of our troops is extremely important. Iraq like it is now is more than enough to meet our long term strategic military needs nothing more is needed. I think the US would like to pull down troop levels we don't need the troops on the ground every day but simply have a US force present at sufficient strength to support a build up later if needed. Unless of course the Iranian issue finally comes to a head.

So outside of what happens in Iran I would expect Iraq to pretty much be put on ice for now. It will be needed down the line but our short term goal are met and our longer term strategic goals are also met. Even if Iraq can expand production and there is no reason to think they cannot say add at least 1mbd its not needed now. Iraq goes back to the role they seem to always fall into which is back up player for Saudi Arabia warming the bench one more time :)

Obviously I think Iraqi oil is not going to play a big role in our BAU economy it will however probably be immensely important in and eventual post peak militarized world. Then Iraq may well prove to be critical to how post peak/BAU civilization evolves.

Given their original role in the rise of civilization in the first place I find this really interesting as they may well prove critical in determining how the post peak/cheap oil world evolves.

The ability of any military power to control a large percentage of the global oil supply will be the key to our post peak evolution and Iraq as you can see is the key for the key. Lets see if the US can hang on to it.

Just a small note, but if you take the assumption that Iraq was targeted because of its reserves and US standard of living being 'non-negotiable' - then you have to account for the US substantially 'getting out' and not forcing the oil to flow quickly.

Maybe I'm a cynic, but I have to ask if some surveys and rifling through government data was done, post-invasion? Maybe someone found that the 'possibles' were more 'probably not'?

The fact that western companies haven't piled in, and that the US has allowed national control to dominate, doesn't sound like they think Iraq is the last large untapped pool of oil around.

IIRC the Bush family is known to have purchased 100k acres of land in Paraguay in 2006

Its a strategic resource both in location and also for oil. I agree I don't think it turned out to be a source of oil capable of supporting the "American Way Of Life". However I'd argue the US has given up on that now. I think the middle class has now been officially thrown under the bus.

The goal now seems to be some sort of warped second/third world America with a strong military and cadre of immensely wealthy people running the show. In a lot of ways similar to Mexico perhaps. All that left if for the social safety net to be ripped out. I'd have to guess thats coming eventually when it makes sense.

However Iraq is still has a substantial amount of oil along with its neighbors to support such and America for a long time to come.

Figure for example if the middle class collapses then American oil usage would fall by 30-50%.
We would only need to import say 5mbd or so. If we forget about Mexico at that point it won't be exporting oil. Canada is probably good for 2mbd for a while. Assume Venezuela is good for 1mbd that leaves 2mbd. Iraq and friends could easily cover that. It looks like some imports from the ME either to us or to our allies are required even in such a messed up world.

Go lower and its hard to envision the US really keeping its military close to its current levels. The US could go lower but if so I'd argue its military might would decline significantly as oil consumption fell below 10mbd.

So you can see that securing Iraq seems to eventually be important in maintaining the military might of America. And I think we can now safely forget about the middle class its done.

It's a strategic resource both in location and also for oil. I agree I don't think it turned out to be a source of oil capable of supporting the "American Way Of Life". However I'd argue the US has given up on that now. I think the middle class has now been officially thrown under the bus.

Kind of the intimation on my last line. All the while Iraq looks like it has enough reserves to noticeably delay peak - its worth going after.

If it's then shown to not have it, there's no real plan B on the 'non-negotiable' front. Therefore take care of yourself and make hay whilst the sun still shines.

Maybe the reason nobody is addressing the threat, is because they see no way to successfully do so. Certainly what I've done suggests that if the decline rate is anything like what we can expect, then things will break before they can be bent into a new shape. What if there is NO workable route between here and there? Better to let it fall as it will and pick up any pieces that are worthwhile afterwards. The tea party seems to be evidence that the grown-ups of the republicans dropped their control in the mid 2000s for some reason.

I think the middle class has now been officially thrown under the bus.

Did you get that impression from the debt cutting commission that wants to decrease taxes for the wealthy and the corporations down to 28% (from the Bush era 35%) while increasing the retirement age of the middle class to 69? I guess we are suppose to make sacrifices so the wealthy can get wealthier, with the idea that if the super wealthy are dripping in diamonds, then maybe the rest of us will get some tin. memmel, you obviously got it, but where is the rest of America? Why don't they stand up for themselves anymore? The French went berzerk when their retirement age was shifted from 60 to 62. But with the real possibility of it rising to 69 here in the US, not a word is said. This country is turning into a bunch of wimps, not unlike the president.

you have to account for the US substantially 'getting out'

Oh. You mean getting out as in leaving 50K "noncombat" troops behind and all those 500 year bases they built? That kind of getting out?

