Drumbeat: January 17, 2011

Chile Energy Minister Aims To Ease Tensions Over Gas Price Rise

SANTIAGO -(Dow Jones)- Chile's Energy and Mining Minister Laurence Golborne will try to ease tensions in the crisis in the nation's southernmost Magallanes region over a planned natural-gas price increase.

Unionized workers at state oil-and-gas company Empresa Nacional del Petroleo have threatened to walk out at the Aconcagua and Bio Bio refineries, the nation's largest, and to cut natural-gas supply to Canadian methanol producer Methanex Corp., if the government doesn't pull back from its controversial plan for a price increase.

Also, protests over the last week in the region's largest city, Punta Arenas, have practically paralyzed the city and left two women dead last Tuesday night.

South Korea: Gov’t orders heat off amid energy crisis

Amid a record-breaking cold spell, the government yesterday announced a set of guidelines to save energy and ultimately prevent blackouts, including ordering government buildings to shut off their heat and asking workers to wear long underwear.

Northern Iraqi Governor Cuts Baghdad Electricity

(AP) BAGHDAD - A local governor in Iraq's oil-rich north cut the electricity going to Baghdad from a power station in his province Monday over a dispute with the central government that he said had left his constituents with little power in the cold winter months.

Tamim Gov. Abdul-Rahman Mustafa said residents in his province's capital city of Kirkuk only have three hours of power each day. He said failed negotiations with Iraq's Electricity Ministry to share power generated at a plant in Taza, located 25 kilometers south of Kirkuk, gave him little choice but to cut the electricity supply headed to Baghdad.

Power ministry to directly import furnace oil

ISLAMABAD: In an unusual development, the water and power ministry has decided to directly import furnace oil for generation companies on deferred payments on the back of sovereign guarantees after having failed to clear over Rs42 billion arrears of the state-run Pakistan State Oil.

The decision has been taken against the background of an intense controversy with public sector institutions accusing each other of not doing their job, acting beyond their statutory roles and being responsible for the acute energy crisis which is affecting almost every segment of national economy.

Four-day industrial gas cut begins in Faisalabad

FAISALABAD: Gas supply to industrial units of Faisalabad was suspended for four days, leaving hundreds of thousands of daily wagers and laborers jobless.

Pakistan: Country faces serious energy crisis: Shahbaz

LAHORE -- Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif says the country is facing a serious energy crisis which is badly affecting its agriculture, industry and other sectors.

Talking to French Ambassador Danial Jouanneau here on Friday, he said hydle, solar and bagasse were the cheapest sources of generation of energy and France should extend cooperation in this regard as a policy to provide relief to the masses.

Kalabagh Dam: Our salvation

In an interview with this newspaper, former Chairman WAPDA and a gifted engineer Shamsul Mulk has categorically stated that the only solution to our energy crisis lies in Kalabagh Dam. This sane counsel has, unfortunately, been senselessly turned down by the ANP and the PPP-led government, which being a popularly elected dispensation had a good opportunity to build consensus and make this national dream into a reality.

Afghan official blames Iran for fuel shortage

Kabul - Afghanistan's commerce minister on Sunday blamed Iran for the country's fuel shortage amid growing protests in the war-torn nation against its neighbour.

More than a month ago Iran cut its fuel supply route to Afghanistan for more than a month without providing a convincing reason, Anwarul Haq Ahadi told journalists.

'Afghanistan is suffering. The stoppage of fuel tankers has created great problems and a crisis for us in terms of fuel supply,' Ahadi said.

Gulf shifts focus to domestic energy

Global demand for petroleum fell by 1.7 per cent in 2009, while Middle East demand rose 3.8 per cent, partially to fuel power generation, according to a report by Credit Suisse published last July. At the peak of the summer heatwave, Saudi Arabia burns close to 1m barrels of oil a day, the report said.

While limp international demand and Opec-mandated production cuts mean that this does not eat into exports, it could dent international supply in the future and is an uneconomic way of using the kingdom’s most valuable resource, experts say.

“A surprisingly large amount of oil is being burnt just to keep up with present power demand but it’s clearly unsustainable to burn so much of your potentially high-value exports as low-value fuel just to keep air-conditioners working over the summer,” Mr Davis says.

Abu Dhabi wrestles with gas dilemma

But as Conoco’s withdrawal illustrates, Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates’ capital, faces one of the trickiest gas development dilemmas in the region.

Gas is vital to the diversification that the UAE hopes will decrease reliance in the long term on hydrocarbons and boost employment opportunities.

But the supply-demand equation for gas is particularly tight. This is because of spiralling electricity consumption, caused by a growing population and demand in the petrochemical, steel and aluminium industries, combined with the need for substantial reinjection of gas into oilfields.

The next step

As part of its strategy to monetise its hydrocarbon reserves, and to add value to its oil and gas reserves, Saudi Arabia has embarked on a wave of expansion projects ranging from refining to petrochemicals. This has led to the growth of downstream service providers.

S.Korea firms lead race for Aramco's Wasit-sources

RIYADH (Reuters) - South Korean firms lead the race for deals to build Saudi Aramco's largest gas plant Wasit, which is part of the state oil firm's push to raise gas processing capacity, industry sources said on Sunday.

Gas projects have taken priority in the world's top oil exporter as they can cater for rising domestic demand and help Saudi Arabia avoid burning oil it would rather sell internationally.

Iraq, Kuwait Lower Crude Prices on Aramco Cut: Persian Gulf Oil

OPEC members Iraq and Kuwait cut their price formulas for crude for shipments in February, following Saudi Arabia’s price reductions for most buyers. Refineries in Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain plan maintenance stoppages in the next several weeks.

Analysis: 2011 Newbuilds

With utilization rates in the high 60th percentile worldwide, offshore rig demand is at a 5-year low. Nevertheless new rigs will hit the market this year to meet the demand for oil and gas exploration and production. Rig orders predominantly placed from 2006-2009, near the top of the offshore rig demand cycle, are ready for delivery over the next 12 months.

Low Natural Gas Prices; No Boon for Shale

The drop in natural gas prices this winter could slow down booming development in Pennsylvania's Marcellus shale natural gas reserves, industry experts and observers said.

"They're cutting production to lower costs. There's so much production coming on line overall," said Kent Moors, director of Duquense University's Energy Policy Research Group and an expert on oil and natural gas policy.

Canadian spot natural gas surges in thin volume

(Reuters) - Canadian spot natural gas prices surged to their highest level in 11 months on Monday as a cold snap in western Canada boosted demand and crimped some supplies.

Oklahoma landowners challenge TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline

TransCanada TRP-T is facing new battles in its $12-billion project to build an oil sands pipeline to the U.S. Gulf Coast, as landowners in Oklahoma challenge its right to expropriate land for its right of way.

Canadian Natural unsure when Horizon can restart

LONDON (Reuters) - Canadian Natural Resources does not know when oil production at a key facility will resume as it has still not been able to assess the damage from a fire 11 days ago, Vice-Chairman John Langille said.

National Bank of Kuwait hosts energy expert at International Symposium

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the highest rated in the Middle East, will host foremost energy expert and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Dr. Daniel Yergin as a speaker for its International Symposium series. Dr Yergin is a highly respected authority on energy, economics and international relations.

Goldman Says ‘Too Early’ for OPEC to Raise Oil Output

(Bloomberg) -- OPEC is unlikely to boost oil production amid rising prices because global inventories are still above five-year averages, said Jeff Currie, London-based head of commodities research at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

“It’s still too early for OPEC to be raising production and their decision historically has not been price-based,” Currie said today in an interview. “The key driver of their decision to raise output will be when inventories will reach the five-year average.”

Oil-rich Norway welcomes BP-Rosneft Arctic deal

(Reuters) - Norway, the world's fifth-largest oil exporter and a neighbour of Russia with great ambitions for energy exploration in the High North, welcomed on Monday the share swap and Arctic exploration deal between BP and Rosneft.

TNK-BP boss predicted break-up of Russian joint venture

BP's top executive in Russia predicted that its TNK-BP subsidiary would be carved up by the end of this year by Rosneft, the British oil company's new partner, acting with Gazprom, according to leaked US embassy cables.

Factbox: BP's energy ventures in Russia

(Reuters) - Russia's largest oil producer, state-owned Rosneft, and British oil major BP have struck a deal to swap shares and jointly develop Russia's Arctic offshore, making BP the first foreign company to be granted access the prized Russian oil frontier.

Following are BP's energy projects with Russian firms:

Russia's Rosneft, BP to start Arctic drilling in 2015

The Russian and British oil giants Rosneft and British Petroleum (BP) plan to start drilling in the Arctic's Kara Sea in 2015, Rosneft's vice president said on Monday.

Arctic Oil Spills 'Would Be Visible From Space'

Russian environmentalists will appeal to BP and Rosneft shareholders to thwart the companies' plans to drill for oil in a remote part of the Arctic, amid concerns that a spill in the icebound sea could be unreachable for up to nine months.

Sakhalin II construction threatens endangered gray whales

The construction of a third oil platform for the Shell-led Sakhalin II energy project may threaten a critically endangered population of gray whales off Russia's eastern coast, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said on Monday.

The company, which already has two platforms in the Russian Far East, announced in December its plans to build another one near the crucial feeding habitat of the gray whale population.

Three charts to start your week

In the longer term, he says, currencies will be pulled down by three “irreversible trends”: the world’s aging population; the outsourcing of jobs away from the major industrialized nations, particularly the U.S; and the approach of “peak oil.”

“These three mega-trends will continue to lower the GDP, lower the tax revenue, create higher trade deficits, create higher unemployment, resulting in the need for further currency creation,” Mr. Barisheff said. “This will cause inflation to rise as currencies depreciate in value and create higher universal debt. All of this means the gold price will continue to rise.”

Are oil investors using the wrong indicators of value?

The truth is that oil companies are running out of places to find more oil and the end game is not far off. A recent Deutsche Bank analyst report suggested that high oil prices over the next few years coupled with an accelerating decline in the cost of battery technologies for electric vehicles will precipitate a global peak in demand for oil by 2020. Indeed, analysis from the International Energy Agency suggests that we must aggressively reduce oil use in order to meet climate change goals. Meeting the climate objective would peak oil demand by 2018.

Nigeria: 3 die in riot over voter registration

JOS, Nigeria -- A university graduate volunteering to register voters for Nigeria's upcoming elections and two others have died in violence in the oil-rich country's troubled central region.

Syrian-Chinese gas co-op progressed:minister

DAMASCUS, Syria - Syrian Oil and Gas Minister Sufian Allaw said here on Monday petroleum cooperation between Syria and China has made a remarkable progress and achieved fruitful results.

Tunisia unity govt may not satisfy protesters

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Tunisia's prime minister announced a national unity government Monday, allowing opposition into the country's leadership for the first time in a bid to quell civil unrest following the ouster of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali amid huge street protests.

However, at least one union leader said the changes were not enough and predicted demonstrations would continue until all key figures in the old regime had been swept from power.

Learning from Tata Motors' Nano Mistakes

It's been a rough season for Tata Motors' much-publicized "people's car," the Nano. In November, while overall auto sales in India's booming economy rose more than 22%, Tata sold only 509 Nanos, down precipitously from the 9,000 it sold the previous July, news that's been trumpeted in disparaging headlines from New York to Sydney.

Home builders see green prefab potential

"I kept looking for something that was middle-class green," she recalls. She signed a contract for a two-bedroom, one-bath $160,000 prefab from Blu Homes, a Massahusetts-based company, in April that was completed in September. The price included delivery but not land.

"It was a lot easier than what others around me experienced," she says, noting the on-budget, quick delivery.

The energy to foster the next bright idea

There will be no magic bullet to meet the world's growing energy needs. A cleaner energy future is possible but it will require the biggest energy companies to collaborate with visionaries from small-start ups who offer something new. And whether large enterprises or small, nations or cities, families or individuals, all must find new ways to conserve. The example of Dipal Barua helps to illustrate both these points, which should be remembered as The World Future Energy Summit begins today in Abu Dhabi.

Ban Ki-Moon Calls for ‘Clean Energy Revolution'

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is pushing for an overhaul of current energy consumption trends and for more investment in green technology.

Speaking at the fourth annual World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, Ban said renewable energy could help solve a number of the planet’s most pressing problems.

Norway oil fund raises Vestas stake above 5 pct

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Norway's sovereign wealth fund has raised its stake in Danish wind turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems to 5.05 percent, becoming its second largest shareholder.

Naomi Klein's TED Talk: We've "Entered the Era of Extreme Energy"

"How else to describe this, but as a form of mass insanity. Just when we know we need to be learning to live on the surface of our planet, off the power of sun, wind and waves; We are frantically digging to get at the dirtiest, highest emitting stuff imaginable..."

7 Book Reviews in Cleantech and Energy

Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution by Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, L. Hunter Lovins

If there was one key to turning around the damaging business and environmental practices of modern culture, what would it be? ‘Natural Capitalism,’ the seminal 1999 call for a broader focus on sustainability, presents an overwhelming case that the key is resource efficiency and effectiveness. Just as conventional capitalism is all about using financial capital effectively, so ‘natural capitalism’ is about expanding that bottom line focus to include the natural resources and ecosystem services underlying the ability of business and society to function in the first place. The authors argue that with appropriate shifts in business perspective and government policy, our economy could be something like 90% more efficient in its use of irreplaceable natural resources, thereby mitigating ecosystem impacts, enabling global development, and staving off climate change.

"Globalized Consumer Society Without Oil is Nonsense" - the Findhorn Film

I have posted a video before that explored the ecovillage at Findhorn, now there is a whole DVD based around this pioneering sustainable community. Only this DVD isn't just about the community—it's also about lessons we may all need to learn in the face of the impending ecological and resource challenges we face.

Sharon Astyk: On not jumping the gun

The pleasure we get from being taken seriously in periods of high prices will be short-lived if we are not careful about framing this issue. Our messages have to work when oil prices are high or low. We cannot rely on price run-ups occurring at convenient moments; nor can we allow price volatility to interrupt life-or-death societal preparations because people feel that the crisis is over now.

Kurt Cobb - A dramatic shift in the peak oil discussion: "You don't have to take my word for it"

When it comes to murkier matters such as peak oil, we must admit that our perceptions and conclusions are always based on incomplete information. In such instances, humans, being social creatures, seek confirmation from others when they receive information that is new and not easily verified. They wonder, quite rightly, whether other people accept such information as correct.

Now, as we know, the mere fact that large numbers of people accept a certain conclusion is not necessarily proof of its veracity. Still, with little to go on and little time to do independent research, many people essentially resort to polling. Does my reference group, the people I hang out with most, accept a particular conclusion? Does the broader public, reflected through the media, accept it?

Nothing interesting in Albany? Wrong

Jeff Rubin, a renowned energy expert, in his book "Why Your World Is About To Get A Whole Lot Smaller," predicts that the price of oil will soon rise so high that it will cause people to leave their homes in suburbia and move back into cites, preferably walkable cities. Young people, many of whom have lived their entire lives in suburbia are wanting to live some place different. Cities are where they want to be. Cities are interesting because of what they have to offer. As people abandon the suburbs, the attraction of a walkable, safe community will be sought after. Albany, and especially the Delaware Avenue neighborhood, have the characteristics that these folks will seek out and find. Delaware Avenue will be an even more vibrant and even more interesting street in 15 years than it is today. I believe this is inevitable.

IEA sounds oil price alarm

The head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned that current oil price levels are “alarming” and could have a negative impact if allowed to spiral upwards.

With oil prices surging towards $100 a barrel, market eyes are on Opec to see whether the producers group will boost crude supplies to dampen prices.

IEA executive director Tanaka told reporters on the sidelines of an industry conference that Opec "needs to show more flexibility" in increasing oil production according to Reuters. "If the current price continues, it will have a negative impact," he said.

Oil hit a record $147 a barrel in 2008 and there are fears that prices could rise significantly above $100 if Opec does not signal its intent to lift supplies.

OPEC raises forecast for 2011 world oil demand growth

VIENNA - THE OPEC oil cartel revised upwards on Monday its 2011 world oil demand growth estimate given the pace of global economic recovery, as well as the cold winter weather in the northern hemisphere.

'Given the latest upward revision in world GDP (gross domestic product), world oil demand growth is forecast at 1.23 million barrels per day (bpd) averaging 87.3 million bpd in 2011, 50,000 bpd higher than last month's estimate,' the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said in its latest monthly bulletin.

Oil slips to near $91 after China tightening move

BANGKOK – Oil prices skidded to near $91 a barrel Monday in Asia as the dollar gained against the euro and after China's latest move to restrict lending raised the prospect of weaker demand for crude.

Hedge Funds Raise Oil Bets as Prices Reach 27-Month High

Hedge funds raised bullish bets on oil by the most in five weeks as crude reached the highest level in more than two years amid signs that the global economic recovery is gaining momentum.

