Drumbeat: December 6, 2010

ANALYSIS-Colombia defies "peak oil" but for how long?

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Half a century ago, Colombia helped plant the first inklings of a theory that became known as "peak oil" -- the idea that conventional oil extraction has crested.

Today, Latin America's No. 4 crude producer is defying expectations by increasing its output. But experts say the Andean country must now find new reserves to keep up production levels and sustain its ambitious growth targets.

The cause of Colombia's rebound has less to do with geological maturity than with politics and security -- which, in many emerging markets from Iraq to Nigeria are perhaps a greater constraint to boosting production.

Analysis: Drilling Contractors Bullish on Ultra-Deepwater Outlook

Drilling rig contractors are bullish on the long-term outlook for the global ultra-deepwater drilling sector, with rig demand beginning to recover following the global financial crisis of 2008 and ultra-deepwater rig demand appearing outside the "Golden Triangle" markets of West Africa, Brazil and the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

The 'tax' you can't avoid: Oil prices rising

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The price of crude is perilously close to $90 a barrel and the average cost for a gallon of gas is inching toward $3 nationwide. If they keep climbing, that could put a serious dent in economic recovery hopes for 2011.

A spike in oil and gas prices is often referred to as a tax on consumers. That's because people have little choice but to suck it up and pay higher prices. As a result, consumers may spend less on other things that are not considered as vital.

Oil Inventories Decline in Survey on Demand From Refiners

U.S. oil supplies probably dropped for the first time in three weeks on increased demand from refiners as they boosted production, a Bloomberg News survey showed.

Inventories fell 1.5 million barrels, or 0.4 percent, in the seven days ended Dec. 3 from 359.7 million a week earlier, according to the median of eight analyst estimates before an Energy Department report tomorrow. Seven of the respondents forecast a decrease and one projected a gain.

Fire At Czech Refinery To Hit Production For Two Weeks

PRAGUE -(Dow Jones)- Czech petrochemical group Unipetrol AS, majority-owned by PKN Orlen SA, Monday said a fire earlier in the day at its key refinery would lead to several weeks of disrupted production.

Russia ready to supply as much gas to Europe in winter as necessary

WARSAW (Itar-Tass) -- Russia is ready to supply as much natural gas to Europe during winter as necessary, Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said.

“The contracts that exist today allow our European partner companies to receive as much as they need,” he said on Monday, December 6.

Latin American Oil: More Than Just Petrobras

When conversation turns to Latin American oil stocks, it's apt to begin and end with Petrobras, Brazil's booming energy giant.

But increasingly, Colombian-focused oil companies like state-controlled Ecopetrol (EC) and upstart Canadian outfit Pacific Rubiales Energy, deserve to be part of the discussion.

US embassy cables: Fears of terrorist attacks on Saudi oilfields

The Saudi government agrees to a program under which the US military will train and equip a Saudi force to protect the country's oil fields, desalination plants and any future nuclear energy reactors.

KenolKobil warns on Kenyan petrol price controls

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenyan oil marketer KenolKobil said on Monday proposals for government control of petrol prices could lead to shortages of fuel.

KenolKobil, which has operations in seven African countries, said it was concerned over government involvement in all facets of the industry.

Suicide blasts kill 40 in Pakistan's northwest

Pakistan's Taliban militants have staged suicide bombings in a bid to destablise the U.S.-backed government, which faces an array of problems from a fragile economy to growing discontent over an energy crisis.

Pakistan: Rapid increase in population serious threats to economy

Due to lack of education and medical facilities mother and child mortality rate was alarming in rural areas of the country while tendency of fast birth rate was posing serious health problems for women in the country she said. The Minister said this bent had become a risk not only to national economy but also generating unemployment as well as creating various social problems in the society. The rapid increase in population was generating problems like unemployment, shortage of food, environmental problems and energy crisis and hindering socio-economic development of the country she added.

Pemex one step closer to new contracts

Mexico's top court today threw out a legal challenge to regulations allowing private companies to operate oilfields in the country, moving state oil monopoly Pemex one step closer to signing contracts.

LA court can hear Peruvian case against oil giant

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- An appeals court ruled Monday that a case filed by indigenous plaintiffs from the Peruvian Amazon against Occidental Petroleum Corp. should be heard in Los Angeles.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling overturns an earlier district decision that the case should be litigated in Peru.

Interview: Straight Talk With Independent Journalist, Charles Hugh Smith, Part 1

1. Of the many forces at play that you write about within the economy, society, and politics, which ones do you see as the most defining for the future? How do you expect things to unfold?

Charles Hugh Smith: Clearly, demographics and Peak Oil are forces which cannot be massaged away by policy tweaks or financial engineering. I think the exhaustion of Global Neoliberal Capitalism and State Capitalism is apparent, as is the bankruptcy of the two ideologies that more or less define our politics. The reliance on expansion of credit and State power is a dynamic with only unhappy endings.

Nigerian Militant Leader Okah Says No Military Solution in Oil-Rich Delta

Nigeria militant leader Henry Okah, who’s currently on trial in South Africa on terrorism charges, said there’s no military solution to the rebellion under way in the oil-rich Niger River delta.

“There are thousands of people who are willing to fight and they’ll continue to fight,” Okah said in an interview on Dec. 5 after he called Bloomberg from prison in Johannesburg. “If I can have access to weapons, I’ll give thousands of weapons to people in the delta to defend their lives and their land.”

U.S. energy chief says improved car batteries 5 years off

(Reuters) - Cars that run on batteries will begin to be competitive with ones that burn petroleum fuels in about five years, the U.S. energy secretary said at the annual U.N. climate talks.

"It's not like it's 10 years off," Chu said at a press conference on U.S. clean energy efforts on the sidelines of the climate talks. "It's about five years and it could be sooner. Meanwhile the batteries we do have today are soon going to get better by a factor of two."

Powerpoint Diplomacy in an Energy Push at Climate Talks

In a packed room, Chu gave his trademark illustrated tutorial, leading from basic climate science through the disturbing implications of global energy trends and efforts by the Obama administration to stimulate energy innovation with research hubs and dozens of grants for work on the frontiers of energy sciences that might produce breakthroughs.

The presentation reflected a bit of Powerpoint diplomacy, with subtle, but significant shifts from another one given just over a week ago to a Washington audience.

UK: Energy minister 'confident of bringing forward' Smart Metre roll out

Energy minister Charles Hendry said today he is confident the national roll-out of smart metres can be brought forward.

GE Wins Orders for Wind Turbines in Brazil Auction and Gas Plants in Iraq

General Electric Co., the world’s biggest provider of power-generation equipment, won orders for more than 400 megawatts of wind turbines in an auction in Brazil and three gas generators to expand a plant in Iraq.

Nassim Taleb looks at what will break, and what won't

Most of the technologies that are now 25 years old or more will be around; almost all of the younger ones “providing efficiencies” will be gone, either supplanted by competing ones or progressively replaced by the more robust archaic ones. So the car, the plane, the bicycle, the voice-only telephone, the espresso machine and, luckily, the wall-to-wall bookshelf will still be with us.

The world will face severe biological and electronic pandemics, another gift from globalisation.

Religious practice will experience a revival, seen as a conveyor of robust heuristics, cultural values and rituals. Science will produce smaller and smaller gains in the non-linear domain, in spite of the enormous resources it will consume; instead it will start focusing on what it cannot—and should not—do. Finally, what is now called academic economics will be treated with the same disrespect that rigorous (and practical) minds currently have for Derrida-style post-modernist verbiage.

Herman Daly: A Shift in the Burden of Proof

It is no small thing to shift the burden of proof. Yet that is what Lawn and Clarke, and their colleagues, have done in this remarkable study. The presumption in the “empty world” has been that growth in GDP is “economic” in the sense that it increases benefits faster than costs, as well as in the sense that this thing we call the economy is getting physically bigger. It was not previously considered necessary to distinguish the two meanings of “economic” growth. Lawn and Clarke have shown that in a large part of today’s “full world” growth in GDP often costs more than it is worth at the margin, and thus should be called “uneconomic” growth. (In this book’s language uneconomic growth occurs after a threshold at which the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) levels off or declines while GDP keeps on increasing). Advocates of GDP growth, who generally point to Asia as their best success story, heretofore were never asked to prove that such growth was in truth economic. Now, after the theoretical demonstration that uneconomic growth in the macroeconomy is quite possible, followed by the empirical demonstration that it is in fact often the case, the burden of proof in policy arguments must shift from the shoulders of growth critics to the shoulders of growth advocates. This is quite an accomplishment and needs to be strongly claimed and emphasized.

Global Warming Claims Against AEP, Utilities to Get U.S. High Court Review

The U.S. Supreme Court said it will hear an appeal by four power companies including American Electric Power Co., agreeing to decide whether they must face a suit by states seeking a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

Strong hearts to the front, weak hearts to the back

Actually, one of the things I spoke about that night in Winona was global collapse. Regardless of anything I have said or done, or what any Indigenous person in the U.S. has said or done, the American way of life is coming to an end. Given the realities of peak oil and peak debt, we are simultaneously facing the collapse of a civilization based entirely on cheap oil and the collapse of the American economy. This coincides with growing crises emerging from global climate change and collapsing eco-systems due to hyper-exploitation. Everything Dakota people have been told about the superiority of Western civilization is a lie, as is everything we have been told about progress and technology. We have experienced a unique period of global history only possible because of fossil fuels, and that era is about to come crashing down.

Peak oil to drive changes in Dunedin

Dunedin residents will face radical cuts to car use and fundamental changes in the city's design when peak oil hits in the next few decades, says the writer of a report on the city's reliance on fossil fuels.

With 95% of all trips in Dunedin made in private vehicles, changing such behaviour has been identified as the most effective way of lessening demand for fuel in Dunedin.

"Urban villages" and inner city living will need to replace the system of travelling from suburbs to the city for shopping.

Conversion to trolley bus service would cost millions

Converting Dunedin's passenger bus fleets to electric trolley buses could cost many millions of dollars - and ratepayers, rather than public transport users, might have to foot the bill, insiders suggest.

Black Hole For Oil Price Policy

In his 2009 Jackson Hole warning, Bernanke identified oil as the looming threat, a kind of Black Hole for the green shoots of growth. He said: "Last year, oil at $145 a barrel was a tipping point for the global economy as it created negative terms of trade and a disposable income shock for oil importing economies".

He went on to add the oil-phobic punch line: "The global economy could not withstand another contractionary shock if similar speculation drives oil rapidly to $90 a barrel."

In early December 2010, with oil near $90 a barrel on the Nymex and ICE, we could ask if Bernanke's warning still holds true, especially since he now publicly wants higher inflation rates, as a kind of surrogate sign of would-be economic growth.

The Long-Distance Climate Campaigner (interview with Bill McKibben)

Could we be stuck with stasis because of human nature?

It’s possible that we’re just not cut out to deal with these things. There are days though, I think when it’s just as much as anything just a problem of power. The most powerful industry that the world has ever seen by an order of magnitude is the fossil fuel industry. They’ve won every fight so far, and we’ve somehow got to acquire some power instead of just talking all the time.

Peter Tertzakian: Look for oil price between $80 to $100 per barrel in 2011

Oil bulls point to production declines in places like Mexico’s Cantarell oilfield and Venezuela’s political mess to fortify the suggestion that supply can’t keep up with demand. To be sure, peak oil arguments held valid sway no less than two years ago and there continue to be many problem areas in the world of oil. However, new oil production from non-OPEC countries is offering surprises on the upside. Figure 1 shows monthly volume since 2000. The output dip between mid-2005 and 2009 helped heighten a sense of constraint and drove up prices, but note the pickup starting in 2009. Barrels from Canada’s oilsands have been a significant contributor alongside Russia, Central Asia and other prolific regions. Early indications suggest that new, emerging resource plays such as the Bakken in North America could contribute more surprise barrels in 2011. The market is not saying much about a challenged supply side these days, perhaps because the edge is off the story.

I Don't Want Speculation, I Want Clear Investment

Do you think the peak oil scenario is something we all should pay more attention to?

Well, I think there is peak oil in a way, but not in the way it is being described. There is enough oil on the earth in my eyes, but the reserves we can get hold on are limited currently due to the price scenario. In that respect, yes, peak oil plays a role in pushing prices higher for the foreseeable future. Eventually we will exploit new resources and use these new resources. There are plentiful resources on a longer time frame, but at higher prices.

Kunstler: The Jobs Picture

Among the surprises I've suggested over the years is the idea that people used to spending long hours in cubicles staring at video screens may, at some point ahead, begin to spend their days in the fresh air, cultivating food crops. I'm sure this sounds outlandish. But we begin to see the new dynamic of this world resolving in the nexus between a crisis of capital, climate change, and peak oil.

Food is getting scarce. Worldwide grain reserves stand at unprecedented lows. Droughts in Russia and Australia mean that basic foods will be in short supply on the margins - that is, the impoverished countries we used to call "third world" that depend on grain imports. The American supermarket aisles still groan with every conceivable staple and delicacy, but note the prices of things. A buck and a half for four little onions. $1.18 for one apple. $4 for a jar of jam. Compare these numbers with the wages that have not gone up effectively since around 1970.

Capital Institute’s John Fullerton Discussed the Role of Finance in Creating a Sustainable Economic System at Investors’ Circle Fall Forum in Washington D.C.

John Fullerton, President and Founder of the Capital Institute, an organization bridging mainstream finance with the new economy movement and related efforts to rethink the nature of economics and our financial system, discussed the role finance and impact investment should play in advancing a sustainable economic system at Investors’ Circle Fall Venture Fair and Forum in Washington D.C. on November 10, 2010.

“The problems we face: climate change, peak oil, wealth inequality, and even the financial crisis, can all be understood as symptoms of our unsustainable system,” explained Mr. Fullerton. “To effect change we must look beyond the symptoms and transform the paradigm in which the system operates. Finance is the key to realizing this transformation.”

Russia's Putin says wind turbines kill birds

(Reuters) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Monday that wind power can pose environmental risks, casting doubts over plans to develop this alternative energy source in the oil-rich country.

Putin, who has overseen all major energy deals Russia made in recent years, is keen for the country to maintain its role as a major oil and gas producer. He has repeatedly expressed his skepticism about alternative energy.

Cancun, a case of lowered expectations

Major industrialising nations, such as China and India, have made it very clear that they will never sign up to anything that might limit their economic growth, whatever the consequences. Nevertheless, they have signed up to the Copenhagen Accord, along with 137 other nations (the US being notable by its absence) and are making huge strides towards investing in sustainable energy. China, for example, has plans to cover deserts with solar panels and it has the industrial might to bring down the unit cost of manufacturing using economies of scale. And these changes are being driven not by idealism but by economic and political reality. Fears of peak oil and energy security are forcing green policy through where in the past well-meaning environmental rhetoric has failed.

How the US aims to reduce Iran’s oil-barter power

And sure enough, last week’s explosive Wikileaks cables show that US diplomats are deeply concerned about Iran’s role in the world energy market. Equally, they confirm the country’s paranoia that the West is intent on sapping its huge reserves.

“Even if Iran compromises on the nuclear issue, the United States would always find another reason to criticize because they hate us – all the United States wants is to conquer the entire region and steal the oil.”

According to the intelligence documents, this is what Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei told the Kazakh president, who later recounted his meeting to the Americans.

General David Petraeus, former commander of the Gulf surge, responded to the slight by interjecting: “We could have bought all the oil in the region for 100 years for what we’ve spent in Iraq!”

Oil remains above $89 a barrel on Europe cold snap

Oil prices remained above $89 a barrel on Monday after rallying to a 26-month high last week, fueled by hopes of increased demand amid a cold snap in Europe and rising speculative interest.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark oil for January delivery was up 11 cents to $89.30 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added $1.19 to settle at $89.19 on Friday, the second time in less than a month that oil has reached the level where it was in the fall of 2008.

Prices were kept in check by a stronger dollar, which makes crude more expensive for investors holding other currencies.

Oil Backwardation to Lure Buyers as Crude Market Rallies, Commerzbank Says

The prospect of backwardation in oil markets, in which earlier-delivery futures trade above contracts for later supply, is likely to lure investors as prices rise, according to Commerzbank AG.

“The present shape of the forward curve suggests further tightening on the crude oil market,” a team of analysts including Frankfurt-based Carsten Fritsch wrote in a report today. “This backwardation, which was rarely evident in the past few years, is likely to bring more buyers into the arena.”

Gas prices rise nearly 4 cents in last two weeks

CAMARILLO, Calif. — A new survey finds the average price of regular gasoline in the United States has jumped 3.92 cents in the last two weeks.

The Lundberg Survey of fuel prices released Sunday says the price of a gallon of regular is $2.91.

Asia Fuel Oil Rises to 26-Month High; Refining Profits Slip: Oil Products

Asian fuel oil and gasoil swaps rose for a third day to the highest in 26 months. Product crack spreads narrowed in Singapore, Asia’s biggest oil-trading and storage center, signaling reduced refining profit.

China's Unipec Said to Increase December Diesel Imports to 200,000 Tons

China International United Petroleum & Chemical Co., the nation’s largest oil trader, will import 200,000 metric tons of diesel in December, 67 percent more than it initially planned last month, a company official said.

China International, or Unipec, originally intended to bring in 120,000 tons to ease a domestic shortage of the transport fuel, according to the official, who declined to be identified because of company policy.

Hedge Funds Increase Bullish Oil Bets Most in Eight Weeks: Energy Markets

Hedge funds increased bullish bets on oil by the most in eight weeks as signs that the global economic recovery is gaining pace stoked speculation demand for crude will rise.

Nigeria militants say hit oil pipeline in delta

(Reuters) - A militant faction in Nigeria's restive Niger Delta said on Monday it had ruptured an oil pipeline in Delta state, close to where the security forces launched a major offensive last week.

China to Meet Year-End Goal of Cutting Energy Intensity by 20%, NDRC Says

China, the world’s fastest-growing major economy, will meet its year-end energy conservation targets, said Zhao Jiarong, a deputy secretary general at the National Development and Reform Commission.

The country will meet its goal of cutting energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product between 2006 and 2010 “on time,” Zhao said at a forum in Beijing on Dec 3.

Oil potential is huge in Iraq: Analysts

Of the many variables impacting the global energy equation, Iraq remains the most unknown and perplexing. What the Iraqi output would be years from now is such an unknown that none have a definitive answer. There are too many, ifs and buts to this entire imbroglio that confounds the pundits all around.

If Iraq could match its potential, it could definitely emerge as the game changer. Yet the billion-dollar question remains: Would Iraq ever be able to live up to the expectations?

Kurdistan to see flows early 2011

A dispute between Iraq's northern Kurdish region and the central government is "supposed to be resolved" and the region should start pumping oil for export early next year, Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani said today.

YPF set to announce 'major' new find

YPF, the Argentine company controlled by Spain’s Repsol YPF, has made a major unconventional gas find in the vicinity of the giant but mature Loma da Lata field, according to press reports emanating from Buenos Aires.

Business daily Cronista suggested that President Cristina Fernandez will announce a “mega” discovery on Tuesday.

Branson Says Oil Might Hit $200 a Barrel Without New Policies

Oil prices may soar to $200 a barrel if the world doesn’t move more rapidly to a clean-energy economy, Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd., said in an interview.

“It’s certainly conceivable unless we can start to conserve energy quickly and come up with alternative fuels,” Branson said yesterday in Cancun, Mexico, where countries are meeting to negotiate a new accord to combat climate change.

Ocean-going ships to get ratings on energy efficiency

A free internet database set up by Richard Branson will today list the energy efficiency of almost every ocean-going vessel, in a scheme designed to reduce shipping emissions by nearly 25%.

Using publicly available data on the engine size and CO2 emissions of nearly 60,000 ships, exporters and importers, as well as holidaymakers on cruises, will be able to choose between clean and dirty ships.

Book Review: Drowning In Oil By Loren Steffy

After reading Loren C. Steffy's "Drowning in Oil: BP and the Reckless Pursuit of Profit" (McGraw-Hill, 256 pages, $27.00) I had no doubt that the April 20, 2010 explosion and resulting oil spill -- the worst in the nation's history -- was no accident. The resulting inferno claimed 11 lives and, as Steffy demonstrates, was caused by the abysmal safety procedures -- and lack thereof -- of BP (British Petroleum), which leased the Deepwater Horizon semisubmersible drilling platform 40 miles off the Lousiana coast.

Book Review: The Impending World Energy Mess

I felt the book became much more interesting when they started to discuss “How is the oil debacle likely to unfold?” This is where I began to find a lot of value in the book for me personally. Future scenarios were very well thought-out, and pros and cons were given for them. The authors delve pretty deeply into potential mitigation pathways. For instance, I have often thought about how people will cope as gasoline prices head higher. One of the possible options is that gas will be rationed. This book takes scenarios like that a step further. First, it makes a strong argument that it is a no-brainer that gasoline will be rationed, and then goes into several well thought-out options of how that might be accomplished.

The immediacy of resource depletion and the murmur of global warming

The increased public and political focus on global warming has diverted discussion away from world resource depletion, particularly the depletion of fossil fuel energy with its potentially disastrous impact on world food production. According to its own internal whistleblowers, the International Energy Agency (IEA) appears to have falsified information on world fossil fuel depletion – on the grounds that telling the truth that world energy resources may already have vis-à-vis peaked in production and are exceeded by demand, could cause skyrocketing oil prices and stampede the world into a new recession.

Sarkozy Pushes for Areva Nuclear Reactor Deal to Meet India's Power Needs

France and India signed an agreement that will allow Areva SA to build two nuclear reactors for $9.3 billion to help meet soaring energy demands in Asia’s second- fastest growing major economy.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy told reporters at a joint press conference with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi that there was “no limit” to the countries’ nuclear cooperation, and that today’s pact, the first between the two nations, would eventually be expanded to six reactors. “We propose a total partnership for the civil nuclear” sector, he said.

Kuwait weighs nuclear future

Kuwait has launched a feasibility study into nuclear power development with the aim of having one or two atomic plants in operation by 2020.

The study, undertaken by the French government's Agency France Nuclear International and the US nuclear consultant and fuel developer Lightbridge, will assess potential project sites in southern Kuwait, where water from the Gulf could be used to cool reactors.

Start of pluthermal generation at Hamaoka plant to be postponed

SHIZUOKA — Chubu Electric Power Co has decided to postpone the January start of so-called ‘‘pluthermal’’ power generation at the No. 4 reactor of Hamaoka nuclear plant in Shizuoka Prefecture to fiscal 2011, starting in April, or later, company sources said Saturday. The postponement comes as the government has not yet produced its quake-resistance assessment for the reactor, located in Omaezaki, Shizuoka, according to the sources.

The No. 4 and No. 5 reactors at the plant were automatically suspended when a strong earthquake shook Shizuoka Prefecture and its vicinity in August last year.

In East Texas, Piles of Wood Look Like an Electric Opportunity

The case for biomass power is that it derives from a renewable resource: trees. The power plants can produce electricity around the clock, unlike wind turbines and solar panels, which work only when the weather is right. They also create jobs.

The Texas biomass boom comes at a curious time, however. Natural gas prices have fallen to about one-third of their highs from two years ago, which means that the plants may have to sell their electricity for far less than they had originally hoped.

Hitachi Develops Machine to Recycle Rare Earths to Cut Reliance on China

Hitachi Ltd. said it developed machinery to harvest rare earth metals from discarded hard- disk drives and compressors as electronics makers seek to reduce their reliance on Chinese supply.

The machine can extract 100 rare earth magnets from hard disk drives per hour, about eight times faster than manual labor, Tokyo-based Hitachi said in a statement today. The company plans to get 10 percent of its rare-earth needs through recycling when the business begins operating in fiscal 2013, according to spokeswoman Satoko Yasunaga.

Russia faces foreign Yukos loss charges

The international arbitration court in Stockholm may force Russia to pay compensation to foreign companies which suffered losses over the Yukos affair, according to reports.

Russia’s eastern regions to produce from 70 to 100 billion cubic meters of gas by 2020 - PM

KHABAROVSK (Itar-Tass) - Russia’s eastern regions will produce from 70 to 100 billion cubic meters of gas by 2020, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told a regional conference of the United Russia Party on Monday.

The implementation of the Eastern gas program “can be compared with the largest industrial projects in the history of our country,” he said. “In 2006 the country’s eastern regions produced only 8 billion cubic meters of gas. In 2009 – already 22 billion cubic meters and by 2020 there will be from 70 to 100 billion cubic meters.”

Nature talks see mood of compromise emerge

The second week of this year's UN climate summit opens in Mexico with signs that countries are keen to find compromise on key issues.

China and India have softened some hard lines that helped drive last year's Copenhagen summit to stalemate.

New draft agreements released over the weekend have so far been met with cautious approval.

However, fundamental divisions remain - not least over the future of the Kyoto Protocol.

Africa: Climate Change - Turning Agriculture From Problem to Solution

Cancun — Global agriculture contributes in the region of 17 percent to the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, but according to the World Bank, climate smart agriculture techniques can both reduce emissions and meet the challenge of producing enough food for a growing world population.

