Drumbeat: March 16, 2011

The Peak Oil Crisis: Protests, Tsunamis & Deficits

Events seem to be moving faster and faster these days. Perhaps it is due to the new ways of communicating that are now available. Or maybe it is the speed of travel or even that there are now nearly seven billion of us running around on the earth making more things happen. Anyway it is coming to the point that one's world outlook has to be modified every few months as the old ways of looking at things are changed by events.

So it is with oil -- supply, demand and, of course, price. At the beginning of the year the future of oil was thought to be mostly about China and how fast its economy and demand for oil would grow during 2011. In last two months, however, the world situation has changed markedly and we now have a multiplicity of factors vying to influence the global oil markets in ways as yet unknown.

FACTBOX - How Japan, political turmoil change energy flows

REUTERS - First violent unrest in OPEC member Libya caused changes to flows of crude and refined oil products.

Now Japan's worst recorded earthquake has led to the shutdown of roughly one third of Japan's refining capacity of 4.5 million barrels per day, while more than one fifth of its nuclear capacity, estimated at 49 gigawatts by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, has been shut in.

World energy crunch as nuclear and oil both go wrong

The existential crisis for the world's nuclear industry could hardly have come at a worse moment. The epicentre of the world's oil supply is disturbingly close to its own systemic crisis as the Gulf erupts in conflict.

Steve LeVine: Flaming nuclear reactors + choking coal = natural gas boom

For some months, we've cast doubt on widely accepted forecasts of a humongous rise in the global consumption of coal. Instead, we've foreseen a massive global shift to far-cleaner natural gas-fired electricity. In doing so, we have relied on a basic assumption: That governments aren't ordinarily suicidal. Based on that rule of thumb, it's been straight-forward to see China's Communist Party -- wishing to remain in power -- not following the steep trajectory of coal consumption growth built into the energy and economic models of our leading institutions (see charts below), but instead a far-less aggressive growth pattern. Why? Because the increasingly aspirational Chinese population has made clear in recent years that it won't tolerate choking and deadly pollution. If China adheres to the existing growth models, China's cities will become those choking, blind, airless -- and socially turbulent -- population centers, and potentially jeopardize the Communist Party's authority. Hence, we've suggested discarding the coal models sitting in your queues.

Kjell Aleklett: “The oil of the Arctic is not worth the risks”

The oil companys’ assert that it is necessary to drill for oil in deep water, including in the Arctic. But the oil reserves concerned are not greater than could be provided by a number of simple savings, writes Kjell Aleklett, Professor of Physics at Uppsala University, Sweden.

Steve LeVine: What ails global energy? Everything

Japan's possibly cataclysmic situation started with an earthquake, went on to a tsunami, and now is essentially an energy event -- a potential catastrophe stemming from long-ago decisions on how to power the world's third-largest economy and among the most affluent lifestyles on the planet. After a wait-and-see period, traders today expressed their anxiety with a panicky sell-off -- they sent oil prices well below $100 a barrel in the United States (Japan's Nikkei stock index unsurprisingly fell by 11 percent, and the New York Stock Exchange has followed suit by dropping more than 250 points at this point, or 2.4 percent). The market is turning brutal against anything related to the nuclear industry -- investors sent down shares of many uranium miners, for example, by double-digit percentages, and of nuclear power plant operators like Exelon and Entergy in the single digits.

Libya to honour contracts

Libya's government will honour existing contracts with Western oil companies after a violent revolt cut output in the Opec nation, the head of Libya's National Oil Corporation said today.

Nigerian militants claim attack on Agip oil facility

(Reuters) - Nigeria's main militant group said on Wednesday it was responsible for an attack on an onshore oil facility operated by Italian firm Agip and pledged further strikes on oil infrastructure in the coming days.

ConocoPhillips Cuts Gas Drilling in Canada

ConocoPhillips' experience with natural gas has been marked by poor timing.

Bill Regulating Fracking Draws Mixed Reaction

Legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., to regulate aspects of natural gas drilling provoked mixed reactions from environmental groups and the industry.

Saudi Aramco, Sinopec sign Yanbu refinery MOU

KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - State oil giant Saudi Aramco said on Wednesday it signed an initial agreement with China's Sinopec to jointly develop the 400,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) Yanbu refinery project.

Saudi Aramco picks SKorea’s Samsung Engineering for giant Shaybah natural gas liquids project

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia’s state-run oil giant Saudi Aramco says it has selected South Korea’s Samsung Engineering Co. to build its giant Shaybah natural gas recovery facility.

Enbridge, Canadian oil shippers reach toll deal

(Reuters) - Enbridge Inc, whose pipelines carry the lion's share of Canadian oil exports to the United States, said on Wednesday it reached a 10-year tolling deal with its shippers, aimed at allowing higher returns compared with regulated rates.

Colombia Expects Record Oil Production as Carlos Slim, China Seek Reserves

Colombia, South America’s third- largest crude producer, said output will climb to a record this year amid investments from China and billionaire Carlos Slim.

Spending on exploration and production may surpass $3.5 billion to $4 billion this year, when annual output will exceed a 1999 peak to reach a record of 850,000 to 900,000 barrels a day, said Armando Zamora, director general of the state-run National Hydrocarbons Agency. Transport capacity is scheduled to reach 1.2 million barrels per day within two years, he said.

Forty years on, gas is still not flowing from frozen Tuktoyaktuk

Merven Gruben, the mayor of Tuktoyaktuk's 970 mainly Inuvialuit inhabitants, said: "We used to have a thousand exploration people based on the shore here, and 2,000 more at sea on the drill ships. There was work for anyone here who wanted it, but we lost half of our employment when the exploration stopped."

Forty years after it was first suggested, there is still no sign of a proposed 1,220km gas pipeline to link the Beaufort gas fields, via the Mackenzie River valley, to the North American energy grid in Alberta.

$4 Gas: Bubble or Baseline?

"220! 220!” an RV driver cried out, reading the dollar ticker on a gas pump in Arizona in disbelief. In many places around the U.S., you cannot find gasoline for less than $3.99 a gallon.

The Department of Energy says there is a 25% chance that gas prices will be higher in the summer driving season. It has also increased its 2011 oil price projection from $91 a barrel to $105.

The fact is, however, that practitioners in the energy business have a hard time understanding just how the future will unfold because of the complexity of energy markets.

Angry Over Oil Price? Demand A Change In Fed Policy

The price of oil has shot up over $100 a barrel, and the price of gasoline is headed to $4 a gallon.

True to form, the call has gone out to “round up all the usual suspects.” Channeling the orders of Captain Renault of Casablanca, the Congress and the press go after speculators, “greedy” oil companies and Arab sheiks, profligate American consumers, and the ever handy Chinese.

Boat Fuel Is Still a Bargain in Mexico

CABO SAN LUCAS -- Concerned about the rising price of boat diesel fuel? Head down to Mexico.

Japan, Persian Gulf and energy

Japan depends on nuclear energy and it depends on the Persian Gulf, which is where it gets most of its oil. It was, therefore, a profoundly bad week for Japan, not only because of the extensive damage and human suffering but also because Japan was being shown that it can’t readily escape the realities of geography.

Emergency plan for West Australia fuel rations

Petrol would be rationed to WA motorists at set prices and service stations eventually closed to the public under an emergency blueprint to deal with a fuel shortage.

As tensions in the Middle East drive the price of oil to two-year highs, the WA Government's energy adviser is finalising a "State Liquid Fuel Shortage" strategy to deal with a supply crisis.

The Perilous Intersection of Mexico’s Drug War & Pemex

The stillness of early Sunday morning December 19, 2010 was shattered by a thunderous explosion. Residents across San Martin Texmelucan, a small town about 60 miles from Mexico City, were awakened to the latest, and one of the most deadly incidents, involving possible fuel theft at Pemex, Mexico’s national oil company. Many were more than just jolted awake: Over 100 homes were damaged or completely destroyed; 30 people perished and more than 50 were injured. It was a national calamity for a nation and state oil firm that sorely did not need it.

The GOP’s Oil Drilling Pipe Dream

The notion that the U.S., which sits atop less than 3 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves, can drill enough oil to drive down prices if the flow is interrupted from a region with 64 percent of the world’s reserves is a pipedream.

Our view: Hands off the strategic oil reserve

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve might be full of oil, but to many lawmakers it looks like a gigantic honey pot. No sooner had the price of a barrel pushed beyond $100 than they began clamoring for the strategic reserve to be drawn down. By selling oil onto the open market, they argue, Washington could drive down gasoline prices and placate voters while making a tidy profit.

Opposing view: Tap the oil reserve

Gas prices are not just a short-term inconvenience — they are an unsustainable burden on our economy and a challenge to our efforts to bring this country out of the greatest economic recession since the Great Depression. Rapidly rising gas prices caused by threats to the global oil supply hurt business and industry. They hurt cities, towns and states. And they hurt middle-class families and the working poor.

Timber, Coal, Oil and Wind

The first energy crisis in Boston began in the late 18th century when local supplies of firewood that could be readily hauled to the city by wagon had been exhausted. Entrepreneurial Maine islanders responded to the market opportunity and were soon hauling deck-loads of firewood on their schooners and sailing their cargo "up" to Boston to sell. It is extraordinary to think that it was more economical to transport 15 or 30 cords of wood from a Maine island 200 miles upwind to Boston than to bring a similar amount of wood from beyond 20 miles of the city's periphery. It gives you an idea of how poor the road networks were and how few bridges had been built in the hinterlands.

Researcher Suggests Lifestyle Transformation May Be The Only Way

We've heard it all: the world is consuming too much energy, too fast, and at an increasing rate—but how does a society even begin to talk about this global crisis?

Instead of comparing gallons, kilowatts and tons, Ripu Malhotra, PhD, uses an all-encompassing term: a cubic mile of oil (CMO).

A Glimpse Into Our Own Future: Japan's Nuclear Disaster and the Looming Global Energy Crisis

Though few people yet realize it, these events are a clear but frightening glimpse into the future of our world as carbon fuels upon which we have relied for the past two centuries dwindle. These incidents have already exposed the world's energy vulnerability.

The sooner people and policy makers realize it, the faster and more effective we can be at implementing clear-headed, sensible plans for our energy future. No country is anywhere close to being prepared.

Exotic cars for eco-millionaires

Companies that make some of the most expensive cars in the world are working to clean up their acts with more fuel efficient dream machines.

Florida Senate passes oil spill recovery measure

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The Florida Senate has unanimously passed a bill designed to help the Florida Panhandle diversify its economy after last year's Gulf of Mexico oil spill dealt a severe blow to its tourism industry.

“I think 2011 is going to be an interesting year… in the Chinese sense…” Part Two (Heinberg interview)

Starting from energy and resources and so on, which are more really tangible and can be studied using the scientific method and then work from that. You quickly get to what most economists would think of as fringe territory, because standard economic theory is still based on the idea that the environment is a subset of the economy and resources are infinitely substitutable and so on – all of which is nonsensical but it’s heresy to question those things. You’re forced to go the heretics to start with, but ones whose thinking really is based more in the real world.

Richard Heinberg - Earth's limits: Why growth won't return - metals and other minerals

Without metals and a host of other non-renewable minerals, industrial economies could not function. Metals are essential for energy production; for making factory tools, transportation vehicles, and agricultural machinery; and for building the infrastructure of highways, pipes, and power lines that enables modern civilization to function. Hi-tech electronics industries rely on a host of rare metallic and non-metallic minerals ranging from antimony to zinc. All are depleting, and some are already at economically worrisome levels of scarcity.

A world in trouble (Michael Ruppert interview)

This interview was originally intended to be part of the series that has been running on the Nation (Are we running out of oil?). Karen Rybold-Chin, the series's producer, has told us that the Nation has declined to publish this interview.

Christian Coalition Visits Hill for Energy Discussion

The Christian Coalition of America came to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, not to proselytize or discuss issues like abortion or gay marriage, but to talk about the United States' energy policy and the need to end the country's dependence on foreign oil.

Unrest stalls Mideast struggle to cut carbon emissions

Political unrest in the Gulf has complicated the task of lowering fuel subsidies to help cut carbon in a region with the world’s highest per capita emissions. Gulf countries, where summer temperatures reach 50 degrees Celsius (122 F), want to adopt renewables like solar power to free up oil for export at high prices as well as cut emissions, which are six times higher than the world average.

Could the Arctic be coming out of hibernation?

(PhysOrg.com) -- Reduced ice cover in the Arctic Ocean could be the reason why the UK has experienced colder winters recently.

The ice has acted to insulate temperature changes in the sea from the atmosphere. But as the ice decreases in coverage this could have a consequent effect on our climate.

The Race for Arctic Sovereignty: Part I

Only a few short weeks ago, a U.S. presidential panel appointed by President Barack Obama proposed that the U.S. ought to play a leading role among Arctic nations to establish international standards regarding various Arctic-related initiatives. Meanwhile, Canada’s National Energy Board is gearing up to undertake a comprehensive review of the existing safety and environmental regulations relating to offshore drilling in the Arctic’s Beaufort Sea. As both countries direct their attention north, it seems only inevitable that the debate over sovereignty in the iciest region of the world is about to heat up.

Berlin Enters the Scramble for the Arctic

As the Arctic ice melts, Germany wants to make sure its scientists gain unfettered access to the region. They have been hindered by the Russians, and other Arctic nations have been hesitant to cooperate. But Berlin also has its eyes on the bigger North Pole booty: natural resources and sea routes.

Bahrain forces expel protesters; clashes kill 6

MANAMA, Bahrain – Soldiers and riot police expelled hundreds of protesters from a landmark square in Bahrain's capital on Wednesday, using tear gas and armored vehicles to try to subdue the growing movement calling for an end to the 200-year-old monarchy. At least six people were killed as clashes flared across the kingdom, according to witnesses and officials.