Not enough to take control, make sure the oil flows, and that it flows to the US.

As I say, substantially 'getting out'.


We have plenty more than enough troops garrisoned in Iraq to allow a rapid augmentation of our existing forces and subsequent mitigation of any emergent serious threats to the oil producing infrastructure.

You mean getting out as in leaving 50K "noncombat" troops behind and all those 500 year bases they built? That kind of getting out?

Yeah, that kind. The kind that continually costs taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars, is used by Dem & Repub prez's to seem macho to redneck voters, and even when we leave we actually like you say leave 50k guys there to twiddle their thumbs training iraqi soldiers that get killed by one faction or another just after they graduate, but in the final analysis the american people 'feel' just a tiny bit more secure so all that wasted money on bribes and political corruption are overlooked.

eni zubair    36,000 bpd
bp rumaila   100,000
xom w qurna-1 12,000 bpd/month
shell majnoon 25,000

total        173,000 bpd

Ethanol in crosshairs as tax deadline nears

AFP - Ethanol, once seen as an answer to US energy problems, is seeing political support waning as a deadline nears for Congress to decide on extending tax subsidies for the widely used biofuel. US lawmakers have until December 31 to prolong the subsidy, which costs the US government an estimated six billion dollars a year, but the earlier broad support for the fuel from farmers and environmentalists appears to be wavering.
Critics say ethanol, made mainly from corn in the United States, has diverted too much grain from food to fuel, and has done little to ease greenhouse gas emissions. Now, a coalition Tea Party activists and a range of environmental and community groups is urging lawmakers to scrap the subsidy.

Russian invasion?

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved the transfer of a Canadian uranium company with soon-to-open uranium mines in the Powder River Basin to a company controlled by the Russian government.
The NRC paperwork states that the transfer means the Russian president and the government of the Russian Federation have the power to direct corporate policy and therefore direct activities under the NRC license and license applications for the Wyoming facilities.

Our copper infrastructure is being scraped and sent to China and now the Russians want our Uranium.


Now give me one big giant f***ing "step back" break on this PO animated video

Clearly the Fuaxed News chick has her feet super glued to the floor.

Otherwise she would have walked over and swift kicked the PO know-it-all in his testicular fortitude long before he had a chance to deliver even one rational come back.

And why isn't she holding a Glen Beck Bobbing Head doll in one hand and a Sarah Palin moose muzzle shotgun in the other? This isn't realistic in a you betchya kind of way.

(Also these animatron morons hardly have any books in their book shelves. Yah think they're living together with that kind of political divide between them? No chance. It's a discourse that can't possibly happen.)

Video: Have you heard about Peak Oil?

'It's a discourse that can't possibly happen.'

SB, you're not one of those guys who says Star Wars is unrealistic because spaceships and explosions wouldn't make any noise in space are you?

For a piece of Rank Exposition, I love the fact that they get the standard arguments out with no vocal inflections to distract from the points, which I'm assuming was the reasoning behind using neutral characters and comp-sim voices.

Very cool link, Thanks! Who knows what will get the ideas out to new ears, but I'm into anything that doesn't shut down the idea stream with histrionics.


Good video step back. On point and humorous.

My wife is watching TV downstairs...some channel is playing a show depicting various folks across the country who go way, way over the top with their outdoor Christmas lighting displays.

We are talking about tens and tens of thousands of lights (I just heard one couple boast of some 150K lights)...with many of these folks running dedicated electric circuits and underground lines to outdoor receptacles at various points in their property. Many of these displays have the lights sequenced and flashing to the tune of music played outdoors.

I am fine with folks celebrating the season (whatever the reason), but why do we in the U.S. have to celebrate profligate consumption (like the gross food gorging contests)?

Some of these folks were shown in court or at City council defending their right to single-handedly activate the nearest NG peaker plant, and blow off the objections of some of their neighbors to the glare and noise and traffic...one guy argued an ordinance that mandated taking down Christmas lights (including his jigwatt display) 30 days after Christmas...

At least my neighborhood doesn't have any of these ostentatious dismays...pretty wealthy 'hood, but an older demographic. I understand...it has gotten harder every year for me to pull out the decoration and put them up...I stopped external lights several years ago....probably has to do with me being older, busier, and having grown children.

It seems to me that the general number and magnitude of Halloween and Christmas displays that I have seen in the cities I have lived in have been tending down the past several years, which makes sense, given the diminished economy.