Drumbeat: August 17, 2011

OPEC’s Crude Exports Increase 2% in June, Led by Saudi Shipments

Exports of crude oil by OPEC member countries rose 2 percent in June after Saudi Arabia boosted shipments by 7.9 percent, according to data supplied to the Joint Organization Data Initiative.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries shipped 22.54 million barrels a day in June, up from 22.11 million in May, according to data posted today on the website. The association is supervised by the Riyadh-based International Energy Forum and compiles data from primary sources.

Shell: 660 Tons Of Oil Remain In Leaking Pipeline In North Sea

LONDON -(Dow Jones)- Some 660 tons of oil is still inside a leaking Royal Dutch Shell PLC pipeline in the U.K. North Sea, the Anglo-Dutch major said Wednesday, explaining that efforts to stop the relatively light flow of crude oil are taking a long time so as to minimize the risk of the remaining oil spilling out.

Shell has been attempting to stop a leaking flowline from its Gannet Alpha platform for the last seven days amid mounting public criticism of its perceived lack of transparency about the spill.

Statoil Pleads Guilty To Improper Water Use At Oil-Sands Project

CALGARY -(Dow Jones)- Statoil ASA (STO) pleaded guilty to charges related to improper water use at its oil-sands leases in northern Alberta, the company said Wednesday.

Norway's state-owned oil and gas company, which operates the Kai Kos Dehseh parcel of steam-injection oil-sands projects, faces 19 charges related to improper water use, as well as providing false and misleading information about water withdrawals from natural water sources.

Environmentalists Fume At Fracking Talk In Energy Committee

Oilfield services players such as Halliburton, Schlumberger and Baker Hughes will rest easier following the recommendations in the draft report prepared by the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board. Rather than coming down on the dangers of fracking, it highlighted the importance of adopting best practices in the fracking process to avoid environmental risks and advised more disclosure from the industry on the composition of fracking fluids and procedures.

This came as a disappointing blow to some environmentalists who have been pushing for a complete ban of the process citing environmental and health hazards.

Petrobras CFO Says Brazil Forces Maintenance After BP Spill

Brazilian regulators are forcing state-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4) to shut production equipment more frequently for maintenance after BP Plc’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the company’s chief financial officer said.

U.S. ethanol production drops, snaps four-week rise

(Reuters) - U.S. ethanol production slipped in the last week as profit margins narrowed and domestic demand waned, snapping a four-week rise in output.

High gas prices boost online sales

As higher gasoline prices cut into cash-strapped American consumers' budgets, some have decided to take the money they save by not driving and shopping online.

That has prompted retailers — from global giant Walmart to online pioneer Amazon.com — to invest heavily in expanded operations to better capture Web-based sales.

Textile industry: ‘Give me electricity or I will move to Bangladesh’

FAISALABAD: Faced with a chronic energy crisis in Pakistan, many textile manufacturers in Faisalabad – the country’s textile hub – are voting with their feet and moving their manufacturing units to Bangladesh.

Fuel shortage will cripple India's power plans: Deloitte

India's plans for growth in electricity supply are almost certain to be derailed by lack of fuel. The poor financial health of power distribution companies will exacerbate the problem, says global consultancy firm Deloitte Touche & Tohmatsu.

The lack of electricity is crippling India's ambitious economic growth programmes. Already grappling with a severe power supply deficit, the country's planners have projected a capacity addition of over 50,000 MW in the ongoing 11th five-year plan (2007-12). However, this is increasingly looking like an impossible target.

Analysis: On a clear day you may soon see a rig off Virginia

(Reuters) - Fifty miles off the coast of Virginia is a sliver of ocean the shape of a pizza slice and home to at least 130 million barrels of oil and more than a trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

A previously scuttled plan to drill in these waters offshore Virginia Beach has resurfaced and could get the green light at a time when an election-minded Obama administration is trying to salvage its credentials as worthy guardian of the U.S. economy.

Renewable energy zealots must understand ‘Net Energy'

My critics fail to understand the concept of “net energy,” a full accounting of the energy inputs required to produce a given unit of energy. Renewable energy requires far more imputs of energy, materials and money than do fossil fuels per equivalent unit of energy produced, recent research shows. Especially challenging will be finding a liquid fuel and feedstock alternative to oil, which powers close to 100 percent of global transportation and is ubiquitous in consumer products. No other fuel is as energy-dense, versatile, easily-transportable and abundant as oil. It is the main fuel powering a globalized industrialized civilization and will do so just once.

The most dangerous machine ever built

Are you a hypocrite if you criticize personal cars but yet own your own car? Do you have to achieve total transportation purity -- relying only on transit, bicycling or hoofing it -- to earn the right to open your mouth on all the problems that the automotive industrial complex has caused, from accident deaths and suburban sprawl to climate change and oil wars?

Thank goodness, no.

'Cool congregations': The Interfaith Power & Light story, part 2

With a model of distributed generation of energy, lower carbon footprint and renewable energy the Interfaith Power & Light vision points to a different model of security and helps us to break our addiction to fossil fuel, which brings such harm to God’s good earth and to future generations, and pulls us out of the peak oil conundrum.

Sharon Astyk: Picturing World Agriculture

This is important because after more than 60 years of industrialization in agriculture, after globalization and expansion of every kind, much of the world’s food is still grown on tiny family farms that would have looked very familiar to our ancestors a century or even a millennium ago. When we debate the relative merits of “organic” versus “conventional” agriculture, we ignore the fact that half the world’s food is grown by farmers who use largely organic methods – mostly because that’s what they can afford.

The Cause Of Riots And The Price of Food

What causes riots? That's not a question you would expect to have a simple answer.

But today, Marco Lagi and buddies at the New England Complex Systems Institute in Cambridge, say they've found a single factor that seems to trigger riots around the world.

This single factor is the price of food. Lagi and co say that when it rises above a certain threshold, social unrest sweeps the planet.

Drought so far cost Texas farms record $5.2 billion

LUBBOCK, Texas — The blistering drought in Texas has caused an estimated $5.2 billion in crop and livestock losses so far this agricultural season, a record figure likely to rise further, state officials said Wednesday.

Bill McKibben: A watershed moment for Obama on climate change

Ain’t eBay grand? For $10 you can buy a sack of 50 assorted Obama ’08 buttons, and that’s what I’ve been doing. If you look closely, you might see them this weekend on the lapels of some of the global warming protesters holding a sit-in outside the White House.

Already, more than a thousand people have signed up to be arrested over two weeks beginning Aug. 20 — the biggest display of civil disobedience in the environmental movement in decades and one of the largest nonviolent direct actions since the World Trade Organization demonstrations in Seattle back before Sept. 11. (Among the first 500 to sign up, the biggest cohort was born in the Truman administration, followed closely by FDR babies and Eisenhower kids. These seniors contradict the stereotype of greedy geezers who care only about their own future.)

The military's war on oil: For the military clean energy saves lives

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- One out of eight U.S. Army casualties in Iraq was the result of protecting fuel convoys.

This is a powerful incentive for the military to move away from oil and toward renewable energy, and that's exactly what it's doing.

From experimental solar-powered desert bases for the Marines to Navy robots that run on wave energy, the military is quickly becoming a leading buyer of cutting-edge renewable energy technology.

The true cost of the military's oil addiction

Companies paid more for food, goods in July

The overall PPI, which measures price changes in goods before they reach the consumer, rose 0.2 percent last month, the Labor Department said Wednesday. That follows a 0.4 percent drop in June, the first decline in 17 months.

Gas prices fell for the second straight month. Food costs rose 0.6 percent, the biggest rise since February.

The jump in the core index is unlikely to continue, economists said. One reason is that raw material prices are increasing at a slower pace than the finished goods tracked by the PPI.

Shell proposes Platts delay Brent oil changes to 2013

LONDON (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell, one of the biggest participants in North Sea Brent crude trading, wants proposed changes to the way the market works to be delayed by a year to minimize disruption.

Oil price assessment service Platts, a unit of McGraw Hill , proposed in July to tweak the way it calculates its dated Brent price -- a benchmark used to price crude cargoes around the world -- as of January 2012.

Petrobras to import 630,000 barrels gasoline in Aug

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazilian state oil company Petrobras will import 630,000 barrels of gasoline this month, supply director Paulo Roberto Costa said on Wednesday.

The director said imports of gasoline by the company have totaled 3.15 million barrels so far in 2011, including the most recent volumes expected in August.

Three firms bid to build Iraq gas power plant

(Reuters) - Iraq has received bids by three foreign companies to build a 1,014 megawatt gas power plant north of Baghdad, the Electricity Ministry said on Wednesday.

Syrian regime: Troops get rid of 'terrorist groups' in 2 cities

(CNN) -- Syrian troops left the embattled eastern city of Deir Ezzor after "ridding the city of the armed terrorist groups," government-run media reported Wednesday.

The claim came shortly after another report that security forces "completed their mission" in the Ramel neighborhood of Latakia and were pulling out after "putting an end to the armed terrorist groups who terrified the safe citizens by their criminal acts," according to the Syrian Arab News Agency.

States mull taxing drivers by the mile

A number of regulators and planners think the idea of charging by the mile is a great idea — something that could gain even more traction if electric propulsion grows in popularity. Since hybrids use less fuel than comparable conventionally powered vehicles and battery-electric vehicles use no fuel at all, there’s the potential for government coffers to lose billions of dollars a year in annual revenues used for road maintenance and other projects.

To replace those revenues, several states — along with a number of European countries — are exploring the idea of establishing per-mile fees that would use GPS navigation systems to track how much a vehicle is driven. There could be a fixed-rate charge or the fee might be adjusted to reflect the fuel-efficiency of a vehicle, perhaps even when and where it was driven.

Yes, your commute is bad for you too

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index recently asked commuters how they felt about their lives, emotional health, work environment and overall health. And how long it took them to get to the work.

The results, in general: The longer you are in that car, or train, or bus (or walking we suppose), the worse off you are.

Silicon Valley billionaire funding creation of artificial libertarian islands

Pay Pal founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel has given $1.25 million to an initiative to create floating libertarian countries in international waters, according to a profile of the billionaire in Details magazine.

Thiel has been a big backer of the Seasteading Institute, which seeks to build sovereign nations on oil rig-like platforms to occupy waters beyond the reach of law-of-the-sea treaties. The idea is for these countries to start from scratch--free from the laws, regulations, and moral codes of any existing place. Details says the experiment would be "a kind of floating petri dish for implementing policies that libertarians, stymied by indifference at the voting booths, have been unable to advance: no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons."

A Beltway boost for EVs

Environmentalists, gutsy entrepreneurs, and automakers stressing about fuel economy standards often drive the push for electric vehicles.

But in Washington, a very different group is quietly moving federal policy toward vehicle electrification. Securing America's Future Energy, a group little known outside the Beltway but highly influential within it, sees petroleum dependence as a critical national security issue.

Last month SAFE held a war-game simulation, Oil ShockWave, in which former government officials, military leaders, and cabinet members tried to deal with sharply rising oil prices and the resulting political instability.

Oil Climbs in New York as U.S. Fuel Supply Drop Signals Increased Demand

Oil advanced from a two-day low in New York as investors bet that shrinking fuel stockpiles in the U.S. indicate demand will increase in the world’s biggest crude- consuming nation.

Futures rose as much as 1.6 percent before an Energy Department report today that may say crude and gasoline stockpiles fell last week. The industry-funded American Petroleum Institute said yesterday gasoline supplies slid the most in almost five months. Inventories typically shrink in summer amid the May-to-September peak driving season.

Shell Under Fire Over Silent Tactics

Oil has been flowing into the North Sea from a leak at a platform off the coast of Scotland for a week, but Shell has failed to be open with the public. Details of the leak are scarce, and information on the amount of oil which has escaped so far remains uncertain.

Oil spill exposes Shell's ticking timebomb

For Shell, the timing of a spill at its Gannet A facility in the UK North Sea couldn't have been worse. For months, it has been selling its reputation as a responsible and cutting-edge oil company in its bid to drill in the Beaufort Sea in the US Arctic – and it recently won approval.

The Gannet Alpha platform spill and a damning report by the UN, undermining Shell's PR strategy. The company has been castigated over its lack of transparency in reporting the leak and for downplaying its magnitude and potential impacts. We now know that the spill is the single largest in UK waters in the last 10 years. While the spill is unlikely to approach the devastating impacts of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, its significance lies in the fact that it took place under the much vaunted "gold standard" regulatory regime of the UK and by a company that has been trading on its reputation as a responsible corporate citizen.

China mulls lawsuit over Bohai Bay oil spill

SHANGHAI (AP) — China's oceanic administration says it is preparing to sue the local unit of ConocoPhillips for damages to the environment resulting from offshore oil spills that began in June.

Peru’s Humala May Curb Gas Exports to Mexico as Growth Boosts Local Demand

Peruvian President Ollanta Humala will consider cutting natural gas exports to Mexico as demand from local power plants and petrochemical projects surges, according to the president of the state oil contracting agency.

Venezuela, Iran seek to boost dialogue within OPEC

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The presidents of Venezuela and Iran have agreed to work together within OPEC as economic concerns weigh on world oil prices, the Venezuelan government said Tuesday.

President Hugo Chavez spoke with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by telephone Monday, and the two agreed on the need to coordinate more closely in OPEC, Venezuela's Foreign Ministry said. It cited the "ominous effects of the crisis in the dominant powers' economies."

Angola Exceeds the Country's Oil Production in July - OPEC

Lagos — Angola over took Nigeria in July crude production, the Organsiation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said at the weekend stating that the cumulative exports of its member reached its highest in about two years.

The 12- member organization, which stated this in its July reports maintained that its crude oil output rose by 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the month and reached 30.05 million mbpd, its highest since December 2008.

Norway Sees Longer Oil Era as North Sea Find Offers Hidden Giant

Norway may slow a decade-long slump in oil production after a series of discoveries from the Arctic to the North Sea.

Statoil ASA has made two offshore finds of more than 250 million barrels of oil equivalent in Norway this year. The country’s biggest oil and gas producer yesterday said Aldous Major South and Avaldsnes in the North Sea are part of one “giant” oil field, and among Norway’s top 10 discoveries. The discovery is less than 10 feet away from where Total SA, then Elf Aquitaine, drilled a dry well in 1971, according to Statoil.

China’s July Coal Imports Rise 36% on Summer Power Shortages, Sxcoal Says

China’s July coal imports climbed 36 percent to 17.53 million metric tons from a year earlier, sxcoal.com, a Shanxi-based industry portal, said on its website, citing Chinese customs data.

That exceeded the customs bureau’s record of 17.34 million tons in December and 13.73 million tons in June. The official customs data is due to be released Aug. 22.

Special report: Pension scandal shakes up Venezuelan oil giant

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela received an enviable honor last month: OPEC said it is sitting on the biggest reserves of crude oil in the world -- even more than Saudi Arabia.

But the Venezuelan oil industry is also sitting atop a well of trouble.

The South American nation has struggled to take advantage of its bonanza of expanding reserves. And a scandal over embezzled pension funds at state oil company PDVSA has renewed concerns about corruption and mismanagement.

Foes file new petition to block Exxon megaloads

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Opponents of Exxon Mobil Corp.'s plans to ship massive oil refinery modules across a north central Idaho highway are asking the state's transportation chief once again to reject a hearing officer's findings in the disputed case.

A petition filed Monday with the Idaho Transportation Department alleges more than three dozen flaws in the formal recommendation submitted on the case by hearing officer Duff McKee in June.

Syrian tanks shell Latakia, death toll reaches 36

AMMAN (Reuters) - Syrian tanks fired on low-income Sunni Muslim districts in the port city of Latakia on Tuesday, the fourth day of an assault which has killed 36 people and forced thousands of Palestinian refugees to flee, activists said.

A senior Palestinian official described the military offensive in the city as "a crime against humanity," adding to Arab condemnation of President Bashar al-Assad's crackdown on popular demonstrations calling for his overthrow.

Libyan rebels battle Gadhafi forces for control of key oil refinery in Zawiya, near Tripoli

ZAWIYA, Libya — Rebels battled Moammar Gadhafi loyalists for control over Libya’s only functioning oil refinery in the western city of Zawiya Wednesday, as the opposition tried to cut off fuel supplies to the regime’s stronghold of Tripoli.

Japan's Hokkaido Elec gets approval for restarted reactor

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Hokkaido Electric Power Co won local backing on Wednesday for commercial operation of a nuclear reactor that has been operating in a grey zone, removing uncertainty over its status as Japan weighs the need for a steady supply of electricity against worries over the safety of atomic power.

Oman to test solar power in oilfield production

Oman is become the first country in the region to use the sun's energy to coax oil from the ground.

Plans advance for embattled Montana power line

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Canadian energy company said Tuesday that it is buying an embattled Montana power transmission line project that has seen its plans of shipping wind energy across the border become mired in landowner disputes. Alberta-based Enbridge Inc.'s announcement came the same day the company announced a significant settlement with a leader of the opposition.

Mass. solar energy company files for bankruptcy

BOSTON (AP) — A solar energy company that received millions of dollars in grants and tax incentives from Massachusetts before closing one of its facilities in the state has voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy relief.

Tiny block of thorium could power your car forever

Range is a huge concern for anyone driving an electric vehicle. The fear of running out of juice with no means to recharge is very real as charging stations aren't exactly common. A zero-emission car technology currently being developed by Connecticut-based company, Laser Power Systems, completely eradicates this concern. In fact, if the technology ever takes off, you might never have to refuel again.

Toyota spent $1.29M on lobbying in 2Q

WASHINGTON (AP) — Toyota Motor Corp. spent $1.29 million in the second quarter lobbying on tax incentives for alternative energy vehicles, patent laws, biofuel legislation and other issues.

New ethanol blend raises ire of car buffs

Foes of ethanol worry that E15 will become the norm in time and they won't be able to tell when they are buying it.

"The answer is not to stop this 15 percent ethanol, it's to get all of the ethanol out of gasoline," said classic-car mechanic Ed Syrocki, owner of EMS Classic Car Care in Warren, Mich.

White House Seeks New US Bio-Fuel Industry Not Based on Corn

The White House today announced a $510 million initiative meant to spur development of a new U.S. bio-fuel industry that utilizes non-food crops like algae or wood chips instead of the more traditional source, corn.

Officials billed the plan, a public-private partnership, as part of the administration’s efforts to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil and create new jobs in rural parts of the country.

Next generation Smart car family includes a Smart bike

The Mercedez-Benz SmartForTwo plug-in electric car is getting a major revamp this year, and the third generation will make its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. The newest version of the tiny two-seat car will boast a motor with 47 HP nominal output and a peak of 73 HP, a top speed of 75 mph (up from 62 in the current car), and an increased range of 87 miles (up from 71).

Judge Rejects Groups’ Effort to Remove Bike Lane

A judge on Tuesday dismissed an effort by Brooklyn residents to remove a hotly contested bicycle lane installed by the city on Prospect Park West, in one of the most closely watched controversies over a signature policy of the Bloomberg administration.

LEYTONSTONE: Expert to give talk on financial meltdown

Nicole Foss, who co-edits the Automatic Earth website, is a former fellow of the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies and a former energy policy researcher for the EU.

She blogs under the name Stoneleigh on the relationship between peak oil prices, financial markets and global security.

She will be giving a free talk at Leytonstone Social Club at 603 High Road, Leytonstone, from 7.00pm to 7.30pm on Friday, September 2.

