Drumbeat: April 20, 2011

Drilling fluid gushes from northern Pa. natural gas well into stream, forcing evacuation

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — A natural gas well in rural northern Pennsylvania spilled thousands of gallons of chemical-laced water on Wednesday, forcing the evacuation of seven families who live nearby as crews struggled to stop the gusher.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. lost control of the Marcellus Shale well site near Canton, in Bradford County, at about 11:45 p.m. Tuesday, officials said. Tainted water continued to flow from the site Wednesday afternoon, contaminating a nearby stream.

As gas prices soar, GOP uses Gulf oil-spill anniversary to blast Obama energy policies

Wednesday marks the one-year anniversary of the explosion at the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig that killed 11 workers while letting loose a toxic tide of oil into the Gulf of Mexico that damaged the maritime environment, disrupted the livelihoods of commercial fishermen, and set back America's petroleum-drilling efforts.

A look back at North Sea oil production projections

How did the US DOE/EIA and I do in our projections of Norwegian and U.K. oil production for 2010? Table II shows the comparison.

Gulf drilling delays fail to stem US oil flow

US oil production this year is on course to rise, independent forecasters believe, in spite of delays to drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, as the boom in the onshore oil industry offsets the slowdown offshore.

More Russian tankers to ply Arctic route despite cost

MOSCOW, April 20 (Reuters) - Russia's Sovcomflot will ship 3-4 cargoes of stable gas condensate from northwest Russia to Asia via the Arctic sea this year on behalf of Novatek (NOTK.MM) a senior Sovcomflot official said on Wednesday.

"We are planning to ship between 300,000 and 400,000 tonnes this year," he told reporters on the sidelines of a conference on the Russian Arctic.

Emarat petrol stations run dry in supply shortfall

Petrol pumps at Emarat stations across Dubai have run dry after delivery problems at the company’s depots hit fresh fuel supplies, station managers told Arabian Business.

After three days without supplies, workers said they have been forced to turn motorists away.

Emarat operations to return to normal Friday, company says

Abu Dhabi: The Dubai-based oil retailer Emarat said Wednesday all its petrol stations that suffered due to a shortage of fuel would return to normal operations by Friday.

In a statement issued through the WAM news agency, Emarat said the “shortage occurred due to logistics issues as a result of fuel tankers not arriving to the loading docks as per the delivery schedule”.

Sinopec Halts Fuel Exports on Shortage as Refiners Make Loss

(Bloomberg) -- China Petrochemical Corp., Asia's biggest oil refiner, halted fuel exports to ease a domestic shortfall as high crude costs and price caps cause private refiners to cut back on production.

Sinopec Group, as the company is known, "stopped exporting to other regions apart from sustaining the basic resource needs of Hong Kong and Macau," it said in its online newsletter today. The Beijing-based company will run its refineries at full capacity and cut petrochemical production to boost output of gasoline and diesel for domestic use, it said.

2 injection well companies request more time to study possible connection to Ark. earthquakes

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission says two natural gas exploration companies have agreed to extend the shutdowns of two injection wells as researchers study whether they are linked to a recent increase in earthquakes in central Arkansas.

Deadlock over Iran oil and gas takes toll

Oil and gas-rich Iran may shrug off the impact of US and European Union sanctions over its nuclear programme, but at the country’s annual oil and gas exhibition it is clear that the measures are having an effect on its hydrocarbons sector.

Libya unrest halts Elephant charge

Fighting in Libya continues to hold up a planned share deal between Italy’s Eni and Russian gas giant Gazprom.

UAE’s foreign minister says recent detentions of rights activists ‘fully in line’ with the law

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — The United Arab Emirates’ recent detentions of activists in the Gulf federation were carried out according to the law, said the country’s foreign minister Wednesday, without specifying any charges.

The comments by Sheik Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan are the first from a senior federal official in the oil-rich country, a key regional ally of the United States, about reports that four prominent activists had been arrested.

Putin 'surprised' by BP’s Russian rumble

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin “simply knew nothing” about factors which eventually derailed a planned $16 billion tie up between BP and Rosneft.

Ukraine, Russia begin talks on cutting down natural gas price - Azarov

KIEV (Itar-Tass) - Ukraine and Russia have begun talks on cutting down the price for natural gas, Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov said Wednesday as he met with Thomas Mirow, the president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Russia's Transneft says may sue China's CNPC

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian oil pipeline monopoly Transneft said on Wednesday it may file a lawsuit against China's CNPC in a London court over what it said were underpayments for oil supplies.

The dispute, which escalated last month when news of the alleged underpayments first emerged, may undermine Russian attempts to secure a fresh landmark deal with China on natural gas supplies.

Interview: Jim Sinclair on Gold and the World Financial System

HRN: Would you say that inflation in food prices is indirectly driving oil prices higher?

Jim Sinclair: Oil goes right through from fertilizers to farm equipment to transportation and to food prices. The price of food is going to go even higher than we are seeing this year. The price of oil is headed decidedly higher. Peak Oil was a concept of the future. Now it’s a concept of now. A car getting 25 miles per gallon will probably be too expensive for the average person to drive.

Horizon: One year later

TODAY marks the first anniversary of the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon, an exploratory rig drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, that triggered one of the largest oil spills in history. The full environmental and economic impacts of the spill can't be fully assessed at this point, but in general terms, we can say that the grimmest fears have not been realised, and the Gulf coast is on the road to recovery.

Deepwater Horizon: One Year Later

A year ago today, an explosion on Transocean's Deepwater Horizon ultra-deepwater semisubmersible, positioned at the Macondo Prospect in Mississippi Canyon Block 252, in the Gulf of Mexico, took the lives of 11 men and caused the largest marine oil spill in history.

Gulf oil disaster still puzzles scientists

(CNN) -- One year after the chocolaty crude started spewing out of the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, leading to the largest accidental oil spill in history, scientists say they're still trying to piece together what's happening to the environment.

Some potential clues about the impact of the spill have made themselves known: dead baby dolphins and sea turtles; oiled brown pelicans; fish with strange sores; sticky marsh grasses; tar balls on beaches.

But the big picture hasn't come into focus yet.

Dudley: The Lessons of Deepwater Horizon

A year ago [Wednesday, April 20], the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded, killing 11 men and causing the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. At BP we regret that the accident happened and the impact it has had on the environment of the Gulf Coast and people living there.

Offshore drilling: Slow comeback after BP

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Oil drilling is returning to the Gulf of Mexico, but slowly.

One year after BP's Macondo well blew out -- claiming 11 lives and sparking a ban on deepwater drilling -- 11 new deepwater and 49 shallow water drilling permits have been issued, according to the federal agency that oversees offshore drilling.

Dutch tighten precautions after Deepwater disaster

DEN HELDER, Netherlands (AP) -- Dutch authorities say drilling operators and marine rescue units have three rapid-response exercises planned this year as part of lessons learned from the oil blowout in the Gulf of Mexico last year.

Deepwater Horizon Spurs Development of Spill Prevention Systems

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in April 2010 prompted the creation of oil spill response systems for use in the Gulf of Mexico and in the North Sea. Two oil spill prevention systems are now available for oil and gas producers in the Gulf of Mexico, and a well capping device is currently under construction in the UK that will be used as part of the UK oil and gas industry's oil spill response efforts.

One Year Later: Assessing the Lasting Impact of the Gulf Spill

On the anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, the worst fears about the long-term damage from the oil spill have not been realized. But the big challenge is more fundamental: repairing the harm from the dams, levees, and canals that are devastating the Mississippi Delta and the Louisiana coast.

Tepco Must End ‘Whack-a-Mole,’ Cover Fukushima Reactors as Typhoons Loom

Tokyo Electric Power Co. must speed up plans to cover reactors at its crippled nuclear plant and drain tainted water to prevent more radiation leaks as Japan’s cyclone season approaches, engineering professors said.

In 2004, eight cyclones passed over or skirted Japan’s Tohoku region, where the Fukushima Dai-Ichi power station is spewing radiation after an earthquake and tsunami on March 11. The earliest was in May that year, according to Japan’s weather agency data. The eyes of two storms passed within 300 kilometers of Tohoku last year, the data show.

UN chief: More nuclear accidents are likely

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - The world must prepare for more nuclear accidents on the scale of Chernobyl and Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, the U.N. chief warned Wednesday, saying that grim reality will demand sharp improvements in international cooperation, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and others portrayed the growth of nuclear power plants as inevitable in an energy-hungry world as they spoke at a Kiev conference commemorating the explosion of a reactor at Ukraine's Chernobyl nuclear reactor 25 years ago.

Out of Disaster, a Burst of Enthusiasm for Bicycling

Mr.Kobayashi is director of the Bicycle Usage Promotion Study Group, a nonprofit organization that promotes usage of bicycles in Tokyo. Since March 11, when an earthquake devastated northern Japan and rattled the Tokyo metropolitan area, the streets of Suginami ward, where he lives, have teemed with wobbly bikers pedaling their way to work.

“The increase was sudden and visible,” he said during an interview.

US hi-tech energy unit extends life in budget deal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A high-tech U.S. research agency will get $130 million for programs that could one day decrease the cost of solar power and lessen dependence on rare earth metals used for alternative energy, the U.S. energy secretary said.

The funding, which partially came from this month's federal budget deal, will go to five new programs at the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or Arpa-E.

Ray LaHood: An energy-secure system must be a priority

Every time gas prices rise, families and businesses feel the pinch. Outraged politicians habitually respond with a lot of talk, but little action. When nothing gets done, the people they serve still are stuck with the bill. During my three decades in Washington — as a staffer, as a Congressman, as part of President Obama's cabinet — I have watched it happen over and over again.

Today, however, the cost of standing pat is greater than ever. Our economy is just beginning to generate growth and create jobs after the worst recession in memory. And sustained increases in oil prices could end up not only hitting families in their pocketbooks but also setting back our economic recovery.

The truth about American exceptionalism

Indeed, to me there are two American exceptionalisms. One is the exceptionally favorable circumstances the United States found itself in at its founding and over its first 200 years. The second is the exceptional way in which we have squandered those advantages, in the process creating a value system singularly antagonistic to the changes needed when those advantages disappeared.

Americans did not become rich because of our rugged individualism or entrepreneurial drive or technical inventiveness. We were born rich. Ann Richards’ famous description of George Bush Sr. as an individual is equally applicable to the United States as a whole, “He was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple.”

Sharon Astyk: The sustainable marriage

I get emails more or less constantly on this subject: "I want to prepare for peak oil/live more sustainably/change my life to deal with climate change and my spouse (and/or the rest of my family) don't want to, or don't think it is important enough."

This is something I've heard over and over - marriages struggling when partners have different ideas about what the right thing to do is. I've known several that have broken up over this issue, and a couple of others that are teetering on the brink.

Lester R. Brown: Let No Man Say It Cannot Be Done

We need an economy for the twenty-first century, one that is in sync with the earth and its natural support systems, not one that is destroying them. The fossil fuel-based, automobile-centered, throwaway economy that evolved in western industrial societies is no longer a viable model—not for the countries that shaped it or for those that are emulating them. In short, we need to build a new economy, one powered with carbon-free sources of energy—wind, solar, and geothermal—one that has a diversified transport system and that reuses and recycles everything. We can change course and move onto a path of sustainable progress, but it will take a massive mobilization—at wartime speed.

Research and Markets: Energy for a Sustainable World: From the Oil Age to a Sun-Powered Future Gives an Extensive Overview on Nuclear Energy Among Others

DUBLIN--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Research and Markets has announced the addition of John Wiley and Sons Ltd's new book "Energy for a Sustainable World: From the Oil Age to a Sun-Powered Future" to their offering.

An easy read, balancing the pros and cons, this book surveys the energy issue from a broad scientific perspective while considering environmental, economic, and social factors. It explains the basic concepts, provides a historical overview of energy resources, assesses our unsustainable energy system based on fossil fuels, and shows that the energy crisis is not only a tough challenge, but also an unprecedented opportunity to become more concerned about the world in which we live and the society we have built up.

Special Report: China set to unearth shale power

(Reuters) - China has spent tens of billions of dollars buying into energy resources from Africa to Latin America to slake the unquenched thirst for fuel from its growing industry and burgeoning cities.

But China may have more energy riches under its own soil than policy makers in the world's second-largest economy ever dared imagine.

Just over a year ago, Beijing awakened to a technology revolution that has unlocked massive reserves of gas trapped within shale rock formations in the United States.

Arab gas guzzling threatens global energy balance

NEW YORK/DUBAI — Middle Eastern demand for its own oil could be a bigger threat to the global energy balance than unrest in the region — at least long term. Rising demand at home threatens to limit Saudi Arabia’s key role as the world’s swing producer and could spell structurally higher prices for global markets.

A Saudi official this month expressed unusual public concern about the nation’s energy use. Oil consumption, boosted by car use and air conditioning, has risen by half in the past decade to an estimated 2.7 million barrels per day (bpd) this year. Saudi Aramco, the national oil group, reckons demand could reach 8.3 million bpd by 2030.

Currently, after exports and domestic consumption, Saudi has spare capacity estimated at 2.8 million bpd — a crucial buffer amounting to about 3 percent of global oil consumption. Aramco’s forecast suggests that could be fully absorbed by domestic demand this side of 2025.

Belarus economy appears to unravel in wake of terror attack, crackdown

A week after a powerful bomb killed 13 people in a Minsk subway station, and President Alexander Lukashenko warned of stiff punishment for anyone who spreads "panic," Belarus's state-guided economy appears to be unraveling. Now, worried Belarussians are emptying shop shelves of durable goods and line up outside banks in hopes of converting their rubles into dollars or euros.

U.S. fears Cuba oil drilling, Mexico suggests talks

(Reuters) - A top U.S. official said on Thursday they were concerned about Cuba opening its offshore waters to oil drilling, while Mexico, which has a boundary dispute with the island nation, said the three countries should try to work out differences.

"For us it is an issue of concern," said U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar about drilling in Cuban waters. "Obviously, because it's located 60 miles off the coast of Florida ... it's an issue that we're monitoring carefully."

In light of the BP Plc oil spill nearly a year ago, the U.S. is now worried that Cuba is unable to ensure its offshore drilling will be safe. Lax U.S. government oversight was faulted in the BP disaster.

First LNG super tanker docks in England

(Reuters) - One of the world's largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers docked at Isle of Grain terminal on Wednesday for the first time, terminal operator National Grid and importer Centrica said.

Qatar's Bu Samra, which can carry 265,000 cubic metres of LNG, is the first Q-Max tanker to arrive at the terminal in Kent since a new jetty allowed them to dock in December 2010.

Russia woos gas buyers on Balkan tour

OHRID, Macedonia—Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is in Macedonia, and invited the tiny Balkan country to consider joining in the proposed South Stream gas pipeline project.

Exclusive: Gaddafi's Libya dodges fuel sanctions via Tunisia

(Reuters) - Muammar Gaddafi's government is circumventing international sanctions to import gasoline to western Libya by using intermediaries who transfer the fuel between ships in Tunisia.

One intermediary company, Hong Kong-based Champlink, previously unknown to the oil trading community, has sought a transaction for fuel delivery into Libya, and European oil traders said they had been approached by other such firms.

Ecuador says oil firms to invest $450 mln in 2011

(Reuters) - Private oil companies will invest $450 million in Ecuador in 2011, the OPEC member's Oil Minister Wilson Pastor said in a radio interview on Wednesday.

The South American country has total annual crude output of around 470,000 barrels per day, making it the smallest producing member of OPEC.

Is it unfair to tar all oil drillers with the same brush?

Is the industry suggesting that it should go back to work without a reliable blowout preventer? Interestingly, the answer is yes. Gary Luquette, Chevron's president for North America exploration and production, has said he hopes the report on the Macondo blowout preventer doesn't halt the permitting process. He says "the best way to deal with a blowout is never to have one." Well, that's certainly true. ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson suggests that Macondo was a mere black swan event, by which he suggests let's get back to work. But he seems also to get the definition a bit turned around -- if we've learned anything in recent years, it's that black swan means a high impact occurrence that, though highly unexpected and improbable, can and does happen with devastating impact.

US oilman accused of bribing Jordan official to win contract

A member of Jordan’s royal family is accusing an American oilman and former GOP fundraiser of bribing the Jordanian government to facilitate his fuel shipments through the country to U.S. forces in Iraq.

Japan's energy crisis: What crisis?

As an example of excess, the famously luxurious Japanese toilet with sprays and dryers accounts for an amazing 4% of household-energy use, according to the trade ministry. Yet even the prime minister’s office has not yet turned them off. Avoiding microwaves, irons, hairdryers and other appliances at peak times could shave 1.4GW off demand, according to the Institute of Energy Economics.

Chile faces up to its energy crisis

According to some estimates, the world now consumes four times as much energy as it did four decades ago. And there are experts that warn this demand could triple in the next 40 years. It is no surprise then than some regions of the world are experiencing an energy crisis as they struggle to accommodate this rising demand.

Chile is no exception. According to a rationing decree published by President Sebastian Pinera, Chile's Central Interconnection System, or SIC as it is commonly known, is struggling to cope with demand in three central regions of the South American country.

Cars in Nepal line up for scarce fuel in shortage

KATMANDU, Nepal - A fuel shortage in Nepal's capital has forced cars, trucks and buses to line up for rationed gasoline and diesel. The country's latest energy crisis comes after the state-owned importer failed to pay its Indian supplier.

Few stations in Katmandu had any fuel to sell Tuesday. Those that were open limited sales to between about 1 and 5 gallons (5 and 20 liters) per customer.

Energy crisis: Ministry backtracks on offshore LNG terminal

ISLAMABAD: A month after the government announced its support for an offshore import terminal for liquefied natural gas, the newly appointed Adviser to Prime Minister on Petroleum Senator Asim Hussain on Monday ruled out gas import through a deep sea terminal.

Power consumption limit eased in Tajikistan

The regime of power supply in Tajikistan which was toughened about a month ago has been eased due to rising water levels in the Vakhsh River.

Generating the Unlikeliest of Heroes

DOHA, QATAR — Persuading the Indian immigration authorities to grant entry visas to illiterate African grandmothers who claim to be trainee solar engineers is no easy task.

Yet, Sanjit Bunker Roy, an Indian educator, has, since 2005, succeeded in bringing 140 such women to the Barefoot College, a school he founded in 1972 in Tilonia, a village in Rajasthan State, about 95 kilometers, or 60 miles, from the state capital, Jaipur.

A provocative work of social science fiction

LOUTH'S Riverhead Theatre embraces the dark side of comedy on Wednesday, April 27.

Dean Gibbons And The Knowledge Of Death is based on claims of evolutionary psychology and is set amidst the twin threats of peak oil production and climate change.

Beautiful Photos of a Community Tackling Peak Oil

When Al Jazeera did a feature on Transition Town Totnes, they showed the world a town that was taking on peak oil and climate change through community action. But for a slightly more off beat, surreal view of this initiative, check out photojournalist Ed Thompson's visual essay on Transition Town Totnes. From owls on railway station platforms through allotment gardens to solar panels on roofs, there are some beautiful and often unexpected shots.

The Peak Oil Crisis: Killing Off the Recovery

Since the middle of February oil prices have increased by some $22 a barrel. As the U.S. currently consumes just over 19 million barrels of oil a day, that means collectively we are now spending about $420 million a day more filling up our fuel tanks than we were two months ago.

Now some of us are wealthy enough to absorb this increased expenditure without a second thought, and some just tuck the added cost away on their credit card statements in hopes there will come a day when they can afford to pay it off. For most however, these higher fuel costs, and of course the higher food and nearly-everything-else bills that go with it, are being covered by foregoing other expenditures that are not an essential part of our lives.

Why the world oil supply decline will be faster than anyone expects

The man who invented peak oil, M. King Hubbert, got a few things wrong. Indeed, he was too optimistic.

The Oil Drum's Gail Tverberg pointed out some problems with the Hubbert Curve in a presentation this week at the 3rd Biophysical Economics Conference.

Insight: A 'Peak Oil' sceptic?

I am somewhat sceptical about ‘Peak Oil’, specifically the notion that there will be a supply-side peak in oil production in this current decade.

Those Wild And Crazy Peak Oil Contingencies And Indicators

Spiking oil prices are a walk in the park compared to what America's Joe Six Packs will be smacked with if Peak Oil turns out to be real. Tune in here for a sneak preview.

The Oil Weapon is Wielded

The final possibility is that the Saudis are using oil as a weapon. They’ve done this before. One of the more interesting theories about the cold war is that it wasn’t Ronald Regan, Margaret Thatcher, or John Paul II that defeated the Soviet Empire. It was Saudi Arabia! Check out the chart below and you’ll see what we mean.

Dubai considers exporting LNG

Two years after receiving its first imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG), Dubai may seek to develop export capacity so it can become a trading and transportcentre for the fuel.

Many Hit by Spill Now Feel Caught in Claim Process

BAYOU LA BATRE, Ala. — By October, Tim Nguyen found that his work in a Mississippi shipyard was no longer paying the bills. His hours had been cut back, part of the general ebb of work along the Gulf Coast after the terrible summer of BP.

Mr. Nguyen went to an office of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, which was set up to administer BP’s $20 billion fund for coastal businesses and residents.

He was told he could not file a claim. A law firm he had never heard of had already filed one in his name.

UK's first urban cable car to start work in summer, but how green will it be?

The mayor of London has announced work will start shortly on what is being hailed as the UK's first urban cable car. But despite claims that the system will boast green credentials, the scale of the project's potential carbon emissions savings remains unclear.

Program targets energy-hog homes in Nashville

Keith and Camilla Spadafino have an attractive 1940s Inglewood home with energy-efficient windows and a colorful garden, but they’ve learned a secret side of their house — for free.

Russia Builds An Arctic Brigade

With the growing oil and natural gas discoveries along Russia's northern border, the government has ordered the formation of a special brigade of arctic troops to patrol the vast region, and be ready to deal with any problems that might require military force up there. The 8,000 troops in the Arctic Brigade will be stationed in the Kola Peninsula, near the borders with Finland and Norway. The Kola Peninsula has long contained key air, naval and army bases. The new brigade will be ready for duty by the end of the year.

Kenya, Uganda protest as maize prices skyrocket

Food prices are rising across the globe, driven in part by the higher transport costs that accompany rising oil prices. The World Bank said last week that food prices are 36 percent higher today than a year ago, and are pushing people "deeper into poverty."

But no region has been hit harder by rising food costs than Africa over the last three months. Wheat costs 87 percent more in Sudan. Rice is up 30 percent in Chad. Maize has risen at least 25 percent in Uganda, Somalia, Mozambique and Kenya.

Oil up above $109 on signs of strong US demand

Oil prices rose above $109 a barrel Wednesday after a report showed U.S. gasoline supplies fell for a second week, suggesting higher fuel costs haven't yet curbed demand.

A weaker dollar — which makes oil cheaper for investors holding other currencies — and rising equity markets in Asia and Europe also helped boost oil markets.

Jeff Rubin: When will we see demand destruction for oil?

How high must oil prices go before they start killing the very demand that feeds them?

Everybody from the International Monetary Fund to the International Energy Agency (IEA) is warning of dire economic consequences if today’s triple digit oil prices persist.

Curiously though, the IEA, which is warning of a potential global recession due to today’s oil prices, is also predicting an almost a one-and-a-half-million-barrel-a-day increase in world demand this year. And judging by their recent track record, this forecast, like the one it made early last year for 2010, will once again be on the light side.

Blame High Oil Prices on Speculators and Bernanke

Americans think they know whom to blame for high gas prices. The usual culprits are people who drive too fast, inefficient engines, OPEC, and even China. Sure, those are all factors, but that's like blaming the housing bubble on the lumber industry or a surfeit of carpenters. It's no great mystery who is responsible for higher gas prices. As I and others have written in the past, the biggest culprits are the speculators gaming the futures markets to line their own pockets. We know all that. What might come as a shock is that they are being enabled by the Federal Reserve.

Ukraine asks Russia to switch to rubles in gas payments

Ukraine has asked Russia to switch to rubles for payments for energy products supplied to the ex-Soviet republic, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

"The ruble is getting increasingly stronger in former Soviet republics. Today our Ukrainian partners are requesting us to switch to settlements in rubles for energy products," Putin said in his annual address to parliament.

Vladimir Putin reveals plan to boost Russia birth rate

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has unveiled plans to reverse Russia's declining population.

The government will spend 1.5tn roubles ($53bn; £33bn) on raising the birth rate and extending life expectancy.

NATO Sees Limit to Airstrikes’ Power to Stop Qaddafi Forces

A NATO commander said “there is a limit” to the alliance’s ability to stop the Libyan regime’s shelling of Misrata, as the U.K. sent a team of military advisers to assist rebels fighting to end Muammar Qaddafi’s 42- year rule.

Libyan Rebels Hail U.K. Military Help as NATO Air Campaign Meets Obstacles

Libyan rebels struggling to topple Muammar Qaddafi’s 42-year-old regime welcomed the U.K.’s decision to send military advisers to help them gain an edge in their fight as NATO’s air campaign remains beset by limitations.

The British government said yesterday it’s sending officers to assist the rebels’ communications and logistics. France will also send military advisers to Libya, the BBC reported, without saying where it got the information. French President Nicolas Sarkozy meets today in Paris with Mustafa Abdel Jalil, head of Libya’s Interim Transitional National Council.

In new Yemen clashes, attackers kill 1 protester

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — A Yemeni opposition activist says a gunmen on motorcycles opened fire at hundreds of demonstrators camped out overnight in a western port city, killing one and wounding several protesters.

Syrian authorities arrest opposition figure

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian rights activists say authorities have arrested a leftist opposition figure at his home during an overnight raid.

Mahmoud Issa’s arrest in the central city of Homs came a few hours after the government on Tuesday announced an end to nearly 50 years of emergency rule. The reviled legislature gave the regime a free hand to arrest people without any charges.

Syria's Cabinet Endorses Draft Decree to Lift 48-Year-Old Emergency Law

Syria’s Cabinet endorsed a draft decree to lift a 48-year-old emergency law, the main demand of protesters challenging President Bashar al-Assad’s rule.

Can tech make a dirty fuel clean?

Fort McMurray, Alberta (CNN) -- This is Drew Zieglgansberger's dirty little secret: a huge metal tube that's filled with a roaring natural-gas flame.

"Here's the big culprit," Zieglgansberger said, yelling over the squeal of the industrial process, which is used to melt oil out of the ground here in northern Canada. "We're burning natural gas to get out something like bitumen (oil). We know that, but I wanted to show you anyway. It's a massive amount of energy we use to create the steam."

Oil 'matriarch' takes trouble in stride

Fort McMurray, Alberta (CNN) -- Mayor Melissa Blake's favorite spot in this oil sands boomtown used to be an island at the convergence of two rivers.

From the intersection of the Clearwater and Athabasca, the 41-year-old, third-term mayor could peer into two worlds: the "burgeoning metropolis" of Fort McMurray, which has grown at a breakneck pace since oil companies started mining for crude up here in the late 1960s, and Canada's boggy forests of pine, birch and spruce.

"Now it's a golf course hole," Blake said.

The BP Oil Spill, One Year On: Forgetting the Lessons of Drilling in the Gulf

It took just a couple of days for Admiral Thad Allen to realize how disastrous the well blowout at the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig would prove to be. On April 20 last year, the well being drilled by the BP-owned rig suddenly kicked back, spurting oil and gas up the drilling pipe and setting the Deepwater Horizon aflame in the Gulf of Mexico. Crew ran for the lifeboats and even leaped into the fiery waters of the Gulf; 11 of them would die. By the time Coast Guard rescue boats arrived on the scene, the $560 million drilling rig already appeared unsalvageable, and on April 22 the Deepwater Horizon sank. "We did not know then the full impact of the spill or the results, but we knew then it would be a catastrophic event," Allen told TIME.

A Conversation with Thad Allen, the Hero of the Gulf

Thad Allen was just a few weeks away from retiring as the commandant of the Coast Guard when the Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20, 2010, beginning the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Allen — who had also run much of the response to Hurricane Katrina — was later made national incident commander of the Unified Command for the oil spill. That title meant he was in charge of the often unruly government-industry team charged with shutting the blown well and marshalling defenses against the oil. Now retired and a senior fellow at the Rand Corp., Allen spoke to TIME's Bryan Walsh about the blowout, BP's schizophrenia and the future of offshore drilling.

Day of remembrance: 1 year after Gulf oil disaster

NEW ORLEANS – Relatives of some of the 11 men who died aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig are flying over the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday, back to the epicenter of the worst offshore oil spill in the nation's history.

Meanwhile, on land, vigils were scheduled in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida to mark the spill.

Obama vows to restore Gulf Coast one year after spill

WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Barack Obama on Wednesday vowed to do "whatever is necessary" to restore the Gulf Coast on the anniversary of the BP rig explosion, which caused the worst maritime oil spill in US history.

"The events that unfolded on April 20, 2010 and the oil spill that followed underscores the critical link between the environment and economic health of the Gulf," Obama said in a statement.

"My administration is committed to doing whatever is necessary to protect and restore the Gulf Coast."

U.S. says it will strengthen offshore drilling rules

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of the Interior will propose new rules to strengthen offshore oil drilling safety, the top offshore regulator said on Tuesday.

BP chairman: deep-sea drilling must go on

The chairman of BP has told a Swedish newspaper that the oil giant never considered abandoning deep-sea drilling after the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year.

Carl-Henric Svanberg says despite the risks of such operations, halting them "doesn't feel like a logical conclusion" after the Deepwater Horizon blowout because "50,000 holes have been drilled in the Gulf of Mexico and this was the first time things went this wrong."

AP IMPACT: 3,200 Gulf wells unplugged, unprotected

More than 3,200 oil and gas wells classified as active lie abandoned beneath the Gulf of Mexico, with no cement plugging to help prevent leaks that could threaten the same waters fouled by last year's BP spill, The Associated Press has learned.

Fishermen in battle for BP oil spill compensation

VENICE, Louisiana (AFP) – The calls for more documents came day and night to the seafood dock just up the road from one of BP's main staging areas in its fight against the Gulf oil spill.

Some 400 pages of tax records and invoices later, the Vietnamese refugees who have been buying seafood from local fishing boats for 22 years got a letter saying their claim for compensation was denied.

BP oil spill fund administrator defends his work

Kenneth Feinberg says the Gulf Coast Claims Facility has paid out $3.8 billion of a $20-billion fund and is 'doing what's intended.' Residents say the process has been slow, baffling and unfair.

EU plans to hammer oil giants for coastal pollution: source

BRUSSELS (AFP) – EU energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger is preparing legislation to force oil-drilling companies to pay for pollution caused up to 200 nautical miles off European coastlines, a source said Tuesday.

Pa. wants to end gas-drilling wastewater discharge

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Amid criticism from environmentalists and growing concern from scientists, Pennsylvania on Tuesday asked the state's booming natural gas industry to halt disposing of millions of gallons of contaminated drilling wastewater through treatment plants that discharge into rivers and streams.

Japan mulls limited access to zone near nuke plant

TOKYO (AP) — Authorities may for the first time ban access to the evacuation zone around Japan’s crippled nuclear plant, citing concerns Wednesday over radiation risks for residents who may be returning to check on their homes.

