Drumbeat: January 22, 2011

OPEC poised to dominate global energy markets

The OPEC domination of the global energy markets is set to grow, says BP in its just released BP Energy Outlook, and it made headlines all over the globe, sending shivers through some spines. The outlook underlined that world is entering an era of OPEC dominance over the markets.

BP’s forecast shows that over the next 20 years OPEC will become as powerful as it was in its golden years in the 70’s — in the immediate aftermath of the 1973 Arab oil embargo. BP Energy Outlook 2030 predicts that the OPEC would see its market share rise to 46 per cent from the current 40 percent, over the coming two decades — “a position not seen since 1977.”

With 75 percent of growth in global oil reserves over the next two decades, to come from OPEC nations, Kuwait, Iran, Angola, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Nigeria, its market share is bound to go up.

How will Canada play the oil card in U.S.-China economic world?

“Canada’s petro-wealth will be the envy of the world,” said one panelist, economist and author Jeff Rubin. “Triple-digit oil prices will take the Canadian dollar to record levels.”

“We’ll see Middle East-type wealth flow to the area,” he also predicted to the audience of bankers and commodities traders.

US Envoy: Pipeline May Help Build Peace between India, Pakistan

The US has backed the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project, highlighting its potential as a critical employment and revenue spinner in war-ravaged Afghanistan, a source of clean energy for India's fast-growing economy and a possible catalyst for peace between India and Pakistan.

Speaking at Rice University in Houston, Texas, US assistant secretary of state for south and central Asia Robert Blake said the pipeline would also boost connectivity between oil and gas-rich Central Asia and energy-deficient South Asia.

Mexico Shuts Two Oil Export Terminals in the Gulf

Petroleos Mexicanos, Latin America’s largest crude producer, closed two oil export terminals in the Gulf of Mexico because of inclement weather.

The company’s terminals at the port of Cayo Arcas and Dos Bocas were closed today, according to a weather bulletin posted on the website of Mexico’s Merchant Marine. The port of Coatzacoalcos remained opened, the agency said.

Diesel shortage hits Harare

LONG queues have resurfaced in Harare as a shortage of diesel threatens to cripple business operations in the country.

Motorists waited patiently in meandering queues stretching two kilometres in places for a chance to be served at the few filling stations that still had diesel in Harare on Saturday.

Penn State Prof Previews Marcellus Legislative Initiatives

Development of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale was a hot topic in the last legislative session, but the General Assembly produced few new or amended laws to show for their attention to the growing industry, a Penn State law professor said during an online educational seminar on Thursday.

Lawmakers Express Frustration over AGIA

Top legislators are expressing frustration with continuing to give multi-million-dollar state subsidies to a natural gas pipeline project to the Lower 48 that they don't believe is going to work.

W.Va. Gas Production May Set Record This Year - Execs

Natural gas production in West Virginia is expected to set a record in West Virginia next year -- mostly because of expanded drilling in the Marcellus shale formation, gas company executives said Thursday.

West Virginia's natural gas production peaked in the 1970s, then declined or leveled off over the next 35 years. However, production has increased 25 percent during the past five years, said John Mork, president and CEO of Energy Corporation of America, which has a regional office in Charleston.

Range Appeals EPA Order on Gas Wells

Range Resources is appealing an order issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that says the Fort Worth-based natural gas producer "caused or contributed to" methane contamination of two residential water wells in the Silverado subdivision in far south Parker County, Texas.

Flashback: As EPA Approves E15, Remember the Media's Infatuation with Ethanol

Consumers beware, the Environmental Protection Agency is "poised to approve higher levels of corn-based ethanol in gasoline." Since drivers have already experienced the pain of higher gas prices as well as witnessed global food riots because of ethanol, there is reason for concern about the EPA's latest move.

If Britain Starts Fuel Rationing, Could US Be Next?

Gas rationing almost came to the US during the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo. Could we see it in the future? And would that be so bad?

Technical gains opening paths to locked-away gas

Multinational oil companies are now offering technology aimed at helping their international partners achieve energy security objectives, even in Gulf states blessed with huge oil reserves. In one of the region's greatest ironies, every Arab Gulf oil exporter except Qatar is experiencing difficulty providing sufficient domestic power supplies, largely because of insufficient gas production. ExxonMobil, for one, is ready to help with a suite of advanced technologies for finding and exploiting challenging gas deposits.

Crude Fluctuates Amid Gain in European Confidence, Chinese Rate Concern

Crude oil fell in New York for a fourth day, the longest negative stretch in nine weeks, on rising U.S. stockpiles and speculation China will increase interest rates to curb inflation.

Oil dropped 0.5 percent after the Energy Department said that U.S. crude and fuel supplies rose last week. Prices climbed earlier as German business confidence unexpectedly climbed to a record in January amid booming exports to Asia and French business confidence surged.

“There were a lot of people betting on $100 oil, but it looks like they were a little optimistic,” said Kyle Cooper, director of research for IAF Advisors in Houston. “Oil at $90 is actually looking a little high, given that inventories are in pretty good shape and demand isn’t that great.”

Fuel 'could rise' to £8 a gallon

Increased taxes and rising crude oil prices could soon push the price of fuel to as much as £8 a gallon, a motoring group has warned.

Energy minister Charles Hendry demands OFT inquiry into heating oil market

Rising prices and delivery problems with domestic heating oil and gas have led Charles Hendry, the energy minister, to call for an immediate Office of Fair Trading (OFT) inquiry into the fuels' market.

Sinopec refines 13% more crude oil in 2010

BEIJING - China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (Sinopec), the nation's largest oil refiner, said on Friday that it processed 211 million tons of crude oil in 2010, up 13.2 percent year-on-year.

The company produced 10.5 percent more diesel and 19.54 percent more kerosene to cope with the surging demand.

Rates, Demographics & Commodities

HAI: You put agriculture as your first choice, but many people would have said oil, energy, because of the Peak Oil idea.

Scotty George: Broaden the category to basic materials. I think if you look at the market in the 11 traditional S&P sectors, or the eight which we measure, you're going to call them basic materials, tangible assets, depleting natural resources. There's no question that we have exposure, currently, to energy in both coal and traditional fossil fuels. But how long can those trends run, in the short run, before money, even within the sector, begins to look at other ideas?

Quebec government reverses stand on shale gas

LAC BEAUPORT — After months of assurances that shale gas development is safe — including a suggestion that cows give off more greenhouse gas than shale gas wells — the Charest government reversed its position on Friday.

"The industry is not in control of the situation," Environment Minister Pierre Arcand told reporters Friday, adding he is "extremely concerned."

Train shipments of crude oil in U.S. surge thanks to shale oil output

Train shipments of crude oil have surged to the highest level in more than three years as output from shale oil deposits in North Dakota and Texas rises faster than pipelines can be built.

Reliance Industries Profit Misses Analyst Estimates After Lower Gas Output

Reliance Industries Ltd., India’s biggest company by market value, posted an increase in third- quarter profit that missed analysts’ estimates after natural gas production fell.

Aramco to shut Yanbu refinery in Feb for maintenance

(Reuters) - State oil giant Saudi Aramco plans to shut its 235,000 barrel-per-day Yanbu refinery in February and early May for scheduled maintenance, the firm said in a statement on Saturday.

The crude refinery, on the Red Sea coast of the world's top oil exporter, would be offline for 39 days from Feb. 1 to March 11, Aramco said in the statement carried by the state news agency SPA.

Oil traders indicted in alleged kickback scheme

HOUSTON, (Reuters) - A former employee at LyondellBasell Industries and two international oil traders have been indicted in an alleged multimillion-dollar kickback scheme, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced in a news release Friday.

Size Matters for Gulf of Mexico Drillers in Post-Macondo World of Mergers

Two years ago, Seahawk Drilling Inc. was plotting to expand its fleet of rigs worldwide. Now the Houston-based company may sell itself after BP Plc’s well explosion in the Gulf of Mexico thrust the industry into regulatory limbo.

No Sign They Get It

The final report from the presidential commission investigating the gulf oil spill rightly warns that government regulation alone can’t prevent another such disaster. The blowout reflected industrywide weaknesses, not just BP’s, it said. And what is needed is a “fundamental transformation” of industry practices putting a far higher premium on safety.

Saudi king arrives in Morocco after surgery in US

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's elderly King Abdullah arrived in Morocco on Saturday to convalesce after spending almost two months in New York for medical treatment, Saudi state media said.

The official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said Abdullah, aged about 87, arrived in Casablanca where he often spends holidays, but gave no date for when he would return to the kingdom.

Malaysian navy foils hijack attempt off Oman

(Reuters) - Malaysian navy commandos foiled an attempted hijacking of a Malaysian-owned ship by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden, rescuing 23 crew members and detaining seven pirates, military officials said.

Chesapeake Energy: What’s Up With These Lawsuits?

Most of the plaintiffs are landowners in Texas and Michigan who agreed to lease their land to Chesapeake (often at prices more than $5,000 an acre) for oil and gas exploration. They signed contracts with Chesapeake, or one of its agents and received orders for payment in amounts totaling millions of dollars. So imagine their surprise when a few weeks later instead of getting cash the landowners instead got letters from Chesapeake claiming to void the leases and stating “we will not be funding the order of payment.” Try doing that with your landlord sometime and see what happens.

Russia ready to invest $500 million in Central Asian electricity project

Russian state-controlled power trader Inter RAO is ready to invest $500 million in a project to supply electricity to Afghanistan, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Friday during a meeting with Afghan leader Hamid Karzai.

Kirkuk reconnects to Iraq power grid after row

KIRKUK, Iraq: Iraq’s Kirkuk Province resumed power supplies to the national grid Friday, after a deal that ended a dispute this week over electricity provision.

The oil-rich northern province that produces more electricity than it is allocated, announced Monday it would stop supplying power to the national network, a decision it implemented a day later.

‘China renews Iran oil deal with steady volume’

BEIJING: China, the world’s largest buyer of Iranian crude oil, has renewed its annual import pacts for 2011, keeping volumes steady at some 460,000 barrels per day (bpd), two sources told Reuters.

China’s commitment to keep volumes firm comes as six world powers prepare to persuade Iran to rein in its nuclear programme at talks on Friday, although there is little expectation of a major breakthrough.

Clean energy needs cash to grow

Heads of state and corporate chiefs who converged in Abu Dhabi last week for the World Future Energy Summit repeated one question: where's the money?

The renewable energy and power efficiency initiatives many agree can help the world avoid the worst effects of climate change require funding - but money invested in fossil fuels continues to outstrip that spent on low-carbon alternatives.

Clean Energy Deals May Come From Strategic Backers, Bankers Say

Large companies that have already made small, strategic investments in renewable energy startups may soon start buying them outright, according to investment bankers.

The promise of solar power, made a century ago

Try this at home. Take a shallow tin pan, paint it matte black on the inside, insulate the bottom and sides as best you can - try cotton wool - and pour in a small amount of water. Cover it with a pane of glass, put it outside in direct sunlight and, presto, the water will boil and give off steam.

Congratulations. You have just saved the planet - and, perhaps, solved the UAE's power problems.

Greece's PPC Seeks Strategic Partner for Solar-Energy, $810 Million Plant

Public Power Corp SA, Greece’s biggest electricity producer, plans an international tender for a strategic partner for renewable energy investments, starting with the world’s biggest solar project.

U.S. Geothermal and Enbridge may partner again

(Reuters) - U.S. Geothermal Inc is in talks with Canada's Enbridge Inc about a second equity investment in one of the company's geothermal power plants, Chief Executive Dan Kunz said in an interview.

Entergy again finds tritium at Vermont Yankee

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Radioactive tritium has been found in a water sample from a monitoring well at Entergy Corp's Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, the company said on Friday, a year after the isotope was identifed in a leak at the facility.

"This week Vermont Yankee received positive indications for tritium in a previously unaffected monitoring well located about 150 feet to the north of the area affected by the leak that was identified in January 2010," plant spokesman Larry Smith said in an email.

The Conversation We Should Be Having

But however skeptical I may be about Hofmeister's political pathway, he does offer a very different explanation for why the current political dynamic in Washington will be turned on its head and a technocratic, centralized-planning approach to energy will be adopted. He concedes that previous short-term fuel shortages and price-spikes have not changed business as usual -- the system has bounced back into its usual pattern. His argument for why the next decade will be different is not founded on peak oil, limited global fuel supplies, or simple spikes in prices -- although he is very worried about energy affordability. Hofmeister argues that four decades of massive under-investment in the entire infrastructure of the energy system -- power plants, coal, gas and oil fields, transmission, pipelines, mass transit, highways, railroads -- will produce a crisis not of fuel prices, but of absolute supply shortages. All aspects of the energy system will simply break down, forcing the government to adopt rationing to keep the lights on and the wheels rolling. It is the presence of systemic, long-term, and difficult to resolve energy-access shortages that he is counting on to convert the politics of energy from a market-based, decentralized, unplanned set of fiefdoms into a centrally planned, long-range government-driven sector.

The Future Is Becoming More Clear -- Abandon Sprawl, Intensify Use of High Speed Rail and Return to Urban Life, Like the US Was in the '20s

Crippled by economic depression and environmental catastrophe, the American dream is dead in the water. And with peak oil hot on its hyperconsuming heels, America is looking for solutions, and it may have found a good one in the form of an ambitious national high-speed rail network that would connect its metropoles and mid-size cities together in green solidarity. Better late than never.

The Wigg Party: Building Community to Create a Sustainable Wiggle

One link in the global movement for localization and environmental sustainability is taking shape in the form of a growing community in one of San Francisco’s increasingly treasured natural valleys: The Wiggle. Morgan Fitzgibbons and Clint Womack co-founded The Wigg Party in early 2010 to address on a local level planetary crises such as peak oil and climate change.

Women and the Arts Will Mostly Likely Change the World

Kurt Cobb wrote his new suspense novel about peak oil, Prelude, for women readers because they are the ones who generally make decisions about the household.

"If the women of the world think an issue is important, most of the people will follow," said Cobb.

A Stubborn Link Between Jobs and Traffic Jams

A new report shows that traffic congestion and resulting fuel waste declined when unemployment rose to 9.3 percent in 2009.

In New N.Y.U. Plant, a Collateral Carbon Benefit

People concerned about global warming talk about how to force generators of heat-trapping gases to shoulder the expense of cutting their emissions. But some cuts come easy, at no cost beyond spending that was planned anyway for other purposes.

New York University, for example, is in the final phases of opening a power plant that provides electricity for its lights, elevators and computers and steam for heating and cooling water. The new plant is nearly 90 percent efficient, meaning it gets almost three times as much useful energy out of a unit of fuel as a typical utility power plant does. And its carbon dioxide output is 23 percent smaller than that of N.Y.U.’s old system.

A Carbon Storage Leak? Not So Fast, Experts Caution

Scientists also questioned the conclusion that the type of leakage allegedly occurring on the Kerrs’ property — even if it were confirmed — undermined the case for carbon capture and storage as a climate-change solution.

“That’s ridiculous — people have been saying from the beginning that there are things that could go wrong of this nature,” Dr. Benson said. “This is nothing radically out of the range of expectations.”

Tropical storms hit production of rice in Philippines

Manila: Climate change which has shortened the distance between the occurrence of El Nino (drought) and La Nina (continuous rains) have imperilled already scant Philippine rice production in 2010, a trend which is expected to continue in 2011, the department of agriculture said in a statement.

This could be remedied only by higher rice importation to avoid a shortage.

For Many Species, No Escape as Temperature Rises

In response to warming, animals classically move to cooler ground, relocating either higher up in altitude or farther toward the poles. But in the tropics, animals have to move hundreds of miles north or south to find a different niche. Mountain species face even starker limitations: As they climb upward they find themselves competing for less and less space on the conical peaks, where they run into uninhabitable rocks or a lack of their usual foods — or have nowhere farther to go.

Plants' global warming dilemma: climb to escape heat or stoop for water?

For years researchers have watched plants and animals migrate to cooler quarters in response to global warming. But a new study suggests some plants are moving downhill, drawn by increased precipitation.

New Melt Record for Greenland Ice Sheet; 'Exceptional' Season Stretched Up to 50 Days Longer Than Average

"This past melt season was exceptional, with melting in some areas stretching up to 50 days longer than average," said Dr. Marco Tedesco, director of the Cryospheric Processes Laboratory at The City College of New York (CCNY -- CUNY), who is leading a project studying variables that affect ice sheet melting.

"Melting in 2010 started exceptionally early at the end of April and ended quite late in mid- September."

Re: Train shipments of crude oil in U.S. surge thanks to shale oil output, up top:

Hamm, 64, chairman and chief executive officer of Continental Resources Inc., said the formations in North Dakota and Montana hold about 20 billion barrels of recoverable crude, or about five times the amount previously estimated by federal geologists. The formations also hold the natural gas equivalent of 4 billion barrels of oil, he said.


...formations in North Dakota and Montana hold about 20 billion barrels of recoverable crude, or about five times the amount previously estimated by federal geologists. The formations also hold the natural gas equivalent of 4 billion barrels of oil....

Burn it. Burn it all!

At a very early stage, humans were mostly scavengers, coming in after the larger, fiercer animals had stopped licking the bones. We learned that by splitting the bones, we could access the marrow, a great source of energy.

This instinct, to break through to the marrow, is fundamental to our deepest consciousness, and manifests itself in breaking the atom and tapping the oil and other ff sources of the earth.

Another early defining development for humans was the use and control of fire. Through cooking, this again broke down otherwise un-digestible plants and animal parts and yielded their energy, beyond of course providing direct warming energy, and energy to clear ground rapidly.

Oil and ff extraction and use combines both of these primal, definitional drives.

So yes, we will most likely burn it all, frying the planet in the process.

On another note, did I miss the commentary on the newest in The Nation's series on Peak Oil and CC? Stoneleigh/Foss says make your preps now if you haven't already.


[edit: again, apologies if this was discussed here already, but if not, it seems strange that a site that for years has been filled with bitching and moaning about the mainstream press ignoring this issue now itself ignores (at least past the first announcement of the series) an entire series of prominent speakers on the issue put out by the oldest magazine in the country. What gives?]

I've featured those videos at the top of the Drumbeat each day they were released. And yes, they have been discussed here. The videos come out on Wednesday, so you should check the Wednesday DrumBeats if you're interested.

Sorry. I guess I get a bit busy in the middle of the week and missed them. Thanks.

That's a great investment advertisement. Looks like an article.

Yair...Could anyone explain how long that twenty billion barrels would run the US...and over what period of time would that oil be produced?


Before the recession the US used just over 7 billion barrels per year, now they use in the neighborhood of 6.6 billion barrels per year, so 20 billion barrels would last about 3 years.

Over what period would it be extracted? That depends on how many wells they drill. If they pulled it out at a rate of half a million barrels per day then that would be a reserves to production ratio of about 22. That means 22 years if you could hold extraction at that rate. But of course a field never produces late in its lifetime like it produced at its peak. Production would taper off with a long tail.

But don't count on there really being 20 billion barrels of recoverable oil there. That is five times the original estimate. That estimate may be low but this estimate is also probably quite high.

Ron P.

Quite right, Ron. And, in total context, today we are producing about 500 MB/D of crude oil per week, worldwide. So, 40 weeks at present levels of consumption, and it's gone. And, like you said, that is 20 BBL in place, not recoverable. So, more like 24 weeks?

Not saying that we don't need it. It's just that our use is so high, and for what? It is time to triage! If it is not done through governmental intervention, the easy way, it will be done through economic means, the hard way.

My bet is we wind up doing it the hard way.


And, like you said, that is 20 BBL in place, not recoverable.

no, hamm is claiming 20gb recoverable.

the formations in North Dakota and Montana hold about 20 billion barrels of recoverable crude,

the usgs estimate of 4 gb technically recoverable is still questionable.

The definition of proven oil reserves is oil that is known to exist, and can be produced under current economic conditions, using existing technology.

The 20 billion barrels is oil that can only be produced under economic conditions that do not exist yet, using technology that we have not developed yet.

It falls into the "If pigs could fly" category. At some point in the future pigs may be able to fly. We are not there yet.

hamm doesn't refer to the 20 gb as proven. recoverability is necessary but not sufficient to define proven.

Hey this might explain some nagging inconsistencies in some of the rail data. The volume of oil shipped by rail out of the Bakken could be enough to tweak the national numbers. Its been something I've been wondering about for a while. I attributed some of it to the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan the military industrial complex is humming right along resupplying troops etc. However expansion of drilling and production in North Dakota, Canada etc can help explain more of the traffic pattern.

I should have thought of this on my own without any "hint" :)

If they can keep the roads up.

Expert: Western ND roads limit oil production

I lived in NoDak for close to 10 years. I clearly remember that many miles of their two-lane asphalt roads often had ruts/depressions worn in each lane in the pavement.

Sometimes they would hold water after a rain.

It wasn't unusual during any given summer to drive down a stretch of 2-lane road, then see a sign that said the road ended, then drive along 5-20 miles of roadbed until the pavement started again. They would pick up the entire road surface down to the bed and re-do it.

Hopefully ND doesn't fritter away its nice state surplus to repair rural roads right up to the point where they become less relevant.

Perhaps they should consider reconstituting the many miles of now inactive/removed rail spur lines that they used to have.

At least their lignite-fired power plants are built right next to their coal beds, obviating the need for coal trucks tearing up the roads, like they did/do in certain parts of PA. There is a cluster of coal-fired power plants down by lake Sakakawea, including the Falkirk Mine with the really big mining shovel, right off Rt 83 between Bismarck and Minot.

Perhaps ND would make a fine case study on the possibilities of a sustainable area/society.

It has a low population, abundant farm land, seemingly abundant coal, abundant wind, oil resources, a well-educated and almost completely employed populace with low crime rates, a unique state bank and a rare state budget surplus, a number of scattered small towns such as Tioga, Stanley, Bowbells, Minot, Bismarck, Williston, Kenmare, etc....small towns such as was mentioned by JMG in some of his writings as potentially good constructs to live in a post-abundance-industrial society.

Seems like ND farmers are suffering from too much precipitation at the present. Won't water vapor in the air increase with temperatures? So in the long term I would guess they will face increasing risks. I think this will threaten any sustainability that they might wish to grasp for in the future.

Crop, Livestock Flood Risk Boosted by Heavier North Dakota Snow

Heavy snow and rain in the U.S. Midwest may cause damaging overflows along the Red River of the North, where record floods in 2009 delayed or reduced planting of crops and killed 91,000 cattle in North Dakota and Minnesota.

Interesting question.

I am not familiar with the historical records for ND precipitation and with the amount of moisture which would be optimum for the crops grown in ND,so I am ill-equipped to speculate on your question.

I do think that flooding in the Red River of the North valley does not necessarily equate to standing water in the rest of ND at the same time.

Won't water vapor in the air increase with temperatures?

Yes it will. A well established effect of rising global temperatures. (multiple references on Real Climate & Climate Progress)

Although "one off" storms cannot be linked to AGW the trend to increased precipitation has been starkly clear in the past year with massive floods in Pakistan, Australia, Nashville & Brazil. Higher precipitation also means snow falls as well as evidenced in London before Xmas & the east coast USA.

TONY JONES: …. why worry about carbon dioxide when water vapour is a stronger greenhouse gas and actually occurs naturally?

JAMES HANSEN: Yeah, that's the screwiest argument which keeps being made again and again and again. The amount of water vapour in the atmosphere is determined by the atmosphere's temperature, everyone should know that. Look at the difference between winter and summer.

As you go to a warmer climate the atmosphere holds more water vapour because at the places where the humidity reaches 100 per cent the water vapour falls out as water or snow. And therefore, as the planet becomes warmer, the atmosphere holds more water vapour.

That's why we get heavier rain falls as the planet gets warmer. So this water vapour is an amplifying feedback. It makes the greenhouse effect much stronger. But it's not something that just changes on its own accord; it changes in response to the temperature changes.

The Red River Valley flooding is due, in part, to the Red River running north from areas the thaw earlier in the spring than the northern reaches. The Dakotas are generally a drier climate.

The problem with the Red River Valley is that the surrounding area is flatter than a billiard table. It's actually a huge prehistoric lake bed left over from the last ice age. If the river overflows its banks, the water spreads across a vast area.

In Winnipeg, which lies downstream on the Red River, they hit on the brilliant solution of building a floodway around the city. When a flood hits, they just divert the water around the city and nobody gets flooded. It cost a few million dollars, but it was cheaper than being flooded.

I knew some people who had a farmhouse near the Red River. Every few years, they would be flooded. Eventually, they hit on the brilliant idea of moving their house to the top of the highest hill on the farm. It cost a few thousand dollars. They were never flooded again. After that, they wondered why their ancestors didn't built the house on the top of the hill in the first place, and why they didn't move the house earlier.

Their ancestors probably weren't familiar with terrain that's flatter than a billiards table. Traditionally, houses were built partway up hills. You don't want to be at the bottom of the valley, because cold air sinks. You don't want to be on top of the hill, because it's windy up there. The best place is halfway up the hill, on the lee side, so you get some protection from the wind. (Assuming you don't have access to infinite cheap energy, of course. ;-)


You are a genuine fount of unexpected odd bits of wisdom. :)

All of my family for the last three or four generations who were mountain farmers placed their houses almost without exception somewhere near the halfway point on the southern slopes of their farms.

Most of them managed to get their water to run to their house from an upslope spring in a ditch if they couldn't afford a pipe.

Such locations in my area offer the best combination of winter warmth, relatively frost free gardening, and gentle summer breezes.

