Drumbeat: March 25, 2011

International Crises Boost Russia's Energy Posture

With U.S.-led fighter jets pounding military assets in oil-rich Libya, and Japan still struggling to contain radiation at its stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, concerns are rising around the world about the future of energy supplies. But not in Russia.

As the unrest in the Middle East bites into supplies, prices for crude approached $105 a barrel this week. That's helping drive windfall profits that are enabling the world's biggest energy exporter to finally emerge from recession triggered by the global financial crisis in 2008.

But while that's good news for Russia's economy, Kremlin critics say rising energy prices are again shoring up the country's authoritarian government -- and that's bad for politics.

Exclusive: U.S. submarines show force amid race for Arctic riches

(Reuters) - The United States is staging high-profile submarine exercises in the Arctic Ocean this month as evidence mounts that global warming will lead to more mining, oil production, shipping and fishing in the world's last frontier.

Forecast of $185 oil that carries some weight

Oil prices in 2020? The futures market is pricing the cost of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate for delivery in December 2019 – the farthest forward futures on the Nymex exchange in New York – at $104 a barrel. But Paul Horsnell, the veteran oil watcher at Barclays Capital, believes it will hit an astonishingly high $185.

Mr Horsnell published his latest long-term crude oil forecast late on Thursday, triggering a mini-stir on the market. He says that West Texas Intermediate will hit $185 and Brent $184 by 2020, much higher than any forecast seen so far.

In Syrian flashpoint town, more deaths reported

(CNN) -- At least 15 people were killed as thousands took to the streets in or made their way to the restive Syrian city of Daraa, where deadly clashes erupted over the last week between protesters and security forces.

Sources told CNN the slain people were trying to march to Daraa, where an eyewitness, Abdullah, also reported many casualties in the city.

Turkey and France clash over Libya air campaign

Turkey has launched a bitter attack on French president Nicolas Sarkozy's and France's leadership of the military campaign against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, accusing the French of lacking a conscience in their conduct in the Libyan operations.

The vitriolic criticism, from both the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the president, Abdullah Gül followed attacks from the Turkish government earlier this week and signalled an orchestrated attempt by Ankara to wreck Sarkozy's plans to lead the air campaign against Gaddafi.

BP halts business with Tamoil after sanctions

(Reuters) - BP is halting all business with Libyan oil company Tamoil and declaring force majeure on all oil and product deliveries, a company spokesman told Reuters on Friday.

Russia new oil tax regime to take effect by July

(Reuters) - Russia's new oil and oil products tax regime will take effect no later than July, deputy Finance Minister Sergei Shatalov told reporters on Friday.

Tokyo Electric likely liable for nuclear accident-Japan gov't

(Reuters) - Tokyo Electric Power will be likely be held responsible for damages stemming from a nuclear plant that was crippled by this month's massive earthquake and tsunami and has been leaking radiation, Japan's top government spokesman said.

EPA pursues Michigan's largest coal-fired plant

A Michigan utility spent $65 million last year replacing key parts at the state's largest coal-fired power plant in Monroe. Now DTE Energy is in court with federal regulators who say millions more should have been spent to reduce air pollution.

Osborne’s North Sea Oil Tax Risks Stalling $3 Billion of U.K. Field Sales

George Osborne’s increased tax on U.K. oil production risks holding back investment in the North Sea and stalling BP Plc and ConocoPhillips’s plans to sell off mature assets.

BP, Rosneft Share-Swap Deal Blocked in Dispute With Russian Billionaires

BP Plc’s proposed $7.8 billion share swap and Arctic exploration deal with OAO Rosneft was thrown out by an arbitration tribunal after a legal challenge by its Russian billionaire partners.

Nigeria sets sites on natural gas

ABUJA, Nigeria (UPI) -- Foreign investments of around $25 billion in Nigeria will boost the country's natural gas sector under plans outlined by the country's president.

A cornerstone of the investment plans is a $3 billion deal between Italian energy company Eni and Nigeria's Oando to process gas from the Niger Delta, said Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.

Israel, the oil producer, is about to have the last laugh

The joke has been told by generations of Jews, most famously Golda Meir, the former Prime Minister of Israel. Why did Moses lead us to the one place in the Middle East without oil?

But an updated version may be required if Harold Vinegar and his colleagues get their way. Dr Vinegar, the former chief scientist of Royal Dutch Shell, is at the centre of an ambitious project to turn Israel into one of the world's leading oil producers.

What Exxon Valdez spill can still teach us

(CNN) -- The Exxon Valdez catastrophe on March 24, 1989, no longer holds the distinction of being the largest oil spill ever in U.S. waters. In sheer size, it was eclipsed last April by the disastrous well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. But as the Pew Environment Group's video, "Lingering Oil," shows, the lessons of the Exxon Valdez spill are more vital than ever as we approach the first anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and contemplate drilling in the even more challenging Arctic Ocean.

4 Benefits Of Rising Oil Prices

No, that title is not a misprint. While everybody likes cheap energy and most economists believe that economic growth is predicated at least in part on cheap access to energy, it does not automatically follow that there is no good that can come from higher energy prices. Markets are made up of multiple independent agents and what constitutes a challenge for one can be an opportunity for others.

Monbiot - Budget 2011: George Osborne's plans are a disaster for the environment

An incentive to consume more petrol, relaxed planning rules and a weak green bank add up to a black budget for the environment

An interview with Naomi Klein. Part One: “…that world view is killing us and needs to be replaced with another world view…”

I’m worried that we need a strategy of change that doesn’t rely on the coming of an oil shock, a price shock – we need to change without the market forcing us to change. That may well be different here, because I think you are in a more precarious energy situation than we are in North America. In some ways I think it would be a blessing if we were in a more precarious energy situation, because it would force that change, but everything I’m seeing right now, what really terrifies me is that if these stories that we tell ourselves about how there will always be more, and another frontier, are manifesting themselves in this Jared Diamond-esque hell, a suicidal collapse. I don’t feel that we have the luxury to wait for change to be imposed from the outside and just have to decide whether we’re going to manage it or not.

Three strikes - we're out.

Most people devote themselves to one cause or another, as I tend to do so myself. Yet, looking at all the events that tie into that one cause, whether it is the one I devote myself to or any other one that I look into because it pertains to the core of my investigations, all these individual causes are really bush fires, flare-ups in the general slow inexorable flow towards a large change in our global society.

Richard Heinberg: Won’t Innovation, Substitution, and Efficiency Keep Us Growing?

I want to believe in innovation and its possibilities, but I am more thoroughly convinced of entropy. Most of what we do merely creates local upticks in organization in an overall downward sloping curve. In that regard, technology is a bag of tricks that allows us to slow and even reverse the trend, sometimes globally, sometimes only locally, but always only temporarily and at increasing aggregate energy cost.

Earth Hour aims for hope in darkened world

SYDNEY (AFP) – Lights will go out around the world Saturday with hundreds of millions of people set to take part in the Earth Hour climate change campaign, which this year will also mark Japan's earthquake and tsunami.

Report: Decade of low carbon transition not moving fast enough

The transition towards low carbon technologies will continue over the next decade, but will not accelerate quickly enough to deliver the deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions scientists believe are necessary.

That is the conclusion of a major new report released yesterday by global risk management firm DNV, which attempts to predict the main technology trends that will occur over the next 10 years.

JP Morgan raises oil price forecast to $118

"There is a real risk that oil producers respond to, rather than pre-empt, price signals, or perhaps wait until OPEC's meeting in mid-June before raising output," JP Morgan analysts headed by Lawrence Eagles said.

"By then, it will be too late to prevent higher prices and could extend what we see as a mid-quarter blip to a much more serious and destabilizing price surge that could distort stock-holding behavior and economic growth, leading to more significant problems in stabilizing the oil market," the bank said in the report dated March 24.

Oil Trades Near Two-Week High on Libya Conflict; JPMorgan Raises Forecast

Oil traded near a two-week high in New York as continued fighting in Libya fanned concern that unrest in the Middle East will further disrupt supply.

Libyan airspace 'under control,' with new strikes

BENGHAZI, Libya – France declared Libya's airspace "under control" on Friday, after NATO agreed to take command of the no-fly zone in a compromise that appeared to set up dual command centers. Moammar Gadhafi drew a rare rebuke from the African Union, which called for a transitional government and elections.

Syrians hold demos as media banned from key city

DARAA, Syria – Thousands of Syrians took to the streets Friday demanding reforms and mourning dozens of protesters who were killed during a violent, weeklong crackdown that has brought extraordinary pressure on the country's autocratic regime.

Ivory Coast Braces for Civil War as Violence Escalates

At least 52 civilians have been killed in the past week amid escalating violence instigated by an authoritarian President who refuses to heed the will of his people. No, not in Libya, or Yemen, or Bahrain, but in the West African nation of Ivory Coast, which is struggling for media attention amid crises elsewhere.

Firms pull staff out of Yemen

Foreign oil and gas producers are pulling staff out of Yemen while the French energy group Total, the country's biggest energy investor, has warned of possible force majeure affecting exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Unrest in the country could lead to supply disruptions, a Total spokeswoman told customers of Yemen LNG, a group the company leads.

"This is a notification of a possible force majeure event, because for now production is still ongoing," she told Reuters.

Report on Oil Spill Pinpoints Failure of Blowout Preventer

HOUSTON — A buckled section of drill pipe caused the malfunction of supposedly fail-safe equipment when a BP well in the Gulf of Mexico blew out last April, killing 11 workers and spewing millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, according to a report released by the Interior Department on Wednesday.

The report, a detailed analysis by a Norwegian company that was hired as part of the federal investigation into the spill, could lead to design changes in blowout preventers, the industry-standard devices that are the last line of protection to prevent drilling disasters. It might also prompt changes in the procedures that rig workers use to control subsea wells.

The lessons of the blowout preventer's failure at the Deepwater Horizon: An editorial

The report does not exonerate or place blame for the BOP's failure. Civil and criminal investigations of the incident are likely to do that. But regulators clearly must ensure that all blowout preventers are maintained and operated to current standards. They also need to revisit those standards in light of the new findings.

Even current standards, however, had not always been enforced before the BP spill. BOPs are required to be pulled up, docked, inspected and certified every three to five years, but a Transocean official last year testified that the Deepwater Horizon's BOP was probably not in compliance. The BOP had not gone through a certification since it was first delivered to the rig in 2001.

Revisiting the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Until a year ago, the marine scientist Samantha Joye studied a fairly obscure natural phenomenon: the seepage of oil from undersea deposits into deepwater environments. Then, in the wake of the BP Deepwater Horizon accident, she felt compelled to turn her attention to an unnatural phenomenon: oil spills.

Breach in reactor suspected at Japanese nuke plant

TOKYO – A suspected breach in the core of a reactor at the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant could mean more serious radioactive contamination, Japanese officials revealed Friday, as the prime minister called the country's ongoing fight to stabilize the plant "very grave and serious."

A somber Prime Minister Naoto Kan sounded a pessimistic note at a briefing hours after nuclear safety officials announced what could be a major setback in the urgent mission to stop the plant from leaking radiation, two weeks after a devastating earthquake and tsunami disabled it.

Asahi: Fukushima Accident Classified as Level 6 Case

A leading Japanese daily says the level of radiation from the crippled Fukushima Number One nuclear power plant in Japan is classified as a level 6 incident.

Rules Faulted For Poor Data On Failures At Reactors

Nuclear power plants in the United States are not reporting some equipment failures to the government because of badly written rules, the inspector general of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has warned.

Nuclear Safety Lessons Start With Manholes, Axes

The next generation of plants must be built to work with nature, and human nature, rather than against them, Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its March 28 edition. They must be safe by design, so that even if everything goes wrong, the outcome won’t be disaster.

In the language of the nuclear industry, they must be “walkaway safe,” meaning that even if all power is lost and the coolant leaks and the operators flee the scene, there will be no meltdown of the core, no fire in the spent fuel rods, and no bursts of radioactive steam into the atmosphere.

What's next for nuclear power?

The disaster at Fukushima is raising antinuclear sentiment around the world. But can society afford to live without this carbon-free energy source? Six experts weigh in.

The meltdown in Japan and our energy future

Wherever you stand on controversial energy issues of the day, I think you would have to admit we are in a pickle. If you don’t believe in peak oil, do you believe that fossil fuel consumption can increase indefinitely, which is what we currently require of it? Can it do so without causing disastrous global climate change and more mistakes like Deepwater Horizon?

Wherever you stand on nuclear power, do you see us adding hundreds of plants over the next couple decades to meet worldwide demand?

Why Buffett Says High Oil Prices Are Not a Signal to Buy Oil Stocks

For the past few years I have been reading everything I can about world oil demand and supply and also been analyzing publicly-traded oil companies on a pretty steady basis. My basic thinking has evolved into a belief that the world is heading for a real oil crunch as demand for oil increases in emerging economies, while our maximum daily production rates are pretty close to having peaked already. As a result, I’ve loaded my portfolio with companies that own undervalued oil reserves.

Oil: Where is the spare capacity?

Call it peak resources, peak oil, the end of cheap oil, whatever – the fact is there is a finite amount of natural resources on the planet and we are consuming an inordinate amount of it. At some point, the demand for these resources will outstrip the affordable supply. This naturally induces a parabolic move in price due to inelastic demand – and that's when the Easter island question presents itself...

The World Beyond ‘Peak Oil’

Most of the increase in production that has come in total oil produced worldwide in the past ten years or more have come from three sources: previously underdeveloped or neglected regions such as Russia, Central Asia, and Africa; deepwaters in the Gulf of Mexico, offshore Brazil and a few other places; and really unconventional places, like the oil sands of Canada, Venezuela’s heavy oil deposits, and, most dramatically, the shale gas formations in North America, which also contain liquids.

Some of the exciting new discoveries offshore and in frontier areas like tropical Africa are large but expensive, are taking a long time to ramp up to full production — such as the deep salt sites offshore Brazil — and will only replace the declining production elsewhere, while demand in China, India, and Africa relentlessly increases. In the sense that the only net increase in production has come from heavy oil, oil sands or EOR, then indeed Peak Oil has really come to pass.

PG&E Offers Critics Option to Turn Off Smart Meters

SAN FRANCISCO — Pacific Gas and Electric proposed a solution on Thursday for Northern Californians who do not want so-called smart electricity meters installed in their homes: they must accept them but may have their wireless radio signals turned off, the company said.

First Wind Starts Up Oahu Wind Farm With Largest Battery Storage System

First Wind Holdings Inc., a closely held developer, said a 30-megawatt wind farm in Hawaii has gone into commercial service, the first renewable energy project to be completed with backing from the U.S. Energy Department’s loan guarantee program.

The Kahuku Wind project on Oahu has the largest installed battery storage system connected to a U.S. wind farm, the Boston-based company said in a statement today.

Now, Starter Homes Boast Solar Arrays

Among the standard features offered for new homes at Manzanita at Paseo del Sol, a KB Home development in a desert suburb southeast of Los Angeles, are nine-foot ceilings, six-panel doors and a 1.4-kilowatt solar array.

While KB Home has offered rooftop photovoltaic panels as an option for some time, the home builder now will make solar arrays from SunPower standard equipment on more than 800 homes in 10 communities being built in Southern California.

Cooling Delhi Hospital Using Heat to Cut Power Sees India Partner Germany

India and Germany are using a New Delhi hospital to demonstrate how heat harnessed for cooling can help contain surging electricity demand in the world’s second- fastest growing major economy.

German Energy Company Hits Headwinds in India

FRANKFURT — With Japan’s crisis raising new questions about nuclear power, this might seem an ideal time for a company that is a global leader in alternative energy and has a big presence in an energy-starved country, India.

