Drumbeat: April 11, 2011

IMF hikes oil price forecast by 20%

This year's oil price spike has dragged the IMF kicking and screaming into the world of overstressed energy markets.

The International Monetary Fund said Monday that it expects the global oil price to average $107 a barrel this year and $108 next. That's 20% above its previous forecast, thanks to stronger-than-expected global petroleum growth in 2010 and a less than enthusiastic supply response.

Global oil demand rose 3.4% last year, the IMF said in the latest release of chapters from its semiannual World Economic Outlook report. That's the fastest pace since 2004 and double the rate IMF forecasters projected at the start of 2010.

Meanwhile, the supply of crude oil "is responding sluggishly to the ongoing pickup in demand, largely reflecting the policy stance of OPEC," the IMF said.

WikiLeaks cable: Politicians, military - not militants - behind most Nigeria oil thefts

LAGOS, Nigeria — Politicians and military leaders — not militants — are responsible for the majority of oil thefts in Nigeria’s crude-rich southern delta, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable quoting a Nigerian official and released by WikiLeaks.

A member of a government panel on troubles in nation’s Niger Delta implicated Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, a general whose brother became president, and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as being the biggest forces behind the thefts, the cable claims. Those thefts also fuel arms sales to the restive region while causing environmental damage and cutting production in a nation crucial to U.S. oil supplies.

FACTBOX - Iran's oil trade under sanctions regime

(Reuters) - Iran has manoeuvred around sanctions for decades, but the task has become more complicated since Western powers introduced new measures in the middle of last year that specifically targeted oil and gas trade.

No sanctions, however, are water-tight.

The following is an update of Iran's response to them.

Utica, Upper Devonian Reserves in Pa. May Match Marcellus' Bounty

Natural gas drillers are accelerating exploration of several Appalachian rock formations that sandwich the Marcellus Shale beneath Pennsylvania, and some experts say the new discoveries may be as prolific as the Marcellus itself.

"What we've got is Marcellus times two," said Terry Engelder, the Pennsylvania State University geosciences professor whose Marcellus Shale estimates in 2008 first drew public attention to the region's shale gas potential.

Saudi Aramco to Supply Full May Oil Volumes to Asia Refiners

Saudi Arabian Oil Co. will supply full contracted volumes of crude to Asian refiners in May, according to refinery officials.

Saudi Aramco, as the company is known, will provide 100 percent of cargoes sold under long-term contracts for an 18th month, according to refiners in Thailand and Japan who requested anonymity, citing confidentiality agreements with the Middle East’s biggest producer.

Lula Urges Mexico, Brazil to Form Oil Partnership

ACAPULCO, Mexico – Mexico and Brazil should form a strategic partnership in the oil sector, according to former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who urged oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos and Petrobras to work together to ensure further growth and technological development.

Politicians Push to Revise Oil Project Review Process

Kern County politicians are urging Gov. Jerry Brown to ease what the local oil industry sees as a clampdown on certain drilling-related activities that state regulators view as environmentally risky.

Energy crisis leaves Nepal in the dark

KATHMANDU — By the light of a single candle Shankar Prasad Bhandari strains his eyes as he tries to count out the correct change for a customer in his blacked out shop on the outskirts of Kathmandu.

Rolling 14-hour power cuts, triggered by a growing energy crisis, mean that much of life in the Nepalese capital and across the Himalayan nation functions by candlelight these days.

Ivory Coast strongman Gbagbo captured

(CNN) -- Forces stormed the president's residence in Ivory Coast on Monday and arrested self-declared president Laurent Gbagbo, whose refusal to accept the results of a presidential election last year plunged the West African nation into civil war.

Fighting appeared to quickly end following Gbagbo's arrest, Alain Le Roy, under-secretary-general of the United Nations' Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

Gulf’s Complexity and Resilience Seen in Studies of Oil Spill

In the year since the wellhead beneath the Deepwater Horizon rig began spewing rust-colored crude into the northern Gulf of Mexico, scientists have been working frantically to figure out what environmental harm really came of the largest oil spill in American history.

What has emerged in studies so far is not a final tally of damage, but a new window on the complexities of the gulf, and the vulnerabilities and capacities of biological systems in the face of environmental insults.

Europe's untapped energy resource

Greater energy efficiency is the fastest, cheapest, safest, easiest, cleanest, most accessible, most diverse way to reduce our dependence on our natural resources, to ensure that the European Union has a competitive and sustainable economy and to help save the planet by reducing the release of global warming gases. It is the lifeblood of Europe’s economy with the ability to enhance the lives of all Europeans, providing them higher levels of comfort and safety whilst reducing the increasing risk of “energy poverty”. Investing in ways to save energy also boosts sustainable growth and secures quality jobs at national, regional and local levels and brings about huge cost savings, not just for Europe’s larger companies but for hundreds of SMEs and millions of independent workers.

A pen stroke led to a sweet subsidy

Bloom, the focus of a gee-whiz "60 Minutes" segment last year, manufactures sleek fuel cells the size of refrigerators that provide alternative energy sources for Google, eBay and many other businesses.

As I wrote in February, the adulatory treatment omitted that Bloom benefited last year from $210 million – since revised up to $218.5 million – in subsidies through a program approved by the Legislature and overseen by the California Public Utilities Commission.

Interest soars in natural gas vehicles

Natural gas is rapidly becoming more than just the fuel most Wisconsin residents use to heat their homes.

As the price of crude oil continues to rise, nuclear energy comes under intense scrutiny and debate rages over ethanol and its effect on the world's food supply, natural gas is becoming a greater focus of U.S. energy needs.

Higher petroleum prices and drilling technology that make it cheaper to extract the gas from shale rock formations are driving the trend.

Deals on wheels at bike swap

More than 1,900 people of all ages attended the 10th annual bike swap sponsored by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, according to swap organizer Fred Robie of Freeport.

Kurt Cobb: The coolest book I've ever read on energy

It may seem a bit over the top to say that a book entitled Into the Cool is the coolest book I've ever read on energy. But energy junkies should take note of its two compelling theses: First, the eventual heat death of the universe--a supposed consequence of the Second Law of Thermodynamics--has, to borrow a phrase from Mark Twain, been greatly exaggerated. Second, life--in all its forms--is NOT an anomaly made improbable by the aforesaid Second Law, but rather a direct and likely inevitable consequence of it.

Lower food costs by cutting travel distance

Iowa agribusiness entrepreneur and Republican heavyweight Bruce Rastetter showed a bit of a green streak in a speech to the Rotary Club of Des Moines last week.

He suggested that to stem rising food prices, we should find a way to reduce the distance food travels. He defended ethanol, saying corn prices comprise a tiny fraction of our retail food dollar. Higher energy costs make up a much larger portion, and he noted that food travels an average of 1,500 miles before reaching consumers.

"I'm not a big fan of organic or natural food," he said, but reducing travel distance would reduce costs, he pointed out.

Can Climate Capitalism Save the World?

"Climate Capitalism" is, if you will, the conclusion to the argument. We now have overwhelming proof from those wild-eyed environmentalists at Goldman Sachs showing that the companies that are the leaders in environment, social, and good governance policy have 25 percent higher stock value than their less sustainable competitors. And we have research from A.T. Kearney showing that even in the economic collapse, since 2008, the sustainability leaders have the fastest-growing stock value, are well protected from value erosion, even in a down economy, and in 16 out of 18 industries studied, hundreds of companies, these more sustainable companies have an average market capitalization of $650 million more than their less-sustainable competitors. There's the new study out from Maplecroft showing that the top 350 companies in climate innovation and carbon-management programs have a positive correlation between financial performance and their ability to successfully implement disruptive market innovations related to climate change.

Saudi ready to pump 12.5 mln bpd oil if needed - Gulf source

(Reuters) - Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia would have "no problems" producing at its claimed 12.5 million barrels per day (bpd) capacity if the market needed the oil, a senior Gulf source told Reuters on Sunday.

The official dismissed doubts raised by some analysts over the kingdom's stated spare capacity as the work of speculators trying to manipulate oil prices as fighting in Libya has disrupted production in the North African OPEC nation.

"First traders used the peak oil theory to drive the market up and since that didn't work now they are saying that Saudi can't use its full capacity, which is completely not true," the senior Gulf source said.

Crude Falls From 32-Month High as IMF Cuts U.S., Japan Growth Forecasts

Oil fell, extending its earlier decline, after the International Monetary Fund cut its forecasts for economic growth in the U.S. and Japan and said high oil prices pose a new risk to the global economy’s expansion.

Price of gas continues to rise, now up to $3.76

NEW YORK — The average price for a gallon of gasoline in the United States has moved closer to $4, jumping more than 19 cents since mid-March to a level less than 10 percent below its all-time high, a widely followed survey said Sunday.

At the pump, some early signs that Americans are conserving fuel as gas prices soar

NEW YORK, N.Y. - With the price of gas above $3.50 a gallon in all but one state, there are signs that Americans are cutting back on driving, reversing a steady increase in demand for fuel as the economy improves.

Gas sales have fallen for five straight weeks, the first time that has happened since November, according to MasterCard SpendingPulse, which tracks spending at 140,000 service stations nationwide.

Iraq oil output at highest level for a decade, says IEA

Iraq has raised its oil output to the highest level for almost a decade, adding another 350,000 barrels per day in the space of six months to reach 2.68m b/d, according to the International Energy Agency.

For years, one of the main concerns surrounding world oil supply has been the state of Iraq’s hydrocarbon industry, damaged by decades of war and under-investment. But just as the loss of Libyan output has helped to push the price of a barrel of Brent crude above $125, Iraq has quietly boosted its own production by 15 per cent since last August.

Is Peak Oil Real?

For years now, the idea of ‘peak oil’ has been hotly contested and constantly debated. The validity of its existence and possible seriousness has also been captured in various studies and discussions.

Ukraine investigates ex-PM over Russian gas deal

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine's state prosecutor's office has launched a criminal case against former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko over a gas deal she reached with Russia in 2009, a senior prosecutor said on Monday.

Tymoshenko, who stepped down as prime minister after losing the February 2010 presidential election to Viktor Yanukovich, has already been targeted by two separate criminal probes related to alleged misuse of state funds, charges she denies.

Medvedev orders creation of gas exchange by June 1

President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered the government to organize a natural gas exchange in Russia, the world's leading gas supplier, before June 1, the Kremlin said on Monday.

Gazprom returns to gas supply talks with China this week

Russia's state-run gas export monopoly Gazprom will start commercial negotiations with China on gas supplies on Monday, Pavel Oderov, head of Gazprom's international business department said.

Debate brewing over proposal for Utah tar sands mine, first in U. S.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Beneath the lush, green hills of eastern Utah's Uinta Basin, where elk, bear and bison outnumber people, the soil is saturated with a sticky tar that may soon provide a new domestic source of petroleum for the United States. It would be a first-of-its kind project in the country that some fear could be a slippery slope toward widespread wilderness destruction.

BP buyout of TNK-BP partners seen unlikely for now

MOSCOW/LONDON (Reuters) - BP is not expected to attempt a buyout of its oligarch partners in its Russian venture TNK-BP anytime soon, if at all, banking and industry sources said.

Libya Rebels Spurn African Cease-Fire Plan Without Qaddafi Exit

Libya’s rebels said a cease-fire plan proposed by the African Union and agreed to by Muammar Qaddafi won’t be acceptable if it allows the ruler and his sons to retain power.

“We reject any initiative that provides for Qaddafi and his children to stay on,” Abdallah Shamiya, a member of the rebel coalition from the Libyan branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, said in a phone interview in Benghazi.

Dozens Dead in Yemen, Egypt, Syria as Protests Shake Region

Scores of people were killed or wounded in Yemen, Egypt and Syria, and Libyan rebels battled loyalists in three cities, as protests against entrenched regimes shook the Middle East.

Yemeni security forces fired on demonstrators in three cities yesterday, leaving many wounded, and Syrian contingents shot at a funeral for protesters killed in an earlier demonstration. Egyptian military leaders blamed “outlaws” trying to “thwart the revolution” for killing at least one person when soldiers broke up a protest in central Cairo, which also left 71 injured.

Kuwait seeks to import Iraqi gas in Shell deal

Kuwait is seeking to import gas from Iraq through a deal with Royal Dutch Shell.

The emirate burns large volumes of oil in its power plants as it has insufficient supplies of cleaner-burning gas.

Iran claims India pay row resolved

Iran's Economy Minister Shamseddin Hosseini said today that the country has resolved its dispute with India over payments for Iranian crude oil.

"About the payment for oil bought from Iran by India, a problem was created for a bank by the German central bank, which has been solved by negotiations with Indian and German officials," Fars news agency quoted Hosseini as saying at a news conference, according to a Reuters report.

West Coast oil line leads Canadian energy debate

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - A battle over a C$5.5 billion ($5.7 billion) oil pipeline to the West Coast and oil sands tax policy have led a thorny debate over energy and the environment early in Canada's election campaign.

Canada has become the biggest energy exporter to the United States with its oil sands the main supply, prompting Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper to tout the country as an emerging energy superpower.

Shell to take interest in Chevron gas field

Chevron Corp. on Sunday said Shell will take an interest in its liquefied natural gas project that it operates in northwestern Australia.

Shell Development Australia Pty Ltd. signed a deal with Chevron to take an 8 percent interest in the natural gas fields that are part of the Wheatstone field. Shell will also take a 6.4 percent interest in the project's facilities. Chevron will remain the project's operator

Citigroup Says Buy All Pemex Bonds on Rebound in Oil Output: Mexico Credit

Citigroup Inc.’s Accival, Mexico’s largest brokerage, is recommending all 28 of Petroleos Mexicanos’ bonds for the first time as Latin America’s largest oil producer reverses a six-year decline in crude output.

Gulf officials using SUVs, iPad and other gear with no clear oil ties, on BP’s dime

NEW ORLEANS — In the year since the Gulf oil spill, officials along the coast have gone on a spending spree with BP money, dropping tens of millions of dollars on gadgets, vehicles and gear — much of which had little to do with the cleanup, an Associated Press investigation shows.

...In sleepy Ocean Springs, Miss., reserve police officers got Tasers. The sewer department in nearby Gulfport bought a $300,000 vacuum truck that never sucked up a drop of oil. Biloxi, Miss., bought a dozen SUVS. A parish president in Louisiana got herself a top-of-the-line iPad, her spokesman a $3,100 laptop. And a county in Florida spent $560,000 on rock concerts to promote its oil-free beaches.

Samsung Heavy Rises to Highest Since 2007 on $1.2 Billion LNG Ship Orders

Samsung Heavy Industries Co., the world’s second-largest shipyard, received orders to build six liquefied natural gas carriers worth a total $1.2 billion as demand for the fuel surges, prompting a jump in the shares.

Nigerian Opposition Parties Making Gains Against PDP in Legislative Vote

Nigerian opposition parties gained against the ruling People’s Democratic Party in parliamentary elections held yesterday in Africa’s top oil-producing nation, according to early results released by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Japan rattled by aftershock; tsunami warning lifted

SENDAI, Japan (AP) — A strong new earthquake rattled Japan's northeast Monday just hours after people bowed their heads and wept in ceremonies to mark a month since the tsunami that killed up to 25,000 people and set off a still-unfolding nuclear crisis.

Japan orders extra nuclear safety step as aftershocks jolt

(Reuters) - Japan has ordered nuclear plant operators to put in place new safety measures by April 28 in addition to steps imposed late last month that are soon due for checks by authorities to confirm implementation, the trade ministry said, as another series of aftershocks on Monday jolted the eastern region.

Japanese Nuclear Plant Withstands Aftershock; Evacuation Zone Is Widened

Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s stricken nuclear station withstood a 6.6-magnitude earthquake, while the government widened the evacuation zone around the plant after radiation levels rose.

Japanese Workers Braved Radiation for a Temp Job

Mr. Ishizawa, who was finally allowed to leave, is not a nuclear specialist; he is not even an employee of the Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of the crippled plant. He is one of thousands of untrained, itinerant, temporary laborers who handle the bulk of the dangerous work at nuclear power plants here and in other countries, lured by the higher wages offered for working with radiation. Collectively, these contractors were exposed to levels of radiation about 16 times as high as the levels faced by Tokyo Electric employees last year, according to Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, which regulates the industry. These workers remain vital to efforts to contain the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plants.

Analysis: Fukushima and the 'nuclear renaissance' that wasn't

(CNN) -- A month after a devastating earthquake sent a wall of water across the Japanese landscape, the global terrain of the atomic power industry has been forever altered.

The ongoing drama at the power plant in Fukushima -- a name now ranked alongside Three Mile Island and Chernobyl as history's worst nuclear accidents -- has erased the momentum the nuclear industry has seen in recent years.

New Doubts About Turning Plutonium Into a Fuel

The nuclear crisis in Japan has intensified a conflict over a project to turn weapons-grade plutonium into a commercial fuel called mixed oxide, or mox.

U.K. Can Meet Carbon Targets Even Without Nuclear Energy, Minister Says

The U.K. government will find alternative forms of clean energy to meet its goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions even if nuclear developments are delayed, an energy minister said.

Charles Hendry, a junior minister in the Department of Energy and Climate Change, acknowledged there’s a risk that companies delay or scale back investments in new nuclear power because of risks highlighted by the atomic accident in Japan.

Diesel Dash

If you own a car, you know that unrest in the Middle East has sent petrol prices rocketing to a 30-month high. What you probably don't know is that controversial moves are underway to lessen Australia's reliance on imported crude by converting coal into fuel. Proponents claim underground coal gasification, or UCG, is technically and environmentally sound, yet critics argue it's just not worth the long-term risk to some of the country's most fertile farmland. By the end of the year, the Queensland Government will decide whether to give UCG the go-ahead.

Partnership in clean energy prospers

With a united goal to develop alternative sources of power while adapting to climate change, the UAE and the UK have become world leaders in taking the initiative.

Solar Power, Voodoo Style

Money. Fear. Social responsibility. Pain, push, pull. These are three of the prime motivators in people doing something differently, and they all come together in a business that grew an astonishing 40 percent last year—solar energy.

Wind delivers record energy levels

The Irish Wind Energy Association celebrated another Irish record for renewable resources last week as enough wind energy was supplied to power more than 850,000 homes.

The growing importance of wind as a key energy resource for Ireland was reaffirmed last Monday as a record power output level of 1,323 megawatts - enough to power more than 850,000 homes - was recorded, the IWEA revealed today.

From Ancient Giants, Finding New Life to Help the Planet

A plan hatched by tree enthusiasts hopes to clone and mass-produce colossal redwoods, the tallest living things on earth.

China Denies Breach of Carbon Credit Rules Cited in Confidential Documents

Chinese environment officials rejected claims in a document indicating some chemical factories may have adjusted output levels to maximize United Nations carbon credits, defying market rules.

China planning emissions trading in 6 regions: Point Carbon

(Reuters) - China will launch pilot emissions trading schemes in six provinces before 2013 and set up a nationwide trading platform by 2015, Thomson Reuters Point Carbon said on Monday, citing a senior government official.

Safeguarding our coasts

MANILA, Philippines - LAST week, the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute finally unveiled the findings of a landmark research quantifying the impact of climate change on our marine and coastal ecosystem. The findings point to an incontrovertible truth: Global warming is adversely altering our marine life.

There was some discussion a few days ago about the UK energy and climate change secretary, Chris Huhne, saying that he believes that the current price of oil does not “reflect the realities” of supply and demand. Well at least one Brit has called him to the task for making such a stupid statement. David Long is the director of Oxford Petroleum Research Associates and he writes:

Buying into this myth about oil prices justifies inaction

His argument is that “there is no shortage of supply, and yet the price has remained high”. But there is a clear shortage of supply and it is getting worse despite Saudi Arabia’s assurances to the contrary.

Oil demand is growing strongly and supply has not kept pace. The oil market started to tighten well before the Libyan crisis removed 1.7m b/d of global oil supply. In 2010, world oil demand grew by 2.8m barrels per day (3.3pc) while supply rose by only 2.2m b/d (2.6pc), leaving a 600,000 b/d gap that was filled by drawing on commercial inventories.

Ron P.

a senior Gulf source (top story)


Darn those peak oilisters, darn those pesky speculators. If it weren't for them, we'd have all the cheap oil we want!

Not our fault...It's those damn speculators forcing us to sell our oil at high prices.

Re: Debate brewing over proposal for Utah tar sands mine, first in U. S.

The Tea Party Rethugs need to get with the future program. It's not "Drill, Baby, Drill", it's really "Dig, Boy, Dig". If we thought water was a problem in Alberta, wait till they start digging in Utah...

E. Swanson

I second Black Dog's comment. I am very familiar with the area where the mine is proposed to be located. The first issue is that it is buried in the Bookcliffs, with only a marginal dirt road to get there. Of course, spending tens of millions on a new road is *no* *problem* to the company that wants to mine the sand, because the taxpayers would pay for it! The second problem is that the area is one of the best last remaining wilderness areas in the US that is not designated "wilderness". It is truly remote and virtually untouched. It would all change with this mine. And finally, and most importantly, the area is a *desert*. They are initially going to pump water from a well, but since that of course is not sustainable, they also are planning to pump water *uphill* dozens of miles from the Green River. They say they are going to get the oil out of the sands using some magical solvent that has "no environmental impact". Oh yeah, it can melt bitumen out of rock, but letting it flow into watersheds feeding the Green and Colorado Rivers is no problem.

This is a classic case of letting the camel get its nose under the tent. If they can get any viable return from the initial small plot, they will be able to convince the money hungry denizens of Uintah County to allow totally uncontrolled development, damn the consequences. Rest assured the county officials are being wined and dined, and dozens of previously unemployed locals are already leaning on their shovels collecting nice paychecks.

