Drumbeat: March 30, 2011

Obama Lays Out Plan to Cut Reliance on Fuel Imports

WASHINGTON — President Obama called on Wednesday for a one-third reduction in oil imports over the next decade, and said the effort had to begin immediately. In a speech at Georgetown University, the president said that the United States cannot go on consuming one-quarter of the world’s oil production while posessing only two percent of global reserves. He said that the country had to begin a long-term plan to reduce its reliance on imported oil, and that the decades-long political bickering that has stalled progress toward that goal had to end.

Obama rolls out plan to cut oil imports

Washington (CNN) -- President Barack Obama outlined a plan Wednesday to cut America's imports of foreign oil by a third by 2025 -- a response to growing global energy demands and instability overseas.

The president's proposal relies primarily on increased domestic production, conservation and a shift to biofuels and natural gas.

Amid rising gas prices, Obama outlines plans to make US less dependent on foreign oil

WASHINGTON — Seeking to show the public he understands the burden of rising gas prices, President Barack Obama set an ambitious goal of reducing U.S. oil imports by one-third by 2025, and vowed to break through the political gridlock that has stymied similar initiatives for decades.

Pemex’s Proved Oil Reserves Decline for 12th Year in a Row

Petroleos Mexicanos, Latin America’s largest oil producer, said crude proved reserves dropped for a 12th consecutive year after the company faced delays bringing online new projects.

Proved reserves fell 1.4 percent to the equivalent of 13.8 billion barrels of oil in 2010, the Mexico City-based company said today in a presentation on its website.

US Jan oil demand up 3.2 pct from year ago-EIA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. oil demand in January was 92,000 barrels per day more than previously estimated and up 593,000 bpd from a year earlier, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

Companies concerned about energy security as prices soar

Business leaders are warning that world oil prices could shoot up to as much as US$250 a barrel if the deadly violence in North Africa and the Middle East cannot be curtailed.

Moreover, experts say that if the uprising spreads to major oil producing countries, Thailand's energy security could be put at great risk.

They urged the government yesterday to stop subsidising energy prices and establish bigger oil reserves to cope with any price spikes.

Funds plea to speed up oil drilling permits

Regulators have called for extra funds to speed up the issuance of deepwater drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico, warning that their ability to grant permission will be “sharply limited” without more resources and that any delays could hold back US oil production.

BP faces investor unrest following executive payouts

BP is facing a potential row with investors at next month's annual meeting after awarding bonuses to two senior directors for the year in which the company presided over the worst oil spill in US history.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI), which represents big City investors, has issued an "amber-top" alert to its members – a signal to consider issues that should be weighed before voting on the remuneration report at the 14 April meeting.

And the Winner Is... The Haynesville

In recent weeks there has been some discussion and debate regarding which basin in the U.S. is producing the largest amount of natural gas. Prior to the meteoric rise of drilling in the Haynesville Shale, the clear leader in natural gas production was unquestionably the Barnett Shale. The Barnett, situated in North Texas, took the leading spot in 2008 when its production surpassed the San Juan Basin.

Delta diesel scarcity hits rice harvest, fishing

VietNamNet Bridge - An acute diesel shortage has hit the Mekong Delta in the last few days because of smuggling to Cambodia where the fuel costs more.

Saudi Arabia Plugs Gap in Europe's Supply of Libyan Oil

LONDON—Saudi Arabia has begun supplying European oil companies with high-quality crude oil in an effort to replace Libyan exports, people familiar with the matter said.

Saudi "special brew" oil gives traders headache

LONDON (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's new oil blend sold to Europe this month to compensate for lost Libyan barrels is meeting muted response from traders and refiners who are still in the dark over future volumes and unsure of its quality.

What price Saudi Arabia’s new special ‘blend’?

It turns out it’s simply not that straightforward substituting Libyan crude.

Saudi Aramco Awards Contracts for Red Sea Oil and Gas

Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest state-run oil company, awarded two contracts to Saudi Arabia’s Shoaibi Group to search for oil and gas in the Red Sea.

Shoaibi Group and its international partners started in February to survey parts of the Red Sea, the Khobar, Saudi Arabia-based firm said today in an e-mailed reply to Bloomberg.

Japan's Taiyo gets steady supplies of Saudi Super Light crude-source

TOKYO (Reuters) - Taiyo Oil Co Ltd., one of Japan's smallest refiners, is getting steady supplies of Saudi Arabian Super Light crude, a signal that an increase in shipments to Europe by the world's top oil exporter has not been at the expense of Asian customers.

Taiyo's intake of Saudi crude will also be unchanged for the new fiscal year starting in April, a company source said on Wednesday, adding that the kingdom has boosted production to replace some of the disrupted flows from Libya to Europe without reducing exports to Asia.

IAEA says Japan should consider further evacuations

Vienna - Japan should consider evacuating a village outside the exclusion zone around the Fukushima 1 nuclear power plant because of high radioactivity levels, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Wednesday in Vienna.

The community concerned is Iitate, some 40 kilometres from the stricken power plant. It is beyond the 20-kilometre evacuation zone and the 30-kilometre zone in which people have been advised to stay indoors.

Tokyo Electric may seek bailout

TOKYO - Tokyo Electric Power warned on Wednesday that a US$24-billion bank loan was not enough to keep it afloat and pay for Japan's worst nuclear disaster, adding to expectations the government will step in to bail out the stricken company.

Most Energy Insiders Say Japan Crisis Won’t Affect U.S. Nuclear Policy

In a survey of National Journal Energy and Environment Insiders, a solid majority of respondents said they think the nuclear crisis unfolding in Japan will not have much of an effect on a nuclear renaissance in this Congress. But many say that’s because chances were already slim from the start.

Google’s Wind-Power Project Draws Opposition on Return Guarantee

A Google Inc.-backed effort to build a $5 billion undersea power line supporting wind energy from New Jersey to Virginia faces opposition from state officials and utilities.

Richard Heinberg: Energy efficiency to the rescue

The historic correlation between economic growth and increased energy consumption is controversial, and I promised in Chapter 3 to return to the question of whether and to what degree it is possible to de-link or decouple the two.

While it is undisputed that, during the past two centuries, both energy use and GDP have grown dramatically, some analysts argue that the causative correlation between energy consumption and growth is not tight, and that energy consumption and economic growth can be decoupled by increasing the efficiency with which energy is used. That is, economic growth can be achieved while using less energy.

Oil Dependence Reading List: How Did We Get Here?

I read a lot of books about oil. There have been masterful overviews of the industry such as Yergin's The Prize and Maugeri's The Age of Oil. There are also smart, user-friendly volumes such as Tertzakian's 1000 Barrels a Second and Margonelli's Oil on the Brain. And Hollywood has of course also produced its share of takes on the industry with films such as Syriana and There Will Be Blood.

Lately I've been digging into the history of the industry, and for those interested I recommend taking a look at a few relatively new additions to the field.

Less than 50 Years of Oil Left, HSBC Warns

The world may have no more than half a century of oil left at current rates of consumption, while surging demand from the developing world threatens to create “very significant price rises” before substitutes like biofuels can serve as viable alternatives, the British bank HSBC warns in a new report.

“We’re confident that there are around 50 years of oil left,” Karen Ward, the bank’s senior global economist, said in an interview on CNBC.

Joel Salatin: Breaking Free From Factory Farms

In this twelfth video in the series “Peak Oil and a Changing Climate” from The Nation and On The Earth Productions, American farmer, lecturer and author Joel Salatin outlines the key issues America faces as its citizens increasingly rely on factory farms, concentrated animal feeding operations that require cheap energy in order to operate profitably. He condemns regulations that appear to be on the books to benefit animal factories and prevent individuals from farming sustainably.

Salatin calls this the "food inquisition." The regulatory climate created by government, he says, makes it possible to "capriciously and arbitrarily exclude small local food producers, processors, canneries, cheesemakers, etc. from accessing the market." Salatin advocates for the decentralization of food production and notes the US has thirty-five million acres of lawn, which should be much better utilized in order to prevent Americans from going hungry when peak oil begins to have a real impact.

Ex-premier slams province over 'peak oil'

Former Manitoba NDP Premier Ed Schreyer is stepping back into the spotlight and warning about the threat of peak oil, and also to criticize Manitoba's government on the belief it's not doing enough to prepare for a coming energy crisis.

"When we do wake up and acknowledge the fact [about the existence of so-called peak oil], it may well be too late. That's the real fear," Schreyer, who is also a former Governor General of Canada, told CBC News.

The Peak Oil Crisis: Edging Towards Recession

As oil prices edge ever higher, more people are expressing concern about what this phenomenon is doing or could do to economic recovery. The conventional wisdom used to be that, in the U.S., whenever total national spending on oil products exceeded four percent of GDP the country went into recession. Elaborate charts have been produced showing how this happened in four of the recessions over the last 40 years. In 1974, 1981, 1991, and 2008 oil prices rose to levels anywhere from 4.5 to 9 percent of GDP just prior to the U.S. economy going into recession.

An Energy Crisis of Tsunami Proportions Rushes Toward America

America is already experiencing energy problems, but they are nothing compared to the energy crisis that will descend upon this nation in the not too distant future. The question is not if this crisis will actually occur, because it is inevitable; the only question is when. Such a crisis has long been predicted, but now is drawing ever closer to becoming a reality. And when it hits, America will find itself totally unprepared to withstand its fury.

No, the world is not going to run out of oil; that won't happen for a long time. But what will definitely happen is that, in the not too distant future, say within 5 to 10 years, the world's demand for oil will overwhelm the production capabilities of the oil producing nations. That point in time is generally referred to in scientific terms as "Peak Oil." That's when the world will enter an era of rapidly declining supply and skyrocketing prices -- the end of cheap oil.

An Unnatural Love Affair

The environmentalist will riposte not all resources are alike. Oil is different: once consumed it is gone forever. Environmentalists and economists have been warning about peak oil since the wells in western Pennsylvania began running dry, which wasn't long after Col. Edwin Drake drilled the first commercial oil well in Titusville, in 1859.

Before Pennsylvania's oil fields became economically barren, though, drillers moved further west and struck oil in Ohio, then Texas, then Wyoming, then California, then Alaska. Prices rose, then dropped as drillers mastered the ability to extract less convenient reserves. The process has been replicated numerous times since, and will be replicated numerous times in the future. Peak oil in one market spurs production in other markets.

Shale, Tar, and Natural Gas to the Rescue

In the forecast it says, “despite rising prices, use of liquid fuels increases by an average of 1.3 percent per year, or 45 percent overall from 2007 to 2035."

If that's true, we'll need 110.6 million barrels per day.

Today, the world produces 89 million barrels per day.

Where's the difference going to come from?

Oil, leaks and peaks

It’s worth a look for those future gazers in the procurement fraternity. It predicts we’re in for a troubled time with oil, as demand massively outstrips supply. That is until things settle down by 2050, when somehow we’ll be accustomed to the new reality.

"All of the Above" Is No Energy Policy

Several times recently, we've heard this argument: When it comes to securing America's energy future, we need "all of the above" -- coal, oil, gas, nuclear, solar, wind, and so on.

That is a not an energy policy; it's a cop-out. It's how elected officials dodge hard choices about our energy security. It's how they avoid political backlash from energy interests, especially those with money and clout such as coal, oil and nuclear.

Down an unsustainable energy path

The Department of Energy’s “Integrated Electricity Resource Plan 2010” (IRP2010) aims to guarantee security of energy supply, diversify the country’s energy mix and reduce carbon dioxide emissions over the next 20 years. After a round of public consultation, the DoE presented a revised plan to cabinet, which approved it on March 17.

The latest publicly available version, a “revised balanced scenario” (RBS), is based on a string of deeply flawed assumptions and means the country is being steered further down an unsustainable path towards economic contraction, social dislocation and environmental degradation.

Garden As If Your Life Depended On It, Because It Does

There are at least five reasons why more of us should take up the spade, make some compost, and start gardening with a vengeance.

When Velocity Feels Like Acceleration

The implication for central bankers is that even if energy prices (and even more importantly, food prices) flatten out so that they are not going up any more – and thus, food and energy inflation will revert to zero after a year – consumers may still encode a high level of inflation expectations because of the level of prices.

And that would really suck, to use a technical term. Because the Fed has very little control over the level of gasoline prices, especially if the world is retreating from nuclear power and there is anything to the “Peak Oil” hypothesis. Inflation expectations could come unmoored even as inflation itself was contained.

Syrian president fails to lift emergency laws

DAMASCUS — President Bashar al-Assad defied expectations on Wednesday that he would lift Syria's decades-old emergency law after nearly two weeks of protests that have presented the gravest challenge to his 11-year rule.

Speaking in public for the first time since the start of the unprecedented wave of protests, inspired by uprisings across the Arab world, Assad said he supported reform but offered no new commitment to change Syria's rigid, one-party political system.

Outgunned Libyan rebels scatter, world mulls sending arms

NEAR BREGA, Libya - Loyalist forces overran the Libyan oil town of Ras Lanuf on Wednesday, scattering outgunned rebels as world powers debated arming the rag-tag band of fighters seeking to oust Moammar Gadhafi.

AFP reporters quoting rebel fighters said Gadhafi's troops swept through Ras Lanuf, strategic for its oil refinery, blazing away with tanks and heavy artillery fire soon after dawn.

Libya warning on oil deals

Libya's government warned today it would sue any international company that concluded energy deals with the rebels who control some of the country's oil infrastructure, the state news agency reported.

Accounting for the environment while counting biofuel feedstocks

Diverting food for use as fuel is another issue. Fortunately, technology is developing at a rate which has seen the biofuels sector reduce its dependence on food crops, such as corn and sugarcane, in favour of biomass from residues and waste. Using crop residues such as wheat stubble and sugarcane bagasse to produce biofuels has removed the food versus fuel argument. However, in terms of sustainability credentials, that is only part of the story.

Obama wants to curb U.S. oil imports by a third

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will set an ambitious goal on Wednesday to cut oil imports by a third over 10 years, focusing on energy security amid high gasoline prices that could stall the U.S. economic recovery.

Obama will outline his strategy in a speech after spending days explaining U.S.-led military action in Libya, where fighting, accompanied by popular unrest elsewhere in the Arab world, has helped push gasoline prices toward $4 a gallon.

WHITE HOUSE FACT SHEET: America's Energy Security

Rising prices at the pump affect everybody – workers and farmers; truck drivers and restaurant owners. Businesses see it impact their bottom line. Families feel the pinch when they fill up their tank. For Americans already struggling to get by, it makes life that much harder. That’s why we need to make ourselves more secure and control our energy future by harnessing all of the resources that we have available and embracing a diverse energy portfolio. With an ultimate goal of reducing our dependence on oil, in the near term we must responsibly develop and produce oil and gas at home, while at the same time leveraging cleaner, alternative fuels and increasing efficiency. And beyond our efforts to reduce our dependence on oil, we must focus on expanding cleaner sources of electricity – keeping America on the cutting edge of clean energy technology so that we can build a 21st century clean energy economy and win the future.

FACTBOX-Energy issues facing the White House

Here are some of the top energy issues the Obama administration faces:

Oil Slides on Signs U.S. Supply Rising; Deutsche Bank Raises Price Outlook

Oil declined in New York for the fourth time in five days before a U.S. government report that may show stockpiles of the fuel increased to their highest level in more than three months.

Futures slid as much as 0.6 percent before an Energy Department report today that may show inventories rose by 1.5 million barrels, according to a Bloomberg survey. The industry- funded American Petroleum Institute said yesterday stockpiles climbed 5.7 million barrels, advancing for the fourth week. A separate report showed confidence among U.S. consumers fell more than forecast in March as fuel costs surged.

Record gas prices blamed on peak oil

A prominent energy scientist blames record-high gas prices on the approach of peak oil — a point when the world’s oil fields will pump out their maximum amount of oil, then gradually decline.

"There's no question that's what's causing it,"says David Hughes, a recently retired geoscientist, who worked with the Geological Survey of Canada for 32 years.

His view defies conventional wisdom that turmoil in Libya is to blame.

Petrobras Sees Oil Price Advancing for Years Amid Middle East Instability

Petroleo Brasileiro SA expects oil to keep rising in coming years after conflicts in Libya and across the Middle East sent the price to above $100 a barrel, Chief Financial Officer Almir Barbassa said.

Deffeyes: Macondo — Fukushima

So how does our energy supply look in a post-Macondo, post-Fukushima world? Not so good. Permits are being issued again for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, but we have lost almost a year because of the BP Macondo blowout. In the February 14 Current Events, a graph was posted from my book, When Oil Peaked, showing a danger level for crude oil purchases above five percent of Gross Domestic Product. Crude oil prices continue to climb. Gasoline and food cost more as a result. How are we supposed to climb out of this recession when we have BP's boot on our neck?

You Saw the Movie; Now Here’s the Book

Sooner than we had imagined, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has produced an excellent book. Joel Achenbach’s “A Hole at the Bottom of the Sea: The Race to Kill the BP Oil Gusher,” to be published next week by Simon & Schuster, is a gripping reconstruction of the events of last summer, when the nation was transfixed by that seemingly endless disaster.

Manslaughter charges possible for BP execs

Manslaughter and perjury are among possible charges that Justice Department investigators are exploring in the early stages of their probe into the Gulf oil spill, people familiar with the inquiry said Tuesday.

These people said the Justice Department is not ruling out the possibility of bringing manslaughter charges against companies or managers responsible for the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that killed 11 workers.

Two-thirds of oil and gas leases in Gulf inactive

An Interior Department report to be released Tuesday says more than two-thirds of offshore oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico are sitting idle.

According to the report, obtained by The Associated Press, those inactive swaths of the Gulf could potentially hold more than 11 billion barrels of oil and 50 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The report also shows that 45 percent of all onshore oil and gas leases are inactive.

U.S. Oil Production: Don't Abandon Ship Just Yet

Peak Oil has become a grim reality in the United States... And for Alaska, it's downright scary.

2010 was a heart-wrenching year for Alaska.

Oil production averaged less than 600,000 barrels per day. It hasn't been that low since 1977 — more than thirty years ago!

On Food Riots, Peak Oil and Military Force

Here's a fabulous look into the political economy of oil by Andy Lees. His view is that the era of cheap oil is over. But, more than that, natural resources as a whole are increasingly dear. And a world of dwindling natural resources has geopolitical implications when supply and demand are finely balanced.

Does Libya's Oil Industry Reflect its Fate?

Even if the Libyan war ended tomorrow, energy analysts estimate that the country's production has now dwindled to between 200,000 and 300,000 barrels a day, compared with the 1.6 million pumped before the revolt. The more important statistic, however, is a big zero: That is the amount of oil and gas Libya currently exports, and by extension, the amount of hard currency Gaddafi is currently earning. "It would be very difficult, no, impossible, to export oil from Libya now," says Cliff Kupchan, director of the Eurasia Group in Washington. "And it's hard to see, in any near-term period, them exporting much oil."

Jeff Rubin: Regime change not bullish for oil production in Middle East

If the Western military intervention in Libya is really being driven by oil, maybe it’s time to think again. History says regime change is never bullish for oil production in the Middle East and even less so for oil exports.

Rebels retreat from Libya oil port under attack

BREGA, Libya (AP) — Rebels retreated Wednesday from the key Libyan oil port of Ras Lanouf along the coastal road leading to the capital Tripoli after they came under heavy shelling from ground forces loyal to leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Air power won't seal win for Libyan rebels

Libyan rebel forces backed by U.S.-led airstrikes were fighting their way toward Tripoli on Tuesday but air power alone will not topple the stronghold of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, military experts said.

Experts said the untrained and poorly equipped rebels will need arms, training and air attacks to oust Gadhafi militarily.

Can Qaddafi cling to power if oil runs out?

The lineups at Western Libya's gas stations are an ominous warning. Once oil reserves drop to critically low levels, Qaddafi's government will have to turn off power stations and even the oil-fired pumps that keep water flowing.

The loyalty of his supporters is being tested in a small way as they line up for gas. Wait until they can no longer fill a glass of water at the kitchen tap.

Zenga zenga, Mr Obama

Obama's selective intervention in Libya is tarnishing the American image even more in the Arab world.

Assad Faces a Critical Moment as Syrians Seek Freedoms, Multiparty System

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may offer to lift the nation’s emergency law today in response to deadly protests that pose the most serious challenge to his rule since he inherited power from his father in 2000.

Syrian president blames protests on 'conspirators'

DAMASCUS, Syria – Syrian President Bashar Assad has blamed a wave of protests on "conspirators" who are trying to destroy the country.

Assad is giving his first address to the nation since the protests erupted in this tightly controlled Arab country.

Will Yemen protests boost Al Qaeda?

Yemen protesters say Saleh has overstated the threat posed by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to get US aid. But the group stands to benefit from major upheaval.

Bahrain’s protest movement fades beneath government suppression

Bahrain has turned into a fearful abode of sectarian division, fueled by a Sunni-led government.

Karzai blasts US troops for gruesome Afghan deaths

KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghanistan's president on Wednesday condemned the actions of a group of U.S. soldiers charged with murder in the deaths of three unarmed Afghans and said they killed for entertainment, after taking drugs.

It was Hamid Karzai's first public mention of the actions of five soldiers from the 5th Stryker Brigade who have been charged with murder and conspiracy in the deaths of the three men in southern Afghanistan. His condemnation came a few days after Rolling Stone magazine published a series of graphic photos showing the soldiers posing next to the dead bodies. The German news magazine Der Spiegel had previously published three of them.

Tullow Oil says Total, CNOOC buy Uganda assets

LONDON (AFP) – Anglo-Irish energy firm Tullow Oil said Wednesday that it has agreed to sell part of its Uganda assets to France's Total and China's CNOOC for a total of $1.8 billion pounds ($2.9 billion).

The announcement should clear the way for a $10-billion refinery in the oil-rich Lake Albert region of the east African country.

Next Nigeria leader must progress fragile oil recovery

(Reuters) - Nigeria's next president will need to ensure an amnesty programme is sustained in the restive Niger Delta and energy reforms are passed if he is to avoid watching an oil sector relapse from its fragile recovery.

Statoil Postpones U.K. Oil Investment After Tax Hike

STOCKHOLM -(Dow Jones)- Norwegian oil and gas firm Statoil ASA has postponed more than $10 billion of investments in the U.K. following a recent tax hike on oil production.

Japan struggles to contain radiation

Engineers using sandbags and water pumps continued their fight Tuesday to keep radiation-contaminated water from Japan's imperiled nuclear plant from flowing into the sea.

Setbacks mount in Japan at leaking nuclear plant

TOKYO – Setbacks mounted Wednesday in the crisis over Japan's tsunami-damaged nuclear facility, with nearby seawater testing at its highest radiation levels yet and the president of the plant operator checking into a hospital with hypertension.

Nearly three weeks after a March 11 tsunami engulfed the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, knocking out power to the cooling system that keeps nuclear fuel rods from overheating, Tokyo Electric Power Co. is still struggling to bring the facility in northeastern Japan under control.

Tepco's Damaged Reactors May Take 30 Years, $12 Billion to Scrap

Damaged reactors at the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant may take three decades to decommission and cost operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. more than 1 trillion yen ($12 billion), engineers and analysts said.

Fukushima Governor Sato Slams Japan's Handling of Nuclear Reactor Disaster

Fukushima Prefecture, epicenter of the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986, accused Japan’s central government of sowing confusion and hampering recovery efforts through poor communication.

Tokyo Electric Says Reactor Crisis Response Was ‘Best Possible’

Tokyo Electric Power Co. for the first time defended its response to the crisis at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant, with Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata rejecting claims the utility was slow to react.

4 of 6 Daiichi reactors can’t be fixed; Tokyo Electric president hospitalized

TOKYO--Four out of six reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant were damaged beyond repair in Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, the chairman of the Tokyo Electric Power company said Wednesday.

Marine Life Faces Threat From Runoff

The announcement by Japan’s Agency for Natural Resources and Energy that high levels of radioactive cesium have been detected in seawater near the crippled nuclear reactors raises the prospect that radiation could enter the food chain.

No threat from Japanese radiation spread across US

WASHINGTON – Traces of radioactive material from the endangered Japanese nuclear plant are being detected from coast to coast in the United States and in Iceland, but amounts continue to be far below levels that would cause health problems.

The development of super-sensitive equipment to detect radiation is both a blessing and a curse, allowing scientists to monitor materials released in nuclear accidents, but also causing unnecessary worry, said Kathryn Higley, director of the nuclear engineering and radiation health physics at Oregon State University.

