Drumbeat: February 5, 2011

A Future Minus Oil: Anticipating the end of their source of wealth, Persian Gulf universities study alternative energy

Carbon-based wealth has fueled the enormous growth of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar, among other countries in the region. But it has also created mounting environmental problems. These rapidly developing desert countries depend on oil-powered desalination plants for most of their water, to such a degree that salinity levels in the Persian Gulf have risen noticeably in the past few decades. Billions of dollars go to subsidize access to water and electricity. Cities have grown so quickly that they are struggling to dispose safely of their garbage and sewage.

But with oil-and-gas reserves expected to run out this century, such largess is becoming untenable.

BP's Pursuit of Cost-Cutting Led to Rig Explosion, Gulf Spill, Lawyers Say

Officers and directors of BP Plc, pursuing cost-cutting over safety, ignored “red flags” that could have prevented the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, lawyers for investors said.

The Louisiana Municipal Police Employees’ Retirement System and other investors claim BP executives and directors breached their fiduciary duties to the company by ignoring safety and maintenance for years before BP’s Macondo well exploded April 20. The investors seek reforms in BP management and damages from the executives and board members to be paid to the company.

Report: Mubarak resigns from ruling party, still president

CAIRO — The top leadership body of Egypt's ruling party, including President Hosni Mubarak and his son Gamal Mubarak, resigned Saturday in a new gesture apparently aimed at convincing anti-government protesters that the regime is serious about reform, according to state TV.

The 82-year-old Mubarak quitting does not mean he has stepped down as president, but sends a promise of reform, an attempt to stop demonstrations, NBC News reported.

FACTBOX-OPEC, CEO comment on high oil prices

The following brings together comments from OPEC officials, CEOs and representatives of consumer countries on oil's rise above $100 a barrel.

Pemex Reopens Two Gulf of Mexico Oil Export Terminals

Petroleos Mexicanos, the state-owned oil company, reopened two Gulf of Mexico oil export terminals after weather conditions improved.

Chinese firm to help KESC generate power from coal

KARACHI: The Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a Chinese firm, Global Mining Company (GMC) on Friday. According to the agreement, KESC would operate its plants on alternate energy resources such as coal and the Chinese firm would fund the project.

The Age of Energy

Where will Britain's energy come from in the future? To answer this most urgent of questions, The Telegraph and Shell have enlisted a team of energy experts - from scientists to MPs - to look at how the UK should tackle its energy crisis. We are also calling on you to join us in our Age of Energy Debates, hosted at the Telegraph head office in London.

PM's border scheme mired in past

Integrated production — indeed, globalization itself — depends on the ability of companies to ship commodities cheaply over long distances.

In the heyday of NAFTA, energy prices were low enough to allow this. As long as oil was relatively cheap, it made economic sense to truck auto parts from all over North America for assembly in Windsor.

But as economist Jeff Rubin and others have pointed out, in a world of permanently high oil prices this logic no longer holds.

Future city planners told stakes are high

WATERLOO — Squint just a little and imagine Waterloo Region in 50 years: manufacturing is once again growing; our grocery stores stock food produced mostly by local farms; and our bikes trails are torn up and replaced by intercity railways.

That, in a nutshell, is the future predicted by author Thomas Homer-Dixon at a conference organized by the Canadian Association of Planning Students, which drew more than 250 students to the University of Waterloo this week.

A flow of troubles for Iran-Pakistan pipeline

Pakistan's south-western province of Balochistan, which shares long borders with Iran and Afghanistan, is the key area for strategic gas pipeline projects from energy-rich Iran, the Middle East or Central Asia to energy-hungry south and west Asia.

Conflict in Balochistan, which appears to be the result of Baloch insurgency against federal authorities in Islamabad, is not without its geopolitical implications. Unrest in Balochistan and the anti-Iran activities of Jundallah, a militant group that is believed to be based in Balochistan, make the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project a risky venture. Similarly, the proposed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline will have to pass through turbulent regions not only in Afghanistan but also in Balochistan.

Egyptian Gas Exports to Israel, Jordan May Be Halted Two Weeks

Egypt halted natural-gas exports through a pipeline feeding Israel and Jordan today after a fire at the facility, Egypt’s Oil Ministry said.

The state-run Middle East News Agency said the stoppage was to limit damage caused by an explosion carried out by “subversive elements,” while the Oil Ministry said a gas leak led to a fire. Official Egyptian television reported that the incident in El Arish in the northern Sinai desert was an act of “terror” carried out by “foreign hands.”

Rioting hits oil and gas exploration

Two exploration projects in Egypt have been put on hold as unrest continues in Cairo and unease in global markets briefly pushed the price of oil above US$103.

Exploration companies and traders are evaluating how to respond to the political unrest in Egypt. About 2.5 per cent of world oil production passes through the Suez Canal, which runs through Egyptian territory.

Crude Oil Falls as U.S. Adds Fewer Jobs Than Forecast, Fuel Demand Drops

Crude fell after a government report showed that the U.S. added fewer jobs in January than economists forecast, bolstering concern that fuel demand will slip in the world’s biggest oil-consuming country.

Egyptian turmoil helping to lift oil, food prices

WASHINGTON, (AP) - The standoff in Egypt and uncertainty about where it will lead is causing global economic jitters. It's already pushing up the price of oil and food, and there's no telling how long the turmoil will last.

The big worry is that popular uprisings and revolution will spread to Egypt's rich autocratic neighbors who control much of the world's oil supply.

How far will anti-government movements go? Will oil supplies be disrupted? Will the U.S. see its influence in the region decline and that of Iran and other fundamental Islamic regimes surge?

Cold snap cripples states in northern Mexico

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (Reuters) - Freezing weather and snow crippled power plants and shut factories and roads in six states in northern Mexico on Friday, forcing hundreds of families without heat to sleep in shelters.

Cold snap bites natural gas users hardest

Santillanes said the city gets its natural gas by tapping into a line that goes all the way from Texas to California.

"Belen is where we hook up to the El Paso line," he said. "It's a 4-inch line that's 38 miles long."

Santillanes said the El Paso line "went to a critical position" on Wednesday, with not enough gas being put into the system compared to the sudden demand.

"They do have enough gas for us — we're a small community," he said. "The main part of our problem was the demand we had locally. You can only draw so much out of a 4-inch line."

Official: Venezuela not selling gasoline to Iran

CARACAS, Venezuela - Venezuela's top oil official says the country is not selling gasoline to Iran.

Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez says he understands Iran "has solved its problem" and does not currently need fuel.

Venezuela: Egypt crisis could push up oil prices

"In the United States, we aren't going to continue expanding," Ramirez said, explaining that investments in the U.S. now are aimed at upkeep of facilities to comply with environmental regulations and other requirements.

Chavez last year called Citgo a "bad business" for Venezuela and ordered Ramirez to look at options for selling off assets in the United States.

Old partner Japan back as sun rises on new day for oil

Japan is once again in the Gulf signing oil concessions, but the terms will be less favourable than before.

India, Iran resolve oil payment dispute

NEW DELHI - An official says India and Iran have resolved a dispute over payments for Iranian crude oil with New Delhi agreeing to set up a new mechanism that would allow payments in euros.

The official says Friday that the State Bank of India would route the payments through a German-based bank, ending a nearly six-week long stalemate that had threatened to disrupt Iranian oil supplies to India.

Tanker trucks line up on North Iraq-Iran border Tanker trucks line up on North Iraq-Iran border

Claims are still being made that oil, amongst other products such as alcohol, are being smuggled from northern Iraq to Iran.

Oil flow from Iraqi Kurdistan to resume

Iraqi Kurdistan is testing disused infrastructure ahead of restarting oil exports in the next few days.

"Exports from Kurdistan are due to start within a week," Abdul al Hassani, the vice chairman of the Iraqi parliament's oil and gas committee, told Bloomberg. "There is a commitment by both sides to resume oil exports from the province at an initial quantity of 100,000 barrels per day."

An oil spill off Shetland could 'equal Gulf of Mexico disaster'

AN OIL spill off the coast of Shetland could equal that of the Gulf of Mexico disaster and spread as far as the Norfolk coast, an environmental report has claimed.

An investigation carried out by American oil drilling company Hess, which has lodged an application to drill a deep water well to the west of the island, revealed that a spill could last as long as ten weeks.

Is BP a pawn in Russia's energy chess game?

For overshadowing the troublesome oil spill that has cost the company $40bn (£25bn), BP was engulfed in a new public tussle – played out not in Louisiana, but Moscow.

The great chess game of Russian energy politics forced BP into an extraordinary series of moves and counter-moves this week.

Rosneft's profit zooms

MOSCOW — Rosneft, Russia's largest oil company, said Friday that its profit for 2010 was almost 64 percent higher than the previous year, thanks to higher prices and production levels.

Pipeline Safety Concerns Threaten Oil Route's Expansion

HOUSTON—A key decision over the expansion of an oil route that brings crude from Canada hangs in the balance, as concerns over pipeline safety threaten to complicate the relationship between the U.S. and its largest petroleum supplier.

Egypt Authorities, Opposition Start Talks on Sidelining President Mubarak

Egyptian authorities and opposition leaders began talks on ending President Hosni Mubarak’s 30 years in power before September elections as unprecedented protests demanding his exit extended into a 12th day.

A $7,500 electric car discount scares dealers

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- In an effort to put 1 million electric cars on the road by 2015, the Obama administration has proposed a plan that would put up to $7,500 directly in the hands of car buyers without having them jump through any tax hoops.

Plug-in car advocates love the idea but dealers aren't so sure about it.

Electric cars to hit Alberta roads

Electric cars could make driving cheaper and cleaner, say experts, but also could put some Albertans out of work.

A panel of experts will meet Tuesday in Edmonton for a public forum on electrifying transportation. It’s part of an ongoing series of talks on emerging technologies organized by the Alberta Council of Technologies.

Arizona Solar Plant Picks Chinese Supplier

Suntech, the Chinese solar giant, has won a contract to supply photovoltaic panels for a 150-megawatt project in Arizona, marking China’s entry into a lucrative United States power-plant market dominated by American companies.

Good News: The Ice is Melting!

Thank God, the ice is melting. Otherwise, how would we get all that oil that we know lies under the Arctic? It’s a bit of a nuisance that the northeasten U.S. has to suffer from such a rotten winter for it, but believe me: an ice-free North Pole will be better for everyone. Of course, we might have to fight the Russians for the mineral rights, but we’ll kick some commie butt just like we did the last time.

Our hunger for petrol and dwindling supplies are driving exploration farther afield, and the Arctic is the next on the list for extraction.

Germany Can’t Freeze CO2 Permits as Czechs Warn of Contagion

The German carbon registry said it can’t freeze permits despite reports that it received stolen allowances from the Czech Republic.

California Law to Curb Greenhouse Gases Faces a Legal Hurdle

SAN FRANCISCO — California’s landmark law on curbing greenhouse gases, which is well on its way to taking effect, has hit a legal snag in the form of a tentative judicial ruling that state environmental regulators failed to follow legally required procedures.

Pacific Northwest warned of climate change dangers

(Reuters) - Washington state and the province of British Columbia launched a joint effort on Wednesday to warn residents of North America's Pacific Northwest about the danger that climate change poses to coastal communities.

Officials say they hope that by increasing public awareness about issues such as rising sea levels they can revive flagging support for fighting global warming in the neighboring U.S. state and Canadian province.

Hot Zone—A Warming Planet's Rising Tide of Disaster

Dengue in Texas. Malaria in New York. Hypertoxic pollen in Baltimore. Climate change is making disease and other humanitarian threats ever more challenging.

Still Hope for Arctic Sea Ice

ScienceDaily — The substantial decline of Arctic sea ice in recent years has triggered some fears that the ice cover might be approaching a "tipping point" beyond which the loss of the remaining sea ice would become unstoppable. However, new research carried out at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg/Germany now indicates that such tipping point is unlikely to exist for the loss of Arctic summer sea ice. The sea-ice cover reacts instead relatively directly to the climatic conditions at any given time. Hence, the ongoing loss of Arctic sea ice could be slowed down and eventually stopped if global warming were to be slowed down and eventually stopped.

Poisoning the Well

But most important, what Hertsgaard finds is that the ability to adapt to climate change depends as much on “social context” — defined as “the mix of public attitudes, cultural habits, political tendencies, economic interests and civic procedures” — as on wealth and technological sophistication. Wealth and technology clearly matter, but politics and culture may trump them. Take Louisiana: efforts to prepare for future hurricanes, Hertsgaard writes, “have been crippled by the state’s history of poor government” along with “its continuing reluctance — even after Katrina — to acknowledge the reality of global warming for fear that might harm oil and gas production, and an abhorrence of taxes and public planning as somehow socialistic.”

In fact, Hertsgaard’s reporting makes me wonder if there isn’t more hope for the Sahel than for the vulnerable South and Southwest of the United States. After all, why prepare for something — much less try to halt it — if you refuse to believe it’s happening?

Thunderhorse takes big hit in November

Thunderhorse total output in November dropped from 206,438 barrels per day to 146,321 barrels per day, a drop of 60,117 barrels per day. The water cut in the main field rose to just above 50 percent. Oil production in the main field was 43,769 barrels per day and water production was 44,184 barrels per day. The only other contract with any water is G09866. There water production dropped from 13,182 barrels per day to 4,624 barrels per day. But oil production dropped from 30,357 bp/d to 15,932 bp/d. I suppose they were doing some maintenance there.

The August data was finally added to the data so it will look a bit different from last month’s estimate. Also, some of this November hit will probably be corrected in December but Thunderhorse, in my opinion, is clearly in decline. The main field peaked in January of 2009 at 167,651 barrels per day and in November 2010 produced 43,769 barrels per day a decline of 123,881 barrels per day or 74 percent in only 22 months and about three and a half of those months were completely shut in while they changed the manifold. That is some kind of steep decline rate.

Thunderhorse oil production, all contracts, from June 2008 thru November 2010 in thousands of barrels per day.

November 2010 Thunderhorse

Ron P.

Ron - That really is a very dramatic increase in water cut over such a short period of time. WT commented about the contrast between vertical and horizontal permeability in the reservoir. I'm not sure if he had some inside info or was just speculating. But I’ll offer more support for my speculation the other day. From what I’ve read about the size of the reservoir and the height of the oil column I’m GUESSING they are seeing premature water break thru. Due to the high vert. perm and the high production rates the water level at the base of the oil column is not moving up uniformly across the width of the reservoir. Instead the water level below the producing wells is moving up much faster than in distal areas. Imagine an area of high water saturation developing below a well. This was the “water conning” phenomenon I described earlier. The ability of any fluid to flow thru a rock is a function of its saturation: the higher the saturation the greater the RELATIVE PERMEABILITY”. Making the situation worse is that once the water saturation increases near the wells perforations it’s nearly impossible to reverse.

Often, in the onshore, this doesn’t reduce the URR greatly but it does take much longer to reach URR. There is a series of oil fields I’m working on in Texas that suffered the same fate. But they still recovered 50%+ (over 1.5 billion bo) of the oil in place. And many are still producing at stripper levels today (98 -99% w/c). But it also took over 50 years to reach their URR. In fact, typically over 70% of the URR in these fields was produced at water cuts of 80% or greater. The effort was economical because of the low cost of operating onshore. OTOH an offshore facility cannot operate commercially in such circumstances. I don’t know what the Thunder Horse MOL might be…not enough details. But a WAG would be 15,000 bopd. Or maybe half that. But even if they can maintain profitability it’s unlikely they be able to get very close to their original recovery estimates IMHO. And what URR they eventually see it will very likely take many years more than the original plan.

Thunder Horse Field won’t disappear anytime soon. But that huge reserve BP has projected could take many decades to recover.


This is a dumb naive question..but here goes: Gases are injected in EOR to force the oil up. Why can't they inject gases above the liquid phase to force the water back down?


