Drumbeat: February 16, 2011

Chu blasted for favoring renewables over fossil fuels

(Reuters) - Energy Secretary Steven Chu came under fire from Democrats and Republicans on Wednesday for his department's plan to seek a sharp rise in funding for clean-energy projects while paring research on fossil fuels.

Chu told a congressional committee that a nearly 12 percent increase in the Energy Department's new budget was necessary to make the United States competitive against other countries, create thousands of U.S. jobs and enhance national security.

Oil prices soar on Israel-Iran tensions

NEW YORK — Oil price surged on Wednesday after Israel's foreign ministers said two Iranian warships planned to sail through the Suez canal en route to Syria.

Unrest in the Middle East and North Africa -- country by country

(CNN) -- Unrest has spread across the Middle East and North Africa. Here's a look at what has happened -- and what is happening -- in various countries:

Alberta backs C$5 bln oil sands refinery plan

CALGARY, Alberta, Feb 16 (Reuters) - The Alberta government is backing construction of a C$5 billion ($5.05 billion) bitumen refinery planned by Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNQ.TO) and North West Upgrading Inc as it seeks to develop energy-processing facilities in the province and create jobs.

Under the agreement, the culmination of more than a year of talks between the parties, the Western Canadian province will supply 75 percent of the feedstock and Canadian Natural the remainder for the 50,000 barrel a day plant.

Gazprom gives access to pipelines to all independent gas producers - Miller

ROME (RIA Novosti) - Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom has given access to its gas transportation system to all independent gas producers, the company's chief Alexei Miller said on Wednesday.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin last week ordered the government and Gazprom to work on allowing access to pipelines for independent producers. He said it was necessary for long-term contracts for the infrastructure of facilities.

Russia receives security assurances of property rights from BP under Rosneft-BP alliance

Russia received from British oil giant BP assurances in the security of property rights in creating a Rosneft-BP alliance under international law, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said on Wednesday.

BP and Rosneft agreed a $16-billion share swap deal on January 14 under which Rosneft will give BP 9.5% of its stock in exchange for 5% of BP. The two companies also agreed to jointly undertake exploration and production projects on the Russian Arctic shelf.

Belarus achieves compromise with Gazprom for 2012-2014

MINSK (Itar-Tass) -- Belarus has reached the absolute compromise with Gazprom on cooperation in 2012-2104, First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko told the media on Wednesday. He said that on Tuesday he had met with Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and discussed prospects for cooperation till 2014.

Study: Climate change linked to extreme rain

While other studies have suggested that global warming may be partly responsible for increases in heavy precipitation, what's new in this study is the formal finding that human influence has "likely made intense precipitation stronger, on average, over the second half of the 20th century," says study co-author Frances Zwiers of the University of Victoria in Canada.

"The observed change cannot be explained by natural fluctuations of the climate system alone," he says.

Bill McKibben: Why Climate Change Is the Most Urgent Challenge We Face

Bill McKibben, author and founder of the international environmental campaign 350.org, says that a global campaign to curb climate change, the ecological devastation that will result could make our planet uninhabitable. His appeal to citizens and policy-makers, the sixth video in the series "Peak Oil and a Changing Climate" from The Nation and On The Earth Productions, is a call to action as much as it is a sobering account of the damage we're already doing to our environment.

It’s a “crisis breaking over our heads at this moment,” he says as he points to wildfires in Russia and flooding in Pakistan as examples of the severe weather that will continue, and intensify, if we continue to ignore climate change. Failing to rein in the carbon in our atmosphere will mean more than just inhospitable weather. It also threatens global food production: “If we allow the temperature to increase anything like what people are projecting, we’ll see grain yields fall by a third or more, simply because it will be too hot for things to grow,” he says. “If it rains every day in a row for 30 days, you’re out of luck, you are not growing anything. That’s the kind of world we are building.”

The most important policy change crucial to curbing this crisis, he says, is to force fossil fuel companies to pay the price for the damages they inflict on the environment. If the environmental movement harnesses mass action and civil disobedience tactics to their advantage, there's still a chance, McKibben says, that the earth's citizens can convince policy makers to crack down on big polluters.

Coal's hidden costs top $345 billion in U.S.: study

(Reuters) - The United States' reliance on coal to generate almost half of its electricity, costs the economy about $345 billion a year in hidden expenses not borne by miners or utilities, including health problems in mining communities and pollution around power plants, a study found.

Those costs would effectively triple the price of electricity produced by coal-fired plants, which are prevalent in part due to the their low cost of operation, the study led by a Harvard University researcher found.

Angola Plans to Cut Crude Oil Exports by 13% in April

Angola plans to reduce daily crude oil exports by 13 percent in April from a month earlier, a preliminary loading program obtained by Bloomberg News shows.

Africa’s second-largest oil producer plans to ship 45.1 million barrels, or 1.50 million a day, down from 53.7 million, or 1.73 million a day, according to the program.

Former Nigeria anti-graft czar starts campaign

ABUJA, Nigeria -- Nigeria's former anti-corruption czar Nuhu Ribadu kicked off his presidential campaign Wednesday ahead of April elections, promising to be the candidate of the oil-rich nation's teeming and frustrated youth.

Nigeria's Taliban-Inspired Uprising in North Sparks Christian-Musim Divide

A mounting campaign of violence in northern Nigeria by Islamic militants inspired by Afghanistan’s Taliban movement is deepening religious tensions in Africa’s top oil producer before elections in April.

Clashes erupt as Mexican president visits city

OAXACA, Mexico—Police fired tear gas and clashed for several hours Tuesday with teachers protesting a visit by President Felipe Calderon to the colonial city of Oaxaca.

The protests are reminiscent of unrest that paralyzed the southern city for five months in 2006 and left at least a dozen people dead.

Two Iranian Warships May Pass Through Suez Canal, Israel's Lieberman Says

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that two Iranian gunboats are planning to sail tonight to Syria through Egypt’s Suez Canal in what he called a “provocation.”

“Regretfully, the international community isn’t showing readiness to deal with the recurring Iranian provocations,” Lieberman said today in a speech in Jerusalem. “The international community must understand that Israel can’t ignore forever these kinds of provocations.”

How to End US Reliance on Dictators

The worst-case scenarios of some foreign policymakers are nightmares induced by fear of change. What if Persian Gulf autocrats fall? Might we not be facing another oil embargo? No. Petrostates stay afloat by madly pumping oil and gas, not by withholding it from their best customers. The global reality of peak oil—whether already past, present, or future—ensures the spigot remains open. What if Islamists come to power in democratic elections (as in Gaza and Lebanon)? The President of the United States calls to congratulate the winner, and expresses hope for the future of the relationship. Respect for democracy demands no less. Should democracy break out in the Middle East, will Israel find the new neighbors less willing to get paid by the US to play along with its colonization of Palestine? Absolutely. Again, respect for human rights and international law—‘declaratory’ American values—demands no less.

Northeast Dems assail Obama's heat aid cuts

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama's proposal to cut nearly in half a $5.1 billion home heating aid program for the poor has drawn howls from some of his staunchest allies — Northeastern Democrats.

The region is suffering through one of its harshest winters in years, and the lawmakers say the cuts could imperil more than 3 million families nationwide who need the money to stay warm. With no help from the White House, Northeast lawmakers expect an uphill fight as Congress takes a hard line on spending aimed at reducing the budget deficit.

Rooftop Pipe-Dream

Be wary of the booming market for pint-sized, roof-mounted windmills.

Exxon Struggles To Find New Oil

HOUSTON—Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest publicly traded oil company, is struggling to find more oil.

In its closely watched annual financial report released Tuesday, the company said that for every 100 barrels it has pumped out of the earth over the past decade, it has replaced only 95.

It's a conundrum shared by most of the other large Western oil-producing companies, which are finding most accessible oil fields were tapped long ago, while promising new regions are proving technologically and politically challenging.

Steve LeVine: The coming misery that Big Oil discusses behind closed doors

When big-thinkers at companies with the most skin in the energy game are behind closed doors and they discuss how the world really looks going forward, do they say that there are bumps in the road but that things will be fine, just fine, as they suggest publicly? Three years ago, we got a glimpse into the room when Royal Dutch/Shell issued a scenario forecasting the world in 2020. Based on current economic and energy-use patterns around the world, Shell said that energy supplies will be so tight that they will tip the world into a full-blown crisis in which governments will force their populations to reduce driving, use less electricity, and pay an extremely steep increase for what they do consume. There will be a massive, decade-long economic slowdown, and geopolitical power will shift dramatically to energy-producing nations, the company said.

Today, Shell returned with an update. The company said that the 2008 financial crisis interrupted the slide it predicted, but that the clock has begun ticking again. If the world does not change how it uses energy, its scenario will hold true.

Pemex Board Member Proposes Oil Export Cuts, El Universal Says

Petroleos Mexicanos, the state-owned company, should cut crude exports by 71 percent to 400,000 barrels a day to boost domestic refining, board member Fluvio Ruiz said, according to El Universal.

Pemex, as the oil producer is known, needs to reduce exports and pay less tax to invest more in refining capacity, the Mexico City-based newspaper said today, citing a statement from Ruiz.

US Senator Will Halt Obama Nominee Over Deep-Water Drilling Permits

A U.S. Senator said Tuesday he would block President Barack Obama's nominee to head the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service until the administration issues at least 15 permits for deep-water drilling exploration.

"Louisianans are desperate to get back to work," Sen. David Vitter, (R., La.) said in a press release. "I love fish and wildlife, but my top economic priority is to stop the economic devastation caused to humans by the moratorium."

Egypt-inspired protests gain pace across region

(Reuters) - Anti-government protests inspired by popular revolts that toppled rulers in Tunisia and Egypt are gaining pace around the Middle East and North Africa despite political and economic concessions by nervous governments.

Clashes were reported in tightly controlled oil producer Libya, sandwiched between Egypt and Tunisia, while new protests erupted in Bahrain, Yemen and Iran on Wednesday.

Mexico risks losing large areas to drug cartels

MONTERREY, Mexico — Mexico is struggling to avert a collapse of law and order along its northern border in a region that generates a quarter of its economic output, with two states already facing the threat of criminal anarchy.

Even after four years of dramatic military sweeps, drug cartels in Chihuahua and Tamaulipas are extending their control over large areas and the state governments seem powerless to stop them.

Saudi to start storing crude in Japan as scheduled

TOKYO (Reuters) - State-run Saudi Aramco will start storing crude oil in Japan this month as scheduled, with the first ship carrying about 1.9 million barrels of crude set to arrive on Feb. 23, state-run Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp (JOGMEC) said on Tuesday.

The move is aimed at helping Japan stock up its reserves while giving Saudi Arabia, the top oil exporter, better access to Asian markets.

Analysis: Over-Pressured Formations Pose Challenge to Drilling in GOM

In a study designed to evaluate and address exploration and production (E&P) drilling risks associated with over-pressured formations, it was found that dramatically different magnitudes of overpressure were found to exist in all 149 deepwater wells studied in the deepwater U.S. Gulf of Mexico Lower Tertiary Wilcox play.

Stuxnet rattled Iran but atom work goes on: report

VIENNA (Reuters) – The Stuxnet computer worm caused relatively limited damage to Iran's nuclear program and failed to stop the Islamic republic stockpiling enriched uranium, a U.S.-based think-tank said in a report.

FEATURE-"Darkness Inc" means power cuts to weary Senegalese

DAKAR (Reuters) - When Senegalese tailor Ousmane Tom threw out the foot-operated machines in his Dakar workshop and converted to electricity, he thought business would take off.

But six years later, he is regretting the move as power cuts paralyse thousands of small outfits like his in a West African country whose long-held ambition of becoming an emerging market economy looks as remote as ever.

Eventually we’ll have unlimited cheap clean energy. But that will not help us or our kids.

Optimists about energy give glowing forecasts of new technologies, often with wildly underestimated estimates of when when these can generate substantial fractions of our energy. In the real world technologies take decades to evolve from the laboratory to commercialization. And then building new energy sources on a large scale takes decades. Here we sketch out realistic timelines.

Will Green Nukes Save the World?

As a climate scientist, I'm well-aware of the perils of global warming and I've long favored a timely switch to alternative energy sources. However, I've also drawn the line at nuclear power, having been an anti-nuke protester in college. I was therefore horrified when prominent environmentalists first began to suggest that nuclear power is preferable to fossil fuels, as though their apocalyptic climate rhetoric had trapped them into minimizing the risks of meltdowns, radioactive waste, bomb proliferation, and nuclear terrorism.

But my attitude changed recently when I raised this subject with an environmental scientist friend whose son is training to become nuclear engineer. "He's working on a new kind of reactor," my friend explained, "It can't melt down, it makes only minimal waste, and it can't be used for making bombs. It doesn't even use uranium, which is rare and dangerous to handle; it uses thorium instead, which is common and safer to work with."

Energy Department wants natural gas at Hanford

KENNEWICK, Wash. (AP) -- The Energy Department is planning to run a natural gas line under the Columbia River to the Hanford nuclear reservation to fuel cleanup plants.

The Tri-City Herald reports the 29-mile long, 6-inch diameter pipeline would cost about $22 million, including $1 million for boring under the river near Richland.

House Republican amendment would block use of higher ethanol blends in vehicles

A Republican lawmaker has offered an amendment to a House Republican spending bill that would block the Environmental Protection Agency from implementing a program to allow newer vehicles to fuel with higher blends of ethanol in their gasoline.

Electric cars are nice, but the market still wants some muscle

This is the year of the electric car, or so one might believe based on the headlines of recent months, with new vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid and Nissan’s electric Leaf racking up awards and rolling into car showrooms.

So, what should we make of this month’s Chicago auto show, where potential customers will find the spotlight shining not only on the latest lithium-ion-powered wonders, but also on some of the most powerful cars ever to roll off an assembly line?

Wholesale prices up sharply due to higher energy costs

WASHINGTON — Wholesale prices rose sharply in January due to higher costs for gas, pharmaceuticals and other goods. Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, wholesale prices rose by the most since October 2008.

Food spike puts 44 million in poverty

The rise in food prices since last June has shoved 44 million people into dire poverty, the World Bank says in its latest report on the global food crisis.

Lester R. Brown: World One Poor Harvest Away From Chaos

Everything now depends on this year’s harvest. Lowering food prices to a more comfortable level will require a bumper grain harvest, one much larger than the record harvest of 2008 that combined with the economic recession to end the 2007-08 grain price climb.

If the world has a poor harvest this year, food prices will rise to previously unimaginable levels. Food riots will multiply, political unrest will spread and governments will fall. The world is now one poor harvest away from chaos in world grain markets.

Deffeyes: Déjà vu

This has been a déjà vu week for me.

The Wikileaks messages suggest that the U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia now suspects that the Saudi oil reserves are overstated. In 1977, Colin Campbell published that opinion and the evidence for it. Also, the Embassy thinks that the Saudis do not have substantial unused production capacity. Matt Simmons published a whole book about the Saudi capacity in 2005.

And now, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has become worried that oil prices have again become a substantial percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). I said essentially the same thing on pages 40-41 of When Oil Peaked.

Jeff Rubin: Wikileaks reveals imminent Saudi oil peak

Chronic delays in new development and over-reporting of reserves by Aramco paint an illuminating picture of an oil industry that has struggled merely to keep up with depletion. Production is still below the levels reached in the 1970s. And thanks to the Saudi economy’s voracious appetite for its own massively subsidized oil, less of its near-peak production is available for export every year.

While the U.S. embassy cables acknowledge Saudi Arabia still has the capacity to raise prices should it withhold supply, it no longer has the capacity to prevent prices from rising because it can’t boost production sufficiently to meet world demand.

If Saudi Arabia no longer has an ability to raise production, who does?

Whither the price of oil? Experts say prices will rise - but reality may decide otherwise

There is an extraordinary disconnect between what the experts write about oil prices, and what is likely to happen out in the real world. The pundits inhabit an economist's perfect dream world, where oil prices respond to changes in supply and demand that are driven mainly by production costs and economic conditions. In the real world, it's a lot more complex.

The question of price is back on the table, because oil just broke through the $100-per-barrel level for the second time in history. (The first time was July 2008, when it briefly reached $147 per barrel before falling back to a low of $33 the following December.) But the experts have concluded that, this time, cheap oil is never coming back.

Peak Oil Is Real But The "Paper Barrels" Of Arab Countries Are Not

Without having found any new fields, without any advancement in technology, some of the Arab oil producers announced increases in Proven Reserves of over 100%. For some time, Wall Street referred to these fictitious numbers as “Paper Barrels” and ignored them. But as time passed, they began to be accepted in the mainstream.

Shell report predicts peak oil now or soon, ponders ‘Depression 2.0′

The industrial doomsday scenario put forward by peak oil theorists isn't just for far flung voices on the Internet anymore.

Peak oil is not a problem of Earth's supplies: there's plenty of oil in a variety of forms. The difficulty is in how much energy it takes to recover and process it. And if it hasn't happened already, soon the demand for energy commodities will soar past existing production capacity and crash headlong into the brick wall of declining discoveries.

Shell’s alarmist ways seem out of touch

The good news is that oil companies, particularly majors like Shell, are notoriously bad at predicting the future of their own business.

In the last three years alone, the industry missed seeing the coming of the financial crisis, which led to a return to sub-economic oil prices and the scrapping of many of its projects, and failed to predict the revolutionary impact of new fracturing technology and horizontal drilling that made North America awash with natural gas.

Meanwhile, peak oil predictions came and went, and the world seems awash in oil.

After Egypt, people power hits like a tsunami

(CNN) -- It began with the self-immolation of an unemployed college graduate in Tunisia. Now, newfound people power in the Middle East and North Africa is spreading fast.

Bolstered by the toppling of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, popular uprising has now taken root in a part of the world where it has not been a part of the trajectory of change. On Tuesday, the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed, parts of the Muslim world were on fire, the people clamoring for change.

Revolution Germ Will Spread in Arab World

Few bets are safer today than that we will see more uprisings in the Middle East in 2011, though maybe not everywhere. One of the ironies of revolution is that it is hardest to do where it is needed most. Hosni Mubarak was a dictator, but his rule was neither absolute nor bloodthirsty.

Anti-government protests spread to Libya

CAIRO – Hundreds of Libyans calling for the government's ouster clashed with security forces early Wednesday in the country's second-largest city as Egypt-inspired unrest spread to the country long ruled by Moammar Gadhafi.

Egypt's protests flare despite military warning

CAIRO – Labor unrest unleashed by Hosni Mubarak's ouster flared again Wednesday in Egypt despite a warning by the ruling military that protests and strikes were hampering efforts to improve the economy and return life to normal.

Yemen protesters clash with regime loyalists, police

SANAA (AFP) – Anti-regime protesters and Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh supporters clashed in Sanaa for a fourth day straight Wednesday, while police dispersed protesters in Aden, AFP correspondents reported.

Three journalists were among those beaten up by Saleh supporters in the clashes near Sanaa University between students demanding the president's ouster and supporters of his ruling General People's Congress (GPC).

Oil Rebounds From 11-Week Low on Libya Unrest, U.S. Supply Drop

Oil rebounded from an 11-week low in New York on signs U.S. stockpiles are shrinking and as political protests in the Middle East spread to Libya and Bahrain.

Futures rose for the first time in four days after the industry-funded American Petroleum Institute yesterday said crude inventories slid 354,000 barrels in the seven days ended Feb. 11. Energy Department data today may show stockpiles increased 2 million barrels. Hundreds of people are demanding the ouster of the Libyan government, the Associated Press reported today.

Gas Buyers Seek End of Europe’s Two-Tier Pricing

The biggest difference between natural gas and crude oil prices in eight months is fanning calls by Europe’s largest power producers to scrap the almost 40-year-old system for setting their fuel costs.

E.ON AG, Germany’s biggest gas importer, asked suppliers last year to sell it fuel at spot-market rates rather than at prices tied to oil products, two people with knowledge of the matter said this week. GDF Suez SA, operator of Europe’s largest natural-gas network, said in September it was negotiating a stronger link to spot prices for long-term purchases. North Sea Brent crude costs $54 a barrel more than U.K. gas, the most since May 3, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Norway gas exports to Britain resume

(Reuters) - Gas exports from Norway to Britain were ramping up on Wednesday following a brief shutdown at the Nordic country's biggest offshore gas field, Troll, and reduced capacity at a major gas processing plant, Kaarstoe.

New Zealand: Gas prices hurting families

Petrol prices are forcing some families off the road and on to the footpath as filling up gets more costly.

LNG-Tanker Rates Doubling as Ship Glut Erodes:

Record demand for liquefied natural- gas is causing the decade-long glut of vessels that carry the fuel to disappear, doubling freight rates and at least tripling profit for shipping lines Golar LNG Ltd. and Exmar NV.

Schork Oil Outlook: How Dear Is Oil?

Let’s assume oil averages $100 this year. Based on historical relationships, that should translate in to a retail cost for gasoline of around $3.35. Is that dear?

No, no it is not. After all, how can a commodity which we use more of today than we did thirty years ago, but does not cost anymore, be considered dear?

How much oil does Saudi Arabia actually have?

Is it 260bn or 550bn barrels? Should we believe the Americans or the Saudis? The answer may lie in the provenance of the information.

Matt Simmons’s Failed ‘Peak Oil’ Price Wager

When I heard about Tierney’s $5,000 bet, I contacted Simmons (an acquaintance here in Houston) about a wager. I would win if the average prices of West Texas Intermediate was below $200 per barrel; he would win if the price was at or above $200 per barrel. I did not adjust the price for inflation like Tierney did, but then again, I would have probably made the bet for $100 (where I certainly would have indexed the price for inflation).

The bet was not for money but for a formal dinner party for one hundred, with the loser paying and getting to invite 25 guests and the winner inviting 75 guests. The venue was picked and the proprieter contacted with the estimated tab being $125 per person.

Iraq to auction 12 energy fields in 2011: ministry

BAGHDAD (AFP) – Iraq will offer 12 oil and gas exploration sites later this year in a fourth energy auction since mid-2009, oil ministry spokesman Assem Jihad told AFP Wednesday.

"The ministry is getting ready to offer 12 exploration sites for auction this year," Jihad said, noting that the fields included both oil and gas resources, but did not specify how many of each.

Congo Wants Oil, Gas Pipelines From Eastern Border to Atlantic

Democratic Republic of Congo wants to build a pipeline network to transport oil and natural gas from the east of the country to the Atlantic Ocean, Oil Minister Celestin Mbuyu said.

The Central African country is aiming to increase its oil production and is currently allocating blocks of land to companies for exploration. In October Congo signed an accord with Uganda and Kenya to study the construction of a pipeline that will transport crude oil from deposits near its eastern border to ports on the Indian Ocean. Congo’s only coast is on the Atlantic.

Govt to pay up to half of fuel subsidy

PANIPAT, India (Reuters) – The government will now cover up to half of the subsidy outgo of state-run oil companies from selling fuels at rates that are below cost, as their losses mount with crude staying above $100 a barrel.

The subsidy, also referred to as under-recoveries, could reach as much as 1 trillion rupees, oil minister S. Jaipal Reddy said, higher than a 750 billion rupee estimate by the head of Indian Oil.

Mexican drug gangsters menace natural gas drillers

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Gunmen claiming to represent a powerful drug cartel have threatened to attack isolated natural gas well drillers unless they pay to operate in parts of northern Mexico, two industry sources said.

Many OPEC ministers will not be in Riyadh

Not all OPEC ministers will attend an international energy conference in Saudi Arabia next week, and informal talks on oil output policy may include only Gulf members, OPEC delegates told Reuters.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is not scheduled to meet formally to debate output policy until June.

But after an oil market rally to above $100 a barrel, ministers have been expected to hold discussions on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum (IEF) in Riyadh.

Petrobras faces depletion risks-Credit Suisse

Production will gain steam in the first half thanks to the ramp-up of the P-57 platform and the pilot drillings in the Lula wells. Yet, output may begin to feel the impact of depletion in the mature fields around the Campos basin -- which account for half Brazil's production. The stock is trading at a 23 percent premium to rivals, "an exaggerated gap," they noted.

ExxonMobil in big reserves leap

ExxonMobil said its oil and gas reserve additions last year more than doubled its production levels, marking the biggest jump in more than a decade.

Russia Embraces Offshore Arctic Drilling

MOSCOW — The Arctic Ocean is a forbidding place for oil drillers. But that is not stopping Russia from jumping in — or Western oil companies from eagerly following.

Russia, where onshore oil reserves are slowly dwindling, last month signed an Arctic exploration deal with the British petroleum giant BP, whose offshore drilling prospects in the United States were dimmed by the Gulf of Mexico disaster last year. Other Western oil companies, recognizing Moscow’s openness to new ocean drilling, are now having similar discussions with Russia.

New oil from Russia could prove vital to world supplies in coming decades, now that it has surpassed Saudi Arabia as the world’s biggest oil producer, and as long as global demand for oil continues to rise.

Russia withdraws from trans-Balkan oil pipeline project - paper

Russia is withdrawing from the trans-Balkan Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project, Russian business daily Vedomosti said on Wednesday, quoting sources close to the board of the project operator.

Russia's Transneft, Rosneft and Gazprom Neft, which jointly hold a 50 % stake in project operator Trans-Balkan Pipeline B. V., are expected to announce their withdrawal at a meeting of the supervisory council and shareholders in Rome on Thursday.

Russia's Gazprom, Slovenia to create South Stream gas pipe JV in March 2011

Russia's gas giant Gazprom plans to establish a joint venture with Slovenia's gas transport company Geoplin Plinovodi in March 2011 to oversee construction of the Slovenian part of the South Stream pipeline project intended to bring Russian gas to Europe across the Black Sea, Igor Schyogolev, co-chairman of the Russian-Slovenian intergovernmental commission, said on Wednesday.

"As a result of this project, Slovenia will become one of the leading transit states in the Balkans," said Schyogolev who is also Russia's communications minister.

Armenia and Iran to build fuel pipeline

YEREVAN (AFP) – Construction will begin this year of a pipeline taking oil from Iran to Armenia, boosting the isolated ex-Soviet state's energy security, the Armenian energy minister said on Tuesday.

The 365-kilometre (227-mile) pipeline from the Iranian city of Tabriz to Eraskh in Armenia follows the opening of a gas pipeline from Iran and will provide the country with an alternative to Russian energy imports, which were disrupted by the Georgia-Russia war in 2008.

BP faces new oil spill lawsuit by Ohio, NY funds

NEW YORK (Reuters) – State pension funds in Ohio and New York filed an amended complaint against BP Plc seeking to recover investment losses due to the Gulf Coast spill, when BP shares tumbled by nearly half, wiping out more than $90 billion of value.

The funds filed the case in the U.S. District Court in the southern district of Texas seeking compensatory and punitive damages against the oil company.

Suit says BP official resigned over safety issues

HOUSTON – A former official with BP's drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico resigned just months before last year's oil spill because of disagreements with the oil giant over its commitment to safety, according to a class-action federal lawsuit related to the spill.

Documents filed Monday night in Houston claim Kevin Lacy, BP's former senior vice president for drilling operations for the Gulf of Mexico, reached a mutual agreement with the company to resign in December 2009 because he believed the company was not adequately committed to improving safety protocols in offshore drilling operations to the level of its industry peers. The Deepwater Horizon rig explosion occurred on April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers and causing the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

Crews unearth gas pipe eyed in deadly Pa. blast

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – A 4-foot-long section of natural gas pipe suspected of causing a massive explosion and fire that killed five people has been unearthed and will be transported to an engineering firm for analysis.

Chevron to fight multi-billion Ecuador ruling

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Chevron has vowed to fight a multi-billion dollar judgment from an Ecuadorian court accusing the oil company of polluting the Amazon rainforest.

