Drumbeat: August 5, 2011

The Saudis Use Oil to Punish the Iranians

It’s no secret that Saudi Arabia and Iran are bitter rivals. The Sunni Saudis are deeply suspicious of Iran’s influence in Arab countries such as Bahrain and Iraq and want to weaken the Shiite republic, especially when it comes to both nations’ most important export: oil. “Iran is very vulnerable in the oil sector, and it is there that more could be done to squeeze the current government to join the world efforts toward peace,” said Prince Turki Al-Faisal, the ex-Saudi intelligence chief, in a speech at a Royal Air Force base on June 8.

Now the Saudis are showing how serious they are about hitting Iran where it hurts. Iran has long supplied four refiners in India, yet thanks to U.S. sanctions, the Indians have encountered ever-tougher obstacles to paying for their Iranian crude. Indian refiners used to settle payments with Iran through a regional organization called the Asian Clearing Union. Late last year the Indian central bank scuttled that arrangement out of fear Indian banks would be barred from doing business in the U.S.

US natgas rig count climbs by 6 to 883-Baker Hughes

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The number of rigs drilling for natural gas in the United States rose by six this week to 883, the third gain in four weeks, data from oil services firm Baker Hughes showed on Friday.

Iran fuel oil exports below 300KT for 2nd straight month

SINGAPORE: Iranian fuel oil inflows to East Asia are expected to stay at current low levels of less than 300,000 tons for September, as exports remain curbed by disruptions to the country's domestic natural gas supplies for a second consecutive month, traders said yesterday.

Blue crabs threatened by oil spills in Venezuela

(Reuters Life!) - Venezuelan fishermen inspect their catch of blue crabs on the edge of Lake Maracaibo, concerned about the greasy oil stains covering their shells.

The crustaceans will be processed and shipped to seafood restaurants in Maryland and New York where they are considered a delicacy. But scientists and fishermen in the state of Zulia in northwestern Venezuela worry that the crabs may not be safe for consumption.

Shell faces $410M payout over Nigeria oil spills

London (FT) -- Royal Dutch Shell faces having to pay compensation of potentially more than £250m ($410m) after the Anglo-Dutch oil group admitted liability for two spills in Nigeria following a legal claim brought in the UK.

Niger Delta pollution crisis

AFTER half a century of oil spills, Nigeria's troubled Niger Delta is one of the most polluted places on Earth, and it could take $US1 billion ($A940 million) and 30 years to clean up the mess, according to a UN report.

Analysis: Nigerian oil region's gloomy outlook unmoved by U.N.

(Reuters) - A landmark U.N. report on 50 years of oil pollution in Nigeria is unlikely to bring the change many had hoped for, after Shell and the national petroleum company went on the defensive and weary local communities said they had seen it all before.

Nigeria nationalizes 3 banks in corruption probe

ABUJA, Nigeria—Financial regulators in Nigeria say they have nationalized three banks that have been embroiled in a corruption scheme that nearly brought down the oil-rich nation's financial system.

Challenges Ahead on Arctic Drilling

It’s a good bet that the Department of Interior’s decision to grant approval to the Beaufort Sea drilling plan will be challenged. Up next: the administration’s decision on whether to let Shell drill in the Chukchi Sea, which is more remote. If it is approved, that could be challenged too. In fact, as I just indicated, Shell’s original lease sale there remains in the courts.

TransCanada shuts Keystone for maintenance: sources

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - TransCanada Corp's 591,000 barrel per day Keystone pipeline has been shut for scheduled maintenance, market sources said on Friday.

Tunisia strike causes Libya rebel fuel drought

ZLITEN, Libya - A strike at a refinery in neighbouring Tunisia threatens a fuel drought at Nafusa, a rebel mountain stronghold southwest of Tripoli where black market gasoline prices have skyrocketed.

Monterey Oil Shale Seen as Next Wave of U.S. E&P Efforts

California's Monterey shale oil play could become the next wave of U.S. exploration and production as high oil prices, and the sale of non-core assets by major oil and gas operators, has opened the door for smaller oil and gas companies to pursue the play.

Japan's Tohoku lost 1,000 MW hydro power due to rain

(Reuters) - Tohoku Electric Power Co said its 29 hydro power plants had been halted since late July when heavy rain in the Fukushima and Niigata prefectures of northern Japan damaged them, cutting its generation capacity by 1,000 megawatts from the pre-rain levels on July 27.

Southern Co. Sees Price Tag of at Least $13B for New EPA Rules

Southern Co., the largest U.S. power company, would need to spend $13 billion to $18 billion through 2020 upgrading its coal-fired plants if U.S. EPA goes ahead with new and proposed rules for the power sector, the utility said yesterday.

The high cost of healthy eating out of reach for many

SEATTLE – A healthy diet is expensive and could make it difficult for Americans to meet new U.S. nutritional guidelines, according to a study published Thursday that says the government should do more to help consumers eat healthier.

An update of what used to be known as a food pyramid in 2010 had called on Americans to eat more foods containing potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin D and calcium. But if they did that, the journal Health Affairs said, they would add hundreds more dollars to their annual grocery bill.

Richard Heinberg: Managing Contraction, Redefining Progress

Many analysts who focus on the problems of population growth, resource depletion, and climate change foresee gradually tightening constraints on world economic activity. In most cases the prognosis they offer is for worsening environmental problems, more expensive energy and materials, and slowing economic growth.

However, their analyses often fail to factor in the impacts to and from a financial system built on the expectation of further growth—a system that could come unhinged in a non-linear, catastrophic fashion as growth ends.

John Michael Greer: Salvaging Science

It’s worth noting, in fact, that the twilight of the contemporary cult of specialization is one of the implications of peak oil. A couple of decades ago, the mathematician Ilya Prigogine showed by way of dizzyingly complex equations that the flow of energy through a system tends to increase the complexity of the system over time. It’s a principle that’s seen plenty of application in biology, among other fields, but I don’t think it’s been applied to history as often as it should have. There does seem to be a broad positive correlation between the energy per capita available, on average, to the members of a human society, and the number of different occupational roles available to members of that society.

The Peak Oil Crisis: Parsing the GDP

Lost in the furor over the debt crisis last week came the news that the U.S. economy expanded at an annual rate of only 0.4 percent in the first quarter and 1.3 percent in the second. As these numbers were well below what economists were expecting, the revelation that the US was not coming out of the "great recession" was quite a shock for those who have not been paying attention.

Crude Oil Heads for Biggest Weekly Decline Since May Amid Rout on Economy

Oil fell to the lowest in eight months in New York, set for the biggest weekly decline since May, on speculation fuel demand will falter as U.S. economic growth falters and Europe’s debt crisis worsens.

...Crude for September delivery dropped as much as $3.76 to $82.87 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest intraday price since Nov. 26. The contract traded at $85.60 a barrel as of 11:05 a.m. London time. A close at that level would mean a fall of 11 percent this week, the biggest weekly drop since the first week in May.

OPEC To Meet If Prices Keep Falling-Iran OPEC Governor

LONDON -(Dow Jones)- Ministers in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will need to meet if prices continue falling, Iran's representative with the producers' group said Friday.

Exxon will need $1.3 bln for full capacity at Cepu-BPMigas

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp and its partners must invest $1.3 billion at the giant Cepu block if it aims to achieve full output capacity, Indonesia's oil and gas watchdog said, as the U.S. energy major tries to expedite crude recovery.

Syrian energy next sanctions target?

BRUSSELS (UPI) -- European diplomats alluded to the possibility that more sanctions could be brought against the Syrian energy sector as the crackdown continues, a source said.

As Syria seethes, protesters chant 'God is With Us'

(CNN) -- Violence raged across the Syrian city of Hama as anti-government protesters in other cities took to the streets on Friday against the embattled regime.

Hama endured steady shelling and bombing Friday morning as the government's military offensive continued in full wing said a resident whose name is not being released for safety reasons. The man said casualties occurred.

Retreating Gadhafi forces leave behind deadly mines

Qawalish, Libya (CNN) -- The front lines of Libya's grinding war weave through the western mountains and around Zlitan, the last city east of Tripoli still under the grip of strongman Moammar Gadhafi.

In many places that Gadhafi's forces have fled, they've left behind deadly fields of mines -- tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of them, say the rebels.

Libyan war presents opportunity for Iraqi oil sector

The conflict in Libya that has blocked ports and pipelines could be a boon for Iraq.

As the civil war in the North African nation approaches the six-month mark, Iraq is enjoying increased security and is pursuing a target to pump as much oil a day as Saudi Arabia.

Hurricane Season Is Looking More Serious

On average, 11 named storms strike the Atlantic basin each year, six of which become hurricanes and two major hurricanes with winds exceeding 111 miles an hour. In May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said there was a 65 percent chance that the 2011 hurricane season, which began on June 1, would be above average. It predicted 12 to 18 named storms and six to 10 hurricanes.

Japan, China shut ports in path of powerful typhoon

(Reuters) - Japan and China have suspended some operations at several oil, dry bulk and container ports ahead of a powerful typhoon that could be one of the worst in the area for years, industry officials said on Friday.

Ports in Japan's Okinawa island closed as Typhoon Muifa neared its shores, while China's ports in Ningbo and Zhoushan cut operations as forecasters predicted they would be hit over the weekend.

US opens ways for Shell drilling in Arctic Ocean

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US officials have granted Anglo-Dutch energy giant Shell conditional approval to begin drilling exploration wells in the Arctic Ocean from next year, in a move swiftly slammed by conservationists as "inexcusable."

Global LNG-Asian LNG Sept demand filled, buyers look to winter

(Reuters) - Asian liquefied natural gas (LNG) spot prices for September remained just under $15 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) during the week, with most buying for the month done, and buyers looking to fill cargoes for October and beyond.

"The demand has been filled... September buying seems to be done now," one market source said.

India's MRPL to get two Aug Iran oil cargoes-sources

NEW DELHI, Aug 5 (Reuters) - India's Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd will get at least two August cargoes from Iran, two sources familiar with the issue said on Friday, after it restarted payments through a Turkish bank following a seven-month gap.

India and Iran have struggled since December to find ways for New Delhi to pay for imports, after India's central bank stopped payments through the Asian Clearing Union (ACU) mechanism under U.S. pressure.

Report: Major oil pipeline explodes in western Iran

(CNN) -- The largest oil pipeline in Iran exploded and caught fire Friday morning, the semi-official Mehr News Agency reported.

The cause of the blast in western Iran was not known.

No flow cuts from Iran pipe blast

An explosion on an pipeline in oil-rich south-western Iran on Friday has not caused any output cut, an official from the National Iranian Oil Company said.

Tanker Demolitions Slowing Creates Worst Glut in 29 Years: Freight Markets

Demolitions of supertankers, which carry about 20 percent of the world’s oil, are slowing as ship owners accept unprofitable rates rather than write off assets, creating the industry’s biggest glut in 29 years.