Tepco to Start Compensating Evacuees From Near Stricken Nuclear Reactors

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it will start compensating residents evacuated from areas around its crippled nuclear power station, as the government pledged support for the company’s aid plans.

Tepco, as the company is called, will begin distributing claim forms today and payments will be made as soon as possible, spokesman Tetsuya Terasawa said at a briefing in Tokyo. Initial compensation totaling about 50 billion yen ($602 million) was promised by the utility last week.

U.S. Engineers Cite Lengthy Cleanup in Japan

Veterans of the Three Mile Island cleanup said that a much larger task faced the Japanese engineers who are trying contain and secure the damaged Fukushima Daiichi reactors. And Three Mile Island took 14 years.

IAEA chief defends nuclear energy

(AP) CHERNOBYL NUCLEAR POWER PLANT, Ukraine (AP) — The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, speaking at the site of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion, says that accident and the Japanese nuclear crisis do not undermine the value of nuclear power.

Czechs Wedded to Nuclear Boost Utility CEZ as Germany’s Atomic Age Wanes

Some couples dream of a sunset wedding on a beach. Jana Sistikova and Antonin Pazdera exchanged their vows at a nuclear power station’s visitor center near the Czech Republic’s border with Germany.

As the wedding party filed past the four giant concrete cooling towers of the Temelin atomic plant on a cold April day, the newlyweds applauded CEZ AS’s plans to start building two more reactors at the site.

AP IMPACT: Asia nuclear reactors face tsunami risk

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — The skeleton of what will soon be one of the world's biggest nuclear plants is slowly taking shape along China's southeastern coast — right on the doorstep of Hong Kong's bustling metropolis. Three other facilities nearby are up and running or under construction.

Like Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi plant they lie within a few hundred miles of the type of fault known to unleash the largest tsunami-spawning earthquakes.

Radiation: A Literary Analysis

Nevada is home to the largest nuclear bomb test site, and the proposed host for a nuclear waste repository. The scientists and engineers, the corporate executives, the lawyers and the elected officials have all had years to chew over how and why Nevada was selected, but now comes a new analysis, from an English major.

“Bombast: Spinning Atoms in the Desert,” published late last year by a nonprofit group in Reno, the Black Rock Institute, is a trip through what the author, Michon Mackedon, calls “nuclear colonialism.”

EDF Advances After France Sets Nuclear Power Price at Level Utility Wanted

Electricite de France SA shares jumped after the French government matched the price requested by the utility for the sale of its nuclear power to competitors.

Study Emphasizes Importance of China’s Transition to Electric Cars

A STUDY prepared for the World Bank Transport Office in Beijing released today makes clear the urgency of China’s transition to electric cars. According to “The China New Vehicles Program: Challenges and Opportunities,” prepared by PRTM, a management consulting firm, China’s soaring consumption of imported oil could stifle the country’s economy, while emissions from petroleum-powered vehicles could choke its cities with air pollution.

Chevron builds solar plant at NM tailings site

A subsidiary of oil giant Chevron Corp. and a sister company announced Tuesday they have completed one of the largest concentrating photovoltaic solar power plants in the nation at a tailings site in northern New Mexico.

Solar on the Water

PETALUMA, Calif. — Solar panels have sprouted on countless rooftops, carports and fields in Northern California. Now, several start-up companies see potential for solar panels that float on water.

A 'Smart' Grid Will Expose Utilities to Smart Computer Hackers

A year ago, an unidentified computer intruder tried to penetrate the Lower Colorado River Authority's power generation network with 4,800 high-speed log-in attempts that originated at an Internet address in China, according to a grid official's confidential memo that was leaked to the media.

And that was probably just an amateur's work, says David Bonvillain, vice president of Accuvant LABS, a cybersecurity consulting firm based in Hanover, Md.

Programs aim to keep elderly from being isolated after their driving days end

A wave of Americans face the end of their driving lives and communities around the USA are working to keep seniors mobile and avoid depression-inducing isolation that often accompanies the end of driving.

Builders offer green tract homes with nearly zero utility bills

To stand out in a still-sluggish housing market, major builders are starting to sell affordable tract homes that come with solar panels and nearly zero utility bills.

10 best green buildings? Architects pick 2011 winners

Buildings that conserve water and energy and use recycled, non-toxic materials don't have to look like boring boxes. To see jaw-dropping possibilities, check out the American Institute of Architects 2011 winners for sustainable architecture.

Just how green is your city?

If you want to know how green your city is, just look at your trash area. Is there one lonely can? Or are there multiple, colorful bins for different types of waste?

Volunteer gardeners share their bounty with food banks

The community garden takes up about an acre along Route 50. People get the gardening space for free. In return, Carroll requests they donate part of what they grow to a food bank and that they use organic methods.

"Last year, we donated more than 500 pounds of vegetables to the local charities," Carroll says. "We'll be able to donate much more this year. One of the gardeners has a neighbor whose parents lost their jobs. She takes food to them.

A City Feels Spurned as EPA Heads to the Suburbs

Earlier this month, the administration signed a lease to move more than 500 of the EPA regional office's employees to the Applebee's building, which was emptied out and sold after the company changed hands.

That plan has rankled the government of Kansas City, which is losing a major employer, as well as advocates of "smart growth," who argue that EPA isn't practicing what it preaches.

EPA Scores 100 Percent On Sustainability And Energy Goals

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released its fiscal year 2010 scorecard on sustainability and energy performance. EPA is meeting or exceeding all the federal goals to decrease energy use per square foot; reduce potable water use per square foot; lessen fleet petroleum use; establish inventories of direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions; incorporate sustainable building practices; and increase renewable energy use.

U.S. Supreme Court Signals Rejection of State Climate-Emissions Lawsuits

The U.S. Supreme Court signaled skepticism about a lawsuit by six states seeking to force five companies including American Electric Power Co. to cut their emissions of the gases that contribute to climate change.

Rising sea levels trigger disasters in China - Xinhua

BEIJING (Reuters) - Gradually rising sea levels caused by global warming over the past 30 years have contributed to a growing number of disasters along China's coast, state news agency Xinhua said on Wednesday.

IMF warns of oil scarcity and a 60% oil price increase within a year

Ford cuts jobs in Australia - more signs of peak oil

Australia's fuel import vulnerability increases as Sydney's Clyde refinery is closing

Libyans fight over oil field at depletion mid point while African crude oil exports decline

Much as I anticipated, two days after Toyota restarted their Japanese car factories running at 50% capacity, they have cut their UK car factory operation by 70%.

We are facing a spare parts export land model.

The IMF admits peak oil. This seems big to me.


Finally, the simulations do not consider the possibility that some oil exporters might reserve an increasing share of their stagnating or decreasing oil output for domestic use, for example through fuel subsidies, in order to support energy-intensive industries (for example, petrochemicals) and also to forestall domestic unrest. If this were to happen, the amount of oil available to oil importers could shrink much faster than world oil output, with obvious negative consequences for growth in those regions” (p 109)

There were a couple of analysts from the IMF at the last ASPO-USA conference, and Sam Foucher and I exchanged several emails with them.

Congrtas. Without mentioning ELM, they accurately describe it.

Hi Jeffrey,

Yes, congrats. Thanks for persisting and sharing.

Saudi Arabia sees output at 10.8 million b/d by 2030: official

"This means that during the next five years, the kingdom's crude oil production will not rise but will start to increase after 2015 at an annual rate of around 1.5 percent to 2030," Moneef said.

This is going to sorely disappoint the EIA and the IEA. They were expecting a lot more from Saudi than that. Anyway they expect Manifa to come on line in a couple of years enabling them to raise production by 1.5 percent per year after 2015. We shall see.

Ron P.

Platts had an article on Saddad-al-Husseini, who did a slide show at the Oil&Money conference in London, October 2007. They actually should know better if they had ever tried to take Husseini's graphs and plot Saudi production separately. I have done it in this post:

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

What really gets me is the world is ignoring what Saudi officials themselves are saying. They have admitted that their giant fields are declining from 5 to 12 percent per year. Then they said, in effect, "But with massive infield drilling with horizontal wells we have gotten this decline down to between 2 and 3 percent per year. They have admitted that, apparently in desperation, they are looking for oil in the Red Sea under a mile of water and 7,000 feet of salt. They have admitted that they are looking to C02 injection in Ghawar.

And suddenly they cut production by over 800,000 barrels per day. And still the wags in MSM do not get the message. From a link yesterday one FT.com reporter stated that there were two possible explanations for this cut in production. One was that consumption is collapsing similar to 2008 and the second reason was that they are simply making a huge mistake. In spite of everything it never enters their minds that the reason for the huge cut just might have been production problems.

Ron P.

Don't underestimate the power of denial, Ron.

Saudi Arabia has 5mbpd surplus production capacity.
Just keep saying that, over and over, Ron.

There are no ogres under the bed.

What really gets me is the world is ignoring what Saudi officials themselves are saying.

Are you claiming to understand "the world" and what "the world" is doing?

And say "the world" was listening intently - what then? What would "the world" do?

Okay I will substitute the mainstream media for "the world". Is that better? Or how about most folks or "Joe Sixpack"? Take your pick. I think everyone knew what I meant but some folks just like to nitpick.

And yes I am claiming to understand what the "average Joe" understands about peak oil... virtually nothing! What do "most folks" know about Saudi oil production capabilities? Why they know what they read in the papers and internet articles and hear on TV. And you know what that is.... Well you do don't you?

Yes Eric, I do know because I can read the papers, read the articles published on line and listen to the talking heads on TV. I know what they all are saying because I read and hear them daily.

Ron P.

Okay I will substitute the mainstream media for "the world". Is that better? Or how about most folks or "Joe Sixpack"? Take your pick. I think everyone knew what I meant.

But that still does not get to - What is "the world" to do?

How is "the world" supposed to get more or even the same amount of oil? (where getting oil is the successful method of the past)

Nor does it address a 'change in framing' for 'the world'? (go ahead - explain how "the world" is supposed to re-frame out of oil use)

There is a book - The Illumatinus Trilogy. In this fiction is an interaction between Hagbard Celine and George which is instructive in this matter. George takes 3 actions VS Harbard that are countered and stopped. George ends up crying and that is when Hagbard point out that most humans run a script of actions based on stimulus in the past and these actions were successful in the past. In a case where the actions that were successful are not successful, the next successful in the past action will be tried. And when the action choices run out - Hagbard claimed most humans shut down.

Thusly - is what's being seen "ignoring" as claimed or more like a fictional books' observation .... what worked in the past keeps being tried 'till it stops working? If what worked 2 weeks ago work tomorrow - why should someone spend time trying to noodle out why things won't work tomorrow?

TODers like Todd and Ghung express a valid choice that may look like ignoring to an outside observer - they are making their own energy and energy stores via harvesting photons for their own use.

How much of the claimed "ignoring" is the realization that they can't force more oil outta KSA and instead are taking quiet actions on their own to transfer to other energy flows?

Yes Eric, I do know because I can read the papers, read the articles published on line and listen to the talking heads on TV. I know what they all are saying because I read and hear them daily.

Amazing! What's printed in the papers and on TV is now "what the world" thinks.

VS the view from Edward Berneys in the relabeled book Manufacturing Consent (the book used to be called Propaganda) - the purpose of the Media is not to reflect events but to deliver a message one wants to BECOME the events.

Which is closer to reality? The Iron Triangle model, Eddie B's Propaganda, or Darwinian's - the media is what 'the world' thinks? I look forward to the readers of TOD expressing what model best reflects the media's TRUE place.

But that still does not get to - What is "the world" to do?

Okay, my whole reply was an admission that, for a list with at least one Eric Blair, my use of "the world" was a mistake. I should have used some other term for all the nitpickers out there. I quite obviously meant the average person in the street. So give it a rest please. I will never use the term "the world" again to describe the average citizen or average MSM reporter or the average TV talking head on any list that you are a member of.

Amazing! What's printed in the papers and on TV is now "what the world" thinks.

I said it was a mistake to use the term "the world" to describe the average citizen or average MSM reporter or the average TV talking head. That is what I meant. So for God's sake give it a rest!

Ron P.

the average citizen or average MSM reporter or the average TV talking head

Why are these 3 in the same set?

What MSM reporters/TV Talking heads have to say are not close to reality.

Allow me to demonstrate by what John Swinton had to say:

m by the leaders of his craft. Someone who knew neither the press nor Swinton offered a toast to the independent press. Swinton outraged his colleagues by replying:

"There is no such thing, at this date of the world's history, in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it.

"There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone.

"The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press?

"We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."

(Source: Labor's Untold Story, by Richard O. Boyer and Herbert M. Morais, published by United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America, NY, 1955/1979.)

Thusly - why would any sane person feel what is said by the "average MSM reporter or the average TV talking head" be any reflection of an actual reality?

OKAY let me try again. Let me rephrase my words to read as follows:

What really gets me is the average person, [who is even remotely concerned with the oil supply], is ignoring what Saudi officials themselves are saying.

That was my point and anything else is just a distraction from that point. I only wanted to make that point and nothing else.

Ron P.

What really gets me is the average person, [who is even remotely concerned with the oil supply], is ignoring what Saudi officials themselves are saying.

One does not ignore what one is not presented to pay attention to. How is the "average person" to be blamed if they do not get presented the message - for it seems you want to provide blame to the "average person" for not hearing what they are not being presented.

For the average person to have to choice to ignore or pay attention to the statements of the KSA (and thus having blame for not hearing or understanding), these statements have to be presented.

Who benefits from placing what is being said by KSA in front of the "average person" so the consumption choice can be made? And the antithesis - who benefits if the option to hear the message is not offered at all?

One does not ignore what one is not presented to pay attention to. How is the "average person" to be blamed if they do not get presented the message - for it seems you want to provide blame to the "average person" for not hearing what they are not being presented.

And on that point you are dead wrong. I never blame anyone for anything. I never place blame. I don't even believe in blame.

- As for pointing to our mental failures with scorn or dismay, we might as well profess disappointment with the mechanics of gravity or the laws of thermodynamics. In other words, the degree of disillusionment we feel in response to any particular human behavior is the precise measure of our ignorance of its evolutionary and genetic origins.
- Reg Morrison, The Spirit in the Gene

To say someone does not understand this or that is not to blame them for anything. It is merely stating that they do not understand. Yes it does get me, it really frustrates me that this Saudi/OPEC line is still believed by the average person. But good God, they are not to blame for the ignorance that is fed to them from every direction. Hell man, I don't even blame Glen Beck for the very stupid things he spouts. He can't help it, he just doesn't know better.

Ron P.

Well, I'm not sure what 'The World' would do, since much of the world is fairly powerless. However, what the US would probably do is invade a poorly armed oil producing country, while denying both the problem and the solution via its captive media.


I don't know what the average person would think or do if they believed that Saudi would be decreasing rather than increasing output on a permanent basis. I think I do know what the U.S. would do. There would be even more calls, mostly on the right, for heroic efforts to drill our way out of this. There would be continued efforts to destroy government attempts to encourage conservation and efficiency on the right and lip service to saving energy on the left. This is pretty much what we have now and I don't see that changing regardless of the facts on the ground. This isn't about facts; it is about belief in the face of facts. Most people are not swayed by facts, even assuming we could get a good handle on the facts; most people's beliefs are a function of their basic view of the world, their ideology, and how they filter facts in or out. In fact, there is some evidence, that facts contrary to one's beliefs actually increases the intensity of one's beliefs.

In short, the whole enterprise of fact finding on TOD is probably a complete waste of time. All the charts and data in the world will make no difference in policy for the foreseeable future. And, besides, it is always possible that the Saudis are telling the truth.

Some of us follow this enterprise anyway for maybe the same reason that some people play chess or do bird watching.

Belief is the enemy of truth.

The average people I work with really don't want to hear anything to do with the suggestion that there might be a real shortage. They always go quiet for a second and then conjure up either big undersea finds they have heard of or new techniques for extraction. That response to my introducing the subject usually makes them feel knowledgeable and they are then content, and they feel very satisfied at having told me something they assumed I had no idea about. Should I have the temerity to pursue the subject the great 'they' come into the equation; they who know more than me or themselves, so there really is nothing to be concerned about. Oh, and then it's the bankers too don't forget.

Under no circumstances is the notion ever countenanced by these average (and decent) people that there might be a limit to their essential oil supply.

The notion [is n]ever countenanced by these average (and decent) people that there might be a limit to their essential oil supply.

The "average person" is just a mathematical myth.
(And also suffers from the affliction of being half man/half woman)

I've gotten tired of trying to figure out what ruminations rumble through the minds of most of my fellow species mates.

I suspect that if I could actually tune in to their thought patterns it would be like watching reruns of the TV show: "I Love Lucy".

"Blame" of course is a verbal re-enactment of mud slinging by our closest primate cousins. The mind is frustrated and doesn't know what to do other than to lash out in some primitive form of protestation.

I find it hard to believe that I might be "superior" to any of my fellow species mates. Just because I "know" about Peak Oil (ha ha) and they don't, doesn't make me any more clever or more likely to survive than any of the others.

Your "average" Joe or Jane Six-pack barely even understands what makes a car "go" let alone the intricacies of chemical combustion reactions and the pathways by which the magic black gold moves from well head to gas station pump.

Our only hope is with teaching the younger generation.

But then again, they don't come en mass to TOD.

Belief is a difficult word. Faith is what we trust. Knowledge is what we know. Those two is different dimensions, and therefore, the one does not contradict the other. Belief on the other hand is floating around between the two. Quite useless.


Not useless entirely, as subjective knowledge (i.e. belief) is used quite often in Bayesian reasoning. The idea of degrees of belief are used in expert systems quite often, see Dempster-Shafer theory.

In addition to its use in Baysian reasoning, whatever that is (a spice?), belief is an important concept to consider when analyzing human behaviour. As William Faulkner wrote:

Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders. Knows remembers believes a corridor in a big long garbled cold echoing building of dark red brick sootbleakened by more chimneys than its own, set in a grassless cinderstrewnpacked compound surrounded by smoking factory purlieus and enclosed by a ten foot steel-and-wire fence like a penitentary or a zoo, where in random erratic surges, with sparrowlike childtrebling, orphans in identical and uniform blue denium in and out of remembering but in knowing constant as the bleak walls, the bleak windows where in rain soot from the yearly adjacenting chimneys streaked like black tears.

Bayesian probability not to be confused with bay leaves although equally tasty in a logical sense. Most spam filters and virus scanners today use Bayesian analysis to decide that while this (message, software) doesn't precisely match the known bad case, it is statistically close enough to go into the "bad" pile. Amazingly accurate and the bigger 'n' (sample population) gets, the better the filter gets.

Thanks for the Faulkner quote. I took an AP English class 30+ yrs ago where we went through every Faulkner book. I loved them - especially the incredibly long, complex sentences. Notice your quote above only has 3, I had fun diagramming Faulkner sentences including one that spanned two pages (yet was still grammatically perfect) and took two chalkboards to finish. I may have to download Absalom Absalom to my Kindle now and take a trip down memory lane...

Thank you, Jedi,

re: "Faith is what we trust. Knowledge is what we know."

These are helpful distinctions.

In short, the whole enterprise of fact finding on TOD is probably a complete waste of time. All the charts and data in the world will make no difference in policy for the foreseeable future. And, besides, it is always possible that the Saudis are telling the truth.

Grain of truth in that. I believe my own models more than the recent noisy data. The reason that a model is better is because it uses the totality of information from day one of oil extraction since 1860. The model calibrates against a less biased cross-section of data accounting for the cumulative amount of resources discovered and extracted.

I think it's called OCD.

Hi Eric,

re: "why would any sane person feel what is said by the "average MSM reporter or the average TV talking head" be any reflection of an actual reality?"

Are you asking a rhetorical question?

Are you saying "average person" does not turn to these sources for a reflection of reality?

How about this: They turn to these sources because they have a need for explanation, for meaning of events, and lack other readily available sources, and further, do not feel the urgency to obtain other sources.

Are you asking a rhetorical question?

If one has the framing that the "job" of the media is to provide information, then sure why not.

If one has a different framing or is open to being reframed, then no.

I've provided a quote from the 1880's about how media is controlled. I will now mention The Church Commission/the book The Mighty Wurlitzer about media control. The Hearst publications on the sinking of the Maine along with the purchase of pine land to make paper pulp VS the invention of a fiber separation machine for Marijuana as a possible example of the publisher having a desire to keep a challenge to its vertical integration from the marketplace. In the framing of Controlled news from other sources - I'll present some history.

2. Manufacturing consent

This brings us onto a second body of literature, concerning the manipulation of the media. Malaparte himself does not discuss this aspect but it is (a) of huge importance and (b) clearly a subset of the technique of a coup d’état in the way regime change is practised today. So important, indeed, is the control of the media during regime change that one of the main characteristics of these revolutions is the creation of a virtual reality. Control of this reality is itself an instrument of power, which is why in classic coups in a banana republic the first thing that the revolutionaries seize is the radio station.

People experience a strong psychological reluctance to accept that political events today are deliberately manipulated. This reluctance is itself a product of the ideology of the information age, which flatters people’s vanity and encourages them to believe that they have access to huge amounts of information. In fact, the apparent multifarious nature of modern media information hides an extreme paucity of original sources, rather as a street of restaurants on a Greek waterfront can hide the reality of a single kitchen at the back. News reports of major events very often come from a single source, usually a wire agency, and even authoritative news outlets like the BBC simply recycle information which they have received from these agencies, presenting it as their own. BBC correspondents are often sitting in their hotel rooms when they send despatches, very often simply reading back to the studio in London information they have been given by their colleagues back home off the wire. A second factor which explains the reluctance to believe in media manipulation is connected with the feeling of omniscience which the mass media age likes to flatter: to rubbish news reports as manipulated is to tell people that they are gullible, and this is not a pleasant message to receive.

There are many elements to media manipulation. One of the most important is political iconography. This is a very important instrument for promoting the legitimacy of regimes which have seized power through revolution. One only need think of such iconic events as the storming of the Bastille on 14th July 1789, the storming of the Winter Palace during the October revolution in 1917, or Mussolini’s March on Rome in 1922, to see that events can be elevated into almost eternal sources of legitimacy.

However, the importance of political imagery goes far beyond the invention of a simple emblem for each revolution. It involves a far deeper control of the media, and generally this control needs to be exercised over a long period of time, not just at the moment of regime change itself. It is essential indeed, for the official party line to be repeated ad nauseam. A feature of today’s mass media culture which many dissidents lazily and wrongly denounce as “totalitarian” is precisely that dissenting views may be expressed and published, but this is precisely because, being mere drops in the ocean, they are never a threat to the tide of propaganda.

How about this: They turn to these sources because they have a need for explanation, for meaning of events, and lack other readily available sources

Except that framing ignores the decline of newspapers and TV news viewing and the rise in the use of the internet along with comments by the Secretary of State saying things about how Al Jazeria is a better source of "news" then US based mainstream media.

If the old habit (framing) is to pick up the paper/turn on TV than that becomes the source. If one has a different habit, those become the source. Today there are adults who've never known a world without the Internet. Their "successful habits" have them not listening to the guy passing through town with stories of what was happening one village over, reading the pamphlets passed hand to hand, reading the newspaper, listening to the radio or watching the news at 6 PM. (I think i hit the ways "news" got to the "masses" no?)

One "answer" to the "news problem"


Too Much Information

But thanks for the link

News= Gossip

And who can refuse some good gossip about the ills that befell your fellow man but thank goodness did not instead come your way today?

(Also "news" is the thing that binds us together as something we have in common.)

Amazing! What's printed in the papers and on TV is now "what the world" thinks.

But so it is. I have listened for some years to a weekly interview from a journalist with a portfolio manager at a local radio station. They talk about oil(price), the stockmarket, etc. You might think that the journalist after a few years knows something about peak oil. No, nothing. No questions that point in that direction. That radio interview is a good reflection of how the world thinks.

And again - what is "the world" supposed to do in reaction?

Stop believing the idiots, like the Saudi oilminister. A concerted effort to avoid the worst, for example cargo-ships reducing speed with 20% and with that saving 40% fuel. At least gaining some time.

Stop believing the idiots, like the Saudi oilminister

IQ below 20 == Idiot

My guess is he's not an idiot - he is instead being deceptive to some purpose.

A concerted effort to avoid the worst, for example cargo-ships reducing speed with 20%

But that re-framing was tried in the past and the result of that action leads people to not feel such an effort is worth repeating.

Instead, the frame of speed is to be kept and to keep speed WHILE cutting portable energy use will be using things like sails. Small fission reactors have been mentioned as an option.

Stop believing the idiots? Most aren't idiots, most believers aren't idiots and I strongly believe that 'Manufacturing of Consent' is clearly happening on all levels and very hard to escape from.
Just to give a neat example, I'm pretty sure the majority on this forum, with far above average IQs, believes that US interventions since World War II are mostly done with good intentions, ie to bring 'democracy' to the world and get rid of dictators or otherwise (in still recent history) to counter the "communist threat" and lately the "terrorist threat". The thinking goes as follows: We may screw up a war or two and bad things and abuses happen (like Iraq), but that the motivations for war are mostly 'good' or 'noble'. The statement that the exact opposite is likely true, indeed that America has been a major enemy to any form of participatory democracy in South America, the Middle East and other regions has to be clearly false? Such is the power of mainstream media and Manufacturing Consent, even amongst those on an oil forum!

Hi Eric,

re: "But that still does not get to - What is "the world" to do?"

Well, isn't this the exact question "the world" should be having?

One approach is here, and, I can tout it's advantages, since it's not my original idea: www.oildepletion.wordpress.com.

The group established to advise the nation on matters of scientific import addresses the question, looks at paths toward better action, and so forth.

Here's an example of "to do." http://ourfiniteworld.com/2011/04/01/what-president-obama-should-have-sa...

As an example of someone thinking about "to do."

Did anyone else find it surprising to read Saudi's OPEC governor basically confirming the export land model?

"If this rate of growth continues in line with economic and population growth as well as demand for power generation, water and transport, then a larger proportion of production will be directed gradually toward meeting domestic demand, which is rising at a higher rate than expected average output growth, which will reduce the volume available for export," Moneef said.

I had to double-check to make sure they weren't quoting Westexas.

And again - what is "the world" supposed to do in reaction?

Make sure KSA has non-oil energy sources so that less hydrocarbon conversion happens internally? (thus keeping the framing of oil)
Figure out how to provide for oneself? (Thus not needing the oil from KSA and other places)

And if one can't do those actions or some other action that either creates more oil or uses less - what is "the world" supposed to do?

What "the world" should do in reaction is a different issue than whether there is a problem in the first place that would require a reaction.

The initial problem is the possibility of a near-future decline of exports from KSA. Many posts have been written on this site discussing that issue. Until the Platts article referenced above, I'd never seen a Saudi OPEC official acknowledge what many people here have been saying. Moneef says expressly: "This means that during the next five years, the kingdom's crude oil production will not rise...." He goes on to say that exports will decline because of increasing internal consumption.

Since world forecasts all call for some level of increase in world demand, that seems to imply that there will be a near term shortage. It seems contrary to what the Saudis usually say, which is that they have enough capacity to meet demand.

Is this acknowledgment by KSA not a significant development? Has it been said elsewhere earlier by KSA? Doesn't it contradict forecasts by IEA and EIA regarding Saudi production and exports? Does it make any sense for those agencies to predict higher production than KSA is predicting?

Is this acknowledgment by KSA not a significant development?

It is such.

But, that does not mean the masses will see or understand it as such. The masses are not aware of the 'land export model'. And in this sub-thread "we" have opted to be concerned with what the masses have to say no?

I agree that it is a pretty stunning admission by a Saudi, especially in the context of the Saudi Oil Minister occasionally talking about about the total Saudi resource base approaching a trillion barrels of oil. Why not two trillion?

In any case, the following "What If" chart shows flat Saudi production at 11 mbpd, total petroleum liquids (the 2005 rate was 11.1), with 2005 consumption of 2.0 mbpd and with consumption increasing at 5.7%/year. Note that BP shows 2005 to 2009 Saudi consumption growing at almost 7%/year (which would of course double consumption in 10 years).

"what is the world supposed to do"

Create new sources of energy. I like CSP concentrated solar power. That is mirror reflect sunlight onto heliostat tower to make steam to power turbine to make electricity. There is also Thorium reactors. Lots of thorium is available but some reactor development needs to be done. For storage pumped hydro and hydrogen. Yes storage adds big to the total system cost.

Relying on Saudi Arabia to save the world will fail at some point in the next 20 years. My personal belief is they are peaked out now and will never pump more than 10Mbl/day for a one year period.

Create new sources of energy. I like CSP concentrated solar power. That is mirror reflect sunlight onto heliostat tower to make steam to power turbine to make electricity.

I'm a big fan of that one. Though to pick a minor nit it isn't exactly a 'new' source of energy. We are just looking into a new way of harnessing it.


We need to learn to live within our means. We have been living high on the hog and spending our fossil fuel inheritance like drunken sailors on a binge. The reality is we do have an energy income we can rely on for a long time to come. We will end up living on it whether we want to or not when our lottery win finally dries up. We are going to have to deal with a nasty hangover though.

Hey Fred;

I resemble that statement about drunken sailors on a binge. From a personal aspect, I am also about 400 miles south of the Tupi oil fields which stretch over 200 miles.

Staying close to sources, baby.

Heading that way soon, up to the top of the Gulf of Siam. Is there anything I should be counting or checking out?

Hangovers are acceptible at this point.


Create new sources of energy.

As I've brought up framing - a bit of deconstruction.

Your CSP is boiling water under pressure to a turbine that moves a conductor across a magnetic field.
The Thorium reactor - again boiling water .....
Pumped Hydro has the conductor and magnetic field element.

Thus - how "new" are "we" wanting as the conductor/magnet trick goes back to the 1`st "mass produced" electricity.

I like CSP concentrated solar power.

That keeps the framing of a centralized power systems. Is that really a useful framing to keep, or should we be looking for a framing of 'you make it, you use it.' Add in a social good/neighborly 'I made extra power, I'm placing on the grid, the grid firm gets a cut for maintaining a grid, getting that power to you - the neighbor, and billing you - the neighbor'.

If a moment is coming where the old framing collapses, what do "we" think is gonna be a new framing that will suck the least?'

Offered up elsewhere in this subthread is the framing of 'powerdown - use less' and that may be a good frame job.

A further re-frame .... how about following the idea of Technocracy as M. King Hubbert was part of?
(the Technocracy re-frame as presented by Mr. Miller is one 'without money' and transactions based on the embedded energy.)

Lots of Thorium is available but some reactor development needs to be done.

The Thorium reactors are smacking of "fusion" - something that is just 'round the corner' and may never work.

"cold fusion"
http://www.lenr-canr.org/ (more science less "woo-woo")
http://www.coldfusionnow.org/audio.html (this and the cold fusion now root are FAR more Woo-Woo)

Relying on Saudi Arabia to save the world

Unless the KSA has some humans who figure out some way to harvest photons and turn the desert back into green verdant land as it was in the past with said photon harvesting - I don't see them being in the "world saving" business. Someone in the KSA might figure out fusion and such a move might be world saving.