Increased average temp is predicted to increase evaporation fro the oceans, lakes and rivers; warmer air holds more water than colder air; as all that warm air rises (heat rises), it cools, and mixes with particles of dust to form what we call rain. Two projected consequences: increased desertification in some areas, deluge type rain in others. Strength of storms are also projected to increase, so more F-5 events inland, Cat 5 hurricanes at sea could be seen. There is some doubt as to the strength of storms data at present, so take it with a grain of salt.

Oh... one other consequence I have read about. AGW could disturb jet streams and air flows, resulting in lower average winds. So... take that T.Boone! (considerable doubt on this subject - also the time frame is not discussed in present items, so we could be looking at a long term consequence.)

I have noted great hesitation on the part of the IPCC and other orgs doing the research studies to predict serious consequences. Discussions have hinted at direct government interference with the reporting process. Over the past 5 years, most confirming events and data have shown that predictions in past reports consistently under estimated severity. Just FWIW.


You forgot to mention: winter.

-18 degrees F right now-- out on the prairie. And, as I recall, the women are strong, the men are good looking, and the children are above average.


Oh yea, that is the population control factor!

Like the locals say: 30 below keeps the riff-raff out!

Here's one for the "doomers" ;) (I believe I now classify myself as one)

"Everyone loves something they can't have, even if it's a wriggling fish in the mouth.

At least that's true for the Dogon people of Mali, who restrict fishing in the sacred Lake Antogo to once a year. On the appointed day, fishermen line up to rush the lake with baskets, clearing the entire lake in moments, reports the BBC.

In the amazing video below, watch the fishermen descend on the lake, holding the fish in baskets and even their mouths during the frenzy."


Seems to aptly depict the "growth" economy....

I put up a little campfire type post on Our Finite World called Should you pay down your debt?

Debt to pay for new tools, gardening equipment,

And for the contrast:


Wow. What a moral maze. 'Should' implies ethics? Or self-interest? IMHO, everyone should pay back debt they freely entered into. Even if it's not in their self-interest. I'm not a fan of bankruptcy, especially (the maybe future) State bankruptcy.

Pre-peak oil I would agree with you JN2.

But as Samsam Bakhtiari said, once we hit peak production, the old rules do not apply anymore.

Our government seems to agree - we have essentially decriminalized, or even legalized financial fraud over the past decade: 1) we've suspended normal accounting practices in spring 2009 (FASB157), 2) we destroyed the mortgage paper trail, 3) the financial regulatory agencies ignore the laws they are required to enforce, or settle out of court with minor fines and w/o criminal prosecution, 4)... the list goes on.

Also, it does not matter if you are a "fan" of bankruptcy, if you are insolvent you can chose bankruptcy or be a debt-slave indefinitely - unless you are a TBTF bank or industrial giant of course, then you can avoid bankruptcy via bailouts from the Federal Reserve and the US Treasury.

The little people are financial cannon-fodder. If you chose to take a cannon ball to the belly for your local Goldman Sachsmen, be my guest ;)

Great idea, if you are governed by the moral code where anything goes as long as other people do it first, that is. This is the financial equivilent of justifying rape because a bunch of other people already committed the deed and the victim is already comprimised, so now its ok, right? Or maybe since the victim isn't always nice to other people, they deserve to be taken advantage of?

It doesn't matter whether, 1, 10, 100, or a million other people are doing it, an action is either right or wrong. Not paying off your debt when you have the means to do so is wrong, end of story. You can pretend to justify your actions by cloaking it with terms like "multinational" or "investment bank" or "industrial giant", but in the end, it comes down to you stealing something from someone else... you took the item, and didn't pay for it. You can "boo hoo" all you want about the little guy, but there are plenty of small-business owners who get hosed when you abscond without paying the bill, and some of them even lose their business because of those folks.

One of life's truths is that the wrong actions tend to be seductive, exciting and thrilling and easy. Doing the right thing, on the other hand, tends to be mundane and often difficult. Not being a religious person, I'll share some moral advice from Sawyer Brown.

The Dirt Road

The Dirt Road video, to me, shows a lot of enlightened stewardship of the land by the US Forest Service, together with some relics of an earlier time when the USFS had a somewhat different view of what constituted enlightened stewardship. I don't know whether that is what was intended by the creators of the video. I hope it was intended.

Rune, I am not the maker of moral codes. I asked Mother Nature what She thought about Moral Codes and all She did was laugh hysterically and go back to sharpening her claws and teeth.

I am not trying to "justify" anything. I simply note what The Rules were, and what The Rules are now. I did not make the rules, and I did not change The Rules.

Perhaps you should send your post as a letter to the representatives in our government. The Rules of government still allow you to have an opinion, and still allow you to share your opinion with your elected official. Good luck.

(Edit: Mother Nature is currently watching Pirates of the Caribbean again, and She just LOL and said, "pirates code is more like guidelines - GOOD ONE!" and then went back to eating something that looked like popcorn, but the box said "Human-Compost" on the front... ??? ).

Obviously, Mother Nature could care less about our moral codes... whats your point?

Moral codes govern actions of and between human beings. They are a large part of what allows us to function as a rational society. Moral codes do not require organized religion of any sort, they are merely basic rules that allow a society to function. A basic moral code might include, don't randomly shoot people with your gun. If we have no moral codes, we are left with anarchy. Anarchy is rule by the strongest and most violent in any situation, its all that remains when we throw out all moral codes. When people critize the "doomers" amoung us, anarchy is the very thing that those "doomers" are afraid might happen.

When you advocate actions that lead to the breakdown of society, like not paying back your legitimate debt that you can actually afford to pay back, you are advocating bringing our society closer to anarchy, and if you don't have a healthy fear of anarchy, then you are a fool.

My point is Mother Nature could not care less about your, or any other, "moral codes."

And the same is true for your government.

Go lecture the oak trees, thunderstorms and squirrels about anarchy and morals, see if they are listening.

Best of luck to you and yours on your way to and through the bottleneck Runeshade.

Last I checked, Mother Nature didn't lend anyone money either. I don't really see how this is relevant to whether you should pay off your debt or not.

Thank you for the good luck wishes and I wish you the same... we might need all the help we can get as future events unfold.

Moral codes govern actions of and between human beings

And now that Corporations are people (Per the Citizen's united decision) then morals can apply between people and Corporations.

Cept that Corporations are sociopaths per the movie The Corporation.

When a human being is under the control of a sociopath - how is that healthy for society?

not paying back your legitimate debt

And once the terms of the debt violate a law or via other actions is no longer considered a legitimate debt?

you are advocating bringing our society closer to anarchy

Considering the basis of your claims about 'morals' between 'people' and, well the person-status of Corporations is, well, questionable......it would seem you have some work to do with your argument.

I don't believe that I ever made the case that corporations are people, nor do I agree with that idea. Only the opening shot has been fired in that legal battle, we have yet to see how that will play out.

If corporations are in fact determined to be treated as people, there might actually be more accountablity for their actions, rather than less. Its hard to say how that will all play out, but again, I have never made that kind of an argument, nor is it relevant to your personal decision whether or not you should take out debt in the first place.

You seem to want to argue that it is ok to borrow money from your neighbor, spend it/gamble it/waste it on whatever you want, and then laugh when his house gets repoed and he declares bankrupcy. After all, he deserved it, right, because he makes more money than you do, and he should have been smart enough not to lend his money to people who won't pay him back, right?

I don't believe that I ever made the case that corporations are people, nor do I agree with that idea

You are the one who is making the "moral" argument.

You seem to want to argue that it is ok to borrow money from your neighbor, spend it/gamble it/waste it on whatever you want,

And you seem to be the one claiming Corporations are people and "moral".

But do go ahead - show the amounts of money borrowed from neighbors VS Corporations.

"if you don't have a healthy fear of anarchy, then you are a fool."

Living a life in fear is no life at all. We've had periods of anarchy all throughout human history.
The "dark ages" begat the renaissance. Sometimes the pot needs to be stirred, and the useless skimmed from the top.

Don in Maine

Who said I live my life in fear? There is a big difference between a healthy fear, and paranoia. Noting where the emergency exit is in a building or a plane is a lot different than obsessing over the plane possibly crashing. A healthy fear is what drives preparations for hard times. If you have no fear of something happening, there is no reason to make any preparations for it if it does occur. Why wear a seat belt, or a life vest if you aren't "afraid" of an accident?

As to the Dark Ages, sure, good things can come out of the end of a long period of hard times. That really doesn't help the people who have to live through those hard times though. I, for one, would prefer to avoid those hard times if possible, and if not, for my family and myself to live through those hard times and not starve or be caught up in violence. I'd prefer not to go through a period of anarchy, say similar to what Zimbabwe has experienced, but maybe you feel differently than I do.

Bakhtiari's testimony to the Australian Senate Inquiry on oil supplies in July 2006 is here:

So when they say that Ghawar Crude is Cheap, it is certainly not cheap anymore, because you have to do all this enormous processing. You have these hugh pipelines which come from the sea and an enormous compressor reinjecting that water under the oil column and pushing the column up. That is one point. There are problems........

seems the good doctor's view is that petroleum engineering was invented yesterday.

He was trying to explain oil production to politicians :)
Sounds to me like he did not simply enough to many big words like compressor for example.

Budget Deficit Accounting Fraud and the Off-Balance-Sheet Student Loan Scam; Time to Scrap Entire Student Loan Program

Inquiring minds have been wondering why the federal debt has been rising far faster than cumulative federal deficits. The short answer is off-balance-sheet scams like student loans and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac "assets"...

That debt is government (taxpayer) guaranteed. It is one of the primary things fueling the ever-rising cost of higher education. Amazingly students scream for more aid, and Obama want to give it to them, even though the debt destroys millions of lives in the process.

I propose the entire student loan program be scrapped...

The way to end the madness is to phase out all student loans over the next 3 years, immediately halting all new loans to freshmen. If colleges want to lend directly to students, nothing stops them. However, those debts should not be guaranteed by taxpayers.

1. College should be part of our pubic education system; it should be a state provided service.
2. Students should be screened for aptitude and ability. College should include trade type schools (apprenticeship programs included).
3. We are a free and democratic country. We can do this. One caveat... it has to be pay as you go, just like everything else.
4. Education spending, military spending, regulatory, judicial, administrative spending: all need to be pay as you go. Every spending bill is a taxing bill. Maybe we need an amendment requiring this to be done. That way the idiots who say "I voted against taxes" when the voted for wars, wasteful military weapons programs and the like could be keelhauled for it.
5. The people who most benefit from government are the wealthy. They demand police and fire protection for their enterprises; they use the education system by hiring graduates; they use the roads more, the Courts more and most other services more. They continually socialize their losses and privatize their gains, with their factories and facilities polluting and damaging the environment, and refuse to pay for the consequences of their actions. They are irresponsible, and hypocritical as well, on many fronts. They are the entitlement mentality people, imagining that they and their children are entitled to rape the planet for their gain, while they fob off the consequences on the rest of us.

Sorry for the rant. Some days, it just gets to be too much!


Your rant is more anti-establishment than you might realize. If pay-as-you-go were to become the established norm for all government spending, there would be no need for the offering and sale of government bonds, both federal and municipal. But these bonds are the basis of our current financial system. How would we survive without Wall Street financiers manipulating the money system? We would have to devise a different way to create money. No, I don't think gold has much promise of solving the problem. We know too much economic theory to be satisfied with that. Too many people already know too many tricks to scam that system. So we will have to re-invent money. This will take some time.

But it starts with reasonable individuals exploding into rants.

We need to simply stop using money, fiat money, that is. And interest. And forget about growth. Any attempt to hold on to any of that stuff is an exercise in futility. There is only so much planet.

Zaphod, both your heads are among my favorite peoples ;)

I presented your List to Mother Nature... She thanked me, wiped Herself with it, and then dropped it in the hole and poured some lime down after it.

She mumbled something about how tiresome it is to hear industrial piglets quarreling in their pigstye over who should get to eat how much of the non-industrial piglets...

She is really acting weird lately...

Even U.S. military may have to stop growing by 2015:


In all, Gates announced plans that will allow the military to save $150 billion over five years in part by cutting some programs such as the Marines' $15 billion amphibious-landing craft program.

The money saved by the services will be transferred to other programs, such as buying more drones for the Air Force and to pay for higher-than-expected costs for fuel, health care and other bills.

Secretary Gates said that the DoD would cut 47,000 troops in 2015/2016. Lest anyone wring their hands about the U.S. losing its ability to 'defend' itself:

The reduction will leave the Army with more soldiers than when Gates took charge of the Pentagon in 2006. The Army has about 550,000 soldiers, up about 40,000 since Gates became Defense Secretary in 2006. There are about 200,000 Marines, up from 175,000.

Another article with some more info:


Pentagon officials warned that while they can take flat budgets in 2015 and 2016, they would like to see a return to at least 2 or 3 percent growth after that. Gates argued that the Pentagon’s proposed budget represents the “minimum level of defense spending necessary” given the threats that the United States faces around the globe, and that drastic reduction in the American defense budget would make armed conflict “more likely.”

That said, he added that the Pentagon “cannot presume to exempt itself” from budget cuts in the face of the “extreme fiscal duress” the United States currently faces. “Not every defense dollar,” he said, “is sacred and well spent.”

These so-called 'cuts' are in DoD budget growth. The MIC cannot suffer more than a year or two of no growth lest it claim that it will unravel...the MIC's business model is built on growth.

From the AF Times:


These articles are leaving a lot of future spending 'needs' out.

New Navy ballistic missile sub and missile, new air force ICBM and accompanying infrastructure, new hypersonic weapons systems, and many more things I will not list in the interest of brevity...

...a shopping list that is going to demand collectively trillions of dollars over the baseline O&M (Ops and Maintenance)& R&D over the course of a decade or so in the mid future (past ~2016).

Paygo, indeed...NOT.

For a more comprehensive view of the total MIC budget:




I think the Tea Partiers should indeed force a showdown at the OK Corral by refusing to raise the debt ceiling this Spring unless the budget is set to PayGo immediately and kept that way by law for the future. As long as everything is indeed on the table for cutting, to include the MIC.

And, before the MIC gets one ounce (gram) of sympathy, they need to produce a credible audit of their activities:


The US Government Accountability Office was unable to provide an audit opinion on the 2010 financial statements of the US Government because of 'widespread material internal control weaknesses, significant uncertainties, and other limitations'.[14] The GAO cited as the principal obstacle to its provision of an audit opinion 'serious financial management problems at the Department of Defense that made its financial statements unauditable'.[14]

Further management discussion in the FY 2010 DoD Financial Report states 'it is not feasible to deploy a vast number of accountants to manually reconcile our books' and concludes that 'although the financial statements are not auditable for FY 2010, the Department's financial managers are meeting warfighter needs'.[18]

Just ran across a link that might shed some light on recent Trans-Alaska Pipeline problems.

In late 2001, Coffman Engineers Inc. was placed under contract by ADEC (Alaska Department of Environmental Quality) to review the BP North Slope Corrosion Monitoring program and provide a report.

In fact Coffman engineers issued two reports to ADEC. The initial Coffman report was highly critical of BP and was reportedly suppressed by ADEC due to extreme pressure by BP to do so, and the second report, reportedly heavily edited and revised at BP’s direction, is the ‘official’ report that the Alaska state agency, ADEC acknowledges.

The following conflicting findings in the two reports demonstrate the duplicity of BP and the danger of alleged complicity by ADEC. This link compares side-by-side details in the two reports

BP's Ineffective Corrosion Monitoring Program on the North Slope of Alaska

Issues highlited in the "original' report do not appear to have been addressed since then.

And this is a surprise? That a government agency is in the pocket of big business? Tell me one that is not. Congress, as well as the state governments, are bought and sold like a bad stock....It would be in the best interests of Alaska, and the US, if the pipeline was shut down today and never restarted.

Better learn soon, what lack of cheap energy means. Make the steps smaller, the learning curve might be easier, but in the end, they all go to the basement.

The Martian.

Wouldn't it be more straight forward to solve the real problem: Shut down government? Make the pipeline co. buy insurance.

No, you missed the point. Sorry to not explain it better.
The Pipeline should be shut, scrapped and completely recycled. All, support systems to it, shut down and recycled as well.

Black Death, aka oil, to be left in the ground. Maybe for every Barrel burned, a Black Vulture could be born for all to see, maybe then, some would understand that just because you cannot see the CO2, it's still there. And it's going to kill your children/grandchildren.

If it cannot be done with Solar, Wind and a very limited Hydro system. DON'T DO IT.

Choose Wisely.
The Martian

Analysis: Alaska oil line facing increased risks as output falls

(Reuters) - Last week's shutdown of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System, a major artery for U.S. oil, may signal trouble ahead for Alaska's aging oil infrastructure, including more frequent incidents that could damage the environment and cause oil prices to soar.

..."Flow is the real problem," said Thomas Barrett, president of TAPS operator Alyeska, in a phone interview. TAPS' "exposure to cold is increasing with every decline we've had in production."

..."We may have dodged a bullet this time," said Mark Routt, an oil engineer and consultant at KBC in Houston. "But it exposes a very serious problem: Low throughput brings corrosion, and if one section of pipe had this problem, it's likely happening in others."

The problem with the Trans-Alaska Pipeline is that it is approaching the end of its life, and the oil companies know it is approaching the end of its life. They are not willing to spend more money on an facility that they know is going to be shut down and sold for scrap metal in the fairly near future.

At some point the oil volumes will drop to the point that they cannot keep it running in the winter without freezing up, and at that point they will shut it down, stranding the remaining oil reserves in Northern Alaska. That's why the politicians are frantic about drilling the remaining prospects in Alaska - they want to keep the pipeline running for a few more years before the inevitable shutdown.

I think they're out of luck. There's not enough oil up there to keep it running much longer.

And the man from Continental Resources bases his "20 billion barrels" on what". Crystal balls? Astrology? Psychics? His faith based believe in future technology? Over what time period? Last figure I saw on average Bakken well production was 79 barrels a day. I drove through the area last summer. Beside each well stands a single (once in a while two) very small storage tank. To me we're still living in the magical thinking of the housing bubble: It's never going to end.

A bit of discussion on the Bakken from a recent CR presentation:
PDF presentation
Bakken discussion is on ppg. 7-15.

Last figure I saw on average Bakken well production was 79 barrels a day.

That's a statewide figure for all of North Dakota production, which includes a lot of stripper wells from decades ago.

But let's use that number anyway. Page 7 of the CR link above says industry is adding 1800 wells per year in ND. If they maintain that pace on average for the next 10 years, that's 18,000 wells in addition to whatever is there now. 18,000 wells x 79 bpd = 1,422,000 bpd total.

If you go to this website http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/pet_crd_crpdn_adc_mbbl_m.htm and down load the xl history file you will find that ND produced 10.196 million barrels in Aug or 329,000 b/day. In 2009 ND produced 7.203 million barrels in Aug or 232,000 b/day. That is an increase of 96.5 thousand b/day. If ND increased that production from 1800 new wells that is only 53.6 b/d per new well.

In 10 years many of those 18,000 wells will be down to 10 b/day or less and many will be already shut in.

the average per well production for the entire state, including everything - early peak flowback(bakken) wells, blistering decline bakken wells, waterflood wells, stripper wells, everything - is 66 bopd(september ndic data). bopd/well added is somewhere in the 100 bopd range.

nd has not been adding 1800 wells per year. that figure is probably based on the average '09 rig and well count. in '09, the average rig count was 53 and 622 producing wells were added. if the rig count holds in the 150 range, it is possible that 1800 wells could be added.

currently there is up to a 6 month delay in getting frac' jobs scheduled. enough frac'in crews to service 1800 wells/year could mean grid lock in the missouri river badlands. operators are using up to 80,000 barrels of water for a multi-stage frac(400 transport loads in and out).

don't look for much of an increase in well count until about mar '11. cold temperatures and deep snow in nd makes frac' operations expensive and difficult. production will probably drop off over the winter months too.

four of nd's largest bakken fields are already past peak. the sweetest of sweet spots, parshall field, will probably recover in the range of 100 mmbo. if there was any justice, that 20 gb 'happy talk' should get hamm thrown in jail, imo.

Thanks for that bit of common sense perspective. I simply spent 5 min researching and 2 min of comment and continued reading.

nd has not been adding 1800 wells per year. that figure is probably based on the average '09 rig and well count. in '09, the average rig count was 53 and 622 producing wells were added. if the rig count holds in the 150 range, it is possible that 1800 wells could be added

It sounds like 1800 per year is not out of the question. It might even be more - at least this year.

ND Oil Patch May Double Production

Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, said about 650 new wells were drilled in 2010. He and Helms expect up to 2,000 new wells in 2011, which would double the number of Bakken and Three Forks wells to date.

A record 168 wells were drilling in the state's oil patch last month but dipped to 156 last week, hampered by winter weather. Ness and Helms expect about 200 rigs to be drilling in 2011.

Elsewhere in the article Helms says 700K bpd is what they're currently forseeing for ND production in 4-7 years, and while Hamm's projection of 20+ gigabarrels might be on the high end of estimates, even the state of ND has upped their estimate of recoverable amounts to 11 gigabarrels, which is still a good number.

BTW I think it was you who, a few weeks ago, told me you wouldn't be surprised if ND production topped out at the then-latest number of 342K bpd. Well it's time for you to be surprised at the other end, because they're now up to 355K bpd.

BTW I think it was you who, a few weeks ago, told me you wouldn't be surprised if ND production topped out at the then-latest number of 342K bpd.

no, it was me who posted:

i wouldnt be surprised if nd oil production sees a peak in 2011.


even the state of ND has upped their estimate of recoverable amounts to 11 gigabarrels, which is still a good number.

my interpretation of the ndic presentation is that 11 gb case has a 10% probability. their 50 % probability is increased from 350 kbpd to 425 kdpd the 90% probability case is the same as the former 50 % probability case, a plateau of 350 kbpd.

Fool's gold catches eye of solar energy researchers

..."I don't want to pour cold water on what they're doing, but every day somebody comes up with a new idea for a solar cell technology," said Shyam Mehta, a solar industry analyst with GTM Research. "Commercializing it is a lot more difficult than people seem to think, and it's full of failed attempts."

To be successful in the market, he said, scientists have to replicate the carefully controlled conditions of a laboratory in a factory capable of producing hundreds of thousands of panels a year, at a cost that can compete with Chinese prices.

The U.S. solar photovoltaics industry is worth at least $2 billion and growing, but not much of the cell-making process occurs domestically.

GOP takeover yields dividends for 18-year veteran of the House

Since Republicans captured control of the House in November, most GOP lawmakers have been plotting how to use their newfound power.

As usual, Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett (R-Md.) doesn't see things quite the same way as most of his colleagues.

...Bartlett's posts put him at the fulcrum of two key debates in the 112th Congress - on climate change and on the future size and shape of the U.S. military.

Unlike many fellow Republicans, Bartlett sees an urgent need to respond to climate change by using less oil and more renewable energy.

...Bartlett supports alternative energy programs and as a member of the Congressional Peak Oil Caucus is concerned that the world is too reliant on fossil fuels. Over the years he has given dozens of speeches on the topic on the House floor, usually before an empty chamber.

That stance puts him at odds with much of his party, including his fellow senior members of the Science Committee.

Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Tex.), chairman of the science panel, is a staunch ally of the oil industry and a vocal proponent of increased drilling. The No. 2 Republican on the committee roster, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (Wis.), is a prominent climate-change skeptic.

Bartlett has encouraged his fellow Republicans to spend less time questioning the science behind climate change and more time preparing for its effects, which he sees as a potential threat to America's national security. That has earned Bartlett respect from some unusual quarters.

As usual, Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett (R-Md.) doesn't see things quite the same way as most of his colleagues.

Same can be said for Dr. Ron Paul.

While part of the population thinks either one of 'em is right - doesn't mean they are....

(for the record both have valid points IMNSHO)

also ....

"The Seventh-day Adventist and father of 10 is a trained scientist, a former teacher and business owner and a current goat farmer.

Bartlett, 84, has a PhD in human physiology and holds several patents on respiratory equipment used by pilots and firefighters, among others. He worked for two decades as a scientist for the military and NASA and also owned a home-building company.

Congressman Bartlett may be participating in a Q&A session with the audience at a free public viewing of 'A Crude Awakening: the Oil Crash' in Frederick, MD on Monday, February 7.

SPRING 2011 FILMS / February 7, 2011 7:00-9:00 PM / A CRUDE AWAKENING: THE OIL CRASH

iSupportSolar Facebook: Congressman Roscoe Bartlett who appears several times in the film has tentatively confirmed his participation in a Q&A panel session with the audience.

Perhaps Heading Out or ROCKMAN could do an analysis of the suggestion that the shale gas type technology approaches could make a real difference when applied oil recovery rates.

We know that if we could increase oil recovery rates by 3% it would make a gigantic difference. Can horizontal drilling, and microseismic imaging really make a difference in oil recovery rates?

Good question.

We've been hearing about Peak Oil since 1998. It's now 2011 and production will surely beat the 2008 targets.
Iraq can still produce several more mb/d. Saudi Arabia has about 4 mb/s in reserves. Add to that a conversion to NGL liquids in cars(Iran is well under way) and an increased supply from shale gas.

Will it solve the fundamentals? No. But it might delay it significantly to get a real renewable grip on our energy supply, at least in the West.

Climate change could be a bigger problem as it's now just 2 decades before it starts to get quite serious. The storms in Australia and the record-setting winter colds(do not confuse seasons with overall weather) in the Northern hemisphere shows it's already approaching on the horizon.

I used to laugh at people who talked about Peak Oil around 2018. Now I don't. Im not convinced anymore of an imminent, dramatic and irreversible change, I've become more agnostic and skeptical.

It will come, but it might come much later than most thought and it might not(probably wont) be a Doomsday Crash on a single, fateful day.