Exxon Mobil Ends Oil Output at Xikomba Field in Angola

Exxon Mobil Corp.’s Angolan operating unit is ceasing production at its Xikomba oil field as the deposit’s life cycle of about seven years is “ending now,” said Fernando Pegado, a company spokesman.

A Tainted Water Well, and Concern There May Be More

Industry executives as well as regulators have said that fracking has never contaminated underground drinking water. But there is at least one documented case.

Washington does not need to help feed China's coal habit

Two proposed coal terminals in Washington are drawing opposition for their potential impact on global greenhouse gases, Puget Sound's health and disruptions by daily coal trains in local towns and cities.

Indian Point May Enlist Giuliani as Defender

This has been a tough year for the long-beleaguered Indian Point nuclear plant. In January, a longtime critic, Andrew M. Cuomo, was sworn in as governor, and proceeded to push for the facility to be shuttered because of its proximity to New York City and its susceptibility to earthquakes and terrorist attacks. Then, in March, a tsunami precipitated a reactor meltdown in Japan, stoking new fears about the safety of nuclear power plants, especially those near population centers.

Now, Indian Point’s owners, confronted by that intensified political opposition and public unease, are preparing a public relations campaign. And, seeking a way to counteract the determined governor, they are turning for help to a tough-talking former New York mayor, Rudolph W. Giuliani.

How Did Those Vermont Fish Get Radioactive?

“Hey, don’t look at us” has been Entergy Corporation’s response to the discovery of Strontium-90 in fish from the Connecticut River.

But the contamination, revealed this week by the Vermont Department of Health, promises to complicate the utility’s effort to extend the license of its aging Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant.

Past peak oil - life after cheap fossil fuels

Oil is the most strategic raw material. It can hardly be overstated how crucial petroleum is to our modern industrial society. Oil fuels the economy. It is the largest single traded product in the world. It provides about 95 per cent of all transportation fuels and 40 per cent of global energy. Oil is also determinant of national security. Today's modern armies are entirely dependent on oil-powered ships, planes, helicopters and armoured vehicles. Oil also supplies feedstock for thousands of manufactured products and is vital for food manufacturing. Some 17 per cent of our energy is used for producing food. Modern agriculture makes heavy use of oil in a variety of ways. We use oil for fertilisers, pesticides, and for the packaging and distribution of food.

Peak Oil Perceptions: How Americans View the Risks of Major Spikes in Oil Prices

A strong majority of Americans say it is likely that oil prices will triple in the coming five years and that such a tripling would be harmful both to the economy and to public health. Conservatives and those dismissive of climate change are among the most concerned by the threat of a major spike in oil prices, suggesting that a broad cross section of Americans may be ready to engage in dialogue about ways to manage the risks associated with peak petroleum.

Peak oil was thirty years ago

The Oil Peak that actually mattered was the peak in consumption per person, which took place back in 1980 at 5.3 barrels per person per year. Since then, consumption per person has dropped to 4.4 barrels per person per year. Given the growth of demand in Asia, consumption per person in the countries that were already rich in 1980 has fallen much faster. Meanwhile living standards have risen substantially, unconstrained by declining consumption per person of oil, and of energy more generally.

FAA Shutdown Leaves Hidden Blessings For Energy-Constrained U.S.

One early casualty of the federal budget battles is continued funding for air transit programs. The FAA has partially shut down until Congress can re-authorize its budget. I've had the displeasure of listening to coverage of this episode on NPR, where it's portrayed as some kind of disaster. I prefer to look on the bright side.

Panem et Circenses: The insidious nature of social decline

With modern industrial society bumbling along from one crisis to the next, perhaps it is time that we used history, rather than misguided economic theories, as a guide to meeting both current and future challenges. Of course history never repeats itself exactly, but as suggested by Mark Twain, it certainly rhymes. An examination of the decline of the Roman Empire and our current circumstances would indicate that in many ways we are repeating their mistakes, in particular our addiction to bread and circuses over a realistic appraisal of industrial society’s current predicament.

Finding the Potential in Vacant Lots

CLEVELAND - THIS city contains 20,000 vacant lots, more or less. Probably more. Every year, demolition crews knock down another 1,000 houses. And the housing market being what it is, few souls are returning.

A vacant lot may be a lot of things: an eyesore, a dump, a symbol of American industrial decline. But one thing it is not is vacant. When we leave a yard behind, the bulk of the biomass does not follow us in a U-Haul. Put another way, a dandelion is unmoved by foreclosure. It lingers where it pleases.

Will North America be the new middle east?

There’s an even bigger reason to oppose the pipeline, one that should be on the minds of even those of us who live thousands of miles away: Alberta’s tar sands are the continent’s biggest carbon bomb. Indeed, they’re the second largest pool of carbon on planet Earth, following only Saudi Arabia’s slowly dwindling oilfields.

A small community of some six hundred or so souls has invested $2 million dollars in local wind power.

First community-owned wind turbine creates power

Nova Scotia's first community-owned wind turbine began producing power over the weekend on Spiddle Hill in the Tatamagouche area.

The power now being generated is fed into a nearby Nova Scotia Power substation.

"The power is entering the local distribution system for Tatamagouche so it will run from Earltown all the way to Tatamagouche. The amount of power it will produce over a year on average is about 300 homes worth," said David Swan, of the Cumberland-Colchester Windfield.


"It's a great incentive for Nova Scotians to realize that this can be done and that their investment money can stay in Nova Scotia and work in Nova Scotia," she said.

Planning is already underway for a second turbine on Spiddle Hill.

See: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/story/2011/08/04/ns-community-...

Additional coverage on our local news programme begins at 09:40 mark at: http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/News/Local_News/NS/1317909223/ID=2081723419

It seems local residents are justifiably proud of their accomplishments.


Paul - And proud they should be. I know it's a gross generalization but Canadians have always struck me as more willing to throw themslves personally into solving a problem. Unlike many US citizens who are satisfied to just stand there with their hands in the pockets waiting for someone, typically the feds, to come take care of them. I'm sure there was a small core leadership that pulled the rest of the folks willingly into the project. Such leaders seem to be coming more scarce every day. Or maybe I've finally graduated from the "Old Fart School" and can only whine about the good ole days now.

Such action taken by the community is highly laudable, though in the US would be decried by many as Marxist. And in my state, the electrical utility would resist any attempts in a similar project to allow it to tie into the local grid with endless paperwork, prohibitive fees, and perpetual stonewalling.

Rockman wrote: Unlike many US citizens who are satisfied to just stand there with their hands in the pockets waiting for someone, typically the feds, to come take care of them.

Or the invisible hand of the free market, which has been increasingly thumbing its nose at them.

I had always got the impression that first generation immigrants are more than keen to roll up their sleeves and get to work doing something useful and being proactive in finding solutions to life's conundrums. By the time enough generations have passed that the person has lost his/her emotional attachment to being an immigrant then they just slack it like the rest.

It's a rather nice feature for a pick-pocket; having an invisible hand.

Dated information, but about a third of Danish WTs were owned by co-ops. Typically a group of city dwellers and a farmer. The farmer gave the land for a slice of the deal.

As one said "They are much prettier when each turn puts a krona in my pocket".

There are many opportunities to put =<1 MW small hydro plants on the sites of old water wheels as well (almost 100 on Prince Edward Island).

Best Hopes,


Not sure if this is true.

Americans have always been pretty solution oriented. In fact that's one unique quality about America, our obsession with finding solutions to everything.

I think America is more suffering from imperial bloat/overstretch and now the associated decline. America has had it too easy for too long - trade debt for oil without any consequences, fight wars without consequences, consume like there's no tomorrow without consequences.

Well, the consequences are coming now.

Fantastic and Huzzah!

I hope community based PV also starts to become popular for sunny areas.

Great to see. We're working on another here: www.lifecoop.ca. Membership is open to any resident of Ontario. Best hopes indeed.

There was absolute jubilation on CNBC this morning when it was announced that the unemployment rate moved down to 9.1% in July verses 9.2% in June. You would think everyone had just won the lottery. Dow futures jumped 150 points on the news though they have pulled back a few points since then.

But the most incredible thing I have ever heard come out of a major CEO's mouth was stated about 8 minutes earlier than the jobs report came out. It was from Jim McCaughan, CEO of Principal Global Investors.

All that QE2 was doing was inflating commodity prices into a bubble. $4 gasoline killed more jobs in America than anything else.

He was probably correct about gasoline prices killing jobs but he blamed high oil prices on QE2. Oil prices are about $20 a barrel higher outside America, how does he explain that one. Did QE2 inflate oil prices in Germany or Japan? And of course he is probably completely ignorant of the fact that the oil supply has not increased in six years.

Why are so many big executives, along with just about all Wall Street, completely oblivious of the effect stalled oil production is having on the world's economies? Do they have a blind spot here? How can anyone who follows world oil prices blame high oil prices in the US economic policy while ignoring even higher oil prices everywhere else in the world?

Ron P.

Maybe McCaughan understands the relationship between price and demand.

Maybe all of those millions of paper barrels represent demand. Speculative, yes, but money is exchanged.

Note how quickly the barrel price fell yesterday. That's not consumer demand, that's speculative demand leaving the market.

I know... you will tell me I am ignorant. That each contract represents a buyer and a seller and the gain/loss is between those holders.

But I maintain the street price reflects all demand: both speculative and physical.
If there are more speculators, demand rises, and so does the street price.

Maybe all of those millions of paper barrels represent demand.

Or perhaps lack of demand? You are aware, or I hope you are aware, that the NYMEX traded WTI is about $22 cheaper than Brent or oil prices in Europe. Are you trying to say that speculation is keeping US oil prices down? No I don't think that is what you are trying to say. Ironically, I think you are saying that speculators represent demand, high demand, therefore they are driving prices up.

More oil speculators trade the WTI contract than any other contract in the World, by a wide margin. How are WTI speculators keeping other crude grades over $20 higher than the contracts they are trading? I need an answer to that poser real bad.

Ron P.

Edit: Since the WTI-Brent spread moved so high, as well as the WTI-World price spread, now above $20, there has been a dearth of people claiming that speculators are driving prices up. They have been notably silent as of late. I am surprised that a few people out there still make that silly claim. But I must say I do miss the "Speculators are causing it all" rant. Glad that a couple are still around who haven't heard the news. ;-)

Brent Oil’s Record Open Interest Threatens WTI: Energy Markets

Jan 26, 2011 -- Rising purchases of Brent crude contracts have driven holdings of the European benchmark oil grade to the highest level in five months relative to New York futures as investors bet it’s a better gauge of global demand.

Open interest, the number of contracts that haven’t been closed or delivered, for Brent futures rose to a record 968,565 on Jan. 21, data from London-based ICE Futures Europe show. The ratio of the European marker to West Texas Intermediate oil positions on the New York Mercantile Exchange climbed to 65 percent, 15 percentage points above the five-year average and the most since Aug. 2, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Investors are piling into Brent as new supplies from Canada build up at the U.S. oil hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, skewing its reliability as an indicator of demand because of the lack of exit pipelines to the sea. TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone link may pump as much as 156,000 barrels of crude to Cushing from next month, according to Vienna-based JBC Energy GmbH. Cushing is the delivery point for Nymex futures.

