Drumbeat: January 31, 2011

New Electricity Meters Stir Fears

At first, the backlash against PG&E focused on the notion that the meters were giving artificially high readings, but that died down after studies confirmed their overall accuracy.

The new wave of protests comes from conservatives and individualists who view the monitoring of home appliances as a breach of privacy, as well as from a cadre of environmental health campaigners who see the meters’ radio-frequency radiation — like emissions from cellphones and other common devices — as a health threat.

Hypervigilance on health questions has long been typical of Bay Area residents; some local schools ban cupcakes or other sugared treats for classroom birthday celebrations in favor of more nutritious treats like crunchy seaweed snacks, for example.

Stuart Staniford: Oil, Food, and the Wealth of MENA Countries

This morning, I've been catching up on some reading about the protests in Egypt and Algeria, following on the Jasmine Revolution that is in process in Tunisia. Clearly, the reason for interest is wondering to what extent is there any risk of these events spreading into the big oil exporters, which could cause extremely large disruptions in the global economy. This is probably unlikely, but not so inconceivable that serious observers aren't starting to at least think about it.

FACTBOX-Potential energy risks of Egypt protests

(Reuters) - Disruptions in Suez Canal oil shipments and Egypt's liquefied natural gas exports would be the biggest risks to energy supplies from escalating government protests in the north African nation.

The Suez chokepoint

The US Energy Information Administration recently updated its brief on world oil transit chokepoints—one of which is Egypt’s Suez Canal. The EIA defines chokepoints as narrow channels along widely used global sea routes, some so narrow that vessel size is restricted. They are a critical part of global energy security due to the high volume of oil traded through their narrow straits, the agency notes.

Egypt unrest causes fuel shortage in Gaza Strip

GAZA (Reuters) - Gaza Strip residents flocked to petrol stations on Saturday after clashes in neighbouring Egypt hampered smugglers ferrying fuel supplies through tunnels that run under the border into the enclave, witnesses said.

Merchants and tunnellers said the pace of smuggling of fuel and other materials had dropped in recent days and reached its lowest level on Saturday as clashes between Egyptian residents of north Sinai and security forces intensified.

CNBC anchor implies US must support dictators to keep cheap oil flowing

"One more thing," Burnett remarked. "If this spreads, the United States could take a huge hit because democracy in a place like Saudi Arabia, you've talked about who might come in power, what that means for oil prices. They're going to go stratospheric."

"There's no doubt about it,' MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said. "No doubt about it!"

Workers Trickle Out of Egypt

Energy companies LUKoil and Novatek are flying their employees out of strife-torn Egypt, but say the evacuations won't affect operations in the country.

Trump: Mideast Explosion Could Destroy OPEC, Lower Oil Prices...

Trump has a surprising response to speculation that the turmoil in Egypt and other countries in the Middle East could push oil prices to as high as $200 a barrel.

“It also could go the other way. Frankly, the Middle East is a tinderbox. It’s going to explode. OPEC will probably be destroyed if it explodes, and oil prices could go the other way.

What Egyptian Regime Change May Mean for Regional Energy Cooperation

While the political ramifications of what will happen if Egypt’s long time leader Hosni Mubarak is forced to resign his post as Egypt’s President is still unknown, the question of continued environmental cooperation between Egypt and other countries is even more uncertain.

Peak Oil and Civil Unrest

What few are willing to admit is that the revolutionary demonstrations we are seeing around the world have little to do with politics, oppression or religion. They are instead the result of too many people, too few jobs and lack of affordable food. People who have a job that allows them to supply their families with the minimum required for survival are rarely revolutionary. They won’t demonstrate against a tyrant or join al-Qaeda., they may be envious but they won’t revolt when a small percentage of the population has most of the wealth.

We will see an increasing number of revolutionary demonstrations throughout the world because we are facing a food shortage crisis that is the result of the end of cheap oil and global climate change. Several billion of the worlds population depend on cheap fossil fuel for their food.

'This is bigger than global warming': expert

An expert in the growing but still controversial area of peak oil came to Kingston warned Sunday that unless the world cuts back on its oil consumption, the global economy could collapse entirely.

David Hughes, who spent 32 years working for the federal government as a geoscientist, is on a 13-city tour speaking of the dangers of what has come to be known as peak oil -- the time when the supply of fossil fuels begins to run out.

Total speeds up African development

Who was talking about peak oil again? Africa is on the cusp of becoming a new El Dorado for oil companies, and Total is first in line. Jacques Marraud des Grottes, the oil major's Africa director, announced this year that the group would be focussing more and more on Africa to boost its production. At the moment Total's African output is 750 000 barrels a day (bpd), a third of its total production, and it expects that figure to rise to a million bpd by 2015. Historically present in West Africa, the group's projects have lately proliferated all over the continent.

Brazil Crude Oil, Natural Gas Output Sets Record in Dec -ANP

Brazil set a record for crude oil and natural gas production in December as state-run energy giant Petrobras ramped up output at several fields, the country's oil regulator said Monday.

One Commodity to Rule Them All: Oil

On the global stage, morality only stretches as far as not to disturb the operations of oil companies in different regions. A recently-released Wikileaks cable reveals Shell Oil's frustration at sanctions on Iran, and how it feels constrained as a result.

Norway plans new power line for installations

Norway today recommended building new power lines to boost electricity supply to oil and gas installations on its west coast as a bitter political row continues to brew over another proposed power line.

ConocoPhillips Has Leak, Fire at Rodeo Refinery

ConocoPhillips had a “crude resid” leak and fire at its Rodeo oil refinery in California yesterday, according to a filing to the National Response Center.

Iraq imports 550 Megawatts of electricity from neighboring countries

Baghdad - The Iraqi Ministry of ElectricityIraqi Ministry of ElectricityLoading... announced on Sunday that the country imports currently 550 Megawatts of electricity from neighboring countries, after it was imported energy was cut from Turkey that was 250 Megawatts due to expiration of the contract, which was one year.

Country facing 50% gas shortfall: Qazi

ISLAMABAD, (SANA): Secretary Petroleum Imtiaz Qazi has said that currently the country is facing 50% gas shortfall; meanwhile the gas production is decreasing with the passage of every day.

Bangladesh - Energy crisis: People's patience wearing out

Meanwhile, gas crunch has already created situation where government was earlier forced to choose between power generation and fertilizer production. The shortfall in power supply still continues in winter.

Avoid mega proj in coal-rich belts to avoid fuel shortage: Govt

NEW DELHI: The Centre today advised states not to build mega projects in coal-bearing areas, afraid that such a move would "sterilise" at least 20 billion tonnes of the dry-fuel reserves and aggravate coal shortage in the country.

Analysis: Marcellus Shale Significantly Impacts West Virginia Economy

The development of the Marcellus shale gas play in West Virginia could significantly impact West Virginia's economy, according to a new report by the West Virginia College of Business and Economics (BBER).

Medvedev says state corps too slow to modernize

MOSCOW—President Dmitry Medvedev has criticized Russia's biggest oil company and other state corporations for moving too slowly to introduce new technologies.

Medvedev said Monday the state-controlled Rosneft oil company was spending too little on research and development.

'Kurdistan export restart unlikely'

Oil exports from Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region are not expected to resume on 1 February as previously agreed with the central government in Baghdad, sources familiar with the matter said today.

Kurt Cobb: Razor blades and the limits of complexity

Today, the average citizen in wealthy countries is obliged to own or have access to computers and know how to use them or miss out on much of what constitutes modern life. We have access to machines that can calculate millions of times faster than we can ever hope to, that can connect us literally to a world of information, and that can allow us to communicate in an instant with people on the opposite side of the globe. And, yet how many of us even understand how those machines work, let alone how the Internet to which they are connected functions?

Our inability to understand the systems we create puts a limit on the level of complexity that is beneficial to us. Recently established and poorly understood systems can bring unwelcome surprises. Witness the financial meltdown of 2008. Up to that point many economists (who were supposedly able to understand the complex global economy) believed that the world's economic planners had mastered the business cycle and created a "Great Moderation" in its volatility and therefore consequences.

Sustaining our commonwealth of nature and knowledge

Let’s start with this phrase: “sustaining our commonwealth.” By sustaining, I don’t mean preserving inviolate; I mean using, without using up. Using with maintenance and replenishment is an important idea in economics. It’s the very basis of the concept of income, because income is the maximum that you can consume today and still be able to produce and consume the same amount tomorrow – that is, maximum consumption without depleting capital in the broad sense of future productive capacity. By commonwealth, I mean the wealth that no one has made, or the wealth that practically everyone has made. So it’s either nature – nobody made it, we all inherited it – or knowledge – everybody contributed to making it, but everyone’s contribution is small in relation to the total and depends on the contributions of others. In managing the commonwealth of nature, our big problem is that we tend to treat the truly scarce as if it were non-scarce. The opposite problem arises with the commonwealth of knowledge, in which we tend to treat what is truly not scarce as if it were.

Israeli firm says has Kenyan nod for seawave energy plant

(Reuters) - Israeli firm SDE Energy said on Monday it had Kenyan government approval to build a 100 megawatt power plant to tap waves at on the coastline.

'Barefoot' grandmothers electrify rural communities

"If you ask any solar engineer in the world, 'Can anyone make this in a village?' they say it's technically impossible. And if I say a grandmother is making it who is illiterate, he can't believe it, it's beyond his comprehension," says Roy.

Dose of cold reality for a warming planet

The author recommends a “Green Apollo’’ project on a scale of President Kennedy’s Apollo mission to reach the moon. President Obama can become the “Abraham Lincoln of our time,’’ Hertsgaard suggests. Just as we remember Lincoln for abolishing slavery, we would remember Obama “for saving the world from climate catastrophe.’’

BG, Statoil Halt Drilling in Egypt as Unrest Escalates

(Bloomberg) -- BG Group Plc and Statoil ASA halted drilling in Egypt as a sixth day of protests against President Hosni Mubarak’s regime began to take a toll on the oil and gas industry, the country’s biggest export earner.

Apache Corp., which derived about a third of its production revenue from Egypt in 2009, said its Cairo offices were shut today. BP Plc, the largest foreign investor in Egypt, made plans to evacuate the families of expatriate workers while Royal Dutch Shell Plc also began relocating staff. Italy’s Eni SpA is repatriating 250 employees from Cairo, Ansa news agency said.

Brent oil earlier today surged to a 28-month high on concern that anti-government riots could close the Suez Canal and parallel Sumed pipeline, which together can transport more than 4 million barrels a day of oil. Egypt has Africa’s third- largest gas and sixth-biggest oil reserves, accounting for about 12 percent of gross domestic product.

“The real concern from an oil and gas perspective is the risk of political unrest extending to other parts of North Africa,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a report.

OPEC Head Sees Oil Shortage If Egypt Gets Out Of Hand

LONDON -(Dow Jones)- The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said Monday there is a risk of an oil shortage if the Egyptian crisis escalates but added the organization was ready to increase output if that was the case, OPEC secretary general said Monday.

Brent Falls, New York Oil Pares Gain as Egypt Protest Fears Ease

Ships are passing normally through the Suez Canal, the head of traffic for the waterway’s operator said today. Unrest is unlikely to spread to oil-producing nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said. The GCC includes Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude exporter.

“The more affluent GCC countries are much less likely to have problems than the less affluent North African countries,” Goldman analysts led by Jeffrey Currie in London said in a report today. “Even if the problems spread to one of these countries, it is not necessarily the case that energy supplies would be disrupted, as history has shown that energy can still flow even under very adverse political conditions.”

Hedge Fund Bears Blindsided by Oil Surge on Egypt Protest

Hedge funds cut bullish bets on oil last week by the most in two months before political protests erupted in Egypt, igniting a rally that sent prices up by the most since 2009.

Egyptians have reservations about ElBaradei

(Reuters) - Egyptians on the streets of Cairo said on Monday they had reservations about opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei, who has offered to act as transitional leader to prepare Egypt for democratic elections.

Exxon Mobil Profit Rises as Energy Prices Climb With Demand

(Bloomberg) -- Exxon Mobil Corp., the world’s largest company, posted its fourth consecutive quarterly profit increase as burgeoning energy demand boosted oil and fuel prices.

Chinese increase oil search in US

China's state-owned offshore oil and gas company is intensifying its search for oil in the western United States.

CNOOC announced it will pay 570 million US dollars (£359m) for a one-third stake in Chesapeake Energy's drilling project at an emerging oil field in north-east Colorado and south-east Wyoming.

Statoil Seeks Abu Dhabi Oil, Challenging Exxon, Shell

Statoil ASA, Norway’s biggest oil producer, plans to challenge Abu Dhabi National Oil Co.’s existing partners such as Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc for a role in the United Arab Emirates’ resources.

India: Rs 8,000-crore subsidy for oil companies okayed

The government on Monday approved Rs 8,000 crore (Rs 80 billion) in cash subsidy to state-owned fuel retailers to make up for half of the revenues they lost on selling diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene below cost in the third quarter.

Kazakhstan eyes lower costs for Kashagan expansion

ASTANA (Reuters) - Kazakhstan will not approve an existing proposal to develop the second phase of the Kashagan oilfield due to prohibitive costs, Oil and Gas Minister Sauat Mynbayev said on Monday.

The Kashagan oilfield in the Caspian Sea is the world's biggest oil discovery since Prudhoe Bay in Alaska in the 1960s. An international consortium, including Eni and Royal Dutch Shell , is developing the project.

Armenia, Iran agree oil pipeline deal

Iran and Armenia have agreed to build a pipeline to carry Iranian oil derivatives to Armenia.

The agreement was reached between Iranian Oil Minister Massoud Mirkazemi and Armenian Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Armen Movsisyan in Tehran on Saturday.

Uganda Plans $2 Billion Oil Refinery; Eyes Regional Markets -Government

KAMPALA, Uganda -(Dow Jones)- Uganda is planning to build a $2 billion oil refinery to supply refined fuel products for local and regional markets, Uganda's permanent secretary at the ministry of energy and minerals development said Monday.

Anadarko: Gulf Project Production Delayed By Unfit Equipment

Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (APC) said its Caesar/Tonga deepwater oil development project in the Gulf of Mexico will begin producing later than expected because testing has found equipment unfit for service.

BP to cut production amid impact of Deepwater Horizon spill

Bob Dudley, BP's chief executive, will scrap the company's production targets when he lays out his vision this week for a smaller, more exploration-focused company after last April's Gulf of Mexico disaster.

Analysts expect that BP will pump about 3.6m barrels of oil and gas a day this year, a tenth less than in 2009, when it overtook US group Exxon Mobil to produce more than any other non-state-controlled company.

Oligarchs vote to block BP deal

BP's Russian partners in its joint venture with TNK today tightened the screws on BP to scrap or modify a rival tie-up with state oil group Rosneft by voting against a $1.8 billion dividend payout.

TNK-BP says Ukraine refinery lossmaking, to shut

(Reuters) - Russian oil company TNK-BP, half owned by British major BP (BP.L), will shut its Ukrainian refinery if Kiev does not take steps to boost margins, it said in a letter obtained by Reuters.

Mine Operator Says That Huge Seep Caused Blast

WASHINGTON — The company that operates a West Virginia coal mine on Friday disputed a preliminary federal finding that poor mining practices and improper equipment maintenance led to an explosion that killed 29 miners last year.

Alpha Natural reaches $7.1B deal for Massey Energy

NEW YORK (AP) — Massey Energy Co., struggling with losses after an explosion that killed 29 workers at a West Virginia coal mine last spring, agreed Saturday to be taken over by Alpha Natural Resources Inc.

Japan's TEPCO cuts oil use outlook, lifts profit

TOKYO (Reuters) - Tokyo Electric Power Co, Asia's largest utility, cut its oil consumption outlook for the year to March by 23 percent while lifting its profit forecast due to the restart of another unit at its main nuclear plant.

For Pepco, customer wrath extends the storm

Counting spoiled food, restaurant meals and money for amusement, the Hubbermans estimate that the outage cost them $2,000. He called Pepco's system of estimating repair times "useless" and said the company should reimburse customers who lose power for more than a day. "After 24 hours, you don't have a choice. There are things you must do. Under 24 hours is an inconvenience. After that, you don't have a choice."

After the temperature dropped to 45 degrees in his Bethesda home Saturday, David Hawkes took his family to the Mall to visit museums, eat and stay warm. Hawkes was incensed at the rudeness he said he had encountered on the phone with a Pepco customer service representative.

"She said we should have been better prepared in an emergency," he said. "That was some message coming from a power company that had been so poorly prepared to handle the bad weather."

The shocking truth about the electric Volt

What makes the Volt the Darling of Detroit is that it has been reverse-engineered to match the perverse American psyche. Americans hate buying gas but love to drive. We definitely want to stick it to the sheikhs, and in the process maybe save the planet, so we want cars that run on sunshine, twigs and happy thoughts. But these cars also have to kick some ass. And be able to make an impulsive 90-mile run to Philly when we suddenly have a hankering for cheese steak. And we don't want to worry about hunting for twig refueling stations along the way.

All of that is what the Volt is theoretically designed to deliver.

Some states offer electric car incentives

Nearly half the states are offering or considering incentives to consumers who buy electric cars in a bid to jump-start the fledgling market.

Experts say the sweeteners, including rebates and access to less-congestedcarpool lanes, are key to making the vehicles more affordable and convenient as automakers roll out the first mainstream electric cars in nearly a century.

World examines alternative sources of energy

The age of mixed fuel is, slowly and gradually, dawning upon us. A tectonic shift in the existing global energy order is beginning to materialize — and rather in an unnoticed manner.

New Onshore Wind Installations Decline 14% in Europe as Offshore Surges

New onshore wind installations dropped by 14 percent in the European Union in 2010 from a year earlier while windmills at sea surged more than a half, the European Wind Energy Association said today.

LED Lights Beat Wind Power in Picks for HSBC, Merrill

Investing in LED lighting and insulation is emerging as a better way to profit from efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions than wind and solar power.

Hope in a time of uncertainty

A glance at the morning's newspaper or television news reveals floods, fires, crimes, corruption, continuous wars, famine, an ominous economy, peak oil and climate change. Things are bad, yes, but haven't they always been? How bad, and relative to when?

Helen Browning: A woman who won't be cowed in the war against titan farms

Ms Browning, who runs this 1,300-acre farm outside the Wiltshire village of Bishopstone, is at the forefront of the furious debate over farming methods that will define British food and agriculture for decades to come. In March she will begin a daily commute to Bristol where she will take up the directorship of the Soil Association.

On one side of the argument are those who see the future in terms of US-style factory farms, enormous mechanised food production centres where tens of thousands of animals live under the same roof. The sales pitch is pretty basic: cheap food. For the organic lobby and farming traditionalists, such plans provoke horror.

An atlas of pollution: The world in carbon dioxide emissions

The deepest recession since the 1930s has failed to reverse rising global carbon emissions, as plummeting industrial output in the west was offset by the continuing rapid expansion of China and a handful of other emerging economies, new statistics for 2009 show.

Reheating the climate change story

The media have dropped climate change, with its tricky science. But cast in economic terms, it could recapture public interest.