Will it solve the fundamentals? No. But it might delay it significantly to get a real renewable grip on our energy supply, at least in the West.

Umm. To get a "real renewable grip" you actually have to start seriously using renewables (not just a few token electric vehicles...)

To get a "real renewable grip" you actually have to start seriously using renewables (not just a few token electric vehicles...)

You better start with the infrastructure. From santaluciae's comment on januari 18:

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.

It's now 2011 and production will surely beat the 2008 targets.

Leiten,the world is on an 'undulating plateau production' since 2005

Saudi Arabia has about 4 mb/s in reserves.

I doubt it. I expect not more than 2 mbd and if Ghawar starts crashing from this year on: no spare capacity left.

Add to that a conversion to NGL liquids in cars(Iran is well under way)

Yes, that's why I asked westexas yesterday if he updated Iran's ELM for oil.

and an increased supply from shale gas

This needs sustained high gasprices and shale-gas wells decline rapidly past peak.

I used to laugh at people who talked about Peak Oil around 2018. Now I don't. Im not convinced anymore of an imminent, dramatic and irreversible change, I've become more agnostic and skeptical.

Instead of 2018, the appropiate question seems to be: how long will the plateau production last ?

it might not(probably wont) be a Doomsday Crash on a single, fateful day.

Right. But about 2% decline every year is bad enough.

I know about the plateau but you probably know about the U.S. natgas production, which also got up to a peak, declined, and then recovered.

Also, we do have oil in the ground. The problem is to get it out at an environmentally(an oxymoron, of course, but you get the point) friendly way and with a reasonably low price.

And add to this various measures governments can enforce, such as food rationing, forced car pooling/public transport in short distances and many other measures which can decrease oil consumption even more and push the Peak further down the road a few more years beside the increasing shale production, improved extraction, increased oil production from SA and Iraq etc etc.

It will not make the Peak go away, but it might push it away enough so that renewables catch up. Remember, innovation happens at an exponential rate. This is a crucial point to understand. Look at computers or the price of batteries, or solar panels or why not the discovery of the human genome? In the beginning, progress is dismally poor but once it picks up speed it gains traction at a very, very brisk pace.

The bottom line is that we can't know if the Peak will come this year, next or in 10. And if it will come in ten, will we be able to handle it through NGL-conversions, conversation measures and renewables? Or at least we in the West?

That's why the climate change comment. It's not as serious at the moment but it's getting more and more so. Just by sheer inertia in the system, the global temperature will rise by about 0.6 Celsius.

And considering our mental composition and our way of going from shock to trance to outright denial of reality(too painful to face etc), I do not expect a serious transition unless forced to by nature, and that will certainly destroy our economies.

Either way, one should be wary of making bombast predictions. I might be wrong, and so can you. Over the long term I'm quite(but not totally) pessimistic on self-correction. I do think Peak Oil will be inevitable but it needn't be the advent of Doom, depending on how it arrives - and more importantly - how late.

Climate change is the bigger threat over the long run. Far bigger.

Always nice to have visitors from Fantasy Island.

Don't you mean: "visitors TO Fantasy Island"???

Our oil addicted economy has produced this Fantasy we call the US...

E. Swanson

Well, my premise is that generally, but not always, most people on the Oil Drum seem to have a realistic view of our fossil fuel predicament. So, the Cornucopians (and I sometimes think that there are just two or three that post under different names), would be visitors from Fantasy Island--where oil fields don't deplete.

But yes, your larger point is of course correct, that our visitors from Fantasy Island do represent the conventional wisdom, that there is no problem with an infinite rate of increase in our consumption of a finite fossil fuel resource base.

Also, we do have oil in the ground.

A lot, and certainly, because you look also at shale-gas, you count oil in tarsands. And if you believe in the OPEC oilstory posted by Leanan: OPEC poised to dominate global energy markets then you can expect oilproduction to stay flat or even rise until 2018 or so. I was going to write something about polytropos mentioning horizontal drilling but ROCKMAN did that already.
Still a lot of oil in the ground, but IIRC about 800 big oilfields worldwide produce about 60% of the oil. Most of those fields are producing oil for many decades. Because of the 'new' extraction methods fields deplete more rapidly and the decline starts instead at for example 50% of URR maybe at about 70% of URR. With a risk of a much steeper decline after the peak or plateau.

And add to this various measures governments can enforce, such as food rationing, forced car pooling/public transport in short distances and many other measures which can decrease oil consumption even more and push the Peak further down the road a few more years

Those government measures will come (long) after the decline from peakproduction sets in, so it won't delay the peak. I don't expect something to happen like with natural gas production in the U.S., since unconventional oil has not the same production profile as shale gas.

The bottom line is that we can't know if the Peak will come this year, next or in 10. And if it will come in ten, will we be able to handle it through NGL-conversions, conservation measures and renewables? Or at least we in the West?

Maybe. If there is no economic collapse. And this is your own comment:

I do not expect a serious transition unless forced to by nature, and that will certainly destroy our economies.

When fossil fuel runs out, climate change will reverse. However, what will people in Minnesota use to heat their homes? Fire wood?

It will? Over what ime frame, and based on what assumptions? How long does it take natural sinks to draw down carbon? What level of emissions will allow the natural sinks to begin to draw down carbon?

Simplify, yes. Over-simplify, no.

As pri-de points out, you have some pretty huge mis-conceptions about the dynamics of climate disruption.

Warming from our fossil fuel based greenhouse gasses is like a finger pulling back on a trigger of a very large gun (or several, actually).

Have you heard of tipping points? Or runaway global warming?

Things don't just go gently back to where they were before once we stop the abuse.

Tundra keeps melting, spewing more and more methane and CO2, which warms it further...

Same with seabed methane.

Melted ice no longer reflects light back to space, causing more warming, so more melting...

Phytoplankton die (nearly half are gone already--recall that these are the source of half our oxygen) of from acidification and over heated water, so there is less of them to take in CO2, so more CO2 remains in the atmosphere, heating and acidifying the water more, that kills off more plankton...

Overheated soils start loosing their carbon to the air...

Forests, newly exposed to insects they have no natural protection against because zones have shifted, die off and burn, releasing their carbon to the atmosphere...

These and many other feedbacks, large and small, are now underway. If we stopped all human sources of greenhouse gasses, many of these would likely continue. Probably for a long time.

And don't worry about us up here in MN. We're a hardy bunch. Good insulation goes a long way. A warm comforter or sleeping bag helps. A warm sleeping partner doesn't hurt either '-)

The list should also include:

The time to heat the mixed layer of the ocean, which is roughly 100 meters thick. The deeper layers of the ocean require even more time as there's little vertical circulation to move the heated water downward to waters which are presently near freezing.

The residence time for CO2 in the atmosphere, which might work out to many centuries passing before the atmosphere will return to equilibrium after mankind stops adding more CO2 and the effects of other resulting sources you mention have settled out as well.

E. Swanson

Thanks for these. I would really like to see a fully complete list of feedbacks, both positive and negative.

The acidified ocean that has absorbed about half of the CO2 we have emitted, will at some point stop absorbing CO2 and start emitting it, especially since hotter water holds less CO2.

Another discontinuity I don't hear talked about much is the situation when there is no more sea ice in the Arctic--a situation that could happen any year now.

Since phase change involves a great deal of heat absorption from ice to water--and so the melting ice, while it still exists is essentially gobbling up lots of heat--at the point when there is no more ice, the remaining water will be free, if you will, to heat up dramatically.

I think this is what you are already seeing in some areas that melt early, like Beaufort Sea, and then become anomalously heated to an extreme level.

Negative feedbacks (those that would slow the momentum of GW and GHG accumulation in the atmosphere) seem to be pretty much limited to very slow mechanisms like weathering of rock. Also the fact that it takes a doubling of CO2 (or CO2eq) for a set temperature increase (whatever that exact figure might be) serves as a kind of limiting factor.

Most other feedbacks I've heard of seem to be positive (re-enforcing).

My fear is that we have passed this tipping point and the only change we can make is to the rate of change.


Remember, innovation happens at an exponential rate. This is a crucial point to understand. Look at computers or the price of batteries, or solar panels or why not the discovery of the human genome? In the beginning, progress is dismally poor but once it picks up speed it gains traction at a very, very brisk pace.

No. It really doesn't. Digital circuitry is an exception but other than that, things pretty change pretty damn slowly. And things are limited by the laws of physics and thermodynamics. Look . . . we were driving gas-powered cars a century ago and we still are today. Yeah, they have more power, airbags, anti-lock brakes, and other gizmos . . . but it is not like things massively changed during that 100 years.

But everyone who is expecting miracles from science are probably going to be disappointed.

I fully agree that the hardcore doomsters are wrong with their overly-pessimistic views. But I do think we are in for a long hard slog of economic struggle & stagnation.

". we were driving gas-powered cars a century ago and we still are today. Yeah, they have more power, airbags, anti-lock brakes, and other gizmos . . . but it is not like things massively changed during that 100 years."

in other words except for all those things that have changed nothing has changed. great.

cars are much more fuel efficient now and much more advanced. is your car 25 years old and you've missed these innovations? we are on the cusp a revolution in cars. we are hybrids and plug-in hybrids and electric cars. we didn't advance as much as you liked because we didn't have to.

cars are much more fuel efficient now

From Wikipedea :- 'According to Ford Motor, the Model T had fuel economy on the order of 13 to 21 mpg'. Now, how does that compare to a modern SUV?


who care about the model t. I don't have to drive an SUV.

The more advanced Ford Model A had fuel economy of between 25 and 30 mpg.

That old Zenith one-barrel up-draft carburetor may not have given it much zing, but it was a real fuel sipper. Of course, people were more concerned with fuel economy in those days.

Thanks, comparing that with many cars on the road today that get only 1/3-1/2 of that makes one wonder what 'modern improvement' means :(


Yair...as I see it NAOM the "improvement" is mainly speed. On another thread I mentioned that in the 'sixtys I drove a truck and trailer combo that hauled fifty tons of payload at a consistant six miles per imperial gallon.

It had a 150 HP straight eight diesel and at the max rev. min. of 1300 it would do 28MPH in high gear.

Modern trucks hauling similar weights on those same tracks don't do any better.

Yair...as I see it NAOM the "improvement" is mainly speed.

And with that other modern invention, the traffic jam, even that is academic :(


we were driving gas-powered cars a century ago and we still are today.

There was no reason and no stimulus to change that. Now both are there, but inertia is the problem. The oilpowered economy is big like the Titanic and there are warnings of an iceberg ahead. Some countries are making efforts to change direction, like Iran with gas powered cars and Spain with EV charging stations. However, the world has to make a concerted effort to avoid hitting the iceberg; if that not has happened already a few years ago.

Hey ho,

IMHO, it makes little sense to argue about whether or not the peak is 2018, 14....05, or which formation will delay for how long, etc. What does make sense is that individuals make concrete plans for their themselves and families to prepare for change even if it is 'just in case'. (Change and not collapse is really a sensible way to express it and still retain hope. And, change is good, is it not?) We look back at those who left places like Nazi Germany before the persecution ramped up and the borders closed, and call them wise. I am sure many relatives shook their heads and asked themselves who are these nutsos? What was cousin ______ thinking, leaving Berlin?

We, on this site, represent many different outlooks and levels of experience, but we wouldn't be reading these posts if we didn't know, for sure in our hearts, that change is inevitable if not already in the oven. If a new play delays, great, it will provide less misery and more time. But if the 'same old' of Obama's new approach is as good as we get, and then obstructed by deadlocked politics, valuable years will be wasted. If a scenario of economic debt crisis continues to unfold, .....well, it may be that this overly complex society is like the wind up watch I left in my pants and put through the drier. It didn't come out well.

2% decline per year starting when?, will make this recession look like a Saturday off work. What the hell will happen when the disenfranchised in our large cities realize there is little dream left on the plate for them? There are not enough dollars to hire the police and national guard required to keep order. There is such a huge disconnect between the leaders and regular citizens, between the wealthy and wage earners, and way too many guns.

I wouldn't think 'Exodus' is the answer, but resurrecting a simple lifestyle in a receptive area glad enough to welcome your skills and family might be very wise at this juncture. (City or country....take your pick) Despite what the media says about our present recovery, it doesn't seem too robust from where I sit. The other day I saw a headline in a local paper extolling the turnaround in our forest industry, with a picture of a mill being reopened with 35 ft jobs. The mill I worked at as a kid had 600 jobs; jobs that supported families and the wife stayed home with young children. And, there were another 25 just like it withing 200 miles. Now there are two....anemic numbers employed and on life support until the next downturn. No, it is time to make concrete plans...not rant at the Govt, but simply accept it isn't working and time to do things differently for self and family.

I am sad when I read the railings directed at social security, pensioners, teachers, firemen, when bankers are filling their faces and their children move into their star like destinies. And citizens are falling it for it hook, line, and sinker. As they say, profits are privatized and losses socialized and long live the dream!!

I think some rationing of energy might be a very good thing about now. Maybe the wiki leaks revelations on offshore Swiss banks will shake things up before that final moment of the last private jet heading for safety and we look around and say, "huh, what was that noise"?

"Either way, one should be wary of making bombast predictions. I might be wrong, and so can you. Over the long term I'm quite(but not totally) pessimistic on self-correction. I do think Peak Oil will be inevitable but it needn't be the advent of Doom, depending on how it arrives - and more importantly - how late."

Anyway, when I was learning to fly and shooting circuits I bounced a good one. My instructor took over and he gave me the lecture about the 5 P (s). Poor planning precludes poor performance. He then demonstrated how to give myself a little more room, a little more time, a slightly longer approach, and voila....no more tire springing bounces. It is a good analogy for this morning.


Actual net exports through 2006, and Sam's projections for subsequent years, for Russia, Norway, Iran and the UAE (actual 2007, 2008 and 2009 data points shown):


Same thing for above four countries + Saudi Arabia:


westexas, the middle and high-case scenario's for Iran are less steep than in the other countries, so those seem to have taken into account Iran's conversion to dual-fuel vehicles.
The export decline of Norway and Russia looks horrible.

Depletion is the real story. Sam's most optimistic projection is that Saudi Arabia, Russia, Norway, Iran and the UAE will have shipped half of their combined post-2005 CNE (Cumulative Net Exports) by the end of 2014. And then we have the "Chindia" factor.

Another warning on Iran's oil production and exports

The main problem will be socio-economic feed back loops impacting on oil production. We have no idea what will come out of this:

Arab states rocked by the mouse that roared

What will happen when the truth comes out about OPEC's paper barrels?


And what of our own plutocracy?




We've got nothing on Tunisia. The only difference is, Tunisians are much smarter than we are, and are doing something about it.

Another warning on Iran's oil production and exports

Matt, that doesn't sound well. But 5-10 years is an exaggeration. If Iran is on target with their program that next year all the gasoline stations are retrofitted for dual fuel cars and most cars can run on gas, westexas published high-case export scenario should easily be possible. Gas is, for now, a lot cheaper than gasoline. However indeed, unless socio-economic and geopolical factors impact oilproduction.

From mentioned site:

Saeed Laylaz, former deputy interior Minister:

“As I mentioned this before, at the moment the most important thing from the economic point of view the government and the country has no other choice [than cutting subsidies]. We are wasting our energy resources in a very bad situation. To produce every 4 US $ GDP we are consuming 1 US$ energy which in my opinion is one of the worst in the world.

Our oil production is decreasing, our oil export in the country is decreasing dramatically. And if we continue this situation – which is impossible in my opinion – 5 or 10 years later we will have no oil to export and the main source of hard currency of the country is oil exports.

And the country has no other choice than to reduce the consumption of energy which is around 1.3 bn boe and my estimation shows that if we can save 300 mboe energy we can have around US $ 30 bn additional money to invest in the country in the industry and other sections of the country which are under pressure because of the lack of money for investment.”

Climate change could be a bigger problem as it's now just 2 decades before it starts to get quite serious. The storms in Australia and the record-setting winter colds(do not confuse seasons with overall weather) in the Northern hemisphere shows it's already approaching on the horizon.

How do you describe something already here as on he horizon? In 2 decades it will be serious? When is your car accident a serious problem, when a work truck drops a nail on the road, when you run over the nail and punctures a tire, or when you go over the cliff because of the flat tire?

2 decades? 10 years:

NASA climatologist James Hansen at Sydney Uni: "Australia doesn't agree now that they got to stop their coal, but they are going to agree. I can guarantee you that within a decade or so because the climate change will become so strongly apparent that's going to become imperative"

He was nine years too optimistic.

Hansen knows tons about climate change. About human psychology--not so much.

dramatic loss of Arctic ice volume and extent,
huge increases in frequency and intensity of extreme and deadly weather events
rapidly melting tundra
rapidly shifting climate zones
methane bubbling up from ESAS ocean bed
ocean acidification and consequent loss of nearly half of the phytoplankton that generate half of our oxygen...

If these and many other very obvious signs are not enough, no amount of new events will convince those who refuse to be convinced.

We're already very deep into it, and many of the tipping points are being tipped.

It's good to be old. My children abhor it when I talk about global warming. But it is they who will be suffering le deluge.

I am sure Hansen is quite aware of the psychology of the situation. But, in the small probability event that things can be mitigated, he is giving it his best shot. That is just who he is and what he does. He is hardly clueless.

What is obvious to us is a conspiracy to the Koch brothers and Fox news. The corporatists are in charge of the public mind space.

The picture you paint makes it look pretty hopeless. So, should we be surprised that people, even those in the know, are determined to just party on?

There is indeed a conspiracy, but it is a conspiracy of purposeful denial for short term profits. This is the biggest criminal conspiracy of all time.

I would never say that Hansen is clueless. But many very smart people think that what is obvious to them will eventually become obvious to all. This MAY happen, but history suggests that there is no guarantee that people determined not to understand something (and, as you point out, intentionally misled) are ever persuaded purely by events. I do hope I am wrong on this.

NASA climatologist James Hansen at Sydney Uni: "Australia doesn't agree now that they got to stop their coal, but they are going to agree. I can guarantee you that within a decade or so because the climate change will become so strongly apparent that's going to become imperative"

Matt, this is nonsense. The burning of fossil fuels will never stop voluntarily, until such time as either industrialism collapses or civilisation commits climate change induced suicide.

Right now we are replacing crude oil with other types of liquids.
That is keeping things running for now, however the other types will peak too.
After all liquid fuels peak, then look out for a drastic fall.

The excess capacity talked about in Saudi may not be enough to make up the difference.
I agree with West Texas that exports/imports will limit US consumption.
At some point we will be limited to oil within our borders.

Do you really think that the US will live quietly with oil within its borders?

Poly - By “shale gas technology” are you referring to horizontal drilling and frac’ing? Most important the horizontal drilling and frac techniques used in the recent shale gas boom aren't new…even with respect to oil recovery. Frac’ing horizontal oil wells was a very common practice done in thousand of wells in Texas 25 years ago. The play was the Austin Chalk…a shale-like rock made of calcium carbonate. Thousands of similar wells were drilled in other formations in west Texas. In fact, the technology worked in just the other direction: the approach was developed decades ago in mature fields and then applied to the shale gas trends when NG economics became more attractive.

Just a guess but are you thinking there are billions of bbls of oil in thousands of fields that could be recovered through EOR (enhanced oil recovery) methods? Would be great if it were true. But EOR methods have been applied to virtually all viable US oil fields many decades ago. With the exception of hz drilling the same EOR methods you’re thinking about been heavily utilized in the US oil patch since the 1950’s. Certainly there are opportunities around the globe for these technologies to recover more oil from some fields but it’s far from a wide spread opportunity IMHO. As an example I doubt there any major oil accumulations that haven’t been subjected to multiple EOR methods for more than 20 years. The majority of the word class Saudi fieds have been undergoing EOR for many years and, in some cases, decades. In reality a majority of current US oil production is coming from very mature fields undergoing some form of EOR. The only major oil fields discovered in the US for decades have been the recent DW GOM fields. They gave us a nice bump to the current plateau IMHO but these new fields will be very short lived compared to our very old fields. There are fields discovered in the 1940's that will still be producing a little oil after all the current giant DW fields have stopped producing. And this will typically happen thanks to EOR. Remember: the average oil well in the US (which is still one of the largest oil producers on the planet) is less than 10 bbls of oil per day. This low average is, in fact, one of the characteristics of mature EOR fields.

I would offer that there are probably more foreign opportunities for EOR projects because such projects tend to be driven by small independent oil companies that are so common in the US. But that’s also the problem: the lack of such entrepreneurs will also hold back such projects overseas IMHO. The majors and NOC’s just aren’t structured for such labor intensive and relatively low rate of return type projects.

Just a guess but are you thinking there are billions of bbls of oil in thousands of fields that could be recovered through EOR (enhanced oil recovery) methods? Would be great if it were true. But EOR methods have been applied to virtually all viable US oil fields many decades ago.

ROCKMAN, in the U.S. tens of billions of barrels can be recovered with CO2-EOR. But the article with that information also mentions the problem: the availability of CO2. And even when they manage to get the huge amounts of CO2, the production rate will be low. It will take many decades to get those Gb out, so it hardly can make the decline after PO less steep.

Correct Han…there is a huge volume of oil that might be recovered by CO2 EOR. And, as you point out, won’t for lack of CO2. I’ll emphasize that even more by pointing out that a huge volume of oil has already been recovered by CO2 EOR from fields where CO2 was economically available. There will still be a few new CO2 (as well as other methods) efforts on a small number of fields but the days of huge production gains from EOR in the US passed decades ago. And yes…decades. And is still taking decades: all EOR methods are still producing a large percentage of our oil…decades after the process started. And again: doing so at the rate of less than 10 bopd per well. I can point to a series of fields south of San Antonio that will still be producing oil at the current rate 30 or 40 years from today. And they’ll be doing so at the rate of one bopd per well.

"a huge volume of oil that might be recovered by CO2 EOR"

Nice for oil recovery. Not so nice for the planet.

Essentially, we are in a sinking ship.

It has dawned on some (who at least recognize that sinking is happening) that water in the hull is what is sinking the ship.

The solution?

Use some of the water to help bash more holes in the hull of the ship.

Great idea!

dohboi – When ever you make such posts I’m tempted to give you a verbal slapping. OTOH I don’t necessarily disagree with you. Strange, eh? LOL. I suppose the apparent conflict comes from my very dark view of our potential PO world. PO and global climate changes may be very catastrophic. But I see PO impacting our world significantly long before AGW.

Again, I have no crystal ball. But in 1930 I doubt anyone anticipated 100 million deaths during WWII. A conflict with multiple causes but not the least of which was a battle over energy resources IMHO. So by all means keep beating your drum and I’ll do likewise.

I try to give my self a few verbal slappings a day, so you would save me trouble by taking on some of the load. '-)

It is ultimately absurd to come onto a forum about the problem of not enough oil and claim that the real problem is too much oil. But I see no way around the physics of it. We are already deep into GW, probably in a runaway situation. There may be a slim chance of getting ahead of the CC/GHG feedback loops that are already in play (see my posts above), but only if we drastically cut back on UN-sequestering carbon--starting with coal and tar sands (and shale oil, etc), then oil and NG.

I didn't mean to point my critique at you in particular. We're all on the boat, either demanding that more holes be punched through the bottom, or complying to these demands. Both sides are equally culpable.

I still think a sudden awakening among the hole punchers could save our collective bacon (though causing much short term suffering). A refusal of all in the business to engage in any more carbon unsequestering is about the only way I can see us turning away from our madness.

But I'm not holding my breath.

dohboi – SLAP...SLAP…SLAP. You happy now, you perv? Actually most us of hole punchers are not only well aware of PO but AGW also. But we don’t set the playing field…the public/politicians do. And it doesn’t look good to the oil patch. But these are the skills we have and thus our way of making a living. And there are times when the public’s ignorance benefits us and times when it cripples us. I've mentioned a number of times the oil patch would be much happier if we historically had a nice slow but steady growth in oil prices/production. In fact, prior to 1960 the Texas Rail Road Commission forced, under the threat of prison, a slow regulated expansion of oil production. Granted, the motivation was to maintain viable oil prices but the effect was the same: subduing drilling expansions by limiting the rate of return the operators made. There was the “allowable”: companies were only allowed to produce, on a monthly basis, a certain percentage of their max production rate. My well might be able to flow 200 bopd but if the allowable of 50% I could only produce 100 bopd that month. Eventually OPEC tried to replace the TRRC in limiting how quickly we depleted our reserve base. Imagine where we would be today had not the TRRC and OPEC had limited the flood of oil into our economies. We would have become even more dependent upon cheap FF and we would be much farther down the global decline curve.

So for OPEC and the rest of the oil patch all I can say is: You’re welcome.

Thanks for the interesting historical insights (spiced with a few slaps! lol).

The fact is that we all support the status quo in some way. You might say that the ultimate source of our troubles are the college and university trained people that go on to make all the bone-headed decisions that get us into our multiple predicaments, and so lay the blame there. And no one wants to either pass up income or incur the wrath of the masses and the powers that be by bringing our geo-cidal fantasy of eternal growth driven by infinite greed to an end. But it is certainly hard to think of any one group that could pull us up short than a coordinated effort by those in the oil industry--particularly those in fields that require long training and experience.

Is there much of a history of labor organizing on the oil patch?

dhboi - "Geocidal" ... now that's one I just have to steal for my own. Not so much unionization on the drilling end. The down stream refining end has much more but that's more of a lap over from the other trade unions...electricians, etc. And remember Texas is Right to Work state...we don't cotton much to paying anyone to work a job. Besides unions have sort of a Yankee stink to it. LOL.

Switching back to the allowable system probably has as much of a chance of happening as the feds throwing another $3 tax on gasoline: the time for such actions has long passed. Once again as Pogo said: We have met the enemy and he is us.

