Drumbeat: February 25, 2012

Mexico's January oil exports lowest since mid-2010

(Reuters) - Mexico's oil exports in January were the lowest since mid-2010 as the state-oil monopoly diverted more crude to domestic refineries.

State-owned Pemex said Friday the country exported 1.191 million barrels per day in the first month of 2012, the lowest level in 19 months and a drop from the 1.282 million bpd shipped in December.

Oil Caps Longest Rally in Two Years on Iran

Oil capped its longest rally since January 2010 as escalating tension with Iran threatens supplies and on signs of a global economic recovery.

Futures advanced above $109 a barrel for the first time in almost 10 months as sanctions against the Persian Gulf nation make it more difficult to sell oil. Iran dismissed UN atomic inspectors’ concerns that nuclear-weapon work is occurring, a document acquired by Bloomberg News showed. U.S., French and South Korean consumer confidence gained, reports showed today.

Gas prices keep climbing

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Paying at the pump grew even more painful Saturday, as gas prices climbed for the 18th day in a row.

The price of unleaded gasoline inched higher again overnight, rising 2.7 cents to a nationwide average of $3.67 a gallon on Saturday, according to the motorist group AAA. That's almost a 30-cent increase from a month ago when the nationwide average was $3.38 a gallon.

Do High Oil Prices Doom The US Economy?

As I explored briefly in my column on the politics of gas prices this is less straightforward than it might first appear. As Michael Levi writes we've traditionally wanted to distinguish between supply shocks and demand shocks as drivers of price spikes. When oil gets expensive because of a supply disruption, that hurts America. But when oil gets expensive because there's lots of demand and economic growth, that's just a sign of growth. But perhaps this time it's different. The US isn't as big a slice of the global demand pie and "western economies can be on their knees, but oil demand can still be on the upswing due to healthy growth in China, India, and other emerging economies (not least those that also export oil)."

Whatever the reasons, oil prices look set to rise

Yesterday, Brent was a scary $123 a barrel and WTI more than $108.

Yet oil prices were just as high this time last year, on the back of demand from the developing economies and the Arab Spring. Since then, growth has slowed in China while Libya has started pumping oil again. Provided the Israelis don’t bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities, a slowing global economy in 2012 should bring down oil prices.

However, there’s an alternative view. The dip in petroleum prices in the latter half of 2011 may be the aberration, not the current rise. Last June Saudi Arabia started pumping more oil because it is desperate for extra revenue to head off internal unrest. In August, the International Energy Agency (IEA), the West’s oil guardian, released petroleum from its emergency stockpile in a bid to deflate prices. These moves were one-offs and difficult to repeat. Yet oil is still going up.

Push to Export Natural Gas Could Threaten U.S. Energy Security

Natural gas is the key to energy security in the United States, say many people, thanks to the vast shale gas reserves now accessible via hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. Others have embraced it as a “bridge fuel” – a fossil fuel with an environmental footprint midway between coal/oil and wind/solar.

Oil Disruption is Zooming and Global Panic Awaits

Oil is up to $110 and it is on a roll.

The last time oil went in this direction, it caused a slowing in the global economy that led to a global financial panic.

What's causing it? Peak oil, Chinese growth and lots of potential oil disruption. Pretty much the same factors that caused it last time.

The pipeline disruption is a little different this time.

Why Uranium Could Go To $200 And Beyond

As I noted in my previous article entitled, "6 Ideas for Where the Next Bubble Will Be," I believe uranium prices are ripe to go much higher. There is an imminent supply demand imbalance due to the coming end of the Megatons to Megawatts program, as well as an abundance of new nuclear reactors set to come on board over the next 15 years, that I think will drive this market.

ExxonMobil Touts Increase in 2011 Reserves

Exxon Mobil Corporation announced that additions to its proved reserves in 2011 totaled 1.8 billion oil-equivalent barrels, replacing 107 percent of production. Excluding the impact of asset sales, reserves additions replaced 116 percent of production.

Expert: Ukraine to annually import up to 20 bcm of gas through Slovakia from 2015

Ukraine will be able to buy on the European spot markets and import via Slovakia up to 20 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year starting from 2015-2016, the secretary of the expert council on the development of the gas industry and the natural gas market, Leonid Unihovsky, has said.

Gunman kills 2 Americans inside Afghan ministry

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – The commander of NATO and U.S. forces says that all NATO personnel are being recalled from Afghan ministries following an attack at the Interior Ministry in Kabul.

Iran ‘Dismissed’ Weapons Concerns, Tripled Uranium Production, IAEA Says

Iran tripled its production of enriched uranium and rejected the international concerns about its possible pursuit of nuclear weapons that a team of United Nations inspectors carried to Tehran this week.

Israeli attack on Iran might pull US into new war

WASHINGTON (AP) — An Israeli pre-emptive attack on Iran's nuclear sites could draw the U.S. into a new Mideast conflict, a prospect dreaded by a war-weary Pentagon wary of new entanglements.

EU’s Sanctions Against Iran Hindering Japanese, Chinese Oil-Tanker Cover

Chinese and Japanese groups that insure ships against risks such as oil spills said European Union sanctions limit their ability to cover tankers hauling Iran’s crude, raising speculation governments may intervene.

Obama Urged to Resist Calls to Use Oil From U.S. Reserves Amid Iran Risks

President Barack Obama should resist calls to combat rising gas prices with oil from U.S. reserves, which must be available in the event Iran blocks a pathway for a fifth of the crude heading to market, Republicans say.

Obama, GOP duel over rising gas prices

Gas prices dominated today's Saturday radio addresses, as President Obama stressed an "all-of-the-above approach" to new energy development, while Republicans blamed Obama for the renewed spike in prices at the pump.

There is a way to clean up ‘dirty’ oil’s problems

Bitumen, from which oil is produced, takes more energy per barrel to get at than conventional oil pumped from the ground. Because it needs more energy, bitumen-derived oil produces more greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming than conventional oil.

That gap – between bitumen-derived and conventional oil – is the problem the industry and governments don’t seem to get. And that gap will widen as more steam-driven in-situ production comes on line, since in-situ uses more energy than open-face mining of bitumen.

Japan government to seek Tepco board resignation-media

TOKYO (Reuters) - The Japanese government will seek the resignation of Tokyo Electric's (Tepco) board of directors at a shareholder meeting in June in return for injecting $13 billion of public funds, the Mainichi newspaper said on Saturday.

The government decided that to clarify the responsibility over the firm's management, all 17 directors would have to go, the newspaper said without citing sources, adding that it also plans to halve the number of directors on the new board.

BP faces billions in fines as spill trial nears

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- On the cusp of trial over the catastrophic 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, phalanxes of lawyers, executives and public officials have spent the waning days in settlement talks. Holed up in small groups inside law offices, war rooms and hotel suites in New Orleans and Washington, they are trying to put a number on what BP and its partners in the doomed Macondo well project should pay to make up for the worst offshore spill in U.S. history.

It is a complex equation, and the answer is proving elusive.

BP Wins Most Pentagon Fuel Awards in Year After Gulf Explosion

The scorn heaped upon BP (BP) Plc following the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history in 2010 wasn’t echoed at the U.S. Defense Department (USBODEFN). It stepped up purchases from the London-based company, making it the Pentagon’s biggest fuel supplier.

USGS Unveils Shale Potential for Alaska North Slope

For the first time, the U.S. Geological Survey has estimated the potential of undiscovered, technically recoverable onshore shale oil and gas resources in Alaska's North Slope. The estimates range from 0 up to 2 billion barrels of oil and from 0 up to 80 trillion cubic feet of gas – representing technically recoverable oil and gas resources, which are those quantities of oil and gas producible using currently available technology and industry practices, regardless of economic or accessibility considerations.

A Second N.Y. Ruling Upholds Local Authority Over Gas Drilling

After two state judges upheld drilling bans established by two upstate towns in New York, the question becomes: how many more towns will go ahead and pass their own prohibitions on hydrofracking?

A New York state judge ruled Friday that the town of Middlefield in Otsego County can ban natural gas drilling within its borders, the second time in a week that a state court has affirmed local authority over the drilling process known as hydrofracking.

Study: Customer Satisfaction with Hydraulic Fracturing Services Diminishes

U.S. demand for hydraulic fracturing services continues to rise along with shale exploration, but customers indicate they are less satisfied with these services in comparison to other completion-related services they receive, according to a recent survey by EnergyPoint Research.

Obama’s Green-Car Plan Runs Into Limits

President Barack Obama’s administration is buying fewer hybrid and electric cars and more vehicles that can consume both ethanol and gasoline to meet 2015 environmental goals, favoring older technology over new.

Tesla Says Blogger’s Battery Post Sparked ‘Irrational’ Fear

Tesla Motors Inc., the maker of electric cars run by entrepreneur Elon Musk, said a blog post asserting Roadster batteries are at risk of failing if owners don’t keep the cars plugged in stoked an “irrational” fear.

“A single blogger is spreading a rumor about electric vehicles becoming inoperable,” a condition referred to as “bricking,” the Palo Alto, California-based company said today on its website. “‘Bricking’ is an irrational fear based on limited information and a misunderstanding of Tesla’s battery system.”

Storing surplus wind energy an option for P.E.I.

The province of P.E.I. should store surplus electric energy in peoples' homes, says the CAO of Summerside.

Terry Murphy told the P.E.I. Energy Commission Thursday that Summerside Electric started doing this last year to save energy.

The energy is stored in specific types of furnaces, space heaters and water heaters, Murphy said.

BP Plans to Withdraw From Solar-Energy Venture in Australia

The company decided to exit the global solar business after 40 years because it has become unprofitable, Mike Petrucci, the chief executive officer of BP’s solar unit, told staff in an internal letter in December. The industry faces oversupply and price pressures after Chinese competitors increased production.

China Encourages Solar Companies to Expand Amid Supply Glut

China set targets for increasing production capacity at key polysilicon and solar cell makers, part of the government’s plan to ensure its companies survive a slump in prices.

China wants each “leading” company to have 50,000 tons a year of polysilicon capacity by 2015 and targets 5 gigawatts for each of its top solar-cell makers, according to a five-year plan posted on the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology website today.

A $100 solar-powered tablet is coming soon

The Swiss designer, now based in San Francisco, has plenty of commercial hits. That gives him the financial freedom to pursue his belief that design can change the world. It's a passion he put to work on his most famous project, One Laptop Per Child, better known as "the $100 laptop."

Now he's nearing completion of the sequel: A $100 tablet. It's rugged, solar-powered, and designed for children in the world's poorest countries.

Brazil to Invest $35.4 Billion in Sugar-Cane Fields for Fuel

Brazil’s government plans to boost investment in sugar-cane plantations by 60.5 billion reais ($35.4 billion) during the next four years to ensure an adequate supply of crops for the nation’s ethanol industry.

Texas: Court Says Landowners Own Groundwater

The State Supreme Court on Friday ruled that landowners can consider the groundwater underneath their holdings as personal property. “We held long ago that oil and gas are owned in place, and we find no reason to treat groundwater differently,” Justice Nathan L. Hecht wrote for the court. The case involved a landowner who had been unable to get permission from local groundwater managers to use as much groundwater as he sought.

Al Gore's role in Apple's global warming policy questioned at shareholder event

Former Vice President Al Gore’s positions on climate change came under fire at Apple’s annual shareholders meeting on Thursday when a non-profit group accused Gore, an Apple board member, of using his position to influence Apple’s public stand on global warming.

The Facts: Energy independence for U.S., Maine comes at a price

In turning away from imported oil, it is inevitable that the alternatives will impose higher costs, either financial or environmental or both. Only increased efficiency — making the same amount of fuel do more — offers any likelihood that such costs may be avoided.

See: http://www.sunjournal.com/news/columns-analysis/2012/02/24/facts-energy-...


Maine Voices: Before investing in alternative energy, let's fund efficiency efforts

Our cheapest energy source is, and always has been, energy efficiency. The good news is that, as energy prices climb, significant opportunities remain to cut energy use in homes and businesses that are leaky and poorly insulated and that have inefficient lighting, appliances and motors.

See: http://www.pressherald.com/opinion/before-investing-in-alternative-energ...


Our View: Rising gas prices a call for better energy policy
Transportation alternatives, conservation and renewable power make more sense than ever.

Despite what Gov. LePage says, conservation is not a "Ponzi scheme." Money spent making homes more energy efficient is money that stays in Maine. Leaving homes leaky just exports those dollars elsewhere.

See: http://www.pressherald.com/opinion/rising-gas-prices-a-call-for-better-e...

Meanwhile, north of the border...

P.E.I. could be using more wind power: Summerside utility

Maritime Electric's claim that P.E.I. can't integrate more than 30 per cent of P.E.I. wind power into its energy grid was called into question during the P.E.I. Energy Commission hearings Thursday.

See: http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/News/Local/2012-02-23/article-2906104/P.E.I...

Whereas 70 per cent of Mainers heat with oil, oil’s share in Prince Edward Island is 90 per cent. Electric thermal storage heating systems could very well allow us to increase wind’s contribution to our energy mix well beyond what is technically feasible today and, at the same time, they would lessen our region’s dependency on foreign oil; it’s one of several options worth pursuing in addition to greater energy efficiency. And to be clear: this approach works well for us because our utilities are winter peaking, wind output is generally strongest during the heating season, precisely when we need it most, and electricity can economically displace a far more costly and problematic heat source – oil. However, outside of Atlantic Canada and perhaps New England, it’s likely to be of limited benefit elsewhere.


"Electric thermal storage heating systems could very well allow us to increase wind’s contribution to our energy mix well beyond what is technically feasible today and, at the same time, they would lessen our region’s dependency on foreign oil; it’s one of several options worth pursuing in addition to greater energy efficiency."

Thanks, Paul. I consider thermal storage to be a primary option, as I've posted before. The intermittent nature of wind and solar is the objection we hear most often, and living on largely intermittent sources is something that I'm familiar with; use as much as you can when it's abundant, store the rest. Thermal storage is simple, essentially low tech, and relatively inexpensive compared to other storage schemes. It should be widely adopted where ever it can be of benefit. Thermal storage provides most of our heat and virtually all of our hot water. It was neither expensive nor complex to accomplish, especially when compared to the expense, complexity and ongoing costs of implementing other options. While thermal storage provides none of our electricity, this wasn't the point. Offsetting electrical and fossil fuel use was. IMO, every structure in a climate with moderate to high heating requirements should have simple thermal storage integrated, especially where intermittent stranded wind and solar are available. It's a no-brainer.

You've got a great set-up, Ghung. Although I'm fully dependent upon the grid and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future, I'm conscious of how I use energy and try to "flatten the curve" as best I can by scheduling loads so that they don't overlap and by shifting as much of my demand off-peak as possible, even though there's no financial incentive for me to do so (I'm not on a TOU meter and I don't pay for demand). With a 70-litre, 1.38 kW electric water heater, you have to allow sufficient time for the tank to recharge before your next major use, so you'll want to avoid back-to-back showers or showering when doing laundry. Now some folks might consider that a nuisance or imposition, but I don't. And if the kettle is on, then the toaster remains off, or vice-versa. Again, I don't have to do this... just a quirky little habit I picked up years ago.

In any event, thermal storage be it for space heating or domestic hot water is a great way to soak-up excess wind energy, especially as we add more wind to the mix. Ninety per cent of all homes in New Brunswick are fitted with electric water heaters, most of which are leased through the provincial utility. When it comes time for NB Power to replace these tanks at their end-of-life, switch them out for a larger capacity model if need be, add an anti-scald mixing device and some rudimentary load-control and, presto, you're in business. The incremental cost would be presumably modest, but the benefits in terms of increased grid stability could prove significant.


Ghung -

Sounds like you have described your home system in detail previously? I'm very interested, especially in how it might compare to, say, that neighborhood district heating system in Alberta. Could you please indulge me with a link to a relevant prior post?


I don;t know the intimate details of Pauls' setup - other thna that it is VERY energy efficient.

But I do know the intimate details of the Drake Landing solar Community in Okotoks, as I was personally involved with this project.
I had previously posted on the Oil Drum about this here;

In short, the infrastructure cost of the centralised collection/storage/distribution system is so high -$100k/house that it would be much better to simply have each house collecting its own solar heat in winter, and supplementing with heat pumps as needed.

It was a technical success and an economic failure - and there is no real way to bring the cost down too much - laying pipes and drilling wells are mature technologies...

Gary Reysa at Build it solar did a write up on a sand storage system for a single house - his conclusion - just too expensive for what you get.

It seems to me the better approach is a very well insulated house, then - if appropriate - do some solar thermal space heating, and use your elec heat pump (set for priority running in of peak hours) and call it a day.

A good example of a well designed, simple solar thermal system in Maine is here;

Note that even with a 2' thick slab, they explicitly state there is no seasonal carryover. The benefit is that there is daily/weekly carryover, to smooth out fluctuations.

Sotring large amounts of low grade heat for months on end is always going to be a difficult ask. Let mother nature store it for you and use heat pumps to get it....

Thanks for the note Paul Nash. Drake is very nice piece of engineering.

While I agree that a cost of $100K/home is too steep, I don't know that seasonal solar storage is out of reach with more work. I speculate that the annual heating bill for a home (of Drake size) using natural gas must be at least $1000/year? Given the Drake heating fuel costs are nearly zero, a solar storage system capital cost could be perhaps $20k? At a large volume might there be room for a 5X improvement? For instance, the in home plant seemed to have room for some consolidation, given more investment and time: a solar storage tank *and* auxiliary tank?

It seems to me that some kind of cost effective seasonal storage system must eventually come about, otherwise in the higher latitudes solar will never take over a majority share of the load. Perhaps some kind of solar heated Fischer-Tropsch process to make chemical fuel for storage will be the eventual answer.

Edit: I took a look at your original post:
which references some of the other solar heating companies, where you suggest solar "could actually provide 90% of the winter heat, on average, without seasonal storage, using a system like this one." Before plowing through the company data, I ran my own numbers:

o Load. From the data on the Drake site, the maximum heat load for a Drake home is about 15GJ/month. I guess 20GJ/month is possible in a worst case winter.
o Collection. NREL solar data says worst case monthly, flat plate, tilted at latitude solar insolation is 1.2 kWh/m^2/day (December, latitude 48.3degN, Montana), or 130MJ/m^2/month. *Average* December collection is 1.7 kWh/m^2/day. Drake is 51degN, so we would expect less yet there.
o Efficiency. Dependent on delta T over flow. The Drake data has solar thermal efficiency averaging around ~50%, though that's year round average including the warmer months. I guess 40-30% is closer to reality in the winter when needed?

This leaves us with 52MJ/m^2/month delivered, or 288 square meters, i.e 30mx10m to meet demand in a bad winter, 20mx10m in the average winter. The current Drake garage array appears to be 16 panels each, or 50m^2. So at best such an on-demand, non-seasonal system supplies 25% of the midwinter heat load, not 90%, or so it appears to me.


Would you mind briefly describing how you came to be in your present line of work?

I just heard that some old flying buds of mine started a business in another city in which they assess energy use of businesses and craft plans/courses of action for the business customer to make energy efficiency improvements using the maximum use of available federal, state, and local government and private utility incentives.

My line of work may be drying up (and in the big scheme of things, that is a good thing for America and the World, IMO)...I should have a 'Plan B', along the lines of 'and now for something completely different', since the entire 'industry' I am in is going to be flat or declining in the future, probably more and more as time goes on.

As I think of it, a robust description of you line of work/related lines of work (efficiency consultant and/or installer)would make an interesting and highly useful keypost on TOD...there may be opportunities for smart, motivated folks to earn a living helping their fellow humans maximize their residential and business/commercial energy efficiency.

I would not think the TOD Eds would consider this to be an advertisement for you...after all, I would bet that rather few of us on TOD are within your service area...but your insights may spark others to follow in your footsteps....energy efficiency may be a job opportunity...not for all or most or even many, but at least for some enterprising folks out there. Any recommendations on formal training, self-study, etc? Maybe a couple of field trips to Ghung's place and similar :)

Maybe you could open a new line of work by forming a tech training school to grow more folks like you, esp. for us Yanks who really need more energy efficiency improvements...


You are believable as an expert on topic X as people choose to believe.

If there are certifications and memberships in "National Assoications" - having them helps.

(Your other move is to CREATE the "National Association of Energy Use Dudes" or whatever you will call the body that 'creates standards' or offers 'certification')


Your comments are pretty 'on there'...

I particularly have found comment #1 to be true...although one can 'fake it till they make it', I do like to do my homework up front to the max extent practicable...although I am no stranger to 'trial-by-fire OJT'.

'Better Lucky than Good' only works for a bit...and I won't sell snake oil!


Unless you hang out a shingle - no one will know to hire you.

Once that shingle is out there, then you have to deliver. Start thinking about branding et la now. Same goes for research into insurance and local ordinances. (Example - in some municipalities within 100 miles of me installing insulation doesn't need a permit. Others require it)

Yeah, H, there's a lot of diffuse knowledge here that could be compiled into a 'solutions' blog page. TAE is attempting something like this; their "Lifeboat" section. I haven't figured out how to contribute, and such a section would need to be well edited to avoid noise. Greer has the Green Wizards Forum as well, though the link seems to be broken.

I've considered starting a blog about my experiences, successes and failures, but there are so many "voices in the wilderness" these days it may be pointless.


Yep, I am sifting through the diverse knowledge a bit, to see if there is a way I can parlay that into something to hang my hat on...it would be good to turn my 'can do' government service skills towards doing something that makes a positive difference. Thank you for the link and the point-out to Greer's Green Wizards concept.

The http://www.greenwizards.org/ link seems to be working now.

One thing you may be good at that isn't covered much is 'dealing with govt. bureaucrats' (or how not to deal with them ;-)



The biggest frustration I have with the particular bureaucrats I work for is that I cannot ever find anyone who is capable of/willing to make critical decisions.

The buck stops nowhere...

These folks cannot grok the idea that their world is changing and that they can no longer live high on the hog...their coping mechanism is to analyze everything to death in a desperate attempt to buy the gold-plated gizmos they think they want, in quantities customary to times which have gone by...

I so far have made a living telling them that there is no way they can get 5 quarts to fit in a gallon jar, and they also can't get no blood from any stones either! I try to tell these folks to make base hits...singles, maybe a double here and there, and stop desperately swinging for the fences and wiffing all the time.

It gets old...maybe if I can master working with government customers I can hack working with customers in the private realm...

Does it seem to you that what most Policy-makers get to have for 'reality' is the shifting sands of public perception that they daily have to answer to and interact with? What they get to see as real, those who are up on our shoulders, is in large part what we tell them is real. (and I know, there are MUCH louder voices competing for their ears.. alas)

This is where I feel like they need to understand what WE believe is reality, and that we have to have a consistent enough ongoing way of describing it, so that they can begin to see this as one of the various 'Facets' of reality that enters into their calculations. If we try to paint it like ideologues, rigidly as the 'REAL Reality', then we come off as crackpots, and our view gets no hearing at all.

Hi H,

With your friends working in the field and with the contacts that you've developed over the years, you have a perfect opportunity to test the waters. First of all, never underestimate the importance of the non-technical. It may seem obvious or even trivial, but as with any business, courtesy, respect, sincerity and a genuine passion for what you do goes a long way. Ditto good communication skills and the ability to understand what's most important to your client. Much of that comes from being an aggressive listener and engaging the client on their terms; in other words, knowing your audience and speaking their language. So, for example, if you're discussing a lighting upgrade at a manufacturing plant with a room full of account types, you'll probably want to talk about such things as internal rate of return, net present value and various other financial metrics, along with increased productivity, greater employee satisfaction, improved worker safety, fewer product defects and so on. Conversely, if it's a retail store, you'll probably emphasize expected improvements in light quality and visual impact, and how this will translate into increased floor traffic and added sales. The technical stuff which, quite frankly, anyone can quickly and easily master, is perhaps one-tenth of the equation. Also bear in mind that each of your buddies brings their own strengths and skill sets to the table. The "trick" is to recognize what they are and to structure things so that everyone is given the opportunity to shine at whatever it is they do best; you don't have to each know everything about the business because you work as a team and your individual contributions snap together like pieces of a puzzle.