Luckily, part of the mine is proposed to be in Grand County, where the county seat is Moab and the locals are much more environmentally conscious. They are already geared up to fight the mine, and of course the mudslinging back and forth over the county line has already commenced.

The company declined to say, but officials insist the project won't pollute anything and will leave Utah's oil sands as clean as beach sand after processing with a citrus-based solvent.

See? The deers and the elks and whatever won't starve or be poisoned at all! They'll be as good as ever, better even, and smelling faintly of oranges!

What a nightmare.

I'm willing to believe a citrus-based solvent would do the job, but where would they get enough of it? There's perhaps as much as one milliliter of oil per orange; the retail cost is $50/gallon, $200/gallon in 5-gallon quantities.

It's also delightful that it gets listed as "non-toxic", because it will leave burns on tender skin, never mind your eyes. But it will degrade, yes.

Bet yer they've got a plan to relocate the walruses as well.


or should that be walrusii or should it be............

...won't pollute anything and will leave Utah's oil sands as clean as beach sand after processing...

Yeah, just like the beach sands in Louisiana after the most recent little mishap in the Gulf. They 'LOOK' really clean >:-(

And if that's not enough to make you depressed then go read some of the comments from our home grown J6Pks.


1325 people liked this comment, granted it truly is a gem!

Did you know that oil from Alaska is exported? Yes it is! Why?

"They say they are going to get the oil out of the sands using some magical solvent that has "no environmental impact"."

If it's supercritical CO2 I'll believe them. Otherwise, forget it.

And how much of that would end up in the atmosphere?


There was that announcement of a bench level research success on tar sand extraction using a novel approach (and thus not requiring lots of water), about a month ago.


Maybe they are planning to use something like that? It would certainly make sense to move early and quickly if they think it will work.

They are initially going to pump water from a well, but since that of course is not sustainable, they also are planning to pump water *uphill* dozens of miles from the Green River.

Perhaps they can introduce a population of The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus to the region, sounds like it would be the perfect habitat for them...


Surprisingly, the article makes little mention of water required for extraction, only potential water pollution.

A general article question:

Generally, oil from oil sand costs roughly $20 a barrel to produce, about a few dollars more than pumping liquid oil.

Is this true? I had thought it was near $60, also mentioned in the article.

The cost of oil sands production is somewhat variable. I think Suncor's mines have average production costs of around $45 per barrel, according to their annual report. OTOH, Cenovus (formerly Encana) claims to be producing oil sands for around $12 per barrel at their new Christina Lake in-situ project.

I am suspicious of the Cenovus claim. That might be true for conventional wells in central Alberta, but I find it difficult to believe they can extract heavy oil way up in the boonies of northern Alberta for an all-told cost as low as that.

That's what Cenovus claims - operating costs less than $12/bbl at their Christina Lake and Foster Creek in-situ projects.

Keep in mind they get very high production out of their SAGD wells, so the high cost of the operation is spread over a large total volume. It is NOT cheap to operate a low-production conventional well, which has much lower total volume to pay for the costs, so it's not unreasonable that they would have lower unit costs for a high-volume SAGD well than a low-volume conventional well.

According to their web site, the average well at Foster Creek produces 625 barrels per day, and the average well at Christina Lake produces 1200 barrels per day, so they have lots of volume to pay for their costs.

They intend to ramp total production at Foster Creek up to 210,000 bpd and Christina Lake up to 98,000 bpd, at which point they will be producing about as much oil as North Dakota now does from its much-vaunted Bakken Shale, from considerably fewer wells than North Dakota needs.

I'm glad you keep slamming at their policies and other foolishness, but would you consider dropping the 'Repugs' , 'Rethugs' language?

First off, it makes YOU come off as somewhat of an angry adolescent, it really undermines the seriousness of your argument, and of the level of discussion that should follow.


You got the angry part right. I've been in the environmental fight for decades and I no longer care about attempting to maintain an outward air of civility, given the numerous repeated examples of the R's total lack of concern for the planet's life support functions when they want the money. Besides, what's the point of attempting to conduct a serious discussion, as in, a debate which is based on facts, when the other side continually ignores facts which are well known and which destroy their arguments? HERE's my local Congress Critter's opinion on energy. As for appearing to be an adolescent, maybe I AM drifting into my "second childhood"...:-)

E. Swanson

I hear you.

I'm just trying to see us keep the door open for the folks across the middle who may identify 'slightly', 'modestly' left or right, and will give up on keeping a reasonable discussion going with people they see as behaving antisocially.. or using language that we know is going to simply incite argument around the stereotypes and labels, distracting us from the actual issues and policies.

Just sayin..

It's all good.. and it's all a big mess. Time for lunch..

I feel ur pain. And we have seen how successful reaching across the aisle is after watching Obama totally fail to convince the right on anything. If this weren't a family site, I would use words much worse than you have chosen to use.

Dog - I understand your position re: the R's. Everyone earns their own reputation. Where we part is our different expectations of the D's. When the public demands every effort be made to keep BAU it won't matter which party controls the system IMHO. It will be controlled by career politicians. And the politicians elected will be the ones who follow the public leads. And I have no doubt that the majority, both R's and D's, will pay what ever environmental costs are necessary to feed the economy.

Given how bad matters may get in the next year or so we might see the currnt administration fall under same rath you hold for the R's today. I won't like that developmnt anymore than you. I did field work at the Book Cliffs as a grad student and would hate to see what might happen to the area. OTOH I never dillude myself with false expectations of the American public and what (and who) they are will to sacrifice to satify their needs.

Rockman -

I generally agree with you on this sentiment - especially the part about selling out virtually anything to maintain "growth" of the economy.

However if you look at the climate change debate - there are real differences between the parties and this idea of false equivalency does get pretty annoying.

I can't say it any better than Paul Krugman did the other day in the NYT:

Of course, it’s actually the climate deniers who have the agenda, and nobody who’s been following this discussion believed for a moment that they would accept a result confirming global warming. But it’s worth stepping back for a moment and thinking not just about the science here, but about the morality.

For years now, large numbers of prominent scientists have been warning, with increasing urgency, that if we continue with business as usual, the results will be very bad, perhaps catastrophic. They could be wrong. But if you’re going to assert that they are in fact wrong, you have a moral responsibility to approach the topic with high seriousness and an open mind. After all, if the scientists are right, you’ll be doing a great deal of damage.

IMHO - it has been a very, very long time since the vast majority (or at least those who get the press and shape their party's agenda) of R's have looked at anything with an attitude of "high seriousness" or "morality"... Many of the D's are admittedly not much better but I'd say there are some who have gone leaps and bounds beyond their colleagues across the aisle.


Cat - I hear you. OTOH words mean absolutely nothing to me. Granted the D's talk a much better game than the R's. But let's be real: for two years the D's had absolute control and zero had been done towards any of the critical issues: AGW, PO, deficits. But they did get Obamacare thru. Which the states are in the process of completely dismantling. All of which will make great sound bites for the president's re-election effort.

Again, understand my position: from a practical point of view I expect neither party to enforce the hard choices. A politiciam trying to do so won't get re-elected. And that is the primary goal of all of our "leaders" IMHO regardless of which party they say they belong to. It is also MHO that this arrangement is not accidental. The parties thrive on dividing the public. That way you have to support the D (or the R) because the other guy is evil. A system they have truly perfected.

Absolute control requires being able to force a cloture vote in the Senate. The Democrats have not had that recently and the victim party is amazingly effective at using it.

But let's be real: for two years the D's had absolute control and zero had been done towards any of the critical issues: AGW, PO, deficits.

That's not the way I remember it, ROCKMAN.

First the Repuppies filibustered everything in sight shutting down the Senate. Egomaniacs like Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson
ran wild when they were the swing vote on a 59:41. In the end the Senate wouldn't ratify the House budgets.

Remember the Blue Dog Dems? Run conservative Dems in red areas.
They ended up voting with the Repups every time watering down whatever looked promising.

The deficit wasn't an issue under Bush or as Dick Cheney told Sec. of Treasury Paul O'Neill 'Reagan proved deficits don't matter'. And when Clinton left the adjusted national debt was $5.638 trillion. When Bush left it was $8.212 trillion. And for 2010 it is up to $8.477 trillion.


Of course, now the national debt is incredibly important.

This begs the question why did the national debt explode?

Obviously the government was running deficits to pay for wars and tax cuts and the wars and tax cuts continue to this day.

The Imperialists(Pentagoons, neo-cons, IOC)have vetoed
any termination of US 'responsibilty' to be the World's Policeman
so the wars also continue.

Then in 2008 the worldwide financial market literally melted down.
After making things worse with 'moral hazard'(Lehman) Sec of Treasury Paulsen went to the 'lender of last resort', the detested Democrats to bail out all the Repuppie Wall Street Bosses, who are now giving themselves record bonuses(to the applause of freemarkeeters). Obama further bailed out the auto industry to the jeers of outraged Repups.
All this gave birth to the astroturf Tea Potty for Repups who turned against Bush and his neocons.

As implosion continued panicked companies shed millions of jobs,
overloading unemployment insurance programs.
Economists (who failed to predict the 2008 collapse) tell us that the only way out of a recession is thru more growth.
It's like the drunk's answer to the party-after hangover--let's throw another party.
Therefore, the first thing is to lock in those precious tax cuts
permanently. Then and only then is the government forced to invade Social Security, dismantle the medical safety net, gut government aid to education and aid to state and municipal governments which has always been the Repup dream.
Meanwhile low tax rates have made the rich far richer and property taxes are crushing the middle class which bet on the ever increasing value of real estate.

The coup d' grace was the Supreme Court deciding to void campaign financing/corruption reform and granting corporations the rights
otherwise restricted to human beings.

In effect this country as a democracy has been run off the rails.
It is an oligarchy. Dems are well-meaning but totally ineffective while Repups are fighting to send the country back to the 19th century.

“I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’ ” Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’ ”
“But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master that’s all.”

"Remember the Blue Dog Dems? Run conservative Dems in red areas."

You just undid your own argument. Blue dogs or not, they are still Democrats. The "true" Democrats could have tossed them out of the party if they were so unclean.

The Democrats had total power, as in filibuster proof, from the time Al Franken was confirmed until what's his name in MA won Kennedy's former seat. They did nothing.

As Will Rogers said; "I belong to no organized political party. I'm a Democrat."

"I belong to no organized political party. I'm a Democrat."

The big problem with the Dems is schizophrenia. In their hearts they wanna be for the little guy. But they know they need scads of cash to win political campaigns. So they talk like they wanna help the little people, but have to kiss up to their own set of oligarchs, or lose because they can't afford enough TV advertising to drown out the other party. So the voter gets a choice between, one party which is owned lock-stock-and-soul by the oligarchs, and the other which is only half owned. The former at least seems to have principles (i.e. they stick to their guns), so they get a lot of votes based upon that quality alone.

Your recollection of total Democrat power from July 7 2009 to Feb 4 2010 isn't exactly what I recall.
In that time the Dems got Obamacare passed(raised taxes for Medicare, ended pre-existing conditions, create health insurance pools, medicare for people making 133% of poverty level) barely thru and reauthorized SCHIP(health care for low income children).
Cap and Trade passed in April 2009 and died in the Senate in August 2010.
Is that your idea of total power?

The Blue Dogs are Democrats in the same way that the Dixiecrats are Democrats and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea are Democrats( not at all). It was pro-business, pro-TPTB basically a bunch of DINO triangulators. It was a gimmick.
The group was started by Bill Clinton's Democratic Leadership Council.

And guess what, the DLC closed a month ago.
It no longer served its purpose as most all of the Blue Dogs were retired last election.


Yeah, the Democratic Leadership Council was sort of the last gasp effort by the Democrats to maintain the old coalition between the Northern Liberal democrats and the Southern "Yellow Dog" rural voters after Reagan/Bush. Clinton and Gore were the result. I attended one of their conventions in Atlanta to hear Gore speak, an event which I had to sneak into, even though I had worked a bit on several Democratic campaigns. I almost got thrown out, but I happened to be standing next to the media area and was talking to a friend of mine who was running one of the cameras, so they graciously let me stay. That was about the last of my efforts for the Democrats...

E. Swanson

"The parties thrive on dividing the public. " Anybody else see a classic example of "Good Cop", "Bad Cop" here.

Don in Maine

The thing is, I still figure that their pious talk on climate change and so on is often just one more way to appease their constituents by beating up on the evil, wicked corporations who deliver the unwelcome news to said constituents that they must get out of bed and go to work in the morning. So I keep wondering - but only rhetorically mind you - what will become of said pious talk once acting on it starts costing those constituents dearly, instead of, as now, providing (seemingly) cost-free pseudo-cathartic pseudo-revenge. (Hint: the trope is hardly unique to the USA - nothing could possibly be more cloying than the treacly false piety of European Union bigwigs pronouncing upon any and all matters nuclear and energetic. However, thus far at least, they've managed to stop short of turning out the lights, so that in Germany, for example, newfound nuclear piety comes at direct expense to coal piety.)

Yeah nice dreamland there... more like they have to deliver the unwelcome news that actually "don't bother getting out of bed because there's no longer any work to go to in the morning" because the evil, wicked corporations really did ship your job overseas...

Here's a news flash to the corporations - there are a hundreds of different things out there you currently brainwash us to think we can't live without that are really just the product of slick marketing - we're only just now starting to wake up as to what we really NEED. And with the current trajectory I'd say a large portion of the rest will be given the lesson soon. In effect the corporations are slitting their own throat - how's that growth and recovery going to work out for you with 1/2 your "consumers" dead or destitute - did you factor that parameter into your Holy Free Market Models ?

"Slick marketing"

I accidentally watched TV yesterday. Man O Man are the Ads getting aggressive. Those companies all want your money. They want you to fly to Hawaii, eat big food, drive an SUV ...

It is as if the whole oil problem is not even there and the debt problem in 2008 went away and we are free and clear. LOL.

Not my money ;-)

Yeah, the debt collectors are getting brutal as well. We've been getting collection notices for my wife's ex. They haven't lived together for 20 years, he's never even lived in our State, AFAIK, and we've been married for nearly 15 years. I called one of the collectors who told me they do a "skip trace" and send (externally obvious) collection notices to the address of anyone he may have lived with in the past.

"Once the results of the skip trace have been entered into the data bases (by an untraceable fourth-party firm), his name will forever be associated with your address. Sorry!"

No way to correct this mis-association. I'm collecting these letters to forward to our State AG's office, not that it'll do any good. I've considered sending the letters back saying he is deceased, maybe get that entered into his master file somewhere, but I'm told I could be prosecuted for fraud. Jeez.

I try so hard to decomplexify my life ....... sorry, off topic I know, but how much energy gets wasted on this stuff? Societal overhead I suppose.

The simplest way for you to deal with it - take the letter to the post office postmaster and fill out the postal fraud paperwork.

If you want to try and make your 30 pieces of silver - they may be in violation of your civil rights and that's a fed charge.

Did I read this right ?

"The company has over 7,800 acres of Utah state land under lease, with plans to acquire more, and estimates its current holdings contain more than 250 million barrels of recoverable oil."

250 million barrels ? I don't see that solving the energy crisis beyond permanently damaging the wilderness area.

250 million barrels eh? So we are going to destroy 7,800 acres in one of the most beautiful areas of the country to satisfy 13 days of US oil consumption, or 3 days of global oil consumption?

Humans are definitely not smarter than yeast.

The insanity of it is staggering.

Edit : I read Wangari Maathai's book "Replenishing the Earth: Spiritual Values for Healing Ourselves and the World" over the weekend.


It seems doubly insane after that.

Developing this site will be a question of if we would rather have oil or water. It's kind of close, but I think we'd rather have the water.

Kinda weird how in North America the trend seems to be to turn water into oil (and NG) while, in the middle east, they're busy turning oil into water (desalination plants fueled by oil). I guess fresh water is more abundant than oil (liquid transportation fuels) in NA while in the ME the converse is true.

Alan from the islands

Depends who "we" is, I'd say. Somehow, i think if the rest of the country would rather have the oil at Utah's expense.

The rest of the country may want the oil, but the Green and Colorado Rivers are the lifeblood of Arizona, Nevada, and Southern California. This is why $1 Billion is being spent to move very low-level radioactive waste (tailings from uranium milling) from the banks of the Colorado River in Moab, to a hole in the desert just 30 miles north. Let there be even a minute chance of fouling the Green or the Colorado, and the 30+ Million people relying on the river will be howling.

I'm guessing due to Fukushima that the proposed nuke plant on the Green River is pretty unlikely now.

Maybe the water issues in Alberta can be used to stop this project, although of course this project is different because they have a magic solvent. Magic!

they have a magic solvent. Magic!

So if the magic is based on Oranges, what it this going to do to the cost of Orangejuice? We already have corn and grain versus fuel, now maybe we'll have to give up fruit!

what it this going to do to the cost of Orangejuice?

Nothing. The oil comes from the peels.

It was explored as an organic solvent to replace freon solvents for removing rosin flux from PC boards by Digital Eq. corp.

They're not having my oranges.


Maybe the water issues in Alberta can be used to stop this project

The Athabasca River, which flows through the Athabasca Oil Sands, is bigger than the Colorado River, and unlike the Colorado, there are no major cities which depend on it for water. The river flows north, and there is no agricultural production, or need for irrigation, between the oil sands and the Arctic Ocean.

Only about 5% of the flow of the Athabasca is allocated to any use, versus well over 100% for the Colorado. Over 95% of the water in the Athabasca flows into the Arctic Ocean unused, whereas the Colorado is badly over-allocated and in some years no water from the Colorado reaches the ocean at all.

Future projections for oil sands use of water from the Athabasca do not exceed 10% of the total flow of the river under any credible scenario. Northern Alberta is quite a different environment for water use than Utah.

We checked the allocation numbers a while ago, when talking about spindly spruce and muskeg; it was not 5%, but more like 2 or 3. Would need to dig through the posts to get the current allocation and current use (which is significantly less than allocation).

The last time I checked, the total allocation of water was around 5%, of which half went to the oil sands industry, and half to other purposes (e.g. agriculture, pulp mills). The oil sands companies were using about half their allocation, so it was under 2% of the flow of the river.

What will happen to the Athabasca in the future, as the world warms and there are Orange growers in Maine?

BTW, according to diminishing rainfall projections, the Colorado river will soon be 150% allocated - someone's going to miss out.

What will happen to the Athabasca in the future, as the world warms and there are Orange growers in Maine?

Not much. Water flows will stay about the same, farmers will move in, clear the forests, and plant corn.

Re: Not much. Water flows will stay about the same..."

In May 2007, the Environmental Research and Studies Centre of the University of Alberta released a report "Water Use in the Athabasca River-Watershed: Science and Market Based Solutions" www.powi.ca/pdfs/running_out_of_steam_final.pdf In this report there is an interesting chapter written by David Schindler, WF Donahue, and John P. Thompson. I don't know the credentials of the latter two individuals but David Schindler has pretty much gold-plated credentials when it comes to rivers in Alberta, especially the Athabasca. To quote from the summary:
"• Average summer and winter low flows of the Athabasca River have declined for over 30 years as a result of climate warming and decreased snow. Runoff has decreased by 50% in the 93.7% of the Athabasca Basin that is downstream of the Rocky Mountains. Flows have also declined in the Peace and Slave Rivers.
• Models based on forecast climate warming for the 21st century predict a further decrease in snowpacks, runoff, and river flow.
• The recently propose Phase 1 Water Management Framework is inadequate to protect the Athabasca River system. It does not ensure flooding of side channels and delta lakes that are critical spawning and nursery habitats for fish and other organisms at high flow. Its reliance on past conditions offers little protection for the ecosystem from low oxygen, high contaminant concentrations or reduced winter habitat under winter ice. It also offers no measures for protection of the large Delta wetland ecosystem and its great diversity of plants and animals. It does not account for the effects of climate warming.
• At present, data on instream flow needs are insufficient to allow construction of a plan that would protect the river system.
• Projected bitumen extraction in the oil sands will require too much water to sustain the river and Athabasca Delta, especially with the effects of predicted climate warming. Water levels in Lake Athabasca and flows in the Slave River will likely continue to decrease."

So, Athabasca flows may be problematic, rather than "Water flows will stay about the same..."


When I said, "...Water flows will stay about the same...", I based my comments on the geological record of what has happened in previous episodes of global warming. On previous occasions when the temperature rose above modern levels, Northern Alberta got warmer and wetter, rather than warmer and drier, so river flows didn't decrease all that much.

I'm familiar with Dr. Schindler's work. However the document you cited has suffered from somewhat selective editing. In the full paper, Running out of Steam, published at U of A, he mentions that "the decline in summer flow on the Athabasca has been less than that of any other river originating on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains in Canada". I think that includes all the major rivers in Alberta.

The paper you cite says,

Total water use for all oil sands production is expected to be 15 to 15.6 cms [cubic metres per second] by about 2015.

But doesn't mention that the average flow of the Athabasca river is 859 m3/s, or that the minimum flow ever recorded (Dec 2, 2001) was 75 m3/s. So the volume the oil sands projects will withdraw is less than 2% of the average flow of the river, and less than 25% of the lowest flow ever recorded.

So, I get the feeling there is a lot of selective quoting of statistics in the paper to make the problems appear worse than they really are. Even the title, Running out of Steam is deliberately provocative.

The fact is that I am more worried about a lot of other rivers than the Athabasca. The water in the rivers in Southern Alberta is about 70% committed to urban and agricultural use now, and with population growth, the government is going to have to curtail irrigation to supply the growing cities. That isn't going to be popular with the farmers.