Collapse scenarios – satire or vision of the future? Part 1

With the US debt mountain looking increasingly unresolvable and European state debts at levels sufficient to give the markets recurrent panic attacks, the stage is nicely set for authors of collapse scenarios. Their Armageddon visions might not come to pass, but then again, given the way the marbles are rolling around, they just might. These visions are scary stuff, but usually spiced up with some decent gallows humour along the way. I will be talking about two such visions in a series of blogs. The first is by the Russian/American author, Dmitry Orlov, Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Experience and American Prospects, which looks at the “coming” (in Orlov’s vision) collapse of America, which Orlov sees as curiously paralleling the demise of the USSR. The second is John Michael Greer’s The Wealth of Nature: Economics as if Survival Mattered, which again sees current Western economies and lifestyles as unsustainable and headed for inevitable collapse.

The Impending Demise of Globalism; How It Will Cripple Corporate America

What poses the greatest threat to the future of globalism is called Peak Oil, a term still not very familiar to most Americans. Peak Oil is a theory which is evolving right before our eyes. The demise of globalism will begin as the world enters the era of Peak Oil, that point in time when the world's demand for petroleum will overwhelm the production capabilities of the world's oil producing nations. While the world will not run out of oil for a long time, the dilemma is that oil is becoming much more difficult and expensive to extract from the deposits that are rapidly declining. Not only are there are no new large oil fields being discovered but the potential for new discoveries is very slight.

Nouriel Roubini: Is Capitalism Doomed?

Karl Marx, it seems, was partly right in arguing that globalization, financial intermediation run amok, and redistribution of income and wealth from labor to capital could lead capitalism to self-destruct (though his view that socialism would be better has proved wrong). Firms are cutting jobs because there is not enough final demand. But cutting jobs reduces labor income, increases inequality, and reduces final demand.

Problems Will Be Global -- And Solutions Will Be, Too

Before considering the world in 2025, 14 years from now, it is worth remembering the world 14 years ago, in 1997. Back then, the United States was the sole superpower, its immensity and dominance of the international system so evident as to trigger the resentful label of "hyperpower" from the French foreign minister. The American economy was expanding fast enough to leave the country a healthy and growing surplus by the end of Bill Clinton's presidency three years later. The European Union, then still only four years old, had just 15 members; the euro did not exist. The wars dominating the headlines were in Europe: Bosnia, Croatia, and, soon, Kosovo. The term BRICs -- the Goldman Sachs label attached to the fast-growing emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India, and China -- had not yet been invented. The Internet was booming, but social media did not exist.

You get the point: A lot can change in 14 years, and rarely in ways foreseen. In the spirit of proper humility, then, here's my take on what the landscape of global diplomacy will look like a decade and a half from now:

Japan at critical tipping point

COLCHESTER, Vermont — Japanese trains run to the minute, and the country's businesses pride themselves on energy-efficiency. The Japanese boast of their eco-services for eco-products in eco-cities. Yet they rely primarily on imported fossil fuel and nuclear power, live in energy-wasteful homes, and import 60 percent of their food. That may be changing in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Maybe.

Japan is at a crucial tipping point. As an island nation, it offers a microcosmic look at the problems facing the rest of the globe, including peak oil and climate change due to greenhouse gas emissions. And as Japan tips, so may the world.

One-child policy a surprising boon for China girls

Since 1979, China's family planning rules have barred nearly all urban families from having a second child in a bid to stem population growth. With no male heir competing for resources, parents have spent more on their daughters' education and well-being, a groundbreaking shift after centuries of discrimination.

"They've basically gotten everything that used to only go to the boys," said Vanessa Fong, a Harvard University professor and expert on China's family planning policy.

Anti-baby boom: Why U.S. birth rate keeps falling

The number of children born in the U.S. peaked with a record 4.3 million births in 2007, but has since fallen, dropping to 4 million births last year, according to estimates by the National Center for Health Statistics. The birth rate -- a measure of births per 1,000 people -- has dropped 10%.

Historically, declines in birth rates have gone hand in hand with economic downturns. During the financial slumps of the early 1990's and 1970's, the birth rates fell 15% and 18%, respectively. In the midst of the Great Depression, the birth rate was down by 17%.

Africa famine: soaring food prices intensifying crisis, report warns

A volatile global food supply is deepening the humanitarian catastrophe in the Horn of Africa, the World Bank warns in a new report.

Shortages and near-historic prices for staples such as corn, wheat and sugar have magnified the impact of the drought now ravaging the Horn of Africa, the Food Price Watch report said.

Somali Militant Beatings Worsen Spiral of Famine as Refugees Flee Drought

Abdi Hassan lies in a hospital bed in the world’s biggest refugee camp recovering from a beating by tax collectors from Somalia’s al-Qaeda-inspired militants who smashed his left hip and knee with rifle butts.

The 20-year-old herder refused to hand over some of his camels to the militants, known as al-Shabaab, or “the youth” in Arabic, who confiscate crops and livestock from civilians to help finance their campaign to overthrow Somalia’s western- backed government. The militants generate $70 million to $100 million a year from taxation and extortion, the United Nations Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea estimated last month.

Protest Over Chemical Plant Shows Growing Pressure on China From Citizens

BEIJING — More than international prestige or even economic might, the top priority of China’s leadership is to maintain stability among this nation’s vast and varied population. President Hu Jintao explicitly reaffirmed that goal just last month, telling a Communist Party celebration that “without stability, nothing can be accomplished.”

In the aftermath of a large protest on Sunday in a major metropolis in northeast China, Dalian, that craving for rigid orderliness appears increasingly ephemeral. In the face of ever more sophisticated efforts to control and guide expression, significant protests — and visceral public shows of unhappiness with government — appear to be becoming regular features of life.

Analysis: Republicans turn sights on "activist" EPA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Emboldened by their success wresting concessions from the Obama administration in debt-limit talks, House Republicans now plan an assault of similar vigor on the Environmental Protection Agency.

Republicans, backed by wealthy conservative lobbyists, are determined to stop the EPA and what they see as an activist agenda that is costing jobs and hurting corporate profits.

Shorelines, Sandy or Otherwise, That May Not Last

Beaches that are unfettered by human infrastructure do not disappear when sea level rises. They simply move inland. When sand on a barrier island is washed into the lagoon behind it, or when the base of a beachfront cliff erodes and the bluff slumps down to the water’s edge, the beach, is, in effect, moving to higher ground inland.

But, the authors conclude, unless society chooses beaches over buildings the result will be a world in which parks like the National Seashores retain natural beaches, but beach resorts elsewhere are “heavily walled and beachless.” Rising seas will make sand-pumping operations “untenable,” they predict, and tourists will amuse themselves by “promenading on top of a seawall” — already the principal activity in too many coastal resorts.

U.S. cities prepare to adapt to climate change

In Chula Vista, Calif., new waterfront buildings will be required to have higher foundations because of an expected rise in sea levels.

In Chicago, where flooding is predicted to worsen, residents can get rebates for putting rain barrels, compost bins and native plants in their yards.

And in New York City, where rising tides are also projected, wastewater treatment plants will elevate their pumps.

While some members of Congress debate the scientific validity of climate change, these U.S. cities are going beyond efforts to mitigate it with lower greenhouse gas emissions. They're at the forefront of an emerging trend: adaptation.

Thorium-powered car: what powers the laser? Would it have hurt the "author" to have asked just one inconvenient question?

Theoretically. A theoretical thorium power plant. They make it sound like they'll just use a diode laser from a DVD player. Use it to fire one of these:

Sometimes it's convenient to neglect thorium's low fissionability, or the fact that fission produces deadly neutrons. And that the daughter nuclei give off tremendous amounts of gamma radiation, for several centuries.

Nuclear power isn't scalable -- it doesn't scale _down_.

A bit OT but Ivo Kolin wrote several papers on using impure radioactive isotopes as the heat source in Stirling engines back in the 60's. A way to scale down if one ignores the problems of waste.

Nuclear power isn't scalable

It also doesn't "scale" across political/economic boundaries. Some Nation-States are deemed 'not worthy' to have fission power by other Nation-States with larger militaries or even economic power.

Whatever the "next" power solution is, every human being should have some basic right to have access. Nuclear power doesn't fit that bill, there are some very high barriers to entry.

Thorium-powered car: what powers the laser?

If Thorium delivers 125,000 miles/gram without a nuclear reaction and without long-lived nuclear byproducts, as this huckster inventor claims, then the laser is likely to be powered by Dilithium Crystals


In a Gallup poll released today, Americans chose dilithium crystals as the “most likely” fuel to run future cars and power plants, with 84% of Americans choosing the crystals over other options including nuclear, hydrogen, corn ethanol, shale gas, and photovoltaic solar panels. Respondents indicated that dilithium crystals are popular for providing quiet, clean energy, with a proven track record of seven-hundred twenty-six episodes in four different Star Trek television series.

The "Gallup poll" takes place in the fictional future.

As does the invention of a Thorium-powered family car :)

HERE's a link for Laser Power Systems, LLC

Looks like another one of those "investment" web sites, where a "new technology" is hyped to the sky. Notice that the page was last updated in December 2010. there's no description of the method used to produce the claimed energy. And, there's no information about who might be running this project scam, the contact page is just a blind request form...

E. Swanson

Yep. I visited the site a couple days ago following a mention by a different source. They claim to be developing an affordable 600-pound 180-kW thorium-fueled generator. Forget about mounting it in a car; I want one to sit in the garage and power my house. Assuming, of course, that the NRC will grant me a license to operate a reactor...

Never mind that, does the company have the requisite licenses from the NRC to do the development?


Good point. If you offered the inventor a million dollars in funding but wanted more information, I assume that he would assert some sort of "new physics" that allows him to get more energy than a chemical process would provide, but that it's not nuclear so doesn't need to be licensed. Granted, new physics is sometimes required -- liquid-nitrogen temperature superconductors required new theory, but at least the physical phenomenon was reproducible.

If I actually had such a technology, I would probably approach the Indian government first -- they have serious electricity problems and large thorium reserves...

Indian government first -- they have serious electricity problems and large thorium reserves...

And haven't they been trying to make a workable Thorium reactor for decades?

The Indian program has three steps.
1) uranium to plutonium reactor using local uranium -- done
2) fast breeder reactor plutonium core, thorium blanket to make U233 construction is under way
3) U233 core, thorium blanket makes more U233 future work

So the Thorium position is STILL wishful thinking.

The Chinese have money and are working on it. The Indians have money and are working on it. Flibe Energy in the US if it can get money from the military will be working on it with a goal of criticality July 2015.

So more than the Indians having the wishful thinking - good to know.

And no one has announced working product - thus wishful thinking.

And of course those Thorium rectors are large scale industrial enterprises, not some fly by night, just stick under your hood, like Mr fusion. Remeber we are talking about an investment scam, not a reactor here.

Thorium is stable. It is not a fissile material. So shining light on it seems unlikely to do anything.

For those who ask then how does it work in a reactor? If you expose thorium(232/90) to neutrons it can be transmuted into thorium(233/90) that beta decays to Pa(233/91) that beta decays to U(233/92). The U(233/92) is fissile and is the fuel that "burns".

Thorium is stable. It is not a fissile material. So shining light on it seems unlikely to do anything

But, people are vaguely aware that Thorium could be a major energy source, and lasers sounds just hightech enough to work some sort of magic. So, you can bet he will find some naive people to relieve of their money.

Last month SAFE held a war-game simulation, Oil ShockWave, in which former government officials, military leaders, and cabinet members tried to deal with sharply rising oil prices and the resulting political instability.

When is the US going to wake up?
The best solution to auto-addicted oil dependency is to run Green public transit!
We need to get people out of their cars with other transit options.
EV's at current 1 ton auto size require prodigious amounts of energy which still has to come from somewhere and are woefully inefficient - i.e. 90% of the energy used for a 2000 lb car driving a 200 lb person is for the vehicle not the passenger. Electrical charging needs for electric 1 ton cars is that of a small house.


Moreover as the New York Times pointed out a few months ago here is the
difference in greenhouse emissions for gas vs electric individual cars:
Nissan Altima gas: 90 lbs greenhouse emissions
Nissan Leaf electric: 63.5 lbs greenhouse emissions

Sweden has been down the path of promoting non-gasoline cars and it failed miserably:

Through generous subsidies, Sweden aggressively pushed its citizens to trade in their cars for energy efficient replacements (hybrids, clean diesel vehicles, cars that run on ethanol). Sweden has been so successful in this initiative that it leads the world in per capita sales of ‘green cars.’ To everyone’s surprise, however, greenhouse gas emissions from Sweden’s transportation sector are up.


Yet we have the skeleton of a public transit system which could permanently
reduce oil usage and greenhouse emissions WITHOUT requiring huge coal burning or
new energy sources as pointed in a Brookings study May 12th:

An analysis of data from 371 transit providers in the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas reveals that:

Nearly 70 percent of large metropolitan residents live in neighborhoods with access to transit service of some kind.


The typical metropolitan resident can reach about 30 percent of jobs in their metropolitan area via transit in 90 minutes.

We need first to run Green public transit we already have and help with the "last mile" with shuttles, parking garages, bike and walking access to train stations.

Then we need to revive old rail lines which traverse 233,000 miles across the USA or build transit along highway medians where that makes sense instead of
endless lane expansion.

We will simply not be able to continue running an auto addicted transit system no matter what magic is attempted.
Running frequent Green public transit will create thousands of permanent jobs for conductors, engineers, drivers which cannot be off-shored while saving
acres and acres of greenspace for parks, farms and recreation.

I agree with your suggestions, Orbit.

I disagree with the call from SAFE (and from so many others) that long-term security will be found by increased domestic drilling. They are correct in the short term of course, but surely in the long term it makes better strategic sense to use other people's non-renewables as much as possible and safeguard your own (within reasonable limits, of course, and there are ongoing risks of disruption).
On the other hand, there is the certainty that accelerating the consumption of your own reserves will hasten the day when they are gone.

I do agree with SAFE's efforts to point out the increasing risks of oil shocks and our unpreparedness for them. One American who has done detailed work in this area is Kathy Leotta whose 2007 study (118 pgs) says that effective responses lie in proactive work along the lines that you suggest, and which require years (if not decades) to achieve:

Rick - And if I recall coreectly from my read of the SAFE report: maybe one..maybe no one on the committee had every been involved in the drilling of an oil/NG well. Thus easy to offer the "drill, baby, drill" option as a way out. Not encumbered by knowledge.

When is the US going to wake up?

I think it is going to take some more increase in fuel cost or an actual disruption that reduces fuel supply at the corner gas station.

When is the US going to wake up?

Zombies never wake up;

they just keep marching on like the saints.

[ i.mage.+]

Something ate my prior comment. Anyhow, the linchpin is capitalism. Corporate capitalists requires cars-first transportation, because of its special blend of waste and profitability. Unless and until we call them out on this, they will continue to force cars down our throats, regardless of the dangers.

We certainly do need to move to cities that are designed with mass transit in mind. However, we are stuck with the millions of existing homes and we can't run transit everywhere. So we still will need cars in addition to mass transit.

I found this line extremely encouraging:

But concern over petroleum dependence is growing. General Motors recently surveyed early buyers of the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid and found that the top reason for purchase was "reducing dependence on foreign oil."

Nice to see that the market is not just tree-huggers. In fact it is more national security and economic security mavens than tree-huggers.

With a car like the Nissan Leaf, $10K of solar panels on your roof will power 30 miles per day of driving.

I have the panels in place, and expect to get the Leaf in a few weeks.

How many kiloWatt hours of e-juice does one need for a 30 mile trip in a Leaf?

any links to back up that info? Thanks

p.s. do you store you day's PV output in a battery bank and then transfer to the Leaf over night?

The Nissen leaf is rated at (34 kW·h/100 mi) therefore three miles/kilowatt/hour X 10 = 30 miles

34 kW·h/100 mi equals 0.34 kWhrs per mile

That is pretty amazing
I'll assume that is at peak cruising efficiency with no stops and re-accelrations
You probably have to add in some fudge factor (doubling?) to account for performance in real traffic.

Still, if you live in an always sunny environment and there are PV panels both at home and at the office, it might be doable.

The yet better approach might be to have a concentrating thermal solar plant near the office and to cycle charge a couple of employee cars off that one scaled generator when they pull into an electrified parking structure.

"The discovery is less than 10 feet away from where Total SA, then Elf Aquitaine, drilled a dry well in 1971, according to Statoil."

10feet can make the difference between a major field and a dry hole? Is this a reflection of improved seismic analysis or something else at work?

Or a much deeper (or more shallow ? ) hole?

Can you drill right through an oil bearing layer and never notice?

Ralph - It ain't easy finding oil even when you find it. LOL. About20 years ago a company discovered a 7 million bbl oil field that other companies had drilled right thru the middle of it several times and didn't see it. And the company wasn't even looking for oil when they did it. They re-entered an abandoned well that had casing through the oil reservoir. They wanted to use it for salt water disposal. When their engineer perforated the reservoir to test the injection capability it started flowing oil. And guess what: no one owned the mineral leases at that time. Two companies found out about it and leased the land up very quickly.

I avoid getting into the tech side of our biz as much as I can...would put a lot of folks into a coma. But even when you drill the hole it isn't always clear exactly what you've got down there. It really is a testiment to just what a freaking genius I am to do what I do.. LOL.

Several companies drilled right through the biggest oil field in Canada, the Pembina oil field, looking for oil in deeper formations before one of them (Amoco) noticed it was there. They determined that from analyzing the core samples and well logs, not from oil gushing out of the pipe.

They had to fracture the discovery well in 1953, and every other well in the field, to get them to produce any oil. The Pembina field produced its billionth barrel of oil a couple of decades ago and is well on its way to its second billion. The Cardium formation, which is the one Pembina produces from, is the current "hot" conventional oil play in Alberta. All it takes is horizontal wells and lots of fracturing. And high oil prices.

Rocky - Exactly. I have argued with my Texas cohorts that Canadian geologists are nearly as smart as Texas geologists. And there you go providing proof. Or was that a US Amoco geologist that recommended frac'ng that first well?

I guess we tend to be too close to see the obvious. Lots of folks (but not on TOD) may think that's how we know we hit the big one: oil blowing thru the crown block. Just like in "Armegeddin" with Bruce Willis. Oh yeah...many a time I stood on the drill floor of an offshore rig and celebrated as the oil/NG blew out the wellhead 15' away.

I think it is very likely that Amoco brought the technology in from the US since at that time the Western Canadian oil industry was still in its infancy. The first big oil discovery in Western Canada had only been found six years before - in itself a bit of a revelation since only then did they discover that they could have found more oil by drilling completely at random than by paying any attention to what the geologists said.

What through them off at the start was the fact that the first oil discovery in Western Canada was in pre-Cambrian rock. Figure that one out. After drilling everywhere the oil was not, geologists discovered that they had completely missed the Devonian reef trend which held most of Canada's conventional oil in hundreds of easy-to-miss pinnacle reefs. To make their confusion complete, the biggest find of all was in a completely unrelated Cretaceous sandstone.

My brother had the experience of a well blowing the drill string 400 feet in the air. Despite what the movies would have you believe, that's not what a drilling engineer wants to see. He wants to see a completely controlled process which goes exactly according to the book and involves no excitement at all.


400' of heavy steel pipe, twisting 15 degrees or so at every joint, going up ... and then down !

Run like hell and hope it does not fall in my direction !


Actually, the drill pipe hit the rig, a spark set the well on fire, the flames rose 100 feet high, and it burned about 100 million cubic feet a day of gas for months before they managed to put it out. So it was worse than you imagined.

Ah, the excitement of drilling for oil and gas!

They determined that from analyzing the core samples and well logs

Sometimes I talk with people until I'm blue in the face about why I get paid to look at core samples, cuttings, and thin sections. A typical comment, often from a "drill, baby, drill" type of person, might be something like "Well, why do you need to look at the rock? Are you telling them [a client] if there's oil in the rock or not? I mean, don't you just drill until you hit oil?"

