Drumbeat: March 16, 2012

Understanding the New Price of Oil

In the spring of 2011, when Libyan oil production -- over 1 million barrels a day (mpd) -- was suddenly taken offline, the world received its first real-time test of the global pricing system for oil since the crash lows of 2009.

Oil prices, already at the $85 level for WTIC, bolted above $100, and eventually hit a high near $115 over the following two months.

More importantly, however, is that -- save for a brief eight week period in the autumn -- oil prices have stubbornly remained over the $85 pre-Libya level ever since. Even as the debt crisis in Europe has flared.

Oil Rebounds From One-Week Low on Outlook for U.S. Demand

Oil rose in New York, trimming this week’s decline as investors bet that fuel demand will increase with an economic recovery in the U.S., the world’s biggest crude consumer.

No single country can ensure oil market stability: Al-Naimi

KUWAIT: Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi said yesterday that no country or a group of countries can alone ensure the stability of the oil market.

Severe Tropical Cyclone Lua to Hit Australia Coast Tomorrow

The cyclone has already prompted Woodside Petroleum Ltd., Apache Corp. and Santos Ltd. to shut output at offshore fields that account for more than one-quarter of Australia’s oil output. Port Hedland, the world’s biggest iron ore port used by BHP Billiton Ltd. and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd., yesterday shut in anticipation of the storm.

Consumer prices up by most in 10 months thanks to gasoline

Rising pump prices helped drive up costs for consumers to their highest in 10 months in February, government data showed on Friday. There was little evidence that underlying inflation was building, however.

Petrol breaks €2 barrier in Paris

LESS than a year after Total chief executive Christophe de Margerie predicted the €2 litre of petrol it has happened. A petrol station on Rue Saint-Antoine, near the Bastille, in Paris, is charging €2.020 for unleaded.

The 10 states with the cheapest gas

A record 50 percent of Americans strongly disapprove of President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy, a recent Washington Post-ABC News survey shows. A whopping 65 percent are unhappy with his handling of gas prices. While national gas prices have increased 8 percent in the past month alone, the increase has not been uniform across all states, with some faring far better than others.

BP Has Ability to Pay More For Spill With Oil Over $120

Oil prices close to the highest since 2008 are increasing BP Plc (BP/)’s available cash as it negotiates a final bill with the Obama administration to pay for damages caused by the worst U.S. spill.

Gas price is $4 or more for almost one-third of drivers

Nearly one-third of the nation's drivers now fork out $4 or more for a gallon of gasoline.

Oil: Should President Obama Tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve?

Barack Obama likes to say that as President of the United States, he doesn’t “bluff” when it comes to foreign policy. But when it comes to energy, it looks like Obama might be willing to try the occasional fake out.

Peak oil is real and will stunt any economic recovery

Oil company cheerleaders proclaiming huge supplies of oil are dead wrong. Peak oil is as real as rain, and it is here now. Not 2050. Not 2020. Now. Oil production has been flat since 2005. This is not by choice. The producers cannot increase production because new fields cannot keep pace with declining production from old fields. The plateau is the top of the global depletion curve. Furthermore, this end of energy growth only accounts for volume. Energy quality and net-energy are falling like stones as environmental devastation increases. Every producing oil field on earth is in decline, unless it is brand new, and peak discoveries are well behind us. Meanwhile, the aggregate decline rate appears to be about 5 per cent per year. To maintain world production, we would need to bring a new Saudi Arabia – equivalent to three billion barrels annually - into full production every three years. There exists on earth not one single promising field that remotely approaches those requirements.

The Peak Oil Crisis: Surging Gasoline

With the EU's debt crisis and the Iranian confrontation relatively quiescent, attention has turned to the incessant increase in U.S. gasoline prices. The Capitol Hill gas station, where at least some members of Congress fill up, is currently selling regular for $4.49 a gallon. If you prefer to do business at the Watergate Exxon it will set you back $5.39 for regular. For a real taste of the future, then be sure to come in a full-sized SUV with a big V-8 and a 33 gallon gas tank - a fill-up will only be $188 for premium.

Before we get to what is happening in America, however, it is worth reminding ourselves that gasoline prices in Europe are now above or approaching $9 a gallon and are at an all-time high when expressed in Euros. This is due to the falling value of the Euro and the array of supply disruptions which have plagued European refiners and pulled down EU reserve stocks in the past year.

Yergin: What's Behind Rising Gas Prices?

With so many ships trawling the crowded waters of the Persian Gulf, there is always the risk of an 'accident' or 'collision' with unintended consequences.

Offshore oil a 'game-changer' for Falkland Islands

STANLEY, Falkland Islands (AP) — Falkland Islanders are so accustomed to making do with what they've got that many still heat their homes with peat stoves, grow their own vegetables, repair their Land Rovers themselves and raise chickens for their soft-boiled eggs.

But now they've struck oil offshore — potentially vast stores of it. Billions of dollars in taxes and royalties could soon flow their way, creating an entirely unfamiliar challenge: the prospect of sudden and tremendous wealth.

Argentina 'to sue' Falklands oil explorers and investors

Argentina has claimed it will take legal action against British companies involved in exploring for oil and gas off the Falkland Islands.

Vietnam Says Cnooc’s South China Sea Bids Violate Territory

Cnooc Ltd. (883)’s moves to develop oil- and gas-rich northern areas of the South China Sea violates Vietnam’s sovereignty, the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry said.

China’s biggest offshore oil explorer opened bids to foreign companies last year for 19 blocks near the disputed Paracel Islands, according to its website. Vietnam singled out Block 65/24, which it said sits one nautical mile from one of the Paracels, in denouncing a range of Chinese actions that violate its territory.

Navy to Double Counter-Mine Ships, Helicopters in Gulf

The U.S. Navy will double the number of counter-mine ships in the Persian Gulf to eight, Admiral Jonathan Greenert, the chief of naval operations, said today.

The Navy will also send four more MH-53 mine-sweeping helicopters to the Gulf, Greenert told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Iran lashes out over sanctions

KUWAIT CITY // Iran has accused the West of using oil as a weapon by imposing aggressive sanctions.

In a speech to energy ministers in Kuwait yesterday, Rostam Ghasemi, the oil minister of Iran, said: "Iran has never initiated using oil as a political tool.

Sudan pitches lower oil fee to south

Sudan has lowered the transit fee it demands for South Sudanese oil in a bid to resolve a stand-off that is preventing the export of 350,000 barrels per day (bpd).

A resumption of exports would provide some relief to a global oil market burdened by concerns over declining Iranian shipments and the potential for conflict in the Gulf.

YPF to Sue Argentine Province After Losing Output

YPF SA (YPFD), the Argentine oil producer that will lose 7 percent of its output after operating licenses were revoked, will sue the province of Chubut as a dispute with the government escalates over investments.

Kurds Say Baghdad Miscounted Kurdistan's Oil Exports, Revenue Issues Continue

AMMAN – The Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, in northern Iraq has accused the Iraqi central government of miscounting the volume of crude oil being exported from the region and accused Baghdad of delaying payment for exported oil.

Norway Oil Fund Rejected Greek Debt Swap, CEO Slyngstad Says Norway’s sovereign-wealth fund rejected the Greek debt swap because it disagreed with the different treatment given to the European Central Bank, according to chief executive officer Yngve Slyngstad.

Sunoco's new CEO on a charm offensive

The new chief executive of Sunoco Inc. is going on a charm offensive to counter some of the hard feelings the company has generated over its decision to exit the refining business.

Colombia Eyes $500 Million in Energy Spending in Shale Gas

Colombia, South America’s third- largest producer of oil, expects this year’s auction of so- called unconventional energy reserves to attract at least $500 million in investment.

China Plans Faster Land Approval, Tax-Free Imports for Shale

China pledged to prioritize land approvals for shale-gas exploration, allow tax-free equipment imports and offer subsidies to companies including PetroChina Co. (857) tapping the largest reserves of the unconventional fuel.

Fracking safely and responsibly

Environmentalists and the energy industry appear to be edging towards a consensus that would permit a big expansion in hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas in exchange for stricter rules on engineering procedures such as well casing and cementing.

New fracking rules would hamper production, API says

A study by the American Petroleum Institute warns that proposed federal regulations for hydraulic fracturing would significantly deter oil and natural gas production in the United States.

North Dakota Shale-Oil Boom Rushes Past Riverbank Dwellers

North Dakota landowners say the state’s claim to oil deposits beneath riverbanks and lake shores is robbing them of millions of dollars in rent and royalties from a drilling boom that has quadrupled crude production in the past five years.

The state is accused in a lawsuit by private landowners along the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers of “unlawful taking of mineral interests” by improperly applying a public-use doctrine dating back to the state’s emergence from territorial status in 1889.

EPA Clears Water in Pennsylvania Fracking Town After Complaints

The water in 11 wells near Dimock, Pennsylvania, is safe, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said, disappointing residents and health groups who say the federal government should intervene in a dispute with Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. (COG)

Stalemate Hits $10 Billion Czech Nuclear Plan on Funding

The Czech Republic’s $10 billion plan to build two atomic reactors near the German border that could supply electricity to the Bavarian industrial heartland is unraveling over financial and pricing disputes.

Chubu Electric to continue heavy LNG buys 2012/13

(Reuters) - Chubu Electric Power Co said it expected to buy 13 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for the year to March 2013, about the same as the past year, while it does not yet know when its sole nuclear plant will restart.

Plant Woes Fuel Blackout Fears

Southern California could be hit with rolling blackouts this summer if reactors at the San Onofre nuclear plant remain shut down for repairs, officials warned this week.

The reactors, which normally supply enough electricity to light 1.4 million homes, have been out of service since Jan. 31 after a leak revealed premature aging of vital equipment.

Cockenzie coal-fired power plant to close next year

Scottish Power is to close its coal-fired power station at Cockenzie next year, BBC Scotland has learned.

The East Lothian plant, which has been powering Scottish homes and industry since 1967, does not meet modern environmental standards.

A Drill to Replace Crucial Transformers (Not the Hollywood Kind)

The electric grid, which keeps beer cold, houses warm, and city traffic from turning to chaos, depends on about 2,100 high-voltage transformers spread throughout the country.

But engineers in the electric business and officials with the Department of Homeland Security have long been concerned that transformers are vulnerable to disruptions from extreme weather like hurricanes, as well as terrorist and computer attacks and even electrical disturbances from geomagnetic, or so-called solar, storms. One such storm, in 1989, blacked out the entire province of Quebec, and this week, a transformer fire of unknown origin blacked out parts of Boston.

India Plans to Scrap Duties on Solar Parts to Boost Industry

India proposed to scrap duties on imports of solar-thermal equipment as it seeks to reduce project costs for Reliance Power Ltd. (RPWR) and other developers adding plants.

“Solar-thermal projects need encouragement,” Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said today in his annual budget speech, proposing to spare such ventures from the so-called special countervailing duty.

Best choices: Which new cars save the most gas?

With gas prices climbing to the heavens, what are the smartest, most price- and gas-efficient choices for car buyers?

The good news is that unlike in past gas price run-ups, this time there are more choices for buyers, whether hybrids and electrics or conventional cars made more efficient.

E-bikes could offer car alternative to urbanites

The electric bike industry is booming. What was once seen as a bicycle for retirees is now cool and trendy. The newest riders are young, stylish and earn good money. They see their e-bike as a car alternative.

1970: The Peak of Everything

Forget "peak oil" for a moment. At least in terms of the United States, if not elsewhere, the decline of the good times began around 1970. From a broader perspective, that was the really big "peak." Around that period, "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times," as Dickens might say. It was Jimi Hendrix, "sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll," Easy Street. In the year 1969 there was the first moon landing. The gap between the rich and the poor was not so bad, whereas since then both the wealth and the income (two different things) of the richest five percent of American families have shot up enormously. Yet what some people regarded as bad news was that in 1968 the Tet offensive marked the turning point of the Vietnam War.

Queensland’s Bligh Vows to Implement Findings of Flood Inquiry

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh vowed to implement the recommendations of a report into what worsened flooding in the Australian state if she’s re-elected in a vote next week.

Shell says was sued for causing climate change

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell Plc said it was sued for causing climate change but that, like some other global warming cases taken against energy companies by environmentalists, the cases were dismissed.

The Anglo-Dutch group said in its annual report, published on Thursday, that, "together with other energy companies" it was subject to climate change litigation taken by parties it did not name.

U.K. ‘Wasted’ 4 Years on Failed $1.6 Billion Carbon-Capture Plan

The U.K. must learn from a failed 1 billion-pound ($1.6 billion) carbon-capture funding program that “wasted” four years, as it prepares to open a second financing competition, the head of a panel of lawmakers said.

Al Gore on Climate Change Risk

The value of subprime mortgages was based on a false assumption. All of these carbon fuel reserves [are] based on a similarly absurd assumption that is being systematically reinforced by some—not all—of the holders of those assets, who are engaged in a systematic effort to convince markets and the public of a falsehood.

'Frozen planet' review: Beauty, and sad irony

And yet, as beautiful, complex and magnificent as the frozen world may be, the underlying message of the Discovery Channel series is the sad irony of its title. Frozen though it may be, the frozen third of this planet is in peril. Much of the ice may melt every spring and return in the winter. But there is less and less of it. Because the area is so removed from civilization, it is easier to see the real effects of global warming, and harder to ignore them.

Fertilisers behind increase in N2O levels

The increasing amount of nitrous oxide in the atmosphere over the last 65 years is due to nitrogen-based fertilisers, according to a new study.

Paul Krugman's commentary in today's NYT is about oil:

Natural Born Drillers

There is also a commentary by Myra Saefong on MarketWatch about the impact of low natural gas prices on drilling activity in the US.

Natural gas: U.S. energy market’s best bargain?

And, yesterday was another day with more than 400 record high temperatures in the US...

E. Swanson

Krugman tells it like it is:

To be a modern Republican in good standing, you have to believe — or pretend to believe — in two miracle cures for whatever ails the economy: more tax cuts for the rich and more drilling for oil...

First up, oil prices. Unlike natural gas, which is expensive to ship across oceans, oil is traded on a world market — and the big developments moving prices in that market usually have little to do with events in the United States. Oil prices are up because of rising demand from China and other emerging economies, and more recently because of war scares in the Middle East;...

Really, is that too difficult to understand? Pumping a few barrels more in the US will have little affect on world oil prices. And we do pay the world price for oil here in the US.

Are the Republicans really that ignorant? Some will say they are just lying, but I don't believe that for one minute. The truth is they are really that ignorant. Not stupid mind you, that has to do with IQ and all that and there is no evidence that republicans are less intelligent than democrats. But they are more ignorant because of the have been indoctrinated for years in right wing ideology. And one can be indoctrinated with very ignorant concepts if it is drilled into them all their life.

Ron P.

"...that has to do with IQ and all that and there is no evidence that republicans are less intelligent than democrats."

This could be debated, but better to not go there ;-)

The Muhammad Ali Effect.
From Wikipedia.

The Muhammad Ali Effect is a term used in psychology that was named after Ali when he stated, "I only said I was the greatest, not the smartest" in his autobiography The Greatest: My own Story. This term is named after Ali because when people are asked to rate their intelligence and their moral behaviour in comparison to others, people will rate themselves as more moral, but not more intelligent than others.

Odd, I would rate myself as more intelligent but possibly less moral than average.

Partly it is that what constitutes are "moral" varies from person to person. To one person following a strict set of guidelines as read from some ancient text, and punishing those who don't constitutes moral behavior. His neighbor, may do the same, but he reads from a different document. To each, his neighbor is seen as less moral, whether he attributes it to bad character or delusion (relying on the wrong ancient document). An extreme hypothetical example, a Klingon, versus a Pacifist: The Klingon will view the pacifist, as profoundly dishonorable, while the pacifist will view the Klingon, as an unprincipled killer.

I suspect a similar effect happens with intelligence, there are different aspects of it, and people will differ in their strengths and weaknesses. If we more heavily weight those areas that we are good in, then the average person will be above average by his own evaluation. If instead we more heavily weight the areas we have difficulty with, then the average person will, by his own evaluation be seen as below average.

I disagree that morality is entirely based on some document, and that humans will be savages without any written law to follow. Rather, I agree with C.S. Lewis, as he writes in _Mere Christianity_, that humans are granted an innate knowledge between good and evil, and makes choices that may or not run contrary with what is not evil.