Organized Crime May Be Behind Carbon Permit Thefts, EU Says

Organized crime may be responsible for the theft of European Union emission allowances this month, a top EU climate official said, and national authorities working with Europol aim to recover missing permits.

Expiration of Kyoto Would Mean Little for CO2 Markets, EU Says

The possible expiration of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012 would mean “very little” for carbon markets because they are driven by national targets, a senior European Union official said.

Carbon markets 'need to have central bank'

Carbon markets need tighter regulation to improve their stature among investors, analysts say.

"The only way really to turn this into a proper market is to have a central bank," said Michael Liebreich, the head of Bloomberg New Energy Finance in London. "They have not realised you are sort of creating a currency. This is no different from the euro."

East Africa: Eastern Region Will Become Drier, Warns Report

Nairobi — Kenyans should prepare for low rains between March and May, a new study warns.

The food crisis in the region can only get worse, the report says, putting an estimated 17.5 million people at the risk of hunger in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia.

Risk management in the era of unpredictability

Urbanisation, climate change and globalisation are leading to more and bigger catastrophes.

UK: Changing Climate, Changing Infrastructure

Roads, railways, energy and water supply networks and other infrastructure all need to be able to cope with the effects of a changing climate.

Bankers want to be treated more nicely and they want higher interest rates.

...the bankers ...want higher interest rates, despite the persistence of very high unemployment in the United States and Europe, because they say that low rates are feeding inflation. And what worries me is the possibility that policy makers might actually take their advice.


What about commodity prices? The Fed normally focuses on “core” inflation, which excludes food and energy, rather than “headline” inflation, because experience shows that while some prices fluctuate widely from month to month, others have a lot of inertia — and it’s the ones with inertia you want to worry about, because once either inflation or deflation gets built into these prices, it’s hard to get rid of.

And this focus has served the Fed well in the past. In particular, the Fed was right not to raise rates in 2007-8, when commodity prices soared — briefly pushing headline inflation above 5 percent — only to plunge right back to earth. It’s hard to see why the Fed should behave differently this time, with inflation nowhere near as high as it was during the last commodity boom.

So why the demand for higher rates? Well, bankers have a long history of getting fixated on commodity prices. Traditionally, that meant insisting that any rise in the price of gold would mean the end of Western civilization. These days it means demanding that interest rates be raised because the prices of copper, rubber, cotton and tin have gone up, even though underlying inflation is on the decline.


Lets cut straight to the chase her. The American dream is to get wealthy, so to bash the very poeple that managed it is hypocritical to the extreme. Furhtermore the $$$$$$ that they then spend on expensive luxuries get spread around nicely - think everyone from the toilet cleaner in the hotel in Vegas right through to top managers at walmart. They've got to spent it somewhere!


But not everyone aspires to live the American Dream, so it may not be so hypocritical in toilforoil's case.

Marco is, I think, being sarcastic, in the irony laden sense.

No American Dream for me. Always suspected it was BS. And guess what, the data supports my intuitions as it turns out that the US has become one of the most class hardened societies in the modern world with minimal social mobility.

Wake me up when the American revolution starts.

Perhaps toil. But there have been times when your comments make me suspect that you aren't a "real American". Of course, that's not necessarially a slam in the eyes of some. LOL. I'll keep a spot reserved for you in Texas when TSHTF. Just mention my name when the Texas Nat Guard stops you at the border. You may not be a real American but I don't think it will take much re-education to turn you into a real Texican.

"You may not be a real American but I don't think it will take much re-education to turn you into a real Texican."
Personally, I'd choose death B4 conversion.

As a "real northern north american" I'm not sure the Texas holds out much promise for me. Any outdoor rinks therabouts? (rink refers to an area of frozen water on which pieces of rubber are batted, or 'sticked', around by bi-peds sliding around on knife-like blades attached to boots)

I did visit Texas once back in the 70's. Stopped in El Paso on my way further south. Had a couple of beers before settling into my first experience with real Mexican food. Made the greenhorn mistake and tried to put out the fire with water, which only managed to spread the flames down my gullet. When I finally cut off the oxygen flow by forcing a loaf of bread down my throat and the heat subsided, I decided to try to pick out the hotstuff from my remaining meal, using my fingers to do so.

Then nature called. The beer wanted out and I went into the men's room. Jeez-zus.

Ever since, I wash my hands before answering nature's call.

toil - They use to have a small rink in d/t Houston around Christmas time. Not sure if they had one this year...temps got into the 70's around Xmas. But folks try to make allowances for the kids. In New Orleans they built a 60' hill in the city park using WPA (?) workers in the 1930's so kids there could see what one of them tings folks call hills looks like.

The way things are going up here in the great white north, we'll be lucky to have (natural) outdoor ice in a few decades. Chilly today, but it is the 1st of February. Anyway, I appreciate your offer of a refuge with re-education. Is that something like the down-on-the-farm-fun-experience that Mao offered to wayward intellectuals?

I sure have heard a lot of good music from Texas and Lousiana over the years at the Ottawa Bluesfest and used to enjoy 'Austin City Nights' back in the television era.

toil - talk about role reversal: they're predicting the next 4 nights below freezing in Houston...an almost unprecedented streak. AND a 40% chance of snow on Friday. I doubt there are few situations on earth as dangerous as Texicans on ice. I've seen it first and...and it really is scary. I suspect 90%+ of the folks here have ever driven on an icey road.

Georgians on ice are also quite scary. A a northern transplant in Georgia, I was rather fearful of even walking outside after a snow storm. People had no idea how to deal with the laws of physics on ice.

Do not turn quickly.
Do not slam on the brakes. LOL

As we know the physics of water and ice, Georgia ice and Texas ice are more slippery than Canadian ice ;-) But another issue is - how many drive on summer or high performance tires? In cold they behave just like hockey pucks and no matter how one is adapted to winter, they are still hockey pucks.

Modern ice tires give amazing amount of traction.

And when it's really cold, traction improves - you don't have that water layer. Snow becomes more like sand. Which has its own challenges!

I say this as we just had 6" of snow today, and after the lull we're having here, expect well over a foot more tomorrow (central NH).

Hey, it's winter. The woodshed is abundant...

Yes there was intentionally tisted logic thrown in there!! I still can't figure out if i'm at stage 2 or 4, but the American Public surely are coming into satge 2 ;-)

I thought the American Dream was to live in a nice house in the suburbs with a white picket fence, attractive spouse, 2.5 kids and a dog?

Boy am I out of the loop if it has changed that much!

That is the American dream.

We need a new American dream -- a sustainable American Dream.

Too bad we destroyed the native societies who were already living it when we arrived on the scene, eh?

They may rebound and again become predominant once their oil-addicted oppressors overshoot and die off.

"The owners of this country know the truth: It's called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it." George Carlin

They may rebound and again become predominant once their oil-addicted oppressors overshoot and die off.

They are already rebounding, and they are again becoming predominant in the high plains of the Western US.

The vast majority of Americans live in major urban areas very close to the boundaries of their country. They really have no idea what is going on in the underpopulated Western interior. What is happening is that the interior of the US is going back to the Indians and the buffalo. I've been there and seen it.

I'm speaking from the perspective of a Canadian who visits these areas from time to time. In Canada we never did destroy the native societies, we just signed treaties with them, gave them blankets and horses, and as a result there are more native people than ever before. The modern native culture involves driving a 400-ton truck in an oil sands or diamond mine rather then chasing buffalo on horseback, but they have to move with the times like everyone else. They have to go hunting and fishing and hold pow-wows on weekends so it doesn't interfere with their everyday jobs.

It's a somewhat idealized situation, only a certain fraction participates in "Canadian Dream" if there were such a thing. But there is the bad and the ugly, too.

The key, of course, is not necessarily who, but how. Much, perhaps all, truly sustainable planning looks pretty much like indigenous cultures when you pull back the tarp. These people (used to be us, many mil ago) know how to live within nature's bounty. The gift of scientific method is that we can parse the how of it all a bit and, in some cases, copy it. Bio-mimicry, permaculture, sustainable design, call it what you will, is what might allow us to design a future of an, ultimately, best of both worlds design.

We can re-grow forests - imperfectly, obviously, but so they are viable - and grow gardens that look like prairies or jungles, create forests that produce food, filter water without any pipes... these are all things we already know how to do. The trick is, can we do that and produce some of the stuff we like to think of as advanced or modern without throwing the rest out of kilter.

It's an open question, obviously.

This old "the natives live in harmony with mother nature" pipe dream doesen't hold against any scientific screening. It's a myth. When societies lived "in peace" (whatever that means - at least they are seldom vegans) the main reason for this is allways a lake of power to destroy the environment (which means indeed a lack of power). Whenever they gain that power, they use it. Must be in the DNA, mRNA, tRNA,... There is a obvious correlation beetween the spreading of these small-nose apes and the extingtion of big animals like the south american Ground sloth. Loke at the Mayas - overshot... It would be some miracle and insane if the natives, which see nature often as some kind of god would plan for sustainibility in the long run, because they have't a concept for this and don't know if they can chance the hole game.

Belive it or not, there is no stady-sate and no "harmony" in nature! Just and ongoing coming ánd going. For ever! Till in 200 million years, when the sun gets a little hod and where cooked any way!

Sorry, that's a convenient cop-out.

It's like saying that 'Men can't help themselves' when trying to lighten their responsibility for a rape. (In fact, it's exactly like that)

Without having to paint them as some kind of eutopias, there are clear ways in which non-technical people have figured out ways to live and feed themselves without the kind of decimation of every ecosystem in sight the way that we have now persisted in doing for generations. 'If brute force didn't work, we knew we needed more..'

There are plenty of Harmonies in nature.. that doesn't mean that there's supposed to be some kind of painless unchanging perfection out there.. I'll leave that for the Technocrats to Dream about on their Bleached White Pillows.

Jokuhl, you have said so many correct things lately it is so sad when you get things so terribly wrong.

It's like saying that 'Men can't help themselves' when trying to lighten their responsibility for a rape.

No, that's not what it is saying at all. It is saying that men will do everything possible to feed and protect themselves, their families and their tribe. If that means killing all the animals and fighting neighboring tribes for food and territory then so be it.

Without having to paint them as some kind of eutopias, there are clear ways in which non-technical people have figured out ways to live and feed themselves without the kind of decimation of every ecosystem in sight the way that we have now persisted in doing for generations.

Nope, they never figured that out. Humans have decimated every ecosystem they have occupied and the destruction is still going on. The forest are clear cut, species go into extinction, the topsoil washes away and rivers and lakes are polluted. And it continues today.

There are plenty of Harmonies in nature..

Well, name a few of them. Yes there are harmonies such as wolves and the moose population keeping their population in check. But it is kept in check by a certain percentage of the wolves starving and enough young moose being eaten by the wolves to keep their population down. But humans have no predators to keep their population in check. As a result they have devastated the planet.

I recently saw a documentary on Madagascar on TV. There are still some forest left but only about 10 percent. The hills looked a lot like those in Haiti, they were denuded down to the bare earth. It was heartbreaking. I had no idea Madagascar had undergone such devastation. It is no different from the rest of the earth.

Not only are human societies never alone, but regardless of how well they control their own population or act ecologically, they cannot control their neighbors’ behavior. Each society must confront the real possibility that its neighbors will not live in ecological balance but will grow its numbers and attempt to take the resources from nearby groups. Not only have societies always lived in a changing environment, but they always have neighbors. The best way to survive in such a milieu is not to live in ecological balance with slow growth, but to grow rapidly and be able to fend off competitors as well as take resources from others.
Steven LeBlanc, “Constant Battles: The Myth of the Peaceful, Noble Savage” page 73

Ron P.

.. and history (even LeBlancs..) is written by the victors. But that doesn't mean that the victims didn't have a story, nor that this story isn't still played out across the globe, and is still generally untold.

Diamond can point to the Civilizations that Collapsed.. and the evidence is abundant.. but what is the sound of a tree in the forest that Didn't fall? It's a question of what you're listening for.

'Harmony with Nature' is like 'Sustainability' .. there are things that are closer to the ideal and farther from it.. other things that are FAR closer and much farther away. We have choices in how to improve what we are doing.. be it wetland destruction, agriculture, population, toxic waste and per capita energy use.. we won't EVER get rid of all Rape.. or all Cancer.. but that doesn't mean we don't learn about our own natures and about Mother Nature in order to Improve what we can.

It may be stimulating to argue on and on to disabuse someone about 'never reaching the ideal'.. but it's just argument over imagined absolutes, like this new thread about another Dismaying Downside of 'Efficiency' Meanwhile, all Pri-de was talking about was looking for examples and models of where we can do things better than we have done lately.

Harmony? I'm under a Powerful Snowstorm today, and it's 17f outside and windy.. I can work with the energy in the weather, or I can take the industrial model and just push against it, spending down precious natural resources, and otherwise wearing myself out. (Split more cords of firewood, or use the wood to build thicker walls?) A few days back, it was quite cold, but also perfectly clear and sunny. Perfect Solar Heating conditions. I can use that wind that's chilling our Shingles to run Heating and Fans.. That's one Harmony, Ron.

People do bad things, and they do good things. There's often a choice, even if it's hampered behind predispositions of custom, instinct and habit.

And listen, I do actually appreciate your point that there are parts of our Nature as a species that we aren't able to control.. but you seem to extend that to an extent that often concludes that 'we can barely do anything' to affect our surroundings beyond the most very immediate.. but frankly, as a social animal, it's clear that people far, far away affect you.. (How about Hubbert, or WT?) and others and their actions and statements affect me. THIS Site, (and your contributions to it) have helped to grow my beliefs and actions.. Some Tunisian lighting his body on fire has affected millions now.. We can do a lot.. and with these tools, what we do and say reaches a lot of ears, hungry souls who are trying to figure out where to turn and what to do next. They'll still be humans.. still be rapacious primates, but they want to do what they can to help this situation and make not only their lives, but the Human and World situation work out better.. and so just because you say they can't, doesn't make it so. And they'll be out there trying..


Actually, Diamond pointed to several societies that did not collapse. That was the most interesting part of the book, IMO. What does it take for a society to be sustainable for thousands of years?

Leanan, there is a difference between surviving and being sustainable. Societies survive by expanding as their population expands, taking territory from other societies but mostly from other species. And they have destroyed their ecosystem in the process. There are European societies have survived for over a thousand years but they are definitely not sustainable, not in the long run anyway.

Ron P.

Europe was not what Diamond was talking about. The sustainable societies he studied did not expand. That was the key to their sustainability. They valued population control the way we value freedom.

Bob, I wasn't talking about harmony within your household I was obviously talking about the big picture.

Of course there are tiny victories here and there. But overall we are still increasing human numbers while decreasing the numbers of every other wild species on earth except rats, lice and other vermin that coexist with the human species. We are still destroying the ecosystem. Forrest are being clear cut and the remaining topsoil is still washing away. Rivers and lakes are drying up and water tables are dropping. And you talk about small victories?

We have choices in how to improve what we are doing.. be it wetland destruction, agriculture, population, toxic waste and per capita energy use..

Yet wetlands are still disappearing at an alarming rate in the vast majority of the world. It is tempting to look at small victories in the US while ignoring the rest of the world. Choices in agriculture? Indian farmers are committing suicide because they can no longer support themselves and their families. They had a choice and took it. The world's population is still increasing by over 80 million per year, toxic waste is still being dumped into the world's waterways.

But per capita energy use is declining because the population is increasing faster than fossil energy. I am a little shocked that you would list that under "choices we have". Some choice!

They'll still be humans.. still be rapacious primates, but they want to do what they can to help this situation and make not only their lives, but the Human and World situation work out better.. and so just because you say they can't, doesn't make it so. And they'll be out there trying..

Give me a break. They are trying to improve their own lot of course, but by doing that they are still destroying the world. That is the problem Bob, not the solution.

Ron P.

Well you had it all, right in your own post, Ron.

"Of course there are tiny victories here and there."

In fact, there are some of them Everywhere, but they all get discredited, because they don't qualify as 'Big Picture'. The little things that work in my house, or in other little and off the beaten path places.. these are repeatable and teachable. IF.. you're willing to find and accentuate the positives.. which you are clearly unwilling to do. Do you have to pound out that we have a gargantuan problem with ALL the topics I listed? Of course you don't.. it's hardly news, and suggesting that Pri-de or myself or the Hundreds of thousands in the world who are trying to do end-runs around these Mammoth Devastations are somehow blithely unaware of how unbalanced the odds are.. don't waste your breath.

"They'll be out there trying.."
"...but by doing that they are still destroying the world. THAT's the Problem, Bob"

WHO are you talking about? .. if you mean by that, that I'm heralding the people who are making the wrong choices you showed, and not those who are working together in townships to get local food and energy solutions, and sharing this info with other towns, or people who are creating Thousands of Solar Cookers for Rural people and helping to find ways to regrow their forests, people working on Population .. well, that's just YOUR choice to say so, Ron. But as ever, it's like this new string of articles that seem hell-bent on warning us that 'anything you do, Renewables, Gardening, Efficiency.. You'd better watch out, there are terrible unintended consequences lurking at every corner!' ..as if SNAFUs are news. They're not.. and in this case, it's verbal diarrhea keeping everybody in a state of paralyzed panic. Pathetic.

Hell I am not in a state of panic. I have known about this for years and have learned to just accept it.

Who am I talking about? Eveyone! As Eric Sevareid so aptly stated, "The chief cause of problems is solutions." Everything solution we come up with just creates even bigger problems.

But I am wasting my breath Bob, I just don't think you can see the big picture. You think thousands of people putting up solar panels actually helps. Sure it helps a little locally but it does nothing to solve the problem. The problem is the destruction of the earth's ecosystem by trying to feed and provide clothing and shelter for seven billion people. A few solar panels helps? Sure, go pee in the lake and see how much the water rises.

Ron P.

""People do bad things, and they do good things.""

No, sorry. There is no good or bad. There is only choice. The rest is only opinion.

Choose wisely.
The Martian.

There is only choice. The rest is only opinion.

This is only true with "good" and "less good".

So then, 'choose wisely'.. why?

It's fun to rise above the petty concerns of mortal life.. but really, "Good and Bad" are good enough terms to get the point.

Opinion, indeed.

Ron - All good points but I suspect you see little a misstep on one point: "But humans have no predators to keep their population in check." Perhaps not a great deal of direct predation but indirectly. Your comment brought to mind a big what-if: what if WWII had not caused to the loss of 100 million souls as some have estimated. I'm sure some math head out there could do the calc quickly: population gain from that 100 million after 3 generations bringing us up to today. Again I've never bought into the "great die-off" theme. But where would one make the distinction between a little and big dies-off. Just my very rough guess we could have as many as another half billion in the pool.

I had no idea Madagascar had undergone such devastation. It is no different from the rest of the earth.

Almost correct Ron. Of course in general I agree that the direction is clear and devastating but lately there are some places in the world (North Africa and Asia) where new forests are created.

But humans have no predators to keep their population in check

Not predators, perhaps, but parasites. One of the most chilling lines from the documentary What a Way to Go: Life at the End of Empire was by Richard Manning, author of Against the Grain, who said, in reference to the mass of humanity on the planet, 'We're a resource for somebody..."

"Lets cut straight to the chase her. The American dream is to get wealthy...."