These days, those conversations end more and more with me saying something like "You know, geologists aren't stupid, and we know what we're doing, but if finding oil were as easy as YOU think it is, then everyone would be able to do it. In fact, I encourage you to pool your money with that of your buddies, go out and lease a drill rig, and start drilling in your backyard until YOU hit oil."

I'm all for patiently attempting to educate folks about the role of geologists and geophysicists in the search for oil and gas, but when the response is a chuckle followed by them repeating the same line to the next person about "Seems to me if we just started drilling more places we'd find all the oil we need" I keep coming back to the conclusion that people hear and believe that which they WANT to hear and believe.

crazy - I would take the 10' with a grain of salt. But it still might have been very close...a 100' feet or so. And yes...it's possibile to miss a very large reservoir by a very short distance. Last year we drilled a dry hole...reprocessed the seismic...drilled a side track well 400' away. Now producing $3 million of NG/oil per month. All for the sake of 400'. We just watched another company drill a dry hole. Our seismic says he just missed the target (obviously his seis was wrong). We're going acquire his lesses, drill our well (with a potential of $90 million of reserves) and hopefully prove we're smarter than him.

And sometimes it's the vetical and not the lateral difference. About 30 years ago a friend was drilling a rank wildcat in S. La. Didn't see anything in the well when they drilled as deep as they thought they needed to. A year later ExxonMobil set up on his abandoned drill site and poked a hole deeper than he drilled. Less than 200' below where he stopped (at a depth of over 15,000') XOM discovered a field that would be worth more than $6 billion today. And my friend had a 2% overriding royalty on his well. I'll save you the math: he missed making $120 million by less than 200'. He doesn't like to talk about it. LOL


I hope this is not a silly question can seismic charts be used to discover coal seams or can than only be discovered by drilling and what are the chances of coal seams being found where oil is found?

Regards YM

Yorkshire, I don't know squat about seismic charts and I am not an oil man. But I do know that coal is found in terrestrial sediments, former swamps and peat bogs, and oil is only found in former aquatic sediments. Coal is terrestrial and oil is aquatic. I would imagine that the oil field geologists know which type of sediment they are sounding and would never find coal in aquatic sediments.

I know, oil wells are more often than not, on dry land. But they are drilling into what was, just a few million years ago, a shallow sea.

But a geologist like WT, or an oil man like Rockman or Rocky Mountain Guy, could give you a more definite answer.

Ron P.

Coals are acoustically very soft and are often strong seismic reflectors. A lot of oil is found in fluvial sediments that can be interbedded with coals. OTOH, most economic coal beds are, of course, found from surface exposures - outcrops are followed by surface mining, strip mining, and (relative to most oil wells) shallow shaft mining. I'm not in the coal business, but presumably seismic has been used to follow deep seams. CBM (coal bed methane), producing gas from wells drilled into buried coals, undoubtedly relies heavily on seismic, but I'm not in that biz either.


Thank you the pair of you, I was just pondering I know Norway has vast coal reserves off its coast most likely discovered by drilling and England certainly does stretching out under the North Sea, there were one or two disasters in the 19th century when the sea broke in drowning the miners. It just stuck me as funny as all of the middle east seems devoid of any coal reserves and yet there is plenty of oil in the gulf. The only one I can think of is a small coal mine in Egypt in the Sinai desert

The North Sea is very shallow and half of it was dry land 10,000 years ago. Even without continental drift and plate tectonics, areas can rise and fall relative to sea level many times over the millions of years it takes to form coal or oil. It is certainly possible for oil and coal to form in the same area, on land or undersea today. The oil would generally form in the deeper sediments, that rise up to more shallow layers where is would become trapped in a cap of impermeable rock about it. This could conceivably be between coal bearing layers.

Oceans tend to come and go over geological time, so it's not uncommon to find coal seams interleaved between oil-bearing formations. The type shallow seas that produce oil tended to turn into the type of swamps that produce coal when the sea levels rose (or land levels fell), and turn back into shallow seas when sea levels fell.

The North Sea is one such sea that has come and gone over prehistory, and there was once a shallow sea in the middle of North America running from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean that similarly came and went. Both have produced large amounts of both coal and oil.

We used to find enormous amounts of coal while we were drilling oil wells, not that we particularly cared. I'm sure that if the geophysicists wanted to find coal, they could.

I know of a recent discovery (~100 mmbo) that was a sidetrack from a 4-year old dry hole. Based on improved seismic data, it was (correctly) argued that the dry hole missed the accumulation by about 200' laterally due to an un-imaged fault that cut out the main reservoir.

China: Wider radioactive contamination in ocean than Japan government has admitted

China sent a survey ship and took seawater samples off the coast of Fukushima back in June and July. The State Oceanic Administration now says the contamination of the Pacific Ocean may extend as far as 800 kilometers (497 miles) off the coast of Fukushima, as reported by the Science and Technology Daily in China, according to Asahi Shinbun.

Thanks for posting this.

... sigh!

If ever there was a valid reason to apply the death penalty, this crime against humanity warrants it!

Ask yourself how many people you would have to find "guilty"

I'd draw the line at the current members of the Japanese government and TEPCO administrators who are directly responsible for the cover-up. Though I assume your point is that all of us in the so called first world are guilty to some extent.

From above

Oil Climbs in New York as U.S. Fuel Supply Drop Signals Increased Demand

In the last Drumbeat thread declining inventories were discussed. Is this a result of that. Maybe a preemptive cut by OPEC in response to deteriorating economic situation ? if it is then this does not bode well for the economy.

OPEC exports have not really changed since the approx 1.2 million bpd drop after Libya went offline. Well occasionally they surge for a month and then drop back. Rinse and repeat. Averaged out though OPEC does not appear to have increased or decreased exports since the loss of Libyan oil. Despite reports of increased production to make up for the Libyan loss, none of this is making it to export markets as tracked by "Oil Movements".

Yes there has been no change in OPEC exports since Libya 'off line'. That is a bit hard to understand when Saudi Arabia claims to have increased internal output by almost 1 million bpd since then. However some posters here have said that KSA may have seen domestic demand increase by more than the expected 600,000 bpd for summer purposes - like air conditioning and water treatment.

The final figures are not in - so we don't know if KSA is intentionally holding back part of its widely publicized increase in output.

Nothing to say from an authorative point of view; however, doesn't it seem that KSA would not hold back with Iraq positioned to increase production soon? It would make more sense to say that either the claimed increases do not exist, or that KSA is using them internally, so they are not part of the export equation. ELM rules, you know!


Or there are machinations behind the scenes/in plain view? Holding back some now to flood market in 2012 to keep prices low and affect the US elections? I have no evidence, jes' sayin'.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending August 12, 2011

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.4 million barrels per day during the week ending August 12, 205 thousand barrels per day below the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 89.1 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging 9.3 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging about 4.6 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged nearly 9.3 million barrels per day last week, up by 185 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 9.3 million barrels per day, 606 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 677 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 97 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 4.2 million barrels from the previous week. At 354.0 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 3.5 million barrels last week and are in the upper limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 2.4 million barrels last week and are in the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 0.8 million barrels last week and are below the lower limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 4.5 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged 19.4 million barrels per day, down by 0.1 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged about 9.2 million barrels per day, down by 3.0 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged 3.7 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, up by 5.8 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 3.9 percent higher over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

5.9 million barrels per were released from the SPR during the week. Total crude stocks including SPR declined by 1.7 million barrels. Massive upwards crude "adjustment" this week after a very unusual small downwards adjustment last week. 368,000 bpd of crude appeared from "nowhere" and 176,000 bpd of product likewise for a total contribution of 3.8 million barrels to this week's "total commercial petroleum inventories". Despite this, including the SPR, total petroleum stocks declined by 1.4 million barrels.

Crude stocks at Cushing, Oklahoma continued their fall, dropping 0.9 million barrels to 33.7 million barrels - this despite PADD 2 refineries dropping (on outages? hopefully Charles will know) to 90.8% utilization (still the highest in the US). Cushing stocks are now 3.3 million barrels below last year at this time.

Gasoline supplies in the Midwest are near the lows for the year, and not far from the low points we have seen in the last six years. This is due to a significant outage at a refinery near Memphis, and scattered lesser outages elsewhere in the Midwest. The smaller problems have been resolved, although one new outage popped up today. The Memphis refinery may be off line for a few more weeks.


Right now, it looks like the Midwest will squeak by with just enough gasoline supplies to get past the end of the summer driving season with only isolated brief and local shortages - maybe in the Memphis, TN area. That is, of course, assuming no hurricane decides to make its way into the US around Houston or Louisiana - where it could disrupt Gulf Coast refineries, which send gasoline northward to Memphis and other locations through the Colonial Pipeline.

Interesting...gasoline price lows today in Albuquerque are $3.16/gallon.

Been heading down steadily the past few weeks...

Re Norway, I don't know how much oil they're actually going to find our how well they'll be able to offset the decline rate in North Sea oil production, but they are easily the most responsible oil producers on the planet. They treat domestic oil demand as if they were any other European importer of oil - high taxes on gas consumption and incentives to make use of that great public transportation infrastructure.

Oslo is the most expensive city I've ever been in, but it was worth going just to see how much they "get it." Despite steady production declines, Norwegians will be exporting oil for decades to come due to their shrewd efforts to keep oil consumption essentially flat.

The only downside is that if the S ever HTF in the Eurozone, Norwegians are sitting ducks, and their remaining oil will be ripe for confiscation. It took the Third Reich about twelve hours to subdue the country, don't see anyone else needing much more time than that.

Re: Is Capitalism Doomed? up top:

I have a pet theory that the final stages of capitalism and socialism are the same: that is wealth becomes so concentrated in the hands of a few that the economies of either can no longer function to the betterment of the general welfare.

With socialism nearly all capital is in the hands of the state which is run to benefit those few who hold power. In the former Soviet Union it survived for 70 years before collapse. Cuba has suffered going on 50 years.

In the case of capitalism, due to its competitive nature, the successful amass more and more of the wealth over time. They are able to buy off politicians with their wealth who obediently pass laws for their benefit. Over a long period of time wealth/income becomes more and more concentrated in the hands of a few. Just as in socialism the final stage of capitalism is an economy concentrated in the hands of a few and run for their benefit.

When this stage is reached the economy only benefits those in power just as in socialism. It no longer is run for the general welfare of the all the people. Most people are caught in a situation where improving their lot is difficult to impossible. Many find that they become worse off year after year.

That is why a mix of capitalism and socialism is absolutely necessary for a stable economy. The Chinese found this out. So did the Russians. Cuba appears to be a slow learner.

The United States learned this lesson in 1929 but has now forgotten it as nearly all of the generation that can remember the 1930's are dead or senile.

The new generation of growth through austerity exemplified by the Teabaggers are making the same mistake as was made in the 1930s. This will concentrate wealth/income even more in the hands of the few and accelerate the collapse of capitalism as it no longer benefits the general welfare.

They are not the only ones at fault though. Socialism for the rich as exemplified by the financial bailouts of the Too Big To Fail are just as bad. The bailouts were of the politically powerful. Those on the bottom who made big mistakes as in buying housing at the top got little. The net effect was to accelerate concentration of wealth at the top.

Capitalism is absolutely necessary for an economy to maximize its potential for the general welfare and so is socialism. The problems occur when there is too much of either.

x -

Interesting pet theory. Do you have an idea of what makes a 'good' balance of socialism and capitalism? Or at least how you'd be able to quantify that there is a balance between the two?

I have felt about the same as X WRT balancing of Ideologies.. in as much as they are designed to aim towards an Ideal, they can each become impractical if done without any moderation..

I don't really know that it's possible or even useful to Quantify this moderation, as much as accepting that it is necessary in the first place. Extremes tend to be unstable, it seems to me. Even when opposite extremes seem to balance each other somewhat, they're still dependent upon the middle-ground that connects them.

For example, this story about Floating Libertarian Nations makes me wonder what terminology they will use to describe the Hull of this seabound ideology, in order to avoid the obvious conclusion that it is their 'Commons', and being owned by all, is that much more essential to their very survival than the equivalent for societies that can at least hang onto the solid ground at their feet, when all else seems uncertain. Will they have regulations about not mistreating it, about joining together to raise funds in order to maintain it? Otherwise, will it be another crude parody of an ideology, like the LA millionaires who raised millions in order to create their Communist Utopia?

I may have my own inclinations towards finding an 'intentional community' out there someday.. but I'm not going to turn a blind eye when it very Suspension is so clearly built on contradictory premises.

I agree that extremes do tend to become unstable as time goes on.

I couldn't get through your link. I'll google it.

The only communities I can think of that are self-providing in that they produce for the entirety of the community (and perhaps sell a little extra on the side) are hutterites. I suppose you could argue that they require the outside world for their machinery and what not.

Sorry, I didn't offer a link, had only bolded the name from a story up top.

While I do believe in communities being able to achieve a reasonable degree of independence, I'm again an Orthodox Moderate when it comes to such beliefs. These images of PURITY and ISLANDING are very appropriate to the inherent problem with the Libertarian's plan.. sounds like the setup for a great lesson, if anyone involved is willing enough to swallow their pride and actually connect those dots.. as they sink.

As Richard Dreyfus said in the wacked-out film INSERTS, "Nothing Pure is ever Simple, and nothing that's Simple is ever Pure."

Wow. I didn't realize this was happening. It almost seems like the islands could approach a feudal style - closed off, sort of a closed gate community. Who would trade with the islands? Would they be able to make their own economy?

It seems complete BS to me from the people that are funding it. The systems they tend to protest are the ones that got them where they are today. We've all had help from someone to get where we are today. These guys are no different.

Are they actually meant to be lived in/on? Or are they just some sort of tax shelter. Obtain a post office box, and some citizenship papers, and you can claim to not be a resident of any country that collects taxes, -and by extension, not a resident/citizen of any country that does collecxt taxes.

Olbermann was mocking the whole idea by reading parts of the scene from "Dr. Strangelove", where the Dr was describing living underground deep in mines.


But I think if this ever came to pass, it would end up closer to "Lord of the Flies".

What a great sequence.. talking about how technically easy it would all be, while unable to control his Prosthetic Arm!

Many B-52 crew dogs, especially the older-school folks, can quote this entire movie.

A genius black comedy...even way funnier for those on the inside!

A 'watch several times' flick...almost guarantee you will see things the second viewing you missed the first time.

Drinking game: Do a shot each time your see the SAC slogan 'Peace is Our Profession' in the frame.

"We'll meet again..."

Many years ago there was book entitled"the end of Equality". The author Micky Kaus took exception the notion of income inequality and the prevailing idea that American CEO's get paid a multiple that is x times their workers compared to European CEO's who get paid .5X times as much. His argument was very much what you are asking- how much is too much inequality.

Kaus' suggestion was that rather than focus income inequality we should be focusing on equality in public spaces e.g. education, healthcare, mass transit etc. He makes the point that at some level NYC is a more egalitarian society than say LA. In New York which folks and poor folks rub shoulders on the subway something that almost never happens in a city like LA.

He does make the observation that the most equal/egalitarian part of America is our roads. Doesn't matter whether you drive a $300,000 car or a $2,000 clunker- the same rules apply to everybody.

Assuming you meant rich folks and poor folks, yes but only up to a point and usually not the really rich. After all, the term "limousine liberal" got coined for a reason.

Nice try at a jab, Paul.. but it seems to me the Ultra Rich who don't necessarily take Mass Transit can be from any part of the spectrum, no?

'Limousine Liberals' is an attempt to discredit someone for both being Well-off AND having Liberal beliefs, as if the two are simply incompatible... not unlike the cry of despair that rises when someone on the left makes a successful movie or writes a popular book. Suddenly, the wondrous workings of the marketplace becomes a den of evil moneygrubbers, and the idea of mindless greed is remembered again, as that must be the only explanation.

His argument was very much what you are asking- how much is too much inequality.

Back around the beginning of the last century, Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist, looked at all the data he could and found that stable developed economies appeared to follow an 80/20 rule: 80% of the wealth was controlled by 20% of the people. And that it seemed to be independent of the form of government; if your system got the ratio of capital to consumption right, it worked out okay. IIRC, the most common hypothesis was that systems that were more unequal than 80/20 disappeared -- some form of "then the mob broke in and killed all the rich folks", or a neighboring country that did better conquered them. More equality than that and the system didn't have enough capital (ie, income beyond consumption) to maintain its "developed" status.

And like all economic theories, it is total bs.

Too narrow a sample to chose from for one thing.

Somewhere in the green to cyan region was thought to be an optimal level of inequality - see "Gini Coefficient". Obviously it actually depends on what you do with the income, etc.

I agree with dohboi. This is a bunch of crap.

Sales organizations use this bull to explain why a few lucky sales people make a ton and the rest cycle in and out. Saying it is the 80/20 rule sounds good, but in the case of the sales manager, he/she decided to hire all 100 sales people. All had excellent resumes. 20% were lucky (got assigned high growth area, or some other demographic reason) or evil (liars prey on the gullible, and for a bit do quite well - some prosper even in the longer term). Likewise, well educated and talented people abound, are hired by corporations, and maybe 20% succeed enormously. For them, maybe it was going to the right school, being raised in the right neighborhood, or having the right family. My experience tells me that it is either luck or evil propensities that explain most differences.

Darwinian economics try to tell us that those who are greedy succeed and those who are not fail, and take home the lesson that 'greed is good.' I do not have much to say for that theory. IMO the 'Chicago School' and its ancestor, the 'Austrian School' are both evil constructs, invented from the whole cloth by applying actual formulae from other disciplines that simply have no application to economics.

What experience seems to teach us is, when the disparities become sufficiently large, social unrest increases and the likelihood of collapse increases. Just as the above the line item on the impact of food costs tells us that, when costs for things needed to survive reach a certain level, the risk of uprisings increases.

Me, I get up, go to work, and once and a while check TOD and CNN Money to see whether today is the day, or not. So far not. We've been lucky.


<< applying actual formulae from other disciplines that simply have no application to economics >>

I admit to substantial bias on this topic, but my feeling is that Economics (particularly Chicago-style) is a lot like psychology-- a hybrid of a humanity and a science.

The way I think of it, mainstream (not pop) psychology kind of grew up, but economics never did.

In psychology, empiricists like Skinner and Watson were eventually, fortunately, marginalized and moved over to the assessment and research side of the discipline, where their ideas were actually somewhat useful and didn't kill as many people.

Friedman, on the other hand, is still taken seriously.

Why anyone would think that the mathematics of the physical world could be applied universally to human cultural institutions involving how we barter for goods and services has always been a mystery to me. Sure, metrics are always useful, but in psychology, at least we have some vague notion that what worked in 1885 probably will not work now.

I like to think we have a little less hubris.

Not much. A little.

Why anyone would think that mathematics ... could be applied universally?

The problem is psychological and goes way deeper than that.

We all intuitively "feel" that some of the thinking we do in our heads is not always "logical".

On the other hand, mathematics feels as if it is always logical.

For example, we feel very proud and logical in our thought process when we stay stuff like:
"Hey, just do the numbers!" or
"The bottom line is this ..."

Therefore, people who espouse the "economical" view of the world love to insert the bottom line number crunching stuff into their theology. They also love to attribute physics to their religious espousals. They'll say stuff like "The market continued its downward momentum today due to strong headwinds ... blah blah blah"

Unfortunately the human mind is easily tricked when it sees numbers.
It instinctively makes illogical assumptions.

Want proof?
Try this simple test question:

Show that the following is always false:

2 + 3 = 11

You might quickly scribble an answer like this one:

2 plus 3 is always equal to 5
therefore 2 plus 3 can never equal 11
therefore the statement is always false

Indeed, some grade school teachers may give you an A+ for a well thought out logical answer like that one.

Problem is, you are all wrong; you and your teachers
(I'll explain why in a separate posting)

OK I'll nybble.