Amen to that, bro.

Shape of things to come?

We'll Eat Again: How Britain Coped With Wartime Food Shortages

...When Britain entered the war in 1939 the island relied on the annual import of 22 million tons of food. By 1942 this had fallen by half. British farmers responded by switching from producing meat to growing wheat and potatoes. Most agricultural land was under grass, used to feed livestock. But once the war started it made no sense to waste energy by raising animals.

But the fact remained that Britain’s war effort was dependent on imports for all of its oil, most raw materials for industry and more than half its food.

The British were well off compared with the rest of the world. Across the globe 20 million died of starvation.

...the balance of power in the Allied world was also reflected in an unspoken hierarchy of food entitlement. The US military effortlessly placed themselves at its pinnacle, with their civilians next. British military and civilian food supplies were prioritised over those for the Empire.

As I recall, over all health of the civilian population increased dramatically over this period--much lower rates of heart disease, for example.

Doing without many of our luxuries is a win-win: a win for the planet and a win for our health.


From the article: ...At no point, though, were British people threatened with hunger, let alone starvation. In fact the British were probably at their healthiest during the war. All classes benefited from a reduction of fats and sugar and the addition to their diets of green vegetables from Victory Gardens.

The middle classes complained about enforced moderation but it did them no harm. ...The gap that had existed in the Thirties between the nutritional value of the diet of the wealthy and the poor was substantially narrowed.

I've heard the same about post-war German children. For example they had the healthiest teeth in generations because of the lack of sugar.

Thanks for the article, by the way. I'll have to track down that book "The Taste of War."

The name of the article was presumably an allusion to the great song, "We'll meet again."


Yes, it's true. The health of British civilians improved markedly during WWII. For the first time in their lives they were forced to eat healthy food.

The "Victory Gardens" everybody grew behind their houses produced only healthy fresh vegetables, and supplies of artery clogging butter and fatty meat were severely rationed. Sugar from tropical countries was generally unavailable, but the frozen (in winter) prairies of Canada supplied vast amounts of high-protein wheat and other healthy grains at heavily discounted prices. The German U-boats tried to stop the food shipments to Britain, but Canada increased the size of its Navy from about 14 ships at the start of the war to nearly 1000 by the end, and the US did the same on about 10 times the scale.

Sugar was rationed because it was used in the manufacture of bombs, molasses was rationed because it was used in the manufacture of synthetic rubber, tin cans were rationed because tin was necessary for the war effort, and meat was rationed because it was more efficient for people to eat grains directly.

As a result, the British were forced to eat only healthy foods in tightly-controlled amounts during the war. They didn't like it, and reverted to their former habits after the war was over. Their health, of course, declined sharply.

I didn't know that about the other uses of sugar and molasses.

I generally hate war comparisons (war on drugs...), but this really is the level of re-direction we need--a vast scale down in personal luxuries (with concomitant increases in health and well-being) with a vast build out of insulation for houses other crucial buildings as well as a growing scale up of alternatives.

Oh, but I forgot the mantra around here lately--alternatives can't keep the lights on, can't fuel business as usual, so are totally and utterly worthless. Thanks for that, TOD.

And of course, with the new congress, there is essentially no chance of anything happening that remotely approaches the scale of the problem. Much more likely they will do many things that will make everything much, much worse--like de-funding scientific research, for starters.

Thanks for that link Seraph. What doesn't kill us might make us stronger (and/or leave us scarred and crippled in some ways).

I wonder how this sentence might be completed by historians in 2111:

"The (locale) were well off compared with the rest of the world. Across the globe (? billion(s)) died of (pick a horsemen)."

A bit off-topic, but after reading this do any of y'all think you'll convince people to give up their carz?


What are you talking about?

I would guess 95% of people who read or contribute to this site are dependent on cars personally, for one reason or another.

I'm fully aware of peak oil and AGW, and I have no plans to get rid of my car, now or ever.

If you want to get around solely by walking, biking, or taking public transport, that's your prerogative.

Now, mind you I am aware that our total dependence on autos is a big problem, and we should never have gutted the railroads like we did, and most of our metropolitan areas should have robust public transportation including light rail, subways, etc.

But that's different than saying that every last one of us should give up our cars in some misguided attempt to create a society where no accidents occur, the air is clean, and everybody lives forever.

And I fully expect some snark or other to arrive from the liberal utopians on this site.

oiley - And a small percentage of us here are dependent on folks driving a lot more than necessary. For the rest of the oil patch all I can say is THANK YOU...THANK YOU...THANK YOU!!!!

Oh, please.

<snark> Was that a UL approved open bucket they poured the gasoline into? </snark>

With three hundred million people in the good old US of A, there are bound to be more than a few out at the far end of the bell curve, fit for little else but competing for the Darwin Award. Am I mis-remembering, or didn't one creature even kill himself trying to shake a soda out of a vending machine, no evil wicked car involved? But so what? So what on earth has the existence of morons got to do with convincing everyone (or anyone) to "give up their carz"?

Re: Greenland ice melt. That comes to a block of ice 5 miles on a side or 125 cubic miles. Wow!

I don't know if you intend to be snarky with your comment, and I don't know whether you read any of the article or are just reacting to the headline.

But you might note that the article mentions multiple feedbacks accelerating the rate of melting. Even one feedback mechanism will tend to put a trend into an exponential rate of increase.

If you don't know what an exponential rate of increase means after being on this forum for over 4 years, I am not going to be able to be the one to educate you.

Crude oil spot prices updated: 22 January 2011 18:30 GMT USD/bbl upstreamonline.com
Name Last Change % Time
Brent Blend 97.69 0.19
Tapis 101.09 -0.53
Alaska North Slope 91.56 -0.47
Dubai 1M 93.32 1.32
Louisiana Sweet 96.17
Urals 94.24 0.62
WTI 88.17 -0.39
Oman 1M 91.91
Minas 95.1 -0.48
Forties 97.29 0.42
Bonny Light 98.94 0.57
Demand must be up in most of the world as 2/3's of the world exports of oil moves on Brent Blend up $.19 to $97.69. The spread between WTI of $9.52 is beyond sustainable as oil producers cannot ignore $9.52 a barrel for long IMO.

@ newman1979

More on the WTI Brent Spread

It's a combination of too much oil at Cushing, and pretty bold and imaginative (but ultimately ruinous for the market) trading games on Feb Brent/BFOE cargoes by Hetco which will probably unwind before the 18th February.

The chart is interesting, by the way

IMHO this chart - which plots forward curves of WTI against Brent/BFOE - is the 'smoking gun' which shows that the oil market price at least (and IMHO pretty much every other organised commodity market) has become extremely financialised and has lost touch with fundamental supply and demand considerations.

If it were the case that the WTI and Brent curves were related to actual physical production and consumption (as opposed to market supply and demand which incorporates purely financial participants) then we would see the Brent/BFOE price curve cross through the WTI price curve early in Year One, and then track maybe a dollar below the WTI curve, rather than a couple of dollars above, as in the chart.

So, due to a combination of financial purchasing and 'leasing', the price of oil and other commodities appears to me to actually derive principally from moves in the $ vs the rest of the world, while the forward commodity price curves move by and large in lock step with changes in the dollar yield curve.

Having said that, I see the oil price in an unstable equilibrium and subject to collapse at any time if risk averse ETF fund money - 'hedging inflation', and not speculating for transaction profit - pulls out of the market.

Then FT Alphaville capped a good day with this post

Oil Shock 2.0 or the Benchmark Wars

This reflects my view that Hetco's games demonstrate that Brent/BFOE is approaching the danger zone in terms of validity - WTI gave up the ghost many years ago and has long been the tail on the Brent/BFOE dog in terms of setting global oil prices.

Once Brent/BFOE loses confidence, then what will the benchmark be?

Answers on a post card please......

Interesting that they did not go into the general expansion of heavy sour crude demand aka peak light sweet oil.

The scenario is pretty simple your purchasing a heavy sour crude thats sold at a discount to WTI or Brent. Your only choice to lock in a price for this crude is a pure financial hedge on one of the major futures market. Your not interested in delivery only locking in a price.

Thus perhaps instead of being insignificant the problem is these markets are now driven by additional liquidity demand if you will.
Speculative players are needed more than ever to offset the use of these markets to hedge other oil transactions.


And this


And of course players could readily use both markets at the same time to establish positions. Cross market hedges are interesting to say the least. Balancing short and long positions between WTI and Brent is dare I say fascinating :)

And of course this is not limited to just direct oil buys but any situation thats sensitive to oil prices. Airlines are a classic example of and industry thats keen to limit its exposure to price swings in oil.

I'd argue that you can at least make the observation that the market is very concerned about future price volatility and is in a bit of a frenzy to hedge.

Below this it clearly has decided that OPEC can and will keep prices at least in the 70-80 band and thus a strong floor price is established.

The problem is OPEC has induced the volatility by explicitly not setting a clear upper threshold. We only have vague promises of action only if a 100 dollar price limit is exceeded by what they deem fundamental reasons.

This it seems sufficient to induce speculative hedging to offset the now unknown upper bound for prices. However according to the above its real hedging for real oil not just pure speculation.

Of course the fact that OPEC own actions probably play a large role in inducing the speculative hedging that they claim they have no ability to control is a bit hmm interesting. A bit of a catch 22 situation if you ask me.

Given that spot prices have moved with the major markets one can assume that the underlying fundamentals are supportive of high prices already otherwise we would have gotten a large divergence. This might still happen but in general so far prices seem sticky.

I'm not sure OPEC can easily fix this even if they have excess capacity. They need to start clearly but slowly ramping production regardless of speculation to steadily dampen expectations of volatility driving the speculative market. Waiting till after 100 is crossed and US inventory levels have fallen is in my opinion dangerous as its likely to either pop the speculative bubble or induce and economic slow down or both. I'd argue that speculators in the market already recognize that OPEC has adopted a pretty dangerous strategy thus .... it fuels speculation :)

If I'd have to guess at the overall market physiology now I'd argue that it believes we could reach or exceed previous highs and that OPEC might be angling for the highest possible price i.e OPEC really thinks the economy can say handle 150-180 oil. Crash on the backside perhaps but any final resolution is not at 100 but who knows where at 100+.

A WAG is that the market is expecting at least 110 thus its current position i.e plenty of people willing to hedge at sub 100 prices.
If so then the various crude markets should see these interesting spreads narrow significantly as prices approach 110.

My guess would be that if Brent breaks 100 and holds firm around 102-103 that WTI will rise rapidly to collapse the spread.

If however Brent says falls to 95 then WTI would fall to say 85 and the spread would eventually narrow at around say 90 or so.
If so then perhaps a very slow "fundamental" move towards 100 without all the wide spreads.

OPEC actually seems to be betting on the latter and that the market will move downwards on its own accord without intervention.
If you think about it this is the second time they have talked about 100 dollar oil as important and last time this is effectively what happened the rally over 80 eventually failed.

@ Memmel

Sorry, but you've lost me entirely.

No doubt I do the same :-)

I'm trying to explain that the market moves can be considered perfectly normal. The key is not the contract but the liquidity of these markets. I don't see any real problem. Perhaps the best way to consider them as if they where similar to your typical gold standard currency actual physical movement of gold is rare in a gold standard currency. Above this is simply trading ownership without actually moving the gold. Far more commonplace is the trade of paper markers theoretically redeemable in gold although they are seldom redeemed.
These would correspond to the large number of contracts based on the standard.

Emphasis on the storage at Cushing is unwarranted as the same for Brent. Obviously as with a gold standard actual holders of gold have some leverage but not nearly as much as you think. One reason the US managed to successfully float a fiat currency in the first place for that matter :)

Now with that said cross plays between Brent and WTI are extremely interesting. Go short Brent and long WTI or vice versa.
The fundamental demand for using these markets to hedge oil price related transactions has opened up some interesting money games.

The key is the liquidity and depth of these markets however not the underlying physical tie.

@ Memmel

The key is the liquidity and depth of these markets however not the underlying physical tie.

You have completely the wrong end of the stick. The physical market is the dog, and exchange and OTC markets are the tail.

The basis of the global market price is the physical market price and this is set by production and consumption, and stock movements.

The global market price benchmark has been for many years the 'Dated' Brent/BFOE contract which is the nearest thing there is to a crude oil spot contract. The problem is that there are now maybe only 60 of these cargoes coming onto the market each month, many of which will not be freely available having been acquired by refiners.

The price of Dated Brent is assessed and reported by oil market reporters like Platts and Argus.

Dated Brent/BFOE contracts are are the outcome of the monthly cycle of Brent/BFOE bilateral/OTC Forward contracts, and there are typically a multiple of such contracts compared to the physical market, so traders who are 'short' must buy forward cargoes to off-set their sale. On expiry a clearing/netting cycle takes place which either closes out or makes the contracts 'wet' into Dated Brent/BFOE contracts with set loading dates.

The massive ICEFutures Brent/BFOE contract is in turn based upon an Index calculated from trading of these forward contracts, but this is just a cash-settled financial bet with no more influence on the spot price than if I bet you the price was gong up or down.

Finally, the WTI futures price has been kept in line - except in the spot and nearby months - with the Brent Futures price by a huge 'arbitrage' between the markets. It is of little more than domestic US use as a pricing benchmark and of zero use as a global pricing benchmark which was why the Saudis stopped using it in August 2009.

What has enabled producers to artificially support the global oil market price at the 'upper bound' of demand destruction has been the relatively recent ability to 'lease' physical oil both bilaterally - as with Shell and ETF Securities - or opaquely via OTC dealings in the extremely opaque Brent Complex of contracts/derivatives/structured finance and so on which is intermediated by investment banks and traders.

Introducing Financial Oil Leasing

Your understanding of the global oil market is ill-founded, I'm afraid, but you are most certainly not alone in your misapprehensions - merely more eloquent and inventive than most commentators in expressing them.

OK, If I am understanding your position/theory, a purchase of 6 million barrels on a market that represents 2/3 of the world's export oil sales or 20 million barrels a day has, in large part, created a spread greater than $9 or $10 than what the WTI/Brent should ordinarily trade? I would have thought the world oil market of 80 billion barrels a year would not be so easily fooled by so small (relatively) a purchase.

I don't think 80 billion barrels a year is up for grabs on a "world market".

@ newman1979

As I pointed out to memmel it is the 'spot' Dated Brent price which is the global price benchmark -directly (>65%) or indirectly through arbitrage - for substantially all physical oil transactions.

As Hetco demonstrated this month, and other traders in this 'consenting adults' market have in previous months, it really does not take much money to command a month's production.

But these relatively small amounts of trader or hedge fund capital are therefore only capable of causing short term volatility - such as the current spike in the WTI/Brent/BFOE arbitrage - from existing levels: they are not remotely enough to support the oil price over time.

The cuplrit for the financialisation of the global oil price - which is so clearly illustrated by the chart, and by the correlation of oil with other commodities traded on organised markets - is the huge amount of investor capital from risk averse 'inflation hedgers' (not the greedy speculators responsible for short term volatility) in Index funds and specialist ETFs and ETCs.

When the price collapsed in 2008 a very large part of this fall was due to the withdrawal of many such ETF investors from the market. The spike over $100 was by most accounts due largely to a large trading position gone wrong, and the pillaging by a certain investment bank and major trader of that player.

Note here that I recognise that the trend in price of a finite resource like oil can only be upwards. What we are seeing here is the death throes of a global oil market which is no longer fit for purpose.

Apologies if this has been posted. Good for a laugh:

This video exposes the eco-socialist Gaia conspiracy to rob hard working Americans of God-given V-8 power and tax them into the poorhouse. Combined with the Global Warming hoax, this will bring our ravenous economy to a halt by 2020.

Inter-City Bus Travel Fastest Growing Mode.

I think this is good news (6% increase), since bus travel is about 5X more fuel efficient than air travel.
Could be part of the US adapting to higher fuel and auto costs.


"For the third year in a row, the intercity bus service was the fastest growing mode of intercity
transportation, outpacing air and rail transportation.
The rate of growth on intercity bus service, measured in terms of the number of daily
departures, exceeded that of rail and air travel by comfortable margins in 2010. The number of
airline departures rose by 3.0% in the most recent month for which data is available (October) while
the number of train miles operated by Amtrak in the most recent month (October) rose by a modest
0.5% over the previous year. "

I can attest to this. The 'MegaBus' has become the main way that people I know get to and from Chicago from Minneapolis. It's $30 each way, much cheaper than any other mode of transport, and there's some kind of lottery system that usually gives you some kind of deal, sometimes down to just $1. They are generally cleaner than Greyhound, and the drivers are usually pretty good about not putting up with shenanigans from the passengers.

The cheapness reflects the fact (as far as I've seen in the research) that large, well filled busses are the least ff intensive way to get people across longish distances. (Electric rail may fare better, but that does not exist right now in most locations.)

Probably the cheapness also reflects the fact that the Interstates that inter-city buses use are federally subsidized, while the comparable rail infrastructure is not government-provided, in the US (in contrast to most other countries). Of course trucks and buses pay fuel taxes, but all reports indicate that fuel taxes from heavy vehicles cover only a minor fraction of the road wear they cause, let alone the amortized capital cost of the infrastructure they use.

I still see evolving bus transportation as a positive development, and my daughter uses the "China-Town" buses or MegaBus, Bolt, etc. to get up and down the East Coast. Very cheap, convenient (street-corner pickup instead of Port Authority style grimy station), and power outlets and wifi.

Not at the level of Argentina's full-reclining, curtained-off, double-decker with stewardesses "Super-Cama" service, but still trending that way, compared to Greyhound ("Not Just A White-Trash Terrarium").

Good point about hiway subsidies.

Most of this intercity travel is unnecessary and should be discontinued.

We've got to save whatever oil and atmospheric carbon space we have left for farming and emergency services.

Visiting friends and relatives and doing face-to-face business with people in another city has mostly got to go away (though hearty bikers still have a place, imho).

Yes I think this is a good development but let's be honest.

Always, always make sure to take in class and global considerations into discussions on social trends.

If more people use transportation methods such as above (which is going to happen) all it does is free up the highways for the truckers and the upper middle class who can enjoy the space.

IMO the roads are a little less congested than the go go days before the 2008 crash, and this has been a godsend for commuters who still have jobs.

Not to mention the fact that if we don't use oil, the Chinese, and others around the world will.

Unless there is global government which rations oil use worldwide and for everybody (which is an impossibility) than no action we take, no action whatseover, will mitigate the continuing depletion of oil, because there's always going to be somebody out there to use it.

Just think about it.

"Unless there is global government which rations oil use worldwide and for everybody (which is an impossibility) than no action we take, no action whatsoever, will mitigate the continuing depletion of oil, because there's always going to be somebody out there to use it."

I think people do generally underestimate the power of this point. And an ancillary one--oil is power; those with it wield power and people don't generally give up power willingly.

But you might be overestimating the point a bit. The UN has set all sorts of goals that involve cooperation among many disparate nations. Rationing oil would be many times harder than these, of course, but it is not as though absolutely nothing remotely like it has never been done.

I'll go as far as extremely unlikely (especially given the results of the last US election) but not utterly impossible.

(Go on now, and call me a hopeless optimist '-)

That's right, in other words, this ISN'T JUST the "fall of America". It ISN'T JUST "America" that is doomed to fall, it's the entire WORLD system we have created. We couldn't have solved it in the 1970s as you mentioned in another post of yours, it just wasn't POSSIBLE. Just not enough fuel, not enough energy, wrong fundamentals -- "growth growth growth" makes NO sense on a FINITE Earth.

Yeah . . . I guess that is good news on an emissions basis.

But it also basically says "WE ARE BECOMING POORER!" Not exactly great news. It is another one of those "peak demand" happy-talk stories. Yeah! Our oil demand is going down! (Because we are poor.)

We need better passenger rail service for medium distance inter-city travel.

Agreed the more bus travel versus declining auto travel indicates the we are becoming poorer. But "poor and happy" is certainly possible, just like rich and unhappy (which I have seen plenty of, sad, aimless trust-funders included).

My experience is that many other countries have bus systems which are much more pleasant than the grimy Greyhound experience. I really enjoyed a 22 hour bus trip in Argentina, with a seat that reclined into a bed, food service, videos, and my laptop plugged in, much more than many cattle-car airline experiences where you queue for security, wait hours on the tarmac unable to stand up or move around, can't fit a laptop behind the reclined seat in front,etc. I even billed half the bus trip time to my software development contract, while working on an economy class airline seat is harder all the time.

But I want better passenger rail service too. Full Speed Reverse in the US right now, as the Repubs propose eliminating Amtrak completely, and R Gov's refuse high-speed rail dollars.

For Los Angeles County, ridership estimates for 2010 seem to indicate that there were reductions in the number of people using MTA overall.

I started telecommuting 4 days/week in 2010, so dropped from taking MTA every workday to only using MTA on Mondays, but I doubt most MTA users reduced their use for the same reason.

Systemwide Ridership Estimates for December
Total Calendar Month Boardings
2010-12 - 35,048,324
2009-12 - 36,531,735
2008-12 - 37,334,039



Actually, near the bottom of the previous URL shows ridership graphs as a link. When I look at those graphs on the link, and discard the most recent month's data, it seems MTA ridership is roughly an 'undulating plateau' for about the past two years ;)


Your claim is somewhat misleading. Don't forget that 2008 saw a sharp rise in gasoline prices, which abated soon after. Thus, the 2008 ridership may have been a spike which resulted from the high fuel prices. I would expect that a return to higher fuel prices would also result in greater "boardings" going forward...

E. Swanson


Especially read the comment by Brock. $30 a bbl oil? From bacteria? Could be a game changer.

I never cared much for fear. It is a bad way to go through life.

Second link you made to the news in a single DrumBeat, simmer down now.

A slight game changer will occur if this pans out and it gives twice the energy per acreage as grain biofuels (per the claim).

I am more curious about the dozens of patents that revolve around the "breakthrough". I doubt many other countries will respect the IP. That's the odd thing about patenting life-forms.

Not being snarky, but I would recommend you do some real DD on the subject. Or just take "Brock"'s word for it and then go long unicorns as a hedge.

I never cared much for ignorance. It is a bad way to go through life.

Especially read the comment by Brock. $30 a bbl oil? From bacteria? Could be a game changer.

I'd be very curious to know how they arrived at 30 dollars a barrel. That's less than a dollar a gallon for a manufactured energy filled liquid ready for usage? Don't believe everything you read. Sometimes outrageous claims are made to get investment money, then you never hear from them again, while they sip pino coladas in the tropics, thinking up the next scam to run when the money runs out.

I never cared much for suspension of disbelief, and care even less for non-systems thinking. Please note the following, then consider the implications given oil is on its plateau now and climate tipping points appear to have been passed, or are in danger of being passed:

It will probably take a couple of years to prove this out and get the "bugs" out of the system. And probably a couple of decades to scale up the idea until the production becomes a significant fraction of US liquid fuel use. Time will tell.

Time, indeed.

for those who want to know more, that would be patent 7,794,969 and 7,785,861 ( http://patft.uspto.gov/ )

I wonder how those bacterial cultures will perform in the long run. in our lab we are struggling with cultures that have a genomic drift of around 2-5% over 2 years (ie. after 2 years there vast difference in the genome). Other microbiologists have told me that this seems to be the norm. One can easily imagine a Monsanto-like business model where you have to buy seed cultures every year or so.


The "E" in the E. coli they're talking about stands for "EEstor", not Escherichia.

a genetically adapted E. coli bacterium – that feeds solely on carbon dioxide and excretes liquid hydrocarbons

Sorry - violates the second law of thermodynamics. Funny how often that little law gets ignored. Regarding the other cyanobacteria stories - they could work, but it will take a lot of development time and ultimately a lot of land. I am actually very familiar with one of the large pilot algae-to-biofuels projects being helped along by government funding. We should have a good idea on the performance in about three years. Like other renewables, it may help things at the margin, but there are still plenty of questions about the economics of it without subsidies.

FOR ALL: “Train shipments of crude oil in U.S. surge thanks to shale oil output”. I don’t know of this is just sloppy reporting or an intentional cornucopian lie. In fact, not only has there been an increase in shale oil delivery via trains AFAIK there hasn’t been a single bbl of commercial shale oil shipped by train or any other method. Last I heard Shell Oil was the only company working on shale oil production and they don’t anticipate building their first commercial pilot effort until 2014 AT THE EARLIEST…their words…not mine. The Eagleford and Bakken are not shale oil reservoirs as the article offers. These are fractured shale oil reservoirs that have been known for decades. Perhaps the writters have simply confused the different reservoirs. In fact the “shake oil” reservoirs don’t even contain oil (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_shale for details.

But it doesn’t really matter if most on TOD understand these facts. The MSM cornucopians may latch onto this bogus story and spread it through the populace that will be more than ready to accept any lie that will keep them believing in BAU. IMHO, of course.

I'm guessing they mean oil from the Bakken Shale?

Is there a good nomenclature to distinguish oil from oil shale (what you are talking about) and liquid crude oil extracted from liquid pockets of a shale formation but not from the shale itself.

spec - The problem is that we're dealing with very poor nomenclature created by some dim witted geologists decades ago. The oil shale formations have no oil in them. In fact, the material in these rocks that can be process into oil are solid...not liquid. My best guess is that they called them "oil shales" because if you extract and process the kerogen in these rocks you'll end up with some oil...some very expensive oil. If you have time check out the wiki link. Though I doubt the oil shales will contribute any meaningful amount of oil in many decades (if ever) they are an intersting bit of geology.

