Drumbeat: June 10, 2011

China May crude imports top 5 mln bpd

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's crude oil imports in May topped 5 million barrels per day for a fifth consecutive month, as limited domestic output growth prompts the world's second largest consumer to persistently tap imported fuels to power economic growth.

Customs data showed China, which depends on imports for more than 55 percent of its oil demand, brought in 21.55 million tonnes of crude oil last month, almost flat with 21.54 million tonnes in April.

NYMEX-Crude closes down for 2nd week on Saudi oil offer

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. crude futures fell on Friday, closing lower for a second week on news that Saudi Arabia was offering more oil to Asian refiners and on a report it would jack up daily production in July.

The dollar strengthened against the euro, also pressuring crude as it prompted oil investors to shed riskier assets.

US natgas rig count slips 8 to 879-Baker Hughes

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The number of rigs drilling for natural gas in the United States fell by eight this week to 879, the first drop in three weeks, data from oil services firm Baker Hughes showed on Friday.

The gas-directed rig count hit a 16-month low of 866 three weeks ago. The count is down 11 percent from its 2010 peak of 992 in mid-August, its highest since February 2009, when 1,018 rigs were drilling for gas.

How Credible is the Report of Increased Saudi Production?

Yes, it could be true, but there is virtually no reason to think that it is.

Do Recent Squabbles Signal the Demise of OPEC?

After OPEC wrapped up one of the most heated meetings in its recent memory, some are wondering (maybe hoping?) if the high-profile dissension hints at a collapse of America’s least-favorite oil cartel.

Pemex to Include Offshore Gulf Fields in Contract Proposals

Petroleos Mexicanos, Latin America’s biggest oil producer, is preparing a pair of offshore contracts allowing companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and BP Plc to gain access to the Mexican side of the Gulf of Mexico.

Ukraine PM says may break gas contract with Russia

Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov hinted during a TV address on Friday that the country could break its gas contract with Russia.

Rival Yemen protests urge Saleh to quit, return

(Reuters) - Tens of thousands of Yemenis took to the streets of the capital on Friday in parallel protests -- one demanding the country's wounded leader surrender any claim to power, another calling him back home.

32 dead in Syrian crackdown, assault

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian forces shelled a town in the country's restive north and opened fire on scattered protests nationwide, killing at least 32 people on Friday, activists said. Hundreds of Syrians streamed across the border into Turkey, trying to escape the violence.

Pro-drilling group offers expenses-paid trip to Department of Energy hearing in western Pa.

SCRANTON, Pa. — A natural gas industry group is offering an all-expenses paid trip to pro-drilling landowners in the Northeast’s Marcellus Shale to get them to attend a public meeting by the U.S. Department of Energy on the issue of hydraulic fracturing, a newspaper reported Friday.

Govt must go all out to restart suspended nuclear reactors

The serious power shortage that began with the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant must be prevented from spreading throughout the country at all costs.

We can’t afford subsidies for renewable energy

What is clear so far is that renewable energy is less reliable and more expensive than abundant energy from gas or coal. It is also more expensive than nuclear.

GM offers cheaper Volt

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- General Motors announced Friday a cheaper, stripped-down version of its Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid for the 2012 model year.

The base price of a 2011 Volt is $41,000 while the base price of the 2012 Volt will be a little lower: $39,995. To make up for that $1,005 price drop, the base Volt will no longer have navigation -- although it will still have the computer touch-screen -- and it won't have the upmarket Bose stereo.

The Peak Oil Crisis: The Gathering Storm

The world is beginning to look a lot like the August of 1914 or perhaps the summer of 1939 all over again. This time instead of the great powers of central Europe dragging the rest of us into a European affair, it seems that nearly every corner of the earth is facing some sort of imminent disaster that could combine into a very unpleasant situation.

In America, where we have been living beyond our means for decades, the time has come to pay the piper. Trillion dollar deficits, rising unemployment, printing of money, $4 gasoline, a weakening dollar and entitlements are combining into a grim outlook for our immediate future. Add to this the toll taken by climate change - unprecedented outbreaks of tornadoes, massive floods, and record droughts - throw in a hurricane or two and we are on the way to serious disruptions.

Oil Declines on Concern Fuel Demand May Slow as Banks Raise Interest Rates

Crude oil declined in New York, trimming a weekly gain, amid speculation demand will falter as Asia’s central banks raises interest rates to curb inflation and the U.S. job market weakens.

Futures slipped for the first time in four days, losing as much as 1.1 percent. South Korea’s central bank raised rates for a third time this year, and U.S. jobless claims unexpectedly increased. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries forecast a “tightening” oil market as demand for its crude rises, two days after members of the producer group failed to agree on output increases.

Rising food and oil prices are biggest threat to recovery, says World Bank

A fresh surge in oil prices and a rise in the cost of food pose the biggest threats to the recovery of poor countries from the global recession of 2008 and 2009, according to the World Bank.

OPEC: Demand outstrips OPEC supply

An OPEC report suggests that world demand for its oil is outstripping the present supply.

The monthly demand forecast from the Organization of The Petroleum Exporting Countries says estimated OPEC crude production last month averaged 28.97 million barrels a day. It also says that demand this year for OPEC oil is expected to average a daily 29.9 million barrels.

El Badri moves to reassure world after Opec meeting

VIENNA // Opec denied yesterday that its failure to reach a decision on crude supplies for the second half of this year meant the oil exporter group had lost relevance.

Abdalla el Badri, the Opec secretary general, insisted that it could still take action in the event of an oil shortage.

Why OPEC fracture changes nothing

Despite one of the organisation’s most influential members, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister Ali Naimi, describing the meeting as 'one of the worst we've ever had', Komilikis told Citywire that he doubts whether the implications of this disagreement will be far reaching.

Saudi offers Asian refiners more oil - sources

(Reuters) - Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia has offered more crude to Asian refiners in July, evidence that it is taking steps to unilaterally increase supplies after OPEC talks collapsed earlier this week.

Watch out for falling gasoline prices

The failure of oil-producing nations to agree this week on boosting output sparked worries that the price of crude and gasoline could be headed higher again.

But a number of oil industry watchers think those worries are misplaced.

“Right now the real story is not so much what's happening in Vienna,” where OPEC leaders met, said Nansen Saleri, CEO of oil reserve adviser Quantum Reservoir Impact. “The real story is what's happening in Libya and what’s happening in the global economy, particularly in the U.S.”

Good Graph Friday: Want to be a pocketbook patriot? Stop driving

The Great Recession has prompted many consumers to say that they want to buy more American-made products, and rely less on imports.

One of the best things they could do to reduce our trade deficit is turn off their engines.

Natural Gas — the Coming Shale Gale

The “proved reserves” figures reported by the Energy Information Agency are a relatively small part of America’s natural-gas resource base, which has increased dramatically in recent years. On April 27 of this year, the nonprofit Potential Gas Committee, which is comprised of a group of experts in the field, estimated the U.S. future gas supply at 2,170 trillion cubic feet — enough natural gas to satisfy America’s consumption for 100 years, and a huge 42 percent increase over the committee’s assessment just four years earlier.

Iraqi pipeline exploration hits an explosive obstacle

For the past year they have been scouring the seabed from the Al Faw peninsula to Iraq's offshore oil terminals, clearing the way for a vital new pipeline. Now, just as their task nears an end, the team of former military divers has made a dramatic discovery.

U.S. Plants Gird for the Next Fukushima

If a nuclear plant in the United States had a serious accident and the managers asked for help from a neighboring company, chances are that the nuclear Samaritans would arrive with radios that worked on a different frequency, or with emergency pumps that required hoses of a different size or pressure rating, industry officials say.

Biofuels From Algae, Wood Chips Are Approved for Use by Passenger Airlines

Airlines won the backing of a U.S.- based technical-standards group to power their planes with a blend of traditional fuel and biofuel from inedible plants, the Air Transport Association said today.

Mozambique to Enforce Fossil, Biofuel Mix in 2012, Noticias Says

Mozambique’s government will next year begin to enforce a mixture of fossil and biofuels which may save the country up to $22 million, state controlled daily Noticias reported, citing Energy minister Salvador Namburete.

Electric Company Of Saudi Arabia Warns Country May Run Out Of Oil By 2030

The electricity company of Saudi Arabia has set off alarms to warn that oil in this country could be depleted by 2030 if left unchecked domestic consumption. According to a report of this company, it is estimated between 2.5 and 3.4 million barrels a day.

Our car-buying habits are fickle

In a move reminiscent of drug dealers peddling their addictive wares to school kids in order to guarantee, um, future market growth, Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal recently opined that the world's largest producer of crude would like to maintain a target price of around US$70 to US$80 a barrel for its crude lest its most ardent clientele - that's us - kicks its highoctane habit.

As cynical as that may be (and also impossible if you believe the "peak oil" theorists), the truly sad part is that it would almost assuredly keep us mainlining petrochemicals. We are, all evidence suggests, short-sighted when it comes to gas prices, our attention span that of an ADD'ed 12-year-old who just sold all his Ritalin to fund his purchase of a Honda mini-bike (OK, it wasn't Ritalin; they didn't have it in my youth). In short, our car-buying habits are notoriously fickle.

John H. Sinfelt, Who Helped Introduce Unleaded Gas, Dies at 80

John H. Sinfelt, a chemical engineer whose research for an oil company helped lead to the introduction of unleaded gasoline and significant reductions in air pollution, died on May 28 in Morristown, N.J. He was 80.

DECC accepts warning of rising peak oil risks

Experts have urged the government to shield the UK against rising oil prices and market shocks as part of a major consultation which revealed a widespread concerns that global oil production will peak before 2030.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) yesterday published the results of a call from chief scientific advisor David Mackay for evidence to help predict the uncertain future supply and demand of crude oil.

Time for politicians to fall into step as military sounds the retreat on fossil-fuels dependency

“Such large-scale challenges will require large-scale solutions. To successfully meet these challenges, US policymakers must provide a clear and predictable market signal for investment, development, and scale-up of clean-energy technologies.”

So, who wrote that? The American Wind Energy Association, or some single-issue campaign group set up to protect the wild spaces threatened by oil drilling?

No. It was signed off by Gordon Sullivan, a former US Army chief of staff, and a bevy of his fellow top brass, in a research paper looking at how to defend America’s strategic interests as well as its economic welfare.

Too many mouths to feed? Get stuffed

So, to solve the problem of rising food prices, we need investment: in devoting more land to food production, in improving crop yields by using the best techniques available, and in reducing waste by making sure the food we grow is properly preserved and transported speedily to market. None of this sounds like a product of ‘natural limits’. The real limiting factors are poverty and a fearfulness about long-term investment, not nature.

The too-many-people mindset exemplified by Friedman and Gilding actually helps to prevent that necessary investment. The Malthusian outlook suggests that what we need is not more tractors and fertiliser but more condoms and sterilisation; not growing world demand but tightening belts. The conclusion we’re invited to draw is that there is no point in trying to innovate and invest our way around problems because they are the symptoms of a planet that is simply too small to cope with too many people demanding too much stuff.

U.S. Goes On An Energy Starvation Diet

Contrary to peak-oil promoters and other pooh-pooh-ers of American potential, our country is rich in energy resources. These include 1.2 trillion barrels of oil, 2,500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 486 billion short tons of coal — plenty to power millions of jobs and trillions of dollars in economic output for hundreds of years. Policies that prevent their extraction defy logic.

Throgmorton to run for city council

A long-term priority for Throgmorton is enhancing Iowa City’s sustainability. He’s a backer of the city’s Riverfront Crossing redevelopment plans to create a more walkable downtown — plans he hopes will feature an Amtrak like connecting Iowa City to Chicago and Des Moines.

“In the longer run, we face the challenge, and really the opportunity, of becoming a much more sustainable and resilient place,” Throgmorton said. “By that I mean responding to the challenge of global climate challenge and peak oil.”

Greer: A bridge to somewhere

Last week’s discussion of the twilight of the electrical grid in an age after abundance turned out to be timely, in an ironic sort of way. Whatever conversations it might have set in motion in the peak oil blogosphere were all but drowned out by a flurry of proclamations that some energy resource or other would keep the grid up and running for the foreseeable future.

Will Sen. Inhofe's New Energy Adviser Moderate the Raging Climate Skeptic?