Most of this is related to what are called entropic forces. Put a dye or food color into a glass of water and try to prevent that form mixing completely. The principle of maximum entropy says that the dye will mix until it is uniformly distributed throughout the water.

It takes a huge amount of energy to try to reverse this effect. The relentless force of gravity acting on differences in density is what we have going for us in many of these cases. Trying to amplify the gravitational forces as you describe is essentially a question of diminishing returns on the energy we have to add. Putting the disturbance underneath is just an engineering gimmick to destabilize the material so the forces of gravity can do their thing.

I'm not a geologist but the principles of entropy apply to every scientific discipline one can imagine, so much so in fact that specific knowledge of geology ceases to become really that important to understanding what is happening.

Dye or food color is completely miscible in water. Therefore, it will mix completely in a pretty short time. Oil and water on the other hand are not miscible. Try putting some cooking oil in a glass of water and see how they mix.

Part of the reason water cones easily into the oil leg of the reservoir is because water normally has a lower viscosity and the density difference between oil and water is not that big, so with a little pressure draw-down, you can pull water up quite a ways. Gas actually cones much less than water because the density difference between gas and either liquid is much, much bigger.

You could push the water back down by pumping gas into a reservoir, but it would take enough gas to fill the entire reservoir to the depth you wanted to push the water. Coning is usually a localized problem around the pressure sink.

The question was one of whether a stumulus that is used to promote a process to go in one direction can also be used to reverse that process and thereby "put the genie back in the bottle".

I am saying that oil will distribute evenly throughout a volume given a chance. Diffusion is essentially a process describing migration of material from areas of high concentration to areas of low concentration, given that there is space to occupy that volume. Mobility is the ease at which material will flow due to some force which is where viscosity plays in. At some point the material gets so dispersed and the mobility so low that it is not worth the effort to try to put the genie back in the bottle. All the techniques that reservoir engineers use are simply tricks to try to stem the tide of entropy. Google Immiscible Fluids in Weightlessness and you can see that gravity is the trick in all this, and yes the differences in mobility are also part of the trick. These tricks in using gas are essentially uni-directional; if you use them to get the process going in one direction, say to get the oil moving in a favorable direction, will prevent the reverse process from occurring. That is the nature of equilibrium when entropy has completely dispersed everything. Things will not spontaneously reverse themselves unless the process is energetically favorable. It sounds like Todd is asking whether this can be used to reverse the process, which is akin to violating laws of thermodynamics.

As Rockman said:

Making the situation worse is that once the water saturation increases near the wells perforations it’s nearly impossible to reverse.

Bottom-line in all this is that this topic is not too interesting in that tricks of this sort won't save us and are only incrementally useful. Engineers have been working on improving on Carnot cycle efficiencies for years and entropy always gets in the way.

I suppose the ultimate direction to pursue is to create a nano-scale engineered hydrocarbon lifeform that can wander around and "consume" oil and then be trained to travel upward to the surface where they can be collected. This theoretically works because the bots will use some of the oil as fuel. Who knows whether it will go anywhere and turn out practical. I kind of doubt it. The bots could use up all the energy by the time they get to the surface.

what is the daily cost to run that platform? once the revenue (bbl x price) drops below that they (assuming they are solving solely for P&L) will stop operating regardless of how much oil is left.
At a day rate of 500k and oil prices of 90/bbl that would be 5.5k bbl/day, so that is still quite a ways away...


I have "always" had a feeling that you could get down the water cut by pumping the oil slower.

Oil and water does not naturally mix. The reason they do in this context is that the water and the oil is forced by pressure through a matrix of porosic rock. This is the same thing as when you mix for milk and fleur in a bowl in the kitchen. Only difference is you move the substance through the mixer instead of moving the mixer through the substance.

Once you stop mix oil and water, it will settle again with the heavyest substance (usually water) on the bottom.

So what if you pumped the oil out very very slow, wouldnt that give time to allow the oil/water mix to naturally separate?

I do however understand this would not make economic sense, but if you wanted to set some sort of record for producing with a low water cut, it could work. Or am I just wrong?

The water/hydrocabon emulsions can be quite stable, and maybe even more viscous than pure hydrocarbon (think chocolate mousse cake) especially when the hydrocarbons are "heavy enough". Also, I suppose, that when they say "large water cut" it really means that oil is coming in the form of emulsion that has to be separated and it does not mean it will separate itself just by waiting. ROCKMAN? Can a well "plug" itself by forming an emulsion?

Canuck - Emulsions can seriously impact a well's ability to flow. Might not kill it completely but reduce the production rate significantly. Sometime the drill mud or competion fluid can cause emulsions. Emulsions can also be a serious surface problem when seperating the oil/water. Not only takes a lot of expenmsive chemicals but can greatly increase the retention time: the longer it takes to seperate the oil from the water the slower you can produce a well.

There's also chemical reasons for the emulsions.

Most crude oil is between 0.5 - 4% sulfur by weight, and the sulfur atoms tend to be either in H2S (normally a gas at atmospheric pressure) or as part of ring compounds, or ring and tail compounds. The sulfur end (and to some degree the aromatic rings) is not so water repellent as a pure linear carbon-hydrogen compounds. So these compounds act like surfactants (though poor ones). But once the emulsification happens (forcing through porous matrix), it could be "forever" before it naturally becomes un-done.


Also, the aromatic rings, particularly the huge ones (asphaltenes), tend to be less soluble in light components of oil, and fairly sticky to each other, so they will stabilize emulsions as well.


Hydrocarbons dissolve in water. Their solubility is low, however.

The point is the oil is dispersed in a lot of water, and now the water cut is exceeding the oil cut.

So it looks like the mighty and over-hyped Thunderhorse -- turns out to be a pony -- churning out water-stained oil.

You can mix 1 gallon of oil in 100 gallons of water and it will disperse and be quite expensive to extract from the water. This is the same concept of maximum entropy WHT cited with food dye.

The fact that oil does not dissolve in water does not mean that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics has been defeated.

Todd – Not a dumb question at all…just an ignorant one. Just a friendly tease…LOL. We’re all ignorant about more matters than we understand. Two problems with using NG to fix coning. First, if the well isn’t at the top of the structure the NG will tend to migrate up dip away from the well. Second, if you saturate the rock near the well bore you induce the cruel sister of water coning: gas block. Gas block can occur natrally if you produce a pressure depletion oil reservoir that has a high NG concentration. The quickly falling reservoir pressure will allow the NG come out of solution and reduce the perm to oil due to the now high NG saturatin around the well. The rock is most permeable to the fluid with the highest concentration. The rock would be most permeable to the NG that you injected so the oil still wouldn’t flow oil. And once the injected NG is produced the water would still be the most movable component. The industry has been experimenting for more than 50 years to come up with a fix for coning such as injecting various polymers. I haven’t seen one yet that was worth the cost.

Bottom line: Mother Nature makes the rules and they tend to be damn hard to break.

The only really effective way to prevent coning is to reduce the offtake. Ideally you can remove the oil slowly enough, from an even distribution of wells, so that the water contact moves up more or less uniformly, and does not cone around individual wells. Geology, in the form of more permeable zones (some faults, for example), or barriers (such as laterally extensive shales) can effect this one way or another. The earth isn't a homogenous, isotropic medium. Carefull planning of well locations, completion design, and rate of offtake are all very important to maximise ultimate recovery.

However, the major problem in deepwater fields such as Thunderhorse is that because of the economics of deepwater fields, the operator has to go for a high rate of production in order to pay the bills. The kind of slow, carefull, methodical production to maximise recovery just doesn't provide enough financial rate of return in the deepwater environment.

As an aside, I was chatting the other day with a BP hand who recently transferred up here from Houston. He mentioned that while everyone else had to compete for budgets, the team working Thunderhorse got anything they wanted. Apparently BP is doing everything conceivable to maintain production at Thunderhorse. Probably it won't help them in the long run, but not through lack of trying.

geo - Just a side note for us rock lickers. The Texas fields I mentioned will still cone with a very slow draw. The oil vis is nightmare: 4+ cp. Actually the best production route IMHO is to lift the well as hard as possible without pulling the sand in. Essentially the water pulls the oil out one molecule at a time. My ultimate plan is to drill gravel packed horizontals, run 5 1/2" tubing and produce at 9,000 bfpd. There's 1 billion bo left inplace. I'm hoping for a 5-8% additional recovery.

Works good on paper. Eventually I'll find out if Mother agrees.

The earth isn't a homogenous, isotropic medium.

That is the truth and also the impediment. Disorder in materials and properties are the biggest contribution to dispersion. I have a section in The Oil ConunDrum devoted to what earth scientists refer to as "anomalous transport" in porous media. Most of the anomalies are explained if one just assumes that the disorder follows the principles of maximum entropy. I am sure many researchers don't want to admit to this because it will put the kibosh on their pet theories. The impediment is that it is hard to work around such randomness; some technique that is designed to efficiently work at one scale of order will not work on all the other scales of disorder. A huge loss of efficiency is the result.

Most of the anomalies are explained if one just assumes that the disorder follows the principles of maximum entropy.

No disagreement there. However, for those actually engaged in oil production, explaining the anomalies isn't really the central problem. Detecting and defining the anomalies with available data (wells which give high resolution data but at widely spaced points vs seismic with complete coverage but low resolution) is the first issue. Then we must do the best we can, within the constraints of technology and budget, to work around those anomalies and squeeze as much oil as we can out of the reservoir. Sometimes we can use the anomalies to our advantage, and sometimes they eat our lunch.

The impediment is that it is hard to work around such randomness; some technique that is designed to efficiently work at one scale of order will not work on all the other scales of disorder.

Yup, finding the best compromise isn't easy. We do the best we can. Sometimes it works and sometimes not.

As the old saying goes: "Some days you are the windshield....some days you are the bug!"

Here is another one. A leafblower works well for ... leaves. Try it on rocks or branches, not so well. It also doesn't push the stuff in quite the direction you want, unless you expend extra energy. The most comical everyday scenario is watching someone with a leaf-blower herding a single inconsequential leaf to its final destination.

That is the analogy of trying to get that last bit of oil.

We don't ever get the last bit. We try to get as many bits as we reasonably can. What is "Reasonable" is of course open to interpretation.

The point is that running up the entropy curve costs more and more money -- like an exponential increase.

LIke a lawn care man chasing the last few leaves off your lawn for an extra hour, when in the first hour 80% are easily removed.

What are we willing to pay for oil? How long can oil be pumped if it takes more energy to pump that oil than it is worth?

Then we must do the best we can, within the constraints of technology and budget, to work around those anomalies and squeeze as much oil as we can out of the reservoir.

Yup, finding the best compromise isn't easy. We do the best we can. Sometimes it works and sometimes not.

There seem to be a gap here between "theoreticians" and "practitioners", and no apparent bridge between the two (unless it is well hidden in industry's "secrets"). Anything done or that could be done to bridge the gap? WHTs saying we need to learn to live with "predictable randomness", oil people are living the losing (sorry) battle with entropy every day. How could people help each other?

clearly, the models bp and exxon ran on the field exhibit convergence with reality deficiency. iow, some bogus realizations. ah ! ha !

it really is difficult to see bp and exxon making a hugh bust in their ooip calculations. maybe their models arent capturing the compartmentalization.

One of the difficulties in developing deep water fields is that because the wells are so expensive to drill, operators drill fewer of them before committing to a development plan. Onshore, one would on the average drill more delineation wells to figure out if, and to plan how to develop a field.

Their ooip calculations may be OK (or maybe not). Or their development plan might be bad. Once you screw up the reservoir it can be tough to fix it. And once you place the infrastructure it's expensive to change your mind.

Or their development plan might be bad.

the platform has slots for 25 wells, heretofor just 11 wells are producing. it would appears that bp's plan is to do long term testing before completing the development.

i doubt bp and exxon will just walk away, as some here on tod seem to believe.

Please use correct punctuation. Typing in all lower case is difficult to read.

Thanks to everyone! It's interesting that since I've become an old fart, how often I wished I'd asked that stupid/ignorant question of the expert when I was young. It goes from asking my neighbor how he harnesed his draft horses to asking the guys at the cider mill what they did. And, it's certainly true of all the people I worked with in the chemical industry.

For everyone: Ask those dumb questions because my experience is that people will go out of their way to show you the way if you are serious in your quest. One of my ongoing things is to teach my city neighbor who comes up once a month how to fell trees which includes the care and feeding of your chain saw, what a choker is, a cant hook, etc.,etc.


Rockman, I really enjoy your posts as they are almost always on a subject that I know very little about and they are very informative. Ok, here's a really dumb question for the geologists on the board. You talk about water coning in the well. Where does all the water come from? 10,000 - 15,000 feet seems like a long way down. And further, the oil is trapped beneath some impermeable rock which should also be impermeable to water too. So, where does it come from? How did it get there?


Seawater is pumped in beneath the oil to maintain the pressure in the formation. Beneath the oil, as oil is lighter and will rise(?).

The other thing they do is pressurize the fields from above with carbon dioxide or nitrogen. The Cantarell field in the Bay of Campeche has the world's largest nitrogen separation facility, and there are commercial carbon dioxide wells in the U.S. that are tapped for use with onshore fields.

The carbon dioxide forms when natural gas bearing formations are too deep within the Earth for too long - bury organic material to a certain depth and get oil, go deeper and the materials break down into methane and other small molecules, push it a bit further and all that comes back is CO2. I think the CO2 fields are a bit rare - there is some production in the American Southwest, but I've never heard of it happening elsewhere.

Thanks Iowa Boy. I know that water is pumped into the formation to maintain pressure in the field. But from what I have read, it seems that there is water in most formations when the first wells are drilled. Or am I wrong on that?

Because oil/gas are formed from organic rich sediments in anoxic waters (oceans or basins thereof, seas, lakes),
so the water was there to begin with.


push it a bit further and all that comes back is CO2

To get CO2 from methane, you need a source of oxygen. Where does that come in?

at high temps, long times, the water (see above) will rearrange.
Some of the oxygen bonds with carbons from disintegrating plant/animal derived organics, making (fairly stable) CO2,
the hydrogen caps the broken bonds in the long carbon chains of the plant/animal oils. (which explains the methane, et. al.)

Also, more plants mean more carbohydrates (i.e. cellulose) which contain oxygen in their structure.


When you "cook" carbohydrates: i.e. char wood, burn sugar; the brown is carbon.


what forms from plant/animals, and if heated enough, forms oil/gas.

IMO, It's not really too interesting to understand exactly the details of the phenomenon but to understand the statistics of the process. If you look at the distribution of sizes of freshwater lakes around the world, you will find exactly the same spread as you would in the sizing of underground oil reservoirs. This has nothing to to with the exact physical processes but everything to do with the variation of rates and materials properties in a heterogeneous environment.

The variation in how fast water/oil collects with the variation in size of basins/faults leads to what we observe. We see very few huge freshwater lakes and very few super-giant reservoirs.

My two cents which of course doesn't answer your question. Where does the water come from? Hundreds of millions of years is a plenty long time to collect anything. Throw in plate tectonics too.

Oil reservoirs often (but not always) have water below the oil (often refered to as the "water leg"). In simple minded terms, the oil is floating on the water, and trapped below an impermeable layer. Because of capillary action, it actually gets a bit more complicated, but as a basic concept this will serve. For there to be a conventional oil reservoir, there must be some porosity in the rock. The pore space below the oil is filled with water. This may have been originally trapped in the rock when the sediments were first deposited, or be flowing into the rock from some other place. (Note this is all a highly simplified explanation.)

Often this water leg can be a good thing, since when a well is drilled into the "oil leg" the water tends to force the oil up the well. This would be called a "water drive", and makes it easier to produce. When there isn't a strong water drive, it is often necessary to deliberately pump water into the reservoir, below the oil, to push the oil up. This would be called "water injection", or "waterflood".