I'd give your friends a call and tell them that you might be interested in working in this field yourself. You might also ask if you could spend some of your vacation time working with them to get better acquainted with the business. They know, trust and respect you, so I'm sure they'd be thrilled to show you the ropes. Again, it's the perfect opportunity for you to dip in your toes without any risk or long-term commitment, and at the end of those one or two weeks you'll have a pretty good sense of whether it's a good fit for you and if the chemistry is right. Be assured that if you do decide to change career paths, you'll land squarely on your feet and excel at whatever you ultimately choose to do.



Thank you for your great advice and your kind words of encouragement.

I understand what you are saying about the '10% technical skills' piece...I jumped from a specialized military flying skill set to conducting analysis in a somewhat tangentially related, and rather specialized/arcane field, rife with scientists and engineers...I have been pleasing our customer with 'customized logic'-based analysis for 3.5 years...most of my meal ticket has bee data miner, connector of the dots, facilitator, and 'trusted outsider' who can occasionally get way with telling uncomfortable truths about the customer's situation and choices.

...Once I was working intensely with a team and specifically with a certain specialized type of scientist on a long-term industrial enterprise analysis, including analysis of 'optimized product development' over the next 40 years...I finally told him after three weeks working together that I was a marketing major, also with a MBA...he stopped and said: "Wow...I figured that you weren't a particle physicist, I but I thought you were /at least/ an engineer". He got over it (realized that my academic pedigree didn't matter since I grokked the issues we were working) and we successfully finished our project...

I also have been invited by the customer to work in as GS/Federal Ops Research analyst...even w/o a degree in such...however, that was then, and now the budgets are leaning out...

I had a good talk with my wife yesterday about how gravy trains can come to an end, and that I am no less vulnerable than others. Previously when I broached the 'economic uncertainty' issues she would mentally run away, so this is hopefully a turning point...we started talking about downsizing and doing less with less...

The times, they are changing...and some of the change is for the better.

The contracts have slowed down here, in Los Angeles, too.
One thing about the defense industry is that the knowledge-base isn't the same as commercial cutting-edge. My engineering friends in their 50's do not have the software skills sought by the social-media and game developers. They have moved into other niches. The defense work had been steady. Now, research next-phase contracts are becoming scarce. The people living contract-to-contract are going to have to scatter just to survive. That knowledge-base, relative to its point of application, will dissolve.


In previous comments you have suggested that a friend of your is involved with the Summerside PEI project to supply wind-generated power to home and hot water storage systems equipped with fibre-optic-connected smart meters that can turn the units on or off depending upon the availability of wind power. Are there any links to this project with a bit more detail than the CBC stories? Or perhaps an update on how it is working out?

I live not far from PEI and we share a gale today, and I think that it would be very cool to have thermal storage working for me on a day like this. I see this as an important model, similar perhaps to district heating systems already in place on PEI. Thanks.

The person in question is someone I met on-line and our initial introduction evolved around a discussion of ductless heat pumps (he has a Fujitsu 15RLS). I'll ask him if there's anything that's publicly available and get back to you on this.

It has been a windy day in these parts as well, with gusts topping 70 to 90 kph. If these high winds continue into the early morning hours and if temperatures remain relatively mild, NSP could break its previous wind record.

Update: Well, winds remained relatively strong during the overnight hours and temperatures held fairly steady (e.g., a low of -1°C at Stanfield International Airport) so it's quite possible that we did surpass our previous record. For one, we have more wind capacity on-line today than we did last April when the previous record was set; at that time, wind supplied 250 MW of the 1,220 MW of provincial demand or just slightly more than 20 per cent. However, demand year-over-year is down considerably which makes things that much easier. In January, 2011, peak demand was 2,176 MW and this year it came in 1,855 MW; average demand: 1,663 and 1,441 MW respectively; and minimum demand: 1,168 versus 864 MW. All things considered, I wouldn't be surprised if wind's share exceeded 25 per cent.


The article referenced up top,
"Storing surplus wind energy an option for P.E.I."

Seems to be garbled. It contains the line:
""So if we can say, 'OK, we got extra wind. What do we do with it?' Put it into storage and when you need it, bring it back out of storage and put it into the grid," said Murphy."
...which I'll bet is taken out of context... perhaps part of an explanation of a related topic.

From there, in the comments section, the conversation deteriorates into the negative:

"You can't save it... cheaper to burn money to generate electricty than trying to save enough to put back in the grid." ...Confused by the article.

"Furnaces, space heaters and water heaters continually radiate their heat energy away." ... not getting the thermal storage concept.

There is one positive comment:
"We need to have most of the cars being electric. The batteries will charge up during the night, when we have an electrical surplus."

The article:

Is also followed by negative comments. There is a palpable hatred of wind.

I think the storage of electrically delivered energy in the form of elevated temperatures within an insulated refractory mass is a fine one. The temperatures can be higher than than those needed for cooking, clothes drying, or room heating, allowing heat-flow regulation downward for those uses. Heating of well-insulated water storage for hot-water and room heating as a means of peak-shifting works too. Same with electric cars.

The ideas are not getting to the people intact. There is a poisoning of the well, too.

No question, the CBC article got it badly mangled or Mr. Murphy didn't express himself all that well. The electricity, as you know, isn't returned to the grid; it either offsets what is consumed at other times of the day or, for the most part, it displaces fuel oil.

It would seem that the majority of comments attached to most any news story are overwhelmingly negative due to what I assume is ignorance or malice (you could have the second coming of Christ and the response would be "What in hell took you so long?"). From what I'm told, participants in the programme are extremely pleased with the performance of their ETS systems. Depending upon the efficiency of their current oil heating system, the savings vary anywhere from 35 to 50 per cent. In addition, the discounted wind rate is locked in for a full five years. Just in the past few weeks, fuel oil prices on the Island have increased seven per cent and the long-term outlook for oil, as you can appreciate, is uncertain at best.

For a province that is so overwhelming dependent upon fuel oil and that is so incredibly rich in wind resources (see: http://www.gov.pe.ca/envengfor/windatlas/pdf/PEIWindMap_80m.pdf), it's a smart way to go and we should be pursing this with the utmost vigour.


There seems to be an obsession over storing electricity. How many water heaters heat the water and store it in the first place? Storage heaters have been around for years. Stoves could be heated and well insulated, everwarm, and have lift up lids for the pots like Agas. Phase change material in fridges and freezers. It is the storing of energy not electricity that counts for this. Decent standards for insulation are the key. On the other hand there are many who are paid not to believe and to salt the fields with doubt.


Well... the obsession arises from the time-skews between generation and use. In the deepest night, few people use electricity. There is an excess of generating capacity at night. In the peak of use, parts of the system are maxed-out. There is no really easy way to store electricity and get it back as electricity so that the unused night generation capacity could be moved in to help cover the peak time of demand. The winds blow at their whim, often enough at night, and in their sighs.

Yes, refrigerators are really poorly made. R6, R8 insulation, thin, so the appliance looks good, looks like a cabinet, with a door that opens like a closet. R40 or better would be rational: one foot thick, everywhere... with a lid that opens like a treasure-chest... or at least those vinyl-strip reach-through curtains to hold the cold air in. The motor should cycle once every few days or even longer. Adding phase-change, like water to freeze and store "coolth" in, would add a lot, including less panic when the power fails. It would allow cycling the motor, freezing the water, at night, off-peak.

Storage heaters and a good, well insulated water tank are ideal for skewing. The washing and drying of clothes is another. I am not sure that you would need to go to foot thick or if that would help much as to larger the exterior compared to the interior would have more area to shed heat. For example, there is a limit to how thick pipe insulation can be before there is no more to be gained. Better insulation and aerogels would help, just increasing the thickness from 1 to 2 or 3 inches would make a good difference and not be ridiculous. I have seen some peoples' old fridges and their insulation seems to be about twice as thick as modern units. If a fridge has more draws or you keep stuff in deep boxes then a vinyl curtain would not be needed. My old fridge had a flip up compartment on the door but the new one is all open :( For boxes I am thinking maybe cut the tops off some old 10l bleach containers as they are strong, deep and square.

They try and cut margins as far as possible to maximise profit but surely good marketing would sell these better units at a raised price? After all, they manage to over sell motor vehicular quite successfully. These things are quite do-able with very little effort.


I don't know. "Functional", "decorative", and "cheap" are sometimes at odds. "Pick any two" is a saying.

"One foot thick" comes from my experiences making ice chests. If ya wanna know about ice chests, jus' le'me know.

At a foot thick, the ice behaves differently. Cube ice will bond together into a mass. 20 pounds will last a week if it is kept out of the 1.5" reservoir of draining water located somewhere beneath it by being up on a very smooth shelf.

I don’t remember the dates quoted, but there was an article in the Portland Maine newspaper a few months ago reporting that heating oil use in Maine has already been reduced by 45%. And there is plenty more opportunity for further reductions.

I’ve been helping with the early stages of a feasibility study for a district heating system for a small city in Maine. Recently we have been working on identifying the heating load for all the buildings that might potentially be connected to the system. I keep telling the other team members that we need to look beyond the current heating loads, and also look at what the heating loads would be if all the cost effective energy upgrades were done for all the downtown buildings. It looks to me like we could easily get an average 50% reduction in the downtown area, where most of the buildings are about 100 years old.

Your memory is, in fact, correct.

Maine heating oil use dropped 45 percent between 2004 and 2009

PORTLAND, Maine — While Maine is the country’s most heavily dependent state on home heating oil, it led other New England states in reducing reliance on this energy source over a recent five-year period, federal figures show.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration says Mainers slashed their heating oil use by 45 percent between 2004 and 2009. Maine was followed by New Hampshire, which cut its heating oil use by 39 percent; Connecticut by 29 percent; Massachusetts 28 percent; Vermont 27 percent and Rhode Island 25 percent.

See: http://bangordailynews.com/2011/11/13/business/maine-heating-oil-use-dro...

Depending upon the age and general condition of these buildings and that of their heating systems, a 50 per cent reduction seems plausible. Of course, much of this depends upon the cooperation of the occupants. One of our clients spent several thousands of dollars installing a control system that temporarily disabled the overhead heaters in their service bays whenever one or more of the roll-up doors were left open and within a week the guys had literally ripped the sensors out with their bare hands rendering the entire thing useless. We just completed a major lighting retrofit at this complex and I could spend hours recounting the horror stories. We incurred almost $30,000.00 in additional costs due to their obstructionist and childish behaviour; fortunately for us, the client understood what we were up against and reimbursed us in full. Suffice to say, if I never step foot in that God-forsaken place again, I'll die a happy man.


That sort of thing is too common. Walked into Home Depot through the nursery. It was a windy day and the checkout clerk had a couple of kilowatt radiant heater on. I'm sure he felt, if they make me work in these conditions they owe it to me.

We're a bunch of kids raised on Candy Bars.

It's frequently not going to be pretty.

I had a good afternoon, though. A friend came over with some fabric to sew for an experimental insulated Picture-window-Curtain, to be rolled down from the top, with sprung bars to pinch the Sides and Bottom.

Long Live the Tinkerers!

..And Fri/Sat, I got to take some of those Peel/Stick LED's Camping at Mom's 12x16 cabin, or 'Wooden Tent', where we discovered that even ONE little 25ma segment of it provided a fine burst of light over the cooking/washing area, while two or three from separate high places, out of the eyes, unlike candles and lanterns-- will help fill in deep shadows, and still work at under 1 watt. Good Times!

Appropriately, we are reading Little House in the Big Woods with Loreley, and she gets a little time to identify just a little with the Ingalls family and see what living closer to the elemental is like. In and Out, a mile or so by Skis/Snowshoes, with the girl half-riding, and half keeping the Cooler and Toboggan Upright! A lot of fun.

My 'Solarium Woodshack' seems to be working well, clearing snow and ice from the rooftop Glazing pretty readily, and all is dry and cozy inside. I need some mirrors or reflectors along the back wall, however..

A local minister asked me to compile a basic list of steps his congregation should be taking, as individuals, families and as a group, to prepare for collapse/decline. Perhaps this would be a good weekend Campfire question:

What steps (and in what priority) do folks' here consider important to be taking now, in the future, or have taken in the past, to prepare for the decline of industrial civilization? Why these particular steps? How can we differentiate between short-term and longer term, lasting responses? Much of this has been covered by various sustainability groups and doomer/survivalist blogs, etc., but my friend's goal is to look at the most realistic solutions for a smallish, tightly knitted community. Thanks!

There is the entire "Prepper" movement dedicated to this.

Starting points for your version of a talk:

1) Food preservation.
2) Food growing.
3) Books/tools to have.
4) Skills like knife sharpening.

All 4 of those have some use even if there is no decline. 1 and 2 avoids all kinds of toxins from industrial food like hotpockets. 3 can be the basis for a hobby. 4 is just handy and darn nice to have.

Erick - yours are all individualist, back to the frontier points that are completely logical. However these discussions never go beyond this circle the wagons approach. Preparations should include also what-we-should-we-be-doing in community and especially business development as adaptation to the new paradigm that is our current transition.

A factorial grandmother of mine in 1630'3 was massacred in what is now Bronx, NY along with her entire family except for one child, because the local government, New Amsterdam, had agitated the local tribes. She had recently relocated from Boston/Rhode Island because of persecution for her religious beliefs, but in that place the people were friendly with the natives. Her fatal mistake was assuming negotiation possible. We need to prepare our communities for humane behavior in adaptation to declining use of fossil fieles.

We do not need to step back to pioneer days in imagining our transition. My wife's relatives in Illinois during the mid 19th century traditionally had oysters for christmas via the railroad. When we moved to our current home in 1967 in Western Washington farms were producing milk in cans, cheese, small farmers were selling chickens and other meats to local markets and to individuals. Today these small business ventures are all gone leaving in some cases, remnants of abandoned buildings, replaced by factory berry farms and dairy operations with 2000 cows on 80 acres, industrial scale waste treatment and feed/product movement in interstate commerce.

I think these lists and discussions should include recognition for elements of transition that are happening now, the local food movement, recycling in home construction and adapting to conditions of the present day as transition to a future we may recognize as similar to elements of 1920'3 30's.

My maternal grandparents were a part of the small farm scene in Western Washington, although it was over for them long before 1967. On 40 acres they ran 20 head of milk cows, about 100 chickens, a few steers and had a huge garden. The milk and eggs were sold to the local branch of a large dairy corporation, which picked up the milk every morning of the week in the traditional cans for which people pay unbelievable prices in today's antique stores. It all came to an end in the late 50s when the dairy required the installation of refrigerated holding tanks to reduce the pickups to twice a week with large tank trucks. The capital expense was way beyond the means of my grandparents, so they converted the dairy herd to steers for meat and Grandad went to work driving a delivery truck for the local feed store. The big garden stayed and they kept a good sized flock of chickens, but farming no longer paid the bills. Today the farm is a housing development, and it makes me sad to drive by it on the rare occasion that we do when we are in the area.

Erick - yours are all individualist, back to the frontier points that are completely logical.

Things like home food prep/home canning are also skills that don't require collapse/depression to be useful and provide benefits.

Even reviewing the Mormon food saving rules/advice means you can buy a larger bag of material, break that material down and save it. Build community by getting others to join you on the bulk buy then everyone gets part of the breakdown.

Far easier sell.

I still like Greer's Peak Oil Advice from German Poets.

I also like Greer's point, made in other posts, that whatever you do to prepare has to make economic sense now, not just in the imagined future. Not least because the future probably won't be like you imagine.

One idea I like are the various peer to peer sharing systems out there. Whether it's swapping children's clothes, sharing neighborhood tools, or letting people pay to use your car when you're not using it. Technology has made this possible (or at least a lot easier).

Leanan, that article of Greer's had a big impact on me too, it got me thinking about all the vital skills and knowledge that that still exist in the memories of older people but that are dying with them at an increasing rate. To try and facilitate an urgent and vital intergenerational transfer of skills and knowledge and try to act as a conduit to future generations, we have joined local societies, of mainly senior citizens, that foster small scale bee-keeping and blacksmithing and equipped ourselves (at moderate expense) with all the many low tech tools of these trades. We have also built a wood fired brick bread oven and acquired a little old flour mill and are learning (largely by trial and error) the art of making sour dough bread starting with bag of wheat. Beer making is fun too. These are skills that we hope to learn enough about and, if we should live long enough, be able to teach to our grandchildren, They are pretty young just now but already take part in some this because have 3 generations living together.

We are able to concentrate on these things now because we have been lucky, we are baby boomers with all the advantages that our generation was given, I only have to spend 20 hours a week in paid work and we have already done the hard yards of getting a small farm with food production, off grid power and water all sorted out first.

My own professional skills as a medico specialising in high tech anaesthesia/intensive care have a limited future. I estimate the half-life of my work skills to be some where between 5 & 10 years, say 7.5 years into the age of energy descent. By then the globalised high tech base will have eroded to the point where most of my recently acquired knowledge will be irrelevant. But perhaps the stuff I learned 30 years ago, in simpler times, that can still put to work will be coming into its own again. In 15 years most of that will be becoming irrelevant too, so the last thing we hope to be able to bequeath to our community is a big specialised garden of medicinal plants and the knowledge of how to use them.

I would urge everyone to take Greer's advice 'Learn one thing, give up one thing, save one thing.

The ELP plan has been one of my favorites - really gets to the heart of both where we're at and where we need to go.

A clarifying question, first: are they serious about planning for a collapse, or "merely" for a decline. There are, IMO, a lot of things that can be done to prepare for the decline I think is coming, and people have suggested some of those. Also on those lists, I think, should be advocacy for public policy at a city, state, regional level; a congregation may be well prepared for one outcome, but find itself blocked by actions in neighboring areas.

OTOH, it seems to me that very few people will be willing to take the steps that are serious preparation for a collapse. Starting with the first question in a collapse scenario: are you looking for how you survive for five or ten years, or are you looking for how your grandkids are going to be living in 40?

My first suggestion was, if they want to get most of the congregation on the same page, they need to define the page in a way that isn't contentious or too threatening. These are pretty conservative folks. "Making our Church Body Recession Proof" seemed like something dooable, especially considering the depth and severity of the recession in our area. Making the case that recessions will become more frequent and severe is likely easier than "industrial civilization is going to collapse and things are going to be really bad".

Some of my suggestions:

1. Ongoing "lite" education on economic cycles, inflation, energy costs, and eventually resource depletion.

2. Get a tally and evaluation of the property held by church members for the purpose of getting as much as possible into agriculture of some kind, return fallow land to ag production, and identify best practices. Bring in experts on sustainable methods that won't require (lock producers into) increasingly expensive inputs.

3. Get as much of the members' property as possible into an agricultural tax status, reducing property taxes and financial vulnerabilities on the body. This frees up money for other purposes in good times; helps folks keep their property unencumbered through tough times. Find ways, including legal advice, to keep properties intact when parents die. Once these properties are sold and subdivided, they're generally gone forever as useful assets to the community. In some cases, the church could lease tracts and let other members farm it.

4. Work as a group to grow local markets for produce, donate extra stuff to the food pantries. My daughter's pastor opened a vegetable stand that has become very popular, featuring some produce from his church members. Expand on this concept.

5. Form a coop to buy materials in bulk, perhaps with other churches, or negotiate prices with local vendors.

6. Form an efficiency group to evaluate folks' homes and improve insulation, etc. Help folks with high energy bills reduce costs, perhaps get some back on wood-supplemented heat (most grew up with wood energy around here), as firewood is abundant in the area. Tithe a percent of saving gains into a fund to help others improve their energy situation.

7. Study other systems of lower-impact lifestyles and present such as a virtue; encourage the adoption of "plain" ways, similar to the Amish, Quaker or Mennonite groups. Promote humility, discourage hubris and pride in consumptive ways, eg: buying a big, bad truck to boost one's ego.

8. Create a knowledge base, a library, and encourage older folks to pass on their expertise to new generations. Food preservation, local medicinal remedies, repairing things, fence building.....much more to be preserved around here. Mentoring and passing on skills and trades should be promoted. This is especially good for the elderly.

There's plenty more, and many of these things are being done on some level. Leanan mentioned a few, such as recycling childrens' clothing, etc. I have more to add, but a beautiful day and garden are calling.....

Ghung. I amuse myself by visualizing utopias. A lot of what you say is closely parallel to my thinking. Here is a recent bit attempting a beginning to a set general rules for worldvillage, a group of little groups spreading little by little until by way of example of superior life, finally change the world.

The goal of all activity is to make the world a better place.

Possible and impossible are defined by science, not by politics

if something has been done, it is possible

if something has not been done, it might be possible

anything that has been done can be done better

live within current income.

never borrow from the future

Costs must be measured in options foregone. If a result is achieved by foregoing lesser value options, it should be done, if not, it should not be done.
(Fossil fuels are by this definition of cost, infinitely expensive, since they forego the future.)

no one should have more than 2 children unless allowed by others not having 2 children.

members of worldvillage wear distinctive clothing identifying themselves as such, and learn persuasions that induce others to join.


Idea here being that such a properly chosen set of general rules guides us to all the good things you suggest, and all the others.

I read a lot about this. I've also spent most of my adult life travelling and/or homeless. I'm in my hammock in a small texas city atm. There are way too many variables to be able to describe them all here and now on my phone. But I will give a basic overview, and we can go from there if you are still intested in my opinions.
1. Not short or long term, but short and long term, question is whether it's slow decline, or rapid collapse. Could also be either depending on location. A. #1 priority either way is guns and ammo.
B. #2 either way, is ability to make trades. This means having valued items stored, or being able to create valued items regardless of situation.

Now for some info on each scenario. Coming up...

Long slow decline is best for individuals and groups. Itvwill get tough, but be doable. long term, you need an ax, access to farmland, access to water or cachement with huge storage capacity. Seeds ,knowledge, and tools. Books on doing things pre-industrial society, equipment to put it into use, things like candle making supplies or basketry tools. Iron smithing, etc. hunting and fishing equipment, buckets and rope, etc.

The scary one is a rapid collapse. This may not happen, I hope not. It'll be scary as heck if it does. There will be at least.two hundred million americans unprepared for what would happen. Bandritry and pimping will be about the only means of trade for that two thirds of america. But how even a rapid collapse happens could vary. There could be quiet in the country, with a semblance of civility, or marshal law, or un troops, or a mad max scenario with wingnut warloards holding and fighting for small plots of land. It's hard to know what to do when you don't know what will happen. But you still need ammo. food stores are worth having, but may or may not be needed. Many may have to flee for any number of reasons. You will have to be able to go mobile and stay hidden in this scenario. This means no or rare open fires. That means small wood gasifying stoves or alcohol penny stoves to cook when neccesary. Wild food books. Silent hunting and fishing skills, ie, save ammo for pimps. You want light weight good quality clothing and rain gear, but you don't want to look like a north face catalog either as you would be robbed. Lightest possible gear, heavy duty but not ritzy looking packs, water purification and transport ability, good, worn in boots. Hmmm. It's time for sleep, tomorrow?

After some sleep, I decided not to flood this thread with survival info, but I have a few more things to add. If you want more from me, email me at my user name @gmail.

The main thing is to think what life could be like, what your needs will be, and what others will want to trade for. Most people can figure it out if they can stay where they are. Food, water, wood, clothes, and security. If they or others become internally displaced refugees, whether hunted by government or not, it becomes complicated quickly, with many, many variables. But here are a few things I consider key.
Transport: Car travel may not be possible due to gov, bandits, or lack of gas. Next best option is bikes. Cheapest decent bikes that will work when needed are $400. Don't buy at walmart or other box stores, they will fail you. Hard tail mtn. bikes from rei or bike stores are best. Get bike trailers. For not as strong, regular 60#-100# capacity trailers from burley will work well. For in shape men, they should get large 300# trailers from surley or bikes at work. Someone in group needs to know bike maitenence and repair. All tools, oil, extra tubes, wheels, parts, should come too. Trailers can be made by welder. For elderly, their is design online for the chariot, that can carry adult. :: If bikes not available or feasable, transport is by backpack and boots. The inexperienced will be shocked by how hard it is to carry heavy backpack long distance. Gear should be light as possible. Down sleeping bags are rated by survival temperature, not comfy temp. Thermarest zrest closed cell foam pad is $40 and awesome. I recommend as many silnylon or cuban fiber tarps as you can carry. What you don't need will be valuable trade. They are small and light compared to regular tarps. Water purification tablets and water bags. For flashlights, you want 1watt red led to avoid detection. Solar charger for batteries. Get headlamp, you need your hands free. Good knife, and one machette from cold steel for group. Bic lighters and some tinder, only use tinder when you have to. No cotton clothes. Wool or synthetic.
Some ideas for trades: Food, stored, gathered, or hunted. Have local edible food guide book. Tarps. Baskets. Cigarettes. But one of the most valuable things you can have/do is this: get thumb tacks and couple pairs of scissors, and aa powered drill eith associated solar charger. Then go to jureystudio .com. Learn how to make alcohol penny stoves and wood gasifying stoves. You can use found trash to make them, they are efficient, but most importantly stealthy.. If you think you are going to cook over open fire in refugee collapse situation, you are nuts. Fires can be seen from far away, these make no or little visible light or smoke. They will be a life saver for many. Be armed, go light, and think simple but effective. Email me for mire info, peace, r

Outstanding advice. Clearly from a well tested source.