If a moment is coming where the old framing collapses, what do "we" think is gonna be a new framing that will suck the least?

Someone posted a link the other day wich sugest the 800 000 saudibarrels that were cut was actually heavy sour crude they put on the market but noone wanted to buy. If that is true then the meaning of this is; The only thing the saudis have to offer is heavy sour crude, none of the light sweet stuff your car want to burn. That is the oil behind their 2.5 million barrels of spare capacity.

Yes any spare capacity they do have is the heavy sour stuff, but I doubt seriously that they have 2.5 mb/d of even that.

And a lot of people talk about Manifa, which is supposed to produce 900,000 barrels per day by 2013. That is still in doubt however because the oil from Manifa is very heavy and very sour. Not only that but it is contaminated vanadium, something no refinery is currently able to handle.

Saudi Oil Production - read Minister Al-Naimi's small print

Manifa is a heavy, sour (i.e. high sulfur), vanadium contaminated deposit. It requires a special refinery to process the oil, and these don’t exist. The KSA has had plans in the works for some time to build two refineries in the Kingdom that will refine this oil. There have, however, been delays in construction. It appears that these are getting worse, or, for other reasons, have been further postponed. Without the refineries the ability to produce the oil is meaningless. The original date at which these facilities were supposed to be on line was within the next two. It is now, apparently, been moved to 2024.

So not only is their oil mostly the heavy sour stuff, the oil they have coming down the pike is even heavier and sourer and contaminated with some real nasty stuff. That is why Manifa has been in mothballs since it was discovered in 1957. No one wanted that nasty stuff. The fact that they are planning to pump from these dredges just proves how desperate they really are.

Ron P.

The solution is completely obvious. We must develop vehicles that run on tar...damn the emmissions.


Is it true that (some, much or most?) of the heavy oil in the Orinoco in Venezuela contains some amount of Vanadium as well?

If so, then they do not produce any of that oil due to not having a refinery properly equipped to remove the V?

Can V separated from oil be a profit stream, or is V widely enough available that oil-derived V would not be profitable as a by-product?

Is it true that (some, much or most?) of the heavy oil in the Orinoco in Venezuela contains some amount of Vanadium as well?

I have no idea. And for your second and third questions: I have no idea. To be honest I never heard of vanadium until I read of the problems with Manifa. I do not know what it is or why it creates such a problem with crude oil. If we have a vanadium expert on this list please speak up. Heisenberg has some serious questions here and I am not qualified to answer them.

I have read blogs from peak oil deniers that say vanadium is not a problem and that any refinery can handle the problem. I have never heard that from someone whom I believe truly knows what they are talking about however. But to be sure, as far as vanadium is concerned, I have no idea whatsoever and have never claimed that I did.

So if we have a refinery expert out there, please, please, tell us about vanadium.

Someone post Robert Rapier and ask him.

Ron P.


Thanks for your reply and request for further info.


Approximately 85% of vanadium produced is used as ferrovanadium or as a steel additive.[23] The considerable increase of strength in steel containing small amounts of vanadium was discovered in the beginning of the 20th century. Vanadium forms stable nitrides and carbides, resulting in a significant increase in the strength of the steel.[25] From that time on vanadium steel was used for applications in axles, bicycle frames, crankshafts, gears, and other critical components.

Vanadium is also present in bauxite and in fossil fuel deposits such as crude oil, coal, oil shale and tar sands. In crude oil, concentrations up to 1200 ppm have been reported. When such oil products are burned, the traces of vanadium may initiate corrosion in motors and boilers.[20] An estimated 110,000 tonnes of vanadium per year are released into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels.[21]

All vanadium compounds should be considered to be toxic. Tetravalent VOSO4 has been reported to be over 5 times more toxic than trivalent V2O3.[60] The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set an exposure limit of 0.05 mg/m3 for vanadium pentoxide dust and 0.1 mg/m3 for vanadium pentoxide fumes in workplace air for an 8-hour workday, 40-hour work week.[61]

Vanadium traces in diesel fuels present a corrosion hazard; it is the main fuel component influencing high temperature corrosion. During combustion, it oxidizes and reacts with sodium and sulfur, yielding vanadate compounds with melting points down to 530 °C, which attack the passivation layer on steel, rendering it susceptible to corrosion. The solid vanadium compounds also cause abrasion of engine components.

In addition to its causing problems during refining because it is a catalytic poison, vanadium in refined products initiates corrosion in motors and boilers.


Vanadium is a huge, huge problem for oil refineries. It is very, very difficult and expensive to remove from crude oil, it poisons the catalysts in the refineries' catalytic crackers, and if it gets into the motor fuels the refineries sell, causes deposits on the exhaust valves of engines and abrasion of engine parts. When it goes out the exhaust pipe it becomes a toxic air pollutant.

So, in general, refineries want to see as little of it in their feedstock as possible.

Venezuelan extra-heavy oil also has a problem with vanadium, but I suspect it's not as big a problem as Saudi Arabia has. This is the real problem for Saudi Arabia - nobody wants to buy its "surplus" oil because it is just too big a problem to deal with its vanadium, and there is lots of other heavy, high sulfur oil available on the world market at low prices without such high levels of vanadium.

High density and high sulfur content are problems the refineries can deal with, and it's worth their while to do so given the amount of product available at low prices.


Thank you very much for your insights on this question.

I found this technical document discussing refineries and heavy oil with Vanadium:


Has TOD put up a Key Post/Tech Talk etc. concerning the technical production prospects for the Orinoco oil resources in Venezuela?

I take pains to say technical aspects because many of us are likely familiar with the above-ground aspect of Mr. Chavez et al and its influence on Orinoco resource development.


Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. has estimated that the producible reserves of the Orinoco Belt are up to 235 billion barrels (3.74×1010 m3)[2] which would make it the largest petroleum reserve in the world, before Saudi Arabia [3].

In 2009, USGS updated this value to 513 billion barrels (8.16×1010 m3)

The technical document is useful in that it goes into detail on the problems of refining oil with high vanadium content, and gives the vanadium content of some of the heavy crude oils from Mexico, Venezuela, and Canada.

I found it interesting that the vanadium content of the Canadian heavy oils was half or less than that of the Mexican and Venezuelan heavies, which probably makes it more attractive for refineries which have been designed to process heavy oil. Certainly, Canadian oil is backing Mexican and Venezuelan oil out of the American market, although falling Mexican and Venezuelan production is also an issue there.

I suspect (although I don't know because I haven't seen the specs) that the Saudi Manifa oil has vanadium content even higher than the Mexican and Venezuelan heavy oils, and that is why the Saudis say that there are no refineries which can process it - no refinery has ever had to deal with that much vanadium in the oil.

So, the Saudis being forced to build their own refineries, but I think they may have a problem in that they are into unknown territory in refinery design. They can't use the existing technology, so they are going to have to do some original research and draw up their own designs. I don't know that they excel at R&D or design innovation, which may be why they are so far behind schedule.

I know nothing about vanadium in crude oil, or it's chemical properties. But in steel, it is another issue. Together with crome it makes steel very hard wich is good for some types of tools. It always amazes me, because vanadium is in it self very soft.

Anyhow, there is a market for vanadium so if you just get a way to get it out of the crude, you could always sell it. If it repays the extraction cost to more or less than 100%, I have no way of knowing.

@Jedi, looks like you should be careful breathing vanadium pentoxide while you're welding. Of course there are lots of other nasties in welding so I guess the vanadium has to get in line. I tried to find prices for elemental vanadium but couldn't, ferric vanadium looks to be pretty valuable per ton $30K. Of course the article talked about V in ppm quantities, so extracting it could be a serious pain compared to however it is mined in Russia and South Africa. I do note that the price is about 4X higher than a year ago so someone must be using it for something.

Thanks Heisenberg for posting the link and feeding my attention deficit disorder habit yet again. Must have spent a good 20 minutes learning about vanadium, about which I was almost clueless only an hour ago. ;)


My pleasure...we sound similar...I never tire of geeking out and get lost in the sauce reading Wikipedia articles and other sources about chemical elements etc.

Time to feed condition some more:

Vanadium, from the U.S. Minerals Databrowser.




Which Todster built and maintains this? I have a great memory...except that it resembles Swiss cheese sometimes!





More about Orinoco oil resources:


I certainly think that Venezuela will become more prominent in World news as the years roll on.

With that much oil, even with its heavy and Vanadium-contaminated nature, I am sure that the interest in producing this resource will grow as other resources decline.

Is Vz the U.S. 'Monroe Doctrine' PO 'Ace in the Hole'?

just wondering...

I've heard of Vanadium flow batteries, which have been proposed for utility storage. The idea of a flow battery, is you have tanks of reactants, and products for some reversible recation. Storage capacity is then determined by the size of these tanks, rather than the "size" of the battery. So V could be very useful if it could be economically separated. I think the same thing applies for sulfur, remember during the 2008 commodity superspike what happened to the price of sulfur. If that repeats, it might pay to refine heavy sour for the V and S, anything from selling the oil product will just be icing on the cake.

I think the problem with vanadium is that it cannot be economically separated from the oil, and the vanadium just ends up being a contaminant in the leftover heavy ends, rendering it unsalable. Normally the solid coke that comes out of a heavy oil refinery can be sold to steel mills, but I don't think they want vanadium in their fuel, either.

Sulfur is different in that a refinery processing high-sulfur oil can develop a moderately profitable sideline selling the elemental sulfur as well as the products.

I first heard of Manifa and its vanadium in this article (originally published in Prospect Magazine in 2000).

If it's really so hard to remove vanadium...what's going on with Manifa? They seem to be seriously trying to develop it.

How much would oil have to cost to make it "economical" to separate the vanadium?

Seems like I read a Wilbur Smith novel about 20 years ago in which a tanker full of vanadium contaminated crude gets torched in the middle of a hurricane, raining toxic stuff over Florida. Hopefully not prescient.

Out of interest, what form does the Vanadium take in oil, a salt? Where does it come from to get into the oil in the first place?


I would guess the following. The V ions are bound to thiol containing hydrocarbons. These complexes would be soluble in the oil. The V came from the geology but it is very soluble in oil that contains a lot of thiols.

However, it appears on wikipedia that V goes into porphyrin ring systems, like chlorophyll a. This is the reason why oil is not likely abiotic, since these are the rings that normally are found in plants chloroplasts. These molecules are the light harvesting points in the plant.


I think the V replaced the Mg normally found there. V likely came from the dirt and not from life, however.

From my link above:
Vanadium can be found in the environment in algae, plants, invertebrates, fishes and many other species. In mussels and crabs vanadium strongly bioaccumulates, which can lead to concentrations of about 10^5 to 10^6 times greater than the concentrations that are found in seawater.

Read more: http://www.lenntech.com/periodic/elements/v.htm#ixzz1KCqBim2i

Since the V bioaccumulates strongly in aquatic life, it seems reasonable to assume it would "accumulate" in the oil that subsequently got produced from said life. The porphyrin angle is interesting especially how it resembles chlorophyll. Perhaps it replaced the Mg in the chlorophyll? That seems a more likely vector than thiols (Occam's razor).

Thank you gentlemen. Interesting about the chlorophyll and porphyrin link.


Ron, perhaps you need to venture forth from the safety of the TOD preserve once in awhile and take a walk on the wild side!

THE MSM is for the people and by the people who think like this...

Here's a typical comment by someone who calls himself Mark on Yahoo News.
And unfortunately he is one of the saner ones....

"When BP's Deepwater Horizon well blew in the Gulf last April 20, it was being temporarily abandoned to await later production." What the heck? Seems like it was a producer after seeing all the oil come out of it? Why on earth do they drill a hole for oil, hit it, and shut it off? With all of these 50k or so wells out there, there should be quite a few that would produce enough to have an effect on the price of a barrel of oil and lower the price for the consumers. But I guess that doesn't play into the plans of the speculators or oil companies who are cashing in on our wallets.

I was reading an article written in 2008 about the speculators of oil. From 2003 to 2008, the speculation market went from 13 billion to over 260 billion, mostly due to banks, hedge fund managers and wall street. With that much money pouring into the speculation of oil, the laws of supply and demand no longer work as they should, but rather works on greed and fear! I would love to know how much more money has gone into speculation since then! The banks, in 2008, were deriving ½ of their profits from speculation on oil. Gee, they hit you with outlandish credit card fees then suck the money from your wallet every time you fill up the tank on your car. Another way to get your money from a different angle!

THIS IS WRONG! Call your federal reps and complain! Stop the speculation!

These people live in their own reality and there is nothing anyone can do about it, at least as far as I can tell.



FM - And just when you think you had already met the most stupid person on the planet a new record holder shows up. LOL Actually I don't fault folks that hard for being ignorant. But when they wrap it in such arrogance it's difficult to stomach.

The banks, in 2008, were deriving ½ of their profits from speculation on oil.

You do have to wonder what orifice that was pull out of. It's almost as if they noticed the spike in the price of oil and the financial collapse happened at the same time - but drew the wrong connections between the blocks.

These people live in their own reality

Except the 'speculation' message has:
1) A legal basis. Court cases like what Enron was doing. And I believe BP had a natural gas price fixing case years ago.
2) Other large Corporations and price fixing. The Lysine price fixing as an example.
3) Various media outlets saying such.
4) A few elected officials saying such.
5) Somehow the legislative process would have a negative effect on the actions of Big Business.

Eric, are you seriously trying to defend Mark's comment as being reasonable?

Also from the linked story:

Majed Al Moneef, Saudi Arabia's OPEC governor, said in the paper published on the Arab Energy Club website that Saudi output averaged 8.2 million b/d in 2010.

That's hugely different from the EIA's latest figure for 2010 - 8.9 million b/d. Really quite breath-taking.

Maybe EIA were trying to revise their figures *down* by 300,000 b/d and someone got the sign wrong!

Saudi Arabia went up by 0.65 million barrels per day in 2010. Now people expect it to go up again to make up for the Libya shortfall. Instead Saudi Arabia dropped production recently. Was this a phantom increase in 2010 that was made glaringly obvious when they didn't anticipate the Libyan situation?

Two possibilities:
1. They go back and change the numbers for 2010, which is the Moneef story
2. The recent drop is actually phantom and they are acting like the numbers from 2010 are real

Whatever the case, they are obviously trying to recalibrate so as not to dig themselves too deep a hole.

Perhaps there is a third possibility? Could the delta be condensate, counted separately?

Short term you have these to contend with
1. Noise and uncertainty.
2. Biases caused by introducing other liquids as you noted.
3. Faked data.
4. The real trend.

The first three tend to disappear as you look at the trends over longer intervals.

Interesting that this works better for oil depletion than when trying to follow long range financial forecasts. The key difference is that oil is not renewable and can only go in one direction; you just have to wait long enough to discern the trends.

The EIA's International Energy Statistics came out late Monday afternoon with the data for January 2011. World oil production was up 387,000 bp/d. OPEC production was up 509,000 barrels per day while non-OPEC production was down 122,000 barrels per day.

Big movers on the upside were Iraq, Saudi, up 200 kb/d, Iraq, up 100 kb/d, Nigeria, up 100 kb/d, the UAE, up 100 kb/d, and the UK was up 93 kb/d. Big movers on the downside were the USA, down 144 kb/d, Canada down 83 kb/d, Indonesia down 73 kb/d, Australia, down 68 kb/d and Brazil, down 58 kb/d. The big drop in USA January production was due to pipeline problems in Alaska.

All changes in OPEC production was in big round numbers. In fact their revisions for 2010, and they were lots of them, for OPEC nations anyway, were all in big round numbers. But not for non-OPEC nations.

Some of the EIA's revisions for the second half of 2009 and all of 2010 in thousands of barrels per day.

Month	      Algeria	Kuwait	Saudi	Total World
Jul. 2009	-80	   0	  0	 -93
Aug.	        -80	   0	  0	 -92
Sep.	        -80	   0	  0	 -92
Oct.	        -80	   0	  0	 -90
Nov.	        -80	   0	  0	 -92
Dec.	        -80	   0	  0	 -97
Jan. 2010	-80	-100	  0	-134
Feb.	        -80	-100	200	  49
Mar.	        -80	-100	300	 225
Apr.	        -80	-100	400	 240
May.	        -80	-100	300	 124
Jun.	        -80	-100	700	 529
Jul.	        -80	   0	700	 644
Aug.	        -80	   0	700	 652
Sep.	        -80	   0	800	 731
Oct.	        -80	   0	300	 216
Nov.	        -80	   0	400	 409
Dec.	          0	   0	  0	 100

For the entire world, average 2010 production was revised up by 366,000 barrels per day. All data in this report is Crude + Condensate.

Ron P.

You said Iraq twice.

My mistake. I first had Iraq then decided to put them in order of the size of their increase, then neglected to delete the first Iraq. Sorry. Ron.

Are revisions this rounded and this big common?

It is common for revisions to OPEC productions to be rounded but revisions this big are unusual. I have seen revisions for world production to be half a million barrels or more, but only for one month and even for a single month it is not common. I have never seen revisions for a whole year this large. Revisions that big, for multiple months, is quite uncommon.

Revisions for non-OPEC production is always quite small and seldom, if ever, rounded. The secrecy that shrouds all OPEC nations means that usually everyone is just guessing at production numbers. It is very rare that a nation will tell us exactly what their production was for any given month. Well Venezuela does tell us what they are producing but their announced production numbers are always about half a million barrels per day above what any reporting agency reports. No one believes them.

Ron P.

It is very rare that a nation will tell us exactly what their production was for any given month.

But most nations report (exactly) their monthly production numbers to The Joint Organisations Data Initiative.

More than 90 countries/economies, Members of the six pioneer organisations (APEC, EUROSTAT, IEA, OLADE, OPEC and UNSD) participate in JodiOil, representing around 90% of global oil supply and demand.

The assessment included the collection of monthly oil statistics from each organisation's member countries by means of a harmonised questionnaire on 42 key oil data points.

As with Venezuela, EIA/IEA (and even OPEC itself) do not believe in any of the OPEC numbers.

Saudi production according to JODI:

Jan 8.188
Feb 8.106
Mar 8.181
Apr 8.170
May 8.066
Jun 8.073
Jul 8.177
Aug 8.168
Sep 8.063
Oct 8.162
Nov 8.259
Dec 8.365

Jan 8.514
Feb 9.020

Obviously I meant it is very rare for any OPEC nation go give their production numbers. I should have stated that but my previous sentence to your quoted sentence, I thought, made that obvious.

As for the OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report they specifically state that the production numbers in that report are from "secondary sources" and not from the OPEC nations themselves. The reason is not that the compilers of the Monthly Oil Market Report do not believe them, it is that most OPEC countries do not report any numbers at all. Obviously they do not believe Venezuela but they just state that ALL their data is from secondary sources.

The question then arises, just who are these "secondary sources" I have no idea but I imagine they are Platts and perhaps MEES and maybe even others. And all these folks are just guessing. Of course they use tanker tracker data but that only gives them an educated guess that is often quite wrong, as in the reported March data for Saudi Arabia.


Obviously I meant it is very rare for any OPEC nation go give their production numbers.

Hmm, but all OPEC nations do report their production numbers to JODI, don't they?

Saudi Arabia Oil Exports to Decrease Due to Increased Domastic Demand

The Joint Oil Data Initiative (JODI) is an international effort to address the need for “transparency in oil market data”. Collecting data from producing and consuming nations, the JODI database attempts to provide “timely, comprehensive, and sustainable energy data” on a monthly basis. Although data reported by many nations are still unreliable, the data for Saudi Arabia are quite good. (JODI is headquartered in Riyadh.)

Out of curiosity how does anyone know "the data for Saudi Arabia are quite good." Also as Venezuela, for example, reports higher production figures than the IEA or EIA reports, what data ends up in the JODI database?

Also as Venezuela, for example, reports higher production figures than the IEA or EIA reports, what data ends up in the JODI database?

Data from Venezuela.

Click on the "i" after "Venezuela": http://www.jodidb.org/WDS/TableViewer/tableView.aspx?ReportId=2411

General Information
Data as submitted by Venezuela to OPEC in barrels.

The number for February you quote is 9.020 mb/d. The number quoted by Saudi Arabia's oil minister was 9.125. If they gave JODI numbers then why are the numbers different? And if all OPEC nations give their numbers to JODI then why do they not publish their own numbers in their Monthly Oil Market Report?

However I really have no idea who reports what to whom. But since every reporting agency reports entirely different numbers I must believe that they all are just guessing. Either that or as you suggest, no one believes what OPEC reports to JODI. And after thinking about it, that could very well be the case.

Ron P.

These are huge revisions. This never happened before to this extent. Saudi production figures from the EIA would now be quite different from those of the IEA Monthly Oil Market Report. Since the IPM discontinued maybe there is a new team and they have mixed NGLs into it. When I did my OECD import statistics with their data in these graphs


there were some errors but of a different type (factor of 1,000 too high for 3 months). We may have to wait until this settles down and gets established.

The EIA data are now even higher compared to the OPEC Monthly Report March 2010, e.g:

Saudi crude production in December 2010:

EIA 8,940 kb/d
OPEC 8,461 kb/d (March 2011, page 40)
IEA 8,230 kb/d (March 2011, OMR, page 68, table 3) plus half of Neutral Zone 270 kb/d = 8,500 kb/d

Something is wrong here

Re: Study Emphasizes Importance of China’s Transition to Electric Cars

The article notes that China is now the world's largest car market. Lately, they have been running a trade deficit too, much of which is due to the increasing cost of imported oil. It looks like they have realized that they will be in a fine mess if they actually ramp up to 30 million cars a year...

E. Swanson

The local Vancouver paper has an article about high gasoline prices in this part of Canada.

No relief at the pumps in sight for Lower Mainland

Refreshingly there's no mention of speculators or price gouging. According to the article, it now costs $57.10 to fill up a Honda Civic and $134.95 to fill up a Ford F150 truck. I'm glad I dont' own anything remotely resembling the latter.

It cost me $109 to fill up my car last week, which is smaller than a Honda Civic. However, I will not need to fill it up again for another 650-odd miles. Or about 3 weeks.

We only have one car in our family of four, but 7 working bicycles.

Does anyone know if there's a definitive answer about whether it's more efficient to fill the tank fully or only part fill?

I.e. due to the weight of the fuel etc?

Edit: Just had a quick google - seems the weight of the fuel is pretty negligible compared to the car so probably doesn't make much difference.

If formula 1 racing is anything to go by, then fill up little and often.

The only proviso is how far out of your way you need to go to fill up. 10 gallons adds about 30kg to the weight of a car weighing 1000 Kg - 2000kg, so the overall difference will be tiny.

If you are worried about shortages, then fill up little and often, but start with a full tank. Start it now, so you won't be caught out by black swan events.

F1 has changed the rules, and the cars must now finish the race on a single tank of gas. They must change tires a minimum of once, but the new tires have limited life, and lose significant performance after a dozen or two laps (depending on the track and tire type.

It might make sense to fill up early, since you then get to pick the lowest price. I've been burned by $0.20 /gallon differences between where i work and where I live. (Of course a Prius has something short of a 10 gallon tank, and I've been getting around 50 MPG of late... I just wish I could work at home more often.)

Prius tank is 11.9 gal...

If using diesel then you should always fill up fully because diesel dries up and would make a gunk rim inside the tank. That gunk could make you change fuel filters more frequently.

And don't forget to keep your tires properly inflated!
Gas mileage tips

Cheers, I'm already a bit of a scrooge when it comes to petrol - have been hypermiling for years!

One thing I have been investigating is the optimal constant speed to drive for energy efficiency. This is clearly a compromise between the air resistance, rolling resistance, and the engine revs 'sweet spot' in any given car.

Some reports indicate that (large, older , overpowered US vehicles shaped like bricks) show little increase in consumption from 45mph to 60 mph.


However, given the current and likely future trend to lighter, lower power, more aerodynamic car designs, it seems intuitive that high speed drag would be increasingly important. Table 4.26 seems to confirm this , as does my direct experience. My car has a dramatically lower mpg at 70 than at 55mph.

However, even in the UK, driving at 55mph on the open highway is seen as antisocially slow.

However, even in the UK, driving at 55mph on the open highway is seen as antisocially slow.

I do between 50-55 on the UK motorway or try to keep a constant distance behind the lorry in front. If the others don't like it.. well, that's what the other lanes are for!

My father was a field auditor logging something >60,000 miles per year in the upper Midwest and Great Plains, who retired with well over a million accident-free miles. The summer after I got my drivers license, I had to spend two weeks doing the driving for him, to "put the polish on" as he put it. One of his near-absolute rules was "go the same speed as the rest of the herd."

I have an acquaintance who is a highway patrolman, who often asserts that slow drivers aren't in as many accidents as speeders, but cause at least as many accidents by forcing other drivers to change lanes and speed abruptly.

Well that's fair enough, which is why I always try and keep pace with the lorry in front of me. People will have to overtake that anyway so I can't see any harm there.

"I have an acquaintance who is a highway patrolman, who often asserts that slow drivers aren't in as many accidents as speeders, but cause at least as many accidents by forcing other drivers to change lanes and speed abruptly."

I see. And who, in the opinion of the officer, is forcing those other drivers to exceed the speed limit or preventing them from slowing down rather than "weaving" (as frequent lane-changing is called)?

Which leads to the question, who does the highway patrolman tag for speeding? In the Twin Cities, there are certain stretches of state highway that are crawling with local police enforcing the speed limits, while other areas are unenforced. How is a driver to know what speed to drive given the discrepancy between the law and actual average speeds? I think it is very important to not deliberately try to piss other drivers off by driving slow anywhere other than the slow lane (right for US, left for UK?). However, if someone gets pissed off at someone driving the speed limit (definition of slow is the speed limit) in the slow lane, whose problem is that? I have recently reduced my speed to no higher than 65 even in 70 mph zones. I have had no problems in the right lane so far. My usual speed is between 57 and 62 on stretches of 55 and 60 speed limit roads.

One thing I have been investigating is the optimal constant speed to drive for energy efficiency.

Off ;D

A 92 year old local fella hit a van (the elder ran a red light and instead of hitting the brakes, punched the gas pedal) and then plowed into what I recall being 7 parked cars. Roughly 4 of them were totaled, several various nice makes and models.

Old people drive slow, but man they seem to get in a lot of crashes.

If you run the engine in reverse it makes fuel in your tank. I never tried it but I heard it somewhere.

Yeah, but don't.

If you overrev the engine too much (and who can resist?), you'll get dinosaurs jammed up in there, it's very messy.

Works well with electric motors >;^)

"My car has a dramatically lower mpg at 70 than at 55mph."

Definitely depends on the car. I have to going a bit over 55 to get into fifth gear. Going to work in 4th the whole trip would not improve my mileage.

That's a big change from the 1970s. Not only were the cars not streamlined, but the usual choice was a four-speed manual or a three speed automatic. The real bargain-basement cars had "three on the tree" (clunkiest shifting system ever devised.) and my first car had a two-speed automatic. Chevy Power-glide. Or maybe it was a Power-slide. It was like they decided to save $5 by making a really sloppy torque converter and dispensing with first gear.

My car is an eight year old Turbo-Diesel Fiat Doblo. It is considered to be hideous and is shaped like a brick, but I believe it has a surprisingly good drag co-efficient of 0.3, which isn't bad. Actually I love this car, but that notwithstanding it gets 48 - 55 mpg (imperial) when keeping to a consistent speed of around 80mph, including going up to a 90mph plus cruise on the continent. When driven in the 50s and 60s I get hardly any better fuel consumption; perhaps 60mpg. The one thing affecting consumption is the wind; if it's behind me I do well but driving fast into a serious headwind the consumption can drop to 43.

New models do better than this apparently.

The real bargain-basement cars had "three on the tree" (clunkiest shifting system ever devised.) and my first car had a two-speed automatic. Chevy Power-glide.

Ah, yes, the old Chevy two-speed slushbox, two speeds: ahead and dead ahead. I had one myself, or rather my father bought a car with one for $400 and gave it to myself and my brother so we wouldn't drive his car. They wanted you to compensate for the monumental inefficiency of the transmission by putting in a bigger V-8. The clunker our father bought for us had the smallest available six, so there was no hope for us.

And then the Arabs ruined it for GM by quadrupling the price of gas, and the Japanese ruined it even worse by coming out with small, efficient cars with overhead cam fours and five speed transmissions. A little four-cylinder Toyota Corolla with five-speed could blow the doors off a big V-8 Chevy with two-barrel carburetter and two-speed Powerglide, and of course the Toyota got far better fuel economy.

GM struck back by replacing the two-speed Powerglide with a lighter version of its three-speed Turbo-Hydramatic. This el-cheapo automatic became known for its incredibly high failure rate and contributed further to the success of the Japanese car industry.

A little known fact is that the three-speed Turbo-Hydramatic replaced the earlier Hydramatic which had four speeds. The Hydramatic also had a fluid coupling that was more efficient than the three-speed's torque converter. However, it was the heaviest transmission ever put into a production automobile and was an erratic shifter.

Interesting you mention that; I bring that up to people and I get asked "...does it make a difference....?" Duh!
I remember Obama mentioned it once and was derided unbelievably for it.


Sometimes people can't be bothered to lift a finger to help themselves.

Tire pressure is important.
And follow the TIRE manufacturer's recommended inflation pressures, NOT the car manufacturer's recommendations.
The car manufacturers want everybody to enjoy the most comfortable ride; nice and soft and squishy. Typically, they recommend somewhere around 35psi.
Look on the tire's sidewall. Max pressure is printed right on the tire.

In my case, my Goodyears will take a max pressure of 44psi. I keep them infalted to 42psi and this significantly improves gas mileage over what the Toyota dealer always sets my pressures at after a service visit; 35psi. It's a little bit of a battle between me and my Toyota dealer service tech. Without fail, after service, once back home, I have to drag out the air compressor and re-inflate my tires.

Air compressor? It takes me about a minute each to adjust the pressures in my car tyres using a bicycle stirrup pump.

Yeah, I use a 3 gallon portable; works much better than a hand pump. And I use it fairly regularly. Air's pretty useful once you start using it for all the stuff it's good for.

The car manufacturers want everybody to enjoy the most comfortable ride; nice and soft and squishy.

The other benefit of lower air pressure is increased bushing life. If you're the kind of person who tends to trade in their car after just a few years, this won't apply - but if you're trying to get to hundreds of thousands of miles you'll save money by keeping the air pressure down a bit - a front-end bushing replacement is not cheap.

Another thing I've noticed is that most auto companies recommend the same tire pressure in all four tires, even though the front tires typically carry more weight than the rear. So I pump up my front tires to halfway between the maximum printed on the tire, and the owners manual. This works well as long as I drive mostly on smooth roads.

If I did most of my driving on rough roads, I*'d go back to the recommended numbers in the owners manual, and maybe let another two or three pounds out of the rear tires.

Watch out for uneven tyre wear though. Also, if the tyre is over inflated you can lose grip in the wet.


It's not something to worry about, BUT....
the weight of the fuel most definitely does make a difference to the gas mileage; at least in my Toyota Prius. I get a small, but measurable increase in gas mileage once the tank gets to about one third full.

Does anyone know if there's a definitive answer about whether it's more efficient to fill the tank fully or only part fill?