Probably the best name would be "non-oil solid hydrocarbon bearing shale" would be the proper name. But that just doesn't roll of the tongue like "oil shale"...does it. LOL

And yes...they may have meant the Bakken. And that was the worst aspect: mixing up the numbers of a major play that does contain a huge volume of economically recoverable oil with a play containing of huge volume of non-economically recoverable non-oil material. I think most on TOD can see the distinction. Unfortunately 98% of our citizens can't IMHO.

shale oil, as the term is currently used (and abused), refers to conventional crude oil produced from fractured shale/dolomite/sand/siltstones - bakken shale for example.

shale oil should probably be called conventional oil from fractured shale/dolo..........etc.

oil shale should probably be called kerogen containing marlstone.

tar sands........well, that is descriptive.

shale gas, as the term is currently used (and abused), refers to conventional gas produced from fractured shale/dolomite/sand/siltstone.

fortunately, i don't think the term 'gas shale' has been invented, as that would imply mining shale for gas - potentially an explosive situation.

shale oil should probably be called conventional oil from fractured shale/dolo..........etc.

oil shale should probably be called kerogen containing marlstone.

tar sands........well, that is descriptive.

shale gas, as the term is currently used (and abused), refers to conventional gas produced from fractured shale/dolomite/sand/siltstone.

Well, that's generally correct.

* Shale oil is actually oil contained in a very tight shale, which must be fractured to get the oil out.

*Shale gas is natural gas contained in a very tight shale, which must be fractured to release the gas.

* Oil shale is a complete misnomer as it is really kerogen (a waxy oil precursor) and the rock is really marlestone. The rock must be mined and the kerogen must be retorted to turn it into oil.

*Tar sand, though, does not contain tar but a semi-sold form of oil called bitumen. If you heat it with steam or dilute it with natural gas liquids, bitumen will flow like oil, and can be produced relatively easily. Shallower formations can also be mined. There is not much difference between bitumen and heavy oil, so it can be fed directly into a refinery designed to process heavy oil.

I've often though it was funny that the US government refers to Oil Shale and Tar Sands because the US "Oil Shales" do not contain oil and are not shales, while the Canadian "Tar Sands" do not contain tar (although they are sands). I think there's a definite political spin on their web site:

The United States holds the world’s largest known concentration of oil shale. Nearly five times the proven oil reserves of Saudi Arabia underlies a surface area of 16,000 square miles. The enormous potential of this domestic resource is a key to the Nation’s energy security and economic strength, and to the quality of life Americans enjoy today and hope to ensure for future generations.

The US government is doing its best to ignore the fact that the Canadian "Tar Sands" actually do contain heavy oil, which is cheaper cheaper and easier to produce and process than the kerogen in "Oil Shales" of the United States.

The confusion between "oil shale" and "shale oil", I think is also deliberate. It is an attempt by promoters to confuse naive people into believing that "shale oil" reserves are much bigger than they actually are, and that "oil shale" resources are much easier to recover than they actually are. They're trying to get money out of you. Don't let them scam you.

good grief.

It's like the pronghorn antelope which is not an antelope, and the mountain goat that is not a goat (but an antelope).

Shale oil is actually oil contained in a very tight shale, which must be fractured to get the oil out.

well that is generally correct, except that what you call shale , in some cases, actually amounts to a mixture of shale/dolomite/sandstone/siltstone. e.g. nd's bakken "shale oil".

and except that in not all cases must the shale/dolomite/sandstone/siltstone be hydraulically fractured to get the oil out. the most prolific of nd middle bakken dolomite producers was not hydraulically fractured at all:

USA 2D-3-1H
Cumulative Production Data
Pool: BAKKEN Cum Oil: 1077541 Cum MCF Gas: 1458620 Cum Water: 12212

and as i posted elsewhere, the 80's -90's round of boom-n-bust in the hz nd bakken targeted the upper bakken 'for-real' shale with limited success.

Rockman a question,

I was under the impression that most of these shales were low in Hydrogen and you had to add Hydrogen too the process to produce a good liquid hydro carbon product. If this is so wouldn't this add to the price of the finished product?

yorkie - I don't know the details of the kerogen processing but I think your correct. Yep...cost money to process. But I think the major costs factor is that previous efforts (unlike Shell Oil's "in situ' approach) required digging the shale out, grinding it up and using huge amounts of water to flush the solid kerogen out of the powder. The huge water use is one of the major hurdles. Not just the costs but a potential lack of water in our arid southwest to supply a significant extraction rate.

Yorkshire Miner,

The method for converting "oil shale" into oil has been known for centuries:

The British Crown granted a patent in 1694 to three persons who had "found a way to extract and make great quantities of pitch, tarr, and oyle out of a sort of stone."

It basically mimics the natural process which creates crude oil - heat and pressure.

Most of the world's conventional oil reserves were formed from shales containing a waxy substance called kerogen, which were buried sufficiently deep that subsurface heat and pressure converted the kerogen into crude oil. The oil shale deposits of the US are basically kerogen-containing marlestones that have not been buried deep enough to turn them into crude oil.

On the other hand, the oil sands of Canada contain a semi-solid form of oil called bitumen , which can be turned into lighter synthetic crude oil by adding hydrogen, or removing carbon. Alternatively, they can be fed directly into an oil refinery which has been modified to do this directly, as many of them have. They are actually oil deposits that have had most of their lighter components evaporate, and what is left has been partially biodegraded. (Unbeknownst to most people, crude oil is biodegradable.)

Was that "shake oil" intentional or a world-class Freudian slip? Can't think of a more apt word-morph to describe the kerogen deposits the flim-flam artists in this neck of the woods keep promoting as "the next Saudi Arabia."

UTAH - Wish I could say I was that clever but it's just the efforts of a non-touch typer.

Uh, Rock . . .

The Eagleford and Bakken are not shale oil reservoirs as the article offers.

The article does not call them "reservoirs." It simply calls them "plays" and "deposits." They *are* shales, and it *is* oil, so what else are you going to call it?

it *is* oil

Oil shale crude is actually composed of kerogen.

The stuff they're extracting from the shales in ND and Texas is light sweet crude and condensate. That (obviously) is what the article was referring to.

conventional crude and condensate, but the shale part is not correct. more like fractured shale/dolomite/sand/siltstone of the middle bakken and three forks.

round one of this hz bakken 'shale' boom-n-bust did concentrate on the fractured upper bakken shale. 'modern' wells drilled into the middle bakken shale/dolomite/sand/siltstones in these (round one) areas are finding the reservoir depleted. recent developments in the three forks in these (round one) areas are finding original pressures.

The nomenclature of the whole discussion is messed up. Oil shale is not shale and does not contain oil. Shale oil does contain oil, but is not shale. Tar sands are sands but do not contain tar.

It's like watching a shell game. The important thing to remember is that it is a confidence trick.

...an attempt to defraud a person or group by gaining their confidence.

The perpetrators are the stock promoters, who you probably suspected, the US government, who you may have foolishly trusted, and the media, who are noteworthy mainly for their naïveté

Let's call everything oil. Let's call beeswax and turpentine and cow's milk oil. They all have hydrogen and carbon and they're liquids so they're oil by virtue of being a liquid hydrocarbon.

Let's call everything oil.

Hey, how far does that push post peak oil out? What does it do to the graphs? Does "peak demand" get delayed too? Here add this, I'm squeezing juice out of grapes.

Ac - We can call the Bakken, Eagleford, Austin Chalk and dozens of other formation reservoirs, plays, oil producing rocks, etc. The one description that we cannot, under any circumstance, call them is shale oil producers. I know the similarity in terms might be confusing but the difference between a shale that produces oil and a shale oil reservoir is on the scale of the difference betwen a field mouse and an elephant. And in truth those two critters have more in common than the two types of rocks we're talking about. As others have pointed out there is ZERO bbls of oil in the oil shale formations. What is there is a material that can be recovered (at great expense) and be processed into oil…at a significant expense. I suspect this was just a case of a technology ignorant writer. There real harm will be the rest of the MSM carrying the story without checking out its accuracy.

And maybe in 30 or 40 years when oil reaches a sustained price of $200+/bbl maybe we’ll see a lot of shale oil being railed across the country. Maybe.

Oddly, this poor choice of words probably affects policy. People will constantly hear about the billions of oil in the green river shale and think it is just like the Bakken shale.

OK, a little bit off topic, but has anyone noticed that the API has brought the "Hot Blonde" out of hibernation and placed her back on air with commercials suited to bringing the entire Idiocracy a warm fuzzy niceness with promises of "a fracking job for every one of ya'" (well OK, maybe that's not exactly the quote, but hey...).

Just seeing them again, makes me want to give up my Dooming ways...at least till that last can of Fosters wears off:)

1,000 mitigations #1

Fed Ex Makes Major Move Towards Sustainability: All New Buildings Will Be LEED Certified

Fed Ex Makes Major Move Towards Sustainability: All New Buildings Will Be LEED Certified

Sounds like good PR work if you ask me. Burn millions of barrels of oil delivering boxes, but hold on for just a moment, their buildings will be moving towards sustainability! Now that's a twist of irony most poeple won't get, but they'll eat up the good green bit.

Add to that efficient does not equal sustainable. I've yet to come across a LEED building that was sustainable.

Greenwashing at its finest.

Greenwashing and greenwishing... I just cannot believe the mental contortions we are going through in this Bargaining Stage.

Self-deception is part of the indoctrination at many "sustainable development" programs at colleges and universities too. Pretend with the students, pretend with each other, and keep painting ourselves further into the corner of complexity. The fat and happy staff and faculty, as well as the futures' indefinitely indentured servants we call students, will continue to pretend until the student loans and the grant money runs out...

Then we can see how well the Pentagon and our Attorney General anticipated events in their "unified quest" to ensure domestic tranquility.

the statement says it's moving towards sustainability by using less energy. it's not greenwashing. what is your definition of sustainability?

It can only have one. LEED doesn't seem to consider embedded energy, e.g., and research has shown 1/3 of LEED buildings do not perform as advertised. There's a more accurate system of certification I am zoning on at the moment...

Let me put it this way: With significant future growth doubtful, any buildings they build are too many unless the ones they have are falling down.

BAU is BAU is BAU.

"With significant future growth doubtful"

doubtful for whom? I predict significant future growth and I predict new buildings will be built one hundred years from now. any step towards mitigation is a win.

I know that you can't admit this is a good thing because the main thesis of peak oil is that we'll just wander off the cliff because
nobody will conserve. that thesis is wrong. would you rather they use more energy? of course not!

should the company just dissolve and not ship anything anymore? that would be stupid.

100 years from know people will be shipping things. with that in mind it is great that people are conserving. the world is a little more sustainable.

"Burn millions of barrels of oil delivering boxes"

I supposed your computer arrived by bike? all the workers who work at the power plant that supplies your electricity ride bikes?

a quick google search reveals fedex is saving fuel to. it's almost like they are a logistics company.

FedEx Improves Fuel Efficiency

FedEx reducing aircraft emissions and increasing vehicle fuel efficiency towards goals of 20% by 2020

Well someone (or some people) at FedEx are pretty progressive about energy saving.

FedEx is one of the companies in the electrification coalition, an industry group committed to moving the electrification of the transport fleet. Fed Ex has bought several Electric & hybrid delivery trucks. Some of the articles here on the drum in recent days about electric trucks were quite encouraging. The trucks are currently very expensive but a lot of that is a matter of small manufacturing scale. But apparently the drivers and the fleet managers love the electric vehicles because of the low fuel costs, quiet drive, low maintenance, etc.

Of course, Fed Ex damn well better be concerned about energy since energy is on of their largest costs (if not THE largest cost).

That's great!!

But still is not sustainable.

You're just being obnoxious now, Pride.

They're doing something that pushes some of their consumption down.. it's a few steps in our Thousand Mile journey, and maybe we won't make it.. but please, pick more useful targets for your disdain.

Sure there's going to be a PR aspect to this.. but why shouldn't there be? They're doing something right.. let them trumpet it a bit. I do, in large part to slowly get my neighbors to see that it's both possible, and in all of our best interests to do so.

"You're just being obnoxious now, Pride."

Wrong. I was not being sarcastic, so who is being obnoxious? Next time, ask me first.

No, I was talking about the 'not sustainable' part.

Almost NONE of what's around us is.. so it becomes snarky to deride something for not 'Being sustainable'.

FEDEX, like any business, is going to try to cut running costs, and they seem to be clearly aware that renewables and building efficiency can be a win-win. If they have something built that isn't performing, it's more than likely they'll have to pay to have it corrected, and that would take more time, both noticing the errors and trying new approaches and retrofits.. but that is the test bed, and different architects and engineers are going to be relearning the same lessons at different rates and coming to different ultimate solutions. That's evolution for you.

LEED has certainly been imperfect, as an unholy blend of Bureaucracy, Politics and Design Experimentation.. but I don't agree that we should 'forget it'. It is evolving, but it's architecture, it is not as fast to change and learn new systems as we might want or need.

It's not even a question of 'good enough', as below.. it's a matter of moving a Gargantuan system of Building Systems and Materials and Construction Habits so that all of these different elements start coordinating in the same direction. It's a lot of weight and momentum going other ways, and doesn't turn on a dime. Sorry if you feel that's inadequate.. it certainly IS, but it's also unlikely to be able to shift faster.. and can certainly start shifting slower if we tear down whatever progress and lessons have started moving by saying 'Forget LEED', when we are dissatisfied by it. That program has positives and negatives.. and should be helped to drive towards the plusses, not just be crucified on the mistakes..

They've been going solar for a few years.

In 2005, FedEx also activated a solar energy system at its Oakland hub facility at Oakland International Airport. This array, a cooperative venture between FedEx and Sharp Solar, featured 5,769 panels (or 306,768 solar cells) covering 81,000 square feet of rooftop and rated at 904 kilowatts.

The FedEx solar installation is said to provide 25% of the electricity for the facility. They used 5,769 panels, each apparently rated at 165 watts. But what does the photo in this story tell you?

E. Swanson

1,000 mitigations #2

New Lessons From Old Buildings
Over the last 60 years, architects and engineers forgot how to make buildings work without cheap energy. But many are learning the lessons from the past and applying them to the new.

Yup. Forget LEED. It just allows one to make mistakes they kid themselves are justified. At this point in history, we can't afford "good enough."

"At this point in history, we can't afford "good enough."

why not? fedex is a large corporation with lots of cash. new buildings will be more efficient which is good because we will be building buildings for a long time.

Cliodynamics: The Journal of Theoretical and Mathematical History

‘Cliodynamics’ is a transdisciplinary area of research integrating historical macrosociology, economic history/cliometrics, mathematical modeling of long-term social processes, and the construction and analysis of historical databases. Cliodynamics: The Journal of Theoretical and Mathematical History is an international peer-reviewed web-based/free-access journal that will publish original articles advancing the state of theoretical knowledge in this discipline. ‘Theory’ in the broadest sense includes general principles that explain the functioning and dynamics of historical societies and models, usually formulated as mathematical equations or computer algorithms. It also has empirical content that deals with discovering general empirical patterns, determining empirical adequacy of key assumptions made by models, and testing theoretical predictions with the data from actual historical societies. A mature, or ‘developed theory,’ thus, integrates models with data; the main goal of Cliodynamics is to facilitate progress towards such theory in history.

But what is needed is a Journal of Theoretical and Mathematical Futures.

Link up top: OPEC poised to dominate global energy markets

Iraq now has almost half the world's oil reserves. Their reserves are now twice those of Saudi Arabia.

In the meantime, brushing aside the Peak Oil theorists, Iraq and Venezuela are now claiming to have considerably larger reserves than earlier thought. As per, Iraq’s Oil Ministry’s official spokesman, Assem Jihad, Iraq’s oil reserves have now touched 500 billion barrels. “The size of Iraq’s oil reserves has reached about 500 billion barrels nowadays, whilst the previous oil reserves had reached 143 billion barrels,” Jihad said, adding that the above increase represent the 64 oil fields only.

Iraq has half a trillion barrels of oil reserves. Should we believe them? Of course, they would not dare exaggerate their reserves. We have absolutely no reason to doubt anything that comes out of the Middle East as far as oil reserves are concerned.

Notice that this new update in Iraqi reserves represents known fields only. When they start to explore the Western Desert then their reserves will likely double to over a trillion barrels.

Ron P.

A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you are talking about significant volumes of oil:
The missing two billion barrels of oil that practically no one in the MSM is talking about.

Following are the production, consumption and net export numbers for Saudi Arabia (BP) for 2005 to 2009, along with my estimate for 2010.

Production - Consumption = Net Exports (Total Petroleum Liquids, mbpd)

2005: 11.1 - 2.0 = 9.1
2006: 10.9 - 2.1 = 8.8
2007: 10.4 - 2.2 = 8.2
2008: 10.8 - 2.4 = 8.4
2009: 9.7 - 2.6 = 7.1
2010: 10.0 - 2.8 = 7.2*


Here are the production increases, by year, that Saudi Arabia would have had to show to match their 2005 annual net export rate of 9.1 mbpd:

2006: 0.3 mbpd
2007: 0.9
2008: 0.7
2009: 2.0
2010: 1.9

The sum of the foregoing production over the five year period (about 2.1 billion barrels of oil) is also the cumulative shortfall between what the Saudis would have net exported at their 2005 annual rate and what they actually net exported--even as oil prices have shown year over annual increases for four of the past five years.

Interestingly enough, Saudi net oil exports from 2005 to 2010 and US spot annual crude oil prices from 2005 to 2010 were almost the exact opposite of each other--Saudi net exports fell at about 6%/year, while US annual crude oil prices rose at 6.5%/year (2005 to 2010 in both cases). From 2002 to 2005, they moved up together, Saudi net exports up at 8.2%/year, as annual spot crude oil prices went up at 26%/year.

Wouldn't it make sense to include imports in the net export number?

From what I understand a number of producting countries export crude but import "product", thereby overstating true net exports.


Here is how I (and the EIA) define it:

Production - Consumption = Net Exports

Consumption is from all sources, domestic and foreign.

The reason why I think it makes sense to include imports is because I think that what you’re really after is not so much exports as it is the quantity of oil available for importing countries.
The quantity of oil imported by an oil exporter de facto reduces the quantity of oil available for importing countries, so would seem reasonable to take that into consideration, no?
One number I just found is http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE56Q0B620090727?pageNumber=2
And http://www.arabianoilandgas.com/article-6095-petrorabigh_pumps_diesel_in...

For example, if KSA were to produce 7mm bbl/d,, consume 2mm and therefore export 5mm bbl/d of crude but imports 2mm bbl /d of product the quantity of oil available for importing counties would not be 5, but 5-2=3, a significant difference, making ELM even more scary.


Under your scenario, Saudi Arabia would be producing 7 mbpd and consuming four mbpd. The consumption number is an umbrella number that counts consumption from all sources, foreign and domestic.

“ The consumption number is an umbrella number that counts consumption from all sources, foreign and domestic”
Now it makes sense. I always was under the impression that the consumption number was only consumption of oil from domestic sources

Hmm except you do have a problem with product distribution its not large but it exists.

Saudi Arabia for example exports quite a bit of asphalt while using the diesel and gasoline. Countries that receive oil and export products often use one of the products more than another. For example exports of gasoline from Europe.

If generic export land is a real problem one would expect second order export land effects at the product level. A clear example of this although its being caused by political pressure is gasoline imports for Iran.

The underlying problem is if they refined the gasoline internally then they could have done it at cost while if they buy it they lose the markup from the oil sales. I don't know the profitability issues involved but it seems clear that if your subsidizing domestic consumption then internal refining seems to be the way to go. I could be wrong and perhaps its a wash but I don't think so.

In any case I've always felt that export land will eventually show up first in problems with how products are delivered on top of the base oil import export model. The simplest is of your oil imports are falling your likely to re-export less product meeting domestic needs first.
Also nations like Mexico that are also oil exporters and product importers are going to be insistent on getting their product imports.

Problems from oil export land should thus show up as all kinds of interesting issues in product imports and exports.

I doubt there is a unified model as formerly stable relationships and product flows would become unstable.
So change is probably the best description.

Indeed we have seen such changes happening around the world with interesting and sometimes sudden redirection of product flows.
And of course underlying are new refineries shifting the balance.



And we have changes in India, China and even the US as far as refining goes. All of these changes could be attributed to secondary export land effects. At the very least we should expect increasing turbulence if you will in the product markets.

The last time KSA had refinery problems, they suddenly stepped up imports of gasoline. This indicates that KSA doesn't really have much if any spare refining capacity - although KSA and India are putting in quite a lot of effort to build refineries to handle low quality KSA oil that basically no one else could use a year or two ago.

It will be interesting to see if KSA returns to market to buy gasoline in February, as this may indicate instability in the markets is coming - or even has already arrived.

Aramco to shut Yanbu refinery in Feb for maintenance
Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:49pm GMT

JEDDAH Jan 22 (Reuters) - State oil giant Saudi Aramco [SDABO.UL] plans to shut its 235,000 barrel-per-day Yanbu refinery in February and early May for scheduled maintenance, the firm said in a statement on Saturday.

The crude refinery, on the Red Sea coast of the world's top oil exporter, would be offline for 39 days from Feb. 1 to March 11, Aramco said in the statement carried by the state news agency SPA.


One will assume this long of a shutdown will force them to import gasoline sounds like a fairly decent amount. Then someone else somewhere else has and import problem etc. We saw similar issues last time oil prices went skyward. Rolling shortages in the third world and what I call whack a mole problems in wealthier countries. On country would solve its particular crisis only to see another one show up elsewhere.

If we assume the levels are overall oil availability -> oil export land -> product imports/exports.
Then I'd argue the vast majority of issues will actually show on the product import/export side as products are also fungible.
With the caveat of a country will not export a product if it causes real internal shortages for the most part.

Perhaps South Korea is worth watching ?
On the import side I often watch the Philippines. Your looking in a sense for velocity or churn if you will.
Product shortages and stop gap imports. Surges. Variability in exports etc.

Stories like this about Japan for example are interesting.


Needless to say product import/exports really muddy the beauty of export land as various imbalances are corrected creating new imbalances etc.

Actually, we have historical backing for this claim: We have gone to war twice because of those oil reserves.

The "...where the prize ultimately lies" speec is here: http://www.studien-von-zeitfragen.net/Zeitfragen/Cheney_on_Oil/cheney_on...

I just read the entire thing for the first time. Everyone should. There's a lot more in it than that quote. He was quite prophetic, actually. His task force made interesting recommendations that he, as VP, ignored in important ways. Look what it had to say about subsidies for renewables, something Cheney certainly did not champion. Yet, refer back to his speech and what he said about adaptation of the industry to a non-hydrocarbon energy sector.

Cheney believes that the fundamental energy problem was not a short-term price spike, but a longer-term gap between the growth in American energy production and the growth in American energy use. In 2000, the US for the first time imported more than half its oil; if the trends continue, the US would import 2/3 of its oil by 2020. Conservation would obviously help. But Cheney said that while conservation might be a “personal virtue,” conservation alone was not “a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy.“

The final report of Cheney’s energy task force called for expanded oil drilling and for regulations to force companies to build costlier, more energy-efficient products. It called for reducing regulatory impediments to the use of coal, while subsidizing wind and solar power and other pet environmental schemes. It advocated careful consideration of an expansion of nuclear power-without ever quite endorsing that expansion.
Source: The Right Man, by David Frum, p. 62-63 Jun 1, 2003


Actually, we have historical backing for this claim: We have gone to war twice because of those oil reserves.

The question about whether the Iraqi wars were about oil or not is one which I will leave to others. But are you claiming that there is historical backing for Iraq having half a trillion barrels of oil reserves?

Ron P.

You can't leave it to others; it is the backing. Every crime has a motive. You don't go to war twice for nothing, and get bogged down in the same sort of war you laughed at the USSR for if you don't expect a payoff.

I don't think Iraq has 500 billion barrels of economically recoverable oil, but that the number could be higher than some imagine is certainly backed up by the actions of the US Gov't.

You can't leave it to others; it is the backing.

I bloody well can leave it to others. Whether or not it has backing or not is beside the point. That still doesn't mean I must participate in any such debate. You simply hijacked the thread for your gripe about the Iraqi war. Well, have fun.

And I have never laughed at any war or at the USSR. Just where do you get off making that claim?

Ron P.

Take your meds, man! I obviously was not being literal about your behavior, but rhetorical about separating the issues.

As for hijacking the thread, please! Why would I bother? I'm hardly vested in this conversation! It's a chat on a blog, for chrissake. I made a point I believe valid. Of all the oil patches on the planet, none has more geopolitics attached to it than Iraq - though one can certainly argue others are equal. The US Gov't obviously felt the oil was worth going after. At the levels of reserves previously thought to be there, the decision is quite questionable, but at or anywhere near these new reserve numbers? It's a whole lot more understandable.

I think this is obvious and clear evidence that the USG, at least, thinks there's a lot of oil there.

I didn't say you laughed at anything. Read it again. Or were you responsible for us going to war in Iraq?


It does seem that your volume to quality ratio is getting pretty high.

Iraq has 500 billion barrels of economically recoverable oil? That would mean that their reserves have increased by a factor of ten since the Iraq oil sector was nationalized three decades ago or so. No mature oil area anywhere else on Earth has increased by that magnitude. The half trillion barrel number is clearly bogus -- don't even think of believing it.

If Iraq had 500 billion barrels of reserves left that would mean that they have about 5 (untapped) Ghawars left. Sam Foucher's Hubbert Linearization of Ghawar Estimates that Ghawar's URR was 100.59 ± 8.59 Gb with 61.49 Gb already produced as of 2003.

Ron P.

No mature oil area anywhere else on Earth has increased by that magnitude.

Maybe not so mature. From 1960 until 1973 Iraq produced less than 2 mbod. from 1973 to 1980 between 2 and 3 mbd (except 1979: 3.48 mbd) and from 1981-1986 between 1 and 1.7 mbd. From 1991 to 1996 Iraq produced less than 1 mbd. So even if Iraq had only half the reserves that KSA had, they were producing much less than their potential during many years. For decades adding up all the years.