I'll be in contact soon.

Thanks. Dave in Malaysia

Get out of debt.
Build your social networks.
Get used to lower consumption.

Everyone can do these steps, and they are alsovery usefull. The other stuff is more "case-to-case" and individual.

And yes, I waked the talk, if anybody wondered.

Iraq’s First Oil Transparency Report Fails to Include $2.5 Billion in “Signature Bonuses” & $1.25 Billion in Remunerations to IOCs

On December 20th, 2011, Iraq published its first EITI Reconciliation report, a report which was heralded as “a historic step toward oil sector transparency” by the international community …

... The technical service contracts (TSCs) signed under this licensing round included a number of clauses that have created multiple revenue streams. These TSCs included clauses for cost recovery mechanisms, signature bonuses, and remuneration fees, none of which were included in the EITI report.

... looking at the most clear cut of these revenue streams; the signature bonuses. These bonuses, which were widely reported upon in the media, ranged from $100 million, which Sonangol paid for the Qayara field, to $500 million, paid by a consortium led by BP for the Rumaila field.

... Some, such as the $500 million Rumaila field signature bonus, was reportedly paid by the company as a ‘soft loan’, ... in either crude oil or cash as decided by the company. Others appeared to have been renegotiated, such as the $300 million paid by Eni and Oxy for the Zubair field, reportedly slashed to $100 million in April 2010.

Bearing in mind these uncertainties, the total of the signature bonuses reported to have been paid by international oil companies to the Baghdad government during the period of November 2009 until January 2010 comes to $2.25 billion, as you can see in the spreadsheet ...

The second revenue stream ... was that of remuneration, the fee that the government pays back to an operating company, in this case, after they’ve reached a pre-agreed production level. To show how important the remuneration payments are to government revenues, I compiled another spreadsheet showing payments that the Baghdad government made to international oil companies, the first of which began with a payment in kind of 2 million barrels of crude oil to BP in May 2011.

To put these figures into context, I used the average monthly price of a barrel of Basra light from the Ministry of Oil website and multiplied it by the number of barrels taken as payment by the IOCs to get an estimate of the market value of each shipment. Here, the total in barrels of oil comes to 11.65 million barrels of Basra Light, which comes to an estimate of $1.25 billion.

Obama's Campaign Opens Fire--on the Kochs

... In just about 24 hours, Mitt Romney is headed to a hotel ballroom to give a speech sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, a front group founded and funded by the Koch brothers.

Those are the same Koch brothers whose business model is to make millions by jacking up prices at the pump, and who have bankrolled Tea Party extremism and committed $200 million to try to destroy President Obama before Election Day.

Koch brothers fire back at Obama

... "it is false that our 'business model is to make millions by jacking up prices at the pump.' Our business vision begins and ends with value creation — real, long-term value for customers and for society. We own no gasoline stations and the part of our business you allude to, oil and gas refining, actually lowers the price of gasoline by increasing supply," the Koch letter says.

... probably meant to say $Billions

Those are the same Koch brothers whose business model is to make millions by jacking up prices at the pump

If that turns out to be true, it fits with my recent postings of a conspiracy theory, that the R's will do whatever they can to raise pump price in advance of this coming election to help the R win. Oil price has risen lately, some refineries have closed on the east coast, and there is the switch to summer blends, and so it seems clear pump prices are rising for those reasons. However, this is something to watch. One way to get pump prices to rise is phoney maintenance or emergency damage repair at refineries. I'm figuring we'll see all sorts of suspect reasons for refinery slowdowns and temp. shutdowns in order to justify and purposely raise pump prices.

Another thing to look for is a sudden drop in pump prices once the R has been elected, as if to say to 'The People', yes, you voted correctly and now here's your reward. The Pavlov dog response by people will be to remember to always vote for the R.

We have to remember that 'Party comes 1st', 'corp's come 2nd' and 'The People' come last. So what's good for the Party or the Corp. will not necessarily be best for 'The People'.

Who cares anymore about what Obama, a cynical opportunist if there ever was one, says?

Obama green lighted the transer of billions of your money to bankers. Always remember that.

The Kochs, as powerful as they are, are small fry compared to those crooks.

Looks like someone has taken the bait.

It is possible BOTH sides are right. Koch and their ilk will raise prices and Obama and his group bailed out the banks.

The lesser of 2 evils is still evil.

The system is one of a Republic - representation of the citizens. Too bad for the humans the representation is of Corporations.

Inquiry continues into crude oil tanks blast, fire

GALVESTON — Friday, officials were investigating what caused an explosion and fire that burned two crude oil storage tanks and injured four workers and a firefighter.

The explosion at about 7 p.m. Thursday at Texas International Terminals, 4800 Old Port Industrial Road, in Galveston, sent shock waves that shook windows some three miles away. About 8,000 gallons of light crude oil burned during the fire.

About 35 firefighters battled the blaze, but four hydrants along Old Port Industrial Road malfunctioned. The hydrants were damaged by Hurricane Ike in 2008, Cahill said. “Firefighters laid 2,000 feet of hose and drafted water from the bay to supply the aerial truck,” ...

Apollo-Led Group Buys El Paso Energy Unit for $7.15 Billion

Feb. 24 (Bloomberg) -- A group led by Apollo Global Management LLC agreed to acquire El Paso Corp.’s oil and natural gas exploration business for $7.15 billion in the second-biggest private equity takeover of an energy producer.

... El Paso’s assets are attractive because of their acreage in the Niobrara field in Colorado and the Eagle Ford and Wolfcamp fields in Texas, which produce more profitable oil and natural gas liquids such as propane and butane, said Raymond James & Associates’ Darren Horowitz.


Mr. Kabayama, a Tokyo city councilor of Liberal Democratic Party died after measuring radiation in Mizumoto Park.

He was measuring radiation in various areas in Tokyo and posted it on his blog.

On 6/30/2011, he measured 0.25 microSv/h in Mizumoto Park.

Outokumpu workers exposed to radiation

HELSINKI, Feb 24 - Finnish stainless steel maker Outokumpu said workers at its mill in western Finland were exposed to radiation after recycled steel containing the radioactive element americium ended up in its melting process.

Outokumpu said on Friday one worker was exposed to ten millisieverts of radiation at the Tornio mill overnight when entering the melting furnace during maintenance.

related Contaminated batch of recycled steel results in radiation incident in Outokumpu's Tornio site

Bad Data Guided U.S. Fukushima Call

... U.S. nuclear officials struggling to get a handle on the severity of the crisis unfolding more than 7,000 miles away, complaining of a lack of information from the Japanese side and in some cases turning to their own sources to assess radiation risks.

The U.S. got a key part right: The top U.S. nuclear regulator correctly projected, months before Japan acknowledged it, that all three operating reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant might be suffering from meltdowns, in which fuel melts in the reactor cores.

... The No. 4 reactor suffered an explosion March 15. "The explosion leveled the walls, leveled the structure for the Unit 4 spent-fuel pool all the way down to the approximate level of the bottom of the fuels. So, there's no water in there whatsoever," John Monninger, an NRC official in Japan, told others at the agency, who relayed the information to Mr. Jaczko.

I really wish they'd tell the truth about Reactor 4.

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

Kirchner G, Bossew P, De Cort M.

German Federal Office for Radiation Protection, Köpenicker Allee 120-130, 10318 Berlin, Germany.

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.

Fukushima Plant May Have Emitted Double Radiation Than Estimated

The scientists provided other analysis that questions official assessments.
Reactor 4

The levels of cesium 137 emissions “suddenly dropped” after Tepco started spraying water on the spent fuel pool of the No. 4 reactor, they said. Reactor 4 was idle before the quake and the fuel assemblies in the core had been placed in the spent fuel pool of the unit.

“This indicates that emissions were not only coming from the damaged reactor cores, but also from the spent fuel pool of unit 4,” the report said.

And what the Japanese government informed the IAEA at the time.


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.

At recent Congressional hearings, NRC Chairman Jaczko said that he thought some of the tension between him and other NRC officials was due to him having access to classified information which he suggested was not available to other members. Chairman Jaczko recently voted against licensing new nuclear power plants in the USA. He was outvoted 4-1 by his junior commissioners - the same commissioners he told Congress did not have access to the same information he did.

And now he's been outvoted again
Nuclear Regulatory Commission chief sides with Pilgrim watchdog group

In a surprising move to side with critics of the Pilgrim nuclear power plant, the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is arguing to expand, not limit, the public’s chance to ask plant-safety questions in light of last year’s Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster in Japan.

The Fukushima nuclear plant has a similar reactor to the one at Pilgrim, which has been trying for six years to win approval from the NRC for a 20-year extension of its operating license.

Given the significance of that accident (at Fukushima) and the potential implications for the safety of our nuclear reactors, we should allow members of the public to obtain hearings on new contentions on emerging information,” NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko wrote in a dissenting opinion released Wednesday.

Jaczko was the sole dissenter on the five-member commission, which is appointed by the president.

You would think the NRC would require a unanimous vote on issues of nuclear safety. But no, just stuff the panel with people who can at least pretend they don't know the full details and let them outvote the Chairman who does. Brilliant.

The IAEA link does not work. This excerpt has been copied over and over again. Here is an article from the period: March 16, 2011:


Yes the link stopped working sometime after the event but it did work for a considerable time afterwards. Notice that it is a misconfiguration error at the server end which should be obvious to the server administrators. Despite this they don't fix it. Of course the IAEA could just be incredibly incompetent and incapable of even running a website let alone world nuclear regulation.

Deliberate obfuscation or gross incompetence at the IAEA then? It's one of the two but I think the IAEA prefers to be seen as incompetent.

Any opinion on what physicist, Dr. Paolo Scampa just said about the situation in Tokyo?

Google: Dr. Paolo Scampa, and a large number of sites are carrying his evaluation.

Dr Scampa stated:
“An absorbed dose of 2,94 microSievert/hour at 1 meter of soil means an average deposit of 9,065E5 Bq/m2 of Cs137 -0,661 MeV-. This amount for 1 meter is in fact situated between a maximum deposit of 5,439E6 Bq/m2 for low energy gamma rays from radioactive elements such as U238 (0,0495 MeV) and a minimum deposit of 2,176E5 Bq/m2 of very energetic gamma rays from radioactive elements such as Co60 (2,55 MeV). This dose corresponds to 25 times the maximum permissible “artificial” hour dose (0,114 microSievert/h-1) and 5 times the maximum permissible total – natural and artificial – hour dose (0,571 microSievert/h-1). [1]”

"Tokyo Radiation Level 25 Times the Fukushima Mandatory Evacuation Zone"

U.S. nuclear officials struggling to get a handle on the severity of the crisis unfolding more than 7,000 miles away, complaining of a lack of information from the Japanese side and in some cases turning to their own sources to assess radiation risks.

Fukushima “was not a nuclear accident… immediately after the earthquake, the nuclear reactor shut down and nuclear chain reaction stopped”

One only has to look at US Fission history to see the US doing the same:
[Rickover] said that the report, if published in its entirety, would have destroyed the civilian nuclear power industry because the accident at Three Mile Island was infinitely more dangerous than was ever made public. He told me that he had used his enormous personal influence... to persuade [Carter] to publish the report only in a highly 'diluted' form.

Obama Promotes Pond Scum to Relieve Dependence on Oil Imports

“We could replace up to 17 percent of the oil we import for transportation with this fuel that we can grow right here in the United States,” Obama said in Miami during a speech on energy policy.

The Energy Department is seeking proposals from small businesses, national laboratories and universities to create research “test beds” for algal biofuels research at existing facilities, according to a statement from the agency. The award money will be part of a $30 million investment in similar research this year, it said.

also Obama: No ‘silver bullet’ to bring down pump prices, dismisses GOP plans to address problem

Didn't the government throw a lot of money at algae a few years ago and decide it wasn't worth it?

Photon -> human useable "value".

Photon -> Heat that gets captured (PassaveHaus, solar hot water, solar ovens)

Photon -> PV -> electrical watts.

How much is it going to cost to get these photons captured and processed by algae? Can this process be done in International Falls MN or Nome AK or is it only an option in sunny, low water places?

July 6, 2011, 9:58 AM3349
Algae holds great promise as a source of biofuel: it’s rich in oil like corn, but it can be cultivated without competing for land with food crops, and researchers are developing energy-efficient ways to process it.

Recent tests have demonstrated that algae is a viable fuel for long-distance flights, and for use in naval helicopters. But questions still loom over the private sector’s ability to produce sufficient quantities for widespread, routine use.

Last month, Honeywell showed off its green jet fuel’s performance by transporting a plane-load of journalists on the first-ever biofueled Transatlantic flight on a Gulfstream jet powered by its 50-50 petrol-algae mix. And the U.S. Navy conducted its own successful demonstration with its first test of a military aircraft using a similar fuel blend.

The science exists ... it's the economics that's the problem. Biofuel at $100 - $400/gal is not practical.

Bio-hydrocarbons are in existence via taking sugars and water in an anaerobic environment with yeast then using vapor separation for one toxic form and exposing de-watered longer chained plant oils to a base.

Present pricing is far under $!00 a gal at present dollar 'is not practical' position. The large amount of Silver 'consumed' (3 tons to blow up Lybia) doesn't seem to be a concern WRT "national security" - why would the Military not get as much as they want at $100? Why won't the government mandate "you will grow fuel oil crops" and just take the resulting product?

OK. I exaggerated ...

Worries about DOD’s Green Biofuels

On 1 September 2009, DLA Energy , which oversees procurement of biofuel for the Navy, awarded to San Francisco-based company Solazyme a contract worth $223,500 for delivering 1,500 gallons of algae derived jet fuel (Hydrotreated Renewable HRJ-5) for testing and certification by the US Navy. This makes $149 per gallon.

The DLA Energy, in early 2010 awarded a $2.7 million contract to Sustainable Oils of Seattle and Bozeman, Mont. for 40,000 gallons of the camelina-based fuel. This makes $67.5 per gallon.

... 5 December 2011 the Defense Logistics Agency signed a contract to purchase 450,000 gallons of advanced drop-in biofuel. The contract is the largest government purchase of biofuel in history, and provides $12 million to suppliers Dynamic Fuels LLC (a joint venture of Tyson Foods, Inc. and Syntroleum Corporation) and Solazyme. Solazyme’s biofuel is algae-based, while Dynamic’s is made from used cooking oil and non-food-grade animal fats. (this makes $26.6 per gallon).

verses $4.00/gal for JP-8

Air Force alone uses more than 2.4 billion gallons of JP-8 aviation fuel each year. Commercial aircraft use 17.0 billion gallons/yr.

... but the question was about algae-fuel, and so far, no one is commercialy producing anywhere near 1,000 gal/day.

The DARPA Presentation

Air Force Says Biomass-Based Jet Fuel is 10 Times the Cost of JP-8 by Robert Rapier

And most of the 450,000 gallons purchase at $26.60 /gallon appears to be used cooking oil with some unspecified amount of algae-based fuel mixed in.

Re: 3 tons of silver

This refers to silver solder (0.5-2.0% Ag) ≈ 120 lb Ag

vs 320 tons/yr of biocidal nano-silver in athletic socks and sportswear

The last time the Silver in tomahawks came up explosives and propellant were mentioned. Batteries seem to be part of the consumption.

The 320 tons for underwear - good to know. Do you have a link for that one?

Currently there are hundreds of products in circulation which contain silver nanoparticles. Examples include cosmetics, food packaging materials, disinfectants, cleaning agents and -- not least -- antibacterial socks and underwear. Every year some 320 tonnes of nanosilver are used worldwide

The 320 tones would be considered 'not recoverable' but not 320 tons of silver underwear, (Example of the Silver - at local Office Max they had "anti microbe" nano-Silver pens.)

The fact that algae oil can be used in all these different engines - which has never been in doubt - does not necessarily entitle it to hold "great promise"

As Seraph notes, the economics of production are the problem.

The US dept of energy ahs been looking at algae, one way or another, for 40 years now, and still no commercial production as fuel. The handful of private companies doing this have all gone into "specialised markets" like like spirulina, cosmetics etc - high value, non fuel uses for algae oil.

IT is far to expensive to do algae in closed systems (plastic pipes/bags etc. If you want to do algae at scale, on land, you need large ponds, which means flat areas. While these flat areas need not be prime farmland, they do need *water*, so they are competing with food for an even more scarce resource.

There is a proposal to grow it on farms at sea, but you can imagine the potential problems there....

To use the oil industry's terminology, algae oil is "technically produceable", but it is far from being "economically produceable". All these demonstrations merely show they we can use a fuel that we haven;t yet worked out how to produce at scale.

A full scale production demonstration is what is needed, not more jet flights...

As Seraph notes, the economics of production are the problem.

The US dept of energy ahs been looking at algae, one way or another, for 40 years now, and still no commercial production as fuel. The handful of private companies doing this have all gone into "specialised markets" like like spirulina, cosmetics etc - high value, non fuel uses for algae oil.

Ding! We have a winner.

The high cost of containing algae to keep it "pure" along with lighting the tube and then upping the CO2 just can't compete with plant oil/rock oil.

While these flat areas need not be prime farmland, they do need *water*, so they are competing with food for an even more scarce resource.

Yup. Say you use salt water instead - 80% of the planet is within 20 miles of coastline. How will the land to do this be "affordable"? Because the cost to move water from the coast to "cheap land" will be expensive.

The reasons for not moving forward were given 20+ years ago the last time there was a big push for algae - what has changed THIS time?

Well, there are actually a few places where you could do it with saltwater by the sea. In NW Western Australia there are large areas that are quite flat and only 5-15m above sea level, and get consistent on shore breezes too, so you could do it there.

You could aslo do it in a place like the Salton Sea, which gets a daily dose of fertilisers from the irrigation farms to the south.

And you could do it as a means sewage effluent treatment too, though flat land near large cities is generally far to valuable for that.

But still, these are all niche areas that might work, but large scale, do anywhere production - no - nothing has changed this time except that we are more desperate and the government seems to be more willing to get fleeced by the algae hypers.

And you could do it as a means sewage effluent treatment too, though flat land near large cities is generally far to valuable for that.

Exactly - along with the costs of making the pond if you have freezing conditions as I doubt the citizens would be happy with 3-4 months of frozen waste stored.

... Say you use salt water instead - 80% of the planet is within 20 miles of coastline.

The saltwater contains several trillion competing algae, virus and zooplankton. Filtering several hundred billion gallons a year would be challenging [and costly].

Any rogue algae or zooplankton and you have a 'big problem' - the culture and infrastructure would have to be sterilized.

What's Right With Gas Prices
History lesson: The price mechanism will keep our fuel tanks from running dry.

Ironically, the best therapy is a higher oil price. It makes it profitable to bring into production more costly resources around the world. The rise in recent years to $100-plus a barrel is a godsend. Peak oil theorists are being refuted; so are greenies who imagined a towering oil price would usher in a carbon-free future. The opposite is seen to be true. Oil sands, shale hydrocarbons and even biofuels have been made profitable with existing technology, and of course technology can be counted on to advance.

Gee, a cornucopian article in the WSJ. How suprising is that?

US GAS: Futures Drop As Supply Overhang Weighs

Natural gas futures dropped Friday as investors focused on the massive supply surplus that continues to keep a lid on prices for the fuel.

Natural gas for March delivery settled 7.1 cents, or 2.7%, lower at $2.550 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since Feb. 16. Intraday, futures fell as low as $2.512/MMBtu.

related Natural Gas Puts Most Expensive Since 2009 Amid Glut

Peak Energy And Resources, Climate Change, And The Preservation Of Knowledge

There’s no solution to peak oil, except to consume less in all areas of life, which is not acceptable to political leaders or corporations, who depend on growth for their survival. Meanwhile, too many problems are getting out of hand on a daily basis at local, state, and national levels. All that matters to politicians is the next election. So who’s going to work on a future problem with no solution? Jimmy Carter is perceived as having lost partly due to asking Americans to sacrifice for the future (i.e. put on a sweater).

Los Angeles Times to begin charging for online access

The announcement by the Times comes two days after Gannett, the largest US newspaper chain, said it will begin charging for full online access to its 80 US dailies later this year with the exception of flagship USA Today.

The Los Angeles Times, which is owned by the Tribune Co., which also owns the Chicago Tribune and Baltimore Sun, said that starting March 5, online readers will be asked to buy a digital subscription.

...visitors to LATimes.com who are not subscribers can read up to 15 stories for free in a 30-day period.

also Gannett to charge for newspapers online

I've been tuned into TOD for some time now, and though my lack of a formal undergraduate education is somewhat significant, I do understand the issues surrounding population increase on a planet with finite resources. In fact, it's difficult for me to accept that things can continue as they have much longer. What may come about instead is impossible to predict, but a quote I once heard...I think it was here...pretty much sums it all up: "The 21st century will be just like the 20th, only in reverse."
Which vexes to me to no end as my partner/significant other/girlfriend/main squeeze, call her what you will...seems to be totally disinclined to listen to what I have to say on the subject, accusing me of engaging in conspiracy theories while she totally is on board with the techno-cornucopian thing. We both work in a profession (health care, she's a doctor, I'm an RN) which uses vast amounts of STUFF made out of fossil fuels (medications, plastic catheters, disposable gloves...) and dependent on cheap electricity, lots of it. I wonder about how much longer we can keep things going like this, with the rising cost of health care, people increasingly not being able to afford it and just the sheer number of procedures we do that are really of questionable value to our patients,,,knee replacements on folks with heart disease so bad they'll never be able to walk much anyway, for example. Already we have been having shortages of medications for the past couple of years. At first it wasn't too much trouble, but now it is common to not have available critical medications, or having to scramble to use a less desirable substitute.
My guess is that given recent events regarding the recent oil price spike and looming war on Iran (I really hope I am wrong on that one) and the course of the Global Ponzi Empire Run Amok, I suppose given time it should be pretty obvious where things are going, but meanwhile, I am still very much in love with her, and she's talking about kids and wanting to travel and living a life very much like it always has been, just completely divorced from the reality of the situation. It's not just her, many other of our friends are the same way, and when I try to talk to them about it, they either believe it's a conspiracy by the oil companies/speculators or we would have all the oil and natural gas we needed if it weren't for the damned government/environmentalists blocking our way to cheap oil.
So, I suppose what I am asking is this something that has happened with any of you? Has your understanding of Hubbert's peak and the arithmetic of Albert Bartlett caused you significant strife with those you love and care for? For me, this is difficult knowledge to live with sometimes. Nobody can know the future and I have no idea at all how things are going to play out, but I am reasonably certain that the days of the 7/11, Happy Motoring and Big Screen TeeVee are numbered.


Agitprop, my advice would be "Just do it." I have no idea when the world as we know it will come crashing down on our heads. But I really don't think there is much you, or any of us, can do about it.

Of course if you had the following of your family and friends, then I would say do the best you can to try to be among the survivors. But you cannot move to the wilderness by yourself. Going it alone would be difficult for a lone individual and there are no guarantees of survival at any rate.

Of course as things get worse, if it is gradual, you may have a chance in the future to convince your "significant other" to be with your in your quest to be among the survivors.

Ron P.

"Which vexes to me to no end as my partner/significant other/girlfriend/main squeeze, call her what you will...seems to be totally disinclined to listen to what I have to say on the subject, accusing me of engaging in conspiracy theories while she totally is on board with the techno-cornucopian thing."