In the arid Southwestern US, the rivers are already extremely over-committed (the Colorado River is about 150% committed), so I think that water problems there will become critical long before water becomes short in Northern Alberta.

You are right that the Colorado is going to have problems sooner than the Athabasca, but that does not negate the fact that the Athabasca is also at risk from water shortages. To some degree it depends on how many more 'mines' are developed in the oil sands. However, the reality is that flow rates are slowly dropping (in part from glacier loss [relatively minimal at present], smaller snowpack and quicker melts, and increased evapotraspiration due to rising temperatures.) This may be offset in part by increased precipitation due to climate change, but the net effect is likely to be water loss, not gain. The problem will be more 'apparent' during winter when flow rates are lower. (The last three sentences paraphrase Schindler in "Running out of steam" and also "Schindler DW, Donahue, WF: An impending water crisis in Canada's western prairie provinces. Proc Nat Acad Sc doi/10.1073/pnas.0601568103.)

It is an interesting and perennial question and neither one of us is an expert in this area; (at least I know I am not). I just go on the credibility and concern expressed by David Schindler in his writings and in lectures of his that I have attended on this subject.


(Reuters) - Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia would have "no problems" producing at its claimed 12.5 million barrels per day (bpd) capacity if the market needed the oil, a senior Gulf source told Reuters on Sunday.

The problem is that the market will never need the extra oil according to Saudi Arabia, so therefore they will never produce it. Are there still people who believe that the Saudis aren't producing all they can at the moment, at least of the lighter sweeter stuff? $100+ prices is all the evidence you need to prove that the Saudis are lying.

WikiLeaks cable from Riyadh implied Saudis could pump only 9.8 mb/d in 2011

That's fine. Of course they are going to say that, it keeps a little bit of a lid on speculation into renewable energy and more ethanol plants. If there's one thing the Saudis should be worried about eating into their profit margins, it's us commodity row-crop farmers.

Now, when they can't deliver, I'll be ready with my on-farm net carbon negative ethanol production system that's going to deliver ~600 barrels from 80 acres. Iowa alone has 24 million acres of row crops, so 7.5 barrels/acre/year is 180 million barrels, 0.5 million barrels per day. (4% of Saudi capacity).

Now, with a yield & process efficiency bump, I can get well over 1000 BPY from 80 acres, which raises that 4% to 6.5%. Of course, by doing this we will smooth out price shocks in food, by transferring the volatility to the fuel market. I.E. in a drought year, fuel will be $6.00 per gallon. In a bumper crop year, it will be $1.50.

This is just one state. (Granted, it's the biggest corn state, but there are other states well suited for agriculture). We can also export the 300 acre farm owner-operator model to the rest of the world that currently has either subsistence farming, or absentee landowners, and make up all the rest of the world's food AND fuel needs.

Both subsistence AND large-scale corporate farming are doomed to failure, because in lean years, both types end up eating the resources they need to be planting next year. The subsistence farmers will eat their seeds rather than starve, and the corporate farm will have already paid investors and shareholders their yearly dividend, eat their cash reserve, and end up getting liquidated.

It *might* be possible to have a corporate farm that pays investors/shareholders *after 15 years*.. But they will never be able to attract the investment to acquire the land in the first place.

Re: Saudi Arabia can pump 12.5 mb/d, Gulf source says

I very much doubt that statement of theirs, and I want to know their crude oil projections. They pump about 10.5 mb/d of 'all liquids' but about 9 of that is actual crude oil.

So they might go to 10 mb/d, destroying their spare capacity.

We should remember, as well, that they recently decided to increase the amount of rigs by 30 %, which can increase the oil pumped in the short term but will also speed up depletion.

I actually think they can get to 12.5 if you count 'all liquids'(not crude oil) but it will destroy any tiny amount of 'spare capacity' that they might have left(1.2 mb/d according to Goldman Sachs), plus having the effects of more drilling rigs.

But demand will grow by at least 1.6 mb/d the way this is going, and going up from 10.5 to 12.5 will hardly do much, and even if they do that, the price of oil will not come down, but it will lie at about where we are now, perhaps even higher for a sustained amount of time which will lead to recession in any case.

They are now at their upmost limit. They may be able to meet this year's growth in demand, barely, but there's no way they can meet 2013, not to mention the following years.

In the end, I doubt they will come through. They see the writing on the wall. Better to let another recession happen so they can prolong the illusion of Saudi Capacity a bit further, because obviously the world at large is buying the lies, despite two continuing cases where they failed to come through.

People forget how 'easy' it will be, their word, for Saudi Arabia to cover the Libyan losses. We heard stories of their 4 mb/d spare capacity and nothing happened. And, of course, they failed, yet again, to do anything significant about it.

In the end, I'll believe this when I see it, which I won't of course(because we all know it's the fault of the evil Speculators).

Curiously even at the very same time KSA says it has plenty of extra capacity, they haven’t consistently ‘ramped up’ output beyond the 9.0 mbpd level that probably was reached in late January:

The kingdom has ramped up oil production this year to more than 9 million barrels per day at times, partly to compensate for disrupted exports from Libya


I don’t think the wikileaks figure of 9.8 mbpd of actual capacity is far off the mark. The remaining capacity over 9.0 mbpd is mostly lower quality stuff and some here have said before that it is not practical to push the oil output too far towards the limits of the fields (forgive me for over-simplifying the complicated mechanics of field operations).

Since March 1, 85% of Persian Gulf exports have headed ‘East’, and in addition, the sole oil tanker out of Libya is heading to China. Therefore the ‘West’ is getting less PG exports than when MENA problems first developed.

So effectively KSA has done almost nothing for the ‘West’ towards replacing the lost oil exports of Libya.

I think this may be due since OECD demand is basically stagnant. There are signs of small upticks in American demand but it's still quite low.

The growth in oil use comes from non-OECD, and the biggest increases in this group comes from Asia, hence the direction of oil there.
I also remember reading that some West African nations were going to pick up the slack from Libyan exports to Europe but I don't know how well this went.

Yes OECD demand is stagant, and US refiners are only having a good year due to increased exports (that trend is still in progress).

Here's one of my posts on the split up of supplies:

The New Line of Demarcation: East & West split OPEC oil supplies: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/7634/774927

This is not some conspiracy, it was actually market fixing between KSA, 'Western' refiners and 'Eastern' refiners.

Generally it seems like the East got the better end of the deal - pretty much everything in the Persian Gulf area, which has more supply than western Africa and north Africa while Libya is shut down.

How do you say "liar, liar, pants on fire" in Arabic? Or is there there an original Arabic equivalent?

"kadab, kadab, hatrooh el naar"

Ask and ye shall receive! You gotta love TOD!

I think I heard Baghdad Bob say that once.

If there was a like button, this would be liked all over.

We just hit the psychological barrier for public awareness of high prices. Many people try to ignore the rising price of gas, but, today the pump will shut off before the tank is full. At $3.75 per gallon, you hit the $75 max credit card purchase at 20 gallons. An SUV has a 25 gallon tank. This means, if you need more than 20 gallons, the pump will turn off before you finish filling up. If you want to fill all the way up, you will have to swipe your credit card again. The last time this happened was June 2008!

I've said before that I'd pay $10/gal diesel, that the work it saves in the tractor is worth far more. I'm getting a taste, as last week's fill averaged $4.50, essentially only half of that amount....

Average Calgary price today (April 11) is C$1.11 to C$1.15 per litre for regular unleaded. That would be roughly about US4.50 per gallon. We have had US$3.75/gal prices for years, but still lots of SUVs on the road. Alberta generally has the lowest prices in Canada for obvious reasons; I have heard tell that in eastern Canada the price is $1.20 or better.

My observation is that it isn't how high the price goes, it's how fast it rises. A slow steady increase won't change behaviour, but a sudden spike will trigger whining and complaining. As one of the few Canucks who has actually read through the 1982 constitution and the original BNA Act, I know that nowhere do they mention that people have a right to cheap fuel.

A slow but steady increase in prices would in fact be our best friend.

High prices are needed for people to change their behavior - which can happen if the price is high enough even if it doesn't rise rapidly. Moreover, high prices slow the real economy and kill the hopes of the Federal Reserve central planners to inflate their way to "growth" and reward the banksters in the process.

High prices are a godsend!

However, I fear they will not last. My great fear is that instead, high prices quickly lead to crashes, which in turn justify the attempts of the central planners to continue pumping more money into the banks leading to massive malinvestment and putting the taxpayers on the hook.

The only way out of this is a slow, steady, genuine rise in prices. It's the only thing that rewards efficiency and conservation, and it's the only thing that can kill the bankers.

The bankers can still get off the hook, but it's alot harder. They need growth.

A slow and steady growth in oil taxes would have been a great idea if that path had been pursued starting back in the 1970's and 1980's. Now, assuming we are at Peak Oil, it's too late as the price of oil is likely to continue on some upward trend henceforth. We've already heard proposals from the conservative politicians to reduce the price of fuel by reducing or removing the taxes. That would appear to be an absurd idea, as the tax revenue is usually what is used to keep the roads in good repair...

E. Swanson

Black_Dog, it's never too late. However, at a time of relatively high gasoline prices (that are expected to continue to increase further) the general public will be even less receptive to a gas tax increase.

A slow and steady growth in oil taxes would have been a great idea if that path had been pursued starting back in the 1970's and 1980's. Now, assuming we are at Peak Oil, it's too late as the price of oil is likely to continue on some upward trend henceforth. We've already heard proposals from the conservative politicians to reduce the price of fuel by reducing or removing the taxes.

From my neck of the woods comes a column yesterday (written by the president of the University and Allied Workers' Union and former official of the now defunct pro-Soviet, Marxist-Leninist, Workers' Party of Jamaica)

Too much tax on oil

Jamaica is at a critical juncture. Poverty has doubled in the last three years. Our national debt has escalated from $980 billion to more than $1.5 trillion(Jamaican Dollars=US$0.0117 approx.), an increase of more than $600 billion since 2007. Unemployment and business failures have increased considerably. Good news is rare, and arrogance and mendacity have replaced good governance. This is a toxic cocktail that suggests serious trouble ahead. It is in this context that the rolling back of the tax on fuel becomes imperative.

Which leads to this morning's headline

Gas buffer near - Cabinet to discuss response to surging fuel costs

The group argued that while the Government urgently seeks out ways of mitigating the impact of increasing fuel costs on consumers, persons must be mindful of the fact that speculators, instability in the Middle East and other international developments are at the centre of rising oil prices.

Yesterday, however, it was clear the PNP would have the support of the Jamaica Association of Transport Owners and Operators (JATOO) as it said it would support any action that would push the Government to "pull up brakes on the runaway fuel prices".

Alas, ignorance reigns and instead of intelligent discourse we get childish protestations. In response to yesterday's column, I attempted to point out that reducing taxes would be a slippery slope and send the wrong signals. I guess my language was not subtle enough and mentioning that more reasoned analysis could be found at TOD didn't help either. Needless to say the moderator did not care for my comment (surprise!).

As I was composing this, a source with good contacts in the opposition tipped me off that the planned protests WILL take place (later today?). Just before the quote above from todays headline article is the following which indicates why these protests might not be such a good idea

G2K also said the PNP's protest threats were potentially destructive as Jamaica has a poor track record for protests, as they typically descend into violence and other criminal activities.

I just came back from filling up with regular at about US$4.73/US gal.

Alan from the islands

Don't panic - they will reset your limits! Here in the UK my credit card limit at the fuel pump miraculously jumped from 59 pounds to 79 pounds last week. So I'm back to full-tank happy motoring with just one credit card refill. Shame about the monthly bill though...

Current pump prices here are around £1.34/litre of unleaded which I make to be more or less $8.30/US gallon. Diesel is a bit more. Ouch.


This from UCAN in southern California as gasoline passes $4.10/gallon.

It's official: You can fill your car more cheaply with milk than gasoline.

Three Refineries had flaring events on April One

First, ConocoPhillips started work on its coker unit on April 1st. The coker is essentially a still that extracts gasoline from residual fuel - the sludgy stuff that's literally at the "bottom of the barrel" -- and converts it into gasoline and other distillates. This shutdown, which is probably minor, is expected to continue through April 17, but is is disconcerting nevertheless.

Second - and again on April 1st - Chevron issued planned flaring notification for its 270,000 barrel a day refinery in El Segundo. "Flaring Events," even planned events, make traders nervous, and nervoud traders bid up prices.

Third - and yet again, on April 1 - A mechanical problem at ExxonMobil's Torrance Refinery, which produces 145,000 barrels per day, caused and unplanned shutdown at ExxonMobil to shut down at ExxonMobil.

The story at:http://www.ucan.org/gasoline_autos/gas_prices/gas_prices_climbing_skyhigh

It's official: You can fill your car more cheaply with milk than gasoline.

Now point out how milk is able to be replaced withing a human lifespan with a cow and some grass. And able to be gotten for the cost of a bucket and a stool if ya wanna spend like you are Rockefeller.

VS not able to be regenerated in a human lifespan and costing FAR more than a bucket and a stool to get it out and process it. And, you actually need to BE a Rockefeller.

Well, actually you need only a quart/litre to fill up YOUR tank with milk. On a good bycycle, this will allow you to go for four hours at 165 kcal/hour, propelling you about 50 miles/80 km. Your bicycle gives you 200 miles per gallon of milk!

I get what you're saying, and it's a good point, but I dare you to drink a gallon of milk and then ride your bike five miles, let alone 200.

Oh come on now...

No sane person is going to drink a gallon of milk and ride their bike 50 miles. However, everyone can easily consume enough food to equal the calories in a gallon of milk before a long ride. Thats the point I think he was trying to make. If a gallon of milk can get you 50 miles on a bicycle and a gallon of gasoline can get you 30 miles in a car, the bicycle is obviously more energy efficient, but not as time efficient as the car. Modern society values time more than energy, which I think is going to reverse very soon.

When I was in high school and early university, I used to drink between 1 and 2L of milk per day and bike to school around 20km roundtrip, so let's say 1/3 gallon per 12 miles - 36 mpg

I drink milk every morning before I ride 6 miles into work. Never ever had a problem after all these years of doing it.

How's the thyroid? Just kidding, but I'm worried about my kids' milk intake these days, here in Eastern Washington State.

We just hit the psychological barrier for public awareness of high prices. Many people try to ignore the rising price of gas, but, today the pump will shut off before the tank is full. At $3.75 per gallon.....

Ahh Yawwwwwnnnnn...

You Yanks have never had it so good. Quit complaining. Try filling up on the south coast of England. £1.45 per litre (yes, litre)

Seriously America, quit with this BS about having high gasoline prices! It is soooo tedious...


Hahahahaha We Americans like to shake our rattles, no?

From above: Is Peak Oil Real?

Peak oil is recognized as the point in time in which the earth’s maximum rate of global petroleum extracted is reached. Theoretically, after this point is reached, the rate of production enters a serious decline which will ultimately impact countries in many ways from economical and social standpoints.

Jeez, they had me worried,,, but in the end, all is well....

Regardless of where you come down when it comes to whether or not peak oil is “real” though, the steps that the U.S. and other countries are taking as they apply to alternative energy sources and back-up plans should go a long way in easing the possibly disastrous effect of running out oil.

....so I'll move on to the Gay Caveman.

Gee, I wonder what those "steps" would be?

I've been reading TOD for a while now and I'd like to thank everybody who contributes; it's been an extremely illuminating experience.

I have to say that most people I bring this subject up with, almost universally, have a disbelieving response.
A real "shoot the messenger" attitude.
Obviously they have never had the experience of buying a beverage, drinking it and having it run out at the bottom of the glass. Most strange.
But then, it took Japan sliding under the sea in a nuclear cataclysm to knock Charlie Sheen off the lead news story spot on most "news" networks.

Gee, I wonder what those "steps" would be?

Gee, Martin, don't you read TOD? America's big alternative energy push is called ethanol. Surely the average American is willing to sacrifice by giving up meat, which will happen when all the corn in the country is used for ethanol production?

My comment was that I do read TOD thus I am aware of those points; I was being coy....shoot me.

Are you that "I'll drive that Tanka!" Martin A., from the Boston area?

The Martian.

No, but I do paahk ma caah in Haahvaad Yaahd sometimes.

Why is it someone like Robert Reich can be so on point about so many things but only mentions "rising food and fuel prices" but not the underlying reasons for those rises i.e. oil supplies not meeting demand?
I know P.O. is not his schtick but he must be somewhat aware, no?


Just a thought.

Surely the average American is willing to sacrifice by giving up meat

Surely you don't mean red meat as in 3 wars' collateral damage.

...possibly disastrous effect of running out oil.

...clearly someone has not been paying attention to Civilisations utter dependance on the black stuff.


Australia's debating club on transport fantasies after global crude oil exports peaked 2005

Matt, great chart. However I have one slight problem with it. You show the UK still exporting oil. According to the EIA they have been a net oil importer since 2005.

United Kingdom oil Imports and Exports in thousands of barrels per day. EIA International Energy Statistics

Year       2000	   2001	  2002   2003	2004	 2005	 2006	 2007	 2008  2009
Imports      850    923	 1,039	  971	1,124	1,053	1,039	1,009	1,041	957
Exports    1,731  1,619	 1,625	1,353	1,223	  987	  907	  911	  821	775
Net Exps.    881    697	   586	  382	   99	  -66	 -132	  -97	 -220  -181

Ron P.

Yes, my graph shows exports, not net exports/imports

The net imports are on the menu

Hey Matt, I really enjoy your site, but I have a few things in mind, so I hope you're okay with feedback.

First: For non-Australian readers, the long, detailed posts about highways on the Australian coast is not very interesting. It might be of note for a domestic audience but I would wager that apart from people who are extremely curious about highways, it doesn't make much sense.

Second: The layout of the site could be a bit better, more structured and 'clean'. The posts themselves are also quite messy and often contain loads of links in no particular order.

This being said, I have been a regular reader and I think your posts are good, and thoughtful, but they would be better if some improvements were made. Of course, this is merely the opinion of a single person but I hope you take some of these suggestions onboard .

Well yes, many posts are for Australian readers. The point here is that discussing peak oil as an abstract issue makes little sense. It has to be shown how it impacts on infrastructure. That's why I am combining oil graphs with infrastructure examples which ignore these graphs. It would not be hard for you to find similar cases in your country of residence.

I am now numbering the items, they are usually in logical order.

I am also working on a new format with indenting etc.

Is it the weed killer or the GMO itself? Because I did see one study that blamed the roundup and not the gene modification....

A new paper shows that consuming genetically modified (GM) corn or soybeans leads to significant organ disruptions in rats and mice, particularly in livers and kidneys. By reviewing data from 19 animal studies, Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini and others reveal that 9% of the measured parameters, including blood and urine biochemistry, organ weights, and microscopic analyses (histopathology), were significantly disrupted in the GM-fed animals. The kidneys of males fared the worst, with 43.5% of all the changes. The liver of females followed, with 30.8%. The report, published in Environmental Sciences Europe on March 1, 2011, confirms that “several convergent data appear to indicate liver and kidney problems as end points of GMO diet effects.” The authors point out that livers and kidneys “are the major reactive organs” in cases of chronic food toxicity.

Not all substances toxic to rats and mice are toxic to humans.

Warfarin comes to mind. It is a well know rat and mouse poison. My sister had a stroke and her blood is being thinned with coumadin which is warfarin.

She must have her blood tested monthly to make sure the dose is not too high or low.

Assuming substances deadly to mice and rats are also toxic to humans is a big leap. The level of toxicity if it exists may be deadly to small animals and not to large animals. Such is the case with insect spray for example. Spray that kills flies is mostly harmless to humans.

Secondly most humans do not exclusively eat soybeans or corn as was likely the case for the mice and rats in these experiments. It may be that other foods would delute any toxin renduring it harmless.

This is what happens with alfatoxin in peanuts for example.

And humans usually do not eat rats or mice. They mostly eat corn and soybeans after they have been consumed by chickens, hogs, cattle and such. There may be little if any remaining toxicity after passing through these animals.

That genetically modified corn and soybeans have been fed to American chickens, hogs and cattle for over ten years now suggests there is something wrong with this study's hypothesis.

They should be studying the effects on these animals. There are millions of them passing through meat processing plants yearly in the U.S.. I am pretty sure the kidneys, reproductive and other organs would be available for analysis.

So why concentrate on mice and rats? Sounds like a red herring tactic to divert attention from the real world meat situation.

Chickens, hogs and cattle around here which are almost exclusively fed GMO corn and soybean meal are doing just fine.

I suspect the problem is that the study has a European anti GMO bias.

Why else would the study neglect the real world data available and instead concentrate on a tenuous link in the food chain between rats and humans? The analogy to the real world food chain is not clear and the data available in the U.S. is being ignored.

Not all substances toxic to rats and mice are toxic to humans.

Ok, so lets look at your examples.

Warfarin comes to mind. It is a well know rat and mouse poison. My sister had a stroke and her blood is being thinned with coumadin which is warfarin.

Important information about Coumadin

Coumadin can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects. Do not use Coumadin if you are pregnant or may become pregnant. Never take a double dose of this medication or take it together with other products that contain warfarin or coumarin. You should not take Coumadin if you have a bleeding or blood cell disorder, blood in your urine or stools, an infection of the lining of your heart, stomach bleeding, bleeding in the brain, recent or upcoming surgery, or if you need a spinal tap or spinal anesthesia (epidural).

Now - does that sound like something that is "not toxic"?

She must have her blood tested monthly to make sure the dose is not too high or low.

Could that be because it is "toxic"?

The level of toxicity if it exists may be deadly to small animals and not to large animals. Such is the case with insect spray for example. Spray that kills flies is mostly harmless to humans.