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the Senate's most vehement climate science critic, has hired a new point man on energy and environmental policy whom conservatives love and greens -- believe it or not -- respect.

Expiry of emissions pact in 2012 bedevils talks

BONN, Germany—Climate negotiators are exploring "constructive and creative" solutions so that wealthy countries keep trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions even when binding commitments expire next year, the U.N. climate chief said Monday.

World Bank Prototype Carbon Fund Syndicate Agreement Extended Through 2023

The World Bank’s Prototype Carbon Fund extended an agreement until as late as 2023 to help govern the syndicate including six governments and 16 companies.

U.S. Is Falling Behind in the Business of ‘Green’

Many European countries — along with China, Japan and South Korea — have pushed commercial development of carbon-reducing technologies with a robust policy mix of direct government investment, tax breaks, loans, regulation and laws that cap or tax emissions. Incentives have fostered rapid entrepreneurial growth in new industries like solar and wind power, as well as in traditional fields like home building and food processing, with a focus on energy efficiency.

But with Congress deeply divided over whether climate change is real or if the country should use less fossil fuel, efforts in the United States have paled in comparison. That slow start is ceding job growth and profits to companies overseas that now profitably export their goods and expertise to the United States.

The latest OPEC Oil Market Report is out today. It shows OPEC crude production for May was up by 171,000 barrels per day. But that was after April production was revised downward by 182,000 barrels per day. So from last month’s OMR, OPEC crude oil production was actually down b 11,000 barrels per day. March production was revised downward by 70,000 barrels per day.

Saudi Arabia had the largest revisions. Their March production was revised downward by 68,000 barrels per day and April production was revised downward by 89,000 bp/d. After all revisions OPEC crude only production for May was 28,974,000 bp/d. In case anyone was wondering that is 2,698,000 barrels below their production peak in July of 2008.

OPEC Crude only production from January 2005 thru May 2011 in kb/d.

OPEC May 2011

Saudi Arabia has just announced that they will “go it alone” in increasing production. Would anyone like to guess where that will put OPEC production in about three months, say by August? If they start ramping up now, mid June, they should be at max production by mid July. The chart above shows OPEC starting to increase in December, then maxing out in January and February. The Libyan conflict started to affect production the very last few days of February but really did not hit big time until March.

Ron P.

Re: Electric Company Of Saudi Arabia Warns Country May Run Out Of Oil By 2030 (uptop)

The 2030 date is interesting, since Sam Foucher's middle case projection has Saudi Arabia approaching zero net oil exports around 2030, with a best case projection (95% probability upper limit) of around 2036.

Actual production, consumption and net exports through 2006, with Sam's projections and actual data for 2007, 2008, and 2009 (shown circled):


BP puts 2010 Saudi net oil exports at 7.2 mbpd, versus 9.1 mbpd in 2005.

Sounds like KSA should ramp up investment in solar electricity. But I guess that would set a bad example for those countries, like the U.S., that it is trying to keep addicted. Or maybe the U.S. could sell them some natural gas.

I don't get how KSA (or anyone for that matter) could really be worried about keeping the US et. al. addicted to oil. Anyone who understands anything about greed, Jeavon's paradox, low-hanging fruit, etc. should recognize that we will burn all the black goo that is available, as fast as we can, until it's gone. As H2 well described here during the Fukushima discussions, nuclear hasn't reduced our use of coal for e-gen, it's just allowed us to consume more electricity. Such will it be with alternatives to oil. We will use more of everything we can lay our hands on, until the industrial machine sputters to its death. With all they have to worry about - appeasing their own people, running out of water, declining net exports, a sea of unrest swirling about them - they shouldn't spend a moment worrying about their addicts going clean. We will always be waiting with arm exposed for our next fix. Until it's gone.

Lots of people think that greed somehow is a value judgment. In fact greed is a good technical term that is used to describe a behavior or process that can lead to maximum efficiency. In computer science you have software that runs "greedy algorithms" and then in nature you have survival of the fittest. It really takes a lot of effort to not strive for the most efficient performance, which is at least partly what greed describes.

And yet our greed may be the end of us going forward. Which is ok.

ts - What do you "us"? Rememeber: I ain't your momma. Just a freindly jab...I get what you mean. And it's truly very sad.

Yes, WHT, thx for the explication. I wasn't trying to assign value to greed, just using it, as you define, as a descriptor. It's what we do. It's what life does - maximize utilization of available resources. Yeast in the petri dish and all. We will take all we can get, for as long as it's available, and we are able to burn it. KSA needn't worry...

That wasn't real clear, then. "Addict" and "fix", in ordinary rather than technical medical usage, are redolent of value judgment, as is "greed" in ordinary usage.

The addict - of heroin or oil - is in a real fix, and needs his fix, and will do anything to get it. That's the reality. Ain't no judgement. My nephew is an addict (recovering, but that's a lifetime thing, eh?). Sorry I wasn't real clear. We're all oil addicts. And we will burn all we can get. No judgement, just reality. Is that clear enough?

Sigh. If you're frustrated with that comment, you aren't the only one. My take is still that inchoate smart-alec pseudo-psychologizing about addicts and fixes sheds no light, only heat. OTOH, in ordinary usage, we do find that greed "denotes an excessive, extreme desire for something, often more than one's proper share." If that's not expressive of a value judgment, I don't know what would be.

"Greedy algorithms" is about as obscure and specialized a technical metaphor as can be imagined, so a typical reader (even on TOD) might not think of it first - or ever. "Survival of the fittest" is freighted with so much conflicting emotional baggage as to be nearly useless in ordinary discourse; and it raises hackles instantly by conflicting with the dearly held hallucination, apparently induced by imbibing purple-dinosaur juice to excess, that everyone is owed a raft of effortless A's, plus a nice shiny SUV upon graduation.

So if you do use "greed" as a technical term, then IMO you need to be repetitiously and tiresomely clear about what you're up to, lest you be grievously misunderstood. In energy discussions, for example, the primary understanding will tend to be (even leaving aside the perpetually-angry, hyperventilating crypto-Marxists) as in the phrase: "those evil, wicked, greedy oil (or coal) companies".

Addicts need things so badly that it is felt necessary for their very survival. As one who used to seriously be addicted to tobacco, I understand this intense need, a need so bad that you are willing to sacrifice you existence for your fix. We are addicted to oil in the sense that we appear incapable of running our society without oil. The most famous user of this term is the former crypto Marxist George Bush. We do require oil given our current method of obtaining those things we need or think we need. To suggest that we really need less than we think we do or that we could change our lifestyle or the way we organized to need less and thus, to be addicted less is apparently annoying to some, including you.

In more simple terms, we gotta have it, oil that is.

Sorry, but I do think it is a useful metaphor despite the possible confusion it may cause for some. Dependent might be a more value neutral term but I think there are extremes of use that are tantamount to an addiction. As one who, as a much younger person, used to ride with people who had muscle cars in the 60s, I could feel the rush of pleasure that occurred when the driver slammed down on the acclerator. It was indeed a rush and I bet those guys would have felt withdrawal if someone had taken their 427 away.

Back to the tobacco analogy. When I was at the height of the addiction, I simply couldn't imagine life without my cigarette fix. What does one do if one is not smoking cigarettes? I was finally able to break my addiction but it took years.

"The most famous user of this term is the former crypto Marxist George Bush."

LOL. Both George Sr and George Jr so mangulated the Engrish language that I wouldn't attach any credence whatsoever to something like that.

"In more simple terms, we gotta have it, oil that is."

So by that logic we must also be "addicted" to air - we gotta have it, air that is - which drains the term of useful meaning.

Or, from an item on EB:

[...] This led to the idea of patriarchy, which quickly became to feminism what capitalism is to the far left: an ill-defined but all-encompassing notion which basically includes everything a given author doesn’t like and which can become a convenient tool to disqualify the struggles he or she is not interested in.

Simply substitute "addiction" for "capitalism", and that's the weed-patch we seem to have wandered into.

No. When someone says they "gotta" have something, they don't necessarily literally need something or at least as much of something as they think they do. People don't say, "I gotta have air" even though they do really have to have it.

This weed patch is something you are apparently in and I think you are trying to make this way too complicated.

I would say that we are not 'addicted' to air or water or food because we really need those to survive. We do not need, heroin or oil or coal or nukes to survive. Or solar (beyond p-syn) or wind for that matter. But we've created a cultural norm that makes us believe we do. As in the discussion the other day of people in LA 'needing' to drive to leave their house. No. Not a need. A want, a desire, a toxic-mimic of a need, a cultural contortion. But this shall pass. Reality wins in the end. All we need is food, air, water, shelter and a little companionship. In the end, we'll have all we need.

Ah yes, Clifman, we may have all we need but we won't ALL have what we need.

I would say that we are not 'addicted' to air or water or food because we really need those to survive. [...] All we need is food, air, water, shelter and a little companionship.

OK, now I see which weed patch we've wandered into. It's the one where we are to aspire only to "survive", the one where anything beyond living as a mere beast in a troop is to be deprecated as not "needed", save perhaps for that dollop of "companionship". No arts, no sciences, no human enterprise, and so on: such things are all "addictions" (a term that denotes negative moral judgment or mental disease, depending on the speaker) superfluous for mere biological survival.

You may have wandered into a weed patch. I see only plants. Who's making moral judgements? And your leap from fossil fuels (which I said) to arts, sciences, human enterprise (your straw men) is ridiculous. We had all those well before FF. Goodbye.

In energy discussions, for example, the primary understanding will tend to be (even leaving aside the perpetually-angry, hyperventilating crypto-Marxists) as in the phrase: "those evil, wicked, greedy oil (or coal) companies".

For crimminies sake what the heck does Marxism have to do with any of this?! Is there something equivalent to 'Godwin's Law' that applies to references to Marx that I'm unaware of? If not, maybe there should be.

Hint... The phrase:

"those evil, wicked, greedy oil (or coal) companies".

Whether true or not, has naught to do with any 'ISM'! Your constant attempt to frame this discussion in terms of Marxism is about a century too late, please stop it. It's getting awfully stale.

PaulS rarely neglects an opportunity to set up exaggerated marxist strawmen, whom he can then blame in exaggerated fashion. It does get awfully stale.

Greedy algorithms are rarely the most efficient, they are done because they are easier to program. For those not in the know, suppose you have an optmization problem maximize the value of some function. You start at some point, and evaluate the value of all small moves from that point. The Greedy algorithm simply chooses the highest scoring neighbor. A more elaborate algorthm might consider how much progress the second or third or Nth following step would be able to make, and tries to choose the step with the best prospects for longterm success.

One also has to be careful because that will find a "local minimum" rather than finding the overall optimum.

An example of a noncomputer greedy algorithm that we all observe frequently: behavior of drivers in traffic. The greedy algorithm is to go as fast as possible then brake when you are about to reach the car in front, -versus the more conservative approach of leaving enough headroom so that you can avoid braking at all. Or what they do when the traffic light turns red. The greedy algorithm is to go as fast as possible to begin waiting at the light as soon as possible. The more planned algorithm using driver tries to time it, so as to still have momentum left when the light turns green. Obviously in this case, the non greedy driver can pass the greedy one.

Greedy algorithms work also because you can apply massively parallel architectures to them, and that can make them efficient in terms of saving time. And that parallels (no pun intended) what happens with our greediness to oil -- if you don't go after the resource without showing patience then somebody else will go after it with abandon and left holding a bag full of nothing.

I am sensitive to this because in my book I must have use the word greed dozens of times. One reviewer told me to lighten up over my usage because he thought I was passing a value judgment. I wasn't and left my usage in there because I couldn't figure out a better term to apply.

These behaviors exist in an ecosystem, and short term greed or "maximum efficiency" is not necessarily the long term best strategy for a species.

I don't think that greed means "leading to maximum efficiency" in most parlances, in any case.

"Survival of the fittest" is a grotesque oversimplification of evolution and ecology.

"Survival of the fittest" is also tautological, since the "fittest" is by definition that which survived.

Sure it is a gross simplification and yes it may be a tautology, but it is a true and apt description of what evolution is all about. If you wish for a more precise description of evolution you will need a lot more than four words. But if I had only four, those would be the four I would choose.