Part fill is more efficient, everything else being equal. More weight equals less fuel economy. It takes power to move mass, so if you are hauling extra weight in the gas tank or items in the trunk of your vehicle, you are not going to achieve maximum fuel economy. The same concept applies to the weight of the passengers.

I've wondered if added mass would work FOR you on the highway, as better momentum, and was really only a heavy liability in start-stop driving.. ? Driving Habits would also have to work this advantage, of course..

Jokuhl, additional mass would be a hindrance on the highway too. Going up and down hills the mass would be a liability just like start and stop driving. On a level road the extra mass would result in more friction on the tires as they are pressed down further. The only possible advantage might be for accelerating and coasting (hypermiling), but I'm not sure on that.

If the hills are not steep (so you don't have the brake on downshift going down) it should be a wash, the extra energy climbing is given back on the descent. But you are correct that extra weight means the tires are compressed more, so that rolling resistance would go up. But, I think the effect is small. The cost in fuel and hastle of going into/out of fueling stations probably outweighs the benefits of keeping your average fuel weight low.

A hill does not need to be very steep to sustain 60mph rolling downhill in a modern car.

No, I think it's quite different from Start/Stop, where you spill all your kinetic energy and have to re-establish it all over again. That brings a severe MPG penalty.

I don't have a clear sense of how the Rolling Resistance curve changes within this weight range or against various inflation pressures/tread types .. but I suspect that this is going to be a pretty marginal cost. (Given the amount of weight involved, 50-400 pounds) When I mentioned operation, I'm talking largely about speed choices and rolling out from downhills to uphills.. of course these choices will have an effect on how 'sociably' you are driving, which might in the extreme cases incur other costs beyond what is saved in fuel efficiency. (Ie, being willing to shed speed drastically coasting up hills, and gain speed again going down)

How much you change lanes and speed becomes a considerable factor on level highways, and working to keep a largely consistent speed would seem to be a vote in favor of extra weight not being a serious drain on that advantage, and possibly a boon to it.

Of course, the additional people riding should well be an efficiency loss for the car, but a considerable gain for the overall Pass-MPG.

i - Might not be a weight factor but have you ever noticed that you get more miles from the first half of the atnk than the second half? Most folks do. So if you fill up at 50% full you'll get better miles/gallon.

Yes I've often wondered that - I have no idea why that might be though! I did see some talk about condensation getting into half empty tanks in the winter etc. Who knows.

i - My apologies. It was a trick statement. As other have pointed out the top half is more than half a tank. You should hhave known better: everyone knows we oil men are dirty lying bastards. LOL

We can accurately measure the fuel in a spacecraft, half way across the solar system, but when it comes to the fuel tank of a car, inches from your butt....


True story: When one of the Apollo missions to were sent of, the guy who calculated the fuel for the rocket missed the launch. His car ran out of fuel on his way to work. Guess if his friends at work reminded him of that from time to time.

the guy who calculated the fuel for the rocket missed the launch. His car ran out of fuel on his way to work.

It was probably due to an incorrect liters to gallons conversion error...

Haha, did you know they took the word 'gullible' out of the Oxford English Dictionary in 2004?

I think it might be an issue on the way the fuel gauge is designed. It registers full even after a full tank has been driven a while. The gauge need not be precise, just a general indicator to cue the driver on how far he/she can go before being empty.

Both ends, actually. In most cases, it's possible to put more fuel in the tank (and filler neck) even when the sensor (typically a float) has reached its maximum travel. On the low end, the manufacturers want there to be some fuel left in the tank when the gauge reads empty for the obvious reason.

When my gauge says it is empty I can put in 40 litres of petrol. ~ 10 miles later it still says empty but I can put in 41 litres. The manual says it takes 45 litres but I've never been brave enough to try....

There is little more embarrassing than running out of petrol just as you pull into a petrol station and need a top up to get the last 3m to the pumps :( (BTW the stations around here are built up about a meter above the road.)


Depends on how often you want to have to replace the very high cost electric fuel pump that is located in your gas tank that depends on the gasoline in the tank for cooling. Run the tank below half or so and you start overheating the electric fuel pump and begin shortening its working life. They have to remove the gas tank from the car to replace the electric fuel pump from the tank and the electric fuel pump alone generally costs $500 US and up - Some way up!
I never let the tank go below 1/2 tank in my car with fuel injection.

Depends on the model. I replaced the lift pump on my wife's Jetta sedan - you can access the thing through a hatch under the back seat - no need to remove the tank. And it wasn't a 500$ part - closer to half that.

Nice point.

Isn't there also a possible problem with condensation? A mostly empty tank isn't really empty. It is full of air, and that air inevitably contains moisture. As that moisture condenses on the walls of the tank during cool evening hours, it runs down to the bottom of the tank so when you try to start your car you are trying to burn water.

Maybe newer cars have ways of getting around this?

I have diesel Hyundai and use it only weekends because my company provides a shuttle to and from office everyday, so I don't need car within weekdays. 7 colleagues use shuttle in our neighbourhood.

My company provide over thirty shuttles to every part of city, almost every neighbourhoods. Avarage passengers are between 5-8. Shuttles (minibuses) collect poeple in the morning and distribute them after office hours. Nobody use their own vehicle to commute if they have not a speical plan after office hours.
Most of the companies in our city (Istanbul) have same service according to their capabilities.
It's a huge save of fuel and density in the traffic, thoug we have a serious traffic jam problem.
But if you want to use your own vehicle to commute, it will be a huge burden on your budget.

Average useage of my car is 800km/month (500 miles), 200km at the weekends. To cover this length, it cost me 150 Turkish Lira(=$100), for 42 litre (10,1 gal).

Yes, we use most expensive fuel in the world, we're #1, we're champion!

1 litre gasoline = 4,20 TL = $2,76
1 gal. gasoline = $10,47

1 litre diesel = 3,65 TL = $2,40
1 gal. diesel = $9,09

Enjoy $4/gal gasoline in US ;)

Taxes are very high on fuel prices (actually double times taxed, even tax of tax)
It's 80 cent(US) at refinery output but it's raised to $2,76 after double tax, we have to pay that price at the gas station if we want to enjoy our car.


ihg70, hard to imagine your situation. Thanks for sharing it with us.

"Istanbul... 1 gal. gasoline = US$10.47"

Hard to believe the difference in the world per: Low gas prices plague Venezuela

"Gasoline in Venezuela costs about 12 cents a gallon..."

There's always Rubin to soothe your mind with some sanity:


I was surprised he didn't mention the fact that MasterCard has made surveys and found that customers in the U.S. have been buying less gas each week than the week before it for six weeks straight.

I was also surprised he didn't mention the fact that the U.S. is essentially on steroids with it's QE I & II. The QE II, a.k.a print as money as we can get away with, ends in June.

Saudi Arabia, according to Darwininan, will not increase much over 9.2 mb/d in crude production over the next 3 years(not that they are capable anyway).
So without Saudi Arabia, there goes the spare capacity of the world. Iraq alone won't get more than at most 2 mb/d until 2015, and there's a 10 mb/d gap between 2010 and 2015 according to both the IEA and the Pentagon, as well as the German military.

One part where I do disagree with Rubin is where he predicts 200 dollars a barrel prices. I don't think we'll even get nearly that high, even for Brent. Greece is already on the verge of collapse, and that will endanger most of the European banks. If Ireland and Portugal collapses, you will need new bailouts for big banks in countries like France and Germany, possible sending one of them(most likely France) into recession too.

And then there's the U.S. I wish Rubin will expand on the financial situation in the world in the coming columns... I think there's a chance we're too focused on the oil situation, the financial situation looks so bad so it might fall in on itself within this year. Greece is unlikely to make it longer than a few months according to the Guardian's sources in the German administration.


Be sure to tune into CNBC tonight at 10 PM. CNBC is premiereing their latest documentary "SPRAWLING FROM GRACE: THE CONSEQUENCES OF SUBURBANIZATION" with Kunstler as the main speaker! I encourage all to watch what appears to be a very interesting program.

Thanks for the notice!! I was able to watch the show last night; it sure put sprawl into a perspective that one doesn't really "get" if they're living in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, for instance. It was well done in terms of coverage; cities from both coasts were featured.

I just loved the overhead views of a suburb with snaking streets - the poor sucker at the end of the road who's got the farthest to go (past all the other house) just to get a pack of smokes at the "convenience store," miles distant.

Indeed, as the show demonstrates well, the entire world is built around the concept that we need to ride an automobile to attend to all our needs.

I posted a link to the full unedited video down the thread:


Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending April 15, 2011

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 14.1 million barrels per day during the week ending April 15, 87 thousand barrels per day above the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 82.5 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging about 9.2 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging about 4.2 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged just under 8.1 million barrels per day last week, down by 518 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged nearly 8.7 million barrels per day, 603 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 853 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 293 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 2.3 million barrels from the previous week. At 357.0 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are in the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 1.6 million barrels last week and are in the lower limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 2.5 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased by 0.4 million barrels last week and are below the lower limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 6.7 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period has averaged nearly 19.1 million barrels per day, up by 1.2 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged nearly 9.0 million barrels per day, down by 1.8 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged 3.8 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, up by 6.2 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 4.7 percent lower over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

This a very interesting report! Crude oil imports have blunged further, down 518 kb/d in one week and around 1.6 mb/d in one year! Avery breathtaking plunge in imports! This seems to be atleast partially a result in the loss in supply in Libya and the failure of other contries to compensate.

Free Falling Continues as OPEC oil export cuts grow

Well by now it’s a regular pattern we have seen from the start of 2011: US gasoline stocks have declined relentlessly, except for brief respites. Despite rampant discussion of ‘demand destruction’, in the downward race between demand destruction and declining gasoline supplies, supplies are diminishing faster than demand destruction, and winning the race.

Seasonally so far in 2011, US gasoline supplies have fallen at the fastest rate ever for this time of the year (during the last 20 years for which records are available), although they are not at their lowest ever for this time of year. While Northeast US gasoline supplies are low, they are not yet critically low to the point of where shortages are imminent.

Yes shortages – it’s not just about the price, although higher prices will mostly but not completely help balance demand with available supplies. Mostly shortages will start as a local problem, quite likely starting with a refiner or wholesale distributor that just won’t have enough supply for all of its customers.

Although US refiners stepped up output of gasoline last week, there were still persistent problems getting all refiners back from their early Spring ‘turnaround’ (that is converting refinery operations to 'summer blends' from 'winter blends'). Some of these refinery problems won’t be solved until the end of this week, which may further impact next week’s EIA weekly report. Oil imports fell some last week, mostly due to falls in imports from Venezuela and Iraq, but imports from those nations may rebound next week. Although US oil imports may not fall much further from about current levels, imports are about 600,000 bpd less in the last four weeks as compared to last year. The US needs imports an import level of about 700,000 bpd more to keep its crude and oil product inventories in the longer term above minimum operating levels.

Even though US consumers have cut back some on gasoline purchases, diesel demand continues to move ahead. This may be closely related to the fact that US farmers will plant a record amount of grains to benefit from high grain prices. Therefore overall US oil demand is not being ‘destroyed’ but is still increasing. Similarly, while reports that Japan’s crude oil demand have dropped are true, but its demand of oil products has risen as much if not more than the drop of crude oil demand - so even Japan is using more oil than before.

Apparently OPEC has managed to twist these facts about ‘demand destruction’ to its liking, and a steep and steepening decline in OPEC exports is still being accepted without the alarm usually seen in other prior ‘oil shocks’. Well at least so far, but don’t count on the world sleeping through this oil shock much longer.

Charles - Will be interesting to see if we have a repeat of the sudden disappearence of big chunk of our fuel inventory overnight when folks start to worry about that next fill. Long after the 70's embargo they discovered where all that "missing" fuel went. It wasn't tankers circling while waiting for prices to go up nor some giant fuel bunker under the Pentagon. It was the cumulative effect of that extra 1/4 tank or so of fuel most American vehicles were carrying. Instead of waiting until they got under a 1/4 tank or less folks began filling up at 1/2 tank...or more. When they did the math it was almost a perfect match to the "missing inventory". There were a 100+ million fuel storage sitee develop overnight.

Indeed we are already in the danger zone where consumer demand could push inventories below minimum operating levels, which will cause the oil product distribution system to function erratically.

Meanwhile in the NYC harbor area, wholesale premium gasoline is in very short supply - so expect the price of premium in the Northeast US to rise relative to regular grade.

I had heard (or read) that Japan were using some of their crude SPR in the aftermath of the quake. Can anyone confirm this? If so Japanese demand would be down in the short term but would increase later when they attempt to replace that crude.

April 20, 2011

Japan to extend release from oil reserves until May 20

TOKYO, April 20 (Reuters) - Japan will extend the release of a total of 25 days' worth of national demand for oil from privately held reserves by a month until May 20, the trade ministry said on Wednesday, to ensure the supply of fuel to the country's quake-hit Tohoku region.

Japan allowed the release of three days' worth of the mandatory stockpiles on March 14, three days after a massive quake and a tsunami devastated northeastern Japan, and later allowed an additional 22 days' worth on March 21. It had initially planned to end the release on Wednesday.

Source: thomsonreuters.com

Oil up above $109 on signs of strong US demand

Oil prices rose above $109 a barrel Wednesday after a report showed U.S. gasoline supplies fell for a second week, suggesting higher fuel costs haven't yet curbed demand.

Here are a few brainstorm ideas to help reduce our "strong US demand" for oil:

  • Raise federal gas tax 15 cents per gallon (3.96 cents per liter). Have the same increase each year for three years.

  • Eliminate the United States ethanol blending subsidy (4.5 cents / gallon, {1.2 cents / liter}). There already is a blending requirement.

  • Tax all new vehicles $100 for each mile per gallon (0.42 km/l) their combined city/highway rating is less than 35 miles per gallon (14.88 km/l).

  • Lower maximum speed on all highways in the United States to 65 miles per hour (104.6 km/h). Present max is 80 mph (128.7 km/h), with Texas proposing to raise theirs to 85 mph (136.8 km/h).

  • Shift more long distance freight transport from semitrailer trucks to trains (I'm open to ideas on how to facilitate this change).

  • Eliminate Saturday US Postal delivery.

  • Eliminate home interest deduction on amounts greater than $200,000. The present limit is $1,000,000 of home acquisition debt for your main home and secondary residence.

    Do you have any brainstorm ideas to reduce our demand of oil? If so, please share them.

  • I'm suspicious that demand may be "strong" because much discretionary use of gas has already been wrung out of the economy.
    I think discretionary travel (aka "waste") has been overestimated for a while now (not claiming that it doesn't exist at all). I know that in my case, even though I drive one of the most fuel efficient vehicles made, and I am not economically pressed with my back to the wall, I have none-the-less pretty much eliminated all unnecessary driving. And this has been my situation for a few years now.
    My guess is that many Americans are only doing the driving that they have to do to get to work and to the grocery store, etc. And this would explain the inelastic demand situation.

    Around here (Houston) there isn't much sign of anyone attempting to reduce gas usage. The roads are heavily used, largely by pickups and large SUVs carrying one person and traveling way over the speed limit. For most people the cost of fuel is a minor problem, even as it approaches $4 a gallon.

    For a vehicle averaging 15 miles per gallon, the cost of fuel at $4 per gallon is $0.27 per mile. For a ten mile trip, that's $2.70. Other running costs for the vehicle (such as insurance, tax, car payment, depreciation, tolls, tires, etc.) are likely to be much more than the fuel cost. But if you save an hour (by driving that ten miles rather than catching a bus or riding a bike) you may have the opportunity to work productively an extra hour. If you have an effective remuneration of $10 per hour worked or more it's a no-brainer. Or if by driving that extra distance to go to a supermarket with slightly lower prices (and spend $100 instead of $110) it's also a no-brainer.

    "Discretionary" driving will be reduced much more when it makes sense for the average person to reduce it. With current prices, it doesn't make sense for the vast majority of Houstonians to reduce their driving much at all.

    Speaking of highway speeds in particular. This may just be my imagination, but I think people may be driving faster than ever (I've already given my opinion about total miles).

    I think higher gas prices are just making people angry. And the angrier they get, the faster they drive! If I'm right, then at this rate, by the time gas hits $5/gal., average speed out on the interstates around here in SE PA will prolly be somewhere around 100mph.

    I have a suspicion that people drive faster when they're stressed, and that filling up the tank of a big SUV at twice what they are used to paying is very stressful.

    Obviously not a rational reaction, but I think it makes sense.

    I find having a trip compter in front of me giving me an instantaneous mpg reading is an excellent way of driving slowly and cutting stress. I don't care how much I get cut up by stressed drivers as I see that that mpg reading creep up to 60...70....80. One 4 mile trip downhill reported 90mpg. Even if it was hopelessly optimistic it gives you a warm glow.

    I should get one of those in my next car. The current one is 10 years old and putting nice things in an old car is just begging at Murphy's altar.

    But seriously, it has seemed to me that especially the people in the biggest vehicles seem to be in more of a hurry lately.

    Jabberwock, for our sake, I hope this "speeding" is in fact just your imagination.

    People do get frustrated by the increased cost of fuel, however I don't think many of them will be driving faster as a result.

    Maybe drivers in SoCal are more thrifty. I'm seeing quite a few people slowing down on OC and LA freeways and more tolerance by the speedy for people who choose to drive at 60 rather 70 or higher. But there's still no lack of vans, SUVs and monster pick-ups speeding along with one person in them. On the other hand, I'm seeing a few more EU style-smart cars,tiny and hard to miss next to the giant American vehicles, plus a few more new hybrids in the mix.

    I looked at the Houston Chronicle's list of the twenty most popular vehicles in Houston, which is based on searches for specific vehicle models on the newspaper's website. It includes the following:

    • 4 full-size pickups
    • 3 full-size truck-based SUVs
    • 3 midsized SUVs
    • 3 midsized cars
    • 2 high performance sports cars
    • 2 luxury cars
    • 2 small cars
    • 1 compact pickup

    Note there are no mini-cars, no hybrids, no electrics, no mention of diesel options, and only the last three could be expected to get much better than 20 miles per gallon in typical driving. The most economical car listed is the Honda Civic. The oil industry has been good to Houston, and it looks like Houstonians are being good to the oil industry.

    "...only the last three could be expected to get much better than 20 miles per gallon..."

    Ird, thanks for the research. It is good to get a perspective from the list. Looks like there will lots of opportunities for more efficient vehicles.

    IRD, thanks for your comments. Maybe if the economy is doing well in your area folks living there can accommodate a higher price for fuel. It would be interesting to know if the car dealers in your area are seeing a change in the type of new cars being purchased.

    Jabberwock, thank you for your comments. An improving economy and a higher population all put pressure on a higher demand for gas. I understand your comment that discretionary travel may have been overstated and that additional fuel savings may be difficult to realize.

    The demand situation is not very elastic, however it is not inelastic.

    Per IMF warns of oil scarcity and a 60% oil price increase within a year:
    An assumed oil price elasticity of oil demand in both production and consumption is 0.08 (long term) and 0.02 (short term).

    For example, the short-term oil price increase for a 1.5% demand change = % gap / demand price elasticity = 1.5% / 0.02 = 75%. Long-term there would be a 6% demand change for that same 75% increase in price.

    The political party that adopts your bullet points as its platform will get absolutely obliterated by the political party that takes an opposite stance. Ohh the carnage!

    Fuser, with our political situation the way it is today I agree with you. Still, I think it makes sense to brainstorm ideas, whether or not they are implemented.

    None of that will make us less reliant on oil. We will be just as reliant as before, except now we'll be poorer, since it will be more expensive.

    Don't forget the unfortunate truth.. you're not trying to outrun the Lion, just another Gazelle!

    Some people have managed to get far less reliant on oil, and some towns have made strides in that direction, too.

    If we're really lucky, we'll see the creation of 'Transition Counties', 'Transition States' and 'Transition Countries' .. but for now, start at home at least. Or don't. Have a good run!

    Jokuhl, thanks. I agree. Let's start at home. Time is a wasting.

    Great thinking. Some parts of America will die quickly and others will survive intact a while longer as they made investments in public transit, bicycle lanes, better walkable neighborhoods.

    So much for the uber-suburb layout. Should be dying back in a decade.

    Jersey Patriot, thank you for your comments. However, I disagree. The supply and demand balance will shift to a lower oil demand due to the higher prices. Due to the short-term limited price elasticity of oil, the demand drop many not be as much as we would like to see.

    We need not be poorer, if the tax money generated is used to help offset other taxes we would otherwise owe.

    Eliminate home interest deduction on amounts greater than $200,000. The present limit is $1,000,000 of home acquisition debt for your main home and secondary residence.

    Rather than tax based on purchase price, how about a basis that takes sq.foot per occupant and average energy consumption. A primary residence (single family home, apartment/condominium in a larger building, etc..) that is small (sq. foot per occupant), well insulated and equipped energy efficient appliances (total operating cost per sq. foot - Solar and Wind would reduce the operating cost) might do a better job driving homeowners towards more efficient dwellings, without penalizing them for investing in their homes.

    I attended a candidates debate for county commissioner (western PA) last night. How to reassess property to increase tax revenue and at the same time make taxes more fair was one of the questions. Almost all of the candidates (9 for 3 positions) commented that there was no money to do a reassessment. Three candidates worried that any change would unleash a deluge of lawsuits. I agree a formula that includes energy consumption (maybe moving 3 year average) would be cheap to calculate and objective. By applying the same formula to rental houses as owner occupied, landlords might be encouraged to upgrade energy efficiency instead of going for the lowest up front cost. Energy consumption could not be the only driver in the formula. Maybe also include an inverse relationship to a major road multiplied by the number of units on the access road.

    justgas, thanks for the interesting comments and ideas.

    Jeff in VT, thanks for your suggestions. The alternates might not be as easy to calculate and monitor.

    I absolutely agree that the thought that I tossed out there would be very difficult to monitor.

    Depending on the formula, the calculation shouldn't be too difficult if we applied the same reporting rules for energy suppliers as we do for banks. Each January a statement is generated for Electricity, NG or Propane, etc. showing the annual energy usage per residence. The square footage of the residence could be determine at the time of the sale and updated within the building permit process. The number of occupants per residence would be difficult to monitor, but easy to determine by the individual executing the calculation.

    As I said, I agree that this would be a bear to monitor, but if the tax code were to take energy efficiency into account, it MIGHT push the American public in the desired direction.

    Since a new human is born every 3 seconds adopting any sort of energy conservation measures will just add to the ultimate human suffering from the collapse. Fortunately there is no political chance of any voluntary austerity measures being adopted. I say raise the speed limit to 85 mph like Texas is doing. Full speed ahead over the cliff we go.

    SolarDude, you have a different perspective than I do. I appreciate your comments though. The increasing population is an inter-related issue that makes the task ahead of us even more difficult. I believe that we should still try our best to improve our lot even though there may be other major challenges ahead that we will face.

    Not to speak for SolarDude - but I think you need to consider just what it means to "improve our lot." Perhaps the effort to maintain a high energy consumption society (however that energy is provided)OR the effort to maintain a certain economic "standard of living" (even if a little less than the "height" of modern civilization) does not "improve our lot." Just perhaps we improve our lot most in other ways? Although the image of driving over the edge of a cliff may portend an ugly end, that may be the result of a poorly chosen metaphor. Perhaps we are going over Niagara falls in a barrel, but with the intent of escaping a marauding tribe of human-eating lions?

    I didn't get any sense that Kindhearted's 'Improve our lot' had the slightest implication of 'Maintain a high-energy consumption society', while Solar Dude seems more than happy to Pooh-pooh the suggestion that we learn to adjust our consumption and live lower on the energy food-chain.. "Because it's useless and there's NO VOLUNTARY AUSTERITY happening.." we know that isn't true. Lots of people are working to reduce their consumption and better their habits, even if you won't ever register it on a national graph.

    Like the kid throwing Starfish back into the sea, "Doesn't make any difference? It did for him!"

    Not every outcome from this will look like Mad Max, unless we really insist that it does.

    Lots of people are working to reduce their consumption and better their habits, even if you won't ever register it on a national graph.

    Like the kid throwing Starfish back into the sea, "Doesn't make any difference? It did for him!"

    jokuhl, thanks for your insights. I feel everything makes a difference, no matter how small. I am insignificant from a national perspective, but I will still strive to do things that I feel are right.

    jokuhl - I don't know kindhearted well enough to know how high up on the energy food ladder she wants to stay, but her post sure did sound like she wanted to protect as much as possible - and of course, energy consumption isn't the only consumption to be concerned about. If we managed to be much more efficient and that efficiency just wound up perpetuating a consumer driven society, I would consider that a far worse outcome then collapse. Equally, some future high population, moderate energy future and its threat of rationing and social control doesn't sound like a positive outcome either.

    I'm not going to get into the starfish story, mostly because the thing rubs me the wrong way.

    Your assumption that collapse is Mad Max belies your own assumptions, not mine. I don't believe we will ever see a Mad Max scenario - its an amusing theme for a film, but doesn't jive with the way I understand humans to act. My point is that maybe collapse is the best future, even better than some techno-enthused future if free limitless energy - not because of the level of energy consumption, but because of the type of societies we would end up with in those cases.

    shman, thanks for your interest and comments.

    To "make the situation better than it would be otherwise be" is what I meant with the "improve our lot" phrase.

    Our world is finite and the more we can live with that in mind, the better we will all be.

    Hi kindhearted - consider that perhaps the best situation would be what most consider "collapse."

    Shaman, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    It is difficult for me to comprehend the future. Gail feels that the future decline may be "fast" rather than "slow". I have a hard time understanding why "collapse" would be a desirable outcome.

    'collapse' is a desirable outcome because continuing in our current path means devastating the entire ecosystem in progressively worse ways. The further we lay waste to it, the less it will be able to sustain in terms of biological populations long term, especially humans.

    The sad fact is, for the ecosystem as a whole, the disaster and collapse has already happened, and is continuing full speed, at least it is if you drop the anthropocentric views so common among humans. Luckily there are signs of light, the Bolivians are certainly working at trying to put more fundamental needs before those of fueling more non-sustainable consumption. But I'm not holding my breath there, at least however there are some hopeful signs when you look.

    So the longer we try to maintain the status quo, doing insane things like nuclear powered steam generation to make electricity, and so on, the worse it will be as the systems begin to fail.

    Remember, sustainable means sustainable, non-sustainable is not one of the options you get in the real world. All we've done is avoid this unpleasant reality by steadily increasing our extraction of non-renewable resources, up to and including soil. Not to mention water, which is pretty much tapped out in many parts of the planet today, in the present.

    Don't worry about the debate between 'fast and slow declines', nobody knows, but study of real history can give some pointers. If I wanted to look at it, I'd find some good primary sources on the Mayans, on post Roman Empire Italy, on Norway's northern regions pre 18th century, etc. Since we are well over any reasonable estimate of population overshoot today, and have been for decades, the further down we dig ourselves, the more work it will take to get out of this pit, and the fewer will manage to get out long term. This will be regional, not global however, so some areas should do much better than others.

    Personally I find the term 'collapse' not that useful, I prefer to think of the problem as humans digging themselves down further and further, with the only way to solve the issue to stop digging and start climbing out, using whatever paths and methods that can be found as the efforts go on. Clearly, if you see it like this, all extractive non-renewable enterprises can only dig us further down, leaving increasingly toxic reminders to future generations about just why such a course was suicidal and idiotic.

    You can find remains of older pits humans have dug themselves before that enterprise fizzled out for a variety of reasons, debated but irrelevant since the only real thing you need to see is the fact of the digging project at some point, usually deeply related to environmental degradation. One problem with people who write on 'collapse' is that they focus on fringe cases that are really not that relevant to any larger ecosystem, like the Elk, or was it Caribou?, on the island, or Easter Island, etc. So the real stuff to study is the larger systems that failed over centuries, then it gets sort of interesting.

    When you see the question as one of humans engaging in actions, digging, extractions, that make the problems progressively worse, you might then be less tempted to look at 'solutions' that simply push the problem deeper, and bury us even further.

    Once you rephrase this matter, you can sort of see the question in a more meaningful way, and then it becomes clear that it will be you, or it won't be you, that finds a way to climb out of the pit. Many, if not most, will not find a way, but the timeframes make further speculation a waste of bytes and server capacity. If human history and anthropology is any indicator, which it should be, I expect to see it be groups that find a way to climb out, just as it is groups that find ways to climb ultra high mountains like K2 or Everest. To me it's sort of obvious that continuing the thinking that got us here, egocentric greed and all that, really is not a very likely candidate for positive solutions.

    By the way, there's absolutely no rule that says the West, or the industrialized countries, have to be the ones that do the best at finding a way out, in fact, I think it could be argued that the further down you have dug yourselves, the harder it will be to get out.

    There are also reasons other than the ecosystem that "collapse" would be a preferable outcome.

    I'm thinking especially about the totalization of the global capitalist system in which our identity is defined by our consumer habits; where spirituality, sexuality, indeed most everything, become categories to be marketed; where we contribute to the total good of our society by shopping; where the need to have a job to allow one to survive stultifies the development of our personhood.

    And so on.

    I am not in favor of energy conservation measures unless they are accompanied by a plan to reduce humanities total impact on the planet, including population. Otherwise energy conservation will just make the ultimate dieoff that much worse.

    Unfortunately what we get from national leaders is crap like this:

    Vladimir Putin reveals plan to boost Russia birth rate

    Therefore the most humane thing we can do is use up the resource as quickly and inefficiently as possible.

    So I guess my decision not to murder people is likewise 'perversely counterproductive', huh?


    SolarDude, appreciate your additional comments.

    There are many complex issues, at present and ahead of us. Getting the world's leaders, like Putin, to get past the population "growth" mentality will be a challenge. That doesn't mean that it can not be done.

    Earlier today, I just heard a very interesting talk about the possibility of using financial incentives to reduce carbon emissions that is relevant to your point.


    "In this university podcast, Christopher Knittel, an associate economics professor at UC Davis, notes that the government has done little to incentivize reductions in oil use or carbon emissions from this sector. Increases in fuel efficiency, lower-carbon fuels, and reductions in vehicle miles travelled are all ways in which pollution could be reduced in this arena, he says. Knittel pushes for subsidies and performance standards in the transportation industry as a means of reaching emissions goals."

    BrownBear, thanks for sharing your comments. There are lots of possibilities of what can be done to reduce our fuel usage.

    notes that the government has done little to incentivize reductions in oil use

    Thats considered to be a feature, not a bug, by the fossil fuel interests that own our political system. For that reason it is almost impossible to get any sort of sensible action started.

    A minor Desertec reminder

    The NorNed HVDC connector between Norway and Holland is out for 10 weeks - due to a breach (or so) near the Dutch shore.
    NorNed is the worlds longest subsea power-cable at 580 kilometers and at a capacity of 700 MW (continuously)

    Norwegian link : http://www.tu.no/energi/article285455.ece (use translator for English text)

    ....mention not terrorism, we'll be friends by then ... ( http://www.desertec.org/ )

    It's fairly obvious that the price of food is primarily being driven by the price of oil and the price of oil is being driven by
    speculators gaming the market on liquidity supplied by the Fed with no questions asked.

