Drumbeat: January 14, 2012

Aramco aims to lift refining capacity to 8 mln bpd

DHAHRAN, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - Saudi Aramco expects to raise its refining capacity to 8 million barrels per day (bpd) as it increases downstream investments, its chief executive officer said, after signing a $10 billion refinery deal with China's Sinopec Group.

"Over the next decade our total global refining capacity is expected to approach 8 million barrels per day," Khalid al-Falih, Aramco's CEO, said in a speech at the signing ceremony.

The new figure exceeded a goal Falih cited last year for a 50 percent increase in capacity to over 6 million barrels per day (bpd). He has said repeatedly that, while other companies are reducing exposure to the refining business, Aramco sees it as a growth industry.

Saudi Aramco Sees Karan Gas Project Completion Ahead of Schedule

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabian Oil Co. increased output from its offshore Karan natural-gas deposit and expects to reach full capacity this summer, a year ahead of schedule, Chief Executive Officer Khalid al-Falih said.

The state oil company said in July last year that Karan would reach full capacity of 1.8 million barrels a day in 2013, and would feed into the Khursaniyah processing plant. Saudi Aramco, as the company is known, originally aimed to produce 1.5 billion cubic feet a day by June this year, according to the Dhahran-based company’s 2010 annual review.

Saudi, Chinese oil giants ink joint refinery deal

RIYADH — Saudi state oil giant Aramco inked a deal Saturday with China's Sinopec to build an oil refinery in the Red Sea city of Yanbu that will process 400,000 barrels per day, state news agency SPA said.

Saudi Arabia to Continue Fuel Donation to Yemen

Saudi Aramco will continue to donate fuel to Yemen in February, industry sources said, as the company looks to buy at least two shipments of petrol with at least one to be delivered to Yemen.

The impoverished southern neighbour of Saudi Arabia is reliant on fuel imports from abroad and donations as its main refinery has been shut for almost two months following consecutive blasts on its primarly oil pipeline.

A year on from Arab Spring, Tunisians protest lack of jobs

TUNIS, Tunisia — As a symbol of how far Tunisia still has to go to fulfill the promise of the first Arab Spring revolution, Ammar Gharsallah's death this week could hardly have been more poignant.

The 40-year-old father of three, despairing at his poverty, died after immolating himself with petrol, echoing the act of the Tunisian vegetable vendor who last year ago set off a wave of revolt that has not yet abated.

Unlocking the Secrets Behind Hydraulic Fracturing

Starting Feb. 1, drilling operators in Texas will have to report many of the chemicals used in the process known as hydraulic fracturing. Environmentalists and landowners are looking forward to learning what acids, hydroxides and other materials have gone into a given well.

But a less-publicized part of the new regulation is what some experts are most interested in: the mandatory disclosure of the amount of water needed to “frack” each well. Experts call this an invaluable tool as they evaluate how fracking affects water supplies in the drought-prone state.

Made in America: Trend against outsourcing brings jobs back from China

Many companies, especially in the auto and furniture industries, moved plants overseas once China opened its doors to free trade and foreign investment in the last few decades. Labor was cheaper for American companies – less than $1 per hour according to the BCG report. Today, labor costs in China have risen dramatically, and shipping and fuel costs have skyrocketed. As China’s economy has expanded, and China has built new factories all across the country, the demand for workers has risen. As a result, wages are up as new companies compete to hire the best workers.

Oiling the wheels

While the outrage may have been genuine, and frankly justified given BP’s miserable safety record in America, the problem it created was that less than two months after the accident, $89 billion had been wiped off BP’s value—far in excess of all but the direst forecasts of the costs of the spill. (Besides the $20 billion spent on the response, BP has also spent a similar amount on a trust to ensure that funds will be available for environmental and economic restoration.)

Geithner Gets China Snub on Iran Oil as Japan Discusses Cut

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner’s efforts to tighten economic sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program won backing from Japan a day after China rejected limiting oil imports from the country.

Twitter generation fuels rage of Nigeria gas protests as users demand end of corruption

LAGOS, Nigeria — A nationwide strike and demonstrations have unleashed years of pent-up frustrations in Nigeria over its kleptocratic leaders, and the rage has grown even stronger across social media this week.

Twitter users shared pictures of dead protesters while others broke down the oil-rich nation’s 2012 budget figures, comparing funds allocated to the president and vice president’s offices with the cost of living of the average Nigerian. Hackers have targeted government websites, while others criticized local news coverage of demonstrations in nation where journalists often accept bribes from those they cover.

Oil Falls to Lowest Level in Three Weeks on Plans to Delay Iranian Embargo

Oil dropped to a three-week low after two European Union officials said an embargo on Iranian crude imports may be postponed for six months.

Crude fell 0.4 percent as officials said that the ban would be delayed to allow nations to find new supply. International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors will go to Tehran to discuss Iran’s nuclear program, two diplomats said. Futures also declined after French Finance Minister Francois Baroin said Standard & Poor’s is stripping France of its AAA credit rating.

Geopolitics heat up; oil price premium settles in

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Flare-ups in geopolitical hot spots such as Iran are nothing new to the oil markets, so commonplace for the market that there may actually be a “permanent premium” built into the price.

That premium is particularly important for a market that, nowadays, struggles to balance global demand with shrinking spare production capacity from major oil producers.

EU Naval Forces Exchange Gunfire With Somali Pirates in Attack on Tanker

European Union naval forces exchanged gunfire with Somali pirates yesterday in thwarting an attack on a Spanish navy oil tanker near Mogadishu.

Five of six suspected pirates detained on the ESPS Patino were injured and two required medical treatment, EU Navfor Somalia said yesterday in an e-mailed statement.

Egypt's ElBaradei pulls out of presidential race

In Saturday's statement, ElBaradei says the military rulers who took over from Mubarak have governed "as if no revolution took place and no regime has fallen."

Iraq: Bomb kills at least 53 Shiite pilgrims

ZUBAIR, Iraq (AP) – A bomb killed at least 53 Shiite pilgrims near the southern port city of Basra on Saturday, an Iraqi official said. It was the latest in a series of attacks during Shiite religious commemorations that have killed scores of people and threaten to further increase sectarian tensions just weeks after the U.S. withdrawal.

Statoil 'may exit West Qurna 2'

Statoil reportedly may be looking to dispose of its stake in the West Qurna 2 field development project in Iraq as security in the country deteriorates following the withdrawal of US forces amid escalating political tensions.

US warns Iran to leave Persian Gulf oil route alone, clash shows risk of larger war

WASHINGTON — Tensions rising by the day, the Obama administration said Friday it is warning Iran through public and private channels against any action that threatens the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf. The Navy revealed that two U.S. ships in and near the Gulf were harassed by Iranian speedboats last week.

Spokesmen were vague on what the United States would do about Iran’s threat to block the strategic Strait of Hormuz, but military officials have been clear that the U.S. is readying for a possible naval clash.

Cameron in Saudi says world will keep open oil route

(Reuters) - Prime Minister David Cameron said the world would "come together" to prevent Iran closing the Strait of Hormuz oil shipment route and that Russia should take a tougher stance against Syria during his visit to Saudi Arabia Friday.

Iran last month threatened to blockade the strategically vital strait if it was subjected to any new international sanctions over its nuclear program, which it says is for civilian use, but which Western countries believe is aimed at building an atomic bomb.

Cameron calls for Saudi oil production rise

British Prime Minister David Cameron has called on the king of Saudi Arabia to step up his country's oil production in the face of Iranian threats to block off the sea corridor through which one sixth of the world's oil supplies pass.

In private talks with King Abdullah during an official visit to Saudi Arabia yesterday, Mr Cameron expressed Britain's fears that a blockade could destabilise the world economy.

Saudi ready to meet a rise in oil demand: Naimi

DHAHRAN - Top oil producer Saudi Arabia is ready to meet any increase in consumer countries’ demand for crude oil, oil minister Ali Al Naimi told reporters on Saturday.

Saudi Arabia is “always obliged” to meet demand, Naimi said when asked whether the kingdom has enough spare capacity to cover demand in light of possible oil sanctions by the West on Iran’s crude oil sales.

Saudis have enough oil to make up for Iran

WASHINGTON - Saudi Arabia says it has enough oil output capacity to meet global customers’ needs if new sanctions keep Iran from exporting oil, a top US Republican lawmaker said on Friday.

Iran says not storing oil in Gulf due to sanctions

(Reuters) - Iran has not stored oil on tankers in the Gulf, and its crude exports have not been disrupted due to mounting international pressure over its disputed nuclear program, an oil official told the semi-official Mehr news agency on Saturday.

Negotiating Iran: Can U.S. End the Standoff?

“U.S. Not Keen On Negotiating With Iran”

That’s the headline of a recent news clip that featured a panel of experts discussing the economic sanctions against Iran and the Iranian threat to block the Strait of Hormuz, a key passage way for oil tankers. While each of the three experts had different opinions on the matter, the sentiment seemed to be same: negotiations are nowhere on the horizon.

China might think twice about Iran oil: US

Speaking Friday in an interview with MSNBC, US Ambassador Susan Rice disputed the characterization that China had rejected Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s appeal to help bring sanctions on Iranian oil in order to rein in that country’s nuclear ambitions

Middle East Trip Suggests Change in Policy by China

BEIJING — Premier Wen Jiabao heads on Saturday to the oil-producing nations of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, a six-day tour of Iran’s Persian Gulf neighbors that is the first Saudi trip by a Chinese premier in two decades, and the first ever to the other two states.

But some experts find the trip notable for a different reason: It comes as China’s strategic alliance with Iran is less certain than before.

Japan Expresses New Caution About Cutting Iranian Oil Imports

Japan's government has backed away from comments by its finance minister about reducing oil imports from Iran in support of U.S. sanctions against the Islamic republic.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda expressed reluctance to make any quick decision on cutting oil imports from Iran. Speaking to reporters Friday evening in Tokyo, Noda said comments the previous day by his finance minister, Jun Azumi, were a personal opinion, not government policy.

Energy-hungry Japan in $34bn Australia gas deal

TOKYO: Japanese energy firm Inpex and French giant Total on Friday announced a huge $34 billion gas project in Australia, as Tokyo looks for alternatives to nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. Japan has virtually no hydrocarbon resources of its own and is the world’s biggest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to drive its energy-hungry economy, the third largest on the planet.

Venezuela Closes Its Miami Consulate

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has ordered the closure of the country's consulate in Miami, days after the United States expelled a Venezuelan diplomat.

Super Fracking Goes Deeper to Pump Up Natural Gas Production

As regulators and environmentalists study whether hydraulic fracturing can damage the environment, industry scientists are studying ways to create longer, deeper cracks in the earth to release more oil and natural gas.

Energy companies are focused on boosting production and lowering costs associated with so-called fracking, a technique that uses high-pressure injections of water, sand and chemicals to break apart petroleum-saturated rock. The more thoroughly the rock is cracked, the more oil and gas will flow from each well.

Protester: Ruling Party Vowed to Ban Shale Gas from Bulgaria

Bulgarian ruling center-right GERB party has taken a political commitment to ban the exploration and production of shale gas in the country, according to an environmentalist leader.

Sunday more than 1,500 people in Bulgarian capital Sofia rallied in front of the House of Parliament to protest against what they see as a highly hazardous technique.

Hoeven urges approval of Keystone pipeline

WASHINGTON (UPI) -- Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., Saturday urged U.S. President Barack Obama to approve the controversial TransCanada Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Hoeven said in the weekly GOP media address the pipeline would create numerous jobs, strengthen the economy and reduce dependence on oil from the Mideast.

Shell’s Arctic Drilling Plan Clears Hurdle

Royal Dutch Shell has been on a six-year crusade to drill in Arctic waters off Alaska’s coast, and has spent about $4 billion on the effort so far without drilling a single well.

But the company took one more bureaucratic baby step forward this week toward drilling in the Chukchi Sea later this year. An appeals board of the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday rejected four challenges brought by Alaska Native entities and environmental groups like Earthjustice to block Clean Air Act permits covering airborne emissions from industrial operations.

Top Business Books

“Oil’s Endless Bid” by Dan Dicker (Wiley). Petroleum prices have gone crazy, and a large share of the blame belongs to Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and other banks, argues this Nymex trader.

“The Quest” by Daniel Yergin (Allen Lane/Penguin Press). The energy economist who brought us “The Prize” sets out to debunk peak oil theory.

Community sustainability requires community's support

The real reason we should all care about local sustainability is the strength of our local economy. A strong local economy makes us more resilient to the ups and downs of the national economy.

It also creates a safety net for the future should we for some reason not have daily delivery of food and other essentials. If we are headed into peak oil, or a depression, we will find ourselves asking: “Why, in an area so perfect for growing food, don't we have any local farms?” and “Where did all those local shops and restaurants go?”

Farm To Fork Across America -- EcoFarm Conference: Sustainable Agriculture, Food, Love and Butterflies

In a couple weeks I'll be attending the oldest and largest ecological agricultural gathering in the West. The EcoFarm Conference has been a centrifugal force for more than 30 years. It will be jam-packed with networking opportunities and information on the newest eco-ag developments and techniques. Hot topic Farm Bill 2012 lectures will focus on important policy concerns. Newly emerging topics are elbowing their way into the Farm Bill: local food, urban agriculture, farm-to-school and community gardens.

Carmaker Tesla Falls After Executives Leave

Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA) plunged a record 19 percent after saying two senior engineers on the new Model S luxury sedan left the U.S. electric-car maker just months before the auto goes on sale.

Second assembly of Irena aims to generate capital ideas

Officials are gathering on Abu Dhabi's Saadiyat Island yesterday for the second assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena).

More E-Mails Released on Failed Solar Company

WASHINGTON — The White House has given House Republican investigators an additional 66 pages of internal correspondence relating to Solyndra, the solar equipment manufacturer that filed for bankruptcy after accepting a $535 million loan guarantee, and the e-mails reflect significant anxiety about the poor financial prospects of the administration’s flagship choice to demonstrate how federal help could add to building a clean energy economy.

But the new documents do not appear to support the Republicans’ contention that the White House steered the loan guarantee to Solyndra, a company whose investors included an Obama campaign donor.

Obama Aides Discussed Solyndra Layoffs

White House officials knew before the 2010 midterm elections that Solyndra LLC planned to fire workers after winning a $535 million U.S. loan guarantee, according to e-mails released yesterday, a disclosure that might have embarrassed the administration.