That may be your pipe dream; never has been mine.

"....that they then spend on expensive luxuries get spread around nicely - think everyone from the toilet cleaner in the hotel in Vegas right through to top managers at walmart..."

Trickle down $$$$$$ ?! Most of the folks working at Walmart are stuggling to get in 30 hours/week and to pay the rent. Ever read the label on the products you buy? Most of those 'expensive luxuries', right down to the toilet cleaners aren't made by folks in the US. Even my laundry detergent is now made in China. That's spreading things around very nicly indeed. Jeez! Methinks you jest.

But Chung your words prove trickle down works: we buy Chinese products and they then loan us the money back so we can buy more from them. The difference is, of course, who is getting "trickled" on. Or as my 11 yo daughter says: tinkled on.

But it can't last forever.

Not only is oil finite, but there is also a limit to the amount of debt people and the country can take on.

Not only is oil finite, but there is also a limit to the amount of debt people and the country can take on.

Clearly oil is finite, but debt is just bits in a computer somewhere. The invention of floating point numbers, makes very very large numbers practical.

The computer made very large numbers practical but they did nothing to make very large debt practical. Simply because you can write it with floating point software does not mean that a country can practically enlarge its debt every year and have this practice continue forever into the future.

Because this debt is enlarged by just printing money it will sooner or later break down. It did not take long for the money to collapse in value in post WWI Germany. It is taking the US a little longer but sooner or later the result will be the same.

Ron P.

Not to be nit-picky, but a windmill is a drag based system, while a wind turbine has a foil. We long ago stopped building windmills for anything but decorative purposes. The lede in the offshore wind story is incorrect.

And it is I, Stranded Wind, with an ancient account that I've resurrected due to all the password/acount grief here.

Actually, a windmill is any wind energy harnesser where the energy is mechanically extracted (unless it is a wind pump or some other specialty form). Generally they were used as grain mills, saw mills, or textile mills.

Classic Dutch windmills used sails, which were state-of-the-art airfoils for the day.

Not to be pedantic, of course.

Most Dutch 'windmills' were in fact wind pumps. For pumping water out of the dikes which drained their below sea level fields. Of course, some were real windmills, for milling grain into flour. In the UK windmills were dominant, except east Anglia, where most were wind pumps.

Windmills were never dominant in England the majority of power supplied was by watermills, we had about 6,000 in 1086 it all in the doomsday book and about 20,000 at the beginning of the industrialisation, in fact the power of them contributed to the industrialisation. The industrialisation of Britain began well before fossil fuels. The village I was brought up in had three water mills according too the Doomsday book one valued at 9 shillings and sixpence.It still there in some form in the foundations after six or seventh rebuild because they usually never lasted more than 200 years before being rebuilt. most of the mills were never even used for milling corn. The old mill in my old village according to documents was used by the parliamentary army during the civil war in the 1640 for drilling out cannon and grinding powder. most of the cotton imported before 1810 from the U.S.A. was processed in water driven cotton mills. Much of British Steel before the 1800s. was also processed in water mills using the water wheel to drive forge bellows or drop hammers. It still lives on in out language we never refer, to a steel plant we always refer to it as a steel mill, or they used to refer to it where I lived. Coal and steam power had surprisingly little influence on industialiation until the early part of the 19th century. most steam power was used for pumping water out of mines and not as a motive fore until well into the 18th century 60% of all the worlds steam engines were in Cornwall and used only for drainage. We certainly had windmills but these were concentrated in the fen district of east Anglia were many Flemish and Dutch refugees settled during the 80 year war, it is still called Parts of Holland even now on the maps.

There is a massive watermill in my hometown of Belper, Derbyshire created by Arkwright -one of the founders of the Industrial Revolution here in the UK.

Samual Slater used to work for Arkwright, he memorised the 'workings of the mills' then went off to the US to help them start their own Industrial Revolution. Bit of a traitor in his day.

I understand there's a US town named after him: Slaterville?


Yes I know Nick, my family came from that area, my Grandfather came from Shotton and before that Idridgehay and Ashbourn. Still got lots of family living there. I also heard that they had gun slots built at the time of the Luddite unrest in 1810. Industrial relations were not so well developed in those days.

You're being nit-picky. There is no fundamental difference between how an airfoil generates lift and how a flat plate angled to the wind does it: a single theory explains both, and the rest is simply a matter of fine tuning and optimizing design. Thus, there's no reason to distinguish between "wind turbines" and "windmills", just as there's no reason to say that the Wright Brothers' invention wasn't an airplane because it didn't have teardrop airfoil wings.


Its like the spoon - spork - fork continuum, a single description covers it all and yet are there quite a large practical difference in stabbing and scooping efficiency between a spoon and a fork.

If things in the Suez canal zone get sketchy the world will want a solution, but who can deliver it? The Israelis have some naval assets at Eliat in the Red Sea, but that's a non-starter.

The United States might be urged to step in, most likely deploying one or more Expeditionary Strike Groups, with the nearest coming from the 5th Fleet HQ in Bahrain. This would adjust the dynamic in the Persian Gulf.

How long does it take NATO forces in the Med to roll up an equivalent force? I'm not up on French, Italian, and Turkish assets. Maybe a mixed Turkish/Saudi brigade sized force???

Anyone got a solid read on what would happen?

The Egyptian Military has a strong presence in the canal zone. I'm sure that keeping the canal operating (as well as the pipeline) is a top priority. Their Military is 7th in the world and the largest on the Continent (thanks mostly to US aid).

I've seen reports that Egyptian troops were fleeing into Gaza. If this is truly an Export Land Model style breakdown you think the government will circle the wagons around the Suez revenue source? OK, that's sensible, but will our Republican dominated House keep flipping the $2B annually required to maintain the Egyptian military? Or will more be needed? Will a new government be amenable to this? I'm already seeing end of days nonsense and people talking about 'bringing Democracy to Egypt'.

Hi Stranded,

The US does not send billions to Egypt so that they might maintain their military. The money is sent in order to maintain the peace between Israel and Egypt.

The Republican dominated House will happily continue to send the money to 'Egypt' until God's booming voice announces that the endtimes elevator is taking passengers for its one and only heaven-bound trip.

And indeed, the $2 billion we send them each year is a term of the Camp David Peace Accord - as long as Egypt remains a signatory, we are obligated to send the $$$ (and same to Israel).

Well this is interesting - Israel and US at loggerheads for once:

'Israel 'fears' post-Mubarak Egypt'


Was saying in the other thread, once the Egyptian people get wind of it, surely the nail in the coffin for Mubarak?

How is the US at loggerheads with Israel on that? The USA also fears a post-Mubarak Egypt. The US position has not exactly been pro-protesters. Just anti-violence and pro-"reform" but reform is a pretty generic soft term.

From the article:

an Israeli newspaper had reported that Israel has called on the United States and Europe to curb their criticism of President Hosni Mubarak

How is that not at loggerheads? Ok, well perhaps not loggerheads but they're definitely not singing from the same hymn sheet.

toil - I'm sure you're correct: the R dominated House will continue this "aid to the Egyptian people" just as the D controlled House has for the last two years. If matters really go to Hell in a hand basket it might be rather entertaining to see how the R's and D's try to point fingers. Entertaining except for the folks in Egypt, of course.

Letting Egypt sort itself out may be like an oil tax effectively.

The media will spin high oil prices as the result of the Egyptian crisis.

Then Rs will call for dropping the Federal Gasoline tax to offset the higher oil prices and call for drilingl on sensitive lands.

The Ds will try for diplomacy and stabilization in the region and call for more "green energy" programs to offset oil dependency on Middle East.

Not all of the above are necessarily bad. A combination of drilling, green energy in an Egyptian-energy-crisis-inspired energy package would be nice to see. LOL. Not with our boys/girls in the gov't though. LMAO. They'd rather throw pies at each other like circus clowns.

Wow! Any way you slice it. Politics in the US cannot stop this bad boy. This may be the event of the year.

Oct - Yep...it could be fun to watch the various *ssclowns in DC spin their way thru this potential nightmare if we can ignore the collateral damage. Long ago a gal I was dating asked me early on if I beleived in God. Still hoping to get into her rather religeous panties I gave her the safest answer I could muster: there may be a God but it's difficult to think of him as a kind God. I told there was more than enough proof to make that point: children in a war zone.

And obviously no...I didn't ever get any. LOL.

I am one of those *asclowns now, and I'm scratching my head over what to do about this. Yes, things have changed a great deal for me since I staggered in here, ignorant and deathly ill back in 2007. I wish Oilmanbob was around to see my progress. I really miss him some days ...

You guys and gals have made me rethink my College political items. Not sure if I am any saner for it, and Yes, the gods are cruel for making my head spin with political spin. Since all the while, a bad storm is brewing and some of the grown-ups are not speaking frankly to many of us that have shovels at the ready.

Americas are a "can-do" people I thought! Lets go for an "apolitical" approach.

I must still be stuck in college euphoria to have hope.

In 1956, Nasser nationalized the canal and that led to a war with Israel, Britain and France. Nasser closed the canal by sinking all 40 ships in the canal at the time. HERE's a photo. That sinking was done on orders of the Egyptian Government and could well be repeated under similar circumstances...

E. Swanson

Holding the Suez hostage is certainly a possibility, but I can't see it as being in anyone's interest (excepting total extremists).

That is correct. It was in Egypt's interest to close the canal back then but definitely would not be in their interest to close it today. It would not be in the current government's interest nor in the interest of those who wish to replace the current government. After all, if they do gain power they will need the revenue from the canal to try to bring stability to the nation.

Ron P.

I can't see it as being in anyone's interest

No one expects The Black Swan (or the Spanish Inquisition).

For some oil exporting countries, having greater than $100/bbl oil and lack of competition from competitors who ship through the Suez Canal could be "in their interest".

What if Venezuela (for example) offers Mubarak asylum for certain "services" rendered?

It may be in no one's long term interest to shut the canal or the pipeline, but the protesters are already calling for a general strike. If they can cut off, or even credibly threaten, the oil flow to other countries, they are in a much better position to demand that Mubarak leave. Eventually the CIA would give them his head on a plate just to get the tanker ships moving again. I'm thinking ElBardei as Paul Atreides, Mubarak as Duke Harkonnen, and Obama as Shaddam V. Yes, I am a huge nerd.

The spice must flow!

In Dune, Paul's suspicions are confirmed when Stilgar admits to Jessica that "We bribe the Guild with a monstrous payment in spice to keep our skies clear of satellites and such that none may spy what we do to the face of Arrakis."

The Fremen have a long-term plan to terraform Arrakis:

“ We change it ... slowly but with certainty ... to make it fit for human life. Our generation will not see it, nor our children nor our children's children nor the grandchildren of their children ... but it will come ... Open water and tall green plants and people walking freely without stillsuits.

The United States might be urged to step in, most likely deploying one or more Expeditionary Strike Groups, with the nearest coming from the 5th Fleet HQ in Bahrain. This would adjust the dynamic in the Persian Gulf.

It would be like stepping into a hornet's nest. The US needs to ask itself whether it really wants to be stung repeatedly in the ankles with no particular benefit to US citizens.

How long does it take NATO forces in the Med to roll up an equivalent force? I'm not up on French, Italian, and Turkish assets. Maybe a mixed Turkish/Saudi brigade sized force???

More or less everybody in the general area has invaded and conquered Egypt at one time or another. I think that given the opportunity to do it again, they would pass. Egypt has limited oil reserves, unlike several other countries in the area.

Anyone got a solid read on what would happen?

"Those who do not read history are doomed to repeat it" - George Santayana

I liked the Volt review from uptop, especially this:

What follows is a 24-minute disquisition on the evils of our dependence on fossil fuels and on the transcendent wonderfulness of the Volt. Woolsey plans on leasing a Volt for the next two years, then buying the 2013 model, which he has been told will have an engine that can run mostly on ethanol.

It is interesting to me that many ethanol disparagers see electricity as the alternative to oil for transport needs. Yet they acknowledge that the EROEI/Net Energy for electricity is less than for ethanol.

Their main criticism (low EROEI/Net Energy) which is so often heard about ethanol is strangely missing when it comes to electricity. Rather than pick on electricity, it is seen as the salvation from oil dependency.

That's one reason I so often rant about the lack of logic in energy analysis and maintain EROEI/Net Energy is a meaningless concept when it comes to comparing different forms of energy.

My turn, I guess..

Would you kindly share WHERE you've seen some kind of confession that 'Electricity' even HAS an EROEI, much less that it is allegedly admittedly less than ETOH??

Electricity has various inefficiencies, such as line loss and battery losses, etc.. but EROEI is concerned with 2 (TWO) things. Input and Output. There are simply too many ways to make and then to (maybe store, and then) spend electricity to think that you can have a specific EROEI number attached to this energy carrier as a whole.. **

As Ever, you need to put your figures into discernible units, and Show your work.


** and as those inputs go, a source of electricity whose ongoing inputs are just free sources of natural energy, wind and sun..then the EROEI of that electricity, after Building the tools, becomes solely a function of Maintenance and Lifespan. So Far, we've already met a few Solar Panels that seem unwilling to die.. so their EROEI will take some time to be calculated.. but they are already WAY ahead of Ethanol.

My turn, I guess..

Are the letters in EROEI referring to variables as in Kirchhoff’s and Ohms laws? or is it another case of...

...if (Electricity out)/(Electricity in) > 1 then you have another perpetual motion machine? >;^)

I think, of the EROEI of all the means of common ways of generating electricity, that the only way you could do worse than corn ethanol would be to burn corn ethanol to generate the electricity.

Thunderhorse data corrected

I recently posted a graph of Thunderhorse. There was a slight error in that data. That was because the BOEMRE, formerly known as the MMS, completely skipped August when posting their data. They did this for every contract in the GOM, not just this one. I did not notice this omission and just assumed that the September data was August and the October data was September's data. This led to a slight error when I divided the monthly data for September by 31 and the October monthly figures by 30 to get the daily rate. It should have been vise versa and caused an error in the "barrels per day" for those two months..

So here is the corrected graph. Thunderhorse production in barrels per day from January 2008 thru October 2010

Pardon the loud color but I am trying to find a color where the yellow shows up as well as the other two, but obviously I am not having much luck. To get data for August I just averaged the two months of July and September. Don't know how close it was but I just could not leave the month blank. As requested by WestTexas I will post it again when the November data can be added... unless they skip that month. ;-)

Ron P.

I have found that yellow stands out pretty well on a light grey background.

Thanks for your continued efforts with this.

It's sad to say that it looks like Thunder Horse is becoming more of a My Little Pony, and the glue factory is beckoning.

Ron - based on your plot I'll make and wild a easily shot down interpretation. But geologists are better at pattern recognition then most because we seldom have enough hard numbers to prove our interpretations. They were running around 15% water cut before the cut production to 100k to 150k bopd. The fact that they were able to produce nearly water free indicates that they shut in high water cut wells. Simple math says these wells were seeing about a 30% water cut (30k bwpd/100k bopd). That's a fairly significant w/c this early in the game. Two most likely possibilities. First, these wells may be on the periphery of the reservoir and are just seeing the normal encroachment of the water leg. Or they may represent "coning". Coning is essentially premature water break through. The water level hasn't moved up to the perforations in a well but producing a well to fast can cause the bottom water to come up much quicker than it would have otherwise. Basically a pressure sink which I'm sure you understand. This explanation would be the worse of the two from the standpoint of URR. Coning can leave a lot of oil behind compared to a more gradual withdrawal rate. Most know that DW production plans tend to optimize rate over URR.

So we can't really know how serious the water cut is unless they give us a lot more detail. I'll hold my breath along with you while we wait for it.

Rockman, the water shown in the graph is for the main field only, contract G14658. When I started tracking this was the only contract with any water. Doing the math this field has almost a 44 percent water cut. In May of 2010 contract number G09866 started producing water. Oil production on this contract has dropped from 1,754,540 barrels per month in March, 2010 to 941,069 barrels in October. Water production has gone from zero to 408,654 barrels per month in October. That is a 30 percent water cut.

What I gather from these two fields is once that the water hits then the water cut rises pretty fast and the oil production starts to drop. We cannot really know how fast the main field is dropping until they ramp back up to full production. I think that will be either October, the last month shown or November.

Ron P.

Ron - W/c went from zero to 30% in one month? Certainly possible but I would suspect some reporting error first...especially field wide and not just one well. The drop in oil rate is to be expected for two reasons. First, each well has a max lifting capability. IOW regardless of what the fluid mix is it can only flow X bbls of total fluid a day. So every bbl of water replaces one bbl of oil at max lift. Second, and more speculative, whether the water levels has reached the perfs or if the well is coning, maintaining a high production rate can greatly worsen the w/c. I've seen good wells go to 100% water within several months because an operator refused to choke the rate back. And once the water saturation near the well bore increases that much it's nearly impossible to fix the problem. Cutting the rate back will seldom change the situation. The key is to remember that the ability of any rock to flow a fluid (oil or water) is a function of that fluid's saturation. A reservoir with a 30% water saturation can flow oil water free because the RELATIVE permeability to water at 30% sat is zero. But artificially change the water sat to 70%+ around the perfs than only water will flow since the RELATIVE perm to oil at its low sat is nearly zero. Thus while the water sat in the reservoir several hundred feet from the well may be 30%, the reservoir immediately around the well has a high water sat and thus only water is produced. There are some treatments you can try to fix this situation but they seldom work.

There's a lot of science behind picking the max production rate without causing premature water production. But it's a very complex model and easy to get wrong. I'm working on a project right now that has left over 1 billion bbls of oil stranded in some Texas oil fields by just such a phenomenon. I can drill a well between 2 other wells just 1,200' apart producing 97%+ water and complete an oil well with 0% w/c. Of course, I have to design a completion that overcomes this problem. But I'm talking about drilling 5,000' holes on dry ground...not wells out in 5,000'+ water depth. One of my replacement wells would cost 1% or less of what BP would spend for a single do-over well at Thunderhorse. The internal battle within a company over max cash flow vs. max URR can be very fierce. I've watched it firsthand many times. And more often than not cash flow will win out.

Apparently the reservoir in the main field has very high vertical perm.

wt - That was my WAG as well. Guess the blowout price tag made it to irresistible to not pop those bigger chokes in. Big run checks the next several months...not so big in a few years.

Did they put any horizontals in any part of TH?

Ron - W/c went from zero to 30% in one month?

Sorry Rockman, I just was not clear. In that second sentence I should have said "Water production has gone from zero in April..." But nevertheless I did say the water production began in May. "In May of 2010 contract number G09866 started producing water. Oil production on this contract has dropped from 1,754,540 barrels per month in March, 2010 to 941,069 barrels in October. Water production has gone from zero to 408,654 barrels per month in October. That is a 30 percent water cut."

Here, copied and pasted from the official government's GOM web site. Oil and water is in barrels per month and gas is in MCF per month. Notice that August is missing:

                        Oil             Gas             Water
G09866	4	2010	1,630,101	1,551,432	0
G09866	5	2010	1,106,816	1,034,010	508
G09866	6	2010	1,426,880	1,328,014	230,404
G09866	7	2010	1,103,221	1,035,641	154,173
G09866	9	2010	935,124	          914,455	431,515
G09866	10	2010	941,069	          879,968	408,654

Hope that clears it up.