The problem under discussion is premature "water breakthrough". This could be due to lots of reasons. Trying to produce too fast is one of them. Poorly placed water injection wells will also do it, or unexpected variations in rock permiability, or....lots of other things. Also note that analogous things can happen at the top of the reservoir with gas. Then you get premature gas breakthrough. Because gas is much more mobile than either oil or water, gas breakthrough can be an even more difficult problem to deal with.

It can get even more complicated than simple coning. Sometimes water will come in preferentially along one layer, leaving oil trapped below it. Or, gas will come in (often below a thin shale) and create a "gas underrun". Often a smaller (but clever) operator will take over an aging field and do a tidy business figuring out how to squeeze a bit more out of a field that is long past its prime. This is what Rockman was referring to in a previous post. These incremental bits of production won't save us from PO. At best they extend the tail a bit. They do however keep some of us gainfully employed.

And some of these last bits in aging fields can be substantial. For example in Prudhoe Bay there is by most accounts about a billion barrels more or less, which might still be produced. This in turn depends on how long TAPS stays in operation. While TAPS will someday shut down, it probably won't happen quite as soon as some on TOD seem to think. It also depends on when/if a N Slope gas pipeline is built. Once they start to ship gas south pressure in Prudhoe will rapidly fall and oil production will soon stop, irrespective of how much oil is left.

So, where does it come from? How did it get there?

Justabotanist, I am not a geologist but at least I know the answer to that question. The water was there from the very beginning. The oil seeps up from to the source rock into the reservoir rock and when it does it finds water there. The oil then, being lighter than water, replaces the water, pushing the water below as it replaces it.

The water is fossil water, it was there in the pores of the rock when the rock was buried millions of years earlier. After all oil is of marine origin. It makes sense that the sediment that covers the source rock would be sediment deposited on the bottom of the ocean, or shallow sea as the case might be. It would be shocking if the pores contained air instead of water. Then one would have to ask; "how did the air get there if the reservoir rock was deposited on the bottom of the sea?"

Ron P.

J – Here you go: reservoir geology 101. A much too simplistic model: a vertical glass cylinder with 1/3 filled with cooking oil floating, 1/3 water, 1/3 air. The air sits above the oil that sits above the water. But unfortunately reality is a good bit different. Now imagine the cylinder filled with beach sand and has the pore spaces between the sand grains filled with the afore mentioned fluids. But very different than the first model. The section containing air is not 100% air but 70% air and 30% water. Likewise the oil “leg” is 70% oil and 30% water. But if you stuck a straw down into the oil leg it will flow only oil. The permeability of the rock is RELATIVE to the fluid’s saturation. Thus the sand layer will have a high permeability to oil but zero perm to water. In a perfect well as the oil is drawn out the straw the water below the oil/water interface will move up and replace the produced oil. This is called a water drive reservoir. There are other drive systems but we’ll skip that now.

But you can't drain the oil layer completely. As you pull the oil out its saturation level obviously decreases and the water saturation increases. Eventually the water sat increase to the point when the water starts to flow. In the real world we say “the water hits”. This value varies between reservoirs but eventually the oil sat drops too low, say around 25%, that the relative perm to oil reaches zero. This is the residual oil left in the reservoir.

Now coning: you suck the oil out of the straw so fast it causes a low pressure sink at the bottom of the straw and it pulls water up from the water layer unevenly. Thus the water saturation near the end of the straw becomes greater than some distance away. When the water sat in this area around the end of the straw gets high enough oil will no longer flow through this area. Now you’ve “coned” the water. Also aptly called a “water block”.

Believe it or not I’ve made this model simpler than it actually exists but I think you’ll get the general idea. In a perfect reservoir the oil/water level moves up evenly across the width of the reservoir. But in reality this perfect scenario seldom exists.

So to you question: most oil reservoirs have a water layer (the aquifer) below it that produces the buoyancy force that pushed the oil up the well bore. Again, this a rather simplified picture of reservoir dynamics but it gives a fairly good sense of many common situations.

Thanks everyone for the answers. I'm really not as dumb as my question implied, but I suspect it is a question that lots of non-geologists may be asking themselves. I suspected that the water was there from the oceans that once covered the area, but just wasn't sure, so I asked the question. I am aware that oil formed from the remains of ancient algae that sank to the bottom of ancient oceans and were subsequently covered with sediments. It just seems that the water in the sediments would be squeezed out and find a way to the surface over a hundred million years or so and with billions of tons of rock on top of it.
As my name implies I am just a botanist. On a trip to the Bighorns and Yellowstone in Wyoming with my 10 year old son last fall I tried to visualize not only what was going on above the ground (spectacular - I love the Bighorns), but also what was going on below the ground too. Lots of topography out there and lots of wells poked into the ground too. So, given my limited knowledge of geology, I was trying to "see" below the ground and get an idea what was going on. It has always been a question to me how that much water was trapped so far below ground. Now I and the other readers know.

Thanks much.

Thanks all for info.
Presumably all this old deepwater below or alongside oil,is actually brine?

phil - varies greatly. There are many thousands of shallow (down to 2,000' or so) oil/NG wells that have fresh water in the pore space. Generally as you go deeper it gets saltier. Eventually it gets much saltier than seawater (that "stepping on a tooth paste tube analogy above). Very rarely we do find fresh water reservoirs below 12,000'.

J – That’s what I figured: you were just pseudo-ignorant. LOL. I try to make my answers as simple as possible since I’m sure there are folks reading who often don’t have even a basic understanding. Sometimes folks take it as patronizing so I’m glad you didn’t. I am patronizing at times but only when someone really p*sses me off.

By the way you hit on the source of “geopressure”: abnormally high reservoir pressure the likes of which was the source of the BP blowout in the GOM. As the sediments are buried deeper the water is squeezed but not completely out. Imagine slowly stepping on a tube of tooth paste with the cap OFF. So normally the pressure encountered is equal to the pressure that would be caused by a column of sea water as tall as the reservoir is deep. But there are times when the rocks don’t have permeable conduits that allow the water to leak off. Imagine slowly stepping on a tube of tooth paste with the cap ON. As long as BP had a mud column in the hole that was much heavier than the reservoir pressure the well was under control. But they displaced some of the heavy mud with salt water and thus didn’t create enough back pressure to keep the reservoir from flowing when the cement failed.

I understand how you feel about the Bighorns. Back in 2000 I spent the winter drilling horizontal holes for ExxonMobil just south of Gillette. This boy from Nawlins could hardly take his eyes off those mountains. Thanks to an incompetent drilling supervisor I had plenty of days off. Made a lot of trips: two to Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons (I could almost hear the sound of them ripping up from the bowls of the earth), drove a 1,500 miles round trip to have breakfast with another family that also adopted a baby girl from China (on XOM nickel, of course).

some bighorn basin oil fields produce by 'artesian water drive'. snowmelt and rainfall on the west side of the bighorn mountains recharges the tensleep aquifer. water flows through the tensleep and discharges on the west side of the basin.

torchlight dome, in the middle of the basin, produces oil supported by water influx in the tensleep sandstone.

normally, water drive consists of a hugh aquifer with water influx resulting from expansion of water and compressibility of pore space in the aquifer. the compressibility of water and pore space is usually in the x.x e-6 vol/vol/psi range.

Rock, all four of the contracts in the North field were down in November so I suspect they were doing some heavy maintenance and they will very likely be back up next month. The only contract with water in the North field took the heaviest hit, down 46%. The others three were down 38, 37, and 23%. The main field was down 12.5 percent and the water production was up 8.5 percent.

So there may be no really serious problems with the North field... yet. But it looks for all the world that as far as the main field goes they have some really serious problems. Total liquid production there, oil + water, was down only 3 percent They appear to be pumping just as hard but getting less oil and more water. Anyway here is what they expected.

Location Mississippi Canyon 778/822, 150 miles SE of New Orleans
Operator BP (75%) Partner ExxonMobil (25%)
Water depth 6,050ft (at PDQ location)
Design life 25 years
Annualized average throughput - oil 250,000b/d
Annualized average throughput - gas 200mmcf/d
Produced water peak 140,000b/d
Water injection (max) 300,000b/d
Topsides layout 3 production / utilities modules
Topside modules lift weight 21,000t
Main power generation capability 90MW 

They were expecting 250,000 barrels per day for 25 years. They are going to be sorely disappointed. They peaked at 233,405 bpd in April of 2009 and average production since that peak has been 176,392 bp/d. I think production will fall off pretty fast from hear on out.

As for natural gas, they expected 200 mmcf/d. They peaked at 194,658 mmcf/d in April of 2009 and have averaged 155,000 mmcf/d since. It appears they are doing slightly better with natural gas but will not average anywhere near 200 mmcf/d for 25 years.

Ron P.


Some days fill in the blanks... others make me realize how many there are.

How much water is injected daily into a stripper well at 98-99% wc? Where does that water go after the oil is forced up and out? I presume it comes out with the oil, and is separated. Is it recycled? At some point it must go somewhere, after its final trip at least. Is it injected and left in place?

Thanks for helping me out.


Craig - Most of the stripper wells along the Texas coast don't have water injected in them. The aquifers are so strong ("strong water drive") that they readily move water in from below the oil layer to replace the produced oil. But some reservoir have a weak water drive or none (a "pressure depletion drive"). In those cases water or some gas is injected to supply energy to the reservoir.

Produced fresh water goes down the ditch. Salt water has to be injected back into the deep earth. Sometimes they inject it into the base of the producing reservoir to help maintain pressure. Other times it just goes into some salt water reservoir.

Craig, I am not an oil man so I just know what I have picked up along the way. Water is injected to keep the pressure up and force the oil out, usually without the aid of topside pumps or down hole electric pumps. But as I understand it sometimes both, pumps and water injection, are used.

And I posted before I saw Rock's post above so I have deleted most of what I originally wrote. I will yield to him on everything else as he is an oil man and I am not.

Ron P.

Edit: Sorry Rock but I was writing while you were posting. I should have waited and there would have been no need for me to reply... Sorry.

Ron - I think we balance the chats quit well. You use a fine laser scribe and I use a crayon. You got all them fancy words (like entropy) and I ocassionally cuss. It works well IMHO.

I like the duet impact... I need all the help I can get! Thanks.


Re: Vertical Perm

Glenn Morton told me that Thunder Horse had very high vertical permeability, and I believe that Euan told me that the reservoir is basically unconsolidated sand. Here is Glenn's Oil Drum post from last year:


BP basically used Thunder Horse as their poster child for deepwater exploration, and IMO they are doing everything they can to "Hide the decline." So far, they have been largely successful, with a couple of exceptions. The first MSM reporter to discuss the decline was Loren Steffy, with the Houston Chronicle. He wrote the best selling book on the Macondo blowout, "Drowning in oil" (which I highly recommend).

Here is a BP press release from December, 2008 (note that the quoted production number refer just to the main field, which as Ron noted, peaked one month later):

BP Thunder Horse Production Ramping Up
Release date: 18 December 2008

HOUSTON - BP today announced that it has successfully started production from the third and fourth wells at the Thunder Horse field with production now in excess of 200,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed), signalling the completion of commissioning and commencement of full operation. BP plans to start-up additional production from the Thunder Horse North field in the first half of 2009.

"The strong ramp-up of production from Thunder Horse is an important milestone as we continue to grow production from our strong portfolio of deepwater assets in the Gulf of Mexico," said Andy Inglis, BP's chief executive of Exploration and Production. "We have had to overcome significant challenges in developing and applying new technology to produce this ultra-deep, high-pressure, high-temperature field. The capability and technology we have developed will be critical for our next phase of offshore projects."

Incidentally, regarding "Drowning in oil," to me the most interesting item that Loren Steffy turned up was that Halliburton's modeling showed that using only six centralizers would cause gas to leak up the annulus, risking a blowout, and BP initially agreed to use more centralizers, but for specific reasons that are still a little vague, BP went ahead with six centralizers, and we know what happened.

Re: Still Hope for Arctic Sea Ice

The article refers to a report just published in the GRL. The article suggests that Arctic sea-ice won't suddenly jump to a state of no sea-ice, since the modeled sea-ice response to an initial condition of no sea-ice produced a recovery in sea-ice extent after a few years. However, the report describes simulation results against similar simulations in which the build up of CO2 eventually results in ice free conditions in September, beginning about 2070. In the model runs, the sea-ice forms again when winter conditions result in rapid heat loss and freezing of the surface.

It should be noted that the recent history of yearly minimum sea-ice extent shows a faster rate of decline than that found in the reference case used in this report. That would suggest that the point in time at which there might be no September sea-ice is much sooner than 2070...

E. Swanson

Based on Arctic ice volume data, we should expect the Arctic to be ice-free in September within eight years (with the greatest probability being 2016). The ice loss is dynamic and basing future predictions on the last couple of decades of volume data may be incorrect, however, I think it is more likely than the model scenarios.

Almost every time I read about ice loss, there is a mention of polar bears. That drives me a little mad since climate changes in the Arctic are currently driving extreme weather events throughout the northern hemisphere. It is not only the polar bears who are on thin ice because of these changes but you would never know that by reading the news. You would think those poor polar bears, we are going to kill them.

Yeah, the ignorance and disinformation flows widely. The denialist claim that the cold weather "proves" that there's no global warming. Here's a short clip from Rush the oxy-moron about last year's weather and a transcript from this past Wednesday (reading his rant is not as painful as listening to it). Rush references "our own climate expert, Dr. Roy Spencer", who has spend years spreading junk science, only to be forced to admit his work was flawed. Here's a gem for yah:

...there is not possible that we would be created by a creator in such a way that we would destroy by virtue of our created existence our own planet and environment. It just doesn't compute, and yet that's what these people are trying to tell us. I don't care whether they believe in God or not. The very idea that the natural existence of mammals, something we can't do anything about -- the only thing we can do is die to prevent carbon dioxide coming from us.

Unfortunately, Rush has lots of loyal fans that swallow this crap hook, line and sinker...

E. Swanson

...there is not possible that we would be created by a creator in such a way that we would destroy by virtue of our created existence our own planet and environment. It just doesn't compute, and yet that's what these people are trying to tell us. I don't care whether they believe in God or not.

Yeah, right... This kinda reminds me of another "pearl", "Peak Oil hoax debunked in 4 minutes" youtube video at 01:50, where it says Jesus will need all the oil, from parts we didn't even touched yet. So all is well, rejoice! Jesus guarantees that there is still plenty of oil left, cuz he will need it, so it must be there, OR ELSE...!! and Rush on top of that is pretty sure that we can't be so stupid, pardon me, God can't be so... stup... eeeerr... I mean not-so-perfect to create something that could destroy our planet.

Well.. If this is the best God can do I surely wouldn't want to see what happens when He has a bad day... :P

*very sad and feeling powerless* No wonder we have such a hard time to educate people when we are up against the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Dr. Roy Spencer... :-/

Another parody of this stance would be: "there is no way that the creator would have created us to be able to kill each other, so I'm going to go ahead and spray this crowd with machine gun fire..."

That's called 'Demand Salvation'.

In either case, religious ideas are being hoisted up against hard science, which spells for scary times as the masses gravitate to these religious explanations for major world problems.

Unfortunately, Rush has lots of loyal fans that swallow this crap hook, line and sinker...

Although the Limbaugh reasoning makes me cringe, it's self-consistent with the mythos of a world specifically created to nurture human souls as worshippers. Once you buy the premise that there's an invisible mind-reading entity with "issues" in charge of the whole shebang, there's not a lot of reason for activism. ("It's real good you done that Anthony; now wish it into the cornfield. Amen".) I don't hold it against my many religious family members and friends that it simply doesn't fit into their worldview, it's dissonant.

However, a crypto-exceptionalist cosmology also crops up among many who believe that their worldviews are rationally derived. For instance, the view that human cleverness and technology will always find a timely and upbeat way to solve the problems we are faced with. The unexamined assumption there is that the universe was created in a way that "hallelujah-level" rewards are built into physical reality in such a way that humans can continue the expansion of civilization if they only solve the puzzle, like rats in a maze finding the way to the cheese. I think this bit of myth is well-esconced in our cultural narrative at this point, because until lately it has seemed fairly reliably true.