That's a lot to put on a relationship. While my wife has come to share many of my views, and certainly appreciates my previous efforts to reduce our consumption/expenses, especially since we were hit pretty hard by this "recession" (she loves not having high utility and food bills), we are content to be the ying to the other's yang, so to speak. Every doomer needs an optimist in his/her life. Most of the things you mention can be compromised on until your views become obviously more correct. Try to be more of a 'stealth doomer', practicalist.... or dump her for a gun-totin', dirt-diggin' momma if your differences are to big ;-)

I think a lot of folks have experienced that. One way to go about it, since your partner is in a profession where she's used to reading technical / scientific material, is to provide her stuff that speaks her language. Here are a few reports you might have her read:






Having children would be a huge mistake and totally unfair to the child who has no say in the matter. I would get myself snipped if I was you and if your main squeeze can't deal with that let her go.

Life is short and fragile
(Which as a health provider, you already know)

Marry your soul mate. Have 1-2 kids. Enjoy what little there is to enjoy in this short miserable existence.
Take many photographs. Cherish them.
It all slips past very fast.

And I disagree with you step back. I have six grandchildren, four grown and two quite young, 13 and 10. My heart hurts every time I think of their future. Bringing children into this world knowing the hunger and misery they are likely to face should be a crime. Of course if you are a denier then your conscience will be clean.

Ron P.

I disagree. We spent more time in survival mode in our evolutionary past and we probably operate better in that mode.

What? You mean we should all have more kids because they would spend their time trying to survive? If we did not have more children they would not have to try to survive. They would not have to suffer misery, hunger and eventually starvation.

We are already in deep, deep overshoot. And you suggest that perhaps we should overshoot even further because trying to survive will give the small percent who do survive a better chance at.... survival?

I don't understand your position at all. Perhaps you should try to explain it further.

Ron P.

I'm not talking Vulcan = I'm not talking pure rationality.
I'm talking "feelings"

What is going to make Agitprop "feel" better?
Evolution and Mother Nature have already spoken on that front: Marry your sweet heart, have kids, live long and prosper.

Actually, that might not spell happiness for an intelligent person. Creating new humans because it makes you feel good in the short term is certainly traditional, but it's also the problem.

Understanding overshoot and having kids anyhow is sociopathic, and might reasonably be considered willful child abuse.

I reckon it's just possible that Agitprop isn't that shallow.

I was married in 1969 and put off having children because even then many of us worried about the future decline of civilization. In 1982 my wife got pregnant (oops). We thought oh well we can manage one child. oops, twins.

Well the world hasn't ended yet. The girls will be 30 this year and they are doing just fine. Like so many of their college friends they are not married and have no children of their own.

They have have been an absolute joy and sense of fulfillment for us. And now that we are getting to be "senile citizens" it is a great comfort to know there is someone relatively young and vital in the world that loves us.

Do I worry about their future? Certainly. But we have done little to increase the world population, merely replacing ourselves at a fairly slow rate. And their very existence means that the world is a better place than it was before they arrived.

So I loath the wanton procreation of some (think Romney, Santorum) yet to have children is just about the most human thing a loving couple can do. Whether future generations are going to live in Dante's Inferno or in a simpler, more gentle world is yet to be seen. Certainly there is some pain to come but none of us really know how bad that is going to be.

I some ways I resemble your story. Had one in 89, and twins in 92. You might have described me as cornocpian back then, I was a rising star is a then thriving industry/company, and my viewpoint was kindof like a weak-slow version of Kurtzweil. They are both a joy, and a pain. And a reason to keep pushing forward. I probably coulda retired young if I hadn't had um, but now I don't think so. Three boys, so i never experienced the daughter thing. I really noticed that this morning in the grocery store, a lot of shopers with 2-5year old daughters, they looked so cute,.. and that really irritated me (like I never had will-have that).

Of course having children can be a loving thing. I don't dislike children, wish I had some. Nobody knows exactly how the future will play out.... though we do know that things will be getting tougher and at some point will really suck for quite awhile.

I don't raise the issue with folks who have kids, nor do I judge them. However, when someone who has some idea of overshoot and dieoff asks for advice on relationships and reproducing, I'm inclined to give it.

It's nice to have someone younger around who loves you. No argument, that was one of the selfish reasons I came up with to have some. However, the list of unselfish reasons had not a single entry. The near-certain wholesale shrinkage of human population in this century may come sooner or may come later, and I have a good enough imagination not to want to add to it. The best way to protect my kids and grandkids was not to consign them to the bottleneck just because I would have loved a family.

Of course having kids Is the easiest thing in the world to rationalize. My comments were and are meant for Agitprop. Bringing kids into the world isn't the only way.

My comments were and are meant for Agitprop.

Yup. Ultimately it's going to be Agitprop (or other similarly situated TOD readers) and his SO who are going to make up their minds based on rationalizations, based on feelings, based on whatever complex of other cognitions spin within the human heart and mind as to whether to get hitched and whether to have kids (*if they can) and/or to adopt, and as to whether to take on a stray dog/cat and so on. All we can do is wish him well in whatever road he decides to take and whatever fates await him down that road.

“Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” - Jesus

Goes for a lot of things we do. The subconscious rules the world, and no, they don't know what they do, but they will surely find out in the future, as new and terrifying experiences penetrate their virgin minds. But let not odious thoughts extinguish the joyful light today, we the children of God, for greater dopamine we pray. (And we will pay, greatly.)

I vote for having rationalizing, dopamine chasing kids. I guess most everyone has done the same without giving it a whole lot of thought. Even anarchy and chaos can elicit stimulating brain chemicals that can make you feel “more alive” than ever before. The future is all good.

Marry your sweet heart, have kids, live long and prosper.

Marry, have kids -- doable. Live long? Depends. Prosper? There's the rub.

My oldest kids, 45 and 44, have bought houses. Cheaper than rent, one says. They didn't ask me; I hope the decline is slow enough that they won't be too sorry. My youngest, 40, is the only married one; his wife had one and they've added three more. Again, fingers crossed. The other offspring have been partnered from time to time, but my wife and I seem to have put them off marriage. The five of them are close, and three live in the same city. They have one another, for now.

At 80, I may miss the worst of what's to come. My young husband, 53, will see more. He's politically active, and we've helped elect some progressive candidates locally. (State is bad, DC seems beyond redemption.) I hope he can help. I play back-up.

People are pointing out that all the apparatus of a police stare is in place, it's just being used against Occupiers and minorities so far. (Look at who's in our for-profit prisons, and why.) The rich are seceding from society, and they are taking measures to ensure they're not followed.

Thanks to The Drum Beat, where the talk at least rings true.

I know some fundamentalists who agree with your attitude about children here--why bring innocents into this vale of tears? They talk about the world having become Sodom and Gomorrah. There is a tendency to become rigid about such things.

I disagree. Life's never been a bowl of cherries. That hasn't prevented most of us from clinging to it under whatever circumstances in which we found ourselves. Having or not having children is a personal choice. It certainly has externalities (as do many of our choices), and I also disagree with other fundamentalists I know who think they have a personal obligation to bring forth as much fruit from their loins as they can. I sometimes note that "filling the earth" has been done and that they are at danger of "ruining the earth" and of not allowing animals to "fill the earth" (a command also found in the Noah account). Cutting oneself off root and branch may be an overreaction, however.

I'd like to think that I can exert a beneficial influence in this world greater than the weight of the resources required to support this meatsack*, and that my progeny, should I ever have any, will have greater positive externalities (by reducing others' impacts) than their below-average negative externalities. That obviously can't apply to everybody, given this isn't Lake Wobegone. That begins to get uncomfortably close to social Darwinism, unfortunately, but memes are important and there's a reason Shakers are virtually extinct.

We may well be in overshoot at present population and consumption levels. That doesn't mean overconsumption is inevitable at present population levels or that procreation is incompatible with zero population growth or even declining population.

*Artificial Life reference, not an immortal soul reference, in case I've confused you on where I'm coming from at this juncture of my life

step back:
"It all slips past very fast."

Very fast

All good ideas-- to which I would add, avoid argument and debate in favor of a stance of informed curiosity. Above all, avoid painting yourself into a corner where your partner feels that if she adopts ideas more similar to your own, then you are "right" somehow, and she has "lost" some kind of argument. And don't just pretend to keep an open mind, because that will be transparently false. At dinner parties, my attitude is something like, "Hey, if abiotic oil or thorium reactors become safe and viable energy sources, I would be delighted, too... but that's not what the data seems to be saying at this point." (Personally, I think the only hope for BAU is a "white swan" event, like the earth being rescued by benevolent aliens, but what purpose would it serve if I shared this opinion?)

If SHE tries to drag you into a debate, do not engage. Just briefly state why you disagree-- the sources, the reasoning, the research design-- and then change the subject. If you DON'T want to debate endlessly, oddly, this often can be a more powerful and less disruptive way of demonstrating your conviction.

My partner and I disagreed about many things 10 years ago that we don't disagree about now. The only times you need to debate is if it's a practical issue, if your partner wants to buy a huge house that requires a lot of energy to heat and cool, or insists on having a ginormous SUV, etc. Or if she disputes or interferes with your desire to stay informed and take basic preparations for safety. And sure, if there is serious disagreement on practical topics, and no room for acceptable compromise, at that point you have a problem. But if you only have the practical debates, and avoid the theoretical ones, often that eliminates most of the static and friction.

I think you cover a lot of what I would say..

I would just want to emphasize the idea Dr. A, that you have to respect and see the credibility in your own views.. and while I agree with Catalyzt that it might go noplace but bad to 'get into it' and debate the difference between your take and hers, it is still important to know that you can name these views, or at least your own, in open conversation with her. How to phrase it is still important.. I wouldn't be sanquine about dumping a whole load of doom into a conversation and inviting a fight.. but to be able to say calmly and clearly..

"I think we're in a very tough spot, we're vulnerable in a lot of ways, and I don't think people appreciate how thin the ice has gotten.. it is very Fragile. Look at Ireland and Greece."

(If she's onboard with CC, but not PO, then there are ways to get to one through the other, and then show how both predicaments not only mirror, but amplify each other.. but as always, DON'T OVERWHELM.. just say this is stuff that concerns you, and you feel it needs a lot more of us paying attention to it.. and let it simmer..)

Frankly, my wife gets that this is where my focus is, while she's chewing over toxics in the food and water, in corrosive advertising and cultural messages, the climate, the state of our forests etc. I don't need to whomp her over the head with this one, just enough to let her know that I see my role in this team as the one who is taking on energy. It sort of complements the fact that I'm the one who usually keeps the furnace going, fixes the electrical, lights the campfire, grills the meats and pancakes, etc..

We just spent a night up in the snowy woods with our daughter, in a tiny uninsulated cabin.. no oil, no grid, no advertising.. fresh snow. (Yes, we drove up there) ..

Respect her views, respect your own views. Don't create more battles than absolutely necessary. Joke about the difference if you can.

So, I suppose what I am asking is this something that has happened with any of you?

It happens to everyone.

Their eyes glaze over

Welcome to the club

Learn to live with it

These are your species mates and you are probably not much different than the rest of "them" when it comes to oh so many things that our tiny (finite) and ignorant brains can't grasp --it is the human condition

you are probably not much different than the rest of "them"

Let me give you a quick, real life example:

Someone I know believes in "Alien" conspiracies and the Government preparing FEMA death camps in Area 51

Needless to say, this does not jive well with my acceptable world views.

So I flat out (99%) reject the idea. Label the person a kook.

It's the same for them; your Sig Other & friends.
They have what they consider to be acceptable world views. PO doesn't jive with theirs.

Agitprop, Good post.

It makes me think about what an atheist goes through when they get to the point they have to let their family know. At that very moment there is an almost complete separation in reality between the two parties. It is hard for each side to accept the other and things may get very aggressive in a futile attempt to bring the stray back to the flock.

So, you have a few options that atheists have.

1) Pretend and go with their flow.

2) Come out, make your life changes and move on.

As someone here posted, there is almost nothing that can be done anyway and you will probably just get all worked up and frustrated.

The good news is that having medical skills, and a doctor for a wife, will mean you will be highly valued in any community that you eventually end up in. If I were you I would brush up on my basic skills that would be needed by any small town doctor and forget about all that specialized stuff like multi-organ transplants. Gather a great medical kit and book resources, perhaps learn to grow special plants that can provide you with basic, well proven remedies. Those huge drug companies are not going to make it.

Finally, enjoy your life and accept that humanity must go through this process in order to learn that we must live in balance with nature. Remember, Yeast do not know this either, and never will.

We both work in a profession (health care, she's a doctor, I'm an RN) which uses vast amounts of STUFF made out of fossil fuels (medications, plastic catheters, disposable gloves...) and dependent on cheap electricity, lots of it. I wonder about how much longer we can keep things going like this, with the rising cost of health care,

Look towards Cuba as an example of medicine with low energy input.
Get a copy of 'when there is no Doctor' and 'when there is no Dentist' for ideas of low energy health care.

Get some old 'this is how we run things' manuals from the oldest hospitals in your area. See how the candystripers used to spend time using hot water+bleach for cleaning VS today's spritzing with quat. Having a compiled list could set you up as a consultant :-)

you significant strife with those you love and care for?

one ex-poster ended up with an ex.

I'm blessed and my SO agrees and is willing to plan for a convert-photons-into-stuff future. The part I've not figured out is how to be rid of the parasites that will still want to exist on a oil+photon energy diet (what we have now) VS the future photonic energy diet.

Though this (and about everything else I say) is probably politically incorrect, it seems that women who want babies are often particularly hostile to "peak everything" subjects. I had one long-time friend decide I was no friend of hers because I "believed in" climate change, once she got broody with her new husband. I had never even mentioned it to her, she was taking a poll and systematically getting rid of friends who "believed in" it. The more intelligent one is, the more cornucopianism is a useful delusion for quashing internal dissonance, a heuristic for ignoring the clear end of certain chains of logic.

Still, the moral issue of adding kids to the world and having them live through tough times is a valid one and the main reason we didn't have any. There were pretty much no unselfish rationales for doing it.

For the most part, you can't convince anyone of something they have an imperative to disbelieve. That's such a truism that believing otherwise may be a bit of a delusion in itself. Best of luck...

Just women? Seems like men who want kids would also have incentive to deny the "peak everything" scenario. And more women than men accept the scientific consensus on climate change. (Probably because women are more likely to be Democrats.)

At least your former friend is consistent. Unlike those "stop climate change so my five children can go snowboarding" types.

Heh. I figured the comment might get a response from you. Yes, in my admittedly small-sample-size experience, it has been more often women than men who get more cornucopian when getting babyitis. Maybe I just have more women friends, I've never tallied it up. Or maybe it's just that women confide more stuff verbally in general. Or maybe I'm overweighting that incident because it hurt. Stop me anytime...

Now I find that in general women tend to be less delusional than men when it comes to the delusions I am conscious of, though the bar isn't set very high, and I always find a few extra delusions in myself each year I hadn't previously been aware of.

However, I'd say that consistency in the pursuit of rationalization is no great virtue. In an odd way I can almost respect the consistently ditzy ones more.

"consistency in the pursuit of rationalization is no great virtue."

Make a bumper sticker, and I'll be happy to display it!

This variation is a little more readable..

"It is no measure of good health to be well adjusted to a sick society"

which I think is attrib. to Krishnamurti

I saw "Consistency is the hallmark of a narrow mind" somewhere.

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'Self Reliance', 1841

It sounds like you're both intelligent and hard working. Nothing wrong with wanting to have kids and travel. The main issue is being willing and able to live within your means, while understanding that things in general will be getting relentlessly less affordable while the means to purchase (or produce) them become less certain. You don't want to be burdened with debt; fiscal responsibility is critical. The previous decades of an expanding economy provided a lot of second chances and was forgiving of bad choices; going forward, not so much.

My own wife fortunately has been understanding, even proactive in some areas, and my (grown) two kids and their spouses are coming around. What we on this site realize is so foreign to the status quo that it naturally encounters resistance and denial initially. But that doesn't mean people aren't internally mulling it over and coming to their own conclusions. We just have to accept the fact that we are ahead of our time. But it won't be lost on our friends and relatives as things unfold that they heard it first from us, and our perceived credibility in their sight can only increase. And as someone already noted, your medical knowledge and skill sets will always be valuable in any community.

My husband (also a physician) is rather dismissive and condescending with regards to PO. He is the same with basic stuff like not getting plastic bags at the store, not recycling, etc etc. All the things we have done, gardens, orchards, wood cookstove, hybrid vehicle, solar inter tie and solar H20, greenhouses, grey water have been met with a "You know my crazy doomer wife and all of her nutty theories" response. However, as I am doing all the work on these projects there's not much room for complaint- especially as the bottom line is less money spent per month once the initial capital outlay has been made.

I have a different challenge with my students. Just last week in my Environmental Politics class I was explaining the concept of Peak Oil. One of the students asked, "What's the other side?" He seemed upset that I wasn't presenting the issue as "Some people say we will run out of cheap energy but others say we will find new sources and solve the problem." I explained that it was not a question of "if" but "when" and the real question was what should the policy response be given that situation. A lot of my students simply cannot look into the abyss of a future very different from that which they have planned. My biggest challenge is to prepare them for what is to come, motivate them to push for at least some mitigation and not become so disheartened that they slip into denial or fatalism. ELP is a great concept (although I usually add H for humanize- bundling resilient communities- plus a catchier acronym) plus I make them each come up with a policy proposal and describe how it could be implemented.

But it is an uphill battle at work and at home and it can be exhausting and frustrating.

in my Environmental Politics class I was explaining [to the students] the concept of Peak Oil

It's amazing by itself that the school allows you the freedom even to mention this blasphemous topic (PO).

The way I personally picture it --when I turn on the 1984 Mindbender Tube (TV) and observe the talking heads doing their punditry thing (politicians, economists, journalists, "fair & balanced" posers pretending to be journalists)-- is that they are all blind believers in the Free Market/Invisible Hand religion. They merely don't wear the pointy hats or caped crusader costumes worn by the priests of the more traditional religions. (Although business suit and strangling rope around the neck is not too far off.)

If you start mentioning anything that brings into question their religious-like beliefs about perpetual growth and ever-lasting progress, they simply go ape-sh*t. You have just deeply offended their deity. You have just brought the match a wee bit too close to their version of the Koran.

"Politics", "economics", "jobs", "money", etc., they are all part of the same basic thing, namely, a mechanism for deciding who is "deserving" to partake in the dwindling resources of humanity and who is not. We all have to play. What other choice do we really have?

But good for you. At least you're sending your students into the fray with eyes-wide-open.

Well there is something to be said for academic freedom. But in addition, our institution, Humboldt State, is primarily known for natural resources majors and environmental science so its not really an uphill battle with administration. Our department even has a master's program entitled Environment and Community and one of the areas of emphasis for undergrads is Environment and Sustainability.

OK. Got it. You hail from home of the hemp plant. So it (talking PO truth) is more acceptable there than probably many other places on the Planet.

Myself, I hail from the "deep south" (Silicon Valley =down south for you) and talking Peak to Power here is mostly not an acceptable thing to do. The prevailing mantra down here is that a beautiful high tech tomorrow is just around the bend on our perpetual GE Carousel of Progress. Them who speak of a non-Singularity future are shunned.

I don't know where to jump in and offer a different view but I think this is as good of a place as any. In my memory PO was brought up in a high school environmental science class in the late 1980's it said we wouldn't have enough oil by now. It seems that Peak Oil was adopted by left leaning people because it helped their agenda, but when the effects Peak Oil didn't happen fast enough they weren't very happy. Peak Oil belief, politcal view points and environmentalism are not one in the same, it's not a monolithic group.

There are free market people that say Peak Oil is coming and the market will dictate the outcome just as it always has. Our culture and society will make the adjustment if forced to. Population may drop, technology may increase efficiency, for certain groups technology may decrease and they will be on horseback or something but having our government stand in the way of the inevitable is not the answer. We don't need more wars for the free flow of oil from the middle east and we don't need to subsidize future companies.

What I'm saying is that maybe you can't teach another point of view to the science and math behind peak oil, but you can teach another outcome of peak oil. I don't normally see things through rose colored glasses, but the pain of peak oil may be what pushes us to something else. Our government attempts to numb us to that pain but pain is a large part of the healing process.

I don't equate my happiness to how much fossil fuels I've burned each day and maybe that's the other side of the discussion, maybe we can deal with this very well, but we have to be allowed to know it's there.

I'm blessed to be married to someone who shares my worldview about PO and the hard times to come. We don't always agree with one another, but we do both believe that whatever possible "prepping" that we can do is a good idea. As long as your SO wasn't openly hostile to the idea of doing some basic prep work, planting fruit trees, building up some food storage, etc, I don't see the lack of belief in PO as a deal-breaker.

Look, no one knows when the S will truly HTF. Maybe we have a good many years before things get really bad. I don't see the harm in enjoying life in the present while making plans for a more difficult future. What's the harm in some travel to distant locations now, when it is still possible to do so relatively cheaply? If PO hits us like a ton of bricks, you won't get a chance to travel to distant locations for leisure, so why not enjoy it while you can?

As for kids, I'm a doomer myself, but my wife and I have two young kids anyway (Ages 3 and 1&1/2 currently). No one can predict exactly how soon and how fast the world will change... my kids might be in their teens or even later when it starts getting truly bad. Kids are more adaptable than adults, and they will probably better deal with a changing world than older folks will. As my kids get older, I look forward to their help so that we can survive together as a family. You kids might be an asset, rather than a burden when the hard times arrive.

Life is an absolute... no one ever gets out of it alive. Any child that you have will eventually die... is that a good reason to not ever have kids? I have gotten more joy out of the last 3&1/2 years with my kids than I had in the previous 33&1/2. Even while expecting the worst, I don't regret having kids. They motivate me to plant one more tree, or store one more can of food, and the precious time we have together is all that much sweeter knowing that it could change at any moment.

Live your life, don't let the knowledge of PO consume you before any significant consequences even occur. There will be plenty of time to deal with those consequences when the time comes.

"she's talking about kids"

Yep. It is the only reason we're here. Nothing else has any real meaning. When the mind takes over the whole body, all else suffers. Ask your foot if it wants to walk in the future. Have kids. The population will pass through a constriction. Happens all the time. If you're not in the pool, you wont remain in the puddle.

I'm just waiting for the Duggars to discover superovulation:
50 embryos at a whack... each one adding to the quiverfull. To abstain is without meaning in altering the global outcome... It is just an empty gesture. People breed without limit. People survive within the limits of resources. Technology made another resource available. Should the level of resources fall, a disease spread, a war erupt, the climate change, the population will pass through a constriction. Happens all the time.

Shiva dances in a circle of creation and destruction.

Stop the world, I want to get off?


It is often the end of the world:
The world ends in the year 400, 1000, 1666, 1843, 1975, 2000, 2011, 2012, and 2060.
The world has been going to h#// for hundreds of years.


"Go placidly amid the noise and waste,
And remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.
And let not the sands of time get in your lunch.
With all its hopes, dreams, promises, and urban renewal,
The world continues to deteriorate.
Give up."



Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

All too true.

And thanks especially for illuminating "Deteriorata". I'd forgotten its perfection.

DD and others on this post.

Whatever happens, you two being an RN and Physician for occupations is coming from such a place of contribution to any society that if you two can't have kids then we are all f...ed. People like you should be the ones having kids. They will be fed, clothed, educated....hopefully loved. Unfortunately, so many folks that have children have no business doing so, and I know this because I work in the public K-12 system and live in a poor valley experiencing decline. Now, I will shut up because it doesn't take much for me to sound like a Eugenics perpetrator. I just believe that people should be prepared to look after their children properly and love them with every fibre of their being. Alas, many of my parents cannot/do not seem to do it very well.

We don't know what the future may bring, but what harm is there in preparing like Ghung, Klee, and others (myself, included)? It's all good. And if things go south faster than the slow-mo decline, my kids and 1 grandchild (I hope for a few more) will have a place to retreat which we have been building for the last 6 years. And if nothing changes, they have a great place to come for holidays. It's a good place to be.

Now off to the woodpile!! Coffee is over.