But for Enercon of Germany, one of the world’s biggest makers of wind turbines, India is shaping up as a disaster.

The company says it has just lost its entire Indian subsidiary, a major operation with annual sales of more than $566 million, after a dispute with a local partner and a run-in with Mumbai law enforcement authorities.

Enercon also says it has lost control of its patents in India and fears its technology could be appropriated by competitors in a country where wind energy is a big and growing market.

Throwing Together a Meal, One Swap at a Time

Ms. Solomon’s event, which is now more than a year old, is one of a number of food swaps popping up around the Bay Area. Taking cues from the food co-operatives of the 1970s, these urban dwellers are restructuring their food economies around face-to-face relationships.

The Local Food Revolution

A local food revolution is quietly unfolding in our midst right here in Boulder County. It’s a revolution aimed at rebuilding this region’s capacity to feed its own people, to ensure food security and food sovereignty for all.

Traffic Pollution Doubles Lung Transplant Death Rate, Study Finds

Air pollution from car traffic may double the risk of organ rejection and death in lung transplant patients, Belgian researchers report in a new study.

The study, which tracked nearly 300 lung transplant recipients over more than a decade, found that patients living less than 600 feet from a main road were twice as likely to develop a severe lung inflammation associated with organ rejection within several years of surgery.

Europe Prepares to Impose Carbon-Reduction Measures on Maritime Transport

The European Union is preparing to include maritime transport in its emissions-trading system or impose charges on carbon discharges from ships should international talks fail to cut pollution from the industry.

There was a short segment on last night's CBS Evening News in which it was claimed that speculation was the cause of the recent run up in oil prices. The presentation implied that all oil is being bought and sold thru the future's market and that various actors in the market are playing the market to push prices up. But, most oil isn't traded that way, so there's no connection to the underlying reality of limited production. Just another example of the MSM's efforts to shift the focus of the problem away from the reality of the finite nature of fossil fuels. I learned about the report from a friend who bought the whole story, hook, line and sinker...

E. Swanson

There is no way that all of these talking heads are smart enough to know the truth about peak oil, and still support the idea that the markets control everything. I think most of them truly believe in their own propaganda. But, we don't have to get all worked up about it, because reality is picking up momentum as we speak. Do you guys remember when Baghdad Bob was standing there saying the Americans were not in Iraq, as the tanks drove by?

"Be assured. CBS is safe, protected"


ah those were the days......

the 5 horses* are on their way soon to an country nearer you than you think....

* 5th horse is Chaos / Kaos


Yeah, but he left the band before they made it big.

Ignorance is Bliss. Take the blue pill and let Uncle Sam pay for your pain meds by releasing oil from the SPR.

... or Soma (a la "Brave New World")

Just had an OMG moment. Baghdad Bob, whom I found to be quite charming, is basically no different than the bulk of the main stream media. Don't look behind the curtain!

You mean like when CNN was making a big dramatic show of turning off their broadcasts from Beijing during the Tienanmen Square "event" while NHK is broadcasting covert footage of Chinese tanks firing on Chinese tanks?

Chinese tanks fired on other Chinese tanks during the Tiananmen Square demonstrations/massacre?

Reading the Wikipedia (not that Wikipedia is definitive) article, the only reference I found was this:

Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) rolled up the roads, firing ahead and off to the sides, perhaps killing or wounding their own soldiers in the process. BBC reporter Kate Adie spoke of "indiscriminate fire" within the square.

Do you have links to this video or other source materials?

I wish I did have source material. Unfortunately this happened prior to the ubiquitous posting of videos on the internet. I have looked for it repeatedly over the years, but never been able to find it.

I know what the "official" story is. All I can tell you is that I saw the footage with my own eyes. There had been some conjecture in the 24 hours preceding that a tank unit had gone over to the side of the protestors. The footage I saw was taken from inside a moving car as it moved down the street next to the square. From the way the footage appeared it was clear the person holding the camera was ducked down in the back street and surreptitiously filming. It is, of course, possible that this was "indiscriminate fire." A shot of some kind came from one corner of the square and impacted a tank at another corner. The hit was direct and enough to knock the tank off its tread and pushing the tank around.

That's how I remember it.

Analysts fiddle while oil product supplies burn down

The article up top, with comments by JP Morgan, are quite typical of the misinformed analysis of the oil markets we have seen in 2011, where the implication is that OPEC nations will supply most if not all of the oil needed to replace supplies lost from Libya. Aside from the usual 'blame it on speculators' routine, mentioned in the post above, so called 'analysts' absolutely refuse to look at some of the most simple basic facts. The most basic fact being: OPEC oil exports are now in the midst of steep, and accelerating, decline.

Yesterday, the tanker tracker firm, 'Oil Movements' reported that OPEC exports are now estimated to be down more than 1 million bpd from a month ago. For those that don't know, OPEC uses export statistics from OM in its own oil market surveys. Obviously if other OPEC member countries were really going to increase production, using their almost mythical 'spare capacity', then we we would have seen more than just a fraction of lost exports from Libya being replaced by other OPEC member countries by now.

It's about time we face up to reality, or at the very least, stop filling the media with nonsense about oil price speculators or that OPEC is going to ride to the rescue and provide all the oil we need. We have bigger things to worry about now: political events are spinning out of control, and nature has dealt us a cruel blow. Despite reports that Japan will use less oil after their recent series of disasters, they have in fact increased their import demands for refined oil products - such as diesel, heating oil, and gasoline. Already US inventories of gasoline are declining at the most rapid rate ever seen at this time of year, and note they were declining before recent events in Japan and even before Libya had cut its first barrel of exports.

Shortages of oil products are coming, sooner or later. At first, it may be just a local shortage of gasoline or diesel, but problems will quickly spread nationally. It may be best to ignore the unsupported opinions about oil supplies bandied about, and to begin preparing for something worse. To mitigate supply interruptions, the US will resort to using the Strategic Petroleum Reserve this year. But keep in mind the logistics of getting SPR oil from the Louisiana-Texas border to the rest of the country may not go smoothly.


Down 1 mbd from a month ago? Clearly, Libya is completely shut down and nobody else in OPEC has done much to make up for it. Doesn't anyone else follow these shipment figures? The message couldn't be clearer -- don't look to OPEC for relief.

PS, on CNBC this afternoon an investment dude being interviewed was asked if oil had a chance of going up to $200 bbl this year. His answer was that once it reaches $120 the economic damage will prevent it from going higher. I thought his answer was pretty accurate as well as provocative. But did the interviewer follow up with a question about what the economic damage might be? Nope! She just mentioned that there would be demand destruction and that was the end of it. Ha -- as if demand destruction is some kind of magic that reduces consumption of oil with no real pain.

There is a tremendous amount of pain being experienced now, especially the unemployed who have not found jobs as a result of the so called recovery we are in. Unless we decide to directly subsidize gas prices, for example, the market will eventually yield an oil price that will induce more demand destruction. But that's ok for those at the top who will have plenty of money salted away even if the demand destruction actually impacts their income and assets.

On the other hand, if we are ever to reduce carbon emissions, we need the demand for all fossil fuels, including oil, to go down. Most people will find that unacceptable under an economic system that requires massive demand to keep growing, never mind that most of this growth doesn't seem to be trickling down.

The current economic system and the way it distributes income is incompatible with the required demand destruction so we will be in a continuous cycle of partial, anemic recovery and recession due to oil and other energy prices.

On the other hand, we can just blame it all on Obama which simplifies the proposed solutions.

The current economic system and the way it distributes income

Don't forget the parasitic loads on the income in the forms of insurance, health care, theft, taxes and whatever other spending one can noodle out.

Libya has been declared a war zone by shipping associations, effective on March 18. So we are dealing with a near total loss of oil exports out of Libya.

OPEC members said they would 'offer' additional supplies to make up for Libya, but so far their offer hasn't resulted in much more additional supplies. Oil Movements says that Saudi Arabia has increased exports by 200,000 bpd in the month ending April 9 over the prior month, which seems accurate to me. Other Persian Gulf members and west African countries have made some increases too. But with exports of 1.3 mbpd from Libya now shut in, there had been a stated OPEC objective that they would make up at least 700,000 bpd.

They failed to even meet their low target of replacing half of Libya's oil.

As far demand destruction, keep in mind that while demand may be reduced after $120, that would not prevent the price of oil from going higher is demand doesn't fall as fast as the supply loss. Despite what many say, that Libya only produced 2% of world supplies, that 2% was high quality/low lifting cost oil that was well suited to refiners' needs.

That loss is not being made up and somewhere shortages will now occur, with the only way to prevent them is releasing strategic reserves.

Phew, I was worried the price of gasoline was going up. Glad to know the watchdog, CBS, is keeping an eye on things.

"Source of latest Gulf oil spill determined"


"the company claimed in those reports that it had spilled less than five gallons of crude -- an amount far too small to account for the scope of the spill shown in aerial photographs. Nor would five gallons of crude square with reports of oil washing up over a 30 mile stretch of Louisiana's shoreline."

Don in Maine

From the story up top: "Firms pull staff out of Yemen"

"This is a notification of a possible force majeure event, because for now production is still ongoing,"


Couldn't they just say Peak Oil is causing a possible force majeure event?

I wanted to mention some posts. Matt Mushalik from Australia (who posts as "Matt" on TOD) has a new post called

Libya: yet another (peak) oil war.

I wrote a Libya post on Our Finite World a while back, called

Why all the concern about Libya?

I am not convinced that a stable government can be established, once all the bombing is done.

I have also written three nuclear-related posts. The latest is

Is loss of electricity a risk for spent nuclear fuel?

This is interesting:

1735: More from the African Union in Addis Ababa (see 1719). Former Libyan Prime Minister Abdul-Ati al-Obeidi says Libya is ready to talk to opposition rebels and accept political reforms, AP reports.

Will the rebels buy it? Will Gadaffi and his entire family agree to stand trial?


Thanks Gail for all the good work.

Reading about the BP blow out above a terrible misuse has occurred to me. Some probably already caught on but for 36 years I grew accustomed to the situation and couldn't see the forest for the trees.

There was no BOP on the BP well. There has never been a BOP on any well ever drilled...anywhere. Just like no cop ever wears a bullet-proof vest. There is no such thing as a bullet-proof vest. There are bullet-resistant vests. There are no blow out preventers. There are well head systems that assist in controlling the flow of fluids out of a drilling well.

We'll certainly see improvements in flow control systems (formally known as BOP's). But there's a better chance of developing a bullet-proof vest than developing a "BOP" IMHO. If nothing else the proper implementation of a flow control system will hinge on human involvement. Since we haven't developed a method of curing human nature this risk will always be with us. The public, whether they realizes it or if the politicians never tell the truth, the industry will never have a blow out "preventer'. How every much better the new generation of control systems may be, the risk will always be there. Either accept the risk in the light of day or ban the drilling. There's no middle ground on this issue IMHO. We just need to be adults and make an informed decision. One portion of the population will be pleased...the others unhappy. But the decision still needs to be made. Stopping drilling and then starting up again on the premise that the risk has changed is not making an informed decision...it's a stall tactic IMHO.


The traditional BOP that lived on surface had a fairly decent chance of doing its job. As we went to deeper water the BOP was placed further away from the drill floor, the less chance the BOP had of being a useful tool.
As the crew did not realize they had a kick until the mud came up through the rotary bushings, then there was a massive amount of gas that had already passed the BOP. The crew sealed their fate by directing this flow to the Mud Gas Separator (MGS).

The fact the shears did not cut and seal the pipe would have saved the bulk of the oil pollution, unfortunately the crew would still have been dead and the DWH would still be at the bottom of the Gulf.

Rockman as you have said before, nothing works better than keeping the hole full!

pusher - That was really my point. You know better than I what kills on a rig: human error and not typically the equipment. Just sent a young hand to the hospital yesterday with a ripped off thumbnail. Didn't have his gloves on..."was in a hurry". How many times have you heard that excuse? Can redesign a BOP...can't redesign the human mind.

My statement was a tad overboard but just wanted to make the point: stop wringing your hands. Drill or don't drill. Accept the risks or give up on those reserves. As I've stated before: doesn't matter to me pesonally if we ever drill another Deep Water well in the GOM. The govt should lay the cold hard facts out there for the public and let them call the shots. It's the public oil and their environment.

Had a student weigh out a chemical with trace cyanide, but he did not relocate the scale in the fume hood. When he got the hit of cyanide, he went ghost white.

He ran up to me and said he might die. I said why did you weight the chemical in the main lab. He said he "forgot." Of course, I let him sweat it out for a minute and then said, you won't die but please use your head.

I think that is very true about human nature. BTW he just got a sniff of cyanide and not enough to hurt him, but still ... hard to teach people that the less lazy way is better when it comes to safety. Sooner or later something bad will happen when you forget your googles or gloves.


That aside. The BOP design for Deepwater means that it will be too hard to know when to hit the kill switch since you are miles from the wellhead. I never thought of that.

So do you need an automatic design that warns and kicks in? Sounds almost impossible to do and when it goes off humans may ask whether it is a faulty measurement and then ignore it. So unless it is automatic it may work. BUt if not people will question is and perhaps keep going thinking it is faulty.

Not a good situation, but perhaps all we have left.

Oct - very short version of the story: 1979 I awake to sound of H2S alarm. Run out of trailer half awake. Four foot high steps made a right angle turn...no hand rail (safety code violation). I hit the ground knocking the breath out of me. So I'm laying on the ground having trouble breathing. I'm sure you know how H2S kills so you know what I think as I hear the alarm sounding. Other geologist knew it was a false alarm and stood there laughing at me till he almost puked.

As we say: there is the plan...and then there's what really happens. BTW I had already been told to forget about the emergency O2 tanks: they were empty - rig hand would suck them dry when they came to work to recover from hangovers.

I know about H2S. Now that was a colorful story of safety issues. Handrails are there for a reason. We do forget until we need them ;-)

H2S and Cyanide smell awful at low levels (ask my wife) but really we have smell receptors that tell us to get the h3ll out of Dodge when we smell those things. I can think of a few others too (butyric acid, cadaverine) lol -- dead nasty, contaminated things.

I always worry when the fire departments role through the labs. I know something is unsafe almost always in the lab.

As an aside, my father, a retired Chem E (plant mgr), had a worker open the wrong value in the plant which unfortunately created H2S. He was hit with such a massive amount of it in a short time that he died. Big safety problem and my dad felt terrible about it, never wanting a person to get hurt on his watch. Someone also directed hydrogen peroxide cleaning solution go to the wrong place, making one of the hydrogen explosions. Hard to keep everything safe in industry, but they try my Dad tells me. Their chlorine tanker is under heavy security now. Those tankers are likely the most dangerous thing on the site.


As a production and pilot plant manager, I have to say that it was one happy day when I left the industry and didn't have "safety" responsibility looming over me because we used some nasty stuff.

The company I worked for had had one major disaster where a dust explosion killed 14 men and burned down a pilot plant I had on the site. One day we were rigging chemical reactors to take to another facility and a body dog was out back looking for some remains. I kept praying that there wasn't part of a body there. FWIW, they never did find two men. All they had was part of a skull and rib cage. The buried the remains in a common grave with both names on the headstone so the families could collect insurance. (This was pre-DNA.)

I also saw how little the company cared about its workers when a ChE and I were sent out to determine other plant fatalities. All the company cared about was "can we be sued?". It left such a bad taste in my mouth that it initiated my desire to get out. Before someone says that all companies are not like that, I'm will to bet that the boards of any company ask that question from the get-go.


Before someone says that all companies are not like that,

All allows for just 1 firm to "not be like that" to be true.