That idjot gives me the bonkers. I just wonder where those christians who don't believe umans will destroy the earth come from. The Bible predicts over and over again that our species will destroy the planet. Does these fundamentalists not even read their own book? Where do they come from? RTFM, MF! I needa a LARD.

Egypt receives a surprisingly large amount of attention from wildcatters, according to the data in my AAPG Discovery Data spreadsheet. 22 shows in 2009, for instance, and those were just the notable finds. Baker Hughes says their rig count maxed out in Aug 08. Oman and KSA look to be the only ME countries with more activity.

The BH data has some puzzling aspects - workovers aren't counted but still there is precisely nothing listed for Iraq all the way back to '96, that can't be the whole story, can it? Iran's count promptly goes from 34/4 oil/gas in Dec 05 to zero/zero in Jan '06 - where it has stayed. Some kind of information blackout due to sanctions, I suppose.

I have not found a complete discovery profile for Egypt anywhere, so this is useful.

However the link says "Such file does not exist or it has been removed for infringement of copyrights. "

Huh, didn't think anyone would ever notice that file. Not like it's the latest from Disney etc. Nor is it copyrighted per se, just info from the AAPG website, collated for convenience. I think these things just get randomly deleted, myself, gives the impression the server companies are doing their job. Can't imagine anyone noticing it and raising a fuss by contacting the company, company responding accordingly, etc. Here's a fresh download link.

It's not really bona fide discovery data - just ca. 13 years of shows that AAPG considered newsworthy. One year is missing, too - 2005 I think. Took a bit of work to gather it all, glad someone has an interest.

glad someone has an interest

Surprising that out of 7 billion people on the planet, maybe a couple of us show an interest.

About the random deletion of files, yes, I think that happens, or they have at least some intermittent problems. I create quite a few charts and graphs and host them on various free servers. But over time I have noticed that some of the links die and that you really can't depend on them. Same probably goes for blog posts eventually. Its definitely not the only reason, but I decided to incorporate all the charts into a book so that the pieces wouldn't randomly disappear. So now I have a massive PDF that has some persistence.

Here's my month old blog: Hydrocarbon Watch. Mostly just compiling info like the AAPG - need a post for that actually. And a dedicated page of links.

Serious stuff, that's the only way that people will find out about the work, we have to announce it and then others can spread the word.

Hillary Clinton: Middle East facing 'perfect storm'

Mrs Clinton said at the meeting of the Middle East Quartet in the southern German city: "The region is being battered by a perfect storm of powerful trends. ...The status quo is simply not sustainable."

She said that with water shortages and oil running out, governments may be able to hold back the tide of change for a short while but not for long.

"Some leaders may believe that their country is an exception - that their people will not demand greater political or economic opportunities, or that they can be placated with half-measures.

"In the short term, that may be true; but in the long term that is untenable."

It's ironic that what Hillary is saying about the ME is just as applicable to the US.

She knows it applies to the US.

That is what keeps our attorney general awake at night, and what the Pentagon is gaming.

I like this part:

That was why, she said, that free and fair elections were not enough, they had to be matched with institutions of good governance - the rule of law, a free judiciary and freedom of speech.

The US has called for an immediate, orderly transition of power in Egypt.

I call for an immediate, orderly transition of power in the US.

Double +10

One must get the plank out of ones own eye before getting the speck out of someone elses eye.
Hillary is too funny! She tells the other countries what to do, but the US is in more troble than the others. How long will it be before the marches start in Washington DC?
The rule of law, a free judiciary and freedom of speech have not truly existed in the US since the 1950s.

freedom of speech have not truly existed in the US since the 1950s.

I think that is a gross exaggeration. You need to live in Saudi Arabia for a few years like I did then you would learn to appreciate the freedom of speech that you really have. The fact that you can say such things on the internet as you did is proof enough that you have freedom of speech. You can march on Washington or march on Podunk Arkansas carrying your signs saying anything you wish. That is proof that you have freedom of speech.

Just what is it that you are not allowed to say and where are you not allowed to say it that gives you the idea that you don't have freedom of speech?

And the 1950s? That's when we had freedom of speech that we don't have now? Are you kidding? Have you ever heard of Joseph McCarthy? The 1950s was when our speech was restricted the most.

McCarthyism Wikipedia

Among the first film industry witnesses subpoenaed by the Committee were ten who decided not to cooperate. These men, who became known as the "Hollywood Ten", cited the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech and free assembly, which they believed legally protected them from being required to answer the Committee's questions. This tactic failed, and the ten were sentenced to prison for contempt of Congress. Two of the ten were sentenced to six months, the rest to a year.

Ron P.

Ron - Struck me rather odd also. I assume it was spoken by someone under 30 yo and who perhaps has never traveled much. And a few spots worse than the KSA. I've mentioned before that in Equatorial Guinea a local caught speaking politics with a foreigner can be subjected to immediate execution w/o a trial. Even more puzzling: "...how soon before there are marches on Washington...". Perhaps they also don't have access to newspapers nor TV/radio. For a child of the South who grew up in the middle of the struggle for equality in the civil rights movement such comments are truly comical. I might even feel a sense of envy for a moment: they obviously haven't witnessed the true horrors of oppression some of us have seen firsthand. Lucky them...in one way.

As far as I see, the US and the UK have more free speech, thanks to modern media, than we could have dreamed of even a decade ago.

We have so much free speech, that the only words worth listening to are comprehensively drowned out by the deluge of trivia emanating from every facebook/twitter/chat line in the countries. Just to make sure, any tentative organisation showing the remotest signs of having something that needs to be said, is systematically infiltrated by undercover cops (in the UK) and has their public marches locked down into insignificance in the name of homeland defence.

With the main media comprehensively controlled by corporations to the point that it is effectively self censoring with the result that almost everyone lives in a dreamworld.

Maybe as many as 2,000,000 people march on one day in London against the invasion of Iraq. The government ignored the biggest political event in the nation's history and the people went back to sleep.

We have so much free speech, that the only words worth listening to are comprehensively drowned out by the deluge of trivia emanating from every facebook/twitter/chat line in the countries. Just to make sure, any tentative organisation showing the remotest signs of having something that needs to be said, is systematically infiltrated by undercover cops (in the UK) and has their public marches locked down into insignificance in the name of homeland defence.

With the main media comprehensively controlled by corporations to the point that it is effectively self censoring with the result that almost everyone lives in a dreamworld.

Bingo! So you can talk all you want because the TPTB are secure in their knowledge that the chances of what you are saying might actually cause the masses to rise against them, demanding real change to the status quo, are slim to nil.
So you are free to speak! Their propaganda and brain washing apparatus is many orders of magnitude more efficient than any squeaky little voice that might suggest that we wake up from our dreamworld. I suspect it will take something like massive shortages of food and power outages to shake the people out of their sleepwalking state and by then it will probably be too late anyway.

Of course one has to imagine that the TPTB must be somewhat concerned about the straws that recently broke the Egyptian camel's back...

Perhaps after a few people set themselves afire on the National Mall or the Capital steps..........

Here in the UK there are mutterings by almost everybody - Have you seen the price of food/petrol recently?

This is just a mere inconvenience to the middle classes and above. We are bombarded with news of government spending cuts so we feel lucky if we still have jobs. Don't complain/knuckle down.

Of course, increasing numbers of us don't have jobs. There is a strong undercurrent blaming immigrants and/or Muslims for just about everything these days. These are the groups that are going to get it in the neck when the poor find it increasingly difficult to put food on the table. At present, low interest rates means that they are still charging the weekly shopping bill to their credit cards.

There are major redundancies in our London office. My own office is unlikely to avoid losing staff. Since I am now the only IT literate member of staff left, it is hard to see how an internet based organisation could cut my job...

There is a strong undercurrent blaming immigrants and/or Muslims for just about everything these days.

One thing for sure, no one is going to admit that they personally,
do not have a comprehensive understanding or even the barest of inklings
about how the whole system is put together or how it works or is supposed to work.

Politicians keep muttering the same sad song about more "education" and more "innovation".

The proles keep whaling the same mud slinging tune about the "others" (and the "them" and the "they") who are responsible for everything that unravels in the wrong way.

They all unite in a round robin cat chorus of "jobs, jobs, jobs", "memories of the way we were" and "drill baby drill me one more time, oops you did it again" as well as some feel-good "we are the world" sing songs.

Anger gets the better of you.
You grab one by the scruff and push 'em into the corner.
You stare wild eyed into their eyes and beseech of them:
Look retard, do you even know what "money" is, what "peak oil" is what overshoot and dieoff are?

It's too late,
Their eyes are glazed over again.
They are in the trance zone. Not hearing a thing you said.
Not caring.
Just singing and sobbing softly:

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let's start giving
There's a choice we're making
We're saving our own lives
It's true we'll make a better day
Just you and me
We are the world
We are the children

All of the elements are lining up for a National Socialist takeover, in the UK, the EU and the US. The Corporations have lined up on their side; "Commies" are being set up (even if there aren't very many of them) as scape goats, and guess who fills the role played by the Jews in 1930s Germany?

There is a strong undercurrent blaming immigrants and/or Muslims for just about everything these days.

The only real question is who will play Hitler? I have heard some local fundies saying it is Clinton (reacting to the upcoming MSNBC show noted: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/its-official-msnbc-declares-bill-clinton...). I think they are confusing "anti-Christ" with "Fuhrer."

IMHO, it would be one of the Right Wing Nuts broadcasting on Faux News or clear channel radio.


She said that with water shortages and oil running out [ in Egypt]

Just out of curiosity, do you think the average Hoosane Q. Public in Egypt knows about Peak Oil?

The answer in the USA for the average Joe SuperBowl Q. Public is a loud no, not a clue.

But what does the average Egyptian understand of oil, its discovery and depletion?

sb - As well as working with locals overseas I also tend to hang with the blue collar class when vacationing (locals usually now the best fun spots). My experiences may not be a good statistical cross section but I found that most folks in the poorer countries blame their lack of domestic resources on the richer economies that can out bid them for resources. In a sense many of these societies have been dealing with PO-like effects for decades. What often made it bearable to some degree was govt subsidy for basic commodities.

Hillary wasn't talking about oil running out in Egypt but rather oil running out throughout the middle east (ie Peak Oil). She was just repeating what she said about the subject last month.

Hillary was just repeating what she said about the subject (ie Peak Oil) last month.

That should not surprise. After all, Billy Boy (Clinton) has publicly admitted he's known about PO for quite some time.

However, his snark (or should I say arkanss?) dismissal of the problem is that it is not a "voting issue".

The politico's know they've got to keep feeding cotton candy to the voting child-dults.

Otherwise, the children of the corn (& ethanol) will turn on them.

The answer in the USA for the average Joe SuperBowl Q. Public is a loud no, not a clue.

That's right, only a tiny percentage of the population in the US understands and knows what is happening and coming hard to a town near everybody regarding peak oil. When the jets fly over the Super Bowl tomorrow, tears will fill people's eyes as they sing and the home of the brave! And they will think this is the greatest country on the planet (even though the middle class are shrinking super fast and the debt is skyrocketing, with desperate hail mary's in the form of QE's to try and prop up BAU just a little while longer), but the reality is this Empire is devolving in complexity and some day those jets will not fly and those Super Bowls will not be played.

"those Super Bowls will not be played"

Meh. There were Super Bowl equivalents famously being played two millennia before the really big fossil fuel blowout of the 20th century, and on a lesser scale for who knows how many more millennia. As Juvenal put it long ago (Satires X):

...iam pridem, ex quo suffragia nulli vendimus, effudit curas; nam qui dabat olim imperium, fasces, legiones, omnia, nunc se continet atque duas tantum res anxius optat, panem et circenses.

— meaning, roughly, "[a people] who once would never have sold their votes have long since ceased to care; they who once bestowed commands, consulships, legions, and all else, now care about only the two things that are all they long for — bread and circuses." A modern incarnation might be all those cities that supposedly can't find money to plow the snow or run the schools, but nonetheless never run short of money to subsidize multimillion dollar a year ballplayers, typically by way of absurd sweetheart deals on stadiums. Some things never change no matter how many millennia pass by, no matter how many empires come and go.

I guess to me the "Stupor Bowl" isn't that much different than what went on at the Roman Colosseum. Except perhaps that the gladiators would in some cases deliver a coup de grace, and that doesn't happen in football. But it would undoubtedly be popular for ratings if they were to add such a feature to the game.

And all the players back then got multi-million dollar contracts to for throwing a ball around the field and dancing in the end zone. LMAO.

Don't get me wrong. I watch the game. But the irony of what they do for all that money is astonishing.

I bet sports salaries are not going to rise so quickly anymore.

Just a hunch

Bread and Circus and Wealthy Gladiators (if they make it out of the arena alive).

Ironic imagery: Flavious Flay arrives home, victorious and bursting with gold coin from his stint in the arena to be greeted by his beautiful wife and children in their home town of Pompeii --on the day before ....

When the jets fly over the Super Bowl tomorrow,
and tears fill people's eyes
as they sing 'bout the home of the brave!
[and the Greatest most Exceptionalism refudiating nation on Earth!]

A show of power

Just like military jets flying over Cairo

Take that Mother Nature!

I still believe I can fly!
--Lyrics [ i.mage.+]

Ironic yes, but entirely within keeping of what I maintain fits neatly into the "Don't spook the herd" mentality. We're dancing precariously on the edge of a cliff edge that continues to crumble, but letting the "public" know isn't exactly high on the governments list. Knowing little details such as what Hillary said also applies to us, would engender the asking of way too many questions that the Government has no solutions for. Factored into that would be the what seems the obvious fact that it that the majority of the "Public" seems to NOT want to know.

Pending information to the contrary, I'm not changing my opinion that the Government has already decided to just "pick up the pieces" rather than trying to answer questions it has no practical answers or solutions too...

I recently published an assessment of what is likely to happen in the Mideast with the title of Egypt's Grim Future.

I wrote that in spare moments between meetings with Congressional staff over the last two weeks. My business partner, Beth Becker, and I are playing a key role in helping Progressive grassroots and our 76 member House caucus work together more closely.

We're running a policy news operation called Progressive Congress News, it's got an energy policy feed you can follow as @PCNEnergy on Twitter and I'm told that 90% of our nearly 700 mailing list subscribers are staffers.

The next step with this thing is going to be fostering people doing analytical policy oriented briefs for each area. Much of the inspiration for this comes from having my career as a renewable energy research launched right here in the daily Blogger Beating, err, Drumbeat :-)

I just read your piece over at Daily Kos.
Keep going; the more you can get people to refer to the evidence the better. BTW I understand from Al Jazeera that Israel gets 40% of its NG from/through Egypt.

Gail Tverberg's recent Egypt ToD piece that you link to, was also on her blog. My interest has been trends in world food, and Gail was kind enough to put a link on her blog to a twin-post that I had done for ToD a while back. (I had put a comment on her blog about water and problematic agriculture in the MENA region.)
You might find useful some of the info in my old post, Part 1, and I recommend a 1999 paper by Dyson that I used as a benchmark. He had usefully done forward projections from 1999 to 2025, region by region. He got some of it right, and where subsequent actuality has veered off this last 10 years, that itself seems instructive. Dyson put MENA down for inevitable increasing grain imports. Although grain entering international markets is still a smallish minority of total world production, an increasing amount is needed in those markets.
For example, quote below from Dyson 1999 (I know from my own professional experience that Egypt and Jordan have been trying very hard to grow and sell upmarket horticultural and specialist products in the EU, but that, IMO, is unlikely to 'cut-it' for the future):

[Dyson 1999 ... ] Most countries in the region are likely to be able to finance most of their imports. For example, some have oil reserves or benefit from tourism. Other countries, such as Egypt, will finance their imports partly through the export of specialist foods to Europe, where they already provide rising competition for growers in locations like Spain and Greece.
However, Sudan is one major country that will almost certainly
have difficulty in purchasing sufficient cereal supplies.