I also disagree that using man-made constructs, such as a Klingon, is a reasonable approach to discussing morality except in cases where it's used as a commonly understood basis - a Klingon's "morality" is known only to a Trekkie and those of us who might have an inkling of what you're talking about - I think I do know - but I'm really not sure. At least you do label it as an "extreme hypothetical".

Naturally, however, as one experiences life they'll pay more or less attention to their God-given knowledge of good and evil - for example, a Muslim stoning a woman does so in a religious fervor - but I believe he feels guilty still for he knows what he does is contrary to his God-given talent.

Culture is a human society construct that provides the parameters determining what's good and evil, not some a priori human attribute as posited by Lewis, and as such varies across cultures.


Thats what I was getting at. I don't believe morality comes from a religious document, however a lot of people believe it comes from the particular document their religion uses. There is some intrinsic morality (certain types of propensities to get along socially with a village sized group of humans). Experiments have shown that monkeys have a sense of fairness, and have been observed punishing those who don't cooperate. These cultural additions can be quite varied. BTW you could substitute Samurai for Klingon, with much change of meaning. My point was simply that different cultures idealize different sorts of behavior, and someone acting totally morally in one culture could be seen to be acting immorally in another. A recent example the Koran burning incident in Afghanistan. If you didn't know the local culture and only knew it was sensitive about the book, and your choice of disposal methods were (1) Burn it, or (2) throw in a hiole in the ground and cover it with dirt: most would choose (1), whereas in the context of the local culture, (1) is a horrible transgression, and (2) is the proper proceedure.

Another instance, seeking the truth no matter what, and trying your best not to mislead is very important to me, yet significant sectors of our society would consider that faith is transcendentally more important, while others consider that supporting their side (of some issue) is of the upmost importance. Clearly members of these three sets (not necessarily excluse), would seriously disagree about the morality of many actions.

I think it's a little of both. Well, I don't agree with Lewis that it's god-given. But I do think there are elements of human morality that are innate, though of course they are shaped by culture. (Likely at a very young age.)

I found this article fascinating.

It's about the biological basis of human morality. Morality has little basis in rationality. It's hard-wired in the human brain; our moral reactions are visceral. The article argues that there are five elements of morality: harm, fairness, community/loyalty, authority, and purity. When people disagree about moral issues, it's because they rank those elements differently. So, someone who values purity and respect for authority more than not causing harm may well decide that an "impure" woman should be stoned.

Not surprisingly, liberals and conservatives disagree on which of those moral elements are most important. Liberals tend to value harm and fairness far more than the others. While you might think conservatives would value respect for authority the most, they actually value all five about equally.

Fascinating indeed.
Maybe it provides some grounds/methodologies for talking with people with a different set of beliefs.
I do wonder, how much the diffeent moral senses can be suppressed or enhanced by experience. For instance libertarians have a highly developed sense of outrage at any suggest of government control, whilst people like me who are more communitarian minded, find non zero-sum reasoning to be most important.

My view is that people operate according to their evolutionary programming, then make up stories to explain and justify it afterwards. We behave according to the needs of our environment. Our myths just reinforce that. People are self domesticated. Our morality just explains what we already do and as such varies from culture to culture. At one time it was considered acceptable family planning to leave newborns by the city dump to be eaten by wolves. Oedipus was thusly abandoned because he was prophesized to kill his father (a king, no less) and usurp the throne by marrying his mother. Notice that the sin that polluted the land was regicide, not infanticide. We are not given to believe that Lauis and Jocasta felt guilt at casting a sinner out with the trash. Our culture recoils at this morality, but then again, they might consider some of our actions immoral. It all depends on what works for that economic system.


Or consider a Spartan, versus a modern right-to-lifer. An infant in the former culture was examined by a priest, who if he detected any defects would place the baby on a cliff to die. The former would consider saving a "defective" baby to be a sin.

Throughout all of history traditions have developed to regulate the number of desired children. These traditions although not specifically designed to ensure population stability have been remarkably efficient at achieving it. These traditions took many forms, and infanticide was one of the more common. In preindustrial agrarian societies the average number of children per women to keep the population stable was 5-6. In developed countries its now about 2.2. You can see modern marriage and sexual traditions struggling to adapt to this new reality.

To quote Lewis directly:

"These then are the two points that I wanted to make. First, that human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it. Secondly, that they do not in fact behave in that way. They know the Law of Nature; they break it. These two facts are the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in." (Lewis 1952, p. 21) (Wikipedia)

Sociobiology may give an explanation for the first point. I've yet to see a good explanation for the second.

I think it's pretty obvious. Breaking the law of nature is in fact part of the law of nature. There's a big advantage to you if you can cheat and get away with it.

I do believe that it's in some people's nature not to cheat, just as it's in some people's nature to be completely selfish (sociopaths). But most of us are somewhere in the middle - a result of millions of years of evolutionary history, in which sometimes one strategy was better, sometimes the other was.

I suspect that we are using the concept of "moral behavior" in two different senses. It seems to me that you are using it in the sense of "what is observed about human behavior" whereas I am using it in the sense of "what should be observed". From a purely naturalist perspective, the term "moral outrage" would appear to be an oxymoron. Being outraged about a natural phenomena appears to be purposeless. Would it make sense to be outraged because "a lead ball dropped from a tower falls to the earth"? If moral behavior is just biologically driven, then there should be no "outrage" when 1) We choose to kill and freeze wrap our neighbors in the event of collapse, 2) We choose to procreate early and often, even with those unwilling or under age, 3) We choose to use up as much oil as we can while its still available.

You may argue that these three behaviors are contrary to natural selection and the survival of the fittest. My question is why natural selection needs a champion, if it only describes what is?

It seems to me that you are using it in the sense of "what is observed about human behavior" whereas I am using it in the sense of "what should be observed".

I would argue that there is no "should be observed."

"Immoral" behavior creates outrage because we are programmed to react that way. For good or ill. What is immoral is culturally determined.

Cannibalism has been practiced among societies that did not consider it immoral; in some cases, it was the opposite (either a way to honor the deceased, or to take his power and increase your own). Having sex with children is about the worst thing you can do in our society, but in others, it has been the norm. Heck, even in our own...it was normal, not that long ago. And even now...there are a lot of people who think they're nothing wrong with using up all the oil.

You may argue that these three behaviors are contrary to natural selection and the survival of the fittest.

Actually, I would say they are not at all contrary to natural selection. Quite the opposite.

My question is why natural selection needs a champion, if it only describes what is?

I don't understand what you're saying here. Natural selection doesn't really describe what is. And I don't know what you mean by a "champion," either.

Poorly worded last two sentences. Is part of the purpose of The Oil Drum to in some way to influence the course of events relating to Peak Oil, or does it exist only to predict and describe its outcome? "Champion" in the sense of be the proponent or advocate for one outcome vs. another. If one outcome is as good as another, then why be a proponent of any particular course of action?

I don't think comparing TOD to natural selection is useful or appropriate. Natural selection has no goal. Presumably, a web site does.

As you might guess, we have differing views of what the purpose of this site is. I would say overall, most want to influence events. However, I'd guess most of us also do not believe we can or should do so directly. As has been noted before, we're mostly a bunch of geeks, with less than stellar communication skills and more interest in science/technology than politics. So the general hope is that we will become a trusted source of information for the movers and shakers, not that we ourselves become movers and shakers.

And I don't think it's accurate to say that we believe one outcome is as good as another. Rather, we disagree on what outcomes are best, or even possible.

I find that many people don’t understand what evolution teaches. People think that we are evolving toward something (progressivism) or that we evolve in response to something (which is a teleology.) The engine of evolution is chance. Chance events create our genes, which express themselves through our behavior, etc. Those which produce results which allow for the propagation of those genes tend to stick around, regardless of what that behavior is or what our moral instincts may think about it. It’s a process similar to the laws of thermodynamics. Evolution really should be called a law by now, but making things laws seems to be a nineteenth century phenomenon. Unfortunately it gives evolution an aura of second class citizenship in the empire of science.

Since our genes are produced by a random number generator, it should be no surprise that contradictory behavior can exist in us. There’s no law, or champion, preventing it. As they say, genes happen.


It was said by someone, that war is God's way of teaching Geography to Americans. For Republicans, God failed as a teacher. Maybe the oil market is God's way of teaching geography to Republicans. Still, it will take some years yet.

In 2008, the Republican punditocracy clearly stated that Bush had nothing to do with gas prices. They did a 180 now that Obama is President. They are lying

Having said that, most of those who watch Fox news are misinformed and ignorant.

To be fair, millions of people in both parties are misinformed and ignorant re the gas price issue.

And then there are all those people who think speculation is the main culprit. But then, it is a complex issue and smart people on this site have debated this long and hard. I have concluded that good old supply and demand are the main drivers but. still have an open mind.

I've come to the conclusion that there are two basic categories of people; those prone to cognitive bias- seeking 'comfortable' answers to questions; and those seeking correct answers to questions (the minority, perhaps). Since most important questions tend to have complex solutions (or no solutions at all, just more questions), less intelligent (or lazy, insecure) folks may be inclined to be in the former category. Few easy answers....

Here are a couple of very interesting links relevant to the discussion at hand:



I think there are two kinds of people.. people who like to divide us into just two kinds, and those who don't. <:

Or, as it says on one of my sweatshirts:

There are 10 kinds of people. Those that understand binary and those that don't.

There are in fact three kinds of people, those who can count and those who can't.

“There are two kinds of people in the world, those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig.”

George mentions binary thinking below. It seems to apply at times. e.g. People basically believe in God or they don't (even the undecided really don't), though I get your point Bob. Perhaps I should add a third category: The uncommitted ;-)

Yeah.. I hoped I kept that from being too snarky.

I like the multiple choice option of;

C) 'It's complicated'.. (but it was probably me that made it complicated.. it's supposed to be simple, right?)


What about pantheists and those who believe in multiple gods? While Christianity and Islam have managed a pretty good streak of killing and converting the unbelievers, there are still lots of people who believe in multiple gods. Hinduism alone is somewhere around a billion people, and Shinto still is big in Japan. Add in various native religions that are still hanging around in Africa and Oceania, as well as Chinese religious traditions that are polytheist, and you've suddenly got a surprisingly big number on your hands.

To be fair, millions of people in both parties are misinformed and ignorant re the gas price issue.

You can say that again. I spent a lot of time on dailykos - a good number there do at least one of the following: confuse US and global demand, think we are a net exporter, think gasoline pricing is not a function of oil pricing, believe supply and demand has no current role in pricing oil, believe the current price is entirely due to speculators, feel there is a conspiracy to defeat Obama by boosting oil price, etc., etc.

They want to blame big oil and Wall Street.

Of course the big media doesn't help.

A lot of progressives and Environmentalists are myopic on the issues of Peak Oil and its implications for continuing the economic growth model of the New Deal. http://commondreams.org is an excellent Progressive Website in general which collects progressive oriented content from numerous sources including publishing its own. But last week it had a special "Editors Edition" blaming the whole oil price rises on "speculators".
However there has been more and more comments from people on Peak Oil and
to their credit Commondreams I believe responding to the arguments of Peak Oil commenters posted an excellent article from Richard Heinberg.
Many leftists are stuck in the New Deal economic growth model which worked for
decades instead of realizing that we cannot just grow the pie, we have to manage the pie and divide it more equally or people will just die.
Actually people already are and have been dying for sometime from hunger, illnesses,etc.
Everytime I see one of this myopic columns or statements I try to send a response to the author. Sometimes they get it, sometimes not but it is important to make opinion leaders of all shades understand the ground rules of Peak Oil and Climate Change in the 21st Century for our survival.

Part of it may be concerns about the marketability of progressive programs. Its easier to sell a lot of things in an expanding economy, we could institute a mild redistributive program, where the rich still get richer (but not as quickly). Once you breach the limits of growth, the choices become narrower and more stark. Think major increase in fuel taxes, versus doing away with them to bring temporary relief at the pump. This also applies to "conversative" programs, higher inequality doesn't sound so bad, is you can claim the poor will be growing richer as well.

In 2008, the Republican punditocracy clearly stated that Bush had nothing to do with gas prices. They did a 180 now that Obama is President. They are lying

I agree - that's how you can tell its a lie, because of a 180 change in position on the same topic. The same thing happened with deficits.

Or even Romney-care (now renamed ObamaCare). In this case it is pure pragmatic reasoning, with partisan gain as the goal. In some other cases, a change of position on an issue may come from re-evaluating the data. Is it better to buy the most fuel efficient car -or the cheapest. For a rational person, depends upon the price of fuel would be a sensible answer. So for those of us who try to weigh the good versus the bad, small changes of our perception of the world can flip our position.

At least for the 2008 run-up, the Interagency Task Force of the CFTC concluded that speculation was not responsible:

The Task Force’s preliminary assessment is that current oil prices and the increase in oil prices between January 2003 and June 2008 are largely due to fundamental supply and demand factors. During this same period, activity on the crude oil futures market – as measured by the number of contracts outstanding, trading activity, and the number of traders – has increased significantly. While these increases broadly coincided with the run-up in crude oil prices, the Task Force’s preliminary analysis to date does not support the proposition that speculative activity has systematically driven changes in oil prices.

.....If a group of market participants has systematically driven prices, detailed daily position data should show that that group’s position changes preceded price changes. The Task Force’s preliminary analysis, based on the evidence available to date, suggests that changes in futures market participation by speculators have not systematically preceded price changes. On the contrary, most speculative traders typically alter their positions following price changes, suggesting that they are responding to new information – just as one would expect in an efficiently operating market.

full link here:

So basically if speculation was driving prices up changes in positions should have preceded the price run-up, but this was not found. I see again that the CFTC has been pulled into the speculation issue AGAIN recently, and their conclusions are different this time around.

I would personally believe that price movements alone don't prove or disprove that peak oil fundamentals are driving supply tightness. I have been tracking the price of precious metals recently (gold and silver mostly) and I say that the price movements since 2000 are quite similar to that of world oil prices. In fact, many commodities are following similar upward trends.

Instead, I would look at various other fundamentals such as the Export Land Model, falling EROEI on oil plays, coincidence of oil price spikes with recessions, and increased tensions over oil reserves as evidence that peak oil is really here. I and do think it is.

I prefer to assess in terms of "Republican mentality vs non-Republican mentality" regardless of political affiliation. Even in the US there are more political choices than "R vs D", by far. And many, if not most "Democrats" perform much like "Republicans".

Why destroy the nation-state?

No order of states will last for ever. The 'Europe of the Empires' was replaced by the present 'Europe of the Nation-States', but it too will ultimately disappear. Other continents will see similar conflicts, between the nation-states and alternative geopolitical orders.
~ Paul Treanor

The state has moved into many new areas as they become significant, such as... promoting nuclear power. This expanding role of the state helps prevent the rise of any significant competing forms of social organisation...

The obvious point is that most social activists look constantly to the state for solutions to social problems. This point bears labouring, because the orientation of most social action groups tends to reinforce state power. This applies to most antiwar action too. Many of the goals and methods of peace movements have been oriented around action by the state, such as appealing to state elites and advocating neutralism and unilateralism. Indeed, peace movements spend a lot of effort debating which demand to make on the state: nuclear freeze, unilateral or multilateral disarmament, nuclear-free zones, or removal of military bases. By appealing to the state, activists indirectly strengthen the roots of many social problems, the problem of war in particular...

Many people's thinking is permeated by state perspectives. One manifestation of this is the unstated identification of states or governments with the people in a country which is embodied in the words 'we' or 'us.' 'We must negotiate sound disarmament treaties.' 'We must renounce first use of nuclear weapons.' Those who make such statements implicitly identify with the state or government in question. It is important to avoid this identification, and to carefully distinguish states from people...
~ Brian Martin, 'Uprooting War'

Unlike natural gas, which is expensive to ship across oceans ....

How costly is it to ship natural gas across oceans? There is talk about dealing with the current glut that way. I don't know enough to judge whether that's realistic.


dovey - This will fill in a lot of the blanks for you. The Chenier facility is at Sabine Pass on the border of Texas and La. It is in the heart of a major region of NG stored in saltdomes and thus very well connected to the entire Gulf Coast NG pipeline system. From: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/26/us-lng-cheniere-idUSTRE79P3DO2...