The unrest that began last month has increasingly showed signs of a sectarian showdown: The country's Sunni leaders are desperate to hold power, and majority Shiites are calling for an end to their dynasty. A Saudi-led force from Gulf allies, fearful for their own regimes and worried about Shiite Iran's growing influence, has grown to more than 1,000 soldiers.

Bahrain ports open, but staff shortages slow unloading

DUBAI (Reuters)- All three ports in Bahrain remained open on Wednesday, but operations were slow due to growing unrest in the island nation, shipping sources said.

Two Bahraini policemen were killed on Wednesday during an operation to clear mostly Shi'ite protesters from a central roundabout in capital Manama, a health official said.

Bahrain's financial centre brought to a standstill

Bahrain Financial Harbour, the heart of the country's banking and finance industry, was virtually deserted for the third consecutive day yesterday.

As protesters blocked access to its twin towers, the kingdom declared a three-month state of emergency.

All bankers and investment executives had stayed away from the buildings, security staff said.

Military dependents may leave Bahrain

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Pentagon is authorizing military family members and civilians with non-emergency jobs to leave Bahrain as a Shiite uprising spawned violence across the capitol and surrounding region.

Bahrain economy: What impact will the turmoil have?

Bahrain was the first place in the Middle East to hit oil.

But the find, at Well Number One in 1931, was the Gulf kingdom's only discovery to date.

The commodity makes up only about 15% of its economic output, and the economy is reliant on other industries, chiefly financial services and tourism.

But - given the lack of taxation in the island nation - petroleum is still the government's key source of finance.

Bahrain may be small, but its crisis has big ramifications

“The deteriorating political situation in Bahrain may have very serious economic consequences for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region,” warned Said Hirsh, Middle East economist at Capital Economics.

“Admittedly, the country’s economy is minor and it produces no more than 40,000 barrels of crude oil a day. However, the religious nature of the civil unrest in Bahrain and its geopolitical implications are major concerns. We therefore fear that the simmering Arab-Iranian tensions may soon overshadow the wave of democratic transformation elsewhere in the region.”

Libyan forces bombard rebels in the east and west

TOBRUK, Libya – Moammar Gadhafi intensified offensives in the east and the west Wednesday with relentless shelling aimed at routing holdout rebels and retaking control of the country he has ruled with an iron fist for more than four decades.

As Gadhafi's forces gained momentum, the rebels lashed out at the West for failing to come to their aid.

Will world turn again to deal with Libya's Gaddafi?

LONDON (Reuters) - As his troops advance on opposition forces, Muammar Gaddafi's survival looks more likely -- leaving foreign powers facing awkward decisions over whether to isolate him or work again for a rapprochement.

One Word: Obama's Nightmare Scenario, and Why It Hasn't Happened (Yet)

But there's one thing that my old friend Tom Hayden told me 30 years or so ago that I always remember. It's one word.


All the other apocalyptic scenarios have come and gone, with America left more or less intact, if not what it once was. But that's only true so long as the oil flows, and so long as it flows at arguably affordable prices.

Oil rises above $98 amid Bahrain, Libya clashes

SINGAPORE – Oil prices rose to above $98 a barrel Wednesday in Asia as fears that clashes in Bahrain and Libya could further disrupt crude supplies outweighed concern Japan's disaster will crimp demand.

Gas prices finally notch down

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Gasoline prices dipped for a second straight day on Wednesday, providing a reprieve to motorists after a 20-day streak of gains, even though they're expected to rise again.

Quake May Mean Heating Oil Price Tops Gasoline: Energy Markets

Heating oil may be more expensive than gasoline in the U.S. this summer for only the second time in a decade as Japan’s earthquake and the war in Libya drive up demand for American exports of distillates.

Disasters… Both Natural and Unnatural

Getting back to the present, the earthquake-induced drop in oil prices is just a short-term blip. Oil prices are on the way up because many nations are increasing not just demand, but oil stockpiles – due to uncertainty of supply from the Middle East.

In the Philippines, for example, the government recently required that refiners keep a 90-day oil supply, versus, the former 30-day supply. Other countries and large oil-using firms are doing similar things, in terms of building stockpiles.

Petraeus backs US troop drawdown in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON – The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan insists the military can boost Afghan security forces to fight the Taliban, begin a troop drawdown this summer and fulfill President Barack Obama's goal of a long-term partnership with the Kabul government.

Facing a skeptical Congress and a war-weary public, Army Gen. David Petraeus is trying to build support for the continued and costly U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, telling lawmakers the conflict is turning around despite concerns about the viability of President Hamid Karzai's government and the dedication of neighboring Pakistan to root out terrorism.

Oil Supply: Can the U. S. Become Oil Energy Independent?

To solve the oil energy challenge that will dramatically impact the near future of our great country, our government and major companies, including big oil must take bold and immediate steps before it is too late. Some of these include:

First, they must recognize that there is a serious long-term oil energy problem facing our country (and the world) today.

Second, they must make finding or inventing meaningful new renewable and affordable technologies to replace oil a top priority.

South Africa: Oil Dependence is a Risk to Economy and Threat to Poor

Oil has become the bedrock of South Africa's economy. But our economy is highly dependent on foreign imports of oil. About 60% of our transport fuel comes from overseas imports of crude, most of it from the volatile Middle East.

Recent and on-going upheavals in North Africa have had a marked effect on oil prices. Oil is now trading at just above US$120 a barrel. This is of concern because a 10% increase in the oil price can lead to a drop in GDP of as much as 0.5%.

India seeks more oil, enhanced economic ties with Nigeria

India has sought more crude oil from Nigeria, as also higher stake for its state-run oil firms in the hydrocarbon assets of the African nation while pushing for enhanced economic ties.

Sen. Ben Nelson: If not for ethanol, gas prices would be even higher

We're seeing a repeat of 2008 when Americans were paying close to $4 a gallon for gasoline and the price of crude oil was around $100 per barrel. One of the few bright spots then, and now, is ethanol.

Not only is ethanol less expensive at the pump, it helps reduce our reliance on foreign oil, reduces greenhouse emissions, creates jobs, and it helps hold down the cost of oil.

It's doom at the pumps for SMEs

Mary Currie-Smith, a director in the Cambridge office of insolvency experts Begbies Traynor, says the surge could tip the world back into recession.

“Prolonged high oil prices are a very real threat to the UK’s fragile recovery.”

Her comments come as revolution and unrest continues to sweep the Middle East. The possibility of Western military action in Libya in support of the insurgency there, and concern that Saudi Arabia could be next, may mean petrol costs going higher yet, Ms Currie-Smith says.

Is Happiness Overrated?

The relentless pursuit of happiness may be doing us more harm than good.

Some researchers say happiness as people usually think of it—the experience of pleasure or positive feelings—is far less important to physical health than the type of well-being that comes from engaging in meaningful activity. Researchers refer to this latter state as "eudaimonic well-being."

Shift to more sustainable living

The recent natural catastrophes in Japan have brought into focus the shocking reality of how industrialisation and depletion of earth's natural resources have affected the planet and threatened the survival of all life. It also tells us the predictive capability of geoscience (earth science) is at an early stage.

Greens label Princes Highway upgrade "White Elephant"

The Greens candidate for Kiama Ben Van Der Wijngaart says the promised Princes' Highway upgrade between Gerringong and Bomderry is a waste of money because in a few years time people won't be driving on it.

The rise of the aerotropolis

A new town off the coast of Korea is the strangest example of a growing trend: Cities built around airports.

Increase safety to promote cycling

No doubt the new cycle helmet law in Northern Ireland will result in pressure to enact similar legislation here.

Cycling itself is not particularly dangerous; it is motor traffic which is dangerous, but rather than reduce danger from traffic the authorities blame the victims, despite the fact that motorists are deemed responsible for 87pc of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities.

As Nuclear Falters: A Practical, Affordable (and Safe) Clean Electricity Plan

Rather than a subsidy program, the "80% Clean Energy" goal is in the mode of the Renewable Portfolio Standards that have already been adopted by 24 states. These are simply regulatory standards that must be followed for the privilege of operating as utilities. When utilities select prudent projects, the costs can then be recovered through electricity rates.

If a Clean Energy Standard establishes a guaranteed new market for clean energy, why would any taxpayer subsidy be required? The government should continue to promote basic research for innovation, but little else is needed from taxpayers.

Forest Rules

The other piece of news is more complicated. Last month, the Agriculture Department proposed long-awaited forest-planning rules. The rules, mandated by 1976 National Forest Management Act, are supposed to guide forest managers as they decide which parts can be logged and which should be fully protected.

The act’s bedrock principle is that the health of the forests and their wildlife is to be valued at least as much as the interests of the timber companies. The Clinton administration’s rules firmly embraced that principle; the industry-friendly Bush rules did not.

The Obama administration’s proposed rules improve on the Bush rules and are full of high-minded promises about maintaining “viable” animal populations. But they are disappointingly vague on the question of how — and how often — the biological diversity of any particular forest is to be measured and what actions are to be taken to ensure its survival.

Urgent reform needed to curb drastic effects of climate change: report

BEIRUT: Lebanon is a small greenhouse gas emitter globally but will experience some of the worst knock-on effects from global warming within the coming decades, the Environment Ministry said Tuesday.

The gloomy forecast is detailed in Lebanon’s Second National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, newly unveiled by the ministry and United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) and submitted to the U.N. Climate body for evaluation.

1. I remember that someone here provided the following information earlier, but I'm curious again, how are the food harvest projections for this growing (2011) year looking in the Northern Hemisphere? I know that Australia has been washed out, but can they plant starting now and get some growth to make up for losses?

2. (if anyone feels bold enough to guess), are any global agricultural spots subject to failure like we saw in North Africa? Any list of potential candidates?*

* - I've tried to come up with some, but so far, I seem to come up with numbers that indicate that former "breadbaskets" in the Industrial U.S. (with high population densities) will fail... I'm just going to assume that my numbers are terribly wrong (just to rationalize away any potential anxiety attacks - yes, bury my head in the sand). (Hey, potato blight in 2009, really bad drought in 2010... did they save seed crop?.. did they have seeds to save?)

I'm curious again, how are the food harvest projections for this growing (2011) year

I think you might find this analysis useful, although it's not solely based on the northern hemisphere:


DBA is up almost 2% today.

Or was-DJIA is dropping like a rock all of a sudden. What happened? -130 right now.

I know that Australia has been washed out, but can they plant starting now and get some growth to make up for losses?

I think you might want to check this statement. The just completed (Nov-Jan) harvest in Australia was a bumper crop. However, wet weather at harvest did result in a lot of prime wheat being downgraded to feed wheat - good news for the cattle feedlots!


A lot of the areas of flooding you saw in January were not the main wheat areas.

In the area of my brothers farm (central NSW) there have been continuing good rains over the summer, so all the soil is at "field capacity" for holding moisture, and all the reservoirs are full. Planting for this year's wheat crop starts in April, and as long as it is not too wet to get out, they will be doing just that.


"The arrival of Saudi and other Gulf troops in Bahrain may provide a stepping stone for Iran to join the regional conflict, analysts said Wednesday.

“Clearly the situation is spiraling out of control and getting dangerous,” said Theodore Karasik of the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis.

“I think we are moving to a new chapter… It has the potential of pulling in Iran rhetorically as well as physically. Last week, it seems more distant, now it seems closer,” he said.

Iran may use the notion of foreign interference to intervene under the guise of offering protection to protesting Shiites in the kingdom, he said."

So, is this the beginning of a new regional war in the mideast?

I don't think there is any way in which Iran would actually get militarily involved in Bahrain, it would anyway be logistically impossible. They have nothing to win by a military adventure, given that the American Fifth Fleet is there, and everything to lose. Perhaps they are assisting the Shia rioters in some way, but this is uncertain, and anyway, the poorer sectors of the Bahraini population, both Shia and Sunni, do have legitimate grievances. This is more than just a simple Shia versus Sunni confrontation, it is rather a largely economic and political crisis driven by the refusal of the ruling elite to engage with the Bahraini people, of both confessions. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if it suits the government to talk up the religious aspect of the stand-off in order to direct attention away from its own intransigent reactionary political behaviour of late, which has included a refusal to engage in meaningful debate about political reforms.

It may well be that Saudi Arabia is flexing its muscles in order to make a marker, 'here but no further', with regard to potential trouble in its own territory. The inability of both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to engage with their Shia populations will only be exacerbated by this hostile behaviour and make future internal conflict even more likely.

These actions and counter actions do mean, however, that the status quo ante of the Gulf states is now finished and a new instability is the permanent reality there.

While the EPA and organizations like Consumer Reports test the fuel economy of cars, the actual cost of fuel per mile will be highly variable, depending on the condition of the car, fuel price, driving style and so forth. When I filled up gas a couple of days ago, I calculated that my fuel cost was 15.1 cent per mile (2005 Toyota Camry with a 6 cylinder engine). Is there any web site that collects and posts this kind of information? I would be really interested to compare this number with that of others.

This was a very simple calculation but once I knew this number, I found myself thinking a bit more about every mile that I drive. One idea that occurs to me is that a simple feature to add to car trip computers would be a "cost of travel" estimator. When filling gas, you would enter the number of gallons filled and the cost of the fill up. Then for each trip, a display would show the cost of the trip in actual currency. This might be a very simple way to get people to conserve.

For whatever this is worth, I think Camels & Lamas will make better investments, other than the hazard of them both spitting, I think their fuel efficiency has withstoods centuries of human use.

Or... more practically Rickshaws: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rickshaw

In a world where dignity and value of freedom can take a back seat when food is a bigger priority, states and government fail and people gather up (like the same flock from the animal kingdom we were), I don't see why these modes will become inevitably prevalent in the days ahead. We might as well put our money on it now when the thing called money works. I've already invested in a lot of bamboo at our farm ;)

Re: Is Happiness Overrated? up top:


Despite possessing a fully developed brain and a general awareness of the fundamental nature of existence, sources said Peterson apparently continues to believe that achieving long-lasting happiness is somehow possible.

x +1

North Sea output set to dive

North Sea daily oil output will fall by 8% in April from a year ago, reducing the availability of substitute crude grades for lost Libyan barrels.