"The Ecuadorian court's judgment is illegitimate and unenforceable," said Chevron, in a press release Monday. "It is the product of fraud and is contrary to the legitimate scientific evidence."

Ecuadoreans Plan to Pursue Chevron in Other Countries

CARACAS, Venezuela — Armed with a $9 billion ruling against Chevron in Ecuador but little chance of collecting it there, representatives for Ecuadorean villagers said Tuesday that they were looking at waging legal battles against the company in more than a dozen countries where it operates, hoping to force Chevron to pay.

Toxic Nevada mine lawsuit seeks $5M from BP, ARCO

RENO, Nev. – Neighbors of a toxic mine in northern Nevada have filed a class-action lawsuit against BP America and Atlantic Richfield Co. accusing them of intentionally and negligently concealing the extent of the contamination leaking off the abandoned site for decades.

The suit filed in U.S. District Court in Reno on Monday seeks a minimum of $5 million on behalf of at least 100 residents in the rural town of Yerington where the old Anaconda copper mine opened in 1941.

The wells run cheap

Two weeks ago the offshore industry body Oil and Gas UK said that Scotland’s offshore sector needs to rebuild its reputation to halt the drift of graduates towards renewables. In the wake of such a catastrophic tragedy as the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, it is incomprehensible to many that a call to order is being heralded.

How can an industry as dirty as oil say that such a trend is short sighted? It is as clear as day to any rational and disinterested person that the oil industry is dying. While there may be up to a trillion barrels worth of oil still to be drilled, the repercussions of its uses over the past century and a half are undoubtedly being felt. It is time to put a cap on the poison.

Cities are 'magnet' for white families with kids

"It's a new magnet for white families with children — cities that are expensive to live in but are attracting people who want to be in an urban setting and are having children," says William Frey, demographer at the Brookings Institution.

The makeup of the youth population provides a glimpse of the USA of the future.

FAA forecasts 80% increase in fliers by 2031

WASHINGTON – The embattled airline industry will see solid long-term growth over the next 20 years, with yearly passenger totals climbing from 713 million to nearly 1.3 billion, the government predicted Tuesday.

Greenest cars? Not all are electric or hybrids

Plug-in electric vehicles may be the hip newcomers on U.S. streets this year, but they aren't the only eco-friendly stars, a scorecard of greenest cars reveals Tuesday.

The natural gas Honda Civic GX wins top honors for the eighth year, earning 54 points, followed this time by the all-electric Nissan Leaf and the gasoline-powered, two-seater, the Smart Fortwo, according to the 14th annual environmental ratings by the private American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE.)

Soaking Up the Sun to Squeeze Bills to Zero

GOLDEN, Colo. — The west-facing windows by Jim Duffield’s desk started automatically tinting blue at 2:50 p.m. on a recent Friday as the midwinter sun settled low over the Rocky Mountain foothills.

Around his plant-strewn work cubicle, low whirring air sounds emanated from speakers in the floor, meant to mimic the whoosh of conventional heating and air-conditioning systems, neither of which his 222,000-square-foot office building has, or needs, even here at 5,300 feet elevation. The generic white noise of pretend ductwork is purely for background and workplace psychology — managers found that workers needed something more than silence.

Meanwhile, the photovoltaic roof array was beating a retreat in the fading, low-angled light. It had until 1:35 p.m. been producing more electricity than the building could use — a three-hour energy budget surplus — interrupted only around noon by a passing cloud formation.

Builders offer MPG-like home efficiency labels

Just as cars are sold with miles-per-gallon labels, more new homes this year will sport labels estimating monthly energy bills.

KB Home, one of the nation's largest builders, announced Monday its plans to have an EPG (Energy Performance Guide) on each of its U.S. homes by the end of this month, and other production builders plan to follow.

3 States Challenge Federal Policy on Storing Nuclear Waste

WASHINGTON — The attorneys general of New York, Connecticut and Vermont sued the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Tuesday, challenging a new commission policy stating that nuclear waste can be safely stored at a nuclear power plant for 60 years after a reactor goes out of service.

Earth’s Limits: Why Growth Won’t Return

Problems arising from speculative overreach, real estate bubbles, and the inherent Ponzi dynamics of our global debt-based financial structures are endemic and profound. Still, if these were our only difficulties, we might reasonably expect that eventually, once they are sorted out (however painful the process may be), growth will return.

Indeed, that is what nearly everyone assumes. It’s a matter of “when,” not “if” growth resumes.

Speaker tells Wofford crowd that energy is at forefront of 21st century issues

The increasing interplay between declining oil reserves, food prices, the availability of cheap transportation and the overall quality of life Americans enjoy is likely to be the definitive issue of the 21st century and one that elected officials ignore at the country’s peril, a noted energy scholar told a packed house at Wofford College’s Leonard Auditorium on Tuesday morning.

“I spent years studying subjects like politics and economics,” said Richard Heinberg, author of nine books focusing on sustainable energy and a senior fellow-in-residence at the Post Carbon Institute. “It was quite a while before I realized energy was the most important subject of all.”

Tracking trash will teach us to waste less

In the 1930s, waste was rare in North America because there was so little to go around that every scrap of cloth, every bite of food, and every bit of anything usable was used. Not only did this reduce the amount of garbage produced, but it allowed families to survive.

We have come a long way from that way of thinking in a very short time.

Opponents square off over Wash.'s coal-fired plant

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Opponents squared off in Olympia Tuesday over how quickly the state's only coal-fired power plant in Centralia, Wash., should transition to cleaner energy sources.

Canadian-based TransAlta's facility is the state's single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, and is seen as key to state efforts to reduce global warming pollution.

EU 'low-carbon roadmap' aims for 25% cuts by 2020

Energy savings could slash greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by as early as 2020, according to a draft copy of the EU's long-awaited 'roadmap for moving to a low-carbon economy in 2050,' seen by EurActiv.

If Greenhouse Gas Emissions Stopped Now, Earth Would Still Likely Get Warmer, New Research Shows

ScienceDaily — While governments debate about potential policies that might curb the emission of greenhouse gases, new University of Washington research shows that the world is already committed to a warmer climate because of emissions that have occurred up to now.

UN climate chief warns warming can cause conflict

Global warming is a looming threat to stability and national security around the world, and militaries should spend some of their ever-expanding budgets on reducing carbon emissions to avoid "climate chaos," the U.N.'s top climate official said Tuesday.

Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N. climate secretariat, warned of the destabilizing effects created by growing water stress, declining crop yields and damage from extreme storms in some of the world's poorest countries, which could set off mass international migration and regional conflicts.

Climate Change May Cause ‘Massive’ Food Disruptions

(Bloomberg) -- Global food supplies will face “massive disruptions” from climate change, Olam International Ltd. predicted, as Agrocorp International Pte. said corn will gain to a record, stoking food inflation and increasing hunger.

...In fact, it is possible temperatures would continue to escalate even if all cars, heating and cooling systems and other sources of greenhouse gases were suddenly eliminated, said Kyle Armour, a UW doctoral student in physics. That's because tiny atmospheric particles called aerosols, which tend to counteract the effect of greenhouse warming by reflecting sunlight back into space, would last only a matter of weeks once emissions stopped, while the greenhouse gases would continue on.

Two years ago with the recession biting and the car industry in melt-down, the UK government announced our version of cash for clunkers. I went out and traded in an old sub-compact car for a 1 year old 7 seat car for 55% of the price new. As I expected the the lower oil price and large numbers of cars being scrapped caused the car to go up in value for the first year. In the mean time, we made use of the larger car to cart large numbers of children and grandparents around. However we are only getting about 35mpg (imperial). The old car got 45mpg.

Now my wife's parents have died, and we have less need of such a big car. An updated, slightly bigger version of our old car is now on the market, and claims to do 83mpg average. The only real world test figure I have seen says 70mpg. Diesel engine, start/stop control and regenerative braking. The review says the car is under powered - but at 83mpg who cares?

Brent at $101 and petrol at £1.32/litre, I have persuaded my wife it is time to trade down again.

Has anyone seen good data for car maintenance costs?

I'd like to find detailed data that shows cost per year, over say 20 years, by year. A breakdown by component would be nice, to allow a good comparison between new cars and old ones (as well as ICEs vs EVs).

We are going to have to wait several years before that data comes out. What I have seen is that the batteries on the EVs may not last terribly long 5-10 years. This would put an EV's maintenance costs over an ICE. Currently EVs don't stack up well economically. Most EVs are 25k over an ICE. Just a back of the envelope calc puts the break even at around $8/gal. (100k miles 33 mpg = 3k gal, 25k price difference -> $8/gal). You can play with the assumptions a bit to get a range of $5-10+/gal as the breakeven point. Hybrids tended to do worse last I checked.

I assumed that electricity is free, there is no time value of money, you wouldn't need to install a charging station in your home, maintenence costs are equal, and there is no value in being able to fuel up your car in a gas station vs plugging it in.

I haven't seen an EV that even comes close to an ICE on a pure economics basis. I would actually like to own an EV, but it needs to make sense for me economically.

maintenence costs are equal

That's the assumption I'm interested in analyzing, both for new cars vs old ones, and ICEs vs EVs.

I'm not looking for EV data, I'm looking for conventional ICE data. It's out there....

Seen any sources for the data??


A couple of things: First, I don't know what good an average of vehicle repair costs would be since so much depends upon the specific make and model. Second, if you have a particular ICE vehicle you are interested in, you can check Consumer's Reports since they do a subscriber survey every year and they list problem areas on a scale from above average (good) to worse than average (bad). From that you could conceivably determine the repair cost per year.


I'd like to find averages for broad categories, like compact cars, family cars, SUV's, etc. That would do. AAA provides a little information like that, but it's just for the first 5 years of ownership, and the quality of the data is poor.

If I had to choose a model, I'd choose a Toyota Corolla. That seems to be a generally accepted example of a high quality, low cost compact car.

As you note, the Consumer Reports data is entirely qualitative, designed to allow rough comparisions between vehicles. I suspect they have the data I want from their subscriber survey, but they don't release it.

Having just bought a new (Honda Civic or something similar I won't divulge for anonimity reasons) I will explain my reasoning.

1) Need to be rated to haul 1000+ lbs so I can haul trash to dump w/o damage or voiding warranty. Would have gone next size down if I could have.

2) Decided to go new since Cash for Clunkers seems to have made used cars expensive recently.

It burns regular gasoline. It's not a hybrid since they cost more to deliver superior in-town gas milage, and very marginally superior highway milage. Also they have more parts that can break which is asking for maintenance/reliability costs down the road. Pay more for less? Nah.

Also for the premium paid for a hybrid, one could have a diesel vehicle if one is willing to accept the only choice: VW. Diesels are MORE reliable and last LONGER. Sounds almost worth it until you remember what happened price wise to diesel fuel the last time gas prices spiked. Gasoline demand is more elastic than Diesel demand and refining capacity is fixed which made diesel prices rise more relative to gasoline prices negating any price advantage diesel might have offered. Pay more for not much? Nah.

Decided to go new since Cash for Clunkers seems to have made used cars expensive recently.

Did you trying pricing out 7 year old Civics? I think you would have saved a great deal.

I need a quite reliable vehicle for the next 5 years or so, after that it becomes less important. I might have to purchase 2 seven year old cars to maintain the level of reliability I need over 5 years considering the amount of driving I do.

Reliability is a matter of inspections and preventive maintenance. Commercial fleets (truck, rail, air) keep their rolling stock for many decades. You reach a certain plateau of part replacement and costs are stable while reliability should be as good as new.

Of course, most passenger cars aren't built with stainless steel, so this will only last until salt damage starts to cause structural problems. That point would be long after 12 years, though - perhaps at 25 years.

Of course, most passenger cars aren't built with stainless steel, so this will only last until salt damage starts to cause structural problems. That point would be long after 12 years, though - perhaps at 25 years.

Nick, I wish that were true. Here in New England, a car lasts maybe a dozen years. My wife's 2000 Subaru was so rusted (only 125,000 miles -- the drive train was in excellent condition) that we had to abandon it. This car would easily have lasted another ten years in the Southern US.

Yikes! Are you sure your experience is representative?

My understanding is that preventive maintenance is crucial. I've seen a Corolla last 25 years in a similar part of the country, out on the street, but it got washed periodically to remove salt.

Wash it, driving a 92 Subaru Impressa with 245,000 on it. Still gets 30 mpg.

Don in Maine

Wash often, park outside, not in a heated garage...Do not let salty ice turn into corrosive solution.

97 Legacy, 170k. Subarus are like blackflies up here.

I never heard about not parking in heated garage.. then again, I've never had a heated garage, either.

Parking in a cold place reduces the rate of corrosion. The higher temperatures in a heated garage increase the rate of corrosion.

Washing frequently is a very good idea in winter. Spray water into the fender wells and up underneath the bottom of the car to get the salt off the metal.

Rust never sleeps, but at least it can be slowed down.

The other complication is that for this new generation of vehicles there will be very few pattern parts. All spares will have to come from the original manufacturer, whereas older cars can use any part that matches. Usually made by the same company but no longer copyrighted.

It makes a big difference - eg I was quoted for a rubber bush, £25 or £1.50 depending on how it is sourced.

True, though I would note that the Prius is showing very low maintenance costs, despite this problem.

More importantly, I'm not looking for EV data, I'm looking for conventional ICE data. It's out there.

Seen any sources for the data??


If you do your own automotive work, then look for popular cars that have a lot of easy to find parts.

They might not be the 'greenist', but for me I have never had trouble finding parts, or places to buy parts, for my family's Jeep Cherokee or Ford Mustang.

My understanding is that Jeeps are pretty unreliable. Ford is doing much better.

I go by Consumer Reports: they indicate that Ford and several Asian manufacturers are the best. GM is doing ok, and Chrysler and many European brands are trailing behind.

FOR ALL: " ExxonMobil said its oil and gas reserve additions last year more than doubled its production levels, marking the biggest jump in more than a decade."

For those who didn't read this piece let me clarify the gross misrepresentation of that line. First, they didn't mean "production levels" in the sense of production rates. No: XOM is not producing twice as much oil/NG as it had been. What they mean is that XOM added about as much oil/NG to their reserve base as they produced that year. In other words they replaced what they produced. But that doesn't mean they added to the world's oil/NG reserve base as much as it's implied. Much of addition didn't come from drilling but the acquisition of previous developed reserves. Their acquisition of XOT represented a big chunk of that addition.
While this is good news for ExxonMobil it doesn't represent as much good news to the rest of the world at the title implies.

And I believe that the new reserves were heavily weighted toward natural gas. From the article:

Edward Jones oil analyst Brian Youngberg said the numbers had looked strong on the surface.

“But the majority of it is natural gas, and much of it is in the United States, where prices are very weak,” he said.

Their acquisition of XOT represented a big chunk of that addition.

Perhaps a classic case of a zero-sum game in action. XOT lost all their production levels because they are no longer an entity, but XOM gained it. Total is zero-sum.

Web - probably not a zero some since they did drill some new wells. They didn't break the numbers apart but I sure you're correct: they would not have come close to replacing their production without the aquisitions. XOM finds themselve with the curse of being a major: they are so large and have so much production it impossible to grow the company reserves by drilling. It would be very easy for me to increase my company's reserve base by 500%+ overnight...just drill 2 or 3 good wells.

Yes, I loved the fact that these two headlines appeared in the same Drumbeat:

"Exxon Struggles To Find New Oil" and "ExxonMobil in big reserves leap"

They both reported essentially the same story based on the same report from Exxon - talk about "spin"

So it was mainly what is sometimes called "drilling on Wall Street" ... yes?

Egypt delays gas supply, again y net news / Feb 16, 2011 << Busted pipe and court order keep Cairo from supplying Israel with 20% of its natural gas needs ... Eleven days have passed since supplies were halted due to damages that occurred in the system. ... But the Israeli partner of EMG, the Egyptian gas company, announced Wednesday morning that the delay would last until an undisclosed date "sometime this month". >>

I wonder if Egypt is waking up to the fact that they will need to keep their natural resources within their borders in the future if they wish to survive in the long term. With these types of actions, how long before the ME uprisings begin to cross between countries (i.e., one country vs. another)?

Egypt needs to export NG in order to earn money so they can import food. I don't think they have a choice.

There has been lot's of speculation in the MSM about the sources of the widespread "unrest" across the Arab world. I've yet to see one, though, that mentioned the large population growth these countries have experienced over the past few decades and the excessive skewing of their populations toward people under 25 years old.

MSM could care less about those kinds of "inconvenient" facts and even if either the population or demographics were mentioned it would undoubtedly be in the context of "wow look at this amazing new emerging market - and as a bonus they're mostly under 25 so they are a prime target for all our grand new electronic gadgets..."

Food problems ? Energy problems ?

Did I mention we really should be able to sell A LOT of cell phones over there... News at 11.

Superb insight there Catskill. You'll forgive me if I forgetfully pulled my vision from the goal of endlessly making more money.

Now, where did i put those incorporation papers?

Link up top: Shell report predicts peak oil now or soon, ponders ‘Depression 2.0′

In a recent "Signals & Signposts" report by Shell, forecasting energy scenarios through 2050, the oil giant predicted a growing volatility in the price of oil and a coming period of "extraordinary opportunity or misery."

As the demand for oil buts up against actual production and remaining reserves, the climbing price of oil will cause the gross domestic product of all nations to decline, they predict.

The report that brought all this on can be found here: Signals & Signposts

A major oil company has finally come out and said what could happen though they are very careful and add that such a scenario is "unlikely". Perhaps this is just Shell's way of edging up to the truth, slowly, slowly, in an attempt to lessen the shock when the truth finally burst upon the world.

A decline in the gross domestic product of all nations would cause the mother of all depressions. It means unemployment would go up in all nations. And as the decline in oil production continues the decline will continue. There will be no end to this depression, as oil production declines is will only continue to get worse... and worse.

But already the report is being badmouthed. Link up top: Shell’s alarmist ways seem out of touch

Once again, it may be underestimating the power of innovation. In the energy sector, it tends to come from smaller entrepreneurial companies rather than big organizations like Shell that are slow to respond to industry changes.

So there you have it, no need to worry about anything. Innovation, (science), will save us.

Ron P.

Yeah, Ron, it seems that as soon as one of these 'alarmist' reports comes out, the establishment (whatever that is) is quick to counter with this sort of dribble, designed to placate the masses. This, as much as anything, causes me the greatest concern. It's time to stop sugar-coating the truth and scare the crap out of people. The longer this takes, the worse will be the reaction. I have little hope of this occuring, as this campaign of mollification is well funded by those who are benefitting from the status quo the most. Cliff ahead. Can you see it yet?

It's been said countless times here: It's a rear mirrow veiw event. Society will be far gone by the time the problem is actually acknowledged and addressed and even then most people will try to ascribe that breakdown of basic social structure to some other influence eg war, resource depletion, climate change etc.. Peak oil theory may always be fringe regardless of it's validity.


Given that the majority of conventional-oil finds are in unconventional places, I find it hard to imagine an entrepreneurial company throwing money at a deep water rig or positioning themselves for a poke around in the Arctic.

Small companies are great when the opportunities are open for all, but when the amount of investment required for the technical challenges makes the likes of Shell think twice, then I can only see the number of major players decreasing.

There'll always be a place for small companies to do good work on land. Stripper wells are ripe for someone to throw some ideas at. It's a bit different when the a multi-million dollar deep water rig needs paying for as well as the support crew/infrastructure.

I fancy that the Depression 2.0 referred to is one caused by reports like this coupled with the realisation that there is no "someone" riding to our rescue.

Naw, I don't think the coming depression will be caused by reports or any realization of the coming decline. It will be caused by the actual decline and when it happens people will be shocked. People, in general, do not react to reports or warnings, they only react to events.

Ron P.

Too true Ron - I was thinking about my own depression with it all.

As in the old adage "You never learn by someone else's mistakes". Warnings are only good for the few that are willing to listen.

My fear is that the coming (current?) decline will initially be too gradual for people to really notice. Eventually some tipping point will be crossed and then it's hold-on-to-your-hat time.

Cheer up, Doom!

Falklands’ Rockhopper latest well strikes quality reservoir and samples of live oil
A well drilled by Rockhopper Exploration off the Falkland Islands struck a good quality reservoir that bodes well for further development in the area announced the UK explorer in a release.


Successive British governments have argued that sovereignty is not up for discussion unless the islanders want it to be. And that seems unlikely for the foreseeable future. But Argentinian claims will intensify if large deposits of oil are found – geologists estimate that up to 60bn barrels of oil and gas could lie in Falklands waters, putting the region on a par with the North Sea.


Can you say "60 Gb"?

The bad news is that the 'free market' will sell your oil out from under you!

I can say it, but it sounds more like giggle barrels when I say it.

I really hope Rockhopper do well down there, but they've been poking holes around that area for quite a while and the results haven't been the best.

The only way that I see the Falklands being on a par with the North Sea is that it's cold wet and windy with people looking in some deep water for a few drops of oil.

I think they'd have more luck installing a few wind turbines on their rig.

maj - OTOH I've drilled many wells that had "quality reservoir and samples of live oil'. I called them dry holes at the time. The enthusiasm they seem to be peddling may be justified from the stand point that they had so little knowledge of the area that even this little bit of news is quit welcomed. They could have gotton samples from the well that might have indicated there was zero probability of oil in the area. As they say: it's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

Or, a black swan instance could arise at any time considering the geo-political tenderness of the moment. Iran? Will it collapse?.....will Israel let Iran field a nuke? or will KSA tumble? Who knows what will happen and what can spark rapid change?

Cheers Paul

Doom - it will be interesting to see how the more marginal fields are handled around the world. Though the glory days are long gone the U.S. is still the 3rd largest producers of oil on the planet. And that has as much due to the efforts of small independent operators and the fact that most of the mineral interests in this country belong to individuals and not the govt. Were this not the case I suspect many (if not the majority) of our marginal (but cumulatively significant) wells would have been abandoned long ago. How the NOC's respond to maintaining marginal wells with the lands owned by the various govt's is rather uncertain IMHO.

I'm in your camp on this. I have no idea though which way the NOC's will go. They may turn their desperation into maintaining them, or their national collapse may cause them to be abandoned.

The old rear view mirror will be very busy I think.

Innovation, (science), will save us.

So most people think.

For example (from Drumbeat 2 days ago):

Airports can't compete with the new high-speed rail network, which travels from one end of the country to the other in less than three hours.
This story should terrify airlines (and automakers) everywhere. And you wonder why high-speed rail gets blocked in America.
Eleven of the 14 airports managed by the Korean Airports Corporation lost money in 2009 and 2008.

Replacing one transport system with another is however part of the picture. This only is not sufficient for economic growth, which depends largely on wastage. An advantage of EV cars is much less maintenance needed, the dark side is much less work for parts factories and garages.

An advantage of EV cars is much less maintenance needed, the dark side is much less work for parts factories and garages.

In the 60's 1 in every 7 jobs was related to the auto industry. I wonder what that ratio is today, and in particular what it might be with say 10% of all passenger cars being EV's? Then if EV's continue to displace ICE's, then what are the ratios at higher percentages of EV's? What is the economic impact at various percentages?

People still quote that one-in-seven figure on a regular basis (eg, in the Federal Register in 2000). Richard Block, a professor at Michigan State University's School of Labor and Industrial Relations, asserts that a much more accurate estimate is 2.1 million jobs out of 130 million, about 1.6%. There's always been a problem with how far you stretch the "indirect" aspect. Do you count the copywriters and production crews for auto insurance ads? My informal survey of TV advertising suggests that there are a fair number of such that would be unemployed if auto insurance advertising went away :^)

Other aspects of the EV might be more important in determining the employment impact than the electric drive train itself. If the design were aggressive about weight and used composite body panels, does accident repair take more or less labor? Do small vehicles with small wheels require more frequent tire replacement?

Other aspects of the EV might be more important in determining the employment impact than the electric drive train itself.

Roads. What will be the public support for roads be when "fuel" is $8? $10? Transport only by non-fossil fuels?

Roads. What will be the public support for roads be when "fuel" is $8? $10? Transport only by non-fossil fuels?

Probably the same is in Europe, where fuel is already $8/gallon. In other words, people will buy much more fuel efficient cars and take public transit much more. However, many people will continue to drive, albeit much less than they do now.

A lot of the European roads are much better than anything you will find in the US. The German autobahns cost twice as much per km to build as the US Interstate highways. Of course, they're not afraid to tax the drivers to pay for them.

Just imagine how much high tax $14-15/gal European oil (if tax rates are constant about the same as low tax $8/gal US oil) curtails driving--it certainly will curtail fuel tax revenues. But then emptier roads will need less work.

My old small Skoda generated about 40 h of garage work over its 12 years life lenght. This were too little, it should have had 10 h of anti-rust maintainance, preferably preventive, this never happened since I were lazy and it ended its days in a low speed courner accident.

I will be disappointed with my new quite average Skoda needs more garage hours or parts.

My single car example used up a few sets of exhaust systems, a generator, a set of brake pads and discs for the front wheels, a few sets of tyres, some rubber parts for steering and suspension, some other small parts and one 12 V accumulator over about 200 000 km.

The main difference with a EV would be no engine oil or exhaust systems but a very expensive accumulator replacement.

I dont see the very large maintainance difference between an ordinary well engineerd petrol car and an EV. And the EV will have a larger after market cash flow due to the expensive accumulators.

This is a bit anecdotal, but my feeling is that most new cars are very much more reliable and durable than most cars of just a decade ago.

BUT -- and this is important -- when things go badly wrong, or sometimes the wrong thing goes slightly wrong, the cost of repair is so high that repair is effectively impossible.

For example, an Australian senator recently drove his new Toyota Landcruiser (supposedly an off-road vehicle) into water so deep that the engine stopped. The $80,000 vehicle was written off as unrepairable. Nearly fifty years ago I did exactly the same thing with my 1958 Landrover. I put it into reverse and cranked it out of the water using the starter. Half an hour later the heat of the engine had dried out the ignition and it started without any problems. Cost of repair? Nothing.

A few years ago my daughter's VW Jetta was rear-ended by a large motor home. While there was substantial damage, I thought the insurance company would insist on repairing it rather than paying for a nearly new car. But they wrote it off, saying that the damage to the electrical system was essentially unrepairable.

While routine maintenance for new cars is becoming cheaper, and they are becoming more reliable, when something does go wrong fixing it can cost more than the repaired vehicle is worth. It's not just the batteries in a hybrid or electrical vehicle that are a problem: what does it cost (for example) if a minor collision damages a computer?

If your Australian senator managed to get his Land Rover deep enough in the water to ingest water, the engine would have hydro locked. That is, there might have been enough water taken into the cylinders that compression pressures destroyed the engine. It might have broken the crank, warped the block and or heads or bent some rods. If there were also an automatic transmission, water might have entered that as well. And, if water shorted out the engine controller, that's another expensive part as well. Also, there's the damage to the interior, once the door was opened. While repairable, the total cost might have been more than the thing was worth...

E. Swanson

Flooded cars can get written off because water penetration can cause a stink that cannot be removed from the vehicle other than by stripping and re-upholstering completely.


I've known cars written off because the air bags went off. Cost of replacing the air bags exceeding the worth of the vehicle.


According to the CIA World Fact Book, South Korea is slightly larger than Indiana. How would it possibly make sense to fly around an area so small?

70 percent of South Korea is mountainous - Indiana is 0 percent mountainous.

Tunneling and/or routing around mountains is extremely expensive.

That's my guess.

Still South Korea is more densely populated than Netherlands 491/sq.km to 400.9/sq.km. respectively. Indiana weighs in only at 69.79/sq.km.

But you have a point, easier to pave a runway than build a rail line--just takes a tad less fuel per passenger mile for the later though. I'm guessing coach/engine costs per passenger mile for the two aren't very comparable either.