Up the exposure and see if it stays "mostly harmless".

Chickens, hogs and cattle around here which are almost exclusively fed GMO corn and soybean meal are doing just fine.

My guess is "around here" you are not looking for the damage.

I suspect the problem is that the study has a European anti GMO bias.

Huh. Would you prefer data from Monsanto?


According to the research, animals fed on three strains of genetically modified maize created by the U.S. biotech firm Monsanto suffered signs of organ damage after just three months.

The findings only came to light after Monsanto was forced to publish its raw data on safety tests

So Monsanto's own data is the source that Monsanto's products were causing liver/kidney damage. Guess that just shows the Anti-GMO bias eh? Or perhaps it shows that data available in the U.S. is being ignored.?

Sticking with Chickens - a broler/fryer is 8-10 weeks old. 10 weeks < 3 months. Chickens can live over 12 years. Rats 2-3 years. Could the short lifespan of the chicken VS the longer time for the rats in the study have an effect? How about normalizing over the lifespan of the aniimal?

Dose matters, (usually).. but in that vein (so to speak), you also have to acknowledge how so many of our processed foods have components of corn concentrated into their basic ingredients.. sweeteners, starches, nutrients and a dizzying array of other components are getting distilled from corn and soy, and being recombined into the 'Burger, the Bun, the Fries, Ketchup and the Soda' that SO MANY people are eating in large quantities in this country.

Which of those might also inadvertently be throwing concentrated loads of the offending material into our bloodstreams?


Which of those might also inadvertently be throwing concentrated loads of the offending material into our bloodstreams

While I'm more than happy to blame Monsanto......you do have quite the list of refined carbs there.

And now - back to Monsanto:

The amount of glyphosate that can cause damage is tiny. European scientists demonstrated that less than half an ounce per acre inhibits the ability of plants to take up and transport essential micronutrients
As a result, more and more farmers are finding that crops planted in years after Roundup is applied suffer from weakened defenses and increased soilborne diseases.


Veterinarians also report much sicker animals since GM foods started to dominate animal feed, and when livestock is switched from GMO to non-GMO feed, the animals experience dramatic improvement in health.

Hence my original question - is it the GMO or the roundup? Either way ... Monsanto!

For some of those who read between lines in Revelations, GM foods is another sign of the beast; one must be marked to buy/sell/trade, it follows soon only sterile GM seeds will be available for purchase ...

Great information on the GM food stuff, though. I wasn't aware it could be that different - different enough to cause digestive ailments. Scary, indeed.

IIRC a GMO product being tested in Scotland killed all the cows being fed with it. Also I believe there's a marked increase in liver cancer in the US since the introduction of GMO's there.

Your post is fact free. Please provide links for each one of your assertions. Since you don't think we can draw any inferences from this study with respect to human beings, what would you suggest. Oh yeh. Continue to experiment on human beings so that in 20 years we can discover what a horrible mistake we made.

You picked a bad example, x. The _exact_ same mechanism that makes warfarin (coumadin) work as a rat poison is what makes it work as a "blood thinner" for humans. It is a powerful anticoagulant, and the mechanism is identical in rats and humans. It is easy to kill people with an OD of coumadin - that's why your sister needs to be so carefully monitored. And those rats that don't eat enough of the poison bait to kill 'em are probably being protected against little ratty strokes :-) The dose makes the poison.

The link between rat studies and human health is not "tenuous". It just doesn't support your view. The only red herrings are the ones that emanate from your illogic.

Should you run into the problem, the antidote is atropine, at least that is what saved one of our dogs. The previous owner of an old farmhouse we used to live in had filled the wall cavity with old cottage cheese containers loaded with warfarin poisoned grain to kill mice. One of the dogs gnawed on through to get at that. It was some early soft pressboard for wall covering, not sheetrock or plaster.

The neighbor up the road, during the mid eighties, wasn't so fortunate. Two of the most common Rx's for the elderly are digoxin and coumadin. They used to look alike, were about the same size. It was just when mail order Rx's started, and the company mistakenly shipped coumadin for their digoxin. She never noticed the difference till it was too late.

The antidote is Vitamin K, not atropine. Maybe your dog was lucky.


You're right about the antidote.

And I was wrong about the poison. 30 yrs ago, I had to check w/ my wife. It was strychnine laced; atropine is the antidote. She resurrected other memories...23 miles to the vet, the dog, pregnant, bouncing/spasming out of the little Datsun truck bed and landing in the ditch...she was very lucky. I was right about the neighbor, rest her soul.

Maybe it's not a shift to a conservative mind as we age, maybe we just loose the other half...

I had the TV on for a few minutes this morning to catch the weather forecast, and I heard some zombie on the NBC morning show talking about the federal budget problem, and I’m sure I heard him say that the bulk of new treasuries are being bought by China and Saudi Arabia. Huh??

I thought I heard sometime last fall that the bulk of new treasuries were being bought with newly printed money from the Fed, after being funneled through several Wall Street banks in order to maintain the appearance of a functioning bond market. Or did I just dream that on one of those long winter nights when I went to bed at 8 pm?

Does anyone on TOD have the straight scoop on who is buying Treasury bonds nowadays?


So China and "oil exporters" are still increasing their holdings, but the bigger increases have been the UK, Japan and Canada, with a total increase of roughly $170 Billion for the three.

And unless I'm missing something here, treasuries bought with freshly printed money from the Fed would not show up on this list of foreign holdings at all. Is there any good way to track that?

And how does all this compare to the total debt outstanding? If total federal debt is now in the range of $14 Trillion, then the total of foreign holdings is only about one third of the total, n'est-ce pas?

Or to be more precise, how does all this compare to the increase in the total debt outstanding over that same six month period?

Here is a breakdown:


Thanks for all the good info!

So the total debt went up by nearly $1700 Billion from Dec. 09 to Dec. 10, and it looks like the Federal Reserve’s holdings went up by about $380 Billion out of that total. So the increase in the Fed’s holdings have been a little under one quarter of the total increase during that time, but much greater than the increased holdings by China and "oil exporters". And to follow my thought out to a conclusion, is it safe to assume that most of that $380 Billion increase is from freshly printed money?

Probably. The Fed buys treasuries through open market purchases, not directly from the treasury. The flow is roughly as follows:
The treasury announces an auction of securities. Individuals and institutions bid on them and now own them. Then the Fed announces that they are going to buy treasuries –and even tell the market which specific securities they want to buy, and then the institutions will offer them to the Fed who will buy whatever amount they need.
One of the (unintended??) consequences of that the intermediaries (read banks) get to buy treasuries for X and sell them for X+something. In essence it is a transfer of money from the tax payer to banks.

This video unfortunately sums it up pretty well.
It's funny but it's not.


Thanks again for the good info.

It sounds to me like this system is very close to Welfare for Wall Street, with that "+something" transaction fee being passed on to the US taxpayer. Just another round of private profits funded by socialized costs.

And to get back to my original post, it looks like the zombies on the NBC morning show are either completely clueless, or they have become willing participants in a grand deception.

The table shows that mainly foreigners, banks, private pension funds and investors are buying US debt. It looks like there is plenty of buyers of US low return debt as a safe haven in an uncertain world. I think a lot of people are reluctant to trust the stock market and they are parking their cash.
Under normal circumstances the government should sell more debt and use the money to stimulate the economy.
Strange--foreigners are confident but politicians fear the specter of debt extending to infinity.

Mass hysteria?

Likely a big reason why for example China and oil exporters buy treasuries is to keep their currencies pegged/low.
China doesn't buy treasuries because they like an almost zero yield while holding a depreciating currency, but if they were not buying treasuries the pressure on the RMB to move significantly would be pretty high, thereby making life for their exporters much more difficult.


I didn't see any oil exporters except Russia in the foreigner lists. I think China and Russia are bubbles and those governments
fear a pop so they hedge.
I don't see how you can apply market style logic to the way the Chinese peg their currency.
IMO, all they care about is exports and employimg their people, not profit.
They know what worked for them--sucking the blood out of the West has done wonders for them.

It's like trying to get Dracula to switch to mineral water.

1) Pegs are maintained by continually buying USD (which then have to be parked somewhere - in Treasuries)to keep the currency where they want it to be.

2) MX/Canada and the "oil exporters" categories?


careful about those UK numbers. Probably much of the US Fed-bonds 'held' by the UK are either:

a) custodian accounts of large US banks / hedge funds domiciled in UK. May be the ultimate beneficiaries of the bonds are UK citizens but in my (albeit dated) experience working for Bank NY in London clearing the custody accounts, a shed load ain't. It is just 'parked' in London. God knows why. If I were a sexy little nubile T-bill, I'd much rather be sunning myself on a beach in the Caymans; and any self-discerning adolescent 10-year Treasury would be more at home snow-boarding in Switzerland.

b) shell-game repos with the Old Lady. Now yer see it, now yer don't. Oi King! Kingy baby! Psssst! Look after these Fed-bonds for a jiffy. Ok Bernie.. but only if you stash some gilties ... mum's the word!!

Its all wheels-within-wheels-within-wheels. One big Ponzi...

Where have you been the past 3 years?

All of this stuff is well documented. The best site to read about it is zerohedge.com

The Federal Reserve is buying Treasuries in order to keep interest rates artificially low. They are now the largest buyer of Treasury bonds.

They will keep doing this until they can't, which may be awhile. Nevertheless, peak global oil production, peak population, peak complexity, etc., will lead to a breakdown in the Treasury market at some point, but not before the Euro and perhaps several Asian currencies fail.

The key is when wealth production slows down in Asia. At that point, there will be very few new foreign buyers of Treasury bonds.

When this happens, they will truly crash, and the Federal Reserve will be sitting on a stinking pile of you know what. The Federal Reserve itself will be bankrupt! And if they try to print their way out of it, they will risk hyperinflation.

Keep your sites on that endgame, and start accumulating physical gold and silver. Cash is also a good idea, because it's liquid. And if there's hyperinflation, well, everybody is screwed, not just yourself.

Bill Gross of Pimco has already completely exited Treasuries.

His move is the canary in the coal mine.

Pimco actually went short Treasuries:

Hello Oilman Sachs,

Where have I been for the past three years? Well, I've been out doing commercial energy audits, and developing a cleaner and more efficient type of wood burning stove. I've been working on a heating version of the famous rocket cook stove. So no need for chain saws, or splitting mauls, or even a motor vehicle to bring the wood home.

But more to the point, all the good explanations from WeekendPeak have confirmed what I thought I already knew.

It's just that I was still surprised to hear the zombies on the NBC morning show say something entirely different, on network TV, and so late in the game! I guess I'm just having a hard time adjusting to the fact that the MSM are no longer just playing dumb, and have now become willing participants in the deception.

But not to fear! I don't own any treasuries, or municipal bonds, or a house, or much of anything else that could pass for an investment. And much like the perfect race car, my 15 year old Chevy Lumina will probably fail state inspection just about the time that gasoline reaches $10 per gallon, so I won't lose much on that either. October 2013 is my best guess at the moment.

Any resources on the Magic Stove? Do you sell the product or plans? I'm looking into selling masonry stoves so that the forest doesn't get denuded, but not everyone can afford such beasts. Need a more affordable middle of the road solution for common folks in the Arkansas Ozarks. We have plenty of Rock sand & clay, need the right stainless and ceramics.

Easy to find. Just Google "rocket stove"


Ditto to Longtimber;
I would love to know more about your Rocket Stove adaptations.

We've just barely started exploring how many ways we can do such things better!


Hello Jokuhl and Longtimber:

Sorry for the one day delay in my response. You want resources on the Rocket Stove, with no magic involved, just good thermodynamics?? Well, I’ve been thinking of doing a section of my website on the rocket heating stove, but haven’t gotten very far on that yet. But I can give you a few links for a good intro to the rocket stove design in the meantime.

All the original work on the rocket cook stove was apparently done by Larry Winiarski and others at the Aprovecho Research Center near Cottage Grove, Oregon, about twenty years ago. The original goals were to develop cleaner burning and more efficient cook stoves for use in Central America, Central Africa, etc., to reduce deforestation and reduce air pollution around villages.

Their website is http://www.aprovecho.org. Then you can look in the publications section for two pdf files about rocket stoves. One describes the basic rocket cook stove design (Design Principles for Wood Burning Cook Stoves) and the other describes early work on heating stoves (Designing Improved Wood Burning Heating Stoves).

Some of the basic design principles for the rocket stove are:
1. Instead of burning the usual cordwood, the rocket stove burns long and thin sticks, and they burn only at the ends, which results in cleaner burning and far less smoke.
2. While the typical American style cast iron wood stove uses a combined firebox and heat exchanger, the rocket stove separates these two functions into two different parts of the stove. This allows the firebox or flame tunnel to be well insulated, so the fire burns hot and clean.
3. In the rocket stove, no heat is taken out until further downstream, after all combustion is complete.
4. Another important principle of the rocket heating stove is the internal “heat riser” which provides the strong draft that pulls the flames sideways through the flame tunnel, and also provides the strong turbulence needed for complete combustion.

Another good resource is the Cob Cottage Company in Coquille, OR, (www.cobcottage.com). Look for the link for Rocket Mass Heaters near the bottom of the home page. You could even buy the book by Ianto Evans, which has lots of good info about materials and methods for building a rocket mass heater, but don’t let him convince you that all rocket heating stoves must be built with the long cob bench for heat storage.

I’m in the middle of Maine where hardly anyone cooks with wood. But we have long cold winters, so what we really need is a compact and efficient rocket heating stove. I’m currently using my fourth version of a rocket stove, which uses a 42 gallon steel OIL DRUM for the heat exchanger.

My work so far has confirmed all the basic principles of the rocket stove, but I need to work more on the sizes for the different parts of the stove. My current stove is extremely efficient, with stack gas temperatures well under 200 degrees F, and NO VISIBLE SMOKE, but it can only heat my workshop to about 20 degrees higher than outdoor temp, which is not enough for cold midwinter weather in Maine. So my next version will feature a bigger firebox and flame tunnel, and will burn bigger sticks, probably up to 3 inch diameter, instead of the current 1.5 to 2 inch diameter.

My ultimate goal is to combine the basic rocket stove combustion principles with the European masonry heater, probably the Swedish version with vertical flue gas channels, so that it will occupy the minimum floor space in a small house or workshop. If I can get all the proportions right, I should be able to run the fire for two to three hours per day, and then rely on stored heat from a ton of masonry for the rest of the 24 hours per day.

Well that enough words for today. If you would like more info, send me an email using the address in my user profile, and I’ll let you know when I get some information and photos on my website. Maybe I’ll have plans on paper in a month or so.

Thanks, Breadman. What about water heating with rocket stoves? I've thought about venting through an old gas water heater (non pressurized) and pumping to my big hot water tank for DHW and hydronic. Have you heard about anyone doing this or using a heat exchanger?

Yes, I'm sure it can be done, much like other wood burning boilers and water heaters. But that will be more elaborate than what I have built so far, and will likely be more difficult to do with free and/or low cost materials from the local building supply company.

All the stoves that I have built to date have used mostly found materials, like making the horizontal flame tunnel from a piece of 4 inch clay sewer pipe that I found under the garage. And I used a second hand 8 x 8 clay chimney liner to make the internal heat riser.

And when you start heating water, make sure you include one or more pressure relief valves and maybe use a low water cut-out connected to a loud alarm bell!

I keep my water heating designs open loop; no pressure buildup. The only pressurized part of the system is the DHW via copper coil heat exchangers in the main storage tank, which is vented to atmosphere. Our current system will thermosyphon if the pump fails, though the worst that could happen is that it would blow low pressure steam into the main tank. I strongly discourage folks from building closed/pressurised wood fired water heaters, even with relief valves, etc. Too much can go wrong.....boom!

Question: Why use ceramic/masonry materials instead of steel pipe? Some cutting/welding required? The best 'masonry' wood heater I've seen had a steel firebox, a 4" horizontal sch. 40 flame tube/secondary combustion zone (with air injection) all enclosed in a masonry "box" packed with fine sand. Very efficient, clean burning, and lots of thermal storage. He heats his DHW via loops of copper packed in the sand.

I've managed to scrounge a collection of steel pipe (short sections) hoping to build a more efficient wood heater. I've gotten a welder friend interested; Maybe this summer.

Why use ceramic/masonry materials instead of steel pipe?

It'll last longer. Making TLUD's out of old steam pipes and one with firebrick. I'll get to see what works better.


I've managed to scrounge


Hello Ghung,

I’ve been using ceramic materials for all the high temp parts of my heating stoves because I find it easy to work with, and I already had most of the needed parts lying around the backyard someplace. No reason why you can’t use heavy gauge steel pipe, but it could get expensive if you have to buy large diameter steel pipe new, and then hire a welder.

I used a piece of 4 inch ID clay sewer pipe for the horizontal flame tunnel in my current stove, but that is the part that just isn’t big enough and limits my heat output. I haven’t been able to find any new clay sewer pipe in the area, and the smallest round clay chimney liner I can find is six inch ID. With over twice the cross section of the current 4 inch ID pipe, my next version of the rocket heating stove should easily produce twice as much heat. But now I won’t have a good test for it until next winter. C’est la vie!

It should be easy to build a small coffee heater sized rocket stove using insulated stove pipe with pop rivets, etc., but that thin stove pipe would probably not last more than a week or two in a real heating stove.

Furthermore, I think that all the hot internal parts should have enough thermal mass to radiate plenty of heat back into the fire, to keep everything burning hot and clean.

I’ve taken a bunch of pictures showing the parts of my stove. Maybe I can get a few of them on my website this coming weekend. I’ll let you know………..

I have a Pacific Energy Summit Secondary combustion wood stove, All mild Steel is protected by ceramic brick and wool. Steel in the combustion chamber would simply melt or wick out required heat for combustion of gases. Exhaust gases are re-fed into the chamber after mixed with heated fresh air. There is no flue adjustment - Primary and secondary Combustion air is metered and limited so the stove does not Chernobyl. These stoves are heavy and expensive, but have good payout in fuel reduction. Amazing to watch "the reactor", you can throttle the output and watch the fingers of gas dance across the chamber, One must be quick when loading, a new dry oak log can explode into flames before you can get the door shut. Just the quartz door retails for $500. I guess all EPA Level II stoves are either catalysis or secondary combustion. Maximizing combustion of the wood gases is critical to efficiency, I guess you could put conventional stoves in series if you can manage the combustion.

Lots of great ideas and examples. Thanks, Longtimber.
I'm in Southern Maine.. have been to the Aprovecho site a number of times, and a Maine Mason, Steve Busch ( http://www.mainemasonrystove.com/ ) built two terrific stoves for house my Mom and Family built, and has recently loaned me a copy of this ( http://www.amazon.com/Rocket-Mass-Heaters-Superefficient-Woodstoves/dp/0... ) to chew over.

I look forward to hearing more. Let us know if you have a chance to do a page on your work and ideas.

Bob Fiske
(email is likewise, in my profile, if you want to contact me.)

Well, we are all on the same page here regarding efficient wood heating. Mine is Regency fireplace insert similar to Longtimber's one (both made in BC) and it is mazing how efficient the things are. A small fire, burning hot gives a lot of heat for not much wood. I actually blocked off the "underfire" air vent in mine (at front bottom of firebox), which means all the primary (underfire) air is coming in down the door and a greater proportion of secondary air through the overhead vents. This has created slower, better flames "in air" - getting closer to real gasification operation. The glass stays spotlessly clean and watching the fire is like an HD tv. The flames from the wood are often the blue CO flames, and most visitors who see it assume it is a gas fireplace!

I would love to have one of those soapstone fireplaces with the oven like you linked - though I have long ago mastered cooking stuff in foil in the firebox - from potatoes to bread to legs of lamb!

A good article about the history, and benefits of thermal mass/oven stoves is here;
it includes an interesting discussion about the problems with convection/fan forced air heating from metal stoves/inserts (like mine). i do have to agree with this, and have found running the fan leads to the air being very dry and a stuffy feeling. I usually only run the fan over night, but can feel the dryness of the air in the morning.

And this link for an interesting version which is a "portable" oven stove - you can dissassemble it and take it with you when you move!

Neighbours of mine who are building a house (their retirement home) put in a new modern looking Pacific Energy fireplace - very nice and efficient,though still has the same forced air "cooking" issue as all of them. Fireplace in in the middle of the living room with a 20' vaulted ceiling. They had to have a double insulated flue, then frame around it , and then pay a stone mason to put cultured stone (comes from California!) up the entire height because they wanted an authentic stone look! All up, this fireplace has cost them about$20k, and for probably less than that they could have had a real soapstone stove!

I have that Ianto book on rocket stoves and it is a good read - i just don;t have a place to build one, otherwise I would.

I don't have the placement for the one, or the funds for the other.

I was also advised by Steve Busch to be aware that the big Masonry Stoves really need to be set in an appropriate type of house-layout. They work best in the center of a more 'open format' structure, where their ability to provide constant radiant energy as a thermal flywheel, and will be less effective in the standard divided quadrants many homes have.

This seems kind of ironic based on what is happening in our world.

Texas considers highest speed limit in nation.

The Legislature is considering raising the maximum speed limit to 85 mph, highest in the country.
Every 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.24 per gallon for gas, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.


It's part of a State transportation bill, which "is in limbo". Repubs are against a provision that provides for a local fuel tax option allowing municipalities to increase taxes at the pump. The speed on these sections of highway is already 80 MPH. It seems a lot of things are in limbo these days.

I don't see what is wrong with allowing local governments to levy fuel taxes - if the people of that county agree they want it, what is the problem? So a gas station outside the county line can be cheaper, but so what? - it is the same at the state line.