Solar Capacity Rose 54% to 28 Gigawatts Last Year, BNEF Says

New solar capacity around the world increased 54 percent to about 28 gigawatts last year driven by record installations in Germany and Italy, Bloomberg New Energy Finance data shows.

Rainy days power Scotland ahead

Scotland can count on its inclement weather, and it is the prevalence of what the Scots call "dreich days" that is helping the nation develop a cutting-edge partnership with Abu Dhabi in green technology.

Germany Seeks Faster Offshore Wind Grid Connection, Roesler Says

The German government wants to connect offshore wind farms to the power grid faster after utilities including RWE AG (RWE) complained that the process was taking too long.

China's renewables surge dampened by growth in coal consumption

China tripled its solar energy generating capacity last year and notched up major increases in wind and hydropower, government figures showed this week, but officials are still struggling to cap the growth in coal burning, which is the biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the world.

The latest evidence of China's promotion of renewable energy has been welcomed by climate activists, but they warn that the benefits are being wiped out by the surge in coal consumption.

As I reported last night the EIA's International Energy Statistics has just been published with the September production data, albeit a month late. We had reported earlier that it had been discontinued due to budget cuts. But it has returned, hopefully for good, but we shall see.

There were no dramatic changes in this report with the September production figures. World all liquids were down by 204,000 barrels per day while C+C was down by 109,000 bp/d.

The biggest gainers among non-Opec nations in C+C production were Kazakhstan up 138,000 bp/d, and U.K. up 158,000 bp/d. Biggest losers among non-Opec nations from August to September were USA down 112,000 bp/d, Norway down 78,000 bp/d, China down 66,000 bp/d, Mexico down 64,000 bp/d, Canada down 61,000 bp/d and Malaysia down 59,000 bp/d.

Non OPEC C+C is averaging about 200,000 barrels per day below their 2010 level according to the EIA, thru September. However non OPEC C+C is averaging about 450,000 bp/d below their 2010 level, thru October, according to JODI. The JODI numbers for November will be out Wednesday the 18th of January. JODI does not report any all-liquids numbers, only Crude + Condensate.

Ron P.

The average US crude oil production rate (C+C) for the first 9 months of 2011 is about 5.6 mbpd, versus 5.5 in 2010 and 5.4 in 2009 (and versus a pre-hurricane production rate of 5.4 mbpd in 2004).

So, since the big rebound from the 2008 post-hurricane low, the average net increase in US crude oil production for the past two years looks like it is going to be about 100,000 bpd per year.

Maybe those energy Statistics will be published quarterly or yearly from now on.....

Maybe those energy Statistics will be published quarterly or yearly from now on.....



Have you had a chance to update the Thunderhorse production numbers?

Updated it just a couple of days ago. The last data point is October 2011.

Thunder Horse

Ron P.

Looks like monthly production in main field is declining at about 37%/year.

That looks extremely bad - declining from its rated capacity of 250,000 bpd to less than 100,000 bpd in two years! It looks like the field is "watering out" very rapidly.

I don't think they're going to get anything close to their estimated reserves of 1 billion barrels out of it.

The past few years have been nothing but grief for BP in the GOM.

I totaled the big three, Thunder Horse, Atlantis and Tahiti. Here is the result.

Thunder Horse, Atlantis and Tahiti

Ron P.

Any channce of a grapic of this?

Re: Iran related links up top:

Covert war and war of words:

Bolton Calls Iran Assassination And Sanctions 'Half-Measures'

U.S. warns Iran not to block oil flow

Panetta linked the two crises Thursday, saying an Iranian nuclear weapon is one "red line" the United States will not allow Iran to cross, and a closure of the strait is another.

Deadly Spark What can trigger US-Iran war

Iran Nuclear Scientist murder Analysis Part 1/2

Who killed Iranian nuclear scientist?

Massive American troop build-up in Israel War with Iran on the horizon

Key US oil supplier may cut off spigot Sunday

It's unclear how much of Nigeria's production would be affected. At worst, the country's 20,000 unionized oil workers could take as much as 2.4 million barrels of daily crude production off the market, striking at the heart of Nigeria's oil-dependent economy.

Even if strikers are only partially successful, fears of tightened global supplies could raise oil prices by $5-$10 per barrel on futures markets next week. Gasoline prices would follow, rising by as much as 10 cents per gallon and forcing U.S. drivers to spend an additional $36 million a day at the pump.

Only when everyone knows, people ask politicians a minimum plan.

If you think this can "wake up", send this video to your friends not "converted": PEAK OIL IN MOVIES

Not crazy about this movie....

Why can't we just put Kenneth Deffeye's book

"Hubbert's Peak Impending World Oil Shortage," in movie form...?

People need to know it's hard to find oil

Nah. Substituting watching movies for actual knowledge on a topic doesn't usually work on topics of greater complexity than, say, nose picking.

As far as Deffeye's book, he has already proclaimed that the first five years post peak are the ones he was worried about (2005-2010), and if we got past 2010 it was all gravy. The guy is near precognitive.

Bruce S, what do you mean "...if we got past 2010 it was all gravy."
I don't understand...?

In Deffeyes' book, the one he predicted peak oil for Thanksgiving 2005, he made a strong statement about the 5 years immediately afterwards being the critical phase, critical in the sense of humans needing to prepare for the unstated but probably horrific consequences. But Deffeyes then went on to say that if we could just get through those 5 years alright (2005-2010, or 2006-2011 depending on the start year) the years afterward would all be better off because by then we would be well along the path of dealing with the new reality. Deffeyes continues to defend his call for 2005 peak oil (as of the summer of 2011 anyway), and obviously that means we are in that new and better age right now, in 2012.

To be honest, I had hoped that peak oil would stop traffic jams, destroy the American car culture, stop NASCAR dead in its tracks and cause an explosion of bicycling around the now immobile hunks of rusting clunkers abandoned where they ran out of fuel. Unfortunately, we have made it through those 5 critical years and post peak oil consequences apparently means just same-old same-old when it comes to the car culture, traffic jams, and NASCAR. Darn it anyway.

The developed world is addicted to oil, a fact that doesn't bother too much the Oil Industry. Indeed, it provides a helping hand whenever it can. But eventually the world will wake up to Peak Oil and when it does, it will look for a scapegoat. Guess who it will be?


For car culture to go away, end to oil production growth is not enough. We must have a steady production decline for that. We may enter that reality this year, but I have let go of making dated predictions.

Once the road ways become bad enough

The rich/"important" will travel point to point via air
The people wanting speed will travel bythe maintained rail lines

And any road travel will now be what we call "offroad".

Bruce, I'm still wondering whether you've concluded for your part, that we did somehow 'get through the five years ok' in the way that Deffeyes meant that we needed to.

It seems we've squeezed through that first level of 'pinching down' without any serious recognition that we should have been using this precious chance to prepare, and that now our options are that much meaner.. and almost nobody seems to even notice the Iceberg that we hit, or how cold that water is..

We were in a few wars at the time, after all.. A war on carbs, a culture war, an ongoing war on drugs (supposedly), a War on Terrorism, Ratings Wars, Race Wars, economic Hitmen roving the lands unimpeded. Who's going to notice a cute little iceberg bump amid all that noise?

I suspect the last five years will end up equalling 'the suburbs' as one of the top tragic wastes of resources in our history. ..But it was nice to hear that Germany installed another 3gw of solar, just in December. Good for them.. that PV will be delivering power even if the debt servicing is all messed up. Hang onto that TripleA as long as you can Kanzler Merkel!

Bruce S,
thank you for explanation. read all those books so long ago I don't remember. Having been to several ASPO's years ago, I have been confused about the onset of Peak Oil. Since the consensus seems to be it peaked in 2005, it is puzzling that is has been so anti-climatic. Well I guess-- except for imploding economies all over the globe, and Michael Klare's resource wars continuing unabated. at any rate, thanks for response.

I don't think Peak Oil is so anti-climatic when you consider the massive recession and mortgage default crisis it triggered in the US, or the sovereign debt crisis in Europe. All of these are knock-on effects of skyrocketing oil prices.

Things have indeed been rocky; the thing is that the continued high price has made use of fracing techniques viable. The problem with that is the way the shale fields deplete. I had a brief conversation with Rockman the other day; his take is that they deplete rapidly. Consider the consequences:

field is located, and production begins. Great. more money pours in and more wells are drilled and frac'd. Then the first wells run down, rapidly. More wells must be done to make up for the losses. In fairly short order, the field is tapped out.

Bakken will not last long. Then we are down to tar sands. Good luck with that as your mother lode.

I think that the realization that Bakken is not going to keep things going for fifty years will be the straw that breaks the camel's back. If some black swan does not intervene.

No bets on black swans; I will turn to Rockman for amy predictions on life for Bakken, though.


a bit of nit-picking; pretty sure you mean anti-climactic, not anti-climatic.

I would estimate that bike lanes have increased by 500% since 2008 in the US (WAG!). Vehicle miles traveled has decreased by 200 billion miles (6-7%) over the same period. We are seeing some response.

Bruce, you said:

To be honest, I had hoped that peak oil would stop traffic jams, destroy the American car culture, stop NASCAR dead in its tracks and cause an explosion of bicycling around the now immobile hunks of rusting clunkers abandoned where they ran out of fuel.

I hope you are being snarky because were that to happen it would be an indication that industrial society had collapsed. No "jobs". No food except what you produced. No medical care and so forth. Why would you be riding your bike when there is no place to go?

As a doomer, I don't really want to see it occur. I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the result of societal collapse will be. Frankly, I doubt that anyone really wants to go there.


"Frankly, I doubt that anyone really wants to go there."

Yes, nobody wants to go there... especially when "someone else - really, really far away from me" - can go there instead.

No "doomer" I know wants collapse anymore than any cancer patient wants chemo. We had 40 years to operate on the tumor - we put it off - now we want to live our final days in luxury and eat other-people's if necessary to do so.

The "results of societal collapse" have already started. Right now, it is mostly "other peoples' problem" - and that is exactly what the Apex Predators want.

And sadly, that is what the Apex Predators' Population is silently condoning.

So true, and for confirmation (as if any were needed) have a look at the carefully worded article on Greece in the NYT today....European Union leaders seek to "limit damage" caused by a Greek default. Now they are saying, sorry, the Greeks haven't met the obligations and it seems like the next tranche of funds will possibly be withheld.

But don't panic! Oh, no, dear readers of the NYT. Even though for a year it has been the worst thing if Greece would default, now it is. "No other recourse, let's limit the damage"...

Indeed it is cutting off the weak ones so the "apex predators" can keep their cars a little while longer.

The NYT and its powerful connections are gently preparing us, massaging us into the worldview that the leaders are still in control, don't worry!

I don't assume that peak oil equates to Doom.

But I think that is what most people hear when they hear "peak oil". Unfortunately most of the most vocal people regarding "peak Oil" have been doomers - I think if we want people to take Peak Oil seriously you have to demonstrate that there is an outcome in which Peak Oil not only doesn't lead to a collapse of society but actually leads to a better society. Different but better. e.g. we focus on backyard gardens not because supermarkets will not exist but because home grown fruits and vegetables are healthier better tasting and a great fun family activity, focus on the attraction of communal spaces rather than the smaller homes.

Crazyv,you are wrong.Try selling backyard gardens,family activity communal spaces to people who live in apartments,people who do not know what gardening is,people whose only interaction with mankind is in chat rooms,people who go into rage when the computer takes 30 sec extra to boot or people who live in big houses and have big cars.See what response you get.I have been at it i.e educating about peak oil for quite some time and believe me nothing works like extreme doomerism.Really gets the ears perked up.

So making up some hysterical consequences to scare people into a given lifestyle is your approach to explaining peak oil? No wonder people dismiss the advocates of such a perfectly reasonable idea.


You simply don't get it. People will not be "scared" into a different lifestyle, they will be forced, kicking and screaming, into a new lifestyle or they will die as society as it is known goes down the tubes. Do you understand the word "die"? Forgetting about food and water, do you expect the medical industry to have all those nifty procedures and drugs to be available to keep people alive that cost a bazillion dollars - and in some cases only a few bucks but their production requires significant investment and technology? Do you think the trucks hauling the necessities you depend will still be running when there is no fuel and cars are rusting?

If we are really lucky we will only regress to the 1800's with some significant carry over of 20/21st technology and knowledge. A middle case is the 1700's with some carry over of technology. A worst case is the 1600's with no carry over of technology because the technology is lost. And, yes, societies do lose technology and knowledge.

Wise up pal, the future isn't mellow.


Deffeyes didn't really qualify how bad he thought those first 5 years post peak would get, but it is nice to know that according to him we have gotten through that time frame with flying colors. I didn't get the impression he thought that we would all end up like the 1800's or something though, let alone some of the more fanciful die off consequences often attached to (rightly or wrongly) peak oil.

What a terrible burden prescience must be. Here are some thoughts:

1. Food - Broadscale distributed gardening powered by the millions of people unemployed by a declining global economy. These people got 6,000 lbs food off a tenth acre in pasadena:
These people grow vegetables and fish with minimal inputs in Milwaukee:
They've claimed 1,000,000lbs food/year

The distributed model reduces transportation requirements and provides a better product. Organic/permaculture techniques repair declining soil, require minimal inputs and aside from elbow grease, little in the way of mechanical requirements.

2. Water - Step 1: Don't privatize water! Step 2: Coastal populations desalinate water by Reverse Osmosis, synthesizing polyimide membranes locally. Carefully managed aquifers provide the bulk water requirements for irrigation. Intensive reclamation efforts are enacted locally.

3. Medical Industry - An active lifestyle coupled with massively reduced environmental pollution leads to healthier people. The strange and exotic cocktail of compounds, many of which only marginally more effective than older medicines, that "modern medicine" relies on becomes less necessary. Local medical practitioners, aided by an extensive and distributed community based internet, offer effective remedies with local herbs, ancestral techniques, and when occasion requires allopathic treatments.

4. Overpopulation - It gets brought up a lot on this board and I'd like to address it. The average family size in the USA from the beginning of the 19th century to the end of the 19th century fell from ~7.5 children/family to ~3.5 children/family. That number fell further to the ~2.1 we see today not owing to any sort of pogrom against large families. The number fell as the economic and cultural benefits of many children lowered. We can solve overpopulation by collectively meeting the needs that large family sizes meet. 1. Lower infant mortality. People will have less children when they are reasonably assured their infants will survive into adulthood. 2. Educate and empower women about family planning options. This is the sure-fire way to control population. Let women decide when and how they are going to get pregnant. It has literally never failed to lower family size in any place that it has been tried. 4. Provide for the elderly. To the vast swath of the planet's population, a large family means you don't die sick and alone in a hovel somewhere. Provide for that need as a community and children/family goes down.