"Once again, it may be underestimating the power of innovation. "

LOL, innovate hard enough and you can even evade the Second Law of Thermodynamics!

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending February 11, 2011

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 13.9 million barrels per day during the week ending February 11, 481 thousand barrels per day below the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 81.2 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging 9.2 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging 4.0 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 8.3 million barrels per day last week, down by 643 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 8.9 million barrels per day, 598 thousand barrels per day above the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 935 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 211 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 0.9 million barrels from the previous week. At 345.9 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 0.2 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories increased while blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 3.1 million barrels and are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased by 3.8 million barrels last week and are below the lower limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 8.4 million barrels last week.

Crude Oil Extends Gains U.S. Inventories Increased by Less Than Forecast

Oil rose after a U.S. government report showed a smaller-than-projected stockpile increase and as protests in the Middle East spread to Libya.

Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 8.4 million barrels last week.

I think this important is more important than the unrefined number.

And yet again the EIA "adjusted" crude stocks up by 1 million barrels and product stock up by 3.4 million barrels.

That's over 600,000 barrels per day crude/product turning up from apparently nowhere again this week

Without these adjustments crude stocks would have been down by 0.1 million barrels and total commercial down by 12.8 million barrels. On average since the start of 2011, 463,000 barrels of something per day, has magically appeared. Hopefully Charles will have some comments later.

If this is a genuine discrepancy, then at some point it must become fairly obvious.

Maybe they're just waiting until TSHTF and then people will be too pre-occupied to notice that they've got it wrong for so long.

Maybe Rockman can theorize for a bit of fun :) Rock, If we rule out the SPR, how would you get a flow of about 0.5 million barrels per day into the USA without it appearing in imports or recorded production? And how do you keep this flow-rate up for months without it being recorded anywhere before it just seemingly appears in storage tanks?

tow - Just my WAG but from the various reporting efforts I've seen in the oil patch I would just write it off as statistical anomalies or white noise. First, AFAIK these are just estimates of crude movement. There may have actually been an intentional bias put in for what every reason...such as accruing the accounting with a different time lag. To be honest unless I saw a 12 month or so constant trend in the data I don't think I would try to interpret much from this data. Once oil leaves my stock tanks I don't pay much attention to how it moves.

Just off the top of my head, but systematic errors like this tend to be due to systemic measurement problems - eg someone stuffed up in methodology.

Something that occurs, this ongoing error seems to be correlated with the glut of oil into Cushing and the consequent price divergence between Brent and WTI. If I were to go looking for the stuff up; I'd start by looking at measurements connected to that area.

The weird thing about this long run of upward adjustments though is that it is unprecedented. As Charles Mackay points out below traders are getting suspicious about the numbers.

Normally you expect the weekly reports to not exactly balance but averaged out it roughly does, This has not been the case for the last few months and stocks keep getting adjusted upwards at the rate of close to half a million barrels every day. That's a lot of oil/product per day remaining unaccounted for and unexplained by the EIA. Perhaps it is just a statistical fluke but it is not a pattern seen before.

Curious coincidence that Chu has just admitted to problems with an SPR storage location which has already resulted in "putting some of the oil in other storage locations" and, he says, will force the sale in future of crude from the SPR into the market.

how do you keep this flow-rate up for months without it being recorded anywhere

The flow integrate in the storage tanks and storage is measured. These numbers may be noisy but for practical reasons I do not expect them to drift towards zero or infinity. If the opposite is done and storage is calculated from flows it will drift unless the numbers are perfect.

Anyone see this bit in the Chu story:

Both Bingaman and Murkowski were critical of the department's plans to sell $500 million worth of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Chu explained the department had to repair one of the many underground salt caverns that hold the 727 million barrels of emergency oil. The oil from that deteriorating cavern has to be drained and sold, he said.

Maybe connected?

Interesting. More details here


Energy Secretary Steven Chu defended the plan Wednesday amid concerns the sale of crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve would leave the U.S. more vulnerable to disruptions in the supply of Mideast oil.

Chu said it was better for the government to cash in on the crude rather than risk it seeping out of a salt dome cavern in southeast Louisiana or chance an overflow of oil as it is moved to other brimming storage sites.

The U.S. already is draining the cavern and putting some of the oil in other storage locations, Chu told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

"But we're concerned with overfilling those storage locations, and we don't want to lose this crude, so we are trying to manage that," he said.

The cavern in question - Bayou Choctaw Cavern 20 near Baton Rouge - now sits within 60 feet from the edge of a salt dome, defying federal requirements for a salt barrier of at least 300 feet to contain stored material. Seismic research in 2009 detected the problem and showed that the cavern had leached toward the edge of the salt dome.

Although Cavern 20 initially had a usable capacity of 7.5 million barrels, government geologists say it now can safely hold only 3.2 million barrels.

gary et al - Dug some info up: I didn't know that the stated capacity of the SPR is 727 million bo so we must have stopped purchases some time ago. In fact for a number of years the govt was taking their royalty payment from the OCS in-kind...shipping oil directly from the OCS into the SPR storage sites:

"From 1999 through December 2009, the SPR accepted royalty-in-kind transfers of crude oil as a primary means of acquiring oil for the SPR. In fact, the final cargo that completed fill to the SPR's capacity on December 27, 2009, was royalty-in-kind exchange oil. On September 16, 2009, the Department of the Interior announced the termination of the royalty-in-kind program. Existing contracts would be honored but no new agreements would be negotiated".

So that program ended a couple of years ago. Something didn't smell right at first. But if one of the storage caverns is leaking and the others are truly filled to capacity then they have no choice but to sell some of the reserves. I can understand selling oil from one SPR site if there's a leakage problem at Choctaw Dome and no spare capacity at the other sites.

I’m going to gloss over the weekly “adjustments” we see from the EIA for now, although again, they never had these constant upward adjustments before and it is still unclear why they are occurring. Traders doubt some of the statistics. In fact, the spike this last week in West Coast gasoline prices has occurred even at the same time the EIA says West Coast gasoline supplies are not falling. Does that make sense?

Getting back to the numbers, based upon daily shipping reports and the oil tanker tracker, “Oil Movements”, OPEC countries in the Persian Gulf region are not – repeat NOT – increasing oil shipments in February as was widely expected per media reports about three weeks ago. In addition, even in January exports to the West were running at lower levels than seen in most of 2010 (while exports to the East increased). The impact of those export cutbacks is now starting to show up, and the US will soon have great difficulty keeping up the import levels necessary to support a minor amount of economic growth – not to mention increased product exports, such as more diesel and gasoline being exported to Latin America.

In other words, so far in 2011, the increase in US refinery demand has not been met by an equal increase in total net oil + product imports. Net imports have fallen 100,000 bpd this year, while demand is up 300,000 bpd. This problem will probably get worse as OPEC cuts back exports to the West – not to mention the fact that a supertanker on its way to the Gulf of Mexico for two Valero refineries is now sitting off the coast of Somalia in pirates’ hands.

No doubt supply worries are creeping into the market: Louisiana Light Sweet crude today sold at record difference of $21 over West Texas Int. (WTI), the benchmark futures price commonly quoted in the media. Keep in mind that the impacts of the Egyptian revolution, if you want to call it that, still hasn’t shown up on US shores yet. A month ago I said, we may see a ‘superspike’ in prices this Spring, but now Spring doesn’t seem too far away.

Today's "Oil Movements" report comfirms downtrend in OPEC shipments. Where did that 'stealth increase' in 'output' that the media told us (three weeks ago) to expect in February go???

OPEC Shipments Seen -120,000 B/D In 4 Weeks To Mar 5 -Tracker
First Published Thursday, 17 February 2011 04:43 pm - © 2011 Dow Jones

LONDON -(Dow Jones)- Seaborne oil exports from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, excluding Angola and Ecuador, are forecast to fall by 120,000 barrels a day in the four weeks to March 5, U.K. tanker tracker Oil Movements said Thursday.

Exports from the 10 OPEC members tracked by Oil Movements are forecast to fall to 23.91 million barrels a day in the four-week period, from 24.03 million barrels a day in the four weeks to Feb. 5.

Oil Movements forecasts future OPEC exports based on spot and term chartering of crude oil from OPEC member countries.


Middle East effect helps push gasoline cost to 28-month high

Gasoline pump prices reached a 28-month high Wednesday even though oil and gas supplies in the U.S. continue to grow and demand for gas is weak.

At what price differential between WTI and Brent can we all agree to start the new "Oil Drum Trucking Co."?
Google maps says we can get from Cushing to Galveston in 9.5 hours.

Before too long, I may be willing to volunteer my time to drive one of the trucks.

I'm a bit confused. With our weekly discussions on the WTI-Brent spread, I come to an obvious conclusion. Assuming the spread is due to a glut of Canadian oil at Cushing, it seems to me it would be in the interest of the producers to reduce their output by 10% (or some number) and then get paid an extra 20% for the oil by glut reduction.

Are they being forced to deliver a certain number of bbls per day by contracts so they can't reduce their flows? In LNG world we certainly have the flexibility to fine-tune pipeline gas flows based on market conditions.

It just seems stupid to me to sell your product on the cheap when you could sell less of it and still make the same amount of money.

I think throttling back production, in the tar sands, is more difficult that that. Anyway, it is hard to hit the sweet spot.

2.0 million bl/d X $85 = $170 mil
1.7 million bl/d X $95 = $162 mil
1.5 million bl/d X $105 = $158 mil

It's still less money for TODAY!

Could the problem be that the "mid USA" market is so weak that it can not pay higher prices?

I've got to agree with you. Trucking companies have been spending less on fuel, and shipping less freight since oil prices have started trending up.


It looks like the economy is strangulating.

What?!?!?!?!? Did you even read your own link?

Although freight shipments got off to a slow start in the first half of January, volume increased substantially as the month progressed and ended 12.3 percent higher than for January 2010. This is a strong sign that the recovery is continuing forward.

Actually the area from Williston ND to Houston Tx and 500 miles either side seem to be the only area of the country where the economy is still in a functioning mode.

WTI also appears to be paying the price for being partially stranded.

Could the problem be that the "mid USA" market is so weak that it can not pay higher prices?

No, it is that they are receiving large amounts of cheap Canadian oil, which is not available on the international market outside of North America.

One has to question if the surplus capacity that OPEC claims to have is really there. I suspect it is not. The OPEC producers are probably not able to increase production to match increased demand in China and elsewhere in Asia.

"Cheap" is relative. The current WTI spot crude oil price exceeds all prior annual spot crude oil prices except for 2008, when we averaged $100.

"Cheap" is relative. The current WTI spot crude oil price exceeds all prior annual spot crude oil prices except for 2008, when we averaged $100.

Yes, that is true. If a Canadian oil sands producer can get $85 for a barrel of sweet, light synthetic crude oil delivered at Cushing, which it costs them about $45 to produce in Alberta, they are going to be jumping up and down with excitement.

Of course, if they could get the $100+ for the same barrel delivered into the Brent market, they would be jumping up and down even higher, but at $85 they are not going to be crying in their champaign.

RMG - Is there any crude loading capacity in Vancouver? Was wondering if any of that tar sand bitumen could be railed through the Crowe before Kitimat comes online?


Vancouver has the Westbridge Terminal, which can handle AfraMax tankers - up to 120,000 tonnes. In 2009 it handled about 65 AfraMax tankers totaling about 29 million barrels of crude oil. However, the Westbridge Terminal is capacity constrained and has bids for about twice as much oil as it can handle. Vancouver is a very busy port - busier than any US West Coast port - and the clearances on the bridges and channels are very tight.

Capacity is also constrained on the TransMountain pipeline to Vancouver - this month, companies competed to transport 33% more oil than the pipeline can handle. In addition to crude oil, the TransMountain pipeline also has to carry refined products from Edmonton to Vancouver, since Vancouver has only one refinery left, and also to carry crude oil exports to refineries in the State of Washington.

The Northern Gateway pipeline to Kitimat would have more capacity than the TransMountain, 520,000 vs 300,000 bpd, and Kitimat could handle more, much bigger oil tankers than Vancouver can - up to 250 Ultra Large Crude Carriers per year, carrying up to 320,000 tonnes of oil apiece. Kitimat is a privately-owned deepwater port with a lot more space to handle big tankers than Vancouver has.

ty - Only one problem: I can cut my production back 90% and still no one would pay me more for my oil. Because all the other producers would ship more oil to make up for my cut. Now if we were really one big pack of conspirators like many beleive then maybe it would work. OTOH the NG producers haven't gotten their covert ops working either: many are selling the NG for less than it cost them to find it. Same reason: at the end of the day cash flow wins over profitability.

Assuming the spread is due to a glut of Canadian oil at Cushing, it seems to me it would be in the interest of the producers to reduce their output by 10% (or some number) and then get paid an extra 20% for the oil by glut reduction.

You can only use that kind of logic if you are in a monopoly position, which the OPEC producers are. The Canadian producers are in a highly competitive market, so they will take whatever price they can get. And that price is the price West Texas Intermediate on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Actually, it's quite a bit less than that for Canadian oil sold in Canada.

eastex - You might need to check the current price for an oil tanker lease. Met with some guys drilling in the hot Eagleford play is S Texas. They are actually starting to have a bit of trouble getting tankers to haul off their oil. And these are relatively short hauls compared to running down from Cushing. No serious problem yet but if your tanks get full and you can't get a tanker right now then you have no choice: shut in all your wells.

It seems to me that oil wells and the tar sands operations are two different things that can not be compared. Shutting in an oil well sounds like a relatively simple operation with only the loss of oil revenue.

In contrast, the oil sands operation involves many workers such as mining machine operators, truck drivers, plant operators and management personnel. If the operation is shut down, all these workers get laid off.

I don't know the labor rules in Canada, but even with no rules there are costs other than the loss of oil revenue in stopping production in such a large operation.

It appears to me that the Canadians have done their homework and determined it is better to take a relatively low price compared to Brent and keep operations running smoothly for efficiencies sake.

And since they lack storage capacity and other easy outlets for production, they send it south to Cushing.

They are likely making a profit on $85 oil so shutting down makes no sense from an operational or economic point of view. It just looks stupid to sell for $85 in a world market commanding $100+.

Farmers use to be in this situation before ethanol. What is a farmer to do when the market telegraphs via low prices that it does not need or want more corn?

Should the farmer not plant a crop? He could, but then he has no income at all from which to pay property tax, mortgage payments and machinery costs. This was what was behind the push for ethanol 30 years ago.

Alberta tar sands face a similar dilemma. It is more complicated than shutting in oil IMO.

The economics of oil sands operations are such that they will continue to operate with oil prices down to $10/bbl or even lower. Most of their costs are sunk costs, so as long as they can make enough money to pay the truck drivers and power shovel operators they will keep running at full capacity. The big oil sands operators have little or no debt, and lots of money in the bank, so they wouldn't be distressed about running at a loss for a few months or years.

At this point in time it probably costs them about $45 to produce a barrel of synthetic oil equivalent to WTI, which they can sell for $85 if they can get it to Cushing, OK. This is like a license to print money.

They could get another $17 if they could sell it to China, but that's not possible, yet. They're thinking really hard about how they could get it to China.

TCPL (Trans Canada Pipelines Ltd) has been trying for a while now to get permits to build a new oil pipeline from Cushing to the gulf coast in order to free up that market for Oil Sands oil and for N. Dakota production into the Gulf coast market where all the refineries are. Interviewed chairman today on BNN (Canada's CNBC equiv. but less political), he said they'd just gotten "the next step permit" in the process, likely still at least a year away. Apparently there's a fair bit of pushback, he wasn't specific. Speculation is there'll probably develop additional refining in Alberta, and perhaps a pipeline to the west coast at Prince Rupert, ship it to China instead.

The project is expected to be in service in the first quarter of 2013, subject to the receipt of necessary regulatory approvals.


The proposed Keystone Gulf Coast Expansion Project is an approximate 2,673-kilometre (1,661-mile), 36-inch crude oil pipeline that would begin at Hardisty, Alberta and extend southeast through Saskatchewan, Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. It would incorporate a portion of the Keystone Pipeline (Phase II) through Nebraska and Kansas to serve markets at Cushing, Oklahoma before continuing through Oklahoma to a delivery point near existing terminals in Nederland, Texas to serve the Port Arthur, Texas marketplace.


CALGARY, Alberta, Feb 15 (Reuters) - A critical pipeline that will export Canadian crude all the way to the U.S. Gulf Coast will be delayed after the U.S. State Department failed to greenlight the extension as quickly as hoped, operator TransCanada Corp said on Tuesday.
The 510,000 barrel-per-day Keystone XL line from the Cushing, Oklahoma, oil hub to the coast -- considered a crucial link for helping relieve the growing glut of crude oil that is trapped in the Midwest due to a lack of south-bound pipelines -- will now be in service sometime in 2013.
TransCanada, the country's No. 1 pipeline and power company, had previously targeted the first quarter. It also boosted the cost estimate for the Keystone pipeline system by $1 billion on Tuesday, pushing the tab to $13 billion.

The company said a necessary permit from the State Department -- first filed in 2008 -- would now likely be approved in latter half of this year instead of its prior first-half estimate. It gave no reason for the delay.


At what price differential between WTI and Brent can we all agree to start the new "Oil Drum Trucking Co."? Google maps says we can get from Cushing to Galveston in 9.5 hours.

I would say we are just about there. It's not too soon to buy that new Kenworth rig and an oil tanker, and start hauling oil from Cushing to Galveston.

The price differential probably won't last more than two years (depending on how fast pipeline approvals go through), but you could probably wear the rig out in two years if you drove really hard and had your wife as a backup driver.

Cushing is practically a suburb of Tulsa (64 miles) and Tulsa has the Catoosa seaport. Wouldn't it make more sense to barge the oil rather than truck it?


Privately-owned housing starts in January were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 596,000. This is 14.6 percent (±15.7%)* above the revised December estimate of 520,000, but is 2.6 percent (±9.8%) below the January 2010 rate of 612,000.

Single-family housing starts in January were at a rate of 413,000; this is 1.0 percent (±8.6%) below the revised December figure of 417,000. The January rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 171,000.

January 2011 single family unit starts were 413,000, down from 511,000 in January 2010.

However, January 2011 starts of 5-unit or more units were 171,000, up from 94,000 in January 2010. Multiple dwelling unit starts were especially strong in the Northeast.

The data appear to be consistent with a shift to more high-density housing being constructed in built-up locations, which is a good thing in view of the coming energy shortages.

I'll be on Betsy Rosenberg's "On the Green Front" show at 11am PST/2pm EST today discussing how declining oil production will fracture the world financial system. (She saw my presentation to the Environmental Forum of Marin a couple weeks back.)


That presentation is now in video form, which I released last night (Preparing for a Post Peak Life). I talk pretty straight about collapse but distinguish between financial collapse and societal collapse à la Orlov's Five Stages of Collapse.

Slides are available upon request.


Congratulations. The best overall summary of peak oil and it's impact I have seen.

Thanks, Kingfish.

Dirty Crude Oil Pipeline from Canada Stirring Anger in U.S. Great Plains

TransCanada plans to use its Kansas pipeline as a pivotal piece in a new, $7 billion, nearly 1,700-mile project to transport heavy oil from Canadian tar sands to refineries in Texas. If it's approved, it could carry up to 500,000 barrels a day, doubling the amount of oil that TransCanada brings in overall.


The US Dollar Crash: Interview with Damon Vickers

The imbalances that are building in the Westernized economies are like a fault line of an earthquake. Tensions will build up on the fault line for only so long before it rips. The tension is the mass and size of the global debt, in particular those of the United States.....

....We either have a global war and we sell weapons into that war, or we start producing things. Or, we have the crisis we lay out in our book The Day After the Dollar Crashes, which begins when China stops buying US Treasuries. Then, in a series of steps that happens over 14 days, all hell breaks loose across the world.

There will then be a decision to reset all Western debt and create a new currency.

I'm in the camp of folks who believe that Peak Oil may become moot, nearer term. We won't be able to afford oil on any level that supports BAU as we know it. Our collective debt situation appears to be unsolvable, and, unlike the slower decline in available energy, the big, looming financial reset is likely to manifest itself overnight. Got beans?

Our collective debt situation appears to be unsolvable

Maybe we should tell Obama to use Executive Order 11110?


(I haven't looked into this EO and whether it's still practical today. And I know nothing about the website linked above other than it seems to have the text of the order. But I recalled someone mentioning that the President has the authority to issue a new currency so I did a bit of googling.)

The Bank of International Settlements did a white paper on The future of public debt: prospects and implications this past year.

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is an intergovernmental organization of central banks. It's is the banker's bank. It is not accountable to any national government. It provides banking services, but only to central banks, or to international organizations like itself.

Basically, their conclusion is the gig is up. Either tell the proles that retirement begins at 75 or take their social security away. Otherwise, their is no way to make good on the debt.

Basically, their conclusion is the gig is up. Either tell the proles that retirement begins at 75 or take their social security away. Otherwise, their is no way to make good on the debt.

Either that or start a massive marketing campaign promoting the health benefits of smoking two packs a day and driving under the influence... Got any better ideas?

Legalize all drugs? Stop reporting/controlling/treating TB, STDs, especially HIV. Make admission to the Emergency Room dependent on the ability to pay, i.e., no money, no treatment. Cut off heating assistance funds and electricity when behind in payments...oh wait...

E. Swanson

Conclusion to the first draft of an essay I just wrote on Egypt as an example of export declines:

Table Two: http://i1095.photobucket.com/albums/i475/westexas/Slide3-1.jpg

The only real difference between the ELM (and three case histories discussed above) and total global net oil exports is the lower Consumption to Production ratio (C/P) for overall global net exports. Note that the lower the C/P ratio at a final production peak, the slower the net export decline rate will be, for a given production decline rate.

It’s difficult to do detailed modeling on global net exports, but in many cases we can get a useful estimate of post-peak CNE (Cumulative Net Exports) for a region by extrapolating the rate of increase in the C/P ratio. If we extrapolate the 2005 to 2009 rate of increase in the C/P ratio for global net exports, it suggests that post-2005 global CNE are on the order of about 420 Gb (billion barrels). This is of course only a rough approximation, but consider the fact that just from 2006 to 2009 inclusive, world importers consumed 65 Gb of cumulative net exports, 15% of projected global post-2005 CNE.

However, a key question is how are post-2005 CNE going to be distributed? On table two, note that in four years Chindia’s combined net oil imports, expressed as a percentage of global net exports, rose from 11.3% to 17.1%. If we extrapolate this rate of increase, it suggests that Chindia would be consuming 100% of global net oil exports around 2025.

While we can all agree that something will change, and Chindia will not be consuming 100% of global net exports in 2025, it does appear that it’s likely only a question of what the long-term rate of increase is going to be for Chindia’s net oil imports.

In any case, for purposes of illustration, it’s useful to carry the Chindia extrapolation out to its logical conclusion. If we define Available Net Exports as the volume of net exported oil not consumed by Chindia, then the estimated post-2005 total volume of Available CNE would only be about 150 Gb, and in 2006 to 2009 inclusive, non-Chindia importers have consumed about 56 Gb, or one-third of projected post-2005 Available CNE.

Our view is that the two real questions are: (1) The long-term rate of change in global Net Oil Exports, and more importantly to developed OECD countries, (2) The long-term rate of change in Available Net Oil Exports. In both cases, we think that the long-term trend line is down, and Egypt, as well as many other countries, serve as clear warnings of where we are headed. Furthermore, we believe that we are currently maintaining something close to Business As Usual, only because of a very high rate of depletion in post-2005 global Cumulative Net Exports and especially because of a very high rate of depletion in post-2005 Available Cumulative Net Exports.

Consider the first 15 minutes after the Titanic hit the iceberg, versus the last 15 minutes before the ship sank. In the first 15 minutes, only a handful of people knew that ship would sink, but that did not mean that the ship was not sinking. In the last 15 minutes, it was readily apparent to everyone that the ship was sinking, but by then it was far too late to try to get to a lifeboat.

Talking of export declines, any insight into the Angola story up top that states a 13% decline planned for April. Is this due to maintenance, another reason, or ELM in action?

We haven't done any detailed work on Angola, other than incorporating them into the top 33 net exporter data base.

Looks like it's maintenance, found this from the Oil and Gas journal.

French oil major Total will reduce production of its Angolan crude grade Dalia in April for planned maintenance, ... be only four Dalia cargoes available for export compared with between seven and eight monthly ...

.....having said that the IEA says the US imported it's lowest monthly amount of Angolan crude since 2005 for the last month that data is available - November (000 barrels per month)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov
8,679 9,124 15,554 15,239 13,885 12,755 11,583 15,009 12,504 10,031 8,274

Meanwhile exports are up to 20% down from their peak month in 2008 of 1.92m b/day

Jun 10 1.70
Jul 10 1.79
Aug 10 1.80
Sep 10 1.52
Oct 10 1.69
Nov 10 1.65
Dec 10 1.49
Jan 11 1.61
Feb 11 1.63
Mar 11 1.73
Apr 11 1.49

Seems to be a pattern of 2/3 months of working the fields hard followed by maintenance. Either way exports are down as are U.S. imports of Angolan crude.

Thanks for posting. Do you have a current blog?

Sam Foucher and I occasionally post something on Graphoilogy, but the item above will be appearing on the ASPO-USA website.

I hope he will come back.

Ghung, Bernanke was saying just a couple weeks ago that if the debt ceiling is not raised, the US could go belly up on the debt. Maybe he was sensing that any upheavel might cause China to stop buying anymore debt. If that information became public, and not sure how it could not, things would probably spiral down pretty quickly.

I'm still in shock that the Bush jr. (all time master-champion of the super wealthy, even over Hoover) tax cuts were not allowed to expire. The savings would have been 3.7 trillion dollars in a time period costing 4 trillion, so the diff. would have only been -300 million. That could have been cut from a variety of smaller programs. Oh well, too bad they just ran right past the 3rd base coach holding up his arms yelling, "Stop, or China will stop buying debt and that will set in a series of calamitous economic events that will render the dollar worthless!!!"

That Obama is willing to cut the energy assistance program in half while preserving tax cuts for the wealthiest says alot about who's camp he's in and how desperate he is. I take it as a sign that he's aware of how bad things are. If financial collapse is imminent, would you rather be aligned with Wall Street or the mob? Tough call...unless you're a President/Ex-President with a built in bugout plan. Unlike the Titanic, Captains no longer go down with the ship.

The Bush Tax Cuts need to be rescinded immediately, along with some serious spending cuts in the Federal government.

Sooner or later many folks are going to wake up.

Maybe starting with Madison, WI.

Captain Smith went down with his ship.

Mr. Andrews, designer of the Titanic, went down on his ship.

Mr Ismay, chief capitalist (president, whatever) of the White Star Line, sneaked on to a lifeboat even while women and children were still onboard, saved his own skin, and lived a life of quiet retirement on an estate afterword.

The main difference with today is that Ismay really couldn't stick his head up in honor again. Now, Thune, Prince, Rubin and the other bums are relatively untouched by their behavior. Somehow Madoff seems to have taken on all their sins upon himself.

Actually, I think that Obama thought that throwing a little raw meat to the dogs would pacify them. But wild dogs only want more, a lot more as evidenced by the 500 amendments to the budget bill. A wrecking crew of mad dogs has been elected to congress and there is no stopping their blood lust. My biggest disappointment is that he doesn't focus on the defense department. But then he knows where the power lies -- within the defense/financial/industrial complex.

ts - So you're essentially saying he's playing the same game the bush baby did. I would agree. That's why it always tickles me when folks argue one side of the fence over the other. We do have a two party system: the career politicians and the rest of us. And they win every election.

the US could go belly up on the debt.