Japan orders immediate safety upgrade at nuclear plants

(Reuters) - Japan ordered an immediate safety upgrade at its 55 nuclear power plants on Wednesday in its first acknowledgement that standards were inadequate when an earthquake and tsunami wrecked a facility nearly three weeks ago, sparking the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986.

Toyota rationing parts to dealers to avert hoarding

The parts supply problem for Japanese cars has extended from new cars to the one you may be driving: Toyota is rationing repair parts for its dealers in the U.S.

Japanese Oil Ports Still Open to World’s Five Largest Crude-Tanker Lines

The world’s five biggest oil-tanker companies will still travel to the ports of Tokyo Bay, joining other shipping lines in judging them safe for crew and vessels.

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd., Frontline Ltd., Teekay Corp., Nippon Yusen Kaisha and NITC Co., whose ships can hold enough oil to supply Japan for 100 days, all said there is no disruption to their services. All vessels are avoiding a 30-mile exclusion zone around the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant, about 220 miles to the north of Tokyo.

Japan PM urges clean energy push

OSAKA, Japan (AFP) – Japan's Premier Naoto Kan said Tuesday the country must push alternative energy sources as it recovers from its quake and tsunami disaster and struggles to contain a nuclear emergency.

"Taking this as a lesson, we have to lead the world in clean energy, such as solar and biomass, and make it a major pillar of a new Japan," the centre-left leader told a parliamentary committee.

Gulf presses ahead with nuclear energy

Despite the disaster in Japan, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are to continue with their investigations into adopting nuclear energy.

Nuclear Curbs Will Hurt Climate, Energy Security Goal, IEA Economist Says

Slowing the expansion of nuclear power will harm efforts to fight climate change, push up energy prices and set back goals to secure power supplies, said Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency.

UB to host 8 free lectures on hydraulic fracturing

The controversial hydraulic fracturing natural gas drilling technique and its potential impact on the state’s environment and economy will be the subject of an eight-week series of free lectures arranged by the University at Buffalo.

Saudis consider power export

Saudi Arabia is considering exporting surplus electricity to Europe in the winter months, when some power capacity lies idle.

The kingdom is conducting a feasibility study on a high-voltage line to connect to the European grid in the next decade, the deputy electricity minister said at a conference in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

Abu Dhabi's electricity demands to grow at faster pace this decade

Abu Dhabi's demand for electricity will rise an average of almost 13 per cent a year this decade, a rate that is one-third faster than the increase in power use in the last five years, a government official said.

US Energy Dept. program to cut costs for start-ups

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu is making it easier for start-up companies to license groundbreaking technologies developed by the National Laboratories.

Chu announced Tuesday the department will reduce the total upfront cost of licensing patents in a specific technology to a $1,000 fee for portfolios of up to three patents.

2 Mass. utilities make very different power deals

BOSTON – State lawmakers gave every Massachusetts utility the same order in 2008: go buy more power from renewable energy sources.

But the state's two largest utilities came back with vastly different deals — especially in price.

Russian upper house ratifies Norway border deal

Russia's upper house of parliament on Wednesday approved a maritime border delimitation agreement with Norway.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg brought a long-standing dispute over dividing the Barents Sea and part of the Arctic Ocean to an end last year by signing an agreement that paved the way for oil and gas exploration in the lucrative region.

Alaska Clash Over Resources and Rights Heats Up

Resisting Washington is “part of the cultural fiber of Alaska, but it has definitely been taken to a new level by this administration,” said Tom Waldo, a staff lawyer here for the environmental law firm Earthjustice.“You see this particular eagerness to respond even to imagined provocations.”

He pointed to a lawsuit that the state filed last year seeking to block a federal moratorium on offshore oil drilling in Alaska that did not actually exist. The state filed the case after the United States secretary of the interior, Ken Salazar, suggested during a news conference that a moratorium would be put in place, but it was never carried out.

Rich hunters, poor town clash over power plant

FULTON, Ark. — The barbed-wire fence surrounding the Hempstead County Hunting Club divides more than property lines. It separates rich from poor.

On one side: wealthy duck hunters who have preserved a private forested paradise largely untouched by chain saws. On the other: the people of this struggling Arkansas town where jobs are scarce and families live in run-down trailers.

The hunters are now waging a bitter legal battle over construction of a coal-fired power plant, and the dispute has laid bare the class tensions that have long beset this rural area.

Cozy pocket neighborhoods have sprawl on the move

Big houses get families to put all their needs under one roof, often isolating them from neighbors, he says. Now that gas prices are soaring, large homes that need lots of energy to heat and cool are losing their appeal.

Homes in pocket neighborhoods may be small but are designed to feel big and airy. Many feature high ceilings and skylights. Parking spaces and garages are usually out of sight to encourage residents to walk home through the shared gardens.

Democrats may compromise on EPA

WASHINGTON — Democrats indicated Tuesday they may be willing to accept Republican-backed curbs on the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal regulators as part of an overall deal on spending cuts, a rare hint of compromise in private negotiations marked by public rancor.

Dolphin toll from BP oil spill far higher: study

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The discovery of more than 100 dead dolphins on Gulf of Mexico shores likely reflects only a small fraction of the total killed by the BP oil spill last year, a study suggested on Wednesday.

The actual toll among cetaceans, a group of mammals that includes whales, narwhals and dolphins, may be as much as 50 times higher, said the Canadian and American research team in the journal Conservation Letters.

U.S. drops to 3rd in clean-energy investment: Pew

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States fell one spot to third place in clean-energy investment last year as the lack of a national energy policy hurt purchases in wind and solar power and other technologies, a report said on Tuesday.

China came in first and Germany second, according to the report "Who's Winning the Clean Energy Race" by the Pew Charitable Trusts, an independent, nonprofit group.

S.Africa takes heat for burning coal

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) – The global fight over fossil fuels has hit home in South Africa as the coal-dependent country debates its energy future before hosting UN climate talks later this year.

On Global Warming, No Clear Skies For Most 2012 GOP Contenders

When news broke of Jon Huntsman's serious consideration of a run for president last month, several conservative pundits, including the Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin, dismissed the former Utah governor's chances by pointing to his moderate record on global warming, which they predicted would play poorly among the GOP's conservative base.

Study: Emissions trading doesn't cause pollution 'hot spots'

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Programs that allow facilities to buy and sell emission allowances have been popular and effective since they were introduced in the U.S. two decades ago. But critics worry the approach can create heavily polluted "hot spots" in low-income and minority communities.

A new study by Evan Ringquist, professor in the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs, finds the problem hasn't materialized -- that the efficiency gains of allowance trading have not come at the expense of equitable treatment of minorities and the poor.

NASA detect extensive drought impact on Amazon forests

A new NASA-funded study has revealed widespread reductions in the greenness of the forests in the vast Amazon basin in South America caused by the record-breaking drought of 2010.

"The greenness levels of Amazonian vegetation- a measure of its health decreased dramatically over an area more than three and one-half times the size of Texas and did not recover to normal levels, even after the drought ended in late October 2010," said Liang Xu, the study's lead author from Boston University.

Re: Obama wants to curb U.S. oil imports by a third

President Barack Obama will set an ambitious goal on Wednesday to cut oil imports by a third over 10 years, focusing on energy security amid high gasoline prices that could stall the U.S. economic recovery.

It will be interesting to hear this latest pitch...

E. Swanson

As per the EIA data, we have been reducing our oil imports since 2005. (sarconal)Congratulations to the government and the citizens on a job well done. (/sarconal)


The decline continues. The last point on that chart is 2009 and according to the EIA net imports for 2009 was 9,667 bp/d, 2010 9,440 kb/d and have averaged 9,041 kb/d for the first two months of 2011.

Though US production has been increasing slightly US imports have been dropping many times faster than domestic production has been rising.

Ron P.

My bet is that Obama understands that imports will decline by 1/3 regardless of what anyone does; he is pulling the Daniel Yergin line and framing it as a choice that we have. Being president would suck--say one thing that "spooks the markets" and you are doomed. Toe the line and you have no hope of changing the status quo.

The Obama import reduction plan seems much like the auto makers accepting increased fuel efficiency standards and Chinese limiting coal production by 2015. If it is going to happen anyway, get some brownie points for appearing effective.

Our oil plan is to basically do what we have been doing since WWII. Drill and deplete. LOL. We are becoming Oil Import Independent alla China and India and their giant straw inserted into MENA.

I love the idea that we are in control. We are not. The differential calculus is in control. The earth is in control. No industrial power can supersede finite resource constraints.

The answer to running out of oil is to run out of oil faster, apparently. Obama's default plan on everything is to adopt the extreme positions of his opponents. And that is going into the negotiations. Also not sure he picked a good time to be pushing nuclear. Wait until everyone forgets about Japan. That won't take long as everyone has apparently already forgotten about the BP oil spill.

I wouldn't be using the term "LOL". "NL" would seem more appropriate. Or how about "COL".

Or how about "LOV" or lack of vision.

Desperate times call for desperate actions but Obama and American people are not on that page. They simply don't know what is happening or don't believe what is happening.

We know that it doesn't matter what he says; the Republicans will oppose it. But a President must set out a vision of what is necessary including proposed actions which might seem radical to most people.

Also not sure he picked a good time to be pushing nuclear.

I think getting any sort of an energy plan through the oppoistion required nuclear to be a big part of the package. Drop that, and he becomes powerless to push any other part of his agenda. This is the second time events have been timed as badly as possible. A year ago, he just started his push for more offshore drilling when DWH happened to make that proposal DOA. Now that he has a proposal with (he hoped) enough compromises to get through Fukushima happened. The guy can't seem to get a break.

Actually, reading what is said, I think he's likely to take a slightly smarter tack. These kind of speech usually hide a nugget of useful truth about plans, if only so that they can claim the credit if things work out.

First, reducing imports by 3Mbpd isn't all of it. We already know that Alaska and GoM will deplete over the time period in question. We have to be looking at at least a total 5Mbpd of decline over 10 years, in reality. Probably more.

Second, no US president is going to plan for economic decline (even thought that's the likely reality). Therefore the planning expectation is growth.

Efficiency improvements is vehicles is obviously possible for the US fleet, probably a good 3Mbpd over ten years, without strong policies pushing the guzzlers off the road.

However, I think he's planning to use the gas glut the US has (or thinks it has) to retrofit some of the fleet for LPG. It's pretty quick and easy to achieve and could push down the oil demand by a few more million barrels. Look to Australia for the reality of it - if you have the surplus, it's a goer.

Lastly, I think he's going to push towards 'clean' coal for power generation, rather than gas. The US has lots of coal, and about the only place you are going to use it is in a power station - therefore those electric/hybrids are going to be powered via coal.

From a political policy PoV all of those policies look to be workable and achievable

Actually, reading what is said, ....

Do you have a link to the full text?

You would think that with the internet it should be easy to find it. But so far no joy for me.

I found a "highlights" tape:

and a whitegouse.gov "fact sheet":

p.s. edit: OK with more searching through the blogosphere, success at last:

Pot shots at Obama's talking points:

"The situation in Japan leads us to ask questions about our energy sources."

Oh really? And why didn't the "us" get led into asking questions 55 years ago when M. King Hubbert called in and said, hello Houston, we have a problem?

"Now, here's the thing -- we have been down this road before."

So has Mad Max (aka Mel Gibson, or was that Charlie Sheen in disguise?)

"We've known about the dangers of our oil dependence for decades. Richard Nixon talked about freeing ourselves from dependence on foreign oil."

"Decades" is cool political code for 55 years and counting.

"The United States of America cannot afford to bet our long-term prosperity, our long-term security on a resource that will eventually run out, and even before it runs out will get more and more expensive to extract from the ground."

Aha. That "eventually" word. Translation: Don't worry, be happy, shop till someone around here drops.

"But our best opportunities to enhance our energy security can be found in our own backyard -- because we boast one critical, renewable resource that the rest of the world can't match: American ingenuity. American ingenuity, American know-how."

And I plan to totally kill that exceptionalist "ingenuity" by putting my support behind the America Invents (Not) Act of 2011 which is now before the House of Representatives for ratification after having sailed through the Senate on the S.23 midnight train.

More pot shots at the Obama Energy freedom from-it "speech"

"Right now, there are even cars rolling off the assembly lines in Detroit with combustion engines -- I'm not talking about hybrids -- combustion engines that get more than 50 miles per gallon. So we know how to do it. We know how to make our cars more efficient."

Yes. We know how to defeat Mother Nature and her silly little rules of thermodynamics.

"Still, there are few breakthroughs as promising for increasing fuel efficiency and reducing our dependence on oil as electric vehicles."

But please don't confusinate me by asking where the energy will come from for making that electricity. I may have to refudiate myself if you do.

"we're going to have to have a plan to change the way we generate electricity in America so that it's cleaner and safer and healthier"

We need you to dream big. We need you to summon that same spirit of unbridled optimism and that bold willingness to tackle tough challenges and see those challenges through that led previous generations to rise to greatness -- to save a democracy, to touch the moon, to connect the world with our own science and our own imagination.

The funny thing is that restricting oil imports isn;t that hard - it's actually very easy. Just place a limit on how much can be imported. The US gov does this all the time on imports of everything from steel to lumber to cheese - in the name of protection of local production of course.

The people would freak, of course, but oil imports *would* be limited, and then people/industry/carmakers would work out ways to live with it - for better or worse. But that's what's coming anyway, so why wait until you are forced?

The funny thing is that restricting oil imports isn;t that hard - it's actually very easy. Just place a limit on how much can be imported.

Yes, but the Americans who would have to walk 25 miles to work every day would be really upset about it.

Equally true, but even those that drive 25 miles are upset already! Mind you, they seem to get upset about a lot of things.

Anyway, they have had 40 years of trying to "innovate" their way out of this, and it simply hasn't worked - time for something else.

Ultimately, it seems they (the bulk of the American people) won't really change anything until it is forced on them. Better the forcing done by their own gov than by China, OPEC, etc, IMO.

Paul - I don't think the concern is so much about the folks who'll have to drive 25 miles to work but the folks who won't have to drive at all: the ones who'll lose their jobs. What if limiting imports got you fired and you couldn't get another job? You wouldn't be a tad upset with that decision? Would you be willing to take one for the team? The team being, of course, those of us who will continue our 25 mile commute to work.

Rock, even though I was being (partly) facetious with this suggestion, I don't think it is actually that bad.

The real problem is, that almost all measures to reduce imports, other than finding a domestic supergiant field, will increase domestic oil prices - but oil prices, in general are going to be higher anyway -and this is the reality that the gov never wants to admit, publicly, at least.

If they decreed a WTI price of $150bbl, lots of new domestic production to offset imports -becomes possible. If Rockman Inc knew that the oil prices was guaranteed to be at least $150 for the next ten years, I am sure you would have many more options open to you, and more capex available to implement them.

Placing a cap on imports would result in the same result- sustained higher domestic prices, though not at a defined level. Also, a cap and/or price floor are about the only measure the gov can implement, now, that do not require "research, development, innovation etc" - but it will sure spur all of those things.

The US gov has capped Cdn lumber imports for decades - it has resulted in higher domestic prices for lumber, and increased(or slowed the decline) of domestic lumber production, and led to lumber alternatives (e.g.steel studs) being used more widely - doesn't that match, exactly, the results they are trying to achieve with oil? By the way, if a viable wood to oil process was developed tomorrow, making lumber a real oil feedstock, I expect the lumber tariff would be dropped the following day.

The US gov has set a legal minimum amount for ethanol production - imagine that - a mandated minimum fuel usage? So they are well experienced in setting limits of all sorts for all sorts of things - why not oil?

Higher prices and tighter oil supplies are coming (are already here) and the gov't can;t change that.

As for the person who lost their job because of higher oil prices - what that needs is a collective change in attitude. Where he, and everyone else don;t blame the Saudis, etc - they turn and blame the guys driving the Escalades and commuting to downtown office jobs in their F-350's - they are the real culprits.

If that was an isolated, close community, and they were wasting limited fuel, they would be scorned - if it was a military base they would be disciplined, if it is a company, they might be fired(or outsourced). But up until now, since the big vehicles were American made, they have somehow been seen as supporting America, and a symbol of American freedom.

When the country realises that these people wasting oil are what is creating unemployment and economic stagnation, not the Saudis etc, and that fuel wasting vehicles are not symbols freedom but weights on their economic feet, then finally things may change - but I won't hold my breath.

But a shock change, like an import limit (or another OPEC embargo), or a spike to $150, is what is needed to jolt everyone awake - and that is *precisely* what the gov is doing its best to avoid. The American people are the slow boiling frog - a scalding is the only thing that will get them to jump out of the oil pot.

Paul - Might shock folks but the Rockman doesn't like the govt guaranteeing profits for him more than anyone else. In reality fixing oil at $150/bbl doesn't really guaranty profitability...just a fixed projection of prices. There are companies today going under with oil over $100/bbl. Of course such price fixing would increase drilling and would add more oil production. The current super hot fractured shale plays with big oil yields prove that. But I know what these plays add to the system and, IMHO, at best they might slow our increase in imports but never eliminate the growing gap between supply and demand. Of course, that assumes a growing economy. The problem with all this new drilling effort is that the individual wells only give a significant bump up in production for a few years. Very different compared to a super field that would raise production for a couple of decades.

Don't get me wrong...I'm all for making my company more money. But the discussion was about the best course of action for the public. Just like the rest of the oil patch I'm not responsible for supplying the economy what it needs to prosper (despite what the smarmy Chevron ads try to imply). We here to make a profit...that's all. An easier way to cut consumption "voluntarily" would be a drastic increase in motor fuel taxes. The govt would certainly have a good use for that big extra income: unemployment payments. Any action that significantly increases energy costs will cost jobs. So despite what either of us or anyone else might propose along those lines it has zero chance of happening IMHO. Political suicide for any of our "leaders" to pull that trigger. Much safer for them to sit back and let the market place kill those jobs. Then they would at least have a vehicle to blame "the other side" or those "dirty Arabs" or those "greedy oil companies". This has been the pattern since I started 36 years ago. I've seen no indication of a change in the game plan.

might slow our increase in imports


C'mon Rock, as others have pointed out here, the decrease in imports that Obama cites as a 'goal' is already well underway, thanks to nature, ELM, and Chindia's rapid growth.

Rockman - in this example, the "setting the price to X" is effectively a government tax on fuel, just a different way of doing it. (Australia used to do this - was called "world parity pricing" where the price of locally produced oil was "adjusted" to meet the world price, back in the 80's when Australia was oil self sufficient)

One thing about set rates - it does allow companies (suppliers and consumers) to plan better - manage and make longer term investments. In the electric and water utilities (area where I have worked) where rates are "regulated" this has worked well, for the most part - it has certainly avoided the boom and bust swings of the oil industry. I can;t see this ever being implemented in the US for oil, but just saying this model is there, and can be used, and would reduce oil imports if that was the goal.

Overall - you are right - they won;t pull the trigger on any plan that would involve serious actions - though that is precisely what is needed, IMO. The path of least resistance will continue to be the one chosen. *sigh*

I've made a personal vow to do my part to institute change.

A few years back I bought a fuel efficient car for my longish commute and started taking the bus at least once a week to work (this was back around the post-Katrina gas price spikes). I flirted with being a hypermiler - became obsessive about mileage etc.

I originally thought that was kind of fun and encouraging - people started buying smaller cars to some extent - slowing down on the roads etc. - we were in uncharted terroritory and it looked like we were ripe for a sea-change in how we looked at fuel usage and maybe energy as a whole.

Fast forward a few years - not a damn thing has changed - SUVs and giant trucks sell like crazy... the avg. speed on my highway is around 80 mph... Hemis (cool - 5.7 L) have been jammed in about 10 more different vehicles as if we are trying to go through the fuel as fast as possible...

So I completely changed course - now on a quest to do my part to DRIVE prices higher. I never pass up a chance to head to the mountains now for skiing or hiking... drive at 75 now rather than 65... rarely take the bus...make multiple trips for various tasks I could have combined. I've told friends about my goals and they agree (most already practice this anyways) - so we have a movement of sorts - a revolution even - to drive ourselves to less fuel usage THROUGH higher prices. The movement is growing - gaining members all the time - most just don't know they are part of it.

My goal is to do my part, however small, to drive up demand which increases the price which increases the pain. And pain is the only factor that has a prayer of working to change behavior. Now when I see the guy at the pump flying past the $100 mark on his F-250 fill-up I give him a bit of a silent "your welcome" for helping him out with the change he's been so reluctant to make.

I've often mused if it's wiser to just blow all the money we don't have and burn everyone else's oil first, before ours (USA), and when theirs is all gone, close the borders. The USA will once again reign supreme.

...."close the borders."

What borders?

I've made a personal vow to do my part to institute change.

Profound, and simple. Thank you for sharing that.

I have switched out almost all lights in my house to CFL or LED.

My power consumption for a span of time, cumulative is 8500 kWh when my neighbor's is over 10000 kWh for the same time interval.

I telecommute 4 workdays a week, so ZERO gasoline consumption those days.

I am not interested of trying to boast, but to share that I have done some actions, too.

Hopefully people will internalize that it is _not_ governmental speeches _or_ policies that matter, but individual actions....

I have switched out almost all lights in my house to CFL or LED.

My power consumption for a span of time, cumulative is 8500 kWh when my neighbor's is over 10000 kWh for the same time interval.

Congratulations, you just reduced your share of U.S. energy usage by about 1% -- 2% if you include the energy lost at the power plant to make that electricity, which you should.

I telecommute 4 workdays a week, so ZERO gasoline consumption those days.

Congrats! Assuming that's about 30% less driving by your household, that's another 5%.

Hopefully people will internalize that it is _not_ governmental speeches _or_ policies that matter, but individual actions....

I disagree. You've done quite a bit more than the average American, and have gotten a gain of a few percent. Individual actions can reduce energy usage by a respectable amount -- I don't want to trivialize what you've done -- but a huge amount of your share of U.S. energy usage is in things you can't easily control. Heating the places you work and shop, fuel for delivery trucks, energy use by the factories that make stuff for you, etc. etc.

We need to change our energy production / consumption patterns by 50% or more, and government policy is, in my opinion, the only effective and humane way to do that.

(Calculation details: relative proportion of domestic energy usage from LLNL energy flow diagram. I'm assuming that roughly half of energy use for transportation is personal vehicles, in line with these numbers.)

Hey, we've all got to do our part! I just can't seem to get the mileage down far enough on my old Accent. Maybe if I keep the e-brake on all the time? I always appreciate a bit of dark humor and sarcasm coupled with an interesting point. Peak oil is the only force strong enough to drive real change.

Peak oil gives me hope.

Now when I see the guy at the pump flying past the $100 mark on his F-250 fill-up I give him a bit of a silent "your welcome" for helping him out with the change he's been so reluctant to make.

Well, I hope you'll forgive me for not doing my fair share in this revolution. I put a measly $14.37 of regular in my little old manual shift Escort's tank this morning and it'll probably keep me going for another 120 miles or so, which is probably all I need for a typical week's driving nowadays. Though whoever filled up just before me must be one of your revolutionaries they had put in a little over $87.00 worth. Viva la Revolucion!

Quite frankly I agree with your point. I also wish we would just give cart blanche to the oil companies to drill every square centimeter of our land, national parks, continental shelf, anywhere and everywhere, heck put up an oil derrick next to the Washington monument. Push drill baby drill non stop until it becomes obvious to everyone that the oil to support our current lifestyles just isn't there. Should be interesting.


"Quite frankly...Should be interesting."

Jumping Jehoshaphat on a pogo stick!

I have been saying this very thing for years!

Have the Pres cut an executive order, have Congress pass a bill, to drill, baby, drill!

Have a web site, hold a press conference, every darn day, and post the U.S. rig count, money spent on subsidized drilling, # bbls produced in the U.S. per day, # bbls used in the U.S. per day, # bbls imported per day, a running tally of estimated reserves, and the current gas and diesel prices.

Today, the U.S. oil consortium drilled its sixty-thousandth new well since the D,B,D legislation was signed into law. In the 10 years since operations have commenced we have spent $60B since and have increased our daily U.S. production by 1.4M bbl per day! In the same period, U.S. consumption has increased by .4M bbl/day and imports have shrunk by 1.0M bbl/day due to being outbid for imported oil by the rest of the World. In related news, Unleaded passed the $7/gallon mark today.

President, go ahead and make their day...