Ron P.

Is the water cut only for G14568?

Yes, see my above post. The main field has only one contract. The secondary field has four contracts and only one of these has any water... so far anyway.

Ron P.

Try yellow & red... or red & blue.

august 2010 production:

g14658 -1,169,504 oil = 37726 bopd
       - 887520 water = 28630 bwpd

*total - 5,606,343 oil = 180850 bopd
      - 1,235,747 water = 39862 bwpd

*includes g09866,g09867,g09868,g014658 and g19997

Elwood, I need your source. My source, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement does not have the August data.

G14658 1 2010 1,982,372 
G14658 2 2010 1,735,117 
G14658 3 2010 1,744,759  
G14658 4 2010 387,966  
G14658 5 2010 0 
G14658 6 2010 0 
G14658 7 2010 191,013 
G14658 9 2010 1,367,711  
G14658 10 2010 1,549,624 

As you can see the month of August is completely missing. I would love to have your source so I can get the correct data. Please post it.

Ron P.

i downloaded the master production list for all of 2010 (>6000 pages). i found bp exploration and production by searching within the pdf, then paged through to find mc776 and mc778, about page 23xx. i dont remember what search term i used to get this gem of a pdf.

here is an easier way:

G14658 1 2010 1,982,372 0 0 1,607,559 905,980 4 1,965

G14658 2 2010 1,735,117 0 0 1,387,916 796,049 4 1,965

G14658 3 2010 1,744,759 0 0 1,391,471 987,747 4 1,965

G14658 4 2010 387,966 0 0 313,509 321,245 4 1,965

G14658 5 2010 0 0 0 0 0 0 1,965

G14658 6 2010 0 0 0 0 0 0 1,965

G14658 7 2010 191,013 0 0 154,884 27,361 5 1,965

G14658 8 2010 1,169,504 0 0 923,231 887,520 5 1,965

G14658 9 2010 1,367,711 0 0 1,144,209 1,064,586 5 1,965

G14658 10 2010 1,549,624 0 0 1,201,448 1,262,165 5 1,965

G14658 11 2010 1,313,082 0 0 1,085,978 1,325,530 4 1,965

notice that november production is also posted, apparently mms has corrected the database.

elwood - So g14658 = 43% water cut and total = 18% water cut. Does anyone know if all water is being separated at on facility or are the processing at more than one location? The absolute amount of water being separated from oil may be more critical than the actual water cut. Oil/water separation takes not only a large facility but also a certain amount of time ("retention time"). regardless of how big a facility may be the time factor can only be offset to a degree. At some point (soon or not so soon) BP will exceed the capacity to separate the max production rate of combined oil and water. Something of a death spiral begins at that point: the wells have to have their production rates continually cut back to allow for proper separation. Again, many details we don't know: what oil sales line are they going into? Is there a limit on the water cut allowed to enter that line? Without all these blanks filled out it's difficult to tell how bad the increasing water production problem may be at this time.

glen morton puts total liquid capacity of thunderhorse at 390,000 bpd.


what bp is doing with the water is another mystery, i believe bp was planning a water disposal well, but decided against it.

i believe it was you that explained that operators can dump produced water overboard, if they can meet discharge standards.

elwood - dumping clean produced water overboard is much prefered (cheaper). But only a very tiny amount of oil is allowed in the water discharge. Getting to that low level can be very difficult if not impossible when you're moving a huge fluid volume. Maybe that's why there was talk of a SWD (salt water disposal well). Very expensive option even if they just convert a producer to SWD well. But if they have to cut back production significantly so they don't overtax their seperation facility that can represent a huge cash flow loss.

Interesting: "Thunder Horse was built with a total of 390,000 barrels a day of fluid capacity — 250,000 barrels of oil, and 140,000 barrels a day of water." Not exactly sure how to interpret those numbers. One view would be that they can't handle a water cut above 36% (140k bwpd/390k bfpd). Or it may mean the oil line can't move more than 250k bopd out of the field. Again it's my WAG but I think the oil/water seperation facilities they have inplace will not be able to handle much more water production. I think you have a sense of how much a square foot of such an offshore facility costs. I think it's a safe bet that BP used rather optimistic projections in order to keep facility costs down.

With the rate of change of some of these numbers I'll be surprised if we don't see the truth float to the surface (despite BP's efforts to hide it) in a year or two.

i believe the decision to dispose of water in an swd well is more of a function of how strong the water drive is.

the rapid increase in water production is problematical, but may not be catistrophic . i believe i read somewhere that thunderhorse has the largest offshore electrical generation facility ever. i think that would mean they plan to use esp's(electrical submersible pumps).

and as you know, water production can come at you from all sides. the solution may be to drill or sidetrack wells to a more favorable location. i don't think bp has any plan to operate this field at a gravity stable rate, so water production is probably here to stay.

in my experience, cycling large volumes of water doesn't materially affect ultimate recovery, only profit.

the water depth here is more like 6000'.

ok, found it here:


Chaos in a city of 12 million where the poor are already being priced out of the wheat market is not going to end well....

Meanwhile, many people are reported to be panic buying in Cairo amid the unrest.

"I walked into a supermarket and saw complete mayhem," an Al Jazeera correspondent said.

"People are stocking up on supplies as much as they can. There are very few rations available in the stores. They are running out of basic supplies, like eggs, cheese and meat. Deliveries have not been coming for days."


If the general strike takes hold tomorrow, how long before the supply lines dry up completely?

Priced out of the food market.

Best. Euphemism. Ever.

right up there with Demand Destruction.

Yeah, once the poor have been priced out of the food market for a long enough time it tends to lead to a rather significant longer term demand destruction for basic staples such as wheat... Ain't economics great, it splains everything!

A.K.A. -- the world is running out of food.

Blame weather/climate overpopulation or oil depletion or rainfall or farm land but that does not matter.

NET EFFECT: people are hungry and hungry people riot and destroy property and assets.

I wrote about the biologically available nitrogen constraint to population in The Dead Gods Of Atacama. It's an easy, illustrated read - good for helping your non-analytical friends 'get' what is coming.

A.K.A. -- the world is running out of food.

Actually, no. The problem isn't that "the world is running out of food", it's that we've been running a human population surplus for at least a century. Sustained only by industrialized, heavily FF-intensive, and completely non-sustainable farming methods.

This is not true!

The world is not running out of food. It may be someday, I know all about it, I've read all about it.

But remember - the world was running out of food in 2008 as well. Just like housing prices go up forever, just like oil was going to $200 a barrel.

Never assume anything.

It's chaos in the prices and trade of critical commodities which is causing unrest, not famine per say.

Poor people in a badly managed, manipulated third world country not being able to buy food is VERY DIFFERENT than running out of food.

Sorry but I'm just tired of the same old assumptions, coming up over and over again. Did 2008 teach you guys nothing?

Oilman, the world is running short of cheap food. People with enough money will always have food. The hungry people are those who have no money to buy food.

But food was once cheap. It is not cheap anymore. A scarcity of food, caused by bad weather and high fertilizer and oil prices causes the price of food to go up. Yes, draughts and floods definitely affect the price of food just as the cost to produce it does.

Yes, we are definitely running out of the food that very poor people can afford to buy.

Ron P.

"Yes, we are definitely running out of the food that very poor people can afford to buy."

Exactly. As someone said yesterday (and I'm still not sure if they were trying to be funny) you might say there are a large number of people being priced out of the food market :-) :-(

And let us not forget: The US, e.g., wastes about half it's food. Food, itself, is not the issue. We can obviously feed at least 300 million more people. With underutilized and poorly utilized spaces, and much space not being used that could be (food, not lawns, e.g.), we simply do not have a food problem. We have a financial problem with food.

There isn't even a nitrogen problem; there's a waste of nitrogen problem.

We have choices.

Sorry but I'm just tired of the same old assumptions, coming up over and over again. Did 2008 teach you guys nothing?

Yes. Low world food stocks.

In an "unforeseen and unprecedented" shift, the world food supply is dwindling rapidly and food prices are soaring to historic levels, the top food and agriculture official of the United Nations warned Monday.

19th December 07 - Elisabeth Rosenthal, International Herald Tribune

The changes created "a very serious risk that fewer people will be able to get food," particularly in the developing world, said Jacques Diouf, head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

I agree we are not seeing our last slice of bread tomorrow.

Sure people in the US are fat and happy and eat 2x of what an Egyptian gets to eat. The American diet also eats food intensive food--food like meat made from tons of water and grain resources.

But feeding the masses worldwide seems to be a problem these days as in 2008. No way around it. Lots of prime farmland went under or burned last summer, oil is high, corn and sugar are used as fuel, and more recently Australia was flooded.

Not knowing the exact stocks as they stand today. I would wager that we have less food this year than the year before.

So to me we are in a bit of a problem and food production is not keeping pace with population growth.

Call that whatever you want. But this problem is not solving itself it seems to me.

The military has to let the protests run their course until the populace is sick of the disruptions and more interested in restoring order than protesting. Probably about 2 weeks.

That's why they opened the jails and the thieves and murderers got out. Very soon the population will be embracing the military boot.

Brent just crossed $100.



Brent Oil Rises to $100 for First Time in Two Years on Demand

Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Brent crude, used to price two- thirds of the world’s oil supply, rose above $100 a barrel for the first time since 2008 on growing confidence in its usefulness for tracking the global recovery in fuel demand.

North Sea Brent surged to a record premium of more than $11 a barrel over U.S. crude futures on Jan. 27 as swelling U.S. inventories weakened oil futures in New York and sent investors toward the European benchmark. Prices also increased last week amid concern protests in Egypt would spread to major oil- producing parts of the Middle East.

Maybe Jeff Rubin wasn't so crazy after all:

I will tell you where I think oil prices are going. Even in this most anemic of economic recoveries, we are going to see triple digit oil prices ... our rendezvous with triple digit oil prices is not in 10 or 15 years; it is in 10 or 15 months.


"Triple digit oil prices" doesn't mean a whole lot. Psychologically, maybe. It's more the number itself, the rate of increase, and the state of the underlying economy/infrastructure.

$100 is closer to $99 than it is to $110. It's closer to $70 than it is to $140.

Our economy can now barely handle higher oil prices. Eventually, oil prices may crash in earnest, when travel and investment grinds to a halt. I'm agnostic on this, though, and not as confident as some deflationists out there calling for $20 oil.

Still, if stocks are in a bubble, oil and food can be, as well. Never assume that it's only fundamentals at work here. Remember the financial machinations coming from the top down.

Even when the production decline begins, nobody really knows if it's going to be slow and steady, or a sudden fall followed by a new plateau. Thereby, don't assume that oil prices necessarily have to rise. Political and financial instability should be the rule, which of course precludes the type of supply/demand analysis which drives investment and innovation. Net exports will kick in as well, putting the power in the hands of the ordinary people who reside in oil rich nations, who will demand and ultimately get their fair share.

So basically I'm not too concerned, either which way, what the price of oil is. It's unaffordable whether high or low. It'll be in tight supply, whether high or low. We face political and financial instability, whether high or low. We face breakdowns in global trade, whether high or low. Etc.

The "media" are also trying to lump in Egypt affairs with high oil prices as well. I heard it on BBC yesterday (12 midnight program of BBC radio).

Sadly people will think high oil prices are temporary and foreign affairs related.

Isn't it all about the "Above Ground Factors"?

People can't *see* the depleting reservoirs, but they can see people rioting in Cairo.

Yes, you are right, but the media forgot that oil was already high in the first place.

That is my point about spin. The prices are already up there before Egypt exploded.

Real reporting would consider high oil to be a cause and not just an effect.

Actually, the revolution is decreasing oil demand, at least in Egypt. Look at the all the streets devoid of the usual insane Egyptian traffic. Now the government is cutting off the trains as well to impede the flow of protestors. Unfortunately, those who have to work for a living are suffering the most as the economy is shutting down. My guess is that Mubarak is trying to wait this out till the point where the suffering from lack of food will exceed the desire for change. Whether that will work, I don't know.

At this point, what is more important as a causal factor? Freedom or bread/fuel? At the end of the day I've got to go with bread and fuel.

As to solving Egypt's problems by anyone. That ship has sailed as the demographics are horrendous with the average age being 25. Good luck to the next regime as they will be between a rock and a hard place.

I read somewhere that 7% of the GDP is devoted to subsidizing food and fuel. Even with this level, the price of food has become unbearable for the poor. Half of the population lives on less than $2 per day. If they try to redistribute wealth further, they will probably be punished by the capital markets.

If they try to redistribute wealth further, they will probably be punished by the capital markets.

It has already happened.

Earlier today, rating agency Moody's cut its rating on Egypt by one notch to Ba2, the second-highest "speculative" or "junk" rating. It warned that Egypt's public finances could suffer if authorities respond to the crisis by raising wages or increasing subsidies on food and fuel.


The capital markets are trying to keep joe average Egyptian from wasting Western resources. LOL. Those folks are still gonna eat no matter what. I wonder if the markets can stop the carnage in Egypt.

The "media" are also trying to lump in Egypt affairs with high oil prices as well.

For once I think they are right. Don't they call it a fear premium. In any case the likihood that the Tunisian whirlwind will affect one of the major producers goes up by the day. With every successful revolution I expect this baby to gain strength.

Yes, we could have a chicken and the egg debate on this one for sure. I see it as a potential tsunami as well. But high oil and commodity prices set the stage for this tsunami.

The feedback loop is going to be nasty if things get ugly.

On Saturday I put my name down for the waiting list of the Plug-in Prius. #4 in San Francisco. Delivery date of Feb 2012.

Being able to travel with just electricity for even a short while will, I believe, be valuable when the gas rationing starts.

Toyota claims 13 miles with no gas but that will likely be under 10 miles in real-world use.

Toyota claims 13 miles with no gas but that will likely be under 10 miles in real-world use.

I'm sure in crisis mode you could get more out if you crawled at a snail's pace?

I admire your commitment, and I hope it proves a good choice for you, but I still can't help thinking that 10 miles seems more like bicycle territory than an EV.

There again, SF has some mighty hills from what I'm told. I can almost feel the thigh burn from here.

I expect the future will be filled with fewer one-size-fits-all transport solutions, so best of luck on however you choose to get from A to B.

Ten miles doesn't seem like "travel". Seems more like a short commute by bicycle or someplace easily accessible by public transit in your area. Hope those ten miles don't cost too much extra. And when will we see gas rationing?

Would I like 50 or even 100 miles? Sure, but with today's technology that would be a huge, heavy and expensive battery. Barring some astonishing breakthrough, I don't expect battery technology to improve at the rate some people say it will. The laptop battery manufacturers have been at this a long time now and batteries seem to improve slowly.

In five years, if the battery technology is there I can put another pack in the trunk and extend the range like what these guys do:

But I wanted the manufacturer to do a lot of the work instead of buying a current Prius and converting it.

I also don't buy 1.0 products so the Volt was not an option. I'd give GM a few more years experience (at least) before considering their product. Toyota has been at this for a long time.

When will we see gas rationing? Hard to say, of course, but with these things as Nicole Foss points out you can't be even five minutes late. I remember in 2007/08 waiting lists had formed for the regular Prius. Looking ahead and acting before the need arises is critical for what we are facing.

We could cruise along at $5/gallon gasoline until 2015 — or the whole thing could fall apart at any moment.

When tshtf and gasoline is tightly rationed, most of us will be amazed at how fast many people learn to get by with very little.For instance, I will hazard a wild axx guess that about a quarter of all the renters I know will try really hard to move closer to their jobs within a year of gas hitting five bucks;and that another quarter already live very near to their workplaces, so a move would not save them much at all.

I have already heard an old guy talk about moving out of his little house located within walking distance of a local factory because he expects to collect a rent premium from somebody who works there and loses their driving privileges or can't afford to drive anymore..He hopes to buy a nicer house out in the boonies, cheap, and stay home except for a trip to town every couple of weeks for groceries.I just hope the factory doesn't close.

At least one guy who works there spends the night there in the back of his van in the employee parking lot once or twice a week, and just hangs around the high school ball games, or at the library, to save driving eighty miles on mountian roads.

If I were younger, i would try to get the local franchise for the first obvious market leader among manufacturers of electric bikes and nieghborhood electric vehicles.

I haven't seen anything to lead me to expect that it will play out this way, but I suspect that the Japanese companies with strong dealership networks already selling motorcycles and off road utility vehicles will own the market for a long time-everybody i know who has spent serious money on Chinese machinery regrets it- reliability is awful, and parts and service basically non existent so far.it will take quite a while for this to change.

When tshtf and gasoline is tightly rationed,

Honestly OFM, I just don't see that playing out in today's America. If any pol was foolish enough to actually try WWII-era (back when Americans actually cared about such things as "shared sacrifice" or "community") rationing scheme, they would be instantly demonized as Communists (or fascists) by the 24-hour corporatist attack machine know as the MSM.

We already have a perfectly efficient market-based rationing mechanism right now: it's called "price". We already have fuel rationing "coupons" in our wallets: they're called "greenbacks".

I've got some bad news for you. Price isn't going to be the only rationing mechanism, even in the US.

The problem is that 'important' usages of oil would get priced out before frivolous spend could be bought under control. Therefore although I'm sure price will be in the mix - there will be 'special users' and effective rationing by state and federal governments before very far into the decline.

The MSM will likely find out what un-american means when they get told to toe the line or find themselves behind bars as traitors. We're talking about the beginning of TEOTWAWKI - playing nice with morons won't be on the agenda. Any government at that time will have to play hardball, or get replaced with one that does.

My post was, of course, heavily tongue-in-cheek. Even so, I'm rapidly losing faith in the American people's collective ability to wake up, inform themselves, and start making rational demands of their corporate-owned government custodians. Excepting places like TOD, we're so far from even having an adult argument on so many issues, it's really dispiriting.

... having an adult [discussion or] argument on so many issues

An "adult" is often merely a child in an older slower body. --[ i.mage.+]

As for rational:
1. The first rule of Fight Club is that you don't pretend to be rational
2. The second rule of Fight Club is that you two don't pretend to be rational

I have to relax my basic cynicism regarding EV's and admire your decision-making here.

I think that 10 mile all-electric option is huge.
In a fuel-constrained environment where navigating long gas lines becomes a regular feature of American life again...
...and fueling your vehicle becomes a source of anxiety...(remember the phenomena of people getting in gas lines who already had a half tank just so they could 'top off'?)

being able to run your tank all the way dry and then getting home, recharging, and arranging a convenient time to go fuel up...i see that as a huge selling point.

Or to look at it another way..

What if you could make a chart with every trip you took from home, regardless of distance.. and then were able to knock the first 10-13 miles off of every one of them?

I would expect that once Andre' has been driving it a while, he will have a pretty good sense of which trips are 'pre-combustion', and which ones are 'burners', which would have every chance of either affecting his driving habits, or at least giving him a clear choice of when he wanted to dip into the liquid stuff.

Best Hopes for encouraging informed choices!

What if you could make a chart with every trip you took from home, regardless of distance.. and then were able to knock the first 10-13 miles off of every one of them?