But the more people a firm has, the worse it seems to be.

Eric – I wish I could say your observation wasn’t true but that’s been my experience. But I have worked in some larger groups where individual managers take safety serious. In my current position I have absolute control over safety. Even my owner can’t over ride me…he can only fire me. LOL. Fortunately he values human beings more than money so it’s never an issue. All my subs know my only rule: ignore safety and you get run off on the spot. Ignore safety and someone gets hurt you get run off on the spot and I’ll dedicate the rest of my life making sure they never work again in the oil patch. Safety is a matter for me to obsess over. In my youth I had to help a drilling super drag the dead body of a crushed hand off the drill floor. That and a few incidents where someone else almost got me hurt/killed and it’s easy to understand.

Oct – To add a little more flavor to my story the drill rig had two emergency boxes with wind socks on opposite sides of the location. The company man told me the O2 tanks were in them but empty. I obviously asked why he didn’t have them refilled. Simple answer: the hands would just use them up again and he didn’t want to put it on his daily cost report. The management at Mobil Oil wouldn’t like to see that.

When I use a tank of O2 here in the lab -- it costs me $10. So you could in theory refill those little tanks for $0.25 or something.But the guys sucking down the O2 should have been told something scary -- like they had them on video tape and the company was not pleased that they were sucking down tanks. LOL. Scare them a little.

After my student smelled cyanide, he reformed his ways. He weighs out the chemical in the fume hood. Fear is sometimes our best friend.

Eric – I wish I could say your observation wasn’t true but that’s been my experience.

I do not disagree with your experience either, for my observations meet yours.


1) the use of absolute words in almost all cases means a case can be found that does not meet the point being made
2) There are firms which are far better than others...or at least that's the way the public sees 'em. Bob's Red Mill, Bronners Soap, The carpet maker Interface Inc and if Ritter chocolate's leadership was willing to make an effort to switch to a totally new business line over the concerns about what mankind was doing I'm gonna go with that group can't be all bad.


In the case of Bob's Red Mill, the public certainly does see them as being a nice, employee owned company etc - and it is. The problem for BRM, is that they are more dependent on oil than the nasty, big milling companies they are competing with.

There is a video on their website (www.bobsredmill.com)that show how the place runs - very nice, efficient, eat-off-the -floor clean operation. The video shows a semi truck bringing grain in from Saskatchewan, Canada, for processing, and they proudly tell how the finished product gets shipped all over the country.

So the rye grown in Sk gets trucked to Milwaukie, Oregon (1141 miles according to Google maps), and then gets trucked to NY (2902 miles, assuming most direct route), for a total of 4043miles. We will assume the trucks can backload, though in reality, the Sk grain truck probably can't.

Now, semi trucks average 100 ton-mpg, or 100,000 kg-mpg, so a 1kg bag of BRM rolled oats has used 4043/100,000 = 0.04gal diesel. This costs about 16c at todays fuel price ($4/gal). The grain itself cost $25c - $250/ton, so we have immediately added $160 ton for transport fuel. The energy value of the oats is about 16MJ/Kg, and the energy value of the 0.04 gal of diesel is 5.6MJ, so one third of the energy in the food has already been used to transport it. There is also more oil in that nice little plastic bag, and, of course, the oil and NG (for fertiliser) used to grow the grain in the first place.

So when a New Yorker buys a bag of BRM oats because they like the nice company, they are consuming much more oil than buying the same stuff from one of the big co's that probably got the oats from the midwest, processed them there, and then sent to NY.

Not saying BRM isn't a nice company, but they will face a bigger challenge from rising fuel prices than the big boys, who can buy, and often send, by rail - much harder for small operations. If BRM set up a subsidiary mill in the east, and bought from local growers there, the picture would change dramatically. I'm sure some upstate NY farms would be happy grow oats and sell to BRM if they could get the extra $160/ton they have saved BRM in fuel - and you can probably double that for the total transport cost.

This is one of the problems for these boutique/organic operations - the greater the area they sell to, the greater the oil usage of their product, and can easily exceed the non-organic stuff. Clearly, a part of the premium we pay for organic stuff is in the very non organic transport of it.

This is why I think that any packaged food should be labelled for both where it is grown, and processed - then savvy consumers will work this out for themselves. A package that merely says product of USA or Canada is of little help, other than knowing it at least didn't come from China.

In this context - food miles - I think Jeffrey Rubin has it spot on. Unless more stuff can get shipped by rail, the food world is indeed going to get smaller.

The video shows a semi truck bringing grain in from Saskatchewan, Canada, for processing, and they proudly tell how the finished product gets shipped all over the country.

So the rye grown in Sk gets trucked to Milwaukie, Oregon (1141 miles according to Google maps),

I seriously doubt the grain truck drives all the way from Saskatchewan to Oregon. More likely, the farmer in Saskatchewan trucks it to his local grain terminal (there are about 800 of them in Saskatchewan), and then Canadian Pacific or Canadian National Railway hauls it in a unit train of 100 grain cars to Vancouver, BC. Most likely, one of the American railways takes it from there to Portland, Oregon, and Bob's Red truck picks it up at one of the grain terminals there.

The railways probably get around 500 ton-miles per gallon of diesel fuel doing this, but if they had to they could electrify their lines and use none.

Bob may well ship to his customers by truck since he has a boutique business, but if it was too expensive he could pack his product into cargo containers and ship them on double-stacked container trains to New York at 200 containers per train. Again, the rail line could be electrified.

RMG, in the case of Rye, and other specialist grains, I suspect it is trucked. According to the SK gov, all of $13.6m worth of rye was exported in 09 (to all destinations) That wouldn't make up too many trainloads, and probably isn't even handled at the bulk terminals - Viterra doesn't handle it.
In the case of the specialty and organic grains they buy, those will likely go by road too, rather than be mixed with everything else, or even contaminated with it , at bulk grain terminals. In the case of their gluten free products (even gluten free oats) it has to be harvested with and transported in dedicated equipment that have never seen wheat/barley/rye

Point is, BRM does a lot of specialist grains, and most of those won't be shipped through the normal channels as they are set up for large volumes of a few grains, not small volumes of many grains.

You could send it to BRM in a container, of course, and some probably do, though that wasn't evident in the video.

Even if done by rail, it has still travelled 3000 miles, and incurred fuel and other costs in doing so. Someone on the east coast buying this stuff is still increasing the fuel usage of their food compared to buying local (if available) or even mainstream. Sk to Or to east coast is probably about the longest that any grain product would travel to reach an American customer.

I have no problem with BRM making, or their customers buying, these boutique products - I buy some myself. But if that east coast buyer thinks they are somehow reducing their carbon/oil footprint buy doing so, they are mistaken - they are actually increasing it.

And, while they could electrify, there appears to be little movement in this direction. None of the majors have said anything about doing so, and none of the US gov funding for rail projects is for electrification. I support the idea, but I just can't see them doing it any time soon.

But if that east coast buyer thinks they are somehow reducing their carbon/oil footprint buy doing so, they are mistaken -

They were brought into the conversation over the observation that 'Corporate structure == bad behavior'. Not every conversation on TOD has to be about oil :-)

A good place to remind everyone that today is the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Fire, the event that made us aware of worker safety for the next century.

It seems we are forgetting those lessons.

.. And Democracy Now covered it today, including a story that just happened in a Bangladesh fabric/clothing company in December 2010, with almost eerily identical events. As workers on a high floor discovered they were facing locked doors, they jumped together from the windows, and people below thought they were seeing bundles of clothes being tossed out, just like in the Triangle fire.

With deference to ROCKMAN and others closer to the firing line, I know it does no good to dehumanize everyone in the business environment, but it seems just about like ROCK's comment about the Politicians, who seem to simply be in a system that has painted them into a corner that forces these things to develop.

Like Rape and Murder, maybe they are ultimately unstoppable, but that doesn't mean we don't also give it all we can to oppose and outrun them.

It must also be said that these women at Triangle were earning .14/hour, while the Bangladeshis, who are making your Baby Gap and Walmart clothes are working for under .35/hour, a century later, which adjusted to the currency is apparently about 1/10 of what the New York Girls were making.

Slavery lives, at your service!

We can drop the 'seems' qualifier:


March 24, 2011

Maine Governor Paul LePage has ordered state workers to remove from the state labor department a 36-foot mural depicting the state’s labor history. Among other things the mural illustrates the 1937 shoe mill strike in Auburn and Lewiston. It also features the iconic “Rosie the Riveter,” who in real life worked at the Bath Iron Works. One panel shows my predecessor at the U.S. Department of Labor, Frances Perkins, who was buried in Newcastle, Maine.

The LePage Administration is also renaming conference rooms that had carried the names of historic leaders of American labor, as well as former Secretary Perkins.

The Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire:


146 people died.

Speaking of sulfides, before I learned decent English, in chemistry lab I mistook dimethyl sulfate for dimethyl sulfide. One stinks, the other kills. Nobody died...

I disagree.
There are inherently safe things you can do but they tend to be very boring with little gain.
For Big Oil, it's all about the Big Score--whether that's a Macondo strike or bribing Teodorin Obiang.

What that you say, BP got Khadafi's Lockerbee guy released?
Price of doing business.

I saw a TV documentary about Nixon. During WW2, he need to make money so asked a good player how to win at poker. The guy told him
to only play when you were sure to win, otherwise to fold. It would be extremely dull, you'd have to play a lot of hands but in the end you'd come out ahead. Nixon followed his advice and became a consistant winner at poker.

We can be responsible and still get our oil, but things will be rather dull at Big Oil Headquarters.

Rockman - Nothing will stop a blowout if you don't activate it until after the gas has gotten past it. It seems the crew tried to activate the Variable Bore Ram more then 10 minutes after the gas started flowing past the BOP.

All the more reason to make sure the primary cement job is good instead of always keeping an overbalanced condition and never knowing whether you have a good cement job or not, but assuming you do. So we need scientific research!! Is LMR ready to publish the results of her science project yet? The world needs to know about channeling in nitrified cement.

Bruce - and that's exactly my point: we might learn how to drill every well risk free if we develop the technology. But the "perfect BOP" won't stop a blow out if it isn't handled properly. I suspect you and others know what a "deadman's switch" is. Ask me how many times I've seen a deadman switch subverted on an offshore rig.

An air traffic controller is known to be a great safety factor at an airport. Except when they fall asleep in the tower. The best com system in the world ain't worth crap when no one answers the phone.

Rockman - In the previous Oil Drum, we started an analysis of the DNV report, but here is a factoid. The decisionmakers in the drill shack are either dead or haunted by those who died. That ought to serve as a warning to others. If those numbnuts had closed the VBR a couple of minutes faster (maybe only 1 or 2), the drill pipe would have been centered and the VBR would have shut in the well. They still would have had one hell of a burp, but cutting off the driving pressure from below would have mitigated what actually occurred even with gas above the BOP. If they had also diverted overboard as required by the Transocean policy, they would be alive today.

Darwinian natural selection at work!

BTW Make sure LMR knows that good science requires multiple trials with repeatable results and independent trials (not just Dad). I feel a party coming on. Cindy Lauper is right, "Girls just want to have fun!".

Bruce - The guilt can be overwhelming. Back 2000 I knew a company man who sat at his house on his days off and put a bullet in his temple. He just had his 3rd near fatal accident in as many wells. He didn't leave a note so folks just had to guess his motivation. That's such a touchy subject with the familis to consider that any of the resposibilty for the deaths falls on one of the dead hands.

You know, we discuss a lot of stuff here. Sometimes we get all theoretical. Sometimes we get all indignant and pissed off, Etc. etc.

At the end of the day, we are all just people. When you think of the stuff we ask some people to take on board, to take responsibility for, well, you have to pause. Even if you think "the system" generates impossible positions for people, they are still people, doing what they felt they had to do.

I'm blithering now, but there it is.

sgage, here are times when you come across as a real "sage". Please keep blithering.

The report says deadman switch was enabled and it still didn't work.

Here's the words from report:
"While the conditions necessary for AMF/Deadman existed immediately following the first explosion/loss of rig power, because of the inconsistent behavior of original Solenoid 103Y and the state of the 27V battery bank on the Blue Control Pod, it is at best questionable whether the sequence was completed."

I found the risk analysis you posited awhile ago quite memorable and accurate. The risk is 50/50. At the end of the day, either it worked or it didn't. BOPs built 20 years ago either worked or didn't. And BOPs that are built in 2030 will either work or not.

Following this thread I keep thinking that the same logic holds for the nuclear industry. A safety feature either works or it doesn't and we are dependent on increasing numbers of safety features and fallable human beings. When a critical safety divice doesn't work there is hell to pay. Nothing really guarantees that at some point somebody will not be distracted, goofing off or just unlucky and something terrible will happen. Both the Macando disaster and the Fukushima were, in a way, inevitable. Humans are periously at the edge of what you can expect them to manage, both in the quantity of dangerous circumstances and the magnitude of what can happen. Or maybe we are, like Wiley coyote, past the edge in that catagory too.

Thank you for comments that are probably more insightful than most would realize.

Yes, the logic holds for nuclear industry. The logic is very simple and holds for any endeavor. And the endeavor dictates the undesirable consequences. So, if I combine my comment with your question, I would ask, are undesirable consequences inevitable?

That's easy. They are 50/50... So, no, they are not inevitable. That would be 100/0.

The point I would make is we need to rigoruosly study and understand mistakes that we make that allowed undesirable consequences to rear their ugly face. With the knowlege garnered from this endeaver, hopefully, we can prevent these mistakes from happening again.

Your comment makes me wonder if an undesirable consequence could be what scientists would call an extinction event for humans. I certainly hope not, but I would struggle to see how this could be either recognized or stopped if it should arise.

This brings us to one of my philosophical debates with my friend Rockman. I think a major improvement would be to build a defense in depth, more things that have to fail for a fatal accident to occur, and specifically with regard to Macondo, that would focus on finding a better way to ensure a good primary cement job. I am disinclined to let Halliburton skate because they pass off their liability in the contract they sign putting ultimate authority with the leaseholder. Halliburton's nitrified cement failed.

I would be disinclined to ever use nitrified cement for a pressure barrier, particularly at depth. It seems that the crew of DWH had experience only with using it for spudding in the large, non-pressure bearing casings. As Mack the Knife would say, "it's there for the weight". It is not there for the pressure barrier.

So while I grant that it is a difficult job to do, improving primary cement jobs ought to be on the top of the list. Far too many cement jobs fail and all that happens is Halliburton gets paid more. You get more of what you subsidize, and leaseholders are paying more for bad cement jobs than they do for good ones.

I did notice that the BOEMRE now REQUIRES a negative pressure test on deepwater wells, where in the past it was a rare event. But the test is a way to determine whether you actually have a good cement job. It is a lot easier to close the annular and displace down to 3000 feet through the drill pipe and choke lines to run the negative test, than displacing the riser as in DWH. Plus, it if fails the test, you close the choke line and open the annular to kill the well, so it is safer too.

Nobody would have died if the primary cement job had held.

Robert - Sorry...too tired for the long reply you dessrve. My short answer: Halliburon didn't make the decision to pump N2 cmt...BP did. H. may have recommended it but BP made the decision to run it instead of a more conventional cmt. Likewise the drilling contactor didn't order the hole to be displaced to an underbalanced state...BP did. Halliburton could have screwed up royally and pumped the worse cmt job in the entire history of the oil patch and the well would not have blown out if BP had chose to leave the heavy drill mud in the hole.

And that brings me back to my point about risk: the "perfect" drilling technology will fail if human interaction prevents it from doing it's job. And please don't tell about having only the smartest folks at the controls. Right now the hot Eagle Ford play is pulling every worm they can out of the bars/video arcades. It's getting very scary out there. The body count coming will unfortunately support this IMHO.