I am pretty much on board with this line of thinking. I'm getting really tired of friends, family & acquaintances complaining about "paying at the pump" and blaming "the environmentalists" for not allowing the USA to achieve energy independence. I am 95 percent certain we will drill, dig, strip mine, frack, etc. every last square inch of potentially exploitable hydrocarbon bearing deposit anyway once the depletion curve kicks in in earnest. And also the canard that environmental protection is "too expensive" - the "I'm all in favor of protecting the environment - it's just that the eco-freaks have gone too far" line of thinking. Lets repeal all the environmental regulations and let the "market" magically protect clean air, water, food, etc. (I'm not really suggesting this, he he).
Best Regards,

FMagyar -

Thanks for bringing up the drill baby drill situation again - I remember that you had pushed this idea during previous discussions and I too am now a relatively recent convert to this line of thinking. I suspect though that if we turned the country into swiss cheese - the inmates who now appear to run the asylum would argue that we need to drill in between because "we're missing it".

I am profoundly disappointed though with your driving an Escort - please take it to a shop and see if you can somehow get an aftermarket Hemi to jam into it and help the cause ! :)

So I completely changed course - now on a quest to do my part to DRIVE prices higher.

Actually, using more might not be such a bad idea. The more inefficient we are when the peak hits, the easier it will be to manage the downslope of oil production. When you guys balloon the oil usage by recreational trips and so on, that creates some low hanging fruit regarding conservation efforts when they become necessary. A more frugal global society might hit PO a decade later, but might have a much harder time to avoid a collapse when it eventually does.

We traded in the Hemi Magnum (sob), and also the VW Golf GTI (sob) on a VW TDI Sportwagen. That's my wifes daily driver, its big enough to haul the monsters and all their stuff. But I kept both of my 250s. The 2006 Ford F-250 gets as much as 15mpg. The 2003 Kawasaki EX-250 gets 65mpg. I ride the Kaw whenever the weatherman says it is going to be a nice day, I drive the Ford when the weather is bad or I need to haul stuff. I was thinking that when the next gas crunch gets here, I might get a personalized plate for the bike that says something like "82MPG" just to annoy the guzzlers.

p.s. TV weathermen lie

Better the forcing done by their own gov than by China, OPEC, etc, IMO.

Not so sure of that one. If its pushed by the government, the anger is turned inwards. If it can be blamed on outside forces, hopefully it won't create internal craziness.

You are correct in this, but I was thinking that if the gov does it, first, it has control over what gets done/what the limit is. If it is imposed by outside countries, you have no control.

You can blame God for sending a storm your way, but ultimately you are better off preparing for it.

The decline continues. The last point on that chart is 2009 and according to the EIA net imports for 2009 was 9,667 bp/d, 2010 9,440 kb/d and have averaged 9,041 kb/d for the first two months of 2011.

Though US production has been increasing slightly US imports have been dropping many times faster than domestic production has been rising.

Ron P.

Weird uptick and freefall at the same time. The analogy is that someone cuts way back on going to the supermarket, but makes up for it by depending on their tiny vegetable garden. I don't think they can keep up this for long.

(humor) The graph shows we already met the 1/3 goal since the high in 2005!

Hmmm, Economic anorexia?

Here's the time of the speech from Obama's schedule:

11:20 am The President delivers a speech on his plan for America’s energy security Georgetown University

While we are all waiting breathlessly for his delivery and the market response, take a look at the post from up top:

FACT SHEET: America's Energy Security

Question: How the H#@L can he get any of this done, given the gridlock in the present Congress? He can't even get his budget passed and we are apparently headed toward a government shutdown unless someone blinks...

E. Swanson

I don't think the point is to get any of it done. The point is 1) to appear to care about high gas prices and 2) to draw attention away from Libya, which is looking more and more like it's not going to end well.

Right on Leanan. Any time a president wants to divert attention, he comes up with the latest greatest energy plan. I believe the DOE was created by Carter to handle that problem and they did a typical government type job. Nada!

sarc/ US Energy plan: Not a problem. Get the plan from TEPCO. /sarc

DOE's real job:


In case anyone didn't know...

"We have to find the courage to do nothing."

Steven Colbert

nuclear power...“It’s as safe as any other energy source. Last year we had the BP oil spill, the Massey coal mine collapse, and let’s say a windmill robbed a bank.”


Even if nothing gets done, it is right for the president to set policy expectations - "this is what we ought to be doing."

Of course, Leanan is probably right about the calculation behind this initiative. The bit about "cutting imports" is a tell.

If he said we either do it voluntarily or Chindia will do it for us, wouldn't it be refreshing.

Plan includes "clean" coal and lots and lots of ethanol. Oh yeh, and electric vehicles. More energy independence nonsense. The way things are going with peak oil,however, we will get closer to that goal without much effort.

How about some vision with respect to the demand side? We need walkable, bikeable, no car or few car cities. We need less cars not just BAU with pie in the sky substitutes.

Frankly, I doubt his latest pitch will be all that interesting. He has demonstrated very little of the vision and hope that he promised during the election campaign.

Of course, it all doesn't matter because congress' vision is things like the light bulb freedom act as they are busy figuring out ways we can use more energy and be more dependent on coal and oil.

Maybe we'll save a little energy when the government shuts down and they turn out the lights.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will set an ambitious goal on Wednesday to cut oil imports by a third over 10 years, focusing on energy security amid high gasoline prices that could stall the U.S. economic recovery.

I love the way modern presidents set "ambitious goals" for several years after they will be out of office. Otherwise, it would be interesting to see them scramble to find two-thirds of our current oil imports in a broke and depleted world.

Yah, but you know what? You and I won't be 'out of office' in two years, and neither will our kids.

We reliably trash our leaders for only making short-term goals, and then also happily trash them for making long-term plans as well, as if we have to limit their vision for them, to the period of their representation?

Jimmy Carter set up some long-term plans, and had to simply hope that the goals and the message would take seed with enough people that it could sprout and persist, since his time in the Oval Office would have never exceeded eight years, no matter what.

None of them are Saints.. *(except Possibly Carter, according to R. Fisk) and they are playing a continual game of 'Leading Horses to Water'.. amongst various constituencies. They will talk about renewables and energy independence, but if the country can't help bring it about, it's not just his failure, it's ours, too. If his vision or emphasis is skewed, it's not hard to remember why, and how many skewing voices are putting him there..

We (the People) are in Office for our entire lifetimes as Citizens, and have just as much of an obligation to help balance out the view, the direction, the niggling details that can bring this forward.

They're not Angels or Devils up there.. and whether it's with big, wet sloppy kisses or tough love, they need our ideas and our energy (whether they know this or not) to help guide the direction that this thing moves in.


OK, maybe that didn't come off quite like I meant. Yeah, Jimmy Carter 'got it'. A saint? Perhaps.

I was thinking more of El Befuddleoso's "To Mars and beyond!" speech, of which this reminded me. I had my hopes up for Mr. O, but he hasn't been listening to the people who put him in office. He dismisses them as "the Professional Left" and similar slights. You and I know that reducing our oil imports by one third will be a trivial accomplishment in ten years, by which time we may not be importing oil at all.

he hasn't been listening to the people who put him in office.

Oh yes he has - you're just confused about who that is.

Yes indeed.
You get the Government Administration you paid for.

"If the country can't help bring it about, it's not just his failure, it's ours, too."

Well said, and an all-too-rare sentiment with a crowd that surely should know better. One need only be reminded of all the psychology-related posts on TOD to know that you're absolutely correct.

Obama's speech will be webcast live, starting at about 11:15 AM this morning. HERE's the link for all you die hard energy fans out there...

E. Swanson

After listening in on the speech, I's say he did a rather good job of framing the problem. He even mentioned that oil was going to run out and that in future the oil will be more expensive because the cheap stuff is already gone. He focused on electric cars and the problem of batteries, while also pointing out that the electricity to run the electric cars still must be generated somehow.

One is left to wonder how he will be able to make things happen, given the situation in Congress and out there in the real 'Merika. He seems to think that calling for more studies and setting up more committees will make a difference, as if that hasn't been done before. I heard no plan to actually limit imports or to raise the cost of oil to the consumer, which would seem to be the two paths most likely to have an impact in shifting the economy away from oil to the various alternatives he mentioned. He's still going to need to make his case to the old guys in Congress and on Wall Street not to mention the Tea Bag types and the MIC. He knows much can be done, but who is going to pay for it is the question...

E. Swanson

Agreed. I think this is more about trying to maintain the existing programs for alt energy, than it is about any big new ones. The current deficit-phobia is threatening these programs. So probably the best he can do is avoid serious defunded of these programs.

At least he laid out the coming oil price crunch, and tried to take some steam out of the "won't allow new drilling stuff". I don't think many in the public or punditocracy, are aware of these things (even at this pretty basic level). A lot better than I had expected. But, its probably no more than a rearguard defense of our already inadequate efforts.

The problem is a lot of the existing programs aren't achieving much, except leveraging large amounts of government money into questionable projects, so that VC's can cash out before they crash.

Take cellulosic ethanol for example, $billions has been spent for, essentially, nothing, except that it can be done "if oil is expensive enough" which was know already.

I am actually in favour of biofuels/bioenergy - but we can;t delude ourselves that they are a large scale replacement for oil - not even close.

They have promoted the alt programs (incl EV's) as if it means we can just switch to these and keep going. The reality is we can;t, we need to slow down (decrease energy use). Another policy that relies on substitution instead of reduction is likely to be just as ineffective as all the previous ones.

I ten to think of alt energy as wind/solar/tidal/wave/small-hydro/blue-energy(energy obtained mixing fresh and salt water)/geothermal. Biofuels are a bad joke. I agree about the waste in biofuels. Much of the stuff that helps are things like loan guarantees, which allow risky startups to make a go for it. Of course some of these will go bad, Evergreen, and solyndra are being held out as (black)star attractions. But, the point of loan guarantees, is not to get all your money back, but to generate a few winning companies.

Here is an example of the sort of innovation that is worth supporting:
River Water plus Ocean Water

As an indicator of the battery's potential for producing power, Cui's team calculated that if all the world's rivers were put to use, their batteries could supply about 2 terawatts of electricity annually -- that's roughly 13 percent of the world's current energy consumption.

Those clever Norwegians have already got a pilot plant going - though they are using forward osmosis and hydro turbines. Like solar, a very expensive way to make electricity, but unlike solar, very predictable.
Agreed this one is worth supporting.

The problem with bioenergy (electricity) is, of course, it doesn't produce liquid fuels, and that is what is running short. The current R&D funding system hasn't worked all that well - the most hyped projects get the most funding. The silicon valley types think they can solve these problems, because they solved silicon and software problems, but there is a big difference in the world of fuels and power electronics.

The problem with producing biofuels, is, of course, that if successful at any large scale, people will think we can carry on unchanged - we will have just found another way to feed the beast in the room.

Biofuels are a bad joke.

Like it or not, biofuels allow for storage and in the case of oil energy density.

Are things like reaching space with satellites important enough for humanity to 'save a gallon of plant oil' per person to be able to then use that oil to provide the impulse power to create the even higher impulse power to fling metal into space?

Thanks, but no thanks. I'd rather watch a kettle boil.

Obama's an incompetent liar, and everybody here knows it. Then again, he was inheriting an impossible situation, and he was in no position to take on Wall Street or the Pentagon, especially when doing so could have very well meant a Depression far worse than the one we're in now.

Again, you can vote all you want, but it's beyond me how you can take on these powers.

Stop using dollars? Organize a protest?

Heck many Americans are so desperate that they would gladly accept a job in the military or its various spheres, if only to put food on the table and those oh so precious dollars in the bank.

It's over people, there's nothing we can do but duck and hide.

I don't think he was lying when he laid out the basics. HERE's a transcript of the speech, so you can read it instead of watching. For example, he noted:

Now, even if we increase domestic oil production, that is not going to be the long-term solution to our energy challenge. I give out this statistic all the time, and forgive me for repeating it again: America holds about 2 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves. What that means is, is that even if we drilled every drop of oil out of every single one of the reserves that we possess -- offshore and onshore -- it still wouldn’t be enough to meet our long-term needs. We consume about 25 percent of the world’s oil. We only have 2 percent of the reserves. Even if we doubled U.S. oil production, we’re still really short. So the only way for America’s energy supply to be truly secure is by permanently reducing our dependence on oil. We’re going to have to find ways to boost our efficiency so we use less oil. We’ve got to discover and produce cleaner, renewable sources of energy that also produce less carbon pollution, which is threatening our climate. And we’ve got to do it quickly.
So as we replace oil with fuels like natural gas and biofuels, we can also reduce our dependence by making cars and trucks that use less oil in the first place. Seventy percent of our petroleum consumption goes to transportation -- 70 percent. And by the way, so does the second biggest chunk of most families’ budgets goes into transportation.

That's a rather solid statement of the problem, don't you think?

E. Swanson

It's a decent enough speech. Watered down so the plebeians can take it.

Obama misled in a very profound way on Guantanamo, Iraq, tax policy, amongst others, which in my book is equivalent to lying.

He has also looked the other way while his economic lackeys rewarded their buddies on Wall Street.

America is in the throws of a great sickness, one that Obama can't cure, especially since he's out of there in 2012, whether by choice or not. It's probably beyond anyone, anyway.

Obama doesn't get a pass because he can read a telemprompter and isn't a Republican. Really, the only thing that Obama is interested in is the same thing as Weimar Ben Bernanke: making sure the country doesn't completely tank on his watch.

Obama misled in a very profound way on Guantanamo, Iraq, tax policy, amongst others, which in my book is equivalent to lying.

I've got a different take on it -- but of course I would, being a democrat. As I see it, Obama's intentions were genuine, but the American political system, and the will of the people in general, is so hopelessly tangled that he's unable to act.

It's more difficult to cut through the Gordian knot when your own hand is tangled in it.

Nice list. How about worrying about PEAK OIL?

Sounds like a TOD tag line E. What sucks is the delivery and follow-through. He needs to give a fireside/chaulkboard chat, with graphics and experts (I'm sure TOD, EB, others would be glad to help). "This is your car. This is your car in ten years". Show pictures of the gas lines from the 70's. Sell it! Make J6P in his FSP look really stupid; adopt Foxlike tactics.

Then issue a few executive orders; declare a national energy emergency.

"Then issue a few executive orders; declare a national energy emergency."

And there's the rub. Obama's version of "action" on anything seems to be to give a speech. Admittedly, he is very good at this, but that alone is not enough. He can state all the obvious, and even not so obvious facts, but if it ends with an appeal for people/companies to change, nothing will. Everyone expects others to change so they don;t have to.

At some point the general has to give some orders to the troops to back up his encouragement - it is time for Obama to do the same.

Oh puuuleeeze, if President Obama did anything like what you suggested, the crazies, led by Herr Glenn Beck, would ensure he was replaced /before/ 2012!

The low-lifes would seize on the excuse to remove the socialist/communist/Kenyan/no birth certificate scary black man Demoncrat from office...

For a sizable portion of Americans, President Obama can't do Anything right.

Newt and many other political right 'leaders' screamed for him to take action in Libya, then the very same people turned around and castigated him FOR taking action in Libya.

The strategy of the political right, backed by the inane drones who keep Fox on the tele all day long, is to ensure that Obama fails, even if doing so drags the country down as well. In fact, the country must be laid low as much as possible prior to the 2012 election to ensure that Obama is kicked out and replaced by a President Pawlenty, Huckabee, Barbour, Bachmann, etc.

....if President Obama did anything like what you suggested, the crazies, led by Herr Glenn Beck, would ensure he was replaced /before/ 2012!

The low-lifes would seize on the excuse to remove the socialist/communist/Kenyan/no birth certificate scary black man Demoncrat from office...

For a sizable portion of Americans, President Obama can't do Anything right.

You are exactly right, Heisenberg. If Obama gave a speech tomorrow and said "Water generally flows downhill" the Repubs would immediatly attack him for his Democrat Socialist plot to force all Water down to the same level, and denying Water's constitutional right to choose any level it wanted.

And a sizable element on TOD would criticize him for not issuing a Presidental Executive Order mandating that all water flow downhill, with severe penalties for any water that didn't comply.

You are exactly right, Heisenberg.

Just for fun, here's one of the more blatant examples, from that "darling of the Tea Party's anti-Islamic wing,"* Pamela Geller (aka Atlas Shrugs):

[before US military intervention]

Libya is Slaughtering Innocent Civilians, Hundreds Massacred

...The silence of the world powers is deafening. We cannot allow this massacre to continue.

...Stand up for innocent victims: Urge the U.S., the European Union, and the U.N. not to turn a blind eye to this bloodbath. Click here to take action now...

[after US military intervention]

US Troops join Al Qaeda, Rebels in Libya

Our boys fighting alongside Al Qaeda jihadists and Libyan rebels. Are they forced to pray too? You know, Obama demands that we show respect. Just how far, O?

WTF are we doing in Libya, and why is the media aiding and abetting a military invasion to install Islamic fundamentalism, destroyer and annihilationist of the West?...

...The only revolution that was a genuine fight for life, liberty, and freedom was Iran, and Obama ignored it. Hussein sat back and watched Neda and thousands of others slaughtered. He backed the mullocracy. He will always be remembered for that, especially after the coming catastrophe.

Sheesh, Paul,
You're a tough fellow to please, after the guy spits out several hunderd Tomahawks into Libya, and has done more than his share keeping the Bombs flying into Afgh, Iraq and Paki, too .. frankly I and a few thousand Khyber farmers would probably have been glad to hear a few more speeches instead.

Not to forget the Suicide mission of taking on HealthCare in his first term.

I don't think there's a fish on your line.. it might be a boot.

Bob, I don't think I'm being too tough here.

And not to take away from the (many) other challenges he faces, and the difficulty of his opposition.

But on the oil independence/imports front, this has been going on for decades - was there anything announced here that will really change things on this front? He announced another "we will reduce our use of X by y% by 20xx" goal - which, of course, is long beyond his presidency. How many of those have we heard over the decades, right back to Carter. The only such goal I know of that has been met is the ethanol production goal.

Most of the other initiatives are all good, if they happen, but will they? A fuel efficiency standard for heavy trucks? There is no industry, not even airlines, that has a higher proportion of fuel costs - those truckers way ahead of every other highway vehicle in terms of fuel efficiency (and would be further still if not for over zealous emission rules). Any improvements that can be done, are being done. A real plan for CNG implementation would more meaningful - they could have found somewhere - a well travelled corridor - to implement a CNG highway, and retrofit the first X trucks that signed up - that *could* be done within his presidency.

He talked about alternative fuel vehicles, but did not give a specific plan. This would have been a great time to announce that by 20xx all new vehicles would be flex fuel - hard to see anyone opposing that for fear of annoying the corn lobby - but it would also open the way for future methanol use - which is made from - natural gas. China is already moving down that road.

He talked about "historic" achievements with high speed rail - but there isn't a new HSR that you can ride, and won't be anytime soon.

Now, a million EV's by 2015 - there at least is a specific target, but it is only three and half years away - there is a lot to be done to meet that goal.

I think he did indeed give a very good, blunt assessment of the problem - I just don't think the actions talked about are enough to solve it.

I guess he knows the political reality that even if he had actions that could solve it, they would never be agreed to - the opposition just wants to grind him into the dust until Nov 2012, good ideas and all. Politics really is a thankless job.

{PS - Bob - I did make a response to your mention of our discussion of utilities and trust issues in Mar 28 Drumbeat}

Thx, Paul. (Re 3/28 reply)

If I can, I'll get over to it and take a peek.

Running back out to the woodpile now.. can't take on the other stuff.


Obama's an incompetent liar

Politicians are liars by trade. If he was an incompetent liar, would he not have been a teller of truth?

Yawn... it will start or somewhere in the first 100 words: "Make No Mistake". Then the rest will be bull sh*t. I voted for this guy. A mistake.

Who was the other guy again? Wasn't it John McEnroe or that Palin guy ?/snark

I am from over the sea just sitting and waiting for the next US President who utters :
We must power down now, starting with this simple step - ABANDON ALL MANUFACTURINGS of these kind of things, and that BY LAW

Yes. And that was a conundrum for me. I dislike Republicanism in general. Though I suspect McCain would have chucked a few of the Wall Street pirates in jail. Which would have provided a viable alternative to the too-big-to-fail argument.

But McCain was really old. Palin is incredibly narcissistic. The brain dead "USA, USA, USA" chants at the Republican convention reminded me of what my father used to tell me about Germany in the mid '30s.

So I voted for "Yes We Can". It's very depressing.

Though I suspect McCain would have chucked a few of the Wall Street pirates in jail.

No he would not have. They pay alot of money to be above the "law". See Keating Five at your local search engine.

John (Keating Five) McCain? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keating_Five

You wasted your time. I don't vote anymore except for local elections. You have a choice between 2 corporate puppets.

True, but democracy is now and has always been a long, hard slog against the corporate plutocrats. The best we can expect is a partial victory. Even if the hopes are dim, I for one don't want to be the one who gave up, when all that is asked is to go in the booth and pull the freakin lever.

How about Hyperdemocracy?

“...Efficasync describes tools used by a more-general type of programmer called a ‘citizen,’ to write, update, and debug democracies. As mentioned above, this document uses many analogies to the world of computers and programming because of their utility in the domain of self-governance. In this vein, a group’s system of governance can be thought of as a computer’s operating system (OS.) Both an OS and a government have the ability to coordinate activity and delegate resources among the constituent parts of a system. As with all pieces of software, operating systems may be one of two varieties: open-source or close-source. Open-source operating systems allow every user direct access to their copy of the underlying code, so the user can examine and learn how the system works, and possibly fix problems or make improvements, which can then be shared with the group that uses the OS. Other systems, called close-source, restrict this access to an elite group of experts whose profession is to maintain the code. Efficasync was created in the former paradigm, and encourages the investigation of its code by every person affected by its code. It is the business and responsibility of every citizen to know and affect their government...
Efficasync is a governing Nomic, where the people governed are the same people who do the governing, by setting-up and changing the rules they live by..."

... yeah, that's definitely going to play in Peoria.

Considering that I have seen instant runoff balllot advocates get tangled up in knots trying to interpret a real vote made using an instant runoff ballot, this would be a guaranteed way to get a community lost in the deep weeds for a couple of months until they threw it out for something they could all understand.

True, but democracy is now and has always been a long, hard slog against the corporate plutocrats.

Good thing America is a Republic and doesn't have to fight the corporate plutocrats.

LOL. LIke the President can do *ANYTHING*. If you think for one minute, they he/she could then you are deluded. Energy depletion is a constant. It is not a variable that a President can manipulate.

I'm a doomer as much as anyone, but I don't buy this.

Imagine how the world would be different had Gore been elected in 2000.

Presidents can affect policy, and they do set the tone for the rest of the nation. If we had a competent president, who truly cared about the citizens of this country, it would make a difference, particularly in the realm of psychology. Psychology (not totalitarian propaganda, mind you) is critical in the area of getting people to accept energy decline.

Think a confidence-inspiring Jimmy Carter, and you get my drift.

Of course, this is all academic, as we are an overstretched, overindebted Empire in catabolic collapse whose 300 million subjects are finding out painfully that they are never going to get such a president, as nobody in their right mind would choose to run for a such position anymore.

I agree but that is a *BIG IF*. I fear good leadership is not in the cards.
Carter was the last President to speak honestly about energy and look -- he was demonized -- still is in fact.
How can you expect a President to be honest ever again. He tried and failed in a big way.

If wishes were fishes... they still would have all experienced dieoff in the BP GOM disaster ;)

Wouldn't it be nice to hear Obama reference the top article in Drumbeat this morning: "Less than 50 Years of Oil Left, HSBC Warns"? Instead, I'm sure it will be more blather about how we are being "pinched" by high gas prices, and all we have to do is mine more coal. Right.

Someday, somehow, the message is going to be hammered home to the US and the rest of the world that we are on a collision course with hard times caused by our own greed, arrogance and stupidity. Maybe on Obama's way out the door, probably in January of 2013, he can make a speech similar to Truman's farewell, which in some ways set the tone for the Vietnam protests, and which still resonates and is referenced today, even if it didn't have huge immediate impact.

Harry *did* foresee our current troubles:

"Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society's future, we -- you and I, and our government -- must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow."

Now, sixty years later, we have become the "insolvent phantom of tomorrow" predicted by Truman.

Everything that is happening and that will happen has been foretold and foreshadowed by the wisdom of men and the lessons of history. Too bad we are collectively too stupid to listen.

"Everything that is happening and that will happen has been foretold and foreshadowed by the wisdom of men and the lessons of history. Too bad we are collectively too stupid to listen."

And when TSHTF, the sheeple let out a collective "why didn't anyone tell us?"

Well, the people trying to tell you have always been shouted down, villified, belittled, ignored, had their patriotism questioned, been harrassed, thrown in jail, etc.

We call this "The System".