And today according to Platts oil (twitter):

Angolan crude loadings are set to fall to 1.39 million b/d in May, down 6% from a scheduled 1.473 million b/d in April

Remember that April was the lowest for around four years:

Revised loading programmes for Angola suggest it may export less than 1.5 million bpd in April, the lowest for around four years, as maintenance work hampers production, trade sources say.

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

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged nearly 14.2 million barrels per day during the week ending March 11, 239 thousand barrels per day above the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 83.4 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging 8.7 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging 4.1 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged nearly 8.7 million barrels per day last week, up by 381 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged about 8.3 million barrels per day, 536 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 648 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 161 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 1.7 million barrels from the previous week. At 350.6 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 decreased by 4.2 million barrels last week and are in the upper limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 2.6 million barrels and are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 0.3 million barrels last week and are in the lower limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 5.1 million barrels last week.

This week's adjustments.

Crude "adjusted" up 1.35 miillion barels
Other Supply "adjusted" up 1.26 million barrels
Total 2.61 million barrels

That's 373,000 barrels a day appearing in storage from nowhere last week.

For several months now the EIA has not explained why it can't account for about 400,000 barrels (average year to date) turning up every day from nowhere.

Do these adjustments approximately coincide in time with the increase in spread between Brent and WTI?


Well, so far this year, without the supply apparently coming in by "adjustments", total commercial petroleum would be in the region of 30 million barrels lower than currently reported (3% lower than reported total storage excluding SPR). The high storage levels (especially at Cushing) are said to be the main reason for the increase in spread.

It finally appears that the EIA realizes it made some mistakes in its methodology, and will correct the figures in the coming weeks.

I don't want to guess when and by how much those revisions will be, but as we have been discussing here now for about three months, we will probably find out they have overstated total inventories.

It's going be a very interesting next few weeks.

Still Falling

The steep fall in total US oil and product supplies since the start of 2011 continued last week - falling 6.9 million barrels more after falling 6.6 mb, 12.1 mb and 8.4 mb in the three previous weeks. The total drop in product inventories for 2011 is approaching 40 million barrels.

The drop in oil product inventories can be attributed to three main reasons: 1. A decline in higher quality oil imports from OPEC nations 2. A higher than anticipated number of refinery maintenance problems 3. Higher exports of finished products.

The decline in OPEC exports to the US, which started 4 months ago now, continues. Oil imports from Saudi Arabia, for example, are already about the lowest seen in the 21st century. What may be overlooked by many energy analysts now is while total commercial inventories are about the same as last year, 2010 saw a fairly significant pickup in oil imports through the Spring. That may not happen in 2011, which may lead to serious supply problems later in the year.

Granted shipping sources expect that KSA will increase oil exports about 300,000 bpd March 15, and in addition, shippers expect another small surge of OPEC exports, including those from West Africa, about April 1. But it's unclear just how long that will last; maybe not for long. In any event, that will not be enough of an increase even if all the extra OPEC comes to the US. However they won’t. Italy has been especially aggressive about replacing lost supplies from Libya wherever they can find them, mostly from West Africa but some also from Persian Gulf states.

Due to ongoing nuclear problems, an increase in US product exports to the EU and possibly Japan can be expected.

So for the next month, until the ‘surge’ arrives, do not expect any significant pickup in US oil imports. This will leave the US oil supplies in a poor position for the start of the summer ‘driving season’. Had it not been for last summer’s (2010) substantial offloading of floating tanker storage into the US, the commercial oil supply situation in the US would already be rather bleak (except for the general area near Cushing, OK).

In the longer term, the current level of oil imports may be insufficient to stabilize oil product inventories at a level above minimum operating levels (MOLs). If product inventories fall below MOLs, that is the point when we might see the oil price launch into a ‘superspike’, as the US tries to outbid other nations for available marginal supplies.

Seaborne oil exports from OPEC, excluding Angola and Ecuador, will rise by 100,000 barrels per day in the four weeks to April 2, UK consultancy Oil Movements said.


'Oil Movements' appears to confirm an uptick in OPEC exports coming at the end of March (discussed above). OM reports on a rolling four week basis, so while it is up only 100,000 bpd from one month ago, it is up about 300,000 bpd from the recent weekly low. Occasionally they make corrections and adjustments, so it's not exactly clear if OM attributes the gain to the improvement in KSA exports shippers have been planning for since late February, or if it originates from some other country. It's also not clear how OM is handling Libya. Two weeks prior to this one, OM made the disclaimer that their report excludes effects of Libya. The latest weekly rate of 23.65 mbpd for April 2 is still less than the 24.01 mbpd reported in OM's final monthly report for February.

I've read on AFP that Gadaffi's reps have met with various Asian oil companies in a straight-foward manner in order to replace the Western ones. Germany is probably the only nation that is going to be spared since they've helped to block the no-fly zone resolution at several EU instances. China and Russia has helped at the international forum.

Poor France. Sarko has betted the farm on the wrong horse.
But it's even worse for the rebels. Now they can positively discount any notion of fairness or democracy from the elected 'leaders' in the Western democracies.

But I'm still a bit puzzled on how obsessed they are over the West, blaming us for all their ills. What of the Arab league? They can't whine about Western intervention in Iraq and then turn around on a dime and demand it when it suits them. If they don't want it: fine, but be consistent.

And again, China and Russia gets off the hook as always.
The Western-fixation is getting tiresome, from homegrown hobbyradicals to failed Arab revolutionaries.

Personally I think good on Sarkozy, he has the balls that others don't.

I also think it's great that the Arab League have shown they have at least some compassion/concern about their constituents. This isn't the same situation as Iraq, its people weren't pleading for intervention and the US stepped in largely for external interests.

What it does highlight is the great sham that is the UN. If its members can't decide to co-operate decisively on an issue like this then when can they?

There was some cynical speculation that his move was really just a disguised attempt at benign self-interest, by coming out strongly in favour of the people, he would move seamlessly from staunchly pro-Gadaffi just a few months ago to pro-Whoever's in charge now.

It was ballsy, sure, but was it really genuine? Maybe I'm cynical(okay I am, but maybe too much).

As for the Arab League, well, Germany has tiptoed around their rejection of the no-fly zone and calling for 'restraint'. If the Arab League wanted to do anything they'd done it quite some time ago.

But I'm with you a 100 % on the U.N. comment. I've never been a fan of them, and the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Summit sealed the deal for me. The U.N. is just a discussion club for pampered careerists more interested in moving up the social (and income) ladder than serving their citizens. I would even go so far as to claim more so than regular politicians, because there is virtually zero scrutiny from the media in that morally corrupted organization.

(P.S. there are bright spots, of course, but these are mainly run by experts in their respective fields, such as FAO. The overall leadership of the U.N., however, is horrible.)

Haha, it's always good to listen to the inner-cynic from time to time.

I suffer from a bit too much optimism if the truth be known, and I like to think that France and the UK truly just want the Libyan people to break free of the oppression. But who knows..

With the UN it just seems that the systems they have in place don't function correctly - it's all very well having a strict democratic system but if the one black sheep stops you from preventing flagrant disregards of human rights such as the Rwandan genocide, Israeli settlements, etc. etc. then, really, they should re-consider the rules of the game.

What it does highlight is the great sham that is the UN. If its members can't decide to co-operate decisively on an issue like this then when can they?

That's why unilateral action is the route to go. Works for Israel all the time. If France enforced the no-fly zone with quiet support from the U.S, who would condemn? Any reprimand by the U.N. would be simply be vetoed by America and Britain.

I am as cynical as the next person when it comes to global politics (fondness for history reinforces that) but I, too, have to give Sarkozy credit. He at least saw an opportunity to rid Europe of a nuisance at its underbelly and was prepared to act. If it benefited French corporate interests at the same time, then that would have been a double bonus.

What would have taken steely balls is if the French went ahead without EU and UN backing. Sarkozy, however, is too much of a politician, protective of his own skin, to do so. The bluster will now fizzle.

The West looks impotent, an insane megalomaniac runs rough shot over his own people, and the Chinese come out ahead. It is clearly a lose-win-win situation from that vantage. Such is the way of the world.

Ah, I agree wholeheartedly. I just feel for the Libyan people. What a nightmare.

There's going to be a lot of people to feel for in the coming years.
Better save your emotional energy for those closer to you, for your own sanity and health.
I know it sounds horrible but that's what is required in harsh times.

I can't understand why the Tunisian and Egyptian people didn't help the Libyan revolutionaries; they could have just unrolled their own revolutions over the border and, given the successes of the first days when even Gaddafi thought his number was up, their help would have swung it for the Libyan freedom fighters and Gaddafi would be gone by now. But Tunisia and Egypt did nothing.

It isn't over yet, but it will be the Chinese who profit and everyone else who loses.

And again, China and Russia gets off the hook as always.

The Chinese don't give a rat's a$$ about anybody as long as they can get the oil. That's Gadaffi's ace in the hole for outside recognition.

China's permanent membership on the U.N. Security Council is set to veto any international support for the rebels. Hence the Arab League's duplicitous diplomacy in handing the no-fly zone proposition to the United Nations.

After a hundred years of British, French and American exploitation in the region, the locals have given up on any consistency or fairness coming from Western powers. They have every reason to be upset with us. Our track record speaks for itself.

This is a real mess - humanitarian-wise, strategically, and economically. Old Man Murphy's law is in full force.

From a Canadian,

Maybe it is time for the US to quit paying (borrowing and then paying) for the sham of the UN and walk away? The truth is, it is a rubber stamping joke when it wants to be. It's all fracturing anyway, and I don't really see how this is the great hope of mankind as envisioned? What's the point, anymore?

Use the money to support Red Cross, shut down the buildings and get rid of the self-important deadbeats, and set up conference networks with true friends and allies, (if there are any these days).

You could see the China getting the oil a hundred miles away. Obama shot his bolt without any substance and now he looks to be inconsequential. Smart politics by the Chinese....USA got trumped. IMHO.

Obama shot his bolt without any substance and now he looks to be inconsequential. Smart politics by the Chinese....USA got trumped.

The point is it shouldn't be about the politics/economics, it should be about the morality. Who cares about who benefits in the long term - the UN should be in there stopping the innocents getting killed by a megalomaniac.

The world really needs to come together. Country boundaries and regional laws are so backwards and 20th century when you think about it.

Ah, well, there goes another useless compassion rant!

Edit: For all his faults I think Cameron's spot on here: http://uk.news.yahoo.com/21/20110316/tuk-un-told-to-show-leadership-on-l...

Who cares about who benefits in the long term ...

Paradoxically that is the root of the problem. Global politics doesn't think long term. It's all about short term economic and political advantage. If humanitarian consideration was involved - I will be generous to you and try to protect your lives and interests and in return you do likewise - it would pay off in the long run. To use an imperfect yet demonstrative example think back to the Marshall Plan where the U.S. generously provided reconstruction in Europe and cemented U.S. allies in return.

I am fiercely critical of the Westphalian international system where nation-states are all powerful and all sovereign. Great in theory but it has proven over and over again to mirror the ruthlessness of the jungle. I use to be harsh on the memory of the British Empire and critical of American unilateralism. Less so now. The rationale for both is laudable: impose order on the anarchy and tribalism inherent in a disordered and fractured world.

The Treaty of Westphalia (1648) which ended the Thirty Years War also put an end in Europe to the classical/medieval dream of a universal moral empire. Instead the self-contained nation state became the primary unit. The French revolution added an ideological component to the idea and European hegemony made it the standard for the rest of the world. We are living today with the consequences.

All that said, sometimes you just have to admit the system is flawed and work with what you've got. Otherwise, you'd go insane.

The sovereigns established by the Treaty of Westphalia were swept away by World Wars I&II. We now live in a Bretton Woods world after the wars, which made the world safe for the bourgeoisie. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the restructuring of the Chinese economy, the entire world is run on the basis of power legitimized by the ownership of property. Moscow now has more billionaires than any other major metropolis.

So follow the money.

I believe you are both correct, but also both don't go far enough. These organizing "principles" (quotes indicate I use this term loosely), whether codified in treaties or not continue to play out in the affairs of humans. Certainly the logic of Westphalia continues to play a significant role, as does Bretton Woods. But you would be remiss to exclude the humanistic globalism of Kant, or the legalistic vision (and the combination in Grotius), or the rather more recent designs of the Trilateralists.

Of course, all of our motivations, decisions, etc, are not only informed by our understanding of global or internationalist visions, but also by nationlism, religion and a host of other "principles," some being very local.

The successful interpretation, to me, is not the one that chooses just one "principle" and forces all events and actions into that mold, but the one that looks at an event or action and can point out what "principle" or group of principles, or interplay of principles is being demonstrated.

...the entire world is run on the basis of power legitimized by the ownership of property.

Bretton Woods and globalization (were) are trade and commerce rules that both transcend and reinforce sovereign boundaries. The international system already embodied the notion that the world is run on the basis of power. The cold war merely settled the ideological question of the ownership of property.

The more things change the more they stay the same. Economics sanction the political divisions and politics uphold the economic divisions.

Prior to WW I, Europe enjoyed a high degree of economic integration with lots of trade and capital flows across borders. The French were financing Russian railways, for example. The cultured class all understood each other because they all spoke the lingua franca. Brits skied the Alps and wintered in Venice. Russians wintered on the Riviera. Scholars corresponded and visited each others institutions and published widely. Steamships, railways, telegraph and the new-fangled telephone knit the continent together.