If a genetic variation in the offspring occurs, (mutation, in biology, is just another word for genetic variation), and that variation makes the plant or animal more fit to survive or reproduce, then that variation will likely be passed on. But if a variation makes a plant or animal less fit, makes the plant or animal less likely to produce offspring, then that variation will be far less likely to be passed on.

Survival of the fittest is just another way of saying: Variations always occur and if a variation enhances survival then that variation will likely survive. But then that is 15 words. So if you are in a hurry and have only a brief sound bite, then "survival of the fittest" is likely the best you can do.

Ron P.

What you say is true.

The problem with the shorthand is that people interpret "fittest" in ways other than with respect to the statistical probability that a germ line will increase in numbers per generation, i.e. they may associate it with longevity, strength, intelligence, speed, etc. of an individual organism.

But only reproductive probabilities really matter and not the individual. A mutation which, for example, shortens the life of a male may be "fittest" if it increases the probabilty of producing successful offspring. Consider the drone bee or the male praying mantis.

But only reproductive probabilities really matter

Which is why we, humans, are such a bunch of idiots regarding how we handle our future. Our primary goal is reproduction, not the long term well being of the species as a whole. It's sad but isn't about to change naturally.

Yes it is tautological but it also makes reference to the filtering process by which the genomic composition of the gene pool is shifted.

I think that "greed" is a overused and misunderstood axiom. If you look at parables thoughout history greed is not simply "a selfish desire beyond reason", it's a selfish desire that caused one to act in a manner that goes against reason or logic. It's usually accompanied by bad consequences that those illogical actions bring.

If you are a dot-com tycoon and you actually had a product that people wanted and you made bazillions of dollars and you want bigger and better products to make another bazillion, that in itself does not make you greedy. If you were a dot-com tycoon and you cooked the books, or over sold what your future earnings could be to make a bazillin more dollars, then you went down like many did during the bust. Greed is not just wanting more it's the actions and the consequnces of wanting more when you don't do the things necessary to deserve more.

Misunderstood, yes. But the main misunderstanding in the focus on the individual.

The main problem is that greed is systemic. The system requires it. If a CEO isn't greedy, he will be replaced by someone who is.

The whole evil genius of capitalism is to try to capture something that was always seen as a powerful but dangerous aspect of the human spirit and harness it to the betterment of society.

That hasn't really worked out to well. Some have benefited enormously over the short term, but they have also set the whole globe on a fast highway to hell.

Hmmmmm, maybe, just maybe, all traditional societies actually did have a good idea when they recognized greed as a dangerous aspect of the human psyche.

See I can't agree with you dohboi because in my definition of greed the CEO that's greedy ends up doing a poor job because his greed makes him act poorly.

I have seen business owners have higher prices than others in the area because the owner was greedy. The business would suffer due to that unreasonable action caused by greed and they would go out of business. If you act in a good way towards your employees and customers only because you have figured out that can get you much more money that's not greed. Greed is when you hurt yourself or others to get more than you need. Wanting more, in itself is not a problem, it's how you go about getting it, if you provide a good or service that others really want then you get more from them that's capitalism. Capitalism is not everyone trying to put the screws to everyone else that's a jaded view and the players that play the game that way loose.

Capitalism works best when there is a win/win situation it's not a zero sum game. In capitalism the greedy pigs eventually get slaughtered.

Capitalism's macro failures are usually because of leaders not being true capitalist.

Yep, it sounds like we are not likely to agree on much here.

But, so we can be clear at least on what it is we are disagreeing about, just what part of "maximize profits," the legal mandate of every corporation and hence of its CEO, does not sound like institutionalized greed to you?

I believe you can only "maximize profits" if you take care of you customers and you can only take care of your customers if your employees are on board with your vision. So the best CEO realizes being ethical and having great custmomer service gets you the highest reward.

I think where we may agree is that the problem with what I just said is that many CEO's aren't allowed the time to develope these client relationships and also earn the trust of his employees. If the "profit now" (this quarter) is preferred a larger and more sustainable profit later then your right and that's the problem with many businesses.

We can clear this up if you can find a better term for describing a situation of wasting or hoarding things the fastest.

Selfishness does not work because it may not include the concept of more.
Craving doesn't work because it is not like hunger.
Excessiveness could be mistaken for describing a person's behavior.
Gluttony, insatiableness, piggishness, swinishness, voracity, ravenousness associated with food so can't use this too often.

I just haven't found a better shorthand word to use than greed.

I just haven't found a better shorthand word to use than greed.

Ecological Opportunism?

Opportunistic by itself is better than anything else I have considered, thanks.

In capitalism the greedy pigs eventually get slaughtered.

But is Capitalism the actual system in play?

I would wager the following. They are haunted by their own recent past, which featured two harsh downturns, and they project their past experience on what could occur in the future if they are not careful to stave it off.

After the oil price spike of the late 70s early 80s, the price of oil collapsed in the late eighties, due to consumption reduction impacts like moving away from oil based electrical generation, and some other factors. The price spike sparked reduced consumption, and that hurt them.

Then a decade after that oil was rock bottom again as well, around 1998.

Their populations have increased so that oil production per capita is much reduced.

Within recent memory things have been bad, and they may fear the risk that they are riding another bubble, and that the stakes are especially high with their hungry populations that could turn on them in bad times.

Thanks for the response to my actual point. (Not that the digression into greed wasn't interesting to a pt...). I think you make good points. I would only counter that the population of the OECD (in particular the US) has also grown in that time, and that a huge chunk of ROW population has taken on oil dependent lifestyles - auto commuting, meat eating etc. - that in the 70's/80's were still largely subsistence farmers. I speak, of course, of China and India, primarily. Also, much of the reductions achieved 30 yrs ago were one time deals, like dropping oil-fired electricity. So KSA IMO has little to worry about losing customers. But I do see the rationale you raise for why they might have such worries. Thanks.

But I guess that would set a bad example for those countries, like the U.S., that it is trying to keep addicted.

Not sure about the rest of the US, but it seems the CAISO is publicly letting people know of the wind and solar contributions to daily energy production.

Such things imply to me that they, and CA in general, are advocates for at least supplementing traditional FF and nuclear generation with wind and solar.

If you look at today's wind production, between midnight and 7am wind was contributing over 2GW ;D


Totally bizarre, another like the article in the DB -- OPEC is warning of a supply shortfall. I am still leaning towards recession.

OPEC Warns of Supply Gap

At the same time, OPEC warned "expected supply/demand balance indicates a tightening market" in the latter part of the year.

Power lines struggle to meet high demand
Okaz/SG report
June 11, 2011

RIYADH/ BURAIDAH/MAKKAH – Power cuts were experienced in various regions across the Kingdom Thursday as demand increased in response to the rise in temperatures.

“The power cuts have been mainly due to climatic conditions and the unusual rise in temperatures,” said Abdul Salam Al-Yamani, vice chairman of the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC).

In Qassim, repeated power failures over the last few days have increased fears of a repetition of summer 2009 when continual cuts were provoked by record-high temperatures. On Wednesday this week temperatures hit 50, and Buraidah and other towns were left without power for over an hour. [more]

Re: Why OPEC fracture changes nothing , up top.

There are now evidently enough OPEC members who can not increase production and need the money bad enough to out vote any member(s) who can any make it up in volume. OPEC is now a zero sum game. For every winner there is a loser. Revenue gained by Saudi Arabia is lost by the others who can not increase production.

In the past there were enough members who could cheat and increase production to increase revenue in the face of falling prices. Not so now.


2010 energy consumption soars:


As do used car prices:


I was sorta suprised that none of the links above were able to articulate that point, i.e.: The ones who did not want to increase production couldn't therefore their best interests were served by those who could increase production no doing so, thereby maximizing price per barrel. That would maximise their income.

I'm not sure what the downside is for those (only SA?)who have some spare capacity to use it now.

A couple of interesting interviews on PBS Newshour last night.

In the first, Accuweather's Evan Myers discusses the Arizona wildfires and reads a carefully-worded prepared statement on the wierd weather :-

"Something else is going on. We certainly know that something greater is happening. There is a greater percentage of warm years that have occurred recently than would be the normal distribution. So, whether that is human-induced or whether it's part of a natural cycle, I don't think it really matters.

I think we need to be prudent in how we move forward in the future and really think about the things we do that might affect the climate."

In the second, a way to alleviate the destruction of slash-and-burn agriculture is discussed.

The British documentary "Up In Smoke" instructs farmers how to do planting of trees and crops which do not necessitate moving on every year to burn new forest.

Pretty lame, but coming from a weather person, I guess it is about the best we can expect for now. As far as the weather reports coming from Denver, I am sure when we get more record heat, it will be accompanied by smiley faces all around. Is that all we need to do? Just start thinking about the things we do. Thinking while Rome (Earth) burns.

I agree - totally lame - but having watched the interviewers ask the same question to a number of guests all week - "What is going on with these weather events - is something going on in the upper atmosphere?" - and having it glossed over rapidly by everyone, this is the first acknowledgement that, yes, something else is really going on. Apparently it is heresy to acknowledge humans are the cause.

"Apparently it is heresy to acknowledge humans are the cause."

In fact, I think that is very appropriately phrased. I think that one of the key functions of Religion had been to have a way to 'ask forgiveness' from somebody for our imperfections, for our mistakes ('Sorry for killing that deer that I ate, sorry for my violence, for my greed, for my sloth, for my anger..) .. so that we could also forgive ourselves, and then move on, not get stuck.

Right now, our religious tools for doing that (and I would hope we here won't get stuck on the Magic part of it, I'll posit that it's possibly an early form of Psychology at play.. wanna call God the Superego or something? I won't fight it..) have been 'readjusted', and are no longer carrying sway with 'all' of the culture.. the Protestants don't use confessional, and I don't know if the Catholics who do use it can let it untangle that horrible knot of Guilt and the consequent 'Shame Avoidance Mechanisms' that have cropped up following it's failure to perform.

Psychology is trying.. but it's tied into the Money game, so it's not considered an automatic part of the whole society.. otherwise, we're left with 'Sink or Swim, buddy, every man for himself.'

Hence, we're stuck.

So what if humans caused/did not the problem.

When the solution is only 30% effective with 70% going to the parasite class of investment bankers and other "overhead" - that is a non-solution.

Here is an interactive timeline map of that Wallow fire, now in NM.


Now look at the most recent US drought monitor map:


West winds could spread that thing all the way to GA since you have extreme or even exceptional drought all the way across.

I have been reading Accuweather's site for years, and one definitely gets the feeling of a conservative slant on things. They have consistently downplayed climate change - its very occurrence, as well as whether humans have anything to do with it.

A few years ago they were behind a bill to prohibit the National Weather Service from making forecasts. They wanted all forecasting to be privatized. Of course, the taxpayers' money was still going to be used for providing the weather data to Accuweather for them to use in their forecasts.

From that point of view, Meyers' statement is par for the course.

Yeah...it figures...

Evan Myers's comments are about weather, while not discussing climate change. He makes reference to previous weather extremes, while missing out on the previous rather warm period in 1998. There is natural climate variation due in part to changes in solar activity and the sun has been rather quiet over most of the past cycle. Now we are literally seeing the next solar cycle ramping up and so one would expect to see the natural variation trend toward warmer conditions. Add AGW to that natural variation and we should expect the total to be greater than what happened in 1998, given the changes in the atmosphere these past 13 years. Not only that but there may have been a reduction in the THC the past couple of winters, which would tend to add energy to the tropic to polar winds...

E. Swanson

"So, whether that is human-induced or whether it's part of a natural cycle, I don't think it really matters."

In the end he's right. Climate has changed multiple times in the past, and nothing in AGW orthodoxy says that all further climate change will stop forever after this last warmup. If a climate shift has begun once again, it will find human society less mobile than ever, and with thin margins in much of the world. This can not end well.

By the way, Spokane Washington set a record low temperature yesterday at 39 F.

Was there a point to your statement about the Spokane temperature?

Yes, what records of climate we have indicate that climate has changed. The last big change was the Ice Ages, when glacier ice some mile thick formed over much of Eastern Canada. From a global perspective, that represented a change in average temperature of around 5 or 6 deg C. With a doubling of CO2, the projections are for a change in global temperature of up to 4 degrees C. To most scientists who have studied the problem, that amount of temperature change would appear to have massive impacts on all life on the Earth. One reason is the speed of the change, which would happen over a period of a century or so.