Based on my experience with the 07 Prius, I doubt that it will be fully electric even with a full charge. You would have to be pretty light on the gas pedal, to avoid the ICE turning on for acceleration. And if you have one of those steep SF hills to climb, I doubt you have a choice.
Still I will feel jealous. I suspect the real experience will be more like, consumed 4 miles worth of gas to go the first 16 miles. Which will still hopefully halve the number of fillups you need.

+10 well done

Might be worth it to start talking with PV-friendly Engineers. If you can tow a kW or two of PV with a charger to supply the car while mobile, your range will get extended while it is sunny....

Will it burn E85?

I'm very happy with the Hymotion plug in kit in my 2005 Prius.

25+ miles in mostly electric.
In the spring/fall (no AC, no heating) will get 99+mpg until I drive more than 25-30 miles a day.


It would be nice if it was more tightly integrated, and didn't mess with the display.

And the stupid rules requiring an ICE start to meet Cal Air Board rules... don't get me started.

Am considering the new Prius, or a Volt, but leaning towards a Leaf - get a real electric with decent range, charge/offset it with PV and be clean/green/less dependent on oil.

Hi Andre,
Good idea! You won't get the full mileage promised, but you will get a usable vehicle. We use an electric Zap truck for our CSA and it's worked out so far...

Playing with the data.

As everyone has been informed the EIA will no longer publish updates of The International Petroleum Monthly. The data can still be had however from the EIA's International Energy Statistics. Then you just mouse over "Petroleum" then down to either "Annual" or "Monthly/Quarterly" you can get the same data previously found in the IPM. The data is presented horizontal, not vertical as it was in the IPM. You can still, however, copy and paste the data directly into Excel from Internet Explorer. It won't work from Firefox however.

You can get the data as annual, quarterly or monthly. Just for fun I loaded the quarterly data into Excel and made a graph of the quarterly data from the first quarter of 1994 thru the third quarter of 2010. The data hit the current plateau at point 44 or the last quarter of 2004 and has remained in that range ever since. The three dips you see in the data, bottoming out in the second quarter of 1999, the second quarter of 2002 and the second quarter of 2009 were all due to OPEC cut backs.

World Quarterly Crude + Condensate production, 1994 thru third quarter of 2010 in thousands of barrels per day.


Ron P.

Thanks for the link, Ron. Incidentally, you don't need to copy and paste the data in order to obtain an Excel spreadsheet - there's an Excel download link on right-hand side, underneath the 'Update' button.

This page gives a lot more detail than the earlier IPM, and breaks down production by product. Looking at 'Refinery Processing Gain', it's striking that the United States accounts for nearly half of the World's 'production'. Can anyone tell me why this is so?

Yes, thanks Ron, that EIA site makes it very convenient to get the crude component.

The chart above is the best guess model from 2007 using the combined Dispersive Discovery + Oil Shock Model for crude. Apart from a conversion from barrels/year to barrels/day, this is the same model as I used in a 2007 TOD post and documented in The Oil ConunDRUM treatise.

The recent data from EIA is shown as the green dots back to 1980.

I always find it interesting to take the 10,000 foot view. What may look like a plateau up close, may actually be part of the curve at a distance.

WHT, this oil production shock model doesn't seem to be such a shock, certainly if you compare it with the ASPO shock model. The real shock could be the oil-exports, as pointed out many times by westexas. And Darwininan mentioned several times the risk of hoarding by oil exporting countries.

Han, My ASPO-based shock model that I did in 2005 used a URR between 1800 and 1900 GB, according to what the ASPO discovery data said. This new Dispersive Discovery model has a URR of 2800 GB which extrapolates for future discoveries.
The shock is that no one has ever done a real mathematical analysis. My emphasis is that you don't plan for the future by winging it based on heuristics.

The shock is that no one has ever done a real mathematical analysis.

Something like it was done, because westexas mentioned already a few years ago that 30% increase in URR shifts the peak only 5 years.

Yes, that's what I said a few years ago if you check the TOD link. So the question is: what is a few years ago and where is the reference?

[edit] I found it. http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2418#comment-174691

However, note that when Hubbert did his model for the Lower 48, a one-third increase in his URR estimate only extended the peak date by 5 years, from 1966 to 1971.

That was definitely not a mathematical model, just some intuitional heuristics that Hubbert applied. This was what Laherrere has said about Hubbert, long after this prediction came out:

In 1974, he presented several production curves for both the World and the United States, but was somewhat reticent in explaining the mathematical basis of his work. He referred to a bell-shaped curve, of which the most commonly used are the Normal or Gauss curve, and also to the derivative of the logistic curve (Bartlett 1999), but he gave no equations.

Look, everyone admires Hubbert's work, but don't you think it is about time that the oil depletion theory had a proper mathematical foundation behind it, not something that came out of a few sketches?

I figure that if we have something better than Hubbert Linearization, which barely works due to fat-tail effects, and then apply that to analyses like ELM, we would be far better off in our future oil policy discussions.

I also understand that many people on TOD could care less about formality and thus respond to the ramblings of the sort that the m-man spouts, but it is also good to have some credibility against the cornucopians that claim we are anti-intellectual Luddites, who refuse to do any comprehensive analysis.

Next time Mike Lynch or Daniel Yergin point out the weeknesses in the peak oil math, send then this way. It is one of the main reasons that I compiled the book. I have a whole chapter devoted to how to argue with people like Lynch.

It is one of the main reasons that I compiled the book. I have a whole chapter devoted to how to argue with people like Lynch.

Very appreciated. However, people like Lynch are neither convinced with common sense nor with mathematics. And when they are, they keep on shouting what 'the world' wants to hear. Something like: "it's difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."

Not true, these guys usually wilt when confronted with authority.

For how long ? And Lynch considers himself also an authority if one takes a look at the articles he wrote. If you are right, we soon wlll hear something different from him (them).

Actually no one has refuted him because they can't. Lynch attacks heuristics and he has a point, because you can't theoretically defend heuristics.

Darwinian said:

You can still, however, copy and paste the data directly into Excel from Internet Explorer. It won't work from Firefox however.

It can be done from Firefox; your problem, I think, arises because Firefox by default only copies text ("text" includes numbers), not HTML. There are add-ons to do that, but they're not necessary:

1) Select content
2) Right-click, and from the menu that pops up, select "View Selection Source"
3) You now get a pop-up window with the HTML source (this is a heavy operation that makes my oldish computer hang for a few seconds). In that window, Edit --> Select All (or press Ctrl-A), then Copy.
4) In Excel, select Edit --> Paste Special --> Unicode text.

This does it for me in Excel 2003.

Can't seem to get it to work with OpenOffice though... but it's way past my bedtime now, so later

Nice chart, This is why Egypt is happening,

Since 2004 then's been no more oil and 500,000,000 more people.


25 arrested at California conservative meeting

Twenty-five people were arrested for trespassing Sunday as hundreds protested outside a strategy session of conservative political donors at a resort near Palm Springs...

Sunday was the second day of the four-day, invitation-only conclave of about 200 wealthy conservative political activists. It was organized by brothers David and Charles Koch, whose Wichita, Kan.-based Koch Industries is one of the nation's largest privately held companies...

The protest, which had nearly 1,000 people at its peak, lasted about two hours...

Maybe the Tea Party onslaught is beginning to get the attention of the progressives. I think that buying an election with one's megabucks has always been considered rather undemocratic (with a small "D"). Hey, if the Egyptians can do it, why not Americans? In politics, it always helps to have a perceived "enemy"...

E. Swanson

How else do the rich get richer? LOL. Private meetings arranged to figure out how to convince Joe Average to be against himself financially.

I'm not sure if I should be outraged that apparently there were deputies there with truncheons at the ready, or relieved that it wasn't Blackwater/Xe...

Yeah, the US govt surely has enough corruption to get people out in the streets protesting. I suppose if food becomes more pricey and scarce, it may happen.

I had a ticket to this one, but I'm stuck in D.C. being a cog in the Progressive machine. I have a female friend who made it ... and I've not had a text from her in quite a while. I'll have to check to see if I need to bail her out :-)

The Tea Party/GOP romance has indeed gone cold. Some of the TPers want revolution, others are prowling around inside the beltway trying to figure out how to get people to treat them like grownups ... strange days, strange days indeed.

How Egypt spells oil spike

Egypt may not cause an oil shock this week. But trends that have been playing out there for decades show why another bruising bout with sky-high prices may be unavoidable.

Pretty good article but I thought the chart below was even more interesting. It shows just how another former oil exporter has become an importer, or is about to become an importer anyway. And mind you, this is FORTUNE quoting our own Jeffery Brown, WestTexas.

"Something changed in early 2006," said Brown.

He estimates the global pool of available net oil exports could shrink to 27 million barrels a day in 2015 from 41 million barrels in 2005, thanks to slowing production and a surge in demand from India and China.

Ron P.

Good article.
Thanks for that link, Ron.

Too bad about the one comment at the end of the article. It seems people are likely to be only dragged kicking and screaming into reality on this issue......perhaps not even then.

Thanks but I see I screwed up the link. Here it is and this one will work. I always try to check my links in "preview" before posting but somehow I failed to do it this time.

How Egypt spells oil spike

But was this the comment you are talking about?

"Our forecast is that the U.S. is well on the way to becoming 'free' of its dependence on foreign oil," Brown says. "Just not in the way that many people anticipated."

Basically Jeff is saying that we will be free from dependence on foreign oil because there will be no foreign oil to import. I agree.

Ron P.

Wow, that was quick. I only talked to him this morning. Conditions weren't the best in the world, btw. I was babysitting my somewhat under the weather two year old grandson, with my daughter's two Yorkies barking in the next room, but I think that the reporter had been reading up on the topic for a while.


Dean, Mikael and I referenced your work in the paper we've written "Global Oil Systems Risks in the Early 21st Century." We submit it this week.

Let's hope our reviewers have been reading up on the topic, too, or they will think we're part of the lunatic fringe. Still, it's for a special issue on risk and it's well referenced so our fingers are crossed.

Ron, I believe Jabberwock was referring to the comments in response to the article. Can't say which one was on top when he read it, but as always with these things, there are plenty of candidates for the ignorance award, like these two for example:

Total BS and any excuse to raise the price of oil. Let's screw everyone over and raise the price of oil! Wait there may be a hurricane in august, let's raise the price of oil!!! The economy will NEVER recover unless oil comes down to reasonable levels!!!!!!!!
Posted By smithfield, RI: January 31, 2011 4:26 pm

Foolish nonsense. Peak oil is a myth. We'll never run out. It may go to $1,000/barrel, but we'll never run out. Moreover, how many countries have untapped reserves? How many countries lack the resources to pull it out of the ground? Hell, when is Iraq going to start pumping again? It's crap like this that perpetuates the fear.
Posted By Josh - Chicago, IL.: January 31, 2011 4:11 pm

Nice job, Jeffrey. Keep it up!

Speaking of the delusional thinking. . . The Donald offered his two cents worth on the oil situation, in a Newsmax interview linked on Drudge:

Trump: Mideast Explosion Could Destroy OPEC, Lower Oil Prices

“We have to do something about OPEC because that’s the life blood of the country. Right now, until we get on natural gas and other things, they really have us, and they’re sitting around inflating the price. . . They’re draining our life blood. We cannot allow that to continue. What kind of power do we have over OPEC? They wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for us.”

Asked where he thinks the price of oil is headed, Trump responds: “I think it could go, with proper leadership, down to $40 a barrel. I think if we continue the way it is, it’s going to go up to $150 a barrel.”

He's your next president you know.

Sshyt floats.

Nah, he's gonna be Momma Grizzly's vice president and the future will be great on Mars...

He intends to stand on the Republican ticket against Sarah Palin if she runs. I can't see him wanting to be a VP to Palin.

In a Catch-22 sense--given our current problems--shouldn't wanting to be president disqualify one from serving? As Tom Brokaw put it about the 2008 election, "The winner should have demanded an immediate recount."

Once again, a well balanced and brilliantly presented analysis of the problem from one of the heavyweights from the Peak Oil side of the fence is written off by the minnows from the shallow end of the gene pool.

If we gave knighthoods to the colonies, then I'd certainly be nominating WT for one.

So oil is over $100 dollars already, so early in the year, at least for Europe.
It has been over $100 for South East Asia for quite some time. WTI is the laggard in this area.

But that doesn't seem to matter now.

The Arab world is foundering and from Bangladesh to Pakistan there is no food to feed all, inflation is going out of control, and Cairo is quickly running out of food and water.
Due to populist demands the regime needs to upkeep the rations of food and oil, which they cannot really afford. And add to this that they will become a net importer of oil this year, if they are not starting to be one already.

Is this it?

Are we now, again, at the precipice? Without a booming economy behind us to cushion the fall as it did for many states in 2008? Food prices will only increase due to the catastrophic harvests. It's still so early and oil and food is going out of control. How large can this be kept up without another crash? And where will the bailout cash come from now?

Might we, after so many, many years, in the West finally see our own streets tremor with roars of blood?

All this and it's still January as I write this. This is going to be a very, very long year indeed. Wars and revolutions will erupt and the blood will flow. And so, of course, must oil. At any cost.

Well, I think the question is going to come around to 'how poor is poor?'. How much fat is left in other countries to help restore order, or better, to help avoid a contagion of chaos? .. and then, how much of THAT relief effort is simply extending credit once more, and sending in the minimum with the bill.

There is the sense, or at least the common refrain that 'There is no money, sorry we can't help you' or 'We need that grain for our own people' .. and these are always understandable statements, but are also always HIGHLY subjective.

The question of "how poor is poor" might also be looked on as 'Just how inflated WERE your reserve numbers?'

There's a great Toshiro Mifune line in 'The Seven Samurai' about farmers always pleading about how poor they are, as they sit over their hidden Stockpiles and Daughters.. (and one can imagine that, in other company.. In-laws?.. the same farmers are boasting about how rich they are.. but which is true at any given moment?) How thin is the ice really today? I guess we'll see.

""The question of "how poor is poor" might also be looked on as 'Just how inflated WERE your reserve numbers?""

Poor, is pretty poor. When one gets out of the US mindset.


Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day.

The Martian.

The really sad part is, if we had ~6 billion fewer people, we could all afford to live sustainably like middle-class Americans without significantly denting the environment. Ackowledging this (much less doing anything about it), of course, would require unprecedented political courage from our leaders and the ability to stand up to religious nuts, conspiracy-mongers, cornucopians and right-wing reactionaries. Which is to say, it won't happen.

It would take more than that Harm. It would take the iron fist of a world dictator, or enough such dictators to enforce a one child policy on every family in the world. It would not just be the right wingers, even liberals would revolt if they were told they could have only one child.

And it would take one more very important thing, time, lots and lots of time. At least 200 years to get from the current almost 7 billion down to 1 billion. Because of population momentum the population would still increase for the next 40 to 50 years. Then it would take at least another one hundred and fifty years to get down to one billion. After 50 years there would still be at least 7 billion people left. Over half the world's population is under 25. It will be a long time before they die.

Bottom line there is just no way population control will have any effect before the world collapses from resource depletion and other causes.

Ron P.

Bottom line there is just no way population control will have any effect before the world collapses from resource depletion and other causes.

"The world" will not collapse. Maybe (i think so too) our modern indutrial society because of various reasons (resource depeltion, dysgenetics, complexity, FIAT, ...) - but not "the world". She has seen much harder times and she will see much much much harder times in 200 million years when shes really cooked up like Venus :-)

Your post was not funny Dare.


Could be the strongest cyclone ever to land in Oz.

149-mph cyclone could wallop Australia

Forecasters say Cyclone Yasi could reach 149 miles per hour, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Many are concerned that Yasi could mean setbacks for the coal-mining sector of the region, which was socked by recent massive flooding, the paper reports.


East coast battens down for intense Cyclone Yasi

A particular concern for the Queensland government is Abbot Point coal terminal, near Bowen, which is on the market for $1.5 billion as part of the state's privatisation program. Any damage to the port could undermine this process.

The only coal port open is Gladstone, in central Queensland, where seven ships are due to be loaded. About 50 bulk coal carriers anchored off the Dalrymple Bay terminal near Mackay put to sea to ride out the cyclone.

Yasi is crossing where SSTs were at a record-high in December which is the last month with data. I feel some kinship with the folks in the crosshairs since I have a history-making winter storm bearing down on me.

Yasi Animation

I installed some 8 W LEDs in my Bathroom for sh!tes and giggles. My Bathroom is fully lit on like 24 W of electric power and since that switch gets flipped repeatedly I figured why not. They are these spherical bulbs (weird shape), which were not lasting well as CFL. Burned two out over the last 3 years. So I swapped them out. I likely wasted money on the upfront costs but they are a fun experiment to see how well LEDs perform in a terrible environment. Foggy, high humidity, intermittent bathroom use. LOL.

I said what the heck, and bought a 3.5watt Candelabra LED ($15 at Lowes), to replace a burned out CFL. Doesn't match the CFLs (which are a hodgepodge of unmatched CFLs as well). At least it looks a bit more like an incandescent. Hopefully by the time I need another, the price will have fallen a lot further.

My old, very hot burning and wasteful energy hog, halogen desk lamp bit the dust not long ago, so I rewired it with an LED cabinet light socket and put in this 3 watt LED that I had sitting around. It now has a new lease on life.


Nice one! Did you convert the power to DC or was it just a quicky rewiring job?

Hey and you tolerate that linksys router too. I have one of those. It is killing me. I have to reboot the power on that thing all the time.

BTW. EoS, all the lighting in my house is a hodge-podge. My wife is kind of mad at me because those LEDs at only 24 W are so bright. When I turn on the bathroom light, an alien spacecraft beam of light comes from the bathroom into the bedroom. LOL.

And they are cool. I though CFL was cool to the touch, but LED is so cool it freaks you out.

But the start-up time is amazing. Instant light - flip of a switch. The lights are sturdy and seem well-made. We shall see what happens.

Nice one! Did you convert the power to DC or was it just a quicky rewiring job?

No that's an out of the box 120 volt LED so I just bypassed the transformer in the base and wired it directly to the switch. I left the transformer in the base as a counter weight. And yes the light is quite cool to the touch.

About the Linksys, I've had it for what seems like forever I've never had a problem with it. It's been through Florida lightning and a couple hurricanes... so far so good. Though I'm sure I probably just jinxed it >;^)

Yair...of topic but speaking of hurricanes. Tonight North Queensland is confonting the biggest tropical storm in our history.

It's a monster a thousand kilometers across, cat.5 with winds @290 kays near centre with up to 7 meters of storm surge in places.

It's north of us but we have friends in the impact zone and our thoughts are with them tonight.

My mate has put up site for the NQ community and he has a fantastic NASA shot of the storm a couple of days ago here... http://www.cycloneyasi.com.au/#

I just read this:

"Yasi is also threatening around a third of Queensland’s sugar cane crop. Australia is the third largest sugar exporter in the world and Queensland grows more than 90 percent of the country’s sugar cane. The state’s banana crop, another major earner, is also expected to be severely impacted. This latest hit comes as Queenslanders clean up from floods that have caused some $5.6 billion in damage."


Food is taking a hit this year North and South Hemisphere.

If its a proper old Linksys router, then Tomato solves most problems.