There is no biological reason to think the ~2.1 child family is optimal. Its based on cultural and economic factors. Factors which we as conscious beings have control over.

I'm not polyanna about the serious dangers that global civilization is facing. But the doomer position is one possible outcome. It is not a guaranteed outcome. Don't shout people with ideas down because you (the general doomerist, not you, Todd, as an individual) are unwilling to imagine workable solutions to cultural problems. Its not obvious that the world will be as bad as you (now you, Todd) envision it.

Well like it or not,it works real good.Somebody wants soft talk I ask him to visit a psychotherapist.

Maybe its your approach. I find many people interested in everything you posted above. Go to an occupy meeting near you and you'll find a huge audience of interested people from all walks of life. Sell it for what it is, a better way to live, and people get interested, do some research and make changes. At least, that has been my experience.

I think a doom and gloom message will attract certain types of people; it's not an entirely ineffective strategy, but I subscribe to the notion you attract more flies with honey than vinegar (I think I just made that up. Clever morning.)

"home grown fruits and vegtables...great fun family activity??" gawd-awmighty! are you joking? Farming, and or/gardening is back breaking, heart breaking, brutal work. And trying to be responsible and forward thinking by doing it petro-chemical free is nearly impossible. My kids couldn't wait to get off the farm and I don't blame them.

""My kids couldn't wait to get off the farm and I don't blame them.""

Ahhhhh, but the smart ones are returning. Yours will too, if they make it thru the bottle neck.

Gardening enough to supply a majority of your own calories is not, "back breaking, heart breaking, brutal work". I grew up on a Farm in the mid west. There are sooooooo many books on square foot gardening I won't even get into it. Far better time spent that in front of the tele.

What would you have them do in the Descent? Rob, Steal, Kill? Wait for the Criminal Fedgov to provide?

Choose Wisely.
The Martian

"What would you have them do in the Descent? Rob, Steal, Kill? Wait for the Criminal Fedgov to provide?"

I believe that would be the popular choice, as opposed to working to make up for lost time when they could have made preparations.

Farming as an occupation is back-breaking, supplementing your nutrition with food grown in backyard is usually fun. As a kid we had small houses but large shared communal spaces where we raised chickens, ducks, grew some vegetables and spices, was lot of fun. Also had an army of dogs and cats, I've had almost everything as a pet when I was a kid, squirrels, birds, chameleons, dogs, cats. I even had a pet rooster. Best times of my life :-)

Best times of my life...

That is what my Mother always has said about her childhood on the farm, and what her mother always said about the simple life on the farm...it was a small farm, with a couple acres of veggies, a moderate-sized pastures, a couple of cows and chickens and such...in southern Pennsylvania.

"Farming as an occupation..." well said. Look I am not saying farming isn't rewarding, of course it is and I love it or I wouldn't do it. However I have seen too many times this attitude that "post peak" everyone is going to cheerfully toss some seeds in the ground and begin feeding themselves and we'll all live simple, happier lives and all I think is "good god they are all gonna starve."
BTW, one of my sons is doing graduate work in chemistry at an Ag school researching fighting invasives "organically," another agrees with dimitry orlov and is working outfitting former large motor ships for sail transport.

Well, I've been gardening for more than 30 years and my back isn't broken yet. The older you get, the smarter you garden. Raised beds take some time and work to put together, and making enough compost rich soil to fill them also is hard work (and sometimes expensive if you have the bucks to buy a few truckloads of organic topsoil). But the results are great and the work in keeping the weeds down is considerably less. We put heavy-duty weed mat in between the beds on the pathways, which also helps keep weeds down. Some of the hardest part of gardening is processing all the produce. Canning is somewhat tedious, but I would hardly call it back-breaking.

Now farming is a different story altogether.

Yair...Just to butt in here folks.


The thinking behind these rotary farming systems is to take some of the 'heartbreaking', 'backbreaking', and 'brutal' out of small scale farming...the fact that the systems can run on PV and don't require fossil fuel is a side benifit.

These systems can be made autonomous or alternativly, provide a simple low technology platform for the cultivation and mechanicaly aided picking and packing of of various vegetable crops.

Development continues but as always progress is hampered by lack of time and money.

Any mention of alternativly fueled farming systems or 'electric tractors' seems to create a lot of interest on TOD and I wonder would folks here and the editors be receptive to a long post on the concept with some background of the operation and perhaps some further pics?

Any comments?


Yes, please.

I second the "Yes Please"!

My day job is as a sports coach. The elite athletes I work with (not the recreational ones) do "back breaking, heart breaking, brutal work" every day. And, apart from the pathetic scholarship and the paragraph in the local newspaper, they do it because it is fun.

A lot of people think that hard work is somehow horrible. And sure, if you are starving to death and your rice crop fails it probaby is. But putting in dawn to dusk labor, getting caluses on your hands and mud on your clothes, and a deep burn of tiredness in your muscles isn't a bad thing. A purposeful life is its own reward as long as there are occasional glimpses of success.

I have reached the point where my screening of prospective athletes has been whittled down to an appraisal of what they think of hard work. I have been completely unsucessful in convincing people that ardous tasks are doable and worth doing, but if they already beleive that the posibilities open up.

Obviously skills count. Access to supplies and resources counts, but, I beleive that if some economic/oil supply disaster really interrupted BAU people's chances of surviving and thriving would be strongly correlated with their attitud.

Well till recently I tried to tell people about the oil scenario, even in the shortest case it takes about a few days of arguments, graphs etc to get them round. Most don't believe esp. people who are married and have young kids, people who are old are easier to get around probably because they have seen shortages, young people like me get the argument but start talking about solutions that technology will provide.

I take a different line nowadays, tell them that one needs to mentally prepare for such a scenario even if the possibility is remote, I give the argument that Orlov suggests; if there's a 1% chance of disaster, you spend 1% of your free capital preparing for it. Even I have started to take the same line. IMO there is a very high chance that there will be problems down the line, but there are also chances that BAU will continue or change will come in a form that is not noticeable. So one must be prepared for both the scenarios, no point in falling into the confirmation bias trap.

Good closing point.. and not to forget, many of the things you can do to prepare don't cut you short in a 'continuing BAU' situation. Cutting down resource consumption, energy costs.. building up social connections and practical skills are hardly going to hurt you on a 'nice day'..

"What if it's all a big hoax and we make a better world for Nothing!?"

Telling people the consequences of peak oil doesn't really matter if they don't accept it's real and imminent.

True, but I believe in the history of the hundredth monkey, so I worked one month in this video.

Spanish version:



Didn't realize this was your baby....

Maybe you're right....

But, it's been years and my family still makes fun of me.......

Know what you mean LesIsMore about family making fun. My wife finally came to understand the geological basis for peak oil, but is a techno-cornucopian adhering to the idea some new technology will keep BAU. Peak oil is almost like religion - either someone gets it or they don't and no matter how much data is presented, changing a person's mind is futile.

Yeah, no matter what you present to them, from what highly recongnized sourse, most people just shrug off and think you are mad. I lost many friend and can not find a girlfriend because this.

You might have better luck with either a Transition or Permaculture girlfriend.

If you get out there in Permacultureland and/or Transitionland, you will meet them. Just try to eat as much of the red pill as you can. The result will scare some BusinessAsUsual girls, but attract others. And they are the ones you want. And you only need one.

it's been years and my family still makes fun of me.......

There is a way to cope.

Sort of.

You have to start understanding how the human brain works.

It's not a pretty picture, but basically we all engage in "self talk" and in "group talk".
We tell stories to ourselves; stories about how we believe the world works.
Then we look for confirmation bias to help us believe the stories are true.

You told your family a story that doesn't have a happy ending for anybody.
They didn't like that story.

Somebody else came up with an alternate story (Title: "Uncle LesIsMore is Less a few marbles in his Story-Telling Department") that had a happy ending for everybody except you.

The family liked that story more. So they kept repeating that story and rejected yours.

Hey. That's just the way it goes in the Land of Disney Stories.

post script edits:
Walt Disney's Story Land book
The Car Land Story

Step Back -
your most excellent point about the role of our cultural narratives and personal narratives is made repeatedly by several people in this video:

What a Way to Go

This series woke my wife up... finally.

Now she understands what I mean when I say our culture is very sick.

And she apologized - said she really does now understand my behavior and frustrations the past decade.

She wants to become a "minimalist"... (a new, developing narrative that I can see is making her happier and better able to cope already).


Thanks for the link (Chapts. 4-5 found in end of this sentence's link) to the video about humanity "rationally" and "MAD"-wise suiciding itself.

Frankly, I'm surprised that it "this" message (unhappy-ending story) that finally woke up and sold your wife.

One of the theories that I try to keep secreted in my private vault is that just like individuals can be mentally ill and thus trying to end their existence prematurely, whole societies can be mentally ill and trying to end their existence prematurely.

Basically we are lemmings in sapient primate's clothes.

You must find the inroads to every person. I talked to my mother about this,and she was all "you take this to seriously". Now my mother is a "trust the authoritys" type. This may be hard to understand for the americans on this site, but Sweden have an entierly different history back to the medivial ages. Once she watched a tv program on the subject (I told her to look at it) and then she said she was chocked about it and now she understood what I was talking about. It was the state owned TV.

My mother do not trust me to be able to do or know about anything. She even gives me directions when I work with metal... But she trust the state owned TV. Find a voice they listen to, and let themlisten tothat voice.

I would say that Americans can understand this perfectly. Big Brother is always to be believed, and will always take care of us...


Now I feel better....

"it's been years and my family still makes fun of me......."

Keep trying - my brother saw it, and started a business, in South Africa, helping people get off the grid. He's set quite a few people up with various systems.

He's also been trying to bring small, solar-charged electric cars in from China, but the department of motor vehicles won't allow them on the road. "Not safe".

Edit : on the other hand, they have far more electrical blackouts that are experienced in N. America. Better incentive.

I enjoyed the movie. Hope it has some effect.

Ron P.

I do like Mad Max and Soylent Green.....

We recently watched "Contagion", and found it a pretty apt depiction of a very rapid decline. Civil society rides a very thin edge.

Don in Maine

I tried watching the video, but if images flash past that quickly I get a headache, so couldn't see it through. Most aren't like me though, so it will probably do well.

Telling people the consequences of peak oil doesn't really matter if they can look out their window and see it for themselves. And whatever they see doesn't bother them much. I mean really, while undoubtedly many will bitch about being forced to collect a hybrid or EV, or worse yet ride a bicycle, those types of lifestyle changes don't even qualify as a "consequence" for those of us who have already adjusted.

Whats that movie where they blow up Ras Tanura?

I think you're talking about this one: Oil Storm.

The last few lines of the entry say this :-

"However, the country has been through a stress as great as the Stock Market Crash of 1929, and now knowing that relying on OPEC for most of its foreign oil imports makes the United States vulnerable, Americans will never take cheap oil for granted again."

I guess that's the way we know it is fiction.

Severe Arctic ozone depletions could occur again

… Their model suggests that stratospheric temperatures 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) lower than in the 2010-11 winter would result in locally nearly complete ozone depletion in the Arctic lower stratosphere with current levels of chemicals.

A 10 percent reduction in ozone- depleting chemicals would be offset by a 1 degree Celsius decrease in stratospheric temperatures.

The researchers conclude that although ozone-depleting substances should decline in coming decades, temperature changes could offset those effects, potentially leading to future severe Arctic ozone depletions similar to that during the winter of 2010-11.

Nome Fuel Delivery Exposes Serious Concerns for Arctic Drilling

If We Have Trouble Delivering Fuel on Land, How Would We Handle a Winter Oil Spill in the Arctic Ocean?

As the Arctic melts at an alarming rate, the infrastructure in the U.S. Arctic is incapable of supporting the imminent increase in activity that will come from greater access to marine resources. Alaska has no deepwater offshore port or on-shore harbor along its western or North Slope shores.

As a recent E&E report explains, the Army Corps of Engineers has undertaken a three-year, $3 million study to determine whether or not to build at least one deepwater port in the US Arctic. However, “once a site is selected, the financing, planning, design and construction could take 20 years to complete. Industry officials privately estimate that the cost of the project could climb to $1 billion.”

also GAO Report: Arctic Capabilities: GAO Review of DoD 2011 Arctic Report

An article on US icebreaker capability (or rather the lack therof).

Meanwhile, Shell is building it's own small icebreaker to support planned drilling in the Chukchi.

Also, the US Coast Guard is slowly improving its ability to conduct other kinds of arctic operations. These are still only baby steps, but the USCG has been testing small scale operation in the Arctic for several years.

Meanwhile, the Canadian government has recently issued contracts or gone out for bids on one Polar Class 1 icebreaker (capable of year-round operation in any Arctic waters), eight Polar Class 5 Arctic patrol warships (capable of year-round operation in first-year ice), four Coast Guard science vessels, and three Naval support ships, plus 15 conventional non-icebreaking destroyers - a total of $33 billion in contracts to shipyards.

In other words, the Canadian Arctic should be fairly well defended in a few years.

With tongue firmly in cheek... "The Russians are rattling that darned nuclear saber and we'd like you to have our back... and we're really sorry about all that oil we sold to China."

Slightly more serious -- as in a question for a possible work of fiction -- how do Alberta and British Columbia react if the western US were seceding and invited them to join?

Ahhhh....Cascadia....with Alberta thrown in for good measure.


There is a line of thinking in the West of both the US and Canada that the Western states and Western provinces should break away from their respective countries and form a new and highly resource-rick country of their own.

It's a good theme for a science-fiction novel, but not well founded in reality. A good sci-fi author could think up circumstances under which it could happen.

I'm in the minority (perhaps of one) that believes a separation of the US into independent East and West is inevitable in the 25-50 year time frame. The Great Plains is already depopulating and has certainly reached the point where positive feedback accelerates that -- that's the buffer between the two. The West with a focus on water storage and management*, and renewable resources; the East with a necessary focus on nuclear and serious austerity; a steadily growing disconnect in how the two parts deal with energy, water, and climate issues.

I suspect that it will be a peaceful separation. However, I do have part of a speculative thriller blocked out where the separation is a bit more abrupt.