Not worth a Contential is the old phrase.

Remember that the US of A as a group/land mass is on its 2nd Constitution.

I am increasingly skeptical of the deficit hawks playing the "China card." At least Vickers seems to understand that the issue is with Treasuries and not with the Chinese loaning us money, which is what I see most often.

That said, the Fed has been the biggest purchaser of Treasuries for quite a few months now (buying almost 60% of those sold at a recent auction.

And while I don't want to belittle the importance of getting our financial house in order, the reality is that the U.S. is not any worse shape than many other developed countries (and much better than Japan)See here for a comparison. So, singling it out as a particular problem is disingenuous at best.

I'm not saying that we won't face another significant financial event. But I suspect that it will have to do with avarice or incompetence much more than it would have to do with US federal debt.

One important point of comparison between the debt of the US (or the UK) and Japan is 'who owns it?'. Japan's government debt is owned almost completely by it's own citizens. Our debt is owned by other nations. Spot the difference... When trade issues start, which camp would you choose? Not a difficult question really.


I think you need to go back and check your "facts." The Japanese debt has largely been funded by the sort of "quantitative easing" that the Fed is currently engaged in. That said, they also sell them on an "open" market and other nations (and other nations' corporations and citizens) have been buying them as well (including the Chinese). Indeed, the Japanese people themselves are not particularly big investors in Treasuries, though the banks headquartered there are.

As for the "trade issues" assertion, I think you might want to rethink that as well. Should the U.S. default on its debt, exactly what recourse would these "other nations" have? Sure you still want to be in their shoes.

Consider also that governments are not the largest buyers of treasuries. That is typically banks and other financial institutions. Though, granted, in some cases they are state run banks.

Always happy to be corrected if my information is incorrect, but to quote the FT from last month:

Stocks ride out Japanese debt downgrade

Analysts said the move was unlikely to impact on Japan’s ability to raise funds, given the low level of foreign ownership of its government bonds. But the downgrade was widely seen as a warning to other heavily indebted rich nations.

The only number I could find was <6% foreign ownership compared with >50% foreign ownership for the comparison.

"Trade issues" are hugely complicated because it tends to be a zero-sum game if approached badly. I would not advocate a US default today - but there is only so long this game can go on. I am not predicting any immediate collapse but the fade of the US currency is a certainty over the next decade, as I see it.


NSC - the real question with Japanese debt is not so much the foreign ownership, but the self ownership. In addition to the trillions in QE, the government has forced the Japan Post (a quasi-government entity that is as much bank as post office) to purchase almost $2 trillion more. This essentially removes that amount from the marketplace. So yes, foreign ownership is lower, but the 6% figure exaggerates how low compared to what is available in the marketplace. I couldn't quickly find an authoritative total, but from what I read it would appear that at least half the $10+ trillion of Japanese debt is owned by the BOJ or Japan Post.

From the perspective of the issuer of the debt note, it really doesn't matter who owns it, once sold into the market the issuer has the money - and they were going to pay the interest regardless of who owns it. From a "national economic" perspective, there is a loss in the sense that the interest leaves the nation. But I am not convinced that national level economics matters much any more.

As for the future of the dollar, we are in complete agreement. I, too, see a long trend down. No doubt there will be dips and bounces, but the dollar is not a currency I'd be betting on. Still, that is a separate issue from whether or not foreign ownership of debt is of any significance.

Another use for Rare-Earth Elements ...that we don’t have.

New material provides 25 percent greater thermoelectric conversion efficiency

Automobiles, military vehicles, even large-scale power generating facilities may someday operate far more efficiently thanks to a new alloy developed at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory. A team of researchers at the Lab that is jointly funded by the DOE Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Division of Materials Sciences and Engineering and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, achieved a 25 percent improvement in the ability of a key material to convert heat into electrical energy.

and China announces shakeup of rare earths industry

China plans to tighten control over rare earths producers and restrict output in a five-year development strategy, the Cabinet said Wednesday, amid concern abroad about plans to reduce exports of the exotic minerals used in high-tech goods.

A Cabinet statement promised to "reasonably set annual quotas for production and export" but gave no details. It said the government will tighten environmental controls and block unauthorized production.

I presume (tightening up environmental controls and blocking unauthorised production) is the same as the Saudis saying that they are going to keep more of there oil in the ground for future generations. Translated we are going to keep it for ourselves

Another use for Rare-Earth Elements ...that we don’t have.

Um... We do have them, just have chosen not to produce them. China undercut everyone, said 'scr*w the environment', and put everyone else out of business in the process. Now they're keeping their REE's for themselves, so it actually becomes profitable for other countries to mine them.

Mining RE is one thing. Refining is another. According to CRO we're 7-10 years away from being able to refine commercial quantities.

That's extremely difficult to believe. Have you called up any of the mining companies trading on the Toronto / London stock exchange?

Your right, I was wrong.

It wasn't the CRS, it was the GAO and it wasn't 7-10 years - it was 15 years.

From Defense News: GAO: Reviving U.S. Rare Earths Supply a 15-Year Chore

Rebuilding a viable U.S.-only supply chain of rare earth minerals could take 15 years, according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that underscores China's global dominance over production and price of the family of elements used in many high-tech military and commercial systems.

Eventually rebuilding America's rare earths supply chain depends on several issues, GAO found, including securing the large amounts of capital to restore production facilities, developing new technologies and obtaining patents now held by foreign firms.

"The United States has the expertise, but lacks the manufacturing assets and facilities to refine oxides to metals," states the study. "Refined metal is almost exclusively available from China."

Colorado-based Molycorp Minerals is working to raise enough capital to bring its Mountain Pass, Calif., rare earths mining and production facility back online. By the middle of this decade, the company hopes to reach that goal.

The auditors found, however, that the Mountain Pass site does not contain certain rare earths that can withstand extremely high temperatures. These rare earths are the ones used in the permanent magnets used in many U.S. defense systems.

Many U.S. minerals industry officials and academics told the auditors that most investors are not interested in even considering doling out the kind of capital needed to set up production facilities for a bona fide alternative to Chinese oxides.

"It is estimated that Chinese domestic consumption of rare earth materials will outpace Chinese domestic supply between 2012-2015," according to the organization. "With a 3-5 year timeline to re-establish a domestic rare-earth supply-chain, the United States is already in a 'silent crisis.' It is unclear whether rare earth material will be available outside China in the coming years."

The GAO Congressional Briefing: Rare Earth Materials in the Defense Supply Chain

"a key material to convert heat into electrical energy"

A 25% improvement on a thermocouple means it's 12% efficient instead of 10%; and that's pretty much the very best case.


I made a thermopile for my Energy class. It's a neat toy, but not really useful for producing electricity. This improvement in efficiency will translate to more precise thermometers, not more electrical production.

The US of A has access to Sea Water, and the universal solvent* of water has what you are looking for.

Having the excess energy to extract said material from water - well, now that's the rub. Same way with having the excess energy to extract and process X from the soil.

A billion tons of biomass a viable goal, but at high price, new research shows

A new study from the University of Illinois concludes that very high biomass prices would be needed in order to meet the ambitious goal of replacing 30 percent of petroleum consumption in the U.S. with biofuels by 2030.

A team of researchers led by Madhu Khanna, a professor of agricultural and consumer economics at Illinois, shows that between 600 and 900 million metric tons of biomass could be produced in 2030 at a price of $140 per metric ton (in 2007 dollars) while still meeting demand for food with current assumptions about yields, production costs and land availability.

"Unless biomass prices are really high, these perennial grasses are going to have a hard time competing with crops like corn, soybean and wheat for prime agricultural land," Khanna said. …But relying on crop residues alone won't be sufficient to scale production up to levels set by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007…"Crop residue yields tend to be relatively low per unit of land – 2 to 3 tons per hectare," Khanna said. "That can get costly pretty quickly. There are also concerns about how much you want to take away because at some point it has a negative effect on soil productivity as well as water quality because it affects run-off.

I believe the French have a saying that runs something to the effect that "Only an intellectual or an idiot could believe...." I can't remember the rest, but it applies perfectly.

Only a person who knows essentially nothing about agriculture could ever believe that we can grow enough so called alternative crops on socalled marginal land unsuitable for other crops to make a serious dent in our fuel supply problems; most intellectuals, and even most people such as typical members of this forum, know little or nothing about agriculture.

Anybody who does know something about agriculture who believes such foolishness is simply an idiot. a great many professors of agriculture fall into this group.

The primary scientific laws that apply to all physical processes apply to agriculuture, and cannot be evaded.

You can't just go out to some scrub land and wave around a magic wand and sprinkle some fairy dust and suddenly get many tons of switchgrass, or any other crop by magical means.

Such crops WILL require fertilizer, lime, pesticides, cultivation, planting, plowing, harvesting, drying, hauling, storage, and all the other usual production inputs and steps common to any crop.Without constant replacement of soil moisture and nutrients, yields will sink like a stone in a very few years.Weeds and pests will show up in short order in any artificially maintained local ecosystem-which is essentially what a field under cultivation IS.

Yet these bumper crops are supposedly going to be produced on land too rough, too poor in nutrients, and too dry to successfully raise conventional crops.

The numbers cannot be made to add up;the costs are simply not manageable in relation to the value of the crop, given realistic estimates of yields and expenses.

Of course there is always the possibility of a miraculous breakthrough- for those of us who believe in miracles.

If we grow huge quantities of biomass for fuel, we will do it mostly on good land, thereby displacing other crops.

This is reality. You can take it to the bank.

This is still one of my favorite TOD articles:

Life in a Grass House

The primary scientific laws that apply to all physical processes apply to agriculuture, and cannot be evaded.

Jeez OFM, if people understood that we wouldn't have gotten into the mess we're in now, in the first place...

And talk about 'CORN, U Copian' >;^)

Yet these bumper crops are supposedly going to be produced on land too rough, too poor in nutrients, and too dry to successfully raise conventional crops.

Priceless! But don't you worry, with proper incentives, tax breaks and subsidies we'll have GM drought and herbicide tolerant switchgrass for cellulosic ethanol production from sea to shinning sea in no time. We'll be free of imported oil! NPK? Bah!

We don't need no stinkin reality!

The professors know all this but then there is the money for further research. With enough money available, all impossible schemes are worth reevaluating. Oh, and according to some, we can use our entire animal feed based corn crop for ethanol because it is not being used to grow food. Animals aren't food, I guess. Burn, baby, burn.

From the manager of the heavily-subsidized ethanol plant down the road in Johnstown, Ontario:

"As for the food argument, Field said there is a surplus of corn, more of which goes to feed livestock than people, saying it is "nonsense" to suggest the ethanol industry is depleting the food supply."


Rather dumb study.

Corn costs ~$250 per ton.
Corn ethanol can produce 100 gallons per ton of corn kernals plus .4 tons of DDGS worth probably $100.

Cellulose ethanol produces about 50 gallons per ton
so $140 per ton biomass would be almost twice as expensive at today's corn prices.

The 1.3 billion ton would produce 1 Gboe of oil equivalent according to the USDA study so it would amount to 14% of current oil consumption.

So 1.3 x $140 = $182 billion dollars would equate to +$200 per barrel oil.

The US produces 3.3 Gb of gasoline per year so replacing 1 Gb of gasoline with 1 Gb of cellulosic ethanol would reduce the energy density of the resulting E30 by a modest 10% below straight gasoline.

That would also reduce the carbon emission
of burning vehicle fuel from ~20 kg/mmbtu to 16 kg/mmbtu below that of natural gas at 18 kg/mmbtu.
Most of US CO2 emissions come from burning oil.

Is +$200 oil coming?
A 25% drop in world oil production would result in a doubling of oil prices.
If Peak Oil is today and supplies continuously decline at 2.5% per year in ~11 years world production would drop by 25%.


Total dry-matter energy content of world annual biomass production on land is only about twice current world energy consumption. Discussions such as "US should use cellulosic ethanol to replace oil use" either assume heavy importation of cellulose (from where?) or the end of food agriculture in the US.

I don't disagree with oldfarmermac. His insights help prioritize alt energy strategy and provide responses to biofuel advocates.

On a similar subject Turning forests into fuel: New report outlines promise and limits of biomass energy in the Northeast

...The report analyzed U.S.D.A. Forest Service Forest data from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

It found that using forest biomass for heat in the region was far more effective in replacing liquid fossil fuels than converting it to cellulosic ethanol for road transport. Biomass burned in combined heat and power plants reduced fossil fuel use more than five times more effectively than substituting gasoline with cellulosic ethanol.

Under best-case scenarios, however, the energy generated sustainably from forest biomass in the Northeast could replace only 1.4% of the region's total fossil fuel energy.

This subject was covered a few years ago on TOD. If I recall correctly, they estimated at most 5% FF energy replacement (which is a pretty good estimate from an unfunded back-of-the-envelope study)

It found that using forest biomass for heat in the region was far more effective in replacing liquid fossil fuels than converting it to cellulosic ethanol for road transport.

Over the years, I've found that if you have a woodlot on your property of reasonably large size (and it doesn't have to be very big), cutting down a tree from time to time, sawing it up into logs, and putting it into your fireplace works very well for heating your house.

However, grinding up trees and trying to convert them into fuel ethanol for your car seems to work considerably less well. You might be better off putting a few acres into grass and buying a horse. This has worked quite well for some of my friends.

You just need to persuade the local stores to put in hitching rails for their customers' horses. If you live in the right kind of neighborhood, that's not a problem either.

How the middle class became the underclass

The average American's income has not changed much, while the richest 5% of Americans have seen their earnings surge. This chart includes capital gains.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Are you better off than your parents?

Probably not if you're in the middle class.

Incomes for 90% of Americans have been stuck in neutral, and it's not just because of the Great Recession. Middle-class incomes have been stagnant for at least a generation, while the wealthiest tier has surged ahead at lighting speed.

How long until Washington Mall starts looking like Tahrir Square...?

...Tax cuts enacted during the Bush administration and extended under Obama were also a major windfall for the nation's richest.

And as then-Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan brought interest rates down to new lows during the decade, the housing market experienced explosive growth.

"We were all drinking the Kool-aid, Greenspan was tending bar, Bernanke and the academic establishment were supplying the liquor," Deutsche Bank managing director Ajay Kapur wrote in a research report in 2009...

The Fed has rates at what, 0-0.25%? Nothing to treat a hangover like more booze. Party on! And who gets to foot the bill? Methinks the taxpayer... but don't tell him.

It's a Ponzi scheme, folks, and the ones at the top have more money and power than ever to take away what you own, earn, and owe for their benefit. Peak Oil? How about Peak Money?

Madison, WI. ...peaceful protests.

I've lived that chart since my childhood in the 1950's and '60's. And anyone who didn't see that last pair of spikes during the "Bush Jr" years has been brain-dead.

And BTW, that American fantasy that "work hard, live right, and you too will get wealthy" is utter nonsense. I've done it all, and gone broke twice in business. Once killed by 18% interest rates in 1980, and once because a thermodynamic calculation I did turned out to contain one minor flaw. Very complex, and I paid to have it checked by several other qualified experts and they didn't find it either, but I wrote the whole computer program so it's my fault. But I tried really hard. If it were true, at least 50% of the population would be among the "top 5%", not just the lucky ones.

Ah, yes. The fallacy that continues to allow the ultra wealthy to control this country, gets average folks to vote against their own economic interests and keeps a lid on social discontent. America, the land of opportunity, where any old schmo just could be the next billionaire.

The worst part isn't even that the story isn't true. There are enough Bill Gates type stories to keep the myth alive, even if the average person born into a mid to lower income family has better odds of hitting the lottery than of rising to the top based on their own efforts. No, the worst part is that, as Americans, we are so concerned that the "other guy" might get ahead, or get more than she deserves, that we have refuse to do things together as a group because we want our chance to hit the big time. So, we assent to remaining poor in order to maintain that chance to be ultra rich.

There are enough Bill Gates type stories to keep the myth alive,

The parts where Bill is the result of lawyers breeding?
The parts where the "transfer" of the BASIC language by the professor who thought he had hired Bill to do the typing work considered the running afoul of child labor laws "legal robbery"?
The part where Seattle Microcomutpers (makes of Q-DOS) lost the rights to Microsoft due to slow payments by Microsoft?
The parts where the firm that gave up its browser code for 'a slice of the profits' didn't see much because IE was "included free"?

Which myths are "we" speaking of here?

Bill Gates (Microsoft), Scott Neally (Sun), Steve Jobs (Apple), Vinod Khosla (Sun), Paul Allen (Microsoft) were all born in 1953-1954; People born in 1950 already had jobs at IBM, people born in 1953 were lucky that in 1974-5) first microprocessor became available/affordable. IBM employed people had mortgages so could not become entrepreneurs.

Fascinating book about "coincidences" of this kind. Like 80% of NHL players are born in the first half of the year.

Got the title: Malcolm Gladwell, "Outliers". http://www.gladwell.com/outliers/index.html

It is about Gray Swans in our parlance.

"work hard, live right, and you too will get wealthy"

Sold a lot Amway minutes for Paul Harvey, though. Kept his loyal lunch box crowd glued to the radio for decades.

Since I didn't get back to the thread in Gail's Texas Electricity Blackouts Enabled ... on the immediate demand side control system before it closed, here is my response to you.

Yes of course the traffic lights going down due to peak demand is where the conversation began. The complexity of the metering system now used by the big municipalities is something I know nothing about. Just what physical wiring challenges and rate use decisions would be involved by municipalities and other govt entities so power usage would be properly prioritized in an IDSCS seems worth study in and of itself. My initial response to gayrp merely stated individual municipalities peak power cutoff points would not be the same across an entire state.

down thread EP stated:
I don't think that constant loads like traffic lights would or should buy their power at the spot price. They are practically the definition of "base load", and ought to be able to get a reasonable fixed price for 24/7 power.

to which I responded:
no argument there. I wonder what sort of safeguards are in place even without a fully market directed system. Insolvent government entities delinquent on power bills...could get dicey.

what about "could get dicey" goes counter to your point
The day you have insufficient power in the grid to operate your traffic lights, you can forgetabout anything else operating.

EP had just expanded from traffic lights to 'constant load' and my entire reply follows in that vein. I went off to the realm of bankrupt governments not providing basic services because they didn't pay the bill and the power got cut off. What safeguards are in place? I've no idea--I'd bet they vary substantially from state to state in the US.

The back and forth prattle between NOAM and myself did border on nonsense. Though I do think my anecdotal experience of seeing the traffic lights all go down at the beginning of rush hour and what they did to traffic flow was germane garyp's original comment. That is exactly the sort of Friday rush hour peak power incident he was referring to when the 'inconceivable' happened and power prices jumped above the high tariff cutoff, an arbitrary high value set by a manager somewhere and shut down the traffic control.

NOAM did offer a fair amount of distraction--sorry the traffic lights in his town don't aid the flow of heavy traffic, my experience has been quite the contrary.

So in a nutshell the only criticisms of IDSDS in the thread were garyp's:

If you want to keep a complex, interrelated system working, one that's on the edges of collapse in the good times, the one thing you DON'T do is consider a free market is a good idea. That reads across to oil too.

and my 'inconceivable' quip to your declaration With this strategy, there is no need to worry about Enron-type "manipulation/creation of volatility" etc. In IMEUC, a lot of thought has gone into ensuring that every incentive vector under every concievable circumstance, is pointed in a direction to benefit society in general and cannot be co-opted by any sub-group for personal gain. If you context that, provide an example.

You may have been fishing for help there, and it might have been an open invitation to bring more minds to bear on the subject...but I thought a little comic relief could lighten the tone. You do tend to the severe side. Besides a picture makes a thread much easier to find when the comments grow.?- )

Hey, I don't want to stretch the traffic light thingy out but there is one thought I had that may be relevant to other issues. I noted that your road system seems a lot better. Maybe that is why road travel breaks down when you have a power cut and ours does not when we do. Our twisted and restricted road system acts as a natural filter keeping traffic under control reducing the need for artificial restrictions such as traffic lights. OTH your roads promote clear traffic flow and require an artificial control such as traffic lights. When that restriction is removed then chaos results, I mean literally, the flow becomes chaotic and breaks down.

Maybe roads with less vehicles on them, post oil shortage and high prices, may need more traffic control rather than less as speed and flows increase.


I don't live in our biggest city anymore, but yeah multilanes in each direction and slightly higher speed is what Anchorage's many main arteries are about.

A general power outage at the beginning of rush hour also dumped shifts that would have been staggered over an hour or two onto the streets all at once. No power, no job. Which of course points up unforeseen difficulties that demand side electrical management could bring on which is where this thread started. Good gad we made it back ?- )

Thawing permafrost likely will accelerate global warming

Up to two-thirds of Earth's permafrost likely will disappear by 2200 as a result of warming temperatures, unleashing vast quantities of carbon into the atmosphere, says a new study by the University of Colorado Boulder's Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.

If we want to hit a target carbon dioxide concentration, then we have to reduce fossil fuel emissions that much lower than previously thought to account for this additional carbon from the permafrost," he said. "Otherwise we will end up with a warmer Earth than we want."

"The amount we expect to be released by permafrost is equivalent to half of the amount of carbon released since the dawn of the Industrial Age," said Schaefer. The amount of carbon predicted for release between now and 2200 is about one-fifth of the total amount of carbon in the atmosphere today, according to the study.

I'll interject this here on general principles...

Something that gets my goat is everyone's tacit agreement to use the word "warming" in connection with the atmospheric heat forcing experiment.

The way we think about things is huge. I'm certainly not the first or the thousandth to make this point, but the phrase "global warming" is antithetic to concern in the deep decision-making levels of the human mind where "feelings" are more important than logic.

Yes, on a shallow level, "warming" is correct, but it isn't the only correct word.

Bill McKibben - a bright fellow - has renamed the 'Eaarth' but still uses the "W" word in every paragraph. Yet that word is freaking soothing on deep levels.

Words have subconscious cognitive weight, and "happiness is a warm puppy". Climate campaigners - or really anyone who cares about not destroying most life on the planet - should make the "w" word as verboten as the "n" word. As in, slugging one another in the arm if we hear it used. With what we now know, "global warming" is a euphemism, technically correct but semantically destructive. Not impossible the future fate of the world could hinge on the way that word feels.

Probably too late to agree on a new one by consensus, and perhaps it shouldn't be only one. But such re-branding is necessary, despite its difficulty.

Just a short pre-coffee rant. Civil disobedience, education, benefit concerts, all well and good, but with the "w" word in place, it's a uphill battle to get English-speakers (at least) to feel it as threatening.

I agree greenish. I myself have tried to make a conscious effort to use 'Climate Change' instead of the 'W' word.
Perhaps I'll consider upping the ante and heretofore call what is happening 'Catastrophic Climate Change'...

There are plenty of good descriptive names, and we should use them all while stigmatizing the "w" word. That is, it's more important that we NOT use the term "warm" than whatever we do call it.

There's a "sweet spot" in selecting terms before they're incorporated into the zeitgeist, and whatever first occupies a niche in any evolving system (like human brainspace) evolves connectivity which gives it robustness.

Thus, I wasted some postings in the past pointing out that the confusing acronym EROI was being boneheadedly pushed by academics despite the concept still being malleable. But academics being academics, they prefer to avoid professional risk and stay with an inherently-confusing convention. Even on TOD, the comments by smart posters often conflate the term with its ER/EI meaning versus ER/$$.

I'm not kidding: anyone who uses the word "warming" in connection with this issue should get complaints. With what we now know, it's an incomplete enough description of complex effects to be misleading.

If we aren't willing to stigmatize "warming" - and take the heat for it - we'll lose. Don't just change what you call it - bug the people you talk to about it. I'd like to see a series of PSA's where a person takes a pie in the face every time they use the word.

I'm talking to you, McKibben.

(Anthropomorphic) Climate Destabilization

I really liked the phrase above "Climate Experiment". What a great phrase to start a discussion.

You've got me muttering all sorts of alternatives now, Green.

"Global Toasting", "Climate Cozying", "Planetary Par-Boil", "Terra-Crisp"

I liked McKibben's vid in the Nation, tho' I wish they hadn't punted with the Videography.. web video is getting awfully lame.. made the piece look just amateurish.

I'm so freaked out now, I can't even think. Chu getting chewed out for putting in some Alt Energy R&D, and having the gall to snip Petro Research. I think Boehner is going to start wearing Biblical robes to congress soon, riding in on an animatronic T-rex. (Bonus points if he calls it Auto-erotic)

Silly Season is firmly upon us.

Hey, use 'em all! But let not the "w" word pass your lips.


I like Climate Chaos. It also seems to be pretty descrptive of recent events.

At least the pension funds got the word right

Investments worth trillions at risk from climate change: study

The study, led by global investment consultancy Mercer, describes climate change as systemic risk because it challenges the conventional allocation of assets and requires new ways of assessing climate policy and change risks. The study was compiled with the help of the International Finance Corporation, part of the World Bank, and 14 institutional investors, mostly pension funds

It also found that investment needs could top $5 trillion by 2030 for low-carbon technologies such as energy efficiency, biofuels, nuclear power and carbon capture and storage

Climate upheaval?

Good Luck Greenish,

Call it anything you like but I think the response will be about the same. The same people will re-label it a hoax and assault us with a constant barrage of disinformation while a whole lot of other folks will express concern, look to their elected officials to solve it, then go back to yakking on their cell phones. A few of us will take some steps to live a more earth friendly lifestyle.

Indeed, some people will believe it's a hoax. Humans are built that way, believing what it suits them to believe; some high majority of us don't believe our physical death will cut back on our social life, and the default mode is optimism because it stresses people less than worrying.

However, the activists using a positive-association word like "warm" surrender the issue from the outset.

I see the world a bit differently than many do. I've spend decades actively seeing what works and what doesn't, not in theory but in the trenches, and have often succeeded on fairly large scale. I'm not sure whether I should be called an activist, a secret agent, a machiavellian monkey-manipulator... I yam what I yam. I know it's possible to steer the way humans in general think about things - and I think it's a shame to sink back into individual "green" efforts under the belief nothing greater is possible. Now, with a world probably at stake.

Those who can feel what it means, deeply, don't need to be swapping their lightbulbs for CFL's, they need to be dedicating their lives to intelligent action that transcends the self, at the same intensity of commitment that caused people to lay down their lives in the past, for there was never a cause to match this one.

Problem is, we don't seem to understand what works and what doesn't, nor are we all that interested in anything that doesn't "feel" egalitarian and righteous to our tribal-monkey instincts. Thus most have given up, or are just phoning it in while staying in their comfort zones.

As to why I'm venting here, good question... good a place as any, I guess.

What did Hitler and Gandhi have in common? Might make an interesting essay, but what I'm thinking of at the moment is this: An understanding of deep imagery and symbolism and its use in the real world. How human brains work in aggregate, and their phase shifts under stress. The tools with the most power, and they aren't being used by the climate campaigners.

My favorite for some time has been a different "w" word:

Global Weirding

I thought it was catching on, but I guess not.

This is largely an asymmetric discussion, all the labels of hoax are coming from the right-wingers. I monitor right-wing talk radio to get a sense of what they think and to get a chuckle. This morning a right-winger host labeled global warning a hoax and within the span of an hour said oil is abiotic and supplies should last for a very long time, and then railed against green jobs. This show Quinn & Rose is beamed over satellite radio every morning to a nation-wide audience.

The weirding is in people's reactionary perceptions.

I'd like to see the "w" word become identified with the denialists and not with those discussing the issues seriously.

Terminology does make a difference - "Gay Marriage" is in common parlance now, while those who have used it as a wedge issue have called it such things as "state-sanctioned sodomy". The term "Gay" is itself a successful case of re-branding a set of issues which already had descriptors in place.