Rockman - Iunderstand that the labor pool leaves a lot to be desired. But let me tell you a story about empowering unskilled labor to do productive jobs and thereby provide jobs. You are old enough to remember McDonalds restaurant of the late 1970s & 1980s. Arguably the greatest job creator of the Twentieth Century was Ray Kroc of McDonalds. Somewhere between 1 in ten and 1 in 8 of the workers in the American labor force at one point in time has worked in a McDonalds. In the late 1970s there was the oil price "shock". I worked with the engineers in McDs advanced engineering department (a restaurant chain with an engineering department was one of Ray Kroc's innovations). I supplied components such as an automatic gas igniter to replace the pilot light and electronic temperature controls. The result was a reduction in gas usage of the gas fryers by two thirds. Given that McDs french fries (fryed using lard to make them taste so good) were their signature product (more so that the Big Mac) they suddenly had a huge cost advantage over their chief competitor (BK) and started leaving BK in the dust. The advantage was so big, stores would rip out and replace fryers that were only two years old. So you now had high school kids using technology (another example the Prince Castle french fry computer) to achieve a huge competitive advantage and all they had to do was act when the computer beeped. At home those kids couldn't boil water, but on the job they became productive short order fry cooks.

In engineering, we had to build in melt cycle timers because the lard would solidify. If the kids turned the fryer on in the morning with solid lard it would expand underneath the solid crust until it burst through the crust spraying hot lard everywhere. So we built in a cycle timer to keep the heat on at a very gentle level until the lard liquified. Then it was safe. The kids did not have to even know of the danger because their guardian angels in engineering were looking out for them. The engineering term of art is "idiot-proofing".

Bruce - Interesting story especially your timer development. Without going into details we have have a number of "dumb man" (as opposed to dead man switches) devices and protocols along the same line. What's troubling is that the current manpower demand is offering those kids at McD's 2X to 3X as much to risk life and limb. Not so much on the drill floor because those contractor know how much they have on the line (except I did have one drill company ask for 30 days to train a drill crew so they could drill my well...I passed).

But just this weekend we needed a welder on a rig we're setting up (same rig that I had to send a young hand to the hospital after he had his thumb nail ripped off because he was in too much of a hurry to put his gloves on). We're in the middle of the oil patch as well as a major blue collar section of Texas. The nearest welder we could get was over 200 miles away on the OTHER side of Houston...the 4th largest city in the country. How many underqualified former burger flippers will be drawn into such jobs? I'm sure you know how dangerous those tanks are. Just having one of those kids as a helper is scary.

And yes: after surviving 36 years of occasional near misses I am obsessed with saftey.

When a critical safety divice doesn't work there is hell to pay.

And that is one of the big problems with Fission power - on and off for 5 years the topic of Fission Industry safety comes up and there'd be the few regular posters claiming "all the safety devices make it OK".

When the problem started - there were claims made here on TOD about how 'it'll be OK' and citing how it was ONLY a backup generator not working.

Safety devices are "only" good for "normal" conditions*. The known-to-happen but not planned for events like war, a meteor, or even the Sun tossing a CME/EMP this way will be called "an unanticipated event" - even though, like a big wave, they are known to happen.

*Normal is all relative. At one research reactor a sign existed above a toilet reminding users not to flush when the reactor was running otherwise the water cooling system would be disrupted and the reactor would have a problem. For them - normal was defined as "Please Don't Flush the Toilet While the Reactor is Running"

No relief for oil prices. JPMorgan may be low, at $118. I think more like $150.
Trouble continuing in Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, Libya, et al.
Wonder how long Saudi can keep these problems down in Saudi?
Israel is also battling Gaza again. NATO is not even at peace within itself!
EU could collapse too. Lets see what happens to the US when oil imports drop by 50%!

The Middle East is as far from peace as I have seen since 1967.
So much for Obama's Nobel Peace Prize!

Awhile back, some journalist on CNN mentioned that he and his colleagues are just taken aback at how fast things are spinning out of control. That they never saw events move so quickly. And this was before the Japan earthquake.

OTOH...a friend of mine who is an expert on the Middle East (lives there most of the time, working on international development projects) thinks that this may actually be the beginning of peace in the Middle East. In particular, Israel may finally be forced to make peace with the Palestinians. Dunno if I buy that one, but he knows a lot more about the subject than I do.

It occurs to me that there could, in the future, emerge a sort of united states of North Africa. This would require some sort of unifying figure, likely a religious one, though I'm not sure that the more secular segments of these countries would stand for that. The political/power vaccum that is forming around the southern and eastern parts of the Med leaves it open to all sorts of possibilities. It would behoove Israel to work out its Palestinian situation soon, though this seems to be a pipe-dream at this point.

Major flux going on; makes me want to go work in the garden....2012 may end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy, though we humans don't need no natural disasters; we are one :-/

Ever since the end of the British Mandate for Palestine, there were plans to set up a separate state for the Palestinians. The Zionist have refused to accept this solution and engaged in a 60 year campaign to take the Palestinian's land piece by piece for their own. I doubt that there will be peace until the Zionist's give up their expansionist plans. Since they are working on a "Mission from God", I think they are no more likely to stop than are the Sunnis and Shiites to declare the end of their conflict...

E. Swanson

If the US stopped supporting Israeli bad behavior they would either clean up their act or re-do Masada.

Black Dog, I quiet like that one of the Zionist giving up there expansionist plans, what is the name of that Kool Aid you have been drinking. The Israelis gave back the Sinai for peace. They got an armed truce from Egypt instead. They withdrew from Gaza. That doesn't seemed to have brought much peace. Where are the expansionist plans there? The only ones who seem to be on a Mission from God are the Palestinians, Hamas even has it written in its charter that Israel must be destroyed.

I would tend to agree with your friend - I think this unrest is a move towards a more prosperous, less tumultuous Middle East.

Been a long time coming..

Edit: Looks like it's kicking off again in Jordan too.

It's possible that this is the tumult, and if the ME can get through it (as a component of PO, I'm saying), then in a post ELM world, the interstate pressures in the ME might be far less bloody.

Cohorts - I guess I'm having trouble connecting the dots. Hez. is firing rockets back into Isl. again and Isl. is firing artty back into Palst. neighborhoods. A prelude to peace? And despot leaders who were willing to sacrifice their country's resources to satisfy a greedy industrialized world will be losing control to their people who may decide to stop supplying those needs to the rest of the world. And TPTB, with their mighty economic/military advantage, will just sit back and accept the new playing field. Another prelude to peace? And Iran is supposedly trying to develop nuclear weapons while continuing to pledge themselves to the destruction of another nation that already processes dozens of nuclear weapons. A nation who has said more than once they'll set the world on fire before they allow another Holocaust.

I must be using the wrong crystal ball.

Ahh.. well, we shall see!

There is something to say for 'stability' imposed by external forces versus stability brought from within by their own people.

It will likely be a rough ride, but, as jokhul says, if they make it then the rewards at the end could more than make up for the journey.

i - "Internal stability", eh? Hope your vision is more correct than mine. Peak oil, peak water, peak food, nuclear proliferation between sworn enemies, multitple armed factions trying to control a country formally controlled by a single power, etc, etc.

Nothing wrong with hope. Comforting up to the point when reality bites you in the butt. LOL. Don't mean to be so harsh but I've spent 36 years listening to geologists propose "big rewards at the end" of an expensive drilling journey. How can you tell if the eternal optimistic is wrong? His lips are moving. Sorry....hope means nothing to me. Realistic expectations seem to have a better track record IMHO.

Ah, true - from an energy point of view we're all screwed anyway lol.

But considering the ME from a purely political/sociological POV, and assuming that BAU is somehow maintained for at least another 10 years or so etc, then it will (would/could) be interesting to see what the current changes (would/could) bring to the people of the area.

It's not just the energy.

The native carrying capacity of the middle east and north Africa, especially the desert areas, but also including the dry Iranian plateau (Iraq should prove to be a different story), is far less than the number of people currently living there. The current populations are made possible by massive imports of water and food (note that not all "imports" need cross artificial political borders). When the money from the oil trade dries up, how will those imports be paid for? Imports of wheat must be paid for, water pipelines must be maintained and replacement parts paid for.

What I suspect is that what we're seeing in the middle east and north Africa now is not a prelude to piece, but the early cracks in the global enterprise that is late capitalism. If oil is done as a critical business and becomes a boutique resource, the value of the oil areas of the world become similar to the precious metal and gem mining areas in Africa. In short, they will be allowed to fall into extreme poverty with the exception of a small elite who will be allowed to do as they will with the local populous.

I'd like to be wrong.

The native carrying capacity of the middle east and north Africa, especially the desert areas

As pointed out on one of the podcasts I listen to - Egypt data:
Average 2 inch of rain for the year
7 inches the most
.3% of the nation is the Nile delta - where the food can be grown.

If oil is done as a critical business and becomes a boutique resource, the value of the oil areas of the world become similar to the precious metal and gem mining areas in Africa

You can replace some oil use with others oil sources. Like plant oils.

But just not at the use rate "we" are used to. Rock oil is obtainable from other places if it is treated as a one time one use product it is.

As long as the energy surplus was there, the area could be propped up. That surplus is going away and if one puts on Peak Oil glasses - the problems will only increase.

And there is the flip side. Some magical new low risk high output power source might just let "dictators" stay "in power" all over.

shaman - We can hope we're both wrong. But you know how I feel about "hope". We all carry our personal baggage. Being a youth of the 60's I recall similar rhetoric about Viet Nam: there to protect the civilians; defend "democracy; limited air intervention; limited number of advisors on the ground; just a short limited presence, etc, etc. Then next thing you know 60,000 American body bags and north of a million civilian casualties. Certainly not a prediction for Libya or any other country in the ME. OTOH Iraq hasn't gone quit as planned. And if it doesn't look very good there now wait till US forces leave and they reach a truly "stable" status.

I'm not sure what you mean by "similar rhetoric." Dubya's wars weren't sold as short term limited engagements. They weren't really sold as humanitarian missions or democracy "defense" missions either. In fact, Dubya didn't make the sale; Osama bin Laden did. After 911, Americans wanted that particular Arab Islamic Terrorist to pay. Afghanistan was unsatisfying and so, for reasons of his own, Dubya said "blah blah blah Saddam" and we said, "blah blah blah payback's a b*tch, muthafukaz."

Of course it's ridiculous to compare Libya to Vietnam at this point, unless slightly in-reverse, as we appear to handing it off to the French (payback's a b*tch, muthafukaz).

I disagree - Dubya's wars were absolutely sold as short term. I distinctly remember Darth Cheney talking about "a walk in the park", "a matter of days, not weeks", and similar soothing BS. They were sold as making us safe from Saddam's WMD, which everyone knew did not exist.

Yes, they took a real shotgun approach (wmd, democracy, brutal dictator, no pain and it pays for itself). That's what I referred to as the blah blah blah. But they had other incentives and so did their supporters. Those of us who didn't support them weren't sold anyway.

I guess you think his supporters actually bought the BS? Seriously, none that I knew seemed too surprised or upset when no WMD was found.

Dubya's wars were absolutely sold as short term. I distinctly remember Darth Cheney talking about "a walk in the park", "a matter of days, not weeks", and similar soothing BS.

When WW1 started in sep 1914, the British government was saying "it would all be over by Christmas"

We never learn...

.....Dubya's wars weren't sold as short term limited engagements. .....

Bulls@*t! Remember "Shock and Awe"? Anyone in the military who tried to tell Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld that it would be harder than they thought got run off. Remember what happened to General Shinseki when he told Rummy Iraq would require several hundred thousand troops? Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld absolutely sold invading Iraq as a short term limited engagement.

Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld absolutely sold invading Iraq as a short term limited engagement.

But you didn't buy it, right? Therefore you weren't sold. Please read my comments - I'm not saying they didn't throw sh*it and try to make it stick.

Lest we forget, the Vietnam War was the direct result of American activities after WW II. Ho Chi Minh was a nationalist and our ally against the Japanese. After the war, the Western Allies allowed the French to regain control, using Japanese troops. Eisenhower and McArthur were both anti-communist and supported the French until the Vietminh defeated them at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. Eisenhower realized that an election to unify Vietnam would have led to a Vietminh government and did not support the treaty from the Geneva Convention. The die was cast by the time Johnson started sending troops in to battle. Anyone interested should read the Pentagon Papers to see how the events unfolded...

E. Swanson

You could also argue that the second world war was the beginning of peace in Europe.

Well, western Europe, maybe. It's been 66 years since an army crossed the Rhine in anger. The longest known period of peace in that part of the world.

Being from the part of the world most affected by WWII, my personal take is that WWII shook our "European psyche", or "common consciousness" if you like Jung, and in the Western world we collectively renounced an idea of war.

Fisk thinks Hezbollah will make another move on Israel in April or May. This would really make things hot.

The Middle East is as far from peace as I have seen since 1967.
So much for Obama's Nobel Peace Prize!

Obama's Nobel peace prize. What a joke giving a man a prize for what he might do. Bit like a man getting married for the fourth time,hope overcoming experience. My money is on yeast having the higher IQ.

Today, we see another example of the ongoing effort by the Tea Party Repugs to destroy any effort to actually do something about climate change:

Proposal aims to scrap 2007 energy law

The other legislative proposals mentioned in the story are also indicative of the priorities of the new Republican majority, which captured the North Carolina legislature after the 2010 election. And, they have only begun to slash and burn, which will likely hit the educational system in state very hard...

E. Swanson

Who needs educated people, when all the engineering issues with our ailing energy infrastructure are trivial to solve?
The irony.
How will the rich get their cake when the bakers are too dumb to know how to bake it?
Maybe they are not thinking out that far yet. LOL. Not the brightest lot in there, but they are ambitious about slashing away education. Just let China do it. We can import educated Chinese and Europeans instead.

The last thing the Republicans want is educated, critically thinking citizens, for obvious reasons.

sg - So true. Thanks God for a while there we had a Democrat president and a Congress under complete control by the Democrat party to educate and prepare the public for PO. Thank goodness at least both parties are in some agreement to use military force for the freedom starved (and somewhat oil rich) Libyan people.

I still find it somewhat amusing that so many folks really beleive we have a two-party system. You have to give credit to the R's & D's in their ability to split the vote and stay in collective power since folks are so distracted by the rhetoric.

Now I'll step aside and the R's respond to sg's charges and we can continue to ignore the scam. (IMHO, of course)

I believe that "scam" is pretty much the operative term here. :-(

Good cop/Bad cop. Ingenious!

I second that motion. Although I believe education should be more respected, perhaps because I educate people. D and R camps have their pet groups they try to placate. But our kids are our kids. We keep forgetting them.

A more practical budget cutting routine would be an across the board cut, where favorites are not selected. Alas that would never happen.

And ultimately bankers get bigger bonuses. LOL. How clever it all is.

sg - oddly enough the scam may have politicans on "both sides of the fence" trapped. I really don't believe there are as many truly ignorant politicians in both parties as the rhetoric might imply. The absurd statements made are for consumption by the masses who, in turn, develop rigid beliefs in what "their side" has to say and know that anything "the other side says" is a lie. Even those who might be judged as well educated can be drawn to unsupportable positions. IMHO now is the time to educate the public about the reality of PO, Peak Water, Peak Food, etc. But can we expect that effort to not be smothered by politicians who know they must cater to the common denominatior in order to be re-elected?

Being such a pessimist IMHO: No.


Perhaps this person will educate us on PO, Peak water, sustainability...


I think I might start drinking heavily if this were to come to pass...