But "sovereigns" were real flesh and blood people, who ruled by divine right as codified at Westphalia. The emperors of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia, Turkey, and Japan ruled almost totaly, while Great Britian was not yet a modern democracy -- the King and House of Lords still mattered a lot up until almost the eve of WW I. In particular, the Chiefs of Staff of their respective militaries answered personally to most of the emperors.

Thus, the jealosies, perceived slights, piques, and fantasies of these men and their military leaders could set in motion 35 years of conflict and hundreds of millions of deaths.

The political system of sovereigns did not allow the bourgeoisie, the captains of industry, the bankers and financiers, the traders and landowners, the power to restrain their human impulses.

Now the system is much changed. The new sovereign is a collection of professional politicians and bureaucrats. They are much more easily controlled and influenced by the economic interests of each country. This doesn't mean that conflict has ended. But there is more collective decision making and it is less likely that some Franz and Nikki and Willy will mobilize the next catastrophe.

Nineteen ten was peaceful and prosperous, with the second round of Moroccan crises and Balkan wars still to come. A new book, The Great Illusion by Norman Angell, had just been published, that proved that war was impossible. By impressive examples and by incontrovertible argument Angell showed that in the present financial and economic interdependence of nations, the victor would suffer equally with the vanquished; therefore war had become unprofitable; therefore no nation would be foolish enough to start one. Already translated into eleven languages, The Great Illusion had become a cult. At the universities, in Manchester, Glasgow, and other industrial cities more than forty study groups of true believers had formed, devoted to propagating its dogma. ....

...Lord Esher delivered lectures on The Great Illusion at Cambridge and the Sorbonne wherein he showed how "new economic factors clearly proved the inanity of aggressive wars". A twentieth century war would be on such a scale, that its inevitable consequences of "commercial disasters, financial ruin and individual suffering" would be "so pregnant with restraining influences" as to make war unthinkable. He told an audience of officers at the United Service Club with the Chief of General Staff, Sir John French, in the chair, because of the interlacing of nations war "becomes everyday more difficult and improbable."

Barbara Tuchman, The Guns of August (New York, Bantam Books, 1962), pp. 24-25

Although no future series of events will unfold the same way as 1914, economic liberalism may not be much of a break on aggression.

Harvard historian Niall Ferguson has argued (similar to you) that economic globalization was well underway before World War 1 and did not recover again to the same extent until after the Cold War. Our borders are as fluid today as they were in la belle epoch Europe. There was, as most of us can remember, a period in-between when trade was restricted and passports denied.

As for professional politicians and bureaucracies, well... they have been around for a very long time.

Whether presidents or monarchs, war is the prerogative of the commander-in-chief. Then or now these C's-in-C are surrounded by advisers. Ultimately, decisions are still made by the few on behalf of the many. The buck has to stop somewhere. Replace Nicky and Willy with Barrack and Vladamir and Mahmoud and Hu and Abdullah and you've got the picture.

Europe was at peace for a generation before the Great War. I don't share the optimism of many that we are any better equipped to handle the peace today than people a hundred years ago.

Barbara Tuchman is focused on the wrong part of Europe. Recall that the international system following the Napoleonic Wars was set up by the Congress of Vienna. Even though Britain rose to become the major power during the 1800s, the center of the old order continued to be Vienna.

Read "Thunder At Twilight: Vienna 1913/1914" by Frederic Morton for a better description of the imperial system, the workings of an almost absolute monarchy, and the power and privileges of birth into the nobility.

This sets the stage for Niall Ferguson's "War of the World".

Thanks for the tip, Merrill. I'll see if I can pick up a copy. Sounds interesting.

Ah, yes, it all gets a bit complicated..

The pesky thing about morals/values is that each society has their own version. There isn't a universally accepted set. It's difficult to support a unilateral imposition by any particular country/culture as it inherently means disregarding another's own way of life.

But I agree, the system is flawed and it may be the best of a bad bunch. I just hope it can be improved. The disparity between rich and poor would be a good starting point and probably slowly achievable with enough astute regulation.

Well, it's making my head spin so time for a lie down!

Seems to me that you guys (not just Paulo, but Zadock, Nick and Leiten, too) are being rather naive about how the UN works. Note that the members of the UN are states - not peoples, not nations. There is no conceptualization of "the people" in the UN charter. To expect the UN to do or be anything other than what it is - a tool through which states can engage other states (positively or negatively) in real politik. It actually works very well to that purpose and the Unites States has used it as effectively (and affectively) as any other state.

How do you mean? We know it's not an independent 'nation' with its own population and that it's merely a tool for legal interaction between states. But how else would you expect us to rail against the ineffectualism of the combined world states that are sitting back and watching the scene unfold? Pick on each country individually?

I don't really know how you can say it functions well when you can have a situation like this occurring:


The US has vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that would have condemned Israeli settlements as "illegal" and called for an immediate halt to all settlement building.

All 14 other Security Council members voted in favour of the resolution, which was backed by the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), on Friday.

Everyone knows that what Israel is doing is wrong, but they can legally get away with it due to their one friend in the field.

You are measuring it by your expectations of what it should do. Not by the expectations of what those who built it wanted.

From the perspective of the "realist" politician, they are not being ineffectual at all - they are competing sovereigns who will use any tool at their disposal to advance their own interests. They did not establish the UN to solve world hunger, right wrongs, or apply international law justly and fairly (despite the sideshow of some of the "humanitarian programs"

The UN was designed to be used by states as a means of manipulating one another. Nothing more or less.

They did not establish the UN to solve world hunger, right wrongs, or apply international law justly and fairly

Could have fooled me:

The United Nations Organization (UNO) or simply the United Nations (UN) is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace.


The UN has 4 main purposes

- To keep peace throughout the world;
- To develop friendly relations among nations;
- To help nations work together to improve the lives of poor people, to conquer hunger, disease and illiteracy, and to encourage respect for each other’s rights and freedoms;
- To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations to achieve these goals.


Yup, and buying AXE body wash will get you hot women, too.

Right. I don't get your argument. We're saying the UN is a farce and that it's not doing what it states it should be doing. Therefore it needs to be revised.

I don't see how you can pick holes in that other to say "Well, you should have realised that a long time ago."

That doesn't really help anyone!

It doesn't help to suggest you look past the happy talk and look at how the think really works?

It doesn't help to suggest that you shouldn't expect everyone to have the same values as you?

I apologize, then.

To expect the UN to do or be anything other than what it is - a tool through which states can engage other states (positively or negatively) in real politik.

That is the point that I'm and others are making.

It is frustrating, however, to see people die and watch as world capitals spew out calculated and manipulative hot-air. The double-speak is sickening.

If you understand that the UN is only a real politik tool, why are you frustrated?

Of course the politicians "spew out calculated and manipulative hot-air," they don't actually have any interest in those people you are concerned about.

I'm not saying don't be concerned, don't care about people. I am saying you shouldn't be surprised when people participating in a system or institution do just as that system or institution would have them do. You wouldn't expect a priest/minister/clergy to start railing about the injustice of their god, don't expect politicians who run states to act out of character either.

We're not saying we're particularly surprised, we're saying the system doesn't work and needs fixing. If politicians aren't the right people for the job then perhaps we should bring in the judges.

You mean the system isn't doing what you want it to. That is not the same thing as it not working.

Well that's just going into the realms of semantics a little now.

Yes, the system isn't doing what I want. Which likely coincides with the wishes of the majority of people on the planet. Do the majority of people want bloodshed, poverty etc? I like to hope they don't.

Therefore, taking the official statements of the UN into account, perhaps it should be revised?

Even if it was established for nefarious purposes back in 1945 that doesn't mean that it must continue to operate as such. After all, with that mentality we may as well lock up the whole population of Australia and throw away the key!

Well now I don't know if you're pulling my leg or not.

How is it semantics to talk about divergent values and goals?

And perhaps you won't believe this, but the "majority of people on the planet" don't think like you do.

No, most people don't "want" bloodshed - but the equation isn't that simple. At what point, for you personally, does bloodshed become acceptable? If you're country is threatened? your city? your family? your self? Do you initiate violence to free a child? a woman? another man? a peoples?

As for poverty, other than an ascetic, who would want to be poor? Ah, but what is poverty? Most Americans I know don't think they're doing to well, you know, they've only got two cars (cause they have two jobs) and the house is only 2100 square feet and on and on. Yet I've met Indonesians who live in a village with no electricity, but think they're rich because they have a school.

So, irregardless of what you might like to hope, the "majority of people on the planet" don't give a ...

Revise the UN statements if you like. I think you'd be better served working on something that would change people's lives. You are not going to gain control of the UN any more than you will gain control of, say, the government of Australia. You just might, though, be able to influence the creation of alternatives to these institutions.

Well now I don't know if you're pulling my leg or not.

Wasn't pulling your leg, I meant that by me saying "the UN isn't working" in passing conversation and considering the context of the discussion that would normally be taken as "it's not doing what I want it to do".

Look, I don't come here to argue. Like Zadok says, sometimes it's beneficial to vent your frustration and for me this is one of those times, so apologies if I hit a nerve or came across in the wrong manner.

I apologize if I was coming across as arguing. Vent all you want. I'd just encourage you to use that energy for something that you can affect.

Ah, you're probably right. Armchair dissident to battle!

"We have said all along that Gaddafi must go, that the Libyan people must be able to have a more representative government and determine their own future. And is it necessary to take these measures to avoid greater bloodshed, to try to stop what is happening in terms of the attacks on civilians, on the people of Libya.

"And this places a responsibility on members of the United Nations, and that is a responsibility to which the United Kingdom will now respond."

William Hague, British Foreign Secretary, after the U.N. vote imposing the no-fly zone

Armchair dissident, apparently you are not the only Brit to battle.

God save the Queen.

God save the queen

But hope that she helps destroy heritary autocrats in other countries?

This take still remains the best:


Politicians in the West are accountable not only for their words but also their actions. If we don't hold our leaders accountable, we might as well kiss our representative and responsible governments good-bye.

I do hold them to a higher standard than regimes in, let's say, Russia or China or the Arab league.

Dismissing everything by saying "we can't do anything about it" is a cop out. And voicing our frustrations is part of the privilege we enjoy by living in a culture and society formed and molded by traditions that value respect and good-will.

It is one thing to say the system operates on the basis of realpolitik (it does), it is quite another thing to say that we have to like it. I, for one, don't like it.

Moreover, everyone of us should be critical of leaders who do not act on principles that by all rights they should be upholding. Part of my frustration these days is so few in the West are willing to defend the conventions and convictions that make decent our societies and lives.

Strategic and economic interests trump any considerations of justice and morality. Sometimes they coincide and you'll hear their self righteous cries and silence when they don't.
consensus guarantees inaction

Agree. There's the rub.

You can hold politicians accountable all you want. In the end, they will continue to do their financial masters bidding and continue to follow their beliefs.

I am NOT suggesting that "we can't do anything about it," in fact, quite the opposite. In deed, it is you who is copping out by pretending that complaining about how things are is a political action. You (and a whole army of like minded people) aren't going to impact anything if all you're going to do is rail against institutions that you have no influence over. Stop paying attention to them, understand what they are, and then get out they're and start building the replacement institutions. Spend your energy organizing a community garden (or some other such task) rather than spending your time spitting in the wind.

And voicing our frustrations is part of the privilege we enjoy by living in a culture and society formed and molded by traditions that value respect and good-will.

Would you unpack that one a bit for me? I've read it over a half dozen times and still don't get it.

Traditions like the Magna Carta, parliamentary elections, the rule of law, and an understanding of basic human rights (including in American parlance, "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.")

Or are these just niceties?

Maybe Hitler had it bang on: might makes right, a conscience is a blemish, and it's the struggle that weens out the weak. But I am glad that others, who had a differing opinion, intervened and did the "right thing."

Btw, I live in an agricultural area and plant a sizable garden every year. While I buy most of my food and supplies in shops, I could live on a 10 km diet if need be. Starvation is not a worry that keeps me awake at nights even if the world goes to pot.

So, okay, you have obviously concluded that the UN is ineffective, to which I agree. The thing is that WE are one of the reasons it is not effective, especially when, for the purpose of placating a political faction needed in their coalition of liberal causes, the Democratic Party leaders demand that we veto the resolutions that are not liked by Israel.

How can we complain about the problem when we caused it?


perhaps the Arab obsession with the West is because it has been Western countries esp. the USA who have propped up most of their dictators for decades (except for Libya of course)

Don't spoil the self-righteous mood :) People never let facts get in the way of their opinions. When the west calls for and pushes regime change in Saudi Arabia, then maybe the hypocrisy will not be so rank.

Nobody has denied the history of colonialism. But it's a little smug-inducing to watch the same people decrying neo-colonial intervention when it doesn't suit their tastes and then, just a few moments thereafter, spin around 180 degrees and demand it on an instant when it does suit their tastes.

And no mention of either China's or Russia's role, not to mention the entirely passive Arab League.

Unless of course we all assume the West is omnipotent and the others merely static extras on the stage. But that analysis belongs in the 1960s.

It is in the interest of the United States and our allies in MENA that the Libya revolution take as long as possible and be as bloody as possible. This prevents the process towards democratization that was started in Tunisia and Egypt from proceeding quickly in other countries. It also provides cover for allies to use more forceful means to put down unrest in their countries.

I just hope things continue to escalate in Bahrain/Yemen so that Libya isn't seen as a discouragement to the others.

Yemen is more or less the restarting of a north-south civil war, with a side issue of Shia in the north.

In Bahrain, the Sunnis will kill however many Shia they need to in order to restore order and set an example for the Shia minorities in other Gulf countries.

The Iranians may complain and provide some covert support, but that is all. They realize that historically Shia have been a persecuted minority in the world of Islam. Oddly enough, the imposed isolation of Iran, its relative independence from the world order, and its partial powering down while maintaining large fossil fuel reserves will all put it in a pretty good place in the future. If it manages to avoid being attacked, that is.