Well, what is 2? What is 3? Are they measured estimates of a random value? What is equality? 2 +/- 1 with some confidence interval + 3 +/- 2 might equal 11 +/- 4.

Or it might be base 4.

Or it might be base 4

Bingo. You got it.

(Sorry to others who tried to see why 2+3=11 is not "always" false. I got pulled away from the computer and couldn't get back sooner. However the brain power here at TOD never disappoints. Thanks JWhitland for chiming in with at least one valid answer.)

JWhitland also correctly started to question the meanings of the various symbols.

For example, what does "=" truly mean?
What does "+" truly mean?
Do they "always" mean what I assume them to mean?
What does "false" mean?

Say for example that I had a computer language in which I could abbreviate the variable, TwoPlusThree as "2+3" and what I was really doing was writing a line of computer code that said, set the value of the integer variable TwoPlusThree equal to 11 (again without saying what base system the "11" is written in). That would be another example where "the following" is not "false".

Of course, thanks to 100's of hours of rote training in "mathematics",
our brains instantly jump to faulty conclusions
about what must "always" be true
when we see a bunch of numbers.

Is it we who are "doing" the numbers,
or are the numbers "doing" it to us?

Could it be as simple as employee-owned companies, which collectively share the profits of products and services sold within a competitive market?


Here's my take on it: http://transitionwhatcom.ning.com/profiles/blogs/celts-garden-cheese-and... (just search on Celt's Garden - Cheese and the Tax Man if the link doesn't work.)

Resource depletion, imperial overreach, monetary policy and class dynamics, all in an essay about cheese.


The new generation of growth through austerity exemplified by the Teabaggers are making the same mistake as was made in the 1930s. This will concentrate wealth/income even more in the hands of the few and accelerate the collapse of capitalism as it no longer benefits the general welfare.

Absolutely agree with your post 100% x. Right now we've got a right wing that has somehow come to the conclusion that by increasing the divide between rich and poor (by dramatically decreasing the taxes they pay), all other economic woes can be solved. Even Buffett says stop coddling the rich.

But once people realize the opportunities previously open to them have closed, the masses will at some point begin revolting. Just as history is repeating from the 30's it will repeat like Egypt or any other country when the people realize the monopoly game has concluded with them holding little to nothing except slave type wages. The super wealthy don't think it can happen, but masses have a lot of power when they unite.

Cuba appears to be a slow learner.

Or Cuba lacks the land mass to capture photons in the form of food. Lesser food means lesser volume of people (same could be said for mineral extraction) and as the one oil company points out "human resources are important".

They are doing a fine job of turning out doctors according to various people/places - something that is 'knowledge intensive' VS 'resource intensive'.

"I have a pet theory that the final stages of capitalism and socialism are the same". Yes x, I pretty well have the same pet theory. Extremes do seem to end up in the same place. However, in terms of comparing the US to Russia and Cuba, there is an important difference: democracy. In the US you were able to vote in one of your greater presidents and get yourself a New Deal in response to a crisis. The Soviet Union just went belly up when it found itself in a stew; had no real democratic process and couldn't get itself back on track. And god knows what’s going on in Cuba.

BTW when you use the word 'socialism', but do you really mean 'communism'? There are plenty of democracies with a socialist party in power (with various level of competence), but not too much around in the way of the extreme left (ie, communism).

And there is one other significant difference between the extremes. A communist dictatorship can "plan" (China's one child policy). Usually the plans are crap (China's Great Leap Forward), whereas current capitalist democracies don't seem to be able to think past the next election (anyone heard much about Peak Oil lately in the news? - and how much actual action has happened in regard to the much more popular climate change issue??)

According to JODI, Saudi Arabia produced 9,813,000 barrels a day in June, an increase of 918,000 barrels a day from May.


Just as well they claim to burn up to 1.2 million barrels per day of crude to run the air-conditioners in the summer or they might have actually had to ship some of that "production"...

According to JODI, demand is "only" up by 15% in June YoY:

		June 2011	June 2010	Change

Production 	9,813,000	8,073,000	1,740,000

Demand		2,509,000	2,174,000	335,000

Interestingly OPEC's own Oil Market Report's mysterious "third-parties" say Saudi Production "only" increased between May and June from 8.96 to 9.50 or an increase of 540,000 bpd. The report unfortunately doesn't give a consumption figure for individual OPEC countries.

Whatever the Saudis say about their production they still aren't exporting any more oil on average than they were immediately prior to the Libyan outage.

Also, Saudi crude inventories fell in June:

Saudi Crude Inventories Decline 0.9% to 15-Month Low in June

The world’s largest oil exporter had 236.5 million barrels of crude in storage within its territory in June, compared with 238.6 million barrels in May, according to government figures posted today on the Joint Organization Data Initiative website.

Inventories in the kingdom have decreased every month since March, when they increased to 269 million barrels, according to the figures.

Coal India becomes nation's most valuable company

Mining heavyweight Coal India overtook energy giant Reliance Industries on Wednesday to become India's biggest firm by market value, reflecting strong coal demand to power an expanding economy.

Shares of state-run Coal India, the world's largest coal miner by output, rose 2.6 percent to 397.85 rupees on the Bombay Stock Exchange, giving it a market capitalisation of 2.5 trillion rupees ($55.35 billion). Reliance, which closed marginally down at 754.80 rupees -- a more than two-year-low -- has a market capitalisation of 2.4 trillion rupees ($54.43 billion).
Coal India produces more than 80 percent of India's coal at 471 mines across eight states. It also holds the largest extractable coal reserves in the world with over 22 billion tonnes, ahead of rivals China Shenhua Energy and the world's largest private miner, Peabody Energy in the United States. Coal accounts for over half of India's energy use and consumption is set to increase as the country's economic development accelerates in energy-intensive sectors such as steel and cement manufacturing.

Vestas returns to proft in second quarter

Danish company Vestas, the world leader in the wind turbine industry, swept back into the profit in the second quarter when it reported stronger-than-expected results on Wednesday. The company posted a net profit of 55 million euros ($79 million) for the period from April to June, compared to a loss of 143 million euros in the same period in 2010.

WaPo: Perry calls global warming an unproven theory

Romney has taken the opposite stance, as mentioned in the article. Perry has apparently bought the denialist line, which is one of the foundations of the Tea Party/Koch Brothers plank. Funny thing, it's almost as if he didn't step outside his Texas air conditioned office or SUV the past month or so when the daily temperatures were setting records. I guess that's what one would expect from a guy who resorted to using prayer to call for rain...

E. Swanson

An explanation of Perry's popularity with the Tea Party

Tea Partiers Care More About Godlier Government Than Smaller Government

... Next to being a Republican, the strongest predictor of being a Tea Party supporter today was a desire, back in 2006, to see religion play a prominent role in politics. And Tea Partiers continue to hold these views: they seek “deeply religious” elected officials, approve of religious leaders’ engaging in politics and want religion brought into political debates. The Tea Party’s generals may say their overriding concern is a smaller government, but not their rank and file, who are more concerned about putting God in government.

It's no coincidence that Rick "I'll Have God Fix All of Our Problems" Perry and Michele "I'll Have God Pick My Campaign Staff" Bachmann combined captured 60 percent of the tea party movement's support in the latest GOP primary poll.

The new 'Taliban'

Perry's political PR machine is cranking up using e-format - http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/digital/content-and-e-books/...

I guess we have about 18 months to get ready for - - - what? A Perry administration. Another idiot from Texas (some in Texas are not... witness Rockman), except maybe with a T-P Congress? What level of moronity will result?

And, if this administration doesn't seem to do much, how much less might that administration do?

Don't know if we will have time, so I plan to work on campaigning for relatively sane Republicans hereabouts - ones whose priorities might be the good of the country, and acting (as opposed to sounding) like Christians. And for any other candidates who might oppose the lunacy.

If the "Bush" wing could just figure out that any spending program (including in particular, waging wars) is a taxing program, they might understand why we are so disturbed by what comes out of Washington DC as policy.

In any event, my criterion for support would have to include openness to electrified mass transit, a basic understanding of limits to growth, oil and energy facts, and an open mind.

Best hopes, I guess.


Zap - Saw a Rasmussen poll (I consider better than most) this morning that even surprised me. Had Rick Baby at 29%, Romney 18% and Bachman 13%. Of course RB is just beginning the honeymoon phase so the MSM hasn't had much time to try to drag him down yet. But I'll repeat what Ron and I were having a friendly debate over.

Basically: Don't poke that snake with a stick. It's very easy for the MSM to mock the religious right. Sometimes all it takes is broadcasting their actual words. And this is very dangerous IMHO. Yep...good chuckles all around. But at the expense of motivating them all the more. It ain't complicated: when have you ever been teased (friendly or mean) that you didn't dig you heels in deeper? Folks can go around taking their shots at the religious right and perhaps share some of the credit for getting Rick Baby elected IMHO. One little example: a young lady accountant in our office. Nice moderate religious gal...she's OK with abortion for instance. But she's gotten upset with the name calling by the left. So much so she's joined her church's Get Out The Vote Committee to support Rick Baby. And she admitted to me that she didn't know much about him because she never got into politics very deep. Now, thanks to folks who like to show off how smart/liberal/glib they are by attacking the religious right, she's working for their cause. Ron didn't think this world be a critical factor. Sorta like who's going to get so worked up that they would get very involved? Maybe we might want to go to the extreme and ask about these hundreds of Muslim suicide bombers who are willing to sacrifice all for their cause. Maybe the MSM should start mocking them and printing funny pictures of Mohammed. Oh yeah...that will calm them down and make them back off. LOL

I work knee deep with some of these folks and have for over 30 years. I would really like to see the MSM and others stop attacking them. Just as the Japanese admiral said after the attack on Pearl Harbor: he feared they had awaken a sleeping beast. Don't wake those folks in the Bible Belt up, please.

"Zap - Saw a Rasmussen poll (I consider better than most) this morning that even surprised me. Had Rick Baby at 29%, Romney 18% and Bachman 13%. Of course RB is just beginning the honeymoon phase so the MSM hasn't had much time to try to drag him down yet. But I'll repeat what Ron and I were having a friendly debate over."

Rock, did they mention Ron Paul? There seems to be a deliberate attempt by the right-wingnut media to completely cut him out of any / all coverage. I think he came in a strong 2nd or 3rd in the Iowa Straw Pole, but Faux News and the like act as if he's not even in the race.


D - Didn't see Ron in the poll. But the other night Jon Stewart had a truly hilareous piece on just that subject. And it carried from far left to far right...they all minimalized RP without mentioning his name. Stewart didn't even have to say anything..just played a bunch of clips where RP was the "Invisible Man". Try searching for his bit on the net...spot on re: your point.

I don't think RP ever had a chance. I see his high poll numbers as more of a protest vote as a serious consideration.

Ron Paul was 9%.
Polling Data

Listen to the Rockman folks-he is dead on in his descriptions of human nature.

Rock is only "knee deep" in Bible Belters"-I'm literally surrounded by them.

He is dead right about badmouthing them-it would be far better to let this particular dog lie.

Most of them tend to take thier anti scientific stance seriously only when they are criticized directly-for insatance although I know hundreds of them , I don't know a simgle one that doesn't believe in going to to the highly thought of Baptist Hospital in nearby Winston Salem when they are really sick or have a really sick family member-and they don't stop to ask whether the doctors were trained in bible or crationist science, either.

I know many hard core fundamentalist go to church every Sunday-dead serious Christians- who if cornered in argument will insist that the KJB is literally the infallible word of God himself-but I can discuss dinosaurs and geological time with most of them in a meaningful way.

None of them for instance believe the world is only six thousand years old-most of them haven't even heard about that particular theological rib tickler.Only a tiny handful of very old folks believe in a young earth-all the rest have spent far more time watching tv than they have reading thier Bibles; and while I loathe the wasteland that is television-I RECOGNIZE the obvious fact that a great deal of serious scientific knowledge is embedded in a lot of programming.

I for instance do not know of a single redneck farmer who would seriously repeat the tale of Noah and the Ark to his own kids-all of them know about the hundreds and thousands of specieces of animals scattered all over the world and how it would have been literally impossible to gather them, or even to journey to the unknown lands where they were to be found.

Of course they tolerate and approve of the kids being taught this tale in Sunday school- but they see it as a morality tale and no longer take it seriously.Sorta along the lines of Santa Clause, if you please.

The vast majority of them are no longer dead seriously opposed to premarital sex-not after coming face to face with the prospect of seeing thier young women walk away from the family if faced with an ultimatum too choose between family and boyfriend .

The vast majority of them do not believe a woman's place is in the home-way the hell too many of them depend on the woman's income to make ends meet.

The ones of the women who have the bodies to pull it off wear fairly short skirts and tight dreeses or blouses when going out and also to church-and I haevn't heard a preacher say anything about this for the past fifteen or twenty years-they know the woman wouls simply quit coming to chirch.

In short-the typical steroietyped description of Christiand to be fopund here in this forum is ill informed, insensitive, bigoted, and very wide of the mark.

The people who think this way would not tolerate anybody else describing other social groups in the same derogatory fashion.

Mock them at your peril-this is an argument I have made before here, but the typical holier and smarter than thou member is apparently unable to appreciate it.

Religion is an evolved, and constantly evolving, social behavior-it confers powerful fitness and survival benefits on its adherents.Anybody with an open mind and a basic of understanding of the biological sciences should be able to understand this easily enough.

If it weren't Jusus it might be another Hitler that folks would follow.

As Lord Chesterfield said,paraphrased when people quit believing in God, they do not begin believing in nothing.

Our minds have evolved in such a way that there exists in them a vacuum that siomply must be filled by a belief in some sort of larger community and higher authority.

Any old farmer will tell you that one of the most foolish things you can possibly do is to open a gate if you you do not know what lives on the other side of the fence.Mock these people at your peril, and you are figuratively opening the gate to thier enthusiastic involvement in the political process.

We COULD BE building bridges to help the evangelists and the fundamentalists, who are mostly one and the same, to join in the environmental coalition.There are many, many times as many verses in the KJB about responsible stewardship as there are about going forth and conquering and reproducing.

Christians aren't stupid, although they ARE often very poorly informed-which is not thier fault as a rule.Most of them who are poor and ill educated have simply never had an opporetunity to board the train of education and prosperity.( Just about every fundamentalist I have ever met would LOVE to see his or her sons and dauighters become lawyers, doctors, engineerss, or accountants.)Show them in a respectful, non condescending way where thier best interests lie and they will generally come to the right conclusion-as often at least as any other large and diverse group of people.

How about you make your point without saying the "typical" member here is holier than thou and smarter than thou?

I'd really prefer to avoid the usual political and religious crap that infests the typical US forum these days. If you must discuss politics and religion, please keep it respectful.


I protest.

Money/ finance is also "political and religious crap that infests the typical US forum" and you never censor that.

Just listen to all the fanatical money/finance pundits who promise that "The Market" will deliver onto us our salvation if only we shove mo' money up its private sector.

You don't see the connection? [ i.mage.+]

Money/fiance generally doesn't lead to name-calling and flamewars.

Should that change, my policy will, too.

$$$$ doesn't lead to name-calling and flame-wars

No. Just to real wars, with bullets and corpses piled up everywhere.
Example: Libya [ i.mage.+]

Strange that all of this began from a comment that I would support people who act like Christians instead of just sounding like them. Anyone who gets upset with that should take a good hard look inside of himself or herself.

The "golden rule" emanates from almost all of the World's religions... If applied in economics and politics, they would improve. On the level of TOD, post not what you would not want posted against you.


Just saying.


The problem, my dear Craig, is that the English language is a very ambiguous one and open to wholly different interpretations.

Indeed, William Shakespeare was fond of playing with the double meanings of words in his plays (i.e. fair is foul and foul is fair).

Your phrase, "act like [those/ us?] Christians" gets interpreted in vastly different ways depending on who you say it to and when.

1) You say it to a Muslim who has just been reading his history book about the Crusades
2) You say it to an ex-altar boy who had other than ecumenical experiences with the clergy
3) You say it to an atheist who believes all religious people are nuts
4) You say it to someone who humbly and with great devotion follows the faith

Now; just for better appreciation, try this proposal out for size:
"Why don't you all act like Muslims?"

"Why don't you all act like Muslims?"
No way. Maybe next month, but not this month.

I attended a staff meeting this morning and one of my teammates is Muslim. All others are either Christian or raised Christian. I was wondering if it was insensistive for the team lead to stop at the best doughnut shop in the county this morning and bring three boxes of doughnuts to meeeting. All of us were like ooh and ahh at the doughnuts, but the poor Muslim fella just sighed since he's observing fasting month of Ramadan. We made him feel better by letting him take a few doughnuts home for after sunset.

Good point, well taken. Thanks.

One might add, "Act like" a Hindu, Buddhist, or member of any of the many Faiths that have some version of the golden rule, urge human kindness, or whatever. The point is, we need to have people doing, not just saying; we need to take better care of each other.

I doubt, though, that you would get much traction out of running out and hugging a Billionaire!


We don't need to act like Christians but it would be a good thing if people followed the actual (at least reported) words of Christ. Start with the beatitudes. That would be a good thing. I grew up with so called Christians and was a Christian and I saw very few who acted like Christians. I do know, however, quite a few people locally who walk their talk and try to do their bit for their fellows and the planet. Now, that is a powerful and good thing.

And who would not say, "amen!" to that?



Would be a shame if one of the best comment sections on the net gets taken over by name calling.

Respect cuts both ways, OFM, and the condescending eye-rolling smug nonsense I get from evangelical Christians when embarking on any serious discussion of just about anything is not anything to earn respect in return.

By the way, "Christians" are not some sort of persecuted minority in this country, in case you haven't noticed.

A lot of what they espouse is in fact arrant nonsense of the highest order, and I see nothing wrong with pointing that out. In fact, it needs to be pointed out. OK, gently if possible I suppose, but how can you just shine it on and go along with it and claim any intellectual integrity?

If this keeps up, this subthread is going away.

Fine. Like I said, it cuts both ways. I'm sorry, but I couldn't just let OFM's comments stand unchallenged. But it wouldn't hurt my feelings in the slightest if the whole subthread evaporated.

If it weren't Jusus it might be another Hitler that folks would follow.

I do not buy this assertion, not even for a dollar.

I wonder...were the people of Germany atheists, or non-Christians, from 1933 through 1945?

Did they become profoundly more Christian post-1945?

Percentage wise yes. in '45 there were many fewer jews.


Sounds consistent with my experience. Ultra conservatives I know, are actually interested in stuff like green energy, and conservation. Its just that they buy the tea-party stuff when it comes to voting and cheerleading. And they are just as worried as I about how the coming of age kids will do when they hit the job market.

I for instance do not know of a single redneck farmer who would seriously repeat the tale of Noah and the Ark to his own kids-

Obviously you don't come from the same neck of the woods that I do. Farmers then, and most of their children who are largely not farmers, believe the story literally. Please let me repeat a story that I have told here before, but years ago.

I was about seventeen, give or take. I sidled up to my dad, rather timidly, who was sitting in his easy chair and asked in the language I spoke in those days: "Dad, how did them thar kangroos git frum Australia over thar to whar Noah's Ark wuz. And how did they git back?" Dad jumped to his feet, put his finger right in my face and said: "Son, that is the word of God and that is not for you to question!"

Dad died in 1985 at the age of 83. He believed that to the day he died and the hundreds at his funeral, almost to the man and woman, believed likewise.

Ron P.

The religious right is plenty stirred up already what with conservative commentators and Faux news telling them 24/7 that they are being unfairly characterized and persecuted by the so called liberal media. It is critical that people be well informed as to the threat to this country and the planet that people like Bachmann and Perry pose. Bachmann is not only BSI but as hypocritical as they get. And then she has the gall to tell journalists that her stands on gay rights and her husband's subsidized business is off limit because that is not what Americans want to talk about. No. Let the media not make the mistake of not taking these people seriously and at their word.