Looking for current volumes of futures and options, but I wouldn't be surprised if Brent volume exceeded WTI volume.

WTI only applies to the midwest. East coast, west coast and gulf prices follow Brent, so that is where the action is.

Crack Between Oil Contracts Grows

Delta Air Lines Inc. and oil producers in Brazil and Colombia, among others, have switched from trading WTI to Brent.

Trading volumes are starting to reflect a growing embrace of Brent, though WTI still has the edge. IntercontinentalExchange Inc. reported a 23% rise in trading volumes of Brent compared to a year earlier. CME reported a 14% decrease in WTI volumes in the same period.

It appears that actual buyers and sellers of oil are hedging using the Brent contract, while financial speculators are even more predominant in the WTI market.

Nope. From your link: Open interest, the number of contracts that haven’t been closed or delivered, for Brent futures rose to a record 968,565 on Jan. 21, data from London-based ICE Futures Europe show.

Ice volume can be found here: ICE Reports 14% Increase in Futures Average Daily Volume for July

   ICE Futures Contracts & Markets Monthly ADV (Average Daily Volume)
        Product Line                              ADV       ADV       ADV
                                                 July      July      % Change
                                                 2011      2010

        ICE Brent Crude futures & options       455,038   349,930   30.0

WTI Light Sweet Crude Monthly Chart. As you can see the average daily volume, according to this chart, has been running about 1,200,000 contracts per day and open interest has been averaging about 1,300,000 contracts per day.

Note: The Monthly and Weekly chart will give you the continuous price for the close contract and the average daily volume and open interest for all contracts while the daily chart gives you the volume and open interest for the near term (September) contract only. Also open interest usually averages about 200,000 more contracts during the day than after the open outcry market closes at 2:30 Eastern time each day.

I would wager, big money, that more WTI crude oil contracts are traded than all other crude oil contracts traded around the world combined. It doesn't matter that it is only about oil in and out of Cushing, that is where the contract trading action is. Of course Brent crude is more representative of world oil prices than WTI. But as far as where the futures trading action is, that is unimportant because, as I have argued for years, the futures market does not set world oil prices, supply and demand does.

Ron P.

The number of contracts being traded and even the volumes being traded are more or less irrelevant to the different prices of WTI vs. Brent oil.

What is relevant is that WTI is a landlocked oil with no easy way to make it to a seaport, whereas Brent is a seaborne oil which can go anywhere in the world.

At this particular point in time, US oil consumption is down, mostly due to the very dismal state of the US economy. At the same time, the amount of oil going into the WTI market is increasing as Canadian oil sands production ramps up and North Dakota production from the Bakken Shale increases, both driven by the better economics of high prices.

At the same time, consumption in the rest of the world is increasing as developing economies such as China demand more and more oil. However, production is not increasing to match. Libya is off production due to the violence there, and the other major oil producers do not seem to be able to increase production to match the demand.

The result is two drastically different market prices. If a sufficiently large pipeline was built to move oil from the WTI market into the Brent market, the prices would equalize, but no such pipeline exists yet.

There was absolute jubilation on CNBC this morning when it was announced that the unemployment rate moved down to 9.1% in July verses 9.2% in June.

Who believes this nonsense other than CNBC and maybe the NYT? If past is prologue, the numbers will be revised downward in 2 months.

The gov't. could simply tally FICA flows. Easily done. If FICA payments and payers increase: ==> higher employment. But otherwise... the employment numbers are no better than the housing numbers, ... or the body counts in Afghanistan for that matter.

The widening gap between official (U-3) unemployment and the U-6 since 2008 is notable. From Shadowstats


Alternate Unemployment Charts

The seasonally-adjusted SGS Alternate Unemployment Rate reflects current unemployment reporting methodology adjusted for SGS-estimated long-term discouraged workers, who were defined out of official existence in 1994. That estimate is added to the BLS estimate of U-6 unemployment, which includes short-term discouraged workers.

The U-3 unemployment rate is the monthly headline number. The U-6 unemployment rate is the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) broadest unemployment measure, including short-term discouraged and other marginally-attached workers as well as those forced to work part-time because they cannot find full-time employment.

It's remarkable how TPTB can just make folks disappear. Poof!

"Who believes this nonsense other than CNBC and maybe the NYT? If past is prologue, the numbers will be revised downward in 2 months."

Yeah, Will, it seems that investors are no longer buying the official ploy to minimize the situation. Markets quickly moved back into negative territory after absorbing this mornings 'jubilant news'. "Fool me once..."

I thought about this some. Maybe former two-worker families are now slowly converting to one-worker families. A discouraged worker may decide that since their spouse or partner works then they can work in the "other" economy under the table and stops looking for work. The Gov turns a blind eye and calls that "not unemployed." The new way to lower unemployement. The stats are not able to show that cash flows to families are being decimated by this trend if it were true.

That is the average time to get a job. It is also telling.

This is gov data I believe but it shows that a lower percentage of people are working.

While Gov jobs are being axed, private sector are up but basically the two types of jobs cancel each other out.


For sixty years the time average time it took a person to find a job averaged about 15 weeks. Now it has shot up to over 40 weeks. Higher than it has been since, I suppose, the great depression. These are not normal times. But people still expect normal times to return. I really don't think so.

Ron P.

the simple answer is that there was a period in 2009 when the economy shoved 7 million people out of the workforce and then stopped creating jobs.

--- http://rortybomb.wordpress.com/2011/08/02/a-quick-note-on-the-long-term-...

The question I've been searching for is exactly who got shoved out of the workforce. I sincerely appreciate that it is 7 million. Is it presumptive of me to think that if you knew it was 7 million, you would also know who it was?

Is it illegal immigrants, or high-school teachers, or factory manufacturing, or entry-level managers, or whatever...

Anyway, who lost 7 million jobs?

Anyway, who lost 7 million jobs?

I was one of the losers back in 2008, since then I've had to reinvent myself a few times over. Somehow I've managed to survive.

I attribute part of my success to a certain psychological resilience due to much lower expectations which in turn were a consequence to my becoming peak oil aware. That and the fact that I have lived in other parts of the world and experienced other cultures outside of the US. I have experienced other ways of doing things on much less than what most people here consider absolutely essential.

Oh, and I had thrown out my TV back in 2005! If I had one recommendation I'd suggest everyone start there >;^)

There was absolute jubilation on CNBC this morning when it was announced that the unemployment rate moved down to 9.1% in July verses 9.2% in June.<-i>

This confirms my long held belief that there are no real financial analysts on CNBC - only cheerleaders.

Happy face-bobble heads

It's truly amazing at this point, Ron, the denial, the cluelessness. I don't have any answers for it. How supposedly well educated people, people educated in business and economics can be so out of touch regarding basic facts, causes and consequences.
I'm an intelligent guy, but not THAT intelligent, and I studied Fine Arts, not business, not economics and yet it's blindingly obvious to me what's going on.

Like you, this morning, while watching the circus called "Squawk Box", while tying my shoes to go to work, I briefly watched a little bit of the utter nonsense. As Joe & the gang argued over P/E ratios and whether or not the market is over valued or under valued, it all hit me as another one of those arguments, "over what tune the band should be playing while the Titanic sinks" moments. Why is anyone arguing over this stuff? Are there people (non-professionals) out there SO stupid at this juncture that they actually still OWN equities? Joe & Co. apparently think that it's the most natural thing in the world for the average person to still have faith and be vested in an obviously broken system. How out of touch can people get? I don't know.

Well, the market went back down. So much for less than an hour of euphoria. The CNBC folks are cheerleaders, nothing more. Any real insight into the market must be garnered elsewhere. These people also know that the vast majority of volume is from institutions and computerized trading. The retail investor substantially left the market after the 2008 recession. So they are desperate to get the retail investor interested because that's where the viewers are. The way things are going, CNBC will disappear for lack of interest.

Cheerleaders is a good word. Salespeople is another. I have long since concluded that just about everyone who says anything in the MSM about the economy is a salesperson for buying into the scam called the stock market. Some of them might not even be aware that they are playing this role, since they are so deep inside the big lie that they no longer have any glimmering notion where reality lies. But as we saw from emails during that were made public after the last crisis, many 'analysts' were promoting stocks publicly that they themselves were getting out of, and joking about the idiots who ate up the crap they spewed.

One tip that the financial press is totally devoted to lies is the willingness of many of them to trumpet whatever lie comes out of the AGW denialist camp. When I see such total idiocy on their sites, I can't really take anything else they say very seriously.

Most economic activity is driven by sales.

If people only bought what they needed based on a rational assessment of the actual benefits delivered by products and services, the economy would collapse.

Bring on the collapse, then.

Maybe we can build an economy based on something other than lies??

The economy 'as it's currently constructed', perhaps.

I have to ask you to follow through, if you care to, with where that then goes.

Does this demand our attention, so we can try to pry out of what's clearly become a predicament that wastes volumes of resources, energy, material and manpower?

Are you saying 'leave it be'?

One imagines a traveler extolling the qualities of a rock brought from a distant outcropping to the flint knapper; the flint knapper glowingly describing the attributes of the arrowhead to the fletcher; the fletcher bragging about the accuracy and striking power of the arrow to the hunter; ....

Puffery and haggling are a constant feature of commerce.

That's a pretty idealized comparison. What in that fletcher's world would stand in the place taken by the SkyMall Catalog in ours?

The puffery around 'impulse-buy' objects at every drugstore counter is in obscene disproportion to the old apothecary clerk leaning his thumb against the scales to get a few more cents..

Anyway, my question was sincere. Do you propose that this is actually necessary, keeping this frame of buying absolutely unnecessary stuff, just to oil the bearings of a machine speeding us toward a resource and ecosystem cliff?

The things that distinguish humans from the other great apes are the extravagance of their mating displays and the complexity and resource-intensiveness of their nesting habits.

It may not be necessary, but it is not subject to change.

It's subject to infinite and necessary change. It is just a matter of who is influencing the direction of that change.

You must be aware that the collapse of the USSR was due to the inability of the socialist system to produce abundant and varied consumer goods, which led to a general rebellion against drab, shoddy clothing and utilitarian apartment blocks.

Don't your read the MSM?

Thanks for the laughs. I am always stupefied when I browse that magazine that people purchase those things.

It seems the frugal are the minority.

It also seems the majority watch TV, look at their neighbor's and appear to spend a great deal of effort trying to match or best the 'wants' given to them by their TV shows, and trying to either 'keep up with the Joneses' or 'be a bit better off' than those same perceived peers.

One example that sticks in my mind: the recent craze with getting the largest theater HD TV possible, when a generation ago perhaps a 25inch screen was quite acceptable and the norm.

Fictional movie, but with a lot of truth to it that I recommend "The Joneses" ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1285309/ I watched this movie via netflix online).

I watched CNBC for the first time in years for the NFP numbers this morning (afternoon).