Wouldn't it be nice to hear Obama reference the top article in Drumbeat this morning: "Less than 50 Years of Oil Left, HSBC Warns"

... and if he were also to point out that "less than 50 years of oil left at the current rate of production" would only be meaningful if it were actually possible to sustain the current rate of production.

Joe Listener who hears the problem framed in terms of a resource-to-production ratio will not understand that it doesn't describe anything that's relevant to the real world. What he'll hear is, "We don't have to worry about oil for another fifty years."

Everything that is happening and that will happen has been foretold and foreshadowed by the wisdom of men and the lessons of history.

And a tremendous variety of things that are not happening, or may not ever happen, or may even be physically impossible, have likewise been foretold. If we could tell the difference by using any tool other than a rearview mirror, then we should all be rich.

The US economy will continue to spiral down as energy prices continue to escalate, because every economic activity in the US relies on oil in ratios out of proportion to the rest of the civilized world.

You can take that to the bank.

Go forth and prosper.

Great quote! Makes me glad I toured Truman's childhood home in Lamar, Missouri - I was staying in Golden City 15 miles away and Lamar's got the closest gas station ... so there I am filling up my car and touring Truman's house.

edit: I should add, it's a very tiny house - not a McMansion that's for sure.

"It will be interesting to hear this latest pitch..."

It seems to hinge around a fundamental misunderstanding of why we import oil in the first place (because it is cheaper than the alternatives). Or more likely as Leanan said -- just politics.

Oil is cheap but China is somehow buying it before we do. Reminds me of the bake sales when you get to the front of the line and nothing is left but broken cookies and crumbs. lol.

I am speaking of course of the change in our oil consumption (since Nov 2010) not the absolute numbers.

Americans are the top consumers per capita, but we are not doing well bidding for oil against China.

The path to independence is clear now -- we are just saying it all wrong -- China is making us oil import independent.

Nonetheless, how long is oil cheap for when US refiners get too low in stocks to operate?

Our very local little radio station was discussing your "5 Myths About Gasoline Prices" article this morning. Point #5 specifically ('Merikans must have cheap gasoline...')

Good Job!

Happily, this is still up.


We know what he problem is, we just refuse to do anything about it. the solutions are "too expensive'. And if you look only at the gas pump price, inflation adjusted to say 1970, it's not that bad even now. But we don't see the other costs, so we don't worry about them.

I'm still holding to my opinion from before that a political decision will be made to choose between;

1) Even with a meltdown every 5000 reactor-years, nuclear power is safer than coal plus global warming, and we go ahead and build nuclear plants to phase out the coal plants for base-line load, and use renewables where we can.

2) Nuclear power is more dangerous than coal plus global warming, so we continue the status quo of the last 35 years. You can add some token renewables for this option too.

3) Natural gas will save us from nuclear and coal plus global warming, so we go on a drill and frack frenzy. Again token renewables.

Note all three assume some variant of BAU. In other words, Obama just endorsed Cheney's policy.

Just for the record I'd like to see more small nukes, around 650 MWe like the ones at Point Beach in Wisconsin. They seem to be really boring.

Well PV, they're ALL boring until one of them has a bad day and can't keep it off the news any more.

"And use renewables where we can.."

That's all I'm saying, like, on almost EVERYONE's ROOFTOP, over a massive bunch of PARKING LOTS maybe, over a few thou more acres of Corn/Soy Fields and on top of old BROWNFIELD sites.. There are a bunch of big rooftops on City Halls and Public Schools, too. They could Shade Bike Trails in Phoenix or Vegas (and just relocate them when those cities call it quits..

My apologies if this has been previously discussed...but I could find no mention of this anywhere on the OD and I would dearly like to hear (see) the opinions of the folks here on this report from the Congressional Research Service:


It has the more hysterical blogs all up in arms:



Burn it baby.

Burn it all!

(the coal)

Reading this stuff depresses you more. Doom is the ill-informed humanity that will spill onto the streets when the trucks stop coming to their local supermarket. These people get to vote and they have jobs doing some sort of "work" in our economy. LOL.

#15 Bruce Porter Sr 2011-03-30 16:54
First, oil is probably abiotic, not fossil. And earth keeps producing more of it.
Second, the obvious objective is one world government. That can't be accomplished as long as one country has the ability to be self sufficient. So, we have it, but it is being denied us. And, like Esau with his birthright, we are willing to trade it away for anything our illustrious owners will allow us to have.
Third, the world has the ability to contain multiple billions of humans, it is just our owners that want to limit humanity. They want to reduce the population to 1 billion.
Fourth, global warming is such a hoax. However, pollution is not. The answer to that is in the minds of some entrepreneur somewhere, if the elites allow it to surface.
And puleez, I am the former owner of a solar company, before Jimmy Carter put all of us little guys out of business......allowing only the huge corporations to remain in business...like Exxon and GE

LOL! One word: *POE*!

Yes, another sap well-programmed by Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and other assorted raconteurs. They should be had up for treason.

the ill-informed humanity that will spill onto the streets

We may mock the "ill-informed" humanity that already spill onto the streets for example in Egypt, in Libya, in Mexico, etc. when their earning capacity no longer matches with the cost of vital food and fuel, but there for the grace of God go each of us because we are all just one oil shock away from potential disaster in our personal lives.

The US has lots of coal and if one adds in oil shale (not shale oil?) and so-called undiscovered reserves, the total energy available appears to be quite large. So what if burning all that fossil carbon might result in the death of the Earth, Inhofe and his buddies will be long dead by then, as will the people who posted those rants you link to. Who cares what the EROEI is for those unconventional resources and who really knows how much "undiscovered" fuels are hidden just below the surface? Not these guys...

E. Swanson

I would dearly like to hear (see) the opinions of the folks here on this report from the Congressional Research Service

Well, having read it over, I would say it is highly misleading to the point of being downright delusional.

The number you want to look at is "Proven Reserves" - 19.1 billion barrels of oil left in the US. Everything else is pie-in-the-sky. They are talking about stuff that is not oil, and which cannot be converted into oil using any known technology at any price that anybody could ever afford.

If you believe in this report, you believe that pixie dust can solve all your problems. And, I am really starting to believe that many US politicians and media people believe in pixie dust.

I'm just looking at this from the perspective of someone who worked in the oil industry for 35 years. If you can't step in it and get it stuck all over your boots, then it's not oil. "Oil shale" is not oil and it's not shale, either. Neither is coal. Converting it to "barrels of oil equivalent" doesn't make it oil.

That was sort of my take too from a purely laymen's POV- I thought its was almost comical to try and convert it BOE...

But alas politicians are waving it around as if its fact...

thanks for your insight- I hope others continue to opine...

"Undiscovered" - self explanatory

"Technically Recoverable" - most not economically recoverable at today's price, a lot will not be economically recoverable at any price.

Nothing new, nothing different - just a complete spin put on the truth and paid for by what I consider to be extremist movements.

Absolutely no interest in the truth.

It will be interesting to hear this latest pitch...

Don't need to worry about it. We have been saved by Spanish scientists. Hip, Hip, Hurray!


"It's ecological oil," said the founder and chairman of BFS, French engineer Bernard Stroiazzo-Mougin, who worked in oil fields in the Middle East before coming to Spain.

"We need another five to 10 years before industrial production can start," said Stroiazzo-Mougin, who hopes to be able to develop another such project on the Portuguese island of Madeira.

"In a unit that covers 50 square kilometres, which is not something enormous, in barren regions of southern Spain, we could produce about 1.25 million barrels per day," or almost as much as the daily export of oil from Iraq, he said.

BFS, a private company, hopes to negotiate "with several countries to obtain subsidies for the installation of artificial oil fields," he said.

All we have to do is hang on for another ten years!

That is absolutely amazing.................A scientist....where did he get his ticket?
The last few Dilbert comic strips poke fun at energy scammers.
I expect to see a lot more (scamming) in the coming years. There will always be those ready and willing to prey on the desperation of the ignorant. Look for the return of perpetual motion.

Lets see, clear plastic tubes that are 8 meters tall. Sounds like artificial trees being fed CO2 in larger than atmospheric concentrations. Might work, but for how much money??

E. Swanson

ROFLMAO. A version in French goes like this:

Une surface de 52 000 kilomètres carrés permettrait d'obtenir 95 millions de barils de carburant par jour... Dans une zone de 52.000 km2, les responsables annoncent une production de plusieurs millions de barils de bio-pétrole par jour...

Another AFP English version reads the same as the linked Yahoo/AFP text:

In a unit that covers 50 square kilometres, which is not something enormous, in barren regions of southern Spain, we could produce about 1.25 million barrels per day...

Something seems to have been lost in translation from 95mmbd to 1.25mmbd. And, maybe, in "rounding" 52.000 to 50, that pesky old Continental practice of using a comma instead of a period in a number, and vice versa, can cause confusion; but as an astrophysicist might almost say, what's a factor of a thousand between friends. Whatever.

Then again, Arthur C. Clarke pointed out long ago that any sufficiently advanced technology will be indistinguishable from magic. From the point of view of "reporters", this particular one must indeed be sufficiently advanced to qualify, as would, without doubt, any technology involving science or math.

Libya: yet another (peak) oil war

2010 vs. 2005: pay 40% more for the same amount of crude oil

Japanese meltdown highlights energy dilemma as peak oil enters hot phase

The Libyan rebels are making the most basic of tactical mistakes.

Without foreign ground troops it will take a miracle, not just close air support, for them to defeat Gaddafi.

Their only hope is that Tripoli runs out of fuel, electricity and food before he can recapture the oil fields.

'protecting civilians' is meaningless in civil war. We have chosen one side and we need to back them with everything they need to get this over quickly.

The Japanese reactor situation reminds we of Baghdad Bob. Three reactors are smoking ruins, and the fourth is on its way to China, but only now are they beyond economic repair.

You mean tweets don't really beat tanks?

There is only one color for revolution: blood red.

Many of the Libyan forces have abandoned their tanks for improvised armed vehicles - pickups with machine guns mounted in the bed, etc. - and are now more difficult to identify as enemy. How's that for quick improvisation? No more tanks or APC's to spot and destroy with airpower. From BBC News today:

Libya crisis: Gaddafi forces are adopting rebel tactics. The Libyan army has not always been known for its efficiency or its high morale. Now though, it has shown a remarkable degree of flexibility, and has chosen to adopt tactics used by the rebels only a few days ago, when they were sweeping along the coastal road, apparently unstoppably, in the direction of Sirte.

The sudden turnaround of fortune is the result of several factors. The first is that Colonel Gaddafi's army has decided to follow methods which the rebels have used so successfully. Its men are racing forward in the ordinary flat-bed trucks known elsewhere in Africa as 'technicals', with heavy machine-guns or anti-aircraft guns mounted on the back. Others are equipped with mortars. Though these are quite light, they often cause great panic among the rebels, and are quick and easy to move forward.

Without trusted spotters on the ground, I don't think air power will be as useful against disguised Libyan troops.

So, less than a week into our effort to help the rebels, major problems are manifesting. If the U.S. or NATO start "accidentally" killing innocent civilians here and there as in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Pakistan, it gets even worse for us.


The link is here.

Thanks for the edit, Leanan - I'm still learning. Next time I'll do a shorter quote with a link. I assume your guidelines are partly about the length of the post, as well as copyright issues.


Is this really any surprise?

Look how the Iraqi military dissolved away and went to ground and how we were then stuck fighting a guerrilla force.


The Iraqis would supposedly be so happy to be liberated they would greet us by throwing candy. And Libyans, once they saw Ghadaffi was losing, would abandon him, ending the conflict.

Yeah, right. That's just not how it works. Tribal loyalties run strong. Even if we took out Ghadaffi, that wouldn't mean victory for the rebels. At best, I think we're looking at a divided Libya.

I agree.

We could end up with an 'East Libya' and a 'West Libya' or some such. And they might be at each other's throats from then on...two failed states duking it out.

With more than 140 tribes and clans, Libya is considered one of the most tribal nations in the Arab world

More at this CSMonitor article: http://tinyurl.com/libyatribes

The article has s short discussion of some of the major tribes. Here's a summary on the biggest tribe:

Warfalla (anti-Qaddafi): With more than 1 million members, the Warfalla is Libya's largest tribe and accounts for one-sixth of the nation's total population. It has traditionally made up Qadaffi's security apparatus and aligned with the pro-Qaddafi Qadhafah tribe. But in a stinging rebuke to the regime, the Warfalla was the first tribe to join the antigovernment movement. "It’s a very bad sign for Gaddafi’s regime," said the analyst Mr. Abidi. "And the regime knows that."

The CIA is going to have a real challenge keeping track of 140 tribes and clans and tracking their loyalties.


Tribal loyalties run strong

So does the short term. He's still in power and still has a "line" where one can go behind and have cover/protection/get fed.

Supporting the leadership in charge is called Patriotism in many places.

Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.
Samuel Johnson April 7th, 1775

What a most excellent quote! I shall be using that in future. Cheers.

It's as sure as sunrise tomorrow that the public and investors in general do not as yet have a clue as to just how bad things are in Japan, nor how much trouble the Japanese situation means for the world economy.

But it sure would be interesting to be a fly on the wall in the offices of the big boys in a position to gamble a bit with a few billion here and there.

My guess is that in a few weeks we will learn about a lot of unusual trading kept quiet as long as possible.

Switching subjects:

I have a great deal of admiration and respect for most of what the Obama administration SAYS it represents and stands for, but I am not impressed with the actuality.( For what it's worth,I seriously doubt if the Pugs would have done any better.)

They have to know they are going down in flames next election, barring a miracle;no administration of either party can hope to stand against the irrational fury of the peed off electorate we have at present.

But sometimes the time is right for a politician to do the right thing-in this case, OBama is showing some courage in actually talking about reducing oil imports in a potentially doable fashion, and on a timetable that at least specifies a time frame.

Furthermore, the dems will be able later to take credit for the inevitable anyway,if they are able to implement some sort of plan, even one existing only on paper.

My free ranging roosters announce and take credit for the sun coming up every day;even a creature as dumb as a chicken knows a few tricks.;) sarc


re: the administration going down in flames during next election...

If this is the case (and I'm not arguing with you that this won't occur - I think there's about a 50/50 shot) and the administration knows it then I don't see why they don't just adopt the policy of "alright, let's become the loony socialist left wing radicals we are constantly accused of being..." and then just start laying it all out on the table... basically how our economy is a charade and we are poised to very soon hit the resource wall on several different levels.

I'd be shooting for a full scale Level 7 right wing head explosion. Those who already hate the left are NEVER going to be swayed anyways - the majority of the "centrists" in the country are morons who will believe anything and shift their beliefs with whatever they hear on television so they're probably lost too. But I think there is a growing number of people that sense there are major problems afoot and are no longer falling for the "conventional wisdom" explanations. A steady drumbeat of facts about the top two or three issues facing the country may also serve to drown out the idiotic social issues that get covered ad naseum and "energize the base" during a typical election cycle. How long has it been since anyone did anything to even slightly energize the far left in this country. The lack of a viable far left party has caused a lot of the problems we now face - the whacked out right is seen as "conservative" (not by a long shot) while the still right of center "liberals" are viewed as socialists and radicals. The idiot analysts now posing as journalists probably couldn't even state a single item on a true radical leftist's platform (not that I probably could either - but I have a feeling that several are espoused on TOD quite frequently - power down / ending globalization being the most likely candidates).

Nice rant Catskill!

Thank you for saying what a lot of people are likely thinking. To the question "Why don't they act like the socialist left-wing loonies...?" I suspect it's because they really aren't that left wing. Give up their wealth, prestige and power? There are few Harvard lawyer 'left wing socialists' out there. As long as politicians are millionaires, and it takes millions of dollars to win an election, there won't be any 'real' socialists or left-wingers in power.

The system (political) is populated with wealthy capitalist types. Expecting them to (wishing that they would) act like lefties just ain't gonna happen. I share your frustration, hugely!

What would a real socialist do - ask everyone to put all their money into the national pot and then divide it up equally, 300 million ways? Think Obama would go for this? I did vote for him - McCain is a senile warmonger crazy person. Palin makes McCain look like Einstein... Bachman makes Palin look like Mother Theresa, and on and on...

OBama is showing some courage in actually talking about reducing oil imports in a potentially doable fashion, and on a timetable that at least specifies a time frame.

We will be forced to reduce our imports whatever happens IMHO. In fact I don't see any chance that we will still be importing 5M BPD in 2025. Then he talks about bio-fuels and increasing nuclear power. Disappointing.

At least he mentioned that we have a problem.

From the hit anti-nuclear song 'Americium':

It's gamma rays will fall upon / the decaying fragments of the concrete walls / and the vines that try to grow upon / what remains of what we were / What can you do? / Americium

Rock on, industrial civilization!

UPDATE 2-OPEC oil output falls further on Libya

Supply from all 12 members of OPEC has averaged 29.13 million barrels per day (bpd) this month, down from 29.43 million bpd in February, the Reuters survey of oil companies, OPEC officials and analysts found.

According to OPEC's Monthly Oil Market Report OPEC produced 30.016 mb/d of crude only in February. Their report on March production is due out April 12th. It seems no one can agree on just how much oil anyone is producing. Every agency gives a different figure. A few days ago there was a thread on Drumbeat that showed the EIA gives three different figures for Syrian oil production.

And take Venezuela for instance:
UPDATE 6-Venezuela ends independent oil data certification

Underlining the uncertainty over the real performance of country's oil sector now and in recent years, OPEC said in its latest annual report that the country's crude production had declined slowly to 2.88 million bpd in 2009.

Chavez's government says it was actually 3.01 million bpd. Meanwhile, the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates Venezuela's crude output was just 2.20 million bpd in 2009.

So who do you believe? Anyway this report also says that Venezuela's Energy Ministry said exports declined 16% in February and Reuthers data agrees with that figure.

Ron P.

The thing with global crude-oil production - trying to count the last accurate barrel - is irrelevant.
History paves ahead with whatever is coming up from the ground .......... and the outcome is already given. We will have to do without oil - for the grand scheme of things - come 2050, and everything in between will be a constant adaptation. Hold on to your hat.

Well, I am not trying to count the last barrel I am trying to get a general trend. Is production for this or that country going up or down. And what is the general trend of world production. And that is relevant, very relevant.

Ron P.

It's got to be frustrating when 'official' numbers conflict.

Maybe there's something to MEMMEL'S counting backwards from atmospheric CO2 levels. Or having someone sit on the shore and count tankers sailing by.

Just counting exports would seem quite a bit easier than including internal consumption. Ships + tankers + pipelines....

How else? Counting drill rigs helps. Price is supposed to indicate availability. General trend is very important, and for the big picture it's crystal clear. However it's totally obscured in the public eye...

re: Venezuela ends independent oil data certification

Translation: Venezuelans (or more accurately, Chavez) are sick and tired of having their auditors call them liars, so they are no longer going to have their oil reserve and production numbers audited.

That's one solution to the problem. For the citizens of Venezuela, it's not a good one. They will continue to live in a fool's paradise until the roof falls in on them.

It seems no one can agree on just how much oil anyone is producing

And that is why not the absolute figures count, e.g Reuters' 29.43 mb/d versus OPEC's 30.016 mb/d, but the incremental monthly changes in data series of the SAME source, using consistently the same definitions of oil, same methodologies and same conversions from tons to barrels etc.

Unfortunately, we have to always wait for 3 months to get these data from the EIA, for example,


which I use for my graphs here:

Talking with a few people I find that most grocery supermarkets keep a 3-7 day stock of food items (weather & refrigeration permitting).

That aside.... does anyone know of any studies on "critical" food items (one where a critical agricultural production stoppage) would lead to serious potential famine-in-the-streets conditions?

There are a thousand items in the typical grocery store so any one or several of them will not be significant. However, most food travels miles from where it is produced to where it is consumed. CME EMP like 1849 Carrington event would stop food delivery. Look here for more information:


A CME EMP? Naw, that'll never happen. It's way out in the tail of the probability curve like an oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico or a tsunami hitting a bunch of nuclear reactors. Don't worry about it.

But if you want to worry about it, according to Getting Prepared for an Electromagnetic Pulse Attack or Severe Solar Storm,

The power grid has only been in place for a tiny fraction of one percent of human history, and a really large solar storm (of the size and duration of the 1859 event) has not happened in that time. There is a general assumption that any solar event that is similar to, or larger than, the 1859 solar superstorm will simply never happen again, although there is no justification for such an assumption -- in fact, we know that this assumption is false. There is a good possibility that such a solar storm will happen in this century. If it happens in the current situation without spares for our large transformers, a large part of the worldwide power grid (including 70 to 100 percent of the United States power grid) will be down for years.

The real fun thing that happens with a large EMP is that all the autmobiles stop running (except a few diesel cars and trucks that do not rely on electronics).

Have a nice disaster.


(except a few diesel cars and trucks that do not rely on electronics).

Maybe the diesels will keep running once going, while the ICE's stop, but a diesel still relies on electrical to get started. Are people going to let them run morning, noon and night so they will run the next day? "Keep the diesel coming!" "Don't shut that tractor off!"

Many large diesels use compressed air to start, and have compressor in place of an alternator to re-supply air for the next start.

My father in Australia has 18 one and two cyl pre-war diesel engines (3 to 24hp) that are hand crank to start, and entirely mechanical injection. Heavy flywheel and decompression levers to get the speed up, flick the lever and away you go. Get good at starting these and you will never lose an arm wrestle. One of the engines had been used to run the milking machines at an off grid dairy farm (as they all were in pre war days) ran one hour, twice a day, at 600rpm, for 30yrs without a rebuild - try doing that with a Honda engine!

You can always park the tractor on a hill/ramp and roll start it - I have had to do that on several occasions where the battery was on the way out.

Thanks for the info. Paul Nash, good to know we can still use something after an EMP. Maybe not BAU, but something at least.

I should also add that your old style lawnmower (with a magneto!) will keep running - gotta have the grass looking good when disasters happen.

And 4 inch bore 6 hp/600 RPM Lister moves so slowly a good set of bearings should last years.

Long enough for the reboot of society or be the last guy in your block with a motor.

I don't think that modern diesels will be immune. My 2002 vintage VW has multiple computers under the hood - the main two are for the engine and a 2nd for the instrument cluster, and both are needed in order to start the car. And just for the car to run, the engine one is vital as it controls the fuel delivery.

I doubt it. A CME EMP would be low frequency. Its the power grid that is at risk. Cars would not have their computers fried, but might have a problem getting fuel.

I question the idea that EMP is low frequency. It is an electromagnetic pulse. It contains all Fourier transform components up to a frequency comparable to the inverse of the pulse duration which, in turn, is comparable the the physical dimension of the bomb that produces it divided by the speed of light. Perhaps your source meant low frequency when compared to optical and x-ray frequency. CME (coronal mass ejection), OTOH, is produced by the Sun. We have no realistic way to produce artificial man-made CME. But it does involve mostly very low frequency because the upper cutoff frequency involves the size of a solar flare which is typically much larger than the size of the whole Earth.

"The real fun thing that happens with a large EMP is that all the automobiles stop running"

happily, not true. About 10% expire gracelessly. Another fraction trip themselves off, but restart after a short pause with the key off. Most never even notice. And this was a real test, not a computer simulation.


Now the threat to the power grid is very real. There is nothing like a long wire antenna to focus stray energy.

Oops! There go our Nuclear Power Plants that need power 24/7/365. Hmmm... Did anybody see this coming? Nah...

I see nothing in Obama's proposal for a realistic sustainable future.
Where is the proposal to restore the Green public transit in 150 cities which have cut it since 2008?
As Lester Brown has warned on the Nation's latest in the series on "Peak Oil and Climate Change":

"Many resources are becoming scarce but none more scarce than time,"


We could cut our oil usage by 10% if we seriously utilized the public transit we
already have in major metropolitan areas and deployed shuttles and buses to
connect to existing trains.

Cutting our oil use by 10% seems really easy.

All the idiots in giant pick-ups and SUV's could coast to the next red light/stop sign instead of accelerating up to it and then slamming on their brakes. Every day I'm incredulous at how utterly stupid people are in their driving habits.

'IF YOU ARE IN 1 LANE OF TRAFFIC THEN YOU CAN'T GO FASTER THAN THE PEOPLE IN FRONT OF YOU!!" Get over it! Sorry about the capital letters.

It gets desperate when, after all the hints and warnings (economically) the pubic says 'phew, that was close' and goes out and buys mega trucks. I know, they need them to tow huge boats and stuff to somewhere or other and without a gazillion litre V8 and its pulling power life as they know it would be unsustainable - but really! I'm British and I have seen a few of these Dodge 'trucks', and they are risible. Nobody needs such monstrous over consumption, on every level.