We have one of these local fuel taxes in Metro Vancouver (City of Vancouver plus surrounding urban area - about 2m people)- to the tune of 45c/gal - in addition to state and federal taxes. This funding is used for road and transit projects.

Sounds like a case of the State gov not wanting to give any independent power to the municipal gov's, which is too bad as you get the best value for your tax dollar (or the least bad value, depending on your level of cycnicism) from local governments.

If local gov's have any responsibility for building/owing/maintaining roads, then they should also be able to tax themselves to do so.

By analogy: the US Constitution has a very broad clause reserving the regulation of interstate commerce to the Federal government. That was meant in part to avoid beggar-thy-neighbor wars of all against all (or particularly against landlocked states) fought by levying confiscatory tolls upon transit traffic. Texas is a very big place with some rather isolated parts; maybe there's a precautionary concern about such a war breaking out between their counties. Then, of course, one must also remember that Texans' general attitudes about taxes might differ somewhat from those of Northeastern brahmins, or of Europeans or Canadians.

BTW, with such a large localized tax, folks anywhere near the border of the Vancouver zone would have a huge incentive to fuel up on the other side. So does anybody but downtown residents actually pay very often? Or did they erect customs [douane pétrolier (?)] posts when they enacted the tax? ;)

maybe there's a precautionary concern about such a war breaking out between their counties.

Maybe, but that is really an odd position to take. Does the State gov also regulate property taxes the muni's can charge to prevent a similar property tax war? In California, the different counties all levy different levels of sales tax on everything. I see no problem with some healthy competition between muni's - if they want to tax themselves to provide really good rods, transit, sewage treatment, libraries, whatever, they should have every right to do so. To have the State saying a muni can't levy taxes to improve services is holding everyone down to the same common denominator.
I can't believe that in "the land of the free" people can't be allowed to pay taxes if they democratically choose to do so. The US really is strange - or maybe it's just Texas.

As for Vancouver there is the City oif Vancouver (about 650k people) and then 23(!) other municipalities around it, comprising 2.3m people. If you head north, along the coast, you get out of the metro area and it is a 45min drive to the next town. if you go east, the next municipality in the Fraser River valley is Abbotsford, which is a real city, but you have a 15 minute drive, in traffic, from the boundary of Metro Vancouver to get there, and who wants to do that. To the west, is well, water...
And to the south, well, that would be those neighbours called Americans. People who live close to the border regularly drive across to refuel, and have been doing so for decades. Today the price difference is about $1.40/gal.

Map here

So, really, once you have to drive more than ten minutes, or line up at the border, is it worth it? It just hasn't been a big deal, but the fuel tax has funded a lot of transit, which is a big deal. Maybe transit projects are what the Texas gov is really afraid of?

"Does the State gov also regulate property taxes the muni's can charge to prevent a similar property tax war?"

They wouldn't need to. Tolls on transiting traffic are about taxing somebody else to pay for your public goodies, so the sky's the limit, as has been known at least since the folks in ancient Thebes started ripping folks off on portage across the peninsula. Hence the Federal provision. Property taxes, OTOH, are (usually) about taxing yourselves to pay for your public goodies, so there's at least something of a built-in sanity check. Indeed, the wars between US cities and suburbs tend to be partly over city officials resenting suburbs competitively driving certain taxes down, not up (i.e. if the city taxes "too much", whatever that means, people and businesses simply move out because there's a place to go.)

"Maybe transit projects are what the Texas gov is really afraid of?"

Don't live there, so don't know - but very possibly that's a piece of the story. They do tend to turn into financial black holes, so they're in considerable trouble across the country (even in New York City, which, of all places, could scarcely get by without them.) For one thing you get stuck with them: you can't readily turn them back into gravel if they start costing too much, the way you can with barely-used rural roads that have been paved only for about the last thirty years anyhow.

"As for Vancouver..."

Interesting - IOW the geography causes it to function as a rather closed island, putting the governmental body in the catbird seat as rentiers operating a monopoly (as well as, apparently, encouraging more real estate bubbliciousness than in most other places.)

Bumper sticker seen on a large pickup truck on I-5 in California last week: "Prius Hunter".

I guess burning gas at 11mpg has its perks. And 80 mph will be just dandy with such vehicles on the road. Sort of a new twist on the "Inverse Chainsaw Theory". Thus the faster you go, the smaller your.......

(brain was the body part I was thinking of - but I am sure the other one applies).


Ha! That made my day. I must admit to getting a kick out of bumper stickers - I think of them as one of those little signs, all around us if you pay attention, of a nation in sure decline. But they still make me laugh.

Prius hating, of course, has less to do with fuel efficiency than with the perception that they are owned by a hypocritical, wealthy, "environmentally conscious" upper middle class who talk a big game about stuff like poverty, but in reality have never experienced and don't know a thing about it, much less the environment. Such people also probably pat themselves on the back for welcoming Mexican immigration with open arms, even as they secretly flee those areas and never give a second thought to how population growth is itself incompatible with the notion of sustainability.

This isn't correct, of course, not anymore at least. Most Prius buyers probably just want a good, efficient car.

Myself? I love Prii. They free up more fuel for me to burn!

I enjoy engaging those pick-ups anytime I drive my nimble little Subaru around... of course it can't match the pure horsepower but my goal is not to win any speed competition... I just try to amp it up a little bit faster than normal - a bit quicker off the line - a few extra mph on the open highway. Pleases me to no end to think that I did my part to make them do their part to keep gas prices high and maybe tack on an extra bit of money when they really nail it to show me how talented they are in pressing on a gas pedal. Of course for a singular interaction it probably doesn't amount to much but since I've been doing this I figure I've enticed the collective undisciplined pick-up drivers to add quite a few dollars to their overall gas bill. Just doing my part...

(p.s. - the best strategy is to take a real slow left hand turn as one of those behemoths tailgates you - they invariably punch it as soon as you turn (hopefully slow enough to make them come to a nearly complete stop) - I figure that the way they hit it, assuming a nice 5.7L Hemi, they're probably putting a full gallon thru that beast of an engine by the time they get up to cruising altitude)

Casey, maybe this would make a good bumper sticker...

    "Texas - drive today like there is no tomorrow"

Anyone else have any suggestions?

Texas ... using tomorrow's oil, TODAY!

you know, that one is so good (at being bad) that it would make a good election slogan for a drill, baby, drill person - just change "using" to "providing" and it sounds very election worthy.

Scary, really...

Maybe they could set it right up to 88mph and really drive back into the Treasured Past of Automania!

'Where we're going, we don't need roads!'

(insert ending image from Back to the Future or Thelma and Louise depending on your philosophical preference..)

Relax. In the long run it will save on the environment, via increased motoring mortality.

Oh, now I get it. Their plan is to get more taxes by decreasing gas mileage. While they're at it, they should provide incentives to buy SUVs. Brilliant!!! Why not just make speed limit unlimited and then you will really see the gas taxes roll in.

Ironic seems like a word that understates the problem a bit. How about stupid and immoral?

This is Texas' plan to get us off foreign oil.

Tstreet, good comments. I was trying to be kind and not call them stupid.

Ironic seems like a word that understates the problem a bit. How about stupid and immoral?

K - Bear in mind this is a speed limit...not a requirement. Someone wants a bigger gasoline bill it's up to them. The amount of extra fuel burned (however illogical it might seem) will be insignificant in the big picture. At 80 mph I would still get better milage in my Kia than a 4-door V-8 pickup doing 40 mph.

"a speed limit...not a requirement"

Ah, but OTOH, we're talking Texas here ;) So, granted, I've only spent a little time in Texas, but somehow I got the idea a Texas (also Arizona BTW) speed limit kinda sorta resembles a requirement, at least socially. I assume we're talking rural freeways here, but even so, if you drive that sissy Kia 15mph below the limit, aren't you gonna become sortuva crash nucleation point, with some drivers coming up almost to your bumper before they swerve into the passing lane with the horn blaring, just to make a point?

Hell Paul...I get passed by big PU doing 80 mph on the freeway going thru downtown Houston. I try to stay right at the speed limit (maybe 2-3 mph higher) and always have some butthole on my bumber. Actually that's a lot less of a problem on rural highways. Then again, most rural drivers are armed. And that does tend to make folks more polite.

As I posted above, they already have 80 MPH sections of interstate.


In 2006, 80-mile-per-hour speed limit signs were posted on roads in two remote areas of west Texas. One is a 432-mile stretch of Interstate 10; the other is an 89-mile stretch of Interstate 20.

I've driven both of these sections and some folks are already going ~100MPH. Enforcement is spotty at best; calling it 'rural' is an understatement. Jack-sh2t nowhere is a better description (I actually thought about moving there once). I was more concerned with getting blown off the road than my fuel mileage (especially between El Paso and San Antonio).

I'm not sure what they hope to gain by upping the limit to 85. Perhaps the 2006 increases to 80 were a test.

Anyone who has crossed West Texas on I-10 may not drive 85, but after a few hours, they likely wish they could; it seems to go on forever... kinda nice to be able to set the cruise at 88 and crank up the music. If you fall asleep or get blown off the highway into an arroyo, somebody may find your bones in a year or two :-/

That said, increasing speed limits will be a temporary thing for most folks. I'm already seeing people slowing down, trying to hypermile it seems. Others will ignore speed limits, as they don't apply to them, nor do stop signs, turn indicators, yielding rights-of-way, ........

For scale: from state line to state line I-10 through Texas is 846 miles.

And not far behind is California at approx 800 miles on I-5 Mexican border to Oregon.

And some way ahead is from Vancouver BC to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory along the Cariboo, Cassiar and Alaska Highways (sounds much more exciting than just Hwy 97/37) at 1475 miles, but "only" 1215 is in BC.

Haven't driven I-10 but have driven full length of I-5 and can definitively say the scenery is better on the BC route. If you are driving northwards at nighttime you have good chance of seeing the northern lights too - but keep your eyes on the road or you'll get up close and personal with a deer/bear/moose.

It is not exactly a cruise-control sleep inducing I-10...

No, and to make it even more exciting, try driving it, or any of the other northern BC hwys in winter. Once did a ski trip from Invermere (BC rockies) to Terrace (mid north BC coast) - 22 hr drive along the rockies then across northern BC, snowing all the way except for a break along the Icefields Parkway from Lake Louise to Jasper- arguably the most scenic drive in the world. With the northern lights shining on fresh snow at night it was out of this world.

It doesn't matter what the posted speed limit is - the road conditions and your vehicle and tire type determine the real "speed limit" - go over it and you are taking your life in your hands - saving fuel is just a bonus.

Drove to Minneapolis and back from mid Montana last week. Set er at 65 and watched the geese fly north. Filled up the TDI every 600 miles or so. Pretty open country with the demise of family farming. The buffs will be back sooner that we think.

That's one of my favorite drives, especially in the spring, though it's been many years. AM radio, polka across Dakota on a Sunday. liked Rt 2, couldn't get much more than 50 mph for all the potholes. I bet it's changed, hear Babe and his Ox's statue has been pulled.

Agree. Great scenery in Montana from Glendive to Billings along the Yellowstone river, especially in the spring as the knobs are all covered with green felt. I liked Rosebud County.

I've driven both of these sections and some folks are already going ~100MPH.

I life in Germany (Saxony) about 3 miles from work (Fraunhofer machine tool research institute). In the summertime i go nearly 80% of the time by bike. My girlfriend walks 15 minutes to work. When i drive to work, i use here 10 year old VW Polo with a 1.0 liter 45HP engine (gas), it goes around 40 miles per gallon in the city.

When i drive the highway in Germay to my parants home or my girlfriend's parents home i drive my 200HP (147 kW) 2.0 liter turbo-charged Skoda Octavia RS and go up to 150 MPH (240 km/h), but often (traffic) only about 120 MPH, but only once a month and only about 20 miles... When i drive my car this way, it goes ~20 miles per gallon.

New energy industries to fuel China's green growth

With China's ambitious plans to cut carbon emissions for a greener economy during the 12th five-year plan period from 2011 to 2015, new energy industries are becoming even more significant than in the past. These industries will be responsible for serving the country's growing appetite for energy to feed its rapid development.

According to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), China overtook America as the world's largest energy consumer in 2010. Demand by China, which has outpaced Japan to become the world's second largest economy, will keep climbing rapidly in years to come, the report said.

But with the world oil supply on a downslide and prices heading skyward due to unrest in the Middle East, China will increasingly feel pressure to meet its energy demands.

EU tax shake-up could make diesel pricey

The European Union is set this week to propose new regulations under which mandated minimum fuel taxes would be based on energy content rather than volume. The proposed tax structure would seek to level the playing field for biofuels, which contain less energy than conventional fuels, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. It would also make diesel more expensive in many EU states.
Because of generous diesel subsidies, nearly 48 percent of German cars and more than 60 percent of Austrian cars are powered by diesel. In Switzerland, where no such subsidy is in place, only about 20 percent of the cars run on diesel, according to Dudenhöffer.

Because of generous diesel subsidies,

I like what they define as generous subsidy:

Diesel is currently taxed at 47 cents per liter in Germany, while gasoline is taxed at 64 cents. Under the proposal taxes on diesel would jump to 75 cents per liter.

Taxing at 47 cents compared to 64 is considered a subsidy...

Is this true? I thought all the industry saavy said that spent fuel in the US is stored as safe as the reactor fuel. Now I know where TEPCO got the sheet pile idea to stop the radioactive materials from spreading. I am still not making it up.

TVA's Browns Ferry nuclear plant among facilities with spent fuel and rods
Published: Monday, April 11, 2011, 11:30 AM Updated: Monday, April 11, 2011, 11:32 AM
By The Associated Press The Huntsville Times

CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee -- ...TVA has more than 2,544 metric tons of radioactive spent fuel in cooling ponds at its Sequoyah and Watts Bar nuclear plants in Tennessee and Browns Ferry plant in North Alabama. That is far more than in the reactors themselves...

...Nuclear industry analyst David Lochbaum told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that some storage pools are in buildings with sheet-metal siding.

I believe there are 23 plants in the US of A that have the same 'idea' as the TEPCO plant....because they all sprang from GE and are 'the same basic design'.

At least one plant stores the spent fuel over the reactor - so if the reactor fails with a POP - the spent fuel will have the same opportunity to go up, up and away into the air. (Another one of the 'gee, perhaps that isn't a design feature' moments.)

35 years ago one of the engineers from GE resigned over the poor design. If there are lawsuits - odds are we'll get to hear more from him.

But even the over the reactor designs more than a lawn mower's deck guage of steel protecting is thousands of lives and millions of acres, no? Who runs this show, Wile E. Coyote and Acme Department of Nuke Stuff?
Thanks for the response.

Who runs this show, Wile E. Coyote and Acme Department of Nuke Stuff?

You must be new to Planet Earth and the dominate lifeform that controls humans - The Corporation.

Actual safety costs money. Costing money would effect profitability. Its why the Nuke operators begged Congress to tell the NRC to back off the regulation.

So when the New Madrid fault lets loose or a CME hits, while you enjoy the blue glow on the horizon from the Cherenkov radiation you'll then know the answer to who ran things.

Reactors have to be safe. Otherwise the government wouldn't have found it necessary to pass Price-Anderson which limits the liability of the industry (both the builder and the utility).


Did that make sense?

A government buy the people and fur the people ... shall not perish from this Earth **
(** subject to limited liability clause 24609)

You want cents? That will cost you extra.

Paying for the Energy Revolution -- German Nuclear Companies Stop Eco-Fund Contributions

Chancellor Angela Merkel's vision of the future seemed eminently attainable last autumn. In return for her government's plan of extending the lifespans of Germany's 17 nuclear reactors, the country's leading electricity utilities agreed to pay a portion of the resulting profits into a fund to promote renewable energies -- a pot which initial calculations indicated would ultimately be worth €17 billion ($24.5 billion). In addition, a new fuel rod tax on nuclear plants was to boost the budget by an estimated €2.3 billion per year until 2016.

That, though, was before the nuclear disaster in faraway Fukushima, Japan.

Now, Merkel's sudden policy reversal on nuclear energy, involving the temporary shutdown of seven reactors and an accelerated switch to renewables, has thrown her financing plans into doubt. Not only does her government intend to dramatically increase funding for expanding the reach of renewables, but the four companies in Germany which operate nuclear power plants have ceased paying into the renewable energies fund.

Interesting article on wind power in Germany


From the article:

"German Economics Minister Rainer Brüderle recently warned that Germany faces frequent power blackouts because too much 'green electricity' is being pumped onto the grid."

This seems just bizarre to me. Isn't it quite easy to lock the propellers in place so they stop the turbines quit revolving and producing energy? Lacking that, couldn't they be just disconnected from their generators?

What am I missing?

Of course, this speaks to the need of having plenty of projects and plants ready that can use intermittent extra electricity to either do some useful work or store the energy through water electrolysis or other means--it doesn't matter particularly if they aren't the most efficient means of storing energy since half the purpose would be just to use up the extra electricity on the grid during these peak generation times.

Isn't it quite easy to lock the propellers in place so they stop the turbines quit revolving and producing energy? Lacking that, couldn't they be just disconnected from their generators?

I attended the Windpower 2010 conference and expo in Dallas, Texas in May last year. An extra option was a field tour of the massive west texas wind farms which I thought would be interesting.

One of the things that we learned on the tour was that the explosive growth of wind energy in west Texas was grinding to a halt because of a lack or transmission capacity to take the power from the wind farms to the cities where it's needed. As a result several turbines which at first glance appeared to be stationary were in fact just spinning very slowly. This is a design feature that was referred to as curtailing and is a response to "too much" power so, there is a method for reducing the output of wind farms. Problem is, the turbine owners loose revenue when they don't take full advantage of available wind energy.

German Economics Minister Rainer Brüderle recently warned that Germany faces frequent power blackouts because too much 'green electricity' is being pumped onto the grid.

Sounds to me like the economics minister should be encouraging German scientists and engineers to use their much vaunted ingenuity to come up wwith solutions to this "problem".

The "problem" is only going to get worse from looking at this nifty web page that shows PV electricity produced in Germany in real time in a graphical format. According to this web page Germany's PV installations peaked today (April 12) at about 6.5GW of power out of a possible 17.3GW installed as of Dec 31, 2010. From the same page you can ind that yesterday they did better peaking at 11.1GW. I am anxiuosly watching this page to see just how too much renewable energy is going to cause "frequent power blackouts".

Smells like coal/nuclear industry spreading of FUD to me. It is my opinion that the Germans are going to show the world how (not to?) cope with large amounts of renewable energy.

Alan from the islands

The problem with wind energy in Germany is that the Germans do not have enough storage capacity for the energy from their wind turbines. When the wind blows harder than the demand requires, they have to dump the energy and lose it. When it doesn't blow, they have to buy nuclear power from France.

Denmark has the advantage that it can use Norway and Sweden as its energy storage facilities. When the wind blows, the Danes send their wind energy to Norway and Sweden, who cut back their hydro production, and when the wind doesn't blow, Norway and Sweden send hydroelectricity back to Denmark.

Germany has nowhere to send their wind energy when they have too much, and nowhere to buy hydroelectricity when they have too little. They have to buy nuclear energy from their neighbors, or fire up their own coal-burning power plants.

The problem with the Danish system is that when the wind blows, they have to sell wind energy to Norway and Sweden at very low, sometimes negative prices (because Norway and Sweden really don't need it), and when it doesn't, they have to buy back hydroelectricity at much higher prices (because Norway or Sweden don't really want to sell). As a result, Danish electricity prices are much higher than in Norway or Sweden.

Like oil prices, all of our electric prices should be much higher.

Low prices just encourage waste and don't give a realistic signal about true long-term costs.

Presumably when the Danes sell to their cousins to the north, some hydro is allowed to rest, restoring reservoir levels...Then these are drawn down again when the Danes need it. Even if the economics haven't been worked out perfectly, this strikes me as a very elegant way to use one renewable to balance another.

A really great article by Tad Patzek, chairman of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at the University of Texas:


This is a succinct, well-written description of the peak oil problem, and it is appearing in MSM, the Austin American-Statesman.

Agreed - clear and succinct assessment.

Wow, props to my alma mater and former hometown. Has anyone confirmed that this piece ran in the dead tree edition?

It did. Yesterday.

The most interesting bit (to me, anyway):

I am now putting final touches on a book on the Macondo well disaster. The book was co-written with Joseph Tainter, the author of "The Collapse of Complex Societies." It focuses not only on the important direct reasons for the accident, but also on the broader societal and technological contexts of offshore drilling and other quests for new, massive sources of cheap, concentrated energy. The supply of easily recoverable petroleum is running out, and leaders of the U.S. and other industrialized nations have yet to face that fact.

Tainter's (co-)writing a book about peak oil?

A pithy article indeed!

What struck me was his conjecture that:

The Fukushima Daiichi tragedy may yet be the most serious industrial accident of the 21st century

In a relatively short period, we have had the near destruction of New Orleans, oil spill damage in the GOM, the extent of which won't be know for many years, an epic flood in Pakistan and is expected to take a decade for recovery, and now the Japan quake.

Yes, I know that there have been disasters of all kinds and sizes before, but recovery and rebuilding was a given in the past. Now, not so much.

Fukushima may prove to be the exception, but I somehow doubt it. First of all, the quarantine area is as yet unknown, but also, Japan is even more broke than the USA.

From the tragic to the trivial now; Allowing rural/secondary paved roads to revert to gravel has been proposed. My guts tell me that this will not be a temporary measure.

I no longer see these as individual "events", but as a series of acts in a very long play that has been running for perhaps a decade or more.

IOW, Tainter, Catton, Diamond et al are no longer futurists, but play by play commentators.