As an aside, our power was out for most of yesterday with big winds, falling trees, minus temp. The new 'Bakers Choice' cookstove works awesome. Bacon and our 'farm eggs' for breakfast, toasted home made bread, a great supper, cosy candles and led as extra lighting for food prep, lots of hot water in the bronze tank, battery powered sat radio alternating between bluegrass, classical, and occasional rock. It was excitingly good fun. (Sorry, but it was and always is fun for us). When the lights came on at 9:00 pm it was inspiring because the interludes of power interruptions allow one to discover how great it is to have secure power provided in our society. Most don't even think about electricity. It is the defining gift of our civilization, imho. That, the library system, and TOD.....of course.


Maybe I'm a sentimentalist, but I vote for getting married. You say you're very much in love with her - you're a lucky man to be in that situation. There's probably a part of her that adores you for being deeply concerned about the future in the first place, even if she doesn't agree with what you say. If you can sense that's the case, definitely go for it - she's a keeper. Have a couple of kids - you won't regret it.

What might be a more acute disagreement to deal with is the fact that healthcare in the US (I'm assuming you're in the US here) is a bubble industry - consuming more and more of our GDP, in a clearly unsustainable fashion. I think you're painfully aware of that from what you wrote. What will you two do when that bubble pops? If you prepare by living lean before the bubble pops, you'll be ahead of the game. I'd say talk to the good doctor and try to lay out a course where she gets some of the travel and other things you've both worked for, but you keep your powder dry, your financial house in order, and your expectations within reaching distance to reality.

My best guess is that you are wrong on potential war with Iran - I think the US military and intelligence apparatus has pretty starkly judged just what a disaster that would be. Let's you and me both hope I'm right.

An entertaining and interesting exercise, Onan.

The individual life is fulfilled by reproducing.
The collective good is harmed by overpopulation.

We used to have an M Onan Batterload contributing, here.

Why not live the good life while you can? It seems you're setting yourself up for being miserable during BAU, which is quite pointless, since when/if BAU disintegrates you'll likely die horribly quite soon, together with most people, whether you try to prepare or not.

You may find it immoral to live a life where you hasten PO with a second, but hey, nobody is perfect and a second doesn't matter much. Also, you may find it immoral to raise kids that will die horribly, but it really isn't. Death is certain, and almost always unpleasant, but life generally is worth it. Focus on the life you live, the life you give and the time you get, not on the end.

PO doom is like wine. If it's an entertaining hobby to you, then fine, but do it in moderation and in company that enjoys the same hobby. If it is a hindrance in your daily life, restrain your use until it seize to be a problem.

I missed this in the NY times a couple of days ago, but maybe NG producers are interested in it;

The Methanol Alternative to Gasoline

The current global spot price for methanol made from natural gas is $1.13 per gallon, without any subsidy. Methanol produces about half the energy per gallon as gasoline, so you need to burn twice as much to go just as far. But it is still cheaper than gas. It would cost approximately $3 today, including taxes, distribution and retail markup, to travel the same distance on methanol as on a gallon of gasoline, according to calculations by the Methanol Institute, a cost that is well below the current national average for gasoline. If the economics of natural gas change, a flex fuel vehicle could still run on methanol made from coal, biomass and possibly recycled carbon dioxide, if that technology proves economical.

The picture is actually a bit better than that. Current methanol is pure, chemical grade - the production process creates small amounts of ethanol, propanol etc that must be separated. When you are producing it for fuel, you can leave all that in there - ups the energy content and lowers the cost - substantially.

Current US fuel rules allow up to 3% methanol by volume in gasoline. That would be about 270,000bpd of methanol in the 9mbd of gasoline use in the US. It would also take about 1,1bn cu.ft/day of NG to produce that.

If the methanol plants were located in, say Texas, that would be 1/20th of NG production - would that be enough to raise the local price of NG to keep the Rockman's in business?

Methanol is tough on many synthetic and aluminum car parts. While used a lot in racing, those engines usually get rebuilt for every race. Converting vehicles and infrastructure to handle methanol will be a tough sell.

Well, racing engines need rebuilds mainly because they are racing - I don't think that's really applicable to normal engines.

years ago, Ford did a whole bunch of work on methanol engines and in the 90's had methanol flex fuel vehicles on sale in California - corrosion/wear was never a problem.

It would only take a slight tweak -$100/vehcile - to make the flex fuel vehicles methanol compatible (china is now doing this).

At the low concentrations - 3% - it is not an issue in any car, nor for the infrastructure.

Since we are already setting up an alternate infrastructure for E85, we might as well make that suitable for M as well.

Also, dedicated fleet operators could easily set up for co or complete fueling of methanol.

I'm not saying we can switch to a methanol-only fuel economy, but we can certainly make and use a fair bit of it without much trouble.
Unlike exporting LNG, converting it to methanol will back out oil imports, instead of increasing them.

Paul - Works for me, of course. But we're back to that nasty neative feedback loop. Be it methanol, CNG vehicles, NG fired power plants, etc. - if the economics look great done on today's prices/economics and there follows such a major shift in NG utiization what happens to profitability? Spend $1 billion build an infrastructure to convert NG to X because it's profitable with NG selling for $3/mcf. But the increased consumption pushes prices up 2 or 3 times currentand do the economics still work? Lower ROR? Maybe can't recover the initial capex? No different that the uncertainty we always face with oil patch investment decisions: future price forcasting. Tens of $billion invested in the dry shale gas plays in east Texas when prices went north of $10/mcf. Now at 25% of that price...not so much. That little miscalculation costs the oil patch 100's of billions in stock equity. As always: you pays your money and takes your chances. If methanol is going to be a significcant factor then someone needs to invest 100's of billions in infrastructure. And that requires being confident of NG prices for the next 6 to 10 years at a minimum IMHO. Somene will have to have a great deal of faith in the crystal ball to pull that trigger.

Of course, it is not your (or my) $ on the line, but, unlike Fischer-Tropsch the investment is not nearly as expensive, and the equipment is widely used today.

With methanol, the yield is about 70%, so to make one gal (56,000btu) you need 80,000. At current prices, that is 20c for a gallon of MeOH. If we are selling this as fuel, we can assume the equivalent to gasoline price, with a discount of say, 5% for not being gasoline. So, at half the btu of gasoline, and the current RBOB price of $3.15, we have $1.57 less 5% = $1.50

So from 20c to $1.50, that is one very healthy "crack spread"

If NG prices go up to $10, then it is 80c, and at the recent lows for gasoline at $2.40, you are at $1.15 for MeOh, still a pretty good crack spread.

Also, if someone sets up an MeOh plant (an Methanex is doing just this - relocating a plant to La from Chile), they can always sell methanol into the industrial chemical market, and back out imports. That means they have to purify it, but at least they are not solely at the mercy of the fuel market.

As long as oil is over $100 and gas is under $10, I'd say this is worth their while, and the fact that Methanex is doing it backs that up.

Now we just have to see how long it is before it is sold as fuel, and before someone else sets up another plant.

IIRC, methanol is more hygroscopic so you have to be careful to keep it carefully corked, but that's a good idea for any volatile fuel anyway.

Thanks Paul. Those net cash flows look interesting. But just like my drilling investments I always focus on the initial capex expense such as the cost of drilling the well. I can easily make a nice positive cash flow from a well that doesn't produce a positive ROR. Production costs are often rather low even if the well isn't making much. IOW I can sell my NG for $3/mcf with production cost as low as $0.40/mcf so I net $2.60/mcf. But the well only recovers $4 million of the $6 million I spent to drill it.

So can you give some sense of what the cost to build a meth plant that can produce X gallons per day? That with the stats you've given maybe we can come up with a crude (LOL) estimate of payout and ROR for a given NG feedstock cost.

Paul - Works for me, of course. But we're back to that nasty neative feedback loop. Be it methanol, CNG vehicles, NG fired power plants, etc. - if the economics look great done on today's prices/economics and there follows such a major shift in NG utiization what happens to profitability? Spend $1 billion build an infrastructure to convert NG to X because it's profitable with NG selling for $3/mcf. But the increased consumption pushes prices up 2 or 3 times currentand do the economics still work? Lower ROR? Maybe can't recover the initial capex? No different that the uncertainty we always face with oil patch investment decisions: future price forcasting. Tens of $billion invested in the dry shale gas plays in east Texas when prices went north of $10/mcf. Now at 25% of that price...not so much. That little miscalculation costs the oil patch 100's of billions in stock equity. As always: you pays your money and takes your chances. If methanol is going to be a significcant factor then someone needs to invest 100's of billions in infrastructure. And that requires being confident of NG prices for the next 6 to 10 years at a minimum IMHO. Somene will have to have a great deal of faith in the crystal ball to pull that trigger.

Methanex has already pulled the trigger;

Methanex to restart one plant, relocate another

Methanex Corp. (TSX:MX) has announced it plans to restart a mothballed methanol plant at its Motunui site in New Zealand. That plant is expected to start production in mid-2012.

Methanex has also announced plans to move one of its idle methanol plants in Chile to Geismar, Louisiana. The plant is expected to be operating in 2014’s second half.

Methanex is the world'd largest methanol producer, so we can assume they know what they are doing.

I found some information on the cost of building a plant - from this white paper (page 34),
they estimate costs for a 1 million ton per year {biomass} methanol plant at $650m
That is a 330m gal/yr palnt, or 160m gal gasoline equivalent.
In terms of barrels/day, it comes out to a 10 kbd plant, for the $650m, or $65k per bpd of gasoline equivalent.

If you need a 10% ROI on that, it needs to make a profit of $65m/yr - or 40c per GGE (gasoline gal equivalent), or 20c per methanol gallon.

Using my prices up thread, gasoline is currently $3.15, and the NG cost is 40c per GGE, and add in your 40c ROI, and you still have a margin of $2.85.
but when NG hits $10, the cost is $1.60 per GGE, add in your 40c and you are at $2, leaving $1.15 to cover all the opex and other...

I would say that, at the current NG/gasoline spread, there is a good profit margin, but with $10NG, there is probably little.

So it all depends on the company's view of the NG - gasoline spread.

Methanex obviously thinks its enough to justify relocating a plant, but until they, or anyone else, announce plans to build one, I guess the money and/or market isn't there - yet.

Mucho thanks Paul. Cash flow looks very good. More importantly, if I read your numbers correctly, the capex investment pays out in about a year. Actually that sounds too good so maybe I did the calc wrong. But even a 2-3 year payout would still be very acceptable IMHO. Many similar types of maufacturing projects work at 5 year payouts. Given the inability to make an accurate forward NG model beyond 5+ years would make a 8+ year payout project questionable IMHO. But I have great confidence (unfortunately for the Rockman) that we won't see significant average NG much higher than current for a few years.

Also interesting: a cost of $65,000/bbl-day to build a meth plant. Currently in the US folks are buying oil producing properties and such deals are closing in the $80k - $100k per bbl-day.

Tapping technology will create bounty for all

In Abundance: The future is better than you think, X-Prize founder Peter Diamandis creates an optimistic vision - but does it square with reality?

In Abundance, Peter Diamandis, founder of the X Prize Foundation, and journalist Steven Kotler argue that innovation can provide 9 billion people with a world of plenty. ... That sounds good in principle. Yet as a veteran technology writer, I found the book's cheerleading tone rose rapidly to a crescendo of irrational exuberance.

Some schemes described in the book, like Lowell Wood's redesign of third-world toilets, are woefully in need of a reality check. Before going on to invent devices such as a mosquito-zapping laser, Wood worked for decades on "Star Wars" weapons at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Now he envisions a New Age toilet that would burn faeces to evaporate urine, thus preventing water pollution while generating surplus energy that could power cellphones and lights.

Curious how big this surplus would be left given that a person's daily output of faeces generates "over a megajoule" of energy, I checked several references. It turns out that to vaporise a litre of water - on the low end of the 1 to 2 litres of urine the average adult produces each day - it takes about 2.3 megajoules. Somebody missed something here.

I spoke about an hour total with Peter and Steve at a private promotional event. Peter (Steve is the writer, not the originator of the X-prize ideas). He has some interesting ideas like growing meat in a lab, providing access to the internet by creating really cheap tablets for kids in Africa etc. There does not seem to be an overarching philosophy aside from trying to accelerate the R&D of certain (seemingly) somewhat random processes/technologies. Some of the ideas to me seem to be in conflict with each other. For example there is an X-prize for space travel, cleaning up oil spills and CO2 removal from powerplant waste streams. Peter did not see these goals as conflicting.
It is good to have an optimist in the room but there needs to be a reality check.
He totally gets that resources are limited and mention the idiocy of having a 100lb person in a 5000lb car, and pointed out in his speech that if the rest of the world wanted to live the way the west does we'd need 3 more eartsh. However, when I asked him where all the resources where going to come from to facilitate the increased consumption which he is pushing the answer was "Asteroid mining". When I asked how exactly this was going to be done he excused himself because he had to go mingle. To be fair, he had been very generous with his time and I appreciate that.
Steve was a whole lot more balanced and saw the internal contradictions much more clearly but hoped that on average the positive effects will outweigh the negative ones.



Thanks for that insight.

Matt Ridley also covered the Diamandis/Kotler book yesterday in his column:

...Dematerialization is one of the reasons that Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler give for the future's being "better than you think" in their new book, "Abundance." Mr. Diamandis founded the X Prizes, which handsomely reward those who reach certain far-minded goals in technology, medicine, energy and ecology. The first X Prize was the $10 million Ansari X Prize, won by Burt Rutan and Paul Allen in 2004 for sending a spacecraft capable of carrying three people 62 miles into space twice within two weeks. A current X Prize will give $10 million to the "first team to sequence 100 human genomes within 10 days for $10,000 or less per genome with an accuracy of no more than one error in every 100,000 bases sequenced."

As these examples demonstrate, Messrs. Diamandis and Kotler think that individual innovators can and will make huge differences to human living standards. Many of their book's fascinating examples are drawn from the world of business. Take Iqbal Quadir, who quit his job as a venture capitalist in New York to start a cellphone company in his native Bangladesh, at a time when cellphones cost nearly twice the annual income of the average Bangladeshi. He had the foresight to bet on falling costs and the usefulness of the new technology for the long-isolated rural poor.


Drums of war: The US media's 'Iranian threat'

... the so-called 'Iranian Threat' is a narrative being constructed by the US media all by itself - with scant public support from the Obama administration. Our News Divide this week takes a close look at the coverage of Iran and a culture of journalism that seems to have forgotten the very real dangers of hypothesis and conjecture.

Does AIPAC want war?

If a bill pushed by Lieberman passes, it could give the US "political authorisation for military force" against Iran.

... a new Senate effort to move the goalposts of US policy to declare it "unacceptable" for Iran to develop a nuclear weapons capability - not a nuclear weapon, but the technical capacity to create one - gives AIPAC the opportunity to make a choice which all can observe. If the Lieberman resolution becomes an ask for AIPAC lobbyists at the March AIPAC policy conference, then the world will know: AIPAC is lobbying Congress for war with Iran.

"Nuclear weapons capability" is a fuzzy term with no legal definition.

Joe Lieberman-the senator representing the state of Israel

Plus the other 99 senators. If AIPAC certifies you are a friend of Israel, you get lots and lots of donations, otherwise you get smeared. Few can say no. The current economic sanctions bill (which is effectively economic war), passed 100:0, so Obama can't be seen to be opposing it. Of all recent presidents I think Bush pushed back the most (he was pugnacious after all), but it didn't do him any good, they got things their way regardless.

Gee whiz ... here we go again ... it's not PO, AGW, overshoot, etc. ... it's all the fault of those J__ people.

The trees are blossoming this soon because it's spring time for H__tler & Germany. This tired and hateful game just never ends, does it?

It's probably about the only subject on TOD where you completely lose objectivity. Your response is mechanical and predictable.

For the record I used to be a strong supporter of Israel in everything once upon a time. It was mainly a Jewish friend (a medical Doctor) who put considerable effort into persuading me to understand the distinction between Zionism and mainstream Judaism. You should hear his account of working for a time in Israeli "Settler" towns where the locals would speak to him as "one of them". According to him many of them were the most racist and dangerous people he had ever met.

And as for the Christian Zionists who want to fill the middle-east with Jews so that they can mostly all be killed with the survivors finally accepting Jesus as Lord (as Sarah Palin believes). It's a marriage made in Hell.

The present level of hatred between Jews and Moslems is quite ironic considering that for almost a thousand years it was the Moslems who sheltered the Jews and it was the Christian theology which persecuted them. Funny how the world changes so fast. People who are in the middle of the conflict probably don't know about all this and will never know given some of the vested interests.

Muslims understand quite well the difference between Judaism, which forms the foundation for Islam, and Zionism, which is a Settler Ideology aimed at killing them and stealing their lands--just a different name for Manifest Destiny, the USA's Settler Ideology that's still at work trying to conquer the planet.

Even if one understands the difference, there is still lingering suspicion. Does this person have divided loyalty? Might they do something against my interest because they secretly identify with the enemy? Very nasty things ,including stereotyping and racism can develope pretty quickly because of these sorts of dynamics.

And thus the ongoing attempt at Divide and Conquer because solidarity and democracy are the enemies of authoritarians and oligarchies. It will be interesting to see how many condemn the new Bruce Springsteen album Wrecking Ball as incitefull, devisive.

I think these relationships change all the time. The current configuration has a lot to do with who your friends are and who your enemies are. Then the history can be selectively mined for supportive data. The current alignments are not likely to remain the same forever.

I'm afraid the hateful game echoes from generation to generation. One group has something horrible done onto it. It obsesses on the evil and pledges never again, but its response becomes evil unto still others. Its really hard to break the cycle. Who is good/bad at the moment is mainly a function of history, and where different groups are in the cycle. We need to see things from a broader perspective and squash the cycle, not repeat it.

I'm an Atheist. but nevertheless I enjoyed reading the indian epic book "Mahabharatha" and especially Krishna's Bhagavad Gita ("What God tells you" - where he indirectly tells there is no God and that you're better off singing and dancing, fooling around with women and eating good food and in general, enjoying life... and that you're better off worshiping the mountains instead of some arbitrary unseen "God" because the mountain is seen to directly feed them with water, fodder for cattle in its meadows and a beautiful morning to greet every day. he also tells you to beat the crap out of people who have cheated on you (well, all species do that and so that must be a universal truth for all living things living on a finite resource base? ;) ).

But I wonder, what kind of a religion of the future can keep people bound and still working together for a 'common good'? Who would feel 'awe' at the sight of a destroyed, scraped mountain whose river has been trashed and polluted? Who'd want to take a pilgrim voyage amidst piles of garbage?

"What God tells you" - where he indirectly tells there is no God and that you're better off singing and dancing, fooling around with women and eating good food and in general, enjoying life... and that you're better off worshiping the mountains instead of some arbitrary unseen "God" because the mountain is seen to directly feed them with water, fodder for cattle in its meadows and a beautiful morning to greet every day. he also tells you to beat the crap out of people who have cheated on you (well, all species do that and so that must be a universal truth for all living things living on a finite resource base? ;)

I am not a religious person myself but I do have a problem with lying. First of all, "Bhagvad Gita" means "Song of God" and not "What God tells you". The rest of the stuff you have written is completely false. The Bhagvad Gita says that there are 3 paths to enlightenment or salvation or liberation from the cycle of birth and death:
1. The path of selfless action. Do your duty without expectation of reward
2. The path of devotion. Be completely devoted to God and not the material life
3. Path of wisdom. Perform meditation to be able to see the transient from the eternal
With wisdom one sees that these are not 3 different paths, but one and the same.

Really, sunson, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

Gosh, that's not my interpretation at all. In fact you're both wrong. It says "Give TOD a donation and receive enlightenment..." :-0

We're all blind men, trying to describe Elephants.

You're trying to correct an error of spiritual interpretation of this book, but doing so you're calling sunson a liar and shaming him..

Step back a little and it's kind of funny. Nobody is going to do all that much justice to the Bagavad Gita in any 2 para blog post.

As the Judge said in Bonfire of the Vanities .. 'Be decent to each other..'

Give the guy a break, he probably read someone's interpretation of the book, there are thousands of them floating around anyways. It's not as if there is one authoritative version of the book, Ramayana has hundreds of versions and variations, same with Mahabharata and other epics.
Indians never had any tradition of meticulously documenting things, most epics were passed down as songs and oral recitations and it's quite likely that whatever we read today has been undergoing metamorphosis for thousands of years.

wiseindian and jokuhl, I am not talking about a different interpretation. I am talking about utter falsehood. There is nothing in the Bhagvad Gita that could be interpreted as advocating chasing women, worshiping mountains, there is no God, etc. Rather, the gist of the entire text is that man suffers because he spends his life chasing sensual pleasures.

You're putting a very definite resolve on a very philosophical and complex allegory.

I don't think the Mahabharata would try to ever be so limited and didactic. The question tells more than any answer.

I was very suprised when I read it. I never heard tht way oflookign at the text before. Now I have never read the texts (although I would like to one day) and claim no expertice on the matter, but if that was a possibleinterprettion,I guess I would have encountered one of them before.

Nevertheless...please don't call him a liar. He may simply be mistaken, or have a different interpretation.

As I recall, sunson is from India and English is not his first language. If there's a possibility that someone is mistaken rather than trying to deceive intentionally, please don't call him a liar.

"Gee whiz ... here we go again ... it's not PO, AGW, overshoot, etc. ... it's all the fault of those J__ people. "

I find that offensive. There is a world of difference between anti-semitism and not liking the policies of the Israeli state and the influence it has over the US government.

There is even a difference between run of the mill anti-semitism and Hitler. Get a life.

I have a life, but almost no family --thanks to Hitler.

--signed, a 2nd generation Holocaust survivor

(and yes, "never again" is a justified automatic response)

Its how you do the "never again" that matters. Its too easy to act out of anger, and end up doing unto someone else -possibly because of paranoia you see them as a threat.

"Wipe Israel off the face of the Earth" (by the President of Iran) --that's paranoia?

Oy vai, I simply can't wait to see your definition of hysterical over reaction.

Thats not what he said (meant). The Persian word he used implied it would collapse of its own accord, similar to how the Soviet union disintegrated. A prediction is quite different from a threat. And he lacks (and always will lack) the capability. Your own intelligence service says, they haven't decided to have a weapons program. Your country is quite capable of defending itself. Pre-emptively attacking possible adversaries is just not the way. We allowed ourselves to follow that course a decade ago, and it didn't turn out well.

"intelligence service says, they haven't decided to have a weapons program"

This whole thing is a game.

American gas prices are going up.

Could be, largely, the dollar turning into trash. Gold is nearing $1800/oz. The Dow is pushing 13,000. I remember, in far more prosperous days, a Dow below 500.


The news is a cynical, hateful, manipulative lie, at best. Otherwise, it is just an endless parade of shootings, house fires, accidents, celebrities, sports, and weather.

"Wipe Israel off the face of the Earth"

You speak Persian and know that is exactly what was said?

Or is the above quote what you were told was said?

Maybe you're right.
Maybe he said "Arbit Macht Frie"
Which is Persian for 'Work Sets You Free'
And those are just a bunch of harmless words inscribed on a sign he has hanging over the entrance to an amusement park he is building to service a people whom he actually likes, as he had said a thousand times before. We simply misunderstand him. He is such a nice guy.

So rather than actually answer my question you went for snark.

That's ok, I like a good snark.

Now, can you actually answer the question?

For those of you following at home http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/did-ahmadinejad-re...

Then, specialists such as Juan Cole of the University of Michigan and Arash Norouzi of the Mossadegh Project pointed out that the original statement in Persian did not say that Israel should be wiped from the map, but instead that it would collapse.

Note how the NY Times “Wipe Israel ‘off the map’ Iranian says. is not what was presented here as a direct quote "Wipe Israel off the face of the Earth" (by the President of Iran) And others who are presented as language specialists have yet another translation. Hence my valid line of questioning - Did you translate this yourself to come up with what you are presenting as a direct quote?

Religious zealots of any stripe generally believe that the world will not be complete until all populations worship at the feet of their deity. Usually, they want expansion and conversion, to eliminate evil from the world. I think it's just an excuse for tribalism running on the processor in the back of their heads.