No Opec action as $100 oil looms

Iran, which holds the rotating presidency of Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), says it sees no need for oil exporters to hold an emergency meeting if crude prices rise to $100 a barrel. Amid mounting fears about the impact on Western economies, Iran's Oil minister, Masoud Mir-Kazemi, said: "The increase toward $100 is not worrisome enough to warrant an emergency meeting. None of the Opec members considers this figure as being unreasonable."

Venezuela says no threat from higher oil prices

CARACAS: Rising oil prices do not threaten the global economic recovery and there is no need for an emergency OPEC meeting to consider increasing supply, Venezuela's Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez said on Saturday. Brent crude prices rallied this week to around $98 a barrel while US oil futures were at about $91, well above the $70-$80 range that OPEC's top exporter Saudi Arabia says is comfortable for both producers and consumers.

Global Oil Production Update

For oil production data-heads the EIA’s decision to terminate the International Petroleum Monthly has produced a small tremor. Yes, the data supposedly will be available each month through one of EIA’s databrowsers. However, these embedded browsers are actually not as user-friendly as the EIA might assume. For chart-makers like myself, we need Excel files. And many of us hope (and assume) there will be an extractable Excel file for global crude oil production data once the transition is made. For now, EIA has just produced its last IPM (December 2010) which updates data through October of 2010. Let’s take a look at the most recent revisions, and latest production levels.

Discoveries fuel China's resource security

BEIJING - Chinese geologists have detected "super-thick" oil and gas-bearing stratums in the northern part of the South China Sea and identified 38 offshore oil and gas-bearing basins, a senior official said on Saturday.

Oil Prices, Consumer Anxiety and the Inverse Demand Corollary

It's no secret that when gas prices go up, consumer anxiety also increases. Given the example of January's consumer spending figures, and ongoing high unemployment in this economy, one could speculate that there is an Inverse Demand Corollary in effect which has significant implications for Peak Oil theorists and traders in oil futures.

Analysis: Russia opens Arctic to BP to remain top oil nation

(Reuters) - Russia's move to open up its prized Arctic reserves to oil major BP is driven by the Kremlin's desire to avoid a fall in production and remain the world's leading oil nation.

Analysts and bankers told Reuters that the deal, in which BP agreed to a multi-billion-dollar share swap with state major Rosneft, is a boost to Russia's investment climate, though any stocks rally would be capped by political and oil tax regimes uncertainties.

The deal gives BP a direct line to powerful Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and access to new reserves as it emerges from its Gulf of Mexico spill disaster. But it also locks BP into a partnership with any Kremlin regime for the decades to come.

"For Russia to maintain production at or above 10 million barrels per day, the investments required are huge. Decline rates in West Siberia are very steep and projects in East Siberia are fairly limited," said Amrita Sen, a commodity analyst at Barclays.

ANALYSIS - Risky Rosneft tie-up shows BP's zeal for a deal

(Reuters) - BP's share swap and arctic exploration deal with Rosneft show the London-based oil major is ready to take commercial risks rivals might shun even after its battering from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

TNK-BP may take part in BP-Rosneft Arctic deal-AAR

(Reuters) - The deal between Rosneft and BP to develop Arctic oil and gas could be done by the British major's Russian JV, TNK-BP, an official for the JV's Russian shareholders said on Monday.

TNK-BP is a 50-50 join venture between BP and AAR, the vehicle of four Russia-connected oligarchs.

BP-Rosneft pact 'called into question'

BP’s share swap and Arctic exploration deal with Rosneft is reportedly under scrutiny by partners in the UK supermajor’s Russian joint venture TNK-BP over whether it violates the terms of their partnership.

BP's Russian deal: What the analysts say

The deal looks like a typically bold BP move accessing a new region considered highly prospective. In theory, by being in partnership with the state-run Rosneft, BP would hope to circumvent some of the problems it encountered with TNK and RDS encountered over Sakhalin.

However, this is an exploration opportunity so while it may be a good medium to long-term strategic investment, delivery is years away.

Rosneft deal: BP is getting back to strategy

Analysts have been quick to argue that the deal is fundamentally earnings dilutive in the short-term. BP will have to bear a disproportionate burden of the drilling costs in an oil-field that will probably not yield returns this decade. Goldman Sachs has suggested an earnings per share dilution of approximately 5% from this deal.

So why pick such a high profile fight if the payback is long into the future? Quite simply because BP is a strategic not tactical operation. While the past year has been spent managing the tragic short-term implications of the US oil spill the greatest asset BP possesses if truth be told is not its now tarnished reputation but its strategic oil reserves.

BP Rosneft deal: One giant game of Russian roulette

The speed and secrecy with which BP decided to climb back into bed with Moscow and hand it a strategic stake in Britain's largest industrial enterprise suggests a supremely confident company.

But nothing could be further from the truth.

BP 'in bed with the KGB' over £5bn arctic oil deal

BP faced a mounting backlash on both sides of the Atlantic last night over its controversial deal to sell a £5bn stake to the Russian government.

China gets first overseas order for LNG ships

BEIJING - China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) signed a contract with Exxon Mobil and Mitsui & Co Ltd on Saturday to build four LNG ships (liquefied natural gas), the nation's first overseas order for such an advanced carrier.

China's L.N.G. firms eye Iran, and beyond

BEIJING: China may have the technical capability to build a natural gas liquefaction plant within five years, potentially opening the door to vast reserves in Iran where sanctions have kept away Western firms.

A breakthrough for Chinese firms would allow them to tap Iran’s vast gas reserves, the largest in the world outside Russia, as long as they are prepared to brave sanctions that have scared off Western oil majors.

Iran finds $50b gas field: minister

Iran, OPEC's second largest oil exporter, has discovered a new onshore gas field with reserves valued at $US50 billion ($A50.34 billion), Oil Minister Masoud Mirkazemi said on Sunday.

The Khayam field east of Assaluyeh on the Gulf has "260 billion cubic metres (9.18 trillion cubic feet) of gas, of which 210 (billion) can be exploited, which is about 24 million cubic metres per day," the minister told reporters.

Statoil bangs drum for gas

Norwegian giant Statoil today launched a marketing campaign to promote gas as the fuel of the future to meet Europe’s energy needs while satisfying environmental goals.

Nigeria loses $150 billion to gas flaring

Environmental degradation has remained a major headache in Nigeria, especially in the Niger Delta. From the estimate of some environmentalists the nation must have lost over $150b due to lack of enforcement of environmental standard.

Norway’s new Vikings explore oil technology frontiers

AAGOTNES // A millennium after Viking ships plied the North Atlantic to establish Norse colonies as far afield as Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland, Norwegian oil firms are continuing the national tradition of exploring new maritime frontiers.

That has propelled Statoil, the biggest Norwegian oil producer, far beyond the relatively shallow waters off Norway's coast to develop deep-water oilfields in the Gulf of Mexico, West Africa, and, recently, Brazil.

BP takes Australian permits

Supermajor BP has taken four of seven offshore exploration permits issued by the Australian government today.

Norway keen to offer oilfield help to Arab states

OSLO // Norway's relations with Arab states are shaped more by energy interests than bilateral trade.

The Nordic country's decades of experience with managing resource wealth gives it common ground with other major oil producers, including those from the Middle East, says Espen Barth Eide, the Norwegian deputy minister of foreign affairs.

Trans Alaska Crude Oil Pipeline Resumption Delayed By Ongoing Leak Repairs

Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. plans to start its Trans Alaska Pipeline today after repairs to the line that carries 11 percent of U.S. crude production took longer than scheduled.

The operator intends to resume flows through the line “early” local time , according to a situation report by the Unified Command in Fairbanks, Alaska, which was formed in response to the leak and includes Alyeska, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.

Norway on hunt for Belgium gas storage

Norway's Oil and Energy Ministry said today state-run explorer Statoil was exploring ways to co-operate on long term gas storage with Beligum's Fluxys in a move to secure gas supplies for Belgium.

Gazprom: May Build LNG Plant Near Vladivostok With Japan

MOSCOW -(Dow Jones)- Russian gas giant OAO Gazprom said Monday it has signed an agreement with Japan on cooperation in the Far East, including jointly designing a liquified natural gas plant near Vladivostok.

Mauritius Plans to Build $2 Billion Oil Refinery, In Talks With Mangalore

Mauritius plans to build a $2 billion oil refinery by the end of 2014 as the country diversifies its economy away from agriculture and tourism, Trade and Commerce Minister Shawkutally Soodhun said.

Hyundai Oilbank Completes Building New $2.3 Billion Plant South of Seoul

Hyundai Oilbank Co., South Korea’s fourth-largest refiner, completed building a 2.6-trillion-won ($2.3-billion) heavy oil upgrading plant to raise output of higher-priced, cleaner-burning fuels.

US-Chinese ties: Clashing interests in energy, economy despite pledges to cooperate

BEIJING (AP) — In late 2009, President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao announced an ambitious array of joint clean energy research projects touted as a mark of a maturing relationship and an alliance to fight climate change.

A year after Obama's visit to China, the envisioned partnership has largely evaporated. The U.S. has filed a complaint at the World Trade Organization against China's policies favoring its producers of wind and solar equipment. Cooperation in climate change talks has been rare.

The final BP cleanup

Last year's Gulf of Mexico oil spill has dropped out of the headlines, and according to a recent federal report, the spilled oil itself has mostly vanished. The only thing left to clean up is the nation's regulatory system, but that's shaping up to be a tougher job than skimming crude from the ocean.

Nigeria’s Promise, Africa’s Hope

Many analysts see a direct link between crude oil and the corruption in Nigeria, that creating a system to prevent politicians from having access to petrodollars is needed to reduce large-scale corruption. For most people, the solution is straightforward: if you commit a crime, you should be brought to book. But in a country like Nigeria, where there are no easy fixes, one must examine the issue of accountability, which has to be a strong component of the fight against corruption.

Israeli Test on Worm Called Crucial in Iran Nuclear Delay

The Dimona complex in the Negev desert is famous as the heavily guarded heart of Israel’s never-acknowledged nuclear arms program, where neat rows of factories make atomic fuel for the arsenal.

Over the past two years, according to intelligence and military experts familiar with its operations, Dimona has taken on a new, equally secret role — as a critical testing ground in a joint American and Israeli effort to undermine Iran’s efforts to make a bomb of its own.

Behind Dimona’s barbed wire, the experts say, Israel has spun nuclear centrifuges virtually identical to Iran’s at Natanz, where Iranian scientists are struggling to enrich uranium. They say Dimona tested the effectiveness of the Stuxnet computer worm, a destructive program that appears to have wiped out roughly a fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges and helped delay, though not destroy, Tehran’s ability to make its first nuclear arms.

Speculation: Finders Keepers

Oil prices certainly affect food prices, but is there direct speculation in food? In the Minyanville chart below, coffee, corn, wheat, oats and soybeans all outpace gold.

The U.S., China and food

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Of all the geopolitical and geoeconomic issues that the Chinese and American presidents will discuss in their Washington summit this week, the looming world food crisis isn't on the agenda. It should be because, each in its own way, these two countries share a massive responsibility.

They are the world's largest food producers and the largest consumers of meat protein. Since it requires 13 to 17 pounds of vegetable protein to produce 2 pounds of meat protein, their appetite for meat is a major strain on the world's limited supply of arable land.

Judy Bonds, an Enemy of Mountaintop Coal Mining, Dies at 58

Ankle deep in the stream by the house where his coal-mining family had lived for generations, Judy Bonds’s 6-year-old grandson, Andrew, scooped up fistfuls of dead fish one day back in 1996.

“What’s wrong with these fish?” he asked.

“I knew something was very, very wrong,” Ms. Bonds told Sierra magazine in 2003. “So I began to open my eyes and pay attention.”

Masdar to use the cooling power of the sun

ABU DHABI // Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s clean energy company, is testing a new technology that uses the power of the sun to keep buildings cool.

The technology went on show yesterday on the eve of the World Future Energy Summit.

Aviation Biofuels: Real or Green Fantasy?

Sometimes, the more you learn about a thing, the more information you gather and the more people you talk to about a specific topic, the harder it is judge. That's definitely the case with aviation biofuels which are, in a sense, leading the charge towards a greener, bio-based fuel economy. I have pored over dozens of reports, research presentations, studies and news articles on this topic and conducted a number of interviews.

The impression I get is of an industry operating on an underlying assumption that biofuels are an inevitability. The typical headline reports on some new development or milestone that's been achieved, but down in the body of the story, you rarely see the offsetting qualifier noting that the entire edifice isn't out of the R&D phase yet. There's a strong tendency to green wash everything, including editorial coverage. When you ask, "how much," people stop talking.

Stiglitz Says Effect of Global Crisis Will Last Another Two to Three Years

Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said the impact of the global financial crisis would last for another two to three years, and that investment to reduce the impact of climate change may help to spur recovery.

Climate research reveals role of ocean warming

A study by New Zealand scientists has concluded that ocean warming rather than rising sea levels is the major factor causing Antarctic ice sheets to retreat.

Lead author Andrew Mackintosh from Victoria University says it was previously thought the retreat of ice sheets was caused by a combination of global sea level rises and warmer oceans.

Thaw of Earth's icy sunshade may stoke warming

OSLO (Reuters) – Shrinking ice and snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere is reflecting ever less sunshine back into space in a previously underestimated mechanism that could add to global warming, a study showed.

Satellite data indicated that Arctic sea ice, glaciers, winter snow and Greenland's ice were bouncing less energy back to space from 1979 to 2008. The dwindling white sunshade exposes ground or water, both of which are darker and absorb more heat.

The study estimated that ice and snow in the Northern Hemisphere were now reflecting on average 3.3 watts per square meter of solar energy back to the upper atmosphere, a reduction of 0.45 watt per square meter since the late 1970s.

OPEC's January Monthly Oil Market Report is out today with production data for December.

Production for December was 29,234,000 barrels per day. This was up 171,000 barrels per day over the revised November data. However November was revised down by 138,000 barrels per day so production was up only 33,000 barrels per day over the unrevised November production. Changes after November revision are listed here in thousands of barrels per day. The data, OPEC says, is as always from secondary sources as OPEC nations never publish their own production data. The production data is crude only and does not include condensate or NGLs:

Algeria       2
Angola     -103
Ecuador      -2
Iran         -4
Iraq         43
Kuwait       32
Libya         6
Nigeria      16
Qatar         8
Saudi        62
UAE          77
Venezula     36

OPEC 12     171

Ron P.

This OPEC report (page 45) is mostly consistent with what I have been saying about reports from OPEC oil tanker tracker, Oil Movements, and other shipping information over the last month or so. That is – OPEC oil exports (sailings) to the Far East, especially China picked, up in December. Although China started chartering more OPEC exports in November, apparently due to shipping travel times, the tankers did not start arriving at a faster pace until December.

If you would allow me to make a very crude calculation, we may expect that China will take away about 0.65 million bpd in OPEC oil imports in January as compared with the rest of world. That is computed by taking the gain in sailings to the Far East, 0.92 mbpd, less the increase in total OPEC sailings of 0.27 mbpd. I assume most of the fall will actually be reflected in a fall in US imports, as Europe still tries to catch up with an earlier port labor stoppage and unusually cold weather. Higher oil prices in Europe as compared to the US would seem to support the idea the Europe is outbidding the US for the diminished amount of net supplies.

The many major energy analysts who told us for weeks not to worry about the steep year end fall in US oil inventories may not be prepared for a fall in January oil imports into the US. Like OPEC, they are still saying US oil inventory levels are ‘comfortable’ and that we are ‘well supplied’. This is partly true due to the high amount of land-locked inventories at the futures delivery location, Cushing, OK, but those inventories won’t be of much help to Northeast refiners trying to rebuild gasoline supplies. Granted the EIA’s first report last week showed US oil imports equal to the comparable week last year, but that week may have been helped by previously withheld Canadian oil imports – that were backed up in December due to problems with the Enbridge pipeline system.

I just noticed something interesting. The observed five year rate of change in Texas crude oil production from 1972 to 1977 was -2.4%/year.

The observed five year rate of change in Saudi crude oil production from 2005 to 2010* was almost identical, -2.5%/year.

In both cases, the initial production declines corresponded to generally rising oil prices.

In Texas, over the following five year period, the overall 10 year decline rate, from 1972 to 1982, increased to 3.7%/year. We shall see what happens to Saudi production.

*EIA, based on C+C data through 10/10.

And elsewhere on the internet the comment about SCADA attacks are thusly:


According to Western intelligence reports, Russian scientists warned the Kremlin that they could be facing "another Chernobyl" if they were forced to comply with Iran's tight deadline to activate the complex this summer.

And what happens to other nations "Clean, Safe, Too Cheap to meter" fission power systems where their fancy SCADA systems get hit with something?