"As much as agriculture is part of the problem, it is also part of the solution," said Inger Anderson, the World Bank's vice president on sustainable development.

Europe Can Lift UN Carbon Market From Cancun Gridlock, Gazprom Says

Europe needs to reinvigorate the world’s second-biggest emissions market as global climate talks to reduce greenhouse gases stall, the head of a carbon-trading unit of Russia’s OAO Gazprom said.

UN Climate Negotiators Considering Two-Year Deadline for New Emission Cuts

Diplomats at United Nations climate talks this week will consider a two-year deadline for industrial nations to sign up for further cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions after Kyoto Protocol limits expire in December 2012.

Business urge government action on energy efficiency

CANCUN (Reuters) - Governments are missing out on an easy opportunity to cut greenhouse gas emissions by not legislating clear energy-efficiency targets, corporate executives said on Saturday.

Reducing energy consumption through more efficient buildings, power plants and vehicles is still the most cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but projects are often hampered by unclear policies from governments, said speakers at a business forum on the sidelines of the U.N. climate conference.

Subarctic wildfires a 'runaway climate change' risk

PARIS (AFP) – Global warming is driving forest fires in northern latitudes to burn more frequently and fiercely, contributing to the threat of runaway climate change, according to a study released Sunday.

Increased intensity of fires in Alaska's vast interior over the last decade has changed the region from a sink to a source of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas most responsible for heating up the planet, the study found.

Sydney vandalizes public transport infrastructure

Sydney's RTA about to pull down public transport infrastructure

Yet more debt to finance Sydney's tollway expansion

M2 widening increases Sydney's oil vulnerability

Tollopoly on Sydney's orbital

Thanks for the links. It looks like Sydney, like all other places pretty much, is in for a very bumpy ride.

Oil just broke through the $90/bbl mark, folks.

We are in territory now not seen since the last super-spike (and never seen before then).

Is this the beginning of another big run-up, as many have predicted. Perhaps 2010 will see $200/bbl oil before the end of the month after all, just as Simmons predicted.

Will this usher in the next "step down"? Or is this total-collapse time.

Damn, and I had almost paid off my mortgage.

I was wondering the same thing. I think this thing is going to take off. I noticed gold is also on a tear, along with most other metals. This can't end well. I see a total meltdown again like last time.

The direction it is turning, if you have a fixed rate mortgage, inflation may just take care of that.


Is anyone making any weather predictions to cover the latest changes in Artic Ice Sheets (i.e., above average snowfall in Eastern US. (just like last Winter.))?

I have no idea, but here is a chilly report from the UK:

MIDDLE class families are among millions of Britons who cannot afford to heat their homes this winter, as elderly ride on buses all day to stay in the warm.

After a week of snow and freezing temperatures a shocking picture has emerged of the bleak months ahead for 5.5 million households.

Pensioners, who are among those most ­vulnerable to the cold, are resorting to ­extraordinary measures to keep warm. Many have been using their free travel ­passes to spend the day riding on buses while others are seeking refuge from the cold in libraries and shopping centres.

This may further support that the Arctic climate is undergoing a major shift.


In December 2009 (Fig. A7b) and February 2010 (Fig. A7c) we actually had a reversal of this climate pattern, with higher heights and pressures over the Arctic that eliminated the normal west-to-east jet stream winds. This allowed cold air from the Arctic to penetrate all the way into Europe, eastern China, and Washington DC. As a result, December 2009 and February 2010 exhibited extremes in both warm and cold temperatures with record-setting snow across lower latitudes. Northern Eurasia (north of 50° latitude to the Arctic coast) and North America (south of 55° latitude) were particularly cold (monthly anomalies of -2°C to -10°C). Arctic regions, on the other hand, had anomalies of +4°C to +12°C. This change in wind directions is called the Warm Arctic-Cold Continents climate pattern and has happened previously only three times before in the last 160 years.

See http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_daily_extent_hi...

It appears that parts of the Chukchi Sea, Hudson Bay, and Davis Strait are unusually free of ice, while ice is forming early at lower lattitudes, eg. between Sakhalin Island and Siberia, Baltic Sea, and the Gulf of St Lawrence.

There's a posting on RealClimate about this subject, entitled Coldest Winter in 1000 Years Cometh – not.

There are a couple of scientific studies which point to the reduced sea-ice as a potential cause of the wind patterns which have brought the cold weather to the UK and Northern Europe last year and again this winter. If so, it may be that the loss of sea-ice from Global Warming may be linked to colder winter weather in some locations. Needless to say, the denialist camp will jump on these cold events as proof that there's no Global Warming. But, if this becomes the dominant pattern in future winters, we will all be in serious trouble...

E. Swanson

One of my fears now for many years is that the warming in the Arctic would induce cooling in Europe. Historically this is what happened in the 13th Century when Europe moved from the Medieval Warm Period into the Little Ice Age. For the last 4 or 5 years we seem to have had a downward trend of cooler summers and colder winters.

In the short term cooling would pose a greater risk than warming for Europe if it were to happen. Given the apparent trend and acceleration of events in the cooling direction it is looking increasingly like we may have a serious problem developing.

---and Eastern Denmark will have to pay 2 € (2.7 U.S. dollars) per Kwhs tomorrow afternoon, 20 times more than the average Scandinavian price. ( http://e24.no/naeringsliv/article3936972.ece )

Reason ? : No el-flow from Sweden and Germany between 17-19PM.

Can you provide background on this? I was just looking at oil prices and the pipeline and refinery situations, and was wondering if this cycle might we see shortages instead of price spikes for gasoline. Edit: My observation was that volatility seems lower than in late 2007, and the political environment seems less conducive for commodity price speculation.

Why would electricity spike so badly for Denmark?

Edit: saw your reason update. Why did the flow stop?

WT - Worrysome indeed. It's easy to see Briton as a model for how life may change in the US. Granted there are differences but a lot of similarities also. Particularly from a political point of view. Both countries are run by politicians who realize their job security depends upon satisfying the public's expectations. And worse: satisfying those expectations may not always be the best path to follow.

BTW: the story reminded me of my youth in Nawlins. When 10 or 12 we got our first air conditioned buses. With transfers you could ride for hours on a nickle. During the worst of August heat waves I would circle the town on a base when ever I had a nickle to spare. But back then it felt like a treat and not a desparite attempt to survive.

The Arctic Oscillation is set to fall off a cliff in the not too distant future.


Last winter featured a very negative AO...looks like more of the same on the way. All the cold air should be able to come south ruining all those Florida vacations again :)

Also lived in Britain for a while and the buildings there are amazing! Roasting hot in the summer, drafty and freezing cold all other seasons. Worse yet was Ireland where I tried to live but just couldn't. It was cold AND damp all year around! Amazing! Back home in Finland now! It feels much warmer here in every season. I mean its all about buildings! I've seen houses with retrofit roof insulation and new double-glazed windows with all kinds of gak spewed into the window frames - while all the walls and foundations are like sieves - good ventilation for sure, keeping the damp and cold inside!

The Germans have got the idea, pushing the passive house concept. The most advanced and working designs I've seen were in Sieben Linden, with massive clay-sealed straw-walls. The passive house standard here in Finland is much more high-tech, with special heat-retaining glazing on windows, integrated insulation on the cinder block walls and heat-exchanger on the ventilation (which you need because of the complete seal of the insulation and out-gassing of modern industrial construction materials). Other than that, all you need is a couple of warm bodies, a laptop (preferably Apple) and a flat-screen TV to heat up your house.

Due to an unfortunate de-emphasis on spelling skills in US education, we tried to do the right thing, but ended up working towards a 'Massive-Haus' Standard instead.

Speaking of New versus Old materials, I heard an interview with a Roof Thatcher, mentioning that a proper thatched roof could have an R-value of 90 or better.

GELLERMAN: This is architect Keith Malcolm Brown's first thatch house and working with the material is a steep learning curve. Thatch is a renewable resource and has great insulating properties or R value.

BROWN: The thatch is a foot thick, so we're up to about R80 at least. And with some sections with the roof up to R90, R92.

GELLERMAN: Literally, through the roof!

BROWN: It's exceptionally high. I know of no other structure that would have this kind of R value.


GELLERMAN: So, what's the benefits of this stuff?

MCGEE: Well, it's aesthetically pleasing, it lasts a long time.

GELLERMAN: How long will this last?

MCGEE: Uh, 50 years. It's a great insulator, it's a natural product, it's quite sound. It's just nice living under a thatched roof. You've got a foot thick whole lotta reeds, it's incredible. It's like a giant jigsaw puzzle. Each reed is a different shape so you want different shaped and sized bundles for a particular part of the roof. Like in a valley, you use big bushy topped stuff, on a hip like here, you want nice triangle, tapered reed. So if you get the right bundle for the right part of the roof, it makes it very easy.


I'll grant you that it is cold in the UK at the moment, by our standards - but bear in mind that the Daily Express newspaper is prone to 'rant' excessively about middle class issues! Fuel costs are rising and most of us are increasingly aware of the extra cost to heat homes and run cars, but what we are less willing to aknowledge is that we start from a relatively high standard, and are reluctant to reign it in a little. The reality is that for the majority of the UK population energy costs (and food costs) have been dropping in real terms for many years and the reversal over the last year or two of this trend is unwelcome. However, it is not a life-threatening drama for that majority. It is a wake-up call to change their expectations and hopefully plan an alternative. Start by not heating the whole house, and reduce the thermosat setting. But that doesn't sell papers so we 'read' about freezing to death...

Before the advent of natural gas from the North Sea in the mid 60s most houses had no central heating and little insulation. Heating was often provided by one coal or gas fire and people wore more clothes to keep warm.

Back in the 1980-ies when houses were built we cut on insulation because oil was so cheap. It feels almost sureal now with some retro-perspective. Today we use central heating plants and new houses are properly insulated. The 80ies were a strange time.

Don't know about rest of Europe but here in Finland (current local weather) we're enjoying a proper winter for a change. It is our national day here and as a reminder of what is 'freezing' weather, going back to the Winter War, during the winter of 1939-40 we had temperatures of -43C (-43F) on the Karelian Isthmus (by the Gulf of Finland). In my lifetime I've experienced below -30C ones, maybe twice, and I can imagine how it was that men literally froze on their feet standing in guard duty. That is, the Germans and the Ukrainians who didn't have the proper clothing. The Finns constructed warm confortable shelters (Korsu) underground with log insulated walls and ceiling, with earth and rock cover against artillery shrapnel. But that's enough zealotry..

To answer your question, Cryosphere Today has all the info you need on the arctic (and antarctic) SEA ice cover. The Current Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice Area graph with its anomaly tracking is perhaps the most telling - currently we're missing about one million square kilometers out of the average of 10 we're supposed to have for this time of the year. Looking back at the last 28 years we can see the trend down. We can also see that this winter is nothing unusual within that recent trend.

And oh yeah, weather isn't climate. UK may freeze for now but the fact is, the mean global temperature for this year is going to be another record for this century. Unfortunately the public perception is going to struggle with such a difficult concept... (ie. we're doomed! ;)

The forecast for my part of the UK near the Scottish Border is -4 deg C for tomorrow's max temp, with a night temp of -6 (-10.8F below freezing). By Thursday / Friday, however, we expect to be plus 7 or 8 deg C, day & night max. Big melt coming our way with heavy rain. Floods anyone?

(BTW: never put too much trust in stories from our tabloid newspapers: they do love a good headline, and indeed must miss not having Gordon Brown to blame. We have always treated low-income people badly and yes, the housing is uniformly ridiculous compared with Nordic and now German standards.)

Exactly! The Express is known for being a tad bit loopy. It is owned by a man who made is fortune in pornography. Well, not sure he starred in the films but he certainly sold them! Upon taking over the Express he wanted to put pictures of naked ladies on page 3, just like the Sun, but the ever-so-prim-n-proper readership were not amused. He dropped the idea pronto. My granny used to read the Express. Can't imagine her being too excited at the prospect of munching her cornflakes in the morning while ogling 'Natalie from Essex, 19, 38DD'


Link up top: Oil potential is huge in Iraq: Analysts

The Oil Drum gets quoted, (Euan Mearns), in this Middle Eastern Blog written by Syed Rashid Husain.

OPEC output quota has remained an issue. Writing on Middle East oil reserves in Oil Drum, the history between Iran and Iraq was cited as an indication of the inherent quota war among the OPEC members.

The article then gives a quote by Euan from the thread "Middle East OPEC reserves revisited" (December 3rd) then adds a comment:

"The Iran-Iraq War began in 1980 and ended in 1988. In 1980 Iran had 58 billion barrels and Iraq 30 billion barrels of (proven) reserves. In 1982 Iraq raised its reserves to 59 billion barrels giving it a narrow lead. In 1986 Iran retaliated with a rise to 93 billion barrels giving it a clear lead. But in 1987, Iraq retaliated with a knockout blow raising its reserves to 100 billion barrels. The war ended in 1988 and the reserves of these two countries have barley changed since."

The issue remains a hotly contested one within OPEC. And Al-Shahristani, who may hand over the reins of the Ministry of Oil to a new incumbent, once the new government in Baghdad takes office, knows it fully well.

The issue of oil reserves remains a hotly contested one within OPEC? Fancy that... I had no idea. Why would they argue about oil reserves? Unless of course they are aware that they are mostly just a pissing contest among OPEC members and have little basis in fact.

Ron P.

I seem to remember naphtha being short supply when prices kept spiking in the spring of 2008.

Shipments from Europe to triple as naphtha prices in Asia spike to two year

Demand for naphtha in Asia may exceed supply by almost 800,000 tons in December, up from about 700,000 tons in October.

Front-month naphtha cracks breach levels last seen in Q4 2007

Platts assessed front-month naphtha crack spreads at $3.25/b Monday, a sixth consecutive day-on-day rise. Front-month naphtha cracks last breached $3.25/b on December 17, 2007, when Platts assessed cracks at $3.35/b.

Cracks measure the difference between the refined product and the cost of the crude used to produce it.

For those who yet have their hope (and want to get rid of it):



I can't believe this (POOH

) goes on.


Help! What happened?

What happened was you kept clicking "SAVE" again and again and again. Every time you clicked, another copy of your post was posted. It was your computer and perhaps your feedback response that was slow.

Most of us have figured out that you only need to click "save" once even though nothing seems to happen, your post still goes out. Never hit "save" a second time...Never!

Ron P.

Ignorance is bliss? ;)

If you hit save and it locks up, open TOD in a new window to check if your comment was posted. If so, then close the original window.

What Darwinian said.

Don't keep saving the same post. Even if it looks like it didn't go through, check first before you post it again.

Ye gods. I think you've set a record, posting the same thing 23 times. I've temporarily blocked you, so you don't keep reposting it. I'll un-block you in a few minutes.

More expectations for demand destruction:

Bernanke Says Fed May Take More Action to Curb Joblessness

“We’re not very far from the level where the economy is not self-sustaining,” Bernanke said in an interview broadcast yesterday by CBS Corp.’s “60 Minutes” program. “It’s very close to the border. It takes about 2.5 percent growth just to keep unemployment stable and that’s about what we’re getting.” ...

“At the rate we’re going, it could be four, five years before we are back to a more normal unemployment rate” of about 5 percent to 6 percent, Bernanke said.

No surprize here. Austerity is a good thing. I suspect these little snippets of bad news we're getting are an attempt to break the really bad news incrementally, slowly, so as to not panic the herd, though I'm seeing more signs of restlessness. Enjoy your holidays this year!

Note: 87 octane finally went above $3 here this weekend, diesel at $3.35. Food costs way up, as are things like hardware and clothing. Our big home center box store raised the price on those little bags of screws by 50% over the last three weeks. Ouch! Time to dig through those boxes and jars of misc "junk", as their value is rising daily.

Best hopes for fruitful scrounging ....

Buy hey, big screen TVs are cheaper, thinner, and maybe even lower power than last year!

But of course it's hard to tell about the power aspect, as the vendors only provide Energy Star ratings.

I'm hoping that the LED TVs drop in price alot before our Fictional Reserve banking system implodes totally, perhaps my last purely irresponsible purchase (though the funds would be better spent on more PV).

Not to beat a dead horse, but the National debt will cross the $13.9 trillion threshold tomorrow. $700 billion is added to the nations debt by continuing the Bush tax cuts. the debt ceiling of $14.3 trillion will be reached around March 15,2010. The tea party congressmen are having fund raisers in Washington. No doubt they can "talk the talk" but so far nobody can "walk the walk". These debts and the fact that local, state, and Federal spending constitutes 40% of GDP puts pressures on government debt, the US currency and commodities.

Isn't that $700B over 10 years? It's not tax cuts alone, but the overall pattern of spending too much while taxing too little.

I hold little hope that Congress will decide not to increase debt. I used to think it would be important when other nations ceased to buy our debt. Now it is obvious that Bernanke will buy it, so we may have a newly stable solution -- devaluing dollars via debt to match the desired spending level. As long as you have lots of personal debt, few assets, and a good job, this might not be that bad for you. If you're on a fixed-value pension, it will suck. At least SS insolvency won't be an issue anymore.

Time to roll with the punches. What other options does one have?

The difference is between National debt and annual deficit I think. In over 10 years $700 billion adds to the National debt but only a portion is added to the annual deficit.
As to what to do, Japan's slope from 2000 would fit if this decline started in 2000. Japan is 10 years ahead. Remember 39,999 on the Nikkei in 1989? Now it is 10,000 something. There are many points of comparison and Comstock.com sets out the case. But oil was not an issue in 1989, and the Japanese trade account has almost always been positive. The reverse is the case here. I really don't like that future and would rather take our lumps, like Volcker. and then get a stronger economy. Now we recycle, deny debt problems, deny our economy is mixed,deny inflation, run lopsided for the rich, and deny an aging population reliant on fixed income.
Although I am over retirement age, I want a better future for my kids and grandchildren. I can deal with this economy just fine no matter what happens in Washington

Isn't it great, what the Fed can do?

We give tax breaks to millionaires; we fund 2 wars; we issue debt; the Fed buys the debt. No problem. I guess the Fed would buy the debt at 0.6 percent interest and that would make it look better?

The problem: The Fed has no money. Not really. They invent it as they need it. Banks come to the discount window; they borrow from the Fed. No problem. The Fed invents that money also. Faux money, Faux news, Faux economy.

We're fauxed.


Taming the Vampire Squid: Take back our banks

"It takes about 2.5 percent growth just to keep unemployment stable and that’s about what we’re getting.”

And that, in the shell of a nut, is why we humans are screwed unless we get our collective heads out of our proverbials.

Straight from the horses mouth. The way our debt-based consumerist economies are setup demands growth, not just to keep the ponzi-money system from imploding but also to keep people in work.

Go for Growth! Growth is all we need, yeah!! Growth is good! Perpetual Growth! Bring it on baby!

Pathetic humans.

"Go for Growth! Growth is all we need, yeah!! Growth is good! Perpetual Growth! "

That is actually what I've decided, Hac. With the costs of food rising (something I expect to continue) relative to incomes, I'm going to implement my plan to take a few acres out of their fallow status; put them into producing items that may be more scarce/expensive due to rising energy costs. I'm making a list of off season and early to market crops. (legal) Suggestions invited.

Best hopes for small, local growers finally being able to compete.

Suggestions invited.

OK! here's my suggestion. http://www.faqs.org/patents/app/20090000553

Patent application title: Method for the intensive cultivation of contaminant-free grasshoppers and their derivatives for human consumption
Inventors: Julieta Ramos Elorduy Y Blasquez
IPC8 Class: AA01K2900FI
USPC Class: 119 65

[0042]5. Raising and Feeding of Grasshoppers.

[0043]The diet of the immature or Nymphal grasshoppers is based on sprouts and plants grown in soil under controlled condition for subsequent stages, which must posses the hormonal precursors to allow a greater grasshopper reproduction.

[0044]Nymphs I and II prefer to feed on corn or wheat sprouts from certified seed, or other soft leaved plants, such as Matricaria chamomilla or Bidens pilosa.

[0045]Nymphs III are fed plants found in the region where the grasshoppers are being raised, such as hay, and different species of Bidens, in particular B. pilosa, B. bicolor, B. squamosa and/or B. oaxacana or plants known as Santa Maria, Chrysantenum parthenium (Chrysanthemum), Piper sanctus (Holy Leaf, Salvia leucantha (Pluma de Santa Teresa) Taxetes lucida (Marigold) and Crotalaria longirostrata (Chipilin).

[0046]Nymphs IV feed on plants found in the region, preferably hay, Taraxacum officinalis (Dandelion), Calendula officinalis (Calendula) and different species of the genus Solanum endemic to Oaxaca.

[0047]The Nymphs V and the adults feed on a mix of plants found in the region, preferably hay with Helianthus annus (Wild sunflower), Gigant{acute over (p)}n, Tithonia spp., Cnidoscolus chayamansa (Chaya de Castilla) and Rumex crispus (Lengua de Vaca).

[0048]Polycultures will be used in order to avoid the use of agrochemicals in the cultivation of the plants with which the grasshoppers will be fed, and also to foster the presence of natural enemies should a competitor to the grasshoppers appear. All care must be placed in ensuring healthy plants able to withstand the presence of other insects.

[0049]6. Obtaining Germplasm from Wild Plants.

[0050]In order to have the necessary plants to feed the grasshoppers, and for these to be free from agrochemicals, a nursery will be used to grow the plants mentioned in the previous section. Once the seeds are gathered, they are quickly rinsed in chlorinated water, and dried in a drying chamber at low temperatures of 160 to 23° C.±2° C., and preferably at 18° C. One part of the seeds is stored as germplasm for future cycles, and another is cultivated.

[0051]For the cultivation of the plants, the soil is prepared, controlling the type of soil, the techniques used to turn the dirt, to maintain uniform depth and humidity, as well as for organic fertilization, factors which are crucial to the germination and growth of diverse plants from seed, such as: soft leaved plants of different species of Bidens, hay, Santa Maria, Diente de Leon, Calendula and Chaya. Wild and domestic sunflowers, Marigolds, Tithonia, among others are also required.

Would you like your Hoppers soft or crunchy? ..... Apple pie with that?

I wonder how many calories in a gram of grasshopper? EROI? Seems energy intensive.

Would you like your Hoppers soft or crunchy? ..... Apple pie with that?

I'll have mine sauteed with a little soy sauce and a nice glass of Cabernet... Hold the pie.

I wonder how many calories in a gram of grasshopper? EROI? Seems energy intensive.

That's something I had actually wondered about and it turns out not to be true. Here's the ECI for different livestock compared to various insects.

BTW I haven't done the conversion to calories myself but found this:

Grasshoppers collected on rangelands in the RolIing Plains of Texas were analyzed for crude protein, gross energy, phosphorus, calcium, ash, and amino acids. Dried grasshopper meal contained over 70% crude protein, over 5000 calories per gram gross energy and was higher in essential amino acids than the F.A.O. pattern except for methionine.

Insects generally have a higher food conversion efficiency than more traditional meats, measured as efficiency of conversion of ingested food, or ECI.[25] While many insects can have an energy input to protein output ratio of around 4:1, raised livestock has a ratio closer to 54:1.[26] This is partially due to the fact that feed first needs to be grown for most traditional livestock. Additionally endothermic (warm-blooded) vertebrates need to use a significantly greater amount of energy just to stay warm whereas ectothermic (cold blooded) plants or insects do not.[27] An index which can be used as a measure is the Efficiency of conversion of ingested food to body substance: for example, only 10% of ingested food is converted to body substance by beef cattle, versus 19–31% by silkworms and 44% by German cockroaches. Studies concerning the house cricket (Acheta domesticus) provide further evidence for the efficiency of insects as a food source. When reared at 30°C or more and fed a diet of equal quality to the diet used to rear conventional livestock, crickets showed a food conversion twice as efficient as pigs and broiler chicks, four times that of sheep, and six times higher than steers (oxen) when losses in carcass trim and dressing percentage are counted.[10]

There are also significant advantages with regards water consumption...

Insects have attractive qualities for food production besides their high energy efficiency. For example the spatial usage and water requirements are only a fraction of that required to produce the same mass of food with cattle farming. Production of 150g of grasshopper meat requires only very little water, while cattle requires 3290 liters to produce the same amount of beef.[28]

You know the more I think about it the more I become convinced that raising insects for protein makes a whole heck of a lot of sense in a post peak oil economy. The six golden arches of Cricky D, and the electric bike ride through, here we come.

I'll have a double cricket burger and an order of fried ants on the side please...

I'll try it if you will!

I already have.

from wikipedia:

In nature, trehalose can be found in animals, plants, and microorganisms. In animals, trehalose is prevalent in shrimp, and also in insects, including grasshoppers, locusts, butterflies, and bees, in which blood-sugar is trehalose. The trehalose is then broken down into glucose by the catabolic enzyme trehalase for use. Trehalose is also present in the nutrition exchange liquid of hornets and their larvae.

Of interest is that we humans have the enzymes to break down and use trehalose....which tells us that we likely evolved eating bugs.