I agree that these people should not be made fun of because they are as serious as a heart attack. People need to be fully informed about their positions and they need to be forced to get beyond their talking points with answers that, you know, require some thinking.

I make an exception for the Daly Show because I need that satirical daily fix to keep from crying. He also makes fun of the left and the liberal media as well.

Another idiot from Texas

There is a 2nd idiot from Texas running who's gotten better polling numbers....if I could only remember his name.

zap - "Another idiot from Texas..." I'm sure you're just going for impact but folks shouldn't think of Rick Baby et al in such terms. I know for a fact Rick Baby is a very savvy and knowledgable. Others may not beleive so because they don't agree with him. Heck, he may not beleive half of what comes out his mouth. He's out there to gain political control. No different than politicians at the other end of the spectrum IMHO. Each side has it's base (as long as they are motivated to vote). Between now and election day they'll be fishing to pick up the fence sitters in the middle. And if Rick Baby feels pitching job growth and "religious morality" will get him enough of those votes to put him in the White House then that's what we get a bucket full for the next year and a half. And he won't give a rat's butt if it makes him sounds "stupid" to some folks. He'll deal with them later from the Oval Office. LOL

What evidence do you have that he is savvy and knowledgeable? Because he comes across as a loud-mouthed idiot up here. My wife said he was like a snake-oil salesman.

ericy - Of course that's how he comes across to you. But he's not after your vote, is he? Perhaps you need to define "idiot" for us. Just because some folks think his ideas are idiotic doesn't mean he's stupid. There's a long list of folks who think President Obama's ideas to fix the economy are idiotic. The president isn't an idiot. You can't achieve what he has if he were "stupid" IMHO. And Rick Baby wouldn't have been elected gov 3X if he were stupid.

Folks seem to have a problem separating their personal animosity towards an individual and that person's intelligence and, more importantly, their dedication/capabilities. Whenever such opinions pop up I can't help but think back to those long ago statements about how we were going to blow N. Viet Nam back to the stone age. After all, they were just "a bunch of ignorant, untrained, ill armed idiots who are foolish enough to challenge the USA". Yeah...how that work out?

Go ahead...keep dismissing Rick Baby's chances because he's "an idiot". On the up side, Jon Stewart will have a great time while Rick Baby occupies the White House. I think I'm going to stop trying to warn folks...works against my own self interest. If Ricky Baby gets elected I'm pretty sure my oil patch world in Texas will be the better for it. The rest of you...not so much.

I guess he is not an idiot... just not very smart. Either that or not motivated, grade-wise.

Good call on Jon Stewart. The comedians would have a great time with another Texan who is 'not intellectually curious.' in the White House.

I disagree about the impact on the oil patch. Short term, Perry might be okay... longer term disaster, IMO. And the other NIC Texan sort of agrees. Big Bidness doesn't seem to think much of ol' Rick.

I am waiting for a worthwhile candidate. I am in dispair! I have already appologized for convincing a few people to vote for Barack Obama... he has been a disappointment.

Our world has become far too complex for our politics, it would seem. Simple answers will not work, and hard questions are not popular to discuss, much less address. Are you up for the call? Rockman for President. I'd back ya!


Rockman for President

zaphod42, you made me smile.

And only half in jest. Imagine!


I suspect Rock would repeat the famous words of (I can't recall), "If nominated I will not run. If elected, I will not serve."

Given that Rock is an evil oilman already, I imagine he'd take the job and retire in 4 years wealthy, if not for concerns of having his kid in the public eye. The only real difference is he'd tell you straight up how he was going to fleece the country if you happened to read TOD.

And Bluebell would be the newly official Whitehouse ice cream, and the chef would serve cajun at least once a week.

Get rich? I think the next prez will have to follow the Russian Public servant's creed,

"They pretend to pay me, and I pretend to work.."

zap - "Short term, Perry might be okay... longer term disaster". I'm 60 yo...I'll settle for the short term. LOL. But only with the caveat that I can store enough acorns away for my 11 yo daughter to make it thru the inevitable hard times ahead.

About how smart any candidate really is: A very old joke - Do you know who is the best con man in the whole wide world? No...you don't. That's why he's the best. He unknowningly sucks your life savings out of you and then you buy him lunch because you feel sorry for him. Exactly like in "The Sting": the best con is when folks don't realize they've been cheated.

Rick Perry has won every election he has run in going all the way back to 1984. I find it tough to believe that was due to luck or prayer. His victory against Kay Baily Hutchison shows he can defeat an opponent with more money and popularity. Perry won by 21%.

If he truly believes that the solution to our problems is more prayer, then what do we really need him for?

And as a follow-up, is he really suggesting that our problems are so severe that the only solution is divine intervention (deua ex machina)? What happens if God says "no"?

The Lord don't say no to them that truly know Him.

And besides, pretty ugly "Betty" Perry knows Him even more than uncurious George knew his Higher Father.

Yee hah. The South doth rise again!
Can I interest you perhaps in a set of slightly used trombones? 76 of them to be more precise? Oh yes, they'll make the rain come down; even if our financial roofs have holes in them and we ain't got no dimes)

Well, he is undoubtedly praying for rain right now, and how is that working out?

My point is this, really. When these prayers aren't answered, what are they going to do? Try and guess as to why the prayers aren't answered? Look for scapegoats? Take a guess that if they persecute gays or Muslims that maybe then God will then answer the prayers? What happens when that doesn't work?


Human sacrifice is always a good next step forward when the prayee-and-hopee thing isn't working out for us.

Maybe we should also build some more Moai Heads facing South towards Mexico so as to appease the AGW gods?

CE&N has a Special 'BioFuel' Issue. From their cover story

Examining Biofuels Policy

... the current state of federal policy on biofuels [is like] “a heavy foot on the accelerator of the car without really knowing where we’re going.”

...When policy was established to blend up to 15 billion gal of corn-based ethanol into gasoline, it was done mainly to accommodate the overwhelming yields of corn, Bramble explains. Corn-based ethanol currently meets 10% of the U.S.’s transportation fuel needs—or 13 billion gal per year.

But as the NCB report notes, experts have some concern that corn is a highly inefficient biofuel source with severe environmental consequences. The crop needs huge amounts of pesticides and fertilizers, which require fossil fuels for their production. The fertilizers exacerbate the environmental damage when they run off the fields, ...

...President Barack Obama said, “I’m a big supporter of biofuels. But one of the things that has become clear is that we need to accelerate our basic research in ethanol and other biofuels that are made from things like wood chips and algae as opposed to just focusing on corn, which is probably the least efficient energy producer.

Beating Swords into Plowshares….For Fuel: 60 Year Old Defense Production Act Back in Vogue

... The level of discussion of biofuel is moving beyond the concern for the price of corn; the Federal government is recognizing our dependence on a commodity [foreign oil] we do not control. The President is considering invoking the provisions of the Defense Production Act.

The Act, passed in 1950, gives the President the authority to order business to sign contracts or fulfill orders determined to be necessary to national defense. It also allows the President to issue orders allocating materials, services and facilities to promote national defense. Finally, it allows the President to requisition property, force industry to expand production and the supply of basic resources, impose wage and price controls, settle labor disputes, control consumer and real estate credit, establish contractual priorities, and allocate raw materials to aid the national defense. The President will have to declare the technology to produce biofuels (which one(s)??) as critical to the national defense.

Plan B?

The Philippines may own huge, 'rich' undersea land soon

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines may soon be the owner of an undersea land larger than Luzon that is potentially rich in gas and oil.

It raised the possibility of the nation's energy self-sufficiency in the near future

...Paje added that Benham Rise has enough deposits to enable the country to export gas.

Destined to repeat the same mistake the UK made by exporting NG

related http://www.sunstar.com.ph/manila/local-news/2011/08/15/underwater-deposi...

What do people think is the likelihood that China will make a grab for this 'wealth'--who is going to stop them--the US, mired as it is/we are in three wars already??

dohboi - I've no idea is China would make such a move but, if so, I would guess it would lead to a monumental game of chicken. Developing an offshore field leaves one very vulnerable. Can't drill if the supply boats can't get to the rig. Supply boats can't get the the rig if a US/Filipino destroyer is in the way. So then the Chinese destroyer runs a screen agains that DE? Rather scary what-if, eh? The movie has already been made long ago: "The Bedford Incident". Didn't end well.

Something to think about

The Elusive Big Idea

... It is no secret, especially here in America, that we live in a post-Enlightenment age in which rationality, science, evidence, logical argument and debate have lost the battle in many sectors, and perhaps even in society generally, to superstition, faith, opinion and orthodoxy.

While we continue to make giant technological advances, we may be the first generation to have turned back the epochal clock — to have gone backward intellectually from advanced modes of thinking into old modes of belief. But post-Enlightenment and post-idea, while related, are not exactly the same.

Post-Enlightenment refers to a style of thinking that no longer deploys the techniques of rational thought. Post-idea refers to thinking that is no longer done, regardless of the style.

I am sceptical that people or society has changed much. In the golden days of the Enlightenment most people were superstitious and today most people are superstitious. I think only about 20% of the population is able to think abstractly. Most people reason more by association. For example a presidential candidates says "the US has unlimited oil we just need to drill, happy days are just around the corner, all will be well" and the other candidate says "peak oil has come and gone, we will be poorer, we must work hard". The truth of the statements do not matter only continued association over and over. Most will vote for the candidate associated with the things they want. It is a primitive form of thinking almost magical thinking.

I think this is a good insight. And I have come to the same conclusion. Because of this, I have begun a regimen of study of the occult. I think that as our society and economy are put under more and more stress, it will become more and more obvious to people that their established beliefs and institutions are failing them. I expect people to turn away from all the institutions in which they have put their faith; government, organized religion, science. The beneficiary of this disillusionment, I think will be the occult. Along with societal decline will be a rise of irrationality.

"Because of this, I have begun a regimen of study of the occult. "

Are you going to school to get an economics degree?

IMO current economics departments should be merged with Astrology. They have about as much predictive power and not clear whether astrology based public policy is much worse than policy based on the latest economic thinking. The only think that makes any kind of sense to me is behavior economics which starts with the assumption that people are not rational unlike classical economics which assumes that they are. The scientific evidence clearly points to people being economically non rational players.

My grandmother made it through the Depression as a widow with two children in Pasadena by doing palm reading and tea-leaf reading. Her sister did Ouija board sessions and seances.

Family stories have it that during the depression fortune telling of all kinds was a growth industry.

Yep. Read Mark Twain's remarks about the people of his day who were trying to turn the US into a theocracy. Or Heinlein's "If This Goes On—", extrapolated from the wave of religious fervor that the US went through when he was young. It goes back a long way in US history -- having fled religious persecution in England, the Puritans quickly established what was effectively a theocracy in Massachusetts.

The Puritans hanged Quakers on Boston Common including Mary Dyer.

Quoting from Quakers in Boston by George Selleck "At the gallows she was offered her life if she would only go home, to which she replied 'Nay, I cannot, for in obedience to the will of the Lord, I came, and in his will I abide faithful to the death'. She was executed on June 1, 1660."

A simple Question, is it something in Human nature that makes people of a religious disposition turn more fundamental and and evangelical when things get tough and hopeless. I ask it because during the 10 month siege of Petersburg in the American Civil war, as things got tougher and more desperate a wave of religious revivalism swept though the Confederate defenders, didn't help them much only helped drag out the agony longer, is what is happening now a repeat of what happened at Petersburg only in a different form that the people know instinctively that something is terminally wrong with the the system and that they are trying to ward off collapse? Just a thought.

YES, ym, I think so.

And I think they can conjure up their own President and VP. Look what they have conjured already in the House of Reps and in some of the state legislatures. That is not Christianity. It is a cult of magicians -- apostles and prophets who cast out demons and see visions of the Japanese Emperor doing sex with the Sun Goddess. Unions are run by the demons, by the way. Just in case you missed that little detail. And "liberals" are inhabited by all sorts of little demons, too. Really. They are.



Superstition seems to rise with lack of control over your situation.

I suppose feeling like you are doing something and that someone will make things better is nicer than knowing you can't and that no-one is going to woosh down to save you. Especially if the system you buy into comes with community and people who look like they know what they are talking about.

I think from the beginning people have looked for a divine explanation for what they can't understand. IMO the cognitive process requires contrast. The capitalist system is not delivering for many people around the world. But there is no longer any serious challenge to capitalism- the USSR is dead, communism or for that matter socialism has not delivered so the only contrasting perspective is religion. So you see the rise of religious fundamentalism all over the world including countries like India where "fundamental Hindu" is oxymoron.

IMO the left is largely to blame. In the market place of ideas there really hasn't been a new Progressive/Liberal( US understanding of the term) idea in 40 years. All that has been proposed is the same old ideas warmed over.

is it something in Human nature that makes people of a religious disposition turn more fundamental and and evangelical when things get tough and hopeless.

In "The Spirit in the Gene" Reg Morrison proposes such a theory with some good examples of faltering civilizations becoming more mystical.


Love the reference to Heinlein. I especially liked his, "The man who sold the Moon," in which he cobbled together a number of short stories earlier published in the pulp magazines. The Roads Must Roll! would be appropos today, I think. And, "Blow Ups Happen."


U.S. Navy Completes Arctic Environmental Assessment

... "The geography of the Earth is changing," Titley said, "We are confronted by a new ocean for the first time in 500 years."

The assessment notes that the U.S. has close to a thousand miles of Arctic coastline in Alaska and significant coastal waters for resource exploitation.

... The Arctic Ocean could be predominantly ice-free during the summer melt season in about 25 years, according to the assessment.

The new assessment notes that National Security Presidential Directive 66/Homeland Security Presidential Directive 25, signed by President Bush in 2009, requires a sovereign maritime presence in the Arctic to ensure protection of maritime commerce, national borders, critical infrastructure, and key resources.

Canada and the U.S. are at odds over the Northwest Passage, which Canada asserts is in its territorial waters, while the U.S. contends it is an international waterway.

“It’s unclear how it will be resolved, because it currently appears to be an intractable dispute,” he said. “There is very little overlap between the two positions.” Source

Well, the Canadian government will probably deal with the dispute by ignoring it and pretending the US government never mentioned it. That has usually worked in the past. The alternative is to go to Washington, burn down the White House, and chase the president around in the woods. That has worked in the past, too, but these are kinder, gentler times where we try to avoid upsetting people.

It's best to avoid pushing the issue. Next year is the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, and the Canadian government is quite concerned that after a few too many high-strength Canadian beer, Canadians might line up at the border and sing this song.

The War of 1812 Song by Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie

In 1812 Madison was mad,
He was the president you know.
Well he thought he'd tell the British where they ought to go.
He thought he'd invade Canada,
He thought that he was tough.
Instead we went to Washington,
And burned down all his stuff.

Under normal circumstances we try to avoid getting into details of what we did in the War of 1812, but fair's fair. The US burned Toronto, we burned Washington.

Please tell me more about the US burning Toronto. I did not know about it. I thought the war of 1812 was British revenge for the US not allowing the global bankers to own the US central bank. We eventually lost that battle in 1913. But the war is not over. May be time to nationalize the Federal Reserve Bank. If we do will you attack us again? :)

I did not know that Toronto (then called York) had been burned, either.
This link explains:

Little or none of the details of the War of 1812 appear in US school history books, for good reason. They are really embarrassing. It was one of your less successful wars.

The causes had nothing to do with US banks and more to do with British ships stopping and seizing American ships trading with France during the Napoleonic wars. However, at the same time, French ships were stopping and seizing American ships trading with Britain, so the dispute was a bit selective.

What's more, the British agreed to stop seizing American ships before the US declared war, but the US decided to invade Canada anyway. The suspicion is that the US was more interested in annexing Canada than upset at having its ships seized.

It was the "War Hawks" in the Southern States that promoted the war. The Northern States were decidedly unenthusiastic about it. The New England States nearly seceded.

Regardless, it turned into a real, live shooting war with large numbers of Americans being killed, which was not in the original plan the US had put together. The British/Canadian/Indian side captured Detroit, burned Buffalo, and burned Washington, among other things.

At the end of it all, both sides declared victory, retreated to their original positions, and agreed never to fight each other again, which was really the most rational solution. The peace treaty mentioned none of the purported causes of the war.

The US actually put itself at considerable risk of being reconquered by Britain during that war. The US politicians assumed that conquering Canada would be a cakewalk and really didn't know what they were walking into. However, that's not unusual for US politicians where wars are concerned, as you may have noticed.

The US politicians assumed that conquering Canada would be a cakewalk

Like ultranationalists everywhere, it is simply inconcievable that the foreign target doesn't want exactly what we have on offer. So they went in, expecting thousands of Canadians to join um. Opps. Then somehow in the dissapointment/confusion, the Candian Parliment was burnt down. So torching DC was simple payback.

But, we got some great legends out of that war. The national anthem. And we still celebrate the only "military" victory we had, The Battle of New Orleans, tragedy that is was, the peace treaty had already been signed, only pre radio/telegraph the word didn't get there in time to stop the mayhem. Is that what happened with the ship non-seizure treaty? Had the word actually reached Washington? Or was an inconvienient fact simply allowed to drop through the cracks?

The agreement by Britain to stop seizing American ships was indeed simply allowed to drop through the cracks in the enthusiasm to invade Canada. The Southern "War Hawks" wanted a war and the fact that they had already achieved their nominal goal was just an inconvenience.

The Northerners who actually owned most of the ships and also had to do most of the fighting were less enthusiastic since they already had what they wanted, and once the British and Canadians started capturing and burning their cities they rapidly got less enthusiastic. As I said, the New England States nearly seceded from the US over the issue.

Rocky sometimes I think that the Americans have no comprehension of how lightly they got off with that war, there first war of imperial expansion. Many still think that it was fought over principles press ganging American citizens into the British Navy. It was fought to cut off the only rout into the centre of America left too the British the St Lawrence. They wanted the whole continent for themselves. You know better than I what happened there. If we had not been involved with a more important war against France. They would have got there comeuppance in no uncertain manner. New Orleans was the only battle that they won and that was fought a couple of weeks after the peace treaty something that they love crowing about. I am an history buff and love asking the Questions what if. If we the Brits had not had more important things to do at the time what would have happened, well we would have deployed Wellington's Army. Still the same army but better lead and plenty more where that came from Andrew Jackson who I am a great fan of would have lost through sheer numbers if not through better leadership.. We would have called in the mortgage for the Louisiana purchase, most Americans don't realise that America loaned the money for that came from London. No legal claim too the lands east of the Mississippi and no means of getting your produce through the British port of New Orleans, it doesn't bare thinking about, Another point that needs emphasising and that is that America was not a continental power at that time but a coastal power and coastal trade brought in the Dollars. At the end of hostilities Maine was in the hands of he British and were negotiating with the British in secret because the blockade was destroying its trade and if it had gone on a couple of years longer then there was a very good chance that Maine and many of the Maritime states would have broken from the Union because of economic necessity, there was certainly no love lost between New England and the Carolinas.

A small historical footnote we didn't burn all of Madison's stuff, by the way Sir Harry Smith nicked his shirts before he burn Madison's living quarters down, from what I gather it needed a new coat of paint before he set fire too it.

For any of you Americans that are interested Georgette Heyer wrote a romantic novel called the Spanish Bride about Harry Smiths marriage to a young Spanish girl

If we [Brits] had not been involved with a more important war against France.

Say it ain't so, Yorkie.
You've just ruined my romantic and exceptionalistic view of our Glorious Founding Fathers!