Han, what's your argument? Are you saying that perhaps they do have half a trillion barrels because of their low production all those years?

So even if Iraq had only half the reserves that KSA had, they were producing much less than their potential during many years.

That statement makes no sense at all. You seem to be saying that they could have been producing much more all those years. Sure during the Iran-Iraqi war they produced less than they could and then for six years after the Kuwaiti invasion they produced much less. But producing less does not add to reserves, it only means they deplete a little slower. And it was not decades but there were only about 15 years that they were impaired by war.

Anyway let's do the math. Say they produced about 1.5 million barrels per day less than their production capacity for 15 years. That adds up to only 8.2 billion barrels. So they have 8.2 billion barrels more than they would had they produced flat out all those years.

Okay, now they claim to have 500 billion barrels. And that is possible because of their low production during their war years?

If they had only half the reserves of Saudi Arabia then they would have had about 100 billion barrels URR. They have produced, to date, about 38 billion barrels. That would give them 62 billion barrels of recoverable reserves left. But I doubt it.

Ron P.

Hold on a bit. For the US to have a strategic interest in Iraq the don't need 500 billion barrels of oil.

The overall geopolitics if you will plus production similar to what they have done is sufficient. Esp if one expect peak oil to be a problem. More oil out of Iraq is icing on the cake. As far as I know there is no intrinsic reason why they cannot hit at least 4mbd without making and huge assumptions.

If one wanted to assume that my shark fin speculation is correct well Iraq is then priceless with no need to assume anything.

62 billion barrels alone is worth the war. Clearly your also positioned to pressure other gulf producers.

In the shark fin model our oil endowment that can be produced at close to todays rates is assumed to be 1300-1600 billion barrels or so.

We have produced about 1100 leaving 200-500 GB. The gulf region could easily hold at least half of that say 100-250GB. Of course they have additional EOR production along with the rest of the world but for my argument lets ignore that.

The point is clearly Iraq itself would then hold a substantial amount of the worlds remaining easily producible oil supply.
If one includes regional positioning then even more falls under the "sphere of influence" if you will obtained by controlling Iraq.

Heck you don't even have to evoke the shark fin concept to see that cheap/easy to produce oil is in short supply thats pretty obvious.

Reason to control Iraq based on reasonable resource estimates without exaggeration seem perfectly valid.
Heck if I put my tin foil hat on then these exaggerated claims to hide the real reason also make a lot of sense.
It seems sensible to claim we invaded to force development of 500 billion barrels of oil then to control 60 billion thats a large percentage of whats really left. Nice little feint actually. Indeed it beautifully hides the real reasons.

In fact a similar move has happened in Afghanistan with its mineral resources.


I'm not suggesting that Afghanistan is not rich in resources it likely is, however if the US has decided to make premptive moves or indeed initiated the resource wars then both actions taken together are clearly brilliant moves without the need to exaggerate.

You make its sound like you have a model that predicts all this. Is not the "shark fin" model that supposedly gives you these numbers a figment of your imagination? AFAIK, it doesn't formally exist apart from hand-waving and the number "1300-1600 billion barrels" is something you grabbed out of thin air. You are no more able to do any of this math than a chicken can punt a football.

I realize that people criticize me for pointing this out, but I do this kind of analysis myself and can spot dreamed-up numbers in context. I am not going to stand by when I see Memmel plant a stinkbomb right in the middle of Ron's well-reasoned argument. Han also brought up an interesting observation but it gets completely sidetracked by these delusional comments of Memmel's.

Watch the deflection come next ...

Indeed. That's why all these shark's fin discussion have to start like this:

If one wanted to assume that my shark fin speculation is correct

The conclusion always seems to be that if you start with the assumption of a shark's fin pattern, then everything else will look like you started with the assumption of a shark's fin pattern. With a little more work, it could become circular reasoning though.

Hmm I believe in this particular case I used it to suggest Iraq would be a jewel even if it only contained 60GB or less of remaining reserves.

Given the nature of Iraqi reserves if they only have 60GB then almost by definition we would be on a shark fin. The geography of most of this region is similar i.e the oil formations from Saudi Arabia through a good bit of Iraq and Iran are closely related.

Heck might as well bring in Tethys while I'm going circular :)



If you start assuming lower reserves in Iraq then you get them all over the place. Indeed its not just Tethys other similar events would also have to be towards the lower bound. Given the nature of the geology once you assert a lower URR for one significant deposit your really effectively saying its true for all.

Or claim they are infinite with a slightly different argument.


All you have to do is document your "sharkfin speculation" on some web-site. This doesn't exist as far as I can tell.

That would place a stake in the ground and you wouldn't get caught in these moving target arguments. But then again, going circular might be your intent in all this. Maybe your desire is just push a lot of spew out here and get everyone confused.

the number "1300-1600 billion barrels" is something you grabbed out of thin air.

Clearly you have not bothered to survey the peak oil literature.
You should be able to tell me where I got 1300 from ok, 1350 but hey for the discussion 1300 is fine.

In any case this is a range of estimates made in the late 1960's-1980's excluding USGS data.

There is a nice graph in this paper of estimates over time. 1300-1600 encapsulates the low estimates nicely.
Indeed you can see clearly how the high estimates eventually won the race in the late 1990's.

I'm not exactly rejecting higher estimates i.e 2 trillion plus simply assuming that the bulk of such reserves will be extracted at low production rates from exhausted fields in a long tail. Basically outside the scope of any shark fin curve and in wherever it bottomed out.

I think I've been clear on where my numbers come from they are the early URR estimates that did not include OPEC expansions and backdated reserve expansions. If you drop both of those and rely on the URR estimates from discovery alone then you get 1300-1600 as the range. Either way same result its still the earlier URR estimates.

We do know for example in the case of the US that after decades of EOR methods these estimates are eventually going to be low.
Perhaps a better way to say it would be the URR at which production would have fallen 50-70% from its peak value.
If so given current production levels plus cumulative production a curve that would fit such a claim would have to be a "shark fin".

Technically 1300-1600 is a high estimate in a symmetric the assumption would be that about 25% of the oil would be produced well after peak. I.e they already include some oil produced from depleted fields at low peak. In a sense I'm inflating the estimate to be nice.

However this matches up quite well with current world oil production where about 50% of the worlds oil is indeed produced from regions well past peak and unlikely to take a large role in an shark fin drop. Say about 20-30 mbd of current production is unlikely to change much in the near future. Its less than overall production from countries that are well past peak because they are producing from a mix of new fields and very old fields. Its a field by field issue.

The "real" shark fin numbers should be adjusted downwards by about 30% to account for this double counting of depleted fields.

Thus its 1300*.30 - 1600*.30 or 910 - 1220.

Mapping this onto world production would suggest the shark fin already started somewhere between 2000->2010 or so.
Clearly a rough calculation but you get the picture. As far as timing goes well intrinsically for this to happen our old super giants would have to be collapse in production about the same time. There s no other way to get such a curve. Its exact form would depend on exactly which field collapsed when and what the collapse rate was.

Whats really fascinating is it means we basically managed to suck them all dry at the same time. They where not all put into production at the same time nor are the fields that close in size. Taking a super giant to be 10GB of URR we range all the way up to at least 60GB for Ghawar.

The only basis I can see for such and event is that as these fields aged they where redeveloped with horizontal wells and or other EOR methods in particular horizontal wells.

The idea is that the oil columns in these fields for the most part individually dropped to levels where horizontal redevelopment made sense. I don't know the column height where this becomes a issue but lets say is 50 feet. So when each field hit 50 feet once horizontal drilling was available they where converted over under a fairly short time span. Indeed this is not just the giants but a lot of fields. Although the reservoir size may vary you simply have less wells in smaller reservoirs. Thus you basically have created nearly identical rapid depletion scenarios across all your fields. In effect every field became synchronized at the same depletion rate once you moved to horizontal drilling. Not only is it the super straw effect it also causes effective synchronization of the depletion rate. Therefore they all tend to collapse in close succession. The super-giants are of course important but they are by no means alone. Dropout of smaller fields without replacement also occurs obviously at the same time for similar reasons.

In addition clearly horizontal drilling allow allowed more rapid extraction of even thinner oil columns so your also pulling some oil out that would have been produced in the long tail if they had been extracted using vertical wells. This however adds back if you will some of my tail oil and actually delays the crash a little bit while steepening it. High prices probably accelerated field rework again perhaps adding a bit of delay and also steepening the curve.

In any case clearly for a shark fin curve to be plausible the real claim is that depletion rates on a well by well basis are now highly synchronized. Horizontal drilling over a short period of time across most of the worlds fields provides this synchronization mechanism. Or you could also say the drainage area has gone to a optimum if you wish. In cases where the field is tight multiple laterals and fracturing work to force this towards a constant.

You did the classic misdirect. Nowhere did you reference a link to the "sharkfin model". You jotted down a "rough calculation" and we are supposed to "get the picture".

Sorry, I don't get the picture.

Once again, you have tried to bluster your way out of your rabbit hole instead of taking some responsibility and admitting that you are simply winging it every time you post a comment.

Memmel's shark fin model is very simple and he repeatedly explains it. He simply suggests that the world has used up far more than the roughly 50% of URR (as simple peak oil theory roughly suggests) and only extreme EOR methods are holding production up against a very rapidly diminishing resource. Memmel therefore argues that world production will look more like Cantarell or Ghawar when the water-front hits (or hit?) as lots of fields crash at about the same time.

You don't have to believe him but I fail to see what's so hard to understand that's what he is saying.

Memmel therefore argues that world production will look more like Cantarell or Ghawar when the water-front hits (or hit?) as lots of fields crash at about the same time.

Undertow, not impossible, that's what I also think. Could be a sharkfin for another reason too: when at the point that the cliff begins oilprices explode, the economy crashes. This time there will be no recovery.

From what I understand, and this is unclear because it was never explained, a shark fin should have something similar to a cusp, whereas neither of those curves show that characteristic. Or is it the case that the shape of a shark-fin can be convex or concave or anything you want it to be, because sharks come in so many varieties?
See how much fun you can have winging it? Wheeee!!

Or is it the case that the shape of a shark-fin can be convex or concave or anything you want it to be, because sharks come in so many varieties?

Yeah, yeah, you know what is meant WHT. Either sharkfin or shockmodel, both means trouble ahead.

First two images that appear on Google, searching for "shark fin".

Seriously, which one is it? Wouldn't you think it makes a difference?

Memmel loves doing this ambiguous crap because he never has to own up to anything.

Seriously, which one is it? Wouldn't you think it makes a difference?

Maybe a third one. Yes, but I think that (both) theoretical curves would lead to geopolitical factors changing the production profile.

Memmel loves doing this ambiguous crap because he never has to own up to anything.

Not only memmel uses the word sharkfin in this context. Not to point out how production exactly looks like, but to make clear that there could be a cliff ahead lasting for several years. With all respect for "oilproduction is the time convolution of the discovery curve with an extractive profile", I don't go into the matter with a lot of mathematics.

That's the point, he has nothing to back it up, only assertions.

Han, what's your argument? Are you saying that perhaps they do have half a trillion barrels because of their low production all those years?

No, of course not. Your last alinea gives the answer:

If they had only half the reserves of Saudi Arabia then they would have had about 100 billion barrels URR. They have produced, to date, about 38 billion barrels. That would give them 62 billion barrels of recoverable reserves left. But I doubt it.

If so, then Iraq has many years to go before reaching Peak. I think they could produce 5-6 mbd.

The thing about finding new oil is that you have to drill oil wells to find oil.

I don't recall reading anything about any new Iraqi exploration activity.

When someone asks, "Where did they find all this new oil?", the reply, "In a filing cabinet in the back of the Oil Ministry." is not a good answer.

some of the increase came about as a result of studies exxon, etal did on the field projects they bid on. i assume exxon was using industry accepted definitions for reserve classification.


The new reserves estimate was “not random,” Shahristani said. “It came from in-depth studies by the ministry of oil and the international companies with which we have signed contracts in the first and second rounds.” He noted that officials paid particular attention to updating estimates for the West Qurna 1, West Qurna 2 and Al-Zubair fields, where Exxon Mobil, Lukoil and Eni SpA hold respective contracts.

In case you're being literal, I didn't state an opinion about reserves, I only suggested historic events suggest there might be more than people generally think.

It could also be propaganda to keep us all from running around waving our arms in the air yelling, "The end is near! The end is near!!"

It could also be propaganda to keep us all from running around waving our arms in the air yelling, "The end is near! The end is near!!"

Maybe but,

1) It seems like you start every one of your comments with "This is propaganda", then go out of your way to shoehorn reality into it.

2) If this is propaganda, it is neither very clever nor effective. Oil prices don't seem to have moved at all on any Iraq news.

3) There are lots reasons why Iraq would boost their reserve claims other than to serve as an actor in your great conspiratorial stage play.

No mature oil area anywhere else on Earth has increased by that magnitude. The half trillion barrel number is clearly bogus -- don't even think of believing it.

There are a lot of reasons to think that's perfectly believable.

For starters:
Assessing Iraq’s Oil Potential - Geotimes, October 2003

Petroleum geologists have delineated and mapped more than 526 prospects, drilling 131 prospects to discover 73 major fields. Some 239 undrilled prospects have a high degree of certainty. Thirty fields have been partially developed and 12 fields are actually onstream.

So, of 73 major discovered fields, only 30 have ever been developed to any extent, and only 12 (as of the date of the article) are actually onstream. Then there's another 58 fields that have been drilled (no info on whether they're successes or not). But there's another 526 prospects - 239 of which they're pretty darn sure have oil in them!

It may be that war is the payoff. Lots of people make money off arms, supply, etc. Localities depend on military and "defense" installations for their economies. (Prisons also have become profitable enterprises for localities. They're a major industry in upstate New York.) Weapons development, testing, production, depend on having a new war to wage. Eisenhower was late in his warning. Set up an organization (War on Drugs, e.g.) and immediately it has a constituency depending on its continuing. How to reduce all the redundant organizations weighing down our society?

No, you cannot reduce these redundant organizations. They are thermodynamic phenomenon. Alone those people running and working for the organizations are very weak. But together they can be strong. Politically, among others.

You just have to wait until the bonds that tie these groups together start to dissolve because energy isn't flowing in large enough amounts anymore to bond them together.

That will happen.

The question about whether the Iraqi wars were about oil or not is one which I will leave to others.

To whom? CNN's viewers?

This sort of question is the crux of the matter, worth much more than endless hours of digging into incongruous sources of data.

To whom? CNN's viewers?

To you, to all the talking heads on TV and to everyone else except me!

This sort of question is the crux of the matter, worth much more than endless hours of digging into incongruous sources of data.

Nonsense! As to why Bush and Cheney went to war is history. You cannot change history. Digging into data sources, exposing lies about reserves and future oil production possibilities is all about the future. If we only what the future holds then we could make better preparations. World governments could at least make some preparations regardless of how effective they might be.

That article in the Arab News implies that the world has plenty of oil and OPEC will produce that oil when necessary. It implies that we need make no preparations for peak oil whatsoever. Whether or not that is true is worth far more than trying to figure out what motivated Bush and Cheney a decade ago.

Ron P.

I have quoted from David Goodstein who wrote an interesting book on Peak Oil called Out of Gas. In another book he wrote:

"Physics, I think, should never be taught from a historical point of view — the result
can only be confusion or bad history — but neither should we ignore history"

That works for science in general, as it is always forward looking, and new ideas replace old ideas.

Nonsense! As to why Bush and Cheney went to war is history. You cannot change history.

1st off - no war was legally declared. For there to have been a legal T's crossed and I's dotted war the Congress would have had to draft an actual Declaration of War per the base legal document.
2nd - History changes all the time as more information is known. The why's as stated can change once others come forward with documentation which supports a version than what was stated in public.

exposing lies about reserves and future oil production possibilities is all about the future. If we only what the future holds then we could make better preparations.

and exponsing lies about motivations helps us find out the true motivations; motivations that are still valid in the present and will unfortunately continue to be shaping the future.

And a lot of good that will do us. The collapse could be a lot worse and a lot sooner if the world has no idea it that is coming because of vastly overestimated reserves. And if that happens the truth tellers will be just as hungry as the liars.

Ron P.

The point is not "keep burning oil inefficiently because there's still plenty of it in Iraq", but
"awareness of what governments and brainwashed electors have already done in order to secure access to reserves would help expose the reality of peak oil".


Gas is the preferred fuel for power generation. There are continuing technological innovations in gas for power generation, combined psycho plants, greatly increased output efficiency.

Yes, we need more of these "psycho plants" :-)

All versions of this Cheney speech I can find online seem to have the same error.

Or perhaps Cheney was thinking of this psycho plant..


The book implies they were bioengineered in the Soviet Union and then accidentally released into the wild when a plane carrying their seeds was shot down. Triffids begin sprouting all over the world, and their extracts prove to be superior to existing vegetable oils. The result is worldwide cultivation of triffids.

Yes, I know what the actual word should have been. Free triffid for first correct competition entry :-)

We entered WW II against Japan because of oil. Japan attacked the US (and Britain and Holland as well) as a prelude to capturing the oil from Indonesia. The US had suspended shipments of oil to Japan after Japan invaded China and later, the US demanded that Japan leave China. Japan had no choice as an island nation lacking resources. Japan would not back down and submit to the national humiliation which would have resulted from accepting the US ultimatum...

E. Swanson

Yair...Who is developing the Iraqi fields? I think I read most of the players were Chinese or Russian. As mentioned before I saw a picture of a huge convoy of Kamaz oilfield trucks heading for Iraq...and they are deffinately Russian...so if the US wants Iraqi oil the Russians and Chinese are going to produce it for them?

Iray...PubScruller. No one claimed that the US was competent in following through on its program.

Michael Klare has a great book on the energy grab motivation behind many conflicts.

[edit. The name of the book is "Resource Wars" 2002. But I see by his Wiki page that he thinks the second gulf war was more about distracting the public's attention from Bush's domestic policies. This may have been Bush's motivation--but I'm pretty sure Cheney had his eyes on the 'prize.' And didn't they secure the oil ministry first, letting much of the rest of Baghdad get looted and burned? Who knows?]

Alan Greenspan, General Fallon and many others are on record saying that the war was basically about oil. That doesn't mean that there weren't a lot of ideologues that believed their own rhetoric that it would spread democracy to the Mid-East. That theory hasn't panned out too well.

But I see by his Wiki page that he thinks the second gulf war was more about distracting the public's attention from Bush's domestic policies.

I'm trying to remember the program, but in a TV special a reporter that interviewed Bush Jr. in Texas before he was elected said he would probably start a war, because wars increase the approval rating of President's. If you recall, when 9/11 happened Bjr. came out and said this will be the first war of the 21st century. That was smiling from ear to ear. 9/11 was bush jr's dream come true.

Think about the motivations: Increasing his Family's wealth via his Father's investments in Defense contractors and Halliburton which he will benefit from later when his Father passes on, higher approval rating, Iraqi oil, going after Saddam the leader that put a contract out on his Father, finishing the job of getting Saddam after his Father did not in the first gulf war, and his own personal joy of war. Bush jr. adored war. He would get off Airforce One so radiant and jubulant. Remember Misson Accomplished, he was gushing with joy. He was the most spoiled, pathetic leader this country ever had.

Alas, you have others here that will say what you claim is not the case and no amount of actual evidence will have 'em say otherwise.

Accept that it happens the facts have been available for all to see since the end of WW II. I just finished reading George Morgenstern's book, Pearl Harbor: The Story of the Secret War, published in 1947. He presents evidence gathered from Congressional testimony which presents the facts as documented in various records, particularly regarding the diplomatic efforts to convince Japan to leave China and also pull out of Indochina. It's a long and exhaustive recounting of events along with written communications, which make the case that the Roosevelt may have suckered the Japanese into attacking the US. At the time, only some 20% of the US supported entering the war against Germany, even though the US was providing massive quantities of munitions to Britain to use against Germany. Politics being what it is, the attack on Pearl Harbor instantly kicked public opinion toward war and Japan was an ally of Germany, so Japan's attack brought Germany into war against the US because of their treaty agreements. This interpretation has been controversial and others have written about it as well, as shown on the Amazon link to Morgenstern's book above.

The US had cracked the Japanese code and had been reading their traffic for some time while those diplomatic negotiations were under way. On 26 November 1941, the Secretary of State, Cordell Hull delivered a set of demands to the Japanese representative, which he knew that Japan could not accept. The Japanese fleet was already moving toward Hawaii and, if not recalled, they would attack. They were not recalled and the attack happened on 7 December 1941. There are many aspects to these events which Morgenstern presents, all of which point to an intentional disregard of the impending attack by the top levels of the military and Roosevelt administration. It would appear that the US did not expect an attack on Pearl Harbor, even though there was considerable prior warning. But, the time of the attack could have been deduced from the cable traffic and may well have been known, but other issues kept the local military authorities in the dark.

I think it's also rather obvious that the US did not want to let the Japanese know that their codes had been broken, which was an asset that was too valuable to waste. For example, it was known that the Japanese had ordered their embassies to destroy their code machines some days before the attack. This order is the sort of action which precedes hostilities and was surely a red flag to all who knew. There were many other indications as well. If the US had sounded the alarm before the Japanese aircraft appeared, some member of the large population of Japanese on Hawaii might have passed this on to the homeland and the later effectiveness of the code intercepts would have been lost. The later use of this information may have led to the defeat of Japan, a far more important result than the "cost" of the ships and personnel lost as a result of the "surprise" attack.

E. Swanson

Well, its clear Roosevelt was playing chiken with the Japanese, but he may well have tought they wouldn't dare attack us in any material way. Also had Hitler not been a fool and declared war on us, joining the European war would have been a very difficult sell. No-one expected Germany to take the tri-partite pact any more seriously than he took the non-agression pact with Stalin.

There are many variations of the story. For example, a newer book by Stinnett, Day Of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor (1999), is said to make a stronger claim regarding FDR's foreknowledge of the attack. Reading some of the early comments on Amazon, one finds different interpretations of the various records, especially the timing of translations of the Japanese code intercepts. It would appear that there are still unanswered questions...

E. Swanson

Another round in the quota war.

For new readers an old story:

“Key oil figures were distorted by US pressure, says whistleblower”

This morning, the neighborhood Chevron station here is Vancouver is charging 1.226 CA$/liter for regular gasoline. This works out to: 1.226 CA$/L * 3.785412 L/Gal * 1.00735 US$/CA$ = 4.675 US$/gal.

Strangely there's not a peep in the media about this post 2008 price peak. Contrast this with the summer of 2008 when newspaper editors where flooded with angry letters about price gouging, and truckers were threatening to shut down the port unless diesel taxes were lowered. I can only conclude that people in developed countries quickly get used to new, higher energy prices, and soon either learn to use less or pay more. I don't think the US is an exception. If Obama simply tacked on an extra $3/gallon tax to liquid fuels and managed to keep the tax in place for a couple years, the protests would disappear.

If Obama simply tacked on an extra $3/gallon tax to liquid fuels and managed to keep the tax in place for a couple years, the protests would disappear.

The protest would eventually disappear, some time after O was burnt in effigy. The right thinks he is a socialist now. Open rebellion would occur after this move. Anyway, such a move would require that O admit there is a problem requiring drastic action. Especially, since he is now in campaign mode, reality is not an option. The spoils go to those who help Americans hold on to their delusions.

The problem of course is that to implement a meaningful increase in the gasoline tax, ideally offset by abolishing the Payroll Tax, we would have to admit that we can't have an infinite rate of increase in our consumption of a finite fossil fuel resource base. And it would have the side effect of increasing the rate of contraction in the discretionary side of the economy (which of course is inevitable from Peak Oilers' point of view). However, government revenues, already badly hit, would be hit even harder if the rate of contraction of the discretionary economy accelerates.

Having said all of that, Boone Pickens, and other people like Mike Jackson (with AutoNation) at least in years past, were on record in support of a higher gasoline tax.

Hi Frugal. Yes, I noticed regular grade hovering around $1.222 CAD/liter for quite a number of days over the past week or so. I am in Seattle right now and the Shell station across the street is showing $3.399 USD/gal--just for the sake of contrast. I suspect that in Vancouver increasing complaints and gradual slowing of fuel use would resume around $1.30 CAD/liter and above if the price sustains that high for many weeks or months: This is just a personal feeling. There seems to have been, over the past couple of years, much "resistance" to fuel breaking $1.20/liter--I suspect that we are near some critical value with respect to many feeling the pinch of high gasoline prices.


Yes it's true that current Vancouver gasoline prices would have to increase by 25% to equal the 2008 peak of around $1.50/L. There no noticeable decrease in traffic at the current price, but there clearly was in 2008. At that time I was doing a 40 km each way commute and the traffic was definetely lighter than normal. It could very well be that sustained CA$1.30/L (US$5.00/gallon) is some kind of breaking point. Transit use has grown strongly over the last few years, so maybe some people have adapted by burning less fuel, or it could just be population increase.

a bit of that would be transit levies. etc. On the Island the price is around 1.10. YVR is trying to fund transit infrastructure through taxation of all kinds.

If Obama simply tacked on an extra $3/gallon tax to liquid fuels and managed to keep the tax in place for a couple years

There is not an emoticon to express the laughter at that.

As an earlier poster indicated, the winner is the one that promises the most delusional but plausible happy-land talk.

The President doesn't create taxes, Congress does. Good luck with that.

We're back in business boys!