Humans have evolved as omnivores - most of anything that walks or crawls can be eaten.

Yes, most traditional cultures include some kinds of insects in their diets.

This thread started with Bernanke's unemployment comments and devolved into a discussion on eating bugs.

What would Ben have to say about that? "The market will always rule!"

This thread started with Bernanke's unemployment comments and devolved into a discussion on eating bugs.

I'd prefer to say that it evolved >;^)

If you let a gaggle/grouop/eh?/whatever of turkeys into a grasshopper filled field they will clear the hoppers right out of the sky. They love to eat the grasshoppers mid-flight! LOL. Gobble gobble

More jobs have to be created to accommodate the increases in the labor force. Under our current system and structure, this, of course, requires growth in the amount of goods and service to be produced. This seems axiomatic even if our economy was not heavily debt based. Increases in productivity also mean that growth must occur since less people will be needed to produce the same output.

Bernanke, of course, doesn't qualify his statements. He is stating the truth given the current nature of our economic system.

Growth is mandatory unless we are willing to entertain another way to provide what people need to survive and prosper, with even a very moderate quality of life and standard of living.

The powers that be and a significant majority of the American people are not willing to entertain another approach to providing jobs and livelihoods. Another approach, for example, would be to recognize that growth is either not desirable or not possible over the long term. This recognition would then require that people be afforded jobs or income through redistribution of income and jobs that are provided without resort to the market system. This would be considered unacceptable by most because it would be considered socialism. Consequently, we will continue to seek growth as the only way to employ people. I think this is irrational and destructive but I don't see this changing in the near future.

I think things are going to get much, much worse for more and more people over the next several years. In the mean time, the stock market is doing just fine. As we have seen, things can get a lot better for the few while getting a lot worse for the many. Such is the nature of our bifurcated economy. Wall street and the bankers are doing just fine.

This would be considered unacceptable by most because it would be considered socialism. Consequently, we will continue to seek growth as the only way to employ people. I think this is irrational and destructive but I don't see this changing in the near future.

Since the average American practically equates Socialism with the evilest forms of Communism, and despite J6PK not grasping that what we have now is Socialism and welfare for the wealthy bankers and debt slavery for the rest of us. Not to mention the fact that we are about as far as is possible to get from a true free market economy, let's try to bust that myth.


A steady state economy means government by a harsh communist regime.

A steady state economy can exist in a constitutional democracy with a common-sense mixture of markets and market regulations. Market structures are employed to allocate resources efficiently, but some vital decisions (e.g., how big to grow) are kept outside the market. A steady state economy features a mix of private and public ownership of economic resources.

We also need to overthrow the people who are currently holding us hostage.

Sounds good. Let's roll.

I don't see even the smallest trace of mythbusting at that link - merely a laundry list of wand-waving assertions, the same sort of useless thing one would wade through to no avail at a hydrino site. So has anyone ever actually set up that particular sort of economic hydrino cluster anywhere and demonstrated it to work in, say, a county somewhere (a village would be too hopelessly small to be convincing with respect to scalability, while the history of radical national-scale economic experiments seems so utterly disastrous that I just can't imagine any sane person in Europe or North America wanting to mess around like that at a national level.)

One problem among many: Wendell Berry recently wrote a letter to The Progressive (sorry, they don't seem to have posted it) criticizing an earlier article "Less Work, More Life" by pointing out that the view embodied directly in that title is too simplistic. The unstated assumption that work is opposed to life is just not universally true. For a good many people, Berry said, their work is a vocation.

Which might raise a question: it is asserted in your quote that some presumably public authority ("outside the market") would "decide" (i.e. dictate forcibly) how much to grow (i.e. how much not to grow.) Without a massive supervisory bureaucracy that would certainly look and feel harshly tyrannical irrespective of what soothing backronymic name it was called by, how could one ever prevent poets from writing "too much" poetry, artists from producing "too much" art, farmers who farm out of vocation from producing "too much" food, open-source programmers from writing "too much" code, and so on? Do we, say, station a police officer in every studio?

I don't see even the smallest trace of mythbusting at that link - merely a laundry list of wand-waving assertions, the same sort of useless thing one would wade through to no avail at a hydrino site. So has anyone ever actually set up that particular sort of economic hydrino cluster anywhere and demonstrated it to work in, say, a county somewhere (a village would be too hopelessly small to be convincing with respect to scalability, while the history of radical national-scale economic experiments seems so utterly disastrous that I just can't imagine any sane person in Europe or North America wanting to mess around like that at a national level.)

Actually there are some examples of current attempts in the real world.


For example, Sweden is now home to a number of ecomunicipalities. Led by economist Torbjörn Lahti and by Karl-Henrik Robèrt, founder of the Natural Step Movement, these formerly depressed industrial towns have made an official and deliberate commitment to “dematerialize” their economies and to foster social equity.

Övertorneå, Sweden’s first ecomunicipality, which experienced a 20% unemployment rate during the recession of the early 1980s, and which has lost 25% of its population to out-migration, now boasts a thriving ecotourism economy based on organic farming, sheepherding, fish farming, and the performing arts. With most of its energy generated by biofuels, Övertorneå has already reached its 2010 goal of being a community free of fossil fuels. Hällefors, a former steel town that also suffered from high unemployment 20 years ago, has nurtured businesses in the renewable energy, organic farming, and culinary arts sectors. Similar ecocommunities exist in Norway, Finland, and Denmark.

To be fair they haven't actually achieved true steady states.
On the other hand we need only to look out at what is happening in the world at large to be convinced of the utter and complete failure of the growth based economic system. It hasn't and it cannot solve our problems and must be placed in the dustbin of failed systems. To argue otherwise is to wallow in the warm but false comfort of the complete denial of all reality and is for all practical purposes a suicidal path.


But steady staters aren’t just naysayers; they propound a clear set of alternative policies to the GDP growth model. The Canadian ecological economist Peter Victor maintains that “you can construct a macro picture for a national economy where the economy is not growing much or at all in GDP terms but where social and economic objectives are being met.”

Exactly what would such an economy look like and how can it be realized? In a speech before the UK Sustainability Commission in 2008, Herman Daly outlined ten policy ideas for the transition to a steady-state society. They include a cap–auction–trade system for basic natural resources; a shift away from taxing income and toward taxing resource depletion and environmental pollutants; limits on income inequality; more flexible workdays; and the adoption of a system of tariffs that would allow countries that implement sustainable policies to remain competitive in the global marketplace with countries that don’t.

Daly also calls for a transition to a 100% reserve requirement for bank lending, returning the control of the money supply to government; a stable worldwide population; and separation of GDP into two separate “costs” and “benefits” accounts. To discourage transborder financial capital flows that exploit the labor and resource capital of developing countries, he would also downgrade the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and World Bank into clearinghouses that collect fees from countries that run both surpluses and deficits in their current and capital accounts. Lastly, he would remove the price barriers to “nonscarce” intellectual capital—including royalty payments to patent holders. These barriers, he notes, often prevent developing countries from accessing the clean technologies critical to sustainable growth.

"To be fair they haven't actually achieved true steady states."

Yeah, that does seem like thin-ish gruel. It's hard to see how an ecotourism economy could ever be scaled up enough to matter - there's probably room for only so many Williamsburgs, or Old World Wisconsins.

The Daly thing seems more complicated. I'm not clear about the details, but it seems like a 100% reserve requirement means you deposit money at your local bank; they in turn deposit all of it with the Fed. Seems like that would mean the government really holds all deposits, therefore controls all lending. That too would look and feel to a lot of people like some kind of Communist conspiracy. Some of the other stuff seems workable; some of it seems like it would require a lot more bureaucracy and accounting. (And piling on yet more bureaucracy and accounting seems very far out of alignment with any notion of reducing non-vocational work or increasing flexibility and time off.)

As I understand it the benefits of banking for society is in its role as financial intermediary, collecting surplus money (savings) and lending to those in deficit (borrowers). The bank's functional role being to manage the ebb and flow between savers and borrowers. I'd imagine that by having 100% reserve banking you are in fact firmly rooting this economic activity and credit to real production and capital formation (ie. surplus come from direct production, therefore, no production no surpluses no credit). The fact that bank reserves are kept with the Government doesn't give the Government control over the money or the banks.

The problem most people have with such a system is that money is limited to real economic activity that creates wealth. It is therefore far harder to accumulate wealth, create non-economic growth, game the system or for those not in wealth creating activities to even survive. Presumably, government spending also has to reflect the true fundamentals of the economy.

If we suddenly changed from our current corrupted financial system to 100% reserve banking it would be a kind of denouement that would reveal the faux economy for what it is. It would also bring forward the inevitable and crash the current system.

As you say, the crash is inevitable.

I think that no one wants to take responsibility, so even though a quicker crash that is then replaced by a more rational system may be better in the long run, it is easier to just let the system devolve on its own. This also, of course, serves the short term interests of Goddamn Sachs etc, who do seem to have an inordinate influence in all these things.

I'm not clear about the details, but it seems like a 100% reserve requirement means you deposit money at your local bank; they in turn deposit all of it with the Fed. Seems like that would mean the government really holds all deposits, therefore controls all lending.

Except the Federal reserve is not Federal. Its owned by the PRIVATE banks that established it. Ownership is control, no?

What we are working with is an evolutionary paradigm. You see, we are a species that is subject to the same pressures and the same tests as any other. Evolution does not favor the species - that is not how it works. It favors the individual who produces the most offspring, thus replicating the genes responsible.

Over time, if that individual's genetic makeup causes it to over eat, over spend, over produce, and over use resources, well... at least that individual had a nice time during its time in ascendancy, even though that resulted in the demise of a specie.

Deer, when they over breed and exceed their forage, stave to death. Some times, they kill all of the local flora, and the die out. It would be difficult for a widespread animal or plant to kill itself by overindulgence. We may have the chance to do it, however, since the Corporatists and their corporaticians (my word for those who serve in the Congress, etc., in the interest of corporations - unlike politicians who serve the interest of the state, or Polis) do not learn from experience, deny science, and seem incapable of change.

Best hopes for a few survivors.


now boasts a thriving ecotourism economy

That is good for the town, but that does not make it sustainable. Ecotourism means that non eco people are coming to see what you have done, and leaving some of their money behind. If people don;t have money (or there is no energy for travel!) to visit these towns, then what?

I'm sure these towns are very nice, and if I was there I too would visit, but it still doesn't seem sustainable.

Sonoma and Napa counties in California are beautiful places, produce organic wines and food etc, but only because the moneyed set from San Francisco buys the stuff, and visits there for tourism, be it eco or otherwise.

When the rest of the economies deteriorates, as it must, one of the first things to feel the inch will be any ecotourism that needs a plane or car to get there.

Wow. Nice work, twisting the meaning around there.

You end up with 'Police monitoring Artists, Programmers and Farmers not to overproduce..' .. When Fred is clearly pointing to real abuses in the system, and people who are in real Wage-slave positions and are stuck apart from ever finding their 'true callings', banks and finance centers being paid bonuses for upending the financial stability of untold millions of middle-class Americans.

Would you like fries with that?

Nice, nifty, underhand change of subject from the steady-state economy Q&A at that link to wage-slavery. But since you have changed the subject, who says that a steady-state economy wouldn't entail every bit as much wage-slavery as we have now, or more? Especially when so many of the prescriptions seem to call for going backwards technologically, that is, increasing the quantity of mindless labor required merely to survive?

Don't forget that during the heady days of exporting mass quantities of North Sea Oil the Dutch subsidized their artists. The government bought thousands of paintings to subsidize the artists. Eventually the government ran out of warehouse space and had to burn the paintings. The artists were upset and sighed all the way to the bank.

In my very strong opinion, we do not want governments subsidizing art, unless it is a type of WPA project to avoid actual starvation. I'd rather give the artists food stamps than have to buy untold quantities of second and third and fourth rate art.

Don, since you're here, maybe you can comment on my query above about Daly's 100%-reserve-requirement thing: "...it seems like a 100% reserve requirement means you deposit money at your local bank; they in turn deposit all of it with the Fed. Seems like that would mean the government really holds all deposits, therefore controls all lending..." It's not like the bank would store your deposit as physical currency stuffed in a mattress. Is there a lucid explanation of this whole "banks creating money out of thin air" meme somewhere?

No, no--that is not at all how 100% Reserve Banking works. See the works for Daley for more. I think Daley lifted most of his ideas on this from a 1943 paper by the young Milton Friedman. I don't remember the exact title, but if you google Milton Friedman + 100% reserve banking you should be able to find the original paper--assuming it has been posted online by now.

There is a considerable literature in economics on 100% reserve banking; many economists have favored this approach, and if memory serves, John Maynard Keynes had some kind words on the topic in his 1928 book A TREATISE ON MONEY.

There are few--if any--good new ideas in economics. Almost all the good ideas were thought of fifty or a hundred or two hundred years ago. Adam Smith, in his 1776 book, WEALTH OF NATIONS had some interesting things to say about money.

And I'm stretching my memory here, but I think the eighth edition (?) of Malthus on population had something to say about monetary policy. I don't think the earlier editions of Malthus had anything on this topic, but it is fifty-five years since I read and studied the relevant volumes.

Hi, Don; from time to time I've tried to find a lucid explanation simply of how the mechanics would work, without it being concealed in an impenetrable mass of ideology. Papers or articles that turn up tend to give kind or unkind words while assuming I already understand the basic mechanics. Even the neutrally worded Wikipedia entry on full-reserve banking says (right now), "Full-reserve banking is a banking practice in which the full amount of each depositor's funds are kept in reserve, as cash or other highly liquid assets."

This seems like a classic exhibit of the lexicographer's circle. It seems lucid for a moment before it gets me hopelessly confused. The bank is not a giant mattress, so it's not literally going to keep all deposits as currency notes in a vault ("cash") or some digital version thereof. But then, what asset could possibly be sufficiently liquid to keep in lieu of literal cash, except a government asset? If the asset is not some sort of deposit with the central bank, the Fed, would it be overnight treasuries? Is there anything in the private sector that could possibly be liquid enough? Private organizations rarely keep great wads of bank notes (physical or digital) lying around, nor do they keep a lot of other assets that can be converted (at any even slightly decent price) instantaneously to cash.

As a practical matter, how could anybody ever get a mortgage (i.e. a long term loan) in an economy like that, except from the government (which would then get to run everything in great detail) or a very rich uncle? If the bank is not allowed to intermediate longer term loans, who is? Anyone? (N.B. for the moment this is still a mechanical question - that is, do such loans exist and how are they completed.)


go back and examine original documents.

Please go back and examine the literature for the past fifty or sixty years. Most of the answers you seek are there. No secret.

If the guy is begging for a simple explanation and the best you can do is point him to 50-60 years of literature, I've gotta think there is no simple answer.

It would seem that the banks either have to borrow short-term, fixed rate money (deposits), and:
1) lend it on the market at an adequate spread to compensate for the volume loss, which would be huge, or
2) they have to lend on to the government as Paul S suggested.

I'm inclined to file this under nice idea, but would be horribly damaging in reality, which is by the way where I file the whole steady state economy fetish.

O.K., let us make this as simple as possible, but not moreso. I take a hundred dollar bill to the bank and deposit it in my checking account. The bank just keeps that hundred dollar Federal Reserve Note with the big picture of Ben Franklin on it. There is a name for this cash: It is called "vault cash" and is part of the banks legally required reserves. Suppose the vault fills up, and the bank does not want to buy a bigger vault. Then the bank can desposit cash (or checks) at the Regional Federal Reserve Bank; these reserves are perfectly liquid and can be accessed at the speed of light.

Banks will still lend out money. Where does this money for lending come from? It comes from the owner's equity, what accountants call "capital." Banks can also make good profits by borrowing money at (say) 3% and lending it out at six percent.

There is nothing whatsoever mysterious about 100% Reserve banking; it makes a lot more intuitive sense than does our somewhat weird setup of fractional reserve banking.

Unlike a 100% reserve system, fractional reserve banking requires a part of the capital be retained for liquidity purposes. The rest is lent out at interest. It must be kept in designated, "safe," holdings. Cash, or Treasuries, for instance.

Banks take that Ben Franklin in for a customer, and pay her about 1/2% per annum today (maybe a bit more, for more money and for guaranteed times); they, in turn, lend it to those they deem worthy at, say, 4%. They make 3.5% per transaction, for acting as what amounts to being middle man for the transaction. Of course, in the fractional system, they can only lend (not sure this is the correct percentage today) 80%.

That 80% goes out the door to Joe Merchant, who uses it in his business. Or to purchase a loaf of bread.

Today the banks are holding the money in Treasuries to be safe, since they don't trust most of us to repay them. Of course, with 23% of us out of work, I don't much blame them.

The Fed is trying to goose the money supply, not to provide capital for loans, but to reduce the impact of our unmanageable debt. Watching key barometers, they may begin to see some startling results. The question then will be, "Can the Fed stop the snowball, once it begins to roll?"

I have no answers to that question.


Thank you. And Jack.

So I was half right - beyond reasonable working cash stored on-premises, the place to send deposits on to would be the central bank. That's what I was afraid of.

Now about the intuitive sensibility of whatever system: I'm not so sure. In the Drumbeats and elsewhere we encounter many fraught comments about how baby boomers didn't save enough for retirement. But they were taught the hard way, by having their savings confiscated by 15% (price) inflation while said savings were sequestered at 3% behind the Great Wall Of (regulation) Q. Seems like the 100% reserve setup would have roughly the same effect - no interest, so no safe way to save, the bank serving as a giant mattress, like the medieval goldsmith with the safe. OTOH I suppose the demurrage-currency guys would be happy since the effect, of forcing most people to spend everything immediately, would be similar.

Of course people could speculate in the stock market in order to save, but that seems not to be working out so well any more - and one needs a significant amount of money over which to amortize fees and transaction costs in order to avoid being eaten alive. And it seems as though the crux of the problem with the fractional system might be the bank lending long (e.g. on houses) and borrowing (from depositors) short, inviting runs. But in the 100% system one wonders about stuff like home loans - why on earth would anyone lend long-term to the bank out of capital "at 3%" as you just said, when Helicopter Ben could blindside them tomorrow morning on a mere whim? Who's crazy enough to want to assume that magnitude of sovereign risk?

So in the end I'm left to wonder how it would all work out. Doesn't seem like making saving nigh unto impossible would help improve the Gini coefficient (which was also fairly sick in the days of that medieval goldsmith.) Does seem like future generations would be induced to approach retirement not merely underfunded, but empty-handed (a problem which mostly didn't yet exist in medieval times since hardly anyone lived that long.) So lay on a staggering Social Security tax in circumstances where people are already screaming about being strapped? Good luck with that. So back to huge families to take care of the problem, until the cumulative consequences of that make a decent life impossible for anyone? Oh, what a web...

Here's an attempt at conveying the idea succinctly:

Long ago, the first banks were goldsmiths. This is because vaults were expensive enough that it didn't make sense for everyone to have their own vault, so people deposited their gold in the vault at the goldsmith's so that they wouldn't attract robbers.

In return, the goldsmiths would give a reciept for the gold. Without knowing the exact history, presumably the goldsmiths would charge a small fee for the service of storing the gold in their vault.

While it was possible to go to the goldsmith's to retrieve one's gold in order to spend it, it was far more convenient to 'spend' the reciept. That is, to buy a Vorpal Sword +1 for 10 gold pieces, you needn't go to the goldsmith and retrieve the 10 physical pieces of gold, but instead you could just give the Vorpal Sword maker the reciept saying that the bearer of the reciept is the owner of 10 gold pieces in the vault at the goldsmiths thereby transferring ownership of the gold without transferring the physical gold itself.

At this point the goldsmith is not yet a bank because it doesn't make loans. Hoewever there are two goldsmiths in town, and one realises that hardly anyone ever withdraws their gold from the vault, so that it is possible to issue more reciepts for gold than there is actual gold in the vault.

Instead of just living high on the hog by issuing reciepts until the game was found out, competition for deposits evolved a different business model, one that actually paid depositors to deposit gold at the goldsmith, wiping out goldsmiths unable to pay interest on deposits.

The goldsmith would pay depositors an interest rate to deposit their gold ( instead of charging a fee for safekeeping ) and then make loans by issuing reciepts for many times the gold on deposit in the vault. Even more interest would be charged on these loans.

People did from time to time withdraw gold so the goldsmith did need to keep some reserves of actual physical gold in the vault, but it was up to them to determine what level of reserves was safe and also most profitable.

At a prevailing reserve level of reciepts for 10 grams of gold in circulation for each real gram of gold in the vault, the supply of gold to be used as money is now 10 times the real amount of gold in existence making gold worth only 1/10 what it would be worth without this fractional reserve bankning.

( Note that we're still on the gold standard here with no central bank or government requirements for specific levels of reserves and the money is already mostly vapor. Goldsmiths are self regulated setting their reserve ratios themselves according to prudence and according to the need to compete with other goldsmiths for deposits by paying interest to depositors. ).

Soon enough governments got in on the game and would fund wars not by spending the physical gold in their coffers but by issuing government bonds redeemable for gold in their physical vaults after a period of a time and bearing interest. Rather than withdrawing the gold, people mostly spent the government debt much as they already spent goldsmith reciepts.

Except for http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bank_of_Amsterdam there was generally far more paper redeemable for gold than gold itself in circulation.

From time to time there would be a loss of faith in the ability for loans to be repaid, and in the ability to actually redeem the paper for actual gold. This would result in a bank run, and a gold shortage. There was nothing to do since it's impossible to come up with enough gold to physically fulfill all claims on it.

Governments issuing paper redeemable in gold, due to such emergencies would often debase the paper making it redeemable for less and less gold. Since the amount of notes in circulation did not change as it was already vapor, this had little effect. With the advent of central banking the money supply was manageable and more could be created to satisfy any 'bank run' episode. This is Fiat Money.

Central banking requires banks to keep some reserves on deposit at the central bank. The amount of reserves required determines the money multiplier ( wikipedia has a good explanation of this term ). Basically the money supply is all the paper claims on stuff including money in circulation. These claims are debt. When you write a check the check is a claim on the money in your bank account. While it circulates it's money too.

With 100% reserves the money multiplier is 1. The money could be gold, or it could still be fiat digital or paper money. One would pay a fee for the service of money storage, and loans would be loans of reserves and presumably be much rarer and more costly in terms of interest.

How would someone get a home loan? One probably wouldn't. However because nobody would be able to get the home for a promise, buyers with real money would not have their money's buying power taken by those who are willing to make a promise and hope. That is houses would be available for far less money because only those with real money ( not a promise about the future ) would be in the market to buy them. It might actually be possible to save for a house.

The problem I see with requiring 100% ( or even just relatively high ) reserves is that whatever you use for money, someone outside your jurisdiction will require less reserves. If the required reserves were high enough this would cause offshore banks that operate with any amount of reserves they deem appropriate to displace the local banking sector. These offshore banks would hold all the deposits since they would PAY interest instead of charging storage fees. Some country would find this profitable and might even decide to regulate the offshore banks so as to foster confidence in them so they might be taxed.

People would accept checks from offshore banks interchangably with real money because the first thing they would do with real money is deposit it in an offshore account themselves.

Likely offshore banks do not attract most deposits now because the 1/10 reserve ratio is sufficiently low that local banks' FDIC insured accounst strike the balance desired by depositors between safety and interest/free services such as online banking.

The ubiquity of the system makes me think it's a case of 'the more you tighten your grip the more starsystems will slip though your fingers'.

Am I wrong?

Cash money, and gold, are both indications of labor performed and value added. It says to the holder, "I worked x hours." Or, if received as debt, it says, "I promise to work x hours, plus some additional percentage, at some time in the future."

During our lives, we are supposed to bank some hours worked (savings) so that we won't have to work later. That time we bank, we can loan to someone else. Most loan it to a bank, for a pittance. When they go to the bank to borrow (younger people more than older since they have not worked enough to save any, and expect to live forever), people pay a higher rate of interest in future work.

Given enough time promised, you become an indentured servant, working to pay back those loans. With interest pegged by a greedy and unscrupulous banking/finance 'industry' at 30% plus, you become a wage slave. Ownership of the slaves is held by the banksters, who have done their best to make bankruptcy (emancipation) difficult - they would make it impossible if only they thought they could get away with it.

Now that they own the Supreme Court majority, and they own the US Congress (at least they think they do, and who am I to argue that), they are only waiting for 2012 to own the whole thing. Then, look for poor houses, and debtors' prisons! Happy days are here again!


Where's Ned Lud when we need him?

We need to become less productive. By this I mean we need to employ more people to produce what we produce. We subsidize machines and tax humans while allowing a few to become obscenely rich. Our politics perpetuates this.

I see no viable solution.

Become less productive or work less per person or simply give more money to people who are not directly productive or expand the number of things we do by paying people to do things that wouldn't necessarily be done by the economy left to its own devices. In Germany, for example, the government subsidizes companies to retain workers who would otherwise be fired based upon demand or anticipated demand.