Any sane government would increase fuel tax, and tax vehicles annually according to CO2 emissions, as in Europe, and force builders to build carbon neutral homes - it can be done already. It could be really exciting to build a new America, or rather, convert the present America - which would be cheaper and more eco-sensitive. I'm serious too. Smaller and friendlier can be better, and nobody needs a V8 of six litres to get about, not even someone who lives in Alabama, if that isn't rude.

But nothing is being done.

The trouble is that in America socialism equals communism and anybody who dares to suggest that limiting the prodigious waste of the rich (or wannabe rich) is a good thing is deemed a communist. End of! In the US there are two parties and both of them are, in European terms, very right wing and reactionary. The trouble is that so many Americans still buy the myth of 'more' just being there for the taking over the horizon. This is a dead dream and was already dead when Bronco and Wagon Train were on TV. The frontier is closed, the world is shrinking, resources are depleting and we all need to wise up. Going for bust in a finite world won't end well. America is still loved for its old mythical ideas of liberty and individual freedom, that's why those Libyan townspeople with no concept of militarism are reaching out to the west for help. Screaming Al Quaida at them both confuses and insults; they just want decent lives. This is the very last chance America has to be a world leader. Iraq and Afghanistan were and are busted flushes; what's happening now in the Arab world is different. Overpopulation and political stasis are forcing rebellions everywhere in the Arab world. The far east is living on borrowed time too.

Come on America, the rest of us here in Europe no longer run the world and now is not the time for you to retreat. Great ideas followed by honesty may still win the day, but you need a virtuous government to follow through. The bankers and traders of Wall St are not America, so why do you let them govern you? Paulson, Bernanke, Liebowitz and the rest....come on America. Less is more, and technology can win if supported by wisdom.

Flooring the throttle in a V8 truck and heading into sunset shouting yee hawww is simply no way to engage the future.

There! I am totally pissed as I've got a bottle and a half in me - supper with friends - but I had to get that ridiculous ramble out.

Right on!! You are right about America and you can have your empire back if you'd like. We're tired of the cost.

Empires tend to creep up on you and before you know where you are you control a quarter of the globe. The British empire became expensive after the first world war and Africa was never self financing and a real drain. All empires end up becoming a cost to the mother country and I guess the American empire is no different. The world is a very different place now to what it was in 1945 when the US was the only country on earth with a functioning industrial base and any money.

No, we don't want the empire back, thanks, but there is no doubt that America is still seen as a beacon of hope for much of the world. I just hope that she can step up to the mark at this very disturbing turning point.

Practically every country on earth seems to have the wobblies right now, for different, but linked, reasons. Japan, Africa, the middle east, Europe, the US, South America. Even sleepy beautiful New Zealand has been hurt. Is there any lifeboat nation left I wonder?

Some of Churchill's best quotes were well basted in Scotch. We have it here in BC too. The right of passage is an F350 4x4 diesel. That's a one ton pickup truck of some 6,000 lbs. used to haul around a mostly useless waste of breathe. Better yet, we're in Western Canada and they have a Confederate flag in the back.

I despair for the species.

The U.S. can't do anything meaningful unless they maintain the illusion of free choice. Its still all bread and circuses. No where in Obama's speech did he say we are going to incentivize you to stop buying and driving energy wasteful personal vehicles and encourage you to use public transportation and railways more. He might as well shave his head, put on a thin mustache and goatee, and start his speech with Добро пожаловать Boshevicks, I am comrade Lenin.

This is not an energy crisis, but a crisis of critical thinking, imagination and leadership.

Better yet, we're in Western Canada and they have a Confederate flag in the back.

I guess that's fair turn. Down here in Florida`we have a lot of Maple Leaf flags this time of year... though a lot of those monster trucks have license plates that say "Je me souviens". I forgot why I thought that was kind of ironic!

but you need a virtuous government to follow through. The bankers and traders of Wall St are not America, so why do you let them govern you? Paulson, Bernanke, Liebowitz and the rest....come on America. Less is more, and technology can win if supported by wisdom.

But, we worshipped money and the superrich, so we gave them control over the opinion making machinery. So now the kleptocrats, not only control the political decision making apparatus, but the very news and comment that the bulk of the population consumes. The difference between the US and the arab world may be no more than they have Al Jazeera, to inform them, we have Fox and Disney. And we've throw out logic, -its just not entertaining enough. Making fun of ones ideological enemies via 30second sound bites, and made up lies -now thats real entertainment!

So don't expect anything sensible to come out of America -excepting maybe the reasonable folks will follow my advice, and emmigrate.

Cutting our oil use by 10% seems really easy.

Don't you see how close we are to the last of the cheap, abundant oil? If we are thinking up practical ways to reduce consumption, it's probably because the fat lady is going to be singing not so long from now. Time for half measures or well intentioned conservancy are over. The boat is taking on water.

And on a side note, here a couple hours north of San Francisco out in the country, fuel is over 4 bucks a gallon everywhere. Even the cheapo stations are over 4. Oh my!


You can on a bicycle. I did so today, several times, it worked just fine. It was a lovely day for a ride, 40s, maybe 50, was riding without gloves, even. All my joints feel better now, I had a couple of beers to drink, and it won't make me fat(ter). You want your 10% reduction, I can offer a suggestion.

But how to market this to people in general, I do not know.

You want your 10% reduction, I can offer a suggestion.

But how to market this to people in general, I do not know


Once postings flow over onto a second page, how do you find new postings? Once you go to the first page, ALL postings are marked as read and when you go to the second page the new postings are no longer marked as such. There was a new Japan/Fukushima section for a few minutes, but it disappeared.

When there get to be alot of comments they spill on to a second page - you have to go the bottom and click on page 2.

For the time being, lets have the nuclear/Japan comments in the separate Fukushima thread

I know about the comments on the 2nd page, the problem is that when I go there, new comments aren't marked as new. That got cleared when I left page 1.

This is why I think the old Drumbeat format (daily) was better . There was a shorter list of linked stories to wade through, and about half the comments per Drumbeat thread - less time scrolling through them and less occasions onto the dreaded 2nd page. It was (and still is) my substitute for reading the paper each morning, but i think daily was better.

My hat off to you Leanan for preparing all this stuff - can't imagine how much work it is, and you probably appreciate the two day rotation.

That's an annoying bug. Wish SuperG would fix it.

The same thing happens when you insert a comment. All the remaining "new" items lose the "new" mark. It's really annoying.

That's easy to get around, though. Just open the reply in a new tab or new window.

That depends on the users OS. On my work computer it doesn't open a new window, but I have an icon to push on the top bar, which gets me back. At home (an earlier edition od SuSe), I don't have the top bar history, but it opens a new comment window. Still it is disconcerting, if I want to quit half way through reading, then all the comments become old, whether I've read um or not.

center click (mouse wheel) on the 'reply' link, or right click and select open in new tab.

You'd have to have a very old firefox, opera, chrome, or even MSIE for that not to work, one of those two ways.

Any browser that has tabs would support that. Even some console browsers support that type of opening action.

Even tabless browsers would have the option to open link in new window.

Speaking of Opera...

It has a nice "clone tab" feature that allows you to quickly duplicate pages, "new marks" intact. I usually keep several instances of Drumbeat open, each in a different state of freshness.

One feature I do like a lot is how I can be logged onto The Oil Drum from two different computers at the same time and the new ones at work are the new ones at home.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending March 25, 2011

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 14.3 million barrels per day during the week ending March 25, 17 thousand barrels per day below the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 84.1 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging nearly 8.7 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging 4.2 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 9.1 million barrels per day last week, up by 141 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged about 8.8 million barrels per day, 70 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 884 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 243 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 2.9 million barrels from the previous week. At 355.7 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 2.7 million barrels last week and are in the upper limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 0.7 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased by 0.1 million barrels last week and are in the lower limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 3.3 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period has averaged about 19.2 million barrels per day, down by 0.2 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged nearly 9.0 million barrels per day, down by 0.1 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged nearly 3.9 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, up by 4.4 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 0.6 percent higher over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

270,000 barrels per day appeared via "adjustment" but this week's big change is that US product supplied apparently dropped by 705,000 barrels per day from the previous week (from 19.3 mb/day to 18.6 mb/day). So "adjustments" and an apparent huge drop in demand account for about 6.8 million barrels of "commercial petroleum" reported as in stock.

Hang On

Supplies of commercial oil products (gasoline, diesel, heating oil, etc.) barely gained ground, after a relentless series of rapid declines since the start of the new year. It remains to be seen whether US refiners will be able to meet all the demand for the summer 'driving season', due to stagnant oil imports and increased demand for oil products - especially increased foreign demand.

Gasoline production fell last week, contributing to the 2 million barrel loss in gasoline supplies. Among the reasons for the slowdown in refinery output of gasoline was (in no particular order or relevance) the changeover from 'winter' blend gasoline to 'summer' blend gasoline (the difference mostly being the change in the vapor pressure, and frequently, the mix of ethanol), some minor amount of unplanned maintenance, the completion of planned maintenance, and relatively low oil inventories of the type best suited for gasoline refining.

In general, the US still needs to import an additional 600,000 bpd or more crude oil than it has been so far in 2011, or it will risk a falloff in various types of oil and product inventories later in the year - especially in late summer (August/September) - to levels below minimum operating levels. Below MOLs, shortages can easily develop, and these can quickly spread nationwide. For a recent example of how this may happen, check the news about the China diesel shortage just a few months back in November 2010.

Despite public proclamations from OPEC member nations in the Persian Gulf area that OPEC was on its way to increasing exports by about 700,000 bpd to partially make up a export supply loss from Libya of about 1.3 mbpd, recent shipping reports indicate that this effort is rapidly waning. Even so, keep in mind that 85% of those Gulf oil exports in March headed 'East', so the US is now actually importing less from those Persian Gulf states that promised to help the 'West'. By mid-April, Persian Gulf exports may be back to the same level where they were before the well advertised 'surge'. However oil exports out of western Africa, particularly Nigeria, have managed to increase maybe 300,000 bpd so that OPEC exports in total may be running in mid-April roughly at about 1 million bpd less than the rate they averaged in February. Refiners in the northeast US states have optimized their operations to efficiently produce gasoline from Nigerian oil. Any potential further disruptions from the upcoming Nigerian elections would be an especially difficult blow for them to overcome, since alternative supply sources will be lacking after the loss of so much high quality oil from Libya.

'Oil Movements' reports that OPEC exports are still in the midst of a steep fall, now exceeding 1 million bpd from the average export rate of February:

OPEC Supply to Drop 2.3% on Libyan Losses, Oil Movements Says
By Grant Smith - Mar 31, 2011 11:30 AM

Shipments will fall to 22.91 million barrels a day in the four weeks to April 16, down 2.3 percent from 23.44 million in the period to March 19, the consultant said in a report today. That’s the lowest since mid-October, the company estimates. The data exclude Ecuador and Angola.


OPEC Output Down as Libyan Loss Tops Saudi Gain, Survey Shows

Production slipped 363,000 barrels, or 1.2 percent, to an average 29.022 million barrels a day, the lowest level since September, according to the survey of oil companies, producers and analysts. Daily output by members with quotas, all except Iraq, decreased 353,000 barrels to 26.437 million, 1.592 million above their target...

Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest producer, increased output by 300,000 barrels, or 3.4 percent, to 9 million barrels a day in March, the highest level since October 2008. The kingdom exceeded its quota by 949,000 barrels.

Saudi started increasing production in November and really stepped it up in December. They did not start increasing production because of Libya, they started increasing production in order to take advantage of those very high prices. I have no doubt that every OPEC country is now producing flat out. That should be obvious to everyone yet...

Ron P.

The surge will be over soon.

That's right, the highly discussed 'surge' in exports out of the Persian Gulf is ending around April 15. That is based upon an extrapolation of the Oil Movements report and other shipping reports (not shown).

By historical standards, this surge came and went so fast that it is almost meaningless to long term world oil supplies. Up top somewhere, there was an article(s) about how Saudi Arabia had supplied (or will supply) about 3 million barrels of high quality oil to the West from about March 15 to April 15. That's 100,000 extra barrels per day. The loss from Libya is 1,300,000 bpd of high quality exports. The response from oil traders to the marginal amount of extra oil from KSA was, to paraphrase: So What?

If this pathetic response is the best from Persian Gulf nations can do in the face of a very real supply shortage caused by the shutdown of the Libyan oil industry, then all discussions about the chimera of spare capacity should also end in a So What? If this 'spare capacity' can not or will not be used, then it is meaningless to an evaluation of world oil supply.

You and Ron have posted extremely useful information. Please don't stop posting. I look forward to your (& Ron's) posts.

The speech Obama needs to give: http://www.energybulletin.net/50370

“Make no mistake – our journey forward will not be easy. Change of this magnitude will be a monumental task with no guarantee of success. There will be pain and suffering — our past excesses have guaranteed this. Our only hope is to minimize this suffering as much as possible while resolutely pursuing some sort of livable future for our children.”

I’m crossing my fingers & holding my breath, Mr Hope&Change…

Expect to be disappointed: clean coal, hybrid cars, and other BS will be delivered.

My guess is Obama's political team decided to get do-something markers down before gas goes to $4-$5 this summer. Otherwise they look like road-kill (which they are).

You can't rule out the possibility that Obama is just going through the motions now.

Why would anyone want to take the helm of the Titanic? Beats me. Unless of course they're a megalomaniacal idiot like Sarah Palin.

Obama's probably already preparing his post office book and speech tours.

I think of him as Spockama.

I wish a president would rather be a one term president and do what is right (fictional character "Dave" comes to mind) than get reelected.

But, I suppose that personality type is at odds with people that want to become president in the first place.

Yes, oddly, the system produces people you don't really want to be President. Getting power and actually doing something meaningful and really needed seem to be mutually exclusive. Personally, I yearn for someone who would recognize that our path to the future must be full of blood, sweat, and tears. Win The Future sounds like something Pepsi might put out. In order to engender great people you must have great goals which require a passionate commitment to those goals. There must be some passion. It is not all about the little grey cells in the brain.

I don't think Obama is capable of being a great leader because he does not have core values that are infused with true passion and belief in great goals. He just meanders from one intellectual puzzle to the next. Great speeches don't necessarily equate to great leaders.

What this all boils down to is that lives on a planetary scale are at stake here.

To whom it may concern: Win The Future == WTF
I liked Carter's Moral Equivalent of War (MEOW) acronym better, especially after our invasions of Iraq proved how immoral the US can be...

E. Swanson

Obama is a bureaucrat, administrator and politician. If he truly fought for things he said he believed in, like true universal health care and making the wealthy pay more taxes by not renewing the Bush tax cuts, it wasn't obvious. A real leader at least gives the appearance that he is really fighting for his followers. Obama "appears" to start negotiating at his optimum point on an issue and backs down from there, rather than starting with more than he hopes to get before compromising. I never get the impression that he's really, truly, passionately fighting for what he said he believed in during the campaign.

And if he is re-elected, he will probably probably preside over the economic disaster that is slowly unfolding as peak oil finally puts the screws to us. His best piece of luck is the sorry lot of contenders that are lining up to challenge him.

The Republicans are doing a pretty good job of killing any chances of an economic recovery, and they are being assisted by the early stages of peak oil. As soon as a real economic recovery kicks in, oil prices will shoot up again and knock the economy down. But if the Republicans delay the recovery and make Obama look bad enough to allow them to take over the White House and Senate in 2013, they will be the ones presiding over the inevitable crises caused by peak oil.

Unless, of course, they drive us into depression and drop oil demand down enough to stave off the full effects of peak oil for a few more years. Like the old joke, that light we see at the end of the tunnel is the headlight of a freight train about to run us over.

I see few if any possible good outcomes to this.


But instead of politics, propose a solution to the oil crisis. I fear there are none. Thus what is he supposed to say. Bush said the say BS 5 years ago. All presidents will puppet the same tired speech ...

The only solution is "drive less, eat less, do less, and deal with it." But those words are political suicide.

"I’m crossing my fingers & holding my breath, Mr Hope&Change…"

All your going to get is political collapse, globally.

How can institutional investors best support alternative energy?

That's the question I have to answer in the next two months and I'd appreciate any constructive suggestions or opinions.

I've been invited to speak at Opal Financial's Clean and Green Investment Forum. Here's what the conference is nominally about:

Attendees will represent many of the nation's pension funds, endowments, and trusts as well as representing utility companies, federal and state government agencies, and energy-equipment companies. Discussions on upcoming and current investment opportunities will cover clean and green funds, infrastructure projects, equipment advances, energy systems, etc.

A look at the agenda shows a mix of sessions on regulatory issues, new technologies and "green" energy companies. I'm slated to be on a panel discussing either wind or solar or both -- the agenda keeps changing. I'm hoping I can give some good, practical advice on the technical challenges and potential risks and rewards associated with different alternative energy technologies.

I should make it clear that the only thing I'm getting out of this is a free trip to San Francisco and the opportunity to speak my mind to an audience that controls a lot of money. (I'll be using up several days worth of otherwise billable hours on this because I believe it is a good way to exert influence on an already influential audience.)

Many of us would like to see more money allocated to alternative energy projects and I am looking for input from the TOD community as to what solar and wind projects seem the most promising from the typical TOD technical perspective but also, for an audience of investors, from the $RO$I perspective. There is already a wealth of information on wind, solar, biofuels and the like on TOD but I would appreciate concrete suggestions to help focus my research.

Thanks for any input.

PS__ I should also say that the Opal Financial folks are interested in contacting any investors, fund managers or energy companies that would be interested in attending this forum.

Best Hopes for Making Smart Investments!


"How can institutional investors best support alternative energy?"

Tell them their rooftops and parking lots are going to waste, and they should follow Google's lead.
Just Do It.


Google Energy: Google Can Now Buy and Sell Electricity

Thanks for that link. Gigaom looks to be a good resource.

Given that so-called "renewables" are neither clean nor green due to the fact that:

(A) they require just as much fossil fuel inputs and
(B) they require just as much industrial infrastructure as the rest of our super-charged society

Then if I were you I would seriously question the entire premise of their little pow-wow.

Failing that, you would best serve them by recommending that they "support alternative energy" by continuing the same suicidal investments in fossil-fueled industrial infrastructure that they have been making all along.


... sigh ...

(A) they require just as much fossil fuel inputs and

They use fossil fuel as an investment to create far more energy over the lifetime of the solar panel, wind turbine, etc.

What are you looking for? A return to the dark ages?

It would be interesting to read what are you looking for?
Is it like an ambit claim.......is it better to aim higher and expect and get lower or is it better to be realistic.
Probably wanting and getting won't be the same for most. Just surmising but a lowering of expectations would likely assist rather than hinder whatever you are looking for.

Senator John McCain commented on his life as prisoner in Vietnam, he said the optimists were the first to succumb. Disappointment can often be overwhelming.

But your response is typically psychopathic. Which in this case happens to be, "lets burn whatever is necessary now to keep the machine rolling and producing". Never mind that while the "investment" is being manufactured the whole world is burning down.

The problem is trying to eat the cake but still retain it.
I earnestly urge you to read "Storms Of My Grandchildren". Of course if you are a global warming denier you will not.

(A) they require just as much fossil fuel inputs and
(B) they require just as much industrial infrastructure as the rest of our super-charged society

You are wrong:

(A) Cuz I said so.
(B) Because you have provided no supporting documentation.

But go ahead, provide documentation for not only your air-quote renewables (whatever they are) but things like evacuated glass hot water tubes.

Many of us would like to see more money allocated to alternative energy projects and I am looking for input from the TOD community as to what solar and wind projects seem the most promising from the typical TOD technical perspective but also, for an audience of investors, from the $RO$I perspective. There is already a wealth of information on wind, solar, biofuels and the like on TOD but I would appreciate concrete suggestions to help focus my research.

Jonathan, someone recently posted this link to Bill Gross' talk in the Stanford University's Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Lecture Series, the other day.


You might want to try and contact him and see if he has any thoughts he might want to share on that, or who knows, be interested in participating himself. If nothing else watch the talk.

I myself have been somewhat involved, in my own neck of the woods, with F.A.R.E.(Florida Alliance for Renewable Energy) It's been a pretty tough slog...

Just watched it. That guy is a pretty inspiring entrepreneur. Thanks.

Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

I work on solar thermal, small to medium sizes. There is a lot of stuff out there already, and a lot more coming along, all with advocates claiming all sorts of wonderful performance, and loads of TGTB.

There is one proven way of sorting the REAL ones out of the vast reeking clouds of hot air. A drop-dead, head to head, performance competition of real hardware working in a real environment for a significant amount of time.

So- my suggestion for the money men. Structure just such a contest, with seriously crafted criteria of choice- true cost/kW, true cost/kw-hr come to mind- at a set time and place, like 4th July 2012 in death valley.

And of course, structure some heavy duty incentives- to be paid on achievement, not on paper, hope, good intents, or promises.

Have at least, in categories
any combinations of above.

then have a super grand prize for the overall winner. That will be me.

That grand prize includes a guarantee that the thing will go into production- now.

Or-if not me, somebody with better stuff, which is gonna be very very hard to do, and if they do, they will have earned their megabucks.

You are describing an 'X-Prize' type of concept.

I think that is a very good idea.



Sounds intriguing wimbi. Do you have a website with more information?

I am cheering you on Jon. I used to run a saturday science seminar for bright kids, and often used to put down $20 or some other monster prize for winning a puzzle race or a put-put boat design or whatever, and I was always astounded at the intensity of the effort elicited from the kids- far beyond any worth of the prize.

The response was quite beyond rational. That's what we need. Everybody with any economic education knows that renewables are "not economic" and hence "irrational".

Pardon me while I puke.

BTW, my remark- I'm gonna win- was intended to suggest an essential criterion for entry into the contest- an intense personal desire to actually win. And by any and all means, to exclude those sly reptiles who are just gaming for a hunk of the dough, without any intent to actually do anything useful.

Sorry, I am no good on the web, and can barely type this. The X prize is of course something to study. Good example, but my problem with it was that the targets seemed a bit trivial relative to what we really need.

The X prize is of course something to study. Good example, but my problem with it was that the targets seemed a bit trivial relative to what we really need.

Well, you have to remember the "sponsors" have certain interests to serve, so the targets/competitions are influenced by that.

Having said that, I think the Automotive X-Prize was actually a pretty sensible target - a 100mpg car, that will meet current safety standards and certain performance targets (0-60<15s, etc) 4seat class and 2seat class. The way it was run was exhaustive and priced a lot of teams out of the competition, but I the performance targets were on the mark. And the fact that a vehicle met them, in each category, shows it can be done. If the car companies put their efforts in the same direction, it could probably be done on a grand scale.


"Two-thirds of oil and gas leases in Gulf inactive". Just a little clarification. First, I couldn't tell if the inactive count included acreage that actually wasn't currently leased. So let's assume they are talking about all leased acreage. Most importantly no OCS lease is held indefinitely. Typically a company has 5 years to evaluate, drill, set production platforms/facilities and begin production. Do so and the leases are "HBP"...held by production. BTW most of the unleased blocks in the GOM are unleasesed for a good reason: they were drilled, produced and depleted many years ago.

Here's the typical time line for a new lease. Day 1: lease awarded. Day 1 plus 12 months: new seismic is shot to continue detailed evaluation of lease. Day 1 plus 18 months: drill location approved internally. Submit drilling permit to Feds. Day 1 plus 24 to 30 months: drill permit approved. Day 1 plus 36 to 42 months: drilling rig arrives on location...takes anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to get a rig during normal times). Day 1 plus 42 to 48 months: drill successful well. It may take an additional 1 to 2 years to drill confirmation wells needed to justify setting production facilities. But once a company discovers what they hope is a commercial discover they can submit a development plan for fed approval. This gives them additional time beyond the normal 5 year lease.

Add another 2 to 4 years to design, build, install, drill development wells and begin production on a new platform. Thus a fast tracked new lease can come on in as little as 4 or 5 years if everything falls into place perfectly. But "perfect" is a rare commodity offshore. Additionally while a company is evaluating/developing their new fed lease they have to make a sizable "rental" payment every year. Bottom line: there's no incentive for a company to just sit and wait to develop an offshore lease. Companies have a huge amount invested in offshore leases and do everything possible to begin a return on that investment ASAP.

A side note: with the exception of some of the resource (shale) plays, the offshore theater probably represents the largest potential for oil/NG reserve development. But when you look at the time line the "drill, baby, drill" mentality won't deliver anywhere near their expectations. Whatever is out there will take a long time to bring to market. And after it gets to market it won't last in a meaningful amount for more than 5 to 7 years. The offshore fed lands are an important asset. But IMHO, under the best of circumstances, they won't change PO significantly.