While the right-wingers, particularly the shills on right-wing talk TV, do seem to be flogging the "global warming hoax", there are many other folks who just aren't threatened enough by "warming" to become motivated. This sort of issue doesn't instinctively set off alarms in monkey brains; and when we pair it with a soothing-sounding descriptor, we end up with: what we're seeing.

I prefer "MHM" for the denialists:


Magic-Hugging Morons

There are also the Faux-HM's

I'll let you figure out what that one means

There is a difference between hoax and using a problem as yet another transfer of wealth from the people who actually DO things to the useless, deceptive class who end up rich by taking a slice because "they are handling money".

You can see this in the micro - posters here on TOD referring to the transaction of a bank loan as "give" - when it is not a gift at all. Or when a report shows the investment banking class gets 1 unit of economic measure for every 1 unit actually spent on Carbon reduction - others consider that "fair" for the "hard work" done by the investment bankers.

At the point where Carbon reduction projects are not 70% in-effective (only 30% of the funding goes to the actual project, the rest is "overhead") you might see buy-in VS the realistic observation that it is no better than any of the other scams, backed by law, to separate one group from its resources to enrich some other group.

Running on a faster track: Researchers develop scheduling tool to save time on public transport

What matters for commuters is not just if the train will be on time, but how long the journey will take. It's an important factor in public transportation and can make the difference in helping commuters choose mass transit over more polluting and costly transport like cars or airplanes.

In the recent economic downturn, more people are seeking to scale back their monthly transportation costs. Public transportation is a win-win — good for both the bank account and the environment. But when travel routes are complicated by transfers, it becomes a hard job to manage who can wait — and who can't — between trains.

Not sure that schedulers are anything new?


In the US this seems largely irrelevant. The relevant first step on many transit systems would be to get adherence to any schedule at all rather than have buses or trains show up when somebody feels like it. Once there was some actual adherence to schedule, then there might be something to optimize with fancy algorithms...

At some moment - if the wait is psychologically not too long, the schedule does not matter. Is anybody checking NYC subway schedule? Paris? No, you just take the next train. Considering European smoking habits (at least in the past), just enough time to finish a cigarette :-)

Psychologically, it is important the the train gets to destination faster than any other option but also that is seems to go fast between the stations. Impression of speed cuts time perception. "I am getting somewhere!!!"

Same with car, isn't it: Is half an hour at 60 mph better than 20 minutes stop and go?

True enough as far as it goes. In the tiny handful of US places crammed wall-to-wall and ground-to-sky with people, you can find metro-level (every ten minutes or more frequent) service. Not too much worry about schedule, although getting a pack of buses or trams randomly once in 40 minutes or so instead of single ones regularly can still be a big problem.

OTOH, even in New York City, you may find that the train (or bus) you need comes only once an hour late at night or on Sundays. So you want adherence to schedule at times like that; at many stops, regularly spending a large random amount of time waiting is almost asking for a mugging followed up by a ruinously expensive and time-consuming trip to the hospital.

Oh, and believe it or not, most of the US population does not live in Manhattan or someplace like it. They live where they might be lucky to see a bus every half-hour or forty-five minutes, or every hour or more (or not at all) at slack times. So adherence to schedule matters.

As long as lazy, well-mollycoddled, tenured six-figure-salaried drivers can't ever be fired for failing to tell time, and lazy, well-mollycoddled, tenured management needn't give a rip, we won't get that adherence. So it remains that optimization of a schedule that is without practical existence simply doesn't matter. It doesn't matter how well-designed the transfers might be, when many or most of them are missed anyhow. So I stand by the original point.

True enough as far as it goes.

True enough as far as it goes. :-)

I am Canadian, so have to disclaim, profiling is a no-no. I'd venture though that scheduling works better in Japan that in the Western hemisphere, and better in Switzerland than Italy.

OTOH, even in New York City, you may find that the train (or bus) you need comes only once an hour late at night or on Sundays. So you want adherence to schedule at times like that;

Most certainly. But at those times, with fewer external factors, adherence to a schedule should be easier.

As long as lazy, well-mollycoddled, tenured six-figure-salaried drivers can't ever be fired for failing to tell time, and lazy, well-mollycoddled, tenured management needn't give a rip, we won't get that adherence


China gold demand growing at "explosive" pace: ICBC

Demand in China for physical gold and gold-related investments is growing at an "explosive" pace and its appetite for the yellow metal is poised to remain robust amid inflation concerns, said an Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) executive.

ICBC the world's largest bank by market value, sold about 7 tonnes of physical gold in January this year, nearly half the 15 tonnes of bullion sold in the whole of 2010, said Zhou Ming, deputy head of the bank's precious metals department on Wednesday.

"We are seeing explosive demand for gold. As Chinese get wealthy, they look to diversify their investments and gold stands out as a good hedge against inflation," Zhou told Reuters.

China is now the world's largest gold producer, but none of the Chinese production is exported. The Chinese central bank and the internal chinese market purchase the country's entire output and then some; China is a net gold importer.

The Chinese central bank needs to increase its gold holdings to support the goal of making the Renminbi convertible on international markets. The Chinese also will support an alternative reserve currency to the U.S. dollar. This will inevitably wind up being something which will include gold, such as the SDRs of the IMF.

Brazil’s middle classes strain infrastructure

Brazil’s rapidly growing middle class has put a huge strain on the electricity grid as people rush out to buy their first washing machines, televisions and other domestic appliances.

“It seems the problem is not a lack of investment – that’s already quite high,” said Walter de Vitto, an energy analyst at the Tendencias consultancy in São Paulo. Instead it was “very concentrated” economic growth in some regions.

It is so sad to see these peoples becoming the last suckers jumping into the Global Industrial Bubble just as it is popping.

These poor, conned and delusional folks should read the article by the Pakistani above (Leanan's links) where the shop keeper regrets trading in his old foot-pedal powered equipment for electric equipment.

Looks like a lot of the extra oil they have found will be needed domestically. Not quite so good news for those who are hoping thatr lots of the new oil would be available for export.

A Sea Change In Global Oil Pricing Is Coming

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - The historic disconnect between West Texas Intermediate, the global oil benchmark traded at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange(CME), and Brent crude oil, the relative "upstart" traded at the IntercontinentalExchange(ICE), is more, I think, than a temporary realignment.

I think it marks a sea change in the benchmark pricing of global oil, most certainly to the benefit of the European Brent grade but not entirely so. It is becoming clear that no one benchmark, whether U.S. or foreign, is any longer capable of describing what's happening in oil. And that is a big deal for the future of oil pricing and the future of your energy portfolio.

Hmmmm. So oil is becoming a lot less "fungible." That should force rethinking of some long-held truths.

If the world is becoming less "flat" due to higher energy prices, it should become less flat with respect to oil as well.

I suspect this large spread between Brent and WTI is just another complex scheme to rip off Canadians. Just a way to arrange to buy Western Canadian imported oil at $20 / bbl less than the fair rate while eastern Canada imports oil on the world market at Brent. Like N. American natural gas pricing way below world. See softwood lumber dispute, agricultural products, Ford Canada accounting etc. etc. NAFTA (Free trade) just means our stuff is free for US buyers ;@)

Ah ha, I thought so. From this link,


we can see, at the bottom, that the amount of royalty that an oil sands producer pays to the Alberta government goes up as the WTI price increases. e.g. their "Net Royalty Rate" is 15% of WTI price while WTI is below $Cdn55, 40% of WTI while WTI is over $Cdn120, and a pro-rated formula in between. Interesting that present WTI is almost exactly half way between the $55 and the $120, isn't it?

Len - the tin foil is in the kitchen cupboard. Feel free to use as much as your hat requires.

I'm here to help.

The Alberta government uses sliding scale royalties which are tied to the price of a benchmark crude (i.e. WTI).

This is fairly common in the oil industry when, e.g., one oil company leases property from another oil company in exchange for a royalty. The objective is to get as much money out of the producing oil company as possible when prices are high, while not putting them into bankruptcy when prices are low.

Most lease agreements don't use sliding scale royalties of this sort. However, when one oil company is leasing land to another oil company, you will see all kinds of interesting clauses in the agreement that you wouldn't see in other leases, notably including geological, geophysical, and well log data. The Alberta government also puts a lot of interesting clauses in the lease agreements.

Aren' some new projects charge a penny while they are developed? Doesn't Alberta gets a lot of benefits from actual developments (at expense of boom-bust cycle)?

len - Not a complex scheme at all. In fact it's very simple: those selfish Canadians are dumping more oil into a market than it can absorb. This has reduced the price U.S. companies can charge for our oil. Our attorney general should use whatever anti-dumping laws we still have and start adding a big import tariff on Canadian crude. We did it to Japan when they started dumping steel into the U.S. market and thus drove down the prices our steel companies could charge. We're doing that today with imported ethanol: a $22/bbl tarif on imports. This is preventing those selfish Brazilians from dumping their cheaper product in the U.S. and thus lowering what domestic producers can charge.

It's the only fair thing to do.

Our attorney general should use whatever anti-dumping laws we still have and start adding a big import tariff on Canadian crude.

Yes, it's only fair that US consumers should pay much higher prices for Canadian oil. I can agree with that principle - after all, much of their money would end up in my retirement fund due to my energy investments. The only other alternative is to sell it to China, in which case Chinese money would end up in my retirement fund.

I need a new engine for my yacht, and someone has to pay for it. Americans can drive less, I can sail more. A perfect solution.

I try not to be sarcastic, but often I fail badly ;-)

Rocky - Sometimes it is difficult to see where one bit of sarcasm ends and another begins. Consider the ethanol situation: U.S. consumers are forced to pay more for imported ethanol while at the same time they are paying ethanol producers a subsidy so they can afford to pay higher prices for corn and thus increase the cost of food for Americans.

BTW: my idea was to have our govt charge the Canadian oil importers a per bbl fee so it would require them to raise the price of their oil so we could raise the price of our domestic oil so we can give more subsidies to the ethanol producers so they can substitute for more of the now more expensive Canadian oil and thus drive down the demand for more of the Canadian oil which would cause a cut back in tar sand production which would allow us to charge more for domestic oil and thus make the ethanol subsidy appear to be a good move.

My head hurts.


ROCK -- I think there's a place for you in one of those office buildings attached to congress ... somewhere.

Right up front, speaker of Congress I'd say. (btw everybody, my ";@)" above was intended to indicate "don't take this too seriously" LOL).

Well, it's all right to use a ";@)" to indicate you shouldn't take these ideas seriously, but unfortunately some politicians do take bad ideas seriously for reasons best known to themselves.

Then, policies that obviously aren't going to work become government policy. After that, you have to cope with something that obviously was not going to work right from the start.

And, of course, when it doesn't work, the politicians try to blame someone else. That's standard operating procedure.

Notice that I haven't mentioned fuel ethanol in this thread, so I didn't have to use ";@)" even once.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott rejects funding for high-speed rail

Interestingly, the decision has drawn criticism from politicians of both parties:

Dems, Republicans criticize Scott for rejecting rail money

Maybe the reality that more highway construction is a dead-end path is starting to seep in.

Suppose that you did link the 19th and 27th largest metro areas in the US with high-speed rail. Then what? Do the populations of 2,747,272 and 2,082,421 visit each other often enough to recoup the investment? Can they conveniently travel to the stations in each area to use the service?

It is pretty much train tracks to nowhere.


IMHO, the time to start preparing is now. If Florida is to have a tourist industry in the future, it'll be based on trains as it was originally based on in the 19th century. This would be an important start, I believe.

Also, while the metro areas are small compared to the Northeast, don't neglect the 45-50 million tourists who visit Orlando each year - they'd be potential customers as well.

Both total visitors and overnight domestic visitors peaked in 2005. http://www.orlandoinfo.com/research/market/index.cfm

The era of mass tourism is over. Tourism is a low value use of available energy supplies and will not be able to compete for the energy share that it currently enjoys.

How does a train from Tampa to Orlando help? There is no reasonable prospect for connecting high-speed rail between the northern states and Florida for at least a decade, by which time high energy prices will have completely destroyed mass tourism enterprises in Florida.

Well, if you take the position that our mass-tourism enterprises will be kaflooey in a decade, then I would agree with you. However, if we did build high-speed rail and eventually connect it to the Northeast and the Midwest, I think we could preserve our tourism industry using a fraction of the energy it now uses.

Are you a Floridian yourself?

Summer Airfare Just Got More Expensive

On Monday Feb. 14, 2011, the FareCompare proprietary airfare processing system noted significant increases in domestic airline ticket prices for both business and leisure passengers–which means summer airfares for vacation flights will cost more.
On Feb. 14, Delta initiated a domestic business airfare hike – effective immediately – of between $40 and $120 round trip that was widely matched by other legacy airlines in the ensuing 24 hours. This hike on walk-up and last-minute departures follows on the heels of a similar hike last week on business travelers who typically pay more than $800 round trip for their tickets.

More importantly for cost-conscious leisure travelers, as of Monday the airlines also began putting “travel date” fences on their cheapest airfare so that discounted seats could only be purchased through mid June, thereby bumping the cheapest summer airfare prices by as much as $250 roundtrip.
With the volatility of jet fuel prices and the reticence of airlines to increase capacity coupled with firming demand, it’s not hard to imagine a summer of some the highest airline ticket prices in years.

With business travel picking up and load factors at historic highs, the airlines do not need to fill seats with cheap leisure traveler fares. That, plus $5+/gallon gas this summer will tend to drive down leisure travel.

I'm not a Floridian.

I am a Floridian, so from my perspective, our governor's action was shortsighted, to say the least.

Bro - Nor should we neglect that those 45+ millions of tourist are not coming from just a few cities but hundreds of cities that will have to be tied together by rail so folks can get to Rat World in FL. It would great if we had the time/capital to build even a second rate rail system in this country but I doubt we still have that capability. Maybe if we had started 40 years ago and used the monies spent on expanding our highway system we might be there today. As an example I'll use Houston to New Orleans. I can drive the speed limit and get to N.O. faster and a lot cheaper than taking the train...and that's driving by myself let alone with a family. So someone is going to build a high speed train that can get me from Houston to Rat World perhaps faster than driving but cheaper? I have very serious doubts even when gasoline goes north of $8/gallon.

IMHO the only conceivable chance we have to start implimenting any level of rail buildout would be to immediately stop spending on highway and airport expansion. Good luck changing the course of the giant ship.


Of course Houstonians fought light rail all the way. They acted like it was a commie plot. They already had an abandoned rail right of way, with tracks, running out the Katy freeway, but decided instead to use that right of way to add more freeway lanes. I realize of course that you are talking about rail between cities, a slightly different thing.

Oh well, I've never cared much for Texas anyway. I've spent most of my career trying to stay out of Texas and Louisianna. Been mostly successful. ;<)


She ain't pretty and she ain't high speed but at $6.25 for the round trip of 46 mi. from Hollywood to Miami I sit reading in air conditioned comfort while glancing out the window now and then at the bumper to bumper traffic sitting on I 95.

To put that in perspective the same 23 miles one way during rush hour can take me an hour and a half to two hours if I drive. By Tri Rail it's about 45 mins. I just can't understand what American's have against trains.

Per Google, Tampa to Orlando is 85 miles and about 1.5 hours. Conventional heavy rail at max 79 mph could probably make that in under 2 hours, with a few stops along the way. High-speed rail would not be a lot faster, since the deceleration, station time, and acceleration from the stops would cancel out much of the time savings of the proposed 168 mph max service.

It's not just the Tampa to Orlando leg. This was meant to be the first leg that would eventually reach down to Miami and up to Jacksonville.

So, yeah, I don't think that the major metropolitan areas of a state with a population approaching 20 million should be tied together via high speed rail. Waste of money.

By the way, the state wasn't even scheduled to put any money in. Our wonderful new governor rejected the funds strictly on fear of cost overruns. But it's not dead yet, there are a few sane people here, and in the end the state might not be the governmental body that gets to say anything about this.

As a side note - any of you watching the circus that is Florida politics might have noticed that in less than 60 days our new governor has managed to pretty much assure himself that he's a one term gov. He's making Obama's precipitous fall from grace look like it was in slow motion.

What is your view of SunRail? This seems like a much more useful and practical project.

Inter-metro area movement of people will be a luxury good in a decade or two. Local transportation for commuting and other practical purposes is what will be needed.

SunRail is an excellent idea, in theory. I'm not so sure that the way it will be done here (yes, I'm in the Orlando metro area) will end up being very valuable.

I haven't availed my self of the latest map proposal, but in general they are making a couple of mistakes.

First, too much emphasis is being put on the Airport to Disney route and the debate over whether to include I-drive. This route does not benefit the local population and while tourism is important, the private sector is doing fine moving people from the airport to the attractions. All these routes would do is put a few small transport companies out of business and allow Disney to reduce their costs by cutting out their transport business.

Second, the second leg being proposed runs, with a few exceptions, right down the I-4 corridor from DeLand to Downtown Orlando. While the logic is that this will provide all those commuters with an alternative. This makes SunRail essentially a way to deal with congestion on I-4 and not a planned model for expanding public transport. They are planning to put in stops at a list of places that are already high traffic suburban commercial or office parks - places with little in place to handle foot traffic. If they wanted the biggest impact, they would support I-4, but plan to put stops in places that would support the many smaller commercial districts away from the highway - encouraging clusters of growth around stations where it is possible and where foot traffic could be designed in.

But this is not a surprise. Anyone with knowledge of the rather pathetic growth patterns here will know that our local "leadership" simply refuses to learn lessons from any other metro area.

According to the map on the Sunrail site, the first phase is from DeBary to Orlando. I doesn't involve the airport or Disney.

I think that it was the high-speed rail that went to the airport and there was some controversey over its alignment in the Disney area. Depending on the route, Disney would either use the high-speed rail or continue to use buses.

If you look at their map the airport to Disney is the light purple one.

And "some controversy" is putting it a bit mildly. But Disney's real concern was not about continued use of buses or rail, but whether or not the system would have stops on I-Drive, thereby supporting Universal Studios and Sea World.

The point of fast rail is not to stop. Where do you want to stop between Tampa and Orlando, though. It should be a 35-40 minut trip: hop in, accelerate to cruise, slow down, stop, open door, hop out. Every hour, on the hour, all day long. That's how Intercity works in Germany.

Examples from France:
Paris-Lyon 500 km, 2 hours, no stops
Paris-Dijon 350 km 1 1/2 hours, no stops.
Paris-Lille ~220km, under an hour.

One way to deal with stops is that one train stops at stations A C E on the route while the next at B D F.


As long as your intercity trip just happens to be more or less from train station to train station you're good to go. Provided, of course, that the train just happens make the outbound and return trips when you need them. That might cover, at a WAG, 0.5% or less of likely trips. Maybe 0.05% in the vast area between California and the Mississippi. Then there's the little problem that without a car, it can take longer to get from the train station to your real destination than the train ride itself took. By the time you deal with all that, might as well drive, even if the Interstate is packed.

Reality check: the political consequence, like it or not, is that train service will be widely seen [read: has been widely seen for decades] as something filched from the wallets of the many for the benefit of a handful. Not a great way to garner votes consistently. (And at $6.25 for 46 miles, the subsidy must be very lavish indeed - $6.25 typically doesn't get one very far at all on, oh, say, JR.)

I just can't understand what American's have against trains.

Well, if they were to take the train, they would have to condescend to mingle with people - people they don't even know! After all, we are all of us mini-royalty, and deserve our own little carriages wherever we go.

In fact, some of those people we would mingle with might even have sort of brownish skin! They might even smell bad! They could be drug addicts, and take our money!

Seriously, to hear the reasons some people give for not taking the train, you have to wonder how we became the most frightened nation on Earth, terrified of our own fellow citizens.

It's just one more part of Ruled-By-Fear America - we're not even a nation any more. This used to be such a fun place...

Well, if they were to take the train, they would have to condescend to mingle with people - people they don't even know! After all, we are all of us mini-royalty, and deserve our own little carriages wherever we go.

Yeah, that's so true. The last couple of times I rode the train I actually had some pretty terrifying interactions with my fellow passengers, a funny looking African American dude with dreadlocks, actually asked me to snap a picture of him. Then there was this group of French tourists with dive gear heading to the Keys to check out our coral reefs who mistakenly asked me for some information only to find out I'm a highly experienced diver. Oh yeah and the worst one was this brown skinned guy who asked me if I spoke Spanish, and considering that I look pretty gringo, was surprised that I did. I even gave him directions and didn't report him to immigration.

This used to be such a fun place...

It still is, at least for those people who are willing to get over themselves a bit...

He asked you to snap a picture of him? SNAP A PICTURE OF HIM??? I trust you notified the appropriate authorities right awaqy.

All kidding aside, I know there are a lot of great folks in this great country of ours. When I encounter a visitor from a foreign land I truly enjoy helping out in any way I can. I've done enough travelling to know what it means. Though it doesn't seem like anything but the normal and right thing to do.

Thanks for snapping me out of a foul mood this evening... :-)

The Amtrak between Newark, NJ and Raleigh, NC was more than half black passengers. Most appeared to be ordinary people going back and forth to visit relatives or friends. The only scary dudes were white. A nice woman and her daughter invited me to sit at their table in the dining car, and we had a very pleasant time.

The people were a lot better than the Amtrak service, which was late in both directions. It was bout 6 hours late northbound, due to weather in NC. Who thought that trains would be delayed by weather? Of course, I've spent 6 hours waiting in airports on more than one occasion.

About half the trip is spent south of Richmond on Norfolk Southern tracks at very low speeds. But the roadbed is in such disrepair that the constant rocking of the carriage is very tiring on the neck and back.

So which is the more pleasant delay in the plane/airport or in the train/station.

Beat up road beds do disappoint rail travelrs, freight isn't so touchy. North of Denali its a slow go for better than an hour or two--permafrost does present an engineering challenge.

Why should dime 1 be spent in Florida if all that built up "whatever" is gonna be underwater with Global Warming?

You raise a non-trivial issue: Given decreasing wealth for most folks in the U.S. in the future, how may folks are going to be shuttling back and forth between metropolises which are largely the same? To see if the other place's Starbucks or Target is any better or different?

If my family travels, we tend to go out to the hinterlands and go hiking.

In my line of work, much business travel could be replaced by high-quality video conferencing, better collaborative computer work spacing, etc. In my world, too many meetings are gladiatorial contests of battling PowerPoint presentations...we could do that over the fiber cables and then have less frequent, several-day meetings where people committed to actually do some work together!

Pretty timely here at TOD, when Debbie Cook's got that Chart up on her Desalination post about Tampa blowing all that cash on a string of non-working water plants.. 'the bridge to nowhere, that's not even a bridge!'

They can send that money to Maine, and we'll link up with Montreal (for our meds), Calais and Burlington again! ..Seeing as we just lost all that LIHEAP dough.. and Chu didn't even spend 40% of his budget last year?!! Send it to us as Cellulose and Rigidboard insulation, fer Gawd's sake!

NY senators seek rail money rejected by Fla

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand wrote U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Wednesday asking him to redirect the money passed up by Florida Gov. Rick Scott to New York's Empire and Northeast Corridors.

Sen. Charles Schumer said high-speed rail is a top priority for upstate New York and that the administration should redirect these funds to New York as quickly as possible

Virginia wants it too, to expedite construction of the DC to Richmond leg of the network.

ORNL's Jaguar helps BMI win award, nation save fuel

A BMI Corp. SmartTruck technology that could save 1.5 billion gallons of diesel fuel and $5 billion in fuel costs per year has hit the road in record time in part because of simulations performed on the nation's most powerful supercomputer at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory. ...

Until then, Henderson noted that if all of the nation's 1.3 million Class 8 trucks were configured with just the minimum UnderTray package, the average fuel economy of 6 miles per gallon could increase to about 6.5 mpg or more, which is significant given the fact 18-wheelers collectively travel some 130 billion miles per year. And from an emissions standpoint, equipped with the aerodynamics package, those trucks would reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 32.7 billion pounds (16.4 million tons).

more info, pics at Department of Energy Supercomputer Helps Design More Efficient Big Rigs

You "Oil Drum Truckers" will want those rigs as efficient as possible ;-)

every little bit helps...
Though 2009 distillate fuel consumption in US was 55,664,448,000 gallons, most apparently "on-highway".

So, if ELM starts becoming more visible in the next few years, then international travel will become too expensive for most people to relocate. After the door is shut, where would you wish you were standing? I'm thinking of my children. This may be near the last moments to set them up in a favorable place. I assume that each area will devolve differently, with different risks. Example: United States will scrape by with coal and Natural Gas for a while, after the oil imports run dry.

P.S. the kids are fluent in English, Romanian, and Spanish

what's wrong with Canada?
BC for the lifestyle, energy prospects, citizens...or Alberta for the economic opportunities...hard to beat Canada I would think, teach 'em French...

but, if you are a real doomer and Canada is just a little too close to ground zero, perhaps you should consider this antipodal penguin paradise-

The Lovely Crozet Islands

located off of exotic Madagascar, these uninhabited islands provide a perfect spot for your post-apocalyptic doomstead.
In the 'roaring forties' you will have ample wind resources to power your dream island lifestyle, and a climate with plentiful rainfall and temperatures which rarely hit 70F in the summer and never a frost in winter...
set yourself up with a nice little greenhouse, a few pigs and goats, and wait out the radiation clouds to settle down in the Northern hemisphere...
your kids could inherit an entire planet!!

P.S. the kids are fluent in English, Romanian, and Spanish

With two Latin languages already under their belts they should be able to pick up Portuguese with ease.

This is my personal choice as a location for a backup plan:

Rio Grande do Norte (lit. "Great River of the North", in reference to the mouth of the Potengi River, Portuguese pronunciation: [ʁi.u ˈɡɾɐ̃di du ˈnɔʁti][2]) is one of the states of Brazil, located in the northeastern region of the country, occupying the northeasternmost tip of the South American continent. Because of its geographic position, Rio Grande do Norte has a strategic importance. The capital and largest city is Natal. It is the land of the folklorist Luís da Câmara Cascudo and, according to NASA[3], it has the purest air in the Americas. Its 410 km (254 mi) of sand, much sun, coconut palms and lagoons are responsible for the fame of beaches. Rocas Atoll, the only such feature in the Atlantic Ocean, is part of the state.
Source Wikipedia

Some people prefer to shovel snow >;^)

I want to play with some snow while I still can.. but if I can make a seaworthy baidarka, I'll come down and visit for Carnival! Trade some Maple Syrup for Mangos!

How can you build snowforts in Sao Paolo!?

The U.S. seems to have simply given up:

"Chu blasted for favoring renewables over fossil fuels"

We are so doomed. I'd blame the politicians, but they were elected by people I know who think just like this. What happened to us?

Renewables are unacceptable because they come from outside the U.S.A., otherwise known as the sun. Surely, that news article had to come from the Onion.

I'm pretty freaked today.. my best response (since we're getting bucketloads of the same in Maine with Eco Rollbacks, and then there's the new attacks on NPR, on Planned Parenhood, on Collective Bargaining and Unions in WI.) is just that those of us who want 'those other things' should build them for ourselves, and just charge through the nose for them if 'anybody else' comes begging for them when they're hungry and in the dark.. it should be pretty good payback at that point.

I'm freaked out most days now ;)

I am, however, overtly working in the neighborhood on sustainability issues, while covertly increasing access to food supplies. I just got permission from our Alderman's office to plant gardens on our neighborhood parkways. Of course, edibles will be going in amongst the pretty flowers. Naturally, one would have to recognize them as edibles....

I am... covertly increasing access to food supplies

I don't bother. If things go smooth, then we're okay, food is available. If things go down the tubes, so will things like law and money. In this case, if I grew a garden, the starving guy next door will probably steal from it to feed his family. In either case, the effort is moot. Sorry.