    Suppose you were negotiating with a dealer in buying a car and gamblers were betting on the price of the car what do you think would happen to the price of the car?

    According to the Efficient Market Hypothesis, that would cause car price to fall because of greater competition.

    Does that sound realistic?

    Well, then they are converting the dollars into Euro because prices are also spiking in Euros. I would think if US dollar was being printed wildly, the spike would be in $ and not Euro.

    Looks like we are near another peak. We can expect next year to be really rough unemployment wise.

    Could somebody direct me to refutation or context of the arguments made in "Insight: A 'Peak Oil' sceptic?"

    crazyv, I have no particular insight, but what he is saying seems like it's all been said before. When I see a comment like "Shifting the average recovery factor offshore Norway from ~45% which is what it is today to their government’s target of 50% would add an extra 4 billion barrels or so", I simply go to the Energy Export Databrowser and look up the trend on Norway. What I see there is strong decline. Why is this not mentioned in his article?

    Agreed. This is standard fare argument, completely unsupported by the facts. Pretty much every keypost on this site will address some aspect of this, and tear it shreds.

    It reminds me of the steady withdrawal of the Catholic Church's hold over the scientific debate during (or since) the 16th Century. They were forced to admit to scientific physical reality one doctrine at a time, but not before they had denounced far too many 'heretics'.

    When you see arguments such as: 'we haven't gotten anywhere near the oil resource,' or 'if we increased the recovery factor by x%', these need to be backed up by scalable, real-world examples of successes in meeting these targets. Otherwise, the statements are no different than arguments by renewable energy advocates who say 'if we could only tap x% of the wind' or 'merely y% of the inbound solar could meet all our needs.' Both types of arguments are flawed, and for the same reason.

    The conflation of natural gas from shale and oil from shale also needs to be called out. They are not the same thing, but investment touts like to conflate the issue to raise interest. After all, if shale natural gas has worked out so well, won't oil from shale be equally bountiful?

    The ultimate dodge, as our colleague ROCKMAN likes to point out, is that these discussions of available resource are usually divorced from a discussion of costs. We can readily understand that there may be lots of wind resource, but that scaling up massive wind farms will be costly compared to the cheap electricity we have gotten used to. Similarly, there may be lots of oil in nooks and crannies on land or under thousands of feet of water, but it will be more expensive to bring to market, perhaps too expensive.

    Peak Oil skeptics are losing ground gradually. The recent reporting on KSA production figures illustrates this. The MSM wags are beginning to embrace 'demand destruction' to balance the market. This is really a blasphemy to Technocopian Econ 101. Innovation and substitution are supposed to balance the market, but there is really very little innovation and substitution they can point to right now.

    Recent moves in the oil market one suggest that price fluctuations are less and less based on supply and demand dynamics. Saudi Arabia announced yesterday it cut oil production in March and a Saudi oil minister said there was too much supply on the market. One would think these events would push prices higher.

    However, prices are down for a second straight day. Brent crude oil traded in London is about $120 per barrel while West Texas oil traded in the States is traded around $107 per barrel, down roughly $3.

    Why the drop?

    What silliness, to pounce on a two-day trend (price movement of 2.5%!!!) and argue that speculators have taken over the market. Today's gains have completely retraced the losses. What will they say tomorrow about today's prices? Will 'fundamentals re-assert themselves' or will the price reversal present further evidence that 'speculators are driving the market'? I await with baited breath (or is that a yawn)?

    For those of us at TOD who follow these markets, I would keep in mind: it is much easier for speculators to game a market that is fundamentally tight. There is a synergy between the physical and financial markets and efforts to deny the synergy should be resisted.

    What silliness, to pounce on a two-day trend (price movement of 2.5%!!!) and argue that speculators have taken over the market. Today's gains have completely retraced the losses.

    But isn't that precisely the argument in favour of speculators? True supply/demand ripples wouldn't be so volatile, surely? Especially when the Saudis' announcement was backdated?

    Sure they would. If the price of gas went to $20 a gallon tomorrow, I would still fill up my car because I have to get to work. Getting that expensive fillup is better than missing a day of work and losing my job.

    If they stayed there, I would stop filling up, and adapt. I'd change my home, my job, or how I get around.

    Short term supply and demand is still supply and demand, and is always more volatile than long term.

    Basically I find it amazing that even the experts talking about supply are completely ignoring the sharp fall in OPEC exports now about 1.3 million barrels a day less than the average rate for February. Based upon announcements from KSA and Kuwait, confirmed by shipping reports, OPEC exports may fall another 400,000 bpd by mid-May.

    No doubt that financial factors have an important impact on prices too, especially in the short term, which would account for the drop in prices a few days ago when a major Wall Street firm predicted falling oil and other commodity prices.

    From the audio of your link:

    Here is what I point out in the book. If oil is no longer really a function of supply and demand, if it's not a measure of fundamentals, and it's only a measure of financials then in fact only financial events will have an ultimate price impact on oil.

    And from the text:

    Either way, it's another sign oil prices no longer really a function of supply and "only financial events will have a price impact," as was the case in the spike and crash of oil prices in 2008-09, says independent oil trade Dan Dicker, author of Oil's Endless Bid.

    Financial events are very much a part of the fundamentals. The dollar goes up or down, that affects the price of oil. War breaks out in Lybia, that affects the price of oil. Inventories go up or down, that affects the price of oil. (They are down today and the price is up about $3 a barrel.) The fundamentals have a direct effect on supply and demand and consequently the price of oil.

    But one very important thing all those who decry speculators seems to forget. If the price of oil is too high that, according to every economic theory ever published, will cause supply to increase and demand to decrease. The price of oil affects the financials just as the financials affects the price of oil. Oil too high will knock the economy down, just as it did in 2008. And very cheap oil will give the economy a boost just as it did in 2009 and cause the price of oil to rise again.

    The price of oil cannot possibly remain too high for too long because market fundamentals will automatically correct the situation. If there is no correction then the price is correct according to supply and demand.

    Again: According to every economic theory high prices kill demand and increase supply. Low prices increase demand and kill supply. Why is oil an exception to this rule? Why do "speculators" cause this economic principle to no longer be valid as far is oil is concerned.

    Ron P.

    Hmm, I'm not an economist and I'm certainly not privy to the inner workings of the Masters on the Universe but I do get a nasty nagging feeling when it comes to commodities.

    Your sentence: "Why is oil an exception to this rule?". It may very well not be an exception to the rule - all the other major commodities may be suffering from speculation too.

    The thing is we consider oil 'should' be around $60/70 or so and that it's currently overpriced, but what if it should be $40? Surely that's speculation at play and so much so that we don't even realise we're being gamed?

    I really don't know either way but, gosh darnit, this (looong) article is an essential and very interesting read:


    P.s. Ignore the two inaccurate graphs at the end, they detract from the rest of the article.

    Snippet of the most important concept in the article:

    in 1991, J. Aron—the Goldman subsidiary—wrote to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the government agency overseeing this market) and asked for one measly exception to the rules.

    The whole definition of physical hedgers was needlessly restrictive, J. Aron argued...

    ...Everyone who grew any kind of crop was taking a risk, and it was only right and natural that the government should allow these good people to buy futures contracts to offset that risk...

    ...On October 18, 1991, the CFTC-in the person of Laurie Ferber, an appointee of the first President Bush—agreed with J. Aron’s letter. Ferber wrote that she understood that Aron was asking that its speculative activity be recognized as “bona fide hedging”—and, after a lot of jargon and legalese, she accepted that argument. This was the beginning of the end for position limits and for the proper balance between physical hedgers and speculators in the energy markets.

    In the years that followed, the CFTC would quietly issue sixteen similar letters to other companies. Now speculators were free to take over the commodities market. By 2008, fully 80 percent of the activity on the commodity exchanges was speculative, according to one congressional staffer who studied the numbers—”and that’s being conservative,” he said.

    But here’s the thing: if you were just some schmuck on the street and you wanted to gamble on this nonsense, you couldn’t do it, because your behavior would be speculative and restricted under that old 1936 Commodity Exchange Act, which supposedly maintained that delicate balance between speculator and physical hedger (i.e., the real producers/consumers). Same goes for a giant pension fund or a trust that didn’t have one of those magic letters. Even if you wanted into this craziness, you couldn’t get in, because it was barred to the Common Speculator. The only way for you to get to the gaming table was, in essence, to rent the speculator-hedger exemption that the government had quietly given to companies like Goldman Sachs via those sixteen letters.

    I think the point Ron is making is that oil is disobeying economic principles by not responded to high prices by increasing supply. According to economic principles, supply should have increased but its been stuck since 2005. If supply had increased, and oil prices were STILL high, then we could pin speculation as the culprit. Another piece of evidence is that the amount of trading in oil markets took a huge leap in 2005, the same year that oil supply flattened. The two phenomena are linked.

    Oh sure, that's because they can't find any more to supply the market with!

    But I think the reason the price has risen so high, so rapidly in the first place is likely linked to speculation, not pure supply restriction.

    It's probably a combination of the two, which should make for a very interesting resolution!

    In 2005 the amount of trading across ALL the commodities took a huge leap, oil wasn't unique in that regard, it may only be coincidence that the production peak also occurred in that year.

    But that would be the specualtors doing exactly what the economists say they are supposed to be doing: helping the market find the correct price for a good more rapidly than hard trades alone could manage.

    Yes, I guess there's a need to distinguish between 'good' and 'bad' speculation. I think the trouble occurs if someone manages to corner the market.

    But I don't know, it's all a bit too confusing for me, I'm no economist!

    i - But you make a great point even if you didn't notice: "I think the trouble occurs if someone manages to corner the market." What do you think "corners the market" means? Like most you probably mean someone buys a whole lot of X and holds it waiting for prices to move up especially if by taking all that X off the market causes prices to go up.

    But that's the problem with folks pointing fingers at "speculators": no one is buying huge amounts of oil and holding it giant tank farms. Certainly some folks filled idle tankers up with oil and waited for prices to rise. But this volume of oil is insignificant compared to how much we use every day. It's good to remember that 99% of the "oil" traded in the futures market doesn't exists. They are paper bbls that are never delivered. and thus represent oil that is never produced let alone sold.

    IMHO there is but one speculator controlling the price of oil today: the KSA. The KSA may have X bopd spar capacity. Folks can argue all they want about the exact amount. But IMHO that doesn't really matter if the KSA is only willing to sell it at a price above what the buyers are willing to pay. The KSA may simply be "speculating" that in the future the buyers are going to be willing to pay that price...or even more. No speculator can affect the price of any commodity unless they possess a significant volume of that commodity and chose to hold it off the market until their price expectations are met. You cannot "corner" any market unless you control the commodity. Who do you know of that posses (i.e. controls) tens of billions of bbls of oil?
    The OPEC producers are the only omes I know about.

    IOW you and I and everyone else on TOD can speculate as to the future price of oil. Everyone who buys an oil futures contract is speculating (i.e. betting) on the future price of oil. But such speculation doesn't set the price of oil. Only the oil exporting countries can do so IMHO.

    Ah, yes, thanks Rockman - it makes sense when you put it like that!

    The interesting thing for me though is the paper barrels. If the oil doesn't exist then is it possible that they can effectively 'hoard' it without needing the physical storage - they just roll over their position to the next month on the assumption that the price will increase precisely because they're hoarding more and more future paper barrels and investors will buy 'long' into it?

    It would be a self perpetuating situation with only one conclusion: a bubble waiting to burst..

    Edit: Here you are, this is exactly what I'm trying to say!


    Phil is just getting started, as he delves into the intricacies of the NYMEX market that handles these trades:

    "The great thing about the NYMEX is that the traders don't have to take delivery on their contracts, they can simply pay to roll them over to the next settlement price, even if no one is actually buying the barrels. That's how we have developed a massive glut of 677 million barrels worth of contracts in the front four months on the NYMEX and, come rollover day – that will be the amount of barrels "on order" for the front 3 months, unless a lot barrels get dumped at market prices fast."


    These contracts for oil outnumber their actual delivery, a sign of speculation and market manipulation, as oil companies win government authorisations for wells but then don't open them for exploration or exploitation.

    It's all a game of manipulating oil supply to keep prices up. And no one seems to be regulating it.

    He asks: "Who is buying 287,494 contracts (1,000 barrels per contract) for May delivery that can't possibly be delivered for $2.49 more than they were priced the day before? These are the kind of questions that you would think regulators would be asking – if we had any."

    Hmm, well it's certainly piqued my interest!

    i - But that is the key: that oil doesn't exist and never will. They don't roll the oil over...they roll the contracts over. But not in the sense I think you understand. I buy a 1,000 bbl contract for $X/bbl. When the contract expirers oil is selling for $X-$10. Since you never planned to actually take possession of those 1,000 bbls you have to sell that OPTION TO BUY those thousand bbls to someone. So I buy from you by replacing with another 1,000 bbl contract that I pay $X-10 for. But you have to pay me $10,000 for my contract (1,000 bbls X $10).

    Thus you can see that none of the physical oil in the world plays any part in our transaction. This is why 99X as much oil purchase options exist as actual oil. From the little I understand they don't even do the paper swap any more: you just write a check to the broker for $10,000. And if oil were selling for $X + $10 when the contract expires the broker writes you a check for $10,000 less commission. It's not the futures market that determines the price of oil...it's the price of oil that determines how much a contract owner makes of loses.

    Basicly it's not much difference than betting on a football game where you predict what score the GB Packers have at the end of the game. It's essentiall an over/under bet if you know gambling. For every point over the score you pick I pay you $10. For every point under you pay me $10. And if you hit the score exactly: np money changes hands.

    Ah, thanks again for explaining clearly.

    I think I'm still getting a little confused though - do the 99X have no impact whatsoever on the oil price, even psychologically?

    Because, if that's so, then it just seems odd to me that there's a finite number of these paper barrels lying around - why not just write it off and say there's an infinite number of future 'never to be delivered' barrels out there? Surely if this number keeps increasing then it's a warning sign? Or is that a red herring?

    It seems like the truly giant index fund managers (those with the 16 magic letters) are 'investing' instead of gambling on this system - they're just rolling over their long position each and every single time with no intention whatsoever of taking delivery at any point. So they're basically flooding the speculator market which would mean the proper role of the speculator (to provide liquidity) is being warped somewhat?

    I don't know though - it's all smoke and mirrors again to me!

    In futures for every long position there is a short position. The net of all longs+shorts is zero.
    Same for money made or lost – one person’s gains is another person’s loss. The total P/L is zero. (negative actually because of transaction costs).

    Very few contracts settle physically:


    Less than 1 percent, or 3,248 crude futures contracts, were delivered in 2010, compared with the average open interest of 1.34 million contracts during the same period, according to Nymex and data compiled by Bloomberg. There is no physical delivery against Brent oil futures contracts traded on the London-based ICE Futures Europe Exchange.


    Ah.. ok. Well that throws another spanner in my understanding machine!

    I guess the thing that gets me is the fact the price has risen so quickly in the last few months - it can't be just down to physical supply/demand, surely?

    It doesn't make sense to me and I find it bizarre that everyone (i.e. the MSM and Joe Bloggs) is just happy to accept that the rise is inevitable without wanting to find out more about why the price is rising.

    I guess the thing that gets me is the fact the price has risen so quickly in the last few months - it can't be just down to physical supply/demand, surely?

    I think you misunderstand. No the price cannot be up because of demand from people taking delivery on their futures contracts. And even tinier percentage of all oil traded is traded as a result of people exercising their futures contracts. Far less than the one quarter of one percent of all oil traded is traded because of people making or taking delivery on futures contracts. The NYMEX is the only futures market in the world that actually uses physical delivery. All others like Brent traded on the ICE is cash settlement only. And 3,248 contracts a month is just not much oil. I just did the math and it comes out to .15 of one percent.

    The vast majority all oil traded is traded by contract between the buyer and the seller. And by contract I do not mean a futures contract.

    Yes, oil is up because of high demand and limited supply, there can be no other (long term) cause. That is to say that yes, the futures benchmarks can cause very short swings in the physical market but cannot possibly cause any long term trends.

    Ron P.

    Ok, thanks. So the reason it's rising so rapidly is because it's so inelastic?

    Yes, oil is up because of high demand and limited supply, there can be no other (long term) cause. That is to say that yes, the futures benchmarks can cause very short swings in the physical market but cannot possibly cause any long term trends.

    Ron, I agree. Due to the low short-term price elasticity of oil demand, small changes in demand cause very large changes in price. The reason for a large gasoline price change is difficult for some people to accept as normal supply and demand. Easier to blame someone else, e.g. "speculators".

    That works out to less than one quarter of one percent. That is about what I would have guessed.

    Your link delivers a "page not found". I think it is too long. You can make it into a tiny url or post it with the aid of html like this.

    [a href="your link goes here"]the title of the link goes here[/a] Replace the brackets with chevrons, this < and this >. And the quotation marks must be the simple kind like this " and not “or this” .

    Ron P.

    Sorry about that - here is a link which works and is less likely to evaporate:



    Hey, thanks for the link. I am definitely going to save this one for the next time someone talks about NYMEX contract deliveries. But to my amazement I found I read it wrong. I thought the 3,248 contracts resulting in delivery was one month's worth. No that is in one year actually results in the delivery of any oil.

    Less than 1 percent, or 3,248 crude futures contracts, were delivered in 2010,

    The NYMEX now trades close to one million contracts a day and of that, 3,248 contracts a year. And some people still think this has an effect on the market. Yes the price closing price does have an effect on the spot price of WTI but not because of any oil being bought or sold.

    But the words of the article is a little confusing. He says the average open interest 1.4 million contracts. This is the number of contracts that, on average, would be open right now. And over half of that number will be traded today, probably around 900 thousand. To get the number of contracts traded in one year you would have to multiply that by the number of trading days in a year, about 200. So about 180 million contracts are traded each year and out of that just over three thousand actually results in delivery or about .0018 percent.

    Anyway my earlier figures are all wrong. They were based on that many contracts being executed every month. Divide by 12 to get the correct figures. That puts any actual oil changing hands as result of a futures contract down to miniscule amounts.

    Ron P.

    Speculation as a reason for increased prices is get probably more credit than it should. Speculation in futures markets nets out to something close to zero. Even in the case where somebody charters a tanker, loads it up with oil and have it circle for a couple of months eventually it has to be unloaded and sold. So even if filling a tanker puts upwards pressure on prices, the unloading of said tanker should exert the same pressure in the opposite direction – push prices down.

    The one reasonable argument why speculation drives up prices is not commonly made: One can argue that speculators introduce additional volatility in markets. That additional volatility could then increase the premium market participants are willing to pay to neutralize/offset that volatility. In other words: higher equilibrium prices than otherwise would be the case.
    The counter argument is of course that the reason why speculators are in the market in the first place is that there IS volatility which one can monetize.


    I just ran across this gem:

    “The attorney general’s putting together a team whose job it is to root out any cases of fraud or manipulation in the oil markets that might affect gas prices, and that includes the role of traders and speculators,” Obama said today in Reno, Nevada. “We are going to make sure that no one is taking advantage of American consumers for their own short-term gain.”

    The irony is pretty amazing... talking about how evil speculation is from Reno, NV.

    IAWN you say

    they just roll over their position to the next month

    I have heard this term more than once. could you describe this in details because i think an important detail is being ignored here. Isn't 'roll over' just a fancy name for selling the contract you hold in open market and buying a new one for next month. If so then bringing more 'paper oil' into market should bring the price of oil down to what is supported by the actual buyers taking delivery?

    Ultimately only those who can hoard oil for in large quantities (compared to daily volumes) for long time would be able to influence the oil price. but that has limitations because there is a certain amount of time oil can be stored once it is extracted ( besides the containment space requirements). so IMO the only real hoarders would be the producers that can effectively leave the oil in ground itself for a later date.

    D – That’s how I understand it…nothing is rolled over per se…old contracts are replaced by new ones. But they bring no actual oil to the market and thus have no effect on oil prices. If you didn’t catch it earlier 99% of the oil volume on the futures market doesn’t exist. IOW the volume traded represents 99X the actual daily production of oil produced in the world. More specifically that’s 99 X 86 million bopd or around 8.5 BILLION BBLS OF OIL PER DAY. Just take that in for a moment. Use the GB Packer game as the example again. It is only one game with one final score. But 5 million bets can be made on that one game. That obviously doesn’t represent 5 million different games. More important the fact that 5 million people bet that GB wins doesn’t help them to win. After all, there are 5 million people betting they don’t win. Exactly like a futures contract: for every “speculator” who bets that oil prices are going higher another one is betting he's wrong. If 5 million people bet oil is going to go to $125/bbl in 30 days that doesn’t make the price of oil go to that level in a month. Think about that aspect: if it did control the price of oil in 30 days who would take the opposing bet? I think what folks get confused about is cause and effect. It’s the expectation of higher (or lower) oil prices down the road that sets the price of the future options…not the other way around. Folks see the movement of future prices dictating oil prices. Just the opposite: future oil prices dictate the profit or loss on a contract.

    Only oil exporting countries can speculate?
    Anyone who buys crude futures raises the price an infinitessimal amount.

    Remember when the Hunts tried to control Silver in 1980?


    KSA produces 12% of world oil production worth about $330 billion dollars.
    Absolute Return, a single Goldman Sachs/JP Morgan hedge fund controls $1.3 trillion dollars.

    Is it really so improbable that financiers can control the price of oil?

    maj - I think you're just speculating about that. LOL. Didn't say no one besides the exporters can speculate. The discusion was whether such speculation effects the price any oil is sold at.

    Again, very simply: the oil exporting controls the price they chos to sell their oil for. If the KSA wants to offer their oil for $50 or $200 per bbl it's solely in their control...not G/S, JP or anyone else. The only control the buyers/consumers have is whether they pay the toll.

    Remember when the Hunts tried to control Silver in 1980?

    There is a LOT more to the story than what Wiki has to say on it. This is a long article - skip to the middle but the critical element of their so-called market cornering was they were physically taking delivery of ALL the silver! As Rockman has so eloquently stated, 99% of these contracts are phantom, no one ever takes delivery. What messed up the silver market were the illegal sales contracts the CBOT and COMEX were selling to the Hunts and others (illegal because they didn't have the physical silver to back them). COMEX themselves had to start buying silver to cover their contracts, then they got smart and used their politicians to run interference for them. Remember, this all happened because then (like now) the dollar was becoming worthless but unlike now it was illegal to own gold. The Hunts didn't trust paper dollars (as many on this site don't, for good reason) so they began by converting their vast paper wealth to silver.
    By the spring of 1974 silver rose to over $6/oz and rumors were flying that the Hunts were trying to corner the silver market. At the time annual production was 245 million oz and annual demand was 450 million oz. The Hunt brothers had just taken delivery of 55 million oz. The big question was how much silver was out in private hands? Of the estimated 700 million ounces of silver only about 200 million ounces was available for delivery against futures contracts. That same Spring Bunker appeared on the floor of COMEX in New York for the first time and declared that “almost anything is better than paper money” and “any fool can run a printing press”.

    Finally on January 7th of 1980 the COMEX changed their rules to only allow 10 million/oz of contracts per trader and that all contracts over that amount must be liquidated before February 18th. . The CFTC promptly backed up the ruling. On January 17th silver hit $50/oz, Bunker had continued to buy. At that point in time the Hunt’s silver position was worth $4.5 billion dollars bringing their profits in silver to $3.5 billion dollars. On January 21st the COMEX announced that it was suspending trading in silver. They would only accept liquidation orders

    The Hunts subsequently lost almost all their 8 billion fortune. The case can be made that with 18% inflation, they were merely trying to protect their assets, but they were certainly right not to trust the "Eastern establishment". We saw that again most recently with Eastern banks taking over Western banks during the credit crisis and not putting up one thin dime of their own money. Why couldn't the Western banks have taken over the Eastern ones, since ALL of them were bankrupt at the time? Political connections. IMHO

    What messed up the silver market were the illegal sales contracts the CBOT and COMEX were selling to the Hunts and others (illegal because they didn't have the physical silver to back them).

    So clear this up for me if you would be so kind! What's the difference between this situation and the paper barrels of oil - there's no way that the billions of paper barrels on the market could be delivered if the index fund managers decided to ask for physical delivery instead of rolling over is there?

    Again, hopelessly confused!

    Additionally - somewhere else in this thread someone pointed out that for every long position there needs to be a short, so why do people talk about 'Long-only' funds?

    This random result of googling just now is quite interesting: http://club.ino.com/trading/2007/07/long-only-commodity-funds-who-are-th...

    Especially as it was written in July 2007 and the author had this to say:

    In the author’s opinion, these Funds are a terrible investment and you should stay away from them. Yes, commodity prices may continue their rise in the future. However, it’s inevitable that prices will get too high and the weight of higher production, will force prices back down. The commodity bull market is very much like the bull market in stocks in the late 1990s. During that time, money was pouring into Mutual Funds at an unprecedented rate. This caused stock markets to move higher and higher until they greatly exceeded any reasonable fundamental valuation. The same is true for commodity prices. Investor demand rather than true supply/demand fundamentals are constantly driving prices higher. Eventually, commodity producers will dramatically increase production to profit from higher prices and prices will violently correct downward.

    Oh well, perhaps this investigation by the Justice Department (that Leanan linked to below) will clear things up..

    there's no way that the billions of paper barrels on the market could be delivered if the index fund managers decided to ask for physical delivery instead of rolling over is there?

    Correct no way. Nor do any but Nymex even allow for physical delivery.

    First of all they are only talking about WTI, which without even looking it up (westexas could help) I'm going to guess at less than 100 million recoverable bbls remaining. Therefore the percentages are even WORSE than quoted above because it is only (real) WTI that is being priced (last I checked). The article on Nymex linked above and here talked about folks getting upset because they were receiving "blends" rather than the contracted for WTI.

    Frontier, a refiner with plants in Kansas and Wyoming, paid a premium for unblended West Texas Intermediate crude shipped from the Texas oil wells where the grade originated.

    “If you get back to the point where you are buying a specific barrel from a specific lease it’s going to be much more consistent,” said Frontier’s Kester. “We don’t want people to blend for us, that’s what we do right at the mouth of our crude units.”

    If you'll recall a previous conversation I was having with RockyMtnGuy, we were discussing precisely this issue of accepting blends versus the refiners doing it themselves. Since they have all the chem-E's on staff who understand the refining processes intimately, frankly they'll do a better job than the producers.

    Now to separate the wheat from the chaff. Let's say we have two producers, RockyMtnGuy and ROCKMAN. What happens is they contract with (we'll say) Frontier to sell their product. Both sell at a discount to WTI based on "problems" with their oil vs WTI (the gold standard). They might base their price on the settlement of WTI on a specific date, or more likely on whatever other offers they are getting at the time. Frontier would NEVER want to divulge the prices they paid Rocky and Rock. Those contracts are secret for lots of good reasons. Therefore the futures and spot markets are there to be quoted in newspapers and they have a passing resemblance to what really goes on in terms of physical delivery. But at the end of the day it is more of an auction environment among very few players, kind of a hybrid between auction and Texas Hold 'Em. There is a little bit of public information (the up cards) and the hold cards (non public info). From that they make their deals and some win and some lose.

    The other thing to remember is these markets are dynamic not static. Therefore you have to look at them as vectors with headings and other vectors influencing them. A lot like navigating an airplane before GPS. ;)

    The article on Nymex linked above and here talked about folks getting upset because they were receiving "blends" rather than the contracted for WTI.

    The folks in the article are getting upset for the same reason that our customers wrote clauses in our sales contracts forbidding us to blend oils to meet specs. You can concoct a blend that meets specs but is not nearly as valuable to the refinery. It's like blending wines - you can blend cheap wines and come up with a wine that has the same alcohol content and looks as red as the good stuff, but tastes really horrible.

    As it points out, if anybody blends oils, the refinery would prefer it to be them. Their chemists are working in their own interests, not those of the producers.

    Both sell at a discount to WTI based on "problems" with their oil vs WTI (the gold standard).

    That's not totally correct. Today, syncrude from the oil sands upgraders was selling at a $9.90 premium to WTI. There's the gold standard, and then there's the platinum edition. However, Western Canadian Select was selling at a $15.85 discount to WTI. That's the cheap blended wine of the oil market. (I'm mixing metaphors here but you get the idea.)

    there's no way that the billions of paper barrels on the market could be delivered if the index fund managers decided to ask for physical delivery instead of rolling over is there?

    Okay, for starters one thing needs to be cleared up. The Hunt brothers bought actual silver, and accumulated actual silver. That, of course affected the futures market because the futures market tracks the spot market. The futures price must equal the spot price at the end of the day. And even if a trader did not make or take delivery of any silver his contract had to be settled at the spot price.

    Okay... That being said there is something else that I have repeated over and over again that still does not register with most folks. I am a former commodities broker and had to know the rules in order to pass the Series 3 exam, the commodities brokers exam. No one can ever be forced to make delivery or take delivery of the physical product! So Iagreewithnick, if an index fund manager decided to ask for physical delivery it would do him no good if the holders of the contracts decided to settle in cash instead. It would not matter if they still held the contract at expiration, they could still settle in cash!

    Ron P.

    Thanks, that's interesting, didn't know that!

    It's sloooowly falling into place for me. Might try and go and do some reading up before I reinvolve myself in this conversation as it's currently flying quite some distance above my head.

    Your naivete is staggering.

    You must have the same mental block that ROCKMAN (apparently)has--i.e. that speculators can only drive up the price of a commodity by physically cornering the market.


    @major, No need to personally attack, I'll stand by everything I said. I've been involved in options markets for decades albeit not oil, although I'm interested. While it is conceivable that a market can be manipulated, the larger the market the more difficult that is. When you start talking about $100's of billions the odds against being able to pull that off are astronomical. Also you apparently forgot ROCKMAN's excellent lessons above. For every winner in the market there MUST be a loser. Since those are REAL dollars attached to those imaginary bbls you will have some disgruntled traders who are not going to be pleased at being fleeced. They WILL fight back and they have plenty of weapons of their own to bring to bear (pun intended). The last time oil hit $148 per bbl, I easily recall it falling back down to $35/bbl, don't you? What happened to the "manipulators" then? Did they somehow manage to make money driving it up AND driving it back down again? If there were such a cabal, you'd best just hide your head in the sand and give up, because they already rule the world.

    ALL – I’m changing my position. Speculators are in fact manipulating the market and driving up prices. As pointed out just like the Hunt Bros did with silver, you have to physically possess the commodity to “corner the market”. Even when others hold a certain amount of the commodity if they are already selling 100% to the market (and continues to do so) they have no ability to “swing the market”. The folks holding on to that production sing capacity dictate the price. If you’re the only one selling silver on the market you can set the price how you wish. There’s no one with spare sales capacity to use to take any of your market share away. You’re free to offer your silver at $1 million an ounce if you wanted to do so. The buyers have but one choice: pay that price or no sale.

    So yes…speculators are totally responsible for the rise in oil prices and thus the supply/demand relationship is thwarted. And the speculators are dominated by one particular player: the KSA. The KSA, along with the other oil exporters, are the only ones who physically possess oil available for export. Essentially they cornered the oil export market. The US is the 3rd largest oil producer on the planet. But we don’t export a single bbl. So even with more than half the production rate of the KSA we have no impact on the price of exported oil…we don’t sell any.