DETROIT — General Motors Co. will add a shift and more than 650 jobs at its assembly plant in Flint where it makes the hot-selling GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks, a person familiar with the plan said Saturday. The move is yet another sign that truck sales are on the rise for the recovering automaker.


Says it all about the mass delusion in which we find ourselves. Unemployment problem solved. How many times have we seen this movie, the one where people forget about the last run up in oil and gas prices? WTF are people hauling around with their dumbass pickups anyway? Maybe they are living in them or maybe they are carting off their last possessions for sale at the flea market.

The gas-guzzler bubble continues to inflate.

There are going to be lots of cheap used SUVs & trucks a few years down the road.

it's understandable that after a few years of dismal trucks sales that they would make a comeback. car sales fell off too and are recovering.

Here are gas mileage results for the 2011 Chev/GMC pickups from the EPA gas mileage site:

GMC Sierra C15 2WD 6 cyl, 4.3 L, Automatic 4-spd, 15 city, 20 hwy
GMC Sierra C15 2WD 8 cyl, 4.8 L, Automatic 4-spd, 14 city, 19 hwy
GMC Sierra C15 2WD 8 cyl, 5.3 L, Automatic 6-spd, 15 city, 21 hwy
GMC Sierra C15 2WD 8 cyl, 6.2 L, Automatic 6-spd, 13 city, 18 hwy

but then:

GMC Sierra K15 4WD 6 cyl, 4.3 L, Automatic 4-spd, 14 city, 18 hwy
GMC Sierra K15 4WD 8 cyl, 4.8 L, Automatic 4-spd, 13 city, 18 hwy
GMC Sierra K15 4WD 8 cyl, 5.3 L, Automatic 6-spd, 15 city, 21 hwy
GMC Sierra K15 4WD 8 cyl, 6.2 L, Automatic 6-spd, 12 city, 18 hwy

The 4x4's show worse mileage in city than the 2wd, possibly due to the extra weight of the transfer case and front differential. But, the highway mileage appears little changed for the 4spd trans models and the same for the 6 speed trannys. These aren't the 2500 models, either...

E. Swanson

I don't know about other locales in the U.S., but most of the used vehicle lots I have visited mainly have trucks and SUVs, do not have many cars, and precious few economy cars.

We are basically banking steel for recycling later I suppose, and flaming off lots of ancient sunlight while we are at it.

An interesting article on the use of small modular nukes from 50 years ago. Doubly interesting because I thought Denmark forbid nuclear anything in Greenland

Camp Century was a nuclear powered research center built by the Army Corps of Engineers under the icy surface of Greenland. It was occupied from 1959 to 1966 under the auspices of the US Army Polar Research and Development Center.

...Except for downtime for routine maintenance and repairs, the reactor operated for thirty-three months, until July 9, 1963, when it was deactivated pending a decision to remove it. ...A conventional diesel powered plant would have consumed over one million gallons of fuel over the same period. While the power plant was designed to provide 1560 kilowatts of power, Camp Century's power needs peaked at 500 kilowatts, and gradually declined from there. During the reactors operational life, a total of 47,078 gallons of radioactive liquid waste was discharged into the icecap.

Thanks you for posting this fascinating article.

The reactor was built in 77 days...for $5.7M dollars (~1959 dollars)...under the ice in Greenland.

I wonder what a modern, standardized modular nuclear reactor design would cost to fabricate and install today, if made in large quantities?

Some folks would need to come to terms with their fears of nuclear power first.

Although I'm somewhat ambivalent about nuclear we need to remember that back in the 50's, a lot of the externalities of nuclear energy were kinda glossed over.

As an example; there's a 130 acre uranium mine tailings pile that contains approximately 10.5 million tons of uranium mill wastes including 426 million gallons of highly-contaminated liquid from back then sitting on an aquifer next to the Colorado River near Moab, Utah. It's leaching about 10,000 gallons of a wide assortment of nuclear nasties into the river each day. This is the same river that 7 million people get there drinking water from. The DOE believes they'll have the site cleaned up by 2028.


I agree.

I also point out that our many many coal-fired plants create airborne and solid wastes with plenty of heavy metals, including uranium. And a lot of waste of damage is created by the coal mining process as well.

And we hear very little complaint about that massive environmental impact, which has been going on > a hundred years and is on-going.

I think that a properly managed system of modern nuclear plants would be far superior to the coal-fired plants they would replace.

And yes, I said 'properly managed'...there is a role for strict government regulations, and organizational and personal accountability, to include serious jail time for people willfully violating safety regulations.

Looks like Small Modular Reactors) are in the pipeline – 2012 – 2014 (methinks 2020 optimistically).

DOD is looking to use them in support of the base ‘islanding’ Energy Surety initiative.

Presentations: Bringing Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) to Commercial Markets.

My take-away is that they didn’t read Dittmar’s assessment of nuclear fuel availability – they’re still using DOE EIA and WNA Red Book numbers. It seems that they just consider it an engineering problem. They realize the urgency but they’re still stove-piping it.

My take-away is that they didn’t read Dittmar’s assessment of nuclear fuel availability

It is a controversial subject. The cornucopians can legitimatly claim we haven't been trying very hard to increase U supplies, because the price has been very low (and maybe the Kazak's can flood the market, they do have a lot). There is a lot more U economically producable if the price were to rise severalfold (and a several fold U price increase wouldn't hurt the economics of N power vey much). I think the real issue might be the stability of supply. Because of the lag time between planning new mining capacity and actual production, if a shortage isn't anticipated by investors several years ahead of time, the mining capacity won't be there in time, and since U demand is very price-inelastic the price could skyrocket.

An article giving an example of the possibilities of energy savings through investments in efficiency:


But in one prominent example, Serious Materials upgraded the windows in the Empire State Building in New York City last year. The entire upgrade of the building, which included other measures, cost $20 million and will save an estimated $4.4 million per year on electricity costs. The window upgrades will account for $412,000 of those annual savings

Multiply the savings from passive and active energy efficiency savings across the total of commercial and industrial and residential structures across the U.S., and the World.

Invest in negawatts!

Naaah...let's keep shooting a fire hose of money to the MIC, and to our craving for big trucks and SUVs, and other worthy causes...

What's the embedded energy in the upgrades?

Looks like the wind is picking up in the Middle East

Tunisian wind' sweeps through Arab regimes as protests erupt in Yemen

I'm thinking 2011 is starting to look like one of those 'black swan' sorta years.

The thing that makes Tunisia unique, was that it was a worker led rebellion, brought on by worsening resource conditions.
This was non religious, and dealt with living conditions.
That is what has disturbed the elite, and is a turn away from previous "winds".

And when one looks for reasons to wonder about the New Madrid fault line slipping, one can find it.


The purpose of this Request for Information is to identify sources of
supply for meals in support of disaster relief efforts based on a catastrophic disaster event within the New Madrid Fault System for a survivor population of 7M to be utilized for the
sustainment of life during a 10-day period of operations. FEMA is considering the following specifications (14M meals per day):

The meals are only to be good for 3 years. Huh.

I watched a History Channel Modern Marvels show a month or so ago which featured notable underground storage facilities in the U.S.

One was in Hutchinson, KS, and stored original Hollywood films, bank and business records, etc.

The show featured another very large underground facility which stored food, such as MREs, for disaster relief purposes. The facility had numerous underground loading docks for semi-trailers.

I can't remember where they said it was on the show, and my internet search right now only turned up this video, shot from some guy's cell phone I bet, but it looks like the same facility in the History Channel show:


I would estimate, like as was seen in the Katrina disaster, substantive government aid likely will not arrive for several days, and may not be in high gear for maybe a week, after the onset of the incident.

What'll be interesting (for certain values of interesting of course) is if the fault line slips in winter and disrupts the pipelines that carry natural gas up to the winter wonderland of the north.

Welding up some new pipe will take time - and does that time exceed the ability of "the system" to not "collapse" from the lack of energy input?

substantive government aid likely will not arrive for several days

Which is why the 'smart money' has been in making sure you have some stuff stored to cover your own needs. Ready.gov was mocked for the 'store some tuna' statements - but the advice is sound.

Perhaps this senario will give you an idea


We survived complete melt down by the skin of our teeth.

I forgot about the trainloads of coal that would also be disrupted if there was a a fault slip - fixing a 20 inch pipe should be less of a hassle than fixing a bridge that used to haul ton lots of coal.

Given the months it takes to fix the electrical grid I'm guessing it'll be cold in the northwoods if the fault slips in the winter.

With the Just in time shipping of so many things - I doubt the coal using power plants have 10 weeks of coal on hand.

A Fortune Magazine writer was able to drive a Nissan Leaf for a week. The review:

Diary of an electric commuter

Nissan uses an average cost of 11¢ per kilowatt hour to calculate that a Leaf owner will spend roughly $400 for 15,000 miles of driving in a year. The gasoline equivalent for a Honda (HMC) Civic Si that gets 24 mpg is $1,875 (see table). The Leaf has a higher sticker price, but it also is eligible for tax breaks, rebates, and other incentives. My guess is that it'll take the Leaf 3½ years to make up the difference in fuel savings. . .

I asked my Deep Throat in the EV powertrain world his opinion of the Leaf. "What problem is it trying to solve?" was his rhetorical Mensa response. Short term, he is correct -- pure electrics for now suffer from range limitations, making hybrids a less compromised alternative. But battery technology is improving quickly, and more and more capacity is being engineered into smaller and smaller packages. So within the foreseeable future, the range issue will significantly diminish -- and a new architecture for cars will take the stage. The Leaf's 192 lithium ion batteries, which are guaranteed for eight years, sit under the front and rear seats. As batteries shrink, designers will be able to have more freedom once again with car shapes.

Will the Leaf ever be considered the ultimate EV? No. But it will forever live in my automotive hall of fame for forcing me to contemplate and appreciate a new reality, just a few charging stations ahead of its time

I have to admit that it sounds like a pretty cool car, and one would think that the depreciation would be practically zero, at least until considerably improved electrics come out, but if the primary improvement is the battery set, I suppose that the improved batteries could be used as a replacements at some point in the future.

I am interested in this technology.

A 70-mile range would more than suffice for me my commute and my grocery shopping or whatnot in and around Albuquerque.

Heck, something similar in size to a Smart car for 2, with as low as a 50-mile range, would suffice for my needs. Make the thing out of fiberglass or other kinds of plastic over a aluminum / steel safety cage, limit the speed to 50 mph, and let's see how energy-efficient we can make it. Use common/standard/modular battery form factors and interfaces, and common/modular electric motors (in the hubs?)...make the parts common and interchangeable and realize the benefits of economies of scale please.

Problem: This type of transportation solution would satisfy me, but the folks who crave the huge trucks and SUVs will go kicking and screaming.

And those high, long, heavy, over-powered/over-fast vehicles would need to be expunged from the traffic flow in the city (exceptions for legit business uses) so that the small, light, slow efficient vehicles would not be run into/over by the speed truck jockeys. Heck, the salesman who tried to sell me his energy-efficient windows brought several large, full-sized windows samples, as well as his laptop and a case of literature, in his Saturn SL-1.

Inter-city travel? We already have the Rail-Runner between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Expand that concept please.

Passenger rail could be laid along the I-40 (E-W) and I-25 (N-S) corridors. Rail travel easily to Denver, C-Springs, even Cheyenne WY...and to Belen, Los Lunas, Socorro, El Paso to the South...and to Amarillo to the East, and Flagstaff to the West.

Bus service could be increased as well.

Also, folks taking their several times per year pleasure trips could rent larger FF vehicles for their occasional trips off the beaten path.

Plug you super-golf-cart commuter/grocery/errand cart into the grid over-night...

At least in Albuquerque, I think we could easily substantially reduce vehicular FF use without TEOTWAWKI.

Next, install PV over most roofs and parking lots and everyone's evaporative coolers and AC gets off FF as well.

Same same with daytime interior lighting and other electric load needs for businesses, residences, and industry.

Install a couple of hundreds of acres of flywheel storage on Kirtland AFB...the native pueblos surrounding Albuquerque could make a killing installing thousands of acres of PV/CSP/flywheel/Redox battery systems and selling us the trons.

I get it...these ideas won't work for other places as well maybe.

But, I refute the idea that its BAU or Little House on the Praire.

If Albuquerque spent the money and exercised eminent domain, we could create a kick-butt system of bike paths...but they MUST go over and/or under the streets...no way, no-how will I ever do battle with the traffic as it currently exists. I do NOT have a death-wish. There is a HUGE potential for bike-riding here due to the great weather, with the proper, safe infrastructure.

We would need some enlightened leadership...I would volunteer Albuquerque to be a 'poster child' city to showcase what could be done.

The Leaf's 192 lithium ion batteries, which are guaranteed for eight years, sit under the front and rear seats.

The tale of the tape on these EV's will be when we are 3-5 years down the road and testimonials from owners are positive or negative. An 8 year guarantee on the batteries sounds good, but I'm in my 14th year with my Ranger and it requires nothing new. How much will it cost to replace those 192 lith-ions? How many charges with those batt's take before they only recharge to half their original charge, and then only go half as far? As more EV's get purchased is there a point when the utility companies start raising everyone's rates to upgrade lines and add power sources? Do we start burning more coal and NG to feed the grid, or does it come solely from solar and wind? So many questions that only time and experience will answer.

'Bug Mac' and lovely 'grub': food of the future

"There will come a day when a Big Mac costs 120 euros ($163) and a Bug Mac 12 euros, when more people will eat insects than other meat," head researcher Arnold van Huis told a disbelieving audience at Wageningen University in the central Netherlands.

With apologies to Pink Floyd The Wall (1982) If ya don't eat yer maggots, ya can't have any puddin'. How can ya have any puddin' if ya don't eat yer maggots?

Interestingly that poster child for petrol and non-environmentalism, Top Gear, had a bit on it referencing peak oil = expensive oil (indirectly). They even got on to subjects like population control, whilst eventually coming down to the 'top tip' that 'not braking' (eg hypermiling) was the solution.

They have done similar types of thing in the past, Edinburgh and back on one tank, growing biofuels, etc.

Makes me wonder if there's mileage (ahhhemm) in suggesting they look at what a future car will have to look like (taking into account what we know of a post-peak world)?

This a short review of the second part of WHT's "The Oil Conundrum", part dealing with "probabilistic philosophy of science with examples" for a lack of better word . Here WHT discusses background and premises of physical concepts, and mathematical approach that lead to development of dispersive/entropic theories related to crude oil.

In my view, Part 2 is actually composed of two subparts; first one spans pages 373-424, while the other goes all the way to the end.

The first part is for someone interested in how WHT thinks about physics and world at macro scale, what is his take on science, and how his principles are related to mainstream science. Epistemology if you will. It is non-mathematical (the few formulas can be skipped), readable and comprehensible to a person who "reads books" and "thinks about them". No specific knowldedge needed, but if it is your first book on science, it will be a complex read.

The juiciest part is between 400 and 424, and this is the "must read" part of the whole 700 page brick. WHT references to ideas of Murray Gell-Mann's "Quark and the Jaguar" and Gell-Mann's is an excellent book, particularly first out of four parts.

Once one gets the entropic dispersion concept, then the rest of the book deals with specific applications from different fields of science, engineering, ecology, econophysics, with various level of difficulty mathematical. In most examples knowledge of physics at senior university science level is required, to follow. Oil behaviour is simpler than anomalous transport in semiconductors :-). So here lies the weakness of the book if it is perceived as popular science book. Most examples in the second part are more difficult than one's dealing with oil, and if you don't give a darn about semiconductors or Fokker-Planck equations, well....It is for a narrow audience.

I am reading those sections this way: Let's look at what is this example about. "Fat-tail in CO2 persistence", OK let's try. Disordered Growth in Ice Crystals..- I could not care less. Pick what you like and forget about the rest.

I think going through wind dispersion section on page 529 is the most interesting from our energy-based perspective and at the same time one of the simplest examples. I wrote my comments to this one here and here.

So, one must read first 50 pages, and not feel at all guilty about skipping the rest, unless it is your piece of cake. But all these examples from many areas, validate the entropic model, and in my opnion add strength to the oil related models. At the end of the day, I feel perfectly OK believing WHT about oil, as the second part validates the method.

Here lies the real strength, strength in the numbers. The entropic model can not be (as any other scientific model) proven right, but only supported by preponderance of evidence and a lot of it is provided here. So the oil discovery, production, shocklet etc models SHOULD NOT BE DISMISSED WITHOUT PROVIDING A GOOD COUNTERCASE.

Thanks CC, that is an excellent take on the treatise.

One of the mysteries of science and mathematics is the role of entropy. The mathematician Gian-Carlo Rota from MIT had this to say just a few years ago:

The take on this is that as Rota says "Among all mathematical recipes, this is to the best of my knowledge the one that has found the most striking applications in engineering practice", yet it retains this sense of mystery in that no one can really prove it -- entropy just IS and by its existence, you have to deal with it the best you can.

It's a fascinating topic and that's probably why I went overboard on the subject matter. Yet, as CC suggests, you can pick and choose.

It does not sound to me like you understand the nature of these sorts of equations very well.

Lets take a fairly simple example.

Consider the formation of a snowflake. You can do some very nice mathematics and physics on how snowflakes form. However its impossible to predict the pattern any particular snowflake will take.

Perhaps another example.

Consider the physics behind the formation of galaxies and stars lots of beautiful math. Tells you nothing about how the constellations look from planet earth.

Understanding stress fractures in aircraft frames and other structural failures does not identify which airplane will suffer a failure or bridge or damn or building fail.

Heck our advanced physics theories actually suffer from this as they can't pick out our own universe they fail from this identity problem.

Its one of the reasons chaos theory has not accomplished a lot its really neat but exquisitely incapable of solving any identity type problem severely limiting its usefulness.

This is actually a common problem in engineering its generally lumped into the category unexpected failure.

A nice little rant on how it applies to engineering.


I have to assume your not aware of this issue its actually and really interesting problem I'm fascinated buy it myself.
Its a very well known issue simply no one can really solve it. We try and minimize it in engineering with various maintenence strategies.

In reading your review it sounds to me like you don't understand the nature and limitations of various types of mathematics.

Indeed perhaps the simplest way to explain it is to pose a very simple problem.

Tell me the identity of the next plane that will crash.

When you understand the question you understand the problem.

I don't do chaos theory, thank you very much. I just apply elementary concepts of probability to thorny problems.

Tell me the identity of the next plane that will crash.

With a finite probability, it may be one that I embark the next time I decide to fly.

Yet, you the oil futures market genius can explain all the speculative moves (see upthread http://www.theoildrum.com/node/7395#comment-761761). Should I thank you for solving the game theory problem once and for all, or do you choose to see the sheer hypocrisy in your stance?

Yet, you the oil futures market genius can explain all the speculative moves

LOL never claimed that one. I wish. Given if I bet it all on one of the two possible outcomes I'd loose my ass.
If its any consolation my bet is on 110 in a few months but I'm not in a position to put money on it. I wish I could
I think it sharpens your game if you have some skin in it.

Anyway sadly I'm going to have to take a break for a while I'm back to 70-80 hour weeks starting tomorrow so this is the last minute of my mini vacation. Which means I need to take a break form the oil drum which is probably for the best.
I'm sure I'll sneak a peak at the headline articles but oil depletion and the real URR are not going anywhere fast :)

So enjoy yourself for the next month I'll be out of your hair. I'll be using my free time to sleep.

If its any consolation my bet is on 110 in a few months but I'm not in a position to put money on it. I wish I could
I think it sharpens your game if you have some skin in it.

Sure, it is not a bet if there is no money in it. Just talk :-)

You are making a mistake of looking deterministically at the world. In most cases future can not be predicted (planetary motion noble exception), but very often probabilities of events can. So the airplanes do not fall from the sky because engineers got a probability of component failure right and change the component before the probability gets too high.

Consider the formation of a snowflake. You can do some very nice mathematics and physics on how snowflakes form. However its impossible to predict the pattern any particular snowflake will take.

Sure, some patterns are more likely than others, aren't they?

Understanding stress fractures in aircraft frames and other structural failures does not identify which airplane will suffer a failure or bridge or damn or building fail.

Tell me the identity of the next plane that will crash.

Nobody can. But it will fall out of the sky when a series of events, each of them of relative low probability, align themselves and cause a failure.

This industry has a HUGE POSITIVE experience estimating when the components may fail - and replaces them before they do. And yes, if they left all airplanes un-maintained, they would not know which one would fail first.

We try and minimize it in engineering with various maintenence strategies.

Exactly. We do not know the future and we know that we can't know the future, do we hedge our bets. Smartly. So we hedge by estimating probabilities of failures and their impact. Read about popping corn and MTBF from The Oil Conundrum and you will see why airplanes do not fall out of the sky.

But talking about engineering: In early 1900s a steel bridge collapsed in Quebec City as a result of series of errors:

Now, every engineer graduating from a school of engineering in Canada gets a steel ring made from the above mentioned bridge. Just a reminder.

The popcorn popping experiment is one of the most illuminating exercises I have run across on showing randomness in action. You can either take a bunch of kernels and dump them in hot oil and map out when they pop, or you can take individual kernels and meticulously log the time it takes each one to pop. The aggregation of the data is exactly the same in both cases! The time response follows the same Hubbertian-like peak profile that we are all familiar with.

This proves that the interactions among the kernels play no role in the timing, and that random fluctuations in the composition and localized rate of heating within a kernel are all that matter. Predicting that one kernel will pop two minutes in and another will pop four minutes in is impossible to do except probabilistically.

I put that example in the book because I thought it would help people understand probabilities based on their day-to-day experiences. Evidently it doesn't help getting Memmel out of his warped world-view.

Last one for the record if you will.

This proves that the interactions among the kernels play no role in the timing, and that random fluctuations in the composition and localized rate of heating within a kernel are all that matter. Predicting that one kernel will pop two minutes in and another will pop four minutes in is impossible to do except probabilistically.

Ok fine how does it relate to a number of popcorn poppers started at different times loaded with different numbers of kernels of corn ?
Worse with significant differences between the varieties of corn. And different makes of popcorn makers.

Attempting to take a stochastic model beyond its area of validity accomplishes nothing its not even a probabilistic model.
Its relationship to reality is tenuous at best. Repeatedly explaining stochastic modeling does not change this.

Clearly your not going to address my actual objection regardless of how I try to explain it. My objection is simple your assumptions do not scale.

Respond to the objection.

You get one post and I'll write one response otherwise I have to now break off because of other responsibilities.

Now you are just regurgitating all the premises that I have made in building up the model outlined in the book.

That is the typical strategy of co-opting ownership of ideas by asserting that the author did not account for the concerns raised.

It usually occurs because the would-be co-opter actually learns something from the author without admitting to it and then tries to assert specious authority.

But but I'm a complete frigging idiot according most of your posts now I'm regurgitating your work.

Which is it Hubble ?

Either I'm and idiot or I understand your work and I'm trying to explain that I'm not "regurgitating" it but you have made some basic mistakes. How can a moron manage to regurgitate your work ? Clearly you still don't understand what I'm saying but at least your not just spouting garbage.

Ok I'm done for now.

No, now you have revealed your true colors and are treating this whole subject as a complete joke, and one that you want to orchestrate as a spectacle. Everything you do, from your loooong posts, to your incoherent ramblings suggest that you have a desperate need to be the center of attention.

I have more than once said that the more that you get cornered, the more coherent you become, largely because you don't want to be called out for all the spew you have said in the past.

Very simply:

This is based on an arbitrary formula with a fat tail.

Go to www.wolframalpha.com and enter

Plot[{x*Exp[-x], 2*x*Exp[-2*x], (x*Exp[-x] + 2*x*Exp[-2*x])}, {x,    0, 5}]

This will give you two kinds of "popcorns", red and blue, and the beige will be if you put them together (or in two separate poppers in two different ends of the world)

Now enter

Plot[{(x - 1)*Exp[-(x - 1)], 2*x*Exp[-2*x],  ((x-1)*Exp[-(x-1)] + 2*x*Exp[-2*x])}, {x, 0, 5}]

This will give you same two popcorns, but one of them (blue) was started a unit of time later. Beige is total popcorn.

Give me the formula that predicts the total function. For and arbitrary number and arbitrary start time.
Whats the functional form ?

There is not one. Which is what I'm saying.

This IS the formula. Red oil well started at time zero in Texas. Blue well started at time 1 in Saudi Arabia. Beige: total oil production. Roger and out.

CC, Alpha is such a useful tool. You have to wonder why we don't use it all the time for discussing ideas on TOD. (Memmel can even use it to describe his shark-fin model if he was really serious about it)


Just answer the question. You have a number of curves scattered randomly on a time series.
Whats the overall shape of the graph once you add them up ?
Whats the formula ?
Whats the beige area look like how does it evolve over time ?

If the curves are stochastic with mean 1/a and delays are stochastic with mean 1/b, then use Alpha:

integrate exp(-a*(t-x))*exp(-t*x)*heaviside(t-x)*dx from x=0 to x=infinity

this gives

which is close to what CC has shown.

In the context of the shock model, this is the convolution of a maturation function (variable delay to maturity) and an extraction function (proportional draw-down), giving the characteristic shape close to a first-order gamma function. That's what I refer to as a "shocklet" in the book.

I fear that perhaps Memmel hasn't read the book :(

If the curves are stochastic with mean 1/a and delays are stochastic with mean 1/b, then use Alpha:

Please simply answer the question. The condition was clear along the time axis it was purely random.

Calculation of the mean of a purely random open ended variable has no mathematical meaning.
You just slid in and assumption.

What the mean of


Sure you can calculate it. Its just the mean of the integers and since its open ended it approaches infinity.
It has no deep intrinsic meaning.

Randomly picking some of these numbers as start points and then calculating the mean has no intrinsic meaning.
Your introducing a constraint out of the blue with no basis.