"Cheniere will sell the LNG to BG for 115 percent of U.S. benchmark Henry Hub prices, plus a $2.25 premium. The 15 percent will be used for fuel and sourcing the gas, so we will make $2.25 (per million British thermal units)."

Right now I'm selling NG benchmarked to Henry Hub and not getting much more than $2.50/mcf. Thus this deal looks pretty good for Chenier. But I also notice they don't mention the transport costs. I suspect the buyer is picking that up. Last I heard it costs around $1-2/mcf for transport. But I suspect that matrket is heating up. And last I heard the UK was paying qround $8.50/mcf for imported NG so the deal seems a fairly decent one for the buyer. But the deal is benchmarked to Henry Hub so if domestic NG prices double or triple in the coming years...not such a good deal.

thanks! I appreciate it.

To ship natural gas you first have to liquify it, by compression and cooling. Because NG is not an 'ideal' gas like helium, liquefaction causes heating, which has to be removed. This takes a lot of energy, and produces a lot of waste heat. The ship then burns more energy both sailing to its destination, and keeping the NG cold enough to stay liquid. At its destination you need to expand the gas again, and expanding gas cools down... so unless you have a large local source of waste heat, you have to provide it (by burning some of the NG).

Net result is that up to 40% of the NG is consumed in the overall process. Add in the huge infrastructure costs of the plant required at both ends, it becomes relatively expensive NG. So expensive, that even with the current 'glut' US prices verses near record UK prices, it is only marginally economic to consider LNG exports to the UK at the moment.

40 Percent - wow.

thanks for that info.

It sounds like the disconnect in gas prices has to get quite large for this to be economical.

I have to disagree on this. The liquefaction process itself can use as little as 10% fuel relative to the amount of gas being liquefied. For example, an 800 mmscf/d liquefaction system will use maybe 80mmscf/d for fuel. This includes fuel to power the liquefaction trains and electrical generation - waste heat from the liquefaction train turbine exhaust alone easily provides enough heat to run separate steam turbines that provide more than enough electrical power for the remaining process. The waste heat from MR compression to cool the gas is dealt with via large finfans that just discharge it to atmosphere - maybe 10MW worth of 480V fan motors.

Also, the liquefaction system usually doesn't compress the gas. It's taken off the pipeline at some compression and regulated down to the ratings for the process piping and coldbox cores. It's not pressured once it cools to a liquid - at least beyond the head pressure needed to get it into the storage tanks.

You can also vaporize 2bcf/day on <30MW electrical power and around 50mmscfd/day fuel gas, not even close to the remainder of that 40%. Much of the vaporization is from fuel gas via submerged combustion vaporizers or shell-and-tube heat exchangers, but you can also capture a large amount of waste heat from the turbine exhausts.

Even assuming 2bcf/day fuel rates for vaporizing 800mmscf/d, the liquefaction + vaporization is 15% of total. I don't have the ship fuel usage handy but I'm pretty sure it isn't another 20%. In fact, I swear a number of them don't even run on NG.

waste heat from the liquefaction train turbine exahust alone easily provides enough heat to run separate steam turbines that provide more than enough electrical power for the remaining process.

No, that just don't sound right. I was in Saudi Arabia for five years. Though I did not work at any of the gas plants, I visited the Ju'aymah gas plant many times. (On computer business.) The liquefaction trans were just rows and rows of cooling units, each unit cooling the gas just a few degrees. There were huge fans above each unit, literally hundreds of them in the whole train. But there was no turbine exhaust because there was no turbine. And the heat, from the cooling units, was just dumped by the fans into the atmosphere. And it was not nearly hot enough to boil water to run a steam turbine.

Ron P.

I'm referring to the turbines that drive the MR compressors to provide the coolant for the cold boxes. MR compressors can either be driven by turbines or huge motors (not very common). The waste heat recovered from the exhaust of those turbines can easily provide enough power to run a separate steam-turbine specifically providing power for electrical generation.

Waste heat in the MR loop from the compression of the MR is rejected via the large finfans that I mentioned. perhaps that's what you are referring to. A system along the lines I described might need up to 20 acres of cooling fans for this purpose.

There are of course different processes used for liquefaction depending on whose system it is. Perhaps Saudi was using a different method. They had to be doing some compression to achieve the low temps to liquefy. And that either required driving MR compressors via turbines or using electric motors that required large electrical generation...but there had to be turbines somewhere.

Evaporative losses in shipping LNG are in the .15%/day range. A typical voyage from the Qatar to the GOM is 18-20 days, so that would be 2.7 - 3.0% for the (one way) journey). Depending on the ship the boil off is either vented (but that happens rarely nowadays), fed into the ship's engines and generators or used to cool boiloff vapors back into a liquid.
according to the pdf (which is from the early 90's) compression plants use about 10% of the energy embedded in the gas for compression.
adding to that the energy required for regas (which is a function of ambient temperature and which techology they use) adds another couple of percent. My WAG is that the total energy required to create, ship and regas LNG is in the 15-20% range, but specifics like ship size, trip length and ambient temperature matter significantly.


That looks about right. One nitpick - they aren't compression plants. They cool the gas. Don't want to confuse anybody, they're nothing more than giant air-conditioning units that condense LNG out of NG instead of condensing water vapor out of air. A compression plant would be a group of pipeline compressors used for gas pipeline transmission. The numbers I gave, modified somewhat to protect the innocent, are *actual* numbers.

Thanks. I was under the impression that the NG is compressed slightly (a couple of hundred psi) which causes it to heat up. The heat is then removed, which causes the pressure to drop. The gas then gets a chance to expand again, is compressed again, heats up, rinse, repeat.
But I could very well have the details wrong



I see, that must be the confusion. No, the NG is not compressed like that. What you linked to is an MR compressor - mixed-refrigerant. It's actually the MR gas that is compressed via the centrifigal compressor. That gas might consist of Methane, Ethane, Propane, and Isopentane - the exact composition and %-mol ratios will depend on your local climate and the exact liquefaction system design being used. Just think of it like the R-22 (R-34a?) in your AC unit at your house.

The high-power MR compressor is usually a multi-stage centrifugal unit like the type you linked to from Elliott-Turbo (now Cameron). That compressor is in turn driven by a gas-fired turbine (or as I said in rare cases a huge motor - or sometimes both at the same time!). Once compressed, the MR gas is run through fin-fan heat exchangers to reject heat and then it is allowed to J-T across a valve and cool down to around -260F. There are different designs, but in general the super-cooled mix of MR gas, which is actually part liquid and part gas at this point, is then run countercurrent to the incoming NG through the cold box "core". Of course the MR never mixes with the feed gas, they're run in different streams.

The important point is that the MR compression is done on the MR gas, not the feed gas (product).

Thanks for straighting that out. Is the explanation on this link correct then for LNG?



Wow there were so many TLAs in that writeup that I though I was reading a DoD spec! But yes that's basically it. As I mentioned, different companies use slightly different methods depending on the implementation and system chosen, but the general process is like that writeup.

If the plants you are talking about used gas turbines to power compressors then it must take an enormous amount of gas just to power them. Anyway there were no gas turbines on any of the plants in Saudi Arabia, they all used grid power. I simply cannot understand why one would use a gas turbine to generate the torque for a compressor.

A system along the lines I described might need up to 20 acres of cooling fans for this purpose.

Hey, I am an old farm boy and I know just how big 20 acres is. I saw more trains than just those at Ju'aymah. I did some work at the Berri gas plant also. And none of the trains there came even remotely close to occupying 20 acres. They were perhaps two to three hundred feet long, I don't remember exactly, but no more than 20 feet wide. I remember they were four, perhaps five fans across the width. They covered far less than one acre to be sure. But of course there was more than one train at each plant though I don't remember just how many. I was there from 80 thru 84. That was a long time ago.

Anyway they can easily be seen using Google Earth. The Ju'aymah plant is just south of the two huge Gazlan power plants and just a few miles west of Ras Tanura. The Berri plant is north, just about half way between that point and Al Jubyal. The trains are easily visible.

Okay Ty, this is all I have to say on this subject. Take care,

Ron P.

The fuel usage is what I said in my original post, ~10% of the liquefaction rate. I don't know the size plant you were at, but almost all large plants have compressors driven by turbines. You'd need huge motors and really cheap electricity to run MR compressors via electric motors. Unless you were making your own electricity, it would be far too expensive. An 800mmscfd liquefaction plant might require ~350MW to be driven from electric motors instead of turbines.

Even a small peaker unit making 15mmscfd LNG needs in upwards of a 9,000HP electric motor just to drive the MR compressor.

Wait a minute! The Ju'aymah gas plant is a natural gas liquids (NGL) fractionation plant, not a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant! In fact, it's the biggest NGL fractional plant in the world.

It strips the ethane, propane, butane, pentane, and heavier liquids off the natural gas stream and sells them to the petrochemical industry and oil refineries. It doesn't liquefy natural gas.

It wouldn't have any MR compressors, and therefore wouldn't have any need for turbines to drive them.

I don't know why Saudi Arabia would have any LNG export plants, since it is already short of natural gas for its own power generation needs. You need to look to nearby Qatar for LNG export plants.

Ha ha. That probably explains Ron's lack of turbines. Not even close to the same thing.

Rocky, you are correct. I just knew the Ju'aymah plant and the Berri plant as just a gas plant that I had to go to occasionally. And I saw the long trains, and the workers there referred to them as trains, so I just naturally assumed.... sorry to Ty and everyone else for the misunderstanding. As I have said on this list many times, I am not an oilman. I spent my entire career as a computer service engineer, save six miserable months as a stock and commodities broker.

Ron P.

I am a long term interested observer to the discussions here, but this is my first comment. My involvement with LNG was fairly peripheral and my knowledge may be a few years out of date but I can maybe clarify a few things from the comments above, which are mostly correct even if they look contradictory. So here goes.

The are LNG liquefaction designs that might run "up to 40%" shrinkage for fuel gas, but these would be very small plants and I don't know if any have industrial use. Almost all commercially traded LNG comes from large base load plants, which use gas turbine drives on refrigeration compressors. Typically GE industrial turbines are used - the bigger the turbine the better for efficiency, LNG train throughputs are set by the choice of the turbine drive. I only know of one LNG plant that I think uses electrical drives for the compressors (but I'm prepared to be told I'm completely wrong about this), which is Snohvit (Snow White) in Norway. A problem with electrical driven machines is that very large variable speed drives are needed to get good efficiency and operability; these are at the edge of available technology, and not sufficiently industrially proven for most companies to take a risk with. Snohvit had some unique features, such as available hydropower and government backing which allowed electrical drives, and some other novel technologies, to be considered (not without some teething troubles from what I've read).

The large base load plants will all achieve fuel gas usage around 10% of feed rate with a bit of variation depending on quality of the gas feed. The efficiency of the turbines is around 35% ( maybe to 40%higher for larger machines) so there is some waste heat available that can be used (e.g. for steam generators as mentioned above or other heating duties in an industrial complex, and I think in the Middle East a lot might be used for desalination). Some remote LNG plants however might not be able to make much use of any of it though. There are two main types of liquefaction process used, one is Cascade which has three refrigeration cycles with pure hydrocarbons, and mixed refrigerant plants where a blended hydrocarbon with a boiling point curve just slightly below that of the feed stock is used (the closer the boiling points the more efficient is the plant, but also the larger are the heat exchangers).

I think the 40% number quoted might actually be a full shrinkage number for a particular project. Total shrinkage is the difference between between the rich gas produced from the wells and the lean gas sent to the delivery pipeline after regassification. The gas will typically contain carbon dioxide and heavier hydrocarbons which have to be removed as they will freeze in the liquefaction plant, plus the propanes, butanes and heavier components are worth more as separate sales streams (much, much more at the moment in the USA given present oil to gas price ratios). In addition there is other fuel used in the gas gathering system (typically offshore and often involving some compression especially as the fields deplete); for losses during transportation (latest LNG Carriers can achieve down to 0.1% losses per day, and the boil-off gas can be used as fuel for the ship); and for regassification and compression at the destination port.

Concerning the discussion about compressing natural gas. There is proposed technology around for CNG, but no operating projects. Basically the gas is compressed into pressure vessels about large bulk carries and transported to destination. I think the economics makes this attractive only for some niche offshore fields.

Thanks for your additions Yeats, I agree with all of it. Unfortunately given my position, I'm not able to go into many specific details at this point beyond what I've given.

Frame-7 turbines seem to be the favored drivers for compression on a number of systems but electric drive is indeed doable.

You could also very well be correct with thr 40% total when you count removal of the heavies and CO2 in front end cleanup. The exact amount is of course determined by the source of the gas. However I don't count the heavies as "lost" since they are eagerly picked up via NGL plants and sold.

Because NG is not an 'ideal' gas like helium, liquefaction causes heating, which has to be removed.

RalphW, I don't think being an "ideal" gas keeps it from heating up when it is compressed. Doesn't it respond to PV = nRT equation?

Helium has a negative Joule-Thomson coefficient at normal ambient temperatures, meaning it heats up when allowed to freely expand.

. Helium-3 also has a superfluid phase, but only at much lower temperatures; as a result, less is known about such properties in the isotope.[5]

Meaning that it will flow up and over the side of a beaker, because viscosity dissapears.



Krugman gets it partly right in explaining short-term upward movements but still fails to understand the long-term pressure coming from global restrictions on production. Like his opposite numbers, the Freshwater Economists (his naming), he is biased in his explanations as much by a left-leaning (actually progressive) ideology. He still believes in growth as the means to raise all ships.

Somewhat apropos, my latest rant at Question Everything: Do You Believe in Magic?

Indeed i browse Krugman's blog quite a bit and must say I'm not impressed at all.
But basically he cannot do otherwise, baring saying "economics" as a whole is a joke (or let's say, that its only valid definition is "the study of how to destroy the world as fast as possible", which indeed then makes it perfectly coherent, but usually it isn't "branded" this way ..)

Actually Krugman is perfectly aware of physical limits on oil production. You can see all his blog posts that mention peak oil here. What is unsaid in his current column is whether oil production worldwide can actually be increased, but that is another discussion.

He stil refers to this banality as a "theory" or even "dismal theory" though ...

George, I don't see protecting capitalist dogma -- unending growth as beyond question or even discussion -- as a left-leaning idea. The Democratic Party is every bit as unwilling to mention Peak Oil as the Republicans. Krugman is just pushing the party line. It's a center-right position. It's a center-right political party. We have no institutional left in the USA.

Hi Michael,

Perhaps you should listen or read Bob Shear's work (Left, Right, and Center - NPR, or Truthdig.com) He is a flaming progressive who fervently believes in the capitalist dogma. He has quoted Krugman from time to time. The progressives are pushing for a leveling of the economic playing field, not just by the 1% coming down, but by the poor rising up. The only way that is going to happen is if the capitalist system delivers more growth. Their only difference is in believing that a progressive tax structure will work in a growth economy to raise all ships. Krugman has often called for a massive stimulus package funded by short-term debt increases because he believes those debts will be paid down by growth once we get the economy going again. In my view, and in light of peak net energy per capita, that is magical thinking if ever there was.

People who follow political/ideological dogmas of any kind seem to think they can choose biophysical reality to suit them. Not the case, of course.

George, great article! I loved it especially what you said about Rick Santorum.

But I was far more impressed with the Krugman article that you were, and a lot more than a few others who replied on this list. I thought he got everything exactly right in the article. Your criticism, about Freshwater Economics and growth lifting all ships is perhaps right on the mark. But you did not get that from this article and I must judge the merits of this article only by the content of the article.

Ron P.

Thanks and fair enough. I was bringing forward several years of reading Krugman (long before he won the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel and writing criticisms of his beliefs in growth. I wrote him several years ago regarding peak oil and declining EROI explaining the relationship between these and economic work. I thought professional courtesy would dictate he at least send a reply, even if only a canned one. Nada. I guess professional courtesy only extends to fellow prize winners! (OK snark off)

Three cheers for the "Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel" The phrase "Nobel Prize" should never be used referring to an economist, especially Krugman

There is an excuse for ignorance, but not for stupidity.