"The Iranians may complain and provide some covert support, but that is all"

I think you forgetting that the equation has changed with the Shia taking power in Iraq, this is Iraq response so far:

The Iraqi prime minister has condemned:

"This will contribute toward complicating the situation in the region in a way that instead of solving it could lead to inflaming sectarian tension," Maliki's office quoted the prime minister as saying of the intervention by Bahrain's neighbours.

Iraq's top-ranked Shi'ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who rarely intervenes publicly in politics, issued a call for the Bahrain authorities to "stop using violence against unarmed citizens", his spokesman Hamed al-Khafaf said.

In Baghdad, several thousand protesters gathered in Sadr's stronghold of Sadr City, waving Bahraini and Iraqi flags and chanting "Yes, yes to Bahrain!" One banner read: "The rulers of Saudi Arabia are killers!"


The kind of response in Iraq is exactly why Saudi Arabia don't wish to see a Shia government in Iraq; Saudi Arabia wont just crush the rebellion in Bahrain, but they will continue to work actively to undermine the Shia (generally Iran sympathetic government) in Iraq.


Merril - I would speculate that when the time is right the U.S. will feel compelled to bring "democracy" to our Iranian brothers.

I agree Rock, but it may be a fool's errand. Iran, despite a difference of one letter, is a far different place than Iraq.

I think the establishment of permanent US bases in Iraq will be used to secure the resources in Iraq, rather than any misadventure in Iran, but I've been wrong before.

I assumed that the Iraq war was all about oil, so I was surprised when no US oil companies got contracts, a few months ago.

Then it hit me. Why worry about negotiating contracts when you have a large chunk of your army in the country? (duh!).

Force Majeure or "exigent circumstances" will easily take care of any pesky legal issues.

prag - I didn't say we would be very successful at it. LOL. And if we do succeed to some degree the unintended consequences are beyond my imagination.

Rockman, and pray when might that happen? When they Iranian have an earth quake and it cracks open the nuclear reactor they are building for peaceful purposes and America comes ridding too the rescue, to pick up the pieces. With oil supplies as tight as they are they wont risk anything with 40% of world oil supplies coming from the gulf any disruption will bring down the world economy and America with it . There might be a few gung ho military who would like to go in a wup ass but think the American military will be tiptoeing around any military adventure down in the Gulf for many years to come, hoping that all works out for the best. They might send another carrier force into the area just as back up.
Hooopfullly your politicians stop there wishful thinking and realize that they are not going to bring enlightenment to an area that by there own tenets have been enlightened for 1400 years ever since there version of the sky fairy passed on his message via the angel gabriel to big Mo during one of his epileptic fits.

yorkie - Not too soon IMHO. For one thing I don't see "oil supplies as tight" right now. The price is up but there's still plenty enough around for the U.S. to p*ss it away as they have been for decades. Granted for some in our military a weapon unused is a weapon wasted. But our military has all the fuel it needs today. And even when it starts to get tight they'll still have the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to fall back on.

But when supplies truly do get tight you'll see the political/public rhetoric ramp up to sufficient levels. One of the great aspects of America is that our military has followed and not lead. Our politicians lead but lead in the direction the public pushes. If they don't then they're not re-elected. And the next batch will learn from their predecessors's mistakes. If you haven't already guessed: yes...I do have a very dark view of how our citizens will react when the real pain of PO begins. As bad as the last recession/financial meltdown might have been, it will pale in comparison to what's ahead IMHO. If much of the world thinks they hate us now...just wait. The day may come when most of the world will think back to the days when our country was "nice".

Hey Rock, I really think American politicians lead the direction that the Plutocracy wants, and tries to propagandize the people into thinking that’s what they want. If they have to fall on their swords, they should have corporate allies to make them a consultant or something. The history professor from Georgetown University, Carroll Quigley details the process in his book Tragedy and Hope.

"The chief problem of American political life for a long time has been how to make the two Congressional parties more national and more international. The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps of the Right, and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical so that the American people can 'throw the rascals out' at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy. The policies that are vital and necessary for America are no longer subjects of significant disagreement, but are disputable only in terms of procedure, priority and method..." [Page 1248-1249]

I think you nailed it as far as the peoples reaction to and oil shortage in the US though. You can only lead a bull around on a rope if he is not angry. Once angered…..

Rockman - it is unlikely that there is enough of a "pro-democracy" element in Iran to allow a succesful quick invasion and establishment of a puppet state able to control the populace.

Lacking that, military success depends on being able to take and hold ground. The Iranians have been perfecting anti-armor tactics against us in Iraq and Afghanistan for over a decade now. So we would have the kind of success in Iran that Israel had the last time in Lebanon against Hezbollah.

Furthermore, there is a small chance that the Persian Gulf is too small and too shallow to safely host a big navy. Iran might succeed in making it as hot as one of those spent fuel pools. In fact, if they have effective anti-ship missiles, we are probably limited to whatever we can do with airpower from Saudi Arabia and carriers at least a few hundred miles out in the Indian Ocean.

So while I wouldn't rule out a strike at nuclear facilities using conventional weapons at Israel's behest, I doubt that we would launch a full scale attack on Iran.

Merrill - As I teased someone else, the U.S. taking a course of action is not the same as taking a successful course of action. LOL. The short term view of the public will push the politicians to at least give the impression of quick (and relatively painless) fixes. We have a long history, as well as current rhetoric, to support such a position IMHO. There is no quick fix to the PO situation ...that's probabaly the most commonly held belief on TOD. To me the the bigger question is how much worse circumstances, in the long run, will such aggressive actions in the ME yield.

It seems the older I get the more I'm drawn to old worn out euphanisms. Such as when you find youself in a hole the first thing you do is stop digging. We seem to be on a path of designing a bigger shovel.

Be careful what you wish for, dissident, you might just get it.

Consider the alternatives waiting for us in regime change in the KSA. One of the most likely candidates happens to be the Wahabi sect, and I personally would not like to see them in charge over there. Not that it would make a huge difference, mind you, since they pretty much control the King and his family, since without Wahabi support they would certainly fall. And, a true Wahabi take over would almost certainly result in conflict with the Shia tribes in the Kingdom, and perhaps a general state of war in the entire region.

The sad fact is that, if they were not fighting Jews and Christians, Muslims would be fighting each other, as they have for centuries, over who is entitled to rule the Caliphate. They seem morbidly conflicted, IMHO.


The sad fact is that, if they were not fighting Jews and Christians, Muslims would be fighting each other, as they have for centuries,

Sheesh, way to generalise! And I suppose Christians have never fought amongst themselves!

The people of the Muslim nations don't have a particular quality that the Christian, Jew or Atheist peoples lack that makes them more inherently predispositioned for war. Perhaps their current circumstances aren't ideal - not developed enough to meet Western standards but sufficiently developed to avoid Sub-Saharan Africa type poverty-driven priorities.

In fact the Muslims of the Sub-Saharan African world are by and large very peaceful, as are those in East Asia.

It's not a purely religious issue, more a circumstantial/geographical/economical/societal issue. You can't really pigeonhole it like that!

This is intended neither as a religious slur nor as a pigeonholing of all Muslims. As you said, Christians have, indeed, fought amongst themselves. For the most part, though, they are not doing so today, just as Christians are not, today at least, presently generally engaging in anti-Semitic pogroms.

And, I recognize that, for most of history, Muslims treated Jews much better than did Christians. And they treated Christians better than Christians in turn treated them.

In general, Muslims in a geographic area tend to belong to similar sects. Shia, Sunni, Ahmadiyya, Sufi or whatever. Shia Muslims, seem to have a conflict with the other Muslims over who rules all Muslims. It is where different groups abut each other, or share borders with other aggressive religious groups, that problems occur. Obviously not all citizens of the nations involved are sufficiently radical or devout (depending on your point of view) to become directly involved in, or really care much about, such things. They, like the citizens of the US, Britain, Japan, etc., simply want to live their lives in peace, and would coexist peacefully with whomever was nearby. Unfortunately, groups like the the Talaban cannot stand to have anyone believe anything even slightly different from what they believe, and they are crazy enough to force their views on their fellow Muslims... using the word 'force' in its literal sense. In order to live (again, literally), those citizens go along with whatever the powers (again literally) demand.

Like most belief systems, Muslim people tend to go along with whatever prevails. Whereas most people in a nation want to live in peace, just a few wild-eyed fanatics are sufficient to create serious conflict. Not so long ago, bombing of English targets by Sinn Fein extremists was rather common... a vestige of the wide spread conflict amongst Christians. Even today, all is not peaceful in Christiandom, as fundamentalist extremists in America assassinate doctors (and others) with whom they disagree, based on their religious views, and not on the Rule of Law.

Note that I do not take delight in any of these religious wars, jihads, or whatever you wish to call them. It is indeed a sad fact that Muslims have dissipated their tremendous cultural achievement in internecine warfare. No less sad was the cultural disaster of the inquisition, the religious wars that embroiled Europe for so many years, and the continued violence by religious groups against each other and themselves. Would that these impulses could be controlled.


Thanks. Now I'm satisfied you're not just another Muslim 'hater'.

I'm sure that just as the majority of Christian nations in developed countries have tended towards a less religion orientated and more secular society in recent history (with the notable exception of the US although they are beginning to come around to it slowly!), those countries in the Middle East will also do so given time and economic growth.

Conversely, if the economic growth stops globally then I'm equally sure that internal fighting will re-emerge in the Western world too.

According to the EIA

global crude oil production reached 74,795 kb/d in December 2010, a new monthly record.

In our article

Did Katrina Hide the Real Peak in World Oil Production?

Gail and me had calculated that without Katrina crude production would have been 74,730 kb/d in December 2005

So this is very close

The 2005 annual peak of 73,712 kb/d has not been exceeded. The annual average for 2010 was 73,677 kb/d, also very close.

We can expect that above ground factors will dominate in future.

Japanese meltdown highlights energy dilemma as peak oil enters hot phase

For those interested in the Pocahontas Freeway

look at what Transurban is doing in Australia, they are blocking bus lanes in a very critical moment of history:

Sydney increases its oil vulnerability as strategic shifts in ME threaten global oil supplies

Same amount of oil as 2005. 500,000,000 more people than 2005. Peak happens.

Same amount of oil as 2005. 500,000,000 more people than 2005. Peak happens.

Great post. I would only add that the stuff is much more expensive now than in it was in 05. A double whammy of higher pop. & higher priced oil.

I would only add that the stuff is much more expensive now than in it was in 05.

True. I notice that ice cream is no longer sold in half-gallon containers, but smaller amounts, to hide the price rise per half-gallon.

I also notice that coffee used to be one pound bags, then went to 12 ounces (16 ounces/US pound), and some coffee now even in only 10 ounce containers.

"one pound bags, then went to 12 ounces (16 ounces/US pound), and some coffee now even in only 10 ounce containers."

Coming soon - 25 cents per sniff of the coffee grinder in isle 4.

It is worse than that. The next exports today are lower than 2005.

Lies! The Saudis will save us. I've read that they have 6 mb/d in spare capacity. I've read it in the NYT; ergo, it has to be true!

True! True! and I've heard there's a large shinning white quadro-ped with horn and wings sliding down a multi coloured light splitting raindrop effect carrying self filling jars of wine!

then again if the leprechauns can't get gold anymore


then I think we'll in trouble !


The Mobil Gas Pegasus will save us:

[ i.mage.+]

500,000,000 more people than 2005.

No - about 400 million, which does of course not chance your argument in principal.

They made no correction to any of last months data. They left the huge drop in Russian production for November but they recovered in December but Russian December production is still 100,000 bp/d below October. Anyway...

The EIA has December world production up 540,000 bp/d over November to 74,795,725 bp/d and that is a new all time high. The big gainers were Saudi Arabia up 300,000 bp/d, Russia up 235,000 bp/d, Iraq up 150,000 bp/d, Azerbaijan up 101,000 bp/d, Brazil up 91,000 bp/d and Mexico up 62,000 bp/d. The big losers were China down 137,000 bp/d, Argentina down 90,000 bp/d, Algeria down 80,000 bp/d, and Australia down 79,000 bp/d.

OPEC production, C+C, was up 347,000 bp/d to 31,830,000 bp/d and non-OPEC was up 193,000 to 42,965,000, a new all time high. All liquids were up 587,000 bp/d to 87,897,000 a new all time high.

Ron P.

More fuel for the cornucopians, I imagine. To my eye, the big surprise is Saudi up 300K. Rightly or wrongly, that will give comfort to those who believe Saudi has the spare capacity they claim to have.

So 2010 ends on a high note of sorts. One only wonders what 2011 will bring.

It would not entirely surprise me if, just to pick a country - say China, production there alone could be 1 million barrels per day below what they claim. Maybe their figure is accurate - I just have my doubts. I also don't think they are the only ones hiding production drops so I'm taking current production levels with a big pinch of salt.

Careful about trying to defend a peak date in the past. Don't let your hunch/emotion cloud your view of the reality. If peak oil is in the near future instead of the past, that doesn't really change the situation much.

It is what it is. Go where the data leads you.

I'm not trying to defend a peak date. My point is that we have long past peak oil production per capita and a tiny uptick in production is nothing compared to all the new people trying to get their hands on that oil. Oil per capita peaked in 1979 at 5.22 barrels per year. In 2009 it was 3.89 and shows no sign of going back up.

I generally agree with your point on peak oil per capita, however it is also worth noting that energy intensity in the developed have diminished since 1979, thus I think this maybe needs to be taken in consideration to get an exact comparable in terms of peak per capita.


Ta-daa! As if by magic: http://globalglue.wordpress.com/2011/02/17/global-energy-consumption-per...

Edit: Note 2010 data not yet available, but you get the idea..

jeff - A very valid point IMHO that I had not heard before. You might even qualify that stat more by pointing our some of those "per capitas" (like so many Chinese) who were around in 1979 are utilizing a good bit more energy per capita now then they were back then.