A thought for Monday morning. There's all this "sweat" over $3-4 dollar a gallon fuel, yet no one was, or is, concerned about the high cost of vehicles. Just some fodder for a slow Monday where so many are off enjoying the holiday. John

This will start changing toward the end of the decade/beginning of the next. The car companies that survive the Great Shakeout/Bottleneck/Big Step Down will design cars that will be much cheaper. New car companies will appear that will only make inexpensive cars.

Most will not be highway capable, is my bet.

Of course in real terms they might be pretty much the same cost, just with much less complexity, the reverse of the process they went through the last century or so.

I looked at this web site a few days ago:


I bought a used 2007 Nissan Versa about 4 months ago. So far we find it to be a nice car. Low miles, cream puff...the folks traded it in for a SUV.

I have occasionally mentioned to various folks that we bought our last new vehicle several years ago...most look at me strange and ask 'why?'

I tell them that the depreciation is heinous, for starters...

For any future cars I am only in the used market, since I am only game for a car <$10K...I am considering the idea of $2-3K cars which may only last 3-4 years each...scarcity industrialism/salvage society, here I come!

Fancy commuter golf carts for the future?

I bought My one and only new car in 1973. I still have it, under cover, in the garage.

Best is to find a used car with an undeserved low resale value.

We've bought 4 cars in the last 20 years with an average price of < $2K cash ('81 Honda wagon, '85 Volvo wagon, '89 Dodge van, '88 Honda hatchback). They are typically driven < 6K miles per year and have averaged about $500/year in repairs. Add in the low taxes, low insurance rates and no financing and our automotive costs are on the order of $2000/year for everything including gasoline.

I've never understood why people buy new cars.

People who don't know how to work on cars often must make use of dealers for maintenance, especially during warranty periods. That's rather expensive, since the dealers make most of their profits doing repairs and selling parts at twice the price of the same part used in the original car. It's part of Detroit's Planned Obsolescence strategy, which practically gives cars away for the cost of manufacturing, especially at the end of the model year when the tooling has been amortized, then makes up for it later with high repair costs. This system tended to force people to buy new cars, especially as the car companies also ran finance operations (GMAC) which gave most anyone credit to buy a new vehicle. This also keeps the price of used cars low, as the cost of repairs is seen by the first buyer as being too expensive.

The resulting rapid depreciation is the reason you and I are able to buy used cars. I haven't bought a new car since 1970...

E. Swanson

"It's part of Detroit's Planned Obsolescence strategy"....

It appears their strategy backfired; I doubt they planned for Detroit itself to become obsolete :-/

I wonder what the plan is with electric vehicles? Will they make the battery connections come loose after 30K miles? One nice thing in regards to electrical vehicles is that they should be very dependable.

Fast Chargers is one. Nice way to give the customer the speedy refill they 'demand', and fry the pack at a good clip as well.

I've seen a couple Priuses die with sudden battery failures, and have to wonder what's really under the hood. Planned Obsolescence is an insidious beast, and will be tough to kill.

I bought my last new vehicle, a 300M Special, in April 2002 and I expect to hold on to it for at least another five years. I'm now averaging less than a 1,000 km a year so I might go used the next time around or forgo a vehicle altogether (we're a two car household that can easily cut back to one). My feeling has always been that if you keep a new vehicle for ten, twelve or more years, depreciation isn't that big a concern, but as new cars continue to creep up in cost I'm not so sure that still holds true.



"I've never understood why people buy new cars."

When it's 15-20 degrees below zero (F) cars tend to make their problems known if there is a weakeness that was previously undetected. Older cars usually have more weaknesses. In places where real winter exists most of the cars you mentioned have found their way to the junkyard by now thanks to copious quanities of road salt, pothole season and other harsh conditions. Less than 6K miles/year is impressive. We're there with one vehicle but the other one gets close to 20K. Eventually, I'm sure we'll have to stay closer to home.

I drove used cars for years. Fixed them myself in the freezing cold until it got to the point where spending thousands of dollars on tools and a heated/insulated garage, to continue down that path, seemed excessive. So I gave up. New cars are definitely more expensive but I like owning the nice half of the car as opposed to the junker half of the car. Worth every penny to me.

I think it's worth buying new if you're the type who drives the car into the ground.

I'm not sure I fully understand the anti-new car mantra. I've owned three new cars and four used ones in my life and the new ones were always far less hassle than the used ones. My current car, a 2002 WRX now has over 100k miles on it and the only thing that's ever failed on it was the dimmer function in the rear view mirror (which I didn't bother fixing). I've had it for almost ten years and I've spent a whole $0 on repairs above and beyond normal maint. I also had a Ford Focus SVT - same thing never spent any money on repairs though I only had it for about 50k miles. My wife's new car - a 2009 Jetta TDI where the dealer included a bumper-to-bumper warranty for 10 years, 100k miles and it even includes all scheduled services free of charge (including free oil changes). Plus we got a tax incentive to buy it!

Used cars we've owned included a Bronco II, Jetta, S10 pickup and Dodge Spirit - all were continual money pits with things breaking down every couple months. One major repair can set you back $1500 easily, accounting for 4 new car payments.

I think it's worth buying new if you're the type who drives the car into the ground.

As a guy who does drive his vehicles into the ground, I have to respectfully disagree.

'78 Magnum 249,000mi(traded), '79 Transvan 156,000mi(SF), '88 XT6 270,000mi(SF)

Guess part of it is I like fixing things myself. Hate dealing with over priced dealer repairs, and for the time it takes, I can usually do it myself quicker and know it's done right.

The Subaru was $24K new I bought it in '91 for $9K. 5K depreciation per year, is not for Me thank you.

For me, the point is to avoid repairs...at least for the first ten years or so.

Turnbull FL.

I'm guessing from your screen name that you're in Florida? These posts have got me wondering if motoring will continue way longer in the warmer southern climates than in the cold north. Up here in Minnesota, pretty much all of the cars you mentioned are long, dead, rust buckets in some junkyard unless they've not been driven year round. It never dawned on me that car ownership is more costly in colder climates. But maybe it is.

Yes Sub I'm in Florida. And yes cars last longer in warm climes due to no salt. First rule of buying a used car around here is to check the title history and make sure it didn't come from up North.

Luckily automakers have made huge strides in rust protection since the mid 90s. I lived in Detroit for 24 years and that's where I owned all my older cars. The 1986 Bronco II was a complete pit - eventually the floor rusted right out and I could see the road. The 1991 Dodge spirit was much better, and only had some minor rust on it at 130k miles. The 1999 Jetta didn't have any rust at all even at 130k miles. I also had a 1993(I think) Mercury Tracer where the brake lines literally rusted right through when I was pulling up to a stop sign, spilling brake fluid all over the road...and making it very difficult to stop! Now that I live in Southern Maryland, life is much easier with salt only applied to the roads a few times a year.

$3-4 dollar a gallon? Fuel (diesel) is now over $8 a US gallon here in Aberystwyth, UK...

Self-immolation in 3 countries now due to rising prices / unemployment - 1 government down, 2 to go?...

Tunisia: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2011/01/201115101926215588.html

Algeria: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2011/01/20111162363063915.html

Egypt: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12204999

Edit: Make that 4...

Mauritania: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSLDE70G16520110117

This is pretty spooky. And right now, things are still pretty under control. What happens if oil goes up into the triple digits? Those countries that export oil will certainly gain but those that don't will have deal with higher diesel, pesticide, and fertilizer prices.

In the western world, we still have a lot of 'fat' in the system . . . we can get hit hard and cut back on things to get by. But in many of these countries that are barely scraping by, a significant rise in oil prices can throw those countries into a crisis. I often downplay collapse on this board because I think we'll be able to adjust . . . but I've been thinking about my own regional situation. People with relatively high standard of living can cut back & continue on. But people who are barely surviving as is have no margin of error. And when bad things happen there, riots & revolutions happen.

Then there will be the question of 'should the rest of the world get involved'? Ugh. Things could get ugly.

I'm finding it very interesting too. One thing that I could never quite grasp is why scenes like this are not a daily occurrence in places like, for example, Sub-Saharan Africa. Conditions of life are far worse there than Tunisia et al in terms of income / access to staple foods and basic medical care etc.

I think the key is the timescale - it all depends on how fast the transitions are made / the relative magnitude of the transitional change. If conditions gradually get worse bit by bit then the people are more likely to accept their lot and less likely to rise up. If there's a sudden decrease in quality of life then I think that's when you see large-scale unrest.

Although it's also possible that gradual resentment can build up and reach a tipping point I suppose.

Hey, is this water getting hotter? Ribbit. Ribbit. Oh well, it's not that bad yet.

I think its all about expectations. If you have grown accustomed to poverty and you think it is normal you just try to adapt. If you think it is someone's fault, and you decide you have access to "retribution" and nothing to lose: look out.

. If you think it is someone's fault, and you decide you have access to "retribution" and nothing to lose: look out.

Samuel Byek.

And the FBI came out with s study of a group of high profile shooters. A majority 'wanted the fame' and to 'stop being a nobody'.

...we can get hit hard and cut back on things to get by...

Don't try telling that to Mike Ruppert who sees collapse coming to a place near you soon. http://www.transitionvoice.com/2011/01/michael-ruppert-extended-interview

It's a long read and worth the time. Todd

When someone spouts 9/11 conspiracy theories, I don't listen to them.

I'm no big fan of the guy, but he says right up front that he stopped talking about 9/11 stuff seven years ago.

I don't know about you, but I've said all sorts of dumb stuff over the years. If I was held accountable for all of it for ever, I wouldn't be able to even take myself seriously.

Now if I continued to say the same stupid thing for decades, there would be a real problem.

I'm more concerned about his "23,000 frozen to death in UK" this winter figure. I hope that he was just mis-transcribed and that he said "23."

While I could riff off of "theories" about "conspiracies" I'll instead mention Mr. Ruperts comments about the illegal drugs in the US of A,

Ya'll are aware he claims involvement of high level US government officials, right?

Now who'd ever believe high level US officials would be involved in the drug trade - right?

Maybe they are maybe they aren't. Maybe we are rules by a semi-assimilated alien master race. It is easy to pump out scary scenarios than say "you can't prove it's not true", or your frequent "Do you think they wouldn't do it?"

At any given point in time over the last fifty years, there have been thousands of people accusing high-level U.S. government officials of dealing in drugs.

Even if the accusation is true, which absent evidence I can't really assign a probablity to, it has no connection to the mad ranting of Ruppert and co.

Maybe they are maybe they aren't.

Its a good thing the US government would never, ever deal with drug dealers and give 'em guns.

And its a good thing that the people who run NASDAQ don't "pal around" with "terrorists" like the FARC leadership.

(Come on, what did you want me to cite here? Wikipedia? The World Workers Union? The original Reuters report is behind a pay wall I believe. And low on the search engine. http://connect.in.com/narco-analysis/photos-grasso-farc-4d58b9bacdcb5050... in case one likes pictures)

It is easy to pump out scary scenarios than say "you can't prove it's not true"

Yea, harder to actually cite Congressional hearings or court cases.
Even harder to get the sealed transcripts eh? (Interesting - I would have expected the Barry Seal sucks web pages to have court transcripts in this brave new world of information.....Instead you'll just have to settle for a page cite from Mr. Ruppert)

At any given point in time over the last fifty years, there have been thousands of people accusing high-level U.S. government officials of dealing in drugs.

Do you have a point to make here?

Even if the accusation is true, which absent evidence I can't really assign a probablity to,

That's the neat thing about trying to convince others.

It matters not if you have the results of a study showing that 70% of the Carbon control money is wasted - you'll have Jack-legs saying its not true. Same with being able to show statements made under oath in a court of law, the Jack-legs who want the statement to not be true will still say its not true.

No matter what is presented as evidence the Jack-legs will claim its not enough evidence. Produce contemporaneous records of events at the time showing reports of steps taken to achieve event X and they'll want a statement from the person who made the decision. If you produced that, they'd claim it was faked/not him. Produce a noterized copy and they'd claim that wasn't good enough - they'd want to hear it from a now dead man's own lips.

it has no connection to the mad ranting of Ruppert and co.

Funny that. If he's claiming drug ties to the government and has made statements about that, they are connected to the "mad rantings" as they are part of the body of work.

Page 182 of Mr. Ruppert's book he mentions Ollie North, Iran-Contra, Daniel Hopsicker and the ever popular dead man Barry Seal.

But remember - what Mr. Ruppert has written in a book Crossing the Rubicon isn't up for discussion at all - just his "mad rantings".

RE: Mike Ruppert

I have a personal email from him telling me that fly-by-thought neural transmitter technology is real and the military is using it regularly. The guy IMNSHO is nuts.

fly-by-thought ... military is using

For certain values of 'brain', 'fly' and buyers that are 'military' to make Mike's statement "true" I present:

Apart from that that game appears to be a huge hoax[1] ( an elaborate randomness generator that starts as soon as it thinks it is put on a head ), there are a number of similar real research projects trying to use a brain-machine-interface [e.g. 2,3,4] for communications and control. Furthermore, some of those projects are funded by DARPA.

But although their success has been quite remarkable from a research point of view over the years, I wouldn't recommend their use in flying anything quite yet though. Pretty much any non thought based interface is still way more powerful than any current brain computer interface, either invasive or non-invasive. They tend to have throughputs in the order of only 1 bit/s and not fully reliable.

They are however starting to become helpful for severely paralyzed patients, who otherwise have no way of communicating at all, as they can't move any mussels.

[1] http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/0,1518,679480,00.html
[2] http://www.clinph-journal.com/article/S1388-2457(02)00057-3/abstract
[3] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B7RNF-4YM596H-7...

...and don't forget "The Men Who Stare At Goats". That was a documentary wasn't it?

Cockles and Mussels?

As Eric points out above, you have to do better than that to demonstrate his supposed nuttiness. Even before seeing Eric's link I knew exactly what Mike was referring to.

He repeated a couple times that 23,000 people froze to death in the UK this winter. I see no other report of this (the tally is more like 23 at the wiki site on this years winter in UK).

It doesn't make me want to send this link to anyone I know, unless I can see some confirmation.

To the best of my knowledge, it was three that died after falling while outside and being unable to get up and back into their homes. It's true that many elderly suffer over the winter in inadequetly heated & insulated houses and there is an increase in deaths where cold is a contributary factor.

It's as much a poor housing issue as anything else.

Possibly he was referring to this:


Thanks for the interesting link, Calaf.

From your link:

"In the winter period (December to March) of 2009/10 there were an estimated 25,400 more deaths in England and Wales, compared with the average for the non-winter period"

I didn't get the impression he was talking about that winter, but I could be wrong. In any case, the actual deaths are down compared to many previous winters. Are there any figures for this year, so far?

What happened back in 99-00??

What happened back in 99-00??

Flu epidemic

Latest figures for this year


In week 51, an estimated 11,484 all-cause deaths were registered in England and Wales (source: Office for National Statistics). This is increased from 10,880 in week 50 and remains above the upper limit of expected levels for this time of year (figure 9). Potential factors for this excess include recent cold weather and circulating respiratory viruses.

The excess winter deaths due to respiratory viruses are seen in every country in the world. It has little to do with home temperatures. I suspect many of the recent excess deaths the last few weeks are probably swine flu related (only a small proportion of those who die while infected with swine flu are actually detected as most are not tested if there was already an obvious underlying condition as the major cause of death and swine flu just sped the process up).

Ironically swine flu continues to attack the young and healthy as most over 65 have immunity from catching variants of the Spanish flu when much younger.

Dundee teenager David Owen dies from swine flu

An 18-year-old Dundee man has died from swine flu, leaving his family "utterly devastated."

David Owen from Douglas was taken by his father David senior to his doctor on Wednesday afternoon because he couldn't shake off a cold and was feeling dizzy.

That evening he was in the intensive care unit at Ninewells Hospital and his family were told to prepare for the worst. He died on Saturday.

Mr Owen (55) said, "It's just unbelievable.

"We can't believe that David has gone. He had a cold that wouldn't go away — or that's all we thought it was."

...On Friday, Health Protection Scotland announced that 17 people had lost their lives to flu in the past week — eight of them in the east of the country.

Dr Finn Romanes said flu appeared to be more prevalent in Tayside than before, but urged people not to panic as rates were within the expected range.

Thanks loads. You guys are awesome.

And the situation in the UK right now. Doesn't help that there's also a rarely lethal but annoying norovirus outbreak.

Swine flu: hospitals 'gridlocked'

The NHS is in “gridlock”, with hospitals across the country being forced to declare that they have reached the highest level of emergency because of flu and other winter viruses.

Britain’s most senior accident and emergency doctor told The Sunday Telegraph that four weeks of intense pressures had left casualty departments “overwhelmed” with patients.

He said desperately sick people had been left for hours waiting on trolleys, with even those requiring intensive care enduring long delays.

Dozens of NHS units have cancelled surgery and clinics for outpatients. At least 10 major centres issued “black alerts” — the highest emergency warning — meaning they were at breaking point, forcing patients to be sent elsewhere.