They were all slapping each other on the back and grinning inanely at the cameras. How pleased they all were! Back to normal folks, no double-dip here. The show is just sucker-porn. Bloomberg TV is slightly more nuanced and offers slightly better journalism but the two of them really are the equivalent of boiler house pundits trying to make as much news as possible with as little substance and critical analysis.

As timing would have it I am cutting my cable service off and selling my TV this afternoon. After catching myself getting into a routine of sitting down to watch TV at 6pm and switching it off at mid-night each and every day I was almost physically sick when I realised that I was spending fully one quarter of my life watching TV, being bombarded with advertisements and getting absolutely nothing out of it at all. Nada, squat. So the TV is outa my life. Got rid of the fridge/freezer and car long ago. Wonder why it has taken me so long to release my soul from the Satanic TV?

I haven't lived anywhere with a TV for over 25 years, and now I can't even stand to be in the same room with one.

And now I'm dismayed at the way my computer is turning into one. Anyone know of a plug-in that will filter all browser content down to text only?

I agree that the trend toward making the internet a video delivery system is painful for the thinking person. All those adds which pop up or sit along the side of the screen are a serious distraction, especially the silly giggly ones which are there just to catch your eye. But, the internet has become another way to take money out of people's pockets and video on demand would seem to be a natural progression toward that goal. For now, it's possible to block popups and switch off JAVA using the FireFox browser, which cuts down on most of the annoyance. I can only hope that this option will continue, but I am already seeing newer adds which don't use JAVA to attract attention. I suppose the net will soon become just like TV, since the lust for money corrupts everything eventually...

E. Swanson

Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water here. There are some highly educational videos on You Tube. I am following the complete lecture series on Objective C from Stanford University at the moment. Completely free and the whole lectures with slides etc. All from 8,000 miles away. There are other great examples. The peak oil videos for instance, interviewing industry experts. Sure, the adverts are annoying but not all rich media is useless.

I agree. It's true. I do use YouTube often for educational purposes. It's a fantastic resource for learning. I use it to learn drum rhythms, guitar riffs, CAD procedures and a lot of other things. But when it comes to a lecture, or even things like peak oil videos, I much prefer reading a transcript, I find I get more out of it. One thing about the internet, often I have access to both a video broadcast, and a transcript of it, and I've been amazed at times when an hour long program transcribed is just a few paragraphs of text. It's the signal to noise ratio. It's really the noise that I want to tune out.

My complaint was hyperbolic to a degree. The main point is that I want to be the one controlling the valve, rather than having the flood controlling me.

Ever noticed how Video plays tricks on your mind. It immobilizes children from moving around and playing physically. It distracts your mind. Humans are drawn to pictures, visuals and colors.

Funny that Americans do not appreciate the arts and underfund them. Many of the arts highlight the very things Americans seek out instinctively in the idiot box.

Anyone know of a plug-in that will filter all browser content down to text only?

Glad you asked, I cobbled together a neat trick for clearing out bloated web pages, and no plug-in needed. Just paste this code snippet into the location field of a bookmark:


Now, when browsing any web page, invoke the bookmark and it will remove most anything that's not text, even while the page is still loading. Let me know if you need more detailed instructions, I'm happy to share.


That is slick. Thank you.

Beautiful. Thank you!

You hacker genius I just highlighted the yellow code onto my chrome toolbar and called it "anticrap."

You could try the Readability plugin available for Firefox, Chrome and Safari.

And now I'm dismayed at the way my computer is turning into one. Anyone know of a plug-in that will filter all browser content down to text only?

Adblock Plus for Firefox (and Chrome, I think), with one of the subscription services enabled, does a pretty good job of filtering out the most obnoxious ad content. A number of sites that I frequent appear ad-free, even though I know that they run advertising.

The Web Developer Toolbar extension is supposed to be able to filter out images, video, javascript, etc. I haven't used it; Adblock has been sufficient for me.

If you're truly desperate there's always Lynx. But you have to be pretty desperate; it's a purely text only "glass tty" browser, and much of the structure of pages is lost. Using The Oil Drum as an example, you get the text for the comments, but all of the nesting and table structure disappears. The normal version of a contemporary newspaper site is essentially unusable.

Almost all streaming movie functionality and some aggressive ads use Javascript.

Go into your browswer settings, un-check Javascript, then try viewing your websites that way.
Same goes for turning off Java as well.

After that, there are plugins like NoScript you can try, but your mileage may vary.

No plug in needed. use this

To each his own HAcland, but I cannot agree that TV is a waste of time. I watch lots of programs on the Science Channel, the History Channel, PBS and other such stations. Watching such programs have been very rewarding to me. The NOVA program I wrote about a few days ago, "Rat Attack" is a perfect example.

Of course I watch a lot of lectures on the computer also. Since I have gotten older, I find reading long books difficult. TV and interned videos have taken the place of books these last few years. I would hate do do without them.

Ron P.

The internet will never become TV. They are completely different. TV is pre programmed content. The internet is user created content.

TV is mostly passively selecting content from a few dozen channels at the most. The internet requires participation to take advantage of millions of websites. To me selecting for text only makes no sense and I would never do it.

I always have at least two websites open at the same time. One plays my play lists on You Tube while I browse the Web on the other one.

As I type this I'm listening to my youTube play list zeddurant3. Zeddurant is my name there. I have lists zeddurant1, zeddurant2 and zeddurant3 among others.

If you type zeddurant1 into the You Tube search my list will come up. Clicking on zeddurant up in the corner will show my play-lists.

"Swiss rail rides" is a play list I watch when I get tired of listening to music.

I don't have a fancy channel like others on YouTube but here it is anyway:


Edit: Zed Durant is not my real name.

We don't have cable television, and half the broadcast channels no longer come in since the switch to digital. No matter -- the network programs are of no interest, and even PBS seems dumbed down nowadays. (The BBC programmes they buy and slice up aren't so well written or produced as before.) Our TV set is now used mainly to screen DVDs.

For time-consuming, the Internet is the real hazard. I don't think I spend so many hours surfing because it's addictive -- it's just that there's so much to see. My husband likes YouTube -- he's into world-class sopranos and philosophy lectures -- but I prefer reading matter. We have a couple of search filters that block ads, and require permission to allow videos. I could see the Internet taking over entertainment and information functions.

(I confess I watch fùtbol on the Spanish channels. Eye candy.)

"The internet is user created content."

Less and less. In any case the "user created content" is no less crappy than the professionally created content.

congrats Hacland-Except for watching the occasional sporting event such as the krentucky derby at a social gathering, I have been tv frre since back around the late seventies.

Now I spend the time formerly spent on tv reading good books-a whole library of them.

I'm not a scientist or engineer either and it's obvious to me too. Of course, I read the Oil Drum everyday and read two books from Kenneth Deffeyes starting back in late 2003.

Reading sites like TOD and ZeroHedge feels like getting unplugged from the Matrix. I was living in one for past few years till I read one of Richard Heinberg's articles.

It's like the start of the housing bust it's a subprime problem the bottom of the barrel in housing so to speak.The cost of oil/fuel is only painful or a problem at individual price point.Our paper had a front page article on the heat wave and how this ladies bill jumped from June to July $128 to $560 July and she even shut off most of her house 2700 sq ft.And her next bill should even be high since there is more 100 degree days.Money out the window imo.

Oil prices are about $20 a barrel higher outside America, how does he explain that one. Did QE2 inflate oil prices in Germany or Japan?

Well, since Brent is priced in dollars QE2 would also raise the price of Brent (if his theory is correct). You'd have to do the currency conversions into Euros and Yen to make a comparison for German and Japanese prices. Of course, the currency markets are also affected by a zillion other things so there is really no way to make an even comparison between US oil prices and German/Japan oil prices.

Two alarm fire at Memphis Valero refinery

(WMC-TV) – A two alarm fire at the Valero refinery in the 400 block of West Mallory in Memphis is now under control.

Firefighters were told there was a major explosion just after 7:30 a.m., and requested a level one response.

Officials have not said what caused the explosion. The fire was brought under control shortly before 8:00 a.m.

This refinery seems to need a safety review. Last Year:

(Memphis 4/29/2010) Two people have been hurt as a result of an afternoon fire at the Velero Refinery in Memphis.

One person has been taken to The MED burn unit

The other has been taken to The MED emergency room.

Flames and thick smoke started coming from a tower area inside the refinery shortly before 3pm Thursday.

Swede admits home made atom experiment was crazy.


He was questioned by police, who confiscated his nuclear materials as well as his computer.

If the E-cat was for real, this is what would have happened. The authorities jump on anyone that is actually running nuclear reactors in their kitchen.

This story is hilarious! A nuclear reactor in your kitchen?

Maybe reading the Oil Drum every night gave this poor chap nightmares.

Random market musings:

I posted late in the last Drumbeat about some technical support/resistance points I saw in the S&P (1260) and NASDAQ (2600). Here's a look at the volatility index ($VIX):

We've spiked to mid-March levels. NYSE volume was up yesterday to levels not seen since Dec. 2010

Cost overruns and delays with second EPR nuke at Flamanville, France


EdF is planning to build four new EPRs (4 x 1.6 GW) in the UK and is building two more in China. First UK one planned to be on-line in 2018.

This is a major part of the British energy strategy. As noted before, they face multiple energy shortfalls - including retiring old nukes.

Best Hopes for Keeping the Lights On,


In regards to Peak Oil Was Thirty Years Ago:

It seems to me that from 1980 (the date of "per capita" peak oil) until ca. 2005, we had gains in efficiency paired with growing production, which were significant enough to offset growing global demand.

Since 2005 or so, we’ve had flat production paired with rising demand (especially in China and India, et. al), which further efficiency gains have been insufficient to compensate for.

The transition from the former state of affairs to the latter is the significant inflection point. It is the reason that any significant economic growth in the US can no longer occur without oil prices being pushed so high that the economy comes crashing back down again.

Leanan's link, above, Panem et Circenses: The insidious nature of social decline is an excellent read, and touches on a couple of points that should be obvious:

The circus, or entertainment in current parlance, is all pervasive. I enjoy a game of footy as much as anyone but when we elevate the importance of sport, reality TV or any other form of entertainment above their actual importance to society, when the antics of its characters become more important to the masses than say, the source of our long term oil supplies or the impact of the end of the largest credit expansion in world history, then something has seriously gone awry.

Perhaps last week's Nielsens ratings are a pretty good indicator of what folks think is important. America's Got Talent?

Unfortunately perhaps, and despite Juvenal’s lament, the doctrine of bread and circuses works tolerably well. At least for most of the time! The Vanity of Human Wishes was written several centuries before the eventual demise of the Western Roman Empire. The highly coupled nature of our global economy suggests however that the decline of industrial civilisation, particularly the initial stages, will occur far more rapidly than that of the Roman Empire.

One only need look to the meteoric rise of industrial civilization to realise that it's decline will be accelerated as well. Societys' ability to adjust will be limited by the rate of change, as awareness doesn't keep pace. Distractions and delusions will result in increasing confusion and chaos as folks won't have time to contemplate WTF is happening to them. Their stories are totally out of sync with their realities.