Dyson,1999, World food trends and prospects to 2025 can be accessed at http://www.pnas.org/content/96/11/5929.full.pdf+html
My old posts are “How Might we be Fed?” Part 1 http://www.theoildrum.com/node/5181 and Part 2. http://www.theoildrum.com/node/5182

best of luck

Re Daily Kos' "Egypt's Grim Future"

Subsidies for fuel and crude imports are a big problem. More details here:

Egypt - the convergence of oil decline, political and socio-economic crisis





Report: Hackers penetrated Nasdaq computer network

NEW YORK — The computer network that runs the Nasdaq Stock Market has been penetrated by hackers multiple times during the past year, according to a newspaper report.

The source was Russia, but of course, you can cover your tracks in cyberspace, and make it look like you're coming from somewhere you're not.

New York wasn't the only target.

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.

See http://www.theoildrum.com/node/7436#comment-763925

and DNS: Global Stock Exchanges Under Threat of Cyber Attacks

and Swedish Intelligence Agency Cautions against Increased Cyber-Attacks

I think it's called asymmetric warfare. As with 9/11, they only have to succeed once. The question to ask is who has the most to gain?

In 2007, Chinese hackers believed to be associated with the PLA carried out a notable attack on Pentagon computer networks, which lasted several weeks. They managed to overcome vigorous defense efforts put up by U.S. military computer experts and accessed the unclassified computer system that supports the Secretary of Defense. To avoid further damage, Pentagon IT security specialists were forced to shut down the network to carry out maintenance in an off-line mode. This incident prompted the creation of the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force, which is credited with the detection of the most recent Chinese cyber penetration of the White House computer network. The Financial Times reported in early November 2008 that Chinese hackers accessed the White House computer network on a number of occasions to steal e-mail messages between government officials.

ProPublica: Anatomy of a Gas Well: What Happened When a Well Was Drilled in a National Forest

A U.S. Forest Service report chronicles the damage done by a gas well in the Monongahela National Forest, deep in the mountains of West Virginia.

OPEC, oil majors still cautious on investment

OPEC Secretary General Abdullah al-Badri said this week the 12-member group would spend $155 billion on projects coming on stream between 2010 and 2014, which would add 12 million barrels per day (bpd) of gross production capacity.

But much of that is likely to go into maintaining output at existing fields rather than developing new ones. Top exporter Saudi Arabia spends billions each year to hold capacity where it is, said Paul Tossetti, senior energy adviser at PFC Energy.

"When you look at the Saudis, they've basically finished their incremental oil capacity increases," he said. "I don't see much in the way of OPEC capacity increases in the next few years, aside from Iraq."

That is the most interesting, and honest, thing I have seen come out of OPEC in years. But that is what most have also been saying for years. Saudi Arabia, like the Red Queen, must run as fast as they can just to stay in the same place, or at least that's the case according to PFC Energy's Paul Tossetti.

Ron P.

Ron, the interesting and honest part comes from PFC Energy, and that's not OPEC.

From OPEC comes the message:

the 12-member group would spend $155 billion on projects coming on stream between 2010 and 2014, which would add 12 million barrels per day (bpd) of gross production capacity.

And 'add' for most people certainly doesn't mean 'compensate for decline' and I think al-Badri states that OPEC in 2014 has 12 mb/d more capacity than now.

In other words, we're not going to see any significant increases.

12 mb/d is offsetted by 3.5-4 mb/d in depletion, per year.
4 times 4 is, as we know, 16. So there is a shortfall of 4 mb/d which non-OPEC has to fill. And what will, tar sands? It will add no more than 2 mb/d in ten years.
NGL? Maybe in 10 years. And by that time the depletion will be even heavier.

And add to this the increasing internal consumption of the countries, further eroding their net exports as well as increasing global demand.

Peak Oil is already here, but we're witnessing it's first, slow and 'gentle' effects. Robert Hirsch stated that "between 2012-2015" the global, undeniable effects would be felt by all. The U.S. Joint Operating Environment 2010 report(the collective intelligence report for all the armed forces)said that by 2012 extra supplies could have all but been met and by 2015 the shortfall would be ten(10) mb/d. The german army has even said it happened in 2010, although this remains in doubt. That it has happened or will happened very, very shortly is beyond doubt, though.

The question now is not if, but when, and even within a relatively short and narrow timespan.

And, as a final note, one should remember the lower energy intensity of NGL, CTL and tar sands. All liquids production is used to disguise the crisis at hands.

I saw this story a few days ago:
Wikipedia editors are predominately male

One theory is that only males have the anal retentive commitment to maintaining the structure of Wikipedia. They learn this at an early age through fact-based hobbies like baseball card collections and they retain this throughout their life.

I think things get weird when you mix this with a sense of territorialism, which is a perfect description of Wikipedia. My description of Wikipedia entries is all these little enclaves of facts that a self-selected group consisting of 89% male editors lord over. Its essentially a continuation of a hobby similar to toy-soldiers in which they are protecting their domain from invasion from other toy soldiers.

I bring this up partly because the "Peak Oil" entry in Wikipedia is really pretty bad. In the first paragraph, there is this statement:

The aggregate production rate from an oil field over time usually grows exponentially until the rate peaks and then declines—sometimes rapidly—until the field is depleted. This concept is derived from the Hubbert curve,...

I suppose this can happen but individual fields rarely fit the classic Hubbert shape. This makes the description qualitatively wrong and it should probably be modified.

The next sentence is:

Peak oil is often confused with oil depletion; peak oil is the point of maximum production while depletion refers to a period of falling reserves and supply.

"Confused" is not the right word to use; "associated" is a much better word. Confusion implies that someone does not know what they are talking about. If you go visit the wikipedia link to "oil depletion", the entry there describes a more logical view that the classic peak curve comes from depletion of a range in fields, contrary to what the "peak oil" entry says.

In the second paragraph:

According to the Hubbert model, the production rate of a limited resource will follow a roughly symmetrical logistic distribution curve (sometimes incorrectly compared to a bell-shaped curve) based on the limits of exploitability and market pressures.

This is bizarre in the fact that they say that the logistic is "incorrectly compared to a bell-shaped curve" when the logistic curve is only a heuristic to begin with, and you can safely compare anything you want to a heursistic.

I am venting here because the gnomes at the Wikipedia entry guard their toy soldiers with much persistence. Try changing anything and you will be met with resistance.

You can get a general idea of what Peak Oil is all about from the Wikipedia but pity the person who tries to make logical sense or do some serious analysis with it.

It is entirely possible that the Peak Oil entry is fouled up because there does not exist a definitive text which builds up the theory from the ground up and removes little room for ambiguity. Like a typical entry surrounding some subjective topic, the entry is filled with people's interpretations of what is happening instead of just stating the scientific or statistical principles behind the effect. See the entry for Kirchhoff's_circuit_laws for an entry that you can't really argue with. So the problem is that this self-policed state of Wikipedia works well when a solid logical foundation exists but breaks badly when subjective interpretations take root. That is the problem with the Peak Oil entry, it is all based on an intuitive understanding, and intuition does not always hold.

Wikipedia has been a perpetual pain in my you know what. We have content we'd like to push out there, but we finally just gave up and started doing some things that were open, but where we controlled the editorial policy. It got really old being the authoritative source for some particular topic and constantly having stuff marked for deletion because ... well ... we were never really sure.

Some of it was certainly ideological - try to make an entry for a rising political figure and the nonsense is just overwhelming. But in other cases with things that ought to not be so difficult the same thing would happen. It's like the parents of the YouTube haters run the place.

The usual reason for removing edits is because of violation of linking polices. For instance, you can't link to blogs or personal sites. Yet the "peak oil" entry has obvious links to Matt Savinar's website, which when you click on the reference to predictions of future oil production starts with the line "Dear Reader, Civilization as we know it is coming to an end soon." Obviously the consistency of enforcement is not there (or somebody hasn't checked the link lately). Also, nothing wrong with linking to another Wikipedia entry, even though that entry may be nonsense.

Its the physical embodiment of CalvinBall, which sure enough has a Wikipedia entry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calvinball:

When asked how to play, Watterson states, "It's pretty simple: you make up the rules as you go."

I notice they're starving for donations just like every other online venture these days. Perhaps a culture change is in the works? Or will it go distributed, with those who wish to define reality for the masses hosting their own well trafficked wikis?

I like the http://AzimuthProject.org Wiki.

They are definitely willing to accommodate interesting ideas and it is really part of their charter.

The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. -- Wikipedia's No Original Research policy page.

Sums it up, methinks.

That policy doesn't parse. All you need is an http://arxiv.com/ paper and you are set. The wikipedia people don't realize that ARXIV papers are not all peer-reviewed.

So if you want to beat the system, write an ARXIV paper or some alternative obscure paper and then link to it. It's just an arbitrary hoop that one has to jump through.

My point exactly. I only use Wikipedia to check up on stuff that isn't strictly all that important e.g. fictional articles, or to find links to things I can check from the biblio, such as hyperlinks to actual papers or websites dealing in the topic proper.

You're always probably better finding a dedicated Wiki site for whatever niche subject you require, such as the Star Wars one, or evolution one, given they tend to be manned by less anal people who also happen to know more about the field they dedicate time too.

Not to mention the whole purpose of the site is built on the logical fallacy called 'argument from popularity'. This is to put it bluntly like saying X is true because Y amount of people believe it is so are you saying Y amount of people are wrong?

I suppose this can happen but individual fields rarely fit the classic Hubbert shape. This makes the description qualitatively wrong and it should probably be modified.

They write that the concept can be derived from the Hubbert curve, which already means that production doesn't have to fit exactly the Hubbert shape.

That is the problem with the Peak Oil entry, it is all based on an intuitive understanding, and intuition does not always hold.

At least they make clear that oilproduction starts to drop long before all the reserves are gone. That is for most people enough to know.

They write that the concept can be derived from the Hubbert curve, which already means that production doesn't have to fit exactly the Hubbert shape.

The Hubbert curve is currently used as a heuristic and so nothing can be derived from it. That is the nature of the heuristic, it just describes something without explaining it. This essentially reinforces my point that no fundamental argument or mathematical foundation exists.

Take the statement that the entry makes, that the growth from a single field rises exponentially until the rate peaks. This is not true for a single field but of course falls out from the Hubbert Logistic curve, which does rise exponentially. So they are arguing for some derivation w/o realizing that both the premise is invalid and that it doesn't match the real measurements. So the information is doubly hosed.

Take the statement that the entry makes, that the growth from a single field rises exponentially until the rate peaks.

There are enough examples of individual fields with exponentional growth, not until the peak, but just as in the Hubbert curve and that is what their statement wants to make clear IMO.

So the information is doubly hosed.

I agree that the Hubbert curve cannot be accurate, but I'm sure that your theoretically past peak production curve won't happen in practice. Above ground factors have influenced pre peak production and the same will happen past peak, being geopolical and economic factors two of the most important.

It's not exponential growth. It is usually hyperbolic. You are just regurgitating what you read.

It's not exponential growth. It is usually hyperbolic. You are just regurgitating what you read.

Somehow you have it right; I'm not a mathematical expert. So I looked for the difference:

Seen mathematically, a hyperbolic function, unlike an exponential one, displays singularities - points at which infinity is reached in finite time. But a limited quantity cannot, after all, become infinite. In other words, the effects of limitation will be felt long before those caracteristic of a given singularity can ever set in. We therefore never have a chance to observe this crucial difference between exponential and hyperbolic growth.

From the last article:

"In fact, Hertsgaard’s reporting makes me wonder if there isn’t more hope for the Sahel than for the vulnerable South and Southwest of the United States. After all, why prepare for something — much less try to halt it — if you refuse to believe it’s happening?"

That pretty much sums up the situation for most of the world with respect to most of our predicaments over most of the last few decades, Southerners (generally) and most Republicans in office seem to be something of global leaders in denial.

Arizona appears to be on the verge of tumbling into disorder. Assassination attempt on Congresswoman Giffords, Brisenia Flores shot down at age nine when Minutemen, who thought they were robbing a drug house to further fund their private war against Mexicans, invaded her family home instead, and the underlying assumptions regarding the state's economy are just plain wrong.

This DailyKos diary entitled Arizona Sinks, Deck Chairs Arranged pretty much lays it out - their only industries are building unsustainable housing for people who are very shortly not going to be able to afford to travel, and tourism which will be subject to similar dynamics ... even if the place weren't so dangerous.

We've seen something similar with North Dakota, which was settled during a historically wet time but is now slowly draining of population. Unlike this remote, uncontested ground Arizona is full of people and bordered by a nation full of people who'd like to come here.

Technically, when the Arizona sank no one had time to arrange deck chairs. The explosion would have knocked them off the deck anyway. The Titanic had time to arrange deck chairs and for the band to play.

Let's hope Arizona, the state, does not follow the example of Arizona, the battleship.

Gee, if Arizona has sunk then California has already burnt to the ground. Last I looked that state was nothing more than a welfare agency for the world's poor.

And if the DoD/DOE/MIC budget were to seriously decline we would see how many people were chuping on the government teat, and how many of these people would be foreclosed upon and living in low-rent warrens.

Not just paper-pushing government employees, but their legions of PowerPoint Ranger contractors as well. I guess its not considered welfare if you get paid big bucks for 'work' which is non-productive for society.

Don't forget the hit on all those productive, hard-working folks invested in MIC stocks, practicing their private enterprise investment in the socialist/corporatist iron triangle of the military (uniformed and civil servants), contractors, and government officials and lobbyists.

Yes, slash the DoD budgets as well. Northern Virginia's economy is some sort of aberration, wholly dependent upon the federal government.

We shall see if BAU (all across the board) gets a kick in the @$$ when the vote for raising the debt ceiling comes up this spring.

Time to follow the British lead, IMO.

In his recent video from The Nation series, Orlov basically proposed that CA secede from the union, since they weren't getting back from the feds anything like what they were putting in in tax money.

The states reaping a windfall by not paying in nearly what they get out of the fed are mostly (and ironically) the reddest states.

dohboi - I’m always curious when some folks talk about succession. Hear a lot of talk like that in Texas, ya know. They never quit fill in the details. Can a state succeed without all the populace giving up their citizenship? Is it 51%? 90%? Do you deport folks who don’t give up their citizenship? Do you expect the U.S. to recognize your right to trade with it? What if the U.S embargos critical supplies? Do your new “citizens” give up their Social Security benefits since they are now longer citizens?

Lots of details never offered. Just “I’m gonna keep what I have” chatter. Beginning a new country might be a tad more difficult than one might imagine IMHO.

rockman, No need to wonder about what it really looks like. Pais Basco, Catalonia, watch the Flemish. This stuff is not theoretical in European nations. It's cool to live there and watch the process. Remember, Ireland was only recently a true Brit colony...

The Catalan strategy, which works in a parliamentary system where political alliances are made to create power blocks, was to get increasing control over the language, schools, return of taxes to the Catalan state, each time the governing group required their help to get and hold power. Same idea, we pay more in, we want to get our share, the others are slackers and don't contribute as much, we're smarter than them, blah heh... Like, yeah, sure, we'll hook up with your party, for a price. The Basques have been even more successful. The Catalan nationalist party didn't care much which party it allied with, as long as that party paid the price required, which they would do, since it was either make the deal or not get the power.

They use the incremental model. The idea is increasing degrees of autonomy in exchange for political favors. It works, or was working last time I was there. Most of the questions you asked really weren't relevant to the reality, since it was an incremental process.

Speaking for myself, I'd love to see the USA break up into more coherent blocks, west coast is a logical one, Texas another. And then we can leave the rest to stew in their own christian rightwing talk radio fueled juices, though they'd probably immediately go to the military option as soon as it became obvious that zealotry and radical fundamentalism just don't make for very successful statehoods.

But outside of wishful thinking, the process actually seems to work pretty well in Europe.