Scores of hospital wards closed due to norovirus, the winter vomiting bug, which put more than 1,200 beds out of use in one week as nurses attempted to isolate the disease.

What's worrying is that swine flu seems to be killing a higher percentage of people infected this time round.

Interesting. In 1918 the flu also became more deadly in the second time around.

There were receptor binding changes in 1918 that allowed the virus to bind more easily to cells deep in the lung rather than the normal preference for the upper respiratory tract. The same genetic change (D225G) is sometimes seen in swine flu - frequently in fatal cases but fortunately other complementary changes, which seem to be needed to allow the D225G variant to spread from patient to patient efficiently, are not common. However the virus keeps spinning the dials looking for the right combination.

Flu researcher Dr Henry Niman, who is sort of the Matt Simmons of the flu world, can scare you to death at http://www.recombinomics.com/whats_new.html :-)

Also we've had a few low reactor sequences popping up - another just confirmed today in the UK (Northern Ireland) from October.


The results show that the vast majority of viruses had similar levels and patterns of reactivity to the antisera and remained antigenically similar to the vaccine virus A/California/7/2009. One virus—A/Northern Ireland/1/2010—showed a reduced level of reactivity with the majority of sera; sequencing of this virus is ongoing.

That means vaccine escape in plain English. Plus it's nonsense to believe that "A/Northern Ireland/1/2010" hasn't been sequenced yet as it is from October 28th and they can sequence in hours/days now. The UK has no published sequences or vaccine escape results posted after November but the UK has always been slow at releasing samples.

One nightmare scenario would be a well transmitting swine flu with deep lung binding and vaccine/previous infection immunity escape.

However there are signs the current swine flu wave may be peaking now in parts of the UK so hopefully we're not all about to die just yet. Maybe have to wait until October for that :-)

Edit: Some UK December sequences now released

All December H1N1 UK Sequences Have S188T

Ten of the UK sequences were collected in December, and all ten had S188T. All ten had G605C (S188T), T1056C, G1403A (S454N), as had been previously described for the clonal expansion of S188T. However, in the UK the December isolates formed two branches.

The branch which acquired G340A (D100N) via recombination had the two severe cases with D225G (A/England/488038/2010 and A/England/4940476/2010), and a fatal case (A/England/5040499/2010). The other branch had A40G, G207A, and G1629T, which had seven milder cases (A/England/280/2010, A/England/5000135/2010, A/England/5000125/2010, A/England/4980078/2010, A/England/4980074/2010, A/England/4960201/2010, and A/England/4940126/2010).

...A similar trend was seen in the United States and Japan, signaling the emergence and fixing of these changes in 2011.

Release of December H1N1 sequences from additional countries would be useful.

They are all Muslim countries with a large youth bulge unemployed with no hope of a job always a cause of trouble. The French Revolution was driven,by the influx of thousands of young men flooding into Paris looking for work. It only really quietened down when the authorities were able to integrate them into the Army, and ship them elsewhere to cause trouble. I bet the Saudis are getting a bit worried.

Could "60 Days Next Year" become "60 Days This Year"?

I got to buy more bottles of champagne to keep waiting for the fall of dictatorships, although it is very hard to pop the cork at the right moment, the fall of the Berlin wall were probably unique.

Beat. Spray. Shove. - A Riot in Tunisia

Coming soon to a theater near you!

We are probably reading too much into this (at least regarding the current stresses in these countries). We just had an example where a people with a longstanding dislike of their government suddenly was able to throw it out, starting of course with a poor soul setting himself afire. He is now regarded as a hero/martyr. So some people in countries with similar cultures and longstanding grievances think they can join him. Its really copycating (and also hoping for change).

Im pretty skeptical, revolution is a pretty risky undertaking, oftentimes the end result is much worse than what was going on before.

To the tyrants of the Arab world...
Tunisians have sent a message to the Arab world, warning leaders they are no longer immune to popular anger.

Whether the Tunisian uprising will succeed in bringing about radical reforms or be partially aborted by the ruling elite remains to be seen. But it has already empowered people across the Arab world to expose the fallacy of regimes that believe adopting a pro-Western agenda will enable them to fool their people and guarantee their longevity.

History has shown that security forces can silence people but can never crush the simmering revolt that lies beneath the ashes. Or in the words of the beloved Tunisian poet Abul-Qasim al-Shabi in his poem To the Tyrants of the World:

Wait, don't let the spring, the clearness of the sky and the shine of the morning light fool you ...
Because the darkness, the thunder's rumble and the blowing of the wind are coming toward you
from the horizon
Beware because there is a fire underneath the ash

A real pro-western agenda would include personal freedom and policies nurturing further development of old beliefs.

There are a lot of agendas in the west. Not all are benign. Western foreign policy agendas seldom are.

What did you Leanan and other Drumbeat readers think of a post 2 days ago from ausgang ?

This last Friday January 14 2010, there was a successful demonstration of a 10 kilowatt nickel hydrogen cold fusion reactor in Italy and peer reviewed papers to follow this upcoming week.

For more see second last comment Drumbeat last Saturday.

Especially this caught my attention:

Most importantly, commercialization of this technology will begin immediately and will ramp to full production during the next three years.

Here's a report and a lot of technical discussion in the comments. Just scanned it but I'm not getting excited based on what I've read so far.


More at http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/01/multi-kilowatt-nickel-hydrogen-cold.html

A "black box" which nobody was allowed to examine. They need to do better than that.

I understand, so "commercialization of this technology will begin immediately" cannot be taken too seriously.

Well, as one prominent physician remarked when Pons and Fleischmann announced their "cold fusion" experiment, "It can't be cold fusion. They're still alive."

If it was nuclear fusion of any sort, hot or cold, it would generate enough hard radiation to kill them. If they understood the basic concepts of nuclear physics, they would have a wall of lead between them and the experiment.

New technologies will be developed but the overall trend of a (still growing, out of control) species denuding its planet will not be impacted by any new technology or combination of technologies, in my view.

To me, at least, the trajectory is clear:

Greer's Stages of Technic Societies

And I'm betting (which is not the same thing as wanting) that d) is our future:

Population Approaches Carrying Capacity

Still, it will be nice to have electricity on the way down, if it's for real.

I disagree aangel. I think fusion would be the one 'show-stopper' for Peak Oil-type predictions and would postpone talk of it for a very long time.

It would change the world more than the Industrial Revolution.

I don't think anyone would be able to predict what would happen in the near future if mankind had access to that amount of energy.

I don't think anyone would be able to predict what would happen in the near future if mankind had access to that amount of energy.

I can. The power production would introduce more water vapor into the air and that would warm the planet.

If the reactions can be powerful enough then the prediction is for more boom. As in bomb.

Unless they used a portion of the vast quantity of excess energy available to capture water vapour emissions.

'nick, the surest thing that unlimited energy would bring is a hastening of the demise of the natural world.

Probably right there!

Water vapor is not a greenhouse gas in any independent sense. It's presence in the atmosphere is dependent on temperature. Any excess water falls out very quickly. We call it precipitation.

However, any overall increase in temperature will result in a proportional increase in water vapor.

Exactly correct. Thank you.

"A greenhouse gas (sometimes abbreviated GHG) is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect.[1] The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone." Greenhouse Gas Wiki.

Water vapor is a potent greenhouse gas along with other gases such as carbon dioxide and methane.


I said, "in any independent sense." Then clearly stated it was dependent on temperature. I did not say, "Water vapor is not a GHG." More CO2 = effect on heat retained. More H2O = more rain, snow or other precipitation locally only, and a quick return to whatever the balance is depending on conditions.

That is, you can't just toss a bunch of water in the air and expect it to stay there unless you raise temps. Because of the short residence time, the chance of added water vapor leading to a meaningful increase in CO2 is pretty much slim and none. CO2 has a long residence time, thus the chance it will raise temps long enough to increase water vapor, which will then raise temps and on and on... is quite high. Depending on conditions.


duh-uh, eh?

I disagree aangel. I think fusion would be the one 'show-stopper' for Peak Oil-type predictions and would postpone talk of it for a very long time.

In my view, you are making a very common mistake, which is that you are focussing on just one system and neglecting all the others. Plus, your assertion makes no sense on its face: the 800 million (and counting) vehicles of the world need liquid fuel and we are heading into likely the world's most vicious credit contraction.

Where are these people going to get the money to change their vehicles to EV versions?

No, I'm afraid most of the world's ICE cars are going to rust and never be replaced.

Not to mention, as PeakOil Tarzan points out, we haven't been able to responsibly manage essentially free energy so far (oil < $20 barrel). What makes you think that will change?

Of course I appreciate that the system is complex and I don't really have the space or ability to enter a full discussion of the implications of fusion here, but with the introduction of potentially 100 times more energy available to society it's likely that the mindset of humanity itself could alter. The rules of the game could change (the rules of the human interaction game in any case).

And, to be fair, energy is the underlying fundamental to the system as a whole.

If people knew that almost boundless energy was around the corner and they just had to put up for a few years/decades of hardship in the transition period then it would be a very different scenario to one where they're carrying on BAU with blind faith and suddenly realise the ground is giving way beneath them.

The current global financial system / infrastructure etc. would be thrown into turmoil - who knows whether the result would be good or bad?

But I think concerns such as where people would get money for EV cars would be the least of people's concerns if fusion became a reality.

The current global financial system / infrastructure etc. would be thrown into turmoil - who knows whether the result would be good or bad?

If you are a part of that system tossed into turmoil - is it safer to keep what you have or be subject to loss in the turmoil?

Well I don't know. Is it safer to take your money and run or just have one more throw of the dice?...

The people who are at risk - its part of their "family business" - if they take their money off the table they are then "out of the game" AND would have to find a new game ... one where their historic advantage of being intrenched won't be in play.

The dice are loaded - its not an honest game. If you control the crooked game, what's the incentive to stop others from coming to your crooked gaming table? What's your incentive to shut down a crooked game you run?

But I think concerns such as where people would get money for EV cars would be the least of people's concerns if fusion became a reality.

Again, you are neglecting that many systems work together to create what we've got now. In this case, you are casually omitting the financial system.

A working financial system is critical to a civilization, just like energy.

Ok, apologies, perhaps I should have added "in the medium run" before that quote.

In the medium run the abundance of energy would mean a vast overhaul of the relative value of things such as cars - why would it be necessary to keep material items like this expensive when there would be enough energy to easily raise even the poorest areas to a standard equivalent to the US today?

I'm just trying to say that relative costs of technology would change drastically. The limits to what would be feasible economically would alter almost overnight!

JHK agrees, Andre. In his view of things, not many folks will be forking over the cash or credit for the new generation of EVs:

We lie to ourselves incessantly about the nation's financial condition. We've suspended both the rules of accounting and the rule of law in banking matters (lying). We're too frightened to go into the vaults and find out exactly how much we've swindled ourselves (cowardice). And we aggressively misunderstand issues that will shape our future, such as how much oil is really in the ground, and how long people will be able to live in places like Tucson the way they do (ignorance) - all of this prompting us to march off the edge of a political cliff where we hang today, the cartoon coyote of nations, undone by our Acme techno-fantasies.

Too many of our systems are corrupted for any magical energy box to fix. We need to fix ourselves first.

I wish the doomer folks would move away from the Charlie Coyote metaphor. Old Charlie had some great ideas, it's just that his R&D wasn't worth spit. What was it that Edison said? "Invention is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration"...

E. Swanson

Er, just picking a nit, but I believe it's Wile E. Coyote.

And he got his roadrunner catching equipment via mail order from the Aacme Company.

Yes, my memory occasionally needs a bit of fact checking...

E. Swanson

This one sounds way too good to be true. I've heard it discussed before, but it's in the news again due to Podesta's decision to join the Board.

The company, Joule Unlimited, was granted a patent in Sept. for their first in a series of microscopic organisms -- genetically altered versions of the E. coli bacteria -- that use sunlight and water in a process similar to photosynthesis to convert captured CO2 into usable crude oil.

They called it "Liquid Fuel From The Sun," which uses their "proprietary organism" to devour waste and defecate custom hydrocarbons.


The over the top claim I saw was "all it needs is CO2 and it makes oil".

Good luck to 'em. Hope the biosphere can deal with 'em in the wild.

Recently I looked up the efficiency of photosynthesis. I don't think it ever gets above 5%. A more common number seems to be less than 2%. On that basis I think anything suggesting biofuels as a solution seems a little nutty to me. A decent photovoltaic system may get 15%, solar thermal plants seem to be similar. So your average biofuel "farm" would have to be somewhere between 3 and 10 times the size of an electrical plant to produce the same amount of energy. Yes it can be desireable liquid fuel but is it the best use of capital and real estate, all things considered?

When profiles were able to be viewed, you'd have noted I had quoted some others who researched how efficient photons to photosynthesis was.

If your goal is to capture photons to do "human work" - PV and solar hot water in evacuated glass tubes are the way to go. And odds are the material costs to contain the Photosynthetic E. Coli will be the same or higher than PV/solar hot water.

But hey, let the addiction to Oil keep on rolling!

Journal of nuclear physics exist only since February 2010. There is a great total of a dozen of papers published in this journal essentially devoted to cold fusion and other similar theories!

Crackpot journal are now more and more common. This is becoming a serious issue.

Here is a pdf of the paper itself:


A few things strike me as red flags off the bat:

1. It is only eight pages long

2. One of the two author's email addresses is @journal-of-nuclear-physics.com, which is the journal that published this.

3. The citations - first of all, there are not many of them, and second, here is the breakdown by decade: 1920's: 2, 1930's: 1, 1950's: 3, 1970's: 2, 1980's: 2, 1990's: 5, 2000's: 5.

4. this is the actual conclusion section.

4. Conclusions
In conclusion, our process and apparatus is the …first and unique system,
existing today, able to obtain energy from nuclear fusion reactions; furthermore,
because the ingredients are Nickel and water (to obtain Hydrogen), this is an
endless energy source for the planet, without emissions in atmosphere.

The conclusion is that this is an endless source of energy for the planet. We get it for nothing and without emissions. The laws of thermodynamics have been repealed.

Is it just a coincidence that this comes from Bologna University? Could this be someone's idea of a joke?

bo·lo·gna, Pronounced: buh-loh-nee
a large seasoned sausage made of finely ground meat, usually beef and pork, that has been cooked and smoked.

I know it is a real university in Italy but still...

Ron P.

I don't think it's a joke. But they might very well be deluded. Here's more in-depth info from someone who attended a demonstration today...

(starts from the bottom up) http://dimensionalbliss.com/2011/01/17/report-of-nickel-hydrogen-cold-fu...

I don't think it's a joke.

If it is a joke, it's a bad one because there is also this (from ausgang's comment on Saturday):

1) The patent claim they had (have?) a prototype built and installed in an EON factory (Via C.Ragazzi, 28 - Bondeno Ferrara, Italy) where the apparatus is used to heat the house and it is/was working for 24 months / 24 hours per day.

But they might very well be deluded.

Definition of 'deluded': To deceive the mind or judgment of; fraudulent ads that delude consumers into sending in money

iagreewithnick wrote:

I think fusion would be the one 'show-stopper' for Peak Oil-type predictions and would postpone talk of it for a very long time.

Well, even if from this year on fusion will be installed on large scale it's a little late, regarding that 'plateau oilproduction' will end somewhere in this decade (unless soon a few Saudi Arabie production potentials are found).

I don't think anyone would be able to predict what would happen in the near future if mankind had access to that amount of energy.

Some people that aren't aware of Peakoil, but nevertheless talk about the carrying capacity of the earth say that some next wars will be about water. There are more problems than energy, and water is one of them.

There are more problems than energy, and water is one of them

Although the increase in energy per capita (in orders of magnitude) that fusion could provide would mean that desalinization plants would become a very real viability. In fact most of society's traditional problems - water, lack of food, medical care (even resource scarcities) etc. could potentially be eradicated by an abundance of energy.

Honestly, if they did suddenly crack fusion the last thing on people's minds would be a concern about peaking oil. Trust me :-)

Although the increase in energy per capita (in orders of magnitude) that fusion could provide would mean that desalinization plants would become a very real viability.

There are already some:

World-wide, 13,080 desalination plants produce more than 12 billion gallons of water a day, according to the International Desalination Association.

And you still have to take into account what aangel wrote
"A working financial system is critical to a civilization, just like energy.

Large-scale desalination typically uses extremely large amounts of energy as well as specialized, expensive infrastructure, making it very costly compared to the use of fresh water from rivers or groundwater.

So what will happen when suddenly fusion is possible on large scale ?
'The world' will not start immediately investing tremendous amounts of money in building thousands more of those plants but wait for the financial situation to get better.

Would other energy eliminate this problems ?