I have been tracking GOM production for some time. Way back in the summer of 2002 the GOM had four months of production above 1.6 mb/d barrels per day. Then there was a slow decline down to about 1.2 mb/d in late 2008. Then beginning in early 2009 GOM production began to rise rather fast until it peaked out with production above 1.7 mb/d in July, August, September and October of 2009. Production since then has been rather erratic but the trend has been down. GOM production in November and December of 2010 is about 1.4 mb/d.

All this data comes courtesy of The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) formerly known as the MMS.

Also it needs to be noted that the EIA does not seem to see the gyrations in GOM production that the BOEMRE reports. They do not report GOM production separately like they do with Alaska but just puts GOM production in with the "Lower 48". Lower 48 production has remained pretty steady despite the ups and downs of GOM production. That is one of the reasons I am beginning to doubt the accuracy of the EIA data.

Ron P.

From the EIA website, they only explicitly state using real-time data from Alaska.

The EIA does break it down when looking at the monthly/annual numbers (EIA domestic production (Monthly/Annual)). Federal offshore shows a decline of ~150 kbd from peak in the summer of 2009 to trough in the fall of 2010. State offshore drops abruptly about ~150 kbd at the beginning of 2009.

Thanks for the link Goghgoner, I have been there before but completely forgot that they gave GOM production in a separate category.

Using your link, if you click on Excel link where it says "Download Series History" you get the entire GOM production in column AE of the Excel Spreadsheet.

This data bears out my point made above that there is a great discrepancy between the EIA's data and the data of the BOEMRE. The two agree almost to the number from 1990 until November of 2009. Below are their Gulf of Mexico production numbers in thousands of barrels per day.

Date	        EIA	BOEMRE	Difference
2009 August	1,722	1,721	1
2009 September	1,740	1,739	1
2009 October	1,706	1,712	-6
2009 November	1,600	1,549	51
2009 December	1,700	1,661	39
2010 January	1,700	1,635	65
2010 February	1,703	1,690	13
2010 March	1,700	1,581	119
2010 April	1,675	1,446	229
2010 May	1,705	1,467	238
2010 June	1,656	1,477	179
2010 July	1,575	1,388	187
2010 August	1,625	1,531	94
2010 September	1,566	1,572	-6
2010 October	1,600	1,554	46

Makes no sense whatsoever. Why did their figures agree, or almost agree, for 20 years then suddenly in November of 2009 they start to diverge. In May of 2010 the difference is almost a quarter of a million barrels per day. The EIA has been saying that the GOM production has been a lot higher than it actually was. In September of 2010 they get a lot closer then start to diverge again in October.

Remember both of these are U.S. Government Agencies!

I am beginning to lose faith in the EIA numbers.

Ron P.

Ron - As far as I know OCS operators report their production to only one authority: the BOEMRE/MMS. It's impossible for anyone to talley OSC production. So the only source the EIA can have for actual production is BOEMR/MMS. Which makes the discrepency all the more difficult to understand. Could it be the ole NGL shuffle again? Besides the deep shelf NG the DW oil fields have a good bit of NGL's.

Ron - I suspect the periods of rapid rise are all due to Deep Water projects coming on line. One month zero production from the X Field and then next month 200-400,000 bopd. Nothing on the shallow shelf comes close to that sort of impact. Then follows the 5 to 7 year (more/less) decline in that production. What significant OCS production is left on the shallow water is deep NG. Now there will be a year or two delay in DW development. All the time those fields continue to deplete. And as you point out so well, some appear to be depleting much faster than anticipated.

The Eagle Ford trend is S Texas is heating up more and more every day. May well see its impact showing up on the national oil rate level in the next 12 months or so. But just like the shale gas plays the increase can only be maintained by even more drilling thanks to similar high decline rates. At the moment a collapse in prices similar to what crippled many SG players doesn't seem likely. But if current prices increases push us into a similar global recession we saw back in the early 80's then the EF will take a hit but I doubt to the same degree the SG did. The EF play extends a great distance over which very little testing has been done. Obviously not all areas will be as economic as some of the current sweet spots. Then again, some areas could be even better. IMHO as long as oil stays north of $70/bbl the public companies will keep pushing the fractured oil shale plays.

Hi Rockman,

Down below, I described in general terms what happens with an oil lease, but you provided a lot more detail, since you have been involved in US oil leases, and I haven't. I've only been involved in Canadian oil, which is different in several respects. They are similar in that they both devolve from old English common law principles which most people don't understand.

The disquietening thing about this is that the Obama administration does not appear to know what is happening on the properties it leases to oil companies. Either that, or it is being deliberately obtuse about it. My biggest fear is that they actually don't know what is going on.

As you and I know, leasing a property is just the start of a long and difficult process which may or may not end up in oil production. Deepwater offshore presents the best prospects in the US, but the process is even longer and more difficult than elsewhere. Blaming the oil companies for not drilling the prospects any faster than they are capable of doing doesn't help the process at all.

Rocky - Perhaps the president doesn't know what's happening in the OCS but someone in Washington does. I can't wipe my butt in the OCs without filing a govt report. OK..a tad exageration. But the govt gets every detail of every offshore operation and every bit of production info on a monthly basis. The govt has a data base they can pull up anytime that shows when every well was drilled, completed, produced and abandoned. They have detailed records of every platform installed offshore, when it was set and when it was removed. They know who leased every block, when it was leased, how much it was leased for, the day it began and stopped producing and exactly how much oil/NG was produced through that platform. With a couple of clicks of a mouse they can instantly pull up the status of every OCS lease block, know when it was leased, if it's still producing and if it has been surrendered back to the govt'. Pick an OCS lease block and the feds can tell you to the day how long that operator has had that lease. They can also pull up the detailed plans and the timing of such ops that an operator has planned for that lease. And can do so for a simple reason: no operator can do anything in the OCS without explicit written approval of the govt based upon those submitted plans. There is an large cottage industry that does nothing but design and register these plans to the feds.

IOW the govt, with very little effort, can give a very clear and concise status of the current state of affairs with re: to federal leases. I would be surprised if the Canadian offshore reg authortiites couldn't do the same.

Well, I used to rely on government data, too. In fact, I used to interrogate the government databases to find out what WE were doing, because sometimes we didn't know what we were doing. Our records sometimes were not up to date, but theirs usually were.

And if our records didn't match their records, it was our problem, not theirs, and we needed to know so we could fix it.

But, I think the real problem is that they may not UNDERSTAND what their data means. There is a big difference between knowing something, and understanding it.

Rocky - That may just be the problem. You know what a huge data base this represents. Difficult enough to plow through it if your job depends upon it. But if most of the fed employees are just putting check marks in the boxes and not analyzing the data then it isn't even not UNDERSTANDING but just not making the effort to understand. I've seen the same situation offshore: an MMS inspector will fine an operator $500 because he finds a 5 gallon bucket of some chemical that doesn't have the company's name stenciled on it (so it could ID's if it fell over board). But not even look at the BOP let alone inspect it.

I've mentioned before the most powerful philosophical statement I've every read was from a long dead Frenchman: "To be...not to seem"

Well, you've got to look at it from the government inspector's standpoint. He knows what a bucket is and what it does. It's something he can deal with. A BOP is much bigger and much more complicated. If he know how it worked and how to tell if it was working or not, he'd be working in the private sector making a lot more money.

That sounds like a tight schedule. If it takes more than 5 years, for example lack of rig availability or geology difficulties in drilling, can the company apply for an extension. I am already expecting that they will want to avoid the extra costs but not all plans go to plan.


NAOM - Yes. Once a company makes a discovery they submit a detailed development plan to the feds. If the feds accept the plan as valid the company gets an extension for a period of time. But by submitting such a plan the company esentially commits the capex. The feds can also grant short extension in case of hurrican delays or actual damage. Many wells were shut down due to damage and couldn't be back on quick enough to retain that held by production qualification. Also if a company has a signed contract with a drilling company but the rig is delayed for what ever reason the feds can give an extentsion until the rig gets on location.

Thanks Rockman - comments like these are why I keep coming back to good old TOD.

Re: Obama wants to curb U.S. oil imports by a third

President Barack Obama will set an ambitious goal on Wednesday to cut oil imports by a third over 10 years, focusing on energy security amid high gasoline prices that could stall the U.S. economic recovery.

Obama thus joins a long line of US presidents, starting with Nixon, who promised to cut US oil imports and thereby achieve economic prosperity.

US oil production has been falling, more or less continuously, for the last 40 years. Wouldn't it be time to look at alternatives, rather than just saying, "We will reduce American dependence on foreign oil"? Without looking terribly hard at how feasible this is.

Looking at this as an outsider (Canadian), my suggestion would be to replace the over-dependence on the private automobile with electric rail transit, but that's probably a huge conceptual leap for most Americans.

I personally rode wind-powered electric light rail vehicles to work for years, and it seemed to work very well for me. It was actually a lot cheaper than driving. Walking and biking also worked very well, and were even cheaper than LRT. But, I doubt the US government will consider any of these options.

If we follow the peak oil curve I believe cutting by 1/3 imports in 10 yrs is more of a reality than a goal.

If we follow the peak oil curve I believe cutting by 1/3 imports in 10 yrs is more of a reality than a goal.

Well, that's a result demand destruction caused by economic decline. If the US wants to solve its oil import problems by having a major recession, that's always an option.

@Rocky: "Looking at this as an outsider (Canadian), my suggestion would be to replace the over-dependence on the private automobile with electric rail transit, but that's probably a huge conceptual leap for most Americans."

While I love Canada, IIRC Canada is second only to the US in both car ownership and VMT per capita. But maybe you were being sarcastic...

IIRC Canada is second only to the US in both car ownership and VMT per capita. But maybe you were being sarcastic...

Well, I was being sarcastic, however Canada is not second in vehicles per capita, it is seventh, between Italy and New Zealand.

List of countries by motor vehicles per 1000 people

1 United States 842
2 Luxembourg 697
3 Iceland 658
4 Australia 619
5 Puerto Rico 617
6 Italy 571
7 Canada 563
8 New Zealand 560
9 Austria 558
10 Germany 558

Canada has a rate of public transit utilization about 2-3 times as high as the US, despite the fact that it has a population smaller than California or Spain, in an area larger than that of the US or Europe. Vehicle miles traveled are, of course, high because it is a very big country. Most of its provinces are bigger than France, and it has islands bigger than Great Britain.

Toronto and Atlanta. Compare the growth models for these two cities that expanded side-by-side. Atlanta chose uber-suburban-extra-suburban sprawl. Toronto chose a tighter footprint with much more public transit. Retrospectively Toronto wins with managed oil-sensitive development.

I grew up in Atlanta and watched what happened. There's an old saying about the layout of the roads in Atlanta (referring to the origin of the center of the downtown area at Five Points): They laid out the roads by letting 5 pigs loose and following them in 5 different directions. Plan? What plan?

Then too, the city limits of Atlanta haven't expanded since about 1949(?). Most of the population now in the metro area lives outside the city limits and the population within declined for decades. Atlanta and Birmingham, AL were about the same size after WW II, but Atlanta got the freeways and the international airport. Not to mention that snow is relatively rare in Atlanta, unlike Toronto, so lots of Yankees moved in to enjoy the Sun Belt weather after A/C became a common element of the lifestyle. Rather more like Houston and Dallas than those freezing Rust Belt cities...

E. Swanson

Indeed I spent 5 years in Hot-lanta. Before air conditioning Atlanta was oppressively hot, but with it Atlanta is very pleasant, but the city and surroundings are spread out too much imho. Their citizens are going to go broke driving from out collar counties to work each day.

Should be interesting to see how resilient the sprawl model will hold up to oil depletion.

Then too, the city limits of Atlanta haven't expanded since about 1949(?). Most of the population now in the metro area lives outside the city limits and the population within declined for decades.

Toronto's city limits last expanded in 1998 when it was forcibly amalgamated with its suburbs. This is not something that happens very often in the US, but every so often Canadian cities have their suburbs annexed to them by the provincial governments, mainly in the interest of organizational efficiency.


Atlanta has no geographic limits to sprawl. Peak water and oil will be its limiting factors.

The rate of car ownership doesn't really matter - it's how much their owners use them, and how much fuel they use. In the case of America that is often, and lots.

This graphic has been posted before, but it's worth showing again, for anyone who doesn't realise how bad the US cities are on fuel use (rural areas in most countries use more fuel - something to do with being rural)

The living standards of the Canadian and Australian cities are no worse - arguably better- than the American ones - there is plenty of room for improvement.

Nice Graph, This problem is nothing $8/gallon gas would not solve. Half way there.

Can we cross-check their density figures? I checked against wikipedia, and the data did not agree. For example, New York's density (or urban density) was 106 (or 21) (ppl/hectare), and Frankfurt's "density" was 27. This chart puts Frankfurt over 50. Tokyo's wikipedia density is 58, not the charted 100+.

This caught my eye because I've looked at this stuff before, and what is more striking to me is when you have two "cities", for example Groningen (80 land km^2, 190k ppl) and Cambridge+Somerville (27 land km^2, 181kppl). The use of automobiles in the two areas is rather different, despite the greater density in the US area (and note that Cambridge and Somerville are surrounded by other quite-dense suburbs -- 32 ppl/hect, 31, 26, and a nominal 19 (Belmont, with a chunk of open space to the "outside"). We have the density.

Greater metropolitan areas are different than city limits.
The metric is a little sloppy I bet in determining boundaries of dense urban areas I am sure.
Where does one draw the line?

Nice graph, although it's a bit out of date, as it references a 1989 study. For example, I wonder whether the latest data for Moscow still looks so great, given the massive transition since the breakup of the Soviet Union. When I visited Moscow in 1992, most people were using public transport, either buses or the extensive subway system. There are reports of many more cars being bought in Russia since...

E. Swanson

Yes, it is a little out of date. This study was very controversial when it was released (when I was studying transport "planning" as part of my civil eng course) and was criticised for not taking into account car size, public transit, local gdp/capita etc.
I should clarify the transport energy they are talking about is - gasoline. I will also add that if you want to add Atlanta to this, it is, literally, off the chart!

The authors did update the data for their 1999 book,but I can;t find a specific graph. Given this is such a an interesting, and widely discussed paper/chart, you would think there would be a a more updated version, but I can;t find one.

it was criticised mainly for implying the hyperbolic relationship between density and energy - implying that if you simply increase density, you reduce energy. In reality it is other density related attributes like transit, and employment centres, that determine the energy use.

Here is an alternative plot of the same data that is perhaps more useful (Atlanta is still off the chart);

@dr - I wouldn't get too hung about the specific numbers, - there are probably a few different sources and definitions (city boundaries), and some cities will be outliers - but I think the general trend is pretty clear.

All that is needed is to get the energy use down to the level of the similar density Australian cities - and, as RMG points out below, they are very liveable.

Thanks Paul. I have read a number of items comparing Toronto to Atlanta. I think Atlanta's sprawl will imperil them in the coming years of cheap oil. They may not have chosen their path, but they did not make key choices to mitigate oil problems imho. Very troubling for them indeed.

I think the most important information on these graphs is that you can perfectly liveable cities (the Australian/Cdn ones) while using half the oil of the American ones, regardless of density.

There is an interesting comparison of Atlanta and Barcelona here, along with a good discussion of that Newman and Kenworthy paper.

The two cities are the same population and same "wealth". Barcelona is 23miles across, Atlanta is 85 miles. Not surprisingly, the transport energy per person is an order of magnitude greater in Atlanta. I can't think of a city that will have further to fall in a real oil crunch.

The point for New York appears to be for the New York "urban area" of 18 million people at a density of approximately 2100 / km^2.

New York City had a density of about 10,630/km^2, or a little less than 100 m^2 / person.


The graph just looks too pat, and the numbers don't seem to check out, in an apples-to-apples way.

And, in particular, given what I can see up close (Cambridge+Somerville), versus figures for Dutch cities, the American area with similar demographics, topography, climate, and (on paper) greater density, has much higher car share.

It's hard to be sure if we're comparing apples to apples in general (Dutch towns seem to use the jelly-donut model of population density, and they're the most useful source of well-off people riding bicycles), but fully 1/3 of the US population lives in areas that are (1) population of 50K or greater and (2) denser than Assen (2000 ppl/sq mile, on paper but not sure how concentrated that is in the inner core).

The living standards of the Canadian and Australian cities are no worse - arguably better- than the American ones - there is plenty of room for improvement.

The Economist Intelligent Unit rated three Canadian cities and four Australian cities in the top ten on their list of the "most livable cities in the world".

The highest-placed American city was Pittsburgh (of all places) at #29, while Los Angeles was #44, and New York was #56. American cities lose a lot of points for poor public transit and high crime rates compared to Canada or Australia.

I think public transport options accounts for much of that excess energy usage in the US. Here in Melbourne the trains and trams connect together such that I wouldn't think of driving in the city usually - it's train and tram, because its easier.

If they'd just fix the 'last mile' problem for setting from the suburbs to the train stations, it would be as perfect as a suburban sprawl can get.

The rest is probably down to poor construction standards. That's not great here, but its better than the US. Just copy the passivhaus standards and mandate it for new builds and you can really cut down on costs.

Thanks, RMG. My thoughts exactly: we've heard this since Nixon. It's as if one goes to see a therapist to "feel better", but isn't actually willing to change anything. And so it goes ...

I believe Jon Stewart's riff on this has been posted here before...

I love the fact that Obama referred to that Stewart clip (although not explicitly mentioning it).

US oil production has been falling, more or less continuously, for the last 40 years.

Except is has risen substantially in the last few years. Its mostly the shale-oil fracing plays, like Bakken and others). I think we have propects of increasing by maybe another 1Mbpd. Not, bad. But, not even close to drill-our-way-out-of-a-problem territory.

"Obama thus joins a long line of US presidents..."

More on Stewart's riff:

Wednesday June 16, 2010
Daily Show: An Energy-Independent Future
The last eight presidents have gone on television and promised to move America towards an energy-independent future.

"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me eight times, am I a ***** idiot?"

Well I liked the speech and feel he did a good job. He told the truth and presented a decent plan of 'do everything'. And I love the fact that he pushed back on all the 'Obama is stopping all teh drilling!?!?" garbage with some hard facts such as the truth that there has been a huge INCREASE in oil production during his administration.

But drilling won't solve the problem, we need to move away from oil.

spec - But do appreciate that all that increase came about from activities conducted when Bush was president. But I don't begrudge President Obama the moment. Before too long he be catching all the blame even though it was Bush and all his predecessors that sat on their thumbs and did nothing substantial to alter our course.

In some circles "before too long" was Jan 21, 2009.

re: Two-thirds of oil and gas leases in Gulf inactive

I get the impression that the US government is starting to lose contact with the real world of oil exploration. I'm looking at this from the perspective of my experience in the Canadian industry, where the rules are a lot tighter, but the basic concepts are the same.

An oil company initially takes out a lease on an oil prospect. This lease has a time limit, ranging (in the US context) from 5 years (onshore) to 10 years (deepwater offshore). The clock is ticking on this the whole time because leases have a finite term.

The company starts doing seismic surveys on it, the geologists look at the results, and they identify likely prospects. The exploration dudes work up a plan. Upper management approves the plan, they contract oil rigs, and they start drilling wells. All of this takes a lot of time and it is difficult to get it done within the 5-10 year lease term. If they're lucky, they get a hit, and the lease is now Held By Production (HBP). If not, they surrender the lease and move onto new areas.

When I was working in the business we used to let most of the leases drop after the term without drilling them. Exploration would run a seismic survey, the geologists would look at it, say "There's nothing there", and we would forget it. In other cases, we would drill an adjacent lease and it would come up dry, the geologists would look at the geology of the adjacent leases, and management would make a decision to let all of the leases drop.

If the Obama administration thinks the oil companies are deliberately not drilling leases they think might be productive, they're not aware of how the industry works. The reality is that there is no point in drilling the majority of them. If the oil is not there, it is not there.

I think some onshore BLM leases have ten year terms. Even if it is only five years I think the government would be better off cutting the term to something shorter. Many fee (private) leases have three year terms or even less. It obviously depends on the acreage you have, but if it is anywhere near an active resource play then there is no way I would give someone a 5 year onshore lease if I was the mineral owner.

It can be difficult to get a drilling permit from the BLM even in a 5 year time span. Right now, with the time required to obtain a drilling permit I doubt anyone in Wyoming would be willing to pay for a 5 year BLM lease. State and private leases are much easier and quicker to get drilling permits.

I'm involved in a drilling program on BLM land. The lease is about 1,280 acres and the area of interest is about 400 acres. The land is pretty barren, scattered range grass and sagebrush but mostly just flat broken shale. Almost no wildlife except antelope, coyotes and rabbits, no nesting areas for birds. Nothing about the well is exotic, just a straight well to less than 3,000 feet with no expectation of any gas. Surface disturbance for the well is less than 1/2 mile of dirt road requiring almost no cut and fill and only one culvert. Well pad is already flat with broken shale so only two small pits that will be dug with a backhoe.

The lease was obtained in April 2006. Preliminary work on obtaining the permit from the BLM was started in the Fall of 2006.

By the summer of 2008 (2 years) the BLM was ready to supervise the survey. The road was staked and surveyed, palo and archeological surveys were done - all at our expense.

After a series of bureaucratic delays the APD (permit) was issued Feb 22, 2011 - 4 years 10 months after buying the lease at auction. All the while we have to pay the annual rental on the lease acreage.

Fast forward 2 months to today - dirt contractor lined up, drilling contractor bringing in equipment.

The BLM requires 4 days notice before we begin dirt work. They were given the required notice. A BLM representative showed when no one was there. A new one since the previous bureaucrat had retired. He couldn't find the well site as evidently he didn't have a GPS or couldn't read the survey map. Most of the road stakes were missing as we had been waiting three years for the permit since the original survey. The well pad had been restaked and was obvious from a half mile away if you tried to look for it.

So he shut down the operation, we sent the dirt contractor home, and he required a NEW road survey including palo and archeo on the pretext that the paleontologist's license with the BLM had expired (untrue, and even if it was true, his license was valid when the survey was done almost 3 years previously).

So Monday we paid for a complete NEW survey and yesterday and today are waiting for approval to proceed. The drilling rig is scheduled to arrive tomorrow or Friday. The latest we can set up is Monday or the rig says they have to leave for another project.

If that happens we are out about $50,000 in costs and don't know if we can get another drilling rig during this summer.

A lot of the delays on Federal land are due to the Federal government.

I have another lease on private land very close to this site. Work started 3 months after signing the lease.

It can be difficult to get a drilling permit from the BLM even in a 5 year time span. Right now, with the time required to obtain a drilling permit I doubt anyone in Wyoming would be willing to pay for a 5 year BLM lease. State and private leases are much easier and quicker to get drilling permits.

Well, that's the think about these US Gvt leases. When we were drilling in Canada, we would get only a 2-5 year lease, but having lease implied a right to drill. We would apply for a drilling permit. If the relevant provincial authority didn't have any reason to object, they'd issue the permit in a few weeks, and we'd be off to the races. If they did object, we'd say, okay, how about we whipstock a well in from the adjacent lease? they'd say okay, and off we'd go again.

Interestingly, the oil leases usually had huge numbers of wild animals wandering around on them. As long as you didn't actually hit them with a truck, they didn't seem to care. The most animals I've ever seen were on a Canadian military reserve where the British Army was conducting live fire exercises. The British tanks banging away at targets kept the poachers at bay during the day, and at night the British SAS used to put on their night-vision goggles and practice counter-terrorism exercises on them. The animals deduced that nobody was shooting at them and got quite calm about the whole thing.

But to get back on topic, bureaucratic rules don't benefit anyone except the bureaucrats whose salaries don't depend on getting things done.

A lot of the delays on Federal land are due to the Federal government.

And with the current attitude that all government paper pushers are pure parasites, the backlogs will only grow worse. It's a self-fulfilling prophesy, "governmnet sucks, fire half the government employess", then service gets even worse, and the call for yet more cutbacks arises......

Or, hire ideologues for government jobs who KNOW/BELIEVE government sucks. Speeds up the whole collapse process considerably.

Rev. Karl


You make a good point. Ten years is ridicules, but in dealing with the BLM bureaucracy it is probably fair. The ugly part is that working with the BLM in Wyoming used to be a very reasonable process back in the 1990's. I haven't worked Wyoming since 2007, but your comments are bringing back bad memories for me. I definitely noticed a big change in their attitudes and the way they handled their business, and it sounds like it has continued along the same path.