Some day I hope to be relevant enough in Leanan's opinion that she will actually link to one of my articles up in Drumbeat. In any case, one of the other writers over there took exception to what I wrote:


Friedman is talking about production, while Robert is talking about consumption. Because the Saudis can produce oil by sticking a drill into the ground, they don’t have to learn how to get hard currency in another way. Essentially, because they can sell oil to the world, they don’t have to learn how to build factories. They sell the oil, then they get cash, which they use to buy Mercedes and extra-tall skyscrapers. The Taiwanese on the other hand have to buy all the oil they use. And – where do they get the money to pay for the oil? By building factories and selling things that the world needs.

As I replied, Frieman is leaving the clear implication that Taiwan is succeeding without oil:

Friedman’s narrative leaves the clear implication that Taiwan did not need oil to succeed. After all, part of the title is “Hold the Oil.” The point is, they are not “holding the oil” nor are any of the other countries he cites. But look at the comments following the article, and the implication is “they succeeded without oil because they invested in their people.”

Further, we can look at plenty of countries that are major oil producers that did build factories and have high standards of living: Canada, Norway, the UK, the U.S. So that suggests that it isn’t oil that is the issue here. When he writes that governments should invest in their citizens, he is on firm ground. When he tries to extend that into “they are more likely to succeed since they have no oil” he leaves that firm ground. We have plenty of examples of countries that have or had rich natural resources that built complex economies with high standards of living. We can also cite plenty of countries without natural resources with low standards of living and simple economies. That argues that this is a much more complex issue than he has tried to make it.

In my opinion, this one is as relevant:

Look at what happened in the U.S over that same period of time. In 1982, U.S. reserves were estimated at 27.9 billion barrels. Over the next 24 years U.S. production was 56.9 billion barrels. Yet in 2005, U.S. reserves were still 21.8 billion barrels. So over that 24 year-period the U.S. produced 57 billion barrels of oil and pulled reserves down by only 6 billion barrels.


Personally, I think the problem is with your candor.

bud - Let's use your numbers. In 1982 the US was producing 9.8 million bopd. So in 24 years we've reduced reserves 6 billion bo. So today we are producing about half that 1982 rate. So if the current rate never decreases it will take us 48 years to cut our reserves another 6 billion bbls. And then what...another 96 years to get the next 6 billion bbls out of the ground? And then another 188 years to get the enxt batch out?

Of course, many feel the US producion will resume it's decline soon. Maybe...maybe not. And of course my quick and dirty model above has holes in it. But it does point out why we focus on Peak Oil rate and not Peak Oil reserves. Tens of billions of bbls of oil sitting in the ground won't get you a tank of gasoline. Only the grease that makes it to the surface will. Like the man dying of thirst in a life boat: Water, water every where...and not a drop to drink.

Those are not my numbers, but Robert Rapier's. SA was producing 8.1 million bpd in Jan.- 2010 (the vintage of that post) and 9.6 million bpd in Jan 2012, OPEC data.

So in 24 years we've reduced reserves 6 billion bo.

The point was one about reserves growth; that just as U.S. reserves grew since 1982 then we can also expect that Saudi's reserves grew. This was a counter to those who felt we could simply take Saudi's 1982 reserves, subtract their production since then, and come up with how much oil they have left.

But Robert, you know as well as anyone that US reserves are publicly audited, and only resources proven by field drilling are included in headline reserves, leading to 'reserve growth' as oil companies drilled fields they had already identified. Saudi reserves are a state secret, and grew inexplicably by 100B barrels in 3 years. There is no reason to expect SA resources to be as large as claimed, or to grow as the result of accounting rules.

In 1973, Aramco started selling ownership to the government of Saudi Arabia. By 1989, the process of transferring ownership of Aramco to the Saudi government was complete, marking the beginning of Saudi Aramco.


You are missing the point. Some argued that we could go back to the time in the early 80's when they were last open to outside audit, subtract the subsequent production since then, and come up with an estimate of how much is left. My example of the U.S. was to show that reserves do grow, and that there is no reason to believe that Saudi's wouldn't have also grown. That isn't to argue that the amount of their stated increase was correct, but rather to simply point out that one could not just subtract production from their 1982 number.

Robert, reserve growth was something brought about by SEC regulations. They could not overestimate reserves because that just might be claiming reserves that they did not have. They, far more often than not, underestimated reserves. As time went by they eventually got a better handle on what they could legitimately claim as true reserves, and it turned out to be more than they originally claimed. So the term "reserve growth" was coined.

But for overseas reserves, they could be be a little more optimistic, or realistic, in estimating reserves, and they were. There is no reason to believe that as late as 1980 Saudi reserves were underestimated, even if they still were partially claimed by four US oil companies.

However... and this a very big however... the vast reserves claimed by Saudi Arabia and other Middle East OPEC nations are beyond all reason, reserve growth or no reserve growth. All OPEC nations, with a few exceptions over the years when a few OPEC nations have actually held back production, have produce all the oil they could possibly produce. And the oil you can produce is directly proportioned to the oil you have to produce. If Saudi Arabia, and other Middle East OPEC nations, actually had those vast reserves they claim to have, they would be producing a lot more oil. The only reason they don't is because they can't.

OPEC countries, in the summer of 2008 were producing every barrel they could possibly produce. Then when the price collapsed almost all of them cut their production. Then within a year nine of the twelve were back to producing flat out. Only Kuwait, the UAE and Saudi were still holding back production. But now with the world oil price around $125 a barrel, they are all producing every barrel they possibly can.

But if they truly had 1.2 trillion barrels of reserves as they claim then they could produce three times as much. They don't produce more oil so they don't have those vast reserves they claim.

Ron P.

Robert, reserve growth was something brought about by SEC regulations

Not entirely. Some reserve growth is simply because 1). Extraction technologies improved, leading to more recovery of oil in place; 2). Higher prices push certain oil resources into the reserves category.

I don't know how much of this would be the case in Saudi, but I am quite certain that reserves would have had some growth due to the above 2 factors. Again, this is not a defense of their stated reserve number, but rather the reason why a simple equation of "1982 Reserve - Subsequent Production = Current Reserve" does not work.

I actually cover the questionable reserve additions in my book, so I am well aware of that situation. That is not what I am talking about here though.

Okay, but do you agree or disagree with this statement? "Every country produces, on average, all the oil it can produce, or within a few percentage points of that figure."

You must understand what I am asking. If Saudi Arabia actually had 264 billion barrels of reserves then they could easily produce 30 million barrels per day. And all other Middle East OPEC nations, if they actually had the reserves they claim, could produce at least three times what they are currently producing. And that would still be well below the average reserves to production ration of most nations.

Do you get my point? Robert, I have argued this point for six years on this list with Roger Connor and others. I have gotten nothing but flak and worse from them. I just cannot seem to get this point across. Roger said, years ago, that there was no connection between a countries reserves and the oil they produce. I argued that the entire Hubbert theory was based on such a connection. But somehow no one seems to get the point. I am at a loss to explain this disconnect.

Ron P.

Okay, but do you agree or disagree with this statement? "Every country produces, on average, all the oil it can produce, or within a few percentage points of that figure."

That's somewhat a function of oil prices and time horizons. Who would have guessed in 2005 that U.S. oil production would start to rise in a few years? So how do you define "all the oil it can produce?" If prices are high, capital investments will be high, and oil production can go up as we have seen in the U.S. There are obviously limits there, but it's not as simple as that statement makes it. Yes, the U.S. is producing all the oil we can with oil at $100 and with the current infrastructure which is based on oil prices over the past few years. But if oil had been $200 a barrel for the past 5 years, more investments would have been made and we would be producing more oil than we are today. That doesn't mean that I believe we can reverse the U.S. peak -- we are too far gone for that. But we can produce more oil if the price is higher versus if it is lower.

If Saudi Arabia actually had 264 billion barrels of reserves then they could easily produce 30 million barrels per day.

Again, I don't think it is as simple as that. U.S. and Canadian oil reserves are about the same (31 and 32 billion barrels in 2010, respectively, according to the BP Statistical Review) and yet the U.S. produces more than twice the oil that Canada produces.

I think you completely miss the point. Of course the price of oil has a lot to do with it, but that applies to every country alike. Every country produces every barrel of oil it can possibly economically produce at the current world price. Is that better?

Okay reserves are sometimes skewed... slightly. But it can get ridiculous. The average reserves to production of major non-OPEC countries is about 23. For the Middle East OPEC nations it is over 100. If you find nothing suspicious about that then...

Really Robert, you think that is about right? Are you serious?

Ron P.

Really Robert, you think that is about right? Are you serious?

That's not remotely close to what I said.

That is exactly what you were saying. You say that because the US and Canada have similar reserves but production is quite different, implying that reserves are no indication of what a country can produce. Again, from what I read that was exactly what you were implying.

I really don't understand your reply.

Ron P.

That is exactly what you were saying.

Ron, you sometimes have a tendency to read far more into what someone is saying than what they actually said. My point was simple: You can't take Saudi's 1982 reserves, subtract production in subsequent years, and come up with their reserves because we can expect that their reserves would have grown. Full stop. Nowhere in there do I suggest or imply that their stated reserve number is correct, nor do I defend the reserves inflation that has gone on in the Middle East.

But then you asked a question about the level of reserves and the level of production, indicating that the first should tell us something about the second. I simply gave you the case of the U.S. and Canada to show why this might not be true, but if you look at the reserve/production numbers for a number of countries, you will see that they are all over the place.

From that, you jumped to the point that I agree with OPEC's numbers. That is reading in something I never said nor implied.

but if you look at the reserve/production numbers for a number of countries, you will see that they are all over the place.

Yes, they are all over the place but entirely within reason. I did an average of non-OPEC reserves. They average about 23. The Middle East OPEC nations average over 100. That is all over the place, 23, verses beyond all reason, +100.

My point was if Saudi actually had all those reserves, then they could just punch a hole in the ground and produce more oil as your critic indicated he believed they could. They don't and they can't.

Ron P.


I actually cover the questionable reserve additions in my book, so I am well aware of that situation.

Has the chapter, or a draft of the chapter, been posted anywhere online ?

No, but the book is supposed to be published in 10 days. I discuss the reserves additions from a number of different OPEC countries in a sidebar called "Overstated OPEC Reserves?"

Thank you.

There is no reason to believe that as late as 1980 Saudi reserves were underestimated...

Ghawar Field

When appraised in the 1970s, the field was assessed to have 170 billion barrels (27 km3) of original oil in place, with about 60 billion barrels (9.5 km3) recoverable (1975 Aramco estimate quoted by Matt Simmons). The second figure, at least, was understated, since that production figure has already been exceeded.


But if they truly had 1.2 trillion barrels of reserves as they claim then they could produce three times as much.

Oil reserves and production
Recoverable crude oil &
condensate reserves .....................260.1 billion barrels


The question of OPEC reserves was ably covered by the late L.F. Buz Ivanhoe in the first issue of The Hubbert Center Newsletter 1996 http://hubbert.mines.edu/news/Ivanhoe_96-1.pdf

My post was relative to Saudi Arabia, not OPEC.

I think its a bit subtler than your argument. Clearly a country (Taiwan) without oil can succeed with domestic oil resources, by producing stuff that can be traded for oil and other things. The issue for this country then becomes, how well that paradigm survives once peak oil issues cause the relative prices of oil, versus manufactured stuff to change.

The issue with resource rich countries, has to do partly with how big the resource boom is relative to the rest of the economy. If all they need do is to drill (or let others drill) and sell the resource, and they can live well), such as Saudis for a while, or Kuwait before GulfWar-I, then these societies are using the resource as a crutch, and aren't developing other parts of their economy. In many cases, even where there is a will to diversify, it becomes very difficult. A resource exporting country often has an inflated currency (in order to balance exort/import flows), and this means domestic industries are at a price disadvantage compared to freign firms.

Historically the US has traded US dollars. including but not limited to, large numbers of $100 bills. That process seems to be coming to an end. In the future we may need to trade real goods for various imports, or do without.

The US dollar's status as the world's reserve currency is due to three things: (1) it's still regarded as a reasonable store of value over the short or medium term, (2) there's enough dollar-denominated paper in circulation to support the current level of global trade, and (3) there are very large very liquid markets for dollar-denominated paper. The first one may be subject to question; the other two are absolutely not, and the dollar is the only currency for which (2) and (3) are true. If the other countries of the world all announced today that they would only accept euros as payment, tomorrow trade would come to a grinding halt -- because no one would be able to lay their hands on enough euro-denominated paper to pay their bills when they came due.

Consider China's proposals for replacing the dollar as the reserve currency for trade; call the new currency beans for convenience. China wants some international agency to print trillions of beans worth of paper, and tie the nominal value of a bean -- which would be as pure a fiat currency as has ever existed -- to a basket of other currencies. Most telling, they propose that the basket not include the yuan, because if it did, China would no longer be able to play the currency manipulation games they do today.

I have always suspected that any country that steps up to the responsibility of providing the global trading currency is doomed to eventual fiscal problems. Their money supply effectively has to grow to keep up with global economic growth, rather than their own growth, leading to inflation, or too much debt, or both.

Maybe, Tide detergent is going to become the new currency? Sounds wacky in the extreme, yet there is an epidemic of people stealing the stuff. I heard the claim it was because it was very tradeable. Maybe its becoming a class of money?

Have you considered an article on Newt Gingrich? In his solutions does he confuse or misuse so called shale oil (which contains no oil) with oil shale?


Or see Youngquist at Ivanhoe's Hubbert Center Newsletter 98-4

"Have you considered an article on Newt Gingrich? "

A Reality Check on Oil Supply for Newt Gingrich

It is difficult to imagine that Mr. Gingrich could be unaware of these fundamental facts and probabilities. If so, he must be placed in a lower category than Rick Perry and Herman Cain, who simply could not remember what they presumably knew. The only other possibility is that he knows the reality of oil supply and is misleading the American people in order to gain support for a positive "can do" message. Either way, it is clear that Mr. Gingrich does not have a realistic understanding of the oil exploration and production business.

Rex Weyler, in a nutshell: Peak oil is real and will stunt any economic recovery, from above:

During the last century, society burned the best half of recoverable hydrocarbons that represented 500 million years of captured sunlight; a one-time storehouse of high quality, concentrated energy. We squandered it on drag races, traffic jams, private jets and overheated office buildings. We burned this valuable asset and called it "income." If you did that in your home, you would go bankrupt. Peak oil is real. The consequences – at best – will be a slowly scaled-down industrial civilisation. If we continue to ignore these facts, the consequences will be far worse. Nature just is not sentimental.

Another good, short-and-to-the-point article to send to the uninitiated and fence-sitters on your list.

Another good, short-and-to-the-point article to send to the uninitiated and fence-sitters on your list.

Meh, I'll pass, not my job! I really used to think I was helping people to open their eyes. After failing to get through time and time again even with highly educated people in my closest circles of friends and family... what's the point?

What gets me is that they listen to what I have to say, they can't seem to find any holes in my arguments but they are still absolutely incapable of connecting the dots when it comes to understanding the implications to their future way of life. I've finally concluded that spending a day paddling my kayak out on the reefs is a much more productive use of my time!

Still it's nice to have TOD as a sanity check in a very insane world!


C'mon, Fred, what if Paul Revere had stopped at the first pub he saw? What if the boy with his finger in the dike decided to pick his nose? ....

That said, I'm headed to my garden for much the same reason; sanity. We tilled yesterday and found a couple of arrowheads. While we knew that this was Cherokee country, I never figured our little hollow was much of a settlement. Anyway, a good rain last night may have exposed more. Interesting that one of our finds was a nice 'trade' arrowhead, made of a type of flint not found in these parts. A neighbor who's a local 'expert' said it likely came from central Tennessee or southern KY. All of the locally produced stone tools found around here are white or yellow quartz. Just an OT aside on a slow Friday ;-)

Given the firestorm of Conucopian Disinformation out there (especially as we get closer to the election), in trying to counter it I am beginning to feel like a 10 year old boy trying to put out a raging forest fire by peeing on it.

wt - Another easy fix: give the boy a six pack of beer. Be as useful as some of the silly ideas put out by Newt et al.

Given the firestorm of Conucopian Disinformation out there (especially as we get closer to the election), in trying to counter it I am beginning to feel like a 10 year old boy trying to put out a raging forest fire by peeing on it.