I am running two 2.5w 80 lumen LED lights, also as a fun experiment.

One is on my nightstand, next to my bed. So far no issues, but is not being aggressively turned off and on. Mostly leaving it on.

The newest is now my rear door house porch light. Is turned off and on, manually, every evening and morning. And is exposed to the temperature swings of being outside.

So far, the 80 lumens is 'just fine' to use as a porch light.

Once I start to see _these_ ( http://www.treehugger.com/files/2011/01/ge-energy-smart-9-watt-led-light... ) for sale where I shop, will probably put one in my high use bathroom, to see how it holds up.

If it holds up, then the last part of my house that is CFL-unfriendly will be greener.

More Egyptian operations abandoned, per the Wall Street Journal:

Foreign oil firms were evacuating staff out of Egypt, including Russia's OAO Lukoil and OAO Novatek were bringing staff home Monday. BP, which produces 150,000 barrels of oil equivalent in Egypt—a sizable chunk of its 3.8 million barrels a day of global output—said it had started to evacuate the dependents of its expatriate employees, and BG Group PLC said it had brought home all nonessential, non-Egyptian staff.


Cyber raids 'threaten British, US stock markets'

Stock exchanges in Britain and the United States have enlisted the help of the security services after finding out they were the victims of cyber attacks, The Times newspaper reported on Monday.

The London Stock Exchange (LSE) is investigating a terrorist cyber-attack on its headquarters last year while US officials have traced an attack on one of its exchanges to Russia, according to the British newspaper.

Officials suspect the attacks were designed to spread panic among markets and destabilise western financial institutions

The science of bike-sharing

The new environmentally-friendly concept of municipal "bike-sharing" is taking over European cities like Paris, and American cities like New York are also looking into the idea. ... While the idea is gaining speed and subscribers at the 400 locations around the world where it has been implemented, there have been growing pains — partly because the projects have been so successful. About seven percent of the time, users aren't able to return a bike because the station at their journey's destination is full. And sometimes stations experience bike shortages, causing frustration with the system.

Dr. Raviv, Prof. Tzur and their students have created a mathematical model to predict which bike stations should be refilled or emptied — and when that needs to happen.

The researchers are the first to tackle bike-sharing system management using mathematical models and are currently developing a practical algorithmic solution. "Our research involves devising methods and algorithms to solve the routing and scheduling problems of the trucks that move fleets, as well as other operational and design challenges within this system," says Dr. Raviv.

We have a system like this in Minneapolis, to be expanded to St. Paul next year, called "Nice Ride."


It has been wildly popular for one-off uses--over 100,000 the first year. But year-long memberships were not as numerous as hoped, staying in the low thousands.

I think I know what you are talking about. I remember seeing stands full of these slug bikes with low gears. Never have seen any advertising though. I am quite OK with my own road bike.

Thought I'd check the demand data at Joint Oil Data Initiative to see how Brazil is doing, after reading the posted story here about their record production. Up 231.71 kb/d average YOY Jan-Oct, not too surprising.

What leapt off the page for me was China - the September number has been revised - to >10 mb/d, to 10273.77 kb/d. November is 10439.8 kb/d - and up 2682.61 kb/d YOY. That's a gain greater than Germany's total consumption for November. Average for Jan-Nov is "only" 1455.91 kb/d; which is "only" equal to Spain's total consumption for Nov.

Dems some staggering figures. China going over 10 mb/d seems as big a milestone in the Round Number Sweepstakes as Brent at $100/bbl or DJIA at 12k. This was in the OMR last week and these guys picked up the story at least: China - 10.2 million barrels of oil per day and counting | Oye! Times Must have missed that one.

Chevron is selling off some of their coal assets, asserting that CTL is still 10-15 years from being competitive in the liquid fuels market. Given that they are the oil major least diversified away from oil it's a pretty surprising descision, it would be prudent for them to keep their options open; but you have to respect their degree of visibility on the situation.

I know there's a fair number of folks here expecting CTL to take some of the weight off oil in the near future, Chevron's actions indicate that it may not be realistic to expect that, depending on your perspective this is either a good data point or a bad one.

The decision came after the company determined that new coal technologies were developing too slowly to make staying in the industry a good strategy, Chevron Mining Inc. spokeswoman Margaret Lejuste said.

One of the technologies is known as coal-to-liquids, in which coal is processed into diesel, gasoline or other fuels.

"Those technologies are so far into the future, 10 to 15 years in the future, they made the strategic decision to focus on other operations other than mining," she said of the company.

i believe chevron sees gtl as a more immediate and profitable option than ctl.

texaco started experimenting with ctl in the mid '70's near lake de smet, wyoming. that is a low btu sub-bituminous coal, but the resources are vast.

more recently, operators have been extracting methane from those same coal resources. texaco/chevron has long since vacated that area.

i believe chevron made the correct decision to not persue ctl.

an australian company is proposing a ctl project a little north of the texaco research project. this is called the many stars project on the crow indian reservation. if the project goes forward, it may be a source for much needed co2 for eor in the powder river basin.


the ctl part of the project looks less promising than previously presented. it looks like this may turn into a run of the mill open pit coal mining project.

The Many Stars Project was announced in August 2008 as primarily a CTL (Coal-To-Liquids) project. However, project planners have recently augmented the focus of the Project to include much earlier development of coal mining operations. The recent surge in coal prices in the Asian markets coupled with advancements in beneficiation (coal upgrading) technologies now provide a faster path to first cash flow with significantly lower capital exposure.

elwood - A little side coal story. Just found out there will be new shiny coal burning power plant constructed on a lease I'm currently drilling on the Texas coast. No idea of the plant size but makes me wonder if I could help them get rid of some of that nasty CO2 by injecting it down one of my depleted wells. For a fee of course.

This is just a little reaffirmation of my expectation that coal will become an ever bigger portion of our energy generation in decades to come.

The perfect business you get paid to take care of something necessary to increase oil recovery and also earn more money on the produced oil.

It is like some consultant companies that charge per hour for a specified work they could work slower and earn more money. The consultant companies may get into some credibility problems but you could also market it as green a company. A good start might be to buy some color and paint your equipment green I am sure it will trick some.

Australia evacuated northeast coastal cities on Tuesday as a cyclone rivaling the strength of Hurricane Katrina bore down on tourism, sugar and coal mining areas and threatened areas already devastated by floods far inland.

Cyclone Yasi is expected to generate winds of up to 280 kph when it hits the Queensland state coast early on Thursday (9 a.m. Wednesday ET) matching the strength of Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in 2005.

With a strong monsoon feeding Yasi's 650 km-wide front, the storm was also expected to maintain its intensity long after crossing the coast and could sweep inland as far as the outback mining city of Mt Isa.

"This storm is huge and life threatening," Queensland Premier Anna Bligh told reporters, warning the storm was intensifying and picking up speed on its path from the Coral Sea, and destructive gales would begin from Wednesday morning. ...

Australia evacuates coastal cities in path of cyclone Yasi – Expected to be category 4 storm by landfall

Article from USA_Today about growing Intercity bus travel in the U.S.


I think some TODers will enjoy this twenty minute documentary film from 1958.


This is a short documentary about winter railroading in the Canadian Rockies and the men who keep the lines clear. The stretch between Revelstoke and Field, British Columbia, is a snow-choked threat to communications. The film shows the work of section hands, maintenance men, train crews and telegraph operators.

It's quite interesting from an historical perspective. In the years since, the Canadian Pacific Railway has built the 15 km (9 mile) Mount Macdonald Tunnel underneath the historic 8 km (5 mile) Connaught Tunnel, which was the longest railroad tunnel in the world when it was built in 1916. The second tunnel was built to handle the increasing freight loads and reduce grades for the heavily loaded trains headed for the Port of Vancouver.

The Canadian Pacific Railway has lost over 100 employees to avalanches in this area over the years, which is the main reason for building the tunnels. The second reason is to avoid losing freight trains because the avalanches are big enough to wipe out a train.

Revelstoke is less isolated now because of the popularity of its ski resort, which has insane amounts of snow and more vertical drop than any other resort in North America, more than a vertical mile. I haven't personally skied it (although my wife has) but I have walked down the slopes after a week of hiking through the Selkirk Range, and let me tell you, it's a lot of vertical.

The CPR doesn't run passenger trains through the pass any more, but independent company, the Rocky Mountaineer does. Bring large amounts of money because prices start at about $2200.

Re: LED Lights Beat Wind Power in Picks for HSBC, Merrill

I received a call earlier today from a large commercial property developer who wants to convert the lighting in a six story parking garage to LEDs. Currently, there are some nine hundred 150-watt high pressure sodium fixtures, a hundred or so 175-watt metal halides and an indeterminate number of 70 and 100-watt HPS fixtures. They were surprisingly candid and told me that they're not too overly concerned about cost savings or what incentives and rebates may be available, or even the total capital outlay -- basically, they said they would like to be seen as good corporate citizens and environmentally conscious[*]. The other motivating factor is their desire to enhance personal comfort and safety. The existing HPS lighting paints everything in shades of orange and grey and makes for a rather dreary looking environment; witness the picture I took earlier this evening:

LED lighting is closer to daylight in appearance; consequently, visual acuity is greatly enhanced at low light levels (20 to 30 lux) and colours and faces are more easily discernible. It should make the parkade a little more cheerful and hopefully a measure more comfortable, especially for women who may be working late at night.

As I was leaving, I noticed that they had already installed two LED fixtures at one of the exits (this part of the garage is currently undergoing renovations and hence the temporary boarding):

The fixtures are slim and attractive. I have no idea of the wattage, but they produce a generous amount of light and their forward and side throw is quite good.

My partners and I haven't had enough time to get our heads around this, but we're considering a recently announced 70-watt LED fixture as a possible replacement for their 150-watt HPS and 175-watt metal halides (190 and 205-watts with ballast). These fixtures operate 24/7, so the savings per fixture would be 1,051 and 1,183 kWh/year respectively. As a rough guess, our total energy savings if this retrofit should ultimately go ahead could exceed 1.5 GWh a year and this in turn would reduce the client's CO2 emissions by roughly 1,250 tonnes per annum.


[*] This parking garage is shared by three Class A office towers and a shopping mall; the buildings are approximately 40 years in age and the architectural style, typical of its day, is brutalist. Initially, I was somewhat sceptical when told not to get overly hung up on the financials and having thought this over, I now suspect the primary driver could very well be tenant retention -- in effect, holding your ground against the competition.

Check out some of the newer Induction Lighting. Good CRI and > lums/watt than LED's and perhaps more suited for low ceilings. LED's can be blinding at certain angles if the spacing is too wide, a challenge with wide spacing of LED streetlights.

Thanks, Longtimber, for the link to this site. I've just opened it up now. Glare is a nagging concern and I'm particularly worried about this in the area of the up ramps. Fixture spacing is all over the map and some ceilings are really low -- a little over two metres. This is all new territory for me and I'm feeling a bit apprehensive (my partners on the other hand are positively giddy).


just a thought. For people to feel secure, light between the cars and between cars and walls is essential. That is where the bad guys hide. Most car parks light from the centre of roadways leaving lots of dark shadowy places where people are trying to get into their cars. I could have helped nab one car thief if I had been able to see him in the shadows between two cars that also hid the broken window and pool of glass, only saw him when he ran out behind me. If I had been a lady going to her car, that he was breaking into, it could have been a lot worse. If people feel safer then that is a plus for client retention. Just thinking out loud.


I agree, NAOM; I suspect the building owners realize something has to be done to improve the lighting in this structure, and tenant perceptions with respect personal comfort and safety are no doubt high on the list.

It's going to be difficult to get uniform spread with these low ceilings and even now there are lots of dark spots with the current lighting. The client is absolutely convinced that LED is the way to go but, frankly, I'm not so sure it's the right choice.


maybe 12v wiring is simpler to do -> code, conduits?

Hi CC,

The current wiring is 120-volt and I think that's what we'll have to work with. Given the load and length of runs, I was shocked it wasn't 347-v. We're fortunate it is 120-v because there isn't a lot of 347-v product out there from which to choose.


Voltage drop will kill you, Reason 277V is used a lot.We have developed a 24 V version of a 120 watt LED Billboard light,
Energy savings is almost 70% compared to HID. and the max run is 40 feet using number #10 wire PER FIXTURE!
The AC version takes any voltage and you can run the wire thousands of meters. So it's a simplicity vs flexibility issue.

In Australia they use 120VDC for Solar. Looks like 144V is becoming common choice for Hobby EV's. But here in North America, it's typically 48 Volts max battery voltage, but I'm working on some 144VDC designs for OFFGRID lighting. Utility Customer service charges are increasing post smart meter roll out that changes the economics for solar lighting.

That's something I'm wondering about as well, LT. I'm assuming it's all #10, but we'll know more once we've had an opportunity to do a proper assessment. With respect to commercial lighting, it's pretty much 120 or 347-v north of the 49th.


You guys are lucky to work with the higher voltages, less IsquaredR losses, saves on copper, I forgot about the 575 / 347 Voltages you have. In Europe 1000Vdc for PV is common, we are stuck at
way below 600Vdc.

Not an expert here, but light spreaders might be just the ticket regardless of the underlying light source.

Make the light sources bigger and you reduce shadows, which will improve safety and make the space feel more inviting in general.

Sorry about not having a link, but 3M has a material like a combination fiberoptic/fresnel lens that is used in a lot of LED fixtures (probably including a lot that you've deployed yourself).

Hi r4ndom,

Thanks for mentioning this. I don't have any experience in this area myself, which is why I want to proceed cautiously. As you may know, any modifications to a fixture that haven't been UL/CSA approved opens up a can of worms. We might also void the manufacturer's warranty which is something we'd like to avoid as well. I'd like to have the full support of the fixture manufacturer if things start sliding sideways on us. One of the manufactures under consideration is RUDD (http://www.ruud.ca/); excellent quality and their product support is phenomenal.

Perhaps our best option at this point is to add additional fixtures where required. We'll likely build in a larger contingency factor for this reason.


I remembered the right keywords to get you a link finally:

Ideally you would be able to acquire fixtures already built with these or able to take advantage of them without modification.

It sounds like a challenging project in any event, good luck with it :)

Thanks, kindly, for this link and well wishes; much appreciated. This looks to be a terrific product and I hope we might have an opportunity to put it to good use. From a maintenance point of view, it's a great way to go and if you can combine it with a daylight collector, even better. In this case, the client wants everyone who enters the parkade to recognize that these are LED light sources -- it appears that they've welded themselves to this technology because they'd like to capitalize on the positive "PR" (at least that's my impression).


Might be something good for running on the wall side of the parked cars to reduce shadows. ISTR something similar being used in a Japanese supercomputer centre so that the light source could be outside the computer room to reduce the risk of electrical interference while the pipe distributed the light. Sorry, too long ago to remember a reference. How about a sign at the pedestrian entrance: 'This car park is illuminated with LED lighting by ..[your_co]..', oh, the sign lit by LEDs of course ;)


I agree. If you can "wall wash" the interior partitions it will make a huge difference in overall appearance and the bounce can help eliminate the shadows and dark spots at the rear of the stalls.

My partners have effectively told me to keep my mouth shut and any concerns to myself and I'm going to be a good little boy and do as they say. I have enough on my plate as it is, besides which, if the client is adamant they must have LED, then we'll abide by their wishes and they, in turn, can deal with the consequences.



I assume 12 volt LED fixtures are not something you would find to be practical where you are but in case anyone else does, this picture has some 18 watt LED fixtures that are really bright.


Here's a close up of the fixture and my wiring to test them before installation.




BTW we have 5 of those 18 watt fixtures plus another 30 high intensity 2 watt LEDs running off a 200 Watt solar panel and that yellow thing you see in the box is our own packaging of a 12 volt lithium Ion battery pack.


You've done some fantastic work, Fred. That night shot looks really impressive.

What you're doing would be of enormous benefit to remote communities in Africa, Asia, etc. Assuming I possess the means to do so and remain in good health, I'd like to do something along these lines when I retire.


Thanks Paul,

You've done some pretty impressive work yourself.

What you're doing would be of enormous benefit to remote communities in Africa, Asia, etc. Assuming I possess the means to do so and remain in good health, I'd like to do something along these lines when I retire.

Well, I was born in Brazil and sooner or later I might go back there and see if I can make myself useful in some of the poorer more remote rural areas, there's plenty of need there as well. I'm specifically looking at the North East of Brazil, either Ceara or Rio Grande do Norte. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rio_Grande_do_Norte

BTW to be clear, Solar Builders Inc. is not my company, it belongs to a friend of mine and I have helped him with a few of his projects, he took the night time picture.


Thanks Fred. I hope you'll have that opportunity to head back and lend a hand; the things you can do can make a world of difference in these peoples' lives.

BTW, our guys wrapped up another LED retrofit earlier today and I swung by this evening to take some pictures, one of which you can view at:


The lighting savings in this case are a little under 24,000 kWh/year. However, if you take into consideration the corresponding reduction in heat load, the actual savings are much higher. At the same time, a remarkable improvement in light quality -- a nice, clean, crisp white light; saturated colours; good uniformity across the full width of the shelves; and a jewel like sparkle on some of the packaging.

Parking garages, maybe; freezer cases, a hands down winner.


The electricity meters article caught my attention, particularly because one former job of mine was SQA engineer at Itron, Inc. (ITRI) in their BEMRS department (Base Electricity Meter Reader System) - basically hand validating the hand-held protocol drivers and translation software. My job was to basically ensure that the readers were correctly accessing all relevant data from the meters and to ensure that the translator was correctly altering the data read into a format compatible with Itron's utility software.

Consequently, I became intimate with a number of meters of different makes (Schlumberger, Landis-Gyr, GE, etc.) - learning each meter's internal register structure and quirks and let me tell you, outside of the basic residential meter, the more complicated ones that could measure power factors, etc., were often shiftier than one might think mostly because they must shift values from one place to another when they roll over for one reason or another - probably relying on floating point libraries of dubious origin.

In all, it was an extraordinarily difficult job for the programmer/designer of the translation software - something I appreciated - as it was often also my job to ensure that Itron's meter reader software was accurate in spite of the manufacturer's software's contrary output! I recall one particular business-use meter that was regularly screwing up when it shifted registers from one category to another and to top it off, the manufacturer's meter reader software had bugs that were compounding the errors!

Myself, I am presently designing and deploying embedded security/fire firmware for the US DoD - and believe me when I say that it's not common that a firmware programmer is often a recent-hire who really doesn't have a full grasp of the hardware to which they're assigned. Turns out, the embedded industry has a high turnover rate largely because the grass is always greener on the other side and the embedded programmer is often the least appreciated person in the company. The same goes for meter manufacturers, I'm sure.

When the electric company selects people for new meters, do they start in neighborhoods that have anomalously large differences between the power draw at the substation and the amount of electricity that is officially purchased?
Given variance between real and theoretical performance, clusters of meters might have lower readings than the average.
The companies might want to start with clusters of meters that have anomalously high summed readings than in the substation. Newer electric meters that read lower than the older ones would be more welcome to the public, if less profitable to the company.

I can't say, however I'd hazard that it's sales driven. Itron says it can install EMRs on all the meters and provide radio links, drive-by collectors, etc., and save x dollars if you spend y dollars, etc. If the numbers don't cause any smiles, they can get rid of idled people until the grins come back.