The problem is two-fold. Increased bureaucracy and various requirements for public scrutiny has slowed down the process. I doubt that getting a BLM drilling permit in less than 2 years is feasible without Congress/Senate level intervention - be sure you donate the max to your Senator's campaign fund.

The second problem is the individual people. In our case the former bureaucrat was just plain lazy and hated to get out of the office and found any excuse to delay things so he didn't have to do his work while waiting for retirement - not just my opinion but also the opinion of many BLM employees.

The new guy seems to be more reactive but doesn't fully understand his job and looks to be somewhat anti-drilling or scared of the environmentalists.

I also have BLM grazing leases and work with a different group of BLM people (in the same office) and it is like working with a completely different company. The range manager is a hard working, level headed individual who takes his duty to protect the land seriously but understands the concept of multiple use and will cut red tape if he sees a benefit to the land or the leaseholder. If all government employees had his attitude many of the problems would disappear.

The anticipated budget cuts are not helping BLM morale so that is another factor. Can't get the lease paperwork done while you are brushing up your CV.

jim - If I paid you $5000/acre for your lease and then paid you another $5000/acre every year on the aniversary of the original lease signing would you give me a 5 year lease? That's not an uncommon trade (a rental payment) in these hot trends these days. Another common kicker in current leases: if another company establishes production within X thousand feet of my leases the company holding your lease has to begin drilling a well within 6 months or they lose all rights.

But I do agree that a 10 year lease for onshore BLM leases seems a tad long. But also appreciate that most of those leases aren't worth crap and are released back to the feds after 10 years and may not get a lease offer for the next 20 years. So th govt got a lease bonus and the company got nothing out of it. happens all the time.

I guess it depends on the acreage and lease terms. If you don't think your acreage is very prospective then you are better to keep the rentals coming. However, at $100 oil if you think there are good wells to be drilled on your land you could probably make much more money on royalty interest. I know we have been successful at picking up acreage, previously leased by operators who just sit on their leases, by committing to drill a well immediately.

Also, if a company is paying $5000/acre I would think they would be very motivated to drill the acreage quickly. That is a very high acreage cost that usually only happens in a competitive situation on pretty much "proven" acreage. I would guess that $500/acre is a more typical price.

jim - In reality I've seen many a land owner negotiate himself out of a lot of money: The "they gonna pay me what I say or they don't get a lease" proposition. And then the company goes away, doesn't return the land owners calls and the land owner is left with no bonus money, no well drilled and thus no "Mail box money" coming in every month. And maybe wait 20 years before someone shows up again to lease their land. I've personally walked away from dozens of such counter proposals. When I sold prospects as an independent generator I knew what my buyers would pay and what they wouldn't. Didn't have time to waste on land owners who didn't believe me.

Leasing your mineral rights is just one very big complex negotiation when neither side is entirely sure they know the value of the lease. I've seen many dry holes drilled on $million leases. And I've seen 10's of $millions of oil/NG from leases I didn't pay a penny for.

Ten years is rather generous for an onshore lease. In Canada, we used to get between 2 and 5 years depending on the difficulty of the terrain (2 years = shortgrass prairie with a road every mile, 5 years = bottomless swamps with no roads).

And then there was a clever feature called deep-rights-reversion. A lease was held by production only to the deepest producing zone. Everything below that reverted back to the government. Then the government would lease the deeper rights to some other company.

The other company would drill a well right next to yours, and hit that deep producing formation you had overlooked. It gave a certain incentive to the geologists to drill the occasional well all the way to the pre-Cambrian basement, just so they didn't miss the elephant hiding in the the deep.

If I paid you $5000/acre for your lease and then paid you another $5000/acre every year on the aniversary of the original lease signing would you give me a 5 year lease? That's not an uncommon trade (a rental payment) in these hot trends these days.

And then to perk up his interest you pay him the full $25,000/acre right up front, in cash. He takes the $4 million you paid him for a five-year lease on his 160 acres of rocks and rattlesnakes, and goes on a 5-year world cruise while you try to decide whether you want to drill or not. At the end of it he comes back to see if you owe him any royalty checks. If not, he gets his pile of rocks and rattlesnakes back.

Another common kicker in current leases: if another company establishes production within X thousand feet of my leases the company holding your lease has to begin drilling a well within 6 months or they lose all rights.

I used to have a computer program that scanned the government databases for that - someone drilling a well within x thousand feet of one of our leases. If it saw any production from such a well, it would notify the drillers to get right on it to satisfy the offset well provision in the lease, because you don't want to miss the 6 month window and lose the lease if there's a producing well next door.

Even if there was no offset well provision, the geologists wanted to know about it ASAP. They didn't want to miss out on a potential hot play.

re: Statoil Postpones U.K. Oil Investment After Tax Hike

Or more accurately, Norwegians decide Brits are a bunch of idiots.

Statoil, Norway's largest oil producer, said it has postponed development of the Mariner and Bressay field projects in the U.K. North Sea, which it entered in 2007. The firm was about to award contracts for front-end engineering and design for Mariner late last week, when the tax change prompted it to put plans on hold.

U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne last week announced a GBP2 billion tax increase on oil production in the government's latest annual budget. The government increased to 32%, from 20% previously, the supplementary charge levied in addition to corporation tax on profits from U.K. oil and gas production.

What the British government has done is to increase taxes on North Sea oil production so it can reduce taxes on British petrol consumption.

This means that the UK has increased taxes on production while simultaneously reducing taxes on consumption. For those of you who have taken Elementary Economics (i.e. a minority), this means that it has provided an incentive to consume more oil, and a disincentive to produce more oil.

I hope it doesn't come as a complete surprise to people in Britain, but North Sea oil production peaked in 1999 and is now in a state of rapid decline. They might want to buy a much more fuel-efficient car, if not a bicycle, and investigate super-insulating their houses (as a Canadian I can offer a lot of advice about that). Things are not going to be nice for unprepared Brits in the near future. (As if it's nice at this point in time.)

I hope to do a walk across Britain this summer if my foot surgery works out well. Note, I didn't say a drive across Britain. If all else fails I can bicycle. I'm hoping the trains still work as well.

Things aren't nice for brits at the moment, we're still stuck in a housing bubble which the government has been doing its best to keep inflated. They are doing this for obvious reasons, most of this property is actually owned by the banks, if people default the banks get the property back and have to revalue it, cutting their worth, at which point the banking crisis kicks off again.

As the cost of energy and food rises the amount we spend on housing will have to drop, I really don't think we've seen the tip of the recession shaped iceberg in Britian yet. We are in absoloutely no position to deal with PO.

"I'm hoping the trains still work as well."

I think you'll find travelling by rail in the UK prohibitively expensive.

Two pieces of advice for train travel here:

1. Book 3 weeks in advance.
2. Don't miss the train you booked 3 weeks in advance.

3. Split Ticketing

4. Take the National Express instead.

Not after the stories I heard from someone who used to work for them. There are some lows its not worth stooping too.

Haha, fair enough - the journeys are a little longer and not as comfy as a train, but if time's on your side then I've often grabbed a last minute £1 trip.

And now for some comic relief

Japan willing to help JA go nuclear
Local scientists support nuclear energy, but.

"If your Government, your people decide that this (nuclear energy) is the appropriate way to get away from all the problems (with oil), then it is your decision to make and it is your matter. And then, if there is any approach, maybe we would be very happy to give you all the information which might be of some assistance," Hiroshi Yamaguchi, the Japanese ambassador to Jamaica, told Environment Watch at a recent meeting with Observer reporters and editors.

Juxtapose that with this:

Mona treatment plant water supply restored

THE National Water Commission (NWC) has restored water supply to its customers in large sections of the Corporate Area (capital city) who are served by the Mona Treatment Plant.

The disruption was due to repairs to a triple break on the major 21-inch distribution main leading from the plant, said the NWC in a statement today.

So we can't keep the water flowing to "large sections of the Corporate Area" and are thinking about nuclear power. Unless someone comes up with nuclear power plants that are "walk away safe" (see my comment on the subject from a few days back) I think this is a very bad idea. Especially as I sit here and look at the brilliant sunshine that is beating down on thousands of square meters of rooftops, sending temperatures up into the low eighties farenheight (twenties celsius).

Alan from the islands

The snow around me didn't even start to melt. But at least I have electricity, thanks to a fast breeder reactor.

Re: Joel Salatin: Breaking Free From Factory Farms, up top.

Wow! I don't know where to begin. They guy is delusional. He may be a farmer, but clearly not here in North Iowa where hog factories dominate.

First of all he doesn't even mention that feeding grain to animals involves a large waste of energy even though his topic is saving energy.

Secondly, he blames over regulation for factory farms. Around here factory hog farms are barely regulated at all. There are 7 of them within about a 3 mile radius of my house as I type this. True, they have to be permitted, but that is mostly a formality the main point of which is to keep manure out of streams and stench out of towns. Nearby farmers just have to live with it.

Thirdly, he gives little attention to the main reason for factory farms: economics. That is why they exist and why working people and the retired too will never go into small time animal raising.

It doesn't pay.

50-60 years ago small farms were the norm but the history since that time is one of farm abandonment because of low prices for raw commodities. Even today with Americans paying the lowest percentage of their income in the world for food, a minimal uptick is met with outrage.

How does he think his recommendation are going to go into effect with low raw food prices? No way. He fails to understand that wheat farmers gets only about 5-10 cents of the price of a loaf of bread. The same is true for a corn farmer and the price of a box of corn flakes.

These examples are typical throughout the food system. Advertising, processing, distribution and retail mark up take the lion's share of the food dollar.

I am diabetic. When I complained to my doctor that I can hardly eat anything, he said "You don't need very much."

That is why populations in countries like Haiti and Bangladesh can grow and grow even though they are near starvation. It is also why everyone producing their own food makes no sense. It makes more sense to let factory farms produce it in such amounts that economies of scale can offset the low prices of raw food commodities.

He claims that factory farms use more energy than small scale producers. I doubt that. Every day animals have to be cared for with feed and shelter. Doing so on a small scale is bound to use more energy just as moving things by truck uses more energy than by train.

That factory farms can turn a profit when small farmers have quit proves that they are more energy efficient. There is now no going back.

Food prices are too cheap. And any uptick is blamed on farmers rather that the real cause: oil. Locally produced food generally has to be priced higher than imported because of inefficiency do to small scale.

It is a tough sell to get people to lay out more money for less convenience. The gain is not obvious. They have other priorities like saving time in a busy workday.

It is also why everyone producing their own food makes no sense. It makes more sense to let factory farms produce it in such amounts that economies of scale can offset the low prices of raw food commodities.

I think it makes sense for everyone to produce some of their own food. I don't think your logic makes any sense.

The reasons to grow your own are too numerous to list but here is one news article from today:

Eating Fresh Foods May Cut Exposure to BPA

The chemical bisphenol A (BPA) is found in many kinds of plastic food packaging, such as some water bottles, food storage containers, and sealing wrap. It is also used to line the inside of food cans.

BPA is an endocrine-disrupting chemical that has been associated with a host of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, and infertility in adults, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children

Hah! The real reason he thinks people won't grow their own food is that IT IS HARD WORK!

And, of course, we Americans do not need to do hard work. That's what we have illegal aliens.

Moreover, we are entitled to cheap gas, cheap food, and that is the demand... the 'market' will take care of the supply. Isn't that the way it works?


Have a nice supper.


Only rich people and ecofreaks make statements like those above regarding factory farms. The top 2% who control 85% of the annual income in this country have the luxury to be utterly ignorant of economic reality for the normal folk.

Let's have a lesson in reality, shall we?

Monthly income $1200
Rent $700 (if very lucky)
Electric $100
Water/sewer $100
Garbage $50
Phone $50

Leaving just $200 to feed a family of three or four for a month. You will notice I made NO allowance for transportation, clothes, or medical.

And oh yes...City ordinance no livestock (chickens and rabbits included). City ordinance no gardens visible from street. City ordinance no use of "odiferous" fertilizers. City ordinance no composting.

THAT is why factory farming thrives, and will continue to thrive, for as long into the future as anyone could look.

Close all the factory farms tomorrow, and there will be riots in the streets in short order.

And since farmland is now going for $5,000
an acre or more, only rich investors are buying it. The small guy is locked out forever.

It's not about energy, it's not about pollutants, it's not about anything but economics.

Yea, we don't like hard work, a pet peeve also. But we're not alone. People all over the world, for eons, haven't liked hard work. Slavery was going great guns long before southern cotton.

Most of us, if we don't have to sweat, won't. There's a big part why we're a nation of overweight diabetics.

But I see another component to not producing food, which Salatin mentions. (Seems I have an admiration/disgust relation with him) That is preparing food, and there's nothing like it being prepared for you when you are really hungry. I cook dinner the majority of the time, but getting out of the fields last nite I was exhausted and starved. The thought of waiting another 30 minutes why I peeled, diced, boiled and cooked for us was killing me. What euphoria when I saw it was ready when I got in.

We are tuned to Zuckers dinners, ready made cereal, chips, pastries because it's there right now. That convenience when it's needed will be as hard to get over as growing your own.

Which brings me around to part of the rationale for this comment, to plug a book. It's all work, from growing to preparing, but I think Darina Allen's cookbook can help alot with the latter. Really great tasting recipes from scratch, that makes part of the waiting worthwhile, and alot of tips for saving time in preparation or using a range of foods in ways most of us forgot.

Forgotten Skills of Cooking--Darina Allen

Yair...with all due respect to poster "x". You raised my hair with that one. The above post is contradictory and confused...I think you (rather than Joel) may be delusional.

I don't have time to respond in detail...maybe later in the thread when my remaining hair has returned to the recumbent position.

According to upstreamonline.com, Brent, in London, ended today at $116.24.

Shale Tar and NG to the rescue?

Well, I guess if a rise of 45% from 89 MBD is 110.6 MBD, yes. That will take care of the problem. We are safe, and... Ohhh... wait a minute. 145% of 89 is actually 129.05, not 110.6? Hmmm... imagine that.

But, wait! I know! They took the overstatement of ME oil reserves off of the new demand requirements... Yes. That makes sense. Of course, if the KSA overstated their reserves, then we won't need to recover as much oil, since there isn't that much there. That way, we will need less to accommodate the extra 45% of demand. Lower supply equals lower demand. QED.

Have a nice day


FOR ALL A coworker told me about the story on "60 Minutes" about all the US corporations that have moved their head quarters out of the US (many to Swz) to lower their tax burden. Apparently one company reduced their taxes by $2 billion with the move. Many of the same companies still conduct biz in the US but essentially do so just as so many other "foreign" companies do. An interesting side note is how much "stranded capital" these companies are sitting on. Many would like to invest that money back in the US but US laws make it illegal (or at least unprofitable) to do so. The folks running the story estimate that as much as $1.5 trillion in capex is available for investment in the US but won't come his way under current regs.

Can anyone fill in the blanks? Given the huge amount of capex we need here to fund alts, etc, it sounds like we might be shooting ourselves in the foot on this one.

Many countries do not tax corporations at anything near a reasonable rate, and since "Tariff" is a dirty word in politics these days (when was the last time you heard it?) it makes business sense to HQ overseas.

A rational tariff system would fix the problem in no time flat.

Of course, when it does happen we'll get an overdone punitive tariff system that will proceed to swing the pendulum back around for another go.

My guess is that an across the board increase of 5% in US import tariffs would resolve an awful lot of domestic revenue and distribution problems. What we'll probably end up with is a 20-50% targetted increase that creates more problems than it solves.

Probably this is a better comment than mine, below. However, in defense of my rant, it seems that the corporations have taken our money, moved overseas, and now are holding the money hostage to a new round of deregulation and accommodation of corporate greed. To my mind, enough is enough, and we are way past that.

Of course, all of this corporate maneuvering is delaying the deployment of any new infrastructure to deal with our collective crises... but I guess there is a buck to be made, eh?


zap - From what I've been told about the news report these companies didn't take any of our money...just their money they earned. I assume you don't have a problem with either of us investing any of our hard earned income income over seas, do you? At the moment all my retirement account is tied up in an Autralian tapioca mine. LOL. But don't laugh...have your checked tapioca futures lately?

Ya gotta love those capitalists, Rockman. After all their focus is on money (capital), while all those damned Socialists care about is society, while Communists focus on community, humanists on humanity, etc.

But, I guess you have to decide where your values are.

An interesting side note is how much "stranded capital" these companies are sitting on. Many would like to invest that money back in the US but US laws make it illegal (or at least unprofitable) to do so.

So, what you are saying then is that we need to make it legal for them to steal some more? Maybe we should freeze the bastards out... let them eat capital.


zap - How are they stealing? If you give up your US citizenship (along with all its benefits) and move to Swz are you stealing anything from the rest of us? I live in Texas and thus pay no state income tax. Am I "stealing" from my Yankee cousins who pay a good chunk of their hard earned money in state income taxes? I understand many corporations have moved out of NYC to suburban NY towns because of the city taxes. Are they stealing money from NYC?

If I lose a part of my capex by investing in New Jersey instead of investing in Texas am I being unfair to my Jersey Shore cousins by opening up a restaurant in Dallas and not Hoboken?

If you lived in a high-tax, high-service state and did business in a nearby low-tax low-service state because it was more profitable, then you'd ba a freeloader at best.

That is essentially what these corps are doing, except they don't go to the trouble to actually do anything in their low-tax locale, they just claim to live there because it saves them money.

That makes them freeloaders, and it's only legal because nobody has had the guts to cut the exploit off.

Here I agree with you 100%!

GE, Exxon Paid No U.S. Income Taxes in '09

2010 GE: 7,000 tax returns, $0 U.S. tax bill

GE had plenty of earnings last year -- just not in the United States. For tax purposes, the company's U.S. operations lost $408 million, while its international businesses netted a $10.8 billion profit.

...But what about the $10.8 billion profit overseas? GE is "indefinitely" deferring income tax payments on those profits, Eisele said.

It may seem like accounting magic, but it's completely legit.

That example doesn't work because the Texan is still paying taxes to the US government on any investments he may have in New Jersey. The other guy moved to Switzerland to avoid paying taxes here. Now he wants us to change our laws so he can invest here and STILL not pay the tax. Sounds like stealing to me.

"That example doesn't work because the Texan is still paying taxes to the US government on any investments he may have in New Jersey."\

But the Texan receives back in Federal spending more than he pays in Federal taxes. Not sure what you call that.

But the Texan receives back in Federal spending more than he pays in Federal taxes. Not sure what you call that.

A Red State.
Unless you are in DC.
Welfare for the rednecks.

e - My example is very good: I don't pay any taxes in New Jersey but I can travel there anytime I want...use their roads, etc, and I've never paid a penny of taxes to them.

Actually I don't know how much these companies really want to change the laws. The implication was that they would invest the money in the US if the laws were more favorable. Otherwise they just invest those funds in other countries where they get a better deal. No different than you keeping your money in one bank that gives you better interest than another.

Yeah, but this is like living in New Jersey, using their roads, sending your kids to their schools, doing lots of business there, but renting an apartment in Texas and paying taxes in Texas instead of in New Jersey. That is fundamentally wrong.

The thing is...these large corporations are benefiting from the taxes paid by others. Someone has to pay for the transportation and communication infrastructure that allows them to do business. Someone has to pay for the police, military, courts, patent office, etc., that make sure no one steals their property.

Back in the '50s - viewed by many as a "golden age" economically - corporations paid 30% of US government revenues. Now they pay about 7%. The difference has been made up by individuals.

I think an argument could be made that corporations are not paying their fair share.

It's a messy story. The on the book marginal rate of corp taxation is pretty high. But, most corps find a way to wiggle out of most of it. If you are the guy who can't, then fleeing the country for an overseas tax haven might make sense. But, then most of those corps who pay next to no taxes, got the various laws passed, by buying lobbying, the needed tax breaks.

The real problem is that our tax laws are set up for the world that existed in the 1930s. When the economy was national, not global. They are simply inadequate for the current situation.

Not sure it's worth trying to fix at this point, though. If Jeff Rubin is right, the global economy is going away.

First of all you need to appreciate how value is derived. Nothing, not one thing, has any real value until someone adds their labor to it. See that stick, over there? It is just lying on the ground, and belongs to no one. Old Ugh, the cave man, picked it up, sharpened the end of it, added a piece of stone flaked into a sharp point, smoothed off the sides,and suddenly that is Ugh's stick.

Land is similar. The idea that the king got it from God is stupid... it belongs to no one and to everyone until someone expends their energy and labor in building a house on it, plowing it, etc. That makes it theirs, as long as they keep at it. The old homestead laws had it right!

The laborers have become much more efficient. They receive much less for their labor than they did before. The difference is profit to the corporation, and it is stolen property. At least in my humble opinion.

Fiat money is a problem. It is created by loans made by people who don't have any to people who need some. The people who borrow it have to pay rent on it, for some reason. I mean, the Fed doesn't really have that money... they just lend it. And, if you have rights at the window, you can borrow it pretty cheaply, about 1/4 percent or thereabouts. And turn around and loan it at 3.25 per cent to the Federal Government! No risk. No real record keeping to speak of. Or they can loan it to real people for 29 percent? That's stealing! Again my opinion.

Corporations are all about stealing money, and creating bogus money. The banksters belong in jail, and the corporatists who externalize all their cost, social, environmental and labor related, are thieves, again IMHO, who should be in there with them.

Or not. What is really needed is a blended socialist government and business system, where corporations assume responsibility for their actions and pay taxes, pay fair wages, and become more like the people they claim to be. What are the chances?


What is really needed is a blended socialist government and business system, where corporations assume responsibility for their actions and pay taxes, pay fair wages, and become more like the people they claim to be. What are the chances?

About as much chance as 'Real' Americans becoming like 'Them'...

"Real America" by Roy Zimmerman


Good luck with that!

I don't buy that idea about stranded capital for one simple reason...

If the US laws were so onerous to them such that they really WANTED to invest in the US they damn sure would have changed the laws by now to make it feasible. Since there probably isn't the mega-profit motive attached to this course of action and it may actually be interpreted as helping "the collective" USA rather than lining the pockets of just a select few there's probably little interest in them focusing their lobbying efforts on changing the laws they supposedly find so problematic.

Here is one example - Microsoft

Microsoft reported $36.8 billion in cash and short-term investments at the end of last quarter. Much of that is held overseas, forcing the company to pay taxes on any of the money used for dividends or stock repurchases

They have lots of cash, but it is overseas so they have to issue bonds here in order to raise cash. From their point of view it makes sense. They can get money at less than 5% or they can pay corporate tax (likely a whole lot more than 5%) and use the cash they already have. And as interest is an expense they get a tax break on that too.
I wonder if they can use their own overseas cash to buy the US issued bonds...?


I saw the 60 minutes myself. I feel like corporations only care about money and no longer care about the Americans that created these companies in the first place. American ideas, spirit, quality, et al.

I have become a little cynical about them.

I wish they would all relocate to China and just get off the News altogether. They should site their offices off the polluted rivers and waterways and gaze over the thick brown haze over their cities.

They can then have their Chinese slaves in their factories and feed them food with melamine as a protein "substitute" and then can enjoy their life there. Just get the whiners off the news and out of the papers. If I see another banker complain about regs after 2008, I will puke on the floor.

America can return to pasture and rust "from sea to shining sea" for all I care.


That's certainly true, but you can't blame them. Not with the various idiots that now comprise our ghettoes, barrios, and trailer parks.

So it's all part of the cycle of decline. Corporations go abroad and recruit abroad in search of talent (or to avoid taxes or healthcare costs), which decreases investment at home. This percolates into state and local taxes and thereby education. As education deteriorates, corporations take a look and decide, hmmmmm, we need to go abroad.

Repeat and rinse.

There's nothing you can do, and all of this is quite natural. It's happened to every single place on the planet, and now it's our turn.

But Americans aren't used to decline, and it's this which in fact makes me pessimistic. Not the decline per say, but rather what our response to it will be.

That's a good summary Oilman...

Our biggest problem now is that we've deified the corporations and worship psychopathic CEO behavior to such an extent - the corporation has become us and vice versa.

A large portion of the population goes into the fetal position if they don't have *a* corporation to tell them what to do, how to act, how to dress or provide their means for existence. And who can blame them - we've been conditioned for this for over 100 years now... Fifty to seventy years ago there may have been some other option for people who wanted to follow a different path... now the vast majority of us (including me) are beholden to the system in one form or another (food, employment, health etc.) some other entity created with few skills or options for really getting out... yet still we worship and look up to God, Inc.