What if your neighbor put a 50 caliber machine gun on his front porch, aimed it at your front door, and said, “I'm gonna kill you some day because you don't worship Jesus.” How would you respond? Would you feel happy coming out of the house each morning? Did you tell your malevolent neighbor that you have a howitzer in your backyard aimed at his living room. Perhaps you should use your howitzer before he sets up the machine gun, because, by God, he makes more money than you do and before you know it, he'll have a howitzer bigger than yours. Religious insanity doesn't make a good neighbor, wherever you are.

Does 'never again' justify the way Palestinians are treated?

The Roma people got a raw deal also - why do they seem to lack the 'never again' attitude? (and are they still getting a raw deal)

I just don't want our Cuban policy run by 50,000 - 100,000 people in Miami and I don't want our ME policy run by AIPAC or Bibi. How about the other 300 million plus citizens having a say.

The problem is balance of power. The way our system works a small but very committed subgroup can come to dominate their chosen policy area, over a substantial majority. These are the biggst subgroups whose dominance of specific foreign policy issues prevent more rational polcies from being tried. That can create deep resentment of these groups, whose only "crime" was to be too successful in pushing their narrow cause. The real problem isn't these groups of people. The problem is that we have created a system which can be so easily hijacked, by small but committed and well organized groups (like the 1% in domestic issues). We need to recognize that our free market religion is at the root of this vulnerability. But, we'd rather villify the more successful subgroups, then commit to root and branch reforms.

This also applies to our for profit media system. determined forces with lots of money to spend can corrupt these, and the misinformed public can then be manipulated into doing their bidding.

My daughter raised a salient question, "How much money do people spend for gas, over the years?"

Adjusting for inflation, this is a good indicator of overall pain -- consumption and price. If you adjust for earnings, then it's an even better indicator. Turns out, there is just such a graph here:

It's got some simplistic assumptions rolled in (no adjustment for average mileage, just wages and gas prices), but it still give you a feel for how the expense impact ebbs and flows.

Of course your personal goal should be to earn more, drive less, use a more efficient vehicle, and evade inflation. At least most of those are to some degree under individual control.

The goal of everyone earning more is a big part of what's gotten us into this mess in the first place.

I have chosen to earn less, spend less, and drive as little as possible in as efficient a vehicle as possible. And even this is utterly not sustainable long-term.

Tarsands oil pipeline through Quebec stalled

The environmental group Équiterre and a citizen from Dunham have won a Quebec Court ruling that will temporarily stall the attempt by oil companies Enbridge and Suncor to ship oilsands from Alberta through Montreal to Portland, Maine.

The $17-million Trailbreaker Pipeline project proposes to reverse the flow of oil in two existing pipelines that now ship oil from Portland to Montreal and on to Sarnia, Ont. The project called for a flow of about 200,000 barrels per day of raw crude oil to be piped east to Portland, and from there ship it by tanker to Gulf Coast refineries.

I'm not sure that Quebecois are really aware of what is going on the oil industry. The pipeline which is being re-reversed was actually built during the 1970's to supply Quebec with Alberta oil. Because Alberta conventional production started falling, the pipeline was reversed in the 1990's to take imported oil to Ontario.

Today, however, Alberta production is at record highs because of oil sands production, and is considerably cheaper than imported oil. Enbridge, the pipeline company, would like to re-reverse the pipeline to take oil in the original direction, to Quebec.

The first stage would take oil from Sarnia to Imperial Oil's Naticoke, Ontario refinery. Imperial Oil produces substantial amounts of oil from the Alberta oil sands and would like to refine its own oil at Nanticoke.

As far as extensions go, Suncor is the biggest oil sands producer and also owns the only remaining oil refinery in Montreal (which once had 6 refineries). It would like to refine its own synthetic crude oil there. If Suncor can't do this, it might just shut down the Montreal refinery and supply the Quebec Market from its Sarnia, Ontario refinery, which already processes oil sands oil.

That would leave one remaining refinery in Quebec, the Ultramar Quebec City refinery. Its economics are not good because it also has to rely on imported oil. Ultramar is now owned by Valero Energy, based in San Antonio Texas. The Quebec City refinery is also at risk because it is pulling down Valero's profit margins. If the QC refinery shuts down, Quebec would have no refineries at all, and would have to be supplied by refineries in Ontario, which are already receiving oil sands production from Alberta.

The Trailbreaker Pipeline is not really on the table any more because it is cheaper for Enbridge to supply the Gulf Coast via the Seaway pipeline, which it recently bought and is now in the process of reversing to take oil sands bitumen to Gulf Coast refineries. Beyond that, there's also TransCanada's much bigger Keystone XL pipeline, which is currently stalled by US government inaction.

Let them have their way with no oil coming in to them, so all the Quebec refineries starve an close, and then after that has sunk in, let's do another referendum and see if they really want to separate.

Bang for buck sounds pretty good on this project (25 cents a barrel for one year pays for the reversal work). I'm not sure Equiterre is broadly representative of Quebecois opinion, but it sounds like it's moot for the moment.

RE: up top USGS Unveils Shale Potential for Alaska North Slope

Whether one agrees or disagrees with their crystal ball or their methodology, at least the USGS is attempting to make some sort of assessment of how much petroleum might yet be found. For anyone who would like to actually look at the assessments, rather than a journalist's interpretation of them, here are a few places to start:

The main USGS Energy Resources Page is at http://energy.usgs.gov/

Because of where I am and what I do, I'm most interested in the Alaska Petroleum Studies site at http://energy.usgs.gov/RegionalStudies/Alaska.aspx

I should add that that these studies include a guess of yet to be discovered volumes. Like any guess, they can be, and are often wrong. Many people, including myself, believe the USGS tends to be somewhat overly optimistic. Be that as it may, these studies often include great compilations of basic science on the basins. When new (to Alaska) geos come to town, I often point them to some of these USGS studies as an introduction to N Slope petroleum geology. For those few on TOD who are actually interested in petroleum science, and would like to drill down into the details of any basin, they are a good place to start.

Alaska Geo

Thanks for that link. I downloaded the latest assessments of 1) Alaska North Slope, 2) Williston Basin, and Eagle Ford.

I am not an oil geologist (a mere Chemical Engineer) but would like to understand better how to read this data.

What I found was:(all in millions of barrels)

Eagle Ford P50 - 894 Mean - 994
Williston P50 - 3622 Mean - 3645
North Slope P50 - 840 Mean - 940
Total P50 - 5356 Mean - 5579

Could any of the oil geologists on TOD tell me how I should understand this? Does this say that the total proven plus probable reserves for these three is about 5.5 billion barrels? Are am I missing something?

I have always read that the USGS assesses on the optimistic side. But these totals seem pretty dismal for an oil hungry (or US hungry) world.

TX Engineer,

I'm a geologist, not a statistician, but I will try to explain it. I'm sure some of our more statistically oriented folks on TOD will be delighted to jump on me if I screw up this explanation, but here goes ;-)

The USGS uses a Monte Carlo method. They ultimately end up with a probability curve for the assessment area. This plots volume against probability. Note that this is for "Undiscovered, Technically Recoverable" petroleum. In other words, yet to be found petroleum.

So when for the Eagleford they report "P95" = 382, that means that they conclude there is a 95% probability that it is at least that large. A "P50" of 894 means that their is a 50% probability it is that big, and a "P5" of 1,940 means only a 5% chance it is that large.

The Mean is just the average of the curve. Because the probablility curve is not necessarily symetrical, the mean usually isn't the same as the P50. Note that for the Eagleford the P50 at 894 is somewhat smaller than the Mean at 994.

Their exact procedures involve several steps utilizing the best geologic info they can compile. As I understand it, they do separate probability distributions on numbers of traps, size of traps, reservoir, charge, etc. Then they roll those probabilities together into the final numbers. There are a lot of details about how one truncates some of those distributions, etc, that really complicate the exercise. For more background on what happens under the hood, you might start with National Oil and Gas Assessment Methodology

My own personal view is that the USGS's compilation and analysis of the regional geology is generally good. Their numbers for the "upside" are probably OK. I believe the problem is that they don't sufficiently weight the downside, which drives up the P50 and Mean too high. They don't make enough allowance for the possibility that some geologic factor, not reflected in the available data, will screw up their analysis.

I know a few of the USGS guys who have worked on these assessments. I've pounded rocks with, and drunk beer with several of them. They are good geologists, but most of them don't have a lot of industry experience. They have never drilled wells for a living. Drilling wells makes one very humble, very rapidly. You soon learn there plenty of "unknown unknowns" that will bite you, as often as not. Tends to make one a bit more conservative.

Thanks very much Geo = that really helps.


New form of 'Public Transportation' ...

The flying men of Yungas Valley (w/Video)

Bolivia's coca farmers make a living criss-crossing deep valleys on a web of makeshift cables high above forest canopy.

They use ropes to swing across the narrow valleys, suspended from ancient rusting pulleys. It takes all of 30 seconds from one side to the other. By foot it would take more than an hour.

Before then there was nothing. Nothing," Synthe, a harvester, says. "We had to walk down to the bottom, cross the river and then climb up the other side. It used to be quite a hike."

It is almost a form of public transport. There are about 20 of these cables strung across the valley. All day long, people and goods fly across the river 200 metres below.

kinda like ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3r0pROzHY5M

and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TlNOwwQQJk ... Whee, Whee

It is almost a form of public transport. There are about 20 of these cables strung across the valley. All day long, people and goods fly across the river 200 metres below.

I'd say that it IS a form of public transport - just not a government owned/regulated one.

There is a reason why in most places they are gov regulated - done well, they are very safe, done poorly (or poorly maintained), they are potential death traps.

Aerial ropeways are an often overlooked form of transport - most people think they are just for ski lifts. But they certainly have their place, like the Portland Aerial Tram It runs at 22mph- faster than peak hour traffic!

Ropeways have a long history of being used for transporting cargo too, and are still being built for that today;

Aerial Ropeways: Automatic Cargo Transport for a Bargain

Says that 3 people have died in last 20 years, that's a mighty good track record given the technology they have down there.

My wife and I saw such a system for getting supplies and the occasional Elder up to the Rifugi Shelters and back, in the Dolomites near Bolzano, Italy. I have some fun video of a Grampa and his friend/son? put-putting away, down into the mountain mists in a little steel pallet that hooked in under the cable.

Good, clean scary fun!

About Texas: Court Says Landowners Own Groundwater.

For the Supreme Court of Texas to disregard all riparian laws of the land and pass 100% title to water that happens to be moving under a landowner's land is frightening.

Consider: the Edwards Aquifer, which is the main aquifer of Texas, could be destroyed by a few corporations that happent to be cotton farmers and fish farmers in order to provide 8 to 10 quarters of increased profits.

Unlike a river, where the only riparian owners harmed are downstream, it is possible for a downstream owner to destroy an underground aquifer far upstream by dropping the base (lowering the water table).

Unlike an oil reservoir, where landowners whose oil is drained are the only folks directly impacted, the Edwards Aquifer is essential to the lives of millions, and to the surival of the State.

I am sure that the artificial people's (corporations') contributions to the S. Ct. were duly noted before that decision was written.

I am embarassed for my profession!


Zap – Shocked me too when I first read it. Going to have to research the specifics. But I can understand the ruing based upon Texas oil/NG laws. Two general styles of law: the right of capture (Texas) and unitization (La.) With ROC I own any oil/NG produced from my land as long as the well is located legally on my property. The logic: even if my production causes the ff to migrate from my neighbor’s land the ownership transfers when it crosses the property boundary. IOW Mother Earth moved the ff to my property…not me. But my neighbor has the right to drill an offset well on his land to produce those ff’s before they move off his land. In La. I may drill a well legally on my land but if my neighbor can show geologic evidence proving that some of the ff’s are coming from his land the state can form a production unit and award him any percentage of my production they deem appropriate. All he needs to do is pay that same proportionate share of what I spent (and risked) to drill the well.

Of course, there a complication with unitization: one might prove the oil/NG accumulation covers only 500 acres and some of it lies under my neighbors land. But an aquifer can easily be proven to cover millions of acres owned by tens of thousands of folks. So now all those thousands of folks each own a few ounces of water produced from my well every day? Not very practical. Thus there is strong legal precedence (that’s been upheld in Texas courts/Texas Rail Road Commission) may thousands of times for the validity of right of capture. This ruling could have huge implications for every water user in the state. In theory one land owner could produce all the water that might have been used by thouands of others.

The Rule of capture has some very negative consequences in promoting the overuse of resources:

The rule of capture or law of capture is common law from England, adopted by a number of U.S. jurisdictions, that establishes a rule of non-liability and ownership of captured natural resources including groundwater, oil, gas, and game animals. The general rule is that the first person to "capture" such a resource owns that resource. For example, a landowner who extracts or “captures” groundwater, oil, or gas from a well that bottoms within the subsurface of his land acquires absolute ownership of the substance, even if it is drained from the subsurface of another’s land. The landowner that captures the substance owes no duty of care to other landowners. For example, a water well owner may dry up wells owned by adjacent landowners without fear of liability,

Conservation acts

The rule of capture creates an incentive for an owner to drill as many wells as possible on his piece of land so as to extract the groundwater, oil, or gas before his neighbor. Very dense drilling can result in dissipation of the pressure within an aquifer or oil and gas reservoir, and therefore overdrafting of the aquifer or incomplete extraction of the substance. To mitigate this danger, many states have sought to supersede the rule of capture with conservation acts. Such acts enforce prorationing, pooling, and limits on density of drilling to avoid physical waste and ensure maximum ultimate recovery.

Because of the negative consequences of treating the right to produce water as an absolute right, many jurisdictions apply a Reasonable use rule which only allows landowners to extract water if it does not damage the aquifer or lower the water table. If it does dry up the neighbors' wells, they can sue for damages.

However, this results in too much litigation over water rights, so in Alberta (and some Western States) the government itself claims ownership of all the water and allocates it through the use of licenses to produce a specific amount. A landowner cannot drill a water well without a license, even on his own land, and he can only produce up to the limit on the license. Once the available water is allocated, the government does not issue any further licenses.

In Alberta, if the supply gets tight, the government will even reduce or cancel existing licenses and reallocate the water to higher-value uses. This can cause hard feelings among landowners, but it is intended to stop people from overusing the resource. Just because they own the land does not mean they have the unfettered right to use the water under it. The Alberta government takes the POV that if water is short, it will supply water to the nearest town, and they can buy it there and truck it to their property.

This would all be great if the water was captured. It is not captured, though. It runs, like a river. It is recharged by rainfall, and in places fed by rivers. When left to nature, the Edwards has artesian springs that feed creeks and rivers. A spring-fed creek that does not flow to a river (ends by going back into the ground) is called a branch. Many of the Edwards Aquifier branches do not flow today b/c the farmers south and east of San Antonio (many of the fish farmers) use so much water.

I am going to try to get free long enough to read the full opinion. I seem to remember the earlier litigation involved fish farms and local governments trying to stop them from using all of the water, especially during dry years. May be some other fact situation though, and I don't want to make any assumptions.



Talking about fish farms in that area reminded me that my Dad used to do specialized electrical controls and troubleshooting work for a federal fish hatchery in Uvalde (they found him thru the folks at Willow Beach). I remember him flying into there from Phoenix in the 80's, and me as a little kid questioning why they needed to import an electrician from AZ and why they were paying enough that it made sense for him to go (I was a weird little kid). Around then is when I started twigging to the fact that Dad's abilities were a little atypical.

Yeah, and the Texas supreme court recognized those adverse consequences in its opinion. I think my comment below probably overstates the problem. The court clearly affirms the power of the state to regulate withdrawals from the aquifer. After thinking about it more, the problem they seem to be focused on is the all-or-nothing nature of the water district's current allocation scheme.

The state law appears (to me) to allow -- but not require -- districts to include historical use as a factor in deciding individual allocations. In this particular case, historical use was basically the only factor considered, a model drawn from surface water rights. The court took considerable pains to point out that surface water and groundwater should be treated differently. My inference is that if the district changes its allocation rules so that no landowner is denied complete access, and if the allocation rules make reasonable sense, they'll be okay.

Here's the decision for others:

The court acknowledges property ownership of in-situ groundwater largely on the basis of a law passed last year by the Lege, but points out that such ownership is subject to substantial regulation including limits on production and subject to the rule of capture by adjacent properties.

They allow that excessive regulation could constitute a compensable taking ("a landowner cannot be deprived of all beneficial use of the groundwater below his property merely because he did not use it during an historical period and supply is limited."), but decline to state that a taking occurred and remand to the district court for a full development of the record to consider whether a taking occurred in this case (original judgment was summary on that issue). It should be noted that wells producing less than 25000 gallons per day (~28af per year) for domestic or livestock use are exempt under the EAAA, and that the EAA had granted a permit for 14af per year which the court affirmed, so the EAA did not deny Day access to 'all' groundwater, but the court allowed but did not conclude that it was possible that "EAAA regulation is too restrictive of Day’s groundwater rights and without justification in the overall regulatory scheme."

I am sure that the artificial people's (corporations') contributions to the S. Ct. were duly noted before that decision was written.

It is a Republic that represents its citizens.

the Edwards Aquifer is essential to the lives of millions, and to the surival of the State.

Capturing what rain that falls and using that will be important then. Don Landcaster and his 3 (or 4?) books would be a start. Making a cistern and perhaps building a green house + plant processing of liquid waste is another option.

Did you mean Brad Lancaster, in Tucson, AZ? The link is: http://www.harvestingrainwater.com/

The "milkshake" scene in "There will be blood" shouldbe mandtory watch for everyone who want to be a water rights lawyer.

My goodness. Liam Halligan from the UKs Daily Telegraph shows that he 'gets' Peakoil:


A very good piece - and remarkable to see in the DT which has its fair share of the wingnut fraternity as its readership. I feel a few of them will be suitably challenged to have to respond in the comments section....

Liam Halligan has been coming out with a few good articles recently in the Telegraph. It seems he's taken the red pill and woken up in the real world.

On the supply side, while attention focuses on geopolitical flare-ups, the important trends relate to geology and finance. Since the 1960s, the discovery rate and size of new oil and gas fields has fallen markedly. More than four-fifths of the world's major fields are beyond peak production. The output of the world's largest 580 oil fields is declining at a 5.1pc annual average. Strategic oil traders now worry aloud about falling pressure at Saudi's Ghawar, Cantarell in Mexico and other giants fields. The credit-crunch, meanwhile, severely cut investment in exploration and well development, which is likely to have long term supply implications.

He doesn't seem to have been taken in by the media hype over unconventional oil and gas tsunami either.

While there's lots of hype about tar sands and shale fuels, these new technologies often expend more energy than they create, while causing horrendous environmental and water-supply problems. Conventionally-produced crude will remain absolutely critical, and demand for it will spiral, until mankind bans the internal combustion engine, outlaws ammonium-based fertilisers, dismantles the global pharmaceutical industry and learns to live without plastic.

Just one journalist and not always accurate?
Ammonium fertilizer is made mostly from NG except in China where it mostly derives from coal. Uses about 5% of world NG consumption and about 1-2% of world fossil energy.
The biggest single part of the crude problem is still all that silly/neccessary these days driving around in USA, the great importer. So mankind might make a start with that. Or again, perhaps not just yet.

Err ... EDIT China imported something a tad over 200Mtoe of crude per year 2010 to 2011 against the USA's ~500mtoe. See the essential energy export databrowser http://mazamascience.com/OilExport/
But the China number is rising steeply. Who in the world needs the USA when we have China?

IMO there will be another 1970's type oil shock within the next four-five years, shock as in petrol pumps closed, rationing, odd/even number plates etc. People will get mad and things will come back to normal, but people will ultimately realize how precious that stuff is.

Re: Texas: Court Says Landowners Own Groundwater

I downloaded the opinion and read it. My understanding of it is that the Texas supreme court has ruled that all four of the following apply at once:

  • Landowners have a substantial property right to the water in an aquifer under their land.
  • The rule of capture still holds, so a neighbor that drills a well on his own property that drains the aquifer under your land through natural flows is doing nothing wrong.
  • Government can impose limits on total aquifer withdrawals for some social good -- like not having the aquifer drained in short order.
  • Government restrictions on individual withdrawals are a "taking" for which the landowner must be reimbursed.

IANAL -- although I've had to pretend to be one as a legislative staffer -- but they seem to have opened up a massive can of worms here. If I had to guess what the unintended consequences of this will be, I'd guess that a whole lot of farmers are going to get priced out of business by new much-higher production fees on water pumped from their wells.

Water law in western states is already complicated, but this certainly seems to have made it more so in Texas.

opened up a massive can of worms here.

A can of worms? Ha! Put the worms + can under a light and the worms at the top will go towards the bottom and that pushes the bottom worms to the top. Then the top worms dive to the bottom.

Why not a can of cockroaches? Or flies? Or mosquitoes? Or door to door salesman?

EDITORIAL - Intensify search for low-cost energy solutions

Jamaica may not have oil deposits in any appreciable amount, but the country is rich in solar and wind energy. It is puzzling that we have taken so very long to establish national goals to encourage businesses and householders, who can afford the start-up costs, to invest in wind and solar energy as strong alternative solutions to complement the dominant fossil fuel options.

There is improved technology developed by automakers which has increased fuel economy of the average vehicle. Why has there be no concerted effort to encourage importation of fuel-efficient vehicles by offering incentives to consumers?

For anyone who has been following my posts in the past few months or so, this is a change in tone from the editors of this newspaper. I have been argunig the same thing in comments to their articles on energy incessantly. I would be flattered if my many comments, trying to drive home the point of Peak Oil/Limits to growth etc. have actually caught the attention of the editorial staff (moderators) who must approve comments before they appear. On the other hand, they may be coming to these conclusions all on their own.

As for the vehicle efficiency issue, there used to be punitive import duties on gas guzzlers with higher rates of duty starting on anything with an engine size of over 2.0L. Once you got over 3.0L duties were close to 100% and IIRC, when you got into 5.0L territory, duties were in the region of 200%. All these duties were reduced last year. I'm sure that the fact that the other daily newspaper had article after article, criticizing the government motor vehicle import policies,.had nothing at all to do with it. Since the particular newspaper is owned by one of the wealthiest families in the island with interests in tourism, trading and automobile dealerships and with last year being an election year, one wonders what incentives the ruling party might have had to do this.

Not much different from politics in the US, I guess. He who pays the piper, calls the tune.

Alan from the islands.

Obviously reducing the taxes on big, gas-guzzling engines at this point in time is going to be very bad for Jamaica's trade balance. They should be increasing them.

One thing that would be useful is a special tax reduction for the Japanese 660 cc Kei cars. In Canada people are bringing these things in because we are allowed to freely import cars more than 13 years old, regardless of their right hand drive. They are very useful here. They would be even more useful in Jamaica where the roads aren't as wide, straight, or fast, and you drive on the left.

I understand that in Jamaica you can't import cars less than 3 years old. Japanese vehicle inspection rules are such that they like to sell their cars to other countries when they are about 5 years old, so you are missing an opportunity to import good, small, cheap, fuel-efficient used cars.

660 cc Suzuki Jimny, which qualifies as a truck in Japan

RMG, last year when the duties were reduced, the age limits on used vehicles were also relaxed. IIRC cars more than two years old could not be imported, which ruled out the vast majority of used cars from Japan as very few cars are sold before their first road-worthiness certificate expires at 3 years. You are right, in that the majority of Japanese cars are sold after their second road-worthiness certificate expires at 5 years. This used to be the limit when used Japanese cars first started appearing on the Jamaican market but, the costs of these cars which were usually very low mileage and in excellent condition, were so much lower than new cars that new car sales plummeted and JDM imports soared, causing the government to become alarmed at the raw numbers of used cars that were being imported.

The Suzuki Jimny is well represented here and by far most ordinary people drive what would be considered sub-compacts with the Honda Fit and similar sized cars from other manufacturers being very common.The ubiquitous Toyota Corolla is the most popular model with the Nissan Versa and Honda Civic also being well represented. In terms of trucks, the Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier and Mitsubishi L200 vastly outnumber any full sized pickups from any of the US big three. For fans of the Ford Ranger, it is still being produced and sold, just not in the US. I have recently seen a few brand new Ford Rangers in police livery.