In the US of course, lacking a democratic system where you can actually get representation and more importantly, power, as a political minority, our options are far more restricted. Bad decision on the part of our founding fathers, I wish I could travel back in time and show them the disaster of politics when it becomes the tyranny of the brainwashed majority.

h2 - The bad news: this ain't the EU. Oof course, for many of us, that's also the good news. However ugly you see the future of the U.S. the EU will be much worse IMHO. Free California won't be much of a threat to the Eu but the United States will be another matter.

I'd say any changes to come are going to happen in totally unexpected ways.

Near term it's hard to see anything positive though politically in the USA, unless you consider a non-stop barrage of instigation to violence from the neo-con far right, resulting in, surprise, violence, as a positive. That model is tried and true, admittedly, worked well for the brown shirts too. Personally I'd suggest anyone with any integrity distance themselves from such types, unless that's the future you want of course.

Main structural problem the EU will face is lack of domestically produced resources. Main positive: a reasonably coherent political system, and reasonably rational voters who actually understand things when pushed, and of course, a sense of place, of history, mental, linguistic horizons broader than the local walmart parking lot or corporate funded tv/radio shows...

Almost the opposite of the US, oddly.

As a Greek friend of mine noted, Greece for instance, knows what fighting for ones rights means, they have done it in the 20th century, they know the stable can roll over almost instantly into civil war and chaos. Americans don't. I score that US, 0, experience, 1.

But if we start climbing out of this hole we've dug ourselves, we might find that while Europe has had its ups and downs before, and has survived them, the US hasn't, yet. So I give odds on Europe, still. Not at current populations, but it doesn't take much to shrink a non-sustainable population, that's what non sustainable means after all...

The USA has never seen or experienced any model that involves finite resources, and they simply do not have the mindset to understand what that is going to mean on every level of life, politics, everything. All the USA knows is consumption, and that's the wrong model to get out of this pit we have dug ourselves. And that goes back to the very beginning, when the initial brit colonists stole already prepped farm land from the local Indians, since that was so much easier than doing it yourself...

I think the speed of change might catch people way off guard. Lots of scenarios out there, but nobody will know which one will appear in the real world.

Remember, the Roman Empire crumbled, moved, went East, but Italy was still there, in simpler form, and it came back, several times over the centuries. All without oil or steel, so I think it's a bit over the top to insist on a future that resembles a non-sustainable present. Most euro towns are already built around non-car cores. Takes not so much to go back a bit, climb up a bit rather than dig further down. What's, say, Phoenix going to do? LA? Dallas? Atlanta? Better think of something quick, they are running out of time, water, oil, and everything else required to sustain the non-sustainable.

My new notion: forget this 'peak' nonsense, admit the truth, we have dug ourselves down deep into a hole, and digging deeper isn't going to get us out of it. First countries to understand this win long term... that country is NOT going to be the USA as currently constituted, not the way money and politics are now intertwined in a sick embrace but that won't help when the time comes for rational decision making and social allocation of resources becomes a necessity, not something to debate about in online chats.

With greatest respect, always...

What is interesting is how Europe has already gone through a collapse of its own, in a way.

In the first half of the twentieth century they exhausted themselves with two wars and had to abandon the empires, etc. So the only model that really worked after that was welfare socialism, and they still had alot of wealth built up over the centuries to make it work.

Here in the U.S. other than the Civil War we have never really undergone a collapse. See that's the thing. I mean you look at almost every other major, powerful country on the globe - U.K., France, Germany, Russia, China, Japan, etc. all of them have undergone various collapses in the twentieth century, so the people are used to it, the memory runs deep and they can probably handle it better. Peak oil may not even compare with being bombed to smithereens, or having Communists take over your nation, etc.

It's now America's turn which is so frightening.

I don't pretend to know the mechanisms for secession in the US. But I might point out that Southern Sudan just had a plebiscite and voted to secede.

I think the main point is that as things really start going to hell, the advantage of being in a union becomes less and less apparent.

The U.S. has much better ways to cope with PO out of a resource basis. It has a real, genuine military and loads and loads of NGL and still quite some Oil. Plus, Canada will supply it with more (although not a huge deal more).

It also has a lot of arable land for it's population, while Europe, especially Germany and Britain are already overpopulated today. The U.S. does have a crap leadership though, more interested in the welfare of Israel than the security of it's own nation. Many americans are also quite ignorant and are not mentally wired to deal psychologically with decline since the story of America has essentially been non-stop ascendancy for it's entire existance. That will now change, for the first time in the collective mind.

It's true that Europe has the infrastructure to do it's business without cars using public transport and trains, but it will also face serious ethnic strife, particularly people from the MENA(Middle East and North Africa) area, most of whom are muslims.

As I think the U.S. will do. It's certainly possible that the U.S. will be divided, but I would bet it will be so more along lines of race rather than geography, at least as the primary driver.

We saw what happened during Katrina. Once crisis comes, the changes that sweep the nation are almost instant and all the nice theories of multicultural harmony is thrown out of the window. See prisons for the true nature of mankind where there is no political pressure to conform. People are instantly divided by race. And don't discount tens of millions of Mexican refugees coming into places like Arizona and Nevada, whom both just have had it with illegal immigrants.

Multicultural socities have always been a flop. See Jugoslavia, Lebanon and many others for reference. In times of prosperity, there is tension, but life somehow moves(limps) on. In times of genuine crisis: dissolvement and civil war along racial (and, sometimes) religious lines.

h2 - I agree with much of your observation. Especially about the memory of shared sacrifices many older EU citizens can draw upon. And it's this lack of such experiences by so many U.S. citizens is what makes us all the more dangerous. The "greatest generation" that shared such sacrifices with so many Europians during WWII are all but gone. What remains are a very large group of folks who think not having a 60" flat screen is a sacrifice and that someone is to blame for this tragedy. These are the folks who the rest of the world expects to take a fair and even hand when the worse effects of PO begin to materialize?

Also a little warning: the willingness to spread pain in any effort to maintaine BAU will be just as readily supported by the political left as the right IMHO. Selfishness is not defined by political party affilitaion in this country. The verbage might give that appearance...actions won't.

I don't get it. The life expectancy isn't that different in the US vs. the UK. Why are there older people who remember WWII in Europe, but not in the US?

I don't think it was meant as an individual memories, more cultural. Anyone who remembers living through those times would be well into their 70's now, which isn't a massive chunk of the demographic.

I think it is more of a cultural memory from a time when the whole nation was potentially only days away from being invaded. The Battle of Britain still manages to have some resonance. The closest that I can think of is Pearl Harbour on a national and multi-year scale.

I believe he means that children in this country did not experience the privations of war like the children in europe.

Well I was seven years old when the war ended but I remember that well. I remember a few other things, like getting word that a neighbor's son had been killed.

But I can very well understand how Europeans my age would have a far more vivid memory of the war than I. They were bombed, we were not.

Ron P.

That, I can believe. The war was not fought on US soil (aside from Pearl Harbor).

But there was rationing during the war here in the US. And my grandparents were quite poor, but they still gave their kids money to buy war bonds at school.

In the US only the young (and not so young) men and women who went fighting overseas faced significant hardship. This was a tiny percentage of the US population, and most of them are now dead.

In the UK and most of Europe, anyone born before about 1937 will have active memory of the direct war effects on some member of their family, and the considerable hardships and community spirit that affected everybody. It took at least a decade for the UK to get over the war economically, and longer (if at all) psychologically.

My parents are in their 80s. They were directly affected by the war. It changed their whole lives, and made them bring me up with a view to shepherding resources which has helped me mentally adapt to limits to growth.

People younger than me (48) do not have this second generation effect. They will not adapt so well.

WWII happened on the ground in Europe it didn't happen that way in the US, my hunch is that makes a big difference. My own grandparents and parents had to flee their homes in Europe and experienced the war first hand and have passed those stories on to us, their children. My friends and neighbors whose parents lived through the war in the US did not have those same experiences and people my age who are their children never heard those stories first hand. Very different experiences and memories. For example I was in Hungary recently and visited the place where my grandfather was a political prisoner during the war. My mother had to escape through Germany at night walking long distances in the forests in the middle of winter while she was just a little girl.

THANKS ALL..for clarifying what I didn't. Maybe that shared memory of the war isn't all that universal in the EU. But on this subject I'm very prejudiced by what I saw on a trip to Belgium about a dozen years ago: farmers' plows still turn up unexploded ordinance FROM WWI. They have a standard protocol for dealing with the problem: the farmers set the round up against a telephone pole at the nearest public road. The Belgium military periodically sweeps the roads and take the round to a blast site to destroy it. Once I knew they were there I did see several instances first hand. While on the tour we ate lunch at a rest. near a crossroads where over 1 million combatants were killed within an 10 mile radius. Lots of graphic pictures on the wall. When was the last time you ate breakfast at Denny's and saw pictures of dead Marines laying on the flanks of Mt. Suribachi? I wouldn't say the Europeans were obsessed with war memories but there are many reminders just hanging out there.

In the U.S. when was the last time you neighbor pulled a 88 mm round out of their vegetable patch. Along the same lines how many folks have had a distant French relative killed in an Allied bombing raid? A little know bit of war trivia: about 40,000 French civilians were killed by Allied fire within the first few weeks on the Normandy invasion: the Germans occupied the French towns...the Allies needed to kill Germans...so the Allies killed French towns. Just one more very good reason to avoid war if at all possible.

Re: Electric cars to hit Alberta roads, up top:

Bertel Schmitt over at TTAC has a piece up on the article called "Alberta: EVs Could Kill Canada’s Oil Sand Mines, And Jobs"


Commenters mostly think it's a silly idea. I agree.

Commenter "wmba" explains why there is an oil glut at Cushing forcing WTI $10 below Brent. Turns out it's the main outlet for Tar Sands oil for now and since there is no pipeline to get it to Gulf refineries it piles up.

I have several relatives in the oil and gas biz in Calgary, and recently visited. Pickup trucks and the car analogue, the Infiniti G37, abound and the provincial government spends megabucks trying to get the US to buy more oil from tar sands. Right now, California is about to swear off “dirty” tar sand oil, because it doesn’t meet their eco-outlook. Good luck finding a friendly replacement supplier elsewhere for the over two million barrels a day we send the US. As the Chinese have already said, if the US doesn’t want it, we do and are willing to build a pipeline to the West Coast to get it. But that would have to pass through tree-hugger BC and take forever to get approved, so exporting the stuff to the US is the cheapest way to go and the path of er, um, least resistance, shall we say.

Sounds like the Californication of the Alberta Tar Sands to me.


x, I don't like the sound of California (where we live) rejecting tar sand oil for two reasons. The first is CA has its own fuel mixes which increases the price at the pump over neighboring states, so we are paying more to begin with. The other is if we don't use the cheaper tar sand oil we'll be using Brent or some other more expensive oil and that will raise the price at the pumps as well. Why not just add on a higher state fuel tax and we'll permanently be over 4 a gallon. I like CA because it seems Europeanish (with wineries, ski slopes, european melting pot, upscale restaurants), but I don't want it to seem that much like Europe, i.e. at the pumps. Give me some of that old fashioned tar sand earl.

Tar sands are 5% sulfur by weight. There is a growing sulfur mound near Athabasca in Alberta. There is good picture on Google Earth. Alberta will be a large surface dump for elemental sulfur if they produce all the tar sands.

Sulfur is actually a valuable commodity used to make fertilizer, and in the chemical and mining industries.

Alberta is one of the world's largest producers of sulfur, with its largest market being China (the world's largest consumer of sulfur). The U.S., India, and countries in southeast Asia are also major market areas.

Most of Alberta's sulfur production comes from sour gas plants. In the long term, production of sulfur is expected to remain flat because increasing production from oil sands upgrading will simply replace decreasing production from sour gas plants.

Gunpowder is a mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate.

We like wars here in America. So there you go. A nice sink for all that elemental sulfur.

Maybe that was the plan after all.

Smithsonian Magazine Looks Ahead 40 years


Another (albeit minor) supply disruption:

ARCADIA, Ohio — A train carrying ethanol derailed early Sunday morning in Hancock County, causing a large fire and forcing people from their homes.

The derailment occurred around 2:15 a.m. and at least one tanker car was burning.


CNN now reporting 15 of 18 Ethanol tankers now burning. Of concern is a nearby ammonia storage facility and major electrical transmission lines.

Israel Worries About Gas Pipeline Feb 4 << TEL AVIV—Turmoil in Egypt is fanning concern in Israel that a new government in Cairo might shut down the natural-gas pipeline that fuels as much as one-fourth of Israel's electricity network. >>


Jordan forced to use fuel reserves for power Feb 6 << The gas pipeline to Jordan that contributes about 80% of the country's power generating capacity, was attacked on Saturday, forcing Egyptian authorities to cut off and isolate the flow. >>

The threads that bind us....

We hear about wars for oil, though it is clear that most nations can't afford conflict because of their utter reliance on other nations' resources, pipelines, canals, etc.. What isn't clear is what will happen when these threads begin to unravel. If our energy interdependence is a stabilizing force for peace, what will be the effect of increasingly constrained energy supplies and future difficulties in distribution? Is there a MOL for energy imposed peace?

More coverage: here and here

A major theme,IMO.
Modern economies need growth,and can not afford war or the breaks in the network. Does not mean there will be no wars, I guess.

What? A little too late to worry. Did they think that Mubarak would live forever or there was very little chance of a new government that would be less friendly to Israel?

Agreed. As sourly amusing as it is to see the Israelis lose their sh*t, what did they expect? That a nation of 7 million people could permanently dominate a nation of 80 million? That members of religion B could continue to steal land from, imprison and murder members of religion A, while surrounded by larger nations mostly made up of people from religion A?

I'd say it's time for them to really start thinking about negotiating for a lasting peace, but that train may have sailed decades ago. Oh well.

That a nation of 7 million people could permanently dominate a nation of 80 million?

I've thought about what would have happened if Egypt had managed to stabilize its population at 20 million in 1950. Would their population be much better off by now? Hell yes. Would their leadership be happy? No. Not at all.

They would have started panicking decades ago. "We're falling behind! Israel/Libya/Sudan is going to invade us! We're stagnating!" etc. I bet many in the Egyptian government are secretly pleased their population has grown to 80 million, and hopes this growth can continue far into the future, because they believe it gives them an edge over their enemies, Israel in particular.

Israel is in turn trying to boost their population too of course, but considering what a tiny country they are I think 7 million is near their limit.

Looming oil shock could hit the economy

An influential analysis by US economist James Hamilton says recessions have followed all but one of the 12 oil supply disruptions (except the second Gulf war in 2003) since World War II. There has only been one recession (1960) that was not preceded by oil market disruption.

But then the article goes on to argue that the oil shock effect is out of proportion of what it should be. That is, that oil price should not affect the economy nearly as much as it does, that the shock is brought on by people's perceptions.

Hamilton suggests the reason why oil price shocks have such reverberation is partly because of their effect on consumer confidence -- petrol is a frequent and publicly priced purchase, so people are both aware and sensitive to its movement.

He says it also has multiplier effects, with consumers reacting to rising oil prices by cutting motor vehicle purchases, which then flows through the manufacturing industry.

So there you are folks, $150 oil will have very little effect on the economy if we just ignore it.

Ron P.

Well you had me read this story based on the beginning and then the author went bananas with the whole idea that oil supply constraints are a psychosomatic problem.

Let me try this theory out. I will no longer pay for oil with money. I will ask them to put refined oil products into my tank for free since it doesnt matter much.I am sure the Oil Co. will no longer care about oil revenue since oil does not matter.

The whole media blitz to undermine the high oil prices narrative is looking rather obvious this go around.

Boy are they trying hard. And in retrospect these authors will look like a gaggle of fools.

Maybe this recession will be a nasty one as people begin to see a hopeless pattern. They got to space out the recessions more; that must be the media angle, but they cannot hold off the recession with mere words. They cannot make the economy less reliant on oil with a news story piece. LOL

Yes I keep hearing the same argument from aquaintances: (1) "Expensive oil won't be a problem because gasoline or heating oil is such a small part of people's daily expenses"; or (2) "Products from China are shipped ìn containers on boats, and fuel costs are thus just a small fraction of the total cost of the product".