Im right there in the boat with you westexas! Its extremely frustrating.

As a young person, I can only communicate my experiences with adolescents and twenty-somethings. I consider the majority of my college-age demographic to be more concerned with finding a job, chasing girls/guys or doing anything besides questioning the reigning message we've been indoctrinated with, which is that prosperity will eventually reach all if only we celebrate some more. I do find that aspect to be disappointing.

However, I have been able to make significant headway on occasion by using more tangible indicators. For instance, I will talk about unemployment (which many young people are concerned about) as a segway to systemic global economic headwinds, and then bring that towards possible causes, which I identify to be a combination of resource depletion and human systemic inertia to change. I then bring in the history, positing that human behavior on the macro-scale has been quite predictable, and so what is happening now should not be a surprise given previous societal collapses.

I would mention that this strategy (all strategies, likely!) rarely works with women, and only with males who are already disenchanted with the soup of pop culture around us. My hit % in terms of convincing them that we have a REAL problem on our hands, is maybe 30% with males and 10% with females. After many frustrating attempts I conclude that many guys, and most girls just want to have fun. Peak oil /= fun.

I'm sad to hear that. The young are our real hope. The leadership offers nothing. If there is no way to control the trajectory and the future will be improvised from shattered remains, then simply having fun may be to live in grace.

Very well. Party on.

Cyndi Lauper

With allowances made for it being Friday, and perhaps I had a glass too many of wine at dinner tonight...

I no longer believe that the world as a whole can be saved. I no longer believe that the country as a whole can be saved. I don't believe that I can provide, by myself or as part of a small group, the level of tech (eg, personal computers and modern medicine) that I want my grandchildren to have. However, I do believe that it is still possible to salvage my region of the country, for a suitable definition of "region".

To that end, I try to encourage, in one fashion or another, the things that I think need to be done to accomplish that. Big pushes for efficiency. Increased use of the relatively robust renewable electricity supplies. Electrification of transportation: local and regional rail, small personal electric vehicles, etc. More and better water management. Greater physical isolation from the world outside this region. The problems to which those are all partial solutions will happen; the important thing is that people are thinking in the right directions when they attempt to implement solutions.

Will it work? Oh, probably not. "Hell, no!" some people would say. Still, it feels better to be trying to nudge in positive directions than to be talking about doom all the time. If people want to talk about why I think certain directions are important, well, I'm prepared to talk through ELM and the Hirsch report and why I think this region has options that others don't. But it's not where I start.

I agree with you. Where are you located?

Front Range Colorado. Although I think that the "region" that can survive -- if that's the right word -- is actually the 11 western states from the Rockies to the Pacific. Various reasons for that. We could take any discussion offline; I'm at mcain6925 [at] comcast [dot] net, with the usual substitutions.

Come on Fred, you need to talk to them about the serious stuff like societal collapse. Will it be catabolic, straight line, stair step or shark fin? Deflation or hyperinflation? And, how about martial law as it all comes down? Finally, why not discuss secession and the break-up of the US? That's always good for a roll of the eyes.

I'm not being totally facetious about this. These are topics that anyone who is serious about the future have to at least mull over. At the very least it allows people to set up a series of bench marks. In other words, while they might think it's all nuts, they will be able to rethink their position if things do follow a trend.


These are topics that anyone who is serious about the future have to at least mull over.

Yeah, I basically agree. Unfortunately based on that I have had to concluded that no one in my close circles is even slightly serious about the future.


Cut'em some slack, Fred. They're just a bunch of hunter-gatherers, scurrying around the planet scrounging anything that may improve their chances for survival or comfort, discounting anything that doesn't fulfill this near-term mandate. They've accepted their evolutionary role in the scheme of things, programed to reject any challenges to their status, here at the top of the food chain. It is we,,, you Fred, who is anomalous, the freak of nature; ahead of your time too late to make a difference. Kind of sucks, I know... but you're in good company :-)

Hi Fred,

Let me give you a serious reply. I understand where you're coming from because it is hard to find like minded people.

In my case, I have a couple of buddies who share my view of the future. We have a long lunch every other week at a local park if the weather isn't bad. Now, I live in the boondocks and there aren't many people here, however, I'm sure there is someone to commiserate with. My three closest neighbors are doomers too but we don't get together very often...we just BS if we run into one another on the county road or in town.

Last year I proposed that my Grange establish The Grange Center for Self-Reliance. So far we have put on three weekend seminars; 1)food production systems, 2)good varieties for our area and 3) how to build self-watering containers, build a cheap, durable drip system and beekeeping. We didn't have huge turnouts which somewhat disappointed me. On the other hand, it did bring like-minded people together. It also led one guy to offer to give a seminar on building solar dehydrators. And, in April, after the chance of snow is gone, we'll offer the CERT training program (Community Early Response Team) which will bring even more people together and, perhaps, lead to my Grange becoming a CERT center.

I also send out a weekly doom and gloom "Update" to my buddies, neighbors and a number of TODers. The Update started because it was hard for my buddies and I to exchange Internet information; you know, trying to copy URLs on a picnic table, so I thought an email would be easier. It expanded to include TODers after I mentioned it a few times here. Besides, maybe, interesting the people who get it, it provides me with a written record of articles that interest me. I can also cover stuff that is now considered inappropriate for TOD.

I almost forgot, my wife and I give a summer BBQ for the people in our area (about 20 over 5 square miles). Because we're so separated, it's our one chance to see and talk to everyone.

So, don't give up. Being able to talk to even one other person who shares your concerns is worth it.


I can also cover stuff that is now considered inappropriate for TOD.

Yes, it's sad that TOD didn't make the natural transition from peak oil recognition, to tackling its future effects and ways to mitigate them. A lost opportunity.

However, I see other sites such as: The Automatic Earth, Resilient Communities (John Robb), collapsenet (Mike Ruppert), The Energy Bulletin (to become Resilience.org) and others. Are all making the transition and moving towards the question of how we (as individuals) should change the way we live to best deal with the problems barrelling our way.

Perhaps the next Facebook/disruptive technology will be in the resilient living space, as people are forced to adapt to the future and abandon BAU.

Yes, it's sad that TOD didn't make the natural transition from peak oil recognition, to tackling its future effects and ways to mitigate them. A lost opportunity.

We discussed this a lot. The problem we ran into is that we are so diverse that there is no way we could ever come to an agreement on future effects and mitigation. The staff was chosen for its diversity of views, but you kind of need a shared vision to move beyond peak oil recognition.

Our views range from "massive dieoff in a couple of years and there's nothing we can do about it" to "BAU will continue, only with renewables and/or nukes." There just isn't enough common ground.

And as it works currently, I think we probably see enough examples here of that whole range of conclusions so that any of us may pick and choose which of the conversations work within our own philosophies.

I have never really felt this was a site for 'The action plan' and 'Git er done'.. this is, as it says above, The Discussion about Energy.. and for the action scenes, we are each invited to find or create other venues for it.

I remain glad to see a place where a degree of civility and sobriety across a range of posters can be expected. Continued Thanks!

Not a dissimilar situation to society at large really, unable to come to a consensus way forward, so simply carries on with BAU by default. Trouble is that for increasing numbers of people BAU is shutting down and forcing them into the future ill equipped to deal with it.

As you've said many times Leanan, we have to deal with today as well as tomorrow, we're not going to find ourselves in a different world overnight. But we are going to have to deal with it as individuals, rather than as a society, because society cannot get to grips with the problem. I guess the gap between those looking for scalable solutions to encompass the whole of society and those needing to get on with transition without waiting for the rest of society is too great.

...stuff that is...considered inappropriate for TOD.

These was indeed such highly inappropriate 'stuff' posted here on TOD, and you ///rapidly/// purged it from this site, along with the entire comment thread attached to it....between one and two years ago, if memory serves me correctly.

Your drawing and maintaining 'the line' has prevented TOD from degenerating into something other that what you and the Eds have maintained it to be, in my opinion.

Our views range from "massive dieoff in a couple of years and there's nothing we can do about it" to "BAU will continue, only with renewables and/or nukes." There just isn't enough common ground.

Off course there is not. We are conducting an experiment that has never before been done in the history of the planet. No one knows, and we all have different views on what will happen. Future will tell. Next time, we'll know better.

Thanks Todd and Ghung, I know you are both right and all any of us can do is keep trying. No, I won't give up and will continue to try to open eyes and build community and share knowledge to the best of my ability even if I do get frustrated upon occasion. Todd, if you want to send me your Doom and Gloom Report my email is in my profile.


Or that they care about the future, but resource depletion to them is at best a distraction from the real battle, which is XXX. Now XXX can take many forms, religious belief, or the ascendency of a political philosophy, or whatever. Trying to substitute something for XXX, detracts from the pursuit of XXX, so it is either to be ignored, or actively opposed.

Peak of Everything in 1970:

I cannot help but be reminded of Hunter S.'s brilliant paragraph in "Fear and Loathing" where he waxes about seeing the high tide line of America....

Monthly oil consumption keeps on falling in Italy in February 2012 (but...)

(Monthly oil consumption from January 2006 up to February 2012 - grouped by year - millions of tons, plot from http://mondoelettrico.blogspot.com/)

Monthly oil consumption (from January 2006 up to February 2012 - time series - from http://mondoelettrico.blogspot.com/)

...but in February 2012, Italy was blasted by snow storms and many people avoided to move for this reason: for example, my parents had to wait two days before flying from Rome airport, since many airport workers stayed at home when they saw the snow storms, because they did not have snow chains for their car tyres. Therefore the data for February is partially blurred. Anyway, I do not think that the trend has changed.

So, in 24 years it will be zero??? That might actually be true.

The top article "Understanding the new Price of Oil" was excellent from the supply side for oil but I think mistaken from the demand side.
the following remarks:

Charles Hall, at the State University of New York, has calculated that it is not possible to run our complex civilisation on a net-energy below about 6:1 - because society needs that reserve energy to run its transportation, agriculture, health systems and so forth.

The 6:1 net-energy is only needed so long as we continue BAU with auto-addicted transit, global trade like US Northwest lumber shipped across the Pacific to China to be shipped back as lead-painted Thomas the Tank Engine toys, fossil-fueled agriculture, and of course the Wars which for the US in 2010 consumed 5.5 billion gallons of fuel.
If the US in particular began seriously transitioning from auto addiction to Green Transit via electric Rail, Lightrail,buses, shuttles, biking and walking i could seriously reduce about 50% of US oil usage.
70% of US oil usage is for transportation and about 90% of that for cars, trucks and planes.

This is why Green transit for the US is so critical in particular for passenger service.
For Europe moving freight to Rails is probably one of the biggest ways to reduce their diesel demand.

I think what Hall is saying is that the complexity of our current civilization, with extreme specialization etc, requires an EROEI higher than about 6. Thus as EROEI sinks below that, we'll be forced to simplify. Such simplification is what some define as "collapse of civilization". Doesn't mean we all die, but live differently. And the attempts by some to defend the status quo may cause some to die, along with a deeper collapse than could have been. Every dollar and joule spent now on expanding highways rather than railroads is going to hurt us later.

The NYT article about the big utility transformers mentions several logistical challenges, e.g.:

Ordinary transformers are often too big and heavy to travel by road, and they require special rail cars. But because the transformers typically last 50 years, only a few dozen are shipped each year, so even the appropriate rail cars are in short supply. Ratcheting up the degree of difficulty, many of the places where a replacement transformer might have to go are no longer served by rail.

So the research institute tried a different approach, substituting three smaller, more mobile transformers for one conventional one, and specifying a size that would fit on a modified truck trailer.

Seems like they're seriously working on a preparedness plan, which is more than I would have expected! Thanks to the fines the utilities have to pay when the grid goes down.

Not to mention that it takes time and effort to make some of those monster transformers, 200MVA and above. The infrastructure to quickly build them simply does not exist.

As I recall, they are no longer manufactered in the U.S.



And the Chinese installers that come with the larger ones know that the component will not have the service life of the old American unit it replaces. An Edison insider story...

A World Without People

For a number of reasons, natural and human, people have recently evacuated or otherwise abandoned a number of places around the world -- large and small, old and new. Gathering images of deserted areas into a single photo essay, one can get a sense of what the world might look like if humans were to vanish from the planet altogether. Collected here are recent scenes from nuclear-exclusion zones, blighted urban neighborhoods, towns where residents left to escape violence, unsold developments built during the real estate boom, ghost towns, and more.

RE: Understanding the New Price of oil.

When folks like Kudlow on CNBC make the following quotes.."Some people believe recoverable reserves for oil ALONE are 1.5 TRILLION barrels worth! Imagine that!, it is no wonder to me that the majority of Americans who either are incapable of finding facts or reasoning out such outrageous baloney get confused by the whole oil/gasoline pricing structure. He made this quote on the morning "Kudlow Caucus" today.

I nearly lept off the couch this am and threw the TV out the window when I heard him say that. As long as memes like these get perpetuated by these carnival barkers, nothing will ever move in the right direction. The follow on to ridiculous quotes such as these then usually moves towards the real possibility that we can move away from dependency on imports forever. I find the lack of credibility to be widening and there is no way to force any sort of accountability in these idiots. The whole thing becomes very frustrating to watch when your knowledge of a subject is light years ahead of those who are supposed to be "experts"

The lies just appear to be growing bolder and wilder and Pinocchio's nose is getting very long!

You wonder why they all do this. They're doing their level best to ensure Americans are as unprepared as possible.

"They" do not care a whit whether Americans (or any other groups of people) are preapared. They are doing it for money... today... with no concern for tomorrow. Largely because "they" are not real, but artificial people. At least they are when one lives in a corporatocracy (a/k/a a facist state). And "they" are abetted by artificial news media in promoting a largely ersatz society.


It's the money. Snake oil salesmen all. Nothing new there; socio-apathetic (emphasis on pathetic).

I thought this quote might be nice for these situations:

Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold --Leo Tolstoy

The only hope I see is that, thanks to things like news.google.com, that searches for those interested in "peak oil" will eventually lead people to TOD.

Forgive me for hoping at first that the bolded quote was meant to be sarcasm. I just automatically read it that way at first, silly me.

My solution to keep from throwing the TV out the window is not to watch tv. The whole thing is a screw-job IMO.

My solution is to not have a TV.

I didn't throw mine out, I just keep it in the closet. That way I can dig it out if I really want to watch something. Like the tsunami last year in Japan. Dug it out for that one. Some things you just have to see.

Watched it on the internet...that way I got to skip the commercials.

Well, it was a little more complicated than that as I work in the Tsunami Zone. At one point I had the radio, the TV and the internet all going as I tried to gather all the real-time data I could.

You get some good stuff on science channels. Last week they were showing how to build Solar thermal on one of the channels.

Kudlow is just repeating the current Repug party line, whether he knows it or not. There was a similar commentary from the Fact Checker at the WaPo yesterday:

U.S. oil resources: President Obama’s ‘non sequitur facts’

The author claims there are massive oil resources available to the US and includes a Scribd version of a recent report from the Congressional Research Service in which the resources are listed. Trouble is, the author apparently conflates "oil shale" with "shale oil", such as that in the Bakken formation. This mistake has become rampant on the Repug side with presidential candidates like Loonie Newt claiming that the US can become energy independent if only we let the oil companies drill, drill, drill. Of course, anyone who has studied the geology knows that the Green River oil shale is not a source of oil in liquid form. There's no way to recover oil from that rock by simply drilling holes into the formation. The CRS report actually points out this reality, but the author ignores the implication, simply taking a rough resource estimate of 500 to 1,100 billion barrels claimed by the RAND Corporation in 2005. As of now, there are more than 1040 comments on the posting. We are really in trouble when even "The Fact Checker" gets it wrong...

E. Swanson

Loonie Newt claiming that the US can become energy independent if only we let the oil companies drill, drill, drill.

I think we should drill a hole in the rock and plug it with Newt's head. Or is there some regulation preventing use of lead to seal a dry hole?


U.S. oil resources: President Obama’s ‘non sequitur facts’

It seems to be the Battle of the Incorrect Factoids.

This brings us to our next category of oil: undiscovered technically recoverable resources. Oil companies cannot consider this oil an asset.

Oh yes, they can and do. They just don't report it to the public as reserves. But they have a pretty good idea of how much oil they have in this category.