*Essentially all of the West. Even a place like the Willamette Valley, with adequate annual precipitation, is drier than Denver during the critical months of July and August.

Add a half-dozen nuclear submarines to that list I'll agree.

Canada doesn't seem to have had much luck the last few years with either aquiring, or operating submarines.

Canada bought four used diesel submarines from Britain some years. They've never worked properly. It's like buying a British sports car back when Britain had its own car industry - they used to spend most of their time in the shop.

If you're going to operate submarines in the Arctic, they more or less have to be nuclear. It's tough to surface to recharge the batteries when the Arctic ice-pack is over your head.

Canada bought four used diesel submarines from Britain some years. They've never worked properly.

Caveat Emptor. (See Victoria Class Submarine Fleet Creating Canadian Controversies.)

And from your other post:

You will note that Canadian defense is more oriented toward keeping other countries out than Russia.

That's good, since it would appear that you have already failed to keep the Russians out: Soviets familiar with Canada's Arctic waters. According to the article, Russian charts of the NW Passage may be better than Canadian ones. Icebreakers and destroyers are nice, but you are really going to need at least a couple of nuclear subs.

Military operations in the arctic get expensive. That $33 billion is a good start, but it may cost another $1 billion per year to sustain operations. Even at that, Canadian Forces may need U.S. help supplying Arctic.

The article about Canadian forces perhaps needing U.S. help is worth a read, first and foremost to Canadians.

The perceived need to defend the arctic Canadian lands and waters and airspace should be assessed in in the context of the 'honest accounting' estimated costs, balanced with all other government costs.

Canada's ability to assist the U.S. in halfway-'round the World military expeditions may be a thing of the past, given Canada's perceived need to enact a robust, enduring military presence in its arctic.

And perhaps this is a good trade, if Canada has the many resources up North that RMG states.

I found a comment amusing from the article...here is the first sentence...

I thought we were protecting the Arctic against the Americans who claim it as their own, but now we are inviting the Americans to jointly protect the Arctic.

Children, children...let's play nice, we are friends, and as RMG points out, Canad will be happy to sell the U.S> (and others) what they can afford.

Children, children...let's play nice, we are friends

Actually, that's kind of my point.

On another note, I've recently read a couple of reviews of a new book "Cold Front: Conflict Ahead in Arctic Waters" by David Fairhall. It sounds interesting, and I have ordered a copy. Anyone else read it?

One final thought before I head out to ski.

Note the interesting progression of this thread. Seraph posted a link with concerns about an oil spill from Shell's plans in US Chukchi waters. I responded with a link highlighting the US's abysmal lack of icebreakers, Shell's building their own, and the USCG's small scale exercises in the arctic.

At no point were military or sovereinty issues raised. The drilling will be in US waters, the only operational US icebreaker is the Healy, which is a research vessel (by no stretch a warship), and the focus of the USCG exercises were on search and rescue, and environmental issues.

RMG then immediately jumps to Canada spending $33 billion on warships to defend the Canadian arctic.

Interesting progression....no? Now I'm off for some purely peaceful exercises of my own, on the cross country ski trails.


Not all of the Canadian ships being sourced were warships. There was one Polar Class 1 icebreaker and four Coast Guard research vessels, plus four Naval supply ships in the shopping list.

There were, however, eight Polar Class 5 Arctic patrol ships, plus 15 destroyer-size vessels, the latter to replace the existing Canadian Navy ships which are getting long in the tooth.

The Canadian sector of the Arctic has been pretty thoroughly explored, so unless the price of natural gas skyrockets, there's not much drilling likely to happen there.

Meanwhile, the Canadian government has recently issued contracts or gone out for bids on one Polar Class 1 icebreaker (capable of year-round operation in any Arctic waters), eight Polar Class 5 Arctic patrol warships (capable of year-round operation in first-year ice), four Coast Guard science vessels, and three Naval support ships, plus 15 conventional non-icebreaking destroyers - a total of $33 billion in contracts to shipyards.

In other words, the Canadian Arctic should be fairly well defended in a few years.

But RMG, haven't you often stated on TOD that there is nothing left to be found in the Arctic except gas?

You've said many times that you already found all the oil that was there, and it isn't economic. Seems like $33 billion is a lot to spend on protecting worthless tundra?


In addition to large amounts of natural gas, there are massive coal and iron ore deposits in the Arctic Islands. There is also a fourth oil sands deposit on Melville Island, to match the three in Alberta.

None of this is of immediate interest to industry (except that a huge iron ore mine is being started on Baffin Island) but in the long term - when the rest of the world runs out of resources - it could be highly lucrative for Canada.

The immediate motivating factor is that the Arctic ice pack is thinning and the Arctic Ocean may become a major trade route in a few decades. The US disagrees with Canada's POV that the Northwest Passage between the Arctic Islands is Canadian territorial waters, and Canada is staking out its claims more forcefully.

There are some unresolved boundary disputes as to where the offshore boundaries between Canada and Alaska are. There is also a boundary dispute with Denmark over the Canada/Greenland boundary.

You will note that Canadian defense is more oriented toward keeping other countries out than Russia. The Russians already have a big chunk of Arctic waters of their own, although both countries are staking out their claims to the North Pole (the Russians planted a flag on the ocean bottom there).

Nome: Both high and low temperatures have been averaging 27 deg F below normal since Dec 25th. Today is the first day of warmer weather in 20 days and the next 6 are to be below normal again.


Saudi oil output 'stretched to the limit'

In February 2011, diplomatic cables from the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh to the State Department, released by WikiLeaks, cited Aramco's senior vice president for exploration, Abdallah al-Saif, as claiming Saudi Arabia had 716 billion barrels of total reserves, of which 51 percent was recoverable.

He further claimed that in 20 years Aramco would have reserves of 900 billion barrels.

That's roughly the combined reserves of the seven other leading producers, including Venezuela, Canada, Iran, Iraq and Russia.

But the U.S. diplomats quoted Sadad al-Husseini, a geologist and Aramco's former head of exploration, as warning in November 2007 that the kingdom's production capacity target of 12.5 million bpd, needed to keep a lid on prices, could not be achieved.

So whom do we believe? I have the feeling that we shall be finding out... very soon.

Ron P.

From Saudi oil output 'stretched to the limit'

In February 2011, diplomatic cables from the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh to the State Department, released by WikiLeaks, cited Aramco's senior vice president for exploration, Abdallah al-Saif, as claiming Saudi Arabia had 716 billion barrels of total reserves, of which 51 percent was recoverable.


This, he said, was because the kingdom's reserves may have been over-estimated by as much as 300 billion barrels, nearly 40 percent.

Assuming Saudi cumulative production is around 125 billion barrels, we can do the following simplistic calculation:

716 - 300 = 416 billion barrels of original oil in place

51% * 416 = 212 billion barrels of original extractable oil

212 - 125 = 87 billion barrels of extractable oil still in the ground

125/212 = 59% current depletion

And since we can safely assume that the oil still in the ground will be more difficult to extract than the oil already extracted, we can assume that Saudi Arabia has peaked.

.....assume that Saudi Arabia has peaked.

Simplistic calculation based on misinterpretation of regurgitated third hand he said she said. Reserves are the quantities of oil remaining to be recovered. Already produced has another name: cumulative.

Ultimate recoverable oil = cumulative + reserves.

According to your quote, Abdallah al-Saif is probably using reserves to mean remaining oil in place.

Quoting Michael C Lynch in CRYING WOLF: Warnings about oil supply

Few observers have the capacity to analyze the forecasts of others, let alone make their own forecasts.


How have Colin Campbell's estimates of recoverable oil in Ghawar turned out ? It would seem that reports of Ghawar's demise have been grossly exaggerated.

See also Roland C. Horne in: The future of Oil


Ultimate recoverable oil = cumulative + reserves.

Clearly, this is not how OPEC defines reserves. The graph below shows with high probability that OPEC uses some other formula to define reserves.

Compare the flatness of the lines on the OPEC graph to the lines on the US graph. This should be enough evidence to prove that two different formulas are used.

These graphs are compelling enough for me to record them in my personal archives!

It would be interesting to see a similar graph for Canada, Russia, other countries of interest, and for the World.

One thing that jumps out is how little oil reserves the U.S. has compared to OPEC, judging from these graphs.

Canadian oil production, 1960 to 2020
(million barrels per day)

You will note that the curve is drastically different from that of the US. The difference is that half of Canadian oil production is from the oil sands, and production from there is expected to double in the next decade. About 99% of Canadian oil reserves are in the oil sands.

The small peak around 1973 is Canadian conventional oil production peaking, about the same time that US production peaked.

Notice how US production peaked at around the same time as proven reserves peaked. There appears to be no such correlation for OPEC where reserves keep going up in countries such as Iran even though their production has peaked?

It is a game they play among themselves. Notice the cluster of step-wise changes near '84. Does anyone here have real numbers for these reserves that we might base our thoughts and plans upon?

How do you know what OPEC's reserves are ? You don't and niether do I.

How do you know OPEC's reservers weren't understated prior to reserve restatements ?

You don't and niether do I.

For Saudi Arabia, there is considerable evidence their reserves were understated prior to the 1989 restatement. Ghawar and Abqaiq are examples of giant fields that have already produced their 70's era then stated reserves.

If you are stuck thinking Ghawar and Abqaiq will recover 35 - 40 % of original oil in place, you need to wake up and smell the coffee !

Saudi Arabia's reserves were nationalized based on book value, nationalization was complete in 1989. Now if you were buying something, would you want to overstate or understete this book value ?

I assume the goal of every company is to stay in business. How they going to do that if they don't replace reserves ? Saudi Aramco isn't standing around waiting for their reserves to deplete. They are actively exploring for replacement reserves. Doomer denizens herein interpret that as desperation.

Reserve additions sufficient to replace production can be documented for Saudi Aramco since 1989 based on press reports alone.

Saudi Aramco announces discoveries every year. From their 2010 annual report:

New discoveries
Oil fields...................Namlan, AsSayd, Oamran, Arsan
Gas field....................Jalamid


Did you watch Roland Horne's Utube ?

US, and Canada are different animals from OPEC. Rule of Capture and PV economics are to a large extent to blame for that. Ever wonder why the US has so many more wells than OPEC countries ?

I've updated your chart for US reserves for 2005 through 2010(BP Data):

2005 29.3 Gb
2006 29.9
2007 30.5
2008 30.5
2009 30.9
2010 30.9

It would seem the US is also replacing their reserves.

Re: Twitter generation fuels rage of Nigeria gas protests as users demand end of corruption from DB

While Twitter is helping Nigerians see how their government is exploiting their resources, our government seeks to use Twitter to monitor its citizens. In many presentations by DHS, protected free speech [environmental activism, OWS, etc.] is equated with criminal activity.


Representatives Patrick Meehan and Jackie Speier said in the letter to Caryn Wagner, undersecretary of homeland security for intelligence and analysis that they "believe it would be advantageous for DHS and the broader Intelligence Community to carefully parse the massive streams of data from various social media outlets to identify current or emerging threats to our homeland security."


... Online movements are traceable - nowhere more so than on social networks, which are designed to make connections among people easy.

I am encouraged by recent remarks made by Under Secretary for the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, Caryn Wagner, when she indicated that the Department of Homeland Security will be working to enhance its ability to monitor social media for threats against the homeland, and I look forward to learning more about that as she develops those procedures. Representative Patrick Meehan, 6 December 2011

Department of Homeland Security Undersecretary Caryn Wagner says the use of social media by revolutionaries in those North African countries prompted questions of whether the U.S. needs to do a better job of monitoring it domestically. Wagner is in charge of intelligence and analysis at the department.

Wagner says the department is working on establishing guidelines on what information gleaned from social media such as Twitter and Facebook means to law enforcement. - Caryn Wagner, 31 October 2011

also How Private are your Tax Records?

use of social media by revolutionaries in those North African countries prompted questions of whether the U.S. needs to do a better job of monitoring it domestically

The reactionaries need to be ENCORAGED to post publically.

That way the 'what a great idea' to this http://i685.photobucket.com/albums/vv213/theendrun/ScottWalkerStandWithM... can be spotted by other members of the public. And then delt with by the public.

Per your link, I think the respondents to the original post sound fairly reasonable (except maybe the first response). Working the night shift at a truck stop, I've heard a lot worse :)

In the UK, posting an encouragement to start a riot in Twitter or facebook, is enough to get you 4 years in jail, even if no-one, including you, turns up and there is no riot.

Be careful what you post/tweet.

News from la belle province...

Electric vehicle network powers up in Quebec
60 sites chosen for new network

MONTREAL - Electric vehicle pioneers will soon have less to fret about as they travel Quebec roads because Canada’s first public network of charging stations is about to power up.

By March, the first 90 240-volt charging stations should be operating at 60 sites in the Montreal and Quebec City regions, those behind Quebec’s Electric Circuit say.

The 90 stations, which can be used by all-electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids, will be joined by another 30 in the summer, bringing to 120 the number of charging stations in the network.


Although there is wide consensus that EV owners will do most of their charging at home and the workplace, “range anxiety” is also taken as fact for early adopters of EVs.

That’s an EV driver’s nagging concern that one could find oneself stranded on the highway because charging stations aren’t as plentiful as gas stations.

Studies have indicated that the mere presence of public charging stations offsets “range anxiety” even if EV owners don’t use them.

See: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Electric+vehicle+network+powers+...


The nice thing about chargers in Canada would be the ability to remotely warm up your car using AC power before you drive off. And the ability for it to keep the battery warm w/o draining the battery.

Global warming won't heat up cold Canadian winters
Rising temperatures during the other three seasons actually cooling off winters

International scientists have some bad news for those wondering when global warming will heat up Canadian winters.

Researchers suggest rising temperatures during the other three seasons are actually cooling off winters in North America. That's because of snowfall in Siberia and an atmospheric pressure pattern in high latitudes.

Judah Cohen of the University of Massachusetts says Arctic sea ice is forming later and disappearing earlier.

See: http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2012/01/13/sci-global-warming-wi...

I've been logging our hourly temperatures locally for the past ten years, and although it would be foolish to read anything into this, if I draw an imaginary line from the first bar of each month to the last the general direction seems clear.


I wonder: if that is the case, perhaps some Canadian areas will benefit from large scale installations of ground loops? Large heat exchangers storing heat in the summer and releasing it in the winter in the ground 10 or 20 feet below?

Kind of like this?