One of the main environmental considerations of ocean water desalination plants is the impact of the open ocean water intakes, especially when co-located with power plants. Many proposed ocean desalination plants' initial plans relied on these intakes despite perpetuating ongoing impacts on marine life. In the United States, due to a recent court ruling under the Clean Water Act, these intakes are no longer viable without reducing mortality, by ninety percent, of the life in the ocean; the plankton, fish eggs and fish larvae. There are alternatives, including beach wells that eliminate this concern, but require more energy and higher costs while limiting output.
To limit the environmental impact of returning the brine to the ocean, it can be diluted with another stream of water entering the ocean, such as the outfall of a waste water treatment plant or power plant.
The concentrated seawater has the potential to harm ecosystems, especially marine environments in regions with low turbidity and high evaporation that already have elevated salinity. Examples of such locations are the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea and, in particular, coral lagoons of atolls and other tropical islands around the world.

The UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran have 120 desalination plants between them. These plants flush nearly 24 tons of chlorine, 65 tons of algae-harming antiscalants used to descale pipes, and around 300kg of copper into the Persian Gulf every day.

In fact most of society's traditional problems - water, lack of food, medical care (even resource scarcities) etc. could potentially be eradicated by an abundance of energy.

For foodproduction they also need phosphor mines.

But I don't think you fully understand (or perhaps embrace is a better word) the implications of a 100-fold increase in available energy. That's a colossal increase! Of course there would still be a human factor to things, like everything, but it would change things beyond recognition.

Statements like this...

Large-scale desalination typically uses extremely large amounts of energy as well as specialized, expensive infrastructure, making it very costly compared to the use of fresh water from rivers or groundwater.

...would be hopelessly outdated. Extremely large amounts of energy compared to FF perhaps, but not if you have fusion! Costly to out current economic system, but not if you have fusion! The stakes would change massively.

I fundamentally disagree with this too:

'The world' will not start immediately investing tremendous amounts of money in building thousands more of those plants but wait for the financial situation to get better.

It would be like the 'gold-rush' days of old, a huge untapped resource would suddenly come into play. Once people cottoned on they would go crazy trying to secure a piece of the pie. I don't think any amount of political willpower would be able to hold it back.

Anyway, one can always dream. Until it becomes a reality there's no way to know what the consequences would be.

Perhaps. But what you don't fully understand (or embrace) is that we've already had a 100-fold increase in energy. It's called oil.

Our species has, to me at least, conclusively demonstrated that it is completely incapable of managing the Earth's resources responsibly.

You say it will change everything. In contrast, I (and clearly a few others here) believe it would simply give us more rope to hang ourselves with.

I agree, and look how oil changed the world!

At least it would give us a bit of breathing space, and perhaps enough time to be able to develop sufficiently sociologically in order to manage our existence in a more sustainable manner.

At least it would give us a bit of breathing space

It all depends on whether you think we are already into overshoot. If we are past overshoot then it would simply hasten our demise.

A whole bunch of extra resources was one of the Limits to Growth scenarios. The result is that the extra resources allowed an extra large build up of pollution and pollution rates built until the pollution destroyed society. Basically doing "a China".

The cool thing about models is you can try things that are hard to do in real life ("Ok, lets replay the rise and fall of civilization, but with an extra large earth!").

Limits to Growth was a brilliant book. And the programs can now be run on a desktop PC. Well worth getting the extra CD with the source.

What we need, as many here have said, is the ability to have "enough" energy that some technology can progress, without so much we overgrow and self destruct.

I personally think this is not a flaw that is likely to be overcome by a creature created by evolution. Our current "grow until you get wiped out" strategy has allowed life to survive some truly amazing disasters (asteroid impacts, killer microbes, ice ages, high temperature events, etc). And I think has biased life in a way that makes the steady state economy nearly impossible. Basically, a situation has to arise in which an individuals genes are rewarded by the same thing that preserves society. And any tragedy of the commons situation makes that impossible. Well nearly impossible. It has been done historically and Jared Diamond has expressed some thoughts on what it might take. (closely related family groups inhabiting small islands, or strong dictatorships controlling large islands).

Anyway, interesting to think about while rigging a solar hot water panel, or adding some weatherstripping.

I personally think this is not a flaw that is likely to be overcome by a creature created by evolution. Our current "grow until you get wiped out" strategy has allowed life to survive some truly amazing disasters (asteroid impacts, killer microbes, ice ages, high temperature events, etc). And I think has biased life in a way that makes the steady state economy nearly impossible.

Well said. Nearly impossible, indeed — we certainly didn't figure it out with the one shot we were given.

Here are the two scenarios to which you are referring:

Scenario 1

Now double the initial resources:

Scenario 2

All we need are a set of rules for designing our world that lead to sustainable systems. It's already been done, btw. (Hint.)

Not true. Unless the larger conversation encourages using the rules they will be interesting academic exercises and no more.

If you don't change the conversation, you change nothing.

Human beings have a fundamental design flaw, an inability to take action to limit their own planetary and self destructive impacts. The sooner the dieoff begins, the better the chance the rest of the planet will have for survival.

We were given a garden of eden, and have chosen actions that are destroying the garden and all its beauty.

Human beings have a fundamental design flaw, an inability to take action to limit their own planetary and self destructive impacts.

Sustainable societies exist. They are in some ways fundamentally different than what we are discussing, but they exist, therefore, your assertion is incorrect. You might be right at some given tipping point of scale, however, as Dunbar's Number suggests. That sustainable societies typically exist at small scales, and that this matches wit Dunbar's findings supports the idea of localization-ish movement(s).

Costly to out current economic system, but not if you have fusion!

The available energy has to be used in a wise manner. You are right that oil has brought many good things, but the carrying capacity of the earth doesn't increase with the same factor as the amount of energy.

next wars will be about water. There are more problems than energy, and water is one of them.

If we had the postulated "unlimited cheap energy", then it would be easy to purify salt water, so lack of water could realy be beaten back. [This is just discussing the hypothetical if we suddenly had cheap/reliable fusion, not a statement that I think that is at all likely]

We get it for nothing and without emissions.

Not at all. The use of the electrical energy resulting will add heat into the envelope of the Earth and warm it.

We must stop nuclear reactions lest they overheat the planet! Unless, well, the laws are thermo-die-namics are just the guidelines of thermo-die-namics.

True , it was Arthur C Clark that pointed out that heat was the last major pollutant of Technically Advanced Civilizations - how to keep you planet cool - that could not be solved by endless energy.


Interesting that if the universe as we know it is correct AND Ol'e Randall at Blacklight power is correct that you can liberate heat from Hydrogen one should be able to liberate heat from Hydrogen, move that Hydrogen into space and get it back to the higher energy level (AKA add heat...AKA return Hydrogen to the way it is in all of the rest of the darn Universe) then take the magical normal Hydrogen back the Earth to be de-energized again.

The only other way I can think of to vent heat to space would be really tall towers and a convection loop.

At the point where the heat trapping from infinite energy is an issue on Earth Humanity will be shipping "useless" rock into space and dropping refined metals already made products from space into the gravity well.

And if you are a visitor from someplace else to this New Earth, its vitally important to get a receipt when you go to the bathroom.

It's unnecessary to build really tall towers to be able to enhance the natural convective flow of (sensible and latent) heat from the earth's surface to the the mid to upper troposphere (above CO2 "blanket") where it can be more efficiently radiated to space. (Hurricanes do this, removing heat from warm sea water accumulated at the surface, and I haven't heard that any tall (physical) towers have been observed near their centers).

See http://vortexengine.ca

In addition, those of you concerned about the dangers of adding heat to the atmosphere by human activity can rest easy, at least for the moment. It constitutes only about 1 part in 12,000 of the amount of heat transported upward by convection each day.

If you Google "Earth's Energy Budget" you would see that the heat released by humans isn't even a factor in the budget and therefore cannot be a cause of global warming. All the "forcing" toward global warming that's not a result of changes in the planet's albedo, is entirely due to the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, only one of which is CO2.

This doesn't mean man's activities can't cause significant amounts of LOCAL warming.


Hurricanes do this,

I'm guessing at the point where the choices are:

1) Build a tower to heaven
2) Make Hurricanes

to solve the heat problem, The metric and English units people will get together and figure out how to build the very tall tower via clear communication/agreeing on how we are to measure things.

Actually, NO.

1) There is no practical way to build towers large enough to do this, even with advances in materials. There would be no way to anchor them securely enough to keep them from blowing down. This already happened to a 200 m tower in Spain. There would be too much friction in tall, skinny towers for there to be enough air flow to make a difference. Enviromission proposed a 1 km tall tower, but has backed off on that--don't know what they're proposing now, if anything--IMO they should try to link up with AVEtec for solutions that reduce cost and improve performance.

2) Nobody is proposing hurricane-sized vortices. Eventually, one might get to a 1 km diameter "waterspout/tornado", but a lot of smaller ones (100-200 m) would have to be built first to prove the technology. It might be proven necessary to build them in pairs, with opposite spin--like two electrons in an orbital, so as to not increase general vorticity in a region. The current design for natural draft cooling towers could be modified to induce the required degree of swirl--these go for about 60-80 million dollars, but one would be able to increase the output of a large power plant by up to 30% by installing them, while using no more fossil fuel.

3) No reason to solve the "heat problem" because, other than that caused by greenhouse gases and the knock-on effect, there is none, except that by rejecting waste heat to the ambient at the surface, over 60% of the chemical energy contained in the fuel is lost for a coal plant--even more for a nuclear plant, since the steam temperature is lower.

In other words, the primary beneficial effect of this technology is to produce electricity WITHOUT producing corresponding greenhouse gas emission. The surface cooling effect is a collateral benefit.


Coating the planet's surface with mirrors near the equator would reflect a lot of incoming solar energy. The surface nearer both poles would be coated with black panels maintained at an elevated temperature to radiate heat. Given enough fusion energy, I don't see the problem.

You may not see a problem, but that has NO bearing on whether it's there or not.

Frankly, your willingness to talk about 'coating the equator with mirrors and the poles with black panels' is already enough to show me that you're not even looking.

What do you have planned for the Atlantic and Pacific equatorial regions? Are you suggesting those be ignored, as they accumulate thermal energy to be released later as more intense storms in mid latitudes? Also, your "black panels" to make things colder would require large amounts of new sources of energy that would appear to be difficult to provide and would simply be a waste of energy which might be otherwise used to replace fossil fuel emissions. Have you been ingesting too much scarnol lately???

E. Swanson

I would put mirrors on the former Atlantic and Pacific equatorial regions. Clearly, prior to implementing this solution, the oceans would be drained and the water stored in subterranean reservoirs.

Arthur C. Clarke was a science fiction writer. Dissapating heat generated by technological activity in order to moderate temperatures on a planetary scale is a science fiction problem, considering the relative contributions of solar energy, tidal energy, and radioactive decay compared with current power generation technology. So I'm giving a science fiction answer.

So, average car has about 2000 pounds of steel.
So, Steel weighs .283 lbs./ cu. in.
One of the most useful numbers is: one square foot of 1" steel weighs 40#
(really 40.8#)
So, quick math says a square 1/4" thick being on quarter the dimension, is 10 #.
So, 200 square feet per car.
So, For 2007 is 136 million cars, 110 million trucks, about 1 million buses for a total of 247 million registered vehicles.
So, just using cars,,,136 000 000 times 200 = 27 200 000 000 square feet at 1/4 in.
So, 1 acre = 43 560 square foot.
So, 27 200 000 000 divided by 43 560 = 624 426.079
So, that's about 3/4 the size of Rhode Island. Steel can be rolled extremely thin with the right alloys and If you could imagine using all the steel of the current car, truck, bus on the road today, even without the other massive amount of steel used in every aspect of industrial society, it could easily be done with current technology. Very little "NEW" energy would be needed. Only a re-direction. Simple enough.

There is always a choice,
Choose Wisely,
The Martian

Oh, the possibilities! I would install giant pumps in all of the oceans to control currents and temps. Too cold in the UK? Turn on the pumps. La Nina causing trouble? Make your own El Nino! Cat 5 in the Gulf? Bring in the cool water. Heck, we could have three Gulf Streams. The fish'll love it!

My guess is you could use the same energy harvest system proposed on TOD where they'd put turbines in the gulf stream.

Not at all. The use of the electrical energy resulting will add heat into the envelope of the Earth and warm it.

Current energy use is something like one part in ten thousand of the planets solar input. If we were able to curb our consumption to no more than ten times current that wouldn't be a problem. Theoretically we could use the cheap energy to run projects that cool the planet...

I am reading their article. Obviously, those guys need a good course of thermodynamic to learn how to measure the power production in an efficient way. Both guys are physicist. However, one is a technical guys with his name on hundred of paper written by other. The other is an old timer. They have publish recently mostly in cold fusion conference and symposium.

I have also noted that this fusion, if it is real happen in the region of the nucleus are the most stables. Hence, in the range were fusion should produce the lowest amount of energy.

Whenever I hear somebody talk about cold fusion my BS meter immediately starts going off. At this point, I have only skimmed the paper, but this is one quote that should be an immediate concern "In this paper we report the results obtained with a process and apparatus not described here in detail and protected by patent in 90 countries, consisting of a system whose heat output is up to hundred times the electric energy input."

The other thing I didn't see and is the reason I'm very suspicious of claims of cold fusion is an explanation of where the energy comes from to overcome the electrostatic repulsion of atomic nuclei. There's a reason it takes a lot of energy to accomplish fusion - this force is very powerful and you have to get the nuclei very close before the strong nuclear force kicks in.

From ausgang's comment:

"Apparently, there is zinc as well as copper transmuted contaminants inside the nickel powder after the reaction. This zinc was not present at startup: probably Ni+2H->Zn

There are other traces of transmuted contamination elements in the used nickel fuel from the prototype reactor, like Sulfur, Calcium Chlorine, Potassium. Apparently this could be an indication of some low energy neutron fission process happening together with the Low energy Neutron Reaction (LENR) fusion."

Gee, if we can get this thing to transmute nickle into phosphorus (and all of the other finite resources we're using up) we can continue our pipe-dream of infinite growth. The idea that unlimited, too-cheap-to-meter electrical production will solve most (all?) of our problems is, to borrow from JHK, an Acme techno-fantasy. We're seeing what massive injections of cheap energy has allowed us to do to the biosphere; a result of our technical infantilism and greed as much as a result of cheap fossile fuels. So, if this (or some other form of) fusion becomes a reality. What then? Humanity suddenly grows up?

Well, if the cold fusion reactor starts going balky they can always use a Zero Point Energy (ZPE) generator.

Here's what the U.S.Army National Ground Intelligence Center had to say about Zero-Point Energy: Can We Get Something From

Your taxpayer dollars at work.

When I find their review of anti-grav, I'll post it

Thanks for the link, Seraph

Speaking of the notion of getting energy from nothing, today's Globe & Mail piece comes pretty close to saying that we can (or at least that our liquid fuels problem may be solved overnight: just add sunlight, CO2, crappy water and stir):

Given free energy, an amine-based scrubber could pull the CO2 from the air, then hydrogen from electrolysis can be added at high temperature with a suitable catalyst to get to methanol, then methanols strung together at will to make the hydrocarbon of your choice.

All you need is free energy. All the other components already exist. ALL you need is the free energy. Snort.

As someone who actually has absorbed CO2 with amine-based absorbents in the laboratory and developed models for the process, I can tell you that at the current partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere as a driving force for absorption, the capacity of amine based absorbent is practically nil at ambient temperature--maybe 1% by volume, so you couldn't actually use amines to pull it out of the atmosphere with any process even close to being practical, having to cyle around between hot and cold sinks, 99 pounds of amine solution per pound of CO2 recovered.

You could capture CO2 at much higher partial pressures after gasification, or from power plant effluent, but there's the problem of oxygen degradation of the amine in the latter case. The "energy cost" comes in when you try to regenerate the amine, which requires consuming 50# (possibly 150#) steam in the stripper reboiler--a lot of it.

Gee, if we can get this thing to transmute nickle into phosphorus (and all of the other finite resources we're using up)

1st - Nickel is a rather important metal.
2nd - using up Phosphorus?

Using up? At the end of the day, other than the nuclear decay of P, there is the same amount of P on Planet Earth as there was the day before.

What's happening is the P is being taken from a higher concentration to a low concentration.

If you care about P, you'll figure out how to take the pee, remove the NaCl and get the P back outta the pee. This reaction is able to be done with not a whole lotta high tech EQ, but needs energy to be reversed. (See the tome CaveMan Chemistry for examples of the reaction)

And that pee has more value due to the N in it. And sugars if you have a diabetic population.

Humanure does this beautifully.

From wikipedia:

Nickel-58 is the most abundant isotope of nickel, making up 68.077% of the natural abundance. Possible sources include electron capture from copper-58 and EC + P from zinc-59.

Now my chemistry (and fission) knowledge is weak but this suggests that the Nickel->Zinc reaction requires energy input and therefore cannot be used as an energy source?

Perhaps those better informed can put me right?


Fusion reactions beyond Iron require supplied energy. It is one of the reasons that stars go supernova as fuel is converted to Iron there is not enough energy produced to support the weight of the star against gravity, then it collapses with a bang.