Americans are used to winning.
And people are people. I believe in essentialism to some extent but not so much that a people becomes an entirely different breed. People will adapt and they are resilient.

Europeans are much more used to feeding off the tit of the nanny state.

There is another option for these companies that no one seems to be talking about - including the companies themselves. If they are sitting on all of this money, how about paying some of it back to their shareholders - it is "their" money, after all.

Somewhere along the way, a lot of companies forgot that the shareholders are entitles to a return both on their investment (dividends, return of capital etc) not just higher share prices, which requires the shareholder to sell to realise their gain.

If the companies can;t find anything useful to do with the money, then pay it back to the shareholders and let them decide what to do with it. At least most of the shareholders of US companies are in the US.

...how about paying some of it back to their shareholders?

An interesting idea that should be discussed.

If companies shift to paying dividends. The federal and state tax base improves. If companies reduce retained earnings and borrow for expansion, that redirects the banks. Better the banks should loan to businesses again than play games with derivatives.

Moving earnings to cash eliminates gobs of tax loopholes, deflates and diminishes the short term trading that dominates the markets.

Lots of good things might happen if we went to dividend investing.

Corporations should not pay income taxes and should not be able to retain earnings. Earnings should be distributed as dividends so that they will be taxed at the investor's individual rate. If the corporation needs more money to invest, it should issue shares to the investors to raise equity or it should issue bonds of an appropriate maturity and rate of interest.

The corporate income tax does not make economic sense because it penalizes a profitable corporation and it subsidizes an unsuccessful corporations through the tax loss carry forward. Ideally, one would want to do the opposite in order to grow profitable corporations and eliminate unprofitable ones.

Quite agreed on taxes, though not about earnings. The strong subsidise the weak. I know of many small business that never make a "profit", though I perhaps you could argue that they have then distributed that profit to other companies/people (themselves)_ that do pay tax.

One caveat I would put on such a system, is that any money the company sends out of the country IS taxed , otherwise they have an avenue to escape taxation - and would surely use it.

i have no problem with them retaining earnings - they may have future projects coming up, or various reasons for doing so. Ultimately the shareholders will demand action if the co sits on too much cash.

On way to do it, would be to change the rules so that dividends, like debt payment, are paid out before tax and only retained earnings are taxed - that would create quite a change in corporate behaviour - and likely a good one, I suspect.

"Lots of good things might happen if we went to dividend investing."

Look for value funds, growth and income funds, and plain old utilities. They work fine. The problem is that we all want to get rich quick, and successful speculation can do that. Dividends will not do that.

So roll the dice.

Logically it shouldn't happen.
A corporation which got rich off the American system needs to give something back and not to complain about owing taxes.

The politicians would rather receive bribes(campaign contributions) than hand out fines on their rich pals.

Instead the rich fly off to Never-never land in their private jets.

People should be furious over these creeps but the propaganda mill
tells us this is the American dream (to screw thy neighbor and fly off to Vahalla with the other thieves).

It's a sick, sick world.


I respect your opinion and that of others in this discussion, but this argument is wrong. People, the US economy has a demand side problem. I saw this argument in Forbs magazine maybe two lines after the author noted that US corporations are sitting on 2-3 trillion in cash. They won’t invest this money for lack of money making opportunities. Maybe another trillion would help (at least stock buy backs); however, the tax changes would certainly increase the Federal Deficit (many companies do bring home overseas profits), while creating the perfect corporate loophole; just shift profit overseas (accountants are talented people) and bring it home for free.

As for Merril’s suggestion the tax burden be shifted to private individual’s, perhaps that makes sense economically, but one must ignore that fact that this group of people has successfully used the political system to decrease their own taxation for 30 years now.

P.S. completely in favor of revenue neutral corporate tax reform

The reason that they don't invest is because the economy is bad and they won't help. Only about 12% of GDP is business investment.
Remember the whole evil Federal government, the one the moronic Tea Party and their GOOP allies wants to destroy is 36% of US GDP.


'The only way to kill the Beast is to starve it!'


So we take a hatchet to 36% of the economy to reward tightwads
who only provide at best 15% of GDP.


Not quite sure what you are disagreeing with as we seem to agree. Because the economy is bad, there is currently an excess of spare capacity to produce most widgits and little need to invest. Demand side recessions cannot be solved by increasing the amount of capita because the lack of investment is due to the lack of money making opportunites. Business investment may be only 12% of the economy, but with the consumer in hock and the housing market dead, sources of growth are limited. I am all in favor of US government investment in infrastructure and even investment help for green energy, a much better use of the deficit dollar than broad corporate tax cuts. Yes, this is a Keynesian view -appropriate to the situation.

As I said before, I am all in favor of revenue neutral corporate tax reform - the problem is almost none of the corporations are.

Rebels flee from west Libya as Gaddafi's forces fight back

The 80mph rout briefly came together at checkpoints along the highway, only to disperse once more at the sound of a rolling barrage moving along the road. Rockets, and some said tank fire, followed on the heels of the retreat contributing to the infectious fear which spread unstoppably through the rebel ranks.

That must be one of the fastest retreats in history. But what's Gadaffi's forces using that can keep up with them while raining tank rounds and rockets on the rebels? What happened to the NATO air cover? Political crisis brewing?

What happened to the NATO air cover? Political crisis brewing?

What happened was Obama did the 'razor thin dance between left and right opinions' again, swooning away from pressure and controvery to find the soft middle, which in this case meant the operations were taken over by NATO, which is parsing the difference between allowing the rebels to retreat but not allowing the citizens to get annhilated. Like a referee, NATO will keep the air clear, but not help the rebel ground forces advance.

Does setting this up to be an elongated stalemate make any sense at all? No, because eventually the people will have cow-tow to their insane leader, Qaddaffi, they will be tortured, killed, maimed and the whole incident will just become another stain on foreign intervention.

I read AJE I presume, that Qaddafi's forces abandoned their tanks and heavy armour, and mounted light weapons of pickup beds. So now the jets can't do IFF (Identification Fried or Foe), so they aren't being bombed. Looks like an example of successful adaptation.

Maybe if the light trucks start getting bombed, and the transition from heavy weapons to lighter ones can continue to be pushed (in a sort of sick experiment), it could reach a point where both sides are engaged in a medievel sword & shield battle.

I asked a couple of days ago what would happen if Gaddafi's forces pursued the rebels in light skinned vehicles. Whether NATO would slaughter them in the desert or not. I guess we have the answer. So the defeated rebels will go back to Benghazi and if they have any sense Gaddafi's forces will take up a non-threatening position near by. The ensuing stalemate eventually leading to partition and of course a dirty war presided over by the US covert operations?

Unless Gaddafi up's and leaves or is forced out by other means, then it looks like Libya's oil is going to be locked in for quite some time.

What happened to the NATO air cover?

Blame it on the weather. Admiral Mullen says so, but somehow I don't buy it.

Treasury Sells $29 Billion In Bonds, Bringing Total Settled US Debt To 14.311 Trillion, More Than The Debt Ceiling

Now bear with us for a second: the most recently disclosed total debt was 14,211,567,662,931.23 as of March 28. This excludes the settlement of all of this week's auctions which amount to $35 + $35 + $29 billion (including today) or $99 billion. Adding the two amounts to $14,310,567,662,931.23. As a reminder the debt ceiling is $14,294,000,000,000.00. In other words, the total US debt just passed the debt limit - break out the Champagne! Granted there is a buffer of $52.2 billion between the total debt and the debt actually subject to the ceiling, meaning that America is not in default, yet. Therefore, the total debt subject to the limit assuming full settlement right now is $14,258,341,662,931. Which means the US is now $35.7 billion away from a bona fide breach of the debt ceiling.

Yeah, and it looks like its coming to a head in DC. Don't think they'll agree to keep funding this spending spree without a new spending agreement.

According to zFacts.com, The National debt is now at $14.429 trillion and growing at $100 billion every 22 and 1/2 days.

I've been reading here since the Macondo blow out and I literally have no useful knowledge of anything that is discussed here, although I am certainly smarter for having read it. But I registered just to say I read through Obama's speech and to me, he really seems to grasp the problems and frame them well. He took SUVs to task, took the last 30 years of little innovation to task, stated bluntly we are running out of oil and can't produce even close to enough in the US to meet our demand, etc. I just can't figure this guy out because he seems to get it, but he doesn't appear to be capable of leading in any meaningful way. The speeches are good, but more is needed.

What a different world it would be if Gore had been elected....

I respectfully disagree. Anybody's better than Republicans on energy and climate, and I'm a conservative myself(albeit a moderate one) so there's no need to hide that fact.

But Gore pushed for Corn Ethanol really hard, a fact he has since apologised for(and damn right he should).

Obama started to wax biofuels too, and the last thing we need is more biofuels at the expense of the hungry souls of the world. Corn ethanol in the U.S. is one of the worst 'solutions' possible. And he counts 'clean coal'(an oxymoron) as a 'solution' too.

Yes, he's better than the conservatives but still widly off the target.

And what a president says is one thing, another what he actually does(or can do, through Congress). These speeches have been made since the 70s. Nothing's happened and it's too late now anyway. And even if Gore got elected, it's unclear how much he would be able to get through. With 9/11 happening about midterm, much focus would be lost on that area. And what if he lost re-election, which is very plausable, considering his lack of charisma and machismo which the country craves during times of need.

The last window of opportunity came with Clinton's first term.

Actually, quite a lot has happened since the 1970's. There's been more than 30 years without a significant oil shock, such as happened in the 1970's and we still enjoy almost 20 million bbls per day of oil flowing thru the US economy. To add to that, most of the US has electricity available 24/7/365 while supply capacity has increased considerably. Of course, there's been a downside associated with making all this happen for 30 years, but the downside has been pushed beyond our borders and onto future generations, neither group has much say in US politics. But, that's the problem, isn't it? I think the "window" began to close with Reagan and when Clinton came to office, he could not stop the train which was gaining speed toward the cliff. Remember that Clinton could not push an increase in the gas tax thru Congress...

E. Swanson

You first indicate you disagree with me on the beginning but close down to agree with me. Sneaky :p

Jeff Rubin laid out in his book on these matters that energy efficiency has actually improved quite a lot, but the paradox is that people consume more since they can spend more due to the efficiency, the net effect is not much has happened in terms of reducing consumption down to considerable levels.

I wanted to point out that what has been done has been more of the same fossil fueled industrial life that we experienced before the 1970's. I do agree that relatively little has been done to transition to other energy sources which are renewable. Also, there's still much which can be done to reduce energy use, actions which could have been done these past 30 years but which weren't. People won't change until they must and the politicians don't want to be first in line to tell the public that changes in lifestyles are necessary, so here we are...

E. Swanson

Survivalist GOP Rep.: You Should Probably Avoid Cities.

You can all safely dismiss peak-oil aware Roscoe Bartlett now. He's been labeled by Mother Jones as a "survivalist" and everyone knows those people are crazy, right? (The preceding is sarcasm for the humor impaired.)


Above is a link to WTI 104.91 & Brent 115.13 oil prices. Has anyone else noticed how stable those prices have become? They have been within a few dollars of those prices for a few weeks now.

And I suppose because of that Obama has decided the Pickens Plan is a good one. But that plan isn't any different than it was when the Big O was running for Prez! So are we to presume that because oil price rebounded after the 08 drop to 35 a barrel, and is now threatening the economic recovery (if there really is one), that he decided to change his mind? I mean, because he must have looked at the Pickens Plan way back when and decided he didn't like it - so why now? Did the price of oil really have to rebound for him to understand that world oil production peaked and started an undulating plateau in May 05? So in other words, even though Chu is his energy czar, Chu never explained to him anything about peak oil, so it took high oil prices occurring a 2nd time for the Big O to get it.

What an unfortunate missed opportunity it was to have passed up (when he first got into office he had a Dem Senate and House) to pass a comprehensive energy package to include huge sums from the stimulus for renewables and algae ethanol, etc., but now he has to try and get this new energy deal passed with the consent of a Republican House! And it's simply never going to happen. They don't want to do anything that might make him look presidential with the upcoming election looming. They'll reject the Pickens Plan, but once a Repub is in, they'll wrap the American flag around it and claim this one is for the Gipper.

Brent's over 117 on upstreamonline.

Brent's over 117 on upstreamonline.

Yes, noticed it went up from the time I posted earlier prices. Anyone know what caused the quick uptick in price? I noticed CNBC's rolling ticker also has gasoline up near 5 cents a gallon!

NEW YORK (AP) -- The price of oil rose past $106 a barrel on Thursday as fighters loyal to Moammar Gadhafi pushed back rebels from key areas in eastern Libya.

So much for starting to buy oil from the rebels any time soon.

Ah, very interesting. So we have reached the point along this undulating plateau in which the apparent nixing of a small oil deal (between Qatar and the Libyan rebels) is enough to raise oil price, cha-ching! Doesn't sound like there's much 'Spare Capacity' out there. But we can all take solice in knowing there is a huge amount of Willam Catton's oft used term 'Phantom Capacity' available, for everything from Hummer's to massive personal watercraft. The great thing about Phantom Capacity is it allows society to ignore limits while enjoying unrestrained gluttony.

arl - Since you've brought SC (spare capacity) up again I'll repeat the point I made to Ron the other day. IMHO: SC, offered by itself, is as meaningless as when someone offers XX billion bbls of recoverable oil without including the price assumption. Shale gas is a great example: trillions of cu ft recoverable...at $15/mcf. Not nearly so much at $3/mcf. A simple comparison to take the energy out of the conversation: Ford Motor has the capacity to produce X units of car model Y. But they know they can only expect to sell 70% of X that they can offer AT AN ACCCEPTABLE PROFIT MARGIN FOR THEM. They won't utilize that SC because it lacks sufficient profit motivation. But suddenly every 16 yo girl is bugging daddy relentlessly for a Y car (remember the PT Cruiser selling for a couple of thousand $'s over sticker price...it does happen). So Ford cranks up the production line and goes to 100% capacity.

So let's just assume the KSA does have 4 million bopd SC. That doesn't mean they would sell it on the market at current prices. Any new buyer can go to the KSA and ask to buy any or all of that SC. But the KSA is free to offer it at price they want. So the KSA agrees to sell the new buyer some of that SC BUT it will cost 115% of the current price they are selling their contracted oil. Maybe the buyer will pay...maybe not. In either case the KSA does have 4 million bopd SC but it's not making it to the market place if no one buys it AT THE OFFERED PRICE. I get the impression that many folks think that if the KSA has SC they are first, obligated to sell it, and second, at some open market value. Neither is true.

So from a practical point of view what's the difference between the KSA having 4 million bopd SC and not selling it at a price the buyers are willing to pay and the KSA having no SC. IMHO essentially none. Just like Ford Motor: just because they can make 30% more Y cars doesn't mean they have to. Unless it's worth their while to do so, of course.

You can frame everything in terms of traditional politics if you want, but peak oil is bigger than that.

Our government system has always redistributed income to some degree or another. The difference between the Dems and GOP is peanuts. When we fall off the undulating plateau, we are screwed, regardless whether we redistribute 30% of the riches or 32%. There simply will not be enough oil or FOOD.

eastie - You and the Dog above frame the situation quit simply IMHO. Sometimes less verbage makes the picture clearer. Which is also why I suspect the "War of Words" will become unbearable down the road. Given little if anything substantial will be done proactively by our "leaders" they will have nothing to fall back upon other than rhetoric. And for the last 40 years or so we've seen what great progress we've made in minimizing the effects of PO by talking a good game, haven't we?

We (they) will never hit Peak Rhetoric, and it doesn't have to be imported either...

Excellent Pual. Interesting we can short hand it as "PR". Nice little double meaning there.

How about Peak Posturing aka PeePee?

The only way to avoid PeePee getting out of hand is to reduce the number of senators per state from 2 to 1 senator.

This would save tax payers 0.1 billion per year or 10 billion over 100 years.

What's in your Petroleum Plummet Parachute?

(Pee cubed)

Oct - Now that you mention it PP may well be the focus in the future. Both parties like to regularly conspire to keep the publics attention off the real problem (our "leaders") by presenting one side of the debates in extreme rhetoric. Like "Obama is a communist planning on taking our guns away" or "Republicans want to destroy the environment because they hate the Greeneies". Or pick any other foolishness they use to keep the voters distracted from the truth. IMHO this country has only one effective political party...the CPP: the "Career Politician Party"

Greenies are naive to our energy requirements. Repubs are in denial about limits to resource extraction and pollution. Yes, agreed though they love to hurl insults and stomp around like wounded animals.

No comment though on my austerity package for the Senate. Reduce the senate and house by 50% of their membership.

It should be a win win for everyone. Less mouths in the senate. Less government waste. Maybe the talk shows will run out of distinguished senators to interview.

The lobbyists though will be very hard up. They need to get their message to the Senate and the lobbying diffusion rate will go down if there are not enough senators. The lobbyists will have to take turns more.

Yeah the government is like Pro wrestling.

Oct - many don't know that the Texas state legislators meet only every two years. Urban legend says the law was passed on the strength of the argument that in doing so would limit how much damage they could do. Of course being crafty devils they figured out a way around this safe guard. They write legislation when out of session and cram it through as soon as they get back in session. Thus even though the new rules aren't in effect everyone knows they will be and thus start adjusting their plans.

In the US, I doubt that there will be serious shortages of FOOD. That does not mean that we will be able to keep on eating as much "food" derived from animals, particularly, meat. That's because growing animals for meat takes something like 10X the calories from plants as feeding the plants directly to people. Also, the cost of the highly processed foods we now find on the supermarket shelves is likely to increase faster than the cost of the underlying crops, thus those may be expected to disappear, along with the jobs for the people who make all that stuff. But, as jobs to earn the money to pay for the food which is available become scarce, people will still go hungry...

E. Swanson

Ya, I'm sure the US market will be "well supplied" with FOOD, at current prices. LOL

Did I mention prices for FOOD? Price is always relative to income and without a high paying, "middle class" job, FOOD is likely to take a large fraction of whatever the unemployed individual or his family can scrape together. That does not mean that there won't be enough FOOD in the US, just that there will be others in the market who can bid up the price so that J6P will be left out in the cold, literally. I would expect that the same will be true for transport fuel, the result being major social unrest...

E. Swanson

A prominent energy scientist blames record-high gas prices on the approach of peak oil — a point when the world’s oil fields will pump out their maximum amount of oil, then gradually decline.

"There's no question that's what's causing it,"says David Hughes, a recently retired geoscientist, who worked with the Geological Survey of Canada for 32 years.

His view defies conventional wisdom that turmoil in Libya is to blame.

You've just got to love this kind of reasoning. The oil price increase from a reduction in Libyan exports only accounts for the recent rise in price from about 94 to 105 WTI. It doesn't account for the first time oil price rose over a 100 to top out at 147 in 08, or the recent rise from a low of 35 to today's Brent oil price of 116.

Yet we are suppose to view the price of oil as simply due to the turmoil in Libya. Got that guys? It would be really nice if Authors of articles did a little research before inking a story.

It would be really nice if Authors of articles did a little research before inking a story.

Research of what? Persuasion?

turmoil in Libya must be up again, WTI almost up to $107.

Research of what? Persuasion?

Persuasion, yes if the mantra can be repeated by enough well sourced authors (that are more concerned about getting conservative ad money), any kind of inane story line can be used to sing-song the public into ignorantly blissfull acceptence. Although with the price of food and fuel (which are not part of core inflation, the one the Feds quote) go any higher some really good mantra stuff will need to be blustered about by some very notable (bought and paid for) Authors to stop the masses from clanking their chains causing a disturbance in the BAU force.

I can't vouch for the source, but here is a "death per TwH by source" list:


Dwindling Stocks Show Corn Prices Need to Move Higher

USDA’s quarterly Grain Stocks report, released this morning, shows that end users of corn have yet to cry “uncle.” Corn stocks in all positions as of March 1 were 6.52 billion bushels, down a sharp 15 percent from March 1, 2010, and well below the average trade guess of 6.69 billion bushels.
Hoops says with crude oil prices still over $100/barrel, future ethanol margins look good. “Ethanol companies have probably done a great job hedging themselves,” he adds. “The ethanol market will remain strong and healthy. The export market will suffer first.”

The article's probable prediction that exports decrease more than ethanol consumption is a testament to the lack of intelligence in our economic system. The system may starve tens of millions more and create even more chaos in the global export market. Either that or we will have a fall in ethanol consumption caused by a sharp downturn in the economy. Rock meet hard place.

The funny thing with ethanol is that the fuel(oil) industry is required to blend in 11 bn gallons of ethanol in 2011 - regardless of what the economy does (http://www.epa.gov/otaq/fuels/renewablefuels/420f10056.htm) if they don't, they face heavy fines - so they will.
So the ethanol industry has the luxury of gov guaranteed minimum volume - how sweet is that for them? If they overproduce they can export, and if they blend it to E85 before exporting, can still claim the 45c tax credit!

So don't you worry about the ethanol industry - your politicians and tax dollars at work, keeping them at work, whether you have work or not!


New low in driving fatalities. It is a mystery. LMAO

The reason driving deaths have declined so steeply over the past five years is something of a mystery, but officials and experts point to a combination of factors. Old cars are being replaced by newer models with more safety features, including air bags and antilock brakes. Highways are built or refurbished with more attention to safety, with features like rumble strips and cable median barriers to separate cars from oncoming traffic. Seat belt use is believed to be up, and stricter car-seat laws have made the days when children bounced around in the back of station wagons a distant memory.

We are now killing each other less on the road in the US, because we are not using the road as much.

AH! But the safety ninnies got plugs for safety equipment. No mention of high gas prices and all that jazz.

"No mention of high gas prices and all that jazz" - um....yes, there was:

Whatever the explanation, the decline in deaths was not merely caused by the drop in driving as the Great Recession wore on. Measured by deaths per miles traveled, which filters out the effect of less driving, the roadways were safer as well.

No I meant no mention of "high gasoline prices." The recession in the MSM is something separate from high gasoline prices except most recently in the Wall street journal -- like very recently

My bet is that there is less drinking involved, but I bet that is hard to measure. Recessions cause people to actually buy less beer -- a well known fact.

But I doubt seriously the claim that cars are suddenly more safe in the period of a couple of years. That was a steep drop. Cars are as safe as they were 10 years ago imho. A Honda civic (cheapest model made by Honda at the time) has airbags and anti-lock in 1996 -- more than 14 years ago.

But fatalities per miles driven would eliminate the effect of gas prices.

Cars are as safe as they were 10 years ago imho. A Honda civic (cheapest model made by Honda at the time) has airbags and anti-lock in 1996 -- more than 14 years ago.

Antilock brakes, oddly, don't seem to increase safety.

Airbags do, and as the article points out, not everyone drives a new car. So the increase in safety may reflect older cars without airbags being taken off the road. (In 1996, I was driving a car without airbags. It was ten years old at the time. Now I have a car with airbags, because I've had to buy a new one since.)

They've also added side airbags since 1996, which make a big difference in the US (because of those high SUVs that come in over the door of smaller cars).

It is also a non-linear effect. The number goes as X squared because you need someone else on the road to crash into, you and someone else. You can see this in the limit of having no one else on the road; in that case accidents will only happen if you run off the road because you fell asleep or something similar.

IMO there is a point not mentioned. I have 5 grandchildren all of driving age, HS & college that have no desire to own, buy, or drive a vehicle. The younger generation have other priorities.

Kids cannot afford it really. A car is a waste of money for a teen. Upkeep and gasoline are more money than any after school job could support. You would work to pay for a car. If there are any high school jobs anymore. Good point. I see kids just walking around my town here.

An even bigger factor for most kids (under 25's) is insurance. If they want to own their own car, the insurance rates are sky-high.

Nuclear Energy Advocates Insist U.S. Reactors Completely Safe Unless Something Bad Happens:

"When you consider all of our backup cooling processes, containment vessels, and contingency plans, you realize that, barring the fact that all of those safety measures could be wiped away in an instant by a natural disaster or electrical error, our reactors are indestructible."


I used to puff Mr.Levine for an 'alternative' view. Now that he thinks that almost 50 dollars a barrel is a premium, caused by the Fed, is a realistic option he sinks to the ground.

The Fed policy might dent the prices a few dollars here and there, certainly not 20 or even 50 dollars.

The man also still refuses to talk about Peak Oil. Comes across as a paid hack.

Mr. LeVine posts here sometimes. Or used to, anyway. His interest is more in the political stuff.

The take I got on the story was he was giving the opinions of Phil Flynn, not his own.

Ron P.

Shouldn't we have some good old fashion April 1 posts:

Cold Fusion experiment in Spain verified!

TOD readers wasted all those years worrying about nothing.