IMHO, we will be incredibly luck if Mr. Patzek's prediction holds, or was there an unspoken "so far.."?

Considering that we have just ended the first decade, I don't like our odds.

Thanks for the link. They won't read it read it in Midland/Odessa though. Probably not in San Antonio, San Angelo, or Del Rio either.

Texas, it's a whole other country.

Oil Drops From 30-Month High as IMF Cuts Growth Forecasts


Oil fell from a 30-month high after the International Monetary Fund cut its growth forecasts for the U.S. and Japan, indicating high oil prices pose a risk to global economic expansion.

Some of the risk that prices will advance may be waning amid “nascent signs of oil demand destruction” in the U.S. as well as a record number of bets that prices will rise, elections in Nigeria and the potential Libyan cease-fire, according to a report by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysts led by Jeffrey Currie in London

The threat of further oil-price increases has become a “key downside risk” for global growth, according to the IMF report. Oil will rise 36 percent in 2011 to $107.16 a barrel, based on the average prices of U.K. Brent, Dubai and West Texas Intermediate crudes, the report showed. The January forecast was for oil at $89.50 a barrel this year.

A very long report, so I snipped out the three main paragraphs.

But it's telling for several reasons.

  • Goldman Sachs is already seeing 'nascent signs of demand destruction' in the U.S.
  • We're already seeing a slowdown in global growth, and just wait until June when QE II is phased out, what then, when the U.S. economy cannot run on steroids anymore? Unless, of course, they do QE III(at a very heavy political price)
  • Notice just how crap these people are at forecasting. Even if Libya was impossible to foresee, when I read the forecasts in January I chuckled to myself at all of them. Oil has been rising before the Middle East crisis and would have reached the levels we see now this year, but possibly in October or November instead, but we would have gotten at these price levels regardless of which.

People have talked that above the price range of about 85-90 dollars, you get recessions. Last time it took about 9 months. Since the EU seems more resistant to oil prices, America is the place to look at. We've had WTI over 90 dollars for about 4-5 months now. And it's marching steadily upwards.

According to the median range, then, we should see a renewed recession in about 4-5 months' time, which is between the end of summer and early autumn. In other words, around September.

Deja vu?

Deja vu?

Absolutely the same 08 bit over again.

'Oil Drops From 30-Month High as IMF Cuts Growth Forecasts'


The feedback is working, i.e. increased oil price is reducing growth forecasts, but also showing that the price of oil is subject to supply & demand fundamentals rather than the boogieman of speculation. If speculation was all that was driving higher prices, it probably would have continued up today because OPEC claims of spare capacity have not panned out since the Libyan conflict.

There seems to be a slight decline in US gasoline use of about 1%, which only takes us back to 2009 levels. But what about diesel? Farmers in the US are planning for a record corn crop and that will take a bit more diesel.

Leiten, imagine if the Consumer Price Index keeps going up and the Federal Reserve raises the interest rate. Also, people will cut back even more next month after they receive their credit card bill for gasoline purchased this month. Maybe 4-5 months is optimistic.

According to the median range, then, we should see a renewed recession in about 4-5 months' time, which is between the end of summer and early autumn.

Oh, the Guardian has found a special angle on the UK.
Apparently the IMF has downgraded the growth of Britain three times in a mere year's space. So this tells you a bit about the forecasting abilities of the so-called best and brightest.

IMF downgrades forecast on UK economy for third time in a year in report that suggests rising unemployment and social unrest

There's a lot of coverage on this IMF report, there's one in the Swedish media too.
According to this article, the IMF report forecasts the oil price to breach the previous $147 dollar barrier by quite a bit.

IMF is also warning of inflation running upwards 5 %, which will surely eclipse any wage gains, meaning even lower real wages, combined with higher prices on everything, not least oil. How this can not lead to lower consumption, and therefore much, much lower growth than the IMF forecasts is beyond me.

Yet despite all this, the IMF still shrugs off any notion of a double dip, maintaining a staunchly bullish and cornucopian view of the world economy, despite the embarrasing fact that they've have had to revise their growth statistics three times in a single year.

Will there be more revisions downwards than the three already that has taken place thus far? I'm inclined to think so, considering their current track record.

One wonders just how corrupted to the core the economics' profession has become.

WEO, Chapter 3

Chapter 3 of the World Economic Outlook makes for interesting reading: it confirms many of the concerns which PO analysts have been saying for years.

I'm just wondering if anyone else has gone through it and would care to offer any observations, also if anyone is aware of any work done on PO by the IMF in the past (so far I've found nothing on their website).

A biological basis for denialism

Using data from MRI scans, researchers at the University College London found that self-described liberals have a larger anterior cingulate cortex--a gray matter of the brain associated with understanding complexity. Meanwhile, self-described conservatives are more likely to have a larger amygdala, an almond-shaped area that is associated with fear and anxiety.


What a bunch of B.S.
Reminds me of the 'liberal states have higher IQs' chart that was passed around during(or was it after?) the 2004 election, where essentially nearly all of the liberal states had much, much IQ levels and the conservative ones had much lower IQ levels, but that was before it was debunked as a hoax, of course.

Mind you, it's certainly possible that this report might be true on a purely superficial level but that's because universities are incredibly liberal, so the brightest of the nation are naturally going to become more liberal than conservative, but I doubt it has anything to do with liberalism per se. If universities had a huge converservative slant instead, we'd seen the reverse.

Smart people are simply more reflective and are usually more thoughtful and critical of their surroundings. But this has to do with cognitive ability, not contemporary political persuasion.
And smart people go to universities and are shaped by their experiences(and the opinions that are much more socially accepted) there.

He didn't really say 'Intelligence', though, did he?

There are different advantages between people whose main tendency might be more 'cautious and concerned', and those who are 'complicated and challenging'. (And of course those traits do not align directly with Libs and Cons)

It's always flammable when you turn it into 'Intelligence' tests. Sometimes it's smarter to play it safe and stay the course, while sometimes it's wiser to explore the unknown and change things around.

Clearly, we need to use a healthy balance of the two, and a modicum of timing to know when to go from one foot to the other..

"There'll be time enough for counting, when the dealing's done.."

Agreed. This study does not say anything about intelligence.

And it makes sense to me, at least as liberal and conservative are defined in the US. It supports other studies that have found liberals and conservatives have different personality traits/abilities - the ability to manage complex information vs. the ability to recognize threats, among others.

It doesn't say which way cause and effect runs. It may be that one's political views cause changes in the brain, rather than your brain being your political destiny.

LOL. Your post is filled with fear and anxiety. I'm guessing you self identify as a conservative.

I would actually say it's permeated by annoyance and dismissiveness.
And yes, I identify myself as a conservative on several issues, and on some as a liberal(pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, avowed secularist - and atheist - etc).

I wouldn't exactly say I'm liberal on the whole, nor conservative on the whole.

What I disdain is these attempts to try to use science as a cover for political demagoguery, whichever side it is coming from.
And I guess you self-identify as a liberal, pretty far to the left too, judging on your emotional attack ;)

As usual XKCD says it best and with humor:


btw, Nice to know there's another atheist in the group!

What a bunch of B.S.
Reminds me of the 'liberal states have higher IQs' chart that was passed around...

Well the chart might have been a hoax but I would posit that liberals do have higher IQs than conservatives. After all, that's why they are liberals.

Sorry, but I could never resist a straight line. ;-)

Ron P.

There was one thing the article made me wonder about.

There is well known phenomenon of people being more liberal when they are younger, and then getting quite a bit more conservative as they get older. I have observed this in myself also, to some extent.

It made me wonder if some of what they were seeing in their scans was age-related changes in brain functioning.

I would guess that they used people matched for age, since aging causes well-known changes in the brain.

I believe that well known phenomenon is a myth. It may have been true 50 years ago but I think the opposite is true today. Of course I am just guessing like the people who wrote about that "well known phenomenon" but I have gotten considerably more liberal in my older years.

Perhaps it is just me but it definitely seems that the antics of conservatives like the Tea Party have gotten crazier and crazier these last few years. That is it seems that conservatives have moved further and further to the right until they have gotten plum right wing goofy like Palen, Bachmann, Beck and Limbaugh.

Ron P.

I believe the phenomenon/myth is based on a saying of Churchill's that is really just a projection/self-justification. IIRC, it goes: "Those who aren't liberals when they are young don't have a heart; those who aren't conservatives when they are old don't have a brain."

Of course, the old boy himself started out as a young liberal and became an old conservative, so he manages to doubly compliment himself with this quip.

This research, and much else, suggests the much of the brain power lies on the other side. Poling showed a vanishingly small percentage of educators, for example, voter for Bush II.

(My favorite Churchilism, apocryphal no doubt, is his reputed response to a secretary who tsked at him for ending a sentence with a preposition. His retort: "This is the kind of nonsense up with which I will not put!")

"My son is 22 years old. If he had not become a Communist at 22, I would have disowned him. If he is still a Communist at 30, I will do it then."

"A young man who isn't a socialist hasn't got a heart; an old man who is a socialist hasn't got a head."


Also, on a slightly different topic - "America is the only nation in history which miraculously has gone directly from barbarism to degeneration without the usual interval of civilization."

I'm very conservative; I've been a liberal my entire life.

There is well known phenomenon of people being more liberal when they are younger, and then getting quite a bit more conservative as they get

Like how actions of Nixon to set up the EPA - a "conservative then" doing something that would be a 'liberal action' now.

The measuring sticks of "Liberal" and "Conservative" could be moving.

"The measuring sticks of "Liberal" and "Conservative" could be moving."

When I look at just myself, I feel that I was quite liberal in my younger days, now that I'm almost 55 I feel that I've become more conservative. However, when I look at myself in relation to the rest of the population, and the current extreme swing to the far right and re-definition of Liberal and Conservative, I don't feel that I've become more conservative at all. Relatively speaking, I actually feel that I'm becoming more liberal! It's a strange feeling.

And it goes on:

Libyan revolutionary council rejects African Union's peace initiative
(From the Guardian)

Libya's revolutionary leadership has flatly rejected an African Union peace initiative because it does not require Muammar Gaddafi to immediately relinquish power.

"Anything short of this would be a betrayal of the people of Libya and would play into the hands of the regime, which has announced two utterly meaningless ceasefires since the fighting began without its vicious military campaign missing a single beat," William Hague said.

So it is regímechange then, more or less officially now.
How long will the struggle continue without boots on the ground if somekind of assassination attempt continues to fail?

Did you really think they would say "Woops, never mind"?

IMF hikes oil price forecast by 20%

"The International Monetary Fund said Monday that it expects the global oil price to average $107 a barrel this year and $108 next. That's 20% above its previous forecast, thanks to stronger-than-expected global petroleum growth in 2010 and a less than enthusiastic supply response.
the supply of crude oil "is responding sluggishly to the ongoing pickup in demand, largely reflecting the policy stance of OPEC," the IMF said."

You gotta love this spin - "less than enthusiastic". Yeah, I bet they (OPEC) are less than enthusiastic given that all those straws they're sticking into the ground just aren't bringing up what it used to.

Any what they are bringing up is increasingly nothing but "oil-stained brine".



Very Interesting article on CNBC about how gas prices are reaching levels that will induce demand destruction. If the price of gasoline ($3.77/gal. today) goes up much further, look for noticably less traffic on the roadways later during the summer.

All the major petrol companies in Sweden hiked the rate this week, it's now almost $9/gallon. Just 20 cents missing.

There's talk of increasing the diesel tax in the EU by about 17 %. Diesel is slightly(with emphasis on slightly) cheaper in Sweden, but not by much. We would be seeing prices over $10/gallon on diesel if this went through, and according to reports, the Scandinavian countries were a driving force behind this.

There's also talk of the price of gas going up to about $12-13 dollars a gallon by the end of this year.

Thus far, there's very scarce reporting on these issues in the Swedish media.
There's some reports on the world situation affected by oil, but little domestic scaremongering. At least, as I said, thus far.

It's simply not a topic among people, for some reason. Perhaps because we're a bit de-sensitised.

Gas Prices Rise, and Economists Seek Tipping Point

I keep seeing the "argument" in print that the economy is in a better position to weather high gas prices now than it was in 2008

“As bad as it is to see $4 pump prices,” the economy is in better shape now than it was three years ago, said James W. Paulsen, the chief investment strategist for Wells Capital Management.

Based on what? The consumer is still deleveraging from unsustainable credit card and mortgage debt, and unemployment remains high. And there are other pressures pushing up food and commodity price besides just oil price increases.

Also, what percentage of the U.S. vehicle fleet has really been replaced with more fuel efficient cars/trucks since 2008? And how much will that process be slowed in 2011 by Japan earthquake/tsunami-induced automotive industry shortages?

Wait till consumers receive their higher than usual credit card bills next month. Then we will see more of a pullback in consumer spending.

You may remember, even as the finance markets collapsed and banks went to the wall, there were many financial commentators saying "the economy is in great shape, the fundamentals are sound".


The role of these commentators is not to tell the great unwashed what's really going on. Why should they, you aren't paying them.

The role is to push the market in the direction they and their real paying clients want. And none of them want the second step down that we all here consider is likely to happen this year. The longer they can keep while Wile E Coyote from realising he's running on thin air, the better their paying customers can extract their money and set themselves up to benefit from the coming fall.

Of course eventually they will be ready and the fall will be precipitated - but even then there will be no come back on these commentators. Their paying customers will be happy and the great unwashed will quickly forget that the commentator that's wheeled out to pontificate has a track record of getting it wrong.

Jim Cramer still has his show on CNBC. Here is his most recent view, from yesterday, on how this won't be as bad as 2008. Plus ce change...


FOR ALL – Since the conversation has slowed some I’ll toss out a little irony. Maybe not irony but that will have to do until someone else redefines the situation.

As I type I’m sitting in the middle of a sprouting corn field in S Texas. Maybe it will go to cattle feed or maybe ethanol. So for grins let’s assume it will end up in someone’s gas tank eventually. I’m here logging our well which will hopefully make a nice bit of NG. NG I will sell at rather dirt cheap prices. The land we’ve drilled on has been sold and they’ve just begun construction on the huge White Stallion coal-fired power plant. They like this site because it has a rail spur they can easily haul that Australian coal over. Just 6 miles away is the S Texas nuclear power plant. Until recently there was a $48 billion expansion scheduled for the construction of new reactors. But that’s been put on hold since the incident in Japan. Tough turn of events for this rather rural county: they just lost 8,000 new jobs…at least temporarily. BTW: a 20% partner in the expansion was one of the Japanese utilities currently suffering from that little meltdown mishap.

Again, irony may not be the right word. Maybe FUBAR. So let’s have a contest: everyone gets to apply their own view of these circumstances. BTW this isn't a completely foreign situation for me. In 1985 I was drilling shallow NG wells (not 80 miles from here)in easy sight of another coal-fired plant. Initially burning S`African coal they switched to Australian coal in a couple of years. And I was selling my NG for 75% less than the low price I'm selling today: $0.90/mcf. As someone said: the more things change the more they stay the same.

I'll call it a 'Predicament'..

trying to unweave any Ironies is too much for the tired brain at this point..

joker - So true. I suppose the bottom line for me is just the reaffirmation that despite the concerns over AGW coal will become KING again. And I live downwind of the nuke plant and still think ethanol is a non-solution. And I live daily with a constant reminder that "drill, baby, drill" is a fool's fantasy given that I'm one of the guys doing the drilling. OTOH as we go down the PO path my earning potential rises. But I also have a 12 yo daughter who will spend her entire adult life dealing with PO.

Yep...too much for a tired brain especially since I've been up all night logging that well. Which looks like it will produce some NG. So this well will be selling NG cheap while the coal-fired plant next to it suppliments the electricity supply that will fall short due the suspension of the nuke plant expansion.

Good source for consumption/ year by country. Found it while looking for some figures on China. 30 years of data.

Another good source - BP's Statistical Energy Review 2010. Has data on multiple fuel sources for each country, back to 1965 in some cases.


OPEC Production Compliance Improves in March on Libya, IEA Says

Supply from all 12 nations of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decreased by about 880,000 barrels a day to 29.2 million barrels, the IEA said.

Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s largest producer, pumped 8.9 million barrels a day in March, unchanged from February, the IEA estimated.

Highlights of the latest OMR

OECD industry stocks fell by 50.8 mb to 2 676 mb, or 59.2 days, in February, driven by sharp product draws due to seasonal refinery turnarounds.

The April OPEC Oil Market Report was due out this morning. They publish the release date and it was supposed to be published today, April 12th. It has always been out on their announced publication date but not this month.

Of course it could still come out later today but it has always been out by 6AM Central Time because it is published in Vienna... I think. Now it is almost two hours later and no Oil Market Report.

OPEC Home Click on "Oil Market Report" to get the latest report or mouse over "Publications" then click on "Reports" to get the date of the next report.

Ron P.


I now see the April report is out

Tsunami hits car market: Fewer cars, higher prices:


...as we have been warning from a few days after the tsunami until yesterday, the limited supply of cars will have a material impact on car prices and car sales. April transaction prices are expected to be the highest in 15 years, when measured as a percentage of MSRP.

The local Toyota dealer has no new Prii or Yarii on his lot.

If 'Yaris' were Latin, the plural would be 'Yares'... just FYI.

Dublin group to pray for lower gas prices

A Dublin church group plans to gather pumpside Saturday and pray for the gas prices to drop.

It worked in 2008 ;-)

In that case, I am going to meet today and pray that gas prices rise.

Japan regulators raise severity of nuclear accident

TOKYO (AP) — Japan raised the severity level of the crisis at its crippled nuclear plant Tuesday to rank it on par with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, citing cumulative radiation leaks that have contaminated the air, tap water, vegetables and seawater.

Japanese nuclear regulators said they raised the rating from 5 to 7 — the highest level on an international scale of nuclear accidents overseen by the International Atomic Energy Agency— after new assessments of radiation leaks from the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant since it was disabled by the March 11 tsunami.

Remember when the experts were all saying there's no way this can ever get anywhere near as bad as Chernobyl?

Not only that, I remember those so-called "experts" right here saying that it wouldn't even be as bad as TMI! My opinion of these "experts" is that they are either just fools or they are bought and paid for fools!

The early threads are so big it's hard to find specific comments, but some of us called it pretty close. Seems we were ignored early on, due to "expert" disagreement. I recall saying that, if there is significant core damage the outcome was likely to be "Chernobylish", as did some others; 'genie out of the bottle' comments.

Who've thunk?

Same pattern as with Deepwater Horizon.

Many of us early on said that the reports that it was in the range of a thousand bbl/day were off by orders of magnitude. Accusations of alarmism were swift and furious--until we were proven right.

Now to have even the secretive, afraid-to-cause-panic Japanese gov admit that this is at least as bad as Chernobyl--well, it certainly doesn't give much satisfaction, but it makes me even less patient with anyone willing to come in here and downplay the enormity of the still-unfolding situation.

augjohnson, and others in this thread. I think there's a significant underestimation of how much money goes into social media PR work by industry. TOD should give itself more credit, it's a primary source, and to believe that it doesn't attract such paid PR shills is somewhat naive.

I was listening briefly to Thom Hartmann this morning, and he noted that he's had such shills admit that they get paid by the tea party for example about 70k a year to disrupt and derail all legitimate discussions about issues that group doesn't want discussed, or wants to discredit, or promote, whatever.

While I realize that some people lack the critical faculties that would otherwise prevent them from repeating verbatim the spin that is distributed over the global media, it's my feeling that most posters who come in and post the current period's pro industry talking points can fairly safely be considered to be paid shills, or has having over the decades absorbed this ongoing propaganda message and internalized it, which is at least excusable, though still not worthy of any respect as a legitimate viewpoint.

Just look at the difference between especially the pro-nuke types and the real experts that TOD attracts. The points to look for are quite easy to spot: real people are not shy about talking about themselves and their sources of experience, nor are they shy about explaining what they know and why they know it. I'm referring to people like Heading Out, Rockman, Shelburn, Toolpush, x (I know, you don't all love him, but he's honest about why he promotes his views, no? - I'll take a hundred honest pro ethanol or wind posters who are honest about why they promote this stuff over one single pro nuke spinster). Now compare these professionals or retired professionals to the voices you hear pro nuke. Never a peep about who they are, never a word about their source of experience, no explanation ever given about why they are interested enough to spend time posting.

This is one reason I get so mad at these lowlifes, they are essential liars, either to themselves, by not applying any critical thinking to the information they are receiving via the corporate spun media, or because they are straight out PR vermin, the lowest form of scum in the world in my opinion.

You have seen at every stage how this evolves, the people who were simply honestly mislead have reviewed their opinions and revised them, the others continue to promote their defense lawyer methods of minimize evidence, then chip away to create doubt.

Then, again, compare that to, say, Rockman, who notes he's currently doing some gas drilling in Texas. Or rockymountainguy, who talks about Canadian oil sands, an area he has expertise in.

Have you ever seen a single pro nuke poster here identify themselves as to why their information has value and why we should listen to them? I haven't. The only industry insiders I have seen who are clear and open about who they are work for the union of concerned scientists. And the only ones I saw here who talked about being in a nuclear power plant posted that to tell us about other risk areas that we might not have been aware of. In other words, the only industry insiders who have surfaced in public appear to be anti-nuclear. Funny that.

This is unfortunate, and it really brings down the level of discussion here when TOD allows such views to be injected into discussions. The views are always attempts to misdirect and minimize, damage control, and are in my opinion, never honest.

If I ran this site I'd do IP checks of every pro nuke poster and see how many I could track to PR firms etc. This would work quite well if a range of such web sites shared this information between themselves, the professional shills post all over the place, using the same in most cases IP addresses, and they can be exposed with just a little bit of detective work.