BTW, an increase in the tropic to pole circulation as a result of warming would result in warmer conditions where the warmer air flows toward the pole and cooler conditions where the colder air flow returns to complete the circulation loop. PRESENTLY, there is also a large pool of rather cool water in the North Eastern Pacific, which is likely to be influencing the path taken by the general flow. And, looking at the US temperature records for 9 June, there were 207 record high maximum and only 8 record low minimums set, including that 39 F at Spokane...

E. Swanson

Europe prays for rain as drought worsens – Danube river level falls to 100-year low

...In France, the months of March and May were the hottest for more than a century, while England and Wales had their second-driest spring since 1910. Between January and April, “severe” rain deficits were recorded in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Hungary and Austria, according to the European Commission.


Some 44 out of France's 58 reactors are by fresh waterways, with the remainder located by the sea.

L'Observatoire nucléaire – a non-government organisation that monitors France's nuclear reactors warned that the drop in water levels posed a "serious threat" to the 44 reactors. "If they were to dry up, there exists a real risk of fusion of the (reactor) cores and thus an accident comparable to the one currently under way in Fukushima (Japan)," it warned.

The energy ministry said the current situation was no cause for alarm. "A possible water shortage does not occur suddenly and can be anticipated, and the cooling needs of a nuclear reactor that has been closed down are very small," it said.

The Titanic Orchestra performs, "The Blue Danube"

Given the drought conditions across Europe this summer, it looks like all river cooled thermal or nuclear power plants are at risk of being either shut down or run at reduced capacity. If we get a very hot summer, with high demand for air con, we could see widespread blackouts.

Now who says that renewables are no-go because they are not a reliable supply?

Indeed, in fact with a little carelessness (and don't we have that in spades) and given the number of nuclear plants around the world this could result in a new way we radiate the planet again in a big way.

It's nice that all those nuclear plants were checked for earthquake security after Fukushima though. Really it was... and I look forward to the after-the-event checking we will get to see next time, to keep us all safe.

The 17GW of PV Germany has built (mostly in the last three years) (plus those in Spain and Italy) will possibly go quite a distance to help out the nuclear power plants that have to be shut down to cover air con electricity.

1kW of PV would run a little 500w 5000btu window A/C nicely, with a little left over to keep the beer cold in a small fridge ;)

Thank god the Germans are smart enough to not over-refrigerate their beer.

I always thought that someone should sell a simple pv airconditioning system, where the pv directly runs the AC. The unit would have to be direct current so you wouldn't have to bother with an inverter (yes, that would make it a DC PV AC!).

Well, someone already does, so now you'll have to start thinking of something else,


Pretty neat looking 12 and 24V units!

a simple pv airconditioning system

The ammonia/water cycle:


Great comment.. I work at a river cooled thermal, and you run into vacuum issues from hot water. It can lead to curtailments fo' sho. Could be a larger issue going forward.

While southern Europe experienced a rather damp spring, ...

Its called the North Atlantic Oscillation. Its sort of the European equivalent of El Nino. Just as weather extremes in the Americas correlate with the phase of the El Nino/La Nina so do weather extremes in Europe correlate with the phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation.

It doesn't have the same strong periodicity of El Nino, but it does mean that snowy winters and dry springs tend to occur together in England. England having had a couple of years of unusually snowy winters and a dry spring last year, a dry spring this year is not exactly a surprise.

Spring is over, and its raining outside. NAO- means the spring rain heads south. It doesn't guarantee a dry Wimbledon.

This was my comment on Tom Whipple's PEAK OIL CRISIS article..

Interesting to hear your take on Germany's Nuke decision, Tom.

I don't deny that if they can stick with this decision (no guarantees, I have to fear), it will be hard and probably quite dangerous.. but in the great balancing act around this issue, the question may not be which danger is GREATER (Nuke v. Elec.Shortages v. Coal v. Climate), but which dangers will outrun the others. "What's the secret of great (TIMING!) comedy?" -Tragedy, of course, is just the other side of the same coin.

I already feel we're way overpopulated, so I don't measure this contest on a scale of historical death-counts, but I guess on a measure of how livable we leave the Land, Air and Water for the survivors. As that goes, I conclude that Nuclear and Coal must be discarded and remediated as fast as, and in any way possible.

Another excellent article about the state of things economic by Jim Willie:


Its enough to give anyone the willies!

The wiley Jackass is good.
I pick him up on Goldseek.com.
Lots of good economic commentary in there (as well as some weird stuff).
If you like the Jackass, then also check out, Rick Ackerman, John Mauldin, John Browne.
Even Chapman can be pretty darn good in spite being on the more extreme paranoid edge.

This was the passage that stood out for me:

The US is so badly on a slippery slope, that a simple debt default might be the best of outcomes to hope for, given the nasty added ramifications that could come from chaos. The main location for innovation within the USEconomy seems to be in financial fraud and military weapons. Former USFed Chairman Volcker once accused the financial industry of having only one productive innovation in three decades, the automatic teller machine (ATM)

(Emphasis in original)

Here is another good one about Trickle Down Economics:


Written in a similar style to "The Beaver Papers: The Story of the Lost Season". One of the funniest books ever. The premise was that when they canceled "Leave it to Beaver" a bunch of famous writers submitted screenplays to try to revive it. Thus you have such titles (in this book, chapters) as "Thus Spake Beaver", "Beaver on a Hot Tin Roof", "Beavermorphosis" where he wakes up as a giant beaver and Wally says he's in a heap of trouble, "Beaver the Greek", and my favorite title "Lady Cleaver's Beaver". Copies available at abebooks.com

Excellent article.

The U.S. dollar is surviving on inertia alone, which can be pretty powerful. There are few good alternatives out there. Still, periodic shifts out the dollar are likely to occur regardless of what happens.

As the demand for dollars drops internationally, and the supply keeps increasing, the endgame approaches.

Best to protect yourself by getting out of dollars, into anything, now before it's too late. I like gold, silver, durable goods, productive land (even though it can be expensive), and mining/agriculture/energy stocks.

Any combination of the above will probably see you through the currency collapse and system reset.

Either "The U.S. dollar is surviving on inertia alone" or it is surviving because "There are few good alternatives out there."

Which one is it?

I think your second sentence is the more accurate explanation.

But you seem to be just trying to pump up gold in most of your comments so you probably don't care.

Sino-Vietnamese tensions boil over South China Sea

China's constant search for natural resources to fuel its burgeoning economy has driven Beijing's helmsmen to the far reaches of Africa, South America and the embattled Middle East.

But bubbling beneath the South China Sea-just off China's shared coastline with Vietnam-- are vast oil deposits, well-exceeding 80 percent of the entire Saudi kingdoms' reserves, according to Chinese estimates.

The Summer of our Discontent?

It seems to me that we are facing an interesting triple play in the US this summer--The deadlock over increasing the federal debt ceiling, the apparent end of Quantitative Easing by the Fed and as Meredith Whitney pointed out, 46 states have to make hard decisions this summer about how to balance their budgets (and numerous cities are in the same situation).

Here in Texas, there is going to be a special session convened in order to finally come up with a balanced budget for the next two years (it doesn't look good for educational spending).

And of course, the EU is facing very similar problems.

And meanwhile, most of your state continues to be in the highest or next-to-highest level of drought.


And a power line that serves your part of the state is threatened by the monster fire that just spread into your next-door state.


I think that the El Paso area is the only part of Texas that is threatened by the power line situation (I'm actually in Fort Worth, originally from West Texas).

OK, I assumed you were in that part of the state.

Here's the report about the fire now spreading into NM:


Keep in mind that "West Texas" is a pretty big area. It's about 400 miles from San Angelo to El Paso.

BTW, during the Fifties drought, there were parts of Texas that became uninhabitable, because of a lack of water, and our population density in drought prone regions is vastly greater now. A good novel by Elmer Kelton, about the Fifities drought, is "The time it never rained." Quoting Elmer Kelton, "West Texas is in a state of permanent drought, broken occasionally by rainfall." This is really true of the whole American Southwest.

From Amazon:

"...one of the dozen or so best novels written by an American in this century (20th Century)." --- Jon Tuska, editor of The American West in Fiction on The Time It Never Rained

I didn't know that about the fifties conditions and for the book recommendation.

My understanding is that most of the west was in much drier conditions through most of the holocene. Part of what we are seeing is doubtless a return to those conditions. But they are likely to go much further this time.

Elmer Kelton reads the prologue to "The time it never rained." (a little over a minute long)


"And many a boy would become a man before the land was green again."

When I was a kid in the Thirties, geography books had a big yellow oval in the western quarter of United States maps labeled "The Great American Desert." It seems to have disappeared -- not entirely because of drawing on regional aquifers.

Westexas, QE3 is coming. But as I've said a few days ago: they won't call it that and they will chop it up in many different parts strewn over a period of months(or even a full year, the length of QE2).
Just in the recent week I've read on Reuters and on other websites that the Obama administration is thinking about introducing extra relief for homeowners. Yesterday it emerged that they are thinking about a payroll taxcut. All of this costs money and will add to the ever-larger debt.

As for the EU: it has now essentially become a transfer union. The solvent core bail outs the corrupt periphery. This cannot be sustained and what will come to an end must also come to an end. Starting with Greece(although I think they will make it to next summer, and then they'll need another bailout).

From above: "... our country is rich in energy resources.... Policies that prevent their extraction defy logic."

Once again I find myself in the odd position of arguing against the "drill, baby, drill" crowd despite the fact I make my living drilling. I'll leave the coal reg issue alone other than to remind folks that a new coal-fired power plant is under construction above a NG field I'm developing in coastal Texas. And the plant just got their final Clear Air permit from the current administration. In a few years many thousands of train cars will be carrying coal from Illinois to Texas to power this plant for the next 30+ years.

Back to oil/NG: In the last 25 months I've spent over $200 million drilling wells in the coastal regions of Texas and La. I won't even mention the EPA: for the most part they don't exist in this world with respect to drilling. But I do constantly deal with the Texas Rail Road Commission, the La. Office of Conservation, the federal Corps of Engineers as well as local regulators. The process can be frustrating, a tad expensive and time consuming. But not once have I been stopped from drilling a well...not once. We may be going after federal leases in the next sale and are a bit concerned about the slow permit process since the BP blow out. But the process is going forward but at a painfully slow rate. But as memories fade, gasoline prices swing back up and the presidential election nears we'll see the pace pick up IMHO.

Yes...there have been some upsets with the process in the northeast with the SG plays but now that the primary problem has been shown to be local municipalities allowing those nasty frac fluids to be dumped into their systems (for a fee, of course) perhaps matters will settle down. IMHO the Yankee regulators just weren't prepared to deal with the surge in drilling. As I've said before all they needed to do was down load all the Texas Rail Road Commission regs, pass them into law (and enforce them) and the situation would have not gotten out of control.

IMHO the debate over how much the regs are hurting/helping the process is an unnecessary distraction from addressing the real problems ahead of us.

But not once have I been stopped from drilling a well...not once.

That's only because you bother to fill out the paperwork properly.
IMO, doing things in a systematic way actually helps you catch mistakes and wrong assumptions and greatly improves the final product.

The people who hate regulations are greedy managers who don't want you to 'waste' your time.

"If you don't have the time to do it right, you will never get a chance to do it over."

(The link has rocks in it.)



maj - There is actually a contingent of companies that, on a consulting basis and for a fee, fill out all the paper work. And that's 100% of their business. Especially important with the federal waters: literally one misplaced comma and you might get bounced. A pain in the butt at times but still doable.

OTOH I haven't heard of any Gulf Coast operator not being able to drill just aout anything the wanted. Might be a diferent story in other parts of the country but this is where most of the drilling happens anyway.

I too make my living from drilling wells. I actually make my living exclusively from drilling and servicing wells in Deep Water GOM.

One problem I have is that it's the paperwork and working the bureacracy that's going to get players on the DW GOM permits. It's not whether or not the people running these companies will actually be good sterwards of the environment, it's not that they will actually be safer than before, it's not that they won't make the same mistakes that BP did. It's whether or not the paperwork looks good. Maybe an interview of the people in charge from top to bottom would help because some of these guys are complete idiots. How about asking the people who work for these folks what they think?