The Bakken Formation in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and southern Canada was discovered in the 1980s and 1990s,

No, the Bakken Formation was discovered in the 1950's, but has fallen into the "Wouldn't it be nice if we could afford to develop this?" category. At current high prices, it is worthwhile to develop the sweeter spots.

And then there is oil that holds tantalizing potential, such as oil shale, that is not yet economically viable, but may be in the future.

This is the classic - the "oil shale" contains no oil, and there are not even any pilot plants in operation. It is very much pie-in-the-sky oil.

Even with 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves, the United States has nearly 9 percent of the world’s production, according to BP’s annual survey. The president, in fact, misspoke on March 1 when he said “we only produce 2 percent” shortly after saying “we only have 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves.”

Producing 9% of the world's oil while having 2% of the resources means you are using it up 4.5 times as fast as the average oil producer. Not a good thing.

Europe, with the exception of Russia, Kazakhstan and Norway, has virtually no oil reserves.

Those are some pretty big exceptions, in addition to which he forgot the British North Sea reserves.

This is a strange case because the facts are technically correct but are used in service of fuzzy thinking. The president should drop this fact, or alter it as we suggested, or he runs the risk of misleading Americans about the extent of the U.S. oil resources.

It's more a case of the pot calling the kettle black. Obama has not been really accurate in his statements, but neither is this document. Both are actually lulling the American public into a false sense of security.

There's an article about oil shale on Wikipedia. One finds out that Estonia uses oil shale to produce electricity, burning it directly to drive steam generators. Also, one of the references is the RAND report mentioned by The Fact Checker guy. As we know, oil shale can produce petroleum like liquids products by pyrolysis, however the kerogen in the shale must be heated to a high temperature to accomplish this transformation. That's just the first problem along the way.

Perhaps more importantly, from a supply perspective, the RAND report notes that as of 2005:

Currently, no organization with the management, technical, and financial wherewithal to develop oil shale resources has announced its intent to build commercial-scale production facilities. A firm decision to commit funds to such a venture is at least six years away because that is the minimum length of time for scale-up and process confirmation work needed to obtain the technical and environmental data required for the design and permitting of a first-of-a-kind commercial operation. At least an additional six to eight years will be required to permit, design, construct, shake down, and confirm performance of that initial commercial operation. Consequently, at least 12 and possibly more years will elapse before oil shale development will reach the production growth phase. Under high growth assumptions, an oil shale production level of 1 million barrels per day is probably more than 20 years in the future, and 3 million barrels per day is probably more than 30 years into the future.

Loonie Newt isn't going to see $2.50 a gallon gas out of those rocks during the next President's first term in office, or the following few terms for that matter. If the Peak (conventional) Oil cliff arrives within the next 10 years, all that oil shale won't save us...

E. Swanson

And they will decry anyone who believes any of the LTG like memes -or believes in science, as pink-skinned commies. And there categorizing of such people as enemies of the party becomes self-fulfilling, if you believe in LTG, or climate science, you will very likley become an enemy of the party, because of its positions -and its demonizing of adherents.

The traditional solution was to boil them in a mixture of tar, turpentine, and linseed oil.

New Report on How UK Should Deal With Future Energy Needs

A new report by the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford says an urgent remodelling of the UK’s energy infrastructure is needed. This will be vital, the report says, if the country wants to reduce carbon emissions without 'the lights going out' and and Britain becoming reliant on imported energy supplies.

... An enormous challenge in meeting future electricity demand is anticipated with the predicted electrification of transport and heating increasing demand by 100% by 2050. To ensure can meet its low carbon energy targets, the report says it will be essential to use greater levels of nuclear power. This will require either much higher uranium reserves than currently identified, or a change of fuel cycle to minimise uranium use, it suggests.

Ireland oil strike raises hopes for exploration boom (Guardian)

Dublin-based Providence Resources announced on Thursday that oil has successfully started to flow from its Barryroe well in the first big find in Irish territorial waters.

The oilfield, which is about 50 kilometres off the Cork coast, has a flow of more than 3,500 barrels a day, a number which exceeds the company's original projections of 1,800 barrels.

One recent audit of the area found that it might contain the potential to produce almost 1bn barrels of oil, making the field worth billions at today's crude prices of well over $100 a barrel.

The test area off the Cork coast covered 300 sq km, which according to Providence is equivalent to a medium-to-large North Sea oil field. The oil was discovered at a depth of about 100 metres in the sea bed.

Latest Providence press release gives total recoverable at approx 60 milloin barrels. 3500bbl day ~ 9% daily comsumption . Not going to change much here. Is in 100mm water ~7500feed depth. From what is reported it lies below Seven Heads gas field production from which nose dived after only a year in production

Spain is also looking offshore ...

Spain Approves Canary Islands Oil Exploration

Conservative estimates by Madrid-based Repsol YPF SA, which would carry out the exploration, show that the concessions could eventually yield daily production of 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent ...

To be sure, Repsol's exploratory drilling may reveal amounts of oil below its estimates, and even if the projections prove to be accurate, Repsol says the license area—near the border where Morocco already allows oil exploration—wouldn't reach plateau production for a decade. The project would require investment of €9 billion over 20 years, Repsol Chairman Antonio Brufau has said.

And oil from the project may not all end up being used in Spain, as Repsol could decide to ship it elsewhere in pursuit of higher margins.

Is in 100mm water ~7500feed depth.

Huh?! you lost me there. 100 mm is 0.328083 ft. 100 meters is 328.08 ft. 1000 meters is 1 km or 3280.8 ft.

100m water depth, 7400' well depth.


Scientists Call For Fundamental Governance Overhaul to Ensure Earth's Sustainability

A group of the world's leading environmental scholars are sounding the alarm that human societies need to transform their national and international environmental institutions into a more coherent and robust planetary stewardship model in order to steer away from rapid and irreversible changes to the Earth's subsystems.

In the article, more than 40 of the world’s top scholars warn that incremental change is not sufficient to bring about societal change at the level and with the speed necessary. ... “The institutions left us from the Earth Summit twenty years ago have proven woefully insufficient for the challenges of this century.

related How Rio+20 can herald a constitutional moment

  • Reform and upgrade the environmental agencies and programs of the UN to ensure a strong environmental organization with a sizeable role in agenda-setting, norm-development, compliance management, science assessment and capacity-building.
  • More strongly integrate the social, economic and environmental pillars of sustainable development from local to global levels and create a new mechanism that gives special predominance to the largest economies – the Group of 20 – as primary members that hold at least half the votes.
  • Close remaining regulatory gaps at the global level, including in the development and deployment of emerging technology like nanotechnology, synthetic biology and geo-engineering, to ensure transparency, information-sharing, engage multiple stakeholders in policy dialogues and ensure that environmental considerations are fully respected.

They will need to get a lot more fundamental than this. Sounds like rearranging the deck chairs to me.

Even this would be considered to be "one world government" radical commie plan, by a good bit of the US electorate. It may not go nearly far enough, yet even taking the first step will be violently resisted.

Somehow everyone forgets that the lords of the far right have their minions frightened half to death that some scientific "elite" will take over and tell them what to do. Theoretically, the best that the world's leading environmental scholars can do is to inform the masses; in fact, the best they can do is to fend off misinformation and try to inform the few who really give a damn.

People who do not want to learn will remain ignorant. I think we should all follow Fred's lead and get into our kayaks and paddle away.


You can't educate, and you can't really even fend it off. You can't wake someone up who's pretending to be asleep. The few who do give a damn are exactly that - very few. All you really do by telling the truth is bear witness. Which isn't a bad thing.

I guess it can make you feel better... so long as you don't confuse that with change we can believe in.


It's just a matter of personal integrity. I don't talk about unless asked. When asked, I say what I think.

Here is the Kudlow segment this am...start at the beginning or go to about 1:20 and listen to the quote.....


I have been a member of this site for just over 6 years. I want to humbly and deeply send my public appreciations to the contributors and to the people managing this site. Your information and civil discourse has made an indelible mark on my understanding of our fossil fuel situation. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I recently added solar hot water and a PV array. Calculations show that I might even be an energy exporter a couple of days this summer. With that in mind, I know I will try to extend those periods of export. Your thoughts and suggestions have made a difference. It is good to be proactive toward worthwhile goals. This may not be up to the standards of John Michael Greer but it took me almost two decades to begin to like eating peas...


Good show Peter.

I have also just finished the PV array bit. Still noodling on the solar hot water.

And to get the solar array rebates from the local utilities company I had to thoroughly weatherize the house. Long overdue.

I also have to give a lot of credit to TOD and what I have learned.

Welcome aboard, Peter!

Looking forward to hearing how your experiences go with these tools.

Mind saying what part of the World you're in? What kind of climate?


Good to know that. TOD helped me take a good hard look at renewables, though I am looking to build these things from scratch using my lost lost engineering skills. Good luck to you.

TOD Braintrust -

Does anyone know who's behind this website:



It appears to me to be some rather cultish new-age BS. There's no clue on the website as to who's behind it. Rather sinisterly, the domain registration is hidden through a domain-rental service. I sent a message to John Michael Greer, who I think is pretty familiar with New Age cults, asking if he knew who's behind this, but he didn't respond - I think my request was too off-topic for him.

Anyway, a young acquaintance has apparently fallen for this group, and I'm a bit fearful for her. She's environmentally and peak-oil aware, but keeps grasping at straws, looking for magical solutions. I don't want her to end up in a cult.

Any info is appreciated.

Thanks, but I already did a whois lookup on the domain - it's registered to tucows.com, the shareware/freeware website. There's a contact form to send a message to the site webmaster, but there's no information about who that is. Apparently, if you want to have a website, but don't want to go on the record with the domain registrars, you can pay tucows.com to register it for you and keep your identity private, acting as a middleman if anyone wants to make inquiries. That's part of why I find this whole thing unnerving.

Yes, it's new-age for sure. I know of the movie "The Quickening", though I've never watched it. They seem to be a group that is tuning into the Collapse/Great Turning zeitgeist. There is an idea out there that a spontaneous spiritual awakening of a large number of people is under way as a result of the global pressures we're all aware of. These folks have apparently gone the "Ascended Masters and Aliens" route, as opposed to something more mundane like "Engaged Buddhism" or Wicca. I don't know anything at all about them, but the fact that I don't is probably a good thing. I'm closer than I ever thought I'd be to that world, and I tend to hear about the more outrageous groups.

As far as such groups go, this one looks pretty benign. It's definitely weird, especially to "old-age" people like me, but I don't think they're a cult in the traditional sense of the word.

It looks like these folks are into Mayan Calendar predictions, so their jig should be up on about December 22 of this year. Their other big date was October 28 2011, which has obviously passed without any unusual happenings. One can hope they will quietly disband by year's end... though it's equally likely they will dig up a new date for their "awakening".

New from Congressional Research Service [CRS] ...

Europe’s Energy Security: Options and Challenges to Natural Gas Supply Diversification

Europe as a major energy consumer faces a number of challenges when addressing future energy needs. Among these challenges are a rapidly rising global demand and competition for energy resources from emerging economies such as China and India, persistent instability in energy producing regions such as the Middle East, a fragmented internal European energy market, and a growing need to shift fuels in order to address climate change policy. As a result, energy supply security has become a key concern for European nations and the European Union (EU).

... Russia has not been idle when it comes to protecting its share of the European natural gas market. Moscow, including the state-controlled company Gazprom, has attempted to defeat European backed alternatives to pipelines it controls by proposing competing pipeline projects and attempting to co-opt European companies by offering them stakes in those and other projects. It has attempted to dissuade potential suppliers (especially those in Central Asia) from participating in the European-supported plans. Moscow has also raised environmental concerns in an effort to stymie other alternatives to its supplies, such as unconventional natural gas.

... Other key developments and possible alternatives to Russian natural gas are outlined ...

A lot of information in this report.

also, other reports ...

Change in the Middle East: Implications for U.S. Policy

Changing the Federal Reserve’s Mandate: An Economic Analysis

The U.S. Income Distribution and Mobility: Trends and International Comparisons

from the report:

"Since the advent of shale gas in the United States, the world appears to be potentially awash in natural gas. A 2011 study
commissioned by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed that technically
recoverable shale gas resources worldwide may exceed current global natural gas reserves."

apparently people in usa like the word awash.

"The primary focus of U.S. efforts has been on establishing a southern corridor route for Central
Asian and Middle Eastern natural gas supplies to be shipped by pipeline to Europe. Other efforts
have been focused on EU market reforms, which are beyond the scope of this paper."

for a european this sounds a bit strange: why is US doing some "efforts". are these efforts good for us. are they intended be good for us. and what does the word good mean here for americans and for europeans.

"Establishing a non-Russian and non-Iranian natural gas pipeline system to transport Central Asian
natural gas to Europe is a stated priority for the EU supported by the United States. Despite this,
all the proposed projects face challenges from both cost and supply perspectives that raise
questions about their viability"

this is really funny. US doesn't like russian gas, it doesn't like iranian gas, it doesn't like whatever.

but there is an easy solution: since US is awash with cheap natural gas then why not send it cheaply to europe so we can enjoy cheap american natural gas...

... this is really funny. US doesn't like russian gas, it doesn't like iranian gas, it doesn't like whatever.

but there is an easy solution: since US is awash with cheap natural gas then why not send it cheaply to europe so we can enjoy cheap american natural gas...

See pg 26: Possible U.S. LNG Exports: Pricing Not Volumes May Be Key

S - More than "possible": "Under Wednesday's deal, Cheniere (Sabine Pass, Texas) will sell $410 million (at current low prices) per year of LNG to (the UK) for 20 years, with a potential 10 year extension." Over the next 20 years that represent about $6 billion income for Chenier. And they don't even drill wells or produce a $1 worth of NG. Sounds like someone is going to get a nice bonus this year. BTW the Chenier facility was built primarially for LNG IMPORT.

The price will be benchmarked to Henry Hub. So if NG prices double in a few years the UK will be buying over $1 billion per year of US NG. And if prices increase to $10/mcf as the did back in the spring of '08 that will round out to about $2 billion per year.

From http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/26/us-lng-cheniere-idUSTRE79P3DO2...

from that page:

"For parts of Europe, especially the
Baltic region and Central Europe, where the United States enjoys strong and friendly relations,
any decision to export U.S. LNG to that region would be welcomed as a potential offset to their
dependence on Russian gas."

now how to interpret this statement. let's consider for example estonia. russia is there next door but america is far away. US has no real interest in baltic region, just an interest as an empire. so if US has more pressing interests in other parts of the world who is more reliable partner to supply energy, russia or US. more generally small countries have different considerations than big countries.

like dylan sang: (small countries are)


jukka - Just some clarification. The US doesn't export LNG. Corporations export LNG. They may be US based corporations or foreign corporations. They may export the LNG from the US, Africa or anywhere else. I pretty sure those "decisions" are mostly based on the economics of each particular situation. And politics tend not to be a significant consideration IMHO.

"And politics tend not to be a significant consideration IMHO."

well it was an american report and i think you agree that the report took a pretty political point of view...

also i think that you agree that while politics may not matter much when some commodity is abundant but the politics is essential when something is scarce.

jukka - Yep...I should have said politics tend not to be a significant consideration BY THE COMPANIES involved in the LNG trade. I agree about politics dominating all energy issues when supply problems become critical. We've already had a taste of that. It follows the MADOR theory...Mutually Assurd Distribution Of Resources. IMHO eventually politcal/economic/military factors will dominate energy supplies far greater than the physical limittions.

Tried to find more about yesterday's report about the Bank of America saying that OPEC's old fields were in steep decline. Anyway googling it today I found little, only with the following article:

Opec oil production continues decline as non-Opec rates improve

While non-Opec decline rates have improved, OPEC production has been facing the opposite problem, according to a report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The IEA estimates that Opec's existing production base is declining at a rate of 4.5% per year, compared to 3.9% a year ago, and 3.3% the year prior. Key drivers of falling output rates in OPEC include Saudi Arabia,...

Of course non-OPEC's decline rates are not improving at all, new fields are enough to replace declining fields, last year anyway. According to the EIA, non-OPEC all liquids production was exactly the same as in 2010. However they have non-OPEC C+C down about 215 thousand barrels per day from 2010 and JODI has non-OPEC down about twice that much. The EIA data is only through November. The December data is due out next week and the JODI data for January is due out next week.