The other dead giveaway, of course, is that as the evidence unfolds, you will see two reactions among those who were trying to keep the nuclear dream alive: one, somewhat shocked realization of just how bad this stuff is when it goes out of control, or rather, when the illusion of control is exposed as the illusion it is, the second, stone cold silence.

For example, one guy I commented on was trying to minimize the damage level of the Fukushima event (note always the same strategy, take the points, minimize, reduce, chip away. Normal humans never do this, PR shills do, it's how they think and how they are trained). Now that it's at Chernobyl levels, are those posters going to come out and say, man, I was wrong, yes, this is a serious event?

No, what they will do is either blowup their identities and create a new one, to try to sell the next pro nuke talking point, or they will just fade away until that nickname has somewhat detoxified and they can use it again.

One wonders, are PR shills like outsourced tech support people, that just shill whatever the day's orders tell them to shill? Or do they focus on certain topics or clients?

And would you do the same IP tracking to see who is shilling for the anti-nukes?


No, because that's an absurd statement. A shill is someone who is paid by the industry in question to promote their views. One wonders why you felt the need to even type this to be honest, sometimes not clicking submit does a better job for ones ideas than doing so...

One of the key methods being used by today's PR industry is to create opposition and doubt where none exists. This is done by doing exactly as you just did, pretending that by promoting an industry view, you have created one pole, then when people oppose it, for legitimate reasons, that is another pole. This creates a situation where you can then create the illusion that by moving to the center of this false polarization, you are being 'fair and balanced'.

This method is used all the time by global heating deniers, also by creationists, and their ilk, it's well documented. Not saying you're doing that, but the method is the same.

The pro nuke shills are NOT a legitimate pole in the discussion any more than a cigarette ad is a legitimate pole in the discussion of smoking risks. It's just an attempt to create doubt and confusion among the population.

Since I was very explicit in what I typed above I'll have to assume you're not actually being serious, I'm talking about low life scum who do this specifically to create doubt favorable to their industry. Same that was seen in the BP oil spill here, and that you see any time nuclear issues appear in any context. At least this time the Thorium guys were largely silent, that was an improvement, they are just sci-fi fans confused, not bad people I think.

Has worked out quite well as a method.


That was a great post. Thank you for stating the situation so clearly.

h2, you've laid out very well what I think, but pretty much keep to myself. I tend to avoid the arguments and just discuss things with rational people. You said:

"This is one reason I get so mad at these lowlifes, they are essential liars, either to themselves, by not applying any critical thinking to the information they are receiving via the corporate spun media, or because they are straight out PR vermin, the lowest form of scum in the world in my opinion."

I may not have said it so explicitly when I said "My opinion of these "experts" is that they are either just fools or they are bought and paid for fools!", but we're on the same page here. I see these for what they are and just avoid them. They're not going to listen to anything I say, so I don't expend the energy. Why bother? I guess you're right though, we do have to keep aware of them, and make them visible to others that do happen to visit here.

You're also right, we know something about the personality and life of the real experts, but the pro-nuke shills are only known for their constant shrill yelling. We don't have a clue about the person behind the screen, in reality there's not human there, but a PR firm.

I'll take a clue from Ghung here.

Time to eat dinner, including fresh Asparagus from the garden...

Ah, so you are saying that it is perfectly acceptable for people to be paid by the anti-nuke organisations to promote their views to create opposition and doubt where none exists. I understand.


One wonders, are PR shills like outsourced tech support people, that just shill whatever the day's orders tell them to shill? Or do they focus on certain topics or clients?

Some 8 years ago I remember a "leaked" job description for creating pro-Monsanto talking points.

Bringing up Monsanto and referring to 'em as, oh say a term used by Nixon WRT rodents and how one gets more rodents, can flush 'em out.

After the whole 'leaked job description' a few other pieces hit the web about companies dedicated to astroturf on the internet. Those pieces had one shill covering talking points for a few firms.

And the HB Gary kerfuffle shows a desire for "active user management" and seemed to be tied to Facebook/Twitter than places like TOD.

I take offense at your impugning of both my honor and my honesty.

I demand a retraction.

r4ndom, you are solely responsible for the image that you've created of yourself here. I think h2's opinion reflects that of many of the members , including my own.

I am pro-nuclear, and it is my own opinion having considered all the information that I have had available.
In his post he is calling me either a liar and a shill or an ignoramus for holding that position.

I do believe that I am justified in being offended by such unwarranted accusations.

"he is calling me either a liar and a shill or an ignoramus for holding that position."

At least you have a choice ;-)

I agree that there have been some legit arguments for nuclear here; offsetting coal use and mitigating climate change, etc, though I don't think it was the intention to put everyone who argues for more nuclear power into the ignorance or shill category. I, for one, haven't seen the waste issue addressed to my satisfaction. Handwaving and magical thinking for the most part.

I think the waste problem is that most of it is considered waste. The things that make spent fuel in particular difficult to deal with are exactly the things that make it potentially useful.

Of course, reasonable people can disagree with my assessment and I promise not to call them names for it.

FWIW...at least one of the new pro-nuclear posters who showed up here in the wake of Fukushima (and was accused of being a paid shill) uses an e-mail address from the AECL.ca domain.

But IMO, it's not worth trying to block people who might have an interest in supporting one position or another. Heck, some of our best info has come from insiders of various sorts. Let the debate occur.

If it gets tedious or disruptive, then it's time to step in...whether the problem poster is a paid shill or just someone lacking in social skills.

And in other threads - posters call out the Daniel Yeagerns for "not getting it right" and wonder why such doesn't happen.

This place is its own microcosm ... We'll see if it calls out "its own". Or at least the people who complained about Yegarns' not getting it right and being listened to.

Here is the full list of FY 2011 budget cuts :-

http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/images/04/12/41211finalprogramcuts.pdf... (pdf warning)

Items which jump out at me are :-

WIC, NOAA, Clean Drinking Water funds, Contributions to the UN, Community Development, HIV Aids STD & TB Prevention, and the best of all (sarc) - High Speed Rail (cut by $2.9 B).

I notice Federal Highways take a big hit too, as do DoD environmental cleanup and Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Oh, and FEMA first responders grants. If you live in a fire-prone area, wildland fire programs too.

Mixed feelings, as usual.

On the one hand we are rapidly becoming a second world nation. Repubs mostly to blame, but they are aided and abetted by Obama, of course, whom the idiot masses in 2008 mistakenly believed would bring "hope and change."

On the other hand, I have nothing but contempt for the U.S. federal government, the military-industrial complex, and all those who sit at the heart of American Empire. This ship deserves to go down.

The sooner they move on to the bigger pieces - defense spending and Medicare - the better.

The most curious item is the "cut" of "-6,200" [million] for "Periodic Census". In an accounting sense the line is correct, but of course nothing actually got cut that wasn't going away anyhow, since the census is indeed only "periodic". This wouldn't matter, except that it leads a person to wonder how many others among the "cuts" might be just as illusory. After all, moaning and complaining about "cuts" is a long-established empty annual ritual, and yet however much "cutting" is moaned about, the budgets somehow keep right on growing - very much unlike, lately, the economy as a whole...

Saudi ends temporary oil boost on weak demand

DUBAI/KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia - Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia has quietly cut production by around 500,000 barrels per day (bpd), two Saudi-based industry sources said, from its output increase in March when it offset lost Libyan crude.

The kingdom temporarily produced 9 million to 9.2 million bpd in at least part of March, a third industry source said.

“Saudi is now producing around 8.5 to 8.6 million bpd, and the reason for the drop is just slower market demand,” said a Saudi-based industry source.

Deju vu for the third time in three days.
First they said the market was well-suplied, then there was a need for more crude and the Saudis assured it was, in their words, 'easy', to cover it.

They didn't. The reason is that 'speculators' are driving up price.

And now we see the circle come final: 'demand destruction'.

They seem to have the same bunch of excuses to churn out ad nauseum.
If, when, the world economy crashes this year, be sure to hear the same nonsense in 2013 or 2014, as we get a similar situation as we got in 2008 and again this year.

If, that is, we even get to that area again in the near future.
Each crash unloads us on more and more debt. In the end the entire financial system just goes belly-up. How many bailouts can you have? Can the entire world have a debtload like Japan - or worse?

If, that is, we even get to that area again in the near future.

Leiten, I read your comment from 9 april (on Drumbeat april 8) about the seminar. You write that the actual production data is close to the worst case scenario from a mathematical study done in Uppsala. Aleklett's prediction that total liquid production in 2030 is only 11% down will be based upon 'standard case', or maybe even 'lower best case', oilproduction scenario, so could be that he soon will revise the 2030 data.

I think this is very interesting. Saudi is cutting production when oil prices, worldwide, are over $120 a month. That just doesn't pass the smell test.

Ron P.

But they announced full allocations for next month.

Rembrandt thinks demand has fallen because some Japanese refineries are still down.

They are still suffering fuel and electricity shortages in Japan.

Fuel-Tanker Bookings to Japan Rise 59% After Quake, Tsunami Destroy Plants

At least 84 ships, scheduled to carry 6.2 million metric tons of fuels, were booked to sail to Japan from the Middle East, Asia and Europe as demand for imported fuel oil and crude surged, according to vessel transmissions captured by Bloomberg and ship fixtures compiled from Clarkson Research.

That compares with at least 53 vessels booked for 3.3 million tons of fuels in the three weeks before the quake, the data show.

I can't post all the ship details here, but basically Japan almost stopped making new oil deals right after its disaster, but is now buying some.

Only one of those ships left from the US, but I expect that the US will increase its distillate exports to other countries - especially in Latin America - to make up for shipments other countries have shipped to Japan.

That was for far east customers.
Europe and US are under their 2008 allocations.

Every time the Saudis try to ramp up prod from the re-worked fields the water rushes in, and they have to choke back.
This is why they have to drill more wells as they can not sustain production from the individual MRC wells.
Hence, the call for more rigs.
Looks like they are on a treadmill.
9.5 is prob their sustained capacity.
12-12.5 is the nameplate cap.ie their facilities are made to handle that much crude.

Every time the Saudis try to ramp up prod from the re-worked fields the water rushes in, and they have to choke back.

I think that's the problem. The Saudis claim to have 2.5 million barrels per day of reserve oil production capacity, but every time they open up the valves and rev up the pumps, all that comes out is more water. It overwhelms their water processing capability, and they have to cut back production to deal with it.

Their big old oil fields are turning to water, and they are in a state of denial about the problem. They are totally dependent on oil for revenue, domestic energy, and even water supply from their desalination plants, and once the oil runs out, they have nothing left but sand and camels.

they have nothing left but sand and camels.

Until they eat the camels.

Possibly, at $120 / barrel demand is down?

Also, at $120 / barrel, they are earning enough foreign exchange to run the Saudi economy?

The prices are set by the demand for oil futures contracts by hedge funds that use them to hedge other markets, especially movements in the currency market.

Well, to play Devil's advocate for the Saudis, IMF recently came out with a report which claimed 'nascent signs of demand destruction in the U.S.'.

There's two problems with this, of course:
1. It's only the U.S. and most demand growth comes from countries like China, India etc. Besides, U.S. demand growth is quite poor and tepid at any rate.
2. Part of the reason for the demand destruction is the Saudi's initial failure to deal effectively with prices, with they promised(as always), but failed to do(as always).

So, yes, even playing Devil's advocate was close to impossible.
There's only two ways to read this:

1. They are simply extremely close to their genuine cruide production capacity at about 9.1 mb/d(the Wikileaks papers suggest 9.8 as the limit) and cannot go much higher.

2. OR, they do have 4 mb/d in spare capacity(according to the latest IEA report released today) but feel they can play Russian Roulette with the world economy by withholding the crucial lifeblood it needs to function; oil.

The second alternative is possible but unlikely since option #2 requires that the situation was the same in 2008 and that they withheld supply then too, and if that was the case, rather than being out of oil to export, it didn't work then so why would it work now?

All this assuming, of course, that they have the near-mythological 'spare capacity' we keep hearing about that they will use when there is a problem with prices, but fail to use in a full extent once we actually get these situations, as we got in 2008 and we have now.

The recent post by Foucher et al seems to buy this OPEC spare capacity myth quite enthusiastically, though; predicting Saudi production at 12 mb/d in four year's time.

Perhaps it's just that they are keeping and burning more of their own oil,,, or likely all of the above. Or maybe they're just tired of being the swing producer :-/

The recent post by Foucher et al seems to buy this OPEC spare capacity myth quite enthusiastically, though; predicting Saudi production at 12 mb/d in four year's time.

With that prediction they seem to throw away their middle case Saudi export math.

2. Part of the reason for the demand destruction is the Saudi's initial failure to deal effectively with prices, with they promised(as always), but failed to do(as always).

As long as the demand destruction is at a lower rate than the price increases, it is beneficial to OPEC and to the Saudis. The rise in prices has been relatively gradual compared with 2008, and it is really not yet a "spike". Therefore, the Saudis can better assess the long term demand destruction and the long term price elasticity in the market. So long as they don't see and "overshooot" in long term demand destruction, they have no motivation to increase production.

The Saudis will be careful to "boil the frog" slowly this time, so it doesn't jump out of the pail.

The Saudis are not stupid, they know that $120 oil will eventually hit the economy and drive it into a second dip recession. They would avoid that if they could. They had much rather have prices below $100 a barrel to prevent an economic collapse.

The prices are NOT set by demand for futures. The WTI contract is by far the widest traded future in the world and it is the cheapest contract in the world. Brent contract volume is about half the volume of WTI and that's about it as far as future contracts go. There are no futures traded on Tapis, Alaska North Slope or any of that very high priced oil.

Therefore to claim that contracts on the cheapest oil in the world is what is driving prices up is just silly.

Oil prices are set by the world's spot markets. I would entertain the suggestion however that WTI futures prices are holding the price down but that would be a hard sell. But to even suggest that hedge funds buying WTI contracts at $15 a barrels below the world price, is what is driving up the price on the world's spot markets is beyond the pale.

Futures contracts are not oil, they are just pieces of paper... Well actually they are just bits in a computer data base.

Ron P.

While a $120 / barrel price may cause a double dip recession in the US, I doubt that a mild to medium recession in the US would be to objectionable to the Saudis, so long as it doesn't result in a global recession. Currently, there appears to be less correlation among the leading G-20 economies than there was in 2008. A US recession is unlikely to cause recession in other economies that are less sensitive to oil prices, and various countries have taken steps to isolate themselves from contagion by another US financial crisis.

As for the role of institutional investors in driving the 2008 spike, see Testimony of Michael W. Masters
Managing Member / Portfolio Manager -- Masters Capital Management, LLC -- before the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs -- United States Senate

You have asked the question “Are Institutional Investors contributing to food and energy price inflation?” And my unequivocal answer is “YES.” In this testimony I will explain that Institutional Investors are one of, if not the primary, factors affecting commodities prices today. Clearly, there are many factors that contribute to price determination in the commodities markets; I am here to expose a fast-growing yet virtually unnoticed factor, and one that presents a problem that can be expediently corrected through legislative policy action.
What we are experiencing is a demand shock coming from a new category of participant in the commodities futures markets: Institutional Investors. Specifically, these are Corporate and Government Pension Funds, Sovereign Wealth Funds, University Endowments and other Institutional Investors. Collectively, these investors now account on average for a larger share of outstanding commodities futures contracts than any other market participant.
In the popular press the explanation given most often for rising oil prices is the increased demand for oil from China. According to the DOE, annual Chinese demand for petroleum has increased over the last five years from 1.88 billion barrels to 2.8 billion barrels, an increase of 920 million barrels.8 Over the same five-year period, Index Speculatorsʼ demand for petroleum futures has increased by 848 million barrels.9 The increase in demand from Index Speculators is almost equal to the increase in demand from China!

The testimony of Michael Masters has been debunked time and time again. I can show you dozens of pages where there is testimony that speculators are not responsible for high oil prices. Google it and you will come up with dozens of them.

Blame Governments, Not Speculators for High Oil Price
Speculators Fixing Oil Prices? Don’t Bet On It
Shocker: Federal Regulators Conclude That Oil Speculators Not Responsible For High Gas Prices

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has released financial data indicating that commodities traders engaged in oil speculation have had little impact on oil prices (if anything they’ve driven prices down), much to the chagrin of Washington politicians on both sides of the aisle who thought they’d found the perfect scapegoat for high gas prices.

And from the Wall Street Journal: See You Later, Speculator

It was said to be the year of speculators gone wild. Seemingly everyone in Washington, including Barack Obama and John McCain, decided that oil prices were soaring because profiteers and middlemen were manipulating the futures markets. "Speculators" were spotted everywhere this side of the grassy knoll.

The only problem is that there's no evidence to support the conspiracy theories -- and sure enough, federal regulators dismantled this Beltway consensus late last week. In one of the broadest and most authoritative studies to date, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has offered hard statistical data that financial trading hasn't been driving price moves. The CFTC conducted an unprecedented Wall Street data sweep and scrutinized millions of transactions worth billions of dollars between January and June of this year.

Bold mine. But if this is not enough to put that silly myth to bed, the fact that the most traded futures contract in the world has the cheapest oil in the world should kill this very silly myth that speculators are responsible for high oil prices. But the first blockquote I posted may be close to the truth. It said if anything they're driving prices down.

Ron P.

COMMODITY FUTURES MARKET REFORM -- from Petroleum Marketers Association of America

Commodity futures markets were established as a tool for true physical hedgers to manage risk. Today, they have been highjacked as an investment tool by speculators looking to turn a profit. Pension funds, hedge funds, sovereign wealth funds and other institutional investments in commodities have exploded from $13 billion in 2003 to $317 billion in July 2008. Investment-only speculators that engage in a “buy and hold strategy” serve no purpose in the commodity markets, other than to diminish its role as a tool for managing risk and discovering a fair market price for physical hedgers such as petroleum marketers, airlines and farmers.

Most economists now agree that the U.S. economy entered a recession in December 2007 with the supply of crude oil increasing and the demand for crude oil decreasing during the first half of 2008, though oil prices continued to skyrocket. When crude oil reached $150 a barrel for December delivery in July of 2008 and then fell to $33 in December, it was not completely a result of supply and demand fundamentals – it was influenced by excessively-leveraged speculators, index investors and hedge funds.

During the first six months of 2008, index speculators and hedge funds poured $55 billion into commodity indices which resulted in the buying of 145 million barrels of crude oil in the futures market. By late July and early August 2008, index speculators began to pull $70 billion out of commodity indices which resulted in the selling of 230 million barrels of crude oil.

During the first six months of 2008, index speculators and hedge funds poured $55 billion into commodity indices which resulted in the buying of 145 million barrels of crude oil in the futures market.

And an equal amount of funds were poured into commodity futures on the short side!

Merrill, the thing you do not seem to understand is that for every long bet on oil prices, there is also a short bet. Hedge funds or index speculators cannot make a long bet unless there is someone willing to take his bet, to take the short side of the contract.

I can post URLs and blockquotes from them until the cows come home. But you must explain why people are willing to take the short side of every long bet. And they must! For every long bet there is always a corresponding short bet.

And think about the very idea that the world's most traded futures contract trades at an average of $15 below the spot prices of most of the world's oil. You have continually ignored that amazing fact! Until you admit that this is hard evidence that speculators are not running up the price but, if anything, holding the price down, then all your URLs and blockquotes ring hollow.

Are you incapable of putting your argument in your own words as I have?

Ron P.

If a group of new buyers come into the futures market with a demand for long oil contracts to hedge, for example, currency risk, then the new demand will increase prices until enough short sellers are found to clear the market.

The WTI contract is not the world's most traded futures contract. There are more liquid contracts in foreign exchange and stock indexes.

Not all transactions occur on exchanges, such as the CME and ICE, and there are secondary derivatives such as futures swaps that are traded between parties.

Only the WTI contract on the CME settles by physical delivery. The Brent contract on the CME and ICE settles financially, as does the WTI on the ICE. The Argus index, the Russian contract, and others also settle financially. The requirement for physical delivery at an inconvenient location probably accounts for the lower prices of the WTI.

The WTI contract is not the world's most traded futures contract. There are more liquid contracts in foreign exchange and stock indexes.

It is the most traded Crude Oil futures contract. You knew damn well what I meant. You were just avoiding the question.

Not all transactions occur on exchanges, such as the CME and ICE, and there are secondary derivatives such as futures swaps that are traded between parties.

Name another exchange where crude oil futures are traded. Tocom has a cash settlement only contract. Dubai has a very lightly traded crude contract. Any other contract traded is miniscule compared to the NYMEX. Secondary derivatives cannot possibly affect the contract price of the primary derivative! You are saying that future contracts on other futures contracts can affect the price of oil.

The requirement for physical delivery at an inconvenient location probably accounts for the lower prices of the WTI.

There is never a requirement for physical delivery. Anyone holding a long or short can always opt to settle in cash. But that doesn't answer the question of how WTI can push up the price of OPEC oil, or TAPIS, or any other contract well above the price of WTI. Tapis is now $20 above WTI. How is that possible based on hedge funds trading WTI contract?

Ron P.

The point of commodity speculation is to try to make money on speculation, then inflate prices so that essential goods rise in price to then ... crash the economy ... LOL


Kind of like a rube-goldberg device I guess.

On March 30 I posted this:

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.


Apparently I was too optimistic. It's becoming clearer that KSA exports in late April may well be below the more or less stable level we saw from about mid-January to mid-March before the 'surge' - if you can call a few weeks of a few extra shipments a surge. Shipping reports this week (not shown here) indicate a rather significant fall off in Persian Gulf exports coming near the end of April.