Best hopes for more clarity...

when we elevate the importance of sport, reality TV or any other form of entertainment above their actual importance to society, when the antics of its characters become more important to the masses than say, the source of our long term oil supplies or the impact of the end of the largest credit expansion in world history, then something has seriously gone awry.

And when was this not the case? Did people in the 19th Century or the 17th Century or the 12th Century or the 4th Century BC devote more attention to macrosocial and macroeconomic trends? I would argue that the opposite was the case, simply because the information which would have allowed them to do so simply wasn't available.

That's not to say we ought to be spending our time watching football and reality TV rather than parsing the latest EIA figures; it's just that such behavior strikes me as an expression of human nature, rather than a symptom of civilizational decline.

well, personally speaking, if I didn't have a distraction like meeting up with friends to watch football then I would go even more stark raving bonkers than I already am worrying about peak oil, resource depletion and the end to the comfy growth paradigm. Got to have a release - something to take your mind off it otherwise it will be off to the nut house. Once one has educated oneself and prepared as much as one can - including psychologically - then one might as well try and enjoy life. And if watching sport and drinking cold beer floats your boat then go for it.

Ghung - I've been addicted to TV since a small child. I still recall sitting on the sidewalk and watching a color TV for the first through a front door...until they closed it on me. Still watch a lot but mostly movies and docs. So I'm far from an elitist. But flipping through the channels the other night I was forced to stop and watch a gut swing heavy weights hung from hooks inserted in his eye lids. And this is an act on "America's Got Talent". Even with as much junk TV as I've watched over the decades all I could do is wonder how we've come to this. Suddenly I didn't feel as guilty about occasionally watching "Wipeout"...though it is starting to get a tad boring. At least some of those participants have serious athletic abilities. The rest are just put on for laughs. Rather cruel at times but still damn funny. LOL

Yeah, Rock, it's become a wasteland, and I can't get my wife to cancel our service. Most of what I watch is available online, so we could save $100+/month and up our DSL speed.

M. Incandenza, above asks: "And when was this not the case? Did people in the 19th Century or the 17th Century or the 12th Century or the 4th Century BC devote more attention to macrosocial and macroeconomic trends?"

Today's level of pure saturation, the pervasive nature of mindless, delusionary "entertainment" is unprecidented in history. As with many things in our past, this time is different, primarily due to scale and availability.

My answer to his questions is that they certainly, collectively, devoted more attention to things that actually mattered, and even then, things inevitably collapsed (which was the premise of the original cited article).

This too will pass. Meantime, read a good book ;-)

While I would love to ditch the satellite, my wife is a sports nut. Maybe a CME will take out the satellites some day and then we can drop the service..

From above

OPEC To Meet If Prices Keep Falling-Iran OPEC Governor

Brent is still comfortably above 105$ !! Is this the new normal ? Middle East must be in dire need of money.

Unfortunately, as explained in further detail above, the WTI futures is still the benchmark price for oil, as least as far as the MSM is concerned. OPEC gets to say the price is low by taking advantage of these media reports which rely on the WTI price – the same media that has been telling us for six months that OPEC is increasing its oil exports to make up for losses from Libya. To date, OPEC has made up zero; this is none of the loss exports.

But that is not the worst of it. Since about two to three weeks ago, I’ve posted that OPEC has been cutting back its exports plans. ‘Oil Movements’ reported yesterday that OPEC exports have dropped incrementally 270,000 bpd in the last two weeks. Expect further progressive cutbacks – whether or not OPEC holds an emergency meeting.

The WTI-Brent spread is now approaching 24$. Does this make any sense ? What prevents people from hauling it to the world markets ?

I make it $22 but we've discussed here before that the pipeline capacity into land-locked Cushing now exceeds the outflow capacity after the opening of new pipelines from Canada. However over the last 3 months crude stocks at Cushing, Oklahoma have actually been falling - if that trend continues you would think that the spread would close.

Note that non-landlocked Light Louisiana Sweet is currently $108.61

US oil supplies, including those at the futures delivery point of Cushing, OK have been coming down on their own, thank you, without much help. But a lot of help is on the way. Here are some examples; I also posted one week ago about railroad company plans to greatly increase increase oil transport by rail in the Midwest.

Magellan latest in Cushing-to-Gulf oil pipeline race
Wed Aug 3, 2011 9:14pm GMT

Cushing stocks have been moving down on their own, despite a shortage of pipeline space as refiners in the Midwest crank up runs to capture profits from the cheap crude on hand. Cushing inventories hit the lowest level since December last week, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

"Drawing down nearly 6 million barrels since May should put a lot of worry to rest," he said.


Enbridge broadens plan for Cushing-Gulf pipeline
Fri Aug 5, 2011 11:36am EDT

By Jeffrey Jones

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO: Quote) has expanded plans to ship oil to the U.S. Gulf Coast from the glutted Cushing, Oklahoma, storage hub to include new capacity from the U.S. Midwest, executives said on Friday.


You would have thought the fall in Cushing inventories, plus these new plans would have reduced the WTI/Brent spread, but it hasn't. As I mentioned before, I would like to know who is on the sell side of all those outstanding WTI futures contacts.

OPEC prices, as of last Friday, averaged $115.23 a barrel. That price is wrecking the economy already. And they want more? This Week in Petroleum

Crude Oil Estimated Contract Prices	
  	        Most Recent 	Year Ago
        	07/29/11 	07/30/10
Total OPEC  	115.23 	          74.97
Total Non-OPEC 	113.65 	          74.32
Total World  	114.59 	          74.69
United States  	107.96 	          73.15

Ron P.

Don't you think that they are simply doing what needs to be done (reducing production) while at the same time giving themselves great cover. Later, when prices surge, they will tell us, with a metaphorical shrug of their metaphorical shoulders, "Well, we had to drop production back in August, and now it will take us some time to ramp back up." Knowing full well that the inevitible new surge in price will create yet another collapse of in the financial markets, and in oil prices. At which time, don't you know, they will convene OPEC once more, to cut back on poduction 'due to the drop in price.'

[[rinse and repeat]]


The question is...how low will the oil prices sink if something like 2008 happens again(which is a certainty)...how desperate is OPEC ?

As usual, The Onion gets it more right than most other sources:


Drunken Ben Bernanke Tells Everyone At Neighborhood Bar How Screwed U.S. Economy Really Is

Bernanke, who sources confirmed was "totally sloshed," arrived at the drinking establishment at approximately 5:30 p.m., ensconced himself upon a bar stool, and consumed several bottles of Miller High Life and a half-dozen shots of whiskey while loudly proclaiming to any patron who would listen that the economic outlook was "pretty goddamned awful if you want the God's honest truth."

"Look, they don't want anyone except for the Washington, D.C. bigwigs to know how bad sh!t really is," said Bernanke, slurring his words as he spoke. "Mounting debt exacerbated—and not relieved—by unchecked consumption, spiraling interest rates, and the grim realities of an inevitable worldwide energy crisis are projected to leave our entire economy in the sh!tter for, like, a generation, man, I'm telling you."

How refreshing for a change to get a candid prognosis of the economy, vs. the usual canned sound bites intended to keep us all focused on our next purchase. The true value of repealing Prohibition offered up by Helicopter Ben, who is no doubt contemplating yet another QE.

"Helicopter Ben, who is no doubt contemplating yet another QE."

Perhaps the Onion's spoof isn't too far off the mark. Ilargi's posts this week help put things into perspective, focusing, as usual on the ECB situation, but predicting the inevitable collapse of the US banking system: http://theautomaticearth.blogspot.com/

And that brings us to another theme I touched on in The Next Bank Bailout Bloodbath is Here, and arguably the most important one of all. Derivatives. Credit default swaps on PIIGS debt. Yes, there will be credit events, and so, yes, counterparties will demand payments. And since the majority of swaps have been issued by American institutions, these will either go belly-up or either the American government or the Federal Reserve must step in.

However, given the numbers -JPMorganChase's derivatives exposure is estimated at about $90 trillion- the Fed will in the end be as helpless and useless in this situation as the ECB is with regards to Italy. [bold added]

If financials keep on losing stock value the way they have in the past few days, we are well on our way to bank holidays in some countries (Italian trading was temporarily halted yesterday). And where there are bank holidays, bank runs are not far behind: if people see the stock prices of their banks evaporate, why would they keep their money in them?

Yes, you can enjoy the relative calm provided by the US jobs report that wasn't as bad as feared, for a few hours today. But the U3 rate is still 9.1%. And no economy with that many jobless people will show substantial growth; it won't even be able to stand still to recover. And this bank rot won't go away by itself anymore. BofA and Citi are already losing 3% and 4% respectively again at 11 am EDT (UPDATE: make that 5.5% and 6.5% at 11.35 am. Yikes!).

Ben knows, the days of extend and pretend bailouts are over. It has to be tough, being the FedHead that presides over the greatest banking crash in history, knowing there's not a damn thing anyone can do. Cheers, Ben! You're buyin'...

Obviously, money will be delivered in ways that are invisible in the future. I cannot imagine another bond purchasing binge. Wonder how they do it though?

I was going to post this too and it makes quite a contrast to the CNBC show that Darwinian talked about above. I sent the link to a friend who wrote back, "So sad how the spoof on the news is becoming real!" So true.

It makes you wonder if someone at The Onion has been reading TOD!

Customers at the bar told reporters the "sh**faced" and disruptive Bernanke refused to pay for his drinks with U.S. currency, claiming it was "worthless." Witnesses also confirmed that near the end of the evening, Bernanke put money into the jukebox and selected Dire Straits' "Money For Nothing" to play five times in a row.

"This is what it's all about," said Bernanke, who reportedly danced alone in the middle of the dark tavern. "F***ing love this song."

I bleeped out the explicatives. One wonders if this actually happened at least with some Federal Reserve official somewhere.

Q...How much do Italy's refineries depend on light,sweet crude?

As their Libyan source has been interrupted, can they switch easily to other feedstocks?

Italian refineries appear to be very heavily dependent on Libyan light, sweet crude oil.

At this point in time most of the oil surplus oil available on the world market is heavy and sour - oil which the Italian refineries are incapable of processing. The only readily available oil on the market equivalent to the Libyan oil is from West Africa, and the oil situation in West Africa is not good either.

So, I would say the Italian refineries are totally screwed until Libya settles down or they can be rebuilt to handle heavy, sour oil from other countries. That takes time and money. Lots of time and lots of money.

Old Rome was totally dependent on Tunisian and Algerian wheat too. When they lost north Africa times became very hard indeed for the old city.

Enough of that though. Loving the way the economies are in turmoil and oil follows the stock markets down: doubtless it will follow them up again, until they overreach once more, never having established a properly rising trajectory.

If ever there was a better example of energy and production realities scratching hand in hand against the ceiling of production I haven't seen it.