It's certainly possible, but just about everywhere you turn in Atlantic Canada it's solid rock and so installation costs would be extraordinary high, plus in most cases the operating costs are comparable to those of a high efficiency air source heat pump. We're one hundred and seven days into this heating season, and having just passed the half-way mark our space heating costs total $176.89 (1,393.1 kWh at a blended cost of 12.7-cents). So our total outlay this year should come in at around $350.00 (forty-four year old, 230 m2/2,500 sq. ft. Cape Cod). Our installed cost was a little over $4,000.00. A comparable ground source system? Don't know for sure, but I'm guessing anywhere from five and ten times that. BTW, had I opted for a Fujitsu 12RLS that $350.00 a year would be closer to $270.00 (HSPF of 12 versus 9.3) but, again, the $80.00 difference in electricity costs didn't justify the added premium for this more efficient unit.


New Animal Virus Takes Northern Europe by Surprise

Scientists in northern Europe are scrambling to learn more about a new virus that causes fetal malformations and stillbirths in cattle, sheep, and goats. For now, they don’t have a clue about the virus’s origins or why it’s suddenly causing an outbreak; in order to speed up the process, they want to share the virus and protocols for detecting it with anyone interested in studying the disease or developing diagnostic tools and vaccines.

The virus, provisionally named “Schmallenberg virus” after the German town from which the first positive samples came, was detected in November in dairy cows that had shown signs of infection with fever and a drastic reduction in milk production. Now it has also been detected in sheep and goats, and it has shown up at dozens of farms in neighboring Netherlands and in Belgium as well.

Children of Men.


Might be - who knows? [BTW, good movie].

The symptoms sound strangely simililar to those described by a USDA scientist regarding the effects of 'RoundUp' on cattle and sheep. Nature has more 'black swans' than we can count.

RoundUp make me gag...I have sprayed that from a hand=held spray bottle before, and the smell is nauseating to me....it smells...chalky? Or maybe...'chalky' is how my mouth/throat feels when I get a whiff of that stuff...

I try to avoid chemical vapors such as pint, gasoline, solvent fumes when possible...they didn't bother me much when I was younger, but more and more I am rather sensitive to certain chemicals...

Talked to a beekeeper at the Farmer's Mkt this morning, asked how the hives are doing.. he said they're ok now, but a year or more back, they had trouble that tied clearly to working the bees at farms using Neonicotinoid Insecticides, as the current news seems to be confirming once more.

He did sympathize with the farmers who he felt had little choice but to use the drugs, and yet noted with more chagrin that Monsanto (??) was in the process of buying up a bee friendly insecticide Company.. (This story, I presume.. http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9Q1M0UO0.htm ) .. but who knows what their plans are necessarily.

My suspicion is that CCD is not due to just one cause but there are different causes in different areas. Each time someone, in one area, comes up with a cause someone, somewhere else, finds they have a different one. I don't doubt those causes just that it is a single problem.


While I agree to the point broadly, and don't like monolithic answers myself, I don't think it's always just 'one more straw' that breaks the camel's back, either. Bees, like all of us are precariously saturated within a degraded environment as our immune systems are weakened and pushing against more stressors.. and these chemicals are adding apparently a 'bale of straw' to the bees loads.

The beekeeper was also reminding me that this insecticide doesn't wash off.. so we're getting the stuff in our food, too.

I don't doubt those causes just that it is a single problem.

If I remember this AgroInnovations Interview, colony collapse disorder is different-- Robber Bees and opportunistic moths do not occupy the vacant hive.

I'm starting to dose my bees with all of the pesticides and herbicides I can get.

I'm gonna produce a pedigree bee capable of surviving our MonsantoWorld.

Then I will patent them ("that life-form belongs to ME - hahahahah!) and get rich selling it to starving peasants all over the globe.

Thank dog for Ebay.


The irony - Peasants ain't got no money...

I'm sure they will make great chemical weapons though. I may invest!

From what is understood about epidemiology, apparently the tighter the conditions and similar the host, the more rapid/easy the spread.
If I were a virus, I might have a field day with the factory farms and general tight monoculture that seem to make up much of the food supply.
A way in, some tactical leeway, and it's '100th. monkey'.

Thinking of the human populations too. Clever little things and yet in squishy places these days that they've effectively set up for us:
As many members of many 'disease vectors', we've been around a lot longer, and have time to patiently survey all angles, and time to kill.

And we love what they've done with their nuclear industry!

"Pull my finger."
~ Children of Men

If I were a virus, I might have a field day with the factory farms and general tight monoculture that seem to make up much of the food supply.

Influenza generally does.


Too true. I'm of course thinking about the really nasty relatives. What are they waiting for?

True, but when influenza hits the right combination of genes...


From Chatham House: An Embargo on Iranian Crude Oil Exports: How Likely and with What Impact?

This paper considers the possible outcomes of an EU embargo on oil exports from Iran.

•The initial impact is that the EU countries will have to find alternative supplies to replace their imports of heavy, sour crude from Iran.

•The hunt for alternative supplies will create transitional friction for oil prices. Thus prices for heavy source crude in the Atlantic basin markets would increase and in Asia-Pacific they would decrease as Iran tried to find alternative outlets for the crude originally destined for European markets.

•So far the analysis has assumed that Iran simply accepts the EU embargo without retaliation. This is extremely unlikely.

•There has been much speculation that Iran's response would be to inhibit the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz. This is unlikely. First, any closure would equally damage Iran's ability to export the oil on which its economy is so dependent. Second, serious and credible attempts to close the Strait are in effect Iran's 'big guns' on the issue of whether or not the United States (or Israel) would launch a military attack on Iran.

•A more effective means of putting pressure on Iran would be for the United States to persuade the EU to extend sanctions to financial transactions. An oil embargo alone cannot succeed.

Saudi Arabia Tanker Load Capacity Expands 2.8%, Ship Data Show

The carrying capacity of oil tankers that docked at Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia’s biggest crude-loading port, expanded 2.8 percent last week, according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg.

Vessels with a combined capacity of 8.88 million deadweight tons arrived at the facility in the week to Jan. 7, compared with 8.64 million a week earlier. The ships would be able to haul about 65 million barrels of crude in total, assuming a conversion factor of 7.33 barrels a ton. Japan will be the largest recipient, followed by the United Arab Emirates.

Wellington gasoline pipeline rupture released about 116,760 gallons of gas

WELLINGTON, Ohio -- An underground gasoline pipeline rupture released an estimated 116,760 gallons of gasoline near Ohio 58 Friday morning, forcing the evacuation of dozens of people from 30 homes in a nearby trailer park.

Gasoline started spilling into a gravel parking lot, then spread to the White Ditch Creek, which is along Maple Street. Workers succeeded in keeping the spill from reaching the Black River and the city's sewage treatment plant

Federal investigation into Kalamazoo River oil spill to be completed by fall

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The federal report detailing the cause of the Kalamazoo River oil spill will be delayed until fall, more than six months after it was aimed to be released.

The National Transportation Safety Board said the report is delayed because of the large number of pipeline-related incidents in the past couple years. More than 1 million gallons of diluted bitumen spilled in July 2010 from Enbridge's pipeline into the Talmadge Creek and Kalamazoo River.

Pipeline Scare Saturday Morning

Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company (TGP) personnel this morning are investigating a release of natural gas at a company compressor station at Clay City, Kentucky. ... The incident stemmed from natural gas venting to the atmosphere during the activation of automatic safety systems at the compressor station. Personnel stopped the flow of gas by closing a block valve.

Mexico pipeline oil spill may take month to clean

Two weeks after a pipeline leak in coastal Mexico sent oil gushing into a river, state oil monopoly Pemex has recovered about two-thirds of the spilled crude, but the full clean-up could take another month.

... The latest images of fouled river banks and black sludge in the water have environmental groups questioning Pemex's spotty safety and environmental record just as it embarks on an ambitious plan of oil exploration in the deep waters off the Gulf of Mexico.

On January 24, President Obama will address Congress and the nation on the state of the union. Which of the following existential problems will get mentioned? What distracting issues will be dicussed instead?

1 - Peak Oil - Resource Depletion
2 - Climate Change
3 - Food/Water Insecurity
4 - Economic Collapse
5 - New War in MENA
6 - Overpopulation

I predict the President's key themes will be:

A. Jobs/Economic Growth

I wish your topics were on the agenda...

The Trojan Horse gives you a hint here:

Obama Bid to Cut the Government Tests Congress - Theatrics Trump Content As Usual

The White House estimated that the consolidation would save $3 billion over 10 years and result in reductions of 1,000 to 2,000 jobs.

The savings is a mere rounding error in the $3.7 trillion annual budget, but the numbers may be less important than the message that Mr. Obama wants to cut wasteful spending.

Empty suits going for style and forgoing completely even any pretense of substance.

Team America... yeah!

Vote for Ron Paul:

Cut the military (likely would like at least half)...probably wants to close up shop on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid...close five federal government agencies...likely cut the other federal government agencies by 50%...end the 'War on Drugs' and commensurately slash the expenditures on drug law enforcement and on excess prison populations...

Paul is the ///only/// presidential candidate who has a vision for gretly smaller, less intrusive government, with attendant balanced budgets.

"only" if you only look at Republican (and Democrat) candidates...

Also, the last 4 years have convinced me that it doesn't really matter who's in the oval office. The banksters are in charge.

Vtpeaknik, I could not agree more.

Besides, I really doubt Ron Paul would be allowed to be elected President, although he seems to be gaining momentum.

The only two reasons I'd consider voting for Ron Paul: 1) he is the only authentic person running for office, all of the others are frauds (both parties), and 2) a Ron Paul presidency would be an enormous destabilizing factor* nationally and globally.

(* = Orlov,- 2nd-to-last paragraph here)

Vote for Ron Paul...because Depression is so much better than Recession.

As multiple people say in this wonderful video, Time for the Adult-Sized Children of the industrial world to Grow Up."

Industrialism is no longer sustainable. The parasite has consumed too much host. The host is dying.

General Norman Schwarzkop said, "Kill the Head."

Voting for Ron Paul is one step in that direction.

Voting for Ron Paul is a protest vote, he's unelectable except in the most reactionary jurisdictions. He's been collecting a government paycheck the majority of his adult life, what exactly has he accomplished other than making a lot of noise? How many Congressional endorsements does he have after a lifetime in Congress? The self-righteous certainty in his own utter nonsense ought to give pause. He advocated term limits until he decided to be a career politician. How consistent and authentic have his various explanations of first-person newsletter articles been? He's older than any President ever to serve, and his choice of running mate is likely to be even loonier than he is.

He follows the Austrian School of economics.

Take that how you will, but to me that makes him a fool. Nothing is more dangerous than a fool with power.

I don't care what brand of Astrology he follows.

As for "fools with power" - that is exactly what we have had for the past 20 years (or more).

Like Higgins (3 days to the condor) said, "Just tell them? When? -I'll tell you what they'll say - They won't care, they'll just want us to get it for them!"

Just keep voting for the Candidates brought to you by the Corporate PersonHood Super PAC.

"Team America...yeah!"

I am not advocating Paul as 'the answer'.

However, I see all the candidates except Paul as some version of very close to 'same same' BAU...and I see Paul as the candidate who is the furthest from BAU.

Is that good or bad?

It would be a remarkable experiment, except for the fact that the President is not autocrat-in-chief, and is held in check by the Congress and to a certain extent, by the Supremes.

If Paul were to magically get elected, he would need a metric boatload of additional magic to elect enough allies in Congress to have any hope of knocking BAU off of top dead center.

My intellectual exercise about asking folks about Ron Paul is this:

I wonder about anyone who proclaims disgust and dismay about the U.S. budget size, and deficit size, and debt size, who doesn't favor Ron Paul over all other current candidates...because Paul is the only one who dares speak of concretely-enumerated aspirations to seriously, even radically, cutting the size of government.

If the Tea Party movement and its purported fellow travelers are as big of a deal as some would like us to think, then Ron Paul should be electable, along with a passel of Congressional allies, but I think they are all talk, and their talk is magnified out of proportion to their ranks...

...but the numbers may be less important than the message that Mr. Obama wants to cut wasteful spending.

...electing the only candidate who truly wants to cut the size of the U.S. government may be less important than the message that some folks want to be seen talking about cutting wasteful spending.

In sum, I bet that most of the Tea Partiers and fellow travelers going on about the size of the gubmint would scream bloody murder if their slop in the pig trough was reduced one iota...

'Get your government hands off my Medicare!

Ron Paul would likely greatly reduce or eliminate the amount of regulatory red tape involved with building new nuclear fission power plants.

Ron Paul would also likely greatly reduce or eliminate subsidies received for companies building and operating nuclear power plants, including any limitations of liability.

eliminate the amount of regulatory red tape involved with building new nuclear fission power plants

Oh good. Now I can build a Fukishima in my backyard.

Given that it is MLK Holiday this weekend, we can all proudly proclaim:
Free at last.
Free at last.
Thank Ron Paul oh mighty, free at last.

You may have missed my subtle message there:

/If/ someone like Ron Paul were to be elected, then he/she would removed regulations to building nuke plants.

However, a Ron Paul type would also remove all subsidies and government liability assuming for such plants.

In this case, there would be a new loss in incentive to build nuclear fission reactors, in my opinion.

There are some strong prevailing 'signals' of political 'wishes' amongst the TOD members:

1. Want desperately to reduce consumption and extraction trends, reduce resource use, reduce pollution, not destroy or degrade other life on Earth, etc.

2. Want desperately to reduce the size and scope of U.S. government in general.

However, Objective #1 ans Objective #2 are in conflict.

It is difficult for me to imagine achieving goal #1 without some strong government control.

Answers to resolve this conflict?

- Reduce the size and scope of government except as required to shape the most logical energy/resource sources and sinks sustainability policies.

In this case the seeming 'prosperity' in many folks' lives would seem to initially decrease, a lot of glass would be broken, a lot of cheese would be moved, and the folks would be able to bitch and grip about government socialism etc.

- Elect a 'Ron Paul-like' government and see what happens without much government (including the Fed and government collusion with the banksters) at all.

In this case we would be in terra ingognita.

Perhaps the system (BAU) would collapse...there would be a lot of broken glass and a lot of moved cheese, but the folks would not be able to blame the (now shadow of its former self) government.

Of course the most likely, by far, IMO, option is that we get Obama or Romney and folks like them and the current Congress and sortof-BAU limps along, with slow changes in the background, punctuated by episodes of excitement.