    The KSA owns the bulk of not just spare capacity but all capacity. Consider all the OPC countries that are producing 100% of their capability. They have no extra export oil to put out into the market place. Thus the KSA, bright and early tomorrow morning, can offer all the non-contracted oil production at $200/bbl. All we can do is pay that price or not. The KSA can offer a price that stops most if not all buyers. And why would they do so? Simple: they would be “speculating” that the buyers will eventually become so desparite for oil that they’ll pay the higher prices. The trick for the speculator is to find that price point. If they set the price too high they’ll never make any sales. Too low and they deplete their inventory and thus lose their corner on the market. So they look for a price that maximizes their cash flow. And isn’t that exactly what we’ve seen since oil prices began to rise. Also remember the impact on the price of contracted oil. All long term contracts expire. Then that oil is once again available for contract…at whatever price the seller wants to demand.

    So yes: the Rockman now falls on his sword (much larger than the average man’s sword, BTW) and admits he was wrong. Oil prices have been manipulated by a damn oil hoarding speculator: THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA,

    VERY interesting!

    Your sentence: "Why is oil an exception to this rule?". It may very well not be an exception to the rule - all the other major commodities may be suffering from speculation too.

    No, no, your statement makes no sense whatsoever. It is a basic rule of economics that high prices reduce demand for the product and creates more supply of that product. Simply saying that other commodities may be doing the same thing does not mean that it is not an exception to that basic economic principle, it means that they are an exception also.

    But they are not. Wheat prices are up, not because of speculators, but because of a bad crop in many parts of the world. Ditto for corn plus the demand for ethanol is also pushing prices up. But if grain prices are too high, not because of demand but because of speculators, then inventories build up. That is not happening!

    And there is one more very important thing you are overlooking... or you may simply be totally unaware of it... whichever it may be but high oil prices cause high grain and other food prices!

    Food riots Ahead: Why high oil prices cause hunger.

    The surge in food prices is linked to higher oil costs, the World Bank said. It estimates that a 10 percent increase in crude oil prices is associated with a 2.7 percent rise in its food-price index. Crude oil has risen 35 percent over the past three months.

    Okay high oil prices are causing food prices to rise. But also...

    The increase in food prices is not simply due to the rise in oil prices: There also has been weather related crop failures in parts of South Asia.

    So we have high oil prices causing commodity prices to rise but we also have a lot of weather related crop failures.

    And you want to blame speculators for the high price of grain. Give me a break!

    Ron P.

    Yes, my sentence was a bit nonsensical!

    But seriously, give that an article a read through. You may find one or two surprising pieces of information in there that give cause to step back and have another think about the situation, especially the price of food!

    Edit: Although, having said that, the World Bank's April 2011 report doesn't seem to mention anything about speculation and does mention fuel prices, so there you go, perhaps not a factor after all.


    Always ready to stand corrected!

    Perhaps it's a combination of both - the speculators just accentuating what would otherwise be the natural direction of the markets.


    So we have high oil prices causing commodity prices to rise but we also have a lot of weather related crop failures.

    Add one more thing to your list

    International scientists warn of growing threat of wheat rust epidemics worldwide

    Researchers meeting at a scientific conference in Aleppo this week reported that aggressive new strains of wheat rust diseases – called stem rust and stripe rust – have decimated up to 40% of farmers' wheat fields in recent harvests. Areas affected are North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucuses, including Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Turkey, Iran, Uzbekistan, Morocco, Ethiopia, and Kenya.

    Banana crops are under threat from a deadly fungal disease

    There are several thousand types of banana around the world, though we only tend to eat one. The Cavendish. First grown in the Chatsworth greenhouse of the William Cavendish, sixth Duke of Devonshire, and catapulted into the mass market during the 1940s, the Cavendish accounts for 99 per cent of international consumption.

    Unfortunately, the Cavendish is in danger. Tropical Race 4, a fungus which has already destroyed acres of crops across Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia, is threatening the plantations of South and Central America. With the ability to linger in soil for decades, the prospect of a Race 4 outbreak in what is now the banana hub of the world could be catastrophic – both for plantation owners who depend on the fruit for their income and for consumers, who would see an entire foodstuff wiped out until further notice.
    So what to do about Tropical Race 4? Ironically, the Cavendish only reached its ascendancy thanks to the impact of an earlier crop disease, Tropical Race 1, and its impact on a prior favourite, the Gros Michel– the first banana to be exported from Jamaica and taken to the US in the late 19th century. As production of that strain dwindled, suppliers slowly introduced the resistant Cavendishes.

    Crop diseases are strong candidates for TEOTWAWKI scenarios. Tropical Race 1 fungus eliminated the Gros Michel banana. Dutch elm disease decimated the American Elm, while blight drove the American Chestnut to near extinction.

    A disease that wiped out 90+ % of one of the world's major food crops (rice, wheat, potato, cassava, etc.) would likely cause a significant dip in global human population. This might occur due to natural evolution of pathogens, cross species migration of pathogens, or genetic engineering with malevolent intent.

    Google "UG 99".

    The race to beat Ug99 stem rust New strain of stem rust spreading out from Africa.

    Dr. Tom Fetch, a plant pathologist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Winnipeg research centre, is one of the scientists working on projects to help develop solutions to Ug99. He says that Canadian wheat growers are better off than their counterparts in most parts of the world. Fetch’s initial work was to screen existing wheat lines for Ug99 resistance. “We have a few lines that look quite good, and another five to 10 lines with intermediate resistance,” says Fetch.

    Looking at bread wheat varieties in Canada, two lines have shown good resistance: AC Cadillac and Peace. Fetch says the exact genetics are not known but two genes seem to confer resistance. “When one gene alone is present, the resistance doesn’t stand out, but when they are both there, the resistance is enhanced, so there must be something due to the pyramiding of the genes,”

    Fetch says the lines are being used in current Canadian breeding programs, and F4 lines are being screened in the rust plots in Kenya. “We are two years down the road already, and the rule of thumb is that it takes eight to 10 years to get a variety out,” explains Fetch.

    The advantage of wheat is that, first, there are a lot more different varieties being grown commercially than bananas, and second, it is grown in first-world countries which have the technology to deal with plant diseases.

    Yeah. This is why I am more worried about the wheat fields in the area north of the Middle East than I am of those in the west.

    It is a basic rule of economics that high prices reduce demand for the product and creates more supply of that product

    The exception of course are Giffen goods


    International Energy Agency urges OPEC to raise oil output

    Rocketing oil prices have hit demand in the world's top energy consumers, China and the US, and OPEC needs to raise output around June to douse further price rises, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said.

    "Minister Al-Naimi has always said Saudi will fill the gap. So please, OPEC countries will need to make sure this will happen when the demand is coming back," he said, adding that Saudi Arabia may have about 4m barrels per day of spare capacity.

    You've gotta love this dance between Saudi Arabia and the IEA. First you have the KSA spin:

    "The market is oversupplied....there has only been limited interest from buyers due to high prices...."

    And then you have the IEA calling their b.s. with Tanaka is basically going "yeah, we know people aren't buying because prices are too high! WTF, you promised not to let this happen!"

    I especially love that he actually said "please OPEC". Thats the position we are reduced to.

    Only a masochist or a sociopath can make a big career at the IEA.
    We now know which type Nobuo 'Please, Opec, you promised!' Tanaka is.

    It just struck me, however, whether he actually belives that the Saudis have the 4 mb/d in spare capacity.

    It's sometimes said that the best deceivers believe their own lies.


    Oh pretty please with sprinkles on top, OPEC, can you raise oil output?? Even a teensie weensie bit? I promise I'll go steady with you if you just give me a little more of that delicious black stuff! Dammit, OPEC, you never take my calls anymore! And btw, Saudi, I've pencilled you in for 14.6 mb/d in 2035, k?


    I,ve been reading the oil drum for 6 years and heard something new to me yesterday. As i was driving my car north of Toronto Canada
    I heard an advertisement for subaru cars on the radio that used the words Peak oil ,in a negative context along with "conspiracy theory".
    It was in the context a talking about gas mileage for their cars. As I have met only one person in four years hear who has even heard of
    peak oil I wonder what the public will make of this or if they even notice the phrase.

    They have mentioned the phrase 'Peak Oil' on Bloomberg a few times recently. They know.

    I think there are two forms of speculation; the short-termers who jump on a rising (of falling) bandwagon, and the long-termers, who believe that supply is increasingly failing to meet demand and are using scarcity as a check and a means to profit. The two types may not be mutually exclusive and anyway oil is not the same as tulips, or is it? No, it isn't!

    It seems to me that any commodity in scarcer supply than it was will increase in price until the cost becomes unbearable and a substitute is found. The problem is that no adequate substitute has been found for either oil or food. Yes, some of us may be able to move wheat and rice about, but in doing so others suffer. Ditto oil; there are nations like Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan, as well as a fair few African countries, where there simply isn't the foreign exchange available to buy the stuff. People are going without power and, increasingly, food. Basically we are buying their oil and food because for the moment our governments are able to persuade traders that our money is good.

    Watch this space...

    The branding of conspiracy theory is supposed to be negative.

    CIA DOCUMENT #1035-960 lays that out.

    But I'm not groking how such a radio ad would be called "a good ad" by traditional ad-men?

    even notice the phrase.

    Like fish logos, Crosses on shields, Compasses and Squares, or many other 'symbols' for the 'in crowd' - Peak Oil is the shibboleth here and won't be noticed to people outside here.


    The accents of the tribes were distinctive enough even at the time of the confederacy so that when the Israelites of Gilead, under the leadership of Jephthah, fought the Tribe of Ephraim, their pronunciation of shibboleth as sibboleth was considered sufficient evidence to single out individuals from Ephraim, so that they could be subjected to immediate death by the Israelites of Gilead.

    Makes me think of Mike Emmel somehow...

    A trailer for Dean Gibbons And The Knowledge Of Death, the play mentioned in one of the Drumbeat articles. Looks good. Sorry if's already been posted (haven't gone through all the articles and comments yet).


    How is the economy like a bubble bath?

    On my plane ride home from the Third Biophysical Economics meeting I had an interesting idea. Let me try it out on you just for fun. It is a way to imagine the real nature of the economy as opposed to the imagined economy of neoclassical theory.


    PS. At the end of the piece is a photo of Gail the Actuary, Charlie Hall, Joe Tainter, Jim Kunstler, and me enjoying some beverages and amiably discussing the end of the world! Or something to that effect. Photo courtesy Gail Tverberg.

    How is the economy like a bubble bath?

    I like it!

    By sheer coincidence, in the occasional idle moment I've been toying with a very similar simile.

    My idea also is to compare the bubbles with the complexity of a society, except with a continuous stream of bubbles representing energy and resource flows, and the arrangement of bubbles on the surface of the water representing the various levels of economic activity.

    Picture an aquarium with one of those aerators on the bottom blowing a continuous stream of bubbles, and a nice big patch of bubbles persisting for a time on the surface, but not completely covering it.

    Crank up the aerator, or energy/resource flow, and the patch of bubbles grows. Some bubbles get much bigger, and the overall number of bubbles grows even as some bubbles are still popping. Turn the flow down and more bubbles pop then are blown, the larger ones tending to pop first, and the whole patch becoming smaller and less complex.

    The image of the bubbles responding as a group is what most appeals to me, I feel it clearly illustrates the underlying dynamic of socioeconomic complexity as it responds to changes in flow rate.

    As new bubbles are blown and as old ones pop, the surrounding bubbles display a high level of cohesiveness and self organize to maintain the overall surface area. Also, the larger any one bubble gets, the more disruptive it will be when it pops, with the overall size and surface area of the group suddenly dropping even as flows remain relatively unchanged.

    And so on, you get the idea.

    I think this would be very helpful in clearing up what I often see as a considerable amount of confusion surrounding the word "collapse". I'm often surprised by how many people seem to think it means that society is one big bubble, and once it pops then that's it. We all fall down and nothing is left.

    As Tainter pointed out, collapse actually means just dropping from one level of complexity to another less complex level, but with society maintaining it's overall cohesiveness, and certainly not disappearing altogether (except in cases where the society is already so primitive that family bonds begin to break down).

    That's what got me started on this metaphor of "more and sometimes bigger" bubbles becoming "much fewer and mostly smaller" bubbles as the flow rate of energy and resources drops, but self organizing to maintain cohesiveness and maximize surface area, as bubbles (and civilizations) are known to do.


    I think this would be very helpful in clearing up what I often see as a considerable amount of confusion surrounding the word "collapse". I'm often surprised by how many people seem to think it means that society is one big bubble, and once it pops then that's it. We all fall down and nothing is left.

    I don't see it as being so straight forward.

    Soap bubbles are also physical illustrations of the complex mathematical problem of minimal surface. A minimal surface is more properly described as a soap film, with equal pressure on inside as outside, such as the film obtained by dipping a wire contour into a soapy solution. Such a surface has zero mean curvature.

    Classical examples of minimal surfaces include:

    * the plane, which is a trivial case
    * catenoids: minimal surfaces made by rotating a catenary once around the axis
    * helicoids: A surface swept out by a line rotating with uniform velocity around an axis perpendicular to the line and simultaneously moving along the axis with uniform velocity
    * the Enneper surface

    Recent work in minimal surfaces has identified new completely embedded minimal surfaces, that is minimal surfaces which do not intersect. In particular Costa's minimal surface was first described mathematically in 1982 by Celso Costa and later visualized by Jim Hoffman. This was the first such surface to be discovered in over a hundred years. Jim Hoffman, David Hoffman and William Meeks III, then extended the definition to produce a family of surfaces with different rotational symmetries.
    Source Wikipedia


    I suspect that when something like this soap film pops there is not much of a chance that it forms a less complex film, it just ceases to exist. So all you can hope to do is recreate it from scratch. That assumes you have plenty of soapy water and a framework with which to work.


    In a way it may be thought of as a metaphor for giving up on our current paradigm of ostentatious energy use and how our civilization is structured on an abundance of fossil fuel energy. If we have less soapy water or energy to work with we need to stretch that over a more simplified structure such as a renewables based paradigm. The old structure becomes useless.

    I suspect that when something like this soap film pops there is not much of a chance that it forms a less complex film, it just ceases to exist.

    Except for the fact that I wasn't talking about a soap film, which renders your point moot. In a way you seem to be illustrating my point about the confusion, unless I misunderstood your rebuttal.


    I don't agree with this assertion:

    I'm often surprised by how many people seem to think it means that society is one big bubble, and once it pops then that's it. We all fall down and nothing is left.

    Society most certainly isn't one big bubble. When it collapses though it won't be able to be reconstructed over the previously existing framework or paradigm. We will still have resources we will just have to use them differently in a new framework. So what I'm saying is that the old way of viewing things and the the framework that supported it will by definition completely cease to exist. We will build a new less complex framework that we can support with the resources and energy available to us.

    In other words BAU will collapse and BAU light won't work either it will have to be something completely different.

    Assuming you understand that I also don't agree with the "one big bubble" assertion, as my post should make clear, then it sounds like what you actually don't agree with is "more and sometimes bigger bubbles becoming fewer and mostly smaller bubbles".

    Fair enough, and although I'm still not entirely sure what you would replace the bubbles with, it is just a metaphor after all. One I'm quite pleased with, if I may be allowed the self-indulgence.


    Anytime I want to get a good sense of experienced, well reasoned bubble discussions, I go to the source, prudentbear.com.

    That's this weeks', just scroll down to the bottom of the page for his actual writing, for some reason he puts his own content at the bottom, not the top, not sure why.

    I've read him for 10 years, he doesn't make the kinds of newbie to economics mistakes that most amateur commentators make, like Kunstler, TAE, and those types. Which means he basically just studies the data and then makes some observations on it. Useful viewpoint when looking at bubbles, he's been at it a long time, though not of course as long as Soros, who literally wrote at least some of the books on that subject.

    Actually it is probably MUCH more straight forward than that.
    Remember climate scientists have modeled the planet as a straight forward
    sum of negative(clouds) and positive(GHG) feedbacks.

    Control theory describe how feedback systems work as differential equations.
    Our system is probably a simple (first order DE) positive feedback system.
    If this is so then the result of a forcing such as Peak Oil or resource depletion would be to slow things in predictable ways.
    You should expect to see a lot more poverty and less complexity. The old structures will end up being reused in new ways.

    The Romans turned the Temple of the Emperor Hadrian into a customs house.

    Great photo Gail/George. Thanks! (BTW, I'm not above gleeping a copy for my collection ;-)

    Here we go again: Spot price up a couple percent WTI @ ~ 110.50, Brent ~ $123.57.


    It will be interesting to see what happens when it gets up to ~ $150.00. This will put regular gas price here in Northern Nevada to a little over $5. I'm sure there was some effect from $3 gas to $4 in the last six months or so but the economic effects are not obvious to MSM or most people.

    Our unemployment rate is still over 13% (real rate close to 25%), foreclosures are still high. Around our neighborhood three houses are not selling at 35%-40% their 2007 prices. As the 99er's fall off the unemployment rolls we will have a shortage of under-bridge habitats but with summer coming on the effect will not be noticed.

    If the markets crash (or not) it will be further data points about oil related crashes. Obviously the markets/dollar will crash at some point because a ponzi cannot go on forever ... and there is always the winter solstice next year.

    I agree with the broad outlines of your post.
    I think you might be interested in some of the points raised by Mr. Reich, the former secretary of labor under Clinton(now a prof at Berkeley):


    As for the oil price, I wouldn't be too worried about the movement from day to day. It's very volatile now. It can go up or down 7-10 dollars in a week. The longterm trend is inevitable, however.

    Thank you Leiten for the link. We exist in a small reality and the sign at the corner filling station is part of that reality and means more than all the proposed solutions to our problems posted here. Like right now my weather rock on a string is about 60 degrees out so the wind is about 30 knots. I understand where WT, Sam, aAngel, JMG and even Darwinian are coming from. It is really not very difficult. We live on a fixed resource planet. All the rest are adjectives to explain this. Further, if one does not plan for this fact and take action to mitigate it then “Well, Hello, Duh.” The only question in my mind is long down slope via Greer’s story or '9 meals to chaos and 21 days to die off‘. Of course CME and EMP like the Carrington event, financial total collapse or nuclear war can happen too.

    OT: This year we received about 150% of normal moisture so I imagine the reference below to Lake Mead (600 miles to our south) is correct. I have been to Vegas many times in a previous life as a ‘C’ programmer for casino operations. I believe it was one of the models for JHK’s ‘Long Emergency’. Though the High Desert around here is tough, Vegas IMHO is completely unsustainable. The sprawl is a hundred miles if you count the bedroom cities the developers were pushing a few years back. Further, the summer temperatures are deadly without air conditioning of some sort.

    I am in Las Vegas right now, and the aftermath of the Great Recession is quite visible here compared to my last visit (2004), including dead car dealerships, empty stores and planned subdivisions in arrested development. Quite a contrast to the bustle and myriad new developments of yesteryear.

    Observed gas prices include $3.939/gal for regular, $4.159/gal for high grade and $4.319/gal for diesel at one location. At another spot: $3.829/gal for regular, and at a third $3.899/gal for regular, $4.119/gal for premium and $4.199/gal for diesel.

    These prices are very close to the range of what I witnessed further north (WA, OR, ID) during the 2008 super-spike. Deja vu.


    graywulffe, I wonder how Las Vegas will fair with the higher gas prices. If funds are tight tourist may not take as many trips there again. The casinos there that are half constructed may never get built.

    Tourism and gambling are both non-essential expenditures of energy. International air travel is especially energy intensive, and Asian customers are more economically served by the Macau casinos.

    I just worked with a bunch of guys who live in LVegas on that Poker show last week. Even the car-nuts on the crew are chewing the fat with me about various Solar Inventions they'd like to see. I worry about them, tho' it's considered a little uncouth to wear that concern on my sleeve.

    I asked about Lake Mead, and they say it's up at the moment. I hope they're not just looking at the Mirage.

    Enjoy your trip over on the discretionary side of the Strip!

    Most commodities closed up today. Gold over $1500, silver over $45 (electronic).

    Dollar hits 15-month low against Euro.

    Apr 20 1:52pm:
    At the start of the year, the euro was trading at $1.33 against the dollar, but has since surged to $1.45 against the beleaguered greenback. more

    Re: Kenya, Uganda protest as maize prices skyrocket

    Africa is at the beginning of a very serious problem. If you look at which countries are net calorie importers and exporters (eg, this map (pdf)), pretty much the whole continent is importing calories from elsewhere. There certainly appears to be an export-land effect: increased industrial demand for corn in the US (corn ethanol) has a much bigger effect in the export market than in the domestic market.

    Not much green for food exporters on that map. Sobering.

    Kazakhstan and Australia (net exporters) are right in the path of climate change related droughts. Expect export reductions from them. And those are big supliers. Western USA will most likely see heat and droughts as well. Given how few % of all land area that actually export here, any loss is a big loss.

    But it warms my heart to see that Greenland (population 50 000) is a net food exporter.

    Nice to see Island is a food exporting land must be all those bananas they grow. I don't know if any of you knew it but Island is the biggest producer of bananas in Europe.

    Yeah, now when you tell me, I remember. First I thought you were kidding me. But yes, they use geothermal energy to keep the heat up.

    They are also big on sheep and fish. Could go and invent a new pizza,call it "Icelando" and put mutton, fish and bananas on it.

    I think you mean Ireland (Éire), Fyffes are the Main Irish traders of bananas.


    The link to the article "Fishermen in battle for BP oil spill compensation" goes to the wrong page. Looks like it should link here:


    Behind a paywall, but viewable via Google...

    Unreliable Data Further Roil Oil Markets

    Unreliable data on oil production—starting with the world's largest exporter, Saudi Arabia—are adding to the price volatility triggered by unrest in the Mideast, despite efforts to improve transparency.

    On Sunday, Saudi Arabia said its production had been at least 700,000 barrels a day lower in March than existing estimates, including those published by OPEC. The surprise news pushed the price of oil down by more than $1 per barrel Monday morning.

    The revelation highlighted a problem that is roiling markets at the moment: a dearth of solid information about the true state of production and supplies.

    I seem to remember that one of the predictions by one of the early peak forecasters was that production figures would become increasingly unreliable as we went through peak as nations and institutions become increasingly politicised in their reporting. I wish I could remember who.

    I seem to remember that one of the predictions by one of the early peak forecasters was that production figures would become increasingly unreliable as we went through peak as nations and institutions become increasingly politicised in their reporting. I wish I could remember who.

    memmel was early on this and all over it too but TPTB banned him from TOD. Perhaps his posts were too long? Maybe he looked too much like Cassandra? Whatever....

    Perhaps his posts were too long?

    As I am prone to say, you could extract the Collected Works of Shakespeare from his comments. He also thought you could estimate oil production levels from CO2 measurements, among many other crazy ideas.

    I recall he said that Saudi Arabia vastly understated their reserves and then that they vastly overstated their reserves, and the USA did the same, and so on and so on ... yawn ....

    WHT, I know you really get frustrated by memmel but I think part of the problem is that in his long rambling posts he will put forward one point of view and then say "I don't believe this view" towards the end of the post (or randomly in the middle). Years of reading his output helps me parse the over-long posts to extract what he actually believes is more likely.

    To the best of my knowledge he has been consistent about Saudi Arabia overstating reserves but he believes they under-stated production for a period in the 80s in particular.

    That is that much (but not all) of the drop charted above most likely did not happen in memmel's view. Therefore he believes their fields are more depleted than they admit simply because they pumped more oil historically than they said. Memmel further believes that during the 90s and early part of the 2000s production figures were fairly accurate but have been exaggerated in recent years.

    Or at least that's what I think he says :-)

    but he believes they under-stated production for a period in the 80s in particular.

    I think this may very well be true. I was in Saudi from late 1980 until 1985. At the time I was not the slightest bit interested in production numbers. I was in computers and worked in the Safaniya field. We installed flow monitors on all the offshore platforms that fed to the main computer onshore. I do not remember any numbers because I maintained the hardware and never saw any numbers. But I know those wells were producing flat out back then. On the offshore platforms you could hear the oil rushing through the pipes and they were hot to the touch all the time.

    I have seen charts showing Safaniya producing near nothing in 84 and 85. I was there and that was simply not the case.

    Ron P.

    I have seen charts showing Safaniya producing near nothing in 84 and 85. I was there and that was simply not the case.

    Hey Ron, a "friend" wrote the following to me.

    Actually this is one of the main reasons why complex systems collapse.

    As they approach the end of their time obfuscation and lies become increasingly common to hide the real state of affairs. And as reality diverges from the lie the liars have a choice either come clean and tell the painful truth or make ever larger lies.

    Now of course sites like the oil drum are full of people that detect that things are not as they seem. It quite normal for this to happen. And ever larger group of people steadily realize thats something is fundamentally wrong. And we can't believe everything we are told. Slowly people become skeptical. Now to jump subjects global warming is based on hard science with a tremendous amount of basic research and data collection to support the view. Its a subject that proven hard to obfuscate not that the global warming group has not lost the war simply that given they collected the data and its generally valid they are tough to beat.

    Now lets jump back to oil here people have to rely on the people most likely to obfuscate the data for the data. And most people cling to belief in the government or official sources. People decide to selectively filter the data. For example the consensus on the oil drum was that KSA had several mbd of spare capacity. Very few people supported my position that at best they had short term surge capacity etc.

    That example is important because it shows that even though people can believe somethings amiss its very difficult to throw the baby out with the bath water and reject official sources out of hand. People are just now finally starting to question global oil production.

    This is not a fault of TOD intrinsically its simply one of the reasons why complex systems collapse even people that see it coming are unable to believe the truth. Most often they choose selective lies.

    I have seen charts showing Safaniya producing near nothing in 84 and 85. I was there and that was simply not the case.

    Interesting. Thanks for that bit of info from your own observation.

    You do a much better job than the m-man and I suggest that we can easily come up with the same strawman ideas to shoot down, while at the same time keeping the signal-to-noise ratio low. I can explain why I don't like his style, but I realize that I can't control everyone else's taste.

    On that particular curve the dip starting in the late 1970's was likely real. World-wide there was a suppression in extraction as energy usage corrected itself to account for conservation and more energy efficient processes. A significant global recession didn't help matters. The conservation measures were effective enough so that it looked as if we actually had a glut of oil. This was a one-time effect though, as economic growth picked up and thus lifting it from the trough.

    This may be a better image to show, which illustrates the collapse that occurred after our hugely wasteful energy consumption ended in the 1970's:

    What a great forecast in that graph: Take todays value and extend it in a stright line for 5 years.

    I recall he said that Saudi Arabia vastly understated their reserves and then that they vastly overstated their reserves...

    Care to back that up Web? I think you are being misleading.

    Well, in the end who could really tell what the heck he was talking about?

    WHT, I know you really get frustrated by memmel but I think part of the problem is that in his long rambling posts he will put forward one point of view and then say "I don't believe this view" towards the end of the post (or randomly in the middle).

    Ergo, it is not really my problem. It is the problem of the writer. The reader can disambiguate his ramblings any way they want to.

    Well Web, this was my question to your to your statement...

    I recall he said that Saudi Arabia vastly understated their reserves and then that they vastly overstated their reserves...

    Care to back that up Web? I think you are being misleading.

    and this was your answer

    Well, in the end who could really tell what the heck he was talking about?

    WHT, I know you really get frustrated by memmel but I think part of the problem is that in his long rambling posts he will put forward one point of view and then say "I don't believe this view" towards the end of the post (or randomly in the middle).

    Ergo, it is not really my problem. It is the problem of the writer. The reader can disambiguate his ramblings any way they want to.

    So not only is it demonstrably clear that you did not answer my query, you continue to obfuscate.

    You can say anything you want concerning my misunderstanding on what Memmel did or did not say as I am now very Memmel-like in my writing as I just placed you in the Memmel trick-box which is to write something ambiguous and have somebody call you on it and then become very evasive and try to change the subject while not using any commas.

    Love him or hate him but memmel is not banned from TOD. He said he had a a lot of paid work coming up which would keep him away from TOD for a while.

    Love him or hate him but memmel is not banned from TOD.

    He has repeatedly told me that he is banned. The guy is is completely honest so I do not doubt for a second that he is telling me the facts. Of course, there is a great opportunity for TPTB to make me look foolish by enlightening us. Perhaps they will do so right here?

    I think you are correct. I went back to one of his posts, then clicked on his name to get his profile and got a big fat Permission denied. Did he tell you why he was banned?

    Ron P.

    Memmel himself can access his comment history, correct? But either way, what's the point of denying access?

    Edit: 487 comments by Memmel via Google search.

    I've been wondering about that - I thought these forums were meant to be hidden from search engines?

    Note: All links are automatically given the nofollow attribute, which means that they will be ignored by search engines.

    Nofollow means the comment won't influence pagerank. It doesn't mean it's invisible to search engines.

    Ah ok, got you. Cheers.

    Hmm, I've just checked and his account does now appear to be gone. What does he say happened? I suppose I could email him but could someone from TOD (Leanan, Nate?) please say why memmel was banned?

    I don't think it's proper to go into the details, so I'll just say I gave him numerous chances to mend his ways, and he didn't.

    Fine, so the guy gets called mentally unstable, dangerous and numerous other insults from some posters and their posts generally stay up (although I noted a small number of posts against memmel were deleted although that may have been by TOD "Flag as Inappropriate") but an under-pressure memmel gets banned. Nice one Leanan.

    Seems you were able to tolerate him for years but not now. Oh well I suppose this is the "new improved TOD" :-(

    It should take a long time for someone to get banned unless they are severely disruptive.

    I gave up on trying to read Memmel's posts long enough ago that I would have no idea if he was saying anything inappropriate.

    It should take a long time for someone to get banned unless they are severely disruptive.

    The stated reason was that his posts were too long.

    Memmel always had a disclaimer (before TOD removed it) that said that he suffered from a form of dyslexia that could make his posts difficult to read. He also stated in posts that he found it difficult to shorten his output because of the way his mind worked. Now people can choose to disbelieve this but taken at face value that suggests he is being punished for a medical condition by the TOD ban and I'm fairly certain Leanan isn't medically qualified to diagnose that he does not have a relevant condition. For him to create a shorter and concise post seemed to take considerably more time and effort than it would for almost anyone else.

    If Leanan had previously told him to change his style but then banned him when he didn't, why is this not similar to banning "cripples" for not walking fast enough or barring black people from TOD on the grounds that they were given the opportunity to spontaneously change colour but didn't?

    And ultimately a lot of people actually liked reading memmel's posts, myself most definitely included. TOD is worse off without him in my opinion and I ask the TOD PTB to reconsider.

    Blogs are not "public squares". You are here by sufferance. TOD owes you, me, or Memmel nothing. We have no "rights" here. If you or I or Memmel write something that the TOD folks don't like, they have every right to admonish, censor, ban, whatever.

    I see this time and time again. Someone feels slighted by the management at a blog or forum, and they cry "censorship". No, it's their house, and abide by their sensibilities or risk being cut off.

    The analogy to banning of "cripples" or whatever is totally absurd. Memmel was not "punished". He was banned (I guess) for not being able to get his posts into a form that the TOD folks felt worked with their mission, format, etc. The line isn't always clear, but it seems to me there's always a warning shot or two.