Ron P.

Krugman's column raises an interesting issue that I've been thinking about too. Employment in oil and gas extraction is only 0.05% of total jobs in the US. If oil scarcity is going to make a serious dent in our standard of living, won't that mean that a higher percentage of people will need to be employed in fossil fuel extraction? How high would that percentage have to get before we'd start saying that the diversion of large numbers of people away from service jobs to energy sector jobs was contributing to a noticeable drop in our standard of living?

The portion of our incomes that is spent on energy is more than 100 times higher than that. Where does it go? Some of it gets reflected in employment within the country, some elsewhere. Some just enriches desert princes and steppe warlords - who then turn around and buy some things some people are employed to make. How many people are employed building yachts and private jets? But more to the point, employment in the energy sector, reflecting EROEI, should include indirect inputs, such those mining the iron and the coal to make the steel for the pipes inserted into deep wells and connecting them to processing facilities, etc.

dankd - IMHO I doubt it will have a very significant impact on overall unemployment. First, at the professional level, it takes 4 to 6 years of college to turn out a geologist, geophysicist or engineer of any flavor. And in most case a good 5 years of OTJ experience before they are capable of contributing significantly. So the better part of 10 years from the time the demand shows up. When I began studying geology in 1970 there were almost no job opportunities for geologists. But when I got out of grad school in '75 the oil patch was beginning to boom. As a result enrollment in geosciences and engineering boomed. And when those folks graduated in the early 80's many couldn't even land an interview let alone a job. That $10 oil in 1986 didn't exactly have folks rushing for degrees useful for the oil patch. Clever young folks can study this boom/bust cycle and decide for themselves if they should take the risk.

There are many high tech jobs in the oil patch where a college degree is useful but not mandatory. But in those cases OTJ experience is even more extensive. You can find a lot of 22 yo's to work the dumb iron on the drill floor...just takes a strong back and a HS degree...maybe. But those jobs represent a very small percentage of what you need to drill a well and contribute zero to the process of generating and planning new projects. A DW rig may have 150 hands on board. Counting the galley crew and the floor hands maybe 30 don't have college degrees or a decade or two of OTJ experience. And there are another 40 or 50 office workers who are part of the process.

Also important, modern day exploration/drilling is much more efficient that at any time in oil patch history. With computer technology we have today I can turn out a seismic work product that's much higher quality in 1/10 the time it would have taken me 30 years ago. I know some folks here still have a difficult time accepting this statement: exploring for and drilling up hydrocarbons has never been easier. I'm drilling 16,000' wells testing 100 acre potential NG reservoirs today. About 35 years ago I was drilling 12,000' wells (about half the price of a 16,000' well) looking for 2,000 acre reservoirs. Success rates today are much higher than they have ever been. That's not the problem...the problem is that there just aren't that many new areas to explore and prospects to find as once there were. Consider the current boom in all the fractured shale plays today. They were all well known many decades ago. I drilled and frac'd my first Eagle Ford well over 25 years ago. Two factors are driving the SG plays today: the high price for the associated oil and the fact that the companies have few other opportunities to justify their existence. High NG prices caused a boom in the dry gas plays...and then came 2008.

And even if you suddenly had enough skilled bodies it won't matter if you don't have the infrastructure to expand activities. The service industry is even more aware of the boom/bust cycle than the potential college students. They are not going to start throwing huge capex at expanding without holding back and looking for the first crack in the next boom. The service companies got a strong reminder of that back in '08 when the E. Texas shale gas plays collapsed. Trust me: no one forgets when your company lays off 3,000 hands in one day.

Scoot Bringing Zipcar-like Electric Scooters to San Francisco

Snagging a cab in San Francisco is hard enough and renting a car for a quick blast across town seems like overkill — not to mention finding parking when you arrive. Scoot Networks wants to provide an alternative in the form of pay-as-you-go scooters. And even better, their fleet of two-wheelers are all electric.

Gas, fuel shortage creates mass outages

LAHORE, Pakistan: Electricity shortfall rose on Thursday beyond 6,000 megawatt (MW) that is almost 50 per cent of total 13,000MW demand in the country, thus necessitating a 10 to 14 hours loadshedding throughout the country.

The generation is suffering on three accounts – fuel, gas and water.

The official said fuel supplies were eaten up by ever-increasing circular debt while two major dams were empty and river flows were down to 10-year low. There was no gas supply to power houses and no money for alternate fuel, said the official, adding that the three factors had resulted into exceptionally low generation, which even during the peak hours – from 6pm to 11pm – came down to a paltry 8,600MW.

More than half of the country was without power at any given point of time on Thursday, said the official, adding that one should not forget that it is still winter. Once the mercury starts rising, the loadshedding would go up correspondingly.

13GW spread over 130 million people (rough numbers just to make the point) is 100 watts per person. That's very low by Western standards of course. Still I often wonder why can't people be persuaded to use less and avoid the blackouts. Seems like even 50 steady watts is better than 100 watts half the time. The "50 steady watts" can include occasionally running a 500W toaster for a few minutes, we're talking averages here. "Steady" meaning you can turn the (small, efficient) light on at any time (of true need) rather than being forced to spend every other evening with no light at all.

Trouble is everybody wants toast at the same time. It's a peak load issue, not an average load issue.

I think it's more important to consider the industrial and commercial power use than residential. The Karachi metro area includes 13.2M people: they already have enough problems with water and sewage treatment, shutting things down farther could be a disaster. The airports either get enough power to operate radar and all the rest of the stuff, or they shut down. The arc and induction furnaces in the steel mills either get enough electricity for long enough to do their job, or the batch is likely ruined. The electric cranes for loading and unloading ships at the Karachi seaport (2.5 million container units annually) either work or they don't. Refrigerators holding critical medicines at hospitals either run or not. The computers at the 135 universities either work, or they don't.

Once you decide that you're going to keep the economy going, the cuts that the average person takes at home are going to be much heavier.


BAGHDAD / Aswat al-Iraq: The Oil Ministry expects that Iraq's crude oil reserves will double in the coming stage, the ministry's official spokesman said on Wednesday.

"The definite crude oil reserves (143 billion barrels) will double in the coming stage due to the ministry's activities in explorations and Iraq's oil licenses," Aasem Jihad told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

"We hope that Iraq's fourth round of oil exploration license would increase the reserves," he added.

Will the OPEC Reserve madness ever stop!?

Edit: Can't figure out how to hyperlink the web address

How to put in HTML links.

You'll be a pro in no time. : )

Swift to Expel Iranian Banks After EU Ban

...SWIFT is a secure private network used by nearly every bank around the world to send payment messages that lead to the transfer of money across international borders. Expelling the designated Iranian banks from Swift will shut down Tehran's major conduit for doing business with the rest of the world.

Analysts said Swift’s move will complicate Iran’s ability to make and receive payments, including for its sales of crude oil, which account for more than half of the Iranian government’s revenues, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the International Monetary Fund.

Booting Iranian banks out of Swift will impact oil payments at the margin, but the big impact will be on what Iran buys rather than what it sells,” Trevor Houser, an energy analyst and partner at Rhodium Group, a New York-based economic research firm, said in an interview yesterday.

and Sanctioned Iran Banks Being Cut Off From Global Network

Saudi Oil Sales, Tanker Bookings to US Surge

... Contrary to expectations that the modest recent rise in the kingdom's output was bound for fast-growing Asian markets, preliminary data shows that shipments to the United States have quietly risen 25 percent to the highest level since mid-2008, when the OPEC kingpin was driving up production to knock oil prices off record highs near $150 a barrel.

The surge appears set to continue. Vela, Saudi Arabia's state oil tanker company, has booked at least nine very large crude carriers (VLCCs) capable of carrying 2 million barrels of crude each from the Middle East Gulf to the U.S. Gulf since the start of March, the biggest such wave of fixtures in years, analysts say.

... sounds like they want to get the tankers out of the Gulf before the bombs fall.

Seraph, thanks for posting this.

Something is going on in the tanker world. In the last 3-4 days shares in although these stocks have been absolute dogs in the past year.


Another possibility - an Aramco-Shell joint venture to build a large refinery in Port Arthur Texas especially designed to handle Aramco heavy crudes is close to a start-up. Possibly they are starting to build inventories there.

My timing may be off - the construction started in 2008.

The joint venture is called Motiva. Motiva already has two refineries in Louisiana and one in Port Arthur.


TE- I think your spot on. From the article ...

Part of the build could be to do with a massive expansion project at Saudi Arabia's 285,000-bpd Motiva Port Arthur, Texas joint-venture refinery. The capacity of the plant will reach 660,000 bpd once the work is completed, with all units expected to be in production by the end of the second quarter [2012].

Some more info is trickling out ...

US Imports Of Saudi Oil Soar; More Seen In March, April

Saudi Vela March Westbound Oil Fixtures At 3-Year High Tracker

Nikiforuk writing about David W. Schindler's recent paper.

Scientists Doubt Fix to Wetlands Damaged by Oil Sands

Current reclamation efforts fail to replace valuable carbon-storing landscapes, study finds.

A 2011 brochure (titled Oil Sands: A Strategic Resource for Canada, North American and the Global Market) says industry will "remediate and reclaim 100 per cent of the land after the oil sands have been extracted so the area can sustain vegetation and wildlife such as that which existed before its development."

The wetlands study, co-authored by Canada's foremost water scientist David Schindler, says that the carbon storing services provided by peatlands will be destroyed forever and not replaced. This loss of carbon storage represents a debt of nearly $2.5 billion.

The study found that carbon released by the destruction of the peatlands could top 174 million tonnes and equal "seven years worth of mining and upgrading emissions at 2010 production levels." (The project, Canada's fastest growing source of atmospheric pollution, now emits 46 million tonnes of greenhouse gases a year or nearly as much as the entire nation of Norway.)

Schindler's article...
Oil sands mining and reclamation cause massive loss of peatland and stored carbon

Wow! So, we've managed to find a way to increase CO2 and decrease storage, all in the same energy intensive felled swoop?

We are SOOOOOOOOoooooo talented.

Strange species, homo sapiens sapiens. And so inaptly named! Wonder if they'll be missed.


The thing is, the oil sands companies never promised to restore the peat bogs of northern Alberta to original condition. They promised the Alberta government they would restore it to as good as or better condition. In the Alberta government's opinion, agricultural grazing land is a higher use than peat bogs, so that's what they have agreed the land will be restored to. And then they'll bring in buffalo and let them munch away on the newly planted pasture.

Canada has about 6 million square kilometres (2.3 million square miles) of this kind of boggy mosquito and black fly breeding grounds, so restoring it to original condition didn't rank high on any Canadian government's priority list. People who have never lived or worked there may differ.

Pesky peat bogs and wetlands, why don't we just pour some soil over it and tar it. Then we can have drag racing on it, think of the revenues. /sarc

There is already "tar", i.e. bitumen, under the peat bogs. You can just dig it up, mix in some gravel, and build roads out of it - I saw them doing that in the Fort McMurray area.

The oil sands area is not my first choice of natural environments to live in - the soil and water is naturally contaminated with oil. I know of lots of better places to protect. In fact, a lot of them are already protected in national parks.

Cheap Natural Gas Unplugs U.S. Nuclear-Power Revival

... Across the country, utilities are turning to natural gas to generate electricity, with 258 plants expected to be built from 2011 through 2015, federal statistics indicate. Not only are gas-fired plants faster to build than reactors, they are much less expensive. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says it costs about $978 per kilowatt of capacity to build and fuel a big gas-fired power plant, compared with $5,339 per kilowatt for a nuclear plant.

... But like some others in the industry, Dominion's Mr. Christian worries about relying too heavily on any one fuel, including natural gas. "Even if it's economical," he asks, "is it wise?"

Into Eternity

...explores the question of preparing the site so that it is not disturbed for 100,000 years, even though no structure in human history has stayed standing for such a long period of time.

'Every day, the world over, large amounts of high-level radioactive waste created by nuclear power plants is placed in interim storage, which is vulnerable to natural disasters, man-made disasters, and societal changes. In Finland, the world’s first permanent repository is being hewn out of solid rock – a huge system of underground tunnels – that must last the entire period the waste remains hazardous: 100,000 years.'

Once the repository waste has been deposited and is full, the facility is to be sealed off and never opened again. Or so we hope, but can we ensure that?

...Experts above ground strive to find solutions to this crucially important radioactive waste issue to secure mankind and all species on planet Earth now and in the near and very distant future.

Do we have a cost-estimate of this? Of digging into solid rock the world over? And of all or at least a few unforeseen circumstances? Over a time span of 100 000 years?

What was our species doing 100 000 years ago?

Fiat Production in Italy Grinds to a Halt Over Transportation Strike

Lorry drivers walked out repeatedly in January and February and Fiat's factories ground to a halt on January 24 as a result of nationwide strike action launched by drivers against a new government tax that has increased fuel prices.

also Fiat plants in Italy shut over fuel strike

That's the problem with fuel prices. Quell the masses with subsidies for fuel, but once they're in there's no takebacks. If you do all you get is mass hysteria. Didn't Nigeria try removal subsidies awhile ago? That didn't work out so well for social stability.


And the sad thing, they wanted to cut the subsidies to raise funds to help the poor, the very people who were violently outraged about their removal. Magical thinking prevailed.

Chevron halts production after leak at Brazil oil field

The US oil company Chevron says it has temporarily halted production operations in Brazil after a fresh oil leak was discovered.

It has detected what it calls a "small new seepage" of oil on the seabed close to a well in the Frade field, where there was a major leak in 2011.

Curse those 'small seepages'!

Lyme Disease Surge Predicted For The Northeastern US

Millbrook, NY – The northeastern U.S. should prepare for a surge in Lyme disease this spring. And we can blame fluctuations in acorns and mouse populations, not the mild winter. So reports Dr. Richard S. Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, NY.

If you go out in the woods today
You're sure of a big surprise.
If you go out in the woods today
You'd better wear long pants.   Sorry   : )

If you go out in the woods today,
You'd better not go alone.
It's lovely out in the woods today,
But safer to stay at home.

Teddy Bear's Picninc

Kunstler's Blog mentioned Lime Disease / mites today as well. Must be something going around?


Something's going around alright - Lyme Disease :-) :-(

Evolution in action. Those who are naturally immune to Lyme will populate the northeast. Those who are not will die off.

I live about 10 miles from the Cary Institute.

Some of my ancestors have lived in this area for the last 4000 years. I have had tick bites. I have never had Lyme. My kids have never had Lyme.

Lyme disease has been infecting people for a lot longer than 4,000 years. Ötzi the Iceman, the 5,300 year-old frozen body found in the Alps, had Lyme disease

The 2010 autopsy of Ötzi the Iceman, a 5,300 year old mummy, revealed the presence of the DNA sequence of Borrelia burgdorferi making him the earliest known human with Lyme disease

It has been around North America for thousands of years, but was nearly eradicated by European colonization and industrialization. It is making a return with the regrowth of the forests that were cut down in pioneer days.

Broken wind turbine? Call the British armed forces

The wind power sector is being held back by a shortage of skilled personnel and one company is already hiring army, navy and air force engineers forced on to civvy street after drastic cuts across the armed forces.

David Surplus, managing director of wind operating business B9 Energy, said former servicemen are armed with transferable skills which can solve the industry's engineer problem.

"The ex-helicopter engineers, for example, are multi-disciplined technicians, which means mechanical, electrical control, electronic engineering and a bit of structural."

Awesome links, as usual, Seraph! :)

Thought this may be of interest, from a few months back now though.....

The peak oil brigade is leading us into bad policymaking on energy
One can't assume energy prices are going ever upwards. The real problem is there may be too much fossil fuel, not too little


France bans strain of Monsanto genetically modified maize

French Agricultural Minister Bruno Le Maire imposed Friday a temporary ban on a genetically modified strain of maize made by US company Monsanto "to protect the environment".

Brent At $126 As Israel Security Cabinet Votes 8 To 6 To Attack Iran


Just in case anyone wondered why WTI suddenly is going up.


Thanks. I wondered - 'Why the uptick?'

An actual attack could easily push oil to $200, I believe.

I agree,IB. My prediciton - they do it on a Friday [slow news day; won't upset the stock market].