Makes me wonder who is making a circular argument :)

One more time if we assume a number of curves are randomly distributed along a time axis what is the controlling function for the overall graph ?

I'll go ahead and give you the answer its obviously of course random. Your clearly not going to say the obvious.

Apply the Maximum Entropy Principle, which assumes that constraints determine the amount of disorder in the system and therefore the probability distribution.

One of the most common constraints is to pick a mean or average value. This has real meaning because it usually has to have some semblance to reality. For example, a mean maturation time might be 4 years and a mean extraction time might be 7 years.

This doesn't force the answer to a uniformly random distribution, which is what you apparently believe. This doesn't surprise me, because people believe all sorts of strange things.

edit on previous:
integrate exp(-a*(t-x))*exp(-b*x)*heaviside(t-x)*dx from x=0 to x=infinity

Apply the Maximum Entropy Principle, which assumes that constraints determine the amount of disorder in the system and therefore the probability distribution.

I did not say to do that. Its not part of my question.

Web simply answer my question please. If you distribute a set of curves randomly along the time axis the resulting addition of such curves is a random curve.

Yes or no.

Just answer the question.

I'll go ahead and assume its yes your just dodging the issue.

If so then the constraints governing the internals of the curve have no bearing on the overall timeline. The controlling functions of the individual curves has nothing to do with what their totals are over a timeline as clearly the total is simply random.

Now it sounds like you are back to your comprehension problem.

Even the Normal distribution has a random component, it's just that it is constrained by a mean and variance according to maximum entropy.

Random and stochastic have essentially the same meaning, they indicate non-deterministic behavior.

We used to weed bone-headed people like you out of engineering school because you couldn't pass Probability & Statistics.

Even the Normal distribution has a random component, it's just that it is constrained by a mean and variance according to maximum entropy.

So what. Its a red herring.

Clearly you know damn well what I'm saying and are avoiding the answer. Don't act the fool.

In any case the merits of choosing and overall distribution for the curves lets assume its the normal function and not simply random is independent of the reason for choosing a distribution for the curves. The reasoning supporting the shape of the individual curves does not necessarily transfer to support assumptions about the overall distribution.

One constraint is of course that the series is finite.
Another for oil is that a field won't go into production till after its found.

Indeed there are a huge list of constraints on actual oil production which steadily modify the assumption that the original
series was simply random although simple randomness remains and important component.

Some are logical constraints like the discovery constraint others introduce sorting and perhaps filtering behavior etc.
And of course there are correlations i.e discovery of a single oil field or failure to discover a field influence future decisions.

Indeed the list of factors influencing oil production is effectively open ended on top of this you have the potential for all kinds of correlations and feedbacks. Many have a real geographical factor i.e your typical national oil company. Worse all the constraints are not static but vary over time. Some can even be modeled as gasp shocks.

The likelihood that these can be correctly reduced to a simple controlling equation is remote.

Indeed simply attempting to list the long list of constraints actually suggests the route that needs to be taken to solve the problem.
Its not jumping to some questionable simplification but a different approach.

Clearly we are dealing with and over-constrained system as many of the constraints are contradictory.

Also clearly hierarchical which can be used to break the contradictions from over constraining the system.

And solving these sorts of problems is done with a search algorithm of some sort.

The likelihood that these can be correctly reduced to a simple controlling equation is remote.

So now you are confusing me with the Lotka-Voltera and Verhulst modelers. They have simple controlling equations and no randomness.

You are so scatter-shot in your rambling that occasionally you double-back and now seem to agree with the probabilistic approach.

If you recall I said all the models are wrong. Just in different ways yours included. You are still incorrectly simplifying the problem.

Aha, all models are wrong, including the ones not even found yet. Except, of course, the one you have dreamed up but do not have the skills to properly articulate.

Have a look at these pics. The big curve one is the sum of the small ones. On some pics they are spread evenly, on some they are not.





Convolution is summing to infinity (integrating) of little graphs, with some other functions describing locations of the centers, and/or widths of the peaks, and/or how much extra importance is given to some segment of the x axis.

CC, I have a feeling we are playing the game of "20 Questions" with Memmel.

The problem is that the answer he wants won't be forthcoming, and nothing will satisfy him.

At least we explained "from above" and "from below" what convolution is and that when you keep piling various straight or crooked looking hats, we end up with ... hats. Sometimes sombreros, sometimes time trial cyclists.

If people played with math they would not be so scared. Not a question of thorough understanding, but just not blanking out on sight of a first formula. Maybe I will compile a list of formulas in Alpha format generating various curves of interest to ToD? Anybody wants a list? Something with parameters to play...

PS. Even better. I found on Mathematica's website an "app" playing with Hubbert formula:


One needs to download the "Player" - free download. http://www.wolfram.com/products/player/download.cgi

Worth a minute it takes.

Interesting that you chose to overlap the curves.

They could have been simply spread one after another with zero overlap.
Somehow I'm not surprised that you did not graph that solution :)
Remember the basic assumption is they are randomly distributed on one axis.

In any case one can now that thats over with we can now add other sensible constraints since we are talking about oil.

1.) The time line is finite that actually was not in my first problem.
2.) Solutions where all the curves don't overlap are unlikely. As a further constraint the most likely minumum is they are heel too toe i.e as soon as one finishes another starts if no overlap is assumed.
3.) Time is finite so the number of curves is finite.

Obviously starting all the curves at t0 will give the maximum possible value. And with the above constraints aligning them one after another gives the minimum value. This is also the shortest and longest possible time interval thus that drops out.

With this assumption other random distributions will fill the region between the two constraints. Many will result in a initial rise flat top and final fall. Since its random "bunching" can and does happen however if you do a simple threshold analysis you will find that most of the curves tend to have long sequences were adding the various curves tends towards a fairly long flat region.

Thus the cumulative curve spends a majority of its time in say the range 40-50% of the t0 maximum constraint. Interestingly the assumption of variable sized curves does not really add significant complexity to the system.

In any case randomly distributing curves over a finite region with the above constraints results most often in a bumpy plateau with a rising and falling portion at the start and end. If you want a simple function then a sine wave as a simplification seems reasonable.

Doubling or halving the number of curves does not dramatically change the situation it simple makes it smoother or bumpier the same applies for allowing different curve sizes.

Thus I'd argue that a reasonable simple set of constraints with randomly placed curves suggests the most common solution tends towards a bumpy plateau. This is not exactly shocking btw as the random function by definition covers its space in a homogeneous manner.

Clearly however additional constraints are going to be distortions from this bumpy plateau not a simple curve from the assumption of something like the central limit theorem. You should be able to see that assumption of a central limit is not basic but a distortion or additional constraint on top of these basic assumptions.

Already we have diverged significantly from "classic" peak oil theory and we have barely gotten started.
Indeed there is no intrinsic reason to add a central limit.

If you follow this then the next constraint to add is the obvious that early on most of the fields were not found and it took time to ramp production. Thus you should probably at least start the process with and exponentially increasing number of fields brought into production. When this growth should stop i.e the ramp is and interesting question and I don't see any simple solution.

So offhand I can't think of another constraint that could be added reasonably without resorting to some empirical data.
So basically you need to effectively seed the simulation some early real data. During this period new fields are brought on far
faster than old fields decline.

Perhaps there are ones I've missed. But this seems to at least get you started while making the most minimal assumptions and least set of constraints. Also they just happen to be the top ones in hierarchical constraint modeling but thats pure chance :)


I don't think you are aware of your own personality. You ARE an imposter or have just plain amnesia. You JUST learned something from WHT in this longer thread. You are now COMPLETELY ignoring what you've been saying in the past, and now regurgitate what you just learned from WHT. Give it a nice stream of words to sound good to non technical types and cover the many misses and now you sound like an EXPERT who invented it. Cluster B.

CC, That is the key. From the other thread above where Memmel talks about the oil futures market, he might sound intelligent to someone not familiar with the lingo, but then you see how ChrisCook called him on it. He's just spouting a bunch of random phrases.

Same goes for this sub-thread. He tries to bluff his way into the conversation, but we also know enough to realize that he is just mimicing the lingo and coopying-and-pasting the arguments w/o actually understanding the details.

The only thing to learn from this is an example of how NOT to think about the problem. Alas, that only works as edification if you have a good handle on probability in the first place; it just confuses everyone else.

Where on earth have I copied your argument I took a reasonable basis and you tried to apply the Maximum Entropy Principle and I argued that was wrong.

Apply the Maximum Entropy Principle, which assumes that constraints determine the amount of disorder in the system and therefore the probability distribution.

One of the most common constraints is to pick a mean or average value. This has real meaning because it usually has to have some semblance to reality. For example, a mean maturation time might be 4 years and a mean extraction time might be 7 years.

You claim I'm copying you yet clearly I've showed where you made your mistake. You cannot do this the constraints are not subject to any nice tidy set of equations and neither is the solution. Including randomness or not is irrelevant outside of describing the base distribution thats being constrained which is effectively a line.

LOL what ?

Then I guess your not listening to what I've been saying.

You are now COMPLETELY ignoring what you've been saying in the past, and now regurgitate what you just learned from WHT.

What on earth are you talking about ?
First I'm accused of not knowing anything then I'm accused of somehow copying WHT. Where on earth did I copy WHT ?

Well look here I jumped ahead an used a cave as and example.


And here I bring in Hurst Exponents.


And above I suggest constraint modeling.

There are a number of ways to solve this sort of problem. In the last post I outline the most primitive "fundamental" solution.
And suggest further constraints come from the data itself.

I'm sorry I just don't see where I've said anything different. Point to what I'm ignoring.

In any case to bring this to a close. Clearly the constraints on oil production are complex and also hierarchical.
WHT claims of some brillant fundamental insight where the constraints arose based on some sort of fundamental physics or math
is junk they do not. There is no intrinsic reason to claim the central limit theorem applies to the groups of curves etc.
I took it about as far as you can reasonably go using fundamentals.

There is no second half to his theory if you will as far as basic theory I'd argue it ends with the above thats it.
Not even the growth phase has any sort of a fundamental form. Indeed until automobiles became widespread oil production
grew fairly slowly. Sadly I've never found any reliable data on coal oil/gas lamps vs petroleum kerosene.

And outline is here.


In any case the early constraints seem to have been ones of expanding a market.

How on earth can you compare this to WHT work where he claims to be able to develop a few simple constraints from fundamentals and solve the problem ?

All I've said and I've said so repeatedly is that the constraints are too complex to be reduced in the manner that WHT does. Not only that he assumes several constraints are intrinsic and fundamental clearly they are not.

The fundamental constraints are weak.

1.) And oil field has to be found to be produced.
2.) And oil field follows a curve during its production lifetime from initial production to peak to decline and shutdown.
3.) The simplest model for production is that the fields are found and produced randomly collective oil production is simply a random curve most simulations will look like a bumpy plateau from the underlying random assumption. The central limit theorem is not fundamental. Any additional constraints will distort this random collection.
4.) Clearly you have and initial growth phase of some sort as the first oil fields are brought on-line and eventually a decline phase ones all fields are found and depleted.

All other factors that influence oil production are from external constraints not intrinsic. There is no fundamental mathematics for these constraints they have to be deduced from studying the real system.
He has gobs and gobs of all kinds of crap like dispersive discovery. Time shifted disovery->production etc etc.

How on earth can you claim this is similar to what WHT proposed ?

I'd not call the above a theory simply some basic observations. Any real understanding of oil production is tied completely to the constraints under which oil is produced and the intrinsic amount available.

All readers from TOD can follow Memmel down the rabbit hole if they want.

Lots of dead-ends there, have fun!

I am done here, too

Except you still have not rebutted what I'm trying to say its very simple. Oil production is controlled by a large number of constraints which makes the problem complex. No simple mathematical model can capture the full set of constraints. Attempting to take a short cut by assuming a simple set of intrinsic rules apply regardless of the nature of the rules is wrong.

This does not mean the problem is unsolvable we do know how to solve these sorts of problems reasonably well via hierarchical constraint systems and search. A search algorithm has to be used because by definition you don't have any simple functional form that applies.

Indeed the mere existence of a large number of constraints on the system is the most important part of the problem as it allows you to classify the real problem as being over-constrained. And tells you the nature of the solution.


Simply knowing that a large number of constraints are present is sufficient in and of itself to reject WHT work out of hand.
Nothing else is needed. He is literally solving the wrong problem.

OK, one more.

Oil production is controlled by a large number of constraints which makes the problem complex.


An out of the blue example, but one we all learned at school. Imagine a class of 30 kids. Some are poor and don't eat well. Some are rich and exercise, some have tall parents, some have one short parent, some grow faster, some grow slower, some are older, some are younger. So I have a TON of constraints, well, I don't even have an idea on the NUMBER of constraints. Yes or No?


But I know TWO THINGS FOR SURE: the class has an average height (as yet unknown) and has a standard deviation of heights (as yet unknown). That is all I know about the class. Everything else is some kind of constraint. Yes or No


So as I do not know anything about the constraints, and know about existence of mean and average, I ASSUME, REPEAT ASSUME, that the distribution of heights will be normal i.e. Gaussian. Why? Because out of all distributions having a mean and standard deviation, normal (Gaussian) has maximum entropy. This is a mathematical, calculable, fact. My assumption to use it called MaxEnt.


Now I can predict PROBABILITIES. Apply basic, standard statistical analysis. What is the probability of a student being one STD taller than the class. etc...I CAN NOT predict and NEVER claimed and NEVER will claim that I can predict any INDIVIDUAL event, but only its probability.

Now, substitute class of 30 students with the real world, you are faced with similar problem. Too many constraints. So I randomize them according to MaxEnt. Here lies an absolutely essential and principal difference in a way of thinking: deterministic: this constraint causes that, and that causes this; probabilistic: There is no strict causality, only stream of cascading probabilities of events. (To add spice, the path is randomized and probabilities along the path are randomized too Yeehaa.)

Now to address question what is randomization. I suppose many people thing random = uniform. Not exactly.

There is a case where I know NOTHING about the random variable. The distribution with maximum entropy is called uniform, like for a dice. Every outcome has equal probability.

There is a case where I know that the variable has a MEAN VALUE. The distribution with maximum entropy is damped exponential, smaller values are more likely than large values, outcomes with smaller values happen more often than the outcomes with larger values.

There is a case where I know that the variable has a MEAN VALUE and a STANDARD DEVIATION. The distribution with maximum entropy is normal (Gaussian), values close to the mean are more likely that the outliers.

Now process of randomization means that when I say RANDOM, I mean one of these three. Random toss of a dice has an uniform probability of 1/6. Randomly measuring kinetic energy of the wind at any moment has a damped exponential probability: weak wind is more likely than strong wind. Randomly measuring height of a student has a normal distribution: most students are average, few are tall, few are short.

Simply knowing that a large number of constraints are present is sufficient in and of itself to reject WHT work out of hand.

Simply knowing that a large number of constraints are present is sufficient in and of itself to CONSIDER stochastic approach seriously.

That's how real world works.


Read Gell-Mann's The Quark and the Jaguar: Adventures in the Simple and the Complex, first chapter, about crude complexity. http://www.amazon.com/Quark-Jaguar-Adventures-Simple-Complex/dp/0716727250

PS. Sorry for SCREAMING, but I want to put the point across

Well nice to see your finally willing to actually respond instead if sniggering.

Again randomizing the constraints is not the correct answer because they are hierarchical. Indeed the real intrinsic problem using what you said above is incorrect weighting of constraints. In webs case they are all effectively treated as equal.

A particular example is reserve additions are considered equal to new field discovery for example. They should be treated separately.

Simply knowing that a large number of constraints are present is sufficient in and of itself to CONSIDER stochastic approach seriously.

Now finally we can clearly state the disagreement. Clearly I simply don't agree. Other approaches to this problem also don't take this route. Indeed its absolutely certain to be the wrong route. Other less explicit approaches such as HL are simply variants of this indeed Web derived the logistic from his approach. Since my arguments suggest all these models are wrong Web has actually done me the service of also proving his model wrong by showing how it ties in with logistic based models.


All of this eventually rests on the problem of when basic resource usage becomes entangled with controlling parameters often based on economics. Clearer examples can be seen for example in water allocations in the west where water rights so distort the issue that any fundamentals are lost. Oil production and consumption is a variant of this sort of problem and is controlled by a similar set of hierarchical constraints.

In particular

There is a case where I know NOTHING about the random variable. The distribution with maximum entropy is called uniform, like for a dice. Every outcome has equal probability.

There is a case where I know that the variable has a MEAN VALUE. The distribution with maximum entropy is damped exponential, smaller values are more likely than large values, outcomes with smaller values happen more often than the outcomes with larger values.

There is a case where I know that the variable has a MEAN VALUE and a STANDARD DEVIATION. The distribution with maximum entropy is normal (Gaussian), values close to the mean are more likely that the outliers.

Only the first definition of random applies. Assumption of any additional statical distribution is wrong. Worrying about the details of which distribution is senseless as the basic assumption that they are applicable in the first place is wrong. Any attempt to invoke any sort of central limit variant is wrong. The whole class of approaches is wrong and can be discarded.

The correct solution is

There is a case where I know NOTHING about the random variable. The distribution with maximum entropy is called uniform, like for a dice. Every outcome has equal probability.

Thats the intrinsic and only one that works. Constraints then need to be directly applied. In general most do not lead to any sort of central limit result. Thats not to say they don't happen simply that they are not intrinsic and not predictive. Since the overall function is uniformly random one of several perturbations caused by the constraints is that sometimes sub distributions can indeed by the interaction of random chance and the constraints result in some sort of central limit like curve. Indeed its highly unlikely to not get such results from time to time. However they don't have any special significance. Sometimes they happen sometimes they don't.
They do obviously allow simplification of parts of the overall analysis. This does not make them critical and to repeat they are not important.

To solve the problem you simply set up your hierarchical constraints correctly including how the evolve over time and apply them in order of relevance. Since your assuming that the overall area is a constant perhaps not well defined but represented in its crudest form by a square wave as the constraints modify the solution the real overall area can be deduced from the interaction of the various constraints with production. I won't go far as to say solved as these problems are intrinsically open ended but solved well enough.
Its sloppy and ugly and subject to interpretation but resolving the most reasonable application of the constraints actually acts as a sort of proof as you can reject many solutions as unlikely. For example I have no problem tossing WHT and other most other peak oil theories into the dustbin along with CERA's undulating plateau. In CERA's case they are effectively claiming no constraints and a uniform distribution. Clearly the system has a large number of constraints and this result can be ruled out. They are all clearly wrong and not worth wasting time over.


And peace to you :)

I'm done and I have work to do.

Hi Memmel (and WHT)

I though that we were done at the level of irreconciliable differences, but I spent fair amount of time thinking about this stuff.

Sorry to say, Memmel, but you are wrong at the most fundamental level of physics, by saying that the only probability that matters is uniform. If you say so, you must reject: quantum theory, spectroscopy, statistical mechanics and broadly speaking most of modern "hard" science. Here is a reason:

If you want your world to be driven by random uniform probability distribution with constraints, then a single particle would need to have equal chance of occupying two different quantum states of different energy. But the single particle has a larger probability of occupying a lower energy state, and the probability ratio depends on (among other things; I really do not remember my fundamentals of quantum physics in detail) difference in energy between the states (for sure) and (maybe) mass or momentum of the particle.

That's the way it is. There is nothing anybody can do about it. That is the nature of things.

We would not have this conversation if it was not the case: There would be no semiconductors to build computers and internet and stuff. Probabilities in the world are not uniform at quantum level. They become uniform, like dice throwing, explicitly because of stochastic averaging at macro level.

If there is anyone reading this who actually knows this stuff for real and not usurps, like me ;-), please correct me if I am wrong. But I pretty much know at this moment, memmel, that you will reject and twist what I said here; at least I am finding very refreshing a chance to think and write about things I would most likely not think nor write about without this threads' existence. At the end of the day one more for physics, none for ignorance.

Now we ARE done for good.



PS. I think this is the most indented thread on TOD :-)

If you want your world to be driven by random uniform probability distribution with constraints, then a single particle would need to have equal chance of occupying two different quantum states of different energy

Are you comparing science of quantum theory and world oilproduction profile with each other ?

No...I am not comparing, I am showing that behaviour of oil production profiles can be linked, (please, not directly) with quantum properties of matter. Not 1-on-1, but there is a stream of physical and probabilistic connections. E.g. Probabilistic behaviour at quantum level leads to distribution of properties of molecules, this distribution is reflected in things like various diffusion rates of those molecules,, which is reflected in spatial aggregation of oil, well profiles depend on diffusion rates, and all of this is reflected in global production. Butterfly effect in reverse. Averaging of butterflies leads to averaging of oil wells.

Actually, when I look at what I wrote, I think it is even more interesting. Flow depends on (among other things) on viscosity. Viscosity depends (among other things) on the strength of the dispersion (London) forces attracting individual molecules to themselves. These forces depend on certain average properties of these molecules. These properties depend on probability of particles (electrons) assuming certain quantum states.

And the main connection going through this cascading path are probabilities and entropy. But please, do not take this directly, it is about showing that quantum rules are reflected in (very) macroscopic behaviour.

No prediction, but a tongue in cheek chain of probabilities: If the electron's mass was slightly larger than it is...we would possibly, or even likely, have fewer giant fields and a flatter oil production curve. ;-). And I can provide quite solid explanation on this call :-)

Hm. I think I am still coherent

One more indent.

Those people that like CC have the ability to embrace new concepts (or old but ignored concepts) have a leg up on others who reflexively say no.

Peace all to a dead thread.

Au contraire one of limited vision.

If you take a spread in start times, then you can just do a temporal convolution of that function, whatever arbitrary function it takes, against the exponential gammas that CC used in this example.

Out pops a functional form! Voila!

By definition the time series is random what spread ?

You have no idea when a new curve will start how many there are their sizes etc.
There is no assumption of any particular spread in start times its simply random.
Next your suggesting and arbitrary function ?

Sounds to me like and arbitrary function of a random variable which means what ?

You were the one that said arbitrary, you knucklehead !

This is like arguing with a turnip.

I like it; I would just make a small correction and multiply by a unit step function, "heaviside(x-1)", on the time-delayed function. This removes the time causality problem.

Plot[{(x - 1)*Exp[-(x - 1)]*heaviside(x-1), 2*x*Exp[-2*x], ((x-1)*Exp[-(x-1)]*heaviside(x-1)+ 2*x*Exp[-2*x])}, {x, 0, 5}]

This is the start of understanding the concept of temporal convolution, of which Memmel has so much trouble with.

Yep, with step looks better. Adding just two shows the point. I decided for sake of simplicity take sum of two and convolution to be the same. Temporal convolution sounds like confusing math sometimes...

What is this guy smoking?

Super-Cycle Leaves No Economy Behind as Davos Shifts to Growth

For only the third time since the Industrial Revolution, the world may be entering a long-term growth cycle that will lift all economies simultaneously, driving bond yields and commodity prices higher.

long-term growth cycle?

He's smoking some (fairly dodgy and way out) economic hand waving theory. To these number gazers everything goes in cycles, kind of like biorhythms. When you have a good day, you have a really good day.

Needless to say, they don't really check what the real world is doing before casting the runes from such charts. And they never put their own money on the prediction...

The Elliott Wave Principle is one of these hand-wavy theories.

It doesn't look like any of you followed the links to the study. I haven't read it, but it is not technical analysis.

Elliot Wave, and all technical analysis, seems to be to be complete junk, although maybe not over very short time frames. But this study has nothing to do with that.

The study behind the cited optimistic view point is, at least, 150 pages of argument.

It seems to make sense to either review it and argue with it or ignore it. Mocking the the author without even looking at what they say is a step below hand waving.

OK, so it is not Elliot Wave, thank goodness.

The PDF crashed Acrobat when I tried to load it. I saw some pretty pictures and that's about it.

That pretty picture appears to be the Bangkok Light Rail project, replete with plastic climbing plants covering its pillars.

The overall research product is interesting, but looks fairly weak. Standard Chartered Bank is not where anyone serious looks for big think pieces though.

It does forecast higher oil and commodities prices, but uses historical cycle performance as its basis.

You're probably OK ignoring it.

From a quick glance, they explicitly assume that more oil will be available to fuel growth - "Oil - Increasing Supply is Critical".

The business world and finance world is filled with shaman that have 'cycle' theories or waves or other various pattern based theories. In stocks it is called 'technical analysis' . . . a term I always found a bit ironic. They are a combination of astrologers and people finding random patterns in the data. But the thing is, when you have people that trade on these systems they can become self-fulfilling prophecies . . . if the magic black box says now is the time to invest and a lot of people follow it . . . then a lot of people will invest and the market will go up.

I have no idea if this particular theory makes any sense. But if enough people believe in it, it will make itself come true. So I hope all those people sitting on the money believe it.

Exxon to invest millions in German gas exploration: report

The chairman of Exxon Mobil Central Europe, Gernot Kalkoffen, told German business daily Handelsblatt that the company believed the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) had huge amounts of gas to drill.

"We are planning an amount clearly in the six-figure zone during the exploration phase," he said, when asked how much Exxon would invest.

NRW, which was once the heart of the German coal industry, could have the second largest reserves in Europe with 2.1 trillion cubic metres (74.2 cubic feet) of natural gas, Handelsblatt said.

Merrill - Perhaps a language problem: "six figures". Wow...one of the largest corporations on the
he planet is going to spend over $100,000 in Germany. And 2.1 trillion cubic meters = 74.2 cubic feet? Just sloppy reporting I assume.

No meat in the article but I suspect this huge amount of resource (and not reserves) is unconventional: coal bed methane and shale gas. But with the choke hold that Russia appears to be devloping with EU NG maybe the economics will make it a reality eventually.