    Memmel is totally free to start his own blog, as are we all.

    Fine. And a lot of former excellent TOD contributors are now gone or rarely post. Each to his own but I can see me giving up or being banned myself. "Wolves in Sheep's Clothing" is a term for the TOD PTB I've heard more than once in private emails (and no, not from memmel).


    I'm not judging the merit of TOD policies. I'm just saying that analogies to a public square are not to the point. This ain't a public place where you or I have any rights, that's my point.

    I miss a few former posters, too, though I don't think they were banned - they just moved on in their lives.

    I've come close to giving up TOD a number of times. Sometimes people here say the darndest things, and I don't always have the time or inclination to mount a proper refutation. Sometimes I do.

    It's just the nature of the beast, I'm afraid.

    Well in the UK at least it is illegal for a private company or organisation to discriminate against someone solely on the grounds of disability.

    I once had a Physics lecturer who couldn't stop himself saying the word "Yet" out loud and in written text. When he re-read his own output he apparently didn't even see the extra "yets" he'd just written up on the blackboard, Sadly I can no longer remember his name as we cruel students just called him "The Yeti". That was wrong and so is the TOD ban on memmel. My opinion anyway.

    Again, leaving aside any judgement on the merits of the case, you and I and Memmel have no right or expectation of being able to just do what we want on a blog/forum. Be it overlong and convoluted posts, posts that are too political or religious, or whatever.

    The point is, I don't think he was actually banned. Read this and you will see he disappeared after announcing a self-imposed exile.
    The m-man is a contract software developer and he evidently got a job where he had to work 24x7. Which means no time to comment anymore, c'est la vie.

    The point is, I don't think he was actually banned. Read this and you will see he disappeared after announcing a self-imposed exile.
    The m-man is a contract software developer and he evidently got a job where he had to work 24x7. Which means no time to comment anymore, c'est la vie.

    Wow, I shall assume for your benefit Web that that you have not read all the other posts on the subject you are so confidently commenting upon. But don't mind me, please feel free to hold forth on any other subject that you feel knowledgeable about.

    What is that supposed to mean? Memmel must inspire anti-comprehension because what he wrote was the most readable thing he has ever written. He said that he was not going to comment anymore because he was too busy, and it looks as if he has kept his word. "Anyway sadly I'm going to have to take a break for a while I'm back to 70-80 hour weeks starting tomorrow so this is the last minute of my mini vacation. Which means I need to take a break form the oil drum which is probably for the best."

    I remember that post because it was in the middle of a huge argument where CC and I were trading back and forth with him. I made the point that he tended to get more lucid the more you cornered him, and then he seemed to sulk off. For all I know, he could have made up the story about taking a hiatus.

    But please don't try to make him out as some sort of martyr.

    You are here by sufferance. TOD owes you, me, or Memmel nothing

    Yup. This place is a private effort that we are allowed on. Their rules.

    We are owed nothing and for all any of us know it could be gone tomorrow.

    TOD is worse off without him in my opinion and I ask the TOD PTB to reconsider.

    I had the temerity to suggest in another post that perhaps a suspension for memmel would have been sufficient (that is all I said). Apparently that impudence was worthy cause for deletion as the post is nowhere to be found. Perhaps I was inflaming the masses? : )

    And yes Undertow, memmel is dyslexic. IMO, although many of his posts were long, perhaps "too long", they often contained very powerful insights.

    Perhaps Leanan would reconsider and offer a strict second chance?

    Perhaps if one made a sufficiently large "Donation" the problem would solve itself? This is after all a semi-commercial website now with actual paid employees.

    It is a shame that a founder like HeadingOut was apparently marginalized for his views, but at the end of the day "money talks and BS walks" or words to that effect. Perhaps I'll be deleted for this post, if so - so be it.

    The problem with overly zealous site censors is they forget where their value is being created. TOD would be a completely uninteresting site if 100% of the content came from the site operators and no one else. Facebook has a nominal market cap of $50Billion which works out to $100 per active user (there are another 100M who are inactive but still counted as users). TOD could capitalize on building up "sticky eyeballs" and improve its value proposition, but I suspect there are those here who would rather it become something of an olde English gentleman's club. Nothing wrong with that, but I have a tendency to get kicked out of those clubs for forgetting to wear my school tie properly knotted. :)

    The problem with overly zealous site censors is they forget where their value is being created.


    Seems to me like you and Wardsmith ought to start your own forum.

    Seems to me like you and Wardsmith ought to start your own forum.

    No thanks, I enjoy the give and take of open discussion here on TOD as that is where the truth is most likely to be found. It is apparent that you do not.

    WTF? Where do you get off saying that?

    I'm only saying that people who run blogs/forums set the rules for their blog/forum, and if you or I don't like it, too bad. I specifically said I was not giving my opinion of their "banning" policies. Only that we have no "rights". Where the hell do you get off saying that I don't value give and take? That was a bogus cheap shot.

    And yes, you are free to start your own blog, with give and take as free as you want.

    WTF? Where do you get off saying that?

    I'm only saying that people who run blogs/forums set the rules for their blog/forum, and if you or I don't like it, too bad. I specifically said I was not giving my opinion of their "banning" policies. Only that we have no "rights". Where the hell do you get off saying that I don't value give and take? That was a bogus cheap shot.

    And yes, you are free to start your own blog, with give and take as free as you want.

    LOL! Me thinks you doth protest too much.

    I agree. It appears that the scope of discussion of issues concerning the supply and demand of oil in the Drumbeat has been greatly reduced (excluding of course some fine key posts).

    I wouldn't want TOD to fall below a 'critical mass' of support where it would no longer be interesting to visit.

    If this poster had a learning disability which made it extremely difficult for him to edit/shorten, then I agree with you that asking him to do so would have little effect. (That's why we call it a disability--it lowers or ruins a person's ability to produce within "normal" boundaries...)

    Maybe it would be (would have been?) useful for someone to correspond with him and bring his thoughts to TOD in a form that would fit in better with TOD policies. It's always hard to know how to help people use/compensate for their differences--or even, sometimes, to know which is which. His work must have made sense to him, as well as to some of the more verbal readers, while to more image-oriented readers, it sounds to have been irritating.

    (Myself, I've always had a soft spot for those who take awhile to get to the point but make it well once there.)

    I liked the way his brain worked and yes the posts were long and maybe he was fitting a narrative ala Taleb, but WHT was calling some of it out. Of course I miss Shaw and to some degree the Riverman.

    One thing you can learn from reading Taleb is to not be afraid to speak your mind and appearing arrogant when you do it. From what I have read, Taleb takes no prisoners when writing his books and doesn't care who he offends.

    I am sorry to hear that - I quite enjoyed his posts


    I miss Toto, his wheelbarrow, yeast, replanting the golf courses and his loveable bag of NPK. IMHO TOD is poorer for his absence.

    But he may be better off without TOD.

    He lost his longtime girlfriend over this. Can't really blame him for choosing to move in a different direction.

    A lesson to us all..

    Still, the outrageous Boulder-carrier I have designed out for working on my Stoney land might have to get its name changed from 'The Rock-shaw' to 'The Bob-Shaw' in his honor.

    Yes the topic of Sharon's post on sustainable marriage. http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2011-04-18/sustainable-marriage

    This was too part of my demise but C'est Le Vie, I am better for it and so is she..... Still I can understand the devastation but in the realm of woman/men there is always somebody out there and plenty with similar mindsets.

    I wish Mr. Shaw well and so to with Mike.

    Too late to pick up the Tiger Woods Organic Produce Franchise? :-)

    Well, it's your call but I personally don't like the decision.

    I would have put WHT on probation for the terrible behavior he showed. Mike was at least always polite and didn't pick fights.

    Shame, Leanan.

    Memmel was one of the best on TOD and is sorely missed.

    I tend to agree, things don't seem the same without him. He sure could type like the proverbial threshing machine, I envied that. Many of his posts were definitely too long. Then again I've seen in the past, threads dominated by someone with a good percentage of the total. I haven't noticed that lately though, so that might be another censure (a good one IMO).

    A technological solution maybe, Memmel's account could be re-instated on the condition that his comments will always appear in a minimized form (the - sign at the top left of comment frame). This could be a a form of parole to promote good behavior? In fact this doesn't has to be memmel specific, any really long post should be folded by default. every once in a while i do miss his long posts, it would be nice to have that option.

    He is not banned. I remember the post where he announced he was taking a sabbatical:

    Anyway sadly I'm going to have to take a break for a while I'm back to 70-80 hour weeks starting tomorrow so this is the last minute of my mini vacation. Which means I need to take a break form the oil drum which is probably for the best.
    I'm sure I'll sneak a peak at the headline articles but oil depletion and the real URR are not going anywhere fast :)

    So enjoy yourself for the next month I'll be out of your hair. I'll be using my free time to sleep.

    That thread was some sort of battle royale amongst several combatants, mostly between the m-man and myself. Real science is a contact sport.

    First, according to observer, Memmel says he is banned. Second, if he is not banned, why is his comment history inaccessible. Third, what does the following exchange mean, if not that Memmel is banned?

    Q: Undertow: "...could someone from TOD (Leanan, Nate?) please say why memmel was banned?"

    A: Leanan: "...I gave him numerous chances to mend his ways, and he didn't."

    In the comment you quoted, Memmel says he's sad to have to take a break from TOD for awhile. That's his last comment as far as Google knows. But was it his last?

    Interesting for him to announce that he wouldn't post anymore and then get banned for not posting. I suppose he could have posted something and it was so lengthy that it got erased and he got banned before anyone knew what was up.

    He's got a blog and if he has anything interesting to say he can always post there:
    Nothing as far as I can see.

    It would be interesting because it would be absurd. Less interesting but more likely - he posted a comment sometime after the glorious battle royale in which you blindsided him with science and the comment was deleted, and he was banned. Another possibility is Memmel commented post-hiatus but Google missed it and we can't find it either because Memmel's comment history is locked. Or maybe he got banned for an email. Who knows?

    Real science is a contact sport.

    Well said and like all contact sports strategy of when to make the move appears to be the deciding factor in winning the game. Much like Chess....all great coaches understand strategy, analyzing the moving pieces and trying to find the winning outcome. The ideas that flow through TOD are put to the test in my world all the time as I analyze people/government responses to environmental/energy issues.

    I loved that WHT called out Mike, but Mike may have that type of brain that takes in other cues and sometimes put together analysis the seems correct. I think that is sometimes the feeling I get when I read about Hubbert.... he did not do the math but damn he sure seems to have nailed it. Do certain peoples minds collect what people would call anecdotal evidence and churn out valid theories? I believe so and if you could distill all the person knew and then collated the data, maybe the person has collected the proper data and analysed it correctly. On the other hand one can also be claimed to be stereo typing or a hack.

    However, in todays political climate the public has been convinced that all science is biased, so really we need a story teller that can explain things that lead people to make the correct decisions about energy and the environment, because it for certain the WHT math will not do the trick, but it does help hone the story.

    Thanks for that opinion. Certainly good thoughts to chew on.

    Amazing, we had just been ranting about this earlier today. Now even the Wall Street Journal acknowledges that it is a serious problem. We discussed JODI in particular. From your link:

    A decade ago, producers and consumers launched the Joint Oil Data Initiative, which now covers 90% of global oil supply and demand based on data supplied by participating countries.

    But even those data have been under scrutiny because of incidents like the one on Sunday, when Saudi Arabia appeared to provide oil-production data that was contradictory...

    At the time "when it matters, there is no hard data" for crude production, Mr. Mason says. "What's left is news and rumor."

    I am anxious to see what next months OPEC Oil Market Report says about Saudi March production. They reported it at 8,961,000 barrels per day and they do publish revisions for the two previous months. It will be interesting to see what their "secondary sources" revises Saudi's March production figures to.

    Ron P.

    From last year's uptick, 5 of the top 7 oil producers were responsible for 5 of the top 6 gains. Everything else was pretty much flat.

    Looks like Saleh could be on his way out: GCC-brokered settlement that could see Saleh step down as president

    Gulf Arab states appear set to unveil details of an arrangement that could result in Ali Abdullah Saleh stepping down as Yemen's president and end the political crisis there.

    Sources told Al Jazeera on Wednesday that the deal - brokered by the six-member Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) - was close to being agreed.

    "We're told that the UK and the US are behind this deal," Kristen Saloomey, Al Jazeera's correspondent at the United Nations in New York, said.

    Looks like they have a plan for Fukushima, and are finally cutting off access to the danger zone. From denial to a slow acceptance of reality. I do hope their plan works out.

    The other foot - the fall in exports - will be increasingly noticeable for at least a few months. Not only that, but they still have the tsunami damage, which is more severe than anything else. They're talking about rebuilding already, and all I can say is "higher!". It's just better sense to build higher or further inland rather than trying to beat mother nature with seawalls.

    Link for "the plan?" Info Blackout or a Brownout? Best place for updates, Images, etc?


    Why GAO Did This Study:

    Providing drinking water and wastewater services are two key functions needed to support an urban lifestyle. To provide these services, energy is needed to extract, use, and treat water and wastewater. As the demand for water increases, the energy demands associated with providing water services are similarly expected to grow.

    GAO was asked to describe what is known about (1) the energy needed for the urban water lifecycle and (2) technologies and approaches that could lessen the energy needed for the lifecycle and barriers that exist to their adoption.

    Full report: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d11225.pdf

    From the latest Aviation Week and Space Technology Editorial:

    U.S. Congress is slashing government spending to reduce the crushing $14T national debt...

    Funding for high-speed rail is getting the ax, but that project was always a pipe dram.

    Meanwhile, the mood on Capitol Hill is taking its toll at the transportation Security Administration (TSA) and FAA. Unfortunately, these cuts(...)will translate into further setbacks for airports, airlines, the sir cargo industry, and air travelers.

    To put it bluntly, the Obama administration and Congress have failed miserably in their duty to support aviation adequately. (the Ed goes on for a full page of wailing).

    Let me put it bluntly: The U.S. aviation lobby lies to the public when it acts as if all those many many miles of thick, concrete runways and taxiways, all those control towers, all the air traffic control infrastructure, etc. was either built by magic fairies or even funnier, built strictly by private enterprise without massive initial and on-going government subsidies paid with taxes and debt.

    The aviation industry is going to have a big wake-up call.

    I remember reading once how how SouthWest Airlines worked behind the scenes to lobby against high speed rail in Texas between DFW, Houston, and San Antonio. Silly choo choos...real men ride jet airplanes!

    I did a little Googling and found this:


    In the coming decades, the population of Texas is predicted to increase exponentially. With all those people, Texas highways in their current capacity will be rendered obsolete. The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) and Gov. Rick Perry, acting together in support of this plan, have both repeatedly claimed that the Corridor plan is the best way to prepare for this imminent transportation crisis.

    To be sure, the Trans-Texas Corridor plan includes a high-speed rail system. Yet the difference between this system and the one rubbed out by Southwest Airlines a decade ago is obvious: The planned Corridor loops around every metropolitan area; it doesn’t touch any major cities. High-speed rail customers will be forced to rent cars from their final destinations to reach these metropolitan areas. With the old TGV proposal, the train tracks were actually connected straight into the airports at Dallas and Houston, making it more similar to the world-renowned high-speed rail systems throughout Europe and Japan, which typically provide for a smooth connection between train and plane for its passengers.

    Texan TODsters: Is this Trans-Tejas Corridor thingie still being discussed or has this idea faded into the dustbin of ideas? Hopefully this idea died...

    OK, I might have answered my own question:



    TTC esta muerto according to the above links I guess...

    Also, how is the fire situation?

    My best hopes for a speedy resolution (hopefully we are sending every water bomber/fire tanker in North Am to help...soon enough they might be needed in New Mexico as well if we don't get rain soon...) and hoping that people are evacuated to safety and that their homes and businesses are spared.

    200 killed and 40,000 displaced in the space of, what, 24 hours?

    Hundreds dead in Nigeria post-poll violence

    "The police and military have been out in big numbers and that is all designed to ensure that there is no eruption of violence ... but you can sense the fear. Right now Kaduna state is on total lockdown."

    "Eyewitnesses are telling us that soldiers - or men dressed in military fatigues - are conducting door-to-door searches, removing people from their homes and actually attacking and in some cases killing them."

    I wish for peace to come to the people of Nigeria.

    However, I do not wish for any more no-fly zones, bombing missions, etc.

    It seems tempting to me sometimes to use our forces to burst in and restore order and bring peace and so forth...but it rarely is as simple as all that, and besides, we would bleed ourselves dry being an even more pervasive 'World Cop'...

    The War Nerd is not optimistic about peace coming to the people of Nigeria until they have a plebiscite of another kind.

    Nigeria's Election Riots: Just Voting by Other Means

    Another example of Bob Shaw's "machete moshpits" come to pass.

    Fuel prices will be tipping point for U.S. electric vehicle consideration: survey

    A new survey released today by Deloitte shows that 78 percent of consumers in the United States would consider purchasing an electric vehicle (EV) when fuel prices reach $5.00 per gallon. The study, "Gaining traction: Will consumers ride the electric vehicle wave?," surveyed 12,000 consumers globally, including more than 1,000 in the U.S., and finds that the higher the price of fuel, the more interested consumers are in EVs ...

    • The vast majority of respondents have requirements that are not currently met by pure EVs in the market today, including range of up to 300 miles (63 percent of respondents; charging time of two hours or less (60 percent of respondents; and widespread availability of public charging stations (53 to 77 percent of respondents).

    Is that percentage before or after they find out the cost of an electric vehicle? I suspect most people don't know how much more that is. I'd guess that $7 a gallon would convince many people to pay half again as much for an electric vehicle, but then again if the vehicle price goes up as fast as the gas price...

    Chesapeake blowout - up top... As a longtime reader of TOD I have benefited immensely from the input of the oil field experts on this site. I live on the Niobrara shale and in fact might benefit from future horizontal drilling. But.. It is my impression (without tracking previous comments) that several of the professionals on this site have noted the lack of risk in fracking if it is done correctly. We are far enough into development that we have had to deal with a Texas seismic company (my god), and we have enough various oil and service companies (with serious political influence) flitting around that we now understand that we have very limited options in channeling how any future development is done. I once worked in the OF in Texas, and find the majority (all?) of the OF companies to be totally untrustworthy. I would appreciate thoughts and comments....

    I apologize for kicking the defenseless... and with some apologies to Rockman up above... but I would be interested to see how many honest souls I would find if I wandered through the oil field with a lantern... and forgive me a small smile..

    Small – No need for apologies. I would bet you lunch I’ve dealt with worse oil patch scum bags then you’ve ever met. LOL. OTOH I haven’t noticed a higher percentage than any other profession: lawyers, doctors, cops, school teachers, etc. But you’ve offered no specifics so it’s impossible to expand on my answer. As far as controlling your environment it’s usually pretty simple: you and your neighbors don’t lease your minerals. No leases = no drilling.

    Now for Chesapeake: check my posts out again. This is exactly the type of accident and pollution potential I’ve repeatedly warned about. What I’ve said is that the fractures can’t reach the surface and pollute. That’s not what happened here to Chesapeake. Check my recent posts the Rev in PA: illegal disposal of produced frac fluids is the real danger. But from the limited details the frac fluids aren’t the big pollution threat…it’s the salt water flow. And that’s typical in many blow outs. The water can contain several times as much salt as sea water. Also understand I'm not making excuses for them...don't know the details. But I've had more the one company almost kill me by unsafe ops.

    And as I’ve also repeated said we’ll never be able to reduce the risk of a blow out. Just two weeks ago a hand I knew was killed when another operator’s well head exploded. And it was his fault. Human error happens and always will. So now I have one more memorial I won’t attend. And just a year ago one of my hand’s nephew was killed on the BP blow out…another memorial I didn’t attend.

    There's only one certain way to prevent oil patch pollution: stop all drilling and production. Other than that all w can do is try to minimize the incidents.

    Drilling fluid gushes from northern Pa. natural gas well into stream, forcing evacuation

    Rockman, I thought that wasn't possible because the fluids were too deep.

    Earl – Not at all. In fact, this is the basis of all oil/NG production: pressure differential. I know it can get confusing but folks have to read my words carefully. What’s physically impossible is to generate fractures that can reach the fresh water reservoirs/surface. The blow out isn’t coming up a fracture…it’s coming up the hole they drilled. Also, the well isn’t “gushing drilling fluid” now. All the drilling fluid was blown out the hole within a couple of minutes. What appears to be gushing is saltwater which is actually a very much worse pollutant than drilling mud. I regularly spread drilling fluid (non-oil based) on the ground as per the tight Texas regs. But saltwater hitting the ground is a huge sin in Texas and an operator will pay dearly for doing even if it’s an accident.

    Yes, Rockman, as you and I know, salt water is the biggest environmental problem they are going to have, although I don't believe that very many people in the MSM realize that, and it may be news to the Pennsylvania Department of Environment as well.

    In Texas or Alberta, authorities would be highly aware of what the problems are, and would jump all over you for a salt water spill. OTOH, they would allow you to spread drilling waste on farmers fields. After they got a bumper crop or two, the farmers would kind of keen on it, too.

    Reports indicate they expect to cap the will today. This is far less serious than the BP blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Smile forgiven ... everyone has a set of their own set of prejudices. There may be some nefarious actions behing the Chesapeake mess, but the article did not provide enough background on the incident to reach an informed opinion.

    And for what it is worth, Diogenese, a lantern is not particularly useful as a BS detector ... and walking around an oilfield with a lantern is likely to cause you some troubles with OSHA.

    Ask tough questions. Set high, but not impossible standards for acceptable levels of risk. Try to make decisions based on facts.

    Well, it's fairly obvious they had a blowout on the well during frac'ing (Note, I didn't use a "k" because fracking was what they did on Battlestar Galactica).

    Frac fluid normally consists of water and sand, other chemicals are optional. I wouldn't know what chemicals they would be using, if there were any. They mentioned extremely salty water, which I would assume is coming from the producing formation, because I don't know why they would be injecting salt water. I would assume the well is also blowing methane into the air, because it is, after all, a natural gas well. More facts are needed.

    Other than that, I'm surprised the company made a statement by e-mail. A better PR approach is to put a senior manager up front and have him make a statement in front of all the microphones and bright lights. It helps if he has answers to all the questions and a high tolerance for verbal abuse.

    The company has Boots & Cootes on standby if they need help in controlling the well. They are a good outfit. I remember they capped one of our wells that was probably 1000 times as big as this PA blowout. That was a blowout of truly epic proportions - it covered the entire countryside ankle-deep in condensate (unrefined gasoline) and when it caught fire, it burned down 200 acres of forest. It had a flame you could see 100 miles away, which burned for months before they got it under control. This PA blowout will probably turn out to be more of a salt water leak.

    "Frac fluid normally consists of water and sand, other chemicals are optional. I wouldn't know what chemicals they would be using, if there were any. They mentioned extremely salty water, which I would assume is coming from the producing formation, because I don't know why they would be injecting salt water"

    That was almost certainly a slickwater frac -- so there will be hydrocarbon additives. Small amounts, percentage wise, but not the sort of thing you want in a fish-bearing stream. Salt water because many operators are re-using brine-y waters, as well as sourcing water from saline acquifers. And they were almost certainly using oil-based muds.

    The PR optics of this one will hugely magnify the seriousness of this event, especially compared to the kind of blow-outs you're describing.

    I discovered there is actually a web site listing the chemicals used to frac wells. It is at FracFocus, the hydraulic fracturing chemical registry website. If you know the well name (which you probably don't), you can find out what chemicals were used to frac it.

    For instance, if you take a random well, e.g. FRED 2H in the same country, the frac fluid was 86% fresh water, 2% recycled water, and 11% sand. In the remaining 1% of the frac fluid was Hydrochloric Acid (which sounds scary until you realize you have HCl in your stomach digestive juices); the corrosion inhibitor Cl-150 (containing Isopropyl Alcohol, Organic Amineresin Salt, Aromatic Aldehyde, Dimethyl Formamid, and Quaternary Ammonium Compounds); the iron control agent FE-100L ; the bactericide Bactron K-87 (Pentanediol, Alkyl dimethyl ethylbenzyl ammonium chloride, and more Quaternary Ammonium Compounds); the scale inhibitor Gyptron T-390 (Methyl Alcohol); and the friction reducer M2136 FRW-200. It's like reading the ingredients on a household cleaning product.

    However, the company claims no detectable amounts of any chemicals in the frac fluids got into the soil or the water. The salt water pouring out of the problem well appears to be coming from the producing formation, rather than the frac fluids. It's a blowout and the well was blowing salt water. The operator says the well was capped as of today, so I think its over.

    The registry has been online for only a couple of weeks, apparently. Disclosure is voluntary and proprietary information is not listed.

    Fwiw, here's a Halliburton site that lists chemicals used in its fracking fluids in Pennsylvania, North Dakota, and Texas (click the map):

    Well, the state could make mandatory disclosure of all chemicals by all companies which frac wells within the state, and it could also post all the data on a web site itself. That would be fully within the power of the state to mandate. However, Pennsylvania has not done so, so disclosure is voluntary.

    Chesapeake Energy has elected to voluntarily disclose all the non-proprietary chemicals it uses, which is a start. It at least reduces the wild speculation about what frac fluid might contain.

    One of the news sources cited benzene and lead as possible contaminants. Benzene and lead? Those are not chemicals oil companies would put in frac fluid, those are chemicals that might leak into the ground water under a gasoline station if the old underground storage tanks had corroded though. The latter is a serious but common environmental hazard that would get a state environment department very upset, but it probably wouldn't occur to the reporters in the MSM.

    ... but I would be interested to see how many honest souls I would find if I wandered through the oil field with a lantern...

    Short answer....not very many.

    How American consumers view debt: a case study

    A new study published this month suggests that while younger Americans are more smitten with credit cards and debt than older Americans, the older generation helps enable their children by encouraging use of credit as a “safety mechanism.”

    “The economic crash was not just about people being dumb or greedy,” Barnhart said. “There are compelling forces out there that lead people to live lifestyles outside of their means.”

    In 2008 alone, Americans spent 9.3 percent of their income servicing debt. And in 2010, more than 24 percent of homes in the United States had an upside-down mortgage owing more than the homes were worth. Based on interviews conducted before the 2008 financial crisis, researchers found that even though consumers espouse that they should limit their debt, they take on significant debt because doing so has become normal. As one participant put it, taking on debt is “the American way.”

    ...“Over time, credit card use and heavy debt has become normalized in our culture,” she said. “Even though we say as a society, ‘don’t get in debt,’ the overwhelming messages being sent out – from the way credit is used to approve or disapprove us for services to political leaders telling us to spend after a big disaster to prove our patriotism – all of this has created a culture of debt.”

    One of the few young participants to not carry any debt said she felt punished for her refusal to have a credit card. She was refused a cell phone, and had encountered embarrassing situations during business travel because she did not have a credit card. Barnhart said this system of penalizing consumers for not using credit is one of the problems.

    Journal of Consumer Research: "Living U.S. Capitalism: The Normalization of Credit/Debt"

    The system demands constant cyclical consumption for it's survival, so it's "need" is implanted through social control mechanisms to influence consumer's behavior to fulfill the system's needs and economists call this rational utility maximization.

    Economics is largely a self-fulfilling psychology. It effectively constructs a model of behaviour, to a model for behaviour; whereby such models educate us to think how we’re ‘supposed’ to think. As a result, this pseudo-science has maintained a heavy reliance upon seeking numerical legitimacy and mathematical reassurance for justifying assumptions of rationality.

    Methinks all this rational utility maximization might not be that rational in the long run.

    It certainly does not seem to bode well for mental health...


    Scientists Find that Low Self-Esteem & Materialism Go Hand in Hand
    Daily Galaxy
    November 13, 2007
    "Researchers have found that low self-esteem and materialism are not just a correlation, but also a causal relationship where low self esteem increases materialism, and materialism can also create low self-esteem. The also found that as self esteem increases, materialism decreases."

    IJE Advance Access originally published online on November 22, 2005

    International Journal of Epidemiology 2006 35(2):252-258;
    Is modern Western culture a health hazard?
    Richard Eckersley
    National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health,
    The Australian National University, ACT 0200, Australia.
    "The cultures of societies are underestimated determinants of their population health and well-being. This is as true of modern Western culture, including its defining qualities of
    materialism and individualism, as it is of other cultures. This paper draws on evidence from a range of disciplines to argue that materialism and individualism are detrimental to health and well-being through their impacts on psychosocial factors such as personal control and social support."

    The Mass Psychology of Capitalism

    "[T]he indicators of disintegration and social pathology are everywhere. Rates of clinical depression have increased
    considerably since 1950. In America a survey of over 18,000 adults found that a person born between 1945 and 1955 was between three and ten times more likely to suffer a major depression before the age of 34 than a person born between 1905 and 1914. Another
    American study involving 19,000 people found that 20% of the total US population suffer from a mental illness (as defined by the psychiatric bible The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) during any given 12 months and that 32% will suffer at some point during their lifetime. Rates of suicide have increased
    since 1950 - they have trebled in the UK since 1970. Crimes against the person have risen in the UK from 6,000 in 1950, to 239,000 in 1996. Alcohol and substance misuse have increased exponentially."

    People just don't understand debt or the banking system. As the authors say, there should be a "Financial Literacy" course that is mandatory in high schools to make the average person literate on the subject. (High schools, of course would prefer to teach football or gay history depending on whether they are in Texas or California).

    It should teach students how to set up a budget, how to use credit cards, and how to manage your debts so you never owe more than you can pay. A basic life skill.

    A few other comments:

    Those who had credit cards and paid them off each month tended to be older, and had higher incomes.

    That's right. People who are older, wiser, and richer don't pay credit card interest rates. If they want to borrow money, they will negotiate a loan from a bank at a much, much lower interest rate. I personally have a line of credit with a much lower rate than any credit card, and if necessary I draw on the LOC to pay off the credit cards. This comes in handy if, for instance, you blow the engine in your car and you don't have enough money in the bank at that point in time to pay for repairs.

    Several of the younger participants in the study noted that they did not want to use credit, but felt they had to in order to finance cars and homes in the future.

    That's a legitimate concern. You need to have a good credit rating if you want to borrow money for e.g. a house or a new business. A friend of mine in university built up his credit rating by borrowing money from one bank, putting it in a different bank, and then just paying the loan off consistently. He scored points with one bank by being a reliable loan payee, and with the other by having a large amount of money in his account.

    One of the few young participants to not carry any debt said she felt punished for her refusal to have a credit card. She was refused a cell phone, and had encountered embarrassing situations during business travel because she did not have a credit card. Barnhart said this system of penalizing consumers for not using credit is one of the problems.

    Hotels and other creditors want to get your credit card number so they can track you down if you set fire to the carpet or leave without paying your bar bill. Solution: Have a credit card and give it to them when you check in. When it comes time to pay up, tell them you are paying cash, and insist on watching while they tear up your credit card invoice. Hotels are used to this kind of thing because there are a lot of canny businessmen travelling.

    You have to know how to game the system, but they probably wouldn't teach that in a "Financial Literacy" course.

    A credit card is not debt.