Fusion reactions beyond Iron require supplied energy
Generally true (Curve of Binding Energy), but the curve is not smooth.

Maybe someone has pointed out that powdered nickel reacts very exothermically with hydrogen to make the hydride. Possible that the oxidation of the nickel makes it easier to find the impurties like Zn that were already lurking there?

The extra energy input could come from a fast neutron. And that is at the very broad "peak" of the energy per nucleon curve. There isn't much difference to make up.

I'd be nice to see a reproducable example is what I thought, as you did ask.

As for "commercialization":

1) BlackLight Power was claiming by 2007 they'd have a "battery the size of a briefcase that would allow an electric car go 1000 miles".
2) By 2007 the talking head of EEStor was claiming you'd be able to slap the EESU on a bicycle.
3) Omnichon claimed a press-metal Nitrogen charged Stirling Cycle engine 1hp - $89 in 1 shipping container bulk sizes and would ship by 2002.

While "cold fusion" (or http://www.lenr-canr.org ) may be possible it may never be "commercially viable".

Pretty much true. I've got a very strong feeling that we'll see a commercial prototype of this one about the same time that EEStor unwraps theirs...or not.

Of the 3 - Stirling cycle engines are a known tech and you can buy very expensive engines......the $10,000 10 meter 10 kwH solar dish outta Germany (solo) hasn't happened, Dean Kamen hasn't shipped a low cost (or any) stirling, The ST-5 was bought by a place in Japan and you can't buy more of
'em, et la. I'm waiting for the DIY crowd to publish cutter path files or even an instructable on conversion of a lawnmower engine as a Stirling.

About the only people who have lower cost Stirlings is WhisperGen....$30,000 down to $10,000. The $5,000 or $2,500 CHiP systems haven't happened.

EEStor - As LightEV keeps pointing out - every year they move the ship by date out another year. TOD used to have an "antidoomer" who kept pimp'n EEStor as a solution. But the 'solution' was to have been shown to us barefoot pheasants over 2 years ago had TAD been right.

EEStor . . . ugh. Another embarrassing chapter in the sordid history of EVs. It is so nice to see real players finally making real cars. The Leaf is a nice start. And so is the Volt. I think they need to simplify and cost reduce that Volt though . . . 3 clutches? C'mon, one of the advantages of EVs is having a simplified design.

I think they need to simplify and cost reduce that Volt though . . . 3 clutches?

3 clutches are the least of the worries.

100 or so microcontrollers running its systems from some 10 million lines of code and each car will have its own IP address.

10 million lines of code - and that's been debugged?

As the security people say 'With TCP/IP you are 150 ms from every (jerk) on the planet'.

You can see the (jerk) effect over on your right:
New account creation is temporary suspended due to problems with spammers. We hope to restore it soon. --The Management, January 10, 2011

Now let the (jerks) at the TCP/IP car.

As people have mentioned before, this 10 million lines of code likely includes the Linux source code size. For all we know, the actual customized critical content is orders of magnitude less than this.

The Boeing 777 avionics suite (and entertainment software from what I heard) was written in safety-critical Ada. Honeywell actually wrote a compiler for this as well. That automatically gets you to the millions of lines of code level.

And each month, new bugs are being found in the Linux kernel - rubbing your product with GNU/Linux is not a magic balm which fixes things all right up.

Tell me about it. A lot of the stuff "works" only through sheer effort, including lots of late night debugging sessions.

OK, you've got some hyperbole there. A few may be networked, but most microcontrollers don't talk to anything -- they just do their little control job. Only a few MIGHT have an IP address, and of those, not many will be networked to anything (that takes a wireless connection). I'm sure navigation and convenience systems will have an on-air interface (as do On-Star systems and such), but most of the rest will not.

Probably most of the controllers are the same as in other Chevy's, for running various minor subsystems. Some are surely brand new. All could have bugs, but so do all complex systems. 10M lines of code probably includes many well-tested libraries as well as new code, and most of that probably has been tested thoroughly in various ways.

I'm sure the Volt is one of the most networked and complex control systems in a car today, but its not alone in heading that direction. As for fault likelihood, history says that's based on manufacturer not vehicle.

The reports on the announcements claimed each car would have a fixed IP address.

most of that probably has been tested thoroughly in various ways.

Like how the microcode in the Toyota braking system was tested?

The Dreamliner code is written in ADA and runs on purpose built hardware. It's an apples to oranges comparison for avionics code to what amounts to a glorified engine managemnet system.

I'd be more worried about how expensive these control units are to replace when they blow than people hacking into the software.

Although I have heard rumours that hackers have manged to get into some car systems via the tyre pressure sender signals.

Whatever happened to the driver being in control of the car? Maybe I'm just getting old.

Although I have heard rumours that hackers have manged to get into some car systems via the tyre pressure sender signals.

A presentation at the USENIX Security conference.

Tis only a rumor based on what one might consider evidence.

Thanks for confirming that, and for enhancing my general distrust of modern cars.

I think I lost faith when I discovered my car had 3 temperature sender units on the engine. By the sound of it the Volt will have just as much complexity. With the same problem of dodgy connectors in the wiring. I thought the best thing about EVs was supposed to be their simplicity. Silly me.

I'm sure if you buy them new, they'll be great. But as a die hard pre-owned vehicle buyer I wouldn't trust one after 10 years and who knows what treatment.

Thanks for enhancing my general distrust of modern cars.

Any time you need the kids chased off you lawn - just come back to TOD I'm sure one of us can oblige.

For what it's worth, the pre-95 cars had a rather poor diagnostic setup. Starting in 1996, things get much better, as the programs can tell you which sensor is bad, which spark plug isn't firing and which injector is bad. One can diagnose problems much faster using a code reader. There are programs available which can run on a laptop to tap into the diagnostic routines that allow even deeper diagnostics to be performed. The dealer has that as well, but they charge quite a bit to do the tests, last I heard. Disclaimer, I haven't worked on anything newer than 2003 so far...

E. Swanson

I'm sure a lot of that code is also in GM's gas cars as well . . . anti-lock brake systems, air-bag systems, etc. I'm not so worried about code . . . code can be patched cheaply. I'm more worried about mechanical parts that require maintenance and repairs.

You'll be seeing more code in everything in the future. microcontrollers are dirt cheap and if you can use one in a way that saves energy, it can be a net gain. Thus light switches, appliances, . . . well basically everything that uses electricity even down to individual LEDs may have digital logic in them someday.

Rant Alert....

Embedded controllers can provide gains. More functionality and more control. What you lose is the ability to do any maintenance or repairs.
Replacement chips are impossible to get hold of and even harder to replace.

It just increases the amount of junk we produce from our throw away society.

Even now cars get scrapped just because the EMU is too expensive to replace. It's hard to find garages that still do real spanner work instead of just hooking the car up to a laptop.

As a society we have distanced ourselves from the land to the point that most of us couldn't feed ourselves if we tried. We've handed all the intelligence to the silicon chip to the point that most people wouldn't know how to build or repair something either. Hell, many cars now will turn the lights on or wipers for you. How hard is it to look out of the window and flick a switch if it's raining or dark?

It seems that if we can't consume it, it's not worth having. Or at least will modify it to the point that we will consume it.

Someone out there really needs a slap - probably me included.

Sorry. Rant Over.

Yeah, a young lady I know was playing with her iPhone Saturday and I made a comment about writing apps for it, as in, writing a computer program. She gave me a funny look as if she didn't understand what those application icons were doing inside that little slab...

E. Swanson

At this point I have to tell a story about how far removed we are from the technology we depend on so much:

A while ago my wife and I were driving thru town, she was driving. We pulled up at a light along side a young man, probably in his twenties, driving a mid sized Mazda sedan probably a couple of years old. I noticed right away that he had a completely flat tire and was talking on his cell phone. I hollered over to him that he had a flat tire. He looked over and said "I know I'm trying to find someone to fix it". The light changed and he drove off at normal speed, still on the phone. He probably didn't even know the car had a spare tire, much less how to change it.

Yes, it's gotten worse than this story I've been telling since I saw it in the late 1970's. I was sitting in a restaurant and outside in the parking lot there was a man in his 30's (I was about 25) trying to change his flat tire. He stuck the lug wrench on and - broke off the fake lug nut on the wheel cover. Did he figure out what was wrong and take the cover off? No! He proceeded to break off all 5 fake nuts on the wheel cover. He sure looked confused! I never did see if someone helped him!

auggie - Don't want to jump on the band wagon knocking our younger generations...they have enough problems already. But lug nut joke: Guy has a flat in front of a mental institution. Accidently loses all 4 nuts down a drain while putting the spare on. Doesn't know what to do but patient yells at him from other side of fence: "Take one nut off of each of the other tires and use them on the spare. The driver looks surprised. The patient explains: "Hey...I'm insane...not stupid."

I saw the same behavior on a "reality show" contest. The contender comes to a car with one wheel off, a spare on the ground, and no lug nuts in evidence. There is a metal detector and a marked off field. Some contenders grabbed the detector and went prospecting for a few lug nuts; successfully, but slowly. I believe only one guy immediately took one lug off each of the other 3 and quickly drove off.

Moral of this story: many of our harshest limitations are in our own minds.

our harshest limitations are in our own minds

Blame it on the colleges:

Research of more than 2,300 undergraduates found 45 percent of students show no significant improvement in the key measures of critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing by the end of their sophomore years. --link

With the right type of drive, why is a clutch necessary? Simpler drivetrain is an advantage that this type of drive has over the Synergy drive as used in the Prius and most other hybrids. Do locomotives have a clutch?

I wonder if GM has a problem getting sufficient torque from those wheel motors to eg. start on steep inclines? I've had that problem muself in proposing designs, basically needed to give up on direct-drive wheel motors. Has GM slipped a gearbox in there somewhere?

I was looking at the old Map of the Portland Trails with a city councilor last night, the map of the proposed system that my mom had posted near her kitchen some years back..

Portland Trails celebrates 20 years

"That's why we moved here," said Wendy Gaal.

The Gaals, who moved from rural New Hampshire three years ago, are among thousands of city residents who are heavy users of the city's walking, biking and hiking paths. The trails were created by Portland Trails, a nonprofit land trust. In just 20 years, the organization has put together 35 miles of public walkways that have helped put Portland on the list of the country's most livable cities.


We need to keep them growing, but they are already a very encouraging piece of practical 'Commons' that my fellow Portlanders enjoy.. and as the places they connect to increase, they become vastly more helpful to greater numbers of citizens..

....and greenways and trails increase property values and resale prospects; the closer, the better.


Claims that public trails invite or increase crime haven't been born out:


The only downside I can see to these trails is that some have utilized old rail rights-of-way that we may need, especially for more isolated communities. The only rail corridor into our county, built by TVA during dam constuction, is now part of a greenway/trail system. Not much of a downside I suppose.

Hey Ghung;
It looks like Maine has been keeping their options open for old Train ROW, and I hear about proposals to change the old Rails to Trails into Rails AND Trails somehow.

BTW, good response with the Climate article the other day. His counterargument showed it would go nowhere, but it's worth putting in an initial response, so I'm glad you did.


Thanks, Bob. I don't know why I bother these days. IMO, CC is baked into the cake, as they say, so let'em party. Climate change, population, et.al. will be self-limiting so perhaps we should concentrate on things that will make a difference in the meantime. Atlanta's Beltway seems like a nice concept of a light rail/trail system connecting with mass transit. We need to pay more of these things forward while we can.

They are spending millions expanding the main highway through our County. The road had to be moved because of a large creek running parallel to it. They either had to move the creek or the road, so much blasting and earth moving has occured. They now are grinding up the old roadbed. I suggested they leave the old road (several miles of it heading directly into town) for walking/biking. It went over like Led Zep on country radio; not in budget. How much does it cost to leave an old road where it is?

[sighs, heads off to work]

It will be interesting to see how much new revenue the Illinois tax increase produces. In any case, a preview of coming attractions:

Budget Worries Push Governors to Same Mind-Set

CHICAGO — The dismal fiscal situation in many states is forcing governors, despite their party affiliation, toward a consensus on what medicine is needed going forward. The prescription? Slash spending. Avoid tax increases. Tear up regulations that might drive away business and jobs. Shrink government, even if that means tackling the thorny issues of public employees and their pensions. . .

Here in Illinois, a state that has wrestled with some of the most dire financial circumstances in the country, including some $8 billion in unpaid bills to social services agencies and others and a desperately underfinanced pension system, Gov. Patrick J. Quinn, a Democrat, pledged after renewing his oath of office simply to “stabilize our budget.” Three days later, on Thursday, he did the reverse of what so many governors are urging, and signed a 66 percent increase in the state’s income tax rate.

Who knows? As long as there are still plenty of folks who feel strongly that there is no "life" outside of a hyper-expensive megacity (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc.), they might continue to get away with it. (Many folks in downstate-Illinois <sarc>flyover territory</sarc> will of course be furious at the constriction of their opportunities but no one really cares about them, same as with the folks in upstate New York.) Of course, ever-expanding government expenditure occurs against a resource base to every bit as much a degree as does ever-expanding private expenditure. So unless one can steadily and rapidly 'dematerialize' government expenditure*, which seems unlikely given that a sizable chunk is spent on services that ultimately involve physical processes (and even on goods), there will be a squeeze between a rock and a hard place.

* or else grow the resource base

We continue to see this economic ideals warfare impacting all sorts of decisions, from federal and state expenditures to corporate globalization. On one side are the neo-classical crowd with their belief is some abstract known as "the free market." On the other side are the Keynesians with their belief in monetary and fiscal policy as the keys to prosperity. Each side is so preoccupied with denigrating the other and promoting their own that they edge themselves further and further into ideologically pure, but common sense indefensible positions.

Not until we give up on both these schools of thought (they have both proved their inability to explain of direct the economy for more than seven decades) will we be able escape this nonsense.

We must build a new economic view of the world, one which sees neither government nor the corporation as the focal point of economic activity, and one with built in goals other than growth.

Agreed shaman. I'd add my own two cents, eg. only children expect good government without paying for it, and compromise is the cornerstone of democracy.

Here in Washington state the Gov who raised state spending by some 30% has just announced a budget that cuts that same spending out again, and more:

Frustrated Gregoire says 'status quo does not work'


After the first oil shock in the seventies one country in Europe was quick to introduce a VAT system which mostly affected luxury goods. IIRC the normal VAT rate was 12%. But for luxury goods it was ab to 32%: Fur coats, electronics, TV's, Stereos were all in that category.
But were people screamed the most was the luxury VAT on cars!

Not on all of them and not the same amount for all. Basic cars (Small volume engine, low HP - fuel efficient ones!) were unaffected. But big engines with lots of HP paid 32% (Mercedes, Porsche, BMW, etc)!
The sales for these items dropped to almost nothing from one year to the next.

But after all that screaming people got used to the situation and started buying again - although it took a few years to go up where it was before. But the increase in fuel efficient cars was tremendous. Now Europe has the great majority off cars with diesel engines (small volume engine).

Almost all R+D for diesel engines comes out of Europe nowadays.

Unfortunately this way does not seem to be doable for NA - the lobbying is do powerful.

It's a shame.


You can thank the enviro lobby as well, as the biggest reason for few small diesels in US emissions reqs. Certainly our F-150s would have diesel engines as an option otherwise.

Have you ever lived in a city with a smog problem? Are you suggesting that diesel soot emissions, which have been shown to be carcinogenic, shouldn't be regulated? Or, perhaps you think NOx emissions aren't a cause of ozone production in smog? No, I don't think those issues should be ignored, so I don't blame the lack of diesels, which happen to cost more than gasoline engines, on the US failure to control diesel emissions until there was no other choice...

E. Swanson

There is "ignored" and then there is "unreasonable" and then there is "reasonable". Unreasonable is to require significantly greater restrictions on small diesels while requiring much less on large diesel 'work trucks' which are used like cars in many cases. Unreasonable is to exceed the EU standards for safety and fuel, while encouraging large cars which consume more. Largely ignored are highway trucks and construction equipment, and farm tractors.

Reasonable would be a Pareto analysis of total emissions contribution with tiered restrictions targeting the worst polluters weighted by their usage fraction. Put the national investment where the problem is, for emissions and consumption. Work to align with the EU and Japan to drive out costs of compliant technology, and then slowly ratchet the standard up in concert, to enable more "world cars".

Well, as I recall, the problem was not with the cars but the fuel. We now have 3 different standards for diesel, with the sulfur level for on-road diesel set lower than that for off-road use. It took some time for the oil companies to make the change to low sulfur, so the newer diesel cars from Europe could not be allowed as their emissions control devices would have been destroyed. Very much like the transition from leaded gasoline to unleaded, it took some time to make the change...

E. Swanson

Actually, I think low-sulfur was a necessary but not sufficient piece of it -- particulate emission is also in the mix IIRC. I'm sure there is an expert here who will chime in.