Oil Industry Veterans Fight Peak Oil & Climate Change in Houston (Video)


jim - Interesting...thanks. Those folks have a great spirit. I salute them. But IMHO Houston will be the last city in this country that will ever began to look like it's transitioning to anywhere but where we've been for many decades. We're spread across all of Harris County and well beyond. For instance instead of increasing mass transit we've been spending $billions expanding roadways that will make it easier for folks to drive 100 mile round trips to the office. Houston is in Texas. And in Texas you're nothing if you don't own at least one car.

On top of that our population is growing by leaps and bounds. Just this morning NPR had a story. Texas has experienced the greatest interstate population movement ever recorded in this country. One reason: the avg. 3 BR house in L.A. = $430,000....same house in Houston = $160,000. They didn't offer numbers but consider this: in the last 12 months 50% of all new jobs created in the country were in Texas. Yes...for ever new job in Tejas only one new job in the other 49 states combined. Yet our unemployment is only about 1% less than the national average. Lots of new jobs but lots of new folks. If I recall correctly we picked up two new House seats after the last census. Not only are we not transitioning but probably getting worse.

jim - Interesting...thanks. Those folks have a great spirit. I salute them. But IMHO Houston will be the last city in this country that will ever began to look like it's transitioning to anywhere but where we've been for many decades.

Even when it becomes a snorkel tour, as the Gulf retakes land?

ROCKMAN - You are very welcome. I mean, yeah, all of the things you point to are very valid concerns. On the other side of the coin, we have a mayor who is pushing light rail and victory gardens, we have a legit urban farm at Last Organic Outpost, Critical Mass bike rides attract huge crowds every month, and Transition Houston continues to attract new participants and projects.

One of the things that gives me hope is that oil company workers, both office type and field type, are well represented at TH events. So that makes Houston a potential focus for change. Potentially, maybe.

Anyway, if you are ever in Houston and interested in coming to a TH meeting, or better yet a Permablitz, just shoot me your contact info, or look us up on Facebook.

jim - I live in Baytown and work in the Montrose area so I might just do that.

Odd isn't...how much of the oil patch gets it. Confuses a lot of folks who only read the Big Oil press releases. The reason I'm not optimistic is just the scalability issue. So many of them...so few of us. For each person worried about the future there's 50 idiots driving their pickups down I-10 at 75 mph. LOL

While there may be some that get it, I gather from conversations that I have had that there are some that still find it inconceivable. I suspect that they are just lower level guys, but still.

The logic that they use is that they can see with their own two eyes that it is still possible to drill for oil and find something. And they conclude that by drilling more, that we can find more oil, and that leads to the question about why we aren't drilling more now. Well, the blowhards on talk radio tell them that it is the all the fault of the EPA and environmental regulations.

And after listening to some of the tea party types on the TV, it is clear that their intent is to try to completely eliminate the EPA, and they would expect oil production in the US to rapidly increase after this. And I fear that they may eventually get their way and kill the EPA, and they would need to come up with a new scapegoat when oil production doesn't increase.

I grew up in Texas and am very ambivalent about it.

The emphasis is on growth, consuming huge amounts of energy, living large in big homes in big, sprawled out places, and driving big cars.

But it doesn't necessarily need to be that way. I could easily see Texas making a sort of benign transition to a different lifestyle. The problem is that it would take a cultural u-turn.

I'm currently doing a temp job in the PNW exploring the area, and I'm quite ambivalent about it as well. The sprawl around Portland and Seattle is atrocious. And the supposedly environmentally conscious liberals here are anything but either of those.

I hope to make some trips up to Western Canada while I'm up here, but to be honest I'm not sure I'm going to immediately relocate. I have a feeling I might end up adopting in place in Dallas, at least for several more years.

I'm currently doing a temp job in the PNW exploring the area, and I'm quite ambivalent about it as well. The sprawl around Portland and Seattle is atrocious. And the supposedly environmentally conscious liberals here are anything but either of those.


I can only assume that you've been assigned to work in an office building that is located among the sprawl. I'll agree that the area between the Seattle city limits and the outer edges of the urban growth boundary is not to my liking either. But I love the older neighborhoods in both Seattle and Portland about as much as I like the Wilderness that is only an hour drive away. If you're getting into a car for more than weekend outings to the mountains you're not getting a sense of what life in Seattle neighborhoods like Ballard and Fremont can be like.

Come on over to the Ballard Farmers' Market the next time you're in town on a Sunday and see if it appeals to you. My office is in an older building on that same street. I'll bike on over to and take you out to lunch if you do!


Oilman Sachs,

I echo what Jon says: try the in-city neighborhoods, especially Ballard, before you give up on the Pacific Northwest.

The sail transport cooperative has a delivery this Sunday, come check out how we bring in local goods by sailboat and the final yards by electric truck (no petroleum other than embedded). If veggies aren't to your liking, we're hosting a wonderful marine artist at the city dock for the Ballard Artwalk, August 13th (free!).

Artist Charles Fawcett
As an artist I strive to convey and portray in oils the beauty, color and feeling of everyday life at sea and ashore. My maritime background and love of travel gives me a unique vista of marine subjects from ocean vessels to small sailboats, seascapes, landscapes and people from around the world.

I am in lower Queen Anne, 5 blocks from the job and a short bus ride to anywhere. Further, you need to consider the dynamics any state faces. With hydropower providing most of the base load and wind power increasing so fast it can't be absorbed, one imagines these liberals to be at the pinnacle of American peak energy production.

Texas: 34 straight days of plus 100 degree heat: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/05/us-weather-idUSTRE7745CG201108...

No wonder Texas is building a coal fired power plant.

Houston is in Texas. And in Texas you're nothing if you don't own at least one car.

I worked for a company in Calgary that decided to transfer a bunch of employees to Houston. It came as a complete shock to them that some of these people didn't know how to drive.

It is perfectly feasible to get around Calgary without a car, so some of them had never learned how to drive one. This, of course, came as a total shock to the executives in Houston, as well as to the transferees who foolishly assumed the company would find some way to get them to work.

These were city people. I personally learned to drive at the age of 6 because I grew up on a farm, and if you can drive a 5-ton grain truck you can probably drive a car. It's the same thing, just lower to the ground and there are more rules. The only rules on the farm were my father's, and he didn't believe in rules.

My wife did not start driving until her 40s.
A Manhattan girl.

Rocky - A quick tale: started with Mobil Oil in 1975 working GOM. About a year on the job the boss told me to get pool car and catch an offshore log run. Way too little experience to break out then but we were short handed. Told him I couldn't because I didn't have a driver's license. Asked me how I lost it. Told him I never had one...grew up in New Orleans. Was planning on getting one once I saved up for my first car. He was not amused. LOL. So he sent an even less experienced geologist with me as my driver.

My driver was Mike. Just one more funny story we shared. Remember: he was the geologist who laughed himself sick that time I thought I was dying from H2S. Alas no more funny adventures with Mike. He was that Devon geologist who died with his wife when that Air France jet down in the Atlantic a couple of years ago. You would have really liked Mike...everyone did...great guy.


Russia may lose 30% of permafrost by 2050

Scientists have said that permafrost thawing will set off another problem because the process will release massive amounts of greenhouse gas methane currently trapped in the frozen soil.

More on this at ClimateProgress:


The permafrost (permamelt) contains a staggering “1.5 trillion tons of frozen carbon, about twice as much carbon as contained in the atmosphere, much of which would be released as methane. Methane is 25 times as potent a heat-trapping gas as CO2 over a 100 year time horizon, but 72 (to 100) times as potent over 20 years!

The carbon is locked in a freezer in the part of the planet warming up the fastest (see “Tundra 4: Permafrost loss linked to Arctic sea ice loss“). Countless studies make clear that global warming will release vast quantities of GHGs into the atmosphere this decade. Yet, no climate model currently incorporates the amplifying feedback from methane released by a defrosting tundra.

Even if the vast stores of seabed methane remain mostly intact (though those working most closely on monitoring it are saying it is bubbling up at rapidly accelerating rates), these land-based carbon stores will drive climate change far beyond what the models are predicting.

AGW turns out to be just the finger on the trigger of the methane gun that is now set to go off. And there is no dodging that bullet.

It kind of puts the current kerfuffle about global markets into perspective.

The real real 'economy' is the viability of the planet, and the value of that stock is in a tailspin.

No problemo, mon! Rick Perry will just hold another prayer rally and fix things, just like those folks in Texas have done to solve their drought problem. Anyway, folks in Texas are used to dodging bullets...

E. Swanson


A Major Canadian Paper Reports That The Government Covered Up Massive Amounts Of Radioactive Material From Fukushima In Canadian Air” And Are Continuing To Manipulate Radiation Monitoring Data.


The Vancouver Quadra Liberal MP has criticized Health Canada’s “negligent” job informing Canadians of potential health risks relating to radiation levels following Japan’s Fukushima disaster.

“I think they have been negligent from the perspective of being clear and transparent with Canadians about this issue, right from the beginning,” Joyce Murray told the Georgia Straight by phone.

A Major Canadian Paper Reports That The Government Covered Up Massive Amounts Of Radioactive Material From Fukushima In Canadian Air” And Are Continuing To Manipulate Radiation Monitoring Data.

Whoop-de-ding-dong. I can remember when they did a controlled test of radiation levels at the Whiteshell nuclear research station near Winnipeg, and as a control compared it to well water elsewhere in the Winnipeg area. The control wells were far more radioactive than the ones near the nuclear research station. So, they just quietly suppressed the results and moved on.

Canada has some of the biggest uranium deposits in the world. You never know if your well water comes from a potential uranium mine. If it does, the government will carefully avoid telling you because it doesn't want to get stuck with the costs of fixing mother nature.

Reminds me that surprisingly large areas of the UK give off radon gas that accumulates in houses sufficiently to give a lung dose worthy of an uranium miner. There has been for last 2 decades though a low-profile official project to get the doses down. Retrofit is difficult and expensive. A bit like the quiet removal of lead pipes from cities with acid-water e.g. Glasgow. Took them a long time.
(Meanwhile don't smoke, especially if you live in a house with radon.)

What about upstream online? (http://www.upstreamonline.com/marketdata/markets_crude.htm) I did notice prices was a little bit stable as of lately, but now I see they have not updated the page fora month (July 8). The price moves at http://www.oil-price.net/ were very dramatic these latest days, thats how I spotted it. Anyone knows whats up with upstream online?

Unfortunately that's an archived page no longer maintained as I discovered recently. The new "improved" pages don't have virtually any of the world spot prices. You can find them individually at Bloomberg though. Example: Asian Benchmark Tapis currently $117 http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/quote?ticker=APCRTAPI:IND

Here are today's Bloomberg listed closing prices for the world spot markets as previously listed at upstreamonline

Brent		$109.43
Tapis		$117.00
Alaska		$106.88
Dubai		$102.73
Louisiana	$110.63
Urals		$107.99
WTI		$ 86.88
Oman		$103.15
Minas		$117.45
Forties		$109.46
Bonny		$118.85

But watch tv and the "the oil price" is below $90

Yes, it's getting insane. West Texas oil is trading $24/bbl lower than Louisiana oil from the state next door, but the mainstream media still calls the price of West Texas Intermediate the "world" price of oil.