It is the "upper middle class" and "wealthy" for whom the price of gas is apparently not an issue that insist on driving European luxury sedans from the likes of BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Jaguar or SUVs, with the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, Mitsubishi Pajero and BMW X5 being the most popular among the elite. The "bling" crowd (reggae superstars, narcotics traffickers and some of the nouveau riche) prefer to drive Cadillac Escalades and Range Rovers. I tagged along with some buddies of mine to a car show last Wednesday (public holiday) and my Jaw nearly dropped to the ground when I saw a brand new Porsche Panamera S (Porsche's 4 door full sized luxury performance sedan) sitting beside a large (S class?) mercedes 2 door coupe.

My beef with the folks who buy these vehicles that are relatively large, expensive and fuel inefficient is that, for the same money they plunked down on their status symbols, they could have probably made themselves self sufficient in electricity with a nice PV solar set up. Problem is that by their very nature they are unlikely to consider such matters since:

1)They are too busy acquiring more wealth
2)They are not aware of peak anything and are looking forward to BAU.
3)Renewable energy set ups do not make very visible status symbols.

I suppose it's not that much different from the situation anywhere else in the world.

Alan from the islands

"Renewable energy set ups do not make very visible status symbols."

That is a fun observation!

Maybe they should be on tall poles... Solar energy trees for all to see: a display of wealth and propriety... Like something from Farmville.

Image: http://farmvillefarms.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/best-farmville-farms-p...

Solar trees:
Funny ad from that site: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=gIzej29JCLE

None of these are beautiful or ostentatious enough for the purpose.

I think that, above all else, renewable energy sends out a strong whiff of 'We're concerned about energy, resources and the environment..' and that sort of message will never trump those guys (like Trump) who are happy to Trumpet that they are NEVER Concerned, not about anything.

I, more often than not, agree with Thomas Friedman. But I have completely lost faith in his reasoning ability now.
A Good Question by Thomas Friedman

...in July, the auto industry agreed to achieve fleet averages of more than 50 miles per gallon by 2025 — it will inevitably drive down demand for gasoline and create more surplus crude to export.

More surplus crude to export?

“the increase in oil production from offshore fields and unconventional sources in America,” and that exportable U.S. surplus could grow even bigger.

Our surplus could grow even bigger? I was not aware that there was a surplus. According to the EIA's Monthly Energy Review in 2011 we produced an average of 5,627,000 barrels per day and imported an average of 8,503,000 barrels per day. Meaning we still import 60% of the crude oil we consume. We are a long, long, way from being a net crude oil exporter.

I am not surprised that some uninformed bloggers confuse recent articles about the USA being a slight net exporter of refined petroleum products with being net exports of crude oil. But it is inexcusable for someone of Friedman's experience to make such a blunder.

Ron Patterson

I agree, Ron. It's unbelievable that someone like TF could parrot that nonsense. These are the Crazy Years.

And parsing his statement he did say "crude", which i would think would imply he knows the difference, -or could have in about one minute if he had asked.

So what are we to make of his statement?

Its hard to know. Did he just mindlessly repeat something he'd heard and didn't question? Or is it some sort of willful ignornace thing? Or maybe he submitted the article with "net exporter of refined products", and some editor rewrote it. In which case he should be hopping mad at the editors, who have made him look like an idiot.

TF, it seems, is following one Phil Verleger an energy advisor from the presidents Ford and Carter days and currently an Energy Market and Commodities Consultant firm ..... straight off the deep end

the following three quotes put things in perspective for me

Put it all together, says Verleger, and you can see why America “will want to consider joining with other energy-exporting countries, like those in OPEC, to sustain high oil prices.

The United States today holds almost 300 million barrels of excess oil in its Strategic Petroleum Reserve. In his paper on this issue, Dr. Verleger suggests these surplus barrels should be sold to supplement efforts to reduce Iran’s crude export sales. This will help tighten sanctions on Iran and ease concerns of countries that must replace their Iranian crude imports.

Add to that, says Verleger, “the increase in oil production from offshore fields and unconventional sources in America,” and that exportable U.S. surplus could grow even bigger.

Thinking this belongs in the "Catabolic Collapse and the Common Cold" series. Crazy years indeed.

Yes, that's some pretty obvious crazy talk. Empty the SPR to squeeze Iran in a time of high prices? Yes, let's just dump that emergency supply right away! Offshore and unconventional making a "surplus"? Last I checked, we've been drilling offshore for decades, and similarly we haven't had an exportable surplus for decades.

That said, all this agressive denial is starting to make me into a conspiracy theorist. Are people that ignorant? Everyone and everything is being blamed for high oil prices except that there is a finite supply and high demand. This is not just the NYTimes, on other sites as well - political sites, car sites, whatever - nobody seems to every grasp that idea of "finite" when talking about oil, even just talking in current supply terms, not even in ultimate peak oil terms... It just never enters their mind.

I am starting to wonder if there is a sort of propoganda war going on trying to distract people from the idea of limits. The amount and agressiveness of the denial is just mindboggling to me. An entire conversation about oil prices can occur with the simplest explanation for the rise in price being completely unmentioned or ignored. It's always Obama's fault, or the fault of those Arabs, or the Iranians, or the speculators.

TF says some really dumb things once in a while, but this is perhaps the furthest I've ever seen him from reality, in the most easily fact-checked and disproven way possible. I can only believe that the editors are purposefully propogating a lie, and we're going to be hearing these words from other people's mouths over and over again in the coming months.

That said, all this agressive denial is starting to make me into a conspiracy theorist

VS what? The past events over time that demonstrate that there are events which are coordinated outside the public eye?

At the point where an outcome is determined most humans will work hard to provide justification for that outcome.

An attack on Iran has been presented for years and yet there has been no attack.

What realities have stopped what has been seen in the past as a fiat acompoli?

Maybe not conspiricy so much as mass delusion carried on by a chorus of irrational exuberance.

It just requires combination of ignorance, a diet of misinformation, and a political climate which is a thoroughly polarized game of blame the other guy's policies.

Into this atmosphere stroll the talking heads (such as Peter Shiff, Jim Cramer, (now) Tom Friedman, Dan Yergin, Larry Kudlow) with a narrative which begins to sound, like we can develop an energy policy which effectively de-emphasizes the Mid east and creates sustainable revenue, jobs and security here at home (which of course we could, but it would look so different from this one)

Let alone that so much of this assumes the willing co-operation of our northern neighbors and a few others where so much of this new found security lies

But ,heck, bust out the champagne, and welcome home the troops cause we finally have the means to break the grip of those greedy Arabs right here within our very own (cough extended) borders.

Compelling stuff and very palatible around both ends of the breakfast counter in the good old USA. Yes, yes, drill baby scrape!

Course it's not all bad because some of this revolves around reduced consumption. Never mind we flush several million jobs in the process, even the promise of all this new exploration and drilling activity has a cure for that.

Seen in this light a weak dollar is good, jobs loss is ok, and high fuel prices are a good thing. Just pay no attention to the net import of 60% of our liquid transportation fuels and the balance of payment that entails and it works as a fine ideal, that is until that first shot is fired in the Straits of Hormuz, and we all get that wake up call.

Think that is the biggest reason we don't get the reality of an attack and prefer this pipe dream of American energy independence while we await the next leg down.

What comments of Peter Schiff would lead you to throw him in with the other guys you listed? He mostly disagrees with the others you named.

Yes that one surprized me too.
(longer version)
Has to do with his view on the dollar collapse.

I really don't know if he is getting sucked in to this meme about the resurgence of US oil production, but he said it. It is difficult to imagine a US economy capable of hanging together in any form and being able to supply it's 'entitled' driving citizenry and then producing a surplus. Dark prediction IMHO

Perhaps more testament to just how powerful this narrative has become. And perhaps how truly negative.

OTOH it could be seen as a natural outcome of ELM which argues something like we 'find ourselves outbid for 'our' own production' in following the logic westexas has laid out for us. Chindia, "what is our oil doing under your coastal waters"

To me this will come to a head however sometime long before we reach net crude exports. I hope this means we husband the resource, conserve like hell, and get back to more local economies. Current trend is not so.

"I really don't know if he is getting sucked in to this meme about the resurgence of US oil production, but he said it"

I think the snipit you posted didn't give enough information to explain his entire thought process. Peter's thinking is that the dollar collapse will be so bad for the American economy that we will not be able to afford to use oil domestically. If that's the case some of our current oil production will be sold on the world market where countries with less currency problems would buy it. Peter's talking about US currency valuations and commodity pricing after the world no longer buys oil with US dollars when we loose the exclusive world reserve status to the dollar. Peter could have easily substituted oil for beef and his theory would be that we will export more beef because we won't be able to afford to consume as much beef in America.

Peter's not saying our domestic oil production will increase enough to meet our current demand as well as having excess supply to sell. Peter's a free market doomer that thinks government's response to economic problems cause more economic problems. Our demand did fall after 2008, so why wouldn't it fall if a greater collapse occurs in the future?

"America is actually going to go from an oil impoter to an oil exporter."

I don't doubt the tenor of what you are saying. Just that he did not say 'some of our current oil production will be sold on the world market where countries with less currency problems would buy it'

Think if you read through what I replied to you again and see the full interview, it's evident that this idea that the US can become a net crude exporter is being picked up by people coming from lots of different directions.

"Think if you read through what I replied to you again and see the full interview, it's evident that this idea that the US can become a net crude exporter is being picked up by people coming from lots of different directions."

Absolutely! Many of those people don't currently get it.

Peter is not one of those guys.

There is always the possibility this PO will push us tword other
outcomes. Imbedded within this idea of some kind of economic
recovery fueled by US oil production is the value of a weak dollar
,conservation within the US and high oil prices ( not that these things are all bad)

Where one side is spinning this into a positive economic light ,which is delusional
the other sees it quite the opposite ,which I also tend to see ,but both seem to be marking similar trends
I do not happen to agree in either event that the US will become a
net crude producer in a meaningful timeframe because I think the
trend will be acted upon by other forces like depletion, politics and
Intense cultural resistance But I been wrong before.

"Empty the SPR..."
Sell-off or gain control of another asset.

"This is not just the NYTimes..."
The medium of communication is owned. All voices are the one voice, the owner's voice.

"It just never enters their mind."
...or the audience's.

"The amount and aggressiveness..."
The themes are repeated over and over*:
Global warming is a lie.
Evolution is a lie.
Social Security is a failure. It should be privatized.
The Post-Office is a failure. It should be privatized.
Schools are a failure. They should be religious or privatized.
Welfare is an expensive evil fraud. It should be religious.
Putting taxes back to pre-Reagan era is raising taxes.
Trade agreements and off-shoring improve the quality of jobs here.
"Job Creators"
"Class Warfare"
Wind-power is a scam.
Electric cars are a scam.
Solar energy is a scam.
Contraception is an important subject right now.
Gay marriage is an important subject right now.
America is oil independent.
Gas prices are a scam.
Vote properly and get $2.50 gas.
Transfer the Strategic Oil Reserves.
Iraq is making an atomic bomb.
"Don't let the smoking gun be a mushroom cloud."
We will be greeted with flowers in Iraq.
The short Iraq war will cost $60 Billion.
Iran is making an atomic bomb.

"editors are purposefully propagating a lie"


must label events and people with distinctive phrases or slogans
They must be utilized again and again

"and we're going to be hearing these words from other people's mouths over and over again in the coming months"

Reading the article, it appears that he is completely unaware of what is going on. He says that the US is exporting crude oil, which is completely incorrect. The US is exporting petroleum products, i.e. things like gasoline and diesel fuel, but it is still importing most of its crude oil. All that is happening is that it refining the imported crude oil at the same rate and exporting more of the refined products.

This is a result of high prices and severe market distortions rather than an increase in US crude oil production, and will likely come to an end once things get sorted out. At this point in time, half the oil refineries in the Northeast US, and a huge oil refinery in the US Virgin Islands are scheduled to be closed, and that will reduce both crude oil imports and product exports. Those refineries were selling products at a loss to keep production rates up, and that is non-sustainable in the long term. The Hovensa refinery in the Virgin Islands has lost $1.3 billion over the last 3 years.

It's not as positive a trend as the media would like you to believe. True, there has been a 10% uptick in US oil production as a result of high prices in the past few years, but the major developments have been the collapse in US gasoline and diesel demand as a result of high prices, and the shutting down of US refineries as a result of the fall in demand.

"...it appears that he is completely unaware of what is going on."

That's SOP for TF. But the notion that we have surplus crude to export has already infected too many brians as it's the latest bit of disinfo I encounter and have to debunk.

And maybe he has a technical out? We must export some small volumes of crude, probably some Alaskan oil goes to other countries. So maybe he could wiggle out on a technicality.

If I were an editor, with hire/fire power, I doubt any of the current crop of journalists would keep their jobs. Human mistakes are one thing, but this continuous foolishness is ridiculous.

Well, according to the EIA Weekly Supply Estimates in the week of 02/17/12, the US produced 5,817,000 barrels per day of crude oil, imported 9,091,00 bpd, and exported a minuscule 37,000 bpd. Imports supplied 61% of the US crude oil market and domestic production 39%.

All of the crude exports went to Canada. Imports from Canada were 2,241,000 bpd, so the 37,000 bpd of exports to Canada amounted to 1.5% of imports from Canada. I think it was probably just some oil being shipped across the border because the particular wells were closer to Canadian refineries.

However, as far as petroleum products go, the US imported 2,096,000 bpd of products and exported 3,156,000 bpd, so it had a 1,023,000 barrels of net petroleum product exports - which is what is confusing people.

About half of those net exports went to Mexico, and most of the rest went to South America. A lot of products were exported to Canada, but the US imported even more products from Canada than it exported. There is a very heavy two-way flow of refined products between the two countries under NAFTA, although the crude oil movements are almost all one-way.

I suspect that he knows full well what he is writing, but is being paid a princely sum to write it. Just follow the money!

Edit: and to follow that thought a little further, maybe he has decided to cash in all the credibility he accrued over the years, for a large enough check, shortly before retirement.

So I'll be watching for what comes next. Will it be a correction and apology, or an announcement of his retirement?

He is supposed to have married a billionaire. I suspect his porofessional earning don't even come close to his wifes investment earnings. Presumably he's motivated more by pride than need for money.

He wants to reduce the gap between his and his wifs earnings? Some men have a lot of pride in this matter.

TF doesn't need a check as his wife is filthy rich.

I posted a comment on the story (on the NYT website) but it hasn't been published.

Ron, I re-read Friedman's opinion piece and followed his logic a little more closely. He's not claiming we're a net crude exporter now. He explicitly says "...potential exporter". He's saying that, due to higher domestic U.S. production and mandated biofuels (ethanol) mixed into gasoline, the U.S. could potentially become an exporter. Add to that the higher fuel economy standards in place by 2025, reducing demand, and we'll have even more to export.

That's his thought process. Please note I'm not saying I agree with any of what he's saying, so don't shoot the interpreter. It's a remarkably poorly-thought-out piece and Friedman has swallowed some of the bait floated in the last few weeks hook, line, and sinker. I submitted a quick response which should show up soon.

I would like to hear a ToD discussion of Friedman's idea for a fixed U.S. floor on the price of gasoline - i.e. set a high floor with a variable federal tax making up the difference between the commodity price and the consumer price. Just curious what others think of it. Politically, it's a non-starter of course.

- Dick Lawrence

Achieving what he claims, would be like completeing twenty hail Mary passes in a row. Not mathematically impossible, but far far beyonf the pale.
Of course if we passed a $10/gallon tax on gasoline, and other oil products, we might be able to get there. That would really fly with Joe 6 Pack, wouldn't it?

He's saying that, due to higher domestic U.S. production and mandated biofuels (ethanol) mixed into gasoline, the U.S. could potentially become an exporter.

To become an exporter, at present consumption, we would need to increase production by over 8.5 million barrels per day to a total of about 14 million barrels per day. Surely he is not so dumb as to believe that. But of course he talks about increasing fuel efficiency in cars to 50 miles per gallon by 2025. As if that would do it.

Really Dick, that does not add to the credibility of the article very much.

Edit: A thought just occurred to me.

Were we a rational society, a virtue of which we have rarely
been accused, we would husband our oil and gas resources.
- M. King Hubbert

If we did, by some miracle, manage to produce ourselves, all the oil we needed, why in God's name would we want to export any of it? The supply is finite and the reservoir will one day run dry. The more export the sooner it will be gone. We once did export oil. Hubbert referred to this practice as our "Drain America First" policy.

Ron P.

He says what sells his books and lectures.

To become an exporter, at present consumption, we would need to increase production by over 8.5 million barrels per day to a total of about 14 million barrels per day.

There is another way to become an exporter..

IF (and this is just a hypothetical) the current rate of *decline* in net imports, of 1mbd/yr, is continued, the US would would actually reach zero imports in around 2020

In the last six years, net imports have gone down by 6mbd, while production has gone up by all of 0.5mbd - which trend is more important?

Of course, if the decline continued to reach zero net imports, the economy would be up the creek, but that's another story...

Now, to then export would require a change to this federal regulation that makes exports of domestically produced crude possible only by presidential order, and then only when it is in the "national interest";



754.2 - Crude oil.

[boilerplate warning!]

And, why would the US ever want to export oil anyway? That is why that regulation is there.

So, there are so many "ifs" for crude exports to ever happen that the notion is pretty much academic.

Friedman would be better off staying in the real world - as would many others.

The Bloomberg article he quotes at length in his fifth paragraph


and from which he gets the 81% Jan-Oct 2011, is using the data found here:


They simply took the net import column (15.419), divided by the last column (81.139), and subtracted from 1.00 to get 81%. It's questionable methodology, although useful for a comparison over time, rather than an exact level determination. They could actually make a case that it's better than that, since the 81.139 is gross of (positive) stock changes in the period.

The EIA data assumes that nuclear energy (valued at thermal production) is produced where the plant is, and not where the uranium is mined (most uranium is imported). It also values hydro and wind and geothermal and solar at a 'fossil primary energy equivalent' rather than at the actual thermal or electricity energy level produced. Biofuel production values are accounted at the full biomass energy of the input feedstock, and losses and co-products are accounted as consumption so that from a total energy standpoint biofuels are a wash, but given that the coproducts inflate the totals they mask the decline in consumption which is more responsible for reduced imports.

Paul - An even simpler way to frame the situation IMHO: the US refiners are buying a certain amout foreign oil and are selling 100% of the products to foreign buyers. Thus that situation has nothing to do with oil being imported for domestic consumption. ha's an entiely seerate business. Refiners are also buying foreign and domestic oil and selling their products domesticly. That's another seperate business. No different than importing bauxite from S America and exporting aluminum to other countries. I beleive there are no bauxite mines in the US so we are exporting a product that is produced from 100% imported raw material. Great for the US: jobs, taxes and doemestic companies make a profit.

But we know economics, and how to calculate present value, assuming a high discount rate (as usual). So we get short term benefit, and we assume the profits we made today will grow the future economy enough that the hit will be overwhelmed by the benefit. I think thats the way the theory works anyway. Of course hidden in there somewhere is an assumption that we will find a wondrous substitute for oil before it runs out.

I would be in favor of a taxed floor under fuel prices if it included sharp curtailment on the amount allocated to one of the worlds largest consumers ,the US military, and had components which;

-raised the minimum income requirement for filing taxes
-rebated individuals for the purpose of FF alternative transportation
-allocated funding for public transpotation projects
-allocated funding for renewables

I would also support that a fuel tax be incrimentally raised over time with the clear intent to discourage gas guzzlers and incentivize conservation

It is noteworthy that the per gallon fuel tax has not been raised in the US since fuel was $1.05 a gallon and current House bills for Fed. funding transportation is unbridled highway construction, strong new drilling provisions, depleating the highway trust fund and cutting off HPVs, Amtrak and (perhaps) public transportation.

The TF issue here is a blatant 'race to the bottom' strategy pitting us up against real oil exporters like Iran (supposedly with backing from the US military) but unfortunately our current fuel tax structure and spending is increasingly that too IMHO

I wrote of TF when he was one of the most vocal advocates of invading Iraq.

I stopped paying attention to TF around the time W became President. I tend to agree with Krugman's criticisms of his thinking.

Another take on Friedman ...

The Emperor's Messenger Has No Clothes: Belén Fernández Dresses Down Thomas Friedman

... Friedman tells the privileged, and those who aspire to privilege, what they want to hear in a way that makes them feel smart; his trumpeting of US affluence and power are sprinkled with pithy-though-empty anecdotes, padded with glib turns of phrases. He's the perfect oracle for a management-focused, advertising-saturated, dumbed-down, imperial culture that doesn't want to come to terms with the systemic and structural reasons for its decline. In Friedman's world, we're always one clichéd big idea away from the grand plan that will allow us to continue to pretend to be the shining city upon the hill that we have always imagined we were/are/will be again.

Damn! B. F. sure nailed him. Thanks for that.
Wish I had his gift and craft.

Yeah, IMHO that rip is spot-on. Friedman always seemed to me like a classic Ugly American, a poster-boy for bourgeois corporate dispensationalism.

I really loathed his whole take on the inevitability of outsourcing. Sure, it's inevitable... until the resources run low and the angry lower and middle class knocks your teeth down your throat, which seems to be happening a lot faster than he figured.

In particular, I detest his implicit notion that business or economics obey some kind of inflexible laws that bind us all together, like The Force in Star Wars-- all that crap about the butterfly's wings. Oh, well... I guess Obi Wan Kenobi is gonna get schooled pretty soon...

TF is famous for his rational on Iraq. "We needed to tell someone to suck on it". Nobody should ever take him seriously. But I do want to know how many Friedman units it will be before we can become an exporter of crude.

As an explaination there is some truth in it. Afghanistan didn't satisfy our newly established bloodlust, so we were in fact primed to respond to some new proposed enemy. It certainly made the selling of the war easier. Once, admitting it, it should have been used as an antidote, not as part of the cheerleading squad.

"But I have completely lost faith in his reasoning ability now."

Both saddened and surprised it took you so long. (c;

The thing is, he's not always wrong, and sometimes he makes some very useful connections. (Sorry, cooking dinner, can't back it up with links..) But as that TopQuote reminds us, there are areas where his mouth is automatically redirected by matters that ultimately tie in to his funding sources.. and logic quickly careens onto another set of tracks entirely.

Or, to draw as ever from highly accessible Pop Fiction..

"Music to Drown by, now I know I'm in First Class!" 'Tommy Ryan, TITANIC'

Saudis Set to Tap Fuel Oil Boom With Latest Pricing for Crude (link)
Bloomberg / February 5, 2012

... Arab Heavy, the kingdom’s cheapest oil, will be sold to Asian customers in March for $2.02 a barrel less than higher- quality Arab Light, the smallest difference since April 2010, according to a Bloomberg survey of 10 buyers in Japan, Singapore, China, South Korea and India. ...

... Arab Heavy yields 53 percent heavy residue during basic processing, compared to 42 percent for Arab Extra Light, according to New York-based Energy Intelligence Group. ...

Supply is so low and demand so high that poor quality oil is offset by a dwindling discount.

Yes, but Western Canadian Select, which is a heavy Canadian blend, is selling for about $44/bbl less than Arab Light.

You could probably get an even bigger cut of heavy residual fuel oil out of WCS than Arab Heavy, if you could get it into the offshore market where there are buyers for residual fuel oil. Resid is not a big seller in Western Canada or the Mid-Continent US, where there is a lot of cheap natural gas available.

The market distortions are becoming extreme these days.

Saudi Arabia raises crude oil output, according to reports

The newswire, citing unnamed industry sources, said Saudi Arabia has increased exports to just over 9 million barrels a day, compared with an average of about 71/2 million in January.

Saudi Arabia raises exports by over 1.5 million barrels per day. I don't believe it. But we shall see.

And Bloomberg says it didn't happen. OPEC Shipments Drop as ‘Spring Trough’ Nears, Oil Movements Says"

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will export 23.27 million barrels a day in the four weeks to March 10, compared with 23.34 million in the period to Feb. 11, the Halifax, England-based researcher said today in an e-mailed report. The figures exclude Angola and Ecuador...

Exports from Middle Eastern producers, including non-OPEC members Oman and Yemen, will decrease 0.7 percent to 17.37 million barrels a day in the four-week period, according to the tracker.

Ron P.