There is a reason why the U.S. business community is not a Ron Paul booster...although they would have less regulations, they would be done at the hog trough as well...The U.S. Chamber of Commerce chooses the BAU candidates (that would be almost any of them).

And there are many reasons for thinking that government can be made too small for the health of the people. Already stated above the changes needed to push us towards longterm sustainability, are unlikely to happen without substantial govenment involvement. We also areas have healthcare and policing, which run as a per profit industry is a disaster. Some segments of the economiy/society, just need to function with collective (rather than a return of capital) management. Also certain inequities can build up over time. It is well known that the rich keep getting richer, and the poor poorer. So some form of redistribution is needed else that process runs away towards a brutish state. Then we've seen education, and to a lessor extent science function better as collective entities.

And there are many reasons for thinking that government can be made too small for the health of the people.

If there was a functioning court system where the people responsible for harm could be held accountable such a system would have a shot at working.

And hows the kleptocracy school of economics that is in place and active today working out?

Good film.

There's a new one that I'd like to see, called 'Anima Mundi' that ostensibly speaks of the "host" as knowing exactly what it is doing... Insofar perhaps as we are playing poor hosts to ourselves.

Remember, snarly; it is not so much that we are running out of gas, but that we are running out of cheap gas. ;)

Anyone thinking of supporting Ron Paul should research carefully his racist past. He has been extremely disingenuous in his refusal to acknowledge this newsletter with his name on the top and his signature at the end.

Not to mention certain social issues on which he comes down on the extreme right.

I heave read and heard those issues.

Those aspects of his views are definitely /not/ where I am at.

One mitigating factor: Any President is held in check by the other two branches of government to an extent.

However, I have heard that Ron Paul's philosophy is to leave social issue determinations to the various states in the union.

I do not like that idea in general when it comes to protection of civil liberties...theoretically, what would stop certain states from criminalizing (meaning jail) homosexuality, or at the extremis, reverting back to 'separate but equal' treatment of minorities, outright discrimination, or slavery?

I am using the example of Ron Paul to judge how serious folks are who complain about the size of government, government deficits and debt, and things of that nature.

My conjecture is that many people who rail about the size of government/debts/etc balk when confronted by someone who zealously wants to cut the size of government.

As many here have pointed out, there are too many folks at the slop trough...and the higher up the income/wealth spectrum, the more and better the slop....hence, why the U.S. business community finds Paul or anyone like him anathema.

I will stand on the assertion that far more folks will balk over losing their pork, and far more folks will balk at reducing the holy/inviolate Military Industrial Complex, than will balk at his social issue outlook.

Besides, a conclave of some 150 evangelical superstars just convened in Texas to rally and push for a 'family values' candidate to contest the nomination of Mitt Romney.


Gary Bauer and James Dobson et al are not pushing for Ron Paul as their 'anti-Romney' champion of 'family values'...he is not 'social issue conservative' enough for their tastes, and besides, they don't want a libertarian, they want a theocratic-leaning big government to get inside people's bodies and bedrooms...Big Brother would be enforcing the wearing scarlet As in their world-view. 'The Handmaiden's Tale' or Chancellor Suttler's government would represent their highest aspirations...

There isn't much to research. Like any presidential aspirant who is not in the bipartisan system, Ron Paul was nder a strong impetus to solicit attention and money from anyone who would give him any, and that included racists and antisemites.

Even disregarding the racism issue with Ron Paul, he is basically a libertarian and deregulation and privatization are major 'selling' points for his ilk. I am baffled as to why people seem to think this kind of system could work, for anyone except the already rich and powerful that is.

IMO libertarianism is a utopian fantasy.

Distinguishing between civil, social, and economic libertarianism is important. I agree that American economic libertarianism does not work except for the rich, and only for them until it causes collapse. Civil libertarianism is an important protection of the rest of us from the rich and/or the majority, which has been going by the wayside rather rapidly, particularly over the past 10 years. Social libertarianism ditto. I tend to be extremely civil libertarian, moderately social libertarian, and only slightly and idiosyncratically economically libertarian (I believe in relatively free movement of capital and labor, but in high taxes on passive income, wealth, and short-term financial transactions; I believe in freedom of association, social insurance, government or cooperative investment in public goods, and regulation of market failures such as antitrust, pollution/depletion, etc.)

Anyone thinking of supporting Ron Paul should research carefully his racist past.

A 75+ year old white man expressed racism. How many 70+ year old humans aren't racist?

20+ years ago.

Is it possible that the man has changed?

Will you please provide a list of non-racist canidates per the research you must have done?

Seriously, today you give us this? None of my biological non-Hispanic white grandparents were racist (I had a step-grandfather who was) and they were all born before Ron Paul. I'm all for giving folks the benefit of the doubt, and allowing for redemption, but A)Ron Paul isn't just racist, he's a proponent of racism and defended the content of those newsletters within the past few years, and B)race is by no means the only thing he's intolerant about.

Seriously, today you give us this?

Seriously, I've asked for the other major choices to be measured by the same.

None of my biological non-Hispanic white grandparents were racist

And none of my 100% Indian grandparents were. Oh wait. No one knows here that my Indian roots were not from 100% grandparents.

You've made a statement that no one here can check or may not matter if you had no 'white' or 'non-hispanic' grandparents and your statement would be 100% true.

race is by no means the only thing he's intolerant about.

Do post these things and contrast them with the Paul position that it is not the business of government to care about each of these said things.

I resented the attempt to excuse racism on MLK-day, and the implication that everyone born before 1941 (or 1935 in Paul's case) was monolithically racist, and that 1990's were a long time ago from a racial prejudice standpoint, and that this was the last time Paul had done or said anything objectionable on this head.

All 4 of my biological grandparents are generally considered to have been non-Hispanic white and certainly were from a social and self-identification standpoint. There is some evidence that the two on my Mom's side would have met the one-drop test on Native American blood (although they both had blue eyes). They were all working class or below, and born between 1915 and 1923. As I stated, none of them were racist, and several were very strong proponents of color-blindness. Family lore is that everyone my maternal grandfather ever worked with (or happened across) was invited home to dinner on a regular basis, which sometimes led to interesting language problems, as well as some family expressions of which no one understands the etymology. This attitude was passed on to their children. My oldest aunt was married to a Yakima tribal member, and my mother's first husband was identifiably part Native American, although not enrolled. On the paternal side, one (of 3) of my female paternal first cousins was in a LTR with an African American man for years (despite living in a part of the country which is 95% white and not noted for progressive racial attitudes). Her brother (1 of 2) was married to an Asian-American in the same neck of the woods. Two of my siblings (out of 5 married) are married to Latinos, a third lives in Taiwan, and a fourth is moving to Peru. This is fairly typical of my mother's side of the family (I won't go into more details as my maternal grandparents have well in excess of 100 descendents).

On the 'one drop' comment, my sister's attempts to trace our maternal roots via census, lead her to believe that one of our great-great-grandfathers had been born (probably 50% Lakota) in an area which later became a Lakota reservation and left the area and began 'passing' as white after Wounded Knee. My grandmother and mother were not aware of this. Both of them always gave their ethnicity as 'Heinz 57' when I was growing up.
My sister believes that the majority of their ancestry was English and Dutch and at least some of these folks came to the New World in the 1600's. The evidence for the other grandparent is even sketchier.

My Dad's side is a lot clearer. His father was Danish, his mother was English/Irish by way of Canada (came to U.S. as a nurse in WWII) and the in-family history dated back to Europe. My grandfather's family purportedly left Denmark because it was too politically conservative compared with the U.S. in the mid-to-late 1800's. We have a diary written by his grandfather (from the time he left home at 8 to 'work out' with a richer Danish family) and translated by my great-uncle. We are told that racial equality was one of the things that led both of these folks to the minority Christian sect that both of them converted to in adulthood (and which I believe is currently the only one of the 22 largest U.S. religions which is majority-minority without being historically minority-only). Not going any farther than that because the name of this sect typically leads to incorrect stereotyping by folks in the mainstream.

eric - An interesting point. Sometimes racism is just a matter of ignorance and not hate. I was raised by my grandmother who everyone would ready characterize as racist. But she didn't hate blacks..she felt sorry for them since they weren't capable of being as "smart as white people". She hated the likes of the KKK for picking on blacks for something "they couldn't help". In a way that form of racism is worst IMHO. But at least there's an oportunity for growth. It may sound silly but a breakthough moment for her was Bill Cosby starring in the "I Spy" TV series. Seeing a black man "act so white" gave her pause to reconsider her position. Fortunately I grew up in a mixed neighborhood and with grandma not hating blacks there was no problem socializing amongst ourselves. But that was fairly typical for New Orleans in general. Though deep in the south we weren't cut from the same redneck cloth. I also eventually learned there was just one unifying color and it wasn't black or white...it was red.

I did hear a somewhat encouraging story about some teens who were shown some videos from the bad ole days and were truly mystified that any one group had hard feelings for another group of a different color.

Sometimes racism is just a matter of ignorance and not hate.

And sometimes it is the people you are surrounded by.

What I find interesting is the "Paul is racist" never follow up with comments about the drug war and the rate of minority convictions.

Federal protections against local religious and racial and political discrimination is one of the things Paul would end (i.e. most of my remaining civil/social libertarian rights would go bye-bye).
Ending Prohibition is one of the things I agree with Paul about. Of course, he would allow every jurisdiction below federal to impose whatever prohibition they wished, which would probably translate to the death penalty for MJ posession in some locales.

Sounds like a pre-emptive strike prior to the election. The challenger always leads with something to the effect of "I'm going to cut out waste and save $200B per year".

Here is one for the THATwill never happen department:

l, Ms Merkel said she would consider calls from her party colleagues for legislation to bar institutional investors such as insurance companies from selling bonds when ratings were downgraded, or fell below investment grade." Allow us to recopy and repaste the key part: "legislation to bar institutional investors such as insurance companies from selling bonds."

And there you have it: after everything else has failed, the state, not the politically independent, if at least on paper central bank, is about to formally enter the capital markets. And yes, first it will be a ban of selling on downgrades, then it will be a ban of selling on any downtick, and finally it will be a ban of selling anything and everything.

" finally it will be a ban of selling anything and everything."

You'll hold, live off the interest, if we decide to pay any, and you'll like either way.

They'll pay interests in gruel - a "green", soupy mix of who knows what(who??)... but we will eat it, and we will eat it with a smile on our face dogdammit! ;)

How Capitalism Kills Companies

Romney’s company, Bain Capital, was a “private equity” firm — the friendly, focus-grouped phrase which replaced “leveraged buy-outs” after Mike Milken blew up. ... Private equity companies need growth, because they’re built on the idea of buying, restructuring, and then selling. They’re never in any business for the long haul: instead, they want to make as much money as they can as quickly as possible, sell out, and keep all the profits for themselves and their investors. When you sell, you want to maximize the price you can ask — and the way to do that is to show healthy growth. No one will pay top dollar for a company which isn’t growing.

If you chase after growth, you often end up in bankruptcy: that’s one reason why the oldest companies in the world are all family-run. Families, unlike public companies or private-equity shops, don’t need growth: they’re more interested in looking after their business over the very, very long run.

A new novel about Peak Oil: "Blinding White Flash"by J. Richard Wakefield of Komoka, Ontario.

Signalman Publishing Announces Release of a Frightening New Novel of a Chinese Invasion of North America

Debut novel set in the year 2016 when resource hungry China invades Canada and North America to go after its oil sands. Fascinating look at how a father and son team fights off the invaders. Interesting account of the end of peak oil and the world-wide impact.

Amazon.com listing Blinding White Flash

Ron P.

I looked at the Publisher's blurb on Amazon. There are no customer comments posted yet.

The premise looks a little 'Red Dawn'-like, and seems to have a few things that stretch credulity:

- It is 2016 and North Am is suffering a crippling shortage of Natural Gas...at some point this will be true, but I doubt this will be the case by 2016.

- Much of the World's countries are desperate for more oil, as the supplies have decreased...notably, according to the blurb, U.S. and Canada and China...yet the blub says that the Canadians (and U.s. folks as well I assume) are greatly hindered in their defense efforts to keep the Chinese from advancing through the Canadian Rockies by the lack of oil to power mechanized war machines...

...yet the Chinese apparently have enough fuel to steam an invasion fleet to B.C., and enough fuel to power their military vehicles and their re-supply maritime (and maybe airlift) sorties to boot??

Also, I have to wonder...are the tar sand depleted? All the oil in the U.S. and Canada is depleted to the point where there is none to be allocated to military machines to repel the Chinese? By 2016?

I like good yarns, but this premise sounds like science fiction, or an author who does not understand the fossil fuel landscape and military ops, including the curse of absurdly long supply lines, combined with the lessons from Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and many other war actions, where the invaders get caught in an interminable guerrilla war in far off lands.

One more...I wonder how the author waves away the U.S. special weapons...a threat of those raining down all across China would be more than enough to stop a hare-brained invasion before it began...

Heisenberg, you must realize that the public does not know any of this crap you talk about. Peak oil, peak gas but just look at all those barrels in the oil sands. Enough to supply China for decades. Well perhaps not but remember this is fiction and fiction has a certain poetic license.

Okay, okay, so it is all a pile of crap. But that does not matter as long as we can make a few fiction readers aware of a phenomenon called "Peak Oil". And... as long as that is accomplished I am not complaining.

Ron P.


Of course my critique of the book's premise, as published om Amazon, is not a personal attack on you.

I do not think my points enumerated above are 'crap'...one certainly does not have to have my professional experience to understand those line item critiques, although, sadly, there are a lot of folks who will eat just about anything with a spoon.

So, accepting your statement that the book's premise is a pile of...not very logical or plausible ideas, I will disagree to you that this fact is immaterial in light of the goodness of having a book which spreads the idea of finite oil and NG and other resources and the idea that our lives will change due to these declining resources.

Why do I say this?

Because if we laud books and articles which conflate the facts of diminishing resources with other information which is clearly //ridiculous//, then we risk folks pointing to these publications as evidence that Peak Oilers and LTG-aware folks are loony.

So, I think that PO books, stories, articles etc. which include specious stuffola like this are detrimental to PO/LTG perceived credibility, and help hinder factual awareness and therefore also hinder/delay potentially useful preparatory action.

But hey, it doesn't seem to matter, I suppose one more source of misinformation isn't going to significantly change our trajectory anyway...