Most days I'm with you on the both sides suck. But as I design a net zero energy home that is being made possible by the much maligned stimulus bill, I can tell you that the Democratic leadership is at least pushing in the right direction, albeit not fast enough, when it comes to supporting wind, solar and geothermal heat pumps.

jeff - I wouldn't argue too strongly against your point. But I also see the stimulus package motivaton to be to buy political favor more than anything else. I'm truly pleased by your windfall but also point out it was paid for by the tax payers and not the Democrat party. At least in your case it sounds like we got a good return on our investment. Thanks for sharing your story...makes feel a little better. Don't feel quit as good about Texas spending $320 million of stimulus $'s to expand a highway to one of Houston's distant suburbs. Just what we needed as we cruis towards PO.

Republicans come from American homes, cities, schools and universities. Think about that for a second. If America really was a superadvanced nation, a world leader in all things, the "last best hope" for humanity, how do you explain Republicanism?

Sometimes the simplest explanation is the best, and I've learned to accept it. America is no longer a nation leading the world, is no longer a nation producing the next generation of technologies much less implamenting them. The cycle of decline has begun, and there's nothing you can do but get out of the way.

I've looked at the trends. I've looked at them over and over. I read the news (at least, that which hasn't been corrupted by corporate MSM doublespeak), over and over. And I think about everything in terms of what I actually experience on the ground, just talking to people, observing things.

And I don't like what I see.

I think you have described the symptoms of our situation rather well. What I'd like to know is, is there some way to change the likely outcome, which could be quite painful for most folks?

EDIT: I liked the long version better...

E. Swanson

Ha - I edited the post because I thought I was just rambling. It's gotten to the point where it's not even worth discussing anymore.

To answer your question: I don't know if there's much any of us can do. If I did have suggestions, I wouldn't be a doomer. Maybe I'm just not creative enough, who knows.

But honestly, how are you going to take on the United States of America? The most powerful military on the planet? Wall Street? If you stop using dollars, you starve. In fact just recently there was a case of a small time crook who was peddling a new currency, and they quickly put him behind bars.


Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs gets rewarded with billions!

If you have any ideas I'm all ears.

EGO sum vigilo vos.

In fact just recently there was a case of a small time crook who was peddling a new currency, and they quickly put him behind bars.

1) It wasn't quick.
2) The feds created a new law "thou shall not do something with the goal of taking down the established money system" When NORFED (the national organisation for the repeal of the federal reserve act and get rid of the IRS too - something like that) was formed, such was legal.
3) Benard said one thing and did another. The Mint and others position was 'wanna try and circulate silver - go nuts. Just don't call it coins, do not pretend its "money"'. Statements like that were on paper, YET the founder of the Church of Marijuana (Where you were to go, take a toke and then sit and think about what you just did till the buzz wore off) put out a video called 'do the drop' which *WAS* deceptive/cooked/in violation of the Mint's position.

But if one wants to "play" with "fake money" or "barter" - from https://www.freelakotasilver.com/content/merchants

The American Open Currency Standard has active trade relationships within the following Barter Exchanges. If your Exchange is listed, you may redeem AOCS Silver for trade credit within your (or any) exchange

IMS Barter Network and Trade Exchange

"trade dollars" exchangeable for actual silver. And the other way 'bout - or so its claimed.

But honestly, how are you going to take on the United States of America? The most powerful military on the planet? Wall Street? If you stop using dollars, you starve. ... If you have any ideas I'm all ears.

At some point individual merchants will decide to stop selling to America. Then nation states. What's America gonna do if others decide "your money's no good here"?

At some point, the other nations of the world might decide to quit lending to the US by purchasing our Treasury Bonds. That might happen if the Saudis, OPEC and the Russians decide to price their oil using some other currency or a basket of currencies. If/when that occurs, the US won't be able to borrow enough to keep funding the MIC without heavy taxes on the domestic population. Sort of like what happened to the Roman Empire...

E. Swanson

...how do you explain Republicanism?

Republicans can be explained by the following quote from Jonathon Swift (paraphrased)...

It is impossible to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.

...and Democrats by the same quote.

And you can't wake a man who is pretending to sleep. (an old Navajo saying)

It is amazing, to me, how many stories take on a whole new perspective, when viewed with the knowledge of Peak-Oil.

This Story: from The Wall Street Journal tells the story about how Portugal is the next Euro country to fall and that some of the problem is lack of education. The story goes on to say that in order to get back on track, they need to invest heavily in education, even though they know this will take time.

Just 28% of the Portuguese population between 25 and 64 has completed high school. The figure is 85% in Germany, 91% in the Czech Republic and 89% in the U.S.

When I hear them talking about long term goals of spending money on lifting the whole population's education over many years, my peak-oil eye sees a wish in one hand and **** in the other.

I liked the quote from the article, Nuclear Safety Lessons Start With Manholes, Axes: Peter Coy, especially this sentence:

In the language of the nuclear industry, they must be “walkaway safe,” meaning that even if all power is lost and the coolant leaks and the operators flee the scene, there will be no meltdown of the core, no fire in the spent fuel rods, and no bursts of radioactive steam into the atmosphere.

That sentence in a nutshell underscores my feelings about Nuclear Power plants as they currently exist. If human civilization faces a forced reduction in complexity, as articulated by posts/articles I have read on this very site, how are we going to maintain the safety of Nuclear Plants and spent fuel storage that absolutely requires active cooling?

I am a firm believer in Murphy's (Sod's) law and as more expensive sources of energy transform our civilization, system failures of all sorts will become more likely. I live in a country where there are problems keeping basic utilities available. Here, electricity outages and water lock offs are par for the course. It's not as bad as other places like Pakistan but if you live in these places you plan for such eventualities and get water tanks and standby generators etc. The quoted article highlights the fact that all currently operating Nuclear Electricity plants assume that the systems that make them fail safe will be available for the entire lifetime of the plant. Just how confident are the readers of this site that this will be the case for recently completed plants or those under construction?

For every other source of energy I can think of, the dangers that arise from shutting down a power plant, turning everything off, and abandoning it are local, visible (obvious) and reasonably short lived on a human time scale. If some intelligent life form in the future visits the site of the crumbling Hoover Dam or an abandoned combined cycle gas turbine plant or wind-turbine or solar PV array how likely is it that they will be exposed to life threatening danger without their knowledge? Anybody here fancy letting their kids play around the site of the Chernobyl incident? My problem with Nuclear is that in the event of an "accident" in can render areas unsafe for habitation for time scales that are hard for human beings to comprehend. The fact that there have been accidents, not the least of which is this Fukushima debacle, has proved that the probability for accidents is not zero.

Alan from the islands

We humans discount the future, therefore we can do these things.

We are going to get more meltdowns I am afraid. No safe way to bring them to rest if the grid and infrastructure fails. Sad but true.

A bit more about the safe, clean, to cheap to meter nuclear power industry.
"33 years ago, the woman who used to cut my hair told me a shattering story of how she had given birth to a baby boy in the hospital at Hanford, Washington in 1958, the same year I was born. Her baby and the other two who were born in that hospital that same day all suddenly died within a few days for reasons nobody could explain. All three were born normal, healthy, full term babies with unremarkable deliveries. After explaining all that, she said, “I’m sure it had something to do with those Hanford nuclear plants. It snowed that day and the snow was black. I’ve lived here all my life and I’d never seen anything like that before and neither had anyone else that I talked to.” Sadly, years later I found out she was absolutely right. There was a huge and prolonged class action law suit against the government where it was finally proved that radionuclides were deliberately released into the atmosphere MANY times from those plants, and the folks who were affected are called “Hanford Down-winders.” This article about it is a mind blower: http://www.djc.com/special/enviro98/10043971.htm "

Didn't know about the Hanford black snow till this email was posted elsewhere.

*sigh* No wonder building of the plants pretty much stopped in the 1990's.

As for what's an acceptable dosage argument:
"The coworker actually worked at Hanford in the late 1950′s and early 1960′s. He told me he used to handle uranium and other metals with bare hands until reaching his dosage limit- sometimes only a few minutes. Then he would have to sit on his ass for the rest of his shift and wasn’t allowed to do ANYTHING. He said he felt like an exhausted dead dog for weeks afterward. No respirators, gloves, etc. He died of cancer a few years ago. I also recall him saying that the limit at that time was “100 rems. Now it’s ONE.”"

And as more charges of coverup happen with the Japan failures perhaps we'll all be reminded of what is claimed here:
"I also distinctly remember that after Chernobyl, there were government cover-ups in various counties in Europe resulting in kids drinking milk that was full of radioactive iodine. "


Japan’s health ministry says radiation above the legal limit has been detected in a vegetable grown in Tokyo. This is the first time that radioactive cesium exceeding the legal limit has been found in a Tokyo vegetable.

Now here is the part where one goes "eh"

The vegetable was grown at a research center,

If you are researching radiation, meh. If it was in a greenhouse as part of, say breed selection ... that does not bode well.

So because people in the 1950's lacked sufficient respect for the material they were working with it's to be forever forbidden?

Pull the other one, it's got bells on it.

If anyone comes up with evidence that there is *any* detectable risk at the current "safe for civilians" recommended maximum exposure levels, those levels will be reduced until there is no detectable risk at over twice those levels.

I'm still waiting.

So because people in the 1950's lacked sufficient respect for the material they were working with it's to be forever forbidden?

Sad that is the take away. Wonder why you have no response to ALL of the quoted material. Like a defense of the "Hanford downwinders" case others on TOD may not have known about.

If anyone comes up with evidence that there is *any* detectable risk at the current "safe for civilians"

I posted in the last drumbeat how to get the information you are asking for.

I'm still waiting.

And if it matters that much to you - get started on the grant writing to create a study that will answer your question by being multi generational and controlled for all but the 1 variable - radiation.

You are the one proposing that the current safe exposure limit recommendations are in error.

If you believe that they are, it is up to you to provide the evidence.

Proof or GTFO.

Here's a place to start looking: http://www.rerf.jp/index_e.html


What? To the satisfaction of yourself?

And if it was produced, what then? Would you admit you are wrong? Or spend your time complaining that the study was flawed, this or that was wrong, et la?

Why can't you be bothered to state what level of evidence would actually change your mind, here, in public. What would it take for a public statement of "Turns out I was wrong"? I've done this dance with others here on TOD - and frankly most of the posters won't admit they are wrong.


I've not seen that four letter acronym before. Please explain what it means.

I've provided my side, come up with anything that comes close to the quality of their research and I will at the least be impressed, even if I am not persuaded.

By the way, the experiment you proposed? They've got the results of it.


Gee, Thanks For Opening my eyes.

For what it's worth, I know a man who today works at Hanford in the innermost circle, and handles plutonium as a regular part of his job, and has worked at Hanford his entire career (Batelle, Westinghouse, PNNL, etc.) He's now nearing retirement age, is in fantastic shape (bikes a lot), and has zero worries about cancer.

The 1950s was a different era - I'm sure many people died wildcatting before anyone figured out that when a shallow Oil reservoir is penetrated it goes with a whoosh so GTFOOTW!

I heard a guy who is from Richmond, WA talk glowingly about how Hanford has benefited the locals. He is super-pro-nuclear and told a bunch of folks in a meeting that his his family and the other locals are making bank off off Hanford...then...and now!

And then The Economist publishes this article, and now I know he wasn't blowing sunshine up our skirts:


At the Hanford site...none of the 53m gallons (200m litres) of highly toxic waste stored in 177 ageing and leaky underground tanks has been mopped up, even though the last reactor was shut down in 1987. That must wait until 2019, when a unique waste-treatment plant...will begin transforming radioactive leftovers...(into)...still-radioactive glass logs more suitable for long-term storage. ...(this) will continue until at least 2047 and cost about $74 billion, more than the annual budget of America’s Department of Education.

“If the government spends more money, it is good for all of us,” says Leonardo Luzi, the owner and chef at Bella Italia, a pricey eatery in the nearby town of Kennewick.

Thanks to Hanford’s sustained ability to soak up federal dollars, the great recession skipped over Richland, Kennewick and Pasco, fast-growing towns on the Columbia river that call themselves the Tri-Cities. House values soared. Job growth in the area was, amazingly, the highest in the country last year. Environmental scientists earned higher salaries there than in Seattle. Business publications include the Tri-Cities on their lists of the best places to live and work. At the Columbia Mall, where it is often difficult to find a parking space, a Hallmark shop selling greeting cards was recently replaced by a Coach shop selling $800 handbags.


White House Science Advisor John Holdren and Sir John Beddington, Science Advisor to British Prime Minister David Cameron, in a recent joint article "Celestial Storm Warnings" published in the New York Times, warned that a solar flare from the Sun could cause a great geomagnetic storm, with catastrophic consequences for the United States and the world. A great geomagnetic storm would generate a powerful electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that could destroy electronic systems and collapse all the critical infrastructures--power grids, communications, transportation, banking and finance, food and water--that sustain modern civilization, and the lives of millions. Holdren and Beddington write reassuringly that "work to protect our societies is well underway."

Yea....all them thar copper waveguides coming into a fission plant gathering the energy from the EMP will be able to not only be "protected", but all of the PLCs which keep a plant "safe" will also be in service post EMP?


1. Solar flares or geomagnetic storms do cause electromagnetic pulses.

2. Their intensity is generally too low to interfere with anything but radio receivers.

3. Their frequency spectrum is too low for it to couple to modern electronics, only to very long wires (powerlines and old telephone systems).

And when it comes to power plants and their control systems: grounding, shielding, differential signaling and current loops all guarantee interference free signaling - even from real EMPs.

Wave guides are mode restricted: relatively very narrow bandpass filters. And air condition ducts do not generally make very good waveguides with valves, filters, grids, slots, odd angles, diameter and shape changes.


OH3GPJ, Accredited SI Standards Laboratory

I suppose that your "differential signaling" means using twisted pair wiring to cancel noise. That works only so long as the noise levels are low enough that the electronics can function. If a pulse is large enough, the high voltage would destroy the electronics, just as would occur with a single wire...

E. Swanson

Correctly installed twisted pair will be resistant to big pulses. For instrumentation you are most likely to be using screened twisted pair which is even more resistant. It is straight forward, though a little tedious, to protect even complex wiring against large EMPs but I apologise that I cannot elucidate.



Germany is determined to show the world how abandoning nuclear energy can be done.
The world's fourth-largest economy stands alone among leading industrialized nations in its decision to stop using nuclear energy because of its inherent risks. It is betting billions on expanding the use of renewable energy to meet power demands instead.

And a bit of history about one German Company - a story of hope and effort to make a vision happen.

Due to the devastating aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster in 1986, the Ritter Sport chocolate hazelnut crop harvest in Turkey was con-taminated. To overcome reliance on nuclear energy and to find alternative and renewable energy sources was the motivation for Mr. Alfred T. Ritter to begin cooperation with Klaus Taafel. In 1988 they established the Paradigma Energie- und Umwelttechnik GmbH.>

Yuppers - Mr. Ritter didn't like what he saw happen with the big public demonstration of a failure mode of fission power as expressed by Chernobyl and took the business in an additional direction - making hardware to directly capture photons for man's use.

Just watching some footage of Yemen protests. There's a lot more pro-Saleh supporters out in the street than those who are apparently pro-Gadaffi in Libya.

The situation could get very messy if things escalate quickly. In this situation I can understand why Saleh is so keen to get at least a bit of breathing space so that he can organise a successor government before he steps down.

USDA may alter wording on grain reports amid complaints

The Agriculture Department may tweak the wording in its closely watched monthly reports on grain supplies in response to concerns by ethanol producers who say the numbers unfairly fuel criticism of the industry. ...The complaint centers on the estimates of how much corn is used for ethanol production and how much goes into livestock feed.