Why next, you might try to tell us Yanks that we didn't win World War II all by our glorious and exceptionalistic selves; and that there was this other, "red" army (yeah right) at the other front giving Herr Hitler a bit of a distraction. ;-)

If you Brits had not been involved with a more important war in France, then the United States wouldn't have declared war against you in the first place. No distraction, no War of 1812, and we'd all be singing God Bless America instead of our lovely middle-finger at the Brits song, The Star Spangled Banner. (Hah, take that! Our flag is still there!)

The logistic bottlenecks and casualties during transportation would have prevented "we would have deployed Wellington's Army".

Add a Louisiana summer and there would be few that would return.

As it was, the Battle of New Orleans was the most severe defeat in British military history.

11,000 British regulars, 10,000+ being veterans vs. 4,000 under Gen. Jackson - only a few hundred being regular military and quite a few irregulars, from Lafite's pirates to any townspeople with a gun being invited into the line.

Causalities - 2,042 to 71.

Had the British won the battle, they would have no doubt ignored the words on the paper and kept New Orleans. Just as they overstayed in Detroit for 13 years.

Repeating such a lopsided victory against such numerical and qualitative superiority is unlikely. None-the-less, the Atlantic Ocean was a formidable barrier to projecting force in 1815 and the American resistance significant.

Best Hopes for Peace between Great Britain, Canada and America,


I'm not so sure Wellington would have faired much better than Cornwalis, who was supposedly the super-general of his time. Its just that its tough to fight on thy other guys turf, with long supply lines and all. I wonder if we would have been foolish enough to start it if Napolian hadn't been a threat? Or was he already imprisoned after his 1812 defeat? I don't recall the relative timing of thos events. We may well owe our survial as a nation to Bonaparte.

What most Americans don't know is that the largest Army by far in front of Yorktown was not the American but the French. So there is a lot to be said that American Independence was a French victory. I am not trying to distract from Americas victory but sometimes inconvenient fact seem to get forgotten. Remember History is written by the victors and gets a good polish the reality is a little more grubby. In 1912 Napoleon was in Russia fighting those three brilliant Russian generals called November December and January. Wellington was still fighting it out in Spain. It must be remembered that in 1912 Napoleon was at the hight of his power, he still looked unstoppable and as a Brit it doesn't seem like a coincidence that America declared war in June a few weeks after Napoleon invaded Russia. To accomplish this he had withdrawn substantial troops from Spain to fill the ranks of his 500,000 strong Army for the invasion of Russia. this relieved to pressure on Wellington which allowed him to break out and ended with his famous victory at Victoria marred somewhat by the plundering of the Royal baggage train one of the more illustrious of her majesty's regiments still drink champagne toasts from Napoleon's brothers golden piss pot found in his carriage after the battle. Luckily Wellington was able to save the Goya canvases which were being used as waterproof covers by his soldiers. The French then slipped over the Pyrenees, this allowed the British to ship troops after they had got over the Pyrenees too America. Sir Harry Smith who I referred too earlier was one of these. Apart from stealing Madison's underwear he was also the officer sent forward to surrender at New Orleans. The troops at New Orleans were seasoned soldiers but not well lead, I suspect if Wellington had been there things might have been different he always chose his ground. Sir Harry and some of the troops managed to get back just in time for Waterloo, where things under Wellington's guidance turned out differently. I am always surprised how few American realise how cheaply and easily, after the setback of 1812-14 the securing of the boarders of Continental America was, two purchases with mainly money loaned from London and a piddling little war against Mexico.

Of course, you meant to say 1812 (not 1912).

There were equal numbers of French and American troops in front of Yorktown - plus the French fleet behind.

The gunpowder for the Continental Army was French, as was most of the artillery, the cloth and buttons for many American uniforms, the money to buy food and other supplies, etc.

Too bad we have forgotten.

Vive La France !


Not well lead ?

Before New Orleans, Sir Pakenham had a distinguished record and was very well thought of. Losing generals rarely get history's approval for the battle they lost.

Wellington's comments about Pakenham

I cannot but regret that he was ever employed on such a service or with such a colleague. The expedition to New Orleans originated with that colleague... The Americans were prepared with an army in a fortified position which still would have been carried, if the duties of others, that is of the Admiral (Sir Alexander Cochrane), had been as well performed as that of he whom we now lament.

I daresay that the Duke of Wellington would not have done much better. The British saw a disparate group of militias and irregulars quickly thrown together that they out-numbered 3 to 1 and proceeded accordingly.

My understanding is that the attitude by the British upper classes of the period towards anything American was simply contempt. Revolutions destroy the best of society and leave nothing but degradation.

Best Hopes for Respecting One's Enemy,


Alan, if you know anything about Wellington, you would know that Ned Pakenham was the brother of his wife Kitty Pakenham, therefore his brother-in-law, he could not very well write down that he thought he was a idiot, Cochran on the other hand was a noted loose cannon in not obeying orders. I very much doubt that this is Wellington's true opinion. Wellington never would and never did underestimate his opponents. He learned that lesson at Assaye in India during the second Maratha war and developed an envied reputation of knocking out there hill forts. I doubt very much if the fortifications at New Orleans would have resisted for long. But that is in the realms of what if and is of no real consequence.

You might by the way if you have any time like to read this rather quaintly written autobiography of Sir Harry Smith himself

Deep Regards

Yorkshire Miner


More Harry Smith trivia:

He became Governor of the Cape of Good Hope. His Spanish wife was wildly popular, and two towns were named after her, Ladismith and Ladysmith (of Ladysmith Black Mambazo fame).

Cantaloupe melons are known as Spanspek here, allegedly a contraction of Spaanse Spek which is Afrikaans for Spanish Bacon, so called because Lady Smith would always have melon for breakfast while Sir Harry always had bacon and eggs.

Okay, what if, instead of spreading out into 3 different expeditions towards the St. Lawrence, the US Army had consolidated to just one and marched on Montreal?

Everywhere upstream of there would be cut off even without an attack. Ammunition was needed for food, and none forthcoming from Montreal, would have made the other forts on the Lakes easier pickings for later.

U.S. Oil Rig Count Passes 1,000

On June 24, 2011, the Baker Hughes weekly count of rigs actively drilling for oil in the United States was 1,003, marking the first week since the company began separating oil and natural gas rig counts in 1987 that the 1,000 count threshold for oil-targeted rigs was surpassed. The weekly count increased steadily through the end of July, reaching 1,025 on July 29.

Wow, that's a pretty impressive climb.

So is this the 1980s boom-and-bust all over again? Will we be "drowning in oil" in ten years?

Or is it geology in action?

The linked article does show a lift in production, but not nearly as big as the increase in rig count: 0.45 MMBPD from a base of 3.05 MMBPD, 15 percent. So a rise of nearly 140% in rig count (from Nov '08, the previous peak) looks like the law of diminishing returns, the "Red Queen" problem of having to run harder and harder to stay in the same place.

I lean towards door number 2. I guess we'll know for certain by mid '13.

It would be (perhaps more) interesting to see the quantity of oil produced vs rig count. I ran some numbers a while back on the number of producing wells vs quantity produced in the US and it the production per well had been steadily declining for decades.


WP - Yep..interesting. Even more so would be the URR from wells drilled during any particular period. Of course that couldn't be generated until many years after any well was drilled. Some rough stats can be generated: completions vs. dry holes and initial flow rate. But only a very crude measure. Back in the late 70's boom we had over 4,600 rigs running and a very poor success rate. And many wells that were completed with reasonable flow rates never recovered all the initial investment. Initial flow rate metric? You see lots of big headlines about Eagle Ford wells. Nearly a 100% success rate. Actually you're virtually committed to completing such a well the day you spud it: no way to tell how good it might be until you do. And if it comes on at a low rate that won't recover the investment it's still counted as a success. And then there's an additional complication with all the fractured shale plays re: success rate vs. true value. An Eagle Ford well might come on at 900 bopd. But in 12 months typically it will decline 90% to less than 100 bopd. The well may make a accpetable profit but it's not a long lived gain. A Ghawar well came on at 5,000 bopd 40 years ago and still may be doing a 1,000 bopd right now. The shale play are not another Ghawar even if their URR might be as high as those old monster fields.

I got an Icee the other day. Sucked all the liquid out right off the bat. About a half hour later, I was able to suck some more out... in fact, I had my grandson add his straw and we emptied that dude in nothing flat!


Basically it's the same thing as the 1980's - more and more oil rigs chasing less and less oil. At the end of it all, many or most of the oil wells will turn out to lose money for the people who drill them.

This is why I am less than enthusiastic about people promoting these great "new" oil plays. I think I've seen them before, and they weren't that great the last time around.

Better technology factors into this success rate, right? Can't really draw a conclusion between the past vs. today's better success rate - except would it be reasonable to say that had the 70's wells been drilled based on today's seismic soundings they'd have been 100% successful AND plentiful?

Matt - Yes and no. The success rate would have been so much better if we had today's 3d seismic data back in the 70's. Only the other hand we would have drilled much fewer wells...probabaly 70% less. But per well recovery would have been much greater. But the Jevons hook: we would have flooded the market with more oil and much, much more NG driving the price down of both. And thus increasing consumption. But with the high productivity od the drilling process (lower finding cost) we would have kept supplying the market. And this would have shortened the time span to serious PO effects. The ole have your cake and eat it

And we are eating our cake today !


I would like to see updated historical data on feet drilled per barrel discovered.

Similar to the one in this old document: http://www.peakoilnyc.org/Attachments/Bottom_of_the_Barrel___Hubbert___T...

Trade deficit...

I've often wondered how much of each dollar we pay for "Made in China" products actually goes to China. After all, there are many middle-men involved and I would expect a fair number to be Americans.

Yesterday, the NY Times had an article about this topic. The article references a study made by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. The study The U.S. Content of “Made in China” states:

Thus, on average, of every dollar spent on an item labeled “Made in China,” 55 cents go for services produced in the United States.

This study contains reasonably detailed metrics regarding US imports including gasoline/fuel oil/energy goods. Also, is a pie chart showing where the consumer's dollar goes.

That is an interesting study. I particularly like this bit;

In 2009, it cost about $179 in China to produce an iPhone, which sold in the United States for about $500. Thus, $179 of the U.S. retail cost consisted of Chinese imported content. However, only $6.50 was actually due to assembly costs in China. The other $172.50 reflected costs of parts produced in other countries, including $10.75 for parts made in the United States.

Which makes me think that when the labour/assembly cost is so low - in this case all of 1.4% of the retail cost - is it really worthwhile making it it China? If it was made in the US, with an assembly cost of $20, making the retail price $515, is that really a big deal? would you pay the extra $15 to buy the locally made one?

It does illustrate just how much of today's economy is not about "producing" anything, it is about skimming something out of the process of other people products being sold, be it transport, retail, marketing etc. Apple is clearly making a killing on the iPhone - when you make so much money, why bother with the hard work of running the factory - just pay someone else - as little as possible - to do it.

But if there are too many costs embedded, then you open the way for a competitor. My favourite example of this is the food industry. The cost of production is so low, but the supermarket price of many things is so high, that it is now opening the way for competitors like the farmers markets, not just for fresh stuff but for "prepared" stuff like bread, jams, salsa, chips etc. The big chains have had the market to themselves for so long that they have become bloated and it is possible for savvy local operators to start producing/retailing food themselves - if they can bypass all the conventional storage/distribution costs and keep that margin for themselves.

A return to more US manufacturing of consumer goods would also need to entail bypassing much of the existing distribution chains so the mfr can get the higher price they need - but this would be quite disruptive and I can't see it happening.

Yes, I've had like-minded questions. I have no idea what the true relationship between retail price and quantity of product sold is. To illustrate the point in a somewhat farfetched way, if the price of iPhone was increased to $5,000, quantity of sales would decrease. And if the price were reduced to $50, quantity of sales would increase. But as you say, if the increase is just $15, is it a moot concern?

I don't know how many others have worked with folks in marketing. My experience with those folks is any increase is a big deal and they would stress the price is too high already.

Recently, I've read of companies moving production back to US for heavy products with a significant shipping cost. I guess in a strange way, higher fossil fuel cost leading to higher shipping cost is good for US jobs in manufacturing.

I think even marginal price changes might impact behavior. Of course there are obvious psychological price points, $99.99 feels like "less than $100.00", but its actually only a penny less. But, by and large a one percent change in the price will mean some consumers buy/no-buy lines will be crossed.

That brings up another important question I hadn't mentioned in my original comment. How much of the trade deficit is for products that are so close to buy/no-buy line that moving production back to US with small price increase would lose the sale of the product? For those products, 55 cents per dollar of product, of US labor would be lost.

From that article "This suggests that Chinese inflation will have little direct effect on U.S. consumer prices."

It is evident that the folks at the Federal Reserve have no concept about prices being established at the margin or that it is the incremental producer who sets prices.

But using their numbers if we spend 2.7% and spending accounts for 70% plus it does mean that all the spending on goods from China is taking about 0.8% off US GDP.

Perry says buying votes is treasonous.

"He has won favour with the Tea Party movement and among other fiscal conservatives with his strong opposition to Barack Obama's stimulus strategy. Addressing a political rally in Iowa on Monday, the Texas governor attacked suggestions by Bernanke that with the economy again struggling the Federal Reserve may resort to another round of buying trillions of dollars of bonds, known as quantitative easing.

Perry said that would amount to little more than an attempt to buy support at next year's election, at a huge cost to the country.

"If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I dunno what y'all would do to him in Iowa but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas. Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treacherous – or treasonous in my opinion," said Perry."

from http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/16/rick-perry-ben-bernanke-trea...

Bachmann makes illegal immigration a top issue. Oh my enforcing the law that is a wild idea.

You're right. And she's got very un-wild ideas about Slavery, Global Warming, and The Enlightenment.

Study aims to improve fuel economy by 30 percent

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside along with their research partners have received a $1.2 million grant from the Department of Energy to study and evaluate technologies that provide feedback to drivers so they can cut harmful emissions and reduce fuel use by up to 30 percent.

How about attaching one of those invisible fence electric dog collars to the cigarette lighter and whenever the car goes over 40 the driver gets a jolt? Positive feedback. Reduced fuel use. What's not to like?

You can put the check in the mail.

There is an extremely easy way to do this. Just make cars include a display that allows you to input a $/gal number into the dash and then based on measured instantaneous fuel consumption, have it calculate dollars/mile and display it on the hud. Make it a requirement like a speedo. Boom, realtime feedback on how much your driving is costing you.

Most all cars already display a realtime range to empty that updates based on driving habits and fuel tank level. Many also give an instantaneous readout of fuel usage. Going the extra single calculation for cost is a couple lines of code.

It's so simple I suspect there's a conspiracy against it, otherwise it would be a no-brainer for every econocar to include.

My car has a real time miles per gallon , trip average miles per gallon, and long term average mpg readout.

It is not entirely accurate, but it certainly teaches you to drive efficiently. I got it up to 87 mpg (imperial) on a recent trip, stuck behind a truck at 50mph in heavy traffic recently. My record is 93mpg.

I was thinking of a speed limit exceeded detector that either truly restricts speed or just some kind of warning.

This would be reasonably easy to do with Bluetooth communications although government would need to pay for transmitters. As an example of current use of Bluetooth, the air pressure sensor inside the tire of some vehicles transmits reading to controller that lights warning on dashboard when a tire needs air.

A few times I've missed the reduced speed limit during certain hours for school children. I would like it just for that warning.

I was thinking of a speed limit exceeded detector that either truly restricts speed

Weren't some trucking companies doing just that during the 08 price spike? I think its called a governor. I bet parents of teenage drivers could be sold on the concept.

It would be trivial to link GPS to the sat nav database to the cruise control. All it takes is someone to write the program.

Interesting, the data would just be speed limit and something to define when time-based speed is in effect. I encounter one speed limit that changes from 7:30am till 8:45am when schools are open. Data could also go other way. I was thinking of an incentive program where staying under the speed limit for a length of time would get a rebate from insurance company.

More likely that the insurance company would use the data to invalidate any insurance claim on the basis that the driver was breaking the law at the time.

Ending Ethanol Subsidies Won’t Reduce Food Costs After All:


The idea that $7.00 corn is a high price is wrong. It is high compared to recent depressed prices caused by surpluses. It is not high compared to other things using the Fed's inflation calculator.


When I finished high school in 1960 corn was about $1.00/bushel. If we enter that into the calculator we find that an equivalent price now is $7.50. The idea that corn ethanol is causing high food prices has no basis in fact.

The fact is that corn has been woefully under priced for most of the last 50 years.

China is the other major corn grower in the world. It recently banned using corn for ethanol. But still China's corn prices are higher than ours.

Recently they have increased purchases of cheap American corn to help feed their 440 million hogs.

Finally the idea that cheap food prices are necessary to prevent food riots as implied in a link up top makes no sense. Cheap food prices mean that there is less incentive for producers to grow more.

That means those who are rioting over high prices will have even less to eat long term.

High food prices are the solution not the problem. They enable expansion of the agriculture sector. And they encourage workers to return to a rural economy based on agriculture production.

Rioting will not produce more food. Scratching in the dirt to grow more will.

"Scratching in the dirt to grow more will" Not if the KSA, China, Egypt, etc have bought the land and water rights first. The way capitalism deals with excess people is starvation. No money, no land, no food, death.

Stuart Staniford has a good chart about this on his Early Warning blog;

Anyone who is complaining about "record high grain prices" has a short memory, or has been shorting grains and lost.

One problem is that now we have many more mouths to feed compared to the seventies.

X- I think you are making a big mistake in your analysis. You are using an economy wide measure of inflation to arrive at your inflation adjusted price. By definition that economy wide measure is an average- which means that there are some parts of the economy that have a below average rate and some that have an above average rate. Consider the vast improvements in agricultural productivity in the last 50 years compared to productivity improvements in education I think you would need to use a below average inflation rate to arrive at a reasonable corn price.


Does anyone recommend a very current (as of Jan 2011 or more current) Peak Oil slide set or paper?

Reports, white papers, PowerPoint presentations more than a year old will likely be less effective tools for helping me communicate with folks.

Especially the raft of papers and PP presentations with a cumulative oil production curve that shows 2010 as being the first year of significant decline, with 2011 even more so.

With the discoveries advertized her by Nordic Mist and Abundance.Concept et al, I wonder how long the C&C production plateau will continue?

Until ~2020-ish?

Methinks until we see a noticeable decline for a few years straight will the message of PO be much more salable.

Flat product and rising demand by China and India = higher fuel prices in the U.S.?

Regular gasoline low price in Albuquerque today: $3.16/gallon.

There is a graph during the presentation by Kjell Aleklett this year from ASPO.


Try around 8:45 onwards for an updated graph.

In my opinion, Robelius' study from 2007 is still the best by far, it's been very accurate so far when you look at the various scenarios he was proposing(right now we're between upper middle case and his best case, but not off the charts in any way whatsoever).

Since there will also very likely be a recession/double dip by next year at the very latest, I wouldn't talk about specific oil prices with your friends.

Either the debt will bring people down, or we'll have a new resurgance of oil prices.

Notice that even as the world economy is declining sharpy, oil prices are up. Partly because the Saudis need them there, but also because we've essentially hit 'Peak Economic Oil' since some time ago.

Even if the world enters recession, there is a limit to how much demand can be destroyed, not least since in the West it's already depressed at it is. China needs to come down big time(and then you'll see how bad things will get) if oil demand is to significantly come down, but even then it will be temporary.

We're not looking at 2020 in any shape or form. Hirsch said 'between 2012-2015', which is a good bet. Robelius basically predicted between 2009-2017, but the most likely scenario would be around 2013(he didn't anticipate the Great Recession, so you might add a year or two).

By 2015 we'll be there in geological terms. We're there already in economical terms.


Thank you very much for this information.

The graph at 8:45 depicts a noticeable decline by 2015 (I padded the numbers a bit to stretch the plateau)...