Most fiction, especially sci-Fi (this doesn't claim to be that) requires some degree of "suspension of disbelief" on the part of the reader/watcher. There are usually multiple plot points that won't stand up to expert analysis. Yet for the most part we can still enjoy them.

Yes, the HAL 9000 series were supposed to hit the shelves 10 years ago. I must exist in an alternative timeline.

I think what the machines we are all typing on today CAN do and CANNOT do would have greatly impressed Kubrick and Clarke in '64.

We've come a long way, and gotten nowhere.

There is Watson, the Jeopardy playing computer. He's been around a few years now, but Apple's Siri is also getting pretty close.

IMO, both Watson and Siri are essentially fancy databases combined with voice generation software and some natural language processing capabilities.

Nice, but a huge gulf exists between that and a self-aware artificial intelligence.

IMO, there is considerably less of a gulf between Watson and Siri and ELIZA than between Watson and Siri and HAL 9000.

I have to agree about ELIZA and the so-called AI stuff the public sees. That was sure a blast from the past, I first saw ELIZA running on a DECSYSTEM-10 in the late 1970's and communicating via ASR-33 TTYs. It was written in LISP and I right away "got" that it stood for "Lots of Idiotic, Stupid, Parenthesis". I even found ELIZA source code in LISP here!

running on a DECSYSTEM-10

A PDP-10 pedant writes...

DECsystem-10 (or decsystem10 on earlier models) but DECSYSTEM-20

Yes the hardware in the latter years was identical but if it ran TOPS-20 it was normally painted blue and was written "DECsystem or decsystem". If it ran TOPS-20 it was normally painted orange and was written "DECSYSTEM". I think a few systems escaped the factory with the incorrect capitalisation for the 10 or 20 variant. and had to be repainted in the field.

Fights were once started over things like this :-)

But then DEC killed off their most powerful mainframe in favour of the VAX mini. And people like Richard Stallman never forgave DEC for that.


Anyone else find it ironic that the VAX/VMS prompt was a dollar sign?

My favourite DEC mug which I still use today:


Me holding said mug in Paris some thirty years ago (warning: not suitable for children, small animals or those with heart ailments)....


Have you hugged your VT320 today?


I'm sure you don't look a day older. I know I don't ;-) ;-)

VT320s were just sexier (some would say) VT100s!

VT100 - the terminal that defined ANSI

Why no, not at all... ;-)

I well remember the VT100 and the VT220 that followed, but truth be known, some of us go all the way back to the *cough* VT52.


I never used a genuine VT52 but did use a UK cheap clone made by Dacoll. They had a license to make VT52 compatibles for education and government in the UK (VT52 protocol emulation not looks - it looked like a tank but was much cheaper). First terminal I ever ran Stallman's EMACS editor on. They also licensed the Tektronix T4010 protocol and came up with a very low cost combined VT-52/Tektronix graphics terminal. Neither DEC nor Tektronix were keen on allowing them to clone later devices for some reason...

The VT52 used a shorter version of the control "escape sequences" as later used by the VT100 and which became the ANSI standard. I did use a VT05 connected to a PDP-11 but it was ancient by then :-)

The closest I got was several different VT100 terminal emulators, one of which I am still using on this XP OS. I was using it daily until recently, but a great many functions have/are being cut over to SAP (AARGH).

I'd forgotten about the capitalization issues! At the University of Arizona (running TOPS-10) we had the SOS text editor. Son Of Stopgap. The SOS command to create a new file was "MAKE" and if you typed MAKE LOVE you got back NOT WAR?

On TOPS-10 IIRC that was implemented in the command parser (prior to passing control to the editor) You would though traditionally be starting up TECO on TOPS-10 with the MAKE command by default rather than SOS (that could be customised though and it could be set to SOS). DEC hard-coded it into VMS TECO and to this day if you define the MAKE commmand on VMS to invoke TECO then MAKE LOVE still replies with "Not War?"

.GOTO HELL (typed interactively not in Batch mode)
got the response
"Get Stuffed!"
if the site was running MIC (Monitor Interpreted Commands) extended scripting. Although there was the option to change that response to something like "?MICNRG - MIC NOT RUNNING IN A GOTO COMMAND" for sites with no sense of humour :-)

On TOPS-20 SOS was renamed EDIT just to confuse everyone for no good reason.

Ah the good old days. There are DEC-10/DEC-20 emulators and it is quite easy to get TOPS-10 and TOPS-20 up and running complete with Internet access. I actually had tears in my eyes when I saw TOPS-20's

System restarting, wait....

for the first time in a couple of decades when I first booted up an emulator.

Believe it or not, a bit of my work is still done on an Open-VMS system, as we're stuck with a legacy database that only runs on that. We'll replace it soon with something modern. Or so I've been hearing for 15 years now.

Yes they are still in place in certain environments and VMS (the Open is "silent" to me) is still a current HP operating system. I see that HP and Oracle are having a fight just now about Oracle dropping support for new versions of Oracle and RDB/DBMS on VMS. RDB was always a better SQL database than Oracle until DEC sold it to ...errr.... Oracle.

I worked for many years on VMS as well as TOPS-10/TOPS-20.

DEC 10, I have fond memories of using one. It wasn't powerful (we had CDC 7600's and CRAY-1s that would run circles around it (up to 100times faster), but the DEC-10 was highly interactiv, and thats very useful for software development.

Thanks for the links...got me surfing different computer languages...

IMO, both Watson and Siri are essentially fancy databases combined with voice generation software and some natural language processing capabilities.

Aren't we all??

You do have a point, but the natural language capabilities are getting closer to HAL all the time. HAL was still a huge machine, a lot like Watson, it's pretty cool that we can carry Siri in our pockets.

Agree on the march of technological advancement and the coolness!

Don't forget that siri is the front interface to a huge database and natural language system somewhere else. Thats like being impressed that the whole internet fits into your itty bitty phone browser.

Most definitely yes...but...it depends on how the book/story is presented, and when the story is et...is the story presented as scifi or fantasy? Is the story set far enough in the future to be adequately separated from the likely progression of current events?

Or is the story set only four years in the future, with a whopper of an implausible premise?

I liked 2001...

...and, well, take Soylent Green...the movie was made in the '70s and I think it was set in ~ 2040? It made what seemed to be plausible projections, and was set ~60+ years in the future...and even then, now, with hindsight, it seems that its worst projections (at least for life in the U.S.) may be over-stated.

...yet the Chinese apparently have enough fuel to steam an invasion fleet to B.C., and enough fuel to power their military vehicles and their re-supply maritime (and maybe airlift) sorties to boot??

People who did time in 'Nam or Korea disporportionatly believe the "idea" that the Chinese are already in North America. One version has 1/2 a million in Mexico with enough trained horses to ride, via horse into America after the EMP. (This ignores the public satalite data and other public data that could be used to find such a large operation along with tracking of the feed and waste of such a horse operation *AND* exactly how are the horses gonna get water as they ride into the land of the fee?) Another version claims pre-positioning via the 'economic zones' next to airports that have been proposed.

"Land of the fee". That's about right :-)

(But at least the taxes are low. Er, perhaps not.)

Why would the Chinese invade Canada when Canada's resources are for sale to the highest bidder? All they have to do is show up with enough money (American dollars), and Canadians will sell all the oil, natural gas, lumber, grain, coal, uranium, potash and other commodities they want to buy. It's much cheaper than trying to fight their way through the Rockies.

The Chinese have already figured this out. They already own a large share of the oil sands.

Here in Australia the Chinese are buying up large swathes of prime farmland (on the Liverpool plains) to acess the coal seam gas reserves below. they are also buying outright (or controlling stakes) in a number of resource companies. Strange coincidence that the book is set in 2016 as that is the year China will surpass the US and the EU to become the worlds biggest economy. Time to start learning Mandarin

A lot of Canadians are already learning Mandarin, although it does rather startle the Chinese when they meet a blonde-haired blue-eyed girl who speaks fluent Mandarin.

My blonde, blue-eyed younger sister is fluent, she lives in Taiwan, it's hilarious to go to Chinese restaurants with her here in the U.S. and watch the server's face when she starts talking. Both of my parents have been studying Mandarin intensively for the past 5 years. One of my cousins is a 6'0" willowy blue-eyed blonde, and speaks Korean (she's been working for Asiana for about 15 years). She likes to tell stories about riding on the subway in Seoul and listening to people talk about her, then giving them a pithy 30 second idiomatic farewell when stepping off.

There was, maybe still is, a Chinese restaurant in London that served quite good basic food cheaply. No fancy stuff just home cooking. The waiters would gabble away as they served. Someone I knew was fluent and gave them an earful over saying such rude things to customers.


RMG- the Chinese may"own " stuff in some African countries but they certainly don't "own" anything in North America in as much as they lack the ability to enforce their ownership. I am reminded of the hysteria in the 80's when the fear was that the Japanese would own everything in America- based largely on their purchase of Rockefeller Center.

A Chinese purchase of assets in NA is based on some catastrophic global collapse but quite the opposite- a continuation of BAU and the enforcement of property rights via the judicial process.

Well, nobody in Canada actually "owns" land or minerals, they just hold certain rights to it. Only the "Crown" really "owns" land or minerals - a vestige of Canada's colonial history. The Crown owns everything by right of conquest - 1066 and all that. The Crown has generously granted certain of its subjects and minions some rights to property as a result of their continued loyalty.

The highest right a private individual or company can hold is an "Estate in Fee Simple", which is to say a simple feudal estate. Nobody has that in the oil sands, the best they hold is a lease, which is not actually a lease, it is an ancient feudal interest in land called a "profit a prendre", which is to say the right to take something away from the land and sell it for your own profit.

That's only a technical legal point. If you hold certain rights to mineral resources, and keep paying taxes and royalties on them to the Crown, the Crown is willing to enforce those rights. The same applies to the Chinese - as long as they keep paying the Canadian and Alberta Crowns their fair share, they can keep producing oil from the oil sands and sending it to China.

crazy - Rocky gives a great explanation of "ownership" in Canada. In the US it's much simpler. Mineral ownership is a simple matter of private property ownership. You can own the right to produce oil/NG from a designated area just as you can build on a piece of land you own. You can sell those mineral rights to any person or company you care to. You can also lease those rights to any person/company you chose and thus transfer the right of production to them for a price and with certain provisions.

Any person/company can buy/lease privately owned mineral rights in the US. And that ownership is defended by law to the same extent as for any other private property owner...be it a foreign company or you. The Chinese, in partnership with US companies can share such mineral leases. They are equally free to buy such mineral rights if they chose. And they are no more subject to having those rights taken away then any US company or citizen. Any producer of oil/NG from privately owned oil/NG minerals is free to sell their production to whoever they choose including a foreign buyer. OTOH oil/NG produced from federal leases cannot be sold overseas without govt approval. This has been done in the past with Japan with N Slope crude. Actually more like a swap than a sale. Japan bought oil from another exporter and swapped (on paper) it for the US oil. This saved the cost of transportation for both the Japanese and US refiners.

From a practical standpoint that’s not likely physical oil/NG would be exported. A Chinese company could own US crude (not from federal leases) either through leasing or direct ownership and do a similar paper swap. The potential problem may come about when the Chinese company buys crude from an exporter that would have sold to a US refiner. Thus the only way for the US refiner to get that equivalent amount of oil is to do a swap with the Chinese company on whatever terms the Chinese allow. If the two sides come to terms the Chinese company simply ships that exporter’s crude to China or any other buyer they chose to do business with. And the US crude the Chinese own? It would be sold to a US refiner who may have to pay even a higher price as the Chinese continue to acquire more and more access to other exported oil. Short of declaring a national emergency and suspending private rights there isn’t much the US can do to stop such a situation. In such a way the Chinese might not export US crude to China but can capture an equivalent volume from the exporting companies. Not easy for the US to complain about such practices since all the global oil companies (including every US major) has been doing this for decades. Lots of folks don't realize that the gasoline they bought at the Exxon station was likely produced from someone else's (like Chevron) oil field.

Tax structure allows constitutional end-runs around this if necessary in future.

Actually, the legal theory behind US property ownership is not much different from that of Canada because the US adopted English Common Law as of 1776, whereas Canada more gradually drifted away from England. (Louisiana is an exception because its property law is based on French Civil Law - as is Quebec's.) If you look at the title to your US land, it probably says, "Estate in Fee Simple", which means you have a simple feudal estate granted by the (American) Crown. The American Revolution just substituted the American Crown for the British Crown.

The main departure in Canada - government ownership of mineral rights - is more a matter of history than law. The Canadian West was settled later than most of the US, and the government retained mineral rights on homestead land after about 1895. Homesteaders prior to that time got the mineral rights.

Nearly all of the mineral rights in the Canadian oil sands are owned by the Alberta government because there was almost no settlement in the area prior to 1895 and the Alberta government hasn't sold or given away any of the mineral rights since then. There are a few Indian reservations in the area, and the Indians own the mineral rights on them.

However, unlike in the US, there are no federal restrictions on companies exporting oil produced on any of the leases, whether the mineral rights are federally, provincially, or privately owned. In fact, most of the production is exported to the US.

As always, things are a bit different in Alaska. Pre-statehood, nearly all mineral rights were held by the Federal Government. Following statehood (1959), the State of Alaska was allowed to select large areas. Alaska could then do what it wanted with these lands, with the proviso (in the statehood act) that the State of Alaska retained the mineral estate. In the more populated parts of the state a good deal of this land has been sold off, so there is now a split estate, with surface ownership in private hands, and the mineral estate held by the State of Alaska. As part of ANCSA, the regional and village native corporations were also allowed to select large tracts of land. In this case, the mineral estate remains with the regional corporation, even when the surface s held by village corporations. Various public bodies, for example the University system, were also granted some smaller tracts. Finally, large areas remain under Federal ownership, NPRA and ANWR being examples.

Needless to say, some areas were selected by both the state and native groups. As a result there was a good deal of old fashioned horse trading, as well as some litigation. While most of this has been worked out, there are still a few small areas in dispute even today.

The split estate on certain lands has led to some controversy. A few years back there was a round of coal bed methane leasing up in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. That is where a rather famous former governor of ours is from, you know the one who has the "drill baby drill" mantra? Anyway, the Mat-Su has never been known as a greenie leaning area. However, many of the folks up there apparently weren't aware that while they owned the surface, the mineral estate still belonged to the state. Folks who were all for drilling (provided it was way up there on the N Slope) weren't at all happy with the idea of drill rigs in their neighborhoods. Some of us found the whole thing quite entertaining!