...One-third of every bushel of corn used in ethanol production winds up as livestock feed, either distillers grains or a gluten product, according to the Renewable Fuels Association.

Somehow, I think were going to see a more food riots this year

CBOT corn outlook: Up as USDA reports major export sale

U.S. corn futures are expected to climb Friday after the government announced a major sale to unknown destinations, adding fuel to talk of demand from China that has lingered in the market for more than a week. ...One million tons, a large amount, is for delivery in the 2010-11 marketing year that ends Aug. 31, meaning the buyer will take delivery before farmers have a chance to replenish tight supplies with corn from the next harvest.

The sale, which traders saw as confirmation of widespread chatter about purchases by China, exceeded many market participants' expectations. It also topped the USDA's forecast for Chinese corn imports of 1 million tons in the 2010-11 marketing year.

and Wheat Climbs on ‘Surprise’ Demand From China, Weather Concerns

China, the biggest consumer, bought 116,000 metric tons from the U.S. in the week ended March 17, the most for any week since July 2005, Department of Agriculture data showed. Wheat in Zhengzhou jumped to a record last month on speculation that drought in the country’s growing areas would cut supplies.

while at the same time China claims China will not see food shortage

We've been harvesting various futures chain data for a couple of months now and have a still unfinished prototype of a Futures Chain Explorer up if anyone wants to poke around and make comments.

Along with crude oil and natural gas you can track the daily variations for a variety of other important futures chains including corn, wheat, gold, silver, coffee and everyone's favorite: frozen pork bellies!

There's not much in the way of features yet -- just a daily update. But a calendar for exploring historical futures chains is next along with another plot displaying a "Contango index" for each futures chain. Any suggestions for additional enhancements would be much appreciated.

Here's the chart for the corn futures mentioned above:

Happy Exploring!


Broken link above. The correct link for the Futures Chain Explorer is:


Midwest farmland bubble gets even bigger:


Thanks for the link.

Makes you wonder who is in the driver's seat. DDG is a waste product of etoh production. T he fact they have found a market for their waste is good, but it is their responsibility to promote what they do with the waste. Not force others to alter accounting. Another example of ethanol producers size/market clout, or the malleability of USDA to special interest. Could Seagrams get away with it? Or maybe the EIA should no longer report oil, just calculated amounts of gasoline, diesel and miles of pavement.

First death in Jordan protests?

One person killed as police disperse Jordan clash.


Edit: More in-depth article: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/03/201132517059876641....

Ivory Coast on the brink:

Up to one million people have fled Ivory Coast to safer areas amid fears of an all-out civil war, the UN refugee agency has said.

The office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other aid agencies said they have been unable to access the country's west due to the fighting in the capital and other areas



Scientist Daniel Nocera said MIT’s technique has seen more than a year of preliminary research and hopes to produce enough electricity from a bottle-and-half of water, however dirty, to power a small home

(how big a bottle, how small a home?)

Obviously not a very big bottle going by this claim:

Nocera estimates that the world consumes 14 terawatts (TW) of power today. By 2050, it will need 16TW. If his solution works, said Nocera, it would need a swimming pool full of water every day to meet the world’s electricity needs.

Thusly - what is actually being done to make these claims...beyond ink on paper or bytes in memory?

NOCERA GROUP - the chemistry of renewable energy
Solar Energy Conversion

OK - so from that link, the process uses, not produces, electricity ... to produce hydrogen at 76% in-the-lab efficiency. A bit of an improvement over old-style electrolysis. Perhaps.

This science discovery sets a course for the large scale deployment of solar energy by providing a mechanism for its storage as a fuel, especially for those in the non-legacy world.

Yeah, right. We all know how safe hydrogen is, and how easy it is to store and transport. Not.

The phrase "non-legacy world" ( = poor countries) is amusing though.

The only way the water use made sense was as a closed loop.

I'm betting use case also is for 24X7 and at Max best rate.

When it ships at a good price point is what matters to the masses.

Yeah. As Robert Rapier reminded us recently, the sequence goes Lab -> Pilot -> Demo -> Commercial, and there's a big drop-out rate at each step.

It seems to me that Nocera has solved the wrong problem. He needs to use his chemistry skill to find a cheap, safe, reliable, durable way to store the produced hydrogen. That would be a breakthrough. I guess we can check back in 20 years.

You should do the math first.

Say a house uses 10 kW-Hr per day. That is 36 MJ of power (assume 100% efficiency which is lame I know but a ball park).
So you need to store 36 MJ / 142 MJ/kg = 250 grams of H2 each night. Lets do the math on volume.
250 grams / 2 grams per mole = 125 mole = 2800 L at STP
Compress the gas to 60 psi and you have 700 L or ~175 gallon storage.

The question is how to get the electrons in the first place.
This would be a complicated system for a home but not a huge storage problem. H2 is tricky to contain no doubt..

Do the math? OK.

36 MJ released in 5 seconds = 7.2 MW.

99.9% safe = 0.001 annual exceedance probability × 34,000,000 homes = 34,000 neighborhood UFBs (unidentified flying buildings) per year. (As the saying goes, the inventor of the term "foolproof" badly underestimated the ingenuity of fools.)

With all energy storage technologies, centralisation provides economies of scale and better safety. It's much better to just distribute the electricity, if you can.

"Getting the electrons" is another problem that Nocera seems to have assumed that someone else will solve. In this case, things look more promising.

But Greg, every other week on the news a house fills with NG and explodes. So that argument is weak relative to the current risks for Natural Gas.

But explosiveness cannot be a limitation, since fossil fuels from gasoline to diesel to natural gas are all explosive materials. You'd then need to ban cars and heaters and stoves for similar safety concerns, which is not likely.

Not that I am an expert but storage of small volumes may be easier than large ones:

In any case, I think there is a breakthrough regarding the cost of the catalyst -- since all other previous ones were made of very expensive precious metals.

You know, it's always interesting to read old documents that make predictions about the future.
From NREL document you linked, which is dated 2002:

In the automotive market, each of DaimlerChrysler, Ford,
General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, and Toyota has recently announced its intention to
introduce fuel cell vehicles sometime between 2003 and 2005, with mass production of fuel cell
vehicles anticipated to begin in the latter part of the decade.

Hmm, how are those production fuel cell vehicles doing? Last I heard, mass production might be then end of this decade.

I think the biggest problem with hydrogen is when you want to transport it - that is when it is dangerous (10,000 psi containers on the road) or inefficient - move it 700miles by pipeline and you have used an amount of energy equal to the hydrogen itself.

If you just want a stationary storage, e.g. electrolyse with off peak elec, store and generate at on peak, there are no real technical barriers. There are cost and safety ones though, as it is cheaper and safer to do the same with batteries, or flywheels, or compressed air etc.

Keep in mind that Hydrogen Fuel cells are no longer part of the fuel cell forum discussions because of the unsolved storage issues.

(Heard that with my own ears from the head of the forum)

I read it too, but you miss the point.

They did not use expensive precious metals like Pt. That is a big deal. Like it or not.

This is a chemistry article -- a Report in Science

No it is not a magical proposal to cure the energy problem, but it was a step in the right direction.

It's not a bottle, it's a bottle-and-a-half (1.500). They're being precise! Can be dirty water. Perhaps water from the basement of reactor #3?

How big a house? Remember the scene in Woody Allen movie where the guy pulls the "little piece of land" out of his pocket? (Once when he was planning to build on it, once later after he built on it - a toy house.)

Seems like there will always be a sector of the population who believe there's a lot of energy to be had in anything, a bottle of water, even empty space, and if we're not getting that energy then it's due to a conspiracy to keep the technology secret. (But we somehow know about it anyway. Of course anybody who would work on developing it would mysteriously die.) I'm amazed how many such people I have personally met.

Lol! Just realised the absurdity of the bottle and a half quote!

A lot of claims. I bet lab-grade ddH2O is like poop water.

Now did he ask his graduate students to go to the bathroom and fetch some toilet water to run in that solar gizmo.

I'd like to see the evidence you can make such a contraption for ~500 bucks. LOL

From the article:

Nocera estimates that the world consumes 14 terawatts (TW) of power today. By 2050, it will need 16TW. If his solution works, said Nocera, it would need a swimming pool full of water every day to meet the world’s electricity needs.

An olympic swimming pool contains 2.5e6 liters (kilograms) of water. This makes 2.5e6 x 2/18 = 278,000 kg of hydrogen. Energy content of H2 is 142 MJ/kg. 278,000 x 142 / 86,400 s/day = 457 MW. (one small coal-fired power plant).

From the article, Dr. Nocera is an "elite MIT chemist".

God help us all.

Now wait a second. You may feel good ridiculing the guy, but your calculation is hardly a worthy one.
The water is the waste product after combustion; therefore, the thing can recycle it back.
Do you honestly think he is that stupid? He is from MIT.

I think the funnier thing is the claim that sewage would be a good source of water. I bet it doesn't like sewage on the catalyst.

No será?

That reminds me why they couldn't sell the Chevy "No va" in Mexico.

jj, you've been suckered by an urban myth. Here's the truth from http://spanish.about.com:

Chances are you've heard about how Chevrolet had problems marketing the Chevy Nova automobile in Latin America. Since no va means "it doesn't go" in Spanish, the oft-repeated story goes, Latin American car buyers shunned the car, forcing Chevrolet to embarrassedly pull the car out of the market.

But there's one major problem with the story: it never happened. As a matter of fact, Chevrolet did reasonably well with the Nova in Latin America, even exceeding its sales projections in Venezuela. The story of the Chevy Nova is a classic example of an urban legend, a story that is told and retold so often that it is believed to be true even though it isn't. Like most other urban legends, there is some element of truth in the story (no va indeed means "it doesn't go"), enough truth to keep the story alive. And, like many urban legends, the story has the appeal of showing how the high and mighty can by humiliated by stupid mistakes.

Even if you couldn't confirm or reject the story by looking into history, you might notice some problems with it if you understand Spanish better than those who spread the story. For starters, nova and no va don't sound alike and are unlikely to be confused, just as "carpet" and "car pet" are unlikely to be confused in English. Additionally, no va would be an awkward way in Spanish to describe a nonfunctioning car (no funciona, among others, would do better), just as in English we'd be more likely to say "it doesn't run" than "it doesn't go."

One of the things I like about theoildrum is the rigor with which the regulars, mostly well educated and practical minded engineers, managers, techies, etc. call people out on inaccuracies. Your well-intended bit of fallacious snark reveals how easy it is to believe something that seems obviously right, but is completely false. I believed and quoted this urban myth for years until an Hispanic friend correced me and I looked it up. This post is not intended as a putdown, but as a cautionary note for all of us to check the facts before we post.


Saudi Arabia hands Medvedev 'message from king'

No further details over the contents of the message or the meeting itself were disclosed in the Kremlin statement. Prince Saud's visit had also not been announced in advance by the Russian side.

Perhaps the King wrote:
"I have decided that the Western Allies are not our friends. In future, if Russia will join OPEC, Russia will be our friend instead..."

E. Swanson

Either that, or:

"We have no spare capacity, it's all up to you now, Dmitry.
P.S.: Don't tell our Western Allies."

Fuel free voting!

Slightly off topic, but last night, I was able to cast my absentee ballot for the election being held tomorrow in the Australian state of New South Wales (my home state, but I now live in Vancouver).

What is new and different is that I was able to vote by internet. They introduced a new system for absentee ballots called ivote (Apple sure has a lot to answer for!). You have to register, give your official address (which they already have on the electoral roll), and create a PIN. The system has several security features - I'll have to trust them that it works. Once your details are verified (about 2 days) you are then emailed a voting ID, which can be used once only. It gives you a link to click, which has the electronic version of the ballot form, select your choices, submit, and then you are done.

The whole thing took three minutes, from the comfort of my living room, while enjoying a glass of port in front of the fire, (and required zero fossil fuels) - that is my kind of democracy!

On the election night, the ivotes are "unsealed" i.e. printed, and then counted, in front of the scrutineers from the various parties, just like normal votes, eliminating the normal delay from postal votes. And to think the US was using 1950's era punch cards in 2000....

In Australia, voting is compulsory in all local, state and federal elections - don;t vote and you get a $55 fine. If you are out of the country/state you are exempt from that, but could always do an absentee ballot by mail (or at an embassy/consulate), which was quite a process. While some people criticise compulsory voting I think it is one of the best things - it changes the thinking of the politico's when they know *everyone* will be voting, not just the party faithfuls. The election truly represents the opinion of the entire state/country on that day.

Anyway, voting by internet sure makes the process a whole lot easier and faster, and if set up properly, more secure - much harder to rig/steal ballot boxes/duplicate votes etc - may we see more of it.

Meanwhile, the US, is, of course, looking at doing drive thru voting - no word yet on whether you can get fries with your democracy.

Great stuff! I've been waiting for them to introduce this kind of voting in the UK too.

Would hopefully avoid the nightmare scenarios we had this election when hundreds of people were denied a vote because they waited in line so long that the voting deadline passed before those at the end had a chance to cast their vote.

Also will hopefully mean more younger people will vote.

It would solve the voting lineup problem, for sure. Mind you, so would having the polling booths at every pub instead of every school!

As for the young people, compulsory voting solved that problem decades ago - no technology required!

Compulsory voting... do you have that in Australia??

Blimey - another thing sorely lacking here!

only if we in the UK can have a "non of the above" vote!


( may I'll just haveto vote for the Roman party again as the Jedi wern't there )

Well, you can always spoil your ballot - nothing illegal about that. In Australia that is called the "informal" vote, and it typically ranges from 2 to 8%.
The key point is, in my opinion, that the voter had to make an actual decision. For non compulsory voting countries, the voter turnout is anywhere from 50 to 75%, so 50-25% of people have decided "not to vote". The less people participate, the worse the system, and the more power that is given to well organised minority groups.

Like Harper, otherwise nasty and inconsequential...

"None of the above" is more a "None of these is good enough" vote. If it wins all those standing should be banned from standing again, and the vote rerun.

Most of the problem at the moment is that most people realise their 'representatives' are nothing of the sort, and usually are unsuited to running a proverbial in a brewery. So they don't want to bother voting since its a case of giving legitimacy to incompetence.

Give them a way of registering their true feelings, and voter turnout would go up.

Instant Run Off Voting.


I agree. When in the UK I always invalidated my ballot. What's needed, as you say, is a method of removing the legitimacy of all candidates/parties to govern those who don't want any of them. It would also remove the irony of people registering a protest vote only to find they voted in a nut job by mistake.

A step towards real democracy.

But everyone knows you can spoil your vote already, so why would giving them an official 'none of the above' option encourage more to vote?

For me personally, my friends who don't vote do so out of apathy/laziness, not out of protest.

In any case, there's always a case to be made for voting constructively - for example the majority of those voting for the Lib Dems in the last UK election did so because they wanted the actual voting system itself changed and the Lib Dems were the only ones promising this.

Now it's a Lib Dem / Tory coalition the voting reforms won't go as far as the Lib Dems initially wanted, but there have been some changes made. A small step in the right direction.

"But everyone knows you can spoil your vote already, so why would giving them an official 'none of the above' option encourage more to vote?"

Because spoiling your vote doesn't remove the legitimacy of anyone on the list to take office. If the "non of the above" vote exceeded all others then no candidate could take office. The vote would have to be re-run until a suitable candidate was found, rather than someone on the list taking office by default.

Good point. Although I think there would be a bit of an uproar if the spoiled votes exceeded any of the candidates. They've probably be forced to re-run the election regardless.