We have some operators that should never get permits until they change every employee in the organization. We have some compnaies that don't have 20 billion to work the problem like BP did. There will be companies that would have been bankrupt on day 3 if they would have had a blow out like the Horizon and they too will get permits,,, soon.

We have Well Site supervisors (company men) on these drilling rigs that need direct Supervison from the BOEMRE on site 24/7. We even had Republican and Democrat leaders in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and oil company executives publically asking for this, but where are they?

If we have another major event like the BP/Horizon disaster and one of these types of operators get the spotlight put on them your going to see the next deep water GOM drilling moratorium last for decades, not months and all the people that know about these bad players and their past history will deserve what WE get.

We my passport is ready if that happens!

If you're talking about the Minerals Management Service, you have a point.
It was corrupted from top to bottom by oily Cheney.
Unfortunately oil is critical to the economy so Obama doesn't dare clean up.
I'm afraid if anybody looks too close at what was the MMS it will look like Pemex or Russia's Ministry of Industry and Energy.


"they changed the name, but all the people are the same" ..."it’s embarrassing"


See I don't think it was currupted by Cheney, it didn't have to be currupted at that point. It's like any other Government Bureacracy. The leaders are lazy and ineffective. I have been working in the OCS since Clinton first took office and I haven't seen any change. So don't play the political "Cheney" card that's silly.

Also to say that oil is too critical to the economy and that's the reson Obama won't clean it up that's just wrong. You would have to think that the moratorium and the defacto moratorium didn't happen. Obama doesn't know what's out there, he would have to have a working knowledge of what we in the oil field see everyday out here and that's asking too much of any politician. I'm not an Obama guy, but he may really think that changing the paperwork and adding bureacracy will change the problem, but it won't.

The bottom line is that government can't efficiently run oilfield like the GOM, the reason the oilfield was self regulated is because we in the field have the skill and knowledge to tell them what we need to do, but they can have a person on the wellsite that would have literal skin in the game. There can be regulations, but if no one is here to see what we do how would they know if we are complying?

We fill out the reports! Does anyone think we would tell them we are not in compliance?

When the inspectors do show up they look to see if drip pans on equipment are clean and if the five gallon buckets are marked with proper ownership, that way if the rig burns and sinks they will know who the buckets are for. Wow!

They do look at our BOP pressure test charts half of them which have been boilerhoused (cheated)!

So does your ideological certainty that all government "bureacracy" is always run by lazy and ineffective leaders make it absolutely impossible to consider that presidents and VP can make them worse?


All I can say is that the folks in the GOM have been doing a heck of job!

Well being that I live roughly 50 miles away from where FEMA did a heck of a job, I can say that the president and the VP during Katrina had very little to do with the root cause of that problem. I'm certain that years of liberal policies that teach, reward, entangle and damn near genetically create human beings that can't fend for themselves did make things much worse.

Now where I do blame Bush and Cheney for the Katrina response is that if they were true conservatives rather than Neocons they would have known how big government policies cripple people. When you have several generations that have been trained to look to government in every single time of need, how can people think that they wouldn't do the same when a CAT-5 was coming? They had beed taught to wait on government and NO government leadership neither democrat or republican could have saved them.

That's why everyone else in our area evacuates or we deal with it.

As a matter of FACT big government caused the problem that made Katrina much worse on New Orleans. It was lazy, ineffective, small minded, US corps of engineers actions that still hurt South Louisiana's coast today. They are the reason floods up all up the Mississippi river will continue to get worse.

I'm no fan of Bush or Cheney, but the problem in our entire government stretches far beyond who the president is. Bureacracy in government as well as large companies can cause a quagmire that can bring any institution down.

I also happen to work at a big company with a horrible bureacracy.

Thank you for your answer. You make it clear indeed that your ideology has completely blinded you. You already know all the answers to all the questions. No point in pointing out that FEMA was rated among the best run units of government till Bush/Cheney took over and appointed heck-of-a...Brown to run it. No point in pointing out that most who remained in NO were the poor, sick and locked up who had no means of leaving the city and who were abandoned by everyone.

So FEMA was well run during Clinton years how many Katrina type situations did Clinton have? FEMA was not set up for that type of event they still might not be ready for that.

"No point in pointing out that most who remained in NO were the poor, sick and locked up who had no means of leaving the city and who were abandoned by everyone."

What? didn't you read what I said, they were poor due to bureacracy and government, they had no means of leaving because they had been taught by the welfare state that government was always there. Well it wasn't there then and isn't there now. Those people had been abandoned because Bush, Cheney, and Browny were too stupid to realize the years of the "Great Society" liberalism had created a permanent underclass that needed government. If you house, feed, cloth, and medicate folks all their lives, how in the heck do you expect them to fend for themselves at a time like that? Liberalism is a crime against humanity, because it ruins the most intelligent being on earth and relegates them to being parasites on a host of the same species.

One little aside when cajuns(my people) started piling in with little boats to get people out of New Orleans they were turned away by the federal government largess. Big government doesn't work no matter who runs it.

Liberalism is a crime against humanity, because it ruins the most intelligent being on earth and relegates them to being parasites on a host of the same species.


I have one word to say regarding government regulation of offshore drilling operations:


You really need to be put on TV, say CNBC and Fox for starters. I have never seen anyone from the oil industry on TV who admitted that drilling was not being prevented. But I guess we need to do it faster so we can deplete the oil faster. Thank you for your honesty.

ts - It's not your fault or anyone else's but folks hear the PR pieces out of the public companies (Big Oil and Not So Big Oil) and think those comments represent the opinions of the oil patch in general. Trust me: we mock those folks more than you do. And it's not a question of honesty (but thanks anyway) but it's really that me and all the oil patch hands don't really give a damn what the public thinks. Decades ago we came to terms with the public's view that all of us are "dirty lying bastards". In fact, quit comfortable with it. LOL. If you think the TODsters have a bad attitude about the clueless public you should hear how we talk about them. In general we have an absolute disdain for their ignorance and very little sympathy for their plight as a result of electing the do-nothing politicians (both R's and D's) they have for decades. In particular, I have a very serious personal problem with swapping blood for oil. Actually that's probably the biggest hot button issue with most of the hands I work with. Don't have any numbers but from my experience a large percentage of the oil patch is ex-military.

I had a friendly debate the other day with a TODster about why the "oil industry" doesn't lay the facts on the table for the public. Two part answer. First, the primary ETHICAL responsibility of the public oil CEO's is to enrich the company's shareholders. So they are obligated to spin (but not lie) the story the best they can. Just as you would demand the CEO of any company you owned stock in. I've heard more PR pieces than I can remember and have never heard a single lie. But lots of misleading and incomplete statements. Or, more bluntly, we ain't your momma...go fix yourself. LOL. Second, for those of us who don't work for a public company and don't care if the public discovers their limited value, we don't tend to try to teach pigs to roller skate. My little joke from the other day if you didn't catch it: it frustrates you and irritates the pig. IOW I'm more than happy to burn away some of my limited leisure time answering anyone's questions about PO, geology, engineering, etc. But long ago I discovered the foolishness of trying to teach anyone anything if they didn't want to learn. As I offered: if TOD passed the hat and collected a few $million I would be glad to be in an commercial to counter the Chevron cutsie commercials (we really do make fun of those...a lot). But it would be a waste of money IMHO. The public doesn't refuse to hear about our energy problems because they are stupid (although a lot really are painfully uneducated in such matters) but they don't want to be lectured especially if the bottom line is giving up BAU.

The difference is that in other technical industries like electronics, there will be leading researchers or technologists who will come out and make a big stink about things they don't like. If their parent company or sponsor doesn't like them doing it, they essentially dare their bosses to fire them, guessing that they would rather retain their technical contributions than having to suffer through some bad PR.

This does not happen with the Oil Industry, save for a few people that do it after they retired or a very few that are in the academic world. Perhaps Hubbert was the exception in the industry, and Deffeyes an example in academics.

Most other technical fields are crawling with this rebellious streak. Software, electronics, medical, etc. Something very different happens to the technical people involved with fossil fuel exploitation.

I think about this a lot because I have to be able to rationalize why I (as a complete outsider) can write a book with such a comprehensive coverage on oil depletion and rest assured that no one else from the oil industry will even attempt it. I suppose it could be as you say that they have an "absolute disdain for their ignorance and very little sympathy for their plight" in regards to the public.

Notice I used the term "exploitation" above. That is a bad sounding word isn't it, with some other connotations. But it is the best word to describe what is happening and maybe there is some sense of guilt on everyone's part regarding exploiting resources. I am just guessing here because it is all such a mystery of human behavior.

Web - Doesn't sound bad to me: I was once the company's Division Exploitation Geologist. I doub't many public oil would allow such a title on a business card today. LOL

Most other technical fields are crawling with this rebellious streak.

I harbor serious doubts about "most". And I wonder if it isn't simply that the fields you name are "immature" in the economics/business-management technical sense. They are still, to an important extent, glamor fields dependent - or just as likely seemingly dependent - on "stars". The boss might dearly love to fire an obnoxious "star" but has been instructed that "stars" are indispensable for the sake of the bright sparks of transforming genius they might produce someday.

Fuels strike me as a more "mature" field, much more about incremental technical improvement, still requiring excellent education and skills but rather less conspicuously "star"-dependent. Maybe folks who drive the boss out of his or her gourd are simply not seen as indispensable?

I second your doubts about "most other technical fields"

In the civil engineering world, things are very conservative, and especially if you are working for/consulting to any level of government.

"innovative" ideas are seen as "risky", and failures are widely publicised within the industry. if your company is a contractor/consultant to government, proposing "risky" ideas is a quick way to get yourself, or your company, replaced.

There are no "stars", as there is no consumer marketing element like with software, hardware etc.

From my limited dealing with professional mechanical and electrical engineers, I would say the same thing applies there too. These are all mature fields, so for most things there is a well proven way to do it, so to depart from that and do something new and novel has huge risks and little additional reward. Come up with a new type of bridge, and you can't sell one to everybody like you can with an iPhone.

In these professions, not failing is more important than being wildly successful. If the bridge stands up, it is successful, and you don;t need a "star" to make the bridge stand up.

And if you get it wrong with your new type of bridge, you will be remembered forever for it, like the infamousTacoma Narrows Bridge.

The risk reward ratio simply is not worth it, especially when there is potential for people to die if you get it wrong.

I suggest you all review something like the case studies in Risks Digest. I may have a different perspective because I wrote a book on reliability and have researched many cases of whistle-blowing incidents and they appear in just about every field.

Whistle-blowing by its very nature is both conservative and daring. It is conservative because the whistle-blower is erring on the safe side in many cases. It is daring because the guy is taking a chance with his career and his company.

I guess it is not a big deal, just IMO that the oil industry is at the bottom-of-the-barrel (so to speak) in being concerned citizens. The people at TOTAL, in the other TOD post from today, is interesting in that they may be showing some forthrightness.

The public doesn't refuse to hear about our energy problems because they are stupid (although a lot really are painfully uneducated in such matters) but they don't want to be lectured especially if the bottom line is giving up BAU.


If the trend shown on "peak oil" since 2007 is any indication, people have declining interest.


Speaking of PR I just got a right wing propaganda chain email that initially showed the price of gasoline around the world starting with the highest and ending with the lowest prices in KSA, Kuwait and Venezuela. The email was trying to say that we should have prices more like that of the latter three countries.

Now my problem with this is the lack of thought from this right wing outfit. The last three countries with cheap gas are goverment run oil companies that use cheap gas to placate the populace and it's just welfare. So does this right wing group want all U.S. energy to be run by the government and do they want us to subsidize fuel for a new entitlement welfare program, as in those three countries?

The last part of the email was about the massive reserves in the Bakken shale and how the government is holding back drilling in that area of the country. Well the last time I checked we have around 170+ rigs working in that part of the country. If they are trying to hold it back they are failing.

I understand the politics of getting red meat propaganda to your followers but this email was sent to and from other savy oilfield hands that should know better. Shame on the author of this knuckle dragging BS.

I suspect you've run across another example of neo-con propaganda. Does it sound a bit like this one?


Well, that one is from Ol' Newt him self. These guys have developed rather sophisticated distribution networks to spread their latest message far and wide. I've seen such releases appear on hundreds of web sites in just a few days...

E. Swanson

"the lack of thought from this right wing outfit"

And this was a surprise?