Thanks Rockman!
When I think about increased use in developing countries (as you note in China), I realise that a country with an anual consumption close to 25 barrels per capita wont be able to do that for much longer. The world will simply outbid us. I expect that U.S. consumption will have to drop by half by the end of the decade to around 3.5 billion barrels a year and that the mechanism for this will be price/recession induced demand destruction.

As for the comment up thread about energy intensity, leverage works both ways so if you get more GDP out of each barrel today than you did in 1979 then you get a lot less GDP for each barrel lost.

I too like this line of thought.
I wonder if the ratio of expenditure on food per capita as a proportion of income might become a good marker for loss of GDP?
Here in UK, apparently, we as consumers spend less than 10% of our income on food. Back in the early 1960s it was over 20%. (We spend a great deal more these days per capita on motor fuel than we did back then when less than half of us had regular access to a personal motor vehicle.) Reversal of these previous trends could mark PO/GDP slide?

It is what it is. Go where the data leads you.

Exactly! And for starters see Pollux's post upthread:
U.S. Net Imports of Crude Oil and Petroleum Products at lowest level since March 1998.

But how can that possibly be when we just hit an all time high in world production? Easy, it's called the Export Land Model. Producing countries are using more and more of their oil for their own use. Take Saudi Arabia for instance. Their population is growing by leaps and bounds. Their population is getting restless so the King is giving more and more to the people in an effort to keep them happy. He is giving them very cheap gasoline, very cheap desalinated water and very cheap electricity. As a result they are using more and more of it each day.

Soooo... this means that Saudi Arabia, and all other exporting nations are using more and more of their own oil and exporting less and less.

The EIA only has export and import data through 2009 but that is enough to give you the idea. The chart below represents all exporting nations crude oil exports minus their crude oil imports. It is net crude oil exports of all exporting nations, 2000 thru 2009 in thousands of barrels per day.

Net Crude Exoprts

There is one thing that the chart does not show and that is net exports of refined petroleum products. The EIA only gives that data through 2007. But the 2007 export of refined petroleum products, minus imports, was about half a million barrels per day below the 2005 level. So if you could include that data then the total net exports would be down even more.

The data is what it is, go where it leads you. And when you do you will realize that as far as all crude oil importing nations go, we are not at peak oil, we are way past peak oil.

Note: The chart above represents all nations with any net exports in the years 2005 or 2009. All had exports in both years except Indonesia and Brazil. Indonesia had exports in 2005 but was a net importer in 2009. Brazil was a net importer is 2005 but was a net exporter by 2009.

Edit: The annual data has just been posted. World oil Production in thousands of barrels per day:

        2005     2006    2007    2008    2009    2010
World  73,712	73,428	72,986	73,655	72,263	73,677

Ron P.

this means that Saudi Arabia, and all other exporting nations are using more and more of their own oil and exporting less and less.

How is Iran's plan going ? The plan to have only dual fuel vehicles on the road in a few years and all gasoline stations also selling gas (which is much cheaper).

I have never heard of that one before. Got a link?

Ron P.

Ron, http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=226986

The number of Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs) on Iran's roads has reached 2 million, ranking the country second out of five states with the highest number, an Iranian official says.

NGV is an alternative fuel vehicle that uses Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) or Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as a clean alternative to other automobile fuels.

The sale of gas-fueled cars is also rising in Iran due to the low price of natural gas in the gas and oil-rich country.

The Iranian government hopes the switch to dual-fuel will provide relief for motorists affected by gasoline rationing, as there are no limits on the supply of CNG. Dual-fuel cars can run on CNG or gasoline.

And from a comment on TOD on: 'Ghawar reserves update and revisions' on May 2, 2007: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2507

Link to a document about Iran's plan to convert their whole car fleet to natural gas by 2015- maybe they are aware of what's happening in SA too?

A special committee set up by the government came up with a four-point program which includes:
1. Conversion of most existing cars to run on natural gas within five years at a rate of 1.2 million annually. This will begin with conversion of 600,000 public and governmental cars to NGV.
2. Phase out of very old cars (approximately 1.2 million) by 2010.
3. As of June 2007, most of the newly manufactured cars will have to be able to run on natural gas.
4. Within five years most of Iran’s 10,000 refueling stations will be retrofitted to serve natural gas.

Thanks Han, I find this all very interesting. Iran knows that the day is coming when they will have to rely more on natural gas and nuclear power. When just one field dries up this drives home the point that they all will dry up one day, perhaps one day soon.

As to your question as to how this plan is going? I suspect that perhaps you are better able to answer that question than I.

Thanks for the info. Ron P.

Iran knows that the day is coming when they will have to rely more on natural gas and nuclear power

Yes, and they are looking further ahead than KSA. Their nuclear program doesn't have to give rise to suspicion.

Ron, actions like in Iran could lead to less pessimism, though gas is finite also and maybe not so abundant/easy available in Iran as it seems.
Anyhow, westexas is not very impressed regarding his comment on DB, 2 months ago:

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

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


Your graph clearly show the land export model at work. I think global C & C in 2011 will be higher than 2005 and all liquids certainly so.

The world was until a few years ago was able to meet demand from importing counties and price was reasonable.

How is unmet demand calculated? If oil price goes up $10-$20 when world losses 1 mbld than a $10-$20 rise over a year would suggest demand exceeding supply by about that much.

I think $10 per million barrels lost is too low perhaps $20 is closer any ideas?

How is unmet demand calculated? If oil price goes up $10-$20 when world losses 1 mbld than a $10-$20 rise over a year would suggest demand exceeding supply by about that much.

Well no, it doesn't work like that. First off, demand can never exceed supply. Say the supply of oil remained steady, unable to increase by any amount but the economy was booming, wanting more oil. What would happen would be that the price would rise, killing enough demand to make it equal supply.

Now under such a scenario, you would think the price would continue to rise forever. But that would not happen because as prices rose the economy would suffer. And the higher prices rose the more the economy would suffer until we hit a recession. Then prices would be knocked back down. How low they would be knocked down would depend on the depth of the recession.

Should supply level out and stay on a bumpy plateau for years then one would suppose that the economy would slip in and out of recession and prices would go up and down as this happened. But this cannot really happen because even if production is on a bumpy plateau the supply to the importing world is constantly dropping. This is because producing nations are consuming more and more of their own production.

And adding to the problem is the fact that China and India, especially China, simply cannot allow supply to stay static, let alone drop. A great percentage of their employment in construction of their building boom. And even more is employed in producing new goods and services for their growing middle class. They continue to bid prices higher and this is why consumption in OECD nations has dropped even more than exports have dropped.

Sooo... what is really likely to happen if exports continue to fall as they have for over five years now? And what is likely to happen when China and India can no longer get an ever expanding supply of oil? Well I really have no idea, I only know the status quo will not continue. Predicting how things will really play out is, in my opinion, impossible.

Ron P.

Well no, it doesn't work like that. First off, demand can never exceed supply. Say the supply of oil remained steady, unable to increase by any amount but the economy was booming, wanting more oil. What would happen would be that the price would rise, killing enough demand to make it equal supply.

Yes I think we are saying the same thing, other than demand can be greater than supply, perhaps you mean consumption cannot be greater than supply. The way I see it, global oil demand falls into two catagories, demand that is met and demand that is not, the second is the element which drives prices up.

I think you are right, we will have price rises and recessions causing prices to fall for a while.
The recessions will effect regions to varing degrees and I think countries and cities with good mass transport will do better. Some areas of UK and US faired better than others in the last recession.

My view of oil price is we will see great flactuations but over time there is no limit.
Mainly due to the fact that there are a few large producers, these can subsidize their own oil consumption so price does not matter to them. For oil importing countries there will always be rich people who will be able to afford petrol no matter what it costs.

Also people who trade a 20mpg vehicle for one that can do 60mpg will not be any worse off with prices being $250 to $300 per barrel. Many people who take the train to work and only use car at weekends use very little fuel, driving 2 or 3 thousand miles a years. So their fuel cost going from £300 per year to £900 is no great hardship.

Next few years will certainly be very differant form anything we have seen before.

Yes I think we are saying the same thing, other than demand can be greater than supply, perhaps you mean consumption cannot be greater than supply.

No, I mean that demand can never be greater than supply as long as price is allowed to be the arbitrator. Of course if you have rationing or price controls then that is a different story.

Demand is always different at different prices so how can one really tell what demand is without first knowing what the price is. I realize many will disagree with this assessment but they are confusing demand with desire. One can only demand something if one has the money and the willingness to pay for it at the market price, regardless of how much they may desire it at a cheaper price.

That is not to say that there is not sometimes a difference between the two. Electricity is an example where there is a difference. Demand is measured in KW, as in peak demand, while consumption is measured in KWH or electrical energy used over a period of time. But there the two terms are used in an entirely different context.

The EIA uses the two terms interchangeably. This title of this article is Demand but the article is all about consumption. The EIA simply uses the two terms interchangeably.

My view of oil price is we will see great flactuations but over time there is no limit.
Mainly due to the fact that there are a few large producers, these can subsidize their own oil consumption so price does not matter to them. For oil importing countries there will always be rich people who will be able to afford petrol no matter what it costs.

Well I am afraid I must disagree. Memmel, when he was posting regularly, made the exact same argument. That is as long as there are rich people there is no limit as to how high prices can go. But the rich, or even the very well off, cannot support the economy on their backs alone. The top price of oil is dependent on what the average consumer can afford to pay. If oil goes too high then the economy collapses. Demand drops and if the collapse is deep enough then demand drops even further. This leaves oil exporting nations with a glut of oil. They then must drop their prices in order to sell their oil. And the lower they drop their prices the more oil they sell.

In 2008 I thought, along with most other folks, that there was no upper limit to oil prices. I thought that demand was inelastic, that people would pay whatever the price was in order to get the oil or gasoline. I wuz wrong! The recession and oil price collapse in late 2008 showed me just how wrong I was. I have learned my lesson and I will never make that mistake again.

Ron P.


Having thought about it again, I am sure you are wrong. if you look at the oil production figures for
2005 73,716,012 average
2006 73,429.907
2007 72,988.321

The oil price however went up through this 3 year time period thus demonstating that the increase in price did not reduce demand. The demand was there, it was the inability to increase production that kept the world from consuming more. If the world could have produced 75 million a day at $80 it would have used it. The price did not reduce demand at all.
2010 prices have gone up from $80 to $90 yet very clearly oil production has gone up also,from 73,197.291 in January to 74,795.725 In December. By your reasoning oil demand should have reduced. It has not.

If the world could have produced 75 million a day at $80 it would have used it. The price did not reduce demand at all.

Good Lord, you must be joking. See:
4 Week Avg Net Imports of Crude Oil and Petroleum Products at lowest level since March 1998

Or look at US consumption here as Petroleum Products Supplied. That is Total Consumption or demand if you wish. Monthly Energy Review Click on "Petroleum Overview".

In 2005 average US total demand was 20,802,000 barrels per day. In 2008, when prices were so high demand was reduced to 19,498,000 bp/d or about 1.3 mb/d lower or a drop of about 6.2 percent. In 2009 during the teeth of the recession due largely to high oil prices consumption was down to an average of 18,771,000, a drop of over two million barrels per day or almost 2 percent.

And it was all caused by high oil prices! End of story.

Total world production of course did not decline in 2008 until after the price collapse. Now it is right back up there but oil consumption in OECD countries is still down about 4 million barrels per day lower than it was in 2005 because of high oil prices. Net oil exports are down 3 million barrels per day as of 2009. I don't know what they were in 2010 because that data is not in yet.

Ron P.

So what you are saying is Global oil production in 2006 was lower than 2005 because the world demand did not require any more. So why did the price go up?

It is very clear that oil prices went up because there was insufficient production to meet demand.

December 2010 oil production was the highest ever and it is being consumed, dispite that FACT that oil prices are higher now than they were in 2005.

Oh by the way the world is not spelt USA

So what you are saying is Global oil production in 2006 was lower than 2005 because the world demand did not require any more. So why did the price go up?

You still don't get it. Oil production fell for one of two reasons, or both. It fell because producers could not produce any more or because producers, (OPEC), deliberately took oil off the market in order to make prices go up.

It is very clear that oil prices went up because there was insufficient production to meet demand.

Hey that's right, there may be hope for you after all.

December 2010 oil production was the highest ever and it is being consumed, dispite that FACT that oil prices are higher now than they were in 2005.

Uh oh, now you don't get it anymore. You simply do not understand what the Export Land Model is all about. That is you do not understand net oil exports.

Yes oil production is higher than ever but there is still much less oil available to importing nations. They are bidding up the price because their supply is down, and it just keeps dropping. The exporters, even though they are producing more oil are still exporting less oil. They are exporting less because they are consuming more and more of their own product.

If that is not crystal clear then I give up.

Ron P.

Exactly right, Ron. And, maybe it would help if Jaz truly understands that the price of oil is for 'marginal' oil. That is to say, they are bidding on the NEXT barrel of oil. Most oil is shipped according to contract written at differing prices. The real problems are going to occur when there is not enough to being pumped to satisfy all of those contracts! I cannot begin to imagine what is going to happen (yes, it will happen eventually) when we get there!


Edit: I began to imagine, and what will happen is that those who have any oil will sell it (at a huge profit) to those who cannot meet their contractual obligations to deliver. A tanker of oil holds about 2 mbo. The value of that cargo could increase by $50 M to $100 M during transport with a $25 to $50 per bo increase, and if the shipper is short of oil, they might well bid up the price themselves to get the cargo back (for shipment to the 'right' importer). It would be chaos, and I predict Wall Street will find a way to turn it all into securities transactions.


Hey Ron. May I give you a tip on pedagogics? When you say "igher price reduces demand" I understand what you mean, but people often don't. Jaz is one of them. Try this:

When supply gets lower than demand, price increases untill it reaches a level where demand for oil AT THAT PRICE exactly mathces supply.