If it was closer to real democracy and there was potential for real change, then more people would be likely to vote. Voting in a rigged system is off-putting and I can understand why many do not even bother. I'd only turn up to invalidate my ballot if I was annoyed enough by the incessant quacking of the dumb-asses in power or opposition.

How many would turn out to vote if they could vote out the drudgery of modernity and vote in a better way of living?

That was my main reason for voting in the last election - to change the way the voting system operates.

Compulsory voting... do you have that in Australia??

Compulsory at council, state and federal elections
$50 fine for not voting
You can of course vote informally

You can't stop inflation - the fine is now $55. That is taxation for no representation.

$55 now - outrageous - got to keep the government coffers full somehow ;)
I was caught out a couple of years ago on a busy Saturday and missed the 6pm close by a few minutes and $50

You can't stop inflation - the fine is now $55. That is taxation for no representation.

The U.S. has tried something along these lines with surprising results: the whole system was hacked by a couple of grad students and their professor within 48 hours. The link above is to the professor's blog. He concludes:

None of this will come as a surprise to Internet security experts, who are familiar with the many kinds of attacks that major web sites suffer from on a daily basis. It may someday be possible to build a secure method for submitting ballots over the Internet, but in the meantime, such systems should be presumed to be vulnerable based on the limitations of today's security technology.

We plan to write more about the problems we found and their implications for Internet voting in a forthcoming paper.

Incidentally, those who consider the compulsory voting system used in Australia as being superior to the system used (for example) in the U.S. or the U.K. might want to think about the quality of government elected in each country over the last fifty years. Personally, I don't see a major difference between the three countries. For example, the New South Wales government being thrown out right now is probably more incompetent than any I can think of currently in office in the U.S., and that's a pretty low standard to undercut.

Maybe Australian hackers just aren't as good as the US!

Agreed that the download and print is a great start, which is one of the options I had.

As for the current NSW government, this particular premier was not actually elected as premier- she came about from a change of party leadership mid term, and has been a disaster - but that is not really the voter's fault.

I will agree that the quality of gov in all three countries has probably been similar - and about as good as we are likely to achieve.

But I prefer the situation where participating in the democratic process is not just a right, but rather, like taxes, is an obligation, and, really, it is not an unreasonable one at that.

There are two aspects of online voting that are extremely serious predicaments to wide scale adoption. Anonymous voting, and being able to sell one's vote. Without doing any research, it doesn't sound like the Australian system has any way of guaranteeing anonymity in voting. There is no way it prevents selling one's vote (but neither does general absentee ballots).

This is in addition to all the general information security concerns that are challenging to get right.

You have a point with the anonymity - I wonder how they deal with that.

With the selling of votes though - not so much a new issue. Here in the UK you don't need to prove your identity when voting in person - just have your poll card. Anyone could give it to anyone else.

And actually, you don't even need the poll card - just have to give your name and address when you turn up..

Anyone could give it to anyone else.

Based on the honour system I presume.

Gives new meaning to the old saying, "Vote early, vote often!" ;-)

... able to cast my absentee ballot for the election being held tomorrow in the Australian state of New South Wales (my home state, but I now live in Vancouver...

Hey Paul, the system for NSW sounds like an improvement for advance/distant voting, although I still like the ritual of going and marking a X on a paper ballot when nearer home on election day.

I also like the Aussie system of the mandatory franchise: it keeps the process focused on the very people that in other countries get peeved and don't vote - and thus can be safely ignored. Merit in keeping the system honest b/c you have to appeal to the widest possible demography.

Not sure your citizenry status, but will you get to vote in BC when we go to the polls in May? Mr. Harper, as you know, is off to see the Governor General tomorrow morning to dissolve Parliament after the government was defeated on a non-confidence motion today.

The last time Canucks were in the middle of an election campaign (Oct. '08), the world went to hell in a hand-basket. With uncertainty in Jordan, Palestine, Syria and Yemen, not to mention Bahrain and Libya and the economic consequences of events in Japan, wonder if we are in for a repeat performance? For some odd reason, the election cycle in Canada seems well tuned to global turmoil. Go figure.

Hi Tom,

No I am a permanent resident here, so I don't get to vote - just get to suffer through the campaign.
Kinda funny really - I vote where I don't pay taxes, and pay taxes where I don't vote!

At least with Canadian (and Australian) election campaigns, they start and finish in the space of one month - the US gets to live through it for a year!

I think the result of this election will be just what had - another minority Conservative government. Canada's system is dulled by having four parties instead of the two it was designed for.

And Stephen Harper has to give his invite to the royal wedding (4 days before the election day) - I'll bet his wife, and kids, had something to say about that!

Kinda funny really - I vote where I don't pay taxes, and pay taxes where I don't vote!

Hey Paul,

Kinda ironic, too, since the parliamentary system is based on the principle of "no taxation without representation." You are proof that there are exceptions to every rule:-)

From where I'm sitting now, I would tend to agree: the entrails seem to be pointing to another minority Conservative government. This said, it should be added, elections tend to be decided in Canada during the campaign itself. Polls at the beginning are sometimes way off the mark as to final results. What's more, the press forgets this historical tid-bit almost every time out of the starter's gate, too.

But there are a number of factors today that seem to argue against any one party coming out ahead. Besides as you say having four parties in an in/out race to the finish, none of the parties are truly Canada-wide the way they use to be. It's hard to see how a majority can actually be achieved if, as likely, the Liberals do poorly in Alberta and BC, the Conservatives lack popularity in the Atlantic region and large cities (Toronto and Montreal), and the Bloc Québecois hold on to the majority of seats from the rest of Quebec. The permutations are clearly not in anyone's favour.

Yes, I imagine Harper is getting a bit of grief from the misses and the kids over missing out on a trip to London for the upcoming nuptials. Then again, since Wills and Kate are coming to Canada for some time away, there may be some time later to catch up on the wedding photos and enjoy a more private and cozier visit. More incentive for Stephen to get on the hustings to win, since if Ignatieff steals the show, it will be he and the misses hobnobbing with a future king and queen in July.



From IEA: Energy Facts about Japan Following the March 11 Earthquake - 25 March 2011

Power Generation Capacity
Oil Sector Production Capacity

Fuel free deliveries in Vancouver;

Following on from the beer on a bike in drumbeat the other day, a Vancouver company has started a delivery business that will use electric assist tricycles around the downtown area. The tricycles are electric assist and can carry up to 270kg.
Vancouver has, (controversially) over the last two years turned several vehicle lanes into bike lanes around the city . They are, or course, never congested, and this company aims to take advantage of that.

Full story here; http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/the-triple...

I wish them well, but feel sorry for the rider going up some of the hills on rainy winter days. I'd rather do a business like this somewhere flat and dry, but Vancouver cyclists have never let the weather or hills stop them before.
Hope they can get a payback on their $7000 euro made trikes.

This, of course, is not a new idea - it was widely done in Europe, and still is many Asian countries,
Some interesting pictures of old style specialist cargo bikes here;

$7000 Euro. Grand theft. $2-3k at most. A simple steel frame - 3 wheels - and a hub motor and Li+ battery pack. Wow.

But I am for the concept. However, the price is fairly high -- cheaper than a car but not by the factor of ten or so it should be.

In the summer I bike haul groceries with my kids. It is a fun time for them. You'd be surprised the payload you can get into a trailer bike with kids on pretty decent hills. My bike and trailer are worth about $800 at most only because I have built in lighting and new wheels. If I added a hub motor, the bike would be worth about $1.2 to 1.5 k at most.

Oct - grand theft indeed. Given that you can buy electric assist kits starting at $500, and to make a trike is not that difficult. I think these folks could have done much better. If they need a fleet of four bikes, that is $28k they have spent, and that has left the vancouver economy - so much for local. I am sure they could have gone to a few cycle shops and found someone that knows someone that can migweld a trike for them for far less than $7k.

Low energy solutions are no good if they are so expensive you can;t afford them.

Quake leaves Tokyo facing big power shortages

Tokyo and surrounding areas face a large shortfall in electricity this summer and blackouts could become more frequent and widespread, Tokyo Electric Power warned on Friday.

Japan enjoyed one of the most reliable electricity supplies in the world until March 11, when a magnitude 9.0 earthquake knocked out several power stations. In the wake of the temblor Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) began an unprecedented series of planned blackouts to deal with the drop in electricity output. The quake cut the company's generating capacity by about a third, to 31 gigawatts.

Now I find this quite interesting. Up to now, some had thought that the unrest is due to underlying discomfort from e.g. rising food prices etc.

But this BBC report about the uprisings in Syria contradicts that directly:

Thousands of protesters are marching in Deraa, chanting for freedom.

They are criticising a presidential adviser who said they were protesting because they were hungry. "Deraa people are not hungry, we want freedom,"


Myself, I'm fairly convinced this uprising doesn't really have it's main roots in peak energy, although I know a lot of people here won't agree with that. I think it's more down to a convergence point of technologies/ideologies/historical factors.

It is claimed that part of Syria is suffering from a terrible drought. Doubtlessly that helped spark thing off. But, I do believe most of these middle easterners want a representaive form of government, and think maybe now is the time for the big push.

Government says hungry - others say no

How is that 'good governance' if you have hungry citizens? Why would you cop to that plea?

Myself, I'm fairly convinced this uprising doesn't really have it's main roots in peak energy,

In plenty of places there are people who think they can't get on top of the heap unless there is change and somehow in the change they'll be on top. One of the large players in "keep the status quo" game has plenty of demands on their resources, is "confused", and I'd bet a few of the "rabble rousers" are thinking this is a window of opportunity.

Add a bit of the bard Dylan - "If you ain't got nothing you got nothing to loose" - now one has the 'footsoldiers' for "change".

(and if you hang around other places - some are claiming its part of the normal Sun cycles and the EM from the Sun interacting with the EM in the human brain. Here - its gonna be energy's fault. In places where everything is the glory and fault of Sol - its Sol's fault)

How is that 'good governance' if you have hungry citizens? Why would you cop to that plea?

Yes, it's almost like a self-denial tic isn't it?

Here - its gonna be energy's fault. In places where everything is the glory and fault of Sol - its Sol's fault

Haha, so very true. Although I think I know which one I'd plump for if you put a gun to my head..


'Commerce Department revises fourth-quarter economic growth up to 3.1%'

What's strange about this, is originally the govt. claimed a 3.2% growth in the 4th qtr., then later adjusted it lower to 2.8%, but now are going back up to 3.1% which isn't much different than their original 3.2%. Is it really that difficult to get it right the first time?

Article advocating moving spent nuclear fuel rod assemblies from cooling pools to dry cask storage at reactor sites.


A 2006 report by the U.S. National Research Council affirmed the advantages of dry cask storage, suggesting that it would be "prudent" to accelerate the shift to dry casks. The year before President Obama nominated him as the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Gregory Jaczko called a mandated move to dry cask storage the "most clear-cut" opportunity to expand the U.S. nuclear power industry's margin of safety.

The casks are cylindrical steel, lead, and concrete containers designed to hold 10 to 15 metric tons of spent fuel. Cooling is passive, relying on natural air circulation. "Dry cask storage is a big dumb can with thick walls. There isn't much that can go wrong with it," says Forsberg.

I guess it makes sense but there is a uranium market? In all this mess, I guess I never really thought about it. Is it a good leading indicator of spot demand? How does MOX factor into the nuke fuel business. I wish Japan well but can we talk uranium or do those costs matter little because initial fuel costs are such a small factor in nuclear energy production?

Uranium bull unfazed by Japan crisis
Beijing, which recently struck a cautionary tone on its previously grand atomic ambitions, will likely get back on track with its reactor build-out program, though there could be a slowdown in new plant approvals for the time being, Grigor said.

China will consume about 25% of the uranium produced each year between now and 2020, Grigor said. About 60,000 tones of ore is produced each year, with Kazakhstan and Australia among the biggest producers.

“I don’t think its going to have a material impact,” Grigor said, referring to the possibility that the Japanese crisis could hurt nuclear-power development just as the U.S. accident at Three Mile Island did in the 1970s

Still, he doubts uranium prices will surge, even if his prediction that sentiment towards nuclear power turn positive again proves to be true.

Uranium currently trades around $70 a pound, down about $7 from levels prior to the Japan disaster.

From this nuclear industry site (http://www.world-nuclear.org/education/whyu.htm), you get about 500GJ from 1kg of uranium, in a typical reactor. That is 138MWh. If that fuel cost $154 ($70/lb), then the fuel cost is $1.1/MWh, or 0.11c/kWh - about 1% of the average retail price of 12c/kWh.

So, for all practical purposes, the fuel cost is a negligible component of the cost of nuclear electricity.
You could say it is like wind/solar/hydro in that all the cost is upfront capital, but that is not quite right, as there is a significant cost associated with spent fuel disposal - though we don;t really know how much that is, or who ultimately has to pay it.

Live Blog Libya - March 26

It sure looks like the coalition air force has taken the gloves off in Libya and has now created a de facto military alliance with the Libyan rebels. Gadhafi's air force is long gone, and coalition aircraft are now in the process of making mincemeat out of his heavy weapons and ammunition depots. If this keeps up, the rebels will be rolling into Tripoly in a few weeks. I wonder what Gadhafi will do -- a last stand in a bunker like Hitler -- I don't think he can escape to Caracas with the no-fly zone in place.

Then there's the rest of the middle east dominos: Yemen, Syria, Bahrain, ..... and dare I say Saudi Arabia. This looks like an Arab version of 1989 coupled with generation chancing consequences.

Meanwhile here in the West we're drowning in unsustainable consumption and debt, unprepared for what's to come, peak oil, higher food prices, still focused on growth, weak leadership, postponing and thus agravating unavoidable consequences, ....

Is the TSHTF right now?

Yes, it's a bit of an odd one. While I would really like to see the rebels succeed and kick Gadaffi out, surely this goes beyond the call of 'protecting civilians'? It definitely seems like they're taking sides.

Well, I'm sure I'd be complaining a lot more bitterly if it were the other way round...

I think commercial flights are still ok under the NFZ so Gadaffi could get out if he wanted.

And I'd say it reached 1989 status a month or so back - a complete game-changer for the Middle East/North Africa and will have a far flung impact on the international community as a whole.

I've been rather reluctant to jump on the LED bandwagon but that might change. Today, I replaced nine 50-watt GU10 lamps at a client site with 3-watt LED lamps from Philips. These lamps supply fewer lumens, but their light output is still acceptable in most cases. They have a rated service life of 16,000 hours (three to four times that of the ones they replace) and reduce socket load by a whopping 94 per cent.

See: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/IMG_0104.jpg

Prior to partnering with Philips we never had a suitable upgrade option for these hideously inefficient lamps but now we do.

We have three similar retrofit opportunities coming up shortly. We'll be replacing forty-four 50-watt halogen PAR20s at a convenience store with 7-watt LED PAR20s. These lights operate 24/7, so this measure will reduce their lighting load by an estimated 16,574 kWh/year; that's roughly enough electricity to power an equal number of our city's new LED street lights. We're also replacing one hundred and fifty-five 50-watt MR16s in an office furniture showroom with 7-watt LED MR16s. In this case, total connected load falls from 7.75 kW to 1.09 kW, with nice a/c savings to boot. Our third is a fashion retailer where we will be replacing 60-watt halogen IR PAR38s and 75-watt fluorescent wall washers with 17-watt LED PAR38s -- the expected savings for this third client are just over 40,000 kWh per annum with another 10,000 to 12,000 kWh in related a/c savings.

I was able to secure a third generation engineering sample of the Philips MR16 lamp that we will be using and I have to say I'm really impressed by its performance. You can see this light in action at: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/IMG_0105.jpg


What is the observed life on this bulb close to a million hours? I believe to be based on a French design. Maybe that is why they push nuclear so much.