If you live in the middle of nowhere, you can pull this off but you said Alderman's office so you are in a city somewhere. Lots of hungry people will want that food...

"...if I grew a garden, the starving guy next door will probably steal from it to feed his family."

Or the starving guy and his family could be working in your garden with you, sharing labor and harvests. Since it's harder to form these relationships after TSHTF, better start now. Your neighbor may even help you stand watch over your (his) garden to keep slackers away. Just a thought. Plant some seeds.

No sense in fighting. Just work together and transform all that unused space in the city (ours has open space all over) into gardens. Simple to grow basics like potatoes/carrots/onions/peppers/tomatoes/and so on. Fruit trees require more attention (sprays), but are still doable. Don't give up!

There are many, many useful and edible plants that the vast majority of people would not recognize as edible.

For some ideas, check here :-


Also, one can plant a variety of fruit and nut trees, instead of non-productive varieties.

If people can pick apples off the parkway trees, it is preferable to losing one's teeth to vitamin C deficiency. By the way, my vegetable garden is at the back of my house, and I also have a protected second-floor container garden.

I don't, by the way, intend to be 100% self-sufficient in food. That would be rather difficult in the city. I do intend to have access to fresh fruit, greens, miscellaneous herbs including medicinal herbs, and other variety that may not otherwise be available, or be rather expensive.

If we suddenly had no access to grains in the Midwest, we'd have very large problems.

Interesting, as an apartment dueller, knowing how to plan a good container garden would be useful....How did you plan your container garden? How do you manage sunlight access? What kind of species did you plant?

I think I would have issues with sunlight on my balcony as I only get a few hour of direct sunlight on my balcony during the evening (facing west). And it's very windy because I live on the 6th (top) floor in a slightly elevated area approximately 18km from the ocean.

My second floor deck, 12' x 20', gets afternoon sun, and is partly shaded by trees in summer, but I have room for two beehives up there, as well as containers of herbs, vegetables, especially tomatoes, and dwarf fruit trees. I also have several banana plants. These overwinter indoors. Things are evolving over time. One year I had beans and melons, but the squirrels kept getting them so I moved those to the garden level. Spinach is great in containers.

For an apartment balcony, if you get direct sun, you can do tomatoes, herbs, greens such as lettuce, which don't need full sun. You might need some kind of wind break. You could possibly do a trellis with runner beans.

Try looking for videos by Bill Mollison (permaculture). He does one video all about growing food in small spaces, such as apartment balconies, but I can't recall which one exactly. Also, explore the topic of vertical gardening. There was one video I recall seeing which shows how you can create a planter with soil-filled "pockets" up the side wall of a balcony. Again, if I can find it, I will post it, but it's probably still available on YouTube somewhere.

Some other random choices :-


Here's one Mollison video. The balcony part is towards the end, about 8 minutes in.


If people can pick apples off the parkway trees, it is preferable to losing one's teeth to vitamin C deficiency.

Or one could learn to make things like Saurkraut and grow microbes that make vit c.

One could indeed. That might be the advanced class, and for winter prep.

Yeah . . . that gave me a 'WTF!?!?'.

How dare we actually look to the future? And we need to help those fossil fuel companies because they are struggling so hard to make money these days!

But when you political system is run one corporate donations, what you can you expect. The Senator from Exxon must make her point.

What is left to research on fossil fuels? Gas and coal to liquids is old tech. CO2 absorbers have been around for ages. I personally have worked with MEA in the Navy and Catacarb at a mine (we ran it backwards to recover oxygen from an autoclave and reject the CO2.)

DOE does do some nice work with metals for supercritical steam service and gas turbines/cogen systems, but steam at 4200 psi and 1100 F is the same regardless of the source.

The better bang for the buck has to be renewables, maybe with methanol fuel cells thrown in, although those seem to be working as well, or at least in the long term testing phase, and you can't speed that up.

The better bang for the buck has to be renewables

But, we got Republicans. And renewables are something liberals like, therefore thay are just plain evil! Gotta spite the people of the other tribe.

In the case of the President - the election is by the Electoral College. And the masses either didn't vote or voted for a different person.

What's your reward for 'not giving up' VS 'giving up'? If you work REALLY hard, how much better off ya gonna be...on average?

Analysis: Bahrain unrest may have regional, financial impact

The financial industry accounts for 25 percent of Bahrain's GDP and is an important provider of jobs. Assets of Bahraini banks more than tripled between 2002 and 2008 to $252 billion, but have since fallen to $217 billion as of October 2010.

The key will be the degree of outflows, if any. With a currency pegged to the dollar, Bahrain's $3.77 billion in foreign exchange and gold reserves could be quickly depleted.

and Middle East protests: Country by country (interactive map)

Perhaps we just might see some transparency in KSA oil production and reserves if the House of Saud is overthrown...

...but then again, I have a better chance of winning the lottery than seeing that happen. Happy ride down, everyone!

(Click here if the first link doesn't work.)

I won't venture an opinion about the House of Saud and transparency, as the two word used in the same sentence don't compute.

But your chances of seeing the House of Saud itself fall are actually pretty good, over the mid to long term.

The domestic situation there can legitimately be compared to a bunch of drunken jailers supervising comvicts manufacturing gun powder-with the jailers all being tobacco addicts and guilty of smoking in the powder plant.

Someday the place will explode-maybe next week, maybe twenty years from now-by then they will be in a real bind for food and water.

BBC reporting military authorities have moved in overnight to clear protestors. Reports of deaths


Security forces in Bahrain have dispersed thousands of anti-government protesters in Pearl Square in the centre of capital, Manama.

Hundreds of riot police using tear gas and batons moved into the square before dawn on Thursday.

At least two people were killed in the police operation, the opposition says.

The protesters are calling for wide-ranging political reforms and had been camped out since Tuesday.

Army locks down Bahrain, police storm protest

MANAMA, Bahrain – Army patrols and tanks locked down the capital of this tiny Gulf kingdom after riot police swinging clubs and firing tear gas smashed into demonstrators, many of them sleeping, in a pre-dawn assault Thursday that uprooted their protest camp demanding political change. Medical officials said four people were killed.

Hours after the attack on Manama's main Pearl Square, the military announced on state TV that it had "key parts" of the capital under its control and that gatherings were banned.

14 reported killed as 'day of rage' hits Libya

TRIPOLI — Libyan protesters seeking to oust longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi defied a crackdown and took to the streets in four cities Thursday on what activists have dubbed a "day of rage," amid reports that at least 14 demonstrators have been killed in clashes with pro-government forces.

Mimicry among stocks can predict stock market crashes

In a new study, research analysts have found another clue to stock market crashes: high levels of collective stock movements - or market mimicry - tend to precede crashes, which suggests that measuring the mimicry level of the market could provide significant advance warning of an impending stock market crash.

…the researchers found that the Dow Jones’ eight largest drops (percentage-wise) during the past 26 years occurred during periods in which mimicry reached a level that was twice the standard deviation from the previous year. This signature increase in mimicry occurred before the drops by less than a year, indicating that crashes are preceded by nervousness that causes investors to demonstrate increasingly collective behavior. For this reason, the simple signature pattern could provide advance warning of an impending crash.

“Our results suggest that self-induced panic is a critical component of both the current financial crisis and large single day drops over recent years,” the researchers wrote in their study.

...another word for herd mentality.

Poor Management of Oil and Gas Puts Interior on GAO's Troubled Agency List

The Government Accountability Office is so concerned with how Interior manages the nation's oil and gas resources that the watchdog has decided to add the department to a biennial "high risk" list of troubled federal programs.

The list, ...now includes 30 different areas within the federal government that GAO has identified as being at high risk due to their vulnerability to fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement or in need of transformation to address major economic or efficiency challenges.

From the Report Highlites:

Interior does not have reasonable assurance that it is collecting its share of billions of dollars of revenue from oil and gas produced on federal lands and it continues to experience problems in hiring, training, and retaining sufficient staff to provide oversight and management of oil and gas operations on federal lands and waters.

Not my Interior dept. They are first class.


Sex, Drug Use and Graft Cited in Interior Department

Published: September 10, 2008
WASHINGTON — As Congress prepares to debate expansion of drilling in taxpayer-owned coastal waters, the Interior Department agency that collects oil and gas royalties has been caught up in a wide-ranging ethics scandal — including allegations of financial self-dealing, accepting gifts from energy companies, cocaine use and sexual misconduct.

A number of Oildrummers have been discussing the WTI Brent spread.

Here is an interesting article on Dennis Gartman's comments.


Gartman discusses why he thinks the spread won't go over $20 and the cost to move oil via rail and truck to the Gulf for shipping.

You could probably ship oil across the continent by pipeline for $1 per barrel, so in the long term the price differential between WTI and Brent should be no more than $1/bbl. However, in the short term, the pipelines to move Canadian oil sands oil to the coast do not exist, so the price differential could become arbitrarily large until the pipelines are built.

The most significant factor is that the international markets are not responding to price signals. With the international price on the Brent market at $104/bbl, demand should be falling and supply rising to meet it. This doesn't appear to be happening. The conclusion I would draw is that the OPEC producers do not have the production capacity to meet increased demand.

OTOH, in North America the market is responding properly to price signals and WTI is leveling off at $85. US demand is falling and Canadian supply is rising to meet it. This is the way markets are supposed to work.

However, the fact that international supply and demand are not adjusting suggest the world may be going into another 2008-style crash in 2011. The unusual possibility is that large parts of the North American market may be insulated from the crash in the same way that most of Canada was insulated from the 2008 crash.

US demand is falling and Canadian supply is rising to meet it.

I had you up until that sentence, Rocky. Why would supply rise to meet falling demand? Wouldn't supply fall in line with falling demand?

Perhaps he meant that as US demand falls and Canadian tarsand production increases, Canada can supply a larger fraction of US demand.

No, the idea is that the PRICE signal triggers both to happen, until an equilibrium is achieved. As the price rises, the incentive exists for more expensive production to come online. And, on the other side of the equation, the rising price causes the consumer to become more conservative and use less. When the two meet, the price becomes stable.

The suggestion proposed here, is that this three way equation still exists in the WTI market but not in the rest of the world. I hope that those people living in this bubble, don't take out long term loans based on this temporary situation. When a pipeline is open to let out the trapped WTI oil, the local economy will have to deal with a whiplash. Imagine having to adjust from $3 gasoline to $4 in the span of 10 days.

I could have elaborated a bit more.

In North America, US demand is falling while Canadian supply is rising. The increased Canadian production is making up for declines in Mexican and Venezuelan production, and for the increased share of Saudi Arabian oil that China is taking. This is moderating prices within the US.

On the international market, developing country demand is rising, while nobody is making up for declining production, so prices are rising globally.

Maybe the world will experience another 2008 style "demand destruction" before the WTI oil can get out. Then it doesn't matter.

Northern N.B. wind farm slowed by ice again

The Caribou wind farm near Bathurst, N.B., has been shut down for the second winter in a row because of ice.

Manager Mark Hachey says the 33 turbines were last in operation during the second week of January. The farm, which is about 70 km northwest of Bathurst, had similar problems last winter and had lost 20 days of power generation by mid-February.

"The cold weather is not an issue," Hachey said. "They can run in rain, they can run in snow. It's when you get an accumulation of ice, much similar to an airplane. On our site, the last couple of years the weather has been really abnormal and the moisture that comes up the mountain is giving us a little bit more problems than we normally would expect."

See: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/new-brunswick/story/2011/02/15/nb-caribou-wind-...

A few tins of Pam and hopefully they're back in business.


P.S.: We're running on generator power again (our fourth extended power cut in two weeks)... gee, what fun.

And on a brighter note...


Somerset, NJ – The world’s first LED replacement for a 60-watt incandescent bulb is now also the first to earn ENERGY STAR qualification. Philips Lighting announced today that the Philips AmbientLED 12.5 watt (also sold professionally under the Philips EnduraLED brand) has met or exceeded the quality and energy efficiency requirements for a 60-watt LED equivalent set forth by ENERGY STAR, proving that it is a highly-efficient, cost-effective lighting option for consumers. The bulb lasts 25 times longer and uses 80 percent less energy than the 60-watt incandescent bulb it was designed to replace.


Products that earn the ENERGY STAR label by meeting the quality and energy efficiency requirements set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency are often eligible for utility rebate programs which lower the cost of the product, making it easier for consumers to begin saving energy at home. To earn an ENERGY STAR label, a 60-watt LED equivalent must have a minimum light output of 800 lumens, a colour temperature of 2700K (for soft white light), colour rendering index (CRI) of 80 and a minimum three year warranty, among other requirements. The Philips AmbientLED meets or exceeds these requirements with 806 lumens, 2700K, a CRI of 80 and a six year warranty.

See: http://www.newscenter.philips.com/main/lighting/news/press/20110216_60wa...

Hats off to Philips on this remarkable accomplishment. Not to be a wet blanket, but I wish the colour temperature were a bit higher (e.g., 3000K) and likewise the CRI -- a CRI of 80 falls below that of most CFLs (typically 82), and if this lamp is deficient in the reds, it will have a tough go of it.


"if this lamp is deficient in the reds, it will have a tough go of it."

Not for those 4 outdoor light fixtures I have where CFL's won't work.

Maybe I Won't have to stock up on several cases of standard 60W bulbs after all.

Just curious, PVguy. Why stock up on standard incandescents when there are high efficiency versions such as the Philips Halogená Energy Saver that are basically indistinguishable from the ones you use now, but use one-third less energy and last up to three times longer? Granted, they're more expensive, but unless you live in an area where electricity is comparatively cheap, their life cycle costs are lower and you'll have the added benefit of much longer lamp life.

See: http://www.lighting.philips.com/us_en/products/halogena_energy_saver/hou...


CFLs work fine at -30F if you need light for a long time and are willing to wait five minutes or more to get it?- ) Hadn't noticed the Hologena around though.

Our little city put in some LED street lamps last year and looks to be starting on a full replacement program. It takes new fixtures so they do take a few years to pay for themselves.

As recommended by Lee Rust here in January I bought one of these Philips LED lamps. All I can say is that it's fantastic! Maybe I'm not as picky as some, but it's a great lamp. I'm going to be buying some more.

And a new addition to my solar powered tools. Tiller with dead gas engine + cast off 1-1/2 HP Electric Motor + Solar PV Power = Solar Powered Garden Tiller. Yes, there's a power switch where the throttle used to be.

Excellent! Electric farming. I've been kicked on here before for saying that's do-able on a large scale, but I know I could implement it myself at large scale in a very short time. Now where were those plans for the solar-thermal and nuclear generation?

I think it was just the word 'Do-able' that got you in trouble.
Them's fightin' words, damned optimist.

Do-able at the scale where a 800 HP combine is replaced with an 800 HP electric combine - I'll say "show your work".

But a mass of 20A 110/220 v style machines to keep the copper costs down - that is a path to consider.

nuclear generation?

I'd suggest you go look in Tunisia, Egypt, Iran. I hear they have nuke plant plans and no one outside of their nations are opposing those nations building their own plants eh?

China, with their known insertion of lead into children's toys are prepping the citizens of the world for the excellent quality control attributed to Chinese made products as expressed in Chinese made fission reactors.

Glad to hear it. One of the ongoing complaints about CFLs is their inability to render colours accurately. It's not the end of the world by any means, but it can be a stumbling point for many consumers (e.g., I have a Philips 16-watt EnduraLED PAR38 lamp installed above my reading chair and it turns the oxblood leather purple and blue). Make people and things look good and you're OK, but if folks look like they haven't slept for three days under this light, then you have a problem.


Yes, the CFLs I bought years ago really took some getting used to but I've been a lot happier lately. Only incandescents left in the house are in places like closets or on motion detectors outside. These Philips A19 lamps have an incredibly natural light, to my eyes.

I also changed to LEDs in our kitchen about 6 months ago. It's a smallish kitchen, lit by one ceiling fixture with two 48" T8 lamps. I like the whiter light that the fluorescent lamps give for working in the kitchen. I replaced them with two of these in the "neutral" color:


I didn't tell my wife about the change for a couple weeks, I wanted to see if she'd see any difference. She never noticed, the lamps give off just as much light and the color is the same. Measured power consumption dropped from 100 watts to 30 watts.

I'm not so sure the numbers for these linear fluorescent LED replacements pencil out all that well; a 2-lamp T8 fluorescent fixture is pretty hard to beat in terms of cost performance. A Philips F32T8 lamp supplies 3,100 initial lumens and assuming a normal (0.88 BF) electronic ballast, these two lamps provide a little over 5,400 lumens in all (2 x 3,100 x 0.88 BF = 5,456). Fixture draw would be 59-watts, for about 92 lumens per watt. If, however, you opt for a NEMA Premium high efficiency electronic ballast, draw is 54-watts, which works out to be 100 lumens per watt.

These LED replacements claim to provide 100 lumens per watt, but I would feel more comfortable if there were third party certification (peace of mind if nothing else). In any event, two of these LED lamps cost $140.00 which is not an insignificant amount of cash; by comparison, I can purchase a NEMA Premium high efficiency ballast and two Philips F32T8 lamps for under $10.00. These F32T8 lamps have a rated service life of 36,000 hours which is a little over sixteen years at an average of 6 hours per day, and if it should fail prior to that, it can be replaced for as little as $1.00.


Quick question Paul; what is your opinion of the T-5 HO54s? I know they are popular for aquariums and growers. Less efficient than the T-8s? Thanks!

Hi Ghung,

They're a good choice for high bay applications where fixture height exceeds 8 metres but for most applications T8 is the way to go (longer lamp life, higher efficacy and lower life cycle costs).

A 2-lamp T5HO fixture driven by a Philips program start Optanium ballast (Philip's most energy efficient T5 ballast) provides 10,000 lumens and draws a total of 117-watts; this works out to be a little over 85 lumens per watt. The equivalent Osram Sylvania QTP 2x54T5HO/UNV PSN ballast draws 121-watts (82.5 lumens/watt).


Hi Paul,

Good points on all things. Part of my getting the LEDs was just wanting to see how well they worked. I consider this gathering information. I also wanted to get the power draw down as low as I could since they're on a lot and powered by off-grid PV. I'm sure you're right on the light output, if I did a true side by side comparison I'd see the difference. But they are making more than enough light for us. I wish us customers without the business connections could by the quality stuff at the prices that you do. It looks like more in the area of $20-$25 for the ballast alone for me. I know that the fluorescent lamps wouldn't last quite 36,000 hours here, it's a dark kitchen and they're turned on and off many times during the day and evening, but I get your point.

Sometimes I do something that may not make the best economic sense just to see what works. Then I save more than enough by doing something else to more than make up for it, consider the Electric Garden Tiller that I posted the picture of yesterday. Free Tiller with dead engine and free electric motor, power cord and switch from the side of the road. Sold the dead engine for $10. Still have lots more of that nice 12GA heavy duty extension cord left over. I've already been using the tiller for a week and put in 5 more raised beds. I have another tiller with a dead engine in the back that I'll do something with later.


Hats off to Philips on this remarkable accomplishment.

Agreed, and it looks like they have a slightly better one in the works already.

Philips is also the first – and only - company that has submitted an A19 replacement bulb for the U.S. Department of Energy’s L Prize contest, which calls for an LED equivalent to the 60-watt bulb that can produce 900 lumens using less than ten watts of electricity.

Slightly OT but I was at my local town hall meeting yesterday when this ordinance was passed into law. Small steps but you have to start somewhere.

1:15 PM 15. PO-2010-47 - Ordinance Second Reading - An Ordinance Of The City
Advertised Of Hollywood, Florida, Establishing Mandatory Green Building Practices
Public Hearing For New Construction And Major Renovations To Existing Structures.
Staff: Director Of Parking And Intergovernmental Affairs

Surprisingly lots of really good stuff got slipped into that ordinance! The opposition must have been snoozing.

it looks like they have a slightly better one in the works already.

Lasting 25 times longer is very much better indeed. But is economic growth not partly based upon things not lasting a long time ?

Establishing Mandatory Green Building Practices

Something like this is going on in the Ukraine with new buildings. The old buildings are losing a lot of heat through windows and Russian gas exports won't last forever.

'Green Building requirements'.. as Greenish said about GW, it might play better if the name was just reworked into 'Red, White and Blue Building requirements' .. but even that would only hold until someone noticed that it didn't require Saunas or Marble Countertops, then the gag would flop again.

If Chu was going to mention anything like the above, he'd have to do it in a Secure, undisclosed bunker somewhere. Hopefully one with a sauna and marble countertops.

Public Workers Protest in Wisconsin

“I'm just trying to balance my budget,” (Gov.) Walker told the New York Times. “To those who say why didn't I negotiate on this? I don't have anything to negotiate with. We don't have anything to give. Like practically every other state in the country, we're broke. And it's time to pay up.” He says the measure will help avoid up to 6,000 layoffs.

Here in Texas, the scope of the budget cutbacks, and especially the upcoming cutback in state funding to K-12 education, is beginning to sink in. As I have been saying, in these budget battles, there are no winners, it's a battle over who loses the most versus who loses the least.

The main thing the Governor is seeking is to strip public employees of their collective bargaining rights, setting the stage for widespread unilateral pay cuts in the coming budget cycle (you don't like it? Tough. Take a hike). Whereas the public used to lead by example when it comes to good labor relations, we are now racing to the bottom. The "HELP" strategy noted on TOD as well as the exercise of acting as though your income has been dramatically reduced seems as timely as ever. Meanwhile, Wisconsin still has no fossil fuel resources and will continue to export cash to other states and nations to keep the lights on. Sigh.

Although bitter economic conditions have spread protests from Cairo and Bahrain to the capital of Wisconsin, it's too early to tell whether the uprising will lead to real and lasting democratic reform in the Middle West. Experts suggest the revolution could quickly spread to Illinois and Michigan where youth unemployment is high and living standards bleak. Excuse me while I head off to my Twitter feed. We're coordinating a Day of Rage in Springfield, IL and at the Daley Plaza here in Chicago.

In any case, the fundamental problem is that most developed countries cannot afford their current level of government spending--whether it be local, regional or national--and it's only going to get worse.

Regarding Wisconsin, all of the Democratic state senators have fled the state, depriving the state senate of a quorum needed to pass the bill:


But we can be a little more wise with what resources we still have:

We need to choose what we support, as this much complexity cannot be supported without huge diminishing returns.

Nate has posted multiple times about the growing inequality gap and the impact on social stability; we actually CAN afford to keep a decent middle class, but not in addition to the endless hunger for more and more wealth at the top of the ladder.

we actually CAN afford to keep a decent middle class

For a few more years, then everyone drops one or two rungs down the ladder.

The rich become "middle class" (if they can extricate themselves quickly enough from being over leveraged).

The middle class become poor.

The poor become destitute.

I figure most of the middle class will be gone by 2020. Their "wealth" is tied up in home prices, anyway, so once those race to the bottom when credit becomes scarce there goes the middle class. The stock markets will have crashed so everyone will find out that where it really matters — land, equipment to be resilient, etc. — they are quite poor.

It is fascinating watching the tit babies wake up when someone pulls the nipple from their mouths.

Two days ago, here in Bugtussle, Wisconsin (population 9000 - saaaaLUTE), our teachers had a protest march down main street. Some children cried, but only because they thought it was a parade and no one was throwing candy. Otherwise I think no one noticed.

On my way to lunch today I heard NPR say several of our University campuses might join in the fun.

Just imagine what the sleep walkers will do when the REAL AUSTERITY measures start.

I got your 'tit babies' for you...they are the minions of the Military Industrial Complex.

Hell, one of my superiors in the Air Force loved to call working for the USAF 'Being on the Big Blue Tit'.

Just wait until the REAL AUSTERITY measures start and the hucksters working for the MIC get to lose their houses too.

'The Easy Way to Cut $100B'


I agree with what Leanan said the other day (in response to a post by Mish that I linked), "Everyone expects too much" (paraphrase).

Everywhere there are lots of piggies...

and more titbabies than there are nipples:

Vote for the Biggest Corporate Welfare Queens

Vote The Freakin' BANKS, jeez...is it not more obvious...Hello! - Bailout Nation Posted by Wes Schott on 02/17/2011 07:24 PM Reply

Vote Big pharma - they charge 10x more for their drugs in the US as compared to other developed countries such as UK and Europe. They can do this due to the government actually helping them by passing anti-consumer laws
Posted by AnonShah on 02/17/2011 07:10 PM Reply

Vote what's with facebook link? Posted by sivbum on 02/17/2011 09:23 PM Reply

Vote Logging companies. Being a tree farmer becomes a losing proposition when the Govt. gives logging companies trees from our National forests at costs lower than any tree farmer could ever produce.
Posted by John Schuch on 02/17/2011 09:23 PM Reply

Well, it all depends on how you define it... At the most basic level, anyone who doesn't grow, capture, or find their own food is in some way or other a parasite on those that produce food. However, in order for a complex society to exist at any level there have to farmers willing to give food to people who don't want to work on the farm (or alternately, people rough enough to force the farmers to feed those that don't work on the farm).

We don't need teachers - we don't even really need literacy. Humans lived without it for most of the time humans have existed on this earth. We certainly need cars and massive amounts of international trade even less. Really, there is a lot of room to cut when you start talking of "piggies".

Less than 1% of the US population makes food. Our society, as it exists now, is nearly nothing BUT people living off of others. I kinda like it this way - I don't have anything against farmwork per se, but I like art and literature and not having bad accidents with the combine or sewage tank... The question is not how to get rid of the "piggies" but rather which piggies get what.

Hi adamx,

I agree about there being lots of room to cut when we start taking about "piggies". And I agree that as it exists now our society here in the US has too many people living relatively high-on-the-hog off of others.

I do not think of non-farmers as parasites, and I do believe there are many valuable roles in our society (financial services criminal is not one of them, for example).

We have to learn to consume far less, to lower our own expectations and to end the "consume for the sake of consumption" economy.

Link up top: Peak Oil Is Real But The "Paper Barrels" Of Arab Countries Are Not

For some time, Wall Street referred to these fictitious numbers as “Paper Barrels” and ignored them. But as time passed, they began to be accepted in the mainstream.

This is what really infuriates me. Almost everyone now just accepts these paper barrels as real. Even many people on this list, because BP also reports them, believe they must be true. As if when BP added these paper barrels to their database this somehow made them real.

What most people do not realize is that the numbers reported by OPEC are nowhere close. As I have stated before the more oil a nation has to produce the more oil they do produce. It is completely absurd to believe that OPEC members have all that oil they could be producing but don't. OPEC members are pumping every barrel they can and only Saudi is possibly holding back a few barrels. This means that OPEC likely has a reserve to production ratio very similar to non OPEC nations. Which means they likely have, combined, about 300 Gb of reserves, very similar to non-OPEC reserves.

As Arabian Business.com reports all OPEC nations with the possible exception of Saudi Arabia are producing every barrel they can. And there is some doubt about Saudi.

Saudi Dec oil output rises, exports fall-data

Other members of OPEC have a tendency to pump as much as they can, only withholding production when the market is falling sharply.

Of course they do and with the average OPEC contract price now over $97 a barrel everyone, even Saudi, is likely pumping out every barrel they possibly can.

The article here is interesting since Saudi oil production jumped in December but exports fell. Seems they are burning more and more oil to generate electricity and water. Natural gas production is obviously falling off a cliff in Saudi.

Ron P.

They arn't paper; they're real. They just don't have an EROEI disclaimer.


And by what stretch logic did you arrive at that startling conclusion? Proven reserves are supposed to mean recoverable reserves. They are not using trick logic in their reserves claim, they are saying they have over 1 trillion barrels of recoverable oil. That is a lie, not fuzzy logic, an outright lie.

The paper barrels are not real.

Ron P.

an outright lie.