All these schemes, however, mess with what people consider to be a free market economy. The only "answer" offered by the so called free market economy is more growth, if that. The amount of growth required, however, might not be obtainable in an economy in a race to the bottom with the Chinese or has real product sucked out of it by the banksters who are mainly just interested in finding new ways to make money with money.

Further, perpetual economic growth requires a planet that is not finite or escape to some other planet. And, further, how much of so called growth is just counterproductive or is just being utilized to try to repair the damage caused by the growth economy.

Our current economy is in failure mode and no one in power has a clue or is willing to do what is necessary.

Not quite. It's simple really. We need to reduce the hours for all workers. This should have been done proportionately with every technical advance since the flint. Instead we let ADHD workaholics and megalomaniacs do whatever they choose. If you do it by statute then every 'libertarian' will get in a lather..so you simply have no employer tax for employees up to 15 hrs work, normal for 15 - 30 hrs and extra for 30+. The working week will soon reach equilibrium at 15hr and 30hr work patterns covering the 365/24/7 requirements. Employment up 50%, part time jobs for those who want them etc. Less welfare issues. Q of life, better parenting etc. Less police, prison etc. Migrant workers will slope off elsewhere etc.

Of course it means less gdp, less money borrowed, less competion for jobs so better worker rights [without union problems] etc. Govts would hate it..

Ah, yes. The dream of slower paced, less is more times. I doubt we are sufficiently libertarian to realize that goal, and yes, governments would hate it.

Elsewhere I commented on evolutionary development - if our brains are to enable us to survive as a species, then something like what you suggest might be in the future some time. Right now, I am not sanguine about the future. Between lust for money and for power we do not appear likely to change much. Maybe the women of the world will be the answer... but from what I can see they just perpetuate the problem by flocking to those who "succeed."

My prediction: Nature will trim numbers until either those left learn to cooperate and plan, or the race dies off. And, maybe the planet along with it. Perhaps this is the way of so-called intelligent life in the Universe. The reason we do not see any others is that, once they reached a certain point, their natural greed (given that this is what drives animal evolution) drove them to destruction. Who knows?

All I know is that I would enjoy your mythical world...


"Strange species, homo sapiens. Wonder if they'll be missed."

You'd also have lots of "grey market" workers making stuff at home for sale at yard sales and craft fairs, plus barter of every sort. Seems like a great idea!

Of course having the wife stay home with the kids would cut back working hours drastically, but also slice the work-share aspect of paid child care funded by tax deductions.

"The economy" does not exist to make everybody employed and happy. It exists to enrich people who are already rich. Our "politics" is designed to facilitate this, and has been since the Constitutional Convention.

There is interplay with the Fed's possibly implementing further QE, and similar recent action by the Chinese.


They're trying to outdo the Fed, despite this being contrary to advertised goals of Hu Jintao's 5 year plan.

The article includes the following saying that Chinese officials are likely to wise up as to their own interests:

Investors should bet on yuan gains through six-month non- deliverable forwards because officials will recognize the need for a stronger currency to fight inflation, said Mitul Kotecha, head of global foreign exchange strategy at Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong. Forwards are pricing in a yuan rise to about 6.58 against the dollar in six months. Kotecha estimates the currency will rise to 6.43 by the end of June.

It may be that China will develop it's internal economy only to the extent it is forced to by such actions as further QE by the Fed. Since a vibrant domestic economy in China is liable to change the very nature of China by promoting a more open and freer society, at least moderate further QE has that in the 'pro' column.

Japanese supercomputer gets faster but draws no more power

The latest machine has a performance of 2.4PFlops, which is 15 times that of its predecessor. It's Japan's first petaflop-level supercomputer and was ranked the fourth most powerful machine in the world in November's Top 500 supercomputer ranking.
"Our CIO said, you guys can build a great machine, but you're not going to get any more electricity," said Satoshi Matsuoka, director of the Global Scientific Information and Computing Center at the university, of a discussion he had during the planning stages for Tsubame 2.0. The university was already spending around US$1.5 million per year powering the existing supercomputer and didn't want to see that figure rise. "It wasn't the money, it wasn't the space, it wasn't our knowledge or capability, it was the power that basically was the limiter," he said.
The result is a supercomputer comprised of 1,408 computing nodes. At the heart of each node is an HP ProLiant SL390 server with Intel Xeon processor and Nvidia Tesla GPUs. There are three Tesla chips inside each of Tsubame's 1,408 nodes and each chip has 448 processing cores for a total of almost 1.9 million graphics processing cores. It's these GPUs that give Tsubame most of its power.

What's funny is the GF100 chip which those Nvidia Tesla GPUs are based on are some of the biggest energy users in the PC enthusiast community. These GPUs suck down power like there's no tomorrow in relationship to comparable models from AMD. The 448 Cuda cores are GTX470s but in different packaging.

Total power is 1243.80 kW according to http://www.green500.org/lists/2010/11/top/list.php.

So that would be 833 Watts per HP ProLiant SL390 server with Intel Xeon processor and three Nvidia Tesla GPUs, i.e. a "node". So a reasonably large part of that could be the graphics chips from Nvidia.

If NVIDIA CUDA GPU development is an interest:

CUDA Toolkit 3.2 (November 2010)

Behind a paywall, but viewable if you block scripting:

Arctic conferences point to 'cold war' over oil

No matter how you look at it, the Arctic region is generally considered to be the new frontier for the oil and gas industry. But even as countries line up to be first with exploratory activity, a host of concerns are to be negotiated. War is one, the environment is another.

"It is no coincidence that our strategic interest in the Arctic warms with its climate," said one of NATO's most senior commanders, US Adm. James Stavridis, the supreme allied commander for Europe.

...What really is at stake?

The US Geological Survey estimated that the Arctic may contain at least 90 billion bbl of oil and up to 1.55 quadrillion cu m of gas, or a third of global undiscovered, potentially recoverable resources. The estimate, considered conservative because of sparse data in many areas, nevertheless represents quite a prize at any time, but especially in an era where so-called "peak oil" is said to be just around the corner.

"may contain at least 90 billion bbl of oil and up to 1.55 quadrillion cu m of gas, or a third of global undiscovered, potentially recoverable resources."

And the undiscovered £5,000,000 in HAcland's bank account may mean he has a really great Christmas. This sort of crap reporting doesn't even make sense. How can they have discovered undiscovered resources?

Meanwhile, remember that oil find off the Falklands Isles a few days ago? Well:


Oops. Better luck next time.

"How can they have discovered undiscovered resources?"

Yeah, Hac. It usually works the other way, as in Alaska.

Regrading the USGS estimate of huge Arctic reserves: "The estimate, considered conservative because of sparse data in many areas...". Just for counterbalance in the oil patch (where the people who actually go out and drill for oil/NG work) the more sparse the data the more speculative the reserve estimate will be...not the more conservative. Back some 30 years ago there was a great speculation as to how much oil/NG lay under the Muckluk (sp?) prospect in the Arctic ocean. They had to build an ice island to drill the well. At today's cost the op probably ran over $400 million for the one well. Drilled by a consortium of Big Oil so the data was released publicly. Not only did the well not find oil/NG the geochemical analysis of the rocks showed there had been no potential to even generate oil/NG is the entire area. I don't recall what the speculative reserve target was but it had to be huge given the very sparse (actually completely lacking) physical data in the area. This has always been the rule in exploration: less data (and the higher probability of failure) allows the largest reserve estimates. It's that basic law in logic: You can't prove something doesn't exist somewhere. You can prove it doesn't exist where you drilled but there's always that next location. Each of us has the potential to win 100's of millions of $'s in the next lottery drawing. But will you? There's a potential to find billions of bbls of oil in the Arctic Basin simply because it so under explored. But will someone?


Since we know how oil has been formed, and where in the ancient world the shallow seas were that precipitated the materials that became oil, and since we know where the land masses and seas of long ago are today, on a geographical scale, isn't it possible to anticipate where the possible fields were and where they have moved to today?

If the answer is, "yes," isn't there some basis to estimate where and how much oil exists (or is not likely to exist) in the Arctic basin?


Craig - You're correct about knowing where all the sediment deposition centers are located. That's been known for many decades for the most part. But the generation of oil/NG is not universal. It requires a certain type of depositional environment as well as a very specific thermal history. And even once the oil/NG is generated there's no guarentee it will be preserved. Bury it to deep and the oil turns to NG. Bury NG too deep and it can be destroyed. Or let the oil accumulation get too shallow and be contaminated by bacteria and the oil is greatly degraded. Some tar sands are interpreted to have originated this was. One more complication: often the rocks that are the source of the oil/Ng are not the final resting place. It migrates to the eventual trap. But it doesn't always get trapped. Some folks have postulated that the great majority of oil/NG ever generated has leaked to the surface.

Back to the Arctic Basin. Based on even old 2d seismic and gravity/magnetic surveys we probably have a good idea where the different depo centers are in the basin. But are there source rocks in any of those areas? Was there a sufficient thermal history to cause oil/NG generation? And even if both situations existed were there adequate trapping reservoirs to catch the oil/NG? And if all three happened was any of the hydrocarbons destroyed by deep burial or shallow bacteria contamination? All those questions pretty much require drilling to answer. And a lot of drilling to have an answer anywhere close to accurate. The example I gave of the failed Muckluk well is a good indication of how wrong such estimates can be. I think they discovered there were no source rocks for oil/NG or that the thermal history wasn't adequate. This would not be a local problem. Such info would go a long well to killing the potential of the entire depocenter. It wasn't just that didn't find oil/NG with just that well. The results killed the potential for a fairly large region.

But even when there are many wells drilled in the basin you still have a difficlt time projecting ultimate recovery. I'm drilling wells in the Gulf Coast...one of the heaviest drilled and most mature hydrocarbon provinces on the planet. And you can still have raging debates within the industry as to how much oil/NG is still left to exploit. Sounds counterintuitive but that's one reason the USGS can throw out such huge numbers with little fear of someone presenting data to refute them: there isn't enough data to do so. Just like you bank account: you've got a pretty good idea of how much money you have. You have a lot of data on the subject. So how much money do I have? Given that you have very little data about me you're free to speculate as large a number as you would like. You do know I'm a highly success petroleum geologist so would guess high...right? OTOH when you subtract what my 6 exwives egt it turns out you're way of the mark. See...you lack a critical bit of info. And until I publish a financial statement no one can argue you number being wrong. I know that sounds simplistic but that aspect of oil/NG exploration really is that simple. A famous geologist once said: "Oil is found in the minds of men". In reality oil potential is fould in the minds of men. Oil is found at the end of a 5.5" steel pipe. And until that pipe penetrates that reservoir those reserves don't exist. Except in someone's mind, of course.

Or, as an oil and gas investor I know quipped, "The oil business is a bunch of holes in the ground with liars on top."

I'm sure TOD featured some good coverage of it at the time (links anyone?), but in June 2009 I tried to summarize the important bits of the 2009 USGS Arctic survey here: "Arctic Oil and Gas Potential", and noted that their P95 estimate (which is often closest to reality) was only 44 Gb, and that Jean Laherrère's March 2008 TOD post estimated it at 50 Gb. And those are the OOIP estimates. Factor in a 25-35% recovery factor, and I estimated the Arctic may have perhaps a 4-month world supply of recoverable oil and around a 2-year supply of gas, which would be produced over a period of many years at a trickle of a rate.

Thanks... and I gather from what you said that the data available does not rule out the presence of some oil and gas, meaning much drilling here there and everywhere, with a prayer and a promise.

The comment above indicates better reserve estimates may be more limited than stated of late. Perhaps those greedy nationalists won't go to war after all.


Craig - And then you still have to find it even if it's there. Years ago I read that the first major N Sea oil field was discovered on the 93rd well drilled out there. And I still have my basic bitch about numbers thrown out: they talk about inplace reserves as a rule. This not only allows them to ignore recovery factors (as someone else just pointed out) but also allows them to ignore the economics of such efforts. As I've ranted on before: any estimate of RECOVERABLE reserves anywhere in the world is totally meaningless if it doesn't include a realistic cost and oil/NG price platform. The shale gas numbers are a perfect example. Yes...there are 100's of trillions of cubic feet of NG that COULD (as opposed to WILL) be recovered from these plays...if prices are high enough. And at prices below $4/mcf...not nearly so much.

Yes, the Mukluk well was a classic. The most expensive dry hole in history.

Actually, there had been oil in it at on time, but the reservoir had been fractured and it had leaked out long ago. This is rather typical of the Arctic Ocean area - there has been too much tectonic activity over the area, and most of the reservoirs have been fractured.

I fail to see why the USGS would think that the areas which have not been drilled would be better than the areas that have - and the areas that have been drilled have been pretty dismal. The size of structures that would be economic in that high-cost area would jump right out at geologists. These days you could spot almost anything worth drilling from satellite.

Companies I worked for drilled almost everything worth trying in the Canadian sector, other companies tried the best prospects in the American sector. The Russians have been checking out the Russian sector, which is the largest, but they have found mostly natural gas. That leaves - oh, Danish territory off Greenland. Tectonic activity, again.

"The estimate, considered conservative because of sparse data in many areas..." - A conservative estimate would take into account the fact that oil companies are not completely stupid and will have drilled the most likely prospects first. Realistically, anything that is left to try will probably yield oil reserves too small to matter in the global context.

Actually, there had been oil in it at on time, but the reservoir had been fractured and it had leaked out long ago.

I would think that this is fairly common for polar prospects. The source rock originates at more temperate southern latitudes. But for there to be oil at the pole, the source rock had to travel via plate tectonics up toward the pole. And during that time/travel, there are a lot of things that can prevent oil at the pole . . . not going deep enough, going too deep and becoming gas, fracturing and leaking to the surface, not ending up in some sort of trap, etc.

It would seem that the poles are one of the worst places to look. But if you've looked nearly everywhere else . . . what else are you going to do?

I don't think the source rock had to originate at more temperate latitudes. In the past, the Arctic Ocean has been much warmer than today, and when the dinosaurs roamed the high Arctic, the Arctic Ocean was as warm as the water off California is today.

However, there is not enough source rock there, and as Rockman alluded to, the thermal history has not been favorable for oil to survive. Most of the reservoirs have been too hot in the past, rather than too cold, and most of the oil has been converted to natural gas by thermal cracking. In addition, most of the oil and gas reservoirs have been fractured by crustal movements.

I think the USGS has been reasoning by analogy with the Gulf of Mexico, which has been an oil-manufacturing machine for a long, long time. It has miles of source rock, little in the way of fracturing of reservoirs, and the rock below the Gulf has been abnormally cold - not much above the freezing point - which results in more oil and less natural gas than you would normally expect.

Bottom line - the Arctic Ocean is nothing like the Gulf of Mexico. It's not really surprising for anybody except apparently the USGS.

Thanks for the info. I always appreciate learning more. Yeah, I guess there was some native source rock . . . but am I correct to presume that the native polar source rock is much older than the Gulf of Mexico & Persian Gulf source rock? (Thus the polar oil is more likely lost over time due to cracking/leaking/etc.)

I don't know a lot about the geology of the Gulf of Mexico, and nobody really knows a lot about the geology of the Arctic Ocean. However, I doubt that the Arctic Ocean is really much older than the Gulf of Mexico. It might be somewhat younger - 140 million years vs 160 million years old..

However, the Gulf of Mexico has had a subtropical climate over the entire period of its existence. It was forming oil 160 million years ago, and it is still forming new oil today. As I said, it's an oil manufacturing machine.

Although the Arctic Ocean had subtropic temperatures during the early part of its existence, it doesn't have subtropic temperatures today and hasn't had them since the polar ice sheets started appearing some 40 or 50 million years ago. So you're dealing with a narrower window of source rock formation.

Large parts of the Arctic haven't been explored in any great detail, and we don't really know much about the geology, which is what the USGS is counting on when it creates the huge estimates of potential Arctic oil reserves it publishes. However, I don't see any reason to be optimistic about it. We have drilled the most likely places to find oil, and we didn't find much. Lots of gas but not much oil.

Thanks Rocky. Couldn't remember exactly what broke their pick.

From the "immediacy" article above.

"The increased public and political focus on global warming has diverted discussion away from world resource depletion"

I find this kind of statement rather annoying. It is as if these are the only two things vying for the public's attention. I would fix it thus:

"Th increased public focus on Glee, Dancing with the Stars, Justin Beeber, royal weddings, every stupid little thing that comes up and knock important news about important issues off the air...has diverted discussion away from world resource deletion and GW and species extinction and every other major very important issue that we all need to be spending pretty much all of our time and attention on if we are to get anywhere at all with any of them.

Sorry for the rant, but really, pretending GW and PO are the only things out there trying to get people's attention is so ridiculous is it beyond lampooning. Yet it or something like it gets repeated ad nauseum here and elsewhere.

Same thing occurred to me. What nonsense. What freaking focus on global warming? Not in this country.

Dohboi, I think you get things really wrong in your rant. The article makes no claim that there are no other things vying for peoples attention. There are always thousands of things, people and adverts trying to get your attention. And then there is football, baseball, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and I could go on for days naming things or subjects that people write and talk about.

But to do so, as you did, is to completely miss the freaking point! There are two things that could bring an end of the world as we know it. And those two things are not Dancing with the Stars, Justin Beeber or the Royal Wedding. They are Peak oil and Global Warming. And when these things get discussed we hear far, far more from the media about global warming than peak oil. Yet peak oil could or will bring an end to the world as we know it within one or two decades. Global warming will change our climate patterns and dramatically change our world within a few decades, perhaps in 50 to 100 years.

That is not to say that climate change has not already started because it has. However the effects of climate change will not have nearly the effect in the next two decades as declining oil production, not even close. And that is the point the author was trying to make. Oil depletion will be immediate hit us like a ton of bricks within the next few years. Global warming is but a murmur that will cause the survivors even more misery in perhaps half a century.

Again, that is the point the author was trying to make and I agree with him in spades.

Ron P.

Grain prices are up 50% since this summer because of the unprecedented Russian heatwave. The lack of indefinite terms in your statements does not make them true.

Gog, really all I was saying in the post was that I agree with the author of the article: The immediacy of resource depletion and the murmur of global warming. There was really no need to get snotty about it.

But as I said climate change is already affecting things but so is peak oil. Anyway we have been discussing the post peak oil collapse on this site for over five years now. If you wish to argue about it then do it the next time it comes up in a thread. You can catch up by checking the archives. If you don't know how to do that here are a few links to help you out.

Ecological Footprint, Energy Consumption, and the Looming Collapse by Sam Foucher

The Global Energy Crisis and its Role in the Pending Collapse of the Global Economy by Euan Mearns

How Will Knowledge of Collapse Impact Collapse? by Nate Hagens

Things Fall Apart: Complexity, Supply Chains, Infrastructure & Collapse Revisited by Rembrandt

Energy Flow, Emergent Complexity, and Collapse by Gail the Actuary

Tipping Point: Near-Term Systemic Implications of a Peak in Global Oil Production -- Collapse Dynamics by Gail the Actuary

Check them out if you are really serious about discussing the coming peak oil collapse that many of us, but not all, believe is coming in the next couple of decades. You will be far better prepared to discuss the subject next time it comes up in a thread.

Ron P.

Yes, thanks for the tirade. Here is a definition of collapse given by Diamond:

By collapse, I mean a drastic decrease in human population size and/or political/economic/social complexity, over a considerable area, for an extended time.

I think both of us agree on this definition. I disagree that peak oil would result in a massive die-off.

Answer this question (the answer should come to your mind immediately, no googling, since you have done the research):

What is the daily amount of calories that can be grown on 5,000 sq ft using sustainable practices?

After you answer that, we can proceed with the lesson for the day.

After you answer that, we can proceed with the lesson for the day.

Gogh, the lesson for you for today is that past Peak oil there is much more that counts than only 'numbers' like how much calories can be grown. You have to look at variables like unemployment, hoarding because of panic, civil unrest, (resource) wars and other problems like water scarcity and the consequences of (A)GW.
Maybe you think that worldwide cooperation will increase instead of decrease ?

I was specifically discussing Peak Oil. Obviously, other problems could result in a massive die-off :)

I know, and the first 3 variables I mentioned are connected to PO.

Folks are going to become farmers. Some countries that will be impossible but I have yet to see a thorough analysis on the subject. The USA is fine by a long shot. We will probably have enough oil for agriculture until the middle of the century.

Peak oil could cause economic collapse. The environment can cause population decrease and it will -- in my opinion.

What is the daily amount of calories that can be grown on 5,000 sq ft using sustainable practices?

I have no idea but growing up on a farm where we raised much of our own food I can make a good guess. 5,000 square feet is less than one eighth of an acre, or a plot of just under 71 feet on a side. Answer... not much. On one acre you could not support one person for one year. Though you could grow a lot of calories you could not produce the energy to preserve the food grown for one year. If you are only potatoes however you could come close. But potatoes will not grow in many types of soil or climates.

I have visited Honduras and Guatemala and observed, first hand, the results of "pointed stick planting" practiced in that area. It takes several acres to support a family of five or six growing beans and corn. And even there they sprinkle a little fertilizer into the hole.

But this misses the entire point. How many people living now in downtown Chicago, or New York, or Mexico City, or Sao Paulo, have an acre of ground with which they can grow their own beans and corn... or potatoes if they happen to live in the right place? And where would they build their house? And how would they build their house? And where would they get clothing for their back or shoes for their feet? And what if they get sick, who would tend to their medical needs?

You simplistic folks who figure calories per 5,000 square feet are really out of touch with reality. It takes a lot more than just calories to survive in this world. When collapse happens calories will definitely be a concern, but it will be far from the only concern.

Ron P.

The rule of thumb I use is one acre per person: One acre of high-quality soil, good rainfall, best practices, etc. But that assumes a balanced diet, so you actually need a bigger spread to attain that average and produce vegetables, fruits, grains (and if I recall correctly, it also assumes a vegetarian diet). To be truly self-sustaining, you'd have to add more acres for woodlot, roads, buildings, steep slopes, surface water, etc. And if you don't have top-quality soil and good rainfall, you'd need even more acres. "40 acres and a mule" was a good spec for virgin American land. What it would be today, ex-fossil fuels, I have no idea. Jason Bradford & others here have offered lots of data...

So you are saying that Jeavons is incorrect? That he made up the calculations? I have used raised beds to grow potatoes in my area and I would think that 2,000 sq ft would be plenty of calories. I have full-time job right now so I haven't attempted to replicate the yields. A person can survive indefinitely on potatoes and water.

The Jeavons study is a mathematical extrapolation from intensive test beds ... been there many times

No one ever actually grew there own diet

Its 2.5 acres per adult to get 2500 calories /day.

Assuming a vegetarian diet , good soil and growing conditions

More land is needed if animal products are consumed

Complete Diet Garden/ Farm


Oldfarmer Jmy ... School of Agriculture CSUF class of 67

Bookmarked - thanks Jmy.

Don't think I'd like living on only potatoes & water for very long...and I have to think my health would suffer eventually if I tried it.

Why didn't you grow calorie crops? I have come to think field corn is a waste of space and water when you are trying to grow food for survival. Dry beans can be made to work if you grow upwards -- I was getting 170 calories per square foot from Kentucky Wonder pole beans that I left to dry last summer. The native Americans had much more space to work with, if you try to model your growing after them you are going to fail to reach maximum calorie production.

and What kind of calorie yield can one get with a Three Sisters planting, (Corn Beans Squash) all sharing the same plot?

Peter Goodchild did some calculations based on corn, which he said gives the highest yield of calories per acre, given challenging conditions. IIRC he worked out you need a minimum of 0.5ha (approx 1.25 acres) per 2 people. Of course that provides just the required calories, for other nutritional needs you need more land. Also IIRC he based his calculations on manual labour, rain fed and naturally available fertilisers.

I looked up his estimate for potatoes -- 1/4 an acre per person. This is the lowest yield I have seen. I'll have to track my yield next year because that doesn't seem believable. Other yields that I have looked up, besides Jeavons, an acre can feed 25 people.

He recommends corn because it has less diseases and pests. In the book Seed to Seed there is a description on how to propagate potatoes without transferring disease -- with that simple method, a five-year rotation, and defending about pests -- the potato (and other high calorie crops like turnips) should be far superior in calorie production.

We have about 1.5 acres of cropland per person and 2 acres of grazing land per person in the USA.

Trouble with potatoes is that blight can take out an entire crop in a few days and Colorado beetle (it may have a different name in the US) can be a real problem too. The other point is it takes a great deal more work if relying on manual labour alone.

Jeavons relies on concentrating all resources on a small area, resources which may not be available. So, if I was planning the minimum area I need to feed a family then I would go with Goodchilds just to be certain. Go with what is certain to work, I wouldn't rely on Jeavons methods until they're proven to work through personal experimentation (without irrigation I doubt it would work anyway).

I think you'd be better off sticking to Steve Solomon's book "Gardening When It Counts" if you're serious about feeding yourself in uncertain times.

Here in the US they're called "Burgundy Bugs" '-)

Really, I've mostly heard them called potato beetles.

The main point is that it behooves all of us to be figuring out what grows best in our area and our soils. I would warn against monocultures. Even within a specific crop, one should plant a number of different varieties that can withstand different extremes. It will be harder and harder to know in your particular area whether you will have a very wet or very dry summer...