Re: 'Barefoot' grandmothers electrify rural communities

The sense of incredulity in the clip, and the general tone of the article, are misleading. The bottom line is that after a six-month training course, women from rural villages are able to install PV panels, simple (apparently DC) appliances, and the necessary wiring. None of the materials are being built in rural communities, only installed there. I think the story would have been much more surprising if it had said that it had been impossible to train people of moderate intelligence to install that type of devices.

Perhaps more relevant is that the experience repeats some of what the microcredit organizations have discovered: in poor rural areas of the world, investing in women seems to be more successful in achieving direct local impact than investing in the men.

I very much agree.. and still I hate to admit how effectively that line worked as a hook. But now that you've pointed it out, I would have avoided using such sensational titling myself.

One might counter that 'it works..' .. but I think it works both ways, too. Familiar Compromise.. written by a guy, right?

Southwest headed for permanent drought

The American Southwest has seen naturally induced dry spells throughout the past, but now human-induced global warming could push the region into a permanent drought in the coming decades, according to Lamont-Doherty scientist Richard Seager and others who have been studying the area’s climate.

...That is ominous news for a region that has seen explosive growth in population, land use and water demands in recent decades. A reduction in the flow of important water resources such as the Colorado River will have serious consequences.

“I’m curious how the Southwest is going to handle this,” Seager says.

“I’m curious how the Southwest is going to handle this,” Seager says.

Well, I suppose those living in the Southwest that watch Fox News will need to tune in to find out why the hoax of the century didn't turn out to be a hoax afterall. What kind of twisted logic will that station use to somehow gloss over their earlier position?

Not a problem. The network just pre-empted AGW to run cartoons.

Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) is introducing his Climate Change Pre-emption bill, an initiative that would prevent the EPA and other such agencies from unilaterally regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions without explicit Congressional Authorization.

Ancient Mars/Earth Collision Cause of Global Warming Per Exposé Published by Outskirts Press


Ancient Mars/Earth Collision Cause of Global Warming Per Exposé Published by Outskirts Press

Dr. Elsar (Amos) Orkan, a medical doctor, was trained at Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem as a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation. He holds a senior position in the Israeli Association for the Global Warming Fight and lives in Bar Giora Village, Israel.

The guy that wrote this book is obviously suffering from pre-Keplerian delusional syndrome. Quick, call the guys in white coats! Woops, he is one...

E. Swanson

Dr. Elsar (Amos) Orkan, a medical doctor, was trained at Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem as a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation.

It never ceases to amaze me that people accept what these kooks have to say on climate change just because they have expertise and respectability in a completely unrelated field. How would people feel if a climate scientist decided to freely dispense medical advice?!

Do people go around to climate scientists and say, "Oh Mr. Climate scientist, I'm having severe chest pains"... The Climate Scientist then replies "Oh don't worry we can't really be sure you have a serious medical condition until you actually keel over and BTW the last thing you want to do is take the advice of someone who has an MD degree and thirty years experience treating the very symptoms you seem to be experiencing. You know they're only in it for the money.

Sheesh! Some of these pompous self aggrandized over inflated balloon heads really need a good whack upside the head and a major deflation of their egos...

"Ancient Mars/Earth Collision..."

Sigh/LOL. There's just nothing new under the sun, is there? That blurb seems to describe a re-spun version of the once well-known Worlds in Collision by one Immanuel Velikovsky, which would put it in line with a very long tradition - as per the link:

Velikovsky… is the last in a line of traditional catastrophists going back to mediaeval times and probably earlier.


"The researchers found that as many as eight droughts similar in severity to the most recent one have occurred since 1500, said study leader Connie Woodhouse of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center."

And the lady has published more.


"In a study published today in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, a team from Arizona and Colorado found that the Southwest suffered a six-decade megadrought from 1118 to 1179.

For 62 years mountain snows—one of the area's main sources of water—were frequently diminished, reducing the river's flow during the heart of the drought by an average of 15 percent."

"But previous work has suggested that all three sources were significantly reduced twice in the past thousand years: once from 1012 to 1075 and again from 1130 to 1192."

In other words, here we go again. And this time we built big to huge cities at the drought's epicenter.

I guarantee within the next decade we will see vicious water wars over the water in the Colorado River. A real crisis is shaping up over the lack of water in Lake Mead, which has dropped to record low levels, and if the water level continues to fall, the pipe feeding Las Vegas will be uncovered. Las Vegas has started an emergency program to drill a new drain into the bottom of Lake Mead, but they keep running into engineering issues, and the original $500 Million cost estimate is looking more like $1 Billion. The temporary fix is to drain more of Lake Powell into Lake Mead, but Powell is only at 60% itself, and the politics around releasing more water from Powell are enormous. There is no question that the Federal Government is going to have to step in at some point.

The really interesting thing about all of this is the total lack of understanding among people where I live (Front Range of Colorado) that every time they flush their toilet it is depriving Las Vegas and Los Angeles of water. Currently Colorado doesn't use its entire allocation of water under the Colorado River Compact, and the extra that flows down the Colorado is eagerly taken by the Lower Basin states (AZ, NV, CA). There are several projects in the works to use more of the Colorado River water in Colorado and also in Utah, and when those projects come online, the Lower Basin will be forced to live more within their allotted shares of water, which will be very, very difficult. Since the population of the Lower Basin is about three times the population of the Upper Basin, it is pretty much a given that at some point there will be an emergency declared, and there will be water restrictions across the southwest, including all the way to Denver, where bluegrass lawns are still the landscaping of choice. There are going to be a lot of angry people over here when their carefully tended lawns burn up in order for the Las Vegas casinos to keep running their fountains and golf courses.

There is a temporary reprieve in that the snowpack in the Colorado Basin looks very good this year, and also, an agreement was struck to store water that belongs to Mexico in Lake Mead while Mexico repairs canals damaged in a recent hurricane. Two years from now when Mexico wants their water back, if there have been poor snowfalls and Las Vegas hasn't installed their bathtub drain yet, it is entirely possible that Lake Powell could be nearly emptied to keep Las Vegas in water.

This is going to get *very* interesting.

"Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over."

Halliburton Used Diesel in Fracturing, Lawmakers Say

Halliburton Co. and Baker Hughes Inc.’s BJ Services are among 12 oil and gas companies using diesel fuel in hydraulic fracturing, potentially violating the law, three U.S. House Democrats said.

The providers injected 32.2 million gallons of unauthorized diesel fuel, or fluids containing the fuel, to extract gas from wells in 19 states from 2005 to 2009, Representatives Henry Waxman, Edward Markey and Diana DeGette wrote today in a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson. BJ Services led with 11.5 million gallons followed by Halliburton at 7.2 million, they said.

Why can't we just let companies self-regulate?

They wouldn't be 'breaking laws', if we didn't have any.

i have news for waxman,markey and degette: diesel has been used in fracturing for decades.

in a modern application, i believe diesel is used to 'swell' the swell packers(for zone isolation).

there was a time when it was thought that portland cement mixed with diesel could shut off unwanted water production. that was called a visqueeze. the theory was that the mixture of diesel and portland cement would set up rapidly upon contact with salt water. i dont recall that visqueeze was particularly successful.

Halliburton Used Diesel in Fracturing, Lawmakers Say

This is just a technical issue, but I perceive that they were injecting petroleum hydrocarbons into a formation that contains petroleum hydrocarbons. They might have thought, "What's the difference?"

Now from the perspective of the Lawmakers, it might be: Diesel Fuel (evil) versus Natural Gas and Associated NGLs (not as evil), but from my perspective as someone with a degree in chemistry I might ask, "What's the difference, other than molecular weight?"

Respect your view, but from a toxicologists perspective - there is a difference in toxicity (teratogenic potential) between aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons. Different LD50's. Different target organs. Molecular weight isn't everything.

Halliburton Co. and Baker Hughes Inc.’s BJ Services are among 12 oil and gas companies using diesel fuel in hydraulic fracturing, potentially violating the law,

Halliburton?! I'm shocked I say, I'm just shocked!

Round up the usual suspects.

Captain Renault - Casablaca 1942

Place a glass of drinking water laced with diesel there for the Halliburton Execs to drink. If they drink it then everything is fine. If they do not, well then there seems to be a problem with the technology as implemented by those Executives.

If this were law, then industry would be more responsible. LOL

Did anyone see the article "Lonely Analyst Warns of 2015 Bank Crisis Amid Upbeat Davos" in Bloomberg?

The economy just might stop at that point, and be too weak to stimulate further. I guess a lot of things we take for granted now will become rarities. But on the other hand maybe some positive things will result as well. Pretty much a mixed bag. Maybe not as difficult as people think. Obesity will become a thing of the past and so will cars.....?

Here's a link to the article in your post pi.


'Lonely Analyst Warns of 2015 Bank Crisis Amid `Upbeat' Davos'

Biggest protests by far in Cairo today: http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/

They claim a million people are there in the centre square. I don't know about that but it's absolutely packed - not often you see that many humans in one place!

JORDAN too! Now, the king of Jordan has dissolved his gov't too. They are blamed for high costs of fuel and food! Interesting that these people are unaware of the real reasons behind the rising costs. Wonder if OPEC will do something to raise production and lower costs to stop the rioting?

Incredible! Perhaps Syria to follow?

Will Saudi Arabia weather the storm?

In the early going, I empathized with the U.S. caution on backing the revolution However, it is time for the U.S. to get on board. The people's perception is that we are holding things up. JTF Join the future.

I agree - but it's going to be very interesting seeing as Israel are outspokenly backing Mubarak's regime...

Mubarak will NOT seek re-election in September.
Who ever inherits the mess may regret it.

One of every nine homes in the US is empty:

Nearly 11 Percent of US Houses Empty

So think about it. Eleven percent of the houses in America are empty. This as builders start to get more bullish, and renting apartments becomes ever more popular. Vacancies in the apartment sector have been falling steadily and dramatically, why? Because we're still recovering emotionally from the toll of the housing crash.

Younger Americans have seen what home ownership has done to their friends and families, and many want no part of it. Credit has become very nearly elitist. Home prices, whatever your particular data provider preference might be, are still falling.

Pretty soon you will be able to buy a huge mansion for $100K.
Someone could buy a huge house and rent out the rooms and make a lot of money.

How do property taxes in the US work? What are they based on?
Presumably taxes can easily be increased. Are there regulations for houses sub-divided e.g. fire doors and alarms?

tony - Complex answer. Property taxes tend to be local and a such vary a good bit. I beleive California passed a law sometime ago limiting increases in personal property taxes. In Texas several authorities tax property including school districts. Texas has no state income tax but make up for it big time with property taxes. Beyond that there are wide swings between private and commercial property taxes.

Whether houses can be subdivided and turned into multiple dwelling unit buildings, or whether unrelated persons can live in a single house, are things that are controlled by local zoning laws -- usually at the municipal or county government level.

Thanks guys.

11% is high but less alarming than it sounds. All those ski chalets, condos in vacation spots, second homes that are not the legal residence of someone, rental dwellings between rentals, units unfit for occupancy, etc, amount to a lot of units that are "empty" but not on the market.

My recollection is that a few years ago there would have been 14 million or more homes vacant, instead of the 18.4 million currently.

The following blogger disputed the 11% number, but it appears that it is correct. Check out the following comment by PT Love, emphasis added:


PT Love Says:
February 1st, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Looks like the math is correct after all. Check out Table 3 in the Census press release BR links to above. Under “Fourth Quarter 2010″, it shows 14,100,000 units vacant year-round out of 130,845,000 total units, or 10.8%. Quoting from the same report:

“Vacant year-round units comprised 10.8 percent of total housing units, while 3.3 percent were for seasonal use. Approximately 3.0 percent of the total units were for rent, 1.6 percent were for sale only, and 0.6 percent were rented or sold but not yet occupied. Vacant units that were held off market comprised 5.5 percent of the total housing stock. Of these units, 1.8 percent were for occasional use, 1.0 percent were temporarily occupied by persons with usual residence elsewhere (URE), and 2.8 percent were vacant for a variety of other reasons.”

If you check out the end of the report, you’ll see that the “homeowner vacancy rate” formula only includes units currently listed as for sale in the numerator. So vacant units not listed for sale aren’t included in the reported 2.7% vacancy rate. Looks like Ms. Olick is correct after all (though there’s no context provided for what a typical % of empty homes might be).

U.S. Census Bureau News - U.S. Department of Commerce • Monday, January 31, 2011 at 10:00 A.M. EDT

Table 1 gives the rental vacancy rate as 9.4% and the homeowner vacancy rate as 2.7%.
Table 3 shows 130,845 thousand for all units, of which 18,394 are vacant. It also breaks down the 14,100 thousand year round vacant into the various subcategories.

From table 1, it doesn't look very alarming. The vacancy rates are a little lower than in the 2004-2006 time frame, possibly because there is less new supply on the market.

FOR ALL: With all the big news floating around this little tid bit might be lost. BP has announced they are putting their Texas City refinery up for sale. It's the thrid largest U.S. refinery. Presumably one more liquidation to cover the spill costs. But I also wonder if they aren't using the potential short fall of feed stock as we slide deeper into PO as a bit of motivation. Between more regulatory issues (which BP never handled well in the first place) and increased competition over seas maybe they just see this as a good excuse to alter the companies business plan.

Don't really know what is happening with BP. Though they kept their dividend up their production is falling pretty fast.

BP Delivers on Dividend, but Scales Back Production Outlook for 2011

However, BP has several longer-term challenges and uncertainties. Our concerns about its execution on growth plans are evidenced by lower-than-expected oil and gas production. Fourth-quarter production declined 9% from year-ago levels to 3.67 million barrels of oil equivalent per day versus our estimate of a 6% decline. BP expects a further production decline to 3.4 mmboe/d in 2011, warranting a review of our model assumptions. Not surprisingly, BP cited lower Gulf of Mexico production as one of the reasons behind the production decline,..

Nine percent in one year is a bunch.

Ron P.

BP`s sale of its Texas City refinery is a rather drastic move, since it is the company`s largest oil refinery in North America.

Selling its Carson refinery near Los Angeles is rather drastic, too. They`re completely abandoning the Southern California, Arizona, and Nevada markets. I kind of think they may have lost faith in the North American market, and may be consolidating their operations to only the areas that they think will make money in future.

It`s also significant that their remaining large refineries (the Whiting, Indiana and Cherry Point, Washington refineries, and half of the Toledo, Ohio refinery) have pipeline access to Canadian oil. It may be that without access to cheap Canadian heavy oil, the economics of refining don`t work in the US any more.

The economics of refining oil in the US haven`t really worked for a long time, but now it may be that the losses are too large to bear, even for a large company like BP.

Bloomberg Radio, Talking about Peak Oil this morning. Charlie Maxwell talking to the Boys. 8:25 am tue

Left the Boys speechless.

The Martian.

Is there a link for this? Don't find it on Bloomberg's site and would like to listen.

This might be it.

Why Is Peak Oil Important?

You have to register, but it's free.

Jordan's king sacks Cabinet amid street protests

King Abdullah's move comes after thousands of Jordanians took to the streets — inspired by the regime ouster in Tunisia and the turmoil in Egypt — and called for the resignation of Prime Minister Samir Rifai who is blamed for a rise in fuel and food prices and slowed political reforms.

Just some random comments based on TOD and the news of the day... sort of a free thought thing.

1. Is this what TBOTE looks like?
2. When do the young graduates here start to riot?
3. We're gonna see some hungry people here pretty soon...
4. 1 in 11 homes empty? Is that a recovery, or what?
5. One relative has been approached by a lawfirm trying to drum up business suing lenders. They try to convince him he might end up free and clear. When will my 'brothers' ever learn?
6. "Where have all the flowers gone?" has taken on new meaning.
7. The Donald is an idiot, but then we already knew that. How do these guys do it?
8. When does the MSN start asking, "what happened to global warming?" as they conflate weather with climate?
9. What was that post on Hope about, anyway?
10. TOD is getting better all the time. Discussions more extended, still civil (unlike so much of what we encounter), and both interesting and informative. Thanks, guys!


The icing on the cake of Israel's day would be protests spreading to Syria next. I don't know about The Oil Drum, but I bet "Rapture Ready" is getting a big bump in traffic.

Rumour has it that Syrian protests are due to start on Saturday.

I think there's a lot of nervous leaders in the Middle East at the moment. Nervous leaders in the ME make the rest of the world twitchy too.

I think if it hasn't all gone horribly wrong by the summer, then we might have just sidestepped this current incarnation of the problem. Even if that's the case, I'm sure that it will appear somewhere else soon enough.

What happens in Syria will be telling, IMO. Syria, unlike Egypt and other countries where there are protests, is a police state that has not been open to reforms. If it spreads there, Saudi Arabia is not immune.

If there is no uprising there, I can't help but wonder if the lesson taken won't be "Don't give people any freedom, it only leads to trouble."

It would appear that Syria has already announced that they are to introduce political reforms. It seems to be a case of trying to head the protests off at the pass. Qatar have had a go at buying their population off and I would expect to hear of a similar gesture from Saudi very soon to try and placate their masses.

How well these measures work will all depend on how many hungry or desperate people there are in each country. If there isn't enough for an uprising, then it won't spread.

The better lesson to take would be to keep the people fed. It's far harder to raise the enthusiasm for a fight on a full stomach. If you can't feed the people, it's a good idea to start packing.

Unlike Egypt, Syria has allowed a degree of freedom for religious minorities, although the state is rigidly secular. Partly, this is because Asad and many others, especially the military leadership, are Alawites, a sort of Shiite sect. Accordingly, Alawites, Druze, Christians and other non-Sunni minorities support the government. However, the Syrian military has shown its willingness to use force to put down groups that threaten its stability. In particluar, it penetrated and diminished the Moslem Brotherhood in Syria.

Furthermore, since Asad has not collaborated with the US and Israel, does not lose the support of Islamists who feel strongly about Israel. He also has good relations and support of neighboring Turkey and Iran.


The Egyptians may end up with something closely resembling democracy. Good for them. The United States is not a democracy and has no intention of becoming one. For starters, the very makeup of the U.S. Senate is anti democratic. On top of that, its rules make it even less democratic. Further, it refused to make any substantive changes at the beginning of this session despite all the talk and the total gridlock which is obvious to all.

Or. Are people in the U.S. not paying attention? Start the revolution in the halls of the U.S. Senate. From there, over turn the system that is now almost completely dominated by the big corporations. From there, create a banking system which serves the public and not just wall street and the billionaires within the system.

At least the Egyptians have a firm grasp on what the immediate problem is. For their efforts, however, they may end up being crushed anyway by the IMF and the international bankers.

The Tea Party shows some revolutionary spirit. Unfortunately, they are focused on the wrong target and have been co opted by people like the Koch brothers. It has become a big clown show with Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin leading the parade.

Here's another take on why this is evolving.

'Negative democratic gap' serves as predictor for instability such as in Egypt: researchers

Research carried out at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem shows that it was possible already in 2008 to predict that countries such as Egypt and Iran were headed for dangerous periods of instability because of citizens' demands for democratization.