Anyway, I think we mostly agree in substance if not in particulars, that the goal should be to use fuels efficiently AND cleanly.

Like the CNG regulations, if you go too tight on the control side you can squash a nascent market and preclude all the benefit while striving to eliminate a few negatives.

Displacement is a trickey measure as well. Many modern engines are turbo-charged or super-charged, which can double the effective displacement. Also the issue of the particulate filter requirements on diesels ...

However, its certainly clear that the regulations could have (and should have) been common across all regions, if for no other reason than to maintain design efficiency for international manufacturers.


Yes, I have lived in cities on both sides of the pond. I found no difference in the smog problem either in Europe or in NA. And yes, Diesels are heavily regulated in Europe.

My original point was (*), that with the political will (and the help of taxes on higher volume / higher HP engines) it is possible to change the attitudes of drivers (grudgingly I have to admit - LOL) toward smaller, more efficient engines.

Is there any reason why we need ~400 Hp in any given vehicle which can carry only 2-4 people and a tiny amount of load in the back?


Edit: (*)to JerryMcManus's comment

I used to drive a diesel car in the UK. Very clean. The US needs to get its head around small diesels.


Camden, N.J., to lose nearly half its cops

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- There will be fewer cops patrolling the streets of Camden, N.J., come Tuesday.

Struggling to close a $26.5 million budget gap, the city with the second highest crime rate in the nation is laying off 163 police officers. That's nearly 44% of the force.

And Camden will also lose 60 of its 215 firefighters. Some people with desk jobs will be demoted and reassigned to the streets.

Used to be a time when the local citizens were the cops.

Another observation:

The Cop, when filing the complaint does that as a Citizen otherwise you'd have a State agent and The State doing the prosecution and that's a no-no.

In theory there is nothing stopping citizens doing what the cops do. (but the citizens lack the protection of law the cops have) And nothing stops a Grand Jury from true billing perps - but you'd need more Grand Juries and the Citizens able to go to Grand Juries.

The United States as 3% of the worlds population and 25% of the world's jailed - would you know a police state if you were in one?

Americans wouldn't realize they are living in a police state, too much propaganda "land of the free" etc.

Nevertheless I am assuming many thoughtful Americans understand that a police state was the natural reaction to underclass crime, race problems, drug use, and the inability of American style capitalism to result in stable employment.

Now we are broke and a consequence will be fewer cops, fewer prisons etc. which will of course translate into increased crime. There may be a lag, though.

I stick by my guess that TS really starts to HTF sometime around 2015-2020, when all of the problems will meet declining global oil production.

The United States as 3% of the worlds population and 25% of the world's jailed - would you know a police state if you were in one?

"The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world.[4][5] The U.S. incarceration rate on June 30, 2009 was 748 inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents, or 0.75%.[6] The USA also has the highest total documented prison and jail population in the world.[4][7][8]
According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) 7,225,800 people at yearend 2009 were on probation, in jail or prison, or on parole — about 3.1% of adults in the U.S. resident population, or 1 in every 32 adults.[9][10]"

You are living in a police state.

You are living in a police state.

No I'm not. I'm living in an army state: Thailand.

Remember that the first w in www does not stand for "where I live"

Actually trekker your stats make it seem as though we're living in a criminal state. Makes you wonder what aspect of our culture produces so many law breakers.

Makes you wonder what aspect of our culture produces so many law breakers.

An excessive number of laws?
Could be worse, could be the Napolaenic model of Law.

Could be but it's also, in my view, completely consistent with the founding documents of the country.

Any country that has as its founding conversation "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" means that the populace will constantly be pushing the boundaries in almost any endeavor.

Hence you get great achievements but there is a flipside, and that is the pursuit of wealth and the willingness to break laws to get it. There is a lot more to it but you might get the picture from that.

Conversations (aka discourses) run our species.

If the country was founded on "Life, community and good governance" the country would have turned out very differently.

From outside looking in, and with lots of experience of Canada's gun environemnt (eg. highr percentage of people own long-guns, but almost none own handguns which are illegal to carry), I think you might review the "freedom to bear arms" clause of the constitution before the "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness" clause.

Of course Charlton Heston's followers would have a turkey....

It's hard to say what would have changed. I believe that well-stated founding ideals are very important, but there are also 'founding elephants in the room' that seem to have persisted with little regard to that other hopeful language.

Remember that Jefferson had put 'Pursuit of Happiness' in there to replace "Property", and yet it is the ongoing relationship to wealth and control of natural resources as a right that are at the heart of our self-image as a nation. It's not even outrageous to claim that 'Share' has become a four-letter word, and is considered a direct threat when uttered in public.

I wish our National Narrative included the core idea that We belong to the Earth, not the other way around.

I wish our National Narrative included the core idea that We belong to the Earth,

Alas it was assumed, what with wealth being tied to the conversion of sunlight - and how you got that sunlight was via having land and managing agriculture.

We need a Planetary Narrative that says that, too....

More so, we need a way of designing with such ideal in mind. Which has been done, fortunately. It's all a simple matter of logic and bio-mimicry. Something as simple as requiring every element to have at least two
outputs creates nice looping efficiencies and resilience at the same time.

'It's all a simple matter of ..'

are you married? It's not simple at all.. it's simple to talk about it.. no, that's not even simple, come to think on it. I'm not saying those aren't valuable approaches and tools, but give the devil his due, and acknowledge his innumerable details.

we're living in a criminal state.

I think you mean a nation of criminals. A criminal state would mean that the state / government is run by criminals ... oh wait... never mind.

Makes you wonder what aspect of our culture produces so many law breakers.

You confessed below to exceeding the speed limit by 3 mph. Probably half of the people who drive to work have broken the law each morning before they get there.

Actually, traffic law enforcement is a problem in developing a good relationship between the police and the citizenry. The most frequent contact people have with the police is a traffic stop, an unpleasant and even adversarial situation.

Cars and light trucks are the root of all evil.

Half Merril? You must live around a bunch of woosies. LOL. As I said I drive close to the speed limit and rarely do I ever pass someone on the Houston freeways. Most cars pass me at least 10 mph faster than I'm driving. And 20 MPH isn't that uncommon. Houston cops could write at least several thousands tickets each day if they had the manpower. The potential for getting a speeding ticket is so low that the law has virtually zero effect in these parts.

Half was a conservative engineering estimate. And you have to allow for those souls proceeding at 15 in the 65 due to bumper-to-bumper traffic. It's not that they don't want to break the law; it's just that they can't.

With state and local finances being what they are, watch out for "revenue enhancement".

And you have to allow for those souls proceeding at 15 in the 65 due to bumper-to-bumper traffic. It's not that they don't want to break the law; it's just that they can't.

Technically they are all breaking the law by driving below the minimum posted speed limit which is 40 mph on most Interstate Highways and on four-lane U.S. designated highways which have a 70 mph speed limit. >;^)

And therefore law enforcement should be obligated to monitor access ramps to the interstate and only allow as many cars onto them that would safely allow vehicles to at least maintain a minimum of 40 mph. So everybody is being complicit in braking the law and since most of us have driven under such conditions at one time or another we are all criminals... Actually I think we are all not guilty by reason of insanity!

They actually do this in some places. There is indeed a "breaking point," where allowing more cars on the freeway just slows everyone down and actually reduces capacity.

Usually the cops don't close off ramps. The highway traffic is monitored by cameras, and engineers sitting in a building miles away decide if things are getting too congested. Ramps are closed by traffic lights and variable message board signs, or sometimes by barrels that rise out of the road and physically block passage.

FM - I've seen a few drivers as Merril describes but very seldom on Houston freeways. I suspect the prospect is too scary for them. I don't know if Houston is that much worse than other big cities but from what out of towners say I suspect we are. I'm not exagerating about how fast folks drive here. Just ths morning at 5:30 I'm in pretty heavy traffic with many folks going 10 to 20 mph over our 60 mph limts. And this is with typically not much more than 2 or 3 car lengths between them. Then add in some butt heads like the one who shot into the short gap ahead of me so that suddenly the three of us have less than a car length between us. I'm not an official card carrying OLDFART yet but getting there. And there are times when I run the surface roads just to cut the odds of having a freeway accident.

This rudeness is all the more surprising when you consider the many hundred of thousands concealed carry permits that have been issued here. There was a time when strong fences and an armed house made for polite neighbors. LOL. Not so much anymore.

eric - We've sort of migrated back to that status in Texas (especially Houston) sometime ago. The cops have long ago acknowledged that they have little ability to stop a crime from happening. Just investigating and solving crimes after the fact is difficult enough with their limited resources. In these parts you're expected to protect yourself from immediare danger: either avoid such cricumastances if possibile or arm your self if you can't. I can't recall the last time I saw a report of a cop stopping a crime as it occurred. Not their fault...stretched way to thin. But I probably know a couple of dozen folks who protected themselves, a family member or their property by their direct action. A scary proposition for sure. But it's either that or be a victem.

That's why "police state" strikes me funny. At least at a local level. Heck...we can't even stop speeders. I'm one of those folks who always drives the speed limt (+ the 3 pmh buffer). I'm constantly passed by folks going way over the limit. The cops can't catch 99% of them and they're out in the open breaking the law. And folks expect these same cops to catch someone breaking into your back door at 2 AM? Police state...LOL. Other than writting a ticket I can't recall the last time I saw a cop outside of his vehicle.

I hear what you're saying quite frequently from people in all walks of life. What confuses me is that while the common perception is that we live in a crime infested society, law enforcement statistics show that crime rates have dropped to below levels we haven't seen since the 1960's.

So true shaman. Perception often rules over reality.

Sometimes, having the police on the scene doesn't turn out well either:

Gun Used to Kill Michigan Officer Stolen From Home

E. Swanson

More coming attractions?

Deficit May Open Up State Parks to Drilling

Ohio's oil and gas industry has unsuccessfully pushed for years to drill in the state's parks, forests and preserves.

But its prospects could change.

Faced with a projected $8 billion budget deficit and an estimated $560 million backlog of overdue repairs at state parks, the new director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources says he's "open" to the idea of drilling on 600,000 acres many thought were protected from exploitation.

A trillion here, a trillion there, and soon you are talking about real money. . . States warned of $2 trillion pension shortfall:


Does anyone know the total world production of C+C in December? From a (fairly) credible source? Was it higher than at the highest point in 2008?

And the same question goes but for total liquids.

I don't think anyone has published December C+C at this early a date. The IEA is just out with their Highlights of the Latest Oil Market Report.

Global oil supply fell by 0.3 mb/d to 88.1 mb/d in December, as non-OPEC output was reduced, on short-lived outages. An Alaskan pipeline leak and a fire at a Canadian oil sands upgrader also cut January output. Overall, 2010 and 2011 non-OPEC estimates are unchanged at 52.8 mb/d and 53.4 mb/d, respectively. OPEC NGLs contribute 5.3 mb/d in 2010 and 5.8 mb/d in 2011.

So no new records were set in December. The IEA says about OPEC:

OPEC supply gained 250 kb/d to reach 29.58 mb/d in December, continuing a rising trend evident since the spring. In light of stronger demand estimates for 2H10, output in 3Q10 and 4Q10 has been lagging the underlying ‘call’, which is revised up to 29.9 mb/d for 2011. OPEC effective spare capacity has nudged below 5 mb/d for the first time in two years.

However OPEC says, and I quoted in my first post up top, that their production was up only 171 kb/d and that was not a record for 2010. Thy still produced 62 thousand barrels per day less than they did in February.

But you can do the math here. They say that total liquids were down 300,000 bp/d but OPEC liquids were up 250,000 bp/d. That means they think non-OPEC liquids were down 550,000 bp/d in December. And they will be down even further in January. So look for non-OPEC production to be down close to 1 million barrels per day below the record, so far, set in October. November non-OPEC production will be very close to the record set in October.

Ron P.

"non-OPEC production to be down close to 1 million barrels per day"

Is that the edge of the cliff that we're looking at?

Naw I don't think so. Production will likely be up in February. But I do expect something to happen in 2011, some big news coming out of OPEC. It is just something that has been building in my gut for some time. Perhaps 2012 but I think perhaps it could be as early as 2011.

Ron P.


Say hello to $100 a barrel oil

Well, last week some of those exotically named crudes, such as Tapis of Indonesia, Bonny Light of Nigeria and Daqing of China, all traded above $100 a barrel.
Does it matter whether the benchmarks hit $100 a barrel?

Well, everyone loves a round number:
As Paul Horsnell, the veteran oil-watcher at Barclays Capital, argues, the critical question is whether oil prices will trade on average above $100 a barrel in 2011. Even in 2008, when WTI prices hit an all-time high of nearly $150 a barrel, average annual prices for the year stood at $99.7 a barrel. The annual average is critical as it represents the cumulative impact of very high prices on the economy.

Just as well its the average price we have to worry about not the actual price or I might be getting worried.

Just as well its the average price we have to worry about not the actual price or I might be getting worried.

And that means that if we cross $100/barrel soon and stay their for most of the year, then 2011 will actually be much worse for consumers than 2008 even if we get no where near the $147/barrel record price.

I think we are going to be seeing more of those inflation protests/riots.

IMO, the monthly and daily numbers aren't very good indicators of fundamental supply/demand factors. The "crash" in oil prices in 2009, to an average price of $62, was to a price level higher than all annual oil prices prior to 2006. And as I have noted before, the pattern we are seeing in year over year declines in oil prices, since 1998, is a doubling pattern. If the pattern holds, the next year over year price decline would bring us down to an average annual price of $120, in the context of a long term average double digit annual rate of increase in oil prices.

The value of the dollar is going down.....price of oil is not going up!

Dollar is 30% down in last year. China is worried about it too.

That is simply not the case Cool One.

U.S. Dollar Index, Weekly Chart
NYMEX Crude Oil, Weekly Chart

You can compare the charts and see that crude oil has been steadily rising for two years now while the dollar index has been up and down but has been rising for the last three months. For the week ending 11/27/09 the dollar index closed at 75.046. Last week it closed at 79.37 a gain of 5.78 percent. Oil for that week of 11/27/09 closed at $76.05. Last week Crude closed at $91.54 a gain of 20 percent.

So you see over that long term the dollar has been up and down but oil has steadily gained. Over the long haul the dollar has moved up and down with virtually no correlation to the price of oil.

But during the last three months the dollar has gone up but oil has gone up even further.

The USD Index measures the performance of the US Dollar against a basket of currencies: EUR, JPY, GBP, CAD, CHF and SEK.

Ron P.

The dollar index is not valid because it measures against other fiat currencies.
I measure the value of the dollar in real tangible terms - like how much gold it will buy.
In 1930, $20 would buy an ounce of gold. Today it takes $1390, or about 70X from 1930.
A tremendous loss of value.

But just picking gold as your standard is just picking another arbitrary thing. And gold is likely in a bubble right now too. You can't swing a dead cat without hitting someone hawking gold. AM radio transmitters are powered by people pushing gold. Chris Martenson pushing gold, Glenn Beck pushing gold, Jim Pupulva pushing gold . . . even Rachel Maddow has hawked gold. There are so many gold-pushers out in the media that it could easily be in bubble mode. It can surely go higher . . . but it could crash too. I don't know where it will go but I certainly don't think that gold is any solid yardstick for value right now.

You need to make comparisons against a broad range of things for a more meaningful comparison rather than just one commodity that is

Well.... the $Canadian has appreciated from about US$0.82 to US$1.01+ in about two years.... $Australian, Yen, Remnibi, .....

The dollar index is not valid because it measures against other fiat currencies.

Ahhh but now you are changing your argument. You said the dollar had gone down and the price of oil is not going up! But the price of oil is going up according to all measures, even gold.

Comex Gold Weekly Price Chart.

Gold closed the week ending 10/15/10 at $1371.1 but closed last week at $1360.4, down $10.70.
Crude closed the week ending 10/15/10 at $80.75 but closed last week at $91.54, up $10.79.

So by any measure, fiat currency or gold, oil has gone up in recent months, either against gold or all so-called fiat currencies.

Why is it impossible for some people to simply say I wuz wrong! ??? But now I suppose you will say: "But I meant since 1930, not in the last three months."

Also... the dollar index is valid because it is the most used currency in the world. And every nation uses some form of currency. No one uses gold as a currency. Gold is just another traded precious metal commodity.

Ron P.

The Trans Alaska Pipeline System restarted at 10:18 a.m.


According to this, and some other energy news sources, output is about 12% of normal. However all indications are that they intend to bring up output gradually over a period of days, and no one associated with the pipeline has said there was any permanent harm to the pipeline or oil fields.

During the shutdown, oil producers on the North Slope were asked to reduce production to 24 percent and then 16 percent of normal. Earlier today they scaled back further, to 12 percent. All crude oil was routed to two tanks at the pump station.



...all indications are that they intend to bring up output gradually over a period of days, and no one associated with the pipeline has said there was any permanent harm to the pipeline or oil fields.