Guy's I'm a libertarian which doesn't mind the well timed propaganda needed to get nuckle dragging conservatives to vote. I'm a big Peter Schiff, Ron Paul and Rand Paul fan.

What I really don't like is people in my field and supposed conservatives that should know better falling for that type of propaganda, when the final conclusion of that particular email is that America should have a state run oil company in order to provide another welfare benefit to citizens IE cheap gas.

The part about the Bakken being the next Saudi Arabia and that Obama is not letting us drill there rubs me wrong too. Some of the people that sent this email along the chain have actually worked on rigs in North Dakota! Come on now!

By the way I am pro drilling and I think we should be drilling in many new areas although I would prefer my own way or oversight and regulation in order to make it happen in a way that's better for our environment.

What a great game.
Wooooo Hoo!
Too bad the thing needed, now, is real leadership.

Oil Falls Most in Four Weeks on Saudi Arabia’s Plan to Increase Production


"Crude oil tumbled the most in four weeks after al-Hayat newspaper reported Saudi Arabia will raise oil production to 10 million barrels a day next month, and on concern the global economic recovery is slowing."

April, 2004: Saudi Arabia pledges to support $22 to $28 OPEC price band

Mr Al-Naimi said: "Saudi Arabia continues to be committed to OPEC's $22-28 price band. There are signs that worldwide inventories have begun to build but no one really knows for sure. I do not believe there is a fissure [within Opec]. There is dialogue. Opec in general is committed to the band," he said.

Of course, in 2004 Saudi Arabia was midway through a huge increase in their net oil exports, which appear (IMO) to have shown a final peak in 2005, at 9.1 mbpd, so in 2004 they were in fact doing everything they could to support the $22-$28 OPEC price band.

As noted up the thread, BP shows Saudi net oil exports of 7.2 mbpd in 2010. As I have once or twice opined, the simple explanation is that Peaks Happen.

It seems the Saudi's will wiggle out one way or another ie. they were misquoted or the increase was not necessary. I believe it was you & Stuart that said a few years ago they would never get back to 9.6 mbpd. So far, that stands.

Currently WTI $98.76, Brent $118.26. Difference $19.50

The spread between WTI and Brent is getting sufficiently wide that it would be worthwhile for companies to take oil from the storage tanks at Cushing, OK, and move it by barge, truck, or rail to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico. I imagine companies are starting to do that on a fairly large scale, now.

Forecasts from the Canadian National Energy Board seem to indicate a fairly large increase in synthetic crude oil production lately. I imagine Bakken production from North Dakota is up substantially, too, and all that oil goes mainly to Cushing and competes with WTI. On the international (Brent) side of the market, of course OPEC has voted not to increase production, and Russia is limiting fuel exports, while demand from China and India is still increasing.

Even in the USA I see Spot Louisiana Sweet is at $116.51. That's over a $17 premium to WTI.

Argus Sour Crude Index July 11 contract is $113.81.

ASCI (Crude)

The ASCITM index provides a daily benchmark price for medium sour crude at the US Gulf of Mexico trading hub. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq use the ASCI index to price exports to the US.

Grades of crude priced against the ASCI benchmark include Arab Extra Light, Arab Light, Arab Medium, Arab Heavy, Kuwait Export Blend, Basrah Light and Kirkuk.

The ASCI price is a volume-weighted average of all deals done for three grades of crude combined – Mars, Poseidon and Southern Green Canyon (SGC).

WTI prices are relevant mainly for landlocked midwestern oil, not the US east, gulf, and west coasts.

What A Fool Believes

But what a fool believes ... he sees
No wise man has the power to reason away
What seems ... to be
Is always better than nothing

Doobie Brothers - What A Fool Believes - Lyrics

Once again, the Saudis have played their shell game well, and fooled, well just about everyone. After sharply curtailing exports of their heavy crude to the East in June, they announced today they would provide more heavy oil in July than June, and send it East.

Saudi Arabia set to go it alone on oil output rises

SAUDI ARABIA looks set to raise its oil output despite being voted down over production increases at the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ Vienna meeting this week, potentially providing more cargoes for very large crude carriers shipping oil from the Middle East to Asian... .


Granted there has been some improvement in OPEC exports, with exports in the last three weeks about 400,000 bpd higher than about the rate of 22.5 million bpd from mid-April to mid-May:

June 9, 2011
OPEC exports to rise in 4 wks to June 25 -analyst

Jonathan Saul

LONDON, June 9 (Reuters) - Seaborne oil exports from OPEC, excluding Angola and Ecuador, will rise by 40,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the four weeks to June 25, an analyst who estimates future shipments said on Thursday.

Exports will rise to 22.87 million bpd on average, from 22.83 million bpd in the four weeks to May 28, UK consultancy Oil Movements said in its latest weekly estimate. It said most of the sailings derived from Middle East OPEC producers, although some was being shipped from West Africa.

[no link]

Shipping activity has increased more this week, and it’s possible that total increase from recent lows will be about 500,000 bpd higher at the end of June than at the end of April. Even so, that would still be about 1 million bpd a day less than just before Libya went off line at the start of February. All of the extra planned shipments this week are headed to India or further East, and most all of the marginal increase is heavy Saudi oil.

So far, there are no indications from shipping sources that KSA will increase output anywhere near 1 million bpd more in July than June as promised, although again, some increase from current export levels is expected. But then again, what a fool believes …

Once again, the Saudis have played their shell game well, and fooled, well just about everyone.

Perhaps they are playing Calvinball:


Note: The game Calvinball is similar to games Politics and Religion.

June, they announced today they would provide more heavy oil in July than June, and send it East.

Heavy oil is what nobody wants.

Re Too many mouths to feed? Get stuffed

Feeding the world by 2050 will require increasing agricultural output by 70 percent. To achieve this, agricultural productivity will need to grow at an annual average rate of at least 1.75 percent from a relatively fixed bundle of agricultural resources given growing regional scarcities of water and arable land. As noted earlier, over the past seven years, that rate has averaged 1.4 percent.

Graph of the Day: The Global Agricultural Productivity Gap, 2010-2050

40 years of 1.4% growth comes to 74%, as shown in the graph. Jim at Desdemona is making no sense.

Good spot. Following the links it seems that even though there is enough food at the moment to feed all 7 billion of us, there are still many people that go hungry. Increasing by 70% there would still be enough food for everyone, however many people would still go hungry. Maybe the graph is supposed to show that doubling the food production by 2050 would help reduce the number of people without food security.

But it's a moot point, since I can't see food increasing at 1.4% per year until the end of the decade let alone 2050.

Just eyeballing those charts, those are clearly not exponential curves. The curve @1.7% should have twice the slope at the right end as the left. It is only slightly steeper. The guy is probably not numertae, and tried to fake it by freedrawing a curve....

This analysis is from DuPont. I don't think that there's any assumption of exponential growth.

Lighten up... It's Friday

“Don’t Smoke in Your Shower,” Ridge Jokes on Colbert (With Video)

Former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge got the Colbert treatment last night when he appeared on the Comedy Central news program to discuss Marcellus shale natural gas

The thing the media invariably fail to mention is that Pennsylvania (and other places) has shallow gas formations as well as deep shale gas formations, and the usual problem with wells is that poorly installed surface casing allows methane to leak back from the shallow gas formations into the water formations. For that matter, the water formations may be naturally connected to shallow gas formations, and producing water may draw natural gas into the well.

It has nothing to do with hydraulic fracturing, which typically occurs a mile or so underground, and is separated from the surface formations by several layers of impermeable rock.

A quick solution is to vent the methane off the well water before it gets into the house. A proper solution is to install good surface casings on the wells - but that's assuming that gas wells are involved in the problem in the first place.

Remember - The Colbert Report is a Comedy Show (Entertainment), not news media. Bill O'Reilly had the same problem on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Oil industry outlines cleanup strategy for Arctic spill

As the oil and gas industry works to convince Canada’s energy regulator that it can safely drill in the Arctic’s deep waters, it is proposing some creative – and controversial – methods to clean up spills in sea ice: using fires set from helicopters to burn oil and even the propeller blades of icebreakers to disperse it.

Why not use the Gulf solution lots and lots of Corexit to sink it below the surface where nobody can see it.

edit: To be clear I do not see Corexit as a solution. It is just a PR maneuver.

The traditional method of disposing of an oil spill in Northern Canada was just to throw a burning rag into it and watch the problem go up in flames.

The problem with dispersants and other chemicals is that they persist in the environment and poison a lot of fish, birds and other animals. The advantage of fire is that the animals know enough to get out of the way, and when the fire is over, they just go about their business again. Fires are nothing unusual in Northern Canada. Neither are natural oil leaks, either.

Burn it now, or burn it later. Doesn't make a difference re: environment does it?

Without sequestration, longterm climatewsie that is true. I have to think if we burn it later, those people will have a greater appreciation for the value of energy, and not waste as much of it as we do. There is also at least a nonzero chance that they will make the effort to capure and sequester the CO2.

Water for agriculture dwindles with climate change

Climate change will have major impacts on the availability of water for growing food and on crop productivity in the decades to come, warns a new FAO report. …"Both the livelihoods of rural communities as well as the food security of city populations are at risk," said FAO Assistant Director General for Natural Resources, Alexander Mueller.

Climate Change, Water, and Food Security is a comprehensive survey of existing scientific knowledge on the anticipated consequences of climate change for water use in agriculture.

Also Special report: Scientists race to avoid climate change harvest

Russia and Norway agree deal over oil-rich Barents Sea

Russia and Norway have agreed a deal to divide up their shares of the Barents Sea. The accord will allow companies to explore for oil and gas in the 68,000 square mile area.

… However, with so much of the Arctic unexplored the estimates are unreliable "There is always a tendency to talk these things up because that is how you attract investment, but it's probably far too early to say there are significant volumes of anything there until somebody looks for it," Mr Lee added.

So the headline should read "optimism-rich."

Maybe "desperation-rich"

CPC exporting less oil in June, Russia boosts refining
Reporting by Alla Afanasyeva; writing by Jessica Bachman; editing by Anthony Barker / Reuters / June 2, 2011

MOSCOW, June 2 (Reuters) - Russian and Kazakh oil exports via the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) will fall in June, off 4 percent from the initial volume planned, as Rosneft (ROSN.MM) sends less crude abroad to increase its refinery throughput.

In May, after an acute gasoline shortage hit many Russian regions in March and April, supplies of Russian crude into the CPC system dropped by half, mainly because the country's biggest oil company, Rosneft, lowered exports to increase domestic refinery flows.

The CPC loading schedule, seen by Reuters on Thursday, showed the pipeline group will ship 2.542 million tonnes in June, down from the 2.643 million tonnes originally planned for the month.

In June, CPC will receive 255,000 tonnes of crude from Russian sources, down from an average of 450,000 during the first four months of the year.

Another CPC crude supplier, Karachaganak Petroleum Operator, will also ship less crude this month than it did in May. ... [more]

Nine Months Into Investigation, PG&E Finds Documents Detailing Prior Leak in San Bruno Pipeline

The head of the federal agency investigating a deadly pipeline explosion scolded Pacific Gas & Electric Co. on Wednesday for taking nearly nine months to report that there had been a gas leak near the disaster site years earlier.

…Under federal law, companies operating pipelines with a history of such weld failures are supposed to conduct rigorous inspections for similar problems to prevent a disastrous rupture.

However, PG&E never conducted inspections capable of finding flawed welds after discovering the 1988 leak in its 30-inch transmission line, 9 miles south of where the pipe eventually exploded.

The federal government never enforced its own law. Yes the company is at fault but the government is just as at fault. Who in the government will go to jail for failure to enforce this law that resulted in death.

The honor system does not work when it comes to amoral corporations.

Radiation in No. 3 reactor too high for work

Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, sent 9 workers into the No.3 reactor building for about 20 minutes on Thursday, in a bid to start stabilizing the reactor.

The utility plans to inject nitrogen gas into the containment vessel to prevent accumulated hydrogen from causing an explosion. It also intends to install a system to cool the reactor with circulating water.

The workers withdrew after measuring radiation of 100 millisieverts per hour near the reactor's containment vessel.

TEPCO says it intended to limit the workers' exposure to below 5 millisieverts per hour. But as all 9 received higher doses, it has suspended work while considering a course of action.