This uncertainty will reduce the possibility of being sure how much you can raise anywhere on any given plot of land.

Goodchild is somebody who went and lived in a homestead for a few years -- Jeavons made this his life's work to form a sustainable garden design that could feed one person for a year. The two are not in the same league. Goodchild also seems to have a bias for Native American practices -- that seems to grab certain folks imagination.

I live in Europe, so Native American practices hold no fascination for me. But I do understand where you're coming from, I had similar views myself before I actually started growing serious amounts of food organically. I think people see Jeavons and especially Permaculture as a technical fix to the problem of growing food. But technical fixes tend to rely on the present structure to create and operate them, this is where the problem lies as it is that very structure which is likely to fail.

To make food production resilient as many dependencies as possible must be eliminated. The problem with Jeavons system is that you have to provide the plants with what they need because they've been put into an environment where they cannot survive by themselves. This is the opposite of what you should do to make a resilient system.

After 13 years of growing all my calories , I cannot figure out how one would do it on less than 2.5 acres/adult.

Would like to communicate with someone who has actually done it for a year or more. Have visited with Jeavons and Chadwick many times (just over the mountain) but no one has actually done it to my knowledge.

Peter Goodchild writes .....

"In North America up to about the 50th parallel, the most important crops would be open-pollinated corn, beans, and squash - the same crops on which the native people were living for thousands of years."


People living in downtown Chicago can move to the rural area and farm intensively by hand. They can cover up at night with pine needles for all I care. You don't think it is possible to stay warm under pine needles?

The government can subsidize agriculture and critical medicine at least to the middle of the century.

Pine needles? For all you care? Obviously you don't really care if that is your attitude. But you are being silly and such a silly post doesn't really deserve a reply.

Ron P.

You are attacking the words I use and not the thought. The thought is that we can survive on far less resources (yes, even pine needles in a pinch) then we are using today. Education may decrease and birth rates may increase over the next couple of decades. Collapse may actually result from environmental stresses and not from falling oil production. Heck, maybe it doesn't happen at all the next few decades. Nobody can be definite on anything at this point and when they are it just shows their ignorance.

Ya know, gog, all those people in Chi-town will have to move out quite a ways. And, if you need 1.25 a. per person, they will need to spread out. AND they will need to have some basic knowledge on how exactly to grow things. Maybe a few hippies will remember how they grew pot in the 60's and 70's; I suspect most have no clue.

Also, I have been all over northern Illinois, and don't remember any pine forests. Maybe some pine trees planted in town, but not enough for cover.

Collapse will take place when the infrastructure starts to fail; that includes transportation in particular. There is a 3 day supply on hand of food stuff; JIT supply is a weak link in the system. And, near Chicago (denizens call it Chicagoland), most of the crops are field corn for cattle. Beef is a very high cost source of calories. Better would be chickens. Best would be rabbit, which takes about 1/6 the input per pound of meat than beef (though it has about 1/2 the calories since it is low in fat and cholesterol).



I have a very pessimistic outlook on future oil supplies in the USA and I cannot imagine anything that could trigger a complete absence of oil for transportation of food.

If you can't find enough pine needles maybe you can get a couple of dozen folks to bunk with you in an old train car and warm it passively. There is a huge difference b/w being uncomfortable and dying from the elements -- most folks do okay even in cardboard.

I thought about raising cavies for meat. Might be a little more efficient than rabbits.

No doubt the food transportation system would be high on the triage list. It would not take a total lack, though, to create serious difficulties. Only a sudden reduction, relatively unexpected, with the concomitant confusion and lack of resolve on the part of those in charge of such things. If it took two weeks to get the fuel flowing where desired, that would cause death, and illness (from malnutrition and malaise). Then, given human nature, we could expect rioting and civil unrest to spread, whereupon fuel otherwise destined for food delivery is instead fueling tanks and APCs. Or burned, stolen, or otherwise diverted. And, hoarded.

Cavies for meat, though? And I thought I was a bitter doomer! :>)


It's not just lack of oil, it's also lack of food due to Climate Change and lack of organisational ability due to financial collapse.

Any useful answer to your question "how many calories can be grown sustainably on 5000 square feet using sustainable practices" would require a rather long long article in and of itself-but the short answer is not nearly enough to support a single human being as a general rule-there MIGHT BE a few exceptions-given enough caveats in respect soil, climate, grower skill, hours available for labor, availability of inputs, good seasonable weather, and so forth.

It is possible to push machinery and people in a factory along year in and year out at some very high percentage of the total possible productivity, but things don't work like that outdoors , where the working environment is almost infinitely variable in hundreds or thousands of different respects.

I would suggest thatr anybody expecting to provide his own food year in and year out in a place with reasonably decent soil, a reasonably decent temperate climate, and average rainfall of forty inches or more reasonably distributed thru the growing season should plan on owning a minumum of two acres for his own use.This should be an ADEQUATE safety margin-but there are no gaurantees-two or three years of unusually bad luck with the weather,or disease, or pests,or thieves, one after another, could mean eating grass and bark.

Lots of old farmers can remember at least one such stretch of bad luck sometime during his own working life or that of his parents.

Vitrually all the farmers I know have found it necessary at various times to seek off farm employment in order to buy groceries and pay the unaviodable bills-property taxes and so forth-and I live in a place with a good temperate climate, adequate average rainfall, etc.

Yair...good to see you posting ofm. I agree with your comments completely

So how many pounds of potatoes do you average in 1000 sq ft with intensively raised beds? If you haven't tried, you don't know. Farmers around me don't even know how to grow a tomato. When I was trying to do some rainwater collection calculations, I had some farmer telling me the other day that they dumped a 5 gallon bucket of water on each tomato daily when they were kids -- because that is what they need. I didn't water some of my tomatoes last summer at all.

Water tomatoes only when the surface soil gets a little dry.

Too much water and the leaves begin to look awful.

http://earthtainer.tomatofest.com/ Note how the earthtainer keeps the water at the bottom. If one digs about the Internet, you can find people using floats out of toilets to keepthe tomatoes watered.

Yes, those are the two big ones, but my 'freaking' point, perhaps badly stated, is that neither gets any mention at all in most papers most days, even most weeks.

Rather than set the two up in opposition, as if more coverage of one automatically means less coverage of the other, bickering over a shrinking sliver of the public's attention, why not work together to increase the sliver?

I don't want to get into another tedious (to me) debate about whether one or the other is the more immediate threat. The consequences of each are catastrophic, global, and of immediate importance to address effectively.

IMHO, we don't have a lot of time or energy to waste sniping or griping enviously that GW is getting more press than PO (or the other way around, if that ever happens). It's a silly and useless point. Both need much more coverage and action.

but my 'freaking' point, perhaps badly stated, is that neither gets any mention at all in most papers most days, even most weeks.

Surely you jest. Global warming and all the things that go with it like "carbon tax, cap and trade, climategate, polar bear extinction, retreating glaciers, and a thousand other things is all over the papers, all over the nightly news and all over the web. Global warming and such related stories outnumber peak oil stories by at least 100 to 1.

No, I will not get into a debate about which is more important because to my mind there is no need in debating something so obvious. But yes, I would like to see both get more press but I would be satisfied right now if peak oil only got one tenth the press that global warming and related subjects get.

Hell global warming even has one Nobel Prize. What has peak oil got?

Ron P.

"all over the web. Global warming and such related stories outnumber peak oil stories by at least 100 to 1."

Not sure where you get your numbers. I just googled Peak Oil and got 26 million hits. Googling Global Warming gave me just under 20 million.

Clearly both POers and GWers perceive (rightly) that their issue is under-reported.

I think both need to have full time strategists planning media campaigns.

Not sure where you get your numbers. I just googled Peak Oil and got 26 million hits. Googling Global Warming gave me just under 20 million.

The problem is that you are not using google effectively. When you google peak oil or global warming you will not only get every article with peak oil or global warming in it but you also get every article with the single word "peak" or "oil" or "global" or "warming" in it. You will get so many millions of hits that the search engine just stops searching after a certain point and your hit count means nothing.

You must put "quotation marks" around your search phrase. That way you only get articles with the complete term "peak oil" or "global warming" in it. I did and here are the results:

"Peak Oil"
About 1,600,000 results (0.35 seconds)

"Global Warming"
About 56,800,000 results (0.24 seconds)

That is a ratio o 35 to 1 in favor of "global warming".

Of course the numbers change every time you search but the ratio will usually be between 25 to 1 and 50 to 1 in favor of "global warming".

Ron P.

And when peak oil gets as much attention as global warming, we can ignore that as well. Regardless, both issues will be ignored until they hit people on the side of the head. For both issues, it is too late to do much of anything meaningful, so really, what real difference do the numbers make.

Besides, I am glad to see that Glee is getting a lot of attention. My favorite show.

I like your comment so much I want to add something meaningful but can't. Speechless.

Hi tstreet,

re: "Regardless, both issues will be ignored until they hit people on the side of the head."

And then, they will still be ignored - in the sense that the "hit" (impact) will not be understood in terms of the causes. More like people "won't know what hit them." (Just my guess.) (For most people.)

re: "For both issues, it is too late to do much of anything meaningful..."

Well, let me posit a difference here. It's not too late. Until it's too late. For you. (i.e., for the particular persoon/group in question.)

It's definitely not too late. Ask Darwinian - what is actually doable and can be done. Not what you think people will or won't do. But what is possible. Still - possible.

"And then, they will still be ignored - in the sense that the "hit" (impact) will not be understood in terms of the causes."

Excellent point. Blows to the head do not come with little notes attached that give a full and accurate explanation of what the proximate and ultimate...causes were.

And the slightly dazed and emotional state that such concussions produce in the general populace can easily manipulated by whatever demagogue is best at manipulating the media.

As I posted the other day; "When I passed the petrol station a couple of days ago the price was €1.42/ltr ($7.11 US gallon).".

The reason:
1. Peak Oil (tight supply)
2. Financial crash (falling Euro, sovereign debt problems)
3. Climate Change (Arctic warming, cooling Europe)

So people are being hit up against the head, but they're still clueless as to the reason or the fact that all three causes are going to intensify until the problem becomes existential. So there we have a nice little analogy for our current situation and our future.

Looking at many of our current problems usually at least one, if not all, of the three causes above are represented. Yet, it is so difficult for people to see it, let alone extrapolate what continuing deterioration in them will do to our future. The masses simply have to be left to their fate leaving us to plan for our own future.

Try actually searching for "peak oil" rather than for any document with the words oil and peak in it.

"peak oil" About 1,580,000 results [ About 389 results in "NEWS]
"global warming" About 42,000,000 results (0.10 seconds) [About 9,490 results in "NEWS"]

Ok not quite 100:1 but a massive lead for "Global Warming"

And graphically from Google Trends for search volume

Good job, full points. Both you and Ron!


We can also add the term "climate change" to that list. It gives about 97,000,000 hits.

Great graph. I stand (partly) corrected.

Interesting that peak interest in peak oil happened about the same time as actual peak oil--2005. That's also the one time the two lines nearly meet.

But again, may I point out that "Justin Bieber" gets about 300 million hits in about .3 seconds.

The trivial simply completely swamps the crucial, whether its PO or GW.

Back to the exclusionary point, though, the 2005 peak for peak oil aligns with a significant dip for GW. It's a weak correlation, but big enough to warrant some thought.

I have long maintained that what we SHOULD do is first address issues which happen to ameliorate energy use, security issues, and global warming -- stuff like making every home well-insulated and every appliance and lamp high-efficiency. What we ACTUALLY do is focus on a symptom, like high gasoline prices, and ignore anything that might detract from our single-mindedness.

I fear that once the economy gets harsher and oil gets costlier, we'll ignore ecology entirely, and before population gets to a sustainable level we'll leave a scorched land barren of trees and much edible life of any sort.

"making every home well-insulated and every appliance and lamp high-efficiency"

We can certainly agree on that. Does this make me a paleo-con or you a green-lefty? '-)

Do you imaging no potential gov role in such efforts?

I think gov't should be in the business of regulation and security, not pandering, militarization, graft, and coddling.

I believe we should have any sort of gov't we choose to afford and programs we can jointly prioritize - and no deficit. Gov't should be in the big-picture business, thinking long-term, since we have a high-discount market society that can readily optimize the small-scale decisions and short-term thinking. Power should flow from the individual, to the community, to the state, to the nation -- not the other way around.

I see 'conservative' as a risk-aversion mind-set - first do no harm, precautionary principle, save for a rainy day, good steward, robust decentralization, etc. By nature I abhor inefficiency (just ask my wife!) in processes, behaviors, and organizations. There is much to dislike in almost every area of our current gov't.

The carbon footprint of multi-millionaires can be up to ten thousand times that of the average person in industrialized countries, which in turn is 10 times that of the average person in developing countries and many of the one billion subsistence farmers in the world have almost insignificant use of fossil energy.

Can be? Source? Sort of puts "fair share of resources" in an extreme perspective.

I'm not seeing where you are getting this quote from.

Word for word from the unsourced assertion about halfway down the original blog post.

OK, thanks.

Yes, it would be nice if he sourced that or was a bit more definitive or explanatory here.

I'm guessing he is thinking of studies that show that income is the best single indicator of ones ecological foot print on average. There can be exceptions, of course, but generally someone making a ten million dollars a year has about 1000 times more ability to do things that emit GHG and use up resources than someone does who makes $10,000 a year.

But this is just my guess of what his figure is based on.

"generally someone making a ten million dollars a year has about 1000 times more ability to do things that emit GHG and use up resources"

That's true but it might be misleading in the real world. Anything might be possible but I doubt that Bill Gates spends billions a year on GHG-intensive modes of personal consumption: how many private jets can one fly in simultaneously? At some point increases in income seem to be spent mostly on acquiring control over assets, organizations, and so on. Whether the act of acquiring such control really emits GHGs in linear proportion to the quantity of money paid for said control, or instead mainly redistributes markers that for the most part can't really be cashed out into GHG-emitting consumer goods and services, might be a question.

Indeed that very question seems vexatious with respect to the housing bubble. A limit on the extent to which houses could actually be cashed out into consumer goods and services seems to have been banged into rather spectacularly.

I wouldn't assume that one's CO2 production would increase in a linear way with increased level of income but this, from Sweden, indicates that private CO2 production increases with wealth in a fairly linear fashion, in Sweden anyway:

The figure illustrates three types of carbon dioxide emission (CO2) from the household’s consumption divided on income deciles.


The figure illustrates three types of emissions presented by adult eqivalents. The direct emissions come from the household’s consumption (the private consumption) of fuel and heating. The indirect emissions come from the production of goods and services in the Swedish private consumption. International indirect emissions come from the production of goods and services consumed in Swedish households, before being imported. All three types of emissions above sum up to the total emissions from private consumption in Sweden.


This doesn't include CO2 produced in the process of creating and maintaining wealth. I suspect that the increase in CO2 production would be less linear as level of income increases. Simply put; one has to burn stuff to make money in our economy. More money made = more stuff burned, and the extremely wealthy don't worry much about efficiency.

Since that's by deciles, not income, we can't tell how nonlinear it is with actual income, except by further analysis.

Of course you're right, Paul. I was going there but life interupted. Deciles 9 & 10 seem to include all incomes beyond the point where disposable income becomes available:


So from this and the Sweden chart up above it appears that between D2 and D9, the proportion (of energy consumed) is linear or a bit less, and for D10 the proportion drops off dramatically...

...when domestic/personal consumption is considered. My question is still: how much does the production of an individuals wealth affect ones total carbon footprint? I'm too busy to research this more but will revisit this issue.

Your point still stands. The real income disparity is orders of magnitude between top earners and lower income. Wealthy people obviously suck up proportionately more energy than everyone else.

Compounded interest and investment income obviously does not burn up energy, and that compounding is what I think causes the strange fat tail in income distribution.

"Compounded interest and investment income obviously does not burn up energy"

Why would you say that. Presumably that interest and investment income comes about because the money is being used to generate economic activity. Nearly all economic activity uses energy nearly all of which comes from ff which produce GHGs and use up other resources.

Perhaps I'm missing your meaning or something else?

Re: Book Review: "Drowning in Oil: BP and the Reckless Pursuit of Profit" By Loren Steffy (uptop)

Insofar as I know, Loren Steffy was the first MSM journalist who was willing to report on the crash in production from the main producing structure in BP's Thunder Horse deepwater complex last year (the "why" is still in dispute apparently). I emailed Loren that after his article on Thunder Horse, he was the "Skunk at the BP picnic." After this book, he is really the skunk at the BP picnic.

However, IMO if one could listen in behind closed doors, I suspect that one would find that the boards of directors of environmental groups and the boards of directors of many oil and gas companies pretty much share the same opinion of BP. I think that this is substantially what Loren found out while doing research for his book.

In any case, the captioned review is quite positive, and I have ordered a copy of the book. Based on Loren's prior work, I suspect that I will be doing a positive review on Amazon.

From the product description on Amazon:

"Drowning in Oil," by award-winning Houston Chronicle business reporter and columnist Loren Steffy--considered by many to be the writer with the best access to the story--is an unprecedented and gripping narrative of this catastrophe and how BP's winner-take-all business culture made it all but inevitable.

Through never-before-published interviews with BP executives and employees, environmental experts, and oil industry insiders, Steffy takes us behind the scenes of 100 years of BP corporate history. Beginning with the conglomerate's early gambits in the Middle East to its recent ascent among energy titans, Steff unearths the roots of the Gulf oil spill in the unwritten bargain between oil producers and consumers, whose insatiable appetites drive the search for new supplies faster, farther, and deeper.

Beyond this, the Deepwater Horizon disaster took place after a history of cost cutting in pursuit of profits, particularly under the guidance of its two most recent ex-CEOs, John Browne and Anthony Hayward.

Exhaustively researched and documented, Drowning in Oil is the first in-depth examination of how a lack of corporate responsibility and government oversight led to the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. It is an objective, nopunches--pulled account of the energy industry: its environmental impact and the intense competition among stakeholders in today's oil markets.

This book puts all the pieces together, offering a definitive account of BP's pursuit of outsized profits as the industrial world awakens to the grim realities of Peak Oil.

WikiLeaks reveals US global interests

WASHINGTON — WikiLeaks has released a secret list of infrastructure from pipelines to smallpox vaccine suppliers whose loss or attack by terrorists could "critically impact" US security in the view of the State Department.

The February 2009 cable from the State Department requested overseas US missions update a list of infrastructure and resources around the globe "whose loss could critically impact the public health, economic security and/or national and homeland security of the United States."

...In Europe, the Ludwigshafen plant of German chemical giant BASF was the "world's largest integrated chemical complex" while Siemens AG in Erlangen was responsible for "essentially irreplaceable production of key chemicals."

The cable describes Russia's Nadym gas pipeline junction as "the most critical gas facility in the world."

In the Middle East, it notes that "by 2012 Qatar will be the largest source of imported LNG (liquefied natural gas)" to the US. (also refers to the Abqaiq facility in Saudi Arabia, the largest crude oil process and stabilisation plant in the world.)

A Canadian hydroelectric plant is described as a "critical irreplaceable source of power to portions of Northeast US."

Actual cable

some snippets.

Azerbaijan: Sangachal Terminal Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline
Belarus: Druzhba Oil Pipeline
Georgia: Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline
Germany BASF Ludwigshafen: World's largest integrated chemical complex Siemens Erlangen: Essentially irreplaceable production of key chemicals
Djibouti: Bab al-Mendeb: Shipping lane is a critical supply chain node
Egypt: 'Ayn Sukhnah-SuMEd Receiving Import Terminal 'Sidi Kurayr-SuMed Offloading Export Terminal Suez Canal
Iran: Strait of Hormuz Khark (Kharg) Island Sea Island Export Terminal Khark Island T-Jetty
Iraq: Al-Basrah Oil Terminal
Kuwait: Mina' al Ahmadi Export Terminal
Morocco: Strait of Gibraltar Maghreb-Europe (GME) gas pipeline, Morocco
Oman: Strait of Hormuz Qatar: Ras Laffan Industrial Center: By 2012 Qatar will be the largest source of imported LNG to U.S.
Saudi Arabia: Abqaiq Processing Center: Largest crude oil processing and stabilization plant in the world Al Ju'aymah Export Terminal: Part of the Ras Tanura complex As Saffaniyah Processing Center Qatif Pipeline Junction Ras at Tanaqib Processing Center Ras Tanura Export Terminal Shaybah Central Gas-oil Separation Plant
Tunisia: Trans-Med Gas Pipeline
United Arab Emirates (UAE): Das Island Export Terminal Jabal Zannah Export Terminal Strait of Hormuz
Canada:Enbridge Pipeline Alliance Pipeline: Natural gas transmission from Canada Maritime and Northeast Pipeline: Natural gas transmission from Canada Transcanada Gas
Trinidad and Tobago: LNG: Provides 70% of U.S. natural gas import needs

Special Focus on QATAR: Scroll 2/3 down to QATAR'S KEY ENERGY RESOURCES

...-- Post assesses that U.S. investments in Qatar's energy industry, coupled with the onset of regular liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to the U.S. 2009-12, constitute the main critical infrastructure and key resources in Qatar, which if destroyed, disrupted or exploited might have an immediate and deleterious effect on the United States.

...Qatar shares with Iran the largest non-associated gas field in the world. Qatar's portion contains an estimated 900 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, giving it the third-largest reserves of natural gas in the world. Qatar is believed to have an agreement with Iran providing a set extraction limit in the field; however, the details of this arrangement are not known to us. By 2009, Qatar's share of hydrocarbon revenue from natural gas and derivatives was about equal to that derived from oil. At 30 metric tons per annum (mta), Qatar is already the world leader in LNG exports. Current estimates are that by 2012 Qatar will produce 77 million tons of LNG annually, roughly a third of which Qatar hopes to export to the U.S. market. About half of the new global LNG capacity coming online in the next four years will be in Qatar. (Note: Per British Petroleum calculations, 1 million metric tons of LNG equals 48.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas.)

...Ras Laffan is Qatar's flag-ship industrial center, predominantly focused on the production of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and derivative petrochemicals obtained during the natural gas extraction process. Destruction or an attack disrupting production at RLIC would cause exceptionally grave damage to the world market and U.S. national economic security interests. As of 2008, Qatar LNG production for export to Japan and South Korean represented over 60 percent of those respective countries internal natural gas consumption; by 2012 a third of Qatari LNG produced could be destined for the U.S. market, at which time it is estimated that Qatar will be the largest source of imported LNG to the U.S. market. The current drop in global demand for gas will also result in more LNG being sent to the U.S. as the flexible market and storage capacity give the U.S. the ability to soak up excess global supply in the short-term.

While I agree with Qatar's global importance as a provider of LNG, expecially to Japan and South Korea, it's hard to reconcile the following with facts on the ground:

by 2012 a third of Qatari LNG produced could be destined for the U.S. market

That doesn't jibe with Chenier plans LNG export plant at Sabine Pass.

A lot has changed since "As of 2008" when this cable was sent.


This nonsense about the US becoming a major LNG exporter is just smoke and mirrors in my humble opinion.


Should the price spread between U.S. and European or Asian prices narrow, or if potential investors expect for them to narrow, then these new export projects may struggle to get built, some say.

"I feel that the low U.S. gas price situation is circumstantial, and it cannot be thought that this favorable price difference with other markets will last for the lifetime of a liquefaction plant," Repsol's Managing Director of LNG Benjamin Palomo said in an interview.

The political implications of sending U.S. resources abroad is another possible obstacle for these new projects. There is potential for future increased natural gas use in the United States in new sectors like transport.

The United States is the world's 3rd largest net importer of natural gas and imports so far in 2010 are higher than those in the same period in 2009.


Working gas in storage was 3,814 Bcf as of Friday, November 26, 2010, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net decline of 23 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 23 Bcf less than last year at this time

There is no spare gas in the US to export (other than under contract to Japan or in otherwise miniscule but headline grabbing events). It's just the price is strangely low...

As best that I can tell, the EIA defines consumption (C) as total NG consumption and production (P) as dry NG production. The C/P ratio for US natural gas in 2008 was 115%, and it looks like it dropped to 109% in 2009. I suspect that 2010 will fall between 109% and 115%, i.e., my estimate is that the US will consume between 9% and 15% more than we produced in 2010.

Incidentally, the C/P ratio for US coal in 2008 was 96% (if we extrapolate the 1980 to 2008 C/P trend it suggests that the US is on track to become a net coal importer in a few years).

For oil, C/P was about 200% in 2009.

Today the Spanish newspapers say that Gas Natural Fenosa (Spain, it is a monopoly in actual practice) has signed a deal with Cheniere to get LNG from 2017, through Sabine Pass, Texas.
Gas Natural has many problems with Algeria's Sona-Trach and probably wants to diversify.