At one time, Texas could flood the world markets with oil and set international oil prices, but those days are long gone. Nowadays, not even Saudi Arabia can dump enough oil on the world market to make much of a difference. If you want to know the "world" price, you have to take an average of the world's benchmark crudes, but the media is completely unaware of that or just doesn't care. Probably both.

Perhaps the MSM does not want the public to know that the price of oil is $112/barrel ?


Maybe that should be the MSM's purse holders?


Rolling blackouts narrowly averted as electricity use remains high

Texas narrowly avoided rotating power outages Thursday afternoon as state officials ordered several large industrial customers, mostly on the Gulf Coast, to shut down after electricity reserves dropped dangerously low.

Wednesday ERCOT declared a stage 1 emergency, when the state set a new record for demand. Thursday they must have declared a stage 2 emergency, as that's when they can start cutting off the industrial customers. Demand wasn't as high as on Wednesday, but more generators were offline -- apparently equipment is starting to break down under the heavy load. Demand drops off over the Fri-Sun period, but the expectation is that next Monday will be another emergency day.

The Texas weather appears to have achieved a steady state that will be difficult to break out of. The heat and drought seem to have created ideal conditions to sustain high pressure over the state, with weather systems being steered around the high. TS Don got pushed south and just sort of evaporated, and the SW monsoon flow has been held to the west and north all summer. Forecasters are saying that the pattern may persist until mid-September.

Well, I hope they are mapping where the wind is blowing heavily so they can put up some wind turbines in the areas where it blows heavily when it gets hot. Match load to the energy source.

Unfortunately, wind tends to blow in the winter and at night. Solar, on the other hand, is a good match for peak energy use during the middle of the day.

Well, if there was a place where the wind blows heavily when it gets hot, it would be a wonderful place to put in wind turbines, but unfortunately there is no such place.

When a big continental high sets in, weather systems stall, the temperature starts rising, and the wind stops blowing. That's just the way weather works. You have to deal with the realities rather than try to find some never-never land where it doesn't happen.

Actually, I can think of such places, but you don't need air conditioning in them because the problem solves itself. When the temperature rises, you just sit outside with a drink in hand and enjoy the cooling breezes off the ocean. Unfortunately the average house price is astronomical in such places.

Not that I'm against wind power, I'm just aware of its limitations.

a place where the wind blows heavily when it gets hot

The afternoon sea breezes in, for example, the South Texas coast.

ERCOT has stated that they would like more wind there.


Where I live, the wind increases from about noon on until late evening, just right for peak air conditioning. The snag? Wind speeds tend to be around 5-15 MPH, not too good for generation.


Major Air Carriers See Net Income Drop by 51 Percent in Q2

The seven biggest U.S. carriers saw their net income as a group decline 51.5 percent last quarter compared to second quarter 2010.

They achieved that decline despite a nearly 13 percent increase in revenues.

"The primary culprit, obviously, is fuel," Southwest Airlines chairman and chief executive Gary Kelly said Thursday.

Revenue, meanwhile, jumped 31% to $4.14 billion. The company's fuel costs rose 64% from the previous year.

"We were planning on $90 [per barrel] crude oil" this year, Mr. Kelly said. "And effectively, it's been closer to $120." Source

U.S.Army has added an Energy page

Given the DNA chatter the other day:

For the first time, researchers at McMaster University have conclusive evidence that bacteria residing in the gut influence brain chemistry and behaviour.

Indeed. For humans diet influences the gut. I saw a lecture on that topic. Very interesting with correlations to diabetes and other chronic diseases. Your gut and heath are linked via bacteria. Chinese traditional diet makes leaner healthier individuals and the Americanized diet in China appears to suddenly alter the flora, which are more inclined to leach toxins into the bloodstream that may cause chronic diseases.

For cattle the same is true, considering grass vs. grain-fed cattle.


These data demonstrate that there is a positive relationship between coliform and LAB isolates throughout the digestive tract of cattle, and diet is the major factor regulating bacterial composition.

Many other examples are forthcoming.

Eat your veggies!

In a previous post, Leanan suggested reading Taubes "Good Calories, Bad Calories," which I did...I now aver that the bumper sticker retort might best not be "Eat your veggies," but rather "Eat your fatty meat!" With the rejoinder; "Sugar kills, just not before it makes you fat and crazy!" ...something to that effect... :-) Cheers

"bacteria residing in the gut influence brain chemistry and behaviour"

Gives a whole new meaning to 'gut reaction'!

The Lotus range-extender

Range-extender technology could offer the best combination of low emissions and real world practicality. We try the latest system from Lotus.

I will be happy when an electric car owner can simply rent an external range extender from a car rental agency, and have a little 50hp engine and fuel tank on a tiny trailer.

Or, being able to buy a Toyota equivalent to the Volt, but with only a 50hp engine. ;)

Just a thought: if people can have a range of battery/price options, it may make sense to have Volt-equivalent vehicles that just get X miles per battery charge, then switch to the extender engine.

City only folks that have small commutes could save money by just having 20miles of battery range, for example.

Last week, I posted: GM's Vauxhall Corsa gets 88.1 mpg (UK). That's 73.4 mpg (US).

This week, I present an Alfa Romeo that gets 94.2 mpg (UK). That's 78.5 mpg (US gallons).


Sadly, my Alfa Romeo Brera is currently averaging 15.0 mpg (US gallons). But it looks good :)

I must report also, that sadly my Astin Martin only get 8.1 mpg.

OMG, I feel rich :)

"I must report also, that sadly my Astin Martin only get 8.1 mpg."

OW! How can they screw up a car that bad?

My 1990 F-150 gets 16 MPG. It got 13 MPG fully loaded pulling a 6X12 U-haul trailer, also fully loaded, whirring away at 2300 rpm in 4th gear (it won't pull a big trailer in 5th) with the AC on. (It's got the 4.9 L straight 6.)

That was a leisurely trip; Winnemucca to The Dalles by way of Burns and Bend at 53 MPH.

Washington does not need to help feed China's coal habit

If only Australian politicians thought this way. Australia's net emissions are about 580 Mt a year of CO2 equivalent, a lot for a small country, yet CO2 from exported coal and LNG must be over 700 Mt. This makes the domestic carbon tax look somewhat stupid. If we move to an international CO2 cap then coal trade must shrink.

Asian steel mills buy coking coal from Australia's east coast and iron ore from the west coast. If coal exports were made tougher (eg by imposing the carbon tax) it would kill exports of minerals generally, not just iron ore but bauxite, nickel and other concentrates. Could be why the PM told the coal industry they had nothing to fear

Space Weather Update:


2200Z, August 5, 2011 - In the wake of the shocked solar wind, G2 (Moderate) Geomagnetic Storm conditions have been seen already, and a warning for G3 (Strong) Storming has been issued. Strong, Prolonged Southward Interplanetary Magnetic Field and fast solar wind continue to fuel the disturbance.

...and if that was too criptic:

Solar Flare 2011: Biggest Sun Storm in Four Years Passes Earth

What makes this storm interesting, said Joe Kunches of the Space Weather Prediction Center, is that there were actually three flares in succession -- and radiation from the last and biggest of them is travelling faster than the particles from the first two.

"What's the effect of the triple punch?" said Kunches. "Stay tuned."

GPS and cell phones have already been disrupted, though things seem to be holding up well. Expect possible disruptions through Saturday. Those in mid latitudes may spot an aurora event beginning around midnight, east coast time (U-4)

Tips on Viewing the Aurora

In order to know whether you have a chance of seeing an aurora, you need to know the level of geomagnetic activity at the time you are viewing. There is a simple index called Kp, a number from 0 to 9, which is used to refer to geomagnetic activity for a 3-hour period. Check the Space Weather Prediction Center's bar plot of Estimated Planetary Kp to see what has been happening during the past couple of days. This plot updates every 3 hours with the latest Kp value...

Planetary Kp chart here. Looks like quite a spike tonight.

More at http://www.spaceweather.com/

Texas Drought Drives Residents to Drink Their Pee: A Glimpse of the Future?

"Inspired by NASA's innovations in urine-drinking, Big Spring, Texas is installing a waste water recycling plant to transform sewage into drinking water."


OK Pray For Rain Results Are In:


Your Federal Tax dollars hard at work


Raw Food Co-op Is Raided in California

LOS ANGELES — Raw food enthusiasts fit right in here, in the earthy, health-conscious beach communities of Venice and Santa Monica, along with the farmers’ markets, health food stores and vegan restaurants.

But this week, the police cleared the shelves of Rawesome, an establishment in Venice Beach, loading $70,000 of raw, organic produce and dairy products on the back of a flatbed truck.

If people want to eat raw food and they sign a legal waiver, then they should be allowed. People are allowed to smoke cigarettes and snow mobile and sky dive. Why should Big G care about the extreme sport of raw food consumption?

Maybe the big producers, who write the rules, don't like it.

A little more detail on Raw milk: http://www.gardenstaterawmilk.org/documents/Chapter15ofRonSchmidtbookpdf...

Most people forget that milk is antiviral and antimicrobial -- that is raw fresh milk.

Even bacteria well adapted for growth in milk die off when introduced into perfectly fresh milk.

There is a well established black market in New Orleans (certainly not out of character >:-) in unpasteurized cheese. Some domestic from small scale farmers and some imported from France.

A bit pricey, but available.

Best Hopes for Limited Government Protection,


Yeah after reading that PDF I have come to the conclusion that Big Milk was slowly destroying small farm and small farm by regulations which required cows to be slaughter because of "suspected" contamination.

Apparently they have some shrill from the AMA and other public health officials.

Raw milk from grass-fed cows is probably safer than handling raw meats, which are heavily contaminated.

Raw seafood is not regulated. It is the Big Milk folks that got this on the books I suspect. Not surprising but I am young and naive to the workings of the world. Now my eyes are beginning to open.

I recall learning about similar regulations against cellulose insulation after a spat of house fires. This paved the way for the fiber glass insulation. but side-by-side fires using cellulose with borate fire retardent and fiber glass showed that in fact fiberglass breaths better and houses with fiberglass burn faster.

What a sham!

Raw milk from grass-fed cows is probably safer than handling raw meats, which are heavily contaminated.

Which is one of the reasons we COOK raw meat and wash our hands after handling it.

People are allowed to smoke cigarettes and snow mobile and sky dive. Why should Big G care about the extreme sport of raw food consumption?

If by "people" you mean adults, then sure, if you want to lick a toilet bowl or whatever else catches your fancy, then go for it. The problem with your comparison is that these selfsame individuals also give this wonderous bacteria-laden beverage to their minor children. You don't have a problem with a smoker allowing their 3 year old to smoke a pack or two, do you?

The CDC's take on Raw Milk

The FDA's take on Raw Milk

More Food for Thought(or Drink)

There is really no reason to drink unpasturized/raw milk. "Better taste" is no reason to risk your health and the health of those you love, and there is zero evidence of any health benefits from raw milk.