Do you have a link to Robelius' study?

My sketch showing my "Peak, What Peak?" graph of GNE (Global Net Exports) and ANE (Available Net Exports, i.e, GNE less Chindia's net imports) versus annual US oil prices:


An interesting article about US Airlines' wish that the US government impose stability on global oil prices:

Airlines push to curb oil speculation by traders

"Given how much trading there is today in commodities, it warrants as much attention and scrutiny as the stock market gets, and deserves some checks on the power of any individual player so as not to unduly influence" pricing in oil markets, said John Heimlich, the Air Transport Association's chief economist.

Airlines argue that huge investment inflows from pension fund investors and Wall Street firms into the oil markets are driving volatility in world oil prices and distorting the price of crude oil and jet fuel. "We don't want to be in a scenario where we have to 'right-size' the airline for fuel prices. We want stable fuel prices so we can go and run our business, grow and be a normal business," Jacobson said. "When we have to react with capacity reductions, all of this stuff is important."

Capacity reduction means that Delta and its competitors have to ground airplanes when oil prices get too high, cramming more passengers onto fewer flights.

"We want stable fuel prices." And I want to weigh less, look better and have assets comparable to Warren Buffet.

How will oil prices be stable if the Government subsidizes oil prices with releases from the SPR and the US prices oil 25% lower than what around 2/3 of the world exports of oil sell for? What does stable mean? Does it mean $87 or $109?

The WTI price has almost no relevance to consumers. Mid-Continent refiners are charging national prices for refined product, while paying WTI crude prices, and enjoying record high crack spreads. And in fact, many oil consumers, like airlines, who want to hedge against higher oil prices have been moving away from the Nymex WTI index because it doesn't accurately reflect global oil prices.

Looking at monthly oil prices, in July, 2010 Brent and WTI were identical, at $76. In July, 2011, WTI was $97, while Brent was $117, a spread of $20.

As Undertow noted up the thread, inventories at Cushing are now 3.3 million barrels below year ago levels., while the current WTI/Brent spread is about $23. Based on this trend, if we were to see record low inventories at Cushing in the months ahead, perhaps we would be looking at a WTI/Brent spread of about $50.

Spread with Brent just went over $24 dollars. WTI refining crack spread at $35.11. Dow down almost 500 points.

But wonderfully, as you say, WTI could well be free in a few months at this rate - maybe with the right amount of financial games it can go negative. Although there might not actually be any of it left at Cushing...

To negative oil prices and beyond!

We may see West Texas oil operators hijacking tanker trucks, taking them to their leases and heading for the Gulf Coast. Come to think of it, my wife and I could probably net more income (close to a quarter million per year for a pair of truck drivers) being tanker truck drivers right now.

Latest (4pm EDT)

Brent $106.60
WTI $81.54
Louisiana $105.13

Brent/WTI Spread $25.06

Spread now over $26.

Not sure that I follow the logic. High inventories mean that there is lack of storage and so those who are long WTI need to pay more to store. Therefore the arbitrage between WTI and other markets requires WTI to be lower. As inventories decline the prices of storage come down and the arbitrage will drive up prices.

Just because inventories declined and the spread went up between two points in time doesn't mean that you can extrapolate the trend. Prices of WTI are lower not because of the inventory in the tanks at Cushing but rather because of the inventory that is sitting in the ground. Producers may have concluded that it is cheaper to leave it in the ground rather than pay the high storage costs.

Prices of WTI are lower not because of the inventory in the tanks at Cushing but rather because of the inventory that is sitting in the ground. Producers may have concluded that it is cheaper to leave it in the ground rather than pay the high storage costs.

Excellent. All we need to do is convince everyone producing "WTI" to stop pumping and we can look forward to an even bigger price drop then. Not that that makes product prices cheaper at the pumps. The refiners just pocket ten times their expected profit and laugh all the way to the Nymex.

Seriously though "WTI" is currently "broken" as a benchmark. I think that's the simple logic.

Bloomberg Nymex WTI 321 Crack Spread


Nice graph, thanks!

what data set did you use to construct it?

Principally BP, with minor EIA input for smaller countries. We looked at net oil exporters with 100,000 bpd or more of net exports in 2005 (the top 33 net exporters), which accounted for 99%+ of total net exports in 2005.

Here are the annual 2002 to 2010 data:

Global Net Oil Exports Less Chindia’s Combined Net Oil Imports = ANE
(BP + Minor EIA data, mbpd total petroleum liquids)

2002: 39.1 - 3.5 = 35.6 mbpd (ANE)

2003: 41.6 - 4.0 = 37.6

2004: 44.8 - 5.1 = 39.7

2005: 45.5 - 5.1 = 40.4 

2006: 45.5 - 5.5 = 40.0

2007: 44.6 - 6.1 = 38.5

2008: 44.5 - 6.4 = 38.1

2009: 42.3 - 6.9 = 35.4
2010: 42.6 – 7.5 = 35.1

Note that ANE, the volume of global net oil exports available to net importers other than China & India, have fallen at an average rate of about one mbpd per year for the past five years.

But to quote the chief economist for the airline organization (linked up the thread), "We want stable fuel prices so we can go and run our business, grow and be a normal business." In other words, they want to ignore the reality of finite fossil fuel resource constraints, and they want the government to decree that we shall have stable global oil prices.

Michele Bachmann is promising that gasoline prices will fall below $2 per gallon, if she is elected President in 2012:


Just read that Bachmann $2 gasoline story. Talk about trying to get votes by outright lying (not that politicians don't lie constantly). She might as well tell people they will all have 6 figure jobs and new pickup trucks in their driveway if elected.

I'm not sure she's lying. I think she really believes this crap.

"Happy birthday Elvis!"

Maybe Backmann's forecasting a deep recession or depression. ;^)

It got the ANC elected in South Africa...

A chicken in every pot.

In my neck of the woods, there is pot in every chicken.


"Why Michele Bachmann's $2 a Gallon Gas Promise Is a Fantasy"

The raging photo of Bachman with 20 bucks in her hands is enough to frighten children:


It will be interesting to see if Bachmann repeats the $2 per gallon gasoline comment again. Hopefully she's been advised not to repeat it.

Physical Gold:

I understand that H.Chavez has demanded return of physical gold from several banks, depository
places around the world, including J.P.Morgan. It has been reported that JPM doesn't have
enough physical gold to comply. What happens then? Any guesses?

A gold run!! All ETF's are oversubscribed 10:1 and people will find that out soon enough, anyone smart enough to read between the lines should convert their paper gold to real gold before the real panic begins.

And then the ETF money will pour into physical gold and gold mining stocks........

Gold reaching par with platinum. Folks shorting platinum, going long on gold it seems. The last time this happened was first half of '09.

Does this seem like the build up of a bubble to anyone else? We saw it with oil in 2008, but I doubt the response will be as drastic. I wouldn't be surprised to see gold drop back down below $1000 if there are more banking failures and money is needed for margin calls/bailouts.

"A bubble is a bullmarket in which you didn't participate"

(got that from some guy who's been around the block a couple of times). Somewhat tongue in cheek but there is probably some truth to it.


Well I'm sure not participating in any market casino. I'm 29 and I don't adhere to the old buy and hold mantra that worked for previous generations, despite what so-called financial experts/media try to sell to the public. My coming of age has seen zero growth in the stock market since 2000, but plenty of ups and downs where you could make money if you know how to play them right. But I don't and have no intention of trying to learn.

The Norway Production figures July 2011 are out this morning.

The average daily liquid production in July was: 1 664 000 barrels of oil, 228 000 barrels of NGL and 73 000 barrels of condensate.

That works out to be 1,737,000 bp/d of C+C and 1,965,000 bp/d of all liquids. Norway's production of all liquids was 1,889,000 bp/d in June.

The EIA's Short-Term Energy Outlook always uses these figures supplied by Norway and they always get it right historically. Their numbers up until May of 2011 match exactly what Norway published. But for June and July they missed it a country mile. They say Norway's production in June was 2.27 mb/d and 2.23 mb/d in July. Their guess was 341,000 bp/d too high for June and 305,000 bp/d too high for July.

The numbers for June had already been published by Norway when the latest STOE came out. Apparently they did not catch the numbers in time to make the correction.

Ron P.

The EIA's annual production number for Texas, for 2010, is 20% higher than what the Texas Railroad Commission shows.

Yes the EIA seems to be pushing hard for higher oil production numbers. After posting the above post I took a closer look at the Norway release for July numbers. They had a revision in their June numbers that I failed to catch, reported below.

Correction, in the July report Norway revised their June figures downward by 50,000 bp/d to 1,839,000 bp/d all liquids. That puts the EIA's June guess 391,000 bp/d too high.

Anyway the EIA's STOE predicts Norway's All Liquids production will be 2.21 mb/d for August and 2.06 mb/d for September. Norway is predicting their all liquids production to be about 1.9 mb/d for those two months.

Ron P.

The EIA's annual total petroleum liquids numbers and BP's total petroleum liquids numbers for 2009 and 2010 for Saudi Arabia are shown below:


2009: 9.89 mbpd
2010: 10.01


2009: 9.75 mbpd
2010: 10.51

Since most of this discrepancy is presumably C+C, just the gap between what the EIA shows for C+C just for Texas + Saudi Arabia, versus what other credible sources show, is on the order of 700,000 bpd for 2010. Of course, this ties into the JODI/EIA gap that you uncovered.

We see a similar difference between the EIA's C+C numbers and JODI C+C numbers.

Average Saudi C+C production is thousands of barrels per day, EIA verses JODI

       2009     2010
EIA    8,250    8,900
JODI   8,184    8,165

As you can see they were pretty close in 2009, only 66 kb/d difference but the gap jumped to 735 kb/d in 2010.

Ron P.

I was listening to a great lecture by David Kessler about overeating: http://sic.conversationsnetwork.org/shows/detail4827.html

In contrast with the predominantly physiological research in his field, the work of David Kessler contends that the fat, sugar, and salt in our foods are also capable of altering our brain's chemistry in ways that drive these powerful compulsions.

It left me with the following thought about the chain of events: irreplaceable fossil fuels is used to produce an abundance of food that encourages overeating, ultimately resulting in severe health problems later in life.

Well nobody said using FF had to lead to unhealthy food choices. America has fallen in love with melted cheese, deep fried meats and any other form of saturated fat. And don't forget the billions of litres of soda flavored with corn syrup.

Last night a news channel showed a man that is 110 years of age. He eats mostly raw veggies and fruits. There's gotta be a lesson there.

Not necessarily.

100-Year-Olds Just as Unhealthy as the Rest of Us

Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have found that many very old people — age 95 and older — could be poster children for bad health behavior with their smoking, drinking, poor diet, obesity and lack of exercise.

The very old are, in fact, no more virtuous than the general population when it comes to shunning bad health habits, leaving researchers to conclude that their genes are mostly responsible for their remarkable longevity.

Three of my four grandparents lived into/past their late 90s. My paternal grandmother died 1 week shy of 103, despite a lifetime of secondhand smoke and a high fat/carb diet, sedentary lifestyle and plenty of sugar. Her husband died at 97, same diet and a lifelong smoker (pipe and cigarettes). My maternal grandmother lived to 99, overweight, lots of fatty dairy and beef. Her husband died at 71 (lung cancer), never smoked, loved veggies and fruits, and walked 18 holes 2-3 times per week most of his life.

That said, I'm walking more and eating better, just in case....since both my parents died in their early to mid 70s. Best hopes for generational gene skipping :-/

Reminds me of the old George Burns line: "If I had known I'd be around this long, I would have taken better care of myself!"

Iran oil:

By Ladane Nasseri
Aug. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Iran has sold its first consignment
of crude oil at its Kish commodity exchange, the Oil Ministry’s
news website, Shana, reported.

I think this kind of news, although insignificant on the face of it, is interesting because it is a marker of a shift away from western centered trading.



p.s. thanks for editing - what is the limit for quoting?

There's no hard limit for quoting. The concern is copyright. You should not quote so much that there's no reason to click the link. So four paragraphs is way too much if that's the entire article, but might be fine if it's from a 12-page feature article.

If you can't provide a link, then paraphrase what it said in your own words.

Some sources do not permit more than as little as 10 words.


As Defense Industry Lobbies Against Cuts, Rhetoric Overshoots Reality

"Facing the possibility of actual defense spending cuts for the first time since the end of the Cold War, the nation's biggest defense contractors have put aside their traditional hyper-competitiveness and joined forces in a messaging and advocacy blitz under the slogan "Second to None."

The campaign's website, secondtonone.org, warns that "American leadership in aerospace and defense is being threatened by forces in Congress and the administration." "

An ad campaign by these corporations was predictable...we are more likely to lose social programs than cut military spending.

One thing that can always be counted on in the US, is paranoia sufficient to overspend on defense to whatever tune the defense contractors conjure up by way of fear shoveling politicians.

Another craptastic day on Wall St, it seems. Down 500 pts so far, and still falling.

I keep wondering if there could be a day when the DOW loses over 1,000 points. Maybe when its obvious the Euro is permanently given up on in favor of each european country's currency. That will be quite a day 'away' from globalization, and a historical peak plateau oil moment to remember.

It's not really possible *in a single day*...a number of "Stop Loss" measures will start kicking in and if it gets bad enough they'll shut the exchange for the day.

The Dow would have to fall over 3000 points (30%) to halt trading for the day. It would have to fall over 1000 points before 2pm to even cause a pause in trading for 1 hour.

I see no reason why we could not theoretically see a loss of over 1000 points in a day.

Oh, it is possible. Even during a trading halt, the value of the stock market continues to fluctuate.

It's just that the fluctuations go unobserved.

In my constant search for truth on the internet, I have been reading Dean Baker's articles at CEPR (Center for Economic and Policy Research).

I just read this excerpt from a March op ed piece he wrote, entitled The Imaginary World in Which Washington Lives :-

"According to the Energy Information Agency, the United States has proven reserves of 22.3 billion barrels of oil. Given our current rate of consumption of 6.9 billion barrels a year, U.S. reserves could meet our demand for oil for less than 3.5 years. That means if we could somehow drill here, now, and everywhere, we could be energy independent until the middle of 2014 and then we would be 100 percent dependent on imported oil."

I don't, however, agree with the comment : “Congressman, you know that our children and grandchildren will on average be far richer than we are today.”

Darn, another one bites the dust...

s_t: "I don't, however, agree with the comment" Glad to hear it. I don't know if he is so totally ignorant of the oil patch or if he's just trying to make political hay. Doesn't matter how much PROVEN reserves we have in the US...if he's using the correct meaning for proven. Those would be reserves we're producing right now for the most part. No company is going to poke a second hole into a reservoir that's already being produced except in very rare and unique circumstances. So his "if we drill..." point is a non-starter from the first.

"Drill, baby, drill" is focused on exploration of previous undiscovered reserves. Of course, as we've discussed at length, there would be a number of benefiits from such an effort. Unfortunately, IMHO, it would have little effect on the PO road we're heading down.

"Energy independent" is as over used as it is meaningless from a practical stand point IMHO. I mark anyone who uses that term as either incredibly ignorant, naive or pursuing their own deceitful agenda.

I think the term "Energy Independent" is supposed to conjure up a certain "frontierness" if I can make up a term. Essentially, everyone is totally energy-dependent. The only question is, where will the energy come from & what kind of energy will it be ? In the end, really, only sunlight is a stable source - for the next few billion years, anyway.

When it comes to financial wisdom, the only guru I have found reasonably credible thus far is Nouriel Roubini, aka. "Dr Doom". Perhaps that's as much a reflection of my own mindset as anything else, rather than being an absolute truth.

I'm waiting to see how his take on Peak Oil shapes up :-

"Roubini - In the short run, the demand destruction in the global demand for oil will keep prices low and hurt a bunch of unstable petro-states. These petro-states should become less aggressive facing fiscal and financial pressures; but some may be tempted to convert the domestic anger triggered by economic malaise into an aggressive foreign policy stance. Over the medium term, oil prices will sharply rise again once the global economy recovers. The return to potential growth will imply rapidly rising demand from urbanizing and industrializing China, India and other emerging markets. Meanwhile, the supply response will be much slower as low prices in the short-run lead to less investment in new capacity. In addition, as peak oil factors take hold, unstable petro-states won’t invest enough in new capacity and even Middle East states will decide it is better to keep more of the limited and finite reserves of oil in the ground for future generations. This suggests the importance — for oil importing countries — to invest in alternative and renewable technologies as a new oil shock looms."

Excerpt from a debate in Davos in January of 2009. He's one of the few connecting higher oil prices with recessions.

Bloodbath on Wall Street today. Morgan Stanley issued a report warning the world could be headed into another recession. Dow down over 500 points.

Oh, the humanity!

Re: Bill McKibben: A watershed moment for Obama on climate change (up top)

I'll be participating in this protest (on the 20th). Will any other TOD members be participating?

What a waste of time. We all know damn well that Obama isn't going to fight it.

McKibben has fought the good fight. Unfortunately, for him and humanity he has lost. IMO the time to ward off climate change has come and gone. The discussion should really be about adaptation not mitigation.

Unfortunately for the planet the country most able to adapt is also amongst the biggest contributors to climate change. It is this above all that has made getting to a consensus on climate change so difficult. While it is true that with rising sea levels parts of Florida maybe inundated there is plenty of land in the hinterland to resettle those refugees. Not so in the case of India or China. It seems to me that climate change is really their problem first and foremost. Unfortunately it is hard to get people in the United States to make sacrifices to save the starving or flooded in Bangladesh. Look no further than the famine in Somalia. Most would rather avert their eyes.

Living on the West coast of New England next to huge body of fresh water my concern is about all the climate refugees from the South West that going to be streaming our way in the next 25 years. We might be getting ready to fight the Civil War all over again- as the dry South tries to get their hands on the water of the wet North.

I think they will steal the water from the native peoples of northwest Canada.
See nawapa
this is not the best website but it has a nice picture

rots of ruck. Bulk water exports illegal in Canada and many like my family would get pretty violent if deals were made to sell Canadaian water south.

People can turn off their sprinklers, shut down the golf courses....and then move. Lots of water in North America. But if you choose to live in a desert, you better enjoy pounding sand.

The energy cost of moving water uphill is quite high (see hydroelectric power plants for the reverse).

The Central Arizona Project, I was told, uses 18% of the electricity of Arizona (source perhaps unreliable) to pump water up from the Colorado River to Phoenix and Tuscon.

None-the-less, moving Great Lakes water anywhere but down the Mississippi or Lake Huron > Lake Ontario via the Ottawa River is going to take more energy than we have to spare. And neither the Mississippi nor Ottawa Rivers need the extra water.


I think people miss the essential fact that it is uphill from the well-watered areas of Canada, over the Rocky Mountains or across the plains, to the semi-arid High Plains of the Western US.

That "Montana Lift Pump" is going to be one heck of big pump. Where are you going to get the power to run it? Diesel fuel?

Hydroelectric dams, as you may know, generate electricity from water flowing downhill so that source is not going to work.

Wind power may work, but I think we're talking about more wind turbines than you ever imagined in your life.

How it's done out West;

"At the time of original construction the pumping plant contained six 65,000 horsepower pumps. In 1973 work began on extending the plant. The pump bay was doubled in length to the south and six 67,500 horsepower pump/generators were added (the last in 1983) providing 12 pumps in all.

Each pump lifts water from Lake Roosevelt up through a 12 foot diameter discharge pipe to the feeder canal above. For most of their length the discharge pipes are buried in the rocky cliff to the west but at the top of the hill they emerge and can be seen as 12 silver pipes leading to the headworks of the feeder canal. The original pumps can supply water to the feeder canal at a rate of 1,600 cubic feet of water a second while the newer units can supply 2,000 cubic feet of water a second. They also have the advantage of being reversible. During times of peak power need the new pumps can be reversed thus turning them into generators. Water flows back down through the outlet pipes, through the generators and into Lake Roosevelt. When operating in this mode each pump can produce 50 megawatts of electrical power."