Fenosa Gas Natural has signed a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. gas group Cheniere to reserve a portion of that company's gas export plans from 2017

Anyone who wants to sign a "memorandum of understanding" to share a portion of my personally planned methane gas exports in 2017 is welcome to do so as well :-)

The US has been an exporter of crude and refined products at various times for decades, but we became a net oil importer in 1948. Just because one company may be exporting LNG does not mean that the US is a net natural gas exporter. If memory serves, we have been exporting natural gas to Northern Mexico for some time.

I can vouch for this - the LNG import market on the East Coast is dead. We get virtually nothing now. I've continually proposed export capacity as a capital project for our facility but even if we started today it would be years and billions of dollars before it was operational. Several eyars ago we were getting several ships a week, now it's several per year. And even then I suspect it's just to keep the place in an operational condition.

ty - Though I'm not sure if the volumes would be large enough to have a noticible impact, but if you read the link below about Chenier exporting LNG from Texas bear in mind that a fair bit of NG for the NE high demand period comes from long term storage in the Gulf Coast. And at the moment it doesn't look like shale gas drilling in NE is going to have as big an impact as once speculated.

I'm hoping you're right - sort of. The pipeline we're on runs up to the major NE markets, and we have a large amount of storage in our underground system - all of which is chock full at the moment.

I'm suspect of using an LNG facility as a long-term storage house. Doing nothing (no sendout), the boiloff rate here is about 22mmscfd and we're consistently running around 14MW just to power the place and keep the piping cold. All natural gas fired turbines, of course.

I've noticed over the past couple weeks that the pipeline we're on has been trending lower in pressure. It's just starting to get cold so if the winter is a bad one perhaps we'll need to do some sendout (and we can do some *huge* sendout). Unfortunately last winter wasn't enough to make it happen other than a week or two during the coldest stretch. We'll see if shale keeps storage up throughout the winter this year...

The cable was from Feb 2009 - 22 months ago - so, like you say, things have changed. It's interesting to note...

The current drop in global demand for gas will also result in more LNG being sent to the U.S. as the flexible market and storage capacity give the U.S. the ability to soak up excess global supply in the short-term.

...might suggest using US storage as a buffer of some sort(of course, the EIA storage numbers don't back that up).

It's just the price is strangely low...

jonathan - At first the Chenier LNG export plan struck me as odd. We might have excess capacity now but the current low NG prices have killed many potential projects including a good chunk of the shale gas plays. But the key may be their interest in exporting storage NG. For those who aren't aware the Sabine area in SE Texas is a major long term NG storage region. I recently drilled an exploration well in this area and watched a number of NG storage wells being drilled at the same time. Lots of salt dome storage in the area. Thus exporting NG during high demand periods to foreign markets could be just enough leverage to make it work.

But one factor to remember: a large portion of our NG surplus comes from federal waters. And it is illegal to export OCS production without specific permission from the feds. OTOH Sabine area storage has access to major NG pipelines transporting from many non-gov't leases.

Peter Tertzakian is completely out to lunch on upside surprises in Non-OPEC crude oil supply. Naturally, he uses the All Liquids category to make his case. Well of course. It's in Non-OPEC that all the new supply of liquids is from biofuels and NGLS. The data on Non-OPEC crude oil is...to coin a phrase--what it is. His cite of Canada is a fallacy of composition. Canadian crude oil production including tar sands has been oscillating around 2.6 mbpd for years. There is zero increase in total Canadian crude oil production. Non-OPEC oil supply is going nowhere. I mean really, why does Tertzakian bother?


from the same Peter article:

Spare capacity: OPEC’s capacity to bring extra barrels to the market if needed has ballooned from under 4.0 MMB/d during the tight-market days between 2003 and 2008, to an ample 6.0 MMB/d today.

Where do these people get a 6 MMB/d spare capacity? .. do they know that OPEC is not respecting their official quota?; do they know about depletion? do they buy into whatever spare capacity number OPEC claims? , as Jeffery (westexas) always mentioned; Saudi net exports kept shrinking for 3 years despite of rising prices; where was the spare capacity then?.


To finish the quote:

When spare capacity starts dipping below 4.0 MMB/d, is when oil prices will legitimately gain traction. But a tightening down to 4.0 MMB/d is unlikely in 2011, which means that prices will be challenged to sustain upward momentum.

Question: How does anyone know what OPEC's spare capacity is? How will they know whether it tightens down to 4.0 mb/d or not? Who is the official tally keeper of OPEC spare capacity and where do they get their data?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

Ron P.

If we look at the combined net exports from Canada + Venezuela, they dropped from 3.8 mbpd in 1998 to 2.8 mbpd in 2009 (BP).

What gained my attention was the headline: "Peter Tertzakian: Look for oil price between $80 to $100 per barrel in 2011". News Update: Oil pries is within that price range already. Have been for months. More news: Hitler may lose on the east front!

A lot of people are predicting oil will spike much higher - Branson says $200/barrel. Tertzakian is arguing that that's not going to happen. At least, not in 2011.

Meh. There has been some increase in non-OPEC. Non-OPEC Russia has surpassed the Saudi's as the biggest exporter. West Africa has had some increases. And the deep-water gulf oil has actually caused the US to raise production.

I don't think it is very sustainable and there are declines elsewhere but you can't argue with the numbers. The chart does not lie.

Of course you can argue. Just to pick one non-OPEC member, how do you know for certain that Chinese production is up about 350,000 barrels per day over this time last year? If it was actually down 350k bpd how would you know?

This article claims OPEC dropped 80 000 barrels/d over the last month, with no market driven explanation given. Saudi is named as one of the nations who carry this production decline.



If you look at times posted, all those posts occurred simultaneously. Maybe static discharge into the keyboard? (It is pretty cold & dry in NJ today).

Still, I'm happy that I set a record!

Maybe Gremlins?

Perhaps an undetected tremor of the finger on the enter key?



Obviously a case of fat finger. Lucky you didn't flash crash the markets while you were at it :)

all those posts occurred simultaneously. Maybe static discharge into the keyboard?

Do you have a DELL keyboard? I have one that likes to do that with the 1 key. Its really great for programming, I've had the machine crash on me because a loop count got extra digits, and I didn't notice it!

Ali Velshi made the case for "much higher oil prices" today on CNN. (Velshi is peak oil aware, and has mentioned in previously on CNN). He said oil demand would remain depressed in the U.S. because of the bad economy, but said worldwide demand would grow, eventually leading to a situation where oil would become unaffordable for many. He predicted we'd back to where we were a couple of years ago, when everyone was selling their SUVs and buying Priuses.

I used to fuss at Velshi for sugar-coating the obvious (I guess he had to, to keep his job). Now that PO is out of the closet, it seems more of these guys feel they can provide a more accurate assessment of our situation. I wonder if anyone (besides us) is paying attention.

One SPE paper about Ghawar and one SPE paper about M, Z and S (Marjan, Zuluf, Safaniya?) from November 2010 and May 2009, respectively:

Leveraging Slim Hole Logging Tools in the Economic Development of the Ghawar Fields

Saudi Aramco has been producing oil and gas from its giant fields for over 70 years. Over this time, some of these giant fields have been developed to such an extent that they have matured into brown fields. As is done with most brown-field development, Saudi Aramco engineers are continuously striving to push and extend the economic productive life of these fields, by the deployment of cost-effective, low-risk technologies.

Reservoir Management Practices in the Offshore Oil Fields of Saudi Arabia

The developed offshore fields (M, Z and S) of Saudi Arabia are located in the Arabian Gulf and consist of sandstones, siltstones and shales with minor limestones and coals deposited in a complex, fluvial dominated delta system.

The objective of this paper is to share the best reservoir management practices and strategies to meet challenges associated in developing mature offshore fields of Saudi Arabia.

Oil prices up: economy slumps, economy slumps, fake money thrown at it. Markets grow a little; indicators up, markets rise, people unemployed. Never mind, the market is up. Oil drops a little. Growth promised; employment gains expected. Employment stagnant. Market wobbles; oil hits $90; markets stumble. Taxes are raised. More spent on the military. Foreign adventure deemed essential to national well being. More and more people on food aid living under bridges. No matter, it's their fault for being un American.

Dollar falls. More QE. More distrust of the US internationally. Bernanke looks really stressed on TV. President goes into limp mode. Oil price rises and sales (again) of trucks fail (again).

No more oil extracted internationally than last year. China more successful than the US at gaining resources...US angry and blaming socialism. More resources spent on military. Taxes (on the poor of course) rise...

boring isn't it.


You forgot to mention the irrational exuberance.

Oh, the ineluctable modality of the visible.


President goes into limp mode.

I have the impression that when Obama was young and some other kid threatened him, he simply said, "Look, here's my lunch money, let's be friends."

With his capitulation on the Bush tax cuts, Obama is finished for good. He will not survive the 2012 primary.

Though, one wonders whether this is exactly what he wants.

Like I've said before, anybody now choosing to be President of the U.S. is out of their mind.

Yeah, the next person to win the presidency may become known as the next Herbert Hoover.

There are very few policy options that may be selected to make things better. And if you select one of those options, you'll be called a 'socialist/marxist' by T-partiers, a 'fascist' by a tree-hugger, or some other slur by some other group. At best, you'll succeed in making a really terrible situation not-quite-so-terrible. But no one will appreciate it, they'll just blame you for creating a terrible situation.

Tainter says that when the costs of paying for complexity start to become too high (because resources become scarce, etc. so returns are not enough) the leaders cannot do anything about the situation. Nothing. Because the resources are gone. Everything that could be tried has already been tried. That is when the society becomes vulnerable to collapse.

Tainter: the costs of ... complexity start to become too high

Not only do we live in a Finite World (It's a Small World After All), but we and our leaders have Finite Brains

--we are not as clever as we delude ourselves into believing
--our leaders are not as clever as we delude ourselves into believing

With his capitulation on the Bush tax cuts, Obama is finished for good.

No kidding. Everyone is disgusted, from the most liberal to the most conservative for Obama being such a wimpy weenie. However, I believe a standing prez does not have to campaign through the primary process, just the general election. He's just anointed at the Dem convention, which I'm sure will churn many a stomach. Yech!

As I've said before, the only compromises between Reps and Dems that seem to occur anymore are when the Dems can give their constituents cash and the Reps can give theirs tax cuts, and they both can charge it to the deficit. This is a perfect case in point - another compromise could have been to extend tax cuts to maybe $100K, and cut extended unemployment in half. But no, we must give everyone everything, and charge it to the deficit. Which is why the deficit is high, and will remain so until it can't grow anymore.

Iceland will end up being seen as "lucky", as they went first. Those of us who climb the debt mountain highest will likely fall the hardest.

boring isn't it.

I certainly think so, but you guys have been filling the Drumbeats with this kind of whining for five years. If you find it boring too, why don't you stop?


The Monthly Platts OPEC survey was released and indictates supply dropped by 80,000 b/d. According to the Platts global director of news OPEC supplies should have risen because crude oil inventories typically decline during the fourth quarter.

BTW, in case anyone is wondering about Iraq's oil production their output increased by about 10,000 b/d.

BTW, in case anyone is wondering about Iraq's oil production their output increased by about 10,000 b/d.

Actually the article mentions Libya for the 10k increase, not Iraq. But nonetheless an interesting development. That's quite a reduction for this time of year when inventories are historically topped up.

iraq's production was up 10,000 bpd, 2.390 mmbpd in oct 2.400 mmbpd in nov, according to platts.

angola  -20 kbpd
nigeria -20 
ksa     -10 
uae     -20 
venz    -20 

libya   +10
iraq    +10

basically noise.

US Involvement in Iraq - A Lot of Blood for Little Oil

Contrary to what many people believe, the Iraq war provided few advantages for the US oil industry. The diplomatic cables show that, in most cases, it was competitors to the Americans who often did better in the country. Only one US company truly profited: Halliburton.
But the opposite came true. A lot of blood was spilled, but very little oil flowed for the US. With production of 2.5 million barrels of crude oil daily, production in Iraq has returned to close to its prewar levels. Forecasts now suggest it will take 20 years before that production is doubled or tripled, however. The US spent more than $700 billion on Iraq, but now Iraq's oil profits are going to other countries.

And also, how is that viral Democracy thingy working out for us?

Spread all over the ME, did it?

On the other hand, hummers don't do 38 MPG for in-city (Baghdad) driving.
Lot's of oil got sold for driving the war machine. Who said war is not good for the 'awl biz? Halliburton wasn't complaining.

* places tin-foil hat on head *

Consider that the war was not to secure more oil for American markets, but rather to CONTROL the oil. Consider that TPTB chose to allow the contracts with China because of the growth potential. Investment in China's economy using subsidized(war$$$) oil flows from the Middle East will heavily line the future pockets of TPTB; whereas flooding the US market so mom can drive her massive SUV to soccer practice is futile since mom's credit card is maxed out (there is no room for any further discretionary spending). In other words, American tax payers are paying for a war to help a select few get richer. Why do we assume TPTB are acting in OUR (read America's) interest? Just sayin' ...

* removes tin-foil hat *

I would not blame Leanan for not posting this. :-)

And here comes Natural Gas with Crude Oil:

"Other energy products and fuels traded higher Monday, with natural gas leading the way.

January natural gas (NGF11 4.50, +0.15, +3.52%) surged 14 cents, or 3.2%, to $4.49 per million British thermal units, on reports of extended colder-than-normal weather in Europe and on the East Coast."


I guess Climate Change may have a nice geographical feedback loop with human activity.

Is the european weather pattern one that lasts for this year or 5 years?

Is the european weather pattern one that lasts for this year or 5 years?

It can last up to 100,000 years in an ice age. All that needs to happen for the switch to occur to an ice age, is for the salinity level to drop significanly enough for a long enough period of time (due to freshwater melt due to global warming) for the Thermohaline Conveyor to weaken enough, that Gulf Stream warm waters no longer flow up near the Artic circle, but rather cut across somewhere in the Atlantic to Africa. After a few decades after the switch, most of Europe will be a big block of ice.

No worries though. All of us will live near the equator. Should be cozy. But also because the warm water is no longer mixing with cold Arctic waters, the energy must be dissipated near the equator with incredibly huge and numerous hurricanes. But Humans are so adaptable, it should be a breeze.

Not looking good for that Copenhagen Thingy they (our leaders) seemed to ignore there.

Funny thing about SA trying to undermine the conference. Aren't they utterly doomed to bake in the sun or am I missing something?

That's about the way I see it too. And, don't forget that Eastern Canada was the center of the big ice sheets during the Ice Ages. Hudson Bay is still "recovering" as the crust below it is still uplifting due to isostatic rebound. Hudson Bay was the center of the Laurentide Ice Sheet, that is, the area with the thickest ice buildup. My WAG is that Hudson Bay may be the focal point of the next Ice Age as the nwe ice sheets begin to build...

E. Swanson

How does this notion of an Ice Age jive with GW? Given the broad predictions for overall warming, would the collapse of the thermohaline conveyor create a localized ice sheet while the rest of the world continued to warm? Or would be a multi-step traipse through a set of new but unstable climate check-points?

Another question I've had for a while: I continue to hear about times in the distant past when atmospheric O2 levels were higher, and times where CO2 levels were higher. I can see how relative abundance of plant or animal respiration could trade those off, with carbon falling out when plants were in ascendancy. Have there ever been periods of high O2 AND CO2 at the same time? If so, where is the extra oxygen hiding today?

Going to another ice age is very unlikely. Most predictions indicates that we will jump at least the next three glaciations. The GHG have already compensated 2000 yr of cooling in the arctic and this is only the beginning .

Actually, temperature drop over Europe when the average world temperature is climbing has been predicted by some models. However, this is expected to be only a transitional phase. After a few decades, the overall temperature will go up again.

Climate is a non-linear system dont forget it. It re-arrange itself when average temperature change. This sudden jumps have been observed a few times in the past: 1978, 1998 and probably 2007. What and when will be the next jump, nobody knows.

I think natural gas producer Encana (ECA) is close to a perfect investment. The dividend yield is 2.8%, P/E ratio is around 10 and natural gas is cheap right now but will get more expensive in the near future. If ECA, CHK, etc can make money now when NG is cheap, imagine their profits when the price inevitably rises. I think NG is today where oil was in 1998/1999.

What is not to like?


Are promotions of stocks of particular companies an appropriate topic for these forums?

I could see this getting way out of hand quickly.

(And where did the "flag as inappropriate" buttons go?)

I don't see it as inappropriate if the stocks are energy related and the discussion deals with future price of energy. I am certainly not the first or only person to do that. Don Sailorman has on many occasions recommended investing in TIPs and you never objected (& I am not saying you should have).
On the other hand most people would consider discussions of cannibalism and eating grasshoppers & bugs to survive as inappropriate. Yet those topics are freely discussed here without anyone objecting.

suyog - A couple of points: CHK lost a huge amount of capital in the shale gas plays. A month ago their CEO issued a statement that not only was CHK no longer chasing the SG plays but they were not doing any NG explration...stick strictly with oil. This means either someone else drills up those tens of thousand of SG leases they own or they expire. Also, just as the head of Devon announced: any future increase in NG prices will do them little good with re: to their existing SG wells. The decline rates on thse wells are such that they'll be depleted for the most part before any higher prices can kick in.

OTOH I agree with you about future higher NG prices. But my problem there is timing..3 years...6 years...longer? So many unknown factors: rebirth of DW GOM drilling, LNG imports, shale gas drilling or no drilling in the NE, questionable economic recovery and an increase in NG demand? But I'm also not knocking the value of investing in any of these companies. One might develop a rational reason for these stocks to boom or bust. But Wall Street has proven many times that rationality does not always rule the day.

Good points. Does ECA make most of its money from drilling for shale gas? I didn't think so but I could be wrong.

suyog - I'm not sure about their SG exposure but I don't think they were into it as much as most of the players. They've been playing other tight formations for years and doing pretty good. Some years ago I logged wells for them in N Texas. The bigest problem they had then was building their processing facilities fast enough to keep up with all the NG they were drilling up. OTOH you have to study all the other strategic moves a company makes to get to the bottom line. CHK stayed healthier much longer than other SG players because they hedged much of the NG at very high prices.

Russia's Putin says wind turbines kill birds

(Reuters) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Monday that wind power can pose environmental risks, casting doubts over plans to develop this alternative energy source in the oil-rich country.
Putin, who has overseen all major energy deals Russia made in recent years, is keen for the country to maintain its role as a major oil and gas producer. He has repeatedly expressed his skepticism about alternative energy.

Wow. Could you possibly have made a more ham-handed clumsy self-serving statement? Putin's losing his touch a bit. Then again, clever PR was never his strong suit.

Yes, he needs to consult with our Mr. x to learn the true craft of subtlety in PR ;-)

Or the poster who advocated shooting the nacells of Wind Turbines

Clearly the US should listen to Russia and KSA for all its energy advice.

Sorry my bad that is our current energy policy.

Then again, clever PR was never his strong suit.

Yes, that's what they said when he stayed away from the World Cup final presentations - unlike Britain which prostituted the Prime Minister and the future King.

Guess who won?

Darwinsdog has been busy with the e-mails....ya think?

Choose wisely.

The Martian

Russia has and continues to develop nuclear energy as a viable option. Boutique "solutions" such as wind are a waste of time. Aside from the bird deaths, which may a non issue for some, they do emit infrasound, which is not all that healthy. So planting wind farms near residential areas is idiotic.

For a supposedly third rate country of no consequence, the west sure hangs on every word of its Prime Minister. Really, who cares what Putin says about wind turbines? What possible impact does this have on turbine deployment outside Russia?

Okay, then "Sir, how many wind turbines will need to be installed in Russia to equal Chernobyl kills?"

Chernobyl has been a net plus for wildlife, since people have been removed from a considerable area around the plant.

People are much more destructive to wildlife than nuclear plants, even failed ones.


As Germany's wild boar population has skyrocketed in recent years, so too has the number of animals contaminated by radioactivity left over from the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown. Government payments compensating hunters for lost income due to radioactive boar have quadrupled since 2007.

Chernobyl has been a net plus for wildlife, since people have been removed from a considerable area around the plant.

Perhaps not.


News in Science
Chernobyl wildlife depleted, deformed

Wednesday, 18 March 2009 Nick Vinocur

The researchers found that animals living near the reactor had more deformities, including discoloration and stunted limbs, than normal (Source: Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters)

Radiation has affected animals living near the site of Ukraine's Chernobyl nuclear disaster far more than was previously thought, says a new study.

The study, which appears in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, shows that numbers of bumble-bees, butterflies, spiders, grasshoppers and other invertebrates were lower in contaminated sites than other areas because of high levels of radiation left over from the blast more than 20 years ago.

The findings challenge earlier research that suggested animal populations were rebounding around the site of the 1986 Chernobyl explosion, which forced thousands to abandon their homes and evacuate the area.

They'll just experience evolution faster! ;-)

I joke . . . but that probably is true for a few species.

I call bulls hit on your claims.

Back 'em up.

Well the trend away from tight gasoline supplies in New York Harbor, which showed signs of loosening Friday, showed some improvement today as a Canadian refinery returned to service:

N.Y. Gasoline Premium Weakens as Refinery Maintenance Ends
By Samantha Zee - Dec 6, 2010 3:40 PM ET

Spot gasoline in New York Harbor weakened after a Canadian refinery that supplies fuel to the East Coast restarted a unit following maintenance.

Irving Oil Corp. finished maintenance on a residual fluid catalytic cracker at its Saint John refinery in New Brunswick, Lesley Dickson, a company spokeswoman, said in an e-mail. The unit at the 300,000-barrel-a-day refinery “is fully operational,” Dickson said.

The premium for conventional, 87-octane gasoline in New York Harbor fell 2.5 cents to 4.25 cents over futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 2:24 p.m. local time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Prompt delivery fell 4.5 cents to $2.3746 a gallon.


Elsewhere in regards to oil inventory reports this week, a number of other energy analysts seem to concur with my statement from yesterday that oil imports into the US will be below normal through the remainder of the year. This appears to be indirectly confirmed by the a minor surge in VLCCs (very large tanker) traffic to the Far East and less tankers en-route to North America.

Another reason for possible oil and even product inventory drawdowns: special tax rules for large oil companies partially tax them for unrealized gains on inventories. The higher prices are, the more incentive they have to reduce inventories by year end.

Taking down America

A soft landing for America 40 years from now? Don't bet on it. The demise of the United States as the global superpower could come far more quickly than anyone imagines. If Washington is dreaming of 2040 or 2050 as the end of the American Century, a more realistic assessment of domestic and global trends suggests that in 2025, just 15 years from now, it could all be over except for the shouting.

Despite the aura of omnipotence most empires project, a look at their history should remind us that they are fragile organisms. So delicate is their ecology of power that, when things start to go truly bad, empires regularly unravel with unholy speed: just a year for Portugal, two years for the Soviet Union, eight years for France, 11 years for the Ottomans, 17 years for Great Britain, and, in all likelihood, 22 years for the United States, counting from the crucial year 2003.

Seraph, you scooped me...good on you!

I just read the same article on Alternet:


There are four broad scenarios for American decline, although they are of course rather interdependent.

All TOD doomers note that one of the four 'decline areas' is the upcoming 'oil shock':

The oil shock that follows hits the country like a hurricane, sending prices to startling heights, making travel a staggeringly expensive proposition, putting real wages (which had long been declining) into freefall, and rendering non-competitive whatever American exports remained. With thermostats dropping, gas prices climbing through the roof, and dollars flowing overseas in return for costly oil, the American economy is paralyzed. With long-fraying alliances at an end and fiscal pressures mounting, U.S. military forces finally begin a staged withdrawal from their overseas bases.

Within a few years, the U.S. is functionally bankrupt and the clock is ticking toward midnight on the American Century.

The Roman empire collapsed because they gradually lost their tax base, the land, to barbarian settlers. Without revenue they could not pay the army to protect them from further waves of barbarians, and without the army to defend the shrinking revenue base the empire melted away. The barbarians carved out their own kingdoms and Europe began on its long haul through night into the modern world.

Now modify the model slightly. Without cheap oil the American economy fails to deliver sufficient tax. Without tax the army cannot be maintained and has to come home. Without an American presence the control of the world's largest oilfields passes to....you pick!

Interesting article Heisenberg.

Future historians are likely to identify the Bush administration’s rash invasion of Iraq in that year as the start of America's downfall. However, instead of the bloodshed that marked the end of so many past empires, with cities burning and civilians slaughtered, this twenty-first century imperial collapse could come relatively quietly through the invisible tendrils of economic collapse or cyberwarfare.

It could, but I doubt it. Think about how agressive this country is, willing to overthrow a soverign country (Iraq) that we were not at war with and which did not even threaten us. As things begin to unwind in a much more serious way than they have so far, the leaders that are the most aggressive will get elected President. In fact, I think Obama will be replaced by Romney in 2012. He ran last time on the platform of a trillion dollar defense budget. He wanted to wage war against Russia for their invasion of Georgia. He is extremely aggressive in attitudes and the way he talked about our military might.

Some countries could collapse under similar circumstances without too much outrageousness. But this country is so violent, angry, and will lash out at some other country/s as things get worse, and the prez will do their bidding.