    Site chosen for wave energy testing in Oregon

    NEWPORT, Ore. – A site has been selected near Newport, Ore., for a new wave energy test program, the first of its kind in the United States and the closest one this side of Scotland.

    The site will not only allow testing of new wave energy technologies, but will also be used to help study any potential environmental impacts on sediments, invertebrates and fish. In order to simplify and expedite ocean testing, the facility will not initially be connected to the land-based electrical grid.

    Testing will be done using a chartered vessel or stand-alone buoy along with the wave energy devices, and most of the technology being tested will produce its energy through the up-and-down motion of the waves. Some devices may be very large, up to 100 feet tall and with a diameter of up to 50 feet, but mostly below the water line.

    A Holy Cow Batman! Moment:

    A link to a CBS News item that notes that US Federal debt has accumulated at about $4.5 billion per day so far during Obama's administration, and that the US is going to hit the current debt limit in about a week or so:


    I don't know what the average price is in the US for refined products, but for the sake of argument, let's assume $4 per gallon. Total refined product delivered per day is about 19,000,000 bpd. So, 19,000,000 bpd X 42 gallons X $4/gallon = $3.2 billion per day.

    So, current federal borrowing per day exceeds what the country is spending per day for refined petroleum products?

    It sure sounds like the first couple compartments are flooded and spilling over to the next ones..

    Money is 'just' a symbol after all, but it's a potent one.

    Blame the captain or blame the watch.. it doesn't matter.

    I can just imagine in the bunkers (like in the movies) papers flying, people scurrying, shredders humming, fireplaces alight with documents...............like Berlin, Moscow, Singapore, Richmond, Saigon.

    In fact, in the past six days, the debt has increased at a far faster pace than either the $4.03 billion per day average suggested by Secretary Geithner or the $4.5 billion per day that the Treasury has increased the debt since Obama became president. At the close of business last Wednesday, the debt subject to the limit was $ 14.211984 trillion--or $56.381 less than the debt recorded at the close of business Tuesday.
    In other words, in the six days of Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, the national debt increased $56.381 billion---or almost $9.4 billion per day.

    Any ideas on what happened in the last six days? Did we buy something "special" for Easter?
    This seems to be rapidly heading towards a "wheelbarrows of cash" situation....

    You know, there's a little, scared part of my brain that wonders...

    What if there's something else -- something else civilization bending like peak oil, or climate change, or population overshoot that I'm every bit as unaware of as most folks are of peak oil, climate change, or population overshoot. [shiver]

    A sobering thought indeed.

    I don't know how much you know about climate change, but the methane clathrate gun hypothesis, which is basically another positive feedback part of climate change but far far stronger, is certainly food for thought.

    Simply put, when the permafrost melts around the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, catastrophic levels of methane will be released as the sea there is so shallow, and methane is much stronger a greenhouse gas than CO2. Some people believe this has already started and there is now no stopping it. There's some interesting (scary) posts about it on the peakoil.com forums, as well as places like climateprogress.org.

    We forget about nasty deadly communicable virus which would rip through the world population in a matter of months. Everyone knows that a flu virus is the next big disease. They just do not know when.

    Military spending and interest on what's been borrowed is expensive.

    Yes, these are big numbers in aggregate. Per capita calculations always help in these things, though, I think, especially when we all have skin in the game.

    For 300 million people in the US, this means the debt goes up about $14 per person per day, and the average refined product expense is $11 per person per day.

    For perspective, the 2010 per capita personal income is about $111 per person per day (http://bber.unm.edu/econ/us-pci.htm). (I recall that personal debt service is around $10 per day per person.)

    In light of this comparison, it seems to me we have a serious but tractable budgeting problem on our hands.

    The consequences of ELM predictions are much bigger deals, in my view.

    A little bird told me ...
    That in the Corridors of Power of the Spanish Congress, in low voices, the MPs are talking about gasoline ration books towards the end of the year, when it will reach 4 euros A LITER, currently 1,363 euros.

    Sort of gels with what I've written a few times previously, in that we can glide down and cope with rising fuel prices but we absolutely can't cope with being unable to obtain fuel at any price.

    Ethanol, renewables and substitution have so far saved governments from calamity.
    As soon as the madding crowd cannot get the fix they deserve and have worked for and paid taxes for all their lives (so the talk will go) the house of cards will topple. Goat scaping will be new national sport.

    The Nigerian Situation

    I don't why, but Swedish media appears to be ahead of the big international beasts on Nigeria. Or maybe I don't know where to look or perhaps the Swedish media is more doomish on Nigiera.

    In any case: Confirmed dead was already 300 yesterday according to the Red Cross, which was quoted in our media. There are now downplayed numbers, the latest stands at 220 but it's coming from different sources.

    Here comes the new update:

    • 50,000 on the run. Yesterday it was only 15,000.
    • We're seeing bestial murders. People burnt alive, cut up with machetes and tortured. In other words, we're not just seeing a general uprising or some riots, this is a targeted ethnic attack against Christians and vice versa
    • The loser in the election is saying things have to be calm, but he is fanning the flames at the same time by proclaiming the election's rigged, despite international organisations saying it's the most fair Nigerian election in generations.
      Therefore it seems unlikely that the situation will be resolved shortly

    Nigeria has severe secterian tensions. It could definitely amount to a genocide if the conditions are right.

    This is starting to remind me of the Ivory Coast's first few days after their election, with bitter rival refusing to accept an election result, only this has religious components compounded onto it as a mulitiplier, and religion does not tend to make people less violent in my experience.

    Let's just hope that the situation, somehow, calms in the closest few days.

    Source (In Swedish, but Google Translate works okay)

    AJE is always a good bet for an English version of stories that aren't being covered elsewhere:


    It's looking pretty horrific over there.

    Doesn't help that the north half of the country (the opposition half) are also mostly illiterate too.

    "When there is one religion, there is tyranny. When there are two, civil war. When there are 100, peace." It's attributed to Voltaire but I'm not sure he actually said it. Anyway, Nigeria has two, and it has civil war.

    I like that idea.

    Just watched the NOVA episode "Power Surge".

    The question posed at the beginning was "Can technology save us from climate change?".

    The narrative was organized around a conceit called "the wedge game" which proposed that we could stabilize our carbon emissions at current levels with various types of mitigations each represented by a "wedge" that accounts for one gigaton of emissions. The wedges were organized into four groups: solar, efficiency, nuclear, and carbon sequestration.

    Unfortunately this is a horrible mis-representation of the problem space. Merely stabilizing emissions at current levels only puts us in a position of continuing to spew multi-gigatons of carbon each year! The whole program was based on the extremely flawed proposition that with heroic effort maybe, we just MIGHT be able to commit global suicide at a slightly slower rate.

    There were smatterings of good information, but overall the program was extremely biased towards BAU, with no mention whatsoever of the energy costs, environmental costs, or other ecological realities.

    The quotes that jumped out at me came towards the end from Nathan Myhrvold, former chief technology officer at Microsoft.

    We need an energy miracle [...] in fact, miracles on demand is what the technology industry is all about!

    You might ask "Why don't people in the wealthy countries use less?", but I don't know how you force people to do that.


    I watched it also, was hoping to see some comments here - I completely agree with your assessment. It's too bad the media, even pbs, can't tell people the truth. The whole premise with the wedges was BAU with continued growth with out any limits from peak oil or other resources - it's a nice fantasy, but not at all reality.

    There is an article in Al-Jazeera titled:

    The scam behind the rise in oil, food prices
    Danny Schechter


    The article completely ignores PO and the limits on supply. Any thought from OD members?

    It could be a combination of speculation and supply restriction, doesn't have to be either/or.

    Exactly, the commodity world is a complicated place. There are legitimate reasons speculators do what they do. Some of them know what is going on with Peak Oil, for example. The idea that physical should set the price of commodities would be a disaster leading to physical shortages.

    None of us know the future, especially physical producers. They do not know the weather six months from now nor do they know the ME situation six months from now. All ideas about the future are speculation.

    It is the futures markets that bring together all the speculation about what is going to happen and arrive at prices that will prevent actual physical shortages happening by adjusting them ahead of time thereby reducing demand and hopefully increasing production so that a balance is achieved over time.

    The reason speculators so often get it wrong is illustrated by the big drought in Texas and Mexico. Novices might expect that beef prices would rise since the drought is reducing cattle feed, right?

    But the opposite is the case. Beef prices are expected to fall as farmers in Texas sell their cattle and Mexican farmers send their cattle to the U.S. because of the drought and lack of feed in Mexico:


    Some ranchers can’t afford to feed their livestock when dry weather limits the amount of grass on pastures. Parts of Texas, the largest cattle-producing state, had less than 10 percent of normal rainfall in March, according to the National Weather Service. The state had the “driest March in reported state history,” said Holly Huffman, a spokeswoman for the Texas Forest Service.

    “The drought in the southern Plains is pretty bad right now, and pasture conditions in Texas and Oklahoma are really not good at all,” said Doug Houghton, an analyst at Richard A. Brock & Associates in Milwaukee. “It’s forcing cattle into feedlots that wouldn’t normally be going there.”

    Mexican Exports

    A jump in imported feeder cattle from Mexico also is boosting the number of placements into U.S. feedlots, analysts said. Parts of Mexico has been hurt by “severe drought,” according to the North American Drought Monitor. The U.S. has imported 437,819 Mexican feeder cattle since Dec. 31, up 35 percent from 324,776 head a year earlier, USDA data show.

    In this case drought means more food, not less, over the short term.

    The whole continent of Africa is getting a very very ugly place in the not to far future after the several western NCO's will leave Africa because their own home countries have big troubles maintaining BAU. This is inevitable. As is the collapse of the dollar in the medium term. The only short-term help would be that China is steeping in to fullfill the role of "the west" to feed (sub-Sahara) Africa. Africa is in deep deep overshot and not capable of sustaining a population of 1+ billion!

    This is the first time I have ever heard the African issue described as "deep overshoot". It is one of those "ah ha" moments for me. You are right that is exactly what is happening in Africa. Thank you for the insight.

    Believe it or not PO has nothing to do with price or our mechanism for "valuing". While certainly it is a good piece of information to know in gauging what might happen with price but it is not part of the pricing mechanism's informational scope. It just can't process the information into a subjective number. I suspect if it did try it would seize the whole system up to the point of shutting the economy down - thus collapsing price.

    Price really is only a subjective interpretation of where a supply/demand equilibrium is. It does not factor in data on reserves or anything like that and has no physical referent. So, people that study peak oil data will always think the price should be higher(which in all reality is should to reflect the totality of the situation, because, after all, it is supposed to be all the information we need per economists) and is the reason for a higher "price" while people that study the pricing mechanism and monetary manipulations will always be claiming speculation or manipulations(because that's all it is on a constant basis). The market has no idea how to price in peak oil because, really, there is no way to with our crude mechanism for valuing to do so.

    Point being, peak oil really does not mean anything to the pricing mechanism's process - except that is shows the massive scope limitations in the mechanism and the whole system to be invalid. And this will be expressed through wild volatility due to a dynamic interplay between monetary and natural forces coupled with perception that is bombarded with lots of conflicting data about oil and our schizophrenic economic system.

    Wide spread admittance of peak oil seems to have a paradoxical psychological effect. It screams no more growth which would panic markets thus collapse the economy and plummet oil prices due how the pricing mechanism works. While at the same time insists that oil is more scarce and the price needs to be higher. It's quite an interesting economic predicament both psychologically and technically.

    And on a deeper level. It shows the wide spread theory of market systems always finding replacements to be invalid as well as our pricing mechanism to have "scope limitations"

    Well said arraya. I find it almost surreal to see people talk about economics per se as if it were something real. Then to engage in endless discussions about what should happen if x or y takes place, when there is no there there, nor has there ever been.

    Just as an instance, almost all pundits and economists agreed that 85 a barrel was sustainable, anything over, not. Then, as it inched up, 100 a barrel. Now, not so much talking as they try to figure out what to say next. All kinds of formulas created, x percent of economic output for oil, >, cant' happen. Until it does, of course. Who knows what percentage of the economy states will attempt to allow oil costs to be? Who knows if those will vary system to system.

    It wasn't until I came back to take another look at economics again in the last few years that I started to realize that what the Buddhists say re all being illusion may be far more accurate than we want to believe. That's why I enjoyed Soros's book 'The Alchemy of Finance', he seems quite clear on this as well. In his case, that turned out to be a profitable understanding, one that placed him well ahead of the pack. The patterns in our system, however, are somewhat predictable, although the time frames are not, since it's never known how deeply embedded the matter in question is in terms of the financing networks and all that. Sometimes 'logically speaking' event x should trigger event y, but it doesn't, because states a,b,c,d, and e, decided that doing event z instead was better than the possible outcome of action y. See for example Eurozone 'bailouts' using debt sales, and so on.

    If there are more than a handful of people who truly understand human economic systems in their entirety under modern industrialism, especially post 1970 versions, I'd be very surprised.

    Back to where we started? Brent approaching $127 again and Tapis nearly $132.


    The drop down in oil price wasn't much and didn't last but a few days before recapturing its previous high and is now staged for more advances.

    Look at the inexorable rise in price since the near Depression plunge to 35. It's been steady, and even when there drop downs in price, they aren't much and don't last long. What price will be the tipping point?

    You're asking the wrong question! Remember: the market is always wellsupplied, in fact, it's oversupplied right now.

    Besides, it's all the fault of the Speculators.

    Lastly, Ken Rogoff, one of the most famous top economists in the U.S., predicted at a recent CERA conference that we won't have to worry about oil prices until they hit $160 - talk about an optimist!

    A little hiccup wasnt it? There will be another media release to cause more hiccups to tamp down the price as long as possible. That is my view of the media right now.

    But for now it's at $123.xx according to Bloomberg. It seems to be going around $125, just like it was hovering around $115 a month ago.
    I wonder what it will hover around next month.

    Sign of the End Times?

    Sprawling From Grace

    This was on CNBC last night, and I just finished watching it after recording it. It was more or less a remake of "End of Suburbia." Among the people interviewed were Jim Kunstler and Randy Udall. I don't think that Joe Kernen is on CNBC this week. I wonder if his head exploded after watching a preview of this program.

    Tonight CNBC is airing "Fuel." The preview talks about dwindling global oil supplies. Unfortunately, the program appears to focus on biofuels.


    "FUEL" will premiere on Thursday, April 21st at 10pm. The documentary will repeat that evening at 1am.

    Josh Tickell’s stirring, radical and multi-award winning FUEL may be known by some as the "little energy documentary," but in truth, it’s a powerful portrait of America’s overwhelming addiction to, and reliance on, oil. He decided to make a film, focusing both on the knowledge and insight he discovered, but also giving hope that solutions are within reach. Just a ‘regular guy,’ he spent 11 years making his movie, showing himself – and others – that an individual can indeed make a difference.

    re:'Fuel' on at 10:00EST. I thought I saw Colin Campbell being interviewed and there was some mention of "supply is running out". It's hard to say, but it looked like it might be pushing biofuel.

    It looks like he is focusing on algae based biodiesel. Here is a link to Tickell's website:


    There is a link to a Youtube preview (strong push for wind energy in the preview).

    I think that space aliens have taken over at CNBC and disposed of Joe Kernen.

    It looks like "Sprawling From Grace" (SFG) was released in 2008. It would appear that CNBC showed an edited version. Here is a link to the SFG website:


    Link to unedited version of SFG:


    If the aliens got rid of Kernen then they are obviously an advanced species with highly developed critical thinking skills.

    That guy drives me crazy more than anyone else on that network - he is a classic jerk. (a stronger word is clearly appropriate but I will refrain based on my respect for TOD)

    Watch him deftly deflect the conversation whenever someone comes too close to offending the Magical Market or threatening to pull back the curtain on the Wall Street inner workings... he instantly shifts gears into snide little comments and attacks on certain groups (tree-huggers, hippies, enviros - basically anyone that doesn't bow to the Almighty $).

    Yes, worst person in the world. I quit watching early morning CNBC because of him. As Cramer would say, he knows nothing.

    A new favorite quote, from a NYT Magazine article on bogus autism research:


    A quote from Peter Medawar, a British scientist who wrote a famous critique of a book of specious ideas about evolution, comes to mind: “Its author can be excused of dishonesty only on the grounds that before deceiving others he has taken great pains to deceive himself.”

    People worry about a nanogram of Hg in vaccines but then they do not worry about coal fired plants that produce tons of Hg per year.

    Amazing. And absolutely no credible data exists that can link Hg/vaccines and autism.

    Instead people are avoiding vaccines and putting the wider populations at risk. Even a few percent of unvaccinated children put vaccinated people at risk.

    Very sad times we live in where science is cast aside for insanity.

    People worry about a nanogram of Hg in vaccines but then they do not worry about coal fired plants that produce tons of Hg per year.

    The Hg is placed in the blood VS in the food/air via coal and the assumption is the body can deal with Hq in gut/lung differently than blood.

    The historic use of Hq was as a preservative - IE Toxic to biological cross contamination in multi-shot vials. Added to keep costs down. Just an example of Corporations adding toxins to improve their bottom lines.

    OPEC Exports in Steep Plunge, says Oil Movements:

    OPEC Exports Decline as Seasonal Demand Dips, Oil Movements Says
    By Grant Smith - Apr 21, 2011 11:30 AM ET

    The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will reduce exports by 1.4 percent in the four weeks to May 7 in line with a seasonal lull in consumption, according to tanker-tracker Oil Movements.

    OPEC, responsible for 40 percent of global supplies, will ship 22.67 million barrels a day in the four weeks to May 7, down from 23 million a day in the period to April 9, the consultant said today in a report. The decline is driven by Middle East members of the group, it said. The data exclude Ecuador and Angola.


    As measured from the high reached in early March, OPEC exports have now fallen 1.45 million bpd. In the last three weeks, the decline in exports has also been accelerating, due to cutbacks from Saudi Arabia, as well as Kuwait.

    As I mentioned last weekend, I expect KSA exports to fall about 600,000 bpd from mid-March to mid-May. So far, as best as I can determine, they have fallen about 350,000 bpd, so they may fall an additional 250,000 bpd more over the next month.

    If that were not bad enough, there appears to be confirmation that the drop in KSA exports is being driven by the fact that Saudi Arabia has no spare capacity of sweet crude, that is if you believe a former Saudi Aramco official:


    ANALYSIS-Saudis in tough act to balance sweet-sour crude supply

    "The problem is that the only spare capacity in the Middle East is sour," said Barclays Capital London-based analyst Amrita Sen. "Even if the Saudis increase production, there will still be a deficit of light sweet crude."

    Brent's premium over Middle East benchmark Dubai reached its widest level since 2005 last week, depressing the value of Iranian, Saudi, Kuwaiti, Iraqi, Qatari, Abu Dhabi and Omani crude relative to the now-halted low-sulphur Libyan oil exports.

    "Mr. Naimi might have thought, 'What is the good for me to put 800,000 barrels per day of sour crude in the market that nobody wants?'," said Sadad al-Husseini, an oil analyst and former top official at Saudi Aramco, the world's largest oil company.

    For a graphic of gas oil vs fuel oil and Brent-Dubai spread:


    For a table of the Brent-Dubai forward curve:


    To deal with resource depletion a nation must have a stable population number (or declining). But nations with birth rates at or below 2.1 need are not able to control immigration. Why is that?

    We're having a federal election here in Canada and all the political parties want to either keep our high immigration rate steady, or increase it. I believe that over half of Canadians would like to see the immigration rate reduced. Even the Green party, which should understand the relationship between population and resource consumption, want to increase immigration.

    Some would argue that immigration doesn't impact population as all you are doing is moving people who already exist from one place to another. That's true, but it doesn't factor in that most immigrants will be consuming more resources than they did before. For example, many of our immigrants come from countries where home heating wasn't a requirement. They will certainly need that in Canada!

    Immigration is all about allowing white people to continue their rule over other peoples. Colonialism ended, so now the only way to do it is to invite the world to their home countries.

    That's the thing about Western civilization, or perhaps more properly modern, industrial, capitalist civilization. It becomes so advanced that it actually loses original instincts such as self preservation.

    Many, like Jean Raspail, have written about this, but you won't ever hear about them from the mainstream.

    Immigration is all about allowing white people to continue their rule over other peoples. Colonialism ended, so now the only way to do it is to invite the world to their home countries.

    I don't think that you believe that for a second.
    Of course it's not about 'white people ruling over others'. It's because the cultural strength of Western civilization, which I argue is the same as European civilization, has never been weaker to the best of my knowledge.

    If you don't want to preserve something, mass immigration happens.

    If someone wants to state a clear objection against mass immigration, commendable in of itself, then please do not cloak it in the language of the postmodern left.
    Say it from your heart Sachs: "I want to preserve the Western world European, because that are the roots and soul of this civilization and I believe we are destroying everything we built up in a very short time and there's nothing inevitable or glorious about mass immigration, in fact, I believe it to be deadly."

    Don't mince words, and say it from your heart.

    Uh, boy.

    High gasoline prices prompt Justice Department to eye energy industry

    Washington (CNN) -- Prodded by growing public frustration over sharply rising gasoline prices, the Justice Department on Thursday announced the formation of a team -- the "Oil and Gas Price Fraud Working Group -- tasked with the goal of ensuring consumers are not victims of price gouging.

    I read the article, and my first reaction was that perhaps if there *is* an investigation, and it reveals nothing more than normal market forces at work, then people will begin to believe that Peak Oil is real, and would understand the need to conserve.

    Then I read some of the article comments.

    Oh My God are we screwed...

    Those types of comments are common all over the web however. Look at www.gasbuddy.com - there are forums there as well, and even one on fuel economy. But most of the people there don't seem to have a real interest in making any changes - they seem more interested in quack "solutions", complaining and arguing with anyone who talks about peak oil.

    The DOJ investigation into gas prices is a purely political move to appease some voters. Obama and the DOJ know exactly why gas prices are rising, but they will not say it in public. Gas will become like gold, if you can't afford it, then don't buy it. Gas prices in the US are still much lower than in Europe. People in the US have a hard time accepting reality. "The Party is Over"
    Silver hit $45 and ounce, the US dollar is worth less than Canada dollar, Australia dollar, Euro, Pound, etc. IT won't be long until US dollar is equal to China Yuan. China will be the dominant world power after 2020.

    U.S. Team to Study Whether ‘Speculators’ Driving Up Pump Prices

    President Barack Obama said a Justice Department probe will examine the role of “traders and speculators” in oil markets and how they contribute to high gasoline prices.

    “The attorney general’s putting together a team whose job it is to root out any cases of fraud or manipulation in the oil markets that might affect gas prices, and that includes the role of traders and speculators,” Obama said today in Reno, Nevada. “We are going to make sure that no one is taking advantage of American consumers for their own short-term gain.”

    Obviously "no one" excludes the entire phalanx of American corporations, banks, and their attendant crony, corrupt pols.

    U.S. Team to Study Whether ‘Speculators’ Driving Up Pump Prices

    How politically cliche'. Instead of facing peak oil head on, the White House decides to placate the masses by looking into the last vestige of civilization's hope, that the only reason oil is priced so high is because of lip smacking pure greed based evil speculators. Yes, we've pinpointed the culprit and its Snidely Whiplash!

    "Facing peak oil head on" destroys modern economic theory and the government conceived, per enlightenment theorists, to propagate said theory. The establishment is not in the business to proves themselves as invalid systems of governance, rather to perpetuate themselves.

    U.S. Team to Study Whether ‘Speculators’ Driving Up Pump Prices

    It's like investigating the bookies because your horse always loses at the track. You might think the problem is that the gamblers are fixing the races, but the real problem is that your horse is getting old and just can't run very fast any more.

    The US government is trying to distract the public from the real question, "Is the US government responsible for driving up pump prices?" They wouldn't want to investigate that issue too seriously because the finger of guilt might swing around and point directly at their own faces. Sixty years of transportation policy that encouraged automobile ownership and favored highways over rail systems might come into question.

    USDA changes reporting of corn for ethanol to reflect DDGs (dried distillers grains) which are used for animal feed.

    The oft reported 40% of the corn crop going to ethanol is actually 23% according to this article:

    It may not stop the critics of corn used for ethanol, who are always quick to use any ambiguity to their advantage, but it definitely does put a crimp in their style.

    When USDA first started reporting corn used for ethanol in May 2004, it listed the gross corn bushels as simply “ethanol for fuel,” giving the impression that 100 percent of each bushel is used for fuel ethanol.

    U.S. corn farmers produced 12.5 billion bushels of corn in 2010-11 and USDA projects that 5 billion bushels will be used by the ethanol industry. Without the clarification, a layman would figure that 40 percent of the U.S. crop went into ethanol production.

    Several newspapers and numerous critics have consistently cited, and continue to cite, the 40 percent figure to reinforce their contention that corn for ethanol is driving up food prices because so much of the crop is used for it.

    But the real story is that one-third of every bushel used in the ethanol process returns to the animal feed market in the form of distillers grains, corn gluten feed or corn gluten meal. When you consider this, corn used for ethanol drops to 23 percent of U.S. corn production, a big difference.


    The difference of 17% is an overstatement of the actual 23% by about 74% if the article's numbers are to be believed. I had though it was more in the area of 50% since about 1/3 of the corn used for ethanol ends up as DDGs. That one third is about 1/2 of the 2/3 of a bushel that ends up in ethanol.

    1/3 of 5 billion bushels would be about 1.66 billion bushels of DDG animal feed. That is 13.3 percent of the corn crop of 12.5 billion.
    The remaining 3.335 billion bushels is 26.7 percent of the 2010 corn crop according to my calculations not the 23 percent cited in the article.

    Oh boy, that means it's taking less lumber to build a house. All those mill ends, sawdust that are burned for electricity must be subtracted out....

    It's just semantics, waste useage, and we know it.

    It doesn't bug me that 40% of the corn goes for etoh, that's what the buyer wants. We all grouse about others foolish purchases. But get rid of the subsidy. And in actuality, our farms produced alot more of our energy fodder than 40% of the corn crop not that long ago; we didn't complain when hay was grown to feed urban delivery wagons.

    But to think that we can power our modern lifestyle on corn etoh, or any present biofuel, is absurd. And as I oft state, modern man's appetite for energy is pretty much insatiable. We always want more, and faster.

    Sinopec Group, as the company is known, "stopped exporting to other regions apart from sustaining the basic resource needs of Hong Kong and Macau," it said in its online newsletter today. The Beijing-based company will run its refineries at full capacity and cut petrochemical production to boost output of gasoline and diesel for domestic use, it said.

    Just a reminder - this is the land export model now starting in China.

    Meanwhile, in China:

    A two-day strike over rising fuel prices turned violent in Shanghai on Thursday as thousands of truck drivers clashed with police, drivers said, in the latest example of simmering discontent over inflation.

    About 2,000 truck drivers battled baton-wielding police at an intersection near Waigaoqiao port, Shanghai’s biggest, two drivers who were at the protest told Reuters.

    Story about Americans driving less for vacations...


    Story about Americans driving less for vacations...

    More space for us Canadians on the very nice American roads and in their very nice campgrounds. I'm going to start tuning up the old 5-cylinder VW Eurovan camper soon. The spring monsoon season is fast approaching here in the Canadian Rockies, and it's getting time to escape to warmer, drier climes.

    My wife asked me, "Won't gasoline cost too much? Shouldn't we stay home?" I told her, "At 25 mpg, I think we can handle it. We'll just drive less and camp more." We will also take our bicycles because Oregon and Utah have some really nice bicycling trails.

    With the Canadian dollar at $1.05 US, that cheap, low tax American gas is going to look even cheaper. Americans driving huge gas-guzzling motor homes won't think so, but we will. And we'll ship enough oil south that we won't have to deal with gas shortages while we're down there.

    Hopefully you stay connected.....I will be camping all over the West if I win a few more bids. Glacier NP 2nd week in May might be a little early but the timing is right.

    Have a great trip!


    'Laser Sparks Revolution in Internal Combustion Engines'

    Lasers, Taira explains, can focus their beams directly into the center of the mixture. Without quenching, the flame front expands more symmetrically and up to three times faster than those produced by spark plugs.

    Equally important, he says, lasers inject their energy within nanoseconds, compared with milliseconds for spark plugs. "Timing -- quick combustion -- is very important. The more precise the timing, the more efficient the combustion and the better the fuel economy," he says.

    Lasers instead of spark plugs - pretty cool stuff!

    Taskforce to probe oil price manipulation

    A new US taskforce will investigate fraud in the oil and gas markets as soaring prices prompt accusations of profiteering and manipulation.

    “We will be vigilant in monitoring the oil and gas markets for any wrongdoing so that consumers can be confident they are not paying higher prices as a result of illegal activity,” said Eric Holder, US attorney general.


    US gasoline prices are now above $4 a gallon on the west coast, up more than a dollar from a year ago, while West Texas Intermediate now trades above $110 a barrel. That is creating strong political pressure for action.


    FT Energy Weekly Podcast

    * BP, Exxon Mobil and solar troubles in the UK Apr 20, 2011 - 5:05 pm
    * In this week's show: BP’s future - a City analyst gives his view; Rex Tillerson, head of Exxon Mobil, on nuclear power, the Middle East, and BP; and is solar energy being undermined by the UK government’s plans?

    This mp3 briefly mentions whether Saudi oil is topping out by analogy to Texas in the 70's - in relation to Ali Naimi 'over-supply' comment which they thought was ridiculous when oil is $120 a barrel.

    The relevant minute is around 17m 30 secs into the program.


    New wind for clean energy in Central America

    In recent weeks, the pockets of Central American consumers have been hurt by constant increases in fuel prices. Gasoline, for instance, has climbed to nearly five dollars a gallon (3.8 litres), and diesel fuel is four dollars a gallon, with the usual knock-on effect on the basic basket of goods, an index of the cost of living.

    This scenario has made renewable energies more attractive in the region because of their low environmental impact and lower consumer prices, in contrast with the volatile prices of fossil fuels and the high levels of pollution they cause.

    Oh, yeah, its Al Jazeera with in depth Central American reporting. duh.

    Short 2 min video on 'Fuel Poverty' in the UK (defined as those having to spend 10% of income just to keep warm)


    "Since 2005, in this country wages have gone down in real terms yet, during the same period, fuel prices have doubled."

    There is something way off with these peoples energy usage. I live in a much colder climate and have about 50% higher unit costs for energy (gas and electric) vs the UK, and yet have about 1/3 of the total energy bill. I suppose that if they are unemployed, they are spending all day a home with the heat on, but that is a sure way to stay in poverty.

    If you live in Scandinavia or Canada etc. then your house likely has much better passive heating techniques - i.e. insulation etc. The houses from the 1950s in the UK just weren't designed with insulation as a priority as fuel was so cheap back then.

    The unemployed don't have the capital to upgrade their houses and if you're struggling to find enough food to eat it can make job hunting that bit more difficult - bit of a vicious circle.

    As a Canadian visiting England, I was horrified at the lack of insulation in the houses. By contrast, I have known many Brits who moved to Canada and were astounded at how comfortable the houses were in winter, compared to British ones.

    We know it gets cold in Canada in the winter, so we build our houses to handle it. For some reason the Brits assume that you can't do anything about it.

    Yes, it's a strange one alright. No-one really talks about it either.. very odd!