Repeated false pronouncements from OPEC members will not stop the oil price ‘superspike’ from developing. The only way to drive prices down now is with a general worldwide economic slowdown, but even Japan shows no sign of reducing oil demand (when you add in the extra proxy purchases of oil by buying oil products from mostly Far Eastern countries, as some of their refining capacity may be offline for some time).

Sam Foucher does not agree.

I tend to do so.

Prices crashing right now - Brent down to $122 (-4.5%), WTI to $105 as of 15:50 BST


Seems to be to do with Japan raising to level 7 - all commodities heavily hit:


I find it interesting that Tapis more or less stays where it was before the weekend.
Anyone might know why?

Check the Time column.

Name 	        Last 	Change 	% 	                Time 	     
Brent   Blend 	123.38 	-4.04 	-3.269999846816063 	14.04 	     
Tapis 	        131.96 	-0.97 	-0.7400000002235174 	11.04

I suppose that we are just finding out how much speculation there is within the oil markets. The trick to "making money" in the markets is knowing when to get out. Or, as Warren Buffet is reported to have said: "You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out"...

E. Swanson

Ha! Great quote. Personally I think, like the other commodities, oil's absolute price is very much artificially inflated by speculation but its trend is still a very useful reflection of the global situation.

So now we get to see the degree of speculation in the markets perhaps. 5-10% perhaps. Lets watch the change in price. Goldman is trying to talk down oil by 20% - maybe they have a lot of short positions. LMAO.

And they call trading an honest business. It is total BS. They are using the media to improve their books. Like asking athletes to shave points in a game I guess.

Seems to be to do with Japan raising to level 7 - all commodities heavily hit

Or with Gaddafi accepting ceasefire.

IEA details how oil prices could derail world's economy

Few expected OPEC oil producers to formally agree to pump more to bring prices down, the IEA said.

“That leaves a less palatable route to price moderation — namely economic slow-down and weaker demand growth,” it said in its monthly report.

I would re-word part of the IEA statement to "namely economic depression and severe demand destruction."

Few expected OPEC oil producers to formally agree to pump more to bring prices down, the IEA said.

I don't get it. Either OPEC has the spare capacity to pump more or they don't. Which is it? Choose one IEA! No, instead we get this kind of bizarro world, 'they probably have it', 'they will pump more if needed', 'well no one really thought they would "FORMALLY" agree to pump more'. What in the living F&%# are you talking about? Make some sense IEA!

According to EIA, not a single OPEC country increased production between January and February OR between February and March.


Startling! Provided that is an accurate listing of OPEC oil production, it says a lot. Opec total is down from Jan-Mar 1.69 but Libya is down 1.35, which means not only did the other opec countries not cover any of Libya's shortfall, they actually produced less!

And look at Iraq dropping from 2.6 to 2.4 from Jan-Mar. What happened to ramping up to 10-14 mbd?

Rising Rail Shipments Show U.S. Expansion Gaining Momentum

April 12 (Bloomberg) -- Growth in railroad-shipping volume shows the U.S. economic expansion is gaining momentum, even with rising energy prices in the first quarter.

Total rail volumes excluding grain and coal shipments rose 7.9 percent to 4.6 million carloads in the quarter ended March 31, according to data compiled by the Association of American Railroads in Washington. It was the second-highest increase in a first quarter, following last year’s 9.3 percent rise.

“This is almost double the first-quarter growth rates of the last economic recession, during the 2003-2006 recovery period,” said John Mims, a transportation analyst in Richmond, Virginia, at BB&T Corp. Rail volumes were on the “high end” of his expectations for the first quarter, and his projections for the second quarter assume the pace of volume recovery will continue.

I couldn't find comparable data for trucking. However, the rail freight statistics from ARA indicate that intermodal container traffic is increasing briskly, so maybe there is a shift from truck to rail.

Hello TODers:

I don’t know if you remember me, but I lurked a number of years and then posted a bit last year. I faded out because I was focusing on publishing my novel, Beaufort 1849, about a man who, after years abroad, returns to Beaufort, South Carolina and tries to convince the planters there to change their economy to avert the coming storm of war. Traces of many of the concepts and ideas discussed on TOD over the last couple years found their way into the book, including such disparate topics as crop rotation, technological innovation, how to motivate a society to change, the difficulties of being a Cassandra, and what happens to societies that don’t change when the writing is on the wall. (Though I do have to say, the only oil mentioned is whale oil.)

The history of Beaufort, South Carolina was especially interesting to capture. Full of wealthy, highly educated and cultured citizens, it was the birthplace of the secession movement; then, in late 1861, it was one of the first towns to be captured by Northern forces. Its civilization disappeared, quite literally, overnight.

Though the novel is proving popular with its readers, I confess few are leaping to make the parallel between the South’s refusal to change and our own modern predicament. (Perhaps the plot overwhelms the cautionary tale embedded within it, but I really wanted it to be a book that all sorts of people would read, even teenagers on a beach.) My hope is that the idea, once planted, will percolate into consciousness. I thought you all might find it interesting to know about one of the ways that the ideas swirling about this board have manifested in the outer world.

Best wishes,
Karen Lynn Allen (taomom)

I've been thinking of this for awhile, how corn and cotton are becoming so similar. Soil robbers, industrial crops sown not for eating but for processing. They still package cottonseed oil for feed, same with DDG's.

Trouble with corn is we can't just leave it at that. Even here in the states we tire of buying even more clothes; we never tire of more energy, going faster, easier.

I think you're right, there are many similarities between cotton of the antebellum South and present day corn. Their cultivation both involved/involves an energy source (slavery/fossil fuels) that was/is not sustainable (politically for the South;geologically and environmentally for the present) necessitating change. Both crops provide(d) enormous wealth to a small entrenched group of people who had/have every possible interest in continuing the status quo. (Cotton, at least, was not directly subsidized by the taxpayer, although one could argue it was subsidized by the slaves themselves instead since their lack of wages kept the price lower than it should have been.) In both cases, the energy input (slavery/fossil fuels) were/are enormous sources of wealth separate from the crop, so that people profiting from the energy source also had/have a vested in interest in the method of crop cultivation not changing.

One big difference is that cotton fueled the majority of the Southern economy at the time. Though corn is indeed a 9000 lb agricultural gorilla these days, it's not quite as dominant now as cotton was then. And, of course, cotton didn't turn into more slaves the same way corn is now (inefficiently and at taxpayers' expense) turned into more fuel.

In studying the time period, it's clear the South had gotten itself in quite a trap. (I love Thomas Jefferson's quote about slavery, "We have the wolf by the ears and feel the danger of holding on or letting go.") The wealthier cotton made the South, the more impossible it was to let go of the slave economy even though it was obvious to many that the world and its mores were changing around them rapidly and not changing might eventually prove fatal. The profit in cotton, for instance, made the South by and large miss out on the industrial revolution because with money rolling in, there was no need to bother opening factories or mills. Slavery meant there was no need to innovate and through machinery become more efficient with their use of labor.

The South needed to wean itself off slavery and transition to fossil fuels as an energy source. Now we need to transition from fossil fuels to what, we're not exactly sure. I think both corn and cotton are possible to grow in a sustainable, non-soil robbing way, (via crop rotations, fallow years) but this would produce lower yields and, hence, lower profits.

Welcome back taomom

O.K. - you made a sale. Your comments intrigued me so I jumped over to Amazon and read the reader reviews and got more intrigued. Just downloaded it to my IPad.

I have been thinking a lot about being a Cassandra recently as I have tried (unsuccessfully) to explain what I think is a coming economic storm to family and friends. Not a subject people want to think about.

Thanks, Texas Engineer. Maybe after you're done you could loan the book out to a family member (I think Kindle allows one e-loan?)and then mention the eerie similarities between the book and the present day. (Of course, they may still look at you like you're out of your mind!) I would be interested in your perceptions of how the main character, Jasper, deals with his role of playing Cassandra. I don't think it's giving anything away to say that he doesn't succeed in his quest to win over the planters and prevent a war, but he does give it a good try.

I think Kindle allows one e-loan?

I believe the nook does and the Kindle does not.

One of the arguments for non DRM books. Or being able to create a secondary 'used book' for electronic books.

The problem is that since ebooks don't get shelfworn, have their spines break, get peanut butter and jelly on them, etc. and cost nothing to mail, one single ebook could eventually be read by everyone on the planet. Which is a bummer if one has a desire to make even a tiny bit of money off one's creation.

I personally would be fine with three or four loans per ebook since that is what a normal book might get. (But I don't get to set nook or Kindle policy.)

And conversely will be a boon to mankind when society breaks down and everyone can share a resource truly free from the bounds of scarcity. Though until that happens I hope you make enough money to keep writing.

I keep looking back towards the Shareware model, which basically puts a 'Tip Jar and a Wink' with the content, and as artfully as possible reminds recipients to show their gratitude.

I don't suggest that this should be the ONLY route for an author to be compensated, but if it's made easy enough to toss them a buck or a quarter, then the benefits of the broadly distributed e-book could be fairly worthwhile, AND reflective of the title's actual usage.. (while remaining available and helpful to the 'withouts' as well.. particularly since the duplication costs have been eliminated.

Things may be headed that way. I think the publishing industry is terrified of the Itunes model that has sucked all the profits out of the music industry. (Because the cost of a song is so low, I've jokingly heard Itunes described as more of a tax than a purchase.) The publishing industry knows that things are changing rapidly but they are like deer in the headlights and have little idea what to do about it. It seems to be the same for all content able to be delivered electronically of whatever medium--news, music, movies, books. There is even talk that eventually it will come to pass is that the only way to make money off of content is real-life physical derivatives of the content (toys, real-life concerts, and, heck, I don't know what. It used to be books. . .) I know when I was younger, musicians did tours to promote their records. Now it seems they put out records to get people to come their concerts, the present day cash cow.

I think the answer is write re-readable books. A book so enthralling or so useful that people will want to own their own copy, rather than borrow one and have to give it back.

Publishers do not have much incentive to do this. In fact, their incentive is the opposite: to publish "disposable" books that people will read just once. They don't want you re-reading old books instead of buying new ones.

Interesting. I hadn't thought about publishers' incentive to put out lightweight books that readers can tear through in one afternoon and then be on to the next. Of course my goal as an author is just the opposite--to put out a book captivating enough that it deserves to be re-read and rich enough that people might be able to get more out of it the second time through.

There is speculation that most books will move to ebooks, but that people will still acquire physical copies of the books they really love--to the point that one's collection of physical books will be a defining "life statement." My husband is a big gadget guy and an early adopter of the Kindle, and I've certainly been glad to no longer have to dispose of his stream of trashy airplane reading! But as an author, ebooks are disconcertingly ephemeral. After an ebook has been read, it doesn't sit on a shelf, get loaned to a friend (at least not usually), get donated to a library, sold at a garage sale, etc. It only really exists in the memory of the reader.

I have no idea where the industry will go, although I do hear alot of the same fears the movie industry voiced when VCR's came out.

I have a brother who's an English prof, classics. So I've been thru the "literature" debates. The comment of "trashy airplane reading" is way off the mark, at least for communicating a PO message. This is precisely the target audience authors need to concentrate on.

I lament the intellectual nature of PO thus far, confined to analysis, Kunstler and Savinar, or authors who would rather good reviews in Kirkus than USA Today. The former may be much more satisfying, but not what is needed.

You've probably seen Clay Shirky's Thinking the Unthinkable. He argues that digital media and distribution is as huge a sea change as the invention of the printing press, and will be a similar paradigm shift. And no one can predict what the world will be like afterward.

On the one hand, I could imagine a world where e-books are cheap, but so are costs. There was an article in the McPaper awhile back, about authors who self-published e-books. One woman priced her books at 99 cents each, like a song on ITunes...and sold half a million copies. In one month. OTOH...digital music was supposed to be the way indy artists reached an audience directly, and it hasn't really worked out that way. Instead, technology has created a world where the superstars get an ever larger share, shutting out everyone else.

The Kindle now allows you to lend your books. As with a paper book, you cannot read it while it is lent out.

I wonder if books are one good way to promote peak oil? I am not thinking academia but the sort of beach and pool side reads we see touristas using up their precious vacation time on. Just as a side plot. Creep subliminally into their mind. Just a thought.


Maybe I'm just old fashioned. But that doesn't matter. We go for the stories, the narrative, our ear turns, and we listen on a deeper level it. The narrative is what we follow, and what PO, CC lack at this stage. Right now it's factual, or the stories are written on an apocalypse, end the world, Hollywood theme. Ed Abbey, I think, tried this for the environmental movement with his Monkey Wrench Gang. A start, I'm sure there are others, but none I know of for PO. Need a location, a set characters and hero, and perhaps John Steinbeck reborn. His depression narratives, not just Mice and Men, but of Doc and the boys, really ring thru decades later.

"We do it for the stories we can tell..."
Jimmy Buffet

and a song writer would be great too.

Ummmm, JHK?



His website looks like something a crank raver would do. He really needs to sort that out before I can start taking him seriously. That being said, he does occasionally have a nice turn of phrase...

Perhaps you're not his target audience.

And that's the problem. Doom or comic putdowns don't circulate as well or long as the traditional narrative.

It's instructive to me watch how the genera changed in the mass pulp fiction market, ie detective or mystery genera. Starting with Dashiel Hammett and continuing thru the 70's, the hero was more or less anti-establishment, the cops were out to lunch. Now they are the tops, corruption is no longer a big theme, DNA and lab work catch a deviant to society. Hard to say if the cart is leading the horse.

In that genera, the 60's John MacDonald consistently loaded his novels with an environmental theme, along with racy covers and loads of beach bunnies.

MacDonald would fit at TOD today, here's a selection from a 60's novel, Bright Orange for the Shroud:

"In some remote year the historians will record that Twentieth Century America attempted the astonishing blunder of changing its culture to fit automobiles instead of people, putting a skin of concrete and asphalt over millions of acres of arable land, rotting the hearts of their cities so encouraging the proliferation of murderous, high speed junk that finally when the invention or the Transporlon rendered the auto obsolete, it took twenty years and half a trillion dollars to obliterate the ugliness of all the years of madness, and rebuild the supercities in a manner to dignify the human instead of his toys."

Pretty tough on the auto nation. I bet JHK took note.

Whoever wrote this got everything right but the cost. It'll be more like 100 trillion. Ah well.

It was John D. MacDonald, "Bright Orange for the Shroud", published 1965. One his >80 pulp fiction novels, praised by Kurt Vonnegut to Stephen King to Mary Higgins Clark.

Too heavy for the beach or pool. Needs to be some sort of romance or bodice ripper with the PO stuff worked in at a subliminal level. It shouldn't be the prime subject but something that bites little bits off the corner of the mind and leaves that nagging doubt about BAU.


Something in the vein of 'The Da Vinci Code' perhaps - mysterious/plausible enough to let people think they've stumbled onto a conspiracy/taboo but trashy enough to make it hugely popular.

Of course, you'd have to swallow your pride to write something like that..

That is a hot trend, and has been for awhile, as evidence by "reality" shows. People are just more interested "true" stories, or at least stories that seem like they could be true. A big part of the appeal of The Da Vinci Code is that it introduced people to an idea they had not been previously exposed to, one that seemed like it could be true.

Now that I think about it, Kurt Cobb's Prelude is probably an attempt at a peak oil version of The Da Vinci Code.

That's true of all fiction, there has to be a large element of truth. That's my problem with Hollywood, too often it leaves me cold, irregardless of special effects, as unbelievable.

The problem of Brown's "Da Vinci Code", or Khoury's "Last Templar", or back farther to Preston's "Hot Zone" is they were one shot. I haven't read Cobb's Prelude, but hope he has more staying power than Brown.

Crieghton was able to take that twist of running with new medicine or science in a thriller and keep at it, til he died anyway. But to revisit PO each book, I think you need a character readers return to, much as in pulp fiction. James Burke had an almost "liberal" lead in his detective novels of the Gulf, and was able to visit many of the horrors of oil production. Stieg Larsson is the new rage, and violence and trashy themes are tantamount. But think what Salander could do for PO, if Larsson were alive.

Ooh, you could help me here - are Larsson's books on par with Brown's? If so, I can save a large portion of my time by giving them a wide berth!

That's true of all fiction, there has to be a large element of truth.

In the sense that people have to be able to relate to it, sure. But the "reality" trend is different. I think it got its start during the first Gulf War. People sat glued to CNN for hours, watching while nothing happened. Literally nothing. It was night, and there was just a green box on the screen - what it looks like at night, through nightvision gear, when nothing is happening. But hordes of viewers watched for hours, in hopes that something would happen.

Peak oil might benefit from that kind of reality. It's actually a fairly prominent theme in video games. The grandfather of them all, Doom, had the premise of the earth running out of resources, particularly oil. Fuel of War and its followup, Homefront, are peak oil scenarios. And a lot of other games have "running out of resources on earth" as a backdrop. That's good to raise awareness, but it doesn't make people think it's something they have to worry about.

I guess I'd say it's the difference between a Stephen King book or movie and Ghost Hunters. People may love King and buy every one of his books, but it's Ghost Hunters that gets them to stake out cemeteries or start worrying that their house is haunted.

Your book sounds interesting and I'll be sure and look it up. For low-country flavor with collapse built-in there is also “Tombee: Portrait of a Cotton Planter” from over on St. Helena Island. I think Chaplin, the plantation owner, pretty much lost everything during the civil war. You can also stop at the intersection of Matthew Drive and Highway 278 on Hilton Head Island and look at the Kirk graves to get a feeling for the hardships endured. I like it down there during the hottest part of the year when the sweltering air challenges your endurance, bakes the fragrances from the pine forests and becomes land breeze rushing towards the sea at night. I'm really hungry for some shrimp now. Thanks.

The Sea Islands are so beautiful, they truly do cast a spell. Hope you can find some shrimp.


Anyone believe that oil Brent crude will pull back in price by 20% ?

Their rationale was interesting:

“Both inventories and spare capacity are much higher now and net speculative positions are four times as high as in June 2008.”

I wonder what data they have that is telling them that inventories and spare capacity is much higher now than 2008?

I guess they have better dipsticks that we do. LOL

Just for completeness, here''s the follow on from the stories I posted from Jamaica yesterday. Disaster averted, the government has reduced the tax on gasoline, we're saved! /sarc

Gas tax rollback - Government cuts petrol prices, PNP calls off protest

THE BRUCE Golding administration yesterday rolled back the rate of ad valorem tax on fuel at the eleventh hour from 15 per cent to 10 per cent, effective Thursday, in an apparent bid to ward off national protests.

Following a marathon meeting of Cabinet, the Government stated that the temporary reduction in the gas tax would lower petrol prices by between $4 and $5 per litre (US$0.18 - 0.22 per US gallon).

Alan from the islands

Interesting shape to the WTI price chart today. Dropped fast before lunch, then hit a floor at ~$106. I guess I will get 5 cents off at my local pump tomorrow.

LOL. Don't count on that 5 cents. I know you were being tongue and cheek though ;-)

API shows smaller-than-expected supply increase

Crude-oil inventories increased by 1.2 million barrels in the week to April 8, the American Petroleum Institute reported late Tuesday.

API also reported a decline of 4.6 million barrels for gasoline stockpiles, and a decline by 3.7 million barrels for distillates inventories.

While the API and EIA weekly report are not always in alignment, the API also reported a significant fall in gasoline inventories last week. So the two week decline is quite steep. In fact, 2011 has probably seen the fastest seasonal fall in gasoline inventories ever for the first part of the year.

In fact, 2011 has probably seen the fastest seasonal fall in gasoline inventories ever for the first part of the year.

I was out doing some business (in CA) and tried in vein to get into the cheapo (4.12 a gal.) gas station, but ended up jockying for an open spot at a 4.20 a gal. station across town. People seemed like they were in a panic to fuel up, and I'm wondering if that's why inventories are depleting fast. You could see the panic in people's eyes, sort of like that look lions get when positioning for part of the carcass.

What's the considered opinion on the likelihood of seeing serious shortages at gas stations within this year?


There should not be a shortage this year in the US. Gasoline prices will continue to rise until they destroy some demand. The only reason we would have a widespread shortage is through a natural disaster like a hurricane or government price fixing. Having high prices does increase the risks of shortages because inventory levels should be low by August or September when hurricane season really gets underway.

You shouldn't see shortages unless there is a disaster or the government imposes price controls. In a free market, the price will simply rise to the point where some people (e.g. you) can't afford to buy any more.

It always frightens me when people say that no price is too high to stop them from buying, because there is always such a price, and it means that the market price will probably rise to a price they can't afford, regardless of how high that price is.

Price controls don't work, though, because they don't address the fundamental problem that there is not enough supply.

There is a serious shortage in my wallet each time I stop at the gas station

Thanks all.

Another dot in the connect-the-dot puzzle.

It seems that there are unforseen consequences to out-sourceing a nation's manufacturing capability.

Intelligence and the Decline of U.S. Manufacturing

“Last month Forbes reported that the continued erosion of the U.S. manufacturing base has gotten so serious that the Director of National Intelligence has begun preparation of a National Intelligence Estimate… to assess the security implications of the decline of American manufacturing,” said Rep. Schakowsky, a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

“Our growing reliance on imports and lack of industrial infrastructure has become a national security concern,” said Rep. Schakowsky.

Jeez, these folks just keep getting smarter all the time....

Do you think they might actually understand basic concepts of finite resources soon, or are we too harsh on them?

Since the JOE 2008 and JOE 2010 were published it's been clear that the military gets it. I suppose that the intellegence community is just a bit late to the party, or at least late accepting their invitation. Busy with other commitments, I'm sure.