America's decline started some time in the 1950's when we made a rigid commitment to dominate Viet Nam. That decision locked us into the hands of the military industrial complex. It set up the conditions for a highly polarized political environment and it destroyed the faith that the average citizen (now consumer) had in the federal government, or any government, or the media.

I won't argue what year collapse will happen. I will say, though, that it is going to be a collapse of the world economy, not just the US'. Maybe Chindia will keep producing for a few more years... maybe. In the end, the entire fabric of society seems equally fragile.

For instance, what happens to the holders of our debt when the US crashes? It is one thing when Ireland fails (not yet, but perhaps soon). But, if a Germany, UK, or Japan collapsed, or if the US collapsed, the consequences are much more dire.

Back to the first point - how does the US get beyond 2015, let alone make it to 2025?


What happened to all the Drumbeats? I see today's, and the next one I see is Nov 28th. Were all the DBs in between deleted?

SuperG has set it up so that only the most recent Drumbeat will be on the front page. The older ones will be in a separate Drumbeat section.


You can find the older ones by clicking on the "Drumbeat" link up top.

I met with the Energy Manager for the City of Halifax last week and, as expected, there are great opportunities to help the city reduce their electricity usage. Many municipal facilities such as those occupied by their fire and police services operate 24/7. I believe there are some fifty-five to sixty fire halls in the regional municipality alone and for the most part the lights are never turned off (some apparatus bays don't even have light switches).

A typical apparatus bay is currently illuminated by 2-lamp F96T12HO fixtures, each drawing 257-watts. We'll be replacing these fixtures with twin-tandem T8 industrials that will drop that to 108-watts. That, in itself, will reduce electricity use by some 1,300 kWh/year per fixture. We'll also make extensive use of occupancy sensors and estimate that this will cut their runtime by two-thirds or more. With that, fixture consumption should fall from 2,250 kWh/year to perhaps something in the range of 300 to 350 kWh.

Our primary concern with occupancy sensors is that they never interfere with the operations of the station – the last thing we want are crews fumbling in the dark when responding to a 3:00 am call. To hopefully avoid this, the sensors will be wired to the station's communications system so that all lights come on whenever an alarm is sounded.

It's hard to accurately estimate the true savings potential as I'm working from a partial list of buildings, but I'm guessing it could be in the tens of GWh per year (1 GWh is enough electricity to power 2,600 of the city's new LED street lights for one full year).


Paul, Good project - sounds very similar to what i was doing to underground parkades a few years ago. What is the ROI for those lights? And, for good measure, cost per kW saved compared to the cost per kW for new generation there, like the Lower Churchill?

Thanks, Paul. Due to non-disclosure restrictions I'll have to speak in general terms, but the cost per kWh saved when these investments are amortized over ten years generally falls between 3.0 and 4.0-cents. I'm not sure how this compares to the lower LCF, but I'm guessing the latter will come in at roughly twice that. With utility incentives, the simple payback is approximately six months and since the client doesn't pay a penny up-front (their 20 per cent co-pay can be repaid over 24-months, interest free, on their power bill), these retrofits generate strong net positive cash-flow from day one.

BTW, one side benefit to this work is the improved optics -- in addition to the substantial energy and cost savings, these buildings will no longer appear to be lit-up like Christmas trees day and night; translation: "there go our tax dollars". And it's not just the public who are upset by this; the staff are frustrated as well because they don't want to leave lights on either but lack the means to turn them on and off.


Paul, your problem with occupancy sensors might also be solved by leaving some of the lights on full time, while the rest were hooked to to your occupancy sensors and emergency power switching. That way, there would always be some low level lighting in the apparatus bay. That would be good for a situation were surveillance cameras were watching the area as well...

E. Swanson

Hi Eric,

Your point is well taken. There will always be one or two fixtures that serve as night lights. For example, the fire hall I'm reviewing now has a 2-lamp F96T12 industrial at the front left that illuminates the wall maps and a 2-lamp F34T12 industrial above a rear work bench. Both will be converted to 2-lamp T8 wraps and will remain un-switched, as well as a third T8 fixture near the back stairwell. Saving watts is good, but safety always comes first.



How did you enter your current line of work?

What type of education and training did you undergo in order to work in your field?

It must be very rewarding to work in a field such as yours where you and your crew help businesses, individuals, and society as a whole by meeting lighting needs while saving energy.



A bit of an odd tale in a way. In terms of formal education, I hold a BA, Honours, in Political Science and a Masters in Environmental Studies. The latter led to a position with the Policy and Planning Division of the Ontario Ministry of Energy where I served as a policy advisor (Electricity Section). Some years later I switched gears and launched a software consultancy specializing in forms processing and document management services; my clients included various government agencies (e.g., Department of Defence, National Research Council, Ontario Ministry of Finance, City of Toronto...), financial institutions (e.g., CIBC, The Bank of Nova Scotia, Intria Items Inc., MacKenzie Financial...) and numerous law firms (e.g., Stikeman Elliott, Goodman & Carr, Steele Hector Davis...). I did fairly well on that end of things, opted for semi-retirement and shortly thereafter joined with two other partners in forming an energy services company.

My work day starts at 07h30 each morning and I don't normally pack it in until 02h00 or 03h00, pretty much six and seven days a week, but I couldn't be happier; this is the dream.




Did I read this correctly...you hit the sack at between 0200 and 0300?

That's a long day...I can't pull that off anymore...

It's a long day but I find it difficult to sleep more than four or five hours. I'm constantly thinking about work -- what we need to do, how we can do it better, how we can save more kWhs. Every kWh saved is a half-kilo of coal that won't be burned and that, more than anything else, is what drives me to work harder.


Re.: "Strong hearts to the front, weak hearts to the back" above.

Thank You Leanan

Khatibi warns of supply 'crisis'

Iran's Opec governor believes the world faces great uncertainties in security of energy supply and that the price of crude is still undervalued and set to hit $100 in the short term.

In an interview with semi-official Iranian news agency Mehr, Mohammad Ali Khatibi said: "The global markets are close to a crisis of uncertain oil supply."

One would think that inquiring minds would start asking when Saudi Arabia will open the taps and increase their net exports back to the 2005 level, of 9.1 mbpd or more. However, I suspect that in many cases people (energy analysts & the MSM for example) don't want to ask probing questions about Saudi net export capacity, because they don't want to hear the answers. Consider the simple fact that Saudi Arabia net exported 9.1 mbpd in 2005 @ $57 per barrel (annual average) and net exported 8.4 mbpd in 2008 @ $100 per barrel--and this was widely considered to be a voluntary reduction in net exports (the steady rise in oil prices from 2005 to 2008 showed a lack of demand).

Of course, instead of increasing their net exports, the recent Saudi news is that they are raising prices. So I suspect that at various price points, $100, $150, etc., the Saudis will cite "weak demand" for high priced oil as justification for lower net exports.

What will be interesting to see is KSA's reaction to $100 oil. My guess is that they will increase oil production from their excess production capacity. Not long ago, Rune Likvern estimated the amount of Saudi excess capacity for production at 1.5 mb/d.

I'm not an oil man and don't claim to be expert in examining the numbers in Likvern's article, but both my brain and my gut tell me he is probably right.

IMHO, KSA wants oil at ninety dollars--not a hundred dollars per barrel. In addition to increasing production, Saudi Arabia can do some speculation in futures markets to push the price of oil down by a few dollars when and if they want to see the price of oil fall.

Note that KSA makes hugely greater profits by voluntarily restricting production so as to drive up the world price to the level they want. It is a good deal for KSA: They pump a little less and get way more profit because of the higher export prices they are now getting.

You are looking at declining exports against rising prices and apparently relying on a common microeconomics meme that the commodity must be supply constrained physically.

Maybe Saudi Arabia does have the capacity to raise exports by one million barrels per day, but sees no advantage resulting from the additional cash inflow. Are they supposed to buy more gold? Invest in Hollywood? Buy Chinese companies? More fighter jets? How many fighter jets can one kingdom have on the tarmac anyway? Meanwhile, the inflow of cash increase the exchange value of the national currency undermining domestic production, and costing domestic jobs.

In this case the rational agent (KSA) might well have decided that there is no price at which additional supply adds to the producer's well-being.

Concerning the ongoing late 2010 oil price cycle, which I am dubbing the “mini-spike”, shipping reports have not indicated that the number of large oil carrying tankers (VLCCs) has changed much across the seas in the last few days. If anything, 2011 looks like it will get off to a rather lackluster start with no increase in OPEC exports, and perhaps a decline – after late December OPEC exports are expected pickup about 1% or so over late November. Therefore don’t expect to hear about any important changes from the OPEC meeting this week – such as the KSA will “turn on the taps”.

Unfortunately I can not provide web links, but the source of my information is mostly from Reuters the last 2 days. About the only tanker route that has any good activity is the one from the Mideast to China. This implies that China has stepped up oil imports significantly in December, probably to the detriment of the US.

It is expected OPEC won't change much of anything by the conclusion of its meeting - except they now appear to be 'comfortable' with the price of $90, as Don Sailorman has suggested these last few weeks:

OPEC Will Maintain Production Quotas as Crude Exceeds $90: Energy Markets
By Grant Smith and Mark Shenk - Dec 7, 2010 7:00 PM ET

Oil’s rally to a more-than-two-year high is unlikely to coax OPEC into raising production quotas at this week’s meeting in Ecuador, as member nations consider the global recovery strong enough to withstand price gains.

New York crude futures climbed above $90 a barrel for the first time in 26 months yesterday, exceeding the $70-to-$90 range described by Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi as “comfortable.” Iran, Venezuela and Libya said this month they would accept prices as high as $100, while OPEC Secretary- General Abdalla El-Badri said the group won’t necessarily boost production unless there’s a need for more oil.


One would think that inquiring minds would start asking when Saudi Arabia will open the taps and increase their net exports back to the 2005 level,

If we can't even demand an independent evaluation of their 'real' URR, then how can anyone ever ask or demand that they delve into their supposed spare capacity? Right now MSM still view the Saudi's in the pristine position of 'swing producer' (even though they technically lost that moniker during 05-08), and in the foggy, QE will solve our problems land of OZ, remain proudly standing as a world beyond beyond, in a land past hope and fear, I bid you Genie now appear! But far from remote fictional islands with Cyclops' and dragon cave guards, reality will not too long from now snap the whimsical and so easily led back into coherance. Well at least until another QE can be keystroked.

The article above has been updated. Here is another one:

Iran sees oil supply crisis ahead; says $100/b oil "natural"

Iran's OPEC governor said Tuesday that oil prices at $100/barrel in the short term seemed "completely natural," warning that the world faced a looming oil supply crisis because of production declines of up to 10% from producing fields.

He estimated that oil production globally would decline by 5-10% in coming years.

$100 oil, we seem to be well on our way there. Busted through $90 this morning, and just passed $90.50. Seeing as how it's gone up nearly seven dollars in the last week, we could be near $100 in a bit over a week it things keep going up at the same rate for that long.

Gasoline and diesel fuel prices daily average in Italy. When we talk about energy production, Italy is the most oil-dependent country from oil in UE, after Greece ("public debt bankrupted") and Ireland (going "private debt bankrupt" these weeks).

2000-2010 lowest hit in august 2001 :

Diesel fuel ... 0,84 €/l
Gasoline ... 1,02 €/l

2000-2010 record high hit in july, the 16th 2008 :

Diesel fuel ... 1,56 €/l
Gasoline ... 1,56 €/l

Where we are now?
Prices are rising in november 2010

Diesel fuel ... 1,30 €/l
Gasoline ... 1,42 €/l

As Ugo Bardi from ASPO-Italy used to say: like RyanAir, Italy cannot afford a 100$ barrel (or 1,50 €/l fuel) without major problems. We'll see this time. For the moment, the italian Parlement is CLOSED for political crisis until 14th december, with the PM Silvio Berlusconi left alone by many of his political allies and he is expected to resign, to pass the ball at a "stand-by" gouvernment guided by Mr Draghi (he is now CEO at Bank of Italy) or Mr Tremonti (he is now the italian Minister of Economy). Italian debt is at his all-time record and many of the "Too Big To Fail" entreprises in Italy have been downgraded these last days from rating agencies. Finmeccanica at first, which is the second largest industrial group and the largest of the hi-tech industrial groups based in Italy, operating in 100 countries and being a very strategic company. And Assicurazioni Generali, 1st financial group in Italy, is also facing rough seas. A pre-default situation for the country.

I remember visiting Sardinia in the summer of 2008 and filling up a Fiat Panda rental with 1,56 €/l gasoline. At today's exchange rate, this price works out to $7.90/gallon but back then it was closer to $9/gallon. I still saw a lot of cars on the road, so Italian drivers don't appreared fazed by this types of numbers. American driver's on the other hand would freak out.

In Sardinia there are so few roads (as a single region, Sardinia has the smallest transportation network in EU-15, if we do not consider Corsica, in France, which is mainly composed of mountains), clearly you could see plenty of cars, even with 2,50 €/l fuel!
There is no freeways, no toll ways. And in summer population grows very very much with millions of tourists coming.

American driver's on the other hand would freak out.

Well that's probably true.

The Fiat Panda is a city car from the Italian automobile manufacturer Fiat. .....It has a 1.3 L engine with fuel consumption at 6.5 L/100 km (43.5 mpg-imp; 36.2 mpg-US) It has a fuel tank that holds 7.7 gals

So at $9.00 gal a fill up would cost about US $70.00 and you could drive it for about 320 miles on a tankful.

Compared to a 2010 Chevrolet Suburban which has a gas tank that holds 31 gal and gets a about 13 mpg and a full tank at even $3.00 gal will cost you $90.00. At $9.00 you'd be looking at $270.00 for a fill up and a range of about 390 miles... Do you begin to see the problem?

But the American lifestyle is not negotiable.

Good luck!

The current price in the UK at my local "garage" is GBP 1.30 per litre which converts to 1.30 x 1.58 x 3.785 = USD 7.77 per US gallon.

At the november 2010 EUROPEAN gasoline prices, a Chevrolet Suburban will eat out 0,70 $ for 1 mile; or (more than) 0,50 $ for every minute in urban traffic! But the American lifestyle is not negotiable, Saudi Arabia will surely find a new Ghawar for Christmas and americans will never have to fill up the Chevros' tank at these prices...

Crude Oil Increases to a 26-Month High as Obama Agrees to Extend Tax Cuts

Crude oil climbed to a 26-month high after President Barack Obama agreed to extend tax cuts, sending the dollar lower and bolstering demand for commodities.

Oil surged above $90 a barrel and gold rose to a record as Obama said he’ll agree to a two-year extension on all Bush-era tax cuts in a compromise he called “an essential step on the road to recovery.” The current tax rates, enacted in 2001 and 2003, are set to increase Dec. 31.

“This is effectively a new stimulus package, which should increase demand,” said Bill O’Grady, chief market strategist at Confluence Investment Management in St. Louis.

How many more 'Let them eat cake' moments will we tolerate?

This, while we do NOTHING in Cancun. Well, not NOTHING, exactly..

Wikileaks is a hot topic at the Cancún Climate Summit after secret diplomatic cables revealed new details about how the United States manipulated last year’s climate talks in Copenhagen.


Let them eat bloody Yellowcake!

Gold at $1420 and silver at $30. How much longer before silver is equal to a barrel of oil?
How much longer until the dollar is worth 1 cent?

in 12 months is my guess.

I can assure you that one dollar will never be worth one cent.

Less than 1 cent?

In fact if you look at what a dollar was worth in 1800 and compare to today, we are already there.

You miss the point Cool One, one cent will always be worth 1/100 of a dollar regardless of how low the dollar falls.

Ron P.

Perhaps the US dollar will be worth one Ausie cent?


1/100 of zero is still zero...... LOL :)

Gold at $1420 and silver at $30. How much longer before silver is equal to a barrel of oil?

It's nice to know that in spite of the creative accounting wizardry of Bernanke that something actually has a solid feel to it - that something actually has a real value. You can hold it, scratch it, use it, it's actually some thing.

Think about it. The Feds claim that quatitiative easing is the buying of bonds, but with what? Did someone earn some money to buy bonds on behalf of the government? Was the amount of 600 billion added to the National Debt? No, so where did this money come from? That's why its refer to as printed money, although no printing presses even have to be greased. The first time they did this, they announced it, held their breath then clacked a few key strokes and presto there was 600 billion dollars more in the monetary system. Wasn't that amazing! Now it's turned into an amazing tool that can be used anytime. Just today after announcing QEII, the European and US stock markets went up via 'actual' real money being invested, and to boot the price of oil went down (even though one would think the price would go up due to a devalued dollar). Smoke and mirrors, slight of hand, flim-flam I saw the whole gang round about a Saturday night, Flip-flop...

There was a time, once, when an ounce of gold was worth one week's labor for the average worker. There were far fewer workers back then.

The reason for the historic resistance to the use of gold and silver currencies is that they cannot be inflated. Inflation is the only way that the global debt crisis is going to be resolved. And, the use of gold as money allowed hoarding (by Spain, especially), that deflated prices and created as much economic mayhem as inflation has. In the end, Spain had all the gold she could want, and it did them no good whatever. Furthermore, the amount of gold is so limited, and production so expensive, that its worth today is more for industrial applications than as money.

Also, as it happens, one nation or corporation cannot corner the market for dollars, so long as dollars can be printed.


edit: Since oil is going up at the same time as silver, I would say never to the first question. In fact, silver is more than oil was not that very long ago.

In 1980 silver spiked up at more than fifty dollars an ounce. A barrel of oil in 1980 cost much less than fifty dollars.

The silver market is subject to much manipulation. I recommend the classic book by Paul Erdmann, THE SILVER BEARS.

IMHO, the people buying silver today are pure speculators--often buying silver bullion or bullion coins with borrowed money.

When will the crash down in silver prices come? I don't know. I did not think the boom in house prices would continue as long as it did, and note that house prices in most U.S. areas are still falling. When the irrational exhuberance bubble of silver speculation bursts, there is no telling how low silver prices will go as everybody stampedes for the exit at the same moment.

Even the price of oil might go down a lot if the world goes into a greater depression. My guess is that KSA will cut production drastically if this is necessary to defend their desired $90 per barrel price. With oil at $90 a barrel, the Saudis could cut their production in half and still make more money than they would by allowing the price of oil to fall to $45 while maintaining current production levels.

In other words, I think that to a large extent, Saudi Arabia is still swing producer on the global oil market. If I were the Saudi economics minister, I'd advise them to keep cutting production to keep the price up at $90, even when the world slides into depression. And if the U.S. keeps reducing the value of the dollar through quantitative easings, then as their economics minister I'd advise the King to keep raising the target price of oil in dollars to compensate for the falling value of the dollar.

I have friends who purchased silver at $17 during those heady days... they did not make it to $17 again until recently - more than 20 years.

We can thank the Hunts for that adventure.

Absolute price, IMO is not the salient datum. It is the relative price of oil that does and will matter. With inflation it could go to $1,500 or $1,500,000 or even more. Your imagination is the limit on that, and the Fed seems set on seeing it happen. If deflation is the way we go, well it is game over as far as I am concerned. And, oil will stay higher than is affordable.

As for gold, well it is a valuable industrial substance for sure. And for jewelry, it is great. Why it is chosen, other than rarity, as a value indicator beats me. I know, I know, it is historic. Consider, though, that like oil it is a finite resource, and in demand for other than monetary purposes. And, like gold, oil is valuable for more than one reason. Though why the Saudis would defend a price that cannot be paid escapes me.

Yes, cutting production would drive up price. However, if a depression, as seems so likely, does begin, with deflation and all the bad stuff that goes along with that, demand would shrivel like a raisin. Not only would they not need to cut production for the purpose of holding price up, they would not be able to sell the stuff at the price set by the market. Just like 2008/2009.

I do agree that they will (as is a sane response) continue to raise the target price to keep up with inflation, so long as that continues.


Gold is also just about chemically indestructable, it is relatively easy to proof( not much can be made to look like gold and be that heavy) and its beautiful.

SGI offers air-cooled modular data center

IDG News Service - SGI has launched a modular data center that uses outside air instead of chilled water to cool the IT gear inside, making it highly energy efficient, the company said Monday.
An Ice Cube Air cooled by fresh air only has a PUE, or Power Usage Effectiveness, of 1.06, he said. PUE is a ratio of the total power going into a data center against the amount that actually reaches the servers, as opposed to being used for cooling systems, for example. Most traditional data centers have PUEs of 2.0 or higher.

Saudi Arabia wants nuclear power, and fast:

RIYADH — Saudi Arabia plans to be producing nuclear power within 10 years, a senior US trade official said here Monday.

"They want to have civil nuclear power as a part of their mix ... relatively soon," said Under Secretary of Commerce Francisco Sanchez, after meetings with Saudi officials.

The world's largest supplier of oil wants to have nuclear power "within the next 10 years", he told journalists.


Hmmmmmm! Wonder why? They know that oil will not last!
Are we starting the progession from fossil fuel to nuclear now?
What will come after nuclear?

Perhaps they also realize that solar and wind are boutique non-solutions.

Solar wont work in KSA?

Not really.

There is a lot of Sunlight, sure.. but the panels would still be shadowed by their immense pride, and possibly also by their overinflated reserves numbers.

What will come after nuclear?

Crumbling, rusting piles of radioactivity.

Good luck to 'em with the 'evil doing terrorists'.

Dec 7th, 8:11PT

Leanan, et. al.,

It looks like a Drumbeat is not going up today (Tuesday). You know, it would be nice if something like There Will Be No Drumbeat Today were put up so that we all know that is the case. Alternatively, why not just have an open thread in place of the DB on these days?


The empty thread could be the Offbeat.

I posted the schedule. Drumbeats will now appear M-W-F-S.

The reason Drumbeats have been cut back is because we're aiming for a smaller, but higher quality TOD. With the key posts being fewer and farther between, we don't want them drowned with open threads.

That is also why older Drumbeats have been moved off the front page.

Thank you Leanan. I must have missed the schedule. As far as open threads go, it looks like the "old" DB is turning into one anyway. Todd

Drumbeats have always been open threads. (Sort of. I do try to keep it in shouting distance of "energy and our future.")

You can still comment every day, if you wish; it will just be in four posts a week, rather than seven.

The signal to noise ratio had been getting pretty bad lately. I think people were getting bored. Peak oil was past, and there were no zombie hordes in sight. So we got a lot of political rants, personal jabs, shaggy dog stories, fart jokes, etc. I'm hoping the new schedule will result in more signal and less noise.

Give it a chance. If it doesn't work out, we can try something else.

I believe that, perhaps, readers could have had an impact on that noise, but we are all too danged polite to flag others' comments. Or maybe we fear that if we do, others will flag ours?

Still, so long as they remain close to the point, I can understand the occassional rant. Heck, I may even have done one myself at one time or another? These are, after all, frustrating times. And, at the present time, with oil on a plateau and no one knowing how long it will last (technology and sheer investment are doing a fairly good job keeping production near the top), one gets jumpy, and a bit edgy.

I think y'all are doing a pretty good job, so thanks for giving us a bit of leaway, Leanan.


I noticed the flag function has disappeared, too. What's the thought behind that? Was it being abused in some way, or not used enough to bother?

I don't know. I'll ask.

It wasn't being abused. It was hardly used.

SuperG just forgot to enable it when he set up the Drumbeat section. Should be fixed now.

Thanks Leanan and SuperG.

ok, well do you have any suggestions as to how I might try to make this new schedule work better for me?
I would like to get online on Tuesday morning and read all of the new posts without scanning through 250 comments.
I would like to be able to see links to important stories of the past 24 hours.
Using the previous days Drumbeat as a defacto open thread seems really unwieldy.

I would like to get online on Tuesday morning and read all of the new posts without scanning through 250 comments.

But we sometimes go to 250 comments and more, even with daily Drumbeats. Heck, we used to regularly go over 300 comments daily. What did you do then?

I would like to be able to see links to important stories of the past 24 hours.

Many links to important stories are posted in the comments. Otherwise, is it really TEOTWAWKI to get important stories of the past 48 hours instead?

So what you are telling me is that there is no magic tech solution that will allow me to continue receiving the same level of service I have grown accustomed to?
Peak TOD.
Let's hope its an undulating plateau and not a shark-fin :-)

Well, that is what we're hoping, too. We're trying to simplify voluntarily, to avoid collapse. :-)

Agreed. People don't seem to be posting less. It just means we have to scroll through all of yesterday's posts to read today's posts.

And I guess we'll be going to a 2-pager after we pass 300 comments?

How is this an improvement? Seems like Leanan is still working just as hard every day. If only the most recent Drumbeat is on the front page, isn't that good enough?

Don't scroll. Search on "new" (with square brackets, which I am avoiding using because I don't want to screw up people's searches).

Not sure what was wrong with the daily Drumbeats that it had to be 'fixed'.
Any alternatives in the way of intelligent people discussing events of the day from an energy/PO aware perspective?
This site is well laid out, easy on the eyes, stimulating.
My first stop of the morning just for the oil price chart, that tells me as much as any other single datum of the day... BUT
If the current site managers really do have contempt for the 'cyber-community' they have created
(ok, Leanan, not a 'real' community, but what else would you call it?)
then perhaps we should collectively pack up our tents and relocate.
I'm not intending to sound posturing, just a little bewildered.

then perhaps we should collectively pack up our tents and relocate.
I'm not intending to sound posturing, just a little bewildered.