While both these statements are true for people in the Western world, there are strong reasons why sustained $150 oil will negatively affect the world economy.
$150 oil would probably:
(1) kill off a significant portion the airline industry.
(2) kill a significant portion of the tourism industry.
(3) reduce sales of airplanes.
(4) reduce sales of SUV and other gas-guzzlers such as RVs.
(5) reduce sales of power boats, ATV`s, snowmobiles, etc.
(6) reduce sales of RV`s
(7) reduce the value of recreational properties.
(8) increase the price of food.
(9) increase unemployment.
(10) reduce wages for workers in non-energy related businesses.
(11) reduce tax receipts for local, state, and federal goverments.
(12) increase the cost of extracting and smelting metals.
(12) .........

The interconnectiveness and energy intensity of all the parts that make up a modern economy are truly mind boogling. I think James Hamilton only looks at the direct energy costs to consumers, but fails to realize that high energy prices are akin to death by a thousand cuts.

If expensive oil won't be a problem then go ahead and slap a whopping tax on it to help refill government coffers and reduce the debt. Oh, they don't want to slap a tax on it because that will be a problem. -------Duh!


For those who are freezing in the US

Sydney Heatwave Continues

Sydney is currently experiencing another day of record breaking heat wave. Temperatures have hit 41c [106 F] in western Sydney while many other areas are sizzling in the high thirties. Temperatures have been over the 30 mark for six days now and the heat is showing no sign of letting up.

Record breaking high night-time temperatures have been causing havoc across the state. Dr Wayne Smith, NSW Director of Environmental Health has said that there has been an increase in heat related illnesses since the heat wave began on Monday.

and it's not all sunny beaches

from BBC Bushfires burn across parts of western Australia

Steam coal rises as oil climbs

As miners and Asian utilities gather for secretive annual talks this month, traders are betting that the next annual coal supply contracts, which run from April will see record prices agreed well above the peak of USD 125 per tonne set in 2008 ton 2009.

The most bullish coal traders and analysts believe the 2011 to 2012 contracts will be settled as high as USD 145 per tonne. More conservative traders put the contracts at about USD 130 per tonne in any case well above the 2010 to 2011 settlement of USD 98 per tonne.

The sharp jump in prices comes amid disruption to supplies in key exporting countries such as Australia and Colombia due to heavy rains. That disruption has coincided with a rebound in global demand. Spot, or physical, prices shot up to USD 140 per tonne in early January although they have fallen back since then to about USD 125

Montana lawmakers hear from military about dangers of relying on oil, coal

...[Vice Adm Dennis] McGinn (ret.) and Col. Bob Charette of the U.S. Marine Corps came to Helena last week at the invitation of Rep. Mike Phillips, D-Bozeman, and Sen. Ryan Zinke, R-Whitefish.

They met with legislative leaders, Gov. Brian Schweitzer and the media, and made a presentation to about 150 people at the Capitol Wednesday evening, including many legislators.

...McGinn said he has studied the science on climate change, and is convinced the science is valid.

He said while the issue has become highly politicized, he noted that 95 percent of climate-change scientists believe change is occurring and is caused by man-made greenhouse gases.

"If I'm a Marine captain in Afghanistan and I've got 95 percent of the intel reports telling me there's a likelihood of a Taliban ambush over the pass that I'm going to escort a fuel convoy on, and I've got five percent of those reports that are table-pounding intel saying ‘No problem,' who do you think I'm going to listen to?" he said.

Well that's fine if the military "gets it" but isn't the endgame becoming obvious?

As the American political system crumbles, the military will have to step in at some point. And they have the resources and organization to do it. Once that happens, confidence in Treasuries will plummet which will of course accelerate military control in a feedback loop.

This is the consequence of the military industrial complex in a failing society - eventually the military just takes over, really.

And nobody will complain, I guarantee it.

Your last statement would be proven incorrect.

Egypt's Crisis Exacerbates Dire US Military Warning of Declining Oil Production

A dire US military warning last year about declining oil production has proven well-founded in Egypt, a country that produced 935,000 barrels daily in 1996 but is now on the brink of relying on imports to meet its own demand.

...Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., said the five oil giants made over $1 trillion in profits in the last decade, noting the industry “doesn’t need tax benefits to survive.”

S – Uncle Al is correct: the industry “doesn’t need tax benefits to survive.” OTOH that’s not the goal of well designed tax breaks. The goal is (or should be) to design the rules that encourage the industry to develop resources that would not be developed otherwise. I’m sure some of the rules aren’t needed to accomplish this just as I’m sure some of the rules do bring more resources to the front.

I’ve pointed out before no effort will prevent PO IMHO. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a great benefit to responsibly develop domestic resources. Cut all the tax breaks and I’m sure there will be unintended consequences we’ll all regret. The problem as I see it is there's too much emotions on both side of the debate that will prevent any useful modifications.

Rock: Although I don't completely disagree with you, we have to consider that the argument...

The goal is (or should be) to design the rules that encourage the industry to develop resources that would not be developed otherwise.

...can be used right up to the last day they pump out the last barrel. And it insulates the company from confronting the cost of diminishing returns from a finite resource.

Meanwhile, the tax breaks obscure the true cost of the resource to the 'market' and the consumers. In addition, that capital is no longer available to develop any alteratives (such as they are).

Unfortunately, we are way past the point where tinkering around the edges with the economics of oil is going to have an impact on the trajectory of PO.

S - As I said, it won't change the course of PO. But every $ invested in domestic exploration and every bit of energy we produce is a benefit. It might be an insignificant benefit in the grand scheme of things...but still positive. I agree: we are way beyond a majic bullet that will change our circumstances. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't take advantage of what options we still have. In time the world will be burning coal as if there is no tomorrow IMHO...as well there may be to some ugly degree.

But every $ invested in domestic exploration and every bit of energy we produce is a benefit.

A benefit for whom?

There might be some joy for those whose income depends on that investment, but the population in general is not served if the cost to deliver "every bit of energy [you] produce" exceeds the benefits of alternative employment of the same resources used to obtain those bits of energy.

toil - One group will be every citizen who recieves any support from the govt. Energy production, in addition to producing jobs and inveztment returns, also generates a big chunk of tax income for the govt to redistribute. Again, not a game changer but still a benefit anyway you spin it.

BTW: the loss of royality to the govt from oil/NG prod will be replaced by the royality from coal production from fed lands. As I've predicted before no politician will ever be elected if he doesn't support every dirty, nasty, environmentally destructive measure in an effort to maintain BUA as best as possible. Folks who worry about global warming and the environment in general should be some of the biggest cheerleaders for oil/NG development: the longer we can stretch it out the later the skies will again be filled with those dark clouds.

You are assuming that the alternative employment of the resources currently dedicated to finding and bringing oil/gas to market would not net more tax revenue, or, for that matter, reduce needs and costs beyond the value of the tax/royalty revenue.

The evident problem of coal usage points to a need for investments that reduce energy demand and others that provide non-ff energy.

As all forms of fossil fuels face a limited future, and as all are on balance declining in quality, we are only wasting time by tying up resources trying to maintain their flow.

The current debate over oil industry tax and royalty structures is, I believe, another manifestation of a growing political struggle over the disposition of the revenues accruing from fossil fuel extraction and use. In my mind, the denial of peak oil and human induced climate chaos by the oil industry has been little more that pre-emptive action on their part with this battle in mind.

I will vote for those who move the money to activities that promise a better future for the children for whom Ron P in his despair grieves. A carbon tax is a good mechanism to get this process into full motion, but changing the tax royalty structure will probably also be useful. Still, I wouldn't be overly dogmatic on this point, because I do realize that there may be some continued use and benefit for some elements of the 'incentive' structure. It's just that the measure of this benefit should be made within the broader context of climate change and peak oil.

toil - Once again we almost see eye to eye...almost. First, I'm going to club you over the head again with a simple irrefutable fact: " the denial of peak oil and human induced climate chaos by the oil industry". Absolute wrong. The great majority in the oil patch understood PO decades ago. And, believe it or not, most of the scientific types in the patch don't have much trouble accepting AGW. Once again I'll give you a gentle slap for thinking the words of the CEO's of Big Oil in any way represents the thinking of the great majority of us. Chevron et al spend millions of $'s getting there thoughts out. The rest of the oil patch gets their thougths out for the most part through me blathering away on TOD. Sad, isn't it? LOL.

Non-ff investments will bring ADDITIONAL tax revenue...not alternate. It's not a one or the other proposition IMHO...we need all of it. Otherwise we see things the same except I think you have some lingering hope we won't burn every bit of coal available in an effort to maintain BAU. Acting like caring adults for the sake of future generations is a wonderful sign to carry at a rally. But I still count actions more than words. And I see nothing...absolutely nothing...being doing by the great majority of our politicians/citizens to back up such a loving sentiment. Remember where I work: I became immune to BS decades ago. LOL.

Rock,Considering most of the world's oil is now with NOC's the oil companies are irrelevant.All they can do now is sell technology or be a junior partner with a NOC.Further tax breaks for E&P are no more needed since there is not a lot of planet left to explore.After Thunderhorse and Deepwater horizon the last frontier of deep water exploration is also a dead duck.Of course the US congress is in their pocket so nothing to worry,it will be BAU.

After Thunderhorse and Deepwater horizon the last frontier of deep water exploration is also a dead duck.

reports of the demise of deep water exploration (and production) are grossly exxagerated, imo. take a look at this in one year. i assume the world won't end before then.

reports of the demise of deep water exploration (and production) are grossly exxagerated, imo. take a look at this in one year. i assume the world won't end before then.

Well, if the US government doesn't start issuing new drilling permits for the Gulf of Mexico, reports of the demise of deep water exploration might not be over-exaggerated.

It's not too early to trade your old SUV in on a new bicycle. Don't wait until everybody is trying to do it. Just a suggestion.

Also, don't assume your job is going to last for the full year, so keep lots of money in reserve. Preferably not in an American bank.

the reports of the demise of thunderhorse are exaggerated - heretofor, 11 wells are on production with slots for 25 wells. it would appear the plan for the development of thunderhorse is not even complete, let alone the actual development.

Thunder Horse Field, Gulf of Mexico, USA

The topsides will handle a HP/HT wellstream and export 250,000b/d of oil and 5.6 million m³/d of gas. It will also treat 140,000b/d of produced water and inject up to 300,000b/d of mixed produced water and seawater for reservoir support.
The Thunder Horse discovery well was drilled in 1999 on Mississippi Canyon Block 778. It was drilled to a depth of 25,770ft, from the drillship Discoverer 534 and found 520ft net of pay in three intervals.
Thunder Horse 2 was drilled in Block 822. It reached its total depth of 29,060ft in November 2000. The well was drilled by the Discoverer Enterprise in 6,300ft of water, 1.5 miles south-east of the discovery well. It encountered 675ft net of pay in three primary intervals.
In February 2001, a new field - Thunder Horse North - was drilled in Block 776, 5 miles northwest of Thunder Horse. The discovery encountered 581ft net of accumulated hydrocarbons in three intervals. It was drilled in 5,640ft of water by the Discoverer 534 and reached a total depth of 26,046ft.


Since the exact tax benefits were not detailed I am not sure... OTOH, if a fuel tax were enacted to pay the tax benefits, maybe it would balance out.

At the same time, how about a tax on carbon emissions to pay for remediation efforts? Oil, gas and related industries (and most other corporations, now that you mention it) externalize all of their pollution costs to society (those Socialists!). It is time they paid their own way. Do it as a sort of, "you break it, you buy it" law.

Not that there is a chance in H... that would ever happen in today's America. The stakes are high, and there is a buck to be made.

Which is, maybe, why there are such high emotions.


Note the lack of distinction between production and imports, associated population growth, and fuel and food subsidies, which all contributed.

It does not matter whether the oil industry makes money or not -- these corporation are our best friends in the hunt for oil, but will be completely outmatched by national companies and local interests (we have none of the former).

Asia faces climate-induced migration 'crisis'

A draft of an ADB [Asian Development Bank] report obtained by AFP over the weekend and confirmed by bank officials cautioned that failure to make preparations now for vast movements of people could lead to "humanitarian crises" in the coming decades.

Governments are currently focused on mitigating climate change blamed for the weather changes, but the report said they should start laying down policies and mechanisms to deal with the projected population shifts.

"Such impacts include significant temperature increases, changing rainfall patterns, greater monsoon variability, sea-level rise, floods and more intense tropical cyclones," it said.

"Asia and the Pacific is particularly vulnerable ...As a result, it could experience population displacements of unprecedented scale in the next decades," said the report, primarily targeted at regional policymakers.

Extinctions breed carbon chaos

Big extinctions don’t just wipe out a lot of species. They also send ecological cycles reeling for millions of years, a new study suggests.

Following massive die-offs, the natural processes that keep carbon flowing through marine ecosystems — from tiny photosynthesizers to big fish and between the bottom and the top of the ocean — get broken. For millions of years after at least two global disasters, marine communities were too unstable to keep the molecules churning, researchers report in the February issue of Geology.

Other extinction news: Wild oysters in danger of extinction and After the birds vanish, plants are next to go and New Zealand scientists record 'biodiversity breakdown'. It's going to be an interesting century.

Per your post Seraph on extinction, I don't see any kind of scenario in which there is a 'win' situation moving forward. If BAU is able to continue via unconventional sources of oil and NG, then the world population continues to climb and with it greater demand on natural resources and food production. If BAU slows enough to cause economic upheavel then people will consume what they need to in order to survive.

Just watched a documentary movie on Stalingrad. When the Germans ran out of food supplies, they ate the horses, then the dogs, then the cats, then their own dead soldiers. Since us humans are voracious eaters, even if post peak oil causes a collapse, I don't see how that doesn't mean the extinction of all the other species 'before' some chunk of human population bows out.

It's as if the extinction process we've started is almost certainly guaranteed for most other mammals by virtue of our 7 billion population, either in the short term or the long term. The farther it gets stretched out the worst the extinction will be.

Glenn Beck on one of his shows was advocating the killing of all Polar Bears to make hamburger meat out of them, to stop the environmentalists from being able to use them as a wedge issue against global warming. The Japanese went back to whaling in recent years, and I'm sure if their country had difficulty in a post BAU situation, they would denude the seas of all whales and dolphins. Right now there is a project to build a freeway right through the middle of the Serenghetti, in which cars and trucks will be running over animals night and day. The Amazon just had its 2nd major drought in 2010, which was worse than the one in 2005. It's hard to see how most life on the planet is not completely wiped out.

But then again I'm not a cornupocian. Maybe someone on here has a different viewpoint of how BAU continues and a mass extinction does not occur.

Earl, I think about this scenario every day. I try to stop when I get really depressed. I have never suffered from chronic depression in my life but lately these things really get to me. The process is of course already underway.

People deny this ongoing and daily worsening collapse for various reasons. But most are completely unaware of the situation. They are only concerned with the mundane events of the day and just assume it will be this way for the rest of their lives and their children's lives. Everything else they leave to their government and assume they will take care of all grave problems before they get out of hand.

However many others are aware of the gravity of the situation but take it for granted that there will be a techno-fix for the problem. Wind, solar, nuclear or something else that will us to get through with only minor hard times for humans and to hell with all the other animals. Of course these people are completely anthropocentric. The whales, dolphins, bears, great apes and all the other great animals are of no consequence to them.

It is sad, so sad. I sometimes wish that I was blissfully ignorant of the future that awaits my children and grandchildren. Ignorance is bliss. The person who first wrote those words was wise indeed.

Ron P.

Ron - be glad you don't get the email "newsletter" I send out to a few friends about once a week or you'd really be depressed :-) Among the 1-28-11 topics were: Weighing the Costs of Disaster, Economic Collapse Preparedness - What to Do, Body Counts, The Tactical Pen (yup, a pen weapon), Will There Be A USA in 2012, Disease Incubation Periods, Emergency Alert System Radio Stations.