It's a minor quibble! I well believe there could be that much recoverable oil but at what cost/EROERI and more importantly at what recovery rate?!!

I don't need to tell you it's all about flow rates! And I also don't care if Johnny Smith who reads the NYT believes what he reads and so is not worried anymore about his filling up 5.5L Mercedes 4x4.

OPEC will continue to obfuscate, the sheeple will continue to gobble offuscation and we will continue in our little bubble of reality here.


Marco, you completely miss the point. Of course peak oil is all about flow rates, we have been hammering that point home for years. And when you say that they really have that much oil, only the EROEI would likely be too high to produce all of it, you are just throwing in a confusion factor that further muddies the waters. Go here:

OPEC Share of World Crude Oil Reserves 2009

Here they are comparing OPEC reserves to non-OPEC reserves. This is the outright lie. The EROEI would apply to both sides of the aisle here. If OPEC really has that much oil only at a higher EROEI then non-OPEC also has that much oil but only at a higher EROEI. The point is therefore moot and becomes only a confusion factor that is best left out of the argument.

The point is that OPEC claims to have almost five times the proven reserves of non-OPEC nations. Nations, even OPEC nations, tend to produce all the oil they can, most of the time. How much oil a nation can produce depends on how much oil they have to produce. Therefore we can infer that since OPEC produces, even when producing flat out, less oil than non-OPEC nations then they likely have less oil to produce than non-OPEC nations. Certainly they do not have anywhere near five times the proven reserves.

That is the point Marco. Now do you see how bringing up EROEI in this context anyway only muddies the waters. Mind you I am not saying EROEI is not important, far from it. But in this one instance it is totally unhelpful.

Ron P.

There's quite a bit of misinformation in the OPEC data, such as:

During the period 2000-2009, OPEC Member Countries added 242 billion barrels to their total oil reserves, substantially more than the reserve additions made by other crude oil producers.

They somehow found that oil without doing any new exploration. It was somewhere in the filing cabinets in the back of the National Oil Company file rooms.

The global reserve/resource base can easily meet forecast demand growth for decades to come. Estimates of ultimately recoverable reserves (URR) have increased over time, with advancing technology, enhanced recovery and new reservoir development.

Yes, don't worry, be happy, there is decades of OPEC oil available to all consumers. Don't let the fact that the global oil price is now over $100/barrel upset you. It's just a temporary anomaly that will go away. And, in particular, don't plan to cut your consumption of OPEC oil in the expectation that it will become unaffordable in the near future.

Excuse me. I've been here 4 years and not had a post removed yet. What exactly was wrong with my last post? Was it the word Sh**? I've seen far worse here gotten away with. If you would kindly re-instate my post and replace the offending word with 4 asterisks that would be far more agreeable. Since when did the oildrum start getting censored so heavily?

You've had posts removed many times. You just didn't notice.

And yes, the problem was the profanity.

Ron, I repeat for the benefit of the integrity of this site. It's no surprise or revelation to any of us that OPEC are as you put it lieing. They might even be accidentally right. Who knows. At this point in time argueing what their reserves actually are is comparable to arguing what the top speed of our cars is when what matters is the 0-60 time.

So naturally I believe in focusing on a more useful metric like EROEI - it's not muddying the waters, it's getting to the real point.


Marco, I wrote a long and in depth reply to your post that got deleted, so mine went with it. After thinking it over I will make only a short reply. Your 0 to 60 example is not remotely similar to my argument. No, not even close.

As far as EROEI goes, yes it is very important but in this case it has no meaning because my argument was OPEC vs. non-OPEC. They say they have almost five times as much oil. EROEI would apply just as much to non-OPEC reserves as to OPEC reserves so bringing that subject up in this case explains absolutely nothing.

Ron P.

They arn't paper; they're real. They just don't have an EROEI disclaimer.

Important is what has been said on ASPO-USA 2008 conference regarding KSA:

"We really don’t have any idea how much is there. 110 billion proven, 260 billion est. What we really need to know is how much is light sweet, and when/how fast will the largest fields decline?"

Part of the paper barrels could be there, but they won't prevent production decline once most of the light (sweet) oil is gone. What is left has to be extracted with for example thermal (steam) EOR. If after a few years of decline of world oilproduction something of the economy is left, they can go ahead with many of those 'Oman like thermal EOR projects'.

"We really don’t have any idea how much is there. 110 billion proven, 260 billion est. What we really need to know is how much is light sweet, and when/how fast will the largest fields decline?"

That statement is, at best, very misleading. We all know that light sweet crude, all over the world, is in decline and oil produced is getting a little heavier with more sulfur each year. Even if all Saudi's remaining oil is the heavy sour stuff it is still extremely important how much is left.

Part of the paper barrels could be there, but they won't prevent production decline once most of the light (sweet) oil is gone.

That is not necessarily so. If Saudi really had 265 billion barrels of reserves and none of it was light sweet crude, they could still increase production dramatically. If they really had that much heavy sour stuff, they could easily increase production to 20 million barrels per day even though every barrel of it was heavy sour crude.

Again, what applies to one side of the aisle also applies to the other. Non-OPEC nations have the same opportunity to increase production with steam or other EOR as OPEC nations do. No amount of word juggling can justify them claiming to have almost five times the proven reserves as non-OPEC nations do.

Ron P.

If they really had that much heavy sour stuff, they could easily increase production to 20 million barrels per day even though every barrel of it was heavy sour crude.

Suppose a lot of that heavy stuff needs thermal EOR, like the Mukhaizna field in Oman. If that project is completely build out it produces 65 kbp (Oil Megaprojects 2010) or 150 kbp (company info). KSA needs about 200 of projects of that scale to produce 20 mbd. One could think of many reasons why that won't happen, first of all because they don't have that much heavy oil. The Mukhaizna field 2P reserve is stated at 1 Gb on Wiki (company info: 3-4 Gb of which half recoverable), so to produce 20 mbd KSA needs to have tremendous amounts of heavy oil.

Again, what applies to one side of the aisle also applies to the other. Non-OPEC nations have the same opportunity to increase production with steam or other EOR as OPEC nations do.

Exactly. The U.S. comes up with 89 Gb waiting for CO2-EOR. The necessary CO2 is not available now and why thermal EOR couldn't do the trick in these fields maybe a petro geologist can explain.

Therefore we can infer that since OPEC produces, even when producing flat out, less oil than non-OPEC nations then they likely have less oil to produce than non-OPEC nations.

One could think of one reason why they produce less. And that is that non-OPEC + OPEC produced all the oil the world needed. However that is very unlikely because the price of oil started to rise considerably since 2004-2005. It is possible that Aramco was seeing the end of the light crude in sight in their giant fields and because of that invented the lie that there were not enough buyers for their light sweet crude a few years ago and instead deliberately were holding back some light crude. Most probable is that ELM and rising oil demand by Chinindia took them by surprise.

H - You make some interesting points. And I will answer your question: "The U.S. comes up with 89 Gb waiting for CO2-EOR. The necessary CO2 is not available now and why thermal EOR couldn't do the trick in these fields maybe a petro geologist can explain. "

Very simply every field that could economically benefit from EOR, be it thermal or any other method, has had those EOR methods applied. In fact in a great many fields these efforts have been ongoing for many decades. Every field that would benefit from CO2 injection has been undergoing CO2 injection IF THE CO2 HAS BEEN AVAILABLE. With the exception of utilizing horizontal well bores in some EOR efforts, there has been very little change in EOR methods that were used in the 1950's. Some refinements for sure but no big step changes. As far as the 89 GB of oil that someone thinks will be recovered via CO2 injection it has to be in fields which did not have access to CO2. This begs the question: assuming there is some source of CO2 available, what economic conditions must develop for those efforts to start? A while back oil hit $147. And today it's constantly north of $80/bbl. Yet we've no big headlines about billions of bbls of new oil coming on line soon via CO2 injection or any other EOR method.

Perhaps the 89 GB bbls of oil just represents someone's guess of how much oil could be recovered via CO2 injection but, unfortunately, there is no apparent economic condition coming down the road to cause it to happen. IOW we could recover 89 GB of oil if we had CO2 economically available but since we don't then we actually have ZERO GB bbls of oil recoverable. We've seen this logic many times. They disguise it by classifying such reserves as "technically recoverable". IOW if cost were not a factor we do, in fact, have X GB of oil that could be recoverable. Just as we have many millions of ounces of "technically recoverable" gold just dissolved out there in the oceans. The fact that it would cost more to recover that gold than you could sell it for shouldn't stop someone from offering the possibility of capturing that huge fortune.

Trust me: there are hundreds of thousands oil patch hands that have studied every oil reservoir in this country and if there were a way to squeeze one more bbl of oil it would have been done. This is how we make a living. This is the only way many of us know how to make a living. In fact I've seen a lot of oil/NG produced as a result of efforts that proved to be financial failures. Consider the shale gas boom. There has been a huge volume of NG brought to the market and sold for considerably less than it cost the companies to develop those reserves. It happens all the time: drill a well that cost $10 million and find only $8 million in oil/NG. No one drills a well planning to lose money. And no batter steps up to the plat planning on striking out. Regardless, it does happen...and often.

ROCKMAN, thanks for your as usual broad comment.

IOW we could recover 89 GB of oil if we had CO2 economically available but since we don't then we actually have ZERO GB bbls of oil recoverable. We've seen this logic many times. They disguise it by classifying such reserves as "technically recoverable".

And 89 Gb is maybe even heavily exaggerated. In that case they
(the DOE) don't mention thermal EOR as a possibility because then they cannot use the excuse that the pumps can't be build and installed. Or those reservoirs are not suited for thermal EOR.


Washington, DC – State-of-the-art enhanced oil recovery with carbon dioxide, now recognized as a potential way of dealing with greenhouse gas emissions, could add 89 billion barrels to the recoverable oil resources of the United States, the Department of Energy has determined. Current U.S. proved reserves are 21.9 billion barrels.

It's even more weird, because the article starts with:

New CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery Technology Could Greatly Boost U.S. Oil Supplies

Reports See Another 89-430 Billion Barrels of Oil Through Carbon Dioxide Injection, Other Advances

Consider the shale gas boom. There has been a huge volume of NG brought to the market and sold for considerably less than it cost the companies to develop those reserves.

So it remains to be seen if shale gas is a game changer for the U.S., as RMG wrote 1-2 weeks ago.

Han - And that's where these "experts" confuse folks. I have no way to document it but I'll offer that there is at least several hundred billion bbls of oil left in various reservoirs in this country. And they can offer that some "new technology" might recover 100+ billion bbls of oil. But what they won't point out is that this oil is the residual that couldn't be produced. And the "new" technology? Funny how they never give any details. For instance they refer to the "new CO2 enhanced recovery technology". Maybe I haven't been paying attention but I haven't seen any significant improvements in this methodology in over 30 years. Some refinement...some better efficiencies. But nothing new: you pump CO2 down one group of wells and flow the oil/CO2 back up thru some other wells.

Right now I know where there is 1.5 billion bbls of oil just 5,000' below the ground in Texas. A rock solid number. I also have a technique that may economicly recover some of that oil. So I can honestly put out press release that soon I will be utilizing a relatively new but proven technology to recover a portion of 1.5 billion bbls of oil. What I didn't mention is that I can't offer the exact economic value of this approach. And I didn't mention that I have optimistic hopes of increasing URR by 5%. Yep...another 75 million bbls. That ain't chicken feed. But it's not 1.5 billion bbls of oil either. They aslo love to talk about "new technology" but never offer details. Especially details on the cost/effectiveness of these new tricks. There have tens' of thousand of engineers/geologist been trying for decades to figure out how to get these stranded reserves out of the ground profitably.

Any thoughts about oil from shale in the Bakken and other areas?

For instance, some companies are estimating that 20GB can be produced from the Bakken. What do you think?

Nick - Of course the Bakken and Eagleford Shales are a different animals so EOR isn't a factor. I don't have a personal WAG but there could be a lot of oil in these plays. Don't know the Bakken but coming up to speed on the Eagleford (getting a show & tell later today). Again, I can't guess ultimate recover but from the little bit I've seen the ES may well be in the billions. The play is on fire in Texas at the moment with thousands of wells planned. But these plays are very different from the big fields in the U.S. that have supplied us with so much oil over the last 50 years. They have drastic decline rates similar to the shale gas plays. Big headlines: new ES well tests 600 bopd. But what I've learned is that you need to start somewhere north of 400 bopd just to recover your investment let alone make a profit. I suspect this is also true of the Bakken to some degree. An ES well coming on at 1,000 bopd could very easily be down to 300 bopd in 12 months and then at 150 bopd in another 12 months. Compare that to a major conventional reservoir where a well might produce 600 bopd without decline for many years.

As long as oil stays north of $60/bbl we'll probably see a lot of new but short lived oil wells added to the pile. But it's going to take a great deal of capex to get it done. But the profit margin appears to be there.


Just curious regarding longer term development in those plays. After the initial well is drilled, produced, and in decline...do you sidetrack them to a new nearby target? If so, can you do it with coil or do you need rotary to sidetrack?

What has long become the pattern on the N Slope is that original rotary wells (which depending on vintage may be near vertical, high angle, or horizontl) are horizontal sidetracked multiple times. Depending on how the candidate was completed and the target, the sidetrack might be rotary, coil, or "tiny tools" (slimhole coil).

Like most things on the N Slope this was first done at Prudhoe, but now is being done at most all the fields. Some Prudhoe wells originally drilled in the '70s or '80s may have been sidetracked as many as 4 times. In todays N Slope environment a Prudhoe grass roots well will cost $8 million +. A rotary sidetrack might cost $4-6 million. A coil sidetrack might cost $2.5-3.5 million. Sidetrack costs are very dependent on decomplete costs (condition of original hole and how much jewelry is down hole). Obviously coil is the preferred option. A typical well might come on at 1-2000 bopd and decline and eventually cycle for 2-6 years. A really good well might come on at 5000 bopd.

Just wondering if something similar is already being done... or could be done in the Eagleford or similar plays? (Costs and rates would be of course dependent on your local situation.)

A typical well might come on at 1-2000 bopd and decline and eventually cycle for 2-6 years

I know you were talking to Rock here but if you could just elaborate on that statement just a tad for a non oil guy I'd appreciate it.

Just how far out from the original hole are they getting on the Slope these days? Are these horizontal meanderings getting near as much of the oil as a field full of strippers in Texas or Oklahoma gets? I've always felt we could never wring the Slope out to that extent because of the inhospitable surface environment, but that was just a gut hunch. I've only been up there a few times, but never between the end of September and the beginning of April.

I have no way to document it but I'll offer that there is at least several hundred billion bbls of oil left in various reservoirs in this country.

No doubt. The problem is that the Hubbert Linearization analyses that people work out demand really low-end URR values, otherwise they don't place the peak point at the right position. Fortunately we have other approaches such as the oil shock model that can admit larger values of oil (~ 800 billion more in my analysis, for example) and the peak position still ends up not changing much.

I figured this out long ago, along with Ron and Rockman: we all know that it's the flow rate!

so to produce 20 mbd KSA needs to have tremendous amounts of heavy oil.

Okay, let's do the math. Manifa has, according to ARAMCO, 10 Gb of proven reserves. And it is all heavy oil. They say that when it comes on line in 2013 it will produce 900,000 barrels per day. So in order to produce 20 million barrels per day they would need 222 gb of reserves. They say they have 265 gb of reserves.

Saudi Aramco Signs $11 Billion Contract for Expansion of Manifa Oil Field

This article was written in 2007 when Manifa was supposed to come on line in 2011. It has since been delayed by at least two years.

Ron P.

Manifa has, according to ARAMCO, 10 Gb of proven reserves. And it is all heavy oil. They say that when it comes on line in 2013 it will produce 900,000 barrels per day.

That matches with the 65 kbd-150 kbd production from the Oman heavy oil field, which has 1 Gb (2P) reserves.

This article was written in 2007 when Manifa was supposed to come on line in 2011. It has since been delayed by at least two years.

Limited refinery capacity for heavy oil could play a role ?

Limited refinery capacity for heavy oil could play a role ?

No, when prices collapsed in late 2008 Saudi canceled all major upstream projects. Then the restarted them when price recovered. I thought it was common knowledge in the oil world what was going on.

Ron P.

I thought it was common knowledge in the oil world what was going on.

In general yes, in detail no. I am not in 'the oil world'. I'm just a pharmacist interested in the fate of hydrocarbons and human race. And I follow the comments from experts and a few others like yours very closely.
Several times I read about lack of refineries for heavy sour oil. I didn't know or forgot the reason for Manifa delay, it was indeed a price matter.

Drilling at the Manifa project site began in March 2010. The project will be completed in 2015, four years behind the original completion date of June 2011. Due to the fall in crude prices, in December 2009 the company decided to extend the project's completion date to 2015. Production will begin by 2013. The investment into the project is around $10bn.

But, but, why does this matter when:

GOP Lawmaker Mike Beard Claims God Will Provide Unlimited Natural Resources

"God is not capricious. He's given us a creation that is dynamically stable," Beard told MinnPost. "We are not going to run out of anything."

Beard is currently in the midst of drafting legislation that would overturn Minnesota's moratorium on coal-fired power plants, an effort that he backs due to his religious belief that God will provide limitless resources while ensuring that humans don't destroy the planet trying to get them.

Denial of Resource Limits and Climate Change in one belief! I wonder which would be worse, he truly believes this crap, or he's aware of the threats to BAU and is really deep into denial?

I wonder which would be worse, he truly believes this crap, or he's aware of the threats to BAU and is really deep into denial?

I'd say "he truly believes this crap" is worse (and probably true), but maybe that's just me.

I think that his opinion is rather widespread throughout much of the U.S. and is pretty much an article of faith among Tea Party types.

From the article you cited:

“[climate change] It’s a flat-out lie,” Mr. Dennison said in an interview after the debate, adding that he had based his view on the preaching of Rush Limbaugh and the teaching of Scripture. “I read my Bible,” Mr. Dennison said. “He made this earth for us to utilize.”

A college-drop out disc-jockey and a 2000+ year book are his sources.

We are soooo dooomed.

Why aren't these people publically humiliated in a huge way? Why is it that as soon as one of these crackpots cites the Bible, all of a sudden we owe them some kind of "respect"? You'd think a person would be ashamed to admit to holding such a belief.

This country is going down the toilet faster than anyone thinks. The religious-wankers have got the politicians afraid of them. Critical policy, matters of national security, is being decided by idiots like this.

This crap should be met with nation-wide derision, and would have been just 30 years ago. OK, maybe 35 years ago. It's not just that some people are pig-ignorant. It's that they're militant and proud of being pig-ignorant, and no one will tell them they're utterly wacked. Because their political leadership and media cheerleaders are pig-ignorant.

And anyone who knows anything about an issue is disqualified from having an opinion on that issue, because obviously they are an interested party and are just milking the system for research grants - just ask blowhard Rush Limbaugh (who should be had up for treason, in my opinion).

What happened to my country? We've become a nation of superstitious fools. I guess we will get what we deserve.

one of these crackpots cites the Bible, all of a sudden we owe them some kind of "respect"?

You have readers here on TOD who get bent outta shape if their version of sky-god get diss'ed.

When you are playing a political game of %ages - the few %age who'll vote for you no matter what you've done as long as you claim you support their version of sky-god is the difference between wining and not winning.

"God is not capricious. He's given us a creation that is dynamically stable," Beard told MinnPost. "We are not going to run out of anything."

I guess a good 'politician' tells the people what they want to hear.

But this is not the first God will hold our axx bit because we are unable to control our use of resources etc. One line is we have nothing to fear from global warming because God would never do anything to hurt us.

Most Christians whole heartedly stand by that position. They're convinced we can do anything in regards to carbon emissions, etc, because, "The tide goes out, the time comes in - never misses a beat." Bill O'Reilly. As much of an idiot as he is, they completely accept this kind of silliness that ignores basic science. For them its not the Moon that controls the tides.

The bottom line is, if enough people hold to absurd positions we will probably all have to pay the price.

Most Christians whole heartedly stand by that position.

While this is true of the "Christian Right" in the U.S., I don't think it's fair to the Christian left, perhaps not even to the Christian center.

While this is true of the "Christian Right" in the U.S., I don't think it's fair to the Christian left, perhaps not even to the Christian center.

Cue up the spokesperson from the Christian left. 3..2..1 - no? OK, the Christian center... (*crickets*)

P. Coyle, I do get your point, but where are any Christian voices in the US that are not right wing wack jobs? I'm sure not hearing them.

Oh, I know there are such groups out there, if you look hard. But they are practically undetectable above the cacaphony of dominionist, prosperity, apocalytic sects - the ones with rather substantial political representation.

You could have "Star Trek fans for climate protection", and they might do some good, but Star Trek will still be a work of fiction.

The question asked was whether there were any Christian voices in the US that are not right wing whack jobs, not whether Christianity is "real" or not.

I'd really prefer to avoid the latter question here. Just no benefit to it. Nobody's mind will be changed, and it just ticks people off.

I'd really prefer to avoid the latter question here. Just no benefit to it. Nobody's mind will be changed, and it just ticks people off.

Right, we wouldn't want to risk upsetting anyone with a little dose of reality. We should all just stick our heads in the sand and pretend that everything will be just fine if we don't rock the boat. Personally I think you are dead wrong!

"Just be a nice lady and go the back of the the bus where you belong Ms Parks and nobody will get hurt, least of all you!"

All delusional thinking, including religion, wherever it may fall on the spectrum of irrationality, from its mild forms to its rabidly fundamentalist violent extreme is something that needs to be brightly illuminated with hard nosed non apologetic critical thinking! People who still believe in magic should not be allowed to dictate public policy.

Maybe we should invest a couple hundred billion taxpayer dollars in perpetual motion machines because because some voodoo priestess while in the throws of her menstrual cramp had this vision about how it would solve our energy crisis.
You wouldn't want to tick her and her delusional followers off, now would you?!

Feel free to start your own blog, where you can set the limits of discussion.

Here, we really want to dissuade people from political and religious rants. There's plenty of other places where you can go for that if you want it.

Sorry Leanan, I'm not the least bit interested in political or religious rants just for the sake of being contentious. However if we are not allowed to criticize ideas then what is the point. Religious thinking and our much of our current political thinking as well, is fraught with really terrible ideas that need to brought out into the daylight. May as well just respectfully tiptoe around the ideas of flat earthers or those who believe in abiotic oil as well.

It's not a matter of respect, it's a matter of sheer tedium.

I agree that's it's important to analyze the nature of the political barriers to change in our energy systems. I think that's what you're really trying to do.

As a step in that direction, let me point out that religious fundamentalism isn't the primary cause of these political barriers, they're just handy tools for manipulation by those in industries whose investments and careers will be hurt by a transition away from fossil fuels.

For instance:

"The billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch are waging a war against Obama. He and his brother are lifelong libertarians and have quietly given more than a hundred million dollars to right-wing causes."



Corporations, focused on their fiduciary duty to their investors to maximize profit, are attacking government's ability to charge for external costs like pollution. "Pigovian" taxes just became much more difficult in California:

"It was the "sleeper" ballot initiative of California's election season: Few paid heed to Proposition 26, besides the oil, tobacco and alcohol companies that funneled millions of dollars into promoting it in the final weeks of the campaign.

Now, from the Capitol in Sacramento to the boardrooms of county supervisors and city councils, lawmakers and lobbyists are scrambling to assess the fiscal and political effects of the measure, one of the most sweeping ballot-box initiatives in decades. Proposition 26 reclassifies most regulatory fees on industry as "taxes" requiring a two-thirds vote in government bodies or in public referendums, rather than a simple majority.

Approved by voters 53% to 47% on Nov. 2, it is aimed at multibillion-dollar statewide issues such as a per-barrel severance fee on oil and a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gases. It's also aimed at local ordinances that add fees on cigarettes to pay for trash pickup and on alcohol to fund education and law enforcement programs.

Last week, the American Chemistry Council warned Los Angeles County supervisors that a proposed ordinance banning plastic grocery sacks and imposing a 10-cent fee on paper bags falls under the voting requirements of Proposition 26.

"We think it was a fair way to go," said Allan Zaremberg, chief executive of the California Chamber of Commerce, the biggest contributor to the Proposition 26 campaign. "It clarifies what is a tax and what is a fee. Right now, the public doesn't want any taxes."

Some simple charges are exempt, such as fees for marriage and fishing licenses, restaurant health inspections and property assessments.

But environmentalists and health advocates said the initiative makes it nearly impossible in the current political climate to boost industry fees for cleaning up air, water and toxic waste pollution; for curbing smoking and alcohol abuse; or for enacting new programs.

"California just got a lot harder to govern," said Bill Magavern, California director of the Sierra Club.

Proposition 26's TV campaign attacking "hidden taxes" caught many public interest groups unprepared. Hyper-focused on Proposition 23, the unsuccessful effort to suspend the state's global warming regulations, they were unable to pivot in time.

Environmentalists, unions and the Democratic Party scrambled to raise $6.6 million to fight Proposition 26, but proponents outspent them by 3 to 1."


I agree that's it's important to analyze the nature of the political barriers to change in our energy systems. I think that's what you're really trying to do.

Correct, that is precisely the reason why I find it important to have these discussions and the Koch brother's are a perfect example of how right wing political ideology and religion are deeply intertwined in energy policy in the US.

These people are masters of propaganda and have no scruples whatsoever. How can one just decide to ignore that reality? This isn't about Sunday school, it's about how some extremely powerful interests are able to manipulate large groups of people who are already primed for uncritical thought. What they do and how they do it, has just as much impact on how peak oil affects all of us, as the actual number of barrels of oil in the ground.

To be clear I'm not interested in someones personal politics nor in scriptural debate or in being a religious apologist, but I am very interested in how all of the above influences and impacts what is happening in the world at large and therefore my short life.


So, it helps advance the argument to identify who's really running the show. The average uncritical follower of the religious right is a victim, and blaming him or her doesn't advance things. They may be an annoying victim to someone who doesn't agree with them, but they're a victim nonetheless.

If we fight with them, then the propagandists have won, by dividing and conquering. A good political strategy involves making them an ally, not an enemy, by finding common ground.

If we fight with them, then the propagandists have won, by dividing and conquering. A good political strategy involves making them an ally, not an enemy, by finding common ground.

Point taken!

FM and Leanan,
I think we have to agree - no question about it - it is not up to us to decide what content is welcome on TOD and what is not.

But having said that, I have to agree with you, FM, also:

What they do and how they do it, has just as much impact on how peak oil affects all of us, as the actual number of barrels of oil in the ground.

Personally I think it's effect is bigger then the barrels in the ground.

Just think about it:
It is our believe system, which - consciously or unconsciously - dictates our actions. And even if you say you are not religious, anti-religious or whatever - this is also a believe system and will effect how you are reacting to peoples ideas, propositions etc. And of course political parties know that and have played that cart for eons - and still do!(see the article our discussion started out with)

One more thing.
Religious structures are the oldest structures we have as a human society. Political ideas change - yesterday it was Feudalistic, today it is Democratic, tomorrow it will be something else. But the religious structures have changed very little over the centuries. Take for example Catholicism and its power structures: They were founded in ~400CE. It is still the same today - 1600 years later! What political entity can say the same about itself? None!

I have read TOD for years without commenting, because I waited for someone to finally go to the basis of every mitigating action for PO.
===> If we do not change our believe system what will change after PO? Nothing! We will still fight each other over whatever is left, for world dominance or over whatever we fought in the past.

Without going into a "religious rant" let me ask you a question:

What would be the "ideal" basis for mitigating not only PO but every aspect of our current predicament?
1.) the same rules and regulations for everybody worldwide
2.) strictly enforced worldwide without exemptions
If this can be accomplished than human society has a chance. If not, ok, we all know the consequences.