As someone observed yesterday; recovery of this one nuclear power plant may cost $250 Billion over 10 years. That is time and treasure that Japan does not have. It seems like Japan is heading down the slippery slope of peak energy and it's picking up speed.

Power Cuts Spread to West Japan as Nuclear Restarts Put on Hold

Power cuts will hit Kansai, Japan’s second-largest industrial region, as early as this month as restarts of nuclear plants may be delayed, impeding the nation’s recovery from a record earthquake and atomic disaster.

Kansai Electric secures 81% of oil, LNG needs for Jun-Sep

The Osaka-based power utility's estimates were disclosed to Platts amid uncertainty over the restart of its nuclear reactors from scheduled maintenance.

...The Kansai Electric officials said that it would be unrealistic to increase its power supply capacity dramatically by the summer demand season as it would take 2-3 years to restart its mothballed 2.4 GW oil-burning capacity over five units.

Japan fears meltdown worse than first thought

...GOSHI HOSONO, SPECIAL ADVISOR TO JAPANESE PM (Translation): At present there is damage to the bottom of the reactor container, we call this ‘core melting’ in English. Part of the nuclear fuel has fallen onto the dry earth floor and it's possible that it's still lodged there.

Shizuoka tells tea retailer to conceal radiation info

Shizuoka Prefecture [Government] told a Tokyo-based mail order company not to say anything on its website about excessive radioactive material [cesium] being found in tea from the prefecture, the retailer said Friday.

Next they can follow this old chestnut from NYC's Mayor Bloomberg - who always wants to be everyone's nagging, overbearing mommy and daddy - and outlaw Geiger counters and the like.

In case people thought I was just making a bad joke yesterday about death rates.

The recent CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report indicates that eight cities in the northwest U.S. (Boise ID, Seattle WA, Portland OR, plus the northern California cities of Santa Cruz, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, and Berkeley) reported the following data on deaths among those younger than one year of age:

4 weeks ending March 19, 2011 - 37 deaths (avg. 9.25 per week)
10 weeks ending May 28, 2011 - 125 deaths (avg.12.50 per week)

This amounts to an increase of 35% (the total for the entire U.S. rose about 2.3%), and is statistically significant. Of further significance is that those dates include the four weeks before and the ten weeks after the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster. In 2001 the infant mortality was 6.834 per 1000 live births, increasing to 6.845 in 2007. All years from 2002 to 2007 were higher than the 2001 rate.

Toxic loads from the heavy metals, endocrine mimics, and just a little push can move one from thriving to not thriving

A 35% Spike in Infant Mortality in Northwest Cities Since Meltdown

This amounts to an increase of 35% (the total for the entire U.S. rose about 2.3%), and is statistically significant. Of further significance is that those dates include the four weeks before and the ten weeks after the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster.

Interesting - the author is Janette D. Sherman, MD. The Counterpunch web site carrying the article seems to be down at the moment I notice.

About the Author

Dr. Janette Sherman

Janette D. Sherman, M. D. is a specialist in internal medicine and toxicology. She has published more than 70 articles in the scientific literature and also writes for the popular press to provide information to the concerned public. Dr. Sherman is the author of Life’s Delicate Balance: Causes and Prevention of Breast Cancer and Chemical Exposure and Disease. She has recently completed the translation and editing of the book Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and Nature, written by A. V. Yablokov, V. B. Nesterenko and A. V. Nesterenko, published by the New York Academy of Sciences in December 2009.

Dr. Sherman worked in radiation and biologic research at the University of California nuclear facility, and at the US Naval Research Laboratory at Hunter’s Point in San Francisco. She has an undergraduate degree in Biology and Chemistry from Western Michigan University and a Medical degree from Wayne State University. Dr. Sherman received the Distinguished Alumna Award from Western Michigan University in 1989, and the Foremother’s Award from the National Research Center for Women and Families in 2006. She became a member of the Cosmos Club in 2001 based on “meritorious original research in medicine and toxicology.”

From 1976-1982 Dr. Sherman served on the advisory board for the EPA Toxic Substances Control Act. She has been an adviser to the National Cancer Institute on breast cancer and to the EPA on pesticides. She is a resource person, adviser, and speaker for universities and health advocacy groups concerning cancer, birth defects, pesticides, toxic dump sites, and nuclear radiation.

Drug resistant bacteria are also more common. Childhood mortality is likely to rise significantly.

On the other hand, those 8 cities reported 8 deaths in the most recent week.



Other weeks are left as an exercise for the reader (or WHT).

Things are complicated further by the flu death spike earlier in the year as well but that peaked US-wide over a month prior to Fukushima disaster.

This sounds much too good, i.e. bad, to be true. In northern Honshu infants should be dying like flies from the orders-of-magnitude higher levels. It's simply not credible that such a thing could possibly be covered up or pass unnoticed even with Japan in its current shape.

Folk, this is NOT statistical significant!

Perhaps this is "of statistical significantance" then?


Head of Fukushima health study: 100 mSv/yr OK for pregnant moms — “Effects of radiation do not come to people that are happy… They come to people that are weak-spirited”

Are these waves of drought seen each year now a sign of accelerated climate change? I cannot see it very differently. 2010 was the warmest year of record thus far for the meterologists, and with the record droughts in Europe, China, parts of America, it begs the question if we are seeing the the effects of climate change earlier than most predicted(and indeed if we can do much about it by now?).

The bizarre effect is this is true is to rebalance the power structure in the post-Peak years as food and water are in the end more, or at least just as much, important as Oil. But it also paints a very grim picture for human advancement in the coming decades.

The first fatality will probably be the U.N's 9 billion population estimate by 2050.

"There is no environmental minister on earth who can stop the oil from coming out of the sand, because the money is too big," said Canada's environment minister, Stéphane Dion, in an interview.

"There is no environmental minister on earth who can stop the oil from coming out of the sand, because the money is too big,"

Now that's wisdom. Once you've been around for a while you realise that where morals and ethics get drawn is relative to how much money is on the table. The more money the greater the greed and the greater the willingness to turn a blind eye to the suffering of others and damage to ecosystems. Try to seperate those making billions on tar sands from their super wealth and you'll have so many lawyers serving you with lawsuits you'll beg for forgiveness and shut up permanently.

Look at Oprah when she aired a show telling people of the pitfalls of eating red meat. She got sued by the meat industry, and she won, but the result was she never said anything again and no one else on tv does either about meat being bad for people's health. Why? Because of the billions of profits selling a product that causes heart disease.

...said Canada's environment minister, Stéphane Dion, in an interview.

Dion was Canadian Environment Minister in the Liberal government from 2004 to 2006.

Stéphane Dion on the Kyoto Protocol:

"Everyone is saying target, target. But ... it is to be more than to reach a target. It's to change the economy. It's to have resource productivity, energy efficiency when we know that energy will be the next crisis for the economy of the world.... All my ministries will be green. Maybe I'll make one department of industry and the environment – a department of sustainability. That's not a commitment, but if you want to change the mind, you have to change structure...."

English is not his first language, but still, it's not surprising the Liberal Party lost votes when he was Liberal leader from 2006 to 2008. He is still a Member of Parliament, but the Liberal Party came third in the last election. If anything, his replacement Michael Ignatieff, was an even less capable politician than Dion was.

Are these waves of drought seen each year now a sign of accelerated climate change?

I saw a climatologist on TV and she explained that the warmer the atmosphere gets the more water vapor it can hold, and more rainfall that precipitates. This increase she said was about 5%. The problem, as she explained it, is we'll get a huge deluge or even several downpours in a certain region, but very little rainfall in an adjacent region. The result is more flooding and droughts. In other words rainfall patterns are being tipped from reasonably and predictably stable into greater variability.

She said this change described above is due mostly to added carbon emissions into the atmosphere from human activities. Yes, this is climate change.

trying to remember where I read it, but I read an extraordinary statement about the current Chinese drought with flood. It said at the same time (and same place) we have a 200year (flash) flood in a hundred year drought!

Flash flooding in times of drought is not actually that unusual. The amount of plant cover on the soil is usually lower in a drought, and often the soil surface has become a hard crust, so the rainfall runoff coefficient ( and the one hour unit hydrograph if you want to get really technical) increases compared to "normal"

After the flash floods, the water that did soak in generates some new plant growth, which both cover the (remaining) soil and start to break up the surface crust. If there are follow up rains, the runoff will be lower, and infiltration higher, until you get so much rain that the soil is saturated, at which time runoff starts increasing again. This is what happened with last years floods in Australia - the multi year drought had broken earlier in the year,and then steady rains in Oct and Nov lead to saturated soils, and more rain caused the widespread flooding.

Natural gas can play major role in greenhouse gas reduction

The study — managed by the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) and carried out by a team of Institute faculty, staff and graduate students — examined the scale of U.S. natural gas resources and the potential of this fuel to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The study found that, contrary to best estimates of a decade or so ago, natural gas supplies are abundant and should be ample for even greatly expanded use of the fuel in coming decades. This is largely the result of the development of “unconventional” sources, such as shale gas. Because of its abundance, widespread distribution and advantages in cost and emissions, use of natural gas is expected to increase substantially under virtually all scenarios involving national policies, regulations and incentives, the study notes.

…The study group suggests that U.S. national security interests will be served by policies that encourage integration of the presently fragmented global natural gas markets, and calls for better integration of such issues into the conduct of foreign policy.

Full Report: http://web.mit.edu/mitei/research/studies/documents/natural-gas-2011/Nat...

After reviewing many of the MIT Energy Initiative Reports, I’ve come to the conclusion that MIT has been bought and paid for by the energy industries (Coal, Nuclear, Natural Gas, & Oil). Over and over, cornicopian industry PR is repeated verbatim. Critical analysis of data seems to be wanting.

Somehow I expected better of MIT.

Yeah, MIT has sometimes lately written pretty conservative stuff. Or are they simply being Realists?

OTOH if domestic gas is burned, maybe MIT counts the lesser consumption of resources for various wars as well as not-so-large increase in world population (due to lesser oil revenue in various states), as a positive side effect, in their model? Voila.

Aggressive fungus strikes Joplin tornado victims

A Joplin doctor said Thursday his hospital treated five Joplin tornado victims for a rare, aggressive fungal infection sometimes found in survivors of other natural disasters.

Downtown Detroit power is returning in wake of outage, city says

Power is being restored to portions of Detroit affected by a blackout, city officials said, but the outage is still causing hardships for some, including area high schools planning end-of-the-year celebrations.

Detroit Chief Operating Officer Chris Brown said one of three major transmission lines had been repaired by noon today by crews working through the night, and they’re working on the other two. City workers will be restoring power, building by building, with the goal of having everything operational by this afternoon, he said.
Problems with the Detroit Public Lighting system began at 8 p.m. Wednesday when the first transmission line malfunctioned. As repairs were being made, the other lines blew out Thursday afternoon, one at 1:40 p.m. and another at 1:50 p.m., Brown said.

Detroit Public Lighting used to generate and distribute electricity from the Mistersky Power Plant, which appears to be an oil fired plant on the river west of Ambassador bridge. It is mostly or totally shut down and most power is purchased via feeders from Detroit Edison. Detroit Public Lighting distributes power to government and other public buildings, the Detroit People Mover monorail, etc. Detroit Public Lighting is owned and operated by the City of Detroit.

From Congression Research Service

The Motor Vehicle Supply Chain: Effects of the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami (pdf)

...IHS Global Insight, a global consulting firm, forecasts that over 4 million units of vehicle production will be lost because of the disasters in Japan, with 90% of them from Japanese automakers. It is possible that a shortage of some popular Japanese vehicles may develop over the summer in the United States.

There is a wealth of detailed info on the impact on both automotive and electronic industries in Japan

A while back I had my Prius at the dealers for the 60,000mile service. I always chat with the saleman. He can't get any cars (or very few anyway). He had one Prius on the lot (normally would have 10-20), and it was being prepped for delivery. Seems Prius production is hit especially hard.

Prius is mainly made in Japan a lot of the component parts. Assembly only happens in the US for Japanese cars, but the Prius is made in Japan and assembled there. They were going to make Prius in CA, but you know. They did not want to pay people in CA a living wage to make the car so they put the plant in MS were they dont pay those folks very much. LOL. No one drives a Prius in MS. Kind of funny, sad and ironic. Even in the US we have our slave wage labor camps.