Unlike other researchers who have singled out the religious element in conflicts or the lack of democracy alone as the central causes of instability, Sheafer and Shenhav have stressed the need to examine on a scale the freedom that citizens have striven for and the level of democracy granted to them.

They found that in states such as Egypt, Iran, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Belarus and China there is a "negative democratic gap" -- that is that the citizens are granted less democracy than their expectations. In such circumstances, say the researchers, the chances of undermining the existing rule is increased.

Though they seemed to have completely missed the trouble in Jordon.

Also, the State Dept may have it's invisible hand in the sock-puppets - see WikiLeaks: US supported Egypt pro-democracy activists

Another problem that will make this situation more difficult is the lock-down of the banks. A lot of money is moving out of Egypt right now.
See: Egypt Banks Risk Run as Week of Protests Hits Economy

1. I think maybe so.
2. Not as long as they can move back in with their folks.
3. But they are culturally conditioned to believe that ultimately it's all their own fault.
4. Hard to believe that one, only possible as an overall average.
5. Good luck with that.

Sorry about #4. It is 1 in 9, not 1 in 11. Not my statistic, and it is as difficult for me to believe as it is for you. Link is a few items upthread from CNBC.


How Egypt's Food Crisis Is Driving Its Political Unrest

Egyptians are particularly vulnerable to increases in food prices because they spend an unusually high proportion of their income on food, according to a recent Credit Suisse survey. "Food inflation is a specific issue" in the country, the report notes, "having reached over 20 percent—amongst the highest rates globally." Egyptians spent more on food than respondents in any other emerging economy surveyed in the report—about 40 percent of their monthly income, versus about 17 percent for Brazilians and about 20 percent for Chinese and Saudi Arabians, for instance.

A great historical analogy to the events in North Africa were the popular revolutions/uprisings of 1848 across Europe. By the mid 19th century, population growth was testing the limits of agriculture and industry to feed everyone. A series of recessions, currency crises, bank collapses, etc. softened up general economic confidence and eroded people's standards of living, then the Irish potato blight and grain harvest failures in parts of Europe drove up food prices. Political unrest followed, right on schedule. It's interesting to note how rapidly the contagion spread, even without AlJazeera, Facebook or Twitter.

The paper linked in the article above


offers a pretty straightforward message:

Our main finding was that during times of international food price increases political institutions in Low Income Countries significantly deteriorated. To explain this finding we documented that food price increases in Low Income Countries significantly increased the likelihood of civil conflict and other forms of civil strife, such as anti-government demonstrations and riots.

From the macroeconomic perspective it is worthwhile to restate that international food price increases induced in the net food exporting countries a significant increase in real per capita GDP and real per capita investment (the terms of trade effect).

At the same time, international food price increases induced a significant decrease in real per capita consumption and a significant increase in income inequality. Thus, increases in the international food prices had real macroeconomic effects that went beyond average per capita income: they were associated with a significant decrease in consumption and a significant increase in the gap between rich and poor.

I am Jack's complete lack of surprise.

Amartya Sen, an Indian economist, was himself a victim of famine and then spent his career studying famine. His conclusion is that he could not find a famine, historical or present day, where famine was induced by an absolute shortage of food. Famines have always resulted from the distribution of the available food.


Hopefully none of us will live long enough to see famine on a global scale. Perhaps the U.S. could actually induce one with a big enough commitment to biofuels.


The Bengal famine of 1943 is one among several famines that occurred in British-administered Bengal. It is estimated that around 3 million Indians died from starvation and malnutrition during the period[1] making the number of Indian deaths higher than the two world wars, the entire independence movement and the massive carnage that followed Partition of India.[2]

His conclusion is that he could not find a famine, historical or present day, where famine was induced by an absolute shortage of food. Famines have always resulted from the distribution of the available food.

The very definition of "famine" is a shortage of food. There may be plenty of food in the world, or even in the country where and when a famine is present but people may still be starving from a lack of food. Famines are caused by people not having enough food to eat.

It does not matter what causes the famine. It could be because all the potatoes went rotten, or the oligarchs shipped the wheat out of the country or employment rose to the point where millions of people just ran out of money to buy food.

We we never have and never will live in a perfect world where all food is distributed evenly. And pointing that fact out will not change it. If enough people have no job to earn money to buy food and no land where they can grow food and the government does not give them free food there will be famine in the land regardless of the abundance of food.

If unemployment in this country, or any country, gets high enough and the government cannot afford to put everyone on the dole, then we will have a famine even if there is a bumper crop in the farm belt.

Ron P.

Losses mount as Argentine grain strike expands

AFP - One week into a crippling strike at Argentina's main soy and grain export harbor, unions announced Tuesday an extension of the work stoppage that has left a million tons of food exports idle on docks.

The strike has paralyzed the key port of San Lorenzo and threatened to damage Latin America's second largest economy, with the regional stock market petitioning the federal government for "urgent intervention" to fend off a broader crisis.

His major point is just that. That wealth determines who has eaten. Of what I've read, via 3rd parties of journalists, etc, solving that problem has eluded him. And when you think about it, there is always enough food, or rather, there has been. Always game or fruit in the world which could feed someone.

It's putting the two together that is the problem, whether it is simply not being able to afford available food, willful redistribution of existing local food via price mechanisms-the great Irish famine-or an inability to travel or have the food transported to the affected area, which I suspect we'll have more in the future. Someone will eat, and there will be plenty of waste.

Who Are the Net Food Importing Countries?
"Annex Table 3: Raw Food Exports, Imports and Net Imports in All Countries" shows data by country for the 2004-2005 trading season.

Japan, UK, Germany, Italy, Taiwan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, South Korea are some of the large net importers in total dollar terms, although food imports per capita or as a percentage of national GDP would be more interesting. Many of the North African and Middle Eastern countries are likely to move to the top by those metrics. Nevertheless, unless they have oil revenues, competing with some of the major importers is difficult.

This is the same point I have made many times... triage of food and energy will be done by economics, to a point. When that point arrives, so does revolution. Witness the French Revolution several centuries in the past, and what we are seeing today.

The only question is not whether there will be food shortages - that is built in to populations today. The real question is whether the hungry will rise up against the wealthy few who control food, fuel and shelter. I am of mixed mind about that. On the one hand, it would seem that in order to feed their families they would. On the other hand, if denial delays the revolution, they may not be sufficiently healthy and nourished to mount an effective effort... the die off happens to the poor, the rich win by default. Add to general denial the concerted effort to misinform and that delay seems more likely than a successful revolution.

The final question would be one of timing. When do food supplies in the U.S. and other OECD nations decline (or financial ability to purchase food decrease) to the point that starvation begins? I would think it would not be until 4 to 6 years past peak, but that is a guess. Meanwhile, finding adequate land with dependable water on which to grow ones own food could either enable survival or create a target. Who knows?

Some days, after reading, say, On Liberty or The Age of Reason, I am encouraged that mankind will figure it out before it is too late. Then I have a Hobbsian moment of certainty that we will not.

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


"The real question is whether the hungry will rise up"

Always has been. How much can you push a population before it says no more?

I'm sure that varies with the particular population, but in between saying "I'm starving" and being too weak to do anything about it, I think Nietzsche's quote comes to bear:

"Hope springs eternal"

Didn't someone say collapse was like a phase change---i.e. melting? I see Egypt like this----energy used to be pulsing through the system, holding the bonds in place tightly enough to maintain order there. But that energy is not pulsing through the system at the same rate anymore. (That is true anywhere now, not just Egypt). So the system just breaks down, the bonds dissolve. It looks like revolution, or whatever....but in the end, people leave a city where they can't make a go of their lives materially and go back and fish in a tiny boat or scratch out a living on a plot of meagre land...because the solar energy is still pulsing through the system, although it takes time to get back to that way of looking at things. We are not used to dealing directly with solar energy. We really can't understand it very well...it has been kept remote from us through machines. Kind of like a condom... Dealing with nature directly will be really new for many people including me. I am a little apprehensive.

Probably if there is a giant video capturing all sorts of actions and reactions in cities, over a period of a few years or a decade, I guess you could see cities becoming emptier and in a sense, the giant population centers slowly or quickly losing their rigid defined patterns and becoming amorphous and drifting into less concentrated patterns. I don't mean starvation or war or anything like that...just people sort of giving up. That is what I am seeing here where I live near Tokyo. There is a kind of lack of bustle and new things.....lots of abandoned and old things, or vacant buildings. Catabolic collapse, I guess.

pi, your mentioning the broken state of Tokyo reminds of the techno song, 'My Name is Ira' by Ira Atari and Rampue. At some point in the lyrics she sings, "I don't want to go to Tokyo..." Is that a common sentiment in Japan ?

That is what I am seeing here where I live near Tokyo. There is a kind of lack of bustle and new things.....lots of abandoned and old things, or vacant buildings. Catabolic collapse, I guess.

Maybe demographics play a role - especially in Japan???!

No is saying the food doesn't exist. They are saying that the people lack the money to pay for the food. "Lack of demand" doesn't mean people don't want the food or that the food does not exist . . . the problem is the people lack money to pay for the food. People don't have jobs.

Regarding worries about the Suez Canal, the number of supertankers hired today in the Mideast was very low - although yesterday (Monday)
tanker rates improved slightly due to demand from the Far East.


World on the Edge: Quick Facts

We are facing issues of near-overwhelming complexity and unprecedented urgency. Can we think systemically and fashion policies accordingly? Can we change direction before we go over the edge? Here are a few of the many facts from the book to consider:

•If the 2010 heat wave centered in Moscow had instead been centered in Chicago, it could easily have reduced the U.S. grain harvest of 400 million tons by 40 percent and food prices would have soared.

•There will be 219,000 people at the dinner table tonight who were not there last night—many of them with empty plates.

•The indirect costs of gasoline, including climate change, treatment of respiratory illnesses, and military protection, add up to $12 per gallon. Adding this to the U.S. average of $3 per gallon brings the true market price closer to $15 per gallon.


Don’t panic: oil traders adapt to $100 a barrel

For oil market veterans, it has a familiar ring. Turmoil in the Middle East triggers a spike in crude prices. Cue panic in financial markets.

This, time, though, even as oil moves above $101 a barrel to trade at its highest in more than two years, the message from analysts and traders is “stay calm”. Prices are heading higher, but are unlikely to challenge the record high of July 2008. Nobody is panicking, yet.


Yet today’s oil market is very different from that of early 2008, when crude prices first hit triple digits. Now, almost every link of the supply chain is padded with spare capacity, making the market less vulnerable to supply shocks. Stocks, while falling, are still at comfortable levels.

Obama budget to cut oil subsidies:

President Obama will propose nixing around $36.5 billion a year in oil and gas company subsidies and tax breaks in his new budget, set to be released later this month.


If ethanol subsidies have to end so do oil subsidies.


Commodity super-cycle is back in full swing

Sovereign debt risks, high unemployment, the threat of deflation, regulatory uncertainty. Just a few of the anxieties currently keeping financial markets on edge and which set a less than auspicious backdrop for commodities to stage a strong performance in 2011.


Commodities usually perform best in the latter stages of economic recovery: it takes time for the spare capacity and excess inventories built up during a downturn to get worked off. But this cycle looks different. Raw materials shortages, infrastructure constraints and resource nationalism continue to hamper production growth for many commodities, while emerging market demand is already soaring.


The impact on demand is already evident. Global demand for many commodities hit all-time highs in 2010, much earlier than expected.


Expect oil to flirt with $100/barrel, but not materially exceed it, so long as OPEC spare capacity, currently at a fairly comfortable 5m barrels a day, does not get eaten into too deeply.


This year promises to be a volatile one for commodities, with the hard evidence that the financial crisis only temporarily unseated the super cycle, becoming increasingly apparent.

I recommend people read the whole article (if you can get access behind the paywall). As this is from the relatively conservative Barclays Capital commodities people, I think this makes 2011 sound quite ominous already.


Interesting, the effect of weather on mineral resource extraction:


We've all thought about the effect of climate change on food production, but does it have the potential to make all kinds of resource extraction more expensive?

China bets on thorium

China has committed itself to establishing an entirely new nuclear energy programme using thorium as a fuel, within 20 years. The LFTR (Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor) is a 4G reactor that uses liquid salt as both fuel and coolant. China uses the more general term TMSR (Thorium Molten-Salt Reactor).

Wow, that's a game-changer in my eyes. Maybe the Chinese will save us after all!

At least one nation's got its thinking cap on...

The alarmist version of China’s next-gen nuclear strategy come down to this: If you like foreign-oil dependency, you’re going to love foreign-nuclear dependency.

“When I heard this, I thought, ‘Oboy, now it’s happened,’” said Kirk Sorensen, chief nuclear technologist at Teledyne Brown Engineering and creator of the Energy From Thorium blog. “Maybe this will get some people’s attention in Washington.”

While the international “Generation IV” nuclear R&D initiative includes a working group on thorium MSRs, China has made clear its intention to go it alone.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences announcement explicitly states that the PRC plans to develop and control intellectual property around thorium for its own benefit.

“This will enable China to firmly grasp the lifeline of energy in its own hands,” stated the Wen Hui Bao report.

A major technology program is likely to result in thousands or tens of thousands of patents, not just for the reactor itself, but for all of the manufacturing methods and equipment, the ancilliary systems, all of the systems involved in preparing and reprocessing fuel elements, and the manufacture of critical materials. While these may not be "necessary" patents for the design of thorium reactors elsewhere, they may give the holder of the patents a very considerable economic advantages if they cover the best ways of doing a lot of things.

The key part of the MSR technology is the fluoride salt. Using it, the MSR can burn any nuclear fuel including U235, plutonium, thorium, and nuclear waste or all at the same time. It is a flex fueled reactor that could be 99.99% fuel efficient with a thermal-electric efficiency of up to 60%. This self sustaining breeder reactor can be air cooled; it does not need water to operate; it is fail-safe self temperature controlling by negative void fuel response; and it can’t melt down because it is already melted.

The engineer who now heads the Chinese Molten Salt Reactor Project is none other than Jiang Mianheng, a son of Retired Chinese President, Jiang Zemin.

In addition to being President of People's China, Jiang was the chairmanship of the powerful Central Military Commission, suggesting the likelihood that Jiang Mianheng has military ties.

This PhD EE is the American educated cofounder of Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation, and a former lead researcher in the Chinese Space Program, as well as Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The presence of such a well connected Chinese science leader suggests that the Chinese MSR project is regarded as important by the Chinese leadership. Thus the Chinese leadership, unlike the American Political and scientific leadership has grasped the potential of molten salt nuclear technology.

The Helion fusion thorium breeder reactor is also a MSR thorium fusion approach. In addition, the LIFE fusion laser reactor is also a MSR fluoride salt based thorium fusion reactor.

The Chinese could get royalties form just about any future reactor technology “even fusion” that might get fielded all except those big ugly inefficient water guzzling nuclear waste producing light water reactors that the US likes so much.


Crude Inventories up 3.77M BRLS
Gasoline Inventories up 3.91M BRLS
Distillate Inventories down 1.14M BRLS

Does this explain the WTI / Brent spread? Oil is flowing into the USA.

The API gain for oil was about 2.7 million barrels less than the EIA last week, so the EIA would have to report about 1 million gain to stay even with the API. However due to many adjustments being made by the EIA weekly, it is probably unlikely that the API and EIA will match up.

Keep in mind that good grades of US oil are selling in the Gulf of Mexico area for almost the same price as Brent ($100), thus the WTI price really only reflects the price of intermediate grade oil in the Cushing, OK area. Due to the fact that Cushing, OK oil is essentially landlocked, it is impractical to buy oil there and sell it for example outside of the US.

But is oil flowing to the US, yes from Canada, making its way from down pipelines to Cushing. Look for posts from the rockymountainguy if you want to learn more about this.

It appears that increasing amounts of Canadian heavy oil (mostly from the oil sands) flowing into the trading hub at Cushing, Oklahoma is depressing the price of West Texas Intermediate. Two big Canadian pipeline companies, TransCanada and Enbridge have recently built new lines from Canada to Cushing, and the storage tanks at Cushing are now full to the top with Canadian oil. This situation is expected to continue until 2013, when pipeline extensions will be completed from Cushing to the Gulf Coast, which should ease the pressure on Cushing.

West Texas Oil Discount to Remain Until 2013

West Texas Intermediate oil, the benchmark grade for the U.S., will stay at a discount to other global crude markers including Brent and Dubai until at least 2013, according to report yesterday by KBC Energy Economics.

West Texas oil, the basis for futures traded in New York, is set to begin a “several-year long phase” where it will be at a discount to “waterborne” grades such as Brent and Louisiana Light Sweet, which are mostly transported by ship and so can travel to refiners globally

West Texas Intermediate, or WTI, is delivered to Cushing, Oklahoma, about 450 miles (720 kilometers) from the Gulf Coast, and is moved mostly by pipeline. A glut of Canadian supplies into Cushing has depressed the price of the oil and the discount to other grades will only adjust once new capacity is built to carry the crude to refiners along the Gulf Coast, said KBC.

WTI’s discount “is unlikely to change until Cushing supply/demand rebalances,” said KBC. “We now question whether the ‘normal’ relationship of a WTI premium to Brent is any longer meaningful. We think current extremes will moderate, perhaps within months. But we do expect to see historically deep discounts until 2013.”

The Bureau of Meteorology has upgraded Yasi to a Category 5 cyclone.

The highest level of storm categorisation, this will bring winds above 280km/h and certain destruction, particularly within the warning areas from Port Douglas to Townsville.

The Bureau warns the impact of the storm is "likely to be more life threatening than any experienced during recent generations". ...

Cyclone Yasi upgraded to Category 5 storm

Wind gusts up to 320 km/hr (~200 mph) forecasted. This is EF4 tornado level winds.

China is blocking the "Egypt" search term from the internet. (Video link to MSNBC)


Wow! Do ya think China is not worried about the same problem? Will social unrest spread from country to country?

I guess Peak Oil is getting set to unleash a lot of this turmoil, but can the police state prevent social unrest when people are actually hungry?

Of course, Twitter is running on fumes anyway: HTTP Server Error 503. Twitter is overcapacity. Please try again.

At first, the backlash against PG&E focused on the notion that the meters were giving artificially high readings, but that died down after studies confirmed their overall accuracy.

This seems to be a widespread idea, and conspicuous in the handling of supply companies, is total avoidance of do older meters read low ? Seems likely that many do.
Of course, they want to avoid that idea, as then consumers will resist the new meters, which save supply companies reading costs.

The new wave of protests comes from conservatives and individualists who view the monitoring of home appliances as a breach of privacy, as well as from a cadre of environmental health campaigners who see the meters’ radio-frequency radiation — like emissions from cellphones and other common devices — as a health threat.

Any claimed emissions issues are very easy to manage: Simply make the units Transceivers, that listen for a Metering poll from the reading vehicle. Thus 99.999% of the time, the meters are passive listeners.

I think the idea is to eliminate meter reading vehicles and use central monitoring and control.

As I've read, our meters make a brief transmission daily (under a minute)..

I would like to know two simple details. The Frequency and the Transmitter Power.

From that, I can determine my own relative comfort-level with this compared to the myriad other wireless and RF sources around us.