I wouldn't get too worked up, because the good folks that keep this site going could fold up their tent and go away. Years ago I was on Yahoo's political message boards. They were visited mostly by conservatives, but as time went on and posters became more of a liberal base (like myself) it was then suddenly and without any warning shut down. Not that there is a Dem or Repub bias being pushed here, that's not the point, the point is things can disappear fast. I'd ask that if there are plans to disband TOD at any point in time, please provide a time period for folks to band together - to possibly find another site to meet or make a new site to meet. This topic of peak oil is only going to become more of an interesting situation as we descend down the net energy ladder, so I'd really like to think it isn't going to just disappear overnight like Yahoo did.

No plans to disband that I've heard of.

However, I must say it's kind of funny that so many people who think we're headed for collapse - power grid down, WWIII, mass starvation, maybe homeland security shutting down the site - are so worried that this site might go away. :-)

Yep, we're addicts. Addicted to one of the few rafts of (relative) sanity (even with the fart jokes) in a sea of delusion.

For those who like to discuss electric cars, (I don't), this is a pretty good article.

6 Myths Every Investor Should Know About Electric Cars

Last week, I spouted off about how embracing electric cars was not some random left-wing agenda, but rather a patriotic endeavor.

Not surprisingly, there were some who disagreed with me. And that's fine. I'm not above criticism or opposing viewpoints.

However, I did notice that in many of the criticisms, there were an awful lot of arguments that were based on information that was either inaccurate, or just plain wrong.

And unfortunately, I know a lot of folks actually believe half the crap that's written by partisan slaves or just uninformed readers on message boards and comments sections.

Ron P.

However, I did notice that in many of the criticisms, there were an awful lot of arguments that were based on information that was either inaccurate, or just plain wrong.

And unfortunately, I know a lot of folks actually believe half the crap that's written by partisan slaves or just uninformed readers on message boards and comments sections.

Reality has a well-known liberal bias. ;-)

EVs certainly face an uphill battle. They are expensive, range is an issue, and charge time is an issue. But that said, there is an enormous amount of non-factual garbage spewed by knee-jerk partisans that immediately label anything like EVs as tree-hugger hippie pipedreams. That is far from true. And the hardcore national-security hawk aspect of EVs is real. People like former CIA Chief James Woolsey drives a plug-in Prius for national security reasons. Oil money sent to the mid-East does leak into the hands of terrorists. And we are damaging our national security by becoming so utterly dependent on foreign oil and running massive trade deficits that are largely due to the purchase of foreign oil.

But yeah, anytime EVs are publicly discussed expect the same set of BS talking points from the right. Things like:
1) They are powered by coal so they are dirtier than gas cars. (No, electric motors are much more efficient so even when powered by coal they are cleaner. Plus it is much easier to address the emissions on one coal chimney than a million car exhaust pipes. Plus the grid is moving the mix toward cleaner energy with nukes, wind, solar, natural gas, geothermal, etc.)
2) The batteries are toxic disaster that are environmental problems during mining and eventual discarding. (No, you are confused by old school batteries. Modern auto-motive Li-Ions are pretty much non-toxic. The CEO of battery-maker BYD drank the electrolyte from his automotive Li-Ions to show how non-toxic they are . . . google it. And the batteries will be repurposed to grid-storage at the end of their automotive usage life.)
3) Switching from oil to Lithium for batteries is just switching from one foreign resource to another. (Not really. If we want, we can mine Li-Ion locally. Right now, Bolivia is viewed as a great source and I'd much rather import from a small country in our hemisphere than an unstable regime in that hotbed of conflict, the mid-East.)
4) We are just going to import the batteries. (Not necessarily. Enerdel manufactures great Li-Ions domestically. A123 has started building a factory for Li-Ions in Michigan.)
5) EVs are economically impractical boondoggles. (Not in the future. EVs are very close to being economically equal to gas cars when you look at the lifetime operating costs of the car because electric-miles are much cheaper than gas-miles. And that is now . . . oil prices are going to continue going up while electricity prices will remain relatively stable.)
6) You'll plug-in your car and the grid will fail! (No, the grid has enough excess capacity right now to handle literally millions of EVs. You just charge them at night. You'll be given an incentive to do so since middle-of-the-night electricity is cheap.)

I have seen these blog posts of clearly misled reasoning and arguments.

I think there is so much anger out there that anything a democrat does is "socialism" and they are going to throw as much nonsense at these initiatives as possible to undermine them.

But the funny thing is despite the obvious shortcomings, high gasoline prices are not going away. So this noise machine will loose steam in the years ahead.

Hoping for calmer discussions of energy usage and efficiency measures in the future.

At the end of the day an electric car is a gasoline subsidy because the electric car uses less gasoline making the fuel cost less for the SUV lovers out there.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange refused bail

The founder of the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks, Julian Assange, has told a court he will fight extradition to Sweden.

Bail was refused and the Australian, who denies sexually assaulted two women in Sweden, was remanded in custody pending a hearing next week.

A judge at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court refused bail because of the risk of Mr Assange fleeing.

A Wikileaks spokesman said Mr Assange's arrest was an attack on media freedom.

Mr Stephens said after the court appearance he would be applying again for bail.

Allawi threatens to quit Iraqi government: report

LONDON — Iyad Allawi, who won the most votes in Iraq's elections, threatened to quit a power-sharing government in an interview with Britain's Times newspaper on Tuesday.

"Power-sharing is not happening," Allawi said. "It is not set to work in a meaningful way... If it does not change, I will not participate."

Despite being lauded by international leaders including US President Barack Obama, Iraq's power-sharing pact has looked fragile ever since it was agreed last month after an eight-month impasse.


I must say I expected this to happen when I first read about the power sharing deal last month; should Allwai quit the Sunni's will be fully disfranchised from the political process; this will seriously escalate tensions within the country; and most certainly hinder any meaningful progress on key projects such as increasing Iraq oil supply. Iraq is likely going to remain a battle ground between Iran & Saudi Arabia in an endless struggle with no clear victor; and to complicate matters even more the battle over Kirkuk between the Arabs and the Kurds will heat up as a result, especially since the Kirkuk present the only access to oil for the Sunni Arabs.

It is worth noting that Saudi Arabia will be satisfied with a weak unstable Iraq; and does not require Sunni dominance to achieve its goals; keeping Iraq in constant struggle will insure that Iran wont have the upper hand in Iraq; it will eliminate a rival source of potential significant oil supply and gain favour with Iraq Sunni's should they come back to power; in away the situation in Iraq today is very close to the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war; the difference being the war was fought at the border of Iraq; today its being fought within Iraq.


EIA Short Term Energy Outlook for December is out today: http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/steo/pub/contents.html

...non-OPEC supply falls by 280,000 bbl/d in 2011.

This is interesting for next year (2011):

Total World Production:  87.15 mb/d
Total World Consumption: 87.78 

Two months ago the EIA's Short Term Energy Outlook had non-OPEC total liquids dropping by 240,000 barrels per day next year. Last months STEO had non-OPEC liquids dropping by 250,000 barrels per day next year. This report has non-OPEC liquids dropping by 280,000 barrels per day next year. If this trend continues...

But the important point is that the EIA still has non-OPEC liquids peaking in 2010.

Ron P.

USG Steps to Protect Saudi Oil Facilities

DOE presented a two-day, thorough, highly-technical evaluation of Abqaiq’s security capability to MOI, FSF and ARAMCO officials on Oct. 27 and 28, with the introductory briefing consisting of a three-hour presentation. The conclusion is that the Abqaiq facility’s safety standards are world-class and its current security measures would counter a repeat of the Feb. 2006 failed Al Qaeda VBIED attack, but Abqaiq remains highly vulnerable to other types of sophisticated terrorist attacks. DOE provided concrete steps for the Saudis to enhance and harden Abqaiq’s security architecture.

...In a private meeting between [Assistant Minister for National Security Affairs Prince Mohammed bin Naif] MBN and the Charge’[d'Affair], MBN conveyed the [Saudi Arabian Govt.] SAG’s, and his personal, sense of urgency to move forward as quickly as possible to enhance the protection of Saudi Arabia’s critical infrastructure with the priority being its energy production sites. MBN related how his grandfather, King Abdulaziz, had the vision of forming a lasting strategic partnership with the United States. MBN stressed he shared this vision, and wants the USG’s help to protect Saudi critical infrastructure. He commented that neither the Kingdom nor the U.S. would be comfortable with the “French or Russians” involved in protecting Saudi oil facilities. “We built ARAMCO together, we must protect it together.”

Apparently power generation oil demand is surging in Europe; I didn't expect so much electricity to be generated from oil in Europe:

The amount of power sourced from oil plants in France rose to 6,167 megawatts (MW) during peak hours on Monday, the highest level since records dating back to summer 2009, and up by around 800 MW from last week, data from grid RTE showed.

In Britain, oil plants generated 1,642 MW during the peak demand period on Monday which is equivalent to three UK nuclear reactors and the highest level produced by oil plants so far this autumn, according to the National Grid.

"Demand's a bit higher so we're jumping straight to oil plants instead of gas or coal plants," a UK power dealer said.

The UK's oil plants have occasionally been brought online since mid-October but at lower production levels and are usually completely idle over the low demand summer period.

Total oil plant capacity in the UK is around 4,000MW, according to the National Grid.



Although it is very rare to see 1.6GW 0f oil generation in the UK, keep in mind that's still only about 2.5% of demand at peak time. Although the article says we have 4GW of oil capacity, at the moment it is actually only 1.820GW according to current grid data, due to closure of several sites in recent years and facilities otherwise unavailable. In other words we are running our remaining operational oil plants almost flat out at peak times at the moment.

Another item of note from the article

UK coal consumption is also up as a result of the freeze, with coal stocks reserved for later in the winter being burned now, traders said.


At peak demand in the UK we've been down to little more than 3GW of immediately available standby generation - and that's with 2GW of imports from France already online (we regularly export to France but have been in almost permanent import mode the last few days). France is using its standby non-nuke oil capacity to top itself up and export some.


France RTE (power grid company) and EDF say that for the french system:

- they have a physical capacity of transferring a maximum of 8000 MW via 46 "border power plugs" (with countries : D, UK, E, B, L, I, CH)

- they had a historical record high consumption of 93100 MW (at 7 p.m., february, 11.2010)

- every 1°C down of average temperature, EDF abd RTE have to provide 2300 MW surplus of energy (2300 MW is double the need of a city like Marseille in the South of France)

- the consumption of electric energy per habitant has peaked in 2005 at 7944 kWh/person/year and is declining

- even with declining consumption, for the period 2005-2010 kWh prices are up of 10% (inflation only 7,5%) and a 3% rise is expected for next year


This is revealing. Thank you.
Britain and France, and doubtless the rest of Europe, are having to max out all their generating capacity to cope with what is in reality a perfectly normal winter. OK, it's cold, but it has been colder for longer before. With Britain trying to close two nuclear reactors and only gas and oil to compensate it does seem as if Britain's energy capacity is on a knife edge.

Surely, reliability of power and water supply will now be significant contributory factors in international companies choice of manufacturing location? That bodes ill for economic growth; if such a concept is still tenable of course.

France,... are having to max out all their generating capacity to cope with what is in reality a perfectly normal winter

For France, it was a +0,2°C average temperatures in november ("la chaine meteo" data), but -1,5°C the average for these days of december. It is pretty much. 75% of the country was covered in 5-60 cm snow in only 3 hours and we had 4 days of -10°C min and -1°C max range of temperature, with really heavy winds.
Sunny days was also down by 75% in the last 30 days ("la chaine meteo" november report), with high humidity and that could really give people the feeling of a colder climat, then you heat your house more and more.
In Orleans they had -15°C (record was in 1956, at -9°C) and half a meter of snow. The rest of central regions of France was freezing, even "sweet" Brittany was covered with snow, never seen it before 1956 or in this period at the end of november; even in the French Alps, a ski-city like Chambery had a record of 45 cm snow, they had to recurr at the stocks of salt for december and mid-january in only 3 days.

Not a normal winter. Too cold, too snowy and that all came too fast.

Yes it was very cold here in Bourgogne, quite a few days with -10°c min and -5°c max. But now we've had a rapid thaw with heavy rain (+6°c at the moment) and judging by the small river/stream running alongside my land, which is the highest I've ever seen it, I'd expect major flooding to follow down stream in short order.

Climate, finance and energy are all beginning to fluctuate in a chaotic manner, each impacting the other as far as leading our daily lives are concerned. If things continue at this pace then a major dislocation of some kind can't be that far off. Even letters from the French bureaucracy are arriving weeks after they were printed, indicating major internal problems within the French system. I'm beginning to think the tremendous stresses within the economy are going to start breaking out soon in possibly unpredictable ways.

This has been exceptional in the UK. The UK National Grid demand hit 60GW yesterday. That's about 4GW more than the forecast peak demand for the winter and that was on December 7th. The averaged CET (Central England Temperature) for the first 7 days of December was -2.0°C (anomaly -7.6 degC).

I've personally been struggling through snowdrifts and sub zero temperatures for about 2 weeks now. Scotland's busiest motorway was closed for over 24 hours yesterday - something which has never happened before. If it snows at all in November or December we normally expect it to melt within days. What the problem is just now is that our normal "prevailing westerlies" are not prevailing and the feed from the atlantic is missing in action. Models forecast a few days coming up when temps struggle up a few degrees (but don't reach seasonal norm) before dropping sharply again.

Here's National Grid's UK wide temp anomaly chart. Note that we are way below the "low reference"

Based on the speed & effort of today's events I suspect that the latest Wikileaks show did a lot of damage. All the foreign heads of state were so offended that they will return the backhanded compliments by putting a defacto embargo on our economy... then oil will really get scarce.

Yeah, they'll show us. Then I'll be sorry.



I think basic Physics needs to be retaught to the public at large

I think social (evolution of complex society) evolution needs to be taught to this author.

Nearly all technologies progress over time, but expecting clean-energy technologies to follow the same time scale of the IT industry, where Moore's Law rules, is bound to disappoint.

In reality, we don't see bad or failed technologies ever progressing. They are simply abandoned and relegated to the pages of Popular Mechanics. I am referring to the bold text in the block quote.

However, I think he raised several good points/examples and one of them is:

"We've all been spoiled and deeply confused by the IT model," Gates said at the Techonomy conference in August. "Exponential improvement--that is rare." He said that batteries, in particular, have "deep physical limits. I am funding five battery start-ups and there are probably 50 out there. (But) that is a very tough problem. It may not be solvable in any sort of economic way."

Much is taught (in physics class) but little is absorbed :-(

13 Great Careers for College Graduates:


No mention of energy production, conventional or otherwise, or of energy conservation, and no mention of food production.

I think the great majority of U.S. college graduates are utterly disgusted with any job prospect that means getting one's hands dirty. Agricultural school graduates are an exception to this generalization.

IMO, the U.S. has far far too many college graduates and people in four-year colleges.

Now engineering technology is a great career, but you will get your hands dirty as an engineering tech.

I can remember when engineers generally wore engineering boots--part of the outfit along with at least one slide rule and a pocket protector.

My guess is that college enrollments will drop to roughly half of current levels within ten to fifteen years. Tuition keeps going up at twice the rate of inflation, and almost all states are running bigger and bigger deficits, with lower and lower tax revenue and higher and higher transfer payments from the productive part of the population to the nonworking part of the population.
U.S. college students have been sold a bill of goods that the way to a good career is to borrow tons of money and get advanced degrees. More and more lawyers are now on food stamps, and there are a lot of unemployed or underemployed MBA in finance types out there. The surplus of Ph.D.s in most disciplines is scandalous.

Peak oil also means Peak four-year college enrollment.

I'm giving a short talk to some college students this week (always a challenge to keep from getting them too depressed). In any case, do you mind if I quote you?

I'll be delighted to have you quote me. College students are being deceived by Counsellors and highly misleading statistics from comparative incomes of college grads vs. non-college grads.

The only positive function I see for the bulk of college education today is that it creates cushy jobs for professors and educational administrators--who would be unemployed and many unemployable without their sinecures. For the profs and the administrators, growing college enrollments are job security. Most of the things you need to learn for a job you learn on the job and not in college. Much of what is now taught in college, such as calculus and high-quality English composition, used to be taught in high schools.

Our whole educational system is an expensive disgrace, except for our elite graduate schools in science and math. I guess engineering schools are pretty good, but so many of the math and engineering and physics students are Chinese, from India or other Asian countries, that we do not graduate enough engineers who were born in the U.S. and plan to stay here.

Our whole educational system is an expensive disgrace

The 2009 OECD Programme for International Student Assessment scores are out now, and they confirm what you are saying. Among the 34 OECD countries, US 15-year-olds ranked 14th in reading, 17th in Science, and 24th in math, but

Only Luxembourg spends more per student

There's a lot in the study for Americans to worry about. The US once had arguable the best education system in the world, but global changes have reduced it to just average or lower. For example:

...changes in the graduation rates have been modest in the united States and, as a result, only 8 of the 34 OECD countries now have a lower high school graduation rate than the united States.

Similar trends are visible in college education. Here the United States slipped from rank 2 to rank 13 between 1995 and 2008, not because its college graduation rates declined, but because they rose so much faster in many other OECD countries. These developments will be amplified over the coming decades as countries such as China and India raise their educational output at an ever-increasing pace.

I highlighted the last remark because it is significant - they aren't kidding about China and India raising their educational output at a rapid rate. For the first time, PISA included some Chinese provinces in the tests, and the Chinese province of Shanghai scored #1 in the world - ahead of all the OECD countries. The fact is that, at least in the provinces tested, Chinese students are now much, much better educated than American students.

I've alluded to these trends before on this site because they seem obvious to someone who does much international traveling, but most Americans seem to be unaware of them.

Many Americans seem to believe the outsourcing of jobs to other countries is solely based on lower wages. No it's not - Americans are now losing their jobs to other countries because they are competing against people who are better educated.

Fortunately, I'm in Canada, and we don't have these problems to the same extent - which is another thing for Americans to worry about. Why are American students falling so far behind Canadian students? That's covered in the PISA study, too.

"Education" is one of those feel good myths that politicians and the rest have been showering us with (golden showers) for years.

Right now, very well "educated" young people are pouring out of the colleges, eager to work and finding no jobs for all their pent up "knowledge".

Having knowledge and "education" is not now, and never was, enough to provide for prosperity.

All the right resources and sinks have to be in place, including solvent domestic companies with job openings and a consuming public that can and is willing to afford the outputs of such companies.

"Education" is one of those feel good myths that politicians and the rest have been showering us with (golden showers) for years.

Well, with a bit more mathematical education, the voters might realize that the politicians are BSing them about the budget. And with a little more history, they might stop them making the same mistakes over and over again.

Right now, very well "educated" young people are pouring out of the colleges, eager to work and finding no jobs for all their pent up "knowledge".

But on the bright side, many of the unemployed are lawyers. And, with their newly acquired legal skills they are suing their Alma Maters for misleading them about their job prospects.

Having knowledge and "education" is not now, and never was, enough to provide for prosperity.

Having knowledge and education just gets you into the game. Being able to play well is what makes you the money. But without knowledge and education, you don't even get to play in the modern world.

An American high school diploma qualifies you to serve hamburgers at McDonalds. If you want to move up the food chain, you have to go to McDonalds Hamburger University

many of the unemployed are lawyers.
And, with their newly acquired legal skills

they are suing their Alma Maters

for misleading them about their job prospects

There are a number of human frailties that universities use to avoid being sued:

1. Vanity
2. Loyalty
3. Self doubt

These are the same vices exploited by the tailors in The Emperor's New Clothes when they declared that only the wisest and most loyal of the King's subjects will appreciate the beauty of the new fine threads (new-economy fine threads)

I realize some of you are not fans of Denninger, but he does have some analysis on student loans that relates.

Consumer Credit - Disaster

When speaking of the uptick in consumer credit (emphasis Denninger's):

OK. That little uptick does look constructive, and the non-revolving rate of change is in fact positive.


Student loans increased by $31.8 billion.

Ex the idiots borrowing to go to school (and who are going to find that they will never be able to pay it back, having bought into the Kool-Aid and who will be destroyed by it) the actual non-revolving debt acceptance was down at a fifty-eight percent annualized rate of change!


Great find for another "laughing myself out of the barrel I walk in" (LMOOTBIWI) moment.

[ i.mage.+]

I can't believe that "financial analyst" is Number 1.

Like the self-perpetuating Miltiary/Industrial Complex, the Education/Educational Loans complex is another scam perpetrated on the gullible sheeple.

I've already seen way too many young people being led by the Pied Piper's music towards that promised pot of gold at the end of the educational rainbow.

[ i.mage.+]

Greetings all,

I just heard on the local TV news that 'analysts are predicting gas prices of ~ $3.50/gallon by the Spring' in the U.S.

Local Albuquerque gas is currently ~ $2.87 at the station nearest to me.

Locally, gas has fluctuated during the last year or so between ~ $2.45 and $2.87...

Is this a harbinger of increased demand combined with flat supply?

Multicausational? Are the 'analysts' expecting in addition that Helicopter Ben will finally succeed at tanking the US dollar? From ABC News (USA):

Oil prices... [have] moved higher since the Federal Reserve announced plans to inject $600 billion into the economy...

Wall Street analysts now predict that oil will hit $100 per barrel sometime next year. They point to rising demand from China and other emerging economies. OPEC countries can crank up production to meet that demand now, but their ability to do that is expected to decline over the next few years...

Or is it partly or mostly narrative fallacy? Always questions...


[ Iran's representative at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Mohammad Ali Khatibi said Tuesday that the era of cheap crude oil supply is already over and the global oil crisis is approaching, the semi- official Mehr news agency reported.

In 2011, it is something natural for the crude oil to be supplied at 100 U.S. dollars a barrel, said the Iranian official.

In recent years, some of the none-OPEC oil producers have oversupplied the market which will be unlikely to happen in the future, he said.

It is even possible that the OPEC members to decrease their output in the mid-term run and this causes major concerns over the stable supply of the crude oil in the energy market, he added.]

Well, there you go then. Probably nobody will take much notice before Christmas, and possibly manufacturing fall back in the new year will conceal the reality for a while longer, but these sorts of statements from OPEC are prescient.

In 2011, it is something natural for the crude oil to be supplied at 100 U.S. dollars a barrel, said the Iranian official.
...possibly manufacturing fall back in the new year will conceal the reality for a while longer, but these sorts of statements from OPEC are prescient.

'conceal the reality' is about it right now. We've been on this production plateau since 05 and although the world is still being amply supplied, the cheap stuff is gone and not long from now we'll see much higher priced oil. Each $10 dollar increase in oil price will bring with it a whole host of fiscal problems for western countries trying to pay their bills.

Local Albuquerque gas is currently ~ $2.87 at the station nearest to me.

Are you seriously complaining? You should be thankful.
Here in California we have been paying North of $3.20 for weeks now.

And I'm sure our friends across the pond are in stitches about our USA-side complaints when they are/have been paying (IIRC) the equivalent of over $7/gallon

This is the "PaP" (Pain at Pump) that PO prognosticators have been warning about. And it's not even summer driving season yet.

Let's see how much panic will hit american gas stations in the next winter weeks:



Gasoline .......... 2.958 $/g .... +0.102 (1 week change) ... +0.324 (1 year change)
Diesel Fuel ...... 3.197 $/g .... +0.035 (1 week change) ... +0.425 (1 year change)

Here in the UK Diesel is nearly $8.00 a gallon, and in January the government will be increasing VAT from 17.5% to 20%. Regardless of the core price this itself will have a large impact. The difference here is, however, that we already pay so much for fuel that a small percentage increase is not noticed quite so badly as in the US where, to European eyes, fuel is practically given away.

Imagine if the US government taxed fuel more sensibly; the income could go towards infrastructure, education, research, and tax breaks on small businesses which manufacture in America. Cut the spending on the military just a little too, and you could have a fair health system. The money is there, it's just not distributed fairly, or sensibly.

I just heard on the local TV news that 'analysts are predicting gas prices of ~ $3.50/gallon by the Spring' in the U.S.

Not sure we'll have to wait until Spring here in (special formula) CA. It's already 324.99 at the cheapo store.

Here's another Wikileaks news break:

The US diplomatic cables reveal how the US seeks dirt on nations opposed to its approach to tackling global warming; how financial and other aid is used by countries to gain political backing; how distrust, broken promises and creative accounting dog negotiations; and how the US mounted a secret global diplomatic offensive to overwhelm opposition to the controversial "Copenhagen accord", the unofficial document that emerged from the ruins of the Copenhagen climate change summit in 2009.

During Bush jr.'s regime of course. While publicly he claimed understanding of the topic, privately and secretly he schemed to undermine the process of carbon limit negotiations.