BELLE CHASSE, La. (AP) -- The National Wildlife Federation says tests at Louisiana State University indicate that the oil slick spotted earlier this week off Plaquemines Parish was fresh South Louisiana crude, rather than oil from last year's BP spill.

Parish President Billy Nungesser said Wednesday that he thought the slick spotted off the coast near Venice was from the Deepwater Horizon spill, because there hadn't been any recent reports to the Coast Guard of oil spilled in the area.

But the federation says on its blog that it gave samples to LSU professor emeritus Ed Overturn, who reports that it was local crude. He told the federation that it still contained light volatiles indicating that it had not been in the Gulf of Mexico long when a boat captain collected it.

Ancient wheat plague threatens world crops anew

...The disease is now widespread in eastern Africa and threatens to move deep into the Middle East and Asia, where it could wipe out farms, cause rising bread prices and unleash fresh political and economic unrest, experts say.

Already, the strain has shown up in Iran and in Yemen, Osama bin Laden's ancestral homeland that has plunged into political turmoil in the past five months amid deadly fighting over the future of the country.

"From Yemen, the wind currents are such that it could be carried to almost any part of the world -- winds blow into south Asia, they blow into central Asia, they blow into Europe even," Coffman told AFP.

Also: Years of work loom to save world wheat from fungus

and Scientists at wheat symposium suggest growing risk to wheat crops; warn of need to replace wheat in fields in path of evolving pathogen

Global Wheat Rust Symposium

I am a "drill, baby, drill" not because I believe there is any significant amount of oil in the US but because I want to see this excuse disposed of. Please "drill, baby, drill" get it out of your system and let's get down to discussing the real situation.

Aw ed, they'll just come up with some other idiotic phrase or notion, or blame the government for hiding where the real oil is...

Remember, these are people who think Obama is Muslim and foreign born, who don't believe on evolution or global warming...evidence is no hindrance to belief for them.

They hid all the oil under government buildings and placed nature preserves deliberately on the good oil fields. You know ... the usual rhetoric that is worthless come October. LOL

It is just a manipulative game.
See, the * won't tell us where the leprechaun's pot of gold is.
So the * is/are responsible for all of this misery.
If ONLY the * would SIMPLY let us get at the gold.
Then we could all be rich and it would be the 1950's again.

Duke of Earl:

How to Negotiate Like A Pro
Little Susy Newsykins "Pretty Please":

"It's a two party system! You'll have to vote for ONE of us!"
-Citizen Kang-
The Simpsons

* Democrats, left, tree-huggers, greens, non-believers, socialists, enviros, dupes, unionists, teachers, academics, egg-heads

I have always thought Citizen Kang was the best piece of satire (out of many) that the Simpsons ever produced.

The line in there "it doesn't matter which one of us you vote for, either way your planet is doomed!" pretty much hits the nail on the head.

I hope this gets lots of airplay next year!

Here's an interesting article:


Thanks to the trillions of dollars that the Chinese have made flooding our shores with cheap products, China is now in a position of tremendous economic power. So what is China going to do with all of that money? One thing that they have decided to do is to buy up pieces of the United States and set up "special economic zones" inside our country from which they can continue to extend their economic domination. One of these "special economic zones" would be just south of Boise, Idaho and the Idaho government is eager to give it to them.

Wow! If they can't get the North American Oil to come to them, they'll just come to the Oil!

In preparation, I've had my two kids (7 and 8) in Chinese language class at the local University.

The US has lost sovereignty over its money.
The US has lost sovereignty over its foreign policy.
The US is willing to loose sovereignty over its land.

Well... it is time for change.

Here's an interesting article:

China's power crunch may add to US price rises
By Meng Jing, Zhong Nan and Zhang Yuwei / China Daily / June 9, 2011

BEIJING - With a great economy, comes great power. When China, then the world's seventh-largest economy, had its worst blackouts seven years ago, other countries could hardly feel anything except a pinch of short-term undersupply caused by suspended production.

But this time, the second-largest economy has a robust development and closer trade ties with all the major players in the world. Now when China suffers - this year's blackout are supposed to be worse than 2004 - the rest of the world will feel its pain, especially its largest exporting destinations, the United States and the European Union.

... With the arrival of the last straw, the severe power shortage, which has led to a rise in electricity prices and is likely to push up prices of other commodities, it seems impossible for the world's second-largest economy to remain a cheap goods exporter.

... More than 10 provinces in China have been hit badly by the power shortages. Suffering regions include cities in West China, Central China and export hubs in coastal China.

Power cuts and blackouts in the Pearl River Delta and the Yangtze River Delta started in March, several months earlier than usual. The most difficult time is yet to come, when more and more energy-hungry air conditioners kick in with the rising temperature.

The State Grid, China's main electricity distribution company, warned last month that the electricity shortfall this summer may be as high as 40 gigawatts (gW), surpassing the 2004 record.

In Cixi city, East China's Zhejiang province, blackouts started in mid-March this year, compared to September of last year.

Power rationing happens two days every five days, usually lasting 12 hours, in the chemical fiber production hub in coastal China. ... [more]

E. Coli Outbreak
Scientists 'Find EHEC Bacteria at Sprout Farm'

Health authorities in Germany have finally been able to show that the pathogens which caused the deadly EHEC outbreak came from sprouts at an organic farm in the Uelzen district. According to SPIEGEL ONLINE information, the breakthrough was made by scientists in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Final verification, however, is still pending.

Sprouts Not Healthy Food for Everyone from the CDC.

Ironically I was reading a diatribe about banning raw milk sales earlier today. Raw milk was too dangerous to be allowed. Given all the trouble with vegetable hygiene lately, it looks like the produce section in the supermarket should be closed down as well, by the same logic. All vegetables should be cooked to shapeless and textureless mush, just like Mother used to make.

I later found out the reason her generation did that was protection from botulism in case the home canning was a bit off, so there was a method in the madness.

For the record, I grew up on a dairy farm and am a product of raw milk, as are most of my relatives. None of us seemed to be harmed from it, and none of us have asthma or autoimmune problems either. However, Dad would not have let us drink milk from a dodgy cow either. The risk is real enough, but not up to the histrionic levels often bandied about.

I am a similar product of raw milk on the farm - milked by hand for many years!

All we did was make sure that we didn't drink the milk until a week after the cow had calved (for all the colustrum to get out of the milk) and then just maintain good cow hygiene, and refrigerate the milk promptly, and use it within a few days.

But selling it is a different story, and there is potential for things to go wrong, though we had neighbours that milked and sold raw goats milk for years (legally) and never had any problems.

Hand milkig, one of the worst jobs there is... The milking machine is a very usefull invention and the compressor chiller is another sweat saver compared with sawing lake ice into slabs in the winter, piling the slabs, insulate the pile with sawdust and use the stored ice to chill summer milk.

We allways used our own milk within a day or two and the hand skimmed cream within another day or two. The natural antibiotics that are active for about 48 h also helps the chilled milk to keep. Allways chill it immediately after milking and the milk must be used while fresh.

I grew up on a farm and colostrum or rather the milk after the first milking or two were a delicacy. At first it is often some blood in it as the udder starts its milk production and the first milkings is not used for human consumption. When the first milking were hygienically nice looking we saved any excess in the freezer to have it at hand when we needed it for a calfs first meal, they need the antibodies for their immune system and the set of germs and thus the antibodies are unique for each flock of cows.

Here is a recipie for the Swedish "kalvdans" pudding:

Mix yellow colostrum milk with ordinary milk and test small ammounts of it in a pot on very low heat until it sets to the consistency you want, it usually ends up with around a 50/50 mix.
Too rich and it gets rubbery, to lean and it wont set, just right and you also wont get a separation out of a runny whey(?) liquid.

It can be sesoned with small ammounts of sugar, cinnamon or cardamom, I prefer cinnamon.

Let it set in a pan in an oven at 150-175 C for 30-50 minutes preferably with a pan in a water bath.

It makes a good dessert or smaller meal served with milk, jam or berries, it can be served both warm and cold.

Its rich in protein and minerals and is regarded as a healthy and nutritious food that can be used if you are ill and cant eat as much as you should.

I don;t think the hand milking was that bad - can be quite relaxing, actually. But then, we were only milking one or two cows. In fact, when doing just one cow, I could hand milk it in less time than it took to use the machine - by the time you do pre-wash it, and then do the post use wash and sanitise, it was faster to just do it by hand - and the cows like it more too.

On a commercial dairy farm it is a whole different story, of course.

We followed pretty much the same routine, the milk was always used within 48hrs, and the cream three days - and when you are milking every day, there is no need to keep it any longer. The home made butter was better than anything you could ever buy.

We used hand milking as an occasional emergency routine for a single cow, never got any practice and they were anyway bred for machine milking with smaller teast, smaller teats makes for better health. They were not comfortable with hand milking since they were used to machine milking and that made it much harder. Healt were the only breeding goal more important then milk quantity in the Swedish breeding programs.

How did you pre and post wash for it to take some time? We used a single use moist wipe for each cow and wiped each teat while massaging the udder to get the milk to be released and after the milking we dipped each teat with an iodine solution, it dident take manny seconds. Cows with udder healt problems were milked last and the milk from anyone given penicilin were thrown away.

We had a small number of cows, about 50, now is the norm for new farmers 400-700 and most often robot milking. Much more then that and it gets impossible to follow the law about minimum time outdoors. These larger scale operations with free moving cows indors instead of fixed stabvels has on average better healt then we had with more manual work. Its a quite nice technology development with computerization and more capital equipment.

Well, 50 cows is a whole different story - you couldn't pay me enough to hand milk those! And 400-700 is the epitomy of factory farming - how can you know all your cows by name?

By pre and post wash I meant the milking machine itself. Our procedure was to pre wash with hot water + sanitiser, and then rinse, and do a post wash with hot water+sanitiser. So, that was more time than just go down with a clean bucket and milk the cow!

Plus, we were on first name basis with the three milking cows we had, and they really were happier with hand milking. All I needed to do was walk down to their paddock (field) and wave a bread bag, and they would come running up to the milking stall - though you would then have to give them a few slices of bread, preferably with molasses. They really were glorified pets - felt guilty about eating their calves!

Often. when we used the (single stand) machine, when it had finished, i could get more milk out by hand.

Since we were not a commercial farm we did things differently. leave the calf with cow during the day, and separate them in the evening, and then milk the cow in the morning (before going to school). By evening the cream had separated from the milk, and you could make butter and use it the next morning, which gave me the energy to milk the cows again!

My brother did work on a big (200 head ) dairy farm, and I was very dissapointed when I spent a couple of weeks working there - seemed very "factory farm" to me. but that's how they make the $$these days.

My brother and sister and I were the healthiest kids we knew - I am sure the rainwater and fresh milk we drank were the main reason for that.

Handmilking were one of the toughest farm chores in the pre electrified times.

Cooking does not make food safe from botulism poisoning.

The botulism bacteria can multiply in the impropely canned food, generating botulinum toxin. Subsequent heating and cooking of the canned food may kill any remaining bacteria, but it does not destroy the toxin, leaving the food as deadly as before.

Botulism can also be due to bacteria multiplying in the intestinal tract, like other bacterial food poisoning, but this is rare in adults. It is more likely due to the built up toxing produced before the food is eaten.

Perry's prayers go unanswered.


He thinks Iowans will vote for him despite his ethanol opposition.


I hope we are spared another President from Texas. The last 3 Texas Presidents managed to escalate/start 4 wars and nearly wreck the economy by the end of their terms.

Governor Perry will try harder wrt prayer:


Some of those American Family Association (AFA) cats are really out there...I wonder how Rick would dig on a theocracy?


I cannot believe I am saying this...but if came down to a Plain/Bachmann Presidency and a Perry/anyone else Presidency, I would take Palin.

At least she would be funny, in a gallows-humor kind of way. Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, The Colber Repor, etc would have a field day.

I find nothing humorous about Governor Perry.

And that has nothing to do with his being a Texas resident...plenty of fine folks there....not him, though.

"The missiles are flying...Hallelujah!"

Video clip of President Perry fulfilling his destiny:


Egyptian gas was resumed to Israel and Jordan after being off for 45 days. But earlier this year the gas was off for 38 days meaning that for the first 161 days of the year the gas was off for 83 or slightly more than half the days. [more]