It has amazed me ever since I have been in Canada how hysterical people here get about the mere thought of selling water to the US.

We currently go to great efforts to sell oil and gas [a non renewable resource] south, but the idea of selling water [the most renewable resource there is] is verboten.

Personally, I think Canada's long term interests would be best served by selling water (volume at Canada's discretion), and keeping the oil. If that help Americans farm more and drive less, that could only be a good thing.

Take some out of the Peace/Athabasca/Mackenzie system, send it through central AB and use some of it for irrigation in southern Ab and Sk, and any surplus could be sold across the border. You know, sell enough that we can make some money out of it but not enough that they become dependent upon it - we have seen what happens when someone takes the lollipop away from this big kid.

With urban raw water in southern Ca at about $1000/ac.ft ($0.90/cu.m) there is definitely some money to be made there - we might just ask for payment in gold, though, as you can't print gold nor water...

It has amazed me ever since I have been in Canada how hysterical people here get about the mere thought of selling water to the US.

The moment the first deal is signed, Canada loses its sovereignty and becomes incorporated into the United States.
Oil is for refining. Whiskey is for drinking. Water is for fighting.

The moment the first deal is signed, Canada loses its sovereignty and becomes incorporated into the United States.


I am sure the procedure to be admitted to the Union is more than simply selling some water.

In any case, don;t sign a deal, just put some water for sale on Ebay, or something, and sell by the unit. Use the existing structure for selling oil, or electricity, as an example - there is plenty of two way trade in such. Just do NOT make it a gov - to gov thing - that always gets complicated and political.

If someone wants to sell, and someone else wants to buy, there's always a way to do a deal. Gov can just stand back and tax the hell out of any sales - works for oil, gas and elec, why not water?

I am sure the procedure to be admitted to the Union is more than simply selling some water.

Mere formalities when compared to the importance of water supply.

A water sale to America would be done to enable stepped up farming and habitation in arid regions in the Plains. The resulting migrations would create a dependence on continued sales of water. At which point, Canada would have to choose between continuing the sales or being attacked by the US Army.

When I drive across the arid plains of the Western US, I often wonder, "Why did they ever bother to take this land away from the Indians?"

I don't know if most of the people in the US realize it, but the middle of the country is going back to the Indians and the buffalo. The white men are moving to the big cities near the coasts, and the Indians have a much higher birth rate. Buffalo are much better adapted to living on the plains than cattle, and the Indians have a thriving business selling buffalo meat to the white men.

The white men who do live in the West prefer to work in huge cities, work for high-tech companies, and drive SUV's than farm or ranch and ride horses.

The irrigation projects there are decidedly uneconomic - the farmers only pay about 1/10 of the cost. The rest is subsidized by urban taxpayers in more industrial states. If farmers had to pay the full cost of irrigation, they could never afford it. Even as it is, they aren't making much money.

It has amazed me ever since I have been in Canada how hysterical people here get about the mere thought of selling water to the US.

I seem to recall a similar hystericalness about Great Lakes water for people in US Great Lakes states. I always thought is was absolutely absurd, and selfish.

I don't think it's absurd and selfish. I think people rightly recognize the danger of allowing water to go to whoever has the most money. Sure, it might seem like there's plenty...but we used to think it was impossible to overfish the oceans, too.

I'm reminded of this story from Vanity Fair:

By the late 2020s, something had to give, and it ended up being Las Vegas. With rainfall and snowpack in the Rockies steadily dwindling in a drying climate, the Lake Mead reservoir was no longer filling—meaning that turbines weren’t spinning, electricity wasn’t generating, and some 25 million downstream users in places like California were howling for what little precious water remained trapped behind the lower sections of the Hoover Dam. Nevada’s last gasp was a plea for Denver’s Colorado River allotment: Denver, it was argued, in turn could take the Nebraska and Kansas share of the Platte River, because those states could recharge their depleted Ogallala Aquifer by siphoning water from the Mississippi, and so on ever eastward. But this grand cascade scheme collapsed under dire predictions of astronomical engineering costs and threats of internecine, even armed, water warfare among various states jealously guarding whichever of the nation’s great drainage basins lay beneath them.

So the Hoover’s spillways were opened, and what remained of the Colorado trickled off to Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, and Mexico (which had sworn to cut off tributaries to the Rio Grande if it didn’t receive a share). The glittering southern Nevada town named for its vegas—meadows of sacaton grass that once grew around artesian springs burbling up from surrounding mountains, until they were pumped dry—had also tried piping in water from ranches as far as 250 miles to the north. But those wells, too, succumbed to deepening drought. Finally, by the mid-2030s, what had been America’s fastest-growing city at the turn of the 21st century just gave up.

"I don't think it's absurd and selfish."

I agree.

Living near the Great Lakes and understanding something about conservation, I don't think it's selfish at all. I'm not sure why we would allow more straws into the lakes, when the water level is consistently falling, year over year. Especially to supply lawns and swimming pools.

A drop of 12 inches was expected this year due to certain places experiencing less snow than average.


The lakes carry a lot of shipping traffic - already they are experiencing difficulty with draft under heavy loads. I expect we will come to rely more on shipping as road transport becomes more difficult.

http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/pubs/brochures/lakelevels/lakelevels.html (2001)

There are a number of conservation efforts going on around Lake Michigan, for example, especially here in Chicago, where there is only one water supply for drinking and all other uses.

People are very concerned that the new governors in Ohio and Michigan will not uphold the Great Lakes compact .

I've long held the opinion that people living in the desert ought to behave like they live in the desert, and not like they live by the lake.

For those who like data, here are weekly lake level data from the Army Corps of Engineers.


Edit : btw : the Great Lakes are a largely non-renewable resource

Climate scientist willing to face arrest at tar sands pipeline protest

... The cause? Trying to convince President Obama that approving the extension of a controversial oil sands pipeline — the proposed $7 billion, 1,702-mile Keystone XL — would be the equivalent of lighting a fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the planet.

World’s second largest oil consumer China’s reliance on imported oil reached 54.8 percent in the first half of this year, according to National Development and Reform Commission.

China imported 20.89 million metric tons of Crude Oil in July, 1.8% more than in the same month of last year, and imported a total of 146.63 million metric tons of crude oil in the first seven months, up 8.4% year on year.



BP Deepwater Horizon leaking again ?

from local eNewsletter

Fresh oil is surfacing all over the northern quadrant of the Gulf of Mexico. Reports of slicks that meander for miles and huge expanses of oil sheen that look like phantom islands are becoming common, again. Fresh oil, only slightly weathered, is washing ashore in areas hit hardest by last year’s massive spill ...

One theory: The Macondo Well site is still leaking untold amounts of oil into the Gulf. Some argue that the casing on the capped well itself is leaking. Others believe oil is seeping through cracks and fissures in the seafloor caused by months of high-impact work on the site, including a range of recovery activities (some disclosed, some not) as well as the abortive "top kill" effort...

Reliable sources tell us that BP has hired 40 boats from Venice to Grand Isle to lay boom around the Deepwater Horizon site located just 50 miles off the Louisiana coast. The fleet rushed to the scene late last week and worked through the weekend to contain what was becoming a massive slick at the site of the Macondo wellhead

Best Hopes for Natural Seeps !


It is now on the web: Site of Deepwater Horizon Accident Leaking Again, Sources Say

Earlier this year, B.K. Lim, a geohazards specialist and conferee at the Gulf Oil Spill Remediation Conference in Tallahassee last August, authored a letter to U.S. Reps. Fred Upton, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and John Shimkus, chairman of the Subcommittee on Environment and Economy, suggesting that the former site of the Deepwater Horizon may not be permanently plugged.

While there is no conclusive evidence that the Macondo well has begun leaking anew, many along the Gulf region fear for the worst. Some locals are reporting fresh oil washing in along Barataria Bay and Grand Isle in Louisiana, and as far east as Long Beach, MS.

Ron P.

Reliable sources tell us that BP has hired 40 boats from Venice to Grand Isle to lay boom around the Deepwater Horizon site located just 50 miles off the Louisiana coast. The fleet rushed to the scene late last week and worked through the weekend to contain what was becoming a massive slick at the site of the Macondo wellhead

No sign of these 40 boats (or any ships at all) at the Macondo site on Marine Traffic I note.

Would charter shrimp boats show up ?

Trawling shrimp boats are often quiet about "sweet spots" when shrimping.



BP have categorically denied this story for what it's worth.

UPDATE 2-US probes possible oil sheen off Louisiana coast

There are online reports claiming that the Macondo well is leaking and BP has responded with boats and boom,' the company said in a statement. 'None of this is true.'

The reported Green Canyon sheen site also appears to be a long way from Macondo and the Coast Guard appears to agree with BP (again for what that's worth)

BP Investigates Possibility Of New Oil Leak In Gulf

"They are not investing any sheens in the vicinity of the BP well," Paul Barnard, Operations Controller for New Orleans' sector of the Coast Guard, told the AP on Thursday.

The current site of interest is unfortunately well out of range of shore based VHF Marine Traffic transponder queries (Macondo was just inside).

Oil companies investigate cause of sheen in Gulf of Mexico

The sheen was 172 miles (277 kilometers) from BP's Macondo well and about 100 miles off the Louisiana coast.

Shrimpers, according to articles in Nat Fisherman, most feared retrieving black gooey nets this year. That hasn't quite played out, but neither have the shrimp. The larger ones are few and far between, mostly smalls in the modest catch. But the fear of gooey nets is still high. Not many want to drag the bottom.

Edit: I was looking for comments on the leading top story of Saudi Arabia increasing shipments in June according to JODI. I didn't see any, but 300+ comments are alot to wade through. Posters here accept this as gospel?

See Ron's comments at http://www.theoildrum.com/node/8277#comment-829370 and his chart compiled from "Oil Movements" tanker tracking data further down-thread at http://www.theoildrum.com/node/8277#comment-829375

While it shows a slight OPEC surge in June, averaged out OPEC exports have remained pretty much flat after the loss of Libyan oil. The Saudi story goes they surge to meet demand and then cut back on "refinery maintenance" or "lack of demand" in world markets. I think, most likely, they are pumping flat out and can't make up the Libyan shortage so blow smoke. The most recent weeks have seen shipments drop but this may be a prelude to another small surge from storage in a month or so.

Thanks Undertow, bout how I imagined with overall OPEC exports. But doesn't the story begin to throw another wrench in the mix as to whose data is more accurate? With JODI stating SA is up 7.9%, I guess we'll have to wait for EIA-like revisions.

BP said in a statement Thursday the sheen was found near two abandoned exploration well sites in the Green Canyon Block in the Gulf of Mexico. According to an online map by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Green Canyon Block - a large square-shaped area of water south of Louisiana - is south and west of the Mississippi Canyon Block where BP's Macondo well blew up.


Regardless of the source, more oil in the water is *NOT* good news :-(



As described to me: "Damn good video of how the BOP failed on Macondo."


Hey, guys, since it came up, I can't help wondering-- what do y'all think of BK Lim's data and conclusions, just in general?

His analysis of Deepwater is probably the most terrifying of any I that I read. Scared the frickin' crap out of me, and seemed like he knows what he's talking about, but what do I know?

The parallels with Fuku are something I don't like to think about. It seems like in the end, we just kind of throw up our hands, and it's all up to a couple of lonely robots with fire hoses, whether they're spraying water or concrete.

Rockman, I look forward to checking out the link when I am on my faster computer. What fascinates me about the blowout from my own limited research is the human/operational failure, particularly the byzantine procedures, the manual that was 500 pages, etc.

Cat - Pay close attention when they mention the drill collars being left in the rams. DC are extra thick sections of the pipe where the two joints screw into each other. Much more difficult to cut. So instead of building rams that could cut them they made a protocol: Don't leave the damn DC's in the rams ever! Of course, this leaves our fate subject to human error. And we still haven't figured a way to get humans out of the equation.

Has anyone checked out the Matt S lifeboat blog? Opinions appreciated. And, is this the format of the new TAE in the wind?

Thanks Paulo

my mistake...I meant the Michael Rupert blog....

The tropical weather blogs are getting active, and so is the hurricane season. Apparently conditions are favorable for a burst of activity in the Atlantic over the next few weeks.

Currently there is a large tropical wave in the Atlantic that looks good for the Caribbean by this time next week, and possibly the GOM after that.



The "Bad Hurricane Season" is August 20 till October 1 - peaking on September 10th.

Time to top up the tank, check the air in the tires, oil level, etc. and put several $50 and $20 bills (easier to break than $100 bills) in a safe corner.

Best Hopes for Fish Hurricanes,


Texas state climatologist disagrees with Gov. Perry:

Yet, John Nielsen-Gammon disagrees. Nielsen-Gammon is the Texas state climatologist, and a professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M University. In an interview last week with DTN/The Progressive Farmer, Nielsen-Gammon said the historic drought in Texas has intensified as a consequence of climate change because it has raised temperatures a degree or two on the Fahrenheit scale from what they would be otherwise.

"It's hotter and there is greater demand for water for livestock and forage, and there is also more evaporation in the lakes, so hence the demand and supply," Nielsen-Gammon said.



Perry is bought and paid for by big oil. They are his biggest campaign contributors. Big oil tells Perry what to do and what to say. He is paid to tell big oil's story on GW. No doubt, the paid "article writers" that promoted tobacco companies, now write for profit about AGW. Perry"s "evidence" won't be worth anything, but facts are not his strength.

Bachmann just said on "the Situation-room" / cnn , that if elected she'll bring down gas at the pump to below $2. GWB said he needed a magic wand to do that .... What a lady U all have right there :-)

Massive depression coupled with a strong dollar and she could manage it, probably.

Mind it wouldn't last long.

And repeal of the federal gas tax to get those last few pennies down to $1.99/9 per gallon.

Abandon A L L Hope if She is elected !


Bachmann just said on "the Situation-room" / cnn , that if elected she'll bring down gas at the pump to below $2.

I'm sure she plans to do that by offering massive tax cuts to the super wealthiest, which of course will hyper ignite the economy into a job creating mecca.

EIA reports a 3.9-percent increase in U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2010

U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from the consumption of fossil fuels were 5,638 million metric tons carbon dioxide (MMTCO2) in 2010, an increase of 3.9 percent from the 2009 level, according to Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions, 2010, an online analysis released today by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). This is the largest percentage increase in U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions since 1988. However emissions are still 6 percent below the 2005 level. Since 1990, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have grown at an average annual rate of 0.6 percent.

We are going the wrong way folks. But this just makes my point, the same point I have been making for years, that we will do nothing to lower CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. They will just get worse.

It's all over but the crying as far as global warming is concerned. Ditto for peak oil. Everything will just run it's course and no one will do anything until it's way too late.

Ron P.

Everything will just run it's course

I think you are right. It is the path of least resistance. Doing nothing requires zero effort.

OPEC to Cut Exports as U.S. Demand Declines, Oil Movements Says

OPEC oil exports just keep dropping. They are now near the lowest point this year averaging 22.63 mb/d. And it is all because demand has dropped in the US. Yeah right!

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will trim shipments by 0.5 percent this month as U.S. demand declines while refiners perform seasonal maintenance, according to tanker-tracker Oil Movements.

Exports will drop to 22.63 million barrels a day in the four weeks to Sept. 3, the Halifax, England-based researcher said today in a report. That compares with 22.75 million barrels in the month to Aug. 6. The data excludes Ecuador and Angola. Sailings from the Persian Gulf to the U.S. and Europe are below year-earlier levels for the first time this year, according to the company.

Ron P.

It is a shorter sail from the Persian Gulf to China or, even closer, India. Fewer tankers needed.

The rate of growth of demand in China varies, but it is always higher y-o-y.

Best Hopes for ever lower US oil demand,


I have been tracking OPEC deliveries since last November. As I said above, they are now near the low for that period.


Ron P.

U.S. auto supply chain at a crossroads: study

...“Throughout our research, we find evidence of two possible futures for America’s automotive industry,” Helper said. “One future is characterized by collaborative relationships between firms at all tiers of the supply chain, wherein firms share cost savings from identifying and eradicating inefficiencies that they might not have been able to address on their own.”

In contrast, adversarial relationships within the supply chain could impede the industry’s progress.

“In this future, instead of developing better products and thinking critically about how to remove inefficiencies from processes that span multiple firms, firms at each level of the supply chain generate profits by squeezing margins of firms in the tier under them. This path is a recipe for industry-wide stagnation,” Helper said.

...The research report notes evidence that many first tier firms continue to protect their profit margins by cutting the margins of their suppliers, rather than by trying to build positive-sum relationships. In response, many suppliers focus on short-term cost-cutting and are reluctant to invest in modernizing their operations.

Source: http://drivingworkforcechange.org/



With all the anti-PO rhetoric that sometimes erupts here at TOD, I stumbled upon this URL, and think it is useful (at least I found it useful).

A List Of Fallacious Arguments




My favorite is reifying (reification) because it is the fallacy behind EROEI when applied across different forms of energy. Doesn't stop posters and commenters from using the EROEI argument though.

Thanks, that's brilliant.

Low emission cars under NREL's microscope

...The Kia FCEV has a 115 kw-fuel cell stack, which is housed under the floor of the passenger compartment. Rather than using gasoline or electricity, the SUV-sized vehicle is fueled with compressed hydrogen at 700 bar and has a range of 466 miles per fill-up, which is the equivalent of 59 mpg. The demonstration vehicle had a 110 kw traction motor 100 kw ultracpacitor rather than a battery.

...In addition to the Prius and i MiEV, NREL has evaluated a Mercedes-Benz A-Class F-Cell vehicle and is actively looking to expand.

related http://www.nrel.gov/hydrogen/proj_wind_hydrogen.html

fueled with compressed hydrogen at 700 bar

250 bar is the highest safe pressure for CNG for buses, garbage trucks, etc. for the USA. Lower limit in the EU.


700 bar = 10,152.64 PSI.

Research finds Greenland glacier melting faster than expected

Principal Investigator on this summer's fieldwork, Dr Edward Hanna, commented: "Our fieldwork results are a key indication of the rapid changes now being seen in and around Greenland, which are evident not just on this glacier but also on many surrounding small glaciers. It's clear that this is now a very dynamic environment in terms of its response and mass wastage to ongoing climate change.

FYA: For Your Amusement

"Oldest continually operating oil well marks 150 years"

how much longer do you think it will operate?

Libya rebels capture Zawiya oil refinery:


I wonder if he really means "Power" when he says Energy is simply Abstract. Power, I could see..

But energy is defined in units of work done, force X distance, etc.. which means that the comparison of inputs v. outputs is very much concrete.

If it costs more to deliver a barrel than one gets for it, the oil will stay put. Lots of oil will be left in the ground. Even at $80 folks may not be able to afford the refined fuel. Kind of a $ EROEI.

WTI Brent spread at 26$ !!

You're not in Kansas anymore

Wow, make that 30$ ! ( within last few hours US-brand Cushing? went for $79 and change)

US-oil http://www.livecharts.co.uk/MarketCharts/crude.php (select OPTIONS Upper Right corner to expand timeline)
Brent-oil http://www.livecharts.co.uk/MarketCharts/brent.php

When WTI hit $79.50, Brent was about $105. The max spread reached so far is about $26. Current spread $25.90

The price being displayed for Brent at livecharts is currently incorrect as they seem to have forgotten to switch to the new Brent front month so the chart hasn't updated for several days. Real-time data (10 minute delay) directly from the exchange at https://www.theice.com/homepage.jhtml

Regarding the liberal island idea, I wonder how long it will take before they start regulating stuff. We came up with those rules for a reason. I ain't moving to that island...