Now, I usually have a few fun links but all in all, there isn't much "fun" out there. But, you know, I think people are far better off to bite the bullet and accept what's coming rather than being blindsided. I know you won't be blindsided.


I know you won't be blindsided.

Well, I hope not. I am 72 and hope to be safely dead before everything collapses completely. That gives me some comfort but I grieve for for everyone else, especially the children. It is heartbreaking just to think about it. Then there are all those animals, most of the species will go extinct. That is very sad also.

But please send my your newsletter. You can get my email address from the TOD history profiles.

Ron P.

Ron, be glad to add you. BTW, I'm 72 also. My friends range in age from 45 - ~63. Todd

Todd, I'd also be pleased to get your email if I might, I'm a fan of your posts here. As a 60-year-old I fit the demographic. My email address shows when clicking my user name.

Todd: Send it to me as well! Email on bio



Ron, I note you and greenish live in Hawaii, on Oahu IIRC and was wondering if we could all arrange to have a doomer lunch here sometime?


Ron doesn't live in Hawaii. There are several people here who do, but as I recall, they are scattered on different islands.

I'd be game; I'm on Oahu.

Heck, Ron's welcome too - come for the rational discourse, stay for the weather.

Hi greenish, great, we should get in touch via email and arrange a meet. I'm getting Ron P. mixed up with another TODer, one of the palm oil biodiesel experts, I think.

It would be great to meet up with Ron P., as well.

Well, my email's available by clicking my user name, yours isn't, so I guess the ball's in your court... hope to hear from you.

Todd - I would like to get your newsletter. How do I sign up?
Do you have a blog?


First, let me tell you how this came about. Two friends (one of whom is Wharf Rat who posts on TOD) and I meet every other week for a long lunch to discus the state of the world. I'd always bring a lot of articles that they'd skim and write down links they were interested in. This was a pain for me to haul the stuff and them write down links so I started to send out an email that they could look at as they had time.

I added my city neighbor who has a country place next to ours to the email and then a nephew. We are doomer oriented and some times there is a little woo-woo thrown in. I almost always include Ag oriented stuff since several of us have gardens and orchards.

I'd be glad to include you too (and anyone else for that matter). Send me an email at detz2 at willitsonline dot com. Include your real name (no handles) and where you're located.

I don't have time for a blog. (While everyone was watching the Super Bowl, I was out making more firewood racks for the year after next's wood.).


I don't understand why we haven't tried to be proactive in preparing for Peak Oil. First, we should force ourselves into a post peak mindset by limiting our imports of oil each year to be a small percentage less than the previous year. By restricting imports 5% each year we will force our society to begin making changes to our lifestyle that would ultimately extend the availability of oil, foster growth of new businesses such as ride sharing and change our human behavior. It's not a 100 year answer, but it's a start.

For example, the miles of cars during rush hour all going the exact same direction with many holding just a single passenger has to stop. I believe it will when the price of oil gets high enough.

We talk often about the sales of SUV's and pick-up trucks as a barometer of economic growth. Once the public is told that those days are over we can begin adjusting to a new world order where some guy driving down the road in a super sized pick-up truck will be likened to the old days of tossing whole bags of trash out the window. The 'cool' look will be the guys driving the little smart cars getting 40, 50, 60 miles per gallon.

We need to start running commercials and tv programs showing people turning down thermostats, wearing sweaters, turning off lights and making energy a focal point of our lives, rather than what it is now, a convenience.

Finally, we need to implement part of the Pickens Plan at a minimum. No, it doesn't answer all problems but it does answer some. The construction jobs lost in the housing mess can be restored building out pipelines and refueling stations. Why we have not taken this opportunity with unemployment so high to begin building a future infrastructure that works is beyond me.

I don't know that we can change the game at this point. I do know that if we fail to try we lose no matter what. Instead of printing money for the hell of it let's try to invest that money in jobs that can potentially transform our way of life.

I attended a birthday party for a 5 year old girl yesterday. 18 kids were at the party. We have to at least TRY to do something to give these kids a fighting chance at a future.

We have to at least TRY to do something to give these kids a fighting chance at a future.

Tasstl, there is something you can do but nothing we can do. That is you can increase your chances and your children's chances of survival if you are relatively young. As to exactly what you can do I must leave to survivalist because I am not a member of any such group.

But we can do nothing to save the whole damn world. It is already too late, way, way too late.


Ron P.

The question is what can be best done to hold back the inevitable fall for a decade or two?

Or are we already doing all that stuff?

Ron, I am young and too scientific to hold back my personal depression on many of these issues, especially the way some people react to basic science on many of these fronts.

While I feel better having come to some understanding of world events. The knowledge is very unsettling and almost no one will listen to your take on today's problems.

The question is what can be best done to hold back the inevitable fall for a decade or two?

And just who is going to implement this plan? The USA? Can you dictate what the USA does? Do you have any influence in Washington? Sure it is easy to come up with some plan that you believe could delay the collapse for two decades but you must convince the world to implement your plan? Or the plan that a consensus of Oil Drum posters came up with. Now that would be a trick.

However I must ask you why you would wish to do such a thing. In two decades the world would add about 1.5 billion to the human population. And millions of species, in that two decades would be driven into extinction. And with 8.5 billion people looking for something to kill and eat, I would guess that at least a few more species would be driven into extinction than would if only 7 billion people were eating the songbirds out of the trees. And of course that extra 1.5 billion people will only mean that an extra 1.5 billion people will be subject to the miseries that will befall the world during those trying times.

Oh well... I am not going to lie to you about it, I am going to quit now and watch the Super Bowl.

Ron P.

Well certainly the lack of honesty on unbridled population growth and endless economic growth seem to be our policy implemented in all ways found throughout our system of laws, the tax code, banking laws, and so forth.

I guess the only solution to the failed system is that the system collapses and destroys itself.

My thought -- being naive and young -- was that some sort of transition could take place in the intervening period.

Yes, I agree politically this will never be possible.

Hope you enjoyed the game.

T - sadly I once again have to agree with Ron. You do what you can. But "we" (speaking for the majority of the citizens) will not only NOT do anything you suggested but will crucify any politician who tries to force it upon them. For all of his faults Dick Cheney understands the American people: our life style is not negotiable. At least not to the majority. Folks will be seeing the worse aspects of a representative democracy when PO starts hitting us hard IMHO: our elected representatives will be representing a very destructive and selfish public. God help the resr of the world...they'll need it.

Let us know how your efforts go.

I have worked on a number of levels on things like you are suggesting. Mostly, even those somewhat in the know aren't ready to contemplate anything near the level of changes that would have been necessary decades ago to really get ready for the massive transition we are now in the midst of.

Cronos (or Saturn) is infamous for eating all of his own children (except for Zeus, since his mother, Rhea finally wised up, and replaced baby Z with a rock--a substitution that seems to have gone unnoticed by the ravenous Cronos).

I think the Boomers, and perhaps those immediately preceding and following, should be known as the Cronos generation(s). In the last sixty years or so we have used up more of the world's resources (and exhausted more ecological 'sinks') than all previous generations combined. We have thereby left our progeny with little but an empty, smoking hull of what we inherited.

We have likely out-Cronos-ed Cronos, since no Zeus is likely to flourish after we've gone.

T-See the latest Dimitry Orlov video and you will have the answer to "We" and "Do".It is like pissing in the lake.The level is just not gonna go up.

we should force ourselves into a post peak mindset by limiting our imports of oil each year to be a small percentage less than the previous year.

Unfortunately human beings seem to be almost incapable of making short term sacrifices for long term gains. Our lower brain screams "consume! now!" and our higher brain is forced to obey.

I don't think that's true. This whole consumer society thing is a relatively recent development. Only a hundred years ago, the captains of industry were worried about "need saturation": the inability of consumers to consume all that could be produced - needed to be produced, in order to keep the population employed.

And as Stoneleigh has oft pointed out, historically, credit was available only to those who didn't actually need it. Everyone else had to save to get what they wanted - buying a house, starting a businees, getting married.

Augment the consumer society issue with products that are designed to fail.

That is the other way to boost consumption and waste.

We have a sewing machine that was made 2 years before my mother was born 1949. It is solid and will never break. Oddly I spent $100 US on it. It is worth thousands in craftsmanship and quality. Imagine a solid metal machine -- no plastic parts with only a foot switch and a motor electrically.

Imagine that kind of business model today. You cannot. That business model is dead.

How do we get back to durable goods that last more than 3 years -- more than 3 months -- when they are all made in China to break tomorrow or as the warranty expires?

You speak for us both. I often feel I am living on a different planet from those around me.

I also am starting to see my happier moods as the real emotional disturbance--a completely irrational response to our given situation.

I maintain happy is the only way to be. Regardless of circumstances, life is better when faced happily. Plus it makes those around you suspicious.

I try to approach life with a sense of humor, however, the last couple of days I had forgotten that. Thanks for reminding me.

I think reading Vonnegut helps a little. He always made the absurdity into a joke.

Last night I was discussing PO with my girlfriend. She doesn't understand the details but does get the "big picture", and I was surprised, she's a major doomer. Yet she goes on living as if BAU were certain and I asked her why. She answered:

"This is all going to be like an apocalypse, with mass starvation and destruction. There's nothing I can do to insure my survival, I'm unemployed, I don't have post-peak worthy education, few financial resources, no house and no land. If I contemplate the ending I'll be so depressed I won't be able to function for the few months or years before it all falls off a cliff. This way I enjoy what I can while I can. I'm not surprised politicians don't talk about the subject, if most people knew that no matter what they do they'll hit a dead end, everything would grind to a halt and implode."

It really hit me. I've bought an aluminum box and filled it with seeds packets with a 2013 expiry date (believing it could be useful in future). I recently recieved from Amazon 3 books I bought: The Vegetable Gardener's Bible, Traditional Skills and USAF Survival Guide. I have others on my list. And I'm trying to use my bicycle more often.

But at the end of the day, like my girlfriend, I ponder, with no "owned home", no land and no shotgun, will any of these microscopic efforts be any good in an overpopulated "dog-eat-dog" or better yet "human-eat-everything else" world? As it was posted earlier, this is going to be an "interesting century".

You may well be better off than me . As someone who has spent a large sum of money on preparations, I wake up anxiety ridden each night wondering what I have left out knowing full well there are myriad scenerios for which one just cannot plan. It is just as possible that my progeny and I will not make it through the first blast of whatever the hell it is on the horizon, and you and your girlfriend will find your way to my completely stocked home, sustainable acreage and a complete library of permaculture living/farming books, gun safes, hidden stores,etc. If so, enjoy! All my planning may well be completely useless, and you being mobile and unencumbered may be the better, there is just no way of knowing... we all do what we can with whatever means we have. And whatever we are doing, we wonder if we shouldn't be doing something else entirely. ....sigh

Quite a revelation, madcv..

As Thurber concluded in one of his irreverent fables. "There's no safety in numbers, or in anything else.."

I probably wouldn't be working on my own preparations if it wasn't also somehow satisfying to me personally to be doing so. I have no problem with feel-good solutions. I LIKE to feel good. (Drugs and 'Messin' Around' only feel good for a short time, and then can feel REALLY BAD not long after.. even the dread of that future pain is more than enough to put me off of such temptations)

As is said in Ecclesiastes 9:10,

"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest."

.. sounds more practical than superstitious to me.

According to zFacts.com, The US National debt will pass through $14.2 trillion next week around Thursday. 23 days later, the $14.3 trillion ceiling will be breached. In addition Freddie, Fannie, FHA, and FED debts and losses are not included in the National debt but have to be added as the Government "off books" accounting is found out. I guess the combined amount in the one to two trillion dollar range. Add the rest of the $1.5 trillion deficit for this year, and a National debt in excess of $16 trillion is possible by years end. Socializing losses (taxpayers) of CDO's and other toxic debt while privatizing profits will ultimately result in costs to all of of us in higher inflation, higher commodity costs, a weaker dollar and higher interest rates IMO.

I want there to be a showdown over increasing the debt ceiling.

Shut the federal government down for a couple of weeks, threaten to default on our debt.

Short of a natural (asteroid, super-volcano-Yellowstone erupting, etc) or man-made (nuclear war, nuclear bomb terrorism detonation, etc) catastrophe, this debt showdown could be the forcing function that might slap us in the face and shake us out of our BAU stumbling-along stupor, and force us to consider big-issues of sustainability.

A temporary 'debt crisis' would be a lot more benign than the other catastrophes I mentioned above.

Its either that or everyone stays on the rat race treadmill and starts prognosticating about next year's Stupor-Bowl and we continue to inch along the catabolic collapse path.

Maybe I should stop thinking about this stuff and become comfortably numb.

Lets see, if the debt ceiling weren't raised, Obama could declare a national emergency and do some interesting things. For example, impose a stiff "user fee" on gasoline set large enough to pay for half the defense budget. If the amount of the "fee" were $350 billion and that spread over the present usage of 4.5 Billion barrels of gasoline and distillate per year, the "user fee" would be about $78 a barrel or $1.86 a gallon. Do you think that might get the attention of those folks out there on the Tea Party Freeway? Or, if the Fed education money is cut off to the States, suppose Gov Brown in California were to decide to kill funding for athletics at the high school and college level, since we are going to need to spend money actually educating people for the real future? One can only hope...

E. Swanson

Here's something you might enjoy (if that's the right word) - from "The Onion" :-

"Republicans Vote To Repeal Obama-Backed Bill That Would Destroy Asteroid Headed For Earth"


Are you SURE that was satire?

Thats one swedish national debt every 50 days. And your population is rougly 30 times larger (a little more). Wich means you need some 4 years to build a relative national debt the size of ours. We have been working on ours since the early 1990ies. Good working.

The debt ceiling is meaningless. They always create more debt.
We should devalue the dollar to 1 cent and start over.

I watched a documentary on Netflix last night called Planets. The episode I watched was about the sun and its life cycle. While it was somewhat informative, the assumptions made by some of the interviewees astounded me. According to them, we will be living happily ever after in a billion years, when the sun will have become hot enough that the Earth will no longer be able to support complex life. The failure to understand the scale of a billion years boggles my mind.

In a billion years, the Yellowstone caldera will have erupted 1,562 times, the Earth will have been struck by 2,000 asteroids .62 miles wide, and at current consumption rates, we will have consumed 8.5 x 1016 barrels of oil. The Earth could be a snowball for one-fifth of that billion years.

Yet somehow, through all that, humans (somehow avoiding evolution the whole time) will still be alive and kicking and populating other planets BAU.


Just another unexpected 'explosion' like the Egypt-Israel pipeline.

Iran pipeline rupture spills oil into Gulf

A pipeline rupture in Iran has caused a 20 kilometre oil slick along the shores of the Gulf.

News wires 07 February 2011 03:34 GMT

The spill was caused by an explosion in a corroded pipeline at the port city of Daylam in Bushehr province, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported.

"The pipeline blast and the subsequent discharge of crude oil has created large spills in the sea, some of which stretch 20 kilometres along the shoreline going 8 kilometres into the sea," said Amir Sediqi, a local official of the Environmental Organisation.


So, who needs terrorists with pipelines like that?


p.s.: I think I am seeing some serious gallows humor on TOD today.

Some folks in New Mexico still without natural gas (NG) service to their homes, ~ 3 days outage, hopefully all NG service will be restored by tomorrow afternoon:


Another Super Bowl in the history books, hats off to Green Bay.

I wonder what the oil supply situation will look like around the time of Super Bowl 50?

If I recall correctly, we have some TOD bets on the table that a noticeable oil (C+C) supply decline will be manifest starting Spring of 2011 (call it 5 months away and counting).

Other PO predictions place markers sometime in 2012, while still other predictions span out through ~2015.

A few outliers predict a bumpy plateau through ~2020-ish.

A crystal ball would be handy...