But people would still want to by more oil at a lower price, they just can't.

There is a higher demand for cheap oil than for expensive oil.

Bottom line is; when you speak about demand it is how much people buy. But most people speak about how much they wish they could consume.

A question; if we had rations with fixed prices, would you still say that "demand is met" in such a scenario?

Yes, I am going to have to give up on Jazz, he simply does not understand supply and demand and there seems no way that I can get through to him. Fortunately he seems to be the only one in years who still does not get it. Everyone else had engaged in a little deep thought and seen the light.

A question; if we had rations with fixed prices, would you still say that "demand is met" in such a scenario?

Of course not. Apparently you did not read one of my replies to Jazz above. I said:

No, I mean that demand can never be greater than supply as long as price is allowed to be the arbitrator. Of course if you have rationing or price controls then that is a different story.

Ron P.


What you do not understand is that the demand/price ratio is not a fixed it is based on many considerations. One which you appear not to grasp is people can adapt to higher prices, these higher prices may at first reduce demand but after adaptation that new high price is now affordable.
So tens of millions of vehicles are scrapped every year and new one bought, these represent an oportunity for adaptation. As I said already, a family buy a new car that uses a third of the fuel of their old car, they now can afford petrol at three times the price.

There are also things people can give up to pay the higher cost, a twenty a day smoker pays £2000 a year for cigarretes. The list is endless, many people will be reluctant to adapt and take time but oil price does not have a ceiling.

If it does what is the price ceiling, care to hazard a guess?

What you do not understand is that the demand/price ratio is not a fixed it is based on many considerations.

Of course it is! Whatever led you to think that I did not understand that many things affect the supply-demand-price structure? Almost everything under the sun affect these things. There are earthquakes, wars, hording, currency fluctuations and I could go one and on. You really amaze me Jaz, trying to imply that I do not understand the many inputs to the supply-demand-price structure.

One which you appear not to grasp is people can adapt to higher prices,...

Baloney! Of course I understand that people change their priorities. People change but they can seldom change their income. When oil prices go up people must make decisions, whether to keep paying higher and higher prices, and buy less and less of other stuff, or they can decide to drive less and try to maintain the rest of their lifestyle. Either way it affects the economy.

What you appear to be trying to argue, or what you started off arguing, is that people will pay ever increasing prices in order to obtain oil. You specifically stated:

My view of oil price is we will see great flactuations but over time there is no limit.

And that Jaz, is the part I vehemently disagree with. There is a limit. When prices get too high it starts to affect the economy, the economy goes into recession and oil prices drop. Yes some people will pay ever increasing prices for oil but everyone will not. And the economy is made up of everyone, not just a few rich people. There is a limit as to how high oil prices can go because oil prices affect the whole economy. And when the economy crashes, people get laid off, people have much less money to spend and oil prices drop.

And that, along with the Export Land Model is what you do not understand.

Ron P.

As I said already, a family buy a new car that uses a third of the fuel of their old car, they now can afford petrol at three times the price.

No, because rising oilprices make a lot of things more expensive.

The list is endless

Also for the economy ? Think about it what happens if people spend more and more money on food and transportation.

oil price does not have a ceiling.

Imagine $ 300/barrel. What happens with air companies and globalisation ? Long before that price hits, air, shipping and truck companies will try to save (a lot of) fuel by reducing speed but the moment that elasticity is gone there are big problems.
My thoughts; can be that you got the point already from Darwinian.

Jaz, the situation is different already, and you are far too optimistic.

First of all, "prices" may fall for consumer goods, since no one will have any money to purchase them. This will be because PO will cause rises in oil price, and in food, transportation and energy prices. As those prices increase, consumers will have to pay for fuel (including the cost of train and bus tickets) to get to work, the cost of food, energy to heat and cool their homes, and water for the many sundry uses to which it is essential. Since these items are top of the list when we triage our money use, everything else will drop, like a rock.

Troublingly, since PO implies limited supplies, those rich folks will drive the cost way up, much farther than one would expect with a level economic playing field, as they (the rich) continue to enjoy personal, motoring, pharmaceutical products, and so forth. Having 43% of the wealth, the top 1% will use that to their advantage, as they always have. 85% of the wealth in control of 15% of the people will almost certainly result in disproportionate suffering by the very people whose labor has been and will be exploited by that 15% of wealthy individuals for their increasingly disparate share of the American (and, might I add, Human) Dream.

And, as different as things are today from what they were a short 15 years ago, the next 15 years, even the next 5 years, portends even greater dislocation.



As you said, the rich folk will drive the cost way up.

That is my point, what price will China pay for oil from Saudi Arabia or Nigeria?

Will they stop at $180 or $200 per barrel, I do not think so, what will happpen is China will end up sending more goods and services to these countries. China has millions of poor it can exploit, to make them work very hard and long hours to produce the things it can sell for oil. As you say for the benefit of the richest 10 or 20% of that country and 20% is 300 million cars. India is the same, where the poor work up to 80 hours a week, the wealth they generate for the rich will ensure the rich can afford very high petrol prices.

What many people do not understand is that it is possible for people to live all their lives and practically never get in a car.

You say I am optimistic, well I think massive public transport and electric cars could side step peak oil. However not one government is doing what it take to make an easy transition the result my be.


Hyperinflation is something I find difficult to grasp, it is so illogical and should never happen but it has many times. People burning money because it produced more heat than the wood it could buy.
In this kind of environment sky is the limit with price, despite the fact that few could afford it and this is what Darwinian cannot grasp.

Pepe Escobar sums it up perfectly
Libyans and Bahrainis sheikh, rattle and roll

Waves from nowhere-
A STRANGE 2M WAVE OCCURS IN A NORWEGIAN FJORD AT THE TIME OF THE QUAKE (video and article, use a translator for article content)

As you see the fjord is calm and no boats around- the video-voices are puzzled with this- and so are the scientists commenting.

(humor) Perhaps then Earth was communicated to by extraterrestrials via gravity wave, and the EQ and tsunami were a side-effect?

(more gallows humor)

The real truth is that the tree-hugging environmentalists planted a nuclear explosive under the Norwegian Fjord with full knowledge that the amplified shock waves would pass through the Earth's core, induce an earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and then all this would be followed by nuclear meltdown.

It was all to further their evil tree-hugging political cause of ridding the world of clean mean nuclear energy. Shame on them.

Re: Bahrain forces expel protesters; clashes kill 6, up top:

Witnesses said at least two protesters were killed when the square was stormed. Officials at Ibn Nafees Hospital said a third protester died later from wounds. The witnesses spoke on condition of anonymity because of fears of reprisals from authorities.

But a government statement said the only fatalities during the raid were two policemen who were "repeatedly run over by three vehicles containing protesters leaving the fringes of the scene." The Interior Ministry also said a policeman was killed late Tuesday.


I miss the Campfires. This would be a good time to do a Campfire on Faith Based Energy. Faith that oil will never run out or be unaffordable. Faith that we you will be able to burn coal cleanly. Faith that nuclear power is safe and cheap. Faith that when one flips a switch the lights will come on. I could even post that I have faith that the Sun will shine, if not today, then soon.

I saw on the news tonight that they were doing this over the Fukushima reactors.


That picture is worth a thousand words...

That picture is proof positive that the Japanese have not been sending large enough contributions to the Pat Robertson church so as to appease the gods.

Clearly, if they had done so, one of the gods would have sent a begotten son (or daughter) to save the Japanese from apocalypse and possible extinction.

The sent savior often comes in mysterious ways. He may appear as a bearded dude wearing a white dress. However in more modern times He may appear as a Mr. Techno-Wizard sent here to save us/them by gracing us/them with his just-in-time savior technology. Some devotees proclaim that Steve Jobs is the second coming. (Myself, I'm not so sure about that one.) But anyway, had the Japanese been devout enough, He would have come and saved them.

[ i.mage.+]

Ha! When Mt. Fuji wakes up I'll look for the Stevior to come surfing down on a giant lahar ;-)

There are a few more Jobs= Jesus graphics from where that one came.

[ i.mage.+]

[ i.mage.+]

[ i.mage.+]

If only they had bought the iReactor instead of that silly GE BWR open source and cool pool design.

I believe Nate is still interested in doing Campfires. He's too busy right now, but he may get back to it one day. Perhaps at EB. (They have comments now over there.)

I like your line of thought, which seems to sum up much of the mainstream thinking these days. An attitude of defiance against limits. That if only people had enough faith we could get all the oil out from the shale underneath colorado and stop importing oil. If there was enough faith ANWR would be our Saudi equivalent of oil for the next 50 years. If we could just muster enough faith then global warming is a good thing that allows greater usage of more of the planet. Pour on more faith and the population can double even triple and we can all be millionaires.

Even Bill Clinton was at some conference recently in which he was doing the BAU dance, claiming we just aren't doing enough to get the oil to market. What! Even Bill? Now I know we are headed to the wall on energy.

Earl - And to support your thoughts here's a tidbit from Texas. We have split speed limits on major highways: 70 mph during daylight and 65 mph at night. Local news this morning reported a proposal to change this practice. So I watched to see how much they were proposing to LOWER the limts. Wrong! The change would be to a single speed limit: 75 mph.

"Da Nile" is not just a river in Egypt...it's a dry creek bed in Texas.

BTW: another cheery note - they also reported the highest food inflation in one month OVER THE LAST 36 YEARS.

A few weeks ago the UK transport minister proposed raising motorway limits from 70mph to 80mph. This was to provide a boost to the economy and be more in line with European countries like Spain.

The day before Spain had announced it was reducing the motorway speed limit from 75mph to 68 mph to save the cost of imported oil.

A few days later the UK energy minister predicted an energy crunch within months.

Both the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition vie in public as to which policies will return the economy to perpetual growth fastest. They both know their spending plans are predicated on exponentially growing tax incomes.

Joined up government,

the highest food inflation in one month OVER THE LAST 36 YEARS.

Where's the faith?

Japan's Troubles Hit Home in IT Planning


In manufacturing, supply chain and distribution, delayed product deployments and increased costs for businesses in every geographic region are already being felt. And the most immediate hit is in tech.

Consider this: In 2010, Japan represented 10.2 % of worldwide data processing revenue and 16.5% of global consumer electronics equipment factory revenue, according to the IHS iSuppli market research firm.


Thus, IT and finance should convene a meeting of stakeholders of any new projects involving large technology purchases, and determine what the impact of the situation in Japan might be. This will help determine if the project can be delayed to avoid a potentially higher cost, or if budgets need to be adjusted to account for an increased price or alternate sourcing. Such communication could help save your company from being blindsided down the road when products are either unavailable or too costly to procure.

Another point about Japanese products that I have yet to see published. With the Japanese government appearing to be minimizing the seriousness of the nuclear disaster, will people be reluctant to purchase products from Japan due to possible radioactive contamination? Whether contamination is real or perceived, consumer sentiment away from Japanese products could materialize.

P.S. I know this issue pales in comparison to the immediate tragedies going on in Japan. I care very much for the people in Japan and have donated $$$ to international Red Cross for Japan relief. I post these articles as examples of what is beginning to occur around the world for different reasons. How disruptions to our JIT supply chain can be affected by a loss of a critical part of that chain. Companies will need to start re-evalutating these supply chain choices and begin searching for more local choices for parts/supplies, even though they may be more expensive, or plan for more redundancies in supply.

WTI squeeking above $100 again. Some expectations are that the Japanese will be forced to use diesel generators to get their affected industries back up.

Crude Oil 100.00 + 2.06%
Natural Gas 3.97 + 0.81%
Gasoline 2.88 + 1.40%
Heating Oil 3.05 + 1.74%
Gold 1400.43 - 0.00%
Silver 34.44 + 0.55%
Copper 4.28 + 2.27%

Governors call on Vilsack to change the way corn use for ethanol is reported. Currently the 17 lbs. of distillers dried grains in every 56 lbs./bushel or corn is attributed to ethanol. This is nearly a third of currently reported corn for ethanol.

DDGs are worth nearly the price of corn and are sold for animal feed.
The governors want this recognized in the reporting of corn use for ethanol:

A coalition of 34 U.S. governors from Washington to New York to Texas have called on U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to alter the way his department reports the use of corn for ethanol production. They argue that it downplays the growing importance of distillers grains to meet livestock feed demand and provides an inaccurate rhetorical weapon for ethanol opponents.

"In recent days, some pundits have even gone so far as to blame ethanol for the destabilization in Egypt," Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton write in a March 15 letter representing the Governor's Biofuels Coalition. "Unfortunately, USDA's monthly corn supply and demand reports provide support for this sensationalized reporting because they identify "corn demand for ethanol" without immediately noting this is gross demand, and not the net use of the starch portion of the corn kernel. This overstates the use of corn for ethanol by as much as a factor of two or more, and fails to inform the public about what is truly happening in the food and fuel supply chain."


I do not believe it overstates the use of corn by a factor of two or more. More like a 50% over statement IMO. 17 is about a third of 56 so the overstatement is about 50% of the 2/3 actually going to ethanol out a bushel or corn.

The Limits of Incantation


There is, of course, another alternative. It’s the alternative that we’re all going to take anyway, as fossil fuels deplete and the various subsidies that make nuclear power and most of the other alternatives look economically viable go away forever. That alternative is to use much less energy than we do today. Here in the United States, it bears repeating, we use three times as much energy per capita as people in most European countries, to prop up a standard of living that by most measures isn’t as good. Fairly modest conservation measures, of the sort discussed in recent posts here, could render every nuclear power plant in America surplus if they were applied nationwide; a more serious national effort aimed at getting down to European levels of consumption could probably manage to turn most of the coal-fired plants into museum pieces as well.