The world's oldest light bulb has been burning for 109 years - so little wonder it has a fan club with thousands of members and its own website.
As EU rules deny householders the right to use traditional filament bulbs, the so-called 'Centennial Light' has been on almost constantly since 1901.
It holds pride of place in Fire Station 6, in Livermore, northern California.
The longest time the Guinness World Record-holding bulb has ever been turned off for is just a week.
Dangling above the fire engines, people come for hundreds and thousands of miles to see the diminutive symbol.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1243138/Still-glowing-strong-109...

Hey Tin, we all know that the big corporations don't want light bulbs that last 100 years.

Unfortunately, one of the problems with a capitalist/corporate/consumer society is that there is a huge incentive to push the limits of how much people will tolerate in planned obsolescence in order to maximize sales/profit. While psychologists as healers still have trouble treating many mental illnesses, the highly paid experts in marketing and advertising have mastered the art of psychological manipulation to turn us into rabid consumers via advertising on TV - starting with our children when they are toddlers. The deadly combination of TV as hypnotizing baby sitter (mom's love the break it gives them), and consumer trainer (marketers feast on the opportunity for new victims) is a pattern that won't be broker until electric grids start going down intermittently.

As energy limits hit modern civilization, there is real need for conservation. However, especially here in the U.S., corporations and their politician and teabag puppets absolutely do not want conservation - or anything that hurts the bottom line or cramps their lifestyle. These factors are part of the reason I see a Tainterian collapse as extremely likely.

I drive a 1987 Volvo station wagon, which is, like that light bulb, an anachronism. It has 350,000 miles on the odometer, manual windows, and the only computer/microprocessor that I am aware of is the engine management/fuel injection system. Unfortunately, even though it (barely) passes smog tests, it's a serious polluter compared to modern cars. I would love to have a low-emissions late-model new car with manual windows and door locks, minimal electronics and a solid build, but they no longer exist. Enough people have been conditioned to only accept super-complex high-tech cars that the small minority who want simplicity, reliability, and ease of repair/maintenance are no longer considered. They got us by the cojones.


Hi Dave,

Lighting is a clear exception. For example, the Philips F32T8 lamps that we use have a nominal rated life of 36,000 hours at 3-hours per start, 40,000 hours at 12-hours per start and 46,000 hours when operated on program start ballasts. By comparison, a standard F34T12 is generally good for about 20,000 hours or 12,000 hours in the case of an F96T12. In addition to longer lamp life and greater energy efficiency, these lamps use less glass (they're one inch in diameter versus one and a half inches) and they contain far less mercury, i.e., 2.64 mg of Hg whereas some of the lamps we're taking out of service hold fifteen to twenty times that.

Likewise, a Philips 70-watt Halogená ES high efficiency incandescent uses 30 per cent less energy than a conventional 100-watt incandescent(whilst supplying the same amount of light) and lasts up to four times longer.

With respect to the LEDs, rated lamp life amongst the big three (Osram Sylvania, GE and Philips) now runs anywhere from 16,000 to 40,000 hours and we'll likely see that start to stretch out over time.



Your works and posts are great!

I would love to see a ball-park calculation of how man kWh the U.S. and Canada could save per year if 90% of incandescent lamps were replaced with equivalent-lumen (or acceptable) from CFLs and LEDs.

I wonder how many nuclear plants could be decommissioned due to the demand drop?

Thanks kindly, H.

Efficiency Nova Scotia's goal this year is to reduce electricity usage by 158.5 GWh and peak demand by 30.9 MW. That bar will be raised higher with every passing year. When this programme was launched back in mid 2008, our goal was to achieve 16.06 GWh/2.09 MW in savings by year end and we ended up at 21.41 GWh/4.68 MW. In 2009, the target was set at 50.26 GWh/6.76 MW and the final tally came in at 64.37 GWh and 10.26 MW. In 2010, it was raised to 81.1 GWh/16.6 MW and we will have beat that by a healthy margin (I can't say by precisely how much as the results are still being audited). Next year, it's 204.9 GWh and 44.0 MW and in 2013, 305.3 GWh and 63.5 MW. So, within that five year time frame, we will have effectively removed the equivalent of some 90,000+ homes from the grid.

Our firm is only one of many working hard on this assignment, but I'm extremely proud of our crews and their efforts. Their commitment to us, our clients and to ENSC is simply amazing.




Does ENSC have support/endorsement from the Canadian central government?

Does the Canadian national government attempt to spread these good ideas to the other Provinces?

So, with the net reduction in electricity demand you cited, does ENSC gain a surplus or margin in electrical generating capacity?

Or...has the savings been eaten up in increased demand from other electricity uses, such as electrical machinery/motors/refrigeration etc...do you see evidence of 'Jevons Paradox' at work?

Also...has the population of NS increased during this period, and if so, has it increased enough to sop up the savings?

And/or...has ENSC been able to use the savings to retire its oldest/least efficient/most polluting electricity generation plants?

Does ENSC subsidize businesses and residents to help with the costs of transitioning to more efficient lighting technologies?

Does ENSC have a web site describing this initiative?

Does ENSC have a separate program to incentivize residents and business which use electric heat to subsidize insulation & windows etc. building efficiency improvements?

Is ENSC a purely private utility company, or is it a government/private hybrid?

It seems that ENSC and folks such as yourself and your company mates are walking the walk of energy conservation/efficiency and proving that people can 'produce negawatts'.

Can you entice ENSC officials to brief Dr. Chu, the U.S. Secretary of Energy?

Keep up the awesome work!

Edit: Efficiency Nova Scotia: http://www.efficiencyns.ca/for_businesses/energy_savings_programs/commer...

Lots of good questions, H, and now that you've found the link to the ENSC website much of this will be self explanatory.

ENSC is a provincial crown corporation that is funded by an energy efficiency surcharge that's added to our power bills. ENSC assumed responsibility for all of Nova Scotia Power's DSM initiatives earlier this year.

I'm unaware of any federal efforts to help fund/promote similar programmes in other provinces. Electrical utilities fall squarely under provincial jurisdiction and, in any event, the federal Conservatives have been pulling back from this type of thing, e.g., they cancelled the popular Energuide for Houses programme last May.

Load growth in this province has been relatively flat over the past few years:

	Year	    MWh
	2007	12,662,707
	2008	12,465,609
	2009	12,016,586
	2010	12,105,192

Much of this would be due to a weakened economy, presumably, but our work does help keep things in check.

Population growth has been likewise stagnant. Our province had reportedly 939,531 residents as at September, 2009 and by June, 2011 that had increased to only 944,251.

No fossil-fired plants have been retired as yet, but Trenton is fast approaching the end of its economic life and will likely be decommissioned in the not too distant future. The province's Renewable Electricity Plan calls for 40% of our electricity to be generated by renewable resources by 2020 (currently, we stand at 12 per cent). We're on tap to receive 1.0 TWh of hydro-electricity from the Lower Churchill Falls project once it comes on stream in 2016. NSP has also added 275 MW of wind energy to its portfolio since 2002 and installed wind capacity will likely double within the next five to ten years.

In terms of subsidies, ENSC pays 80 per cent of the cost of our work (materials, labour, permits, lamp disposal/recycling, etc.) and the remaining 20 per cent can be repaid over 24-months interest free.

See: http://www.efficiencyns.ca/for_businesses/energy_savings_programs/small_...

(We upgraded Kathy and Dean's lighting system in May, '09.)

In terms of personal commitment, I'm often processing audits until 02h00 and 03h00 in the morning and I'm back at my desk each morning by 08h00. I haven't taken a day off in nearly three years but I couldn't be happier. Every kWh we save eliminates a half-kilo of coal demand and this more than anything else pushes me to try harder.


What sort of percentages does that represent? Helps when looking at other areas. BTW what sort of price do those bulbs run and do they need any additional gear such as transformers/psus?


For this particular client, the lighting load represents about half of their total electrical consumption (they're all electric with a combination of roof top heat pumps and baseboard strips). For clients that heat with oil or natural gas, the percentage can be higher. In most cases we can cut the lighting load by half and often much more if we can incorporate occupancy sensors. For example, we recently audited a large apartment complex with seven laundry rooms. The lights switches were bypassed when they installed their CCTV system and so the lights stay on 24/7. When we retrofit this building, we'll be installing occupancy sensors so that the lights automatically shut off after ten minutes of inactivity. Converting the fixtures from T12 to T8 will effectively cut this load by half and we anticipate the occupancy sensors will keep the lights off three-quarters of the time -- taken together, that's an 85 per cent savings.

The GU10 lamps referenced above don't require any special control gear; you simply unscrew the old lamp and pop in the replacement.


These are pretty big savings that can be achieved very simply, even rolled into normal maintenance. What on earth will it take to wake the masses up to this? Some of these savings are cutting by what many talk about cutting to, it just doesn't make sense to not go for these sorts of measures. I'm looking at a very simple problem, for myself, and using LEDs instead of halogen solves my biggest problem of too much heat in a small space instantly as well as slashing power use.


Paul - I worked in solar heating for a California manufacturer, Heliodyne of Richmond, California, in years past. Running basic heat loss and load requirement calculations made me aware that lighting, especially in commercial buildings, can be a significant heating and cooling issue. After doing a quick web search, I found the below at http://www.lightingdesignlab.com/articles/lighting_hvac/lighting_hvac.htm :

Conclusions In a building in Medford, OR, a lighting upgrade generated $3,000 per year along with $190 per year in net HVAC savings, or a 6% increase. Not bad. The same upgrade in a building in Spokane, WA, only increased total energy savings by 1%, or $31 per year in net HVAC savings added to $3,000 in lighting energy savings. In warmer climates with longer cooling seasons, and in regions such as the east coast and California where energy prices are much higher, we can see more substantial benefits. This same upgrade in Houston, TX or Jacksonville, FL, would have generated a 26% increase in air cooling energy savings with fewer losses for heat gains. However, when justifying the economic returns of investing in the lighting system, every little bit helps. Capture as many variables as accurately as possible for the given application to determine net HVAC savings for your lighting upgrade project.

I didn't do an exhaustive internet search, but if the above shows marginal net energy savings for standard to high efficiency fluorescent tubes, it seems that LEDs might really kick the savings in heating and cooling costs up to a significant level.

Do you include analyses like the above in your proposals and track some of them after conversion? I assume that in your climate in Nova Scotia, there would have to be some makeup for heating in the winter after losing the lighting waste heat, but do you folks use a/c in the summer? A/C savings would obviously be much more significant in warmer climates.

If you have covered this extensively in previous posts, I apologize for the repeat of the subject.


p.s., I will be writing a general lighting information article info for informal internet publication soon. Do you have any suggestions for informative, thorough and accurate web sites on the subject?

Hi Dave,

There are good savings opportunities upgrading from T12 to T8 technology. For example, I can replace a standard 4-lamp F34T12 troffer with a new 3-lamp T8 troffer equipped with a 0.77 BF electronic ballast and cut fixture load from 160-watts to 63, a 60 per cent reduction. In fact, quite often, I can swap it out for a 2-lamp version and get quite acceptable results at 42-watts.

For example, this private office (http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/PicA.jpg) had six 4-lamp T12 troffers for a total connected load of 960-watts and now, post retrofit, that's down to 252-watts. Light levels have remained unchanged.

Many offices and retail spaces are air conditioned near year round even in relatively cold climates like our own. The lighting load in this store (http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/TrackLighting.jpg) was so high that the roof top units were cooling this space even in mid-February!

The facilities we retrofit are generally heated by oil or natural gas whereas others are all electric or a combination of fuels (e.g., natural gas or oil heat in the back warehouse and electric baseboard strips in the front offices). If an all electric space is equipped with one or more heat pumps, then it makes more sense to heat this space this way than to rely on the waste heat generated by the lighting system; otherwise, you're displacing a relatively inexpensive heat source with one that is likely to be two to three times more costly.

I'm currently working with a client that has natural gas heat in their warehouse and electric baseboards in the front showroom and offices. I've suggested that they install ductless heat pumps to transfer heat from their warehouse into their front offices and showroom. This would eliminate the need to cut one or more holes in their roof which can cost up to $5,000.00 per penetration and it avoids the risk of water leaks down the road. Here we would be using the heat pump to simply ferry low-cost heat from one part of the building to another (literally tossing it over the partition wall) so that the entire building can be heated by natural gas.

The potential reduction in demand is not insignificant. For example, one of the offices has eighteen feet of electric baseboard -- that's 4,500-watts. A ductless heat pump with an HSPF of 12.0 could supply an equivalent amount of heat for 1.3 kW (maximum) for a net savings of over 3,000-watts. However, with inverter technology, these units automatically adjust their heat output according to demand, so they may only draw, in practice, 300 to 400-watts under continuous load versus the baseboard strip that will demand a full 4,500-watts whenever the thermostat calls for heat.

This is a picture of their back warehouse: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/IMG_0077.jpg and this is part of their showroom: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/IMG_0034.jpg As it turns out, the 4-lamp troffers here are fitted with 40-watt Deluxe Daylight lamps so they're drawing 196-watts and so when they're replaced by our new 2-lamp T8 fixtures, this portion of their lighting load will fall by nearly 80 per cent.

One other thing I should note: we'll be adding seventeen occupancy sensors throughout this facility and we anticipate the lights will be off in the targeted areas roughly 50 per cent of the time. We estimate their current lighting load at 83,079 kWh/year and forecast their new load, post retrofit, at 21,308 kWh, a 75 per cent savings.


total connected load of 960-watts and now, post retrofit, that's down to 252-watts

If they use air conditioning during the warmer part of the year that sounds like it might reduce to a negative number when you subtract the air con saved.

I'm currently working with a client that has natural gas heat in their warehouse and electric baseboards in the front showroom and offices. I've suggested that they install ductless heat pumps to transfer heat from their warehouse into their front offices and showroom.

Cunning idea, could be used in a lot of places that have excess heat in the factory area such as furnaces, ovens, motors. Anywhere that has a fan that is sucking heated air to the big outside. More people need to try that.


Saudi Arabia to boost crude oil useage to burn for domestic power generation

Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, will step up its use of crude for power generation in 2011, Saleh Alawaji, the country's junior electricity minister, said on Thursday.

Saudi oil industry figures showed the kingdom estimated direct use of fuel for power generation to rise to 540,000 bpd this year from 403,000 bpd last year.

Somehow this article tries to paint this as a way for the Kingdom to 'meet stricter environment rules' as well as a whole host of other things, especially linked to it's oil exports. It's a short article wellworth reading for it's delusional slant.:


This, coupled with increasing desalination plants which the country needs because of it's horrendous water security will only push up crude useage even furthe. Saudi Arabia use a lot of their own oil to power their various desalination plants, which takes a lot of energy, since they have more or less zero domestic water reserves. Belgium, for example, is already swapping water-for-oil to a smaller extent(but to an extent nontheless) with the Kingdom.

Those who predict that only oil powers will be powerful may be proven wrong as water scarcity will hit the world, and especially the Middle East, in full force in the middle of this decades, right about the time when the IEA, of all organisations, has predicted a 10 mb/d shortfall in oil supply.

Funny how things go from good to bad ever so fast:

Libyan rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links

Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, has said jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi's regime...

...Idriss Deby Itno, Chad's president, said al-Qaeda had managed to pillage military arsenals in the Libyan rebel zone and acquired arms, "including surface-to-air missiles, which were then smuggled into their sanctuaries".

Any odds yet on whether those surface-to-air missiles have the the good 'ole Made in USA stamp on them ?

Hey we're still proficient at manufacturing some things.

(of course they probably say: Components USA - Assembly China)