Thus in Alaska, petroleum exploration land deals mostly involve either the state, the native corporations, or the federal government. As it turns out, most of the current production in Alaska is on state lands.

Sounds like a vanity press thing.

J.R. Wakefield used to post here, I believe.

Apologies if reference to this this has been posted before.
I was close enough to the 'mad cow disease' action in 1980s and first half of 90s to know how badly the risk assessments were handled officially. "Denial" and "hoping to get away with it" seemed inappropriate considering there was a chance, albeit an outside one, that Britain could face an excruciatingly long 'Black Death' event.
This is likely sad enough:

Recent studies from tonsil samples show that possibly one in 4,000 people in the UK or 15,000 in total may be infected with the disease, although some tests have put the numbers slightly higher.


We should not be surprised?

But... but...
They ate nothing but fillets! The meat was off the bone!
(What a crock that was.)

So 1 on 4000 people will have their life cut short by , say, 20 years on average.

That will knock nearly 2 days off life expectancy for the UK population as a whole.

Peak oil, on the other hand...

What I don't understand is why oil exporting countries export crude oil at all? If I was running Saudi Arabia or any other oil exporting country, I would want to export gasoline, diesel and plastics instead of crude oil. I would want to export Nitrogen fertilizer instead of natural gas. Oil exporters have had plenty of time to build the infrastructure to do this. Any idea why this has not already happened?

I asked the same question to RMG a few DBs ago...aboot Canada...

Well I have some idea. Saudi Arabia has a dearth of natural gas. They are not exporting any natural gas and are not exporting any natural gas products either.

Saudi is exporting some refined products but they are consuming most of what they produce. Saudi wants to export refined products rather than crude oil. And they are doing that as well as they can. They cannot possibly refine all the oil they produce. So they refine what they can and export the rest.

The Saudis know what they are doing and are doing what they can. Don't take them for idiots. The same applies to all other exporting countries. They are trying to placate their populace while investing all they can afford in downstream projects. It is a balancing act and they are doing the best they can.

Ron P.

Perhaps it does make sense for KSA (and Canada, etc) to export the raw material, rather than invest their money in plants which will be unneeded in a couple of decades...maybe better to invest oil profits in nuke plants, windmills, CSP and PV, etc...

...for KSA, less industrial plant to be vulnerable in a conventional military attack, missile attacks, and/or insurgency and/or special ops attacks..

From Leanan's lead link, up top:

"We will come back to the Ras Tanura expansion within the next decade or so," Falih said at a press conference, adding that Aramco had delayed the project when it launched Jizan.

Falih also cited ambitious plans for expansion of its petrochemicals business. The Ras Tanura refinery expansion was to be integrated with a petrochemical complex now being developed in Jubail by Aramco and U.S. Dow Chemical.

Ras Tanura

Report from oil refinery at Ras Tanura on Saudi oil business
An old video.

ARAMCO Compound Tour Built for Americans.

KSA will soon have the capability to refine all the oil they can produce - as noted in the articles above, they are increasing their refining capacity to 8 million bpd, which is close to their maximum production capacity.

In Canada's case, the money is in oil production. There is too much refining capacity in North America at the moment, and refineries are closing. Under such circumstances, it is not a good idea to build a new refinery because it will lose money.

In Saudi Arabia's case, oil is all they have. They are building new refinery capacity to get the maximum number of jobs out of it they can. In this process, the oil production sector can subsidize the oil refining sector, and they are probably suffering an economic loss on it.

Canada has a much more diversified economy, so it is more efficient to create jobs in other sectors than oil. The oil sector is already suffering from labor shortages.


Thanks for the cogent explanations.


Is the reason that SA in going deeper into the refinery business more to do with creating refinery capacity for their Heavy sour oil of which the world has a shortage of these type of refineries, and therefore extract full value, instead of taking deep discounts like Iran has done for some of their real nasty crudes, eg SA will be bring on 900,000 bpd of Manifa heavy crude in the next few years that I understand no refineries currently are setup to handle. Therefore this increased interest in refining could be an early indicator of less light sweet from SA and more Heavy Sour in the future.

That is another thing motivating the Saudis - much of their new production is heavy, sour crude that most existing refineries in Europe and the US cannot handle, and the ones in the US that can handle it would prefer to use Canadian oil sands bitumen because it's a lot cheaper.

The Manifa oil is particularly bad since it is heavily contaminated with vanadium, and I don't think there are any refineries in the world that can handle that much vanadium. The Saudis are trying to build one (behind schedule, so far).

The Saudis don't like to admit this. When Libya, which produces mostly sweet, light crude went off production, they tried to claim they could replace the oil. Hahahah, not likely.

...they tried to claim they could replace the oil. Hahahah, not likely.

Saudi Aramco claims they offered a mid gravity low sulfur oil to EU refineries and no one took them up on it.

What is not said is the terms on the replacement crude.

Would SA see any benifit to providing oil to EU refiners on an 'on call basis' ? He11 No ! Can perhaps see why EU refiners wouldn't want to get tied in to a longer term contract ?

..are not exporting any natural gas products either.

Petrochems, nitrogen fertilizer and sulfur not ng products ?

My guess is that historically (and it may well still be true) it has been cheaper to ship crude and have it refined near the final demand than it is to ship the refined products individually. I am guessing that it is rather expensive to ship a low value product such as asphalt- but which is nonetheless important for a refinery to be profitable.

Nick:Median driver?

Great article on TAPS MOL.

A TAPS bottom line

The decision document says that Platt’s forecasts of remaining recoverable reserves lead to a probable end of life around 2065 to 2068 for TAPS, assuming a 100,000-barrels-per-day minimum throughput. This estimate excludes possible production from the Point Thomson field, the field that is currently the subject of a dispute between the field owners and the State of Alaska.


The tax case that brought this document to the front page. If anyone knows where a copy of the 308 page JTG report may be found, do please let us know. If someone has ready access to Alaska legal documents it is probably in the court documents.

I posted on this back on the Jan 4 Drumbeat.

This article mentions possibly installing a new 20 inch pipeline.

with oil being carried by railroad from Fairbanks to tidewater

In the distant future when production falls below 100kbd

Any idea about where we might find a copy of the JTG report?

Not sure. I will keep an eye out for it. Since it was entered into evidence in the court case, I presume it would be available somewhere in the court system. However, since I'm not a legal beagle I don't know off the top of my head how to find it. I'll ask around.

There's a new TED Talk by Kirk Sorenson on Liquid Thorium Reactors as a safe way to generate electricity and carbon-neutral organic fuels.

Are Thorium reactors a practical way to end dependence on oil and coal?

Thorium reactors indeed hold a lot of promise, could be the difference between a hell and a bad place. India has already built a AHWR to explore this potential. But I still think that electricity alone doesn't have the potential to sustain such a vast population. Oil fills a critical gap and that gap cannot be covered so easily.

Also in a world of falling oil supply, one who controls oil is the kingmaker, you still cannot run tanks and jet-fighters or the heavy machinery on electricity so different countries are bound to start a fight to control the oil resources. After all we cannot get rid of our reptilian brain so easily can we?

Someone has put it aptly, in the short term we don't face an energy crisis, we have a liquid fuels crisis.

Considering the flawed nature of Man and the creations of Man - the failure modes of such reactors need due consideration. Even Man made failures like war.

Over 300 days of radioactive isotopes entering the biosphere from Fukushima. In a few months, the 1st year will have come and gone.

When you can measure the damage in bodies, do so.

When you can't, measure it in injuries.

When you can't do that, measure it in amount released.

When you can't even do that, measure it in time.

The anti-nuclear case from Fukushima gets weaker with every one of those days that elapses.

The strongest anti-nuclear case was never "bodies", it was always contamination and long term effects. People still can't live in the areas around the Chernobyl reactors, and the same with Fukushima. In Japan they are still pretending that they can scrape off half a prefecture's worth of soil and magically find a place to put the dirty stuff.

Using nuclear is stupid because of the risk of poisoning a very large area for a very long time. A coal plant is poison too, but if you shut it down things return to normal very quickly. Last I heard, you still can't move back into the towns evacuated after Fukushima, which is to say the case grows stronger against nuclear with every day that there are people who are refugees from their ancestral homes.

We do have other options, solar, wind, geothermal, and not living like we're insane in energy terms. I think we could use half or less the energy of the Japanese and still have very good lives. If the Japanese used half as much energy, they wouldn't need nuclear.

We might all be screwed, but nuclear is not a way to prevent this, it's a way to guarantee it in the long run, as accidents always will occur.

This image is very sad. Everyone left in a hurry. No one came back.

Припять: "Pripyat"

When you can measure the damage in bodies, do so.

I can point to the land that was able to be inhabitated and now isn't. And iradiated food no longer edible.

And, other than in your head, is there a broader public basis for "only bodies matter" you can point to?

Don't forget the current E-cat/LENR research. If it's successful (which is definitely possible) then it will basically solve peak oil right then and there.

Here is one a kid can build. Makes real neutrons from real fusion within a table-top device that is plugged into the wall. Kids are making them. It just does not scale-up with similar ease.

Commercial device:


Enthusiast's site:

That's an unusually informative and well-balanced video. Of course, there are some parts of it I would disagree with, but it's much better than most of the crap that comes out of the mainstream media.

EV Battery Costs to Drop


Chu, in a speech at the Detroit Economic Club during the Detroit Auto Show (he's pictured above, right, speaking with Nissan's Mark Perry while checking out the Leaf), said that a plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle battery that can provide 40 miles of all-electric range will cost $3,600 in 2015, down from $12,000 in 2008. That battery's cost will fall to just $1,500 by the end of the decade, Chu added.

Certainly a step in the right direction.

What he actually said: "...we’re on track to demonstrate technology by 2015 that would reduce the cost to $3,600. And last year, we set a goal of demonstrating technology by 2020 that would further reduce the cost to $1,500..."

Much more believable, if not nearly so heartening.

Yes, a dose of caution always needs to be applied with these things. Nevertheless it is somewhat heartening that at least that there is some progress being made along the technology routes to lower EV battery costs. Cautious optimism I think.

Technology key to growing consumerism trend in healthcare

"Consumerism in healthcare is one of those trends that has been "looming" for an awfully long time. When the experts first predicted that patients would start shopping for providers as if healthcare was any other businesses--making decisions based on price, quality, and brand recognition, for example--the idea was met with skepticism, to say the least."

Yup, there's an app for that...

New studies posted at PLoS One discuss the impacts of neonicotinoid pesticides on honey bees :-

RFID Tracking of Sublethal Effects of Two Neonicotinoid Insecticides on the Foraging Behavior of Apis mellifera

"We tested an experimental design using the radiofrequency identification (RFID) method to monitor the influence of sublethal doses of insecticides on individual honeybee foragers on an automated basis. With electronic readers positioned at the hive entrance and at an artificial food source, we obtained quantifiable data on honeybee foraging behavior."

Multiple Routes of Pesticide Exposure for Honey Bees Living Near Agricultural Fields

"During spring, extremely high levels of clothianidin and thiamethoxam were found in planter exhaust material produced during the planting of treated maize seed. We also found neonicotinoids in the soil of each field we sampled, including unplanted fields. Plants visited by foraging bees (dandelions) growing near these fields were found to contain neonicotinoids as well."

AK-01 Columbia Kadin Narrated


Delayed RPS rules stall biomass energy in Mass.

An extended delay of the filing of Massachusetts’ final renewable portfolio standard (RPS) regulations has created a lull in statewide biomass energy development.

The final ruling on RPS qualifications was released in May, and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources said it anticipated filing the final regulation in July after the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy had reviewed it and provided comments.

Six months later, however, the rules are still not out, and there is no definitive date as to when they will be. While not everyone in the biomass industry was happy with the revised RPS qualifications, developer Russell Biomass said it didn’t pose a significant problem to its project, which was modified to meet the standards.

See: http://www.biomassmagazine.com/articles/6090/delayed-rps-rules-stall-bio...

Meanwhile, in our neck of the woods, one of our paper mills is adding 3.3 MW of co-generation capacity to its operations. It recently threatened to fold its tent unless it could, among other concessions including a $50 million provincial bailout, purchase power at below cost, and so by shifting this burden to everyone else, it now pays between 6 and 7-cents per kWh. Of course, having accomplished all this, it can sell power back to Nova Scotia Power at the new, community feed-in tariff of 17.5-cents. Talk about your value proposition !


Iran warns Arab nations that an increase in their production to offset embargoed Iranian oil exports would be an unfriendly act:


How much oil does Iran export, and can OPEC make up the diff?

“Oil’s Endless Bid” by Dan Dicker (Wiley). Petroleum prices have gone crazy, and a large share of the blame belongs to Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and other banks, argues this Nymex trader.

I have read through most of this book. The author asserts that 1). It is speculators who are driving oil prices up; 2). He doesn't know or care about peak oil; 3). He, himself, is not a speculator but rather a trader. Get these speculators out of the market because it is messing up his ability to speculate as a trader.

Seriously, he is like "The problem is all of those other guys." He seems to be annoyed that other people have been allowed into his world, and he blames them for the spike in oil prices and wants those other guys to be regulated.

"The problem is all of those other guys."

That's a pithy summary of nearly every argument on any side of any major political issue (or even lawsuit) these days. Every conceivable thing is always somebody else's fault...

Postwar German Minicars

German Museum Celebrates Vintage Microcars

Radioactivity from Fukushima Dai-ichi in air over Europe; part 2: what can it tell us about the accident?

It is shown which information can be extracted from the monitoring of radionuclides emitted from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant and transported to Europe. In this part the focus will be on the analysis of the concentration ratios. While (131)I, (134)Cs and (137)Cs were reported by most stations, other detected radionuclides, reported by some, are (95)Nb, (129m)Te, (132)Te, (132)I, (136)Cs and (140)La. From their activity ratios a mean burn-up of 26.7 GWd/t of the fuel from which they originated is estimated. Based on these data, inventories of radionuclides present at the time of the accident are calculated. The caesium activity ratios indicate emissions from the core of unit 4 which had been unloaded into the fuel storage pool prior to the accident.

TEPCO would rather we all forget about the fuel pool fire.


15th March

Japanese authorities also today informed the IAEA at 03:50 UTC that the spent fuel storage pond at the Unit 4 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is on fire and radioactivity is being released directly into the atmosphere.

Although good luck with getting the IAEA link to work now.