I am puzzled by the silence elsewhere on this story: still nothing at Al Jazeera, BBC, etc
I know little about ZeroHedge and wonder about their credibility (which at a first look strikes me as pretty good).

If true, this should be regarded as newsworthy by mainstream media, which is certainly not the case so far.

Not sure myself ... maybe ZH has 'sources' the MSN doesn't trust? OTOH, I don't know what else would have propelled the surge mid-afternoon. Everything else was very quiet.

Al Jazeera, though, makes me question the reliability. One would think a vote of that sort would be reported promptly by ME sources.

I will be checking more later when I get back from work.

Wars and rumors of wars, eh?


I just thought that it was to do with the upbeat indian Budget speech!

India's Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has unveiled the country's annual budget, saying that the economy is turning around.

He added that India would look to reduce subsidies, accelerate reforms and state asset sales and boost infrastructure spending.

The budget comes as the government's popularity has slumped due to a number of scandals and policy failures.

There were concerns it may sacrifice fiscal prudence in order to win votes.

So what does this mean? Does that mean this council can force an attack to happen? Or are they just an advisory body?

This report (from within Israel) indicates that no such vote has been taken, nor is one imminent:
"[Foreign Minister] Lieberman, who arrived yesterday in China on an official trip during which he will discuss the Iranian nuclear issue along with plans to expand the volume of Israel-China trade, will serve as the swing man who casts the deciding ballot on any vote taken by the eight-man inner cabinet regarding Israel's response to the Iranian threat.

Yet for the time being at least, the inner cabinet is not likely to hold a decisive discussion on the Iranian issue. The last time the inner cabinet discussed the issue was four months ago.

Members of the inner cabinet have indicated that Israel is not about to reach a decision regarding a military strike on Iran."


Putin’s Big Promises Need Fueling by High Oil Prices

MOSCOW — In American presidential politics, high oil prices are a problem. For Vladimir V. Putin’s new presidential term in Russia, they will be a necessity — crucial to fulfilling his campaign promises to lift government spending by billions of dollars a year.

... “It’s very hard to overestimate how vulnerable the Russian economy is to external pressures” from the oil price, Sergei Guriev, the rector of the New Economic School in Moscow, said in a telephone interview. “That vulnerability is huge, which is why Russia must be very vigilant. The spending is a risk.”

Nuclear power's Green Mountain grassroots demise

The definitive breaking point looms in Vermont.

By mid-March a state board is likely to deny the Yankee reactor licenses to operate or to create radioactive waste.

... The case is clearly headed to the corporate-owned US Supreme Court. But for Entergy to win, the Roberts majority would have to rule that the company was temporarily insane when signed its agreements with the state, and that a state agency can be forced (against its will) to issue reactor operating and waste creating permits.

The court will just say the state has no standing and then the court can give Entergy everything it wants. The courts, like the politicians, are just sock puppets.

Nope. Just rule that when Congress chose to regulate nuclear power by creating the NRC, it preempted any state regulation of same, unless the law specifically said otherwise. At that point, any agreements with the state are null and void; the state didn't have the authority to make them. Nor would the state's refusal to issue permits that affect the ability to operate the plant have any force. The doctrine is usually referred to as "occupation of the field" by the federal authority and has been established law at the Supreme Court level since at least the 1950s.

For example, California has a specific exemption in the Clean Air Act that allows the state to continue to enact their own stricter standards on some types of emissions. And allows other states to choose between the federal EPA or California requirements in some cases, but not to create their own independent standard. Such authority is legally a privilege, not a right, and could be retracted by Congress at any time.

Unless the statutes creating and directing the NRC contain similar language -- and I'm reasonably sure that they don't -- it's an easy case when it gets to the Supremes. It's probably an easy case when it gets to the Appeals level. Heck, I'm surprised that a federal district judge stuck his neck out far enough to say that (a) the state legislature couldn't block operation but (b) a state board created by the legislature could. Of course, IANAL, although I've had to pretend to be one when I worked as a legislative staff analyst.

exactly as I said the state of Vermont has no standing.

More generally the people of America have no standing. It is all about the power of money.

Exxon NG conspiracy?

"ExxonMobil said earlier this year that it had no plans to stop natural gas production that it gained through its acquisition of XTO Energy, in contrast to most peers cutting back, and leading to the theory that it would be in Exxon's best interest to see the independents fail, allowing the company to buy up these dry gas assets at a discount."


Brad - A conspiracy? And who are they conspiring with...themselves? LOL. The amount of NG XOM is producing from the XTO properties wouldn’t affect pricing if they gave it away for free. But I’m sure XOM is lining up their war chest to gobble up the weak as they float to the surface. This is how it always has been and always will be IMHO.

BTW all this chatter about companies cutting back NG production in an effort to get prices back up is pretty much BS so far from my perspective. I know more than a few independent companies that are doing all they can to increase NG production to generate sufficient cash flow to survive. Chesapeake has been one of the loudest voices in this regard for several years. But so far I haven’t seen proof of any significant cut backs. They may end up producing less NG in the future but I would first look at the fact that they have been selling off big chunks of their interest in a number of major shale gas plays including the Eagle Ford and Utica. Given the high decline rates of their existing wells and cutting back their ownership in future drilling their production rate might fall if they kept their wells flowing full out.

You probably understand stockmarket mentality better than me: if CHK sees their NG production falling off due to the factors I just offered which explanation would you rather sell to the Street: my company is reducing production to preserve the value of our assets or we can't justify drilling more wells because our exploration model doesn't work under current price conditions? Pick your spin. And yes...Ive sat in more than one board room and listened to that exact discussion a number of times. IOW: "For God's sake...keep the stock price up long enough so we can cashout before TSHTF."

Seven billion and climbing and we can't leave enough room for amazing creatures like this...inspiring short video on the work of photographer Mattius Klum. Shows what we are pushing off the face of the planet for more "growth".


Thank you. If you've never seen it,


You can stream the Full Episode.

In my experience it takes longer for, say a bucket of water, to go from 72 degrees to 71 in a 70 degree environment than it takes to from 180 to 179 in the same 70 degree environment.
When you add insulation around the hypothetical bucket of water does he relationship between the delta T between the mass and the environment plays a role on t (time) to either equilibrium or say a 1 degree change?
In other words, does insulation introduce a fixed change in entropy or is it also a function of the level between the object and the enviroment?


Things lose heat energy by radiant, conduction, and convection. Conduction through air is relatively slow, so introducing insulation into the system basically means putting in a conduction-through-air barrier between the warm object and the cooler environment. It's all about the gradient between the warm thing and its environment. If you put a bucket of warm water out in the cold, the heat conducts through, let's say, the steel of the bucket, then radiates/convects away (there's a boundary layer outside the surface of the bucket, where conduction comes into play, but any air movement greatly diminishes that boundary layer).

Put a couple inches of styrofoam around that bucket, and now the heat has to conduct through all those cells of motionless air;. The bucket now only "sees" the gradient between itself and the styrofoam. It stays warm much longer.

R-value is the reciprocal of thermal conductance, which has the units of BTU's per hour, through a sq.ft of cross-sectional area, per degree F difference from one side of the sample to the other. So, you're correct -- the heat transfer is much greater with a 110 deg diff. than with a 1 deg. diff.

Of course, the real world is rarely linear, and R-value typically drops as the delta-T increases.

I find this analogy helpful:

Heat transfer through an insulating layer is analogous to electrical resistance. The heat transfers can be worked out by thinking of resistance in series with a fixed potential, except the resistances are thermal resistances and the potential is the difference in temperature from one side of the material to the other. The resistance of each material to heat transfer depends on the specific thermal resistance [R-value]/[unit thickness], which is a property of the material (see table below) and the thickness of that layer. A thermal barrier that is composed of several layers will have several thermal resistors in the analogous circuit, each in series. Like resistance in electrical circuits, increasing the physical length of a resistive element (graphite, for example) increases the resistance linearly; double the thickness of a layer means half the heat transfer and double the R-value; quadruple, quarters; etc. In practice, this linear relationship does not hold for compressible materials such as glass wool batting whose thermal properties change when compressed.

So delta T is analogous to potential. I agree that the rate of heat transfer isn't likely linear, though the standards say to just add up the total R value. Adding radiant barriers and layers resistant to various types of heat flow certainly doesn't create a linear cross section. Thermal breaks can make a big difference as well (thinking walls now, not buckets).

So then in order for a thermal mass to lose heat from 180 to 179 in a 70 enviroment at the same rate as it would lose heat going from 72 to 71 in the same enviroment how much more insulation would need to be added (relative to the 72-->71 case)? is there some (relatively straightforward / rule of thumb formula for this?


The scenario is pretty extreme. The answer is 180X the insulation. But, a closed bucket of water in still air is going to take a while to drop 1 degree even with no insulation. Actually, a 1% digital meter will wander a degree reading all by itself... so the measurement presents practical difficulties. The flow of heat is the delta, the temperature difference, the potential, divided by the resistance to flow. It is a linear relationship. The time to descend to 37% of the final value is the resistance times the specific heat of the material times the volume. The potential does not figure into it. So, if the system drops through 37% of its final value in 1 hour, it does so whether the delta started at 10 degrees or at 100 degrees: In other-words, the higher it starts, the faster it moves.

The reason for this whole line of inquiry is that I made a home-made sous vide setup with a PID controller. What I notice is that the stability at lower temps is within 0.1 degrees of target but at higher temps (like 180 or so) is fluctuates by probably 0.4 (so that is 0.8 in total) around target and I was trying to figure out how much more insulation i'd have to add to the bath to avoid / minimize it.
From all the helpful replies here it looks like the best way to handle this is to re-tune the controller for any significant temperature change.
The wish for precision may seem over the top but here is actually a quite notaceble difference between an egg at 143 and 143.5.


All of this for the perfect foie gras or poached egg... nice!

the changes in texture vs other cooking methods are really interesting. In sous vide cooking you can explicitly separate time from temperature - you don't put a chicken in a 375 degree oven trying to time is such that the internal temp is 160. You just put the temperature on 160 and after a while the food and the water have equalized, but often with a different texture from what you're used to.

With a PID controller, no less! (They don't cost so much, these days.)

I made a 150 Watt microwave oven for cars long ago. The steady lower energy input made for a different result. There was much less chance for burning. The food was heated through more thoroughly. The ingredients shared flavors better. At the moment of the time, to limit the power, it was easiest to construct a high-voltage choke and insert it in the cathode supply.

The answer is 180X the insulation.
My mistake. Realized just as I got to my car. The answer is 100X the insulation: 1 degree drop in a given time VS 100 degree drop in the same interval of time. Forgot to take the delta of the second temperature excursion.

the specific heat of the material times the volume
"...times the amount" would be better wording.

Entropy per unit of heat transfer scales inversely with the absolute temeprature (Kelvin not Centrigrade).
The actual heat transfer takes multiple forms, radiant, conductive, advection (fluid transfer), and latent (in the case of hot water evaporation). Generally conduction is linear in temperature difference. Advection would be, if the fluid motion were unaffected by the temperature (like in a strong wind), but convection is temperature gradient driven fluid flow. Radiant in the simpler models scales as the fourth power of the absolute temperature. Latent generally scales roughly exponentially with temperature. You have to calculate all four, and add them together....
But note radiant, and latent goes both ways in and out, so you gotta calculate both directions and take the difference.

The rate of change of temperature is proportional to the temperature difference. Can't remember who's law that is.


EDIT: Ah, found it. Newton's law of cooling.

Yes sir, and here it is

t1 and t2 denote time, theta is temperature and S is the surface or ambient temperature.

There's even a nice little problem at the bottom, solve it without clicking on the link :-)

Example: Time of Death. Suppose that a corpse was discovered in a motel room at midnight and its temperature was 80 degrees F . The temperature of the room is kept constant at 60 degrees F. Two hours later the temperature of the corpse dropped to 75 degrees F. Find the time of death.

The answer for the post's question is that insulation will change the ambient temperature in the equation, that's all. I am assuming that you won't be changing the medium in which the liquid was first kept or wrap the insulation so tight that there's very little air around.

Is there anyone here who speaks Greek?

This article about a Greek video report was pointed out to me from the Dutch online news ad.nl (ain't the internet great?). My Dutch is sketchy at best but the gist I got sounded interesting, so I used Google Translate for the first time:

How heavy the debt crisis, the Greeks will be clear in the above TV report. People push each other over food from trash cans to the fish supermarket and it is begging food... The report turned in Vrilissia, a district of Athens close to the more expensive suburbs. This is certainly not the poorest neighborhood nor the ghettos of Athens. These are conditions that now occur everywhere in Greece... Twenty people throng to the dumpsters of the local supermarket for their daily meal. Among them pensioners, economic refugees, unemployed and even children... People who have been unemployed for over a year, often have no income and even their children can not eat anymore.

The people in the video are, of course, all speaking Greek, which I can't even catch the gist of. I would like to know what they are saying; "straight from the horse's mouth" is more informative than third-hand twice-translated reports. Of course not a whisper of this in American news.


The PIIGS debt crisis seems to have been kicked down the road yet again, temporarily. If this report is any indicator, their economy is contracting very sharply and that means they'll be right back where they started very soon, because all the 'remedies' are calculated on things not getting significantly worse. If your middle class is eating out of dumpsters (look at the quality of the clothing- those are not street people in that video), then they are not likely paying any taxes for repaying bonds with- even bonds that are 70% smaller than originally.

The google translation from dutch is quite accurate. Things are not so hot in greece.
Rgds WP

I've said before and will say again: "bailout" and "austerity" are code words for "impovershing the Greeks". The average Greek citizen never got that much out of the boom, as they still worked longer hours for less money than the Germans, and now they are beggared despite a "bailout" that involves enough money for every one of them to have a decent income for a year at least.

From what I understand, they have an election in April. I hope they throw out the Goldman Sacks puppet that was put into power by the EU when the last guy had the temerity to suggest a referendum.

'Dumbed' by Technology : Japanese Tourists drive straight into Pacific using a GPS

As the three drove their rented Hyundai Getz into Moreton Bay, they found the GPS device guiding them from a gravel road into thick mud. They tried to get back to solid ground, but as the tide rose they were forced to abandon their car. Passengers on passing ferries watched in amazement.

"It told us we could drive down there," Yuzu Noda, 21, told the local Bayside Bulletin. "It kept saying it would navigate us to a road. We got stuck . . . there's lots of mud."

I am sure it's just a freak case, your average kid is smarter than them.

Who U gonna believe your lying eyes, or your GPS?

Still living with a number of boxes of Mom's paperwork, and one is a box of Maps she kept from years of National Geographics.. once she had her sewing room in Cincinatti completely papered with them, so she could refer to them during News Stories around the world..

I Looked at that box in a cleaning frenzy the other day, and just thought about how precious good maps are. I'm not trusting much of the critical stuff to 'The Cloud'.. I'll keep a few Hard-copies, thanks! (Especially keeping the State Gazeteer in the car!)

'Trust, but duplicate.'

No, it's part of a new trend.

There was a news story of a woman who turned onto a road because her GPS told her to do it, and ignoring all the barriers, "Road Closed" signs, and startled construction workers, drove down it a ways, and got stuck in wet concrete. They left it there too long because they weren't prepared to extract a car from wet concrete, and the concrete hardened so they had to jackhammer the car out of the road.

Another, sadder case is of a couple who headed up a mountain road in the middle of winter because their GPS told them it was a shortcut. It didn't tell them the road wasn't plowed in winter and there was several feet of snow in the mountains. The wife was rescued alive after 7 weeks because locals out 4x4ing found her, but the husband had gone for help carrying his GPS and cellphone, and froze to death.

B.C. woman blames GPS for getting couple lost

This sort of thing is getting more and more common. It's almost as bad as teenagers getting hit by trains while walking down the tracks with their iPods turned up full volume so they can't hear the train's air horn. We've had several cases like that around here. The only positive factor is that it is improving the average intelligence of the species.

The good news is that they don'tknow who shall pay for the replacement satelits of the GPS system, and if they don't start to set it up soonish, we may actually lose the GPS all together.

I've been sending in corrections to Google Maps for our area. Latest correction is in there that I sent a few days ago. They rely on the commercial guys, I guess it's the same for the GPS.