Saudi Arabia raises exports by over 1.5 million barrels per day. I don't believe it. But we shall see.

less then a year ago:

I also posted a similar Bloomberg article the other day and this was my comment:

OPEC oil exports are about 23.27 mbpd level, down about 400,000 bpd from the level that prevailed about two months ago. In general, OPEC exports are now running about 800,000 bpd less than a peak about one year ago - which is a significantly greater amount than the 300,000 bpd fall in Libya’s oil exports in the same time period.

So I don't believe this export increase has actually happened yet, and even if so, it won't be sustained. I mentioned numerous times last year that the Saudis could have been putting some of their extra output into storage. That was because their recent 'output' increase was sometimes greater than internal use plus exports.

Therefore it is possible for a very short period of a few weeks, they could take from storage and actually export an increased amount.

In addition, the major Ras Tanura refinery is undergoing some downtime soon, if not already, and they could shift that oil from internal use to export.

Aramco to shut Ras Tanura refinery units in March

Riyadh - Saudi Aramco plans to shut some units at its Ras Tanura refinery in March for planned maintenance, trading sources said.

At Ras Tanura refinery, which is the Middle East's largest with a crude processing capacity of 550,000 barrels per day (bpd), the turnaround will include the crude distillation unit (CDU), the condensate splitter, the hydrocracker and one of the three catalytic reformers, traders said.


In regards to oil product exports:

Refinery maintenance, especially at Saudi Aramco's condensate splitter in Ras Tanura, has cut the number of available cargoes leaving more tankers unemployed.

2/21/12 REUTERS 08:45:54

The strange thing is that most private shippers have not seen any notable change in demand for large crude oil carrying tankers this week.

The strange thing is that most private shippers have not seen any notable change in demand for large crude oil carrying tankers this week.

Wonder if the Saudia have started lying about their production instead of just their reserves? It's of course more difficult to crank out BS production or export numbers than reserves.

It bears further investigation but it looks to me as if Texas is at danger of becoming a net energy importer this year despite increasing crude production. Of course, a lot of that energy is consumed by refineries and chemical plants which export products from the state. In 2009 the state consumed ~95% of the BTU's produced (export natural gas and refined products, import crude and import coal from WY). Low natural gas prices should lead to reductions in natural gas production which makes up about 2/3rds of state gross energy production. Low gas prices may also lead to increased in-state gas consumption and reduced coal imports for electricity generation (although coal contracts may be largely must-take). To the extent combined-cycle gas plants are more efficient than simple-cycle coal plants, this may reduce net BTU consumption and improve net exports.

I also wonder about the TX economy even with high oil prices, given low natural gas prices and low crack spread. Reduced electricity prices should offset that somewhat, and high natural gas prices elsewhere in the world will improve the competitveness of chemical exports based on natural gas.

For TX & OK, if oil prices go up, the local economy benefits. Not only does local production make the state more cost-efficient than peer locations, the money spent on energy is more likely to stay in the state than go overseas, and the indigenous energy industry is actually an export industry, selling and contracting to other energy-strained but cash-rich production locations. This causes localized wage inflation, but that funnels money throughout the local economy with a trickle-down to other segments.

Take a look at housing, malls, and restaurants in the energy states, and you'll see a different picture than in the energy-strapped states.

Of course as prices get high enough the national economy can falter with knock-on effects in these states as well, and this is at least one cause of the exuberant cycles that domestic energy typically sees. NG is in the falling edge of the cycle now, but while this is a supply-driven price crash rather than demand-driven crash like '08, it too is likely to be short-lived, and will likely result in a spike on the other side as the demand curve, a leading factor, slams into the falling edge of the lagging production curve of shale wells.

While all of this will cause some angst in TX, some of it comes out in the wash while consumers elsewhere will be whip-sawed. TX will do pretty well as long as oil stays high, and that's now determined by the world economy, not just the US.

That's my mental picture as well, but I'm questioning it because Texas is no longer a strong net exporter. The population has gone up and crude production, while increasing, is still lower than in previous booms. Natural gas prices are low, and natural gas is 2/3rds of the energy Texas produces these days. Up to now in the current economic doldrums, gas was a money maker (as gas exports were much more money than coal imports), but that's changing.

The Brazil article on sugarcane indicates about a 50% increase in planted acreage (another 20,000 square miles) is planned, as well as improvements to most existing fields over the next 4 years. This is a huge amount of additional ethanol, it probably represents doubling of production in Brazil.

Here's a link to a google translation of the Brazil Ministry of Agriculture announcement of the plan with some additional details, including a proposal for a national ethanol stockpile that would smooth seasonal fluctuations in supply, as well as alluding to the use of new Embrapa research to improve yields.


Wyoming Doomsday Bill Advances In State House

"Wyoming lawmakers pushed forward legislation to explore how the state would respond if the country fell into economic and political turmoil.

The so-called doomsday bill, passed in the Wyoming House on Friday, would create a special task force to study ways the state would handle such crises as a food shortage to a government shutdown."

Links to the CDC's Social Media: Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse

From the Casper Star-Tribune:
"House members approved an amendment Friday by state Rep. Kermit Brown, R-Laramie, to have the task force also examine conditions under which Wyoming would need to implement its own military draft, raise a standing army, and acquire strike aircraft and an aircraft carrier."

Read more: http://trib.com/news/state-and-regional/govt-and-politics/wyoming-house-...

Study would be funded at just $16K.

Interestingly, there are cities preparing for various kinds of disaster in a pretty serious way.

For example, McCormick Foundation Center for Advanced Emergency Response, here in Chicago.

"The McCormick Foundation Center for Advanced Emergency Response, which opened on Jan. 6, provides an unprecedented level of readiness for large-scale health emergencies, such as a mass outbreak or a terrorist attack."

There seems to be a lot of unease out there in city and state planning, and the desire to be prepared at various levels. It really depends on how one views the future, and what crises could be coming down the pike.

Jeez, I thought the Aircraft Carrier thing was in jest. Perhaps spaceships would be of more use in WY. I'll bet Cheney knows some folks....

I think I recall reading that China has/had a couple of landlocked aircraft carriers.

I could just imagine someone wanting to put an aircraft carrier into the Caspian. I'd consider that landlocked. Maybe some of the great lakes???

According to Wikipedia, the Russian Navy has a number of warships and submarines in its Caspian Flotilla. It also has also has a significant number of aircraft there, but they are land-based since they can easily fly across the Caspian Sea from land, making an aircraft carrier redundant.

However, during WWII the US had two training aircraft carriers on the Great Lakes, USS Wolverine and USS Sable. USS Wolverine was built in Michigan, "The Wolverine State", and USS Sable was built in Ohio. They were both converted excursion steamers, but they were too big to go through the locks on the Welland Canal, so they never left the Great Lakes.

Together, Sable and Wolverine trained 17,820 pilots in 116,000 carrier landings. One of the pilots qualified on Sable was a 20-year-old Lieutenant, junior grade, future President George H. W. Bush. Of the estimated 135-300 aircraft lost during training, 35 have been salvaged and the search for more is underway.

Driven by reciprocating steam engines and side-wheel paddles! One of the two had a wooden flight deck!

Actually, most of the US carriers in WW2 had wooden decks (the Japanese ones had steel decks, but not thick enough to be considered "armoured")

Quite the discussion about that here;

Of the estimated 135-300 aircraft lost during training, 35 have been salvaged and the search for more is underway.

They don't keep track of such events?

Ghung - I've drilled wells in WY and wonder exactly why they would need much of a defense sytem to protect themselves from aggressors outside the state. Anyhting WY has worth stealing would require years occupation. As we've seen winning a war is much easier then occupying the "peace". And logisticly if you're not airborne you've got no chance in a state with so little a highway system. Just a guess but if you can control/hinder three or four highway intersections you've petty well got the edge.

So what's really behind the plan? It has to be control of the natives IMHO. Why that worries folks running a state that has more pronghorns than people isn't clear to me. Outside of the few small metro areas it's a land dominated by very big ranches populated by very few folks. I suspect it more about political theater designed to distract the voters from really serious issues long enough to win one more election.

Given the aircraft carrier maybe they are planning to go a viking!

If they did have an aircraft carrier, that would give them offensive capability. Could be used to stealsecure international resource streams. Maybe they could use it to intimidate coastal blue states?

If there ever was an analogy that would be close enough to illustrate what Peak Oil is all about, it would be Peak Buffalo, and then, Peak Buffalo Bones. Peak Buffalo Hides, Peak Buffalo Tongues. They're coming back in small herds, so there is some hope there. If they weren't fenced in, they'd be roaming the streets of Tulsa. Cattle replaced them.

Buffalo bones went from 8 dollars per ton to 22 dollars per ton and then the market went belly up. Ground for fertilizer and making fine buffalo china. The Great Plains were stripped of buffalo bones too.


If Buffalo Bill were around today, he'd cry.


Oh, sure, Buffalo Bill could cry, but they would be crocodile tears:

Buffalo Bill

William Frederick Cody ("Buffalo Bill") got his nickname after the American Civil War when he had a contract to supply Kansas Pacific Railroad workers with buffalo meat. Cody earned the nickname by killing 4,280 American bison (commonly known as buffalo) in eighteen months, (1867–68).

The decline rate on buffalo was very steep when Bill Cody was doing the shooting.

RMG, you beat me to it! ;-)

You're right. He, and many others, would set up to slaughter buffalo in what was referred to as a "stand".

The buffalo would not stampede, but just stand there, as one after another animal would fall. A shoot like this would often have an assistant pouring water on the rifle barrel. Warped barrels were not uncommon.

He is supposed to have won the name "Buffalo Bill" in an eight-hour shooting match with a hunter named William Comstock, presumably to determine which of the two Buffalo Bill’s deserved the title.

A proud American icon of the wild west regularly engaged in wanton destruction with pride.

How buffalo Bones Became Big Business (PDF warning)

IMO, the pictures of bone piles are an obscenity

It was a way of dealing with the plains Indians, by starving them into submission. Now whether Cody was in on the plot, or just trying to make a buck, is for the historians to determine.

"as long as the buffalo roam" was an Indian concept of "forever" in treaties.
The Plains Indians depended on the buffalo to survive.

No problem...

"In the end, the frontier army's well-calculated policy of destroying the buffalo in
order to conquer the Plains Indians proved more effective than any other weapon in
its arsenal."

"A cold wind blew across the prairie when the last buffalo fell-a
death-wind for my people."

Long PDF:

Out in western Montana, Native Americans ran buffalo off of cliffs. Makes for a high kill rate and making arrows is labor intensive.

When Native Americans were removed (land swindle) from the southeastern states, The Trail of Tears, The Cherokee brought with them 2,000 slaves to the Oklahoma Territory. Andrew Jackson said they could, apparently.

Moving West has a particle of risk, but that's the way it goes.

"I’ll drink every gallon produced west of the Mississippi!"


It was 'uncertain Texas'.

Gasoline prices have sure risen in Vancouver over the last few day. The neighborhood Chevron station is now selling regular for 1.428 CA$/liter * 1.00060 US$/CA$ * 3.785412 liter/gallon = 5.40 US$/gallon.

This is the highest price I've seen since last summer.

Should Corporations Have More Leeway to Kill Than People Do?

NEXT week, the Supreme Court will hear a case with many potential ramifications for American and international law, and for corporate responsibility for human rights around the globe. The justices will be asked to decide whether the corporations to which they have been extending the rights of individuals should also be held accountable for crimes against human rights, just as individuals are.

The story behind the Kiobel case is compelling: The plaintiffs are members of the Ogoni people in Nigeria’s Niger Delta, where Royal Dutch Shell had extensive oil operations in the 1990s through contracts with the brutal military dictatorship that held power at the time. The region is widely considered a zone of calamity, in terms of both environmental and human rights. In the suit, Royal Dutch Shell was accused of assisting the Nigerian government in torturing and, through sham trials, executing Ogoni activists who had threatened to disrupt Shell’s operations because of the devastating health and environmental effects of unregulated drilling practices. The plaintiffs are either victims of torture themselves or had relatives who were executed. Esther Kiobel, the plaintiff after whom the suit is named, is the widow of a victim.

If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Royal Dutch Shell and against the plaintiffs, multinational corporations — particularly in mining and other extractive industries — could draw the lesson that it is now safer to forge alliances with autocratic regimes that have poor human rights records because they will not be judged culpable in the way individuals can be.

A decision affirming that Shell should go unpunished in the Niger Delta case would leave us with a Supreme Court that seems of two minds: in the words of Justice John Paul Stevens’s dissent from Citizens United, it threatens “to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the nationby treating corporations as people to let them make unlimited political contributions, even as it treats corporations as if they are not people to immunize them from prosecution for the most grievous human rights violations.

Money is power. Corporation will be allowed to kill at will because they own the courts. Logic has nothing to do with it.

It was self-defense...

Senator Schumer Urges Saudi Arabia To Boost Oil Production

Senator Charles Schumer wants Saudi Arabia to do its part to help keep gas prices from going any higher.

Schumer is asking the State Department to press the Saudis to commit to increasing oil production.

Schumer says Saudi Arabia can produce 12.5 million barrels, but is only producing about 10 million.

... hate to break it to you, Schumer - but the cupboard's bare.

12.5 ?? That's a 25% hike in production. It would be akin to asking a Heart patient to run a marathon. Walking is tough enough.

Schumer really ought to know better. Even back in 08 Bush jr. went to the Saudi's on bended knee to urge the opening of the spicket and was told essentially, that's all there is and there ain't no more. And how about during the Libyan uprising - where were the Saudi's except for a trickle more? And now the Saudi's are opening up an old field to get at low gravity, high sulphur content, low grade oil. If they could simply access 2.5 mbd more, don't people like Schumer think they would have already? Come on buddy, wake up!

Schumer does know better. This is political theater.

Liar, Liar, Pants (not) On Fire

And why aren't they -- on fire? The media picks up and runs with such trivia these days. But when a candidate for the highest office in the land drops a two-ton turd right on their doorsteps, it can't be found on front page of any American newspapers. (Though this one is making big headlines in the Netherlands.)

This, from the guy that gave us The Necessity of Truth.... but even Forbes has called him out: Rick Santorum's Despicable And Hurtful Health Care Lie.

American politics is a contact sport to be sure. But when the front-runner for his party’s nomination is willing to level charges such as this just to score some cheap political points while giving every parent with a challenged child a false reason to lie awake at night with worry, it is Rick Santorum’s usefulness to our society —not the value of the sick and disabled—that remains very much in question.

Just google "santorum lies' and you'll find that folks have been calling him on it for years, yet:

Santorum Leads Poll In Alabama

Rick Santorum leads big in TN, poll finds

Ohio Tea Party presidential straw poll: Santorum leads

Poll: Santorum leads in Oklahoma

Santorum Leads Romney in Michigan Poll

Santorum leads in Washington

Rick Santorum Leads National Polls...

....I could go on, but it all just pegs my doomerometer. I guess I'll just go bathe the dog.

I didn't check them all, but the article of the Michigan poll is now dated, Feb. 13th. Here's a link:


That first page shows the national polls have Romney up in the last two by a slight margin. Forget the average poll % at the top - it averages over time which is misleading. As you can see Santorum 'did' have a sizable lead until his ego got the best of him and he started spouting off like it was Sunday at mass somewhere like Birmingham, Alabama or Biloxi, Mississippi.

The next primaries are this Tues. in Michigan and Arizona. On the left side of the above link click on those two states. Romney has a lead in both, so he probably will win both states and the momentum will swing in his favor.

I'm not crazy about MaBus (Massachusetts Businessman) but he will certainly be better than Santorum. The usual champion of the super wealthy, but at least not a preacher.

... oh yeah, and then there's Mitt:

EVERY Romney Lie In One Place!

So when he's not flip-flopping, he's lying. Seems like a sad thing to have to do after becoming so wealthy - shameless lies in a desperate bid to gain power so people like himself can keep even more of their money.

I presume that his excursion into Dutch health care will spell the end of Santorum's political career:

I find this year's crop of republican candidates scary in the extreme. God help America.


Monoculture begets weeds. Time to make it fallow.


or plough it in, they say recycled used pasture and cattle feed is good for the crops.


This sort of crap makes me want to puke. Carnival has just finished in Limburg here in the Netherlands not one of these Republican candidates would have been out of place in the processions as they are all bloody clowns. I have watched the uninformed drivel gush out of there mouths in there debates, debates that resembled more of a game show where the main aim was not too enlighten but not too offend where fantasy takes over from reality. Statements like this are just simple not true. people do not wear bracelets with the words "Do not euthanize me" but people sometimes have to make some very difficult decisions.My Mother-in-law developed a so called benign brain tumour about six years ago. She started to hallucinate go senile.My father-in-law kept her at home a long as he could. There were tears in his eyes when the ambulance took her away they had been married over 50years. I took him every week to the old peoples home to see her. He always took her flowers, when she finally slipped into a coma it was he who suggested that they took her off the drips, it was he who slept by her bed and watched her die. He did not euthanize her, he was motivated by compassion, something that is sorely missing in this present day electoral circus.If I was not an atheist I would say God bless you America because you are going to need it if you have only got this lot of losers to vote for. The only one who has any education in History as far as I am concerned a necessity for the job as President is Newt, and he is a lose cannon the other three are ignorant dolt one of which thinks it cool to wear magical underpants. Sorry for the rant.

Rant away. You'll get no argument from me.

Newt was just on NPR, and it was just goofy. There's no shame. None.

The situation here in America is grotesque.

For those who like to follow the polls and see want to see how far this clown car has gone off the road, this link posts most all of them daily.

Latest Polls


yorkie - Rant away buddy. I hereby allocate my rant quota to you. I just don't have the energy/will to use it anymore. I suppose it's all due to being a conservative who also has a firm grasp on PO. While I can understand why an R candidate would want to exploit the gasoline price in order to win an election (D's would do the same) it just reinforces the ignorance of the American people. And President Obama/Democrats do their share of promising the voters "solutions" that have little chance of happening in a meaningful time frame IMHO.

In my life I've never seen a bad situation resolved when there was a lack of leadership. Beyond the realities of PO, the lack of leadership from all quarters in the US is as much the cause for my pessimism.


Prince Frisco, Queen Beatrix's second son is not likely to recover from a skiing accident in which he was buried by an avalanche early in February. He is still in a coma with what has been diagnosed as severe brain damage due to oxygen deprivation. Not likely to wake up. He is a great guy, apparently, and much beloved by the people, along with his wife, Princess Mabel, and his two young daughters.


Oil spill leads to complaints from 4 states

Officials at the Paulsboro Refining Company continued to clean up more than six million gallons of oil that leaked from a tank on Thursday but was contained by berms on the site.

Emergency workers applied foam to the oil to reduce vapors after the spill, but rain overnight Thursday and into Friday broke apart the foam.

Officials in New Castle County, Del., said Friday its 911 center had been inundated with calls from people complaining about the odor. Residents of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland also complained. The oil began leaking from the 12-million gallon tank Thursday afternoon and an estimated 150,000 barrels of heavy crude were spilled.

High winds hamper N.J. oil spill cleanup

6.6 million gallons of oil leak; no harm seen

Funny how spills are measured in gallons, but imports are always in barrels. Is the numerology intentional?

Still a good sized tank in any units, though!

If it bleeds it leads. So if it's a spill, say it in gallons to scare people better...

bbls or gallons or liters or whatever, I wouldn't want it in my water supply and neither would you or Paelocon or anyone else.

Albuquerque has had its share of /known/ /documented/ groundwater contamination, including millions of /gallons/ of jet fuel leaked from piping under Kirkland AFB:


Groundwater contamination seems to be inevitable in urban areas, and the Albuquerque metro area has its share:

• Four water wells were shut down in an area on the east edge of Downtown Albuquerque after the discovery in the late 1980s of hazardous waste from a defunct dry cleaners.

• Nearly 10,000 tons of contaminated dirt have already been dug out of an old Atcheson, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad tie plant, and a water treatment plant is currently under construction.

• Twenty private water wells and two municipal wells were closed after contamination escaped from the old General Electric plant in Bernalillo County's South Valley.
In all, the Environment Department is tracking 27 groundwater contamination sites in the county under various stages of monitoring and cleanup.

But when you combine the size of the jet fuel spill and its proximity to a key part of the water supply of the state's largest metro area, nothing in the metro area, or anywhere in the state, comes close to the Kirtland problem.

The Air Force and Kirtland disagree on the numbers. The Air Force estimates that between 1 million and 2 million gallons of jet fuel leaked. The Environment Department puts the size of the spill at 8 million gallons.

Although Albuquerque started to source much of its drinking water from the Rio-not-so-Grande ~ 2005 (thanks to the San Juan Chama diversion tunnel through the Rockies/Continental Divide from the Colorado River), the city still gets some of its water from municipal wells...there is a well about 1/8 of a mile from me...fortunately I live in the North-East heights, not near the AF base or the industrialized South Valley.

Jet fuel isn't particularly toxic - the Wikipedia article on it doesn't even mention toxicity - and it is also biodegradable. There are about 250 different types of bacteria that will consume it. On the other hand:

hazardous waste from a defunct dry cleaners --> Carbon tetrachloride

Exposure to high concentrations of carbon tetrachloride (including vapor) can affect the central nervous system, degenerate the liver and kidneys and may result (after prolonged exposure) in coma and even death. Chronic exposure to carbon tetrachloride can cause liver and kidney damage and could result in cancer.

railroad tie plant --> Creosote

According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), eating food or drinking water contaminated with high levels of coal tar creosote may cause a burning in the mouth and throat, and stomach pains. ATSDR also states that brief direct contact with large amounts of coal tar creosote may result in a rash or severe irritation of the skin, chemical burns of the surfaces of the eyes, convulsions and mental confusion, kidney or liver problems, unconsciousness, and even death. Longer direct skin contact with low levels of creosote mixtures or their vapors can result in increased light sensitivity, damage to the cornea, and skin damage. Longer exposure to creosote vapors can cause irritation of the respiratory tract.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that coal tar creosote is probably carcinogenic to humans

old General Electric plant --> Polychlorinated biphenyls

The toxicity of PCBs to animals was first noticed in the 1970s, when emaciated seabird corpses with very high PCB body burdens washed up on beaches. Since seabirds may die far out at sea and still wash ashore, the true sources of the PCBs were unknown. Where they were found was not a reliable indicator of where they had died.

PCBs also have shown toxic and mutagenic effects by interfering with hormones in the body. PCBs, depending on the specific congener, have been shown to both inhibit and imitate estradiol, the main sex hormone in females. Imitation of the estrogen compound can feed estrogen-dependent breast cancer cells, and possibly cause other cancers, such as uterine or cervical. Inhibition of estradiol can lead to serious developmental problems for both males and females, including sexual, skeletal, and mental development issues.

Another Coronal Mass Ejection about to impact (glancing blow) over next few hours. No it's not the end of the world but there might be some aurora chances further south than usual. Nothing showing up on ACE spacecraft yet.

Here it comes.


Space Weather Message Code: WARSUD
Serial Number: 105
Issue Time: 2012 Feb 26 2111 UTC

WARNING: Geomagnetic Sudden Impulse expected
Valid From: 2012 Feb 26 2130 UTC
Valid To: 2012 Feb 26 2200 UTC
IP Shock Passage Observed: 2012 Feb 26 2058 UTC


Space Weather Message Code: ALTK04
Serial Number: 1562
Issue Time: 2012 Feb 27 0227 UTC

ALERT: Geomagnetic K-index of 4
Threshold Reached: 2012 Feb 27 0224 UTC
Synoptic Period: 0000-0300 UTC
Active Warning: Yes
Potential Impacts: Area of impact primarily poleward of 65 degrees
Geomagnetic Latitude.
Induced Currents - Weak power grid fluctuations can occur.
Aurora - Aurora may be visible at high latitudes such as Canada and

Latest real-time estimate 4.3.

Gas prices forecast difficult summer ahead

Gas prices have begun their annual ascent earlier in the year than usual and this means the country could be in store for a difficult summer price-wise, The Buffalo News is reporting. In fact, analysts warn the upcoming season for gas prices could be record-breaking, the News reports.

"It's going to be a nasty year for gas prices," Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com, tells the News.

"This year, the price increases are really based on what's happening in the world oil market, the crude market," ...