From what I have heard, the plan is to ramp up to a rate ~500,000 bbls/day over the next 24 hours. Alyeska will no doubt be closely watching for any problems anywhere along the line, and the various field operators will do the same.

From what I have heard, the plan is to ramp up to a rate ~500,000 bbls/day over the next 24 hours.

Good news, for once! At least we needn't fear them getting forced into a winter cold start regime. Hopefully its not premature to toast a job well done.

Highlights from the Unified Command Pump Station 1 incident page on January 17:

"...By 4:00 p.m. the level of throughput in the pipeline had gradually increased to above 500,000 barrels a day, and the flow rate will continue to rise this evening until it reaches normal levels."


"..at 2:50 p.m. APSC allowed North Slope producers to return to 100% production levels, after having been restricted to levels as low as 12%. Storage tanks at the pump station reached the 36-foot level before oil began to be reintroduced into the pipeline; the normal maximum operating level is 42 feet."


"FLIR overflights are planned to continue on a nightly basis."

Overall, sounds good. A damn fine response by Alyeska IMHO!

Sener, Engineering company from Spanish Basque land, builds two Thermal Solar Power Stations in Abu Dhabi, 460 Million euros contract.
Sener & Masdar, Warning! Article in Spanish

Sener has 20 engineering projects in the world, for a total of 6 billion euros. Sener and Masdar have projects for 940 million euros, among them a 17 MW Thermal Solar Power Plant in Sevilla, (Torresol) operational this Spring. The two towers in Abu Dhabi will be 50 MW each.
They will be operational 15 hours a day and even at night using stored heat.

In the 70's when the Oil shock threatened Europe and the World many countries started research into solar energy but later lost interest when cheap oil again was available.
Spain kept its research at the Solar Center in Almeria; often the scientists and engineers had their jobs hanging from a thread but persistence paid off and now several companies are making good on this accumulation of knowledge and expertise.
Sener has an office in Masdar city, with 30 engineers working on projects for the Gulf Emirates.

I have a feeling that the construction of these power plants has a lot more to do with massive government subsidies then the persistence of scientists and engineers (unless they were persisting in lobbying for subsidies).

Solar thermal does have a lot of potential, particularly in sunny countries, so I may well be wrong. I can't read the linked Spanish page.

But I do wince at triumphant press releases hailing the construction of fairly basic but expensive power plants (or other energy systems). Without price information, there is no way to tell if projects like this are good or bad. Give me a big enough feed in tariff and I'll build one for you too.

Indeed, the generation of electricity in Spain is a nightmare. The price increased 9.8% last month and probably won't be the last this year. They have to budget for investments and costs that were not translated into the price -for political reasons- and now that the government is broke they put the price up.

What with Hydroelectric, decommissioning of Nuclear Power stations, Nuclear cemeteries, Wind Power, Solar Power, Photovoltaic Power (they had their subsidies cut, and now hundreds of small businesses sue the government: they lost their pork!), subsidized coal mines (a very important political subject in the North of Spain), imported cheap coal, Gas from Algeria, Oil, possible Electric Vehicles, High Speed Electric Trains and what not, now Electrical Engineers and technicians in Spain are in great demand.

Still, that a country better known for the export of tomatoes and hams and flamenco dancers now builds Solar Power Towers in Arabia is no mean feat.

This is a map of recharging stations for EVs, it will show different views dependent on your location.
If you navigate the map to Spain you'll find lots of recharging stations, although I understand the number of EVs sold are in tens, not even hundreds.
They are building the infrastructure, I reckon the EVs will follow.
Nice in London according to Electromaps.

For the more technically aggressive low-cost case, S&L found the National Laboratories’ “SunLab” methodology and analysis to be credible. The projections by SunLab, developed in conjunction with industry, are considered by S&L to represent a “best-case analysis” in which the technology is optimized and a high deployment rate is achieved. The two sets of estimates, by SunLab and S&L, provide a band within which the costs can be expected to fall. The figure and table below highlight these results, with initial electricity costs in the range of 10 to 12.6 ¢/kWh and eventually achieving costs in the range of 3.5 to 6.2 ¢/kWh. The specific values will depend on total capacity of various technologies deployed and the extent of R&D program success.

Assessment of Parabolic Trough and Power Tower Solar Technology Cost and Performance Forecasts - Sargent & Lundy LLC Consulting Group Chicago, Illinois


In particular, checkout the graph at top on page 15.

Sorry, I ought to have added this link to the company.

From Oklahoma landowners challenge TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline, above:

TransCanada’s Mr. Cunha said the company has expropriated land for pipeline routes before in the United States, but does so as a last resort. He said the industry resorts to seizing land through eminent domain in 10 per cent of cases, while TransCanada has used the practice in just 2 per cent of its negotiations with landowners.

The idea that a Canadian company can use eminent domain to expropriate private property in the US hadn't occured to me before. Is this a NAFTA thing? Can/Do US companies do this in Canada?

“My objection is that a foreign company has no right to condemn our property, come in and take what they want, where it does not benefit us or our neighbours,” Ms. Kelso said in an interview Monday. “It only benefits them and their investors. It is for their gain – it is not helping me at all.”

It seems the idea that the needs of the many outweigh the rights of the few has no borders, even when it's a private corporation doing the deed. I suppose US companies have been doing this all over the world for decades, so who am I to complain.

I've worked hard to keep my properties free from easements and rights-of-way. Both the general and specific agreements that the local electric utility has tried to get me to sign gave them the right to lease those easements to anyone, for virtually any purpose. Have you read yours?

Being off-grid has its advantages.

It wouldn't be a Canadian company trying to get a right of way across their property, it would be their US subsidiary, TransCanada Keystone Pipelines LP. In fact, ConocoPhillips used to own a share of the project, but dropped out last year.

I don't know much about Oklahoma law, but considering there are hundreds of pipelines criss-crossing the state, I don't think this is a new idea. Somebody must have tried it before, and in all probability been slapped down in court.

The use of eminent domain to get a right-of-way seems to be unique to the US. In Canada the company would try to negotiate an easement for a right-of-way, and if that failed, they would apply to the government for for a right-of-entry order. You could always file an objection, but you'd only have 10 days to do so. Unless your objections were really good, the government would grant the order, the company would come on the land, build their pipeline, and leave. You'd still own the land, but there would be a pipeline under it.

It's pretty much impossible to avoid easements on a property. If you have water, sewer, electricity, natural gas, or telephone service, you've got easements by the utility companies.

"It's pretty much impossible to avoid easements on a property. If you have water, sewer, electricity, natural gas, or telephone service, you've got easements by the utility companies."

Since I don't have utilities, I have no easements except the one out on the State right-of-way. Telephone didn't require one. Also, in most states one can blackline items in an easement, making it specific to the job. I made the one on the State ROW only for providing power to my sister's property, within 25' from the state road centerline, unusable for anything else. If they want to use that land for anything else, they'll need another easement. The power company didn't like it, but had to admit it was legal. They're used to getting their way because most people don't understand their rights. BEWARE GENERAL EASEMENTS AND RIGHTS-OF-WAY!

Pumped Storage Qattara Depression Solar Hydroelectric Power Generation
An interesting idea to use nuclear energy to pump water from the Mediterranean to a storage reservoir on the northern rim of the Qattara Depression and then generate electrical power by draining the stored water down into the Qattara Depression, taking advantage of the relatively greater head into the depression.

If it takes ten minutes after you hit the brakes for the plane to stop then you had better land fifteen minutes before the end of the runway.


Has the supposed Weyburn CO2 leak been discussed here yet? I know it's too early to tell, but there's troubling anecdotal evidence that the storage aspect of the EOR may not be working as well as planned.


Whoops. Guess I should have read the link that I posted. A lot more nuanced than the initial reports that came over the TV.

From the land where it's so cold they heat the city's drinking water so that it won't freeze...

Yellowknife hot for geothermal proposal

As far as heating solutions go, running water through an old mine is a bit out of the ordinary.

Then again, the cold in Yellowknife isn't exactly ordinary, either. Every year, about $114 million is spent on energy to fight off the bitter cold in the capital of the Northwest Territories, where temperatures can dip below -40 C in the winter.

Yellowknife's main heating solution is heating oil, and with the way petroleum costs have looked in recent years, many are thinking there must be a better way.


All told, moving to geothermal could reduce Yellowknife's fuel oil use by around 7 million litres annually – cutting the city's greenhouse gas emissions by around 17,000 tonnes every year.

See: http://www.canadianbusinessjournal.ca/business_news/canadian_business_ne...


Nigeria attack 'imminent'

Nigerian militants are preparing to imminently attack downstream facilities, including fuel transport vehicles, according to a statement issued midday to journalists by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend).

“Mend will soon commence a ferocious attack on the downstream oil sector of the Nigerian oil industry,” the militant group said.

A Mend spokesman urged the “immediate evacuation of staff and residents in close proximity to depots storing petroleum products such as aviation fuel, diesel, kerosene, petrol, propane gas and engine oil”.

“Anyone who chooses to ignore this warning does so at their own peril.”


Opec members seen lifting oil output

The Opec oil cartel is quietly increasing its production as oil prices flirt with $100 a barrel, the western countries’ oil watchdog said on Tuesday.
“There appears to be tacit recognition by some producers of a need to adjust actual production levels to try to take some of the steam out of the market,” the IEA said in its monthly oil market report.

The agency said that Saudi Arabia “has been making more crude available to the market”, putting the country’s output last month at 8.6m barrels a day, well above most market watchers’ estimates.

“Preliminary market data indicate that the kingdom is on track to increase production again in January,” it said.
The IEA lifted its 2011 oil demand growth forecast by nearly 100,000 b/d to 1.4m b/d.

“Interestingly, such demand strength appears to be more related to a buoyant economic recovery than to the frigid weather conditions that prevailed in most of the northern hemisphere in late 2010,” the IEA said.
The IEA left its forecast for non-Opec supply growth unchanged at strong annual increase of 1.1m b/d last year and a milder increase of 0.6m b/d for this year.

Any one know the impact of internal consumption on these 'increases'?


Commodities daily: Oil bulls beware

True, Tehran is happier than, let’s say, Saudi Arabia or Kuwait with oil prices above $100 a barrel. True, too, Tehran is likely to resist calls for an emergency meeting. But Saudi Arabia and its allies Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have long demonstrated that they are ready to act alone if necessary to stop a big price spike. Riyadh has already increased its oil production over the past three months by 100,000 barrels a day and there are signs of more oil arriving this month.

Is any of this oil reaching the export market?

OPEC to Cut Loadings as Asian Demand Slows, Oil Movements Says

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will reduce crude loadings this month, partly as demand from Asia slows, according to tanker-tracker Oil Movements.

Shipments will drop 0.9 percent to 23.51 million barrels a day in the four weeks to Jan. 29 from 23.72 million barrels in the period to Jan. 1, Oil Movements said today in a report. The data exclude Ecuador and Angola.

“Loadings to the East were at an almost unsustainable level in December, way above the annual and monthly averages,” Roy Mason, Oil Movements’ founder, said today by telephone from Halifax, England. “They’ve come off a bit since then.”

Saudi production in December, according to their "secondary sources" was 8,301,000 barrels per day. That was 62 kb/d above their November production and 116 kb/d above their average for the 11 previous months of 2010.

However according tanker trackers OPEC to cut supplies in January by most since August 2010

Oil Movements said that shipments will drop 1.3% to 23.6 million barrels a day in the four weeks to January 22nd 2011 from 23.91 million barrels in the period to December 25th 2010. It is the biggest decline since a 1.8% fall during the four weeks to August 28th 2010. The data exclude Ecuador and Angola.

So I don't know what to expect but watching the Baltic Dirty Tanker Index we find rates lower than they have been in months. Since December 21st they have dropped from 10.79 to 7.06, a drop of 35 percent. So I think we have strong reasons to believe that OPEC production will be down in January.

Ron P.

Riyadh has already increased its oil production over the past three months by 100,000 barrels a day and there are signs of more oil arriving this month.

But no mention of the two billion barrel plus cumulative shortfall, between what the Saudis would have net exported at their 2005 rate and what they actually net exported.

Regarding China and high-speed rail...

I questioned why it was that people were not only not moving from ordinary to high-speed, but also moving down the service ladder to buses. I commented that rising ticket prices of ordinary rail service could be to blame. Well, this article suggests that ordinary rail service is dwindling; ie. supply is down.

Faster but more costly, high-speed train sparks controversy before peak travel season

At the same time, the number of ordinary trains in service has dwindled.

"Before 2010, about dozens of ordinary trains shuttled between Hangzhou and Nanchang," said Liu Weidong, the migrant worker.

"After four pairs of CRH trains were put into service, however, only ten ordinary train services are still available, making it harder to get cheaper train tickets."

The situation is similar elsewhere. A high-speed train service between Shanghai and Jiangsu province started operating on July 1 last year. Meanwhile, 25 express trains between Shanghai and Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu, ceased operations.

China already has a traffic problem which is why they wanted to get some of the cargo trucks off the road. Now it seems they will just swap cargo truck traffic with passenger bus traffic. 0 net reduction in both energy usage and traffic? Looks like government subsidies are being offered as a possible solution.

Also, columnist Xin Haiguang suggested that government provide subsidies to the railway system to reduce ticket prices.

"To some extent, the railways in China are linked to the public interests and we shouldn't solely pursue commercial profits," he said.

Good luck with that in the US.

Rising gas prices bring spending trade-offs

Rising gas prices bring spending trade-offs
Americans watch their budgets and start to make trade-offs to pay higher gas pump prices

Americans are starting to watch their spending more carefully as gasoline prices reach levels not seen since October 2008.

Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial, says Thursday's government report on retail sales indicates that consumers are skipping a restaurant meal or a movie because they have to spend more to drive.

Swonk estimates gasoline prices are affecting the spending habits of more than half of U.S. drivers. The national average for a gallon of regular hit $3.10 on Monday, according to AAA, Wright Express and the Oil Price Information Service. That's about 12 cents more than a month ago and 42 cents more than on Labor Day.

Motorists in some states -- including Oregon, California, Washington and New York -- are paying from $3.20 to $3.71 a gallon or more. The average price in those states could top $4 a gallon by spring.

For every penny the price at the pump increases, it costs consumers overall an additional $4 million, according to Cameron Hanover analyst Peter Beutel. If the price goes up a dime, it means consumers pay $40 million more each day that 10-cent hike is in place.

This demand destruction will cause economic harm. But if you put it into your CERA-happy-talk-translator . . . it means "Yeah! Peak demand! Oil shortages are not a problem because our demand has peaked!"

According to Upstream online.com today, Brent closed at 1601 GMT at $98.97.

Fictitious “facts” spur students to liquidate the planet

Forgive me if this Energy Bulletin post has been discussed already.

The writer tries to criticize the implicit teaching in basic business courses that it will all work out fine if business majors (MBAs) simply convince consumers to keep consuming more and more stuff.

More stuff= more sales =greater profits =growth of business =bonus at year's end. Yippee!

They had a wild econ. zinger on All Things Considered or Marketplace (NPR) tonight, while talking about how inconsequential Tariffs have become, particularly since 'There's not enough being manufactured here to protect with Tariffs anyhow..' I think it was about how China gets a credit and the US a trade deficit with each I-phone, even though many components are made here.. they just get assembled in China.

But man! There was no hint that they might have been confusing the cause with the effect.

Mission Accomplished! Now what?

'There's not enough being manufactured here to protect with Tariffs anyhow..'

Considering the the U.S. remains the single largest manufacturer in the world, this statement certainly seems idiotic.

As the price of domestic oil soars 60 per cent, we reveal how to outwit the profiteers

This winter is the most expensive ever for the 1.5 million households who rely on oil to heat their homes, with a leap of 60 per cent from 45p a litre to 72p during the December blizzards.

The surge was blamed by suppliers on rising oil prices and delivery costs as drivers struggled through the snow.

Many consumers suspected blatant profiteering, and have called on the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to investigate. Prices of domestic oil have since fallen to about 70p a litre.

See: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/property/article-1348342/As-price-domestic-oi...

Profiteers, eh? Oh my, what nasty folks they are.

Perhaps the owners of five-bedroom, 16th Century draughty farmhouses might also consider improving the thermal efficiency of their homes.


...or rethink our miserable excuse for a traffic control "system" in our urban areas, now based on the extensive deployment of "stoplights" with up to 4 different cycle periods including allowing for left turns (which should be banned).

I'd junk the whole concept and go for a clock timed system (10 min N-S followed by 10 minutes E-W flow). It would include one-way flow on the wider avenues, with NO parking at curb. On the wider (6 lane) avenues, the center lanes could travel up to 50 mph, while the curb lanes would be limited to 20 mph, with "turnouts" for loading and unloading passengers. There are plenty of nearly vacant strip malls for this now.

Those who aren't moving in the allowed direction could get out of their cars and do their text messaging, etc.

Someone should do some "modeling" to perfect this idea.