I can hear you saying that this is delusional! From a human point of view that may be.
But this is the promise of the Bible! It is up to you if you want to believe it or not and act according to this believe system.
But every discussion about the future of humanity which does not account for these facts will only produce hot air and will not accomplish anything - IMHO.


What would be the "ideal" basis for mitigating not only PO but every aspect of our current predicament?

As far as I'm concerned it would start with the acknowledgement of a simple fact, that going forth and multiplying is no longer in our interest as a species. We need to curb the growth of human populations. If this is accomplished by rational scientific argument or a belief in the Bible, some other holy book or by government decree, is in my view irrelevant. That is what needs to be done. Because if we don't do it it will happen regardless and probably in ways we will not like very much. Perhaps someone needs to write the new and improved Bible 2.0 with a few chapters on the realities of finite resources and how we need to conserve our resources... I suspect that might make it easier to love your neighbor if you don't find it necessary to slit his throat in order to survive.



The US, Europe, Russia, Japan, China...are already at or below replacement level fertility.

The top priority is educating girls in Africa, S. America and the M.E.

Actually, "Houston, we have a problem!"


Advances in development reverse fertility declines

...Here we show, using new cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses of the total fertility rate and the human development index (HDI), a fundamental change in the well-established negative relationship between fertility and development as the global population entered the twenty-first century. Although development continues to promote fertility decline at low and medium HDI levels, our analyses show that at advanced HDI levels, further development can reverse the declining trend in fertility. The previously negative development–fertility relationship has become J-shaped, with the HDI being positively associated with fertility among highly developed countries.

To make matters worse the authors of this paper seem to indicate that this might actually be a good thing. Notwithstanding the fact that they are rational scientists and should know better. Can we do anything worse than have increases in fertility in those very societies that happen to have the largest per capita ecological footprints. (Sigh!)

Notwithstanding the fact that they are rational scientists

The creature (rational scientist) does not exist.

It is an urban legend.

We are all irrational, some to a greater degree than others.

You want scientific proof?
Consider the class of scientists who profess to be devoutly religious.
2 + 2i does not equal 4 in the reality plane.

The study is behind a paywall, so I haven't read it.

I suspect this phenomenon exists. The question is, how large is it? Does it raise the fertility level above replacement? How large a % of the population is involved?

This is why we don't ban discussion of religion altogether here. I think religion will probably play a role, for good or ill, and it's certainly a force in politics.

What I don't want is discussions along the lines of "There is a god" "No, there isn't." Or "My god is better than your god." What's the point? People who believe will not change their minds, and neither will people who don't. It just clutters up the thread with the kind of debate many come here to avoid, and drives out the kind of discussion that's far rarer and more productive.

But the religious structures have changed very little over the centuries.

That, I disagree with. Religion changes to match societal changes. In particular, we choose to emphasize some elements and de-emphasize or ignore others. Why do fundamentalists cling to no evolution/young earth, yet ignore the prohibitions on usury? Why the Rapture, which is a relatively new invention, but not the rules against wearing clothing of mixed fibers?

Many of those old rules actually made perfect sense in a steady state economy. Without growth, interest is extremely burdensome. The economy is a zero sum game, so if one person has more, others have less. Hence rich people - those who hoard more than their share and deprive the needy - are going to hell.

I could see a steady-state or declining future, where Christianity once again changes to accommodate society. Perhaps gay marriage, birth control, and abortion will be put on the back burner, and having children out of wedlock will once more be a terrible sin. Or the usury rules will return.

Or we'll invent a whole new religion, as Greer depicts in his future history. I'm pretty sure religion is never going away. I'm an atheist, from a family that has been atheist for generations, but it's pretty obvious to me that religion is innate in Homo sapiens (and probably other mammals as well). We're better off working with it rather than trying to eliminate it.

Thanks for your reply, Leanan.

I agree with you about flame wars about religion. They accomplish nothing.

Just one last question: What is your take regarding my position of the ideal "basis" for mitigation PO etc. (my two points I mentioned)?


Religion has traditionally been the way societies deal with scarce resources. (Examples: vows of poverty, restrictions on sex and marriage, unclean pork, sacred cows, vegetarianism and other food restrictions, "taboo" areas where commoners aren't allowed to hunt or fish.)

In small tribes, people gain power by giving their followers things. (Hence the old joke about Native Americans: "How do you find the chief of a village?" "Look for the poorest man.") But as societies grow larger and more complex, this becomes impossible. There's just not enough stuff for everyone. Anthropologist Marvin Harris argued that the solution to this is to tell people that their reward will be in the afterlife. Instead of winning their support by offering them material goods now, you tell them they'll get it all after they're dead.

However, the idea of a worldwide religion is probably even less realistic than the idea of a world government. How do you get everyone to believe? Even the most successful religions haven't come close to worldwide dominance.

interesting thoughts, especially Marvin Harris's, even though I do not agree with all you said.

Reading your comment in todays Drumbeat - WRT the firefighter - isn't that exactly what I said - somebodies believe system dictating the action?

Which brings up again what I stated above:
Without a general change in ALL our believe system there is no way humanity will survive in the long run. We will fight each other for the last drop of oil (or piece of food, or whatever people think they need and the neighbor has) until there is nobody to fight against any more and the last tree is cut down.
Or to say it in other words: It is our differing believe system - or religion if you wish - which stands in the way of real progress among humans - equal shares in all resources, stewardship over the animals and environment to the benefit and not the detriment of them.

Interestingly the Bible says that the Governments worldwide will realize this and will ban all religions - with the help of the UN. Maybe in the not to distant future you will experience this firsthand.

All the best for you

Reading your comment in todays Drumbeat - WRT the firefighter - isn't that exactly what I said - somebodies believe system dictating the action?

Not sure, really. It's still unclear exactly what went on in that case.

Interestingly the Bible says that the Governments worldwide will realize this and will ban all religions - with the help of the UN. Maybe in the not to distant future you will experience this firsthand.

I would bet my bottom dollar I will not, and neither will anyone else alive today.

Jared Diamond implies in Collapse that the only way we'll avoid collapse is a strong, global government...but I think peak oil will make that impossible. As Tainter points out, it takes energy to run such a government, and the larger and more controlling it is, the more resources it takes. Peak oil means we won't have the enormous amount of energy it would take to enforce a world government.

I think it's far more likely we'll break up into ever smaller political units than that we'll form a world government. That is why I found the firefighter story interesting. Some countries fracture on religious lines. Some fracture on ethnic lines. Race has traditionally been the big issue in the US, but it's looking more and more like we'll fracture along red state-blue state lines.

I appreciate you taking the time for this discussion - besides all the work you are doing for TOD!

Ghungs words over at the other thread:

Wow; quite the thread. This is how politics (and religion and race and extreme nationalism and tribalism) divide us, how we begin to dehumanize each other. This is how it starts.....

It sure looks to me that what I said WRT believe systems and actions is accurate! Regardless if the story about the firefighter is correct or not, the reaction of the commenters - and this is what Ghung was revering to - shows the same pattern. Without trying to pick a fight with you, I just want to point out that from a logical point-of-view there is no way around the problem, that if we want to fix the situation, this is where we have to start. If there is rotten apples in the basket you have to go to the bottom and remove them from there and not the first ones you see on the surface only.

I would bet my bottom dollar I will not, and neither will anyone else alive today.

Would you say the same thing if the bet would be your life? (you wouldn't be happy with my bottom dollar anyway - LOL)
But seriously, there are only very few prophecies in the Bible left which are not fulfilled yet. This is one of them.
And again, from a logical point-of-view this HAS to be the first step (as J. Diamond correctly implies (although I have to take your word for it, I have not read his book. So much do to - so little time!)).

I am a mechanical engineer (retired, now farmer only) with decades spend in R&D (at last count my name came up more than 30 times at the patent office) therefore logical thinking is something I really appreciate. And this is also the reason why I am so attracted to the teachings of the Bible - the absolute logic behind the message this Holy Book conveys.
But off course you have to go beyond religious doctrines and let the Bible speak for itself.

The way the Bible explains how the ruling of the world will be done, energy restrictions are of no concern. But I agree, based on what we have today it would be impossible.

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with you.


Without trying to pick a fight with you, I just want to point out that from a logical point-of-view there is no way around the problem, that if we want to fix the situation, this is where we have to start. If there is rotten apples in the basket you have to go to the bottom and remove them from there and not the first ones you see on the surface only.

But in the case of human nature, the only way you could do that would be to genetically engineer human DNA, or kill off the species. Religion has a lot to say about human nature, but has never proven effective at changing it. (Nor has anything else.)

Would you say the same thing if the bet would be your life?

Yes. In a heartbeat.

I am a mechanical engineer as well, and not only do I think a world government cannot be sustained in the face of resource constraints, I'm not sure it would be a good thing even if it was possible. It would have to be tremendously oppressive, a la 1984. And...it might not work. I'd go so far as to say it probably wouldn't work. Power corrupts, as we've seen over and over.

Isn't it delusional to think that folks will stop being delusional? As we see in the middle east, they'll eventually render each other contusional. Historically, not unusual ;-)

TOD, as produced by Gilbert and Sullivan!

All delusional thinking, including religion, wherever it may fall on the spectrum of irrationality, from its mild forms to its rabidly fundamentalist violent extreme is something that needs to be brightly illuminated with hard nosed non apologetic critical thinking! People who still believe in magic should not be allowed to dictate public policy.

I think Ghung's comment is a smack on the money: it's delusional to think that humans will stop being delusional.

I'm delusional; I just have the delusions somewhat indexed, sorted, and filtered; and an ongoing process it is too. Not sure "sane" human brains could exist without some level of delusion.

It's important, in my estimation, that some pro-earthlife folks unafraid of steering events learn critical thinking skills. That said, I'm dubious that "enlightenment" ever changed the world. I think that's either an overly-simplistic retroactive narrative to shoehorn things into a worldview that feels good, or the result of machiavellian realpolitic which seeks the appearance that enlightenment has changed the world. I speak as one who has engaged in the latter pursuit.

Publicly pointing out the logical inconsistencies of common delusions is not useful (though among friends it can be cathartic). They are held because they provide a mechanism to prevent uncomfortable feedback loops within individual brains, make the person happier and healthier, often form the basis of social networking structures. No reason at all that such thin gruel as logic should displace such mental entities once they've settled in.

Indeed, there's much to learn when understanding religion. If the earth is saved from catastrophic heating, it will likely be more from arationality than rationality. It will either be due to luck - and that scenario isn't looking bullish - or to critical thinkers figuring a way to package a virulent set of ideas that "feels better" than what is in human heads now. A tall order - and we aren't really trying.

well when our most fully worked out 'lines' of logic essentially decribe the universe as an inside out black hole...'delusional' takes on an entirely new aspect.

I'm generally a bit behind the curve on that stuff--just finished Susskind's marvelous bit of story telling The Black Hole War. What a magnificent romp. Sci-fi doesn't hold a candle to the real thing.

it's delusional to think that humans will stop being delusional.


A corollary to that is that:
It is irrational to believe that the human brain can be cleansed of irrational thought.

Evolution did not intelligent design our brains to be rational.
Instead, whatever worked for the moment, no matter how irrational; survived to breed and spread its seeds. We are the acorns that fell from that tree.

Beard is in better company than some of you realize (this doesn't mean he's correct).

Albert Einstein said, "God doesn't roll dice with the universe."

It seems that Beard is no more troubled by "instability" than the Master himself:-)

It isn't PC to dis solar energy:

– 1 hr 5 mins ago
WASHINGTON (AFP) – A powerful solar eruption that triggered a huge geomagnetic storm has disturbed radio communications and could disrupt electrical power grids, radio and satellite communication in the next days, NASA said.

....."Three CMEs are enroute, all a part of the Radio Blackout events on February 13, 14, and 15 (UTC). The last of the three seems to be the fastest and may catch both of the forerunners about mid to late ... February 17."

Severe Space Weather Events--Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts:
A Workshop Report

The adverse effects of extreme space weather on modern technology--power grid outages, high-frequency communication blackouts, spacecraft anomalies--are well known and well documented, and the physical processes underlying space weather are also generally well understood. Less well documented and understood, however, are the potential economic and societal impacts of the disruption of critical technological systems by severe space weather.

When I read suggestions that we need to have an ever more complicated and interconnected grid to support all the new high-tech solutions, I think about these events from the past:


On September 1–2, 1859, the largest recorded geomagnetic storm occurred. Aurorae were seen around the world, most notably over the Caribbean; also noteworthy were those over the Rocky Mountains that were so bright that their glow awoke gold miners, who began preparing breakfast because they thought it was morning.
Telegraph systems all over Europe and North America failed in some cases even shocking telegraph operators. Telegraph pylons threw sparks and telegraph paper spontaneously caught fire. Some telegraph systems appeared to continue to send and receive messages despite having been disconnected from their power supplies.


On March 13, 1989 a severe geomagnetic storm caused the collapse of the Hydro-Québec power grid in a matter of seconds as equipment protection relays tripped in a cascading sequence of events. Six million people were left without power for nine hours, with significant economic loss. The storm even caused auroras as far south as Texas. The geomagnetic storm causing this event was itself the result of a coronal mass ejection, ejected from the Sun on March 9, 1989.

In August 1989, another storm affected microchips, leading to a halt of all trading on Toronto's stock market.

From the story you posted:

A 2009 report by a panel of scientists assembled by NASA said that a sustained and powerful solar flare outbreak could overwhelm high-voltage transformers with electrical currents and short-circuit energy grids.
The report, titled "Severe Space Weather Events -- Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts" warned that such a catastrophic event could cost the United States alone up to two trillion dollars in repairs in the first year -- and it could take up to 10 years to fully recover.

We've become far more vulnerable to Solar CMEs than we were before we depended on all this stuff for our lives. We haven't experienced the largest CMEs since we developed these systems, it's just a matter of time.

Oh, yes. Can't have NASA doing any more of that evil research:

GOP Spending Plan Hopes To Cut Climate Change Funding From NASA

"NASA's primary purpose is human space exploration and directing NASA funds to study global warming undermines our ability to maintain our competitive edge in human space flight," said Posey.

GOP Spending Plan Hopes To Cut Climate Change Funding From NASA

Not to worry. The NASA Chief doesn't seem to think it's a priority either:

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, a Bush appointee, tells NPR:

"I have no doubt that...a trend of global warming exists. I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with.... I would ask which human beings—where and when—are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now is the best climate for all other human beings. I think that's a rather arrogant position for people to take."

Former NASA Administrator.

Yeah, he didn't last very long. Imagine that. Best hopes for more funding for Earth Sciences.

As I understand it, NOAA and NASA, et al, are going to be handed over to God, who will conduct all the research necessary, and take whatever actions she (HE) deems appropriate, all in good time.

One unresolved technicality has been that apparently God has been texting us these plans and data via Solar Flares, but we haven't managed to link up to the Cosmonet yet, and those signals are simply running wild over whatever wiring they come across..

I was walking down the street when this man hammering on his roof called me a paranoid little freak........in morse code. -Emo Phillips-

Common Sense Is So Rare, It Should Be Classified As A Super Power.

Shhhh! My common sense is tingling!


"NASA's primary purpose is human space exploration..."

Coulda fooled me. We have less capability there now than we did in 1972.

I also particularly liked the line about our competitiveness in human space flight. By god, we will hang out in LEO and do little to nothing far better than your nation ever dreamed of hanging out in LEO and doing little to nothing!

High commodity prices, low interest rates create corn belt farm land bubble:


Coming to a cable channel near you this fall: Flip that Field - "I bought 400 acres of an abandoned subdivision, leveled the few homes they had started, installed a couple irrigation lines, and 8 moonths later sold it for 1140% profit."

....and got sued for failing to disclose that it wasn't zoned for agriculture ;-/

But the Flipper was a Richer and he got the land re-zoned after-the-fact, kept his profit, and won a countersuit for damages ;)

... and received grants and tax credits for growing crops using solar power. What a guy :-0

Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report:

Working gas in storage was 1,911 Bcf as of Friday, February 11, 2011, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net decline of 233 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 141 Bcf less than last year at this time and 128 Bcf below the 5-year average of 2,039 Bcf. In the East Region, stocks were 135 Bcf below the 5-year average following net withdrawals of 118 Bcf. Stocks in the Producing Region were 18 Bcf above the 5-year average of 680 Bcf after a net withdrawal of 91 Bcf. Stocks in the West Region were 11 Bcf below the 5-year average after a net drawdown of 24 Bcf. At 1,911 Bcf, total working gas is within the 5-year historical range.

Perhaps we are not as awash in NG as some would have you believe. If the price doesn't improve soon we may be washed out of the NG glut. We will see what happens in the AC season this summer if the ME and the economy hold out till then.

It looks to me as though even when NG gets to the bottom of the historical range, even at the end of the season, there is still quite a lot of NG left. So maybe we still do have quite a lot of margin left--about 1,200 Billion Cubic Feet.

I think that there are a couple of problems: (1) The storage in many areas may have been drawn down more than the national average would indicate (resulting in localized delivery problems) and (2) I think that deliverability tends to degrade somewhat as pressures decline. However, the weather appears to be generally warming.

It looks to me as though it matters not how far we draw down but how well we can recharge during the summer. For the first 11 months of 2010 dry production increased by 813 B cu ft, while NG delivered to customers increased by 1058 B cu ft during that 11 month period.

With current prices I expect that difference to increase in 2011. So depending on the consumption and build during the AC season we shall see how we do Next winter.

Er, seems the forces of BAU for California driving have _three_ local gov't champions:

"Central Valley Republicans want bullet train money for Highway 99"

Heavily traveled Highway 99 could be widened to six lanes between Sacramento and Bakersfield for the money that’s going to be spent on the proposed High-Speed Rail system, say three Central Valley members of Congress.


You realy dont want to have a decent future?

Thank God. Once we widen that highway, California will be saved. The Repubs do like their Pork despite the rhetoric to the contrary. All politicians like pork. Sadly your average Joe actually listens to certain politicians, thinking that is not pork but a high speed train is pork. LOL


The Repubs do like their Pork despite the rhetoric to the contrary. All politicians like pork. Sadly your average Joe actually listens to certain politicians, thinking that is not pork but a high speed train is pork.


Sad, but true.

Interior plan bans mining claims near Grand Canyon

The U.S. Department of Interior is proposing to bar the filing of any new mining claims on 1 million acres around the Grand Canyon.

The Interior Department put the potential value of uranium mined near the Grand Canyon at $2.9 billion and the employment benefits at $613.7 million.

Isn't this the same uranium that will be driving the nuclear renaissance.

Toyota develops energy efficient, low cost auto plant for emerging markets:


If this works it means more cars (and demand for oil) in the developing world.

Let's hope the model works as well for those of us in submerging markets.

From Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank’s Asset Management Division Releases Investing in Climate Change 2011 Report

Some observations from the Report:
•The ambitious scale, scope and commitment of Chinese leadership will foment structural change in clean technologies
•Investors will look to US state projects rather than projects driven by Federal policy.
•Natural gas as a lower-emission transition fuel in the US

and from E3G

Managing the Risks of Climate Change: An A-B-C Approach

From the Report

Security analysis has mainly examined the implications of climate change over the coming two decades. These are largely unavoidable under all plausible greenhouse gas emissions reduction scenarios, given the inertia in energy infrastructure and the global climate system. However, if immediate action is not taken to reduce the steady rise in global emissions, there will be a rapid increase in the risk of far more severe impacts, resulting in security challenges that are much more significant than current estimates indicate.

Venezuela Claims World's Largest Oil Reserves

Canadian & Venezuelan net oil exports (BP):


Venezuela may have the Oil-In-Place, but it lacks the ability to get its extra-heavy oil out of the ground. It doesn't have the technology to do it, and even if it did have the technology, it doesn't have the capital markets to provide the money to build the facilities to do it. So, the oil does not really qualify as "proven" reserves since it cannot be produced under current economic and political conditions.

OTOH, Canada does have the technology and the capital markets to develop the oil, but it is still a slow, slow process ramping up production. However, Canadian oil is starting to have a significant effect on oil markets - depressing the price for competing oil at Cushing, Oklahoma far below the price on the Gulf of Mexico. The latter is suffering from Venezuela's falling production.

It recently occurred to me that Canadian oil sands production, which is increasing, is going into the WTI market, whereas Canadian East Coast offshore production, which is decreasing, is being removed from the Brent market. So, Canada is actually contributing to the increasing spread between WTI and Brent by affecting the two markets in different directions.

Of course, the decrease in Canadian East Coast offshore production is nowhere near as large as the drop in Mexican and Venezuelan production.

They will, and Chavez is incredibly astute in the political arena.
It will be interesting to see who will come for the bonanza.
China has already expressed interest.

What is great about all the work being done on TOD is that we can actually watch the fractions of oil coming from the tar sands and Orinoco with an eagle eye.

We will no longer get duped by the cornucopians who claim no difference exists between the classic crude reservoir and these unconventional sources. These guys do occasionally comment on TOD, so it is really worthwhile to understand how to argue the case.

Japan touts pedal-powered water purifier

A Japanese company is gearing up for large-scale production in Bangladesh of a bicycle that can also be used to purify water at disaster zones or remote villages.

"If you can bike to a river, pond, pool or other sources of water, all you need is your leg power to produce clean drinking water," Yuichi Katsuura, president of Nippon Basic Co. said on Thursday as he introduced the system.

Cycloclean needs only manpower to turn a bike chain driving a motor to pump water through a series of filters, unlike other systems requiring gasoline or electricity. It can purify five litres (1.3 gallons) of water in a minute.

From IEA
Overseas activities of China’s oil companies are demystified in new report

New research published today by the International Energy Agency highlights inaccuracies in some commonly held views of China’s National Oil Companies (NOCs).

Until now, there has been little analysis to test the widely held presumption that these companies act under the instructions and in close co-ordination with the Chinese government. Nor have critics been challenged on the validity of their concerns about investments made by these NOCs, and how they could be blocking supplies of oil for other importing countries.

The IEA report, however, finds that contrary to these views, the NOCs actually operate with a high degree of independence from the Chinese government, and their investments have in fact largely boosted global supplies of oil and gas, which other importers rely on.

“These are far from puppet companies operating under control of the Chinese government, as many have assumed,” said Julie Jiang, who co-wrote the report with a fellow IEA expert on China, Jonathan Sinton. “Their investments in recent years have been driven by a strong commercial interest, not the whim of the state.”

IEA facts on China and oil

•In the next five years, almost half of global oil demand growth will come from China.
•In 2010, China imported 4.8 million barrels per day of crude oil, up 17.5 % from 2009.
•By late 2010, Chinese NOCs operated in 31 countries and had equity oil in 20 of these countries.
•In 2010, China’s NOCs invested nearly USD 16 billion in acquiring assets, such as refineries, in Latin America.
•77% of China’s crude oil imports pass through the Strait of Malacca. By 2015, it is estimated that crude oil passing through the Strait to China will rise to 3.5 million barrels per day. In 2009, 3.1 million barrels per day went through the Strait.

Re: Overseas activities of China’s oil companies are demystified in new report

These are far from puppet companies operating under control of the Chinese government, as many have assumed,” said Julie Jiang, who co-wrote the report with a fellow IEA expert on China, Jonathan Sinton. “Their investments in recent years have been driven by a strong commercial interest, not the whim of the state.

That was one of the things I noticed when I was consulting for Chinese-controlled companies - they are in it for the money and don't particularly care where the oil goes. They will send it to the US if they can get enough money for it, and in fact are sending it to the US.

Note the following quote:

For instance, almost all the equity production Chinese NOCs have in the Americas was sold locally instead of being shipped back to China.

That is correct. A lot of the oil being sold on American and Canadian markets is actually owned by Chinese-controlled companies.

However, it has not escaped their notice that they would get considerably more money for that oil being sold in the US if they shipped it to China, so they are working on the technical issues of getting it to China. It's all about money, after all, and if the profits are better in China that's where the oil will go. It's only locked into the US market by lack of export pipeline capacity to the seaports.

I was born behind iron curtain, have seen real socialism and communism first hand, and I do not believe that these companies do not follow a long term "party line". Greater good of China is there, and is not measured in dollars. It is not all about money. Having 2.5 trillion dollars does not hurt, obviously.

Canuck - Having adopted my daughter in China in 2000 I've had some small experience with their system and thus have a very biased view. Above all else I do not beleive any private enterprise (and it's management) will do anything without the approval of the "party". Anytime the govt wants one of their NOC's to follow a certain path all they do is imprison the resistant management and then ask their replacements what they want to do. I've heard the first accounts often.

OTOH I don't view the Chinese govt as communists. IMHO they are much more structured and run like the Mafia. And like all organized crime systems it is ALL ABOUT THE MONEY. So yeah...the Chinese NOC's (read govt) always shoots for the bigger profit. And they also have a very clear view of the future and who will be making the big profits: those who own (as opposed to those in have to buy) oil. They'll sell their Angolian oil to the highest bidder. But only as long as China is accessing the oil it needs IMHO.

We all know the day will come when being able to buy a bbl of oil won't be enough. You can only buy oil that's on the open market. At some point China will see a greater benefit of importing their owned oil instead of selling it to the highest bidder. I can't guess how skewed this will make the free market for oil but it seems clear China has been in the process of gaining some level of control for at least 10 years.

OTOH I don't view the Chinese govt as communists. IMHO they are much more structured and run like the Mafia

Nicely said; it's true East Block was just one messy disorganized mess and calling it Mafia would be a compliment. Chinese leadership knows what they want and access to oil is almost like a tactical move to assure strategic Chinese goals. True, the current regime is not the same as "old commies".

But I think it is premature to think that greed/money is the motivating factor. Can't justify, just a hunch from 24 years of living "there" and seeing from up close. I actually would like to be wrong - that it is about money.

Like being a president of USA is not about money, it is not about "power", it is about leading a (cliche here) a great nation to be a leader of the free world. Same with Chinese leaders. Just skip word free

Okay, let's skip the word "free".

"It's about leading a great nation to be a leader of the world."

So, it's not all about money.
It IS all about power (AND money).

Fine, I can skip free, but I'd rather live in a world "ruled" by the USA than by China. We used to joke, the goal of communism is to paint the world red.

Canuck - I also don't see it as being as much a money issue. But more about power (and money does move in that direction) and perhaps a healthy dose of national pride. If I read some of the factual accounts about the early mob correctly, status was often more important than the money. Just like the early immigrant Italians who were often shoved the dirty end of the stick I suspect the Chinese have similar feelings. The mobsters didn't have education or capital to expand with. They used the resource available to them: violence. The Chinese are now using what's available to them: export income allowing them to grab on to as much energy resources as possible. Coincidentally this brings money to the forefront.

To be honest I don't find the Chinese approach unreasonable. the U.S. during the early days of the industrial revolution had a similar position and we took fulladvatage of it. With some very good and not so good results.

perhaps a healthy dose of national pride

Definitely a large dose of national pride; who knows how healthy. I am a cynical East Blocker, so I will say, very unhealthy.

To be honest I don't find the Chinese approach unreasonable.

Fully agree. We may end up; OK, our kids; with a world dominated by China or more or less balanced between Europe/US/China in a good scenario.

Well, it's now the 17th of the month--and the first month without IPM--International Petroleum Monthly.

As most know, EIA is switching reporting of this data to the IES Browser. But, they've not updated it yet, and my emails to EIA for guidance as to when updating will occur are going unanswered, so far.



You call it "system of beliefs" and I call it the "models we run in our heads", but it is pretty much the same thing. It's Plato's shadows on the cave wall. We each see our own self-deluding silhouettes of what is really out there (and what is really inside).

The big question have we actually turned to face the fire yet, maybe ?- )

We didn't start the fire,
It's been burning since the world started churning

--Billy Joel