Please don't advocate for raw milk, people can and do get severely ill and the risks are not worth it. Best wishes for maintaining good health.

Well, as someone who grew up from age 3 to 17 on raw milk from grass fed cows (that I milked myself in my teen years) , and never once got sick from it, I have to say it was worth it. We made our own cheese, butter and yoghurt too, all very good stuff.

Food borne diseases can be prevented by other ways than pasteurisation - that just happens to be the most convenient and effective - but it's not the only way.

Raw milk is NOT suitable for distribution through conventional supermarket type channels, but that doesn't mean it can't be produced and sold safely.

5 out of 6 times that you play Russian Roulette, you walk away unharmed...

The point is, you are taking a needless risk with your health. As a kid, I rode in the back of cars, and station wagons without a seatbelt. I rode my bike without a helmet. I took a lot of risks that thankfully did not come back to haunt me. The large majority of the time, nothing bad will happen if you drink raw milk, but it only takes one screw-up for someone to get seriously hurt. Why take the risk?

PS: Maybe you saw this gem of a story on the 4th of July this year...

NY motorcyclist in helmet protest hits head, dies

Drinking Raw Milk is exactly like this. The other 549 riders were unharmed.

Who is to decide what risk is acceptable ?

There are a number of cheeses that require raw milk for their desirable taste. The risk is sub-minimal.

There is no calculation of risk vs. benefit in the gov't regulations.

I completely agree with mandatory labeling - and even placing a placard nearby the point of sale - but *NOT* prohibition.

Best Hopes for Rational Regulations,


There are a number of cheeses that require raw milk for their desirable taste. The risk is sub-minimal.

And if it is a long aged cheese, if there was bacteria it does not survive the aging process.

A lot of it is how healthy the herd is. If a large farmer accepts poor animal health and crowded conditions then there is a high risk. Less intensive farming with better animal husbandry leads to healthier products. Also those who have been exposed to the 'peck of dirt' will have stronger immune systems anyway.

All the commercial milk here is the pasteurised, cream extracted to the minimum specification, homogenised white liquid. It is tiresome. I have heard there is a farmers market where an organic stall sells raw milk but the market is seasonal. Once it re-opens for the winter I intend to check it out. The organic shop is supposed to do home delivery, year around, but I need to see what they have got before I go for that otherwise it could be expensive.


Edit PS Eric, bacteria can leave toxins that are dangerous long after the bacteria are gone, enjoy.

"Better taste" is no reason to risk your health #

By whose standard ?

I COMPLETELY disagree !

Good food is one of the primal pleasures of life - sex and laughter and love are among the others.

And I relish every chance I have for a serving of steak tartar - one of the few times I eat beef.

Best Hopes for Better Priorities,


# Spoken like someone that eats American cheese

there is zero evidence of any health benefits from raw milk.

When one has shades upon their eyes, one decides what one sees.

You have chosen to claim there is no health benefits.

Is this claim because of the extensive studies done in the last 20 years WRT raw milk by the CDC and FDA?

As an example, where are these extensive studies which have examined the enzymes in raw milk that are destroyed with pasteurization and found none of them beneficial?

EDITORIAL - If we are to break the JPS monopoly

Energy is also a large, and mostly uncompetitive part of the input of Jamaican manufacturers, accounting, in some cases, for over 20 per cent of price of products, or more than double that of many of their regional counterparts.

It is perhaps true that JPS abuses its monopoly privilege, helped, as some argue, by less than effective regulatory oversight. In that regard, the economy might extract value from a break-up of its monopoly if, as was the case with telecommunications a dozen years ago, competition enhances efficiency and leads to price reductions.

But arriving at a decision requires rigorous analyses, taking into account all the factors that contribute to Jamaica's high energy cost.

This newspaper continues it's campaign to be critical of moves to implement LNG as a fuel for electricity generation as they believe that coal is a better choice. Of course, I believe that in a post peak world we will just be kicking the can down the road unless we make a concerted effort to invest in renewable energy at whatever the cost.

I fear that the powers that be will make an investment in in one fossil fuel or another only to see the chosen fuel become unobtanium, either because of shortages or an inability to pay for them. Not if I can do anythimg to influence that.

Alan from the islands


Standard & Poors just downgraded the US debt to AA+ from AAA

We live in interesting times...

Yeah, I had a feeling...They always drop these bombs on a Friday night.

Hold on to your wallets..

It is a good time to write, email or telephone your congressional critters and the president expressing dissatisfaction with their fiscal policy.

Doesn't seem like this was expected by some.

Why S&P Won’t Downgrade The U.S. After Friday’s Close

“Moody’s has already ruled they won’t downgrade the U.S. and S&P is not going to leave themselves hanging out there alone,” says Richard Lehmann, publisher of the Forbes/Lehmann Income Securities Investor newsletter. “It’s too competitive a marketplace.”

The ratings agency would catch hell for going out on a limb on its own and though Lehmann had not heard the downgrade rumor, he said “it sounds like something put out there by someone who wants the market to go down even further.”

I wonder which of the big boys got the early word to make some clean bets on the Markets?

The Chinese rating agency has already said they consider the US to be in default. Why do we care about the theater of Wall Street and DC?

Agreed. Where is the accountability for thee ratings agencies? A lot of their highly rated stuff imploded in 2008, is their any recourse to the ratings agencies if they grossly overrate things?

And since there is not, why are they important? It is just an opinion of a company that has somehow made a business of giving said opinions, but that certainly doesn't mean they are right all the time.
Why should the US government care about how these agencies, who are not major bondholders, see the value of US binds. What matters is how the buyers of said bonds see it. If these agencies aren't buying and holding themselves, then they are no more relevant to the game than a "sports analyst"

AAA bonds are required for certain transactions.


Required by whom?

if it is anyone other than the government, then the requirement is negotiable.

If it is required by government, what is the point, and what is credibility of a rating by a for profit company, that has been shown to be wrong. If the government has "contracted" these companies to rate debt, is there any risk of them losing the "contract" because of poor performance?

If they have simply become a convenient investing industry benchmark, e.g. "the pension fund will only invest in AAA rated securities", then it is time for the industry to move on, as these ratings are not serving their purpose.

If the ratings agencies cannot be held to account for the performance/accuracy of their ratings, are they any better than any website that purports to rate securities? All they had going for them was their reputation, and I don't think they have that any more.

Contrary to what the poster below says, I think now is precisely the time ti abandon these rating agencies, if there is any government requirements to use them.

And for the private sector, well, advice is worth what you pay for it, and it seems these ratings are available for free...

Yeah, what you said. When S/P has an appreciable effect on the interest rates of Treasury notes, the least of our problems will be a debt quality downgrade.

The irony is that a downgrade has been richly deserved for 20 years, at least if one believes unfunded obligations are real.

LOL so now you bitch. Greece, Ireland, Portugal and others get junk bond status and that's okay. Game was fun when you are winning but start losing and you want to call the game off and take your bat and ball and go home.

You are missing my point.
The status of any nation's bonds is, ultimately, up to the markets -the people that buy and sell them.

It matters not, in my opinion, what the ratings agencies say for any of them - they are as important as the newspaper writers giving their selections for the weekend races or football games.

And they have a right to do that, and broadcast their opinion, but let's keep in mind, this is just their opinion. So should government make any decisions based on the opinions of these ratings agencies?
if you are an investor, should you trust their ratings? Do they ever do a back analysis to look at the default rates of their different ratings to see if they are even close?

Would you bet your entire future/pension fund on their ratings?

You are missing my point.
The status of any nation's bonds is, ultimately, up to the markets -the people that buy and sell them.

It matters not, in my opinion, what the ratings agencies say for any of them - they are as important as the newspaper writers giving their selections for the weekend races or football games.

And they have a right to do that, and broadcast their opinion, but let's keep in mind, this is just their opinion. So should government make any decisions based on the opinions of these ratings agencies?
if you are an investor, should you trust their ratings? Do they ever do a back analysis to look at the default rates of their different ratings to see if they are even close?

Would you bet your entire future/pension fund on their ratings?

You are right, those rating agencies have been horrible wrong in the past, they are just a company selling their opinion. And there would have been cause to take a closer look at their influence on the market and a critical review of their function. Especially in regard to their horrible performance during the sub-prime crisis.

But now is not the right time for that, not anymore. You cannot stop playing the game just because you are suddenly on the losing side. That just looks bad.

I won't claim to know how markets will react to this or what the consequences of this downgrade will be.
However, I'm pretty certain that any attempt to discredit S&P or rating agencies in general will only make matters worse.

Also, no matter how S&P or others rate the US, the truth is, that it should have been downgraded way earlier. Didn't Ron Paul say something like that?

Anyway, the cat is out of the bag now. Every soccer mom has probably got news of the downgrade by now. And depending on who you listen to, it's either Obamas fault or the Tea Party's or the Republicans.
It will make those soccer moms and other everyday people nervous. Something big just changed in a bad way. People get angsty. They will want someone to blame and the reassurance that everything is going to be fine.

Any disscusion about the validity of S&P will just add more fuel to the blame game, either a plot by those damn liberals or whatever.

Really, there seems to be no way that the US can deal with it in any rational way. The US as whole seems to be unable to get out of their two party paradigm.

I'm not really an optimist. I'm pretty sure it's going all down bigtime.
But I still think some problems can be solved or at least their impact can be reduced.
For that to happen however, sanity must exist. Right now, it's just a mad house.

Why do we care about the theater of Wall Street and DC?

Because they have guns and cages they can put people in.

Flibe Energy to have first thorium reactor running June 2015.



This article anticipates '5 to 8 years' .. guess we'll see.

guess we'll see.

Ignoring the purely technical issues of the physics and material science (Oh hey! Lets take a VERY reactive material - Florine and heat it up!) you have the 'economic' effects that the Stoneleigh's and Gail's have mentioned.

The economic effects could keep an optimistic plan from happening in the timeframe mentioned.


Video of the president of Flibe Energy in which he says June 2015.

And in other news:

Blacklight Power to harness Hydrinos
EESTor will produce supercapacitors
E-Cat will have cold fusion demonstration at end of 2011
Stirling Cycle engines to be mass produced
Some space based power thing to be selling power to land based power firms in 2025

Ignoring the lack of demonstrated working models which are replicatable - building a working reactor correctly is "hard". With 40+ years of "nuclear science" - Canada thought they could design a correctly working plant for medical isotope needs. Yet:
If Man had fully understood the science AND been able to make the machine correctly, Canada would have 2 working reactors for medical needs right now, correct?

And lets say that the reactors DO work and ARE replicatable. To be this global benefit for Humanity - Are they able to be placed where there is an obvious LACK of energy - North Korea? And in other Nation-States where one is limited to volumes of liquids while traveling - how "terrorist proof" are these reactors? Present reactors are limited by sources of cooling water, lack of possible tsunamis (This seems to be a recent revelation natch) and a lack of tectonic activity and away from population centers - for safety's sake. These new magical Thorium beasts - they avoid the citing issues of present large scale reactors?