Again, this is what we’re going to do anyway, whether we choose that route or not. The vast government subsidies that currently prop up not only nuclear power, but most of the rest of America’s energy production and consumption, are not going to be sustainable for all that much longer; neither, of course, are the “energy subsidies” that every other energy source derives from the immense quantities of cheap petroleum that are used to mine, transport, and provide raw materials for everything from solar panels to nuclear power plants. Equally, the American imperial presence in the Middle East and elsewhere, which currently backstops a global economic system that provides the 5% of us who live in America with 25% of the world’s energy resources and around 33% of its raw materials and industrial product, has a relatively short shelf life ahead of it, and as that comes unraveled, we are all going to have to learn to live with much less.


Saw that pieces by the Druid the other day.

Another word for "incantation" is magic.

The wizard utters a bunch of strange sounds and then poof! the thing happens.

Or as Captain Picard on the Star (Trek) Ship USS Enterprise used to say, "Make it so."

Welcome to "safe", "clean" natural gas:

No reports of injuries so far, but that would be purely by luck if it's the case.

When you look at the pictures from Japan, people seem to be well dressed (for the weather). Good jackets, layered, hoods etc. Perhaps it yet another subtle sign of being prepared? A picture of a man crying over his destroyed home and child getting tested for radiation, prompted me. Very powerful images - but also showing that they are ready to deal with much more than we are.




When I first started reading Edward Abbey in the 1980's, I thought his rantings about Mexico were offensive and racist. He threw out ridiculous scenarios about the ecology of Mexico and the southwestern US being destroyed by unchecked population growth in Mexico, and the culture of the US being overrun by Mexican culture. He predicted that the Mexican government would dissolve under corruption and chaos, causing a mass exodus into the US. His writing seemed like the ravings of a bigoted redneck.

I was wrong.

The population of Mexico in 1960 was 40 Million. The population today is 112 million with another 10-20 million Mexican citizens in the US. The country is completely overrun by corruption and crime, and their three main sources of trade revenue, oil, tourism, and remittances from the US, are all crashing. Every single thing Abbey predicted has come true, except the dissolution of the government and the mass exodus.

Read the article at the link posted above about the overtaking of Pemex by the drug cartels. I predict when we look back ten years from now, the three biggest stories in the US will be the revolutions in the Middle East and the crushing of the US and western world's economies by Peak Oil, the demise of the nuclear energy industry, and the humanitarian and social crisis around the collapse of Mexico and the subsequent mass exodus north.

I honestly never thought I'd agree with Abbey on this.

Moabite -

Aside from Abbey's environmental, political and social positions, he was a great writer. He could spin a great tale. His descriptions of his desert home are fabulous.

And if you want to learn about coal mining, The Monkey Wrench Gang and associated books provide quite an education on the whole process. Highly electrified BTW. Coal mining does not require much oil as practiced in Abbey's SW at least.

I seldom re-read what I've already read, but I made an exception in his case.

I agree that Abbey was a great writer, I just didn't agree with some of his views on Mexico. I now agree completely.

I have read "Desert Solitaire" so many times I have lost count, and "The Fool's Progress" three times.

Yeah,,,,I can't figure out if Abbey was right for the wrong reasons or wrong for the right reasons :-/

Ive read recently that some of the people they extort were explaining to the cartel that they couldn't pay the their extortion fee and the tax man so the cartel took it up with the tax man and sorted it out.There is an arbitrary line in the desert that divides two very different worlds.What do you think is more likely that rule of law will move south or anarchy north.

a legalization of all drugs would help the most, the problems created by black markets far out weigh the damage of drug abuse,even hard drugs.

Not disagreeing with your point, but just also wanting to point out that US pop over the same period has grown from about 170 million to 310 million, so 150 million more 'murcans are also contributing to said destruction of the ecology of the SW. In fact, I'd go a step further, and point out that global pop has gone from 3B to 7B in that time. So it's not so much a problem of one race or nation, as it is a problem of all of humanity. FF have allowed us to breed too successfully. Perhaps we should blame them? I say it's our fault collectively - you know, that whole yeast thing. And speaking of that wrt the SW, I do miss Totonelia, aka Bob Shaw.

Salient points clifman. And I'd like to suggest, too, that most of the problems that Mexico faces are United States creations;

1) Irrational and absurd drug policies
2) Gun culture
3) Petroleum addiction

and so on.

An example of better way to use the efficiency dollar from MIT:

The big picture on energy loss

Getting an energy audit of a home or a commercial building can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive process. But new techniques and technology developed by a team of MIT researchers have streamlined the process, allowing for scans of large groups of buildings — or even entire cities.

The project uses a vehicle with automated cameras that take thermal infrared images of every building as it moves along, similar to the way Google Street View vehicles obtain visual imagery. ...The idea is to quickly identify the buildings that are most inefficient, by detecting the heat escaping through walls, roofs, doors and windows in a way that allows detailed, quantitative comparisons of the rate of heat loss. That will make it possible to target remediation efforts at the worst buildings, thereby getting the most out of any efficiency-improvement spending.

Shock wave puts hybrid engines in a spin

The design does away with many of the components of a conventional engine, including pistons, camshaft and valves. This makes it much smaller and lighter than a conventional engine. A car fitted with the new engine could be up to 20 per cent lighter overall, Müller claims. By eliminating losses associated with mechanical components, it will also make cars more fuel-efficient, he says

and here

A pretty good comment from GoatGuy at your second link:

Ahem. Say what? 3.5× the useable output power for a given quantity of fuel!

You know, thermodynamics is a funny thing. It doesn't know anything about how a hot gas is ducted, or how it is compressed, or how it is burned-under-compression and allowed to expand. It just doesn't. However there are physics equations that no thermal-to-energy system can beat. Now, maybe this beats all comers (which would be something!), and maybe it doesn't. But claims like 3.5× are pretty sketchy.

As described, it is a pulsed combustion, rotary shaded port engine. Its operation (which insofar as I can tell, hasn't actually happened yet) depends on the speed of sound of the compressing gasses, and the rotational rate (and dwell angles of the shaded ports). Therefore it will have a critical, optimal speed of operation. Further, that speed will depend strongly on the factors that affect the speed of sound, and especially the speed of the burning detonation front. I.e. (a) humidity, (b) atmospheric pressure (weather, altitude), gas density (temperature), fuel composition (normalized flamefront speed), spectrum of atomization, fuel temperature, and any competing retarding factors associated with humidity.

(more of his comment at link)

Like GoatGuy, I'll wait and see......

Yeah, I was thinking about Carnot's theorem when I read that.

Hmmm, Let see 15% x 3.5 = 52% (give or take)
Thermodynamic limit of ICE engine = 40% (give or take)

So that means this engine is 125% efficient. Whoho... the energy crisis is averted.

... and the inherent losses by converting fuel (chemical) energy to electrical energy, especially when batteries are involved must be factored in. That said, I see the value in exploring electrics with onboard generators, perhaps small, modular, fairly steady state units that can be easily replaced or up/downgraded. There's no need for this unit to be deeply incorporated into the engineering of the vehicle; just provide a space for the unit and fuel storage, connections for electrical, control, air intake and exhaust systems, something like the way motorhomes do now. Even if this gizmo works as hoped, though at a lower efficiency than expected, I can see many applications and size/weight advantages.

If it does best at a constant speed then there may be a future in it for a generator motor in hybrids. Turbo/super charging could stabilise pressure, standard engine control systems the combustion, the lighter weight does have something going for it and linking it to a generator with enough motor capability to start it could be useful. Now let us see if they can make it work and what the real world figures are.


Forecast: Almost half the USA at risk for spring flooding

The Upper Midwest isn't the only region expected to see potentially catastrophic flooding over the next few weeks. Almost half the USA, including much of the Midwest, Northeast and all the way down the Mississippi River Valley to New Orleans, has an above-average risk for spring flooding, according to a forecast issued by the National Weather Service on Thursday.

The Upper Midwest isn't the only region expected to see potentially catastrophic flooding over the next few weeks. Almost half the USA, including much of the Midwest, Northeast and all the way down the Mississippi River Valley to New Orleans, has an above-average risk for spring flooding, according to a forecast issued by the National Weather Service on Thursday.

Map: http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2011/images/sping_flood_rick_2011_bf...

Maybe those people need to get sent canoeing to get them to reject Fox News' climate change hoax routine.

Libya resolution: UN security council air strikes vote - live

Libya unrest: UK forces 'could be in action by Friday'

British forces could be in action over Libya as early as Friday, if a UN resolution is agreed, a senior government source has told the BBC

UN authorises no-fly zone over Libya

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has voted on a resolution authorising a no-fly zone over Libya and "all necessary measures" - code for military action - to protect civilians.

Ten of the council's 15 members voted in favour of the resolution, while Russia, China, Germany, India and Brazil abstained.

No votes were recorded against the resolution on Thursday, which was co-sponsored by France, Britain, Lebanon and the United States.

AJE English updates:

# 3:03am

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, responding to the security council vote on Libya said:

Given the critical situation on the ground, I expect immediate action on the resolution's provisions. I am prepared to carry out my responsibilities, as mandated by the resolution, and will work closely with member states and regional organisations to coordinate a common, effective and timely response.

# Timestamp: 2:47am

Canadian media reports say there are plans to send six CF-18 fighter jets to help enforce a no-fly zone over Libya, broadcaster CTV said citing government sources, adding that they will fly alongside US, British and French aircraft, and those from other countries.

It is also being reported that Italy is providing airbases for the "no-fly zone" enforcement and Egypt is supplying arms to the rebels.

Kiss goodbye to the Libyan production for multiple months and Mediterranean shipping for week to months.

We're on course for a superspike by summer at the latest, probably sooner.

Anyone want to bet on what the maximum will be this time? I'd suggest $170...

I'm not sure about $170/barrel by summer (that would kill the global economy), but it'll be interesting to see what happens when markets open tomorrow morning.

The effectiveness of the "no-fly zone" will be heavily dependent on whether the UN will just prevent Ghadaffi from using his airforce or will include bombing of ground targets, and if so, what type of ground targets -- anti-aircraft weapons versus tanks and artillery.

Gadaffi will not sit back and just let countries take out his air force and air defence radars. He will have to strike back. Hence no Libyan oil and no shipping in the Med.

Frankly their best bet is a swift decapitation strike. I do wonder if they were happy to leave him there, until he started talking about selling the oil to china.....

Interesting that China did not veto.


U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said earlier in the day that a no-fly zone would require bombing targets inside Libya, including some of its defense systems.


Egypt has 220 F-16 aircraft, so they should be able to help. There was a brief skirmish between Egypt and Libya in 1977, which resulted in a decisive Egyptian victory. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libyan%E2%80%93Egyptian_War

I'm always a bit hesitant to get off the fence these days, but in this case I'm glad they've managed to reach a consensus and get things moving!

Perhaps I can cling on to my faith in the existence of human compassion a little longer..

Although I'm sure I'll presently be told this has nothing to do with compassion! ;-)

I have seen eyewitness report of UK ground attack aircraft doing practice attacks on a firing range in England - not following normal peace-time constraints. This is direct preparation for action. C5 galaxies also being used . (special forces drops?)

An analysis on UK TV last night put the Libyan airworthy fleet of Mirage jets at precisely ONE.

Cameron says Typhoons will be deployed. I'd like to see the Libyan pilots try to outmanoeuvre them!

The buzz is NCA (National Command Authority) put the PINNACLE flag on its Fukushima reporting. That usually means just one thing.

C-span is showing a hearing of the Natural Resource Ctte from Thurdsay 3/17, where they are busy 'Bargaining' about our remaining US dregs and how to save the registered voters from high gas prices..

They have an Energy Economist from Texas named Michelle Foss, and I wondered if she has any connection with Nicole Foss (who I seem to recall is from/in Canada..)

The Texas Foss doesn't seem interested in considering or discussing issues of a production peak, although the term has been used in these hearings..

Rush Holt (D) from NJ just pretty much said it (Without saying it)..

"We can't change reality" .. "We have to broaden our portfolio beyond just oil." .. and he pointed out that 'we last discovered more than we consumed in (he said) '84'.

Boy, Landry from Louisiana is a Clown.. it's all theatrics and games. He's 'telling' the left how there have been resource speculators for 'centuries'..

A lot of bullying from the bench.

Scared people.

We should note that Rep. Holt is a PhD physicist, who I also just noticed is the only person to beat Watson at Jeopardy so far.

Saudi King to announce reforms: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/03/20113187145714459.html

Saudi Arabia's monarch will announce a government reshuffle, an anti-corruption drive and a promise to increase food subsidies to combat rising prices in an address to the nation, diplomats have said.

King Abdullah's speech - his first address since unrest began sweeping the Arab world - is expected after midday Muslim prayers on Friday, the state news agency reported.

The speech by the ailing 86-year-old monarch comes after several small demonstrations in the oil-rich kingdom. The monarchy could be worried about protests escalating into more intense gatherings.

Saudi diplomats, speaking to the Associated Press news agency on condition of anonymity, said the king plans to replace the ministers of defence, higher education and religious affairs.

The defence minister is ailing, while intellectuals have criticised the minister of higher education for dumping
billions on expensive projects that they said produced few results.

The diplomats said the king would not replace the head of the all-important oil ministry.

Yemen protest turns deadly

At least 30 people have been killed and scores were wounded after Yemeni security forces opened fire on protesters at University square, in the capital Sanaa.

Security forces opened fire on Friday, in attempts to prevent protesters from marching out of the square where they were gathered, sources said. Medical sources said the death toll was likely to rise.

Pro-regime "thugs" also opened fire on protesters from houses close to university square, witnesses told the AFP news agency.

Friday's attack came as tens of thousands gathered across the country, continuing to demand that president Ali Abdullah Saleh - the country's ruler of 32 years - step down.

This is before the start of Friday prayers. The Yemen pot is boiling hot.

Holy moly, that is an escalation.

Libya 2.0?

Yes indeed, Holy moly.